Mormons Rock

November 15, 2007

Changes to the book of Mormon Intro

Filed under: life — by steffielynn @ 2:10 pm
Tags: , ,

So I decided to go ahead and post the article that has all of you (non Mormons)  so fired up.  (I hope it is ok to post and I have not broken any copyright laws, if I have let me know and I’ll edit or remove it)  anyhow, now you can comment on it here instead on my NON related posts!  (thanks a lot Jay 🙂  )

I looked for an Official statement by the church, but I could not find one, (yet).  If anyone knows of an official statement could you PLEASE give us a link! 

“Single word change in Book of Mormon speaks volumes”

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune

Advertisements

412 Comments »

  1. thank you.

    Comment by matt ladner — November 15, 2007 @ 5:47 pm |Reply

  2. Bruce McConkie wrote that Introduction .Its no surprise its being reworded .It was laready reworded in Preach My Gospel and on the main church website .

    He was just an Arrogant man full of hate and contempt for other religions .He was also full of BLUNDERS .

    I believe Jesus would have fired him if he was a real Apostle .

    How can this man take on himself the title of Apostle when he has a track record of one blunder after another .

    He was just a biblical amateur .

    I doubt the church planned any officical statement and probably would have preferred that no one noticed !

    Comment by elder joseph — November 15, 2007 @ 5:59 pm |Reply

  3. “I believe Jesus would have fired him if he was a real Apostle .”

    I believe Jesus would have respected him for his faith and, like he did Peter, worked with his strengths and tried to temper his weaknesses. Then again, I think that is what Jesus did do with this man and servant of God. In fact, what I think God tries to do with everyone.

    Comment by Jettboy — November 15, 2007 @ 6:21 pm |Reply

  4. Steff-

    There’s a great post on this subject over at Jeff Lindsay’s place:

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2007/11/
    among-principal-ancestors-unpricipled.html

    (you’ll have to copy and paste those two parts together. Long URL’s screw up the formatting on wordpress blogs and I don’t know how to embed the link)

    Jeff runs an awesome LDS blog with a lot of great intellectual posts and civilized commentary.

    Welcome to the blogosphere and the LDS church!

    Comment by bonnevillemariner — November 15, 2007 @ 7:18 pm |Reply

  5. What do you know- it makes the link for you!

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2007/11/among-principal-ancestors-unpricipled.html

    Comment by bonnevillemariner — November 15, 2007 @ 7:19 pm |Reply

  6. “I believe Jesus would have fired him if he was a real Apostle.”

    Yeah, I mean, look what he did to Peter…

    Oh, wait…

    Comment by Seth R. — November 15, 2007 @ 7:37 pm |Reply

  7. The difference between Peter and Bruce is Peter saw and encountered the real Jesus and was made a disciple .

    Bruce McConkie’s Apostleship had no authority from Jesus and simply his own vivid imagination .

    He bungled practically all his life .

    Comment by elder joseph — November 15, 2007 @ 8:31 pm |Reply

  8. Says you.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 15, 2007 @ 8:39 pm |Reply

  9. Ok, ej, prove your negative. Give us some reason, other than your say so, for assuming that Peter was an apostle of the Lord in a way that Elder McConkie was not.

    Comment by John C. — November 15, 2007 @ 8:46 pm |Reply

  10. Yeah, EJ, your unfounded opinion on the subject means exactly squat. Not to mention the fact that McConkie was not solely responsible for the intro. It was approved by all the leadership at the time or it would not have appeared in the BoM, so you can’t blame it on McConkie.

    I wonder, do you really know anything about him? Have you read his books on the Messiah? He was a brilliant scholar and writer.

    As a Mormon, I sometimes disagree with a particular leader of the church (they do, of course, make mistakes) but I am always certain of the truthfulness of their calling, because I have that witness from the Holy Spirit.

    Bruce McConkie was a very black and white sort of guy, which did not endear him to everyone all the time (including me), but he was an apostle of Jesus Christ, and his final talk in General Conference in 1985 was one of the greatest witnesses of the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ ever recorded. You can see it here:

    Comment by MCQ — November 15, 2007 @ 11:44 pm |Reply

  11. 10. EVOLUTION AND SPIRITUAL THINGS IN GENERAL. – Merely to list the basic doctrines of the gospel is to point out the revealed truths which are inharmonious with the theories of organic evolution and which were to taken into account by those who postulated those theories. In addition to the considerations so far mentioned attention might be given to revelation, visions, and angelic ministrations; to miracles, signs, and gifts of the Spirit; to the enjoyment of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the faithful; to the truths comprising the plan of salvation; to the decreed judgment according to works, and the ultimate assignment of all resurrected men to kingdoms or degrees of glory hereafter.
    There is no harmony between the truths of revealed religion and the theories of organic evolution.

    Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.256

    Sounds like a “He was a brilliant scholar and writer” to me

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 16, 2007 @ 1:06 am |Reply

  12. He was a brilliant scriptorian. Which doesn’t mean he has to be brilliant in every other field.

    Thomas Jefferson didn’t believe in evolution either. I guess that makes him a doofus in your worldview too.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 16, 2007 @ 2:27 am |Reply

  13. CRM, nobody claimed he was a brilliant scientist – but . . .

    I have read much of what was published popularly during his young adulthood under the title of organic evolution. The vast majority of it was centered on the theory that God had no place in the creation of life on Earth – that it was all a cosmic coincidence. It was generally referred to by other Apostles and Prophets as “Godless evolution” – and when BRM addresses “the THEORIES of organic evolution” it is fairly clear to me that he was referring to that type of specific evolutionary theory. To religious men of his generation, “organic” meant “of this world” and totally “accidental” – so I tend to cut him a lot of slack on the overall issue.

    Comment by Ray — November 16, 2007 @ 2:36 am |Reply

  14. Seth,

    Thomas Jefferson: Born 1743, Died 1826

    Charles Darwin – Theory of Natural Selection: 1838
    Charles Darwin – Origin of Species: 1859

    Thomas Jefferson never heard of evolution. Not sure what your argument is here.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 6:39 am |Reply

  15. Here’s another article on the change in the intro:

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695226008,00.html

    Comment by mcquinn — November 16, 2007 @ 9:04 am |Reply

  16. BR, I think Seth’s argument is that McConkie was in good company (whether that company included Jefferson or not). There are many deeply religious scholars and writers who believed the same way McConkie did.

    When I said he was a great scholar, I was not referring to his beliefs regarding evolution, or any beliefs for that matter. I was referring to the fact that he was a meticulous student of the scriptures. He was a great mind in his student days, who never stopped studying and learning. He was a great writer because he expressed himself forcefully and in an unmistakable style.

    Whether you agree with his beliefs or not, it’s hard to argue with is thoroughness and his brilliance of expression. EJ’s slander of him is ignorant.

    Comment by mcquinn — November 16, 2007 @ 9:13 am |Reply

  17. I never said BRM was not a scholar. I think most people here would disagree with his opinions however.

    EJ’s slander is based on statements made by him throughout his Apostleship that have later been retracted or dismissed as opinion that is not in line with the LDS church.

    Maybe EJ’s statements are a bit strong, but BRM is certainly not without fault here.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 9:19 am |Reply

  18. I know we can all agree he was not perfect.

    Comment by mcquinn — November 16, 2007 @ 9:34 am |Reply

  19. mcquiinn

    How can you say this about mcConkie

    ” I was referring to the fact that he was a meticulous student of the scriptures.”

    when average LDS members are telling me it was obvious from reading the BofM that there were others already inhabiting the land when Lehi (supposedly) arrived.

    So why didn’t McConkie know what was so obvious then .Hardly a meticulous student of any scriptures.

    I have no respect for these bunglers .They speak so arrogantly about matters of religion and then their whole life is littered with big blunders on what they said .I call them Time wasters .

    The sooner people realise that’s all they are
    pompous self righteous , self authoritated Time wasters .

    you also said

    “It was approved by all the leadership at the time or it would not have appeared in the BoM, so you can’t blame it on McConkie.”

    So neither of them read the Book Of Mormon properly either then .

    Comment by elder joseph — November 16, 2007 @ 4:26 pm |Reply

  20. This following comment was made by Ray

    “Ray
    #86 – I am a hardcore parser. I absolutely hate it when people get bent out of shape about a meaning that is not in the actual words being discussed – or when they fixate on one possible meaning and ignore others. That is what drives me craziest about almost all of the Introduction discussions/debates. There is another very simple possibility – and, frankly, it is the one that makes the most sense from a purely linguistic standpoint.

    The wording in the Introduction that was just eliminated was “principal ancestors.” Everyone assumes “principal ancestors” means “most prominent source of DNA.” However, if you look at the word “principal” on dictionary.com, the very first definition reads: “first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.” “Rank” would fit the DNA interpretation, but both “importance” and “value” can mean VERY different things. Given that the Book of Mormon is a spiritual history, the best reading of the actual phrase IN CONTEXT is “most important ancestors” or “most valuable ancestors” – not “most prominent source of DNA.” In that light, the Lamanites really are the “principal ancetors” of the American Indians – even if there is only a microscopic link of actual lineage involved.

    On a personal level, my “principal ancestor” is my father – since I am his spitting image and recently have been mis-identified as his brother. One of my daughters, on the other hand, is the spitting image of her great-grandmother. Spiritually, however, my wife’s “principal ancestor” is her 5th great-grandfather – the man who joined the Church in Italy and crossed the plains with the Mormon pioneers. She is connected genetically more fully with her own parents, but everyone in the family recognizes JDM as the most important mortal source of their spiritual legacy.

    Personally, I never had a problem with the wording, given this meaning, but I am glad the change was made – simply because of how the vast majority of people (inside and outside the Church) interpreted the “principal ancestors” wording. Any lineage connection, no matter how faint, would justify a claim of ancestry and validate the claims of former prophets, and I seriously doubt that will ever be provable one way or another. I think the DNA research did lead to the wording change, but I don’t see it as a “correction of language” as much as an “elimination of misunderstanding” and “correction of interpretation.” ‘

    Comment by steffielynn — November 16, 2007 @ 8:19 pm |Reply

  21. The following comment was made by…well…me as a response to the above. I have copied here to continue the thought.

    Ray,

    Your description of what may have been meant works nicely post event, but in reality it is just your opinion. The main problem is it doesn’t jive with what BRM and other prophets/apostles have said. They were pretty clear that their understanding was the American Indians were Lamanites, i.e. were direct descendants of Lehi. There is no room for most important ancestor in there.

    I also think all the Mongolian ancestors would take offense to that statement.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 9:16 pm |Reply

  22. BR,

    How would the mongolian ancestors take offense?

    Comment by steffielynn — November 16, 2007 @ 9:30 pm |Reply

  23. Ray said they were not important.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 9:32 pm |Reply

  24. Steffie

    The American Indians have no link whatsoever to Israelites through Lehi blah blah….

    Its been a tragedy converting Indians on this basis and so unfair , shocking and embarrasing .I’ve read acounts of one or two who are not happy about it and have left devastated and genetically raped.

    Its easy for people to say that its their own responsibility for converting on that basis and they should have got a true spiritual witness , but most converts simply mistake a nice feeling for the holy ghost .

    I’ve been told many times by church members that I know the church is true and they know it , even though i know its a hoax ! lol

    So how do they ‘know it’ that I supposedly’ Know it ‘ if what they said is totally false .I believe that same conviction they have of me knowing is what they have of their Testimonies.

    The other possibility is that they are simply lying to pressure me .Fables and half truths and total non truths are rampant throughout the church …

    My only desire left is to exit council my female friend out .There is nothing there for me unfortunately …

    I hope it won’t dissappoint them too much .” years is a long time , but I’ve found my answer . Professor Jared Diamond and his 30 years of research finally did it for me 🙂

    I have pure admiration and respect for him .Something I can’t afford to any Mormon Apostolitic Leader past and present ..

    Comment by elder joseph — November 16, 2007 @ 10:14 pm |Reply

  25. PS I have pure admiration and respect for some church members though 🙂

    Comment by elder joseph — November 16, 2007 @ 10:14 pm |Reply

  26. Bishop Rick, just after I thanked you for your kind comment on the other thread, you pull #23 out of thin air.

    I won’t debate this, but I will add a simple postscript:

    The Book of Mormon also implies, at least, that the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Americas came from Asiatic origin. (Nibley’s work on the Jaredites is quite compelling, even if I don’t agree with all of the details he espoused.) There is no inconsistency with naming Lehi’s descendants as the “principal ancestors” and acknowledging the genetic ties to Asiatic peoples.

    We assume SO much based on what others have assumed before us – as Brad demonstrated so clearly before he passed away. I just don’t like complaining about something not taught in the book – and not said in my own comment. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 16, 2007 @ 10:47 pm |Reply

  27. ej (2),
    I know this is nitpicky and not the point, but Jesus would not have fired Elder McConkie if he (Elder McConkie) WAS a real Apostle. Maybe He would have if Elder McConkie WERE (subjunctive!) a real Apostle, and Jesus were to fire people, etc., etc.

    Look, if you’re going to be blindly and overbroadly insulting, at least you can do it grammatically.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 16, 2007 @ 11:17 pm |Reply

  28. And, ej, “genetically raped?” What is that?

    That Native Americans have no link to Israelites is a tough position to prove–proving a negative always is. If you were to say that we currently have no evidence that Native Americans are descended from Israelites, you would probably be making a correct statement. As is, you’re exaggerating your case. Which, frankly, I appreciate: it’s easy to, and I feel justified in, ignoring hyperbolic statements. And it’s not long before I feel completely justified in ignoring hyperbolic people, too. It’s one thing to overgeneralize a black-and-white worldview as a teenager who doesn’t have any substantive experience outside of home and school (which you may be, in which case I apologize; you’re acting perfectly well within my expectations). It’s another thing to carry that worldview into adulthood.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 16, 2007 @ 11:25 pm |Reply

  29. Ray,

    Come on. Where’s your sense of humor?
    This is exactly what’s wrong with blogs.
    You can’t see me laughing while I write “Ray said they were not important.”

    I don’t know. I think that’s funny.

    Ok, let me re-write it clearly so as not to misrepresent:

    One of the definitions given by Ray for principle is “most important, or most valuable.” If I was an ancestor with dominant DNA but not called principle, by this definition, I might take offense.

    Ray, I’m sorry but this is not nearly as funny as “Ray said they were not important.”

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 11:26 pm |Reply

  30. Sam B.

    Everyone on this blog occasionally misspells or writes something that is grammatically incorrect. Why single out EJ?
    Makes your intentions look suspect.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 11:28 pm |Reply

  31. BR,
    Two reasons: (1) Because most people who misspell don’t do it while trying to tear others down. And (2) (and more importantly), I really, really, really hate the misuse and loss of the subjunctive in English. I don’t like any ungrammatical usage–my wife just rolls her eyes when I mention an ad on the subway–but I can take most of them. But I can’t even sing a rock song (there’s a specific one, but I can’t think of which it is right now) that misuses the subjunctive without singing the correct word.

    So there you have it: (1) I can be a jerk, and (2) I love the subjunctive.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 16, 2007 @ 11:35 pm |Reply

  32. Ok, as long as you limit your policing to the subjunctive, and apply your criticism evenly…but only because I’m married to an English Major that gets mad at for the same thing.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 11:39 pm |Reply

  33. Oops, there you go. I left out “me” and that after proofreading.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 16, 2007 @ 11:40 pm |Reply

  34. I can’t guarantee only the subjunctive–the “10 items or less” signs at grocery stores really get to me–but I’ve left out too many words in rushed comments to get worked up about that. And I don’t expect to run into a whole lot of 10 items aisles in blogs.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 16, 2007 @ 11:44 pm |Reply

  35. Sam B.

    The Book Of Mormon is false . I have 100% confidence in the American Indians having no decendancy from the Israelites whatsoever ……
    There was no Lehi coming to Jerusalem because Joseph Smith just made the whole thing up .

    The track record of the church Leaders is a full confirmation of their stupidity. Its the same with the JW leaders .Mormon leaders are no different .

    This is exactly what Jesus was warning us all about in the bible … false prophets . The Mormon church has a complete track record of them .

    I delight in tearing down LDS Apostles and Prophets who deserve it for their sheer arrogance and self importance and blatant errors and blunders which are not funny either.

    Comment by elder joseph — November 17, 2007 @ 2:01 am |Reply

  36. Kind of like the kid in Preschool who thought it was funny to go around kicking over other kids’ building blocks.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 17, 2007 @ 2:27 am |Reply

  37. Oh EJ,

    I have faith that you will know! And we will all be so excited for you!

    BR you should use more happy faces!

    Sam, now i’m worried about the subjunctive thing, now I have to go look it up! 🙂

    But I have the power to edit my comments! fewwwww!!

    Comment by steffielynn — November 17, 2007 @ 2:49 am |Reply

  38. #29 – BR, I agree. I was smiling throughout my comment – and I tried to show that with my smiley-face. I’ll do it again, now. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 3:21 am |Reply

  39. ej,
    See, you’re bearing your testimony to me that you know the BoM is false. That’s groovy, but I know it’s true. Clearly, though, you aren’t going to accept my testimony; why on earth do you think I’d accept yours? See, I recognize that you have some twisted view of what Mormonism is; that again is groovy, but you’re tilting at straw men. Where you can’t even describe the church I recognize, you aren’t managing to tear down. You are recycling weak arguments, which you’re welcome to do, but you’re preaching to the wind.

    Seriously, give me some positive theology. What do you have that I might want, and why would I want it? Mormonism makes me a better person than I otherwise would be. And, frankly, I don’t want to be like I perceive you to be. So not only is your testimony not convincing.

    (Although frankly, it’s the weekend and Sunday is my daughter’s birthday, so I won’t read whatever you respond for a while. That’s okay, though: we’re not conversing, and I don’t particularly like talking at people. My whole reason for being here is to suggest to steffielynn that your arguments are pointless and poorly thought-out. But have a great weekend anyway!)

    Comment by Sam B. — November 17, 2007 @ 3:31 am |Reply

  40. And steffielynn,
    Subjunctive is fun; think Fiddler on the Roof: “If I were a rich man . . . . All day long I’d diddle diddle dum, if I were a wealthy man.” The “were” instead of “was” is subjunctive. And you have a great weekend, too.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 17, 2007 @ 3:33 am |Reply

  41. Sam (and Steffie), My kids think I’m an English Nazi – but even I abhor the subjunctive and don’t pay any attention to it.

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 3:52 am |Reply

  42. Sam,

    EJ’s comments are brash, but they are all backed by LDS documents. He does not make stuff up. Ask him for sources. He can give you a valid source that you can verify regarding every comment he makes.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 17, 2007 @ 4:17 am |Reply

  43. #35 – ej, I officially retract what I have said previously about your approach being different than Brad’s if the last paragraph in your comment is an accurate reflection of your intent. I have the background and credentials and ability to “tear down” just about every religion or religious leader who has ever lived (including those of my own faith), but I have committed myself to emulate the Savior and follow His teachings – so I refuse to do so.

    If you are intent in tearing down others’ beliefs and if you “delight” in doing so, I personally want nothing to do with you. Consider this my withdrawal from these discussions with you, unless your statement was hyperbole.

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 4:42 am |Reply

  44. BR, do you support ej’s last paragraph in #35?

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 4:43 am |Reply

  45. Steffie, I probably just over-stepped my bounds with the last two comments – and my last one on the “Call me crazy” thread. I apologize if I did so. This is not my blog, and I want to see it be what you want it to be, but that does not give me the right to high-jack it any more than others have that right. Let me know if I crossed a line you would prefer I not cross, particularly since you have been SO patient and loving in your own responses.

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 4:48 am |Reply

  46. I can’t say that I support the last paragraph in #35.

    EJ,

    You don’t really mean that you delight in tearing them down do you? I know how you feel about them, but don’t think you really meant what you said in that last paragraph.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 17, 2007 @ 5:36 am |Reply

  47. “Ask him for sources. He can give you a valid source that you can verify regarding every comment he makes.”

    Glad to hear he knows how to prooftext. Any Bible thumping, gay bashing, flag waving fundamentalist knows how to do the same. But collecting a war chest of isolated funny quotes doesn’t mean you’ve even come close to gaining an objective and informed view of Mormonism.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 17, 2007 @ 5:41 am |Reply

  48. No one has over stepped any bounds, I enjoy reading your discussions, (so PLEASE continue!!!)

    I was going back and forth with EJ forever, I’m glad you guys are here to help out! I think he has been “brainwashed” by the anti’s. If he will allow the truth to settle in his brain I know he will eventually get it. EJ comes off as offensive, I really had a difficult time with him on Jay’s blog. (because he drove me crazy) But he has been attending church for 2 years and is very involved with the missionaries. He hates to admit it but he loves the mormons, he just can’t figure out why. I think he tries to tear us down because he is so afraid that he might actually agree and begin to really understand it.

    I’m still trying to figure him out! And he still drives me CRAZY! 🙂 I think he needs you more informed LDS telling him the facts. For me all I have is my heart, not a whole lot of scripture knowledge.

    But he’ll grow on you too, don’t worry 🙂

    ****And I really truelly do have faith that he will one day be baptized, I pray for him often!

    Comment by steffielynn — November 17, 2007 @ 6:08 am |Reply

  49. In that case, I officially withdraw my previous withdrawal of my previous description of his approach. 🙂 🙂 (I thought that deserved two.)

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 6:15 am |Reply

  50. From the other thread, redirected to the correct one:

    BR, I am going to bed and decided to check in one more time.

    One quick point: I never accused you of lying to anyone, so please grant me the same courtesy. I will not get into a pissing contest over credentials, nor will I get into a “liar, liar, pants on fire” juvenile shouting match. Nor will I participate in what followed. You called MCQ an intentional liar; he called you an unintentional liar; you swung your verbal fists at him; both of you are acting like spoiled little kids. I’m not getting involved.

    Whether you believe it or not, there is no settled, authoritative, consensus knowledge on this stuff. Even from a strictly non-Mormon perspective (and I have read much of the research from that camp), the VAST majority of experts in these fields agree on only one thing – that the dominant DNA among the populations of the Americas appears to be Asiatic in origin. That does not contradict the Book of Mormon itself, although it does show that the standard assumptions of those who read it without that understanding were incorrect.

    Having said that, the wording of the Introduction is what is in question here, and I have addressed that already. We aren’t going anywhere; we are talking straight past each other; there is no point in continuing this useless exercise.

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 8:39 am |Reply

  51. Ray,

    I think you just did get in the juvenile shouting match. If you think you are above this, read your comment again.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 17, 2007 @ 9:27 am |Reply

  52. “I think he needs you more informed LDS telling him the facts. For me all I have is my heart, not a whole lot of scripture knowledge. ”

    Interesting.

    I have now read EJ’s blog, and I think I have to respectfully disagree with you Steff. I don’t think he needs people telling him facts, or scripture knowledge. I think he needs more people giving him their heart, like you have. I don’t think anyone is converted through facts and scriptures, I think conversion happens when you finally let the Spirit touch your heart. You have a better chance of influencing EJ, BR and Coventry than anyone, Steff, because the Spirit just shines from you like the sun. I think that’s why they’re here. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by MCQ — November 17, 2007 @ 9:49 am |Reply

  53. “both of you are acting like spoiled little kids.”

    Well, he started it.

    Comment by MCQ — November 17, 2007 @ 9:50 am |Reply

  54. SethR

    “Glad to hear he knows how to prooftext. Any Bible thumping, gay bashing, flag waving fundamentalist knows how to do the same. But collecting a war chest of isolated funny quotes doesn’t mean you’ve even come close to gaining an objective and informed view of Mormonism.”

    I don’t bash Gays .What do Mormons teach on Gays ?

    What better than to read the Journal Of Discourses , sermons and teachings of LDS Prophets for prooftext and in full context .They actually mean what they say .

    B R and Ray

    “If you are intent in tearing down others’ beliefs and if you “delight” in doing so, ”

    Its not about tearing others beliefs its about tearing down LDS Prophets and Apostles or in other words exposing their fallacies .I have no respect for them whatsover .Why should I .They have been telling everyone they are representaives of Truth , yet they have a track record of errors , Blunders , Deceptions and non Truths etc.

    Those church members who simply want to ignore their past and some still recent teachings and disturbingly not tell Investigators about them are simply ‘mean’ , ‘selfish’ and ‘deceptive’ but can’t recognise what they are doing.

    This church believes that White Mormons give birth to more valiant Spirits and Black people give birth to less valiants hence their black mark .I have asked in church about it and they believe it but are too embarrassed to talk about it with me .Its a Truth of the church..

    Steffie

    “I think he has been “brainwashed” by the anti’s.”

    Yes you are right the Anti Mormons like Brigham Young , Joseph Fielding Smith , Bruce McConkie , Mark Peterson have convinced me its a false religion devised by deluded narcissisitic , dangerous men .

    Mormons need to face the fact that they have no better track record than JW’s who equally follow misguided and dangerous thinking men .The only difference is Mormons are motivated to do more for fellow unfortunates whereas JW’s believe in handing out watchtower magazines and not Literal Food and Rainment .

    Mormons need to face the facts that the church is really
    1 In my Opinion ‘not what it claims to be’.

    2 A families can be polygamous forever only church.

    3 A church which presents the Public and members alike a whitewashed innacurate version of its history. Worse still there are sheer lies .

    How many more members would leave if they knew the real history and truth about their founders and yet they are held in by manipulation of facts .I have spoken to a hispanic member in the USA on you tube and he was horrified at what the Journal Of Discourses taught and was going to tell all his relatives who had joined the church thinking it was just another Christian Church .

    Missionaries are no different from regular salesman .They just have one purpose ‘to close the sale of Mormonism’ and will do or say anything . Our Ward is like a comedy .Missionaries desperately under pressure are baptising Black Asylum Seekers .Our ward is left to pick up the pieces of failed Asylum church members on the run from authorities or working with false illegal documents ( and possibly paying tithe from this) or working without paying Tax ( Fraud ). Then our Bishop has to write to Area Presidency over this , meanwhile the missionaries are under pressure to baptise etc etc .

    Its the biggest farce I’ve ever seen ….

    In between doors when tracting ,We talk about blacks being cursed , young girls taken to marry Old mormon men who want to concieve for their Royal posterity . We talk about Joseph Smith marrying other mens wives , his lying about Polygamy to the church and public .The whole heirarchy lying about polygamy to its own church members and public .

    We talk about Bruce McConkie’s first edition of Mormon doctrine . We tralk about the changes made from the original 1833 Book Of Commandments and the changes made into the 1835 D&C version .

    We talk about Latin American Culture having no resembalnce to the Book Of Mormon .We talk about how the Incas were killed off by a smallpox plague ( 95% of the population) from the Europeans because they had no natural immunity from it not having ever been around , Cows pigs etc . The other 5% slaughtered in battle not having a horse between them and forgotten how to make chariots of King Lamoni’s time ..

    There is so much to discuss with these young kids …

    They just rang as I was writing this lol the Spirit ! hahah to check If their Dinner Appointment is still on ! lol of course it is I Love these kids ..

    For those who don’t know me on here , I am not a fundamentalist bible basher …… I am the most active and welcome non believer in mormonism in our Ward . lol

    Comment by elder joseph — November 17, 2007 @ 10:26 am |Reply

  55. “I don’t bash Gays .What do Mormons teach on Gays ?”

    Never said you did. Just making a point that anyone, with any position, can prooftext. It doesn’t prove much of anything. As for what we believe, we believe the action itself is a sin. Period. That’s what our core scriptures say. Everything that has been added above and beyond that is commentary of varying degrees of usefulness or persuasiveness.

    “I have no respect for them whatsover. Why should I. They have been telling everyone they are representaives of Truth , yet they have a track record of errors, Blunders, Deceptions and non Truths etc.”

    How juvenile. So people have to be perfect before they’ve earned any respect from you? No one can ever have a good idea, unless they’re flawless in every other respect? You’re supposed to grow out of that kind of thinking after high school.

    “What better than to read the Journal Of Discourses, sermons and teachings of LDS Prophets for prooftext and in full context. They actually mean what they say.”

    If you want to quote the JD, fine by me. Just make sure you don’t take the quotes out of context.

    So you know, I don’t consider the JD to be scripture. For the record, I don’t view General Conference as necessarily scripture either. I consider it inspired, but being “inspired” doesn’t make it infallible. The JD, the various books published by prophets and apostles, General Conference addresses… all of this is useful in learning the mind of God. But none of them are absolute. I view them as inspired commentary on the scriptures.

    So, while it’s interesting that you can quote the JD or Elder McConkie, it’s not really decisive about anything that this religion is supposed to believe or follow. Persuasive, yes. But not decisive.

    “This church believes that White Mormons give birth to more valiant Spirits and Black people give birth to less valiants hence their black mark. I have asked in church about it and they believe it but are too embarrassed to talk about it with me. Its a Truth of the church..”

    Ah yes. The “Mark of Cain” business. Let’s look at what the Book of Mormon says. It says that dark skin was a “curse” from God placed upon the Lamanites to distinguish them from the Nephites. OK, no mention of how “valiant” each group’s spirits were yet… In fact, the Book of Mormon has repeated instances where the Lamanites are actually more righteous than the Nephites. So I don’t think the bare text of the Book of Mormon supports your statement.

    Now, let’s look at the commentary by various LDS authorities. Yeah, a lot of them believed that blacks had “less valiant” spirits in the pre-existence. I think that was pure speculation on their part and a reflection of the prejudices of the time period.

    It’s been overruled and rejected by the modern Church. The LDS Church does not currently teach this. Nor have I ever encountered a church member who advocated it or taught it in church. Privately, I imagine some of the old guard still believe it, just like there are segregationists still hanging on in the deep South. But among the younger generation – people aged 13 – 50, I doubt you’ll find anyone in the LDS Church who still believes this nonsense.

    Brigham Young’s word in the JD is not law. Neither are Bruce R. McConkie’s writings in Mormon Doctrine. These teachings must be modified, qualified, or rejected inasmuch as they conflict with more modern or informed interpretation. Our Church simply never claimed that prophets are infallible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s not how it works. That’s not how God interacts with us.

    Sorry if that is offensive to your little world of simplistic absolutes.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 17, 2007 @ 3:16 pm |Reply

  56. EJ

    I’m sorry if my comment insulted you. But long before I even met you I encountered “samuel the Utahnite” and Somehow, you did too. He is fowl and mean and hateful, I think he has some influence over you and it is just awful. That’s what I mean, the anti’s got to you and you believed what they told you 😦

    And BR (comment 51) at least Ray did it in the right place! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — November 17, 2007 @ 4:09 pm |Reply

  57. Elder Joseph, I have to say that some of what you say is true of some church members but is not church policy, some of it is distorting what actually happened, and some of it

    is factually inaccurate. If you want to have some credibility, please back up your statements with references.

    “They have been telling everyone they are representaives of Truth , yet they have a track record of errors , Blunders , Deceptions and non Truths etc.”

    I would like to say that as men are not angels, they are not perfect. The church in all ages has had a history of blunders because of the failings of men, even prophets. There

    was only one perfect man, Jesus Christ. As a case in point, here are some “blunders” of church leaders in past dispensations:

    Jonah refused to preach in Nineveh, and later was displeased when it was not destroyed because the people repented. He was a prophet, in personal communication with

    God. (Book of Jonah)
    Moses did not follow the Lord’s counsel in how to perform the miracle of striking a rock with his staff and having water come out of it, and was punished with not being able

    to personally visit the promised land (Numbers 20:7-12).
    The Lord himself rebuked Peter several times (I’ll let you look up this one)
    Paul and other missionaries were only human, and had arguments, too, and yet they all did the work of God (Acts 15: 36-41).
    There were many errors in teachings of the necessity of the law of circumcision in the early Christian church, which were only resolved after “much disputing,” and a council of the apostles and chief leaders of the church (Acts 15, entire chapter).

    That’s just a couple of examples of many, and there are several more. So as you can see, while God is perfect, men are not, even those with his heavenly calling. Errors are the faults of men, but they are corrected in time by a merciful God. If you have any specific concerns about blunders, deceptions or supposed non-truths and can document them, I would be glad to address them (I just don’t want to discuss vague sentiments distorted by anti-Mormons, so I would like references).

    “This church believes that White Mormons give birth to more valiant Spirits and Black people give birth to less valiants hence their black mark .I have asked in church about it

    and they believe it but are too embarrassed to talk about it with me .Its a Truth of the church.”

    I’ve never heard this preached, and it is in direct contradiction with church policy to assume any such thing about race. Consider the following quote, a response from the Church’s Director of Media Relations (see “Church Response to Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven,” http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=a1aa39628b88f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f5f411154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD):

    “To be sure, there are instances in which Church leaders of the 19th century made derogatory comments about blacks which, unfortunately, echoed some of the current thinking of the time, but these in no way reflect the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon attests that God invites “all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; . . . and all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). In our present day the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have stated that all human beings are created in the image of God and that each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Deity (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” 23 Sept. 1995, published in Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).”

    Anyhow, I think that is enough for now. I think you have received gross misinformation about Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy, but I shall not address that issue at this time.

    Thanks for giving me an excuse to do a little more research in a few areas I’ve been meaning to! My best goes out to you. I hope my comments do not seem unfriendly, as that is not my intention.

    Comment by Ashui — November 17, 2007 @ 7:14 pm |Reply

  58. Ray,
    Valid point (McConkie didn’t believe in Godless evolution), but I doubt that McConkie was for evolution either considering how much his son fights against it at BYU.

    You have got to be kidding about principle being most important. It is widely understood by the LDS community that this meant the ancestors of Native Americans were the Lamanites. To say that members or leaders believed that principle meant “most important” is laughable when you look at LDS scripture and statements made by the many prophets and Church leaders. Given that we all agree that Bruce R. McConkie was a scholar, I doubt he would have used word that didn’t not communicate what he meant and if he had it would have been changed long before now because this didn’t just become an issue.

    “the dominant DNA among the populations of the Americas appears to be Asiatic in origin. That does not contradict the Book of Mormon itself, although it does show that the standard assumptions of those who read it without that understanding were incorrect.”

    Assumptions, incorrect?! The problem here is the canonized D&C scriptures that call Native Americans Lamanites.

    D&C 28: 8, D&C 30: 6 Oliver Cowdery called to preach to Lamanites.
    D&C 32: 2 first missionaries to Lamanites.
    D&C 54: 8 saints commanded to flee to borders of Lamanites.
    D&C 57 revelation concerning Lamanites.

    It is more than obvious that Lamanites were considered to be all Native Americans. And remember this is God talking through Joseph Smith, so you have to justify why God (who know everything) would call Native Americans “Lamanites”.

    EJ,
    Missionaries are no different from regular salesman .They just have one purpose ‘to close the sale of Mormonism’ and will do or say anything .

    I disagree. I was once a missionary and I would not “do or say anything”. LDS missionaries, while sometimes overzealous and not very knowledgeable, are well meaning and not out to lie to anyone. I know how hard a mission really is, they are truly giving a service of love.

    Steffie,
    Sorry for bringing the Introduction thing up, but I think it is an important change and should be talked about among LDS members. Most LDS members I’ve talked to so far don’t even know it’s happening. The Church itself isn’t talking about it. The LDS newsroom didn’t even mention it. Lately, they have been trying to give the Church’s view on things there so the public knows how they interpret things. Given the controversy that is sure to surround the change, you’d think they would have mentioned it. This tells me that it is one of those things that is going to just be slipped in and members will gradually find out about it. I don’t think that is right.

    By the way, I am glad they are changing it.

    EJ,
    If Jesus didn’t fire Judas, I highly doubt he would fire Elder McConkie:)

    CoventryRM,
    McConkie’s son, who taught in the religion department when I was there, is also very opposed to evolution. Interestingly, he kept trying to get the administration to stop the Biology department from teaching it. It irritated him that it was being taught on BYU campus. If it hadn’t been for some well informed evolutionists at BYU (Duane Jeffrey and others) it might have been eliminated.

    Seth R.,
    I think Thomas Jefferson would have believed in evolution if he had heard about it, considering how well read he was.

    ” Now, let’s look at the commentary by various LDS authorities. Yeah, a lot of them believed that blacks had “less valiant” spirits in the pre-existence. I think that was pure speculation on their part and a reflection of the prejudices of the time period.”

    “But among the younger generation – people aged 13 – 50, I doubt you’ll find anyone in the LDS Church who still believes this nonsense.

    While agree mostly with your statement above, Ieaders like Elder McConkie were still teaching that blacks were somehow inferior and didn’t deserve the priesthood. What’s the excuse for them? These myths are not only believed by old members, they are still repeated in Church meetings today unfortunately. This part of our history is truly sad.

    People still try to justify the priesthood ban by repeating the stories because there is no other justification. The priesthood ban was simply wrong from the beginning, but you will never hear any LDS leader say that. If they would say it the LDS myths about blacks would disappear much faster. The route the Church is taking is going to take much longer because some members still accept everything any church authority says as scripture. They don’t realize how dangerous this is. There are still people out there that believe the Catholic Church is the Church of the devil because Bruce R. McConkie said it in his first edition of Mormon Doctrine. These kind of people drive me insane, but they do still exist in the age range you gave.

    “Brigham Young’s word in the JD is not law. Neither are Bruce R. McConkie’s writings in Mormon Doctrine.”

    And I thank God for that! You can add anything that goes against scripture (Bible or LDS). Whether it was stated in the Ensign, General Conference or by the prophet directly in any setting, it doesn’t matter.

    Comment by Jay — November 17, 2007 @ 8:22 pm |Reply

  59. Jay, I was laughing as I read your comment – because I *agree* with what you said, pretty much right down the line in the entire comment. I didn’t say the leaders believed what I said about “principal ancestors”; I said I had no problem with the wording because *I* believe there is a very valid way to make it work. I also said I am glad they made the change to eliminate the incorrect assumptions – by those dating all the way back to Joseph Smith.

    God calling the American Indians Lamanites is only a problem if there is no lineage connection whatsoever – not even slightly. The record in question is from the Lamanite ancestry – even if it that lineage was severely diluted by the time the record was finished,a s I believe it was. With everything I believe about what the Book of Mormon actually says, and with what I know of the migration of peoples throughout history, and with what I personally assume about the big picture, I have no problem believing that there is a connection and emphasizing that connection over a more dominant DNA one.

    It’s like accepting my designation as a member of the House of Israel. I’m pretty sure my ancestry has at least a minimal connection to that lineage, but I also am sure it is not the dominant one. I don’t care; if the Lord wants to speak of me in that way, I’m cool with it.

    Frankly, I would be more pleased if the Introduction said that the Jaredites were the principal ancestors, since that is what I personally believe fits such a designation better, but that is my own speculation – so I am not disappointed that it is not in the Introduction. I like the “among” language much better.

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 8:56 pm |Reply

  60. BTW, if I die and find out I was completely wrong about all of this, I will be cool with that, as well – since I’m sure He will understand that I am doing my best o figure it all out and follow what I think I understand. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 17, 2007 @ 8:58 pm |Reply

  61. I’m glad you found it so humerous. So you have proof that there is a “slight” DNA connection or you choose to believe there must be a slight connection?

    Comment by Jay — November 17, 2007 @ 9:44 pm |Reply

  62. Jay, as you probably already know, no one can have proof of a slight DNA connection over 2000 years old. What we know about DNA testing in its current form and the probable dilution of the DNA of ancient American groups tells us that we’re unlikely to find a DNA connection between modern Native Americans and Isrealites.

    “To say that members or leaders believed that principle meant “most important” is laughable when you look at LDS scripture and statements made by the many prophets and Church leaders. Given that we all agree that Bruce R. McConkie was a scholar, I doubt he would have used word that didn’t not communicate what he meant and if he had it would have been changed long before now because this didn’t just become an issue.”

    The word he used was “principal,” not “principle.” It matters.

    Comment by MCQ — November 17, 2007 @ 10:12 pm |Reply

  63. “Frankly, I would be more pleased if the Introduction said that the Jaredites were the principal ancestors, since that is what I personally believe fits such a designation better, but that is my own speculation.”

    Whoa there big fella. You’re going to have to explain that one, cuz it sunds like you been drinking your wife’s cooking sherry again.

    Comment by MCQ — November 17, 2007 @ 10:15 pm |Reply

  64. Thank you for the correction, I of course meant principal. Good thing I’m not writing a paper, then I’d really get hammered, geesh!

    Comment by Jay — November 17, 2007 @ 10:17 pm |Reply

  65. MCQ, as you are well aware, in the Book of Mormon we have a very, very, very limited and sketchy view of the inhabitants of the Americas. The limited geography model says essentially nothing of the rest of the continents – except the very abridged record of the Jaredites, who arrived MUCH earlier than the other groups detailed in the book and lasted as an organized, central kingdom all the way to the time of the Book of Mormon. That’s a LONG time, and I doubt very seriously that the final Jaredite battle wiped out all Jaredites or others outside the Book of Mormon peoples – just like the final battle at Cumorah didn’t come close to destroying all of the Nephites (which we know from the record itself). Furthermore, I think the readings that believe the Jaredites came from the steppes of Northeast Asia are compelling.

    Given that the record of the Jaredites is even sketchier than the Nephites and Lamanites, and given that the original party of Jaredites was MUCH larger than Lehi’s family, and given that the Lamanites greatly outnumbered the Nephites and Mulekites combined quite early in their history, and given that “Lamanite” and “Nephite” quickly became political designations rather than distinctions of lineage, etc., I think it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the Jaredite descendants spread across the continents over the thousands of years of their existence and spawned many groups of people during that time. It is reasonable to believe that one or more of these groups were the ones with whom the Lamanties mingled – probably much more willingly than the Nephites who were so concerned about staying away from the horrible “others”. If this is the case, “principal ancestors” from a DNA standpoint could apply to the Jaredties, while “principal ancestors” from a spiritual standpoint could apply to the Lamanite/Nephite heritage.

    Am I convinced of this? Not at all. Do I think it is a very good possibility? Definitely. Do I preach it actively – or even articulate it very often? Nope. Do I really care in the long run? Again, not at all. Do I think it’s worth considering – or a variation of it? Yes, especially for anyone who believes in the limited geography model.

    Comment by Ray — November 18, 2007 @ 1:44 am |Reply

  66. “and I doubt very seriously that the final Jaredite battle wiped out all Jaredites or others outside the Book of Mormon peoples”

    Tell that to Coriantumr.

    Comment by MCQ — November 18, 2007 @ 1:58 am |Reply

  67. I’ll ask him when I see him . . . oh, wait a sec; I might not want to be able to ask him.

    and Caesar sent a decree that all the world should be taxed, and the flood covered the whole earth, and on and on and on. Whether Coriantumr believed it or not doesn’t automatically make it correct – as we all pointed out so vehemently to a now deceased commenter a while ago – and as others have pointed out to us. *grin*

    Seriously, I just think that the limited geography model opens up all kinds of possibilities that perhaps we have never considered previously.

    Comment by Ray — November 18, 2007 @ 2:16 am |Reply

  68. MCQ,

    “Jay, as you probably already know, no one can have proof of a slight DNA connection over 2000 years old. What we know about DNA testing in its current form and the probable dilution of the DNA of ancient American groups tells us that we’re unlikely to find a DNA connection between modern Native Americans and Isrealites.”

    Yes, I am aware that with the assumptions that the limited geography theory makes, it is not currently known how to detect DNA differences. That is why the Church is gravitating toward this theory. However, it is possible to detect DNA well beyond 2,000 years if those assumption are not made (Scientists do it all the time). Before last week it was only Mormon apologists and educated members that would have held this view. When the change is made, and people gradually become aware of it, they will adopt the view too even though they may not understand or even care why they are doing it.

    BTW, they have found about 1% Israelite DNA among Native American populations. However, most scientists attribute this to the European invasion that happened after Columbus “discovered” America.

    And it’s Israelites not “Isrealites”. It matters, 2 me;-)

    Comment by Jay — November 18, 2007 @ 3:28 am |Reply

  69. The biggest problem with the limited geography model is the Hill Cumorah.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 18, 2007 @ 7:40 am |Reply

  70. Jay: Ha! fair enough.

    BR: Having been down that road before, I know what you are going to say about the Hill Cumorah, but would you like to discuss it or is it all familiar territory?

    Comment by mcquinn — November 18, 2007 @ 8:44 am |Reply

  71. Cumorah is just a name that could apply to anywhere. In fact, in the Book of Mormon text alone, it appears to reference at least two different spots. Also, there are limited geography models that place the BoM events in Central America for some, but in eastern United States for others. Not to mention the possibility of migrating armies. In 3 Nephi it records the thorough destruction of the Nephite network of cities near Zarahemla. After that there is recorded a shift northward with the Nephites.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 18, 2007 @ 5:27 pm |Reply

  72. If you want to discuss the possibility of an Eastern US limited geography model, I’m up for that. The Central America model doesn’t work. Shifting armies from Central America to Northeastern US doesn’t work either. For me it either has to be a non-limited geography model or a Northeastern model, though the non-limited model works the best.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 18, 2007 @ 7:24 pm |Reply

  73. It doesn’t matter how many Hill Cumorahs there were. What matters is which Hill Cumorah were the plates deposited in. We know the answer to that question…Upstate New York. Moroni did not carry the plates 3,000 miles to bury them in NY. He buried them near the site of the final battle. This places the armies in northeastern US. It is not plausible to think the armies chased each other for 3,000 miles ending up in NY.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 18, 2007 @ 7:30 pm |Reply

  74. BR – How can you be sure that Moroni didn’t carry the plates 3,000 miles to bury them in NY? Nothing in the record itself indicates that he didn’t do that.

    Mormon Chapter 6 says that Mormon hid up all the sacred records in the Hill Cumorah EXCEPT “these few plates” – which he gave to Moroni. That was about 385 AD. The record officially concludes with Moroni’s words in 421 AD – 36 YEARS after Moroni was given the plates. We have no description whatsoever about what Moroni was doing for those 36 years – except finishing the record and hiding from the Lamanties. Why is it impossible – or even improbable – that Moroni was directed eastward in possession of the plates so that he could bury them where they eventually were found?

    Comment by Ray — November 18, 2007 @ 9:17 pm |Reply

  75. “Moroni did not carry the plates 3,000 miles to bury them in NY. He buried them near the site of the final battle.”

    Where did you pull this from? The Book of Mormon is pretty-much silent on the details.

    And yeah, 3,000 miles is actually plausible. The standard military guidelines for a Roman legion was 30 miles average per day on the march. And this was while weighted down with full armor, weaponry and supplies. People were dang tough back then, and a disciplined army could cover amazing distances on foot. Alexander the Great got as far as India in his campaigns.

    Besides, there’s nothing precluding Moroni from covering the distance by his lonesome even years after the final defeat.

    You’re reading things into the book that just aren’t there.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 18, 2007 @ 9:39 pm |Reply

  76. Interesting articles in the SL Tribune on this subject:

    See here

    http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7483717

    and here

    http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7483715

    Comment by MCQ — November 19, 2007 @ 2:31 am |Reply

  77. Also here:

    http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7483716

    Comment by MCQ — November 19, 2007 @ 2:32 am |Reply

  78. Ray,

    Not so fast with the 36 years. The first chapter in the Book of Moroni makes it clear that Moroni is still in the area of the Lamanites otherwise he would have no reason to stay hidden. Since this was written anywhere from 400 to 421, and the book was completed in 421 and sealed up. It would appear that Moroni never left the area.

    Also the few plates were not the only thing found. The hill cumorah contained all the sacred plates, sword of Laban, etc. etc. More than one man could carry 3000 miles.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 19, 2007 @ 8:29 am |Reply

  79. Seth,

    It is not plausible for an army to chase another army for 3000 miles. This action would make no sense. The Lamanites didn’t leave their lands to chase the Nephites. There are enough details in the book that state the battles took place in their own lands, not 3000 miles away.

    I’m not reading anything into the book, and even if I were, the entire limited geography model is reading something into the book, so be careful with throwing that accusation around.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 19, 2007 @ 8:33 am |Reply

  80. Keep in mind that the Church does not officially endorse the hill in upstate New York as the Cumorah described in the final battle. There is no reason to believe they are the same hill.

    Secondly, the text of the Book of Mormon itself does not state that the Plates of Mormon (the plates Joseph translated) where buried in the Cumorah described in the account of the last battle. In fact, it says the opposite:

    “And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon…made this record [the plates of Mormon] out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save [except] it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.” (Mormon 6:6)

    He gave them to Moroni, and they were not buried in the Hill Cumorah of the last battle. That was around 385 AD. Moroni didn’t actually bury the plates he had until 421 AD, almost 40 years later.

    “[The Lamanites] put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ. And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.” (Moroni 1:3)

    Clearly, the guy was covering ground. And in 40 years, yeah, you actually could transport the weight of the Sword of Laban, the Plates, and the Urimm and Thummin (which is all that Joseph claimed were in the hill he dug up).

    Also, be careful in placing too much reliance on the military numbers described in the Book of Mormon. Ancient generals frequently exaggerated or guestimated numbers of soldiers. It was commonplace in most ancient societies. It’s difficult to say whether the Book of Mormon’s account of the numbers was being used by Mormon and Moroni accurately, or in a military propaganda sense, or as some technical term whose use was known to Mormon and Moroni, but unknown to us.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 19, 2007 @ 4:35 pm |Reply

  81. “the entire limited geography model is reading something into the book, so be careful with throwing that accusation around.”

    Actually, I would say that the continental model is the one reading something into the book that is not supported by the bare text.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 19, 2007 @ 4:36 pm |Reply

  82. Seth and Ray
    There is a simple explanation to all this Hemispheric and Limited geography theories .

    The Book Of Mormon is simple imagination from Joseph Smith .In which he was able to access followers money , followers time , followers wives , followers daughters .He had them build a house for him and to provide whetever food and rainment he needed ..He didn’t work but appointed himself full time Leader .

    It’s all quite simple really ,he was just a cult leader like David Koresh and Jim Jones .

    Yes its my opinion but so is my opinion of David Koresh to his followers and Jim Jones to his followers ….. and if it helps The Leader of the Moonies Rev Sun Myung Moon claimed to have spoken with Jesus Christ at 15 and wrote a book also, called The Divine Principle which makes sense of the bible also ! His followers believe he is special and appointed from God in the same way you think Joseph Smith was .

    Just look at the whole history of The Church and what they have taught about the hemispheric model and where Hill cumorah is ..Here is confimation from the church itself where Hill Cumorah is and not from opinions of FAIRS or FARMS who do not speak for the church !

    Comment by elder joseph — November 19, 2007 @ 5:14 pm |Reply

  83. Yea, Joseph Smith led a cozy life. I mean look how much wealth he had. And being able to sleep with anyone he wanted, that is totally worth getting thrown in jail, beat up, and humiliated on a regular basis, not to mention the death of your children.

    Joseph Smith simply went through too much suffering to say that he made it all up to get wealth and sex. If he was a charismatic as some say he could have gotten plenty of sex and probably money without going through what he did.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 6:06 pm |Reply

  84. Say it all you want EJ. That doesn’t make it so, or let you off the hook for actually making a reasonable argument. You don’t want to believe it, fine by me, but quit throwing out stuff like Mormon geography as if it’s a slam-dunk.

    By the way, last I checked, we Mormons weren’t making suicide pacts or drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. You might want to pick your analogies a little carefully if you wish to be taken seriously.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 19, 2007 @ 6:25 pm |Reply

  85. Jay

    Criminals live like that , it comes with the terrain ..Many criminals get thrown in and out of jail but still continue that life .

    In comaprison to many others he did very well and did try to do much better finacially for himself .He headed a bank before it went bust and he rode off bankrupt .He headed a milita .He was pictured with Uniform and sword with his Legion. He was preparing to be crowned king of the world or something ridiculous , which I’ve yet to look in to .He ran for presidency .

    What other possible reason could there be for his behaviour .. Taking multiple teens to marry .Taking other mens wives . Asking for other mens wives . Riding off bankrupt overnight after his bank failed .Giving a discourse on word of wisdom and then riding through his followers on horseback with cigar in the mouth !

    I’m sure there are numerous other wierd , strange and ridiculous events ….

    And Mormons believe he was restoring New Testament Christianity ?

    strange …

    SethR You haven’t made suicide pacts as far as I know or drank kool aid ,Neither did Koresh’s followers of Moonies as yet . But the early followers did suffer death and persecution because of Joseph Smith and his prophetic threats to the neighbours ….All the early church failures are always blamed on the members , its the same today .The members are blamed for anything which does not come to pass as they have been promised if they do their part .The real reason is the church and its Leaders are not inspired …

    You believe that there will be a persecution against you , so do JW’s (and that its all from Satan etc ) .

    You believe that when someone doubts the church , it’s from Satan .In reality its because they have been miseld in the first place and come to their senses ….

    Comment by elder joseph — November 19, 2007 @ 6:43 pm |Reply

  86. “What other possible reason could there be for his behaviour “

    Well, that it was true of course and he was willing to suffer it all because he knew he’d be condemned if he didn’t do what God told him.

    And I still think it would have been easier for him to just seduce women. By all accounts he was tall, good looking and very charismatic, even critics don’t argue these things.

    I don’t believe sex or money were his motivations. You could argue that fame could have provided his motivation because he did have both of those even in his day.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 7:24 pm |Reply

  87. Seth,
    “You don’t want to believe it, fine by me, but quit throwing out stuff like Mormon geography as if it’s a slam-dunk.”

    Its the sheer number of things that need to be explained that worry so many people. Like you said there is no slam dunk on proving the LDS faith false (there are explanations for all the criticisms), but when you look at enormity of what has to be explained away to believe Mormonism is true it strains your faith.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 7:29 pm |Reply

  88. EJ is not worth talking to. Putting forward a copy of a seventeen year old letter from a secretary as the definitive word on a point of doctrine is beyond ridiculous.

    Jay:

    I think you misapprehend the concept of faith. These discussions about explanations regarding points of science, geography, etc are interesting, but they have nothing to do with faith. The Book of Mormon is not true because there are “explanations for all the criticisms.” It’s true only if and to the extent that God says it is.

    My witness of the Bible and the Book of Mormon does not require me to believe that they are literal histories. As it happens, I believe they are (for the most part); but God does not require that of me, and he has told me nothing about it except that they are His word. The focus of all scripture is spiritual, not scientific or historical. Everything else is of only academic importance.

    Comment by MCQ — November 19, 2007 @ 9:35 pm |Reply

  89. Going back to #58:

    “The priesthood ban was simply wrong from the beginning, but you will never hear any LDS leader say that.”

    Never say never. Some have already come close. McConkie’s statement that we should forget all he said on the subject prior to the 1978 revelation is an important admission.

    I’m not a church leader (thank goodness), but I said in my EQ lesson yesterday that the priesthood ban was not based on revelation and was a mistake by Brigham Young. If the Church disagrees with my teaching this, they can certainly release me (so far no phone calls). I think this is the consensus view among members who have studied the subject.

    Comment by MCQ — November 19, 2007 @ 9:57 pm |Reply

  90. MCQ,
    I want to believe it’s true, but it’s hard when so many things testify that it is not. I don’t think everything has to make sense (I still believe that Jesus died and was resurrected), but I believed the Church when it told me that Joseph translated with the UandT, that he saw God and Jesus in a vision, that the Book of Mormon is a literal history of people on the American continent and The POGP was translated directly from ancient papyri. These don’t appear to be entirely accurate and when you look at much of the early LDS “history” that is taught to us it has been simplified to the point that it leaves out much important information. I can’t understand why the Church doesn’t share it with us, other than it thinks that members will leave if they know. If I had been taught about the many methods Joseph used to translate then maybe it would not have been a shock. If I had been taught that the ancient papyri was just a prop to give Joseph Smith inspiration I might not have doubted when I found this out. It just keeps going polygamy with teens and other mens wives, kinderhook plates, racism among apostles and early church leaders, blacks and the priesthood, BY crazy teachings, spaulding manuscript, View of the Hebrews, and on and on. It’s more than enough to make a person start to wonder (which is what happened to me). I didn’t really know LDS history despite being a life long member and devoted Sunday attender. How is it possible that after 30+ years in the Church I would just now (in the past 2 years) begin to learn it all. It is very disheartening to say the least. My trust in LDS leadership locally and right on up to Gordon B. Hinckley been shattered and I’m just trying to understand how that could happen to someone that loved the church so much (me).

    I still do believe much of LDS doctrine and want to believe that it is all true. That is why I still defend the Church much of the time against critics that are bias and unfair in their assessments of the LDS faith. I sincerely hope that some day I can return to the type of testimony and trust I once had in the Church, but that seems very far off indeed.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:15 pm |Reply

  91. Once again “Either theses Men were prophets of God or not”

    Either God talked to them or he didn’t

    I just did and extensive search of the word negro in LDS publicationas and if you want to say that it was not from God then there is NO WAY you can say these men talked to God. What more do you need.

    It is really that simple.

    Look at what lengths you have to go to explain this fairy tale and that should pretty much give you your answer. Come one use some rational thought.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:16 pm |Reply

  92. #85 – So I’m a deluded idiot. Thanks for sharing that, ej.

    fwiw, “what other explanation could there be” is one of the most remarkable statements I have ever heard from someone who is talking with people who obviously are open to alternate explanations. #85 was so over-the-top that it is obvious you will argue about things about which you admit you have not studied. Frankly, I would never do that. MCQ and I are not the ones showing closed minds in this conversation – and I am done with this part of the discussion.

    BR, #78 simply is wrong (and Seth already addressed that in #80), but I agree with your first paragraph in #79. I am convinced the final battles were not in NY, but that Mormon walked there with the FEW things a very strong man easily could have carried in 36 years and buried them in NY. Frankly, that’s the only interpretation that really makes sense to me, personally – and I believe it is perfectly supported in the record itself.

    Comment by Ray — November 19, 2007 @ 10:20 pm |Reply

  93. “I’m not a church leader (thank goodness), but I said in my EQ lesson yesterday that the priesthood ban was not based on revelation and was a mistake by Brigham Young. If the Church disagrees with my teaching this, they can certainly release me (so far no phone calls). I think this is the consensus view among members who have studied the subject.”

    Wow, did you get any weird looks or any comments? I don’t think people would disagree with your declaration, but they might take offense at you saying a prophet was wrong on such an important “doctrine”. Most members I know like to think instead that the ban was required by God for a while and later it was not. They relate it to the gentiles not getting the priesthood (I obviously disagree with that line of thought).

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:20 pm |Reply

  94. “Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., 2:, p.185
    In the matter of religion they also may choose any faith they please. The Church does not bar them from membership, and we have members of the Negro race in the Church. If a Negro is baptized and remains true and loyal, he will enter the celestial kingdom, but it is not the authorities of the Church who have placed a restriction on him regarding the holding of the priesthood. It was not the Prophet Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young. It was the Lord! If a Negro desires to join the Church, we will give him all the encouragement that we can, but we cannot promise him that he will receive the priesthood. ”

    I would say it is pretty clear – look at #91

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:26 pm |Reply

  95. Once again “Either theses Men were prophets of God or not” …It is really that simple.

    I really don’t think it is that simple. Being an imperfect person myself, I really can’t expect even a prophet to do the right thing all the time. Can I explain Brigham Young and others views on blacks, no they were ignorant views, but I can’t condemn them for it. I’m sure that if I lived back then I would be a racist too. Does being a racist disqualify you to be a prophet? At first glance I’d say yes, but I really don’t know.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:28 pm |Reply

  96. CoventryRM,
    When was that written?

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:30 pm |Reply

  97. So then they were just Liars?

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:31 pm |Reply

  98. Does it matter? All the Prophets up until 1978 Said IT was GOD and that is what they were told it is really not that complicated.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:34 pm |Reply

  99. LOL! That was funny. Either that or they believed that the scriptures supported what they thought (which they don’t). I can see, given the climate of racism in 19th century America, how someone could think the bible justified racism. They did it because of their own personal biases and chose to view scripture in a way that they were not intended to be viewed.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:35 pm |Reply

  100. “I really don’t think it is that simple. Being an imperfect person myself, ”

    You are not a prophet claiming to see God and Holding yourself up as such either.

    It is like tell a lie then tell another lie to cover that lie, so then if it wasn’t from God all the prophets until 78 just told another lie to cover it the first lie, I just don’t get the logic there.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:37 pm |Reply

  101. LDS leaders believed, as all Christians did, that the Bible is the word of God, so they could confidently declare, if they believed that the Bible supported the ban, that God is the one that started it.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:37 pm |Reply

  102. The Bible doesn’t ban blacks, mark of cain being black skin is Mormon doctrine. I was shocked when I found that out, as growing up I just thought the whole Christian world knew that, imagine my surprise.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:44 pm |Reply

  103. Jay,

    I know this might not help much, but I believe I am older than you are and I was taught about almost everything you mentioned at home by my parents, in Seminary, in Institute, in various meetings and discussions, etc. throughout my life. One of the best things about the Church is its reliance on local members and leaders to teach the Gospel and most of the details; one of the hardest things about the Church is the exact same thing. It boils down to one thing – that addresses CRM’s last comment:

    We have NEVER taught that prophets are or were infallible. We have NEVER taught that everything they say is the direct word of God. Ironically, that’s how much of the Protestant world views the Bible and New Testament prophets, especially, (as they generally ignore the Old Testament and even NT teachings with which they disagree) but Joseph Smith was the most chastised person in the D&C. Even his own JSH mentions how unworthy he felt in the years following the First Vision.

    The Priesthood ban is a perfect example of this. Like MCQ, I have discussed the ban with members and investigators both by telling them very directly that I personally believe it was based on the prejudices of people who were willing to allow mixed congregations but simply couldn’t deal with the implications of mixed marriages. As I’ve said in other areas, I absolutely love much of what BY did for the Church, and I believe he probably was the only man alive who could have guided the Church through such hellish times, but I also believe that it came at a heavy price. I believe the Lord allows us to make even large mistakes when we don’t rely on His guidance, and I see BY’s comments regarding his concern that he was not a “visionary” prophet to be very instructive. I believe he was a prophet (called of God to lead the Church), but I also think the Lord wept at the baggage that came with that calling – just like He weeps at the baggage that comes with my calling and MCQ’s and Pres. Hinckley’s and yours.

    That might sound like a cop-out to come, but it helps me see JS and BY (and, for that matter, Mohammed and Martin Luther and Calvin and Nephi and Paul and the popes) in a much more gentle light. After all, “we (all) see through a glass darkly” – and the statement that it is the nature of almost men, as soon as they get a little power, as they suppose, to abuse it applies to prophets and commoners alike.

    My only problem with much of what is written in places like this is the bile that accompanies the tone – that makes certain comments attacks in the truest sense of the word rather than discussions. You don’t do that, but swimming in bile tends to cause that bile to rub off – and it always takes effort for me to resist the urge to swing back when swung upon. That’s one reason I admire Steffie so much. I’m amazed at how she is able to smile among the avalanche of haymakers thrown on this site.

    Comment by Ray — November 19, 2007 @ 10:51 pm |Reply

  104. Actually it is not “Mormon doctrine” (whatever that is). Most Christians of the day believed blacks were the cursed seed of Cain or Ham. LDS leaders most likely continued the belief that they had learned in their previous churches and added to it (i.e. preexistence teaching) White supremacy groups still believe this, even though it is only supported through a distorted view of the bible. So while the teaching should shock anyone, don’t make the mistake of assuming that LDS leaders invented it.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 10:53 pm |Reply

  105. Look I even got sucked into to this line of reasoning, what other Christians Churches were doing or thought should have no bearing, the issue is this and only this – Prophets said they talked to GOd and God told them it was to be so. The most reliable source should be the earliest statements made by the Men that claimed the condition of the Negro. They didn’t hedge they didn’t say maybe or we think … Look at JFS

    He is actually saying hey it’s not us GOD did it. So were they talking toGod or just making stuff up based on their opinions?

    “LDS leaders believed, as all Christians did, that the Bible is the word of God, so they could confidently declare, if they believed that the Bible supported the ban, that God is the one that started it.”

    Based on this logic you would have to put your money on -making stuff up based on their opinions

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 10:56 pm |Reply

  106. All is well for the negroe, he could get to celestial kingdom even before the ban was lifted. His duty was to serve the white married MorGods like Apostle Mark E Peterson !

    “IN SPITE OF ALL HE DID IN THE PRE-EXISTENT LIFE, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there AS A SERVANT, but he will get celestial glory.”

    Apostle Mark E. Petersen gave a talk at Brigham Young University in 1954 concerning race relations

    Race Problems–As They Affect The Church,

    Comment by elder joseph — November 19, 2007 @ 10:57 pm |Reply

  107. Jay & MCQ

    There has never been any racism from the church ……

    Alexander B. Morrison, “‘No More Strangers’,” Ensign, Sep 2000, 16

    “Racism is an offense against God and a tool in the devil’s hands…………………….How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations.”

    Comment by elder joseph — November 19, 2007 @ 11:00 pm |Reply

  108. CRM, EVERY Christian church at the time of the Restoration disapproved of inter-racial marriage and proclaimed similar doctrines concerning race. Read the history before making such incorrect generalizations. I’ve done it; I’ve read it; you are wrong.

    Does that make Mormon prophets perfect? Of course not. Do I wish they hadn’t shared those beliefs? Of course. Ignorant slams against them that ignore the Christian atmosphere around them, however, are simply ridiculous. If you take a close look at the current situation in America and assign levels of “racial segregation” in religion, I think you will be shocked at how integrated and equal the races are in the Mormon Church compared to other Christian religions. Are you willing to spend your energy fighting that CURRENT example of what could be seen as institutional racism – or are you fixated solely on one example from the past that is very similar to most of the others of its time?

    Comment by Ray — November 19, 2007 @ 11:02 pm |Reply

  109. you don’t do that, but swimming in bile tends to cause that bile to rub off

    Well I’ll have to confess that I do return bile, as you put it, see my comments in steff’s baffled post. I try to temper what I say, but it is hard. When I started my blog I wanted conversation like what Steffie and you and others enjoy honest and open without name calling or back stabbing (and I still do). I’ve come to find that it is hard to maintain that on a blog and still allow anyone to comment.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 11:03 pm |Reply

  110. ej and BRM – One last question: Do you accept Paul (the Bible) as a prophet?

    Comment by Ray — November 19, 2007 @ 11:05 pm |Reply

  111. BTW, I’m out of the conversation outside of my last question.

    Comment by Ray — November 19, 2007 @ 11:08 pm |Reply

  112. Based on this logic you would have to put your money on -making stuff up based on their opinions

    No, you would not, although I can see why you would think so. I’m merely stating the fact that everyone, you, me, Moses, Gordon B., have our minds clouded with preconceived notions and prejudices that cause us to make incorrect assumptions. This is a fact of life. Just because someone talks to God doesn’t erase their human biases, if it did they would be perfect. If you were taught by your preacher growing up that the bible says blacks were the inferior descendants of Cain you would believe it too. This is the problem with the bible. Everyone interprets it to support their own biases. I don’t care what people say about reading a scripture in context or not they can still be manipulated. That is why the scriptures themselves warn against such private interpretation, but how do you define that? It’s one big mess and LDS leaders were right in the thick of it with everyone else.

    Ray,
    Before I make my comment let me say I appreciate your words.

    We have NEVER taught that prophets are or were infallible. We have NEVER taught that everything they say is the direct word of God.

    That’s the big problem we were never taught many things. If it wasn’t deemed faith promoting then it was left out of the Church teachings. These odd happenings should be taught to everyone in Church. This would give the LDS Church the ability to put them in context and quite frankly beat antis to the punch. When members are confronted with these oddities of LDS history it begins to drag on their testimony because the antis are the ones that frame the event, and they do it in the worst possible way. I’ve had to wade through the tripe to find the truth, but it still wasn’t pretty when I did finally get there.

    EJ,

    “There has never been any racism from the church ……”

    I’d really like to see the rest of that quote.

    “Racism is an offense against God and a tool in the devil’s hands…………………….How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations.”

    Is this from the same source? I’m going to read this article. Actually if you go back to Joesph Smith I think you can truthfully say this. Its only when you are faced with Brigham Young’s and following leaders statements that it falls apart.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 11:26 pm |Reply

  113. Basically all your arguments just say the Mormon Church is the same as any other Christian Church, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 19, 2007 @ 11:44 pm |Reply

  114. “There has never been any racism from the church ……”

    Oh that is your own comment, it doesn’t come from the article. Got it!

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 11:45 pm |Reply

  115. CoventryRM,

    You got it!! With the exception that much of their doctrine makes much more sense in light of the Bible, though I know there are many that strongly disagree. However, that’s my own conclusion and the reason I haven’t left the LDS Church to be a Catholic or Evangelical or something else.

    Comment by Jay — November 19, 2007 @ 11:49 pm |Reply

  116. and we are back to “bring what you have and we will add more”

    I have said often that I would remain a Mormon even if I became convinced that it was nothing more than another Protestant religion, simply because it is such a remarkable organization – especially at the local level.

    I will add this for Jay, since I am waiting for an answer to my other question from the others: This is not the place (proper thread) to go into what I perceive to be the critical differences between Mormonism and other Christian religions, but there are very real and important theological differences, in my mind. All of them, however, are encapsulated in the belief that “I am a child of God” – especially how that affects the competing concepts of His power and what it really means in real, practical terms. I have posted and will post on my own blog about these things, but I refuse to expose them to the ridicule that will attend posting about them here.

    Comment by Ray — November 20, 2007 @ 12:17 am |Reply

  117. So there you go that is my point I would respect Mormonism if they would just admit it, you guys seem to already know it. Then maybe Mormon family members wouldn’t mistreat and reject non -Mormon family members.

    But I can tell you this as someone who has been there – accepting this truth is the most freeing thing you will ever do in your life.

    Brings us to a thought I had about our missionary discussion last night.

    Wouldn’t it be a greater good to just send them out and have them do service like helping rebuild New Orleans ….. wear shirts that say who they and what organization if people then seek them out to find out more about them and thier church great!

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 12:55 am |Reply

  118. CRM, No, I don’t know it. I am a deeply believing Mormon. I have held just about every calling imaginable at the ward level, and I currently hold a highly visible stake calling. All I said is that even if I didn’t believe it, I still would attend. BIG difference than not believing it. “That’s all I have to say about that.” *grin*

    BTW, we already send in huge numbers of volunteers to help clean up after natural disasters – and they often wear “Mormon Helping Hands” t-shirts. I have friends from our old ward in Alabama who still go to Louisiana and Mississippi 3-4 times per year on a rotating basis with other wards throughout the Southeast to continue the clean-up from Katrina – mostly in areas where the government and other organizations have ignored the need.

    Comment by Ray — November 20, 2007 @ 1:08 am |Reply

  119. Another btw, we have ranged far from the original post again. It’s tempting to continue, but I am going to refrain now and wait for an answer to my relevant question.

    Comment by Ray — November 20, 2007 @ 1:10 am |Reply

  120. Ray

    is BRM -CRM?

    If so the answer to your question about Paul

    Considering I am an Atheist I would have to say I don’t think anyone has talked to God so then the answer would have to be – NO

    Thats also why I don’t think you are going to hell either

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 1:19 am |Reply

  121. Fair enough. At least we agree on where each of us is NOT going – and I guess, given the context, that is a wonderful thing. 🙂

    Sorry, didn’t realize how confusing “BRM” would be in this exchange. Totally missed that one. *sheepish grin* Yes, in #110 it should have been CRM.

    Comment by Ray — November 20, 2007 @ 1:33 am |Reply

  122. “mark of cain being black skin is Mormon doctrine”

    totally false.

    “Look at what lengths you have to go to explain this fairy tale and that should pretty much give you your answer. Come one use some rational thought.”

    This is where you make yourself look foolish, Coventry. Spend five minutes in the bloggernacle. Read something from mormon scholars, instead of just anti-mormon material. You will find that there is a lot of rational thought going on in the Church. Your bald assertion to the contrary just shows incredible ignorance. You should probably recognize it as a bad sign when you start assuming that you are the only one that is rational. That’s just blind arrogance talking.

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 2:35 am |Reply

  123. “Considering I am an Atheist I would have to say I don’t think anyone has talked to God so then the answer would have to be – NO”

    That explains a lot.

    I guess you have never felt the Spirit then Coventry? Was it all just a hallucination on your part?

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 2:37 am |Reply

  124. “Wouldn’t it be a greater good to just send them out and have them do service like helping rebuild New Orleans ….. wear shirts that say who they and what organization if people then seek them out to find out more about them and thier church great!”

    Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) we have been commanded to preach the gospel. I think we can do that and humanitarian service too. And we do.

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 2:39 am |Reply

  125. “Basically all your arguments just say the Mormon Church is the same as any other Christian Church, I couldn’t agree with you more.”

    I re-read the comments and I can’t see where you get that.

    “Prophets said they talked to GOd and God told them it was to be so. The most reliable source should be the earliest statements made by the Men that claimed the condition of the Negro. They didn’t hedge they didn’t say maybe or we think … Look at JFS

    He is actually saying hey it’s not us GOD did it. So were they talking toGod or just making stuff up based on their opinions?”

    This is way too simplistic and shows a lack of understanding of the subject matter. Some church leaders argued that te priesthood ban could be eliminated without a revelation precisely because itwas never based on revelation to begin with. Some church leaders thought it was of God because that was the way they interpreted the scriptures. Just because a person is a prophet doesn’t mean they converse with God on every subject, or even every doctrine they espouse.

    These are imperfect people who are subject to mistakes, misperceptions, prejudices and any other errors. The only way we can be sure that anything they say is of God is to ask God ourselves. Joseph Smith explained this many times. He never expected people to accept what he said blindly. He told them they can and should receive a witness of it themselves. Many took him up on it and they did receive a witness. That’s how it works, Coventry, and I think you already know that.

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 2:51 am |Reply

  126. Coventry,

    Nice idea about turning Mormon missions into another version of Peace Corps, but I guess I’m not really on board.

    I used to get the “why can’t you just leave people be” a lot on my mission in Japan. Mostly from other Europeans/Australians/Americans who were living there or visiting. They’d look at me with something akin to disgust. Why is this loony religious person crapping all over this beautiful culture? Why can’t you just appreciate Japanese culture for what it is. It’s just as valid as your culture and beliefs. Live and let live!

    Then you’d talk to these Europeans about Japanese culture – some of whom had been living in Japan for several years longer than I had.

    Guess what?

    They didn’t have a freaking clue about the culture. Their knowledge of the Japanese was usually superficial, their language skills rudimentary, and their mastery of the culture utterly wanting. They had no idea who these people were. Even a green 19 year old Mormon missionary who’d only been out 6 months had more of a concept of the culture than many of them.

    Now, why is that?

    It’s because they never gave a damn about the Japanese to begin with, except possibly as some multicultural personal vanity project. Oooh, see how open and tolerant I am! I’m eating rice with chopsticks and bowing to people, and saying “hajimemashite!” I am sooo hip!

    The missionaries on the other hand actually did care about the Japanese people, in a real, visceral, gut-wrenching way. We cared about these people so much we made ourselves physically ill over them.

    But more than that, we KNEW the Japanese culture inside and out, because we fought, tooth and nail with it every day of our lives for two years. It was an honored enemy that you come to know even better than most of your friends. We didn’t agree with the Japanese. But we did understand them, and we respected them. Which is more than I can say for half the pompous, contemptuous, oblivious, PC tourists we met over there.

    So no, I don’t think “just getting along” is the solution. I have a lot more faith in a good clean scrap to promote real intercultural understanding. But that’s just me.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 3:45 am |Reply

  127. “Read something from mormon scholars, instead of just anti-mormon material.”

    So I guess all the material I have been reading is Anti-Mormon? Well I just spent the weekend reading nothing but information found in only LDS authorized and approved material. If you consider the nonsense that you find on Farms and Fair to be intelligent and scholarly than I find it a compliment to be called ignorant. I don’t have to go ask someone for some long convoluted rational to reconcile something that is so obviously wrong.

    “guess you have never felt the Spirit then Coventry? Was it all just a hallucination on your part?”

    Yes I have absolutely felt what you call the spirit, but do YOU really understand what it is and how easy it is manipulated?

    Look at all that you find yourself explaining away.

    Evolution
    Age of the Earth
    Global Flood
    Mans origin on the North American Cont.
    Garden of Eden in Missouri
    Blacks and that whole mess
    Polygamy
    No Death on the Earth before 7000BC
    Adam and Eve ate fruit that had the power to put the blood in their veins.
    Pearl of Great Price
    Lamanites
    No Archeological evidence to support the B of M

    And that’s not getting into all the other things spouted out over the pulpit by all these so called Prophets. I don’t have to read anti-material the LDS publications have more than enough material.

    Seth – I can’t even think of thing to say in response to your self righteous, judgmental and over all generalizing of people in #126

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 4:40 am |Reply

  128. Yes, it was self-righteous and judgmental of me. But I’m not going to get over that personal hang-up by hiding behind a superficial “live-and-let-live” ideology that is really more about ignoring people than understanding them.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 6:37 am |Reply

  129. “Look at all that you find yourself explaining away.”

    It depends on where you are coming from.

    I’ve never felt betrayed by this religion. It seems you have. I’ve met many people who have also felt similarly betrayed. There’s a deep sense of bitterness I get from their posts. It seems to poison everything they talk about regarding the faith. It’s as if all the light got sucked out of life.

    I’m guilty of it too. My own natural cynicism about people comes out on occasion. I’ve always been a bit of an idealist, and my demands of my fellow human beings are often unrealistic and unforgiving. I’ve struggled with that problem a long time.

    You seemed a bit taken aback at the “self-righteous” and “judgmental” attitude I displayed in that post. I’ll plead guilty. But can’t you see that half the posts I’ve read from you have exactly the same feel behind them?

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 6:46 am |Reply

  130. Coventry, that list is really funny, but you forgot aliens in Roswell and Area 51, not to mention JFK and the second gunman. C’mon, you’re not even trying!

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 6:52 am |Reply

  131. Ray,

    You can’t tell me that #78 is wrong, with no explanation, and then say you are done with the conversation. (actually you can, but still).

    I was trying to have an honest discussion about the limited geography model, and did not say anything derogatory towards the church. Why are you then unwilling to have this discussion?

    Back to #78. It is absolutely not wrong…at least no one has offered anything definitive proving it wrong.

    Like I said, if Moroni was 3000 miles away from the Lamanites, why would he have to continue to wander and stay hidden to preserve his life? The answer is that he was not 3000 miles away. Do you think this line of reasoning is bad? It makes perfect sense to me.

    And, whether or not Moroni only carried the Sword of Laban, UandT, and 75 lbs of gold plates, or wagon loads of plates is certainly up for debate. JS may not have been directly quoted, but Brigham Young quoted JS on the subject. Either Brigham Young lied about this, or JS actually made these statements. If BY lied, that does not bode well for him as a prophet, but would leave the limited geography model as still plausible. If he did not lie, and JS actually made these statements, then that puts the final battle in upstate NY which would eliminate the limited geography model in favor of the hemispheric model.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 20, 2007 @ 7:04 am |Reply

  132. BTW, Coventry, I don’t believe for one minute that you’re an atheist (or at least not a permanent one) I think you know that there’s only one person that can tell you if this church is true. All of the things you bring up are just excuses. Why don’t you ask the only person who actually has the answer?

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 7:28 am |Reply

  133. “And, whether or not Moroni only carried the Sword of Laban, UandT, and 75 lbs of gold plates, or wagon loads of plates is certainly up for debate. JS may not have been directly quoted, but Brigham Young quoted JS on the subject. Either Brigham Young lied about this, or JS actually made these statements. If BY lied, that does not bode well for him as a prophet, but would leave the limited geography model as still plausible. If he did not lie, and JS actually made these statements, then that puts the final battle in upstate NY which would eliminate the limited geography model in favor of the hemispheric model.”

    Either he lied and is therefore not a prophet or the LGM is wrong!

    Typical. These false dichotomies multiply over and over again whenever an anti-mormon talks about the church. Y’all make me tired.

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 7:37 am |Reply

  134. A few things of note….

    The hill now known as “Cumorah” in upstate New York received this name because that’s what church members started calling it, and not because there was any evidence that it was any Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

    With God, all things are possible. I’m sure the Almighty could have arranged a way for Moroni to carry lots of heavy things 3000 miles if that is what was to be done (not that that is how it happened, but it’s nice to remember the omnipotence of God). For example, Moroni could very well have hid up those things Joseph Smith unearthed much later as a resurrected being.

    Comment by Ashui — November 20, 2007 @ 10:34 am |Reply

  135. “Either Brigham Young lied about this, or JS actually made these statements. If BY lied, that does not bode well for him as a prophet, but would leave the limited geography model as still plausible. If he did not lie, and JS actually made these statements, then that puts the final battle in upstate NY which would eliminate the limited geography model in favor of the hemispheric model.”

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe they just got it wrong and it had nothing to do with being, or not being, a prophet?

    This is something it seems the Church’s critics just don’t get. Being a prophet does not make you infallible. It is not Mormon doctrine that our prophets are infallible. It is a false belief held by many faithful Mormons, and usually demanded by our critics. Joseph and Brigham could have held many mistaken beliefs about Book of Mormon geography and even shared them with other Mormons, and still qualify as divinely inspired prophets.

    Rigid orthodoxy and embittered unbelief, it seems, are often two sides of the same coin, and often, the same person.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 12:44 pm |Reply

  136. Jay

    Yes it was my comment – There has never been any racism from the church ……it was kind of sarcastic

    and then when you see what the Ensign has published below , it shows the shole contradictory nature of the LDS church ..

    The whole article is available on LDS.org

    Alexander B. Morrison, “‘No More Strangers’,” Ensign, Sep 2000, 16

    “Racism is an offense against God and a tool in the devil’s hands…………………….How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations.”

    The worst thing about Brigham Young’s racism was that he was teaching it as The Prophet Of God… And the whole church believed in it and went with The Priesthood Ban … I was taught from my American Missionares that “God is a white man …. Joseph Smith should know he saw him”.

    I hear it always being said that LDS prophets are not infallible .This is just an excuse for leading the church astray from the beginning and will continue to do so ….

    SethR

    If they got the geography wrong , the origin of the Indians wrong , the racist slurs wrong and the priesthood ban wrong , the adam god doctrine wrong and goodness knows else , then its likely that the scriptures they used to get all that from is wrong ….

    Ashui

    JS history POGP 1:34

    34 He said there was a abook deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of THIS CONTINENT, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the bfulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

    THIS CONTINENT not a continent 3000 miles away

    All things are possible only in Mormonism to explain away the whole nonsense of it …

    If you just conclude that its all a made up nonsense from Joseph Smith then it all makes perfect sense.

    Comment by elder joseph — November 20, 2007 @ 3:25 pm |Reply

  137. “”BTW, Coventry, I don’t believe for one minute that you’re an atheist (or at least not a permanent one) I think you know that there’s only one person that can tell you if this church is true. All of the things you bring up are just excuses. Why don’t you ask the only person who actually has the answer?”

    MCQ now thats funny!

    “BTW, MCQ, I don’t believe for one minute that you really know Mormonism is true. I think you know that it isn’t as complicated as you make it sound to find out if this church is true. All of the things you bring up are just rationalizations of things disproved. Why don’t you have confidence in yourself the only person who actually already knows the answer?”

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 3:44 pm |Reply

  138. I don’t see how saying that God is white is necessarily racist. In my eyes, it’s either true or false; either He is or He is not, and whether one is true or the other, it doesn’t make God inherently racist, or the one who spoke. I think that most people assume that Heavenly Father is caucasian because Jesus was a Jew, and because Jesus is the “express image” of His father (Hebrews 1:3). However, according to my knowledge, there is no place in the revelations or scriptures that specifies racial divisions existing in heaven. I have heard it proposed that it may be a construct peculiar to this life, though that is just speculation.

    As far as the priesthood being racist, I assume that you also believe it to be sexist, too, by the same basic premise. If you are a Christian or a Jew, however, and believe in the scriptures, this interpretation no longer makes sense, because God has always been very selective concerning who held His priesthood. In ancient Israel, only those of the tribe of Levi (and more specifically only the descendants of Aaron) could minister in the “priest’s office” (Exodus 28:1). Thus, if you believe the scriptures, it is easy to see that God would be no more racist in denying the priesthood to blacks than he would be in denying it to all but the descendants of Aaron. From that time, the priesthood has been expanded to eventually encompass all worthy males.

    And as concerning geography, I actually have made no comment referring to what theory I prefer. I mentioned that God is capable of all things to make the 3000 mile journey proposed by someone else seem plausible. I personally am not a fan of the limited geography model, but at the time I do not wish to further discuss it. And as for continents, North and South America are really quite connected, and are considered as a supercontinent. I would personally interpret the meaning of “this continent” to mean both North and South America. Of course, the record clearly states that the Nephites eventually lived both north and south of the narrow neck of land, which I assume to be the isthmus of Panama, so they did live in both continents, regardless of one’s favored theory.

    By the way, I can easily understand your frustration with the “prophets are not infallible” idea. Especially when considering the quote you mentioned in conjunction with this quote I mentioned in my last post:

    “To be sure, there are instances in which Church leaders of the 19th century made derogatory comments about blacks which, unfortunately, echoed some of the current thinking of the time, but these in no way reflect the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Church Response to Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven).

    The thing that comforts me is that God leads the church, and not men — the mistakes are made by men, and not God. The scriptural examples I mentioned about prophets and apostles making mistakes may be helpful in considering this. I guess that this is where the faith comes in — and the praying for confirmation that our leaders truly are inspired by God. I have received that confirmation, and so I follow the Spirit, directing me to follow my leaders. In the end, that is the only way that I know the church was and is guided by God, despite errors in its membership and leaders, both past and present. Perhaps in the future one of my leaders will commit such a blunder, and as I am in tune with the Spirit, perhaps I will be able to tactfully aid in the rectifying of such problems as to bring the church more in conformance with how God would have it be.

    Comment by Ashui — November 20, 2007 @ 4:15 pm |Reply

  139. “If they got the geography wrong , the origin of the Indians wrong , the racist slurs wrong and the priesthood ban wrong , the adam god doctrine wrong and goodness knows else , then its likely that the scriptures they used to get all that from is wrong ….”

    Classic slippery slope argument. It also ignores the many things they got right. Try turning it around.

    If they got the warnings about tobacco and alcohol right, the teachings about honesty, the successful Church organization that made the pioneer migration so successful, the teachings of commitment to one’s faith that has made this religion so successful, the bits about treating your wife and children well, the teachings about humility, and “goodness knows what else,” Then it MUST mean the scriptures they got all that from are true! Right? Right?

    You can use the kind of faulty reasoning you’ve displayed above to attack any position, from the Civil Rights Movement of Martin Luther King, to the United States government, to the Koran, to AIDS relief in Africa, to the latest Department of Education survey, to the collected works of Nietzsche. Your statement actually says nothing whatever. All it does is add a nasty tone and say “nyah, nyah, you smell bad.”

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 4:56 pm |Reply

  140. My last comment of all of this type of thought, it is not that simple you need to really understand the nature of the times and so forth (I know I am paraphrasing)

    Actually it is very simple. If you go back and really read for yourself what was being said and written. It was not complicated it was pretty straight forward what these men were saying and claiming. They said time and time again these things were revealed to them by God. Not that well this is what the Bible teaches and what others are doing. In fact they were saying quite the opposite. (Except for one incident I found when talking about the Negro they did say well everyone else does it what so why is it a problem)

    Someone or yourself as convinced you that it is complicated and you don’t have the ability to comprehend it yourself etc. Isn’t this similar to when the Catholic Church fought allowing having all the people be able to read the bible? Instead of denying you the ability to read it they have convinced you that you don’t have the ability to really understand it. If you come across some empirical evidence of something obviously out of sync with what the Church claims or teaches, you are asked to put your feelings before your intellect, “President Boyd K. Packer’s talk entitled “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than The Intellect,” this isn’t the only one Dallin Oaks and many others have admonished the same thing. (Yes I have read many of the apologetics explanations of PBP’s talk)

    Okay, It really is as simple as all this.

    They made claims that certain things were revealed to them by God. Have any or some of these claims been proved to be false. I can think of at least a couple. Then they clearly were either Lying about it being actually revealed, or God gave them bad information and is trying to trick us. Or they were delusional and who knows what they were seeing or feeling. I understand and give some wiggle room on things like changes in even the priesthood rules surrounding the Black if you actually accept that is what God was doing and for whatever reason changed it.

    When it comes to absolute claims of truth like the Garden of Eden being on the American continent which then places the origin of man in North America as well, that all the Biblical figures in the Bible up until Noah actually lived in North America as well, those things are either true or not. So which is it? The list goes on. You mocked me for my list earlier I tried to stick to just the undisputable things such as this. It is a damned if you do damned if you don’t deal with all of you. Had I thrown in all the really weird stuff like people living on the sun etc. I could understand the Roswell comparison.

    No I don’t think I am the only one thinking rationally I think there are something like 4 billion people in the world that don’t believe in either Christ, Mormonism, Islam. So I am not alone.

    Trust not only your minds but your instincts, keep in mind however that your instinct are greatly influenced by your opinions and environment or the information that you have stored in your brain so while should trust them for the most part , when they run counter actual physical evidence they should be looked and questioned a bit further. Trust that you can understand and trust your mind, be aware of how easy it is to compartmentalize and use the same criteria you use in others area of your life on this area as well. I am not assuming or claiming that you don’t or haven’t used critical thinking. Just throwing it out as something consider if you already haven’t.

    I can honestly say that in my case contrary to what Seth implied, the light didn’t go out it went on bigger and brighter than ever. Jay I would say that you are on the right path and I can also say from my experience there is nothing to fear in deciding a different path, it actually can be very rewarding. That is what I have experienced and believe and share with all of you.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 4:58 pm |Reply

  141. By the way EJ, people in the 19th century used the word “continent” differently than we use it today. Nice try though.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 4:58 pm |Reply

  142. Coventry, you can claim that if you wish, but your tone speaks for itself, just as mine did.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 5:04 pm |Reply

  143. Seth

    Ummmm I didn’t generalize and put groups of people down as a whole, all in all I would venture to say my post treats you all with respect. Not pefect I did call Brad a Moron. Just asking you to respectfully look at the information and experince I offer just as I do the things you share and post. Not sure why you seem so angry.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 5:18 pm |Reply

  144. Seth

    I was reflecting on my last comment while shaving and also realized, yes I am guilty of using my sarcasm at times in missplaced ways that could viewed as disrespectful and mostly like is and I should watch that more. Tends to be one of my follies.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 5:30 pm |Reply

  145. I do stand corrected on the mark of cain being a Mormon doctrine, I should have said the Mormon Church just hung unto it so long most members of other Churches at pretty much forgotten about it or didn’t even know it was ever taught. I served my mission in 1981 just years after the revelation was given, I based my statement on the what I experinced by peoples response when I tried to explain that as a missionary. I do stand corrected

    “Historically, some Christians have interpreted the Biblical passages so that the “mark” is thought to be part of the “curse”. In 18th century America and Europe, it was commonly assumed that Cain’s “mark” was black skin, and that Cain’s descendants were black and still under Cain’s curse. Accepting the theory that God had cursed black people, racists have used the curse as a Biblical justification for racism. These racial and ethnic interpretations of the curse and the mark have been largely abandoned even by the most conservative theologians since the mid-20th century, although the theory still has some following among white supremacists and an older generation of whites, as well as a very small minority of Christian churches”

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 20, 2007 @ 6:09 pm |Reply

  146. Coventry,

    One thing that really gets old to me is members of the church using the “its not doctrine” card. If it is taught from the pulpit by the church leaders, its doctrine. You can’t practice revisionist history by creating a system for what is doctrine and applying it retroactively. Brigham Young taught all his false teachings under the premise that they were doctrine. Even says so in many of his talks. If people want to say that something is no longer doctrine, that is acceptable, but to say that something that was taught from the pulpit was never doctrine is blatantly false.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 20, 2007 @ 6:21 pm |Reply

  147. SethR

    You said in between ” ”

    “If they got the warnings about tobacco and alcohol right, ”

    Why didn’t Joseph Smith follow it himself then ? How come other groups were teaching this before Joseph Smith ie temperence movements …

    “the teachings about honesty,”

    That comes from Jesus Christ not the Mormon Church and is a basic thing most people are taught whether lds or not ….How come Joseph Smith lied all his life about polygamy and to his own church members .His multiple wives would have had to lie and deny it also.. he made others into liars as well as himself.Then the church was dishonest about polygamy , denying it in the church press and lying to their own members … even dishonestly quoting a monogomy scripture from D&C 😦 😦 while all the time prcaticing secret polygamy and with teens too ….

    “the successful Church organization that made the pioneer migration so successful,”

    The whole thing was a disaster from the start .Joseph Smith brough financial ruin , death and persecution to his followers .How many died on the trek to salt Lake while those behind lead a peaceful life once Joseph Smith was killed …..

    ” the teachings of commitment to one’s faith that has made this religion so successful,”

    Yes if you didn’t obey Brigham Young there was a real danger of having your wife/wives taken from you and being thrown out .If you obeyed him he awarded young girls to you as wives.

    “the bits about treating your wife and children well, the teachings about humility”

    Yes sure polygamy went down really well with the wife and family and even today women are depresed over the polygamy hanging over them..

    , “and “goodness knows what else,”

    Yea Bold Atonement , Danite Squad , Mountain Meadows , destroying Nauvoo press ,

    “Then it MUST mean the scriptures they got all that from are true! Right? Right?”

    Not sure I would be a fan of those scriptures where they got all that from.

    Comment by elder joseph — November 20, 2007 @ 6:26 pm |Reply

  148. Way to miss the point of the post entirely.

    Read it again, and think real hard about it this time.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 9:00 pm |Reply

  149. SethR

    I know how you are applying it ….But I was applying it to the past , why should the values have been different then ?

    Comment by elder joseph — November 21, 2007 @ 12:05 am |Reply

  150. I’m pointing out a logical fallacy you are making repeatedly.

    You claim that because the Church was wrong about A, B, and C, it must necessarily follow that it will be wrong about X, Y, and Z.

    Well, I’m saying you can easily turn it around and claim that because the Church was right about E, F, and G (the subjects don’t matter), then it necessarily follows that they will be right about X, Y, and Z as well.

    Just because prophets were wrong on SOME things that matter does not mean they will be (or have been) wrong on EVERYTHING that matters. Nor does being wrong on some issues make a prophet “false” in the generic sense.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 21, 2007 @ 12:19 am |Reply

  151. Seth,

    I think EJ’s point was that the things you pointed out about the church getting right were of no consequence. He understands the point you are trying to make, he just doesn’t think you quite made it.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 21, 2007 @ 12:24 am |Reply

  152. Seth

    Social Conscience has done a better job than you’re Prophets.

    Basic Christian tenant is the only thing that they have even come close to getting right.

    The way they apply the WoW is even flawed.

    So the only difference is that by getting you to buy into the whole Priesthood authority and such they can have better control over their flock.

    Nothing really sets you apart from other Christian Churches other than your Awe of these Church Leaders you call Apostles and Prophets and thinking that the Church and Symbolic Temple Ceremonies hold some sort of key to your eternal salvation.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 12:35 am |Reply

  153. “The way they apply the WoW is even flawed.”

    Basic misunderstanding of how revelation works here. The only one who has the authority to decide for the Church how to apply the Word of Wisdom is the prophet. You have the ability, as always, to ask God if he is applying it correctly.

    “Nothing really sets you apart from other Christian Churches other than your Awe of these Church Leaders you call Apostles and Prophets and thinking that the Church and Symbolic Temple Ceremonies hold some sort of key to your eternal salvation.”

    You keep saying that. I think both “other Christian Churches” and most Mormons would disagree with you here, but maybe you know something that all the rest of us don’t.

    By the way, I have no “Awe” of the apostles and prophets. I respect their calling and I do my best to listen to and apply their counsel, but as we’ve said many times, they’re just human like the rest of us.

    I think some members do go overboard in this respect, in that they begin to reverence the person instead of the thing that the person represents. You make a good point there, but I would say that is a flaw in some members, rather than something the Church teaches.

    I would say the difference between us and other Christian Churches is our belief in continuing revelation. If I had to pick one thing. There is also exaltation, three degrees of glory, temple rituals, proxy baptism and endowments, tithing, genealogy, … wait, you know what? We’re actually nothing like other Christian Churches!

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 1:10 am |Reply

  154. Okay sorry guess I shouldn’t have said like, what I meant you are just another Christian Church with your version of things.

    You claim revelation and Prophets but whenever one of their revelations or teachings prove to be false, immorral or just plain silly, you say they are just imperfect men.

    So therefore you have a Christian Church just like any other that was started and run by men trying to make the best sense out of this thing called Christianity.

    That what I meant.

    I do think it is silly that other Christians don’t consider you Christians and just as silly you think you have something to add to their faith.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 1:30 am |Reply

  155. “temple rituals” “continuing revelation”

    Hey you shouldn’t have included that I already gave you that one

    “Symbolic Temple Ceremonies “

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 1:33 am |Reply

  156. Its easy to focus on the mistakes of the prophets, but as Seth said, what about their successes? You find nothing that they got right in this Church? Most impartial observers have found at least a few things.

    There was a prophet once named Daniel who described a stone cut out of the mountain without hands that rolled forth to fill the whole earth…

    btw, BR was talking earlier about how we define doctrine, and said that anything the prophet said over the pulpit is doctrine. There is actually a really interesting discussion on that very question going on here:

    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=4244

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 1:40 am |Reply

  157. MCQ

    ” Its easy to focus on the mistakes of the prophets, but as Seth said, what about their successes? ”

    I’m not aware of any succeses that are any more or less better than any other organisation which gives advise for its members …

    Seth just gave a list of minor items which no early leaders followed anyway . Comapared to the big devasting blunders they were of little consequence .

    and the ” stone cut out of the mountain without hands” has no relevance whatsoever with the LDS church .

    Comment by elder joseph — November 21, 2007 @ 1:48 am |Reply

  158. “and the ” stone cut out of the mountain without hands” has no relevance whatsoever with the LDS church .”

    says you.

    I find it odd that so many impartial observers find much to praise in the church but you can find nothing. I am not limiting it to Seth’s list. Can you really find nothing? No success whatsoever? Nothing to praise?

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 1:51 am |Reply

  159. have you ever sat down and actually read all the stuff taught and written over the years?

    I would suggest you get LDS Library 2006 before they close their doors in a month, just do a search of something like – Negroes, or blacks. just pick any interesting word. It is very entertaining.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 1:53 am |Reply

  160. “have you ever sat down and actually read all the stuff taught and written over the years?”

    Yes.

    Have you ever knelt down and actually prayed to know the truth?

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 3:37 am |Reply

  161. wow, lots of comments on this one!

    I have not been following and have not read all the comments yet, but I know some of it is over my head anyways 🙂

    I had dental work and my mouth has been killing me, and the doc prescribed vicodin, and that made the pain go away but now i’m dizzy and sick to my stomach! Point is I can’t read without feeling like i’m gonna fall over, and I just want you all to know that I appreciate you keeping the conversation going and I hope everyone is being nice 🙂

    I’ll be back tommorrow…hopefully

    So keep on and be good!

    Comment by steffielynn — November 21, 2007 @ 4:24 am |Reply

  162. “just do a search of something like – Negroes, or blacks. just pick any interesting word. It is very entertaining.”

    What an intellectually dishonest way to go about studying a religion! Well, at least it’s fairly clear why you’ve got such a jaded view on this subject. Approaching study that way would leave anyone with a sour taste in their mouth – on ANY subject.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 21, 2007 @ 4:30 am |Reply

  163. Seth,

    I don’t understand. Coventry is using LDS materials to search on specific topics. This is exactly what LDS say to do. How often have we all heard, “if you want to know about mormons, ask a mormon.”

    Isn’t that exactly what Coventry is doing?
    No matter what he does, he will be criticized.
    Go to non-LDS sources – they are just biased against the church and are thus unreliable.
    Go to LDS sources – you are intellectually dishonest.
    Keep in mind Coventry was born and raised in the church. He doesn’t need the basics. The only thing left for him is to search on specific topics.

    I don’t get it.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 21, 2007 @ 4:51 am |Reply

  164. Running a keyword search on inflammatory topics you’ve cherry-picked is not the way to gain an objective knowledge of a religion. It gives a very skewed viewpoint.

    And I don’t think being a lifelong member wins you any automatic prizes for knowing Mormon doctrine. I’ve met plenty who went through the motions, slept through Sacrament Meetings, zoned-out during Sunday School classes, memorized some scripture mastery scriptures, went on a mission… and yet remain pretty-much ignorant of Mormon doctrine.

    Some questions I could ask:

    Have you read Bruce R. McConkie’s “A New Witness of the Articles of Faith” cover-to-cover? Not just the part where he slams evolution, or whatever other fun part you’d like to “settle-for.” The whole thing. How about “Jesus the Christ” by Talmage? We all love McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine.” Have you read the entire thing, and not just the hot-button topics you were “researching?” Have you read the entirety of the “Lectures on Faith?” How about the “Journal of Discourse?” You seem to like them a lot. Surely you’ve read the entire thing? What about “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder?” “The Articles of Faith?” “The Miracle of Forgiveness?” “The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt?” Any of Lucy Mack Smith’s stuff? Anything by contemporary Mormon thinkers? Stephen Robinson? Millet?

    Do you keep current on the material being presented in General Conferences? Have you at least read the Book of Mormon in its entirety more than once? How about the other Mormon scriptures? Actually, I really would hope you’ve done at least that much.

    And while we’re at it, we might as well throw in some of the less “faith-affirming” stuff, like Juanita Brooks on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Todd Compton’s “Sacred Lonliness,” and maybe even Fawn Brodie’s “No Man Knows My History.” Bushman’s new biography on Joseph – “Rough Stone Rolling” is quite good as well. I’d include Krakauer in there, but I think we’re best-served to stick to real scholars and not people playing pretend.

    Too much to put on your plate right now? Or just not interested?

    That’s fine. Very few believing members have even read all that stuff. But don’t then turn around and act like you’ve got a handle on what this religion is truly about. You’ve only scratched the surface.

    Now, I can fully respect, if you haven’t done any of that stuff, but you just don’t “believe” in Mormonism anymore based on what you’ve learned and know. That’s fine. We all have the obligation to chart our own path based on the knowledge and understanding we have.

    But when you turn around and display contempt for those still living the religion, make broad sweeping generalizations about how all the religion’s founders were frauds, make wild claims that the religion never contributed anything unique to humanity, and claim you’ve got a handle on the “overall picture” of what Mormonism is…

    Well, now you’re just acting like a pompous idiot… Unless you’ve got the ammunition to back it up. I haven’t seen any evidence yet, that you guys have that ammunition.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 21, 2007 @ 5:28 am |Reply

  165. To be clear. I haven’t read all the stuff I listed above either.

    But then again, I’m not the one arrogantly claiming he’s got a handle on what Mormonism is really all about either. That’s your line.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 21, 2007 @ 5:32 am |Reply

  166. Seth,

    You are incredibly arrogant and self important.

    You turn everything into a fight of innuendo and assumption. Your post 164 tops them all. You have no idea what anyone on this blog has read, studied, or researched ‘cover to cover” yet you assume that nothing has been done.

    HOW ARROGANT CAN YOU GET?

    You need to get off your high horse before someone knocks you off.

    I am flabbergasted at how you lump all comments from all opposing views and apply them singly to each. That’s just incredible. You are responding to my comment, yet I have done none of what you are accusing in your blanket generalization equal to your own accusation.

    I wasn’t going to say this, but you have pushed me to the edge.

    This blog used to be a fun and interesting place to come and have discussions on topics of Steffie’s choosing. There were good spirited jabs thrown back and forth, but with the rare exception of people like brad, everyone enjoyed each others comments.

    As soon as the Mormon invasion hit this blog, it has been all down hill. You arrogant, pompous people, have chased the spirit out of every discussion. You think you have come to the rescue of this blog, but in fact you have made it ugly and uninviting.

    You should be ashamed. Every damn one of you.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 21, 2007 @ 5:57 am |Reply

  167. Seth

    Sorry you feel so unrested and angry. Makes me wonder just how grounded you really are in your beliefs.

    You sure make a lot of assumptions about what type of Mormon I was. I am sure it easier for you to assume I was a bad one, pretty typical though. He couldn’t really have been as faithful as me otherwise it could be possible to lose my testimony as well, actually something that you really shouldn’t fear at all. It is real similar to believing that all those people of other faiths who claim spiritual witness as well couldn’t really have had a spiritual witness as authentic as yours.

    Nice book list though but I have read some off both lists, mostly the ones on your first list however.

    I do think it is funny how someone just presenting history and what the leaders did say and do in the past can be considered anti.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 6:29 am |Reply

  168. BR, I apologize. I thought I was being civil and engaging in good conversation with you and CRM. (Brad was a different story.) I have tried to answer your questions openly and honestly.

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 6:31 am |Reply

  169. BTW, I agree that Seth has been over-the-top in a number of his comments, but I didn’t interrupt since I didn’t think you needed my help. Also, “every damn one of you” includes MANY who simply commented on Steffie’s “How I Became a Mormon” site and didn’t stay. Do you really mean that?

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 6:34 am |Reply

  170. Not really.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 21, 2007 @ 6:46 am |Reply

  171. I just want to have intelligent discussions without all the uncalled for insults and defensive posturing. That just doesn’t seem possible anymore on this blog. Everyone seems to want to twist the knife a little with subtle insults and jabs, and then it spirals down from there. All I know is this didn’t used to happen here. I love Steffie’s blog and have a ton of respect for her genuineness. I used to go away from her blog feeling good, now I go away feeling ugly and I don’t know what happened.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 21, 2007 @ 6:57 am |Reply

  172. BR, I am going to say this as directly as I can, without any intent of insult or injury.

    I have read what transpired on this blog before I found it. I did not jump in blindly; I read all the threads prior to contributing my first comment. From my perspective, I saw a wonderfully sweet woman who wanted to share her joy with others – and some others who found her willingness to put up with many comments that almost anyone else would have found highly offensive and banned as permission to bombard her with their contrary beliefs and opinions. I saw someone who was bewildered by the incessant attacks her pure motives had generated. (Steffie has said that on more than one occasion, so I am sure I am not over-stating that viewpoint.)

    Suddenly, this blog came to the attention of a large Mormon blog group – quite a few of whom visited it, read the bashing she was taking with a smile, registered their support of and thanks to her, then went back to their normal blog(s). A few, like myself, stayed around, since Steffie basically asked us to.

    Here’s the potentially “offensive” part, and, again, please understand that I do not mean it to be. Prior to our entrance onto the scene, there was one fairly united voice (albeit with varying degrees of venom and vitriol) – that which disagreed with Steffie and openly or indirectly were attempts to discredit her experience and feelings and convictions. She took it with a smile and tried to love those that spitefully used her.

    When we arrived, that changed. It went from a “safe haven” to a “contest” – including all of the contention and anger and hyperbole entailed in contention. In short, some of us started giving back what Steffie simply had been taking – and the “good feelings” that you had been experiencing as a result of her amazing spirit of tolerance was replaced, in you, by what Steffie had been experiencing all along – what YOU AND OTHERS had been causing her to feel and experience. Occasionally, those on “our side” (I HATE that verbiage, btw.) stepped over the line and spit bile at you, but I think you don’t realize that it was not more excessive than what was coming from “your side”. It was and is unfortunate, and I would ask Seth to respect you and others and tone it down a bit, but I also would ask you to realize that you are asking something of someone that, thus far, you and others have not reciprocated.

    Steffie, if you don’t mind this question, am I correct in my perspective that, while you allowed the unchallenged vitriol, the attacks saddened and hurt you – and detracted from what you had hoped this blog would be? Would you prefer that this be a civil discussion of beliefs, from BOTH “sides” like what was occurring regarding the Limited Geography Model and the Flood, for example?

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 7:56 am |Reply

  173. BR, if you doubt what I have said, go to the “Tell Us Your Story” thread and see what happened to it. ej and CRM completely ignored Steffie’s request and started spewing venom at those who posted there. Steffie had to step in and remind them about her initial request. I admire Steffie SO much for her willingness to be so kind, but it is hard to read those comments (including her plea) and not see the pain that ej and CRM are causing her. I try very hard not to respond in kind, but it isn’t easy, my friend – and I have a very hard time condemning those who can’t resist, even as I wish they could.

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 8:07 am |Reply

  174. BR,

    I’ll back off from this thread until I’ve had a chance to re-read it and clear up what has, and has not been said for myself. I think your observation that I have been conflating the posts of several different commenters into one single imaginary opponent holds some water. I specifically remember thinking a day or two ago that Coventry actually doesn’t seem like that bad of a guy in general, but it was a fleeting impression, and didn’t stop me from dropping the hammer on him anyway.

    For that, I really should apologize, and I do. And I’ll try to sort out who y’all are before further responding.

    I appreciate Ray for taking a more measured tone than I have, and will take his subtle (or not so subtle) hint to tone it down a notch.

    As for arrogance… Sure. You’re probably right. But hopefully I’m making progress on that. We’ll see.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 21, 2007 @ 12:38 pm |Reply

  175. Harken ye , harken ye

    Lets get to the basics again .The church has taught that the American Indians are the descendants of Lamanites .

    The purpose of The Book Of Mormon was to preserve their history and be delivered up to them in the final dispensation by Latter Day Israel .. The Mormons .

    Now it seems they are not really Lamanites descended from Israelites through Laman through Lehi through Manasseh through Joseph arriving via boat , but are Asians descended from Siberian Ancestors who came via Alaska .

    Surely we now know that the Book Of Mormon and the Church is really just a farse ? How much easier could it be ?

    If you are not convinced then read Spencer Kimballs Words of Wisdom in his talk entitled ” Of Royal Blood” concerning who the Lamanites are : Its an embarrassing title 🙂

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=954f945bd384b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    Comment by elder joseph — November 21, 2007 @ 5:48 pm |Reply

  176. How come a post I put up here is has disapeared?

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 5:59 pm |Reply

  177. ej, We’ve covered that foundation ad nauseum. You see it one way (the change in wording); I see it another way. Going around and around and around and around while saying the exact same thing not only is non-productive, but it is silly and juvenile. Each of us knows what the other believes; it’s time to drop the discussion.

    If there is a chance for true discussion of specific questions (like the location of the buried plates, or the nature of the name Cumorah, etc.), I’m all for that. This, however, is pointless.

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 6:04 pm |Reply

  178. I don’t feel like writing it all over again.

    And even shorter version

    I am confused about the spewing venom remark.

    I responded to a comment of being called Satan

    Then a playful exhange with Ray as a result of him calling me a Korihor

    I also gave Ray an email address
    ski_pwdr@hotmail.com

    Had some questions and comments that I didn’t want to clog up this blog with.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 6:05 pm |Reply

  179. CRM, I think people are conflating comments. I wasn’t the one who called you a Korihor. I actually said I thought you weren’t.

    I didn’t get the e-mail address. I’ll contact you through it.

    Frankly, the spewing venom was directed mostly at ej – and if you look at the thread I referenced, I think you’ll agree given what Steffie said.

    At heart, I simply want to see this merry-go-round stop, since it obviously isn’t what Steffie wants to happen on her blog.

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 6:43 pm |Reply

  180. Ray

    You are right it was mcq that called me a Korihor but then couldn’t strike me dumb, got the two of you confused, either way it was a playful exchange any way.

    I am working on a long email explaining to you in more detail where I am coming from and what my intent is. From your comments I think you will get it. Maybe even have some good input.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 6:56 pm |Reply

  181. Ray

    Its got nothing to do with the word change , rather its got more to do with what has been blatantly obvious for over 100 years anyway …

    It seems you are all discrediting what your Prophets have been teaching about the american Indians since the beginning of this ‘church’ .

    If the Hill Cumorah is in MesoAmerica what was Zelph The Great White Lamanite warrior who served under the prophet Omandagas doing in Illinois ! 🙂

    What more do you need to convince you its all made up ?

    Comment by elder joseph — November 21, 2007 @ 8:24 pm |Reply

  182. OK Bishop Rick,

    I’ve reviewed the entire thread, making sure to clear up who is saying what.

    I am indeed sorry for lumping you in with everything else that was being said. Basically I got in a spitting match with EJ and you got caught in it. Your comments have actually been very polite, and more or less unobjectionable (except that I disagree with you, of course). You seem like a nice enough guy and I was wrong to attack you.

    CoventryRM,

    Your comments actually weren’t that bad either. The main gripe I have is that most of them have a rather disagreeable edge to them. But you addressed that in #144. I totally missed that post. I’ll be honest. You irritate me, but you don’t seem like a bad sort, and my response to you was probably disproportionate. So, sorry for that…

    Elder Joseph,

    I don’t really feel an apology to you is warranted (though I doubt you care).

    But I would apologize to others on this blog for responding to EJ in-kind, and bringing a bad taste to the discussion. I’ve been rather bad-tempered lately and would have been better served to have ignored EJ. He seems to get a kick out of upsetting people, and it was stupid of me to rise to the bait.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 21, 2007 @ 8:45 pm |Reply

  183. Hey, now that I’m not so dizzy, I can respond! 🙂

    The purpose of my blog is to have NICE discussions about your personal beliefs. I realize it is hard to have “nice” discussions on such touchy subjects. I understand how things can get personal, I don’t want ANYONE to leave my blog. I do hope that people can reflect on their own words and the comments of others, (like seth and coventry have done) And learn from them. I think it is amazing that the dicussions have gone as well as they have!

    Ray, I have often been saddened and hurt by some comments made here, you are correct. Bishop Rick, even though he disagrees with me, has always been kind, funny, and has always defended me. Coventry and I did not start off on a good foot. I can say I was definetly offended by him at first. And EJ also, but somehow we became friends anyways. We all argued til Brad came here, and somehow we all could agree on one thing, Brad was a butt. And it kind of brought us all together.

    I have been called ignorant so many times here I started to wonder if I was being ignorant. I don’t think those are nice things to say to anyone.

    But if we break it down and analyze this for a moment, this is what I have found.

    We have, a few mormons, a few mormons who are no longer mormons, a few evangelicals, a few questionables, and an atheist. (sounds like the beginning of a bad joke!) Anyhow, we all have such strong opinions, and I find everyones to be very interesting.

    I did invite all of you, and I want ALL of you to stay. And maybe we will all be able to learn something about ourselves and each other!!!!

    Does any of this make sense? Ray did I answer your question? and BR do you feel better about everything?

    I think the point I am trying to make is that I love all of you, and I respect everyones opinions!

    Oh and be nice 🙂

    I’m starting to get dizzy again, I hope I made a little bit of sense!!!!!!

    Comment by steffielynn — November 21, 2007 @ 8:46 pm |Reply

  184. Also Ray,

    Thank you for always respecting my wishes and being kind to everyone! I appreciate the fact that you are so concerned, and stick up for me and my blog! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — November 21, 2007 @ 8:50 pm |Reply

  185. EJ you are so anxious to believe that its all made up that you leap to that conclusion from every piece of information, no matter how innocuous, wrong or just misinterpreted. To say that your point of view has been blatantly obvious for over 100 years is just a non-starter. Why is it that you can’t approach this subject with any sort of objectivity? There must be some reason, other than just the standard anti-mormon claptrap.

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 8:54 pm |Reply

  186. P.S.

    I am SOOOOO glad that there are intelligent LDS on here! They make up for my lack of knowledge/ignorance 🙂

    (and i’m also glad there are smart non LDS here too:) )

    Comment by steffielynn — November 21, 2007 @ 9:01 pm |Reply

  187. Everyone have a great Thanksgiving and I hope not to see any of you blogging either. 🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 21, 2007 @ 10:37 pm |Reply

  188. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    I won’t be on here, I will be at a friends house for a couple days, (I will probably have withdrawls!!!)

    Anyways I’m thankful for all of you and I hope you all have fun day!

    Steff 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — November 21, 2007 @ 11:04 pm |Reply

  189. Amen, CRM.

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 11:05 pm |Reply

  190. I’m not too familiar with all of the facts centering on the Book of Mormon, but I do know that the more comprehensive book on American Indian genetics, and the studies that have been done using them, is American Indian mtDNA, Y Chromosome Genetic Data, and the Peopling of North America. It discusses the field of molecular genetics, the peopling of North America based on this methodology, and lists the studies that have been done. It might be of interest to those who are interested in looking deeper into this topic.

    Comment by Peter — November 21, 2007 @ 11:07 pm |Reply

  191. MCQ
    “EJ you are so anxious to believe that its all made up that you leap to that conclusion from every piece of information, no matter how innocuous, wrong or just misinterpreted.”

    Its because every piece of Information suggests that this is the case …

    1Look at The American Indians and see who they resemble ( Siberian Mongoloids )
    2 Look at all the American Indians Languages – they have no link to Hebrew whatsover .
    3 Look at there customs and traditions – no link to Christianity or Judaism until The Europeans came ..
    4 Look at their History and Present state when the Europeans arived – No Link whatsover to The Book Of Mormon’s Horses and Chariots and steel swords and armor and breastplates etc .
    5 Look at the DNA suggestions..

    Its hardly just pieces of information ..

    The Book Of Mormon is false , its as simple as that .

    No Archeology , No History , No commonsense , No dignity ..

    In fact Archeology shows its false .History and Linguistics show its false . Anachronisms show its false . Plageurisms show its false ..

    Now Oficially The Indians are not the Principal descendants , but how do they know that ? What was wrong with the original Introduction ? How do you know they won’t change it back in the future to ‘Principal ‘ again ?

    What more do you need ?

    Comment by elder joseph — November 24, 2007 @ 6:43 pm |Reply

  192. If only it were that simple.

    I tired of the wheels on the bus going round and round.

    Comment by Ray — November 24, 2007 @ 8:02 pm |Reply

  193. Ray I emailed you, did you get it?

    Comment by steffielynn — November 24, 2007 @ 8:21 pm |Reply

  194. Ray

    Its simply beautiful and beautifully simple .

    and of course you are tired of it ….JW’s get tired of being reminded of their own follies as well ….

    I’m looking forward to the next shift after this Limited Geography 2nd Hill Cumorah thing has run its course….

    And of course no word from the prophet himself about any of it . No revelating no seering no prophecy , ans instead a few stand up comedy jokes .

    Comment by elder joseph — November 24, 2007 @ 11:39 pm |Reply

  195. I got it , Steffie, and responded.

    Back at you: Did you get it? 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 24, 2007 @ 11:58 pm |Reply

  196. EJ, let me just respond by saying your oversimplification is not backed up by serious science. If science were indeed so sure of such things it would be very useful. No one would need to worry about faith, because we could resort to science for all the answers we need. Unfortunately, your bald assertions aren’t remotely true. Scientists who have made serious study of these issues do not make such assertions because they know the limitations of what we actually know.

    It’s funny, because there is little or no scientific evidence for most things that we discern spiritually, including nearly every major event discussed in the Bible: the creation, the flood, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Egyptian captivity, the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, the the Exodus, David and Goliath, Daniel, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, right down to the birth, life, miracles, death and resurrection of Christ and the lives of the apostles. There is almost no scientific evidence for any of it, and some scientific evidence is actively in conflict with these events (primarily the creation and the flood). Of course there is no evidence whatsoever for the resurrection of anyone, including Christ, and none at all for the existence of the Holy Spirit.

    And yet, so many people believe in these things. Why? Why aren’t we all like Coventry and just reject it all because of the lack of scientific evidence?

    Well, it’s because spiritual things are not discerned by science, of course. They are discerned by the Spirit. When the spirit bears witness to the truthfulness of these things, as it has to me, then to deny it because of a lack of scientific evidence seems beyond foolishness.

    I respect those who have not felt the Spirit and so do not believe. I have hope for them because if they honestly seek, I believe they will be rewarded.

    I have no respect for those who claim to believe in the literal events of the Bible and yet reject Mormon beliefs because of a lack of scientific evidence. That is dishonest in the extreme.

    Someday, all will come to a knowledge of the truth of God, but it will not be through science.

    Comment by MCQ — November 25, 2007 @ 1:43 am |Reply

  197. The only problem with your criteria is then all religious faith is true.

    Or else you are saying others spiritual witness to their truth is not as authentic as yours, do you see the problem with that line of reason?

    I have had the spiritual witness like you of the Mormon church, now I have felt a much stronger real spiritual witness of what I beleive. Is mine less authentic? I know for a fact it isn’t, but is also backed up by evidence as well. So where does that leave us I have felt just as strong a spiritual witness to what I believe but it is also consistent with what we know to be fact regarding all those things you mentioned above.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 2:07 am |Reply

  198. MCQ

    Funny, as I written out this post on my other PC before you posted yours and just had not sent it yet. We seemed to have been on the same wave length.

    “Actually I think we are really missing the point here. I had some time to sit back and see such the irony of the LDS going to these long explanations, DNA, could have Moroni traveled 3000 miles carrying all this stuff etc. I would submit that it is really all moot.

    Let’s put it into perspective, you already believe that Adam and Eve did not originally have blood in their veins somehow participating of eating the fruit had the power to that. You already believe in a virgin birth, resurrection that the Garden of Eden is on the North American continent etc. These beliefs are already based on phenomena that defy or contradict science.

    The DNA is easy, When God cursed them with dark skin he did so by changing their DNA. Get my point as long as we believe in an all powerful creator of the universe it doesn’t have to make a bit of scientific sense at all. None of the Creation or God myths do. They only make sense to those that believe it. You are all atheists when it comes to every else’s God but yours.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 2:22 am |Reply

  199. “Or else you are saying others spiritual witness to their truth is not as authentic as yours, do you see the problem with that line of reason?”

    I would never quarrel with someone who bases their belief on a witness of the spirit. I would ask them to describe it and see if it is consistent with what I understand the spirit to be. If it is, I am perfectly happy to accept their belief as being authentic, for them. This puts us in the position of being responsible for our own faith. Which I believe is the only way to approach faith.

    What I think is odd is when people say that their faith is based on “the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible,” or some assertion like that. Those who think they can make an intellectual comparison between every profession of faith and their own interpretation of an ancient text are not being honest either.

    You would be surprised at how little religious faith is based on a personal witness of the Spirit. Even many Mormons fail to seek that witness, thus their faith is weak. Many supposedly religious people deny even the existence of such a thing. That is very strange to me.

    “now I have felt a much stronger real spiritual witness of what I beleive. Is mine less authentic?”

    Of course not, Coventry, but you are unique among atheists if you profess to have a spiritual witness that no God exists. Who gave you your witness?

    “it is also consistent with what we know to be fact regarding all those things you mentioned above.”

    That is where you go wrong, in my opinion. We do not “know” anything to be “fact” related to my list. All we know is that there is an absence of scientific evidence. There is a vast ocean of difference between those two things and no honest scientist would ever mistake the two.

    My thesis, of course, is that we will never “know” such things through science, because God will not allow that. I think our poor scientific abilities and “knowledge” are laughable to him.

    Comment by MCQ — November 25, 2007 @ 2:34 am |Reply

  200. “Get my point as long as we believe in an all powerful creator of the universe it doesn’t have to make a bit of scientific sense at all. None of the Creation or God myths do. They only make sense to those that believe it. You are all atheists when it comes to every else’s God but yours.”

    I think it does need to make sense, Coventry. If none of us cared about science or logic we would not make the effort we do to fit our beliefs within that framework. We make the effort because we care about such things. We want to understand our beliefs in the context of science. We believe that there will come a day when all will be revealed and science and religion will be one, and we long for that day. It’s just that, ultimately, we believe that until that day comes, we cannot rely on scientific methods to teach us spiritual truths. We can only try to understand the knowledge that we get from science and the knowledge that we get from the Spirit separately, and hope to use what poor powers of reason we have to reconcile them when possible.

    BTW, in my view, those who reject religion and worship science as the arbiter of all truth have no better ability to explain the world in its entirety that those who accept religion do. There are enormous gulfs where no scientific evidence is found. Science falls short in explaining our selves and our world and probably always will. This is one reason why I believe those who cling to science as having the answers are making a huge mistake.

    Comment by MCQ — November 25, 2007 @ 3:00 am |Reply

  201. “And of course no word from the prophet himself about any of it . No revelating no seering no prophecy , ans instead a few stand up comedy jokes .”

    Offensive, and false again, EJ. Of course, as you probably already know, it is not the role of the prophet, now or ever, to answer the scientific or philosophic arguments advanced by critics who seek to “disprove” the scriptures. Prophets exist to act in accordance with the Spirit and to testify to the world of the truth. President Hinckley has done much of both. Here is just one of his most recent testimonies involving the Book of Mormon:

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=20d1b5658af22110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

    Comment by MCQ — November 25, 2007 @ 3:39 am |Reply

  202. MCQ

    You clearly don’t understand and you have no concept of what some Atheists/Agnostics or what I for that matter think or believe about spirituality nor do I get the impression that you would even care to know anyway, so I am not even going to try and explain.

    I will just say that spiritual experience does’t have to mean an exisitence of a personal God as conceptualized by a 2000+ year old myth.

    Earlier you pointed out that I focused on what religion got wrong, and not about what they got right. I would be interested to know what in your opinion, have they gotten right?

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 5:30 am |Reply

  203. Coventry,

    I suppose one of the foundational issues is whether you believe there is a genuine, unmanufactured, spiritual component to human reality, not that it’s just all neurons, synapses and conditioned responses.

    What’s your take on that?

    Comment by Seth R. — November 25, 2007 @ 5:35 am |Reply

  204. Sorry, your post came up while I was typing.

    I’ve actually heard atheists object to the common Christian assertion that “without God, all is permitted.” I tend to agree with the atheists that this is oversimplifying things. What you are saying sounds similar to that. Actually, I am genuinely interested in hearing your take.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 25, 2007 @ 5:40 am |Reply

  205. “You clearly don’t understand and you have no concept of what some Atheists/Agnostics or what I for that matter think or believe about spirituality nor do I get the impression that you would even care to know anyway, so I am not even going to try and explain.”

    Don’t know where you get that. I have been respectful of your beliefs, I believe, and shown genuine interest. My question, above, is not mocking or rhetorical, so I will ask it again: Who gave you your witness?

    Comment by MCQ — November 25, 2007 @ 5:54 am |Reply

  206. Seth R

    I think there is a lot we don’t understand. I just don’t agree that religious faith and especially the current God concepts explain it very well either. In fact I believe that we do have enough emperical evidence that would indicate that the current concepts could not be true.

    I also think my last post I was wrong with asking MCQ the question about what has religion gotten right, because I think it might have actually been you that made the comment I was refering to in post #202.

    As for as the answer to

    “I’ve actually heard atheists object to the common Christian assertion that “without God, all is permitted.” I tend to agree with the atheists that this is oversimplifying things. What you are saying sounds similar to that. Actually, I am genuinely interested in hearing your take.”

    I will get back to you on that one as this is my last post tonight. I am glad you asked it is very worthy of an answer.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 5:58 am |Reply

  207. MCQ

    I just read Gordon Hinckley’s talk … He is just saying what he has been brought up to say.He has no special witness of anything in reality.

    The trouble is that you would have said the same thing to me about Brigham Young’s talks a over 100 years ago and now many have been thrown out as mans opinion.

    In years to come some of Gordon Hinckley’s talks/words will be consigned to the same rubbish tip of opinion.

    Even some of Spencer Kimballs Conference talks of only 50 years ago are looking like Baloney and opinion now in the light of the recent change to the Book Of Mormon Introduction.

    The Science and Archeology and common sense is totally against the Book Of Mormon and shows it to be simply fiction and made up by a Megalomaniac who went onto interfere in peoples lives and marriages .

    You might as believe that White Americans came to the New World via an exodus of Israelites at the time of the Diaspora AD70 via sea and that your skin was turned white and DNA switched to European for your loathsomeness and idleness ….. Those propagating the Columbus and European migrations of 1600 years later simply do not understand the workings of the spirit.

    Comment by elder joseph — November 25, 2007 @ 11:30 am |Reply

  208. MCQ

    “I would never quarrel with someone who bases their belief on a witness of the spirit. I would ask them to describe it and see if it is consistent with what I understand the spirit to be. If it is, I am perfectly happy to accept their belief as being authentic, for them.”

    Have you ever had someone’s description of their spiritual witness that is not of LDS faith fit with what you understand the spirit to be? Also where did you get your understanding and how can you be so sure your criterion is correct?

    “Of course not, Coventry, but you are unique among atheists if you profess to have a spiritual witness that no God exists. Who gave you your witness?
    My question, above, is not mocking or rhetorical, so I will ask it again: Who gave you your witness?”

    I am still unsure about the nature of this question, but sense you say it was not mocking or rhetorical I will take you at your word.

    I still find it an odd question so to make sure we talking about the same thing, when you ask who gave me my witness, as in was it the Holy Ghost, Jesus, God, Moroni, before I feel I could satisfactorily answer that question in terms that would make sense to you I would need to know who you believe gave you your witness and why you think you know it was a specific person or deity.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 3:52 pm |Reply

  209. Seth R

    I answer to your question. The anything goes theory. For Christians to apply that to Atheists would be the same as applying the same thought in theory as you as a Christian can do anything technically except for Murder perhaps and repent and be forgiven so the anything goes if over simplified can be applied to both Atheist and Christians.

    There have been many studies showing that humans regardless of whether they have been exposed to religion or not all have the same basic innate understanding of Morals when it comes to decision making in regards to other humans. How they act and behave on those instincts have a lot to do with and can be manipulated by others, culture, people with authority etc. I am not going to take up this blog with all the sample data but if you would like I could send it to an email account.

    Having said all that I live my life based on the following concept:

    I believe that we achieve our levels of heaven and hell in the here and now. I really believe that all the stories in the sacred texts were really trying to just metaphorically make this point. My moral compass is based on why move forward with any action or behavior that could harm me or others, mentally, physically, or spiritually. My legacy or impact on this world is what I do and how I treat others in the here and now. The one thing none of us know is what happens when we die. We have our beliefs or theories on this subject but until we die we won’t know. If there is some sort of continuation after death I have every reason to believe as you do that it will go with me. If I create a heaven then it would make sense I would continue in that heaven and so forth. If there is no continuation I have lived my life to its fullest and had inner peace, love for myself and others and hopefully left a positive imprint on this Earth.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 4:31 pm |Reply

  210. Alright. Thanks for sharing. It’s not a bad way to look at things and I don’t necessarily feel the need to debate its particulars right now. So if I read correctly, when a Christian remarks that “if God is not, all is allowed,” the atheist might properly respond, “if God is, then all seems to be allowed as well.”

    One thing I’m wondering though. Do you self-identify as agnostic or as atheist? Or does the distinction matter to you?

    Comment by Seth R. — November 25, 2007 @ 4:55 pm |Reply

  211. Seth

    Depends on who I am talking with. On here I go with Atheist since LDS tend to profess an absolute knowledge of God, I feel that I have as valid amounts of knowledge/belief to the contrary. I like Clarence Darrows definition of Agnostic the best.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 25, 2007 @ 5:18 pm |Reply

  212. Well, “atheist” does tend to make people more excited. Say “agnostic” and half the room goes “huh?”

    Comment by Seth R. — November 26, 2007 @ 1:59 am |Reply

  213. EJ:

    “He is just saying what he has been brought up to say.He has no special witness of anything in reality.”

    I don’t know how you can say that after reading his words.

    Pres. Hinckley testifies of these things:

    1. “One of the great over-arching doctrines of this Church is our belief in God the Eternal Father. He is a being, real and individual. He is the great Governor of the universe, yet He is our Father, and we are His children.”

    2. “Jesus lives. He is the Living Christ. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New. Under His Father’s direction, He was the Creator of the earth.”

    3. “The next thing of which I am certain, and of which I bear witness, is the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without it life is meaningless. It is the keystone in the arch of our existence. It affirms that we lived before we were born in mortality. Mortality is but a stepping-stone to a more glorious existence in the future. The sorrow of death is softened with the promise of the Resurrection.”

    4. “There is the restoration of the priesthood, or the authority given man to speak in the name of God. This priesthood is of two orders: the lesser, also known as the Aaronic, was restored under the hands of John the Baptist. The higher order of priesthood, the Melchizedek, was restored under the hands of Peter, James, and John.”

    5. “These temples, which we have greatly multiplied in recent years, offer blessings that are had nowhere else. All that occurs in these sacred houses has to do with the eternal nature of man. Here, husbands and wives and children are sealed together as families for all eternity. Marriage is not “until death do ye part.” It is forever, if the parties live worthy of the blessing. Most remarkable of all is the authority to do vicarious work in the house of the Lord. Here, ordinances are performed in behalf of the dead who did not have opportunity to receive them while in life.”

    He says he is certain of these things. One cannot be certain of something just because you have been brought up to believe it. Certainty comes through experience and through a spiritual witness.

    “The trouble is that you would have said the same thing to me about Brigham Young’s talks a over 100 years ago and now many have been thrown out as mans opinion.

    In years to come some of Gordon Hinckley’s talks/words will be consigned to the same rubbish tip of opinion.

    Even some of Spencer Kimballs Conference talks of only 50 years ago are looking like Baloney and opinion now in the light of the recent change to the Book Of Mormon Introduction.”

    Again, this is based on misunderstanding, some of which appears to be intentional. To say that previous prophets have been wrong about some things is not to say that it is “rubbish.” No prophet understands everything. Not previously, not now and maybe not ever. We understand and accept that prophets can be wrong, especially when speaking about the mysteries or deep doctrines. We have been told that the Lord will teach his people line upon line, precept upon precept. The fact that we have learned a few things since BY’s day, or since SWK’s day is just proof of this concept. I expect that we will continue to learn, and that Pres. Hinckley will someday be proved wrong about some things. That doesn’t make what he says rubbish, especially when he is testifying about such basic things as this. It just means that we continue to learn, as the Lord said we would.

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 4:17 am |Reply

  214. Coventry:

    “Have you ever had someone’s description of their spiritual witness that is not of LDS faith fit with what you understand the spirit to be?”

    Yes. The Church does not have a monopoly on truth or on the Spirit. I expect many to have received spiritual witnesses about various truths completely independent of the Church. A good example of this is Mother Teresa. I believe her life is an example of great faith coupled with constant doubt, but confirmed by spiritual witnesses of the importance of her work.

    “Also where did you get your understanding and how can you be so sure your criterion is correct?”

    This is a very imortant question. What it amounts to is: How do you recognize the Spirit? How do you know it is the Spirit of God and not something else? There are several answers.

    First, the scriptures tell us of the spirit:

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_cor/2/10-12,14#10

    That is one of my favorite chapters, and the best part is this:

    “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    I think we learn to recognize the spirit by experience: “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    There are many other scriptures which teach more about this, but at some point, experience is the best teacher. I am certainly no expert, but I believe we can all recognize the Spirit of God, because we are born with that ability, having a spirit within us, which responds to spiritual things. That is what Steff has testified to, and others on this blog. It is not something that is unique to our Church. It is given to all to recognize the Spirit of God, though I would say some have a special gift for it, while others may struggle.

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 4:39 am |Reply

  215. “I would need to know who you believe gave you your witness and why you think you know it was a specific person or deity.”

    This seems self-evident to me. I believe God gave me a witness of the truth because I was praying specifically to him and asking him to tell me something very specific. I have had some experience with the Spirit both before and after this, and I was able to recognize the Spirit both then, and have had confirmations since then.

    Does that answer your question? Can you answer mine now?

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 4:50 am |Reply

  216. Interesting discussion on the Book of Mormon plates here:

    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/11/on-missing-plates/

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 5:35 am |Reply

  217. I will answer your question the best I can. It may take me some time to really figure out how to put into words. Have your answer in a day or two.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 26, 2007 @ 5:41 am |Reply

  218. I just want to say how much I am enjoying this conversation. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 26, 2007 @ 7:21 am |Reply

  219. MCQ

    “Yes. The Church does not have a monopoly on truth or on the Spirit. I expect many to have received spiritual witnesses about various truths completely independent of the Church.”

    I am not sure exactly what you are saying here and I don’t want to make assumptions, but it seems you are saying someone can have a spiritual witness of a given truth. What if their spiritual witness was in direct conflict with one of your truths, for example a Muslim that has had a spiritual witness of their faith, not a truth contained with in it but in the faith itself as you claim you have had of Mormonism, would you have to dismiss it by default? Or say that they confused a witness of a specifc truth as confirmation of their specific religion? Or accept that it is just as authentic as yours in regards to Mormonism?

    Now I will attempt to answer your question. This will not be easy and most likely will end up being over simplified. I also want you to know that I am not in anyway trying to dismiss or invalidate your witness; I am just concerned that in trying to explain the validity of what I have experienced it could possibly be taken as such.

    Here is where you and diverge and I have struggled with how to answer this question or if I even should.

    “This seems self-evident to me. I believe God gave me a witness of the truth because I was praying specifically to him and asking him to tell me something very specific. “

    What you are actually saying is that you had a spiritual experience; the rest is all personal speculations based on what you have been taught and believe. There is nothing wrong with that but it is important to recognize this, for you to have a fair perspective on what I have to say about my experience.

    My experience, first I need to qualify here and say that I was a Mormon that really didn’t struggle with spiritual witness I believe I would qualify as one that you would say had a gift for it. I didn’t just always take things at face value growing up in the LDS Church. I struggled and prayed and received my witness and continued on. There is no way either you or I can or should compare what we felt, so for the sake of this discussion mutual respect would be to place them as equal. I know what the spirit feels like as defined by the Bible and Church etc. I have felt it and it was the basis of my Testimony.

    In contemplating my life and all that is around me I have had many spiritual experiences that profoundly confirm what I have come to believe to be true. I have also had many profound spiritual experiences that have made me realize things that I had never even previously considered. Like I said we diverge I don’t believe it can be confined to a God concept. It is one of those unexplained phenomena that happen. You chose to explain it as God, I don’t.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 26, 2007 @ 4:04 pm |Reply

  220. “What if their spiritual witness was in direct conflict with one of your truths, for example a Muslim that has had a spiritual witness of their faith, not a truth contained with in it but in the faith itself as you claim you have had of Mormonism, would you have to dismiss it by default? Or say that they confused a witness of a specifc truth as confirmation of their specific religion? Or accept that it is just as authentic as yours in regards to Mormonism?”

    I make no judgment on this. How can I?

    Everyone is required to follow their own light. I am only responsible for me. I can tell you my experience, and you can tell me yours. We can each put that experience to the test for ourselves, by asking God about it. Once God has spoken to me, I am required to follow that counsel to the best of my ability, as are you. If our experiences with God are in conflict, I have no obligation or inclination to resolve the conflict.

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 4:35 pm |Reply

  221. I have to think about your last comment. I can’t say I understand what you are saying. Maybe we can explore this further later.

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 4:37 pm |Reply

  222. “I make no judgment on this. How can I? ”

    How do you reconcile it? Both can’t be true can they?

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 26, 2007 @ 4:56 pm |Reply

  223. It seems like one would have to right and one would have to be wrong…

    Comment by SkiUtah — November 26, 2007 @ 5:26 pm |Reply

  224. SkiUtah

    Not necessarily. They could both be wrong…

    Comment by dpc — November 26, 2007 @ 5:59 pm |Reply

  225. and they both could be what is best for the individuals in question.

    I know that opens a big can of worms for many people, but I also believe that God will take someone from wherever they are to wherever they can go in a way that helps not only themselves but the greatest number of other people, as well. Everything I feel is FOR MYSELF and can’t be superimposed on anyone else. I can believe it with all my heart; I can have multiple “witnesses” that are undeniable to me; I can desire for all to know and feel and see and experience what I do; but I cannot insist that their feelings and impressions and experiences are invalid FOR THEMSELVES. I just don’t see the big picture and know what God has for them. (It helps tremendously that LDS theology allows for that without consigning those who disagree with me to Hell.)

    A final point – another “can of worms” one: “Truth” must be couched for MOST people as Truth – rather than truth. It must be phrased in absolutes in order to motivate MOST people. Without an absolute construct, most people lose the motivation to use beliefs for positive change (“repentance”). If you doubt that, look around the world and realize how many people gravitate to the “confess the name once and be saved (and stop worrying about growth and change)” philosophy. I know FAR too many people (in multiple religions and denominations) who are living in direct opposition to what is taught in the scriptures they claim to accept as divinely inspired, who do so because they don’t see the “counsel” contained therein as “command” – but rather, in practical terms, as suggestion. For that reason alone, I have little problem with couching religious terms in exclusionary absolutes (“shall” and “shall not,” as opposed to “should” and “should not”) – even though such a construct always will spawn abuse of authority and division. I pray for the day when it will not be so, but I recognize the need for now. (Again, it helps that LDS scripture says this is the unfortunate result with nearly all who have what they suppose to be a position of authority – including Mormons, themselves.)

    Comment by Ray — November 26, 2007 @ 7:23 pm |Reply

  226. Ray

    Interesting point, I had hoped we wouldn’t stray to far from the point of a discussion of understanding spiritual experience and is the only possible source of a such an experience, God?

    It seems that you are saying here is that God might tell one person that Islam is truth and another the Mormonism is truth, but ultimately don’t you believe that everything is just a potential stepping stone getting people ready to accept your truth?

    “(It helps tremendously that LDS theology allows for that without consigning those who disagree with me to Hell.) ”

    I think this is a cop out that LDS regularly use. Who really says to themselves I am okay with the Terrestial Kingdom, it is still a hell in the sense that you would be living your eternity knowing that you fell short in the end. I think you are just splitting hairs at that point.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 26, 2007 @ 7:58 pm |Reply

  227. CRM:

    “I think this is a cop out that LDS regularly use. Who really says to themselves I am okay with the Terrestial Kingdom, it is still a hell in the sense that you would be living your eternity knowing that you fell short in the end. I think you are just splitting hairs at that point.”

    Mormon theology closely resembles Universalism in some aspects in that everyone, except for those who go to Outer Darkness, are saved. I think that where you end up in the afterlife is a reflection of what you valued here. Because God loves all of us, those who want to live a telestial life here will get to continue that lifestyle in the next life. It may look like hell to those who live a celestial life, but only in the way that living a alcohol-hazed, drug-using, partying lifestyle would be a hell for me.

    Plus, who’s to say that you can’t progress between the different Kingdoms. There are people who have dropped out of high school and ultimately go to university anyways. It just takes them a little bit longer. I think that God is a lot more merciful than we think.

    Comment by dpc — November 26, 2007 @ 9:10 pm |Reply

  228. The Doctrine of the Church says you can’t progress between kingdoms you can only progress within the given Kingdom you are ultimately assigned, alas the doctrine of eternal progression.

    I do agree however with the concept that if there is in fact an afterlife of some sort we should have every reason to expect that how and who we are at death would just carry on to whatever the next phase might be. Would just be an added bonus I guess to creating your heaven here and enjoying it.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 26, 2007 @ 9:25 pm |Reply

  229. Unless of course that is a Doctrine that has been changed since I left the Church.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 26, 2007 @ 9:26 pm |Reply

  230. “The Doctrine of the Church says you can’t progress between kingdoms you can only progress within the given Kingdom you are ultimately assigned, alas the doctrine of eternal progression.”

    I believe that there has been no official statement. Joseph F. Smith was of the opinion that you could progress between kingdoms. Bruce R. McConckie thought otherwise. Neither is binding, but I find that Joseph F. Smith is a more persuasive authority, given that he was a President of the Church whereas Bruce R was a mere Apostle.

    Comment by dpc — November 26, 2007 @ 9:51 pm |Reply

  231. I agree 100% with dpc.

    This is why, Coventry, you have to be careful throwing around words like “The Doctrine of the Church says…”

    When you say that, lots of legitimate questions arise, the first one being: “According to whom?”

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 10:46 pm |Reply

  232. btw, I know a large number of members who believe in progression between Kingdoms. This is, of course, only their opinion.

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 10:48 pm |Reply

  233. “How do you reconcile it? Both can’t be true can they?”

    I don’t reconcile it. That’s not my job. My job is to be true to the witness I have been given.

    As I said before, Coventry, you would be surprised how seldom this actually comes up. Many, many religious people do not believe in continuing revelation or spiritual witnesses. Many Evangelical Christians actively deny that such a thing exists.

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 11:15 pm |Reply

  234. Coventry:

    Getting back to our discussion, I think we are both on the same page in that we are trying to understand each other’s experience. With that in mind, I have some responses and some questions:

    “What you are actually saying is that you had a spiritual experience; the rest is all personal speculations based on what you have been taught and believe. There is nothing wrong with that but it is important to recognize this, for you to have a fair perspective on what I have to say about my experience.”

    I think speculations is the wrong word here, Coventry. As I said, I think people can learn to recognize the Spirit of God. I don’t think it’s that hard. Some would, of course, disagree with that, but my feeling is:

    1. If there is any such thing as a spirit within us, and

    2. If there is any such thing as God, then

    Conclusion: At a minimum, He can communicate through our spirits and we can recognize it as such.

    If you reject either 1 or 2 as being true, then the conclusion does not follow. This may be where the issue is for you. It appears to me that you accept 1 but not 2. Is that accurate?

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 11:41 pm |Reply

  235. “I think this is a cop out that LDS regularly use. Who really says to themselves I am okay with the Terrestial Kingdom, it is still a hell in the sense that you would be living your eternity knowing that you fell short in the end. I think you are just splitting hairs at that point.”

    None of the kingdoms are hells, IMO, Coventry. Joseph Smith said they were all “kingdoms of glory.” That we may be disappointed in our assignment is true, but I think we can exclude the possibilty that it’s the same as “hell.”

    Comment by MCQ — November 26, 2007 @ 11:51 pm |Reply

  236. So perhaps the Kingdom thing is not Doctrine this is news to me as my memory is that it was definitely taught. Spirit world – Second Coming – Judgment assignment of Kingdoms, no other judgment or mechanism in place that would provide for moving from Kingdom to Kingdom, I think Talmage in Articles of Faith supports this view.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 27, 2007 @ 12:11 am |Reply

  237. Coventry:

    I’m understanding the last part of #219 to mean:

    1. You had a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the Church and acted on that for some time, serving a mission etc.;

    2. You later had other spiritual witnesses which you felt contradicted the previous one, telling you that the Church was not true, and you believe this witness did not come from God but from another source. You interpreted this spiritual witness to mean that there is no God, or at least no way that we can know if there is a God.

    Is that what you are saying?

    Comment by MCQ — November 27, 2007 @ 12:21 am |Reply

  238. CRM, that’s the point that MCQ and I are making. Many people (including many non-LDS religious scholars) classify Mormons as “non-creedal Christians” specifically because we allow a degree of doctrinal flexibility and fluidity that simply baffles those who are tied tightly to their own creeds – those who want to know the full and complete word of God by what has been said in the past.

    We, on the other hand, have no doctrinal problem with competing beliefs among apostles and prophets concerning things that have not been revealed in canonized scripture – and even among some things that we consider to be non-revealed parts of that canon. Therefore, for every “Brigham Young said . . .” there is a “Parley P Pratt said . . .” – and for every “Bruce R McConkie said . . .” there is a “Gordon B Hinckley says . . .” That’s fine, since we believe MANY of the details have not been revealed yet, even though the proper framework has been restored. In the face of competing speculations, the general rule is follow the one being said in our own time – as that represents the understanding of our own time.

    The contrast between such an incredibly liberal theology and such a clearly conservative hierarchy – and between a widely divergent local lay ministry and a highly correlated central authority – just confounds most people. I happen to love it, since it embodies “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves” so well.

    Comment by Ray — November 27, 2007 @ 12:32 am |Reply

  239. Wow, what an amazing conversation! I love it!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — November 27, 2007 @ 1:25 pm |Reply

  240. Ray

    I can accept what you are saying it does make the Church easier to explain on many levels. I felt the same way as a Member. It does give you alot in the way of being able to explain and reconcile much of what does not seem to make sense. I do think one needs to be careful in how they apply this. The topic of can one advance from Kingdom to Kingdom I agree, is a good place for it to work. I don’t think it can be applied to all issues of the Church. At some point since a claim of Prophet and revelation are key within the Church you do have to hold those in that position to a higher accountabilty of what they say, especially when they claim it to be revelelation, than just your ordinary man.

    MCQ

    I am still working on your answer. I think you understand to an extent but I feel there is still some small clarifications needed.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 27, 2007 @ 2:47 pm |Reply

  241. The real reason Mormons are so fluid in their doctrine is that no one really knows what they are talking about .

    The only appeal to the canonised four books known as the ‘standard works ‘ comes after an about face on something like Adam/God , or Blacks Temple Ban , or Less Valiancy etc.There are many things being taught still now which are not in the standard works .

    The errors will continue simply because its a man made organisation.

    In 50 years time much of what Gordon Hinckley said in General Conferences and Ensign etc will become just his opinion….The Book Of Mormon will eventually become just Joseph Smith’s opinion when the ultimate inevitable reform comes along .

    I’ve seen the last 4 General Conferences and they can be summed up in a minutes worth …. ” Nothing New ” 🙂

    Comment by elder joseph — November 28, 2007 @ 10:13 am |Reply

  242. and that’s a complaint about Mormonism? as compared to the rest of Christianity? or Islam, perhaps?

    Frankly, ej, “nothing new” is a complete reversal of the rest of the comment. You can’t speak out of both sides of your face in one comment – well, you did, but you shouldn’t. Either it’s “nothing constant”or it’s “nothing new”. Make up your mind. Otherwise you are doing exactly what you accuse the Mormon Church of doing. Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle.

    Comment by Ray — November 28, 2007 @ 4:49 pm |Reply

  243. Ray:

    The real reason EJ is so fluid in his comments is that he doesn’t really know what he is talking about .

    In 50 seconds time much of what EJ said in every comment he has ever made about General Conferences and Ensign etc. will become just his opinion. The Book Of Mormon will eventually become holy scripture to him when the inevitable Second Coming comes along .

    I’ve seen the last 4000 EJ comments and they can be summed up in a minutes worth: ”Nothing.”

    Comment by MCQ — November 28, 2007 @ 5:40 pm |Reply

  244. MCQ
    ” Nothing New ” This church is supposed to operate on continuing revelations withb opened Heavens unlike the rest of Christianity and Islam .

    All I hear recently from Gordon Hinckley when asked some tough questions in his Interviews is ‘I don’t know ‘, ‘I don’t know ‘ !

    The church never announces anything new in Conference .Instead they hope you forget the errors they have taught in past ones .Every talk I’ve haerd has been a rehash of the last ones.

    The only revelation they seem to get is to undo past revelations . The reality is non of them can foretell the weather let alone tell us what God has spoken in this day.

    The game is up 🙂 and we know it !

    Comment by elder joseph — November 28, 2007 @ 6:26 pm |Reply

  245. Both Ray and MCQ are wrong about the revelation doctrine issue:

    It is absolutley wrong to say that it only qauilifies if it is cannonized.

    “REVELATION SINCE DAY OF JOSEPH SMITH. The Presidents of the Church from the Prophet Joseph until now have received revelations from the Lord for the guidance of his people. While all these revelations have not been placed in the Doctrine and Covenants, they are none the less true. Not all the revelations given to Joseph the Seer were placed in the Doctrine and Covenants in his day; we have added many of his revelations to that volume since his death.
    And there are others that have not been placed in it. Some of them were for the Church and not for the world, and therefore, are given only to the saints. But many revelations have been given to the Church since the death of Joseph Smith. Some of these have been published; some have not. It has been my privilege to read and handle a number of them that are still in the manuscript and have not as yet been given to the world for a wise purpose in the Lord. But they are on file and will be preserved.

    TRUE REVELATIONS WILL BE PUBLICIZED BY CHURCH. Let me add that when a revelation comes for the guidance of this people, you may be sure that it will not be presented in some mysterious manner contrary to the order of the Church. It will go forth in such form that the people will understand that it comes from those who are in authority, for it will be sent either to the presidents of stakes and the bishops of the wards over the signatures of the presiding authorities, or it will be published in some of the regular papers or magazines under the control and direction of the Church, or it will be presented before such a gathering as this at a general conference. It will not spring up in some distant part of the Church and be in the hands of some obscure individual without authority, and thus be circulated among the Latter-day Saints. Now, you may remember this.”

    Very clearly they saying that the cannonized scriptures absolutely do not contain all the revelations of the Church. Furthermore that there is clearly many more that what are in the cannonized scriptures and that the Church will use various means to deseminate these revelations, but will not just do it through hear say.

    So as long as it is published and approved by the Church Authorities it qualifies based on the above official church postion.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 28, 2007 @ 6:36 pm |Reply

  246. Ignore all the typos, I walked away from the PC and thought I had already proofed it when I came back I just hit the submit button.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 28, 2007 @ 6:41 pm |Reply

  247. Yep, I was always taught that when the prophets spoke from the pulpit, it was as if it was the word of God. Not sure if that’s changed in recent years…

    Comment by SkiUtah — November 28, 2007 @ 11:35 pm |Reply

  248. Coventry: ???

    In most discussions where people are trying to be understood, if they are going to supply lengthy quotes which supposedly prove someone wrong, it is customary to give the source of the quote. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    In other words: Where are you quoting from and what are you talking about?

    I don’t know about Ray, but I absoultely did not say that “it only qualifies if it is canonized.” First of all, I don’t usually use the word “canonized” because I’m not sure what that word means in the context of our Church. Second, what is the word “it” in that sentence referring to? Please explain.

    Second, your conclusion is not in any way supported by the quoted material. This is your conclusory statement:

    “So as long as it is published and approved by the Church Authorities it qualifies based on the above official church postion.”

    Is found nowhere in the quoted material. Partly because it makes no sense.

    Qualifies as what? Doctrine? So you’re saying anything that is published and approved by “Church Authorities” (is that the same as “General Authorities?) is doctrine? Can’t you see how that cannot possibly be the case?

    In any event, that’s not even remotely what the quoted material says. All it says is:

    1. Not all revelations are published in the D&C, and

    2. Revelations will be publicized in some fashion in the regular papers or publications of the Church.

    I find it disappointing that you are advancing this as a serious counterpoint to the discussion we were having earlier about doctrine. These statements are not even relevant to that discussion.

    In the future, if you are going to supply quotes as counterarguments (relevant or not) you should, at a minimum, tell us where the quoted material comes from. That way, we can at least tell you that you are up in the night in context.

    Comment by MCQ — November 28, 2007 @ 11:36 pm |Reply

  249. “I was always taught that when the prophets spoke from the pulpit, it was as if it was the word of God.”

    Think about that for a second, Ski. That would mean that whenever a prophet “spoke from the pulpit” (which pulpit? Any pulpit?) that he was infallible.

    That has never been the teaching of the Church. From the very beginning Joseph Smith taught that he was imperfect and fallible and that every person had the right and obligation to check his words by seeking their own revelation from God concerning everything he said.

    We seem to be recovering the same ground over and over again. Critics always want to say that the prophet is infallible and therefore if he ever made a mistake, he’s not a prophet. But prophets have never been infallible. That idea is not taught in the scriptures or in the Church.

    Comment by MCQ — November 28, 2007 @ 11:58 pm |Reply

  250. Critics want a prophet to be infallible because it makes him easier to attack. When you take that angle away from them, all that’s left is a less compelling mumbling about wishy-washy Mormonism, which just doesn’t sound as cool really.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 29, 2007 @ 12:59 am |Reply

  251. What MCQ said. I have never once said that only canonized words are revelation. In fact, I said explicitly that we even accept disagreements about parts of the “canon” itself – that there are many parts of the canon that we believe are not “revelation.” That is SO opposite of your claim about what I said that I almost have to believe it was intentional – or, at the very least, incredibly sloppy reading.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 3:05 am |Reply

  252. sloppy reading and sending off a post thinking I had already proofed it , my bad.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 6:08 am |Reply

  253. Ray

    I think the September 6 might disagree with you

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 6:16 am |Reply

  254. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation
    .

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 6:24 am |Reply

  255. You’re right, CRM, they probably would, but I only addressed disagreements. Frankly, if someone wants to publicly fight an organization and turn it from a simple disagreement into a concerted effort to force a change “right now” – that is way beyond “disagreement”. If a difference of belief or opinion is so strong that you are willing to fight about it, I respect you MUCH more if you simply remove yourself from the “believer” category and stop publicly attacking the organization from the inside.

    I know it is a flawed analogy, but why would anyone think that they could go around slamming their employer and making all kinds of charges against it without being fired? It just doesn’t make sense, and Christ (and Paul) certainly didn’t preach a philosophy of “what you say and do doesn’t matter; it’s cool if you want to yell and scream and complain and try to change my teachings; you might know better than I and my apostles do; etc.” If someone wants to be a “member of record” of any group, they should be willing at least to not start shouting matches with the group leadership. That’s just stupid.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 6:33 am |Reply

  256. #253 – BTW, thanks. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 6:34 am |Reply

  257. MCQ

    The Spiritual experience question:

    “I’m understanding the last part of #219 to mean:
    1. You had a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the Church and acted on that for some time, serving a mission etc.;

    2. You later had other spiritual witnesses which you felt contradicted the previous one, telling you that the Church was not true, and you believe this witness did not come from God but from another source. You interpreted this spiritual witness to mean that there is no God, or at least no way that we can know if there is a God.

    Is that what you are saying?”

    Close but not exactly, #1 is a correct description. #2 isn’t quite that simple. First we have to delve into 1 a bit more or at least add on to it.

    As LDS we are taught and many LDS have expressed this as well on the blog here as well that Spiritual Witness trumps Intellectual thinking should the two come into conflict. I would hope that this is not entirely true; I think everyone most likely has some sort of point or line were they would have to say this defies all reason and logic. Extreme examples would be harming other people, but I am sure most on this blog wouldn’t, but some people even today would cross that line, we have examples daily of many to that do.

    The scriptures are full of examples when this has been the case, I would hope that none of you would have done as Nephi did and cut off Laban’s head. Each of us has to ask ourselves where is my line?

    Jumping to a comment MCQ made regarding his spiritual experience and his interpretation that it was from God.

    “This seems self-evident to me. I believe God gave me a witness of the truth because I was praying specifically to him and asking him to tell me something very specific.”

    It could have been from God that is true, but that is not the only possible answer or even necessarily the most plausible explanation either. There are many possibilities’ an answer from God is just one of many. If spiritual witness is the supreme method for truth, why do so many people get so many different truths using this methodology?

    I have heard the rhetorical well science and intellect are not reliable either. I believe this statement comes from a lack of understanding what is and what is not reliable. For example the evidence surrounding earth age, origin of man, evolution is always developing and there is always more to find out but that doesn’t mean that evolution is not a fact, it is. Just exactly how in every minute detail is still being learned about and discovered it is and will always be a developing theory that is how science works, there are however known irrefutable facts contained within the theory.

    This brings us back to #1 Yes I had spiritual witness that I had interpreted as answers from God, confirming Spencer W Kimball was a prophet when I saw him at the Portland Temple dedication the experience was such that there was no doubt in my mind he was just that. I have had many experiences connected with Joseph Smith and then Book of Mormon that to me testified of their truth.

    These a but just a few examples the fact remains that when my line got crossed as I studied more in depth regarding the Church and its leaders as instructed by my PB. I had to reevaluate that spiritual witness. Ultimately I left the Church, I did not lose my testimony I made a very hard and conscience decision to discard it.

    #2 – Now I have had the opportunity to seek and explore the concept of what this spiritual witness/experience is. Without going through all he details of a journey that is still ongoing but became very defined for me after 10 years of study, contemplation, receiving many profound and life changing spiritual experiences and epiphanies.

    I came to realize that the whole concept of spirituality was for me greatly confined and hazy while trying to view it through the God concept. I would liken it to someone that has poor vision but doesn’t even realize it was poor until they put on a pair of corrective lenses. I guess that is how I would have to explain it.

    My spiritual experiences are much more profound and clear. The beauty is that they are also not in conflict with any known facts about the natural world either, nor do I have to come up with or use long convoluted rationales to explain or make sense of things anymore.

    One last thought on spiritual experience, when you use the Bible as your source for information about how to know what the spirit is, or what the church teaches you it is and what it means. It strikes me as interesting that those things are just accepted as fact.

    Religion use to teach that an epileptic attack was possession of evil spirits until the real reason could be explained. Just because some people or person felt or had an unexplainable experience over 2000 years ago and attributed it to God and described it as such doesn’t make it so.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 2:54 pm |Reply

  258. Thanks for the explanation, CRM. I can respect that.

    I addressed my own take on how to balance the intellectual and the spiritual in a post I wrote for Times & Seasons a while ago. If you are interested in reading the whole thing, the link is:

    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=4166

    I won’t quote the whole thing here, but the following excerpts are at the heart of what you mentioned:

    1) I believe you can tell more about people (both inside and outside the Church) by how they deal with the joy others find outside their own organization (or with differing perspectives that bring joy inside their own organization) than perhaps by any other criterion. One type of person lacks internal joy, constantly finds fault with the joy of others and actively seeks to undercut that joy; another type is secure in his joy and not interested in the differing joy of others; the final type accepts and embraces the idea that others have their own degree of joy – and tries to add to it (and, through it, add to her own joy) whenever possible. I don’t want to argue with the healthy and happy; I want to learn from them. I want to spend just as much of my time administering joy to the sick and searching.

    2) When I entered the world of blogging, I was struck immediately by two competing forms of discussion. The vast majority of those who participate in the corner of the Bloggernacle I frequent are sincerely searching for greater understanding and increased joy. Some of them, however, seem to be stuck in a cycle of trying to understand something intellectually before they can accept it spiritually. They seem to be saying, “I will accept this once I can understand it,” rather than, “This brings me joy, so I will do my best to accept and understand it – even if that means my understanding changes periodically, or regularly, or constantly over a long period of time.” They say, “My heart wants to accept this, but my mind keeps me from accepting it,” rather than, “My heart accepts this, so I will exercise my mind diligently to try to understand what I have accepted – knowing that that process might not end completely in this life, but I will continue to accept it regardless, because it brings me joy.”

    3) I know I am able to construct just about any intellectual justification I desire that will warrant just about any theological / philosophical / doctrinal construct I choose to accept. Given my ability to adapt a solid intellectual argument for whatever I desire to believe, I exercise my agency by focusing on what I desire to believe – what my heart and soul tells me it wants to believe – what brings me joy. I consider the options and make my choice. Again, since my brain is capable of justifying whatever choice I make, I pick my course (what kind of life I want to live), then I construct / adopt / assimilate the perspective that I feel will lead best to the end of that course.

    Frankly, as I read your explanation, CRM, that process I employ is what I believe you have done – just with different results. Again, I respect that. It’s the attempt by some simply to attack the joy of others that sickens me.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 3:32 pm |Reply

  259. Ray

    I enjoyed your post #259 I will for sure check out that article.

    Interestingly enough it was some of the people from the September 6 that started me on journey to learn more about Church history. My Brother in law had passed away and he and my sister were very close friends with most of those that had been excommunicated. My sister held a less official gathering the evening of his actual funeral so that these few people that were so close to him could make some remarks as they were not allowed since his official funeral was held in an LDS church and therefore they were not permitted to speak.

    I sat at this get together, and thought throughout the whole evening how wacked these people were and what crazy ideas they had. I later woke up that night and realized how little I actually knew about things, and that these people had most likely spent much more time than me praying and contemplating and studying the Gospel.

    I felt if I was going to just dismiss them as out there I better at least have put as much effort into it as they had. Interesting that when I started my journey it was for the purpose of building my Testimony and to have a better understanding of things that were talked about that evening.

    I just thought of mentioning it I am not sure I agree with your post #256 of that is how they handled things. I think most of the press came after the Church action.

    Steffie sorry for threadjacking as they say.

    Should I say something inflamatory about the Indians being Lamanites to get us back on track.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 10:12 pm |Reply

  260. That last sentence just about killed me – I was laughing too hard.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 11:08 pm |Reply

  261. Coventry:

    FWIW, I think those excommunications were a mistake. I’m sorry if those were people that you were close to. I think the church has a big enough tent, and should have a big enough heart, to allow people to have differences of opinion and remain in the Church. I would much rather have all of those people in the Church than not in it. If the same events happened today, I’m not sure those excommunications would happen.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 12:34 am |Reply

  262. Back to your fascinating comment #258:

    “As LDS we are taught and many LDS have expressed this as well on the blog here as well that Spiritual Witness trumps Intellectual thinking should the two come into conflict. I would hope that this is not entirely true; I think everyone most likely has some sort of point or line were they would have to say this defies all reason and logic.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, Coventry. It all defies all reason and logic, doesn’t it? Belief in a God of any kind, through faith, requires a suspension of your facilities for reason and logic. Otherwise, if reason and logic rule the day, you can never believe in God, spirituality, miracles, resurrection from the dead, visions, healing, priesthood… and the list goes on. I don’t believe in any of these things because of reason or logic. I can’t see how anyone does.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 12:40 am |Reply

  263. Spirituality and visions I would disagree with. But the rest you are right they defy logic. Well if there was actually some emperical evidence that there was a God I guess logic and reason would apply – (Ray don’t crucify me on this one MCQ said it defied all reason and logic not me I am just agreeing)

    as far as all the other things on your list the verdict is still out on if they actually happened. I don’t think you have actually witnessed a resurection from the dead. As far as Miracles and healings that is still subjective. Could those things have another explanation? The only priesthood healings I have seen have been on things that could have been cured anyway. I think I have seen more people not healed from the priesthood than the other way around. I am sure you have heard this before, but I do have to throw it out since you listed healings, why has God never healed an amputee? Now that would be a miracle.

    I 100% agree with you on this one “It defies all reason and logic”

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 12:59 am |Reply

  264. “The scriptures are full of examples when this has been the case, I would hope that none of you would have done as Nephi did and cut off Laban’s head. Each of us has to ask ourselves where is my line?”

    This is an oft-debated issue: would you do as Nephi did, or would you not? I think, as you apparently do, that many of us would not be able to bring ourselves to kill another person, no matter who was telling us to do it. Many just do not have the capacity to do such a thing. Not because of reason or logic; just because killing a defenseless human is so against our natures.

    Most people, I have found, cannot even bring themselves to kill an animal. They just can’t do it, even if it is required by hunger or because the animal is suffering.

    Nephi’s story is not an easy thing to deal with philosophically, but I don’t condemn Nephi for this act. If you accept, as he did, that it was the Spirit of God that commanded him to do it, then any blame is on God. Since I do not believe God can do evil, this act must be right.

    It is not the first time that God apparently commanded such things, and propbably not the last. He apparently comanded the Israelites to kill many more people in the land of Canaan. Including women and children. This is not easy to accept.

    Here is the story that you refer to:

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_ne/4

    I’m just glad I wasn’t placed in Nephi’s position (or Joshua’s, or Abraham’s– or Joseph Smith’s for that matter). I don’t know what I would have done.

    However, substituting our wisdom for God’s seems too easy. If you believe in God, that belief requires you to believe he knows a little more than you do. That belief may, at some point, require you to do things that you would normally never do. Like keep commandments even when you don’t understand them completely. Surrendering your will to God’s is not supposed to be easy. But it is required of us. Your counsel seems to preclude that.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 1:05 am |Reply

  265. “Nephi’s story is not an easy thing to deal with philosophically, but I don’t condemn Nephi for this act. If you accept, as he did, that it was the Spirit of God that commanded him to do it, then any blame is on God. Since I do not believe God can do evil, this act must be right.”

    The only difference between Nephi and a terroist killing a US soldier is that you believe that God actually told Nephi to do it, and you don’t believe God told the Muslim that 100% believes he is doing it for God as well. I think I can rest my case on the whole it is right because God told me so logic

    Plus I am sure the Muslim could potentially feel the same about the US as is is better for a few capitalists to die “than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. “

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 1:17 am |Reply

  266. “It could have been from God that is true, but that is not the only possible answer or even necessarily the most plausible explanation either. There are many possibilities’ an answer from God is just one of many. If spiritual witness is the supreme method for truth, why do so many people get so many different truths using this methodology?”

    I think this is the great fallacy, Coventry. You hear it a lot, but there is no solid evidence that people are using the same methodology to get to their “different truths.” As I’ve said before, many people don’t even believe in revelation, so they’re not claiming that they arrived at their truth through a witness of the Spirit. Many people claim no such thing.

    As for plausibilty, I am convinced that actual revelation from God is always and forever the least plausible answer available. Always. Forever. But note that I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Neither is Joseph Smith. Neither is Paul. Neither is Moroni. Each person is only required to be true to the answer they receive to that question asked of God in all sincerety.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 1:18 am |Reply

  267. #266:

    I knew you would go to the terrorist argument, Coventry, but you make a mistake there again. Nephi was quoting God when he said those words. In your hypothetical, the terrorist is saying that himself. There is a huge difference between someone who is claiming they are acting in God’s name and someone who is acting at God’s express command.

    I can’t judge whether Nephi was right that it was the Spirit of God that commanded it. I said only: IF you accept it was God, then it was right. If the terrorist is actually commanded by God, then he is right too. But I have never heard even the terrorists make the claim that they were actually, personally commanded by God. They just have said no such thing. And you can’t say it for them, however much it might help your argument to do so.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 1:25 am |Reply

  268. MCQ

    There really isn’t anything debate here. I simply told my story on how I view spirituality. You are not going to convince me of your method I am not going to convince you of mine. I didn’t share to try and change your thinking I shared so that those that come to this blog, can read yours and read mine. If what I said strikes a cord with them great I feel I have done some good today, if what you said hits home to them then great you have done what you believe to be a good thing as well.

    You seem intellegent and I respect your input. I think these discussions are great for making us all think about what it is we actually believe.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 1:27 am |Reply

  269. What about the woman then that kills her children because God told her that they were satan? She absolutely claims GOD spoke to her. Nephi would be in jail today, and all of us would be saying the guy was nuts, come on.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 1:30 am |Reply

  270. #269 about the witness conversation
    #270 only about the Nephi stuff.

    “:)

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 1:37 am |Reply

  271. “I have heard the rhetorical well science and intellect are not reliable either. I believe this statement comes from a lack of understanding what is and what is not reliable. For example the evidence surrounding earth age, origin of man, evolution is always developing and there is always more to find out but that doesn’t mean that evolution is not a fact, it is. Just exactly how in every minute detail is still being learned about and discovered it is and will always be a developing theory that is how science works, there are however known irrefutable facts contained within the theory.”

    If you are saying that you believe science is more reliable than the spirit for knowledge of all things, then we are never going to agree. I certainly believe that science has its place, and I would rely on science for many many purposes that God expects us to use our own brains for.

    But science has no ability to give us answers to spiritual questions. Science has nothing to say about the existence of God. Spiritual questions must be answered through spiritual methods, just as scientific questions must be answered through scientific methods. Even most scientists accept that there are some limits to its reach.

    There is no way to scientifically answer certain questions. You cannot achieve knowledge of God through science, any more than you can achieve knowledge of archetecture through dancing. That dog won’t hunt. You can’t get there from here. Choose your cliche.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 1:37 am |Reply

  272. Coventry, I agree 100% with both 269 and 270.

    269: I’m not trying to debate you, just understand you.

    270: Of course, But so what? Joseph Smith was in jail. They did say he was nuts. They still do. Just ask EJ. Same with Jesus. Same with half the prophets anyone can name.

    The question isn’t whether people think they’re nuts. The question is whether they actually are nuts. The only way to answer that question is (no, not Freudian psychoanalysis) through a witness of the spirit.

    The woman who killed her children is not asking us to discover for ourselves whether she is telling the truth by appealing to God. Joseph is. Jesus is. Paul is. Moroni is. And there are other witnesses who testify of the truth of their words. Does the woman have that? As a lawyer, I can’t ignore witness testimony. I find it very valuable. I also find the lack of it to be very telling.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 1:49 am |Reply

  273. I would never crucify you, CRM. I’m one of those people who has a hard time killing anything – except mosquitoes, which just have to be something God cooked up when He was in a bad mood. (Drunken just doesn’t fit my picture of Him, so I went with the bad mood.)

    Comment by Ray — November 30, 2007 @ 2:18 am |Reply

  274. Frankly, I think the prophetic claim discussion hangs a bit on witnesses, a bit on appeal and mostly on an old fashioned connection to what we believe to be our spirits. That truly is open to debate and vary different interpretations, so any “conversion” simply has to be an individual, spiritual recognition/acceptance/classification. There is a reason why we tell missionaries that all they can do is expose investigators to the Spirit and pray that those people feel it and recognize it as such.

    It is complicated further by our natural tendency to want to promise that ALL can know, when our own scriptures and revelations say that many are given the gift to believe those that know. I find that nearly every problem I’ve encountered has arisen and been deepened by someone being told something that I feel is not consistent with the core principles of the Gospel – something that is a natural and well-intentioned desire, but is a mistake, nonetheless.

    Comment by Ray — November 30, 2007 @ 2:23 am |Reply

  275. The last part of your #258 is the most important, Coventry.

    Questions:

    1. You refer to your “PB,” what is that?

    2. Can you tell us the difference, if any between the spiritual experience you describe in #1 and the later experences in #2. I don’t mean stronger v. weaker, I mean differences in kind.

    I find this paragraph absolutely thrilling:

    “Yes I had spiritual witness that I had interpreted as answers from God, confirming Spencer W Kimball was a prophet when I saw him at the Portland Temple dedication the experience was such that there was no doubt in my mind he was just that. I have had many experiences connected with Joseph Smith and then Book of Mormon that to me testified of their truth.”

    And I find this one tremendously sad:

    “These a but just a few examples the fact remains that when my line got crossed as I studied more in depth regarding the Church and its leaders as instructed by my PB. I had to reevaluate that spiritual witness. Ultimately I left the Church, I did not lose my testimony I made a very hard and conscience decision to discard it.”

    3. I am very very sorry that you felt you had to make that decision, Coventry. That cannot have been easy. Was there one experience or one thing in particular that led to that decision or was it more of a cumulative thing? Also, how long was this process? weeks? months? years?

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 7:03 am |Reply

  276. Ray:

    “It is complicated further by our natural tendency to want to promise that ALL can know, when our own scriptures and revelations say that many are given the gift to believe those that know.”

    Really? I don’t think it’s us that promise that all can know. I think it’s God. Read Moroni, do you see any exceptions there? Clearly, there is a spritual gift of being able to believe someone else’s word, but that doesn’t preclude the person who has that gift from ever knowing for themselves, does it?

    I think that all can know, but some don’t really want to know. After all, if you know, then you actually have to do stuff!

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 7:23 am |Reply

  277. Sorry I missed your 264:

    “if there was actually some emperical evidence that there was a God I guess logic and reason would apply”

    There isn’t. That’s the problem. That’s why faith is required.

    “as far as all the other things on your list the verdict is still out on if they actually happened.”

    Exactly. The only way you can know if they happened is through faith. Not reason, not logic, not science, not archeology, anthropolgy or any other scientific discipline.

    The whole point I was making here is that whole “everyone has a line” thing. You clearly have “a line” that you have refused to cross. You think everyone should have one. You think everyone should believe only up to the point where you can’t cross the line because crossing it “would defy all reason and logic.”

    But that line’s only one step outside the door, Coventry. If it all defies reason and logic, and you shouldn’t cross the line that defies all reason and logic, then there’s no room for faith at all. It’s all crap, if you are going to rely on reason and logic alone. If there’s a line you won’t cross, then you have no faith, no real belief.

    But people do believe. They exercise faith and they see miracles in their own lives and the lives of others. Why? Because they cross that line, Coventry. They make the leap. They say, “Lord, I don’t understand, but I know you’re there, and I’m putting myself in your hands.” In other words: they have no line. They’re willing to give up having a line, so that they can know God. And it’s worth it.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 7:32 am |Reply

  278. Getting back to the Lamanite issue, the limited geography model does not explain how native americans outside this limited geography got any amount of Lamanite DNA. Seems to me that in order for Native North and South Americans to have Lamanite DNA (however minute) the hemispheric model would make more sense. In fact I would go so far to say the LGM does not make sense under these circumstances. I just don’t see how the LGM fits with BofM and church claims regarding the Lamanites.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 30, 2007 @ 7:52 am |Reply

  279. I figure this discussion will get this post to 300 comments at least.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 30, 2007 @ 7:53 am |Reply

  280. BR, come on. Even in a LGM, it can be assumed that Lamanite populations kept growing after the end of the BoM and mixed with existing and post-BoM-migration people. LGM does not equal hermetically sealed.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 8:44 am |Reply

  281. MCQ

    PB = Patriarchal Blessing

    My final comments on this spirituality issue.

    My spiritual witness/experience is exactly the same. What is more powerful and clear is the positive impact on my life and me as a person and how I now navigate through this world, there is nothing sad about any of it. The fact that you would actually say that does tell me that you will probably never understand where I am coming from; your paradigm just is not going to allow it.

    It feels to me that with your questions that it still comes back to my original thought that somehow you have to figure out a way to make someone else’s experience less authentic that your own. In your belief system if all I am saying and experienced is true and real it comes into direct conflict with your truths. On the other hand under my belief system I may not believe that we interpret these as the same but I believe that your experiences were and are just as real and authentic as mine and it has no impact on my truth.

    My process took years and years. Over two years of knowing inside that I was in conflict and tried very hard to reconcile it. I think there is a very big misconception among the Mormon faithful that think people apostatize because living the Gospel is too hard or they travel the path of least resistance or they took the easy way. Recovering from Mormonism was about the hardest most emotional painful thing I have ever gone through, but don’t be offended if I quote you here

    “it’s worth it”

    The only other I thing I would say is that I do strongly disagree with you about the line part and that is really what scares me about the faith trumps all methodology as it is dangerous, just look around you at the evil religion has done when people follow leaders and voices in their head to do terrible awful things to other humans, I am not just talking physically I am talking emotionally as well.

    The argument you made “And there are other witnesses who testify of the truth of their words” This really doesn’t hold up does it. David Koresh, Charles Manson, and Warren Steed Jeffs the list goes on and on they all had Witness’s to their truth and word, this exactly why we do need a line.

    I am going to be jovial and sarcastic here because it is just my way, and not meant to offend, have you heard this saying before?

    “When one person is delusional it’s called insanity. When many are delusional it’s called religion.”

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 3:23 pm |Reply

  282. BR

    I already solved the DNA problem, when God turned them dark he did so by changing their DNA.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 3:24 pm |Reply

  283. “PB = Patriarchal Blessing”

    OK, I feel stupid. That seems obvious now.

    “there is nothing sad about any of it.”

    It’s just sad to me, Coventry. I think it’s sad when the Church loses anyone who is an intelligent, honest seeker of truth, as clearly you are.

    “It feels to me that with your questions that it still comes back to my original thought that somehow you have to figure out a way to make someone else’s experience less authentic that your own.”

    I think you’re misreading me here. I’m truly just trying to understand you. I have a few friends and family who have left the Church. Each of their experences has been different, as is yours. I’m interested in how and why it happens. I hope they all come back, as I hope you come back.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 6:26 pm |Reply

  284. “The argument you made “And there are other witnesses who testify of the truth of their words” This really doesn’t hold up does it. David Koresh, Charles Manson, and Warren Steed Jeffs the list goes on and on they all had Witness’s to their truth and word, this exactly why we do need a line.”

    Those people had followers, as did Jim Jones, and Rev. Moon and many others. But followers are not the same as witnesses. Look at the testimony of the three witnesses, and the eight witnesses. Look at the testimony of the apostles in the NT and the testimony of Nephi here:

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/2_ne/33

    Are you saying that any of those people have had witnesses who testified in any way like the testimony we have in writing about Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ? If so, please show me where I can find it.

    You are right: False prophets are very very dangerous. But the way we guard against them is not to have a line of reason and logic we won’t cross. That just means we will reject all prophets, like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    The way we guard against them is to learn what the true Spirit of God feels like, and to ask the right questions at the right time and so not be deceived.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 6:46 pm |Reply

  285. MCQ

    Thanks for your comments, obviously you are sincere with your concern for others. Let me just throw something out there for you, just think about it, it really doesn’t need a response.

    “I hope they all come back, as I hope you come back.”

    If the Church is really bringing incredible peace and hapiness into your life I do not hold hope that you would leave it. I think having this hope hinders you in being able to accept, understand and recognize the happiness others have found.

    My family just hopes I will come back to the Church, my closest friends and some family members both in and out of the Church that have truly seen who I have become can appreciate and be happy for me. It hurts that most my Family can’t even see pass the “How sad that he is no longer a Mormon”

    So please don’t hope or wish something on me that I know would bring me less than what I have now.

    Like I said I would never hope that you would leave the Church as it seems you have truly found your happiness there. I discuss on here more so that LDS perhaps will see how to be better with the loved ones that have chosen a different path, or for those that come looking for answers and they can see a balanced discussion, but mainly I have a lot of free time and it excercises my brain and forces me to think.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 30, 2007 @ 8:42 pm |Reply

  286. I’m not really thinking of you when I say that, Coventry, although I am concerned about you. I’m thinking of the Church and it’s members. The Church is poorer when it loses good people, as are it’s members. That is the primary reason for my hope. Of course, I hope for you whatever is best for you, and you are in charge of determining what that is.

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 9:02 pm |Reply

  287. #277 – MCQ, by over-promising the ability to know I mean stereotyping all people as able to “know beyond a shadow of a doubt” BEFORE they join the Church – or before they go to the temple – or every time they pray – or about every single concept (especially right away) – or whatever else applies. I also mean to include the “way” that people can come to know – almost always lumped together as feeling a “burning in the bosom” – or its opposite “stupor of thought.”

    That is what the Lord told Oliver – the way that one man was told how to recognize the word of God for himself. Other places list many other examples of the fruit of the Spirit – and I know hundreds of people (inside and outside the Church) who recognize the Spirit in ways other than the burning and stupor. I am one of them. I don’t think I have felt a burning in the bosom once in my entire life, but I have had some amazing spiritual experiences.

    As to the specific example of Moroni 10:4-5, I think you are misinterpreting it in exactly the same way that many (most?) members do so. As I have said on other blogs, I am a passionate parser, so here is my take on those verses:

    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will **manifest the truth of it unto you**, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    (This does NOT say, “You will know it is true.” Instead, it says the Holy Ghost will make its truth manifest to you. That opens all kinds of options for the reader – ranging from a new desire to accept it (“This feels true.”) to an incredibly powerful and undeniable witness (“I have no doubt whatsoever that this is true.”). It allows for someone to have a spiritual manifestation that is uniquely their own, without missionaries telling then that they will feel a burning in their bosom as proof. There is a huge and vital difference; I know, since I couldn’t say I know – or even believe – if that type of witness (the bosom burning) was all that was possible.)

    5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

    (This is a general principle. It can be read as saying that everyone can “know” everything now, but it also can be read as saying that everyone can “know” everything at some point – including after death. It also can be read as saying that the Holy Ghost has the power that **may** (is allowed to) teach all truth. Reading it very narrowly according to the meaning of the actual words, the most literal meaning would be something like, “By the power of the Holy Ghost people are allowed to know the truth of all things” – not that they **will** know the truth of all things, but that they are allowed to know it. Again, iow, IF someone knows the truth of anything, it will be through the power of the Holy Ghost – as opposed to the power of their intellect, for example.)

    That sounds like mental gymnastics to most people at first, but if you eliminate the common assumption and simply analyze the words themselves, it is a completely legitimate reading – and, I believe, is more consistent with the other scriptural passages that speak of faith, belief and knowledge. Personally, I favor the last reading specifically because it eliminates the pressure to “know” right away (e.g., before baptism or Priesthood ordination or temple attendance) and allows people to plant the seed and simply believe while enjoying full Church fellowship. I think the common assumption cheapens “I know” to a degree – and I would love to hear more “I believe” in our Fast & Testimony Meetings.

    Comment by Ray — November 30, 2007 @ 10:08 pm |Reply

  288. CRM, the last two paragraphs of #286 are exactly what I say to anti-Mormons – so I really appreciate them. The last thing I want to become is a Mormon version of them – an Anti-Anti-Mormon, if you will. I’m at the point in my life where I simply don’t want to fight – and I admire Steffie SO much for reaching that point so much earlier than I did.

    So, props to Steffie! 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 30, 2007 @ 10:12 pm |Reply

  289. MCQ,

    There is no precedence for the growth you are referring to. Population growth was so small (a percentage of a percent) prior to modern times, that this would be impossible.

    Also, there is no precedence for such migration. Historical and Archaeological records do not support this. Migration was no longer necessary with the onset of civilization.

    The Aztecs and other cultures co-existed without migration or mingling.

    I don’t think I’m off here.

    Coventry,

    Why would the DNA change to Mongolian as a punishment?
    Seems like an insult to those people that did nothing wrong and migrated to the Americas already having the dark skin.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — December 1, 2007 @ 12:29 am |Reply

  290. BR

    Good point. I was doing a Colbert on that one. 🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 1, 2007 @ 1:27 am |Reply

  291. Coventry, I don’t think the DNA changed as a punishment. I do think the skin color change (if it was an actual change and not just a “deep tan” highlighted by Nephi as a “cultural distinguisher”) might have been the result of intermingling and intermarriage with another group of people in the area.

    BR, again, you are assuming no intermingling among peoples on the continent – and that just doesn’t hold up for anywhere else in the world, where there was constant intermingling.

    The best analysis of the Book of Ether I have read was Nibley’s. He made a very compelling, multiple point argument that the Jaredites appeared to be from the Asian steppes – and this was LONG before the DNA debate got into full swing. Also, I don’t think it is possible to reconcile the population discrepancies between the Nephites and the Lamanites, particularly since the Nephites joined the more numerous Mulekites, unless the Lamanites also had joined an “outside” group – an offshoot of either the Jaredites or some other (possibly Asiatic) people who had migrated to America. (The BofM states clearly that there would be multiple migrations to the Americas led by the Lord after the Nephites were destroyed, and there is nothing to indicate that other migrations had not occurred after the Jaredites, prior to the Nephites and also during the time of the BofM. The book itself never claims to be a record of all the inhabitants of the continents.)

    Given this view, it is easy to believe that the dominant DNA of the “Lamanites” even before the end of the BofM was Asiatic. Even if that was not the case, it is perfectly reasonable to believe that such was the case by the end of the thousand year period between the destruction of the Nephites and the expeditions of the Spanish conquistadors. Finally, given the widespread death and destruction that accompanied that conquest, there is no way to judge whether one particular DNA composite survived more extensively than another.

    Short version: There is absolutely no reason to believe that the dominant DNA of the “Native Americans” was not Asiatic based on the BofM itself – and I have addressed already the “principal ancestors” issue.

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 3:38 am |Reply

  292. Ray, I don’t agree completely with that parsing of Moroni, sorry.

    From Webster:

    Manifest:

    1 : readily perceived by the senses and especially by the sight
    2 : easily understood or recognized by the mind : obvious
    synonyms see “evident”

    I think “manifest the truth of it unto you” just means that He will make it evident that it is true. That doesn’t mean it will happen immediately, or in the same way for everyone, but it is a promise that all can know if they comply with the first part of the promise.

    I do agree that there is no universality to the “burning in the bosom” thing. I’m not even sure what that means. It’s not my experience.

    Comment by MCQ — December 1, 2007 @ 3:51 am |Reply

  293. “There is no precedence for the growth you are referring to. Population growth was so small (a percentage of a percent) prior to modern times, that this would be impossible.”

    We don’t know how many Lamanites there were in 400 AD. So you can’t reach this conclusion.

    “Also, there is no precedence for such migration. Historical and Archaeological records do not support this.”

    They sure don’t preclude it BR! The fact is, the record is not complete enough to reach a conclusion on this question.

    “Migration was no longer necessary with the onset of civilization.”

    Really? So there were no migrations after the onset of civilation, huh? Tell that to the Jews, the Pilgrims, the Pioneers… should I go on? You make me laugh, BR!

    “The Aztecs and other cultures co-existed without migration or mingling.”

    Other cultures? Which other cultures? Incas? Mayans? Are you saying the Aztecs never ever migrated or mingled with any other culturesin their entire history?

    Nice try, but that’s a complete over-simplification. The fact is that we just don’t know the answers to these questions, and the archeological record will likely never be complete enough to anser them, principally because we know so little about what the Lamanites were like and where they lived, even during the BoM time period.

    Comment by MCQ — December 1, 2007 @ 4:14 am |Reply

  294. MCQ

    It really isn’t BR that should make you laugh. It is the LDS that have to take on these convoluted wild explanations. To the fact that there is no, none as not a shred of evidence that even comes close to verifying anything in the B of M. Go back and look at the claims that JS made in Church history as to what he claims the angel Moroni told him, we even have battle between North and South America taking place yet not one piece of evidence has surfaced. The church just keeps diluting down their claims to make it virtually impossible to disprove. You as an Attorney should know that is pretty much an impossibility to prove a negative.

    Look at the Biblical record we have evidence strewn all over the place. How come the B of M has none of that, it happened during the same time period.

    There is a group of scholars that have developed a religion based on the flying spaghetti monster you would not be able to disprove that either. The burden should be on you to prove or show that events of the B of M could have actually happened. None exist.

    Plus it was rude to say that to BR anyway.

    Oh I am also curious to know what a Kokaubeam is?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 1, 2007 @ 4:57 am |Reply

  295. CRM, the idea that the Bible is provable through “evidence strewn all over the place” is an incredible oversimplification. There is academic debate about whether Jesus was even a historical figure, for crying out loud. There is academic discussion (a bit of “spoofing”, by real [non-LDS]academics, just to make a point) about whether the Middle Ages actually existed – since there essentially is no scientific evidence of it. Almost every account in the OT, especially, is suspect.

    Again, I have little problem with people disbelieving the BofM due to lack of empirical evidence, but I have a HUGE problem with them claiming that the Bible is “provable” by empirical evidence. It simply isn’t. I started my professional career as a history teacher, and if there is one thing that is a truism in history, it is that all historicity is filtered through subjective lenses – and all recorded history (at the very least prior to “universal” literacy within any given culture) is the product of the winners’ perspective – or those who wanted to promulgate a particular story.

    In history and ALL of its derivitive fields of study, almost nothing is objective and clearly, completely accurate – especially, as I said, if it is believed to have happened more than 500 years ago.

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 5:16 am |Reply

  296. CRM, the idea that the Bible is provable through “evidence strewn all over the place” is an incredible oversimplification. There is academic debate about whether Jesus was even a historical figure, for crying out loud. There is academic discussion (a bit of “spoofing”, by real [non-LDS]academics, just to make a point) about whether the Middle Ages actually existed – since there essentially is no scientific evidence of it. Almost every account in the OT, especially, is suspect.

    Again, I have little problem with people disbelieving the BofM due to lack of empirical evidence, but I have a HUGE problem with them claiming that the Bible is “provable” by empirical evidence. It simply isn’t. I started my professional career as a history teacher, and if there is one thing that is a truism in history, it is that all historicity is filtered through subjective lenses – and all recorded history (at the very least prior to “universal” literacy within any given culture) is the product of the winners’ perspective – or those who wanted to promulgate a particular story.

    In history and ALL of its derivitive fields of study, almost nothing is objective and clearly, completely accurate – especially, as I said, if it is believed to have happened more than 500 years ago.

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 5:17 am |Reply

  297. Test.

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 5:17 am |Reply

  298. “It is the LDS that have to take on these convoluted wild explanations.”

    You keep saying that. What is convoluted or wild about pointing out the obvious holes in your so-called “proofs.”

    “To the fact that there is no, none as not a shred of evidence that even comes close to verifying anything in the B of M.”

    That’s not even remotely true, Coventry. But archeological evidence is subject to various interpretations. What some consider evidence, others dispute. There is no such thing as irrefutable scientific proof of a spiritual issue. The fact that there were people living in the New World during the BoM period is evidence of it’s accuracy. So is the fact that there were large cities, as described in the BoM. Your bias is showing when you say there is no evidence at all.

    “Go back and look at the claims that JS made in Church history as to what he claims the angel Moroni told him”

    And?

    “The church just keeps diluting down their claims to make it virtually impossible to disprove.”

    The Church has changed some of its claims, but only because it has learned through sad experience that some assumptions were made which we just don’t have any evidence for. The Church has learned to be more careful. There’s no evidence, for example, for the claim of “Principal ancestors” so why make that claim? It’s not necessary, and it’s not part of any revelation. It’s essentially irrelevant, and it becomes a distraction.

    “You as an Attorney should know that is pretty much an impossibility to prove a negative.”

    That’s my point, Coventry. There is no way that you can honestly claim to scientifically or archeologically prove that the BoM is false. You really should stop trying.

    “Look at the Biblical record we have evidence strewn all over the place. How come the B of M has none of that, it happened during the same time period.”

    What Ray said. We’ve been through this before, too.

    “The burden should be on you to prove or show that events of the B of M could have actually happened. None exist.”

    No it’s not, Coventry. The burden is on God. He offers no archeological proof and neither do I. He has offered only one method of proof and I have already told you what that is.

    BTW, events in the BoM could certainly have happened. There is nothing outlandish (like flying spaghetti monsters) about any of the events described, except for the miraculous ones, and the Bible has far more of those than the BoM does, yet you don’t hear the same criticisms about the Bible, I wonder why?

    “Plus it was rude to say that to BR anyway.”

    I went back and read it again and you may be right. I didn’t intend it that way, but it sounds flippant. I’m sorry BR, I’ll try to watch my tone better in the future. I get carried away sometimes. Please forgive me.

    Coventry, don’t you think it may be a bit rude to continually repeat unfounded assumptions, half-truths and outright lies about someone’s religion with the idea that it proves that their religion is false?

    We have repeatedly covered the same ground here. You want to assert that certain archeological evidences prove the BoM is false, and you also say that the lack of scientific evidence in its favor proves it’s false. Both of those premises are fatally flawed.

    I keep saying that the only proof of spiritual things is the Spirit and you keep wanting to debate the science. It’s a tiresome exercise.

    Comment by MCQ — December 1, 2007 @ 6:12 am |Reply

  299. Here you go, Coventry:

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/abr/3/13#13

    Comment by MCQ — December 1, 2007 @ 6:31 am |Reply

  300. MCQ

    You said it defies logic and evidence but yet you want debate evidence and logic but when you have none you default to faith. So why do you even engage in any sort of evidentiary discussion anyway. Just say God told me so and that’s that.

    “The Church has changed some of its claims, but only because it has learned through sad experience that some assumptions were made which we just don’t have any evidence for.”

    Is this one of the assumptions you are talking about?

    Discourse By Elder Orson Pratt
    Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 20:, p.62 – 65
    Delivered at the Thirteenth Ward Assembly Rooms, Sunday Evening, August 25, 1878.

    They were written by the Prophet Moroni, who was the only man of his nation-the Nephites, who was righteous; his nation having been destroyed a few years before he penned this sentence. It is true a few of his nation had deserted and gone to the opposite nations-the Lamanites, and a few had fled at the general destruction; but they were hunted down by the Lamanites, and were destroyed as a people. Moroni, being a Prophet of God, would not join that nation in their wickedness and idolatry, and the only way he could preserve his life was to keep himself secreted and hidden from the knowledge of the Lamanites. While concealing himself from his enemies, he finished the record of the Book of Mormon. The latest date which he gives in the record is 420 years after the birth of Christ, according to the signs that were given on this American continent, concerning his birth. Thirty-six years prior to this time his nation was destroyed in what we term as the State of New York, around about a hill, called by that people the Hill of Cumorah, when many hundreds of thousands of Nephites-men, women and children, fell, during the greatest battle that they had had with the Lamanites.

    I don’t know it sounds like it is pretty clear to me that we are talking North America and specifically New York.

    I have been going through the LDS publications I picked this one because it was shorter and more concise that some of the others I game across, literally hundreds. If you are going to say that the it was never doctrine or that it was just an assumption regarding the whole geography of the B of M I don’t see how anything taught in the past, present or future can even be taken seriously.

    They just may end up being put into the

    “The Church has changed some of its claims, but only because it has learned through sad experience that some assumptions were made which we just don’t have any evidence for.”

    Category.

    If it is such a tiresome excercise stop trying to argue evidence then. What is tiresome is someone saying I have evidence, oh wait maybe not , oh well doesn’t matter – Faith!

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 1, 2007 @ 7:29 am |Reply

  301. Speaking of rude, Coventry, you should change your tone. I am finding you to be increasingly hypocritical. You know very well the answers to your snide questions.

    Orson Pratt was indeed assuming, as many did in the early days of the church, that Moroni hid the records in a hill located near the area where the final battle took place. That is an assumption which we do not know to be true. That does not mean we take nothing anyone has ever said seriously, as you know.

    Comment by MCQ — December 1, 2007 @ 4:07 pm |Reply

  302. “You said it defies logic and evidence but yet you want debate evidence and logic but when you have none you default to faith.”

    That’s a mischaracterization of our discussions Coventry. I think you know that. Why are you now misrepresenting something that is so obvious? It makes you sound desperate.

    “So why do you even engage in any sort of evidentiary discussion anyway. Just say God told me so and that’s that.”

    I have essentially said that over and over in every discussion we have ever had, as you know.

    The reason we are discussing science and evidence is that you and others keep bringing it up as some sort of proof that the Church cannot be true. My point in engaging in these discussions is to show that your proofs are not proofs. That’s making you mad, because you’re not used to someone calling you on your mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods. Yet you still keep trying. You are so desperate to prove that the Church is not true. Why is that, I wonder? Why do you have this need to do that Coventry?

    “If it is such a tiresome excercise stop trying to argue evidence then. What is tiresome is someone saying I have evidence, oh wait maybe not , oh well doesn’t matter – Faith!”

    Another mischaracterization Coventry. As you know, I have never said anything like: “I have evidence, oh wait maybe not , oh well doesn’t matter – Faith!”

    Why are you suddenly trying to put these words in my mouth? Is it because you’re unable to deal with what I actually said?

    Comment by MCQ — December 1, 2007 @ 5:05 pm |Reply

  303. Seriously, guys, I think it’s probably time to wrap up this particular discussion and move on to another one. At this point, we are rehashing stuff that has been discussed already – and I think we all know that we aren’t going to convince the others that they are wrong.

    These conversations are wonderful when we simply deal with our perspectives, but as soon as they devolve into impossible attempts to prove what can’t be proven, it turns nasty again. Nasty is not what I want, so I am bowing out of this thread.

    I really did enjoy much of the last twenty-odd comments. (I’m too lazy today to check.)

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 6:10 pm |Reply

  304. BTW, Steffie, 200 comments usually is about the absolute limit before nothing new gets added – and that’s with dozens of participants. 300 is impressive. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 6:12 pm |Reply

  305. Ray

    I agree

    MCQ

    sorry it went here after what I feel were some good coversations. I apoligize for my part I should have let it go you are right.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 1, 2007 @ 8:11 pm |Reply

  306. #306 is one of the reasons I like you, CRM. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 9:04 pm |Reply

  307. Ray

    Just curious have you read the book “Blink” ?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 1, 2007 @ 10:33 pm |Reply

  308. No.

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 11:24 pm |Reply

  309. As I read your article I thought that you might enjoy the book – Blink

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 2, 2007 @ 12:14 am |Reply

  310. I’ll get a copy and read it. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Comment by Ray — December 2, 2007 @ 12:16 am |Reply

  311. You ALL seriously amaze me! I love how you go back and forth, it gets a little heated, you call each other out, you apologize, and then continue. I have learned a lot from each of you! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 2, 2007 @ 2:32 am |Reply

  312. Hey, if you want to discuss something fun check out my new post, I’m very curious to find out who you like and who you don’t and why…..

    https://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/12/02/who-are-you-voting-for-and-why/

    Comment by steffielynn — December 2, 2007 @ 2:55 am |Reply

  313. Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t think I’m rehashing anything. I am bringing up stuff that I didn’t think of before.

    I keep trying to have a discussion about the LGM and my comments are summarily shut down and dismissed then the conversation goes elsewhere before I even have a chance to respond.

    Now that is tiresome to me.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — December 3, 2007 @ 7:16 pm |Reply

  314. BR

    I don’t think you are crazy at all.

    I think there is a reason it gets charged up so fast on the LDS end. That is typical when a person finds themselves in an indefensible position which in my opinion is what happens on the LGM topic. Pof G even says THIS CONTINENT. That I think should be considered doctrine

    I backed off after MCQ’s last outburst and apologized for my part in the exchange but that should not necessarily mean that the topic or discussion should be over.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 3, 2007 @ 10:55 pm |Reply

  315. It ain’t that simple. What does PoG mean by “this continent?” This nation? This hemisphere? Did it include Cuba? What? What did they mean by that word in those days, in that context?

    You can’t read a book according to modern usages of the words. Any historian of old texts can tell you that. Language is not set in stone. It changes. Sometimes rapidly and scientific advances can alter the meaning of a word to where it no longer accurately represents the sentiments of the prior people.

    For example: ancient texts occasionally use the word “steel.” Long before any such carbon-iron alloy existed.

    That’s because the word steel didn’t always mean “carbonized iron alloy” like it does today. The ancients often used the word to refer to ANY hard metal. It was often used for specifically bronze weapons, for instance. The word steel simply meant “hardened.”

    So a modern reader reads the word and thinks: “Hey! They’re talking about steel in there!”

    Nope. Try again.

    Even if you confine the word “continent” to North America, what then? It still doesn’t mean anything, because even the limited geographic model allows that some BoM events may have taken place outside the region where the majority of the book took place.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 3, 2007 @ 11:55 pm |Reply

  316. That’s great, Coventry. You engage in rude and inflammatory language, then when people call you on it, you claim they are egaging in an “outburst” because their position is “indefensible.” Brilliant. Does this mean you are taking back your apology?

    The LGM has been around as a possible theory for many years now. It has its proponents and detractors, but there is certainly nothing indefensible about it. There are many scholars who advocate it.

    It’s easy to characterize someone else’s arguments as an “outburst” or “indefensible,” but that’s just name-calling.

    Comment by mcquinn — December 4, 2007 @ 12:57 am |Reply

  317. Actually MCQ go back and read without tone, you use words like desperate etc I did not use such personal discriptions of character. I apologized for whatever I may have done to contribute to your outburst, but your offense with me has been at my “Tone” sorry but tone is what the reader assigns to the post. So I would disagree that used “rude and inflammatory language”

    But I have really gone out of my way to not attack personally. I have pointed out behaviors and percieved strategies. I think there is a difference.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 4, 2007 @ 1:18 am |Reply

  318. This is truly ironic. I agree with both MCQ and CRM – which makes me question my mental health. 🙂

    Fwiw, the LGM is not indefensible. Personally, I think the BofM presents two very different geographic models – one for the Jaredites and one for the Nephites, Lamanites and Mulekites. The intersection of the two was Zarahemla (wherever that was), but the actual geography covered by the Jaredite record isn’t addressed in any detail that can be used to pinpoint a location. That could have been anywhere on the continents – and break off groups over the thousands of years after the earliest migration could have covered a massive area, even extending across both continents without any strain at all on imagination. Frankly, since there is no way to determine Jaredite geography from the record, that hasn’t even been touched in a scholarly way – at least not of which I am aware.

    My main point – that is indisputable – is that the book itself doesn’t claim to address all of the inhabitants of the continents. It speaks of three distinct lineages (Jaredites, Nephites/Lamanites and Mulekites), but it is evident that the classifications by lineage quickly devolve into generic social distinctions between those (Nephites) who write and keep the records (and those with whom they assimilate) and those (Lamanites) who oppose them. It also is evident that the only reason the Jaredites even are included is that the one who survived the final battle came across the Mulekites and lived with them for a short time. Without that coincidence, we would have absolutely no knowledge of a people who had been around for at least a couple thousand years.

    Given that historical accident, there is no reason to believe that the BofM discusses even a large percentage of the continents’ inhabitants throughout the time it chronicles. Best example: Nobody in their right mind believes that the Bible addresses every inhabitant group of either Europe or Asia. Why not? The book itself doesn’t claim to do so, and we have the records of other peoples not detailed in it. Why is it indefensible to believe that the BofM is similar in that regard?

    Comment by Ray — December 4, 2007 @ 2:07 am |Reply

  319. >>Why is it indefensible to believe that the BofM is >>similar in that regard?

    Didn’t the prophets of God preach for 170+ years that the Lamanites=All inhabitants of North/Central/South America?

    Comment by SkiUtah — December 4, 2007 @ 5:41 am |Reply

  320. What if they did? Why does that even matter?

    Comment by Seth R. — December 4, 2007 @ 6:35 am |Reply

  321. I really think the LGM has many flaws. I’ll list a few here:

    Absolutely no mention of the great Mayan civilization/culture that dominated this region during the BoM timeline.

    The BoM people would have had to be assimilated by the Mayans, but not only is this not mentioned anywhere, the Mayans would not have appointed Nephi as their king.

    The indigenous people of the region were already dark. This had nothing to do with righteousness.

    If they were assimilated into the much larger (dark) group of Mayans, the Nephites would no longer have been “white and delightsome”. Their skin color would have been assimilated along with the Lamanites, but the BoM does not support this.

    There are more, but this is enough.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — December 4, 2007 @ 6:54 am |Reply

  322. Seth,

    It matters because we expect our prophets to know what they are talking about. It is simply hard to understand why every prophet in the last dispensation was wrong on this fundamental piece of LDS teaching.

    It matters because if they were wrong on something this fundamental, what else have they been wrong about?

    Blacks and the Priesthood?

    Polygamy?

    The First Vision?

    It matters very much.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — December 4, 2007 @ 6:59 am |Reply

  323. BR, First, the point is that this topic is NOT “fundamental” to anything; it is an interpretation. It is not related in any way to the Gospel of Christ, but rather to what a book of scripture says and doesn’t say. I understand completely that much was extrapolated from the early assumptions, but we have discarded much of what was taught in the beginning of the Restoration – because we never have taught infallibility and we believe in continuing (corrective) revelation.

    Frankly, I really like the fact that the book itself doesn’t make the incorrect claims that those who interpreted it thought it did. It’s ironic that Mormon leaders would be a source of “validation” in this way (by being mistaken about what it says), but I think it’s cool.

    Second, I and MANY Mormons believe that the Priesthood ban was not based on revelation but rather a people’s inability to accept the implications of full racial equality in a racist society (America) and with deeply racist upbringing (mainstream Protestant Christianity). I see the ban in the same general light as the failure of the United Order and the destruction of the original law revealed to Moses – as something the Lord did not want but allowed because that’s what He does throughout history. Compared to that issue, the importance of the exact meaning of Lamanite ancestry pales in comparison.

    Third, polygamy is viewed with multiple perspectives and beliefs by many Mormons. There is no universal perspective concerning it, and I say that as one who is not disturbed by it – as it was practiced back then.

    Finally, I go back to my original question so long ago. How do you define “prophet” – and if you accept the existence of prophets in the Bible, how do you feel about what they taught and understood? Discussing modern prophets makes no sense whatsoever without a discussion of ancient prophets first.

    Comment by Ray — December 4, 2007 @ 7:21 am |Reply

  324. The idea that the Nephite/Lamanite civilization spanned the entire N. American continent has never been scriptural. Neither has it ever been a central doctrine of our religion the way that the Atonement, God as our literal spirit Father, or even polygamy has been.

    I take it as simply their opinion.

    Now, your question: if prophets are not perfect in all their opinions on scriptural matters, why should we trust ANY of their statements?

    It is the divine birthright, privilege and duty of every latter-day saint to study out the truth of what a prophet says, using his or her own powers of reason and intuition, and then to pray personally to God – the source of all truth – to see if it is true.

    Now, I have never received any such confirmation of the Priesthood ban. Neither do I intellectually or instinctively agree with it as it was practiced and justified.

    But I have received such witness and conviction of the truth that God is my literal spirit Father and that my path in life is to seek to become as He is.

    So yes, I do believe in Joseph’s statements on that subject and I do believe in his prophetic calling. But I also believe he was a human being and was just as capable of being wrong as any man.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 4, 2007 @ 1:04 pm |Reply

  325. As for polygamy, if you look closely, you’ll note that that principle never was repealed. Only the mortal practice of it ceased.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 4, 2007 @ 1:05 pm |Reply

  326. BR: Ok, I’ll play.

    “Absolutely no mention of the great Mayan civilization/culture that dominated this region during the BoM timeline.”

    You seem to be misunderstanding the idea behind the LGM. It’s a limited geography. That being the case, it is certainly possible that the BoM civilazations and the Mayan civilizations never met. If they did meet, it is also possible that there would be no mention of it in the BoM, because of the abridgement performed by Mormon, and because, as some of the BoM writers noted, not even a hundredth part of the history of the people was recorded.

    “The BoM people would have had to be assimilated by the Mayans, but not only is this not mentioned anywhere, the Mayans would not have appointed Nephi as their king.”

    This is partly covered above, but let me also say that this statement relies on numerous assumptions that are completely unfounded. In other words, The BoM people may or may not have met up with the Mayans and they may or may not have been assimilated by the Mayans, and if they were, the Lamanites could have been assimilated while the Nephites remained seperate, and if any assimilation took place it may or may not have been during the time of Nephi, and the Mayans may or may not have been interested in being ruled by Nephi, or the Mayans may or may not have converted to the Nephite religion, in which case, having Nephi as their king would have been agreeable to them. The bottom line is: we don’t know enough about these cultures and the relevant timeline to make the statements you are making.

    “The indigenous people of the region were already dark.”

    As of when? When Lehi got here? Are you saying that the entire continent was already overrun completely by dark-skinned peoples at the time Lehi arrived? That doesn’t seem to be supported by any evidence I’ve read about.

    “This had nothing to do with righteousness.”

    How do you know that BR? Do you have a detailed record of the people who were here and their dealings with God? Are you saying you know absolutely the source of their skin color? I am always amazed by people who think they know things like this. The fact is that you don’t know. You only think you do.

    “If they were assimilated into the much larger (dark) group of Mayans, the Nephites would no longer have been “white and delightsome”. Their skin color would have been assimilated along with the Lamanites, but the BoM does not support this.”

    I’m not particularly interested in discussions of skin color, because I don’t think it matters one bit, but it seems to me that the Lamainites could have intermarried with the Mayans, and that this is what caused the change in their skin color. Perhaps the Nephites did not do this, which is why they remained lighter skinned. Bottom line: We don’t know.

    Comment by MCQ — December 4, 2007 @ 5:02 pm |Reply

  327. Ray
    You said
    “Third, polygamy is viewed with multiple perspectives and beliefs by many Mormons. There is no universal perspective concerning it, and I say that as one who is not disturbed by it – as it was practiced back then. ”

    You are not disturbed by how it was practiced ?? 😦

    “If it is the duty of a husband to take a wife, take her. But it is not the privilege of a woman to dictate the husband, and tell WHO OR HOW MANY HE SHALLTAKE, or what he shall do with them when he gets them, but it is the duty of the woman to submit cheerfully”
    Brigham Young Journal Of Discourses VOL 17 page 159

    D&C 132 : 61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse aanother, and the FIRST GIVE HER CONSENT,

    Brigham Young openly taught and ignored D&C.

    It’s easy not to be disturbed when you are not at the receiving end of the orders.

    Comment by elder joseph — December 4, 2007 @ 5:30 pm |Reply

  328. There is simply far too little archaeological evidence to draw conclusions one way or the other.

    Archaeological study of Central America is worlds apart from study of Mesopotamia and the surrounding civilizations. The only language that scholars have even managed to decipher enough to read is Mayan. The others remain, more or less, a complete mystery. And as for Mayan, scholars are still guessing as to the correct pronunciations and soundings of words. A key to proving or disproving the Book of Mormon would be place names. Unfortunately, scholars are completely unable to decipher such pronunciations from the existing data. There is simply know way to know how the places were pronounced.

    Furthermore, ancient Christian and Jewish religions (the contemporary of Nephite religion) have left very, very little artifacts behind. Little solid evidence of their existence. This is always the case with religions which do not rely heavily on icons or symbols. We know about a lot of ancient religions SOLELY because they left behind stone idols that can be observed and studied today. This is obviously not the case with Christianity or Judaism at the earliest. If the Romans had obliterated the newfound Christian sect in the first 200 years of its existence, it is possible that we today still wouldn’t even know it ever existed. There was precious little written about it by either Roman sources or others outside its own tradition.

    The only way that a non-iconic religious tradition survives long enough for modern people to study it and know about it is if it is the religious tradition of history’s victors (such as Roman Catholicism or Islam). That way, religious texts are passed down from generation to generation and oral traditions are maintained. Obviously, this wasn’t the case with the Nephites.

    Lack of evidence does not equal refutation. Just because there is no record of Nephite civilization doesn’t prove it never existed. Any historian or archaeologist can tell you that.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 4, 2007 @ 5:31 pm |Reply

  329. EJ,

    1800s polygamy was no more abusive than monogamy was at that time.

    Do you see me demanding apologies from Methodists for all the marital-rape, arranged marriages, and spousal abuse that occurred under their precious monogamy – and STILL occurs in 30% of American households (if you believe some studies)?

    Why does Mormonism’s worst always get held up as the norm, whereas the rest of society always gets its best held up in comparison? Rather unfair don’t you think?

    Compared to the crap that was going on throughout the rest of the American West at that time period, Utah polygamy was practically a model of virtue and women’s rights. I feel little pressing need to apologize for my ancestors on this score.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 4, 2007 @ 5:39 pm |Reply

  330. These are not assumptions they were recorded as revelation. There is literally statement after statement regarding the New York, Native Americans, Nephites and Lamanites. I just can’t see how you can say these were assumptions, and this is being talked about by the men as things that JS told them or revelations and or visions they themselves have seen.

    That is the majority of what you have regarding church history and the restoration. Records of what Joseph Smith said happened as recorded by those that wrote church history and were approved and accepted by the Church.

    In my opinion if you can use this line of reasoning and make the LGM even an option then you can throw out or change anything ever spoken of or revealed, including the First vision, Moroni’s visitation etc…. These witnesses then have no credibility. Here is but a few examples:

    The Lord, by a revelation through Joseph Smith,Millennial Star, 42, The date of this revelation was probably October 17, 1830. Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” 212. 131 directs Pratt to go with Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson “unto the wilderness among the Lamanites” (meaning the American Indians).

    Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 3:, p.238

    JOSEPH SMITH LOCATES CUMORAH IN WESTERN NEW YORK. Perhaps this matter could rest at this point, but the question of the territory now embraced within the United States having been in possession of Nephites and Lamanites before the death of Mormon, carries some weight in the determining of this matter. In the light of revelation it is absurd for anyone to maintain that the Nephites and Lamanites did not possess this northern land. While Zion’s camp was marching on the way to Jackson County, near the bank of the Illinois River they came to a mound containing the skeleton of a man. The history of this incident is as follows:

    “The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire, and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow. The contemplation of the scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thickset man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or at least, in part-one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites.”

    HEBER C. KIMBALL TELLS OF DEATH OF ZELPH. Elder Heber C. Kimball who was present recorded the following in his journal: “While on our way we felt anxious to know who the person was who had been killed by that arrow. It was made known to Joseph that he had been an officer who fell in battle, in the last destruction among the Lamanites, and his name was Zelph. This caused us to rejoice much, to think that God was so mindful of us as to show these things to his servant. Brother Joseph had inquired of the Lord, and it was made known in a vision.”

    His names was even revealed so you are going to have say these guy just made it up and lied about the vision etc, or what? It was clear and concise what they are saying GOD revealed to them.

    One other point I have heard it many times in defense of things like blacks and the priesthood, that the Prophets and Apostles are limited to their understanding of things and therefore can get things a bit wrong or not understand beyond their ability to understand. This line of reason as never made much sense to me considering claims like the one above. God can speak pretty clearly to men apparently when he wants to, can even tell them a name of a Lamanite warrior and even tell them specifics about Zelph.

    Comment by conventryRM — December 4, 2007 @ 7:32 pm |Reply

  331. SethR

    You said
    “Do you see me demanding apologies from Methodists for all the marital-rape, arranged marriages, and spousal abuse that occurred under their precious monogamy – and STILL occurs in 30% of American households (if you believe some studies)?
    Why does Mormonism’s worst always get held up as the norm, whereas the rest of society always gets its best held up in comparison? Rather unfair don’t you think?”

    The reason I bring this up is because it was all sanctioned by God according to the Mormon Prophets and Leaders claiming to lead the only true church etc.

    I don’t hear the Abusive 30% of American households in abusive situations claiming that its from divine revelation.And I’m certain that Methodists didn’t claim God commanded them to abuse their spouses .

    Comment by elder joseph — December 4, 2007 @ 7:55 pm |Reply

  332. Oh come on EJ. Religion has ALWAYS been cited as a reason for beating up your wife, from antiquity to present day. It’s not a uniquely Mormon thing.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 4, 2007 @ 10:14 pm |Reply

  333. “Whether the revelation meant that the man was alive during the BoM time period is not clear, thus we can’t extrapolate from it much about BoM geography.”

    This is pretty clear

    “He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or at least, in part-one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites.”

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 4, 2007 @ 11:05 pm |Reply

  334. Coventry:

    Once again, you are conflating things that should be kept seperate. Of course, there are many revelations where the words “among the Lamanites” are used to refer to the American Indians. If it is accurate to say that the Lord was using this revelation as a means of revealing the ancestry of the people known as American Indians, then there would be a problem with anyone now suggesting otherwise.

    But that is not the case:

    1. The Lord has always used the language of the receiver of the revelation. “Among the Lamanites” is not a phrase revealing knowledge from the Lord concerning the American Indians. He has a completely seperate purpose, and he is merely using that phrase as an indicator of a certain place that would be known to the person to whom he is speaking. Thus, it has no revelatory effect concerning ancestry, the LGM or anything about the geography of the BoM. It is simply not concerned with those issues.

    2. The Zelph story is interesting and it does tend to locate BoM geography in North America. Elder McConkie used the story for this very purpose, as you have noted. I disagree with Elder McConkie that the story is dispositive on this point. We don’t have Joseph’s account of the story. The accounts we do have are not in agreement on certain important points. That Joseph said he received a revelation is clear, that he was told the name of the man and his designation as “a white Lamanite” is clear. The accounts differ as to other details. Whether the revelation meant that the man was alive during the BoM time period is not clear, thus we can’t extrapolate from it much about BoM geography.

    “God can speak pretty clearly to men apparently when he wants to, can even tell them a name of a Lamanite warrior and even tell them specifics about Zelph.”

    Of course he can. The question is not whether he can. The question is always: “what did God choose to reveal?” In the case of the priesthood ban, my response to that question is: nothing. There is no revelation that created the priesthood ban. It was a mistake made by a person with prejudices that he could not overcome. That mistake was perpetuated by people who also had prejudices or who were just reluctant to overturn prior practices without specific instruction from God. That’s just my opinion, of course.

    Comment by MCQ — December 4, 2007 @ 11:07 pm |Reply

  335. THat is amazing when I respond to your post before you post it. That should make wonder about my powers! 🙂

    I would disagree with you that I am conflating things. I don’t think you can seperate it. When it fits it is a testiment of truth when it doesn’t it should be kept seperate.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 4, 2007 @ 11:12 pm |Reply

  336. Coventry:

    Once again, sloppy reasoning on your part. All you did was requote the same language you already quoted. Yes, the language itself is clear in that one account. What is not clear is if that is in fact what the revelation said. Other accounts differ. When I say “clear” what I mean is that seperate accounts are in agreement on that point. In this case, the account you quoted is not supported by the other accountsa in some respects. That is why it is not “clear.”

    I stand by my statement that you are conflating the two concepts of revelations concerning “Lamanites” and revelations concerning missionary calls.

    “When it fits it is a testiment of truth when it doesn’t it should be kept seperate.”

    That’s a very flippant statement that is simply not applicable here. We are not talking about whether something “fits.” We are talking about whether the revelation in question was concerned with Lamanite ancestry. It wasn’t. That is an incontrovertible fact. You can try to argue that it can be used for that purpose, but it is a bad argument, due to the fact that the revelation was not concerned with that concept, and therefore should not be applied in that context.

    Comment by MCQ — December 4, 2007 @ 11:40 pm |Reply

  337. MCQ

    I make my points you may agree or disagree I find it interesting however that you can not seem to have a discussion without getting personal. I am not sure why you so easily take and put such negative tones on my posts. I am just arguing my point. I point out where I think your arguments fail by pointing out the point and where I disagree. Not by labeling whether I think they are sloppy or that you are desperate etc, my opinion of you as a person irrelevant to the points of discussion.

    I do think my point is valid that I feel there is an inconsistency and that when evidence or speculation seems to support your position it is relevant but when it does not then it doesn’t matter. You already have made up your mind. I am sure you think the same about me, I have changed my mind once if there were compelling evidence to the contrary I would owe it myself to change it again. In fact it continues to evolve and change daily as I learn and seek new knowledge.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 5, 2007 @ 12:03 am |Reply

  338. Coventry,

    It has become apparent that some of the newcomers to Steffie’s blog are incapable of having an intelligent adult discussion on any topic they disagree with.

    Any opposing comment is made from misunderstanding and is unfounded. I read these responses and have to shake my head. I would be embarrassed to make some of the statements made with absolutely nothing to back it up aside from “I said so or there is no evidence.” Its ridiculous and not worth the time it takes to refute. I have grown weary of this drivel and am checking out. I can no longer take this blog.

    Its too bad too because I like Steffie. The thing that is really telling about this though is that people like Steffie (and I don’t mean this in a demeaning way) believe this drivel because they are pro LDS. That is not only sad and unfair, but it is dangerous.

    I hate leaving, because that is exactly what these “saints” want…to rid Steffie’s blog of the Riff Raff. But I’m just sick of the bad feeling I always leave this blog with.

    I’m out.

    Bishop Rick

    Comment by Bishop Rick — December 5, 2007 @ 1:32 am |Reply

  339. Rick, I can’t speak for MCQ, but I’ve done my best to more or less “back off” on the confrontational stuff. I really do feel bad about the earlier unpleasantness.

    I don’t care if you want to assert that we haven’t proven anything. Mostly because it’s true. We haven’t.

    But I’d also like an acknowledgment that our critics haven’t even come close to refuting anything either.

    As for feeling bad, it’s probably inevitable. Both of us have invested a lot of emotional energy in our positions. We tend to feel like crap when those positions are undermined, ridiculed, or constantly questioned and challenged.

    So, I guess we both know a bit of how it feels to be on the other side.

    If you want to step back from it all, I can hardly blame you. The debate club is hardly the place to go for feeling the spirit. Best.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 5, 2007 @ 2:23 am |Reply

  340. I have been one of the voices of reason, I believe, but I must say this bluntly:

    BR, what a crock of horse stuff! We can’t have an intelligent conversation? Every time we get past the rhetoric and simply discuss our beliefs, we have a very good, intelligent conversation. CRM and I and MCQ and Seth have had some extremely intelligent conversations. Almost every time you and ej interject your view and we respond with ours, we get charged with idiocy – and you complain about our part of these conversations. What a crock.

    I have asked a fundamental question at least four times: “How do you view ancient Biblical prophets?” Steffie repeated that question. You skipped right over it – ignored it like it was poison. You were fine throwing bile and attacking Steffie’s beliefs and impugning her intelligence before we arrived. Go back and read what you said before we got here. It was ugly and vicious and mean-spirited and condescending – and you were fine with it because Steffie smiled and took it and expressed love for you – because she is an amazing woman. Now, she is happy about the extra discussions happening and you sulk away and call us names as you leave.

    Good riddance – except for the effect your childishness and selfishness and unconcern for the wishes of a wonderful lady has had on Steffie. I promised myself and you and Steffie that I would not address my biggest concern with your (and ej’s) comments, and I will not break that promise. Simply realize that it is MUCH deeper and harsher than what I have written in this comment.

    I will respect your last comment to this degree: I am done with your comments, as well. I have no authority whatsoever, but I also would ask with all respect for MCQ and Seth and anyone else also to respect your request and allow you to leave without further engagement.

    I sincerely hope that you can find somewhere else where you can go back to throwing bile happily. I hope even more that you realize what you are doing (even if you never change your mind) and repent – not of your beliefs, which are your own and which I expect you to follow, but of your actions toward those like Steffie who have shown you nothing but love.

    Comment by Ray — December 5, 2007 @ 2:36 am |Reply

  341. CRM, I came across a wonderful quote that reminded me immediately of you. It is from Harvard Magazine (http://harvardmagazine.com/2007/11/the-undiscovered-planet.html) – the final sentence of the lead article. (If that link does not transfer properly, I will type it in another comment as two parts.)

    “You do find, every once in a while, someone who has actually thought about the same problem in a very different way”—and that can be the most important sort of catalyst: the kind that leads to new discoveries.”

    That’s my ideal conversation: one where each person discovers something new because of the different way of thought of the other(s). I’m not interested at all in broad, sweeping generalities; I’ve heard all of them by now. I’m interested in thoughtful, nuanced discussion.

    Comment by Ray — December 5, 2007 @ 4:30 am |Reply

  342. Coventry: #338: Where did I get personal? Where I said you were flippant?

    Comment by MCQ — December 5, 2007 @ 7:11 am |Reply

  343. Ray: #341, Amen and Amen.

    Comment by MCQ — December 5, 2007 @ 7:16 am |Reply

  344. One of my Fave hymns when I attended church

    Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
    But with joy, wend your way.
    Though hard to you this journey may appear,
    Grace shall be as your day.
    ’Tis better far for us to strive
    Our useless cares from us to drive;
    Do this, and joy your hearts will swell
    All is well! All is well! …….

    And should we die before our journey’s through,
    Happy day! All is well!

    2 Ne. 28: 25
    25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! 🙂

    Comment by elder joseph — December 5, 2007 @ 10:47 am |Reply

  345. D&C 10:63: …”for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.”

    Comment by MCQ — December 5, 2007 @ 11:01 am |Reply

  346. MCQ – When you say things like sloppy reasoning, I have stayed away from classifying my opinion of your reasoning or if I wanted to respond in kind I would have said (lack of intelligent reasoning.) The points of discussion should be enough.

    The flippant isn’t personal so much as it shows me that you do apply meaning and tone to things that aren’t necessarily there. If a post gets you riled, read it again out loud in a monotone voice. If you still feel I said something offensive please just simply point it out.

    I also think you guys are not being fair to BR on this one. Before your arrival my impression was BR was very respectful. It actually took me awhile to figure out exactly where he stood. I also think Bile is a bit strong for what was being said.

    Of course I am biased here and maybe it should be this way since it is an LDS blog, but the LDS to seem to be the ones that get angry and attack the person, for the most part we can get aggressive attacking or pointing out things we feel the church or its leaders have done that we feel are worth pointing out. Even EJ lashes out at the early Church and the things he feels strongly about but from what I have seen unless someone takes a personal shot at him he sticks to his attacks on JS and BY. Should it really be our issue that you choose to attach so personally to these people and the organization?

    I am not saying in anyway that I have never crossed lines, I do try and stay away from blatant put downs. One of my goals and one reason I stay with this blog is to better learn to have open dialog with Faithful LDS as that constitutes most of my family.

    MCQ – Have you noticed I don’t use TBM anymore 🙂

    I am going to stick with this and if I feel someone crosses a line I will just point it out and not attack back, I wish you would all do the same with me. When things seem to be getting off track or heated in here, I walk away call it a day and come back in the morning and see where things have gone and post with a clearer head.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 5, 2007 @ 4:16 pm |Reply

  347. I don’t know what “bile” Ray was referring to. At first, I wasn’t really being all that careful about who was saying what, so EJ, Coventry, and BR merged into one for me. The one thread where I sat down and actually sorted out who was saying what, BR came out pretty respectful. I suppose Ray has other specific instances in mind that I missed.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 5, 2007 @ 5:44 pm |Reply

  348. Something I have been perplexed by is trying to understand the thinking process in regards to this evidence I feel I have presented that I feel does not allow much wiggle room on this B of M LGM discussion.

    To me it seems there is this big disconnect. It was said over and over that the Lamanite/Nephite conflict happened in or around New York. It was said not as opinion but by very clear and distinct revelations as received as per the example I gave about Zelph. It seems to be so easy to dismiss past statements or revelation that turn out to create problems for the church currently as evidence continues to come forward. This isn’t the point I want to emphasize and get sidetracked on however.

    Here is my observation. Currently it iseems accepted that the Lord reveals things to the Prophet and Apostles very subtly. Based on current comments by Hinckley I would almost say they are claiming inspiration more so than revelation. Is this where the disconnect comes into play? It occurred to me that if you applied how you perceive revelation happening today to those during Joseph Smiths, and early Church history as things were being established and recorded as the narrative for which the church was to be founded on. Then the ease at which they can be dismissed makes sense to me.

    The problem I have with that scenario is then were these men just exaggerating their experience? Did they realize for this to be a success they needed to make incredibly bold claims? Or perhaps God knew that they needed to make incredibly bold claims and gave them visions and such then to insure the success of the church, but then why did he not at least give them true information? Short of God actually giving them these visions which I think is problematic as well. We then have the problem of if they exaggerated things then doesn’t that bring into question all things claimed? The first vision, Moroni’s visitations etc.

    When I first left the Church I still believed that JS must have had some sort of epiphany, spiritual experience, and that it perhaps just snowballed out of control and that he was not the con man that he has been painted out to be by the Anti’s I am still somewhat open to that idea.

    I am just curious as to what your opinions are or thoughts regarding the perception I have of the disconnect concerning the strong claims made by the early church leaders.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 5, 2007 @ 6:14 pm |Reply

  349. You know its funny. Ray was not one that I was thinking of when I said “…some…”, and I later realized that I had forgotten to answer his question about Prophets of the bible, and came back today just to answer that question before leaving.

    I guess I had Ray pegged wrong. His response is really surprising to me and is very telling.

    I have never been disrespectful to Steffie…ever.

    If anyone has any bile they would like to throw at me, feel free. bishopr77@yahoo.com

    Out.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — December 5, 2007 @ 6:17 pm |Reply

  350. Well Coventry, I won’t pretend this doesn’t bug me a bit too. Why does the conduit to God seem different today than it was in Joseph’s time? Is it because men have changed too much to experience God the way Joseph Smith did? I don’t know, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

    As far as what Joseph was, a few possibilities:

    1. Con man, fraud, huckster, what EJ said.

    2. A man who really did hear God’s voice, and God really did tell him to do all the stuff he did.

    3. Your idea – a man with good intentions and spiritual impulses that got out of hand.

    #3 can be broken down a few ways – some of them more flattering to Joseph, some less so. Let’s play a few what ifs.

    What if Joseph really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, but made up the rest of it?

    Or, what if he saw God and Jesus, really did translate the Book of Mormon correctly and did start God’s “true Church” as instructed, but then was mistaken on all sorts of other issues?

    Or, what if the guy was simply a “fallen prophet” and God allowed him to die over the sin of polygamy, or whatever other thing you want to theorize?

    Or what if he was just a brilliant mind with some really neat theological ideas that are worth looking at and considering, but he went off the deep end in a lot of other things?

    Joseph really isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, whether you are atheist, or Mormon, or anti-Mormon, or Catholic, or whatever.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 5, 2007 @ 7:12 pm |Reply

  351. Lamanite Mission thought

    MCQ – has argued I think that I am taking it out of context when I use the fact that Church used the term Lamanite as a discription of Native Americans and that it was a just an interchangeable term.

    As I have read more and seethe way they talked about those early missions and such I think it makes more sense that they used it that way because it was an accepted doctrine at the time that Lamanites did indeed occupy the territories and that there was no question as to that they were in fact the direct decedents of Lehi and this had indeed come to them through revelation.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 5, 2007 @ 7:33 pm |Reply

  352. Well Coventry, I guess the questions are 1) were they right? and 2) if they were wrong, does that in fact invalidate everything they ever said? and 3) if not everything, which selective things does it invalidate? and 4) how does this matter to me?

    Comment by Seth R. — December 5, 2007 @ 7:38 pm |Reply

  353. Heck, for all we know, maybe the BoM did take place on the US eastern seaboard. LGM is just a theory, it certainly hasn’t been proven. Neither has the geography ever been really established or proven or disproven.

    My ONLY point in ever bringing up LGM is to establish that “we don’t know” is the best position to take with respect to the facts of the BoM.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 5, 2007 @ 7:40 pm |Reply

  354. Seth

    I think it goes back to what is being said in 349 and 351

    For me regardless of what JS actually was or saw. It just doesn’t seem that under any scenario what happened late in JS life and expecially durring BY’s life that you have an uninterrupted line of Prophets talking to God. Giving it the best benefit of the doubt, for me at best what you now have is basically the same as the Catholic church a Church run and operated by Men trying to make he best sense out of past and ancient myths which they hold to be true. (myth not meaning it has to be false just that there is no physical evidence to support the belief)

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 5, 2007 @ 7:48 pm |Reply

  355. You’d probably be interested in this sermon from Boyd K. Packer in the most recent General Conference:

    http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-775-2,00.html

    The part pertinent to your point is when he relates his own personal experience in being called as a General Authority about halfway through the text.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 5, 2007 @ 7:53 pm |Reply

  356. Big difference between what is claimed now and what was claimed then. It will be very interesting to see how things continue within the Church, in my 45 years it has changed quite abit. When I talk to my kids it is almost like they belong to a different Church than what I experienced.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 5, 2007 @ 8:01 pm |Reply

  357. Oh my! What happened?

    Bishop Rick, you have NEVER been disrespectful, although we do have differences of opinion. EJ is another story, I think Ray was talking more about his comments, (and like seth said he probably meshed you all into one)

    But BR it saddens me that you are “out”!!!!! You know I don’t want you to leave, but I respect your feelings.

    I do like having more Mormons here, and lots of the comments here are based on opinion, on both sides, and we are all intitled to our own.

    Maybe we should talk about something nice and happy, like how we can all make the world a better place. We all have the ability to forgive and forget, maybe we should start there! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 5, 2007 @ 9:37 pm |Reply

  358. Yeah, forgive and forget. Or morph and move on.

    Although, some habits are hard to break. I still have a 2 year supply of food in my basement…

    Comment by SkiUtah — December 5, 2007 @ 10:11 pm |Reply

  359. steffie

    “EJ is another story” ??? ? whaaat ! lol …….. I agree 🙂

    But if you had a choice of associating between Joseph Smith , Brigham Young or myself , I reckon you would pick me anyday 🙂 ( for obvious reasons ) hahahahah

    I purposely left BR out cos he would have won ! lol

    I gave up attending church finally after 2 years .I’m on my fourth week out .If you knew my faithfull two year track record then you’ll know how sad it is for them and myself.

    But for me its a victory to have been able to finally say no and it’s not easy to do, having been a part of the church for so long and associated so much with the church members . This is a bit of a trap in my opinion as weaker people mistake the attention for the Spirit and answer about the church being ‘true’ !

    And yes I miss them all very much as individuals. They know they can come round any time as Mormons are always welcome , my subject of discussion might make them uneasy though 🙂

    and the missionaries ? well they insist on coming round. 🙂

    Comment by elder joseph — December 5, 2007 @ 11:11 pm |Reply

  360. SkiUtah,

    The real question is whether you have a many-year-old jar of honey sitting in your pantry that has essentially become one giant jolley-rancher.

    That’s the mark of a true Mormon!

    Comment by Seth R. — December 6, 2007 @ 1:04 am |Reply

  361. I have been gone all day and finally got back to read the latest comments.

    1) I owe BR an apology. My comment was a reaction to the reason he gave for leaving – that the blog had gone to Hell since the Mormons arrived, with the implication that the Spirit had been there before we started blogging here. In refuting that claim (which I truly do think is ludicrous), I lumped him with ej in the bile throwing category – since he generally “takes ej’s side” whenever it turns into a nasty argument. However, in doing so, he rarely threw bile himself. So, again, I owe him a sincere apology. Steffie, if he does not return, will you please copy this paragraph and e-mail it to him?

    2) Yes, that means the main target of my comment was ej – and Brad, but he had disappeared already. Sorry, ej, but I can’t extend the apology to you – although I can add a 🙂 to this comment. 🙂

    3) CRM, I agree totally that different times breed different perspectives. When we take a step back and view the bitter, physical persecution suffered by the early Saints – that included torture (tar and feathering), rape, murder, theft of property, etc. – it is easy to understand the need to phrase everything in absolutes. For example, I have said more than once that Brigham Young would be a lousy prophet now – but also that he might have been the only man alive (“The Lion of the Lord”) who could have kept the Church together during that Hellish time. Personally, as a believer, I think the Lord was willing to accept him “as is” (including his beliefs that we now view as wacky or racist or wrong in some way) in order to keep the Church from being utterly destroyed.

    4) John, the Baptist, was rejected by many because he was a “wild man” who wouldn’t drink wine. Jesus was rejected by some because he was too “common” and DID drink wine. My point? Prophets have been rejected for all kinds of subjective reasons throughout history – and most, if not all, of the ancient prophets would be rejected now for something or another, including in most cases for things they taught that we not longer accept.

    Comment by Ray — December 6, 2007 @ 3:49 am |Reply

  362. Ray

    Do you accept the history of persecution as told by the Church, without regard to the non LDS story or perception?

    It also seems that the stating things in strong absolutes happened before the claimed widespread persecution and may have also been part of the reason for it. Kind of a catch 22 there.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 6, 2007 @ 3:47 pm |Reply

  363. Coventry, I think it’s fair to say that history should never be accepted from any one source. Any good historian that writes a history of the church would use many sources. That’s what I have tried to do when looking at the history of the church, including views of Joseph Smith, Polygamy, etc. Active LDS tend to read and believe only the accounts published by official church sources. Non-LDS tend to automatically discount the church sources and believe only the non-LDS or even anti sources. Both approaches are flawed, if you are trying to get an accurate picture.

    I like your last few comments on this thread. You may be right that I was misreading you.

    As to the LGM, I think one problem is that we really don’t have a good definition of what that term means. I agree with most of what Seth says above, and it may very well be that the view of the BoM taking place in North America is accurate. I just don’t think we need to get locked into that, because it also could be that that viewwas based mostly on the fact that the plates were found here, which may or may not be a fact that leads to that conclusion.

    You said:

    “The problem I have with that scenario is then were these men just exaggerating their experience? Did they realize for this to be a success they needed to make incredibly bold claims? Or perhaps God knew that they needed to make incredibly bold claims and gave them visions and such then to insure the success of the church, but then why did he not at least give them true information? Short of God actually giving them these visions which I think is problematic as well. We then have the problem of if they exaggerated things then doesn’t that bring into question all things claimed? The first vision, Moroni’s visitations etc.”

    It seems this question comes up all the time. One problem is in talking about this issue in general terms. We should focus on specific statements, because they are not all the same. Which “bold statements ” are you talking about?

    If we have to talk generally, then I think the following is good to keep in mind:

    1. It was a different time than today. If you read political speeches of the time, or newspaper articles, you can also see this. People spoke about things differently. Things were seen in bolder, more black and white terms. Statements were made that were more absolute than we are usually comfortable making today. Does that mean they were exaggerating? Does it mean they didn’t believe what they were saying? Absolutely not. But it does mean that they might have expressed things differently if they lived in a different time.

    2. Did God not give them true information? This is tricky. To me, it depends on what you mean by “true.” If it turns out that the story of the Garden of Eden, or the flood, or Job is more like a parable, and that it didn’t actually happen exactly as told in the Bible, does that mean that God did not tell the truth? Not to me. I believe that if it teaches true principles, then it is true, whether it literally happened that way or not. This is why getting hung up on the LGM, or other details is silly, because the actual history matters so much less than this question: Is it from God or not?

    Comment by MCQ — December 6, 2007 @ 4:16 pm |Reply

  364. CRM, I am a former history teacher who used to rail against the fact that histories generally are just the perspective of the winners. I think that, just as I made the mistake of conflating much of BR’s last comment with the rest of the bile that used to flow on this blog simply because of how a small part of it called me an idiot and blamed me (in part) for driving away a good spirit, you and BR often conflate what I and Seth and MCQ are trying to say with what is said by other Mormons who often DO rely solely on one-sided accounts.

    I don’t understand the past perfectly, but I have taken pains to read and consider MANY different perspectives (from all along the spectrum of bias). I react most vigorously to comments that ignore my careful study and consideration and attempts to reconcile opposing voices and, instead, rely solely on the same simplistic statements that I worked through long ago – and in the face of MUCH more complex and reasoned analogy. That’s why I have so little tolerance for ej’s bombs, frankly. I’ve heard everything he says literally hundreds of times, but I’ve heard it in MUCH more intelligent arguments from trained theologians and world-respected intellectuals. When he tosses such simplistic sound-bites, I just get weary. I honestly don’t mean that as a boast or a statement about my own abilities; I simply mean it as I said it – been there, heard that, reconciled that, have no desire to tackle it again.

    Comment by Ray — December 6, 2007 @ 6:24 pm |Reply

  365. Ray,

    You’re still reading EJ’s comments? I stopped reading most of his comments a couple weeks ago.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 6, 2007 @ 8:10 pm |Reply

  366. Ray, you were a history teacher? That was always my favorite subject (and english). I totally agree with you, history is all about perspective!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 6, 2007 @ 8:15 pm |Reply

  367. I guess the answer to my question is “no” but I am not sure. I just know that many people take the position of that all the stuff contrary was just made up to make JS look bad. I was wondering where you stood on that.

    When I ask a question I am asking a question not making an assumption. I even made sure I put a “?” so it wouldn’t be taken as anything but a question.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 12:46 am |Reply

  368. MCQ

    I am curious has to how you reconcile the Garden of Eden, Flood issue. Is it still doctrine that saints will some day gather in missouri?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 12:48 am |Reply

  369. Coventry, I guess I’ve just never heard a justification for the persectutions that didn’t boil down to “eew! You Mormons are gross!” Makes it kind of hard to take the persecutors seriously at an intellectual level.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 12:51 am |Reply

  370. Coventry, if you want my view on Biblical literalism, you can check out this blog post I wrote a couple months ago:

    http://www.nine-moons.com/2007/10/12/crushing-my-inner-literalist/

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 12:57 am |Reply

  371. Seth

    Are you talking about persecuters in JS time? or presently?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 1:03 am |Reply

  372. JS’s time. But a lot of the stuff today seems to qualify too.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 2:19 am |Reply

  373. CRM, “No” would have been a much simpler and more concise answer. *grin* So . . .

    No. However, I also don’t dismiss the history as told by the Church as “lies” – and I don’t do that about much of what was and is written by those outside the Church. (Although, my favorite religious story of all time was the account written in the mid-late 1800’s by a woman who claimed to have been held captive in the Salt Lake temple as a sex slave of the Mormon leadership. She escaped by jumping out of a window into the Great Salt Lake and swimming away. I couldn’t have invented a more ridiculous and physically impossible story, but it was a bet seller in its time.)

    Comment by Ray — December 7, 2007 @ 3:42 am |Reply

  374. Coventry:

    I’m not sure what you mean by reconcile. I accept that there are those who doubt many of the things that are stated in the scriptures because they seem impossible or because there is a lack of evidence to support them. This is true for the Bible as much as the BoM. For me, it has never beenvery important to know whether the garden was literally in Missouri (after all, the world was very different then, what does it mean to say it was “in Misssouri” anyway? It was the same dirt?), or whether there was a literal fruit eaten, or a literal flood covering the whole earth. Those things don’t matter to me as much as the principles taught by those stories.

    Comment by MCQ — December 7, 2007 @ 6:03 am |Reply

  375. MCQ

    It just seems that Mormon doctrine pretty much requires a belief in a literal flood, the garden of Eden and the fall Adam also seems like according to Mormon doctrine you would have to believe in a young earth less than 7000 years old. You would have to believe that modern man inhabited the North American Continent First, that the continents separated something like 4000 years ago. I am just curious are those teachings in your mind the same as the Lamanite question we discussed earlier.

    Ray

    I am aware of these wonderful Mormon myths, while on my mission in England there were plenty of British that told me they had heard that the Mormons would lure young girls into the London temple and that there was a tunnel that went to the Salt Lake temple and they would be forced to marry the Mormon prophet.

    So I understand that there are exaggerations being told, I am sure on both ends. The same skepticism should be used looking at any of the claims and stories told, Mormon or Non Mormon.

    Seth

    I disagree that the best the persecutors could come up with is “eew! You Mormons are gross!” Maybe not you but others on here have said we need to understand the times and not apply how things are today to judge what happened then. Many of the persecutors as I understand it were riled up by those that JS had tried either to marry their wives or daughters. I would guess that if we apply the same principle of understanding the time period to send out a mob to deal with JS were how things were done then. I have been doing some reading about events that lead up to the revolution and such and mob mentality was pretty much a norm of dealing with someone that they considered a scoundrel. I think the persecution at the time was based more than on just ewww they are a peculiar people or gross.

    Not saying what they did was right or justified but I do understand that they did have some valid reasons for fearing the Mormon movement and being upset or angry with Joseph.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 7:45 am |Reply

  376. Coventry, I do not believe that the earth is 7,000 years old. I believe it is how old most scientists claim it is. I do not reject evolution. Neither do I believe that current LDS doctrine requires that I do. I believe that God uses scientific means to carry out His designs.

    My feeling is that the Flood, if it happened (it might actually be a religious story and nothing more), was actually a localized phenomenon and did not cover the ENTIRE earth. Evolutionary and genetic patterns of animals in Australia make the idea that every animal originated from the ark quite impossible – unless you believe that God artificially “made it work,” in which case, maybe you believe dinosaur bones were placed on the earth by Satan to tempt us. Whatever.

    I’m also entirely open to the story of Adam and Eve being symbolic (the temple ceremonies already portray it that way). I’m not a Biblical literalist.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 3:39 pm |Reply

  377. Seth

    As you should know I could post quote after quote about was what taught as being literal even until very recently and maybe even still today. I suppose this all could again be refuted by saying that it wasn’t or isn’t doctrine.

    Literal Flood – If Noah built his Ark on the American Continent and it ended up on Mt Ararat, If not a global flood then how?

    Literal Geography – If before the flood it was all one land mass with rivers running through it, continents separated 4k years ago?

    Literal Evolution of Human Species – If the Garden of Eden was in Missouri as revealed to JS first non primitive Man originated from this Continent?

    Literal fall of Adam: No death or procreation until 6 or 7k ago.

    I know science doesn’t have all the answers dating back 4.5 billion year but it certainly has the answers for the last 100,000 years at least. There will always be gaps to fill in that is how it all works, filling in a gap just creates two more gaps and so on an so on. It doesn’t change what we already know as fact it may add to it or perfect it some but the basic facts such earth age, origin of man, no evidence of a global flood in the last 10k years doesn’t change much.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 4:29 pm |Reply

  378. The Temple ceremony must have really changed I always felt it was portrayed very literally.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 4:51 pm |Reply

  379. Ray

    About the story of a woman jumping out of the Salt Lake temple etc you said :
    “I couldn’t have invented a more ridiculous and physically impossible story, but it was a bet seller in its time.”

    What about the story Joseph Smith marrying other girls behind his wife Emma’s back and then having some of them go through a mock weding ceremony sometime later when he thought Emma had conceded in part (albeit under great pressure ) .

    Is that commanded from God ?

    Or what John C Bennet who was excommunicated for choosing his own polygamous wives against the strict arranging and control of the prophet Joseph Smith ( probably beating Smith to the attractive ones ) .Then actively exposing Joseph Smiths secret wives club after being excommunicated .

    And Joseph Smiths response ? to blacken his name and testify that polygamy was Bennets own doing and nothing of the sort was being practiced in the church and even worse quoting D&C 101

    “Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the CRIME of fornication, and POLYGAMY: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. ”

    For years Smith and selected loyal followers of the secret polygamy club told these Lies and deception and even to their own church members 😦

    Ther are no exaggerations here .

    Comment by elder joseph — December 7, 2007 @ 5:08 pm |Reply

  380. When’s the last time you went?

    Remember that what is taught as “folk doctrine” in local wards and what is officially endorsed by Salt Lake are two different things.

    But I’ll give you some better ammo than that. Bruce R. McConkie, in his book “A New Witness for the Articles of Faith” explicitly called my views on evolution one of the “seven deadly heresies.” He also explicitly endorsed “no death before the fall.”

    But you know, somehow I’m OK with that. There’s a lot of stuff Elder McConkie said that we aren’t actively preaching anymore. Besides, the official First Presidency statements on evolution tend to contradict these views of McConkie’s, or at least cast doubt upon them. Oddly enough, I prefer ambiguity in Mormon doctrine to certainty in many cases.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 5:08 pm |Reply

  381. I am not talking about McConkie so much as the basic things supposedly revealed to JS about Missoouri and the flood. That all figures in the Bible lived on the American Continent until the Flood. BY for sure taught that as an aboslute.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 5:16 pm |Reply

  382. My last temple visit would have been mid 1990s

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 5:17 pm |Reply

  383. I don’t know whether Brigham Young taught is as an absolute. He might have. But also remember that he stated that his pronouncements were not to be considered “binding” unless published and officially sent to the saints as doctrine.

    That’s not to say he didn’t actually say it in General Conference (a lot of the Journal of Discourses sermons are actually old General Conference addresses). But you need to be careful about where the sermons are coming from and what level of weight to assign to them.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 5:26 pm |Reply

  384. But if it helps any, I’ve basically come to the conclusion that General Conference addresses, and books published by apostles have to be regarded as “inspired commentary” on the scriptures. But not necessarily binding.

    Mormon theologian Blake Ostler has actually argued that Mormonism doesn’t actually have a “doctrine” per se, but rather an “interpretive tradition.” You can catch his recent blog post on the subject here:

    http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2007/11/an-interpretive-tradition-rather-than-church-doctrine/471/

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 5:36 pm |Reply

  385. Gosh that’s ugly!

    Steffie, can you clean that up somehow? If not, sorry.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 5:37 pm |Reply

  386. On the evolution aspect:

    The last “official” statement by the Church **as an organization** on evolution was published in 1909 (“The Origins of Man”) and signed by the First Presidency. It has not been revoked or amended or altered in any way since then. Individual apostles have expressed their opinions (most vocally, Bruce R. McConkie), but the official statement has not changed.

    That statement, when you summarize its main points, simply says that we are spirit children of God and that Adam was the first man – created as a distinctly different species from the animals. It is easy to read it and assume it says that our physical bodies did not evolve, but it doesn’t actually say that. Rather, it actually says that we don’t know exactly how our physical bodies were created.

    What is absolutely fascinating to me is that the statement includes the following paragraph:

    “True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man.”

    That last sentence explicitly leaves open the possibility that our physical body was the product of evolution – that Adam only became a “man” when a physical body that had evolved was quickened by a pre-mortal spirit child of God joining with it – thus creating a “soul” that constituted man.

    Am I saying that the Church teaches evolution? No. I’m saying the Church as an institution doesn’t have an official stance on evolution – that the only official statement is, in essence, “We don’t know, but it might have happened that way.”

    Comment by Ray — December 7, 2007 @ 6:07 pm |Reply

  387. Seth R

    If we have an interpretive tradition, perhaps we should create an interpretive dance to convey it? 🙂

    Comment by dpc — December 7, 2007 @ 6:34 pm |Reply

  388. Shiz observes that many here simply don’t know alot, but Shiz knows all.

    For I am Shiz.

    Comment by Shiz — December 7, 2007 @ 7:24 pm |Reply

  389. Ray

    Am I missing something here? The last sentence reads to me that if what we currently understand about how things evolved is true that the last sentence actually runs contrary to the this, that we and all plants animals etc came from that same germ or cell, that we are more closely related to chimpanzees than chimpanzees are to Monkeys.

    I finished a book some time ago “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”
    by Carl Sagan (Author), Ann Druyan (Author)

    He does a pretty good job showing that there virtually is nothing that separates or defines us from plants and animals other than the level at which we have currently evolved.

    The statement above looks to me like an outdated way or guess at accepting what was looking to be potentially undisputable at the time, this concept of evolution. What they didn’t know is to what extent it would be proven out and how the discovery of DNA was going to impact and clarify even more the theory.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 8:50 pm |Reply

  390. CRM, I think perhaps you are thinking too hard on this one. 🙂

    I know you know this, but just to clarify: There are two common explanations (very broadly) out there for the creation of man. The first is that God created man completely independent of and separate from the creation of the animal kingdom; the second is that man emerged from an evolutionary process. The first postulates that God created a unique body for Adam – literally independent of all else; the second postulates that the appearance of man came about as a natural result of natural selection – that the first man was an embryo born through a natural, sexual process.

    The “official” Mormon position, as articulated in the statement, is that Adam was the first distinct man, but it explicitly allows for the possibility that he began his physical life as an embryo – not a fully formed, independent, adult man but rather born of a “non-man” – if you will. Do most Mormons understand that possibility? I seriously doubt it, but it’s in the official statement.

    It might be accurate to say that Mormons generally do not accept evolution (especially as it is taught in scientific textbooks that do not include the hand of God), but it is not accurate to say the the Mormon Church rejects evolution completely. My own take is a combination of the two common themes: God created a unique species out of the off-spring of evolution, and it became known as “mankind”. The possible implications of that belief are vast, and I’m not sure yet how I view much of it.

    Comment by Ray — December 7, 2007 @ 9:55 pm |Reply

  391. Coventry:

    “It just seems that Mormon doctrine pretty much requires a belief in a literal flood, the garden of Eden and the fall Adam also seems like according to Mormon doctrine you would have to believe in a young earth less than 7000 years old.”

    There are many many Mormons who do not believe those things, me included. It is not required to get a temple recommend, it is not taught in Gospel Doctrine, and there is no time at which you are ever required to declare what you believe on those issues. In fact, IMO, there is no “Official Mormon Doctrine” on those points, other than prophets and apostles expressing their opinion.

    “You would have to believe that modern man inhabited the North American Continent First, that the continents separated something like 4000 years ago. I am just curious are those teachings in your mind the same as the Lamanite question we discussed earlier.”

    Those statements are pure speculation. Much more so than the Lamanite issue. The reason is that even if you buy into the idea that the Garden was in “Missouri” (I still question what that even means) that does not necessarily require that you believe that modern man arose and populated the NA Continent first. There are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is that the NA Continent may not have even existed (in any way that we would recognize) at the time of the fall (assuming, for the moment that the fall was a literal event).

    The separating of the continents is something that, in my view, the scriptures are entirely silent about. The scripture concerning Peleg, is interpreted by most scholars to be referring to languages, rather than land masses. This being the case, there is certainly no Official Mormon Doctrine concerning when the continents were divided.

    Comment by MCQ — December 7, 2007 @ 10:40 pm |Reply

  392. “Ther are no exaggerations here.”

    Hilarious EJ!

    Comment by MCQ — December 8, 2007 @ 6:58 am |Reply

  393. I was going to ignore ej’s last line, but since MCQ already addressed it, I can make my sinful “loud laughter” known to the public. Thanks, ej; I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 7:31 am |Reply

  394. Seven more comments and we are at 400 – a truly amazing accomplishment. Can we take a minute to read that milestone with some truly irrelevant discussion?

    For example, my 21st anniversary is in about a week-and-a-half. Any ideas on what I should get my wife – given that we replaced our dishwasher and digital camera already this month as a combo Christmas and birthday gift? (I know; incredibly romantic – he says as he bows to thunderous applause.)

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 7:52 am |Reply

  395. Sorry; REACH that milestone. (Only five more to go!)

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 7:53 am |Reply

  396. Shiz thinks 500 would be a true milestone.

    For I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 8, 2007 @ 8:46 am |Reply

  397. Ray: You celebrate your anniversary in June, remember?!

    Shiz: MCQ votes to ban you, for you are a freak!

    Comment by MCQ — December 8, 2007 @ 10:22 am |Reply

  398. Ray, congrats!

    My husband is really good at doing special things for me for our anniversary, so i’ll give you a few of his ideas,

    This year it was flowers and a poem he wrote himself ( he is not poetic and thats why it was so stinkin sweet!) Another year he got a babysitter for our kids and I got home from shopping and he had a picnic set up in our living room with my favorite song playing and rose petals to lead the way.

    Anyways I think you should do something totally unexpected and fun. 21 years is so awesome!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 8, 2007 @ 2:06 pm |Reply

  399. MCQ

    I was thinking the same thing…..

    Shiz, say something meaningful, or I will ban you, and I’ve never banned anyone before.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 8, 2007 @ 2:09 pm |Reply

  400. Come on Steffie, he helped us get to 400 comments!

    Comment by Seth R. — December 8, 2007 @ 4:09 pm |Reply

  401. Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!
    Seth you were #400! Should we have a party!?! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 8, 2007 @ 4:30 pm |Reply

  402. Ray

    Are you familiar with the book “The Unknown Revolution” By Gary Nash?

    If so what did you think? I am about 1/2 through it right now, but got side tracked by a few other books, I need to go back and finish.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 8, 2007 @ 4:48 pm |Reply

  403. The anniversary comment was to try to reach 400 comments. That’s the last time I try to add a humorous comment without adding a :-). 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 5:30 pm |Reply

  404. CRM, I have heard of it, but I have not read it.

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 5:31 pm |Reply

  405. Shiz, What Steffie is trying to say is that if you don’t contribute meaningfully she will play Coriantumr to your Shiz.

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 5:32 pm |Reply

  406. MCQ
    “The separating of the continents is something that, in my view, the scriptures are entirely silent about. The scripture concerning Peleg, is interpreted by most scholars to be referring to languages, rather than land masses. This being the case, there is certainly no Official Mormon Doctrine concerning when the continents were divided.”

    Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., 5:, p.74
    “We read in Genesis that in the beginning all of the land surface was in one place as it was in the days of Peleg, (Genesis 10:25.) that the earth was divided. Some Bible commentators have concluded that this division was one concerning the migrations of the inhabitants of the earth between them, but this is not the case. While this is but a very brief statement, yet it speaks of a most important event. The dividing of the earth was not an act of division by the inhabitants of the earth by tribes and peoples, but a breaking asunder of the continents, thus dividing the land surface and creating the Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere.”

    I am sure you will say this isn’t doctrine but JFS was answering a question as an Apostle or Prophet clarifying Gospel Questions and he seems pretty certain of his answer here.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 9, 2007 @ 4:32 am |Reply

  407. This really should be in the thread about Prophets not being infallible. Fits perfectly. 🙂

    Some people think an apostle or a prophet suddenly should know everything about every possible topic (including some apostles and prophets). Others don’t (including some apostles and prophets). Some people think that the Bible is infallible – or at least historically accurate (including some apostles and prophets). Others don’t (including some apostles and prophets). No matter the level of conviction of any particular person, this question is not doctrinal or even religious but rather scientific – and I don’t sustain apostles and prophets as scientists. I have no problem thinking JFS probably was wrong on this one, based solely on what I know of plate tectonics and the inevitable effects of such massive movement as would be required. If the flood had been recorded as having occurred at that time, I might be more open to believe it actually was global; as it is, I just don’t agree with him on this issue.

    Comment by Ray — December 9, 2007 @ 5:11 am |Reply

  408. What Ray said.

    JFS didn’t say he was speaking with any authority, he was just answering questions with the best answers he could, which were, generally speaking, his opinion. I place a lot of weight on his opinion but he is, of course, not infallible. He may be right, but I tend to disagree with him on this. Just my opinion of course.

    Comment by MCQ — December 9, 2007 @ 7:45 am |Reply

  409. Shiz does not like Coriantumr.
    The mere thought of Coriantumr makes Shiz lose his head.

    Comment by Shiz — December 9, 2007 @ 10:34 pm |Reply

  410. I would just say look at your arguments on the other thread in answering EJ’s question about modern revelation, and then look at your arguments on this thread about how we can’t hold anything said as a teaching or revelation. I am sure you don’t see it this way but on the other thread I think Ray accused someone of circle logic. It seems to me I would call what you guys are doing here pretzel logic. I didn’t post that to be offensive it is just how it seems to me. I can’t follow it at all. On one hand we are receiving teachings and revelations from God , on the other hand if that teaching or revelation proves to be highly unlikely or absolutlely proven false it therefore was not from God.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 3:08 am |Reply

  411. Shiz declares that pretzels are much more tasty than circles.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 5:34 am |Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: