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Haven't Anti-Mormons Completely Destroyed the Credibility of Mormonism?
jefflindsay.com ^ | Nov. 5, 2006 | Jeff Lindsay

Posted on 02/16/2008 3:13:15 PM PST by restornu


Haven't Anti-Mormons Completely Destroyed the Credibility of Mormonism?

It is a common myth that anti-Mormon attacks have completely overwhelmed the intellectual position of Latter-day Saints, leaving us with nothing but blind faith in "warm feelings" we get about the Church. The portrayal of Mormons as idiots without any intellectual foundation in our religion is a common caricature based on deceptive marketing. With the flood of anti-Mormon arguments, books, pamphlets, movies, and Web sites, it is easy to think that Mormonism would be completely devastated if only 10% of all the things said against it were true.

I once met a new convert, a college student, in my town of Appleton, Wisconsin, who showed me a couple of thick books loaded with accusations against the Church. She was upset and angry and planning to leave the Church. I tried to calm her down, and one by one, we discussed the arguments that were bothering her. Once one attack was diffused, she raised another, and another, and I think I helped her see that there was little merit to what she had raised so far, and that the bulk of the anti-Mormon material was truly deceptive. Then she just dug in her heels and said, "Well, it doesn't matter. If only 10% of all the things in here are true, that's enough to destroy the Church!" She left the Church, and if she had lived 2,000 years ago as an early Christian convert, I'm sure she would have left the Church then, too. After all, if only 10% of the things that the anti-Christians said were true, then that would be enough to destroy Christianity, right? (Oh, how I wish modern education would help people understand that critical thinking means more than just thinking of criticism.)

Anti-Mormon literature is often ignorant of what Latter-day Saints really believe and especially ignorant of LDS authors have written in response to anti-Mormon attacks. Many of the common attacks against the Church are regurgitated arguments from the nineteenth century, arguments which have been thoroughly and carefully treated by responsible LDS writers who do much more than just talk about some warm feeling in their hearts. But the anti-Mormon writers and speakers of today make it sound as if no Mormon has ever dared to respond to their awesome arguments, and that the Church can only retreat and hide when faced with an intellectual battle.

The flaws in some standard anti-Mormon arguments have been pointed out by a number of non-LDS writers. In one interesting example, two evangelical critics of the Church, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen, presented a paper at the 1997 Evangelical Theological Society Far West Annual Meeting, April 25, 1997 that warned the evangelical community about the impressive efforts of LDS scholars and criticized the blind approach of typical anti-Mormon literature. Their article, "Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?" (later published in Trinity Journal, Fall 1998, pp. 179-205), is one of the most intriguing non-LDS articles I've ever encountered from critics of the Church. (One of several copies of it on the Web can be found at ComeToZarahemla.org, Ben Spackman's Website, or Cephas Ministry.)

Mosser and Owen note that anti-LDS writers have ignored the work of some LDS scholars who are providing "robust defenses" of the LDS faith. In preparing their paper, Mosser and Owen did something that few critics have done: they have actually read a wide variety of LDS scholarly writings. As a result, they came to the following five conclusions:

The first [conclusion] is that there are, contrary to popular evangelical perceptions, legitimate Mormon scholars. We use the term scholar in its formal sense of "intellectual, erudite; skilled in intellectual investigation; trained in ancient languages." Broadly, Mormon scholarship can be divided into four categories: traditional, neo-orthodox, liberal and cultural. We are referring to the largest and most influential of the four categories--traditional Mormon scholars. It is a point of fact that the Latter-day Saints are not an anti-intellectual group like Jehovah's Witnesses. Mormons, in distinction to groups like JWs, produce work that has more than the mere appearance of scholarship. The second conclusion we have come to is that Mormon scholars and apologists (not all apologists are scholars) have, with varying degrees of success, answered most of the usual evangelical criticisms. Often these answers adequately diffuse particular (minor) criticisms. When the criticism has not been diffused the issue has usually been made much more complex.

A third conclusion we have come to is that currently there are, as far as we are aware, no books from an evangelical perspective that responsibility interact with contemporary LDS scholarly and apologetic writings. In a survey of twenty recent evangelical books criticizing Mormonism we found that none interact with this growing body of literature. Only a handful demonstrate any awareness of pertinent works. Many of the authors promote criticisms that have long been refuted; some are sensationalistic while others are simply ridiculous. A number of these books claim to be "the definitive" book on the matter. That they make no attempt to interact with contemporary LDS scholarship is a stain upon the authors' integrity and causes one to wonder about their credibility.

Our fourth conclusion is that at the academic level evangelicals are losing the debate with the Mormons. We are losing the battle and do not know it. In recent years the sophistication and erudition of LDS apologetics has risen considerably while evangelical responses have not. Those who have the skills necessary for this task rarely demonstrate an interest in the issues. Often they do not even know that there is a need. In large part this is due entirely to ignorance of the relevant literature.

Finally, our fifth conclusion is that most involved in the counter-cult movement lack the skills and training necessary to answer Mormon scholarly apologetic. The need is great for trained evangelical biblical scholars, theologians, philosophers and historians to examine and answer the growing body of literature produced by traditional LDS scholars and apologists.

(Further analysis based on the paper of Mosser and Owen has been provided by Justin Hart in "Winning the Battle and Not Knowing It," in MeridianMagazine.com, an article in five parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. For an interesting example of the issues that Owen and Mosser have raised, see Paul Owen's rebuttal of anti-Mormon John Weldon's response to the original article of Mosser and Owen. Owen appears to be appalled at the "head-in-the-sand" approach of John Weldon, who has demonstrated the very problems that Mosser and Owen speak against in their paper and says that Weldon's anti-Mormon "intellectual narrow-mindedness" is "astounding."

Latter-day Saints who study the responses of LDS writers to anti-Mormon criticisms know that there are many excellent resources which may refute or at least defuse many of the arguments hurled against us. These resources, found at places like FARMS, The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIRLDS.org), SHIELDS, and even my little Web site (including my Mormon Answers section), do not rely on blind faith and emotional feelings to deal with the critics - though there are some tough issues like polygamy for which we don't have good answers (ugh - I really don't like polygamy!). But for many issues, Mosser and Owen are correct in observing that there are "robust defenses." In fact, many of the defenses turn the tables on the critics and leave them in intellectually untenable positions. In fact, we could turn around and ask them a few tough questions of our own -- see, for example, "My Turn--Questions for Anti-Mormons."

What is an anti-Mormon? Anyone who disagrees with you?

This is a poorly defined term, but I would say that only the activists who attack the Church in a way intended to generate misunderstanding, fear, and shock are the ones who deserve the epithet of "anti-Mormons." Many such "Mormon bashers" feel that the end justifies the means, and use tactics that are incompatible with the truthful example of Christ.

There is plenty of room for decent people to disagree with us. Sometimes I even disagree with "us." Most Protestants and Catholics who disagree with us are not "anti-Mormons" but simply people of another denomination. But when someone strives to stir up anger toward the Church and relies on misinformation or half-truths, then I'm inclined to apply the anti-Mormon label--especially when they do it for a living. On the borderline are well meaning people who feel an evangelical duty to battle "cults" (which tend to be any group that disagrees with them) and write articles regurgitating the sensationalist and shocking diatribes of full-blooded anti-Mormons. I tend to call such critics anti-Mormons as well (I sense that they usually don't mind the title, unless they are posing as "loving friends of the Mormons" in order to launch more effective assaults on our faith). Those of other faiths who disagree with us and engage in civil discourse with us about their differences are usually not "anti-Mormons" but perhaps simply critics or just adherents of a different faith.

What tactics do anti-Mormons use?

Some pastors and ministers who might consider themselves as anti-Mormons are sincere in their differences with LDS theology and write intelligently and honestly about their views. They can differ without distorting the truth and can be respectful and kind in their discussions. I guess that intelligent and honest writing doesn't sell well, because the vast majority of popular writing against the Church is ugly, deceptive, and inflammatory. This is the stuff that I tend to call "anti-Mormon."

But others are deliberately deceptive, at least in my opinion. Some know what we really believe, but go out of their way to distort it. I feel that way about Ed Decker's classic work, The God Makers. His movies and writings create the impression that temples are evil, scary places with devil worship, homosexuality, and conspiracy. He alleges that Mormons are plotting to take over the country and impose a theological dictatorship. He warns people not to pray to understand the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, frightening them with the idea that Satan will come and deceive them if they do. I think this goes beyond the sincere.

One of the strangest and most dishonest tactics of some anti-Mormons is falsely claiming to have advanced degrees in order to buttress their credibility. An amazing example is Dee Jay Nelson, who gained the trust of many people by claiming to have academic credentials and an international scholarly reputation--all of which was entirely bogus. He was a con-man who led many gullible people out of the Church during the peak of his illegitimate career as an anti-Mormon lecturer. Others include "Dr." Walter Martin and the amusing "Dr. Dr." John Ankenberg (yes, he lists himself as "Dr. Dr." as if he had two doctorates, though he lacks even one - and no real Ph.D. with two degrees would describe himself as "Dr. Dr."!). The father of anti-Mormons, Doctor Philastrus Hurlbut, was actually named "Doctor" by his parents but lacked a degree. I don't think he promoted himself as if he had the degree, but that title has been used by others to increase respect for that immoral and twice excommunicated anti-Mormon. Other questionable anti-Mormon "Drs." include John Weldon, and James White.

Michael T. Griffith has a page showing some of the tactics of a prominent anti-Mormon. It illustrates how some anti-Mormons seem to deliberately distort LDS writings to achieve their own questionable purposes. The anti-Mormon in this case is Mr. Bill McKeever, the director of the anti-Mormon group Mormonism Research Ministry. I have also corresponded with Mr. McKeever and encountered yet another tactic that typifies many of the self-appointed cult bashers on the Internet. I grew frustrated that my responses to lengthy lists of charges and allegations were largely ignored, and simply followed by other lengthy letters loaded with more allegations and accusations than I could possibly deal with. Any issue I addressed was ignored and followed by additional long letters on new topics. Soon it was clear that the communication was intended to be only one way. It took many requests and finally a complaint to McKeever's e-mail provider before Mr. McKeever would quit sending me unsolicited lengthy anti-Mormon articles.

But that may just be enthusiastic zeal. Maybe it's being overly enthusiastic that leads me to use the "anti" label with some folks. Look, it's subjective, and may be used in error sometimes.

Among the specific tactics used by those I consider anti-Mormons, an especially interesting one is their creative use of definitions to classify Mormons as a cult or as non-Christian. Ironically, the non-standard definitions they craft would also condemn Christ and His early disciples in the New Testament as cultists and non-Christians. For details, see my page, "Do Latter-day Saints Belong to a Cult?" For a tongue-in-cheek demonstration of related anti-Mormon techniques, see my spoof page about an exciting new software product, CultMaster 2000.

A useful resource for information of major anti-Mormons and anti-Mormon organizations, with links to refutational material, is the Critics Corner at Shields-Research.org.

An excellent resource exposing many anti-Mormon tactics is They Lie in Wait to Deceive, Volumes 1-4 by Robert and Rosemary Brown.

Why do evangelicals get so down on Mormons?

Daniel C. Peterson authored the following passage on the Evangelical approach:
The fact is that evangelical Protestantism represents a faction, no more, of a minority faction, no more, of Christianity. That faction arose, relatively late, in northwestern Europe, and it is still basically dominant only among those of northwestern European extraction. It is distinctly a minority in Italy and Brazil and Mexico and Spain and France and Argentina, and it is virtually invisible in Greece and Romania and Russia and Armenia and the Ukraine, to say nothing of Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq.

Latter-day Saints do not claim that their faith-group is exhaustive of Christendom. We recognize that there are Catholic and Orthodox and other Christians. Some evangelical Protestants seem reluctant, however, to grant that the Copts or the Catholics are Christians at all. Some say so implicitly, and others have told me so explicitly, under direct questioning.

Latter-day Saints do, of course, claim that God has acted to restore the true fullness of Christianity, and that that fulness is embodied in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such a claim can seem arrogant, and I, for one, would be very hesitant to make it -- indeed, I would refuse to make it -- were it not for the presupposition of direct revelation that undergirds it.

To assert, as some evangelicals have declared directly to me, that they alone are Christians, and that they have arrived at their unique Christianity by virtue of their own reading of the Bible -- implicitly dismissing the other claimants to Christianity as either preternaturally stupid or irrationally evil or some mixture of the two -- seems to me both arrogant and, in view of the fact that the preponderant majority of world "Christians" hold to different opinions, quite unlikely to be true. Even to claim that evangelical Protestants alone are "biblical" or "orthodox" Christians, seems an improbable and smug declaration.

That is the point. Ironically, Latter-day Saints rely, here, upon God's grace, where some of my evangelical interlocutors -- the ones that I have in mind -- seem quite evidently to trust in their own understanding.

But most envamgelicals, though critical of our religion, are not what I would call "anti-Mormons." In fact, many are very respectful and tolerant, in spite of their strong disagreement with our views. The evangelicals I have know over the years have largely been fine examples of Christians who were not out to defame us or stir up fear about the Mormons, and have been great people to dialog with.

What Do Scholars Think of Hugh Nibley?

Some anti-Mormons seem ignorant of Hugh Nibley's work. When forced to confront his writings, many rapidly dismiss him as irresponsible, biased, sloppy, deceitful, etc. On the other hand, there are some non-LDS folks who have pointed out a variety of flaws in Nibley's writings. While Nibley did much to advance study of the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, LDS people must understand that his work can be rather dated now and often contains errors that he is not around to correct now. Enjoy it, but proceed with caution. But proceed with even more caution with anything I write, for I am far less competent and qualified that he was - I'm just an amateur apologist, guys.

Regarding Nibley, as brilliant and talented as he was, he spent much of his life writing for LDS audiences, and thus may not be widely recognized by other scholars in his field. in spite of some great early publications. That's my opinion, though I have incredible respect for him, having watched him in action and having read much of his work.

Some related insight into Nibley is provided by two well educated anti-LDS writers, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen, mentioned above, whose article, "Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?," is one of the most intriguing anti-LDS articles I've ever encountered. It warns that anti-LDS writers have essentially completely ignored the significant scholarship of Hugh Nibley and many other LDS scholars who are providing "robust defenses" of the LDS faith. In preparing their paper, Mosser and Owen did something that few anti-LDS writers have done: they have actually read a variety of LDS scholarly writings. Their response, paraphrased, is: "Wake up, anti-Mormons! We're losing the intellectual war without even knowing it!" Here is what they say about Nibley:

Hugh Nibley: The Father of Mormon Scholarly Apologetics
Hugh Nibley is without question the pioneer of LDS scholarship and apologetics. Since earning his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1939, Nibley has produced a seemingly endless stream of books and articles covering a dauntingly vast array of subject matter. Whether writing on Patristics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the apocrypha, the culture of the Ancient Near East or Mormonism, he demonstrates an impressive command of the original languages, primary texts and secondary literature. He has set a standard which younger LDS intellectuals are hard pressed to follow. There is not room here for anything approaching an exhaustive examination of Nibley's works.(1) We must confess with Truman Madsen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Brigham Young University: "To those who know him best, and least, Hugh W. Nibley is a prodigy, an enigma, and a symbol."(2)

The few evangelicals who are aware of Hugh Nibley often dismiss him as a fraud or pseudo-scholar. Those who would like to quickly dismiss his writings would do well to heed Madsen's warning: "Ill-wishing critics have suspected over the years that Nibley is wrenching his sources, hiding behind his footnotes, and reading into antique languages what no responsible scholar would every read out. Unfortunately, few have the tools to do the checking."(3) The bulk of Nibley's work has gone unchallenged by evangelicals despite the fact that he has been publishing relevant material since 1946. Nibley's attitude toward evangelicals: "We need more anti-Mormon books. They keep us on our toes."(4)

No doubt there are flaws in Nibley's work, but most counter-cultists do not have the tools to demonstrate this. Few have tried.(5) It is beyond the scope of this paper to critique Nibley's methodology or to describe the breadth of his apologetic.(6) Whatever flaws may exist in his methodology, Nibley is a scholar of high caliber. Many of his more important essays first appeared in academic journals such as the Revue de Qumran, Vigiliae Christianae, Church History, and the Jewish Quarterly Review.(7) Nibley has also received praise from non-LDS scholars such as Jacob Neusner, James Charlesworth, Cyrus Gordon, Raphael Patai and Jacob Milgrom.(8) The former dean of the Harvard Divinity School, George MacRae, once lamented while hearing him lecture, "It is obscene for a man to know that much!"(9) Nibley has not worked in a cloister. It is amazing that few evangelical scholars are aware of his work. In light of the respect Nibley has earned in the non-LDS scholarly world it is more amazing that counter-cultists can so glibly dismiss his work.

Footnotes from the above passage:
1. FARMS is currently working on a twenty volume collection of Nibley's works, ten of which are already published (abbr. CWHN).


2. Truman Madsen, foreword to Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless: Classic Essays of Hugh W. Nibley, edited by Madsen (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978), ix.


3. Ibid., xiv.


4. Quoted by Madsen, ibid., xi.


5. In fact, the only substantial evangelical interaction we have seen to date is James White's 56 page (single spaced) disputation of the proper syntax of the pronoun in Matthew 16:18. This paper can be acquired from the Alpha & Omega Ministries Internet site.


6. For a sharp critique of Nibley's methodology from an LDS perspective see Kent P. Jackson in BYU Studies 28 no. 4 (Fall 1988):114-119.


7. Specific references can be found in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS, 1990), 1:xviii-lxxxvii.


8. See the contributions by these men in volume one of Nibley's festschrift By Study and Also by Faith.


9. See Philip L. Barlow, Mormons and the Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 147 n. 105.

Where can I find resources to respond to anti-LDS attacks?

I think my LDSFAQ Suite offers useful answers to many common questions and allegations. Other general resources with many articles and responses include:
FARMS
The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies in Provo, Utah, is the leading organization for scholarly understanding of LDS issues, especially the scriptures. They are a tremendous source of valuable research and publications. As one of many examples from FARMS, one of the best written articles dealing with typical anti-Mormon attacks is that of Russell C. McGregor and Kerry A. Shirts, "Letters to an Anti-Mormon," FARMS Review of Books, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1999, pp. 90-298 (I said it was good, not short!).
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIRLDS.org)
Offering many sound articles and other resources for those wishing to understand intellectual issues involving Latter-day Saint religion.
SHIELDS
A competent and diverse LDS resource for those wishing to explore LDS doctrine, history, and rebuttals to anti-Mormon allegations.
Russell Anderson's Response Page"
A collection of resources and discussion of common anti-Mormon attacks. There is also some fascinating information on some of the most famous professional anti-Mormons.
A Resource for LDS Apologetics
By Kevin Graham. A collection of articles and resources, including many articles by Kevin.

Other specific resources:



TOPICS: Apologetics; Other non-Christian
KEYWORDS: lds; mormonism
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1 posted on 02/16/2008 3:13:21 PM PST by restornu
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To: Rameumptom; Reaganesque; Grig; sandude; Saundra Duffy; Utah Girl; Spiff; tantiboh; 2pugs4me; ...

CTR


2 posted on 02/16/2008 3:13:48 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu

I am anti-anti-Mormonism. I am sick of hearing the sour grapes from the Romney camp, as if Romney did not have a ton of other bigger issues that turned off voters.


3 posted on 02/16/2008 3:17:15 PM PST by Always Right (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)
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To: restornu

I’ve heard some idiots make remarks about the Mormon religion but I thought they were idiots BEFORE they started in on Mormons.


4 posted on 02/16/2008 3:19:11 PM PST by lonestar
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To: Always Right

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
No it was over when Mandy asked Greg to the hotel.


5 posted on 02/16/2008 3:20:36 PM PST by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: restornu

Rather than attempt to address the entire body of critics as merely being “anti-Mormon,” and thus, perhaps unfairly, lumping those who have honest intellectual agreements with the LDS church with those who are on a vendetta, I would like to see a comprehensive discussion of one highly particular issue—the authorship of the “Pearl of Great Price”—that seems to require a more “robust” defense than has been given so far. Either that was just an Egyptian funeral text or it was not. What do Mormon scholars say about that critique of Mormon church holy writ?


6 posted on 02/16/2008 3:24:09 PM PST by farmer18th (Conservatives who vote McCain are like abused dogs who keep licking their master's hand...)
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To: lonestar
I’ve heard some idiots make remarks about the Mormon religion but I thought they were idiots BEFORE they started in on Mormons.

LOL no kidding.

No problem with Mormons from me. Most Mormons that I know tend to be good conservative people. However screaming "bigot" at anyone who wasn't thrilled with Romney didn't do Mormons a lot of good.
7 posted on 02/16/2008 3:27:21 PM PST by cripplecreek (Just call me M.O.M. (Maverick Opposed to McCain.))
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To: Always Right

Excuse me this is the Religion forum, there is no Romney here, you should try the News/Activism forum!


8 posted on 02/16/2008 3:29:03 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu

While I am sure there are distortions on Mormons just like any religion, once again, I went to the LDS bookstore, got the material they told me to read, bought it , read it, and I totally disagree with it. Not all I see here on this forum that is denied is untrue according to the LDS books. I am not trying to bash you who do believe, it is fine with me if you do. What does upset me over and over is the denial of things you do believe. If you believe it, defend it, but don’t deny it.


9 posted on 02/16/2008 3:33:21 PM PST by ladyinred
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To: farmer18th
Rather than attempt to address the entire body of critics as merely being “anti-Mormon,” and thus, perhaps unfairly, lumping those who have honest intellectual agreements with the LDS church with those who are on a vendetta, I would like to see a comprehensive discussion of one highly particular issue—the authorship of the “Pearl of Great Price”—that seems to require a more “robust” defense than has been given so far. Either that was just an Egyptian funeral text or it was not. What do Mormon scholars say about that critique of Mormon church holy writ?

I see you did not read this thread

What is an anti-Mormon? Anyone who disagrees with you?

This is a poorly defined term, but I would say that only the activists who attack the Church in a way intended to generate misunderstanding, fear, and shock are the ones who deserve the epithet of "anti-Mormons." Many such "Mormon bashers" feel that the end justifies the means, and use tactics that are incompatible with the truthful example of Christ.

There is plenty of room for decent people to disagree with us. Sometimes I even disagree with "us." Most Protestants and Catholics who disagree with us are not "anti-Mormons" but simply people of another denomination. But when someone strives to stir up anger toward the Church and relies on misinformation or half-truths, then I'm inclined to apply the anti-Mormon label--especially when they do it for a living.

On the borderline are well meaning people who feel an evangelical duty to battle "cults" (which tend to be any group that disagrees with them) and write articles regurgitating the sensationalist and shocking diatribes of full-blooded anti-Mormons. I tend to call such critics anti-Mormons as well (I sense that they usually don't mind the title, unless they are posing as "loving friends of the Mormons" in order to launch more effective assaults on our faith). Those of other faiths who disagree with us and engage in civil discourse with us about their differences are usually not "anti-Mormons" but perhaps simply critics or just adherents of a different faith.

*****

Hello farmer18th this is my thread you can do what you like on your thread!

10 posted on 02/16/2008 3:36:08 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: ladyinred
While I am sure there are distortions on Mormons just like any religion, once again, I went to the LDS bookstore, got the material they told me to read, bought it , read it, and I totally disagree with it. Not all I see here on this forum that is denied is untrue according to the LDS books. I am not trying to bash you who do believe, it is fine with me if you do. What does upset me over and over is the denial of things you do believe. If you believe it, defend it, but don’t deny it.

There are ways to ask questions and people have ways of couching questions to muddy the water before the person can respond to and I think that there in lies the crux of the problem.

If some one was sincere or curious and wanted to know that is different than so many time a strawman type questions that makes it impossible at the moment to answer the question.

I have tried to put the question on level playing ground but with many who have an agenda that is not going to happen!

11 posted on 02/16/2008 3:47:03 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu

It just seems that the only way you’re going to determine whether a critique flows out of this stipulated definition of “anti-Mormonism” is to rigorously analyze specific critques. Even then, I suppose, you would be engaged in the business of determining motives. I won’t mess up your thread with the Pearl of Great Price, though, if that’s what you prefer.


12 posted on 02/16/2008 3:48:01 PM PST by farmer18th (Conservatives who vote McCain are like abused dogs who keep licking their master's hand...)
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To: restornu
***Some pastors and ministers who might consider themselves as anti-Mormons are sincere in their differences with LDS theology and write intelligently and honestly about their views. They can differ without distorting the truth and can be respectful and kind in their discussions. I guess that intelligent and honest writing doesn't sell well, because the vast majority of popular writing against the Church is ugly, deceptive, and inflammatory. This is the stuff that I tend to call "anti-Mormon."***

It might interest you to know that LDS is currently listed as the fastest expanding protestant religion in the U.S.
Having said that, the disagreement I have with Mormonism is the same I have with fundamentalist evangelicals believing in the literal truth of the Bible and RCs blindly accepting the non-Scripturally sound pronouncements of Popes venerating the Virgin Mary.
The factual evidence of science documenting that the earth is a lot older than the 10,000 years the Bible indicates and neither it nor the universe could have been created in a mere six 24-hour periods should be enough for most rational-thinking people...that is not to say there isn't a God or that there was an "intelligent design" in the making of it.

On the subject of Dr. Hugh Nibley, while a distinguished linguist he's, IMO, the right-wing equivalent of Noam Chomsky (also a noted linguist)...he was hardly a historian; in fact he was a little bit kooky. You may have known that he is the guy who fought against the BYU dress code in the 60s etc., urging some of the administration to allow students to "let their hair down" (i.e. hippie style).

13 posted on 02/16/2008 4:29:53 PM PST by meandog (Please pray for future President McCain--day minus 324 and counting! Stay home and get Hillary!)
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To: meandog
On the subject of Dr. Hugh Nibley, while a distinguished linguist he's, IMO, the right-wing equivalent of Noam Chomsky (also a noted linguist)...he was hardly a historian...

Not only was he not a historian, he wasn't even right-wing...

14 posted on 02/16/2008 4:42:55 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: restornu
Interesting array of information. At the same time there's another group called RLDS, or Reorganized Latter Day Saints. It's pretty much a Midwestern operation, but it has its own splinter groups.

One of the popular names for four of the groups is "Church of Christ", just the same as Obama's church.

No doubt some of the folks who posted some of the "insider" stuff on the Mormons are actually RLDS people who have a history of preparing their own apparantly anti-Mormon stories.

Not exactly sure that when a Mormon (which the RLDS branch are) says nasties about Mormonism that he or she is being anti-Mormon ~ more like a dispute between the Episcopals and the Catholics ~ who say far worse things about each other all the time!

Having read through all the threads that anyone has said had anti-Mormon materials on them I got the distinct impression that a good deal of it came from these "other" Mormon sources. Seemed terribly familiar if ya' dig!

15 posted on 02/16/2008 5:13:17 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: restornu

***It is a common myth that anti-Mormon attacks have completely overwhelmed the intellectual position of Latter-day Saints, leaving us with nothing but blind faith in “warm feelings” we get about the Church.***

“Anti-Mormons” are not the ones that started this fight way back in the 1820’s when some dude from the backwoods of New York claimed to have found golden plates and then started attacking all other churches.


16 posted on 02/16/2008 5:14:21 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Only infidel blood can quench Muslim thirst-- Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Smith attracted the attention of some unsavory characters when he started talking about “gold”, plates or otherwise.


17 posted on 02/16/2008 5:18:46 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
***It is a common myth that anti-Mormon attacks have completely overwhelmed the intellectual position of Latter-day Saints, leaving us with nothing but blind faith in “warm feelings” we get about the Church.***

“Anti-Mormons” are not the ones that started this fight way back in the 1820’s when some dude from the backwoods of New York claimed to have found golden plates and then started attacking all other churches.

If you read carefully it was not some dude from upstate NY who made those comments, it was the Lord himself who was once again preparing to restoring his Church on earth and needed to get a few things straight before proceeding.

Isa. 29: 13.
13 ¶ Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

I know the world consensus is up set with this but who are in Charge here some Men in 325 AD our Jesus Christ himself!

Now I know many for what ever reason feel differently but there are about 13 millions of us who did receive a witness from the Lord!

18 posted on 02/16/2008 5:28:50 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu

***Now I know many for what ever reason feel differently but there are about 13 millions of us who did receive a witness from the Lord!***

And did the Montanists, the Marcionites, Paulicians, Donatists, Caprocrations and Cathari also receive the “witness of the Lord” as they all claimed?

And that is just the “short” list.


19 posted on 02/16/2008 5:46:55 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Only infidel blood can quench Muslim thirst-- Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri)
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To: restornu

Thanks for the post


20 posted on 02/16/2008 6:06:48 PM PST by fproy2222 (Watch the difference between those who want to teach us and those who just want to put us down.)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar; Grig

sorry don’t understand you question!


21 posted on 02/16/2008 6:08:57 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu
***sorry don’t understand you question!***

“And did the Montanists, the Marcionites, Paulicians, Donatists, Caprocrations and Cathari also receive the “witness of the Lord” as they all claimed?

And that is just the “short” list.”

This is a partial list of groups who claimed that Christianity was in error and “they” were the ONLY true “church”. Seen any of them around lately?

22 posted on 02/16/2008 6:42:30 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Only infidel blood can quench Muslim thirst-- Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri)
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To: restornu

>I know the world consensus is up set with this but who are in Charge here some Men in 325 AD our Jesus Christ himself!

Please elaborate! Did a small group of men conspire to make Jesus into God, instead of merely a god? Reading too much Dan Brown lately?

>Now I know many for what ever reason feel differently but there are about 13 millions of us who did receive a witness from the Lord!

And all the Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, Daoists, Shinto, etc. all stand up and say the same thing. There are certainly more of each of these religions who claim to have a divine revelation. So how are we to judge your witness?


23 posted on 02/16/2008 7:35:46 PM PST by Ottofire (But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation)
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To: Ottofire

Popcorn placemarker ... you seem to have closed some mouths!


24 posted on 02/16/2008 9:15:02 PM PST by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar; restornu

““Anti-Mormons” are not the ones that started this fight way back in the 1820’s when some dude from the backwoods of New York claimed to have found golden plates and then started attacking all other churches.”

Worth repeating.


25 posted on 02/16/2008 9:29:27 PM PST by dmw (Aren't you glad you use common sense? Don't you wish everybody did?)
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To: dmw

Worth repeating!

***It is a common myth that anti-Mormon attacks have completely overwhelmed the intellectual position of Latter-day Saints, leaving us with nothing but blind faith in “warm feelings” we get about the Church.***

“Anti-Mormons” are not the ones that started this fight way back in the 1820’s when some dude from the backwoods of New York claimed to have found golden plates and then started attacking all other churches.

****

If you read carefully it was not some dude from upstate NY who made those comments, it was the Lord himself who was once again preparing to restoring his Church on earth and needed to get a few things straight before proceeding.

Isa. 29: 13.
13 ¶ Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

I know the world consensus is up set with this but who are in Charge here some Men in 325 AD our Jesus Christ himself!

Now I know many for what ever reason feel differently but there are about 13 millions of us who did receive a witness from the Lord!

*********

BTW dmw, tell me how other Churches were attacked?

Did the LDS take over other churches pulpit, ride around in white sheets, did they tar and feather other church members, did they call them heretics, incite a community to hate them, shoot at them, burn down their houses, rape and kill their children and than run them off of their land, exterminate them?


26 posted on 02/16/2008 10:00:58 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu; Elvina; ConservativeTrucker; SavannahJake; PaulZe; AKA Elena; Oshkalaboomboom; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

27 posted on 02/16/2008 10:09:34 PM PST by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: restornu
Anti-Mormon = traditional, orthodox, trinitarian Christian, period.
28 posted on 02/16/2008 10:20:21 PM PST by AnalogReigns
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To: AnalogReigns

Anti-Mormon = traditional, orthodox, trinitarian Christian, period.

The LDS would call that a disagreement on doctrine, but for some they feel the need to be continually inhospitable over it!


29 posted on 02/16/2008 10:30:44 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu
did they call them heretics, incite a community to hate them, shoot at them, burn down their houses....run them off of their land

See King James Strang.
30 posted on 02/16/2008 11:13:40 PM PST by gpapa (Kill the terrorists, protect the borders, punch the hippies)
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To: gpapa

LOL excuse men this man had nothing to do in build up the Lord’s kingdom he was baptized Feb 25,1844 and so he was only a member a few months before Joseph Smith was killed.

any thing the man did, he did it on his own and had nothing to do with the Lord’s annoited servants the Man had no authority in the priesthood of the Church.

Try again!:)


31 posted on 02/16/2008 11:27:49 PM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu

There’s nothing I find less interesting than the topic of what other people believe. What possible difference could it make to any sane person?

Oh yes, I don’t care what your astrological sign is or your shoe size either.

How refreshing it would be to find and support a candidate purely on his or her ability to DO THE JOB.


32 posted on 02/16/2008 11:38:27 PM PST by Veto! (Opinions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: restornu

A few Strangites, there are many more:

George Miller (b. November 25, 1794, d. August 27, 1856

Baptized by John Taylor, 1839. Ordained a high priest by Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, 1840. Bishop in Nauvoo, 1841-1844. President of the high priests’ quorum, 1841-1844. Brigadier general in the Nauvoo militia, 1842-1844. “And again, verily I say unto you, my servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love which he has to my testimony I, the Lord, love him. . . . Let no man despise my servant George, for he shall honor me” (D&C 124: 20-21). Member of the council of fifty, 1844. Supposedly one of the few people receiving the full Nauvoo endowment while Joseph Smith was still alive. Besides Brigham Young, one of the of the first to go through the Nauvoo temple endowment, 1845. Ordained by James Strang to be a “prince, privy counselor, and general-in-chief” in the kingdom, and served 1850-1856. Presided over general assembly in absence of James Strang. Elected sheriff of Mackinac and then Manitue County, Michigan. Died shortly after James Strang was killed.

Reuben Miller

Joined the church, 1843. Called to be a bishop in Norway, Illinois, 1844. Besides Brigham Young, one of the first to go through the Nauvoo temple endowment, 1845. Sent by Brigham Young to debate James Strang, but converted by James Strang instead even after consulting with the quorum of twelve apostles for their defense, 1846. Published the first pamphlet defending James Strang, 1846. President of the Voree stake, 1846. Testified that he knew by revelation that Strang was appointed.

Arthur Milliken and Lucy Smith Milliken

The brother-in-law and sister of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith. Joined the church in 1835, lived in Kirtland, was wounded in Missouri persecutions at the battle of Crooked River. Signed statement: “This is to certify that the Smith family do believe in the appointment of J. J. Strang.” Signed statement, “This is to certify that we, the undersigned members of the Smith family, fully accord with the sentiments expressed above,” including “I am satisfied that Joseph appointed J. J. Strang. It is verily so.”

Noah Packard

Baptized by Parley P. Pratt, 1832. Ordained elder by Joseph Smith,1832. Gave enormous sums of money to the church for debts and building the Kirtland temple. Acquainted with Joseph Smith. Ordained high priest, 1836. Served on the Kirtland high council. Mentioned in D&C 124:136. Served as counselor to Don C. Smith, Joseph’s brother, the president of the high priests’ quorum. In Nauvoo, 1840. Lived in Wisconsin, 1846-1850. Present when James Strang was crowned king in Michigan, 1850.

Hiram Page

One of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Married to a daughter of Peter Whitmer. Baptized, 1830. Settled in Jackson County, Missouri, 1831. Mentioned in D&C 28. A high priest in Far West, Missouri, 1838. Hiram Page wrote to James Strang in early 1846 indicating that David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Hiram Page received a tract about his succession claims and “read it with joy and gladness,” and “all the witnesses of the Book of Mormon living in that region received the news with gladness,” and addressed James Strang “as a prophet of God to tell them what to do.” In a second letter from April 1847, they also invited James Strang to come to Missouri and get the “church records, and manuscript revelations.” He died in 1852. His son, Philander, was a documented supporter of James Strang as late as 1854.

John E. Page

Baptized and ordained by Ebenezer Page, 1833. An elder with Joseph Smith in Kirtland, 1835. Ordained one of the seventy, 1836. Ordained into the quorum of twelve apostles, 1838. Authored Mormon hymn book, 1839. Authored missionary tracts, 1841, 1843, and 1844. Mentioned in D&C 118:6; 124:129. Member of the council of fifty. Edited church newspapers at Pittsburgh, 1843-1844, and at the death of Joseph Smith. Besides Brigham Young, one of the of the first to go through the Nauvoo temple endowment, 1845. Chosen president of the quorum of twelve apostles under James Strang, 1846-1849. Edited the Gospel Herald, 1846-1849. “. . . often asserted that he knew by revelation of God that Mr. Strang was a prophet, and the true successor of Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the church of the living God.”

Leonard Rich

Walked from Kirtland to Western Missouri with Joseph Smith, 1834. Joseph Smith wrote: “I would remember Elder Leonard Rich, who was the first one that proposed to the brethren to assist me in obtaining wood for the use of my family, for which I pray my heavenly father to bless him . . . and I shall ever remember him with much gratitude for his testimony of benevolence and respect.” Served on the Kirtland high council, 1835. Ordained one of the seven presidents of seventy, 1835. In the quorum of high priests at Kirtland, 1837. Sustained James Strang at a conference in Kirtland, Ohio, and became president of the stake at Kirtland, organized by James Strang, 1846.


33 posted on 02/17/2008 12:02:39 AM PST by gpapa (Kill the terrorists, protect the borders, punch the hippies)
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To: gpapa

So what is your point it is no secret that some are not diligent in their walk with the Lord and will sooner or later fall away!

The Lord expect loyalty and that is reading your scriptures and keeping your covenants one can not rest on their laurel and expect to remain in the Kingdom, slothful servants will loose ground, fade away, or worst!


34 posted on 02/17/2008 12:23:09 AM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: restornu

So the Strangites have fallen away or is the opposite the truth?

BTW, I am not of any Mormon faith or their derivatives.


35 posted on 02/17/2008 12:32:18 AM PST by gpapa (Kill the terrorists, protect the borders, punch the hippies)
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To: gpapa

When Joseph Smith was kill there was a power struggle by those who thinking was too worldly, but when the quorum of the 12 got togather it was shown how the work of the Lord would be continued and Brigham Young receved the calling.

So as one see that the true Church of the Lord did prosper while other ventures faded into obscurity.


36 posted on 02/17/2008 12:52:32 AM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: farmer18th

I think you mean the “Book of Abraham”, but your point remains.


37 posted on 02/17/2008 1:48:55 AM PST by beachdweller
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To: restornu; meandog; Alex Murphy; colorcountry; Pan_Yans Wife; MHGinTN; Colofornian; Elsie; ...
On the subject of Dr. Hugh Nibley, while a distinguished linguist ...

Hugh Nibley: The Father of Mormon Scholarly Apologetics ...

You may be interested to learn Dr. Nibley's credibility was seriously damaged when he authenticated Joseph Smith's translation of an Egyptian papyrus which was put forth as the Book of Abraham.

The award winning documentary, The Lost Book of Abraham, shown HERE, cites a number of prominent scholars who disagree with Smith and Nibley. Dr. Robert K. Ritner, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Chicago, is cited most frequently in the film and takes an unequivocal position denying the validity of Smith's purported translation. I invite you to review Ritner's vitae HERE.

Interestingly, as noted HERE and HERE, Dr. Nibley would later recant much of his endorsement, but the damage to his reputation was done.

Dr. Nibley's credibility took another blow when, as explained HERE, he authenticated the Anthon Transcript, a sheet of paper believed to contain copies of the characters which appeared on the gold plates of the Book of Mormon. This document was later proven to be fabricated by Mark Hofmann.

Dr. Nibley made other pronouncements which impaired his value as a Mormon apologist. For example, in 1947 he published the following demonstrably false statement:

Yet of all churches in the world only [the Mormon Church] has not found it necessary to readjust any part of its doctrine in the last hundred years. – Hugh Nibley, No, Ma'am, That's Not History, page 46.

Still other examples of Dr. Nibley's lack of discernment can be found HERE.

In light of the above, you would probably be better served in future posts by not citing Dr. Nibley as an established expert.

38 posted on 02/17/2008 2:17:52 AM PST by Zakeet (Be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for)
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To: meandog
It might interest you to know that LDS is currently listed as the fastest expanding protestant religion in the U.S.

It might interest you to know that according to sources listed HERE, the Mormon Church is not growing nearly as fast as many Christian denominations, and may in fact be facing declining membership.

Further, as explained HERE, Mormonism is not Christian.

39 posted on 02/17/2008 2:26:15 AM PST by Zakeet (Be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for)
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To: gpapa
See King James Strang.

Interestingly, I posted some information on His Excellency just yesterday. You may want to review it HERE.

You should also add to your list of noted Strangites the names of Joseph Smith's widow Emma, his four sons, his mother Lucy Mack Smith, his brother William, and his sisters (only one of whom you noted). All of these individuals left the Utah Mormons and proclaimed (for a while at least) this sect the one true Mormon Church and King James Strang the only valid Prophet, Seer and Revelator successor to Joseph.

Finally, I noted your reference to His Majesty's royal title. As near as I can tell, the Mormon Prophet was actually recognized by the U.S. Congress as a king – the only person so honored in our country's history. I would be glad to share the story upon request.

40 posted on 02/17/2008 2:40:41 AM PST by Zakeet (Be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for)
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To: farmer18th; restornu
farmer18th: What do Mormon scholars say about that critique of Mormon church holy writ? [i.e. Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price]

restornu: I see you did not read this thread ... this is my thread you can do what you like on your thread!

Up to now, Free Republic has been devoted to the idea persons may openly discuss virtually any topic pertaining to general gist of the topic providing the poster does not resort to obscenity, profanity, racism or radical ideology.

In my opinion, Farmer18th asked a valid question relating to the topic of Mormon apologetics. If interested, you can see a detailed answer, and learn why Mormons such as restornu take great umbrage at the mere mention of the topic by clicking HERE.

41 posted on 02/17/2008 3:02:44 AM PST by Zakeet (Be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for)
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To: Zakeet

That is not true you distorter I encourage him to start another thread on his topic, so this thread could stay on the topic.

He was conciderate knowing to continue his question would hijack this thread!

So I did not stop him from his question had he started a thread on this I would have join him!

You are out of line by trying to assign motives to me!


42 posted on 02/17/2008 3:16:51 AM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: Zakeet

What did the Mormons ever do to you personally I would like to know?


43 posted on 02/17/2008 3:18:33 AM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: Zakeet

It seems it is you Zakeet who rejects Jesus Christ Church so it is the other way around big boy!:)


44 posted on 02/17/2008 3:20:18 AM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: Zakeet

Excuse me as far as I am concern it is the Tanner’s who lack discernment!

are you related to me like their son or something?


45 posted on 02/17/2008 3:21:35 AM PST by restornu (People do your own home work don't rely on the media!)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion; FastCoyote; Tennessee Nana; P-Marlowe; MHGinTN; nicmarlo
Haven't Anti-Mormons Completely Destroyed the Credibility of Mormonism?

Good Title!


Now it's time for...

 
 Why Hasn't All the Things That Headquarters of LDS, Inc. Published Over The Years Completely Destroyed the Credibility of Mormonism?

46 posted on 02/17/2008 4:30:29 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: restornu
Excuse me this is the Religion forum, there is no Romney here, you should try the News/Activism forum!

What a coherent sentence!

One can even understand it!

47 posted on 02/17/2008 4:32:27 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: restornu
Hello farmer18th this is my thread you can do what you like on your thread!

Translation: if you start posting things I don't like; I'll tattle on you and get them pulled.

48 posted on 02/17/2008 4:33:50 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: restornu; Religion Moderator
But when someone strives to stir up anger toward the Church and relies on misinformation or half-truths, then I'm inclined to apply the anti-Mormon label--especially when they do it for a living.

Mindreading and intent.

49 posted on 02/17/2008 4:35:35 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: restornu
There are ways to ask questions and people have ways of couching questions to muddy the water before the person can respond to and I think that there in lies the crux of the problem.

If some one was sincere or curious and wanted to know that is different than so many time a strawman type questions that makes it impossible at the moment to answer the question.

I have tried to put the question on level playing ground but with many who have an agenda that is not going to happen!

Who ever typed this reply, #11, is NOT the Restornu we have come to know in these threads.

50 posted on 02/17/2008 4:37:16 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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