Skip to comments.Dispelling the Anti-Mormon Myth
Posted on 08/01/2013 7:59:33 AM PDT by colorcountry
Remember: when you see the bitter apostate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness. Do not spread disease germs! - Boyd K. Packer
This past Saturday, The New York Times published an article titled "Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt." The article is about Hans Mattsson who was an Area Authority in the LDS church, and it discusses his crisis of faith. I admire his courage in speaking out about his issues with the church, and I think it is further evidence that doubts affect all types of members. I encourage everyone to read the article and watch the video.
There has been a lot of discussion online in response to this article, and not surprisingly, the issue of anti-Mormons and anti-Mormon material keeps coming up. As a Mormon I was aware of the fact that there were a lot of anti-Mormons in the world, and that many of them wrote books, articles, websites and blogs dedicated to telling lies about the church. Now that I have left the church, my perspective of this label has changed completely, and I can see just how harmful it is.
"The word "anti-Mormon" is meant to be nothing more than an ugly pejorative. It is usually slapped on anyone who questions or disagrees with the teachings of the LDS faith and implies that the perceived critic is somehow "against" (anti) Mormons (as individuals)." - Bill McKeever
What makes something qualify as anti-Mormon? The general idea within the LDS church, and one that is frequently perpetuated by its leaders, is that anyone or anything that teaches something that contradicts the church's teachings, or paints the church in a negative light, is anti-Mormon. Read the following list and see if you can pick out which are anti-Mormon statements:
1. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon using a special rock called a peep stone. He placed it in a hat, then put his face in the hat to block out the light, and then text was revealed to him on the surface of the stone. Joseph also sometimes received revelations through the stone. 2. Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and had as many as 33 wives or more. Some of these marriages were polyandrous, meaning that Joseph married women who were already married to other men. Some of Joseph's wives were teenage girls. Joseph was secretive about his various marriages. In fact, at one point he married two sisters (who had been brought into their home as maids) and neither knew that the other was married to Joseph. 3. There are varying accounts of the First Vision, including differences in who visited Joseph, what he had been praying about, what was said to him, and even when the vision took place. 4. Joseph Smith and the others with him drank wine while in Carthage Jail. 5. The Book of Abraham does not match the contents of the papyri it was supposedly translated from. In fact, not only is the text nothing more than ordinary funerary papers, but the papyri have also been found to have originated much later than Abraham's time. 6. Oliver Cowdery used a diving rod to receive revelation and translate. 7. Joseph Smith was a treasure seeker or money digger, who was often involved in efforts to search for buried treasure by means of folk magic (including the use of diving rods and peep stones). 8. Many changes were made to revelations in the Book of Commandments before they were reprinted as the Doctrine and Covenants. 9. Joseph Smith claimed to have translated a portion of the Kinderhook Plates which were later discovered to be a hoax. 10. Mormon settlers massacred over 100 unarmed men, women and children in the Mountain Meadows Massacre in southern Utah, in 1857. 11. There was a group of men in the early church known as the "Danites," who were known for attacking non-Mormons. 12. Changes have been made to the text of the Book of Mormon over the years. One of the most significant changes involved altering references that referred to Jesus as "God" into "the Son of God."
Of all the issues on this list, how many of them have you heard discussed in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, General Conference, or other church meetings? How many of them are addressed in lesson manuals, Ensign articles and other church publications? How many of them seem to contradict things you have been taught in church? How many of them are you inclined to disregard as anti-Mormon statements?
The fact is that all of these statements can be verified in church approved resources. Every single one of them. (See notes below.) But these things aren't being taught in church, and many of them do contradict current church teachings. So by the generally accepted definition of "anti-Mormon," these statements qualify, and they come from the church itself!
I think it's time for the church and its members to abandon use of the term "anti-Mormon" for a few reasons. First of all, it is disingenuous and manipulative of the church leaders to encourage members to discover truth for themselves while also teaching that members should only trust "approved" resources. The truth should be evident, regardless of what sources are used. It is also misleading to categorize things as anti-Mormon when so much of what is discussed is verifiable in church resources.
Another reason the term "anti-Mormon" is harmful is because it is associated with a feeling of persecution among the members. They often feel like they are being attacked when someone presents information to them that is contrary to what they've been taught. An awful lot of feelings get hurt needlessly simply because of a misconception. If you can discuss differing views about politics without taking it personally when someone disagrees with you, then the same should be true of discussing religious beliefs. Disagreeing with an idea or a belief is not the same as hating the person who espouses those beliefs.
I think the worst thing about the term "anti-Mormon" is that it's so divisive. It polarizes people, and it shuts down discussion that is desperately needed. The world is not black and white. Not everything can be neatly categorized as pro-Mormon and anti-Mormon. The LDS religion is nuanced and complex. There are a variety of perspectives about different facets of it. It is a shame when dialogue is curtailed because of accusations that someone is anti-Mormon, or their source is anti-Mormon. It causes hard feelings on both sides of the fence, and it is often a factor in damaged relationships between people who leave the church and their friends and family who are still believing members.
Ultimately, the term "anti-Mormon" is not only damaging and counterproductive, but it is also inaccurate. The simple truth is that most people who are labeled as anti-Mormon have nothing against Mormons. In fact, many of them were once Mormons themselves. Many have countless friends and family members who are still in the church. These are people who love Mormons, not hate them. Love is what motivates many of them.
It's time to drop the term "anti-Mormon" from our vocabulary so it can stop detracting from the important issues, like open and honest discussions in the never-ending search for truth.
Note: The list above is by no means comprehensive, and is only a sampling of what can be found in the church's own resources. I will provide links to verify each statement, however please be aware that many of the statements can be confirmed in multiple places, and it would be too time consuming for me to provide links to every reference.
1. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/07/a-treasured-testament?lang=eng http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/01/great-and-marvelous-are-the-revelations-of-god?lang=eng 2. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/06/steadfastness-and-patient-endurance-the-legacy-of-edward-partridge http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/M18K-6J5 http://josephsmithpapers.org/person/marinda-nancy-johnson-hyde http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/M1ZP-PZV 3. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1985/01/joseph-smiths-recitals-of-the-first-vision?lang=eng http://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/04/joseph-smiths-testimony-of-the-first-vision?lang=eng 4. http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/hcpgs/hc.aspx?HC=/hc/6/1.html&A=616 (Vol. 7, Ch. 9, Pg. 101) 5. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1988/07/i-have-a-question 6. http://history.lds.org/article/doctrine-and-covenants-oliver-cowdery?lang=eng http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/revelation-april-1829-b-dc-8 7. http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/hcpgs/hc.aspx?HC=/hc/6/1.html&A=616 (Vol. 3, Ch. 3, Pg. 29) http://josephsmithpapers.org/intro/joseph-smith-and-his-papers-an-introduction?p=2 8. http://books.google.com/books?id=pbkUAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=book+of+commandments&hl=en&ei=4lFATZTYIYH4sAP45oSzCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=1&ved=0CDcQ6wEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false http://www.lds.org/ensign/1985/02/preparing-early-revelations-for-publication?lang=eng 9. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/08/kinderhook-plates-brought-to-joseph-smith-appear-to-be-a-nineteenth-century-hoax?lang=eng http://archive.org/stream/improvementera6509unse#page/n21/mode/2up 10. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/09/the-mountain-meadows-massacre 11. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/04/missouris-impact-on-the-church http://www.lds.org/friend/1993/07/persecutions-in-missouri 12. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/12/understanding-textual-changes-in-the-book-of-mormon
This goes out to all who have born the label “anti-Mormon.”
Sorry. I will continue to be “anti-Mormon”.
Sorry. I will continue to be “anti-Mormon”.
Good. Me too. I’ll wear the badge they put on me, until they finally see.
I am not anti-Mormon. I an anti-Mormon theology.
Real question: The Mormons I have met are decent, well educated, intelligent, and neighbor-friendly, so how can such people believe in all the fantastical poppycock that the Book of Mormon is full of? Why are they so deceived?
Its an incendiary word that is already loaded with negative connotations that arouses in people a reflexive response that is neither necessary or relevant, almost feral in nature.
To elicit a sympathy response from an outsider who may or may not understand what has actually been said in previous discussions, only reflexive outrage. Propaganda, attacker, misrepresent, twist, etc. all fall into the same category.
The obstinate and childish nature becomes evident when the poster is confronted. The projection begins, the revision of comments and quotes, the lols, etc. All in an attempt to present himself as above the fray, better than the opposition because hes attempting to claim the moral high ground. That hes just a poor widdle mormon being persecuted by all those evil evangelicals.
Attempts to ridicule, deride or malign are the typical response. The choice of words, sentence and comment construction are such that it projects to the reader that only he is noble, that all those who reject his premises are ignoble, are untrustworthy, not sincere. That is a tool of deceit. Deceit is the devils playground. Dancing right up to the edge of truth, yet never entering.
All one has to do is follow the trail of comments to see how the poster responds to the criticism of his beloved church. Doesnt matter if the criticism is true or not. The only thing that matters is the source of said criticism. Mormons are NOT permitted by their authorities to question their church.
They have been warned and admonished. IF they choose to do so, they will find themselves before their bishop or a court of love to determine whether or not they are disfellowshipped or excommunicated.
So for any who think a TBM will constructively criticize the mormon church, think again. It aint gonna happen. But we need to pray for them. If this behavior is the last bastion a mormon has to fall back on, then it should be quite evident to any that they are most certainly led astray.
Here's a "comment" from a FReeper from some time back that I believe accurately reflects that attitude of most who insist on mischaracterizing those of us who are ex-mo's and challenge LDS doctrine..."The anti Mormons here have blood on their hands....... they are the scum left from the Mormon killers of old."
Some Catholics search the web and find doubt. So do some Protestants. Some married men search the web and find pornography. Some liberals search Free Republic and find doubt.
Others liberals find mindless attacks on one of a dwindling number of religious denominations who don't buy into the liberal agenda and find hope that the conservative movement is hopelessly divided quarreling over how many angels to stand on a pin and other theological minutia and press on with their godless agenda.
Sorry to interrupt. Now, go back to preaching to your worthless little faction.
Please refer to post #8.
Have a GREAT day!
Meant to ping you to this post #10.
Another clue is when they make multipage posts in seconds, from pre-prepared rants.
[and greetings to SZ!]
"Now, now. Don't detract from the ravings of the new THREE MINUTES' HATE poster. When they really get wound up in their bigotry you can tell because they foam at the mouth. Another clue is when they make multipage posts in seconds, from pre-prepared rants."
"Now, now. Don't detract from the TRUTH posted about the cult of mormonism. When they really feel compassion toward those caught in mormonism, they spend time showing TRUTH. Another clue is when they save time by reposting answers to repeated mormon questions, or misunderstandings of God's Holy Scriptures."
I note you only rush in to “defend” mormonism by using perjoratives and mischaracterizations of FReepers as your defense mechanism.
Is there any instance of “defending” Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Pagans, etc. in your record?
Doubtful, which goes to show your bigotry and hypocrisy is obviously focused only on those who challenge the doctrine and theology of mormonism, using a variation of the tactics described in the article.
Thanks for providing an example of what the author is talking about.
You are very angry at me then. Why? Is it perhaps fright?
ALL: FYI: Also posted on FR this a.m.: Mormon apologetics group brings conference to Provo [Mormonism being 'disenchanted' on the 'net]
LOTS of school districts get started around the country in August...Time to get "educated" on the REAL MormonISM!
(a) Mom & Dad & other relatives trained them;
(b) Mormon leadership ingrains them thru cultic "blame games" aimed at apostates;
(c) overwhelming emphasis on "feelings" as determiner of truth...
Examples on (C):
From the Doctrine & Covenants "Student Manual" published by the Mormon church in 2000:
"Elder Boyd K. Packer described how the Spirit communicates: 'I have come to know that inspiration comes more as a FEELING than as a sound...'" (p. 378) [Packer's an "apostle"]
Reuben Clark was one of the top three hierarchical Mormons:
"...after praying to the Lord and FEELING inspired..." (p. 362)
p. 21 of the manual uses the word "feeling" or "felt" three times on p. 21...uses the word "burn" or "burning" three times (in relation to a "burning of the bosom")...
Altho Mormons place a high emphasis on education, much of Mormonism's "discernment" boils down to such sentimentalism...which leads to...
"'We can tell when the speakers are 'moved upon by the Holy Ghost' only when we, ourselves, are 'moved upon by the Holy Ghost.'" (Address delivered to seminary & institute of religion personnel July 7, 1954, as cited in the student manual, p. 144)
So there ya go. A kind of circular reasoning...well, "reasoning" isn't the right word here...circular "bosoming" perhaps...where just about anything can be constantly reinforced as "so"...
When the mishies were cruising me for conversion as I was on my way to Vietnam, one frequent expression was
“We know these things to be true.”
This was used to quell investigators’ doubts about
Gold plates inscribed in `reformed Egyptian’
Book of Abraham
Umim & Thummim
BoM books with names like Jarom, Omni, Mosiah, Ether, Alma, etc.
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