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Author Topic: Mormonism  (Read 1047 times)

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Offline HrairooTopic starter

« on: October 19, 2020, 05:54:15 PM »
So, this past August, I went through a faith crisis. Having been raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I finally got my head on straight and left the cult, belief and all. I have made certain agreements with family that we wouldn't try to convince each other. However, I desire nothing more than to talk about it, to talk about the things I am learning and the lies I have been told.

I thought I would just make this thread and leave it open for discussions on this topic in general and also to answer any questions folks might have.

Some of the things that have been a benchmark topics for me in making this faith something that I cannot believe in anymore:

The Occult and Folk Magic Origins of The Book of Mormon - Joseph Smith Jr. was a moneydigger(a 19th century scam that relied heavily on Goetia demonology and rituals) who used a peep stone with which to scry for buried Spanish treasure and to see the guardian spirits that protected it underground. He used that same stone in the process of writing the Book of Mormon.
The Apologetics for the Book of Abraham - another book of scripture that Joseph Smith wrote, using some papyrus he bought from a traveling salesman. Egyptologists have since translated the papyrus fragments and found it to be a regular funerary document. That's okay, though, because "translate" doesn't mean what you're thinking anyway.
The Ban of Black Men from Holding the Priesthood - The priesthood is the special power that God grants worthy and righteous men in order to do His work and perform sacred ordinances in the temple. Since 1852, Brigham Young, the second Prophet of the LDS church, banned black men from holding this power or attending the temple. Their black skin was a sign that they were less valiant during the war in Heaven before coming to this earth. In 1978, the Presidency of the church received revelation from God that this policy was no longer in effect and a false teaching. For 130 years, in "Christ's one and only true church" African Americans were held back from the crucial covenants and ordinances in order to reach salvation and exaltation for their families. The church has still offered no formal apology or explanation.
Polygamy, Polyandry - Joseph Smith was supposedly devoted to and crazy in love with his wife Emma. During his life, when questioned about rumors of polygamy from U.S. officials and newspapers, he denied having any other wife. The church now admits that he did have multiple wives, upwards of 34. 11 of them were already married(Joseph Smith would send his trusted apostles overseas to be missionaries and married their wives while they were away) and 7 of them were under the age of 18 when he married them. One was as young as 14. The church claims these were non-sexual marriages. But that's not what D&C 132:60-65 says.
Lack of Monetary Transparency - it is formally stated that the LDS calls regular members from the congregation to positions of work in the church but it is volunteer work. Nobody is paid a salary for teaching Sunday school or running local wards and branches. Mormonleaks got ahold of a member of the LDS Presidency's pay stub where it listed living expenses paid for by a stipend. Come to find out that all of the highest ranking members of the church, the Prophet and his Apostles, all get paid this stipend for living expenses. None of these men have jobs anymore other than being prophets, seers, and revelators for the church. Their explanation: of course they get a little living money otherwise they wouldn't be able to support themselves.

There are many more small things that have added up but these are the big hammer and nail items.

**I know Skynet already has a Utah Mormon culture thread but in speaking to him privately I've decided to make my own thread to open the topic in a more general way.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2020, 09:05:38 PM »
Just to provide some sources for information so that those who wish to learn more can look into it themselves and verify whether they think sources are legitimate. I will also try to link to any sources I have for information when answering questions. Sometimes they might be books I've bought and read but there's plenty of access to sources online also.

The Official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint Website - you don't need to be a member or login to look up any information. Be aware that everything is given with an apologetics slant in favor of the LDS church truth claims. This includes omissions of history.
- The Gospel Topics Essays - the official stance of the LDS church on some of these controversial topics.
- The Joseph Smith Papers - provided by the church, these are papers that have been kept all these years, confirmed to be written by Joseph Smith, his scribes, and just general personal papers he kept.
Understanding Mormonism - an unaffiliated apologetics website for the LDS church.
FAIR Mormon - an unaffiliated apologetics website for the LDS church.

Jerald and Sandra Tanner's website - Sandra Tanner and her late husband were excommunicated from the church due to their poking into church historical documents and asking probing questions. They are known "anti-Mormons" but the church gives that label to anyone who questions their authority or denies their truth claims.
The Utah Lighthouse Ministry - the homepage for the Tanners website.
The CES letter - one ex-Mormon's list of questions directed at the Church Education System Director. This is notorious for its ability to break the cognitive dissonance in active Mormons.

A list of LDS doctrine not found in the Book of Mormon - it's a Christianity answers and questions site but if you look these things up on the official lds website, you will not find scriptures from only the Book of Mormon for these.
- Book of Mormon Contradictions - another Christian compiled list
- Top 10 Teachings Not Supported by the BoM - Another list of doctrines not found in the BoM
List of Problems with the Book of Mormon - compiled by a Christian Apologetics site.
List of Changes made to the Book of Mormon - LDS claim that all edits made to the BoM over the years have merely been typsetting errors or grammar and punctuation.

The Amazing Contradicting Joseph Smith - Radio Free Mormon podcast
Mormon Stories website - Dr. John Dehlin has a great podcast where he provides a platform for and interviews different people from historians, ex-Mormons, and current Mormon, to discuss difficult topics
Mormon Research Ministry: Joseph Smith and Folk Magic
Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? - a thorough compilation and list of possible influences and plagiarism for the Book of Mormon
Dan Vogel's Youtube channel - a historian into the Book of Mormon and early church history

Notable books:

No Man Knows My History by Fawn M. Brodie
Early Mormonism and the Magical Worldview by D. Michael Quin
Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder
Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet by Dan Vogel
An Insider's View on Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer
An American Fraud: One Lawyer's Case Against Mormonism by Kay Burningham
Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman
History of Joseph Smith by His Mother by Lucy Mack Smith

Offline Google

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2020, 08:43:45 AM »
IF I may be so bold, the Naked Mormonism podcast does a fantastic deep dive into the history of the church.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2020, 08:46:59 AM »
IF I may be so bold, the Naked Mormonism podcast does a fantastic deep dive into the history of the church.

Ohh! Thank you, I'll definitely check it out! I'm always open to learning more about the history of it. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are fascinating once you get into who they really were and how they got folks to follow them.

Offline Google

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2020, 08:49:59 AM »
Ohh! Thank you, I'll definitely check it out! I'm always open to learning more about the history of it. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are fascinating once you get into who they really were and how they got folks to follow them.
Fair warning, the early episodes are a bit rough as he was new to the whole thing... but before too very long he has an excellent balance of comedy and history.

And, slightly less related... on the podcast God Awful Movies... every june is mormon movie month... and yea its bad by which I mean hillarious

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2020, 09:09:07 AM »
Something I wanna share with you guys. One of the most fascinating things I have learned about the Mormon church is the occult origins of it. It's just so bizarre and backwards from the clean white image the church presents.

I first learned about the seer stone Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon in 2016 when I reactivated my membership after a few years lapse. I went to the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site and they showed us this film:
Days of Harmony

In that video, it presents the translation process as if Joseph Smith had the plates nearby and he peered down at the hat with the stone inside slightly shaded by his hand. Yet in quoted accounts from those who scribed for him(Martin Harris, Emma, and Oliver Cowdery) Joseph Smith had his face IN the hat to obscure the light and words would appear on a glowing parchment within. So, even though Joseph Smith and the church use the word "translation", the golden plates and the characters on them were never used during the process. Everything in the Book of Mormon was written from the seer stone.

In the Gospel Topics essays

• Seer Stones
• Book of Mormon Translation
• Divining Rods

The LDS church tries to present the use of seer stones and diving rods as the exact same thing as Moses's staff or Jesus healing people with spit and mud. That they're just another tool used by prophets of God to channel His holy power.

There's another word for using a stone to find answers or seek lost objects by staring into it. Scrying. Glass-looking. You know, like a fortune teller. And there's no amount of framing that can change the fact that using a dowsing rod to find things or answer questions is essentially what a Ouija board is supposed to do. Pre-2012, the church had a firm stance on these subjects as lies by those who feel antagonistic towards the church. Then all of a sudden, due to pressures from ex-Mormon church historians talking about the hidden seer stone that the church presidency had locked away in a vault(like Grant Palmer and the Tanners), the church came out and admitted that parts of the story were true.

Dan Vogel has a great couple of videos going over the historic context of using seer stones, moneydigging, heavenly visitations, and the superstitious culture of the time.

Dan Vogel youtube videos

It's pretty basic yet thorough information if you want to learn about the historical context of moneydigging and scrying using a seer stone.

Those videos are pretty long, so, if you wanted a shorter and more succinct explanation, John Dehlin gives a good, 15 minute breakdown of it on his Understanding Mormonism channel.

Understanding Mormonism: How did Joseph Smith become a Treasure Digger? — Seer Stone
Understanding Mormonism: Did Joseph Smith use a Seer Stone to translate the Book of Mormon?

It suddenly puts all of this stuff into context. Like, the buried gold treasure, using a seer stone to unlock its secrets, contending with the guardian spirit of the treasure, Moroni, etc. Plus, the fact that the first written account we have of the First Vision, where Joseph is visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son at the age of 14, was written down in 1832, 12 years after it supposedly happened. And two years after the Book of Mormon was published. So, it almost looks like an addition after the fact, based on the culture of the time for people to be visited by heavenly beings and demonic spirits, to add legitimacy to his claims among Christians.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2020, 07:04:39 AM »
A mini rant here.

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
I was watching Mormon Stories #480 with Jeremy Runnells(the author of the CES letter) this morning and....seriously, f-ck priesthood blessings. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be offensive but.... Runnells is deaf(I wasn't aware) and he recounted a story where he got the opportunity to get a hearing blessing from an area seventy. The guy told him he would be healed, that his ears would be unstopped. So, this kid went home, so faithful in the priesthood being exactly like Christ's power, that he took out his hearing aide and set it aside. Then weeks went by and he's still not healed, he begins to wonder if his faith wasn't strong enough.

How ugly and harmful is that? Because of course, in the cognitive dissonance battle, you're always going to assume that there is something wrong with YOU, instead of the logical conclusion that there are no super powers. How utterly destructive to think, "I'd just be healed, like that, if I were good enough." Because it's all dependent upon your faith and your worthiness, if the blessing you receive works or not. It has nothing to do with the priesthood holder who lays his hands on you and if the blessing doesn't work, he has nothing to examine or think about. It's just on the receiver's shoulders.

 Or how about setting aside the hearing aide? It's pretty innocuous, that. What about other blessings wherein the person sets aside medicine they need?

You cannot convince me, that the church is good for people. You cannot convince me that a local Bishop giving a blessing that you'll be healed of your ills is not as culpable or not as responsible for harm as the General Authorities and leadership of the corporate church.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2020, 03:28:39 PM »
I know, the subject you've all been waiting for. The juicy, controversial POLYGAMY.

I want to preface this by stating that there is nothing inherently wrong or harmful about polyamory or plural marriages. What we're talking about here is specifically The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which takes a firmly patriarchal stance on polygamy. Women cannot have multiple husbands; worthy priesthood men can have as many wives as they like. They give lip service to "women have a choice" but that is not how it has been practiced and it is not how it is discussed in the modern church. So, when we talk about polygamy in this thread, it has nothing to do with the potential for healthy relationships or love; we're specifically talking about the way Mormonism has practiced this and what they say about it.

Also, we are specifically talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Brother Jake on youtube does a great 9 min breakdown of the different offshoots of Mormonism but it's very messy and layered. Suffice it to say, when you see those young men riding on bikes about town, in clean white shirts, ties, and black badges, it is undoubtedly the main corporate church that they represent. The other offshoots of "Mormonism" don't have as big a presence or movement as the main corporate Salt Lake City Utah church does.

The problems with polygamy in the Mormon church are two fold.
1. There is a pattern of deceit surrounding the origins and eventual discontinuation of the practice. The church simply cannot get its story straight and would prefer everyone simply forgot about it, like it never happened.
2. There is a pattern of toxic patriarchy, misogyny, and abuse in the examples we have for its practice AND the current official narrative of how it should be practiced.

 The church states, Although the Lord commanded the adoption—and later the cessation—of plural marriage in the latter days, He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment.
(source) Which is an odd thing for them to try to claim now when in actuality, Joseph Smith received very specific instructions on how to practice it and the revelation was canonized as official LDS scripture in D&C section 132:61-65 revealed in 1843. Which is definitely an odd timeline, because Joseph Smith married his second wife, Fanny Alger (17), in 1832. So, Joseph began secretly practicing polygamy before he received revelation for it.

Does it seem convoluted and messy? That's because it is. Here is a timeline of polygamy in the LDS church: Monogamy vs Polygamy timeline in the restored church. It is exhaustive with links to sources for each point, so, it can be examined for legitimacy. A few other sources:

Exploring Mormonism Polygamy Timeline
• Joseph Smith Wives Graphic

A few points of note:
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
February 12,  1833 - This year an Illinois state law  was created relating to polygamy/bigamy.  The crime would result in  two year imprisonment and a $1000 fine for the married man who married a second wife, and one year imprisonment and $500 fine for the unmarried women who knowingly entered into a marriage with an already married man.

August 1835 - Church publishes the “Article on Marriage” in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine & Covenants, which states “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”.

April 6, 1836 - Joseph Smith Jr. “married or sealed” to Fanny Alger(16).

June 1838 - Joseph Smith Jr. married to Lucinda Pendleton Morgan(37).

October 27, 1838 - Lilburn Boggs (Missouri governor) issues “Missouri Executive Order 44” stating “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description“.

April 5, 1841 - Joseph Smith Jr. “married or sealed” to Louisa Beamon(26).

October 27, 1841 - Joseph Smith is “married or sealed” to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs(20).

December 11, 1841 - Joseph Smith is married to Prescendia Lathrop Huntington(31).

1842 - Joseph marries Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer(30).

January 6, 1842 - Joseph Smith married to Agnes Moulton Coolbrith(33).

January 16, 1842 - Joseph Smith Jr. marries Mary Elizabeth Rollins(24).

February 8, 1842 - Joseph Smith married to Sylvia Sessions(23).

March 9, 1842 - Joseph Smith married to Patty Bartlett Sessions(47).

April 1842 - Joseph Smith married to Nancy Marinda Hyde(27).

May 1842 - Joseph Smith married to Elizabeth Davis Durfee(50).

June 29, 1842 - Joseph Smith is married to Eliza R. Snow(38).

July 27, 1842 - Joseph Smith marries Sarah Ann Whitney(17).

August 1842 - Joseph Smith married to Martha McBride Knight(37).
Joseph Smith married to Ruth Vose Sayers(33).

September 1, 1842 - Joseph Smith writes a letter “To All the Saints in Nauvoo” telling the Saints that he is innocent of all charges against him (including polygamy and accomplice in Boggs’s murder attempt). Joseph Smith publishes a restatement of the Article on Marriage in the Times and Seasons emphasizing that monogamy is the only law of marriage in the church.

February 1843 - Joseph Smith marries Ruth Daggett Vose(32).

March 4, 1843 - Joseph Smith marries Emily Dow Partridge(19).

March 8, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Eliza M. Partridge(22).

Spring, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Flora Ann Woodworth(16).

April 12, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Olive Grey Frost(27).

May 1843 - Joseph Smith Jr. marries Helen Mar Kimball(14).

May 1, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Lucy Walker(17).

May 11, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Maria Lawrence(19) and Sarah Lawrence(17).

June 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Hanna Ellis(29).

June 1, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Elvira Anie Cowles(29).

June 12, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Rhoda Richards(58).

July 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Desdemona Fullmer(32).
 - Joseph Smith married to Nancy Maria Winchester(15).

July 12, 1843 - Hyrum asks his brother to dictate the polygamy revelation by means of his seer stone, but Smith dictates it from memory. The revelation was supposedly dictated by Smith to his scribe William Clayton, and was shared with Emma Smith that day by Hyrym. Hyrum uses the written revelation to try to convert Emma Smith to accept the practice.  Brigham says that Emma burned the revelation.  Emma denies this. (canonized 33 year later as D&C 132 in 1876).

September 20, 1843 - Joseph Smith married to Malissa Lott(19).

November 2, 1843 - Joseph Smith “married or sealed” to Fanny Murray (56).

June 27, 1844 - Joseph Smith Jr. dies.  He has a count of approximately 33 wives by this point.

When first researching this topic, I could see a case might be made for "enemies of the church slandering Joseph's name with rumors" because for every secret marriage reported, there is multiple examples of Joseph preaching against or flat out denying polygamy is being practiced. But then the LDS church comes out and admits that Joseph Smith actually did in fact have multiple wives. So, these public denials are public lies according to Smith, in an attempt to hide what he was doing from the state. No matter which way you slice it, he either told the truth and had only one wife, Emma, or he had other wives and all the times he said he didn't, he was lying. The church cannot retain Joseph's moral character if they admit to him having multiple wives.

I don't give much credence to the claim that "dissenters simply claim Joseph married any woman he had remote contact with" or implying that it was impossible to marry that many women in the time frame he did. We have a much firmer record of Brigham Young's wives and he married 50.

July 8, 1862 - Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law.  Note that the Mormons hated Lincoln ( and the Republicans ), and denounced Lincoln in the harshest terms.

October 1871 - Brigham Young was indicted for adultery.  He was under house arrest from January to April 1872.  ( B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History 5:394 – 415 ).  The charges were dismissed ( Quinn, Extensions p 767 ).

July 7, 1878 - Joseph F. Smith condemns those not living in polygamy.

March 23 1882 – President Chester A. Arthur signs into law The Edmunds Act (also called the “Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882“) declaring polygamy a felony in Federal territories, “bigamous” or “unlawful cohabitation” a misdemeanor, prohibits voting, public office, or jury inclusion for those found guilty.

April 1884 - At a special priesthood meeting at the April conference, prophet John Taylor asked all monogamists serving in ward Bishoprics or Stake Presidencies either to make preparations to marry a plural wife or to offer their resignation from Church office, and he called out the names of monogamous Stake Presidents.

September 27, 1886 – John Taylor receives a revelation stating that God will never change his mind about polygamy.

March 3, 1887 – The Edmunds-Tucker Act (also called the “Anti-Polygamy Act of 1887”) goes into effect and becomes enforced within all US federal territiries, and remains in place until 1978.

November 24, 1889 – Wilford Woodruff, as church president, receives revelation, which continued the defiant discourse with the church’s enemies.  He says that Jesus Christ himself promised protection for the church’s practice of polygamy.

June 1890 - The LDS Church’s First Presidency issues memos to church leaders informing them that they are no longer allowed to perform plural marriages in the United States.

June 10, 1890 – Brigham Young Jr. Marries 6th wife in direct conflict with Wilford’s message that no new plural marriages are performed.

September 24, 1890 – Wilford Woodruff denounces polygamy in a pres release called “The Manifesto”.

November 12, 1891 – President Woodruff publicly declares that violating the Manifesto by living with polygamous was not allowed, and would result in excommunication.  Privately, he tells the Quorum that any man who abandons his plural wives will be dismissed from the church.

1895 – LDS Mexico colonies to preserve polygamy are started.  The marriages continue until 1905.

March 1904 – The Reed Smoot hearings begin, which will last for just under 3 years. Senator Reed Smoot (an LDS Apostle and monogamist) was elected to the US Senate, which was met with opposition on charges of him being a polygamist.

April 6, 1904 – President Joseph F. Smith declares the “Second Manifesto” denouncing polygamy and all participants. 31 plural marriages would be performed after this manifesto in Mexico.

May 5, 1945 – Heber J. Grant passes away.  He lived openly with his wives post manifesto and taking each wife on a different mission with him. This death ends the era of an uninterrupted line of polygamist prophets of the LDS church.

December 26, 2004 – Gordon B. Hinkley tells Larry King that Polygamy “ended over 100 years ago”

April 6, 2006 – President Russell M. Nelson (81) marries Wendy L. Watson (56), an unmarried virgin one year and 2 months after his first wife Dantzel dies of “unknown causes” while in his care. Nelson remains sealed to both women.

October 2014 – The LDS Church publishes “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” as one of the official Church Gospel Topics Essays regarding polygamy admitting Smith married 14 year olds, that Brigham had sex with his wives, that some relationships were sexual, and that Smith had 40 wives.

The church also tries to muddy the waters by making a distinction between being "sealed for time and all eternity"(sex here and in the next life), versus just "married for eternity alone"(just a special connection that only has relevance for the next life, with no implied sexual congress in this life). "Most of those sealed to Joseph Smith were between 20 and 40 years of age at the time of their sealing to him. The oldest, Fanny Young, was 56 years old. The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of Joseph’s close friends Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, who was sealed to Joseph several months before her 15th birthday. Marriage at such an age, inappropriate by today’s standards, was legal in that era, and some women married in their mid-teens. Helen Mar Kimball spoke of her sealing to Joseph as being “for eternity alone,” suggesting that the relationship did not involve sexual relations." (source)

Oh, I'm sorry, does that sound duplicitous and disingenuous to you? You tell me if it makes a difference to you or not that Joseph Smith, the most important man among these early LDS members and 37 years old, coming to a young girl of 14 and marrying her so that she would be his in the next life. She had righteous parents, so, it wasn't as if she was being folded into his righteous bloodline out of some attempt to keep her spiritually in the fold of the church. She has been quoted as saying, "I heard him [Joseph Smith] teach and explain the principle of celestial marriage. After which he said to me, “If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.” This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward." (source) So, not only is the prophet of God coming to her at such a young age but he also puts the weight of her family's exaltation on her shoulders in order to convince her that this is a right thing to do.

Even if he never laid a single finger on her, how is this not predatory and toxic? Why did he need to marry a 14 year old girl? If not for the purposes of "multiplying the saints and replenishing the righteous upon the earth" as D&C 132 states, why did he need to marry women other than his wife? The church now teaches that in the next life, people can be paired up and choose to say yes or no to being bonded and sealed to each other. Unmarried LDS women are consoled that in the next life, things will be taken care of and they'll be able to find a worthy husband, either becoming his singular wife or becoming a part of his harem of wives. I don't understand what the purpose of marrying a 14 year old would be if it was simply for the next life and had no bearing in this life. And you'd think that the guy who received this revelation from God would have a better understanding of it than anyone, so, he'd know there was no rush, especially if it was going to create such trouble and controversy for the church.

Also, as an aside, no, it wasn't "common" to marry 14 year old girls in the 1800's. "Between 1800 and 1900, women generally married for the first time between the ages of 20 and 22. Less is known about the average age of first marriages for men during the 19th century. In 1890, when the U.S. Census Bureau started collecting marriage data, it was recorded that the average age of a first marriage for men was 26 years, and the average age of marriage for women was 22 years." (source)

I also want to make clear that there is a slight difference between Mormon prophets and apostles and say a preacher or priest for other religions. Mormons don't just believe that these are good men or inspired men with a heart full of love for God. They literally believe that the prophets and apostles are called specifically by God to speak for Him on this earth, that God grants them divine power to lead His one true church. I don't mean to disparage those of other faiths by saying that if a priest makes a mistake, lies, or has an adulterous affair, that it is less meaningful or dire, because he has still betrayed the trust of those in his flock. But for Mormons, if a prophet or apostle lies or makes a mistake...this is the literal representation for God on earth. It calls everything into question, not only that man's specific God-granted authority, but the authority of the organization itself.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints makes truth claims that not only is it a restoration of Christ's church on this earth but that it is the ONLY true church of Christ on this earth since the last of Christ's apostles died. The only way to true happiness and the full exaltation in the Celestial kingdom is if you follow the prophet without question and obey the laws he sets down. If the prophet and past prophets have acted in deceptive ways, lying outright, it is not a simple matter of "men err and men make mistakes." Just like the leader of your country, you hold the leader of salvation to a higher standard, especially if God has deemed him special and righteous enough to speak His will to the people. I can't speak for God; He chose the prophet for a specific reason.

There is so much more we could get into in this, like Emma Smith not being aware of the marriages and disagreeing with those she found out about, the sister sets and mother-daughter sets that Joseph married, polyandry, the angel with a flaming sword that threatened him to obey this commandment, Brigham Young(just...everything Brigham Young), but for now, I'll leave it there for questions and discussion.

Online Oniya

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2020, 05:12:15 PM »
Another thing that isn't mentioned a lot with institutionalized polygamy, is that you invariably end up with the available women/girls getting taken up by the old 'worthy' patriarchs, and the teenage boys being pretty much left to fend for themselves.  I suppose this is to encourage them to bring new people into the fold so that they have a chance of hooking up with someone.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2020, 07:34:55 PM »
Another thing that isn't mentioned a lot with institutionalized polygamy, is that you invariably end up with the available women/girls getting taken up by the old 'worthy' patriarchs, and the teenage boys being pretty much left to fend for themselves.  I suppose this is to encourage them to bring new people into the fold so that they have a chance of hooking up with someone.

That is very true! Of Joseph Smith's wives 8 of them went on to marry Brigham Young(the second prophet of the LDS church). It is an odd thing because I was always taught to understand that the priesthood is a binding force, like writing contracts with God that will hold true here and in the next life. So, LDS marriage and "sealings" is a marriage that God will recognize. It's why there are temples, why endowments are done for the dead by proxy, because these contracts need to be set up and done exactly, in order to open gateways for people in heaven.

The more I research the origin of the revelation for plural marriage ordinance, the more wishy washy and fuzzy it becomes. Some marriages that were done were said to not have relevance here and are only relevant in the next life. The opposite is true when it comes to escalating ordinances as the church talks about them now.

For instance, regular court of law marriages, or even a regular marriage you'd get in a non-LDS church building, don't count according to LDS theology. In the next life, those two people are not bound and they do not recognize each other as husband and wife in the next life, and their children do not recognize them as their parents. The next up is temple marriage and being sealed, meaning the marriage is valid in heaven and all the children from that relationship are recognized as part of that family and line. According to some of the accounts and justifications given for Joseph's marriages to young teenagers and even women who were already married, it was "just for eternity" and not relevant here in this life. I mean...I guess God and a prophet can do whatever he wants, but if we take this at face value, then Joseph Smith is essentially saving his "spot" on certain women, not allowing them to share eternity with someone else, that they choose to spend this life with. Or in some cases, stealing that spot from the men some of these women were already married to.

The only fathomable reason to be married to a woman and ONLY have it recognized in heaven and not utilized here on earth, is as a convenient excuse to brush away accusations of sexual misconduct and adultery.

But what do I know? Several of Joseph's wives were remarried after he died. Who are they sealed to in heaven? Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or whoever else? Who gets recognized as her lucky priesthood holder?

Online Oniya

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2020, 08:05:04 PM »
But what do I know? Several of Joseph's wives were remarried after he died. Who are they sealed to in heaven? Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or whoever else? Who gets recognized as her lucky priesthood holder?

Oddly enough, in the Old Testament, there's a bit about how, if a man dies without issue, his brother is supposed to take his wife as his own, and her children with him carry on the first brother's line.  (This could actually make sense when dealing with a small, nomadic population, ensuring genes get passed down, etc.)  In the New Testament, someone sets up a scenario where a man has six brothers, and his wife ends up hitched to each of them in turn (unsuccessfully) and the question is asked: 

'In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife' Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.'

This kind of corroborates your opinion that a 'heavenly marriage' is little more than a handwave to make a dalliance something less scandalous.

[Disclaimer:  I haven't been Christian/Catholic for years, I just have a crazy amount of recall about things I read.]

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2020, 08:08:02 AM »
Ah, thank you, Oniya! Yes, that does present a contradiction. I even went and looked into the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible(where he went in and edited several verses to "restore" them to their pure, original intent) and there's nothing edited about these verses in Mark that significantly change the meaning.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2020, 07:22:07 AM »
A brief little something about the #givethanks campaign and my feelings regarding it.

First, I should explain. Earlier this month, it was announced and hyped up that the prophet was going to give a special message to the worldwide church on the 20th of November. When it came, this was what he said:

Linking it because he shows pictures of children in the video:

In a nutshell, his prescription as a doctor and prophet(at 7:24 in the video), is for the members of the church to post every day for the next 7 days(20-27) on social media, the things that they are grateful for, using the hashtag #givethanks. The goal is to "flood social media with a wave of gratitude". So, if you've been seeing folks doing this and using this hashtag, they are likely Mormon and this is the reason they are doing it.

It's not a bad thing to tell people to practice gratitude rather than focusing on all the ills in this life. It's just 1. The message is misplaced. Many people including exmos like myself who keep an ear out for changes in the operation and messaging of the church, expected him to say something more direct about the pandemic. We expected him to tell church members to do more preventative things and to listen to their lawmakers and leaders in regards to this pandemic(a notable problem Mormons have, both Idaho and Utah reporting high numbers of infection rates and deaths due to not wearing masks and still attending large gatherings for church services).

And 2. the focus on social media is not helpful. Especially considering in the very recent past, the revelation and message for members has been to take a fast from social media for both youth and adults. It's the prime issue of receiving "continued revelation" when new revelation and commandments contradict those given before.

One of the biggest cautions we hear about social media is the war of perception vs. reality that goes on, and the insecurity this can breed. I don't like rants about how evil and toxic social media is because I believe it's just a moderation thing, the same with any other form of entertainment. Being grateful, by itself, is a really healthy mental exercise. When I was a TBM(true believing mormon), I kept a private gratitude journal and that is fine to do. But posting it publicly online adds this layer of performance to it, presenting a face to others that may or my not be false, just to fit in or comply.

And it's not a good look. Other people who are not Mormon are not looking at these messages of gratitude flooding their feed and thinking about what happy people Mormons are. They're thinking how self-absorbed and shallow they are, as Mormons passive aggressively brag about their material belongings, being God's select people, their families, their perfect little lives.

It asks so little. Damning by low expectations. I know it's the pandemic and all but I'm sure the God of everything could be creative and figure out how people could proactively spread gratitude to others. You know, instead of telling everyone around you a list of stuff that is awesome about your life, give others reasons to be grateful for theirs.

It's patronizing to be chided and pressured in this way. When I first heard this message, my immediate thought was that someone was shaking a finger at me, like I haven't been grateful enough and should put some time in. It is okay to express concern and fear and anxiety and sorrow over troubles in your life and the world. It is healthy to have real emotions about things, even if some of it is negative. #givethanks is like telling someone who is upset, "You need to calm down." It's not very helpful, it's alienating, it's shaming.

One thing that in particular bothers me about the church now is realizing how American-centric it all is. It's another one of those small problems that prevents me from ever falling back into belief. I just cannot get on board with an organization that claims to be the only true way to God giving revelations that only apply to or focus entirely on one country.

Setting aside how awful and toxic it is to ban members of a certain race from crucial saving ordinances, the fact that such a doctrine excludes great chunks of the population on this planet outside of the United States, shows a lack of foreknowledge on God's part. It's not just the generations of people of color in the US who had to forestall saving ordinances for 130 years. That is also people of color on all the other continents who also didn't get access to those works.

And now, the #givethanks Thanksgiving themed message... What value does this have for those in other countries who don't celebrate this holiday? What about underprivileged countries where people don't have social media or the luxury to post online every day? I think about the failings of the prophet to address the Covid pandemic and to be honest, I was originally thinking about it just in context of the foolish folks in this country who are privileged to have daily masks and can social distance, or access to good health support(compared to a lot of other places) if they get infected, or at the very least, tests to see if they have it or not. What about other countries with higher death rates? What about countries without all of these wonderful things? The message from their prophet that their God wants them to hear: be grateful. Show your gratitude in the invisible virtual world and do it for a whole week until this American holiday.

I just can't believe in a God who would neglect 90% of the planet in favor of one of the most privileged and wealthiest places on Earth.

Online Oniya

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2020, 02:11:33 PM »
Another thing they didn't consider is the ability for any hashtag to be hijacked.  I know I've seen that one on Twitter, and can verify that it's spread to non-Mormons, including at least one rabbi (although primarily still Americans - I'd say most of the people posting it on my feed were making election commentary.)  So, if they wanted to assert that Mormons are a happier bunch, that takeaway has been rather lost.  Instead, everyone seems to be assuming it's some sort of Thanksgiving 'trend'.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2020, 07:16:48 AM »
Right, so their outreach attempt just fizzles out because it's not uniquely Mormon enough.

Online Oniya

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2020, 01:05:10 PM »
Right, so their outreach attempt just fizzles out because it's not uniquely Mormon enough.

More that the prior injunction against social media means that they really don't know what works.

Back when I had a TV, and therefore no control over advertisements, the 'outreach attempts' always had some indication that they were connected to the LDS.  Usually at the end, so you didn't realize it until the ad had gotten a chance to make an impact.  They weren't memorably Mormon except for that tag.  (Always definable as 'religious' from early on, though.) 

On the other hand, if they'd tried that on social media, it would have to be with something in the post or hashtag - but that would be obvious as soon as someone saw the tag, since the eye jumps to highlighted things or series of capitals.  Chances are that - rather than spread the hashtag as is, people would strip out the connection, 'give thanks' and be done with it.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2020, 10:54:23 AM »
Something very strange has occurred and the exmo forums I am on have been popping with astonishment and hope mixed with disappointment in regards to it. Of all the things to disobey the prophet and apostles about...a great number of Mormons have chosen to take a stance against mask wearing. I've stated before how Utah, Mormon central headquarters, has a high rate of Coronavirus cases and deaths compared to other parts of the country. And I have been disappointed here and there over the lack of counsel the prophet, Russell M. Nelson has given in regards to the members of the church being safe.

I don't want to make incorrect causation equivalencies but to me, it seems no accident that the number of votes for Trump in Utah during this last election seems related to the politicization of mask wearing and vaccine hesitation among the LDS church members in Utah. And thus the high numbers of Covid cases and death.

Now, I have explained that the prophet and his apostles are much more than simply priests or religious leaders. These men are seen by LDS as having the only direct line of communication to God and Jesus Christ. They have the authority given by God to lead and direct his one true church and to speak for Him to tell the world what His will is. They are gifted with the priesthood which Mormon scripture says is the power God used to create the Universe. From a very young age, complete obedience to the prophet and his apostles is ingrained in Mormon members, because what he and the apostles say comes directly from God. It is core doctrine and belief in the LDS church.

It is one of the temple recommend questions your bishop will ask you during a temple recommend interview: Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local leaders of the Church? If you do not say "yes" to these three questions, you get denied a temple recommend and are not able to enter any of the temples or perform saving ordinances there. It's not a light thing and criticism of the prophet and the GAs is considered very serious and problematic.

Recently, the apostles have been speaking up about mask wearing.(link) Which is a good thing. If you're going to have such control over people's lives and behavior, then I'd prefer they tell them correct things that will help protect them and others around them. And to be honest, being an atheist now, I honestly believe he framed it in the best possible way, using the word "Christlike love" to describe the duty to wear a mask. It is the religious way of saying you have a duty to your fellow humans to care about their health and safety and I support this message being given to these Mormons.

However, the response from members online has been to criticize not just the wording Elder Renlund used but also the dictate to wear masks at all. I am overjoyed that members are waking up and shaking off the cult mindset and challenging their leaders....but I am disappointed and embarrassed that they're on the wrong side of this issue.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2020, 01:23:16 PM »
Just an additional thought from their perspective if they believe these men have the authority to speak God's will: There is nothing inherently wrong with an apostle telling people that wearing a mask is Christlike and shows consideration and duty to your fellow humans. I guess I agree that GOVERNMENT mandates feel despotic and oppressive but if it is God himself putting your focus on charity and conscientious conduct... I don't know. I guess, I understand where the dissent stems from(they feel passionate about the political issue). But if these are TBMs(true believing Mormon) then this is 1. Not some self-serving government trying to control people, this is the authority of God warning His people that they need to wear a mask and 2. It has been framed as an act of sacrifice and love for others. Mormons love public displays of fellowship and service. So, I just don't understand why this is the thing they gotta disagree with.

Offline Skynet

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2020, 05:38:26 PM »
Of all the hills to die on in defying a church believed to have divinely appointed apostles, that does make me wonder to what extent more mainstream evangelical beliefs have permeated Mormon culture. Given that evangelicals are apt to view Trump being a divinely-appointed agent himself, whether as a flawed being (King Cyrus) or more likely a genuine heroic figure.

Of the few articles I read on the subject, Mormons who voted for Trump circa 2016 were one of the few white Christian conservatives back then who seemed aware that they were making a deal with the Devil. Anti-Hispanic rhetoric combined with human rights abuses by ICE were a sore sticking point on account that the LDS has been making inroads into Latin America. But like a lot of conservative Christians anti-abortion and anti-LGBT platforms outweighed everything else, but one they supported with pinched noses. Not to mention being one of the few Red States that gave a sizeable percentage of third party votes to an independent candidate.

At least that was my estimation back in September 27th of 2020 when I first made the remark. In November they voted more reliably Republican, which as far as I can tell means that support for him grew rather than shrunk.

And for masks of all things?

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2020, 06:14:51 PM »
And for masks of all things?

The best I can figure it, the politicization of masks is a liberty stance among conservatives. I'm basing this on my own personal experiences of having been a conservative LDS member, I used to watch Glenn Beck, Steven Crowder, and Ben Shapiro and talk about issues with my LDS family members. (As an aside, I lean left and have since I came out in 2019; you wake up from one cult, you kinda wake up from any others you might be a part of)

Anyway, there was an importance put upon American exceptionalism and the divine inspiration of the Founding Fathers in Sunday school. As in, it was part of the teaching manual for the Gospel Doctrine class. Mormons believe that after Christ's death, and the death of the apostles, the priesthood authority was taken from the earth and the Bible and true doctrine Christ taught was corrupted and simple, precious truths were lost, during a time in history called The Great Apostasy. The Restoration of the true gospel and the priesthood keys in 1830, by Joseph Smith, is considered a divine event, bring back not only the true work and glory of Christ's gospel and church but also signaling the way to the "Last Dispensation" before Christ returns to earth( the Second Coming). I was taught that all the steps of enlightenment and revolution and colonialism that occurred prior to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States being written, were examples of God's great providence and inspiring good men to do his will. The Constitution allowed for this nation to be founded with freedoms that hadn't graced the world before, allowing the Book of Mormon to be published and for the Mormon church to be founded. So, it's practically a holy document.

The current movements on the right have equated mask mandates with infringement upon the Constitution. Plus, the lockdowns made a lot of churches shut down when they were not really equipped for online meetings in regards to things like taking the holy sacrament, which Mormons do, every week. For a little while, early in the pandemic, back in March and April, worthy priesthood holders were allowed to bless and pass the sacrament for their families. So, like, in a family with a worthy father, he'd be allowed to bless bread and water for those in his household and they wouldn't have to leave. But I think the lack of control over this process had the church leadership denying members the right to do this anymore. There's been some quibbling in recent years over whether women have priesthood or not(because back in the Old Testament, they used to have priestesses) so, I cannot confirm anything but there were rumors that some fatherless families were still engaging in the practice and trying to claim legitimacy. Mormons also do a lot of work in the temples and those were shut down with limited usage just in recent months.

So, it is seen as a threat to the church and to the freedoms that God inspired men to erect for this country when the government locks down the church buildings and tries to restrict people's freedoms. The LDS conservative crowd, in my experience, relies heavily on emotional arguments and "slippery slope" rationale. They also subscribe to the belief that these are the latter days(Latter-day Saints) before the end of the world. So, all this turmoil and tragedy is supposed to happen before Christ returns.

Offline Skynet

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2020, 06:21:04 PM »
Thank you for your explanation on this. So it sounds like to me it's more in the "COVID-19 is real and a threat, but it's meant to test our resolve and we should take risks regardless" vs outright denial of a pandemic. Granted I imagine there's no monolithic answer, but that's what it sounds like it's leaning.

Offline Skynet

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2020, 01:15:34 AM »
Regarding the OP, I found out that Mormon Stories has a YouTube channel here.

They're a bit of a long watch (I haven't seen them all), but there were interviews with Native Americans involved in the Lamanite Placement Program, a task the church undertaken decades ago to give the children of indigenous families access to higher living standards and educational access as well as converting them to the LDS faith. Albeit seemingly forged with good intentions, there were problems involved and many Mormons involved took a sort of 'white savior' approach. Like forbidding them to speak their own languages after joining the church as well as forcing them to give up other cultural practices both religious and secular.

First Part.

Second Part.

Third Part.

Offline Maethaneos

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2021, 12:27:14 PM »
I was born into, raised in, baptized, and am still even an active member in LDS. I just don't really ascribe to much of the unique beliefs, though an aspect of their doctrine was actually rather influential as I built my original universe.

There's always been such a disconnect between my personal experience with the church and accounts of questionable ethics. I've never knowingly met an unpleasant Mormon. It's only ever heard of poor ethics via second-hand account -- barring actual history. Funnily enough my last blessing was given to me by a black man.

I consider myself a non-Mormon member, in some sense. There are three kinds of members anyways; active, inactive, and non-member. The non-member still amongst the three kinds of members. Maybe I'm the unspoken fourth kind who only comes for the community. My local ward and past ward for that matter have good people doing good things and I like to be involved. Insofar as community projects go anyways. I avoid any activities that involve much of the theological side of things.

Offline HrairooTopic starter

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2021, 12:56:34 PM »
Hey, Maethaneos! Thank you for offering your experience and perspective.

I agree, I don't think that the regular membership or even the local leaderships are bad people. But I do think their ignorance is harmful, especially when it causes them to become agents for the system. For instance, missionaries are usually kept in the dark about the depths of church history and the controversies the church has had. They are usually not aware of the different versions of the First Vision, nor how that story has context in 19th century northeastern American culture of visions and heavenly visitations; Joseph was one of many who told such tales and the different versions are textbook for others who also spoke with the Lord or angels. So, an ignorant missionary is taught to believe a certain narrative that might not even be true and they sell this message to new people based on that incorrect information. They spread the lie on behalf of the church, not maliciously, not knowingly, but it causes harm because it is selling something that is based on falsehood.

Very often, it is not the prophet, his apostles, or even the general authorities putting direct pressure on people or making young gay or trans teenagers feel so ashamed they hurt themselves and lose their lives. It is their families, their ward members, their ward leadership, on behalf of the prophet and the standards for worthiness he has outlined as God's will, who are the ones that do this damage. I am willing to accept that there are members who are victims, brainwashed like I was. But I hold myself accountable for the things I said and did as a member that were based on lies that hurt people. Just so, with current members who do those things.

Fair enough on avoiding the theological aspects. I was a true believer before my shelf broke so possibly these fundamental issues and falsehoods have impacted me more. Anyway, I always appreciate the discussion and your input is welcome! ^^

Offline Maethaneos

Re: Mormonism
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2021, 02:03:49 PM »
That's a good perspective. My own, really. I hadn't been an active member from about 10-now (24). I only became active again last year, when Texas began allowing services again. And then only because my father kept bugging me to. It's a mental health thing, I guess. I've always felt so alien to society and when quarantines were happening, my outside interaction was essentially nonexistent. So I went for something. I'm better now though so I might stop going. Had I truly been wrapped up with it all during my pivotal years of development (which pretty much ARE 10-24) then I might take it upon myself to be more actionable about the problems with the church, like you yourself seem to be doing. Alas, I simply don't know nearly enough to speak against the actual theological details. I can only give intuitive pleas of reason but those don't do much in the same of someone who's been brainwashed by things all very concrete (to them) and systemic, however obtuse it is.