Give Me Something Better Than The Mormon Church

The day I hit the mission field, it was February 5th and the snow was going sideways instead of straight down. Three weeks before that I was surfing North side Pier in Oceanside wondering how I was going to pull off serving a mission. I never dreamed my first step into the mission field would be into a full blown blizzard.

I said to my first companion, “We’re going to hang out inside til this goes away… right?”

“Nah”…he said, “drop your bags and grab your scriptures” and into the storm we went.

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The snow eventually stopped but the theological storm raged on. I spent ten and a half months in Grand Rapids Michigan, home of Calvin College and the Zondervan Press. Without explaining too much, I’ll just tell you that this city is not too fond of Mormon missionaries. I was tricked, lured, and almost forced into places with people that were prepared to rip my testimony to shreds. One day while knocking on some doors, a few men invited us to come back to their office. We thought they were interested in hearing our message! Nope! On the contrary. They had a message for me! When I walked into that office…I was shocked. I looked around and saw a Joseph Smith death mask, Kirtland Bank money signed by Joseph Smith, full volumes of the Journal of Discourses, Church History, and almost every video the LDS church had ever produced. They had current copies of the Ensign and New Era sitting out and marked up. I said, “what the heck do you guys have all this stuff for? Why don’t you give it to me!” I must admit I was jealous of all of their memorabilia. Then they opened up their copies of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants and they had it marked up more than I had seen most active members. I tell you…these guys amazed me! I loved it! We had a few laughs at each others expense and finally got down to the nitty gritty.

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They were kind enough to give me the first word and away I went with the message of the restored church. I’m sure they had heard it a million times. It seemed to me as if they were in the crouching position just waiting to pounce the second I mentioned Joseph Smith…and then Boom! Here it came! The onslaught began with every known claim thrown against the prophet. “What about this and what about that”. These guys were good. They hit him with a left, and a right, and an upper cut. After awhile, I said to them, “Look, everything you’ve just said, I understand differently and there is really no way for us to agree on the nature of his character because none of us were there to observe him ourselves. So…would it be cool if we just left the character of Joseph Smith out of it just this one time and focused on his fruits?” They obliged. [Besides the fact that we had totally different agendas, I actually really liked these guys]

We left the Book of Mormon out of it as well for the moment and just focused on LDS doctrines as they were found in the Bible. The discussion was one I’ll never forget and it laid the groundwork for so many  discussions I’d have with other people in the future. I attended multiple other churches each week. I’d go to everything from large non denominational mega churches to small Pentecostal churches. I’d go to Catholic mass on one corner and Lutheran mass on the other. Many times I could visit 4 churches without even leaving an intersection. [We did this many times to get out of the bitter Michigan cold] I met with Christians and their pastors on a daily basis and the discussions went much the same as the one I described from above. We talked…they’d pray for my soul, we’d shake hands, and we’d wish each other a happy day.

After talking to all of these wonderful people, and witnessing all of the prayers on my behalf, I was left with one outstanding and prominent question in my mind; Can anyone give me something better than the Mormon church? I’ve been told I’m part of a cult, or that Joseph Smith was lazy and indolent or that I don’t worship the correct Jesus…but never had anyone offered me a better understanding of God or a logical explanation of various key passages found within the same Bible that sat upon their nightstands. I could walk into 4 different churches on one intersection and not one of them even would attempt to show me that they are the Church that Christ established when he was on the earth. Isn’t that the church you would want to be part of?

What does that Church even look like and is there anyone that can offer any similarities to that ancient Christian church found in the New Testament?

Christ’s church was a living church, meaning it was lead by Christ himself through revelation. When a prophet or apostle got out of line, Christ put him back on track! [Acts 10:10-16]

The church was built upon apostles and prophets [Eph 2:19-20] but I’ve never had anyone tell me of another church with apostles and prophets. The Bible says we’d have apostles and prophets “until we all came to a unity of faith” [Eph 4:11-14]. Does it look like we’re united?

When Judas was gone, the apostles chose someone to take his spot as an apostle. Did someone authorize the discontinuance of that practice? [Acts 1:22-25]

img103In addition to 12 apostles, Christ also had a body of administrators called the “seventy”. [Luke 10] Is there any other church on the planet that has not only a quorum of 12 but the office of “seventy”? If that wasn’t enough, he also sent them out “two by two”. [Mark 6:7] Sound familiar?

There were bishops, elders, pastors, deacons, patriarchs, and most certainly some sort of identifiable priesthood power that was not up for sale or available at a local university. [Acts 8, 1 Tim 3, Titus 1:7, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5, Philippians 1:1] Degrees don’t buy keys…if you will. Christ chose men…they didn’t choose Him. [John 15:16]  They had jobs that provided a livelihood making each of them volunteers. Just your average humble fisherman or tentmaker. Layman at their core.

The name of Christ’s Church should be named after him…right? Doesn’t that make sense? Tad Callister once said,

It has always seemed miraculous to me that the Reformation had been in existence for over 300 years before the time of Joseph Smith and no one thought to name his church after Jesus Christ. Of course, since the time of Joseph Smith, others have followed suit, but in some marvelous way the Lord preserved the use of His name until the time of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Christ’s Church.” [Callister]

Christ was literally resurrected and has a body of flesh and bone in accordance with Luke 24:36-39. To drive the point home, Christ in effect said “gimmie some fish” so that he could prove His body was real. Reason leads us to believe that Heavenly Father would also have a body of flesh and bones if Christ said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” [John 5:19] To deny it is to deny the purpose of Christ’s mission.

The Father and The Son are separate and distinct individuals. Christ exclaims that “My Father is greater than I” [John 14:28] on one occasion, and on another He looks to heaven and says “Father…I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” [John 11:41] In his last moments on the cross He asks His Father why He has forsaken Him. Why on earth in this hour of extreme pain and fatigue would He ask himself why He has forsaken Himself? He also asks His Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do” and finally relents, “into Thy hands I commend my Spirit”. To think that Christ is speaking to himself or some distant manifestation of himself just doesn’t do justice to the character of Christ. The water, gas, and ice or 3 in 1 egg example used to define the trinitarian concept of God doesn’t hold up and is nowhere to be found in the New Testament.

Never in the Bible does it mention children being baptized, and never is baptism performed without an accompanying large body of water. The children were blessed and baptisms were done by immersion in the New Testament.

What church on earth has an answer for children that have died in infancy or those that have never heard the name of Christ? If belief in Christ and baptism by immersion is a requirement for salvation, then there ought to be a provision made by a just and loving God. Peter taught that the gospel was preached to them that are dead [1 Pet 4:6] and it follows that Christ’s church would perform baptisms for the dead or for those that didn’t have the opportunity to be baptized. [1 Cor 15:29]

What about degrees of glory in heaven or multiple kingdoms? Paul said he visited or saw in vision a “third heaven” [2 Cor 12:2-4] Does that mean there is a first and second? What church today talks about these things?

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What about eternal marriage? Why would you want to be with your sweetheart “until death do you part” when [1 Cor 11:11] Paul says that the man and the woman are together “in the Lord”.

What church echo’s Paul’s teachings about the “body being a temple” [1 Cor3:16-17] more so than the Mormon church and its Word of Wisdom? Studies have confirmed that Mormon’s are among the healthiest people in the world because of this code of living.

The list is endless…but If I go past 2000 words here, no one will read it. Friends have asked me to leave the Church I have described above. My reply is similar to Peter’s. “To whom will I go” [John 6:68] Honestly…where can I go that I can learn about all of these things found within the Bible that no one else is talking about? But you say…the temple is weird, and Joseph Smith was bad, and some strange practices have taken place in the past and in the present. That is what they said of Peter and the apostles when they walked the earth. Can you imagine what the Lord taught the 12 apostles during his “40 day ministry” when he taught them “things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”? [Acts 1] Does anyone know what those things were that he taught…and why it took 40 days to discuss?

My question is simple and honest; Can anyone give me something better than the Mormon Church…and if so what is it and how does it stack up against the structure of the original Christian church that Christ established?


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  • Tim L

    How do you define “better?” People may say one religion is “better” than another for a wide range of subjective reasons. I prefer not to get into debates about whether one religion is “better” than another. I fail to see how that’s helpful.

    • Greg Trimble

      Tim – Thats a great question. Every single second of the day we are choosing between on thing or another. I choose to go to one burger joint because it it better than another burger joint. I see your point about the subjectivity because you may like In-n-Out “better” than Five Guys and I may like Five Guys “better” than In-n-Out. However, my comments were aimed at the many people that have indicated that I should leave the Mormon church but are yet to provide me with a “better” alternative. If I was to tell you that you shouldn’t eat at In-n-Out, then it follows that I should tell you why and suggest where you should go. What I’m not saying is that any Mormon as an individual is better than any other person from any other Church. What i am saying is that I have never been provided a “better” explanation of the things that I discussed the the above article… Much love Tim

      • Rob

        You are committing a serious logical fallacy with your show me whats “better” or I`ll just stay here. If In and Out Burger was serving food that was eating away at your body, giving you false sense of “health” or wasn’t really beef at all than why on earth would I need to provide you with a “better” alternative in order to convince you to stop eating there? Can I not just show you the harm you are doing to yourself and let you figure out where to go from there?

        What we think is “better” is all subjective and I cannot tell you what would be “better” for you when you are already asserting that you have what is best. No believing Mormon is truly open minded enough to earnestly seek “another” way or option and you merely seek to tie together your presupposed bias that you already have what is best.

        What you think is the “best” explanation is really no explanation at all.

  • guest

    No, zero comments doesn’t mean that no one has anything better. For me, it means that it’s evident, in putting down mainstream Christianity and my beloved church, you’ve made up your mind and won’t be open-minded to other interpretations. I have NO issue with the LDS having their own beliefs. I do take offense, however, with mine being put down.

    • Greg Trimble

      Guest – I’m not sure where you gather I’m putting down anyone else. I am simply stating what I observe to be the structure of the ancient Christian Church that Christ established and then citing the parallels I’ve found in the LDS church. Then I’m asking if anyone has a “better” interpretation to offer me on some basic Biblical scriptures so that I can ponder their point of view.

  • jessedukes

    Help me understand how Jesus’ teaching about marriage in Matthew, Mark and Luke lead you to the conclusion that marriage is eternal?

    Mark 12:22-25 ESV /
    And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 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.

    • Greg Trimble

      Jesse – Thanks for taking the time to read. Here is another take on that:

      Dr. James E. Talmage writes: “The Lord’s meaning was clear, that in the resurrected state there can be no question among the seven brothers as to whose wife for eternity the woman shall be, since all except the first had married her for the duration of mortal life only. … In the resurrection, there will be no marrying nor giving in marriage; for all questions of marital status must be settled before that time, under the authority of the Holy Priesthood, which holds the power to seal in marriage for both time and eternity.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 548.)

      Undoubtedly, the first husband married the woman for eternity by a ceremony which was not limited by time. She became a widow at his demise until she should also die and join her husband. Now, she married brother number two, “until death do you part,” and it definitely parted them even before posterity, and he went into the spirit world through the veil and with no wife, for their contract also had been terminated by death. And brothers number three and four and five and six and finally number seven in turn—all married her in temporary marriage, in which ceremonies were the limitations, “so long as you both shall live.” And death terminated what happiness they had had and their promise of future bliss.

      https://www.lds.org/ensign/1974/08/first-presidency-message-temples-and-eternal-marriage

  • Greg Trimble

    Michael – Thanks for sharing! Great comments! I’m glad you brought that up because that is largely what I’m basing my observations on; fruits.

    Thanks!

    Greg

    • Neo Anderson

      Yes, recognizing Joseph’s fruits is vital to finding truth… It appears his fruits generally included rotten fruit, or no fruit at all… claiming the “church” as his fruit is bias & unrealistic, the church grew, evolved, & became something he apparently didn’t initially anticipate, therefore.. we must look outside of “the church” today, & there is a deluge of information & historical facts that allow us to recognize him “by his fruit” …..next step, SEEK the Lord! & He will lead you to truth! & it’s AWESOME !!! Beyond words

      • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

        What a great argument! The modern church is fine but it had nothing to do with that rotten Joseph the one who founded/restored it. Back in the day is was a pit of corruption, but now it is a nice church. Thus to see how bad the church really is we most look outside the church. Stellar logic! Great use of reason. You must be an Obama voter.

        Okay sarcasm off.

        • Meidi

          There is no need to bring politics into the discussion. There are faithful Latter Day Saints of every political stripe after all. I am sure this is true of other churches as well. Divisiveness and hate can never bridge the gap between different religions or different political veiws.

        • Aaron

          The modern church is fine?!
          Not so much. Racist “doctrine” suddenly turns into a policy, a policy believed so thoroughly it took an official proclamation to do away with it.
          How many other supposed doctrines are just policies in disguise?
          What about other problems in the modern church?
          Such as the supposed doctrine about women and the priesthood…..
          Such as the supposed doctrine about gender roles in the family proclamation and other places…
          Such as those that previously said polygamy was needed to receive exaltation…
          Such as those about how easily disciplinary courts can end up doing almost exactly the opposite of how Christ treated sinners (the system is broken and needs fixing)…
          Such as those that previously described gay people as innately sinners (not looking at behavior, and even that)…
          Such as the previous requirement of having seen Christ in order to be an apostle which was stopped years ago…
          Such as the policy change 80-100 years ago to do away will all cross symbols entirely and getting rid of them which is now claimed as doctrine by many….
          Such as the crazy modesty rhetoric and continuation of rape culture…
          Such as… well I could go on and on.

          In the end though I have to agree that our church meets the criteria set out by the author of this post. There are some smaller churches (mostly splinter groups, but not all) who *do* meet many/most and even all of these same criteria. Because they are small doesn’t necessarily mean they should be disregarded on their size alone.

          Mormonism will always be my home, but to say it’s the best that’s out there is a bit much. Best for me, yes I think so. Best for you, certainly. Best for everyone?
          That’s pretty hard to say for those who have suffered at the hands of the church’s leaders and members, those who are marginalized, those who are told again and again they should “just get out” because they don’t happen to agree with some part of the way policy is applied or the administrative procedures work because some parts of that are broken.
          It’s extremely easy to point fingers and say,
          1) “you should just turn the other cheek” or
          2) “God will fix all those things that are wrong” or
          3) “God will never let the prophet lead us astray.”

          1) why don’t those leaders who have done wrong turn the other cheek and publicly apologize? Why doesn’t the church apologize for errors that have been made (ban on priesthood for example)?

          2) Yes, He will do his best, but he relies on us to do it. What if these voices are God working to bring change to leaders who are too interested in preserving the institution and not enough focused on the gospel it should be supporting.

          3) This statement is, in my opinion at least, verifiably false. Again priesthood ban and other examples. I respect others may not agree with me on this.

          We can support and sustain our leaders and still not agree with them and ask for change. Instead we’ve been increasingly taught not to question, to only ever do what they say and to never, ever, say anything negative in public and you better be careful in private too. We support that by encouraging people to tattle-tell on each other. We’ve even taken a beautiful program designed to support people and pray with them (home & visiting teaching) and often transformed it into an institutionalized tattling system.

          • David Sullivan

            People are not perfect…The teaching are…If the fruit is good the tree cannot be bad…all that and u literally said nothing of importance. Not to mention false statements of things you obviously do not understand… Sorry, to call you out but I have a testimony of these things and my faith cannot be shook as easily as that. You seem to be a member for all the wrong reasons. With out a strong testimony for yourself and you clearly have no understanding of the inner workings of the church. There are reasons why things are done the way they are…Just because you do not understand them try not to make other members look bad…Thanx 😉

    • FredWAnson

      “I’m glad you brought that up because that is largely what I’m basing my observations on; fruits.”

      Me too!

      THE FRUIT OF MORMONISM
      – A founding Prophet who had at least 34-wives, about a third of them minors (the youngest being 14-years old), and another third of them already the wives of living husbands who were members of his church.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng)

      – A church that murdered 120 innocent people at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857 and then plundered their belongings but spared any children who were younger than 8-years old intending to raise them as Latter-day Saints.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/peace-and-violence-among-19th-century-latter-day-saints?lang=eng)

      – A church that to this day refuses to acknowledge or apologize for the role of high ranking Mormon leaders in the aforementioned Mountain Meadows Massacre.
      (see http://blog.mrm.org/2015/02/mormon-church-does-not-apologize/)

      – A founding Prophet who brought about the Book of Mormon via the Occult practice of scrying (the Peep Stone in a Hat).
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng)

      – A Church that engaged in institutionalized racism until 1978, has never apologized for it, and is now lying by claiming that it was never official doctrine.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng)

      – A founding Prophet who deceptively claimed that his contrived translation of a common Egyptian “Book of Breathings” funery papyrus was a legitimate translation of the source text. (see https://www.lds.org/topics/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng)

      – A founding Prophet who ordered his fellow leaders to engage in illegal polygamy with him. And, oh BTW, polygamy was illegal everywhere the Mormons practiced it.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng)

      – A Church that lied about no longer practicing polygamy in 1890 and secretly continued to practice it until 1904.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng)

      – A Church that teaches the blasphemy that God was once a man. And that further teaches that good Latter-day Saints can likewise be exalted to godhood.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng)

      – A Church that hides sensitive topics like it’s pagan “Mother in Heaven” doctrine from investigators and recent converts.
      (see https://www.lds.org/topics/mother-in-heaven?lang=eng)

      – A founding Prophet who publicly declared, “I will be to this generation a second Muhammad, whose motto in treating for peace was the Alcoran [Koran] or the Sword. So shall it eventually be with us Joseph Smith or the Sword!” (Joseph Smith, October 14, 1838). That, along with Sidney Rigdon’s “Salt Sermon”, lead to the 1838 Mormon War of Missouri. (see https://www.lds.org/topics/peace-and-violence-among-19th-century-latter-day-saints?lang=eng)

      – To the last point, in the LdS Church’s official Missionary Training cirricullum “Preach My Gospel”, LdS Missionaries are specifically told to with hold information from investigators on key doctrines:

      “…you will not teach all you know about the doctrine …” (p.19)
      (https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/how-do-i-study-effectively-and-prepare-to-teach?lang=eng)

      “When first teaching this doctrine [Agency and the Fall of Adam and Eve], do not teach everything you know about it.”(p.50)
      (https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-2-the-plan-of-salvation?lang=eng)

      – A founding Prophet who boasted that he was greater than Christ and the Apostles when he said, “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”
      (see http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/sermons_talks_interviews/smithboastingandpolygamydenial.htm)

      – A founding Prophet who publicly lied when he denied that he was practicing polygamy in a sermon on Sunday, May 26, 1844. Specifically he said, “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one.” And this while at least 16 of his polygamous wives were in attendance.
      (see http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/sermons_talks_interviews/smithboastingandpolygamydenial.htm)

      – A founding Prophet who ordered a “hit” on Governor Boggs of Missouri by his private body guard, Porter Rockwell. Thankfully it failed.
      (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attempted_assassination_of_Lilburn_Boggs)

      – A Church that allows and condones lying to outsiders by it’s leaders.
      (see https://www.facebook.com/MormonReformationDay/photos/?tab=album&album_id=415678181971697)

      – An Early Church that allowed their founding prophet to violate state and local law by giving him every political office in Nauvoo from Justice of the Peace to Mayor. The result was that he was able to ignore every writ of Habeus Corpus that crossed his desk – many of which were in regard to warrants for his arrest.
      (see https://www.jstor.org/stable/23291163?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents)

      – A founding Prophet who, in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution, had a private printing press destroyed because it was telling the truth about his secret polygamy and abuse of power.
      (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauvoo_Expositor#Reception_and_destruction)

      – A founding Prophet who in violation of Federal and Illinois sedition and treason laws illegally mustered the Nauvoo Legion (his private army that was bigger and better armed than the Illinois State Militia) and declared Marital Law in Nauvoo in case the State of Illinois would attempt to arrest him for his destruction of the printing press.
      (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Joseph_Smith#Incidents_leading_to_the_event)

      – A founding Prophet who ordered the Commander of the Nauvoo Legion to march on the Carthage Jail where he was being held a free him and his brother Hyrum from jail. This would have been an act of treason and sedition under State and Federal law which the Commander wisely ignored.
      (see http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/carthage/smithnarrative62244.html)

      – A movement that has resulted in 400+ denominations over it’s 180+ history – a fragmentation rate that will EASILY surpass Christianity denominationalism eventually.
      (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_denominations_in_the_Latter_Day_Saint_movement)

      – A church that hypocritically points to the denominationalism of mainstream Christianity as a “proof” of it’s apostasy while simultaneously ignoring it’s own rapidly spreading denominationalism.
      (see https://www.facebook.com/pg/MormonReformationDay/photos/?tab=album&album_id=168613743344810)

      – A church, that in direct violation of it’s own Second Article of Faith (“ We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression”), punishes the children of same-sex couples for their parent’s homosexuality by refusing them baptism until they’re legally adults.
      (see http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-mormons-same-sex-marriage-20151106-story.html)

  • Kari

    Okay, first I am not psychotic:) In my defense…Disquis or whatever program I needed to sign up for to comment sent me a message that my comment was not approved. (after searching through my profile I see they were not accurate) So, only approve my first comment and delete the others please:) And..I would love to have further discussions with you about our faiths.

  • Marcia

    as to “new” things, I think you should check out familysearch.org and look into becoming an Indexer or a familysearch missionary. you can do them part time and they are the most fun I have ever had outside my marriage

  • Mark

    “Can someone offer me something better than the Mormon Church” Only if you are willing to step outside yourself, think only for yourself, and be open minded enough to perceive an alternate possibility. What if there is no God? God has been used throughout the history of man as a term for things that cannot be explained. Even as science is constantly explaining things that use to be referred to as God, it will never explain if there is something after we die. Religion is made up by humans and spread by humans. No religion is the answer. Even Joseph Smith knew this. Personal spirituality is amazing but religion is not needed in the equation. Think for yourself, forget what you were told, be open to the possibility that this life is all we have and get ready to find your “real” spirituality. It won’t change you as a person. It won’t change your moral code. These are all things that you have defined for yourself. It will only make you value them more. Be amazed by the now instead of letting a less than credible past explain your unknown future.

    • Russ

      Interesting to deny God and praise spirituality, which is a recognition of something science can’t measure. You can’t think for yourself. Science proves this idea wrong, which is the irony of the atheistic push.

      You can only think within the realm of your paradigm. Science also says you, me, everyone else, aren’t likely to give credit to new facts rather ideology. I’m Mormon. This is not lost on me that the brain works this way, but it works that way for you too.

      • Mark

        Spirituality does not have to link to religion. It is a spiritual experience for me when I think about how small I am and how little I know. I am humbled by the vastness of space and time. I am comfortable living without knowing if there is some other plan and to me that is more honest than pretending to know about heaven and “gods” spiritual truths. I live in the moment and appreciate every minute that I am alive. I strive to be a good person and make this life better for anyone that I come in contact with. I also do not worry one single bit about an afterlife. If there is something, it will be the same something for every neanderthal, samurai, aztec, roman, african tribesman, american, indian, suicide bomber that ever lived. I know that I am a good person and that is the only judgement that matters to me. (Unless science tells me I can’t think that way. j/k)

        • Russ

          I didn’t say spirituality had to have a link to religion. I said “interesting to deny God and praise spirituality, which is a recognition of something science can’t measure.”

          It’s the atheist’s creed: “What can’t be measured doesn’t exist.” I’m not saying you’re an atheist, but to suggest that God does not exist and spirituality does is dichotomous. Scientifically, neither can “be measured.”

          No one said you have to have religion to be good or better this life either. I don’t know where people who are against religion get the idea that goodness and kindness towards others only exists in religion. It’s a straw man argument, made up, so the counter “I don’t need religion to be good” can exist.

          Now to also say “if there is something, it will be…” seems disingenuous. If you don’t believe in it, how do you know what it “will be” if it turns out to be true? You can’t see it. You can’t measure it. You have no scientific proof to explain what it actually is. How can you pretend to know what it will be? How is that “more honest?”

          I’m Mormon. I was raised Mormon. I went on a mission. I got married in the temple. I’ve been in a spot where I questioned if this would all be true for me if I hadn’t have just been, frankly, exposed to it for 30+ years. Most people would believe something if they live it that long whether it’s true or not. That is not lost on me.

          That being said, I can say that I ask myself if there is a God, an afterlife, a heaven. Was there really a divine person named Jesus?

          I have asked the same question many times in the last few months that he writer, Greg Trimble, has written. Is there something better? I haven’t found it.

    • Brian

      The convenient thing about science and religion is that science cannot prove that God doesn’t exist.. Shouldn’t the vast expanse of space and the fact that gravity is still technically a scientific theory be evident of that? In that sense, belief in God is also a scientific theory because it has not been scientifically disproven. I, for one, believe that science and religion can be perfectly harmonized. Science is just the way of explaining things we do not understand, which include the creation of the universe and life and so on. I’m sure light bulbs and electricity would appear as miracles to people living during the time of Christ, but the light bulb was just the product of someone learning and applying principles that he did not at first fully understand. But to say that God doesn’t exist or miracles do not happen because we don’t understand the means is to say that humankind is omniscient. It would be saying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is.

      • Mark

        Brian, Science does not have to prove God. The burden of proof is on the side that makes the claim. Science also cannot prove the invisible, all knowing dragon in my garage. If I was making that claim it would be on me to show the proof. All of the proof that is shown or declared to prove that God does exist, is feelings, believe, faith, beauty, complexity & the unknown. All things that are subjective and can’t actually prove anything.

      • Eddie

        Also, the fact that science has over time explained mysteries related to God is as much proof as is needed. If the same inputs are given and the same results occur, it’s probably a duck.

    • Ben

      My friend all things denote there is a God…

      Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely “seen God moving in his majesty and power.” Because the body is governed by divine law, any healing comes by obedience to the law upon which that blessing is predicated.

      Yet
      some people(such as yourself) erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes
      happened by chance or resulted from a big bang somewhere. Ask yourself,
      “Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?” The
      likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions!

      • Mark

        Wow, just wow! I was going to offer a explanation on space and time. Also touch on thing like biology, chemistry and so forth. But it would do no good. Just remember to pray and be obedient to god laws when you get sick. Stay away from medicine and hospitals. I am sure god will heal you.

      • Brian Clark

        The likelihood of a god powerful enough to create all these things is lower than the likelihood that these things exist without such god. If such things are too complex to come into existence, how did the first god come into existence? Turtles all the way down.

  • Filipus

    It wouldn’t really be better actually, since we believe in the same thing more or less. We partake of the sacrament (his flesh and his blood), and the sacrament is the renewal of the covenants we made in the waters of the baptism. This covenant will give men eternal life if they do their part (and that is when it gets complex haha). We can even call the whole action a synecdoche if we want.

    But I liked your last sentence, which could be followed by the question “what Is really the best for you?”

  • Jon

    Something better? How about a rational, empirical view of the world? How about a narrative of Native American origins that actually lines up with the evidence and makes sense? How about not having to believe in an invisible man living near Kolob who reads my every thought and commits genocide when people don’t worship him? How about rejecting the notion that there must be one true religion in a world filled with thousands of them?

    How about a view of the world that doesn’t depend on a subjective emotional response to confirm its truth? What if we relied on the one method of determining truth that has saved countless lives, took us to the moon and back, and cured countless deadly diseases? It’s called the scientific method. It relies on testable, repeatable, empirical results. You know, the kind that religion can’t give you.

    Why wonder at a stone-age book claiming that Jesus healed a man when science eradicated smallpox, which killed 400 million people in the 20th century alone. Why pay ten percent of my income to a corporation worth billions and tells my gay brother he is broken when I can donate that money to actual humanitarian organizations?

    You mention prophets, but when was the last time a Mormon prophet actually prophesied or revealed anything of worth? Why can’t the Mormon church be open and public about its finances?

    Something better? Just walking away is better.

    • Jordan Linford

      Just walking away because you cant fit God in your box? My advice to you is stop looking at God and religion as something that must fit into your box. Try out Mormonism as they prescribe for 60 days, see if you are happier. By their fruits ye shall know them. For all we know, genocide was a blessing for those people, perhaps a meeting God in heaven was a better fate than the one than awaited them on Earth, perhaps you gay brother was listening to people tell him he was broken, not the teachings of the religion, perhaps the way the church uses it’s money quietly blesses millions but you don’t know about it because it is not sung from the rooftops. THere are plenty of explanations, but are you interested in them? Or just the ones that fit into your box?

      I would suggest to take off your hater goggles and try it out for 60 days. What do you have to lose? At least then you can say “Yeah I read the BOM, I went to church, I tried your religion and it didn’t make me happier.” Then you will be credible and not sound like a bitter anti-mormon anti christian.

      • Jon

        It has nothing to do with fitting God in my box. It has to do with a rational, objective view of the world. Is there sufficient evidence to believe in a God? No. Is there sufficient evidence to believe that Native Americans had horses, steel swords, and came from Jerusalem? No, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates otherwise.

        “For all we know, genocide was a blessing for those people…”

        My jaw dropped reading that. Seriously?

        “…Perhaps you gay brother was listening to people tell him he was broken, not the teachings of the religion…”

        Or perhaps you are ignoring what your religion has taught. Prominent Mormon leaders have called homosexuality a disease, a perversion, and an illness. They have taught that it is “curable”. Recently, Oaks and Wickman counseled parents to not let their gay child come home to visit with their partner.

        • Desymae

          Thank you, Jon!

      • Brian Clark

        Will you take the same challenge for other ways of life?

        Note: Your statement on genocide being a blessing is really, really sick. It illustrates that you need to seriously rethink your world view.

      • Ali

        Genocide was a blessing is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard it reminds me of another man in history who committed mass genocide and thought it made the world a better place killing all the Jews and so many other people. No one wants to be killed. Genocide is NEVER a blessing. It’s quite interesting that 60 day challenge of course it would make people happier because humans are social creatures we need a community and that’s what the church would provide but you can also join clubs or groups and it would make you happier as well. As for prayer its proven prayer decreases pain and brings a claiming effect. But so does meditation you could meditate or pray to any god and it would have the same effect. I was raised Catholic and I also went to chruch with my Mormon friends I am not anti religion you can believe in any god or no god and that’s fine with me. When you try to push a certain religion in someone’s face that is not okay it is disrespectful and invalidating. I believe you can believe in science and religion. Children need to know how the world was created or else they will fall so far behind in education compared to other countries. Science is proven and its how advances are made many dont realize how much technology we use that comes from science. The Bill Nye debate hits the nail on the head. But I’m getting of topic. I am very open to all religions and I believe a Buddhist belief that there is no one true religion you can reach enlightenment through thousands of beliefs or any religion. So is it so hard to believe people are happy with the religion they are and to respect that and not say you won’t get into heaven and try to “save” them. The thing I find absolutely appalling is that Mormons can baptize the dead and Anne Frank has been baptized 6 or so times that is disgusting and disrespectful she died for her faith. Religion is fine forcing it on others and treating them horrible is not. If someone say no to converting no is a complete answer and does not need explaining. You can be happy with your religion but so can others and that is okay. Religion should not be used for hate but love. Treating LGBT community like they are broken or not deserving of gods love is awful. The bible preaches love and understanding not hate and discrimination.

        • Nerdsamwich

          That last sentence could not be further from the truth. Have you ever read the Old Testament? Exodus, Numbers, and Kings are all one big hymn to ethnic cleansing. The laws of Deuteronomy and Leviticus discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender, creed, social class, and a host of other things. Even Jesus tells you to hate your family. You need to open that book up before you go telling people what it says they ought to do.

      • Wade

        Organized religion, by its very nature, attempts to fit God into a box, rather than allowing God to be God. For example, if I tell you that “God” appeared to me as a raven on a dirt road, you might scoff and say, “That’s impossible because the Book of Mormon never suggests God is a raven.”

        I am Mormon, among many other things. I practice certain tenets of the Mormon religion while ignoring or replacing others with something else. You might say, “You can’t be a Mormon if you also practice Hinduism.” That’s me not fitting into your box.

        So, maybe your box argument isn’t very effective here.

        Is there something better than Mormonism? Yes. I can’t find you an organized religion that I like better, but that’s mostly because I don’t like organized religion; I don’t like being broad-brushed. My god is a personal god, who/which doesn’t have to fit any mold or box. In fact, any belief system tends to narrow the mind, which is exactly what puts God in a box, rather than simply keeping yourself open, to see God being God, in whatever way that might happen.

        The best thing I ever did, for myself, was to take God out of the box I had attempted to keep him/it in for 30 years, and then shred the box. And, I was able to do that, and still hold a calling, and still engage with my Mormon brothers and sisters.

        • Jonathan

          While I’ll agree many members have their own subculture within the religion, what you’ve understood about the church is incorrect. We have not fit God in a box and the 13th article of faith proves that.

          We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

          The last part is especially important since it tells us to seek after these things, or in other words seek out all truth.

          There is no end to truth nor understanding. Continue to build on what you know and never stop learning. Never be satisfied with mediocrity.

          • Wae

            I do love that article of faith, Jonathan, and all of the historical quotes which advise us to seek for truth wherever it may be found. I love the idea that the gospel encompasses all truth.

            However, Mormonism more or less pushes us to only accept that God is a man, of flesh and bone, who lives on Kolob. (I know–we don’t talk much about Kolob).

            Mormonism also teaches that God demands that someone be baptized a Mormon, pay tithing to the Mormon Church, in order to go to the temple, which is supposed to be absolutely req’d for being exalted.

            But you are right, and let’s agree on those things we can agree on. When it comes down to it, we’re all free to seek God for ourselves, and we’ll all be privy to our own understanding. I definitely embrace the article of faith you listed, and even more so those prophets who drive home the point that the gospel encompasses all truth, no matter where it’s found.

            Thanks for the comment.

        • Thegri

          Most people choose their truth and it becomes part of their identity. All evidence is seen through this lens and supports the truth they already know. This can be true for both the religious and non-religious. Mormons and atheists alike both claim to care deeply about truth but in my experience it is usually just not the case. A simple test: if a person has over-identified with their truth they are happy and gloat when something shows that the other side is wrong. This means truth has become an identity issue for them. Wade, if you have escaped this trap then I salute you.

        • Ashley

          Mormonism like any other organized religion could never put God in a box. We are beyond incapable of doing that.

      • FreeToGrow

        I tried Mormonism for 14,760 days. I also tried non-Mormonism. I am happier, more loving, more connected with God when I let go of Mormonism. There are some good fruits to Mormonism but there are also many limiting factors and impediments we don’t realize when we are active members. I appreciate being set free to grow spiritually, in goodness and light. I have Joseph Smith’s deceptions to thank for that. As Jesus said in the Bible, the truth shall set you free. Life is wonderful! I thank God, I left nearly every day.

      • suz ross

        I did try their fruits for a year and can honestly say that i left having a deep respect for the morals but feel there is way too much hypocracy
        there are some amazing people in that church and yes i believe the book of mormon is true but dont necessarily feel that some people follow it as they should, yes we rejected it on account of our own feelings but if you can see past the members then you will hopefully see love, honesty, and all the fruits of the lord, the church is true just give it a chance to show you xx

      • Sandy

        Tried it for my entire life, much happier without it. Seriously the happiest I have ever been.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      “Native” American origins are still debated because there appears to be many “origins”. I put “Native” in quotes because no one here today seems to be truly native. Using current genetic models, most mitochondrial haplogroups point to different areas of Asia. Haplogroup X (which has more than one subset) is most likely from the area of modern Turkey down to Lebanon. This might fit nicely with the Book of Mormon but there is no way to be sure. Having done gene markers in cutthroat trout, a lot can get in the way of a good hypothesis. Example, a blond haired blue eyed Swede could, using mDNA find out that he was “pure” Arabic. There are limits to what one can know if they do not have the gene markers of the originators. I do agree however that a Hemospheric origin view for “Native” Americans does not make sense but a limited regional view would fit nicely with the Book of Mormon. Even the book itself hints strongly at the latter even though the various authors had a very egocentric view of their world.

      “tells my gay brother he is broken”. Actually the church teaches everyone is “broken”, thus the strong emphasis on Christ. All of have “natural” tendencies and we are here to be tested to see if we can overcome the “natural” man and become something higher. Are you okay with pedophilia? Is it wrong to say that pedophilia is a sin? Are you consistent in your argument? It really boils down to if we are nothing but bags of reactive, sentient, chemicals or something higher. You tend to view things only from the very short, highly limited, moment of mortality. That death is the be all end all, and that what the current culture defines as hip is okay and anyone that disagrees with that current cultural norm is a hater. If death is the great end, then what does it matter how we treat others or ourselves? Life is 100% meaningless and you fool yourself to think otherwise. Good and evil do not exist if there is no afterlife, thus being kind, being a jerk, killing, saving lives, helping others, hating, at all means nothing because in the end you will be nothing forever more.

      As for the other points, maybe latter, I am tired and going to bed.

      • Nerdsamwich

        Life has what meaning you give it by your actions. If you have eternity to look forward to, this pitiful few decades really does mean nothing.

    • Dan Rollins

      Jon, it is obvious you are just full of anti and you have no use or desire to hear the answer. For you have already been told what is correct and the Holy Ghost has told you this. So, you have no ears and need not speak.

    • jessedukes

      Hey Jon, thanks for writing. You obviously have had a very positive experience outside of organized religion, so I can understand your desire to share its benefits. I’m not a fan of Mormonism, and I’m not really a big fan or religion in general and probably would echo most of your critiques of religion.

      But the real enemy isn’t religion, and the real savior isn’t science or humanism. IMO, Fundamentalism is the enemy, someone saying, “I have the (Capital T) Truth, and therefore you must believe/follow/give money to/listen to me.”

      Fundamentalists can’t stop with what they believe to be Truth, they must try and convince others… but their fear of being wrong normally stops them from truly trying to reason with people, or lovingly attempting to show how their way truly is better.

      So they have resort to arrogance, insults, dishonesty, straw man arguments, dismissal, baseless assertions, insincerity, and partiality (to name a few things).

      But people who have found something that is capital T True… just want to tell other people about it. They want to evangelize it.

      Most of your post was very considerate and fair, but I think you’re overselling what science has done, without acknowledging its flaws and mistakes. Science is just one of many searches for truth, and while the Scientific Method is a fantastic principle (created by a believer no less), whenever fantastic principles get into the hands of flawed people, the results are always mixed.

      Science (much like religion) has given us much good (vaccinces, space exploration, etc), but also much bad (WMDs, illegal drugs, etc). People science isn’t behind this… people are.

      And to suggest that spirituality can’t deliver testable, repeatable, empirical results is just not true. It just delivers results that are different that what the kinds that science provides.

      The whole of the Bible is essentially a hypothesis: God says, “Try life this way. Do it my way, and see what happens. Test me. Try me.” Over the long run, you’ll be happier, with more joy, more peace, and more life that without Me.

      When you think about it, its very…. scientific.

      But it has to begin with humbling yourself before God. Which not many people want to do. So keep on going your own way if you think its best… if you have abundant peace, and joy, and love and hope. Then you must be doing something right. If not, give the way of Jesus a try. It hasn’t disappointed me yet.

    • Jason

      While most of your points are extremely valid, your bit about science is WAY off course. It actually takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in a higher power. When a scientist (you said yourself it can be tested and repeated) creates life from nothing, and not just life, but a life that can reproduce itself, THEN I will read his book as well.

      I in no way shape or form believe in the mormon gospel, but your idea that walking away and just believing that our lives here are a mere random accident and that we have no purpose here and our decisions are meaningless doesn’t really sound any better than mormonism. You talk about “true” humanitarian orginizations, but how do you justify right and wrong, good and evil, if there is no ultimate source of either??? If ultimately you are not accountable for the decisions you make in life, why do anything?

      So on top of the beautiful world we live in, we also randomly developed our individual personalities and consciences? And even though everyone’s personalities are completely different, we somehow randomly all know the difference between good and evil?? Concepts that don’t even exist without a God…..

      Sorry Jon…….I don’t want either of the 2 options presented here. 🙂

      • Nerdsamwich

        If you “believe in” evolution, you’re doing it wrong. You don’t believe in science. You test it, you try to break it. When you find a bit that doesn’t break, no matter what you throw at it, you are left with not a belief, but with knowledge. Your knowledge of evolution is sorely lacking. For instance, evolution has nothing to say about the origins of life. You’re thinking of abiogenesis, which is a field in which huge strides are being made. That repeatable creation of life you talked about isn’t far off. What evolution DOES deal with is how populations of organisms change over time. That this happens is, frankly, undeniable. It’s happening all around you, every day. Just look at the news; ever hear of MRSA? That’s evolution in action, right there. If it weren’t for that pesky evolution, we wouldn’t need to develop new antibiotics.
        Your other arguments are similarly off-base, but I have stuff do. Peace!

        • Jason

          Show me the last time evolution turned one type of organism into another…..A cat into a dog maybe? Or a primate into a man? Nuff said. I won’t argue my knowledge on evolution is lacking….mainly because it is a farce. Knowledge on irrelevance isn’t something I typically waste my time on. Evolution in the sense that things change is kind of….DUH!! That isn’t the kind of evolution that conflicts with the bible, and any rational person can see that type of “evolution” taking place. The kind of evolution that teaches molecules to man, is NOT science and is NOT knowledge. I’m sure you would like to believe that repeatable creation of life isn’t far off, but that is truly laughable. CREATION of life from nothing is never going to happen, let alone repeatable. Unless of course we are talking about the miracle of child birth….but God already took care of that one. Sorry…..

    • Sandy

      I love this comment.

    • Carrie

      Jon…are you an ex-Mormon? Are you atheist and don’t believe in God nor Jesus Christ? Your comments make it very apparent.

  • Randy

    Better than the mormon church? Uh, yea, absolutely. It’s called thinking for yourself and living a full and conscientious life rather than living by the edicts from the biased interpretations of a small group of non-divine, elitist, unaccountable, geezer patriarchs.

    • Russ

      No one thinks for himself. All people live a life by the edicts of biased interpretations of the non-divine, whether you believe in Dawkins or space. At some point you’re not as smart as the guys who are giving you the info unless you are the one who discovers it, and that is very few people.

      No one thinks for himself. He stands on the shoulders of geezer patriarchs who went before him and laid the groundwork for knowledge. People who believe they think for themselves are delusional.

    • Jan

      “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God.

      “We are the sons and daughters of God, willing followers, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and “under this head are [we] made free.” (Mosiah 5:8.)

      “Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.” Boyd K Packer (Conference April 1983. Agency and Control)

      Enough said…

      • Lynn

        You are obedient because from birth in the Mormon church we were taught of what we should or shouldn’t do and given guilt trips if we chose wrong….having requirements like talking to the Bishop if we sinned and then being told what our “punishment” would be. And for harsher sinners you are required to go to in front of a disciplinary court that consists of the Bishop and his counselors! That is NOT a church that focuses on a true relationship with Christ and it took me 38 years to learn that and break free of it. So you can preach all the mormon doctrine you want and hey….believe what you want. But when you are made to feel total guilt if you stray from Mormon commandments (like drinking coffee or tea)…..that isn’t Christ’s teachings.

        • mari

          Soooooo….. keep the commandments and don’t stray. Why is that hard???

          If you do stray and you feel totally guilty for it, repent and let Christ’s atonement work for you. If anything, repentance brings a person closer to Christ…. why is that hard to understand?

          Christ loves everyone no matter who they are or what they do. BUT, He does expect us to follow Him. That IS Christ’s teachings….

    • Ben

      Oh our unlearned friend,you sound just like the Pharisees and Sadducees.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      No other faith focuses more on the concept of free agency than the LDS church. No other faith that I know of encourages its potential converts to ask God for revelation to know if this is His church. There is great emphasis on continued learning and progression, it is one reason that LDS have such a high rate of scientist and people in science related fields. I’m one of those. My dad was a geologist. I’m a former science teacher and current pharmacist, and I am a Mormon (sorry had to throw that in, couldn’t resist).

      You make a strawman to argue against.

      • Brian Clark

        You should work on your LDS terminology a little – it’s “agency” and not “free agency” – any truly versed LDS theologian would tear you apart on that one.

        As far as the LDS church and agency all I can say is: “they draw near unto me with their lips, yet their hearts are far from me.”

        I’m not so sure why you feel the need to throw your credentials around so much on here – hint: they aren’t all that impressive.

  • starkravingmad

    Why are you limiting your evidence and requirements to Biblical Christianity, when you try to match Mormonism up to the “best”? What makes scripture written in a relatively small area of the Middle East more important than scripture written in other areas of the world? What about the Rigveda, the Avesta, the Diamond Sutra, the Shoghi Effendi, the Buddhavacana, the Classics of Confucianism, the Lebor Gabala Erenn, the Rasa’il al-hikmah, the Theogony, the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran, Jain Agamas, the Torah, the Kabbalah, the Maya Codex, Dianetics, the Kojiki, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Tao Te Ching, Urantia, The Book of Shadows and on and on and on…

    Perhaps you could open your mind to the possibility that it is ALL man made. That the “something better than the Mormon church” is found in humanism. The philosophy of ethics that teaches the value and importance of human beings simply because we know we exist and have feelings that are good and bad and to maximize our treatment of others to evoke more good than bad is the essence of humanism. It is the “religion” of critical thinking and rationality.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      I already responded to the meaninglessness of life if there is no afterlife. Hawkin seems to get it but many atheist do not.

      You point out many religions and yet miss something very significant. Not only has religion dominated many different cultures but it amazes me how diverse religions from various times and places, have many ties and memes interconnect. The bronzed serpent on staff that Moses raised, and the Chinese belief in the Celestial serpent that will protect their ancestors and unit all families to the staff of Asclepius. Yggdrasil, the Myan tree of life, to writings in the Book of Mormon of the tree of life to the account in Genesis. Mithras having many qualities of Christ, Odin hung on tree to gain hidden knowledge. YinYang, opposition in all things, the duel nature of Quetzalcoatl. Many differences true, but it is the simularities that amaze me.

      Now I as former science teacher and current PharmD, love science and all things geek. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, Cosmos, Life on Earth, loved those series. So lets take your argument from a science point of view.

      The Universe is too perfect, life can exists because so many numbers are just right. The gravitational constant, the weak and strong nuclear force are few of the things that have to be just right. Okay, so what to do? Can’t say “God did it” this is science, so lets throw in the hypothesis that it is really a multiverse. Almost has hard to prove as God or no God, but it gets God out of the equation and allows for all sorts of universal (pun intended) possibilities. Indeed it allows for almost infinite numbers of different universes. Good, got God out of the picture and this Universe is not really THE Universe but one of an almost infinite number.

      This however creates a problem even greater than the Fermi paradox. Currently our civilization is on the verge of a singularity event. It is astronomically improbable that given an infinite number of universes (even weeding out the majority of “bad” universes we still have infinite the number of “good” universes since 0.0001% of infinity is still infinity) that no other civilization has not reached a point of continual progression. If you accept the “multiverse”, at some place in some time there has been a race that has reached a point of continual logarithmic progression which would eventually lead to understanding/control of all time and space. It is infinitely unlikely not to have happened.

      Note: I do not say that “this is God’s origin”, only that using science, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that there is a God or God’s based on the idea of a multiverse.

      You say no God, I say that truly requires a huge amount of faith. Try practicing that “religion” of critical thinking and rationality more often.

  • Brian Clark

    It’s so amazing when a church has 15, 12 apostles just like Jesus had 12, 12 apostles. Oh yeah and 12 year old deacons passing out water for the sacrament – Jesus had that too. Oh and Jesus, had masonic secret handshakes too. And patriarchal blessings. Oh and Jesus excluded people from weddings for drinking wine – or did he provide the wine for the wedding – kind of hard to keep straight I guess. What a crazy claim that the current LDS church is structured like the New Testament church – there are hardly any similarities and the few that are claimed are mostly pigeon-holed in. The LDS church with all it’s silly little rules like – coffee is bad, but decaf is ok (but still appears evil), cold green tea is bad, but red bull is ok – well no really ok but you can still get a temple recommend from most bishops, and hot chocolate is OK is more like the Pharisees that Jesus preached against that the “church” Jesus established.

    • Russ

      I think you’re making statements that seem funny and witty, but you might want to re-ask your questions if you’re really interested in getting to the bottom here.

      – How many men were called as Apostle by Jesus? The answer isn’t 12.
      – How old were the apostles, rather than making fun of the current 12-13 year olds passing the sacrament.
      – If 12 isn’t good enough, what is?
      – What made up ancient wine? Why were there descriptions beyond just wine? Sweet wine. Wine. Strong Drink. New wine?
      – Patriarchal, or father’s blessings, are riddled throughout the bible.

      • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

        Wine had alcohol in it. That was not part of their “Word of Wisdom”. Just like I can now have a BLT. The reason for the WoW based on the times in which we live vs the Jews of the bible are different. Both though serve to remind us that we are a “peculiar” people.

    • Brian

      I just want to address what you say about the Word of Wisdom. Next time read up from an official source (lds.org and mormon.org are two sites that will give you an official answer) before criticizing it. The Word of Wisdom says we are not to drink coffee or tea. That means all forms of coffee and tea are not allowed, including decaf coffee. Caffeine and hot chocolate are not mentioned at all, though I still have made a personal decision to not drink energy drinks (even though they’re not expressly prohibited). but the main point of the Word of Wisdom is moderation to maintain our health and take care of our bodies.

    • Charles S Bush

      wait what? decaf is ok? since when? you still can’t have a recommend if you drink decaf. You seem to be under the false notion that it is caffeine that is what is bad for you in Coffee.. you might want to ask a doctor what the real health risks of coffee are. My wife is a clinical lab scientist.. I can assure you, caffeine has nothing to do with it.

    • Ben

      Brian my friend, the partaking of harmful substances to the body limit ones ability to be in tune with the spirit of the Lord. It is not “silly rules” but ways that we the offspring of God can have his guiding spirit, which is ultimately what all of us want. There is no official church doctrine that you can show that what you just said is true, it seems that you have some questions that could be answered by the missionaries.

      John the Baptist was even younger when he received the Priesthood, rather than finding fault (if you are a follower of Christ) ask why would my God do this? Why would he have it that way. Truth is Truth, yesterday today and forever, it is things as they were as they are, and will be…

  • Devo

    Your blog leads to how perfect according to the bible the LDS faith is,yet the bible is claimed as incorrect.The Book of Mormon copies Isaih,and Joseph retranslates.The RLDS of church of christ owns that copyright so it is only in your subsript references to validate LDS doctrine. RLDS was started by Emma and company.It is an interesting history,but not of God,just man creating a religion mingled with scripture.Nice try Elder.

  • Are you saying you are looking for another church to replace the Mormon church? I’ll tell you what’s better than the Mormon church: no church at all. Religion is poison.

  • Kate

    Hi jessedukes. Here is an excellent explanation of LDS beliefs on that point and why they are not a contradiction of Christ’s words. You were right to want to analyze the original language and historical context because it does play a large part: http://en.fairmormon.org/Marriage/As_a_requirement_for_exaltation/Jesus_said_%22neither_marry_nor_given_in_marriage%22 . Thanks for the civil discussion!

    • jessedukes

      Hey Kate, thanks a lot for that link. That is an argument that considers the scriptures, and at least attempts to be true to their intent. I enjoyed reading it and it made me think and consider that theology from a few perspectives that I’d never considered.

      That’s still not cutting it for me though for a few reasons. A. The argument about the perfect tense doesn’t hold water because the perfect tense is for a present state, but Jesus was talking about what was to happen in a future state (the age to come) so the perfect tense couldn’t have been used there. B. If this doctrine was true, why wouldn’t Paul mention this in Romans 7:1-3 when He specifically mentions how death nullifies a marriage covenant. Which leads to my biggest beef with the whole idea: C. Earthly marriage, just like all earthly relationships are symbols and metaphors that point to eternal realities. And marriage specifically points to the relationship between Christ and the church. The only bride in heaven is the church, and the only groom is the Lamb of God.

      This was a great article, and I know so many mormons that are wonderful godly people. And praise God that I’m not the judge, He is, and you don’t need my seal approval, but just His.

      However, if you’re looking for a better church Greg. Just go to one that has Christ, revealed by the Bible and confirmed by the Holy Spirit as its ultimate authority. Not another book, or other human traditions.

      Like you said, so many churches get it wrong, but luckily for all of us, all we need is our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior to become a part of His church. When you hitch your wagon to a higher authority, or a religious dogma, or a denomination, you’ll always settle for “less than” Christ’s church.

      I’m a part of a Christian Church, which was formed out of the restoration movement. We’re not perfect, but we try to follow Jesus’ way and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit like the early church did. And instead of trying to change a whole denomination, we can just get out the scripture and say, “Hey this Greg guy makes a great point. We should be going out two by two on mission regularly. Let’s do that.”

      And then we do. We’re always reforming, and always trying to follow the Word (Jesus) more clearly. As a mormon, you’re always going to be trying to wrap Jesus around Joseph Smith’s theology. Some of which may be pretty helpful… but much of which IMO is completely garbage and contrary to core clear doctrine, as revealed by Jesus Himself.

      Cheers to all of you though, and I hope you all are searching for Truth. If so, God will sort us all out in the end.

      • guest

        Truly wonderful post, Jessedukes. You’ve very eloquently summarized my feelings as well.

  • Russ

    Nobody put your beliefs down because you didn’t state them. You read something you disagreed with and felt it was an affront to what you believe, which no one here actually knows that that is.

    And you completely misuse dogma. Dogma would be him saying “This is true. Period.” He said “Explain this to me. Show me something different or better.” That’s not Dogma.

    • guest

      Actually, I used dogma exactly as intended. And I previously stated I have mainstream Christian beliefs.

      • bpaper

        Mainstream Christian beliefs? Do you even know what you believe?? That statement is so generalized and frankly, I feel sad for you.

        So many “mainstream Christians” believe the details don’t matter (as I feel was evidenced by your failure to see the need to elaborate your beliefs). Mormons believe that every detail that Christ laid out for His Church matters. We believe those details are laid out in the Bible (as far as it is translated correctly), the Book of Mormon, and in modern revelation.

        Greg knows what he believes and he knows exactly how to cite his beliefs from scripture. The only way that would be offensive (in my opinion) is if you were upset that you could not do the same.

  • Nathan

    There are a number of verses that should be alarming to mormons, but I’ll give you two that were particularly powerful to a close friend of mine who left the mormon church and became a Christian.

    The first has to do with the false teaching of “spirit babies”, or that God is up in heaven procreating and having babies with a heavenly mother of some sort. It’s found in 1 Corinthians 15:44-46 and states, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body… However, the spiritual IS NOT FIRST, but the natural, and AFTERWARD THE SPIRITUAL.”

    The second has to do with false gospels; it’s found in Galatians 1:6-9. It reads “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, preach any other gospel to you that what we have preached to you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED.”

    The second is particularly powerful because it speaks to the very beginning of the mormon church, at which time an angel from heaven (supposedly) brought J. Smith a new gospel! Apparently Smith didn’t read Galatians before conjuring up his story. Even more unfortunate is the fact that many mormons I’ve shared this with haven’t read it either.

    These are just the tip of the iceberg; the Bible is full of evidence to prove the mormon church is false, and I pray that someday the blinders will be lifted from the eyes of those who have been deceived by the comfortable lies of the mormon church.

    But that wasn’t really the point of your article was it? You wanted to know about something better. It’s Jesus. A relationship with Jesus. The real Jesus; not Satan’s brother. The real Jesus; God in the flesh. Jesus who paid for the sins of mankind with His blood shed on the cross. Religion does not salvation bring my friend, only the blood of Christ. Take a trip down “Roman’s Road”: 1) Romans 3:23 2) Romans 6:23 3) Romans 5:8 4) Romans 6:23b 5) Romans 6:1-4 6) Romans 10:9-10 7) Romans 10:13

    • Charles S Bush

      There are two major flaws with your post. The first is that your friend can’t leave a Christian church to become a Christian. He was already a Christian.
      2nd, an Angel didn’t bring Joseph Smith a new gospel, he brought him the same gospel. The exact same gospel that Christ taught, the same Gospel that is in the bible. Perhaps you should do some research first then post about something like this? It is important to understand what you are talking about before you make comments.

    • Ben

      Joseph Smith didnt preach the Gospel of Joseph Smith, and he didnt bring to light another testament of Joseph Smith, it was another testament of Jesus Christ. If you are seriously saying that Book points someone away from Christ, then my friend you never read it. Christ is referred to almost every 2 words. Contention which is what is occurring now is of the devil, why cant we all just have the spirit with us and read all things that they may all be for a our own profit and learning? Take the good, and leave the bad. No body is forcing you to the Mormon Church they are inviting you to read and choose for yourself, and if you are wise you would try to learn as much as you could to know who this Christ child was and why his mission on earth was so divine…

    • anon

      The second example (Galatians 1:8) says “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you that that which we have preached unto you, let him be accuresed.” Meaning if anyone other than an apostle, or an angel changes what has been given to you he will be cursed.

  • Brian

    There is a lot you don’t know about the Bible if you don’t think God calls imperfect men to lead his church. Every single significant character in the Bible has need to be corrected and/or rebuked at some point. Moses was a self-admitted bad speaker and forgot to circumcise his son, for which he was sternly rebuked. Saul, David, and Solomon were all once great and holy men who fell to temptation (Saul tried to kill David and David actually did get someone killed). Samson was chosen to free the Israelites from their oppressors and he had a substantial number of character flaws and broke many of the covenants he was intended to keep. The New Testament also has many who were called who were imperfect, most notably Peter. Peter was rebuked very often for the weaknesses he showed, but he became one of the greatest leaders God’s covenant people has ever had. In fact, from the records we have Peter was rebuked far more often than Judas Iscariot was. Oh yeah, also Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon were polygamists.

    I don’t say all this to judge them or refute God’s church. I say this because the only man who was ever truly perfect was Jesus Christ. I don’t use this to excuse Joseph Smith either. My point (and the author’s point, I believe) is that the church cannot be proven or disproven based on the flaws of who God calls to lead his church. Like the author said you have to look at the fruits of what he produced, which is exactly what Jesus said to do. The fruits of those called during Biblical times are shown in the works they have done and the records that they have given us that make up the Bible we know today. The fruits of Joseph Smith is the Book of Mormon. The only way you can know the truth about Mormons is if you read the Book of Mormon and sincerely pray about it. There is no other way it can be done.

  • Lynn

    So what happens when you do ask God and he leads you to another church and proof of Joseph Smith’s lies? I wasn’t even looking for negative, I was actually trying to strengthen my testimony and was led to proof and reason why I should leave the mormon church. Want to know what I’ve been told? That satan is working hard to turn members away from the “true church” and I’ve been told that my family would miss out on blessings because of it! Don’t think that Satan took me away from the LDS church and led me to a christian church!!

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      Then go with what you have. Never have had God point out “the negative” or “lies” to me. My experience is simply more truth and knowledge when I am ready for it. Enjoy your new church, that would be my advise. If you left because of some antiMo literature or someone ticked you off at church, then make sure you strive to live well in your knew faith. Life goes forward.

      I would not recommend that you keep looking back and picking at your former membership like so many better exMos I have met online. Not sure why they can not seem to leave it behind? Move on and enjoy life!

      P.S. You sound really angry because people who believe in the church told you that Satan tries to lead people away from the church. No offense but DUHHHH! What do you expect believers of a faith which have a strong sense of good and evil to say when you came across some reason to leave the church. Be it someone offened you, someone gave you antiMo literature, you felt hampered… whatever, don’t be so ticked at a very normal response from members.

  • James

    Truth seekers have a focus that is clear. Those who seek to pull down the author, other religions, or another persons thoughts or opinions are missing the point. The truth will set you free, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.

  • Carson

    Something better than the LDS church? How about Jesus? I tend to place my faith in Him rather than in an organization of men.

    • BEN

      They are not putting faith in the “Latter day Saints Church” which you just said, they are placing faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints….big difference…

  • Eric

    How the church interferes with gay rights on a secular level? Ya, because God never condemned the wicked. Good point.

  • Wendy McDaniel

    You will NEVER find ANYTHING greater or better, than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Some might think this to be boastful but it is TRUE.The LDS church is the ONLY TRUE church on earth, and will be until the 2nd coming of the Savior. If you have a true testimony of this, then NOTHING else matters!!!! I served my mission in New England, and Sharon Vermont where the Prophet Joseph Smith was born, was my first area. I admit, I went on my mission to escape my life at home. I needed to find myself, and gain self esteem, and have a sense that I am worth something. I felt like I was being suffocated at home. I grew up in an LDS home but my parents were divorced, and life as I once knew and loved was falling apart. When I was in my first area, in Sharon Vermont, it scared me that I had to go out and tell people that the church was true, when I didn’t know it for myself at the time. About a week into my mission, the Elders took me and my companion to go visit Joseph Smith’s birthplace. They still have the large stone slab that served as the front porch to the house he grew up in. I was in awe at everything, and wanted to be alone with my thoughts and with the love and respect I had for the Prophet welling up inside of me. The Elders and my companion got a hint of this, and went to go visit the farm land that the Smith family had owned. Being alone with my thoughts, I poured out my heart to the Lord to PLEASE let me know if this church is true, and if what I was doing was right. I prayed like I NEVER have before. The kind of earnest prayer where you give yourself a headache, and feel almost unworthy to come before the Lord. Most people usually don’t get answers this quickly, (I can testify that it DOES and can happen) but the rain clouds parted, and a sun beam shone down right on me, where I was standing in front of the 38 foot monument dedicated to the Prophet (38 feet representing each year of his life). At that same moment, the hymn I have loved ever since I was a kid started to play from the speakers in the trees “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.” I HAD my answer. DUH how could this church NOT be true???? EVERYTHING that is taught to us in the Temple. to all of the Prophets from Adam, to the Savior Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith to Thomas S Monson ALL testify that it is not just true but it is VERY REAL. I served the rest of my mission with the desire to convert EVERYONE I could so they could all feel the same love and utter joy that I felt. “Joseph Smith did more for the salvation of men, save Jesus Christ only.” Doesn’t that statement alone blow all of the negative crap about him away? If not, it should. I love Joseph Smith, and I will defend his honor with my last dying breath. All that we need to understand and know about him, is what kind of man and person he was. By their fruits ye shall know them. He was and IS magnificent.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I don’t know if this is for anyone here, or if anyone here would find it better than the mormon church, but if you are curious, and want to read a rendition of the sealed portion of the book of mormon with several other books that fulfill all the book of mormon prophecies, then check out marvelousworkandawonder.com. Since it isn’t a church, then maybe you might find it is that “unity of faith” that Ephesians 4:11-14 speaks about that was mentioned here. Or even, the “greater portion of the word” that people can find if they don’t cast it away by unbelief. You’ll never know unless you check it out. =) You’re welcome!

  • Harv

    Guest, you sound disappointed in your own church because it does not sack up to the teachings of The Church that Christ established while He was upon the earth, and yet The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does. This is what I don’t get, why cry foul when you are really looking at the only Living Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today? And through the simple scriptures that Greg has used its pretty clear that only ONE church on planet earth has all the same teachings, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, because Christ restored His Church to the earth for the very last time, never to be taken from the earth again. Now is a preparation time before the millennial reign begins.

    Tell me guest, do you believe that the Father put Adam and Eve on the this earth and that they were the first? Tell me, how many churches did Father command Adam to organize, according to the Bible? That would be ONE. And what did the sons and daughters Adam and Eve do, they left the only true and living church and followed satan, they loved satan more than The Father, so what happened next….? From Adam to Noah, (how long was that time period, around 1,500 years?), then, The Father sent in the big flood, and the wicked of Adams posterity were swept from off the face of this land. After the great flood, there was Noah and His righteous posterity, again how many Churches were there during Noah’s days, that number is still only ONE.

    Fast forward, to the Savior’s ministry. Which church did the Savior affiliate Himself with ? The answer is NONE, because they were all false. They were all teaching the doctrines of men and had fallen away from the true teachings of The Father. Christ then fulfills The Law of Moses, and then organizes His true Church, again He only organizes ONE true Church, there is ONE GOD, ONE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, and only ONE HOLY GHOST, and there is only ONE True Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. How many different Churches does The Father and The Son need? The answer is one, there is One Fold and One Shepard. The number is ONE.

    And today, how many churches does God The Father and His Son Jesus the Christ need on the earth today, the answer is always going to be the same, ONE, and it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    • Eddie

      Harv, you just took passive disrespect to active disrespect. Guest is right. Saying your church is better than his, even passively like “give me something better” can be offensive. It’s not his job to jump into a post like this, but I can relate to his offense, as should all of you, but Harv, way to be. You just stepped-it-up.

  • Tonya499

    Can someone show me where spirit babies and having your own planet where you are a god or equal to God is in the Bible?

  • Russ

    If it is. Then what? If it’s not? Then what? I’m not sure what your question has to do with religion or how it’s exclusive to this discussion.

    I’m happy. The world isn’t 100 percent how I want it. I don’t think it is for anyone.

  • Brother Bob

    Your source for this quote is incorrect, as this statement was made in a Home Teaching message by one Lee A. Palmer in June of 1945. Then President George Albert Smith sent a letter explaining that that was not, and never would be the Church’s position, and the brother that made the statement was in error.

    Perhaps you should check your sources, instead of just regurgitating falsehoods and misquoting? Enough said?

  • grindael

    I also served a mission for the Mormon Church and did so in all kinds of weather in all kinds of conditions. Those experiences are a part of me, but I look on them in a much different light now, because of what I have come to understand about Mormonism.

    I think your argument is extremely flawed. Why? Because you are basing your assumptions that the Mormon Church is just like what Christ set up when it is not. Far from it.

    In Jesus Church, they did not preach blood atonement, that Adam is God, they did not baptize live people by proxy for dead people, they did not preach and teach polygamy, practice blatant racism and claim it as doctrine, nor did they constantly re-baptize people over and over again to repent of sins committed after their initial baptisms, then come out later and claim it was false doctrine. They did not teach that God was once a man, and
    that self-aggrandizement is the end all be all of our existence.

    In Jesus’ Church they did not teach that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, (apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, etc.) are “priesthood offices” and that one needs to be “ordained” to some kind of priesthood to have the authority of Christ. A priesthood by the way that Joseph Smith wrote back into his changed revelations after the fact.

    What Mormonism teaches, is that signs follow those who believe, but we don’t see that in Mormonism today. They don’t speak in tongues, (learning a language is not speaking in tongues) they don’t raise the dead (never have) or do all of the things that Jesus did, in the open, with many present to actually see the miracles (signs). They cannot prove their
    priesthood authority, but instead prove that they have none with false prophecies, aberrant doctrines and heresy.

    Joseph Smith is not the only one who had problems. Every single Mormon “prophet” does, with their issues of money (greed and avarice), lying “for the Lord”, and perpetuating a Corporation in the name of Religion and living the good life while others live in poverty and shame. They could not live their own doctrine called the Law of Consecration, and instead milk their members for their own lavish lifestyles supported by the “lower law” of tithing.

    Do you want proof of all these things? I have it.Let’s have a discussion about it. But I bet you won’t. Why? Because Mormons who write what you did in the OP don’t want to hear or answer the truth. What are the fruits of Mormonism? Lying, greed, heresy and deception. You set up a false dichotomy of what you say was the organization of Jesus Church and then claim that no one has it. Nice way to shut down what Jesus actually taught about his church and what it is.

    • grindael

      So Greg, is that how this works? Erase comments that are critical of the Church and don’t give a person a chance to rebut what others accuse them of?

      • Greg Trimble

        huh?

  • Eddie

    I respect your search for knowledge, but I have a hard time thinking this isn’t anything more than looking to start a fight. Isn’t the devil the father of contention or something?
    I was once told by a stake president that some history doesn’t matter. He said that it’s not important whether George Washington had wooden teeth or not, or if he actually cut down a cherry tree. Those facts may not matter, but if I were to lay my trust in the fact that his teeth were wooden or that he were an honest man and truly told his father about cutting down a favored cherry tree, it would matter than any other fact about that man. Same goes for Joseph Smith. You say some think “the temple is weird, and Joseph Smith was bad, and some strange practices have taken place in the past and in the present.” Perhaps there’s some merit to that. Isn’t that the very foundation of all your beliefs, the honesty of Joseph Smith?

    Feelings provide a wonderful basis for understanding and searching for right against wrong, but they can’t be used unilaterally. Sure, it feels great thinking I get to spend forever with a beautiful companion in an eternity of creation, but extremist Islamics teach something similar with the buy-in being suicidal killing of infidels. They use feelings unilaterally, and it lands them in a bad situation. Now everything isn’t black and white as the church would have you think, there’s a lot of grey area in life. The yearning for simplicity is a strong one, and the church plays it well, but there’s incredible danger in placing your morals, even the simplest moral questions, entirely in the hands of someone else. When someone tells you “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit,” think critically. Have you ever seen the same tree, figuratively and literally, provide both good and bad fruit? I sure have. You can see that even the smallest, simplest reliance on someone else can change your world views by saying something as simple as that. Even still, feelings can be a great judge of fruits, when used with critical thinking.

    Don’t cozy-up to simpler times. Grey area is the very living of life. Don’t let someone else spoil it for you, much less for ten percent of everything you make. Isn’t that one of those things they say that makes you feel good inside, ‘life is a time of learning?’ There’s your better choice, independence.

  • grindael

    As for naming the Church after Christ, um… why did Smith change the name then, from the original “Church of Christ” to the “Church of the Latter-day Saints? This is what it was called in the Book of Mormon, (not the Church of Jesus Christ). This is what they initially called the Mormon Church.

    On May 3, 1834, Joseph Smith, as moderator, made a motion to change the name of the church to, “The Church of the Latter Day Saints,” which was adopted by unanimous vote (The Evening and Morning Star, vol. 2, no. 20, p. 160, May 1834; History of the Church 2:62). He took CHRIST right out of the name!

    Four years later, on April 26, 1838, it was again changed to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” and has remained thus since. (The hyphen in ‘Latter-day’ was add about a century or so later to be grammatically correct).

    Why did he do this? Because of lawsuits, not because God told him to. So, why would an “inspired prophet” delete the name of Jesus Christ out of the name of the Church if he was told to include it?

    And by the way, there was a Parrish called “Christ Church” established in Virginia in the 1600’s:

    General Vestry Held at the Court House in Lancaster County on Fryday the 17th Day of November 1752

    Whereas it appears by the Journal of the House of Burgesses, bearing Date the 8th Day of April 1752 that all that part of the County of Lancaster, Call’d White Chapple Parish is included in the parish of Christ Church; and Whereas there has never been any Other Glebe in the said County, than the Glebe the Minister Now lives on it is Agreed by us the Subscribers that the Styles of the Vestries be hereafter Enter’d in Manner following (Vizt)

    That all that part of Christ Church parish below Capt. Seldens Mill be Call’d the Lower precinct of Christ Church parish for the fu[ture] And all that part of Christ Church parish above ye. Sd. Mill be Cal[led] the Upper precinct of Christ Church Parish for the future… (http://www.christchurch1735.org/history/ccp.html).

    Joseph Smith wasn’t the first person to use that name since the time of Christ. Others did too. And the descendant of the founder (Robert Carter III) though he inherited a large plantation, did not buy any slaves, but tried to free them all, but had many problems with the maunmission laws in Virginia. He attended a non segregated church and was mobbed for it. (Refuting the argument by Mormon Apologists that it was a cultural norm to segregate and discriminate against blacks).

  • Eddie

    I. Love. You.

  • Brian Clark

    Ray – I’m primarily responding to your comments, but I will respond to others as well.

    I was a member for 40 years; I think I know the religion. I’ve studied it more deeply than you can possibly imagine – for example I have read the Book of Mormon more than 50 times. If you would like to address something that you believe is a rumor or incorrect please state the specific and we can discuss it – I certainly am not infallible and could be mistaken about something.

    I really didn’t make a lot of comments about the church – I simply listed several ways that it was distinctly different than the New Testament church. None of those were listed as criticisms of the church other than an illustration that the two churches are very, very dissimilar. The word of wisdom comment illustrates that as opposed to Jesus who aggressively taught against silly Pharisaic rules, the LDS church is focused on them – largely with temple recommend and other worthiness interviews – the complete opposite of what Jesus taught and practiced.

    My point with 12 year old boys is simply as an example of a way that the Mormon church is nothing like the New Testament church – the priesthood was not given to children and the sacrament was not administered by children. I’m not sure why you consider that bashing 12 year olds? While we are at it, can you please give any indication of any kind that Jesus’ church had two different priesthoods – not Old Testament – you don’t get to assume Jesus adopted features of Jewish tradition when his whole point was to change it.

    Also note the change from wine to water – another difference – Jesus used wine for the sacrament – and yes I know about the “revelation” in D&C where that was altered. Those who would try to claim that the wine was non-alcoholic need to reread that section of the New Testament where one of the comments on Jesus’ wine was that it had a higher alcoholic content than the first batch. Also a small amount of research will show that there was no technology at the time that allowed for non fermented grape juice – that is a modern invention.

    You make an excellent point that the Word of Wisdom does not say anything about any of those things in the D&C – only hot drinks are mentioned – yet they are enforced to receive a temple recommend. In fact the Word of Wisdom specifically states that it is “not by way of commandment” directly contradicting it being used as a temple recommend question. The current Pharisaic policy of not allowing those who drink some, but not all, forms of tea and coffee to attend the temple is a leftover from Heber J. Grant’s enforcement during the prohibition. The reason sodas were not included is that Coca-Cola successfully lobbied Grant that there was not enough caffeine in the drink to be harmful. The original interpretation in Joseph Smith’s time was any hot drink was bad, even soup was avoided – it was about temperature and was a common Protestant notion at
    the time.

    This whole word of wisdom caffeine mess is underscored by the recent official statement that it is not caffeine that is the problem. When the press asked a church spokesman why decaffeinated drinks only are served at BYU he lied and said that it was because there was no demand for caffeinated drinks. When BYU students attempted to show the next week that there was demand, they were pushed aside.

    Also Hinckely, in general conference directly stated that members should not drink caffeinated beverages of any kind – yet he is largely ignored.

    I think it is time to just admit that when this policy was put in place by Grant it was, in fact, about caffeine used in excess. In fact, that makes some sense – caffeine is a somewhat addictive drug. However, when Grant created this policy he did so in direct contradiction to scripture and he did not prophetically anticipate things like green tea with little caffeine and red bull with tons of caffeine. The policy has become nonsensical because it has become outdated, yet current leaders have failed to address it by updating the policy.

    As far as other comments on decaf coffee – do your homework – confusion abounds. There are a number of official statements over the past 50 years that decaf coffee does not disqualify you from a temple recommend. Herbal tea is another excellent example of a tea that is not bad. The fact that this rule is so convoluted that active members don’t even know what is and is not allowed makes the point quite effectively. Were it used and interpreted as listed in D&C 89 it would just be outdated and inaccurate – but since it is used as criteria for temple recommends it is especially problematic and to my original point, completely out of sync with the teachings and practices of Jesus – he never excluded anyone from anything – all of his teachings were the exact opposite. (I don’t want to get into an argument of why worthiness is important, just make the point that this is out of sync with the New Testament.)

    As far as there not being 12 apostles, that is Greg’s issue not mine. He is the one who made a big deal about their being 12 apostles just like in the original church.This is a commonly listed feature by Mormons – we have 12 apostles just like Jesus did – well , no you don’t – you have 15, not like Jesus did. Actually originally there were 12 apostles after Joseph Smith died, but Brigham Young eventually wanted more power and created a first presidency – John Taylor was an ardent opponent of the change and felt that it should remain 12 apostles just as in the New Testament when the church was led by Peter.

    • Justin Carlson

      “Also a small amount of research will show that there was no technology at the time that allowed for non fermented grape juice – that is a modern invention.”

      Dude, go to Costco. Buy $200 of grapes. Drop them in a wide basin. Hitch up your pantaloons and wash your feet. Stomp on the grapes. Now pull the cork at the bottom of the basin. Catch the liquid with a goblet. Have a sip. What’s that taste like? Uh huh. Wonder if wonders, miracle of miracles. Slap a patent on that bad boy and we’ll make millions (of Caesars). 😉

      • Brian Clark

        Yeah, yeah – you caught me being imprecise in my wording – there was no way to store grape juice without it fermenting. We can split strays, but that wasn’t the practice of how wine was produced and consumed, but I did enjoy your explanation, heh.

        However, I challenge you to find a Costco in ancient times :p

  • Jon

    There are an incredible number of accurate predictions in science. Halley’s Comet is a good example. Various religions had long seen it as a sign from a displeased God. Though the comet was last seen in 1682, Halley correctly predicted it would return in 1758. When has religion ever made such an incredibly precise prediction?

    I’m skeptical of your claim to be a scientist if you don’t understand at least the basics of how we can observe how the universe started. We can observe microwave background radiation from the Big Bang, with supporting evidence from redshift and other sources. Just like a crime scene investigator and use scientific tools to analyze a crime scene, real scientists can look at remnant evidence from past events to piece it together.

    Believing in science doesn’t require faith. Anyone is welcome to learn the scientific principles involved and examine the evidence themselves.

    • Steph

      So, you may just see me as a little know-nothing student who is still trying to learn and understand the world that I live in, and to be honest I love science and how things work, and I love religion because I have found great comfort in times where all sense of safety and security were stripped from me and I was left alone in a very scary situation. Anyway I digress. I would just like to ask this one question. Does it state anywhere in the Bible how the universe and everything was made? The answer is no. All we know that yes it was created, and yes we are here living and breathing and learning and gaining knowledge everyday about how this universe and everything in it works. But, then again does that matter so much? To me people are way more important than anything. All I know is that as I am serving and caring for others the world seems to be a happier and better place. So why then do we have to fight and debate about religion and science? I am Mormon, but as I understand my religion it is open to those who want to believe, but those who don’t want to have a right to believe whatever they will. I do not force others to see things the way I do, and I would hope that no one force me to change my beliefs. Some of my best and closest friends have been atheists. Why? Because I made a choice to see them for who they were. Good and honest people, doing what good and honest people do. They make the world a better place in which to live. That is all I have to say.

      • Nerdsamwich

        The only thing that can, or should try to, force someone to change their beliefs is the light of reason. All I ask is that people ask themselves, “Does it make sense?” And then be really honest about the answer.

  • Jon

    Oh I don’t doubt that they are debt free. But they certainly don’t disclose how tithing is spent. Businessweek estimated that the Mormon church is worth $40 billion and brings in nearly $8 billion a year in tithing. They own 2% of the entire state of Florida and spent more on a single shopping mall than on humanitarian aid in the past 27 years.

    Where does tithing go? Where did the Mormon church get billions to build a shopping mall? How much are top church officers paid? Why does the modern Mormon church operate more like a corporation than an institution that the Jesus of the NT would be part of?

    • Scott

      I am struggling to understand your viewpoint. You seem to be staunchly in the humanist/atheist corner, but you judge the Mormon faith by the Jesus of the NT? What kind of measuring stick is Jesus to you? He’s simply a man, no different than any other man, and his views are no more valid than any other man’s views.

      I get the feeling reading your posts that you are upset with the Mormon church, and this anger goes beyond the fact that it may operate on similar financial principles to successful corporations.

      If you find that science is sufficient, and that the best we can do is maximize pleasure while avoiding pain, then what difference does it make where the Mormon church says Native Americans came from, or whether they had steel or horses. Certainly these beliefs can be no more offensive to your scientific mind than Moses parting the red sea, or Christ rising from the dead, yet you don’t seem to be focusing on more mainstream christian beliefs.

      As for me, I’ll tell you what I gain from believing in God, and specifically what I gain from my Mormon faith. I have hope that I am here for a reason, that my life won’t end when I die, and that the relationships that I develop here are not merely for my pleasure, or as a way to avoid loneliness, but rather have significant eternal meaning, and that view allows me to forgive others easier, and be nicer to people that I meet and to serve others to alleviate some of their suffering.

      Is the mormon church perfect? No of course not. Does abiding by its teachings allow me to become a better and happier person than I would otherwise be? I think so. And that is the true key to understanding mormonism or any religion that encourages growth and deepens understanding,

      • Jon

        I judge Jesus by the ideas ascribed to him, which is why I specifically mentioned the NT. It’s all I have to go on. And I think it is a fair thing to compare the modern workings of a church supposedly founded by him to those ideas.

        “If you find that… the best we can do is maximize pleasure while avoiding pain…”

        I don’t, so please don’t straw-man my arguments. I never said anything of the sort.

        I focused on a few Mormon teachings because this discussion is primarily about Mormonism. I find the idea that a man parted a sea with his staff just as ridiculous as the idea that Joseph saw words illuminated on a stone with his head buried in a hat.

        Your final two paragraphs are interesting. Isn’t it important to determine what is actually true? I might hope that a witch doctor could cure my cancer and that hope might even make me happy, but the truth still matters. If Mormonism isn’t true, would you still slog through 2 Nephi and pay ten percent of your income every year?

      • Nerdsamwich

        Why do things have to be eternal to have meaning? In fact, in light of eternity, how can anything you do here and now have any significance at all?

    • Devcarlos

      What if your wrong? There is now way to prove that there is not a God. Could you at least except as a scientific possibility that your understanding of who you believe God should be if he does exist is incorrect? That there really is a God despite all your supposed evidence against how you understand how God should be? If it is true, that there is a God, would this not be the most happy wonderful scientific proof every proven. Would you not want to know if there is a God? Or do you hope he does not exist because you fear him? You sound angry to me, you sound like you want to disprove there is a god to justify yourself. I have never understood atheist. At best be an agnostic…

      You do not know there is not a god, You do not know whither or not the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day saints is his church on the earth. Your gambling everything (your salvation), over what? a confused mind someone who claims to use the scientific approach but is to stubborn to accept the possibility?? Your seem bitter, hardened and don’t what to know the truth or at best, too stubborn to look at an objective view which very thing you are claiming the author of. I think you know more then you claim about the truth. People who truly don’t believe in the church don’t fight it. Why do they care otherwise. Mormons for the most part are good people, why waste your effort tearing them down?

      • Jon

        I’m an agnostic atheist, meaning that I don’t think there is enough evidence to believe in a God. What you’re describing is commonly known as Pascal’s Wager. But let me turn it around a bit and ask you.

        What if we’re both wrong? What if another religion is right and you’re sacrificing your salvation by staying in Mormonism?

        As for the bitterness, you seem to be projecting your preconceptions on somebody you have never met. I’m not bitter at all. I just think people would be better off objectively analyzing their beliefs and rejecting religion altogether. I also think history has shown how damaging and dangerous religion can be. How many wars and genocides can be attributed to it? What about the ideas of slavery, sexism, racism, animal cruelty, and other terrible teachings found in the Old Testament? How much better off would society be if religion never interfered with scientific progress and civil rights?

        • Devcarlos

          Shoot, you sound like a really smart guy. But it seems so crazy to me you would bother… Why? Why fight happy good people who live a religion who make, for the most part, very good neighbors to live around? That is why I could only conclude you were bitter. I guess not.

          The idea of religion creating inhumane damage… Come on! Many people have used an excuse of religion to justify themselves. But take religion away from the world and those same individuals would have done the very same things. I am sure you could argue against this but do you really believe religion makes the world a bad place overall? Take religion out and what else is there other then carnal law, only seeking after your own pleasures… Not a solid argument I know, but you would have to agree that religion, (I mean the teachings of religion not the individuals in religion) has made the world a better place.

          Teaching people to be nice loving individuals for the most part is a very good thing. This is not a contest who can make the best argument like a debate class, truth is truth despite what any of us say. Seek the truth. I am sure you can go on and on about proof, I could too. But you will never know the truth about God if you don’t at least try to seek him out the way he has established for seeking him (he is God, who are we to tell him what he can or can’t do because we don’t understand. He is God after all)?

          Regarding your other question about Mormonism keeping me from the truth. Well it is true (I know bold statement and sounds so byes toward all other religions), I Know it is true (this church). Nothing against anyone else, but it is true plan and simple does not matter how in probable or impossible to prove. Bold statement. I don’t make it ignorantly, but it is a knowledge that can’t be proven from me to you. God reveals his truths how he wants to. I know this does not make since but if you really wanted to know the truth about God not taking Man’s scientific approach but by taking God’s approach. It takes a lot of faith maybe a little blindly at first, you will not “believe” you will come to know the truth. Know not faith alone.

          If you already know the world is round do you need to travel around the world to disprove it? Truth is truth despite the odds or confusion of the possibility. I have no problem with your scientific approach as long as you are a good citizen to leave around… I think I read somewhere where scientist could not prove how bees flew because they were so heavy and had so little wings. yet they fly, why bother if to prove if they fly if its already true? I like the scientific approach but try other routs as well to find the truth..

          Anyway, why fight and waste your effort tearing down religion? It has been my experience that only people who do this live a life style in which they are ashamed and try to seek refuge by tearing down the believes of others or their own to ease their discomfort.

          • Nerdsamwich

            “God reveals his truths how he wants to.” So, by not gifting me with the same upbringing and mental makeup as you, God has deliberately chosen to damn me for eternity? Why?

    • Mari

      From my experience, Jon, people who speak out so bitterly against the Mormons used to actually be Mormons. It seems that those people feel compelled to speak so strongly against the church in order to continually justify why they are no longer active in the church.

      I find that science and religion go hand in hand. Science proves God’s existence every day, and God proves every day that science has a real place in our world. You can’t have one with out the other.

      Religious zealots who deny the miracles of science are in fact, denying the miracles of God. Those people deny themselves the true purpose of why we are here. The same can be said for scientists who refuse to acknowledge the possibility of an all powerful creator.

      Why is it so impossible to believe that there was a creator who set into motion the events that brought our earth into existence, and continues to guide those who bring forth the miraculous tools we are blessed with in our world?

      Science itself is it’s own religion. It takes faith to believe in science, but you won’t hear many scientists admit that. What’s worse, that faith is faith in other flawed and imperfect human beings, and yet so many well known scientists are worshiped like Gods. Interesting, no?

      Most scientific theories are based on formulas, calculations, and experiments that were designed to prove a theory. If a formula doesn’t work, if a calculation is off, if an experiment goes awry, then scientists tweak the formulas, the calculations, the experiments… until the theory is “proven.” You can prove pretty much anything you want to prove using that method.

      So…. you choose to put all of your faith in man. How’s that working out for you?

      If there is no God, what’s the point of our existence? Is there a purpose to our lives? Why bother living good lives if our existence ends in a pile of decaying flesh and bones at the end? Before you give me the standard, “We make it better so our kids have a better world to grow up in,” answer, tell me this: why would ANYONE want to put their children through the pains and struggles of life if this is the only life they get?

      Why bother having kids at all? We aren’t improving the planet, we are slowly destroying it. What’s the point of it all?

      I truly hope you find happiness someday.

      • Justin Carlson

        “people who speak out so bitterly against the Mormons used to actually be Mormons.”

        Jon is skeptical about Mormonism’s claims. However, skepticism doesn’t always equate bitterness. It’s beside the point anyway. Jon’s argument is a response to Greg’s question, remember?

        “Science itself is it’s own religion. It takes faith to believe in science…” Only true in a passive, philosophical sense. A garbage argument from the perspective of an HIV+ man extending his life with drugs developed from the scientific insights of cellular biology; or the woman who opts to surgically remove her breasts based on the predictions of genomics.

        “Most scientific theories are based on…experiments that were designed to prove a theory.”

        Not really. A properly designed experiment tries to prove your own idea FALSE. Then you give your results to really smart people who anonymously try to criticize your work, find sloppiness, or catch you being self-serving.

        “why would ANYONE want to put their children through the pains and struggles of life if this is the only life they get?”

        You seem to imply there’s either purposeful life in a Mormon worldview, or a pointless life without religion. False dichotomy. Ask around. There are really more than two choices.

        “I truly hope you find happiness someday.” Nice sentiment, but do I need to point out the problematic assumptions you’re making here?

    • Ler

      Right after you state the church doesn’t “disclose how tithing is spent” you spout off your stats on how their tithing is spent. Hmmm…

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      Look what full disclosure did for Brendon Eich. I have no problem with the LDS church not telling the PC police what they do with my tithe money.

  • Brian Clark

    But Greg’s whole point was the church is so great because it was like Jesus’ church. Yet Jesus’ church didn’t have primary, relief society, the Melchizedek priesthood (on can infer it but it is not addressed specifically), and it certainly didn’t have temples.

    If you think the church is helpful to people do some research on how members fair compared to the standard population in regards to depression, suicide, stress, divorce, bankruptcies, and so forth. The fruits of the data actually show that LDS living is one of the most psychologically damaging ways to live.

    • What about Jesus preaching in the temple?

      • Brian Clark

        I’m not sure what you are saying here? Are you referring to when Jesus was a young boy and was growing up as a Hebrew? The temple was a Jewish construct not a Christian one. More importantly the Hebraic temples were nothing like modern lds temples – there are very very few parallels.

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    Good point Heidi, though I disagree with your point on gay rights. What right has the church tried to take away from a homosexual? A gay man is allowed to marry if he so chooses. That is the law of the land. A lesbian can marry a man if she chooses as well. Rights should never be confused with “wants”, just because a homosexual does not like the current definition of marriage does not mean that their desire to redefine marriage is somehow forbidding them a right.

    As for anything in the Church, if you believe there is a God, are there laws that God has established? If yes, is it good for man to ignore/change those laws based on the whims of culture? If homosexual acts are an abomination (note I said acts, not desires), then should that be taken seriously? We all have dark “natural” tendencies, Paul referred to his as a “thorn in the flesh”, but just because one has temptations does not mean that we can then change God’s law by fiat of pop culture.

    Here is another way to look at it. If the U.S. government were thinking of allowing incest and pedophilia to be supported legally, would you be upset if the church stepped in to oppose it? If no, then why not? Culturally, homosexuality in the U.S. has until recently been viewed as abominable. Now it has become cool and acceptable. Does this mean that it is okay morally, simple because society now deems it so? The last days will be filled with all sorts of wickedness and evil, we have been warned, so the Church taking a stand against the moral decline should be applauded, not condemned.

  • BEN

    ASK THE MISSIONARIES!!

  • LowKey

    I just have to say as both a returned missionary and someone who knows thousands, yes you read that right, of exmormons, he sounds like an RM who has left the church to me. RMs who leave are typically both more knowledgeable, and more angry than someone who left who was never even active.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      I don’t get this “knowledge” part that you speak. His “arguments” are simplistic and have been addressed over and over. A better summation can be found in the book, “How Wide the Divide” where both Mormon and Evangelical authors explore the differences between Mormonism and what I would call Nicene credalism.

    • grindael

      Lowkey, I’m not angry. I left the church in the 80’s and had
      nothing to do with Mormonism for over 25 years. What got me interested again was two missionaries that knocked on my door in 2008. I study and write about Mormon History and Doctrine. When I see (or as in this case it is brought to my attention) Mormons posting things in error, sometimes I address them.

      From the comments below by the Mormons, they say that there
      is no proof to back my criticisms. Says who? I can back up every single thing I said with proof, easily. But like I said above, these people don’t want to have a discussion, they just want to say our way is better than everyone else’s, and that anyone who disagrees is an anti-Mormon. Here is one false prophecy for you Mormons, given by Parley P. Pratt in 1838:

      Concerning prophecy, he [LaRoy Sunderland] remarks that
      “it cannot be proved, that one prediction in that book, [The Book of
      Mormon] which is not taken from the bible, was written before the event, said to be described.” Again he says, “there are no predictions, peculiar to this book, yet to be fulfilled, no names of persons or places, or periods of time, are referred to, by which anything definite can be known, as to what is meant by the jargon of Mormon Prophets.” Now, Mr. La Roy Sunderland, we will prove to the world that this in one of the most barefaced falsehoods ever uttered by man. The Book of Mormon contains many prophecies, yet future, with names, places, and dates, so definite, that a child may understand; indeed, it is one of the peculiar characteristics of the Book of Mormon, that its predictions are plain, simple, definite, literal, positive and very express, as to the time of their fulfilment.

      Notice a prediction of Nephi, page 125, second edition. “For after the book of which I have spoken, shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many, which shall believe the words which are written, and they shall carry them forth, unto the remnant of our seed, (the Indians) and then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us; how that we came on from Jerusalem; and that they are the descendants of the Jews; and the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be declared among them; wherefore they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers; and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers; and then shall they rejoice for they shall know,that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God.

      And their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people. And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ, shall also be a delightsome people; and it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth. * * * For the time speedily cometh, that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy,and he will spare his people.”

      Also page 121, 2d edition. “Behold that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and
      great must be the fall thereof: for the kingdom of the devil must shake; and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance. or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger and perish; for behold at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.”

      Also, page 122 2nd edition. “Woe unto all those who tremble and are angry, because of the truth of God; for behold he that is built
      upon the rock, receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth, lest he shall fall.” Also. page 123 2nd edition.”Woe be unto the Gentiles, says the Lord God of Hosts; for notwithstanding I shall lengthen out my arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me.”See also, page 514, and read the fate of our nation, and the fate of the Indians of America; in the day that the Gentiles should reject the fullness oft he gospel.–(The Book of Mormon.)

      See also, page 526, where a sign is given,and the time clearly set for the restoration and gathering of Israel from their long dispersion, namely, the coming forth the Book of Mormon, should be the sign; and in the day this work should come forth, should this great event commence among all nations. Also, p. 527, where all who will not hearken to the Book of Mormon, shall be cut off from among the people; and that too, in theday it comes forth to the Gentiles and is rejected by them.

      And not only does this page set the time for the OVERTHROW OF OUR GOVERNMENT and all other Gentile governments ON THE AMERICAN CONTINENT,but the way and means of this utter destruction ARE CLEARLY FORETOLD; namely,the remnant of Jacob will go through among the Gentiles and tear them in pieces. like a lion among the flocks of sheep. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. This destruction includes an utter overthrow, and desolation of all our Cities,Forts, and Strong Folds–an entire annihilation of our race, except such as embrace the Covenant, and are numbered with Israel.

      Now, Mr. Sunderland, you have something definite and tangible, the time, the manner, the means, the names, the dates; AND I WILL STATE AS A PROPHECY, that THERE WILL NOT BE AN UNBELIEVING GENTILE UPON THIS CONTINENT 50 YEARS HENCE; [by 1888] and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years from this date, THEN THE BOOK OF MORMON WILL HAVE PROVED ITSELF FALSE.

      And furthermore, as Mr. LaRoy Sunderland has lied concerning the truth of Heaven, the fulness of the Gospel; and has blasphemed against the word of God, except he speedily repent, and acknowledge his lying and wickedness, and obey the message of eternal truth,which God has sent for the salvation of his people. GOD WILL SMITE HIM DUMB,that he can no longer speak great swelling words against the Lord; and A TREMBLING SHALL SEIZE HIS NERVES, that he shall not be able to write; and Zion’s Watchman shall cease to be published abroad, and its lies shall no longer deceive the public; and he will wander a vagabond on the earth, until sudden destruction shall overtake him; and if Mr. La Roy Sunderland enquires,when shall these things be? I reply, it is nigh thee–even at thy doors; and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (Parley P. Pratt, Mormonism Unveiled, p.15 – p.16)

      According to Parley P. Pratt, the Book of Mormon has proved
      itself false. Pratt’s “Priesthood” failed him, as did his ordained
      powers of being a “prophet, seer & revelator”. LaRoy Sunderland
      was never struck dumb, and he outlived Pratt by many years, and wrote a critical Book about Mormonism which he was not hindered at all from writing and as it turned out it was Pratt who was murdered and died and was shut up, not Sunderland.

      I have many more of these kinds of Mormon prophecies. Many from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others. Please explain how a Mormon apostle can be what he claims and make this kind of false prophecy.

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    That Bishop would not be the first human in the church to be fooled by a lie. The prophet Joshua was totally hoodwinked, and there were many others with all sorts of flaws (read the OT sometime). I know good deacons and bad, same with teachers, priests, elders etc… Liars who cover up because they want to keep up a false front come and go. I take it you are no longer active in the church, thus the consequence of lying and relying on the arm of flesh to catch you in your lie.

    I’ve had many personal experiences that have strongly upheld my testimony of the Church. I have also messed up and done really stupid things in my life. One thing I have learned is that even though you can not always count on members to be perfect, I have met more good people in the church than in any other setting. Perfect people, no, but people I would be glad to associate with, YES!

  • Brian Clark

    I find that to be a hypocritical statement made by a member of an organization so active in proselyting others to join them.

    Are you happy or are you comfortable? How do you know that you are relatively happy having a limited experience? If this life is all there is and your life could be much happier, isn’t that a waste? If you are keeping your posterity in a world view that is psychologically harmful, doesn’t that matter?

    I thought I was happy as a Mormon. Being on the other side, I now know I was miserable.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      Brain, that is because members of this organization DO NOT believe life is meaningless. It would be hypocritical for us to sit back and keep it all to ourselves.

      If you are an atheist/humanist, then life is meaningless. Bugging others about their beliefs becomes silly in the extreme because it will all be void and nothing forever after.

      • Brian Clark

        I completely disagree that life in meaningless to me – you are making what is called a straw man argument. To say that it is hypocritical for you to keep your beliefs to yourself yet say that sharing my beliefs with others is silly in the extreme is incredibly, well, hypocritical. Just because I do not share your world view nor derive my meaning from the same place you do does not make my life meaningless.

  • ClearThinker

    In Gen. Conf. in April 2003, LDS Church President Gordon Hinckley told Latter-day Saints: “Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” (Ref. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2003/04/loyalty?lang=eng)

    Notably, six months earlier Hinckley told Latter-day Saints in Gen. Conf.:

    “We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith [JS].

    “When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the [CBS] 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, ‘Yes, sir. That’s the miracle of it.’ That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud.”

    (Ref. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2002/10/the-marvelous-foundation-of-our-faith?lang=eng)

    During the past generation, 100’s of 1,000’s of stalwart Latter-day Saints have been shocked to learn that JS fabricated conflicting First Vision (FV) stories. For example, the LDS Church’s Joseph Smith Papers website says that one of his written FV narratives in late 1835 was:

    “I called upon the Lord for the first time, in the place above stated [a “secret grove”] or in other words I made a fruitless attempt to pray, my toung seemed to be swolen in my mouth, so that I could not utter, I heard a noise behind me like some person walking towards me, [I] strove again to pray, but could not, the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer, I sprung up on my feet, and looked around, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking, I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my toung liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon my head, and filled me with joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst, of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed[.]”

    (Ref. http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/interview-9-november-1835?p=1 and p. 2 by clicking on the “>“ symbol)

    Huh? JS “made a fruitless attempt to pray” because his “toung seemed to be swolen” and he got spooked by “a noise behind” him, “like some person walking towards” him, and “a personage appeard in the midst, of this pillar of flame”? That’s not the FV account that the LDS Church has taught to millions of people worldwide for more than a century. The supposedly ‘true’ FV story has been:

    “After I [JS] had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

    “But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at
    this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above
    the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

    “It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—’This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!’”

    (Ref. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1.15-17?lang=eng)

    The ‘morphing’ of JS’ First Vision story is covered in Chapters 7 and 8 of Grant Palmer’s illuminating 2002 book, “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.” For those not familiar with Palmer, he is a retired “three-time director of LDS Institutes of Religion in California and Utah, a former instructor at the Church
    College of New Zealand, and an LDS seminary teacher at two Utah locations. He has been active in the Mormon History Association and on the board of directors of the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association.” (Ref. http://signaturebooks.com/2010/02/an-insiders-view-of-mormon-origins-2/)

    My favorite FV tale is the one in which JS got dressed in black, rode a black horse to a secret meeting place in the woods, met a magical toad-like creature that shape-shifted into a man, and tried to leave with “a record on plates of gold”, but was hit by the supernatural amphibian-human guard for not obeying “orders.” The full account is online at http://mit.irr.org/changing-first-vision-accounts-1827-first-vision-account-related-willard-chase

    Tired of watching “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy for the nth time? Try JS’ other First Vision ‘whoppers’ for entertainment! They’re online at http://mit.irr.org/joseph-smiths-changing-first-vision-accounts and https://www.lds.org/ensign/1984/12/joseph-smith-jr-in-his-own-words-part-1?lang=eng. Enjoy!

  • SML

    Nathan- Meaning gift from God. Awesome name. Do you believe that we are come from God? Would we then have a purpose in this life? Is that purpose really only that in one singular moment in life we choose to accept Christ? Or by grace do you mean he already did everything for us? So then we were created with the sole purpose of dying? That doesn’t seem like a perfect father, a loving creator.
    We must then have something we need to do, some purpose. I don’t attest to know perfectly what that is… but there is a God and he requires something of each of us.

  • guest

    I think this reply is an example of what some say is the need for more open-mindedness. The default reply used here and previously isn’t particularly open-minded.

  • Partier

    So, if one is saved by grace and not works, what do you care? Everyone will be saved then right? Or do you have to do a work like confess with our mouth? Or how about being baptized (Mark 16:16)? So maybe there are some works you have to perform to be saved?

  • brjones

    “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God.”

    -Improvement Era, 1945

    “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over”

    -N. Eldon Tanner, First counselor in the first presidency, August, 1979 Ensign Magazine

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/08/the-debate-is-over?lang=eng

    Although there are numerous references to the Improvement Era quote online, the church does not link to publications this far back on its website, but I’ve provided the link to the Tanner quote which I found in about 15 seconds on lds.org.

    • Paige

      I believe that you misinterpret what these statements actually mean. According to our beliefs, we believe that these men are servants of God. As servants of God, when they prophesy it is the same as if the Savior Himself said it (D&C 1:38). When they speak, they speak in terms of doctrinal fact. We don’t choose the truth, but we do get to choose whether or not we accept it. We still think for ourselves. I think it would be quite silly if someone were to say that me knowing that the sky is blue is not thinking for myself. I have observed it myself, I have learned it myself, so I decided for myself that I know that the sky is blue. My testimony of the Church is things I know–not because I have seen them, but I have observed and felt them as truth myself through my own personal revelation. These men shared truth with me, I chose to pray and ponder about them–when the Spirit revealed they were true to me, I came to know of their truthfulness. I acted for myself. I thought for myself. I can’t deny the feelings of the Spirit. I know that they happened. Just because I can’t show you how I feel doesn’t mean that the feeling never existed, that it isn’t true.

  • abogdonov

    I am also skeptical of your scientific credentials. Everything you said could have been copy/pasted right off of the “Answers in Genesis” web site.

    You might have just as well said “I’m a scientist and I like science, but everything science says about the world is wrong.”

    • LoveIsGreaterThanHate

      Science is a series of hypotheses based on the current information available at the time. Empirical data is only as accurate as the measurements and observations that can be made. Often, even the most strictly controlled studies have large margins for error that may not be discovered for years. I don’t want to rain on your scientific parade, because my quality of life has significantly benefited from advances that come from “science”, but I can hardly accept any research or data as absolute fact, because my own knowledge of scientific history proves it’s nearly impossible. As our knowledge evolves, we get more accurate and can see more things, but I don’t believe there will ever be a time when we can dismiss the possibility of a “god” based on the scientific method.

      Reasoning:
      Hypotheses and conclusions change based on inputs. For example, it has really only been in the last 50 years or so that we’ve come to any sort of an understanding of plate tectonics, or volcanic activity. We have definitely gotten better, but our knowledge is still severely limited on the actual mechanisms that control such massive systems.

      We still barely understand the specific mechanisms in our own brains. We have a lot of data and Hypotheses, but we don’t know exactly how it works.

      Science is a construct of the knowledge that we have at the present time. It is severely swayed based on public opinion and consensus in the scientific community. It changes, it evolves. It is not absolute.

      For me, my faith is as tangible and real as any other emotion or human experience. Whether or not it is a chemically driven experience originating in my brain is irrelevant, because it has meaning to me. It is worth more than a theory on the Big Bang, or any other human experience I’ve had in my life, because it adds value to every good thing and meaning to every bad thing. It appeals to my logos, pathos, and ethos. The alleged character of Joseph Smith does not deter me from my faith in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a better person because of my faith, my values are greater, my compassion is greater, my desire to be a better part of my human family is greater because of my belief.

      If I were to base my opinion entirely on science, genocide is no different humanitarian work, they are both actions based on emotional responses. The only value that comes is based on your interpretation. The only reason to conform to rules in society is for personal gain or to avoid discomfort. This is not the view I wish to have of the world. It does not appeal to my sense of humanity. I do not wish to be a sociopath.

      Good luck with your life and pursuits in this shared human experience. My faith enriches mine. Keep the discussion going.

      All the best!

      • Nerdsamwich

        You’re ignoring the fact that every new thing we learn erases one more “goddidit” from the list. Earthquakes, storms, and diseases were all thought, not very long ago, to be manifestations of divine wrath. But now we know what causes all of those things. The great scourge of the Old Testament, leprosy, is routinely cured with a course of antibiotics. How about the ol’ plague of locusts? Classic Wrath. Except that now we know about the breeding cycle of grasshoppers, and what causes locust swarms. We can prevent most of them from ever happening, and when they do, we have bug spray. Every time we learn something new, God gets smaller. How long until there’s nothing left?

    • Will

      I’m not sure what ‘Answers in Genesis’ is, however; there are Christians who are scientists (such as myself) who think for themselves and come to an acceptance of God both through logic and sentiment. I also think you missed the boat about my comment, I think science does a great job of explaining how things in the world work which in turn shows us how God works (He being the creator of this world).
      I’m glad you have an opinion on the matter and I think it is great to have friendly debates while respecting the other person. I feel like your comments could add to the debate, instead of being a shotgun answer that you had in reserve when someone makes a legitimate point you don’t feel like taking time to debate. Although I don’t have to prove it to you, I’ll humor you. I am a scientist who works with microalgae among other things. I recently had a publication accepted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It is under Sustainability Sciences and is a global evaluation of the theoretical microalgae growth potential coupled with a scalability assessment.
      I always welcome debates about my post so you can poke holes in my logic so that I might look at my point of view from a different perspective (yours).

  • starkravingmad

    “…our problems with the church are straight out of antiMormonism 101.”

    But are the criticisms accurate? If so, then yes, they are “anti-mormon” but nevertheless true. What does that tell you about mormonism?

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      No, they are not. I have spent countless hours over at the Fair message boards and came to the realization that many who raise such issues are truly looking for answers. It is much like politics.

      What it tells me about Mormonism is very little, but does shine a light on the critic who, once answered, shifts the subject, throws in a red herring or puts up a straw man.

  • Marc

    And by even the other/outward fruits: the quality and quantity of service rendered by the members, the quiet service of leaders and other members to individuals and families in all sorts of needs, the integrity of almost all its leaders, the selfless service and examples, the good judgment and restraint of its actions, the Christlike examples, and on and on…. No other organization I’ve met in over 6 decades has All of these.

  • starkravingmad

    What good does it do you? You can live a good, moral life helping others around you despite what personal religious beliefs you hold. You express here the perfect example of what it means to be ‘afraid’ of the unknown. Being good to other human beings is its own reward. What happens after death? Honestly, nobody really knows. And I use the word ‘knows’ here without any connection to ‘belief’.

    What purpose would you serve here on earth? Even if Mormonism were literally true, what purpose does it serve? What are you saying people are for? You talk about a carefully constructed earth as a place for God’s children to learn and grow without realizing what an awful, dangerous place we live in. Four million tons of toxic chemicals have been released into the environment so far this year, and mostly from natural sources. There are a BILLION undernourished people in the world now. Nearly 20,000 people died of hunger TODAY, the vast majority of them being innocent children. There have been nearly a million deaths from water borne diseases so far this year and there are nearly a billion people in the world without a safe source of drinking water. 200,000 women have died giving birth so far this year. Cancer has taken 3.3 million people so far this year. Nearly half a million suicides succeeded and five million suicide attempts.

    http://www.worldometers.info

    And this is the very best an “all-loving”, “all-powerful”, “all-knowing” God can do? You want to be a God of a world like this one?

    You say God is a scientist but if he is then he is a damn poor one. Do you look at evolution as a “smooth” process? If you do then you are quite mistaken. Fully 99% of all possible species are destroyed by the process of evolution. That is real pain, suffering and a very, very inefficient process to create the animal life on this world. Why would a God with characteristics described above use a process that is demonstrably exactly the same with or without the interference of that God?

    You state what YOU believe. I get it. I used to be exactly like you. But I now refuse to follow religion blindly. Especially a religion that shames it’s followers, values obedience over love and forgiveness and extracts such a high price from the mental health of its adherents.

    Even if it is all true, which I am sure it is not, I say “No thank you.”

    • You really do not know why we are on this earth.

      • Nerdsamwich

        Because we were born?

        • so we can become more like God.

          • Nerdsamwich

            No, thanks. That guy ordered something like five genocides in the books of Numbers and Kings alone. Personally killed upwards of seven hundred thousand of his own “chosen people” because one of their government officials decided to take a census. It only gets worse in the NT: at least YHWH would stop when you died. Jesus had to make the divine malevolence eternal. So no, I refuse to become at all “Godlike” during my brief span of years, and if you plan on doing so, kindly stay the hell away from my family.

  • Brian Clark

    If the point of the word of wisdom is taking care of your body then why is someone who drinks green tea excluding from temple marriage while the leader of the church is obese?

  • Matt

    HAHAHAHA!! I am just commenting in response to Jon, as well as the others that are battling with him, it is a waste to try to compare views with one another. Jon seems to be an expert, yet he believes differntly than us. So, if he has not taken the discussions of the church, as well as lived the life of who he is such an expert on, then I say he is an expert of nothing outside of his own beliefs. If thats enough for him, then great, I hope you are blessed in your travels. As for the Mormon church, you do not have enough breath nor credentials to battle a better more outstanding ideal and being such as it. You need to not worry about what they do with their money, because the amount of aid they have provided far outweighs any other organization or business there is. I could care less what you read, or investigate, because even when the truth is right in front of you, I am sure you would argue that too. I have been a member since 2008, and you had better believe I am beyond happy with my decision and my life. 60 days is nothing when you ask someone to do that. So just save your breath, talk to people that will understand what you are saying, because your words are empty here my friend. Have a great day my friend, and dont stop believing. EVER!

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    It would be nice if you learned how to do basic research.

    #1 Check your data and its source.

    Guess what, you broke rule number 1.

  • Charlotte

    Thanks for that Greg! I really enjoyed your article, and have wondered the same thing many times.

  • LeAnn Echols Howlett

    I enjoyed your comments very much. Thank you for writing them.

  • Daniel

    That is an interesting question – something “better than the LDS church”. I guess that depends on what “better” means to you. In some ways it sounds selfish to be asking the question. With that attitude, the next church to come along and offer something better might temp you away from the Truth. I expect that today the “church of self” is growing faster than ever – you can do what ever you want and still have eternal happiness or eternal nothingness.

    In Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:22-24, Jesus is recorded as saying that one must take up his cross in order to follow Jesus. I think when comparing churches, the question we should be asking is what Church is “best” qualitatively and quantitatively at teaching people to take up their cross to love like Jesus loves us.

    To have faith and trust in Jesus and in his ability to prophesize the future and to only tell the truth, we should respect Jesus’ command about “making disciples of all nations” and “being with his church always” (Matthew 28:20, Matthew 16:18). We should answer this question by also looking at the last 20 centuries of church history. We would expect that whatever church claimed teaching authority would not change its moral teachings due to popular opinion; abortion, “non-heterosexual marriage”, birth control. Since the Holy Bible is hugely influential as a teaching source we should probably consider asking what church canonized the Holy Bible? Ten of Jesus’s twelve disciples died a martyr’s death; dying for your faith is a powerful statement; we should ask how many martyrs does this church have?

    May God bless you with love and wisdom.

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    I’m a science guy and a true blue Mormon. I will have to agree with some of the other posters here though, you are not sounding very “scientific”. I believe it is very important to be clear on message and not blur things to fudge results (this goes for both sides of the issue).

  • Eric

    This was well written! My dad (living in the area) mentions the missionaries fondly. I’m a member of the Church and he is not. I feel that if he can be positive to our faith, then we stand to save a LOT of souls in West Michigan!

  • Anonymous

    What is the point? The point is living life to the fullest while doing one’s best to improve the world we live in. We leave a legacy in our families, and in the lives of the people around us… Do we really need to be rewarded for living good lives? Isn’t the reward of living a good life, having had the opportunity to live that life?

    If being a good person, who loves their family, is kind to their neighbours, and tries their best to be decent for the sake of being decent, isn’t enough for some God given reward…. I say it doesn’t matter. If I’ve had a great life and the opportunity to improve the lives of those around me simply by being here, I don’t need anything more.

    And honestly, can anything, if there is anything, waiting for me really be that bad?

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      “Living life to the fullest” Carpe diem as Robin Williams would say. Sorry, reason and math are against you on this. If life is finite, any joy or sorrow is only illusion. You are a sentient bag of chemicals. As Hawking states, the brain is like a computer that will eventually break down and then there is nothing. How long is there nothing, forever. The mortal lifespan, even if extend by thousands of years, would still be nothing in relation to all time and eternity. This would also apply to everyone, friends, family, countryman.

      If there is no afterlife, what are George Washington and George Burns doing right now? Thinking about how much they lived their lives to the fullest? Did the influence they have on others mean anything if those people are all in the same boat?

      If your an atheist that is your choice, but at least man up to the full consequences of what that belief entails and quit deluding yourself that life has any meaning. Once you die, you are nothing with no found memories to look back upon. Live a happy life, or crappy life, for the rest of eternity it will not matter one way or the other.

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    Yap, the Mormons are so devious that they do not pay their clergy. Only once someone is called after many years of service to certain positions do they get to “live off the fat of the church”. Thus a member must plot and scheme to serve and help others for no pay for many years of their life in the slim hope that they will win the LDS lottery and get called to be a mission president or general authority. Once called, then they are living large with a free home and living stipend. Of course most of those positions are only temp positions and they will go back to normal life of serving for nothing afterward. Unless they become an Apostle of the Church, then they have it made! Well you do have to give up your career and dedicate the rest of your life. If you were a supreme court justice, university president or world famous heart surgeon, so long career, but now your rolling in the MULLAH! (or at least a decent living stipend).

    Devious indeed! (okay, all of the above was pure sarcasm, but it was fun)

    Ironic that a church that has for the most part a lay clergy is criticized for having no debt and keeping its finances in order. Diabolical. We should be more like other churches where it is Profit not Prophet that matters and one can make fortune off of a nice sized mega church. Then spend that money on prostitutes (Swagart), giant statues of bronze giraffes and makeup (Jim and Tammy Baker) or get “back rubs” from your gay crack dealer boyfriend (Ted Haggart).

    • Wilma Aebischer

      Boy this person has a problem. Church authorities are not paid, however, church buildings have to be maintained, utilities paid for, and much help is given to those who need it. I have served as a Relief Society president, paid my own travel expenses, and helped those in need in counsel with the Bishop. So you are out in left field with your comments.

  • Carolin Crosby

    Thanks for the article. I’ve also been interested in the comments. But all the discussions have left out one really important thing: Personal revelation. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true because I asked God and received my answer. And I have had many more experiences with personal revelation that have taught me more of the love of God for me and all of His children.

    Since reading the Book of Mormon teaches me to be more loving to my neighbors, I’ll keep reading it. And since serving in various callings gives me joy, and greater love for those whom I serve, I’ll keep doing it.

  • Elise W

    Thank you for having the courage to talk about your experiences and speak the truth as I know it as a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It amazes me how many people attack the character of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church with such animosity without looking into what we believe and exercising faith in God to know for themselves if it is true, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Not to mention that their hostility is far from being Christlike. I always love helping people see and understand that I am similar to them as far as my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and as a child of God, I know He lives and loves us all. Joseph Smith wasn’t perfect but he was and is a prophet of God.

  • Swiftt

    “Opponents” is perfectly accurate if you’re talking about people who oppose the church. Criticisms are only valid if sincere and held with an open mind willing to accept an answer which resolves the criticism. Most critics aren’t and are thus actually opponents. For example, if the criticism is “Joseph had a flawed character” and the answer is “yeah, God always calls flawed men and women”, then persisting in attacking Joseph’s character becomes an invalid criticism.

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    Don’t just go on what others say. People can lie, or they themselves may be mislead. If you really want to know, you will need to take it up directly with God. Mormonism makes bold claims, then go with that! Read the Book of Mormon and take up the challenge at the end, pray to receive revelation from God. Be willing to accept the answer and the change that will bring to your life. I am a member of this church because I have seen marvelous things and it has taken what I would consider a “bad” man and made him good (to paraphrase Hinkley).

    The missionaries are good people (biased because I was one), but they can only teach. Understanding the Mormon church and growing in it hinges on obtaining a very personal relationship with God through Christ.

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    How about loving, caring skeptics who are truly concerned?

    I think thou art “straining at gnats” worrying about the wording. Had Michael said, “vile fiends from the pits of the darkest levels of the abyss, worms would not eat their flesh it is so putrid”, then you might have a point.

  • Naconna Gadish

    I have had so many of those same thoughts over the years! Thank you for
    sharing your insights! I am learning that I can share my testimony with
    others, even if I’m not a polished debater! I really love this gospel,
    but I sometimes wonder why I am not a better person….having the
    gospel in my life? In fact…. Why doesn’t this affect ALL of our
    members more than it does? My son had a beautiful answer to that
    question. After a lot of prayerful consideration, he offered this
    explanation: We each learn and grow at different paces…and although
    we do have the fullness of the gospel….each of us still has to
    personally accept the Savior into our hearts. And even though we
    believe in the teachings of this church, attend all our meetings, pay
    our tithing, go to the temple, and so on….sometimes we fail to
    understand and embrace the most important part of this gospel
    plan..letting Christ into our hearts…and keeping Him there! When it is
    all said and done, it really comes down to personal conviction. No
    one can do that for us! My son’s explanation made a lot of sense to
    me…and now I try to imagine how brightly His light can, and will shine
    in each of us, as we become true disciples and followers of Jesus
    Christ!

  • JustChuck57

    I don’t understand why God would give us basic laws like not committing adultery or not coveting our neighbor’s wife, and then ask us to follow a prophet who approached at least 11 married women and tried to convince them that God commanded they violate their marriage vows and enter into a relationship with him. Joseph Smith did that. At least 11 of his plural wives were women already married to other men when Joseph approached them.

    Joseph Smith was far more than simply “imperfect.” He actually tried to convince people to do things that God had already forbidden. How else could we know a false prophet if not that they encourage people to violate God’s laws? How could God possibly fault us for rejecting such a man? And how can we escape God’s judgement if we choose to ignore His laws and follow such a prophet?

  • Brie

    I’ve read a lot of the comments and I understand that there will always be opposition to any belief. Religion is one of the most disputed things.

    But I can tell you one thing. You can tell me anything you want, but it will not change my faith in God, Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon. I’ve had my own witness and I don’t need your approval to believe in it.

    Thank you for your comments Greg! I enjoyed reading your article.

    • Greg Trimble

      Thank you Brie!

  • Alexandra

    Of course you deserve answers and you will get them! I’m a member and I have been struggeling with things I don’t understand for about 20 years (I have felt that somethings could make me leave the church although I’ve always known its true) and recently everything fell into place, after over 20 years! Focus on getting to know Christ and your Heavenly father. To feel that they know you and love you. Talk to them, open your heart to them. They will bless you. Prayers, reading talks from generalconference and preasthood blessings has been the answer to me. But chose talks that comfort you and give you strength. Not the ones that you feel asks to much from you at the moment. I have wondered several times why some people don’t seem to get answers, especially people who honestly want one, I don’t have the answer, maybe your faith is beeing tested or maybe you do get answers but you don’t see them. But one thing I do know, your prayers are being heard and your answers will come! And when they come they are overwhelming and defenately worth the wait!

  • Amy

    I have spent the last hour reading many comments. I have found weekly organized religion reminds me to think of God and other first. I think many, not all, who have left religion and specifically the rigorous responsibilities the LDS faith requires, simply feel “free” because they are now guilt free to be selfish.
    I have gone to other churches. No other church has brought out the best in me. Take off the blinders you say? No blinders here, whether the LDS church is true or not, I will die with a clear concious knowing my leaders, teachers, and fellow members helped me love more, sacrifice more, and serve more.

    • Greg Trimble

      wow…that is awesome!

  • Cheryl

    I agree with your blog and have always wondered why other churches have no temples, no prophet, no understanding that a person needs to know the difference between right and wrong before he or she is baptized. I encourage anyone who reads your blog to consider all of your questions and to read the Book of Mormon.

  • Stephanie

    Those of you mentioning science always entertain me. Where do you think science comes from? How do you think Jesus Christ created this earth? Aided Moses in parting the Red Sea and countless other wonders and miracles? He doesn’t have a magic wand that he waves around. However, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ DO have the mastered knowledge of science. Where do you think scientists if today and of the past have gained their knowledge? Their inspiration? The Lord didn’t just stick us here and say ” alright you’re on your own!”. No, He leads us and guides us, nudges us in the right direction.

  • Lee

    The only comment I have is call the Mormon Church her correct term, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When you talk about churches being named after Christ only the ones part of this Church will understand what your talking about.

  • starkravingmad
  • John Roberts

    Uhhh, all three of the three witnesses recanted and left the church. Two of them returned after Joseph Smith’s death, but that might be even more damning that they chose to disassociate themselves from him.

    As for the 8 witnesses, they were almost all Joseph Smith’s relatives, and if you investigate what they had to say afterwords, none of them saw the plates, they saw what they were told were the plates, but they were inside a satchel which they were not allowed to open.

    • Logan

      Left the church yes, denied seeing the plates no. Despite what you read on your anti Mormon websites.

      • John Roberts

        I’m not getting info from antimormon websites, but from historical records.

        All 3 clarified that they never physically saw the plates, only in a vision. Additionally, at least one of them publicly professed having a stronger testimony of Quakerism than he ever did of the BOM (not the Mormon church, but the Book of Mormon).

        Also, 4 (Joseph Smith’s dad and brothers) of the 8 parties comprising the 8 witnessess stated that what they witnessed wasn’t the gold plates, but a satchel said to contain the plates. Of the other 4 (David Whitmer’s family), only 1 testified that he actually saw the plates themselves. The others said they were on a table and covered with a cloth.

        So, between the 3 witnesses and the 8 witnesses, only ONE can be historically tied to a claim that they physically saw the plates, and there are 3 people who contradict his version of events.

        So you tell me, did these men deny seeing the plates? I’d say yes. They didn’t deny that the events happened, but all but one of them denied what is printed inside every BOM printed in the past 150 years.

  • Brian Clark

    You are making a straw man argument, and to call my worldview silly without understanding it is extremely arrogant. I have experience both your current world view and mine and I can tell you personally that life is much more meaningful and precious believing that this life is what there is and those joys, sorrows, and ties mean all the more. It is not mere illusion and I find that the illusion that what we do in this life matters little because it gets fixed in the next life – we don’t have to focus on the relationships we have here and now because we have all eternity diminishes and does not enhance this life. If you wish to have a narrow world view and think that you meaning is the only possible meaning in life, that is fine. However, please don’t insult me by telling me that my life has no meaning to me when you have no experience with it. There are volumes and volumes written on this false argument you are asserting and you can go research it if you like. I recommend starting with Ken Daniels, Why I Believed, Chapter 9 – free and easily found by googling – I don’t the link will work but just in case: http://infidels.org/library/modern/ken_daniels/why.html

  • Lacey

    Love this!!!

    • Greg Trimble

      Awesome!

  • ntmrmn

    I actually enjoyed reading about how you dealt with those that oppose your beliefs. However, as I am no longer a Mormon, didn’t read the rest (I hope you’ll understand). My wish is that everyone would behave in your manner when dealing with those that do not believe as you do. I understand where Mormons are coming from, and that you believe your church to be the only true church, but please understand that many others think the very same about their church or beliefs. We all choose what resonates for ourselves, and however it is dealt with in the end (if it is) is between that person and their maker and has nothing to do with anybody else. If we are all trying to treat others well and do our best to be good humans and return to our maker (what or who that may be) on their own terms, then wouldn’t this world be a much better place? Anyway, I am glad to see that you seem to deal with your “fellow man” in a kind manner, and people such as you remind me to be better in my own judgement upon those that don’t believe as I do.

  • Maria

    You won’t find a better or better said the true church anywhere else that has the OK from Jesus or the power, the authority to administer on earth We the member are imperfect but if you give your best The Lord will do rest The Mormon church is a hospitals for broken souls or imperfect people Maria Sweat

  • John

    How about a personal relationalship with Him. No need for a middleman or institution… that sounds alot better to me any day.

  • Brandon

    What’s better than the Mormon church? A personal relationship with Jesus. Oh, and sharing a bottle of wine with your sweetheart. Simple right?

  • Brian Clark

    His response is a direct response to Greg’s claim that the LDS church closely mirrors the New Testament church which is much of his basis of why there is nothing better and illustrates several examples of how they are very different – this pertains directly to the article.

  • guest

    Sharon, God bless you. I’m in agreement with your thoughts. Our loving God wouldn’t do these things. When my own father who had been in a coma for a week was taking his last breaths, he began speaking to deceased relatives on the other side, as if they were there in front of him. We’re not Mormon. I believe 100% that we will reunite in the afterlife.

    I have no interest in converting you, but you might want to consider different churches. There ARE many that are just as reverent with Jesus’ teachings.

  • Jason

    I may finish reading later……but I got to the part where you said “LDS doctrines as they are contained in the bible” and I just had to stop…….

    If you could, please take a moment to point me to the bible passages which contain these doctrines:
    1. God was once a man
    2. Man can become gods
    3. Temple marriage and sealings
    4. Preexistence
    5. Salvation through works (I’m sure you know the faith without works is dead does not fit that context)
    6. Polygamy (In heaven of course since it is “no longer practiced” here on earth)
    7. Proxy work
    8. Spirit prison and outer darkness
    9. Adam is God, or even Adam is Michael. Or Gabriel is Noah??
    10. Blood Atonement
    11. Black skin being a curse

    We can of course add to this list later, but that is a good starting point I think. Please also keep in mind the JST is not a valid source, as we now know, since the discovery of ancient manuscripts like the Great Isiah scrolls, that it is a fraudulent work.

    Thanks in advance for your time! 🙂

  • grindael

    What happened to my replies? I see this one posted but not my earlier ones. I have made copies so I will repost them…

  • grindael

    So you are an expert on how an ex-Mormon should talk? LOL.
    And I’m not speaking, I’m typing. So how exactly does a Mormon talk? What are the differences, exactly, in how I’m writing and Mormons write? Is your sarcasm and condescension the way that Mormons communicate now? I don’t take people like you seriously. You will never discuss the issues because you have no answers for them.

  • Wade

    Thanks, Bill. An easier way to see some of my opinions would be to go to my blog: http://www.unchurchedmormon.blogspot.com.

  • mb

    Your title states show me something better how about a saving relationship with Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh.Christ warns of false prophets who will ask for money in exchange for salvation, ie the LDS Church. I joined the church later got married in the temple and never went back after what I saw there. It scared me so much I went to the bishop and stated thatJesus wasn’t even spoken about in the temple and promising everything to the church is mans idea. It is by Christ we shall be saved and not of our selves.

    • Barry

      You’re not being honest to say that Jesus is not spoken of in the temple. He is the central figure of everything that happens there.

  • Wade

    Thanks for the reply, Shawnna. Yeah; I use many “vehicles” for my faith. Sometimes I take out the Mormon vehicle, and other times I leave it in the garage, and use something else. Sometimes you’ll find me in a Mormon Sunday School classroom, and other times I’ll be communing with God through nature, out in the desert, or on a mountain. Other times, I’ll attend a drum circle, or attend a yoga class at the local Krishna temple. There is good everywhere. I don’t have to believe in a “one and only true faith vehicle.”

  • mb

    Jon is right read the journal of discourses or for a complete resource google CES letter, or utlm.org Sandra and Gerald Tanners site they have a great library of information.

  • Tom Smiley

    My answer to your question….”Can anyone give me something better than the Mormon Church?”…..is simply, this…The Word of God, found in the Sufficiency of Scripture which will point anyone who is looking to the TRUTH. As polite and friendly as most Mormons are, the fact is they don’t follow the Scripture. Obviously it is anyone’s right to determine who or what to follow, but the fact is that Mormonism is NOT Christian, it is Mormonism. The Doctrine of the Mormon Church on matters of Heaven, Hell, Salvation, and Most Importantly, Jesus is NOT Christian, it is Mormon. I would have greater respect for Mormons if they were at least honest about this and not try to wrap their teaching in the Christian faith so as to confuse people. Just be honest and say, “We Believe Jesus was a Created Being”; “We Believe that the Bible is NOT the sole authority for the practice of faith”; “We Don’t Believe in the Trinity”; We Believe that satan and Jesus were Spirit Brothers”; “We Believe that We shall become a god, like God is”….. I suppose the Bottom line is, “Truth can Not Contradict itself”….There is only One Truth! Choose Carefully, Choose Well……I Choose the Sufficiency of God’s Word and the sacrifice of Jesus, God in the Flesh, to stake my eternal Destiny upon. Tom Smiley, Gainesville, Ga, tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

  • Carrie

    I love this. When I was doing an internship in DC I had a boss who was Seventh Day Adventist. It was nice to work with someone who had many of the same beliefs we do on the word of wisdom. In the end he tried to get me to convert to his faith. He gave me Ellen White’s books to read. There were small truths, just like there is in every other faith, but honestly, even if I wasn’t sure that the gospel as put forth by the LDS church was true why would I convert? They don’t have baptism for the the dead, eternal marriage, or prophets – big deals for me.

  • Melissa Rhodes

    They can not Greg. I am so grateful to have the fullness of the Gospel in my life. Being a member (I converted at age 16) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only way to go!

  • Professor

    I think that your title says it all.

    It says “Give me” instead what “What can I give.”

    Think about it. This isn’t about you. This is about Jesus. Not what you can get whether it be the Celestial kingdom or ruler of planets. This isn’t about you.

    What can I give. Not Give me.

  • Mormon Professor

    The title says it all.

    It says “Give me.”

    Jesus and his apostles didn’t say ‘Give me.’ Instead they said ‘What can I give.’

    If you want to be a true disciple and follower of Jesus your title should say “What can I give that is more worthwhile than mormon-ism”

    What can you give?
    What can you give to Jesus?
    This is what differs from people who Jesus to people are don’t understand.

  • Maria Eberle

    Thanks for sharing your experiences on your mission and your reasons for loving Jesus Christ’s church. I too have ‘discussed’ various religious views with friends and colleagues. What I find disheartening is those who don’t have the answers but are unwilling to hear more. But when you have a friend who is willing to learn….oh how sweet to see them become a new person. They become sponges soaking up information they have sought for a long time. Loved your testimony. I am grateful you served as a missionary. I am a convert who is very grateful for the work you did and of course the missionaries that taught me this glorious truth. Peace!

  • Preston G

    You may not like my answer, in fact I don’t really have an answer. Faith is something you feel for yourself, not something your fellow woman or man can provide an answer for. My faith sits with the fact that life is short, I don’t have time to place effort into something that is only truth via feeling. Whatever happens, happens. If things are the way that they are preached, awesome. I have a ton of questions for the alpha prime. If not, the brain releases a chemical called Dimethyltryptamine when you are in the final stages of living (seconds from passing on), a reaction to keep you from experiencing traumatic shock on your way out. Basically, you live in an existence that is perfected, all within your head. Question everything, don’t ever hold back curiosity.

  • Estherinspired

    Loved this! I was not raised Mormon. In fact, I was raised pentecostal. I joined your church several years ago, but had to leave in order to save my family. What you say is true. There are so many gaps in a regular church’s doctrine. I now attend a pentecostal church, because that’s where my husband wants us to be. But I still teach my children the truth. I pray for their eyes to be opened and that the Holy Spirit will guide them. This was very well written!

  • Roderic

    I’d say the most fascinating fruit of Joseph’s is surrounding that of his death. He’d made William Law his brother in the priesthood only to have that covenant violated when William disclosed to the publisher(s) of the Navoo Expositor that Joseph was secretly practicing polygamy. Joseph promptly cut him off for breaking his oath, but the damage had been done: the people were angry at this new and secret practice and Joseph died a martyr for the practice of the Celestial law in the later days.

  • Ash

    As a former memeber of the LDS Church and now a committed minister to those around me. You gave me an insight to better answer the question “Can anyone give me something better than the mormon church?”. As a matter of fact I can. I have come to an agreement with myself that sometimes people will just do their own thing and and I will do what I have been called to do. I think the LDS church is a great church and can teach EVERYONE, yes including all different sects of the christian religion, how to love. However, in my personal experience I noticed that a ton of people had a lack of knowledge about Jesus Christ and his teachings. The better question here is how can one be saved? Why is religion and church so important? Why can’t we all just see that Jesus is a relationship. He isn’t a religion, a building, a title. Jesus is a being that longs for a RELATIONSHIP with us. He doesn’t care how many good works we do, he doesn’t care how much we mess up he wants us to LOVE Him. He wants us to be SAVED through Him. That is the point of Jesus Christ. Why would I want a church? A church can fail you. I want Jesus, all I want is simply Jesus. I love this video he says it so perfectly!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

    To answer your question, the only thing I can give you better than the mormon church is Jesus. Becuase Jesus is the SAVIOR he isn’t a religion.

  • Dwayne

    Cult, cult, cult….

  • Sandra Stephenson

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • youreCrazyGreg

    You either need to be deprogrammed or you’re working towards adding “General Authority” to your list of businesses. By their fruits indeed! Billion dollar shopping malls and penthouse condos? The fact that Joseph Smith was a pedophile and sent men on missions so he could have their wives aside, just follow the money. There is no Fruit but money and the only prophet is profit.

  • Leslie Brown

    Yes. Jesus. <3

  • Suz

    How funny; this is exactly where my thoughts have always been as well. I remember in college one day a group of Christians had come into town and to the campus to try and save all us mis-guided, ignorant Mormons. One approached me and asked if he could talk with me, I said sure. We sat down in the noisy student center and I started by telling him I would join his church if he had something better to offer, and proceeded to tell him similar things that you have written about…he couldn’t, of course, and I left him without his being able to answer. I’m glad you wrote your experience down, I wish I had.

  • Wake90

    Here is an idea, trust what you can feel and see, maybe question if they’re your imagination because we humans do veer toward superstition on occasion. Once you have narrowed a set of beliefs to trust criticize everything else until it’s worth believing. Once you have done this you can think of yourself as an independently minded individual. These topics to be criticized should include historical events along with modern science.

  • Sandra Ross

    I can think of a million better things than the mormon church, IMO.

  • Carrie

    Joseph Smith was not not the “founder” of the Mormon church (actually called The Church of Jesus Chris to Latter-day Saints). The gospel of Jesus Christ had been taken from the earth and Joseph Smith was used as an instrument in the Lord’s hands to bring the true gospel back on the earth again. IF you read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants then pray about them….sincerely pray about them, the Holy Ghost will testify to you that the fullnes of Christ’s church is once again on the earth.

  • Julia

    Well, right off the bat I’m going to lay it out and say I’m going with Catholicism as an alternative. (And I’m also going to say that my access to internet is well… spotty at best and responding is difficult for me.)

    Anyway, I think I’ll start by addressing your points one by one. I have a fairly large theological library at home, but as I am abroad, I hope you’ll forgive my saying, ‘this book is really great for this’ without being able to site specific passages.

    So, from the beginning, can I offer similarities to the New Testament? Yes sir, absolutely! In fact, the document I would offer is called the Didache, or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. It was written and circulated around the late 1st century, and covers both Baptism, the Eucharist as a real sacrifice, and is basically the first Catechism. I provide a link for it here http://web.archive.org/web/20101009033540/http://ivanlewis.com/Didache/didache.html

    I would like to point specifically to chapter seven, which addresses some of your other questions

    CHAPTER 7
    CONCERNING BAPTISM
    1) And concerning baptism, baptize this way: After reviewing all of this teaching, baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in living (running) water.
    2) But if living water is not available, then baptize into other water; and cold is prefered, but if not available in warm.
    3) But if neither is available, pour water three times upon the head in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    So here we can see that Baptism does not necessarily have to be by immersion.

    The Catholic Church would actually agree that prophecy is on going. However, that since we have begun the age of the Church, the nature of it is different.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states

    The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ [CCC 66].

    So public revelation has passed away, but private revelation continues. For further information, I suggest looking at Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Loudes, Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are many others. However, the Catholic Church believes that one does not have to accept any of those things, any private revelation, to ‘be saved’ as it were.

    However, as time goes on, there is a deepening in understanding of what God has revealed to us through the Bible and the tradition of the apostles. There is a good essay on this called On the Development of Christian Doctrine, from Cardinal Henry Neuman, a convert from Anglicanism. I highly recommend it.

    Okay, shoot, I’m running out of time, so I’m going to address a few more things, and then I have to run so my apoligies for not addressing everything.

    You can see the structure that you mention in the structure of the Catholic Church. That is, after all, the development of that early structure. And while the apostles did have other jobs, wasn’t it Paul who said in 1Cor 9-14 ‘that In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.’ To me, Paul’s complete devotion to spreading the gospel tells us that our current apostles, priests and Bishops and the like, should be payed for what they do, and should dedicate all they have to it.

    Ten more minutes so… deep breath 🙂

    There is a provision for unbaptized children. It’s called the limbo of the infants, and can be read about online, I don’t have the time to get into it. And when we hear in Acts that the jailer’s whole household was baptised, surely we’d find infants there? Or at least a mention that infants were not baptised. On the contrary, whenever whole hoseholds are baptised, it is assumed that that means everyone. Not only that, but we know that baptism replaces circumcision (Coll 2:11-13). Were not infants circumsised?

    In regards to marriage, did not Christ say that in death they neither marry nor are given in marriage? Otherwise, the marital problem the pharasees proposed would be very difficult for him to solve.

    As for Christ and God being one, along with the Holy Spirit, does it not say that in John 5:8-18 that they tried to kill him because he forgave sins? Who could forgive sins but God, they say. He knows very well what he’s doing, equating himself with God. There are many more, John 10:33, Mark 2:5-12, for example. My question to you would be, if God and Christ are separate individuals, what does that make Christ?There is only one God, and if we have more than one, we become pantheists, which the Bible rejects.

    Oh and I agree with you that no trinitarian metaphor can stand perfectly, because it is a mystery beyond our human capabilities to understand. (But lets not get into Sola Scriptura. If there’s anything Mormons and Catholics share it’s a rejection of that and a need for the magisterium, as it were.)

    Okay, well, my time is up. I must depart, but if you would like to respond, I’ll come back on when I can. 🙂 I love these kinds of discussions. And you seem like a very reasonable, charitable person. Thanks for the post and the open invitation.

    As a last thought, I’d like to suggest a couple books. The Didache, as I already metioned. The Father’s Know Best, by Jimmy Akin, a collection of writings of the early father’s arranged by topic, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Catholic.com, which obviously is not a book, but is a great resource for getting charitable, intelligent answers as to Catholic doctrines, teachings, and practices.

    God bless!

    Julia

  • Katie

    You mentioned you visited many churches in your time, but make no mention of the Orthodox church. Churches established by the apostles themselves, that perform the sacraments commanded by Christ Himself, and one that relies on the Word of God rather than the words of a man. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the Orthodox church.

  • casey

    So I think my biggest issue with this whole thing is religion itself is a joke and for the weak of mind. Do you really need some else to tell you what to believe and feel? Congratulations on conforming to a way of thinking that others have told and convinced you is right. Why not say explore EVERY religion, pick and choose elements of each and use them to compile your own thought structure? Create your own god who isn’t some faux pagan christian entity whos words have been translated over and over by men in power seats to say what they want! I only use the word weak because people are too afraid to go on their own and stray from the herd. Omg you dont believe the exact same thing as me?!?! If God is all knowing and forgiving he would want people to focus on living your OWN life. Not pander around after it (yes it, giving god a gender is simple minded and silly) like a lost puppy who can make none of your own decisions.

    This all being said I have no personal beef with the LDS church. I spent my first 16 years going before I realized it was all BS. Not the family values and respecting yourself, your body and each other. It was all the Celestial stuff; baptisms for the dead, your own world, eternal anything? How selfish can you be? So high on that horse you’re not getting off.

    Religion comes from a great place but unless you can get rid of ego and human nature you will never do it right.

    In conclusion. Learn to think for yourselves.

  • ScottShearer

    great thoughts, I have often stated the same….show me something better and I will llisten. This is the truth and no one can dispute it or prove it wrong because it is right.

  • Greg Trimble

    Kari…I’m seeing your post here so it looks like its approved. I don;t disapprove anything unless it is profane, pornographic, or illegal… so there!

  • Greg Trimble

    Thanks for picking me up there. I have so many comments that it is impossible to stay up on them all! 🙂 Thanks again!

  • Greg Trimble

    Thanks Ken!

  • Greg Trimble

    Thanks so much!

  • Greg Trimble

    I don;t know very many Mormon Trimbles! Great to know they’re out there!

  • Greg Trimble

    blah…

  • Brian Clark

    Of course by your argument if the Mormon church is false then your life has no meaning and that is an illusion.

  • Pam

    And that is one of the reasons I listened to the missionaries 35 years ago. A Catholic with no intention of joining any other faith, I was impressed that these two young men never once criticized the church I belonged to, or any other. While I was not very familiar with the Bible, as I listened to their discussions and prayed about what I was reading and hearing, I was surprised to find the words “ye shall know them by their fruits” coming to my mind over and over. Had these young men bashed my beliefs or criticized other churches, I would not have listened to them further. I did listen, and will be forever grateful that I did for it changed my life (the Savior did, actually) and that has made all the difference in three generations of my family.

    • Bill-D

      Pam, my experience was different. The LDS missionaries were very quick to point out that my church and all other churches (except theirs) was wrong. I do not believe that true Christians are all in one church or denomination. In the D&C 10:67, it lays out very simply what the church is and who the members are. I say that anyone who loves God and trusts in Jesus as their savior is my brother or sister, no matter what church they belong to.

      • Kenny

        Bill, it is a shame that you feel that you had a negative experience. But remember one thing about those missionaries – it isn’t “their” church they were talking about. And that makes all the difference.
        In the search for truth, you will naturally have to discard and supersede old notions. But very often, you will find that what you always believed has simply expanded in scope and depth. That things begin to connect better, and assumptions melt away. That’s what happens to those who trust God to teach them, and not their own minds.

        Let’s put that scripture in context. Remember that to cite a scripture without believing all of its attendant testimony is misleading at best. It is also called wresting the scriptures when you use them to contradict others.
        You cannot say that Christ’s church is simply whoever follows whatever definition of Christ’s Gospel they like best.
        “One Lord, one faith, one baptism – Ephesians 4:5”
        All of Revelation is instruction to the seven churches of the time in order to unite them in the faith, so that they might not be led astray (see Rev. 2-3 for really great examples of how the Lord rebukes and chastens each congregation according to their needs, in order for them to practice one faith).
        Acts 10: 29 – “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

        30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

        31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
        Paul thought it important enough to warn the Church before he died not only of false doctrines, but false doctrines within the established Church.

        So clearly what matters is the doctrine, and the authority to preach and administer in the faith.
        No one who reads Christ’s words of warning about being deceived by the world or the doctrines of devils can believe that there are even two acceptable interpretations of the Gospel.
        So he that followeth after us may indeed be for us, or for Christ, but he that is given knowledge of the Lord’s Kingdom is expected to use it, and if he be outside the church, he is expected to recognize and follow after the servants of the Lord when they become manifest to him. Think of the disciples of John the Baptist. If they had simply kept on following only what John had said, ignoring Christ’s teachings, they would have stood condemned.
        After all, “…[T]o him who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17
        D&C 50, Alma 11 – As we gain more knowledge, we are expected to take it to its logical conclusion, and gain more knowledge on top of it. Else, we will eventually lose all knowledge that we have. We cannot be satisfied or complacent about spiritual learning. And the only place that this can happen in the Lord’s way is in the “house fitly joined together,” with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers called by authority – His Church, bound together by one faith, and the power of God.

        This is just some of the testimony of the scriptures concerning the need for one church, one body of Christ, characterized by unity of doctrine and the authority of the Priesthood.

        From D&C 10:
        “59 I am he who said—Other sheep have I which are not of this fold—unto my disciples, and many there were that understood me not.

        60 And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob;

        61 And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;

        62 Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.

        63 And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.

        64 Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery;

        65 For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts;

        66 Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.

        67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

        68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

        69 And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

        70 And now, remember the words of him who is the life and lightof the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.”

        Regarding verse 67: Would you consider it repenting if you were to follow only part of what you knew to be right, or even to follow after a false doctrine, believing it to be true? This is not how “coming to Christ” is achieved. First true principles are learned, and they are obeyed. Then more is learned, which must also be obeyed. In this way, many without the full knowledge of the Gospel can be saved (who has the full knowledge, anyway?). But it is only in the Lord’s authorized church that the full truth is to be found.

      • Aaron Roland

        I am so sorry bill that you had such a negative experience. Unfortunately that does happen with inexperienced people who are still themselves growing and learning to be tolerant and loving. Regardless, i think you are correct when it comes to whom you believe is “my brother and sister”. anyone who believes in doing good works in serving their fellow man, in sacrificing for the good of others and living as christ lived is my brother or sister. Infact i would go so far as to say all men and women on this planet are my brothers and sisters. Perhaps members of other faiths, they know christ not through his name, but through his doctrine that they live and the good desires of their hearts. i have met many in other faiths who don’t worship christ who i believe are closer to him then many who claim to be following christs path but spew forth hate, anger and vitriol. I am a member of the LDS Church, primarily for the reasons that this article discusses. it is the only church beside the catholic church (in my estimation) that follows everything that is taught in the Bible. Personally when looking at the catholic church i believe it has gone through periods of apostasy or times when it as a organization did not follow christ, though now it does its best as many good people around the world are.

        • Bill-D

          Aaron, Thanks for the reply. I have no real issue with the LDS missionaries. They were saying what they have been taught to say from an early age. It is a shame that some people have reduced the gift of redemption from Jesus to a check list. I think that in a few years when these young men get a job and deal with some real life problems, their certainty will probably falter. I wish them the best.

          • Sarah

            The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a check list in any way. Rather the LDS faith is a guideline to help you become a better person. It may sound like a list because it’s filled with easy steps to make your life better, however, unlike a check list, it’s never-ending. We believe that as an imperfect human being there’s always improvement to be made. It isn’t until Christ comes again and God’s grace saves all who will accept it, that we get to that 100% that we can be whole and perfected in him. So no, redemption is not a check list, but rather a commitment to perfecting our selves and having a great relationship with God.

  • Jack

    I believe, Greg, that your thoughts are well thought out, and in the face of a lot of opposition, you have kept to your faith very well. I believe a lot of the same and feel a lot the same way. There is one thought that keeps coming to my mind when ever I hear this type of thought process or testimony or faith promoting experience. It is a question that can be answered differently for each individual based on their level of understanding, openness, or even closedness.

    This is the question:

    Does this mean the church is true? That’s it. A very simple question that can be asked when ever any type of story or line of reasoning or testimony or faith promoting experience is expressed. In answering your question, is there anything better out there? Well, many say yes, and some say no. But, does it matter if there is anything better our there? If something is true, we follow it. If it isn’t true, we leave it behind. Nothing you have said or written tells me that the LDS church is the one and only true church.

    Nothing I have heard for all my life can actually show me that the LDS church is true and I am currently an active member. Even I believe very strongly that the Book of Mormon is true, but even that does not make the church true! This argument that is used by members and GA’s that states that if the Book of Mormon is true then JS was a prophet and the restoration was for real and the church is true, is a very flimsy argument. I cringe whenever I hear that one.

    You say the church is like the one Jesus started. OK, ask yourself these questions:

    Do the modern day apostles act like the ancient apostles?
    Do they work mighty miracles and wonders?
    Do they prophesy, or see, or reveal?
    When was the last prophecy or revelation you heard from their lips?
    Is there really power in the priesthood?
    How many people have you truthfully seen healed by the priesthood?
    Or, was it by faith they were healed in the name of Jesus just like was
    done by the disciples in 4th Nephi?
    What was it Pres. Hinkley said to Larry King about revelation?
    Did you hear or read it?
    Was it any different from what the Pope says he receives?
    Has a modern day apostle ever been caught lying on any subject?
    What was it elder Packer said back in the early 80’s about the
    changes JS made to the revelations? You should look at that one!

    So, is there something better out there? No church is really any better, I agree with that. However, many churches are no worse.

    Last question for you all. What was it that God told JS in section 10? According to Him, who are the members of His church? Is His church an actual organized religion?

    Religion has done the same to you that it has done to most everyone else. It has caused you to think in terms of men and not God.

    Yes, there definitely is something much better out there. His name is Jesus Christ. Once you realize that religions put many things before Christ, then you are starting to be freed from the arm of flesh.

  • Emperor_has_no_clothes

    Hi Greg–
    Just chanced upon your post. I appreciate your apparent honesty. Believe it not, there is a church organization that resembles the early Christian church, and it has members world wide. Of course, we both know that belonging to a church that adheres to 1st century doctrine does not automatically make one a good Christian, but it’s a great privilege.
    I have a great deal of respect for most Mormans, even though I can’t say the same for either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, who I consider to be charlatans. I guess to me this is a lesson in “doing as they say, not as they do.” (I hope you’ll forgive me for being perhaps a bit too blunt.)
    I wish you the very best, truly. Don’t lose your faith; it’s a precious thing.

  • Cameron Emery

    Anti-Mormon material only makes my faith stronger because it causes me to ponder, and pondering the things of God invites revelation.

  • Cameron

    I enjoyed your thoughts and you’re right in many ways. But I was thinking about my relationships with people. My relationship with my mom is different than with my dad. My wife views me a certain way, each and everyone of my children love me differently. My coworkers see certain aspects of me as does each and everyone of my friends. What I’m getting at is that we all understand God differently. As Christians we all understand some basic characteristics of God. But we all see different aspects of Gods love.

    Why would i want a counsel of 12 or 12 apostles’ understanding of God to be the only understanding of God. That’s what Cathelics do with the pope and priests, what muslims do with clerics and imans. We don’t need to understand GOd based on a select group of people who feel they know or have a more special relationship with God. What differentiates Christianity from all religion is that we all have a personal relationship with God not through some other man but Jesus Christ only.

    God is complex but yet simple. Are we predestined or have free will. Probably both. IS infant baptism right or conversion baptism, probably both. I can go on and on… THe different denominations draw like minded christians and I’m glad that within the Christian church the Pastor only preaches the word of God and does not add or detract from it.

  • EG

    I really enjoyed what you wrote! When I first started reading the article I honestly thought it was going to turn into a “so this is why I left the LDS church” and then start the criticizing.

    So glad this was so positive.

  • Jack

    Apparently those critical of your blog post still can’t answer your original question.

  • Susan

    You spoke my thoughts perfectly.

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  • angela

    Hi Greg, You seem like a happy and focused guy. If at some point in your life suffering comes as it does in most of our live’s and you seek the truth behind that, then you may be ready to seek the truth about the true Church of Jesus Christ then. You may want to start by researching when exactly the great apostasy happened? What is the only church that embraces the hard saying John 6: 53-60 and literally focuses on this miraculous and transformative gift every day. We have Jesus Christ present everyday! Something better is having Jesus Christ truly present, something better is with standing 2,000 years and not letting sinful tides subvert the truth. Heretics were present since the dawn of Christ’s church…denying the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Poor Martin Luther had an awful Father and struggled with a concept of a loving heavenly Father, and had disdain for any authority and sought to away with the Mass. he had legitimate grievances but instead of reform he choose to revolt and in doing so preached heresy. The truth and Jesus Christ are there Greg and will always be whenever you are ready if God so wills this for you. I think you know the nickname for the Universal or Whole Church of Jesus Christ–the Catholic, a derivative of Latin and Greek, church. God bless you.

  • Bill-D

    For people who were not brought up in this religion, the history of how the church started sounds a bit odd. However, all religions are by definition supernatural. If it works for you then power on!!!!!

  • Bill-D

    I see you have the same attitude of the religious establishment who are sooooooooo sure they are godly. If you have studied, then you did not take much away from it.

  • Chris Hayes

    Good points, and well written. Thanks Greg!

    I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves us as a father, and perfectly at that. He knows our names, and wants to give us every good thing He can. He wants us to come home to Him, and, as part of an unparallelled and beautiful plan, He sent his Son, Jesus, The Christ, to establish His Church, teach the gospel, and atone for our sins. After dying on the cross, Jesus came back in His resurrected body, and because of His resurrection, we all will be resurrected one day. After learning these things from reading and being taught, I’ve learned they are true, and the Holy Spirit can teach those same truths to anyone who wants to learn them!

  • theology101

    Most people go through various phases of employment in their life. One might be at a lowly station at one phase of life and a many years later something much more honorable or prestigious . Relating the differences of occupations at different periods in history can be deceiveing and critics play on the ignorance of those that listen to their version of history. Most people wouldn’t even know what a money digger is. It sounds like a demeaning occupation to hear it in our day and age so it gets repeated with hyperbole as you say by those that want to keep a negative sounding association with Joseph Smith’s life. Their bias or ignorance can’t and doesn’t stop him from being a prophet of God though.

  • Nerdsamwich

    You could do worse than an ancient Italian sun god who went every night to do battle with the forces of evil so the world could have light and hope again come morning.

  • Nerdsamwich

    In that case, why not join your maker right now? If life is so terrible, and what’s to come so very sweet, why stay here?

  • Nerdsamwich

    I was raised in a fairly churchy home. I went to church on Sundays, and Sunday school after that. I went to a religious summer camp, did all sorts of youth activities, and read Uncle Arthur’s Bible Book cover to cover. When I finally sat down and read the Scripture, I knew I needed to find something better. My life has been immeasurably happier without the thought of an invisible ghost hovering over my shoulder and mostly disapproving of everything I do, say, or think. The truth will indeed set you free.

  • Nerdsamwich

    What evidence? Give me one solid thing.

  • Nerdsamwich

    What possible meaning could this life have if there IS an eternal existence afterward? What could any mere handful of decades mean in the face of infinity? Talk about a life devoid of value.

  • Aaron Roland

    Agree with thine adversary quickly lease he aspise the his enemy. Christ used the term adversary…. thats kind of harsh words when he is describing something that can simply be a misunderstanding. But it is the truth. Critics, opponents, Adversaries, it all means the same thing, someone who doesn’t like what the church does or what the members believe. Your argument is petty, you are petty and i hope one day you will ask these same questions with an open heart and find the truth.

  • Aaron Roland

    You do realize that he also said many times mind you… that people will fail him, that wolves will come in sheeps clothing and ravage the flock, that the church would be scattered, that false teachers preachers and prophets, false christs would come and tare it apart and that there would be a great famine in the land not of bread or water, but of the word of god…. He never said his church would be taken from the earth when he first established it… he said the complete opposite unless your reading from the Jehovah’s witness bible which… btw doesn’t teach that jesus is the christ, it teaches that there is no christ only Jehovah who they confuse with god instead of christ. I am of course assuming that you are talking about Catholicism. If catholicism was correct… which brand of it? Russian orthodox/ eastern orthodox or roman orthodox? which apostille is better Peter or paul? Why would these two churches as old as they are start bickering so much as to lead to blood shed and war? because the church that Christ predicted would fall apart after the death of the apostles, fell apart and became many pieces each going to and fro looking for the church but could not find it. I am of course using biblical language that is easily found in Thessalonians or any of the other teachings/ writings of paul, luke, matthew mark and james as well.

    • Jason

      Where does Jesus predict his church would fall apart??

  • Aaron Roland

    Unfortunately confirmation bias is almost impossible to get rid of completely. Every scientist who has ever done a survey, study, or research paper will attempt to remove it as close as they can. Its easier to do with some things, but almost impossible to do with others, particularly theoretical physics. There are multiple narratives, that each have their own unique spin on the math and observable phenomena that have been studied. But in the end they turn out to be when looked at with a critical eye, little more then educated guesses. Due to the very nature of what many of these narratives are regarding theoretical physics it is impossible to determine if they are correct, or another narrative/ theory is more accurate. The different theories are also so different from one another as to boggle the mind, and that is when we have the math and data in front of us. what he was trying to say is this. That with a concept so intangible as God, then confirmation bias is all we have either way. There is no way to prove that god is not there, and there is no way to prove that god is there. Some say that the very complexity of the question is proof of god, i would be in that band wagon. However others would say that it is due simply to the nature of matter and natural physical laws that things end up this way, Star systems are each set up in the same pattern but yet unique in their own way, each star runs off of the same basic elements that make up our bodies, yet some how are so vastly different and unique from one another that someone with a trained eye looking at data regarding one star can almost never confuse it for another similar to it. Two people can look at such a complex universe, one says that natural law and the law of probability and the fact that time is eternal will eventually lead to such complexity, while another says it is so improbable as to be ridiculous to consider the notion that such a complex system to be formed without an intelligent hand behind it. Neither should be ridiculed for their opinion and both should recognize that the other has a legitimate point. THAT is what he was trying to say.

    • Nerdsamwich

      Complexity argues against design, not for it. The best designs are incredibly simple. If the Earth was flat and square, with light coming from nowhere, and wheeled vehicles moved simply because they were asked to, THAT would be evidence of a designer. The chaotic mess that is the real universe? A first-year engineer would be washed out of the program for such shoddy work.

  • Nerdsamwich

    You can’t prove that there isn’t a tiny, invisible unicorn floating behind your left shoulder. That doesn’t mean that you would be justified in believing that it’s there.

  • Jason

    No solid evidence that Jesus existed?? Seriously? Well, there goes your credibility. You could have at least said there is no solid evidence that Jesus was who he says he was……..but that he didn’t exist? Words of a troll….. Good day….

    • Nerdsamwich

      The only non-Christian source that ever mentions him is Josephus, and that’s a reference to what Christians believed, besides bearing hallmarks of tampering. Besides which, he wasn’t even contemporary. After Josephus, the next mention is over a century removed from the time of the alleged events. There may well have been a Yeshua ben Yusuf, but the evidence isn’t really there.

  • Steve

    Greg, thank you so much for your blog. I love every entry. At the end of this blog you suggest that the “list is endless”, but you have to cut it off at 2000 words. Can you post a part 2? I would love to learn more.

  • Leslie H

    If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is your savior from sin (we are all sinners), and by grace alone we are saved (no amount of missions, works, etc. can save you), then you are totally missing the point. Jesus died for our sins so that we might have life!

    The Bible teaches to beware of false prophets who come as wolves in sheep’s clothing. It also says “Thou shall not add to nor take away from the word of The Lord”. After researching Mormon beliefs such as achieving God status, having your own planet or universe, men having multiple wives in Heaven, temple sealing, not allowing non-mormons in the temple, secret passwords, multiple levels of Heaven, etc, I just am so sad that people buy into this. My neighbor grew up in a huge mormon family, and is no longer Mormon. She is a Christian who loves Jesus, and claims him as her savior. This my friend is what you are looking for! I will be praying for your salvation

  • Chris Endrizzi

    Hello Greg,

    Thank you for your testimony and graciousness in your writing. Hopefully mine will be as yours. After all, if we “love our neighbor,” as it is written, we will “fulfill all of the law” (Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:13), correct?

    I sincerely believe (imho) that God does have “something better” to offer:

    God’s Holy Word “Rightly Divided”:

    Is it not God’s Purpose for today for His ambassadors of reconciliation

    (2 Corinthians 5:18-6:2) to proclaim The Truth so that all might:

    “see what [is] The Fellowship of The Mystery, Which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by JESUS CHRIST”
    (Ephesians 3:9)

    and is not the best way to accomplish this Important Purpose to:

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not
    to be ashamed, Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

    and is not this why is this very important?

    According to The Grace of God Which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,
    I have laid The Foundation, and another buildeth Thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth Thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than That is laid, Which is JESUS CHRIST. Now if any man build upon This Foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built Thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
    (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

    …in a FEW words…Benefits of this kind of a study:

    Shows Which is the One True Church “for today”

    Shows Which Good News is applicable “for today”

    Shows “the requirement(s)” to be a “member” of This Body

    Shows “the consequences” of meeting these requirements

    Shows the “commission” of these members of this Assembly

    Shows which “judgment” and the consequences of it that are applicable
    to these members

    Additionally, this Beneficial Study Scripturally Answers all sorts of problems
    concerning “signs”:

    Healings/Miracles

    Drinking poison

    Handling snakes

    Speaking in tongues

    Baptism(s)

    Bible Study, anyone?

    No need to put 2000 – 4000 words on this post, so, there is much more in a 21-page PDF called “Basic Distinctions” (Between Prophecy and The Mystery, Rightly Divided), if any are interested:

    grace_ambassador@mail.com

    Greg, appreciate you and thanks again. Looking forward to a great dialogue/insightful (fruitful?) discussion in this present Dispensation of God’s Amazing Grace!

  • Chris Endrizzi

    Thanks to these gracious responders for a straight answer to:

    If Mormonism is not true, would it still be worth believing?

    Amy:
    “No blinders here, whether the LDS church is true or not, I will die with
    a clear concious knowing my leaders, teachers, and fellow members
    helped me love more, sacrifice more, and serve more. ”

    Melissa Rhodes:
    “I have always said that even if the Church were not true I would still live by it. It is the only thing that makes sense to me.”

    Anyone else?

  • John in Salt Lake City

    Greg, If you are looking for something better than the Mormon Church, try the Christian Church. One God, One Son, One Word, One Sacrifice, One Kingdom. Your blog post implies you can believe the Bible, and have good regard for St. Paul’s epistles, so please read his Epistle to the Romans, beginning to end. There you will find the original Gospel and Church, which is the better gift you have been seeking. It’s the same Gospel and Church that we Christians still have today, same as the original, no gaps, just as Christ promised. It all comes down to truth — “let God be true, but every man a liar” Romans 3:4.

  • J.K.

    The Plotemic model of the solar system worked for making calculations. It was incredibly complex but it worked. It was science “shoehorned” to the model. The big bang has also been “shoehorned” to work. Many rescuing devices (unproven explanations that are theoretically possible) have been hypothesized. Background microwave radiation, while predicted by the Big Bang model, hasn’t proven the model because the radiation has been too evenly distributed–and this is the current hunt in science, to solve this problem with the Big Bang model. This is hardly a settled question.

    As to your “can’t prove the Bible with the Bible”–this shows that you do not understand how the Bible came to be bound in one book, and it also shows a lack of understanding about the argument being made because you do not make this requirement of scientists who propound their scientific model. You do not say, you can’t prove a scientific paper with a scientific paper, do you? Of course not, although Haeckel’s embryonic pictures printed in many textbooks, exist purely by this method. (Although it could be falsified or in error), you accept a scientific paper because it says that research was done and data collected even though you have not seen the data or experiments. Unless you have first hand experience with the experiments, you are essentially proving a scientific paper and theory with a scientific paper and theory. You might as well throw out all knowledge you don’t have first hand experience of, according to your argument. Your assumptions are flawed. The Bible has been accepted and held true because it accurately reported what happened, not because it supports/proves itself. A good scientific paper isn’t made up but has an actual experiment, data, and reality behind it. You have made an error in logic–you assumed the Bible was made up first, then reject what it says, instead of taking it at face value and testing its claims, which is what you would do with a scientific paper, and how you handle history (unless you want to throw out all history as well as historical figures like Socrates merely because of the method you seem to be propounding.)
    Don’t get me wrong. Historical claims do require investigation but your argument throws out a lot more than you think.

  • Myself

    You’re all wrong, all of you. Myself included. We all stand in need of SOMETHING, be whatever it is, no one here is perfect, myself least of all. So instead of tearing down each other (while we ourselves stand in the exact same cesspool) why can we just be friends? Why can’t we all get along? Because you believe your Jesus was big and blonde, you believe your Jesus was black, and you don’t believe in any Jesus at all? So…you’re going to kill someone for that? Hate them for that? Exclude them, taunt them, look down from your soap-box with a pointing finger and send them to wherever you believe is the worst place to go? You know what is bringing the end of the world as we know it? This apostacy some of you speak of? This lack of understanding and bloodshed and hate? People like us. Stop blaming other churches, other belief systems, other people. Be real. Be honest. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you like being treated like shit, well then hats off to you. But if not, then why do it to others? Men didn’t do it. Women didn’t do it. Satan didn’t do it. We did. We do. And unless we decide to make the change within ourselves (and the key is to allow the change to occur in others in their own time, you can’t force it) we are only making it worse. Let’s stop being a part of the problem, and be a part of the solution. I wish us all the best in our endeavors of life and the pursuit of happiness. Be it, whatever, however, whenever you find it 🙂

  • coolgreen

    Carol Meng Hogan may be correct. Greg is likely programmed to never find another church. I do find many LDS starving for Christ. When I talk and chat with the ones who have left, or are on their way out, many have a similar story and it often comes down to missing Christ. If another LDS is engaged, though, they’ll talk of how they found Christ in the LDS Church. It’s a wash.

  • lunakermit

    I really do need help. I like the doctrine, the message, the practices, the way if life. But I find the sacrament meeting lacking. I want to praise the Lord in song, feel the spirit pulsing through me as I once did as a child. There is so much uplifting upbeat Christian music out there and I’ve been told we will never sing them, ever. If it’s not in the hymnal Or mormon based, forget it.
    My friend invited me to one simple baptist service and I was blown away by the music. I felt so near to god, so full of his love, I nearly cried. Every fiber of me sang our and praised the lord. I went back excited and told my Bishop who promptly told me to pray, I was losing my way. But I was singing and praying our lord, how could that be wrong. Please could anyone give me some in site or advice. No one in my chapter will speak about it.

  • Karl Forsyth

    The day you stop looking for “something better” than the mormons, and just walk away – not knowing anything but what you can see, touch, taste and feel is the day you will have found something far better. You will have found your true unfolding self, warts and all, without the social and emotional crutch that the church is. Want to be righteous? On your own terms? Great. Walk away and do the ‘right thing’ as you see it. Want to party? Great. Walk away and have a blast. Be strong, be yourself, and stop with the endless kvetching about the mormons. What a waste.

  • Will Cross

    Isn’t it odd that a god would choose a con-artist and pedophile to speak for him and build his church, yet won’t even bother to give individuals who are far more honest, charitable, and morally reputable the time of day, let alone attempt to speak through them?

    That either shines the light on Joseph Smith’s claims or the character of god himself, I would think.