Calling all Mormons


#1

I’m not even sure how many we have in this forum, but I’m curious about what all of you think about this article.

In particular, I’m curious as to how a Mormon defends his/her beliefs with such an extreme lack of archaeological proof for the “truths” within the Book of Mormon. There appears to be a complete paucity of evidence for any of the places, events and occurrences in the Book of Mormon that would be accepted by any modern day non-Mormon archaeologist. Ferguson’s life is ample proof of this I would think.

Also, I’m curious as to how Mormon’s defend the apparent fabrication of the Book of Abraham which is explained and touched on within the article. It’s certainly obvious at this point that Smith couldn’t translate Egyptian and that the Egyptian papyrus used for the Book of Abraham had nothing to do with each other although Joseph Smith claimed to be translating it properly which we now know to be false.

How does a Mormon respond to these claims? I’m legitimately curious because defending Mormonism seems to be such a difficult task in my opinion.


#2

This quote from the article perfectly describes the damage done by Mormonism (as well as certain other sects):

""Joseph Smith claimed that Jesus Himself told him that he should “join none” of the churches which were in existence in his day, for “all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt;…” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:19) This false concept has led many Mormons to believe that if the Mormon Church is not true, there is nowhere else to turn. Consequently, when they lose faith in Mormonism they are likely to completely lose faith in the idea of a personal God. Unfortunately, this is what happened to Thomas Stuart Ferguson. In a letter to James Still, dated Dec. 3, 1979, Mr. Ferguson frankly stated: “I lost faith in Joseph Smith as one having a pipeline to deity–and have decided that there has never been a pipeline to deity–with any man.” “”

I wonder how many poor souls have been led into atheistic disbelief by finding Mormonism to be false.


#3

In the Mormon missionary training handbook “Marvelous Work and Wonder,” the beginning of the book starts out with a little foreword from one of the apostle of the Church the talks about a Catholic friend he occasionally meets with. This friend was also a very learned professor at Yale or somewhere and had an avid knowledge of philosophy, science and linguistics. One afternoon he approached the Apostle of the church and said: “You Mormons are all nescient; you don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one church that can compare to it: the Roman Catholic Church. Either you are all right and we are all wrong, or we are all right and you are all wrong. The match is between Mormonism and Catholicism. There is simply no other way to it. If we have the sanctified succession that we claim to have, then our church has true authenticity and we are right. However, if we do not have the succession through Paul, then the church was lost and Joseph Smith was necessary.”

I am paraphrasing what he pretty much said and I conclude that if the Mormon church was willing to put this in their book they do probably not have the pernicious intentions to make people either atheists or Mormons.

Every religion has people apostates who become atheists for different reasons. Your religion has people becoming atheists as well. However, I am aware that most Mormons who leave the church become atheists. And from what I’ve seen, the bulk of the reason why, is because they cannot handle living the commandments. I’m not sure what the reason is for Catholic apostates is.


#4

I think the reason for losing all faith in God after leaving Mormonism, for many people, is that they wind up feeling so duped by their former belief system that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to trust anything they cannot see with their own eyes. I’ve heard it said that “Mormonism breeds Atheists”. If I had not “found” Catholicism when I did, (thanks be to God) I would likely fall into that category myself. Indeed it is still difficult at times, if I allow myself to get too caught up in Mormon thought. “The Church is True” imposes itself into every area of your life. At least, in Utah it does. It is saturating.

I must confess through, I’ve been given much better than I gave as a LDS. I fought hard to try to believe for as long as I possibly could, and was not strong enough to maintain friendships with people who were questioning and/or leaving the church. I am fortunate now to be able to be true to my own belief’s, while being respectful of those whom I love. I’m very grateful for supportive family and friends - very aware of what a blessing that is. But I can understand why Mr. Ferguson felt more comfortable to stay involved, rather than walk away. The sense of community is very strong. It is sad though. I wonder if he still held a belief in God? He said he no longer believed there was ever a pipeline to diety…not that he no longer believed in diety.

FWIW, I disagree that a majority who either leave the LDS church and embrace another faith, or leave the LDS church and become atheist, agnostic or otherwise, do so because they “cannot handle living the commandments”. I think it is a very, very small minority who leave for that reason. The vast majority are leaving because they simply do not believe in the church’s claims, and cannot in good conscience stay and pretend that they do. Especially with such emphasis on “baring your testimony” etc. etc…


#5

a lot of unfounded assertions with a healthy dose of stereotyping to boot. mix with the implied ad hominem and we get? not much

what leads you to believe that most people who leave the LDS church can’t or won’t “live the commandments”? is there no room for the possibility that they really believe the scientific evidence that the anachronisms in the BoM are proof it can’t be true? maybe they believe the DNA evidence that indigenous Americans cannot be descended from jews. perhaps some leave because the facsimiles in the BoA have been shown to be pagan funerary texts mistranslated as scripture. COuld even be that the deliberate changes in LDS scriptures and doctrines are considered symptoms of false prophets. The contradictions with the bible and even themselves might makes some question the whole Joseph Smith story. Then the spin and coverups and revisionist history from the LDS church along with firings and persecution of BYU scholars who refused to supress facts could look bad to some. you know there really could be valid reasons to leave the church Joseph smith founded, the one his own wife and children left. Maybe there are even good reasons to join the church that jesus founded, the one that never left just like jesus promised. You know… the catholic church that has always been here since Jesus told Peter that the gates of hell would never prevail against it.

as to your initial story, mormons love to start with how all churches are good and have truth (just not all of it) to build the rapport neede to start the missionary sales pitch. LDS scriptures however, are still very clear that all othe churches are wrong. SO wrong that ALL their creeds (like Nicene and Apostles) are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God and all who profess them corrupt. :eek: (js-h in PoGP)


#6

You guys bring up excellent points and seem to have more insight into Mormonism. I’m particularly interested in the opinions of those of you who left the Mormon Church. In your opinion, what drives the Mormon Church forward in today’s day and age in light of the seemingly overwhelming evidence against it? Is the Mormon Church actually growing, or do you predict it’s eventual demise considering the increasing weight of scientific and archaeological evidence against many of Joseph Smith’s claims? Do Mormon’s today simply try to avoid and ignore much of the evidence against the Church or, as Ferguson insinuated, are they more caught up in the social structure and community of the Church? If you had an anonymous survey of most Mormon’s would most of them actual insist that they believe the main tenets of Mormonism or would they secretly admit that they don’t really believe, but enjoy the community and positive effect that Mormonism has on their lives?

It just seems so bizarre to me and there seems to be so much evidence against Smith’s claims that I really have a hard time understanding what keeps the Church going forward. Can anyone shed any light on these things?


#7

Truthsilence, I’d also be very interested in hearing your conversion story and personal experience with the Mormon Church if you felt so inclined.


#8

Maybe there are even good reasons to join the church that jesus founded, the one that never left just like jesus promised. You know… the catholic church that has always been here since Jesus told Peter that the gates of hell would never prevail against it.

Have to say, you’re on to something, majick! :thumbsup:


#9

Why is the Mormon Church growing when there is so much information out there to refute it? Because the missionary system doesn’t include that information. Missionaries come in and talk about having spiritual experiences and “burning in your breast” and “family is forever” and they leave all kinds of stuff out ~ like the magic rocks used to translate the Book of Mormon and the fact that there is absolutely not a SHRED of evidence that any “Mormon” church once existed that somehow was “lost” only to be “restored” within the last 200 years.

And then there is the DNA evidence that not only shows that the Native Americans aren’t descended from Israelites, but neither are any of the original inhabitants of ANY of the Americas ~ North, Central or South ~ NOR are any of the Polynesians (also claimed by Mormons to be part of that big happy group). No one is descended from Israelites as the Book of Mormon claims but that doesn’t slow the Mormon Church down! They just don’t tell a prospective new member any of it!

I have heard some of the sales pitch of the Missionaries from my Mormon friends and can say with a fair degree of certainty that they don’t talk about the stuff that would undermine the conversion of a prospective new member!


#10

Amazing. I guess I don’t really understand the idea of “buying into a religion” without doing a little bit of homework first, so to speak.


#11

BrownR, I was just getting ready to log off when I saw this. To save a little time, I went to a previous thread here called “any former mormons out there” where I posted the following:

I am a former Mormon. I converted to RCC this past Easter.

The reason I had for leaving the LDS church and ultimately embracing the Catholic faith was that I didn’t feel like I was really worshipping Christ in the LDS church. I felt like everthing was about me, or the person sitting next to me, or some other person. My blessings for doing this, my blessings for doing that. Listening to all the blessings everyone would receive through paying their tithing, magnifying their callings, going to the temple, being obedient, on and on and on. I’d sit there in church and crave a real worship experience.

Finally I realized I was so empty spiritually that I knew I had to find a way to worship Christ or eventually lose what little faith I had left. I began looking around where I live for another church to visit. I looked on the internet for churches in my area. Catholicism what not even on my radar. I was driving in my car one evening, and the thought came into my mind “try going to a Catholic church”.

I believe God actually took my hand and lead me home. It’s true, the friendshipping and socializing experience isn’t even close to what the Mormon church has. But I sense more the importance of reaching out to the poor, feeding the hungry and supporting the financial needs to keep the church running. Not for any return benefit to myself.

Most importantly I get to really worship along side others, singing praises to the Lord. The entire mass is about Him and nothing else. This is what my spirit was longing for all those many years.

Most of the people I know who are active LDS, really believe in its claims - or at least they don’t pay much attention to what is being said to challenge it. Many have been brought up LDS their entire lives, others converted as adults. None of my close friends or relatives, that I am aware of, spend much time at all looking at materials that are not church approved. Their belief that the church is true is central to their entire existance.

As far as the church moving forward, gaining new converts, etc. I think the church has an appeal because of the good values it promotes. I think alot of people are searching for meaning in life, and when the missionaries knock at their door, they feel like there is still something good in the world. In most LDS wards, people are very welcoming to new members, so they also feel a real sense of community and belonging - for some this is the first time in their life to experience this.

Many members never go beyond what is taught to them in the missionary discussions. Most know nothing about some of the teachings of former leaders. (Or if they do, they seem to not wish to focus on those, but instead try to avoid them - I know that was how it was for me for a good long while).

I assume some people actually receive a BITB testimony of the Book of Mormon, but that never happened for me. Actually, when I asked several people directly about why that might have been, every one of them said they never really had anything special happen to them along those lines, either. Instead, they simply chose to believe because they felt it was true, and said that membership in the church brought true joy to their lives. Somehow, when they get up to bare their testimony in church, they can say they “know” it is true. I could never do that. But I was told by one of my LDS bishop’s, that if I were to get up and say it, I would probably then be able to walk away and say to myself, “yes I really do believe what I just said”. How crazy is that?

To contrast, the seven months spent in RCIA brought such a wonderful sense of “reason” to the table for me. They encouraged study from all angles…not just off of a list of approved sources. There is a continuity to the Catholic faith that is so refreshing. And as far as the less appealing and sometimes even horrific times in Church history, they covered those also, quite extensively without whitewashing - and encouraged further private study for that as well. My little world in a box opened up alot during those seven months. Its been an amazing journey.


#12

Great testimony, thanks for sharing that. Welcome home!


#13

Thank you. :slight_smile: God Bless.


#14

Despite what the Mormons claim and how they inflate their membership statistics, they leveled off in the 1980’s and have started to shrink. Their birth rates are declining sharply due to the Church’s permissive stand on artificial birth control and abortion.

Their convert retention rate is as low as 5% in some areas. Many of the so-called members on their roles have not been actively involved in the religion in decades. When I was a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, we tracked down many inactive members who did not even know what church that had been baptized into. Most were young girls who remembered the names of the handsome missionaries who baptized them (and wondered why they no longer wrote back), but had no clue as to what religion they represented.

Add to that the 62,400 people a year who recognize the fraud and request to have their names removed from the records of the church, and you have a religion in decline.

God love you,
Paul


#15

I have a copy of the lectures that the mormon “missionaries” deliver to prospective marks(excuse me) converts. Nowhere in those lectures is any mention of the “hard stuff” that the subject will be asked to believe later on. Weird Temple rites, baptism for the dead, gods on other planets, god of “flesh and bone”, eternal progression etc. “Milk before Meat” is the watchword, knowing that if most people were told the reality of mormon belief, they would run in the other direction. Lotta dishonesty in mormonism.


#16

If you want to know Mormon explainations, try this site. fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2006_DNA_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html


#17

To me, lack of DNA evidence is merely one nail in the coffin. Where are the ruins? where are the artifacts? Where are the mass graves? Where is the armor? How come no horse skeletons?Where are the legends of huge battles killing thousands? There ain’t any, that’s why. The desperate efforts of the mormon church to somehow infuse the lifeless body of the BOM with some kind of historical credibility meets no approval in the legitimate scientific community.


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