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The Fear of Mormons

| June 4, 2012

It was a dark and stormy might. (Michael Galkovsky)

Angels don’t make a habit of visiting Upstate New York, particularly to talk books, even more particularly one called Mornoni, and in late September at that, when it gets pretty nippy in Upstate, so it was quite unusual that one did in 1823, dropping in on a young Joseph Smith with a preview of the Book of Mormons. It was a warm-up act to another revelation that starred no less than Jesus and God, neither of whom had ever made an appearance for, say, Mohammed in his dreamy phases, or Black Elk, or the encyclopedic number of men and women who, before Hollywood serialized storytelling on screen, imagined visions for millions.

With that advantage Smith pulled a Horace Greeley and went west, but only as far as Missouri and Illinois, where his bent for authoritarianism and silencing dissenting opinion got him jailed before fanatics of a different sort murdered him in his jail cell. It was left up to Brigham Young to carry on to Utah and carry through the establishment of the Church of Latter Day Saints, now 12 million strong worldwide and one of the fastest-growing Christian sects in the United States, ahead of Catholics (Islam currently holds the Speedy Gonzales title worldwide; Presbyterians are in the loss column). Joseph Smith begat Mormonism, Mormonism begat–as cults from Catholicism to Southern Baptism to Shiitism usually do–its share of mysterious rituals, elaborate belief systems, famous progenies, not least among them Mitt Romney, Harry Reid and Glenn beck. Roseanne Barr used to be a Mormon but didn’t like the male totalitarianism of its one-way streets and quit.


Editor’s Blog



Romney’s prominence of course is giving Mormonism plenty of publicity, good and bad. J. Spencer Fluhman, assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University and the author of the forthcoming book, ‘A Peculiar People’: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in 19th-Century America, takes on the “fear” of Mormons in a column for The Times today. The column, oddly, lays out the many peculiarities and prejudices of Mormonism without refuting them. Rather, Fluhman appears to justify them by way of relativism: “Making Mormons look bad helps others feel good,” he writes. “By imagining Mormons as intolerant rubes, or as heretical deviants, Americans from left and right can imagine they are, by contrast, tolerant, rational and truly Christian. Mitt Romney’s candidacy is only the latest opportunity for such stereotypes to be aired.”

But religions making Hatfields and McCoys of each other is the oldest trick in the book, the books of Mormonism included (“let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil,” Brigham Young writes in a double-whammy at religious transgressors and blacks. Among the innumerable dogmas Mormonism and Islam have in common is the disdain for those who leave the faith.) Fluhman at any rate doesn’t corrrect the record, but rather diagnoses it: “Any religion looks weird from the outside, but the image of Mormonism seems caught somewhere between perpetual strangeness and strait-laced blandness,” he writes. “Liberals were outraged by Mormon financing of Proposition 8, the 2008 ban on same-sex marriage in California. They scoff at Mormonism’s all-male priesthood and ask why church leaders have yet to fully repudiate the racist teachings of previous authorities.” Yes, but what about that financing? what about the all-male priesthood (no different, let’s be clear, than Catholicism) and the absence of repudiations for past bigotries? Southern Baptists crossed that line back in 1995.


“Some big-hearted evangelicals have recently reached out to Mormons with genuine understanding, but they must now fend off charges of getting too cozy with Satan’s minions,” he continues, a set-up for a swipe: “Because evangelicals are hard pressed for unity to begin with, and because they have defined themselves less and less in terms of historic Christian creeds, their objections to Mormonism might carry less and less cultural weight.”

He concludes: “Many conservatives, in fact, seem more concerned with Mr. Obama’s political heresies than with Mr. Romney’s religious ones. It may be that Mr. Obama’s unpopularity will prove a key factor in Mormonism’s continued mainstreaming. With politics and religion so inextricably linked in our culture, a Romney presidency would entail lasting effects for Mormonism and its image. Segments of the religious right might finally make peace with, if not quite accept, Mormonism’s various heterodoxies. The left may struggle to comprehend a steadily diversifying faith that has increasingly global reach. [...] But until Americans work through our contradictory impulses regarding faith, diversity and freedom, there is no reason to believe anti-Mormonism will go away anytime soon.”

Especially if the contradictory impulses are inherent to Mormonism, and primarily unresolved from within.

–Pierre Tristam

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28 Responses for “The Fear of Mormons”

  1. Jim R. says:

    Mormonism and other religions look weird from the outside because they are weird. Religions no matter what they believe are always absolute, they have the truth and no other religion can be true but theirs.
    That’s why Nietzsche said God IS Dead, the Gods laughed themselves to death at those pronouncements of infallibility.

  2. JL says:

    I studied religion in college, and we learned that Mormonism was a cult. This was before I lived in Idaho for 3 years, residing in the middle of Mormonism. I am open-minded to religions people practice and am happy to live in a country where we are free to practice whatver religion we believe in. However, I will not cast a vote for any LDS practicing candidate. LDS believe in some strange things. What bothers me most, is they are a male-dominated cult. They are the KKK hiding under a different sheet. One of their beliefs is that when a wife dies, she can only be sent to heaven if her husband found her worthy enough and calls out her “secret” name. A man can cheat on his wife, but his wife cannot divorce him. Look what happened when Marie Osmond divorced her husband years ago after she found him cheating. She was kicked out of the church. Nice church.
    If you are a woman or any kind of minority, watch out for the LDS. They will say whatever you want them to say to your face, but don’t believe it. They believe in a white-male dominated society. They believe in separating their children from yours if yours do not believe in the LDS.
    I had Mormons tell me to my face, and my children, that we were going to hell because only Mormons will go on to heaven.

    You have to experience it to really believe it. I’m not sure how this guy made it to the top of the Republican party. People, you may think anything is better than Obama. Don’t believe it. There is someone out there that can do more harm.

    • John Ross says:

      Among your errors: 1) Mormons do not believe a woman’s salvation is decided by her husband. A merciful God will judge us all. 2) A wife can divorce a cheating husband with absolutely no threat to her church membership. 3) Marie Osmond was not excommunicated for divorcing her husband. Nor was she excommunicated for any other reason. 4) Any Mormon who would tell you to your face that you were going to Hell was not devout, and will probably beat you there.
      It’s OK to disagree with Mormons on real differences, but do not let hatred or prejudice lead you to slander or sully your honor.

    • CLF says:

      JL, are you for real?

      Your understanding of Mormon doctrine is laughable. A woman can only go to heaven if her husband finds her worthy? Wrong. It is God who judges whether or not we are worthy.

      Marie Osmond was kicked out of the church? Wrong. Take a look at her most recent interview — she’s still active in the LDS Church.

      They believe in a white-male dominated society? Say that too the thousands upon thousands of African Latter-day Saints.

      They say you’re going to hell? That was wrong of them to treat others that way but welcome to the club. I get that all the time from Southern Baptists, Church of Christ, etc.

      Finally, “they are the KKK hiding under a different sheet”? Um, no, actually we are not. But Mormons have been the recipient of KKK “love” by good upstanding “Christians.”

    • Don Ormsby says:

      JL, with all due respect, is there a state called “Idaho” on some other planet?

  3. elaygee says:

    Rosenann Barr is and was Jewish and grew up in Salt Lake City as a Jew, born to two jewish parents and has 5 Jewish kids..

    [Yes, but she also speaks of her years as a Mormon in My Life as a Woman.--FL]

    • Dave says:

      Ms Barr’s common joke is that she grew up in the only place in the world where Jews were called Gentiles, Salt Lake City.

  4. Laman says:

    If your church makes you wear magic underwear… you might be in a cult.

    If your church has secret handshakes… you might be in a cult.

    If your parents weren’t allowed to attend your wedding… you might be in a cult.

    If your church asks for your grocery money and tells you to go hungry…you might be in a cult.

    If your church has more than one bible…you might be in a cult.

    If your church tracks you down where ever you go…you might be in a cult.

    If your church tells you to follow their leader even if they are wrong…you might be in a cult.

    If your church builds a $5 billion dollar mall…you might be in a cult.

    If your church hides their archives in a mountain cave…you might be in a cult.

    If your church was started by a guy looking into a hat and receiving messages from magic rocks…you might be in a cult.

    If it preaches the evils of sex, yet the first 2 leaders were sex addicts. . . you might be in a cult.

    If at your wedding, both you and the officiating priest were wearing baker’s hats…you might be in a cult.

    If you have to pay 10% of your money to go to heaven and be with your family… you might be in a cult.

    If you are asked by your leaders if you touch yourself at night and if you climaxed… you might be in a cult.

    If when you present the facts of the church to them and they wave it away claiming “they know the church is true”… you might be in a cult.

    If someone has ever said “you are in a cult”…you just might be in a cult.

    If you have ever had to argue that you are not in a cult…you just might be in a cult.

    • Eowyn77 says:

      Interesting. You use the word so much, but what exactly IS a cult? For everything in that list, you just as legitimately might NOT be in a cult, seeing as you never actually define this terrifying term. Your comment amounts to nothing more than name calling.

      I’m a Mormon, and my faith is founded on the love, mercy, and goodness of Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. If that makes me part of a “cult,” then it’s a pretty good place to be, imho.

    • jespo says:

      f your priests rape children…you might be a catholic.
      If you help the poor then take money from them…you might be a catholic.
      If your church dissolves Limbo and and can’t say what happened to unbaptized souls…you might be a catholic.
      If you believe in talking snakes…you might be a catholic.
      If if if if if if if if…….

      See how easy it is to do that? And by the way, aren’t you not to throw stones, you know, he who is without stuff and all??

  5. Joel Cannon says:

    Christians (and others) have executed millions of “heretics” and unbelievers, using exactly the same justification used today against Mormons. There are countless resources debating who is right and wrong, but few that look at the cultural and political motivations behind the hatred. I look forward to reading Fluhman’s book when available. Who can doubt that much of today’s anti-mormon rhetoric is not a result of this year’s presidential campaign.

  6. Jim R. says:

    If you want to learn something about Mormons read Under The Banner Of Heaven by John Krakauer.
    There is plenty of information about the history and beliefs of Mormons including the story of the Mountain Meadows massacre. It is also the story of what can happen when religious belief turns fanatical

    • Dave says:

      Why not read a history book or original source documents (like the Book of Mormon) instead of a book of fiction?

    • Don Ormsby says:

      With all due respect, the book mentioned has virtually nothing to do with the mainstream LDS Church. If a person desires to research an institution, he would be best served to go to firsthand sources. I suggest http://www.mormon.org

  7. George Joseph DeMetz says:

    Yea, what college was that again where you learned that them there Mormons was a cult?!? Was it Jimmy Swaggarts? Did they teach you that there was altar calls in the New Testament? I heard there was an expert here on angels who has seen so many, and know their habits! I heard the writer went to Papa Joe’s “born again” academy! Did you know that they have their own translation of the Bible?! Yea! For Psalms 82:6, instead of “Ye are gods and all of you are the children of the most high,” it reads, “all you dirty judges who act like you are gods, you need to walk down this here isle and ask Christ to come right on in to your heart and be saved forever so you can be called the children of the most high”! There are so many other wonderful changes, but I don’t really have time to go into them all now. Anyhow, y’all be good now, ya hear!

  8. JL says:

    Jim R., I do not need to read any books abourt Mormons, I lived amongst them. I endured their judgment for 3 hellish years. I worked with and for Mormons, and had friends who were “Jack Mormons”. For those who aren’t familiar, a Jack Mormon is anyone who is no longer with the Mormon Church. So my knowledge of Mormon’s does not come from a book. It comes from experience and speaking with people who are or were Mormons.
    I do not listen to or watch Jimmy Swaggert type televangelists.
    Laman, you’re right on! But you forgot one – if you worship the seagull and build a monument to it, you might be in a cult. And Jim R., don’t try and tell me, no they don’t. I’ve been to Salt Lake City and visited the LDS “campus”. I was appalled at how they worship the Seagull. By the way, no it wasn’t the Seagulls that drove out the insects and saved the crops. It was GOD. ‘nough said.

    • BC Hughes says:

      I though I’d heard everything the anti-Mormons put out, but I have to admit that with your “worship the seagull” fantasy, you’ve hit a new low.

    • Mitch says:

      We lds seem a little strange sometimes I admit. But your misunderstandings are a poor underpinning to support your hatred. I am sorry you were miserable among us. Some of the fault may well have ben ours. Please recheck what you think is your knowledge.
      I know of no kimber of the lds church who in any way worships a seagull. I don’t know what you think you saw that makes you think perrier, but it doesn’t happen. If you have been in utah you might gave noticed they are annoying, not holy. Worship God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
      The place you saw the seagull statue was temple square, which is not referred to as a campus.

  9. Jim R. says:

    JL
    You jump to a lot of conclusions about the book I mentioned.The book is primarily about two brothers from a splinter group of Mormons that murdered one of the brothers wife and child. It also goes into great detail about the history of the Mormon church.
    Read first , comment after.

    • Raymond Takashi Swenson says:

      Mr Krakauer is an earnest atheist who is not an expert in history or religion, and has been known to fictionalize reality to heighten the drama.

      Note that during the same decade when the US Army was marching out to Utah to put down with violence an alleged “Mormon rebellion”, there was bloody border warfare going on between Missouri slaveholders and Kansas free-staters over whether the territory would be controlled by people for or against slavery. Some 65 people were murdered on both sides during the 1850s, and then in August 1863, during the Civil War, a Confederate militia called Quantrill’s Raiders attacked Lawrence, Kansas, setting the town ablaze and murdering over 150 civilians. No doubt the Raiders were “good Christians”.

      When the Army arrived in Utah, because the Mormons had not given them a reason to kill Mormons, the soldiers massacred an Indian village, killing over 100 men, women and children. But that was so common in the West that no one talks about it. So basically the lesson is that Christians killing Indians is OK, and Christians killing other Christians is OK, and even Christians killing Mormons (including innocent people at Haun’s Mill in Missouri and Joseph and Hyrum Smith awaiting a bail hearing in Illinois) and threatening to “exterminate” even more of them under order of the governor of Missouri, is OK. It’s just a Mormon group doing the same thing 150 years ago that is worth getting mad about.

      The “splinter group” are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their relationship to the real Mormons is like the relationship of Jehovah’s Witnesses to Catholics. Those crazy groups, some of whom practice polygamy, which was remnounced by the Mormons in 1890, hate the Mormon Church with a passion and have uttered threats against Mormon leaders.

      The Mormon Church is the church of Gladys Knight, David Archuleta, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, football player Steve Young, hotel magnate J.W. Marriott, the founder of Jet Blue Airlines, the former CEO of Dell Computers, nationally famous Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, Congressional Medal of Honor winner Colonel Bernard Fisher, inventor of Television Philo T. Farnsworth, novelist Stephenie Meyer, science fiction author Ordon Scott Card whose book Ender’s Game is in production as a movie starring Harrison Ford, and lots of other people, including some of your own neighbors. You can go to mormon.org and find the tiome and place of Mormon worship services near you. Go visit them and see how they pray in the name of Christ, how they take communion in remembrance of the body and blood of Christ, how they plan service to others, with NO Mormon leader or teacher in any congregation being paid. Mormon bishops who pastor congregations of 300 to 500 people in their area will donate 25 to 35 hours a week in helpong people, especially those who are unemployed or sick, including providing food and necessary rent money as well as aid in finding a new job. They fulfill that calling for about 5 years, and then rotate into another position to give someone else and opportunity to serve. No one is getting paid to preach at a Mormon Sunday meeting. No one can have a career as a preacher.

      The University of Pennsylvania just completed a study in which it found that Mormons give more volunteer service than any other denomination. For example, they volunteer to grow food to give to the poor, and fast one Sunday a month and donate the food money saved to the poor. In addition to service in their church, their church gives service to the community (mine built a fence at a local park), and beyond that, Mormons give as much personal service in their communities as anyone else in the country. The researchers were flabbergasted at how personal service to others is ingrained into the Mormon lifestyle.

      The Mormons are the 4th largest denomination in America. It is the only one of the four that is growing in the US. Tens of thousands of members of the other major churches are choosing to join the Mormons every year.

      JL: I lived for 8 years in Idaho Falls, where about 50% of the people are Mormon. That means that 50% are NOT Mormon. One of my coworkers was a Catholic. He LOVES Idaho Falls. He goes to Mass on Saturday night, and then on Sunday he has his pick of the ski runs at Grand Targhee and the golf courses because all the Mormons are in Church on Sunday.

      One of the major employers in Idaho Falls is the US Department of Energy and the Idaho National Laboratory. Bonneville County has one of the highest concentrations of PhDs in the nation. The current president of BYU Idaho is Kim B. Clark, who was Dean of the Harvard Business School for ten years. BYU I has become ranked as one of the outstanding universities in its class. My Mormon congregation there included attorneys (like me), farmers, the owner of a dairy, and lots and lots of engineers and scientists. Idhao Falls is the last real metropolitan community before you get to Yellowstone National Park, so you should stop by on your way and enjoy a community that is a great place to raise children.

      In 1976, a Federal dam on the Snake River collapsed, sending a wall of water through Rexburg, Idaho, and on down into Idaho Falls. The LDS Church used the facilities at what is now Brigham Yooung University Idaho to house families whose homes had been washed away, and organized volunteers to feed everyone and brought in Mormons from hundreds of miles around to help people dig out their belongings from the mud and clear their land so they could rebuild their homes. The president of the university spoke of how the FEMA representative just sat back, and listened, because all of the community’s needs were already being taken care of by the Mormons (including for people who are not Mormon).

      Famous novelist Wallace Stegner was not a Mormon, but he wrote about the Teton Dam disaster, and said that if you are in a disaster, you should hope that there are Mormons around, because they will help you recover like no one else will.

      And that has occurred again and again, in Haiti, and along the Gulf coast after Hurricane Katrina, and in Japan, where one of my friends is working in helping restore the livelihood of people in fishing villages on the coast whose boats and homes were wiped out by the tsunami. When Katrina was heading for the coast, trucks with food and water were prepositioned by the Mormon Church in a circle outside the coastline, and as soon as the winds abated they moved in to the hardest hit areas. The Mormon Church got 100,000 volunteers from neighboring states to go in on their own dime and clear away downed trees and clear debris from people’s homes.

      Mr Tristam: Your commentary demonstrates that you were unwilling to invest the half our or so of online research that would have corrected your misstatements about the Mormons. For example, Joseph Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ took place in the spring of 1820, called by Mormons the First Vision for a reason, three years before he was visited for the first time by Moroni, the resurrected last author of the Book of Mormon, in September 1823.

      Joseph Smith was far from an authoritarian figure. People who were prominent in the early leadership of the Church became disaffected from him, but none of them suffered in any way. They just left, though many of them came back and were welcomed with love by Smith. Smith was forcibly kidnapped, tarred and feathered and beaten, arrested on trumped up charges (like Jesus, Peter and Paul before him), but never convicted of any crime. He was never rich, never had a home of his own until the last couple of years before his death at the young age of 38. When Governor Ford of Illinoise asked huim to peacefully surrender and go through a judicial process over the city council’s condmenation of a slanderous newspaper as a nuisance (something done several times before in Illinois), he peacefully submitted to custody, even though he told his close associates that he was unlikely to live to return home. He could have, if he were a selfish and vain person, called on the thousands of men in the Nauvoo Legion to defend him with their guns. But instead he gave himself up so none of his friends would be put at risk.

      The name of the Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I appreciate that you call us Christians.

      The financing of the Proposition 8 advertising did NOT involve any cash from the church itself. Individual Mormons made donations to the pro-8 advertising fund. It was less than half the amount in that fund, and the fund for ANTI-Proposition 8 ads was LARGER. People who complain about Mormons donating to buy ads are declared enemies of free speeech and the free exercise of voting rights.

      Mormons repudiated the past policy of restricting priesthood ordination of blacks by ENDING that policy in 1978, and then ordaining every black male adult Mormon (yes, they were their; I helped baptize one of them in 1974). They invested resources into sending missionaries into Nigeria, Ghana, and other African nations, so that there are now some 400,000 Mormons in Africa. There are many blacks among the million Mormons in Brazil, and the 100,000 Mormons in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. According to a Pew Forum survey of Mormons, there are about 200,000 black Mormons in the US, including Ahmad Corbitt, president of several Mormon congregations in southern New Jersey and (as you might guess from his name) a black. He has been mentioned in stories about the building of a new Mormon temple in downtown Philadelphia.

      By the way, the majority of Mormons now lives in 150 nations outside the US and speak 96 languages other than English. If you visit lds.org, you will find all the information and books that Mormons use in teaching each other their beliefs, for free. There are a million Mormons in Mexico, obviously including many American Indians, many Mormons in Polynesia (the Mormon community at Laie, Hawaii, where BYU Hawaii is located, was founded in the 1850s), hundreds of thousands of Mormons in Asia, from Mongolia to the Philippines, including Japan (where I was born and later served as a missionary). If you are an international traveler and walk down Main Street in Salt Lake City at lunchtime, you will be able to ask for help in one of dozens of languages and someone will soon walk up and start speaking to you in that language, somoeone who just happens to work downtown, as an attorney or a salesperson or a business executive or a retired person who is donating services to the Mormon Church in helping people do research into their ancestors. It happened thousands of times during the 2002 Winter Olympics. If it is Japanese, the person responding might be Mike Young, visiting Salt Lake on a trip from his job as president of the University of Washington. If you speak Mandarin Chinese, the person responding might be Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and US Ambassador to China.

      The Mormons have become a true international family, with a diversity not just of racial heritage but also of years of personal experience being immersed in other cultures and languages. The unpaid volunteers who lead Mormon congregations are not pastors educated at a Bible college, but people like Mitt Romney with degrees in law, business, medicine, or nuclear engineering. Mormons put their diverse education and work experiences at the disposal of their neighbors. It is a church made up of amateurs, but very capable amateurs. Some churches have a hard time getting their most accomplished people to participate. In the Mormon Church, the most accomplished people are the local leaders. When a Mormon congregation becomes too large keep everyone involved, it will be split, and immediately staffed from within the membership of each congregation, filling the 60 or so leadership and teaching positions it takes in a Mormon congregation.

      • jespo says:

        Atheists are the only true religious scholars…the religious scholars stop studying in earnest when their beliefs begin to become flaked and weakened by the inexorable truth study uncovers. After that, opinion based on belief shapes and molds what is sought and presented as scholarly work. Atheism allows for absolute objectivity in religious study…application, no. Study, yes. Your attack on a scholar as being an atheist and therefore unworthy of serious consideration is predictably what I would expect for an adherant to Christianity.

  10. Tyler Kearl says:

    I’m not sure why people think it is OK to stereotype any group of individuals based on their religion or any other commonality. It is wrong. Be civil. Be informed. Educate yourself from the source. Lastly, I have been offended by plenty of people in my life, but to then, by extension, condemn all people who share the same faith or persuasion is idiotic and simple minded.

  11. Phillip C. Smith says:

    As a believing, active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon), I do sorrow for all those who reflect misunderstanding, malice and/or animosity toward us. Many do so through ignorance by either using half truths, outright lies, and/or failing to present our views either in context or in a conceptual framework that we believe is relevant. Others try hard to be fair but get some things right and other things wrong. I am open to helping them see things in their proper perspective.
    There are some among these critics, though, who seem always to be on the attack. The Lord Jesus Christ, who we honor as our God and Savior, addressed this issue during his earthly ministry. He said relative to such attacks made on him or his Church, whether made out of ignorance or malice “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake…Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5: 11-12).
    For those who wonder why anyone would attack Jesus and the followers of his day, the Savior added the following interesting insights. After telling his apostles that they would be persecuted and otherwise mistreated he said “the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2). Then he goes on by saying “and these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16: 3). Critics of others’ religions and beliefs probably believe that they also are doing the right thing, even what God wants them to. What does Christ say of this? Those who don’t appear to believe in religion have other motivations, but still too often end up being critical rather than understanding.
    Such critics should also, however, give heed to the council the Jewish leader Gamaliel gave to other Jewish leaders who were misrepresenting and often persecuting the early Christians. He said “refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work (of these early Christians) be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest…ye be found even to fight against God (Acts 5: 38-39)
    We are taught, though, to “turn the other cheek” and “return good for evil” and this present scrutiny of the Church gives us the opportunity to do so as we attempt to set the record straight. I hope that those who hear of us will seek to understand our true positions. Draw your lessons from the good, faithful members of the Church. Please go to official Church websites like lds.org for your information about us.

    Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D.

  12. Brian McMillan says:

    Pierre,

    Again, I’m disappointed.

    Are you so against Mitt Romney’s politics that you have to tell lies about our religion?

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      How Joe Wilson of you Brian. It would be nice if you didn’t call someone a liar absent a little evidence, although when it comes to religion’s mercenaries I expect no less. All religions—not just yours, but my former one too (Catholicism), my converted brother’s (Islam), my aunt Hilda’s (something Eastern)—are by definition fantasies, fictions, lies people choose to believe in, which is entirely their right (I still believe in fairies), but that right ends with any imposition of the fantasy on a rational outlook: the two are in different worlds, as of course, are we. Preachers’ sermons aside, it’s not plausible to lie about a lie. The surprise is that you’d find any of this disappointing (ah, that word so pregnant with the condescension of an elementary school principal) since you’ve always known me to be quite the enemy of all things religious and fanatical, particularly when they’re put in the service of ideologies in the public sphere, as Mitt and his mullahs might. Then again, gods’ images mirror all kinds.

      • Brian McMillan says:

        I shouldn’t have said “lies.” Just condescension, but I suppose you’re entitled to that in your own site.

  13. Brian McMillan says:

    What I should have said from the beginning is this:

    There are a lot of things detractors can point to in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon leaders aren’t perfect.

    But the church has a great record of being a world leader in humanitarian aid. It helps the poor in every community. It strengthens families and teaches people to be self-reliant and to serve others.

    Mormons are a faithful people because we also emphasize developing a personal relationship with God. No convert is told what to believe. Rather, they are invited to read a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon, which we believe is of ancient origin and confirms the divinity of Jesus Christ, and seek to know whether it is really written by ancient prophets. Sincere readers of the book, those who aren’t swayed by the anti-Mormon literature, will find that the book will increase their faith in God and lead them to become better human beings.

    Why try to tear that down?

    It’s easy today to get caught up in intellectual tangles and try to logically disprove the power of God. But He still exists. And He is still capable of communicating with people. A lot of evil has been done in the name of God, but that doesn’t mean God is dead.

    Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day. In 1820, He appeared to Joseph Smith and ultimately instructed him to reestablish the church of the New Testament era. Anyone who seeks with a sincere heart to know whether this is true will be rewarded.

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