Mormon Leaks – Guideline Responses to Common Questions: The Smackdown

Smackdown

Posted March 21st, 2017

Are Mormons Christians? What is the official Mormon response to Abuse? Affinity Fraud? Church Finances? The Clannish nature of Church Members? Dissent? Hard-to-believe Events in Church History? And a dozen other topics? Mormon Leaks’ founder Ryan McKnight joins Glenn, Randy, John, and Matt to smack down the latest leaked document: Guideline Responses to Common Questions.

Oh yeah…. And John’s Ambassador is plenipotent. #Duh!

https://mormonleaks.io/wiki/documents/5/55/Guideline_Responses_to_Common_Questions.pdf

Glenn

John

Matt

Randy

  • Orrin Dayne

    Regarding having your cake and eating it too, learned about that phrase while listening to a podcast about the Unabomber. The podcast said the Unabomber was tracked down in part by using the phrase “eat your cake and have it too”, which (apparently) was the original phrasing. The idea is that, once you eat your cake, you can no longer still possess it because it’s gone. You have to choose between possessing it or eating it but both are not possible. See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/jan/11/20060111-094446-5919r/ about how this phrase was used to help get a warrant for the Unabomber.

  • Hesdeadjim88

    I really dislike that John is a pastor for a so very obviously false religion, this for me really takes away from how seriously I can trust his ability to reason about religion and the harm it dose. I’m not sure why everyone’s dicks get so wet for him.

    • Goto

      Hamer rocks!!

    • Glenn

      John does very real, not-false, not-fake, definitely-valuable work encouraging and supporting people’s lives in his role as a pastor of a”false” religion. He inspires people. He helps them. He puts his money where his heart is. It’s too bad that you can’t see the value and truthfulness of that. And it’s just childish (and completely ineffective) for you to come here and attempt to belittle him like you did.

      • Hesdeadjim88

        I didn’t belittle him in any way. I specifically said ” ‘I’ really dislike” and “this for ‘ME’ takes away…” I think it is awesome that he dose good for others with little to no regard for his direct benefit. Maby I misunderstand what the RLDS ( church of christ) is, I was under the impression that it is a religious organization promoting a belief in christ (as the name would suggest). I didn’t say anything about his character as you seem to suggest. Please point out where I belittled him so I can apologize/redact. Also I agree that it was infective because that was not my intention in the least. Coming from mormonism I am quite hesitant to trust someone’s option on the wonders their church or any church does when I did the same for mine, only to be wrong about most of the “good” it did. I distrust religion because of my background and studying.
        I assume this a common subject that you have dealt with in the comments and in person many times and that is why you so nicely sought to correct my “childish” and “ineffective” ways.

        • Glenn

          Sure, happy to point out where you belittled him (and essentially everyone who likes him):

          1. “…pastor for a so very obviously false…” So very obvious to who? Smart people? Not obvious to dumb people? What are you implying here??? You are calling John stupid. Which, if you didn’t already know, is quite belittling.

          2. “I [cannot] trust his ability to reason” Once again implying that John is stupid, but this time adding that he is also unreasonable (i.e. unable to adequately reason) and untrustworthy (i.e. you can not trust his ability reason). More belittling stuff.

          3. “I’m not sure why everyone’s dicks gets so wet for him” First of all, it’s rude to say that you don’t see why anyone would… um… get excited about John, or respect John, or appreciate John, regardless of how you say it. But secondly, the way you said it is not going to win you any friends with those of us who do, in fact, respect and admire John. You are belittling John here as well as those of us who appreciate him as a reasonable, trustworthy guy.

          So…. do you still think you didn’t belittle him in any way?

          • Dallin H. Hoax

            I’m as straight as an arrow — not that there is anything wrong with homosexuality — but John Hamer’s knowledge makes my dick wet. I’ll admit it.

            Keep up the good work, boyz!

    • “a so very obviously false religion”… “ability to reason about religion and the harm it dose”

      It’s so common for people to imagine that they’ve transcended their former fundamentalism, but this sentiment is quite telling. No one other than Utah Mormons characterize religions as being “true” or “false” — it’s a completely Mormon paradigm. So many people think they’ve woken up and then they demonstrate that they remain completely in the thrall of Mormon blinders.

      • Hesdeadjim88

        I love your show guys, it has been therapy and very meaningful for me as I have left mormonism and lost my world view and relationships I valued greatly. I did not mean to come off as an enemy and I definitely don’t think of my self as such. I agree with 90% of the things you guys/gals say. I know that none of you know me but I feel like am listening to my friends. Many time in the podcast many of you will talk disrespectfully to each (lots of fuck yous and the such). Like I said I know that none of you know me from Adam . I was only trying to voice a concern I have with religious leaders.

        I can definitely understand your distaste for the text/ideas you have quoted. they definitely do not conform to the way you have chosen dedicate your life to serving your fellow man. You are however quite incorrect in your statement that “No one other than Utah Mormons characterize religions as being “true” or “false” — it’s a completely Mormon paradigm.” this statement is so absurdly inaccurate I am forced to conclude that you are not being serious. Many of the world’s largest religions claim this as well as many others that have only mere millions of members.
        I am interested in your statement on truth. How would you describe something that is true, and would you fine that to be an unproductive way of describing an organization like a church? Thanks for your response!

        • Catholics and Lutherans don’t stand up and say, “I know this church is true” as a central ritual. Buddhists don’t say “I know Buddhism is true and Hinduism is false.” Even the Muslim creed is not “I know this religion is true,” it’s “there is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet.” The black-and-white framework of describing one’s church as “true” and all other religion’s as “false” is core component of the Utah Mormon experience before (and sadly very often after) a person leaves the LDS Church.

          Because of this paradigm, when I am engaged in dialogue with Utah Mormons, I may say that the claims of the LDS hierarchy to possess the “one and only true church on Earth” are “false” (for this or that reason) and then, in shorthand, if we take those leaders at their own word (as Hinckley said concerning his organization “it’s either truth or fraud”) then within their own paradigm, we can perhaps say that the organization is “false.”

          However, outside of the Utah Mormon context, there is no occasion when this would ever come up for me. For example, in the past three months I’ve had people from all religious backgrounds come to my church to participate in our activities — people raised Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhism, Hindu, Jewish, atheist, and more. It would never enter into my mind to describe my church as “true” to them, or to think of the religions they were raised in (and may still participate in or not) as “false.”

          So, no, I do not think it is a productive way of describing an organization like a church, and it’s even less productive for characterizing entire worldviews — in which religions are entwined. How does one assess, for example, that Hinduism or Shintoism are simply “false”? That doesn’t mean that worldviews can’t be evaluated in different ways. One might be, how accurate a predictor of real-world results is a given worldview? Another might be, how good is the worldview at achieving various goals? Those are both utilitarian, but when we’re outside of common ground, utility is one potential appeal.

          One can also evaluate individual truth-claims of any person, organization, or philosophy, remembering always that your own evaluation has the capacity to be more or less accurate or useful depending entirely on your own knowledge of the context. Based on significant study, I feel relatively confident to talk about the West: Judeo-Christianity (including secular heirs), and Islam to an extent, but the farther East one goes, I don’t believe I have enough expertise to make meaningful pronouncements.

          For example, if I were tempted to go to India and say “karma is bogus” (which I’m not tempted to do), I very clearly wouldn’t have enough information to have arrived at that conclusion. But more so, I would also have not been aware of all of the baggage of assumptions that have framed the way I perceive the idea under consideration.

      • Zeke

        As usual Hamer nails it. The basic message from LDS leadership is “Not only is mormonism a christian religion, it’s the only true christian religion on the face of the earth.” We’re the real christians, you’re not…………..

      • bryan

        Exactly, many lose belief in Mormonism but keep their Mormon framing of the world

  • Hesdeadjim88

    That Noni story is spot on I was a missionary under wads. It was nasty stuff for the first few bottles but it was free for us and we could order it with our supplies every week so we drank that crap till it tasted good. We even gave it to investors to help with quiting smoking and other crap haha.

  • DJ jRON

    I love you all

  • Orrin Dayne

    I believe Guideline Responses to Common Questions is intended to give church leaders talking points to avoid “gaffes”, i.e., honestly answering these questions. They don’t want church leaders creating sound bites in public or private that make the church look bad. Can you imagine the “Are Jesus and Satan brothers? Yes …” general authority GIF making the rounds for an eternity on the Internet? The church doesn’t want any part of that.

    To a lesser extent, I think some of the talking points are intended to appease the church members that are still inclined to give the church the benefit of the doubt and just need a little spin to feel better about some issues.

    • Zeke

      Good points, The LDS Church leaders are struggling and really don’t know what to do. The basic problem they have is the loss of secrecy. They can no longer keep the doctrine secret, they can’t keep the temple ceremonies secret, they cannot even keep the disciplinary councils secret. Mormonism has relied upon secrecy and absolute authority of its leaders since day one and without it there is a real danger the whole religion falls apart………..

  • Thomas Moore

    I’m with Glenn on the Mormons believing that the Priesthood holder was/is more powerful than Jesus. The reason is that Elijah, Moses had to appear to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration to give him the powers and keys of their priesthood offices and callings. Jesus just didn’t have the “whole or correct” power and authority to be Savior and Messiah until the Mount of Transfiguration.

    • darkmatter20

      No, they only supported Jesus in his time of need, they couldn’t give Jesus what he already held since before mortality, however they were alos there to transfer keys to Peter, James and John…Note “Elder McConkie said, “It was on this occasion that Peter, James, and John ‘were transfigured before’ Christ, received from him and from Moses and Elias the keys of the kingdom”

      • Thomas Moore

        Jesus couldn’t of carried the priesthood from the pre-mortal existence of spirit, to the mortal realm which is why the laying on of hands for confirmations and callings is necessary. McConkie’s statement is what they believe. That Elijah and Moses (Elias) gave the keys and ordinations to Jesus, who then gave them to Peter, James and John. This is why Elijah and Moses couldn’t die but had to be translated, so that they could keep their physical bodies to bestow the keys to Jesus’ physical body.

        • darkmatter20

          story is that he did…because being a child of God father he had that within him always, the priedthood and also the ability to live for ever…ie why he laid down his life and it was not taken from him…but that’s the story of jesus which I don’t know, actually I don’t think you will believe this…however I only mention it here to clarify the doctrine, or clarify what we so called tbm believe in…and its not that the priesthood went from moses to jesus… however they could’ve returned the keys for gathering to jesus at that time..because only one person on earth at a time can excesise the use of those keys…but thats a tangent.

          • Thomas Moore

            I see what you’re saying now. In the pre-existence, we (the spirit children) had to have had some sort of priesthood powers and callings. i.e. in the temple Adam asks Satan what is the apron is wearing and Satan answers it’s a sign of my priesthood. Also when Adam and the other spirits were called forth to organize/create the Earth using matter unformed, they had to have used the priesthood. Also Lucifer had the office of “Son of the Morning” (which there were probably others. LDS inc. also agrees (or used to agree) that there is Partriarchal Priesthood, which is passed on from father to son https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchal_priesthood

            So now it’s gets into the whole Catch-22 thing. Why do we have to have confirmations and passing on priesthood lines if we all had priesthood and callings before? Especially for us white males from European descent or Jewish? What does this do to the Cohen DNA for the Lemba? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Aaron

          • darkmatter20

            Because we are born of mortal man and mortal woman, Jesús wasn’t, according to the narrative, he was born of God and mortal woman

          • darkmatter20

            “us white males…European descent”……. you were adopted into Israel, Jewish and native American, I.e. Indian blood would have something by descent.

          • Thomas Moore

            Back in the “ole days” of forced racist teachings. The teaching was that when the 10 tribes of Israel were released from bondage in Babylon, instead of going back to Northern Israel They went North. Which kinda a matches the theories of man moving to the Caucus Mountains in Northern India and what is now Afghanistan. Some Israelites went West to Europe, some went East to Asia. None, went South to Africa and therefore, because of needed blood lineage of Israel, Africans (descendants of Ham) could not hold the priesthood. Only those who were of Shem and Japheth.
            This is part of the Celestial Eugenics that used to be taught. Descendent of Cain could and did hold the priesthood (they only carried the “mark of Cain”, but Ham was the one cursed when he tried to steal Adam’s holy priesthood garments from Noah).
            So yes, Jesus held the priesthood because Elohim was his physical father and only begotten. This just follows the Laws of Patriarchal Priesthood. It was as you said, the keys of gathering Israel and saving the nations that Jesus probably received on the Mount of Transfiguration.

  • AnotherClosetAtheist

    I would answer the question “Are Mormons Christians?” by asking “What religion was Abraham?”

    (Spoiler: Mormons aren’t Christians, but Christians think so for the wrong reason)

    Mormonism started off as a restoration of true Christianity. And by this, I mean it is a country bumpkin’s attempt to answer about a dozen questions that only 1820s upstate New Yorkers were asking. The big bullet was “we have the priesthood to perform baptism and nobody else does.”

    But then Joe took the next step — the restoration of all things, mainly the Abrahamic Covenant, which is really the Adamic Covenant as it is taught in the temple.

    Adam, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. None of these guys practiced Judaism. They didn’t follow any Christian tradition. They followed the Patriarchal Religion, the Adamic Religion, whatever you want to call it.

    Mormonism is Restorationist Adamism. Judaism was a temporary lesser law. Even with Christianity being fully restored, Mormons still believe “God will yet reveal,” making Christianity just another temporary lesser law.

    Well, at least that’s what this guy thinks. Hamer will probably lay down some cosmic wisdom and I’ll just have to say “uh, oh yeah. I knew that, I just wanted to see if you did.”

    • I want to be a Restorationist Adamist, too. I’m always looking for something new and amazing to believe. How else can you stay on the cutting edge of faith?

    • Ron Hill

      Mormonism is just as traditionally Christian as Jesus was traditionally Jewish.

  • darkmatter20

    Matt here is dead wrong (except that abusers are overwhelmingly men which is true). Handbook is clear about abuse…disciplinary council always follows for abuse (I seen it for beatings, marital rape, and always for child abuse). I think the guy there needs to re read it, all relevant sections. The church does all it possibly could do to both stop abuse and to report or punish the abused. Difficulty only arises when the man won’t confess, then we need that police evidence of conviction or the two witnesses etc. Also, we not only have to report abuse to the authorities and we do, and I have done so, all people who have a calling that comes into contact with minors, YM primary etc, need to fill in and submit a working with children check form where they sign that they have never been convicted of a crime against children to be able to be in those callings, as our local laws here require. Those forms are keep in clerks office in case they are needed one day to further convict a perpetrator if he lied.
    Plus I have been in a calling where an abuse case came up, and I was promptly given both free legal counsel from the fulltime lawyer in the area offices who insisted I report the case to community services (child protection agency), and then advice from Lds counseling over several sessions, free of charge, on what to do to help the victim who was also being treated by them over that period. I worked with Lds counseling to help the victim, and I reported the case to the proper authorities. The abuser? He wouldn’t accept even an interview with the stake, but was later excommunicated in absentia (case of beatings) because by then he was in prison doing 7 years for his crime. So, No, although some discussion here is open to interpretation, the abuse comments by Matt (I think Matt’s his name) were completely wrong. The church does all that is possible to stop abuse and report it where needed.

    • Thomas Moore

      Who is Matt? Unbelievable. If you listened; Matt said that the cases he’s been involved in, the leaders did not follow the instructions. Matt has dealt with more than just one anecdotal case. He’s Matt Long who was a prosecutor in AZ on Child Abuse and Sex Crime cases. So his experiences definitely are more than yours. https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/85206-az-matthew-long-417549.html

      • Thomas Moore

        I was going to add; that I have stories of which I cannot share for privacy reasons. But, I can say I spent years working for Mt. Graham Safe House in Safford, AZ. We had problems presenting our assemblies (along with the D.A.R.E program) for Rape Prevention and Education Programs (RPEP) in Taylor [AZ] and other schools because the principal of the High School literally said, “We’re a Mostly Mormon community. We don’t have problems like drugs/alcohol and date rape in our schools. It would be a waste of time.” Yet, I can confirm that there was incest and date rapes that we had to deal with the victims from these “Mormon Communities” and helped them find and work with medical, psychological and legal aid. We also had domestic abuse survivors who we helped.

        • darkmatter20

          Whoever said that…ie those principals, are simply ignorant and old ways kinds of people, even if mormon! We have had social services (lds) come in to our outh fireside to talk drugs and date rape and early pregnancy…we had fertility experts talk to YSA and adults interested about infertility….we had local police talk to a gathering about date rape and drugs like ecstasy……. So, maybe you ran into the old type of mormon, over 60 set in there ways, don’t use mobile phones for their scriptures, even though apostles like Bednar, ballard and rasband push the use of ‘cel’ phones as good for the ministry….so yeah , we could go round and round with this however my general belief is that its a conservative Az problem or old generation problem that you have encountered more than a ‘mormon’ per se problem.

          • Thomas Moore

            It’s not a “Mormon” problem…in fact I would say it’s more of a religious problem that ALL leaders need to deal with. Deep South Baptists, Muslims, Jews, etc… Their interpretations of how women and children are to be treated is how they interpret their scriptures and leader directions. The whole “Spare the rod, spoil the child” or the husband is to be obeyed, etc… It’s just that I lived and worked in a Mormon community and lay leaders aren’t trained or understand the directions from their leaders.

            Now having said that, I have to praise the Mormons because they rarely had to use the Safe House facility because they usually had parents, children or siblings (family) that would take them in. Also, the church donated a lot of Deseret Industry foods to our food bank. I did have issues with some of the rapes and statutory rapes where the victim became pregnant and LDS family services immediately took over and talked the women/girls into having the baby and giving it up for adoption. I also hated that many times leaders would “blame the victim” http://www.i4m.com/think/sexuality/mormon_sex_purity.htm

      • darkmatter20

        So then , Matt found cases were leaders did not follow the instructions? instructions that are there to follow? Ok..I’m fine with that…..
        And ok, he may have tonns of experience with abuse cases….I had one and followed what the church told me to do to a T…and the man was prosecuted by the DPP before the stake excommunicated by the way, using the court case as the only evidence! So the church instructions were also followed by our stake leaders….
        But yeah, seeems some leaders in AZ don’t follow what the church tells them to do …. or maybe only when Matt was there?
        (ps, I never asked who Matt was…only stated that he is dead wrong claiming the church doesn’t do anything about abusers….We do, and normally it is to excommunicate them)

    • Hesdeadjim88

      I agree. it seemed to me that he was mostly speaking from his Personal experiences on this subject. He did an interview where he talked about this in length. It was a great listen and really gives perspective on his unique point of view.
      (Mormon stories episode 618-619)

  • darkmatter20

    Doesn’t separation of church and state mean that the state can’t intervene in church beliefs? as Jefferson said? and not a two way street as claimed today by some?
    And holy ghost confirms what the leader says if what he said is true and correct! otherwise HG doesn’t confirm what leader says! Wow!!

    • Randy_Snyder

      The church wants protection for religiously-based bigotry by removing the 1st Amendment right of others to express their disgust of this bigotry. But you are free to remain a religiously-based bigot all you want. Knock yourself out. You won’t be arrested by the state for it I assure you.

  • Gottfried TheHirsute

    If I may add a new vocabulary word to the discussion: Monolatry. Obviously, Mormons are not monotheists in the strict definition of the word, but neither are they polytheists – they are Monolatrists. Whereas polytheism is the worship of multiple gods, monolatry is the worship of one god while acknowledging the existence of other gods.

    Here endeth the lesson. Plenipotence!

    • Sort of like serial monogamy, right?

      • Gottfried TheHirsute

        Technically, the analog for serial monogamy would be “kathenotheism” (the worship of one supreme god at a time), but we’re getting way out in the weeds with that one!

        • Yeah, but the weeds are so much more fun than the pavement. It blows me away that there is a word for “the worship of one supreme god at a time.” What do the supreme gods who have to wait their turn to be worshiped think of this?

    • Ron Hill

      Now their penchant for MLMs makes more sense – the kingdom of God(s) is just one big Pyramid Scheme! 🙂

  • Goto

    Great podcast!!

  • Cliff

    Re audited financials: I can almost guarantee you that the “audit” (or whatever they’re considering an audit here) is being performed by Tanner LLC. They are a very large and very Mormon accounting firm in salt lake. Unfortunately, even if you could find an exmo working there, they wouldn’t be able to talk about it for confidentiality reasons.

  • bryan

    Mormons are not Christians. Mormons can think that they are Christian all they want, but the fact is they don’t know Christian theology.
    Here is how I see Christian/Mormon differences on five major topics.

    Epistemology and Faith

    Mormon:
    JUST believe. Faith means to believe in something despite the lack of evidence. Mormon epistemology is to pray and ask if the book of Mormon is true and if you get a warm feeling then it’s true and so is Mormonism.

    Christian:
    Once you come to believe in something because of reason and evidence, faith is to continue to believe it after it has become inconvenient to believe.

    The Purpose of Life

    Mormon:
    We have always existed as “intelligences.” Heavenly Father (and, I assume, his wife) had spirit children and our intelligences were put into these spirits. In order for us to progress we had to come to earth, obtain bodies, lose our memories, and be tested. The test includes being righteous or moral, and also finding the right church among thousands. Certain physical acts (ordinances) also are required to be done in order to pass this test. Even if you are able to find the right church, this test is so difficult that no one, other than the first born spirit is able to pass it. God can’t make the test easier, or grade on a curve, because there is a law above God preventing him from doing that. If we get less than 100% on this test there is a price that must be paid. Jesus paid that price through suffering. The debt payment only counts if we “do all that we can” and repent of all of the rest. Depending on how good you do on the test there are several different degrees of glory that you will be awarded.

    Christian:
    We come into existence when we are born. God created us so that he could have creatures that he could love and that could also love him. In order for that love to be real he had to give those creatures free will. With this free will comes risk, the risk that they will not love him or desire to be with him. The desire to be with God is expressed by the creature giving up himself and submitting himself to God. These creatures with the free will find this almost impossible, because they love themselves so intently. God became a man and suffered and submitted himself in order to be able to help his creatures do the same.

    The Nature of God:

    Mormon:
    God was once a man who became a God through righteousness and ordinances. He must be one of many Gods because if he was once a man than presumably some others at the place where he was a man were also good enough to become Gods. He is subject to universal laws above him. He has a body, is male, and since he once followed the path that we are on he would presumably have a wife (at least one).
    God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct people. God and Jesus has a body and the Holy Ghost does not. God had spirit children and Jesus was the first born of those. The spirit children who didn’t rebel in heaven were to come to earth and obtain bodies.

    Christian:
    The uncaused first cause of everything. Exists outside of space and time. (After all, no space, time, or matter existed before the Big Bang). All knowing, all powerful, a creature of spirit. Became a man in order to be able to save mankind. The only God. Is neither male nor female because his nature is higher than that. (He became a man when his Jesus side took a body but he could just as easily have been human as a women).
    God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three “personas” of the same person. They are both separate persons and the same entity at once. It is difficult for us to comprehend, and it can only exist on what you might describe as a higher dimension.

    Church

    Mormon:
    Christ organized a church with specific offices and a structure. Christ gave the apostles authority from God, and I assume that others at the time also had different offices and a lower authority from God, but none of that is mentioned in the Bible. The church quickly went into apostasy. Why it only lasted a few years would have to be a great mystery. Were they such bad people that they couldn’t even hold it together for a few decades?

    Christian:
    God came to earth in the form of Jesus. He had a message about who He was and what we had to do in order to get back to Him. The apostles were eye-witnesses to Him and His message. When they died there were no more apostles. There was no “official” church organization that would always have apostles, that had a president and multiple prophets, and had a geographical and hierarchical structure. The “church” included all those who believed in Christ and His message.

    Marriage

    Mormon:
    Marriage is for earth and for heaven. In fact, marriage is required in order to be worthy of the very best heaven.

    Christian:
    Marriage is an earthly institution

  • Duke of Earl Grey

    You “can’t have your cake and eat it too” because once you eat it, you no longer have it. Well, not after a few more hours, or so, anyway…

  • Duke of Earl Grey

    When Hinckley did his “I think I know the doctrine” wink-wink at conference, I believe he was referring not to his answers to the media about polygamy, but about the doctrine of men becoming gods, when he said to Mike Wallace, “I don’t think we teach that. I don’t think we emphasize that.” I don’t remember if he discussed polygamy in that interview.

    He later talked about polygamy with Larry King, of course, and either lied or twisted the truth by saying only 2% of church members were ever involved with it. I think that could be true if he meant only 2% of all church members from 1830 to present ever practiced polygamy, but it sounded like he meant 2% of all church members at any given time in the 1800’s, which just cannot be correct.

  • Leslie North

    For Matt- In the section on abuse, you said you personally tell people not to go to police? Did I hear right? Elaborate. I’m confused. Thanks for the discussion. I always learn so much from these more serios episodes.

  • bryan

    Mormons are not Christians. Mormons can think that they are Christian all they want, but the fact is they don’t know Christian theology.
    Here is how I see Christian/Mormon differences on five major topics.

    Epistemology and Faith
    Mormon:
    JUST believe. Faith means to believe in something despite the lack of evidence. Mormon epistemology is to pray and ask if the book of Mormon is true and if you get a warm feeling then it’s true and so is Mormonism.
    Christian:
    Once you come to believe in something because of reason and evidence, faith is to continue to believe it after it has become inconvenient to believe.

    The Purpose of Life
    Mormon:
    We have always existed as “intelligences.” Heavenly Father (and, I assume, his wife) had spirit children and our intelligences were put into these spirits. In order for us to progress we had to come to earth, obtain bodies, lose our memories, and be tested. The test includes being righteous or moral, and also finding the right church among thousands. Certain physical acts (ordinances) also are required to be done in order to pass this test. Even if you are able to find the right church, this test is so difficult that no one, other than the first born spirit is able to pass it. God can’t make the test easier, or grade on a curve, because there is a law above God preventing him from doing that. If we get less than 100% on this test there is a price that must be paid. Jesus paid that price through suffering. The debt payment only counts if we “do all that we can” and repent of all of the rest. Depending on how good you do on the test there are several different degrees of glory that you will be awarded.
    Christian:
    We come into existence when we are born. God created us so that he could have creatures that he could love and that could also love him. In order for that love to be real he had to give those creatures free will. With this free will comes risk, the risk that they will not love him or desire to be with him. The desire to be with God is expressed by the creature giving up himself and submitting himself to God. These creatures with the free will find this almost impossible, because they love themselves so intently. God became a man and suffered and submitted himself in order to be able to help his creatures do the same.

    The Nature of God:
    Mormon:
    God was once a man who became a God through righteousness and ordinances. He must be one of many Gods because if he was once a man than presumably some others at the place where he was a man were also good enough to become Gods. He is subject to universal laws above him. He has a body, is male, and since he once followed the path that we are on he would presumably have a wife (at least one).
    God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct people. God and Jesus has a body and the Holy Ghost does not. God had spirit children and Jesus was the first born of those. The spirit children who didn’t rebel in heaven were to come to earth and obtain bodies.
    Christian:
    The uncaused first cause of everything. Exists outside of space and time. (After all, no space, time, or matter existed before the big Bang). All knowing, all powerful, a creature of spirit. Became a man in order to be able to save mankind. The only God. Is neither male nor female because his nature is higher than that. (He became a man when his Jesus side took a body but he could just as easily have been human as a women).
    God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three “personas” of the same person. They are both separate persons and the same entity at once. It is difficult for us to comprehend, and it can only exist on what you might describe as a higher dimension.

    Church
    Mormon:
    Christ organized a church with specific offices and a structure. Christ gave the apostles authority from God, and I assume that others at the time also had different offices and a lower authority from God, but none of that is mentioned in the Bible. The church quickly went into apostasy. Why it only lasted a few years would have to be a great mystery. Were they such bad people that they couldn’t even hold it together for a few decades?
    Christian:
    God came to earth in the form of Jesus. He had a message about who He was and what we had to do in order to get back to Him. The apostles were eye-witnesses to Him and His message. When they died there were no more apostles. There was no “official” church organization that would always have apostles, that had a president and multiple prophets, and had a geographical and hierarchical structure. The “church” included all those who believed in Christ and His message.

    Marriage
    Mormon:
    Marriage is for earth and for heaven. In fact, marriage is required in order to be worthy of the very best heaven.
    Christian:
    Marriage is an earthly institution.