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…………..

        • kiwi57

          As usual, Zeke misses it. The basic message from LDS leadership has nothing whatever to do with denying the Christianity of anyone else.

          • Zeke

            So the mormon god is a big time polygamist, hard core racist dude out there in the Kolob System but for those folks who actually believe in the Bible it’s OK if they want to call themselves Christian. So very gracious of the LDS leadership…

          • kiwi57

            Zeke: “So the mormon[sic] god[sic] is a big time polygamist, hard core racist dude out there in the Kolob System”

            And you actually think that kind of spiteful, childish caricature even begins to resemble the faith of the Latter-day Saints?

            Amazing.

            Zeke: “but for those folks who actually believe in the Bible it’s OK if they want to call themselves Christian? So very gracious of the LDS leadership…”

            Wrong again.

            Is your complete failure to understand what we are saying the result of mere laziness, or does it take actual effort?

            Please note that even if your sneering remark was accurate, we would still be more “gracious” than your heroes are. But the fact is that it is not. You imagine that the leaders of the Church are patronisingly and condescendingly permitting others to call themselves Christians; but the arrogance you see is a projection of your own mind. The point you don’t get is that the Church has never taken a position on who is or is not a Christian. It is a common word in the public domain, and it means what it is commonly understood to mean. And it turns out that the common understanding of the word has nothing to do with the ad hoc doctrinal or sociological litmus tests your self-appointed gurus want to impose; it simply means “a follower of Christ.”

            You’re welcome.

          • Zeke

            Wow kiwi, once again you miss the obvious and ignore the big picture. No kidding, there might actually be racism and sexism in mormonism from the top down. You really don’t want me to quote prophets and apostles or cite mormon scripture so I choose not to do that…….

          • kiwi57

            You’re quite welcome to stay in the vile rabbit hole you evidently prefer to live in.

          • Glenn

            Kiwi – I am sincerely loving your pushback here. It’s important. Questioning, challenging, critiquing — it keeps us all sharp. Send us an email at infantsonthrones@gmail.com if you ever want to be a part of one of these episodes. I’d be more than happy to discuss all of these things with you and take any criticism you have for what we are doing or how we are doing it with this podcast. Plus, I’m curious to know what draws you to listen. And I love that you are venturing outside of your echo chamber (not a criticism, I truly admire you for it) to come listen in on ours.

            And you are right, by the way — it is way too simple to declare “mormons are not Christians” like I did on this episode. But it also is too simple to come back with a “yes we are.” It all depends on how the word “Christian” is being defined and who is making the claim (and who is accepting or rejecting it). Even saying that you are a “follower of Christ” doesn’t mean the same to people who believe that Christ restored the gospel through Joseph Smith (i.e. Mormonism = following Christ) and those who believe He did not. (Mormonism = following a false prophet away from Christ’s true teachings). That could be a fun discussion to have if you are interested.

      • 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………..

      • kiwi57

        Don’t you just wish that were true?

        • Zeke

          It’s absolutely true – without secrecy mormonism is screwed. Christians are not going to buy any handshakes or secret passwords as a condition to get to the celestial kingdom……….

          • kiwi57

            Well Zeke, the imminent demise of the Church of Jesus Christ has been the prevailing anti-Mormon masturbatory fantasy since 1833 at least.

            So don’t give up on it now.

          • Zeke

            Well Kiwi, I’m certainly not predicting the imminent demise of mormonism. In fact, I’m sure there will be many more years to focus on the imaginary strength in one’s loins and sinews as you ponderbate life’s bigger questions. Enjoy!

          • kiwi57

            You see, Zeke, among the vast array of things you don’t know, is the fact that unprincipled people (whom you obviously admire) have been telling the world all about the Temple ordinances as soon as we began practicing them. The point of the “secrecy” is not to conceal anything from anyone; rather it is to show that we can be trusted with sacred things.

            Now, because principled Latter-day Saints (whom you are incapable of understanding) refuse to divulge the details of the sacred matters you so eagerly profane, previous generations of swine (a biblical term, here used correctly) have been free to embellish, embroider and outright lie about the ordinances to their little hearts’ content; however, the current crop of scumbags have put an end to that.

          • Zeke

            Seriously Kiwi, the point of secrecy is not to keep secrets??? Does the mormon god think it’s important for Christians to learn the secret handshakes and passwords or not???

          • kiwi57

            Well Zeke, I don’t pretend to speak for your kind of Christians. But when Latter-day Saint Christians look at Joseph Smith, we see something different than you do.

            Which probably has something to do with the fact that we are better-informed on the subject than you are.

            There is no “mormon[sic] god[sic],” there is only God. And yes, He does think it is important for people to keep their covenants.

          • Zeke

            Seriously Kiwi, you never tire of proclaiming how well informed you are. Really endearing character trait.

            The fact is you continue to demonstrate a huge misunderstanding of the Bible and Christian theology. Joseph Smith’s religion was built upon attacking the bible and trashing Christianity from day one. He invented a different god, different jesus, very different doctrine of salvation, different heaven and different hell. He might as well have called mormonism true paganism, or true scientology, or whatever, it’s certainly not true Christianity.

            God Almighty of the Bible is an infinite being, a spirit, something no human can comprehend or explain. To say that God used to be a man, got promoted up to the Kolob System, needs smith’s help managing the afterlife and is bonkers over some handshakes and passwords stolen from the Freemasons is mocking God in shocking and extreme ways.

            After Jesus’s atonement, there are no covenents, tithing, or temple ceremonies required, the power of christianity is in it’s simplicity. Believe in God, love your neighbor. Love God, love your fellow man and live your life that way, He will take care of the rest………

          • kiwi57

            And you think your spiteful, gratuitous and mean-spirited attacks on the faith of the Latter-day Saints are somehow endearing?

            It’s a simple truism that believers are better-informed about their faith than non-believers are. I’m sorry you are offended by that fact.

            Joseph Smith’s religion was built on believing and acting upon the promises found in the Bible from day one.

            The accusation that “He invented a different god [sic], different jesus[sic]” etc. is a lie, and it comes from the father of lies.

            And you are obviously comfortable with that.

          • Zeke

            Absolutely, to the extent that mormonism is anti-Bible and anti-Christian i think that should be exposed. The LDS leadership has gotten a free pass for far too long with their secret attacks followed by disingenuous public denials.

            For example, joseph and brigham taught that the catholic church was the “Church of the Devil and the Mother Whore.” And the LDS church never makes retractions or apologies so you know they still believe it whether it’s actively taught now or not…….

          • kiwi57

            1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches extensively from the Bible. To accuse it of being “anti-Bible” is at best utterly irrational, and at worst, an outright falsehood.

            2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being a Christian church, can hardly be “anti-Christian.” Yes, I realise that denial of this plain fact is popular in some circles, including this one; but the kindest construction that can be put upon this denial is that it is made in ignorance.

            Not one of the smug denials I have seen comes anywhere near to addressing the definitive work on the question. You can read it here:

            https://publications.mi.byu.edu/book/offenders-for-a-word/

            It deals with all of the standard anti-Mormon arguments on this matter.

            It has been in publication for almost 20 years, and to date I have not seen even one anti-Mormon even try to refute it.

            And until you have read it, you are speaking in ignorance, and simply embarrassing yourself.

            Zeke: “For example, joseph and brigham taught that the catholic church was the ‘Church of the Devil and the Mother Whore.’ ”

            Really?

            Call for references, please. Specifically, when and where did Joseph Smith make the statement you purport to be quoting?

            Incidentally, the nasty accusation about “secret attacks followed by disingenuous public denials” is a well-known tactic called “poisoning the well.” All the most disreputable polemicists use it.

          • Zeke

            Well Kiwi, you’ve gone from bragging about how well informed you are to taking pride in being completely clueless. We don’t allow bullshit tornadoes coming from down under to switch from clockwise to counter-clockwise like that.

          • kiwi57

            Let’s see.

            You’re mindlessly repeating a tissue of discredited anti-Mormon falsehoods that you choose to believe, contrary to the facts, because they match your enormous prejudices – but I’m clueless?

            Perhaps that explains why you addressed absolutely nothing that I wrote.

            All you are doing is giving vent to your own bigotry.

            Which appears to be inexhaustible.

          • Zeke

            Well Kiwi, I must admit i never knew mormon apologists from down under was a thing but you’re right, I’m enjoying the hell out of it. If there’s any more like you down there by all means get them on the boards, mates from australia would even be welcome but i really don’t know if the kiwi’s associate with them.

            If it sounds like we’ve been partying up in this hemisphere I’m not going to deny it. And thanks to you and this thread, the party is an absolute fuckin’ riot – please keep the comments coming, you’ve got a bunch of loyal fans. And no, we’re not drinking Fosters in your honor yet but the beer and scotch are flowing freely…………….. Wish you were here.

          • kiwi57

            Zeke,

            Here’s a sampling of some of your recent comments:

            “I know you cannot comprehend this, but when Christians look at joseph [sic] smith [sic] we’re much more likely to see a pig wearing lipstick than a prophet sharing pearls”

            And this:

            “Joseph Smith’s religion was built upon attacking the bible and trashing Christianity from day one.”

            And this:

            “Absolutely, to the extent that mormonism[sic] is anti-Bible and anti-Christian I think that should be exposed.”

            After spitting and snarling like that, don’t you think it’s a bit late in the day to start affecting a pose of disdainful, aloof, superior amusement?

            After all, you are the one who is obsessing about someone else’s religion. Which is not at all healthy.

            I think that your “loyal fans” might just start to suspect something that you and I both know: namely, that you have simply run out of any substantive responses, so you’re faking it.

          • Zeke

            Seriously Kiwi, they’re your loyal fans and you cannot come up with something better than this? That’s really pathetic, maybe you want to start by reviewing your hateful, spiteful snarling comments and try to cast them in a more Christ-like fashion or otherwise explain them away. Swine and scumbags are as swine and scumbags do.

            Or you could just repent in private to your bishop – your call……….

          • kiwi57

            “Seriously Kiwi, they’re your loyal fans and you cannot come up with something better than this?”

            Umm, Zeke?

            Which is the only one of us two to actually post anything substantive?

            Have you read Offenders for a Word yet?

            Or are you afraid of anything that might challenge your comfortable prejudices?

            “Then when folks actually do investigate mormonism [sic] and discuss the doctrine, history etc., the LDS leadership immediately calls them evil, hateful and so very anti-mormon[sic].”

            Do they?

            I seem to have missed that.

            Zeke, you seem to be used to the echo chamber effect, in which you can say whatever you like about the Church of Jesus Christ, however outlandish, and nobody will question it.

            However, unlike your backslap-buddies, I actually pay attention to the leaders you are slandering. I’ve never heard them say anything even remotely resembling the words you ascribe to them.

            So if you are going to keep making those assertions, I’m going to keep challenging them.

            I see no need to repent for defending men who, I have every reason to believe, are better than you.

          • Zeke

            OK Kiwi,
            In real life you are actually very, very pure, white and even delightsome. The fact that i’m not seeing it is proof that I have been possessed by satan. Praise mormonism, you win…………..

  • 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.

          • kiwi57

            That’s a remarkably (but perhaps not surprisingly) garbled caricature.

        • kiwi57

          Thomas,

          Your ability to garble even the sources directly in front of you is breathtaking. Moses and Elijah didn’t give the keys to Jesus (who of course possessed them already) but to the apostles.

    • kiwi57

      “I’m with Glenn on the Mormons believing that the Priesthood holder was/is more powerful than Jesus.”

      Has any Mormon ever said so?

      • Glenn

        Yes. Joseph Smith boasted that he was more powerful than Jesus.

        “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…Neither Paul, John, 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.” (Church History vol 6, pp. 408-409)

        But Kiwi, I actually really love and appreciate the way you are coming on here and pushing back on a lot of what is being said (and how it is being said). I think there is more at fault in the way we say things to each other than in the content of what is being said, but keep pushing and probing and asking these questions. It will keep us all sharp.

        • kiwi57

          Well Glenn, assuming – and it’s a fairly big assumption – that this particular “boast” is accurately recorded, it still doesn’t say what you want it to say.

          I don’t have a lot of respect for cherry-picking and proof-texting; but that aside, I would point out that Latter-day Saints don’t generally see group coherence as a manifestation of divine power, much less as some kind of superlative expression thereof. So if we (again) assume that the statement you quoted is accurately recorded, Joseph might well have considered that it was something to “boast” about, because he did it all without having divine power.

          Furthermore, I would point out that the idea that any LDS Priesthood holder, or all of them together, could be more powerful than Jesus is logically incoherent. Jesus is the source of all Priesthood power, a portion of which He chooses to delegate to men on the Earth. This is definitive LDS doctrine. And a portion can never be greater than the whole.

          But apart from all that, the simple point to keep in mind is that Latter-day Saints believe what we say we believe, and not what hostile others choose, for polemical or ideological purposes, to accuse us of believing. Not one LDS Apostle or Prophet – whom you no doubt smugly regard us as following like mindless “sheeple” – has ever suggested that Joseph – or any other Priesthood holder – or all of them together – is, are, or could be more powerful than Jesus. The notion has been heard in not one Conference talk, and it appears in not one Church curriculum publication.

          That’s because we don’t teach it, and we don’t believe it.

          And now that you know that, I’m sure you won’t repeat your mistake in the future.

          Regarding your final point: I’m sure it’s important for you to be kept “sharp.” I’m much more interested in keeping you honest.

          • Glenn

            I’m always honest (well, mostly always honest). But I’m not always right (and not always sharp).

            I didn’t realize you were asking for an example of divine power, cuz you just asked about being “more powerful.” And I gave you an example (only to have it swatted away as either unreliable or cherry-picked out of context — for no other reason than you just aren’t comfortable with it being what it is).

            But look… I have no problem with you challenging it. Or me. Maybe a better example would have been something like Moses being punished for getting water from a rock and claiming it was his own power instead of divine power — if there was some kind of modern LDS equivalent to that. Maybe there is. Maybe not. It’s kind of irrelevant to my overall claim, which you have not yet addressed.

            My claim isn’t so much about who is “more powerful” — it is about dependance. My claim is that Jesus’ redeeming and/or healing power is dormant unless the Mormon priesthood activates it.

            As a silly example, I’m thinking of my gas bar-b-que grill in the backyard. The propane tank is clearly more powerful than the match I use to light the grill. But without the small flame from that match, the propane is inert and ineffective at grilling my juicy marinated rib eye.

            In this example, the propane (like Jesus) is dependent on the match (the Mormon priesthood) to be effective. And that is essentially how the priesthood works, whether Mormons think about it that way or not (spoiler alert: they don’t — and neither did I for a very long time. Until, of course, I did). They don’t use the exact words I am using — that Jesus’ atonement is dormant unless it is activated by the Mormon priesthood — but that is what is happening in action (and underlying belief), even if it isn’t how it is being discussed.

            Examples:

            Good people who die won’t just go to heaven (aka “paradise”) because Jesus died for them and loves everyone and salvation is a free gift (something that… um… REAL Christians traditionally believe — relax, I’m only teasing you). Instead, they have to be fully fully fully immersed in water (no floating clothes or hair, or God won’t honor the baptism) and have the right words said in the right way by a righteous mormon priesthood holder. Otherwise they go to spirit prison.

            And people who were never baptized by a righteous mormon priesthood holder who die and go to spirit prison have to wait there until a proxy “baptism for the dead ritual” is performed. Until that happens, Jesus can’t (or won’t) let them out of spirit prison. His power is dormant, once again, until a priesthood holder activates it.

            I could give more examples. And of course Mormons don’t see it this way. But that doesn’t make me wrong.

            And if we’re going for honesty here, Kiwi, how about you drop the self-righteous accusatory tone and have a civil discussion with me the way I am having a civil discussion with you. I don’t like the same kind of things you don’t like about smug, cherry-picking, hostile, proof-texting anti-mormons who call mormons “sheeple.” That ain’t me, babe. If you want to talk about this stuff and push back on it, cool. Let’s do it. But there’s no need for that other stuff. It just becomes a distraction.

          • kiwi57

            I didn’t bat it away “for no other reason than [I’m] just [not] comfortable with it being what it is;” I examined it and found that it does not support what you asserted. Or at very least, what you appeared to be asserting.

            I really don’t like cherry-picking and proof-texting; I have been suspicious of it ever since I learned to detect its presence. Many of the Church’s critics love to wave their hands at the Journal of Discourses, as if it supports all their accusations. It is a publication the size of a large encyclopedia, but when it comes down to cases, the excerpts they think support them – only a few, and always the same ones – would struggle to fill a small pamphlet.

            Taking your analogies, I’ve never really thought of a lighted match as being more powerful than a tank of propane. Sure the propane’s power is untapped until the match is lit, but it’s still the power of the propane, not the match, that barbecues your rib eye.

            (I’ve always preferred charcoal myself, but that’s just by the by.)

            I’m sorry if you find my responses combative, but if I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen or participated in a discussion along the lines of “You guys say you don’t believe X, but you really do, because your doctrines mean that,” I’d be – well, not necessarily a rich man, but I’d certainly have a lot more dollars. But whatever value you substitute for that X, the argument is invariably wrong.

            You see, a doctrine can never mean anything but what the interpretive community that accepts and believes it takes it to mean. When I see Catholics praying to statues and counting their prayer beads, I confess that it looks an awful lot like idol worship to me. But when Catholics – who are, after all, the only people who know what it is that they think and believe when they kneel in front of those statues – tell me that they’re not worshipping them, because they see a meaningful distinction between worship (latria) and honour (dulia) then I’m obliged to accept that they mean what they say. I confess that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but it doesn’t have to – it only has to make sense to them.

            However, in this case what I’m talking about doesn’t have to make sense only to us. The Priesthood is delegated authority. It is only able to ever do anything because of the power of God. If we take the Lord at His word when he says “Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” then it’s hard to imagine how that somehow disempowers the Lord who said it. To me, your argument is functionally equivalent to asserting that a private is more powerful than the general, because it’s the private who actually shoots people.

            If a king appoints servants to keep the gates of his palace, that neither limits the king’s power nor elevates the gatekeepers above him. The gatekeepers can only do the job the king has given them; if they shirk their duties or try to overstep their authority, he can sack them and appoint others to take their place.

            Incidentally, I agree that solafidianism, or faith-alone salvation, is a Christian position. It is not the only Christian position; nor, in fact, is it anything close to even a majority Christian position. Not if “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus” means anything, anyway. The trouble you North Americans have is that you live rather close to a determined, aggressive group who insist in using the word “Christian” (in almost every sentence) as if it means exactly them; and rather a lot of you appear to have (ahem) “drunk the kool-aid,” to coin a phrase. But in fact EV Protestantism is a recent minority faction of the western branch of Christianity; the notion that it is coextensive with Christianity entire is rather extraordinarily hubristic. It is not, and never will be.

            In accepting at face value the Lord’s dictum I cited above, I recognise that we occupy a minority position in some circles. We are comfortable to do so; but it is, unquestionably, a Christian position, and nothing else. Incidentally, Krister Stendahl, who some people think was a Christian (being Lutheran bishop of Stockholm and all) regarded LDS Baptism for the Dead as a Christian practice, and rather admired it.

          • Glenn

            Great comments here Kiwi. You are clearly a smart, thoughtful, articulate, charcoal-burning guy (assuming you are a guy). I started to write another response to you. I decided to record it instead:

            http://infantsonthrones.com/why-cant-we-be-friends-part-4-mad-respect-for-kiwi57/

  • 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.

      • kiwi57

        Well Ron, you got that one right, even if it was by accident.

        Jesus was certainly Jewish, and Mormons are certainly Christian.

  • 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.

      • kiwi57

        “The church wants protection for religiously-based bigotry by removing the 1st Amendment right of others to express their disgust of this bigotry.”

        It does?

        • Randy_Snyder

          Yes, we did a whole podcast on it. But you’re not a listener, you’re an articulate lurker that gets some kind of satisfaction from our message board. You’re not an idiot so don’t think I’m treating you as a troll. Your timing of catching Glenn in his post-Haight mode earned you a podcast dedicated to you w your internet handle in the title for fuck’s sake.

          At any rate, let me get you up to speed on the politicized term “religious freedom”. This is hardly a Mormon innovation but they are enthusiastic supporters of the idea which is a euphemism for bigotry with absolute impunity, as long as the bigotry comes from the sacred place of a sincerely held religious belief. Oaks is particularly fond of this idea.

          But let me give you a concrete example Oaks and the church and all other fundamentalist Christians in our country want that invokes the claim I made that you said “It [the Mormon Church] does?” to. If a CEO of a company publicly states they think gay marriage is an abomination, the church and fellow fundamentalist Christians would like it to be law to suppress the board of directors of this company from their 1st Amendment right to express their free speech by terminating this CEO as he doesn’t represent their views or the vision of the company under the guise of “freedom of religion”.

          Free speech doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without consequences. It simply means you don’t have to worry about the government arresting you for it (obviously w some caveats like inciting violence).

          • kiwi57

            1. I am not a “lurker.” A lurker is someone who reads but does not comment.

            2. I was directed to this blog by someone who was deeply impressed by the arguments presented that purport to prove that Mormonism is not Christian. I came to check them out. As I already said, it’s clear to me that the question has not been disposed of quite as handily as my informant supposed.

            3. In general, anti-Mormons would do well not to raise the subject of bigotry. It might draw unwanted attention to their own attitudes. In particular, it is hard to imagine an attitude more bigoted than one that holds that anyone who disagrees with you doesn’t deserve to have a career.

            4. The fact that you assume that anyone who has moral principles you don’t share must ipso facto be a “bigot” rather strongly suggests that you don’t understand what moral principles are, or how they work.

            5. I’m unaware that there exists a “First Amendment Right” to deprive someone of their livelihood for having moral principles. Where can I find that?

            6. Firing someone – or suing them into financial oblivion – is not “speech.” It is a deliberate infliction of material harm. Calling it “speech” is a brazen falsehood.

            7. I’m sure it must be very comforting, to someone who is about to take a bullet in the ear for daring to disagree with the Dear Leader, to reflect that “Free speech doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without consequences.” North Korea, the land of “free speech!”

            And I conclude by pointing out that you have failed entirely to support your original assertion. For your edification, I remind you that you said:

            “The church wants protection for religiously-based bigotry by removing the 1st Amendment right of others to express their disgust of this bigotry.”

            As you of course know, that assertion is entirely false. As you of course know, the Church has not made the slightest attempt to stop you snorting, snarling, calling nasty names and flailing your handbag at anyone who has actual moral principles. The Church goes no further than supporting the right of decent people to express their principled views without having to fear for their livelihood thereby.

          • Randy_Snyder

            This is like buckshot of bullshit. And as you know my kiwi friend, it’s a waste of time for both of us to take this insidious response of yours point by point. It’s an exercise in talking past each other.

            So I’ll just say this: as you know my New Zealand friend, taking the position that inter-racial marriage is an abomination to my god for reasons I only need to defend as my sincerely-held religious belief is indistinguishable from the position that poofters getting hitched is an abomination only because I say it is based on my sincerely-held religious belief. I know you know this is true kiwi. You’re only deceiving yourself when you say it’s not. It’s not your fault…it’s not your fault…it’s NOT YOUR FAULT!

            So, would you codify it as law in New Zealand if a CEO of an international sheep conglomerate stated his sincerely-held religious belief was he believes it’s an abomination for blackies to marry whites is immune from termination by a board of directors that fears this kind of bigotry (maybe you agree w this hypothetical CEO? Brigham would of course, and Wilfred and John Taylor and even Bruce) does not reflect the image and mission of the company? I guess you do. The board of directors can’t touch this CEO based on the law you support. They must remain silent bc after all, it is a sincerely held religious belief and what’s more sacred than that???

          • kiwi57

            Randy,

            If you want to make an argument for boards of directors censoring the speech of CEO’s regarding their private opinions, whether on the basis of corporate need or public policy, then that is one thing. But pretending that such censorship is “speech,” and that depriving boards of the power to inflict such censorship forces them to “remain silent,” is quite brazenly and flagrantly counterfactual.

            But of course, you knew that already.

            Boards have a perfect right to fire CEO’s for issues of job performance. Under the privacy laws in force here, they have no right to vet their personal opinions, on matters unrelated to the company’s business activities, prior to employing them.

            However, they do have the power to issue public statements setting out the company’s position on a public issue, should a CEO happen to espouse a different opinion.

            Thus, under the proposed religious freedom law, they wouldn’t be forced to “remain silent” at all.

            The claim that they would, is a conscious falsehood on your part, isn’t it?

            The real impact of such a law would be to take away from the New Privileged Class any pretext for throwing one of their famous public hissy fits. If a company can’t fire a CEO for having an unpopular opinion, then there’s no point picketing or boycotting the company, is there?

            Of course, the lack of a valid pretext wouldn’t really stop them from their community tantrum; but it would show them up to be a bunch of divas with an oversized sense of entitlement, wouldn’t it?

            Incidentally, I wasn’t aware that “buckshot” was a container of any kind.

          • Randy_Snyder

            “The New Privileged Class”?

            Kindly go fuck yourself you bigot. You disgust me. No doubt if you weren’t a kiwi you’d have voted for the tangerine in these United States. But you already know this. I know you do. Clearly. It’s obvious.

            I’ll let all the black, brown, gay, female, transgendered, etc people I know that they have the privilege and power now! Woo hoo!

          • kiwi57

            Thank you for your cogent, well-reasoned reply. I guess you really showed me!

            Also, thank you for your thoughtful suggestion regarding recreational activities, but I’ll have to decline. I leave those kinds of creative acrobatics to you.

          • kiwi57

            Randy,

            I just thought I’d set the record straight on something.

            You shrieked:

            “No doubt if you weren’t a kiwi you’d have voted for the tangerine in these United States. But you already know this. I know you do. Clearly. It’s obvious.”

            And you are just as right about that as you are about all the rest of your spiteful ranting.

            About six months ago, on another blog where the blogger was having a hissy fit because American voters didn’t vote to please him, I wrote the following:

            I’m not an American so I didn’t vote in your election.

            Had I been an American, I would not have voted for Trump.

            Not that there is any form of “orthodoxy” that prescribes for whom we should vote, but because Trump is a slow-motion train wreck.

            Nor would I have voted for Hillary, and for similar reasons.

            There may have been some enthusiastic Mormon trumpists. In fact, there probably were.

            There were probably many more who were taken in by the binary choice rhetoric being thrown around, and who reluctantly chose to vote for him rather than what they saw as a worse alternative.

            But I doubt that there was one – even one – orthodox LDS believer who voted for Trump because he was in favour of “racism, misogyny, homophobia, and plain ol’ hatred.”

            Your post is an outburst of childish petulance. As we say in my country, you have “chucked your toys out of the cot.”

            I don’t blame you for not liking the outcome of the election. But Utah’s 6 EC votes did not decide the issue, however much you wish you could blame the Mormons you so deeply detest.

            Is that going to be the next apostate narrative? “The LDS Church gave us Trump!”

            Because it’s probably about as true as any other.

            In that it is utterly false.

            You’re welcome.

  • 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.

  • kiwi57

    “Talking heads?” Like the “Infants on thrones” kaffeeklatsch?

    Okay, I’m not going to spend over two hours listening to this back-slapping session.

    But if anyone imagines that this gang has any competence to address the question of “Are Mormons Christians,” I’m afraid they don’t cut it.

    They are clearly unaware of the fact that the question has already been addressed – and settled.

    In our favour.

    You can read about it here:

    http://publications.mi.byu.edu/book/offenders-for-a-word/

    And it deals with all of the arguments I could be bothered sitting through; as expected, since there is nothing new under the anti-Mormon sun.

    So, who is the incompetent pontificator who, at 7:09, bluntly decrees “Mormons are not Christians?”

    At 7:14, he says, “I drank the kool-aid.” That is a well-known reference to Jim Jones murdering his followers by giving them poisoned soft drink. It’s unnecessarily inflammatory, but it certainly demonstrates his bigotry.

    And here’s his brilliant argument (some have called it “pithy”): “If the group that you’re saying that you’re a part of denies you being a part of the group, then no matter how much you say that you are, you’re really not a part of it.”

    This is idiotic.

    It assumes, firstly, that when Latter-day Saints affirm that we are Christians, that we are somehow asking to be included in a club, of which some random sample are thought to be representative.

    Secondly, that a bunch of people who are manifestly not experts in LDS life and teaching are qualified to deliver the verdict.

    The second assumption fails on inspection. The first is just plain stupid.

    When we affirm that we are Christians, we do not claim to be just like a group of people who unthinkingly assume that “Christians” means “folks like us’n.”

    Instead, we are claiming to follow Jesus Christ. Not the Downright Reverend Jefferson Billy Bob Davis, of Bible-Only Church.

    “Everybody is a son of God in Mormonism.” Likewise in the New Testament.

    And I’m done.