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Mormans, the good bad and ugly. – max

Max

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Posts: 523
From: IA
Registered: 09-19-2004
OK, hit us all with Morman information, I know nothing other than what I've learned from South Park, and I am intrigued.

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Realm Master

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what IS a mormon!?!???!?!?!?!?!?!

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CPUFreak91

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quote:
Originally posted by max:
OK, hit us all with Morman information, I know nothing other than what I've learned from South Park, and I am intrigued.


Well for one they do secret rituals that not even they're own missionaries know about. You have to be a special priest-like guy to attend and you can't tell anybody!

There's a bad.

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HanClinto

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Mormons are the name given to people who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This was a group started in the early-to-mid 1800's by a guy who claimed to be a prophet named Joseph Smith. He claimed to have met an angel who directed him to golden plates on which were written the history of a sect of Israel that was persecuted and fled across the ocean thousands of years before. This sect of Israel supposedly lived in America, and built fortresses and had great battles and such, and eventually they mostly died out (correct? Or did some of them descend into the native American Indians?). Anyway, this angel (Moroni was his name?) directed Joseph Smith to the golden plates, along with those plates were stored an Urim and a Thumnim (sp?), which were tools used by the ancient priests of Israel to commune with God. Joseph Smith claimed that he was able to use the U&T to translate these golden plates, and he wrote the information down in the Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith also claimed to be a prophet, and gained quite a number of followers before his death. After he died, Brigham Young succeeded Joseph Smith as leader of the LDS.

I must confess I've only read a little bit of the Book of Mormon (specifically the part where Jesus came to the Americas), and I've done a small amount of study into the prophecies of Joseph Smith (specifically those regarding the prophesied building of the temple in Missouri and the prophecy surrounding David W. Patten and his death, though I'm familiar with others as well).

Cheers!

--clint

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GUMP

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Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
I have some Mormon friends who I have been trying to witness to for several years now. As such, I'm pretty familar with their beliefs.

First off, they use the same terminology as Christians. So a Mormon might make a statement that you think you agree with except the problem is they have completely different definitions for many words. This can cause a conversation to become very confusing. So I'd advise specifying terminology up front. Also, all Mormon children are required to go on a 2 year missionary trip and thus they are VERY well trained in defending their beliefs when it comes to common methods. Make certain to do a lot of research beforehand.

Joseph Smith is the founder of the Mormon religion. They no longer use the term "Mormon" though, and prefer to call themselves Christians; albeit of the Latter Day Saints. There are actually two groups of Mormons. The original group split in half after Joseph Smith was killed by an armed mob of people angry by his political persecutions. The followers of Brigham Young formed the Salt Lake City Mormomns and Joseph Smith Jr./Mrs. Smith formed the Reformed Latter Day Saints (now calling themselves the Community of Christ, which was the original name used by Joseph Smith Sr.).

The sighting of the Angel Moroni (yes, that's his name...) by Joseph Smith is the basis of Mormonism. The story changed multiple times. One involved Moroni has a Native Americian spirit guide (because of the exalted status given to Native Americans a good % of Mormons are Native American). Others involve heavenly visits by Jesus, Moses, etc. Joseph Smith, as a Prophet, was supposed to have the ability to translate dead or unknown languages. He was given golden tablets which he deciphered to get the Mormon books. He also "translated" Egyptian papyruses into several other major books. At the time the Egyptian language had yet to be rediscovered (by a Frenchman, forget his name). Modern translations of these documents show the papyruses to be the Egyptian Book of the Dead (but don't bring that up since the Mormons have semi-recently changed their story and they claim that the papyruses were destroyed in same fire that destroyed the Golden Tablets).

Mormonism is a polytheistic religion. When they say "Godhead" they use it like you would use the word "FBI"; to refer to an organization of separate CREATED entities that are all part of "God". For Mormons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are: The Heavenly Father (Elohim), Jesus (Jehovah), and Holy Ghost. Mormons also have minor deities whom they revere.

The Heavenly Father is a physical being, just like you or I, except that he has no blood. Instead, Mormons believe that a powder flows through His veins, propelled by air, in an otherwise normal heart. Other slight adjustment to Godís biochemistry and metabolism are of course concurrent with this. Here's the shocker: Mormons believe Adam was/is the Heavenly Father! In fact, it is believed that a normal person like you and me can BECOME a god. At one point Adam was a normal man who had many, many wives including Eve...and Mary. Adam eventually "fell upward" (Mormons don't deny the Fall, they just say Adam fell upward...) and became a god. Then Adam/God created Jesus and Beezlebub and the Holy Spirit.

Beezlebub and Jesus had a large battle/contest in the Celestial Heaven to determine who would become the Messiah and who would become the enemy. That's right, they're saying that Jesus could have ended up being Satan. The black people side with Beezlebub and the white people sided with Jesus. As such, if you have black skin you are considered to be of a cursed race for fighting against Jesus in your pre-existence. Mormons haven't done so well in Africa, to say the least.

Now here is where it gets weird(er).

Adam/God supposedly lived on another planet named Planet Kolob in the constellation Cancer, sector 2813 (so yes, that makes us creations by aliens...) Space travel near "heaven" (certain planets) is not allowed, according to some Mormon theologians. Mormons believe that angels visit the earth from Planet Kolob, the Planet Of Origin (POO) of angels and spirits and gods. Mormon documents locked away in Temple vaults in the Mountains near Salt Lake City Utah contain documents and photographs of a supposed 1954 visit of the Angel Gabriel. Mormons believe that Mormonism is the dominant religion on thousands of planets throughout the Milky Way, besides POO, and other planets extending beyond the Large and Small Clouds Of Magellan and beyond the Andromeda galaxy. Notwithstanding the "documented" visit of the Angel Gabriel, no photographic evidence of Moroni's visitation survives today. Mormon Scholars believe that the silver halide plates in Smith's possession suffered the same fate as Smith's golden plates which contained the hieroglyphics--in short, all the evidence (conveniantly) burned up.

God/Adam's son, Jesus, (the creator of our solar system, but not of all the universe) is also a physical being, with normal cell function, real blood and so on. The Virgin Mary is a concubine of The Heavenly Father (Adam), who had other wives as well, but he never married Mary. Jesusí half-brother, Beelzebub, the Devil, is also a spiritual being, ( spiritual blood, spiritual lymph etc.,) but He, of course, does not live in heaven. It is God and Jesus and their wives and the angels, all physical beings, who live in heaven.

Mormons make the distinction between spiritual beings and physical beings. The Jehovah-Jesus Duality is The Heavenly Father. He is a physical, being, though his blood carries no oxygen to his brain, and his bladder presumably is filled with Vacuum (Mormon theologians differ). Spiritual beings do have blood, bile, sperm, etc. But the are completely transparent. As a consequence, they are blind (irony...?).

Now Adam/God was created. As such there was another God (whose name I don't know/remember) who created Adam. In fact, there is a never-ending chain of Gods creating men who become God who creates men, etc. As such, all these gods are completely natural since they are contained within the universe and thus are not "supernatural" (very similar to the Greek gods like Zeus, who actually existed within our universe and not without). During Joseph Smith's time the Steady State universe idea, where a self-sustaining Earth and everything else had existed forever without a beginning, was fairly popular so I "believe" this is why their beliefs do not account for a beginning to the universe.

This is a huge, glaring hole in their beliefs if they indeed do not have an explanation for the beginning of the universe and the origins of the first god. From what I've read Mormons generally reject evolution as an explanation for the origin of the first god. I'm not positive but Mormons may believe in a multiverse, where there are other gods in an infinity set of universes. So every so often a single god in a universe would become powerful enough to create another universe. I cannot say for certain, though, as a good number of beliefs are still held as secret and I cannot find any details on what the Mormons say about the creation of the universe.

Anyway, that's a brief overview but it should be obvious that they have a very complicated belief system. If you run a google search on Mormonism you'll find a bunch of Christian sites that describe their history and some of the core differences. Unfortunately those sites only scratch the surface. I tried to cover topics that such Christian sites almost never bring up.

Other topics to research:

- secret handshakes
- Failed prophecies by the various Mormon prophets
- Baptism for the dead (if they cannot convert you in life they'll just do it when you're dead...their list is fairly long, to say the least, so those ceremonies occur often)
- Endowment for the dead and the living
- Sealings for the dead and the living
- Sealing of husband and wife (marriage)
- Sealing of children to parents
- Second Anointing (or Second Endowment)
- polygamy (which is no longer taught by LDS)
- Masonic ties to many of these ceremonies and the building of the temples (Joseph Smith was involved in Masonry)
- wards
- belief that they are a continuation of the Aaronic Presthood (which, according to Christianity, was fulfilled in Jesus)
- The claims in regards to a "13th lost tribe of Israel" traveling the Pacific Ocean to cross over to the Americas. In short, Native Amercians are said to be lost Jews who forgot their history and ancestry. The Mormoon books give a detailed history of empires and epic battles spanning across the Americas. See here:

http://www.godandscience.org/cults/sld001.html

HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Wow, Gump -- thanks for the info. I look forward to hearing what Super_rad has to say about that.

One of the better Mormon propoganda books I've read was a book called "The Lost Boys" by Orson Scott Card -- it's not about Mormonism specifically, but it's a story about a computer (game) programmer whose family goes through a number of situations. The fact that the family is a Mormon family is more of just a side-note, though throughout the book O.S.C. does a decently good job of trying to make people feel like the Mormons really aren't as whacked out as some people think they are (I imagine there are more conservative and less-conservative Mormon groups).

--clint

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Realm Master

Member

Posts: 1971
From: USA
Registered: 05-15-2005
uuhh... (.)_(')... whoa...

thats a LOOTTT of info... okay, i get it now... thanks..

im gonna go rest my brain now...

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Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right.
The kingdom of hevan bleongs to them.-Matthew 5:10

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Briant

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Posts: 742
From: Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 01-20-2001
Pretty good site for info on this group from a Christian perspective:

http://www.carm.org/mormon.htm

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Brian

GUMP

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Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
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Related to gaming:

Orson Scott Card was recently involved in developing the PC/Xbox game Advent Rising. He wrote the basic plot and the screenplay. As such, there are heavily Mormon undertones to the entire plot. The word "Mormon" is never mentioned, nor is Joseph Smith, but the beliefs system is readily evident. The plot involves the main character learning to control the energy of the stars (which comes from Kolob, btw). During the game he evolves from a lowly human relying on projectile weapons to an actualy deity (other characters refer to him as a deity and a god). The game is a lot of fun and the plot is done well but unless you knew anything about Mormonism I doubt anyone would notice. Heck, with all the talk of evolution in the story it could have been based on the work of a humanist.

crazyishone

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super_rad, you'd better sign on and defend yourself before they all burn you at the stake.

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super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
yes, much of that is true that you just said. But i also must say that the "secret" things that the priests do arent like "cult rituals" these are things that are very sacred and are noth shared with popular socioty because we dont need those things to come under fire. I know all about the things that they do, i am not going to say, but believe me, they arent like wierd or anything. you will just have to take my word on that. And also, for some stuf just about the BOM (book of mormon)it is the history of events happening in the american contenent from about 600bc to 400ad. ummm, i dont really know what to say, so just ask any questions you have and i can answer them.

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GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
quote:
Originally posted by super_rad:
yes, much of that is true that you just said.

I'm trying to figure out exactly what Mormons believe. The way you phrased the above response it sounds like I stated something incorrect. Could you point out what that is?

HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Another one that I'm curious about is the concept of "Blood Atonement", which basically claims that Jesus' sacrifice of His life wasn't sufficient to cover all of our sins, and that for some sins, people need to atone with that with their own blood (and it is the responsibility of the leaders to exact that blood from guilty party, in order that their sins may be paid). Is this still actively taught? Or is that a doctrine that is more historical among the LDS?

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super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
oh, no gump, i didnt agree with what you said, i started replying before like, 10 AM and i had to go shopping, so i didnt see any of your posts
you are way wrong, im writing a reply about that right now also

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super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
wow, i dont know where you heard a lot of that crap you(gump) are throwing at people, and i am too lazy to tear apart everything you said, but i will do my best.

1. nobody is required to go on a mission, it is just a good thing to do, in fact, only about half of mormon men do go on a mission. I personally look forward to mine. (my brother iis currently serving his in the dominican republic)

2.Joseph smith jr. founded the church, there was no big split, there was (and has been through out history) small splinters of the church that have fallen away from our church. This one is not even very big and do not hold the same beliefs.

3. the story of the angel moroni has never changed. he in not some native american spirit guide. He is a heavenly angel that was directing joseph smith to where the golden plates were hiden (by moroni) in 450b.c. after wars wiped out his entire civilization. he was the last person to write in the book of mormon and finished the abrigement of it that his father(mormon, that is why the book is called the book of mormon) had done.

4. There was many visitations to joseph smith by diferent people. they restored the authority of diferent jobs to be done in the church. some of these people included: moses, aaron, melkezidek, john the babtist ect.

4.5.the very first thing that happened with joseph smith is in the 1820's, there was a lot of religious exitement around upstate new york, joseph was going to many diferent churches but couldnt find one that he completely agreed apon. So he was reading the bible and he found in james 1:5 "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of god, which giveth to all men liberaly and abradeth not, and it shall be given him" so he took james' advice and prayed about it (this next part you will think im even crazier than before) but after he prayed god the father and jesus christ visited him in the grove of trees that he was in. They told him that he was chosen to reestablish the church that jesus had placed on the world. This is not saying that any other church is acually wrong, it is just that they do not have the proper authority and they (over years and years) have slowly lost bits and pieces of important things.

yeah, sounds wierd, but that is what i believe no matter what anyone says.

5. adam is not god, he was the first man to live on earth, he also fell, and not "upward" either, he was cast out of the garden of eden.

6. jesus created the universe and everything in it.

7. abou all the "vaults" in the utah mountains. that is just stupid things people made up. there is nothing of that sort.

8. we believe that kolob is where god lives (or close to it)there isnt any wierd methods of space travel.. god must live somwhere, i dont know what other religions think though.

9. your whole idea of the spirit/body thing is completely bogus. we believe that after the resurection of a man, they regain thier body in its perfection. i dont know how all the body systems work, so i cant really say anything, but anything you have heard is not something that we believe. no general authority has said anything about that, so anything you have heard is just people making stuff up.

10. god was here forever, there was no evolution of god. infinity is hard to grasp, but he was here forever, there was no begining of god. so i dont know what you are talking about.


11. my arms are getting sore and im to lazy to write anything else.

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super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
also, to what han clinto said, jesus atoned for our sins. we dont believe in any "blood atonement", we can repent of our sins, that is what the atonement of christ made posible.

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Max

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Posts: 523
From: IA
Registered: 09-19-2004
Way to support your beliefs, I'm glad you have conviction and a firm faith. So, do Mormans and "Protestant Christians" believe in the same thing at all? I mean the basic principal is that we believe that Christ is the Savior, and if you believe in him you shall have everlasting life.

Do Mormans believe that?

Also, have you ever seen the South Park episode on it? I'm sure it got it all wrong, but it was funny.

I'm not attacking Mormanism, but it seems a little far fetched, than again, so does Christianity in general. Why him? And what were the things that the church had lost, that Joe was supposed to re-instate?

Just wondering, thanks.

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To err is human--and to blame it on a computer is even more so. - Robert Orben

Blind belief is dangerous. - Kenyan Proverb

If sex is such a natural phenomenon, how come there are so many books on how to? - Bette Midler

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. - Pablo Picasso

HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Gump -- one quick thing to note, the Joseph Smith who supposedly received the vision from Moroni was not Joseph Smith Sr., but rather it was Joseph Smith Jr. The Joseph Smith who you're talking about who split I think is Joseph Smith III, who Joseph Smith Jr. prophesied would succeed himself as prophet of the LDS (even though Brigham Young succeeded Joseph Smith Jr. as prophet of the majority-group of the LDS).

Super_rad, are you a member of the Reorganized LDS? Or are you in the succession following from Brigham Young (the main LDS church)?

Regarding the issue of Blood Atonement, the following is a quote from Joseph Fielding Smith from "Doctrines of Salvation"

quote:

Just a word or two now, on the subject of blood atonement. What is that doctrine? Unadulterated, if you please, laying aside the pernicious insinuations and lying charges that have so often been made, it is simply this: Through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Salvation is twofold: General -- that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ -- and, Individual -- that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

But man may commit certain grievous sins -- according to his light and knowledge -- that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone -- so far as in his power lies -- for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail.

Do you believe this doctrine? If not, then I do say you do not believe in the true doctrine of the atonement of Christ. This is the doctrine you are pleased to call the "blood atonement of Brighamism." This is the doctrine of Christ our Redeemer, who died for us. This is the doctrine of Joseph Smith, and I accept it.


Brigham Young said this on the matter on September 21st, 1856:

quote:

And further more, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further;

I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins.

It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit.... There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, or a calf, or of turtle dove, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man.


There is a lot more on this page, where I've gotten most of my information. The apologist response at the bottom is unsatisfactory, as it claims "Occasional isolated acts of violence that occurred in areas where Latter-day Saints lived were typical of that period in the history of the American West, but they were not instances of Church-sanctioned blood atonement.", but there appear to be several very clearly church-sanctioned sacrifices.

Just wonderin', thanks.

Respectfully,
clint

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GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
The majority of what I wrote I pulled from reading Mormon books and historical documents.

1. Here is an exception. I was made to understand by the local ward that the missionary trip was a requirement. I never did double-check their statement against historical writings. Minor issue, so it doesn't matter.

2. Yes, the smaller splinters are primarily made of people still supporting polygyny. As for CoC...no big split?? They fought over who would own Kirtland. Brigham Young excommunicated one of their founders. Joseph Smith's own family headed up the reorganization. LDSers believe that the true Christian church died out in the early 2nd Century AD, and was restored by Joseph Smith's ordination and his subsequent founding of the original LDS church. The CoC abandoned this belief and disagree on various teachings. For example, they do not recognize The Pearl of Great Price as part of God's revelation. Also, not very big? True, they may not be in the millions like LDS but over 250,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

3. You're just repeating the LDS position. Eyewitness testimony says there were multiple versions. The story started out small and got bigger and bigger as time passed. Look it up if you don't believe me. Of course, you can just choose to ignore those eyewitnesses...

4. No comment.

5. You got the story right but what you got wrong was the "any other church is actually wrong" part. That's the CoC position, not LDS. Brigham Young taught that "he that confesseth not that Jesus sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is NOT of God, but is anti-christ."

6. Sorry, but here is what Brigham Young said:

"When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize the world. *stuff about angels* When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family[Adam]."

"How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me--namely that Adam is our father and God. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him[by the former god], and after it was made he and his companions came here. He brought one of his wives with him, and she was called Eve."

Now, the LDS position on this changed in the 1900's though this doctrine is still taught by Fundamentalist Mormons. Part of the reason my post confused you is because the LDS Prophets of the 1900's have overturned some of the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Most of what I'm familar with and what I wrote was historical Mormonism. The original teachings do contradict the modern teachings of the LDS church which is why I asked you to clarify what the modern LDSers believe.

Now, Adam falling upward is, as far as I know, still supported by the LDS...at least by Joseph Fielding Smith:

"I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin....it is not always a sin to transgress a law...that is, his transgression was in accordance with law."

This was later clarified in July 1965: "Adam fell but he fell in the right direction. He fell toward the goal. Adam fell, but he fell upward."

6. Is that the current position held by the current Prophet?

Joseph Smith's original teachings: "Further, as the prophet also taught, there is a God above the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.... If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that he had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? . . . Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that he had a Father also?"

"Three separate personages--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper infinite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods..."

7. Okay, the usage of the word "vaults" gives the impression of secret chambers buried under the mountains or something crazy like that. I'm just talking about records kept in a mountain region. Oh, and this is something the local LDSers told me.

8. According to Joseph Smith the Father was a normal being with a corporeal body who worked his way up to godhood. And since the Father created Jesus it seems that your statements 6 and 8 contradict each other (assuming, of course, the recent Prophets haven't overhauled a ton of Joseph Smith's teachings).

As for Christians, we believe that God exists outside of our universe's spacetime.

9. Well...I'm just reading Mormon documents. Whether or not the current LDS leadership changed their minds on that issue I'm not sure.

10. Joseph Smith: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's." "God himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth" "The matter that seems such a mystery is the statement that our Father in heaven at one time passed through a life and a death and is an exalted man."

Brigham Young: "He is our Father--the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. God has once been a finite being."

EDIT: Milton R. Hunter tells how God progressed to Godhood:

"Yet, if we accept the great law of eternal progression, we must accept the fact that there was a time when Deity was much less powerful than He is today. Then how did He become glorified and exalted and attain His present status of Godhood? In the first place, aeons ago God undoubtedly took advantage of every opportunity to learn the laws of truth and as He became acquainted with each new verity He righteously obeyed it. From day to day He exerted His will vigorously, and as a result became thoroughly acquainted with the forces lying about Him. As he gained more knowledge through persistent effort and continuous industry, as well as through absolute obedience, His understanding of the universal laws continued to become more complete. Thus He grew in experience and continued to grow until He attained the status of Godhood. In other words, He became God by absolute obedience to all the eternal laws of the Gospel--by conforming His actions to all truth, and thereby became the author of eternal truth. Therefore, the road that the Eternal Father followed to Godhood was one of living at all times a dynamic, industrious, and completely righteous life. There is no other way to exaltation."

Hunter was in the First Council of the Seventy until his death in 1975 so I assume he knew what he was talking about.

In short...your statement that "there was no beginning of God" is wrong according to both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and a relatively recent figure in the LDS.

Well, if what you said represents what today's LDSers believe then no wonder I'm so confused. It appears your beliefs are nothing at all like what Joseph Smith taught.

As for salvation, Hanclinto, here is a quote from Brigham Young: "There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will NEVER wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it." In short, Jesus is said to have given us the ability to work our way toward atonement. Other teachings from Joseph Smith list what works are required. Though according to Doctrine and Covenants 137:10 someone who dies before the age of 8 is exempted from those works.

quote:
Gump -- one quick thing to note, the Joseph Smith who supposedly received the vision from Moroni was not Joseph Smith Sr., but rather it was Joseph Smith Jr. The Joseph Smith who you're talking about who split I think is Joseph Smith III, who Joseph Smith Jr. prophesied would succeed himself as prophet of the LDS (even though Brigham Young succeeded Joseph Smith Jr. as prophet of the majority-group of the LDS).

I'd have to research that all again. My memories on the details of that particular event are pretty hazy since it's been about 3.5 years since I last read anything on that particular subject. Lately I've been reading more about less-discussed beliefs like Planet Kolob, the Egyptian papyruses, archaeology in the Americas, etc.

[This message has been edited by Gump (edited October 14, 2005).]

super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
first off. for what han clinto was saying about blood atonement... i have acually never heard of that, but i have heard of these "grievious sins". it is pretty much saying that osama bin laden cant just repent and be forgiven. there needs to be more than that, but he is way to far really to ever be forgiven in my opinion.

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super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
wow, you have read alot, ima try to read up as much as i can and get back to you, pretty much im still only 15, and i dont know my church completely inside out, but i will try to find everything out

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HanClinto

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Registered: 10-11-2004
Thanks for your discussion Super_rad! I don't know what current Mormon temples teach -- I was just going off of what has been written from the founders of that faith.

I'm not sure that Saul (the apostle Paul) was any "worse" of a sinner than Osama Bin Laden. He was *extremely* zealous in traveling around, hunting down and imprisoning/killing Christians before Jesus met him on the road to Damascus.

If God can forgive one such as Saul, couldn't he also forgive Osama? Paul acknowledged that it was not by any works that he had done, but solely through the grace of Christ. Romans talks about this repeatedly.

Would Osama's blood need to be spilled in order for his sin to be "paid for"? No, because Christ's blood was the sufficient sacrifice -- Christ's blood could atone for even Osama's sin.

--clint

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Simon_Templar

Member

Posts: 330
From: Eau Claire, WI USA
Registered: 10-25-2004
I had written out a huge post detailing a good deal of the history of mormonism and so on and so forth, but then I lost it all when my laptop freaked out... I decided that was for the best because I was rambling through all sorts of history and such rather than simply addressing the points in question.

My knowledge of mormonism comes from studying its historical beginnings and development, as well as from talking to a teacher I had at a christian training seminar who had been raised as a mormon and then as an adult converted to christianity. Most of his family were still mormons.

First off, Joseph Smith claimed to have received a number of visions and visitations through the course of his life which lead him to the belief that christianity had become apostate and none of the christian churches had maintained the truth. Smith claimed that his new religion was the only true church and was a return to the truths that had been lost by the christian churches.
Among the most famous of Joseph Smith's visitations were the visits from the Angels Mormon, and Moroni. The later of the two leading Smith to recover the golden tablets which contained the book of mormon. Among other artifacts recovered by Smith were the armor and sword of the angel Mormon.
These two angels were, in mormon teaching, infact two people who had lived in the anceint past. They were the last godly saints of the line of hte lost Israelite tribes that supposedly settled in the americas. Mormon was the last prophet, and Moroni was his son, who took the book of Mormon and burried it, until Joseph Smith was chosen to find the book and reveal it again.

Once the book of Mormon was translated from the golden tablets where it was written in a language called "reformed egyptian" using the Urimm and the Thumim, also found by Smith. The tablets were taken back to heaven by Moroni. Leaving only 11 of the founding members of mormonism as witnesses to evidence that they ever existed, or any of the other artifacts for that matter.

This leads into one of the early teachings of mormonism. The religion originaly taught that humans, through following the path of mormonism, could ascend, or evolve, into gods. It was also taught that God the Father had ascended thus, and at one time he was not almighty God, but was a mortal man.

The view one gets of Joseph Smith depends entirely on who you read or talk to. Mormons of course believe that he was a holy man and a prophet. Most non mormon sources paint Smith as a charlatan, con man, and philanderer.
It is undeniable that when Smith and his followers fled from hostility in New York and settled in Kirtland Ohio, they embarked on a series of financial frauds and disreputable practices to try and gain wealth and take over the local area. This included up buying up large amounts of lan at inflated prices then defaulting on their deals.. and even starting an unchartered bank and issuing worthless money. (remembering at the time money was issued by individual banks, and there wasn't a standardized currency issued by the federal government)
Smith even made a special trip to toronto canada to use a large chunk of the worthless money his bank had printed. The use of this money continued into the time of Brigham Young, who is estimated to have spread about $10,000 of worthless bills.

Through practices like this the mormon's poisoned the locals against them and were forced to flee again, this time to missouri. In Missouri there is little evidence that the mormons perpetrated the kind of frauds they had in ohio, but the locals still turned against them and even the civil authorities turned against them. This turned into a feud between the mormons on the state of missouri that culminated in a raid by locals on a mormon community called Haun's Mill in which 18 mormons, men, women, and children were murdered.
The governer of missouri ordered that the mormons leave and declared them enemies of the state. The mormons fled again, this time to illinois.. but they did attempt, unsuccessfully, to assasinate the governer of missouri.

During this whole time Joseph Smith essentially ruled the mormon community, not only spiritually but civily and militarily as well. In illinois even some mormons began to dissent from smith's strong arm control and began to criticize him openly. Smith meanwhile was even setting his sights on running for president of the US.
Smith's downfall came as the result of a mormon news paper that was publishing Anti-Smith editorials. Smith ordered the paper shut down, and his thug/secret police instead destroyed the newspaper. This caused the State of Illinois to issue warrants for Smith's arrest. Smith and his brother Hyrum surrendered after being assured that they would be protected by the state militia.
While Smith was in jail, an angry mob showed up and found that the militia guards were not at their posts. In a display of mob violence they killed both Smith and his brother.

At this point there was a split in mormonism.. though perhaps not a major one, depending on how you define the word major .
A small group of mormons split off from the main church and stayed in illinois following Joseph Smith Jr. This group basicly leaned back towards mainstream christianity.
the main church however, was taken over by Brigham Young who quickly purged all opposition from the leadership of the church. He was even more charismatic and visionary than Joseph Smith, and for his term.. basicly ruled the mormon church like a 20th century dictator, making full use of thugs, elite secret police, intimidation etc etc.

It was during the time of Brigham Young that the issue of "blood attonement" became a big deal. The mormon teaching was that some major sins could only be attoned for by the blood of the sinner. This doctrine is still visible today in Utah state law, which allows a condemned murderer to choose the death penalty for himself (by firing squad).
During Young's time virtually ever murder in the Utah territory was chalked up to "blood attonement" by the outsiders, which is obviously false. There are, however, some credible cases that were likely incidents of Young's secret police assasinating threats to the mormon community, or carrying out enforced "blood attonement".

The issue of blood attonement goes to the heart of the mormon conception of salvation and justification. The belief that a sinners blood can attone for his own sins denies the full and sole role of Jesus Christ's sacrifice. It shows that at the core, mormon salvation teaching is a doctrine depending on works, rather than grace. Salvation, and ascension is earned by the actions of the person, rather than the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Another issue in blood attonement that is not immediately apparent to most is that if the blood of a sinner attones for his own sin, most people have no need of a savior. The sins of most people can be attoned for by their own death. Thus a person does not have to follow Christ in order to avoid judgement. This interpetation probably wouldn't be admitted to by most mormon teachers, but it is supported by the mormon conception of the afterlife.
In the mormon view, most people don't go to hell.. only the really really bad people go to hell.. like hitler etc. Most people end up in a middle range place where they are technicaly in the kingdom of god, but not in the gloried state that mormons will recieve. The mormons of course get to go to heaven, which in their view amounts to them being the gods that rule over all the other people who don't make it into the higher degree of glory but weren't bad enough to go to hell.

Much of the confusion between mormons and non mormons in discussions like this results from the fact that elements of the mormon doctrine have been changed over time by the various prophets. The prophet is the successor of Smith and is very much like the pope of mormonism. The word of the prophet can change virtually any teaching that has been handed down. One example of this is the racist doctrines mormonism used to have regarding black people. When they became an embarassment they were discarded.
Also, most of the outlandish and really wierd doctrines held by mormonism in the past were the result of words and teachings from the prophets. Not things directly taken from the book of mormon. This is why the reformed mormon church that split off under Joseph Smith's son never became as out there. They were seperated from the succeding teachings of the prophets which formed most of the cultlike practices and teachings mormonism has gone through over the years.

As a result mormonism has changed its face over time to be more acceptable and marketable to a world ever more concious of "cults".

Also, there is the mormon church, and the mormon temple. Basicly the temple is like the inner circle. Not everyone who is in the church gets to go to the temple etc etc. The temple is also secret in its rituals etc, in that those who participate are not allowed to divulge what goes on to others who are not in the temple.
Most of the temple rituals and ceremonies are heavily influenced by Masonic Lodge rites and infact some of them were nearly direct rip offs to begin with. Joseph Smith had been a mason and he borrowed heavily from the masonic rites when he created the temple rites. In fact, it is a theory among some that Smith's death was orchestrated by masons as a retribution for violation of his masonic vows of secrecy.

A couple of the similarities included the mormon practice of "lying for the lord" in which mormons were required to lie and perjure to protect fellow mormons. In early mormonism the entire community was constructed on an "us" vs. "them" mentality to the rest of american society.
Also, the practice of wearing a sacred undergarment was borrowed from Masonry. In masonic lodges members are given an apron of lambs wool that they are required to wear during ceremonies and rituals. They are told that this garment will be their covering when they stand before the judgement seat of God. This was taken almost verbatim into the mormon temple.
Also, there is a great deal of similarity between the masonic vision of God and the early mormon teachings on God.

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-- All that is gold does not glitter,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Not all those who wander are lost.

HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Wow, thanks for the informative post, Josh. I read it all, and it was very interesting.

So that was your shortened version, eh?

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Klumsy

Administrator

Posts: 1061
From: Port Angeles, WA, USA
Registered: 10-25-2001
quote:

He also "translated" Egyptian papyruses into several other major books. At the time the Egyptian language had yet to be rediscovered (by a Frenchman, forget his name). Modern translations of these documents show the papyruses to be the Egyptian Book of the Dead (but don't bring that up since the Mormons have semi-recently changed their story and they claim that the papyruses were destroyed in same fire that destroyed the Golden Tablets).

you are saying that he actually translated the egyption book of the dead? before others had deciphered the script? or that he had it in his possession and couldn't actually read it, but said it said 'this this and this'

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HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
I believe the whole situation is explained well from a critic's viewpoint here. (I don't know of a good apologist viewpoint on the subject, I'd be interested in reading it if someone had a good link).

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GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
When I brought this subject up with my Mormon friend about a month ago this pretty much was his response:

quote:
Another theory is that the Book of Abraham was translated from papyri other than what has been discovered thus far:

"Critics have long attempted to make a case against the Book of Abraham. They argue that some ancient texts do not support the book. They point to the fragments of the Joseph Smith papyri that we now possess and claim that since the contents of these papyri bear little obvious relationship to the Book of Abraham, the book is a fraud; but Hugh Nibley has made an exhaustive study of these claims and has shown that the papyri we now have were probably not the ones from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Abraham." (Daniel C. Peterson, "News from Antiquity," Ensign (January 1994): p. 20)


My friend claims the samples we have are indeed the Egyptian Book of the Dead/Breathing and that the papyri translated into the Book of Abraham was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire. I've found this to be a pretty common tactic: retreat to a position that is at least plausible but almost impossible to find evidence for or against.

Simon_Templar

Member

Posts: 330
From: Eau Claire, WI USA
Registered: 10-25-2004
Clint,

Yea, that was the shortened version... I cut out most of the historical narative which detailed both the early persecutions of mormons, and also the era under Brigham Young which basicly amounted to Young and his crew trying to set up an independant mormon empire in Utah. Its very interesting stuff. Mormonism under Young denied the application of common law, and US courts and laws, formed their own courts, levied (ie extorted) "fines" and tolls from american immagrant wagon trains headed to california.
Its during this era, and the prophets that follow that most of the "wierd" mormon doctrines were taught. During this time, the mormons viewed themselves as very seperate from the rest of america and christianity and thus the things that made them different were valued and pushed.
Now, its a different story.. the things that made mormonism different look very cultic and off the wall to modern eyes, as a result the more recent prophets have shifted the focus to making the mormon church look like the rest of society, and to portray it as another among the plethora of christian churches.
This is why most mormons today think non mormon's are crazy when they talk about all the wierd mormon beliefs.

Now, all of that raises another question for me... if the book of mormon is just "another testament" and doesn't change or add anything to the teachings of christianity... whats the point of it? Why should I view it as inspired? If mormonism doesn't teach anything different or new.. what is the point of the religion? why not simply go to one of the prior christian churches?
Obviously mormonism does have different teachings, its just that the current mormon PR machine thinks its advantagous to appear "normal".

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-- All that is gold does not glitter,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Not all those who wander are lost.

GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
Question: You wouldn't happen to know what Mormons means when they say "I have a personal relationship with God"?
super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
ummm, the golden plates werent destroyed in a fire. and also, the only information that can really be taken seriously is the stuff that is found in the doctrine and covenants, if any of you own a "mormon" set of scriptures then you would know what i am talking about. anything else is not compleatly reliable(exept the april and november editions of the ensign magizine((word of the prophet from conference the month before))) so yeah. all the other books you cant be shure that the words are straight from the mouth of the leaders.

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Simon_Templar

Member

Posts: 330
From: Eau Claire, WI USA
Registered: 10-25-2004
hmmm...

Well... I've never heard the story before that the golden tablets were destroyed, so I decided to try and search it out. After an hour or so of internet research I can't find a single source, either pro mormon, or con mormon which states that the golden plates were destroyed in a fire.
Every source I have found, again both Mormon sources, and non mormon sources, claim that the tablets were returned to the custody of the angel Moroni, who then it is assumed returned them to heaven.

Furthermore, it is historicaly recorded that Joseph Smith himself made this claim, that he had given the plates back into the care of the angel Moroni when he was finished with the translation.

The only record of destruction by fire was of the papyri Joseph Smith purchased and translated the book of abraham from.

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-- All that is gold does not glitter,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Not all those who wander are lost.

Simon_Templar

Member

Posts: 330
From: Eau Claire, WI USA
Registered: 10-25-2004
Now, my own opinion of Joseph Smith...

Smith's family growing up held a number of superstitions which particularly captivated Joseph Smith II. In specific the practice of dowsing and the practice of one particular diviner who visited Joseph Smith's community who looked through magic rocks and claimed to be able to see where treasure was buried.
Smith himself picked up and attempted this practice, using his own magic rocks and claiming to be able to find buried treasure. His failed attempts at this resulted in several parties bringing a law suit against him because they felt that he had defrauded them. This was the beginning of a series of legal troubles through out Joseph Smith's life caused by his dubious financial and business dealings.

It was shortly after Joseph's failed treasure hunt, that he began to claim he was receiving angelic visitations, which originaly he thought was leading him to a buried spanish treasure located on his family land. Eventually he claimed these visitations gave him the golden tablets.. and the magic rocks he used to look through to translate them (later he would call these the Urimm and Thummim from the mysterious objects held by the High Priest of ancient Judaism.

The only question from my point of view is was Joseph Smith simply a con man who figured out that when you promise people buried treasure you have to deliver or you lose your hold over them.. but you can use the same techniques to give people a religion and never have to deliver any actual substance to maintain your hold over people.
Or.. was Joseph Smith a boy who through curiosity got himself wrapped up in the occult and became deceived by an angel of light, and a healthy amount of self delusion?

I'm not saying that to be inflamatory or offensive.. but that is my honest opinion based on the historical evidence surrounding the man and his life.

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-- All that is gold does not glitter,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Not all those who wander are lost.

GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
Well, apparently there is a ward in FL teaching that they were destroyed by fire (which I was told recently). I've heard multiple stories but you're right that the official line is that they were given back to Moroni. It's been a while but I remember reading about that.
super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
hmm, i have acually never heard of them being destroyed in a fire, and yes, they were returned to the angel moroni after the translation was complete.

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super_rad

Member

Posts: 32
From: Federal way,WA, USA
Registered: 08-17-2005
ooh i just found a pretty cool article...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9630255/site/newsweek/

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