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Book looks at Mormon misconceptions

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  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 11:26 p.m.

    As listed in the article here are things said about Mormons:

    Mormons do believe in Christ as the son of God and that he was resurrected and atoned for the sins of all.

    Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God

    In the premortal realm both Christ and Satan came up with plans on how to govern the spirits of the during their mortal lives on earth.

    Mormons believe the special underwear they are commanded to wear at all times to be like a protective armor if not against physical harm but for sure against spiritual harm. I used to wear them thinking this and was told that the underwear was like my armor going into battle every day.

    Current LDS church teachings are that polygamy isn't to be practiced because of a revelation that Wilford Woodruff received that coincided with the State of Utah trying to gain Statehood. However, men can have multiple wives in the hereafter.have multiple wives in the hereafter.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 11:28 p.m.

    It seems that this book address' the "soft ball" Mormon misconceptions. Do Mormons have horns? Nope. That's an easy one. Do Mormons believe in the Bible? Yep. (As far as it is translated correctly). Do Mormons practice polygamy? No. (But they do believe that it is practiced in heaven).

    It certainly is a good thing to clear up misconceptions and things that are flat out wrong. I also believe that people should be aware of some of the more difficult Mormon issues. I assume that no one but apologists are tackling those issues. Why would you want to bring up difficult issues when satisfiable answers are lacking/conflicting/not addressed by church leaders? Yep, its best to stick to the "soft ball" issues.

  • patjan Flower Mound, TX
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:20 a.m.

    I am so glad that this book is coming out! I live in Texas. Some people call it the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. There are so many misconceptions about Mormons here, it is unbelievable. I have wished for so long that there was a public way to get the truth out to these people who have been fed a bunch of bologna about us. I wish that there was some kind of pageant here like they have in Mesa, Arizona or in Nauvoo to tell people what we really believe. The people here live in the dark ages when it comes to Mormons. The members are expected to live in such a way that others will know who we really are, but it really seems that they refuse to see. I yearn for the day when the South will wake up out of their Mormon ignorance and have that "Aha" moment. Texas is the polar opposite of Utah - with Mormons being the misunderstood minority. Even the Dallas Temple, which I love, is hidden from view where it cannot attract attention.

  • Michael De Groote
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    I will be doing follow-up stories on some of the polling data Lawrence has collected relating to a few of the topics he covers in his new book.

  • Rand FLAGSTAFF, AZ
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:23 a.m.

    I agree that the LDS Church has been working very hard to present a modern, mainstream appearance that emphasizes doctrine palatable to more of us, but ignoring the difficult doctrinal changes. I have still never heard anything remotely logical for why polygamy was fiercely mandated, then shunned once statehood was desired. Or why African Americans were denied full membership rights until 14 years after the Civil Rights Act. Frankly, I think this makes current members uncomfortable and I don't think it is talked about much at all. The LDS Church wants converts, but prospective members are going to want an explanation for these things at some point.

  • Miriam SEATTLE, WA
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    Because of Mormonism's belief regarding the apostasy, Christianity isn't really Christianity, but Mormonism.

    Christians believe they will be in union with God in heaven and with all their loved ones who likewise chose God.

  • grouchyoldman Arden, NC
    Aug. 11, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    I look forward to the release of this book. I live in the south and have experienced personally the bible knowledge of many who live here, and have found that the bulk of their understanding comes from the pulpit, television and radio. An example is every year the largest Baptist Church in the area has what they call Cult Week. The Mormons have traditionally been assigned Thursday.

  • Truth and Light Chicago, Illinois
    Aug. 11, 2011 7:45 a.m.

    So, we believe it is ok to profit from doing what should more appropriately be done by the prophet? Why not just follow the Church's program for dealing with public relations? Seems to be a better approach than writing and marketing a book that appeals to the flavor of the day. Here's an idea, start a company that sells religious books through multi-level marketing.

  • Bro.D Cornelius, Oregon
    Aug. 11, 2011 7:45 a.m.

    There is so much anti-Mormon rhetoric out there it's astonishing. The general public has been "educated" with these falsehoods by the orthodox creedal Christians in our society for 170 years. The only way to combat these falsehoods is to do exactly what Lawrence is doing....talk about our faith. Bone up on the basics and tell the truth of our faith and the churches doctrine. I don't think it's was a coincidence that for the past year and a half we've been using the Gospel Principles manual in preisthood and Relief Society. The only people who should define what we believe is us and you can't correct a falsehood if you don't know the churches basic tennents.
    Prepare yourselves and stand firm.

  • LeonardL Sandy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:12 a.m.

    Evangelist preachers although they do not speak about it often see their religion as a business, and a source of income. If for example in an area dominated by McDonald's restaurants and a new business such as Carl's Jr comes in to town, they would threaten the income of McDonald's. And if you talk to the owners and managers of McDonald's they will tell you all types of bad things about Carl's Jr. Even though Carl's Jr might be a very good concept, people would need to try it and find out themselves and develop an objective opinion. One cannot rely purely on the words from the McDonald's owners and managers.

  • sfcretdennis Nice, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:12 a.m.

    Rand | 6:23 a.m. If you wont answers to the issue of blacks then ask a black why they joined the church at a time when they were not allowed.

    I grow up in this church, but did not come to fully understand and except it until I was a young adult.

    During my 21 years of Army service, I asked questions on how others believed so I could understand other faiths. Also so that if I had a soldier in need of help I could help them based on their faith and not mine. It my studies I found this church "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" make the most since.

    As for the Temple Garments, well it is a reminder of the covenants we made in the Temple; the protection is this reminder and as such well help in avoiding temptation. Don't mean we won't make mistakes but it helps as a constant reminder. This protection is referred to. To wear the garments is one's own choose you don't have to wear it. It is up to you and as such, it reminds you of you covenants.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Rand: re:polygamy. Turning away from polygamy was not just an issue re:statehood. The national government instituted a law saying that any group that practiced polygamy could have all its property confiscated by the federal government -- churches, schools, temples, farms, etc. (Yes, this is in violation of the Constitution's First Amendment that Congress shall respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof) Although the law did not specify Mormons, it was most certainly aimed at Mormons. After extensively and unsuccessfully attempting to establish through the court system that the law was unconstitutional, God and Pres. Woodruff decided that ending polygamy was the wiser course of action.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    I agree with Rand,

    If the book has real answers for things such as the Curse of Cain taking so long to be overcome, I'll read it. Otherwise, the church has never given me a real answer for that. Just seems too convenient for them to change it after much societal pressure, BYU picketed games, and of course starting missions in Brazil and Africa.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    I hope his book is accurate in portraying Church doctrine and practice. I'm getting tired of less-active, barely active, or former Church members publicly giving their answers to what we believe and thereby showing that they don't understand what we believe themselves. In so doing they perpetuate wrong impressions or start new ones circulating.

  • zer28 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    Truth and Light:

    I don't understand your argument. You're saying that it's not ok for members of the church to write books defending their religion? Are blogs ok? What about newspaper/magazine articles? Pamphlets? Not sure why you would be against this.

    That's like saying that James E. Talmage shouldn't have written "Jesus the Christ", because he made money off of it.

    Strange.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    @Thinkman: Just a minor correction for you. Christ and Satan did not "come up with plans". Heavenly Father presented His plan. Christ decided to do the Father's will and Satan rebelled against it. It was never Christ's plan nor do I think Satan really planned anything. I think he was more interested in being a dictator and destroying agency.

  • kmsiever Lethbridge, AB
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    In a survey, Lawrence found that only 3 out of 10 people say Mormons are only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have nothing to do with polygamous groups. About 45 percent of people polled thought all believers in the Book of Mormon are called Mormons, while 25 percent had no opinion.

    Thats not a misconception; its true. Mormonism covers all the churches that claim to descend from Joseph Smith. Its no different from all the churches claiming to be Christian.

    Its ironic the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to argue they be included in the definition of Christian, but insist on a monopoly of the term Mormon.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    So long as nuts like Brian David Mitchell and Warren Jeffs get the National and InterNational Spotlights as claiming to be Mormon Prophets....

    Mormons will continue to suffer with public perception.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    "About 45 percent of people polled thought all believers in the Book of Mormon are called Mormons..."

    I'm a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and you can count me in that group.

    Mormons claim they are Christian because they believe in Christ. That's fair enough. Likewise, any group that believes in The Book of Mormon should be allowed to call themselves Mormon.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:00 a.m.

    At a theological seminary where he was invited to speak, Cecil Samuelson asked the professors of religion three questions:

    Do you accept the Biblical account of Christ's birth?
    Do you accept the Biblical account of his ministry (including miracles)?
    Do you accept the Biblical account of his resurrection?

    The Christian professors struggled with these questions. Virgin Birth? Miracles? Inseparable union of body and spirit? As they hashed out these events, they were viewed as allegorical, fantasy, rhetorical, illustrative, etc. Virtually every interpretation except as an accurate historical accounting of the life and ministry of Christ.

    Samuelson was able to state that Mormons accept the Biblical accounts without reservation and follow up with the question: In light of the fact that we accept the Biblical account of Christ's life and ministry while you question it, who do you think is more worthy to be called a Christian?

    His question was met with silence. Most non-LDS Christians pick and choose what parts of the Biblical account they can accept "without reservation" and ignore the rest. I find it extremely ironic that they consider Mormons to be non-Christian.

    As a whole, Mormons are the most Christian group on earth.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Does it cover the book of abraham?

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:11 a.m.

    I was taught in Sunday School that Jesus and Satan were brothers, so at least in small-town Utah, there were misconception even within the faith.

  • hairypatches Hurricane, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    Interesting that members rather than church leaders take the lead on addressing difficult issues in the church with few exceptions.

    If you want to find really eloquent and detailed answers regarding blacks and the priesthood for instance, you need look no further than LDS members of African descent like Darius Grey or Marvin Perkins. Keith Hamilton's or Marcus Martins' books for instance. They did not have to be commanded in all things but took the initiative to do it themselves. It's the same thing with LDS apologetics. Members got tired or being beat up on issues they knew were not correct so they developed an apologetics network of like minded members. If you want to know about polygamy issues read up on Max Anderson or Brian Hales. Max's wife from Colorado City AZ would not marry him until she was convinced that the Priesthood was with the church which led to Max digging into the issue of fundamentalism. Brian C, Hales had a sister that converted to Fundamentalism and has researched and written extensively.

    Bottom line. The brethren will rarely take on the big issues. Need to know? Do it yourself.

    Sounds like this what this author did.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    I don't understand the concern about whether Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. So were Cain and Abel but it is not a negative reflection of Abel.

    Some evangelical says in a hush voice and a gasp: "The Mormons believe that Jesus is the brother of Satan." And all those who oppose Mormonism lean back and gasp loudly and say: "Oh, My!!" Even members of the church shifting their eyes when the topic comes up.

    My response so far has been: "So what? Is that a bad thing? Does it somehow reflect poorly on Christ? Is he somehow less worthy because of a spiritual relationship to Satan?"

    Nobody has yet been able to explain why I should even care about this. Is someone willing to give it a shot?

  • Alpine Blue Alpine, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    As my dear wife keeps reminding me everytime I whine about some media misconception or outright slander by some commenter or ex-member against the church: "sticks and stones..." and her favorite: "...no unhallowed hand.."

    And bless her heart, she is (as always) dead-on correct. I have no doubt that the kingdom of God will continue (in spite of all its imperfect members, a handful of very vocal former members, ministers of other antagonistic faiths irritated at the dilution of their membership/donor bases by LDS missionaries,
    and other assorted warts) to roll forth boldly and nobly to fill the entire earth.

    It is obivious that although the church organization is perfect-the people of the church are not quite there...yet.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    @Rand: God is known through human testimony and personal manifestations. No logic or science brings this familiarity with God.

    If you still seek a logical explanation for the LDS brief history with polygamy or the longer history of polygamy in general, God has explained his decisions to allow polygamy at times and not allow it at times in the scriptures. A good one is in Jacob 2:27-30. The word "otherwise" in verse 30 is very important and means that God can allow or disallow polygamy as He sees fit. His reason given for allowing it at times is given in verse 30: to "raise up seed unto me".

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    I agree with others who've commented here that Lawrence's book seems to be addressing "soft-ball" issues only. And it's these same "soft-ball" issues that Church leaders and the Church's Public Affairs Department like to use when discussing differences between us and other Christian denominations.

    However, (like many members of the Church) I've done a bit of research into Church history and have studied other religions since I was young. And, like others in the Church, I'm willing to acknowledge and discuss some of the "hard-ball" issues used by other Christians as concerns with our religion.

    It's those "hard-ball" issues and problems with our history that ought to be addressed. I look forward to such a book (but don't anticipate one anytime soon because many of those issues can only be dealt with by our saying mistakes were made).

    Further, Lawrence's comparing our differences with the FLDS to those of American and Southern Baptists was poorly pondered, especially when he followed this by claiming the FLDS can't call themselves "Mormons." Both American and Southern Baptists refer to themselves as "Baptists."

    And didn't Pres. Packer recently remind us all that we're not "Mormons" anyway?

  • Alpine Blue Alpine, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    And we "ain't heard nothing yet!"

    Just wait until the Obama Re-Election machine with it's "Kill Romney" mantra gets revved up.

    Better zip up our protective armor because it is going to get very ugly.

  • Robroy Murray, utah
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    I believe that the church teaches that both Christ and Satan were among God's spiritual children, therefore by default they are spiritual brothers. Christ is our elder brother and again by default Satan is our spiritual brother as well.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    Misconceptions of the LDS are rampant. Even this comment-string already includes many, and it is still morning, so Gary's book should be a hit. For some reason we can't be apathetic here. We have to take sides, and that fuels interest, and interest fuels growth.

    Is the name of Joseph Smith, Jr., still thought of sufficient importance today to attract the attention of our most popular sects and political leaders? How could an obscure boy whose circumstances in life made him of little consequence in the world, cause such polarization? Why have so many taken to excite a bitter persecution against him and the religion he was instrumental in re-establishing? Why does this religion thrive after all the trash talk? Why are faithful LDS so happy, so exemplary of their savior Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in purity?

    Despite the efforts of detractors, this has become a very popular and rapidly growing faith. There is something going on here that transcends man. While we slept last night, 700 additional individuals entered the waters of baptism into this faith. At least that many join daily. Why?

    Mormon dot org may have the answers you seek.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 11, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    Can anyone tell me why societal pressure isn't a good reason for God to change doctrine? After all, didn't God give Israel a lesser law under Moses because of societal pressure? Certainly societal pressure is not always enough of a reason for changing church practices, but why wouldn't it be a legitimate consideration? I don't care of polygamy and withholding the priesthood from blacks were mistakes or true doctrine that we are no longer required to follow. What matters is that the leadership of the church, with proper priesthood authority, has discontinued those practices. I really don't see what people are so hung up about. Besides, it's not like we sit around in church and talk about these things, as if they have some kind of significant impact on the here and now. We sit around and talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how to serve one another in practical, meaningful ways. I really don't care about obscure comments from past prophets if those obscure comments have nothing to do with what the leadership of the church is counseling us to do now.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:02 a.m.

    Polygamy was revealed (supposedly) through Joseph Smith as a doctrine. It was practiced, and then Wilford Woodruff ended it. The belief in the doctrine was still there, but not the practice. Then you have president Hinckley stating that polygamy is "not doctrinal" and all of the sudden we don't believe in that doctrine anymore. If the church leadership didn't dodge all of the hard issues and keep changing doctrine it would eliminate alot of misunderstandings. My guess is that will never happen. Leadership doesn't talk about hard issues anymore, they don't even discuss deep doctrine from the pulpit as they did in days before.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:02 a.m.

    Was Joseph Smith an adulterer, a treasure hunter, a free speech violator, etc.? Even if he was, does that preclude God from giving him a specific mission to accomplish? I don't worship Joseph Smith, so I really could care less about how imperfect he was, and it seems to me he paid for it with his life anyway.

    Am I supposed to deny and forget every good and/or miraculous thing I have ever experienced as a Mormon because Joseph Smith said there were people on the moon? Do you think Moses, or Peter, James and John had an accurate understanding of all things scientific? Do we care?

    I'm a Mormon, because I believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, that he is the Savior, and that the LDS Church has the proper authority to administer the ordinances required to follow the Savior's plan to reach our full potential and happiness in the eternities. I'm a Mormon, because it gives me the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is and put my faith in Jesus Christ into action through service to others. I don't care where the Nephites lived, and I'm out of space.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    For decades the media in the USA has ignored the LDS church------for a long time media has ignored all religion-----only focusing on the sensational. Media does not like religion. Hollywood does not like religion. Universities in the USA do not like religion. And yet most people in our country believe in the Bible and prayer. This is war; a subtle war. The Church as been patient for decades and now many are surprised that "all of a sudden" there is talk of religion in the media. Back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, the church could have said, "Pay more attention to us!!!!" Leaders were patient and humble. Today it is very amusing that the media, universities and Hollywood all are forced to deal with truth and reality.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    It's only been a couple of days since my epiphany if you can call it that. Or at least since deciding it is high time I follow what I have been prompted to do for a long time now. But it feels good and I invite all on here to join:

    What we DO is far, far, more important that what we BELIEVE.

    I am almost embarrased to recognize how much time and energy I have spent thinking, talking and wondering about things like the Church's spiritual practice of polygamy or whether or not the Book of Mormon is an actual history. I appreciate all I have learned frequenting this board but it is time to just become a person of love, charity, and service.

    Members of the LDS Church do at ton of good just like members of other faiths and individuals of no religious persuasion. In the end, that is what matters!

    If your beliefs or lack of belief help you do more good then that is fantastic. I just think we all need to be careful that our time is spent in ACTION. Show your faith through deeds not arguing over doctrine and beliefs.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    Well said, Idaho Coug...well said.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    I'm not LDS but I have a lot of friends who are ministers of various faiths including the Mormon faith. I think a lot of the "Mormons are not Christians" talk goes back to the increase of Mormon missionary activity of fifty years ago. There is an unwritten rule among evangelicals that you don't raid each others congregations. Mormons obviously don't follow that rule and do try to make converts from the "already churched." I think you will find that a lot of this talk is backlash and it is organized and will most likely continue.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    Brahmabull: I think we need to come to an understanding of what constitutes doctrine.

    In my mind, the church is comprised of five primary elements: doctrine, principles, ordinances, commandments, and practices.

    Doctrines include things like Godhead and plan of salvation. They don't change.

    Principles include things like faith, obedience, sacrifice, etc. The principle doesn't change but the practice of the principle can change.

    Ordinances include baptism, sacrament, temple, etc and we know that they can change. Christ himself instituted the sacrament to replace animal sacrifice.

    Commandments include tithing, word of wisdom, etc and can also change. Our health laws are much different than those in the Old Testament.

    Practices include home teaching, FHE, and are the implementation of most of the things above. They change, sometimes frequently.

    I submit that plural marriage fits into all five categories. As a doctrine and principle, I believe it is unchanged. As an ordinance, a commandment, and a practice, it has changed significantly.

    Sacrifice is another example. The doctrine and priciple are unchanged but the practice has included animal sacrifice, tithing, and consecration.

    The problem with most non-Mormons is they can't distinguish between the doctrine and the practice.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    @Alpine Blue
    You won't have to wait that long. It will start in the Republican primary.

  • jaredw007 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    I personally think it's a waste of time when fellow Mormons try to argue for acceptance with other Christian faiths to counted as Christian. So they Evangelicals and Baptists don't believe we're Christian, who cares? Do these other denominations own the term "Christian"? Is there some patent or copyright on Christianity and the definition of it that they own and we don't know about? Of course not! So when somebody comes up to me and says "You guys aren't Christian!" My response is usually, "You believe what you wanna believe but do not try to explain my religion to me! If we believe we are Christian then that is our business and our personal belief. You don't own the word "Christian" so don't try to dictate your definition of it on me." My belief in Mormon Christianity is that if I was not Mormon, I would not a Christian at all.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    To clarify, the Jesus/Satan Brothers comment is not a misunderstood doctrinal issue for members of the LDS Church, who recognize that as spirit children of our Father in Heaven not only are Jesus and Satan (aka Lucifer, son of the morning fallen from heaven [Isaiah 14:12]) brothers, but that WE are similarly brothers and sisters as children of God. It's just that Satan rebelled against God to the point where he and his followers were eventually cast out.

    The Jesus/Satan brothers routine is used by anti-Mormons to raise the eyebrows of non-LDS Christians and play on their ignorance of the LDS Church's doctrinal understanding.

  • BMW San Antonio, Texas
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    So there is still opposition in all things. Bring it on.
    I was a missionary in SoCal when the "GOD MAKERS" film was shown...it got me in a lot of doors and was very good for the growth of the church.
    So I say...nring it on. You are only fulfilling propesy.

  • Truth and Light Chicago, Illinois
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Hi again,

    We need to follow the prophet and formal program of the Chuch, otherwise there will be continued confusion in the public about what Mormon's believe. Lay members should not hold themselves out as speaking on behalf of the Church, just refer to what is distributed by the Church.

  • Amarillo Slim Buda, TX
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Regarding comments the book seemingly deals with "softball" issues...

    If you read the comments here, like the commenters from Texas and North Carolina who explain how little correct understanding of the LDS Church there is in many places, and if you realize that this basic incorrect information is being spread by pastors of other faith in a deliberate attempt to poison their parishioners against the LDS Church, then you shouldn't wonder why it would be necessary to produce a book that even handles the easy stuff. The misconceptions addressed in the book come from the author's actual experience, after all.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    "The problem with most non-Mormons is they can't distinguish between the doctrine and the practice."

    That's true, and I think it is understandable.

    A lot of times when I speak about doctrine with people who aren't members of the church, I get questions like, "Why do they make you..." or "Do you have to..." and "Why do you believe..."

    And what I usually say is that "They" don't "make" us do anything. Everybody has their agency. Also, we don't "have" to do anything, really. It's just a matter of how much you want the gospel to work in your life. For example, if you want to go to the temple and be sealed to your family, you have to pay tithing and obey the word of wisdom. And if you want your home to be a pleasant place to live where you can feel the spirit, you'll probably want to read the scriptures, pray and have FHE as a family on a regular basis. There is also a lot of diversity of opinion within the Church as to what certain doctrines mean, and I think that is okay.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    Is Keller's claim that Joseph Smith was a "murderer" based on Joseph's getting a few shots off at the mob at Carthage Jail? ("Lamb to the slaughter," yes, but a particularly well-armed lamb.)

    If so, I suggest he consult a law book on the subject of self-defense and defense of others.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    joe5's comment is very clear in showing the confusion among "Christian" churches...so many are charismatic, enthralled with their ministers who set themselves up as the last word on everything, that they assume Mormon's must do as they do, worship their leaders, while they leave unanswered the "hardball" questions concerning he whom we Mormons truly worship, Jesus Christ.

    Evangelists and ministers practice "priestcraft" and have no understanding of priesthood, the power and authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ. As Paul of old said, "he whom ye ignorantly worship, declare I unto you," even Jesus Christ. Leaders of so called "Christian" churches do not truly acknowedge or know him, and speak out of jealously for power, prestige, money.

  • The Rabbit (in Spanish) Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    "In a survey, Lawrence found that only 3 out of 10 people say Mormons are only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have nothing to do with polygamous groups."

    It is disingenuous to state the Mainstream Mormon church and its members have nothing to do with polygamy. They are the ones who started it. Many of the current Mormons have ancestors who practiced polygamy. The offshoots of the main church many times branched off BECAUSE of the change in the acceptance of polygamy.

    It is kind of like saying that a match that started a forest fire isn't responsible for the fire 10 miles away. The fact is these groups wouldn't exist if the Mormon church had not believed in polygamy in the first place.

  • Jazz Bass Man Wellsville, Utah
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    To metamoracoug, Do you really think that God had any hand in making the decision to end polygamy? That would mean that God decided to change his mind to give in to the will and laws of men. I also don't think God would "change his mind" regarding the forbiddance of black men to hold the priesthood, just because of the civil rights movement.

    I really don't think God works that way, no matter how these church authorities try to spin it as such. I believe that God is bigger than that.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    I think there are some crazy misconceptions that can and should be resolved.

    I also think that as a pecular people, we will only become more pecular as societal moors continue to shift WAY towards permissiveness and expression regardless of consequence.

    In a way, being called "weird" probably means we're doing what we're suppose to be doing and NOT doing what we're NOT suppose to do.

  • Free Man Provo, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    Culturally and spiritually, many peoples and religions in past ages as well as today practice(d) polygamy. It is active in many regions of the world today (not just FLDS). One must be careful in applying one's colloquial understanding of what is acceptable to others with different cultural/spiritual beliefs. Granted, there are abuses aplenty. But Orson Pratt wrote eloquently on the virtues as well. Perhaps, that is why "The Seer" is now out of print. No worries.

    The misrepresentation of religious practices is not limited to Mormonism. In fact, most peoples of faith have at one time or another been greatly mistreated by those not of their faith - because of their comparative "strangeness." The film industry has created some hilariously wrong caricatures grotesquely inaccurate of the tenets of many faiths. I am sure that Atheists, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindu, and Jews have been thus insulted many times.

    So, what do we take away? (If we profess to follow Christ) We love our neighbors as ourselves. Correct misperceptions with dignity and compassion. And, as most church leaders do, ignore the ridiculous as not worthy of a response. We'll all be more "expert" on these big questions in the afterlife.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    Believing in Jesus isn't enough to make you a Christian. Bill Maher's point: Islam believes in Jesus they believe Muhammad was more important. One Sunday in a Mormon church and you discover that Joseph Smith is talked about more than Jesus. Even if that weren't the case, Christianity requires a belief in one god and doesn't allow for the idea that we can all be gods.

    The truth is going to be hard to deal with. Mormons make claims of protection - some pretty spectacular stories about their garments - the genesis of the joke; Polygamy in heaven...that's a tough story to sell. The only "true church" makes most uncomfortable. Men have the priesthood and women don't...not popular. The history with slavery and even with blacks and the priesthood. Secret Temple rituals. Prophets and revelation.

    The challenge with mainstreaming the LDS faith is that it is not mainstream. Apologists will have to pick their battles carefully so not to fuel more debate. You aren't going to change many minds - Keller makes a living creating controversy. Listen to his program and you'll probably conclude that neither he nor his followers are going to won over.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:40 a.m.

    Rand & LValfre: re:priesthood. In ancient Israel, only male Levites were permitted to hold the priesthood. Do we deduce from this that God is sexist and a respecter of persons? Or do we assume that Moses was racist, wanting to reserve this privileged status to his own tribe?

    Provide me adequate answers to these questions, then perhaps we can discuss in greater depth your concerns regarding the Mormon church & priesthood.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    Joe5:

    It looks like you have figured it out just as you say...in your mind. You have rationalized a dichotomy that makes Prophets unaccountable for the claim that they are...well...Prophets/Seers. Even so, I encourage you to take it to the next step and figure out how it really works outside of your mind's desire to rationalize.

    Unfortunately, so many would like to speak for the Church, yet I find it instructive that as per the Priesthood, the Prophet is the only person on earth who make speak the will of the Lord regarding his Church...and yet the Prophet has been astonishingly silent. I'm doubtful that Mormon belief exists as a construct outside of the vast majority of Mormons percieve it.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    Joe5 - Then you go directly what Hinckley said when he said polygamy is "not doctrinal" This is why the church has so many questions among the membership. The leaders often contradict themselves. One prophet says one thing, another one says another. That makes me question the validity of the revelations that are given. Some things are obviously not clear among the leadership, so how are members supposed to get them clear?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Central Texan: The Jesus/Satan brothers routine is used by anti-Mormons to raise the eyebrows of non-LDS Christians and play on their ignorance of the LDS Church's doctrinal understanding.

    Milton R. Hunter The appointment of Jesus o be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning this spirit-brother of Jesus(Gospel through the ages). The devil is a spirit son of God..(Mormon doctrine p. 192)

    Mormons don't believe the Bible. Orson Hyde, The Bible is not a sufficient guide; it is only the history of the people who live 1800 years ago(JoD 2:75). Joseph Smith, Ignorant translator, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.(teachings of the prophet JS).

    #8, We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. If this a true statement; like snow is white, there are many modern translation available today. #13 We believe in being honest

  • TallGuy1970 Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    For those confused about why the LDS Church stopped the practice of polygamy, I urge you to actually read the Official Declaration #1 from the Doctrine and Covenants. It points out very clearly that the prophet at that time, considering the law had changed and it was now illegal to practice plural marriage, asked what is the best option concerning the future of plural marriage for the members of the church.

    Wilford Woodruff goes on to explain how he was shown that continuing the practice of plural marriage would have brought great condemnation and destruction to the church, and he was told to discontinue the practice. It explains things in common sense. Read it!

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    As noted in some of the comments above, it's pretty clear that some members of the Church prefer not to come to grips with our Church's history and it's doctrinal history. Rather, they disregard it and instead say we should just be focused on doing good. That's fine. However, ignorance is never bliss.

    Even @Independent recognizes there are some problems with the Church's past with regards to polygamy and blacks holding the priesthood, otherwise why bring them up? And his response of "who cares?" or Church leaders' unwillingness to discuss them is the reason why the attacks will continue.

    Don't we still believe that a person's past mistakes still need to be resolved, or have we now arrived at the point where the past doesn't matter?

    The Mountain Meadows Massacre is an example of a past mistake that for decades Church leaders refused to discuss. However, once Pres Hinckley did address it and Brother Turley from the Church's Historical Department wrote about it--acknowledging that mistakes were made, we were able to finally get past it. And it isn't brought up anymore.

    There's a lesson here.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    Independent, Joe5, & Idahocoug: Good, well thought out responses. They are helpful to me. Independent, I've read many of your posts in other places and truly appreciate your perspective.

    Jazz Bass Man: excellent moniker. Please see my 11:40 post regarding priesthood and Joe5's post regarding doctrine, principle, etc.

    Does God change his mind? No. But if the government had confiscated all church properties, would the work of the church have been able to continue? It certainly would have thrown a big wrench in the works. What other options were there other than giving up the practice? We believe in being subject to the laws of the land: 1)fight a war for independence from the US?; 2)migrate all those Mormons (who were now well established for 50 years in Utah and other colonies) to Canada or Mexico?; 3)continue civil disobedience?

  • JustaJohnBrown FREMONT, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    Regarding the whole Jesus & Satan are brothers thing, I don't think the problem to most Christians is that being a brother of Satan would reflect poorly on Jesus. The reason they say this is that they lead it back in the direction of "Christ existed forever and ever and was not created." Most of these people believe in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost. So they bring it up because they see Jesus as one of the roles of God and to say Satan is his brother is confusing and weird to their thought process.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    OK, myth or fact - A socialist, however defined, cannot be a member in good standing in the LDS Church, or, a socialist cannot be welcome in the LDS Church, or a Democrat cannot be welcome in the LDS Church. Pick your question and answer it.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    @MapleDon: If you've done all this research and have all this information why are you waiting for someone else to write a book? Why do you write one yourself?

    @Brahmabull: Are you LDS? Also, could you make a list of what you consider the "hard issues"?

    What answers are you looking for regarding your concerns that you don't have? What will satisfy you?

    If you are LDS, why do you think the church is teaching from Gospel Principles the past 2 years? I believe it's because so many don't know the basics of the gospel let alone whatever one calls the "hard issues" or mysteries of the gospel.

    What does knowing the intricacies of the decisions regarding polygamy and blacks and the priesthood have on whether I obey the commandments, am a good person, father and husband, fulfill my calling etc?

    Will not knowing the intricacies keep me from the Celestial Kingdom?

    There are too many who worry about irrelevant issues and completely miss the mark. Jacob 4:14.

    I know that Woodruff and Kimball were prophets and did as the Lord commanded them. That's good enough for me.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    While I respect the fact yes it's true, prospective converts need to know some answers to some ofthese questions, we need to remember something. Don't ever let science, and also the fact that you need answers NOW, stop you from believing. This gospel is bigger than us people. Sometimes we lack faith, so we seek to be experts, when really we will find the answers in heaven.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    As an active member this is in answer to RAND's comments. As far as the black people being granted membership I thought it was a wonderful revelation. I remember the day it occurred. I think if an active member has a true and genuine testimony any decision by the First Presidency will be welcomed and supported without animosity or question. There are many lukewarm members in our Church and unfortunately those who are not members believe what they say. Many struggle to accept our beliefs because they do not have understanding and knowledge. If there are issues that cause concern we need to pray about it and there will be understanding, peace of mind. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perfect - it's just the members that aren't.

  • Independent Woman West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    Let me just say to you who insist that God doesn't change His mind, you could certainly take the "sacrifice" of Isaac by his father Abraham as changing His mind. I'm not saying that He did because He certainly had the whole thing planned out before it happened, but you could also say that about polygamy and universal priesthood. Can any of you actually read God's mind? Must be interesting.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    Last post due to DN limit.

    TheRabbit: Are you responsible for every action of your children, grandchildren, etc? Then why blame the LDS church for the actions of their children, grandchildren, etc.

    Jazzbassman: Did God change his mind about Ninevah after the accepted Jonah's teachings? Actually, I agree that he doesn't but he makes accommodations for the agency of man and sometimes it gives that perception.

    speed66: Christ was not mainstream or popular either. Good company.

    Mormoncowboy: You and I perceive prophets differently. Mormons do not believe prophets are perfect. Only one man (Christ) was perfect. Biblical and BoM prophets were imperfect (too many examples to cite). Why should we demand it of today's prophets?

    Brahmabull: Mormons are free to learn directly through own spiritual powers. Prophets are an aid, much like scriptures, to help us find our way.

    Sharrona: The Bible is not a sufficient guide by itself. Neither is the BoM. Neither is President Monson. Yet we believe in all of them.

    MapleDon: Why must you come to grips with our history? It's a fascinating study but it neither proves nor disproves Mormonism.

    I guess I'm out of opportunities to comment. Thanks for the discussion.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    @Charles,

    How do you know Woodruff and Kimball were prophets? I can't imagine how someone could prove that anybody was a prophet or hears from god. And why them over you or I hearing from the big man (or woman) up stairs?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    @ charles - Yes I am a member of the church. I have been in gospel doctrine class - they teach the same thing over and over every few years. Those type of things get old after having heard them so many times. Same thing with conference - same generalized talks, even recirculated talks after a few years. I don't think the presidents of the church are prophets in the same sense that you do. You must give prophecies to be a prophet. They give guidance, council, suggestions, some good talks, but prophets?? Does god speak to them as he supposedly did to Joseph Smith?? No, he doesn't. Many members think that they "talk to god" It is a myth that is unsubstantiated in the church like the three nephites stories (most of which have no basis of fact), cain, and other stories that are embellished over time. I think talks should be doctrinal ones - like in the time of Brigham Young where they were actual sermons. You walways hear "milk then meat", but it is opposite, the early church talked about the deep doctrine and the modern church gives only basic talks. Sounds like it went "meat then milk."

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    Independent Woman: The story of Isaac and Abraham is a wonderfully manipulative tale that was reused quite often in the early LDS church. The common explanation as to why God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son was to test Abraham. But God already knew, correct? Tell me, do you give contradictory commands to your children to test them? I should hope not.

    Joseph Smith used this to his advantage to explain away erratic behavior, especially regarding polygamy. The result was a membership that second-guessed themselves and their beliefs in deference, and blind obedience, to fallible prophet (see Independent's post on the second page of comments). It continues to be used to bring members into line when they start questioning and reasoning for themselves ("after the trial of your faith").

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    "Why must you come to grips with our history? It's a fascinating study but it neither proves nor disproves Mormonism."

    Joe, my friend .... most of the history has been disproven. Horses were never here in the Americas. The swords, shields, and weapons from the wars here have never been found. Gold plates, only 150+ years old, never found. Native americans are from Asia, not lost Jews. Joe, my friend ... most of the history has been disproven. What PROOF do you have for it? A 'burning bossom'? Try takign a shot of Whiskey, you'll have that same feeling.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:06 p.m.

    Joe5:

    Indeed we do. The argument that "Mormons don't believe Prophets are perfect" is a tired way of trying to shut down the inquiry. What does it mean to have a "perfect" Prophet anyway? No, I am content that the Prophet should be able to have good days and bad days. I would expect them to possess a human dose of sinfulness. I would not expect them to recieve revelations that contradict themselves. I would not expect them to institute policies of such a gross nature as the Priesthood ban, or Polygamy, and then allow the whole matter to be chalked up to expected human error. While Prophets may not be perfect, they are alleged to be endowed with the revelations of God. If those are not perfect, then the imperfect men who claim such powers are not what they testify they are. Indeed the revelations should be quite near perfect if they come from God. Otherwise, of what value is a Prophet or his counsel?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    LValfre | 8:32 a.m. Aug. 11, 2011
    CHICAGO, IL

    For some insight on blacks and the priesthood, you may want to read "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism".

    If you are not willing to read it, then don't ask the question.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    @Bull: you sidestepped every single question posed except if you are LDS. What are the "hard" issues?

    I go through the Gospel Principles manual and see many fascinating lessons and topics in the 47 that are supplied. What's missing in your point of view?

    What should we all be talking about in 2nd and 3rd hour?

    So who do you consider prophets? What do you consider the guidance and council given in King Benjamin's address? What about the doctrines taught to Nephi, Sam, Laman, Lemual by Lehi?

    Quite honestly, it sounds like you are getting bogged down in the mysteries of the doctrine when you don't fully understand the basics. There are a few in our HP quorum who are like you and like to preach false doctrines in quorum as they study the mysteries.

    When asked to substantiate their claims through scripture or words of the prophets, they shut up really quick.

    In school were you moved to higher math if you couldn't do the lower math? Wouldn't make sense, right?

    Maybe when we as a church master the basics we might get to the "harder" issues as you desire. Until then Gospel Principles it is!

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    Utter nonsense: you are right, of course, God is not subject to court rulings. But His Church and people are.

    LValfre: re:your 2:01 post. When you say most of the history is disproven, I assume you are referring to the Book of Mormon and not LDS church history. If that is the case, I beg to differ. First, I'm dubious that you are truly familiar with both the BofM or the archeological evidence. I suspect you are simply regurgitating what you've heard. There are many parallel evidences in the BofM that also appear in the archeological evidence that it is impossible for JSmith to have known. The following is a short list of a much longer list I've compiled: 1)flying serpent motif; 2)holy mountains topped by temples; 3)world tree/tree of life; 4)beasts of burden (not unlike horses); 5)highways; 6)prophet kings; 7)bee keeping; 8)a true writing system (Maya); 9)complex economic, political, social ties between small, independent political units. There is much more, but I'm almost out of space.

    PS. I'm still awaiting your response to my query regarding the Levites and priesthood.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    @charles - I only get 4 posts here, like everybody else, so I have to be selective in what I say. By the way you shouldn't be saying that I don't know the basics, I am well read and know most of the bible and Bom inside and out. I don't believe the book of mormon is what it is claimed to be - therefore I am limited in what I actaully take from reading it. You may judge me and say I am a bad mormon for not "KNOWING" it is true like everybody else says they do. That is fine, but I am being honest with myself when I say it. I would like to study the adam god theory more, the blood atonement, etc. Even though those doctrines have now changed I am interested in things like that. I have several books on them, and it is frustrating to not be able to talk about them in an open forum in church. Hard issues are: Changing history, polygamy, changing doctrine, mountain meadows, Book of Mormon origins, first vision accounts that don't match up, restoration of the priesthood not discussed until 5 years later... Witnesses leaving the church...etc

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    "Do you really think that God had any hand in making the decision to end polygamy? That would mean that God decided to change his mind to give in to the will and laws of men. I also don't think God would "change his mind" regarding the forbiddance of black men to hold the priesthood, just because of the civil rights movement.

    I really don't think God works that way, no matter how these church authorities try to spin it as such. I believe that God is bigger than that."

    @Jazz Bass Man 11:17am Wellsville Ut:

    D&C 56:3-4 ...Behold, I the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken. Wherefore, I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.

    Does that clarify things for you? Probably not, but it does for me.

  • annewandering oakley, idaho
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:43 p.m.

    I would like to read this book. Since when did the church shun all books about the church? We are told to not cast ourselves as representatives of the church but we are certainly 'allowed' to discuss church beliefs. Somehow I have gotten the impression that the posters are taking the content of the upcoming book a bit more doctrinal that it purports to be.
    Some non members truly need to be informed we don't have horns. We are not required to wear long black dresses or those flat black hats. We are not all republicans. The list goes on and on. As an LDS woman I am interested in what he has come across that people think we believe. It might help me to understand some of the nonLDS's confusion.
    All in all sounds like a very interesting book. I bet it is even humorous at times. :D

  • Rach12345 OGDEN, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    In regards to polygamy and blacks receiving the priesthood, what matters now is what is true for us now. That means that polygamy is not practiced, and all men are able to recieve the priesthood. The past has been corrected, and we should live in the present. I think misconceptions arise when members of the LDS faith, and non-members, assign infallibilty to a prophet. A prophet speaks for the living church, at that time, except for the rare cases when a doctrine is cannonized (such as polygamy and priesthood for all). That is not to say that all of a prophet's teachings should be disregarded after they die (quite the contrary!), but sometimes we must recognize that teachings from a former prophet need to be added upon, or taken away from. This is not because God is a changing God, but He reveals things line upon line and precept upon precept. Also, sometimes prophets are only speculating and not speaking prophetically, and it's necessary that we recongnize this and not take everything they say as prophetic truth. As for me, I will put my faith in God, and not man, and go to Him for validity.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    Regarding the use of "parallels" as evidence for the Book of Mormon, it first needs to be shown that such parallels would be unlikely to exist in the absence of a connection. Statistically, it would be a remarkable thing indeed, if there were never any remarkable coincidences.

    Just off the top of my head, fr' instance, it occurred to me that there's a remarkable similarity between the Hawaiian word "kahuna" (priest, or holy man) and the Hebrew word "kohan", meaning priest.

    "Aha!" an apologist might say. "Clear evidence of Hagoth's voyage!" Except there's pretty much no other relation between Hawaiian and Hebrew. This is almost certainly nothing more than a remarkable coincidence.

    It's very easy to use different levels of generality or detail for each of the supposedly parallel things you're comparing, in order to make a parallel seem more or less exact.

    The search for parallels may well prove a serviceable apologetic technique, but until the statistical foundation is laid, it's amateurish thumbsucking for people who already have their minds made up. Seekers of truth should insist on more diligence and rigor.

  • tonyloaf New York, NY
    Aug. 11, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    @hairypatches "Interesting that members rather than church leaders take the lead on addressing difficult issues in the church with few exceptions."

    There is good reason for this. When a general authority speaks members tend to take what he says as doctrine, and the GA's don't want to be guilty of spreading false doctrine or giving off opinions about things that may not be correct. Some of these "difficult issues" don't have answers at all. If you believe or even claim that polygamy or the priesthood ban started and ended by revelation from God, unless God also revealed his reasons for it, then we don't know the reasons and any attempt at an explanation is merely speculation and opinion. Regular members can get away with spouting opinions and speculations, but the leaders can't.

  • tonyloaf New York, NY
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:01 p.m.

    @MapleDon: "I agree with others who've commented here that Lawrence's book seems to be addressing "soft-ball" issues only."

    I don't think that is a fair criticism. You have to take into consideration his intended audience. People who know nothing about the church, or who have been misinformed about the Church's beliefs, and who have no interest in becoming Mormons, are looking for basic information and quick answers. They aren't necessarily interested the "hard questions" that might bother a lifetime member.
    To you they are "soft-ball" issues because of your familiarity, but to the uninformed it is important and interesting information.

  • Michael De Groote
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:44 p.m.

    There are those who want to learn about a religion from those who believe in that religion.

    And there are those who want to learn about a religion from the people who hate that religion.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:59 p.m.

    Michael, do you evaluate the Republican political platform solely from Republican press releases? Or Democratic ideology strictly from Democratic press releases?

    Are there alternative sources of information besides (1) true believers and (2) "haters"? Is all opposition, criticism, or skeptical scrutiny "hate"? (Democrats seem to think so, but that's another story.)

    The litigation system, for all its faults, tends to do a great job of making sure *all* the facts of a question are presented. Because each side has an incentive to be diligent in stating all the relevant facts that support its position, and to call into focus the weaknesses of the other side.

    Any person who tries to make sure only his side of the story gets told, is an enemy of the truth. That goes for a certain haughty French-looking gold-digging Senator who just urged the press not to report on what the opposition has to say, because of course everybody knows they can't possibly have anything worth listening to.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Aug. 11, 2011 7:39 p.m.

    To begin with talking of the issue of blacks and the priesthood as "membership rights" is totally the wrong way to go about it. Holding the priesthood is not an issue of "rights".

    Secondly, why the passage of the civil rights act is the defining momemt is hard to say. Another way to look at it is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was ordaining black men to the priesthood in South Africa over a decade before the end of apartheid.

    I do not know why the Lord allowed to priesthood restriction to be in place. Considering how much racism was expressed by some church members that I delt with on my mission to Las Vegas from 2000-2002 I might hazard a guess, but it would be merely a guess.

    I have heard a lot better explanations on the issue of polygamy, but I still think admitting not knowing the full answer is the best course.

    However the fact that the real goal of the anti-plygamy legislation was to force men to abandon their families and not live up to the covenants they had made might help people understand the intensity.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Aug. 11, 2011 7:45 p.m.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the only orginzation that had policies in the past related to racial issues that are toubling to the modern observer.

    The fact of the matter is that part of the reason for the Church having its policy on blacks and the priesthood is very closely tied up with the Church's policy on a lay priesthood.

    Many people from Marvin Perkins to Darius Gray have sought to cope with these issues in deep and contemplative ways. Most of the people who bring up this issue have never watched "Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons".

    However as Dallin H. Oaks and other Church leaders have pointed out, the bigger issues is that almost no Americans can identify what the central message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is. The fact that people can not quickly and succiently identify that our Church proclaims itself as a resotration of New Testament Christianity shows that people who get bogged down in details are moving the focus away from the weightier matters of the law.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:01 p.m.

    joe5,
    I think the main issue with the "Jesus and Lucifer are brothers" question is that those who have popularized this argument say "the Mormons believe in a different Jesus, they believe in a Jesus who is the brother of Satan". These people are claiming we do not believe in the Jesus of the New Testament.

    As I have said before Lucifer lost his divine sonship for rebellion and is not worthy to be called Jesus' brother.

    The difference in LDS and Nicene-Christianity thought is a question of the nature and origin of Satan, not that of Jesus. The LDS agree with the Credal Christians that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (although some protestants at least in the past have questioned the Virgin Birth) and died for men on the cross at calvary. The difference comes as to whether Satan was created by God as an evil entity, or whether he became evil of his own choice.

    There are real issues here, but the "Mormons believe Jesus and Lucifer are brothers" implies things and is meant to argue things that are false.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    Interesting comment Michael De Groote. Isn't there anyone out there that just wants to know the truth about a relgion? (Thats such a funny word...truth). Isn't there some objective 3rd party that can break things down for any honest seeker of truth? No, everyone has biases, and everyone wants to be represented "farily". I just wish knowing truth was as easy as getting a warm feeling, or knowing something is false as easy as getting a stupor of thought.

  • Subscriber Magna, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:36 p.m.

    I feel sorry for anyone who takes anything Bill Maher says seriously.

  • Michael De Groote
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:46 p.m.

    TheProudDuck 6:59 p.m.asks me: "Michael, do you evaluate the Republican political platform solely from Republican press releases? Or Democratic ideology strictly from Democratic press releases?"

    No.

    But if I want to know what a Republican believes -- what motivates her and and why she is republican and what that means to her, I doubt I would ask Michael Moore.

    Proud Duck also asks: "Is all opposition, criticism, or skeptical scrutiny 'hate'?"

    No.

    I guess it all depends upon your goal. Most critical things said about other religions are not said to build up, but to destroy. Interreligious dialogue expert Charles Randall Paul told me once that the best way to avoid "false witness" is to allow people to speak for themselves.

    Full-on double rainbow 8:29 p.m. mentions "the truth about a religion?" I think it is healthy to try to understand what people believe. That generates love. It does not necessarily generate an understanding of what is ultimate truth.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:33 p.m.

    ...and there are those who learn about a religion, or anything else for that matter, by reading both the positive and negative reviews.

  • Michael De Groote
    Aug. 12, 2011 12:21 a.m.

    @ ex missionary | 11:33 p.m.

    You are, of course, correct. There are people like that.

    If I understand Lawrence correctly, the point he is making is that the negative reviews are already out there -- and for many of the issues, he thinks those "reviews" have little to do with what Mormons really believe.

    I still maintain, that if your goal is to understand a religion, to really understand what makes its people tick, you will learn MORE from talking with them and reading what they teach each other than you will from critics outside the faith community.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 12, 2011 12:36 a.m.

    Of all the helpful comments, I really like Joe5's comment back near the bottom of page 2 of these comments. To understand Mormonism you may need to first understand what he outlined there.

    The Savior chastened the Pharisees for straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. In other words, there are things we can become overly concerned with that just don't matter: like who can hold the priesthood and when, which prophets with multiple wives were blessed for it, where the Garden of Eden was or what was the relationship of Jesus to Satan. We need to be more concerned with following the commandments He gives, caring for the poor and needy, and loving and lifting one another. Mormons seem to excel in these areas. Find out why.

    You realize, of course, that prophets can petition God for reprieves, or for blessings, and can prevail upon Him to allow them. Read your Bible. It is full of this stuff, as is it's companion volume, The Book of Mormon.

    Abraham, Jacob, David, John, Nephi; each petitioned God for change. Why not today???

    The endless name calling, proscribing assumed motives and quoting out of context do no one any good.

  • Rock Calgary, Alberta
    Aug. 12, 2011 2:42 a.m.

    Are you aware that the Prophet and his councellors were not just gong about their daily duties by ignoring the blacks/priesthood issue and hope that it would go away. Dodging the attacks of the press and public who saw it as discrimination?.
    No...they had spent months in fervent prayer and fasting (no, not fasting for months straight.) they had recognized the need to open up the opportunity for all worthy males to recieve the Priesthood universally and were pleading with the Lord for His permission to allow this priveledge. Finally, using whatever advanced wisdom He has, the Lord said "it is time" and allowed Pres. Kimball to move ahead with the new policy. The rest of the apostles and other general authorities were overjoyed, as were most members of the church. I suppose there were probably some who still had a racial issue to overcome.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 6:55 a.m.

    And then there are those of us who have been, and are currently, sincerely seeking the "truth" and who have not found it in the LDS Church after 20+ years. We have learned about the LDS religion from the source, and by living it, and have found it not measuring up to it grandiose claims.

  • MCKat Murray, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    RE: Alpine Blaine's comment that the Obama re-election machine will go after Romney, including attacking mormons.

    In the 2008 election, the only anti-Mormon comments I recall, came from other Republicans--Mike Huckabee in particular, but there were others, such as the comments by the one minister who said a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan--b/c of Romney's Mormon religion. I don't recall anti-Mormon comments from either Hillary or Obama, or any other Democrat candidate. Conservative pundits, such as George Will, commented on the GOP's anti-Mormon stance.

    Pres. Obama has praised people from both parties and from many religions. As such, I doubt we'll hear anti-Mormon comments from him or his campaign. What the independent PACs/SuperPACs do--he has no influence over as by law, he's prohibited from coordinating in any way with them.

    The 2008 election definitely taught me that as a minority religion, Mormons can expect to receive more support and respect from Democrats and progressives, than the GOP and conservatives.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    Jack Pack Lambert: The LDS agree with the Creedal Christians that Jesus was
    born of the Virgin Mary.

    Christians believe the birth of Jesus was a unique miracle by the Holy
    Spirit/Ghost same Greek word. This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came
    about, His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. (Mt 1:18 NIV).
    The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it
    was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood was begotten of His Father, as we are of our fathers. (JoD 8:115). Also seem Mormon Doctrine p 742(Jesus) Conceived and Born in the normal natural course of events.
    Protevangelium, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between
    thy seed and HER seed(sperma,4690); it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt
    bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15).
    But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, Born of a Woman, born under law(Joseph)(Galatians 4:4 NIV)

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:15 a.m.

    "I still maintain, that if your goal is to understand a religion, to really understand what makes its people tick, you will learn MORE from talking with them and reading what they teach each other than you will from critics outside the faith community."

    My perspective, and I believe the perspective of most ex-mormons, is that I have been been and in many ways continue to be part of the faith community you mention. I lived as a fully invested member of the LDS church for over 30 years. Though I'm no longer invested in the beliefs, I continue to be a part of that community because it has been such a large part of my life and because the majority of my family and friends remain believers. The community is larger than the reach of the local, believing congregation.

    Attempts to label critics as outside the community or to minimize their viewpoints based on who they are is a strategic move. It is the art of politics. Also, if not watched carefully, the practice of othering people in this way can lead some to feel justified in committing acts of cruelty - worst case scenario of course.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    Michael DeGroote:

    You are correct that if I want to know what "...makes its people tick", then the best course is dialogue with that person. In this case the subject under scrutiny is the person. However, most of these comments are not about Mormon people, but rather the truth claims of the Church. The Church tries very hard to press the fact that it is the restored Christian Church, and the only institution on earth with the key's and authority to administer the necessary ordinances of salvation. In order to participate in these ordinances one must be approved by the various Priesthood gatekeepers within the Mormon Church. This is the very fact being argued, though it is often approached from many different angles. In that context, your logic breaks down. The Church and its members are naturally going to favor a version of Mormon history that substantiates their claims to authority. They, like any other would be self-proclaimed leader, can not be trusted simply on their say so. Critics are invaluable in this light (as a journalist I would think you understand this), to challenge the inconsistencies in doctrine and dogma from those who would oppress.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 12, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    Vanka:

    I am sure your wife appreciates your attempts to come unto Christ and to be united with her in her faith. That is commendable. You would be a good man to try so hard to please her and for enduring together all these years, and also for making the Book of Mormon such a lifelong pursuit.

    If you have truly read the Book of Mormon 10 times without ever once feeling that it was special, that it led you to God, I would ask what you are expecting to have happen before you embrace it? Certainly the multitudinous counter theories for it's creation do not jive with you, or you would not have repeatedly reread this inspirational book. Where are you on this? Which theory makes the most sense currently to you? Several of us would love to help you along if you can give us more to go on.

    For me, the teachings of the LDS transcend all challengers, and they resonate with my eternal soul. LDS teachings are absolutely elevating and scriptural. I am happiest when I live these teachings. Simply breathtaking. Good will prevail, my friend. Good will prevail.

  • BCA Murrieta, CA
    Aug. 12, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    To me the telling point of Mr DeGroote's question of from whom do you learn is the number of Mormons that no longer believe in the church. I was a member for forty years. I educated myself out of the church.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    MCCat

    "The 2008 election definitely taught me that as a minority religion, Mormons can expect to receive more support and respect from Democrats and progressives, than the GOP and conservatives."

    The latest studies show that there is more hostility to Mormons from Democrats than Republicans -- even from evanglical Republicans. There is, on the liberal side, a fair amount of contempt for *any* traditional religion. The only exception for "minority" religions is for religions associated with melanin-enhanced people, which is why liberals will give condescending slack to Muslims, despite that their sexual morality is quite a bit sterner than the morality that, when declared by Mormons or conservative Christians, liberals will go completely ape about.

    Gay marriage will be the defining factor. Liberals have a deep need to divide the world over "civil rights" issues. Get on the wrong side of an issue they have characterized as such, and they'll hate you. It's all they have.

    The irony is that we may be too Christian for the Democrats, but not "Christian" enough for the Republicans.

  • katiefrankie Provo, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    Being a convert from a hierarchical, orthodox religion to Mormonism against the wishes of many in my family, here is my take on these conversations:

    For me, learning about the doctrine and practices of the Church was a lot like opening my new math book on the first day of class. At first, the problems are recognizable and within my grasp - I feel hopeful, confident even. And then I invariably flip to the back of the book. Cue panic. I do NOT know this type of math. In fact, I NEVER will! I close the text, feeling dismal and confused. And yet, as the teacher takes our class through the textbook in the course of the year, I learn line upon line, precept upon precept until I arrive at last to the same pages I thought I would never understand, and I can master the problems that once seemed so daunting. Without the preparation of the previous chapters, I would not have been ready for the advanced work, and yet through my study and faith, I can now conceptualize and perform the mathematics that I once balked at.

    What was unfamiliar, now I understand. A camel becomes a gnat.

  • Mr Dana SAN CLEMENTE, CA
    Aug. 12, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    Misconceptions will always be perpetuated by those who believe only in the Bible as the inerrant word of God and who think that anything outside the Bible teachings, especially additional scripture or revelations if not only false but satanic. There is no room for discourse with these types of Christians. They are more prone to accept any and all accusations against the Church. Anything that we may say or propose about the church will not be accepted as truth, but for them it is perceived as our effort to distort our message to become more palatable to other Christians. Its not another persons judgement whether I am a Christian or not, it is between me and God and His Son Jesus Christ. To this I am assured, I am a Christian. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has done for me and others. I know from personal revelation that He lives. The Holy Spirit has borne that witness to me. No other Christian, atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, ex-Mormon for Christ or Jew can dissuade me from what the Holy Ghost revealed to me. in the sacred name of Jesus Christ- Amen

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    KatieFrankie said, What was unfamiliar, now I understand. A camel becomes a gnat. You strain your water so you won't accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!(Mt 23:24 NLT)
    Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.(Is 9:16)

    From LDS revelation, we learn that Jehovah is the English form of the actual name by which the Lord Jesus was known ANCIETLY (D&C 110:3 ,Jehovah appears to JS), Abra 2:8 ,My is name is Jehovah) 788 Mormon Doctrine. S/B YHWH, JS was unaware of the poor KJV and didnt know the Personal name of God(LORD)YHWH. Tetragrammaton

  • Stephen Bennett Mabou, Nova Scotia
    Aug. 12, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    One absolutely foundational distinction between Mormonism and Christianity is the ontology of Deity - Who God Is.

    Mormons characteristically accept that Christ was not uncreated Spirit, therefore, in effect that He was limited to being only a creature-craftsman, merely able to manipulate material, impotent as the living Word of God to call something into existence, and was not Eternal as God from infinite, everlasting past.

    Mormons typically believe that God was a man who was actually required to earn the qualification for being God.

    Mormons for decades believed that Adam was God.

    The Mormon Jesus according to Mormon scripture does not as Savior forgive all sins.

    If a church, any church, does not get right Who The One True God Is how can that church be the one true church?

    Paul in 2 Cor. 11 warns vigorously against false apostles, another Jesus, another gospel, another spirit & the leaving off of the purity, the simplicity and the power of devotion to Christ.

  • Michael De Groote
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    I don't think most people want to learn about a church to see if it is true or false. My guess is that most people they just want to know what the people in a church believe. The best source of that is going to be the people who believe.

    If you want to know what person believes, ask that person.

    If you want to know what other people think about another person's belief, ask those people.

    For example, above you can read Commenter Stephen Bennett's explanation of what Mormons believe about Jesus. What do you learn? You learn what Stephen thinks Mormons believe about Jesus. However, my guess is if a person asked a Mormon what they thought about Jesus they would get a completely different answer.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 12, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    Stephen:
    Greetings to the great land of Canada. I would have to agree with Michael here. I think you did a superb job of summing up some of the great misconceptions about Mormonism, which is a fitting way to conclude these comments. I hope your continued curiosity will sway you into obtaining a copy of Gary's book when it arrives up there. Truth, even if it is about a religion you believe to be false, can be beneficial. May God be with.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 12, 2011 10:51 p.m.

    Brahmabull and I have had some lively discussions pertaining to what he believes. The problem is that I believe a prophet to be a man suceptible to the same temptations as I am. They make mistakes just as we do. They are not perfect and at times they offend. President Hinckley is said to have said somethings. I still in all can't find the transcript of it. Does that make him any less a prophet of God? No. Just as some of the mistakes Joseph Smith did or Brigham Young makes them even less a prophet. Moses made many mistakes and was chastisized for them. So what. Polygamy was directed by God and then was removed by God. He will not allow anything to stop or hinder his work. Elder Anderson stated that many people get hungup on things that really have no bearing on the eternal perspective. The problem is they get so worried about certain things that it destroys the ability to feel and hear the Holy Ghost. Blacks got the priesthood. Why was it withheld? Why don't you ask the individual who kept it from them, our Heavenly Father. I have and I have my answer.

  • Kitenoa Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    To thoroughly experience the infinite world through finite means is impossible. Likewise, things that are spiritual are understood only through spiritual means or revelation from God.

    Man's finite wisdom wanes in comparison to God's infinite knowledge of the eternities."

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 13, 2011 2:05 a.m.

    @Stephen Bennett "Mormons characteristically accept that Christ was not uncreated Spirit, therefore, in effect that He was limited to being only a creature-craftsman, merely able to manipulate material, impotent as the living Word of God to call something into existence, and was not Eternal as God from infinite, everlasting past."

    Interesting how you put your faith in a book, whose earliest origins that later became what we know today as the New Testament, can only be dated back to third century A.D. Who is to say that a group of men in the third century didnt just make it all up. That sort of puts the New Testament on the same playing ground as the Book of Mormon as to the question of authenticity.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 13, 2011 8:56 a.m.

    Now if you know anything about recent events in California, youll recognize that Garys business, Lawrence Research was the opinion polling company that was heavily involved in Proposition 8. Gary was also the state LDS grassroots director for the Protect Marriage coalition. Brother Lawrence, who has served as a bishop has spent over 35 years studying opinions and behaviors of the American public.
    Lawrence is credited with writing the missive, "Six Consequences If Prop 8 Fails."

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    Michael DeGroote:

    I completely agree with, most outside observors do not trouble themselves too much with the truth claims of religions in which they have no connection. Still that is not all the situation of this book, or frankly even the agenda of Deseret News. Religious propagandist's, such as those who write books to clear up "Mormon misconceptions" (should be "Misconceptions about Mormonism") do so in an effort to defend the essential truth claims that lay the foundation for Mormon faith. Even if not an aggressive attempt, at the root of this motivation is a desire to recruit and retain members. This being the case, all of the historical baggage is and always will be germane to the discussion. Yet, this is exactly the kind of stuff we can expect left out from the Mormon propagandists. Propaganda places loyalty to the cause over objective discussion, therefore in a general sense Mormon's are no better of a source than informed critics.

    If the matter is what do Mormons believe, without trying to defend the truth claims, then the context is faulty anyway. How can one lay person speak for the belief of some few million people??? It is a defense.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    Brahmabull
    This is why the church has so many questions among the membership. The leaders often contradict themselves. One prophet says one thing, another one says another. That makes me question the validity of the revelations that are given. Some things are obviously not clear among the leadership, so how are members supposed to get them clear?

    KJK
    Bingo! This is why the prophets have stated that only official source for Church doctrine is the scriptures and that everything else is opinion. They have also stated that if their own words contradict scripture, that we are to reject their words and obey scripture.

    Sharrona, Whether Satan is the brother of Jesus or was created by him (per historic Christianity) makes no real difference. Counter-cult efforts arent aimed at converting LDS because active LDS know what we REALLY teach. Those efforts are designed to discourage non-LDS from seriously considering adopting Mormonism.

    Truthseeker
    Lawrence Research was the opinion polling company that was heavily involved in Proposition 8...Lawrence is credited with writing the missive, Six Consequences If Prop 8 Fails. "

    KJK
    LDS Lawyer/BYU professor Morris Thurston wrote an excellent rebuttal to that propaganda piece.

  • standfan HELENA, MT
    Aug. 13, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matt: 7:20 " " If any man shall do His will he shall know of the doctrine. Whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself. John 7:17" To KNOW is simple. Do HIS will. Not yours.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 13, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    re:KJK
    Yes, when we were taught "Six Consequences" in Church, it didn't pass the "smell" test. We did our own original research and came to the same conclusions Thurston did. It was only after we conducted our own research we became aware of Thurston's excellent rebuttal.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    tyndale1,

    As I understand it, there is no requirement for anyone to accept or to posit any theories about the origins of the Book of Mormon in order to get an answer from the Holy Ghost. Moroni's challenge mentions nothing about theorizing about the origins of the BOM as a prerequisite for receiving an answer.

    As for my wife, I do not investigate the LDS Church in order to please her. She fell in love with me as an atheist, and she continues to love me as an atheist. She would be pleased to go to the temple and be sealed to me, but she loves me at least in part for my refusal to compromise on the pursuit of truth.

    Unlike many I see in the Church, I will not pretend to spiritual manifestations in order to please her or anyone else, or to appear righteous.

    What am I expecting to happen before I embrace the BOM? Simply a fulfilment of the promises given by Moroni.

    I find the "teachings" of the BOM rather pedestrian and unremarkable as compared to the teachings of religions too many to name here. The BOM is unimpressive as literature or inspiration.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    Michael De Groote wrote:

    "...if your goal is to understand a religion, to really understand what makes its people tick, you will learn MORE from talking with them and reading what they teach each other than you will from critics outside the faith community."

    Do all Catholics "believe" the official Creeds of Catholicism?

    When Joseph Smith was trying to "understand" Methodism, Prebyterianism, or any of the other religions extant in his day, did he follow your approach?

    Was Joseph evaluating the beliefs of common believers when he said (and attributed it to a heavenly being):

    "...they were all wrong; ...all their creeds were an abomination in [God's] sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof'" (Joseph Smith History, 1:19)?

    I think it is reasonable to suppose, if Joseph Smith had taken your approach, there would not have been any need for a "Restoration" of Christianity.

  • Kevin Surrey, BC
    Aug. 14, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    wow.. this thread has been busy. I find it amazing that people in general try to understand, justify, or prove wrong etc events from the past using modern day thinking. That effort will just cause more confusion. None of us were there and we can't understand the mind and will of those who shaped the past. We can hash and rehash the why's of the past. That to me is a waste of time.

    In this church members only need to know and believe a few basic points of doctrine to gain a testimony.
    1. God the Father is the father of all spirit children and has a body of flesh and bones.
    2. His resurrected son Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.
    3. JS saw God the Father and Jesus Christ.
    4. The BOM is the word of God translated by JS through the power of God.
    5. The LDS church is the kingdom of God on Earth today.

    Argue as you may about this point or that point of history, but it makes no difference. I know what my testimony is about. Do you?

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 15, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    Kevin,

    How did you come to know and believe these things? That's my question. If it's 'just because' then I'll keep my mouth shut so I don't get denied this comment.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 16, 2011 10:12 p.m.

    @LValfre: your question isn't genuine but all you need to do to get your answer is call your local missionaries and/or go to your local LDS church.

    Anyone there can help you get the answers you seek.

    Millions have found out the same as Kevin. I have and Kevin is correct.

    However, we know the path back to God is straight and narrow and few be there that find it.

    It's all up to you pal.

  • whatnext Clearfield, Utah
    Aug. 17, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    One of the reasons we don't hear the leadership of the church talk about the "hard questions" is because they don't matter. The reason they focus on the "soft questions" as they are identified in some of the comments, is because the Leadership is trying to help each of us refocus on what is truly important. Those principles that will help us grow closer to the Savior and become more like him: 1- Keeping and living the commandments 2- Love God with all your Heart 3- Love thy neibhor as yourself 4- Repent of our sins 5- Forgive others of their tresspasses, etc. Once we as children of our Heavenly Father learn to live those doctrinal principles consitantly and properly, then we might be ready to learn and except why those other doctrines were changed. He that have ears to hear, let him hear.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 18, 2011 1:10 p.m.

    Amen, MC. I too am tired of members addressing these issues and putting their opinions in their answers rather than the doctrine. Hoping he will address these issues well and thus, hammering away at the misconceptions.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 18, 2011 1:14 p.m.

    How do we know he is only addressing soft ball issues? Have you read the book? This article only gave a few examples.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 18, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    I'm sorry, but people keep saying the leadership does not address hard ball issues. Why? If you have a problem with the leadership then you need to examine your heart and ask yourself why you have a problem with the church's leadership. Is the church true? If it is; then go from there. You can receive answers to these questions if you search. Just like J. Smith search out his answer. Find out for yourself why the church does or does not do this or that anymore. James c1 v5. Study, pray and visit the churches website. The answers are there for those who really want to know the answers. Heavenly Father ALWAYS (not yelling, emphasis) answers a sincere heart.