My recommendation to Mormons who so deeply wish to be accepted as a people:Be open.Be open about your temple.Be open about your
financesBe open about your history
Welcome. I swim in that water, too. And I'm doing my best to dilute it.
@Chris BYou really want the Church to divulge their temple
ordinances, don't you? I can't see a circumstance in any reality in
which the Church willingly makes open ordinances that are held to be so sacred
by its members. The Church doesn't often compromise on things that would
be in direct opposition to its mission or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In regard to it divulging it's finances, I can only see one of those two
ever happening. Like most other private organizations, it's very unlikely
they will invite the general public to review its books. As for
being open with its past, I think there is merit in that. I say be open with
its history and let the chips fall where they may. It's already been shown
that there have been times when the Church looked like it was being run by men
rather than Prophets, Seers and Revelators. That's to be expected when
dealing with human weakness. The only shame in making mistakes is not in
having made them, but not acknowledging them to begin with.
To Chris B.:The Church is open about its finances - the public knows
what matters to be known. The Church has no need or obligation to be more open
than that. Asking the Church to be more open about it is the same that asking
you, or me or anyone to be open on our finances with the public. Where is our
right for privacy?
I believe all organizations that enjoy tax-exempt status should be required to
publish their financial statements (and the statements of any subsidiaries with
which they have transactions). The UK subsidiary of the LDS Church publishes
its financial statements in the UK (by requirement) and they are a very
interesting read. My wife and strongly believe in "reporting
back" so we decided some time ago that we will not donate one penny to any
charity that does not publicly disclose its finances.
In truth the "Mormon Moment" has not passed. The rise of the internet
will see a continuing intensive scrutiny of modern and historical Mormonism.And, I agree with cpafred.
To cpafred:If that was a required law, the Church would abide by it.
Since its not, why would it be so public about its finances? In fact, does it
really matter? Charity means giving without holding back, giving with love,
giving with faith and sharing mostly because you are doing some good to someone.
"Be open about your temple.Every person who wants to can walk
through every temple before it is dedicated. It's an Open House.
Can't get more open than that.Be open about your financesDo the math. How many members are there? Estimate how many active and
what 10% of their tithing is and you can figure it out.Be open about
your historyThe LDS website has TONS of history on there. Anyone can
access anything they want. People can read all the scriptures online too. "The only people not saying the Church isn't open are the
people who can't accept they are open.
@ E.SAll organizations on this earth are administered by fallible
humans, and there is a wide variance in how much good charities actually
accomplish (i.e, how efficiently they operate in achieving their goals). When I give, I want to do the maximum amount of good. I expect most
people want the same. So since the only way to determine where a giver's
money is going is by (the charitable entity's) disclosure, I don't
know why anybody would be opposed to it. Why are you?
As a Latter-day Saint, I understand full well that my religious faith will
always be partially outside the mainstream. The fact that we are not a
Protestant, Orthodox or Evangelical faith will always make us outsiders. We can
be friends with people of other faiths, and work together on many worthwhile
causes, but we will still be different and that will not change.As
for those who continue to demand the LDS Church open up its finanacial books,
let me ask this question. Do all other organized churches and
ministeries and have full and complete openness about their finances? Is the LDS
Church the only religious group which keeps its finances confidential? If the
answer to these questions is No, then why must the LDS Church open its books but
not anyone else?
@cpafredAre you sure you really want "all" tax exempt groups
to publish their financial statements or just the tax exempt groups you hope to
find dirt on? Critics say if the LDS Church has nothing to hide, it
should open its financial books to everyone. Alright then, tell me what is your
motivation in wanting to know the LDS Chuches fiances, because I doubt it has
anything to do with simple curiousity.
Swimming in the mainstream enough to let non-LDS Christians know we don't
howl at the moon or sacrifice our children in Temples is one thing - all for it
- but I'll quit the Church the moment it becomes indistinguishable from
mainstream American denominations, concluding that the Great Apostasy, Part 2,
President Holland seems to forget that more than half of Mormons reside outside
the U.S. His view is therefore typically americacentric. In the rest of the
world Mormonism is, overall, still considered a rather weird phenomenon from the
American West.Certainly, it is possible to "be mainstream"
in quiet accordance with other faiths. But the intense Mormon missionary work is
by definition an agressive act toward other religions. Trying to change
someone's deep familial and cultural traditions, in particular in more
monolithic cultures, is disrespectful and often leads to conflicts in families.
One can never be mainstream and trying to disturb the balance at the same time.
Jesus taught us "that if ye were of the world, the world would love its own,
but because ye are not of the world, the world hates you". If the world ever
accepts Mormonism, it means Mormonism has changed, not the world.
@ Wilf55---I don't think Matt Holland "seems to forget"
anything, or that "his view is... americacentric", since the special UVU
class he made his presentation to is appropriately titled:"Mormonism in the American Experience". (catch that KEYWORD?
"American"?)I'm certain if he had been addressing a
class titled "World Religions", his comments would have been
appropriately adapted to a worldwide view.
The other side of the question that ought to be asked is: have
"mainstream" churches moved closer to some of the LDS doctrines as
taught by Joseph Smith? I think a good hypothesis could be presented that in
many instances, they have. Certainly, if we were to set up a study comparing the
orthodoxy of Joseph Smith's day to orthodoxy of today, we would probably
see a great deal of difference. The question would be--have they moved closer to
Mormonism and further away from doctrines and/or Christian ecclesiastical norms
of two centuries ago? Has anyone thought of this, or done such a study? Putting
aside the theological implications, it would be a fascinating study in and of
As I read this article, I also thought of the new pope. It seems to me that the
'high population' religions are making some very important changes.
There is a couple from our ward that is working with a Catholic Mission
providing people with wheelchairs. The spirit is with all those who do
God's work. I love that people can do a search on the internet and get more
GOOD information on Mormons, and there are great Apps for phones or tablets! We
are truly becoming "mainstream", and it feels right! The more people
understand, the less they fear. I think Pope Francis and Pres. Monson should do
The thing that most of my friends find "weird" about me is that I am
Mormon AND a Democrat... they thought the Church would not allow that. There are
still so many misunderstandings about what the Church really is about. We still
have so much work to do to get the truth out to others.
In order to be a world religion, the tent has to be bigger. When more Mormons
(especially in Utah and Mountain West) are more inclusive, particularly
politically, then the doors will be truly open. Until then, it's just lip
service and platitudes.
So not much change about perception of knowledge about the LDS resulted. But how
much do people really know about Catholicism, or Muslims, or Baptists. Not much,
and the prevailing "who cares" and "all I need to know" attitude
will persist. But we must slog on with missionaries being our largest PR
program.It might be worthwhile to have an outside agency show the
good we do worldwide, or our spotty history (according to some). A Muslim cleric
once said (third hand) after seeing our welfare efforts, "I'm ashamed
of us" in comparison.And as we wish others to know and
understand our theology, the best we an do is "every member a
The assumption President Holland makes doesn't seem to hold true. I
don't feel like Mormons, in general, are wanting or striving to be
"mainstream" or popular or cool. Sure, we aren't supposed to hide
our candle under a bushel, but aside from that, Mormons want to live and let
live for the most part. I have given out several books to friends, but not in
some campaign to prove my mainstream-ness or cool-ness, but because the books
can help as we cope with life's adventures and with questions of
after-life.Mormonism is not a private club nor is it meant to be
fashionable. It isn't a fad that happens for a moment in time like a sold
out Christmas toy. It isn't something to be experienced only to later say,
"Been there, done that." It isn't even a charitable cause.It is a religion.It isn't for those seeking to only
find a good place to donate money. It isn't for those seeking to only find
a social circle. It is for people seek a religion.
Welcome, to those inside "the bubble," from the rest of us members who
have been mainstream from the start. We can always spot the sweet
missionaries from Utah, by their wide-eyed naivete. My favorite missionary
moment was when a new, older missionary told us, in her testimony, that we
should all work hard to get to know non-members. "I worked with a
non-member once, and they're just like us." The irony, for those who
may not get it, was that we lived in a vast, remote area where virtually
everyone we encountered, outside of our tiny branch, was non-member. I was
shocked to think that someone could have worked and lived their whole live and
still been so ignorant of the world. I love all the members of our
faith, but sometimes wish that the sheltered members, who have so much, would
open their eyes to see that while our faith is exceptional, our people are
generally no better than the average, good person in the world. And when you
think about all the people who still practice other faiths, receiving so little
in light and knowledge in return, then we ought to do better.
I don't want to -- ...live in the "Moment"....to
be diluted into just another "Protestant" religion....give up my
testimony just to fit into the "IN" crowd....be need to be
assimilated into the evangelical "Christians" so I can be called a
Christian....to compromise the doctrines I hold dear and sacred and
DIFFERENT just of be "accepted".Live our religion, show a better way, be IN the world but not OF the world.
@ ClarkHippo"why must the LDS Church open its books but not anyone
else?"All should be open because it's the right thing to
do. "Are you sure you really want "all" tax exempt
groups to publish their financial statements or just the tax exempt groups you
hope to find dirt on?"I want them all to publish. I was clear
about that. Why the enmity?"Critics say if the LDS Church has
nothing to hide, it should open its financial books to everyone. Alright then,
tell me what is your motivation in wanting to know the LDS Chuches fiances,
because I doubt it has anything to do with simple curiosity."I'm surprised by the defensiveness and pushback. I very good reasons for
wanting full disclosure (by everybody). I have tried to explain them before but
the DN moderators will not let specific reasons through. So we are left with it
being the right thing to do, disclosure has not hurt any churches in the UK, and
I have never heard a convincing argument for secrecy. If you can make a
compelling argument for secrecy (without attacking people who value openness)
I'd love to hear it.
"Be open about your temple."Let's be honest; the number
of non-LDS people who really care about what goes on in the temple is pretty
small. To call the "secrecy" of the temple ordinances an obstacle to
wider acceptance is a stretch."Be open about your
finances."Again; how many people would really cite finances as
the reason they have an unfavorable opinion of Mormons? I know they're out
there, but in what number? It would never occur to me to demand the Catholic
Church, or the JW's, or any other denomination open their books for me to
examine. Anyone who cares enough to ask for this information would take issue
with whatever they would find anyway."Be open about your
history."In theory, I actually agree with this one, but,
frankly, it's just too much work. I'm living in 2013 and am satisfied
that the Church structure helps me and my family keep it together. I don't
buy that being able to explain the Mountain Meadow Massacre or the Adam-God
Theory would be of any practical use to me. If that's a stumbling block for
someone, I would say "bye-bye."
I'm a tithe-paying, card-carrying Mormon. But I cannot view the
Church's financial statements. Not even a summary of them. Frankly, I would
like to know, as a "stockholder," how my donations are being spent. The
Church used to publish information about its finances. So why all the secrecy
now? What is there to hide from the members? Just curious.
@Chris B I agree with your suggestions. You can't be afraid of the truth.
In the past certain church leaders espoused a policy of "whats true is not
helpful". That doesn't fly in the information age.
As a public state supported education center what are they doing sponsoring and
spending money promoting a religion? This doesn't happen at real colleges
outside of Utah.
Mormons have made great strides in emerging from the protective cocoon woven
around themselves in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Today,
Latter-day Saints go to see The Book of Mormon musical shrugging off the
jeering. Wallowing in persecution was never a satisfying comfort to begin with.
There’s only so much mileage can one get from playing the role of victim
before the law of diminishing returns consumes them. That’s no healthy way
for anyone to define themselves forever.
A "moment". Exactly a moment. Always have been and always will be a
peculiar people. Maybe a reality show like the Amish Mafia show....oh wait a
minute we already have that with the Utah Legislature and the Eagle Forum.
"Wallowing in persecution'The Church is still
"wallowing in persecution." They've just joined the
"popular" "wallowers." According to the Joseph
Smith story, religions/churches can appear to "draw near to me with their
lips, but their hearts are far from me..." It's all well
and good to join with others in worthy pursuits--as defined by Jesus. But when
we engage in demonization, fear mongering and signing statements containing
misleading, and distorted presentations of the facts prepared by other
organizations/denominations we are treading in dangerous waters. "Religion" is a tool to worship God and become followers of
Christ's teachings. What religions/churches are putting out in the
political realm doesn't reflect that. The LDS church risks
becoming more "of" the world rather than "in" the world.
I may be misjudging the intentions of the cadre of critics demanding full
disclosure of LDS ordinances, finances, and history, but I wonder--what do they
plan to do with the information if they ever get it? Seems to me there's an
unhealthy "air your dirty linen" in their requests.As to the
history, we know what has happened with that--gossip extracted from secondary
sources, deceptions, pseudo psychoanalysis, inventive history, etc. Even primary
source material is interpolated through educational guesswork; resultant
conclusions lack a great deal of credibility. Until we can "walk in their
shoes," we cannot accurately do more than take the historical record with a
circumspect point of view.
For those who want the financial books opened up - be careful what you wish for.
A very close relative of mine worked for the Church as an employee for twenty
years moving people and goods around the world. He said the cronyism and
nepotism that goes on the buying of services can be testimony-shattering. In
fact when he was hired for the job, he was asked by the hiring official three
times if he had a strong testimony. He wouldn't bow to the
pressure, believing that if his 70 year old mother is paying tithing on her
social security check, he would spend it the most judicious way possible.
@eastcoast,I have spent time 1 on 1 with Mormons, or sometimes 1 on
2 LDS missionaries.They always refuse to talk about what happens in
the temple.So I'm left to the internet.I TRY to
have a discussion.Your Mormons refuse.
Interesting article and comments. Regarding the push from some people for the
church's finances to be made more public I would suggest to them that they
shift their focus onto churches that hand around the plate at their services.
There are no finically records, just piles of cash used at will by the
ministers. In the LDS church we have no donation, contribution or transaction
unless it is receipted, recorded and checked then audited. My understanding
and experience is that not another church on this earth has such a system in
place. Sounds like you are ignorant of this fact. Perhaps you should be
looking at those of con-artist ministers who receive thousands each service that
are totally unaccounted for.Also, as an LDS sister, I don't
want to be mainstream with other churches, if they convert to God's ways
then wonderful, but I won't compromise to be accepted by anyone.Also, if you really want to visit the Temple then see your local bishop, he
will be happy to introduce you to two lovely young missionaries!
Chris B. - I think you are looking for something that is not there.
If you are looking for something that has not already been pointed out to you on
this and other threads, then you are grasping at straws. Read the material that
has been suggested. Then go and view one of these you-tube type videos that
have the full ceremony in it. Viola...You have it all. Nothing more to see here. Of course you probably could not
understand the full meaning of what is presented in the Temple because it is
covenant and doctrine based. I believe that most members do not fully
understand everything being presented (me included) and that is why we are
encouraged to attend regularly. I know I have learned much over the years of
To "Chris B" I will tell you right now what happens in the LDS
temples.Proxy baptisms for people that are dead.Marriage
ceremonies.Endowment ceremonies for both living and proxy for those
that are dead. Here promises are made to keep God commandments. Go to the LDS
web site and look for the church lesson manual for "Temple Preparation"
to understand more.What more do you want to know?
@cpafredYou said - "If you can make a compelling argument for
secrecy (without attacking people who value openness) I'd love to hear
it."Here are three things which I am certain would happen if the
LDS Church were forced to open its books to everyone. 1. The LDS
Church would face a Mount Everest of frivolous lawsuits filed by lawyers across
the country demanding the church pay damages in the millions over anything and
everything one can imagine. And over and over again people on this and other
websites will argue, "So what if the LDS Church is getting overwhelmed with
these lawsuits. They can afford to pay."2. The number of
break-ins at LDS chapels and other buildings will rise considerably, with crooks
looking for all the supposed money the church has locked away somewhere. 3. Even if the LDS Church showed 100% of its books to everyone, I
already know critics who claim they "value openness" still won't be
satisfied. I know what many LDS critics say about where tithing money
"really goes to" and full disclosure will not end these assumptions. If
anything they will just be compounded.
As the world becomes increasingly secular, the differences between Mormonism and
older religions will be seen as less important. The world will be divided
between kooky weird repressive types who still believe in that Stone Age
superstition "God" (ha, ha, ha, go all the right-thinking,
conventional-wisdom self-anointed elites), and "rational people."Whatever issues I may have with the Church, it still believes in a God
worth living for. So here I stand.
Chris B posted:=I TRY to have a discussion.==Your
Mormons refuse.Chris B, there are limits to what I am willing to say
about the temple, but we can talk about it to some extent if you'd like.I remember two or three years ago the TV series "Big Love" had
one episode broadcast the LDS temple ceremony. A radio commentator who was not
LDS watched it, and then said on the radio that the beauty of the temple
ceremony brought tears to his eyes. So while some mock the temple ceremony, I
think there are some out there who still see its beauty.
Cpafred B posted:="why must the LDS Church open its books but
not anyone else?"==All should be open because it's the
right thing to do.Why should I believe that opening its financial
books is the right thing to do?The LDS Church believes that God set
it up. The LDS Church teaches that God has commanded each of us to pay ten
percent of our income in tithing. Why does God's organization have to
disclose every last thing that God chooses to spend His money on? Must it
disclose everything that the church does? Must it publish how many Cambodian
children of single mothers attend its Primary? If not, then why should it have
to disclose its finances?
Last post.@ ClarkHippoYour first two "reasons"
for continued secrecy are ridiculous. Large wealthy organizations go from
private to public status (and start disclosing) all the time [a recent example
is Facebook]. The chaos you are fantasizing simply does not occur. Did people
break into Catholic Charities' locations or Facebook's headquarters
when they started disclosing? Regarding your 3rd reason, the
"you can't please everybody all the time, so why try" argument is
old and tired. At least the Church would have a leg to stand on regarding the
secrecy issue if they disclosed worldwide as they do in the U.K. @ G
L W8Labeling people who want openness a "cadre of critics"
is unfair, judgmental, and discloses a lot about your preconceived prejudices.
Transparency is always good. I echo cpafred's desire to change our tax laws
to require all tax-exempt organizations to publish financials. Trust and
verification go hand-in-hand. This should not be controversial.As
for temple ordinances and other religious rituals, I respect the church's
privacy and right to conduct its worship as it sees fit. However, I would
encourage the church to consider becoming more open. To me, secretiveness and
sacredness are not synonyms. I don't believe something is sacred just
because it is kept secret, and I don't believe something has to be secret
to be sacred. In my own life, the most ordinary situations have produced my most
sacred experiences.Some will say that the information is already
available online. That's true, but I would think the church would want to
be leading the conversation. Others claim that exposure would invite insults or
contention. To that I must insist that if your testimony is based on avoiding
conflict or ridicule, your faith isn't as strong as you think. People are
always going to make fun of religions anyhow. Did God hide Jesus from the world?
Unfortunately, what I've noticed is that members of the church aren't
being accepted in the mainstream. They're being accepted by the Fox News
fringe, and then they think that's somehow the mainstream, and that the
rest of the world is some sort of liberal outlier or something. We've got
a long way to go before we can say we're part of the mainstream.
You're making this so difficult on yourself. Join the Church. Be faithful.
A year later, Go through the Temple. Get your answers. The Lord is a God of
Order. That's how He works. Can't say to a fire "give me heat"
when you give it no wood.
cpafred, Here's my understanding of the phrase "cadre of critics":
'Cadre: a group of people having some unifying relationship. Critic: one
who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment
of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique.' If you see
something unfair, judgmental, or prejudicial in that, so be it. My statement was
not intended to be stereotypical or all-inclusive of everyone wanting openness.
But there are several regular posters that make one wonder if they don't
have a hidden agenda of their own. I do try hard to be fair and objective in my
posts--but all of us misfire at times.
Chris B. On another post I answered a question of yours about the
temple very politely and willingly after you challenged me and you responded
with another question to which I answered. After that you responded to a
criticism from another poster, but did not finish our conversation. Are you
more interested in controversy or answers honestly and fairly given?
Temple: We want everyone to enter our temple, who is ready to do so. If you want
to know, then do what all other Mormons who want to know, and accept the
restored gospel, repent and be baptized, and be ready to enter the temple. If
you need to see it to accept the gospel, then you are not ready to accept the
gospel, OR know about the temple. Just know that it's peaceful and
beautiful, and spiritually uplifting. Finances: It's glaringly
obvious where our money goes. For instance, no building is built that is not
first totally paid for before the first shovel of earth is turned. And the
people who work for the church need to be paid. History: We publish
our history for all to see. We know that no one but Jesus Christ was or is
perfect. If you expect perfection from your prophets and apostles, then throw
your Bible away. The Bible says something about how it's a
wicked and adulterous generation that seeks for proof (a sign). God wants us to
have FAITH. That is to believe in something for which there IS NO proof.
The Mormon Church's position on marriage equality, and Mr. Holland's
term serving on the Board of NOM, suggest there is still a long way to go for
It seems to me that because we are different we should be the most charitable
people in the world.
" Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto
life, and few there be that find it." (3 Ne 14:14)That
does not sound mainstream to me.
@Hutterite:"I swim in that water, too. And I'm doing my best to
dilute it."Your post has a misspelled word... Shouldn't it
"God wants us to have FAITH. That is to believe in something for which there
IS NO proof.", and just why is that so? Why should you believe in something
that for which there is no proof (or even slight confirmation, but in addition
doesn't even make much sense except as an article of faith?
@ lindasdf"Finances: It's glaringly obvious where our money
goes."Really? First, who do you mean by the the "our" in
the above sentence? And do you really believe that all the money taken iin is
immediately spent? If not, where does it go? For example assume $5 billion is
collected in year one and only 4 billion is spent on buildings. Where does the
other 1 billion go?"History: We publish our history for all to
see."Really? Please direct me to where we have published the
names and ages of Joseph Smith's known wives.
Mormons need to be careful. The scriptures clearly say that the Lord expects
his people to be a "peculiar" people and that they are to be "in the
world but not of the world." Too often this desire to be accepted by the
rest of the world results in the dumbing down of Mormon standards to conform to
and fit in with the rest of the world. The Doctrine and Covenants didn't
say you need to fit in, it clearly states that the Lord desires a people who are
very distinct from the rest of the world. And so they should be. The world is
full of wickedness, filth, depravity, decadence and pornography. Latter Day
Saints should have nothing to do with that, should avoid it at all cost. Yet I
see more and more Saints flirting with it. Just look at the way LDS women dress
in many cases today. What they wear today would have horrified LDS women 30
The way I understood this article was that, as Mormons become more mainstream
(whether we want to or not), we need to adapt ourselves to the situation.I think that adaptation is not intended to please the rest of the world,
but to please Him Whom we worship. It is important to give good, reasoned
responses for our faith--responses that will be understood and found acceptable,
if not agreed with. I personally don't have any ambitions to
enter the mainstream as I see the mainstream. I think the world is drifting too
far afield for me to relish the mainstream that is following that drift. But I
also think that Latter-day Saints have an obligation to make themselves known
and to share their distinctive beliefs as the mainstream asks them questions.And I clearly think that many commenters have misunderstood both our
intentions and the intention of the article.
Honestly Chris B, based on the comments I've seen you post on a few article
the past few days I don't care if you like Mormons or not. Detail how opening up the temple would make a difference in your opinion of
MormonsDetail how opening up the finances of the LDS church would make a
difference to you.What about the history of the LDS church don't you
know?You are clearly the typical busybody: nothing more, nothing
less. So, hang in there, go get a Book of Mormon, read it and understand the
other testament of Jesus Christ that is available to the world. My bet is that
you've never read the Book of Mormon nor have you ever been to and LDS
Sunday service or a temple open house.
The Church doesn't need to open their books to the public because it is not
public money its members money. The temples are open to everyone before
dedication. What happens in the temples is sacred not secret. Its history is an
Do we really WANT to be in society's "mainstream"?
We are open about our Temple. If anyone doubts, just come and see. We will
open it to your view when you join and become faithful in following Jesus Christ
and His teachings sufficiently to be worthy to enter and see for yourself. If
you are unwilling to do so, simply search for and find friends and ask. We have
nothing to hide that would be offensive to anyone, despite what some may have
said or written. There are plenty of members who have seen it all and can
genuinely share their experiences with you.We are open about our history
as well. In recent years our church has sponsored scholarly research of
thousands upon thousands of early writings of the history - from leaders and
members. All has been exposed to view including digitized writings with analog
originals alongside. We have nothing to hide in our history in all its'
imperfection and goodness.Finances? Well again if you were to join the
Church, you would fully understand why we implicitly trust that prayer and
reasoning, analysis, and inspiration lead to the best our leaders can do with
God's money. Come and see for yourself! You will feel welcome!
@snowman"its members money"Your statement is false.
Once you hand over the envelope the money is not yours. Try bouncing a check
sometime and you will see.@snowman & wjaygold & lindasdfIf what you say about the history being open is true (and not hot air) then
simply answer the historical question I asked at 5:27 pm (citing your LDS
source). I am waiting...
Ummmmmmm, folks outside of Utah have been living this for a long. Most of my
friends are not LDS and they ask me open, honest questions all the time.
Believe you me they were waiting with a whole list of questions during the BYU
Basketball spotlight on the Honor Code and more questions during the Romney
campaign. There was never any hostility and I was completely honest in my
answers. They come to major events---baptisms and to hear our
departing/returning missionaries speak. We do service projects and social
events with other denominations. Sorry, but this "post-Mormon moment"
thing has been going on for years and years. Just look outside Utah.
Catholic Charities USA makes public their financial statements. Why
shouldn't the Church provide a yearly statement as to what/how fast
offerings humanitarian and PEF are collected and dispersed? Most
members don't know anything about Joseph Smith's practice of
polygamy/polyandry and the role it played in his martyrdom and other historical
issues. Why is that? We have weekly classes, our youth attend seminary, 5
days/wk during the school year. Young men/women going out in the mission field
may confront some of these issues--are we sending them out without being
properly educated? Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.
Wastintime: 1.The word "our" money means members money not public money.
The church uses money to help people all over the world.2. You can
find out about Josephs wives and their ages by typing wives of Joseph Smith into
your search engine
Wastintime: Members give money to the church that makes it members money and it
is used wisely.Truthseeker: Members most certainly do know about
the polygamy and what part it played in the history of the Church
RE: G L W8 "The other side of the question that ought to be asked is: have
"mainstream" churches moved closer to some of the LDS doctrines as
taught by Joseph Smith? I think a good hypothesis could be presented that in
many instances, they have. Could be. But one big way LDS has moved closer to
other faiths is on the matter of race. We don't think dark complexion is a
consequence of sin (?).
@Susan in VAI hear you. I am a proud Democrat and also a proud union
member. I am definitely outnumbered in my ward, as the vast majority are
Republican. I think there is a twofold reason for this.Number 1- Many
members run their own private businesses and are attracted to the benefits the
GOP offers them.Number 2- Most members are more attracted to the social
conservatism of the GOP, (for the most part). And I don't blame them.Combine this with statements made "off the cuff" by very prominent
leaders of the church in the past, regarding the radical-leaning tendencies of
the Democratic Party, and hence, there you go.However, I and my family
view my union membership as an extreme blessing to safeguard against unnecessary
cuts in benefits. Additionally, I feel I can make some impact, (however
infinitesimally small that may be), to influence more conservative social agenda
to my party.I think Christ would be well-please with my stance and
To "morpunkt" actually it is more basic than that.Most LDS
members in the US are conservative because they believe that the blessings of
agency should extend into our daily lives. Liberalism and its many allies in
the Unions go against agency and allowing people to choose for themselves.You should look up what has been spoken during general confrence (not
off the cuff) concerning modern liberalism and socialism.
President Holland's comments in this article seem to me to be spoken either
to, or maybe from, the perspective of either a Utah Mormon or perhaps a Mormon
with pioneer heritage. For the rest of us, which is most of the Church today, we
have been living all along as "part of a society in which we interact more
regularly and are more connected globally." Even though our doctrine was
indeed different, we haven't had the geographic insulation or pioneer
outcast perspective to the same degree as the microcosm of Mormonism in Utah.
From that perspective, and as someone who loves the Church, I would say that
some (Utah) Mormons (speaking generally of the culture and not specifically of
truly good individuals within that culture) will have a hard time sincerely
integrating with the rest of the world, in the way suggested by President
Holland, unless they also learn to be truly loving (not just a superficial or
temporary act) and less insular in their own thinking. The lack of these traits,
in my opinion, to whatever degree such exists, will determine the degree to
which walls come down and hearts open up.
@RedShirt.... I think you would be very surprised by how many of the Prophets
were Democrats. I hear what you say about agency, but my view is that liberalism
more closely follows what Christ taught. I am a liberal, not a socialist.... and
at one time the majority of the members were Democrats... I'm not really
sure why or when that changed. Do you see Social Security and Medicare as
entitlements? I see them as insurance policies that are cashed in at a specific
time of life. I paid my premiums each month and now I'm collecting on that.
If these are entitlements, then all insurance is "entitlements" Many
Republicans have moved so far to the right that (to me) it flies in the face of
the teachings of the Church.
To "Susan in VA" you are confused. You think that all Democrats fully
buy into today's liberalism. SS and Medicare are entitlements, and meet
the very definition of entitlement.Here is what has been said about
liberalism and socialism by Prophets:Elder John Widtsoe (Prophet in
quorum of 12 Apostles) said "A liberal in the Church is merely one who does
not have a testimony."Harold B. Lee in his talk titled "The
Iron Rod" said that "There are those in the Church who speak of
themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said, 'read
by the lamp of their own conceit.' One time I asked one of our Church
educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in
one sentence: 'A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a
testimony.'"Elder Benson in a talk to BYU students titeled
"A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion" said that "Another
notable counterfeit system to the Lord’s plan is collectivized socialism.
Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and
Engels. Communism in practice is socialism."Prophets have
declared liberalism bad.
"It feels to me that today this church is much less situated in a salt water
desert basin in Utah, and much more part of a bigger, broader, more vibrant
world that is aware of who we are and what we are doing," Holland said.Some of us have had that vision for decades, because we didn't grow
up in the salt water desert basin.
Wow... RedShirt... I'm sure that Pres. Hinckley would not have agreed with
that... I am so glad I don't live in Utah... because those of us out in the
"real world" do not feel that way and if it was true of the church, I
would not have joined the church 18 years ago. Liberalism and socialism are
entirely different... I feel sorry for someone who (I assume is a member of this
great church) has lowered himself to question the testimony of those who do not
agree politically with him. AND, I do NOT read by the lamp of my own conceit!
RE; zoar63" Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth
unto life, and few there be that find it." (3 Ne 14:14)That does not sound
mainstream to me? Mt 7;14, Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the
way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.RE:
Jeff: I also think that Latter-day Saints have an obligation to make themselves
known and to share their distinctive beliefs:1 Deify man: Man can
become God. 2. Humanize God, Deny God is one eternally. 3. Minimize sin, Instead
of man’s very nature. 4. Ostracize and add to scripture 5. A diiferent
Jesus (exalted man) 6. Different spirit(familiar)7. Secret sacreds or sacred
secrets closed to the outside 8. The only true church …..and many more.
Mormons are viewed by most throughout the world - assuming they know what Mormon
is by the following descriptors:-Polygamy-Hard working-Clean-cut-anti coffee-anti alcohol-passive aggressive-blindly obedient-trustworthy-weird underwear -temples-large families-close-minded-better than you-gold bible-Christian-cult-not Christian-white shirt and ties
"The Church doesn't need to open their books to the public because it
is not public money its members money."When they get tax
exemption it becomes the public's money.
"mainstream"Jesus Christ is the definition of Christianity.
He is its mainstream. Therefore, the church and gospel he gave in NT times and
restored in modern times is mainstream Christianity. How much some person or
church varies from it is the measure of how far they are out of the mainsteam of
Christianity.I do not understand why any LDS would talk about a
difference between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity; they are one and the
same.However, brother Holland talked about the difference between
Mormons and the mainstream of our current *society*. This is a difference that
I accept and expect to increase in the future.
To "Susan in VA" I don't question testimony. I only ask how people
reconcile the liberal philosophy of government control and government
entitlements with LDS doctrine of allowing individuals to choose for themselves
and working for what you receive.You sound like you are not a
hard-core liberal, but are more moderate. It is the hard core liberals that are
your prime example of liberalism leading to or being a mild form of
socialism.Your testimony is yours, keep the faith, and I do not
question how faithful you are or how strong your testimony is. There are
liberals who post in these forums that are proud of their liberalism and long to
implement socialism or communism. Those are the members that scare me the most.
re:RedShirtIn 1896, the first time Utah voted for president, Democrat
William Jennings Bryan carried almost 83% of the vote against Republican William
McKinley.In 1916, Utah supported incumbent President Woodrow Wilson
over Republican Charles Hughes by an easy 20-point margin.Roosevelt
would carry Utah in all four of his presidential elections. As an incumbent,
Roosevelt’s support never sunk below 60% of Utah voters. The online Utah
History Encyclopedia reports that in the Utah Legislature, there were 45
Democrats and 15 Republicans in the House, and 18 Democrats and 5 Republicans in
the Senate.In 1964 President Johnson’s landslide over Barry
Goldwater was echoed in Utah, where Johnson carried almost 55% of the vote.Church statement:“Elected officials who are Latter-day
Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one
another or even with a publicly stated church position. While the church may
communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it
recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their
best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they are elected
Truth Seeker,The Democrat party today and since the Great Society
isn't the same Democrat party that it was in the early 1900s.Also, Republicans controlled the Federal Government after the Civil War and
during the late 1800s Brigham Young, John Taylor, et al were trying to get
statehood for Utah. Republicans during that time period were strongly against
Utah gaining statehood because of polygamy. Mormons/Utahns were very
understandably pro-Democrat at that time. Today's Mormons (along with most
of Utah) are generally pro-Republican given the party's leaning towards
smaller federal government, more personal accountability and more alignment with
Judeo-Christian thought and groups such as the LDS church.
To "Truthseeker" what is your point? You realize that those
Presidents that you list are some of the most divisive patronizing presidents
ever, and that the policies they implemented have been nothing but disasters for
future generations.Prior to the 1940's Democrats were typically
for freedom and were for small government, but there was a movement that had
been growing for 30 to 40 years to push Democrats more to a big government
mentality. It was after 1940's that the Democrat party had become so
anti-personal freedom and had become collectivist that they had a harder time
winning votes. As you show, by 1964 LBJ had a slim majority in Utah.
pragmatistsforlife: To have faith in God, when there is no proof (evidence, but
not proof), shows Him that we trust Him and love Him. Wastintime:
No, I never said the money was immediately spent. I said, everything is totally
paid for before it's even started to be built. Of course, there is money
being saved. I don't see anything wrong with a church trying to be fiscally
responsible, and trying to stay in the black. Money is a "necessary
evil" as it were. It seems to me like too many churches spend an inordinate
amount of time begging their parishoners for money.
As for Joseph Smith's "wives", I've read where historians are
going thru the papers from Nauvoo and realizing that those wives may have been
rumors and innuendoes, not real. For a church known for keeping careful records,
there are no known records of many of his "wives". Truthseeker: We don't hide anything. Some things seem way more important
to outsiders than they do to us. IF Joseph Smith had more than one wife, it was
NOT for sexual purposes. If he had half the wives he is credited for having, for
purposes of sex, he would never have had time for anything else. I don't
know that any man could have done that, even on their best day ever. bebyebe: Let's put the shoe on the other foot, and if you think we are
being irresponsible with the money we have, then by all means, prove it to the
world. Some people think that our church leaders are living "high off the
hog" on church money. Yes, there is a rather luxe apartment for the prophet,
close to the temple. I think he deserves it, especially since the man is well
into his 80's.
Okay, enough time has passed ... let's see where we stand:It
is clear that the financial records are secret. Nobody could tell me where
tithing money that is not immediately spent goes. It is clear that the Church
does not openly publish its history(there are a lot of known historical facts
that are indeed not published). Nobody was able to recite a list of Joseph
Smith's wives existing in any church publication. And lindasdf, your
assertions are simply ludicrous (try reading Richard Bushman's [one of the
three editor's of the Joseph Smith Papers] writings). I offer up Professor
Bushman's accounts of multiple wives which he did have sex with. Let's
hear your reputable sources. And if we can't even get the spouses right,
how are we supposed to pick which account of the first visit to believe, etc.?
Being gay, I found that I couldn't stay where I didn't belong, but I
do love so much about it and being on the outside has made me see things from a
different point of view. I think that members often hold back when it comes to
knowing people who are not LDS or from another faith. For example, most LDS
people do not take the time to listen to spiritual experiences of Non LDS
people.They should take more time to listen. You would be surprised what you
learn. Sharing spiritual things with other members always gave me so much, but
that came to an end as soon as people learned I was gay. Even family members
stopped sharing and stopped listening. They don't mean to do it, but
Mormons are very picky about which spiritual experiences they let into their
hearts. To this day, it is one of the most painful things I have ever
experienced. I try and bring up something spiritual and they just don't
respond! That is how it works and I am sure many non members will tell you the
same.I am not trying to offend
I think I ought to add my voice as another Democrat who is a practicing,
believing Latter-day Saint. I probably ought to add my voice as someone who is
often glad that he doesn't live in the Intermountain West (largely because
of the Intermountain Mormons tendency to conflate their personal politics or
local culture with Church doctrine).@ RedShirt: I love the Gospel,
but I personally can't stand the Republican Party. Not only is there a
place for me in the Church, but my feelings for the Republican Party have
nothing to do with my testimony of the Gospel, my temple recommend, or my
feelings for fellow Latter-day Saints who happen to be Republican, so long as
they do not try to tell me that the Republican Party is equivalent to the
Gospel. It is not.Neither is union membership antithetical to the
Gospel. It has always been a tenet of true belief in God that laborers must be
paid a fair wage; sadly, that sometimes requires union support to accomplish.Neither party is either completely in line with or completely out of
line with the Gospel.Frankly, the same could be said about
astintime: Your questions were answered. Google wives of Joseph Smith and you
will find a list of his wives and their ages. There is however no known
children from these unions and some were sealed to him after he died.The only ones that should know about the finances is the members since that is
where most of the money comes from.
I can't understand the bitter Utah vs. rest-of-the-world stereotyping
that's come up. Many Utah residents have moved in from out of state and
don't have "pioneer" ancestry. Others have served missions outside
of Utah, gone to school elsewhere, had careers for a time in other parts of the
country, and don't fit the profile of the "happy valley" cultural
portrayal. The same goes for the stereotyping of Republicans vs. Democrats,
"active LDS vs. inactive," "straight vs. gay", etc. Why
can't we learn to appreciate others as individuals? Stereotyping is the
root of all prejudice.
G L W8 wrote:"I can't understand the bitter Utah vs.
rest-of-the-world stereotyping that's come up."Because
religion is inherently divisive.
G L W8As a Member who has spent many years living inside and outside
of Utah, I feel qualified to comment on "Utah v rest-of-the-world"
stereotyping.According to the latest US census, over 67% of people
currently living in Utah were born in Utah and the population is 62% LDS. Utah
is also #8 in the highest percentage of whites, and largely Republican. Utah is
indeed homogenous and easy to stereotype. All my life I have
noticed a smug, self-righteous, vain attitude radiating from Northern Utah
outward. Mormons feel like they have the (only) truth and much of the teaching
and literature is couched in a "we are at war and it's us versus the
world" tone. For example, the phrase "Truth Will Prevail" is in the
title of a top story in the Church News. The phrase says it all: we are at war,
we have the truth, and we will prevail.So out of one side of our
mouths we are at war and out of other we talk brotherhood. The major difference
between non-Utah Mormons is it's hard to be smug when you are in the
The dispute about whether the LDS Church should issue a report of its finances
ignores the fact that one of the most basic beliefs the LDS Church is founded on
is the idea that God set up the LDS Church to be His organization on Earth.
That being the case, if God didn't inspire the LDS Church, then why would
anyone want to be part of it, let alone why would anyone want a report of its
finances. And if God did inspire the LDS Church, then once again why would
anyone require a report of its finances? God can spend His money however He
A Utahan talking to a group of Utahans in Utah about how Church members are
learning to swim in the mainstream?I've been a Mormon in
Oregon, Washington, California, Virginia, Georgia, New York and New Jersey and
now in Utah. I've never thought about the mainstream, who was
in it or whether I was in it. I've lived my life based on what I believe
to be true. I haven't chosen friends based on their religious beliefs and
while all of my friends have known I am Mormon, and we've had numerous
conversations about spiritual and religious topics, I never had any preconceived
notions about someone's character or morals based on their choice of
religion (or lack of same).The vast majority of good, honest, moral,
charitable people in this country (and in the world) are not Mormon. Many
Mormons fit that description, but we are 2% of the US population.For
many of us Mormons who live (or have lived) outside of Utah and found friendship
and mutual respect with the 98% for years (as well as with the 2%)...this
newfound fascination by Utahan with the "mainstream" just makes us
Thank you to kvnsmnsn and Let's Roll.I have said and written
essentially the same thing countless times to my LDS neighbors here in Utah, but
they have no "hearts to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear".
Instead, they vilify, marginalize, and ostracize me in order to justify
Sorry, I meant jmort, not the other commenter.
To "Jeff" that is fine that you don't like the the GOP. Their
representation of conservative values is questionable at best. The issue is
conservativism and the gospel vs liberalism and the gospel. Prophets and GAs
have stated that liberalism and the gospel are not compatible. There is no
single party that embodies conservativism right now, so it is ok to not like any
of them.As for union membership. I would worry about people being
members of some unions. I would hope that when LDS members are in a union,
because that is the only way to get some jobs, that they fight against the
socialism and corruption that is rampant in so many of them.
Redshirt1701 posted:=The issue is conservativism and the gospel vs
liberalism and the gospel.=Prophets and GAs have stated that liberalism
and the gospel are not compatible.I have heard the LDS Church's
statement that neither of the major two political parties are incompatible with
being a Latter-day Saint, and I guess I just think that in view of that
statement I would find it very hard to believe that the official position of the
Church is that liberalism itself is incompatible with being a Latter-day Saint.
Somewhere between 2005 and 2007 Brigham Young University invited Harry Reid, one
of the most liberal men I have ever known, to come give a BYU devotional. Why
would BYU do that if liberalism is in fact so incompatible with the gospel?
To "kvnsmnsn" you didn't understand my statement.Poltical philosophies are not equal to political parties. This has nothing to
do with Democrat or Republican.You may find it hard to believe that
liberalism is contrary to LDS doctrine, but that is what has been declared by
Prophets and GAs.What you forget is that while Harry Reid is very
liberal, the church does not question his faith or commitment to God, that is
between Harry and God. BYU invited him to speak at a Forum event on faith,
family, and public service. BYU also has non-LDS professors, so strict
adherence to LDS beliefs is not mandatory for speaking at or teaching at BYU.
@Redshirt1701: I'm afraid you would have to give very detailed
descriptions of what you mean by "liberalism" and
"conservatism." As I understand both terms as used in the current
political climate, I would have to disagree with your assertion that the Church
favors conservatism over liberalism. I think that the Church favors each one in
its place where it coincides with the Gospel.Furthermore, Church
policy on many issues falls right smack dab in between both camps. One could
say the Church favors "Moderatism" if anything.Speaking of
socialism, again...I knew a young missionary from The Netherlands
who once confessed to me privately that he was a Socialist, but he was afraid to
let American elders know because they were so abusive about his political
affiliation. Learn to think more globally.Yes, even Socialism has
elements that coincide with the Gospel, which means that a Latter-day Saint who
belongs to a union has no obligation whatsoever to "fight" against
Socialism per se. I agree that all good people should fight corruption wherever
they find it, but it's just as likely to be in management as it is in the
To "Jeff" unfortunately you are wrong about socialism, and also in
thinking that the church could be considered moderate in today's political
climate.Here is the basic definitions for conservative and
liberal.Conservative - believes in minimal government, and that
individual people are the solution to our nation's problems.Liberal - belive in limitless government, and that government is the solution
to any problem.Here are some quotes from various LDS Prophets and
leaders condemning socialism:" many of the current false
theories and philosophies of men, including socialism, humanism, organic
evolution, and others" Ezra Taft Benson"We heard Brother
Taylor's exposition of what is called Socialism this morning. What can they
do? Live on each other and beg. It is a poor, unwise and very imbecile people
who cannot take care of themselves" Brigham Young"We believe
that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from
the underlying spirit common to Naziism, Fascism, and Communism, namely the
spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic
state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess
under the Constitution" First Presidency 1941.