Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sneeky LDS Conversion Tactics

http://www.mormon.org/ Click on the "Basic Beliefs" tab and then on the "Membership In Christ's Church" link.

Here you will find a nice little summary of LDS beliefs and lifestyle. They keep it simple and short. But this page is dangerously deceiving.

You see, life as a Mormon is anything but simple. It is amazingly complex and members are taught that they must conform with all the rules and expectations or they won't be saved. Don't you dare say no to your bishop for anything because if you are saying no to the bishop, then you are saying no to Jesus himself.

This page shares the "basic beliefs" of Mormonism which are not too far fetched when compared with other religions. They want to appear to be normal.

However, this simple page leaves out many, many important details of standard Mormon life. The first is tithing. Members are expected to pay 10% of their gross earnings to the church. They do not force you to do so, but highly guilt-trip it out of you. If you don't pay, then you will not be allowed to attend the temple, which is the ultimate goal of Mormonism.

This simple page says nothing about home and visiting teaching. Active members are actually assigned a few member families that they are required to visit in their homes each month. A spiritual message is taught and the home or visiting teacher is required to report to the bishop anything that is out of the ordinary. Again, this activity is not forced, but the members are highly guilt-tripped into doing it.

This simple page also says nothing about the temple itself. Mormons view their holy temples as being the literal house of god on earth. It is such a holy place that evil spirits and any other influence of the devil is physically unable to come inside. In the temple, many different saving ordinances are carried out. In order to be "temple worthy" a member must fully comply with all the teachings of the church and pass two worthiness interviews. In order to get a temple recommend (a piece of paper given to you by the bishop stating that you have been found worthy to enter the temple) the member must comply to the following requirements:

- Pay a full and honest tithe
- Be sexually pure (no sex of any kind unless with your spouse)
- Profess faith and a belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit
- Sustain LDS leadership as prophets and apostles
- Confess and repent of any sins
- Be active in church and fulfill all callings and assignments
- Must not associate with any group whos teachings are against or contrary to LDS teachings
- Profess to have a testimony of the restored gospel
- Obey the Word of Wisdom
- Profess to be honest in all your dealings
- Overall consider yourself to be worthy to enter the temple

This is the life of a Mormon in a nutshell. However, our simple, feel-good web page in question does not talk about any of this stuff. This page is deceiving and dishonest. If people knew that all of these things would be expected of them, I am sure that far fewer would join. So the LDS church must engage in dishonest tactics in order to get people to join.

That's just sad. Isn't it ironic that the church which expects honesty of its members is anything but honest!

Their conversion process and logic goes as follows:

- Read and pray about the Book of Mormon
- Ask god and find out for yourself if it is true
- If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a true prophet
- If JS was a true prophet, then the LDS church is the true church
- If the LDS church is true, then all of its teachings are true
- Since all of its teaching are true, then you must comply or fry

So you see, they get the unsuspecting convert addicted to the church by means of the Book of Mormon. Once that person has a basic understanding and testimony of its truth, they can be easily manipulated into believing more "deep" doctrines. However, if these "deep" doctrines were introduced at the beginning, the potential convert would tell the church to take a hike. This is referred to as the "milk before meat" principle.

In other words, it is actually okay to withhold certain information from new converts. Wait until the hook is nice and deep before you pummel them with all the amazing extras!

Sneeky little fuckers!

10 comments:

Michael said...

You spelled Sneaky wrong.
Which discredits your entire post.
And blog.

Mormon411 said...

Please tell me you're joking.

Anonymous said...

Your understandings, with all due respect, are a bit off-base to the point of being almost comical in nature.

Tithing: It can be a challenge to give 10% of your income to your church, however this belief isn't unique to Mormonism. It's been around since the days of Adam and Eve.

Personally, tithing has been a growing and humbling experience in which I realize that God has given me all I have and 10% is little to offer in return. Let's just say that financially most LDS members are not hurting - instead we learn to manage our money better than most.

Home teaching: I really don't see a problem with reaching out to my community to see how and where I can help. I enjoy receiving home teachers into our home and I enjoy being of service to those who have needs. We're talking about, maybe, 2 hours per month.

The "reports" are a means of taking care of families that need assistance and support through difficult times.

Since the second great commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself I'm not sure how anyone can claim to be a Christian without reaching out to their neighbors on a consistent basis. The only guilt one needs to feel is in not living up to that commandment.

Callings: Again, this is about being of service to others. And if you deny a calling you deny yourself an opportunity to grow.

"Being saved": It's a basic tenant of Mormonism that we believe Heavenly Father and Jesus love everyone and they hope we return home to them, like any parent who loves their children would. To be saved, one simply needs to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior now or in the spirit world. The only way to *not* be saved is to deny Jesus.

As the scriptures say, the Lord has many mansions, which the Bible further describes as 'there are many levels of heaven'. All but those who choose Satan and deny Jesus will end up in one level of heaven or another, regardless of whether they're Mormon or not.

Everyone has a right to their opinion and their choices. If a person is inherently selfish or fearful they don't/won't have the financial resources they need then they lack faith and it's only logical that *any* religion will not make sense to that individual.

I can attest that's a recipe for an unfulfilled and unhappy life.

I wish you all the best.

Mormon411 said...

Hi Anon,

I appreciate your comment. Please understand, I am not against service in any way.

So the question I have to ask is this: Is home teaching service when it is drilled into the members that it must be done? I remember sitting in EQ meetings week after week getting racked over the coals because our HT numbers were so low. That is when it becomes a chore, rather than service.

Same thing with tithing. I have absolutely nothing against anyone donating money to their church. But when a church coherses money out of it's members by denying them access to the club house (temple) if they don't pay, AND threaten them with buring in a big fire at the end of the world if they don't pay, AND threaten to have the very spirit of Jesus withdrawn from them if they don't pay... that's just wrong. I have a HUGE problem with that especially since both the Bible and Book of Mormon clearly state that the gospel is free.

The whole purpose of this post was to show people that the LDS church is not honest with people when it shares their 'basic beliefs'. They don't tell you that you'll be required to give service, so called. They don't tell you that you'll be under constant pressure to pay tithing, be temple worthy, do your home teaching, fulfill your callings, go to all your meetings, etc.

My point is simply that they don't disclose all the duties and obligations that members are expected to follow, at least not until after they've already made the commitment.

Mormon411 said...

Michael said:

"You spelled Sneaky wrong.
Which discredits your entire post.
And blog."

"Which discredits your entire post." ~ fragment sentence

"And blog." ~ another fragment sentence

This loser, who can't even structure and punctuate a simple sentence, has the gall to lecture me about spelling errors.

Mormon411 said...

Another thing that I forgot to mention, is interviews:

Before you become a Mormon, do they tell you that for the rest of your life you will have to sit down and detail out your private, personal life to some nosey bishop?

And not only once, but at least every six months to a year. When new members join the church, are they told, beforehand, that this will be their life?

No.

Anonymous said...

Part One (sorry this is long)

Hi Mormon411,

If I may, a little of my background.

My parents were converts in 70s and I was baptized when I turned 8. My family only remained active in the church for a couple of years and being LDS was never a thought for me.

One of the main reasons my parents left was because my mom refused a calling to serve in the nursery and the 'authority' laid a guilt trip on her. At the time my mom had three kids aged 9 and younger and was also babysitting through the week. She simply needed a break.

So I understand what you're saying.

But I am sure that you would agree with me that A) leadership abilities vary greatly in humans and B) no human is perfect, thus no thing that any human touches will be perfect.

In the 30-plus years that I was inactive I was a very active spiritual searcher (ie, an unhappy human looking for 'the truth'). I've been a complete non-believer, and spent most of my adult life very anti-Christian (not antichrist, just anti-hypocrite).

The last thing I ever expected was to become active in the LDS Church.

My wife is probably a more extreme story. She was decidedly pagan when we met.

I just say this because something miraculous happened in our life. Also, we didn't walk into this blindly - we did heavy research into the pros and cons of what it would mean and require of us.

Here's my response to your points, which I accept is your valid experience and understand why you'd feel as you do.

re: Home Teaching numbers. In our ward we are aware that the numbers are low and that it's a part of our calling. However I've never had anyone make me, or anyone else, feel guilty about not doing it. I know it's the right thing to do and most people do. The guilt trip is a very poor approach to leadership, to attempt to get people to do something. This has more to do with the local leadership than it does the church, IMO.

re: Tithing and the temple. My father-in-law, who's not LDS, believes anyone should be able to enter the Temple. I disagree on
the grounds that it's the House of the Lord; I think there should be certain levels of proven worthiness - in order to experience certain blessings we show a certain level of faith. I have come to recognize and believe that I am only in temporary possession of things the Lord has entrusted to my care. If I don't help contribute to his cause I don't believe I should expect him to contribute to my cause. I see money as a means of correcting us where we are out of balance.

I like a story I read about Brigham Young where he relates that many times he spent the last dollar he had in his pocket, with absolute faith that the Lord would provide for his needs. In fact, he felt it was a sin to not put every dollar he had to work - it showed in lack of faith in God that we'd feel the need to keep a reserve. So the tithing / money thing to me is very much about faith and discipline.

Brigham Young is to many a controversial figure, but I don't think there's any debate that he came from nothing and achieved some amazing things with his life.

Anonymous said...

PART TWO

And I'd have to disagree with your final point; the Church did inform us of tithing - we actually had several visits in which the missionaries stressed this and answered all of our questions.

If you felt pressured to pay tithing, then I think that's wrong. Everyone proceeds at a different rate of spiritual progression. And it's certainly more difficult to enter a situation where the budget is already maxed out, then feel you need to come up with another 10% out of that. Again though, my wife and I became aware of places we were spending money that didn't need to be spent and we've made positive adjustments in our life. I can honestly say those adjustments have almost universally improved our quality of life.

I will say the Church didn't offer us direct support in achieving this, however, and it would probably be a good thing if they did help people with that adjustment - I'd have to guess that tithing is the single biggest reason people either do not convert or become inactive.

Also, we watched a Frontline program on Mormonism before joining that did a really good job of explaining what it would mean to our life - I highly recommend everyone watch that before making such a big decision. I think it was a pretty objective look, which at the time did give us some second thoughts but also prepared us for what was to come.

I'd like to wrap up by saying that I'm not invested in your choices or opinion. I do think it's a shame that a person would move away from a beautiful belief system because of the wrong motivations of those who've been entrusted with their care. I also think it's a shame that some people will read about your experience and not pursue any further something that has been such a blessing in the life of my family.

If there's one thing people should know about being LDS, it's that your complete perspective on life and what's central will likely need to make a change. You can't be "of the world" if you hope to have true spiritual growth. But this is why, some exceptions aside certainly, I had always seen most Christians as hypocrites but the LDS members I met to be quite different, in general. The Church and most members walk the talk for the most part.

My relationship with the Lord is ultimately between me and the Lord. I support the Church but I don't believe *any* human organization is perfect. That Church is a means of supporting us in supporting each other in our temporal and spiritual needs, and sometimes people are going to fail. Sometimes the Church is going to fail.

I'll admit that I have some issues with the Word of Wisdom, or rather the interpretation of the WofW. It says quite clearly that it is pleasing to the Lord that meat be used only in times of extreme famine or winter, yet go to a pot luck and you'd think it was a meat convention. Or it's treated as near sacrilege to drink coffee and yet people chug hot chocolate ( a stimulant with caffeine and loads of sugar ). It's like we take part of this sacred text very seriously and ignore the rest.

The conclusion I've come to is that I know what's right from wrong - let others do what they do, and do what is right without judgment for the choices of others.

Brother, I can only say to you that I would not allow the un-Christlike
limitations of those you've encountered in the Church dissuade you from doing what's right.

I know that my life today is much happier, much more at peace than it was while I was inactive.

I have not given up my ability to think for myself, or to question (and gain inner growth and insight).

For me the truth is that the people from the Church that I met, most especially the missionaries who came to my home, had an uncommon quality of being that I wanted for myself and for my family. It was a leap of faith that I have no regretted, not once.

I sincerely wish you all the best.

John

Mormon411 said...

Hi John,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, I remember as a missionary teaching people about the law of tithing and asking them to commit to living it. Same with the law of chastity.

Wow, given your background, I am surprised that you found your way into the LDS faith. But stranger things have happened. I appreciate your comments and as long as you are not 'blindly following the prophet', then you have my blessings. In fact, if I've ever stated anywhere in this blog that I dislike Mormons, then I misspoke and I retract it. My family, friends, and co-workers are all mostly Mormon and I love and care for them all. To any and all who can honestly say that they are happy as Mormons, then I am thrilled for them.

That simply was not the case with me. I went around saying I was happy, but I really felt under constant pressure to obey, obey, obey. The pressure was never relieved... if you did your 'duty' then you got to turn around and do it again next month. If you didn't do your 'duty' then you felt the guilt and shame of not having done it.

Learning the truth about the Mormon past was like medicine for me. It literally set me free. Years and years of pressure was finally relieved.

So the LDS lifestyle is not for me. But again, to those who do benefit from it, I'm happy for them.

Thanks for the comment. I'm dog-sitting my sister's dog so I got to get going for now.

"Chub Daddy" said...

"You spelled Sneaky wrong.
Which discredits your entire post.
And blog."

When confronted with the multiple changes to the B of M over the years many Mormons claim the only changes have been to typographical errors. By this same logic the entire Book of Mormon would be discredited.

Seriously, as an ex-Mormon I completely know what you are saying by the demanding nature of the church and being guilted into doing things which are not "required". But the whole comply or fry thing doesn't feel very true to my Mormon experience. The one thing I do like about Mormonism is almost everyone goes to some degree of heaven in the end.