Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Robert D. Hales, in his article "How You Can Know", states that a testimony "makes a deep and lasting impression on the soul." New Era, August 2002, page 40. To see the entire article, please click here.
Richard G. Scott states, "A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching..." and he later goes on to say, "...a testimony is not emotion." Ensign, November 2001, page 87. To see the entire article, click here.
It is statements like these that the LDS take to heart and repeat to each other. I heard it countless times. According to these articles, and many others like them, a testimony is a powerful witness of the "truth" and is more potent than evidence or even an eye-witness.
However, I have to question this idea of "lasting impression" because while they trump up a testimony on one hand, saying how powerful it is, on the other hand, they warn that a testimony, in spite of the fact that it is so powerful, can easily crumble. Consider these statements:
"Testimony isn’t something you have today and you are going to have always. A testimony is fragile. It is as hard to hold as a moonbeam. It is something you have to recapture every day of your life.” (President Harold B. Lee, Church News, July 15, 1972, p. 4)
"When a testimony is not growing, it is in danger of becoming weaker." (O. Leslie Stone, “Testimony,” New Era, Jul 1979, 4)
So is a testimony strong or isn't it? If a witness of the spirit is capable of leaving a "lasting impression", then why is it "as hard to hold as a moonbeam"?
As I stated above, I was often told that a spiritual witness is more powerful than actually seeing a heavenly being. Now, if I saw a heavenly being, I'm pretty damn sure that I would never forget it. There are certain things that are forever burned into my memory and I am quite sure that such a heavenly visitation would be one of them.
Now, if a witness of the spirit is even stronger than the memory of this heavenly visitor, then that must be a pretty damn strong testimony.
So that is why I am left to question. If testimony is so strong, why do church leaders constantly warn about how easy it is to lose your testimony? If a testimony is the only reliable source of truth, then why is it so weak and shaky? Only by constantly emersing yourself into LDS propaganda does your testimony not fade.
I have certain events in my life that are forever engrained into my memory. Even if I don't think about them very often, when I do, I can recall them with perfect clarity. I don't have to constantly struggle to remember it. I just remember. There is no need to visualize it on a daily basis for fear of losing it. It's there permanantly and it ain't going anywhere, even if I don't think about it every day. In fact, if I only think about it once a month or even once a year, it can still be recalled as clearly as the day it happened.
So if the "spirit" is even more impressionable than an actual memory of a life-changing event, I again ask the question: "Why is a testimony so fragile?"
If it really was as strong as they say it is, then there would be absolutely no danger, whatsoever, of losing it. But an LDS testimony, is either growing or shrinking. If you stop engaging in LDS practice, your testimony fades. It almost seems that in order to keep believing, you have to constantly remind yourself that you believe.
If believing something requires so much effort to gain and maintain, can it really be the truth?
Truth is truth and does not need to be constantly reinforced. If a certain fact or statement is true, than it shouldn't have to be constantly rehearsed in order to stay true.
The only real evidence of the truthfulness of the LDS gospel is their testimony gaining process. If all reason, evidence, and experience suggests otherwise, then the testimony is the fallback. It is the one thing that can't be proven false. In the LDS mind, since it can't be proven false, then it must be true by default.
Obviously, this is extremely flawed logic. I can't actually prove that Santa Claus doesn't exist either, but does that make him real by default?
In the game of Sorry, once you're in the safe zone, nothing can send you back to start. An LDS testimony is the "safe zone". Once everything else has failed, you can fall back on your testimony and be infallable.
The idea of testimony is the one thing that keeps the LDS church together. It keeps the members inline and paying. It debunks any and all evidence that Joseph Smith was a lying fraud.
So, despite their claims that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of their religion, it is actually the concept of testimony.The Book of Mormon can be proven false and a member can still believe in the divine mission of Joseph Smith by means of their testimony. Therefore, remove the element of testimony and the church has lost it's safety net.
Since this is the case, if it can be demonstrated that a testimony is not reliable evidence for the truthfulness of the church, then they have nothing to fall back on. I have done this by showing how the church requires people to constantly brainwash themselves into a testimony by repeating it again and again. If this was the means by which truth is learned, then it would be easy to "forget" that the sky is blue unless we repeat it over and over and over.
A testimony is nothing more than self brainwashing. Read the articles I have provided above and see if that is not the case. In order to have a testimony, you need to completely immerse yourself in LDS lifestyle. If you don't, it won't come.
You would think that the creater of the universe would make it a little easier to learn the absolute truth about his restored gospel. Not only that, but you would think that this absolute truth would be easy to keep believing. But the mere fact that if you stop the inflow of "I know it's true, I know it's true, I know it's true," then it goes away, says something. Something powerful.
Anything you have to keep reminding yourself to believe, isn't really worth all the effort! As I stated above, truth is truth and needs no justification. But an LDS testimony requires a ton of justification and continual input in order to stay alive.
An LDS testimony is like a balloon with a hole in it. As long as you keep blowing into the balloon, it will stay inflated. But as soon as you stop blowing, it will automatically deflate. Does truth really require you to constantly blow? Or should it stand on it's own?
Answer that question honestly and you will find your truth.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Have you read the Bible?
If you have, how can you possibly believe that god is good? The god of the Old Testament is angry, vengeful, jealous, ruthless, genocidal, etc. If someone gathered sticks on the Sabbath day, they were to be put to death. If a neighboring nation was full of unbelievers, it was okay to invade that country, in god's name, and kill every breathing thing.
I'm not going to waste my time thumbing through the OT to find every offensive passage. That is my challenge to you, believers. If you so strongly profess to believe in the Bible, don't you think you should actually read it? I'm not talking about random verses here and there... I'm talking about cover to cover.
Then the New Testament rolls around and this dictator of a god suddenly goes from genocide, murder, and rape to gentle, meek, and mild.
It sounds like two completely different gods! In the OT you could die for breaking the Sabbath day. Then Jesus turns around and justifies his own breaking of the Sabbath.
But isn't Jesus supposed to be the god of the OT? If he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why such radical changes in views of the Sabbath and the change from the 'iron-fist' god to the 'meek-and-mild' god?
I would so much like to hear a believers response to this question/challenge. Why do the two books describe such different gods? Why would the god of the OT have sinners guts torn from their bodies and then Jesus turns around and eats with the sinners?
Then Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites for simply living the commandments of the OT.
Can't god make up his goddamn mind?
Believers, if you haven't read the Bible, maybe you'd better not! You'll probably lose your faith!
I have decided that since I now have well over 200 posts in this blog, it might be a good idea to make it a little easier to find older posts. So I am going to put together a page that lists and links to every single post I have ever done. The "archive" feature here is useful, but an actual list with the title of the post will make it even easier to find.
The list will be arranged in descending order. In other words, the newest posts will be at the top of the list and the older posts will be at the bottom of the list. So if you wish to read them in chronological order, you will need to start at the bottom and work your way up.
The list won't be complete right away. I will add more every day until it's done. Then as I publish a new post, I will simply add it to the top of the list.
- Talking to Your Imaginary Friend
- Guilt From "Sin"
- Happy Thanksgiving!
- Who Are the Mormons?
- Joseph's "Myrterdom"
- Mormonism Is A Prison
- A Little About Me
- Tithing, Charity, and PR
- The Problem With the Book of Abraham
- Jesus Is A Sith Lord!
- It Takes Balls to Leave the Church
- Why Do Mormons Hate Apostates?
- Why the Priesthood Isn't Real
- I Am Now Full of Hate
- Is There An Afterlife?
- Is the Gospel Really Necessary For Your Life?
- TBM Cry Babies
- Changing Mormon Stories #3
- How About A Mission Story
- The Skeptics Society
- Am I Really A Former Mormon?
- Pests For the Lord
- Temple Square Homeless
- Science vs. Religion
- I Never Said It Would Be Easy...
- Look, There's the Elders
- Another Holy Sabbath Day
- Am I Helping Anyone?
- Who Was Jesus?
- Faith and Light Bulbs
- Prophets and Apostles... What A Bunch of Clowns!
- Let's Talk About the Forbidden...
- Sharing the Gospel
- Changing Mormon Stories #2
- Holy Sacred Underwear, Batman!
- If It Feels Good, It Is Good
- Today Was Sunday
- Amazing Mormon Buildings
- Lying Prophet Assholes!
- Do Tithes Really Bring Blessings?
- Changing Mormon Stories #1
- The God/Jesus Myth
- If You're Doubting, It's Okay
- Mormons Are Good People
- Do I Miss Going to Church?
Across the top of this card are printed the words: "Faith in Christ can help you resolve personal and family challenges."
Just what exactly is this statement implying? Let's analyze it and see, by common sense, if it really is true.
It seems to boldly be saying that unless you have faith in Jesus, you can't have a normal functioning life. Anyone who doesn't have faith in Christ will be unable to resolve their personal and family challenges. Is that true?
Let's go to a nation where the majority religion is not Christianity. How about Japan. According to this flyer, all Japanese families are running around in utter confusion, unable to resolve any problems. Because this is so, the problems keep piling up and just get worse and worse and worse. Because this is happening to every family that does not have Christ, (which would be almost every family in the entire country) the economy of Japan would quickly fall apart.
But is this what is happening in Japan? No. So the claim to need Jesus for family happiness and functionality is false.
But looking even deeper at this statement, reveals some pretty bad insite into the character of Jesus himself. He's supposedly our older brother, at least that's what Mormons believe.
Now what kind of a brother would stubbornly refuse to help his own siblings unless they profess him as their king? Only an asshole of a brother. For a person who is so full of love and mercy, Jesus sure has a lot of conditions that must be met before he will help you.
The Biblical Jesus sat and ate with sinners. A noble example. But the Jesus of Mormonism will only associate with you once you display your "faith" in him. And of course, that means pay him. If the Jesus of the Bible ever met the Jesus of Mormonism, he would kick his ass up one side and down the other! The Jesus of the Bible did not want money. But the Mormon Jesus sure does!
In fact, the Mormon Jesus wants skyscrapers, churches, temples, malls, hotels, ranches, and businesses.
From now on when referring to the Mormon Jesus, I will spell it
Monday, April 20, 2009
One of my earliest memories of doubt about the LDS church came after hearing a story of the arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake valley. This story told of several of the apostles and priesthood leaders climbing a hill and setting up an ensign to the nation. They did so because they knew that they had the true priesthood and that they had been called to their high positions by god himself.
When I heard this story, I distinctly remember having the gut feeling that every single one of these men were deluded fanatics; that there was no truth at all to what they believed.
For years, I remembered hearing that story but could never remember where I heard it.
I was browsing around on YouTube and came across a speech by Boyd K. Packer where he relates this story. I was beginning to wonder if I had just imagined this whole thing, but here it is plain and clear.
You only need to watch about the first minute and a half.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Why am I so pissed off? Today two Mormon geeks (missionaries) approached me on the street. They were the typical clean cut, white shirt, bicycle guys that you always see riding around.
The geek who initiated the conversation began by asking me if I was a member of the church, to which I replied that I was not. He then asked me what was holding me back from going to church. I told him that I am not religious.
Going on as though he was wearing ear plugs, he asked me if I have a copy of the Book of Mormon to which I replied that I do. He then challenged me to read it, saying that if I do, I will be able to regain my testimony.
What? Didn't I just tell you that I'm not a member? He then went on to promise me, in the name of Jesus Christ, that if I read the Book of Mormon, I will find the answers that I've been praying for.
What? Didn't I just tell you that I'm not religious? Non-religious people don't pray, so I haven't been praying for answers.
This assuming SOB then tried to manipulate me into a commitment to go to church this Sunday. I told him I would look at the Book of Mormon but that's all I would commit to. Well, I got home, glanced at the book and then logged in to post my little encounter.
The funny thing is that his companion said nothing and was even looking in other directions. I could tell he was just as annoyed by these stupid questions as I was.
Their behaviour appalls me and it terrifies me to think that at one point, I ran around in a white shirt and tie with a black name tag and asked those exact same manipulating questions. It horrifies me to think that I was once one of them.
What makes them think that people like being approached by complete religious freaks who try to manipulate the hell out of them from the very first question? Why do they think that they have the right to approach me, uninvited, and immediately start ramming their testimonies down my throat?
I know that they are just naive slaves of the system who are only trying to do what they think is right. I can't blame them for that. But I have actually grown to resent them. I still try to be polite, but I don't know for how much longer. Every encounter I have with them is exactly the same... them trying to manipulate me into dozens of commitments.
Why do I have to account myself to two geeky teenagers? I don't! I no longer have to account to anyone for any of my actions or choices except to myself and my wife. No one else! No one else has the right to pry into my private or religious life. And yet Mormons think they can do it to anyone they want, member or non-member.
Never again will any bishop or missionary be allowed to question me about my private life. Never! My days of explaining myself to everyone else are over.
Take my advice. If you see the LDS missionaries, turn around and walk the other way.
Friday, April 17, 2009
For years I was brought up, like most people, in a religion that teaches fairy tales. There is no truth to these stories or beliefs at all and the amazing thing is that religious people will actually admit to you that they have no proof of them. That's why it's called religion: because you have to accept it on faith.
Isn't that a stupid thing to do?
Okay, I could see accepting something on faith if it had a good probability of being true. Religion not only expects you to take their "truths" on faith, but to do so in spite of tremendous evidence that it is not true.
Come on people! Where are your brains?
Richard Dawkins in his wonderful book, "The God Delusion", points out the fact that religious people believe that taking something on faith, despite evidence to the contrary, is noble. As a Mormon, I was taught that unquestioning obedience to the "bretheren" was one of the best traits that I could develop.
What? You mean act like a sheep?
If "God" wanted me to follow like a sheep, why did "He" give me brains? Why was I given the ability to think and reason if doing so is such a serious offense to god? Why was I given a penis if sex is such a terrible thing? Why would god make me the way I am and then condemn me on every turn for simply being me?
Only a deluded person would think that.
I used to feel guilty because touching myself felt good. I used to feel guilty for getting aroused by looking at pictures of naked girls. I used to feel horribly guilty for making out with and petting with girls who I was not married to.
Now I regret that I didn't do it more!
If there really is a place called "hell" then the only people who are going there are the people who teach these lies and make people hate themselves for simply being human. Remember, in Christianity, you are born into sin. Just for being born, you deserve to go to hell. I used to buy into all that nonsense, but then...
... I turned on my brain.
There is this invisible guy living in the sky. This guy is constantly watching you, making notes of everything you do. He has 10 rules that you are supposed to obey. If you break any of them, he has arranged a special place for you to go, where you will be tortured and punished for all eternity with no possibility for parole. This person is god and guess what?
He loves you!
God is an awful parent! Would any parent who loves their children punish them FOREVER for simply making a mistake? This "merciful" being will watch you burning in pain forever and do nothing to stop it?
Fuck that god! (This is where I hack up a nice big loogie and spit it right into god's face!)
God is all knowing, right? He always gets his way, right? Well, if god's will is unchangeable, then why bother praying? If someone is sick, god already knows if they are going to get better or die. Since their fate is pre-determined, what makes you think a simple prayer is going to alter the will of the almighty?
Prayer does nothing!
If there is no god, then you are just saying words that bounce off the ceiling and go no further. If there is a god, and his will is unalterable, than your prayer is nothing but a nuisance to god. He's not going to change his mind, so why bother taking the time in the first place?
Stop fooling yourself.
God is supposed to be merciful but I have just showed that he isn't. God is supposed to be loving, but I have just showed that he isn't. What other attributes does god have? All-good and all-powerful? Nope, and I'll show you why.
If god was all good, then he wouldn't break his own commandments. Are we not expressly forbidden to kill? Yes, so why does god think it's okay for him to do it? Since god kills and there is proof in the Bible, then god is not all-good.
Is god all powerful? Nope. If you really think about the doctrine, Satan is more powerful than god. Once you are in hell, you're there forever. Even if god wanted to get you out, he can't. Besides, if god is so powerful and the devil is so bad, why doesn't god just say some magic word and make Satan disappear forever? Then everyone would be saved and the whole story would make a lot more sense.
But god is too stupid to think of that.
So it appears that every attribute given to god is actually not true. It really sounds like a made up story, doesn't it? But don't worry, even though it makes no sense at all and is completely absurd, it's noble to keep believing!
Actually, it's insane.
It's all so insane that I can't believe I ever allowed myself to buy it in the first place. It's just like taking the story of Peter Pan and wagering my life savings that it's a true story. If you really stop and think about it, you will see that your religious beliefs are no damn different. There is absolutely no evidence for the existance of god; in fact, there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary.
So use the brain that "god" gave you!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
For now that can wait, but I did have another thought...
We're all supposed to be reverent in the church and in the temple because they are the house of the lord. What? How many damn houses does that selfish SOB need?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
"Dear President ____:
"In the last few months, the missionaries of the mission have been asking the members to be actively involved with the missionary work by coming with them to all of their appointments with investigators and new members. The purpose, as you know, is to provide fellowshipping. This is a good idea and I believe it will be very effective; however, I have a few concerns that I’d like to let you know of.
"Our ward is quite large and the number of active families is quite small. Even with the active members, there are very few who are willing or available to go out with the missionaries. As such, I have been called upon frequently, which I have done willingly. I believe this program is inspired, but I do not believe that the ward mission leader, the ward missionaries, and the few that are willing should have to shoulder the entire burden. Therefore, I propose that the members go with the missionaries to appointments AFTER the investigator has fulfilled some commitments and has shown a general interest in further investigating the church. I do not believe that this request is unreasonable.
"On top of that, the last time I was supposed to meet the Elders to teach a discussion, I arrived at the home at the scheduled time. I waited outside for the Elders, and when a half-hour passed without them showing up, I finally went home. Now, the purpose of this letter is not to get the Elders in trouble with you, but to again stress the fact that our number of willing members are few and are quickly being burnt out. If the mission wants members to be involved, then the missionaries need to take it seriously and be to their appointments on time.
"I have recently been asked, again, to go with them to an investigators home. The reason I have been asked to go is because the investigator is a single woman, and for the lack of a better word, I am to act as "chaperone". Perhaps I’m wrong with my thinking, but that is the reason they go out two-by-two: not only to give two witnesses, but also to "chaperone" each other. Three men going into the home of a single woman is going to intimidate her. Pardon me for saying this, but the Elders are big boys and since the church continuously praises them for how wonderful they are, then the church needs to back off and let them do their job without continual supervision and strict rules.
"I also have another concern: In order to avoid going to the appointment and the missionaries not showing up again, I asked if they could come by my house and pick me up. I was informed that no one, other than missionaries, are allowed to ride in a mission car. This is not right. Again, if the mission wants the members to be involved, then the “rules” need to be a little flexible. If they want members to come to every appointment, then accommodations need to be made to make it easier on the VERY few willing members.
"Having served a mission myself, I’m sure you are aware that many if not most of the Elders in the field really don’t want to be there. They have simply gone on their mission because of their parents, girlfriends, and all the pressure they have received ever since they could talk. Either the Elder has a strong testimony and kept himself worthy for a mission, OR he had a weak testimony, never repented for past transgressions, and went on a mission to please everyone. All the pressure and manipulation has resulted in a mission field full of Elders who have simply gone to please their parents and girlfriends. Personally, I believe the church is perfectly aware of this, and this is why such strict rules are in place. If the Elders were truly righteous, there would be no need for mission rules. So, if there is a danger of the Elders doing the naughty with this female investigator, they are going to do it whether or not I go with them on an appointment.
"If the church would cut back on the pressure of young men to go on a mission, of course, there would be far fewer Elders in the field. I do believe, however, that the church would actually grow faster because the ones that go are the ones that want to go! There are very few sister missionaries, but they are most often the
MVP’s in the mission. This is because the sisters are not pressured and manipulated to serve.
"I know that this letter will probably change nothing, but I feel strongly about these issues and I believe that the missionary program could be much more effective if we had missionaries who serve because they want to, not because they are manipulated by the system.
"A Concerned Member
"P.S. I prefer to remain anonymous in order to avoid the labels. Even though my issues are sincere, who am I to question our "inspired" leaders?"