Monday, January 4, 2010

Are Mormons Really Happy?

I've been over at exmormon.org a lot lately. They have a lot of good stuff there. Becuase I am not going to have much time to devote to writing articles, I am going to be posting links to other websites for a while. This one is a good one.

http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon106.htm

The author (an ex-Mormon) talks about his visit to an LDS worship service and how dull and drab it was. He also notices how no one in the congregation seems to be happy even in the slightest.

Are Mormons really happy? They think they are. They are told that only by following the Mormon gospel can one be truly happy. Anyone else who appears to be happy only has the illusion of happiness.

So, a challenge to any Mormons who happen by...

Look around the next time you go to sacrament meeting. Are your fellow Mormons happy? Be honest now!

42 comments:

Seth R. said...

I don't really consider whether I'm "happy" or not to be top priority, actually.

A lot of what passes for "happiness" in America today is really nothing more than self-medicating yourself on Monday Night Football, TV shows, video games, and brainless consumerism.

Some of the greatest people in human history were not particularly happy. So I don't really consider "being happy" a reliable indicator of a successful or desirable life.

If you want to achieve happiness by getting stoned on modern culture, knock yourself out. I have other plans.

www.spamlds.org said...

That's really funny. I just wrote an article wherein I remarked that anti-Mormons are miserable malcontents, for the most part. Here's the link to it.

http://spamlds.ning.com/forum/topics/are-exmormons-really-happier

As a matter of fact, your blog post pretty much confirmed everything I wrote in my article. Thanks.

Yes, I'm a latter-day saint. Life offers me the same troubles that anyone else receives. Like everyone else, I have to work hard, pay my bills, keep my wife and children clothed, fed, healthy, and educated.

For 30 years, I have donate my time and money freely to the Church, though I am very busy with two jobs and a large family. It is a challenge sometimes, but it brings me joy. I know that the way to show gratitude to Jesus Christ is to labor in his service. After all, he shed his blood for me.

I keep my covenants and God blesses me. I have peace in my heart and joy in my life. The rain falls on us all. God's blessings fall upon those who love and serve him.

Greg West
www.spamlds.org

Mormon411 said...

Thank you both for your comments... I'll reply to each of you individually.

Seth, your comment threw me. The scriptures state that "men are that they might have joy." Additionally, the Constituion of the United States grants all men the right, among other things, to the pursuit of happiness.

We all know that being successful or wealthy is not the key to happiness, so it doesn't surprise me that many successful people are not happy. So it becomes obvious that happiness is not determined by wealth or even religion.

Seeing as how you are an internet Mormon, it doesn't surprise me at all, actually, to read your comment. Internet Mormons are experts at taking the evidence and then bending it, along with their beliefs, into a whole new thing which somehow fits together.

I'm not trying to insult you personally, but that's just what internet Mormons do. So, if I quote scripture that states that mans' ultimate purpose is to have joy, it won't surprise me in the slightest if you disregard it for some reason or another.

Mormon411 said...

Hi Greg,

I read your article and I must say that it paints a very dark picture of ex-Mormons.

I am an ex-Mormon atheist so I guess that puts me somewhere in the middle! LOL.

I'll be the first to agree with you that many ex-Mormons are angry. BUT we have a good reason. We view the LDS church as an evil and corrupt organization that stole our lives. We are like the survivors of concentration camps.

If Hitler sent out a nice sounding message for all of his victims to "come back", how many of them actually would? I'm going to go out on a limb and wager that none of them would. Why would you ever want to go back to a life of misery?

I know that you view the LDS church as the kingdom of god on earth, rather than a concentration camp. On that, we'll have to agree to disagree. But I hope you can see my point. We're angry because our lives were stolen by a dictator.

So what may sound like anger to you is actually us taking up arms and fighting against the dictator. We are the survivors and we are trying to free our loves ones who are still held captive by the dictator.

If that's anger, then at least it's anger for a good cause.

And by the way, the myth that those who left and persecuted Joseph Smith died horrible and awful deaths is just more Mormon propaganda to keep their prisoners under control.

I know plenty of Mormons who have died unpleasant deaths, so even if Joseph's tormentors did die unpleasantly, it proves nothing. Hell, Joseph himself died unpleasantly, so let it means whatever it means.

It's obvious from both of our observations, that happiness is not derived from one's belief system. There are plently of happy and unhappy Mormons just as there are plenty of happy and unhappy ex-Mormons.

The big difference, however, is that ex-Mormons do not claim to have the ultimate source of happiness, unlike the Mormons. You and I both know that Mormons do indeed claim to be truly happy, as I referred to in my post. They claim that ONLY Mormonism is the true source.

I can only speak for myself when I claim that I am, by far, much happier now than I ever was as a Mormon.

I have no doubt that there are some Mormons who truly are happy in their religion and truly do love it. If that is the case, then I am happy for them.

But it still doesn't change the fact that they are living in a cult and are prisoners of it. It's much like the Matrix trilogy if you have ever seen it. The majority of mankind, in that movie, is a prisoner born into a life of bondage, in a prison that they can neither see nor feel.

In fact, the prison is so comfortable, that they will actually fight to defend it when the rescuers come.

Mormonism is the prison. Ex-Mormons are those who escaped and are fighting to rescue our loved ones. TBM's are the prisoners who defend the prison and fight against the rescuers.

All the while, the prison guards are telling the prisoners that the rescuers are the agents of destruction. It's very sad.

I know you don't see it that way at all, but at least by me telling you anyway, you can hopefully appreciate the source of our "anger".

We don't fight against the church because we are full of mindless rage. We fight to set our brothers and sisters free.

Seth R. said...

I would hope you are capable of recognizing that some of us in the LDS Church don't need to be "freed."

Not everyone has the same experience of church.

As for your point about joy...

What does that word mean?

Is it the same thing as happiness?

And is a person who has not experience grief (for example) really capable of appreciating joy? Can joy even be truly meaningful without an equal capacity for other feelings?

Finally, can you not think of instances where the joy of one person might be put on hold in favor of the joy of many others and yet still fulfill this scripture? For example, how a parent denies himself for the benefit of his children.

In short, I don't think this is anywhere near as simple as saying "the scriptures say I'm supposed to be happy. I'm not happy. So I'm outta here!"

spoiledme said...

I am delightfully happy. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am not held by chains, but by the desire to live as my Father in Heaven would have me live, to serve others, and to live so that I may live with my Heavenly Father once again. I am so sorry for your anger. I don't understand why someone would spend the time and the effort to tear a religion down.

andrejules said...

411 I'm happy. I'm LDS.

I'm 73 years old and recovering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. My wife is 73, chairbound with painful osteo-arthritis, diabetes and a host of other ailments.

Yet we are happy and it is all because of our membership in the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sorry you can't share in that joy and it is very plain from your comments that leaving the church did not bring you the "happiness" you expected. We wish you well.

Seth R. said...

Not everyone in the LDS Church has to be happy for it to be valid.

I wish contented members of the LDS Church would realize this, just as much as discontented ex-members.

Ammon said...

I'm LDS and I've lived my life with and without the happiness that you speak of. I didn't always keep the commandments. I am happy when I follow the commandments of God and I've been miserable when I haven't. I don't think that all LDS are happy all the time just as I don't believe all non-LDS are happy/unhappy all the time. But in the quiet moments of life, when we really evaluate what we're doing, that would be the time to ask if we're really happy.

To imply that I'm brainwashed is laughable considering I haven't always been active. Wouldn't a brainwashed person 'see the light' when they were inactive? Typical Anti-Mormon beliefs though, so I'm not surprised that you can't accept that I'm truly happy living a lifestyle that you wouldn't or felt you couldn't live.

Seth R. said...

Mormon 411,

Did you get linked on some Mormon message board or blog or something?

In my experience, it's unusual to get this much faithful LDS feedback on a post like this. Sorry if you feel dog-piled or anything.

One point I've been wondering about...

Why did you bring up the label "internet Mormon" and apply it to me? What purpose in this conversation did that label serve?

Mormon411 said...

Wow, a lot to reply to!

Seth, I realize that many LDS members do not WANT to be freed even though I believe they still need it.

Joy and happiness probably are different, but more similar.

I had a philosophy teacher one time who argued against that very point; can you have one feeling without experiencing the opposite? I believe you can. Can you feel hungry even if you've never felt "full"? Yes.

The presence or absence of happiness is not even close to the only criterian by which I chose to leave the church. Although it is one of them.

To spoiledme,

I know that there is not a TBM alive who actually thinks that church is bondage. But I liken it to the matrix trilogy where the prisoners in that movie also don't realize they are in bondage. That being said, if you're happy in the matrix, then I wouldn't even try to unplug you.

If you want to understand why I do what I do, then read the rest of my blog (300+ posts). You don't have to agree... just read with an open mind.

To andrejules,

I'm terribly sorry to hear about your and your wife's health problems, I truly am. And I'm glad you're happy.

I would argue that your happiness "is all because of [your] membership in the church." I've got no doubt that you are happy but I highly doubt that church membership is the only reason.

Do you know why so many ex-Mormons are unhappy? Because people like Greg punish us for simply being honest with ourselves. Bishops encourage our wives to divorce us. Potential employers won't hire us. Friends and family want nothing to do with us. In Utah you are discriminated against if you are a former Mormon. Is that right?

Yes, we are angry at certain things, but we are still people with feelings and emotions. We are not typically full of hate as the church and Greg want you to think. We are good people, and, in fact, if you met me, you would never, ever guess that I'm an ex-Mormon apostate atheist. I work around Mormons all the time and they are completely unaware that I am an exMo.

Just remember, what would Jesus do? Would he condemn the apostate or would he say kind words? This is the message I tried to give to Greg, but he didn't want anything to do with it.

Best of luck to you.

To Ammon,

When you don't live the gospel do you feel church induced guilt? Or do you feel your own guilt? I'm positive that it's the former. You feel guilty and unhappy because the church has taught you to feel that way.

Would an inactive person 'see the light'? Not necessarially. I know plenty of inactives who still strongly believe. When I first quit going to church, I still believed. Some, if not most, inactive people still do believe.

It's funny you should mention 'typical' anti-Mormon beliefs. What do you really know about us? Nothing, other than what the church has told you.

And I've said it countless times... I don't know why you guys don't get it... I do accept that you're happy. As long as you are being honest about it, I have no reason to not believe you.

I am aware, and accept the fact, that many LDS people ARE happy. That fine. That's wonderful! But I do believe that the majority are just like the people in the story of the emperor's new clothes. They just say they are happy (or can see the invisible clothes) because they don't want everyone around them to think they are anything less.

Kind of like the temple. Be honest. Wasn't it just a little bit wierd and creepy, if you even had the thought for just an instant? But you wouldn't dare say that in sacrament meeting, would you?

Forget what you think you know about 'typical' ex-Mormons. I can guarantee that, just like Greg, you don't know sh*t about us.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Hap Cluff said...

I have experienced joy beyond measure. It comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught and followed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm a 5th generation Mormon. I clearly testify that the unhappy family members in those 5 generations are the ones who have left the Church.

Dustin Jolley said...

I'm very happy with my life as a Mormon. Why all the hate?

Mormon411 said...

Hi Seth,

I'm having a rather heated discussion with Greg West from SPAMLDS and he posted a comment on his website/blog asking Mormons to tell me they are happy. I don't feel 'dog-piled'. In fact, I'm enjoying it. Yes, this much response is unusual.

If my internet Mormon comment offended you, I do apologize. It's a term I've come up with to describe Mormons who are aware of the many issues surrounding the LDS church but choose to continue believing, while twisting evidence and beliefs to somehow make it all still fit together in a mis-shaped pile.

Your comment really sounded like something an internet Mormon would say. You see, a typical chapel Mormon truly believes that only the Mormon gospel will bring happiness. But when I point out that many LDS are obviously not happy, the internet Mormon makes an argument very similar to yours, dismissing scripture and/or twisting it around to make it mean whatever they want it to mean.

Although Greg is on the Internet, he is very much a chapel Mormon. He bites hook, line, and sinker everything the church says. His blog is absolutely full of intolerance towards ex-Mormons. He preaches like a prophet and yet has no, absolutely no, clue about what he's even saying.

At least your comments are respectful and address the issues. His posts are all about attacks and how evil we are, and how he knows everything about us. I can guarantee that he's entirely mistaken.

Well, I probably gave you more of a mouthful than you wanted. I gotta get up early so better get going.

Mormon411 said...

Last comment!

Hap Cluff,

I too come from a family that goes way back in Mormonism. How many generations, I'm not sure.

Regarding those in your family who have left the church, did you do your part to be Christ-like to them? Or did you shun them from your life? Did you tell them to take their evil influence elsewhere? Did you contribute, through self-righteousness, to their unhappiness?

If not, then I am proud of you. If so, then you need to practice what you preach and LOVE THEM ANYWAY!

Remember that many people who leave the church are put out of their homes, jobs, and families BY MORMONS. They then point fingers and say "See? That's what happens when you leave the church!"

I truly hope that you are not guilty of that. Being an ex-Mormon is not nearly as easy as you all think it is. If you think we chose the easy path, why don't you try it sometime?

Dustin Jolley,

Why is it that so many Mormons come here and acuse of hate, hate, hate? Where is the hate? I don't see any? I've stated countless times that I love Mormons. I guess you all can see the hate because you brought it with you!

RebekahH said...

You know it's absolutely bizzare that you think Mormons need to be "freed" from anything.

If Mormons think it's not broke, why does it need fixing in the first place. It's always those who think the grass is greener in somebodies else place that think things need fixing.

I am sorry that your time in the church made you feel like a prisoner. I do realize that not everyone is cut out to be Mormon. And if you're not one of them, then it's probably for the best that you're out of the church. It is better to have one person who is devoted and committed to the church than have fifteen people who are not.

In personal experience, I have a family member who is inactive/less active in the church and they are plagued by an addiction problem that has caused them a lot of hurt and pain as well as hurt and pain to others in the process. The only prison I've seen is a family member who has made a prison of their own making because they can't overcome and admit they need help. I know what true happiness is from the contrast of my life. And it comes from my faith in God, and my beliefs.

Seth R. said...

I see. That explains it.

I've seen SpamLDS around before.

Note that I didn't say you had to FEEL the opposite emotion to truly experience something (although I think doing so can ultimately enhance such experience in some cases). What I was getting at is that the CAPACITY for a wide range of emotions beyond mere pleasure is needed for a truly full human experience (and, I would argue, exaltation).

If you took a bit of philosophy in college, you probably heard the phrase - "it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied."

That's partly what I'm getting at.

Also keep in mind that even though joy is an ultimate aim of LDS theology, that doesn't always mean that the optimal human life is going to experience it. Because of the broken nature of human existence, sometimes the most optimal life a person can live is not completely happy - just because that person is required to deal with a fallen world.

A person, for example, may do a great deal to advance the human condition while not achieving much pleasure himself in life. History is littered with such figures, and we generally admire them.

On the "Internet Mormon" thing...

I don't take too much offense. I've been skirmishing enough online that I've gotten pretty thick-skinned. But I would point out that your picture of "internet Mormonism" is a little self-serving.

You assume that your own position is right and that Mormonism is irretrievably broken - including its scriptures. So if someone is able to deduce an attractive message from the scriptures, even after being aware of the same things you are aware of, that MUST mean that they are "twisting" the scriptures, or "playing games," or in denial or something.

Of course, it could simply be that we've discovered the correct deeper meaning of the scriptures and simply drawn the correct logical conclusions. But your paradigm does not admit this, because that would require you to re-examine your own conclusions about the religion.

In short, the term "internet Mormon," like the term "apologist," or "anti-Mormon" really appears to be merely a way to wave away people without having to deal with the substance of their comments.

Active Mormons use the term "anti-Mormon" in this manner. They don't want to have to deal with someone's arguments, because to take those arguments seriously would mean they would have to re-examine their entire paradigm for religious life. So instead, they try to dismiss the person as someone not worth taking seriously.

I find that Evangelicals obsessed with ministering to Mormons use the term "apologist" in the same way to dismiss people who have come up with responses they find to difficult to deal with.

And likewise, I think the term "internet Mormon" is being used in this way. Some people find the notion of a Mormon who has seen all the same historic material on the LDS Church, and recognized all the same issues they did, and STILL decided to remain affiliated with the LDS Church to be rather threatening. So they look for a way to dismiss such people without a fair hearing.

After all, faith decisions are not particularly easy. People don't like to have to do them over again.

Roger said...

Well, I'm a Mormon and I'm happy. Despite various problems (mostly quite ordinary ones, but still problems)I am a British writer, publisher and book-dealer, and I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about forty years ago, and I'm now 62 years old. Through my membership I've had opportunities to serve and to achieve, and they have helped me to be happy, but - of course - the happiness which really matters is not the worldly variety (fame, fortune, etc)but the higher kind that comes from fulfilment of God-given potential.
Roger

Ammon said...

You asked if I went back to the church because of "church induced guilt" or "my own guilt". It was neither in my opinion.

Here's what it was in a nutshell...when I was not active, I would have a normal problem in my life, car trouble, health problems, work trouble, etc. and I would struggle to deal with each problem. When I was active (or at least trying to be), the EXACT SAME problems would arise, but my attitude was totally different. I was able to calmly address the issues and find solutions. When I recognized the blessings of keeping God's commandments, I didn't want to be away from His gospel.

Maybe the real question isn't whether I'm 'happy' but whether I'm at 'peace'. Living God's laws brings peace. I can be happy getting drunk and running with wild women, but I won't be at peace doing that.

Practicing members of the LDS church have peace in their lives.

LDS Saint said...

I read a few posts, but the one that I noted first was when Mormon 411 said;

"So it becomes obvious that happiness is not determined by wealth or even religion."

Then Mormon 411 addresses two other Mormons in a manner that showed me that Mormon 411 is not a true Mormon but someone who portrays himself as one.

This is then to Mormon 411.

If you use the term "religion" as meaning any religion that exists in the world, then you are likely correct when saying that happiness is not gained through them.

The reason being is because they are not of God and God never made them. They are made of men, nothing more. True they possess some truths, but anyone holding a Bible possesses some truth, but that does not make him or them, of God. Even Satan possess some truth, after all he deceived Eve with partial truth.

Yet, part truth is not whole truth, and as James the apostle clearly said, that if we offend the law in one thing, we offend all of it. This is to say that partial truth is nothing more than partial truth mixed with falsehoods and presented as whole truth. This is one of the main reasons why other "religions" fail to promote happiness and get "happiness" for any true truth they exercise, that makes their happiness as "partial happiness" mixed with unhappiness.

Concept is simple.

Truth = happiness
Falsehood = unhappiness

Mix truth with falsehood and happiness only comes to the degree that truth exists. Less truth, less happiness, until it becomes negligible.

It is only God's true religion where a person can gain happiness, not only here in mortality, but in the eternal kingdom.

This leads me to say to Mormon 411, I am quite happy being a Latter-day Saint, because the Holy Spirit led me to God's true Church and since then, I have received confirmation after confirmation that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true Church and his restored gospel is of God and provides blessings and happiness therein.

I will also say that I am on the Internet a fair amount, and to call me "Internet Mormon", with a derogatory connotation, will be very short sighted and ill conceived.

Blessings

Mormon411 said...

I really do appreciate all your comments and I would like to wrap it up by saying that if you all are telling the truth, ie, that you really are happy as LDS, then you sincerely have my best wishes.

When I was a believer, and I truly did believe, I always felt that life in the LDS church was so demanding. Do any of you feel that way? Do you feel like the expectations and commandments are just too much sometimes?

I'll be perfectly honest. I did. There was home teaching, tithing, callings, missionary work among other things which I don't need to list because you know what they are.

I got to the point where I felt like the church was a plastic bag that someone had placed over my head. It was suffocating me! I had to take a break from it all.

Just for the record, there were other reasons as well why I initially stopped going to church. I have never looked back since and have never regretted it.

Has anyone here ever felt that way at all?

Mormon411 said...

If many or most of you never come back to Mormon411, I hope you will walk away knowing that the churches stereotypes of ex-Mormons are not true. We are not full of hate and mindless rage. We did not leave the church because we wanted to sin. I hope you can see that we still have Mormon family and friends that we love. We don't hate Mormons at all. Yes, we have issues with the church, but our issues are with the leaders who tell the lies, not the common members. I consider you all my friends and I hope that you can see that there is no hate here.

spoiledme said...

Hate is spoken here by the very fact that you have a website 'dedicated' to 'bashing' members of the church. If you were truly happy, you would leave it alone. That, to me, speaks volumes. I truly hope that one day you can see the light, and climb out of that dark pit you are in.

Seth R. said...

"Has anyone here ever felt that way at all?"

Sure. Then I discovered Joseph Smith and realized my notion of Mormon belief and theology was far too limited.

Once I was freed from my own small view of the religion, whole new exciting vistas opened to me. Now I can't imagine any other belief system I would rather hold.

Seth R. said...

spoiledme,

Doesn't it follow then that if YOU were truly happy, you would leave other religions "alone" and call for the LDS Church to recall all its missionaries?

Or would you then leave ex-Mormons alone?

Just asking.

Mormon411 said...

spoiledme,

Please tell me, why is it considered hate when anyone bashes the Mormon church, but it is not hate when Mormons bash any other church?

It seems like a double standard.

And by the way (I thought I had stated it very clearly), I do not bash members... I blog against the church organization itself and it's leaders. This post might appear to be bashing members, but it is simply an observation that Mormons, while in sacrament meeting, do not appear to be happy.

Unfortunately, some Mormons will always hold the false opinion that ex-Mormons are full of hate and darkness. No matter how much we try and reason with them, they will always cling to their false notions (from their inspired leaders) that those who fall away are evil. This very teaching is evil and shame on those who teach it, spread it, and believe it.

John Pack Lambert said...

I always am happier when I am keeping the commandments. It is when I sin that I feel despair.

Joy comes from remembering the Lord and his bessings to us and focusing on it.

LDS Saint said...

To Mormon 411:

The examples you spoke of, the feelings and impressions of what the Church felt like from time to time are "personal" impressions that come from what weakness or shortcoming is within you.

This is shown by the simple fact that one person felt suffocated by all the commandments or "rules" as he may call it, but another does not feel this way and feels free and stable in his life because of the commandments and principles (rules) that the Church and gospel dictate.

What this comes to for many, are "personal preference" and/or "personal issue", both born of personal choice and belief. I may not like ice cream, but you do. Just because I dislike it, does not make the ice cream as bad.

Taking that example, Mormon 411, what you felt about the Church, your personal experience and personal perception of it, relates to your life only and in no way confirms the Church is wrong or bad. These are things that you should have taken to the Lord to resolve instead of taking your own counsel or the wrong counsel of others that had no place in it.

I can say this with conviction, because I had personal issues with the Church, or leaders, or commandments or rules or whatever, just as you and millions of others, but I took it to God to resolve and because I did, I listened to heavenly Father and the "issue" or "differences" or "concern" got resolved.

Now that those things are no longer an issue, concern or upset or hurt. I am at peace with that thing I had trouble with and as a result, my faith grew, became more rooted in the Church and gospel and increased my ability to communicate with the Holy Spirit.

Can you say the same?

The gospel made it clear Mormon 411, that our thoughts are not God's thoughts, and our ways are not his. If we refuse or fail to put aside our ways and not learn from God directly, to choose our ways over Gods, we will surely fail and drop away. Each of us are not able to resolve faith issues without God's direct help. What we are left with, after ignoring God, are our own ways and thoughts, which lead us to death because of one simple characteristic that so many Christians fail to recognize in themselves - The NATURAL MAN. Please read and study Paul the Apostles words better.

Blessings in the Spirit.
Amen

Ammon said...

How can you say that this blog is dedicated to attacking the church itself and it's leaders, not the common members, when a recent post was an attack on a member's testimony. You tore her testimony apart, is she a leader?

I'm also not clear what you mean when you say that the church attacks ex-mormons. I'm not aware of that. I've never been taught that people who leave the church are evil or sinners or bad. I've never had a training session where that was taught and I can't recall hearing it in conference. Maybe I'm a really bad listener and I should pay more attention in meetings, or maybe the church leaders really do love ex-mormons and non-mormons. After all, they do spend a lot of my money sending food and supplies to areas in turmoil. Seems like love.

Mormon411 said...

Ammon, there are many examples of church leaders indicating that ex_mormons are full of darkness. Not all of them are readily known. One is a quote by Boyd K. Packer:

"When you see an apostate, you do not only see the absence of light, but a presence of darkness..."

There are many others but if you really want to read them, I'll let you find them yourself.

LDS Saint, yes I realize that what's bad for me isn't necessarially bad for everyone. If you don't feel bogged down by the 1001 commandments, then I'm glad you're happy.

However, that was not the only stone that eventually shattered my Mormon world. There were many, many little stones here and there and the gradual buildup of those stones got too heavy to keep holding and my world collapsed.

I had my doubts and concerns but I wasn't 100% convinced until I found out about Joseph Smith and the issues surrounding the Book of Abraham. I'm sure you know about it and I'm sure you've found some way to explain it away. But the only explanation that really fits is that JS made up the entire thing and lied about its origins.

When I found out about that, I knew that I could never put my trust in a man who was caught in a bold-faced lie. If he lied about the Book of Abraham, what other supposed books of scripture did he lie about?

Seth R. said...

Not that I'm interested in debating you about the Book of Abraham, but I've read all the stuff about the facsimiles not matching up with Egyptology, and I'm not convinced anything has been proven about Joseph Smith.

And no, I'm not just basing this on work Hugh Nibley did (some of which has become outdated). I'm basing it on modern Mormon scholarship.

And I am quite convinced that the Book of Abraham is the "real deal." No matter how Joseph Smith got it.

In fact, I'd say that the books of Abraham and Moses are some of the strongest pieces of evidence to me that Joseph was definitely tapping into something bigger than himself - bigger than any human being.

I have reached this position after fully reading out the arguments against the book.

Mormon411 said...

By modern Mormon scholarship, are you referring to FARMS and FAIR? Why should you listen to anything they have to say when the LDS church itself doesn't even recognize their publications?

Why not let common sense take over? Instead of reading through all their "scholarly" BS, how about just take the evidence at face value and let it determine the outcome?

And that's just one example, there are hoards of other things...

Seth R. said...

Name-calling isn't the same as refuting.

All it really does is make it sound like you're scared of the Mormon scholarship on this issue. Thus you feel a need to dismiss it without having to actually deal with it. If you were really confident of the position, you would simply meet the arguments without all this insecure name-calling.

As it so happens, the LDS scholarship does take the evidence at face value. And so do I.

I just reached different conclusions than you did.

And, incidentally, why would I give two straws whether the LDS Church has endorsed the scholarship or not?

Who cares what they think?

Or do you think that the word "General Authority" means that the person is an authority on any subject that may arise?

Mormon411 said...

What name calling? What on earth are you talking about?

It simply amazes me (even though it shouldn't since I have seen it soooo much) that you completely dismiss that the LDS church does not endorse their own apologetics department.

Why should I read their stuff (or even worry about it in the slightest) when all they are good at doing is taking a simple concept and turning it into a jungle-gym?

If they wanted to, they could provide evidence and proof that a fork found in Zimbabwe validates the Book of Mormon.

I prefer to stick to actual scholarship. Scholarship and religion do not belong in the same sentence, let alone the same paragraph, let alone the same book.

Seth R. said...

"scholarly BS"

"jungle gym"

"Scholarship and religion do not belong in the same sentence, let alone the same paragraph, let alone the same book."

Those are your words, right?

Name-calling. Like I said.

And why should the LDS Church give a formal endorsement? In my mind, they've got more important things to do than waste time with Book of Mormon geography, or whether Joseph Smith correctly transmitted a scholarly rigorous rendition of Egyptian, or whatever else.

Mormon411 said...

Since when is "scholarly BS" and "jungle gym" name calling? Seriously, what are you smoking?

You know why I really hate debating with internet Mormons? Because they ask questions and make statements like, "Why should the LDS church even care if Joseph Smith really couldn't translate Egyptian?"

DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because the truthfulness of the entire church depends on it!

Oh, sorry about the name, I'll never call you "duh" again.

"And why should the LDS Church give a formal endorsement?"

Because you just got done telling me how scholarly they are and how important they are in defending JS and the Book of Abraham!

DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The trouble in debating with internet Mormons is that they can dismiss any doctrine, scripture, or statement and/or twist it around to make it mean whatever they want.

For example, Seth here plays up how great and wonderful the churches apologetics are, and then turns around and dismisses them like they are a piece of trash.

In order to "win" a debate it is necessary for you to deny that happiness is important to you?

You can seriously tell me with a straight face that you really don't care if JS couldn't translate Egyptian?

What is it, exactly, that you are trying to defend? I would say it's your pride more than the church...

Mormon411 said...

Why don't you stop now before you dig yourself to China?

savea said...

I am a convert and a happy member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm not perfect but even when I'm late to church, what a happy feeling sitting among the Saints. I've learned to concentrate even through the noises of babies and little kids. I've also learned to enjoy the talks even when some speakers maybe boring at times. If you look for the good, you'll find it. It can be boring if you feel it's a lousy day just because the weather is gloomy. Yes, I am a happy member.

Seth R. said...

Well, I see it didn't take much to crack the civil front you were putting up.

The reason the Egyptian translation of the facsimiles is irrelevant, is because the pictures were probably not being used in an Egyptian context in the first place. It is more likely that the pictures were utilized by a Canaanite author to tell a Canaanite story about Abraham. Kind of like how you can find stock photographs of mountains and stuff to put on your website. This is not uncommon practice in the field of ancient documents.

Similarly, Egyptian pictograms were popular in certain quarters and were often taken, copied, and adapted to stories beyond the original Egyptian meaning.

Thus a picture originally meant to show Pharaoh's burial, could be taken by a Canaanite author and used to tell an entirely different story - using his own mythology. Such as the attempt to sacrifice Abraham.

And, oddly enough, Joseph's interpretations match up almost perfectly with how those images would have been used in an ancient Canaanite context.

Uncanny actually how well Joseph Smith nailed it.

So the objections about how the pictograms do not match up with the typical Egyptian readings is utterly irrelevant. They weren't meant to tell an Egyptian story, but rather a Canaanite one.

Now. I expect that since I've just blown your mind, you will, in your next comment, refuse to actually address the content of what I am presenting, and instead try to throw up a smokescreen using loud and undirected words like "ridiculous" and "unbelievable." Maybe a good rant about how "internet Mormons are slippery" or some other irrelevant talking point.

There's an old saying in the legal field:

"When the facts are on your side, argue the facts.
When the law is on your side, argue the law.
When you have neither, pound the table."

I imagine I'll be seeing some pounding from you.

There's also another thing they say in legal negotiations - the first guy to lose his cool typically loses to the guy who keeps his.

I notice you seem to be getting increasingly agitated. What happened to all that attempt to keep things civil?

Or are you only civil to uninformed Mormons who make you look better by comparison?

Mormon411 said...

So I've been putting up a front this whole time? Hmmm, maybe it actually has something to do with your BS about name calling and such.

I realize that no matter what I say you are going to accuse me of taking the low road, being afraid to discuss the issues, resorting to name calling, losing my cool, and whatever else you can drum up.

So I'm done.

Your god is a myth and all the excuses you make for him isn't going to change it.

They weren't meant to tell an Egyptian story? Then why do they have hieroglyphics on them? Why were they found with Egyptian mummies? What in the world does Caanan have anything to do with it?

The bottom line is that Smith claimed they were "written by the hand of Abraham". Well, how could that be the case seeing as how they were dated 2000 after the time of Abraham and the translation has absolutely nothing to do with Abraham, whatsoever. So all that good sounding BS you just produced is nothing but more excuses to make a liar look like a hero.

What are you going to accuse me of now?

Seth R. said...

What exactly is stopping some Canaanite historian 2000 years after Abraham simply writing "by the hand of Abraham" in the text?

Is there some reason why he couldn't do that?

After all, it was a common thing for later authors to do with ancient texts. There are several examples of exactly the same thing being done, actually.

And like I said, Egyptian pictograms were popular, and used frequently by other neighboring cultures who admired them - often for completely different purposes.

This is not exactly a radical claim. Any expert on ancient languages can tell you that the phenomenon of borrowing from one culture to another is as old as the earth itself.

It's quite simple. A learned Canaanite scribe (probably living in Egypt himself) about 2000 years after Abraham wanted to tell the story of Abraham and used Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Egyptian pictograms to do it. But he gave it his own Canaanite twist.

The end.

Which is why the Egyptian reading of the facsimiles doesn't matter in the slightest.

But if you want to pull some sort of trump card here and claim "well it all doesn't matter, because Joseph Smith was a liar anyway"...

Well, I guess I can't argue with that kind of cast-iron logic.

Seth R. said...

Sorry, that should have read:

"as old as human history itself"

I'm not a Young-Earth Creationist, after all.