Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ten Questions Every LDS Person Should Be Asking

1) If both the Bible and the Book of Mormon claim that the gospel is free, why does the LDS church make the paying of tithes a requirement for heaven?

2) If the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, as claimed by Joseph Smith, why does it say nothing about temples, eternal families, and baptisms for the dead?

3) If the president of the LDS church is a prophet, seer, and revelator, why doesn't he ever prophesy or predict the future?

4) If the priesthood really can cure illness and disease, why are there so many hospitals in Utah? Why can't priesthood holders cure genetic diseases?

5) If the president of the church is called by god, why is he voted into the position by the quorum of the twelve apostles?

6) Why do the apostles of the church claim to be special witnesses of Christ and yet never once actually admit that they have seen him?

7) If the LDS church really is the kingdom of god on earth, why does it have so many characteristics of a cult?

8) If holy garments really protect the wearer from harm, why do Mormons have the same injury and accidental death rate per capita of any other group of people?

9) If the promise that paying tithing leads to so many blessings that there will not be room enough to receive (Mal. 3:10), why does Utah lead the nation in bankruptcies and foreclosures?

10) The only new commandment "revealed" from god lately is the earring commandment. Does god really care about how many earrings you are wearing? (or what underwear you are wearing?)


adamf said...

Hi! I came here via Mormon Matters (I am AdamF on there). While I am somewhat of a relativist (i.e. we see in the world (or in this case, the LDS faith) according to who WE are, not so much what is actually true), and I shudder whenever I hear the word "should" from anyone, I could not resists your questions, manipulative as they may be. :)

1 - I was not aware that tithing is a requirement for heaven.

2 - I've heard this question countless times, but perhaps it is still being asked because you have not received a good enough answer? I think in many cases there will not be an answer good enough.

3 - He has predicted it for me, personally, but I cannot speak for others.

4 - Interesting. So what you're saying here, is that if the priesthood is real, then we wouldn't need hospitals?

5 - You're suggesting that voting is not god-like?

6 - What does it mean to be "special"?

7 - This is a lame question, sorry. I like your other questions (although I obviously do not have good answers for you) but what a "cult" is is completely subjective, and socially constructed.

8 - I do not believe that my garments protect me from harm, although I suspect some Mormons do.

9 - Hah, agreed! This is a huge problem. Perhaps because despite paying tithing, there is still so much greed and desire for gain.

10 - I wasn't aware that the "earring commandment" was a "revelation" ... Fwiw, I don't think the point is the earring or the underwear. What I believe God cares about is the person, and their attitude and growth.

Thanks for humoring me. I could be wrong, but you seem to be dealing with some amount of discord and/or aggression related to the LDS faith. May you be free from suffering and the root of suffering, and find happiness and the root of happiness.

Mormon411 said...

Welcome Adam, first of all I'd like to thank you for actually responding to my message rather than hurl a ton of insults at me. It's refreshing.

Why do you consider the questions to be manipulative? I think every single one of them is extremely important. But LDS people generally don't question because it is so discouraged.

1. Tithing most certainly is a requirement for heaven. No tithing, no temple recommend. No recommend, no saving ordinances. No saving ordinances, no heaven. Besides, LDS people are threatened with burning in a fire at the second coming of Jesus.

2. The LDS will answer this question with "continuing revelation." At the time the BoM prophet wrote it, god had not revealed higher things. He not only restored the gospel through JS, but also revealed newer and higher laws.

3. Personally perhaps, but I'm talking about a prophesy for the entire world that no one has any doubt is a prophesy. And it can't be a self-fulfilling prophesy (such as the sun will rise tomorrow) but something like the destruction of a specific city (like GBH failed to do with New Orleans).

4. Pretty much, yea, that's what I'm saying. Of course, all the non-LDS people would still need a hospital, so we can't outright eliminate them from Utah.

5. Yes, I am. God's will is god's will. Man doesn't decide god's will. Voting suggests a democratic system, whereas god is the supreme ruler. He makes all the decisions. Period.

6. A witness is someone who actually saw an event with their own eyes. I think you know what "special" means in this instance. They are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, meaning that they have not just received a witness from the spirit but have actually seen him and are called to spend their entire lives testifying of it. So why do they hate it so much whenever anyone asks them if they've seen god or Jesus. If you'll pay close attention, you'll see that not one of them has ever directly admitted that they have.

7. This is actually a very simple one. Just get a cult checklist from any website (even one that has nothing to do with Mormonism) and see if most (if not all) of them fit the church perfectly. You'll see that they do. I know you think it's irrevalent. I did too when I was a believer.

8. Most Mormons do.

9. Good! We agree on this one.

10. What else could it be? It came from a prophet who is the mouthpiece for god. So what else is to be assumed then that it is a revelation? I agree with you on that. It's the person, not the earrings or the underwear. So why do you wear garments then?

Adam, I can't even begin to describe the huge wave of relief I have found by freeing myself from Mormonism. I've never been happier and more self-confident. I have a bone to pick with the church, yes, and I could elaborate for pages and pages. Suffice it to say that I blog now in the hopes of finding people who felt like I did and seeing if I can't show them that they are not alone and that there is hope at the end of your faith.

I hope you'll stick around.

Mormon411 said...


Interesting profile. I am also interested in Buddhism. I've got a friend who is a Tibetan Buddhist. I don't know a lot about it, but I find that many of my core beliefs fall very much inline with Buddhism.

I also very much liked the Matrix Trilogy.

adamf said...

411 – Thank you for respectfully engaging. I appreciate it. I did not know what to expect, but I think much of the controversy on this blog is probably due to the “insults” being hurled at you. I can certainly see the need to be a little defensive when people are attacking.

re: manipulative questions – I did not say that they weren’t important questions, but rather what I meant by manipulative is that they seem to be shooting for pre-determined answers. I could rephrase them to not be manipulative, but would that defeat your purpose? Here’s one example:

#7 – “If the LDS church really is the kingdom of god on earth, why does it have so many characteristics of a cult?”

Non-manipulative example – “TBMs believe that the LDS church really is the kingdom of god on earth. However, it also fits many accepted sociological definitions of a cult. What do you think?”

I.e. your idea behind the question is very good, and important, but the way you ask your questions (in my opinion) makes people instantly defensive, and puts them on the attack, hence all the insults.

I admit I’ve read quite a bit of your blog, and am somewhat confused. On the one hand you say you want to get TBMs to think and question. You also want to be a resource for others like you who have left the church. I think that is great! (sincerely)

But on the other hand you also seem to have an agenda for members and want them to know what you know so they will leave the faith too. Please correct me if I’m completely wrong here, which I often am.

I am interested in sticking around, as I love thoughtful dialogue, but I will not be if it feels like you have a pre-determined agenda for me. I will give you the same consideration and respect. I will not try to “bring you back into the fold” or whatever, nor insult you, nor ultimately try to convert you again.

If I am at the wrong blog for what I am looking for, then please let me know. I do not wish to divert you from your blog’s purpose, which again, I understand (at least a little), and respect.

All that being said, the 10 questions again.

1 – I see your point. I guess I may be more of a “many roads to the top of mt. fuji” type of believer. I don’t believe that God will “burn” people or damn them just because they didn’t believe. I don’t believe in a God like that, and frankly, I do not know a single Mormon who is in my family or a friend who believes that we’re going to burn in a real fire, or that those who don’t receive temple ordinances in this life will not go to heaven.

2 – Yes, that is probably how many would answer it. That is a paradox, for sure. If we have all the truth, then why would be need continuing revelation? If we have revelation, how could it be said that we have all the truth? This is an important question.

3 – So a prophet in your mind ought to be predicting things or he’s not really a prophet. I can understand that. Fwiw, I read once that Brigham Young did not consider himself a prophet, and the church did not consider the presidents prophets until David O. McKay. Interesting, anyway, as now we do call them prophets again.

4 – For hospitals, I believe that everything good is from or at least known by God, including hospitals, modern science, etc. ect.

5 – This one helps me understand better what you think God should be, if he exists.

6 – Yes, I have heard that definition of “special witness” before—I just don’t believe it that way. I believe anyone could see him per se, but I don’t accept the definition that they have all seen God or whatever. In the spiritual sense, witness could mean an experience with the Holy Ghost (or “feelings” as you say, lol).

7 – No, I don’t think it’s irrelevant. I have a psych. degree. We talked about cults ad nauseam. In one class, we even talked about the LDS church being a cult or not, specifically. I agree, it is a cult when strictly applied to many definitions. My point was that the idea of a “cult” is nothing more than an (arguably) agreed upon social construction. Whether the church is a cult or not by someone’s definition really does not matter to me. What matters is my experience. But perhaps I just proved your point, lol. In other words, the actual points of what a cult is (that you have listed elsewhere) are what is important, not the label. The label is irrelevant, the in-depth definitions, not irrelevant.

8 – Let me know when you have some stats on that.

9 – Nice to find common ground!

10 – I wear garments because a) they remind me of promises I have made that are honestly, quite important and motivating in my life, b) they remind me constantly of Jesus Christ, c) they’re warm in the winter. C) does not apply in the summer.

Finally, especially from a professional standpoint, I am glad that you have found a “huge wave of relief,” and feel happier and more self-confident. I cannot degrade that. I hope you continue to find happiness and growth in your life.

Re: Tibetan Buddhism – have you read anything by Pema Chödrön? If not, I would highly recommend her.

Mormon411 said...

I am certainly more than willing to engage in a respectful discussion. I guess Mormons attack me because they view me as attacking them. So I guess I can't really get too upset about it.

I see your point about the questions being manipulative and I like the example you gave.

No, you're not completely wrong, just slightly. I've always said many times that if a person is happy being Mormon then I am happy for them.

I blog to help other people who felt like me. I also blog, not to necessarially convince people to leave, but just to level the playing field so to speak. I'm simply trying to inform people about the not-so-good things about Mormonism so that if they choose to remain Mormon, at least they are not making an ignorant decision. I could admit that sometime I get a little carried away, but it's out of passion, not hate or an agenda.

I'm glad you've read alot here. What do you think about some of the other things I've talked about?

And when I said you're welcome here, I meant it. I don't have an agenda to corrupt you or anything like that. In fact, I often appreciate the input from a believer because it helps me understand why they think like they do.

You see, I once thought that way but it was before I knew about certain issues. Once those issues were brought to my attention, I could no longer believe. So I'm genuinely interested as to why some people do continue to believe even after they are exposed to the not-so-good things.

The purpose here is to get people to think, and that even includes myself. I am not close-minded to pro-Mormon arguments. Just don't expect me to take things on faith alone.

And now my reply to the questions:

1. I'm glad you see it that way, but traditional Mormonism does not teach it that way. Only their god, temple, and ordinances can get someone to heaven.

3 – I just look at a Biblical or BoM prophet and I see them making predictions all the time. It just seems that LDS prophets don't do that. I don't expect them to prophesy all day long, but even once in a while would be nice. Or how about perform a miracle for the world to see? Jesus did, so why not them? Why not cure a person with a genetic disease to show the world gods kingdom? They just don't do it and even as a believer I used to wonder why?

4 - I can't argue with that. I'll elaborate later.

5 – Almost. I don't believe in god at all, but Christian religions in general believe that god is the king of kings. That makes him sound pretty "in charge" to me. LOL

6 – Right, but if they get a spiritual witness, just like everyone else, then they really have nothing "special" at all.

7 – If it looks like a duck...

8 – I doubt if there are any stats, but again, Mormons are lead to believe that their garments protect them. And why should they doubt what their true church teaches them?

"Re: Tibetan Buddhism – have you read anything by Pema Chödrön? If not, I would highly recommend her."

I have not. Anything specific?

adamf said...

Thanks again, 411.

Re: Pema Chödrön, there are a lot of good books, as well as talks on CD that she has, but some of my favorites are:

"The Places that Scare You"
"Comfortable With Uncertainty"

"Getting Unstuck"
"Practicing Peace in Times of War"

She has been a huge inspiration and influence in my spiritual and secular life. That is also where I got the "shenpa" in my blog title from. It is a tibetan word referring to how we get hooked or attached or stuck to all sorts of psychological things and etc. There is a link on my blog to more of her stuff, if you can find it amidst all the clutter.! :)

Mormon411 said...


You're welcome and thank you too! I'll swing by the library and see what I can find.

Unknown said...

I know I am a few years late, and Adam answered a lot of questions the way I would. I am still new to your blog, so if you have already answered, feel free to just send me to the link.

I grew up in Oregon, and a lot of things that I find that crumpled people's faith are things that were talked about openly in seminary, and sometimes in Sunday school and firesides. I grew up with a view of latter-day prophets as imperfect men, just like biblical prophets, and was given a grand, sweeping arch of history to put the short history of the LDS church into the small slot it fills, as far as God's interactions with His children.

I also think that the idea and application of agency plays a huge part in determining how we live, whether faith plays a part in our lives, and why things like disease and death are part of life on earth. While the priesthood holds the power of blessings and miracles, it is only able to act when in accordance with the will of God.

Two quick things, a book doesn't have to contain all truth and information to be the "most correct book," and I take the warnings about asking for signs or miracles, in the Book of Mormon pretty seriously. Those who demand them don't seem to last long.

(Sorry I didn't link these to the actual numbers, but the iPhone version makes it hard to go back and forth between commenting and looking at the original post. We just moved, and until our Internet is up, I am stuck with my phone.)

creeksalmon said...

My Mormon Blog