Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Difference Between Internet Mormons and Chapel Mormons

I have been over at where a variety of topics regarding the LDS church are discussed. I like it because it's open and unmoderated so that a heathen like myself is actually able to contribute to the discussion. I have recently been involved in a heated debate which has inspired me to write this post, the differences between Internet Mormons and Chapel Mormons.

In order to understand what brought this all about, I suggest that you follow this link and read the article and the comments starting with comment #50, which is where I joined the discussion. However, you will still be able to understand this article without reading that one.

First, I'll briefly describe the differences between Internet and Chapel Mormons. Then I will give several examples of doctrine and how each group will most likely view it.

Chapel Mormons - Mormons who are spoon fed teachings and doctrine directly from approved church sources. They are completely unaware of the many issues that exist in the church and have no beliefs other than what the church teaches them.

Internet Mormons - Mormons who are self educated as to the issues of the LDS church and have restructured their belief system to fit with the new evidence, all while keeping the church true. Evidence to support the church is kept while evidence against it is twisted or discarded.

Apostate - A Mormon who has self educated himself about the many issues of the church but instead of restructuring his beliefs, he has discarded them altogether. Let the facts speak for themselves.

The category that you belong to will strongly influence how you will answer questions and respond in a debate. Let's take a look at the issues, the evidence, and then how each group will react to it:

******** Issue #1

The Book of Abraham - This issue deals with the fact that the scrolls from which Joseph Smith translated the BoA. The scrolls were discovered in 1967 and a study of them by professional Egyptologists reveals that the translation provided by Joseph Smith is incorrect.

Chapel Mormon - The scrolls are gone forever because they were destroyed in the great Chicago fire.

Internet Mormon - The found scrolls are not the same scrolls that Joseph Smith had in his possession. After you prove to an Internet Mormon that they are the same scrolls, he will respond by saying, 'the scrolls had a deeper, encoded message that only Joseph Smith was able to translate.' After you show the Internet Mormon that the scroll is common and is dated 2000 years after the time of Abraham, he will resort back to his first argument.

Apostate - The fact that the translation provided by Joseph Smith does not match the actual translation (even closely) of the scrolls, highly suggests that he made it at up as he went along.

******** Issue #2

Your Valiance in the Pre-existance - Church doctrine for many years has taught that the more valiant you were in the pre-existance, the more white your skin is and the more privileges you are born into, such as those born into the church. Because it is very racist in it's nature, and therefore embarrassing to the church, the church has tried to shy away from this teaching.

Chapel Mormon - If you're white and Mormon it's because you were valiant in the pre-existance.

Internet Mormon - This is a false doctrine. It was mentioned once or twice by a prophet but it was just his opinion.

Apostate - There was no pre-existance. The church has very many racist teachings which they have never apologized for and are trying to sweep under the rug, making it appear that it never happened.

******** Issue #3

Who are the Lamanites? Since the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, it has been a fundamental LDS belief that the Native Americans are the direct descendants of the ancient inhabitants of America and are called Lamanites as described in the Book of Mormon. Recent DNA evidence has shown that the Native Americans are of Asian descent, not Israelian.

Chapel Mormon - Native Americans are the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon. They have no knowledge of the DNA evidence.

Internet Mormons - The DNA evidence actually proves that the Book of Mormon is true! Native Americans today are a mixture of Lamanites as well as other peoples and this explains why the DNA evidence does not have any Israelitic traces. (Although the BoM has absolutely no mention of any other people)

Apostate - DNA proves that the Book of Mormon is fiction because it clearly shows the Native Americans are of Asian descent.

******** Issue #4

The Book of Mormon - Published in 1830, the Book of Mormon is the central key to the LDS religion. The LDS believe it is an actual account of the ancient inhabitants of America. However, there is absolutely no archaeological evidence to support the cities, foods, animals, weapons, etc, as they are described in the Book of Mormon.

Chapel Mormon - The Book of Mormon is a true account of the ancient inhabitants of ancient America. The Smithsonian Institute has used the Book of Mormon on several occasions to locate several significant archaeological finds.

Internet Mormon - Who needs evidence? Even though an entire civilization just vanished into thin air, you don't need evidence. You just need the spirit. Besides, little bits and pieces of "evidence" show up every once in a while.

Apostate - Since there is no archaeological evidence for any Book of Mormon cities or culture, the Book of Mormon is fiction. The Smithsonian Institute has strongly denied ever using the Book of Mormon to aid in archaeological digs. Even LDS archaeologists have admitted that a lifetime of searching for evidence has turned up nothing.

******** Issue #5

Tithing - The LDS churches law of finance require its members to pay 10% of their income to the church. If they faithfully do, they are promised rewards so much that there will not be enough room to receive. If they do not, they will burn in a great fire at the second coming of Jesus. In addition, paying of tithing is a requirement to get to the Celestial Kingdom. The problem is that many Mormons pay tithing and as a result, lose their home because the 'blessings' didn't show up on time.

Chapel Mormon - I heard a story of someone who paid tithing and got a raise at work. See? It really works! Besides, I don't want to burn in the great fire, so I faithfully pay my 'fire insurance'. Tithing is necessary for salvation.

Internet Mormon - The blessings you are promised are usually not physical blessings, but spiritual blessings. That's why Mormons have hardships just like everyone else. I've never heard of a great fire or the term 'fire insurance'. I pay tithing but it's not for the blessings but to show my devotion. Plus, the church has never taught that paying tithes is a requirement for heaven.

Apostate - Tithing is completely un-scriptural. Both the Bible and Book of Mormon state clearly that the gospel is free. The LDS church just wants your money. The fire and promise of blessings and salvation are just tactics used to lighten your wallet.

******** Issue #6

The First Vision. According to LDS lore, Joseph Smith was visited personally by God and Jesus Christ in the spring of 1820. This heavenly manifestation ushered in the restoration of the true church. However, several different versions of the first vision exist and they contradict each other. The evidence is very strong that the first vision story did not appear until about 1838.

Chapel Mormon - Joseph Smith was visited by God and Jesus Christ in 1820. We are only aware of one version of the First Vision.

Internet Mormon - Sure several versions exist. Joseph Smith wrote them at different times in his life. He included details in some that he excluded in others. It's kind of like a 'need to know' basis type thing.

Apostate - Early Mormons were completely unaware of Joseph Smith's claims to have seen God and Jesus. Many quotes from prominent early church figures all refer to an angel, rather than to god. As Joseph started losing credibility, he elaborated the story to give himself more power and prestige. The official version of the First Vision was not written until nearly 20 years after the supposed fact.


As you can see, there is a huge difference between Chapel and Internet Mormons. This is just a small example, as nearly every teaching, story, and doctrine of the LDS church is under investigation. Internet Mormons love to twist things around to make the evidence fit the story. It's impossible to win a debate against an Internet Mormon because they can twist things around all they want. It's rather painful and mentally exhausting, I am sure.

Why not just accept the evidence for what it is? Why go through all the mental gymnastics to twist the evidence to support your view. The evidence should lead you to the conclusion, not the conclusion determine the nature of the evidence.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Best Athiest Video Ever!

This is the best YouTube video I have ever seen on Atheism created by the FightingAtheist. This is a must-see for anyone who is truly trying to understand the mind of an Atheist.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Long and Short of Atheism

It is not the opposite of Christianity; it is simply the presence of rationalism.

If you were to get 10 people and put them on 10 different islands and let them grow up without any influence from the outside world, what are the odds that any of them would become Christian completely on their own? Or Buddhist? Or Islam? Or Muslim? Or any other popular organized religion?

It is unethical to actually conduct such a study, but it seems pretty obvious (if you just think about it) that none of them will. If anyone out there actually thinks that they would, let me make it really simple for you.

What are the chances that any one of them would develop a language that any other person on earth would recognize? I speak English for the simple reason that I grew up in an English speaking household. If I was born in Japan, I would speak Japanese. If I grew up with no language, then I would have no language. Religion is absolutely no different.

Atheism is simply not believing in those man-made religions that have no real proof of any of their outrageous claims. It's that simple. Atheism could just as easily be called rationalism. They are no different.

The way that Christianity spreads around the world is by missionaries, not inspiration. Missionaries take the Christian message to those who have never heard before. Now doesn't that strike you as a little odd? If Jesus was the true redeemer of all mankind, wouldn't he make himself known to all mankind? So you converted some of the heathens, but what about their parents who died before they ever heard of Christ? I guess they're screwed.

And that's why Christianity is so stupid.

All societies will have a religion of some kind. But if religion is so universally true, why do they all come up with their own unique version? If god is so powerful, why can't he form two different societies who have the same beliefs, independant of each other?

Your merciful, all-powerful god isn't looking so grand anymore, is he?

Anyone who thinks and draws conclusions from what can be seen and studied will arrive at the same conclusion: religion is man-made.

I have listened to different atheist arguments and they are all very similar. However, there is no such thing as an atheist church, where we all gather to learn what to say. Anyone who is an atheist arrives at the same conclusions as other atheists because it is true. Atheism is the only "religion" or belief system (for the lack of any other way to describe it) that is universally true even with groups that have absolutely no contact with each other.

Now isn't that ironic! The absense of god is the most universal belief that is consistant no matter where you go! American atheists have the same beliefs as Australian atheists, completely independant of each other!

How is it that an all powerful god can't seem to even get two different tribes to believe the same thing? How is it that in the absence of god, real truth emerges across the world, completely independantly?

I would be willing to bet that of those 10 people placed on an island, no two of them would form the same religious beliefs. In fact, without outside influence, I would bet (although there is no way to know for sure) that most of them would only believe in what they could see.

If Jesus is so powerful and influential, then why doesn't he inspire each of the 10 to believe in him? I'll tell you why. Because Jesus isn't real. They won't believe in Jesus completely independantly of outside influence anymore than they'll believe in Santa Claus.

We as a society believe in these things because of tradition, not because we each learned it for ourselves. In fact, the physical place in the world you live in is a very strong indication of what your belief system will be. So do we learn of god from god? Or from man? Obviously, it is from man. Because religion is from man.

Now, if you were to travel the world and find tribe after tribe and community after community that all believed in Jesus, even though they were thousands of miles apart and had never heard of each other or of any Christian nations outside of themselves, then Christianity would have a strong case. But since such is not the case, then Christianity is not the case.

Coming up next... The best video I have ever seen on Atheism! (It's the video above this post, not below it.)

My "Conversion" to Atheism

The arguments for Atheism can't be made more clear. I just love YouTube!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Church vs. Heaven... No Thanks To Either One

Even LDS people will admit it... church is boring. At church, you're in the house of the lord which means that you must always be quiet, serious, reverent, etc.

If the LDS church house is the house of the lord, then we must assume that the way we are expected to behave in church is how we will be expected to behave in heaven.

Just imagine if you actually did make it to heaven. It would be like being in church ALL THE DAMN TIME! Do you really want that?

I sure as hell don't! I can barely stomach a couple sacrament meetings a year, let alone being stuck there permanantly! Hell no!

If an LDS church session is anything like heaven, then there is no way I want to go there. Even the LDS people can't wait to get out of church.

Hell no! Not for me! If hell is where all the cool people go, then sign me up now!

Sacrifice Brings Blessings

The more you give to the lord of the LDS church, the more blessings you are supposed to get in return. But along with the promise of receiving much for your sacrifices, you are also subject to have blessings with-held if you do not sacrifice. Paying tithing is the central way LDS people sacrifice to the lord.

The LDS Jesus loves you. In fact, he loves you so much that you can't even comprehend how much. His love is unconditional and is offered to everyone.

I have refused to pay tithing for several years now and I've noticed one thing: my life is no better or worse than it was before.

I'm not really any richer or poorer. I'm not sicker or more healthy. I'm not uglier or prettier. My life is pretty much the same as it was before. There were no special blessings then and there are no special blessings now.

My wife recently had a TR interview where she was asked, of course, if she pays her tithing. Her answer was no but only because her husband (me) won't let her. The bishop granted the TR but not before stating that because of my stubbornness, I am causing our entire family to be denied blessings.

I really find it funny! I even laughed when I heard that. Jesus loves me and my family, right? But because I won't pay tithing, my entire family has to pay the price. That money hungry Jesus is withholding from all of us!

Sounds real loving to me: I'm Jesus and because one of you won't pay me, all of you are going to suffer! But I love you. I just wish you'd willingly give me your money.

Jesus is going to punish my kids for my stubbornness! What an asshole. At least he would be if he was real!

What about the 2nd Article of Faith which states: "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression."

Really, Jesus. If you're so shallow that my meager 10% is going to cause you to cast me and my family into the eternal fire, then you're even more pathetic than I thought! You're willing to damn children on my account over a lousy 10%. That's pathetic. That's disgraceful. In fact, it's outright disgusting!

The concept of Jesus' unconditional love as long as he gets my money just sickens me. And that's why I don't believe.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Unannounced, Uninvited, and Unwelcome

You'll never guessed who showed up on my front porch today. That's right, the LDS missionaries. I won't relay what was said because it's the standard, "We're representatives of Jesus Christ... have you ever heard of the church?"

First of all, I noticed that the guy didn't say "We're reps for the church..." He said, "We're representatives of Jesus Christ." Wow! Jesus just knocked on my door. I should have told them to tell him "hi" for me.

Do you know anyone who likes having their TV show, football game, dinner, nap, or other personal time interrupted by two fanatical know-it-all geeks? Does anyone like having these guys show up at their door and immediately start asking you personal questions?

I informed my uninvited guests that I was not active in the local ward. Naturally, they wanted to know why I quit going and then proceeded to manipulate me back with "will you" questions and reminders about the "covenants" I have made.

You know, most people are happy with their religion/beliefs and I am one of them. If anyone is doubting or questioning, they usually set out to seek their answers. If such a person approaches the missionaries then, by all means, share your message. But guess what! The 99% of us that are perfectly happy with our standing before the lard just don't care to have the holier-than-thou's knocking on our doors and then proceeding to tell us what we should be doing.

Excuse me, but who authorized you to come, uninvited to my home, and start asking me all types of personal questions? I have no obligation, whatsoever, to account myself to these teenage boys. I'm a good deal older than they are so why do they presume to think that they can just start ordering me around as far as my spirituality is concerned?

They closed with their traditional "what can we do for you" and then asking for referrals. Yea, my neighbor next door is a heathen. Why don't you go tell him that I said you could teach him! (Insert sarcastic laugh here)

It's just amazing to me that they think they are doing the world a huge favor by sending out thousands of missionaries to convert the world, but then they all get sooooo offended when a few people like me voice our not so church friendly opinion.

For crying out loud, they show up at my door and try to manipulate me face to face! I write words on a blog and anyone is free to read them or click the little X at the top right corner of the page. They just don't get it.

When they show up at my door, it offends me. I am offended because I am happy with my life and who are they to just show up out of the blue, uninvited, and presume to tell me that their beliefs are true and that they alone can make me happy. They don't know me! They don't know my level of happiness!

All they know is that they think the church is true and they have a script that they repeat again and again from door to door.

FYI, I always hated tracting. Not just because it sucked in and of itself, but because I knew that the people we were bothering did not want us to be there. So get the hint, LDS missionaries (and any other door-to-door religious salesmen). We don't want you to bother us! If we want to listen to your message, we'll call you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It Takes Effort To Believe

Being a believer is hard work! Not just a Mormon believer, but any faith-based religion. You see, you are supposed to take a whole Bible full of teachings and take it on faith. This requires effort because most of what you read in the Bible is stuff that is scientifically impossible.

Here is an effective but rather stupid example: It takes absolutely no effort at all to believe that the sky is blue because it is blue. But someone who chooses to believe the sky is orange must exert a lot of effort to maintain that belief. Mostly because the obvious fact is right there: it's blue! So it takes effort to believe anything else because that belief is false. Makes no sense?

Believing takes even more effort when one discovers that the gospels were written several years after the supposed fact, about one hundred years to be more precice. How could the authors of the gospels be eye-witnesses of Jesus if they lived 100 years after him?

This type of evidence strongly suggests that the Jesus story is not all it is cracked up to be. Therefore, to continue believing takes effort. Take your belief, throw in an opposing fact, and that leads to a real mental jungle gym. It takes effort to keep believing!

But not believing takes no effort at all. It is easy to not believe a fictional story. When more and more evidence surfaces that Jesus was not a god, and possibly not even a man, it fits right in with my belief system. Therefore, there is no mental jungle gym and no rationalizing. The more science disproves religion, it takes no effort at all for me to understand because it fits right in.

I laugh whenever I hear believers trying to say that not believing takes more effort. They only say that because it is the only argument they can come up with. Believing in the supernatural and the irrational takes effort, because those things aren't real. Believing in science and real-life takes no effort at all because it does not contradict what we know about our world.

I read a quote not too long ago: "Saying that atheism is a faith is like saying that baldness is a hair color."

Break down the word "atheist". "theist" is a term meaning 'having to do with religion' and "a" is a prefix usually meaning 'anti' or 'against'. Therefore a-theist means 'not having to do with religion' or 'against religious belief'. Religion requires faith, so if you're against religion, then you're against faith. Therefore, anyone who tries to argue that atheism is a faith, is a moron. Atheism is the opposite of faith. Atheism is believing in what can be seen, rather than what cannot.

In other words, atheism requires no effort. It takes effort to believe in something that you have never seen, let alone anyone else. The fact that there is no real evidence supporting this belief does not help either.

But since I don't believe in what really isn't there, then I'm not really an atheist either; I'm just a rational person. I just happen to not believe in fairy tales and superstition. And guess what!?!? It takes no effort to not believe in fairy tales and superstition. ZERO EFFORT!

The more evidence that we find that religion is a crock, only requires it's believers to exert that much more effort to keep believing it. But on the other hand, all the evidence against religion only makes my position easier to believe!

So my question is, why waste all that effort to believe in something that is only described in an ancient book that no one really understand anyway and is full of self-contradictions?

Hey, the minute Jesus shows up and takes credit for creating the world, I'll believe like no other! But no Jesus, no believing in Jesus. Fair enough? Why believe that god created man when the much more simple and believable explanation is that man created god? Superheroes aren't real and yet we love to hear stories about them; even I do. Jesus is nothing more than another superhero story. It's a good story, but in the end that's all it is... a story.

The Jesus story is really no different than any other superhero. But we don't exert effort to believe that Superman is literally real, or Batman. So why do we do it for the Jesus story? Because it is older? Good question. I don't know why. To me it is perfectly obvious that it's just a story too and should require no effort. I don't get it, why put all that time and effort into a story that is, in the end, no different than any other superhero story?

There are those who will say that there is significant evidence that Jesus was real. But, I've noticed that anyone who wants something to be true badly enough will find some type of evidence for it's truth. But the problem is that they want to find evidence to support their belief.

Mormon apologists are constantly coming up with bullshit evidence for their true church. Any fool can do that. It takes a much smarter person to take the evidence and let it determine the belief, not the other way around. Evidence leads to belief. Belief does not lead to evidence.

I prefer, personally, to let the evidence speak for itself. That requires no effort. Having a belief and then desperately searching for evidence to support it takes a tremendous amount of effort. I'm not willing to do that and am not sure why anyone is.

It is a fundamental truth that all things, both living and non-living, will take the path of least resistance. That is why water only flows down hill. That is why students take the least amount of classes needed for a degree. It is why electricity flows through metal but not through rubber. So learn a lesson from nature, and take the belief that requires the least amount of effort. It will probably be the right one!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Do you remember ever having a dream that seemed to make sense until you woke up and starting thinking about it?

When I was a kid, I had a fiberglass bow and I used to shoot arrows with my friend. Well, one time I had a dream that in trying to string my bow I accidentally bent it. Trying to bend it back only made it worse until eventually my bow was just an unrecognizable lump. I was very relieved when I woke up and realized it was just a dream.

Isn't it strange how a dream, no matter how bizzare, can make sense while you're still asleep? The strangest things can happen and, while it can suck, doesn't seem to be irrational or even impossible. At least that's how some of my dreams can be.

Then, after you wake up, you realize that the events in your dream were so irrational that they couldn't possibly be real. In fact, you're surprised that you even believed it while you were dreaming it. But the thing about it, is that it did make sense while you were dreaming it. Once you wake up is when reality hits.

Religion is not unlike a dream. While you're in it, it makes sense. Mormonism made sense to me. It really did. Joseph Smith restored the truth along with the priesthood and now families can be together forever. The whitewashed version of Mormonism is a pretty good sounding story.

But once you wake up and see the truth, you wonder how you could have ever believed it before. Once you start thinking, it doesn't make any sense and things don't add up. Now you're thinking clearly and it makes sense, but while you were trapped in the dream, it seemed to make sense then. Only once you're fully awake, can you see that what once made perfect sense to you is now just a dream, a fantasy world. None of it was grounded in reality.

Now I'm awake.

Saying It the Way It Is

A great atheist video. What do you think?

This girl is a little sarcastic but her message is powerful.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Image & Symbolism

Since I had recently written a post on the topic, I felt it would be a good idea to share a second opinion. I was reading over on and found this article by lightfinger louie:

One of the hardest life lessons I learned was the fact that image and symbolism prevail most of the time. The sweet talking self-promoter nearly always finds his way to the top, and often at the expense of those who were more sincere and qualified.

I saw this in the Mormon church constantly. After a while, it makes you laugh.

If you are not very good at self-promotion, or image creation, you just don't move ahead very well. But then if you think about it, you realize that Joseph Smith was the ultimate self-promoter. He passed himself off as someone who was second only to Christ in his goodness and contributions. In fact, he took credit for holding his church together better than Jesus did his.

I recall the self-promoters very well. I did not really see them emerge until I was a missionary, and my entire life was involved with Mormonism for two years. When Mormonism was the pond, the fish began to fight over who was the best Mormon fish.

I remember one testimony meeting in particular. The Mission President had said he wanted "more emotion" in our testimonies. When the actual ordeal by testimony started, the new Assistant to the President got up, and put on a show that would rival the efforts of Elmer Gantry. He poured sweat, sobbed, and walked back and forth, bellowing his emotion into the microphone. It was one of the worst performances I have ever seen. I recall hearing a missionary say "What a phony bastard," as the show went on.

When the kid finally sat down, the Mission President patted his back, and said "That was beautiful." No, it was not. It was nauseating----nothing more than a favor currying sideshow. The kid had no shame---just a desire to climb.

I remember flying to the Language Training Mission. It was in Hawaii in those days. The stewardesses offered us" tropical drinks." They had endured lots of missionaries, so the drinks were alcohol free. I took one, and was rebuked by the missionary next to me. He said "Someone might think you are drinking alcohol. " What nonsense.

I also recall a radio talk show, where the host was talking about Mormons. He said "I saw some Mormon missionaries in the airport last week. They were hungry, but the only place in the airport where they could get something to eat sold beer. They debated among themselves, and decided they could not go into a a place that sold beer. It would hurt their image." The host then said "I could not be in a religion that makes people that afraid of their image. "

Anyone who ever went to BYU learned the obsession with image and symbols. From the "Dress Code," to the "Honor Code," image is everything. Kids dare not dress the way they want, or speak the way they want. It might put them at odds with the image makers. Over time, the image obsession wears you down. It leaves one feeling drained and exhausted. I wonder how many dump the LDS church as soon as they leave BYU? More than a few. It drains away your ability to continue as a Mormon, because you have come to realize its all just a performance based on smoke and mirrors.

The image obsession never dies. The Word of Wisdom is based on image. Mormons feel that if they do not smoke, or drink alcohol, tea, or coffee, they are generating the right image, and are, therefore, righteous. If you add family home evening and regular church attendance, your image becomes more and more complete. Say the right things to the right people at the right time, and you might must move up.

What is inside you, deep inside you, does not count. Only the external matters, which is why large conference centers and huge building projects matter. They, too, project image.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Do you remember a few years ago when Mormons were challenged to read the Book of Mormon before the years end? Well, I do and I remember seeing people everywhere with their books. As I saw it, they were all making a statement. It was like they wanted to read in public so that everyone around them could see what good little Mormons they were. It bothered me.

Another thing that always bothered me was people who read their scriptures in church. You'll see them in sacrament reading, when they should be listening. I'd bet 100 to 1 that everyone who reads in church doesn't read anywhere else. There is something about reading your scriptures in public that says, "Look at me. I'm a good little Mormon and I want you to know it!"

Why even bother going to church if you're not even going to listen to the speakers? I always felt like you should read your scriptures at home and come to church to elaborate on what you read. So anyone who reads in church is making a double statement: 1) they don't read at home, and 2) look at me... I'm reading my scriptures for everyone to see.

I've recently been informed that the LDS people have been extended the same challenge again. Read the Book of Mormon completely by the end of 2009. So I bet we'll see it all over again. Faithful Mormons everywhere reading their books in public. But it's not about actually reading the book (because if it was they would do it without being challenged). It's about having everyone seeing them read.

Jesus said you should pray in private. Those who pray in public are seeking the praise of the public. I always felt that scripture reading was no different. If you read in public, your reward is having everyone see you read. They are just seeking the pubic's approval which tells me that they are insecure and unsure.

But unlike what Jesus taught, Mormonism is all about doing the right thing when other people are looking. I once heard a joke that is funny but also sad: How do you keep Mormons from drinking your beer? Invite two of them.

You see Mormonism is all about appearances. That is why during 2009 we are going to see Mormons everywhere with their Book of Mormon. They want to be seen because it is the Mormon way. I have no doubt there are sincere Mormons who really do things for the "right" reasons, but for the most part, it is about appearance.

Go to any ward building and you will see people smiling and happy. But if they really are happy, why does Utah have one of the highest anti-depressant drug sales? They have to maintain an appearance. Why does Utah lead the nation in bankruptsies and foreclosures? Partly because of tithing but the other part is appearance. We have to have the appearance of being successful. So they buy houses and cars that they can't afford.

It's sad. Really. I've talked about it before. Being Mormon is like living with a mask on. The mask has a smile, but under the mask you don't even know who you are. All you know is that everyone must see you happy and see you being a faithful, obedient, righteous Mormon. That is why I claim that the very nature of Mormonism produces liars. They all lie. Some are subtle; some are very blatant.

My step brother smokes (among other things I am sure). I've picked him up before and the smell of smoke will knock you over! But if you ask him if he smokes he will lie straight to your face, NO! You see, he has been taught that smoking is wrong, so if everyone knows that he smokes, then everyone will know that he's not a good person. So in order to keep up the appearances, you just lie. If you're a Mormon, you have to lie. I did.

I wasn't Mr. Playboy, but I did have a girlfriend here and there that I would fool around with a little more than the church would like. When it came time for interviews with the bishop, I would always lie. It was just easier to lie than to have to confess everything, not be able to take the sacrament, and have everyone know that I did something bad. It was just easier to lie. (Maybe that's why I never saw dead people in the temple!)

The more subtle lie is simply going to church on Sunday with your happy, smiling face and being miserable the rest of the week. I did that too. I would consider myself a very honest person and even I was forced to live a lie as a Mormon. There have been many times where I've gone to eat out and was undercharged for my food. I always report it to the cashier or manager and pay them. They are very impressed with my honesty.

It's funny how honesty is a Mormon virtue BUT it really can't exist in that culture. Because if you just come out and say, "I'm miserable, damn it!" then you must be doing something wrong because only the gospel brings happiness. So if you're miserable, then the problem is you! So, you put on the happy mask, just like everyone else and play the little game together. You all pretend to be happy and secretly wonder why you're miserable and everyone else is so happy. But you're all in the same boat, living the same little lie, fooling everyone except yourself.

It's all about appearance. As long as you can appear to be happy and appear to be living the commandments, then you're okay. You will do well as a Mormon. But if you're one of those people who just can't stand to play the game, then you'd better be something else! If you hate putting on a show for everyone else to see, then don't be Mormon. I was playing that game and I could hardly stand it. I finally had to quit going to church. I was tired of living a lie.

Here's a great example. Provo, Utah is Mormon central, probably moreso than Salt Lake City. It is the home of BYU. Provo has one of the highest porno sales of any city in the country. And yet it is full of Mormon men who all deny that they look at porn. Can you see the problem here? Most of them are looking at porn and yet non of them can admit it because it is so socially unacceptable. So the easiest way out of that dilemma is to look at porn and lie about it.

I can safely talk about lying as a Mormon because I did it and I was about as good as they get. The one thing that kept me from confessing all my "sins" to the bishop was the fear of what everyone in the ward would think. And believe me, if I had that problem, everyone else must have had it worse because I wasn't even that naughty.

It's all about maintaining that appearance. In 2009 watch for those Book of Mormon readers. They will be there. They can't resist the opportunity to put on a display in public.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Memorable Sacrament Meeting

Not too long ago I attended (reluctantly) a sacrament meeting where a returned missionary was to be praised. I didn't really want to go but my wife knows this missionaries mother from work and so...

The reason I even remember this meeting was not because of the fact that it was a homecoming. I remember it because it reminded why I am so damn glad that I don't have to deal with all the demands anymore.

To be more specific, a gentleman (could have been high council, or bishopric; I don't know or don't remember) gave a talk about how poorly the ward was doing in their converting of neighbors to the church.

It was that typical speech that is designed to make the common member feel like shit because they haven't been out converting people left and right (it's funny how real life seems to always be in the way). After chastizing the congregation, he proceeded to describe a new program which was designed to increase new member conversions. He made a public committment that the ward would improve.

I could literally feel the despair in the room. It's like whatever positive energy might have been lingering was sucked out by the prospect of MORE TO DO! More feeling guilty for not having done enough, again, for the lord's kingdom. This guy talked about how everyone was going to make a commitment to do better.

I just sat there thinking to myself that not only am I glad to NOT be in this ward, but not to have to commit to such unreasonable requests from my own ward. I'm not joking when I say that I could feel the dispair in the room. I was probably the only person with a smile on my face. I don't have to do it! It's not my holy calling to convert everyone I know to the (or any) church.

Now we all know that everyone will commit to this guys "plan" because they are supposed to, but no one will really do anything about it. And then, when the closing prayer is said, and the person saying it says, "Please help us implement the things we have heard today into our daily lives..." and everyone says, "Amen," we all know that it's just a motion. No one really means it.

I've noticed in general that Mormons really aren't very happy. When I do have to endure a sacrament meeting, I see people sleeping, reading their scriptures, or trying to keep their kids quiet. Hardly anyone is even listening to the speaker. In fact, they are all so bored that they can't wait for sacrament meeting to be over. Have you ever noticed how fast the isles fill up with people one second after the closing prayer? Everyone is scrambling to get out of there!

And you know another thing that always used to annoy the hell out of me? Mormon cholesterols, as I call them. People who would stand in doorways and hallway carrying on conversations, while blocking the flow of people to their various classes. If you're going to converse, do it in an area that is not in the way of everyone! I always considered it very rude and disrespectful.

Every time I go to any sacrament meeting, I see the same thing: people who can't stand to be there. They will all deny it, but the truth is that they hate being there but they don't have a choice. What choice is there? It's the true church and only by conforming to ALL of it's demands can you be saved. In fact, if you don't comply to ALL their demands, you won't go to the celestial kingdom. You'll end up in a place where those who couldn't "hack it" go. Can't have that, can we? So they conform and they do everything they're supposed to, but it's not because they love the lord... it's because they don't want to be damned.

Seriously, being Mormon is depressing. You're constantly wondering if you've done everything that you're supposed to. And once it's done, you get to start all over next month. It never ends until you die. You never get a break. Stress! And on top of that, there is guilt for anything that you didn't get done. So, in Mormonism, you're stressed if you do and guilty if you don't. Either way, your life is miserable.

No wonder they're all in such a hurry to get out of there!

Happy New Year 2009!

Baptisms For the Dead

One annonymous commenter suggested that I write a post about baptisms for the dead. I've never talked about that before, so why not?

I participated in dead dunkings as an adolescent. I don't have any horror stories to share but I've read some scary ones, especially from female participants. I remember hearing FPR's about people who could actually see the person for which they were doing the baptisms. For some odd reason, I never did. Guess I wasn't worthy enough.

As a Mormon, the idea of baptisms for the dead is actually a cool one. You get to save your heathen ancestors. The idea behind the concept is that you do your genealogy and research your family. You then take the names of those family members, who are dead, and submit them to the temple. Family members can then perform all the saving ordinances on behalf of their dead ancestors which, if the person accepts it, will allow them to leave the spiritual prison and enter spiritual paradise.

The problem, however, is that over zealous Mormons take any name they can find and submit it to the temple. Many people have a huge problem with this and if you think about it, it's not too hard to figure out why.

Mormons are the only religion, to my knowledge, that do this. But just imagine if, for example, the Jehovah's Witnesses began doing it. As a Mormon baptizing dead people from other religions into Mormonism, imagine how offended you would be if the JW's started baptizing your dead family into their religion. You'd be pissed off and you'd want them to stop.

Well, that is how everyone else feels about the Mormons doing it to them. But since the Mormons have the only true authority, it doesn't matter what other people think, does it? Since you're saving them, it's okay to ignore their requests that you stop baptizing their dead family. The Mormons have promised to stop doing it again and again, but they don't. Maybe they will when someone finally gives them a taste of their own medicine.

Hey, if Mormons want to put all that time and effort into baptizing their dead ancestors, then knock yourselves out. But leave other people's families alone! Is it that hard for you to do?

Eventually, the Mormons plan to baptize every single person who has ever lived on the earth. That in and of itself is an enormous task! The dead not only need to be baptized, but be confirmed, washings and annointings, endowments, sealings, and for the men, the priesthood bestowed. We're talking several hours worth of ceremonies for each person and it has to be done tediously for every single one of them.

Talk about busy work!!!!!!! But the LDS church is full of unreasonable demands and so why not heap the responsibility of converting every single person who has ever lived? Got to give those followers something to do!

Everyone gets a chance to accept the Mormon gospel. I wonder if anyone has ever done the temple work for Cain?