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.


Dr. Shades said...

EXCELLENT post, Mormon 411! I enjoyed reading it very much.

Mormon411 said...

Thank you, Dr. Shades. It's an honor to have you visit my blog! Come back any time.

Anonymous said...

I take issue with the Chapel Mormon response to item number two. Unless the mornon is over 50, their likely response would be "the chruch never taught that". It's kind of like the pople who missed out on all the fun penalties in the pre-1990 temple ceremony. Luckily we have a counter to their Ministry of Truth.

Slightly off topic, bu I know some mormons who tuned into watch the PBS special a couple years back. They tunred it on right in the middle of the MMM section and got freaked out. They thought it was all a lie, so they turned it off and said a prayer. They were from Utah so I was surprised that they didn't know about that event. They eventually watched the show, but I doubt it enlightened them any.

Nice blog.

Mormon411 said...

I'm not 50, but I remember hearing that doctrine as a young Mormon. But now days, all the Mormons I talk to swear that it is a false doctrine and was never taught.

Isn't changing doctrine actually apostasy? I believe it is. Hypocrites!

Dr. Shades said...

"Isn't changing doctrine actually apostasy? I believe it is. Hypocrites!"

APOSTASY: When your church changes.
CONTINUING REVELATION: When my church changes.