What Is Actually Going On With the Court Summons?

Screenshot 2014-02-06 at 22.30.12

Well its all over many, many newspaper websites now, the Telegraph, the Salt Lake Tribune, and many more. President Thomas S Monson has been summonsed to British Courts on the accusation of fraud.

The mistake that many people are making and that I actually made initially, is thinking that the hope here is somehow to prove Mormonism false in court. To prove that the Book of Abraham is a fraud, to prove the earth is not 6000 years old (which of course many Christians believe) and so on. This of course would cause a whole world of problems for many religions in general if it somehow went ahead and the case was won.

This is actually not it at all, what is actually going on is stated on the Mormon Disclosures site and it says this:

“The underlying premise for Tom Phillips’ complaint is basically this: Young salespeople are being carefully groomed and trained to go out and spread demonstrable untruths among the British public in order to persuade them to pay over significant sums of money to a corporation. The transactions depend upon acceptance by individuals of certain “truth claims” which must be received on the basis of partial information presented. If members of the public were to be told the whole truth and still decided they would join up and pay up, that of course would be entirely legitimate. However, when the whole truth is deliberately concealed in order to project a false impression, and money exchanges hands, that is fraud… according to the 2006 Fraud Act, which is the relevant piece of legislation in this case.” -Christopher Ralph (plaintiff in case of summons 2)

This case is about money, but not in the sense that a few ex Mormons want their tithes back, but in the sense that the Mormon Church is selling a product through its young missionaries, and that this product is not being honestly sold, with all things disclosed that should be disclosed for the “investigator” to make an informed decision, therefore an accusation of fraud has followed on this basis.

Christopher Ralph, one of the people involved with filing this case said this in a Facebook discussion.

People seem to think that the idea is to disprove Mormonism in court, when actually the aim, (mine at least), is to show that LDS fundraising methods are unethical, dishonest, and perhaps criminal.

Mormon missionaries by virtue of their age (usually around 18-20) do not know too much about Mormonism. They sell a very basic version and focus heavily on the idea that you just need to pray and the internal witness you receive is all you need to know its true. This is sincere on the missionaries part, but potentially fraudulent on the LDS Churches part. Purposely sending people out with so little knowledge of a faith that has had much said and done in its relatively short time as a world religion.

So just as a reminder here is the summons letter sent on behalf of Chris Ralph.

monson-summons2

So the issue here regarding the Book of Abraham is not to prove in court its a fraud, but rather to show that Chris Ralph was in a movement that required him to tithe 10% of his money, and they do require it, if you don’t tithe you don’t get in the temple and you do not go to celestial glory, Doctrine and Covenants 64:23 goes so far as to say:

 23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.

So Chris Ralph was required to tithe to be a member in good standing, and was taught various things such as the Book of Abraham being a literal translation from Egyptian papyri , however he was not told that some of these papyri were found in the 1960s and were found to not be what Joseph Smith claimed at all in the literal sense. Apologists and Church leaders have claimed they are spiritually correct, but they are not literal translations.

Either way Chris Ralph was not clearly given all of this information to make an informed decision, on this issue and the others.

That’s the charge, that’s why it may not get thrown out as quickly as some think, this is not about disproving Mormonism, but rather showing a clear lack of openness  with information to new members while still expecting their money and time.

130 thoughts on “What Is Actually Going On With the Court Summons?”

  1. This of course all presumes that (1) there exists damning evidence against the claims of LDS missionaries, (2) the church is aware of this alleged damning evidence, and (3) that the church is deliberately hiding this information from its members and investigators.

    It all hinges on assumption number one. It would essentially require a court hearing on all the topics we regularly debate on the internet, which simply isn’t going to happen. I’d personally welcome such a hearing, as it would finally be a chance to address old and tired antimormon arguments in a way that would force antimormons to admit that the LDS position is better than they give credit for.

    This case isn’t going anywhere though.

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    1. James, you are mistaken and missing the crux of the issue, this article may have thrown you a bit off. No one is looking for what the missionaries are saying as being untrue. It’s a criminal case of fraud against Thomas Monson, not any missionaries. Essentially meaning that Tom Phillips is fully intending to A) prove in a court of law that all 7 claims laid out by the church and referenced in the summonses are demonstrably false and B) prove that Thomas Monson (i.e. the leadership in general) already knows that they are false yet continues to perpetuate the deception in order to continue to guile money out people. This article from the Salt Lake Tribune explains it better: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57500721-78/church-lds-british-mormon.html.csp

      As far as this case going nowhere, according to the article I linked it looks like this case has already matured past the point of being tossed out, i.e. damning evidence for both A and B have already been laid before a Judge who then signed the summonses. Also meaning that now Monson will have to show up to the court or have an arrest warrant filed against himself in England; he’ll never be able to set foot in England again if he refuses to appear before the court.

      I had no idea the LDS had a competent position on any of those 7 items in the summonses, care to share what they are?

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    2. Hmm. Isn’t going anywhere because you have looked at the evidence presented to you as a magistrate? As against this lady joker who just thought “yeah, If I issue this summons with no justification, I’ll only be a laughing stock and my career effectively over. But hey, what would that magistrate know. You have all the evidence right.
      Your first paragraph is redundant. You are effectively saying “for an act of fraud to have happened, it would mean an act of fraud would have had to have happened”. But again, you know everything so there is no need for courts to determine whether statutes have been breached.
      The email address of the court is on the summons. You should email them and let them know the case isn’t going anywhere….even…though……it already has. Hmmm
      You say you’d welcome a hearing to address “old and tired” antimormon arguments in a way that would force antimormons to admit that the LDS position is better than they give credit for. Riiight. And of course this would be a prophet of god doing this right?
      Here’s a thought. 65% of members have left the church, probably a great deal of them because these Prophets, Seers and Revelators, these mouthpieces of god haven’t stepped up to the plate and delivered.
      Yes, these are real questions, that cause real angst and heartache to good people, who leave the church, owing to a vacuum of information to counter what appears to be truth. What responsibility do they play in this?
      I think you might be waiting a long time before one of these “Prophets” act more like Prophets and less like Profit$. (Ahem- sole director of the Corporation which owns the company called Intellectual Reserve Inc which owns the LDS church)
      But what would I know, as you said, you know everything and the case isn’t going anywhere. Even though it has. And everyone is talking about it.
      Sweden 2.0. England is dead to the LDS church – not that it wasn’t already

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    3. The multiple versions of the first vision, the distortion of the circumstances surrounding Smith’s death, the facts regarding the Book of Abraham being a fraud. All of these are damning evidence which the church hides from its general membership and its investigators.

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  2. I started paying tithing because that’s what the Bible teaches (Malachi 3:10-11) and now after 31+ years of paying tithing I can testify with absoluteness that the promises found in Malachi are true. I’ve experienced them firsthand with all my senses for 31+years. The Book of Abraham has never been a determining factor for me nor anyone else I know in convincing us to pay tithing. I am highly skeptical as I hope the court and observers become of the sincerity of Chris Ralph’s assertions. How grateful I am I was able to serve a mission at 19 – what a transformational experience it was for me that has set the stage for a much higher quality of life than I or my family would have ever had otherwise, not to mention the hundreds of people we interacted with whose lives improved by learning and applying the principles Christ taught in their lives. Chris and Tom are building their own kingdom and I see nothing worthwhile in it for me and my family

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      1. Michael,
        That’s nice that the tithing appears to have worked for you. For many of us it hasn’t. I could cite many examples of people that have paid their tithing to the detriment of their family’s wellbeing and have received no ‘blessings’ in return, only hardship and even hunger in some cases.

        There are always going to be people that will testify that this principle or that works for them. Your mission was a good experience and I am happy for you that it was, but there are equally many that have not had good experiences on their missions. Personally, I now just feel that it is all coincidence, karma – call it what you may but you cannot assume that because your experience is good that it will be the same for all.

        The fact of the matter is that there is solid evidence, existing in the church’s own published materials, that lies have been told by the church as a corporation and ecclesiastically. Joseph Smith told lies and those lies have been perpetuated and even added to. This case is about the making the church face up to and finally admit those lies and be held accountable.

        Many people, including me, would never have joined the church if they had known what the true history of the church was.

        I don’t want my money back – even though it would be hugely welcome – I just want to see justice done.

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    1. Michael when Christian Churches start treating tithing as something that “saves you from flames” you can expect me to do a website like this for them too.

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      1. Bobby, what you are referring to is found in Malachi 4:1 just following Malachi 3 where tithing is taught, Malachi 4 is in reference to the Second Coming, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” This can be figuratively or literally. For me, tithing is one of the ways that helps us not become PROUD, that helps us prioritize love of God and others in our lives, that helps us stay true to His cause. It has done that for me and many many others.

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      2. Thanks for your thoughts Michael but we are still talking about two very different statements and as a result the mormon church making this a very legalistic matter.

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    2. I totally agree with everything that you have said. I. too have been a member for almost 32 years now and I know of a surety that promises of paying tithing are a reality in a spiritual sense that the ordinary person can’t comprehend. I have a close dear friend who was a member of another faith all her life and she ALWAYS paid tithes to her church. It was not something new to her. There will always be opposition against the truth.

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      1. Worshippers of Gnesh (the elephant headed god in India) will also testify of the “blessings” they have received from Gnesh. If one pays tithe, and one become materially successful, it is evidence that tithing works. If one worships Gnesh, or Krishna, or any idol, and one becomes materially successful, it is evidence that particular “god” is real and has really bestowed “blessings” upon the worshipper.

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      2. Darrick, the point with regards to this court case is that the accusers are claiming they have been fraudulently induced to paying tithing by the Mormon Church. I am claiming as a long time full tithe payer that I started paying tithing because of biblical teachings, not due to any unique Mormon teaching and certainly not because of the Book of Abraham which I don’t think even mentions tithing and through many decades of actual faithful full tithe paying experience, I can testify as does Patricia that paying tithing is NOT a fraudulent practice and that the promises of God as found in Malachi are true. Whether Mormon or not, I would still pay tithing just as every faithful Bible believing person would.

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      3. Michael, if you are fine with paying tithing without seeking the whole story, that’s your prerogative. The point is that the church should make the factual information about their “unique Mormon teachings” readily available so that others can, if they wish, make an informed decision before handing over their money. You may be paying your tithing because of a biblical teaching, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re paying it to an organization with additional teachings. Those additional and unique teachings may be a deciding factor for others who are choose to pay tithing, and so they have the right to have those things made known to them.

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  3. And even if (1) were somehow demonstrated, more important to this case would be to demonstrate that (2) and (3) is also true. If Monson believes, against all (alleged) evidence, in the claims of the church he cannot be convicted of fraud. Fraud, as I understand it, would require that Monson is knowingly teaching false ideas for financial gain. If Monson is unknowingly doing so it is not fraud.

    I’m continually amazed by those who believe that the leaders of the LDS Church somehow have privileged information that disproves the claims of the LDS Church, and are hiding it from the world. It is a very silly idea, born of a fundamentalist attitude which says “any thinking person obviously must agree with me that the LDS Church is false”.

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    1. And you know for a fact that they DON’T have any such information and that they AREN’T hiding from the world. Correct?
      And you know what Monson does know, and doesn’t know too. Okay.
      Sorry James. Troll along, but no one is going to hand Tom’s case over to you guys.
      (Also, before you embarrass yourself further maybe spend 10 minutes on Wikipedia to bone up on the scope and definitions of Fraud).

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    2. It only requires that he knew (or ought to have known) that the church was misleading and misrepresenting facts about itself. It’s not a question of whether or not he believes the church, it’s whether or not he hid or distorted (or caused to be hidden or distorted) facts about the church that would have led a reasonable person to disbelieve it.

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    3. Ok, great James. Let’s get Monson in court to say he legitimately believes all 7 of those points. If he does, apologists everywhere are screwed. They’ll have to delete half of what’s on their websites, and the church gets set back a few decades on “progress.” No matter how you slice it, the church is going to lose unless they get this thing dismissed. Even then, the attention all the “anti” sites are getting is bringing more and more people to the truth.

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  4. As James points out This of course all presumes that
    (1) there exists damning evidence against the claims of LDS missionaries,

    There does exist plenty of evidence for all seven points being outright misrepresentations.
    In the cases of points 1,2 and3 even the LDS themselves in their recent set of essays published on LDS.org gospel topics section have admitted as much.
    The introduction to the latest edition of the Pearl of great price has been reworded to say the Book of Abraham is no longer considered a literal translation, but is an “inspired” translation, this going directly against the lexicon of translated hieroglyphs proudly used and displayed until recently to demonstrate how Joseph in his own hand writing literally translated each individual symbol in to words, phrases and even paragraphs.
    They now admit the majority of the Book of Mormon translation WAS NOT directly translated from the plates as shown in most church illustration but was revealed to Smith via a seer stone in his hat AFTER the plates had been taken back in to heaven.
    They have also admitted the North and south native Americans ARE NOT genetically the the descendent of the Lamenites but are the descendent of OTHER indigenous peoples all ready present in the Americas before and after the arrival of the Nephites and Jaredites. (In direct contradiction of first Nephi, so much for it being the most correct book of all time)

    So it can be seen by confronting the church with its own literature and without having to recourse to to anti-Mormon sources that the church seemingly admits it’s own prior claims to factual and historical accuracy are in fact untrue, these untruths being knowingly perpetrated on converts for the purposes of recruitment by faith promotion and for gain by misrepresentation.

    This is why the case can be taken seriously now and is a viable legal contest under the reformed and amended fraud act of 2006 and equivalent amendments to the US law on fraud through out the years since 2000
    It also goes to explain why, if the church is to be prosecuted in the person of the prophet, why it is fortunate that president Monson HAS NEVER ONCE publicly born testimony that church is true since 2005.This notable over site, mentioned with some confusion by LDS faith at the last few general conferences gives his personal deniability, as it did with the late president Hinckley when he publicly announced on the Larry King national television show that he was personally unaware of the teaching that as God once was we are and as God is we be, a well known and universally accepted Mormon doctrine among the LDS laity.

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  5. This is a church that tells you to pay your tithe even if you cannot afford your electricity bill, because the Lord will bless you. Pay your tithe instead of buying food for your family, because the Lord will bless you. Want to get into the temple to see your child married? Only if you are a member AND current on your tithe.

    But if you are in financial trouble and go to the church for help, they will encourage you to sell things you own first; or exhaust every other means you have FIRST, and then you work in the food storage to repay any aid you are given.

    It is a money-hungry cult and deserves to be called to account for it. Thank you, UK

    Love, American ex-mormons

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    1. Nick, Yes, tithing is taught as a principle of righteousness as it is in the Bible and members are encouraged to live it, but if a member needs financial help, it is there for them whether they are full tithe payers or not. A Bishop usually does interview the individual regarding resources available to him or her as they work together to create a plan for financial self reliance and yes they are encouraged to serve in areas needed within the church when available like any other members, but there is no requirement of such to receive financial assistance. I imagine the Church probably does more for its members in terms of direct financial assistance than any other on the planet on a per capita basis. http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/a_welfare_system_that_works
      . . .

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    2. This has not been my experience of welfare. I never had to work for it or sell my possessions first. And I am not biased as I no longer go to this church and haven’t for many years. The word cult is so easily used but please educate yourself on the matter first. Oh we don’t understand the religion, it asks it’s members to do thinks we don’t agree with… Oh I know must be a cult! That money goes to all sorts of aid and helping people so don’t proclaim it’s all bad. I don’t know, neither am I bothered if people want to get answers from the church but at least be fair it’s has good points and if it works for its members then leave them to it. If you don’t like it don’t go, simple?!

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    3. Three months ago I received help from the LDS church. I have not paid tithing in many years. I continue to get help. The amount is quite substantial. The church just paid for my medications. I did not have to sell any thing. I do not have to work in food storage to pay it back, or work any where. It is a case by case basis.
      I have always been involved in church volunteer service, and community volunteer service involving non LDS organizations.
      Regardless of what critics say, this law suite will open the door for suites against any religion for fraud from various angles. Can the Catholic church prove they have authority directly from Peter as they claim? I pray to Saints and my life is not better. Fraud. Also what treasures does the Catholic church have that the members and public is not privy to. As a member my donations paid for acquiring those treasures. Why the secrecy? Fraud.
      The TV preachers say I will be blessed with miracles if I send in money to them. No miracles happened. Found out the TV preacher has private jets, mansions, etc. I am traumatized. Fraud.
      I am an Atheist. My former religion guaranteed that God exists, but they can not prove it. The religion also passed around money plates and said the more we give the more blessings received. I experienced nothing, and was short on money because I donated. I am traumatized because I was told I will go to Hell for no longer believing God exists. I was not told about going to Hell if I quit believing when I joined. I was told God loves everyone regardless. Fraud. There are many types of fraud. Atheists will love this suit because it will help them as former believing Christians. Any one can claim their religion purposely with held information. Fraud.

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      1. Many years ago, as an active Mormon, I did pay my tithing. I asked for medical help and was denied it. I went on state and county help, since my family was low income. Not only was I active, I was an Elder’s Quorum President. But receiving church help seems to depend on where you live.

        And, had the missionaries told me the truth about plates being translated by Joseph putting his head in a hat and looking at a rock, I would not have joined. Whether they knew it or not, the missionaries misled my wife and me so that we joined and began paying tithing for the next 40 years.

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      2. that is why you received so much help from the church they know you to work as a volunteer and give a lot of your time but if you were little known it would be another story.

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  6. I grew up in Mormonism in the 1960’s. The doctrine I was taught then has largely been discarded by the Mormon church. I was forced to believe under duress. It’s a house of cards, this religion. It stands precariously on a stack of lies. Don’t bet your house on this one, folks. Beware of prophets and other criminals.

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  7. “They now admit the majority of the Book of Mormon translation WAS NOT directly translated from the plates as shown in most church illustration but was revealed to Smith via a seer stone in his hat AFTER the plates had been taken back in to heaven.” Um, what? The plates weren’t taken back “in to” heaven until the translation was completed. And if you looked at the sidebar of the article you would see links to church sources dating back a couple decades which “admit” the seer stone thing.

    “They have also admitted the North and south native Americans ARE NOT genetically the the descendent of the Lamenites” They said nothing of the sort. Try reading what the article actually says. It says we don’t know what genetic signature to look for and even if we did it could easily have been altered or lost through the generations.

    Agree wholeheartedly with James. These prosecutors are embarrassing themselves.

    On a related note, I’ve been a devout Mormon my whole life and never believed the Earth was 6,000 years old. And of all the Mormons I’ve discussed it with, I can count the number who believe that on one hand.

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    1. As a Mormon missionary in the early 1980s, our missionary discussions taught that there was no death before Adam. Adam, Eve, tigers, lions, etc., all ate fruit. Of course, the cells of fruit must “die” in order to be digested. Anyway…I digress. The Discussions did not indicate when Adam lived, but in Sunday school we were told that the Earth would have 7,000 years of temporal existence, which is why so many Mormons expected Jesus to return around the year 2000, because that would begin the 7th thousand years of temporal existence.

      Here in the U.S., people can be told that Venus is God, and the government doesn’t care. Religious fraud is not illegal in the U.S. Monson knows that Joseph Smith used a peep stone to translate the Book of Mormon. He knows that Egyptologists reject the Book of Abraham as a fraud. He knows all this, but, like most “good” Mormons, he ignores it, because he has a “testimony” that the Church is true. I don’t think he “knows” the Church is false. I doubt that highly. He simply ignores the facts. How many Christians “ignore” the fact that Genesis says that plants and whales were created before the Sun and Stars, or that Joshua made the Sun stand still? Do they throw out the Bible because of it? No way! They ignore it. Simple as that. Why should Mormons be any different?

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      1. Darrick, I was a missionary in the late 80’s and while Mormons are ongoing students of the signs of the times in the latter days, emergency preparedness, etc. I don’t recall many Mormons believing nor any indication from the leadership that Christ would come around year 2000. I do recall Y2K and stocking up on water and food just in case computers crashed 🙂 I do agree that every religion and its history can find something that appears to not align with the ever evolving scientific knowledge of our time, but I believe as Alma testified that “all things denote there is a God” and as Paul taught in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” Tom Phillips claims there is “no evidence” of God and has declared himself an atheist, naturalist, etc. He does NOT love God. From my experiences in life, with all five senses, his position has NO credibility.

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  8. Google “milk before meat” and you will find that the young missionaries are expressly taught not to engage potential converts in conversations regarding deep doctrine before they are baptized and paying tithing. In fact, most of the young missionaries are NOT aware of factual church history (they are taught a squeaky-clean version in church), the Masonic origins of temple worship, the truths of polygamy and the fact that it is still taught as a celestial practice, and additional ordinances, e.g. the “Second Anointing” that the church still practices. Fraud? YES!!!

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  9. It would be most interesting to see Monson be the first “President” (notice he doesn’t call himself a “Prophet”. Prophet hasn’t been used in a years!) to resign as the “President” before dying!

    I am interested to see where this whole thing will go. I really only hope it helps to open the eyes of my family members stuck in this cult. I thankfully wasn’t brainwashed enough to believe it all!

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  10. Christopher Nicholson, you obviously don’t know your history of Joseph Smith, after the first 11 pages were lost because Martin Harris gave them to his wife who burned them, the angel (Nephi or Moroni depending on which version you read) took the plates back in to heaven and forbade Joseph from ever seeing them again, after that he took to using the stone in the hat.
    THE ONLY part of the BOM translated from the actual golden plates was the lost first 111 pages, as is now also known from sworn affidavits all 11 witnesses never physically say or touched plates they were given “visions” of them and then were asked to sign pre written statements.
    They have admitted that the indigenous Americans are not descendants of the Semite immigrants mentioned in the BOM as they admit there is NO Semite DNA WHATSOEVER in the the genetic make up of modern native Americans.

    I too was a long term serving Mormon for many years before leaving the church, and the church DOES teach the book of genesis is factual and literal hence the young earth doctrine.

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    1. Henry, 1) Joseph Smith continued translating from the “Plates of Nephi” (see D&C 10:38-43 2) no such admission about DNA have ever taken place and there is increasing DNA evidence supporting Book of Mormon accounts http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131120-science-native-american-people-migration-siberia-genetics/
      3) Mormon commentators have expressed belief in the 7 day literal creation, the 1 day = 1000 years creation and the 1 day = 1 period of time. What they don’t distinguish on is that the earth was divinely organized for the purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. .

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  11. Instead of speculating…let’s hear it from the horses’ mouths:

    JOINT STATEMENT concerning summonses served on Thomas Spencer Monson:

    This present case is Tom Phillips’ initiative. However, we were invited by him last December to submit to the District Judge letters outlining our own situations. Perhaps, in view of the many ideas which have been flying about since the news of the summonses broke, we could first state what this legal action, in our view, is NOT about:

    It is NOT an attack on ordinary faithful Mormons. We have been long enough in those ranks to understand their outlook, and their need to believe in something to which they are committing their lives, and we also know only too well the pain of discovering, before we were ready to, the harsh realities of Mormon history.

    It is NOT per se an attack on Mormonism as a belief system. We believe that as long as people are first made aware of all of the relevant historical facts which ought to inform their decision making, it becomes solely their choice and their business if they wish to hand over their money, time and efforts to the LDS church. When comprehensive disclosure becomes the normal practice, we will find no fault. We accept that some will choose to believe whatever they will, despite mountains of contrary evidence, and that is their inalienable right.

    NOR, as far as we are concerned, is this a personal vendetta against Thomas Monson. We do not know him, and he has never met us. Unfortunately, he happens to be the man at this point who occupies the Church President’s office, and so the summonses have been served upon him. On a personal basis we feel compassion for a man of his advanced years, allegedly not in the best of health, who has recently lost his wife. He has been part of our Mormon culture. We always enjoyed seeing him wiggle his ears to entertain the children. It is a rare gift. We feel no personal animosity towards him.

    This is NOT being done out of anger, but out of concern for the many who otherwise, will perhaps one day feel hurt and betrayed, as we presently do.

    This action is being taken over what we consider to be unethical and fraudulent practices. Our view is based upon our own experiences, and also those of others within the Mormon community. These practices are approved and implemented by the church hierarchy. Our argument is therefore with that system and whoever is ultimately responsible for implementing such practices.

    When members of the church are formally taught from childhood that they will only be with their families in the next life if they pay a minimum of 10% of their income to the church, (tithing being a requirement of entering the temple, where the eternal sealing of families occurs), a pattern of lifelong financial sacrifice is established. We have been taught that all hope of remaining with our loved ones in the next life, is contingent upon a lifelong monetary commitment to the church, and we have been led to believe that the keys to this eternal sealing are vested in the President of the church, currently Thomas Monson, who has authority to grant or dissolve such unions. We have been repeatedly instructed by those in church authority that God requires us to pay tithing before attending to any other household expenditure, such as rent, food, fuel or clothing.

    It follows that those who default on payments, start to fear that they will lose their loved ones in the eternities. In certain cases known to us, defaulting tithe-payers descend into a state of despondency, feeling utterly worthless, sometimes losing the respect and confidence of their family members who depend upon them to be obedient to the law of tithing. In many cases obedience is accomplished only through fear and coercion, and the fear is induced by constant reference to and emphasis upon the LDS scriptures. Yet those scriptures themselves fail the tests of historical authenticity. A growing body of evidence, (not disclosed at present to the average tithe-payer), clearly points to them as being the work of Joseph Smith, and his contemporaries, rather than texts of ancient origin.

    We contend that anyone faced with making a demanding financial commitment to the LDS church, deserves first to be presented with the full evidence concerning LDS truth claims, so that they may make up their minds without being misled. In the UK, such onerous financial commitments are usually undertaken with appropriate warnings and additional information, otherwise they are deemed “mis-sold”. We believe that any person seeking to join the LDS church in Britain, and all British members wishing to place their trust in the family sealing powers claimed for the LDS temple, first ought to be told, at the very least, why The Book of Abraham is not accepted by the rest of the world as an authentic translation, and why The Book of Mormon has much more in common with a 19th century novel than it has with 1600 year old Native American artefacts; they should also be informed of the real reasons which led to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, including the shocking details of Joseph Smith’s polygamous and polyandrous extra-marital unions, in the name of God, with women and girls, some as young as 14.

    If, knowing these details, candidates choose to proceed with their baptisms or temple ordinances, none will later be able to claim, as we now do, that they have been deceived. At present however, that is very much not the situation, for most tithe-paying temple-attending members have little or no idea about the true history of their religion, or the profound lack of evidence supporting many of their tenets.

    We would like to see the church admit that it has erred grossly for many years in neglecting to address these matters openly and honestly as a matter of routine. We feel it should repent of its failings, apologising for misleading its members in the past, encouraging them in turn to mislead others in their missionary and teaching assignments. We would like to see the church taking steps to educate its members and prospective members fully in accordance with the historical record. We would also like to see full openness and accountability in terms of financial accounting and LDS archival holdings. We would like it to provide sensitive counselling and care for those who lose their faith when they discover the uncomfortable realities. There should be no more labelling of such members as “faithless”, “dissidents” or “apostates” – as though there was something wrong with people having a desire to seek out the truth. Possibly the church leaders could work in combination with those of us who have already trodden this difficult path, so that rehabilitation into the wider world of belief choices would become smoother and less traumatic for spiritual victims of the system.

    We are also anxious to see the church offer assurances about the position with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of members and former members who now feel, as we do, that our tithing and other offerings were obtained by the church under false pretenses. For every pound paid to the church by LDS members in the UK who, (following leadership counsel), have availed themselves of Deeds of Covenant and Gift Aid, £0.20 has been added by the British Taxpayer to the church’s bank accounts. The sum paid out by HMRC in this connection must now amount to tens of millions of pounds. It is understood that in most cases the resulting tax rebates made to individuals, were handed over to the church at its request. We seek an assurance from the church therefore, that in the event that at some future time these payments made by HMRC will be deemed to have been fraudulently obtained, the LDS church will offer immunity to those individuals, and ensure that such sums as were rebated will be returned with the due interest to HMRC.

    Finally we hope one day to see a more compassionate church, in which those of us who still retain through habit something of a Mormon identity, may find acceptance within the LDS community, no matter what our perceived deficiencies or peculiarities or orientations might be, being valued simply because we place a high value on objective truth.

    Steve Bloor
    Chris Ralph
    7th February 2014

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      1. Hello,
        1) Mormons, as do the rest of the world, believe recorded history (the time from Adam and Eve to the present) is +/- 6,000 years old. We don’t propose to know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before the Fall.
        2) The exact length of time of the creation is not a matter of Mormon Doctrine. Some equate 1 day with 24 hours, some equate 1 day with 1,000 years and some equate 1 day with an undetermined period of time. What is a point of Mormon Doctrine is that the earth was divinely created for the purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man and as Alma taught, “Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” Alma 30:44 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&query=denote&testament=bofm

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      2. Michael, the really big problem is when do Mormons believe that Adam fell? You can look in the Bible and find that genealogy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus#Luke.E2.80.99s_genealogy) and do some math to figure out approximately when Adam fell. But supposedly nothing died before Adam (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/death). That is so easy to disprove, yet Mormonism does not teach that viewpoint because it’s not “faith promoting”.

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      3. Will, I have always understood the two scriptures cited 2 Ne. 2:22 and Moses 6:48 to be referring to the state of life within the Garden before the fall. And that when Adam and Eve exercised their agency to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were expelled from that special place (Garden) and they entered a much different place with a different purpose with thorns, sweat, sorrow in childbearing and spiritual and physical death. While the way back to the Garden was blocked, they and their posterity (us) were provided a way forward to eternal life (a better state than they would have ever known had they stayed in the Garden despite its special nature) through the atonement of Jesus Christ which could cover the shame of our sin and transform us into “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17) .

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      4. To Michael on this thread. The part of the BOM you quote and what you are advocating by quoting it is that we can know god through nature. Natural Theology by definition challenges the actual revelation of God in Jesus. Only in Jesus is God revealed as the creator, suffering servant, redeemer and vindicated Lord bringing all creation into a reconciled communion. Natural theology does not lead us to a true understanding of the identity, nature and purpose of God. Only God revealed in Jesus informs us about God

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      5. Michael MCcalpin, Alma lived prior to Christ during the time of the law of Moses when the Sabbath Day (the 7th day) was to be kept to remember the Creation of the world and its living testimony of the existence and goodness of God Of course, after Christ’s resurrection, the Apostles began to meet on the first day of the week (Sunday) and partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the blood and body of Christ.

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      6. Michael, You have certainly had lots to say on this thread. Kindly, I would like to suggest that you take more time to understand the responses that are being directed to you. I like that you have lots to say, but a disciplined dialogue with less talking past I think would be more satisfying to you and others.

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    1. Correct, that point is being misstated. What the church teaches/taught (thru general authority addresses and instructional manuals) is that there was no death on this planet before the fall of Adam. No death of any kind, including among plants and animals. Obviously that is incorrect, and just as with so many of it’s other inaccuracies, the church is now backing off from those statements and teachings. However, it is fair for members and non-members alike to ask how it is that the “one and only true church on earth” with it’s leaders that are “true prophets and apostle,s holding God’s holy priesthoods” has so consistently gotten so many things wrong. Either it is true and correct and God’s kingdom, or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways, no matter how hard you try.

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      1. Fatfinger,
        The scriptures I’ve read teach that there was no death in the Garden, eastward of Eden which was very distinct from the characteristics of the rest of the earth to where Adam and Eve were driven out after partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

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      2. Fatfinger, the teaching of the Mormon church is that it is the re-established Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth, that when Christ ministered 2000 years ago He first established His church based upon the foundation of prophets and apostles (12 to be exact) with Christ himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) for the perfecting of the saints (church members) as stated in Ephesians 4;12. He didn’t establish His church for the perfected saints, because there were none. His church has always been for the imperfect saints.. He was crucified, laid in a tomb and rose from the dead and ultimately ascended to the right hand of God after training His apostles to continue in leading His church, in feeding His sheep, With the suicide of the one who betrayed Christ, the remaining 11 apostles gathered and selected another to fill the open position. After great success yet greater persecution the remaining apostles were all killed except for John. The foundation Christ established for His church was destroyed. This was prophesied as was a re-establishment of Christ’s church in the days preceding the Second Coming was prophesied. Mormons believe that re-establishment began with Joseph Smith, not a perfect prophet, but nevertheless as a prophet and continues today with President Monson. Any objective student of the Church’s history can see an ongoing refinement and continual preparation for the Second Coming. It took the people of the City of Enoch 365 years to become a Zion people and they began in a much more darkened state. I don’t know any other theology on the planet that puts forth a clearer vision or understanding for preparing for the Second Coming than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and advancing towards eternal life. Have all truths been revealed? No, but all truth necessary for our advancement towards eternal life have been.

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      3. Michael, with a little study you might understand that church came after Jesus. Did Jesus start a church? Well, that is debatable. What he did do is call Israel to a new way of being Israel. Did he expect people to be different as a result of his work? Yes, he did. Did he leave us alone? No, he didn’t. The spirit was poured out abundantly. On that day, Peter quotes Joel and we learn that the last days, inaugurated with the resurrection would be full of the Spirit, unlike in the times past where the Spirit was upon certain people for particular purposes. If we read the narrative in its entirety, and avoid the atomistic reading and reliance on so called proof texts we will understand that the apostasy as taught by the LDS didn’t happen, that the foundation was and still is what we have had for 2,000 years in the Apostles of the New Testament. If we are to look to the restoration story told by the LDS church, we must repoint the narrative of Daniel, the parable of the wicked husbandmen and the general narrative pointing to the climax of Israel’s and the world’s history in Jesus to the restoration of the LDS church. If we are to rely on the current LDS church for a foundation then we have to accept the shifting view of the nature of God which was not finally settled until 1916 and which defies the monotheism of the Old and New Testament.

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      4. Michael, Headed to work so briefly: we may end up agreeing to disagree, but the evidence is overwhelming to me throughout the New Testament that Christ did establish a Church organization, beginning with 12 apostles with himself as the chief cornerstone and when the first of the 12 apostles died, the apostles gathered and selected another to replace him, maintaining 12 apostles. Paul goes on to describe a much more detailed and expanded organization which included many different offices beyond the apostles in his letter to the Ephesians. He describes, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and states the purpose of this organization is “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Paul also later prophesied a “falling away” in a letter to the Thessalonians. The Church organization that Paul described, mainly its foundation of 12 apostles was, as a matter of history persecuted away and did not continue past the 1st century. The next major development in Christianity was the marriage of church and state through the conversion of the emperor Constantinople 3 centuries later. Soon following, the world entered into the Dark Ages and did not begin to emerge until the renaissance which included the mass printing of the bible. One thought led to another, one freedom won led to another and those searching for economic and religious freedom flocked to the New World. Tyranny was pushed back and a representative democracy was born in the USofA enshrining freedom of religion as an inalienable right into the the rule of law for its own nation with many many other nations following since. It was in that environment during a time of great religious excitement and freedom that Joseph Smith Jr. and many others compared the existing churches of Christianity at the time to the Bible and found many discrepancies and confusions and with that confusion turned to the Lord in prayer as James 1:5 teaches and received the first of many divine replies leading to what we believe is the re-establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter-days built upon the foundation of living prophets and apostles with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2;20)

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  12. “We don’t propose to know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before the Fall.” Ok. But you do know that there was NO DEATH whatsoever before the Fall, correct?

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    1. 2 Nephi 2:22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.” I understand that reference to be to the state of things created and existing at the time specifically within the Garden of Eden. Moses 6:48 “And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.” This is speaking of immediate spiritual separation from God or spiritual death and eventual physical death of Adam and Eve and all their posterity.

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      1. On LDS.org in the bible dictionary today, it continues to teach plainly and clearly:

        Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth before the Fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the Fall (2 Ne. 2:22; Moses 6:48).

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      2. So, in Missouri there was a bubble where no death took place for a very long time (who knows how long) until the fall. Outside this no-death-bubble dinosaurs roamed, died and established themselves in the fossil record. In Missouri (around Jackson County) if we were to start digging we should find a rather large gap in the fossil record starting around 6000 years ago. Makes perfect sense. And since we are on the topic of digging, let’s take our shovels to Hill Cumorah in upstate New York to see what artifacts from Book of Mormon times we can find due to 10s of thousands men dying on the field of battle. I must admit I have been slow to make the connection between the obvious physical evidence that most assuredly abounds given the completeness of Michael’s interpretations of Holy Writ.

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      3. Hello, We know from Genesis that the Lord created a distinct location and environment in which to place Adam and Eve upon the earth called the Garden of Eden. We don’t know how long they lived there before partaking of the fruit and being expelled to the outside world where immediately their bodies became subject to suffering and physical death. We also know that when they were expelled from the Garden, they were separated from God after enjoying His direct presence in the Garden, denoting a spiritual death. God even went so far as to prevent them from getting back into the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24). This is the whole theological foundation for Christianity as the Fall (introduction of sin and death by Adam and Eve’s exercise of agency) introduced the need for a Savior through Jesus Christ to save us from an eternal physical and spiritual death.

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  13. Michael, where did Moses 6:48 come from? Translated Papyrus from the catacombs of Egypt? Oh, it turns out that the Papyrus has nothing to do with Moses, Abraham, or others. It was a funeral parchment. This is proven. It appears you need to do a lot more research on church history before you pummel this thread with things you know nothing about.

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    1. Duck, The book of Moses is the first part of Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible- a work he began but never completed. The other scripture is from the Book of Mormon. I believe both scriptures are misunderstood to conclude that Mormons believe there was no death on the earth prior to the fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion to the outside world. I understand the scriptures to be referring to the state of the garden of Eden and not to outside world or rest of the planet.

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      1. Michael, so how is one to interpret this then? http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/fall-of-adam-and-eve?lang=eng

        Perhaps Moses came from Josephs translation of the Bible, however, where did the Book of Abraham come from? And which one are we to believe is true and which one isn’t. Our eternal salvation is at stake here and the Lord is leaving us to lean unto our own understanding. Seems ironic that we are held accountable for believing and doing and yet we also have to sift through the direction we receive from our Prophet or President (as he likes to be called) and determine which came from God and which came from the faults of the man e.g. Blacks & the Priesthood, Polygamy, Book of Abraham, Errors in KJV of Bible and in the BoM, Polyandry, Consistent changing of verbiage and language to fit the churchs needs, I could go on and on. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts. At some point logic has to prevail over feeling, wisdom has to prevail over blind obedience.

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  14. For me, the Bible, Book of Mormon, Church history, etc are a gold mine of truth and goodness. In the process of mining for truth and goodness, one will always come across ore, but to walk away from a mine full of truth and goodness when you find some ore, seems senseless to me. Unless of course, you believe you have found another more productive mine with more truth and more goodness more readily available, Then, you may want to change to that mine and that would be sensible, but instead, to then do all you can to destroy the first mine and prevent others from mining the truth and goodness they are finding, it seems to me rather suspicious. That’s how I feel about this case and these accusers.

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    1. What if you were charged fees in order to mine in a “Gold” claim and after 30 years of doing so, paying lease fees, and doing backbreaking work, you discovered that your “Gold” was fools gold, and essentially worthless?

      You might go tell the other people working the mine that their gold was fake. Might even tell people looking to mine in that claim to beware the fact that it is fool’s gold too, yeah?

      If the claim owner was advertising it to you as a “Gold mine” and you had evidence that he KNEW it wasn’t actually gold in those mines, you might also seek some legal action against him to stop advertising something that he KNEW to not be gold, under the pretense that it was gold, right?

      D&C: 88:81 “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”

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      1. Austn, 1) part of any successful mining effort is work and sacrifice and this is no different – at least to me. 2) my experience with the mine of Mormonism is that it has been full of gold (ie. eternal families, family history, temples, organized opportunities to love and serve God and others, missionary work, Hometeaching, family home evenings, General Conferences, seminary, Institute, Church Callings,etc, etc). I absolutely love it and in its totality it has been a source of greater truth and goodness than any other Church I know of.

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      2. “Seeking to destroy” is your own interpretation, based on your own perceptions. Again, what would you do if you discovered one day that all of the gold you had been mining was actually fools gold? I get that you CURRENTLY think you’ve found gold in your mine. But what if one day you discovered that it wasn’t ACTUALLY gold at all.

        Would you warn your friends and family about what you had discovered?

        Would you consider that “Seeking to destroy” or would you see it as warning your friends and family?

        If you took the claim owner who had deceived you to court, would you be “Seeking to destroy” or would you simply be seeking to recover what was taken from you and your family under false pretenses?

        You view it as “Seeking to destroy” because you’ve been raised and conditioned to believe that anything that casts the church in a poor light is malicious work of satan. The truth is that if you could cast off that ‘persecution complex’ for a brief moment, you’d recognize that those of us who have left the church and are speaking out aren’t doing so out of malice, but as a warning to others. And as an attempt to help our friends and family who are still being deceived.

        We’re not bad or hateful people seeking vengeance or looking to hurt people. We’re not “satanists” who hate good and love evil. We’re not trying to ruin people’s lives by exposing them to the truth. On the contrary, we’re people who care enough to try and get others to recognize that they are being taken advantage of.

        To do otherwise would be selfish and cold hearted.

        I was once as you are. I too was once unable to understand what would motivate people to speak out against the church, so I can completely understand where you are coming from. You however, are unable to understand where people like me are coming from, because you’ve never been on this side of things.

        Best of luck to you.

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      3. Speaking out against something you don’t believe is true would be considered “warning” but what Tom and Chris are doing here is actually seeking to destroy by initiating this court action with these types of accusations that would have destructive consequences to the church and to all freedom of religion in England if upheld. They are no longer content with “warning”!

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      4. Again, you’re assigning motive based on your own narrow world view. Taking court action against fraudsters is NOT seeking to destroy. It’s seeking to stop fraud. Unless you believe that the church could not continue to exist without fraud (which is probably true).

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    2. Ah, yes…little nuggets galore – Let’s review some Ore from the legacy of Mormonism’s founder and first Gold digger, Joseph Smith:

      1. Married numerous women – at least 33 women
      2. Married girls as young as 14.
      3. Married women that were already married to other men.
      4. Married his own foster children.
      5. Threatened young girls to marry him and promised exaltation to parents of young girls that gave their permission to Joseph to marry their daughters.
      6. Lied continually in public and to fellow church members about practicing polygamy.
      7. Had other church members lie about his polygamy.
      8. Married women without telling his wife Emma first and even having pretend second marriages later to cover for his deceptions.
      9. Destroyed a printing press that printed newspapers exposing his polygamy – ultimately landing Joseph in jail leading to his murder.

      The Goodness abounds…Think of all the thousands of FLDS young men and women enjoying the fruits and sheer familial joy provided by Polygamy this very day in the USA due to the tireless efforts of Joseph Smith Jr. who brought this eternal doctrine to light!

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  15. Hello, actually Joseph Smith Jr. didn’t bring polygamy to light – it was first brought to light in the Old Testament – I digress 🙂 honestly, none of that keeps me from the gold (truth and goodness) I enjoy today as a Mormon who has just one wife for 21+years now (ie. eternal families, family history, temples, organized opportunities to love and serve God and others, missionary work, Hometeaching, family home evenings, General Conferences, seminary, Institute, Church Callings,etc, etc). It does tell me that if the Lord will work through Joseph Smith Jr., the Lord will work with me and you also 🙂

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    1. Michael, how much research have you personally done on JS and church history? Perhaps your answer will be similar to many others and similar to mine at one time, I know all those things. But until you thoroughly study it, it is quite easy to discredit it. Spend some time on mormonthink.com. I have spent months if not years, while at the same time reading the BoM and serving diligently in my calling. All of the good things that you describe are good things, but those things are all a part of the organization or the club. All good clubs or religions have good things. Good activities do not = truth. I personally choose to stay in the church because it is a part of my culture or heritage. But as far as truth and logic are concerned, the church isn’t legit!

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      1. Apologies, I misplaced this response in another section.
        Duck, as you have, I have also spent a lot of time reading through mormonthink.com and many other websites that are seeking to discredit the church for many years now, but I’ve come to a different conclusion than yours. Instead of increased doubt, frustration and maybe even anger and bitterness, I have found increased strength and testimony. The critics look back to the beginning and see flaws and then conclude the church can’t be of God – it must be of man. They throw out the baby with the bath water. I look at the growth and development of the church from the beginning and I see an organization that is continually striving to draw closer and closer to the Lord and line upon line it is becoming more and more prepared for the Second Coming. I see so much of the development of the church throughout its history in my own life’s development towards God. That inspires me and gives me hope NOT to give up, but to continue to improve, grow, and try and try again. At least you are still involving yourself with the church and hopefully over time you’ll ponder more on the nuggets of gold

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      2. Michael, I am happy that you have found your direction. That is great and I wouldn’t want to change it. For me however the best way I can describe it is this way. When I analyze all religions, including science, I have come to the realization that we are all worshiping the same type of God or all knowing Deity. As you said in your earlier posts, the semantics of what he looks like, if he has a body, etc… doesn’t really matter to me. It is his Glory and his power that I am concerned with. The contention, wars, and even death are all around the debate on whose Prophet actually talked with God. How many times have you heard or said, “my prophet talked with God”, no no no “my prophet talked with God”. In the end we are all worshiping the same God. Perhaps the 2nd coming will come the way you believe, perhaps it won’t. In the end, I have the Now that I am living in and I will continue to focus on that vs. worrying so much about the eternities.

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      3. Hi, You say you have spent a long time looking at mormonthink and seem to imply that this is where you find the true history of the Church.

        Well my friend you need to really dig into where Tom Phillips and Co are getting their information from. You will find that they base their conclusions on books written by D Michael Quinn, Todd Compton, Grant Palmer, Eber D Howe, Fawn Brodie, and a host of others. Most of these authors are axe-grinding excommunicated members of the Church. Most of them published by Signature Book of which in particular I mention D Michael Quinn who is a director of the publishing company and so has a vested interest in the sales of their books.

        They have a eager market among people looking to discredit the work of the restored gospel

        The proprietor called George D Smith has, I believe, an abiding hatred of everything Mormon, and would be overjoyed to see the Church destroyed.

        The true history of the Church can be found in the four standard works and the revelations given to Joseph Smith and his successors, confirmed by the Holy Ghost which you received when you were baptised. I would advise you that this is here you will find the true history of the Church. You will not find it in the writings of a disgraced man who says he spent 10 years in the Church Archives and found things which the Church has covered up.

        Read D&C 123 where the Lord commanded the Church to gather up books, articles and lots of other publications etc. which enemies and excommunicated members of the Church, some of them in high positions, have written against Joseph Smith and the Church. This is the so called hidden history which Quinn says the Church seeks to hide.

        I ask the question why would we be interested in publicising the rantings of these enemies?

        My advise to Steve Bloor, Chris Ralph, Tom Phillips, John Dehlin and company is to take note of what Joseph Smith said in the Wentworth:-

        NO UNHALLOWED HAND CAN STOP THE PROGRESS OF THIS WORK.

        Jeff Walsh

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    2. You are pretty good a hand waving I will give you that Michael.

      JSJr is the Father of Polygamy and Polyandry (where do you find that practice justified in Holy Writ?) to the USA.

      Let’s agree to disagree. Cheers.

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      1. Hello, Genesis 21-35. trust me I’m no advocate for polygamy but it has been authorized from time to time including in the Old Testament (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc). as well as abused in the Old Testament (King David, King Solomon,). I can’t imagine living polygamy today, especially with cell phones – can you imagine? 🙂

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  16. The English Legal System is not quite so accommodating to religious organisations as in the USA. What might be unheard of in Utah as far as religious accountability is concerned, is very different in the UK and Europe, where much more stringent laws and checks are applied.
    In the Mormon church, members have been coerced into paying 10% of their annual income into the church as a direct requirement to enter Mormon Temples, to partake of sacred and essential temple ordinances and by dutiful repetition, gain entry into Mormon Celestial Heaven.
    The member must also attend two bi-annual interviews and answer specific questions regarding personal obedience and worthiness to Mormon standards. One of them is obedience to Tithing as part of the qualification process.
    Furthermore, an annual Tithing Settlement interview is conducted with the member at the end of each year, to ascertain that the member is indeed a full Tithe payer.
    These demands on each member to comply to the payment of Tithing as it relates to Temple attendance qualification and essential Celestial advancement, amounts to nothing more than financial extortion on a massive scale.
    There is nothing voluntary about that little business venture.
    Always keep in mind, that this action is under English law jurisdiction and will not take place in the cosy, unquestioning theocratic utopia that is Mormon Utah.

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    1. Andy, Actually there is only 1 temple recommend interview once every 2 years and yes there is an invitation to sit down with the Bishop at the end of each year for tithing settlement and what great opportunities these have been for me and my family to return and report to those I esteem as having been called to represent Christ in His Church. BTW – I live in Texas. (we’re not really known as a theocratic Mormon state :-)). The thing is if you really understand the principle of tithing as taught in the Bible (Malachi 3-4) then there is no way it can ever be considered extortion. It is a very real and tangible way to live your faith and experience the blessings associated with living the law of tithing as stated in Malachi. It’s only being characterized as extortion by those who don’t believe and it can’t genuinely be considered extortion for them either, because they don’t believe it’s true, so there is nothing of an eternal nature lost to them, according to their non-beliefs, if they don’t pay tithing. Otherwise, anyone can be an active member of the church without paying tithing. They can enjoy a whole host of activities including Sunday worship, holding many different callings, holding and exercising the priesthood (laity age appropriate males), social events, attendance and participation in baptisms, confirmations and gift of the holy ghost, baby blessings, priesthood blessings, seminary, Institute, preach from the pulpit, teach in classes and the list goes on and on. In fact, Mormon laity not paying tithing can probably do more than laity in any other Christian church.

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    2. Andy, perhaps the practice is different where you are. The only Mormons that have twice yearly interviews are the youth. Adults get one per year, if they choose to attend tithing settlement (It is quite socially awkward to avoid it). This once per year tithing settlement interview is not the full ranging interview completed for a temple recommend. That interview is completely voluntary and only necessary if you want an interview. However, being asked to perform a calling leads to an interview opportunity. So, in summary, there are no regularly scheduled interviews for adults, but they may happen as circumstances dictate such as when a calling is extended.

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      1. Michael, I suppose we could talk Book of Mormon historicity then. Because once the BoM falls, what’s left? Since Mormons generally subscribe to the “domino effect” doctrine, it would mean that since the BoM isn’t true, JS isn’t a prophet, and the church is not God’s one true church.

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      2. Will, I’ve read the Book of Mormon many times and continue to read it regularly. I’ve read all of the arguments against it and I’m just not persuaded by them. I have found so many principles of truth in the Book of Mormon that when applied in my life and the life of others, we have been richly and noticeably blessed. On a practical level, it just works for me. For me, it is a powerful source of inspiration and love and understanding about Christ. I feel close to Christ when I read it. I especially love the account of Christ visiting His other sheep in America after His resurrection (John 10:6). My favorite part is in 3 Nephi 17 when he heals their sick “And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.” Our oldest son has significant special needs and my wife and i look forward with confidence to the day he will be made whole of his physical challenges and we will be made whole from our spiritual challenges and together we will worship Christ at His feet. I feel similarly inspired by the Bible, especially the New Testament and people have been arguing against the Bible’s prophets and God for a very long time, People have been arguing against the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth for centuries and yet since my earliest memories as a child I recall a deep affection towards all things related to Christ and I grew up in a non-religious home. That feeling grew and grew as did my own investigations until one day I was playing in my front yard (I was 10) and two men (they were local 70’s) were leaving the neighbor’s house and I noticed their weird name tags. I began asking question after question until they ended up in my family’s living room teaching me of the re-established Church of Jesus Christ. I’ll never forget how I felt then and all through their teachings and I’ll never forget when I read and prayed and received answers. I’ll never forget it, because its the same feeling I feel today every time I open the Book of Mormon and read of Christ within it on nearly every page. It is another Testament of Jesus Christ. It has improved and enriched my understanding of Him and combined with the Bible is a huge source of inspiration, truth and love.

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  17. To: Michael !

    Your truly are like a horse with blinders on, you can only see one way and it’s your way. A lot of people and I mean a LOT of people did see it your way for decades and they decided because of learning obvious reading material such as Grant Palmer’s “Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” and Sorenson’s DNA Issues and countless other books and online readings. They all have extremely credible things to say. They, Simon and Grant were both extremely orthodox as well. Truly some of the greatest men ever to have been in the church!

    You on the other had like I say, see it like a racing horse see’s it. They, the LDS church put those blinders on you and you refuse to take them off come hell or high water! You’ll be racing to the finish line because you in your mind have to win.

    In order to win you have to come up with a few artifacts verified by >>>>(OUTSIDE LDS SOURCES)<<<< "Like "Hello" states Cumorah is barren of artifacts and after 175 years of the LDS church's existence! I have to use the word "Hello" as well. Remember<<<<<<<< even the BIBLE <<<<<<<<<< has verifications of structures, artifacts, arrows, buildings towns etc. VERIFIED by sources other than ANY ONE RELIGION<<<< .
    ————————
    I just can't stress enough about the bible having physical evidence!
    ______________

    And the SAD thing is when stalwart apologist – LDS can't come up with ONE (verifiable) artifact
    they always throw the scripture card such as "doubting members" are "doing evil" by "seeking signs" etc.
    This to me is what can lock in a member for ever in a kind of state of hell and is pure evil of the highest order!

    And you will fight the good fight no matter what. But understand this. I promise you there WILL come a day that you will go to bed and look up at your ceiling and wonder when the FIRST artifact will ever come up that IS VERIFIED BY A SUPPOSED BOOK OF MORMON LAND MUSEUMS OUTSIDE OF THE LDS CHURCH AND IT'S AFFILIATES.

    And now after 175+ years of the church's existence, no artifact has ever been authenticated by any south american or north american museum outside the LDS church! And Joseph Smith stated that it was all about North and South America!

    Even the RLDS distances it's self from the Book of Mormon!
    Even King James Bible errors are in the Book of Mormon.
    Thomas Ferguson was furious after digging in mormon lands for years never finding artifacts from the book of mormon:

    Again, Michael you can throw your scriptures around like ping pong balls. But put your money where your mouth is and come up with artifacts<<<<<<<< in book of mormon lands which IS in North and South America and (verified) by MUSEUMS OUTSIDE OF THE LDS CHURCH AND IT'S AFFILIATES!!!!!

    Again remember this! The bible can do this even with it's problems.
    And that was even before the LDS church started in the early 1800!

    LDS Blues

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    1. UpFront, John 20:24-29. The proof for me is in the pudding of the gold of truth and goodness I find every day within the pages of the Book of Mormon. For me, the Book of Mormon is a powerful testament of Jesus Christ and his teachings. Here’s another one of my favorites: Ether 12:27 “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” or 2 Nephi 4:7 “Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.” Wow! I could go on and on. Here’s a link for those who want to discover or rediscover the gold of truth and goodness found throughout the Book of Mormon: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng

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    2. It is interesting that the critics talk about how dishonest the LDS church is. Grant Palmer kept his book under wraps, even using another name so he would not be found out. And exactly right after he retires from his job with the LDS church, his book is published and out, immediately. Where was the honesty in what he did?

      MIchael Quinn: Was a closet homosexual. Where was the honesty to his family?

      Fawn Brodie: Used her family connection to gain access to records and did not tell anyone what she was really up to. Where was the honesty? And her work is criticized by many and harshly. And rightly so. She had the uncanny ability to read dead peoples minds and use psycho analysis, and so when she wrote her books she told us exactly what the dead people, who lived well over one hundred years ago, were thinking and feeling when they were alive. She was not a true historian either.

      Jerald and Sandra Tanner: Joined the Reorganized LDS (now Community of Christ) to gain access to all of the Reorganized LDS records, then left/quit after they got what they wanted. Among other things. Where was their honesty?

      There are so many other critics of the LDS church who were not/are not honest with their credentials, their past lives (all areas), their education, and so forth.
      People who live in glass houses………..

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      1. You’re joking right? You’re ACTUALLY comparing a whistle-blowers’ maintaining of anonymity while exposing institutionalized fraud, to the actual institutionalized fraud itself?

        You’re saying that because somebody followed the church’s longstanding advice on how to handle being gay, that’s justification for the church to lie to its members and investigators?

        Palmer worked on his book for many years. OF COURSE he didn’t advertise an unfinished book beforehand. Nobody does that. Especially not people who stand to lose a great deal in so doing. You’ve got some nutty ideas about how the world works.

        He released the book the year after he retired (you know, the time in people’s lives where they have time to actually focus entirely on finishing things they’ve been working on for a long time and never had time for with a career?). Even so, even if he’d had the book read to go the day he retired, there’s nothing wrong with that. Waiting until your career won’t be in jeopardy to make something public isn’t fraudulent. He specifically requested to be reassigned to a role within the church that didn’t involve teaching doctrines he didn’t believe. Nothing unsavory about that either.

        Quinn is a true believing Mormon who just wants an accurate teaching of church history. He led a “Straight” life, because that’s what the church taught him to do. Nothing dishonest about that on his part. He was doing what “God” told him to do. It takes a real lowlife to use that AGAINST somebody after the fact. He followed church counsel, and now you’re attacking him for that. You’re pathetic. By the way, the mormon church destroyed his career for going public with HIS books before retiring, so it’s hardly surprising that Palmer took note and waited until the church no longer had grounds to attack him on before publishing HIS books either.

        Fawn Brody gained access to restricted records? Oh, boo hoo! Why is it that SOME people area allowed to know the truth, and not others? She didn’t actually lie she said she was “Brother Mckay’s daughter” when asking to see those records. Her claims were true, in fact, since her father was Davido O. McKay’s brother (and was therefore also “brother McKay). She never said WHICH “Brother Mckay” But they assumed that she meant David, her Uncle.

        Having to do some social engineering in order to find the truth just reinforces the fact that the church is actively hiding the truth from its members–especially the ones who aren’t direct relatives to the most powerful men in the church. It’s unfortunate that the truth is so hidden away that only relatives of powerful church members are allowed to see it. Even more sad that when people start looking at historical documents, it gets the church’s attention, and they interfere. Why would David O. McKay have made her promise to never look through the church archives again, unless there was a problem with what she would find there?

        I can’t speak to the tanners’ joining of the FLDS church, as I don’t know anything about that. But given the fact that one doesn’t actually get accurate information about the LDS or RLDS churches until AFTER you join (and rarely even then), it seems that it’s necessary to join in order to learn more about that organization from the inside isn’t wrong either. If only members are allowed to know about the organization then you have to become a member in order to be able to know about it.

        Do you have a source that says that the sole reason they joined was in order to learn about it, having the intent to leave the whole time, or are you just making assumptions?

        It seems that you’re hell bent on shooting the messenger. The fact that you’ve found some things to complain about (very petty and stupid things, at that) regarding a handful of people who have exposed the church’s wrongdoing is not justification for the church’s wrongdoing.

        That’s like saying that if a cop goes undercover to bust a drug dealer who sells crack to kids, then the cop is just as wrong as the drug dealer because he didn’t announce the fact that he was a cop when they met. Get real! You’re a kook!

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      2. Austin, “The descendant had read in Fawn Brodie’s critical biography, “No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith,” that Moroni Pratt wasn’t the son of early LDS apostle Parley P. Pratt, but that he was really the son of Joseph Smith. He wanted to know if Perego could use DNA to tell if Moroni Pratt was really Joseph Smith’s son. The DNA signature of Joseph Smith was easy. Perego had reconstructed it years earlier while trying to trace Joseph Smith’s DNA back to England and Ireland. “This is a very accurate signature. It would not be any different if Joseph Smith were standing next to me to get a DNA sample directly from him,” Perego said.
        He took other DNA samples from Pratt’s descendants and made the comparison.
        Moroni Pratt was not Joseph Smith’s son, he was Parley P. Pratt’s son.” http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700150651/DNA-solves-a-Joseph-Smith-mystery.html?pg=all
        Fawn Brodie was clearly wrong in this case as well as in the case of others she claimed were Joseph Smith’s children.. Is she a fraud? Should everyone who paid for her book and then left their faith as a result after enduring all of the emotional upheaval associated with such a dramatic change, privately prosecute her estate? We don’t live in a world where everything is crystal clear all of the time. For years, scientists have concluded that there is no DNA evidence of West Eurasians in North America and then last fall National Geographic published an article stating otherwise,”Great Surprise”—Native Americans Have West Eurasian Origins.” We don’t have all information and not all information is conclusive. That’s why more than ever, we need Faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” What a profound definition penned thousands of years ago! or as President Uchtdorf so well stated recently, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” AMEN!

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      3. Again, I’m not sure what your angle is. If you can demonstrate that she had actual material knowledge that her book was inaccurate and published it anyway, you might have a case.

        The thing about fraud is that you have to have KNOWN or reasonably ought to have known, that what you’re perpetuating isn’t actually true.

        Again, this isn’t a question of whether or not the church is true. It’s about whether the church misrepresents to people, facts and events that it knows (or reasonably ought to know) aren’t accurate. The evidence that the evidence pretty blatantly demonstrates that they do.

        It’s not a question of faith. It’s a question of the church hiding facts, in order to prevent people making informed decisions.

        IF you are presented with all of the known facts (IE; multiple versions of the first vision, the details surrounding Joseph Smiths polygamy, the resulting perjury and destruction of a private printing press in order to hide his misdoings, etc, etc, etc), and you chose to take the rest of it all on faith, then GOOD FOR YOU! Nobody’s going to care.

        The problem that I and others have is when people are not given the facts, and are therefore left unable to give informed consent.

        I might still disagree with you, and if you wish to engage in such discussions, I might try to show you how absurd some of the Mormon doctrine is, but as long as the church isn’t actually misleading and defrauding people about material facts, then I don’t have any problem with the organization.

        I don’t know how many other ways I can explain the difference between disagreement about untestable theological questions, vs the distortion or suppression of provable material facts.

        FACT: The Nauvoo Expositor was not printing lies about Joseph Smith. What they printed was true. Yet the church’s official curriculum lies about this, and claims that the Nauvoo Expositor was printing lies (in spite of being unable to show a single lie printed by the Nauvoo Expositor).

        FACT: Joseph Smith was not in jail for “refusing to deny his testimony.” He was in jail for committing a crime, lying about it under oath, and using his government power to then destroy the printing press of those who were exposing his crimes.

        FACT: The Book of Abraham is not a literal translation, and has been known not to have been since at least the 1960s. The Book of Abraham was not “Written by his own hand upon Papyrus” and even this has been conceded by church leadership and their officially unofficial apologist organizations. Yet this fact is NOT presented to the general membership or prospective members.

        FACT: The gold plates were not “Translated” in the literal sense as depicted in church art and curriculum, but was “read” from a peep stone in a hat. The same type of peep stone for which Smith was convicted of fraud, shortly before founding the Mormon church, for conning people into believing that he was able to use it to see treasure, and could (for a fee) tell them where to find it.

        If the church chooses to misrepresent, suppress, and outright lie about these facts about the origins of their organization in order to gain and retain membership (and take money from them), they are committing a fraud. Eliminate the lies, and there’s no longer a problem.

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      4. Austin, the anti-mormon information you are referring to has all been widely available for decades as supported by your own statements. Fawn Brodie’s book was published in the 1940’s. From day one, Mormonism has been known widely from generation to generation as controversial. I’ve been a member since 1979 and I remember coming across much of the material you are referring to before, during, and after my mission. People investigating the church have every opportunity to gain access to plenty of anti-mormon literature and have been able to for many many years as those like yourself are determined to do all they can to “Warn”. Here in the US, we believe in Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech and many have died and been injured to secure and maintain it. You are certainly able to continue to tell your tale without private or public prosecution in the US from the Church. This private prosecution is an attempt to diminish both Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech and as we discussed prior is not an action within the realm of “warning” but is within the action of seeking to destroy, tear down, disrupt and break apart. On a personal note, there is so much more joy in building up, strengthening and edifying. BTW, speaking of FACTS, Joseph Smith Jr. voluntarily delivered himself over to the authorities knowing the deep personal hatred he was facing and submitted as “a lamb to the slaughter” That Lamb was slaughtered – HE GAVE HIS LIFE at the age of 38 for what he believed in. Would you give your life for your faith or anti-faith? On that alone, Joseph Smith Jr. stands heads and shoulders above you or me – in my humble opinion. Closing thought: You cry out against a broken printing press??? seriously?? to you that compares to Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother Hyrum being murdered without a trial, without being found guilty of any crime??? and you want people to believe YOU???

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      5. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/02/12/earliest-american-genome-proves-siberian-origins-for-native-peoples/#.UvvnnGJdX1W

        Not that this will actually have any bearing on your beliefs (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t find some way to try to twist this into being evidence in SUPPORT of your beliefs, with those well-practiced mental gymnastics that are the hallmark of any good true believing mormon…

        Siberia, BTW, =/= Israel. Not even close.

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  18. Well what a interesting circular (as usual) religious discussion. All movements need money to get off the ground, religions included. So God says “10% please”. But after a while God should have said, in the same way he did when sacred parts of the temple ceremony were recently removed, “Okay we’re good for a while”. But what are they able to do instead because they never have backed off of the 10%? Among their many properties, they now own a swankey indoor downtown mall with its own special dress code so if you don’t look right, you can’t get in. The modern day LDS church looks very little like the church that was originally conceived by Joseph Smith, and the funny thing is, most modern-day Mormons don’t even know it. Oh right, hi Michael!

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    1. Hi David, you make a good point and is just the one I have made here locally to others. The church needs money to operate just like any other organisation. I don’t mind that, but what is needed should be decided by a presented budget. Let people know what the needs are, let them contribute towards them, let people know how those needs are being met and report on the outcomes achieved through the spending of the offerings.

      I would take this even further though. When changes in doctrine, or the LDS scriptures are deemed appropriate, why not have a conference to discuss, review and approve? This method would involve the members, help them to understand what is going on their church and if they agree. Such a method would of course exist as a direct challenge to the absolute authority of the 15 making up the ultimate church governing body, but that is only if you accept there is an either or here. I think that there is a great deal of room to involve the membership in this way, and if it was always so, I doubt very much that so much nonsense would exist in church history. I think the BOM speaks to this a justifying democratic government in that it is unusual for the majority of the people to take the wrong side.

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      1. Excellent point. By the way, I live in Utah and am a long time Ex-mormon who has dug into their history and doctrine a bit more than the average Joe(seph) (which is why I left), so I have an up close and personal perspective.

        One thing that I admire and loath at the same time about them is there adaptability. They have made changes to the sacred structure of their doctrine in an effort to seem less “weird”. They just recently removed from their temple ceremony symbolic instructions on how to murder a person who gets in the way of the church. Which is great! The first time I saw it, I almost lost it, but I hung on, paying tithing, for another few years.

        The problem I have, is they’re proud to quote “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, yet they continue to change the doctrine of” the only true church in the universe”.

        And as they make their changes, like, I guaranty women will have the priesthood one day, they become more homogenized, watered down, and more attractive to more people needing something to belong to. That’s not Religion, that’s a social club!

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  19. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Jesus was exactly who He said he was… He didn’t need old Joe to set a path of salvation via Joe’s “polygamous snake-oil salesman way” when Christ already sacrificed all that was needed for those who would believe.

    Christ said “It is finished… “. Not…”it’s finished until Joe comes along and saves the day because I, Jesus, the Son of the One True God. screwed up…”

    Please stop quoting the Bible when momonism teaches it is is not reliable. You don’t get to have it both ways.

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    1. Hi Kelly, I quite agree that Mormons should decide if the Bible is or isn’t reliable. I would like to know when the apostasy actually started. The church says after the death of the apostles. When exactly was that and how does that impact on what we have in the Bible. Certainly the early letters of Paul predate the gospels. Of course we don’t really know who wrote the gospels and John was quite late, into the 90’s at the earliest and some have the date some decades later. How can we rely on these books that were codified in some cases quite some time after the death of the Apostles? If we accept John, when why not some of the early church fathers? And if them, then why not recognise the continuity of teaching that we have from all these sources today in the Christian church. So, it would be very useful to understand more about when the Apostasy started so that Mormons could properly quote the correct portions of the Bible and show us what is truly in error.

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  20. Keep up the good work. If I may, and in hopes that you read this, I would like to encourage some other points to be made regarding the withholding of information. There has been a recent change in tithing slips, at least in America, without informing the members. They changed it because they were not being truthful as to where the money/donations were being diverted. Members were led to believe they could donate money to a missionary fund, etc., and that is where the money would go. When it was discovered, I believe during the building of the giant corporate mall in Salt Lake City, that they were diverting the funds where the church sees fit, they changed the tithing slip to state that there is no guarantee where the money would go. The change was very subtle, and I have yet to meet a member that was even aware of the change. Also, one of the main ideas and arguments made for the church is the amount of money it spends on charity and donations. However, it was recently discovered that number, in the last 20 or 30 years, is less than 3% of total earnings; with estimates even lower than 1%. It is difficult to tell, as the church, especially in the U.S. does not have to, and therefore does not, reveal it’s financial moves. One more, if I may, is the practice of polygamy. The church has openly stated that is does not practice, nor support the practice of polygamy. However, it is obviously practiced in temple sealings to this day. It was also recently revealed, in the recording of the G.A. meeting in Europe with the leaders that were questioning their findings about the church, that the official secretive statement of the LDS church, from a spokesperson, is that the church does in fact still practice and believe in the sanctity of polygamous marriage.

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    1. Mat,
      1) Your math concerning the percentage of money the church spends on charity and donations does not include the vast amounts the Church spends on financial assistance to its members in need and on its unmatched welfare system: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/a_welfare_system_that_works
      2) The reason you cited for the Church changing its contribution slips is not accurate and 3) No Mormon may be married to more than one living wife. If a man is married in the temple and his wife dies while he remains living, then he may marry again in the Temple.

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      1. I was married (in the temple) for 12 years. Got divorced. My ex-husband remarried, also in the temple, and is sealed to her and me. I did not like this, nor did she, but the bishop said they cannot unseal me unless I am getting sealed to some one else. So the 3 of us are unhappily sealed as husband, wife, wife, for time and all eternity. 😦

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    2. We have been in New Zealand for more than 7 years now and the change in the tithing slips happened in North America long before we moved here. To your point about diverting funds, when I was the ward financial clerk I was asked to transfer a significant sum from the ward missionary fund up to the stake. The ward fund was large and not needed and the Stake President could use it for those in other wards with less money. However, the funds were given by my ward members over time to support the ward members going on missions. No permission was sought and not advertisement was made of the impending transfer to inform those that had donated what was happening with their fund. Now, whether it is the LDS church or any other organisation, unless a donation is received with actual strings, such as in a donation agreement, the funds are available for general use and may on a best efforts basis be applied as advertised. However, there is no obligation to do so.

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  21. I will be very surprised if TM attends at court,I fully support Tom Phillips in his action and hope that many TBMs will realise that fraud has been committed, and that there tithing donations have been misused, I think and hope that many more will find the courage to leave, I also believe that if the church is honest now with the members and completely reforms that it still has a place in the uk but tithing must end and the truth must be taught,I think the final nail was when TM opened the billion dollar shopping centre and said ( let’s go shopping ) where did the money come from to build the centre ????

    crusader

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  22. “The Church dismissed the summons as containing “bizarre allegations” and signalled that Mr Monson has no plans to attend.” The Telegraph 2/10/14. I’m not familiar with British law. Does anyone know what legal process could follow when President Monson doesn’t attend the hearing besides an unenforceable arrest warrant? I can only imagine the abuse of the court system that would occur in the US if private prosecution was allowed as it is in England.

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    1. So much for the 12th article of faith…

      If the church refuses to appear, the can be tried in abstentia, and if found to be fraudulent, would be barred from the country as a religion. If they care about the church in England (and other countries in the commonwealth) they might want to take it seriously.

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  23. It is a valid concern brought about those who filed this lawsuit. This lawsuit addresses many of the questions that I know had been asked by others over and over, but instead of responding those concerned preferred other ways including, shunning, labelling, and criminiisation among other ways they used to try to shut down the questions and those asking the questions.

    This is a part of my story. The rest of it I have chosen not to tell until those concerned take action.

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  24. Indeed Michael fights a good fight, but in the end his good vibrations about Mormonism can only get him so far. For instance, like a good Mopologist he cites scientific research to back the book of mormon without reading, or at least understanding, what the research is actually saying. Yes, a Siberian youth was found to have Eurasian DNA, but what are the details? Let’s start with the fact that this specimen is 24,000 years old! Yes, he died 20,000 years before the BoM peoples supposedly arrived in the America’s. And why does the Siberian boy have Eurasian DNA? Because his ancestors migrated eastward, just as the research states. How could 24,000 year old DNA support a 2,000-4,000 year old migration?

    And what of Mr. Smith and his wonderful martydom? Michael ignores the actual reasons Smith was in jail in the first place, and when Michael have you ever heard of a martyr going like a “lamb to the slaughter” that fires first and takes a few of the opposition out first? According to John Taylor, Smith had a gun and fired three shots, hitting three people. Two may have died, but that’s apparently not known for sure at this time.

    And what of the other issues, the Book of Abraham that has nothing to do with Abraham?!? Yes, there are a few LDS mopologist “scholars” that get paid to pretend otherwise, but again, their “research” can never pass peer reviewn. Somehow every non-LDS Egyptologist, anthropologist, and archeologist is “anti-Mormon”.

    I could go on for pages, just like these comments do. Polygamy, polyandry, marrying teenagers, lying about polygamy – to not only Americans but to European converts. Actual persons from the period wrote about that, such as in the book “Tell It All – A Woman’s Life in Polygamy”. Fanny Stenhouse converted in England and her family spent everything to get to Zion, only to find that the church authorities that visited Europe were actively engaging in polygamy while lying about it to the new converts.

    I just wish I could go back 40 years and never have anything to do with the “faith of my fathers”.

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  25. Should have made clear that the Siberian specimen I mentioned had DNA in common with Native Americans. Which makes sense considering that the entire point of the articles about him is that his people migrated from Eurasia to Asia, then to the Americas.

    Also, regarding marrying teenagers, make that, marrying 14 year old girls.

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    1. Fatfinger, so why haven’t you moved on from the “Faith of your Fathers”. You seem more focused on it now more than ever? Why so unsettled still? OK, you don’t believe it. You’ve gone so far as to leave it. So why are you still so much involved in it. What is truly driving your passion against it – DNA? I promise you that if you will harness that energy for building up the good in which you believe instead of focusing so much negativity against what others believe – WOW! peace will return to your life. We believe, “Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.” Go live to create and experience that Joy that Christ taught, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”.

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      1. This rhetoric gets tossed about a lot. The truth is, it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to complete divorce the mormon church. Most of us still have friends, familiy, neighbors who are caught up in the web of deceit. Some of us are MARRIED to people who are still members. Some of us still see our money going to the church because of this.

        Some of us have lives that are directly influenced DAILY by mormon politics, and some of us work with predominantly Mormon colleagues.

        The idea that you can live your entire life in mormonism, and then just one day walk away and sever all ties to it is a silly one, that I bet even YOU don’t ACTUALLY believe can happen.

        Unless somebody is willing to just wake up, leave all of their friends and family, and move to another country and never talk to anyone again, they’re never going to fully escape mormonism. Even if YOU DID move away, you’re still highly likely to run into mormons somewhere else. I have friends who have been stalked by the church. My wife still invites mormons into my home, who want to “bring me back to the fold”.

        I’m not going to throw them out, because they’re good and kind people, who genuinely believe they’re doing the right thing.

        It is painful to see those you care about the most continue to be harmed. Raising a voice of warning to others is perfectly reasonable, is not motivated by hate, and is actually one of the most natural and rational responses a person can have.

        Try thinking about it logically for a few moments (if that’s an ability you possess), and maybe you’ll understand…

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      2. Austin, I and your friends and family are not being harmed by our faith. We pay our tithes and offerings as a free will gift and reflection of our faith in God and belief in His Bible and we enjoy the windows of heaven being opened to us. No one is stalking you. You may have some missionaries or home teachers or priesthood leaders or family reach out to you from time to time as an expression of their love, but harm is not their desire-It is love! “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…’

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      3. Again, YOU don’t recognize it as being harmful. That doesn’t mean it isn’t. It just means you’re stuck in the delusion… It is harmful. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. The monetary damage is really not something I care that much about. My wife paying tithing out of MY bank account isn’t troubling to me. But seeing that money misused is troubling. And the fact that my wife feels compelled to give it, for fear of bad things happening to her is DEFEINITELY troubling.

        You will continue to refuse to see this as harmful, no doubt, but that doesn’t change the facts. You can rationalize it all you want, but it doesn’t mean that the concerns of those of us who have progressed out of the church are not legitimate. It also doesn’t change the fact that we cannot ever completely escape the church. It’s also much like any other survivor of abuse. We don’t tell rape victims to just get over it and keep their mouths shut. We encourage them to speak out and raise awareness. I’ve been mentally and emotionally abused by the mormon cult for the greater part of my life. I’m allowed to speak out against it, and I don’t need your permission, thank you very much.

        I never said anybody stalked ME. I said I know people who HAVE been stalked, you can ‘pooh pooh’ it away if you like, but it did happen. As I said, I am not aggressive or unkind to the ones who come over, because I recognize that they, as individuals, are not mean-spirited, but are rather trapped in their own delusion as well. They THINK they are doing good, and that’s certainly admirable. However, good intentions on their part do not make them any less wrong. And I know for a fact that for some, those intentions are NOT good. I’ve been fortunate to avoid those types of people, for the most part, but they do exist.

        The problem with mormonism is an institutional one. The VAST MAJORITY of members are good people who are trying to do what they believe is right. They’ve been mislead and brainwashed into believing things that are wrong, but that doesn’t make them bad people. My attempts at raising awareness primarily stems from this. I recognize that they’re good people, and I want to help them overcome their problem.

        Again, you’re utterly and completely incapable as seeing ANY aspect of the church as negative, or harmful, or painful, and so you’ll never be able to understand. The explanation was given, however, so it’s your problem if you can’t wrap your head around it…

        Let me repeat. The problems with the church are institutional. It’s the upper echelons of church leadership which are disseminating the fraud, and the rank-and-file members are the victims, not the perpetrators. I would know, I was in those shoes for the first 25 years of my life.

        Been there, done that, learned the secret password and super-secret handshakes to get into heaven. Even got the magic underwear (since discarded)…

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      4. Austin, what is exactly the harm the institution is causing against its members? Is it the Church’s teaching of eternal families and related family history and temple work, the church’s teaching of the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, the many and diverse opportunities the Church provides to serve others through individual calls to serve, the Church’s extensive welfare program designed to provide for those members in need, the Church’s teachings to pray and read in the scriptures regularly to seek and receive personal inspiration and direction from God, the Church’s organization being patterned after Christ’s original Church with Apostles, Prophets, Seventies, Elders, Bishops, etc., the leadership training of the Church that teaches its leaders to minister, teach and administer in a way that reflects the teachings of Christ, the Church’s youth programs that provide social, educational and leadership opportunities for youth, the young single adult programs that provide Institutes of Religions on college campuses across the world along with YSA Branches and Wards and the list goes on and on? How does the Church harm its members with all of this good? How have you been harmed by the Church?

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      5. The hard is as diverse as the teaching of the church. It teaches them that they are inadequate. They they will never be enough. That the happiness of the eternal souls of OTHERS is on THEIR backs. That if they don’t give their money and time to the church, that they are placing others in jeopardy along with themselves.

        It wastes HUGE portions of their lives, and places strains on family relationships. It takes men who are already worked to death all week, and then forces them to work all weekend, so that they very rarely see their families at all.

        It teaches them that the church is more important than ANYTHING ELSE, including their own families.

        The feelings of inadequacy drive many to suicide.

        I could go on… The list of harms that the church does to people is extremely long.

        I have a friend who was raped as a teenager, who told her bishop, and was told by her bishop that if she reported it, she would “Ruin his life”, I told a friend (still a true believing member) about that, 2000 miles away, and she cried and said “THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME!”. I know you’ll say that this wasn’t the “Church’s official policy” and therefore doesn’t count. But when two very random and totally unrelated people have had the exact same experience regarding something as serious as rape, it’s demonstrative of a problem at the institutional level. Whether it’s ‘officially official’ or ‘officially unofficial’ policy.

        Again, you will pooh pooh and wave these things off, but the harm is very real. You’re a part of the delusion so. like a heroin addict, you will remain in denial about it, no matter what I or anybody else tell you.

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      6. Austin, I appreciate your candor and I am sorry that has been your experience. All of the good of the Church previously mentioned is all designed to do the opposite of what you have described. They are designed to develop righteous connection and love with God, others and self, with family always being the highest priority in the Church. That has been my experience in 34 years of membership. As far as your friend’s experience as a teenager, Christ’s position and the Church’s position against such things and such handling of things is unequivocal: “Then said he (Christ) unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Handbook 1 states, “The Church’s position is that abuse cannot be tolerated in any form. Those who abuse or are cruel to their spouse, children, other family members or anyone else violate the laws of god and man. All members, especially parents and leaders, are encouraged to be alert and diligent and do all they can to protect children and others against abuse and neglect.”

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      7. Failure to produce the desired effect is known as being “ineffectual”. So regardless of the INTENT, the effects are what matters. If their intent is wrong, the church policy is wrong, and not of god.

        If the EFFECTS are other than intended, then the policy is ineffectual. Why would an omnicient and all-powerful god implement ineffectual policies?

        Either way, the results are wrong. They lead to shame and feelings of inadequacy, as well as MASSIVE cognitive dissonance. Even those who do their very best to “See the Emperor’s Clothes” know, deep down, that they don’t really see them. And that leads them to thinking they are defective.

        Of course, the more you tell them that there aren’t any clothes, the more they have to reassure themselves (and everybody else) that YES there ARE clothes, and they’ve SEEN them. But every once in a while, when the timing is right, some people are able to finally admit that things aren’t really as they’ve spent their lives trying to WILL into being through faith and payment of tithes. And those moments of freeing people from the rape of their minds makes it all worth it!

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      8. Austin, it’s true Mormonism has its flaws as does any religion. But two points I’d like to bring up. One, you’re wrong about being able to separate from the church. I left the church as an adult and after having gone on a mission myself. I live in Utah. And I can truthfully say there is not one nano-thread of influence on me. Two, you’re taking it all just a little too serious. We are not here to be slaves to a religion or slaves to our own mind. You want freedom? Then be free!

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    2. David Green,
      It’s not the simple for everybody. Just because your situation is such that you allegedly no longer have any ties the the church doesn’t mean that it’s not a very real issue for most.

      As I said, my wife is still mormon, much of my family still is (though I take at least some credit for the exit of much of my family from that cult so far already), many of my friends and neighbors are as well.

      It certainly may be possible for people like yourself to leave mormonism and abandon their friends and family to have their minds, lives, and wallets raided by the church, but I don’t operate that way. When I see others in danger or distress, I feel compelled to at least TRY to help.

      If that’s not how you operate, that’s fine and dandy, but it doesn’t reinforce the attitude by mormonism that the only reason to try and help others see the truth about Mormonism is in being motivated by bitterness and hate. Quite the opposite is generally true.

      To me, what you claim to have done is incredibly selfish, and I wouldn’t be able to operate like that.

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      1. Mr. Austin, you are way out of line to assume that by leaving Mormonism I selfishly left my family and friends as well. You know nothing about my life, yet somehow you think you can accuse me? I rightfully take offense with your selfish judgement. I am truthfully sorry you have allowed the church to wound you in such a way. It has become it’s own living entity in your mind. You really should have someone look at that for you.

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      2. I’m not assuming anything. In order for the church to have literally “not one nanothread of influence in [your] life”, you would have had to have either had all of your friends and family leave with you, or abandoned them to the church. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you physically abandoned them. Only that you stopped caring about their well-being in regards to the church. That’s what I mean by “abandoning to the church”. Maybe you’re still physically present, but you don’t care enough about them to want to help them.

        I can only go by what you said. If what you said is true, then the rest is self-evident. I’m sorry that you’ve allowed my directness in that regard to wound you, but I’m not going to sugar coat it.

        Either you care about the truth and your friends and family enough to want to do something, or you’re selfish.

        I guess the 3rd option is that you’re just lazy, and you think the church IS true, but you’re too lazy to put forth the effort.

        Whatever the case may be, most people don’t fit into any of those categories, and so it is virtually impossible to leave the church and just ignore it while it harms their friends and families.

        Some people can do that though. And I guess it’s great for you if you can. Not so great, however, for those that you might ‘care about’… Whatever that would mean, in such a context.

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  26. Also, I meant to say that falsehoods, regardless of intent (such as the lies about the true origin of the book or mormon, conditions surrounding Smith’s death, history of polygamy within the church, Joseph Smith’s character, etc, etc). All of these lies are harmful, because they make people believe things that are not true. And these falsehoods trickle into virtually every aspect of their lives.

    Even if the ONLY negative effect were dedicating ~25%+ of their lives to a false religion, that’s harmful enough to put an end to it, in my opinion.

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    1. Austin, I’ll have to pick this up later – off to Church. My niece is speaking in Sacrament today and has invited us all. I sure do enjoy being with family at Church 🙂

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      1. Just can’t understand why people would devote their whole lives to a religion based on the words of a Man Joseph Smith they’ve never meet. Christianity as a belief system is much simpler and works – Mormonism appears to cause depression (see Utah anti depressant levels – highest in America). Life is a mystery, why we are here etc. but man wants answers especially to what happens when we die. Instead of accepting this uncertainty people create ‘death conquest’ religions. We have the answers. Believe this and you don’t have to worry. If you are told things over and over again, all the people around you believe it too, hay presto! You feel security that you have found the answers. 1826 conviction of Joseph Smith ( have a look at the original court documents ) glass looking. Pretending he could find treasure with his special stone. He admitted he could not. I think the whole thing got out of hand. So many people wanted something to believe in that he couldn’t admit he wasn’t really a prophet. Mormonism is a life system, a culture more than a religion. People hang onto it for dear life because it is their life. What are they if they are not Mormon. Whatever proof that is given they will still believe. It’s simply too hard not to. It’s a pretty bad plan if this is all God has to offer. He’s not doing great as a parent with only 4.5 million active Mormons in the world (that’s the church’s own figures). What is that as a percentage of the population. I like to see faith as the spokes of an umbrella. All leading to the same place. I am right and you are wrong ends up murdering people. No power who created a universe would have a one size fits all approach. Indoctrination, brainwashing, programming – does that happen in the LDS. Perhaps that is the question to ask. Good luck with it all.

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      2. Rose, Mormonism does NOT believe in a one size fits all belief system. It clearly teaches in a system of degrees of glory based upon the agency of each individual. As Paul taught, (1 Corinthians 15:40-42) “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.So also is the resurrection of the dead.” Mormonism does, however seek to assist as many as are willing to prepare for the glory of the sun.

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      3. Hi Austin, the reason I’m able to live near, and be actively involved with my Mormon family and neighbors is because I love them so much and I understand that everyone is at a different level of development. People need different things at different times in their lives to grow and gain wisdom. Some people need the safety a religion offers.  It’s not the Mormon church that hurts your family and friends, or my family and friends. It’s their own capacity to deal with the information offered them. It’stheirchoice, theirfree will. You want to talk about selfishness? Let’s talk about taking away someone’s free will, because you know better than they. I find myself taking a more subtle, yet potent approach. I’m not perfect, but I try to live my life as an example of non-judgment/love. I try to communicate and spend time with them in this way, and the effect, which I see daily, is my loved ones willingness to open their minds, peel back the layers of awareness. Some have remained Mormon, while others have not. Either way, it’s Perfect!

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  27. Although you gave us three updates on this frivolous summons while it was pending, you never found it worthwhile to report what the Court decided.

    It is a short opinion–only three pages–which can be found at http://img.ksl.com/slc/2516/251638/25163829.pdf

    Here are excerpts from the decision:

    ***

    “The information on which the summonses are based is contained in correspondence from Mr Phillips to the court from October 2013 to January 2014.

    ***

    “These two summonses both state that failure to attend may result in a warrant being issued for Mr Monson’s arrest. It is common ground that that is wrong.

    ***

    “The way the information was put before the court over a period of time makes it hard to isolate the essential ingredients. I have looked for a direct assertion that Mr Monson made the specific representations set out in the summonses. To this end I have read the 120 pages provided by the prosecutor [Mr Phillips]. I invited Mr Bird [Phillips’ attorney] to take me to the relevant passages. In the paperwork I find assertions that Mr Monson “has caused to be made statements of fact which are untrue”; assertions that as President of the Church Mr Monson is responsible for statements of the Church; numerous assertions that Mr Monson knew false statements were being made; and assertions that Church doctrine makes the particular statements averred. It would be relatively easy to state explicitly that Mr Monson has made these specific representations, and when and how the misrepresentations were made. This has not been done.

    “Even if Mr Monson has made the representations complained of, the basis for the complaint that he made them dishonestly (or intending a gain or a loss) is too tenuous. It is not sufficient to found a criminal prosecution.

    “I do not accept that the essential elements of the offence are present in the information as presented to me.

    “Is the prosecution vexatious?

    “It is obvious that this proposed prosecution attacks the doctrine and beliefs of the Mormon Church, and is aimed at those beliefs rather than any wrong-doing of Mr Monson personally. The purpose is to use criminal proceedings to expose the false (it is said) facts on which the church is based.

    “It is inevitable that the prosecution would never reach a jury, even if Mr Monson chooses to attend. To convict, a jury would need to be sure that the religious teachings of the Mormon Church are untrue or misleading. That proposition is at the heart of the case. No judge in a secular court in England and Wales would allow that issue to be put to a jury. It is non-justiciable.

    “I am satisfied that the process of the court is being manipulated to provide a high-proflle forum to attack the religious beliefs of others. It is an abuse of the process of the court.”

    ***

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