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Have you ever heard that phrase “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” before?

If You have,,, it is most likely that you heard it from a cult member or cult group. ALL cults say they are the “one true Church” (referred to as OTC hereafter). All cults have 3 things in common. 1. The all have distorted teachings about God, specifically Jesus and the Trinity. 2. They all employ a teaching and culture of legalism. And while they may give lip service to “salvation by grace”, they apply a system of salvation by works. 3. They all claim to be “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” !

This idea of the OTC among cults is expressed in many ways, some of them very ambiguously and not always clearly understood by the folks that hear the assertions. The claim to be the OTC by cults, and the many different ways that say or imply it,, is generally called Authoritarianism. Authoritarianism being defined as “Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom” (1).

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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6o6KW02w7Q

Recorded at Kauai Christian Fellowship on September 22, 2007

Gory Bateson sings his original “Jack Mormon” at the LDS Temple in Los Angeles. He dedicates the song to his uncle Jack, a Jack Mormon. Cinematography by Dee Arbus.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa-hebt8MO8

Most of the information in this article is taken from the sources footnoted.

Restorationism is the claim that the Christian Church fell away from the truths of Jesus and the NT apostles and had to be “RESTORED” to it’s NT state and practice. The whole Christian church had become apostate and non-existent, is their claim. But this allegation is pure folly and uninformed speculation. This is also in total contrast and contradiction to the idea of “REFORM” and the protestant reformation.

The main influence and emphasis of the Restoration Movement of the Cambellite’s and their subsequent offsping religions of the “restorationist” that followed and was spawned from them, is seriously flawed and based on the false assumption that the true Christian Church had been wiped clean from the face of the earth (needing to be completely restored) and that Gods promises about his church and word are not true. In the face of much persecution and attempts to abolish God’s church and word from the face of the earth, there has always been at least a large remnant of true believers and members of the incorporeal and invisible church of God. “’Restorationism’ is based on a belief called the Great Apostasy, that traditional Christianity has departed so far from the original Christian principles that it is not redeemable.” (2)

The bible contains these promises about itself and Jesus’s Church.

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The Book of Mormon by evangelicaloutreach.org

A. Contradicts Doctrine and Covenants.
1. “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord,” Jacob 2:24. In contrast to this, we read in Doc. & Cov. 132:1 that David and Solomon were justified because of polygamy! Which reference is wrong?

B. Refutes Mormon Doctrine.
1. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are ONE God, not three (Alma 11:44b; Mormon 7:7; 2 Nephi 31:21b and the last sentence in Testimony of Three Witnesses).
2. God is unchanging, not changing (Moroni 7:22; 8:18; Mormon 9:9,19; 3 Nephi 24:6).
3. God is NOT flesh and bones, but instead a spirit (Alma 31:15; 22:9-11; 18:24-28). Remember, Jesus said a spirit does NOT have flesh and bones (Lk. 24:39).

C. Condemns Joseph Smith for polygamy.
1. See Jacob 1:15; 2:23,24,27,31; 3:5; Mosiah 11:2-4; Ether 10:5,7.

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Joe Smith said : “As man is God was,,, as God is man may become”

I see at least 3 logical dilemmas in this statement. Do you agree?
Logical Dilemma 1: As man is God was

If God was once a man,,, where did man come from? There is no way around the fact that this statement implies that man originated apart from a creator. From my understanding there are only three possibilities for the origin of man.
1. Man was created by God and each kind makes after it‘s own kind. Animals do not evolve from one species to another. This is the biblical model of creation.
2. God created the cosmos and the basic materials for life and set evolution into motion. This is theistic evolution.

http://www.mormondoctrine.net/testimonies/five_courageous_women.htm

How much Mormon frustration is projection against the LDS church itself?

Does This Describe You? You’re Not Alone….

I asked a question on an internet discussion board. (CARM)

I sometimes wonder if Mormons who get the most upset at LDS critics are genuinely and subconsciously upset at the “system” because they know that they’re just not measuring up {to LDS standards}?

I don’t expect true-believing Mormons to respond with friendly tone because they have wives and kids to think about. For them to say anything negative about the “church” might be tantamount to divorce or losing a job.

What about ex-Mormons?

When you were still LDS, what happened when you were met with “anti-Mormon” tracts? Why did you get mad? What happened that caused you to feel upset… even when you knew that what the “anti” was saying was true?

(Hey, I’m no psychiatrist nor sociologist. I’ve been thinking lately that the ones who get the most angry might be closer to God than they think. Just musing… or molting.)

Libs responds:

You’re molting? Ewww, messy.

You know, Russ, when I first came to CARM, I was really angry at the things I read, because I thought they were out and out lies. Now, I still think there are things that come up, fairly often, that are not exactly accurate, but for the most part, not lies. After I did some looking around on my own and discovered a LOT of the claims against the church and the prophets were true… then, I really got upset. Angry, fearful, distressed, and finally, very sad. Still makes me sad, at times. And angry, at times.

Sounds to me as if Libs got upset because she found out she was being lied to by her own “church.” Who can blame such a one? Sorry for molting on your computer monitor. 🙂

Magdalena responds:

I think I got angry because at least a part of it rang true, and that put me in a tough spot. You’re supposed to defend the church with everything you have. I was angry at having to defend things that I was doubting on some level. And when you’ve been taught that your eternal salvation hangs in the balance, that can be crazy-making.

The more I learned, the less I could defend. And I was angry at the Mormon church for putting me and other people in that position.

How ridiculous is it to expect people to defend someone who chased young girls, married already married women and lied to his own wife about it? This was supposed to be a prophet? I don’t think so.

The list of ridiculous things you’re supposed to defend is very long. If you don’t, you’re accused of not having enough faith. Well you need to be smart about where you put your faith. I wasted a lot of time and energy defending things that weren’t from God. And that did make me upset.

Sounds to me as if Magdalena was upset that she could no longer defend the indefensible. Sounds like she was frustrated at being lied to… and finally… enough is enough.

Justjo responds:

I was angry because I thought the “anti’s” were just lying, the more I found what they said was true, the angrier I got because of fear… fear as Magdalena said, loosing one’s salvation, loosing the progression one has already made and having to start over again if I left and I was wrong in doing so and had to go back. Angry that the org’s best answers at the time was people who have question lack faith, and Mormons know what God thinks of those who lack faith! Then, to actually leave and hear rumors that you left because of some great sin, you couldn’t live the high standards of the org (who the heck really can!?), or I was angry with someone in the org (as if that would be a reason to leave “the only true church”)… that was what made me angry the most!

As Shawn McCraney said… they were right! “I am a sinner, probably the lowest of the low!” But, name me one Mormon who isn’t. HELLOOOOO!!! I live a higher standard being away from the org than I did in it. Why? Because I am not trying to be something I am not…. perfect. Last but not least… who hasn’t been angry at someone else? Do you leave your faith because of that? SERIOUSLY….

Boy Russ… you must have hit a sore spot in me… LOL…. here… let me vent… tell you what I really think and how I really feel about it…

Yes, the more of God’s truth I found, the angrier I got, and the louder I spewed against those who spoke out against my Mormon religion…

Oh my heck! Sounds to me like Justjo was angry at being guilt-tripped into thinking she’d loose her salvation if she dared to question “Joseph.”

MistyAnn0414 responds:

I think I was upset because I felt I was being “picked on”. I was taught that this was the only true church, and the so called “persecution” was proof of it. I can remember going to the Hill Cumorah pageant, seeing the protesters and thinking very unChristian thoughts about them. I never once thought that maybe there was someone there who just wanted to share Jesus Christ with me. I thought I knew it all, that I had the whole truth. I believed that the people who spoke out against the church were only going on the limited knowledge they had, believing the lies they read in books, and heard from their pastors. You know to this day I have never been in a church where the pastor even mentioned Mormonism. It all came down to fear. I was afraid to go there, to take that step. I knew things didn’t feel right or add up. I just didn’t know what I would do without the church.

Sounds to me that MistyAnn found out that it’s okay to question Joseph and that Christians aren’t necessarily out to merely attack Mormons, but are rather asking Mormons to seriously examine what their “church” is asking them to believe.

Mishamari responds:

I was angry at the institution’s methods because I had been lied to. Milk before meat y’know. I was angry at myself because I was so naive’ and trusting, angry because I was out so much money… I overpaid tithing and when tax time came around I couldn’t get it back. I was sad too, that my loved ones bought into a lie as well and I was the first convert in the family.

I wasn’t presented with any “Tracts” and I don’t recall being upset with any “antis”. I only ran into a few “antis”; one was a roommate and we just agreed to disagree. And another was a gal I met at the library, she belonged to a campus Christian cult (college newspaper warned us about them) and approached me about a Bible study. WE got to talking about church and she said “You do realize your church teaches my people have the Mark of Cain, right?” I was a new convert and wasn’t familiar with such a teaching. She started stalking me around campus and I had to say “If you want to be friends, that’s great. You have to give me some space. If I’m only a project to you then I don’t want anymore contact.” I never heard from her again.

Y’know Russ… now, years later… I think the thing I am most upset about is the misrepresentation of God. This issue is what initially led me out of the church but wasn’t the source of my anger. I’m over the “lie” thing and now I’m angry about how God is defined.

Sounds like Mishamari got fed up with being lied to. Again, who can blame such a one?

The courage of these five women inspire me.

Jesus inspired them.

Jesus inspired them to take a close look at what the Mormon “church” was asking them (telling them) to believe and, more importantly, Jesus inspired them to take a real, close look at who He claims to be.

May Jesus also inspire you to look deeply into his life and then compare that to what Joseph Smith said about Jesus. Can such a person really be the brother of Satan? Or is he who he said, i.e. God in the flesh? (John 1:1 and 1:14) The very God of all creation. (Col. 2)

Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?”

Just a good guy? A special prophet? Lunatic? Liar? Offspring of God and Mother God? Brother of Satan who proposed a better plan?

Or God.

Choose this day whom you’ll serve.

Jesus or Joseph.

Introduced by Ed Decker. No matter what you think of these two guys, this is a piece of history!



Rob Sivulka on topics often that come up in evangelistic conversations with Mormons.

Apologies to Rob and others: the first 10-20 minutes of the talk are unavailable as the video file was corrupted on my computer.

.mp4 file available under the “Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0” license here:

http://www.archive.org/details/Manti2009

In other words, you can redistribute it freely.

Examines the similarities of cult traits and NPD in the pulpit.
The Seether songs remind me of my former “spiritual leaders” and probably mean more to me than making a statement to the viewers. Watch this before you give me too much head ache.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ecnm_a0EAtk

See the links in my other videos for more info in Spiritual Abuse, NPD in the pulpit and leaving a cult. Or just read these:

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/6…

http://www.chameleongroup.org.uk/npd/…

http://www.meadowhaven.org/psychissue…

A Debate with Jose Silva Leader of Silva Mind Control ( Dr. George DeSau Psychologist and Graduate of Silva Mind Control) DEBATE John Weldon and Dave Hunt on the John Ankerberg Show.

Silva Mind Control History

Silva began developing the method; formerly known as Silva Mind Control, in the 1940s before launching it commercially in the 1960s.[1][2]. It developed out of Silva’s conviction that the thoughts and actions of 90% of the world’s population were governed by the the left hemisphere of their brain; limiting them using only logical, intellectual, objective means of problem resolution. Silva believed that by training people to think with both the right brain hemisphere as well as their left they could access information stored at a subconscious level. [1][2] According to Skeptical author Robert Carroll, the Silva method appears to be based on the work of Roger Wolcott Sperry, but with Silva’s own twists in it that make it an inaccurate model. [1]

The Rest of the Article on Link Below http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silva_Mi…

Christian or New Age Mind Control Cult ? TAP BELOW FOR ARTICLE http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/C…

Founder of Freedom Beacon Ministries in Upstate, NY, talks about cult abuse and recovery issues.

What qualifies a group as a cult? Both the sociological and the theological perspectives are examined using nifty, easy to remember visuals.

Freedom Beacon Ministries founder speaks out on the theological definition of “cult”. Based on the two major signifiers found in 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4.

My friend Sean (PappaG) wrote this piece on his blog here.

Sean has a Masters degree in Theology, So it is a quite good rebuttal story,, about when the Mormons last visited his house. I think you will enjoy it.

This is Seans second draft and he is requesting any suggestions that you might have. So pop on over to his blog if you have any. Thanks damon

Here are 21 ex-Mormons testimonies that I gathered up from http://www.youtube.com/user/aaronshaf2006

I post these because they give hope to me that my Uncle,, who is a Mormon Bishop,,,will one day be saved.

Interview with Adam’s Road, an Ex-Mormon Christian Band

Paige Richardson’s Testimony out of Mormonism into the Arms of Jesus

Mitzi Nelson’s Testimony out of Mormonism Into Christianity

Tara Sivulka’s Testimony Out of Mormonism

Brian Mackert’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Lana Larsen’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Randy Larsen’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Tosh’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Gabriel Williams’ testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Gene’s Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

Dave’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Tricia Lynn Burton’s Testimony Out Of Mormonism to Christ

Mark Champneys’ Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

Angela Haisten’s Testimony Out of Mormonism to Christianity

James Dorrough’s Testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Ginny and Bud Gundersen’s Testimony out of Mormonism

Blaine Hunsaker’s Testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Judy Hartvigsen’s Testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Cashae Gibb’s Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

LaKan Gibb’s Testimony out of Mormonism intro Christianity

Zach Collier’s Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

While I am not a Presbyterian. I definantly call them my Brothers in Christ. I could be a presbetarian or reformed brother if I was not a dispensational pre-millennial -pre-tribber.

2008 A year of scrutiny for the LDS Church

If 2002 was Mormonism’s debutante ball, 2008 may go down as its first semester of college.

The Utah-based church made new friends, endured back-stabbing from would-be friends, joined some clubs, got a taste of fame and had a few wrenching exams.

From the possibility of a Mormon in the White House to a stream of Latter-day Saints on reality television, from being attacked as belonging to a cult (or mistaken for a polygamous sect in Texas) to participating in California’s bitter battle for traditional marriage, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would see their faith in the nation’s mirror. To many, such scrutiny was unlike any they had seen in their lifetime.

“The church emerged on the center stage of public consciousness in a way we hadn’t seen before,” says Chase Peterson, former University of Utah president and lifelong Latter-day Saint. “The full consequences of this new public awareness probably will not be understood for some time.”

Indeed, it was a “wild, eventful year for the church,” says Philip Barlow, Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, “quite beyond its perpetual efforts in spreading its message, looking after its members, managing its vast resources, building its facilities and addressing catastrophes at home and abroad.”

The crucial question is: How will the LDS Church and its individual members respond to the year’s events?

For example, Mormons, who in recent decades have been staunchly Republican, were cast as pariahs during Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign by controlling sectors of the Republican Party. Though he had won widespread political and financial support across the nation, most Evangelicals in the party bitterly opposed him, and between 37 percent and 43 percent of Americans said they would never vote for a Mormon, any Mormon.

Even after Romney bowed out of the race, many Mormons continued to smart from the accusations and misrepresentations of their faith that flourished during his run. They developed a serious distaste for Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who, they believe, fueled anti-Mormon hostility while playing innocent.

Others were more straightforward. The Rev. Robert Jeffress repeatedly called Mormonism a “cult,” and evangelist Bill Keller famously said, “A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Satan.”

Will Latter-day Saints now begin to question their allegiance to the Republican Party, Barlow wonders, or even move into the Democratic Party in the future, especially if Barack Obama is successful in his first term?

Life was changing inside the church as well.

LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley died at the end of January.

At 97, Hinckley was Mormonism’s oldest prophet and the most vigorous to the end. He had transformed the church’s public image, giving interviews to reporters everywhere he went.

 

Hinckley’s longtime associate, Thomas S. Monson, ascended to the LDS presidency, choosing Dieter Uchtdorf, a German member, as a counselor. The leadership focus began to shift.

Where Hinckley met with the media and immediately traveled outside the country, Monson held an awkward, scripted news conference and stayed closer to home, running the church from its Salt Lake City headquarters. He dedicated four temples and announced eight more, while also opening a new welfare services compound and sending humanitarian aid across the globe.

Despite such goodwill efforts, conflicts occasionally erupted.

In March, Mormon leaders were chagrined by news accounts of three Mormon missionaries in Colorado who apparently desecrated a Roman Catholic shrine. Though the Catholics ultimately forgave the missionaries for their vandalism, a month later the Vatican issued an order, blocking LDS access to Catholic parish records because of the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead. The move caused widespread hand-wringing among genealogists everywhere, including Catholics.

Catholics and Mormons later put aside their differences to become allies on a different political issue — gay marriage.

In June, Mormons joined the Preserve Marriage Coalition at the request of Archbishop George Niederauer, the San Francisco Catholic leader who had previously led the Diocese of Salt Lake City. The First Presidency sent a letter to all California Mormons, urging them to support a ballot measure known as Proposition 8, which defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

The same Evangelical groups that had demeaned Mormonism as a cult during Romney’s campaign were now the LDS Church’s allies in the California fight.

“These new defenders of the Mormon faith have long been the most prolific Mormon-bashers in the nation,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of the Brooklyn-based gay-rights group Truth Wins Out. “[The two groups] have nothing in common but their anti-gay rhetoric.”

The measure passed on Nov. 4, and in the ensuing days, angry supporters of gay marriage protested outside LDS temples across the nation.

“The church’s support of Proposition 8 created a loud backlash and may make the church a symbol for the constriction of civil rights,” Barlow says. “Will the church dig in on what it sees as a moral and constitutional issue or will common cause help repair or forge new allegiances with Evangelicals?”

Not many years from now, 2008 may be seen as a turning point for the LDS Church in addressing the reality of homosexuality, he says.

The church’s theology was formed at a time when homosexuality could only be construed in biblical terms as “abomination,” he says. “Because of experience and science, today church leaders see the issue in a more complex light. They distinguish between feelings and actions, and they acknowledge that we do not know the originating causes of same-sex attraction.”

LDS founder Joseph Smith once said that ” ‘by proving contraries, truth is made manifest,’ ” Barlow says. “As is the past, this may be a painful but auspicious moment in LDS history.”

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

The Salt Lake Tribune

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Which Mormon group is the “Restored Church”?

Introduction

We will study this question by first (in Part 1) looking at the various divergent Mormon sects, then (in Part 2) examining why this division constitutes further proof that Mormonism can in no way be considered a “restoration” of Christianity.

Part 1: How many Mormon sects are there?

The more important Mormon groups

1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

2. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS)(Independence, Missouri, USA) now renamed to the Community of Christ, under president W. Grant McMurray,

This groups came into existence in the 1850s under the leadership of Joseph Smith’s son, Joseph Smith III. This group believes Joseph Smith II was nominated by the founding Joseph Smith as his successor. The Utah-based LDS group, however, disagrees.

Interestingly this group owns the historical Mormon properties in Kirtland, Ohio; this being the outcome of court case with the LDS group, the courts having decided the then RLDS had more claim (from a doctrinal standpoint) to be the church founded by Joseph Smith Jr. than the Utah–based LDS group.

In the 1970’s the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began to experience what many lay members considered to be serious problems with the hierarchy of the church trying to change the church. The main changes were “a major shift in the General Church teachings a de-emphasis of the Book of Mormon, the Second Advent and celestial life in favor of more conventional Protestant-like Christianity” (Saints Herald, January 1974, p. 52).

What Is The Difference between the LDS and the RLDS (now Community of Christ)?

Salt-Lake City based LDS uses KJV or Joseph Smith’s Translation (aka the “Inspired Version”); their second President, Brigham Young, taught God the Father was once a man (Adam), a doctrine which has never been revoked; teaches “eternal progression” to godhood; use secret temple rites; practises baptism for the dead; temple marriage is for eternity; God the Father Son and Holy Spirit are three separate “Gods”; accepts the Pearl of Great Price as Scripture.

Independence Missouri- based RLDS (now Community of Christ):uses “Inspired Version”; do not believe God was once a man; does not believe in “eternal progression” claim never to have used secret temple rites; claim Zion is Missouri; does not and never did, condone baptism for the dead; marriage only for earthly life; believes God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit exists in three different “modes” not Persons; rejects the Pearl of Great Price.

Both sects of course claim to be the “restored” church. When the LDS missionaries come knocking, they wil not tell you that the second largest Mormon group (the Community of Christ) believes very much differently from the Utah based LDS group.

3. Church of Christ -Temple Lot (Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri)- one early leader, Granville Hedrick, called Joseph Smith a “fallen prophet”. This group teaches that there has been apostasy from the restored gospel faith. This group was also involved in a lawsuit with the RLDS over ownership of the Temple Lot. By 1869 they purchased the original “temple lot” in Independence Missouri.

How does the Temple Lot church differ doctrinally from the LDS and RLDS?

In contrast to the LDS and RLDS, the Temple Lot group have no first presidency, high priests or patriarchs, and no prophet as leader (having 12 “apostles” instead). In common with the RLDS group, they reject the Pearl of Great Price, the doctrines of celestial marriage and eternal progression, and baptism for the dead.

Lesser known groups

The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Independence, Missouri, USA) Founded 6 April 1991 at the Waldo Avenue Church in Independence, Missouri. The RLDS Church was declared “out of order” and the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded in its place. In 1992 and 1994, two small schismatic groups, in their turn, left this group.

There also exist fundamentalist groups that do not accept the revelation which ended the practice of polygamy.

The Church of Christ With the Elijah Message (Blue Springs, Missouri, USA).

The Church of Jesus Christ (based in Pittsburgh, USA).

The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times (Mexico) now defunct.

The Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerites) (Independence, Missouri) founded by Alpheus Cutler, 1853 – distinguished between church and kingdom

The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (based in Louisiana USA). Rejects the Doctrines and Covenants standard LDS work

The Restored Church of Jesus Christ (Independence, Missouri, USA) – also claims to be founded by Joseph Smith, Jr.

The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days (Manti, Utah, USA) these believe “that the fullness that Joseph Smith Jr. restored has been corrupted”. The Manti group split into two groups in late 1994.

Further information on several of these groups can be found at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dbowie/restore/restoration.html . For a comprehensive list of Mormon sects, please see the book “Divergent Paths of the Restoration” by Steven L. Shields (1990) which discusses more than a hundred different mormon sects.

So we see that there exist many Mormon sects, with even the main groups differing widely on doctrinal points.

Part 2: What do the divisions in Mormonism tell us?

Mormons will point to the apparent unity of their church and say it is proof theirs is the one true church. Mormon missionaries will not tell you, however, that the Utah-based LDS church is one of over a hundred mormon sects, or that there are numerous differences in doctrine between the Utah-based LDS group and the next largest group, the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS).

Do not for one moment, dear reader, believe that the Mormon religion resents a unified faith system that consists in some “restored gospel”. Mormon claims therefore to hold the true “restored” and “everlasting” gospel ring very shallow indeed when we discover that their doctrines are products of the 19th century, and that, like so many other religious sects, divided into multitudinous doctrinally divergent sects after the death of their first leader in 1844 and subsequent decades.

Is it not so much easier to simply conclude that there never was any “restoration” because there never was any apostasy?

This is the obvious answer, and the correct one. (Other pages on this website deal with this subject also.) None of the Mormon sects claiming to be the “restored” church are what they say, precisely because there was no “restoration”!

It is also of no value for LDS to counter that the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism are as great, if not greater, than the divisions betweent the Mormon sects.

(Important to remember: it is not necessary for a Catholic to defend the divisions of Protestantism; Protestantism, in the same way as Mormonism, is divided because it is in error.) This Mormon argument can be a bit confusing when first encountered: in witnessing to the truth, a Catholic only has to point to the unity of Catholicism, not the disunity of Protestantism.

Also, the authority of the Catholic Church had been accepted for the first 15 centuries; the authority of the sect of Joseph Smith’s followers was repudiated as soon as he was dead. The authority of 15 centuries will not be broken by the rebellion of a few Protestant leaders whose teachings themselves subeequently underwent countless divisions.

Remember, the Mormons claim to present the “restored gospel” so any divisions among them is automatic proof they do not have this. In contrast, the sects which left the Catholic Church over the centuries present no proof that the original teaching of the Church has been corrupted, a requirement for the Mormon “restoration” in the first place. (We will not even begin to discuss the glaring absence of Mormon doctrines from the early centuries of the Church)

It is also of no use for Mormons to claim one sect is true, and all other groups broke away from it. This view requires that the original sect be known. But both the RLDS and the LDS claim this title, as well as many other groups! Historically there were many sects after the death of Joseph Smith. The US courts ruled that the RLDS (now Community of Christ) was the closest to Smith’s original church. Where does that leave the Utah-based LDS group? Which was first?

Even more importantly, the Mormon sects cannot show that there was an “apostasy” in the early days of the Church. Without this evidence, of course, all their talk about “restoration of the gospel” is pointless.

So what do we see? The doctrine of the Catholic Church has been maintained a unified whole for 20 centuries, the doctrines of Mormonism split in every direction after the death of its founder Joseph Smith. The doctrines of Protestantism likewise split in every direction after the Protestant revolt established a foothold.

The one true Church has exhibited doctrinal unity through 2,000 years and now has over a billion adherents. That is the Holy Catholic Church. Her source of unity is not the empty boasting of some self-appointed prophet but the Holy Spirit. Those who seek the truth need look no further. Herein is unity as given by the Holy Spirit. Outside is chaos. The sincere Mormon reader is urged to look at the claims of the Catholic Church and to prayerfully seek the true Christ where He may be found.

Conclusion

Mormonism has split into a variety of sects since its foundation less than two centuries ago. Such division bears the hallmark of a religion invented by man. Mormon founder Joseph Smith once boasted:

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” Joseph Smith, Mormon founder, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409

The followers of the Latter – Day Saints did run away from him, into over a hundred different sects.

The Catholic Church, in contrast, has preserved a supernatural unity throughout 2000 years, a unity promised not by man, but by the Holy Spirit.

http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/mormon/mormonsects.html 

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The Pattern of the Double-Bind in Mormonism 

In the fall of 1997, my son, Matt, and I discovered Eric Kettunen’s internet site, Recovery from Mormonism. Matt replied to Eric and posted his letter (#70); soon after, Matt started his own Higher Mormon site.

Until that time, we thought that we were alone in our discoveries about Mormonism and in leaving the church. As I read each Post, I was impressed with the similarities of personal experiences … and how they coincided with my own. I could see aspects of The Pattern in each Post and some explicitly contained all aspects. They filled in, and clarified more fully the stages of this Pattern in Mormonism for me.

Stage 1 Problem – Anxiety – Question – Fear
Stage 2-3 Agreement – Ambiguity 
Stage 4 Double-Bind – Reversal – Guilt/Fear
Stage 5 Denial – Humiliation – Dehumanized 
Stage 6 Accusation – Demonized – Guilt/Shame
Stage 7 Punishment – Compulsion/Subjection – “Black is White”
Stage 8 Bound – Love/Hate – “Voluntary” Union
Stage 9 Psychological Cannibalism – Suicide

 

 

Stage 4 Double-Bind – Reversal – Guilt/Fear

THE MAZE OF MORMONISM

Prologue to Stage 4. This stage is built upon stages 2 and 3. A promise was made and then not fulfilled. A “but” was then inserted as the reason for not receiving what was promised. The “but”-excuse then becomes a replacement for the promise; something was not done “right” by the would-be recipient who is now blamed for not being able to receive. Obedience to the “but” is now required to become worthy to receive.

Stage 4: The Double-Bind – “Guilty, Guilty” – Reversals – Rape of Mind
“You are damned if you do a thing,” and “You are damned if you don’t do it.”

Reversal: “Guilty, Guilty” – Rape of the Mind

One classic Double-Bind in Mormonism is in regards to receiving the “burning in the bosom,” the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, as a requirement for a testimony and sanctification. The promise is that if you pray sincerely you will receive a “burning in the bosom,” which is the manifestation that the Book of Mormon is true. If you don’t receive a “burning in the bosom,” you were not “sincere,” or there are other things you must do to be “worthy” of receiving it. This is the “Yes, but” stage; “Yes, you prayed, but……” The “but” then, becomes the focal point, the “hook.” It becomes “the carrot on the end of a stick” that can never be reached and becomes the means for your being judged “guilty” for your inability to work hard enough to “get it.” This leads into the blatant Double-Bind, which says:

If you don’t obey the “But-things,” you will be “guilty” of not being “sincere,” not trying hard enough.

If you do obey the “But-things,” you are “guilty” because you still haven’t received the “burning in the bosom,” which you would have received had you done them properly.

At this point many other suggestions are given to help you “earn,” through work, what was promised you if you were only “sincere” and had worked hard enough. You now need “help” in order to prepare yourself to be made “worthy” of receiving this “gift.” More “buts” are issued, as “helps,” and the fact that you are outnumbered makes you feel that “I am the only one who doesn’t get it” … you think that “if I work hard enough I will not be the only one who can’t ‘get it.'” The truth is, the many others, also, “don’t get it,” i.e., they have been caught in the same maze. The irony is that the ones who “can’t get it” are the ones who are sincere, and authentic … the ones who are earnestly trying to keep the integrity of their own minds. (See Post #19 below.)

This leads to another Dilemma:

We are told we must live by faith alone, in a non-physical, i.e., a non-brain, non-rational, mental state. At the same time, we are told that the sign of the physical “burning in the bosom” is proof of the Book of Mormon, the necessary confirmation of its being true. The irony is the reverse. A “burning in the bosom” only happens in the real world as an extension of a true, physical brain-perception leading to a rational result. It does not occur when our individual perceptions and our brain are not involved.

This is a Double-Bind:

If you do have faith and relinquish your brain, you cannot, in reality, reach a confirmation of a truth. The means have been taken away.

If you don’t have faith, and rely on your brain, you will not find the confirmation of the truth of something that is false.

In both cases, you will be judged “guilty” of not receiving the “burning in the bosom.” Again, Momonism juxtaposes opposites, pits them against each other, and then, subtly uses the opposite (reason) for the proof of faith … which is doomed to fail.

The Binder divides, pitting faith and reason against each other, and by that means, conquers. Reason has to be the enemy of faith, which in the Double-Bind is necessary, but not to be seen … it becomes the Satan that is there, yet … is not there. The Mormon Apostle, Boyd P. Packer said that reason is the enemy of God, and a state of war has been declared against it. He says, “In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary… In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it.” (From his talk: Do not spread disease germs!) The Closed System is “one-sided” (only non-brain faith is allowed). On the one hand, it turns its back on reason, the Open System; on the other hand, it claims “reason” in “lip service.” The dual personality in Mormonism is the “Yes,” reason, “But,” at the same time, it is “non-reason.”

This is why members “fail” to receive the “gift” of confirmation: they are sincere! They are relying on their own true perceptions, the means to reason and Self-control, which is a brain related activity. The reason more “work” is demanded of individuals who “fail” is that their minds have not yet been “converted” to the upside-down world of programmed “Yes, but”-thinking and the feelings that are attached to that view. When this is not seen, the means of survival in the real world are gradually eroded making us totally dependent and compliant to a fabricated idea that is designed, step by step, to dehumanize those who are enticed into it unknowingly.

It will be helpful to know that each step, or stage, is connected by a “hook;” the transitions between each is very subtle. In this case, the “hook” is the “but.” In each stage, once the “hook” is accepted, it becomes the connecting link to the next one. This is the insidious nature of The Pattern.

The Double-Bind as Experienced by Women in Mormonism

Guilt – Reversal
(A very common Double-Bind is when it is used to coerce the bearing of testimonies.)

“The last straw was drawn when they expected me to offer my testimony. The missionaries had taught me that a person should create their own prayers, as opposed to repeating prayers as the catholics do. ….That Sunday, however, after a few members had recited their chorus line (using the same set of words), it appeared everybody’s eyes were on me. I did not get up. Immediately following the closing prayer, the missionary came to shake my hand and said, very loudly, ‘we need our friend here to give her testimony.’

Her Double-Bind:
If she did bear her testimony, she would be labeled “good.” She would, however, in reality, be guilty of going against herself.

If she didn’t bear her testimony, she would be labeled “bad.”

She would be going against the church and her “voluntary” commitment that must be confirmed over and over again … “guilty.”

Post #16. See: Stage 1, Stages 2-3, Post #16.

(The Double-Bind is always FOR the BINDER, and AGAINST the BOUND, the individual Self. It is reinforced through repetition until there is no longer a Self to go against; the mind then is silenced into obedience and is labeled “good.”)

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear
“After baptism I continued to ask questions …. Being an orphan, “I asked them (the missionaries) about illegitimate orphans. They said that orphans were less valiant in the pre-existence. They were not born into homes where they would have parents and it was because of how they lived in the pre-existence. I felt sick to my stomach. I knew that if I had been taught that belief before baptism I would never have joined the church. Now that I was a member I figured that if I became the very best Mormon I could be I would win God’s favor and He would forgive me for being less valiant in the pre-existence. I hoped I could clean the slate for I never wanted to come face to face with God and feel His disappointment because I had been less valiant in the pre-existence. I was always afraid to ask if God had forgiven me for what I had done in the pre-existence and how I could ask for forgiveness when I didn’t know what it was I did. Or, was I suppose to be asking for forgiveness for not being valiant but valiant in what? How could I know? So I just kept trying to be a good Mormon.” (Italics, mine.)

Her Double-Bind: Guilt/Fear.
She would be damned if she did remain a Mormon.
It would be against herself, her own perceptions. (“Guilty)

She would be damned if she didn’t remain a Mormon.

She would (1) not be valiant in this life; (2) she would forfeit her chance to work out her “repentence” for not being “valiant” in the pre-existence, plus, (3) she would then be denied entrance into the Celestial Kingdom in the next life. (She would have failed in her past life, her present life and therefore, her future life: “Guilty, Guilty, Guilty.”)
Post #22-1, #37. See Stage 1, 2-3. #22-1, #37.

Double-Bind – Guilt
“Right after we were married, our stake president wanted to discuss sex with us. He told us that rather than continue the old approach of inquiring into every prurient thought, the church would leave it to our discretion what sexual practices were permissible. …This …coming from an old guy we hardly knew who had but weeks before been asking my husband about masturbation. It was also too little, too late, for resurrecting the idea that sex between married people is okay. Being told to be fruitful and multiply is one thing, but after years of being told that sex is forbidden, evil, unclean, and transforms the woman into some revolting thing like “used gum” or a “half-eaten cookie,” it is unrealistic to think that normal sexual functioning could result from such constant negative conditioning.”

The Double-Bind:
You are damned if you do have sex.

Sex is forbidden, evil, and unclean; the woman is like a gardenia, once it has been touched it turns brown, and can never return to its white purity. “Evil”

You are damned if you don’t have sex.

You are commanded to have sex … to have as many children as you can; this is “Good.” At the same time you are “Evil,” because you break the first forbidden sex-commandment.
Post #43, See: Stage 1, #43.

Rape of the Mind and Body – Double-Bind – Guilt and Fear

(The following is the cruelest use of the Double-Bind of all these posts … not with an adult, but with a totally defenseless child.)

“My father was in jail for domestic abuse against my mother. My mother turned to the church for financial help because she was trying to raise me, my sister, and my brother on her own. She did have a job at a nursing home, but it wasn’t enough to cover food. The Bishop agreed to help her, providing that she would clean the church. Just a few light duties: washing the windows and vacuuming, mostly. I was in charge of vacuuming. My mom had a key to the church and I would go over there when she was at work and make sure that it was all vacuumed every Saturday so that it would be ready for Sunday. (She was only 7 years old.)

My experience all started when I ran into a counselor in the bishopric. On that particular day, I remember being very upset because I was constantly being teased by the other kids because my dad was in jail. The counselor sat me down on his lap in the chapel and asked me to tell him why I was crying. He was so kind! So wonderful! This was a man of God wanting to know about ME! I told him everything. I trusted him and was really happy for the attention! I went home that day very happy and grateful for my new friend.”

(Gradually, each Saturday, this counselor began subtly to molest her. She was confused, but really didn’t understand or question it) “because, after all — he was a member of the bishopric. I was extremely uncomfortable with this behavior, but he always told me that I was “special.” And that he loved me like I was his own little girl. I should never tell, because that would break the promises we had made to each other in the church. ….Once I told my mom that I didn’t want to clean the church anymore, she told me that if I didn’t then I would be responsible for the church taking food away from our family. Did I really want to do that? NO. I couldn’t handle it.” (The molestation increased until eventually there were more than three penetrations by this counselor.) “I just kept thinking it MUST be okay because come Sunday, he would be sitting up there on the stand and wink at me once in awhile, or lead the opening remarks and after all, this was a man called of God. If God thought that it was okay, then it must be okay.” ….(After her baptism and in the chapel for her confirmation, this counselor stood nearby with his eyes closed, and his head bowed. She was very disturbed. The next Saturday, she tried to resist him and he roughly forced her. Fortunately, her family moved shortly after that.)

This 7 year-old child had not only to contend with one Double-Bind, but two.

Double-Bind #1.
If she did tell anyone: The counselor had told her that she would be breaking the promise that they had made in God’s church.

If she didn’t tell anyone: He would be free to continue his molestation of her.

Double-Bind #2.
If she didn’t go to the church every Saturday to vacuum: Her family wouldn’t have enough food to eat.

If she did go to the church: She would be subject to more abuse from the counselor.
Post #61.

* * *

The Double-Bind every member encounters in the Temple is:

You will be damned if you do speak of the “sacred” oaths and penalties …. (made without prior knowledge) …. outside the temple.

You go against your “voluntary” oath, and against the Binder.

You are damned if you don’t speak of them.

You go against yourself; you are silenced through Fear of punishment
and “Guilt.”

* * *

“I didn’t say anything to anyone because your not supposed to discuss those things outside the temple, and I felt strange bringing up the question in the celestial room. That was not the time to question anyone. ….I was never prepared for that (the penalties), but my mom and dad were there, so I thought they understood everything and it was something they did all the time.”Post #33.

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear.
Another way to express the Double-Bind in Mormonism, is described by this Post.

“Their (Mormonism) treatment of homosexuals seeking help is appalling. While I am not gay, I was involved with a gay member of the church, and the hell he was put through–even as he begged for help–was appalling. Instead of self-acceptance for EVERY member, the church teaches conditional love:

“If you do this and this and this, the church/God will love you and find you worthy.”

(If it is in the interest of the Binder, it will be against the self, the individual … then, it is “good.”)

“If you do not do this and this, you are damned for all time–starting here and starting now.”
(If it is for your Self, or an individual, it is against the Binder; you are then, “evil.”)
Post #69 See: Stage 2-3, #69.

Note:
The Mormon Apostle, Boyd K. Packer says, “We must be one-sided, all facing one-way.” … towards the organization (the Closed System), not towards the individual. “It is critical that all of us work together and put aside personal interests.” He refers to individuals as exceptions that take the church away from the many others who are in more need than the few. The church’s plan for the membership is simplication and reduction, for the general welfare of all, not the particular; all members are to be reduced to the lowest common denominator; individuals not keeping up with the herd are expendable. The other word for them is pariah, an outcast.

The Double-Bind as Experienced by Men in Mormonism

Double-Bind – Fear
“I’ve removed my web page. I’ve chosen an alias because I’m still trying to find a way to bring my page back. (He had left the church and was stating his opinion on his web site.) It was my mistake for using my real name. I felt that to do otherwise would be cowardly. I guess the joke’s on me. …… the members (of the church) in my parents area started to mobilize. My parents were harrassed by people they’ve gone to church with for over 20 years. Instead of exhibiting Christian-type values such as comforting them for the loss of a son from Mormonism, they received emotional blackmail instead. My father’s health started to suffer as a result of it.”

If he did use his real name, his family (who were still members of the church) would be harrassed to the point of injury.

If he didn’t use his real name, he would be false to himself by concealing his identity.
Post #2 See: Stages 2-3, #2

Double-Bind – Fear/Guilt
“My earliest memories of the church, while not necessarily negative, are not really positive either. They are sort of bland; null, if you will. What I do remember are impressions of not seeing what everyone else seemed to be seeing, and feeling left out as a result. I would sit through the meetings, wondering if there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t get up in front of the whole congregation and spout the same platitudes that my peers did. What prevented me from thinking and speaking as the others around me?

“My father always called me “Mister Blunt” because I was unfailingly honest in my appraisals of people and situations. This got me into trouble more than once over the years. But, in this context, I could not testify to something which I did not really feel.

“The years passed, …. The same lack of feeling was present at my ordination, and so on through my teen years….I did the things that I was told to do, for to disobey my dad would bring swift retribution. I was always the “dutiful son.” I just figured that I didn’t feel anything because I wasn’t “worthy” for some strange reason or other.”
Post #19. See Stages 2-3. #19.

The 13th Article of Faith in Mormonism says:: “We believe in being honest, true …..” However,

This young man was damned if he was honest.
His honest appraisals were construed to be false; he was “bad” if he told the truth.

He was damned if he wasn’t honest;
He would be going against his own integrity; he would be “good” only if he lied.

Because Mormonism is a Closed System,”one-sided,” there can only be one view, that of the Binder, which leaves out reason, choice and universal principles. Lip service only is given to the words “honest” and “true,” as if they were being applied in the universal, rational sense. New converts are attracted by the label “truth” and “universal principles” … the “Yes,” we believe in being honest, true ….” Later, the “meat,” i.e., the church’s true definitions replace the universal. The universal principle of being true has to do with the individual being true to himself and with his fellowman. In Mormonism, the Church replaces the individual’s identity, converting the possession of “truth” to the Church, i.e., the individual disappears into the Body Politic of the Church which contains all “truth.” The thinking has already been done for all its members.

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear
“Charles, a teen ager, … mentally retarded … who clearly didn’t know right from wrong … had been baptized … his family were not Mormons. I didn’t understand how he could have made a rational decision to be baptized into the Mormon Church, but there he was-an Aaronic priesthood holder. One day Charles told me something I will never forget. Something that really sums up Mormonism. He said that he had read some “anti-Mormon” literature which caused a lot of doubts to enter his mind. He then visited and sought counsel with the bishop. Surprisingly, the bishop did not tell Charles to stop reading “anti-Mormon” material. Instead he told Charles to read 15 minutes of “anti-Mormon” material, and then read 15 minutes of the Book of Mormon or other church approved material. After having read both,

Charles was to determine which of the two made him “feel” good.

Since the “anti-Mormon” material would obviously cause doubt and bad feelings, it was false.

Since the “pro-Mormon” material would make Charles feel good, it was true.

This was an exercise in “truth detection” as given by our bishop…. discern truth with your feelings, not your mind.”
Post #28. See: Stage 1, 2-3, #28.

(The means by which this Double-Bind could be seen, or by which a rational choice could be made, was not there for Charles, nor is it there for any member who can’t, or does not, use reason.)

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear
(The following is the Double-Bind experienced by members when they consider leaving the church. Most have members of their family who are still active participants in Mormonism and have all been staunch members from birth.)

“I will probably receive harsh criticism from your other readers for not “being true to myself and others,” explaining to those I love my current beliefs. However, it’s just not that easy when almost everyone I know … is and has been a faithful LDS member and proponent their entire life.” Post # 34

The Double-Bind:
To stay in Mormonism, aids the Binder, and is against your Self … and your family.
To leave Mormonism, divorces you from your family, and you become an “outcast.”

Double-Bind #1 – Guilt/Fear
“About seven years ago, there was a PBS documentary done on the LDS Church and its missionaries. Several returned missionaries admitted that they did not “know” the church was true, even while they had said they did as a missionary. ….one of the LDS secrets is that there is a great deal of peer pressure on missionaries to say “I know,” whether or not they do. I would note that while I lied, I did so while feeling caught by my obligation to serve God. I had been taught that it was my duty to serve God as missionary, that “every worthy young man should serve a mission.” I had been taught those who prayed sincerely and in righteousness would receive a testimony and if they had not, one chief reason would be that they were not recognizing the answer God was giving.”

Double-Bind:
If you lie, you are “good.”
You go against yourself.

If you tell the truth, you are “bad.”
You go against the Binder.

Double-Bind #2 “Mental Illness” – “Delusions of Grandeur”

“Further, some suggest that I was emotionally ill. There is no doubt that I was. The only question is what was the cause and the exact nature of my “mental illness.” They suggest that, in a mild form, I was suffering delusions of grandeur, caused by my close association with that other fellow, Brad Thompson, who happened to be my EQ president when I first came to BYU. He also, in his own way, suffered delusions of grandeur. In a way, this suggestion is no doubt true. The only question is as to whether Mormonism itself feeds such delusions.”
Post #38 See: Stage 2-3, #38

(This is another version of the promise that you “will receive …..” (fill in any blessings “given” you), then when it isn’t fulfilled you are accused of wanting to be “the center of the world.”)

Double-Bind:
If he didn’t have faith that his blessings would be fulfilled, he would be faithless and “guilty.”

If he did believe they would be fulfilled, but they were not … he was guilty of “suffering delusions of grandeur” in thinking that he could expect what others had not yet received.

Double-Bind – Guilt
“Free Agency as taught by the church: “I am free to choose good or evil.” In practice, Mormon free agency is a sort of bondage. It amounts to:

“If I obey authority and do not think for myself then I have “chosen” Good.”
“If I do not obey authority and think for myself then I have chosen Evil.”
Post #70.

http://www.exmormon.org/pattern/stage4.htm

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God the Father was Married to Mary (His daughter)

Most Mormons are unaware of the fact that early LDS leaders taught that God the Father was actually married to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Brigham Young, second President, and Prophet of the LDS Church stated:

This matter was a little changed in the case of the Savior of the world, the Son of the living God. The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband. On this account infidels have called the Savior a bastard. This is merely a human opinion upon one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty. That very babe that was cradled in the manger, was begotten, not by Joseph, the husband of Mary, but by another Being. Do you inquire by whom? He was begotten by God our heavenly, father (Journal of Discourses, 11:268; emphasis added)

LDS Apostle and General Authority, Orson Pratt explains clearly:

but it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called the Only Begotten of the Father; that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas, both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father the spirit having been begotten in heaven many ages before the tabernacle was begotten upon the earth. The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father.

Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father: we use the term lawful Wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully. It would have been unlawful for any man to have interfered with Mary, who was already espoused to Joseph; for such a heinous crime would have subjected both the guilty parties to death, according to the law of Moses. But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure; He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself; or to prescribe rules for his own conduct.

It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).

Orson Pratt agrees with Young when he says, “the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. Keep in mind Pratt was a Mormon Apostle he was a General Authority of the LDS Church.

The worst part of this teaching is: in LDS theology, all of human-kind are the literal off-spring (by sexual relations) of God the Father and one of His wives in heaven. Thus, God the Father married Mary, His own daughter, and begot Jesus by her. But, if Mormons say that they disagree with this pagan teaching they are, to be sure, repudiating a LDS Prophet and Apostle as false teachers.

http://www.christiandefense.org/mor_nat_mary.htm

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Laina Farhat-Holzman: Closed societies conceal abuse of power

Posted: 12/13/2008 01:36:56 AM PST

We have had a splendid election and see how governmental power works in this country. There are many power centers, much citizen participation, and a snoopy press to investigate abuse of power — essential in preserving democracy.

However, there are groups around the world that believe in variations of “the philosopher king” or even more frightening: “the great and good leader” Fuhrer. Any time you feel like complaining about our system of government, take a look at how absolute power works — and how secrecy protects it.

• The Catholic Pedophile Priest problem: Secrecy in an organization as large, respected and ancient as the Catholic Church hid for decades a problem that needed publicity. Celibacy played a role in attracting young men into a priesthood — respected by parishioners — where some found their power over children both sexual and irresistible. The issue was finally forced into the public, and the Church has apologized and paid for its bad oversight and has apparently cleaned up the problem.

• Renegade Mormons: The secretive fundamentalist Mormon cults that keep to themselves, defy the laws against polygamy, and have benefited from the benign neglect of state authorities Utah, Arizona, Montana. “Elders” abuse not only grown women, but young girls and some boys as well. The courage of a handful of former victims opened up this scandal and some of the cult leaders are in prison.

• Messianic Cults: Jim Jones, founder of Jonestown in Guyana, began as a much-admired social activist who appeared to believe in a color-blind community. When authorities looked harder at his activities, he took his congregation to a “paradise” in the tropics. There they found equality all right: equal sexual abuse men, women, children and equality to work as slaves. Publicity and a fact-finding visit of a California congressman opened up the horrors and Jones ended his life as a mass murderer cyanide drinks or bullets for all.

Another crackpot cult was that of David Koresh in Texas, which went down in flames when finally taken on by the authorities. For years, nobody knew what horrors were going on there. He was a sexual bully who inflicted equal opportunity rape on all ages and both sexes. How he convinced them that he was a messiah is still a mystery or a tribute to their credulity.

• Orthodox Jewish Utopian Communities: A New York assemblyman exposed rampant child molestation among members of the insular world of Orthodox Jews in a radio broadcast last summer. Since then, dozens of people came forward with stories about being molested as children. In such closed communities a very small percentage of American Jews, sex abuse cases have been handled quietly in Orthodox rabbinical courts. They did not want publicity or the authorities to be involved. Well, now they are.

• A serious Muslim Family Problem: Cults such as al-Qaida and their ilk always have sexual problems. Societies that isolate women from men breed sexual obsession. Muslim boys have often been victims of sexual abuse by grown men — amplified in military situations where recruits are victims of their officers. But abuse is most horrible against girls, many of whom are married off at puberty. Wife and child beating have only begun to go public in such emancipated societies as modern Europe, where village Muslims have migrated from Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, and North Africa. Politically correct officials have finally recognized that they have a problem.

Another serious Muslim problem not just militant cults is willingness to demonstrate and riot over the Danish cartoons, but not over the thugs who attacked Mumbai in the name of Islam. Where is the “religion of peace?”

• Animal Liberation Front: This particularly terrorist cult destroyed two vehicles they thought belonged to a medical researcher at UCLA. They had the wrong cars. They have also threatened medical researchers’ homes. Secrecy protects them.

Happily, we live in a society that is almost embarrassingly open. Nobody should have total control over others because power can abuse and absolute power is a blueprint for horror.

Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author. Contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_11225128

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Brigham Young Student Art Project Censored For Proving Existence of Gays
Posted by Lacy Hart 12/09/2008 09:56 AM

Gay people exist.

Does such a well-known fact offend you? Are you suddenly going into spastic convulsions whilst lamenting the thought that somewhere out there men and women exist who prefer companionship from someone of their own gender?

Well, if you’re a member of Brigham Young’s homosexuality-intolerant administration, chances are you’re already angrily pounding a response into the comment box below.

Last month, a BYU student named Michael unveiled his fine art portrait project on his blog.

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The premise:

These are some of the final images for my fine art photography project. These portraits are of students of BYU who identify themselves as homosexual and a person that supports them. With all of the dissenting views regarding this topic in the past few months I have felt very strongly about this project. The portraits will be shown in pairs. The idea is that there are gay and lesbian individuals not only in the Mormon culture, but also at BYU. I also chose to photograph someone who is a support to this person. This could be a family member or friend. This support person may also identify themselves as homosexual and both people may provide support to each other. I am not telling the viewer who identifies themselves as homosexual, because I hope the viewer will realize that placing a label with the portrait only creates divisions in our society and furthers stereotypes. It is my hope this body of work can be a vehicle for tolerance, support, love and change.

As it turns out, Michael’s project is “offensive,” because it proves that—gasp—homosexuality isn’t a myth and/or celebrates something that is considered deplorable by Mormons.

And so, the administration quietly pulled it from the display at the fine arts department.

I know it’s Brigham Young, so my expectations for this so-called institution of “higher learning” should be appropriately tempered, but…

What’s next, BYU? Censoring the yearbook pictures of students identified to be gay?

http://www.collegeotr.com/college_otr/brigham_young_student_art_project_censored_for_proving_existence_of_gays_16521

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Legislators’ anti-gay sentiments come back to haunt Mormons
Paul Rolly

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 12/05/2008 10:13:14 PM MST

Had the Utah Legislature not balked so vehemently at any hate-crime legislation that included protections for gays and lesbians, the state might now have better tools to prosecute those committing hate crimes against members and property of the LDS Church.

That’s the irony emerging from the ugly aftermath of California’s Proposition 8 vote banning gay marriage in that state. Because members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the urging of their ecclesiastical leaders, played such a prominent role with their money and time in the passing of the proposition, their church is now a target.

Church services have been disrupted by protesters, members have been blocked from entering churches, glue has been poured into the locks of church buildings, glass doors of churches have been shattered by BB guns, LDS temples have received packages containing mysterious white powder that proved harmless, and church buildings and signs have been spray-painted.

But the perpetrators, if caught and charged in Utah, don’t face penalty enhancements for targeting a specific group for harassment. That is because a majority of Utah legislators, not wanting to appear to be coddling people who are gay, refused to include them in hate-crime legislation as a special class.

The best that LDS victims of hate crimes can hope for in Utah is that their suffering be considered an aggravating factor when judges sentence a perpetrator and parole boards determine how much of the guilty party’s sentence must be served before granting parole.

Legislators could have included a penalty enhancement for a hate crime. If, for example, a crime normally would be charged as a third-degree felony, it could be bumped to a second-degree felony if committed against a protected class.

Indeed, that was the model of hate-crimes legislation that proponents tried for a decade to pass. But in order to constitutionally justify a penalty enhancement, which most states include in such laws, protected groups must be defined.

That was always the stumbling block on Capitol Hill. For a hate-crime enhancement, it had to be shown the victim was targeted because of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability or — the bill killer — sexual preference.

Rep. David Litvak, D-Salt Lake City, sponsored the bill that finally passed in 2007. He acknowledges it is not as tough as it could have been, but the compromise was necessary to get it through the Legislature. There are no protected groups defined in the marshmallow law and prosecutors must show the crime had a negative effect on a whole class of people before it can be considered an aggravating factor.

Many of the legislators who fought against the hate-crimes bills expressed concern about discrimination against Mormons.

A few years ago, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Provo, led the move to force a legislative audit of the University of Utah’s medical school because of speculation that male Mormon applicants were being discriminated against. So now, because of the anti-gay sentiments expressed at the Mormon-majority Legislature, when LDS Church members actually are singled out for harassment or discrimination, their tormentors get a pass, pretty much, even if their actions can be proven to be hate crimes.

LDS Church leaders did not oppose including sexual orientation in the earlier versions of the bill. When the church issued a statement to that effect, Gayle Ruzicka, head of the right-wing Eagle Forum, said the church was implicitly opposing the legislation because its statement did not say it supported the language.

That prompted a church spokesman to say that the Eagle Forum does not speak for the LDS Church.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_11149778

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Cult documents to be housed at MBTS

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 | by Tammi Reed Ledbetter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–When James Walker hears of another person converted to faith in Christ after years of deception in a cult, he rejoices at the news. But if that new believer is eager to discard newsletters and books filled with the false teaching that once entrapped him, Walker is likely to respond, “Not so fast!”

What is reasonably regarded as harmful literature can serve to enlighten those who study Christian apologetics. Former practitioners are just one source of materials that Walker and the staff of Watchman Fellowship acquire to build an extensive library of primary source material.

Over the past 30 years, materials from countless cultic groups that range from the New Age Movement to the Unification Church have been collected by scouring yard sales, used bookstores and family files.

Because making such materials available to seminary students will help equip future ministers recognize cultic deception and counter it with a Christian witness, Watchman Fellowship in placing part of its collection at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

“Our institution’s interest in the Watchman library stems from our desire to understand and reach cultic enthusiasts with the Gospel,” Thor Madsen, Midwestern’s academic dean, said. “We trust that expertise gained from careful research in these materials will serve that end.”

Such preparation is essential in a postmodern world in which the desire to find something to believe in remains strong.

“We might suppose that as America gives up Christianity, it will default to naturalism, which rejects all forms of religious belief,” Madsen said. “What we actually see, however, is a turning to all sorts of do-it-yourself, garage-band worldviews, prime examples of which are studied by the Watchman Fellowship.”

It was the frustration of being inadequately trained to answer the Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to his doorstep that motivated Watchman founder David Henke to search for literature on the subject, contacting every author or organization for which he could find an address. In 1978 he became a full-time missionary to cults. The organization expanded to staff offices in eight states, involving many ministers with Southern Baptist ties.

Having been a fourth-generation Mormon, Walker walked away from serving as a deacon, teacher and priest in 1976, later studying theology at Criswell College in Dallas. Ten years after joining the staff of Watchman Fellowship, he became president in 1994, developing curriculum materials and leading conferences in local churches and theological schools.

“Our goal is to equip the body of Christ for discernment and evangelism, to educate the community to the dangers of religious cults and to evangelize those lost in cultic deception,” Walker said.

He advises incorporating two elements for an effective witness to someone trapped in a cult: love and authority. An expression of personal concern and interest in the individual as a person, not just a cult member, communicates that love. Then a Christian relies upon the authority of God’s Word, illuminated by the Holy Spirit. By helping cult members recognize the control being exercised by a person or group and how their faith has been misplaced, they become more open to the Gospel.

Walker combines original cult source materials with witnessing manuals to teach Christians an easy, practical and effective method of opening the eyes of cult members.

Watchman Fellowship’s research library contains more than 35,000 volumes with about 10,000 files on cult-related issues. Original materials produced by groups such as the Church of Scientology, the New Age movement, Unification Church, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the holdings. Duplicate copies are being provided to Midwestern Seminary for use by students and other researchers.

“Our library eagerly anticipates the arrival of these new resources and we will find opportunities to share these resources with our students and the community,” librarian Craig Kubic said.
–30–
Tammi Reed Ledbetter is news editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN.

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=29451

 

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Why The LDS/Mormon Church Will NEVER Be Part Of The Body Of Christ
An answer to the efforts of people like Greg Johnson (Standing Together), Richard Mouw (Fuller Theological Seminary), Craig Hazen (Biola University), Ravi Zacharias (RZIM) and many others who are attempting to forge some kind of “Evangelicals And Mormons Together” alliance out of thin air
by Sandy Simpson, 10/26/05

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There has been a continuous effort, since the Evangelicals And Catholics Together (ECT) debaucle, to widen the definition of what Christianity is by those mentioned above, among many others. The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has an agenda to try to carry out the unbiblical mandates of the false apostles like C. Peter Wagner to “overthrow” the governments of the world and take over everything, which also means they have to manufacture “revival” where there is none and never has been. So in order to fulfill the false prophecies of the false prophets of the NAR, people involved in this heretical movement, like Richard Mouw, are waving their wands over the Mormons and dubbing them “Christian” to the consternation and embarrassment of Christians who understand the teachings of Mormonism that they cannot and will never give up.

So let’s put this whole sham of building bridges with the Mormons, on the way to another “ECT” type document, to rest for good. The Mormons will NEVER give up their “sacred texts”. Here are quotes to show how they view the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith from a few of their web sites. Notice that the Mormons don’t just have two “sacred” scriptures, the have four.

“The Book of Abraham is now included in “The Pearl of Great Price” and is one of the four Mormon sacred books, along with the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and The “Doctrine and Covenants”. (Mormonism – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), http://members.aol.com/browne/mormon.html)

The Bible is the only sacred book in the world today, breathed by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture (refering to the Bible) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Romans 16:25-27 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

None of the books that the Mormons call “sacred” except the Bible are, in fact, sacred. But the Mormons will NEVER give up their false scriptures because that would mean the end of their whole organization. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are seen as both equal “sacred” texts by Mormons.

“A Hermeneutic of Sacred Texts: Historicism, Revisionism, Positivism, and the Bible and Book of Mormon” (http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=32)

“An Ensign to All People: The Sacred Message and Mission of the Book of Mormon” (http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=15)

The Book of Mormon is called a “sacred chronicle” even though it is full of historical fabrications and lies, and has been proven so by many researchers.

“Though not a secular history of the Nephites per se, the Book of Mormon is a sacred chronicle or, to use Elder Boyd K. Packer’s language, “the saga of a message.”1 (Boyd K. Packer, “The Things of My Soul,” Ensign 16 (April 1986): 59., http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=29&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9ib29rb2Ztb3Jtb252aWV3LnBocA==)

Joseph Smith urged Mormons to immerse themselves in the Book of Mormon.

“The Prophet’s statement challenges all to immerse themselves in the Book of Mormon rather than to watch from the sidelines and just talk about this sacred record.” (The Most Correct Book: Why the Book of Mormon Is the Keystone Scripture, http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=98)

Notice that Joseph Smith is called “The Prophet” above. This brings us to the second damnable heresy of Mormonism, of which there are many. For a fuller detail on the false teachings of the cult of the LDS, go here for information.

LDS Church/Mormonism
http://www.letusreason.org/LDSdir.htm

The Mormons revere and follow a false prophet and heretic.

Joseph Smith’s statement, therefore, is a concise declaration that the Book of Mormon is the “most correct of any book” because it has the power to change individuals into more correct (Christlike) people. This change can only come because of better understanding Christ as the “keystone” figure of the Book of Mormon, and by applying the atonement, which embraces all of the “precepts” that bring one nearer to God. (The Most Correct Book: Why the Book of Mormon Is the Keystone Scripture, http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=98)

The fact that Joseph Smith calls the Book of Mormon the “most correct of any book” is not only false teaching, it is a lie. What does the Bible say about liars?

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Smith is viewed as a prophet on a par with the prophets of the Bible, in fact higher because he allegedly got a newer revelation from God for this “last dispensation”.

If the people of today were to ask, as men did in the Savior’s time, “Whence has this man (Joseph Smith) wisdom?” we unhesitatingly declare: “He received it from on High.” “Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that “Prophet and Seer” — Blessed to open the last dispensation; Kings shall extol him and nations revere.” (Joseph Smith: Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Address of President David O. McKay for the BYU Founders’ Day Exercises, October 6, 1941. Birgham Young University, Provo, UT., http://www.byu.edu/edlf/archives/mckay/41oct.html)

From my experience with Mormons in the Pacific Islands, the only way “kings extoll”, island leadership or “nations revere” Joseph Smith and the Mormon LDS Church is if they are paid off to do so, or given scholarships to BYU.

So the case is closed on Mormons being a part of the Body of Christ until the day they, as an organization, forsake their false scriptures and their false prophets and the ridiculous plans of people like Ravi Zacharias, Craig Hazen, Richard Mouw and Greg Johnson! If Mormons want to be saved they must confess thier sins, particularly the sins of being in a cult group, believing in another Jesus, another Spirit, another Gospel, and their false scriptures and false prophets.

Hey, we had to forsake sin and paganism to be born again. Why shouldn’t they?

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P.S. I predicted back in 1998 the progression that this ecumenical/interfaith compromise would take. For those of you interested, read that article here. Unfortunately it is all coming true like a bad dream.

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/mormonism.html

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Church releases first volume of ‘The Joseph Smith Papers’
December 1st, 2008 @ 5:27pm
By Carole Mikita

It is simply titled “The Joseph Smith Papers,” but there was nothing simple about gathering the materials that went into what historians for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are calling a landmark publication.

Before now, only a few historians, and certainly not everyday citizens, were able to examine Joseph Smith’s original 19th-century diaries and journals, which are now rather fragile.

This first volume includes those journal entries and much more during an important seven-year period.

Joseph Smith wrote in one of his journals: “I was very conscious that I had not kept the commandments, and I repented heartily for all my sins and transgression and humbled myself before him whose eyes are over all things.”

The year was 1835, and that one and several others are transcribed into the new book “The Joseph Smith Papers.” There is enough material for 30 volumes.

Gathering it has taken decades because many papers were scattered across the country. Richard E. Turley, Jr., assistant LDS Church historian, says, “We have sent teams out to gather these puzzle pieces, and they have brought them back, and we have carefully fitted them into place. So that by the time this series is complete, you’ll have as complete a picture of the man as we may be able to get during our lifetimes.”

Historians are commenting. Kenneth Minkema, from the Yale Divinity School, says, “‘The Joseph Smith Papers’ rank among the most significant projects in the history of American religion.”

“Joseph Smith has been one of the least accessible major figures in the history of American religion. ‘The Joseph Smith Papers’ will forever change that by producing a monumental critical edition of every document written, dictated or supervised by the Mormon prophet,” said Stephen Marini from Wellesley College

Professor Emeritus Jan Shipps at Indiana University-Purdue University says, “‘The Joseph Smith Papers’ are absolutely central to understanding and interpreting what happened.”

Historians call this important because not only does it focus on the big events in Joseph Smith’s life but also into his personality.

The book’s publisher has printed 12,000 copies, calling volume one unique. CEO of Deseret Book Sheri Dew says, “Created something that is very hard to do, and that is a work that appeals to and satisfies scholars and is also very commercially viable.”

Volume 1 is available at Deseret Book for $49.95. I am told they are going quickly.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=4948679

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“Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” Gordon B. Hinckley, LDS General Conference, Spring 2003

As Michael Carr noted in his essay “Is the LDS Church the One True Church” (See http://zarahemlacitylimits.com/essays/LosingBelief/one_true_church1.html), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Church”, the “Mormon Church”, the “LDS Church”) and many other religious faiths promote the idea that their way of approaching god is either the only legitimate way, or the best way.

The “one true church” idea is particularly influential within the Mormon Church. While the Catholics, for example, have that belief on their books, it is my perception that it has little effect on the average Catholic. However, the daily behaviour and worldview of the average faithful Mormon is heavily influenced by this idea.

As I have deconstructed my experience within the Mormon Church, I have tried to understand where this idea comes from and how it has affected me. For the moment, however, I wish to focus on one small, but important, aspect of this issue. That is, why would the “one true church” idea be of value to religious leaders who are trying to persuade their followers to continue to follow?

I began to wonder about this question years ago when I noticed the frequency with which Church members and leaders repeated to each other what I have come to call the “one true church mantra”. That is, “The Church is true.” This is shorthand within the Mormon community for the concept that the Mormon Church is god’s one and only true church on the face of the earth – the sole organization with god’s authority to perform the ordinances necessary to unite families in the hereafter and to gain entry into god’s domain, known as the celestial kingdom.

The one true church mantra is repeated regularly when Mormons gather. It is included in virtually every talk or lesson given during Mormon meetings, including the daily religious instruction that most Mormon teenagers receive through the Seminary program. Church members are taught that it should be included each time they state their beliefs (known in the LDS community as “bearing testimony”), and hence it is repeated by virtually everyone (including small children) who bears testimony at the monthly meetings held by Mormon congregations for that purpose. Mormon families are encouraged to bear this testimony to each other at family gatherings, including weekly Family Home Evenings and during the daily scripture study sessions that they are encouraged to hold. It is at least the subtext, if not the text, of many daily family prayers. It regularly finds its place into correspondence between close friends and family members. To test my instinct in that regard, I just opened the family letter that I received from my father and mother this morning, and found their testimony stated both implicitly and explicitly. The one true church mantra also plays a role in Mormon music, and must be stated as a belief by anyone who wishes to enter a Mormon temple, even for the purpose of simply attending the wedding of a family member. Most mormon missionaries express their testimony, including the belief that the Church is “true”, many times a day throughout the course of their missionary service. Etc. It is beyond doubt that great resources within the Mormon community are devoted to hammering this idea into the collective and individual Mormon psyche.

My study of sociology over the years has led me to conclude that when a message of this sort is given a prominent place within a group of people that it must play an important function. That function is often quite different from what those inside the organization, with a limited view of how it affects them, might think. It took me years, and a trip outside of the Mormon Church, to put my finger on the one true church idea’s function.

It is my view that the “one true church” concept sets up a false dichotomy that makes it easier for religious leaders to control their followers. For example, if the Mormon Church is either 100% god’s true church, or a fraud, and I have a good feeling about some of my experience with it, does that not mean that the rest (about which I don’t have a good feeling) must all be true? Does this not mean that I must give complete obedience to Church authorities, even though some of what they tell me to do makes me feel uneasy, or even bad? Does it not mean that some theory yet to be discovered, or one of the current crop that appear to have miniscule probability of predicting reality, must eventually save the day on the Book of Mormon’s historicity and the multitude of other “reality” problems the Church’s foundational stories have? In these and other ways, the one true church idea greatly aids the Mormon faithful to make the willing suspension of disbelief required to remain faithful.

The “black v. white” approach at the heart of the one true church concept also facilitates the Church’s system of conversion and belief maintenance. Church members and potential converts are told to read the Book of Mormon and that they will have a good feeling about it. This may occur simply because the Book of Mormon has some good things to say. In my case, which is typical, the process was helped along by the fact that most of my Mormon friends and relatives regularly told me that they had these good feelings, while for some reason I had not. This created an anxiety in me that grew over a period of years, and became acute as the time for me to commit to serve a mission approached, and my friends were making that commitment.

I accepted the idea that the Church must be completely true or completely false. I had been taught that from early childhood, and did not have a frame of reference within which I could question it. I also felt some good things when I read the Book of Mormon, and my anxiety started to dissipate as I experienced the nascent feeling that the book was “true”. The psychologists and brain architecture researchers tell us that the combination of the above elements is enough to create a minor epiphany, which is how I would describe the moment at which I was struck by the realization that the whole thing MUST BE TRUE! This experience became the unshakable bedrock on which my testimony stood. And how could the whole thing be false if I have felt something so good about it? That part can’t be false. And from there the true – false dichotomy led me to the conclusion that the whole thing must be true. The Church then encouraged me to express this belief, in the form of my testimony, on a regular basis in the fashion described above. This drilled my newfound belief deep into my subconscious. It is my view that the primary function of the LDS missionary program is just that: to engrain as deeply as possible the one true church mantra in the group of people traditionally the most likely to question the values of any group – young males.

And what about belief and its connection to guilt and from there to control? If the whole thing is true, then I am subject to a massive body of requirements each one of which is a source of guilt, and hence a control lever. If I feel at liberty to believe what I choose, most of my guilt goes away, and with it goes most of the Church’s ability to get me to do what it wants.

During my twenty-year plus tenure as a Mormon leader, I heard the terms “cafeteria style Mormons” or “cultural Mormons” used pejoratively to refer to members of the LDS Church who were not as obedient to leadership dictates as the leaders wished them to be. Such members are not as dedicated, obedient etc. as their “faithful” peers, and the leaders fear that such a lax attitude could spread like a form of cancer. This scares the leadership, as do intellectuals who talk openly about problems related to the Book of Mormon’s historicity and certain distasteful aspects of Joseph Smith’s history. In particular, the leaders fear those Mormons who are prepared to accept that the Book of Mormon contains some inspired writing, but that Joseph Smith made many mistakes while writing it that they are free to reject. If members of the Church feel free to reject some of what Joseph Smith said, they will surely feel free to reject the parts of what current leaders say that do not suit them. This is what the leaders most fear. This approach is a much greater threat to Church leadership than are rabid anti-Mormons.

Cultural Mormons do not do what they are told unless it makes sense, and hence they erode leadership authority. And if they are natural leaders, their attitudes are likely to affect the masses. The sheppard (if not the flock) is better off without such sheep. Hence when they are identified, they must at a minimum be silenced (as long as you are silent, you will be left alone but perhaps watched carefully), but preferably brought back into line. Those who will not get back into line are excommunicated, or as was the case with me, hand in their membership when talk of a “court of love” being held in their honour becomes serious.

To test the sensibility of the black v. white approach, try to think of any other aspect of life in which it would serve us well as a decision making model. Do we accept all of what any school of political thought tells us? How about parenting or child rearing theory? Relationship theory? Educational theory? Economics? Medicine? I cannot think of any other aspect of life in which I would be comfortable accepting the ideas that come from a single source as being my sole guide. Religious belief, in my life, had been established as a unique phenomenon, respecting which all of the rules that governed the remainder of my life were suspended. My acceptance of the one true church concept is what made this possible.

The one true church concept broke down for me as I became aware of numerous other religious belief systems that controlled their followers in precisely the way I was controlled by mine, using the same tools. The theories accepted by these communities were contradictory to those accepted in my community. However, the nature of leadership control was much the same. For many years, I assumed that against all odds my community had the truth and all others were mistaken. As I gradually became aware of the errors that Mormon leadership had made over the years, the lights began to come on. My community was as errant as the others. But, the leaders of my community had much in common with the other religious leaders for whom I had been taught to have disdain. And Mormonism’s current leaders were the ones who set up the system designed to keep faithful Mormons, such as me, from understanding their own religious heritage through its history, and hence from understanding the nature of the errors Mormon leaders have made. Guess toward whom the disdain I was taught to have has now been turned?

Here is a more extensive quote from President Hinkley’s talk that is referred to above. There is nothing unusual about it. Countless others of a similar nature could be found. I use this one because it is the most recent I could find.

The book of Revelation declares: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). …

Each of us has to face the matter – either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

This is classic scare/control message, particularly when linked to the rest of LDS dogma in the manner indicated above. It is my view that Church and how it operates make the most sense when viewed through a control/authority paradigm. As soon as I began to use that paradigm to try to understand how the Church has influenced me, things came into focus and I was able to both find the threads that unite my past experience and predict with a high probability of success where things were headed. The “one true church” idea is near the foundation of the LDS control and authority oriented system of religious belief.

As one writer I recently read put it, the question is whether we have religious faith, or whether religious faith has us. If we are well enough informed about what our faith is and how it works in our lives to use it to help us live a full and joyous life, then we have religious faith. If, on the other hand, our beliefs are used by others to control us, then our faith has us. Those others need not be current religious leaders. It is possible to surrender our free will to people who wrote books thousands of years ago that purport to tell us what we should do, or even to abstractions of our own invention.

I have resolved to do what I can to ensure that from now on I have faith, instead of being had by it.

http://zarahemlacitylimits.com/essays/one_true_church.html

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An ex-Mormon explains how a church with mostly good values can promote hatred and intolerance.

Mormon Homophobia: Up Close and Personal
By Sheldon Rampton, Center for Media and Democracy. Posted December 3, 2008.

I recently wrote about the PR nightmare facing the Mormon Church as a result of the prominent role it played this year promoting Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California. At the urging of church leaders, Mormons spent about $20 million on the effort, which probably provided the margin that enabled the measure to pass.

There is some irony in the fact that Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence, who led the Proposition 8 grassroots campaign for the church in California, has a gay son, Matthew, who publicly resigned from the church to protest its anti-gay campaign. Matthew says that after his father’s participation in “two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it’s impossible not to feel attacked.”

Adding to the irony, Gary Lawrence has a new book out, titled How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image. His advice to Mormons who want to be better liked is, “Simply be yourself” — advice that drew a sharp response from one blogger, who pointed out that being yourself “is a poor prescription for winning friends when ‘who you are’ is someone willing to lead a campaign to strip your own child of his civil rights.”

The anti-Mormon backlash continues, and some people who have Mormon friends are rising to their defense, including Kaliya Hamlin (also known as “Identity Woman” for her work on issues related to online identity). In a recent blog post, Hamlin complains that “Web mobs” are engaged in “blacklisting and subsequent public harassment and targeting of specific people and specific religious groups for their beliefs and support of ‘Yes on Prop. 8.’ ” She continues:

I take this personally, I have and do work with people who are Mormon — when I played water polo in university and in the Identity field). I respect the LDS church and the people in it — they have good values. …

I think what is going on with the blacklists that are directly targeting people in their private life is wrong. I think targeting specific religious institutions for protest is wrong.

These people and these religious institutions are not propagating HATE, they are just not agreeing that marriage can be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. This is a cultural difference of opinion.

With all due respect, I think Hamlin fails to understand the intensity, seriousness, and yes, hatred underlying Mormon opposition to gay rights. I actually have more personal experience with Mormons than she does. I was raised in a Mormon family and even served a two-year Mormon mission in Japan, from 1976 to 1978. Although I no longer believe in or practice its teachings, my extended family includes many active members. It’s true that individual Mormons are mostly nice people — as generous, thoughtful, intelligent and considerate as people from any other religion or belief system. Unfortunately, it is actually possible to possess all of those positive attributes and still promote hatred and intolerance.

From my missionary days, I still own a copy of The Miracle of Forgiveness, a book by Spencer W. Kimball, who was president (and “prophet”) of the Mormon Church from 1973 until his death in 1985. The church still promotes Kimball’s book and supports its beliefs regarding homosexuality, which he outlined in a chapter titled “Crime Against Nature.” It states:

Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches. It is embarrassing and unpleasant as a subject for discussion, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved in it, it is discussed in this chapter. …
[P]erhaps as an extension of homosexual practices, men and women have sunk even to seeking sexual satisfaction from animals. …

All such deviations from normal, proper heterosexual relationships are not merely unnatural but wrong in the sight of God. Like adultery, incest and bestiality, they carried the death penalty under the Mosaic law. … The law is less severe now, and so regrettably is the community’s attitude to those grave sins — another evidence of the deterioration of society. In some countries the act per se is not even illegal. This “liberalizing” process is reflected in the United States by communities of homosexuals in our larger cities who sponsor demonstrations and draw up petitions to this end, who are formally organized, and who even print their own perverted journals. All this is done in the open, to the detriment alike of impressionable minds, susceptible urges and our national decency.

Mormon abhorrence of homosexuality is so strong that in the 1970s the church even experimented with aversion therapy at Brigham Young University, setting up a center where it tried to “cure” homosexuality. The so-called therapy consisted of taping electrodes to the groin, thigh, chest and armpits of gay men and subjecting them to painful electric shocks while showing them pornographic photographs of nude men. The treatments, which were overseen by the head of the university’s psychology department, were thought to be “effective in reducing homosexual responsiveness.” I happen to know someone who underwent this treatment — in his case voluntarily, because he was desperately trying to comply with Mormon teachings. However, some cases have been reported of people who were subjected to aversion therapy against their will or who were pressured into it with threats of expulsion from college. The experience left many with psychological and physical scars, and at least two men reportedly committed suicide shortly after undergoing treatment.

Hamlin says that Mormons have “good values.” However, Mormon values are precisely what are on display in Kimball’s writings and the actions of the aversion therapists at BYU. And they are core values of Mormonism today. These values are deeply felt and widely believed. They are the basis for Mormon political activism against Prop. 8 in California, and they will undoubtedly continue to drive Mormon political actions against gay rights in the future.

Of course, not all Mormons share this homophobia. There is even a Web site,

MormonsForMarriage.com, devoted to letting “the world know that not all Mormons (LDS church members) oppose gay marriage.” However, this view is in the minority and is strongly at odds with the church’s official position and numerous pronouncements from church leaders over a period of decades. Matthew Lawrence is only one of hundreds of Mormons who have felt compelled to resign their memberships in protest against the church’s opposition to gay rights.

The question remains, of course, whether Hamlin is right that supporters of gay rights should refrain from “directly targeting people in their private life” by protesting and arguing with individual Mormons who have participated in the church’s anti-gay campaigns. Certainly, protesters should refrain from belligerence, threats and intimidation. However, the only way Mormon attitudes are going to change on this issue is through confrontation. (And even then, attitudes will not change easily or quickly.)

On this point, I remember my own experience as a teenager in the 1970s, a time when Mormons continued to cling to another discriminatory value — the so-called Negro doctrine, which excluded people of African descent from the Mormon priesthood. As justification for the priesthood ban, a number of pernicious theories were popular in Mormon culture. I own a book from that era,

Mormonism and the Negro (co-authored by a vice president at BYU), which patiently explains that blacks are “descendants of Cain” and therefore subject to “Cain’s curse” because their spirits were “less valiant” than the spirits of white people. (Although I didn’t know it at the time, even these ideas were an improvement over the statements of Brigham Young in the 19th century, when he declared as a “law of God” that “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot.”)

As a high school student in 1974, I felt privately uncomfortable with the Negro doctrine, but like many members of the church, I didn’t think about it very much. It didn’t become a personal thing for me until one day in gym class, when a black kid came up to me and angrily said he had heard that Mormons didn’t think blacks like him should go to heaven. What did I think of that? He wanted to know.

Technically, he was wrong about the theological details. Mormons actually believed that blacks could go to heaven. They just couldn’t have the priesthood. I tried to make that distinction the basis for a joke to defuse the situation. “No, we think you can go to heaven,” I replied. “We just think you don’t deserve to.” The kid glared at me for a minute, and that was the end of the conversation.

Today, more than 30 years later, I don’t remember his name, but I remember the moment very clearly. I imagine he walked away thinking he had wasted his breath by even talking to me. He certainly didn’t get a satisfactory reply. But the conversation had an effect on me. It left me feeling profoundly shaken and uncomfortable about a church practice that until then had seemed like a theoretical abstraction of no particular relevance to my own life. Over time, that discomfort helped inform my thinking and changed my attitudes.

There were Mormons and non-Mormons who challenged the Negro doctrine long before I ever heard about it. For most of them, challenging the status quo was unpleasant and sometimes was met with hostility — all the more so because on that issue, as with the issue of gay rights, Mormons simply did not believe that they were guilty of promoting hatred or discrimination. It took years for attitudes to change on the Negro doctrine, but in 1978 the Mormon Church officially announced a revelation — from none other than Spencer W. Kimball — which gave black Mormons the same priesthood rights as everyone else. I remember when it happened. (I was in Japan at the time, knocking on doors and trying to get people to read the Book of Mormon.) Most members of the church were palpably relieved when the Negro doctrine was finally abandoned, but nevertheless it took pressure and personal confrontations to make this change happen.

On an issue like this one, where there are entrenched attitudes and strongly held beliefs, change comes one conversation at a time, haltingly, with discomfort and difficulty. Some Mormons are having those conversations as they discover that members of their own family are gay. Others are now having the conversation thrust upon them as people “target them in their private life” to challenge their political activities. However discomfiting these conversations may be, they need to happen if attitudes are ever to change.

http://www.alternet.org/rights/109586/mormon_homophobia:_up_close_and_personal/

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