An intellectually, critical blog linked to the website entitled "Mormon Think" released a compilation of 95 complaints against the LDS Church. None of these points are new but just a compilation of old, worn-out, and recycled criticism by enemies of the Church. I can sit down right now and easily address every point.
If anyone from "Mormon Think" think's that what they are doing by rehashing all these questions is at all useful please consider this. Religion is about encouraging its members to be charitable and virtuous. I have a friend who has come off of 6 months of drug rehab and has been visiting your site. Doubt is not what this person needs right now. What this person needs is to be strong and to stay sober for himself and his family. All these points detract from the purpose of religion. Is it effective in teaching its people to be charitable and virtuous? That's it. If it is a success in doing this, that's what matters most. This is the big picture.
When it comes to anti-mormon criticism, it comes down to desire. If you already have a testimony or truly have a desire to know the truth; then these criticisms are just a learning tool. However, if a person is already looking for a reason to not repent, not investigate, or leave the church: then they may find what they have been looking for.
When you publicly and falsely criticize another person or their religion; isn't there a responsibility to then publicly apologize and retract the criticism when the criticisms have been demonstrated to be based on faulty assumptions?
1. The primary translation method occurred by Joseph Smith putting his face in a hat and reading a rock known as a seer stone.
Not new. Using the hat does look silly but was a good way to decrease ambient light. This seemed to be an easier method than putting on the cumbersome Breastplate of Laban with the spectacles that held both seer-stones.
2. There is no archaeological evidence of the Book of Mormon.
Many details are being proved right every day. However when it comes to Nephite artifacts, there won't be any soon because artifacts would destroy the purpose of the Book of Mormon, which is to help us learn to rely on the testimony of the Lords prophets and the Holy Ghost and not artifacts. If we had artifacts we wouldn't need prophets or a spiritual witness. Bible artifacts don't prove the Bible message is true. Conversely, an authentic Nephite artifact would prove the Book of Mormon message true.
3. The Book of Mormon is filled with anachronisms that also damage credibility as a Divine record.
The Book of Mormon may well contain anachronisms. However, many details are being proved true every day. Other substitute words (wheat, barley) may have been used when required. Focusing on a specific word usage detracts from the overall message of the Book of Mormon which is not about wheat vs. quinoa.
4. DNA evidence shows that Native Americans do not come from Middle Eastern heritage.
Haplogroup X comes from the Middle East and is a founding Native American mt-DNA Haplogroup. "Principal" means most important. Nephi says only a "remnant of his seed" would survive into the Last Days.
5. Many Book of Mormon names and places are strikingly similar to local name and places.
I have seen the famous crude map of the Great Lakes region created by an LDS critics and studied professional maps available online from the 1920-40's. I couldn't find most if any of the place names used in the crude map nor in the Book of Mormon.
6. The Book of Mormon teaches a Trinitarian view of the Godhead.
Trinitarian vs LDS view on the Godhead is very similar. Except, LDS are not the ones that have to explain how 1 God = 1 Being = 3 Persons. LDS view more resembles Justin Martyr's explanation to Trypho.
7. Evidence supports that Joseph Smith plagiarized a significant portion of the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon quotes from the Bible and cites the source when it does. The Book of Mormon uses King James/Tyndale English to help readers. Doctrine is taught and explained using similar phraseology. And let us not forget it is the same God who is the source of both works. Also, the idea that Native American's could be descended from a lost and scattered branch of Israel goes back to Columbus.
8. For a book Joseph Smith claimed to be "the most correct of any book on earth," .... has undergone nearly 4,000 changes.
Most of the changes are small grammatical or punctuation fixes. There have been no significant doctrinal revisions. A few grammatical changes have been made to clarify verses where unfamiliar hebraic language structure may have led some to misinterpret it.
The Book of Mormon is correct not that it doesn't contain grammatical errors. The writers concede their are "weaknesses in writing". The Book is correct because it leads mankind to the true religion and church of Christ.
9. The Book of Mormon includes Biblical passages that were later changed in Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible.
Yes, When the Book of Mormon quotes the OT, God used the KJV/Tyndale language when He gave the translation to Joseph Smith. Also, Lehi predicted the OT would no longer be "dimmed by time" from that point. The Dead Sea Scrolls support Lehi's prophecy that the OT hasn't changed much since 600 bc except for missing numerous books.
Joseph Smith's "Inspired Version" was not a translation in an academic sense. Smith wasn't putting down how the Hebrew or Greek should have been translated but how the prophetic idea could have or should have been worded to clarify meaning. In this way, the version was more of a prophetic commentary.
10. The story of Laban in First Nephi illustrates that God's command must invariably be followed, even if it means committing murder.
According to the Law of Moses, Nephi was covenant-bound to take Laban's life. Christians do not live under the same law. Nephi could have easily excluded these uncomfortable details. In Satan's game you never kill the enemy king. Conversely, God does't play Chess.
11. The Book of Mormon quotes Bible verses written after 600 B.C. In other words, these passages didn't yet exist when Lehi left Jerusalem.
Christ gives the Nephites some scripture that had been given to Malachi. Other than that, it has already been explained that God used KJV/Tyndale English so when teaching a similar teaching both often use similar language. Similar language helps when cross-referencing between texts.
12. scholars have found the original papyrus Joseph translated and have dated it in first century AD, nearly 2,000 years after Abraham could have written it.
"Written by the hand of Abraham" doesn't mean it wasn't a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. It just means the words are Abraham's words not that they are his actual pen strokes.
13. Egyptologists have found the source material for the Book of Abraham to be nothing more than a common funerary text.
Joseph Smith came into procession of a collection of scrolls. Only one was by Abraham. Smith described the dimensions of the Abraham scroll in his notes and none of the surviving scrolls match the description. The collection was damaged in the 1871 Chicago Fire.
14. The Church has denied that Joseph made Abrahamic claims about the papyrus,
If Satan can get you wrapped up in details about the scroll authenticity, then you miss out on the spiritual message and power of the translation. Just read it focusing on what God is teaching and you will know the truth. It is beautiful and powerful scripture.
15. Joseph was fooled into thinking the Kinderhook plates were ancient records
One-sided account by an enemy meant to discredit Smith.
16. Joseph Smith showed his ineptitude for translation when he declared a Greek Psalter to be Egyptian hieroglyphics.
One-sided account by an enemy meant to discredit Smith.
17. Joseph Smith illegally married at least 33 women, some of whom were as young as 14 years old.
These marriages were symbolic sealings and genetic testing fails to prove that any of the marriages were consummated even when rumors claim they were. As Maury Povich would say "Joseph Smith, you are not the father!"
18. Joseph Smith married at least 8 to 11 women who were already married to other men .
Again, these marriages were symbolic sealing and genetic testing fails to prove that any of the marriages were consummated even when rumors claim they were. As Maury Povich would say "Joseph Smith, you are not the father!"
19. It is known that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, but it is also true that Joseph was accused of sexual impropriety multiple times
These marriages were symbolic and genetic testing fails to prove that any of the marriages were consummated even when rumors claim they were. As Maury Povich would say "Joseph Smith, you are not the father!"
20. Joseph Smith and a young woman named Fanny Alger engaged in what Oliver Cowdery called "a dirty, nasty, filthy affair".
Soon after Ms. Alger was symbolically sealed to Joseph Smith, Ms. Alger turned up pregnant. Rumors and accusations flew. However modern genetic testing of Orison Smith descendants prove Joseph Smith was NOT the father. Nevertheless, Joseph protected Ms. Alger and never "threw her under the bus". Smith took all the criticism and blame. Ms. Alger was a Hancock and while she left the church and never spoke of what happened even to family, the entire Hancock family has stayed active to the present day.
21. Leaders of the Church, starting with Joseph Smith, systematically lied about practicing polygamy.
It has been LDS policy that Polygamy was not to be generally practiced nor encouraged. Polygamy was a calling. This distinction is the basis for the accusation.
22. Joseph Smith routinely lied to his wife Emma about his extra-monogamous activities,
Read "In Sacred Loneliness". Emma knew and supported the symbolic sealing to Fanny Alger. When Ms. Alger turned up pregnant, and there were false accusations and rumors, Emma Smith's support then waxed and wained with the rumors that the symbolic sealings may be less-than-symbolic. Modern genetics vindicates Joseph Smith.
23. In 1886, John Taylor received a revelation regarding the practice of plural marriage. In the revelation, the Lord told Taylor "I have not revoked this law, nor will I, for it is everlasting." Four years later, Wilford Woodruff contradicted Taylor's revelation by issuing the 1890 Manifesto.
The Manifesto doesn't revoke the law, but LDS membership is commanded to no longer observe the law. Consequently, the world and the Church is under condemnation for not living it. In other words, we are living without the blessings we could have had.
24. The Church historically lied and presently still lies in telling the membership and outside media that polygamy ended in 1890. In actuality, Church-sanctioned and performed plural marriages continued until 1904 and beyond.
The Church generally ended polygamy in 1890. A very small minority of cases continued afterward. The Church typically sent polygamist members to live in Mexico. Obviously, It was a very difficult transition.
25. Jacob 2:24 vs. D&C 132:38-39 This is one example of many scriptural inconsistencies in LDS canon.
Where are the others? I'm sure you would have listed them. Truth is that these scriptures taken together are both true. David and Solomon's actions were an abomination only when and because they took wives they were not given by God. Again, polygamy is to be a calling and not generally practiced.
26. The Church allowed an adulterer, Richard Lyman, to serve as an apostle for 18 years before excommunicating him.
Judas was also allowed to be an Apostle as well. Sinners hide their sins. If you don't ask you don't receive. Mr. Lyman was good about not giving anyone cause to ask the question.
27. Doctrine & Covenants 121:36 Given this fact, ordinances performed unrighteously (such as those by Apostle Lyman for 18 years) should not be acceptable in the eyes of God or the Church. However, such ordinances are rarely, if ever, re-performed.
Lyman's sins to not affect his priesthood administration, only his ministry and his own salvation. My stake president was ex-comunicated growing up. I think the LDS Church should be praised for not covering things like this up. No need to punish the people, just the sinner for their own sins. Priesthood is Gods authority which is still valid when He has authorized it regardless of the sinners performing them. We are all sinners.
28. In defiance of God's command to not join any churches, Joseph Smith tried to join the Methodist Church.
Joseph Smith History clearly says he continued to attend various religious meetings. Joining means being baptized not having your name on a roll.
29. Joseph Smith told multiple different versions of the events surrounding the First Vision.
Joseph Smith wrote several accounts and included details based on his audience. He was picking his battles "so-to-speak". In the early account he was likening his vision to that of Paul. He had already well learned people's reaction when trying to tell people he saw two personages. Many people's initial "knee-jerk" reaction to the First Vision was complete outrage. Not an effective way to start a gospel conversation.
30. The First Vision was not taught in church until at least 12 years after it happened. Why would such a miraculous event not be shared at the outset?
Joseph Smith got cruelly persecuted for claiming he saw the First Vision. Accordingly, he likely chose to focus on using the Book of Mormon to persuade people of the truth. Again, presentation is part-of-the-battle. That is why groups like "Mormon Think" insist on telling the LDS story with the worst possible presentation. Their whole crux is about presentation. One side wants their ugly, twisted, faithless version of history told. Why can't a person or group have the right to define themselves and tell their own history? You don't want a whitewashed version? Yet, minutia detracts from the big picture.
31. Between the time of the First Vision and the translation of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud.
Joseph Smith was never convicted in a court of law. The paper that turned up recently which supposedly records a misdemeanor conviction from 1826 for "glass looking" is likely a fraud because none of the subsequent trials make mention of it at all. Remember, in the 1830's, before TV, trials and church were very memorable events.
32. Several early accounts published by the Church claim that the angel who visited Joseph Smith was Nephi.
Not new. If it is true the change prevents confusion. The Book of Mormon doesn't need a 5th Book of Nephi. The first printing of the Book of Mormon uses the name Moroni . Maybe Moroni himself made the change when he wrote the last part of the Book of Mormon.
33. Given its dimensions and weight, the Gold Plates would have been quite difficult to transport.
The witnesses described the plates as "having the appearance of gold". Tumbaga is an Ancient American alloy of gold and copper that appears golden. The book was not a solid block of gold. However, even with unevenness of the pages, the book would be heavy and I'm sure this is part of the reason why Joseph was not allowed to take the plates but met with the angel for 4 years.
34. One of the witnesses claimed to see the plates only with "spiritual eyes".
The 3 witnesses not only saw the plates but they saw the angel Moroni and heard the voice of God. If it was a vision or not its kind-of-like Paul saying he didn't know (2Cor12).
35. Brigham Young claimed that there was a cave located at the Hill Cumorah containing "wagon loads" of ancient records "piled up in the corners and along the walls". No such cave has ever been found.
We don't know if Brigham Young was transported to another location. You assume that the Camorah where Moroni hid the abridged record was the same place where the Nephites had their last stand and Mormon deposited all the Nephite records from which the abridgment was taken.
36. Although the Priesthood is now taught to have been restored in 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery made no such claim until at least 1834. Why did it take five years for Joseph to tell members of the Church about the Priesthood?
Priesthood being restored was preached when the church was organized in 1830 and members were baptized. Joseph was learning right along with everyone else. He found success in a focus on the Book of Mormon. You pick your battles and don't know where best to start and what details to include. All those angels appearing could get confusing. The media already routinely confuses the First Vision and the appearance of Moroni.
37. The name of the restored Church was changed several times in the first few years after it was established.
Yep, Joseph Smith preferred "Church of Christ" or "the Church of Jesus Christ". You know it had to be revelation when it was decided to go with "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".
38. Joseph Smith smoked tobacco and drank tea, coffee, and alcohol long after he revealed the Word of Wisdom.
Yes, the revelation was given not as a commandment until after prohibition was repealed. 1Cor5:11 says "drunkenness" should be prohibited. But due to conspiracy, better that we all just abstain for the benefit of the weak.
39. Joseph Smith taught "that no official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office" if he neglects to obey the Word of Wisdom.
Not sure if he was referring to 1Cor5:11 "drunkenness" or any use at all. The Church has received this by commandment now so, we are expected now to abstain. I'm sure we could even live it better by focusing on the do's and not just the don'ts.
40. Joseph Smith and other early leaders taught that because animals had spirits, they should only be eaten in times of "dire necessity".
The language of the word of wisdom about eating meat sparingly does not suggest "seasonal or situational veganism". This is a misunderstanding of the language. Remember, Christ ate broiled fish.
41. Brigham Young owned a distillery in Utah.
Yes, he did. Alcohol has medicinal purposes and must be produced in a still. LDS sold to the army and wagon trains. Complete abstinence wasn't accepted until after the repeal of prohibition. Drunkenness according to 1 Cor5:11 was prohibited.
42. the shift seems to have taken place for political reasons surrounding Prohibition.
Yes, strict abstinence was proposed and accepted by the church following the repeal of prohibition. Abstinence has saved a good number of weak saints.
43. Members are taught to believe that Joseph Smith received the endowment through revelation. However, much of the temple ceremony was copied directly from Masonry.
Masonry stole it from Solomon's temple. Joseph stole it back. In reality, what he took was only the method (ritual symbolism) and not the meaning. Saying the LDS ceremony is similar to Masonry is like saying a Powerpoint on Chemistry is the same as a Powerpoint on Art History.
44. The Church requires an oath of commitment from temple participants before the participant knows to what he or she is committing.
Not so. Masonry requires the oath before. LDS tells you what the commitment is first before having you promise to keep it sacred. That is always last.
45. Until 1990, the temple ceremony contained violent penalties requiring members to make symbolic gestures of slitting their own throats and bowels.
These are ancient, historical, and sacred symbols. People are more squeamish these days.
46. The removal of these penalties, among other changes, came not by revelation but as a result of a 1988 survey that found that many members were uncomfortable with the endowment.
Symbols change meaning with time. What is important is the lesson taught more than the symbols themselves. The change was appropriate considering our sensitivities to such things as you admit in #45, 47.
47. As disturbing as the temple penalties are, the fact that the ceremony changed is also troublesome because Joseph Smith taught that "ordinances instituted in the heavens are not to be altered or changed."
Meaning is more important than symbols. This is why Masonry is nothing like the LDS Temple. Masonry is about an oath of fraternity, and about contemplation of death, and legacy. LDS is about Christian charity and virtue, obedience and consecration. and an eternal perspective.
48. Leaders of the Church have allowed baptisms for dead Holocaust victims, despite promising not to do so.
LDS baptism for the dead do not make someone LDS. It just freely offers something. That's all. There is no harm in offering. The Church has been clear enough on the issue. It's not easy to police. We would like to identify and invite every living soul to be LDS. Its just an invitation.
49. The Church portrays Joseph Smith as a martyr jailed and killed for being a "lover of the cause of Christ". He was actually killed for destroying private property, trying to marry other men's wives, sharing Masonic secrets, anointing himself King of the world, and other reasons.
His killers painted their faces black. What good upstanding people do that for any reason? I am sure the group felt very justified. I am sure the writer of this "hacket-job" feels justified.
50. Church leaders teach that Joseph Smith destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor because it told anti-Mormon lies.
Since genetics proves that Joseph Smith didn't have relations with anyone other than Emma, then we know the Expositor was guilty of printing libel.
51. Joseph Smith claimed that he was going to Carthage "like lamb to the slaughter". What the Church doesn't teach is that Joseph had a gun in jail and shot several of his attackers.
Mormons are "pro-gun" and "pro-self-defence". Bro. Browning is a famous Mormon and gun smith. You may have heard of him. Defending yourself and your friends doesn't make you less of a martyr. 2 lives were saved at Carthage.
52. Joseph Smith set apart his son, Joseph III, to succeed him as prophet. Brigham Young admitted this, but ultimately refused to cede his own leadership to Joseph III.
Had Joseph Smith 111 stayed with the Saints he would have been a successor. There have been many Smith successors.
53. Joseph Smith taught that the moon is inhabited, and that its inhabitants are 6 feet tall and dressed like Quakers. Brigham Young also taught that the moon is inhabited, as well as the sun.
The Joseph Smith quote is hearsay from a random journal. The Brigham Young quote is in context of the 3 Degrees of glory. He said he "thinks" they are inhabited. People at that time generally did think that. It wasn't so crazy a thought at the time of Hershel.
54. Through revelation, Joseph Smith assembled an army of saints to walk to Missouri to redeem Zion. Known as Zion's camp, this march resulted in the death of 14 men and did not accomplish what it set out to do.
LDS feel it did accomplish what God meant for it to accomplish. Zion's camp revealed who was loyal to God just as this list will.
55. After Joseph Smith's prophecy to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon failed, he explained it away by saying that some prophecies come from the devil.
Many are. I'm glad it didn't sell. Selling a copyright would have been an unwise decision.
56. Joseph Smith made a number of other prophecies that never came to pass. Apologists use manipulative tactics to justify Joseph's failures.
Critics make over-generalized and unjustified statements.
57. Brigham Young taught that Adam is our father and God, a teaching that later prophets have admitted as not true.
Brigham was teaching that our physical Father Adam had already resurrected and entered into his godhood and therefore was "the only god with which we had to do". Many misunderstood and still misunderstand what was being taught.
58. Wilford Woodruff pronounced "the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray."
True statement. I am on track.
59. Members of the Church are taught that prophets talk to God and speak for God. But some modern-day prophets admitted that they had never seen, heard, or received revelations from God.
Revelation by the Power of the Holy Ghost is revelation. Whether knowledge is received by God the Father or God the Son or God the Holy Spirit, the important thing is that it is of God.
60. The Quorum of the Twelve and members of the First Presidency are sustained as "prophets, seers, and revelators". Regardless, they haven't prophesied, seen, or revealed much of anything over the last 100 years.
Prophecy is more to do with testifying of Christ than predicting the future . I can make a good list of more recent predictions come true.
Prophecy isn't advertised but kept sacred . The miracle of Joseph Smith is manmade things evolve over time. Joseph Smith before his death had laid out all the major doctrine, scripture, and organization of the LDS Religion and it has stayed relatively unchanged except for a few changes. You complain about a few necessary changes and then you complain that the new prophets aren't doing enough prophet stuff.
70. The Church has knowingly allowed and at times encouraged unethical missionary recruiting practices including baseball baptisms in the U.K. and soccer baptisms in Latin America.
The Church no, individual mission presidents maybe. individual missionaries and zone leaders, definitely.
71. Leaders pursued plans to build a nine-story addition to the Missionary Training Center, despite having promised that no MTC building would ever exceed four stories.
Anyone can change their mind and ask the community for permission later. The key is getting proper permission.
72. Church leaders teach members to bear testimony in order to obtain one. This is a manipulative practice that leads to confirmation bias.
Jesus Christ taught, "If any man will do His will, he will know of the doctrine; whether it is of God, or I speak of myself".
73. When asked whether Mormons believe that God was once a man, Gordon B. Hinckley dishonestly said "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it."
The " as man now is, God once was" part is not and has never been emphasized in mainstream LDS curriculum. LDS curriculum focuses on "as God now is, man may become". Some LDS members may discuss this couplet by Pres. Lorenzo Snow, but Church curriculum does not. Its not even found in the current Sunday School manual "Teachings of Lorenzo Snow."
74. Brigham Young and other Church leaders taught that some sins ... could only be atoned for by literally spilling the blood of the sinner upon the earth.
We don't fully understand what Brigham Young was teaching here. I think the main point here is that there are some sins that are severe enough that they cannot be forgiven in this life. I think this was the crux of the issue.
75. In the past, the Church tried to deny Young's violent teaching. Now, most leaders admit that it was taught but denounce it as a false doctrine.
LDS leadership doesn't teach that Brigham Young taught false doctrine. What is taught is that we likely don't clearly understand what Brigham Young was teaching.
76. The Church has never truthfully admitted to, or apologized for, its involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre,
This involved local leadership only. The LDS church dedicated and maintains its own memorial at the site since 1999.
77. Brigham Young wrote a letter to Bishop Warren Snow of Manti, approving of violent actions taken by Snow.
This is anti-mormon critic referring to another anti-mormon book.
78. Even though Joseph Smith ordained a black man to the priesthood, the Church institutionally denied individuals of African descent full blessings of membership for over 100 years.
We opposed slavery. Blacks could be baptized. Future temple work for the dead guarantees all blessings including priesthood. Joseph Smith picked his battles.
79. For many years, leaders of the Church taught that dark skin is a curse that is caused by inferiority and sub-par valiance in the pre-existence.
Some LDS Leaders made assumptions in an attempt to defend Joseph Smith's ban. They were left to speculate never having been given a reason. However, Elder McConkie retracted after the revelation on the priesthood saying, "Forget what I, or Brigham Young or what anyone else has said that is contrary to the current light and knowledge we have now received. We spoke without understanding".
80. Despite overwhelming evidence of racism in the early modern Church, leaders continue to claim that the reason for the priesthood ban is unknown. As such, the Church has never admitted error or apologized for excluding blacks from the priesthood.
We say we don't know the reason any more than why Christ taught only Jews and then Gentiles later. We say we are glad the ban is over.
81. For many years, Church leaders taught that African Americans could only enter the Celestial Kingdom as servants.
Elder McConkie retracted. We don't have to defend retracted statements. The Celestial Kingdom is the highest Kingdom in LDS heaven. Temple work fir the dead offers priesthood and full blessings.
82. Unbeknownst to most members of the Church, early Latter-day Saint women were given a form of the priesthood, which they used to bless others by the laying on of hands.
Women have claim to all the blessings of the priesthood without any of the administrative responsibilities.
83. The Church has a long history of discriminating against women and teaching that they are to be subordinate to men.
This is not true any more than everyone of the day was more sexist. We can always do better, but LDS women have been been among the best treated in the the world. Watch the documentary "Grinding America Down" and what it has to say about the Feminist movement.
84. In campaigning against marriage equality on Prop 8 in 2008, the Church violated requirements of tax exempt organizations.
The Church can promote social issues and specific legislation but not specific candidates or parties.
85. Many homosexual members feel guilt, depression, and shame as a result of the stiff anti-gay rhetoric taught by church leaders. Some have even been driven to suicide.
During my medical and psychiatric training, I worked with this population at UNI in SLC. Guilt is terrible and painful. We want to reach out and love everyone. LDS strongly discourages its families from ever disowning children. However, LDS has a culture and values that do not change in this regard.
86. In the 1970's, LDS-owned Brigham Young University conducted electroshock therapy on gay students to try to make them straight.
At the UofU, I participated in electro-convulsive therapy for the severely depressed. What you do is stimulate a seizure. It can work great the patients say for refractory depression. Patients are sedated for the procedures.
Unfortunately, voluntarily administering shocks to his genitals while watching male nudity didn't have the desired therapeutic effect for John Cameron. Thankfully, the same study would NOT pass the IRB these days. And thankfully, Mr. Cameron does not report any permanent disfigurement from the study. I have a MS in Biochemistry at BYU and what individual researchers choose to study at BYU is not reviewed by the LDS Church leadership.
87. The Church refuses to disclose its finances, even to its tithe-paying members.
None of our business. We gave the Church the money and they can do with it whatever they wish. If I think the poor need helping, Ive got 90% left to help the poor with. Paying tithing doesn't or taxes doesn't relieve me of my responsibility to the poor.
88. In Kirtland, Joseph Smith set up an illegal bank that ultimately failed and caused many of the saints to lose their money.
Yep, this is what happens when you try to set up a bank in Satan's money system. Visit my website for an alternative I call the Safety Society System.
89. Despite being "lay clergy", mission presidents receive a significant amount of financial benefits from the Church.
Mission Presidents live in LDS housing and use LDS transportation and are provided LDS health insurance benefits. Just think about the full-time, 3-year job they are being asked to do for free. They have to look after over 200 19-21 year-olds. Many are asked to leave their current employment resulting in considerable lost wages.
90. The Church spent billions of dollars for the recently completed City Creek Center.
I used to work at Crossroads Mall. The Mall was to be abandoned and condemned. Salt Lake pleaded with the LDS Church to invest and save the downtown. For the LDS Church, the project has been a good financial investment. Its real estate development. No money is spent. the property is worth more now than the money put in.
91. Even if no tithing funds were used for City Creek, as the Church claims, nearly all non-tithing funds in possession of the church are derived from tithing.
Okay, it was a good real-estate investment and it saves SLC yet again.
92. The Church, which preaches and expects modesty in dress and abstinence from alcohol, is hypocritical in its advertising of the City Creek mall.
LDS Church doesn't control advertising for the mall.
Defending the Faith
93. The Church relies on FAIR, FARMS and other apologists to defend the faith, but intentionally keeps some distance in order to maintain plausible deniability.
The Church took possession of FARMS which is now the Maxwell Institute. FAIR is still independent. Im sure critics would like nothing more than for LDS leadership to engage them directly. This is an obvious mistake . Critic hacks can say anything and have nothing to lose. There is nothing to be gained by engaging anti's directly.
94. Church leaders often teach us that "warm feelings" are more valid in determining truth than actual, verifiable scholarship.
Yes, revelation via the Holy Ghost is more important.
95. The Church ignores the issues and questions of sincere truth-seeking members of the Church. We earnestly petition the Church to provide official, honest, and complete responses to these issues.
Again, there is nothing to be gained by engaging you directly when an average member can so easily do it.
Monday, February 18, 2013
An intellectually, critical blog linked to the website entitled "Mormon Think" released a compilation of 95 complaints against the LDS Church. None of these points are new but just a compilation of old, worn-out, and recycled criticism by enemies of the Church. I can sit down right now and easily address every point.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
A very unique, misunderstood, and oft-criticized "LDS-ism" is the concept of Kolob. I really can't classify Kolob as a doctrine because It is rather obscure. And it is unfortunate that critics of the LDS Church tend to put so much focus on this rather obscure detail because in reality, the concept is teaching something really very simple yet very profound.
The concept of Kolob is found in the Pearl of Great Price. The Pearl of Great Price contains a variety of translated scripture and history by Joseph Smith. The part the mentions Kolob comes from the Book of Abraham which Joseph Smith translated from Ancient Egyptian papyrus that came into his possession. Using a "Seer Stone" or "Urim and Thummin" like what Aaron the High Priest possessed in the Bible, Joseph Smith was able to translate the Book of Mormon from discovered Golden Plates as well as other ancient documents which can now be found in the Pearl of Great Price.
The original papyri collection containing the Abraham scroll was partially destroyed in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. Some fragments of the collection have since been discovered. Excepts from the surviving fragment all come from the well known Egyptian funerary texts, "Book of the Dead" and "Book of Breathings". The Abraham scroll, unfortunately, is not among the known surviving documents. Joseph Smith's notes describe the dimensions of the Abraham scroll and these details do not match the dimensions of the surviving papyri.
Kolob is a concept briefly described in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. There is also an LDS Hymn entitled "If You Could Hei to Kolob". Kolob is described as a celestial governing sphere near the throne of God. What that means to be "near the throne of God" I don't know. The Lord does not tell Abraham that Kolob is at the "center of the universe" or that the Universe even has a "center". Also, the Book of Abraham does not say God lives on a planet called Kolob. What it says is that Kolob is "near" to God. Again, what it means to be "near" I have no clue. This is speaking figuratively so anyone making concrete claims about this is very mistaken and should be more responsible with their criticisms.
What God is telling Abraham is that He is a God of order and accordingly, the Universe (which is God's creation) manifests order and structure and a hierarchy. Understanding the order and structure of the Universe is important because we see the same order, structure and hierarchy in God's kingdom and Church on the Earth.
Unfortunately, in reaction against the Catholic Church, denominational and non-denominational Christian churches reject the concept of structure, and hierarchy in Christ's Kingdom. The mainstream Christian concept of the Church is very similar to science's concept of the Universe which is that galaxies like individual congregations are just out there independently and homogeneously doing the same thing without any guiding super-structure.
What I mean is that unlike the Primitive Christian Church with a Chief Apostle Peter and 12 Apostles, and Seventies like Stephen who served to oversee and establish the local Bishops and congregations, most Christian Churches believe that their is no earthly authority higher than the pastor or bishop of each individual congregation.
In Cosmology, this is like saying there is no structure above an individual galaxy. However, science has known for a long time that our own galaxy is at the center of a group of 54 galaxies and dwarf galaxies known as the "Local Group". And the "Local Group" itself is part of an even larger organization known as the "Virgo Supercluster". Then on top of that we have voids and filaments.
Now cosmology is telling us that they are seeing an even bigger structure in the Universe that contains seventy-three quasars, and is over four billion light-years across. This discovery is throwing much of what science thought it knew about cosmology on its head. Not that we know much realizing that with dark matter and dark energy we can only see less than 4% of what we can see.
It is my opinion that God taught Abraham about Kolob and about the structure of the Universe to teach him that God's Kingdom on Earth like the Universe has structure and a well-ordered hierarchy. As opposed to recent and now disproven theories, the Universe is not "homogenous" with random galaxies independently doing the same thing without direction. Rather, just like the Kingdom of God on the Earth, science is just now discovering that the Universe has a guiding super-structure that influences the mechanics of individual galaxies, stars, and planets.
http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/3?lang=eng (Abraham Chapter 3)
Posted by David B at 11:26 PM