Category Archives: Mormon

Choosing Your Religion Before You Are Born.

I overheard a couple of Mormons talking the other day.  One of them said: “We are the lucky ones, we were born into The Church, we have been able to live with the fullness of the Gospel for our entire lives!  It’s our duty to share that love with the world.” 

To which the other replied: “It’s not luck. I believe we choose where we will be born and what trials we will face in the preexistence.  I believe we even select the time and method of our own death.”

For those who are unfamiliar with Mormon theology, they believe our souls were born to spirit parents long before we were born to physical parents. They call this time before physical birth the “preexistence.”

I wasn’t part of the conversation but I still had to hold in my laughter.  I could just imagine God talking to their unborn soul and asking: “Would you like to be born into the One True Church and live with the fullness of the gospel or would you prefer to be born into a false religion and raised to THINK you were born into the One True Church?”

How would you know the difference once you were born?

And what about picking your trials in advance? How does that work with freewill?  If you “choose” to be raised by abusive parents, does that mean your parents didn’t have the freewill to choose any other action? What about people who are raped in this life? Did they choose that? Did the rapist have any choice in the matter?

The whole idea reeks of victim blaming.  (I’m sorry your life sucks, but you picked it.)  It seems like a way for people living comfortably to ignore those who are not as comfortable without feeling guilty.  After all, if a child is born into a poor family and dies of starvation that’s okay – they selected those trials and that death.

I don’t think Mormons realize how sadistic this belief makes their God.  Does he hand you a checklist with different ways you can suffer and require you to select a specific number of experiences?  “Please select at least 50 painful experiences from List A and 150 mild irritants from List B.”

Some people suffer extreme pain and even torture in this life, why would anyone VOLUNTEER for that ahead of time?  Imagine the spirits in heaven talking with each other: “You can choose to be killed by being burned alive when you are 14 or you can live until you 80 and die peacefully in your sleep. I’m so torn, I don’t know which to choose. Living to 80 would be so cool, but I wonder what fire feels like when it burns your flesh?”

Other Christian denominations don’t claim you pick your method of death or your trials – and whether or not you are born into the right religion is usually considered a matter of luck — of course, if you don’t get it right before you die God will still torture you forever… so God doesn’t look much nicer according to that theology.

Oh well, people believe crazy things.

Full of Hate

I received another email from our “Mormon” friend.  I placed quotes around Mormon because I don’t think the author actually is a Mormon, or if he is – he really doesn’t know much about his religion (some of the comments in the email below represent beliefs that many Christian denominations hold but not Mormons).You can see the previous two parts of the discussion

You can see the previous two parts of the discussion here and here.  In his latest response, he completely ignores everything I said in my previous email and instead goes on a tirade about homosexuality.I don’t believe his story, but if it is true I hope he is convicted of assault and spends a large portion of his life behind bars reconsidering his position on the subject.  (This discussion is over.  I have no intention of justifying his email with a reply.)

I don’t believe his story, but if it is true I hope he is convicted of assault and gets to spend some time behind bars reconsidering his position.  (This discussion is over.  I have no intention of justifying his email with a reply.)

i hate those nasty disgusting homosexuals who are possessed by lust and nasty faggot demons. i beat the crap outta one the other day. he tried to ask me out i told him that am Mormon and he said something nasty about my mother and i kicked him hard in the groin and he fell to the ground i then grabbed his legs and stomped him hard in the groin. he had to go to the hospital and they had to remove his balls. he deserved it.that’s what he gets for being that way. it is a sin to be that way and it’s better i smash his balls than he uses them to have sex with men. am doing him a favor. these homos need to realize that they either stop being that way or pay the price either in this life or the next. he payed the price in this life lets hope he doesn’t pay it in the next. i visited him in the hospital and told him that al pray for him that he will stop being that way. he hurled insults at me and i told him that i did him a favor in rupturing his testicles and that he can lead a better life now and do some good in the world.we should castrate all homosexuals who refuse to resist they lustful ways and that nasty evil faggot demon who screws them in the butt.

gays cannot go to heaven they have to stop being gay it’s the only way god will not allow anyone with same gender attraction into heaven and any man who acts on those impulses will burn the most

Even if the story is false the hatred it represents is not.  Mormons are adamantly against same-sex marriage.  (Mormons spent millions pushing Proposition 8 in California.)  I actually know a Mormon who thinks there will be a civil war fought over same-sex marriage.  He believes it will be Mormons vs. the rest of the United States in a battle to the death. With Mormons killing to defend their right not to perform same-sex marriages in their temples.  (No, I’m not joking.  I’ve had this conversation with someone – and he was being completely serious.)

That is some SERIOUS hate, and it is fostered by the LDS church.

(Most) Mormons will not encourage violence against homosexuals. They would not support or condone physical assault against someone just because of their sexual preference. Instead Mormons will encourage you to ostracize homosexuals – the church itself will go as far as to ban them from the building, revoke their priesthood powers (for males – females can never get the priesthood regardless of their sexual orientation), prevent them from partaking in religious sacraments, and even excommunication.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be for homosexuals raised in Mormon households.

More Mormon Questions

I received a reply from our Mormon defending friend.  You can see my response to the original email here.

A tactic I’ve noticed that seems to be more common among amateur Mormon apologists is “denialism.”  I discuss any controversial topics, at least I didn’t think so.  I simply restated common Mormon beliefs in an unflattering way.  However, this person has denied that many of the topics I mentioned are actual Mormon teachings. And he continues to deny it even after the evidence is presented in the form of direct quotes from Mormon “prophets.”

Here is a continuation of the discussion.

I notice that you didn’t say whether or not YOU believe God was once a man.

my answer to that is that i have no definitive answer and i love god and accept him as he is.

And here I thought you were just avoiding the subject.  Since you don’t have an opinion on the matter, does that mean you question the truthfulness of the teachings of Joseph Smith Jr, Brigham Young, Spencer W. Kimball, Orsen Pratt, and Lorenzo Snow?

Some pretty important members of the Mormon religion have expressed this as true. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few of these people:

If a historical tidbit seems inflammatory, we should read it in context with the time, setting, and conditions under which it was said.

I never said the belief was inflammatory, only that it was a Mormon belief.  If you disagree that this is a Mormon teaching, please explain why.  I provided quotes from 4 Mormon prophets, 1 Apostle and a member of the council of the seventy to support my claim.So far all you’ve done is

So far all you’ve done is say the quotes need to be taken “in context” (implying that I have somehow taken the quotes out of context), but you have failed to provide the correct context or clarify the actual meaning of the quotes I provided.When Brigham Young says ”

When Brigham Young says “He [God] is our Father–the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are,” what possible context could that be read to make it mean anything other than that God was once a man?

Many of Jesus’s own statements could appear inflammatory when taken out of their cultural and historical setting. Examples are when Jesus is preaching to “resist not evil” (Matt. 5:39), or when Jesus is being led by Satan (Matt. 4:5), or advising others to eat flesh or drink blood (Matt. 26:26-28). If the perfect master’s teachings can be made to appear preposterous when taken out of context, how much easier would it be to ridicule his imperfect servants’ statements?

Are you saying that you shouldn’t resist evil?  Or that any other of Jesus’ teachings are wrong?  If not, I don’t understand why you would use this example.You’re claiming that I have taken the quotes about God being a former man out of context and that I have somehow perverted the meaning, then you use Jesus’ teaching of “resist not evil” as an example.  Please explain the correct context for each quote, and why they should be taken to mean anything other than exactly what they say.

You’re claiming that I have taken the quotes about God being a former man out of context and that I have somehow perverted the meaning, then you use Jesus’ teaching of “resist not evil” as an example.  Please explain the correct context for each quote I provided, and explain why they should be taken to mean anything other than exactly what they say.

In addition to which, Joseph Smith once said: “This morning I visited with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that a prophet is always a prophet; but I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such” (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 265).  Prophets, express personal and private views on many topics, including doctrine. These comments, if they are out of harmony with revealed scripture, can be rejected. Certainly, they are not doctrinally binding comments.

Are the sermons given by the “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” of the Mormon church during General Conferences (which are translated into multiple languages and transmitted via satellite to church members all around the world) simply “private views?”  Or is he “acting as” the prophet at that time?One of the quotes I provided was from a speech given by Spencer W. Kimball during the priesthood session of General Conference in 1977.  Another quote was from Brigham Young as quoted in the

One of the quotes I provided was from a speech given by Spencer W. Kimball during the priesthood session of General Conference in 1977.  Another quote was from Brigham Young as quoted in the Journal of Discourses, which is a collection of Conference sermons and talks.  Wouldn’t giving an address to every member of the church in an official church meeting qualify as “acting as” a prophet?  If not, I’m not sure what would.

If the belief that God used to be a man is not a Mormon belief, as you appear to claim, can you please provide some quote from a Mormon prophet “acting as such” clarifying this issue?

This apparent misconception about Mormon beliefs has been around for a very long time.  Surely you can find one quote from someone trying to clear this up and give the “official” church opinion on the subject.  (If you can find something explaining why the views expressed by Mormon Prophets during General Conference sermons should not be accepted as actual church teachings, that would also be helpful.)

How can you believe something without knowing what it is you believe? Something that is “impossible to comprehend” is also impossible to believe.

blessed is ye that has not seen but yet believe.

You didn’t answer the question.  I understand how you can believe something without seeing it (I believe Australia exists even though I have never been there), I don’t understand how you can claim to believe something without knowing what it is that you believe.

If you don’t know what you believe, then in what possible way can you be said to actually believe it?

What color shirts do the missionaries wear when then deliver the gospel to the souls trapped in Spirit Prison? If the gospel is not shared by missionaries, how is it shared?

it is shared in whatever god allows knowledge to be shared in the spirit world ive never been there to see it myself. if you think that we belive that missionaires knock on doors and have them slammed in their faces in the spirit world then you have a very earthly take on what spirit life is like.

I have no take on what the spirit life is like, and apparently neither do you or you would have offered some alternative rather than simply telling me I’m wrong.

Why is a physical body necessary?

because god thinks it’s necessary and that’s good enough for me. i do not question god’s ways he knows what’s best i don’t.

Have you ever spoken with God yourself? If not then you are unquestioningly taking the word of someone else who may or may not have actually spoken with God. You’ve moved your faith from God to man. It’s not “God’s ways” you are necessarily following.

How does getting dunked underwater change your ability to make an agreement with God?

read the scriptures. ”unless you are born of water and of the spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of god”.

That’s not an answer.  I’m not asking what the scriptures say, I’m asking why it’s necessary. Why do you need to get wet to make an agreement with God?  Please, rather than regurgitating some verse about baptism, please try to actually think about the question before you answer next time.

Why does God need a living person to get wet before he can enter into an agreement with a deceased person?

the same can be asked of the living person.why does god need a living person to get wet before he can enter into an agreement with the living person?

I did ask the same question about living people, you didn’t answer that one either.

Come to think of it, you haven’t actually addressed anything so far.  You’ve accused me of taking things out of context, while not providing the correct context.  You’ve claimed my “take” on spirit life is wrong, without providing a correct “take” or explaining how you know my “take” is wrong.  You’ve quoted scripture to address a question, when the verse quoted didn’t actually answer the question.  Now you’ve repeated my question – and still haven’t answered it.

Why is the living person able to force the hand of God?

they do not force god’s hand they are instruments of god’s will.

If God is unable to enter into an agreement with the spirit of a willing deceased person until some random living person get’s dunked in a bathtub on his behalf, then the living person is more powerful than God.

Again, this video was to address a few specific issues with Mormon beliefs, not a be-all-end-all video designed to address every single problem with every Christian denomination. (I didn’t even address all the problems with Mormonism.

regardless, the issues raised about Mormonism can be paralleled to issues in the bible and in other christian sects.

I agree, there are issues with other flavors of Christianity as well.

Mormons are almost non existent on the face of the earth. why pick on them? might as well pick on people who sing to trees or people who scream in pillows when they are frustrated. most people don’t know what a Mormon is and many of them laugh at Mormons and make fun of polygamy and call Mormons racist and satanic. remind me as to why you bother to pick on us?

When did pointing out the problems with Mormon doctrine become “picking on Mormons?”

Don’t feel flattered.  I haven’t singled out Mormons.  I had an entire series called Tough Questions for Christians detailing questions I have about standard Christian dogma.  (Most of the questions also apply to Mormonism, but not all.)  I had a series of called Wacky Bible Stories showing some of the absurd stories found in the Bible.  I started a series of Tough Questions for Muslims, and I was invited to be a guest on a Christian Podcast called Intelligent Christianity, which was hosted by a Lutheran.  I point out absurdities wherever I find them, the fact that there aren’t as many Mormons as there are members of other religions doesn’t make their beliefs any less absurd.

Come to think of it, I probably should have made a Tough Questions for Mormons series.  People would probably enjoy a more detailed questioning of the Mormon religion.

Thanks for your email,
Shawn
AKA: AZSuperman01

All About Mormons

I received an email response to my Silly Mormons video.  Apparently, he had some issues with the points I brought up.

i liked the questions you posed about Mormonism.

your first question was regarding exaltation and where did it begin. well there is no canonized doctrine of the church that says that god was once a man like us on another planet. it is not official canonized practiced doctrine.some of the saints may believe this personally but it is not canonized practiced doctrine of the church.

I notice that you didn’t say whether or not YOU believe God was once a man.  Actually, it seems that many church members are trying to distance themselves from this belief without actually saying it’s false, and without saying they don’t personally believe it.

I’m sure you understand why I included this in the video.  This isn’t exactly a fringe belief that only a few Mormon outsiders hold.  Some pretty important members of the Mormon religion have expressed this as true.  Perhaps you’ve heard of a few of these people:

  • Joseph Smith Jr. (founder of the Mormon Church): “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God… yea, that God himself, the father of us all, dwelt on an earth…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
  • Joseph Smith Jr. (founder of the Mormon Church): “Here, then, is eternal life — to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you,… To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God…. ” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
  • Brigham Young (2nd Prophet of the Mormon Church): “He [God] is our Father–the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are…” (Journal of Discourses, v.7)
  • Orsen Pratt (Apostle): “The Gods who dwell in the Heaven… have been redeemed from the grave in a world which existed before the foundations of this earth were laid.  They and the Heavenly body which they now inhabit were once in a fallen state…. they were exalted also, from fallen men to Celestial Gods to inhabit their Heaven forever and ever.” (The Seer)
  • Lorenzo Snow (5th Prophet of the Mormon Church): “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.”

This isn’t a teaching that died in the early days of the church either.

  • Spencer W. Kimball (12th Prophet of the Mormon Church): “You and I– what helpless creatures are we!  Such limited power we have, and how little can we control the wind and the waves and the storms! We remember the numerous scriptures which, concentrated in a single line, were stated by a former prophet, Lorenzo Snow: ‘As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.'” (1977 Priesthood Session of General Conference)
  • Milton R. Hunter (member of the First Council of the seventy): “Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man…” (The Gospel Through the Ages)

None of these references are “canonized” scripture, I will acknowledge that.  Does that mean they are wrong?  Are the prophets of the Mormon church, the only people on Earth with a direct line of communication with the Almighty, just confused?  Were all the prophets throughout the history of the Mormon church wrong about the nature of God? Could Joseph Smith, the man tasked with “restoring the fullness of the gospel,” make a mistake that big?

Why do you have a problem with me mentioning this teaching?  Did I misrepresent church doctrine in some way?

why is it difficult to belive that we can become like god. the bible says we are heirs to the kingdom of god and joint heirs with christ:

Romans 8:17: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. christ also says that we are gods.

also christ himself calls mortal men gods when he is accused of making himself a god :

john 10:34:

”Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”

Personally, I see no reason to believe in the existence of any gods, let alone our ability to become super-human magic-men ourselves.  There is no evidence that our mind can survive the death of our physical body, and definitely no evidence that it will gain magical powers if it does.

If you believe humans can become Gods, why are you upset with me for pointing out that Mormons teach that God gained his “godhood” in exactly the same way they are hoping to all become gods?  Do you have some evidence that shows that the eternal pyramid-scheme of Gods making Gods started with the God of this universe?  That he has existed as a God forever, despite what the Mormon prophets have said?

if it is impossible to comprehend how god came into being or how is it that he always existed then shouldn’t it also be impossible to comprehend how we become gods. remember we are called the children of god and children eventually grow up. it’s not rocket science you will be surprised how far common sense can take you.

How can you believe something without knowing what it is you believe?  Something that is “impossible to comprehend” is also impossible to believe.

We are humans, we are born as humans – when we grow up we grow to become adult humans, then we eventually grow old and die.  At no time have we observed anyone becoming a God, so there is no reason to believe it is possible or likely.

you then commented on baptisms for the dead and gave a rather cynical interpretation as to what it is. firstly. there are no Mormon missionaries in white shirts and ties in the spirit prison knocking on doors. the way knowledge is gained in the spiritual realm will not be the same as in the physical realm.

What color shirts do the missionaries wear when then deliver the gospel to the souls trapped in Spirit Prison?  If the gospel is not shared by missionaries, how is it shared?  Please explain how you came to this knowledge.  Do you have any canonized scripture or quotes from prophets or apostles that explain the process by which knowledge is gained by the deceased?  (If they have any insight into how the knowledge is stored that would also be helpful.  In this life all knowledge is stored in the brain, it would be nice to know how it will be stored when a brain is no longer present.)

also why is it difficult to imagine that you can baptize on behalf of someone? and why do you say it lessons god’s power?

First of all, what exactly happens when someone is baptized?  According to Mormon doctrine, baptism is a covenant you make with God. “All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.” (D&C 20:37)

Why is a physical body necessary?  “A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people.” (lds.org)  How does getting dunked underwater change your ability to make an agreement with God?

I can make a promise to you without jumping into a swimming pool first.  Would you consider our agreement more valuable if I dipped my head underwater after I made the promise with you?

If baptism is simply an agreement you make with God to keep his commandments and take on the name of Jesus Christ, then why would God need someone else to dunk themselves underwater on your behalf before he can enter the agreement with you?

Isn’t God capable of accepting an agreement with a deceased person on his own?  Why does God need a living person to get wet before he can enter into an agreement with a deceased person?  Why is the living person able to force the hand of God?  (If a deceased person wants to convert, they must wait for someone living to “do the work” on their behalf – otherwise, God is unable to enter into the agreement with them — which makes the living more powerful than God.)

i can make an equally ridiculous argument and say that god is not all powerful else he would not have needed to sacrifice his son for us he could have just said the word and we would be saved.

I have made that argument several times.  Why exactly is it a ridiculous argument?  Why did God need to kill his son in order to convince himself to forgive you?  Am I more powerful than God because I can forgive people without killing my daughter first?

you should not isolate one aspect of Christianity when parallels can be drawn to other aspects of it. address all or none.

Again, this video was to address a few specific issues with Mormon beliefs, not a be-all-end-all video designed to address every single problem with every Christian denomination.  (I didn’t even address all the problems with Mormonism.)