Friday, 12 February 2016

The Man who (literally) Pulled a Religion out of a Hat

Previously I've noted a number of parallels between the Church of God and the Latter Day Saint traditions. One post on that subject, Cross Pollination: The Community of Christ and Grace Communion International, continues to turn up via search engine hits quite regularly, even though it dates back to 2011.

Mormonism isn't much of a concern on this blog. The various Latter Day Saint groups exist in something of a hermetically-sealed chamber among Christian groups - as do the Armstrong sects. In many ways it's an exemplary community which cultivates an aura of family values and wholesomeness. Mormons shouldn't have to deal with bigotry from outsiders, often based on misinformation. 

But legitimate criticism from "within the camp" is another thing. It was fascinating to come across just such a critical examination of LDS claims by member Jeremy Runnels (though that might not be for much longer, he's being hauled before the elders next month). Sadly, it's no surprise when church organizations react with denial and punitive sanctions, as many of us already know from bitter experience.

People in all traditions have to face up to unpleasant facts when it comes to the sanctifying mythology their leaders promote. Lutheran pastors for a long time told heroic stories about the Reformer, but ignored both his complicity in antisemitism and belligerent stance during the so-called peasant's revolt. Many still do. Moving into more familiar territory, Herbert Armstrong's autobiography has been described as a heavily creative retelling of events, a nice way of implying that he told an awful lot of self-serving porkies. 

Herb was apparently a thorough amateur compared to Joseph Smith.

If you feel like peering over the back fence (as opposed to into your hat) at the issues your Mormon neighbours are confronting - or should be confronting - have a look at The document itself is a substantial PDF, but has excellent graphics and is written in a very approachable style. It is available here

If the title of this post seems a bit cryptic (the artwork gives a clue) you'll soon see why I chose it.

If you even read half of the CES letter, you may know more about the LDS back-story than most Mormons.


  1. Your attention is called to just two entries, which should be of great interest to a very special interest group:

    "DNA analysis has concluded that Native American Indians do not originate from the Middle East or from Israelites but rather from Asia."

    " There is absolutely no archaeological evidence to directly support the Book of Mormon or the Nephites/Lamanites who numbered in the millions."

    Statutory rape is also a concern.

    The comparison between Joseph Smith and Warren Jeffs is very disturbing: It looks like Warren Jeffs trumps Joseph Smith!

    Is there any reason we couldn't compare Mormonism to Scientology? Frankly, the tales of Lord Xenu are more interesting: Book of Mormon or Book of Dianetics? You decide.

    Which proves that a cult is a cult. There can be no other conclusion.

    And once we conclude that a 'religion' is a cult, is it not incumbent for us to move on away from the cult (and warn others in it as best we can)?

    I used to work for a Mormon. Years after I had left his employ, he returned to my life briefly to unload his theories about prophecy, which I found utterly stupid. In my experience, the LDS religion isn't really all that benign and despite the appearance of a stable 'family' environment, there is still quite a lot of injustices committed because, well, it's a cult. What we have here is proof. And it seems more likely it's not about a rock in a hat, it's more about rocks in a head.

  2. By the way, I did post an entry in the Mitch Mayne blog that instead of trying to fight the battle of being gay in the LDS, it might be well to note that the religion of the Mormons was provably wrong (citing DNA evidence), in hopes that he could find resolution and move away from the LDS. There's no sense in keeping a very stupid religion as a core of your being.

    It is my hope that anyone in any cult should find, if not truth, then facts, so that they can be relieved of the pain and suffering caused by the internal conflict of trying to make something work that you just can't. Experience has taught me that you simply cannot function as long as you keep making the attempt to ignore the facts: Ultimately, no amount of compartmentalization will resolve the dysfunctionality.

    Unfortunately, the rational mind is at odds with emotions and, sadly, most of the time, the emotions win -- but that resolution is a miserable one in the long term.

  3. I think you will find that this is a problem any religion that bases its doctrines on specific historical assertions is going to run into. The smart theologians will always argue that the proper religion should be more concerned with the present than the past.

  4. Joseph Smith was an amateur "treasure hunter" in fitting with that 19th century obsession (Pirate Treasure stories)--perhaps similar to HWA's esoteric greed that would latter bloom into conspicuous excess.