Mormons, New Media, and Truth

[ 54 ] January 3, AD 2012 |

Throughout history man has been limited. His existence in space and time has largely dictated the truths, ideas, customs, and material goods that he consumed (both good and bad for his soul), which were in turn predestined by his culture, location and community. The internet has changed the way we consume media and information forever. In the past we were limited in choice because our choices were limited. In the digital world we live in an arena of abundance and there is no gatekeeper. What we encounter is no longer defined by the people, places and things around us in time and space. More and more “Stuff” is available to us every minute.

It’s easy to see the obvious downfalls due to the abundance of information our technology presents i.e. the availability of sexual, violent, and blasphemous content.

But with this open access to content also comes one of the greatest mission fields the Church has ever known: evangelization in the new media world. The limits of missionary activity have always been confined by one’s ability to be physically present. The missionaries of the present no longer have this dilemma. Whether its a picture, a story, an idea, or an evangelization tool, the Internet has enabled billions of individuals to open the gate to new ideas.

Two weeks ago from a woman interested in sharing her conversion story on whyimcatholic.com that got me thinking about all this. It is both surprising, upsetting, and encouraging. I have highlighted portions for emphasis:

Email 1:
I am now a Catholic who converted in April of this year having spent 40 years in the Mormon church.  My husband is still Mormon and knows of my conversion to the Catholic faith; however, he has asked that I not let our children find out due to the fact that they may keep our grandchildren away from us (you see, I would be a threat to their eternal salvation and progression).  I would like to send you my conversion story, but need to know if you could post it without using my real name?  In addition to the fear above mentioned, there are actually Mormons who search sites such as yours, looking for those of us who dare to question and/or leave, and when they find one of us, they turn us over to the church authorities for disciplinary action.  This would be harmful to my husband’s position in the Mormon church and I cannot risk that.  My husband has been so understanding and supportive of my decision that I cannot do anything that would bring harm to him. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Email 2:
Thank you so much for your kind understanding of the situation.  In the last few years, the internet has opened up the opportunity for mormons to search the actual history of their church, which, fortunately, has led to an exodus from the church.  Therefore, the leadership has begun to find ways of countering, such as searching the web for “apostates” as mentioned below.  I also noticed that when you type in ex-mormon, the first option that appears on Google is a mormon site (mormon.org).   As you know, this means that the mormon church is spending an extraordinary amount of money to keep their site as first choice, and with the deep pockets they have, they can continue to do so.  Your site stands as a refuge for those of us who have left, and as a guiding light for those who are troubled and seeking.  With much gratitude.

Everyday there a new outreaches and digital ministries being created to evangelize on this digital continent, as we begin 2012 how may God be calling you?

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Steven-Lawson-e1313151202718.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Steven Lawson is a newly married young adult living in the Diocese of Buffalo NY. After a reversion from agnosticism during a semester working in NYC, he felt called to ministry in the Church and left his dream since youth of working in film and animation. Steven is the founder of Why I’m Catholic, a website designed to bring Catholic conversion stories to the web 2.0, specifically to young adults. During the day Steven works on iCatholicRadio (the first dedicated Catholic radio application for Apple and Android mobile devices) and various other new media outreaches for The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio.[/author_info] [/author]

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  • http://acatholicsheep.wordpress.com/ Mariella Hunt

    This is really quite sad but true. We can only put our own effort to using the Internet for doing good to the world and spreading the news of Jesus. It’s a blessing with two edges. If we can push aside the readily available inappropriate things that people put up every day, we can flood it with good instead.

  • http://beatencopperlamp.blogspot.com Sarah @ Beaten Copper Lamp

    This reminds me of how my Dad’s company uses server space in a location where the DC Mormon Church also rents space. The LDS servers take up the most room in the facility and are all impeccably kept up. Yet another example of why the Catholic Church needs to be tech savvy and invest in modern tools for evangelization.

  • Nick

    Just as disturbing is that the LDS has paid a lot to YouTube to put their movies first on the list of most searches (even searches having nothing to do with Mormonism).

    What is interesting about these movies though is that there is virtually no theological content. Instead, the movie is often about a happy husband or wife who enjoys life and at the end finishes with a P.S. “I’m also a Mormon.” This might make people have a favorable attitude towards Mormons, especially with Romney needing the Evangelical vote, but in terms of actual substance.

  • Pattie

    I am a reasonably bright woman, yet I have NEVER been able to grasp how anyone over the age of ten or so could possibly believe in the tall-tale concocted by a grifter that is the Mormon “faith”.

    Once anyone, Mormon or not, gets a clear picture of the origins of this relgion and comes to understand that it is as Christian as Scientology, the truth has got to be blinding. I couldn’t sell magic glasses and disappearing plates and becoming “god” to my six year old, and he still believes in Santa. I pray that these poor people will stop being duped by this foolishness and come to know the REAL God and Christ.

  • http://4freedoms.ning.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

    From your email 1: ‘they turn us over to the church authorities for disciplinary action.’ And the email 2 mentions the search for ‘apostates.’

    I did not know this happened in the Mormon religion. This makes me think of the Islamic punishment for apostasy. Mohammed provided the lead for how apostates are to be treated in Islam by saying: ‘Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.’

    At least the Mormon faith is not as extreme as Islam.

  • Clare Krishan

    May I play devil’s advocate re: the post’s title? If the first rule of journalism (ie objective reporting other people’s subjective business) is to demonstrate that the information reported is indeed factual and not an invasion of privacy that is “none of your business” (betraying the confidences of a third party, as is the case for spouses not being called as a witness for the prosecution) or worse fabricating untruths about other people’s business.

    Do you have any way of verifying the identity of the lady witness who is offering her conversion story for online evangelism? Many saints never got to tell their own story until after their demise — think of the journals written by Saint Faustina Kowalska and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus — but God used their story’s none the less, in His own good time.

    While very dramatic, the accusation of coercive practices similar to Muslim repression of infidels is so inflammatory as to require corroboration at least in kind if not in fact (ie other Mormon converts who will go public to confirm such evil practices). Such voluntarist denial of freedom of conscience is key to B16’s famous Regensburg address that it could be used to great effect to undermine the recent public endorsement by 5 former Vatican ambassadors of a Mormon candidate for the highest public office in our Nation, Mitt Romney
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/five-former-vatican-ambassadors-endorse-romney/

    I am most sympathetic to the point that you would like to make, but we Catholics are called to pursue Charity in Truth. Is it the truth? If you cannot be sure, is it loving to spread disinformation without justifiable cause?

  • http://4freedoms.ning.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

    Clare
    Excellent point(s).

    I did a quick search on the internet and found this page which seems to corroborate the message of two emails mentioned above.

    http://www.mormonthink.com/QUOTES/apostates.htm

    This site is apparently run by Mormons who ‘value truth above all else.’

    I share one quote:
    “Punishment by death is the penalty for refusing to obey the orders of the Priesthood. I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo by the Danites. It was then the rule that all enemies of the Prophet Joseph should be killed, and I knew of many a man who was quietly put out of the way by the orders of Joseph and his apostles while the church was there.”

    – Elder John D. Lee (1812 – 1877), Danite and adopted son of Brigham Young, John D. Lee Diaries

    If, as Muslims look to Mohammed for guidance, Mormons look to their early history and ‘prophets’ then it does not look good for apostates in both Islam and Mormonism. But I take you point that we should be cautious about spreading such messages until we can back it up with more information and research. While I am confident about the nature of Islam and how it treats apostates and non-Muslims, in history and currently, this aspect of Mormonism is new to me and so I will not spread this of info about!

  • Beverly

    Yes, he can verify the identity of the person – it is me. I am the one who cannot yet let anyone in my family (except my husband) know that I have left the church. As a Mormon, I was constantly told that one must never associate with apostates as that would endanger your own eternal salvation. I was taught in the Mormon temple that to leave the church would put me in a worse state than even murderers and rapists, who would end up in a wonderful “lower world” where all is beautiful. I, the apostate, would end up on Outer Darkness with Satan and his demons. Knowing this is the teaching, would you honestly expect a Mormon in good standing to associate with an apostate? We are accused of being adulturers and are totally shunned by the “wonderfully loving members”. Just check out the ex-mormon sites to see how many are treated; or better yet, read the book by Martha Beck, daughter of Hugh Nibley (a famous Mormon apologist) “Leaving the Saints: How I Lost The Mormons and Found My Faith” to see examples of how they treat those of us who leave.

  • bill

    I was a member of the mormon CULT for many, many decades before I discovered the truth about mormon founder Joe Smith Jr. This 19th century CULT was organized by the money digging seer noted above who would look at a rock in his hat/reveal the location of gold/silver buried in the bowels of the earth for a price of course. He was convicted of being a disorderly person/glass looker (rock in the hat trick) in 1826. A disorderly person at that time was one who used magic to swindle money from those foolish enough to fall prey.

    When this CON was no longer viable, he claimed to be a Prophet of GOD, after an alleged visitation from GOD the Father/Jesus Christ in 1820. Be aware, there are different, conflicting versions… take your pick. He also claimed that GOD through an Angelic messenger told him to marry multiple wives, including other men’s wives/underage girls as young as 14.

    Two of my children, who have also discovered the truth, have been harrassed/demonized by this theo-political 21st century Corporate religion. One has been blackballed in finding employment while the other was told to have no contact with her mother/father. She was also counseled by church leaders to obey her husband… true happiness awaits. This is the tip of the iceberg. Many Postmormon Sites detail significant abuses each/ every day. Look up postmormons on the internet… a new world awaits.

  • Jim from Utah

    I live in Utah and I am not a Mormon.

    Where I live the census declares that 95% of the 117,000+ residents are members of the LDS-thing.

    One of the fellas in my shop went on a weekend trip up to Montana, ostensibly to spread their word.

    He didn’t recieve prior permission to be away from the city for the weekend.

    Long story short he got into A LOT of trouble.

    You see, often, when you don’t appear at the meetings and you’re not there when roll-call is done, they send investigators to your house.

    Married people can’t hang out with single-people. They marry as rapidly as they divorce. The suicide rates are through the roof. It really is a sad, sad place where everyone walks around like zombies.

    It all reminds of when I lived in Kabul, Afghanistan.

  • Jim from Utah

    Oh… and Dr. Peter Kreeft has a wonderful speech where he says Mormonism and Islamism is one in the same.

    A local philosopher, who was an athiest and trained under Dr. Kreeft, agrees with that notion.

    Both follow the philosophy called Volunteerism, which is really just a spirtualised form of Athiesm.

  • Scott W

    Ten percent of all americans are former catholics… At least the mormons care enough to try to keep their sheep within the fold. I assume some of their tactics are laudable (such as having their site be placed first) and that other tactics are disturbing. Moreover, for the first 19 centuries of the Catholic church, apostates were not treated with a shrug and a nod goodbye. Focusing on the first centuries of the church, wouldn’t we say they were cruel and cult-like to apostates? Finally, who will God judge with more severity: shepherds of a false church who used social stigma/pressure to try to keep sheep from leaving, or shepherds of the true church who made little effort to keep the sheep from straying?

  • bill

    Hey Scott W, why don’t you let the Catholics know that they represent the great and abominable church on the earth.

    The mormon Apostles, who are considered to be General Authorities as members of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb, have said many disconcerting things. Here’s just one of the more respected general authorities – mormon Apostle Bruce R. McKonkie who added the following:

    “It is also to the Book of Mormon to which we turn for the plainest description of the Catholic Church as the great and abominable church. Nephi saw this ‘church which is the most abominable above all other churches’ in vision. He ‘saw the devil that he was the foundation of it’ and also the murders, wealth, harlotry, persecutions, and evil desires that historically have been a part of this satanic organization.(Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine [1958], 130.)

    Let’s not be bashful while you promote the false notion that the mormon CULT is the one true church on earth. bill just wants to be fair to the demonized Catholics of our world.

  • Dave in San Juan Capistrano CA

    Actually Mormons and Islam share a more heretical commonality. They are both followers of Arianism which states that Jesus the Christ was NOT divine. Many people think Arianism was an old heresy that is not relative today. But, it was a strong force in Europe through the middle ages and into the sixth century when Islam took over it’s leadership. Both Mormons and Islam preach secular spiruality — as heaven in both is a place where human pleasures are paramount not spritual peace.

  • bill

    Dave, Joe Smith Jr. trumped Islam here. Devout mormon men seek a Celestial Glory with joe Smith himself who is the gate keeper of his mythical Celestial Kingdom. According to mormon prophet Brigham Young, Joe Smith himself must determine if you are worthy to enter into an eternal glory with him/his cohorts. I guess one could conclude that Joe Smith has more clout than Jesus Christ here. In Smith’s perverted Celestial Kingdom/ Heaven, men will enjoy the priveledge of being married to innumerable women/engage in endless sex for all eternity. Now that’s a Celestial Orgy in the sky!

    Nothing in the Koran specifically states that the faithful are allotted 72 virgins apiece. For this elaboration we turn to the hadith, traditional sayings traced with varying degrees of credibility to Muhammad. Hadith number 2,562 in the collection known as the Sunan al-Tirmidhi says, “The least [reward] for the people of Heaven is 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome of pearls, aquamarine and ruby.”

  • Trevor

    A few points:
    1. Searching Google for the term “ex-mormon” does not bring up lds.org within the first 10 pages (and probably not at all). Try it yourself.
    2. However, the LDS church does do a lot of advertising, and if it did pay for sponsored results, there would be nothing wrong with it, but they would be clearly labelled as such. If that were to occur, however, I’m sure they’d use better search terms than ‘ex-mormon.’
    3. Nobody is actively searching for apostates on the Internet. All disciplinary action is done at the local level, and it’s generally only done for apostasy if someone is publicly teaching false doctrine and refuses to stop. Such discipline is limited to excommunication from the church as the maximum penalty.
    4. The LDS population of Utah is far below 95%. There are no census numbers (religion is not tracked), but the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found in 2008 that the population was 58% ( http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf ).
    5. The church does not impose any limits on the travel or location of its membership, nor does it penalize for missing meetings (although regular attendance is required to have a temple recommend).

    There is a lot of other misinformation here, but those are some of the more egregious claims being made. A little bit of fact-checking before writing or believing what is written would be very helpful! (And there are much better sites to do fact-checking than the one cited in an earlier comment.) Honestly, what I’ve read here reminds me of the over-the-top anti-Mormon books from the 1800s before communication flowed more freely and people knew better. :)

  • Trevor

    Oops, #1 in my previous comment should have said mormon.org. But lds.org is not listed among the results either.

  • Trevor

    I should also add that our theology is much closer to Catholicism than it is to Islam.

  • stmykearchangel

    Ummm…No, it’s not. We don’t believe you get your own planet where you become a god.

  • stmykearchangel

    Your church was founded by a con artist ours was founded by Jesus Christ son of the Living God, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

  • http://4freedoms.ning.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

    Trevor

    Back to the issue of apostasy, you say that in the Mormon Church, ‘discipline is limited to excommunication from the church as the maximum penalty.’ Has that always been the case since the beginning of the Mormon religion? The above quotes suggest not.

    The comments here about Islam are accurate. I admit my ignorance of Mormonism and am happy for you to correct the mistaken (?) impression(s) that I am given here. But I am fascinated to learn, for the first time, of the apparent similarities between Islam and Mormonism.

    The other point of convergence/similarity is the physical and sensual nature of heaven, for men in particular, as Bill mentions. The Qur’an 52:20 and 44:54 speaks of the rewards including: ‘They will recline (with ease) on thrones arranged in ranks. And We shall marry them to Houris (female, fair ones) with wide lovely eyes.’ The Qur’an speaks also in three places about boy servants: ‘And round about them will serve boys of perpetual freshness: if thou seest them, thou wouldst think them scattered pearls.’ (Q 76:19)

    Is Bill incorrect when he speaks about the celestial entertainment and physical/sexual rewards due to Mormon(s) (men only?) who make it to heaven?

    Thanks

  • Trevor

    stmykearchangel: The LDS church does not teach that you get your own planet where you become a god. (See: http://mormonvoices.org/776/planets ). But we do believe that Jesus Christ is at the head of our church.

    Kinana: There is nothing like the rewards you mention in Mormon teachings. Instead, we look forward to being with our families in the presence of God. Also, although there was some violent rhetoric in 19th century sermons, there is no evidence that it was anything but rhetoric (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Blood_atonement ).

  • stmykearchangel

    Trevor, that was a poor link to sent me to. Whatever you want to call it planet, universe, dimension etc. it’s just symantecs really. Why don’t you explain to me the doctrine then. Your god is a finite being, and before him there was another god who was finite being….and on. That is not historical Christianity

  • Trevor

    Sorry you didn’t like the link. I take it you didn’t read it very carefully, because it specifically says “This isn’t just a quibble about semantics.” It gives a good, high level explanation of why the statement you made is incorrect. And you are continuing to make incorrect statements. Did you get a good look at the paper that the article linked to? It might surprise you to find that theosis is not only a teaching of historical Christianity, but a Catholic teaching! ( http://jonathandjacobs.com/resources/papers/Jacobs-Theosis.pdf )

  • Trevor

    I also want to reiterate that the statements that have been made about Islam, while they may be true (I don’t know), have nothing to do with Mormonism.

    And the statement from Bruce R. McConkie about the Catholic church that is quoted above was only his opinion, and was removed (by him) in a later edition of the book it appeared in.

  • Vincent Torley

    Hi. I’m a Catholic, and I’d just like to make a few quick comments.

    1. Making fun of the ridiculous claims of other religions can backfire. Has anyone here ever tried explaining transubstantiation to an atheist? Or the Trinity to a Unitarian? Or the doctrine that Adam and Eve would never have died if they hadn’t sinned, to an evolutionary biologist? Or for that matter the doctrine that God made the world out of nothing? All of these claims appear utterly ridiculous to outsiders. How do you measure kookiness, anyway?

    2. Criticizing Mormons for shunning apostates is hypocritical. The Catholic Church used to actually put them on trial and then (if found guilty) hand them over to the secular authorities to be burnt alive, in some countries (e.g. Spain), until as recently as 200 years ago. Have people here forgotten the Inquisition? Also, “The burning of heretics is contrary to the will of the Spirit” is a proposition that was condemned as an ERROR (#33) in Pope Leo X’s bull, Exsurge Domine, in 1520. I might add that 2 John 1:10-11 and Matthew 18:17 have been invoked in the past, to justify shunning.

    3. Vatican I (1870) decreed that no Catholic can ever be excused for apostasizing, as God does not take back His gift of supernatural grace, once He has given it. And until the publication of Karl Adam’s “The Spirit of Catholicism” in 1930, theologians were unanimous in teaching that if you apostasized and died without returning to the faith, you would go to Hell for all eternity. Adam was the first theologian to suggest that if a Catholic had not been properly educated in his/her faith, he/she might be subjectively excused for apostasizing later on, in exceptional cases. I could also mention the Council of Florence, which decreed in 1442 that all heretics and schimastics go to Hell – with no qualifying remarks. (It wasn’t until 1854 that Pope Pius IX softened that decree with his clarifying comments about invincible ignorance.)

    4. The Index of Forbidden Books remained in force for Catholics until 1966. Catholics were forbidden under pain of mortal sin from reading those books. The Musical Index, as far as I know, is still in force – which means that you shouldn’t play “Panis Angelicum”, or listen to it in Church, if you’re a Catholic.

    5. According to the laws of the Church, Catholics are still morally obliged to avoid reading books which may damage their faith, or associating with people who may damage their faith – so that would mean shunning loud-mouthed skeptics, avoiding Internet debates with intelligent atheists, and also not reading Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason” or Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” As far as I can tell, Mormons are just doing what the Catholic Church does, or used to do.

    6. I have read that Mormons have a life-span which is 11 years longer than the rest of the population, so they must be doing something right. They are clean-living people who give away 10% of their incomes, who help the poor and needy (they helped my family when I was a child), and who share many of the same moral concerns as Catholics: opposition to abortion, promiscuity and gay marriage. Speaking of marriage, a 1993 study found that Mormons marrying within their own denomination are the least likely of all Americans to become divorced. See http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds_divo.htm

    I say: let’s give the Mormons a break. Enough of the sectarian bigotry.

  • stmykearchangel

    Sorry trev..the terms and meanings that you and your mormon buddies used are distorted shadows of the truth. Trevor do you become a god or not? Why on earth you would believe something some guy made up in the early 1800’s is something I can’t fathom. Joe Smith has been proven to be a charlatan and a liar.

  • stmykearchangel

    Hi i’m Catholic. Nice try Vincent. We know there is only one true church that is the Catholic Church.

  • stmykearchangel

    Go join them Vincent!

  • http://4freedoms.ning.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

    Vincent

    You say: ‘Making fun of the ridiculous claims of other religions can backfire.’

    Isn’t this called begging the question? I do not see any ridicule in the questions asked about Mormonism; and the comments made about Islam so far on this thread are not ridiculous. If you think they are please ask away!

    But maybe you are saying the claims are ridiculous but the commenters should not be astonished by those claims to the point of making fun of them.

    To speak of the historical role and theological position of the Catholic Church merely speaks of the Catholic church, it says nothing about the Mormon church or of Islam. So I am not sure what you are saying.

    It surely is not to shut down enquiry, is it?

  • Jason

    Trevor

    No one said Utah is 95% Mormon. Reread that post.

    If people are sharing their experiences and saying that’s what happens to them at the hands of their religious authorities then I’ll take their word for it over yours.

    Enjoy your stay at kolob though (or whatever it’s called)

  • Beverly

    Trevor, I do not, and cannot, know which sites you were led to when you typed in ex-mormon, but, I can unequivocally state that when I typed ex-mormon in to Google on my computer, mormon.org WAS the very first site that appeared. I would appreciate it if you would not be so bold as to call me a liar based upon an internet search. Just because your search engine did not respond the same as mine, in no way means that I am lying. Just as I cannot know what you found on the search, you CANNOT know what I found on mine. Also, You can use fancy words all you want to, but the reality is that if a man is temple worthy mormon mmember, he absolutely HAS been promised his own planet, universe, whatever you want to call it, to rule over as a “god”. And his wife would have been told, (as I was) that the only way she could enter into the celestial kingdom would be to be brought in by her husband, not Christ, and that in order to have enough spirits to send to to inhabit our planet/universe, her husband would have to have multiple wives in order to provide said spirits. Each temple worthy member I have ever known has been taught this. Are you saying that everyone I know is ALL lying, or that we are somehow ALL incorrect? I did not send my emails to start a squabble, which this has seemed to turn into. I was merely sharing FACTS that I have encountered as a member, and now an ex-member of the Mormon church. I would not ever make any statement that I could not back up with facts. Stop dancing around by changing “words” and just admit that Mormons believe they can become gods, that women can enter the celestial kingdom only through their husbands, and that these same men will have multiple wives. These are very basic tenants of the Mormon faith, not ones that are tossed around as “just ideas”.

  • Beverly

    Sorry about the grammatical errors in my previous email. Should never type in a rush.

  • Vincent Torley

    StMykeArchangel and Kinana,

    Thank you for your posts. Although I admire them in many ways, I have absolutely no intention of joining the Mormons. There’s ample documentary evidence that casts doubt on the character of Joseph Smith. Likewise, the fact that Mohammed consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was only nine speaks for itself. See also David Wood’s articles at http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/index.htm . That is how you refute a religion: examine the life of the founder. Ridiculing their doctrines about the afterlife is a cheap ploy. You wouldn’t like it if a New Atheist ridiculed Catholic teachings in that way; why do the same to Mormons or Muslims? Instead, simply point out the undeniable flaws in the characters of their religions’ founders, and the philosophical problems that arise from their worldview (e.g. Mormonism does not explain evil or the origin of matter). Then point to a better alternative: the 2,000-year-old tradition of the Church. Finally, pray with them and pray for them. The rest is up to God. Peace.

  • http://4freedoms.ning.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

    Vincent

    Again you appear to accuse me of ridiculing either the Mormon faith or Islam. Please show me the words I used which are ridiculing of either. That is not my intention. I have asked questions of one and provided evidence of the other. You seem to be saying that enquiring into the afterlife of both should be off-limits for discussion. Surely not! If so, why? If these two religions have a teaching about the afterlife what is wrong with explaining it and putting it out there for people to learn about?

    Like you, I also commend http://www.answering-islam.org.

    Btw, and I do not want to tug your chain too much (!), but I do not understand your point about praying with them. I pray for them but to pray with them, to me, implies a commonality which simply does not exist.

    Regards

  • bill

    Hey Trevor, when mormon Prophets make completely off the wall rude/crude statements… aren’t they always speaking as men? If the CULT isn’t embarrassed by a Prophet’s pronouncements, it’s inspiration… if he is revealed to be scandalous – he speaks as a man! So we see, there never is any culpability in the CULT?

    Mormonism promotes a happy face facade, family values/higher morality. They also claim to be normal! It isn’t what it claims to be.

  • Vincent Torley

    Kinana: Thank you for your response. Let me just say that my comments about ridiculing were not directed at you personally. I was thinking more about earlier sneering references to the Mormon paradise as a “Celestial Orgy in the sky” – it might raise a laugh, but it doesn’t help. I often read New Atheist attempts to poke fun at Christian doctrines, and my knee-jerk reaction is a defensive one, and I imagine that Mormons feel the same when their faith is belittled like that. Besides, the risibility of a religious doctrine is no guide to its truth or falsity. As for praying with Mormons: often they ask to pray with people when they come into people’s homes, and I see no harm in doing that, if the prayer contains nothing contrary to faith. Despite their vastly different beliefs about God, Mormons do acknowledge Jesus as our Savior.

  • stmykearchangel

    Why would you even pray with them when we have the fullness of the truth! I think gives the idea that Catholics and mormons are the same. Christ started only one Church.

  • bill

    Hey Vince, innumerable wives/endless sex throughout all eternity are scandalous notions. A Heaven like this is unthinkable to most human beings but a reality in mormonism. Open your eyes/think for just a moment… Joe Smith Jr. is a well documented sexual predator – his version of Heaven fits him well. Run my friend… run.

  • Trevor

    Sorry, Jason, I misread. However, censuses still do not track religion (and haven’t in decades). There are some areas in Utah where the population may be close to 95% LDS (some cities in northern Utah County may be, but they have less than 20,000 people each), but I don’t think you’d find a city that size (117,000+) anywhere that fits the statement made.

    Beverly, the nice thing about Google is that anyone can try that search and see what comes up for them. Honestly, I wish you were correct, and that mormon.org or lds.org were the first sites that came up for any search about Mormonism (or ex-Mormonism).

    And I believe that’s actually what this blog post was supposed to be about – kind of a back-handed compliment to LDS tech savviness, with the thought that perhaps Catholics could do more. It’s too bad that it went immediately to a Mormon bashing extravaganza.

    I am a Mormon, but I did not come here to debate. I just wanted to try to correct some of the misinformation. But I see I am not really welcome here. Let me just say that we (Catholics and Mormons) do have a lot in common. We believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that He died for our sins and was resurrected. We believe that there is a place between this life and where God dwells where people go when they die, and can be helped in progressing from there by actions we do here on earth in their behalf. We believe “that we are the children of god: 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.” (Romans 8:16-17)

    And if you really want to know what Mormons believe and think, from a non-LDS source, this just came out today:
    http://www.pewforum.org/mormons-in-america/

  • stmykearchangel

    Sorry Trev buddy but your cults denial of Christs divinity trumps everything we may have even remotely in common. I will pray for your soul that you may one day find the truth God Bless.

  • Trevor

    Sorry, forgot to mention that not only was Christ born of a virgin, died for our sins, and resurrected, he is also God. As God, he created the earth, talked to the prophets, etc. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

  • bill

    Trevor, the never ending mormon CULT persecution complex gets old. I have presented the facts… pure/simple – nothing else. By the way, why don’t you explain to Jason that it is Joe Smith Jr. who allows access to your celestial Heaven not Jesus Christ! Your mormon apologist approach/website references reveal your true identity/motivation here. Maybe it will work for you somewhere else… I hope not – but it is past time for Joe Smith’s mormon CULT to come clean.

  • Beverly

    Trevor, you are obviously so indoctrinated that you would not see the truth no matter how well presented to you. I will suggest to you also, that you read Martha Beck’s book which I mentioned in an earlier post – it just might open your eyes. And, I bet you do wish all searches went straight to mormon.org. I am not trying to “bash” anyone, I was a member myself until 2009, at which time I learned the truth about Joseph Smith and promptly left the church. While investigating on the internet, I learned that the Mormons do not believe in the virgin birth as found in the following quotes:
    “When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came himself and favored that Spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me.” (as quoted from ‘Discourses of Brigham Young,” 1925 edition, p. 77). AND:
    “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 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 Savior unlawfully……..He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary IN THE CAPACITY OF A HUSBAND, and beget a Son…….Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. 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.” Apostle Orson Pratt, “The Seer,” Oct. 1853, p. 158). Where is the Holy Spirit in this?

    These are your very own Mormon sources which can be easily found on Mormon’s very own Birgham Young University website – not some anit-mormon website. And before you say that this is not doctrine, let me remind you that Brigham Young repeatedly stated, while he was prophet, that ANY sermon he gave could be counted as doctrine. Was he a prophet, and if so, then why are his teachings, which he said could be counted as doctrine, now suddenly not doctrine? This also goes for the fact that he said: “They [blacks] will GO DOWN TO DEATH. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which WE now are entitled to.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p.272, 1866, emphasis added.
    Here Brigham Young, again as prophet, states that the blacks will only receive the priesthood AFTER they die, but that changed when the Civil Rights movement made this an embarrassment to the church. I could go on and on, but you will not hear.

  • Beverly

    Trevor, I have a question: You state that Mormons “are not actively searching for apostates”; yet, since you are Mormon, then why are you on this, a Catholic website, at all? How did you come across this article? Were you just leisurely searching and happened by some odd chance to land here? Odd, very odd. Also, what makes you an authority on whether or not the Mormon church is searching for apostates? You have all access to what the Mormon church is doing? Sorry to burst your bubble, but someone out there is searching for us and turning us in, and the fact that you don’t know about it does not make it any less true.

  • Trevor

    Beverly, I wasn’t going to post here anymore, but since you asked me a direct question and I have no other way to answer, I suppose I’ll do one more.

    It has occurred to me that you may be talking about the committee that refers issues to local leaders when a member of the church does something publicly that could damage the church. What I said about discipline happening on the local levels does still hold, however. And if you’ve already left the church, you have nothing to worry about.

    As for Brigham Young and Orson Pratt, as you know we take the words of living church leaders over dead ones, and Orson Pratt was controversial even when he was alive.

    If you must know, I was notified about this site by a friend who follows Catholic and Baptist web sites. He thought the misinformation about Mormonism would be of interest, and it was.

  • stmykearchangel

    What really saddens me is that people like Glenn Beck left the Catholic Church for Mormonisim…it just boggles my mind. I mean I’m not the smartest guy in the world., but how could Beck believe this crap. I used to watch him all the time but now I have filter all he says with the fact that he is a mormon. Beverly you are a very brave women and I will pray for you.

  • bill

    Beverly, Trevor is substantiating the existance of The Strengthening Church Members Committee that is actively engaged in clandestine activities, including mormon church surveillance of members who are committing socalled indiscretions in the kingdom. Got ya! The Strengthening Church Members Committee (SCMC) was formed by mormon Prophet Ezra Taft Benson in the late 1980s. It is a secret organization whose sole purpose is to track down dissidents and keep records on them. It also keeps track of anyone who speaks out against the mormon Church.

    When the dirty work is done, Church leaders then report these unfortuate, betrayed/ bewildered souls to local ecclesiastical leaders for disciplinary action so their friends/acquaintances can do the dirty work rather than the holy prophets of Joe Smith’s mormonism. Most members do not know that this committee exists/are blindsided when the hammer falls. Trevor, you have confirmed once again that your pressence here is more than coincidental!

  • Trevor

    Well, it obviously isn’t a secret if you, Beverly, and I know about it. :)

    Any member that intentionally does things to damage the church in public has got to expect that there might be some consequences, so I doubt anyone is surprised if their bishop wants to talk to them after doing such.

    Stmykearchangel, there are lots of smart people in the church. Maybe you should be wondering if there might be something more to it? ;)

    Here are the testimonies of some of them:
    http://mormonscholarstestify.org/

  • bill

    Trevor, as you have already concluded, my knowledge of your CULT allows me the luxury of expounding quite precisely on harmful, less than ethical mormon church practices. Beverly stated that she new someone was looking for her but did not acknowledge any secret, candestine leadership organization behind it. It is quite clear from her post that she did not now about the SCMC. She is unique because of her apostate status… she also has a right to look over her shoulder. Members who are not involved with apostates would likely have no knowledge of this secret, clandestine mormon committee. As we see, your commentary again is inaccurate, misleading/totally untrustworthy.

    So, with eyes wide open we now move forward acknowledging the manipulative/deceptive world of mormon church apologetics where the absurd takes on a new life. Would you explain to the good people here just what a mormon church apologist does, your affiliation with them/true purpose for your visit here?

    As I have observed over many, many years, mormonism is a destructive CULT that steals self/personal identity. Group think rules/overwhelms your world. Eventually for many, the fruits of church membership result in shattered lives, broken homes, terminated marital relationships, as children are torn from parents who break free of the CULT, siblings/friends are also abondoned… thrown to the winds of mormon CULT treachery/ punitive obsession. I weep for the poor, devastated children who are true, real/ tangible innocent victims of mormonism!

    Sadly, the insatiable, punitive world of CULT mormonism expands to also ruin careers, deny meaningful employment when possible, while it blackmails/extorts hard earned money under the false pretense of GOD’S one true church on earth! Otherwise viable families are completely destroyed, shattered beyond repair and are no more… all in the name of a 19th century CON birthed/concocted in the narcissistic, sociopathic mind of a 19th century peep stone magician named Joe Smith Jr.

    I give unto you your one true church on earth but please do not impose your CULT belief system on the rest of humanity. It is my hope that you will come to your senses, abandon this false religion, seek repentance, acknowledge the fraud, redeem yourself in the process/cast aside your evil, cunning ways – GOD may be merciful to you in the end. I surely hope so.

  • Just for record

    Just for the record, I am an ex-mormon too and nobody chased me and punished me. As for whatever they did in their records I could not care less

  • Trevor

    Well, since you all are apparently the experts on Mormonism, I’ll leave you to your echo chamber. It’s a good thing I grew up with some Catholics, so I know there are some that are a lot more hospitable, reasonable, and charitable than what I’ve experienced here.

  • Beverly

    Trevor, you state above “. . .I know there are some that are a lot more hospitable, reasonable, and charitable than what I’ve experienced here”. Please understand that we are simply answering your posts – telling the truth. If that turns out to be something that you feel is inhospitable, unreasonable, or uncharitable, that is your own projection. Providing the truth may not be pretty, but it is necessary. By your own admission, where you said “Well, it obviously isn’t a secret if you, Beverly, and I know about it”, this proves that there IS a church department to check on us, despite your denial in your earlier post. So, which is it? Are they there or are they not? Also, your answer about following the counsel of the current leader, I would agree with that IF IT DID NOT DIRECTLY OPPOSE what the former PROPHETS had counseled. You are, in effect, saying that God changes his mind – not just on form, but on content, doctrine, and beliefs. Don’t think so. Our answers were not put out there to make you feel unwelcome, but to clear up the madness and give those viewing this site additional information regarding your claims. Read Martha Beck’s book – don’t drink the poison.

  • Trevor

    Before you put too much stock in Martha Beck’s book, you should be aware of what her own family has said about it:
    http://www.fairlds.org/Reviews/Rvw200504.html
    http://www.fairlds.org/Reviews/Rvw200506.html