Messages archive (8/25/97 - 9/28/97)

Messages archive (8/25/97 - 9/28/97)

The most recent messages can be found here.

received 9/28/97
It isn't that one needs to even know where the ceremony comes from or rather that it needs to be analyzed. Those that have analyzed it to death in hopes of finding something to disbelieve will continue to do so.

I'm not suggesting that it needs to be analyzed in order to find something to disbelieve. Disbelief can come long before anything is analyzed. Nor does analysis necessarily lead to disbelief. I know several people (including a Master Mason who is an orthodox Mormon) who totally believe in Joseph Smith even though they know where some of his ideas came from. I don't think any believers "hope" for disbelief. From my own experience, disbelief was initially not even an option. When I first began to realize that I couldn't choose both honesty and belief, it was very scary. At the time, I thought I had nothing to gain, except integrity, and everything to lose by disbelieving.

received 9/28/97
I am an LDS convert. My family hates me for joining the church.

That is too bad that your family feels that way. Perhaps it was because you tried too hard to convert them too? In any case, if you show them that you are a happier, better person now than you were before, maybe they will change their opinion about your decision. Although Mormons are commanded to preach to others, my suggestion is to lay off trying to convert your own family if you want a good relationship with them.

How does your family feel about you leaving the church?

I can't really go into that here as some of them may be reading this. I'll just say that our relationship has changed drastically (for the worse) with some of them. This is unfortunate because we still feel the same towards them as we always have.

I too see faults, but more with the members than the church.

I've never had any problems with any of the members. None of them ever had a problem with me either until after I began to disbelieve.

Why am I still a member? Well, because I believe that this church is truer than any other church here on earth. Is there any part of you that believes that?

No. There are some good things about Mormonism. I readily admit that. I don't think it is truer than every other church though. Being truer than other churches isn't much of a goal to shoot for Imo. I'm not looking for a "truer" church anyway. I'm looking for honest truth based on reality--not a set of doctrines. That's part of the reason why my family now attends a UU church. They make no claims to being the only true church. The fellowship we go to is just a bunch of people who all honestly question and search for answers. No dogma, scripture, or set of rules exist in it. No two people in the entire congregation share identical beliefs. We aren't members though. We just go because many of the discussions are thought provoking. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, the head guy from SETI led an excellent discussion. You don't even have to completely agree with their Statement of Principles and Purposes to be accepted.

How would you feel if your grandchild became a member of the LDS church?

I wouldn't mind at all. My kids (or grandkids if that day ever comes) can believe whatever they like. They can think and act for themselves. I'm no control freak. ;) I teach them what I think are correct principles and let them govern themselves. Mormonism once claimed the same goal although I don't think it was ever really put into action.

received 9/26/97
It is foolish to kick against the pricks for the LDS church will move forward even with your contensious anti-Mormon web pages.

Which pages are "anti-Mormon" and why? I've asked this question to numerous people who accuse me of this and no one has bothered to respond. And where are these pricks I'm supposedly kicking?

The author of contension is Satan. Yes Satan is the author of your ministry. Hope you enjoy working for Satan because that's exactly what you are doing.

I don't even believe in Satan. Satan is as real as Zeus or the Tooth Fairy. He lives in the mind of superstitious believers but has no existence in the real world. Satan is a great way for religionists to manipulate the minds of kids, but I don't see why adults continue to believe such nonsense. I have no "ministry". If I did, mythology would not be a part of it.

You will live to see the day when you come to the LDS church for food, or you will die in your stuborn attitude.

What a great place the LDS church must be now. I don't remember it as a place that wished death on people who didn't grovel to its doors begging for food, but maybe things have changed. In any case, I'm glad my mentality is no longer burdened with hating those who don't agree with me.

Say hi to Satan for me

Tell him to come by, and I'll give him your warmest regards. While your at it, Santa hasn't been by my house for decades. Next time you see him, make sure to have him come by too.

received 9/25/97
I am sure you have heard in the news of the discovery of the
"Bible Codes". If you were to use those techniques of the Bible codes you would discover that most of the Book of Mormon characters are in the Bible encoded. Also, when you use the triple chains that are encoded in the Hebrew alphabet you would discover that Lehi's dream and Section 93 of the Doctrine and Covenants are in there. Now if these things are encoded in the Hebrew alphabet and in the Bible, who do you think put them in there? Surely Joseph Smith did not, nor any man. The only person that could have put them in was God. And if they were in the codes before they where written, then you have got to ask yourself 2 questions "Why did God allow coded material from the Book of Mormon in the Bible and why did God put coded material in the Hebrew alphabet?" I hope that you check this out. The Book of Mormon is now no longer a question of if it is truthful or not nor is it debatable if Joseph Smith is a Prophet because how could he even have known about the "Bible Codes" that has been discovered unless he Recieved them from God! I only give you this so that you can find out for yourself.

You can find "Bible Codes" anywhere you look if you look hard enough for them just as you can find chiastic elements in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith's prayers, or Wilford Woodruff's journal. See:

You can also find canals on Mars, a man in the Moon, or anything else you want to find (like god).

You can do yourself and the whole world a BIG favor by reading Carl Sagan's "Demon Haunted World".

received 9/24/97
I just came across your site after searching for links on Carl Sagan and must say it's very interesting (a rarity on the web). I think that it does a service for people who lack critical thinking skills. I've read the replies to you from the faithful and wonder if given the choice between our own species long term survival and "god" they would choose the latter.

Believe it or not, ten years ago, I would have chosen god since I was living with Mormon blinders on. Some think that it is their purpose to "speed up" the end of the world by making tons of babies, starting wars, etc. It is very difficult to break tradition and millions (if not billions) are born into a religious environment that teaches religion as coming first and reality as a very distant second. In many cases, reality and/or science are taught to be "evil" since both are at odds with god and/or the religion the person is born into. Although some headway appears to have been made over the past few hundred years in breaking this horrible cycle, it doesn't seem to be moving nearly fast enough.

The lack of understanding by most of the scientific method and the spate of books by religionists "attempting" to use scientific terminology and methods to support their own religious worldview is kinda frightening. "My god can beat up your god!" ... give me a break! Once again, good work.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm hoping that my site, and others like it, will help to encourage thought in those who are just beginning to wake up to life. Perhaps the free access to information via the internet will lead to human progression rather than the possible destruction the next century may hold.

received 9/23/97
I continue to be impressed by your website and how much effort you expend to keep it up to date. I check there regularly, 3 or 4 times a week and am often rewarded with some new tidbit on Mormonism.

Thanks. It's nice to know that people are getting something out of it. The more hits the site gets the more I feel like I should spend additional time on it. Unfortunately, I'll be very busy at work the next little while and will be on vacation starting the 6th of October. So when you don't see many (or any) updates in the next few weeks, rest assured that the Danites didn't get me. ;)

Also I wanted to suggest that you add a couple of books to your recommended reading list like "Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls" . . .

I've heard of many poor reviews on this book from scholars who say that Barb was just trying to turn a fast buck so it's not one of my top priority reads. I'm pretty burnt out on Bible commentary. I'm getting bored of the Mormon stuff too so after I finish the last 4 or 5 Mormon books that I own, don't expect too many new Mormon book reviews from me.

I'm currently reading a biography on Darwin which is outstanding. Most of my future book reviews will deal with science and philosophy rather than religion although I still plan to maintain pages and provide updates on interesting new things that come out of the Mormon and Christian camps. If you were around in the early days of the site you know that originally ALL of the books were on religion. In a year or two they will be a small minority on the site.

I'll add the other ones you mentioned. They all look worthwhile. (I've snipped the rest of the message the person sent but watch for the books recommended to appear on the site soon.)

received 9/18/97
Hey, there. Though not in name, you mention me
here. I was one of the people who recommended you read Ishmael and mentioned how I'd been reading Atlas Shrugged. For the first time since then I'm revisiting your site. Glad to see you've put Quinn up! I also like the things you said about Ishmael.

What took you so long to return? ;)

You could put links to Quinn's Web sites - and


You mention that both Rand and Quinn have made some errors. Well, I've long since finished Atlas Shrugged and indeed I do see some errors in her logic - just a couple, but key ones. Errors I've seen on Quinn's part are more PR-oriented - how he's presented himself and his thoughts in a couple of cases in The Story of B and on his Web sites. I have yet to find something Quinn says that is logically "wrong." In fact, it is precisely this that allowed me to see the couple of errors Rand made - she contradicts herself by claiming laissez faire capitalism to be the best way to run a society, while at the same time condoning Taker activity.

I don't think this is a contradiction per se. Since she died long before Quinn ever coined the term "Taker", it isn't really fair to say that she condoned what Quinn hadn't invented yet.

In Ishmael, Daniel Quinn describes the Law of Limited Competition - this IS laissez faire capitalism as it is played out throughout the natural world.

I disagree to some extent, but I'll get into that below.

Rand fails to see the logic that the Earth, being a finite place, has finite resources, and that the Earth - industry's greatest supplier - will not replenish itself if we take from it in certain ways.

It's not that she failed to see it Imo. She just didn't comment on it. And why should she have? She wrote the book almost 60 years ago. She was, in part, a product of her environment. I have a difficult time blaming her for that. I think you will be hard pressed to find anyone talking about the things that Quinn now talks about 60 years ago. The knowledge just wasn't there at the time--at least not to the extent that it is now (or hopefully will be in the future).

Her objectivist heroes decry looters when it's people vs. people, but they themselves are looters along with the other people with respect to the rest of the natural world.

I agree. But once again, you have to realize when she was writing this. If she was writing it in 1997, I think the book would sound very different. By saying that I liked the book, I'm not implying that I think people should go out and set oil fields on fire. I don't think she was saying that either. The book is fiction so you have to take much of it symbolically.

So, I'm curious - what were Quinn's errors? Believe me, I'm not out to follow Quinn blindly - I'd LOVE to find errors, so that they could be corrected.

I agree to a large degree with what said.

"Quinn claims that his so-called "Leaver" cultures don't suffer from mental illness and depression. Not always true. The Yoruba tribe are more depressed than we are in the USA. He claims that no animal ever purposely ruins food for other species. False. Wild dogs in Australia routinely kill far more lambs or other livestock than they could possibly eat. He claims that increasing material abundance allows more population growth. False. Rising economic fortunes are probably the best birth control ever invented. Any species or population acts to maximize its reach and success. It's called natural selection, and anybody who knows Darwin knows as much. Quinn claims that different species leave room for each other to exist. False. It's axiomatic in evolutionary genetics that any two species which occupy the exact same niche, one will inevitably be driven to extinction. The book's most presumptuous assumption is that intelligence or morality can prevent extinction. The fossil record is littered with proto-hominid braincases larger than ours. Meanwhile, protozoans have been doing very well, thank you, and they have the intelligence and morality of, well, pond scum. Quinn mocks the old anthropological (a la Childe) notion of the noble savage, yet with his Leavers vs. Takers distinction, he lapses into a kind of neo-noble savagism. I think this is a fundamentally flawed and artificial distinction, and by far the most damning fault of the book. How can you follow the exhortations of the book if its propositions are so mangled and wrong? Which is a shame, because there are serious threats to our environment, and I certainly can't contest that many indigenous peoples are being driven into modernism, which is hardly the solution it purports to be. I don't know how to solve this problem, but I wholeheartedly agree it is one. And there are other, crushing problems like overpopulation and destruction of our environment, overdevelopment of the rain forest, the emergence of new viruses and new versions of drug-resistant bacteria, which all portend to dire consequences and which are all the result of our greed and insouciance. The book could have been far better had it got its science right."
Correct all the errors of a worldview and you'll naturally end up with a great one - as far as I'm concerned, that's what I was pointing out w/Rand - she was VERY close and by correcting a few self-contradictions (gosh, doesn't she ABHOR a contradiction! guess she just didn't check all of her premises!) objectivism could be truer to itself. The way I see it, Quinn's philosophy is objectivism being true to itself.

I agree with the correcting of errors and contradictions to come to a great philosophy. To be honest, I couldn't figure out exactly what Quinn's philosophy was. He points out some serious problems, but he doesn't say how these can be corrected or how they should influence our philosophy. Don't get me wrong--Quinn had a profound effect on how I now view the world--particularly the overpopulation problem. I think his methodology and suggestions for change can be improved though.

And if I can convince you of all this, maybe you'll put the thumbs up signs next to Quinn instead of Rand! OR - you'll convince me that they deserve to be next to Rand instead of Quinn.

The only thing I'm convinced of is that no one is perfect, and no one has all the answers. I prefer to pluck what I find true and useful out of both authors' works and go from there. I think that the best world view encompasses large portions of both ideologies. Rand put reason before laissez faire economics. I'd like to think that if she were writing in her prime today, the reason she held dear would prevail, and she would be for a hybrid laissez faire economy which emphasized tomorrow's world as much as today's. I have a hard time believing that any person who is not afraid to change and to use reason as their guide would sacrifice the future for today. Such a view isn't in one's self-interest (unless they adhere to the dangerous religious notions that the sooner we destroy this place, the sooner some non-existent god will come save us).

received 9/3/97
Regarding this page...

...depending upon the translation that is used, Nibley's quote is, for the most part, accurate. If you are interested, the reference can be found at 1 Enoch 93:7 in the text translated by Richard Laurence, or at 1 Enoch 94:8 in more recent translations such as that found in the two volume series "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha". Or, if you are a little more daring, you may just wish to pull out an Ethiopic-English Lexicon and translate the passage yourself.

Thanks. Actually, I wasn't the author of the page you are referring to. Even if Nibley's quote is for the most part accurate, the original author had a somewhat valid point.

In my opinion, Nibley is a first-rate scholar--sometimes wrong and always "forever tentative" in many of his conclusions, but never dishonest in his methodology--at least in my understanding of what scholarship is and entails.

I disagree. Nibley's methodology is similar to the Tanners as I will explain below.

Actually, a much better example of dishonest scholarship would be the material written by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. They very often leave out crucial material that can and often does completely change the Picasso-styled picture of Mormonism painted by them! This is why I only will use their work to lead me in the general direction to find material for my studies, but will never allow my judgment to be clouded by them. I have had to take their work with so many grains of salt that I sometimes can't see the food anymore!

I totally agree with you here. The Tanners fall victim to the same poor scholarship techniques as the apologists. They both have pre-determined conclusions which they then attempt to prove through selectively sifting through the "evidence". Both camps pick and choose only those items which help their case. Ultimately, both camps have to fall back on faith to sum up their case.

True scholarship Imo involves sifting through *all* of the evidence and basing your conclusions on the sum total. Neither the Tanners or Nibley (and his clones) are capable of doing this since they are trying to prove the impossible--they are attempting to *prove faith* which is an oxymoron.

People are essentially faced with two choices. They either choose the scientific method or they choose faith. I have no problem with those people who choose the later. I just wish they wouldn't try and prove their faith to me through their brand of so-called "scholarship" since it isn't possible. Those that try to choose both seem to go on with life frustrated due to the mental gymnastics they force upon themselves and the contradictions their philosophy entails.

Thanks for the feedback. Always appreciated.

received 8/25/97
I would like to suggest a book to add to your list. It's The Simeon Solution by Sister Poelman, wife of widowed and now remarried Elder Ronald Poelman. In her book, Sister Poelman reflects on her conversion to the Church, and offers a refreshing formula for maintaining a simple faith in the restored gospel and its leaders. How I wish you and those who are dissatisfied with their LDS experiences could read and understand the concepts she offers! I wonder how much good you could do if you turned your attention to strengthening the Saints!

Perhaps you can explain to me why faith in a leader or set of rules is superior to examining the facts of life in an objective manner and drawing conclusions based on reason?

I believe that your struggles for "the truth" have only resulted in further confusion; that your efforts should be turned to quiet service and obedience in the Church; and that the result of those efforts will bring greater illumination and true contentment.

I am very content and far more "illuminated" than when I kept quiet and blindly obeyed as an orthodox member of the LDS church. Further confusion has not been the result in my case. You may be sorry to hear this, but it is true.

Maybe we could all benefit from more meekness - shedding the natural man (and his logical, fact-based "truths") and becoming more like a child, willing to submit (Mosiah 3:19). I know I must do this. Thank you for hearing me out!

You may be interested in an essay I wrote on this subject which can be found here. It is my opinion that the "doctrines of man" which the church condemns are in fact the doctrines which have built and continue to sustain the church. Unfortunately, these doctrines were created by superstitious men rather than those who base their existence on what is real.

As far as becoming more like a child goes, one of the few things that Paul supposedly said that I agree with can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:11 which states, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things". Sure, I still act like a child sometimes, but I try and keep those moments limited to when I'm just having fun with my son. ;)

xxxxxxx (father, former bishop, high priests group leader, high councilor, bishopric counselor, seventy, stake missionary, full-time missionary)

too many church positions held to even want to remember them--let alone list them

received 8/25/97 from the former bishop in response to my above remarks
I will grant you the benefit of this final response. I believe you walk the path of your brothers Euclid, Thomas Aquinas and Zeezrom - heady company (but only Zeezrom "wised up" in time). The first law of heaven is OBEDIENCE. If we are not humble enough to follow our leaders, then we are not fit for the kingdom. I am likely not the first person to suggest you read about yourself in
D&C 121:38, but rather one of many who will stand as a witness against you at the last day. (This may be the only "public" airing we'll get, as you haven't the courage to print remarks from "detractors" like me.) I will not be drawn into your "objective manner and drawing conclusions based on reason", as this is the basis for most apostasy. I leave you to your own. May God forgive us both - you for your stubbornness, I for my lack of patience.

You would have made a wonderful Nazi my friend. Do not think, explain, or choose--just obey, obey, obey.

You have pointed me to a section of the D&C which deals with how Mormon males are to exercise their supposed priesthood. Seems strange that you would direct me there. Maybe you think that I am a persecutor or something? Perhaps you could be so kind as to point out where I have "persecuted the saints" or fought against a supposed being I don't even believe in? I'm no shadow boxer. ;)

In any case, I'd appreciate an answer to verse 1 rather than a command of obedience or some meaningless threats.

Peace brother. You may wish distress upon me, but I hope you find happiness in life. I can no longer agree with Mormon doctrines such as those found in verse 5.

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