Commentary on Mormonism, the Bible, freethought and more

Messages archive (10/5/97 - 10/25/97)

The most recent messages can be found here.

received 10/25/97
Greetings in Jesus' Name: It's Called "Holy Bible" because God is Holy, and it is God's Word to us. I Pray the Lord Open your eyes to this fact. with out Jesus, You Burn in the Lake of Fire... No If ands or buts about it. I believe in the Bible Literally, and My Elivator goes all the way to the Top. Wake Up.. Time is Short. I pray you understand. In Jesus' Name. Amen!

It's messages like this one that make me wonder why I, even for a moment, ever once considered myself a Bible believer. Dan Barker's quotes certainly ring true. In the name of freethought. Amen!

received 10/23/97
I am the person who posted [the original]
option #5. I want to respond briefly to the person who posted the correlary.

I think it is worthwhile to investigate the origins of things, and I find it useful and interesting to know about the pagan origins of Christmas and Easter, for instance, as well as about the Masonic origins of the temple. I don't make a big deal of pointing them out, but Christians in general and Mormons in particular know that Dec. 25 has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. That doesn't lessen the joy that Christians feel because Jesus was born, or diminish the pleasure of Christmas traditions.

I think there are a lot of people in the LDS church who know that the temple ceremony is Joseph Smith's reworking of Masonic rituals, but who still find value and inspiration in that reworking. I don't know that I would personally ascribe theology to the endowment, per se, but I think it reaffirms the already-existing Mormon theology and cosmology, much as Christmas reaffirms the already-existing Christian belief that Jesus was really born and that he was the Son of God, notwithstanding the pagan origins of Christmas trees and yule logs and bonfires.

Even early Christian rituals such as baptism and Eucharist have older and arguably "pagan" roots. Not to mention the belief in Jesus's atonement as fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system for atonement and reconciliation. But their adoption as Christian rituals or beliefs transforms their meanings from what they started out to be into something new. Imo, that transformation and utilization in a new way sacralizes them for those who believe in them, whether or not they understand the roots and origins of the rituals and/or beliefs.

Just a brief comment on Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies/sacrificial systems... There is an excellent essay on the subject in "The Word of God" entitled "The Mormon Christianization of the Old Testament" by Melodie Moench Charles. Ed Ashment's "Making the Scriptures 'Indeed One in Our Hands'" from the same volume also sheds light on the subject.

received 10/23/97
I have read your pages with interest and while I don't agree at all with what you're saying (though that is wrong because I haven't yet read all of what you're saying), it is at least interesting to see that you're not one of those who just slag off Christians for the sake of it and that you have backed up your statements. [The author of the message then goes into a discussion of his Christian religion and the specific congregation he attends which I have cut.]

My key point, I suppose, is that lives are being changed for the better.

If this is all that is happening in your Christian denomination then that is very good. If all religion did is change people for the better then I am all for it. I encourage people in several places on my pages to stick with faith if it makes them happier, better people. If your faith makes you a better person, then I am not here to take it away from you.

People are losing violent streaks and all kinds of addictions without one word of 'thou shalt not.....' from the leadership. We're a church that teach the Bible as the complete word of God and the positive response is undeniable.

Now that truly is amazing. Are you leaving parts out? For instance, are you receiving a positive response when you teach that the God of the Bible sanctions murder, rape, slavery, and theft when it is his people doing it in his name?

For the record, I have heard corckers from people trying to explain things away left right and centre. The best, I suppose, must be the gentleman who told me that dinosaurs never grew to be the size they were, they were all the size of chickens but the weight of the earth stretched out their bones. Another even told me that dinosaurs never even existed, the bones were put there by God to test our faith. I cringe when I think of this being told in support of MY faith!

How do you then reconcile such things as evolution, the scientific history of humans, the earth's longer history, and the Universe's much longer history with your literal interpretation of the Bible?

received 10/17/97
I always get a kick out of visiting your pages. I tuned in to the latest today (regarding Hinckley). All his statements even make me "sicker" than I was before. I love how he claims everyone has misquoted him. It's ridiculous. However, I could have gone along with that misquote thing, regarding the man-god thing, if it were not for the fact that I have personally heard this being taught by the leadership. It's also in their Priesthood and Relief Society manuals. To say otherwise is just downright lying. My question is: Will it ever end?

No. It is getting worse.

They just keep changing the history/their words right in front of people's faces. It appears that they think if they deny what they said yesterday the people will believe it (Scary thing is that some do). Of course, there are many who are not staying with the program and saying enough is enough. The leaders put their own feet in their mouths as it were.

Oh boy, can I relate to [your comments to this guy about a lack of answers received by praying]!

Do you regularly view the SRM and ARM?

Not anymore. I'm getting board with Mormonism. About the only new Mormon stuff that has made it to the site recently (and will make it to the site in the future) is stuff people send me. I read the last book on Mormonism that I own last week and don't plan to buy or read any more.

received 10/17/97
I hope to come at you at a different angle than you are used to. I am a young mormon born into the religion. I came upon your sight by random surfing and became immediately concerned. Although I admit I haven't read everything yet I got the sense you are a scientologist.

Actually, a Scientologist is a member of the Church of Scientology. Some of their members include John Travolta and Tom Cruise. I am most definitely not a member of Scientology--nor do I believe in any of their dogma.

You may mean that I am a supporter of the scientific method as a means of finding truth. If this is the case then you are correct.

I just wanted to relate to you my thoughts and experiences. I am not a science major, but educated none the less, and I take issue with the scientific explanations I have been taught. I propose to take issue with the scientific community and feel that you are very irresponsible with your conclusions and lies.

Which lies would those be? I'm constantly accused of lying, but no one is willing to point out specific instances.

I remember very distinctly sitting in an anthropology class, with a bunch of lost minds, listing to a teacher tell us of the age of the earth and our evolutionary heritage. I couldn't believe that no one would challenge him on his academic assertion that we were a very old planet based on dating data. Being an undoubting believer in the scriptures I knew he (my professor) was wrong so I began to study my text extensively. I began to realize, much like your web sight, that science in particular anthropology is very subjective.

Science is actually an objective form of thought. It encourages testing and fact finding. Religion, on the other hand, encourages faith, tradition, and subjectivity. As you said above, you don't even let yourself doubt the scriptures. That is the first place you probably ought to start if you don't want to be included with the "bunch of lost minds".

It seemed that no matter what made sense they seemed to support their findings scientifically no matter if it is not viable. For example, I was told that the earth was several million years old. Further, he went on to tell us that many aspects of dating are associated by sediment layer association.

Sure one of the many aspects of dating fossils is layer association, but that has nothing to do with dating the age of the earth or the universe. The earth is actually several billion years old--the universe is several times older than that. There is a big difference between million and billion as Carl Sagan so nicely explains in his last book. If your teacher or text said million then you should start looking for more reliable sources of information.

Also, many assumptions about human evolution have been made based on a limited amount of physical evidence. For example, reluctantly, my professor admitted that all the pre historical human evidence actually recovered could not fill our class room (a very small room). He went on to say that most skeletal evidence is copied, therefore misrepresenting the actual evidence.

Perhaps you should do a little more research and not rely so much on one teacher.

The real issue I wish to raise with you is the fact that you base so much of your faith in science. I make no mistakes about it, I think science is very irresponsible. First of all, most dating techniques are very flawed. For example, carbon 14 dating only dates up to like 50,000 years (I may be wrong on the actual half life, but irregardless it is insufficient to accurately date very old materials claimed to be evident in our text.). Any how, regardless of the many inaccuracies probably established using this incorrect dating method, I wonder how many wrong assumptions of evolution have been made using such an inaccurate method. Tell me the name of the scientist who has actually watched carbon deteriorate. Who are we to claim that such a substance is not volatile enough to change deterioration rates as time passes. Basically, how do you know it has not execrated or decelerated given certain environmental perimeters. Anyhow, this and many other inconsistencies of scientific "facts" are shaky at the least.

Again, you should do more than rely on one professor and one textbook. First of all, you need to grasp the notion of what the scientific method is. It has nothing to do with faith as you assert. I have links to several sites which explain what the scientific method is on this page.

Please read this article published by an anonymous author. It is extremely profound and I believe very more accurate than any of the crap I was forced to endure in college.

I've read tons of Creationist material. I was raised on it. There isn't any science in it. It's based on myths, legends, and faith. Thank goodness we have far more to go on than that in the 20th century. See if your Creationist ideas can accurately answer the questions on this page.

Armed with this evidence hopefully you can reform some of you basic arguments and give up this struggle against a more wholesome truth.

A struggle against a more wholesome truth? A god who creates the world, gets pissed off at and then destroys everyone on it and has to start over again and is now in the process of waiting another 4,000 years since the last time he killed everyone to do it again is a more wholesome truth? Truth doesn't come in flavors. There aren't wholesome and unwholesome varieties. Truth is truth regardless of what some religions substitute for it and then give the erroneous name "truth" to.

received 10/15/97
I read your comments on Ishmael and Quinn. I agree totally with your assessment. I enjoy books that help me to think out my own philosophy whether I agree with the author or not. Both Rand and Quinn do that for me.

I just read "Origins Reconsidered" by Richard Leakey. Although it doesn't present an overall philosophy per se like Quinn and Rand, he does offer some valuable insights on the human condition--a portion of which shed negative evidence on some of Quinn's claims (similar to At the same time, Leakey (as an environmentalist) probably shares many common views with Quinn. Leakey is well worth reading.

received 10/13/97
I would like to commend you on a well thought out position. You took time and placed your points down logically explaining why you don't believe in a God or Gods and religion.

I think you are referring to the "Atheist Manifesto". I did not write it. It would sound different if I did.

I still however do not understand your stance. I believe in God myself, I am christian and would be the first to admit that religion is in a bad way and for the most part is detrimental to most. I have seen time and time again where the church has been the cause of unecessary anguish and a pointless mentality. I am not writing however to question your problems with religion or God but rather to simply ask a question. I am an open and logical person, and hope that just as you expect me to listen, and I mean truly listen, to you, that you will do the same for me. My problem with your ideas is simply this: you have not expressed proof of your own belief.

I don't have a "belief" so there is no point in trying to "prove" it. There is no need to prove a lack of belief in my opinion. Why spend a life disproving Santa, UFOs, Unicorns, etc?

You point out painstakingly problems with religion and the present and past philosophies about the existence of God, but you don't support your own position against His existence.

First you need to define this "Him". Since you said you are a Christian, I can safely assume that you believe in the Bible. The Bible states that God is perfect and that everything was created by Him 6,000 years ago. Yet when I read "God's Word" in the Bible I see many imperfections, contradictions, and teachings that I find horrible. This is all the evidence I need against your God's existence. Contradiction does not equal truth, and I find far too many contradictions and a lack of evidence dealing with your God to believe he is true.

You claim to know that there isn't am God because the ideas that say that there is are at fault.

I have never made such a claim. I've said just the opposite on numerous pages including this one. God could certainly exist. God could be imperfect. He may just like to hide. It's when people like yourself define God to be perfect and then go on to say that the Bible contains His (imperfect) word that I say that I can't accept such a world view.

received 10/10/97
I hope to relay my belief on why the temple endowment is similar to masonry. As had been said.. masonry is the corrupted endownment... and as we all know if you research most of Joseph's Revelations, they came to him only when he asked about them.... in each revelation he was thinking on a subject... trying to understand it.. he would either recieve a revelation concerning that which he had questions about.. or he would ask God in the name of Jesus Christ... to help him understand you having read those revelations... ought to know that.... thus who is to say he didn't have questions about the masonry ceremony....

This is option #2. You have ignored the explanations required for this to be a valid option though.

many things from days past have been passed down in a degenerate form... those things may seem myths or fables.... but for an examples many Indian Legends have a basis of truth to them... the story's sometimes are only glorified.... but the base of what started to stories was true... we have many things in their unpure form.. the Bible has many contradictions many things are missing....

The Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price also have many contradictions. Many parts turned up missing or changed from one version to the next (especially in the 1835 D&C). How do you explain these facts?

this is only because with time.. man tends to degenerate.... and those things which he has care of degenerate with him....

I'm a little more optimistic. I think that with time, history, and more efficient communication, people can learn from past mistakes and do just the opposite of "degenerate".

I'm just grateful that we can recieve those things which in there purity are marvelous to behold....

For instance....?

there is only one who can tell us what truth is..... and he requires faith to recieve it.... he can only work through our faith.... and as we know faith is the substance of those things unseen....... we need not see it to have faith in it....

I've always been puzzled by this line of reasoning. I've asked this question to at least a dozen people who told me that faith is necessary, and none have bothered to respond with an adequate answer. Perhaps you can. Why is faith necessary? What possible reason could God have to hide? What possible reasons does God come up with to alter all the evidence on earth to make it look as if the Bible and the Book of Mormon are false when their facts are looked at under the microscope of science and reason? Why would a God who supposedly created our intelligence ask us to blindly look at things and ignore the intellect given to us?

I don't know why so many people have said the things they did about you... I would say that they were totally uncalled for... I know you have your beliefs and I have mine.... and I hope that those that have written those messages will understand that you aren't any better a person when you condemn another... I just wanted to express and extreme appology for what those others said and I know I'm not really anyone to speak for the whole..

No need to apologize for others. I'm sure their comments gave themselves a bit of happiness. If putting me down puts a smile on their face, then I've helped to make the world a better place. ;) Seriously though, derogatory comments about my site do not phase me in the least. I just wish they would back them up with a bit of evidence so I could improve the site to make it more accurate.

I do appreciate what you have written because it allowed me to think and to see things on a broader viewpoint....

This is my goal. I'm glad it's working to some extent.

received 10/10/97
Your page is passing on good

I love your page. It is THE most meaningful, entertaining, and informative page I have ever come across on the net.

Thank you for your page.

Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same as you do as the following message shows...

received 10/9/97
i read your stupid "proof" that the bible says the earth is flat. you are an ass and a liar.

Actually, I have never written a word on the subject. You are probably referring to this page which, as stated on the page, was a post that showed up on a newsgroup. I'm not sure why you would refer to the person who wrote it as an "ass and a liar" though. His "stupid proof" consists of little more than a list of verses in the Bible on the subject. Curt van den Heuvel has created a much more extensive "proof" for you. After reading it, you will probably find him to be a penis and a fibber. ;)

I also recommend that you read the essays found in "The Word of God". Perhaps your outlook on life will be broadened a bit.

received 10/9/97
I browsed through your webpage and am astonished at how much you've read, as you indicated, in "the last few years."

Actually, I haven't read all of the books on the list. I've read many of them though--most in the last two years.

You must be very bright.

Not according to the message I received above. ;) I don't think "brightness" can be associated with the amount of books one has read. A case in point is my soon to be 2-year old who goes through a dozen books a day. My wife and I still can't get him to stop throwing food on the floor so how bright can he be? ;)

You are obviously an atheist, but I was interested as to what beliefs you hold? Since man cannot live off atheism alone :), you must have adopted some ethical views, metaphysical views (materialism, idealism, dualism, etc.), and so forth. Do you accept logical positivism (the view that whatever science says to be right, is correct) or something else?

I don't hold any specific unchangeable views (anymore). I like bits and pieces of many larger lines of thought but don't completely agree with any of them. I accept the scientific method as the best tool we have to figure out what is and what isn't factual. I don't think "science" actually says anything although many scientists do--many of whom I agree with to a large degree. My "statement of purpose" will probably give you a good idea of where my ethical, metaphysical, etc. views stand.

Also, how old are you?

I'm 30ish.

For myself, I'm 19 yrs old and a "Valuist." That is a term I coined for a philosophy espoused by Robert Pirsig in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "Lila". If you have not read the former, I highly recommend it. It was a classic in the '70's. The latter is a more detailed account on "Valuism," or the Philosophy of Quality. To me, Quality is like a God, but not what we usually think of as God. You really have to understand my whole metaphysics to understand what I mean by Quality, but I'll let you read the book. It is a really great read, even if you don't follow the philosophy (which most people don't). :)

I read "Zen..." in college but didn't get much out of it at the time as my religion then provided all the answers I thought I'd need in life. I'll have to read it again.

I read your essay on atheism, theism, and agnosticism, and I'd like to point something out. I mentioned how Quality can be defined as a God, but besides that, I am agnostic in regards to all conventional forms of God. I have an explanation for my agnosticism, and a proper definition for agnosticism as defined by the man who coined it, Thomas Henry Huxley.

Also, I will be starting a page on the Philosophy of Quality in case you're interested (you mentioned you will be making your pages more philosophy-oriented) here.

Keep up the good work with your page.

received 10/6/97
Just wanted to thank you for the great website. I've been working my way out of the LDS jungle and it's absolutely wonderful to find such an intellectual asset. Take care and thanks again for your work.

Thanks for writing. I hope, for your own sake, that you are a recent convert or a member with a non-orthodox family. Good luck in any case!

received 10/5/97
Examine all of the
options on this page. Study them out in your mind and decide which you think is correct. If you believe yourself superior to God, your inquiry is at an end and you have your answer. However, if you acknowlege man's inferiority to God, then you must proceed to ask Him for confirmation of your answer. (See: James 1:5, Moroni 10:3-5, and Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-8.)

Interesting scripture selection. If you read Moroni 10 and D&C 9 carefully, you will see the major flaw with this line of "inspired reasoning". Both scriptures require an affirmative answer in your own mind (faith in Christ in the case of Moroni) before God does anything. How is that objective? If I'm already believing, why the need to ask God?

Here is a test for you. First, believe in the God of Islam. Now ask the God of Islam if your belief is not true. Since you already believe, your answer is of course in the affirmative. If it isn't, then you really haven't believed and you must follow Moroni 10 more accurately by believing first. Five minutes later, pick a different God and try the same thing. Same result. If you ask me, your test has involved nothing but games of the mind. In case you haven't bothered to read much on the site (which is fairly obvious), you should know that I believed this same line of reasoning for decades. I used the exact same con you used on me above countless times on others when I was on my mission. Looking back on it, I'm glad that not many bought it.

As far as James 1:5 goes, try this test... (The person I'm responding to is a BYU student). Sign up for a subject next semester that you know nothing about (i.e. something that you "lack wisdom" in). Do not attend the class, read the assignments, or study for the tests. Then walk into the testing center on test day and "ask God" for the answers. James promises you that you will be given all the answers to the test. Let me know how it goes.

I don't know why you have turned from the Gospel and against the Church, but you clearly have.

It depends on how you define "Gospel" and "Church". If you define these words narrowly as in "Utah-LDS orthodoxy", then my reason is that I believe that honesty is the best policy and orthodoxy didn't allow me to be honest with myself or others.

You claim that your site is not "anti-Mormon", yet it is. You are definitely not WITH the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor are you silent or undecided. Therefore you are against it. (See: Matthew 12:30 and 2 Nephi 10:16.)

Interesting line of reasoning. Since I'm not a complete closet doubter, I must therefore be an anti-Mormon. Since you are not WITH Judaism, are not silent (you went on a Mormon mission afterall), and not undecided (as orthodox Mormons believe other religions to be in a state of apostasy), do you consider yourself to be an anti-Semite?

Actually, I'm undecided on many things. I'm more than willing to change any and all of my opinions after careful consideration.

Mormonism as defined by numerous general authorities and prophets of the LDS Church is "all truth from whatever source derived". See Brigham Young's quote on this page. Now if you can point out an untruth on my pages based on evidence rather than blind faith, which I then refuse to change, only then can you begin to call my site "anti-Mormon".

To the extent this seems judgemental, I apologize. My purpose is not to judge you, merely to ask you to be honest with others and, above all, with yourself. The above-mentioned method of discovering the truth has been used by millions, perhaps yourself included. I say that advisedly; I know that not all who serve missions have received a witness of the truth.

I received plenty of witnesses. The problem is that they were all the results of my brain telling me what I wanted to hear rather than any sort of objective look at reality.
Would I hope to live happily ever after for all eternity?
Of course.
Do I wish there was a God that could divinely intervene whenever I need some supernatural help?
Of course.
Is there any evidence of these things and others of a similar nature being true?
Unfortunately, no.

Look in your heart and discard anger and pride. Read Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-24 and Alma 5:26. Then consider whether to place the option I mentioned on your page.

I don't harbor any anger or harmful pride but thanks for the caution (or was it a condemnation?). The option has been placed for millions to see and evaluate. You are welcome. ;)

I hope to hear from you. Inasmuch as you have revealed somewhat of your history, it is only fair to reciprocate. I am a highly intelligent, logically-minded man. I say this not to boast, but to place my remarks in perspective.

Of course you are. All highly intelligent logically-minded people should state that fact up front so the rest of us don't have to think too hard when logically evaluating the intelligence of these gifted individuals. ;) (I'm joking here of course--for those of you who aren't familiar with the ;) sign, it indicates a smiling wink)

I joined the Church when I was 20 and served a mission a year later. The only reason I joined was that I received a witness from God that this was his Church. I asked, He answered. Directly. There was no possibility of mistake or external influence.

Hmmmm.... If there was no possibility of external influence are you sure you heard from someone other than yourself? I'm just kidding. I know that isn't what you mean. Since you do receive direct communication to and from God though, I'd appreciate it if you could send him my way once in a while. I've prayed tens of thousands of times in my life and never heard a peep. I was listening and believing all the while too just as Moroni commands.

Either I received an answer from God, or God does not exist or is incapable of answering prayers in a manner sufficient to make clear that it is an answer from God.

I choose either your option 2 or 3, but if you can show me otherwise through more than your own personal feelings, I'm willing to accept your option 1.

Events previous and subsequent to my introduction to the Church have made it clear that God does exist. He is capable of answering prayers in such a way as to leave no doubt of the source of the answer.

Once again, the evidence seems to be lacking. I've heard a zillion testimonies--even given them myself. I need something more than events in your mind to base my life on.

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