Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why I Blog

Why do I blog about such a controversial topic as "Mormonism" - the ugly nickname for the Christian faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Why would I dare blog under my own name and even have an amateur Website under my name that contains many pages discussing and defending the Latter-day Saint religion? This is a question I get frequently.

In a world that increasingly associates serious religious belief with superstition, ignorance, and perhaps a touch of mental illness, and in a country where religious views are something that polite people just don't talk about, isn't my open discussion and defense of my religion something that will get me in all sorts of trouble, including jeopardizing my professional work (where I actually have a dream job, working with many truly amazing inventors, scientists, and business leaders)? Perhaps, but my approach is simply to make these resources available for those who are interested. The people I have worked with over the years, almost without exception, have been tolerant and intelligent people who don't let religious differences get in the way of our work, and some, when they run into my pages, have expressed gratitude for sharing the information and clearing up some misconceptions.

But why do this in the first place? It began with my personal quest for truth and numerous personal experiences that gave me a strong personal witness - what Latter-day Saints ("Mormons") call a personal "testimony" - that God exists, and that Jesus Christ - the Jesus Christ of the Bible, not some "other Jesus" as some of our critics claim - is for real and is our Savior (examples of expressed "testimonies" are available at Mormon.org and MormonTestimonies.org). That personal testimony also includes a vast amount of experience with The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which I accept as a volume of ancient scripture as well as the Bible. My combination of study, pondering, and prayer in exploring the Book of Mormon led me to a powerful personal conclusion that it is from God and is divine scripture, and that knowledge became a foundation for recognizing that the Church itself is a divine tool from the Lord for blessing the lives of people on this earth. I chose, on my own, to serve a two-year mission and had the amazing privilege of serving in German-speaking Switzerland. Though many people there weren't interested in religion at all, I had numerous experiences where I saw what the teachings of the Church - the Gospel of Jesus Christ - did for the lives of people. I saw once cold, despairing people find joy and meaning, while happy people became happier. I saw people grow and have better lives. I saw families strengthened. And these kind of experiences have been repeated many times since, especially during a time when I had the privilege of serving as a bishop of a congregation. Say what you will about how awful you've heard Joseph Smith was, condemn us for our theological heresies in not accepting modern creeds from committees of philosophers, rant and rail about the puzzling and thankfully long-gone phenomenon of polygamy, but when I look at what happens in the lives of those who join the Church and seriously live by its teachings, on the average (exceptions abound, as in all of life) I see people becoming happier and families becoming stronger. I see people finding more meaning and purpose in life. And it's not just "Mormonism for Dummies" - I see intelligent, educated people finding intellectual fulfillment in the rich teachings of the Church, teachings which help solve some of the biggest theological conundrums of the past.

For those who are looking for more in life, I think the Church has something wonderful to offer. For those who do join, I think you have begun a wonderful and rewarding journey of faith, a journey that will bless you and your posterity. Yes, I really believe it is true, even though there are puzzles and problems and occasional human errors (all humans are fallible - even the great apostles and prophets of the Bible as well as our modern apostles and prophets - and anyone thinking otherwise is bound for disappointment). Given my beliefs about the benefits and truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints, it pains me to see inexperienced members of the Church get torn away by assaults on their faith from our very vocal critics. It pains me to see people who are preparing for baptism in the Church suddenly get "love bombed" with anti-Mormon literature from well-meaning friends and perhaps less well-meaning pastors who tell them that "the Mormons are a cult; you'll be worshipping a different Jesus and you'll go to hell if you join!"

I blog because of Peter, a wonderful young man who found incredible joy when he joined the Church in Switzerland, and then was convinced by his love-bombing friends that he had joined a cult. I blog because of Eric, a man from my congregation whose whole family left the Church after their faith was shattered by what I see as the intellectual deceptions of some professional anti-Mormons (yes, there are people and "ministries" who make their livings off of spewing attacks against the Church) who had convinced him that the LDS Book of Abraham was proven as a complete fraud by scholars. I blog because the same arguments that got him shook my faith as well in the 1990s, until I realized that the most critical information in the argument had been conveniently and knowingly left out by the critics. I had been tricked by people who "lie in wait top deceive," and I wanted to provide resources to let others who sincerely wanted to know that there might be another side to the story.

I blog and write Web pages because unrealistic and naive assumptions of some faithful members of the Church can sometimes send them on a collision course with reality or with science (which is often close to reality). Issues such as DNA evidence and the Book of Mormon or the fallibility of human leaders, require a more careful reading of the scriptures and a more mature understanding of our faith than some members get in Sunday School. (By the way, if you Google "fallible Mormon," I'm #1 - and proud of it.) There are answers to many of the questions and objections raised by these issues, but they need to be made available for them to be considered and discussed.

I blog because anti-Mormon literature is all over the Internet and there needs to be some visible wells of what I consider to be more fair information to refresh those looking for answers. I blog because the rhetoric and insinuations against the Church have reached new but often subtle highs with a Mormon candidate in the Presidential race (one minister's declaration that "A vote for Romney is a vote for Satan himself" might be on the less subtle side). I blog because numerous ministers are telling their people - directly or through insinuation - that Mormons are a non-Christian cult, using deceptive and contrived definitions of both "cult" and "Christian" that ironically tend to condemn Christ and His early disciples as non-Christian cultists as well. (Example: "A cult is any group that tries to introduce new scripture and has a dynamic leader who claims to bring new revelation." Anyone heard of Jesus Christ and the New Testament? As non-Christian cultists, at least we're in good company.) Unsuspecting people, after hearing such rhetoric, may go to Google, type in "Mormon cult", click on "I'm feeling lucky" - and encounter a page likely to shake and shock them with its information about us Mormons. Shouldn't I do something about that? Well, perhaps, I actually have.

I started this journey with some simple Web pages back in 1994. I love to write, so I wrote about my community (best small town in America: Appleton, Wisconsin), my hobbies, my views on a variety of controversies, and, of course, my religion - sometimes with a touch of satire (Google "facetious mormon" and I'm also #1). The LDS material has been the biggest of these projects, and my Website and this blog contains material developed slowly over years. Still many gaps and flaws, but I hope it helps.

I recognize that we Mormons have plenty of flaws, and that there are plenty of things in our beliefs, history, culture, and even dancing skills that can be questioned. Insights into the complex, unflattering, and sometimes troubling realities of history are available in outstanding works like Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by LDS historian Richard Bushman, who shows that one can be an intelligent scholar, confront history and reality, and still be a Latter-day Saint. All religions have a troubling side, because all religions I am aware of have one dangerous factor in common: human beings as adherents and as leaders. And that means trouble. Rough edges. Gaffes. It began with Adam and his family, and then continues throughout the Old and New Testament and right up into modern times. Some of the things Abraham did, that old polygamist, leave me shaking my head - yet he was a great prophet and patriarch praised by Christ Himself as a friend of God. There are head-shaking moments for every faith and plenty of unanswered questions. But a lot of questions do have answers, and there are some awfully good reasons to shake one's head up and down and say, "Yes, this is wonderful. And not just truthy, but true." That's where I am. I sincerely believe the Church has something fabulous to offer the world, something the world needs more than ever. And no matter how insane that my seem, I feel a need to make the pro-LDS side known to those who want to know. I respect your decision to not care and to not investigate, or to turn away our missionaries or even to leave the Church, if that's what you really want to do. But whatever you do, if information about our beliefs and practices plays a role in your decision, I hope you'll also consider the LDS perspective from some of its members such as myself and not put too much trust in what some of our very vocal and sometimes full-time professional critics say.

When that Florida minister told people that a vote for a Mormon was a vote for Satan himself, you should realize that he was doing a terrible disservice. Think about the pain and confusion this has caused among faithful Satanists, who already thought they had their candidate picked out. Now they aren't sure what to do. Ouch.

Trying to share and defend something that has greatly enriched my life, and to offer some balance on a very unbalanced Web: that's why I blog.

38 comments:

Marc said...

Great post, Jeff - I enjoyed the interspersed humor too. :)

It's too bad we don't have more videocasts by church members. If you do a search on archive.org for "mormon", you'll see tons and tons of derogatory videos on our faith. And this at the "internet library."

I use the Miro player to subscribe to some video cast shows that I like - mostly about tech topics, but it would be awesome to be able to see your personality in video, auto-downloaded to my computer once a week or so. :D

"Mormanity TV"

CathyZ said...

Wow - what a great post! I'm new to this site, but I've been enjoying it greatly. I'm preparing to be baptized into the LDS church later this month, and I've found your site to be wonderfully helpful. I've sent links to this site to friends & family who are a little confused about my decision.
I've think you're doing a great service to the church with your blog - thanks so much.

Chad said...

Jeff

As someone who has been interested in the Church for at least a year, I must say that your websites have been an excellent source of information as I investigate in my home the teachings of the Church.

Thanks & Keep it up

Dan and Wendy said...

Amen brother. Well thought out and articulately explained.

Eventually we all need to be able to stand on our own two feet. I am grateful for everything that my parents taught me as I grew up and that I learned in primary, and mutual activities. But, I'm an active member now because in times of quiet reflection and sincere prayer, I have received answers to my questions that I can not deny. The sweet assurance from the spirit of things I know to be true.

Thank you for the time and effort you put into your insightful posts.

Dan

AH said...

Jeff, I am glad you blog for the very reasons you have mentioned. Your arguments and posts are intellectually rigorous and very faith promoting. You do a great service!

DmB said...

Jeff,
I found your Blog about two years ago and have been a faithfull reader since. I really enjoy the discusions that are brought about with your posts. (most of the time) I am really impressed with some of the regulars who deliver insite that is very well thought out and adds to your site. I have recommended your site to many friends who have questions about the church. They have found it very helpful. You do a great service to the church. Keep up the great work.

Dengland said...

I'm an 18 year old guy preparing to leave on a mission in May. I've enjoyed your perspectives on so many issues. With your website, along with websites such as fairlds.org and askgramps.org as well as great books like "rough stone rolling", and "upon the hand of mormon", my intellectual testimony of The Church has been strenghtened. Most importantly, however, I have receieved a witness of the Holy Ghost testifying of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon.

Thanks a lot Jeff, and keep serving the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I am a recent lurker and fan. Keep up the posts! I also enjoy the discussions that follow as it gives me better insight as to which aspects of the Church are confusing to people.

Bill said...

I have been reading you faithfully for maybe 3 yeas. It was delightful to read this post. Keep it up as your blogging is enjoyed by many. I agree Appleton is a wonderful little town.

Latter-Day James said...

I enjoy your blog as well Jeff. Though my hometown could be in contention for the best small town award. The video idea is a good one.

Halibut said...

Great blog Mormanity. A friend recently showed me a book from his church explaining other religions. The chapter on LDS people started with "mormons--your greatest neighbors". Then it went on with the plurality of Gods that we have. Impossible to argue with as it is such a fundamental difference. It is difficult to change with such a basic difference.

It then went on with the book of Abraham, Joseph Smith, and our aversion to Crosses and Christmas.

No amount of words can change the above.....

Halibut said...

I need to add one thing about crosses. A friend recently asked me about the fact that we do not use crosses. I am sure he got the idea at his church. I did not know how to answer.

He said that there are only a few groups he knows that have problems with using a cross. 1. Jewish people 2. LDS 3. and vampires.

Mormons Are Christian said...

The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often accused by Evangelical pastors of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion This article helps to clarify such misconceptions by examining early Christianity's theology relating to baptism, the Godhead, the deity of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

• Baptism: .

Early Christian churches, practiced baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family. The local congregation had a lay ministry. An early Christian Church has been re-constructed at the Israel Museum, and the above can be verified. http://www.imj.org.il/eng/exhibitions/2000/christianity/ancientchurch/structure/index.html
The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continues baptism and a lay ministry as taught by Jesus’ Apostles. Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and prohibiting non-Christians from witnessing them.

• The Trinity: .

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration?

The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: "There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one."

Scribes later added "the Father, the Word and the Spirit," and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. .

Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.”

Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, "The Son of God became man, that we might become God." . The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

• The Deity of Jesus Christ

Mormons hold firmly to the deity of Christ. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS), Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God the Son. Evangelical pollster George Barna found in 2001 that while only 33 percent of American Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists (28 percent of Episcopalians) agreed that Jesus was “without sin”, 70 percent of Mormons believe Jesus was sinless. http://www.adherents.com/misc/BarnaPoll.html

• The Cross and Christ’s Atonement: .

The Cross became popular as a Christian symbol in the Fifth Century A.D. . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) believe the proper Christian symbol is Christ’s resurrection , not his crucifixion on the Cross. Many Mormon chapels feature paintings of the resurrected Christ or His Second Coming. Furthermore, members of the church believe the major part of Christ’s atonement occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane as Christ took upon him the sins of all mankind.

• Definition of “Christian”: .

But Mormons don’t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. They believe Christ’s atonement applies to all mankind. The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”: All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him divine, and the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. They all worship the one and only true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and address Him in prayer as prescribed in The Lord’s Prayer.

It’s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be authentic Christians. . Early Christians had certain rituals which defined a Christian http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/207/2070037.htm , which members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continue today. . If members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) embrace early Christian theology, they are likely more “Christian” than their detractors.

• The Need for a Restoration of the Christian Church:

The founder of the Baptist Church in America, Roger Williams, just prior to leaving the church he established, said this:

"There is no regularly constituted church of Christ on earth, nor any person qualified to administer any church ordinances; nor can there be until new apostles are sent by the Great Head of the Church for whose coming I am seeking.” (Picturesque America, p. 502.)

Martin Luther had similar thoughts: "Nor can a Christian believer be forced beyond sacred Scriptures,...unless some new and proved revelation should be added; for we are forbidden by divine law to believe except what is proved either through the divine Scriptures or through Manifest revelation."

He also wrote: "I have sought nothing beyond reforming the Church in conformity with the Holy Scriptures. The spiritual powers have been not only corrupted by sin, but absolutely destroyed; so that there is now nothing in them but a depraved reason and a will that is the enemy and opponent of God. I simply say that Christianity has ceased to exist among
those who should have preserved it."

The Lutheran, Baptist and Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) churches recognize an apostasy from early Christianity. The Lutheran and Baptist churches have attempted reform, but Mormonism (and Roger Williams, and perhaps Martin Luther) require inspired restoration, so as to re-establish an unbroken line of authority and apostolic succession.

* * *
• Christ-Like Lives:

The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):


1. Attend Religious Services weekly
2. Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life – extremely important
3. Believes in life after death
4. Does NOT believe in psychics or fortune-tellers
5. Has taught religious education classes
6. Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline
7. Sabbath Observance
8. Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith
9. Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily
10. Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen (very supportive)
11. Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality

LDS Evangelical
1. 71% 55%
2. 52 28
3. 76 62
4. 100 95
5. 42 28
6. 68 22
7. 67 40
8. 72 56
9. 50 19
10. 65 26
11. 84 35



So what do you think the motivation is for the Evangelical preachers to denigrate the Mormon Church? You would think Evangelical preachers would be emulating Mormon practices (a creed to believe, a place to belong, a calling to live out, and a hope to hold onto) which were noted by Methodist Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean of the Princeton Theological Seminary, as causing Mormon teenagers to “top the charts” in Christian characteristics. (see http://MormonTeenagers.blogspot.com) It seems obvious pastors shouldn't be denigrating a church based on First Century Christianity, with high efficacy. The only plausible reason to denigrate Mormons is for Evangelical pastors to protect their flock (and their livelihood).

Bot said...

Halibut,

Tell your friend that the cross was first used as a symbol of war. The Emperor Constantine used it on his soldiers' shields in a war to determine the ruler of the Roman Empire. Because he won that war, he was convinced Christianity had supernatural powers (and he "converted").

Not exactly the pedigree you would expect for the Cross, is it? the Israel Museum confirms that the cross was not commonly used as a Christian symbol until the Fifth Century.

Isn't Christ's resurrection a much better, positive, non-bellicose symbol? Or how about the restoration of the Gospel (Angel Moroni)?

D360 said...

Jeff,

I will always be greatful for the effor that you put into this. As someone who has returned to activity after many years of inactivity it has been invaluable, especially after getting bombarded with many critical materials by family who was not happy with my decision. you have helped keep me focused and contributed a great deal in my desire to keep on keepin on! Thank you sincerely for all of your effort

Todd said...

Jeff,
As a man searching for truth, your writings and the information presented in your blogs have helped me in times of question. The things you have written in defending the faith confirm what the spirit has testified to me after long study and prayer. I have met many detractors and have read much that has shaken my faith in the past. I cannot however deny the witness given to me that The Church of Jesus is restored. Your writings have helped strengthen this testimony. Many Thanks!

GB said...

I have been a lurker since the 90's. I love your sight and the topics you cover.

Keep up the good work.

Mormon Dude said...

Powerful stuff, "Mormons Are Christian." Thanks!

I've often puzzled over why some ministers show such insistence in denigrating Mormons as non-Christian. What you said might help explain some of it. I'm sure it's not overt in the minds of many sincere ministers, but it's a force that simply cannot be ignored: money.

Mormons are a threat, not so much because they are going to send people to hell (hello - if believing in Jesus is all that is needed to be saved, are people who believe in Jesus really going to hell because they also believe in keeping commandments to follow Christ, or in added scripture, or in definitions of the Godhead outside the scope of modern creeds?), but because they proselyte and take away sources of revenue. Or better yet, Mormons must be attacked because creating sinister threats is good for stirring up donations. Well, I think such cyncical incentives probably don't factor in to what many of our critics do - I bet many are just misguided and subject to natural human prejudice - but perhaps the greed factor does play a role in some of this.

Madelene said...

Like some of the others here, I too am a "lurker." I happened on Jeff's website during a critical time in my life while I was in high school over 10 years ago, and it has been invaluable to me ever since. I also enjoy reading the insightful dialogue that occurs on this blog--between LDS and people of other faiths. What a wonderful resource!!!! Jeff, you don't know how many lives you have influenced.

Without knowledge, choices are limited. Your blogging helps others be aware of choices. THANK YOU for helping to balance the scales.

Graham said...

I'm not quite sure why "Mormon" is a n ugly nickname. The Church uses it for one of their web sites. Joseph Smith said it means "more good". I don't mind the nickname at all.

Michael said...

Jeff,

I am grateful that you blog and I especially enjoy your work at jefflindsay.com.

Your information has been very helpful for me as I have progressed through my personal journey of faith.

There are so many negative web sites on mormonism, it is nice to be able to find the pro-mormon side of things.

While many questions are unanswerable in this life, your respones and insights into these difficult historical and doctrinal issues have been very helpful to me.

Thank you,

Mike H.

Thaddeus said...

Great post. I've started a blog of my own called What do Mormons Believe?. I'm hoping more and more of us will join the Mormon conversation. So far the critics have had it easy.

Jon said...

Halibut - I don't agree with the answers of "mormons are christian" and "bot" about the cross. While I agree that we, as Latter-day Saints don't really use the cross as an official symbol, this doesn't mean that the Church has a "problem" with it (unlike Jews and Vampires). In fact, some branches in polynesia during the early days of the church used crosses as their symbol. No matter when it was instituted and for what reason, the cross has become a Christian symbol. And even if we reject the historical doctrine of mainstream Christianity in favor of original doctrine restored, we're still a Christian church.

To imply, as MAC and bot have implied, that the cross is some apostate symbol of a subordinate aspect of the atonement is to misunderstand some of the core doctrine presented in both the Book of Mormon and the NT. It is not possible to separate Gethsemene from Golgotha, nor should anyone, Mormon or otherwise, downplay one aspect or the other. The doctrine of the Restoration has not replaced the Cross with the Garden, but simply restored Jesus' Garden suffering to its original balance with His death on the cross. After all, it was not in Gethsemene that the Lord cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matt. 27:46). It was not in Gethsemene that Jehovah commended his spirit to his Father (John 19:30) or declared the great atoning work finished (Luke 23:46). Those significant events happened on the cross. In fact, some of our most sacred temple imagery depicts things associated with the cross.

Those who think the atonement was mainly about Gethsemene must have a hard time with Jesus’ prominent positioning of the cross in his explanation of his mission to the Nephites: “And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross . . .” (3 Ne. 27:14). The function of the cross an important symbol of Christ’s atonement is affirmed by its revelation to Book of Mormon prophets before Christ’s appearance: “And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world,” (1 Ne. 11:33) “Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men . . . [to] believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his ccross and bear the shame of the world” (Jacob 1:8). When God chose to reveal the mortal mission of his Son to Nephite prophets, He chose a cross and death as the most fitting image for suffering. The notion that the cross appeared so recently as the 5th century and “was first used as a symbol of war” is simply not true. Prophets in the dispensation of the meridian of time used the cross symbolically, if not in outward display then at least in teaching (1 Cor. 1:17-18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12-14; Eph. 2:16; Philip. 3:18; Heb. 12:2; ). Those who believe that the resurrection is the “proper Christian symbol” or a “better, positive, non-bellicose symbol” disagree with most New Testament and Book of Mormon authors and eye-witnesses.

I think it is unwise to use a fellow Christian’s beloved cross against him. Rather, Halibut, perhaps a more prudent, friendly, and accurate answer to your friend might be, “We, as Latter-day Saints embrace and revere the cross as an important part of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice, but we feel no need to officially adopt it as our primary symbol, nor do we feel that its non-use necessarily makes us unchristian. Early Christians used many symbols besides the cross, such as the fish and the chi rho symbol to demonstrate their faith to others. We believe that the most important symbols of a person’s Christianity are the emulation of Jesus’ example and following of His teachings.”

Jon said...

P.S. I didn't mean that the Church has a problem with Jews and Vampires. Well, maybe with Vampires. But Jews are very nice.

Latter-Day James said...

I think Jeff does a good job explaining it on his ldsfaq page under the question "Why dont Mormons believe in wearing the cross?".

I will quote from his answer.
"Here's our perspective: we worship the Resurrected, Living Christ. We remember his death and sacrifice each week as we partake of communion, etc., but we prefer to picture him as the glorious, living Lord. The cross is a symbol related to the dying Christ, while we prefer to focus on the Living Christ, the Resurrected Lord who conquered death."

There is more if you care to read it.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you would not know the truth if it slapped you in the face. You are wrapped up in a belief system and any challenge to that belief system is discarded without serious contemplation. Of course why would you need to? You are in possession of the complete truth. :) You are Typical of those that think they know it all. I have read your blog and you just use the same sarcastic remarks for anyone who disagrees with your thinking. It shows what a little person you really are.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:09--Your Christlike attitude is impressive.

Latter-Day James said...

Anon 11:09 ,pretty big talk for someone that is anonymous.

"Jeff, you would not know the truth if it slapped you in the face. You are wrapped up in a belief system and any challenge to that belief system is discarded without serious contemplation."


Have you read Jeff's blog for long? Jeff answers the toughest questions by anti's, skeptics and true investigators; better than anyone I have seen or read of before. The answers are always well thought out and explained. So your comment on serious contemplation is a joke in this forum.

"Of course why would you need to? You are in possession of the complete truth. :)"

Yes, there are people that do have a fullness of the gospel (truth). Ongoing revelation is here to bless all on this earth not just LDS people, hence missionary work and blogs like this one.

"You are Typical of those that think they know it all. I have read your blog and you just use the same sarcastic remarks for anyone who disagrees with your thinking. It shows what a little person you really are."

I believe Jeff uses sarcasm to bring humor to situations that otherwise could be more contentious. I tend to think he is a bit more Christlike than some, including myself. I would not tolerate this kind of attitude on a blog that is designed for discussion not accusation and mockery.

Keep up the good work Jeff.

Anon grab a tag and use it. Maybe you are one of those anti's that frequent and post to this board and need to blow off some steam? :-)

Anonymous said...

Why I Blog-
I recognize that there are many who are very happy in the LDS faith and I have great respect for that. However, I also know of many who because they are told their whole lives that the Church is true when they begin to feel they are unhappy in Mormonism they beat themselves up thinking that THEY are the problem, despite being great people. I think that many people will stop opposing the Church once members openly recognize that perfectly good people are sometimes happier choosing to not be LDS.

Mormanity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E Pobtsuas said...

Jeff.. I remember the talk you gave when you became bishop. That same spirit and clarity I felt and heard resignates throughout your amazing website and blog. Just wanted to thank you for the many gems throughout. I frequent regularly.

Anonymous said...

Jon, Jan. 14.,

Well said about the cross. As a convert missed those important scriptures in the BofM and you well thought out view. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Anon. 11:9,

Not that you are intersted, it is hard to address your problems unless you have some examples. Some times the sarcastic remarks are just tough-in-cheek or a try at humor. If Jeff felt he only had the truth why allow bloggers and take other views. I even like a lot of well thought out points T4x4 as long as he does not get to far out of hand. Jeff keeps it balanced so it not just bash a Mormon web page but is willing to talk about differing views. Check back later when you have something specific.

Anonymous said...

"While many questions are unanswerable in this life,"

As a convert, where the Mormons or Christian, or Jews can't come up with the answers I just make up my own and then stay flexable until the right one for me turns up.

Mormanity said...

Anon @ 11:09:

Let me try to rephrase what I think you're saying: You feel that I have a belief system substantially different than yours, with a different way of looking at the world, of understanding God, of interpreting scripture, etc. We can't both be right in the areas where we disagree, and while we may both be wrong, the most comfortable conclusion for you is that I'm an idiot. Have I got that right?

You may actually be correct.

One thing I know for sure is that no one religion has ALL truth, nor does any single mortal being. Being both mortal and religious, I can therefore say with 100% certainty that some things I believe are incomplete and probably even wrong. Idiotic? Yes, depending on where you draw the line. If you had actually read a little deeper into this blog, you might have understood that I have been saying for quite some time that Latter-day Saints do not have a monopoly on truth, and we most certainly do not have the complete truth. In fact, if you were familiar with the most fundamental aspects of LDS belief, you would know that one of our own Articles of Faith indicates that we believe that there are yet many great and important things to be revealed - meaning that there is plenty of truth we don't yet have.

We can say that "the Church is true" while understanding that the truths we have are incomplete. We look forward to further revelation and growth in the future as we embrace more truth and correct many potential errors in our limited understanding.

Anyway, sorry that you're offended about our different world views and all that. Best wishes.

alan Anderson said...

I find that people who criticize others whether if be religion, political, ethnical or whatever reasons are people who have among the least knowledge of what they are criticizing. People often criticize based upon ideas from how they are raised to supporting the opinions of those they admire whether or not they understand what they are criticizing.
For example: There is a former Catholic Priest living here in Salt Lake City who used to have his own parish in New York. As a priest he spent considerable time and effort attacking Mormons and warning his parishiners about Mormons. He decided at one point that if he were to be most effective he needed to read the Book of Mormon so that he would know what the Mormons were preaching. Upon reading the Book of Mormon he became convinced that if was of God. He gave up his parish and ministry in the Catholic Church, asked a member of his congregation to marry him and join him in Utah, she knowing how anti-Mormon he had been she knew there must be something worth looking into. They are married and both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints now living in Utah.
Elder LeGrand Richards, a former apostle, was always assigned to host guests of other faiths and ministries that would visit the LDS Church headquarters in SLC, he was once asked by a minister of another faith..."What is the difference between your Church and mine?" Elders Richards answered that the difference was that we believe the Bible, they don't and he then began to outline his answer with some of the things you have expressed here in your blog.
Anyone who takes the time to know and understand another may not always agree with the other but will almost always gain an appreciation and respect for the other.
I think it is as simple as let us share and lift each other.
---Alan Anderson

DilaT said...

Hi Jeff! I used to search about LDS stuff on Google or YouTube when I had some free time. I found so much trash! I am glad that you are here to write the truth about the Church. You write very well! (I am just jealous because I speak Portuguese and my English is not that good :-)
I will be back to read more!

Lars said...

Don't know if anyone is checking back on this thread or not, but I thought I'd throw in an extra idea about the cross. One of my institute teachers (who is very well-studied in church history) suggested that during the 19th century only the Catholic church used cross/crucifix decorations extensively, and that most other Christian denominations used steeples instead. When the Mormons fled to Utah, they were very much isolated from Protestant traditions that developed after that time, including cross decorations, while Mormons retained the steeple design. The explanation about the cross being the symbol of the dying Christ seems to have developed as a sort of popular belief, and is contained today in the "True to the Faith" booklet published as official church literature, but my teacher wasn't sure where the belief actually originated.

Wish I knew his sources. Anyone know whether this is plausible?