Mormon (Church-Sponsored) Mocking

On July 7th (2011) Politico drew attention to a local news report in Memphis that showed man-on-the-street interviews about Mormon teachings. The context of the relevance for the news report was the presidential campaign; this was one report in a series of four that the station had aired in one day (July 4th). In this particular segment, asking “the questions somewhat joking with them and trying to be a little bit light-hearted,” the reporter appeared to treat little-known Mormon doctrines with disdain. He asked people things like, “Can you name the candidate that’s running for president that believes that if he’s a good person in his religion he will receive his own planet?” And, “What country do you think hosts the Garden of Eden? Did you know it’s in America?”

The news report has caused public outcry from Mormons and non-Mormons alike. It has been condemned as “offensive,” a “disgusting underhanded attack,” “shameful,” “distasteful,” “stupid,” and, of course, “anti-mormon” (to list just a few epithets).

Reading about how upset people have been over the news reporter “making fun” of Mormonism made me wonder why nobody has raised a public eyebrow over the LDS Church-sponsored mocking of Christian doctrines that is depicted at the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah every year.

During a 2011 performance, Christian evangelist Russ Bales filmed this early scene of the pageant:

In this short clip, the Mormon Church pageant makes fun of the Christian doctrines pertaining to the nature of God and eternal punishment, portrays Christian pastors as being unwilling or unable to answer the most basic of life’s questions, and misrepresents the “fervor of religious revival” with “the exhortations of contending preachers, each proclaiming his own church the only avenue of escape from the horrors of a burning hell.” The narrator jeers, “Amen, Hallelujah”; one of three pontificating preachers drones, “It is only here that you will find salvation. Only here,” while churchgoers dismiss the play’s sincere truth-seekers, Mary and Robert, with an annoyed sweep of their arms.

Is the tone of this scene in the Mormon Miracle Pageant substantially different from that of the Memphis news station’s man-on-the-street segment? Some may think the Pageant scene should also be condemned as “offensive,” a “disgusting underhanded attack,” “shameful,” “distasteful,” “stupid,” and “anti-[Christian].” What do you think?

—————-

Thursday’s Mormon Coffee blog post will take a look at the LDS doctrine that promises planets to the faithful (as mentioned in the Memphis news report).

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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74 Responses to Mormon (Church-Sponsored) Mocking

  1. CD-Host says:

    SR —
    So the next question is, is Joseph Smith view of the fall biblical supported? Let me start off by saying your view; essentially the Augustine view is fully biblically supported. I’m not going to try and argue against Augustine, so this will be descriptive not argumentative.

    Joseph Smith as I read him seems to following Maximus the Confessor (the guy who formulated the part of the Chalcedon creed regarding the hypostatic union). This contradicts Western thinking, regarding monergism, and instead supports what you see in Eastern Christianity, synergism. I’ll link to a chart written by a good Calvinist on the difference so that you can trust the source while still catching the key differences: Monergism vs. Synergism . So Joseph Smith while in absolute 100% disagreement with Augustine and thereby Luther is advocating a position that over a 1/4 billion Christians agree with. Now Maximus’ view the shift in man from the fall was to “deliberative will” (centered on man) from the “natural will” (centered on God) . A shift of man to engaging in the natural world, which is in accord with JS’ view.

    So lets move onto sex. Augustine fully agrees with you that pre-fall sex was possible, “In Eden, it would have been possible to beget offspring without foul lust. The sexual organs would have been stimulated into necessary activity by will-power alone, just as the will controls other organs.

    Again 1Cor 15:45-50 talks about Adam Kadmon, primordial man. I’m running out of words but Gen 1:27, Gen 5:2 use hermaphroditic language, I think this is a function of Hebrew but there have been people who attach meaning: an image of primordial man.

    (continued)

  2. CD-Host says:

    SR —

    This is the 3rd post #2 has links so its in moderation jail. So what I ran out of room was that the idea of pre-fall Adam being hermaphroditic you can find support for in tons of Jewish & Christian literature, going back several centuries before Christianity. The idea is in the Talmud, Gnostic literature is loaded with this theme, Hermetic literature is still loaded with this theme. But nothing in mainstream in Christianity.

    But if you want biblical support. Joseph Smith views prefall Adam as semi-divine (I can provide verses). Matt 22:28-30 has the same hermaphrodite angels theme from Jewish literature. Arguing for the semi-divinity of Adam isn’t hard, but angelic nature is a stretch without pulling in something some pretty esoteric stuff.

    If we want to cut to the chase. My personal opinion which I’ve blogged about, is that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were Hermetic Christians *part 1,part 2, part 3 , and the Mormon church is in this weird place of having tons of Hermetic themes and symbols without wanting to acknowledge where they are coming from.

    Joseph Smith loved Masonic imagery which pulled from Hermetic Christianity which had hermaphrodite themes. He was “translating” Egyptian literature which had this imagery for Hermes and Anubis (though I’m not sure if he would have understood that).

    So in short to defend Joseph Smith’s view of Adam being unable to have sex:

    a) BoM, D&C or some the other places this idea is discussed and make an appeal to prophetic revelation.
    b) To pull in Hermeticism.
    c) Hold that these command are inherently in conflict and that’s where agency came / quasi-Orthodox Christian view.

  3. Mike R says:

    CD , I’ll chime in here with my observations concerning your participation here.
    First of all, This blog is a part of a ministry by christians who feel that the claims
    of the Mormon church need to be addressed. These claims form a great dividing
    line between us. We see the leaders of the Mormon church as some of who Jesus
    warned would come — Matt7:15. In our attempt to dialogue with our Mormon
    relatives and friends we have found that this can be more beneficial when we
    have some common ground with them. One example of common ground is the
    following by Mormon prophet Spencer W. Kimball : ” Of all the treasure of
    knowledge , the most truly vital is the knowledge of God, of His existence, His
    powers, His love, and His promises . ” [ Ensign Sept.1983,p3 ] . Also this
    statement by Joseph Fielding Smith, ” The Holy Bible has had a greater
    influence on the world for good than any other book ever published…..The
    reason for the Bible’s great influence for good is because it is inspired and
    contains the word of the Lord delivered, to His prophets who wrote and spoke
    as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost….” [ CN Jan.2 1937, p. 1 ].
    With this as a common place to start, we can share our concern with Mormons
    that their leaders have revealed some fundamental doctrines that are not
    consistent with what the Bible has to say on these same doctrines. This is
    significant because of Jesus’ warning about false prophets arising to mislead .
    Naturally , Mormons would deny their prophet is a false teacher. (cont)

  4. falcon says:

    “Revivals that Changed A Nation: frontier faith captured the heart of the common person and molded Americas character”, tells the following:
    The American population grows spectacularly in the early republic, but the growth of the churches far surpasses it. Between the American Revolution and 1845, the U.S. grew from 2.5 million to 20 million-about eight-fold. But the number of clergy per capita tripled. Methodists and Baptists grew from a few thousand to 1.5 million each. By the Civil War, America was essentially an evangelical nation……….people were no longer interested in high-toned and formal religion; instead, they were looking for something more expressive.
    Methodism especially introduces the supernatural into everyday life by respecting emotional expressions of faith. You see the prevalence of dreams, visions, ecstasy, swooning, dancing, the jerks, the barks-this is boiling-hot religion.” (p.42 Issue 45 Christian History)
    It’s easy to see how in this environment people could be taken in by religious entrepreneurs of every stripe.
    People who know the Bible, have a firm grasp of Christian doctrine and have a true witness of the Holy Ghost in their lives don’t get taken in. Remember the words of Jesus when he talks about “if possible” even the elect could get fooled. I like the fact that Jesus said “if possible” in emphasizing His point.
    Those God calls, He keeps.

  5. Rick B says:

    CD said

    First off, thank you for being polite. Its nice to see someone on a Mormon board actually addressing Mormonism and contrasting it in a knowledgeable way

    Please, Dont act like we some how wronged you and you did nothing but kind loving things. people have made it clear, we dont trust your motives and why. Many people have explained that this board is about us Christians talking with Mormons, But you have tried telling us Christians what we believe is wrong and why. You seem to be hostile towards God and us.

    Then you along with Many Atheists act like if you ask us a question and we cannot answe it, or if we do, but it is not waht you want to hear, then you act like, See I’m right, how can God possibly be real when a Christian cannot answer my question. Many atheists do this. Or you say, look, this person claim to be a christian and you toss out some name and claim they dont agree with us Christians, so yet more evidence God cannot be real.

    Yet in my experiance, I have ask many atheists questions they cannot answer, and showed them people, big name scitensts in the world that either cannot agree on something, or would disagree with them, yet in these cases it simply boils down to, it’s ok to disagee. That is so hypocrtical, You dont agree with each other or cannot answer my questions and that does not prove God is real and your wrong, but when we as christains dont agree, or cannot answer your questions that proves God cannot be real. And you wonder why we dont trust you and feel you should simply go away.

  6. Mike R says:

    [ cont]
    Now you enter the dialogue and claim to be a ” neutral observer” . It’s does’nt
    take very long for you to exhibit behavior that does’nt appear so neutral after
    all. You claimed as an Atheist to be a fan of Mormonism, one who admires ” the
    idea of exaltation”. To be exalted in Mormon theology is to become an Almighty
    God. You then started off on a consistent pattern of trying all you could to show
    disdain for “Protestant” beliefs. Perhaps as an ex-christian you are mad at
    Protestants and Evangelicals hence you turn against God and the Bible . You
    are’nt the first person so hurt. Many have had an experience happen in their
    life that they blamed God for etc. This is unfortunate , but the course you’re on
    is’nt the answer. You have attempted to throw out a lot of allegations concerning
    the Bible and Church history . There ministries that can reply to these issues.
    As an Atheist, what you’ve attempted to bring to the table here is a veiled cynicism,
    a rejection of God, the Bible, and the Christian message. Mormons and us here would
    agree that this is not something we care to admire or be a fan of . Don’t give up
    on God because He won’t give up on you. Take care.

  7. 4fivesolas says:

    CD, If Scripture does not address a question then we as Christians have no answer. And you know what, I am fine with that. Scripture tells us what we need to know. Some of the questions you or “Mary” claim the Bible does not answer it does indeed answer. But you may just not like the answer. And if Scripture is silent on an issue, it is simply inconsequential and not something to focus on. Jesus is the center of Scripture – salvation though his death and resurrection – get that and you’ve got everything.

  8. CD-Host says:

    Mike R —

    Thank you for addressing that directly. That was forthright. I’ll agree this is not the right place for me to “get saved”. That’s not my intention. My intention is to run into good [filtered profanity or slur] arguments. SR’s no sex in Eden is a good one it holds up. Kate did a good one with me a few days ago, didn’t hold up but I learned a lot of Mormon history.

    I’m not the one whose putting forward bad arguments and most of the anti-arguments are terribly weak. If they fall apart in 3 seconds, consider it a blessing you didn’t use that on a real Mormon. If I can kill them with how little I know about Mormonism how well could possibly work with a real Mormon?

    But on the other hand some of your claims are unfair, “turned against the bible”. I hate to say it but so far we’ve discussed the bible its the Evangelicals who have generally not known it that well. If by “turned against the bible” means I read it carefully then yes I have. You want someone who holds the bible low regard Orson Pratt.

    And in my experience in talking to Mormons most of them have more vastly more disdain for the claims of Evangelical Christianity not less. For example Mormons have this belief regarding copy errors. As if the standard translations aren’t relative well supported by fairly old manuscripts and thus we have no idea what a 4th century bible would look like; while I would contend that with a very few number of words exempted we know a 4th century bible would look like.

  9. CD-Host says:

    Mike–

    Lets take a real example where they blow me away in terms of “cynicism”, the great apostasy . I have a typical atheist attitude, there were a bunch of Hellenistic Jewish sects playing around with parts of savior mythology, Messianic movements, Gnostic themes about God, Ben Noach movement these started sharing to form proto-Christianity. The proto-Christianity evolved towards early Christianity and most of the big ones merged to form Catholicism.

    Mormonisms put me to shame. For them, the early authentic church consisted of the apostles and a few choice followers. An aposte Satanic imitation church of Satan arose quickly, perverting the message of the real church and physically killed off the real Christians, so by the end of the 1st century died, the real church was dead leaving almost no trace. And all that remained was the Satanic imitation that became Catholicism. Protestantism moved things even further away and the only legitimate church in the entire world today is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    I don’t hold a candle to that hostility.

    If God never intended to speak to man after the first century of the Christian era, it certainly would have been a great blessing to the human family, and saved many millions, of them from delusion to have told them of so important a matter. But as God has failed to give any such notice, learned divines have concluded to give the notice themselves: hence they have invented “Articles of Faith,” in which their followers are required to reject, under the penalty of excommunication, all books professing to be of divine origin, except those named in their “Articles,” or those few which human wisdom has selected and compiled into a Bible [Orson Pratt, doctrines of the Gospel]

  10. Kate says:

    “An aposte Satanic imitation church of Satan arose quickly, perverting the message of the real church and physically killed off the real Christians, so by the end of the 1st century died, the real church was dead leaving almost no trace. And all that remained was the Satanic imitation that became Catholicism.”

    I have to ask, which religion uses Satanic symbols? Look at the LDS temples. This is a crock.

  11. falcon says:

    Kate,
    Dr. Walter Martin, author of “Kingdom of the Cults” use to say, “Check everything people tell you, even me.” He was a very wise man because he knew that people invent history and spin it to meet their own agenda. Cults exist because people are gullible and lazy and won’t do their homework. In regards to this, it’s important to find reliable sources, especially when it comes to the history of the Church.
    There’s something about conspiracy theories that really hit some people’s switch.j
    Mormonism is great for hiding and inventing history. Add to that “progressive revelation” and its all a conspiracy buff needs to fuel their fantasy.

  12. Kate says:

    falcon,
    I was sitting here thinking that while I was in Mormonism, I never once heard that “An apostate Satanic imitation church of Satan arose quickly, perverting the message of the real church and physically killed off the real Christians.” But come to think of it, I did. It just wasn’t worded this way. I was taught that there was a great apostasy and the Catholic church was the “whore of all the earth.” Whether or not those two things have the exact same meaning, I’m not sure. I think it’s a bit rich for the LDS church to say anything about another religion being Satanic, with the inverted pentagrams on and in temples. Why didn’t they use the star of David? How anyone can think that there is anything to be admired in Mormonism is beyond me. Mormonism today is not like it was 100 years ago. If it were, I don’t believe there would be many that would follow it. In fact, if Mormon missionaries were honest and laid the religion all out on the table, not being ashamed of all the weird stuff like who they believe God is, there wouldn’t be many converts either. If a religion has to lie by any means, including lying by omission, isn’t that a huge red flag? I’m not ashamed to stand up right here in the middle of all these Mormons and shout out that my God is three persons in one, The Holy Trinity! The ONLY God, besides him there is no other, He knows of no other. God became man, man does not become God. If you have to be ashamed of who your God is, then something is terribly wrong.

  13. falcon says:

    Kate,
    Couldn’t it be said that Martin Luther “restored” real Christianity?; or any of the other reformers for that matter.
    I remember one of our past Mormon posters insisted on the Mormon line that the emperor created the Doctrine of the Trinity at the Council of Nicea. I, and especially Andy Watson, walked him back before Nicea and demonstrated that this doctrine was taught in the Church from the inception, pointing to writings of the Church Fathers back to the second century. It was a big ho hum to this guy that the LDS church was lying about one of their foundational reasons as to the Gospel being “lost”.
    I must admit that I do get frustrated when we are dealing with things that are knowable. But, again, it takes work to actually check things out and especially check out sources. Mormonism has some mottos that the folks down at the wards are taught and they just repeat these things to each other.
    It’s amazing to me the number of Mormons with above average intelligence who never bother to check out their religion.
    An interesting story is that of Lyndon Lamborn who started asking questions about his Mormon faith after he read John Krakauer’s book, “Under the Banner of Heaven”. Here was a guy whose Mormon roots went back to the handcart days, served a mission, was faithful in his callings and he didn’t know anything about the history of Mormonism. He gained some notoriety when it became public that his excommunication was going to be publicly announced in church. Well it hit the papers that this was going to happen and suddenly it didn’t happen.
    My impression is that finding out about the LDS church destroyed Lyndon’s faith in religion generally.

  14. CD-Host says:

    Falcon

    I remember one of our past Mormon posters insisted on the Mormon line that the emperor created the Doctrine of the Trinity at the Council of Nicea. I, and especially Andy Watson, walked him back before Nicea

    I know you don’t like to talk to the reprobate but this is a matter of history. I agree with you 100% on Nicea conspiracy issue. We know all 80 some issues resolved and how every bishop voted on every one of them. And none of those issues deal with the wild things people think happened there. Nicea is likely one of the best documented events in the ancient world. If I were going to pick a place to center a conspiracy that would be the last place I’d pick.

    In terms of the trinity the issue was whether some of the persons were subordinate, and that’s it. The debate was between people who believed in the Catholic trinity, and people who believed in lets call it the Arian trinity. But all over popular literature you see this belief that there was a non-trinitarian position that was overthrown.

    Which is why Mormons who write on the great apostasy, like Hugh Nibley, put it much much earlier. After the middle of the 2nd century there is far too much documentation about Christianity looked like. You and I am sure disagree on what Christianity and proto-Christianity looked like 200 BCE to about 150 CE. After that we likely don’t disagree much.

  15. Kate says:

    falcon,
    You said it amazes you how Mormons don’t research their religion. I was just like that. I just went with the flow and learned about emergency preparedness, food storage, my 72 hour kit, be kind, love your neighbor, work hard, etc…..I trusted that the prophet was a true prophet and I belonged to the ONLY true church. If you belong to the ONLY true church then it doesn’t really matter what it teaches right? That’s why I had so much anger when I started researching. Not all LDS doctrines are front and center. The weird stuff is not talked about openly to most members. I have family members who say they just have faith as a little child and just can’t get caught up in all the doctrines. How sad. Honestly, they only need to get caught up in one LDS doctrine ( The nature of God) and it would negate the rest of LDS doctrines. If that one doctrine is false, Mormonism is false. All one has to do is compare that to the Bible and what God says about himself.

    I know that coming out of the LDS religion, I wondered if there even was a God. Was all of it a lie. I struggled at first with having any belief in religion at all. I’m thankful that I stuck with it. I found great comfort in reading my Bible every morning. Seeing things clearly for the first time, and realizing that Jesus is not a church building or organization. Yes we gather together as believers, but a personal relationship with Jesus is what it’s all about. Life is good!

  16. falcon says:

    CD
    Don’t take this personal, but I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth with you. I’ve been down this road too many times and have learned that’s it’s basically a waste of time.
    My friend jackg, who is an exMormon and who posts here on occasion, taught me that there’s something called the pre-contemplative stage, especially with Mormons. People at this stage aren’t really tuned in.
    When Jesus talked to Nicodemus, he challenged him because he was a teacher of Israel and didn’t understand what Jesus was telling him about being born again. Jesus was holding Nicodemus responsible because he had the Scripture that talks about a “new heart”. It appears in Jeremiah 31:33-34.
    It took a year from the time that I began to consider that their might be a God to the time that I took the step to close the deal with Him. Prior to that I wasn’t in a frame of mind to even consider God seriously. In fact I was openly hostile.
    I’m confident that if God has began a work in you he will see it through regardless of your current intentions or my dialoguing with you. I’d rather concentrate my efforts on those folks who have started their journey towards faith and need some encouragement along the way.

  17. CD-Host says:

    I think it’s a bit rich for the LDS church to say anything about another religion being Satanic, with the inverted pentagrams on and in temples. Why didn’t they use the star of David?

    I think this is a serious question so. The right side up pentagram in Christian art represents the 5 wounds of Christ and because it points up it frequently is used as a symbol for Ascension Day. Playing on that symbol of ascension the inverted pentagram in Christian art represents the Star of Bethlehem, Christ’s descent, i.e. Christmas. Its also sometimes used with 5 wounds and descent, i.e. “He descended into hell” from the apostle’s creed.

    In the context of Nauvoo Joseph Smith was using it as an astrological symbol, the Bethlehem star; in accord with Rev 12:1 (which does appear original to him). You can see that usage by looking at the surrounding symbols.

    But in Christian art the Ascension Day star was far more common than the Bethlehem star and made; the Ascension Day star symbol was incorporated into the Anglican Church’s art. So when the black mass people wanted a symbol they used the reverse in both senses: 5 wounds for an upside down cross, Petrine crucifixion i.e. crucified upside down; and a descent into hell. The black mass movement was very influential on the development of later occult groups which is why today its seen primarily as an occult symbol.

    And while I don’t agree with the Mormon claim that this was never used this way prior to Joseph Smith’s death it was rare. Its not unlikely an middle class American of the 1840s wouldn’t have been familiar with the occult usage.

    He didn’t use a Star of David because that means something else.

  18. I think it’s a bit rich for the LDS church to say anything about another religion being Satanic, with the inverted pentagrams on and in temples.

    Kate, while I don’t think Joseph Smith thought of the inverted pentagram as evil, I believe his use of it on the Nauvoo temple stemmed from his involvement with magic and the occult. The Smith family’s “Holiness to the Lord” Parchment contained pentagrams just like those that appeared as the Nauvoo temple windows, as well as the phrase “Holiness to the Lord” which is also reproduced on the temple dedication plaque. D. Michael Quinn wrote,

    “As with every evidence of the Smith family’s magic that LDS apologists try to dismiss in isolation, ‘Holiness to the Lord’ occurs in the context of the other clearly astrological and occult inscriptions on the parchment. It is this context of magic (including the use of ‘Holiness to the Lord’ in pseudo-Agrippa’s Occult Philosophy) that ‘necessitates a magical connection’ for the Smith family’s golden parchment, not a biblical phrase in and of itself.” Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p. 437 fn. 54

    I don’t intend to comment on this further here, but if you’d like more information (and pictures) please see The Gospel In Stone?

  19. Mike R says:

    CD, thanks for the reply. I found your comment on how you seek to find the
    best argument to use against Mormons so you seek these on “anti” sites etc.
    You seem to be looking for some silver bullet to win and argument with.
    Perhaps I’m not understanding you acurrately , but that’s how it came
    across . I need to remind you that this ministry is not “anti” LDS . It ‘s not just
    about getting a Mormon to see they’ve been misled by a false prophet.
    We’re not in the business of seeing ex-Mormons, but ex-Mormons FOR Jesus.
    I hope you can see the difference. As far as my statement of you’re being ,
    “turned against the Bible” is concerned, is it really unfair of me to state this
    when you said that you’re an Atheist? IF you were a christian turned Atheist
    then did you not turn against the Bible ( and God ) ? I do agree with you on
    Orson Pratt. I hope you can see that as an Atheist you have very little to bring
    to the table here, and that’s not to say that I don’t respect you , but realize that
    there are ministries that will address many of the allegations you brought forth
    about our faith here. We have some common ground with the Mormon people
    that has proven to be valuable in attempting to dialogue with them and this is
    the purpose of why we are here. Please respect that will you ? Thank you.

  20. Kate says:

    Sharon,
    Thanks for your comment to me. I read the link, Gospel in Stone and enjoyed reading it. I was also thinking that it is hard for anyone to know just how much Joseph knew about the pentagram. He and his family were involved in occult practices, so it wouldn’t be that out of line to believe he knew the meaning of it. To me it doesn’t really matter what he knew, the fact is that it’s there. It has meaning for us today. I wouldn’t want one plastered to a place where I was worshiping Christ. I know there are arguments to and for out there. I just wanted to point out that even though the LDS have claimed that the Catholic Church is of Satan, it’s not the one using Satanic symbols.

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