Should one limit consideration of “Mormonism” to what minimalists deem “official” and “binding”?

When comparing and contrasting Biblical Christianity with Mormonism, should one limit consideration of “Mormonism” to what minimalists deem “official” and “binding”?

I answer “NO” for a number of reasons:

  • Mormons, even minimalist Mormons, disagree amongst themselves over what constitutes “official” and “binding” doctrine. Some restrict it to recently emphasized teaching via institutional channels (regardless of whether it is in the Standard Works). Some restrict it to the Standard Works alone. Some restrict it to what is recently emphasized by the Church which is ALSO in the Standard Works. Some restrict it to what a particular individual has an emotionally epiphanous testimony on.
  • The LDS Church has no binding and official position on what constitutes a binding and official position. Even its related, relatively recent  LDS Newsroom article is ambiguous and leaves unsettled the internal Mormon debates on what constitutes official doctrine.
  • The LDS Church teaches that it is the authoritative intepretative grid/lens for understanding the Standard works. So even if one somehow tries to restrict “official” Mormonism to the Standard Works, the LDS institution and tradition still come out as having final say.
  • Even if we restrict consideration of Mormonism to what is taught in the Standard Works, it leads to absurdities. For example, we would have to speak of “Mormonism” as a religion which encourages the drinking of beer (D&C 89:17), something modern Mormons would lose a leadership position and temple recommend for doing.
  • The thrust of LDS institutional teaching and tradition fosters a “prima ecclesia” (primacy of the Church over scripture) approach to doctrine, that the living oracles are more vital than the Standard Works, and that living oracles override or upgrade scripture if there is ever a perceived conflict.
  • Mormon culture fosters a sense of different levels of accessible knowledge. Some metaphorically speak of this as “chapel Mormonism” and “temple Mormonism.” There is a layer of theology that Mormons assume is true yet don’t feel obligated to publicly confess or defend. A 19th century example of this was polygamy. One 21st century example is that of belief in Heavenly Mother: Mormon theology and even some institutional teaching lead most Mormons to assume her existence, yet because her existence isn’t explicated by minimalist standards of what is “official”, many Mormons feel like they can simultaneously believe in her and yet publicly deny that she is part of what outsiders may acceptably consider when critiquing the religion.
  • When Jesus said to watch out for false prophets and false teachers, and that we would know them by their fruits, he did not say, “You shall know them by their fruits, but the only fruits you are allowed to consider are binding and official fruits voted on in General Conference for inclusion in the Standard Works.”
  • To obscure real problems within any religion by appealing to abstract notions of what is and what is not “official” would be cruel, because it would overlook individuals affected—individuals that Jesus loves.

Mormonism sees power in ambiguity, strength in ambivalence, solidarity in equivocation, and encouragement in non-officiality. But Christ says, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

This entry was posted in Authority and Doctrine. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Should one limit consideration of “Mormonism” to what minimalists deem “official” and “binding”?

  1. Brian says:

    Simply wonderful, Aaron. You have explained to us in quite some detail the difficulties LDS people have in agreeing upon the beliefs of their religion. This highlights one of the challenges in witnessing to these our friends: The LDS teachings we understand may or may not be shared by an individual follower.

    Others have spoken often about this, having frequent experiences sharing a quotation from an LDS prophet or apostle. Only to have the individual dismiss the quotation. (Ironically, a reaction that rather mirrors ours as Christians to LDS teachings.)

    LDS people have three sources of teachings: (1) past leaders, (2) present leaders, and (3) the “Standard Works.”

    What is their understanding of #1? When shared quotations from past leaders, is the reaction one of, “Oh, isn’t that wonderful? What spiritual insight he had.” No. Typically, the reaction is one betraying discomfort at being introduced to foreign teachings.

    And teaching source #2? As you’ve noted, ambiguity seems to surround the present leaders. Basic questions such as “Do you worship Jesus?” Or “How can I have eternal life?” Or “Is there more than one God?” These seem to elicit responses all over the map.

    What about #3? Do LDS people have a good understanding of the Bible, or books introduced by Joseph Smith? Others have found they have difficulty navigating them. I think they spend more time in LDS magazines; its short stories and feature articles.

    The upshot? Lots of confusion surrounding the teachings of LDS leaders, past and present. Such is the state of LDS teachings in the early 21st century.

  2. falcon says:

    “Mormonism sees power in ambiguity, strength in ambivalence, solidarity in equivocation, and encouragement in non-officiality.”
    Man, do I wish I had written that! That’s the money quote. Let’s make it the official mantra of those of us who engage in the defense of the Christian faith in the face of the aberrant belief system of Mormonism.
    Is there some where we can include my other favorite line about aberrant belief systems in general that the more convoluted an idea, the more these folks embrace it.
    Actually this is how these religious groups operate and consider it normal standard operational procedure. There are certain things that Mormons are very structured about but when it comes to defining what Mormonism is, it’s a free-for-all. The structured part comes with the legalism that keeps everyone in line. Any tactic will do to keep behavior in check and keep the members under the thumb of the leadership.
    From what I hear about Mormon culture however, there are enough folks coloring outside the lines on the sly to know that not everyone is taking it as seriously as the true believers. I actually witnessed it in action one time when I was in Utah and then understood what the term “Jack-Mormon” meant.

  3. Brian says:

    “There are certain things that Mormons are very structured about but when it comes to defining what Mormonism is, it’s a free-for-all. The structured part comes with the legalism …”

    What an interesting insight, Falcon. Thanks! It reminded me of something. I once heard a sermon about Islam; its history, people, and beliefs (such as the “Five Pillars of Islam”). Over and over the pastor spoke of how in Islam, there is no set orthodoxy. There is only orthoproxy; the outward rules of conduct for the Mohammedan. A religion that isn’t so much about what you believe, as what you do.

    Could part of the challenge witnessing to our LDS friends be they are not very concerned about their beliefs? Their focus is instead upon their outward conduct? As long as it’s good, then nothing else really matters? Could that be the mindset? Or am I off base?

  4. falcon says:

    I’d say you’re right on. I don’t live in an area where Mormonism is the dominant religion or culture but from anecdotal accounts of others who do, I’d say there’s a real premium in Mormonism for complying with the behavioral norms of Mormonism. I’ve even heard some, who have come out of Mormonism, talk about the lack of healthy personal boundaries in the dominant culture and a tendency to judge the behavior of others. It seems that conformity is very important as is an emphasis on outward appearances.
    Why would people put up with this? I imagine some enjoy it. None-the-less my guess is that people within the culture of Mormonism know the “rules”. These rules may be written down somewhere or they may have become part of the cultural norms. For example, what are the rules for students attending BYU? They’re written down I’m sure. I’ve heard there’s a little official and unofficial spy system that operates and offenders are informed on. The point is both the written and unwritten rules are well known. I can’t repeat here what a devout Mormon (young man) told me about the Mormon girls he dated. He had to protect his virtue from their aggressive conduct.
    So while these rules are well known, secret sin abounds in oppressive and legalistic religious systems.
    So the actual doctrines and beliefs of Mormonism are ambiguous probably by design, the code of conduct is not all that ambiguous and more easy to observe and sanction.

  5. canuck54 says:

    Perhaps by being ambiguous it leaves the door open for the “prophet” to receive new revelations from God thereby nulling and voiding any previous revelations that need to go by the wayside for whatever reason. Why don’t they put out a D&C Volume 2 or an amended version of the Book of Mormon?

  6. Mike R says:

    Falcon, you said, ” So the actual doctrines and beliefs of Mormonism are ambiguous by
    design, the code of conduct is not all that ambiguous and more easy to observe and
    sanction. ” While I think that many of the doctrines that Mormon leaders have preached
    over the years have show a pattern of confusion , and rampant indecision , I don’t think
    this was by deliberate design because being the precepts of men , these doctrines were apt to
    be seen for what they actually were , i.e. man-made masquerading as “gospel truths ” .
    You’re spot on with the fact of how conduct is much easier to see and thereby control.
    It seems that the bulk of preaching these days by Mormon apostles concerns behavior .
    This is one reason , in my opinion, why I feel that to many Mormons don’t think through
    the fact that not all false prophets are immoral men . Since their prophets and apostles are
    well dressed, polite, and constantly preaching about striving to live a moral lifestyle that
    is consistent with the New Testament / BM , that therefore these apostles could’nt possibly
    be false prophets . So may the Mormon people take time to test their spiritual guides- 1Jn4:1 .
    I have only met one Mormon that was not likeable . The rest were fine people,
    they would have made great neighbors. So may they dismiss their prophets from
    their lives and thus be freed to come completely over to Jesus and see Him for who
    He is and what He has to offer– Heb.7:25

  7. Kate says:

    Great article Aaron! When I was trying to sift through the MOUNTAIN of Mormonism, trying to find the truth for myself, there was one question that I asked myself over and over. Where is Jesus in any of this? I asked myself this question no matter what I was researching. The answer was almost always ” Jesus can’t be found here.” I would then toss out that stuff and move on to the next question that I needed to study. After a few years of this I realized that the true and living Christ cannot be found in Mormonism. So much of Mormon doctrine is in direct contradiction to what Jesus taught. This was really hard for me to admit to myself. I know that some ex-Mormons become Atheist and I can understand why that happens. I wonder what Joseph Smith would think of the Mormons now days? Afraid to stand up for what has been taught by past leaders and prophets? Another thing I’ve noticed is that while the LDS throw all their past leaders and their teachings under the bus, they don’t do the same thing with Joseph Smith. It’s as if all other leaders were just men and things were just their opinion, so they get a free pass or something. Joseph Smith however, is defended tooth and nail and NOTHING he said is considered just his opinion. At least that seems to be how it is from my experience.

  8. Clyde6070 says:

    Gee I had several Malted shakes the other day. Isn’t malt a mild form of barley mention in D. & C. 89:17?

  9. Red says:

    New to Mormon Coffee,
    Maybe those seasoned here can help me out.

    Wasn’t the whole point of the restoration to bring back the lost authority? Who has this authority? Individual believers w/ differing opinions, professors, and Mormon defenders; or prophets and apostles? Ephesians 2:19-20 is used as justification for ongoing prophets and apostles because they are supposed to “bring us to a unity of the faith.” If that is true, how can the Mormon have their individual (and differing) yet valid opinions while still sustaining the prophets and apostles? It’s like sawing off the branch you’re standing on.

    The Mormon site claims Smith and Monson are prophets like Abraham and Moses. How do the Mormons who need to have things “official and binding” feel about D&C 1:38 “…whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same”?

  10. Red says:

    oops… I meant they use Ephesians 4:11-14 as justification.

  11. Mike R says:

    Red, welcome .

  12. Rick B says:

    Welcome Red,
    Have you ever heard of or heard the Band by the name Red? They are one of my all time favorite Bands. I listen to them daily, Over and over on my phone. Rick

  13. Red says:

    Thanks Mike and Rick.

    Oh, yeah, the band Red.
    What a funny unintentional coincidence.

  14. falcon says:

    One of the features that attracted people to Joseph Smith’s new religion was that rank and file individuals could were encouraged to receive “revelation” from God. This was in opposition to just a chosen, anointed few receiving inspired messages.
    Smith realized early on that this was going to cause some problems as his own authority and revelatory messages could be questioned. That would undermine his authority and control of the members.
    I think there is some sort of hierarchy within the ranks when it comes to individual Mormons receiving “revelation”. Members would be encouraged to receive “revelation” from the Mormon god but there wouldn’t be any sort of corporate authority attached to it.
    Mormons of course contend that they received “revelation” regarding the truth of the BoM. Mormons like to find some sort of equivalent with Peter’s experience where he acknowledged Jesus as the Christ. Notice that they are required to have a testimony and revelation of the BoM which then leads to a testimony of Joseph Smith, the LDS church, the current prophet and then as a tag line, Jesus.
    Receiving personal “revelation” is very popular among certain sects of Christianity. Christians who are into this don’t typically go out and start new religions but they do start movements. Among these would be the “word-faith” movement. These folks believe they can shape events and their lives and receive blessings by speaking-forth God’s Word in faith. They claim authority in the name of Jesus. Some rather strange and aberrant doctrines/teachings have emerged from this movement.
    As has been pointed out, Joseph Smith and his cronies operated in a time of great religious experiment so they moved about by the seat of their pants inventing and proclaiming all sorts of novel ideas. Among these was the multiplicity of gods, men becoming gods and polygamy.

  15. falcon says:

    We can see why there’s a huge jumbled mess in Mormonism directly as a result of what Mormons would consider their most important feature, revelation. This is what drives Mormonism, hooks people, and sustains them in the religion. What is a Mormon to do when they see all of the inconsistencies and just plain weird, bizarre and off the wall “revelations” by their thought to be chosen prophets?
    There has to be some sort of “out” or explanation. Unfortunately, for Mormons, they look positively ridiculous as they offer tortured explanations for the nutty and inconsistent revelations offered by their leaders over the years. That’s where the concept of “on-going” revelation comes in. The old stuff doesn’t count any more.
    It’s like that guy who’s been predicting the end of the world for the past year. His followers have to find some escape clause to save face because they guy’s predictions never come true.
    The Jehovah Witnesses do the same thing given their history. Their escape clause is that they have “more light” now. What nonsense!
    But it’s the revelatory feeling received by the Mormon upon praying regarding the truth of the BoM that causes the mental and emotional disconnect. To go back and doubt the veracity of the claims of the BoM is to question the methodology of proving truth and one’s own spiritual experience.
    I can see where the BoM would make someone feel good. It talks about Jesus. I guess I’d be a little curious about what version of the BoM the individual received their revelatory feeling and if the God who is proclaimed in the BoM is the same God that Joseph Smith latched on to later.
    They are different Gods!

  16. falcon says:

    Since the Book of Abraham (BoA) is part of LDS revealed scripture, has anyone figured out that since it’s been proven to be totally bogus, anything revealed there is bogus? I don’t think even a Mormon minimalist could find anything to minimize in it.
    I was recently reading how one of the boosters and apologists for the book had pretty much spun himself into the ground trying to come up with a plausible explanation for why the BoA should be included in the “counts” rather than “doesn’t count” column.
    Quite frankly, the guy looked totally stupid. The faithful TBMs will go with any explanation but for unbelievers in the Joseph Smith saga, it merely reinforces what we already know. That is, Joseph Smith was clueless.
    I don’t know why Mormons cling to this farce when they could have Jesus without it. Mormonism, as an institution, can add nothing to what Christ did for us on the cross. In fact, Mormonism detracts from it. It enslaves people and gets them running on this treadmill, which while expending a lot of energy, takes the person no where.
    I’ve discussed previously about how, as Sandra and Gerald Tanner studied the religion they were dedicated to, parts of it began to fall away with their discoveries. Finally they were down to just the BoM and eventually that dropped by the wayside also.
    They found new life in Christ outside of the structure of the false religious system that they had been apart of.
    Nothing can compare to knowing Jesus personally without the encumbrances of religion, especially a counterfeit.

  17. falcon says:

    I was just wondering, how much of a minimalist can a Mormon be before he/she/they get the boot from the religion? There have to be some Mormons in the program who play around the edges. We’ve sort of delineated behavior issues from doctrinal issues. What if someone doesn’t tithe, doesn’t wear the sacred undergarment, drinks some coffee and wine, is morally upright in their dealings with their follow man, doesn’t use profanity, is a good faithful husband and provider, a good father and accepts some callings here and there but isn’t interested in going near the temple, and has a life outside of Mormonism. How is that person treated within the Mormon group?
    How about a person who has no testimony of the BoM, the BoA, questions large portions of the D&C, doesn’t hold a reverential view of Joseph Smith, but believes strongly in the Bible and confesses a testimony of Jesus Christ? Are they asked to move along even if they aren’t speaking publicly but do privately about their personal convictions?
    There were people in Nauvoo who walked away from Joseph Smith and the LDS church when they were made aware of polygamy. Are they in Mormon outer darkness? How about those who wouldn’t accept the multiplicity of gods and men progressing to become gods. In the Mormon mind, are they also in outer darkness?
    There are sects of Mormonism that hold to original Mormonism. Are they minimalists? Would someone who is a Utah style Mormon who holds to a trinitarian view of God be considered a minimalist Mormon and be welcome?
    Who gets hauled before the council for excommunication?

  18. Brian says:

    Welcome to the forum, Red. It’s good to have you here.

  19. Falcon, from what I’ve witnessed, read, and experienced, the ones that get hauled off to excommunication court are the ones that have decided they don’t buy into and start preaching against the LDS Church. You can question, have different beliefs, etc and still be a member, just as long as you don’t go out and start telling others about it. At that point, they’d consider you **** and kick you out. I’ve met members who are gay. I’ve met members who drink, smoke, gotten pregnant, had affairs, been divorced… you name it, I’ve heard it. But once they start publicly discrediting the prophet or the BoM? They’re out. Until then, they’ll just have missionaries knocking on their door every week.
    A terrible joke told to me BY A MORMON:
    Q: What does a Mormon girl do when someone brings beer to a party?
    A: Puts her top back on and leaves.

    So what’s the difference between a Christian that has made some bad choices and a Mormon that’s made bad choices? Forgiveness. I think it was Kimball who wrote “The Miracle of Forgiveness”… and I read an exMo critique it saying, “It’s a miracle if you can achieve forgiveness!” In the Mormon system, you have to jump through hoops to get back in good standing. In Jesus, it’s all about the heart… and in an instant, you’re washed clean.

  20. falcon says:

    So it’s not really between the sinner and God with Jesus as the intermediary. The Mormon church assumes that intermediary position. They judge a person’s behavior as to whether or not he/she is worthy enough to even qualify for the religious three ring circus that takes place in the temples. Mormons think these temple rituals are the pathway to deification when in reality they are just empty ceremonies, borrowed from the Free Masons of all organizations.
    This is just more of Joseph Smith’s religious experimentation. He’d see an idea that appealed to him and incorporate it into his religion. If only Mormons could see themselves the way God sees them all dressed up in their temple outfits, borrowed also from the Free Masons.
    Very sad that honest and sincere people are hood-winked like this.

  21. afterallwecando says:


    Funny that you should post about the complexity of Mormonism. I just published a website where I’m trying to actually quantify how much a Mormon must do to gain saving grace. Which as you know for a Mormon only comes AFTER ALL they can do.

    … it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
    So far I’ve documented 400+ rules, commandments, guidelines, laws, duties, and strongly worded suggestions.

  22. Kate says:

    Mormons who confess adultery to their bishops are excommunicated. If someone confesses pre marital sex they are usually disfellowshipped. I would imagine if a gay person confessed that they are gay, no action would be taken unless they confessed that they acted on those feelings. Inactive Mormons are usually ignored. Maybe there would be an occasional invitation to a Relief Society party, Primary party or Ward party taped to their door. I know of an inactive single mom who was called in and excommunicated because she had a live in boyfriend. So sometimes that happens. My point is that for the most part, someone would have to confess something to the bishop before being excommunicated. The only exception to that would be someone speaking out against the prophet or the doctrines of the church as MaM said or the occasional bishop who knows a single mom who has a live in boyfriend and calls her in. What I could never get over in all of my years as a Mormon is the fact that every bishop I’ve ever had was a neighbor or friend and I knew they were sinning worse than me! How do you go in and confess to someone like that? Who are they to judge anyone? I was told that God called them to that position probably more for their sake than mine and the bishop is a “judge in Israel” with all authority to judge others. I used to ask my mom why anyone would repent to a bishop because he couldn’t forgive anyone. They would need to take that directly to Jesus. For some reason Mormons believe that they need a mediator between them and God and the mediator isn’t Jesus it’s the Mormon bishop or stake presidency. How truly sad.

  23. Mike R says:

    Kate, you mentioned the Mormon Bishop as a ” Judge in Israel ” . That is one of
    things about Mormonism that is so wrong. The New Testament Church that
    Jesus established has no need for this type of arrangement. Stop and think about it : a fellow
    sinner ( Bishop) is the one who grants you a permission slip to enter ” the gate of Heaven”
    (Temple) ! Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-20 reveals clearly the incredible good news of how
    we can directly enter the Holy place , God’s presence , to praise and commune with Him.
    No signed permission slip needed from someone who is just as sinful as everyone else.
    Mormonism the “restored” church of Jesus Christ ? No thank you .

  24. Mike R says:

    Afterallwecando, welcome. 400 and counting, wow ! Sounds like this type of behavior is not
    new — Gal.1:8-9 ; Alma 28: 31 .

  25. falcon says:

    Hay Kate.
    If someone gets excommunicated do they (authorities) remove their names from the membership list? The LDS place such importance on numbers that I could see them keeping someone’s name on the membership list despite the fact they booted them out.
    So the bishops were worse sinners than you? My mind is just spinning wondering what these guys were doing.
    The inactives. There’s a monstrous number of these folks on the LDS rolls. Are there public sanctions on the inactives like some sort of informal shunning?
    I was watching “Heart of the Matter” once and this Mormon man calls in and is crying and pleading with Shawn to “Please come back to the church.” It was really pathetic.
    Hay, do you remember the guy (Chad Hardy) who did the beefcake calender of young Mormon men returning missionaries. Whoa, they wouldn’t give him his diploma (BYU) despite the fact that he had completed all of the degree requirements.

    He has some interesting things to say about Ricks College now BYU-Idaho. BTW, I made a stealth appearance on the campus one time, praying up a storm. Considering that I live in a totally different part of the country, it was quite a feat that I even ended up there. The Lord has his ways!

  26. falcon says:

    Here’s some excerpts from another article. Is Chad a Mormon minimalist?

    Chad Hardy says he bears no ill will toward the council of elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He says an official letter severing his ties with the 13 million-member Salt Lake City-based church should arrive in about two weeks.

    “I felt like I spoke my truth,” the 31-year-old entertainment entrepreneur said. “Bottom-line, they still felt the calendar is inappropriate and not the image that the church wants to have.”

    “Men on a Mission,” which has sold nearly 10,000 copies at $14.99 each, included pictures of 12 returned missionaries wearing black slacks, but not their trademark white shirts, in modest poses. The men are also photographed in traditional missionary garb and share their religious beliefs in biographical sketches.

    Some of the 12 models have also been called to disciplinary meetings, but none were punished.

    Regional church leaders who called the meeting raised three concerns with Hardy during the meeting: the calendar and his failure to keep some church covenants.

    Hardy has been inactive in the Mormon church for the past six years. He no longer pays tithing or wears the religious undergarments considered sacred. In an interview last week, Hardy said he had always struggled to fit in and live up to the expectations of membership.

    Hardy said he considered resigning his membership to avoid the hearing, but decided against it out of respect for his family. Hardy is a sixth-generation Mormon. His parents live in Utah.

    “I really feel sorry for my family,” said Hardy. “They are going to be so sad. But I feel empowered and free and I feel like I no longer have to apologize for anything.”

    Hardy insists that the purpose of the calendar has never been to tear down the church.

  27. Kate, I think it’s so interesting how differently it’s handled in different parts of the country. I know several members who were living with boyfriends or who had affairs and all that who are still considered LDS. My husband is still technically considered inactive, and we had the mission president knocking on our door. We’re definitely not being ignored, unfortunately.
    So it sounds like the Utah Mormon police are definitely more involved and more strict compared to the lesser LDS populated parts of the country.

  28. Kate says:

    I’ve never really dealt with Mormons outside of Utah. I can’t remember where you said you are from (Utah??) anyways, I have no experience with non Utah Mormons. Here in our Mormon community, inactives never have the missionaries knock on the door. If anyone comes calling it is usually the home teachers or the visiting teachers from the relief society. Even that is few and far between. I never had a missionary knock on my door until a few days after I received my letter stating that I was no longer a member. Thankfully they are leaving me alone now. I think my mom said something to her bishop, at least that is my suspicion.

    I have read that even though my name and records have been removed, they won’t subtract me from the number roll. I would expect that would be the same for the excommunicated. They don’t want their 14 million number to be going backwards, they could not claim to be the “fastest growing church” that way. 🙂 Chad Hardy not getting his diploma from BYU doesn’t surprise me. I’ve read some stories of Mormons who just went through the motions after they found the truth of Mormonism, because they would lose their diplomas for not following the church and they only had 1 or 2 semesters left until graduation. Isn’t that a bunch of crap? If BYU wants to be a University, they shouldn’t be able to control someones religious beliefs by threatening all the hard work they have put into their degree.

  29. falcon says:

    What’s funny is I had a couple of non-Mormon friends get graduate degrees out of BYU. I don’t think they knew all that much about Mormonism and they certainly didn’t keep the WOW or any such thing. They were married to each other and ended up getting a divorce while out there but they also got their advanced graduate degrees.
    I was on the campus and had a chance to wander around with the guy of the couple. I knew somethings about Mormonism but nothing like I do now. So my buddy was a runner and one day he goes zipping across campus with no shirt on and his running shorts. He says to me, “I got the feeling I was doing something wrong!” This was the early 80s.
    I actually spent some time out on the Utah State campus during two summers. I found out that the Cache Valley was about 90% Mormon at the time. Anyway my wife and I ran into this young woman who must have just exited Mormonism. She was not a happy camper with the religion. She told us of a couple of friends of hers who had committed suicide in nasty fashion. She laid it at the feet of the religion. The Mormons that I met and dealt with while we were out there were all very pleasant. I never had anyone approach me regarding the religion.
    One observation and my wife and I both made, we thought the young women all looked like Malibu Barbie.

  30. Kate, we live in the Bible belt. So yeah, not popular Mormon territory. Actually, the Mormons here can’t stand the Utah Mormons. They think the (Utah Mormons) are stuck-up, self-righteous, in everyone’s business, and closed-minded. So maybe I’m dealing with a totally different breed of Mormon here? And maybe that’s why the ones here fight so much to be included in the “Christian” category… because most of their non-member friends are. The standards of excommunication are definitely not as strict in other parts of the country it sounds like. Or maybe the bishops are nicer and give more second chances? But based on these two pieces of info, it sounds like this may be where the common assumptions that an exMo must’ve either “committed some awful sin” or “been offended by someone” came from. If people were all up in my biz like that, I think I’d certainly be offended!
    I have one lds friend whose husband cheated on her. They divorced, he married the other woman, and as far as I know, he’s still a member. Seems that if you’re willing to risk getting thrown out of the “one true church” in order to commit adultery, sounds like you weren’t all that convinced of it to begin with.

    Falcon, your Malibu Barbie comment made me laugh. It’s pretty common here for the Mormons to make a pilgramage to the Mormon Mecca to find a mate. And yeah, most of the Mormons I’ve seen come out of UT (unless they were your average sister missionary, poor girls) looked like a version of Barbie, while most of the guys looked like Ken. Clean side part and all. lol.
    Okay, I think I just took this thread completely off topic… sorry. :/

  31. Welcome, afterallwecando!
    So I found your website. That’s some list! I think, so far, my favorite is the “no angry birds, internet farming, etc”. hahaha. Wow. I definitely know some mormons guilty of that one.
    Other ones of interest: “Avoid loud laughter” (in the temple or in general?), “Avoid all lightmindedness” (??), “Sacrifice all that you possess, even your own life to sustain, defend the church” (WOW), “Do not affiliate with apostates” (so does that include talking to all of us on MC?), and “No parties where a king or queen is selected” (well darn. there went prom…).

  32. spartacus says:

    To expand on Red’s point, something I come back to again and again is – Where is the restoration?

    What can you point to that constitutes a “restored” church?-Not just scriptures, not just prophets, a “restored” CHURCH.

    I’ve told missionaries that it would seem strange to pray whether someone is a prophet who looks, sounds, and reads nothing like a prophet. I’ve listened to GenConf and these guys don’t sound any different than any other pastor talking about morals. Why pray about whether a house is a mansion if all you see, feel, and otherwise experience is a house? (LDS I know have talked about how it’s more about authority, about being the God-ordained president/leader of God’s church-much less impressive)
    This is made worse when LDS leaders DO speak about distinctive LDS beliefs (God being once a man, men becoming gods; LDS only true church/only christians) because they only equivocate (don’t know much about that, “like” god; we’re christian too). When all is equivocated, nothing is distinct; if nothing is distinct, what’s been restored?

    Look to the scriptures and then what? Which scriptures and which scripture’s theology (BoM’s or DnC’s & PoG’s )? Speaking of which scriptures, LDS lament the corruption of the Bible but there’s no notation when the BoM was/is changed, or the BoC/DnC was changed, or when other important publications are changed. I think “no wonder LDS can accept the doctrine of the miraculous corruption of all Biblical copies, if they accept this kind of activity. But how can they then respect their own texts?” Oh yeah, “the leaders were told by God to do it” – I bet this also would go into a rendition Bible corruption miracle-Wouldn’t that be what the corrupt priests told everyone? (cont.)

  33. spartacus says:

    And doctrine?Is there a restoration of doctrine if doctrine changes?

    Restoration of the gifts of the Spirit?-like Seer and Translator? Why was the Inspired Version never finished despite God’s command to finish and publish it. For the past century plus no prophet/seer/revelator has been willing to fulfill God’s command, or able? Or maybe God renigged on that too, but that “revelation” is just awaiting membership approval.Speaking of which, the restored church has its ultimate standard (scripture) voted on by members? How is this better than any other buffet religion? What’s the point of a prophet?

    If you consider all the ways that LDS religion changes and is self-justified in changing (revelation, revelation) it would seem that the only thing restored was change. But then that would mean that consistency and changelessness (attributes of ultimate truth) were the norm before the restoration.

    But what about a restoration of revelation? Has there been a restoration of revelation? What is the point of revelation but to reveal the will and truth of God? Well, the truth of God changes all the time – something that looks like the opposite of truth. What of the 100+ years of no new revelations (for the church/doctrine)? All the big stuff was already revealed? But then it was revealed not so (polygamy, blacks/priesthood).And the will of God? It was the will of God not to have BY keep MMM from happening, or Hoffman, or institutional racism?

    Or restoration of priesthood? My understanding is that the priesthood is only active in a non-sinning holder -who’s that? And if you can sin every week as long as you repent every week is this “cheap priesthood”?

    Apologize for briskness, just passionately confused and I’ve got to go to sleep

  34. Mike R says:

    Spartacus, that was a mouthful ! Great overview of Mormonism . Apologize ? why ?
    Heck, I’m just as confused, and I’m not tired !

  35. Kate says:

    Malibu Barbie? LOL!!!! My sons would strongly disagree with you about Mormon girls looking that good! I’m laughing so hard! The only answer I can give you as to the Barbie look is that lots of us are descendants of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I don’t know whether to be offended or not, I’ve been called Barbie before LOL! Too funny. OK back on topic. MaM, I agree with the Bible Belt Mormons. Utah Mormons are all of the above and then some. I think the reason is that the majority of the State are Mormons. They are all watching each other and the leadership needs to keep everyone under control. Mormonism here is strict. I have a friend who had an affair with a married man and ended up marrying him shortly after. He was excommunicated and after working himself back into the church, they were denied a temple marriage because he was behind on his child support to the first woman. It took them 15 years to get a temple recommend and even then, they had to go through a general authority. I can’t believe how far some people will go to fit into Mormonism here. Judging others is very commonplace too. I’ve wanted to move to the East coast for years! I’d love to be out of Utah. It’s beautiful here, but I’d love to be away from Mormonism. I’m sure there are Mormons on the East coast, but nothing like here.

    Great post! I’ve also asked the question about no new revelations. The last one was in 1978 and before that it was 1890. When is God talking to these prophets? I’m sorry, but don’t look at pornography and put food in storage aren’t “revelations.”

  36. afterallwecando says:

    I’m glad some of you found the list. It’s grown to 554 line items. I’ve added links to source references too. I just checked back and my link didn’t work. Perhaps that’s because I’m new and it got filtered. The website is afterallwecando .com I’ll try posting it again below…


  37. Rick B says:

    Hello After,
    I checked out the site, really good job.
    I dont know if this would apply to the After all we can do bit, But I used have have really long hair, half way down my back. I then shaved a mohawk, really nice. I asked some MM’s once, can I join the church with a mohawk. They told me I can come to church, But I could never be a teacher of any sort and I could never enter the temple with a mohawk.

    Really sad to think Jesus died for me but I cannot enter the highest heaven via the temple all because of a hair cut. I guess it’s a double whammy since I have 3 Tattoo’s also.

  38. Pingback: Weak Arguments #11: “I will never, ever use official Mormon Church sources…” | Beggar's Bread

  39. Pingback: Weak Arguments #11: “I will never, ever use official Mormon Church sources…” | Mormonism Investigated UK

Leave a Reply