About a year ago I heard the story for the first time. An LDS friend who was seriously questioning her chosen religion told me the story, punctuated by her confusion. If the LDS Church wasn’t of God (the conclusion she’d recently embraced), how could this reported miracle be explained?
It seems a friend of hers had once been at a fireside and listened as a Japanese man told of his conversion to the LDS Church. The story went like this:
On December 7, 1941 Japanese planes flew over Hawaii on their way to bomb Pearl Harbor. One of the pilots (the man telling the story) noticed a big, white building sitting smack in the middle of fields growing pineapple and sugarcane. Reasoning that this building must be important to the US military, the pilot peeled off from the rest of the formation and flew over the building — the Laie Hawaii Temple — and attempted to drop a bomb to destroy it. But something went wrong and the bomb wouldn’t release. So, giving up, the pilot rejoined the other planes and completed the attack on Pearl Harbor, dropping his bombs with no further mechanical complications.
After the war, the Japanese pilot came into contact with LDS missionaries. When they showed him a picture of the Laie Hawaii Temple he recognized it as the building he had been unable to destroy. Noting that the temple had been protected by some unseen power, the man joined the LDS Church and spent the rest of his days telling his faith-promoting story at firesides.
My confused friend wondered, how can this be? Why would God protect the temple if it didn’t belong to Him?
Of course, we know that God often protects things that don’t “belong” to Him. As was said by a commenter here on Mormon Coffee recently, “God makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). But what about this particular “miracle” involving the Laie Hawaii Temple?
I’d never heard the story before, so it took me a bit by surprise. My friend knew the person who heard this story first-hand, right from the horses mouth, so to speak. I didn’t know what to say. But I went ahead and did a little research so I would be better prepared the next time I encountered the story.
What I found was that the LDS story is a myth that has grown out of a different true story. According to Mormon Myth-ellaneous by LDS author J. Michael Hunter, 30 years ago BYU history professor Kenneth Baldridge set out to prove or disprove this report. For many reasons, he finally judged the story to be false; if there ever was a pilot, the man never joined the LDS Church, and he never gave fireside talks. Dr. Baldridge concluded,
“I humbly suggest that the tale be confined to the vast collection of Mormon folklore and not be repeated as an actual faith-promoting incident.”
So this LDS story is untrue, but it had a beginning and Dr. Baldridge thinks he knows where it came from.
“Baldridge thinks the fireside rumor came from the story of Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, a Pearl Harbor pilot who later converted to Christianity–not the LDS Church–after reading a religious tract during the war-crimes trials. One of the few Pearl Harbor veterans to survive the war, he later became a traveling evangelist and often told his story throughout Japan and North America in his speech, ‘From Pearl Harbor to Calvary.'” [At the linked site scroll down to access Captain Fuchida’s testimony.]
Okay, one mystery is solved, but another is left in its wake: Why did my friend’s friend claim to have heard this fictional pilot tell his story at a fireside she attended? This mystery is one I can’t solve.
Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.
As most here know, I’m not real secretive about the fact that I believe in the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and am not a cessationalist believing that signs and wonders stopped after the close of the cannon of scripture. Having said that, I am what would be called a skeptical pentecostal. There are all sorts of stories that make the rounds through the stream I flow in and I find myself doubting or seriously questioning many, most (?) of them.
This is human nature at work. It goes under the heading of fish stories. The old palor game of “telephone” illustrates how this happens. A story may start off innocently enough and through the retelling embellishments are added. I posted a while back about an LDS guy, I forget his name, who was a much sought after motivational speaker in LDS circles. A BYU professor checked out this guys claims to be a professional baseball player and a WWII hero and found it was all a fabrication, the blending of “facts” from all sorts of sources. The story teller didn’t get into trouble but the BYU prof did.
Mormonism is full of this stuff. The greatest teller of tale tales was Joseph Smith. His buddy Martin Harris was about as unstable as they come and was always telling tales of visions and visitations and spiritual manifestations. Mormonism thrives on this bogus stuff. Go to the website dedicated to “The Book of Zelph”. The author captures it perfectly. A google search will lead the curious to the site.
You wouldn’t be talking about Paul H. Dunn, would you?
“the story teller didn’t get into trouble but the BYU prof did”
and who would that BYU prof be? I think Dunn got into a bit of trouble by being released from being a GA.
It seems you’ve illustrated the point better than you thought.
“…the vast collection of Mormon folklore…”
Ah… I remember being Mormon. If anything was “faith promoting” then it was certainly true! Not, necessarily, of course, promoted by the Authorities of the Church, but just a part of Mormon culture. This is how we got by with our artificial testimonies, was by collecting miraculous stories and sharing them.
Everything terrific was always Mormon too. It was always us that were the good guys, us getting the miracles. We made stories up as we went along.
Which is part of why, I believe, Christians can come out here and talk about a love for Jesus, and the LDS out here think they know what we’re talking about, or else they think we’re lying
It’s all part of the Mormon system
There are many stories on both sides which we want to believe in so much, that they become true over time. I don’t think we could single out this one faith-promoting story for Mormons, and be smug. Like Falcon says, the stream he swims in has numerous instances of same.
So how do we check on these stories? For me, this goes back to the requirement for a prophet to be so labeled. There has to be proof. While this may start a whole side thread about Isaiah, etc., I am using this as a guiding principle. The story you heard – was it from a primary source, that is, one who saw or heard it from the person in question? Did other people see or hear the same thing? Has the story checked out over time, or has there developed a multitude of different versions. Does the story line up with what we know already about this stuff from Scripture?
By no means have I outlined all the points, but just wanted to give an intro to how we (or, I) tend to look at faith-promoting stories, no matter who is telling them. Thanks, Sharon…
I agree with Ward. Every religious sect has stories that bolster their faith. Read a book by John Eldridge and you’ll hear all kinds of “While I was on my retreat I heard God whisper ‘turn around’ so I could see a pile of firewood God had prepared just for me” spiritual events.
A friend and I were discussing Glen Beck’s testimony last night. According to Beck, he couldn’t break into radio until he was baptized into the church. On Sunday he is baptized, then on Monday he gets a couple of calls offering him a job in Florida on a national scale. He tells his story with sincerity, often choking up and wiping his eyes. This is a real event in Beck’s life. He believes it is because he became a Mormon that God has blessed him with sobriety and prosperity.
Tom Cruise has events and a testimony associated with his Scientology, and Richard Gere will tell you what a horrible person he was before becoming a Buddhist. Is Scientology true?
I know Smithians who say that they paid their tithing instead of their mortgage, only to receive a refund check in the mail the next day allowing them to pay their mortgage after all. They use this as evidence that “the church is true” in fast and testimony meetings. But I used to tell the same accounts about miraculous events in my life to convince others that my Christian faith is real. I have received escrow and insurance overpayment refund checks in the mail after paying “tithing” that I actually couldn’t afford to pay also. I attributed it to God, but if my Smithian friend has the same experience, was it God, or coincidence attributed to God? Basing our faith on subjective feelings and events can lead us to belief in universalism. It can lead us to believing that if you seek to do “good” and believe in a “god” then you receive God’s rewards.
This is why it is important to research the historical record of the Bible and the truth of its events so we can temper our spiritual experiences with assurance based upon reason.
Thanks Martin for poking my memory.
“Among Mormons, Elder Paul H. Dunn is a popular teacher, author and role model. As a prominent leader of the Church…for more than 25 years, he has told countless inspirational stories about his life.
*His best friend died in his arms during a WWII battle, while imploring Dunn to teach America’s youth about patriotism.
*How God protected him as enemy machine-gun bullets ripped away his clothing, gear and helmet without ever touching his skin.
*Or how perseverance and Mormon values led him to play major-league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals.
*But those stories aren’t true.
*Dunn’s ‘dead’ best friend isn’t dead; only the heel of Dunn’s boot caught a bullet; and he never played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals or any other major-league team.
*Dunn acknowledged that those stories and others were untrue, but he defends fabrications as necessary to illustrate his theological and moral points.
*He compares his stories to the parables told by Jesus-acknowledging, however, that Jesus’ parables weren’t about himself…
So what happened to Lynn Packer the BYU professor who exposed this fraud? He was fired from his job at BYU. The reason? You are not to criticize a GA if you are a Mormon. What happened to Dunn? Well I guess, in a word, he got kicked up stairs and was given “emeritus” status.
One of the first things I became aware of when beginning my study of Mormonism, was that it is built on a lie and is perpetuated by lies. I read accounts of people who would listen to Dunn with tears in their eyes as a result of his “stories”. Some even commented on how they could really “feel the spirit” when he talked.
Yup, this is what a feelings based religion will do for folks. They don’t much care if it’s true or not because they want it to be true and that’s all that counts. They build their own reality based on their own desires. That’s why we get all of these fantastic rationalizations by Mormons of Joseph Smith’s behavior.
As mentioned, we find these ‘faith promoting stories’ in all walks of life including the LDS church, the Christian churches, the Muslim religion, Buddhism, etc. The Bible warns about gossiping like this and that it will be a problem in the church, so what of it? It’s only human to want to believe.
As an Elders’ Quorum president a few years ago, I taught a lesson about teaching only doctrine in classes and talks. I specified that the doctrine can be found in the scriptures, the lesson manuals and the Conference Ensigns and First Presidency messages. All other teachings and stories are to be used with caution, especially if the story is not written down. I gave a few examples of stories that have become big in the LDS community which are false. I knew they wer efalse because I found a couple of websites that discuss these LDS myths, one site Sharon mentions above.
As far as Sharon’s last question “Why did my friend’s friend claim to have heard this fictional pilot tell his story at a fireside she attended?” I think I can help with this but maybe not 100% answer.
My parents both went to the same fireside, heard the same story from the person it happened to (ie first hand witness). They both come home and tell the story with slight but significant differences. The moral of the story was the same. Maybe your friend’s friend thought the person at the fireside was talking about themself, not relating a story they heard. Or got a similar story they heard another time mixed up with the fireside. Maybe they outright lied about where they had heard it from because they knew your friend was confused and wanted to give your friend something ‘positive’ to think about – but they may have thought the story was true anyway. There are a number of other scenarios that can fit in here to answer the question.
Re: Why did my friend’s friend claim to have heard this fictional pilot tell his story at a fireside she attended?
It’s very easy to misremember this sort of thing. She could easily have attended a fireside given by a Japanese convert, then later read the faith-promoting story, and confused the two in her mind. Add ten years and ask her to recall the memory. Her brain could have produced a crystal-clear memory of a convert telling that story as a first-hand account — without any deliberate intention on her part to deceive.
The ‘story’ of the seagulls.
Thanks to Bill McKeever for bringing this to my attention through his website.
From a mormon site:
“[In 1848] the crops were invaded by crickets. After numerous prayers and PLEADINGS TO GOD, THE SKY WAS DARKENED by thousands of seagulls. They came, they ate the crickets, they vomited them up, then they gobbled up more, & the crops were saved. THE BIRDS INTENTION WAS TO KILL CRICKETS RATHER THAN FEED THEMSELVES”
Many pioneer journals recount the frosts, the swarms of insects, but no gulls.
Also, other more mundane events may have helped save the crops. Some pioneer diaries recount success had by forming lines and thrashing through infested fields together. This forced all of the crickets into adjacent areas. Some of these accounts also describe gulls at the edge of the field pecking away at the exodus of bugs.
The “miracle” was not commonly recognized as such until up to 30 years after it occurred.
William Hartley (a BYU professor of history and church history) makes the following points:
1) The gulls were not strangers to the valley. They are natural enemies to various insects including crickets.
2) Gulls habitually regurgitate the indigestible parts of insects they have swallowed.
3) Gulls did not arrive until after severe cricket damage had already occurred in 1848.
4) In 1848, Mormon crops were seriously damaged by three enemies–frost, crickets, and drought. The Gulls dealt with only one problem and too late at that.
5) The “miraculousness” of the event was not clearly recognized by contemporaries (including newspapers, diaries, and official church correspondence).
6) Since 1848, gulls frequently have been on the wing to feast on crickets and other insects, making the 1848 encounter hardly unique.
Like other popular accounts of important and unusual historical events, over the years the details of the cricket war of 1848 have been oversimplified, improved upon, and been given somewhat legendary characteristics
I love these stories! I thought I’d make a couple of contributions here.
The first one is;
“Reported Miracle Could Make Mother Theresa a Saint”.
The second one actually contains my favorite story of St. Francis and the wolf. You have to scroll down through the ones with birds and other animals.
I’ve posted this before and it’s worth the time to go out and view the pictures of Bernadette and read the accompanying story. If this link doesn’t work just google Saint Bernadette of Lourdes body.
I’d challenge anyone to come up with a logical explanation about how this woman could have been dug up a couple of times and still have a perfectly preserved body.
I must give full disclosure that I’m an exCatholic of forty some years, but I still remember the stories told all the way through Catholic school. I could go on for days!
Hey! Welcome back Ralph. Nice post about your tall when you were EQ. Nice balance. A Christian Psychologist friend of mine, wrote a book, whose name escapes me (sorry) about adrenaline and stress. He noted that sometimes when “we” think we experience the Holy Spirit in certain situations, it may instead be an adrenalin rush. I wish I were discerning enough to always know when that is…
this seems a bit fabricated…throughout
to answer Sharon’s question…perhaps the “friend” should be asked why she found it necessary to fabricate such a tale.
Often people, regardless of faith, fabricate anecdotes for a host of reasons….we can only speculate and go off on tangents here.
lather rinse and repeat (you missed a spot)
It seems these faith building stories within Mormonism are just that, stories. The greatest story teller within Mormonism of course was Joseph Smith. In fact Burger King named their trademark sandwich after him, The Wopper. History tells us that Joe used to entertain his family with these fantastic tales that he’d make-up on the spot. I suppose before the days of mass media over the air waves Joe’s super duper tales were quite the deal. Now here is a guy who could convince people that he knew how to find buried treasure with the use of his super magical rock. Joe had the fore-runner of the secret decoding ring. According to Grant Palmer, author of “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins”, whenever Joe’s treasure slipped away into the ground (ahem), he always had a ready made excuse. Joe was an unusually good liar in that respect and he took his ability to grater lengths when he spun his yarn about ancient people and lost tribes of Israel. The problem, of course, is that for those willing to look into it (which takes all of about five minutes) it is apparent that Joe’s tales are pretty lame.
This tall tale telling legacy is alive and well within Mormonism. As was pointed out in the case of BYU whistle blower Lynn Packer, the liars walk and the truth tellers get banished from Mormonism.
Was there ever a greater tale told by Kid Rock than the “first vision” story. Again, for anyone willing to invest five minutes in the project, it’s apparent from the get-go that Joe’s amazing vision was a total fabrication. This story grew by leaps and bounds as Joe polished it much like his beloved seer stone.
There are many problems associated with the First Vision. This was supposed to have occurred in 1820 yet there is no documented proof of the First Vision until 1835. There are no newspaper accounts, journals, diaries, affidavits, letters or any other account of record prior to 1835. In 1842 the account of the First Vision actually was published. So for fifteen years there isn’t a single document that contains anything concerning the First Vision.
Joseph Smith’s mother Lucy Mack Smith carefully documented Joseph Smith’s early visions as well as Joe Sr.’s dreams and visions. It’s notable that in all of the documents prior to 1835, she makes no mention at all of the first Vision.
I could go on here, but I think the reader gets the drift. Grant Palmer relates that Joe’s “First Vision” story became more embellished and fantastic each time he faced a crisis in his leadership.
It’s obvious that Joe’s tales were self-enhancing lies used to convince people that he was something he clearly was not, a prophet.
Thank you Falcon…super job as usual.
I was just going to say, didn’t that rascal Joseph Smith have two or three different versions of the miraculous “first vision”?
The apples don’t fall far from the tree.
Here’s a tall tale: Once upon a time there was a church who sent missionairies out into all the world to tell all the people in the world that their churches were an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. This hurt a lot of people’s feelings, because they really loved the Lord Jesus and they knew in their hearts they were on the right path.
Hey wait a minute…this isn’t a tall tale at all…this is really happening.
I wonder what else could be added to this story.
Somebody help me out here. I’m trying to remember a presentation that I think Bill McKeever did regarding the tale Joe told about digging up the gold plates and then wrapping them in a cloak and running with them and having……this part gets foggy……out running bandits or something. And someone has done a calculation as to how much those gold plates would have weighed making it impossible to do what he claimed he did. Of course, yes I know, it was a miracle, right?
And wasn’t there some tale about something guarding the plates and then it turned into a toad or salamander or something of that sort.
Anyone remember the story?
But as one of our posters has so rightly pointed out, none of this matters to our Mormon believers because the church is true, right? So there’s always a fantastic explanation. Unreal!
Free: Here’s another tall tale about a church that sent out missionaries to tell the people this
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
Sounds like your description of what is really happening, right now in the LDS church.
Of course you know that this is actually Paul speaking about his Jewish brothers(those who really loved Jehovah and knew in their hearts they were on the right path). Titus 1:14-16
Falcon said regarding the First Vision account that there is …”no documented proof of the First Vision until 1835.”
I am just trying to understand the logic here. Is the implication that in 1835 Smith says to himself, ok I’ve got this great story but I’m going to say it happened 15 years ago. What advantage does that give him?
Why the need for timely documentation?
Oh wait a minute, this salamander story, didn’t the forger Mark Hoffman have something to do with that? Wasn’t that toad/salamander story making the rounds and the GAs were concerned that such a letter existed that would verify the tale. As it turned out, Hoffman pulled the wool over the eyes of these infallible leaders of the LDS who hear from the Mormon god.
Anyway, verification of the salamander story evidently was something the GAs wanted to get their hands on. I wonder why?
But I’m not an expert on these tall tales to if anyone has any information about it, I’d be interested.
The answer to your question is the Book by his mother she wrote in 1853. Here is a recap of the account:
Once home in Manchester, he said he walked to Cumorah, removed the plates from their hiding place, and walked home through the woods and away from the road with the plates wrapped in a linen frock under his arm. On the way, he said a man had sprung up from behind a log and struck him a “heavy blow with a gun.” “Knocking the man down with a single punch, Joseph ran as fast as he could for about a half mile before he was attacked by a second man trying to get the plates. After similarly overpowering the man, Joseph continued to run, but before he reached the house, a third man hit him with a gun. In striking the last man, Joseph said, he injured his thumb.” He returned home with a dislocated thumb and other minor injuries. Smith sent his father, Joseph Knight, and Josiah Stowell to search for the pursuers, but they found no one.
Did they not know how to shoot?
Go here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_plates#CITEREFSmith1853
Here is the link for an excellent article about how Joe used the conversion story of a man named Charles G Finney to fabricate the first vision. The parallels are startling. Here is the link: http://www.watchman.org/lds/firstvsn.htm
Finney’s memoirs were published in 1876. MRM jumps all over Smith for waiting 15 years to publish his account, so I’m surprised that there is not even a mention that Finney’s story was published 55 years after the event occurred!
I find it far more logical that Finney, a well-educated lawyer hears Joseph’s story in 1821 (one year after Smith’s experience) and makes up a similar one. Remember Smith is unlearned and poor with no ability to travel. Whereas Finney is a learned preacher with funds and means to travel and access to information.
And how about this, perhaps both accounts are true.
What a pity, then, that he did not apply himself to learning from his peers and, instead, took the lazyman’s approach by thinking that everything he ever needed to learn was already inside him.
BTW, Jesus and his apostles might have been poor Galilean peasants, but they were remarkably well educated for their circumstances. What I mean is they had an enviably comprehensive knowledge of scripture and fluently spoke two languages (Greek and Aramaic), possibly three (Latin). Couple this with the cultural flux they were exposed to (being on a major trade route “crossroads”), and we might begin to understand why they were such excellent communicators and solvers of complex logic problems (e.g. the faith-works issue).
The notion that Jesus and his disciples were dumb is quite romantic (and touted by movements who would prefer their followers to remain dumb) but it doesn’t fully fit the picture that the NT portrays.
Charles Finney conducted revivals in Palmyra in 1831, giving joe ample opportunity to encounter Finney’s testimony before writing his 1832 version of the First Vision…
There is no evidence whatsoever of joe talking about his first vision before 1832..except his family’s (and his) LATER recollections.
But there are plenty about his 1823 encounter with that personage in his bedroom…
Mormonism’s founder Smith was privy to evangelical revivalism which includes Finney. That’s why we get the “flavor” of evangelicalism within Mormonism. Specifically we have revelation knowledge and claims of supernatural interventions by the Almighty. There was a district in New York, and I believe it may have been where Smith lived, that was called the “burnt over” district because it had been subject to so many revivals.
I’ve studied the “enlightenments” that occurred during certain periods of the history of our nation. The last one was the Jesus Movement of the late 60s early 70s when I got saved. But out of these periods of revival it’s not unusual to get all sorts of heretical and aberrant religious movements. The Smith era was a time of great religious experimentation. Smith lifted a lot of his ideas from those of other sects and writers. This would include plural wifery and his ideas regarding the Celestial Kingdom. Smith even tried collectivism for a time but the program crashed and burned. I guess that wasn’t a “revelation”.
If you take a look at the Community of Christ and the Temple Lot sects of Mormonism what you get is Mormonism before Smith went off the rails. These folks won’t go anywhere near the bizarre teachings and practices of Salt Lake City Mormonism. It’s instructive that Smith’s wife was a member of what was then known as the RLDS and his son headed the group. His son had a real problem coming to terms with the fact that his father was hitting on all these other women but said if Joe did practice polygamy, it was wrong. The son, BTW, was a prophet, right? Seems he got the word on the error of polygamy before the SLC bunch which I doubt would even claim today that the practice is wrong. It has, after all, been suspended….but who knows if it might be reinstated with a new “revelation”.
So why were the LDS big wigs in such a dither about a possible letter from one of Smith’s cronies about a salamander who magically turned into a spirit-as part of Smithlore. Well I guess it was because they thought the letter might further expose Smith’s occult and folk magic world view. If one reads Smith’s Grimm Fairy Tale accounts it’s obvious that the guy was an accomplished yarn spinner. The fact that people get sucked into his wild narratives is testimony that you can get a certain segment of the population to believe anything. The Mormon church of course does a terrific job of turning the legend of Smith into something that doesn’t match reality. That’s why when folks find out the truth about Smith’s tales and the white-washing that the SLC LDS does on all things Smith and early Mormonism, they jettison themselves from the cult.
Just the fact that two-thirds of those on the rolls of the LDS church are inactive and they have so many returning missionaries that dump the program is testimony to the fact the people will swallow just so much before they regurgitate the entire mess. There’s some real nice folks who have been lied to, misled and hoodwinked. The Tall Tales of Mormonism eventually collapse under its own weight.
Two women missionaries knock on a door. The man answering seems nervous and eager for them to leave. Later, the missionaries see a photograph of this man in the newspaper. Turns out, he has been arrested in the murders of several young women, all about the same age as these missionaries. The two women go to the police, who allow them to talk to the suspect. They ask him why he didn’t harm them. He replies that he wasn’t about to do anything to them with those there huge guys standing behind them. The implication is that the missionaries were saved by the “three Nephites”-ancient disciples who, according to Mormon scripture, still roam the Earth.
A couple pick up an old man hitchhiking along a deserted highway. After they travel for a git, the strange leans forward and tells the couple to get their year’s supply of food storage. The couple turn around. The back seat is empty. They pull of the road in shock. A police officer stops to see what is wrong. He tells the couple that they are the eighth, ninth, whatever person to tell him the same story that day.
A woman comes home from an LDS temple and finds her little girl sopping wet. The mother asks what happened. The child replies that she fell into a ditch. As she began to float away, a woman, clad in white, pulled the girl out and brought her home. She told the child her name and left. The name of the mystery hero? The same as the woman the mother had performed vicarious ordinances for in the temple.
A pioneer woman puts a loaf of bread on a dish towel and takes it to the windowsill to cool. When she comes back, the bread and towel are gone. Months later, her husband returns from his mission. As the woman unpacks his bags, she finds the towel. She quizzes her husband, who tells her about this day he had nothing to eat. A passer-by gave him the bread wrapped in this dish towel.
In their infamous raid on Pearl Harbor, Japanese warplanes plan to target the Hawaiian LDS Temple as well. But during the entire attack, a thick cloud shrouds the edifice. At one point, a pilot, who later joins the church, attempts to drop a bomb on the hidden temple any way. His equipment malfunctions. The bomb won’t release.
A couple of Mormon elders are spreading the word door-to-door in a bad neighborhood. A gang surrounds them. The missionaries hop into their car and speed away. The thugs look on, stunned. Once the two elders are safely away, their car dies. The two pop the hood and find there is no engine.
Pretty good stories huh? William A. Wilson, a renowned folklorist in the Intermountain West has been collecting Mormon and other legends since 1962 after he returned from an LDS mission to Finland. In 1985 he helped create an archive at BYU, now the largest collection of Mormon folklore in the world. It now houses more than 50,000 stories. Wilson once heard a man in his LDS congregation tell the loaf-of-bread miracle as if it just happened. Wilson had heard the same narrative described as happening on three different continents, five countries, and a number of states. In some versions, the missionary’s wife baked the bread, in others, his mother, and sometimes she gave the bread to a stranger. The bread was variously wrapped in a linen napkin, a dish towel, patterned cloth, a scar of a newspaper.
It seems that Mormons love to tell stories. Such stories told and retold among members reflect the faith’s emphasis on missionary work, genealogical research, temple work, admiration for church leaders, conversion and the day-to-day delights and sorrows of the membership. They also are used as cautionary yarns for those who might stray from church practices.
(Mormon myths: From hero fantasies to cautionary tales by Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune 07/27/09)
How quaint that DoF quotes the Bible
Before engaging this, or any other Biblical scripture, we have to deal with the issue of whether it is reliable. It might have been changed by the Catholics (the usual exit-strategy for LDS when they don’t see the scriptures supporting their position).
But lets say, for sake of argument, that it is actually and reliably God’s Word and we should listen to it; in particular the bit about “…in works they deny him…”.
It seems Titus is telling us to judge a tree by its fruit, in particular, people who claim to be leaders of the Church. So, let’s do what Titus commands, and judge the (alledgedly) most important Church leader of all time – Joseph Smith.
How do Joseph’s works fare? The following assessment is based on the historical record
* Introduces plural wifery, with all its attending evils
* Introduces polytheism
* Changes “revelatations” that have been entrusted to him by God
* Engages in occultic practices and borrows temple rites from the Freemasons
* Fraudulently claims to be able to translate ancient languages
* Doesn’t pay his bills, and flees the area when his debtors get active
* Leads his followers around on a wild goose chase, following buried treasure and/or the latest “prophecy”
* Gives his followers commands that he has no intention of following himself (the Word of Wisdom)
* Invents secret “wedding” rituals so that he can get into the under-garments of his colleague’s wives without the public finding out about it
* Dies in a gunfight at Carthage Jail at the hands of a mob, who get outraged at the prospect of his followers stealing their women (maybe it was the “last straw” after Joseph closed down the printing press of a newspaper that criticised his excesses)
When will LDS start practicing what they preach?
I feel vindicated with my constant recitation of facts that I want the casual Mormon lurker here at MC to be aware of. These Mormon folks pop in here and having these facts repeated often insures that the passers-by will get the information they need to start their exit out of Mormonism.
The Joseph Smith fantasy that Mormons repeat and promote is quite different from reality and as is said, reality bites. There’s a reason that Mormon member retention numbers are so miserable. The Smith tale requires that anyone who believes it suspend credulity and stretch believability to the breaking point. The other reason folks flee this religion is that they get sick of the grind and having authority figures attempt to micro manage their lives.
I only hope and pray that those Mormons figuring this Mormon tall tale out don’t become so discouraged and wounded that they jettison belief in Christ. When they find the real Jesus, the one that can provide for them eternal life (unlike the Mormon version) they will find freedom and peace with God.
hope and pray, me too Falcon.
I’m seeing Mormons find out about the church, and leave, with a general (mormonism-planted) distrust of the Bible and confusion about God, and distaste of religion completely.
The lucky ones are the ones who are brought out of the church because they started learning from the Bible. It’s those who leave mormonism for Jesus, instead of just because it’s wrong. I’m so happy that there are some like taht.
And then… there is the inbetween. Some start reading the Bible because of the stuff they learn about the Church. Which is why sites like this one are important. 🙂
Amazing how stories evolve. I guess the difference between a Mormon fable and a Biblical fable is the ability to fact check the current fable and not really fact check the Biblical one. So 2000 years of acceptance makes a fable into scripture. Seems like Mormons only have 1850 years to go before they get to use the "not a fable" label.
the lds church is a total lye 100%
I feel nothing but compassion for anyone who leaves any Church at any time. To lose one's faith base is a terribly crippling ordeal. I feel really sad when people pick on other religious persuasions whether they be correct in their criticism or not. I have lived on both sides of the fence and am disheartened my peoples lack of Christ like love to people who believe differently than they do. I am now a very satisfied Mormon. I simply did as the Missionaries asked me to do. Do not just believe this message but ask God for yourself if it is true. I asked Gog and he gave me such a powerful witness that it is true that I cannot deny it. People can raise a lot of supposed problems about Joseph Smith. I do not consider myself brain washed by the heirachy. I know what God has revealed to me is truth. I know because I know. When God reveals the truth to you , you cannot do anything but believe it.I too struggled with Mormonism for 4 years, but God through the Spirit broke down my predjuces,my false assumptions and my pride. I personally do not pick on other religions; they just worship the same God in a different way. Every religion that worships Jesus Christ as our Savior is on the road back to His presence.