Ignore the bad history, go with your gut

In the July 15, 2010 edition of the Mormon Times, popular LDS author Orson Scott Card reflects on how his church’s checkered history used to cause him consternation. Married to the oldest daughter of church historian James Allen, Card and his father-in-law took a trip one day to the Church Historical Department to research a play that Card was penning on Joseph Smith’s incarceration at the Liberty Jail. What he found was less than faith-promoting; in fact, he discovered that the Mormons occupying Missouri were not as innocent in their dealings with the “Gentiles” as he had apparently once thought.

“It was a time of turmoil, with some of the most prominent church leaders turning against the Prophet and getting excommunicated in the process,” Card said. “Some of them signed affidavits that appeared to justify criminal charges against Joseph Smith.”

He also learned about the Danites, a group of Mormons who physically retaliated against their enemies. This apparently bothered the Mormon author, who grew up learning “Saint Speak” stories reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 where indoctrination, not the truth, seems to be the chief goal. These revisionist stories of historical events typically portray the Mormons as persecuted victims, oftentimes by only telling part of the story or by creating legendary details. According to Card, however, his father-in-law offered sage advice to help him deal with any doubts.

“I don’t remember now whether he actually said it, or whether I extrapolated it from his testimony and his calmness about the conflicting information from the Missouri era, but this is the principle I came away with: ‘Whatever happened or didn’t happen, Joseph Smith was the Prophet of God, and the gospel is true.’ Without realizing it, I had been letting my testimony slip into a dangerous condition of contingency. That is, I had been letting the accusations of traitors and anti-Mormons raise doubts in my own heart about whether the actions of church leaders had always been wise or good — and then I had been letting those doubts reach into the deeper place where my faith in the gospel resided.”

Did you hear Card’s rationale? Regardless of the facts of history, he learned that disregarding them was the best solution. The most important thing he could do as a Latter-day Saint was accept Smith as a prophet and, ultimately, the Mormon gospel as true. This fideistic mindset declares that faith trumps rational thought whenever the apparent facts differ with a person’s beliefs.

Card later wrote this:

“Just because I was now finding out details about church history that had not been taught to me in Sunday School or in some of the official histories did not mean that the things I had been taught were not true. In short, why should I let my own previous ignorance make me doubt things about the gospel that I had ample reason to be certain of? I learned to approach church history, right up to the present, with this attitude: This happened … and the church is true.” (emphasis his)

Granted, people are certainly going to fail, and I for one would never claim that Mormonism ought to be judged mainly by the bad behavior of certain 19th century people calling themselves Latter-day Saints. But what Card fails to realize is that the Mormon faith is helplessly based on historical events.

Suppose history does show that Joseph Smith did have a vivid imagination. Let’s say he really was a teller of tall tales and, based on archaeology (Why the lack of the evidence in the ground to support the Book of Mormon story?) and science (Why does the DNA evidence contradict the idea that Native Americans were Lamanites?), the Book of Mormon is empirically shown to be a story Smith conjured up. And what if he merely pretended to have had “revelations” from God, Jesus, and an angel in order to lend support to his own theological and personal tastes? (For one, consider the doctrine of polygamy and how Smith personally benefitted from it, at least from his viewpoint.)  Then, very clearly, history does matter. Allowing our presuppositions to get in the way of the discovery of truth has a high price tag.

Instead of minimizing history, Scott and other Latter-day Saints ought to pay more attention to it. If Smith really was a true prophet and did restore the gospel, then there is something to Mormonism. If Brigham Young and succeeding prophets have accurately portrayed God’s mind, then the LDS Church is true regardless of how one “feels” about it. But sweeping facts under the carpet—whether they are historical or perhaps theological—in order to maintain one’s faith is a very dangerous precedent.

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32 Responses to Ignore the bad history, go with your gut

  1. falcon says:

    Great article!
    It could go under the heading of “I’ve already made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts!” Mormons really do have to close their eyes, plug their ears and just keep repeating the five points of the Mormon testimony. How devastating it would be to come to the conclusion that Mormonism is a farce…..which it is.
    But how liberating it could be. To come to a saving knowledge of the grace of God as manifested in His Son Jesus Christ; the qualified Savior who alone can provide the believer with eternal life.
    I can see how Mormons get stuck on the Joseph Smith false narrative. How wonderful. A small lad goes out into the woods and BOOM, God the Father and Jesus appear to him. An angel appears to the lad also and gives him gold plates and magic glasses and a tome to be translated that speaks of Jews who traveled a great distance to populate American and become indians.
    Tall tales and conspiracies can be fun to believe in but in the case of Smith’s fabrication, it leads to spiritual death as a result of rejecting God.
    But it all feels so good. Just ignore the facts!

  2. setfree says:

    i can hear it coming – a "spirit witness to me" testimony…

  3. John Divito says:


    I was just listening to the first FAIR podcast over the weekend and noticed a strikingly similar approach to history by Gregory Smith when he was researching polygamy:


    Here is a slightly edited excerpt:

    “So, I did what I often do with such things, and that was I made it a matter of prayer. And I went in fairly disturbed…. So I went in intending to kneel down and say ‘God, you’d better make this clear to me’ or demand … answers, and say ‘look, you need to straighten this out for me or this is not going to go well.’

    “But as I was praying, I found myself doing the exact opposite…. And what I found myself saying was that I was going to keep my promises to him and that I would trust him and that even if he didn’t want to tell me anything about this or even if this was something that I couldn’t resolve, that that was OK. That I would still trust him, that this was not a deal breaker for our relationship. And I felt immediately much better about the whole thing and I felt very clearly go ahead and study this out, don’t worry about it….

    “And so as I look back it was that act of consecrating my brain. To say to God, ‘you don’t have to explain yourself to me if you don’t want to, that I don’t have to have all of these answers’…. I am OK, I will accept being thought deluded or cognitively dissonant or whatever label people wanted to throw on me, if that’s what was required.”

  4. falcon says:

    See there’s the danger of this type of religious/spiritual thinking. It sounds so…what?….spiritual. There is a place in the Christian walk where something is going on, you don’t understand it, you get upset with God, but at some point you resolve to put your faith and trust in Him despite your lack of an answer.
    This scenario works well in certain situations but is a total disaster in others. Someone who’s in a cult and all of the red lights are flashing and the neon sign is screaming “get out it’s a trap” and the response of the cultist is, “Well, I don’t understand this but I’ll just keep on believing” is simply nuts!
    But that’s how cults intimidate, manipulate and hold on to folks. That’s why we hear the line of Mormonism, “I know all that stuff and it doesn’t effect my testimony one bit!” The implication of course to the doubter is that they aren’t as spiritual and don’t have the extraordinary faith of the guy whose head is in the sand and butt is waving in the air.
    I’ve seen it countless times here on MC with Mormons who have no problem with Joseph Smith bedding a fourteen year old girl. The explanation is that people married younger in those days. So the fact that she was fourteen isn’t then a problem and neither is the fact that he was having sex with multiple other women.
    Bottom line (as usual) if someone wants to believe something and if they are wedded to it emotionally, any explanation will do. In the absence of an explanation, just close off your mind to the unthinkable.

  5. Olsen Jim says:

    Couple points:

    First- total double standard, as is routine here, in evaluating “facts.”

    Why don’t we round up all the “facts” from archeology, astronomy, and science in general that contradict the Bible from every source possible, especially those hostile to Christianity? The exact same thing is said by thousands of scientists about Christianity and the Bible in general as is being said here about LDS.

    At some point, hopefully, you end up standing your ground on faith, accepting that maybe your “gut” carries a little more weight (no pun intended) than you claim on this blog.

    Bottom line- the EVs here are just as guilty of avoiding facts. That claim is simply from the perspective of a different group of critics.

    Point two- while truth is truth and does not contradict itself, not all truth is of the same value.

    For example, a cure for cancer is a little more important than the fact that a child in Witchita Falls, Texas was stung by a bee last Thursday.

    Falling back on the truth of the Book of Mormon is absolutely reasonable and logical. It is the bedrock absolute upon which almost all else in the restored gospel is built. The “he-said vs. she-said” controversies whose details we will never fully know matter much less.

    A religion which has no APPARENT conflicts with reason and man’s five senses is no religion at all.

    Historians argue for centurians over details and “facts.”

    The BOM is available to every person. So is the means of determining its truth.

  6. liv4jc says:

    No, I’d say the modern COJCoLDS doctrine pretty much contradicts or is not present in the bible or BoM. Where does the BoM teach that God had sex with Mary to produce the man Jesus? Where does the BoM teach that Adam/Michael is God. Where does the BoM teach that Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament, while Heavenly Father is maybe Elohim or maybe Adam, or maybe Michael? Where does the BoM teach that our God, (we’re currently undecided as to who is actually God, Heavenly Father/Elohim/Michael/Adam or Jehovah, who may or may not be Jesus) was once a man on another planet, but now is a god that lives on a planet near the star Kolob and is not omnipotent, omniscient or eternal? Where does the BoM teach plural marriage, priesthood blessings, super secret/sacred temple ceremonies? Where does the BoM teach eternal progression and that you can become a god? The list could go on and on. The only way to believe that these doctrines are in the bible or the BoM is to import them through skewed eisegesis. How can you say that falling back on the BoM is reasonable and logical because it is the bedrock absolute upon which the restored gospel is built on when your restored gospel is not contained in it? That is a complete and total logical fallacy just like it’s a logical fallacy to disregard a truth that makes something else not true because you believe that other things are true.

  7. Eric Johnson says:

    Wait a minute, Jim. Are you saying that, because I cannot fully and empirically prove the Christian faith, I have to rely on blind faith? That’s nonsense. First of all, archaeology, astronomy, and science do not “contradict” the Bible. In fact, archaeology sure does a lot more for believers in the Bible’s events than those who hold to BOM events! We can see Nazareth, Caesarea, Jerusalem, etc. and dig up artifacts that support the biblical accounts. (Of course, we can’t prove the parting of the Red Sea or the resurrection, but the other pieces are in place.) And where is the archaeology for the BOM? Coulda, woulda, shoulda is what we get from FARMS, with no definitive answers. Heck, they can’t even agree on where the Book of Mormon lands are located. Is it Central America? Or New York? I think this is a huge problem.

    As far as the other sciences, notice that science is not as empirical as some would like us to believe. There are many fine scientists who say Darwin’s story is so full of holes that it cannot be believed. Not everyone agrees with the status quo. And the facts should plenty of doubt on the way things are done.

    The point is, if the historical evidence goes against your case, then you ought to rethink your conclusion. I mean, did Joseph Smith have the ability to translated Egyptian? The Book of Abraham papyrus ought to show us if this is true. Did he use polygamy for his own selfish purposes or for the betterment of the women he “married”? Etc. Historically, it is not wise to turn a blind eye to the damning evidence against Smith’s stories. If Smith was not accurate and is not a prophet of God, then why ought we to follow him? Jim, you better be absolutely sure that Smith is a prophet from God because your eternal destiny hinges on this!

  8. Ralph says:


    ”Let’s say he really was a teller of tall tales and, based on archaeology (Why the lack of the evidence in the ground to support the Book of Mormon story?) and science (Why does the DNA evidence contradict the idea that Native Americans were Lamanites?), the Book of Mormon is empirically shown to be a story Smith conjured up. …That’s nonsense. First of all, archaeology, astronomy, and science do not “contradict” the Bible. In fact, archaeology sure does a lot more for believers in the Bible’s events than those who hold to BOM events! We can see Nazareth, Caesarea, Jerusalem, etc. and dig up artifacts that support the biblical accounts. (Of course, we can’t prove the parting of the Red Sea or the resurrection, but the other pieces are in place.)”

    Well what can I say that I haven’t already said in the past? Nothing really so I’ll reiterate. ‘DNA evidence’ also refutes the Bible as the last mitochondrial mutation that is used to determine differences between races occurred over 15,000 years ago while the last somatic mutation was at least 28,000 years ago. The fall of Adam and Eve, and thus the beginning of the human race occurred around 6,000 years ago according to counting from the Bible. Archaeology dates fossils at tens to hundreds of thousands to even millions of years old. Death only came into the world after the fall which was approx 6,000 years ago.

    Yes, we can find Nazareth, etc, plus we can see some historical events mentioned in the Bible, but I saw places and events in ‘Forrest Gump’ that were from history. So if the Bible is historical fiction, then of course we would find things like this. You cannot prove Moses or Abraham or even Kings David and Solomon existed outside of the religions that use the beginning of the Bible. I could go on, but space restricts.

    So the question is where do you draw the line between ‘history’ and faith?

  9. Ralph says:


    ”…Mormons who have no problem with Joseph Smith bedding a fourteen year old girl. The explanation is that people married younger in those days. So the fact that she was fourteen isn’t then a problem…”

    If you lived back then, you too would not have a problem with her age. In fact you would probably be worried if your daughter was 16 years old and not close to being married. But if age is a factor then why don’t you have a problem with the Biblical prophets? By tradition most would have married girls from 12 – 14 years old. By most people acquainted with scripture, Mary was between 12 and 14 years old when she fell pregnant with Jesus and then married Joseph. Do you have a problem with that age? But here’s another fact – the legal age of consent in JS time was 10 years old and the minimum marriage age was 12.

    You are just using an emotive argument that has no bite to it to try and prove the LDS wrong. You are judging the past, which had a different set of principals, by the principals we have in modern society. As I have said in the past, this does not work. So whether you like it or not, we LDS are correct in turning a blind eye to the girl’s age when JS married her. The only problem you have with JS and polygamy is that JS said it was a command from God. If it was a command, then he did the right thing; if it wasn’t then he did 2 wrong things. The age of the women have nothing to do with it unless they were younger than 12.

  10. Olsen Jim says:


    Once again, I don’t think you understand my post.

    Eric- yes, there are some evidences that support the Bible. But there are plenty of what many people, including a great many scientists, consider facts that would contradict your belief system and the Bible.

    My point is- do these supposed “facts” require you to re-examine your faith to include the evidences that, to many, are indisputable?

    You, like most LDS critics, claim LDS “turn a blind eye” or exercise “blind faith.” Plenty of people would say the same of you.

    You know little about me. I have researched the controversies relating to the LDS faith to the furthest extent possible- both sides. I have not turned a “blind eye”- that is simply a convenient thing for you to say.

    You also, like most LDS critics, claim the BOA proves Joseph was a false prophet. I am guessing you actually know very little other than the typical talking points from sources critical of the work. Otherwise, you would probably be a little more measured in your statements.

    You are seeing both sides of the Bible debate, but only one side of the BOM and BOA, etc. debate. Double standard is the MO of this website and the LDS critics who post here.

  11. falcon says:

    Come on Ralph, get real!
    I know this is one of your favorite topics to defend Smith on but even you have to admit there’s an “ick” factor with a man Smith’s age “marrying” a fourteen year old especially when he’s already legally married to someone else. And don’t give me this God commanded it routine. Remember the story Smith used about the angel with a flaming sword appearing to him saying if Smith didn’t start marrying more women he’d kill him?
    Smith was a sexual predator who used his position to sexually exploit as many women as would succumb to his phony story. You’re not only in denial Ralph, but by supporting what Smith did you share in his guilt as it says in Romans 1:32. You’re the perfect naive Mormon.
    There’s something in Mormonism called “shaken faith syndrome”. It occurs when Mormons start to learn the truth regarding their religion and specifically it’s founder. So Mormons go through a predictable sequence of emotions when they start to figure out that the LDS church is not only a false religion, but it has had to lie and with hold information in order to sustain itself. There is also a predictable pattern of ignoring the information, then recognizing that the information is true, and then for the desperate, coming up with a rationalization to make it all better. This is classic cult mind bending.

  12. Eric Johnson says:


    Well, how much do you know about me? The complaint can go both ways. For instance, you argue as if I hold to a young earth. Maybe you should ask first. Why do you make this assumption without knowing more? You are creating your own straw man to argue against nobody. And how do you know how much I’ve studied the BOA? I’ve studied it from both sides, and I’ve found the FAIR/LDS apologetic approach to be, quite frankly, quite unconvincing. You’re free to believe what you want to believe, as everyone must make a decision based on their understanding of the facts that are present. But my original article stated that it was bothersome how Card realized there were some historical issues that were pretty clear. How did he deal with them? He was told to return to his presupposition that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and the church is true. Is that a fair way to deal with the facts? If the facts clearly show that Jesus was a mythical creation, that the Bible places were fictional, that there was no evidence in what I believed, then I’d be a fool to not at least consider this evidence. Card makes a drastic mistake by not wrestling more with the problems of his church history.

  13. liv4jc says:

    Classic. In some instances we’ll hear, “There’s no proof that JS married or slept with Fanny Alger.”, but when it suits their purposes suddenly it’s, “It would have been wrong not to marry a 14 year old girl.” Cognitive dissonance.

    OJ, I’m sorry that I misunderstood your post. I’m living in the world of rational thinking. Sorry. But I believe that the things I posted were/are taught by your “profits”, but are found nowhere in the bible or BoM. That still poses a problem for rational thinking people.

  14. Ralph says:


    You’re right – I know very little about you. But whether you believe in a young earth or an old one there is one thing you cannot get around. The Bible clearly states that death came to the human race (I will put it this way but really it was to the whole earth – ie all the animals) since the fall of Adam. The Bible also gives very clear times in years as to the birth of progeny from the fall of Adam. Going through these and adding them up gives about 6000 years give or take a few hundred.

    In other words, any fossils of human skeletons cannot be older than this. But science has dated human remains back to tens of thousands of years ago. It does not matter if you believe that before the fall Adam and Eve started the human race and that there were thousands of people on the earth when the fall occurred – death only came into the world through the fall.

    As for the comments about the BOA etc, that was Olsen Jim, not me.

    You said ”If the facts clearly show that Jesus was a mythical creation, that the Bible places were fictional, that there was no evidence in what I believed, then I’d be a fool to not at least consider this evidence.” Now it’s my turn to say the same – you know nothing about me. I have been through many sites pro and anti-LDS and read all of these. I have questioned my religion and faith. I have considered all the information. Some of it I cannot answer, but can you answer all the questions about your religion? What Orson Scott Card is talking about here, and what my answer is to most of this is found in Moroni 10:3-5.

    First – go through/study the church (BoM, Bible BOA, etc)
    Second – decide for yourself on these facts if what you have found is true
    Third – approach God to confirm or refute this decision
    Fourth – whatever happens after that, stick with the witness from God.

    (To be cont’d)

  15. Ralph says:


    Now I hear groanings going on and that’s your prerogative, but once God has said something is true, regardless of whatever non-God given evidence can be given against it, it is still true. NOTE I also included the Bible – and that is what many Christians do as well when it comes to the Bible. Although I have met a few who say that most of the OT is just ‘feel good’ stories to teach about God and are not actually true, for example the flood, the creation, Adam and Eve and the fall, etc.


    I agree, in this day and age there is an ‘ick’ factor because we have different standards and principles. But back then there was no ‘ick’ factor because it was pretty standard to their times. Remember, Mary was most likely 12 – 14 years old when she was pregnant and married Joseph. And I have heard that a lot of people believe that Joseph was a widower and in his late 20s early 30s. So does your ‘ick’ factor apply here where God is concerned? That is why I keep saying that you have no argument about age as that was no problem in those times. The only argument you have against polygamy is that JS claimed it was a command from God.


    Never said that he didn’t marry nor slept with Fanny Alger, so I don’t know what your point is here.

  16. Jay K says:

    The polygamy debate is definitely subjective when it comes to the standards behind going too far–except in the case where the D&C have defined the limits.

    D&C 132:61 – And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

    We can see, according to D&C standards, that Smith was not justified in marrying women who were already married.

    What’s the response to Smith going against the D&C on this?

  17. falcon says:

    You’re an amazing guy. I can always count on you to use your favorite argument tactic which is the “argument from equivalency”. That is, go to the Bible to try to find something that will justify Mormon practice or will cover Joseph Smith’s sin.
    You are great at misapplying Scripture or historical context to bolster the false prophet Smith. So in this case I guess what you want us to believe is that the Virgin Mary was around twelve years old when the Mormon god the father came and had physical sex with her. According to Mormonism, Mary would have been the daughter of the Mormon god and his goddess wife. Talk about “ick” factor.
    I can see where Joseph Smith got his morals from! After all, the Mormon god was a sinful man who worked his way up through hard work and tenacity to become a god. It all sounds predatory to me and has led Mormon males to justify their rather ugly and lecherous behavior towards women. We can see the fruits of this in the Mormon fundamentalist sects.
    Mormonism is not only a false religion with some pretty strange beliefs and practices, it gives off a stench that all attempts by Mormons to clean it up and scrub it clean are for naught.

  18. @ Ralph (July 19): I’m sorry I’m a couple of days behind on this, but you have mentioned (in this thread and others) that it was the cultural norm for girls in 1842 to be married at 14 (or, if not the norm, certainly not out of the ordinary). Last year at Sunstone Todd Compton addressed this issue. Here is a blogger’s report on the substance of Compton’s remarks:

    Todd Compton’s talk, “Teen Marriage Age in Mormon Polygamy and in American Culture: What Was the Norm?”

    Todd observed that ten of Joseph Smith’s wives were in their teens at the time he married them. Todd asks, was this typical of the New England culture from which Smith and most of the Mormons came? He found that it was not. In Massachusetts, for example, the mean marriage age was 24, and only about 3-4% of women married in their teens. Only about .04% married at ages 14 or 15.

    Compton provided more info on marriages and ages related to the Mormon culture which you might find interesting. You can read it here: http://chriscarrollsmith.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html

  19. liv4jc says:

    Ralph, I was generalizing. Sorry. The point is there is not consistency among Mormons. You obviously believe and condone JS committing adultery with a teenage girl by the use of spiritual coercion, while others who have posted here in the past have denied there being any proof of the affair. Their denial is based upon the idea that coercing a 14 year old girl to sleep with you by telling her that God is “going to kill me if you don’t” is reprehensible. This incident was clearly driven by the lusts of a sexual predator. What should be even more disturbing relating to the premise of this thread is that Joseph and his boys were lying about polygamy being practiced up until his death, but your own D&C heading for section 132 says that the revelation was recorded in 1834, but it is evident from the historical records that the Profit had known of the principles since 1831! This “prophet” of God lied about a sacred commandment and principle given by God for about 13 years! How do you swallow that? How many of us have heard this, “Well, I know that there are a lot of problems with JS and the church, but look at all the good it has done.” Does the end always justify the means for you people? How about believing in the true gospel so you can have all the benefits of God’s truth without having to defend the indefensible all the time? When was the last time someone produced verifiable evidence that the early Christians were adulterous liars? Read 1 Cor 5:1-5. What should the Christian church do with an adulterer like JS? Glorify him or cast him out?

  20. setfree says:

    Ralph, liv4jc is right.

    Joseph is the top man in Mormonism, whether or not it is believed he is. He is painted in the best of all lights, his true nature and history are covered up by the LDS PR machine.

    Jesus, on the other hand, has been brought down to the position of “just our spirit brother” – yeah, one of us could have been sacrificed for all mankind, but he was the oldest, etc…

    So, the man you could really be looking at in admiration, expecting and REALIZING the PERFECTION in Him, is Jesus. And why? It’s more than because He did not sin. He did everything God wanted Him to do, perfectly.

    See, God, the only ONE GOD that there is, cast off His loveliness, took on our ugliness, lived perfectly and died for you.

    You can pick up this not just rare, but UNIQUE diamond, and examine it from every angle, and have, for the first, last, and only time, what you hope to have – a GLORIOUS, PURE, BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT God.

    Joe Smith – you can excuse him all you wish, but you are wasting your time. Joe was like us. I’ll give him that. But Jesus was cut from an entirely different cloth. Joe is not like Jesus, and we are not either.

    Ralph, stop wasting your time covering-up, rationalizing, excusing, and denying the faults of Joseph Smith. Get yourself the real diamond. Go right to the source- Go to the Bible, and get yourself the BIBLE JESUS. Start figuring out who He said He was, examine Him to your heart’s content, and more. There is nothing so fulfilling as truly seeing Jesus…

  21. Mike R says:


    It’s good to hear from you. Great post. It’s so sad that sincere LDS have had to develop this type of mindset that Mr. Card exhibits. Mormon leadership have restricted access to their historical records so that Mormons end up believing one thing but when the facts come out later they have to find a way to mentally come to grips with the new info. Many have left the church because of this behavior by their leaders.
    There was a huge fight that came to a head in the 1980’s between the Mormon heirachy and church historians over what material in the archives should be published for the rank and file Mormons to know.

    In the Utah Evangel news letter years ago they had an article on Orson Scott Card’s book “Saintspeak: The Mormon Dictionary”. This book contains humorous definitions of many LDS terms that often hit closer to home than many Mormons would like. Among his definitions are:

    HISTORY= A collection of faith-promoting stories about dead people, wheather the events actually happened or not.

    This kind of goes along with this thread.

    A couple more interesting Mormon definitions: SWEARING= What it’s called when you use some of the words that the early Brethern used.

    TRANSLATED CORRECTLY= What the Bible wasn’t wherever it refutes my argument.

  22. setfree says:

    Here’s the Orson Scott Card Mormon Dictionary link


    That is pretty witty stuff, Mike, thanks for sharing.

    I also find it sad that despite Orson’s new-found more well-informed status, he decided to go with the flow, instead of abandoning ship to go looking for real truth…

  23. falcon says:

    A couple of years ago I was out pounding the road with my bike and I was heading up this very steep winding hill through the woods that formed a green canopy. The hill was so steep that I had to keep my head down, standing up, grinding out on the crank, huffing and puffing and when I glanced up there was a big black bear standing in the middle of the road staring at me. My first reaction was to deny that the bear was there. Can you believe it? I’m looking at him, he’s looking at me and I’m saying in my head, “That’s not a bear!”
    Well I came out of it and I had a choice, go back down the hill or keep peddling toward the bear. I know a little about black bears so I started hooting and hollering and whistling and the bear slowly ambled up the steep incline next to the road and disappeared into the woods.
    Now how can someone deny the reality of what is right in front of their nose? I get it because it happened to me. Fortunately I came to and took action against that interloper on my road.
    In the case of our subject of the post, the Mormon saw clearly in front of him, the evidence that the Mormon church is fraudulent and Joseph Smith is a false prophet. But he chose not to take evasive action. He just kept on doing what was comfortable to him because (I believe) he was paralyzed by fear.
    He’s now in his comfort zone but the danger has not passed. His private reality is not reality. Because he chose to ignore the warning signs, he now stands in spiritual jeopardy.

  24. Ralph says:


    Your comment about the ‘ick’ factor was a 14 yr old girl marrying and older man. My comment about Mary was that she married an older man over twice her age when she was 12 – 14 yrs old. It had nothing to do with your follow-up comment implying I was talking about God having sex with her. Don’t twist others’ words, it gets you no where if you can be proven wrong like this.

    Setfree, you said “I also find it sad that despite Orson’s new-found more well-informed status, he decided to go with the flow, instead of abandoning ship to go looking for real truth”

    And Falcon said “Now how can someone deny the reality of what is right in front of their nose?…In the case of our subject of the post, the Mormon saw clearly in front of him, the evidence that the Mormon church is fraudulent and Joseph Smith is a false prophet. But he chose not to take evasive action.”

    Now let’s look at a statement from the main article – “What he found was less than faith-promoting” This does not say anything about the LDS church being true or false as you two are claiming. It just states that what Orson Scott Card found did not induce a great deal of faith in the church. This is where the spiritual testimony comes in. Although things have been said and done in the past by both parties which were wrong, it was mainly done by the people, not the church and thus was not done by inspiration. Again, this does not prove the church wrong, neither does it prove the church right. That is why the advice given was to overlook the bad things.

    As I said earlier, once you have the witness from God of the truth, no matter what outside/other evidence can be given to the contrary, it is still true.


    I’ll take your word for it. I found a website that gave me a different census which is why I said what I did. It was a non-LDS site and I’ll have to look around again for it if you want me too as it was 2 years ago I found it. So don’t know why we have different figures.

  25. falcon says:

    The fact of the matter is you have no idea how old Mary or Joseph were when they were married. You’ve grabbed some speculative numbers in an attempt to justify Joseph Smith the sexual predator. I wasn’t implying that you were saying anything about your god having physical sex with Mary. I was drawing the reader’s attention to the fact that you are contending that Mary could have been as young as twelve and the fact that one of your super spiritual prophets, whom you claim hear from the Mormon god, taught that this Mormon god had actual physical sex with Mary. I think that belief would go a long way towards Mormon men finding justification for marrying young girls especially when the available pool of females is small as it was in frontier Utah. It’s a documented fact that older Mormon men in fundamentalist Mormon cults are doing this even today.
    And Ralph the “that’s where the spiritual testimony comes in” is a moot point because I have a spiritual testimony as does everyone who posts here who isn’t a Mormon and my spiritual testimony is in direct opposition to that which you claim you have. So if you want to play a game of dueling testimonies we can do that. And BTW, what about the countless Mormons who have dumped their Mormon spiritual testimonies in favor of a Christian testimony? They figured out that the feelings associated with Mormonism fled from them as they learned about this fraud that had been perpetrated on them. So there spiritual feelings now indicated to them that Mormonism was false. So there you have it.
    We’ve debunked the quackery behind the Mormon testimony often on this blog. In Mormonism, that’s where the emotional hook comes in and it’s used and exploited by cults. The second half of that is “fear” of damnation if a person leaves the cult.
    I have all kinds of feelings associated with my faith walk but if my spiritual feelings aren’t supported by facts, they’re just feelings. Johnathan Edwards wrote an excellent book on the role of feelings especially during the time of enlightenment or revival. Where Mormons make a mistake is in using spiritual feelings as a test for truth. It’s very easy to create an environment where people are having all kinds of feelings associated with religious gatherings.
    At the end of the day Ralph, you’ve proven to us that that’s all you have to hold on to in the face of over whelming evidence that Mormonism is a fraud.

  26. falcon says:

    Right on schedule, Ralph pulled out the “testimony” card which in Mormon speak basically says, “don’t be concerned about factual evidence but depend on your spiritual feelings as confirmation of the truth”. This is indeed the “hook” in Mormonism. First of all it makes Mormons think they are really, really spiritually superior to Christians because, after all, Mormons are receiving direct messages (from the Mormon god). These messages are confirmed by feelings which the Mormon god provides as testimony to the truthfulness of the revelation.
    The notion of intense feelings, known as the burning in the bosom, was lifted by Joseph Smith directly from evangelical Christian revivalism of his day. Smith was very adept at grabbing ideas from various places and melding them into his new religion. So it was with the burning in the bosom, the idea of the Celestial kingdom and the levels of heaven, Masonic rituals and polygamy.
    One of the things people in the human potential movement preach, is for a person to get a very clear idea (vision) of what they want to accomplish and then “feel” how they will feel when the goal becomes actualized. The intense feelings associated with the “practicing” or “visualization” of the achievement of that goal, provides the fuel and the fire to enable a person to reach (the goal). It’s pretty simple psychology and is known as the psychology of achievement.
    So one of the goals of Mormon missionaries, when they are doing their lessons with prospects, is to use feeling words in order to create a certain feeling state or ambiance with the prospect. The whole Mormon program hinges on getting the prospect to begin emoting and to link those emotions to what the missionaries are proposing.
    The leading questions that the Mormon missionaries use are not only meant to illicit emotions but to get agreement.
    Here’s some no brainers.
    *Do you feel, Mr. Brown, it would have been wise for Joseph Smith to join a church that did not teach the true doctrines of Chr

  27. falcon says:

    “Do you feel, Mr. Brown, it would have been wise for Joseph Smith to join a church that did not teach the true doctrines of Christ?”
    So what’s the prospect suppose to say? I know what I’d say. “That’s precisely why Mr. Missionary the reason that Mormonism is false. It doesn’t teach the doctrines of Christ.” I digress!
    So the Mormon program is built on the mental construct of, “good feelings truth, bad feelings false.” If something makes the Mormon feel bad or to doubt, that’s the devil. What a great way to keep people from questioning and examining evidence that reveals Mormonism is a fraud.
    Salesmen know that what they need to do is stimulate desire on the part of the prospect for the product or service they are selling. Thus the following leading questions.
    *If you could be sure that God had spoken today, would you want to know what the message was?
    *Would you like to know for yourself that such messengers have come in our time?
    *Do you and your family want to receive all the blessings of the kingdom of God?
    Wesley P Walters writes in “Enticing Words of Man’s Wisdom”: “Because historical investigation, archeological research and biblical studies have tended only to discredit Mormonism, more and more, Mormons are left with only an inner feeling that they are right and the whole world wrong. In answering a piece of historical investigation done by this writer, Dr. Richard L. Bushman, in scholarly jargon states in essence that for the Mormon, feelings (that something is true) are more weighty than any contradictory factual evidence that it is really false. He writes: ‘For those blessed with it, spiritual experience is the most compelling data. Honesty requires that one remain true to it even in the face of other evidence to the contrary. Were a case made against the BoM, our sense of balance and personal integrity would compel Mormons to hold their beliefs.'” (Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1969, 1 p. 92)
    Now I’ve had a lot of spiritual experiences so according to Bushman’s logic, I have the truth. The truth confirmed by my spiritual experiences is in opposition to Mormonism.
    So Bushman’s logic turns on itself and renders it useless as far as Mormonism is concerned.

  28. setfree says:

    I’ll bet all those folks whose spirit-witness told them Jim Jones was a true prophet wished they had a do-over.

    I’ll bet there are lots of people who are to invested in what they already believe (and feel have had a spiritual confirmation about), that when they get to a big “ERROR ERROR” sign, just ignore it and keep on going.

    It’s just plain old easier to stay in the rut, than to climb up and out of it, and risk not finding the right path.

    I would have never done it – had God not mercifully let my life fall completely apart, I wouldn’t have cared what He was trying to say to me. I just wanted what I wanted, the way I wanted it. I didn’t want to have to change. I was scared to change. I was comfortable in my miserable life.

    Anyone who is reading this and feels like you’ve come to the jumping off point, where you’ve got to decide to trust God regardless of the outcome, or keep going with the way things have always been – I want to encourage you. Just do it. Trust Him. Let go of the things you are clinging to and trust that what He is waiting to give you is a million times more than what you now have. Yes, it may be tough for a while. But you won’t understand until you trust Him, how amazing He really is.

    God bless…

  29. jackg says:


    You always fail to realize that the Bible is the standard against which the teachings of JS are measured. You want to throw in red herrings and delude yourself that you are so spiritual that there is no way you could be hearing from a false prophet. Your arrogance dictates that we be as blunt with you as Peter was to the God-fearing men in Acts 2: repent. It's that simple. Turn away from the fallacies of Mormonism and embrace the truth about Jesus Christ. He is not the brother of Satan. He is not just another god. He is God. He created everything, even time and matter.

    Praying for you as always…

  30. jackg says:


    My response to you is the same as to OJ. Come to the Truth, Ralph. Your fighting for the enemy.

    Praying for you as always…

  31. Strong Tower says:

    When I read the Bible, I look at the people He uses and why. My favorite is Paul, because in order to serve God, he had to do a 180 degree turn. Paul admits that he persecuted the Lord’s people. He also admits to his weaknesses, all the while striving harder to serve Christ. I’ve read about those who do not give God ALL the glory He deserves. Imagine waking up one day, having been physically altered by God, grazing like a cow, all because you tried to take credit for something provided by God. Even worse, lying to the Holy Spirit and dropping dead on the spot!

    Mormons, you must know that God does not idly sit on His throne, allowing man to do whatever is in his own best interest. We will suffer for disobedience, whether it be on earth or before His throne. Paul had to change and we must change too! Each person has to live for Christ and follow His commandments, regardless of what anyone else tells us. Most Christians who attend church have a pastor or “shepherd.” The responsibilities of a pastor are to teach and guide the local congregation in the things of God. A pastor provides spiritual direction and pursues a vision for the church. The church’s vision is based on the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20. Any vision that distracts the pastor or the church from the Great Commission is not of God. That means my pastor shouldn’t be a womanizer, a drunk, a homosexual, or say/do anything that distracts the church from their service to God. As we all know, there are pastors out there who don’t put service to God first.

  32. Strong Tower says:

    The Bible tells us how to deal with those situations. If we let it go on, we are also guilty. I have left a corrupt church after trying to correct some inappropriate behavior by the pastor. He avoided me and none of the senior church leadership wanted to act so after much prayer, I moved my family to another church. Mormons are so tied to the church organization that they refuse to disagree with anything the LDS church says or does. Were all (any) of the Mormon leaders perfect? Do you feel you can disagree with anything they say or do? Is your faith so blind that you don’t care that the things your “prophets” said and did greatly distracted many souls from doing the work of God? Please understand that your “modern-day prophet” is a man. Psalm 146:3 – Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. Jer 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Therefore trust not in man whose purposes are continually changing, and who is actuated only by motives of self-interest. Don’t trust what I’m telling you, pick up a Bible and read it for yourself.

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