Cracks in the Mormon Dam

(Starts at about 8m45s)

Cracks in the Mormon Dam. Some water already beginning to gush.

Atheist LDS current mission presidents. Unbelieving return-MP’s. Doubting General Authorities. A General Authority that stops BYU’s NAMIR/FARMS from publishing a piece against the agnostic-in-longtime-LDS-sheeps-clothing John Dehlin. Daniel Peterson fired and FARMS abandoning unabashed apologetics. Mormonism’s greatest expert on the Book of Abraham, John Gee, says the LDS Church doesn’t stand or fall on the Book of Abraham, and has offered no credible apologetic for the fraud. Extremely few identifiable up-and-coming LDS apologists, and even most of those seem to have liberalized their Mormonism. LDS philosophers abandoning traditional LDS beliefs. LDS theologians and authors embarrassed by the teachings of their own apostles and prophets.

Palmer claims that approximately 45% of return-LDS-missionaries no longer have a temple recommend within five years of returning. Speaking of the unbelief going upstream, Palmer says, “I think it’s beginning to penetrate the upper echelons of the Church.” Lest we jump ahead of ourselves, he says, “And I emphasize ‘beginning.'”

He even says, “I know at least 10 LDS Seminary and Institute teachers who think like I do.”

“I had a daughter and her husband and their two boys leave the Church two months ago. And the answer that they got is, well, ‘Even if it’s false, stay anyway.'” This is what I call, “Practical Mormon atheism.”

Mormonism is atrophying. “It’s like a balloon in the corner that you walk by every three days, and it’s getting less vibrant…”

More and more falling out of the LDS nest. Will they land on Jesus? Or will they go from Mormon atheism (yes, I said Mormon atheism) to secular atheism or pagan atheism, etc.?

Some fellow evangelicals have argued that this state of affairs call for a retreat — that we ought to stop critically engaging Mormonism and treat Mormons in general as transitioners. That we ought to simply encourage Mormonism to gradually, not definitively, mainstream into evangelicalism, even without integrity, even enjoying the delusion that Mormonism has always been evangelical at its core.

I say: Welcome, encourage, teach the transitioners as transitioners, and be aware of the shifts taking place, but don’t prematurely put up the banner. Increase the pressure of critically engaging Mormonism. Increase the maturity and depth of our intellectual critique of Mormonism. Increase the spread of knowledge of “unauthorized” LDS history. Increase the clear delineation between traditional Mormonism and Christianity. And increase the demand that persons of influence in Mormonism take their non-traditional positions with open and honest integrity (not whitewashing them as mere changes of “emphasis”, or as mere re-articulations of traditional positions). All the while gently encouraging Mormons, at an individual level, to consider the Jesus and the gospel of the Bible, to visit a local Christian church, and to take what is good with them as migrants to a new religious territory, but to definitively “jump ship.”

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60 Responses to Cracks in the Mormon Dam

  1. cattyjane says:

    Yes it isn’t the same at all. I know that now. While I was still a believer in the LDS doctrine I used to try to tell people that it was the same thing to but that we had the whole truth. I really believed that was true but that was because I didn’t know anything about who the True God was. It saddens me that I tried to convince so many of my friends that the LDS gospel was true. I just have to pray that the Almighty will forgive me for that false teaching when the time comes.

  2. Tom says:

    falcon said,

    I’ve been told that Mormonism is boring, i.e. the church services.

    When I was in local leadership positions in the LDS church, the issue of services, classes, Scouts, Young Men/Young Women being boring came up from time to time. The standard LDS comeback to the charge that Mormonism is boring is that it is not the church’s job to entertain people, implying that the church gets a pass when things are boring, which, in turn, is almost always.

    Well, the opposite of boring is NOT entertaining. The opposite of boring, to me, is to be engaging, meaningful, fulfilling. Take your job. It can be as mundane as all get out, but if it engaging, meaningful, or fulfilling, it is not boring. Likewise, you can have the most active job in the world, but if it isn’t engaging, meaningful, or fulfilling, it is boring.

    My personal experience of over 40 years was that the whole LDS system of meetings and teaching was decidedly not engaging. I haven’t been to an LDS sacrament meeting in nearly 10 years. I can’t help but think that there are a lot of smart phones getting a workout during the talks. I used to play a lot of Text Twist on the old PDA to while away the time. It was awful.

    About a month after I had been attending a Christian church in the Salt Lake Valley, which my wife and I still actively attend, the senior pastor asked me how I found the services. I replied that I was impressed that the sermons were always deeply wrapped in the scriptures. No travelogs, no speculative nonsense, no political clap trap disguised as gospel truth–just gospel truth. Mind you, the church I attend is liturgical and follows the church calendar and scriptural readings. Again, that keeps things on track. Not so with LDS talks and lessons, as many here can readily attest. I’ve heard some of the darnedest junk you can imagine, from the Gulf of Mexico being the site of the city of Enoch to the notion that the sons of perdition will disintegrate into the ‘elements’ from which they were created (this is taught in the Journal of Discourses). Mormon talks tend to be all over the place, not always that bad, of course, but diffuse and lacking in meaning.

    And the music? Forgetaboutit. Our music is led by a worship team, and it is worship. It’s contemporary, it’s vital, it’s engaging, it’s meaningful, it’s fulfilling. It’s not irreverent. It’s not boring. It is worship.

  3. falcon says:

    It’s tough to change a culture and Mormonism is as much a culture as it is a religion. I wonder how many people leave Mormonism as much because of the culture as the history, doctrine and practices.

    Kate & cattjane,
    Isn’t it amazing how Mormons will jump up and down denying that they mislead and obfuscate? Don’t they see it or are they indoctrinated to this manner of thinking and it is “normal” to them. Why can’t they just be up front with people and give them the whole story? Then number one thing that I hear from former Mormons is that they are angry because they feel that the LDS church has been dishonest with them.

  4. falcon says:

    I think you former Mormons will find this panel discussion interesting. It’s related to Grant Palmer’s presentation at the conference.
    It sounds to me like we have a variety of people represented here in regards to their current spiritual “walk”.
    Early on one of the panelists makes a comment about monks copying the Scriptures and leaving things out and it made me chuckle. It was in regards to people working with the Joseph Smith papers and leaving embarrassing things out. She needs to learn about inter-textual comparison.
    Anyway, overall it’s an interesting discussion.

  5. Mike R says:

    I like what Aaron stated in the last paragraph : ” All the while gently encouraging Mormons
    at an individual level , to consider , the Jesus and the gospel of the Bible , to visit a local Christian
    church, and to take what is good with them as migrants to a new religious territory , but to
    definitely jump ship . ”

    First , he says to gently encourage Mormons at an individual level to consider the Jesus and the
    gospel of the Bible . That is so vital , not in only what we are to ask them to consider but also how
    we should go about it , i.e. in a respectful manner [ 1 Pt 3:15 ] . It’s so important to strive
    to be a friend to Mormons and to be concerned about them as a friend and neighbor . They are
    no different than us , God loves them no less . Sincere decent people can be misled , detoured ,
    by false prophets into embracing an imitation gospel especially if these prophets are polite ,
    well dressed and will talk about living morally [ Matt 24:11 ; Gal. 1:8 ] .
    Mormons need to consider who is the Jesus we worship , the Jesus Christ the Bible reveals , and
    contrast Him with what Mormon leaders have taught about Him because the danger of believing
    in a false Christ , or ” another” Jesus , can be spiritually damaging to those who are deceived by
    believing such [ Matt 24 : 24; 2Cor 11:4 ] because only the true Jesus can save sinners . The
    Bible teaches that false prophets/apostles introduce false doctrine which not only can concern
    the work of Jesus for our salvation [ 2Pt 2:1 ] but also it can involve the Person of Jesus Christ .
    Mormon leaders have introduced / taught that Jesus is only one God among numerous Gods ,
    they do refer to Him as Jehovah , but they teach He was not always Almighty Jehovah God
    because supposedly He was the first spirit son born to a polygamist exalted man— a God
    who with one of His wives produced him and myriads of other sons and daughters , one was
    Satan . All these spirit babies were taught , schooled, in heaven as they grew and the one who
    became Jehovah learned fast until at long last He was smart and worthy enough to become
    Jehovah God the Creator of heaven and earth . This is the Mormon Jesus . This is not the true
    Jehovah/Jesus we meet in the Bible . Following prophets who introduce lies about Jesus will
    result in judgement to the prophets AND to those who continue to sustain them [ Isa 9: 16 ;
    2 Cor 11:4 ,13 ] . Only the true Jesus can save because He is unique and therefore able to do so
    — Ex 3:14; 20:3; Isa . 43:10-11 ; Jn 8:58 ; Rom 10: 9-13 . Truth matters .

    Aaron also said that Mormons can take the good things they have with them as they leave the
    man made ship of Mormonism and ” jump” to safety . There is good that these people have and
    they can bring that with them and leave their apostles behind and anchor their beliefs and lives
    in the Bible’s bountiful provisions of truth , truths that reveal how to be forgiven and to receive
    eternal life in God’s presence in heaven with the fullest of that life —Rom 1:16 .
    The Mormon people can experience the liberating truth the New Testament offers : Heb 7:25 .
    It’s all about Jesus . No secret Temple rituals , no prophet at the top of the organization .
    To those Mormons who are sensing that something is’nt quite right with their leaders :
    Jesus is waiting for you , will you come ? Matt 11:28 .

  6. cattyjane says:

    No I think they really believe that they share very similar beliefs to the Mainstream Christianity faiths. I remember when I first joined the church, right out of high school, I asked the Missionaries if they believed in One God. They said yes that they are One. The Father, Son, Holy Spirit are one in purpose. The further that I progressed in the doctrine of the LDS Church I discovered how much they were not One. In order to believe in the God of Israel we have to believe in the Oneness of God. It is all over the place in the bible! When I discovered that truth, about how God is One and not just in purpose I was amazed but I was also angry and crushed at the same time. I couldn’t deny the truth that I had discovered and I never will. I hope that with my last breath I will be able to claim that truth about how God is One. I was angry at myself for believing a lie and I was angry at the church because they would dance around my questions when I asked them and so it felt like they were deliberately trying to deceive me.
    There is so much proof of truth out there that if someone is seeking it out with the right spirit, they cant help but stumble over it but to do that they have to defy the direction of the elders and their friends that are in the church. I was told to not come back on this site and to not research outside of the church resources when I was seeking out answers. It was hard for me because I knew that the next time I spoke with them I would be asked about my research. I can’t lie so I would always have to tell them that yes I was still researching and nope it wasn’t just church resources. They are good people and I know that they believe what they were doing was in my best interest. I don’t believe that they were trying to feed me a bunch of lies. They believe that the lies are truth. I don’t know how to bring them to the point that I am at now. I think that can only happen if they are openly seeking out to find truth.
    The missionaries are the ones that aren’t upfront with the churches beliefs. I learned quickly that if I wanted an honest doctrine answer I had one set of friends that I could turn to who were very honest about the church beliefs. They were very good at answering my question but a lot of it is based completely on faith. I know a lot of the Mainstream Christian churches preach faith and how important it is to believe in the things we don’t understand or cant prove. I say that I have enough proof just from archeological evidence, Hebrew language translation, and fulfilled prophesy that even without faith I couldn’t deny the writings of the True Prophets in the word of God. It is the overwhelming evidence that causes me to believe and not fear placing my trust in the God of Israel.

    The opposite is true for the Mormon Church. It is faith first and then belief. That doesn’t make any sense to me. God always gave proof to his existence in a huge display in the OT and the Messiah revealed himself through signs and wonders so that there was no question as to who HE was. If the LDS church is the restored church because the original church fell away than where are the signs and wonders that God would provide to prove this miraculous restoration? Where are the prophesies in the OT that speak of this? The Almighty always revealed his works in front of many witnesses. And by many I mean hundreds and thousands of witnesses so that there would be no doubt left in the minds of the people as to who HE was. The Almighty is the same yesterday, today and forever. If HE was to make a drastic change in the way that he wanted HIS people to obey him than it wouldn’t be a secret squirrel thing in the forest with a teenage boy. It would have been a huge dramatic display. That would be true to his character because that is the way a TRUE GOD gets things done.

  7. falcon says:

    If people watch the video I posted above it is a panel discussion at a conference for former Mormons. Grant Palmer is on the panel.
    Alex seems to think that Evangelical Protestants are the enemies of the LDS church. I pointed out that for the over-whelming majority of Christians, Mormonism isn’t even an after thought.
    The real “enemies” of the LDS church are former Mormons. They’ve been there, done that, and they have the emotional wounds to prove it.
    They are the ones who have the emotion and the research to back up their claims regarding the false teachings and practices of the LDS church. They are indeed passionate and I think their involvement is part of the healing process after leaving the LDS church.
    Notice that I’m avoiding using the label “Mormonism” because there are so many different brands within that particular religion. Some are as far away from the SLC LDS sect as is Christianity.
    I sense what really sticks in the craw of the leavers is the deceit regarding who Joseph Smith was and what he did. If you look at the LDS church’s presentation and then check-out the real Smith, they don’t even come close to a match.
    The foundation of Christianity is the Lord Jesus Christ. The foundation of the LDS church is Joseph Smith. Once he’s exposed, the entire religion falls.

  8. Rick B says:

    Hello Everyone,
    Me and Cjane were talking via email and I was telling her I am not around as much as I would like to be.
    A women where I work who has been their for 12 years gave her notice and she left. Her husband Moved back home to Texas since his adult Child has cancer.

    She was the baker at work, I have been cooking professionally all my life, I started when I was 16, and am now 43. I also have around 15 years of baking experience. I was told at first I will be taking her spot. I said, what if I dont want it? I work my Job Mon-Fri 7am till 3pm, She works Tue thru Sat 5am till 1:30 or even 2pm.

    I wont switch for nothing, they asked me, what do you want? I said I want a dollar raise. They said ok. But now we still have no one to replace me, so I am working 6 days a week, 5am till 3pm or longer until we find a cook. I am getting about 20 hours of overtime a week and am super tired.

    Now Kate and Cjane, I was serious about giving out my address and send Mormons my way. Any chance I can talk with them I do. I have driven down the road just doing daily actives and I have pulled over and spoken with Missionary’s on the Bikes.

    Falcon, It is sad but true what you say about the vast majority of Christians not knowing or caring about Mormons. I have seen that in the church I attended when I lived in Maine, and I see it here in the Church I go to in Saint Paul.

  9. Kate says:

    I think it’s great that you are so comfortable talking to missionaries. I still have emotional baggage and for my own sake, I avoid it. It’s hard to explain, but for me, Mormonism was a disease I just wanted off of me. I really don’t want contact from the church in any way. I have some questioning friends who have come to me and I’ve had some great discussions and some not so great discussions but it’s different with them than it is with the church and the Missionaries. No contact really means no contact.

    As an LDS, I never once thought Christianity and Mormonism were even close to the same thing. Christianity was looked down upon especially in my home. The Christian church I attend is referred to as that “weird little church on the hill” and not just by members of my family. A guy at my husband’s work calls it that too. He’s a very active, temple going LDS. So where does that come from? How are people who don’t even know each other using the same term? I’m not sure where you live but I’m in Utah in a very prominent LDS community. One thing that I have learned from the LDS who post here at MC is that Utah Mormons are very different than Mormons in other States.

    Why can’t they just be up front with people and give them the whole story?

    Two reasons, first, if they laid it all out up front, it would be seen as the counterfeit that it is. Potential converts would laugh at it all. Second, because we are taught milk before meat. I have a temple going aunt who told me once that she would talk more to me about stuff when I was was ready for it. Is this how Jesus works? Did He withhold parts of His gospel until we were ready to hear it? Why would He ever hold back the parts of His gospel that Saves (exaltation to LDS) us? Why would He hold back or mislead with words who He is and who His Father is and how they came to be God? Why would we need to be ” ready” to hear this stuff? I think a lot of Mormons just don’t think things through or ask the next question. They are taught to obey and not question leaders because they speak for the Mormon god. Mormon leaders use fear and loss of exaltation to keep everyone in line but they do it in a way that makes the members think they are obeying voluntarily and by their free agency. Loss of good standing in the church is a big motivator. Loss of exaltation is an even bigger motivator.

  10. falcon says:

    I prayed for Alex this morning in church. I prayed that God would break his heart. Actually I prayed that God would obliterate his heart; blow it up. Now this is spiritually speaking of course.
    When someone continues to resist the Holy Spirit, I think their heart just continues to harden. So I’m asking God to bring him under severe conviction.
    Now is it sort of mean to pray something like that? No just the opposite in fact. I don’t know how else someone can come to Jesus unless they have a change of heart. “Heart” of course is attitude.
    I don’t know what’s worse someone who’s an all out atheist or someone who thinks they have God in their life but they don’t.

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