|Subject:||Intimidation, questioning worthiness, and bizarre logic: letter exchange with a Ricks college religion prof|
|Date:||Aug 03 15:34 2003|
|Author:||Amanda P (note Ricks College is Mormon owned and now part of BYU and located in Idaho)|
|About a couple of months ago, when I was first
discovering the "dark side" of the Mormon church, in an
attempt to give equal time to all sides of the issue, I decided to write
a Ricks college religion professor (I had taken a religion class from
him when I attended Ricks) detailing my concerns and asking for any
references/explanations that might point toward answers favorable to the
I'm including my original letter to him followed by his reply. Read it for amusement, perspective, or simply just to get really pissed off. Obviously, my opinion of his response is best expressed by the fact that I'm posting on this board and haven't been to church in several months.
My letter to the prof:
Dear Brother ____ I am a Ricks College alumnus and had you as an instructor for at least one of my religion classes. I am a convert of about 10 years and am currently experiencing serious and substantial doubts about the veracity of the Mormon religion. Because of my memories of topics discussed your class, I felt that you might be the best person for me to contact in an attempt to obtain answers concerning these doubts. Any response that you have to give would be greatly appreciated.
First, before I discuss my concerns, I would like to explain why I am currently questioning my faith. Joseph Smith once said that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never had the power to create faith
in a man unto salvation (Lectures on Faith.) Such a sacrifice was recently required of me, and in looking within my heart I discovered doubt. Basically, I found that too often I have had troubling questions that I have simply placed on the shelf rather than resolving. In the face of making such great sacrifices for my religion, I've found that I need to take these questions off of the shelf and obtain answers in order to have the faith necessary for action. Please know that in expressing my concerns I am not attempting to "bash"
the church. Rather I am simply stating concerns that I know in my heart must be resolved before I can continue life as a "Mormon."
The first problem I have is with the doctrine of blood atonement, in combination with other violent sermons, that were taught primarily by Brigham Young. I found the majority of these teachings in the Journal of Discourses (JD) and verified their authenticity by looking at one volume at the Library of Congress and the other volumes on microform at the University of Delaware. Specifically the sermons I have problems with are the ones found in the speeches given in JD 4:51, 3:243 (javelin through heart section) 1:103 (I would kill a thief section), 4:215, 10:104, and 4:374. Also, evidence of blood atonement teachings is found in speeches given to the Utah Territorial Legislature on Jan 4 and Feb 5, 1852. (A copy of the Jan. 4 speech is being sent to me by the Utah State Archives.) Also, in The Teachings of President Brigham Young by Fred C.
Collier, Wilford Woodruff takes note in his journal of similar teachings given on May 6, 1854. I find these teachings particularly disturbing in light of later brutal actions by Mormons during the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This brutality combined with the protection of all of the criminals responsible for those acts, with the exception of John D. Lee, (see Mountain Meadows Massacre by Juanita Brooks) by specifically Brigham Young and George Albert Smith disturbs me. Also disturbing, are the claims in Brooks' book that Joseph Fielding Smith continued this protection in writing Essentials in Church History despite abundant documents to the contrary in his custody. God being a God of truth (Lectures on Faith p. 35), these actions by men who have supposedly conversed with Christ disturb me. President Benson, in an address to BYU students on Feb. 26, 1980, quoted a conference discourse by President Romney to the effect that "The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray;" yet, I can't help but feel that these blood atonement teachings probably did just that. I have not yet fully researched other claims that I have seen that speak of other acts of violence inspired by blood atonement teachings.
The second concern I have is with the abundant racism and the apparent false prophecies associated with that racism: JD 2:136 (once all other children of Adam receive the Priesthood and are resurrected then the children of Cain will no longer be cursed), 10:104, and 11:266. Additionally, the speech given to the legislature on Feb. 5, 1852 expresses similar notions. Not only do I have difficulty with these prophecies that I don't see as being fulfilled, but I also was initially revolted by what I saw as simply ignorant racism on the part of God's prophet.
My third concern is the attitudes toward women: JD 2:10, 2:75, 3:354, 4:51, 5:27, 5:201, 5:312, 8:114, 9:31, 11:208, 11:266, 13:156, 17:214, 20:24. Not only do I know that some of the information is false ( "It is much more difficult for wives to learn than it is for husbands, because women have not the degree of light and knowledge that their husbands have."), but I am
disturbed by the aspects of polygamy (polygamy itself as well as only those men who enter into polygamy reaching the highest level of heaven) and control of
Additionally, I am concerned by Brigham Young's sermon about life on the moon and sun (JD 13:268) and his expression that God is eternally progressing in
knowledge and power (JD 11:282-compare to Lectures on Faith p. 35 point 15.) And in fact, all of these speeches listed above are particularly concerning
given Brigham Young's belief that all of the discourses that he sent out to men were scripture (JD 13:87, 13:95, and 13:261.) Also, President Benson in a
BYU devotional assembly on Feb. 26, 1980 quoted Brigham Young, "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not
call scripture." (JD 13:95) President Benson further clarified that a prophet doesn't have to say "Thus saith the Lord" to give scripture by referencing D&C 21:4. This being the case, I am finding it very hard to
believe that Brigham Young was in any way a prophet, and if not then the whole idea of continuous Priesthood succession from Joseph Smith to Gordon B. Hinckley
seems to simply fall apart. Additionally, even if the speeches given by Brigham Young were not scripture, they are indicative of his character, thus giving me
the same concerns with regard to God choosing him as a prophet.
My final concerns have to do with Joseph Smith. First, there is the matter of the prophecy in D&C 84:4-5: the generation alive during Joseph Smith's time, to my knowledge, never built a temple at the temple lot that was dedicated by Joseph Smith. Additionally, it appears that Joseph Smith lied concerning the church's practice of polygamy (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p.119.) At the time he made this statement in May 8, 1838 he was already practicing and teaching select people the doctrine of polygamy. (See 2 Nephi 9:35.) Additionally, Section CIX found in the Doctrine and Covenants from 1835 to 1876 and later removed (I verified this by looking at editions found at the Library of Congress) professes the church's belief in monogamy. And although Joseph F. Smith later stated in 1878 (JD 20:24) that this was mistakenly put in my Oliver Cowdery, I find it incredible that prophetic church leaders could have overlooked such an important doctrinal mistake in scripture for a period of around 31 years. I have yet to look into primary documentation sources that supposedly support claims in the Mormon Hierarchy series by D.
Michael Quinn concerning other actions by church leaders that seem odd or disturbing.
I am aware that many of the concerns I have expressed in this email may seem quite harsh or anti-church. However, right now they are what I feel are reasonable, logical concerns that must be answered for me to continue with the church - a church, that from the things I've mentioned above appears to have a history of racism, sexism, frightening violence, and a propensity to obscure these issues to its benefit. I understand that many of the attitudes of Brigham Young correspond with popular attitudes of the time. However, if Joseph
Smith is to be believed concerning the unchanging nature of God (Lectures on Faith p. 35), then I don't see how cultural factors should influence truth taught by God's prophets, particularly when those prophets are declaring their words as scripture. If, however, Brigham Young is to be believed that God is eternally progressing in knowledge, then I don't know how I can have faith in such a God (particularly if He is only progressing as fast as the world's culture.) I'm hoping that you might have some significant insight or ways
to redirect my lines of reasoning that might lead to substantial answers and help me rebuild my faltering faith. I will appreciate any time you spend and any comments that you have to give in responding to this matter.
And now here's the letter he sent me in response:
Thank you for writing, Amanda.
An initial reaction is: What is really the problem?
These questions seem to be symptoms of a greater problem. I work with about 30 men who are fully aware of the things you have brought up, and yet none of us
are a bit bothered by any of them. None of us have any doubts about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or any others. Why is that?
Sometimes the so-called intellect can get in the way of the Spirit, and there are other things that can dull the influence of the Holy Ghost.
If you are trying to prove the Church is not true, you will succeed. If you are trying to prove the Church is true, you will succeed. The Spirit of God will help you with the latter, but not with the former.
You need to consider the historical setting and the context of the times in which these statements were made. There was no such thing as political correctness back then. You know about hyperbole. Also, speakers didn't edit their talks then either. And how accurate was the short-hand taking back then?
I do not have time to give you book length answers, and an abundance of incontrovertable evidence (which probably wouldn't make any difference, really), but following are a few snippets dealing with the issues you raise:
1. Blood atonement. Does not the blood of Christ atone for the sins of the repentant? That part of blood atonement is true. The statements of Brigham Young
are in accordance with the teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. There is not one instance in LDS Church history when this was carried out in the sense
of capital punishment because that is a state function, not an ecclesiastical function. You may remember Gary Gilmore requested and got the firing squad because he recognized he had lost the right to live as a serial killer. Read what Elder Bruce R. McConkie says about blood atonement in Mormon Doctrine. The Prophet Joseph Smith learned by sad experience: "All we have said about them is truth, but it is not always wise to relate all the truth." Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 392. Think about that in light of your Joseph Fielding
2. "Abundant" racism? Shall we just ignore that fact that people have different cultural backgrounds and deny that there are differernt races? As Elder Packer has said, the USA was already against the Church on a number of fronts. What advantages would have accrued to the blacks and missionary work if the pr'd would have been given back before the Civil War, or even in the 1950s and 60s? Again, look at the cultural context. If you took me for the course Teaching of the Living Prophets, you would have read in the manual that being a prophet does not deprive a person from having his own erroneous opinions. Only Christ was perfect.
3. I teach a few girls who fit exactly into the context of what Brigham Young said about women. Find another organization that has done more for women on the
face of this earth than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Polygany (the Church has never practice polygamy) is for the benefit of women and posterity. There is no more or less unrighteous dominion in polygany than in monogamy as far as "control of women" goes. A fair-minded man knows there is no such thing as controlling his wife.
4. All we can observe, measure, etc., is the telestial dimension in which we live. We can't see spirits, we can't see terrestrial worlds, we can't see celestial worlds, etc., in the state we are now in. A few of the early brethren, who may not have studied the scriptures as much as they should have, occasionally spoke of God progressing in knowledge. But what did they mean by that? I believe God progresses by using his knowledge in creating new worlds and peopling them, but he does not grow smarter. He truly is omniscient,
omnipresent, and omnipotent, as the scriptures verify. Look at the definintion of scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants 68:4. Whatever a prophet speaks by the
Holy Ghost is scripture, and whatever he does not speak by the Holy Ghost is not scripture. What's the problem? I don't have any problem with Brigham Young. I have been studying him for over 30 years, and I know absolutely that he, Joseph Smith, and all their successors are prophets of the Lord and that they have done a pleasing job in His sight. Why don't you know the same thing? Again, the Teachings of the Living Prophets manual addresses these issues.
5. Most prophecy is condition: its fulfillment depends on the agency of the people. Jonah's account is an example. He prophesied that Nineveh would be
destroyed. It didn't happen, and he was upset. What happened? The people heeded his message and repented so there was no destruction. Does that make the prophecy false? Take a look at the beginning verses of D&C 101, 104, and 105. Can you expect the Lord to fulfill his promises when the members of the Church are doubting, complaining, disobedient, selfish, prideful idiots? He would be an unfair God if He did. Most Church historians I have talked with dismiss Michael Quinn and a bitter, excommunicated, agenda-ridden trouble maker. It's hard to play in the cow corral and not get cow doo-doo on you. When Joseph Smith made the statement about "polygamy" he was right-on correct, accurate, and truthful. At that time the CHURCH, the total membership, did NOT practice plural marriage. It was only extended to a few leading individuals in the Church, not to the Church. According to many historical works on the subject, the majority of men in the Church never did practice this law, only a small minority. Leonard Arrington and Davis Bitton put the entire membership, men, women, and children,
so involved at under 25%. What was happening to the Church during the time of the Oliver Cowdery selection; I think historical context shows there was no concern to have it removed at the time. You know, I've found a large number of errors in the Topical Guide, but I haven't ripped it out of my Bible.
Your positions are really quite unreasonable because it seems like you've been reading too much of the wrong stuff and not enough of the right stuff. Virtually all of the issues have been intellectually dealt with by BYU professors and review and publications such as BYU Studies and FARMS publicaitions. You are not alone in your procedures. I've seen many drift away from the Church because of doubts--not facts. Daily prayer, daily scripture study, and obedience and involvement in the Church are the prime remedies, and they are not brain-washing either. Joseph Smith taught that the only effect of the Holy Ghost upon us is pure intelligence (Teachings, p. 148-149). And there are things we simply have to do to get in position for that kind of intelligence, and it is far more than human intellect and flawed history written by ax-grinders and apostates grabbing at straws.
I wish we could meet together face-to-face and visit. There is often unintended miscommunication in the written word--especially when I write it. I think we
could bring a peace to an anxious spirit. I wish you all the best and hope what I've written helps.
|Date:||Aug 03 15:43|
|Excellent and fair minded questions any truth seeker
has a right to ask.
The response is typical and condescending as one would expect.
You are free, I am free, all of the other posters are now free. THANK YOU GOD FOR THAT!!
|Subject:||Agree -- especially the second-to-last paragraph.|
|Date:||Aug 03 18:31|
|You might as well hit your head against the wall.
But, hey, I have gone to my leaders as well. They just think you have
become apostate. Face reality and do not deal with them.
|Subject:||Your Prof's answer explains why . . .|
|Date:||Aug 03 15:47|
|a man with such obvious towering intellect is
toiling at such a prestigious institution of higher education as Ricks.
Excuse me, I try not to get personal about things like this (obviously failing at times), but what a f***ing rube!
As a parent, I would be horrified that such an intellectual pygmy is supposedly teaching my children at a supposedly institution of higher eduction.
|Date:||Aug 03 17:47|
|Polygyny: The state or practice of having two or more wives or concubines at the same time.|
|Subject:||This is the telling paragraph from your former instructor:|
|Date:||Aug 03 16:04|
|"Your positions are really quite unreasonable
because it seems like you've been reading too much of the wrong stuff
and not enough of the right stuff. Virtually all of the issues have been
intellectually dealt with by BYU professors and review and publications
such as BYU Studies and FARMS publications. You are not alone in your
procedures. I've seen many drift away from the Church because of
doubts--not facts. Daily prayer, daily scripture study, and obedience
and involvement in the Church are the prime remedies, and they are not
brain-washing either. Joseph Smith taught that the only effect of the
Holy Ghost upon us is pure intelligence (Teachings, p. 148-149)."
1. You should stop exposing yourself to points of view that are different from those of the Mormon Church. If you continue to do so, you are being unreasonable.
2. Your questions are disturbingly intellectual in nature. Intellectualism is bad and ultimately at odds with prayerful feelings, which take precedence over anything intelligent.
3. You should cease your doubtings and have faith in your Church leaders--men of God, all, who have already answered your intellectual arguments against the Church through apologetic organizations working in behalf of the Church and of which the Church approves.
4. The only good intelligence is pure intelligence that comes through the Holy Ghost and that tells you the Church is true, because Joseph Smith said so.
5. You should not view these commands as brainwashing techniques, even though that's what they are.
|Subject:||"too much of the bad stuff, not enough of the good stuff"?...|
|Date:||Aug 03 16:19|
|Please, oh please!
Your professor IS omniscient himself if he can ascertain what is GOOD and what is BAD. "Bad stuff"? Great choice of vocabulary, truly.
Really, this guy talks about typos and misheard teachings only referring to the controversial and ridiculous ones. Yet all the things he quotes were certainly written correctly. Golly, another coincidence! Isn't just wonderful how the scribes weren't able to write down some of the things, but the very important ones they did?
How do we know Joseph Smith actually said Heavenly Father? Maybe he actually meant FEATHER - who knows? No one can rely on things that were written then.
Guys like your professor are way too many for it to be funny.
|Subject:||There Really Are Men on The Moon, Dearie . . .|
|Date:||Aug 03 16:30|
|You just can't see 'em without magic spectacles. The
astronauts didn't have any . . .
|Subject:||How dare you question what I, your exalted professor, has taught you?|
|Date:||Aug 03 16:36|
|This seems to be the jist of your Prof's response.
"What is really the problem?" he asks. It seems he would _like_ to say, "You are the problem."
Another thing he said is telling: "I teach a few girls who fit exactly into the context of what Brigham Young said about women." I'm pretty sure he thinks of you as a "girl" who just isn't feeling the spirit. Get with it, honey!!
|Subject:||You have dared to question.....|
|Date:||Aug 03 16:47|
Now go sit in the corner like the good professor would REALLY like to tell you to do.
|Subject:||Maybe you should write back to him|
|Date:||Aug 03 17:00|
|Tell him thanks for his response, he's done you a
great service. He's helped you see the light and now you have rejected
the Mormon faith. Wouldn't that just be a dandy, his knowing he helped
you on your way out of the church? Maybe he can help himself sleep at
night by ignoring glaring contradictions in the church by making up all
kinds of justifications, but how will it weigh on his mind to know
because of what he told you (or at leasst in part because of what he
told you)that now you are destined for the telestial kingdom.
|Subject:||The whole time I was reading this...|
|Date:||Aug 03 17:09|
|... I was thinking to myself,
“So then, how’s this guy going to question her righteousness and/or worthiness before honestly and openly addressing some very real concerns on her behalf?”
Such was the intensity of my curiosity that I just ditched your letter altogether and went straight for his. Sorry, but at least he didn’t disappoint.
As much as I’d like to say I could chalk this up to the “gift of discernment” I reckon that since I’m one of them apostate fellas that wouldn’t be the case.
You see, men of power and position in the church have a similar characteristic. Well, aside from receiving their greetings in the marketplace, they are quick to wield their personal version of a “scarlet letter” when encountered by someone with concerns such as yourself.
In the Melchizedek Priesthood handbook, it clearly states that it easier to condemn the questioner than to answer their questions. Tis Heavenly Father’s way. And if you had been worthy, you would have known that. (see how easy that was…maybe I haven’t lost my rights and privileges entirely)
Anyway, I really have to believe that this wouldn’t have ended up the way it did had this been another religion involved.
Had you been Catholic and went to your Father with similar concerns regarding your Catholic faith, I sincerely doubt that he would have questioned your worthiness and forced a confessional right there on the spot.
And lets just say that you were a Quaker and had this itching desire to ride in a car or flick a switch and bring light to an entire room. Had you brought this concern up with your head Quaker guy, I don’t think he would have outright questioned your spiritual standing before your Maker.
At the very worst, he would have told you to pull Brother Amos’ plow while you pondered the nature of wishing to transgress as you supposedly did.
Geez, I’ll bet even one of them snake handlin’, faith healin’, walkin’ on glass psychos would have been more accommodating in your request. He’d even answer your question, as long as you was holdin’ a snake while’s you asked it.
I reckon my point is none of these religious leaders would have treated you the same as this Ricks prof did because it’s not in their nature. They aren’t the guardians of The Only True and Living Church Upon the Face of the Earth.
Plus, they don’t have a Melchizedek Priesthood handbook that tells them to do it, either.
Lastly, I just had to roll my eyes at his little gem:
These questions seem to be symptoms of a greater problem. I work with about 30 men who are fully aware of the things you have brought up, and yet none of us are a bit bothered by any of them.
You see, that’s another thing you’re up against here. He is less than subtly reminding you of the difference between yourself and him. Not only is he fully aware of these silly little things that seem to be bothering you to the point of tossing aside your very exaltation, but he also knows 30 other men in the exact same situation. Therefore, YOU are in the minority here.
And it’s not because your questions are without merit. It’s not because there are indeed answers to them but you don’t read enuff of the right stuff to find them. The difference is plain and simple.
He’s a man, and you ain’t.
And he’s got another 30 men behind him backing him up.
That’s the difference between men and women here. Men can handle that kind of stuff and deal with it the right way. Women can’t. That’s why he doesn’t know any that are also fully aware of these things and are every bit as unconcerned as he and his merry men are.
Sorry, but it’s in the Melchizedek Priesthood handbook.
|Subject:||LOL! We need to get some more of these letters for entertainment and analyzing.|
|Date:||Aug 03 18:42|
|At least you got a response, Amanda. I wrote the SP
once and he would not even bother to write back or say anything. I must
be a woman who is real low on the totem pole.
|Subject:||Re: The whole time I was reading this...|
|Date:||Aug 05 06:53|
|where can you get a copy of this handbook
|Subject:||In any Deseret Bookstore...|
|Date:||Aug 05 19:28|
|...you'll find it on the same shelf as "The
Lost Book of Lehi", "Urim and Thummin for Idiots", and
"The Beginner's Guide to The Liahona."
If they don't happen to have any there, ask the guy at the counter to order one from the Great Vault. You know, the one where The Sword of Laban and the Liahona, among many other curiosities, are stashed as the prophet's personal playthings.
Or if you want, I'll just give you one of my dad's old handbooks, assuming that one of the doctrinal changes hasn't changed it's validity as a priesthood holder's reference resource.
|Subject:||Cow DOO-DOO You have GOT to be kidding!|
|Date:||Aug 03 18:23|
|Doesn't he think you are old enough to have learned
the word "manure" or "crap" not to mention shit. I
couldn't believe my eyes!
Just for giggles I ran a search for the first Catholic Priest in the U.S. Here is what I found
James A. Healy
On this date in 1854, James Augustine Healy was ordained in Paris, France. He became the first African-American priest in the Catholic Church. Two of his brothers followed him and becaue of racism all three had to study abroad.
James Healy became the first Black bishop of Portland, Maine in 1875. Alexander Sherwood was ordained for the diocese of Massachusetts. Patrick Frances obtained his PH.D (the first Black) from Louvian University, Belgium and became the first Black president of Georgetown University (Washington D.C.).
The three brothers were sons of an Irish Plantation owner in Georgia and a slave woman. Their sister Eliza, became a nun and notable school administrator."
That kind of shoots in a cocked hat what would have happened if the mormons had allowed blacks the priesthood doesn't it?
|Subject:||Now that I have settled down.......|
|Date:||Aug 03 19:10|
|Author:||Søvnløsener - Insomniac|
|You have to keep in mind that you are asking
questions from a guy who knows that the BoM is a factual, historical
Now excuse me, I need to go clean up the lunch I just regurgitated all over the computer monitor.
|Subject:||Re: Intimidation, questioning worthiness, and bizarre logic: letter exchange with a Ricks college religion prof|
|Date:||Aug 03 19:17|
|Author:||joseph the great|
|I think my favorite is how he said the church never
practiced polygamy and then said it was only practiced within small
circles, while I was taught in EQ that it had become so much a part of
the doctrine that John Taylor as well as many other members had to hide
from the government just to keep from breaking "God's Laws".
|Subject:||Boy does this guy live a sheltered life|
|Date:||Aug 03 19:20|
|I love his comment that Church has done more for
women that any other organization. Oh yea- Tell them to marry young,
have too many kids, don't get an education, etc etc. When was the last
time that church gave a scholarship to a single mother so she could
better themselves? Talked about birth control in YM or RS. Never!!!! It
will never happen. Yes the church has done something for women keep them
as second class citzens. This is my biggest bitch with the church. I am
women hear me roar!!!! That guy needs to get his head out of his a**.
|Subject:||It continues to boggle my mind that a supposed professor can...|
|Date:||Aug 03 22:04|
|accept the notion that one's testimony of the church
should be based on feelings and emotions rather than evidence. These
"scientists" at FARMS have determined what they believe and
then seek to find the evidence that will support it. True science
dictates that the researcher goes wherever the evidence leads him.
Obviously, there is a huge difference between these two approaches.
Bottom line? He's the one wearing blinders, not you.
|Subject:||facts, faith, accusations|
|Date:||Aug 04 02:32|
|I notices mormons try to justify their religion by
facts, faith and accusations. First, they give you the facts about
Joseph Smith and his visions, blah, blah, blah. Of course, if you bring
up facts that contradict or show the church in a bad light, then mormons
move on to faith. They know the church is true and can, therefore,
ignore all facts to the contrary. If this doesn't convince a person,
then mormons move onto accusations. You can't believe in the church
because there is something wrong with you (becase they know the church
is perfect). The pattern is always the same.
Just remember, mormon is just an M away from moron.
BTW, it think you should send this prof and thank you note for his reply and for convincing you the church really is a bunch of BS.
|Subject:||No Offense, But...|
|Date:||Aug 05 11:06|
|your letter reads like a bad conflation of
anti-Mormon literature. Your attacks sound petty and they sound as if
you have a political agenda. There are so many glaring problems with
Mormonism - but you chose to focus on the standard anti-Mormon stuff
which, while true, also makes you sound decidedly
How did you expect him to respond? Why did you send him the letter in the first place? Your mind was already made up...you were just picking a fight...and he gave you one. Your letter was confrontational in tone and sensational in content.
Quit whining! Leave the Church like an adult and quit trying to pick fights with TBM's.
|Subject:||Re: No Offense, But...|
|Date:||Aug 05 11:47|
|But, if Amanda P. is like me, it was probably the
first time she had ever heard them. I was BIC, but it wasn't until I was
30 years old that I discovered these 'old tired arguments.' If it wasn't
for the Internet, I may never have discovered them because I wasn't
searching. I accidently bumped into them thanks to the Internet. When I
started talking to people about these issues, I got the same response.
"Oh those problems have been resolved long ago. Those are old anti-mormon
arguments. Here's a FARMS pamphlet and a Hugh Nibley book that will
explain everything." Of course, no one has ever resolved these
issues, except that if I pray and stop reading about it, they will go
away. The professor probably heard them a million times before and was
sick of answering, but to Amanda P. it was new info. Wouldn't it be
easier for the church to get this stuff into the open so they don't have
to say the same thing over and over again to individual people?
|Subject:||Re: No Offense, But... (edited)|
|Date:||Aug 05 12:56|
|Exmo WHB wrote:
> your letter reads like a bad conflation of anti-Mormon literature. Your attacks sound petty and they sound as if you have a political agenda. There are so many glaring problems with Mormonism - but you chose to focus on the standard anti-Mormon stuff which, while true, also makes you sound decidedly unintelligent/unperceptive.
> How did you expect him to respond? Why did you send him the letter in the first place? Your mind was already made up...you were just picking a fight...and he gave you one. Your letter was confrontational in tone and sensational in content.
> Quit whining! Leave the Church like an adult and quit trying to pick fights with TBM's.
Exmo WHB -- are you the Ricks college professor, in disguise??
As Joe (responded to your thread as well) stated, this was the first time I had come across all of this information. And yes, there are MANY problems with Mormonism; however, the problems listed in my letter were the first problems that I ran across and they in themselves gave me SERIOUS concerns. In fact, the information in my letter may be "standard anti-Mormon stuff" for a reason. Since writing this letter, I have continued to be in the process of carefully researching and exploring other problems with Mormonism (for example, I hadn't come across BoA info at the time I wrote this letter.) And I have also checked out the couple of references and FARMS/FAIR websites that this professor suggested for apologetic opinion. None of these apologetic sources have served to resolve my concerns.
My very point in writing this professor was to seek help in case my concerns actually were "unintelligent/unperceptive" ... hoping that he might help me logically see how I had reached erroneous conclusions. Yes, I had reached conclusions at this point; however, I had not made up my mind to the point of being closed to evidence contrary to those conclusions. I was open to any logical evidence that might demonstrate how the conclusions I had reached were wrong. I was not at all trying to pick a fight with this man, rather I felt that as a religion professor at a Mormon college, this man should have a special expertise in understanding Mormon doctrine. Thus, I hoped that he would be in a unique position to address the concerns that I was having.
The intent behind my letter was not to whine at all, but rather was a heartfelt and honest attempt to obtain answers/sources that might aid in restoring my faith ... a faith that at the time I was writing the letter, I was increasingly afraid was built on nothing more than fairy tales, myth, lies, and the opinions of uninspired bigots ... as I was loosing this faith I felt like someone close to me had died. This was the frame of mind in which I wrote the letter.
I did appreciate that the man took to write me back. However, I did not appreciate that instead of receiving logical reasons that pointed out errors in my conclusions, I felt the professor was trying to intimidate me, bully me, and question my worthiness. Additionally, I was told that although he could give me abundant resources in support of a pro-Mormon perspective on these issues, he wasn't going to point me toward them because "it wouldn't do any good anyway." Also, the points that he did make in support of the pro-Mormon dogma were illogical, and thus did not affect the conclusions that I had reached in my letter.
I posted the letter because I thought others who frequent this board might find this professor's response of interest for various reasons.
|Subject:||When I first started having doubts....|
|Date:||Aug 05 15:50|
|I mentioned them to someone, I got the ole "you
are trying to find fault" line. My response was that "no, I am
trying to find the truth".
BTW, when I realized that Paul Dunn was lying, I mentioned to my bish that I had concluded that sometimes they speak as prophets and sometimes they speak as men. The bish went ballistic. I guess that is now common knowledge in the CES.
|Subject:||Just one little thought|
|Date:||Aug 05 11:32|
|the religion prof. states that he works with 30 men
who know all of the facts that you presented. If those issues are no big
deal, then why are they not addressed to the general church population?
In all those years of seminary and religion classes (at BYU), I never
heard anything about the issues that you brought up.
I believe that the church needs to be open and honest. The excuses offered don't hold up to the light of scrutiny.
|Subject:||Of milk and meat...|
|Date:||Aug 05 12:51|
|Author:||Romans house go|
|He evidently believes that the milk is for you and
the meat is for him and his enlightened (read too heavily invested) ilk.
He really let the cat out of the bag regarding the priesthood and blacks. "As Elder Packer has said, the USA was already against the Church on a number of fronts. What advantages would have accrued been given back before the Civil War, or even in the 1950s and 60s?" I read from this that the church has changed, and will continue change, in order to best prosper, both by the number of converts (new tithe payers) and BIC's (big-time tithers) it can retain.
|Subject:||Do exams in this man's courses consist of spiritual witness...|
|Date:||Aug 05 15:57|
|...or reliance on the "so called
"But teach, I *FEEL* the answer is right, therefore you can't mark my score down!"
|Subject:||What an arrogant, condescending a**!!|
|Date:||Aug 05 16:19|
|Seriously, this guy doesn't sound like the caring
religion prof he thinks he is. Does he not realize how rude all of these
statement were? Saying that the things you were questioning were not the
real problem is so incredibly demeaning to you!! This letter just pisses
me off, can you tell?
Anyway, the part that struck me the most was this:
> 3. I teach a few girls who fit exactly into the context of what Brigham Young said about women. Find another organization that has done more for women on the face of this earth than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Polygany (the Church has never practice polygamy) is for the benefit of women and posterity. There is no more or less unrighteous dominion in polygany than in monogamy as far as "control of women" goes. A fair-minded man knows there is no such thing as controlling his wife.
I would write back and ask him WHAT has the church done for women? Request specific examples. Agree with him that polygamy was never practiced - no way would they give women the opportunity to have multiple husbands, which would be the case as defined by polygamy. However, polygyny (if you write back, correct his spelling on this one - really smart, aren't you prof?) limits the practice to only allowing mutiple wives. Does he not see the inherent sexism of what he wrote? I would demand to know exactly how polygyny benefits women...how is it to her benefit to need to share her husband? Emotionally, I can't think of anything more damaging to a woman than to know her husband has no desire to be with her, and is legally able to go to another woman...realy confidence booster there, hm? And, finally, I would again agree with him that "There is no more or less unrighteous dominion in polygany than in monogamy as far as "control of women" goes." It's true - BUT the temple gives the husband complete dominian over any and all wives he may have, whether it's 1 or 12. To me, that's where the true unjustice lies.
Anyway, before I totally go off on this issue (it's a hot button for me, can you tell?) and hijack your post, let me just say that this professor is a jerk. He totally ignored your pleas for guidance and implied that you were at fault for even thinking there was a problem with these things. You'd think he'd know better than to attack - however, when someone knows they are in the wrong they tend to attack...
OK, I could really start rambling now. Overall, if you decide to write back to him (I would be sorely tempted to do so...in fact, if you want to give me his name, I'll send him a letter - written humbly, but based very much in the fact of the sexist nature of the church) I would do those things which I wrote above.
|Subject:||Consider the source|
|Date:||Aug 05 18:53|
|Of course, did you expect any responses different
The brainwashing is apparent in all TBMs, but when you consider the source of his paycheck, the predictability of his responses increases exponentially.
Unfortunately when it comes to obtaining answers to any of these questions, it is very difficult to find a source that is truly independent and unbiased.