Subject: Appeal to Faith
Date: Aug 08 11:57
Author: Investigator
Mail Address:

How does one successfully counter the appeal to faith that the missionaries will presumably rest their case on?

Something eloquent and objective...

Subject: Faith
Date: Aug 08 12:03
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

Sorry, not quite sure what you're asking. Can you elaborate?

Off the top of my head, their "appeal" will be for you to go with "how you feel". Be cautious. It should be what you think, not how you feel. They will apply their own meaning to your "feelings". Another quick thought - if it's the right thing to do spiritually, there should be no rush or pressure. It should be a well thought out decision based on clear thinking, not a hurried choice based on emotion.

Subject: Re: Appeal to Faith
Date: Aug 08 12:05
Author: L. O. Him
Mail Address:

Don't waste a lot of time on this. Just tell them that you have prayed about it and the lord has told you that it is not true.

Subject: Faith that Mormonism is true, or that we need a savior? This addresses the first one...
Date: Aug 08 12:10
Author: Brian B.
Mail Address:


Many have heard the famous promise that missionaries use to attempt to convert people to Mormonism. Basically: If you pray sincerely with intent, then you will ‘feel the spirit’ as pre-suggested and pre-defined in Moroni’s words (an ancient Book of Mormon writer who oddly assumed you would doubt him). AS A RESULT of following this advice, you are then presumed to consciously accept everything the missionaries have told and will tell you to be ‘true’. Note that this method is implied to be a type of convincing proof in lieu of any other, oddly based on the explicit assumption that the ‘spirit’ is conjurable and identifiable BEFORE THE FACT.

As you may already suspect, there are many problems with the above approach, both obvious and intuitive. Besides expecting the reader to NOT be skeptical (pre-convinced and wanting verification in the positive) the entire approach is based on several flaws in thinking known as FALLACIES, or errors in reasoning. [Note that fallacies are effectively ‘worse’ than errors of fact, as they are more often associated with bad motives, faulty conclusions, erroneous judgments, false beliefs and regretful decisions]. Furthermore, the entire endeavor is circular and reserves to employ a convenient contradiction (evil spirit) in the case of naysayers.

Below are some fallacies to explore to help correct any impression that Moroni’s so-called ‘promise’ has any validity outside of mere wishful thinking or hypnotic suggestion. (Indeed, it would be more logical to admit one didn’t care for such verification and assumed it made sense on its own—since this would avoid the humiliation of being forced to deceive oneself and ‘waive’ one’s right to rationally investigate the issue).

If Moroni’s ‘promise’ is used to assert that the Book of Mormon can be known to be true then this is the fallacy category of ‘missing the point’ and is begging the question (because we can’t assume that the ‘promise’ is valid until the book is also deemed valid):

If Moroni’s ‘promise’ is used to dismiss the argument that the Book of Mormon can be false, then this is a non-sequitur by affirming the consequent (which is any argument that promises a result, then quotes the result to assert the promise as valid in all cases):

If Moroni’s ‘promise’ is personally used to justify one’s belief in the Book of Mormon or anything about Mormonism itself, it can then be described as a causal fallacy of the 'post hoc' variety (because it is assumed that the feeling coming AFTER prayer as promised somehow makes the suggested conclusion valid):

Furthermore, other syllogistic fallacies occur when one leaves out the other possibilities for feeling the same emotions by suggestion under the same conditions unrelated to Moroni, or when one assumes that two separate phenomenon are connected by sharing a property (such as the Book of Mormon being compared to the Bible because they both feature a holy spirit of validation).

WORSE DANGERS: This self-convincing method (which conveniently absolves the messenger’s blame of organized deception) is actually more crafty than it appears, and the reason the above fallacies not only thrive, but are ENSHRINED as a key to the claims of Mormonism. The problem is made much worse by pre-assigning the suggested feeling to a holy spirit, thus seeming to exclude an evil spirit. Yet this ‘evil’ spirit is often cited AFTERWARDS as a reason why some people decide that that they don’t feel anything, or feel weird, or later admit that they don’t like the Book of Mormon. Any such claim of evil sprit is CONTRADICTORY and a false dilemma because the prayer exercise never assumed the book itself could be false and was not open to the suggestion of a bad feeling to prove it. (Also, accusing someone of being thwarted by an evil spirit is a system escape option that protects the missionaries from being curious as to their failure).

As a further complication to the exercise, the definition of quality to any ‘spirit’ used as a verification tool is CIRCULAR, meaning that this 'being' and the being's role is defined by the SAME SOURCE that the spirit is supposedly dedicated to VERIFY. One is basically saying that a good spirit as described in the book will be along to tell you the book is good. A very big mistake in reasoning, almost as big as assuming the nature and existence of any spirit itself.

Circular definitions:

THE RATIONAL APPROACH: The argument whether the Book of Mormon is ‘true’ (implied to mean: ‘true to its surrounding claims’) is based on the validity of what the book claims, and the validity of those who originally claimed it to be what they purported AND EMPLOYED it to be.

If the Book of Mormon can be shown to be false to its claims (scientific) OR if it can be shown that those who originated the book are false to their claims, then the promise itself is deceptive and FALSE, since it would then be a promise from a falsely claimed book that was promoted as deception. THIS DECEPTION IS MALICIOUSLY OBVIOUS IF ANY OTHER METHODS ARE DISCOURAGED!

Remember: The Book of Mormon is not a treatise or rumination or theosophy or set of speculative religious doctrine (that is known as the Doctrine and Covenants, and has a separate credibility problem). The Book of Mormon IS THE PURPORTED ANCIENT HISTORY OF ANCIENT AMERICA. When the fact of such a history is demolished, as the Book of Mormon has been demolished via modern anthropology, then the religion founded upon it is worse than a mere factual error, it is a lie that MUST PERSUADE YOU TO CONVINCE YOURSELF IT IS ‘TRUE’ to succeed.

Subject: Re: Appeal to Faith
Date: Aug 08 12:10
Author: Investigator
Mail Address:


To be more specific: I would like to sidestep their attempt to prove the truth of the BofM based solely on "feeling the Spirit" by presenting some sort of analogy perhaps, or just some sort of clear reasoning as to why that is not the best way to find truth....

I am too nervous to even think.

Subject: Faith vs Thought
Date: Aug 08 12:30
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

I would like to sidestep their attempt to prove the truth of the BofM based solely on "feeling the Spirit" by presenting some sort of analogy perhaps, or just some sort of clear reasoning as to why that is not the best way to find truth....

This might not be very helpful but I would ask, "Why bother?" You will go around and around in circles, they will never agree with any analogy or reasoning you come up with. It would be useful for you to come up with the clear reasoning for yourself. That's all that matters, not trying to convince them. That's a conversation you will never get out of and they can easily confuse you.

You have said it yourself: "...that is not the best way to find truth." Brian B's reply to you gives lots of clear reasoning about the BoM and whether it's true or not, based on fact and reason, not emotion. I would doubt you'd want to get into it with the mishies, just use the info for yourself. As long as YOU know to cling to reason, you don't have any obligation to persuade them or to get them to agree with you. If you're right, you're right, without needing them to corroborate that for you. (And they won't).

I am too nervous to even think.

This sounds like a big red flag! Ask yourself why you are "nervous". Could it be a gut feeling not to proceed? I think you're doing a fine job of thinking. You're asking an important question. Doubts about the BoM strike at the heart of the matter - it's the tool the mishies use to convert people to the church, as quickly as possible. I call it "unholy haste". There is no need to rush it the way they do, if it was on the up and up.

Give yourself credit that your thoughts and reactions are able to point you in the right direction. Relying on "feelings", attributing something to feelings, interpreting someone else's feelings for them are all very questionable; i.e., not a rational way to make an important decision, as you seem to already know! The best course is to gather facts that you may or may not want or need to share with the mishies, it could be just for you. Also, remember that you already know "feelings" do not necessarily (likely not) point to "truth", unless it's a gut feeling to cut and run in the face of danger!

Subject: Re: Appeal to Faith
Date: Aug 08 13:23
Author: Poker Face

I am too nervous to even think.

Investigator, why are you nervous? I don't understand why an investigator would be nervous.

As a member born and raised, I was very nervous and scared when I started to think my way out. What if I was wrong and they were right, even if it sounds crazy and feels wrong? It doesn't mean they're not right!

And the ace-in-the-hole for the mormons was Moroni 10:4. Pray, feel good, and you know it's true. Everything else crumbles before that solid rock of unassailable logic.

Except for a few questions I came up with that my parents couldn't answer, and the bishop couldn't answer, and so on. I found the answers, but much later in an epistemology course at college.

1. How do you tell the difference between the spirit and a regular old emotion?

2. How do we explain the firm testimonies of those who have experienced a spiritual witness in another faith? If they can be wrong, how can I know that MY spiritual witness is not?

3. What are some other ways to get the "burning in the bosom" which is identical to the supposed result of Moroni 10:4? If there are other ways to achieve the same result, what does this say about the validity of the claim that it can only be the spirit when you pray about Moroni 10:4, but it's just an emotion when you watch the Dream Team trounce Ethiopa or whatever else it is that gives you a burning in the bosom?

As you begin to investigate these questions and verify the validity of the Moroni 10:4 test, you will begin to see that it is the mormon religion that crumbles before the rock of unassailable logic. Unfortunately for those who are spiritually inclined, this approach to defeating the double-think of mormonism will pretty much kill off any ability to believe in any other kind of spiritual superstitions. Sorry.

For those people who want to believe in some other non-mormon superstitions, the best approach to getting out is just to research the historical facts about the fraud that is the mormon church. I never learned much about all those crazy lies and hidden histories until years after I had left it as a result of a priori reasoning.

Poker Face

Subject: I have faith that the...
Date: Aug 08 19:50
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:

...BOM is FALSE. My "feelings" tell me this is correct.

You have faith that it is true. Since both of us can NOT be right, then faith did not get us to truth. What is it that can't withstand "reason?" Doesn't the bible say "prove all things, hold fast that which is good"? If you believe in the bible then Proof is sufficient.

best wishes,

Subject: I have no idea...
Date: Aug 08 12:13
Author: dimmesdale
Mail Address:

I don't understand the religious concept of faith at all. If you begin to have knowledge of something (which they encourage you to do--"learn about Jesus, study the scriptures, etc."--then your faith will diminish. At least it seems to me that would be the case. However, in the mormon church (as well as others, I suppose) those who seem to have an intimate knowledge of the word of God and his will are thought of as the ones with the most faith.

On the contrary, in my opinion, those who have the most faith are those who are going along doing what they are "supposed to do" like I did for so many years, without any "burning in the bosom." Hey, I think I had GREAT FAITH.

On the third hand, there's another kind of faith, based on past knowledge--for instance that the sun will rise. We don't really know that it will rise each day, but we can have faith that it will because we've seen it burst forth every day of our lives. Likewise, we can have faith in our parent's love (some people can), or that we will get a good grade (if we've studied and done well). I don't really know how that connects to anything about God.

Well, on fourth thought, maybe I do. If, for instance, Abraham had walked and talked with God, then he would have faith that God would never do anything that would hurt him. God would save Isaac somehow, or change his mind at the last minute (which he did). In this scenario, Abraham would have great faith because he had had personal experiences with God (or Jesus or whomever it was). But to extrapolate that WE can have great faith like Abraham when we have never physically talked to God, is the part that I don't get. And what's so great about the faith of Abraham when he would just obviously know that God wouldn't do anything to harm Isaac--or if He did, it would be good. Big deal!

Subject: If we feel that
Date: Aug 08 12:17
Author: Insomniac
Mail Address:

If we feel that Joseph answers prayers please have them ask brother joseph in their next prayer to mention the fact that I have been a good boy this year and I would like that black and chrome fat boy this smithmas to Santa Clause.

Subject: Short and simple.Tell the missionaries
Date: Aug 08 12:18
Author: OU812
Mail Address:

Real world facts will reinforce well placed faith, but they contradict Mormon ideology (example: Lamanites and DNA).

Subject: Ask Them...
Date: Aug 08 12:27
Author: Mystery Mike
Mail Address:

if they have faith that two plus two equals five, will it be so? Evidence is what counts.

Subject: Isn't faith EXACTLY what all the other religions ask for? If I have
Date: Aug 08 12:35
Author: Socrates
Mail Address:

faith then wouldn't I be just as likely to accept the "Born Again" or Muslim or Catholic teachings as well as the Mormon teachings? Aren't they all saying that what they really want is for you to believe their particular dogma and to not be logical about it? How does faith separate mormonism from any other belief?

Too often with religion when the "Faith" card is played it is their way of saying "Don't question. Don't think logically. Just accept whatever we tell you because if you don't then you don't have faith."

Subject: Socrates, I understand what you're saying but...
Date: Aug 08 12:53
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address: terms of adults converting to most other churches, in my experience, they do not rush the convert into baptism before teaching them church doctrine. The "faith" part they are talking about is having faith in God, that He exists, that He is present in their lives. Also, the "faith" part comes in after baptism, as you live your life according to scriptural principles. I have been to many different denominations. I have never noticed that the "faith" is about the specific church "dogma", certainly not in the way it is in the LDS world.

They hold classes for interested people, about their church beliefs and history. There are classes before baptism and classes after baptism. The emphasis is very much on becoming informed about the church and making your own choice about baptism and/or joining the church. They actually want informed members, who will be good representatives of the church, who will want to choose to participate and contribute in church life.

I think there's a huge distinction there - no rush into the font, full "disclosure" up front. Without exception, every single church I've attended wants informed, interested, committed, happy members. You do not have the HUGE problem of people rushing into baptism and then not attending the church. Yes, all churches are interested in numbers and growth and paying expenses. But they don't want a church full of disgruntled unhappy people. It doesn't look for their theology! Christianity, believe it or not, is supposed to actually bring you joy!!!

*I do acknowledge that living in the frozen north here, there are many things very different from how it is in the US of A. Church and state are clearly separated. No religious group has a huge degree of political clout. Our country's leader has mentioned God about once in his 8 or 10 yrs as Prime Minister. We don't have a huge group of fundies ticking everybody off. Not that I have ever been aware of anyway. So this would all definitely colour my perceptions and experiences.

Subject: Fire with fire....
Date: Aug 08 13:42
Author: A Voice from the past
Mail Address:

Simply state, that you have faith, faith that creation is unfolding as it should, and that you do not need to the LDS church telling you what to do, how to behave, and basically running your life to maintain that faith....

If they start and arguement, then offer them a beer... "Oh you don't drink", then offer to take them swimming, after all swimming is one of the best exercises, and God does want us healthy, isn't that what the word of wisdom is about? "Oh, you can't swim while on a mission", Why? "Because the devil is in the water?". Well, why don't we call your parents and ask them if the church runs peoples lifes? "Oh, you can only call home on Christmas and Mother's day".....

Well, 1) I don't believe the devil is in the water, 2) Don't tell me the church is not running your life. 3) It is no longer a question of faith, but a question of control, and I don't believe God would want me involved in it.

The thing about faith is that everyone can have one's own beliefs, and those beliefs are inviolate to that person. If they want you to have faith in something you don't believe in, then that is the end of the arguement... you don't believe, and nothing they do can change that.

Read, pray feel good... in my case I couldn't get past reading... every time I attempted to read a BOM, I wound up with a headache. The characters that were stolen from the Bible were so out of character that the disonance was quite debilitating. I could NOT wrap my mind around the characters or the timeline. It was worse than poorly written fiction.

Hence I am a never mo, lived in Utah 4 years, saw a lot more than I dare go into on this board, and never converted. Had the missionaries over once, one left in total bewilderment, the other in fear... But that is another story for another time.

Subject: successfully?
Date: Aug 08 13:54
Author: blabbermeister
Mail Address:

Investigator wrote:
> How does one successfully counter the appeal to faith that the missionaries will presumably rest their case on?
I'm not sure that one person can ever be _successful_ in countering the appeal to faith. Brian B.'s post rocks, but most missionaries will have no f*cking idea what you're talking about if you bring up the numerous logical fallacies inherent in mormonism's claims to truth.

Another poster said something to the point, in essence: "I am not convinced that your method of getting truth (you could say "epistemology" here, but very few 19 year olds will have ever even heard the word) is valid. You can prove anything at all using that method."

You can prove the existence of the Great Pumpkin using the pray and find out method. If you really want to be obnoxious, just tell them that you prayed about mormonism and the great pumpkin, and got exactly the same response. By that method, they are either both true or both false.

Subject: For billions of years this God guy has been deadly silent
Date: Aug 08 14:08
Author: Helen
Mail Address:

>>How does one successfully counter the appeal to faith that the missionaries will presumably rest their case on?>>

I doubt that it can be done successfully based on their point of view for when one wants to counter their appeal to their "resting their case on faith" the missionaries usually don't become engaged in debate and are instructed instead to bear their testimony that they KNOW the Church is true. And they will tell you that you can KNOW by praying about it.

What is interesting is that if one says they prayed about it and they say they got the answer the Church is not true the missionaries will be quick to say that is the spirit of the Adversary....the term Mormons use for Satan/Devil. They go on to say the Adversary will put road blocks in your path so you won't join the TRUE Church. So the missionaries are already telling you what the answer has to be. When I told them I got no answer, neither a yes or a no, they told me I didn't pray sincerely enough, didn't pray with real intent, didn't follow Moroni's instructions.

An appeal to faith is subjective. If faith is needed to believe religion it is based solely on the person deciding to exercise faith.

If there was evidence that the Church was TRUE than one wouldn't have to rely on faith.

Mankind uses faith to believe in God. Sometimes mankind can't accept that there are no answers about God existing based on evidence and facts and so make the choice to decide on faith that there is this benevolent God that actually gives a hoot about civilization.

For billions of years if there is the guy called God he has been deadly silent.

The case for God has to be based on faith for after billions of years there is still no evidence, no facts that there is a God, so many make a subjective choice calling it faith to give answers to their questions.

>>Something eloquent and objective...>>

Not eloquent and not objective, just my MOO.

Subject: If you are 'too nervous to think' tell the mish's to back off
Date: Aug 08 15:13
Author: Violotron
Mail Address:

A quest for faith should not include pressure, and they are pressuring you. (Their discussions use a lot of sales techniques that will push your emotions) Don't put up with their 'loving' pressure.

Joining a religion is a big change in ones life, so it should not be taken lightly. Take your time, and make an informed decision. Most religions don't have a problem with this, in fact many encourage a year of study or more.

Tell the missionaries that you will not make a decision for at least 1 year, you hate being rushed. Any religion that tries to 'hurry up' and convert is hiding something, and/or doesn't want you to take the time to evaluate and observe the religion. Of coarse they will be upset that they can't have their way and 'hurry up and babtise' (& they'll use many tactics to try to change your mind) but it is your life not theirs. Do not let them control you.

Subject: Here's what I said.
Date: Aug 08 15:50
Author: Brad
Mail Address:

Our Home Teacher challenged me to reread the BOM and to pray about its truthfulness. I told him I would make a deal. I would do it in sincerity but if I did and God's answer to me was to join the JW's then the Home Teacher had to go and join with me. He said no. I asked why it was only valid if I got the answer he had already decided I should get. He saw that I was a lost cause and we talked about something else. I thought it was interesting that he didn't trust this method of determining the truth enough to risk joining me in asking God the question. This guy is a true believer and if they are right it should be a sucker bet.

Subject: Investigator.....what you said about being too nervous to think.....
Date: Aug 08 16:28
Author: Giselle
Mail Address:

.....suggests that they have all ready gotten under your skin. I am a former investigator who is in the process of trying to extricate myself from the Mormon Church mindset. I cancelled my baptism because of this board. They turned my thinking upside down in 5 short months. At times, I felt too nervous to think as well.

Please consider that feeling you have as a red flag. Please come back and talk to us. Take care, Giselle

Subject: Re: Appeal to Faith
Date: Aug 08 16:45
Author: Flew the Coop
Mail Address:

A short answer might be to have faith in yourself and your fellow human beings, not in an unseen, unheard, jealous, fearsome, and mystical being.

Subject: You answered your own question
Date: Aug 08 16:48
Author: MMI
Mail Address:

Feelings are subjective. How do they know what you are feeling? How do they know what the other is feeling? Millions have died for their beliefs. What does that say? Nothing except that they were sincere in their belief but sincerity does not equal truth.

The Unification Church(aka the Moonies) have a book Divine Principle. They use the exact same tactic apparently by telling people if they pray about it they will know its of God. How can the DP and the BoM both be true?

The Koran makes somewhat similar claims. It repeatedly challenges people to produce something similar to it. Remember Mohammed was supposedly illiterate and the book was dictated to him by the Angel Gabriel. Sound familiar? Mormons claim Joseph Smith couldnt be the author of the BoM because he wasnt well educated plus they say an angel gave him the plates which were translated by JS by the power of God.

"And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful."

Well JS wrote something like it and called on 11 witnesses. So do you want to just pray about it? What are the mishies going to say? 11 million Mormons cant be wrong? Well then how can 1 billion Moslems be wrong?

Subject: Re: You answered your own question
Date: Aug 08 17:31
Author: Sophocles
Mail Address:

I just finished "Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan, and it's amazing. Among many other things, it lead me to the following insight:

For every Mormon who "knows" that the Church is true, there is an American that "knows" (s)he has been abducted by aliens.

The beliefs are surprisingly similar--the TBM and the alien abductee each have a reinforcing system of belief, each thinks their claims are consistent with science, and neither have a shred of real evidence.

I was surprised at how many similarities Mormonism has with every other mental epidemic that has plagued mankind--from the whole witch burning thing, up through the repressed memories of sexual abuse that are being "uncovered" nowadays. Sagan does a masterful job of showing that faith and feelings are completely worthless in the pursuit of truth.

Subject: Quote Thomas Jefferson to Them
Date: Aug 08 21:04
Author: Obi Wan Kanobi
Mail Address:

Tell them they are asking you to surrender your reason. Then quote from Thomas Jefferson.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.
- Thomas Jefferson

Subject: Ask them for a blind test
Date: Aug 09 01:35
Author: Asimov
Mail Address:

Their hypothesis is that an external entity is answering their prayers.
Mine is that those answers are generated by the subconsious mind. How do
you discover which is correct?

I'd like to see a "blind" version of Moroni's prayer: one person writes
"The Book of Mormon is true" on a single playing card and "The Book of
Mormon is false" on all the rest, shuffles them, and the most faithful
testee then prays to ask the Holy Ghost which of the upside-down cards
holds the truth. Pick the "true" card twice in a row and you've
successfully exceeded some of the Book's internal improbabilities. Just so
reality sinks in, let a third person read the cards and demonstrate how
asking a real entity which card is which can result in a correct answer
every time.

I personally suspect that the test results would be null, that nobody would
generate an answer to a prayer that they logically know has such lousy
odds... but I haven't yet found a Mormon faithful enough to try. "God
doesn't offer proof"... but I'm not asking for proof, just for Him to even
up the improbabilities.