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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 09:23AM

... on a consistent basis.

My friend from shul spent fifteen winters there with her husband on skiing vacations. At any given time there were conversion classes with app 20-30 students seeking to convert to Judaism. What is astonishing to me is that they come from the Mormon religion, and the surrounding capitol of Mormondom.

Flashback to 1973 when I visited with my Grandmother @ the former B'nai Israel synagogue in SLC. It later merged into the one that is there today. The rabbi at that time told us that many of SLC's Jewish congregation were Mormon converts. My grandmother wasn't LDS, so it didn't mean as much to her, but it struck a chord with me having been raised a Mormon.

Apparently the conversion process is ongoing in the bowels of the Morridor aka Salt Lake City, UT.

My friend loved visiting there during her skiing vacations with her husband. She made some lifelong friends, who still visit her to this day (from New Jersey.)

However the inverse of this isn't true. There are really no Jewish converts to Mormonism to speak of. That is virtually unheard of.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 09:37AM

Amyjo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> However the inverse of this isn't true. There are
> really no Jewish converts to Mormonism to speak
> of. That is virtually unheard of.

It's pretty much the same with any other religion -- Jewish converts are practically zero.

I hope the irony isn't lost on the former mormons in the Jewish conversion classes, going from fake "tribe of Ephraim in your PB" Jews to actual Jews. :)

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Posted by: angela ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 11:35AM

The same thing happens with the Catholic community in Salt Lake and other areas of UT so says an associate of mine who lives there and is an RCIA director of her parish. She averages 40-60 converts of Mormon to Catholic conversation each Easter.

RCIA=Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, the program that an adult goes thru if they want to join the Catholic church.

It can take months or even years before someone can join the Catholic church because they, the RCIA teams, want to be sure that the person really wants to become Catholic.

An individual can walk away during this process at any time according to my associate. There is no pressure.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2018 11:38AM by angela.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 11:42AM

angela Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> An individual can walk away during this process at
> any time according to my associate. There is no
> pressure.

I can vouch for that.
When my nominally-catholic wife and I got engaged, her mother at the time said she would really like it if we got married in the catholic church. Not wanting to start off with MIL on the wrong foot, I considered it, and attended the first class to see if I could, essentially, sign up and be a catholic without having to profess a "faith" I didn't have.

Turns out you can't. And I didn't want to lie just to please future MIL. So I let them know I wouldn't be continuing -- no problem, and no pressure.

MIL, by the way, was initially disappointed. But unlike many mormon families, she didn't disown her daughter or decide the non-catholic interloper marrying her daughter was evil incarnate. She happily attended the non-religious wedding, and has always treated me as an actual son. Never put pressure on us to baptize the kids or anything. Such a contrast from mormonism!

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Posted by: angela ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 12:57PM

ificouldhietokolob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> MIL, by the way, was initially disappointed. But
> unlike many mormon families, she didn't disown her
> daughter or decide the non-catholic interloper
> marrying her daughter was evil incarnate. She
> happily attended the non-religious wedding, and
> has always treated me as an actual son. Never put
> pressure on us to baptize the kids or anything.
> Such a contrast from mormonism!

KUDOS to your MIL. :)

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 11:42AM

I wish my mother would have been Jewish.
Then she wouldn't have become a mormon.
And we could all live happily after ever.

Maybe Jewish people think, and Mormons don't.
That might be it, in a nutshell, but who knows.

People, sooner or later, get sick of mormonism.
It offers no natural love, grace, possibility, or truth.

No way anyone would join, but the ignorant, snowed,
lied to, conned, etc., supposing no books or internet is in sight.

M@t

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 11:46AM

moremany Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Maybe Jewish people think, and Mormons don't.
> That might be it, in a nutshell, but who knows.

From my personal experience...it's much easier to be "culturally Jewish" and not be religiously active than it is to be a "cultural mormon" and not be religiously active. There's also a much longer family history in Judaism, reinforced by the persecution, etc. that makes actually dumping all "Jewishness" both hard to do and not at all attractive.

From what I've seen, in all but the hardest-core Orthodox Jewish communities, "inactives" are fully accepted. In fact, most of the Jewish people I know are essentially irreligious -- but they'd never give up the culture/family history to join some other religion.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 02:31PM

ificouldhietokolob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From my personal experience...it's much easier to
> be "culturally Jewish" and not be religiously
> active than it is to be a "cultural mormon" and
> not be religiously active. There's also a much
> longer family history in Judaism, reinforced by
> the persecution, etc. that makes actually dumping
> all "Jewishness" both hard to do and not at all
> attractive.

Judaism is different, because it is, above everything else, a FAMILY. A worldwide family, with people of all kinds of different races and ethnicities, and a family that "anyone" can join, but essentially and "forever": a FAMILY.

[I have previously been using the word "tribe" to describe Jews, but there is a video on YouTube where a very good argument is made that "family" is a more accurate term for the reality.]

The Jewish religion is a part of the Jewish culture, and for converts is essential at the outset, because the conversion process is itself a legal process derived from the Jewish religion (the laws of conversion are a part of very seriously important Jewish law), but practicing the religion (being an "observant Jew") is not necessary to BEING a Jew. Whether any given person is "religious" or "observant" or not has nothing to do with their Jewishness or their place within the Jewish people. (Not only are there an extremely high number of atheists/agnostics in Judaism, but there is an entire Jewish denomination, Jewish Secular Humanism, which is atheist/agnostic: for those who are, and want to be, constantly connected to the culture--especially for the most important Jewish holidays, and for Jewish life cycle events--but do not want to practice specifically religious rituals.)

Also: No one Jewish CARES what any other Jew "believes." "Belief" is considered an intensely personal matter that need not be disclosed to anyone else unless that individual makes that choice.

Historically and culturally, there are many reasons to study Jewish religion and Jewish religious texts, and many atheist/agnostic students do enter into these studies with great enthusiasm and motivation. In particular, there are yeshivot in Israel, like Pardes (coeducational and, to my knowledge, not part of any particular Jewish "denomination"), which are very highly-valued by Jews worldwide, which is a place where atheist/agnostic Jews are welcome and comfortable as they spend a month, or however long they want, "studying the texts."

But none of the above means that a person is "religious." Instead, it is more that they are personally settled and comfortable in their own unique place in Jewish culture, and within the worldwide, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, Jewish family.


> From what I've seen, in all but the hardest-core
> Orthodox Jewish communities, "inactives" are fully
> accepted. In fact, most of the Jewish people I
> know are essentially irreligious -- but they'd
> never give up the culture/family history to join
> some other religion.

I agree with what you are saying here, but there are no "inactive" Jews--anymore than there are people who are "inactive" from their families. They are Jews, and on this level, religion (religious belief, or religious observance) has nothing to do with it.

And I agree with you that the "joining some other religion" numbers must be extremely low (as in: hovering around zero). In contemporary times, there are a few, but they are VERY few.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2018 12:57AM by Tevai.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 04:34PM

I agree, which is why I put "inactive" in quotes.
They're not religiously observant, but they're still fully-accepted Jews!

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 04:44PM

ificouldhietokolob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I agree, which is why I put "inactive" in quotes.
> They're not religiously observant, but they're
> still fully-accepted Jews!

Yup!!

:D

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 05:11PM

It's a much healthier form of religious community because it is not really religious but rather a social and cultural and historical identity.

I've mentioned before my beloved Jewish teacher and mentor who always said she is religious because she needs someone to say "thank you" to. And when her husband died she said, "I don't believe in an afterlife or an interventionist God;" in fact, she's an atheist--which I had not previously known but which made perfect sense when I heard it. Judaism for her is family and community and moral behavior, not historical fact or mysticism.

One of the great things about Judaism is you don't have to be religious to belong.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: November 20, 2018 02:54AM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've mentioned before my beloved Jewish teacher
> and mentor who always said she is religious
> because she needs someone to say "thank you" to.

I very deeply understand and agree with this feeling. I have had so incredibly much in my life to say "Thank you!!" for.


> One of the great things about Judaism is you don't
> have to be religious to belong.

Absolutely true--and a whole lot of Jews like, for example, Einstein and Spinoza, would agree.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: November 20, 2018 03:01AM

The combination of community, tradition, and morality without dogma is a great thing.

It's a pity it is so rare.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 01:25PM

There are lots of ex Mos in Catholic and Episcopal classes too

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 02:05PM

One of my fellow converting-to-Judaism classmates was Mormon, and I have never forgotten her crying when, during our first class (when we were explaining why we were doing this), she explained that she was going to lose ALL of her [Mormon] family when she converted.

I can still see her in my mind, where she was sitting (across the room from where I was sitting), telling all of us that--in order to do this--she was losing all of her extended family forever.

I have thought about her many times in the years since, mostly because of this board, and wondered if she was ever able to come to an accommodation with the family members she obviously loved very much.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 08:46PM

That is very, very sad. I've heard a Messianic Jewish couple on television once say that if their children were to leave Judaism (their version of it,) they would outright disown them.

That isn't love.

My parents didn't disown me for leaving TSCC. My dad even encouraged me to check out other religions. Judaism was one of them. He was very supportive of my decision to leave TSCC.

I couldn't disown my children either. That's the antithesis of love.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 04:58PM

He would be considered "inactive" right now, but he was quite active while raising his kids. I just attended his son's Jewish wedding on the top of a mountain in Colorado in September. It was the best wedding I've ever been to.

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Posted by: anono this week ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 06:33PM

"There are really no Jewish converts to Mormonism to speak of. That is virtually unheard of."

It's probably because most people convert to Mormonism because they want economic privilege and culture to rub off on them, the growth is in Latin America and Africa. Jews are already economically cultured, privileged, and educated, here and abroad. I would guess this is why Europe as a whole isn't converting very fast either. They already have decent lives full of a rich history and much to be proud of.

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Posted by: Anonymous Today ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 08:05PM

O.K. But, let's not get too excited.

There are (very) approximately 1.1 million people in Salt Lake County, with (very) roughly half Mormons. So assuming 30 new converts attending the conversion class each Winter as noticed by your friend's annual visit, that is only approximately .00006 (6 X 10 ^-5) of the Mormon population. Even assuming that is a monthly figure that is still only .00072, still insignificant. In fact, you would have to show a conversion rate of roughly 5000 to even get to a 1% conversion rate, where the matter would start to become interesting. The relatively small number of converts that apparently *do* attend conversion classes suggests that it is *not* a significant issue at all. This minimal percentage is explainable by the simple fact of the extensive and dominant Mormon population from which such converts are drawn.

(Note: Most Mormon converts in South America are Catholic. Does that mean that somehow Mormonism is uniquely attractive to Catholics? I think not. It just means there are a lot of Catholics from which the Mormon missionaries draw from.)

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 08:11PM

Anecdotally interesting, nonetheless.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 08:24PM

It is also noteworthy that Judaism does not proselytize or seek out converts. It discourages conversion. Unlike Christian denominations. For someone to seek out converting to Judaism is an active process, because they are not sought out.

So in comparison to a Catholic country, (or Mormon proselytizing,) that is a significant difference.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2018 08:30PM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 09:52PM

So there is no such thing as a 'Jack Jew' like there is a 'Jack Mormon'. Is that correct? If Charles Manson were to have been Jewish, would he have been excommunicated by the Jews for his crimes? If a porn star were Jewish, would he or she be excommunicated from the Jewish religion? Do Jews pay tithing and if so, who gets that money? Is there a Jewish church headquarters who speaks for all Jews world-wide? Is there a Jewish leader like a Pope or prophet? Do they claim to have a priesthood that exercises magical powers, or that speaks for god?



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2018 09:57PM by azsteve.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: November 19, 2018 10:23PM

azsteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So there is no such thing as a 'Jack Jew' like
> there is a 'Jack Mormon'. Is that correct?

You are correct.


> If Charles Manson were to have been Jewish, would he
> have been excommunicated by the Jews for his
> crimes?

Although there is no excommunication in Judaism, there are countries and cities (such as Montreal) where there is a Chief Rabbi, or which operate under a Chief Rabbinate system, a system which is basically, in that area's CIVIL law, an "independent" function of the secular government in these particular areas. This includes Israel of course (two Chief Rabbis)--plus the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth entities, plus many other miscellaneous countries, plus some cities, like Montreal, around the world, and in these areas, it is the Chief Rabbi/Chief Rabbinate who determines "Who is a Jew?," but this has nothing to do with a given person AFTER they become a Jew, meaning: after they are born of a Jewish mother, or after they have completed the Jewish law requirements to become a Jew through conversion.

Theoretically, if there is any question about a given person's Jewish credentials (the requirements are: born of a Jewish mother, OR converted according to "Jewish law"--both such requirements being capable of at least some "finessing," at least theoretically) then it is possible for Jews (in this instance: Charles Manson, had he been a Jew--which he was not), in these specific geographical areas, to have their recognition as legal Jews revoked--although in reality, this would not be likely to happen, and the practical effects of this would mostly have to do with specifically Jewish legalistic situations involving fairly Orthodox Jews, but not (that I can imagine) if they were less than pretty Orthodox in their observance level.

What WOULD likely happen would be that efforts would be made to rehabilitate the person [Charles Manson, in this post]
if this were deemed possible. If not, then the person would certainly remain a Jew until they died (and, to my knowledge, they would be given a regular Jewish funeral and burial).


> If a porn star were Jewish, would he or
> she be excommunicated from the Jewish religion?

No. First of all, there is no "excommunication" in Judaism.

Second: Being an actor is not against Jewish law (and, in fact, drama has always been a creative effort extremely well-populated by Jews, whether on stage or on screen). If you go back to the era of the silent films, there were many films which, by the later standards of the industry, would have been considered "porn," but were just ordinary adult fare at the time they were made. When censorship regarding sexual matters and what we would call "nudity" came in (racial censorship had been firmly in place from the beginnings of the entertainment industry), the performance venues just changed a bit. Since the beginnings of film, there has always been "porn" (by someone's standards) produced by the industry.

Today, I don't know how many Jews are actors in porn films compared to non-Jews, but the percentage is probably comparable to the number of Jews in the NON-porn entertainment industry. (I don't see why the percentages would be different--there are no Christian-type prohibitions against pornography in Judaism--it is a non-issue, and I cannot recall even a magazine or newspaper article being written about porn vis-à-vis Judaism or Jewish life, let along anything more lengthy or more serious.)

Personal note: This has turned out to be a really interesting question, since it brings up issues and questions I have never thought of before. Thank you!! :)



Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2018 11:04PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: xxxMMooo ( )
Date: November 20, 2018 01:23AM

Al Goldstein, Ron Jeremy ... Jews are very big behind the scenes in pr0n and always have been. Mainly involved with the business aspect.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: November 20, 2018 01:37AM

azsteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do Jews pay tithing and if so, who gets that money?

No, Jews do not pay tithing. (In ancient times they did pay tithing, and I am pretty sure it was paid to the temple priesthood. After ancient times: no more tithing.)

There are also no collection plates in Judaism (since observant Jews are not allowed to "touch money" on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays).

In the United States, congregations are generally run on a "membership system," with an annual dues payment (paid annually, or in increments) which includes High Holy Day tickets [for those who are not members of a given congregation: you buy High Holy Day tickets separately, for the congregation of your choice--this is a once-a-year thing, and High Holy Day tickets for non-members are also on a sliding scale, so it works out in such a way that everyone who wants to High Holy Day services can come, even if they can't afford to pay for a ticket], and the congregational membership dues schedules are on a sliding scale to make this fair for everyone in the congregation (down to memberships for "nothing" for those who cannot afford them). Shortfalls in the congregational budget are most often made up by sporadic, large, donations from the more well-to-do members. Congregations are run by an elected Board of Directors (elected annually), who are responsible for the wise distribution of all monies received, for hiring the paid employees of the congregation (the rabbi(s), the cantor(s), teachers in any congregational Day School, clerical staff if paid clerical staff is needed, the custodians, the gardeners, etc.), and for planning for future congregational needs next year, in five years, and for several decades down the line.

[P.S. MANY Jewish congregations do not have their own buildings/underlying real estate. This is especially true for the "niche" congregations: LGBTQ, Secular Humanist Jews (agnostic/atheist/pantheist, etc.), the "first arrivals" of new immigrant communities (Farsi-speaking, etc.), or some kinds of associated Jews (the Synagogue for the Performing Arts, where I became Bat Mitzvah). IKAR (Hebrew for "essence") had no building for many years (I don't know if their plans of a couple of years ago to get a building have come to fruition yet), and has become a HUGE and enormously enthusiastic congregation. Instead, congregations can rent storefronts in strip malls (this is very popular with Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews), or rent the buildings of Christian churches (a very popular choice for both the Christians and the Jews, since the two groups seldom need the premises for the same days, and doing this financially benefits both), or rent Assembly Halls at places like the Veterans Administration center (which the Synagogue for the Performing Arts used to do routinely).

If a congregation is not paying for a building/the real estate underneath, but instead rents the premises which are owned by someone else for (mostly) just a few hours on Friday nights or whatever, the costs of running the congregation go down dramatically--which means that membership dues with those congregations are often a small fraction of what dues for congregations with a standard "neighborhood-type synagogue" building would be. (The Secular Humanist congregation closest to me that I am aware of rents a Lutheran church for Friday night and Saturday services, and both groups benefit substantially from this arrangement.)]


> Is there a Jewish church headquarters who speaks
> for all Jews world-wide?

I am laughing--you obviously are not familiar with the always a propos saying: Two Jews, three opinions! :D

The answer to your question is "No." Trying to mentally imagine such a situation is comical.


> Is there a Jewish leader like a Pope or prophet?

Not in normative Judaism or normative Jewish life, but this IS true for the seemingly countless, different, ultra-ultra-Orthodox sects, such as the ones in the NYC area, where the men are all heavily bearded, have ringlets next to each ear, and dress in the height-of-1700s Polish fashion (regardless of the prevailing temperature or humidity level in New York City), and women (a woman assistant from their own community comes in, a couple of hours before sunrise on the day following a wedding, when it is still totally dark, to do the job) shave off all of the hair on their head directly following their first experience of marital sex, and then wear (if they can afford them) wigs for the rest of their lives--so that no man other than her husband ever sees another hair on that woman's head until after she is dead [doctors, and other medical personnel treating a patient, are exceptions to this rule], and the community funeral volunteers come in to do the washing of the newly-deceased body. In these kinds of communities, the "rebbe" is frequently consulted on all kinds of everyday issues (from the very big ones to the silly, trivial ones), and routinely makes decisions on every possible kind of personal dilemma or choice in these communities.

Other Jews call THESE Jews "the crazies." ;)


> Do they claim to have a priesthood....

Yes, absolutely. The kohainim, from the ancient priestly caste of the Bible, who (if they are observant) are subject to MANY other laws which do not affect non-kohainim (such as: who they can marry and who they are forbidden to marry, how close to a dead body they can be (as an example: when a parent or grandparent dies), etc.)

There is also a priestly blessing that only a kohain can say to a congregation, so (like a not-quite-a-minyan seeking that "one" more Jew to make a minyan), there will sometimes be a request from the bimah: Is there a kohain here [who will say the blessing during the service]? (If there are no kohainim present, this blessing is skipped in the service.)


> that exercises magical powers....

The rebbes in the ultra-ultra-Orthodox groups I described above are, on occasion, credited by those in their groups with results of various kinds which appear to be miraculous (children saved from what seemed to be certain death, etc.).


> ....or that speaks for god?

Never....Never....Never....Never....!!!!!



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2018 02:48AM by Tevai.

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