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Posted by: iceman9090 ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 03:35PM

After having lots of talks with a mormon, jew, christian, muslim, have you ever converted anyone?
Have you ever convinced anyone that the jewish god commits atttrocities?
Have you ever convinced a theist that there are reasonable reasons to be moral?

In my experience, it has never happened. Nobody changes their mind, not even me.
The arguments coming from their side seem unfounded or weak. I wonder why they continue to believe what they believe.
I have spoken to young earth creationists, to flat earthers, astrology believers, homeoapthy believers, moon landing deniers, global warming deniers, anti-vaxxers.

I don’t talk to them to convince them. I talk to them since I like debating and I learn new things but still, it is odd that facts don’t work on people. In some cases, I use logic and math and that fails as well. Maybe I am simply not competent. Who knows :)


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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 04:32PM

I converted myself twice. What does that say about me? The first time I was 8 so I think I get that one with at least some understanding and sympathy.

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Posted by: iceman9090 ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 07:01PM

+Elder Berry:
Converting yourself doesn’t count unless you have multiple personalities and you are having conversations with them.
Actually, in my case I have converted my parents. From christianity to atheism or some form of “maybe there some kind of intelligence” (the generic god).
I am a atheist although at one point, I did consider deism or just a generic god that maybe interacts with humans.


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Posted by: gemini ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 04:48PM

I tried converting my good friend from grade school who was a JW. I took her to girls's camp when we were 12 or 13 just sure she would feel the spirit in the testimony meeting. didn't work. Then later that summer she invited me to go on a picnic with her family. Turns out it was a big wing ding with a whole group of JW's and then we were all expected to go knock doors and pitch the watch tower magazine. I was actually kind of scared being in that group. We drifted apart as friends after that.

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 04:53PM

I never actually converted anyone to Mormonism but did,I think, have some influence on a young woman joining "the church". Some years passed from that time and our paths went off in different directions, until an unexpected phone call revealed she was in town and would be happy to reconnect with my wife and me. In the intervening years I had left Mormonism and pondered before her arrival how I could break that news to her. The last thing I wanted was to be aggressive about the reasons or to be a disappointment to her. She arrived and together with my wife we talked of old times and updated on people we knew in common, carefully avoiding talk of current church involvement. The moment came, though, when she asked what I was doing in "the church". It could not be avoided. I told her I was no longer in Mormonism and I waited for her response which was not what I expected. She said: "Thank heavens. I'm not either and was so worried how I was going to tell you."

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Posted by: iceman9090 ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 07:12PM

That’s good.
Did you ask her what were her reasons for leaving? That’s the important question.


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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 07:03PM

I converted them to FSM.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 08:41PM

I was a top baptizer but conversions ---- none that I can recall were really converted!

I did try to contact people I may have had some influence in joining the church and let them know I was out.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 08:44PM by spiritist.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: August 05, 2020 12:15AM

spiritist Wrote:
> I was a top baptizer but conversions ---- none
> that I can recall were really converted!

Same with me.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 09:00PM

“I have spoken to young earth creationists, to flat earthers, astrology believers, homeoapthy believers, moon landing deniers, global warming deniers, anti-vaxxers.“

That’s a lot to lump together. Some beliefs are flat out bogus. Some have evidence behind them. Many things that are true are not believed. How much that we know now was not believed 100 years ago? What does that say about humans? Given the way humans think, what does it matter if JS made it all up? He created a consensus reality by lying. In other words, using standard methods.

The church’s problem is that “reality” shifted and they didn’t shift with it. I would chalk this up to its bylaws, which guarantee the oldest, most decrepit first presidency possible.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 09:05PM by bradley.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 09:29PM

Tell us which of those beliefs are not bogus.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: July 31, 2020 10:30PM

Actually, in the 25 years +/- that I have been active in exmormon affairs and maintained a website, I have been a major cause of several Mormons deciding that it wasn't believable and leaving the church. They have told me so. I think I have also contributed in a lesser degree to others' leaving Mormonism.

An excellent article in the latest issue of Freethought Today is by an atheist who frequently debate prominent Christian apologists.He gives pointers on how to be more likely to sow seeds in challenging someone's religious beliefs (he says you never will get a conversion during the conversation). Among them:
- don't be confrontational
- be sure you understand their point of view
- don't make statements; ask questions
- questions about contradictions in their beliefs are best
- be ready to end with an agreement to disagree

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Posted by: Somebody ( )
Date: August 01, 2020 05:23AM

I think I know where these techniques are lifted from.

"- questions about contradictions in their beliefs are best"

This is a dialectical approach. Its ultimate origins lie in Socratic method (which fully pursued will prove that virtually nothing can be proven including science, so you may not want to go down that road).

More recently followers and fellow travelers of a certain famous philosopher have used this technique. In their case, they call it "internal contradiction", and they think they can bust apart systems using it.

"- be ready to end with an agreement to disagree"

This a technique used by certain Vedantist Hindu debaters (yes, Hindu!) where you pull someone over to your side by making them think you are alike, and flattering them.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 01, 2020 10:14AM

I was raised Vedanta at the Vedanta Temple in Hollywood, California.

What you are saying here does not accord with anything I have ever heard or seen in print.

Please be more specific about who (in particular) you have in mind, because right now, this assertion seems like an unfounded accusation which came out of "nowhere."

EDITED TO ADD: Please, in addition to the above, name the "famous philosopher" you are referring to. Right now, you are just making unfounded charges without providing any evidence to back them up.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2020 10:17AM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 02, 2020 04:40PM

The "famous philosopher" is Marx; his followers and "fellow travelers" are communists, socialists, and liberal "useful idiots;" the "internal contradictions" are flaws in capitalism; and the poster, Somebody, is very likely Jordan.

Jordan, is it your contention that capitalism has no "internal contradictions?"

Are there some institutions or beliefs--such as that capitalism has no internal contradictions--that are so precious that questioning them is itself wrong?

Would you have us doubt our doubts?

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 03, 2020 09:43AM

Thank you, Lot's Wife!

Now that I understand what the underlying attempt was, the false statements in the post are much more comprehensible.

I don't think the poster ever considered that someone actually raised Vedanta is a member of this board, and would be able to instantly refute the proffered--and absurd--accusations.

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Posted by: Somebody ( )
Date: August 01, 2020 05:11AM

What you've got to consider is that in some cases, whatever you're peddling may not be as solid as you think. I see a lot of people trying to convert each other even on here. Some of them even claim to be against the very behaviors they actually promote.

But in the end up, if someone denies the Moon landing or likes astrology, what can you do? Is it worth spending time on every such person? Even if you succeed, what have you done? Saved them from a slide into a more and more dangerous world view? Probably not.

Sometimes the best way to deal these is to stop indulging them. I know someone who never shut up about September 11. I told him he was boring me, and even if it was true then what could he do about it now? I also said that he was obsessing over that and ignoring other issues. He changed his stance a bit. If I had tried to just tell him it was all BS then he would have just dug his heels in further. Instead I just said it didn't solve anything.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: August 01, 2020 10:29AM

though "tried." I was worried about my nonmormon friends I met working at Thiokol. I had never really KNOWN any nonmormons until then and I became extremely close to 4 of them. One I dated for a while and he wanted to marry me, but he told me he would "convert," because parents should be on the same page with religion for the kids, but he wouldn't believe. He also told me if he converted, he'd wait the year to get married in the temple, but he refused to go on a mission. I wanted an RM.

I don't think I ever believed anyone would convert. I just wanted them to be okay. I sent missionaries to him after he moved away and they happened to go to his parents' house (as he was living there at the time) and his father is a descendant of mormons. He was polite, but told them not to come back.

So imagine what it was like when some 30 years later I met his dad. I converted. My boyfriend converted to Judaism for his wife (now ex). He still is a "believer." I don't know exactly what they call it in Judaism as he tells me things like it doesn't require faith to be Jewish, etc. I've told him we can celebrate Jewish holidays, but we haven't. I did attend his son's wedding, which was gorgeous on top of a mountain in CO and his son built his own chuppah. I just read about that on google and I learned the females and males are supposed to sit on opposite sides at the wedding. Nope. Didn't happen at that wedding. It was a much nicer experience than my daughter's wedding, taking pictures outside the temple. I made sure I didn't get there until the sealing was over and participants had started coming outside.

I sent the missionaries to some other nonmember friends. They didn't convert either. ha ha ha ha In fact, the husband left the Catholic church. He does not like organized religion. Not like they attended.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 01, 2020 11:18AM

cl2notloggedin Wrote:
> So imagine what it was like when some 30 years
> later I met his dad. I converted. My boyfriend
> converted to Judaism for his wife (now ex). He
> still is a "believer." I don't know exactly what
> they call it in Judaism as he tells me things like
> it doesn't require faith to be Jewish, etc.

What you're asking about is very real, but extremely hard to explain. Among Jews, the shorthand often currently used for this is "having a Jewish soul."

I know this exists (I realized this in myself when I was in the early days of seventh grade, when I was talking to a student new to me; several different elementary schools fed into our junior high school, and she had gone to a different elementary school than I had). She mentioned she was Jewish and I said (with some heightened excitement): "My uncle is Jewish!" I started telling her about the siddur [Jewish prayerbook] at my maternal grandparents' house, and some of the things Uncle Benny had said and done, and she interrupted me, correcting me by saying: "No, No! I'm not that kind of Jew!"

She told me that my uncle was Ashkenazi (a word I had never heard before), and she was Sephardi (which I had also never heard of before). Her family was, most recently (last few centuries) from Turkey, and they spoke Ladino instead of Yiddish, and it was a [substantially] different "kind" of Judaism (foods, holiday observances, etc.) than the little I knew about my Uncle Benny's Judaism.

She is telling me this story, and as she is speaking, I am "remembering" sensations and feelings I had never experienced before. As she is going through her family history, I am saying to myself: "That is ME!" "That is ME!"--and I knew inside that, in some way, it really WAS "me." There was some part of me that was "remembering" much of what she was telling me.

From a Jewish standpoint, I had just consciously connected with the Jewish soul I had been born with.

A few years later, during the time when boys and girls start having boy-girl parties and fledgling relationships, I began preferentially choosing Jewish guys over non-Jewish guys--which did not end well in any of these situations. (Mrs. Horowitz: Wherever you are now, I am a Jew! And I am Bat Mitzvah too! So there!)

It took me a few decades, and it took American Judaism a few decades too, but eventually I was able to learn that conversion to Judaism was possible. (For a very long time, I thought that everyone Jewish had to be born a Jew. This was more true than not during that period of time, but American Judaism was evolving too, and Jews as a whole were figuring out that conversion to Judaism meant far fewer intermarriages, and far more Jewish grandchildren.)

When my husband (former devout Catholic who had left the Church) and I were in the early years of our marriage, I was on the Ventura Freeway one late afternoon, with KMZT ("K-Mozart") on the radio, and there was this program about Jewish music which mentioned, very briefly and in passing, something about a course that could be taken at the University of Judaism (a place I had never heard of before, though it was physically quite near)--and they SEEMED to be indicating that, if you took this course, you could become a Jew. It wasn't said exactly that explicitly, but the implication was there. I drove home and told my husband that there was a course at the University of Judaism I was going to take. I went up to the U.J. (now: American Jewish University), just off the 405 Freeway near the Getty Museum, and registered for the "Introduction to Judaism" course. I didn't tell anyone I was married (I was petrified that I would be rejected because my conversion would create an intermarriage)...I just showed up at classes twice a week, went through all the steps as they came up, and kept my mouth shut to everyone about my personal circumstances.

There were about 100 people in our class (divided into three, classroom-sized, groups--each taught by a different rabbi). Among them were, as I learned, quite a few whose personal stories were somewhat like mine. (We also had an exmormon woman in our class who, when it was time to briefly introduce ourselves, began crying as she explained that what she was doing now would cause her to lose all of her Mormon family. She had mentally wrestled with this for many years, and had finally decided that, for her own personal reasons, she felt she HAD to become a Jew--regardless of what she was inevitably going to lose when it came to her family.)

The "having a Jewish soul" concept wasn't common back then, but looking back, it would have been appropriate for many of us. (Some people in our class were converting simply to avoid an intermarriage, and some were converting because they had Jewish fathers but not Jewish mothers and they wanted to regularize their Jewish legal status.)

Today, "having a Jewish soul" is a universally used phrase when it comes to many (not all) conversions to Judaism, because for those to whom this applies, it REALLY applies!

c12: There is no required set of beliefs in Judaism--and there are countless Jewish atheists, plus an entire Jewish "denomination" for atheist Jews to practice their Judaism in ways appropriate to them: Secular Jewish Humanism. For the overwhelming part of the Jewish people: No one cares what any other Jew "believes." Jews DO care about how you live your life when it comes to daily life ethics and practices, etc., and whether or not you are engaged in healing the wrongs of life, and making life in general better for everyone [on the planet]. It is possible to be a very observant Jew...and to NOT believe in the contents of biblical texts, etc.

Also: "Being a Jew" isn't nearly as much about religion as most non-Jews would think. To Jews, the Jewish people [regardless of where their ancestors came from, or what branch of Judaism they identify with, or what belief system(s) they either do, or do not, identify with] are [take your pick] a big, related "family," a "community," or a "tribe."

You can be born into the "family" [by having a Jewish MOTHER], or you can convert into it. Once in, you ARE a Jew--as much as any Jew who ever lived.

The family/community/tribal religion is a significant PART of Jewish identity, but as real life is lived, how significant that "part" is, is up to the Jew most directly involved.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2020 12:29PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: August 04, 2020 07:32PM

My boyfriend hasn't told me these things. He went through quite an extensive conversion process and he is definitely Jewish. He has brought up conversion to me before, but I will never convert to anything after my experiences. He did convert to marry his ex-wife. He has talked to me about how he saw Judaism as the one religion he could accept. His parents took him to many different religions growing up.

He observed all the holidays with his family. He does observe them in his own way. I can't remember which one is when you make peace with everyone and make things right with God. Isn't it the one in the fall? I should know, but my brain is dead.

Myself, I don't know that I would ever consider I have a Jewish soul. I had never heard of that, BUT I first was introduced to the Holocaust in high school. Our teacher showed us some news reels and I was sucked in. I have read NUMEROUS books about Jews. My 2 favorite authors are Herman Wouk and Leon Uris. I've always been fascinated by Jews. I'm very obsessed with the subject.

Thank you for what you shared.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: August 05, 2020 01:04AM

> Herman Wouk and Leon Uris

Both these lovely bastards made me cry.

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: August 01, 2020 01:11PM


My ex-husband converted me to Mormonism, and I'm happy that before he died, I had de-converted him.

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: August 02, 2020 04:09PM

No. I told a guy who told me he'd just been baptized that he was making a huge mistake, that his Mormon neighbors had sucked him in and that the church was all horseshit.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: August 02, 2020 04:30PM

I'm surprised we haven't heard from more missionaries.

It is with simple pride and VAAASSSSSST, GINORMOUS, EXXXTRRRREEEEMMEEE humility that confess to not converting a single soul to mormonism while on my mission. I only had two senior companions who were serious about their mission, and only one junior companion, my first. I bet he thinks I had a burning testimony...

All the other senior companions did something 'missionable' each day, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes all day, but never with the enthusiasm necessary to bring people to Even Jesus Christ. My second senior was on this last transfer and a trunkier son of a bee I never met!

It was a lot easier back in my day, what with only the three "F"s rule: No Fooling around, no Fighting and no F__king. Words to live by!

I never put on the white pants and did any dunking, not that my companions wanted me to; they were starring in their own melodramas, after all.

I could say the words of a 'Testimony' which was just proof that I'm as human as the next liar. Isn't that what salesmanship is?

"My mission be berry, berry guud to me!"

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Posted by: Pooped ( )
Date: August 03, 2020 01:14AM

The saving grace of having served a mission is that I converted zero people. I was not a successful missionary but I sure enjoyed serving on the French Riviera!!!! It sure taught me more about life than I ever taught anyone about god.

And even though I prayed fervently, I never converted my dad. Good old dad tried to deconvert me but I was stalwart. Sure wish he could have lived to see the day I became and apostate. He would have been proud.

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Posted by: Claire Ferguson Benson ( )
Date: August 03, 2020 10:34PM

I served a mission in the England Leeds Mission in 85-86, and had about ten baptisms. At the time, a mission rule was that we were not permitted to stay in contact with members, investigators and companions from previous areas, so I lost touch with all but one of the people I taught.

He has since married in the church, had a daughter with his TBM wife, been a bishop and is still TBM.

They remain good friends of mine. One day I'll apologise.

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Posted by: idleswell ( )
Date: August 07, 2020 03:00PM

When I worked nights I was available to visit investigators with elders during the day. I was necessary because the elders weren't allowed to teach without a member present.

I was conscientious to ensure that these converts were made aware of their obligations if they were to choose baptism. The Church (and the members and missionaries) are notorious for minimizing the responsibilities of membership before baptism and then maximizing them afterward when pressuring members to do more and more. (We here all know how this works, but converts can be perilously uninformed.)

I didn't mention salacious things about Joseph Smith, LDS Church history or anything from the Church Education letter because they aren't actually relevant to any converts today. What is relevant is that they understand completely what the Word of Wisdom entails, the meetings they will be expected to attend, tithing, callings they should expect to fulfill and so on and on.

Strangely, after my presentation of these facts about LDS membership, nobody ever joined the Church.

Nevertheless, the elders continued bring me to appointments because they had no others willing to accompany them during the day. Many appointments weren't kept. The elders were sure they had the address, but when nobody responds they are all apologetic.

"No problem," I would say. "They are still eligible for baptism. If they had met me, then they would never join the Church."

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