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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 12:23PM


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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 12:30PM

I'm a teenager, and my parents recently discovered I was an atheist. After a long argument, I felt like I had to tell them, and it went better than I thought it would. They want me to use the experiment in Alma 32 and Moroni's promise to recover my faith.

I've already told them a few problems with it. For one, every religion has some version of this experiment. Most members of most religions had some spiritual experience that caused their "seed" to grow and bear fruit. If it worked for them on the wrong religions, why would it work for me on the right one?

Also, the experiment does not bring you to a narrow singular conclusion. It doesn't tell you anything about the source of that feeling, so that feeling could be caused by a variety of things which are not necessarily supernatural.

I've noticed that most religious evidence is overly broad: they can be used to support many contradictory conclusions, and there is no real reason to ignore all of those but one. They always fall back on some form of special pleading or begging the question to justify this.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 12:45PM

The reason they depend on feelings is because they don't want to use facts. When they need feelings and faith, it is basically an admission they need you to make things up. That's not the kind of God I would respect or care about.

Most atheists would need externally verifiable facts to confirm the presence of a god. That doesn't include hearsay, anecdotes, scriptures that claim to speak for God, or fuzzy feeling challenges. If there is a god, he would know how to prove himself without all the flimflam methods of showing his presence.

Funny how God always picks questionable people to tell you what to believe about him.

Tell your mom to have God meet you at a science convention where people can confirm the claims. Otherwise, when people are talking to God, they are basically talking to themselves.

I suggest you read Demon Haunted World (at least the first half) by Carl Sagan. It should be at most libraries. It will give you all kinds of criteria for dealing with dumb "experiments" like Mormons like to use.

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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 12:56PM

I liked the way you phrased it, a "fuzzy feeling challenge". I don't think going to a science convention with her would be possible. Thank you, I'll check that book out.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:01PM

I experimented with the LDS religion and was addicted for decades until I got clean. I have been sober for 10 years but still suffer from occasional flashbacks.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:02PM

If your parents and other church members have the truth, then why does the truth require so much indoctrination, and so many leaps of faith? Why is it not self evident?

If you have ever been to the ocean, and have seen a wide, 180 degree expanse of it, then you can see the curvature of the Earth right in front of you. You don't have to "believe" that the Earth is flat, or the Earth is (roughly) spherical, you can see it for yourself. The astronauts in space can certainly see it.

If God is all powerful, and wants us to know certain things, then why doesn't he speak to every one of us? We're right here, every day, all day. Why does he need intermediaries, some of whom have extremely sketchy pasts (i.e. Joseph Smith, Jr.?) I also have to say with the benefit of age, that when I see repeated urgings for people to "humble themselves" and not succumb to "stubbornness" when it comes to religious faith, it stinks of a scam. My question would be, who benefits if I humble myself? I can guarantee, it won't be me.

Not a comprehensive answer, just some things to think about.

At your age, it might just be best to do what your parents require, knowing that one day you will be living on your own and can do as you please.

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Posted by: Dallin Ox ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:04PM

Alma 32 and Moroni's promise are both designed to load the dice in the church's favor. Both expect you to start, not from a neutral position, but already wanting to believe it's true. So you're pre-conditioning yourself to feel what you supposedly want to feel. It's pure confirmation bias, and all based on easily manipulated feelings rather than hard evidence.

If you don't get that confirmation, they won't say "OK, you tried, it didn't work," but will instead blame you for not being faithful enough or having some hidden sin preventing you from getting the "right" answer. In mormonism, only pro-church answers are acceptable, and you're expected to keep at it until you get the church-approved result. This way, the entire process is rigged in the church's favor, because there's no other way the church can win.

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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:56PM

I think I got the same general feeling that the experiment wasn't fair. There's no real way to prove it wrong: it only says to keep trying until you get the "correct" answer, which is of course theirs. I brought this up to my parents as well.

The experiment's procedure requires you to allow your preconceived notions to take root and develop, which is not how science or logic works.

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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:57PM

It's begging the question: assuming the conclusion and proceeding as if that wasn't a huge logical leap.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:06PM

First. OMG Alma 32 needs to be edited and reduced to a few paragraphs.

I couldn't remember the "challenge" so I looked it up. Among all the repetition I found this:


27 Yada yada yada . . . even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than a desire to believe, let this desire work in you . . . ,etcetera etcetera Amen.


This translates in modern terms to "Fake it till you make it" which is what Mormons do to get a testimony. That's what I did.


Before my mission I wanted a real burning bosom at 1000 degree testimony. I fasted, I prayed, and talked myself into a few chills on the back of my neck.

On my mission, after bearing my testimony, a guy at a door said, "I don't doubt you believe, even think you know, but how do you know you just didn't work yourself up into this?" I knew he was right deep down. I couldn't lie to myself anymore. And that the first baby step out. Another year and a half to go.

They need to quit asking in the interview if they are honest with their fellow man and ask if they are honest with themselves.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:52PM

In other words, self delusion is your ticket to heaven.

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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:05PM

I agree entirely. Alma 32 is wayyy too long ;-;

Most of it is just repeated words and spiritual mumbo jumbo. Mormon's prayer was much shorter iirc and it said essentially the same thing

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:10PM

Done & Done Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Before my mission I wanted a real burning bosom at
> 1000 degree testimony. I fasted, I prayed, and
> talked myself into a few chills on the back of my
> neck.
>

This was me and probably hundreds if not thousands of other missionaries. I was serving because my mom gave me a choice to go or get out of the house. Since I had to be a missionary, I wanted the church to be true. The more that I dug into the BoM, the worse I felt. I remember thinking to myself- what a crappy set of stories that won't convert anyone to join the church. I finally realized that a church with activities was the real reason people would join a church and I came to the realization that the church was becoming increasingly stingy with its budget.

Looking back, my best church converts joined because they had already known members for awhile. It had nothing to do with fuzzy feelings.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:15PM

>They need to quit asking in the interview if they are honest with their fellow man and ask if they are honest with themselves.

Amen, CP

Just this last week in the SLTrib, there were two relevant articles that caught my attention.

In one, historian Richard Bushman, who wrote a somewhat candid history of JS, said he never doubted the existence of the gold plates. Actually I think he said he never doubted the gold plates, which I suppose gives him a little wiggle room that he never said they "existed". Mormons (among others) are famous for that sort of weasel-wording. Like "we saw the plates with our spiritual eyes." Yeah, right.

If Bushman has never doubted the plates, he is better than the Q15, who have backed off several times on the claims of the BoM. They took the displays of metal plates out of the SL Temple visitor center. You almost never hear the term "Lamanite" in GC anymore. The angel Moroni rarely shows up on the top of temples anymore, and Mormon is now a dirty word that makes Jesus cry. Yes, the Q15 have their doubts about the BoM. Mostly, IMHO, that it is irredeemably racist, plus there is extremely little scientific evidence backing the story up, and a ton of disconfirming evidence.

The other story was essentially a "testimony" by columnist Gordon Monson about why he is still active Mormon. In a word, feelings, though he goes on at some length.

That's interesting because he often pokes holes in Mormon behavior, both at the member level, and at the institutional level. His criticisms are pretty much on target, and I am sure he gets a lot of email asking why does he still stay, or perhaps more pointedly, if he is so critical, why does he not leave?

I don't think he is being honest with himself either, but that is a tough call to make. All you need to be sincere is to believe your own lies. I think he is sincere. He is also in a position where both his criticism of Mormonism, and his dedication to Mormonism are essential ho his keeping his job at the Tribune, and may be essential to keeping his marriage and/or friends. All of that may influence his attitude.

For a lot of people, leaving Mormonism is a very high-cost decision in terms of friends, family and job. At least you get to keep your tithing, which softens the blow some. :)

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 05:41PM

"there is extremely little scientific evidence backing the story up, and a ton of disconfirming evidence"

Science doesn't believe. The golden plates existed in the spirit, not in physical form. That's how the angel Moroni was able to lift them.

Although that doesn't explain what was holding up the cloth that was supposedly draped over them.

I have a spirit Lamborghini parked in my garage. You can only see it with your spiritual eyes.

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:28PM

There are thousands of “gods” that are worshipped throughout the world, and countless “correct” ways of worship. If there really is a god, and there really is one true church to worship said deity, any sincere seeker of truth would come to the same conclusion. That is clearly not the case.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:45PM

Yes. An me personally, I have a huge issue with the whole idea of worship. "Bow down to me and feed my ego" is all it is. Sounds more like Mafia Don than a god.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 01:39PM

One more thing. You don't need a particular church's permission to believe whatever you want to believe. I'm agnostic, and yet I believe in an afterlife. I haven't been a church goer for many years. I don't particularly care what any church thinks. The only thing that matters to me is what I think.

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Posted by: sd ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:07PM

just wanted to say I wish I was as smart as you at your age.

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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:14PM

I'm sorry you were stuck in Mormonism for that long. It's a horrible thing and I truly do feel sorry for what you had to go through. At least now that you know better, you can do your best to help others avoid making the same choices and keeping the same flawed beliefs. I don't know if this will help at all, but do your best in life and don't dwell on past mistakes. You can't change the past, but you can change your and other's futures.

Have a good day.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 02:21PM

The nice thing about getting out at a young age is that you don't need to go to a church school or serve a mission, or choose a marriage partner from the church. It's so much easier than trying to get out at a later point in life.

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Posted by: Chez ( )
Date: September 26, 2023 04:09PM

I've found two posts that were useful

https://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon062.htm

https://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon603.htm

Placing these here to help if someone else has the same question months or years onwards.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 28, 2023 01:24AM

All shapes and sizes, Vincent.

The politics on RfM are what get me. I've never seen such tribal blue-pill faith. Then we quibble over "facts" as if they matter to a subjective collective.

To continue with Jules, what matters is that many of us felt the touch of God. Otherwise, why were we TBM for so long? Suppose we stop denying that there was something there. You can't invalidate an entire way of being just because it doesn't suit you.

Then the proof is in the pudding. I see how Mormons are and how they think. Do I want to be stuck in that box with them? Fetch no. It's not okay to be a crappy human being.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 28, 2023 03:28AM

I find this post perplexing.


-------------
> The politics on RfM are what get me. I've never
> seen such tribal blue-pill faith.

Perhaps you need to get out more. Can you name an ex-Mormon website that is further to the right than RfM? Newordermormon? No. Reddit? Nope. Discussmormonism? No. So perhaps it is you who are the outlier, not RfM.


-------------------
> Then we quibble
> over "facts" as if they matter to a subjective
> collective.

Bradley, you are about the least fact-dependent regular poster on the board. You are overtly spiritualist, frequently urging us to depart from reality to entertain other "possibilities."

You are the one who insists on subjectivity, on the truth of what "feels good," on the epistemology of the mustard seed. And what do you call someone whose perception of reality does not accord with facts? Several terms come to mind, but "subjective" is definitely among them.


---------------
> . . . what matters is that many
> of us felt the touch of God. Otherwise, why were
> we TBM for so long? Suppose we stop denying that
> there was something there.

See? It "feels good" therefore it must be true. THAT is the Mormon way of thinking.


------------------
> You can't invalidate an
> entire way of being just because it doesn't suit
> you.

No, but by the same token you can't validate "an entire way of being just because it suits you" either. Yet you insist on doing that in your spirituality and, to the extent that you advocate disregarding "facts," in other aspects of your life as well.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/28/2023 03:36AM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: blackcoatsdaughter ( )
Date: September 28, 2023 08:34AM

This was a positive thread. What are you doing?

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Posted by: CL2 ( )
Date: September 28, 2023 11:00AM

tell me she was sure I still believed deep down. I had helped her with her testimony when she was trying to find a new husband and things weren't going well. Then her daughter had really bad depression for years and she leaned on me. So it was a shock to her that I no longer believe. So she said she was going to send me a book of mormon and asked that I read it. I said sure, but I won't believe it.

She knows more about my life than most people. She was 1 of only 2 people in my life who knew about who I married long before we married. That is how close we are.

I would have read it as I'm not afraid of having a spiritual reawakening FROM THAT book. Like others, I am somewhere between agnostic and atheist. Elder Berry said I'm an apatheist. (Miss Elder Berry.) That fits.

My life was an experiment in teachings of the church and how much they can almost destroy you. My therapist (who is an exmo) said that we tested mormonism to its very limits and it failed us.

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