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Posted by: rallychild ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 12:32PM

... and I told him I was having major doubts about the church and told him I'm reconsidering going on a mission. He was really cool and really understanding of my situation, but he continued to tell me I needed to go on a mission despite all of my doubts and concerns.

He basically said something to the effect of: "Even though you're having major doubts about the church, I think you should still go because there are missionaries just like you but end up becoming converted themselves and it's such a good life experience anyway. If you choose to entertain your doubts, you will not get the incredible life benefits of serving a mission. You're over-thinking everything. Just simple things down, and don't think about your doubts so much, and you'll be fine".

All of my doubts and problems with the church that have been eating away at my faith for the past 4 months pretty much boiled down to "Don't worry about your concerns, even if you don't believe, a mission is such a good opportunity to help people."

I don't really know what to do. What do you think?

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 12:40PM

you don't believe a word of the claims, and if that is the case, you can't in good conscience promote something as a missionary that you don't believe in.

Your doubts, as I understand it, are not about things like: being away, the rigid life style, being able to handle the schedule, getting along with people, living with other guys you don't know, for instance.

Correct me if I am incorrect, but I was presuming that you were doubting the truthfulness of the claims of Joseph Smith Jr. - any factual basis of the Book of Mormon and the rest of it.

If you believe that JS was a prophet, and he restored the only true church of Jesus Christ, the BOM and it's people, places and things are literal history...then... go on a mission becasue that is what you will be required to teach.
If you don't believe those things, definitely, don't go.

That's what I think! :-)

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Posted by: julia ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 12:56PM

TBM RMs seldom talk about all their crappy mission experiences. I don't think my dh has one single good thing to say about his mission. Even when we were both TBM, dh made it clear that he would not force our children to go on missions, and in fact he'd discourage it. The most "cult like" programing of the church happens to missionaries on their missions. It isn't meant to give you a great "travel" experience in another culture. And you pay for it! You can certainly pay for a better cultural experience on your own.

If you really believe, then even the pain and horrible stuff will "strengthen" you. If you don't believe, why torture yourself and others?

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Posted by: OnceMore ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 01:04PM

It might be good acting practice to teach something you don't believe for two years, but that may be the only upside. You could later apply said acting practice to a career in multi-level-marketing schemes.

Serving a mission is likely to bad for your self esteem, psychologically damaging in other ways as well, and most of all, not fair to your fellow human beings. Do you plan to take advantage of your fellow mortals who are vulnerable to manipulation?

If what you really want is an experience of other cultures, an expansion of your perspective on life, and the opportunity to learn/use another language, then earn that for yourself. Save up for it, plan for it, and then enjoy it.

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Posted by: sisterexmo ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 01:07PM

Two years away from friends and family in an oppressive regiume is another kettle of Nephi's horses.

Your friend may just be thinking of the benefits of the glorious RM Title.

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 01:07PM

You know how they quip, "Would you go to a Ford dealer to learn about Chevrolets?"

Well, if you ask a Chevrolet dealer whether you should buy a Chevy, is he going to say, "No?"

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 01:11PM

"It's such a great way to help people."

That might be nice if a mission really was about serving people. Most of the time you spend preaching, or finding ways to preach. Service is really the lowest priority of missions. And even when you are doing "service" projects, they are usually very lame.

If you want great life experiences, and want to help people out, join the peace corps or something else.

Even going to school helps other people out more than a mission because you are learning and becoming a better citizen.

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: September 23, 2010 01:19PM

I bet you could find people that need help on your own street. Concentrate on your future, help those you can. Your time can be spent in better ways :)

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Posted by: transplant in texas ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 02:50PM

"stop thinking" huh? such a contrast from "the Glory of God is intelligence" that's on the logos around the Y...


as my twice divorced MIL would say: "...and there's your first clue. when 2 people ALWAYS agree on everything, one of them is NOT thinking."


join the Peace Corps, join Big Bros Big Sis, volunteer at a children's hospital..soup kitchen. My bro's been home for 8 years and he won't talk about his at all..says it gets him down.

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Posted by: WiserWomanNow ( )
Date: September 25, 2010 02:30PM

Great quote, Transplant! True whether it concerns two people or two parties.

Church members must ALWAYS agree with The Church; it is never the other way around.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 03:03PM

I think the guy is dishing out the company line. Of course he's nice guy. Most mormons are "nice." Actually, most non-mormons are also nice.

Some missionaries enjoy their missions and are glad for the "opportunity."

Many others are sorry about it for the rest of their lives.

It's much more likely that those with doubts will hate the experience than the ones who are enthusiastic.

More often than we'd like to think about, missionaries come home with longterm health and/or emotional problems caused by their mission situation.

I think anyone with serious doubts needs to respect what they're seeing and feeling. They can use the time to study and get on with their lives. If they change their mind, they can always go a year or two later.

Peer pressure is usually the wrong reason to make lifechanging choices.

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 05:48PM

You could do something worthwhile like join the PeaceCorps for a couple of years. That will give you a greater experience and one that is genuine, worthwhile to those you serve, good training for a future, and you do not have to lie.

Or you could join the armed forces fo a few years and get a decent retirement.

But to serve a mission when you do not believe or even if you DO believe, the only thing that you stand to gain is the better (mormon owned) job offers, a few attaboys, and the hot looking (but prudish) BYU chick who will divorce you in a heartbeat if she finds out you don't believe.

Sounds good, but you will have to lie, live a lie, and hobnob with professional liars, all the while hating yourself for it until you die.

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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 05:52PM

If you get a good mission call, it might be a good experience to live abroad, experience another culture and learn to speak another language. But the price you pay to do so is way, way too steep. You would be teaching something you don't believe in. You would be testifying of the blessings of something you aren't sure is good. You can't "fake it til you make it" about something this fundamentally important ... something that involves the core of your character, who you are, what you believe, how you see the world. Do you really want to put all that aside and let someone else "change" you? Also, any good you do on a mission helping people can be done x10 more out in the real world. There are hundreds of charities at home or abroad that would love to have you volunteer - helping build a well in Nigeria or plant crops in Mexico or refurbish an orphanage in China. After all, the $10,000 plus you saved for your mission can take you a long way - to people who really need help and will get real life benefits from it.

That being said, I went on a mission and other than having panic attacks for a number of years after my mission due to the freakishly high level of surveillance and lack of private time, I did benefit from my mission. There were a lot of good times. But I believed wholeheartedly in the church then. If I had the doubts you do, I wouldn't have gone to they were resolved. I would have felt I owed it to myself.

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Posted by: govinda ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 05:59PM

In my view, the ONLY good thing that you can take away from a mission in this day and age is to learn a new language. I don't think you really do any real service to others (at least we didn't years ago, it was just a mad rush to baptize).
And if you have testiphony problems, a mission is just going to mess with your mind.

Maybe if you want to get good at Chinese and they can guarantee they will send you to Hong Kong or something like that you might want to think about it.

Or if you are hell-bent on learning Spanish and they promise to send you to Mexico you might want to consider it.

Other than the language, and learning of other cultures, I see no benefit to going. And with the church circling the wagons due to no growth, they are sending most of these poor bastards stateside now.

I would vote "NO GO."

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Posted by: hello ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 06:14PM

Thing is, missionaries don't really do much to help "people", or anybody, really.

All it is is church service.

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Posted by: FreeAtLast ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 06:24PM

From a post I did earlier this year:

"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." -- Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, intellectual, philosopher, and writer.

One of the best ways of cracking open Mormons' 'faith' is to reveal to them the fact that Joseph Smith (JS) was a liar, manipulator, adulterer and pedophile.

The LDS Church's section summary for D&C 132, the 'revelation' on polygamy written (down) by JS just over 166 years ago, says:

"Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives. HC 5: 501–507. Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831."

(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132)

According to LDS scripture, two key polygamy "principles" were:

i. A Mormon priesthood holder could desire and marry only virgins who were "vowed to no other man" (i.e., not betrothed to a fiancée, or married).
ii. The first wife (Emma, in JS' case) had to give her consent to the plural marriage.

The scripture in question was D&C 132:61:

"And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else."

(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132/61#61)

In the case of 11 women that 'prophet' and Mormon Church president Joseph Smith made his plural wives, they were already vowed to their husband, and as married women, certainly not virgins (ref. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/).

"...for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else." The 11 women belonged to their husband.

JS committed adultery at least 11 times (12, actually, when you include his extra-marital affair with teenager Fanny Alger, servant girl in the Smith home; ref. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/02-FannyAlger.htm).

The LDS Church has a partial list of the married women, single women, and teenage girls that JS made his plural wives on the church's genealogy website at http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp

Enter Smith's first and last name, birth year (1805) and birth place (Vermont, United States). Click on Search. Then click on the underlined Joseph Smith (Ancestral File 1). Scroll down to see the partial list of his plural wives. Note when he (at age 37) married Helen Mar Kimball (May 1843) and her age by clicking on her name (she was just 14).

JS' marriage to Fanny Alger can be viewed on the church's FamilySearch.org website by entering her first and last name, marriage year to JS (1835) and selecting "United States" and "Ohio" from the drop-down menus, and clicking on Search, then continuing from there.

Why did Joseph Smith make married women his plural wives - committing adultery in the process - when the Lord forbade it, and did so not just once or twice, but 11 times? Why wasn't he excommunicated for adultery?

The Mormon Church and LDS 'prophets' have taught for generations that adultery is a 'sin' next to murder and any church member who has committed adultery does not have the Holy Ghost with him/her and cannot receive revelation from God.

JS disobeyed the 'revealed' word of God (directly to him, no less) every time he desired, pursued and married a married Mormon woman. In the case of at least one of them, Sylvia Lyon (married to Windsor Lyon), JS fathered her daughter:

“On January 27, 1844 her [Sylvia’s] only surviving child, Philofreen, also died. At this time, Sylvia was eight months pregnant with her fourth child, Josephine Rosetta Lyon. Josephine later wrote, “Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called me to her bedside and told me that her days were numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith”. (ref. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/08-SylviaSessionsLyon.htm)

In May 1843, JS made a 14-year-old, two 17-year-olds and a 19-year-old his plural wives. The 14-year-old, Helen Mar Kimball, was his youngest-yet plural wife, as the genealogy data on the list of JS' plural wives on FamilySearch.org shows.

One wonders why, of all the single women in Nauvoo who were in their 20s and 30s, JS pursued and married teenage girls young enough to be his daughters and other men's wives.

On July 12, 1843, just two months after JS married the teenage girls mentioned above, he wrote down a 'divine' death threat ("threat of destruction") directed at his first and only legal wife, Emma (who was Relief Society president) girls and women) if she didn't accept his plural wives, remain with him, "cleave unto" him, and accept polygamy. D&C 132:52 and 54:

52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those [plural wives] that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure [virgins] before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.

54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law [polygamy].

(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132/52#54)

How extraordinarily convenient for JS that the Lord was willing to turn a blind eye to his adultery (no rebuke, no revelation that he should be excommunicated), and back him up in his practice of polygamy by threatening to kill (destroy) Emma if she didn't get on JS' polygamy 'wagon' pronto!

According to the 'revelation' on polygamy that JS wrote down on July 12, 1843, the reason for plural marriage was to get virgins pregnant so that they would bear children, thereby increasing God’s glory:

“But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.”

(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132/63#63)

In JS' day, the only way for Mormon women and teenage girls to "bear the souls of men" was to become pregnant through sexual intercourse (human artificial insemination wasn't developed until the 1940s).

Gaining access to females who could "multiply and replenish the earth" was important to JS. In the case of 16-year-old Lucy Walker, whose mother died after the Walker family converted to Mormonism and moved to Nauvoo in the spring of 1841, he separated the teenage girl from her father (by sending him away on a 2-year mission to the Eastern United States) and her surviving siblings (her sister, Lydia, had died only months before of “brain fever”) by placing her siblings with families in Nauvoo and ‘inviting’ the unsuspecting girl to live in the home of ‘the Prophet’ (himself).

“While living in the Smith home, Lucy remembers: “In the year 1842 President Joseph Smith sought an interview with me, and said, ‘I have a message for you, I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.’ My astonishment knew no bounds. This announcement was indeed a thunderbolt to me...He asked me if I believed him to be a Prophet of God. ‘Most assuredly I do I replied.’...He fully Explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage. Said this principle was again to be restored for the benefit of the human family. That it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father’s house.”

“What do you have to Say?” Joseph asked. “Nothing” Lucy replied, “How could I speak, or what would I say?” Joseph encouraged her to pray: “tempted and tortured beyond endureance until life was not desirable. Oh that the grave would kindly receive me that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear mother...Why – Why Should I be chosen from among thy daughters, Father I am only a child in years and experience. No mother to council; no father near to tell me what to do, in this trying hour. Oh let this bitter cup pass. And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul.”

Joseph told Lucy that the marriage would have to be secret, but that he would acknowledge her as his wife, “beyond the Rocky Mountains”. He then gave Lucy an ultimatum, “It is a command of God to you. I will give you untill to-morrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.”

“Lucy married Joseph on May 1, 1843. At the time, Emma was in St. Louis buying supplies for the Nauvoo hotel. Lucy remembers, “Emma Smith was not present and she did not consent to the marriage; she did not know anything about it at all.”’ (ref. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/23-LucyWalker.htm)

Not informing Emma of his latest plural marriage and first obtaining Emma’s consent was a violation of the Lord’s commandment to JS: “…if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent...for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.”

(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132/61#61).

Secretly marrying Lucy Walker was not the first time that JS did not obtain Emma’s consent (she discovered her husband and teenage servant girl Fanny Alger having sex in the barn and complained to Mormon Apostle Oliver Cowdery, Joseph’s second cousin and BoM scribe, about her husband’s extra-marital affair; Fanny was sent away by Emma because the teenage girl was “was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet”, in other words, Fanny’s swelling womb; ref. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/02-FannyAlger.htm).

2. In the BoM, in Jacob 2:24, it says:

"Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord."
(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/jacob/2/24#24)

However, in the 'revelation' on polygamy that Joseph Smith wrote down on July 12, 1843, it says (in verse 1):

"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines"
(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132)

How is it that in the BoM, the Lord, who according to scripture is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, condemned as "abominable" the practice of David and Solomon of having wives and concubines, but then contradicted himself in the 'revelation' on polygamy to JS by saying he "justified" (i.e., approved of) the practice?

Answer: When JS WROTE the BoM prior to its publication in 1830, he had only one wife: Emma. But in July 1843, when he wrote down the 'revelation' on polygamy that supposedly came from 'the Lord' (into his mind), he had several plural wives (ref. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/). In July 1843, Joseph Smith had forgotten what he wrote about David and Solomon and their practice of having wives and concubines 13+ years earlier.

3. Quote in LDS Apostle Russell Nelson's article, "A Treasured Testament", in the July 1993 Ensign (the article is online at www.lds.org; use the Search function to find it):

"Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

Why hasn't the LDS Church taught members and potential converts about Smith's 'magical'-rock-and-hat BoM 'translation' technique? The answer is obvious: Who would remain a member and who would join if they knew the truth?!

Why were the gold plates even needed, since Joseph Smith's 'peep' stone clearly did the job as far as 'translating' the BoM is concerned?! The huge problem is that it says in the BoM (and LDS 'prophets' have taught for generations) that 'the Lord' commanded BoM 'prophets' to keep an account of what was going on during their lives as well as teachings and doctrines.

But according to the quote in Nelson's article, there was no gold plate in JS' hat, only the 'magical' rock ('seer' stone) that mysteriously emitted "something resembling parchment" upon which one character at a time would appear. There are 1,150,219 characters in the BoM, which means that it took JS nearly a year (at eight hours per day) of putting his face in his hat and calling out the characters to his scribe to 'translate' the BoM. Why don't church pictures show him doing so?

4. A Seer Stone and a Hat - "Translating" the Book of Mormon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPnu0bx3oWg

5. For generations, a fundamental Book of Mormon (BoM) 'truth' was the following: "Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel;" (ref. http://www.inephi.com/1.htm).

However, in light of DNA evidence of the past 20 years that has consistently shown that the ancestors of Native Americans came from northeast Asia and not from ancient Israel/Judea, as described in the BoM, the LDS Church has officially abandoned its 'truth' - taught to millions of church members and potential converts since JS' day - that American Indians are Jewish in origin (via Laman and Lemuel, who came from Jerusalem with Lehi, Sariah, Laman, Lemuel, and other Jewish family members).

Here is what the Introduction of 19th- to 20th-century editions of the BoM, including the 1981 edition that many Latter-day Saints living today used in church and at home, said (emphasis in capital letters is mine):

"The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the PRINCIPAL ancestors of the American Indians."

Here is what JS wrote in March 1842 in a letter to John Wentworth, editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper:

"In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country."

(ref. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=c26876e6ffe0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD)

Here is what the LDS Church is now saying (emphasis in capital letters is mine):

"The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are AMONG the ancestors of the American Indians."

(ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bm/introduction)

"...among the ancestors of the American Indians" clearly implies that there were other ancient people(s) who were also the ancestors of Native Americans, which is, of course, exactly what scientists concluded (no evidence exists to support the Mormon idea of Jewish ancestry of American Indians).

The HUGE problem for the LDS Church is that for the BoM to be true, the ancestors of Native Americans have to be Jewish/come from ancient Israel/Jerusaleum, as described in the BoM."

The chief problem with Mormonism is that it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Science has proven that the 'keystone' of the LDS religion, the Book of Mormon, is a work of fiction (see the links below for details). Mormonism founder Joseph Smith, Jr. repeatedly failed to relate and even write a reasonably consistent version of his so-called 'First Vision' experience (see the link below). He kept getting his age, the place, what he saw, and other major elements of the 'First Vision' wrong (i.e., he failed to tell a consistent tale!).

According to LDS Church presidents Ezra Benson and Gordon Hinckley in Gen. Conf. talks in Oct. 1986 and Oct. 2002 (online at www.lds.org), Mormonism stands or falls on the BoM being true (historically and in all other respects) and the First Vision having taken place (as per the official church version that has been taught to millions of members and potential converts). The facts are clear: Mormonism falls (the websites linked below provide many of these facts).

All religions, including Mo-ism, are the product of people's imagination (Joseph Smith, in the case of the Mormon religion, with 'spiritual' ideas from other Mormon 'prophets' being layered on during the past 7-8 generations since 1830).

You're not obliged to mentally regurgitate other people's 'spiritual' ideas, what they believe and feel is 'true', and demonstrable nonsense (there's lots of it in cultic Mormonism!).

You have the right to ALWAYS think for yourself and scrutinize what other people, including adult Mormons, have told you is 'true', 'right', 'the will of God', etc. You also have the right to reject all beliefs - religious or otherwise - that are not supported by the facts.

Latter-day Saints fail to understand that truth is independent of what the LDS Church says and what Mormons believe is 'true' when their 'truths' are not supported by solid evidence. Very importantly, their emotions - and emotion-based beliefs - are not an INFALLIBLE guide to the truth.

Here are very good resources that you can study to educate yourself about Mormonism and its history:

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (by former BYU history professor Dr. D. Michael Quinn): http://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

The Changing World of Mormonism: http://www.utlm.org/navonlinebooks.htm

To Those Who Are Investigating Mormonism: http://packham.n4m.org/tract.htm

PBS FRONTLINE + American Experience: "The Mormons" (4-hour documentary film aired on PBS in '07 that includes excerpts from interviews with President Gordon Hinckley, Mormon Apostles Boyd Packer and Jeffrey Holland and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and church historian Marlin Jensen): http://www.pbs.org/mormons/

101 Doubts about Mormonism: http://packham.n4m.org/101.htm

Contradictions in Mormonism: http://packham.n4m.org/contra.htm

Rethinking Mormonism: http://www.i4m.com/think/

Joseph Smith's Changing First Vision Accounts: http://www.irr.org/mit/first-vision/fvision-accounts.html

Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church (by genetic researcher Dr. Simon Southerton, a former LDS bishop): http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Lost-Tribe-Native-Americans/dp/1560851813

"DNA vs. The Book of Mormon" (ref. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svfxSscxh8o)

Book of Mormon Tories (plagarisms in the BoM involving two American history books, one published in 1789 and the other in 1805, that were available to Joseph Smith): http://www.postmormon.org/exp_e/index.php/magazine/pmm_article_full_text/211

The Lost Book of Abraham (more proof that Joseph Smith lied about his 'translation' ability): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE

The 'motherlode' of historical info. about Mormonism (including many quoted official church sources, and their references): http://www.utlm.org/navtopicalindex.htm

Digital photograph of the title page of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon that shows that Joseph Smith was the author and proprietor (he claimed he was the 'translator' of the ancient gold plates): http://www.inephi.com/1.htm

The Untold Story of the Death of Joseph Smith: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvSo0ate4tM&feature=related

‘Faith-disrupting’ teachings and statements of Mormon ‘prophets’ (after Joseph Smith): http://mormonthink.com/prophetsweb.htm#apostleadmits

How Mormonism 'programs' people and affects their self-esteem: http://members.shaw.ca/blair_watson/

40 fears created by LDS 'programming': http://members.shaw.ca/blair_watson/fears.htm

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 06:59PM

Boiled down this is what your being told.

"A testimony is found in the bearing of it." (from "The Candle of the Lord," Ensign, Jan. 1983, pp. 54-55)

That message - which has been reiterated time and time again to missionaries at the MTC and at zone conferences in every mission worldwide - was a classical example of someone shamelessly promoting self-brainwashing!! The implication is: If you don't know whether something [we Mormons teach] is true, just bear your testimony of it anyway, as if you knew it, and eventually you will come to find that you 'know' it.

"If you don't believe something that we teach, or if you have doubts, BEAR FALSE WITNESS about it, and KEEP LYING until you've convinced yourself that your testimony is true."

So my possible mormon missionary friend, how much personal integrity do you have? Are you willing to insult the integrity you do have for two years?

I had a link to a recent clandestine video taken at BYU at what I thought was a class for missionaries but I could be wrong since I’m having trouble finding it. Basically he was telling them that investigators did not need to know everything nor did a missionary need to answer their questions. It mirrored Boyd’s despicable teaching that it is OK to lie to yourself till you “get it”.

Seriously is this how an intelligent god works? Is this any different “Keep lying to yourself until you believe that the Easter Bunny is real”? And won’t you be practicing this very teaching in the “field”?

Sooner or later a man has got to look himself in the mirror and ask himself this question. Who does my thinking, me or others?

You are at that crossroads. Good luck.

P.S. There is only one answer and it is the only one that contains any integrity.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2010 07:01PM by AmIDarkNow?.

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Posted by: Apatheist ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 07:20PM

I have never served a mission, but when I was a high school student and saw all my guy friends getting ready to serve missions, I knew that a lot of people on missions weren't sold on the church like they said they were. I went to the biggest high school in the state of Utah (at the time) and there was A LOT of pressure on these young men to go. I knew better and told some of them so. Why show up on someone's doorstep to sell someone something if you aren't convinced of it yourself? Don't do it if you're going out of peer pressure. It's not a good enough reason. And don't go hoping you'll get converted. I think the "God's Army" story of a missionary gaining a testimony on his mission is far less common than they make it sound. I would chalk it up to more of a rumor than truth.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

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Posted by: helemon ( )
Date: September 25, 2010 11:53AM


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Posted by: helemon ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 09:08PM

If you are having serious doubts, you are going to be more angry if you spend $10k and 2 years for nothing when other kids your age are working on their college education. Then you'll come back and the church will push you to hurry and get married and have a bunch of kids before you even have a chance to figure out who you are, what you really believe and what YOU want to do with your life.

Do not let anyone pressure you into a mission. Especially if you are having serious doubts. Take some time to really study out the material that the church tries to hide and deny. The church likes to send out young men before they have been exposed to other viewpoints, and before they have refined their critical reasoning skills in college.

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Posted by: caedmon ( )
Date: September 24, 2010 09:46PM

rallychild Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ... there are missionaries just like you but end up becoming
> converted themselves.....

Your friend stated the precise purpose of the missionary program: to continue the lifelong brainwashing and cement the missionary to the church as a tithe paying member for life.

Whenever a missionary conducts the discussions with a potential convert, it is probably the first time the investigator has heard the story, but it is the umpteenth time for the missionary himself. The constant repetition, emotional isolation, physical strain, unquestioning obedience, and demands for results from higher ups creates the ideal atmosphere for brainwashing.

Whether or not the daily experiences of the average mormon rise to the level of cult can be debated. But there is no question that the LDS missionary program meets the criteria.

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Posted by: imaworkinonit ( )
Date: September 25, 2010 11:17AM

rallychild Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ... and I told him I was having major doubts about
> the church and told him I'm reconsidering going on
> a mission. He was really cool and really
> understanding of my situation, but he continued to
> tell me I needed to go on a mission despite all of
> my doubts and concerns.
>
Having been out of the church for over 10 years, now I think one of the oddest things about the LDS culture is how much strong advice members dish out about life-altering decisions. We're talking about thousands of dollars and 2 years in the prime of your freaking life he's just telling you to give up because HE thinks it's a good idea. On something you question the value of. When you could be getting an education or be getting a financial foothold that could help you for the rest of your life.

He has nothing to lose by recommend YOUR time and money investment. So why does what he says even matter? It's YOUR life and your decision.

> He basically said something to the effect of:
> "Even though you're having major doubts about the
> church, I think you should still go because there
> are missionaries just like you but end up becoming
> converted themselves and it's such a good life
> experience anyway. If you choose to entertain your
> doubts, you will not get the incredible life
> benefits of serving a mission. You're
> over-thinking everything. Just simple things down,
> and don't think about your doubts so much, and
> you'll be fine".
>
Ugghh. Yeah, don't think about it, just follow the program.

> All of my doubts and problems with the church that
> have been eating away at my faith for the past 4
> months pretty much boiled down to "Don't worry
> about your concerns, even if you don't believe, a
> mission is such a good opportunity to help
> people."
>
Help WHO? WHO benefits from being converted to a lie? Not the converts. Not the missionaries. The church, maybe if converts pay tithing . . . but most drop out soon enough. But actually, the tithing they probably DO retain is that of the missionaries.

> I don't really know what to do. What do you think?

Figure out what you believe. Trust yourself. The truth is out there. Try to put self-doubt and fear of being wrong aside and ask yourself what you would believe just based on the evidence.

When I started researching, it was pretty obvious pretty fast that the church wasn't true. But I was scared. Scared of being wrong. Scared of being judged by God and other people. Scared of the changes that might occur in my life. It took a long time to trust myself and the research that I did enough to let go.

You have concerns and you deserve to have answers that satisfy those concerns before you give up a considerable amount of time and money to teach Mormonism to others. I would even say that you have a moral responsibility not to spread a religion that you believe to be a lie to others.

As far as the mission experience being a valuable one (regardless of the truth) . . . . It might also be helpful to read Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan. The mission rules are very cultlike and do exert strong influence on the state of mind of the missionaries. It's very much like something you would see in a dangerous cult like the Moonies. Even IF the church was true (which it's not, BTW), the use of strong control over every aspect of a missionary's life would be unethical, controlling and damaging to the person. Who hasn't seen missionaries who returned from their mission who are just WEIRD for a while and have a hard time adjusting normal life? I've read quite a few stories here of missionaries developing emotional problems while on their missions (depression, PTSD, and stuff like that). . . . to mention nothing of the physical illnesses that sometimes develop in less developed countries.

I just don't think it's healthy to hand over THAT much control of one's life to a church, to where they are telling you where to live, when to wake up, go to bed, eat, wear, who to associate with 24/7, when you can write letters, when you can call home, what to read/listen to/watch, and they also control the purse strings and your medical care (from what I understand). What IS the deal with all of that?

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Posted by: Leah ( )
Date: September 25, 2010 12:51PM

Instead of wasting time and money peddling a cult, invest in yourself and get a good education first.

With a high income you can travel wherever you want, you can also help more people.

Going on a mission will mess with your wallet and with your mind.
It will also put you 2 years behind your peers in any profession.

DON'T GO!

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Posted by: Greyfort ( )
Date: September 25, 2010 02:38PM

I think that you should go for only one reason, and that is that you want to go. I don't think you should go because other people think you should.

If you really don't want to go, then you shouldn't be going.

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