Evidence Against Mormonism: Joseph Confesses

Here’s a post from Deconstructor at RFM:

Smith once broke down and admitted he was a fraud

Testimony of Smith family neighbor and friend of Joseph Smith:

“In the month of August, 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife’s household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was.”

“When we arrived at Mr. Hale’s, in Harmony, Pa. from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: “You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money — pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.””


“Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones.”

“Joseph told me on his return, that he intended to keep the promise which he had made to his father-in-law; “but,” said he, “it will be hard for me, for they will all oppose, as they want me to look in the stone for them to dig money.” And in fact it was as he predicted. They urged him, day after day, to resume his old practice of looking in the stone.”
– Peter Ingersoll Affidavit, Palmyra, Wayne County. N. Y. Dec. 2, 1833, http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs2/1914Shk1.htm#pg016a

Isaac Hale, Joseph Smith’s father-in-law separately testified:

“Emma wrote to me inquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, furniture, cows, &c. I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In short time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersol[l], and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out, and resided upon a place near my residence.”

“Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called “glass-looking,” and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so.”
– Affidavit of Isaac Hale, given at Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania on 20 March 1834, http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/docum3.htm

Watered-down version found in the Official History of the Church:

“Joseph secured the services of a neighbor, Peter Ingersoll, to assist and accompany him in acquiring Emma’s property. In August 1827, eight months after their marriage, Joseph and Emma returned with Ingersol to face Isaac. Ingersol reported that Isaac exclaimed in a flood of tears, You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time digging for money–pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.”

“Yet on that visit there was an attempt to reconcile Joseph and his father-in-law, for an invitation was extended to Joseph and Emma to make their home in Harmony. Isaac, with evident paternal concern and with some compassion, indicated to Joseph that if he would move to Pennsylvania and work, giving up “his old practice of looking in the stone,” Isaac would assist him in getting into business. Isaac claims, “Smith stated to me he had given up what he called `glass-looking,’ and that he expected and was willing to work hard for a living.””
– History of the Church, Vol.1. Chapter 2, http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/HTMLHistory/v1c2history.html

In response to denials of Joseph Smith’s confession, Randy Jordan explains:

1. Mormon apologists saying that Ingersoll was an “aggrieved former neighbor of the Smiths” has no foundation in truth. Ingersoll’s attitude when swearing his affidavit was more of bemusement than bitterness over the way Smith transformed himself from a poor-man’s fortune-teller to a Biblical-style “prophet.”

2. Mormon apologist allegations that Hurlbut gathered his affidavits with “malicious intent” is moot because of the fact that the affidavits were sworn before justices of the peace, and the testators were legally responsible for their statements.

3. Ingersoll’s account of the confrontation between Smith and Isaac Hale is corroborated by Hale’s own affidavit. Also, Hale swore his affidavit at Harmony, Pennsylvania, and Ingersoll swore his at Manchester, NY (where he lived, some 80 miles away.) Mormon apologists cannot claim that the two affidavits were contaminated by the “malicious” Hurlbut, because Hurlbut never went to Harmony and never met Hale. But because they were sworn independently of each other, and yet corroborate each other, they are highly credible.

4. Ingersoll’s, Hale’s, and numerous other affidavits from Smith’s 1820’s acquaintances were published in Eber D. Howe’s 1834 “Mormonism Unveiled” (which can be read in full(which can be read in full on at http://solomonspalding.com/docs/1834howb.htm)

5. Ingersoll’s affidavit was quoted in the Official History of the Church. In addition to that, both Ingersoll’s and Hale’s affidavits were quoted in the February 2001 “Ensign” magazine,in an article dealing with Smith’s Pennsylvania experiences. (Read the article at http://www.lds.org.) Although the “Ensign” article is careful to not quote the parts of those affidavits telling of Smith’s “glass-looking” or his admission of fraud, the very fact that church apologists use those affidavits as credible historical sources negate any attempts to wholesale dismiss them as unreliable (in other words, “cherry-picking”.) Therefore, when Mormon apologists opinion that the affidavits have been “discredited at worst, not taken seriously at best,” perhaps the should tell that to the GAs and scholars who approve material for publication in the “Ensign.”

6. While Mormon apologists contend that Smith never outright admitted his fraud, or at least argue that that admission came via the hearsay testimony of Ingersoll, Hale, etc., the fact that Smith’s “peep-stoning” was a fraud is evidenced by the fact that Smith never found any buried treasures or anything else of value. Also, another instance of Smith’s admission of fraud is the account of his 1826 “glass-looking” trial at Bainbridge, where he admitted that his activity was a fraud, expressed contrition, and promised the judge to cease the activity—and yet, a mere 2 years later, he was claiming to translate the “golden plates” with the same “peep-stone in the hat” business he had used in his glass-looking scam, according to eyewitnesses such as Emma Smith, David Whitmer, and Joseph Knight. See http://www.irr.org/mit/divination.html

7. For decades, Mormon apologists have attempted to discredit the numerous affidavits concerning Smith’s 1820’s peep-stoning and money-digging activities by attacking Hurlbut or Howe’s motives or character—opining that Hurlbut “invented” the affidavits or “coached” the testators. However, that argument is negated by the fact that Hurlbut never even joined the Mormonite church until March 1833,in Ohio, and he didn’t travel to NY to interview Smith’s acquaintances until the following November. The reason that’s relevant is that many, many accounts of Smith’s peep-stoning, money-digging, occult activities, and details of how he produced his “Gold Bible” had been published by 1830-31, before Hurlbut or Howe were even factors in history.

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152 Responses to “Evidence Against Mormonism: Joseph Confesses”

  1. ditchu Says:

    What are the original sources for this information? I do not give creedance to something just because it was published and even less for what is found “On-line” Some web referances are good but many are just like this blog, relying on hear-say and having no originating source to verify the information presented.

    Sorry if I don’t take your word on it but I would not take your opinioin as fact, nor should you take mine as such. Referances to allow independant investigation is helpful.

  2. measure76 Says:

    The links to the sources for the statements above are right in my post. You can go through to those links to find more about the source documents for each. Thank you.

  3. ditchu Says:

    So you refuse to validate the vindications for your opinion.
    This leads me to think they are baseless.
    -D

  4. measure76 Says:

    My opinions? No. These are Deconstructor’s opinions. Click the link on the top of the article to take it up with him.

    I just think it’s a really good article, that happens to show some great evidence that your church is a crock of shit.

  5. ditchu Says:

    Well you do support it to be your opinion as well so with that.. Ado.

    Also, I can do without you foul language, I’m not a teenager who thinks it’s cool to mouth-off. In fact it does go a long way to show your disdain for intelectual discource.
    I shall not keep you up past your bed-time, Good night.
    -D

  6. measure76 Says:

    I am not beholden to a religion that controls the language grown men use. I can say your religion is a piece of shit if I want to. No bishop will punish me.

    I can also say that Joseph Smith was a fucking pedophile and bastard con artist. See? It’s satisfying just to read that.

  7. ditchu Says:

    It is not religion not my faith that I view your childishness through but My maturity that I can hold civil discussion with people in public with out resorting to profanity. You have shown that you cannot.
    It is not my problem to overcome but yours, good luck on that.
    -D

  8. measure76 Says:

    You say I have a problem? So I should worry that ditchu thinks I have a problem? Oh man, I’m going to lose a ton of fucking sleep over that.

  9. ABomb Says:

    These comments are funny. But sad. What above commenters don’t realize is that you have to step back and “break the trance” first, then you can evaluate claims based on their merit. It’s only then that you start to see how much a.) everything in the church depends on having more faith in Joseph Smith than in Jesus, b.) most of your acquaintances likely think your religion is a cult but don’t want to hurt your feelings, and c.) the church is taking your money and not telling you where it’s spending it. Maybe ask some of the multi-millionaire heads of private businesses owned by the church. Look them up on Forbes.com and see how much Deseret Management Company is pulling in these days.

    Before out right dismissing criticisms of mormonism, please evaluate these claims carefully and with an open mind before committing you and your children to a life of imposed shame, guilt, internal mental conflict/gymnastics, secret ceremonies, and overall weirdness.

    Break the trance and look at the anti stuff.

  10. ditchu Says:

    Bomb,

    I was noit raised a “Mormon” but have converted from Lutheranism, and have the perspective that you suggest I take before dis-missing claims…
    There is no “Trance.” There is no “Brain-washing” but I was presented with a choice, as we all have, to beleive the truth and accept Jesus Christ or deny both.

    Most of the “anti stuff” is misguided, misinformed, or engineered to play upon people’s fears and emotions, not reason as many “Claim.”

    good day,
    -D

  11. measure76 Says:

    Ditchu, to be a Christian, or a mormon, you must believe in impossible things. God appearing to man, Virgin Births, Zombies.

    It is fine if you wish to believe in impossible things, but please understand it is fantasy, not reality.

    • Raven Says:

      Sir I was reading the mormon blog regarding the fallacy of Mormonism and its founder Joseph Smith. First I would like to say thank you for putting this blog up as it was interesting and very informative. I am not a Mormon, I am a Christian. I was reading the responses and saw your post regarding how God and all is fantasy. I was just wondering what makes you say that? As far as I have researched, which is a lot, the worlds most intelligent minds have been Bible believing, God fearing, in love with Jesus as God men. Many of the major fields of science were founded by Christians. This information was taken from the book Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.

      1. Johann Kepler (1571-1630) was the founder of physical astronomy. Kepler wrote “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.

      2. Robert Boyle (1627-1691) is credited with being the father of modern chemistry. He also was active in financially supporting the spread of Christianity through missions and Bible translations.

      3. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was one of the greatest early mathematicians, laid the foundations for hydrostatics, hydrodynamics, differential calculus, and the theory of probability. To him is attributed the famous Wager of Pascal, paraphrased as follows: “How can anyone lose who chooses to be a Christian? If, when he dies, there turns out to be no God and his faith was in vain, he has lost nothing–in fact, has been happier in life than his nonbelieving friends. If, however, there is a God and a heaven and hell, then he has gained heaven and his skeptical friends will have lost everything in hell!”

      4. John Ray (1627-1705) was the father of English natural history, considered the greatest zoologist and botanist of his day. He also wrote a book, “The wisdom of God Manifested In The Works of Creation.”

      5. Nicolaus Steno (1631-1686) was the father of Stratigraphy. He believed that fossils were laid down in the strata as a result of the flood of Noah. He also wrote many theological works and late in his life took up religious orders.

      6. William Petty (1623-1687) helped found the science of statistics and the modern study of economics. He was an active defender of the Christian faith and wrote many papers sharing evidence of God’s design in nature.

      7. Isaac Newton (1642-1727) invented calculus, discovered the law of gravity and the three laws of motion, anticipated the law of energy conservation, developed the particle theory of light propagation, and invented the reflecting telescope. He firmly believed in Jesus Christ as his Savior and the Bible as God’s word, and wrote many books on these topics.

      8. Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) was the father of biological taxonomy. His system of classification is still in use today. One of his main goals in systematizing the varieties of living creatures was an attempt to delineate the original Genesis “kinds.” He firmly believed in the Genesis account as literal history.

      9. Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was one of the greatest physicists of all time, developed foundational concepts in electricity and magnetism, invented the electrical generator, and made many contributions to the field of chemistry. He was active in the various ministries of his church, both private and public, and had an abiding faith in the Bible and in prayer.

      10. Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) was the founder of the science of comparative anatomy and one of the chief architects of paleontology as a separate scientific discipline. He was a firm creationist, participating in some of the important creation/evolution debates of his time.

      11. Charles Babbage (1792-1871) was the founder of computer science. He developed information storage and retrieval systems, and used punched cards for instruction sets and data sets in automated industrial controls. He was also a Christian with strong convictions and wrote an important book defending the Bible and miracles.

      12. John Dalton (1766-1844) was the father of atomic theory, which revolutionized chemistry. He was an orthodox, Bible-believing Christian.

      13. Matthew Maury (1806-1873) was the founder of oceanography. He believed that when Psalm 8:8 in the Bible talked about “paths in the seas,” that there must therefore be paths in the seas. He dedicated his life to charting the winds and currents of the Atlantic and was able to confirm that the sea did indeed have paths, just as spoken of in the Bible.

      14. James Simpson (1811-1879) discovered chloroform and laid the foundation for anesthesiology. He said his motivation to perform the research leading to this discovery was a fascination in the book of Genesis with Adam’s deep sleep during the time in which Eve was fashioned from his side. He said his biggest discovery was finding Jesus Christ as Savior.

      15. James Joule (1818-1889) discovered the mechanical equivalent of heat, laying the foundation for the field of thermodynamics. Joule also had a strong Christian faith.

      16. Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) was the father of glacial geology and a great paleontologist. He believed in God and in His special creation of every kind of organism. When Darwin’s Origin began to gain favor, Agassiz spoke out strongly against it.

      17. Gregory Mendel (1822-1884) was the father of genetics. He had strong religious convictions and chose the life of a monk. He was a creationist and rejected Darwins’s ideas, even though he was familiar with them.

      18. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was the father of bacteriology. He established the germ theory of disease. His persistent objections to the theory of spontaneous generation and to Darwinism made him unpopular with the scientific establishment of his day. He was a Christian with extremely strong religious convictions.

      19. William Thompson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) is considered one of the all-time great physicists. He established thermodynamics on a formal scientific basis, providing a precise statement of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Lord Kelvin was a strong Christian, opposing both Lyellian uniformitarianism and Darwinian evolution. In 1903, shortly before his death, he made the unequivocal statement that, “With regard to the origin of life, science…positively affirms creative power.”

      20. Joseph Lister (1827-1912) founded antiseptic surgical methods. Lister’s contributions have probably led to more lives being saved through modern medicine than the contributions of any one else except Pasteur. Like Pasteur, Lister was also a Christian and wrote, “I am a believer in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.”

      21. Joseph Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) developed a comprehensive theoretical and mathematical framework for electromagnetic field theory. Einstein called Maxwell’s contributions “the most profound and most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton.” Maxwell rejected the theory of evolution and wrote that God’s command to man to subdue the earth, found in the first chapter of the book of Genesis in the Bible, provided the personal motivation to him for pursuing his scientific work. He acknowledged a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      22. Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866) developed the concept of non-Euclidian geometry, which was used by Einstein in his development of the theory of relativity. Riemann was also a Christian and had hoped to go into the ministry until he got sidetracked by his interest in mathematics. He apparently made several efforts to prove the validity of the book of Genesis using mathematical principles.

      23. Joseph Henry Gilbert (1817-1901) was a chemist who developed the use of nitrogen and superphosphate fertilizers for farm crops and co-developed the world’s first agricultural experimental station. He thus laid the foundations for the advances in agricultural science which have provided the means for farmers to feed the large populations in the world today. Gilbert is yet another scientist with a strong faith and demonstrated this by signing the Scientist’s Declaration, in which he affirmed his faith in the Bible as the Word of God and expressed his disbelief in and opposition to Darwin’s theories.

      24. Thomas Anderson (1819-1874) was one of the initial workers in the field of organic chemistry, discovering pyridine and other organic bases. Like Gilbert, he also signed the Scientist’s Declaration, in which he affirmed his faith in the scientific accuracy of the Bible and the validity of the Christian faith.

      25. William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939) was among the greatest of all archeologists. He acquired “liberal” theological beliefs during his days as a university student. However, as he began to make various archaeological discoveries in Asia Minor, he began to see that archaeology confirmed the accuracy of the Bible and as a result he became converted to Christianity.

      26. John Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945) was the inventor of the Fleming valve which provided the foundation for subsequent advances in electronics. He studied under Maxwell, was a consultant to Thomas Edison, and also for Marconi. He also had very strong Christian beliefs and acted on those beliefs by helping found an organization called the “Evolution Protest Movement.” He wrote a major book against the theory of evolution.

      27. Werner Von Braun (1912-1977) was the father of space science. He wrote, .”..the vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator. I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”

      28. Albert Einstein (1879-1955), formulator of the theory of relativity, which is one of the single greatest intellectual accomplishments in the history of man. Einstein was Jewish and thus did not follow in the Christian tradition of Newton or Faraday. He did not believe in a personal God, such as is revealed even in the Jewish Bible. Yet, he was overwhelmed by the order and organization of the universe and believed this demonstrated that there was a Creator.

      So, many if not most of the major branches of science were founded by Bible-believing Christians. As a physicist I also find it intriguing that the five greatest physicists in history–Newton, Faraday, Thompson, Maxwell, and Einstein–were each outspoken in their belief that the universe was placed here by a Creator. Furthermore, four of the five were staunch Christians with firm convictions that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God.

      Please respond as I am always interested in learning! You may e mail me at Jon@elcaminobaptist.org. Much love bro!

      • measure76 Says:

        You’ll notice that none of the minds on your list are still alive today.

        You’ll also notice that not one of the many names you mention ever presented one iota of actual evidence for God.

        The first point I would say is due to the fact that most of them grew up in a world where questioning God was just plain not allowed.

        The second point I would say is due to the fact that there has never been any evidence for God.

        Thanks for the comment.

        -Measure

  12. ditchu Says:

    Your Reality is limitted by your imagination. But I have experienced things that you could not imagine, Things you would consider “Fantasy.”

    Just because you have not experienced something, does not make it “impossible.” I know that it is difficult to grasp with you reason that things can happen and yet be unexplained by “Science.” but Science was never ment to explain things away, just to observe things as they are.

    We have delt with the fine line of reality and perception. Your perception may differ from mine, you may never agree with my perception of things but the reality still exists no matter if you percieve it as it is or you disregard some portion of it.

    I will let you know that I have seen and know of some things more real that are beyond this physical existance. You can think that you live for some time and then you die and that is it, but I know that there is an existance, a contiousness and cognition beyond Death, beyond the temporal experiance we call life on this earth.

    good day,
    -D

  13. measure76 Says:

    Ok, Ditchu, spill it. What exactly have you seen that is “Beyond this physical existence”

    And have you seen it, with your own physically existing eyes, or only with the eyes of your imagination?

    One would be reality, the other fantasy.

  14. ditchu Says:

    One example: With my Physical eyes I have sees a smoky figure that moved like a man but one could see through it. Also I have never taken ilisit Drugs and am confident that it was no hilusination.

    But, I wonder, how do you classify Music or Beauty, are these things Real or fanticy? If real than how do you justify with pure science your conclusion to their existance in the realm of reality? For music is more than just sound, else all sound would be music, even random discordant tones. Beauty, is not an attribution to the Physical eye, but is assesed in the mind. By your prior assertions about the Mind’s eye concluding in fanticy, I’d thinnk you quickly dispence with terms as: Beauty, Favor, Like, choice… due to their Bias by a mental system baced in Fanticy.

    Merry Christmas,
    -D

  15. measure76 Says:

    So a drug addict says that when they weren’t on drugs, they saw a smoky figure, and that means that God Lives and Joseph is his prophet?

    Your proof fails to even amuse me.

  16. ditchu Says:

    Dude, You need your eyes checked. I said I never took illicet Drugs. I am no addict. Also I do not see how you are trying to connect my comment about a smokey figure and it being in any way proof of my Religious Beliefs.
    You had asked for some example of what I have see (with my physical eyes) that is “Beyond this physical existence.” I gave one that I thought you would relate to as falling in your clasification of Fanticy when it is not any part of fanticy.

    Yet again, you refuse to take things as they are and try to skew things so they fit your view through your lense.

    good luck with all of that,
    See you on the other side…

    -D

  17. measure76 Says:

    My mistake. My confusion is in why you would bring up illicit drugs when they were never part of the conversation.

    Ok, so you saw a smoky figure. This means God is true and Joseph is his prophet?

  18. ditchu Says:

    The Facts that God Exists and that Joseph Smith Jr. is one of his Prophets is beside the point that I saw something beyond the Physical.

  19. measure76 Says:

    If you saw the figure with your physical eyes then the figure was by its nature physical, unless perhaps you were hallucinating?

  20. ditchu Says:

    An eye sees light. Please describe for me the Physical charestics of Light.

  21. measure76 Says:

    Light, or visible light, is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength that is visible to the human eye (about 400–700 nm), or up to 380–750 nm.[1]

  22. ditchu Says:

    Nice Scientific description, but what is Physical about that?
    What is the avarage mass of light?

    Look at it this way when you see a Physical form, lets say a person, what are you accually sensing with your eyes? Is it the Physical form that you “See” or is it the Light reflected from the opac surface of that form?

    In truth you are sensing the reflected light not the object/subject. But we shall not confuse ourselves as the light is the medium that translates to our eyes/mind the Physical or subject that we think we are sensing.

  23. Measure Says:

    What’s not physical about my description?

  24. Measure Says:

    Despite your philosophical ramblings, light is a physical object, with a specific mass, velocity, etc.

    It does not mean there is any ‘wiggle room’ for spirituality.

  25. MonkeyKing Says:

    A little late to this discussion I guess…but I was moved by ditchu’s reasoning to say that I know a lot of people who use the same arguments about my “imagination” limiting my reality to this pathetic physical world to justify beliefs in karma, ki, ghosts and hauntings, astrology, Islam, and magic. As well as Christianity. Sorry dude, that line is stale and completely without merit. You believe in magic.

  26. sin_ichhh Says:

    Hey, ditchu- learn to spell.

  27. Tim Says:

    Yes, I agree
    Please before engaging in any form of philosophical or rhetorical debate, learn the basics of your God-given language.

    Otherwise it just gets embarrassing.

    I understand some browsers have spell-checkers too so you may be able to bluff.

    P.S. Your religion is very very silly.

  28. Scienceismygod Says:

    Ditchu: You are an uneducated, ignorant moron. Let’s go over the list:

    “creedance” is spelled “credence”

    “referances” is spelled “references”

    “hear-say” has no hyphen

    the phrase is not “take your word on it” — it is “take your word for it”

    “opinioin” is spelled “opinion”

    “independant” is spelled “independent”

    I could go on all day, but these are just the problems in your FIRST post. How someone with your pathetic level of education could claim to know anything about scientific method or objective reality is just a laugh disaster waiting to happen. Tell me, do you read “Breathing for Dummies” each night before you sleep?

  29. Justin Says:

    For the record, allow me to state that Mormonism is silly.

    And for the record, let me state that this is a terrible blog post. The link at the top may or may not have directed the clicker to a legitimate source at one time, but it certainly isn’t working now.

    Just says “note not found”.

  30. measure76 Says:

    Unfortuanately, the source no longer exists, as RfM kills their posts after a couple of weeks. This is the first time I’ve ever recieved a complaint.

  31. psychedelikat Says:

    My mother experimented in Mormonism in the 70’s while my dad was experimenting with being a truck driver. What kind of religion forbids outsiders from the inner chapel? It’s been a long time, and my memory may be fuzzy, but everything I experienced while my mom converted us (albeit, temporarily) to Mormonism, was just plain weird.

  32. nanas3 Says:

    I concur with sin_ichhh — measure76 may be using language that does not fulfill the norms of what is socially acceptable behavior however this is the internet as such one may express their views however they wish. This is the freedom of “speech” if you will. However using poor spelling shows a much greater level of immaturity and is a greater insult to I-N-T-E-L-L-E-C-T-U-A-L discourse. How can one convey a message if they can not even present it in a proper language? Better still would be to adopt modern day languages (regardless of their current effects on society) and adapt them (or to them) to help spread a message. This alone would show a greater acknowledgment of living an intellectual lifestyle.

    As for the source links in the article, I’ve verified that they are all from either hard copy published works or respected and allowable websites to use when providing source information when making an argument.

    With the members of the Chuch of LDS making up only ~1.9% of the US population (One of the lowest in comparison to other religions), you’d think that maybe it’s either time to change your tactics when making an argument or to reevaluate your beliefs. This is not to say that I you should not have faith, but rather keep your eyes open to what else the world offers. Yes, “facts” when presented properly disprove theory but that should never dissuade one from having faith and living a happy life. Who cares if someone says your religion is a “crock of shit”? Even if it was “an utter fallacy” this should not change your behavior towards others.

    Lastly, don’t turn a blind eye when someone gives you information you might not otherwise have known if it’s valid (as in this case it was). If you do, you’re playing into the hand of ignorance.

  33. ditchu Says:

    Psychedelikat,
    I am not sure that was an official LDS Church as they have regulations to not forbid anyone from the Chappel or attending the Sacrement Meeting. Now as for Temple Services I can understand as with any religion that holds a sacred and holy place, that only the initiates who have taken some oath or covenant upon themselves would be allowed entry. As with the LDS Temples not every LDS Members is allowed to attend, it is reserved only for those who have been initiated (who have gone through the ceremony of oath and covenant taking of the culture).

    Are you sure it was a Mormon church you Mother attended?

    -D

  34. measure76 Says:

    In defense of my language with ditchu… He’s been a pest at this site and other blogs I’ve commented on, and I was very stressed out with him at he time of my ‘crock of shit’ comment.

    Also, this blog was never meant to have as wide an audience as it is having today. This blog is for my own satisfaction, not necessarily intended to be a perfect representation of anti-mormonism or philisophical discourse.

    I welcome the additional readers I’ve had today, but please understand this was never meant as a general-audience blog.

  35. mace Says:

    Di-tchu…more like ‘delusional’.

    You’ll never talk sense into a religious person if they aren’t willing to hear facts.

    http://www.thinkathiest.com

  36. nanas3 Says:

    To check sources from their original post date, look for website archival. It is sad when a legitimate attempt to make strong argument is dissolved by disconnect/misdirected links. :(

    To add some humor into the mix, do look up the episode of South Park titled “All About the Mormons” — Trey Parker, one of the two creators of the long running series was once Mormon. Having been raised Mormon, he knows the origins of the religion as it was taught in “The Book of Mormon” and then adapted it into an episode that just shows the absolute ridiculousness of the origins of the religion. You can search for more details about it at http://www.tv.com.

  37. mace Says:

    http://www.thinkatheist.com/

    damnit.

  38. measure76 Says:

    Oh great. Ditchu’s back. bah.

  39. nanas3 Says:

    Well Measure76 I’ll wrap up with this — thank you for providing a thought-provoking blog that allowed so many different minds to converge and discuss. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your future publications. :)

  40. leo Says:

    ditchu….

    Believe the truth and accept jesus christ are contradictory to each other.

    Ta Ta foolish old man.

    And saying you converted is like saying well i used to be black and now i am white, UHHH???? exactly my old foolish old man.

    You are a walking contradiction, are you sure you are not from a virginal birth?

  41. Wasted Says:

    You spend too much time trying to disfigure something that actually helps people.

    You obviously have background issues that urged to write such things. I mean it’s not the first time, people have been trying to prove the bible is wrong for hundreds of years…

    Whats with the obsession? Just leave it alone, and live your life…

  42. measure76 Says:

    Wasted, could you do me a favor and post the same thing under the ‘hate this site’ link in the top right? I love getting hatemail!

    Edit: you’ll have to click on the top banner to find the link, it’s only on the homepage. sorry!

  43. Wasted Says:

    Answer the question… Why do you pick on Mormonism? Why not Catholicism? Or any other religion of belief?

  44. measure76 Says:

    YES SIR WASTED SIR! Commanded like a true mormon!

    The reason I attack mormonism, is twofold. First, it is demonstratably untrue, and second, it happens to be the cult I escaped from.

    Thank you for your command.

  45. Wasted Says:

    Things that bring peace to people are usually the first to be attacked. Look at the most famous of people who have tried through out history.

  46. Wasted Says:

    Because only Mormons know how to use imperative verbs?

  47. measure76 Says:

    Yes, that is why disneyland is attacked daily! No, because only a mormon would come on here, and demand that I justify myself.

  48. slfnflctd Says:

    Every religious person has two things in common:

    1) The details of what they believe are different in many ways – and very often in conflict – with what every other religious person believes (including members of their own faith), and

    2) There is no way to truly scientifically validate their religious claims.

    This is what religion is. A cause of conflict with no possible resolution.

    There is only one category of knowledge, by definition, that all people can agree upon. It’s called science. It should be the only thing guiding government policies. It is our only hope for peace. To claim otherwise is not only foolish, but irresponsible & dangerous. The end.

    P.S. NOTE TO ISRAEL: I HOPE THE WORLD TURNS ITS BACK ON YOU UNTIL YOU HAVE LEARNED NOT TO KILL INNOCENT CIVILIANS AND PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO HELP THEM. SCREW YOU.

  49. Wasted Says:

    Disneyland is attacked all the time my friend. Just like everyone else…

    http://letmegooglethatforyou.com/?q=disney+is+an+evil+company

    I’m just saying it’s a shame that people waste good energy on things that are so pointless, especially when it could be invested in something more worthwhile. Right?

  50. measure76 Says:

    Wasted, as a former Mormon cult member, it is highly worthwhile to me to attack the Mormon church at every opportunity.

  51. Jon Rahoi Says:

    “What are the original sources for this information? I do not give creedance to something just because it was published and even less for what is found “On-line””

    DITCHU, you believe in MAGIC UNDERPANTS – why start being logical now?

  52. Fred Says:

    Like ditchu says folks “…show your disdain for intelectual discource.”

    Jesus h christ – no wonder he bought all that mormon rubbish.

    Nice blog measure76.

    Cheers

  53. rock Says:

    This discourse degenerating. I would like to hear ditchu’s concise thoughts on: the Southpark episode, the existence and purpose of the Danites, and the apparent suppression or downplay, by the church, of the discovery of the original Egyptian papyrus which Joseph Smith translated into the book of Abraham.

  54. Pile Says:

    converting from Lutranism to Mormanism is like going from drinking vodka to whiskey… you’re still way off….

  55. rock Says:

    #@$*&()!! My kingdom for an “is”….

  56. orbitings Says:

    a) Seeing something does not make it real.
    –Our brains constantly absorb, filter, interpret and reject information. We consciously register only what our brains construct; reality could very well be anything from what we know to be “real” to non-physical radiation floating in a sea of information. Our brains are the products of millions of years of evolution; natural selection is the reason for the reality we see.
    –Read the book “Visual Intelligence” by Donald Hoffman. http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Intelligence-How-Create-What/dp/0393319679

    b) Occam’s Razor: if there are two explanations for something, entropy ensures the easiest explanation is most likely the right one. (E.g. in electronics, electrons always flow on the path of least resistance.) Let us apply this the case of miracles, or god, or ghosts. What is more likely, that a man made of smoke floated before you, or variations in air pressure, lighting, and brain chemicals caused you to see some smoke, and interpret it as a man. That should be pretty obvious.

    I could go on like this, but I think the point is reached. I cannot believe in any god until he personally shows up before me and turns my water into wine. Will this ever happen? Nope.

  57. a theist Says:

    Nice post.

  58. JOhn Thomas Says:

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense KNOWS they are a SCAM much like the Scientology’s!

    http://www.internet-privacy.pl.tc

  59. Psynaut Says:

    I am also a Mormon escapee and Mormonism doesn’t bring peace or happiness into anybodies life. It is like a victim of domestic abuse who needs the next beating to feel loved. The God and the universe that Mormons believe in is not an unconditionally loving one and therefore it can’t bring peace. What it does do is help deeply insecure people to feel better about themselves by convincing them that they hold the only truth and will be the only ones God wants to have near him in the afterlife. I don’t know if I would call it a cult or not, but it is very cult like in that respect.

    Its beliefs are also ridiculous and absurd to any clear thinking consciousness and should be avoided at all costs.

  60. A Says:

    Ditchu,
    you say you chose to believe the truth. truth is not something that is believed can be chosen, it is proven fact. that is what people who believe in jesus or god or whatever just cannot grasp. you believe in a characteristic of your faith that by definition cannot be proven and thus cannot be true. so if you’re going to say you believe in jesus, do not refer to it as truth as it is the exact opposite of truth.

    by definition 1+1=2. that is a truth. you can choose to believe that 1+1=3, but that is in no way a “truth.” whether you “believe” that 1+1=2 makes no difference because the truth as it is defined by mathematics is that 1+1=2. it will always equal 2 regardless of whether you “believe” it or not.

  61. VidLord.com Says:

    lol what a great post! I really enjoyed reading it and the comments. Check out this great video for some hilarious background on the Mormon religion. It starts in the second half of the video when she talks about how two Mormon kids knock on her door….

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/julia_sweeney_on_letting_go_of_god.html

  62. Tahko Tetsujin Says:

    Sure are a lot of mormons trying to clean up the stench of this article.

    Good job.

  63. static Says:

    wonderfully ignorant! Just remember how badly Jesus was persecuted when he was on Earth. I’m sure measure76 would be right in line with all the rest who spate upon the Lord and mocked him for “causing miracles” right. I mean what a joke, ditchu was trashing measure76 at the start of this blog, and not even in a mean way. measure76 kept talking out of his rear, couldn’t even stay on subject and tried his hardest to discredit ditchu. Sounds like someone is insanely insecure about life. Mormonism did hurt you, it’s all left up to choice not force. There is nothing anyone can do to PROVE, physically, any god, and atheist cannot prove there isn’t. So let’s stop it now, realize that if you are a Christian, you know a person who believes in Christ, that our Lord was physically, emotionally and spiritually abused by many, and do you want to be one of those whose intolerance and hate for something you don’t understand puts you in the same class? oh, and i don’t care if i made spelling mistakes, I’m not trying to write a college essay, I’m just writing and I’m not even going to spell check, so up your nose with a rubber hose!

  64. measure76 Says:

    Static… if a belief in God is valid because we cannot disprove him, does that mean that a belief in Santa Claus is valid as well? Why do you not worship Santa?

    Up my nose with a rubber hose? Taking the moral high ground at the top of the post kind of fell apart for you there at the end. better luck next time.

  65. whoisthedrizzle Says:

    holy shit ditchu learn to fucking spell. especially if you are going to talk shit. learn to fucking spell you ignorant piece of shit.

  66. mormon founder admit being a fraud! wow suprised!?!??! Says:

    [...] # 3,528,358 OGIONIK   Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 06:07 pm http://rfmorg.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/evidence-against-mormonism-joseph-confesses/ Here’s a post from Deconstructor at RFM: Smith once broke down and admitted he was a fraud [...]

  67. yeahwhoishe Says:

    This is an awesome thread, I have to get in on it. I think both measure76 and ditchu have a point. Well, measure76 has a better point. But I don’t think the existence of a non-physical intelligence means that there is an ounce of truth to the Book of Mormon or the Bible or any other book of proabable fiction. As far as my personal experience, non-physical intelligence does exist, even so I wouldn’t believe a word of religious doctrine. Why should I? At best, no religion has a monopoly on the knowledge of non-physical intelliegence. At worst, it has no awareness of it at all, just a bunch of useless rituals and beliefs. No offense to measure76 or ditchu, of course!

  68. ditchu Says:

    I don’t talk crap.
    I’d rather it remained out of my mouth, unlike some of you out there that are ready quick with some (you may think it witty) foul word. I find that crap, dung, and other excrementum, taste foul. that is why some refer to it as foul language.

    You can spell… Good, but that does not automatically denote intelligence, per say.
    Using profanities in speech or writ devalues any assumed intelligence.
    For this reason if you are making the statement that one’s spelling would suggest one’s level of intelligence, it would also apply that the choice of one’s words be calculated into that quotient.

    In my book, some of the words you use are: “Il ne faux pas!”

    -D

  69. Doane Says:

    “You can spell… Good, but that does not automatically denote intelligence, per say.”

    That’s true, ditchu, but it does point out that you perhaps don’t look as deeply into the constructs of things as you should (in this case, written language). I’m not here to nitpick your spelling, just to discuss the issues here.

    Similarly, however, use of “profane” language does not denote a lack of intelligence either. It is simply a lack of tact and keeps the author from being taken seriously by the offended (or otherwise deemed “more sophisticated”) parties.

    There are many perspectives, and many reasons people have (or don’t have) a religion they associate themselves with.

    On that note, there are many religions in this world. What makes any single religion “the true path” to whatever it is that is sought by the observer of that religion? In that alone, it is clear that they can’t ALL be right (note that some ancient religions are referred to as Mythology today. Will that be true of “today’s” faiths in time?)

  70. A Says:

    ugh… to understand logic you must understand that the burden of proof is on the claim that something exists or causes an effect on something else. You can’t conclude that god exists because you can’t prove the negative. that’s false logic. If that were true than every infinite possibility of everything would be true. static76’s example is right. in the same vein you could say that this fork that I am holding is keeping me from being attacked by tigers and monkeys. just because I can’t prove it’s not true doesn’t mean it has to be true.

  71. static Says:

    i never said He exists because you can’t prove he doesn’t. read again. This is definitely a reoccurring theme in this thread, people refuting other people based on what they wanted to hear in their mind rather than what was actually written. This blog is trying to disprove something, but it doesn’t. It takes he said she said statements as fact. People lie in statements all the time, people lie in court even though there are penalties, PEOPLE LIE. My guess is most people will never know the truth. And if people feel they have found something that benefits their lives, why try and take that away. In my book, if it makes you a better person, keep doing it. There are always bad people everywhere, that won’t change, but just because they are some rotten apples on the tree, does not make it a bad tree. PEACE my brothers and sisters! lets find something to talk about that creates harmony and not tension. oh yeah, and there was no intent of taking the moral high ground with “up your nose with a rubber hose” it was just being funny. hahahahah, remember humor and enjoyment in life, it might make you live longer, oh and eating tomatoes will too.

  72. BrinkleyBoy Says:

    @Static- “people lie”. Indeed they do. So what’s more likely: That Joseph Smith lied or that everybody else lied.

  73. Jethro Says:

    Ooh, Ditchu! You ALMOST got it right that time! It’s spelled “per se”, not “per say”.

    And your French is worse than your English! “Il ne faux pas” is horrible conjugation. It’s “il ne faut pas…” But what are you trying to say? Was it, “il ne faut pas juger les gens sur la mine”?

    It’s alright, Ditchu. Il ne faut jamais jeter le manche après la cognée!

  74. alan Says:

    Ignorance == bliss

  75. FilmTraveler Says:

    The pattern of these comments is the same as the pattern of comments under every atheist YouTube video or news story about creationism.

    Person A: Reasoned argument
    Person B: Dogma
    A: Attempts to use reason to respond to dogma
    B: Incorrectly uses scientific terms to support position, then mocks science and puts the word “science” in quotes
    A: Tone of frustration as if dealing with child or mental patient
    B: Points out frustration, claims victory

    Jonathan Swift noticed it a long time ago, saying “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into.” (I just wrote about this myself.)

  76. ompancho Says:

    show me a ‘prophet’ who is real… ha what a scam the religion is. just about money. There is no god and never will, until we reach a technologically high to be distinguishable from god. the only thing you can really take is some morals of the story rest need to be labeled as a ferry tail.

  77. Jethro Says:

    Hey, Pancho! A “ferry tail” is the stern of a ferry. A “fairy tail” is the stern of a sissy-boy.

  78. static Says:

    Exactly, anyone can lie, once again i never said one side didn’t lie, i just said people lie my friend. Once again, the reoccurring theme of this thread. Those who believe in the LDS religion shouldn’t even waste their time on here, and atheist or anti-mormons shouldn’t either. what a waste. One side will not win the other so why argue, what we should be discussing is how jacked up our government is and about how that is what is ruining ALL of our lives. Down with the dems and reps now, deconstruct and reconstruct this degenerate political system! REVOLUTION BABY.

  79. One Mormon Says:

    I know that the Holy Ghost is real. Cleansing our lives does make us feel better. Confusion or internal conflict comes from holding something back. Jesus Christ loathed only hypocrites. It is the same today. If we seek in earnest then the Holy Ghost increases the light and quickness of our minds and we can in fact know for ourselves that the story or principle or commandment or otherwise unseeable is true and real. God is real, he does love us. Satan is also real. Satan indeed seeks to shroud this world in terror, hatred and confusion. God does speak to prophets and they do warn us. Looking to the heavens I see order and not chaos. The same is true in the peaceful removed moments on this earth. How crazy is it to say these things? “I know with a knowledge more powerful than sight”, “If it hadn’t of happened to me, I wouldn’t believe it myself”

  80. ungewiss Says:

    One Mormon, the things you “know” are “known” by adherents to every major religion on earth. The faithful Hindu knows, just as you do, that he is right, and he knows it because he experiences it for himself. His proof is your proof, yet your conclusions are totally different. One or both of you is mistaken. (psst… It’s both of you.) The “holy ghost” exists only in your cultural vacuum.

  81. Jethro Says:

    I want to be a Mormon so I can have sex with very young girls. mmm…those sweet breast buds! Oh, how I shudder with delight at he thought of deflowering one of those sweet, nectar producing petunias!

    Why so serious!

    Mwah ha ha ha ha!

  82. erick Says:

    Ditchu said:

    “Science was never ment to explain things away, just to observe things as they are.”

    Um. There is plenty of shit that science has explained away. Shit starts out as a hypothesis and then it eventually becomes a law after tons of shit get explained away.

  83. Carlos Says:

    Well, if two people said he confessed to being a fraud, it must be true. But wait! Two other people said he is a prophet. I guess I’ll just have to go with my heart on this one.

    I feel closer to Christ when I study the Book of Mormon. That may be insufficient for you, but it is sufficient for me. Here’s to hoping we can manage divergent opinions with less anger.

  84. mark Says:

    Carlos, Ditchu, OneMorman, Static:

    You have your beliefs and I would never try to take them away from you. I only encourage you to educate yourself and question everything. Many people would certainly embrace something that makes them feel good, however, that does not necessarily mean it is good for you. Be objective, look and learn about all religions. Ask yourself if you were born Chinese, would you be Mormon or Christian? What makes your god better than the other ones out there. How could you know unless you knew about the others?

    I for one apologize for my fellow atheists language and lack of maturity. Some of us are cordial, caring, like myslef with 3 wonderful children and a lovely wife. I wish you all happiness, no matter how you choose to live.

  85. RgrF Says:

    Why is one superstition better than another?

  86. prefetch Says:

    lol measure76. dont you know that arguing on the internet is like the special olympics? even if you win, you are still retarded.

    ex-mormons that change their religion to atheism are hilarious.

  87. Turandot Says:

    And for anybody who questions Deconstructor’s rock solid sources, here’s a link to his site:

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

  88. One Mormon Says:

    mark,

    “I only encourage you to educate yourself and question everything.” It seems like you have gotten directly to the point. The approach you describe is the one I have and continue to pursue. I wish all people everywhere would, Mormon, Atheist, Mormon-Atheist etc. I am always open to new data and new information, examined with a critical eye. A belief that other people are in fact capable entities frees us from harassing prejudgments. By the approach you describe I could talk to you all day on any subject. The post is silly as the final word on Mormonism for all the reasons stated above but fascinating for the post dialogue it elicited. The Mormon Church constantly encourages the membership to become as educated as they possibly can and to determine for themselves what is real and true, by examination, contemplation, meditation and prayer. This personal and educated method clears the mind of clutter, contempt or preconceptions. This approach makes anyone more true to themselves whether they include God and the Book of Mormon in it or not.

  89. reasonluvr Says:

    Joe Smith and L Ron Hubbard had the misfortune, unlike most religious inventors, of living during a documentary age when lots of eye witness accounts of their duplicity could be preserved. This contrasts with most religions which get to eliminate pretty much every non-conforming account of their creator and go forward from there. All religions are bogus, Mormonism is nothing special in this regard.

  90. Sigma6 Says:

    Another ex-mormon here; not going to argue with them (because that Swift quote is bang on), but I am going to stress that the only way people leave the Church is if they come to their senses on their own. The mirror-flip reinforcement of Church ‘community’ is such a huge relief to a person who is terrified of reality that it’s immensely difficult to leave. It’s a big, puffy blanket.

    Basically, you get automatic friends, automatic enemies (whom you are allowed to unreservedly hate, though it’s discouraged; remember, the copout is ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’), automatic community support, and a justification for it all that is simple, easy to understand, deductive (so you don’t have to do any real work to understand it), with a mystical element (so that anything you don’t understand reinforces it), and you don’t have to look outside the insular community, because whatever doesn’t fit or makes you feel uncomfortable is Satan. If only the real world offered those options, then actual self-fulfillment would be a heck of a lot easier.

    All you have to do is throw your heart and soul into the belief in something utterly, unmitigatedly ridiculous; so ridiculous that no-one, upon hearing you espouse it, is ever going to be able to argue with it, and then you can interpret bewilderment as defeat.

    The point is, there’s no reasoning with them. A perfect example here is where whatsisname asked you what light was, and when you actually told him *precisely* what it was, he came back at you with a wishy-washy fortune-teller’s explanation. I’m sure I don’t really need to be telling you this–because I’m fairly sure you’re writing this blog for your own reasons, and that’s respectable–but hey; all in the name of moral support, right? I’ve chosen a different path, myself: I offer the Mormons in my family my respect, my love, and my compassion, and we don’t talk about religion or anything else that’s of any importance, because I’m sick to death of my friends and people I respect called names by them. Nobody can be more of a jerk than someone who thinks God is on their side.

  91. sarki Says:

    Ditch:

    “Now as for Temple Services I can understand as with any religion that holds a sacred and holy place, that only the initiates who have taken some oath or covenant upon themselves would be allowed entry.”

    This is not true.
    I was raised a Methodist and baptized in a Methodist church. I have attended religious services in Episcopal, Baptist, and Catholic churches and I have attended a Jewish wedding that was held in a synagogue. I did not have to “initiate” myself into the Episcopal, Baptist, Catholic or Jewish belief system to be allowed entry into their holy buildings. Do you really think all other religions ban everyone who hasn’t “initiated” themselves into their religion from their holy buildings? Isn’t it your own personal belief what really counts, not a ceremony set up by human beings (not even “God” himself)?

  92. Sigma6 Says:

    I wish I could still argue like a Mormon. I seem to have lost the ability, though.

    As I recall, the basic rules are:

    1. That you argue from ignorance. I understand that this sounds really derogatory, but basically, you make a claim that assumes something you don’t know about is *like* something you *already* know about–while assuming, apparently, that people who *do* know about that thing will not notice. Cheap, but if you never admit you’re wrong, it works perfectly–especially if you’re talking with people who have the strength of character to admit when *they* are wrong.

    2. That you claim that the Church encourages free thought. That gives you another get-out-of-jail-free card: the church encourages it, so you don’t have to practice it. Whenever anyone asks you to think critically, you just say ‘the Church encourages free thought’, and the other person has to assume that you are doing so, when it’s readily apparent that you aren’t. After all, you’ve got a get-out-of-jail-free card: *no matter what you say, you’re right, because you’re a Mormon*.

    3. Ignore all disconfirming evidence. This one is cool, and works well with #2. Basically, you couple them, and when you see disconfirming evidence, you go out and practise ‘free thought’, which in this case consists in seeking just the right bend of the information that will allow you to deny to yourself the evidence presented. The beauty is that you don’t even have to get the whole thing; all you have to do is cast doubt on one part of it, and even then, only partially. In your mind (I remember well how well this works myself), the whole thing is irrelevant.

    4. Satan is everywhere, only you are good, those who doubt you are either going to serve you, or be out of the light of Heavenly Father one day, and any uncomfortable sensation you get from a piece of information (like cognitive dissonance) is a sign that Satan is acting through your interlocutor. This ensures a smug, self-righteous attitude that will make you *very* difficult to deal with, and make people *not want* to argue. You win again.

    I wish I could argue like that.

  93. ditchu Says:

    sarki,

    The Jewish people had temples as well, they would tell you there is a distinct differance from the thinking of the Temple as sacred and holy than an every day synagogue. There were specific oaths taken upon becomming a preist and working in the temple, no one else entered past the first space. and there was even a space selected to be the “holy of holies.”
    Now in the Jewish view (and I think they got it right) “Holy” is to be seperated and removed from the ordinary and every day. The Temple is a place set apart from the ordinary worship spaces, like Chaples, Santuaries, Churches, Cathedrals, Synagogues. That is the kind of Holy and Sacred space I am refering to. Anyone can enter an LDS Chaple even if they do not agree with the message.

    “Do you really think all other religions ban everyone who hasn’t “initiated” themselves into their religion from their holy buildings?”
    It is more than being a member of a Religion, the initory rite is paramont to upholding the respect of a sacred space. It is no less shameful to declair a dungpile for your Bed than to invite disrespect into a space you consider highly sacred and have “seperated” it from ordinary life to offer it to deity.
    Again not all members can enter the Temple but it is reserved to take special oaths and covenants.People unwilling to take upon themselves those oaths and covenants/agreements have no business in the Temple. It really is that simple.

    “Isn’t it your own personal belief what really counts, not a ceremony set up by human beings (not even “God” himself)?”

    My personal beliefs are what count, and my belief supports this system. Cermony is setup to remain consistant and just also it provides an element of education. No matter if you are talking some cultural ritual of an african tribe, a Vodoo Rite, a Wedding, Graduation, or as you pointed out your Baptism. The Cermony keeps it consistant and you are allowed to gleen some bit of wisdom from it as well as Passing through the appropiate threshold, also it keeps things from becoming arbritary, so there is not someone to keep out others just because they may not like them and such.

    Look at the Military, they use Cermony to honor the solder with a medal, a new rank ect. there is a specific method of both the pre-cermony requirements and the cermony itself.
    A Solder who is to be awarded a medal does not pin it on his uniform until after the cermony (in fact someoneelse may pin it on him/her during the cermony but this is not the case for every medal). That is an initiation in itself.

    -D

  94. measure76 Says:

    So, Ditchu… Given that no evidence of God exists, how can we take Joseph Smith’s claim to be a prophet seriously, especially in light of his denials above?

  95. Sigma6 Says:

    Measure, you’re applying reason again. He doesn’t use that. He’s said it again and again; the ‘feelings’ that bring him consistently to the wrong conclusions are what he uses as a guide. It’s like Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.” You’ve never convinced him of anything, and you’re not going to start now. Perhaps this is a good approach: Speak about him in third person, analysing his madness with others, in order to better understand and avoid it.

  96. ditchu Says:

    Measure,
    Again I am not given to the theory, “that no evidence of God exists.” So I cannot claim agreement with your feelings on the matter. Yes, I said feelings, because it is your opinion that there is no evidence. This is something you will never be able to prove as it is a Absolute Negative proof. The only Absolute negatives exist in game theory of in Mathematics. Even Science in it’s essance is devoid of Abslout negatives. for evidance of this look at mutations… a Frog with 5 or 6 limbs is at odds to the order observed in nature by science but they do exist. You would be just as correct to say all frogs have 4 limbs and no more, as you are in saying there is no proof of the existance of a god.

    Good day,
    -D

  97. ditchu Says:

    Let me offer you this reasoning: People can lie. I have been in a court room before and have witnessed people being dishonest. What is it that lends creedance to your witnesses? can you gather any personal impression of the people who made these claims?
    If not how is it that you choose to favor their words over another’s?
    This really comes down to personal opinion, and yes that tends to include Feelings.

    feel better soon,
    -D

  98. measure76 Says:

    To take Sigma6’s approach:

    And thus we see that the completely deluded, like ditchu, do all they can to talk around the fact that they ‘believe’ in a God for which no rationale exists.

    The God they believe in just happens to tell them that they are in the right religion, and believe the right way about everything. unbelieveable.

  99. Sigma6 Says:

    Precisely; the dark-ages style resurgence of unreason is a new medievalism. Legislation in favour of absurdity (Kansas and Oklohoma, recently) is an excellent example. A president who lends credence and support to unreason definitely helps. I was a bit concerned, myself, with the Tolkien movies (though I love them) because that kind of causal disconnect that they portray tends to creep into the psyche. We end up with people wandering about who simply cannot tell the difference between reason and unreason. Look at the madness about frogs: It demonstrates a singular and complete misappreciation of genetics, and yet he seems utterly convinced that it makes perfect sense.

    We can only hope that the ground lost in the last ten or twenty years to medievalism and apocalypticism (the perpetually ending world) can be retreived by some sort of resurgence. The fear inherent in dark-age thinking is as dangerous as it comes, and we simply can’t afford it anymore. Religion is one thing; after all, the early humanists believed in final causes that they kept separate from their pursuit of induction.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure Ditchu is actually intelligent enough to understand even basic genetics, physics, optics, or anything else he has pretended to here. Is it the fault of his education? Possibly. I’m Canadian, so I only have a vague notion of what your system is like. I suspect he just doesn’t have the capacity.

  100. Gospel Doctrine 2009 Lesson 3: Mormons Worship Joe Smith « Questioning Mormonism Says:

    [...] Joseph Smith was a prophet? False [...]

  101. ex-mormon Says:

    Can I say that I was Mormon converted to Mormonism four years ago and left about a year ago and that this blog shows that people out there do not know a thing about brain washed Mormons (- having been one myself). Mormons need our love and guidance they are so indoctrinated and brain washed that they can’t see the wood for the trees.

    Ditchu I hate to brake it to you but these people who say that Mormonism is rubbish are right. I used to be like you scanning websites being a pain and arguing for Mormonism, but let me ask you this have you spoken to your bishop about what you are doing he will tell you that these websites and blogs are dangerous, They are not, people have the right to their own opinions, except Mormons are told that their religion is right and the only true church. Its not I have since become a Baptist and can now see the inconsistencies between the book of Mormon and the Bible. Have you not noticed that the ‘prophets’, 12 and local leaders all place the book of Mormon above the Bible, that is what first worried me.

    I will give you some background I became a Mormon when I left my parents home, I was engaged and married shortly before my baptism, I was told to leave my hubby as he refused to join – it was even suggested that he join so that we could share it like golf – ridiculous.

    Ditchu please take note of what people are saying here – I am only sharing my experiences through love – find the real father, son and Spirit they look very different to the Mormon ones.

  102. Margie Says:

    I am Community of Christ and appreciate my church’s liberal thinking I particularly like what is found on our website about our beliefs.

    The Good News of Jesus Christ is at the center of the faith and beliefs of Community of Christ. We are a worldwide community and are committed to follow Jesus, bring forth the kingdom of God, and seek together the revealing, renewing presence of the Holy Spirit. We offer here our basic beliefs, not as the last word, but as an open invitation to all to embark on the adventure of discipleship. As we seek God’s continuing guidance, we encourage all people to study the scriptures and think about their experiences as they engage in the life of the church.

  103. Sigma6 Says:

    Oooh! A salesperson!

  104. ditchu Says:

    Better a Sales-Person than a Mud-Slinger.

  105. Sigma6 Says:

    Who’s slinging mud? I’m slinging reason, and you fantasy. When we’re talking about truth, fantasy more closely resembles mud, because it obscures, clouds, and obfuscates. Reason is the great clarifier, and there’s nobody it pisses off more than someone who is accustomed, as his second nature, to confusing himself and others. You have fun with that; it’s no problem of mine.

    It seems to me that when you’re so obviously as muddy a thinker as you are, dear Mr. Ditchu, what you probably ought to be doing, rather than labelling others, is declaring yourself humble, and for your own sake, slinking off to improve your knowledge, to say nothing of your grammar, vocabulary, spelling, usage, and all the other basic, fundamental tools of communication that actual scholars take for granted.

    Some places to start? That’s easy! Dictionary.com (it links to Thesaurus.com and a few others) is a great one. You should use it–dare I say–religiously.

    A copy of ‘The Elements of Style’ By Strunk and White is a small, inexpensive pocket-book you can carry with you. I recommend reading it at least three times in the first month. It really helps. Here’s an Amazon.com link. http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/dp/020530902X

    Most importantly, though, you need to get a grip on, at least, basic boolean logic before you try to argue with others who are equipped with it. Here’s a good site: http://web.utk.edu/~nolt/courses/logic.html

    Slightly less important at first (because it’s closely related and dilligent scholarship will lead you there), but still vital, is an understanding of the most common logical fallacies we find in discourse. News, Ditchu: I’ve watched you stumble blindly–misspelling and proudly blustering–into almost all of them. They are important. Unless you can be logically consistent, you simply can’t argue, because you won’t even be able to tell when you’ve won, let alone be able to tell when everyone else thinks you’re a dumbass because you haven’t noticed that you’ve lost (like now). Here’s a good site for logical fallacies: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    Hint: The fallacy you committed in order to provoke this diatribe from me is the *first* one listed. It’s called ‘ad hominem.’ It’s a very, very common substitute for a brain.

    You might want to further note that the necessary thing here is to actually read, study, and understand these things. I understand the temptation you feel to *pretend* you have, and I’ve seen it plenty of times, but you really must resist it as much as you ought to, for your own sake, resist responding to this with another failed attempt at indignation. The thing is, if you don’t pay attention to this stuff, reading what you write will remain exactly like reading what you’ve written so far, and that’s just embarrassing, in the way that people feel embarrassed vicariously for someone who doesn’t know he ought to be embarrassed himself.

    Can you see that I’m trying to help you, or are you still in the phase where you see all disconfirming evidence as an attack?

  106. ditchu Says:

    Sig,
    Why did you assume I was in any way refering to you when all I said was, “Better a Sales-Person than a Mud-Slinger?”

    I make no inferance to your ability to reason nor your actions as mud slinging yet you jumped to that conclusion.

    And for your information I don’t take to reading your diatribes nor your comments as they rarely make logic seem fun.

    -D

  107. Sigma6 Says:

    1. “Better a salesperson than a mudslinger” (note the absence of dashes) was clearly and obviously a *direct* response to my comment. You’re being disingenuous.

    2. Logic doesn’t have to be ‘fun’, just as art doesn’t have to be beautiful. That’s absolutely not the point. You’re being disingenuous.

    3. As I predicted, another failed attempt at righteous indignation. You’re not very good at this, are you? Being made of teflon only works if you deserve it.

    By the way: the word is ‘inference,’ not ‘inferance,’ and you didn’t infer, you insinuated. I inferred, and accurately. Are you starting to see the point?

  108. ditchu Says:

    Siggy,
    You have missed the point of my response to your Salesman comment. It was not to insinuate anything, but to plainly state that it is preferable to speak with a sales person than a mud-slinger. If you feel differently about speaking to mud-slingers and Salespeople then you have not made that argument clear. As it stands you have taken an outright statement and applied your own assumptions to it. the result is that you think I am insinuating something about you yet in truth I am just responding directly to your comment.

    **Warning: Insinuation ahead***
    For one who speaks of “basic boolean logic” you sure dismiss applying it to simple statements like “Better a Sales-Person than a Mud-Slinger.” a statement as such is the perfect dichotomy of Boolean logic at play. Either a Sales-Person is better than a Mud-Slinger (making the statement true), or a Mud-Slinger is equal to or better than a Sales-Person (Making the statement false). You have taken the statement out of the arena of Boolean logic, by applying your assumption that it was insinuating (or even inferring) anything about yourself (unless you classify yourself as either a Sales-Person, or Mud-Slinger).

    So as you can see you have taken a far different approach to the statement than was intended. Genuinely, I feel you are looking for things to argue about, or are you perceiving an attack where there is no intent of one. (I am not being as you say “disingenuous” in the least. But as the dictionary states as one definition of disingenuous: Not genuinely sincere – giving a false impression of sincerity or simplicity, you are being disingenuous by making more of my statement than was there.

    Good day to ya’,
    -D

  109. Sigma6 Says:

    After all that Bullshit (maybe pick up a copy of Harry Frankfurt’s piece on BS. It’s not only bang-on, it’s also hilarious. You can also read it online here: http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/articleB5BD6D4417AF444DBD8F9770AA729B26.asp ), I’m going to cut through it and get to the point.

    I called that poster a salesperson. That was her tone, and It was interesting to see a person hauling around a religion like it was a vacuum cleaner (like Mormon Missionaries do). I commented. You posted a characteristically poorly written comment in “better a Sales-Person than a Mud-Slinger.” Why the capitals and dashes, I’ve no idea. I don’t know if English is your first language.

    I came to the same conclusion anyone would have come to after reading that comment. The structure is a pretty standard one: Someone you disagree with describes someone you agree with as something, and you say, basically, “better what they are than what you are.” My response was perfectly reasonable, given my experience of that structure. If you meant something else, I can’t see why I would know what it was, because as you may know, communication is an exchange of *agreed upon* symbols, not just symbols you made up. (Like religion)

    If you’d said it to my face, I’d have probably asked you why you thought I was a mudslinger. If you were reasonable (as many people are), you’d probably have just told me. Instead, you dissimulated, as you continue to. The problem here, fella, is not my (alleged) unwillingness to use logic (all the more amusing because anyone who has read anything you’ve written here would probably chuckle at the prospect of you claiming that), it’s your unwillingness to admit that you were calling me a mudslinger, the relative merit of being one or the other notwithstanding.

    You’ve got a knack for dissimulation. You call me something, and you can’t even own up to it, so you continue into an endless, spiralling discussion about nothing in which you continue to refuse to admit it. Have you noticed that this happens to you a lot? Ever wonder what it might be like to get past point one in a discussion? If that happened, people you were trying to convince of things might not find you to be an irritating nuisance.

    Good day back to you.

  110. measure76 Says:

    Sigma, you… complete me.

  111. blah Says:

    The funny thing about this entire argument, is that there doesnt need to be an argument at all. I have faced hundreds of people who attempt to ¨discredit¨ the Mormon Church. Of course arguing rarely convinces anyone, so i tell them the same thing every LDS Missionary tells every person that they ever teach. Of course you can find bad things about Joseph Smith, he wasn´t perfect, no one is, but the real question is, was he a prophet? And we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints invite every person we teach to A. Read the Book of Mormon and B. Pray and ask God of its true. If you pray, and are willing to act on the answer you recieve, God will give you the answer, that´s why the Church, despite years of persecution, has continued to grow at an alarming rate (roughly 400,000 people a year) and despite all the supposed ¨evidence¨ to the contrary those that join the Church stay in the church, i´ve seen people change their entire lives (including losing their entire family and friends) because they recieved the answer that the Church was true, and in the end, that was all that mattered.

  112. measure76 Says:

    If the church is pro-family, why have you seen so many families destroyed when people join the church, blah?

  113. measure76 Says:

    One more thing, Blah. People who will accept a belief despite evidence to the contrary will believe anything.

    For the rest of us, the information about Joseph Smith confessing he was a fraud is highly relevant evidence against mormonism.

  114. Sigma6 Says:

    “evidence” is all we have. If I wanted to live a life based on personal revelation, I’d be a Gnostic; at least then the people I’d be studying, who would also be equally as flawed as me, and equally non-prophetic, would have lived so long ago that I could imagine them to be something separate from the reality in which I live. If you’re in the business of deluding yourself, using personal revelation instead of ‘evidence’ (which you can see, touch, understand, rank, and categorize) is an excellent way of doing it, as you’ve pointed out–as you say, that’s why the church continues to grow in membership.

    Acquiring evidence empirically and abandoning what is false and comfortable in the face of new evidence, in the interest of genuine truth, is enormously difficult and requires a significant personal investment. Cognitive Dissonance alone makes it, in fact, *physically painful*. To a certain degree, I envy you your certainty, because I remember it. Unfortunately for me, I can’t be satisfied with something I know, based on overwhelming evidence, to be false simply because a missionary I see to be personally deluded tells me to *pray* about it. I’m a historian (among other things) and I’m simply inundated every day with historical (and contemporary) examples of mysticism, prayer and revelation leading people terribly, even violently astray.

    On the one hand, that’s a personal position, but on the other, it’s been the movement of human thought since the Enlightenment. I believe in progress, and I hate to break it to you, but prayer does not make your Iphone work–it was empiricism, trialling, and the pursuit of genuine truth that made that possible.

  115. vidlord.com Says:

    very well said sigma. blah brings up an interesting point. If someone “feels” that god answered their prayer then how can you convince them otherwise? This reminds me of an exchange between richard dawkins and a man that said he has felt jesus’ presence in his life for 30 years. Richard responded that if the gentleman was born in ancient greece he would “feel” the presence of zeus for the past 30 years. If you “feel” that god is with you and that jesus “loves” you then there is no argument from reason that can convince you otherwise. The feeling is real and powerful

    The core argument between believers and non-believers I think boils down to the argument between logic and emotion. If you “feel” scared then it is a tangible, physical and real feeling to you. This same feeling can be applied to your idea of god – this idea is tangible, physical and real to the person that is feeling it.

  116. Sigma6 Says:

    What is it that Blah said? It’s exactly what he says it is: it’s the standard line of the mormon missionary, as laid out in the handbook.

    Let’s look carefully at this classic piece of sophistry and see what he says:

    1. “I have faced hundreds of people…”
    And discredited them all, no doubt. This is to make the petitioner seem small.

    2. “Of course arguing rarely convinces anyone…”
    On the contrary, presenting arguments, as a series of connected statements intended to support a conclusion, is perfectly appropriate, even necessary, if we are to arrive even at concensus, let alone truth. What we do when we discuss is that we each present arguments, and then we vet them for their consistency, determining which, if any, conform to the facts. Anything else is pretty much useless. What he’s effectively saying is that when people don’t believe what missionaries say, simply on the merit of their saying them, what results is an ‘argument,’ a classic misappreciation of the meaning of the word. The missionary is, perhaps, presenting an argument, but the premises are flawed, the evidence lacking, and the conclusions false, so in order to prevail he has to do what he does next:

    3. “i tell them the same thing every LDS Missionary tells every person that they ever teach. Of course you can find bad things about Joseph Smith, he wasn´t perfect, no one is, but the real question is, was he a prophet?”
    Again, on the contrary; the question is not whether he was a prophet, the question is whether he was a con artist, and if the evidence suggests that he was (and much of it does), then the question of whether he was a prophet (which is based on such a shaky foundation in the first place, some of the immediate questions being, what’s a prophet? Whose definition? Is their any rigour or consistency required of prophets? Smith didn’t display a lot of either, according to the evidence) is a moot point. Prophet or no, he’s more likely to have been a prophet of graft. And allied to graft and corruption is the following ‘reasoning,’ for lack of a better word.

    4. “we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints invite every person we teach to A. Read the Book of Mormon and B. Pray and ask God of its true.”
    This is mysticism, not reason. Don’t know if it’s true? Aware (or preferrably unaware) of the plagiarism in the book of mormon? Afraid of the complexity required of you to actually interpret and criticize the work? Want an easy solution? Don’t actually examine refutations, evidence, and the arguments of those who doubt the authenticity of the work–just ask God. How do you know you’re asking God and not just banging half-formed ideas in your head, with no reliable metrestick to determine veracity? He’s kind enough to tell us:

    5. “If you pray, and are willing to act on the answer you recieve, God will give you the answer,”
    An incredible claim, characteristically nonfalsifiable, and beautiful in its simplicity. There’s no metrestick possible for personal revelation, and so a massive amount of what people come to by appealing to their own ‘inner voice’ is simply false. It also has the following characteristic that must be terribly irritating to the mormons who are aware of it: It’s available to everyone, regardless of their religion, upbringing, and even whether they believe in anything religious at all. That’s what a study of mysticism confirms: we come to certain common conclusions about the nature of what we term ‘the divine’ when we apply ourself to the mystical experience; the common elements are a sense of the ‘oneness’ of the universe we inhabit, a sense of awe, of being in the presence of both the sublime and the terrible at once, and a number of other things described universally by the mystics of various faiths. The thing is, beyond that, the conclusions are different. Is the Book of Mormon true? Ask a Sufi. He’ll consult ‘God’ and tell you it isn’t. Is he wrong? According to Mormons, yes. Objectively? There’s no way he can be any more right than anyone else who asks ‘God.’ What he can do if we want to know is (gasp) present an argument after examining the evidence. Otherwise, there’s little to no reason why we should care.

    6. “that´s why the Church, despite years of persecution, has continued to grow at an alarming rate (roughly 400,000 people a year)”
    A religion (especially a large, aggressively evangelizing one) can have that effect. It’s a comfortable, easy answer. All I have to do to be set at ease about the confusing, crazy universe that (frankly) *no-one* understands, is consult my inner voice. I don’t have to look at evidence, or fix my gaze for too long on anything unpleasant, and in return I get a supportive community of people who are just as deluded as I have chosen to be. That’s very attractive. VERY attractive. In fact, there’s no reason at all to labour the point further. Aside from the fact that you’re holding the same things to be simultaneously false and true (an advantage the human mind, as a neural net, has over binary systems), which can make reasoning uncomfortable, and eventually all but impossible, you don’t really have to think about anything, and everyone in your chosen community is all too willing to confirm for you (and remember, a prominent trait of mormons is that they’re constantly telling each other that they’re right, and that the ‘church is true’) that your delusion is consistent with an external reality that all too clearly does not corerspond to it. The church is bound to expand and multiply; that’s the nature of all self-replicating viruses.

    7. “despite all the supposed ¨evidence¨ to the contrary those that join the Church stay in the church, i´ve seen people change their entire lives (including losing their entire family and friends) because they recieved the answer that the Church was true, and in the end, that was all that mattered.”
    First, because he says so, and as he admits, despite the evidence (clearly I, a former mormon, am writing this). Measure76 pointed out that if the church is so family centred, how could it mercenarily not mind that it breaks up so many families? Why does it, in the face of the importance of the family, actually matter so bloody much what religion people are? Apparently, that’s all that matters, which is something that, as a person who has experienced the destruction of families that the mormon church so often causes firsthand, I find particularly alarming and insidious. There are plenty of things that matter much more. For one, I love my family, no matter what they believe. For another, the truth matters, and the only reliable tool we have is observation of the universe we are in, which is onviously, verifiably, inconsistent with mormonism. Even the simplest of facts confirms this: the events in the Book of Mormon, according to *all* the available archaeological, anthropological, and historical evidence we have collected, simply *never happened*.

    Sophistry it is, and absurd, and false. It is, however, remarkably successful as a meme. It is, in that way, similar to many other religions. Mormons might be reminded, for example, how quickly Islam spread, and that it is currently the fastest growing religion in the world. Is this evidence that it is true? No more than the expansion of any idea is evidence of its truth. It’s only evidence that it is successful, and falsehood has a history of being tremendously successful.

  117. Blah Says:

    First, to answer measure76´s question. Yes we focus everything on families, and in the case of minors, if the family is not willing to let them become baptised, we don´t baptise them. However, there is something more important than families, Christ said ¨And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.¨ (Matthew 20:29) we have to be willing to give up everything to follow Christ, and while it breaks my heart to see families reject their sons and daughters, those that do recieve the promise that they will have eternal life.

    As far as Stigma is concerned, you´re wrong on several points and I wish i had more time to go into greater detail but unfortunately i don´t, so i´ll sum it up.

    1-no this was not to make the ¨petitioner feel small¨ I said it so that you would know i was speaking from experience.

    2-you´re right, i should have clarified this statement slightly, arguing ABOUT RELIGION rarely convinces anyone. It almost always brings contention and pointless bantering.

    3-For those that study the bible, the definition of a prophet is simple. The Lord said in Amos 3:7 ¨Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.¨ Thus, in a broad sense, prophets are those that God reveals His will to. As for further argument about whether he was a con artist or not, you just rearanged the same question, if he wasn´t a prophet, he was a con artist. If you like we could look into some interesting things Joseph Smith predicted as evidence that he was a prophet. Such as his prediction that the LDS church would ¨fill the world¨ which he predicted the day the church was first formed, when the entire church fit inside a log cabin, now there are more than 14 million members, more of them outside the US than inside. Or, when he predicted the church would eventually move to the Rocky Mountains, which he said in kirtland, many years before the church even thought of moving to Utah. Or we could go to the Bible, where its predicted that the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph in the last days would be one in our hands. interesting that the bible is an account of the tribe of Judah, while the book of mormon is an account of the people of lehi, descended from the tribe of Joseph, i now carry them both, together in what we call a ¨quad¨ everywhere i go, in my hand. Or, the prediction of Isaiah, where he says the church would, in the last days, be in the tops of the mountains, and all nations would flow unto it, Utah (named after the ute indians) literally means ¨top of the mountains¨ and if you think the mormons just did this for fun to fullfill prophecy, they wanted to name utah ¨deseret¨ the polititians in washington changed that, and as far as all nations flowing unto it, the olympìcs ring a bell? or the millions of people from all sorts of countries that come every year to see Temple Square. Up until now you´ve only looked at all the mistakes Joseph Smith made and used his imperfections to disprove him, in science you look at all sides of the picture, have you taken the other side, and tried to see why we call him a prophet?

    4-calling prayer ¨mysticism¨ just because you don´t know how it works doesnt make it any less powerful. Just because i don´t know how a radio (or a computer, or whatever else) works doesn´t mean its mystifying and wrong. how about you do what you do with everything else in science and TEST IT.

    5-Oh my word, the answer is easy and simple, what a shame, did you expect God to make it incredibly complicated? You sound a little like Naaman when he refused to wash in a river because it was too easy. As far as the ´inner voice´ goes, i have prayed, i have recieved an answer for myself, and it is no ´inner voice´ as millions could tell you, it is no feeling i can conjure up when i feel like it, it is a feeling that only comes when i have repented, and when i pray. i add the repented part, because when i am deep in sin, i don´t feel it when i pray, because i´m not clean, just in case you try to use one of those ¨of course you feel it when you pray, its because you want to feel it¨ types of arguments.

    6-ok you want ¨evidence.¨ please explain to me why a 20 year old girl (who i taught on my mission) comfortable in her family, with very little religion at all, begins searching for the purpose of life, and then drops EVERYTHING comfortable, ALL her friends, ALL her family, EVERYONE she´s ever known or loved to join a the LDS church. your argument is the church grows because it´s ¨comfortable and easy¨ that doesnt sound all too comfortable or easy to me…i will admit that you´re right, rapid growth does not in itself signify truth, though generally it means its something to worth looking into.

    7-As far as the events in the Book of Mormon never happening, we have zero evidence of that. As a matter of fact there is a lot of evidence that it DID happen. for years they said ¨horses never came here until columbus¨ then suddenly, oops! we found horse fossils. Additionally, we know that there were a people that inhabited both the North and South American continents for at least 2000 years before columbus, and we have uncovered there temples and and their cities. Why does it matter what religion we are? Because to say that God accepts every religion on the earth is to say God either doesnt care, or he believes highly contradictory statements (take the different beliefs in baptism alone as an example). Or that there is no God. As has been said before, simply because you can´t prove the is a God doesn´t mean there isn´t one. As far as truth goes, we have comparitavely little truth about the universe. Evidence is virtually worthless when there is so little you can´t even decide how the universe came to be.

    I apoligize for any spelling mistakes, i wrote this very quickly.

  118. measure76 Says:

    So, Blah, family is important, but the church is more important?

    Shouldn’t the family come first, THEN the church?

    Or, if you believe in God, shouldn’t it go

    1-God
    2-Family
    3-Church.

    Yet, the situation you are describing is

    1-God
    2-Church
    3-Family

    Like it or not, this makes the church anti-family, as the church’s needs come first.

    This is another good reason to steer clear of mormonism.

  119. Blah Says:

    call it anti family if you want, God should ALWAYS come first, and as we believe the church is led by God, the Church is second. But if you want to look at the evidence, every study every taken shows LDS families have few divorces than the average citizen by more than 2-1. outside of the church approximately 50% of all mariages end in divorce (that study was years ago its probably higher now) inside of the church it was inside of 20% (i don´t remember the exact percentage i apologize for that, so i went high, i´m fairly sure its less than 10%)

    Meanwhile most churches have their priorities set more on conforming than on following God, just because families are 3rd on the list doesnt mean they´re incredibly important. (after all, who truly should be more important than God in our lives, since he kind of…made us…and gave us everything we have…including our family)

    As far as the church goes, God said ¨if ye love me, keep my commandments¨ the church IS his commandment, he also said that to follow him we must ¨repent, and be baptized¨ signifying His church, and how are you going to follow God if you don´t follow his church? God´s church is (obviously) led by God, therefore if you love God, you will join yourself with His Church.

  120. Sigma6 Says:

    We have to give *everything* up to follow Christ, if you want to take it as far as the early christians did. you know, possessions, clothing, engagement with the imperfect world of men. . .

    Everybody’s got an interpretation of scripture, just like everyone has an anus. What we call it when you believe the interpretation of a guy who claims he’s an expert on something nonfalsifiable is ‘dogma.’

    1. Sure. Okay, I’m arguing from experience too. I’ve spoken to huge numbers of mormons. I was one myself, and many members of my family still are. Perhaps that was a little patronizing, but then, so was your tone, and so is that of the priesthood, so I don’t feel so bad about it.

    2. Depends what you call ‘pointless’. I don’t think anything in the pursuit of truth is pointless, especially when there’s so much we *do* conclusively know about religion as a social, historical, and psychological phenomenon. Sorry, but I just don’t buy your premises. What you say here is a copout.

    3. I once predicted that Bush would find a quagmire in Iraq. I once predicted that the fighting in Israel/Palestine would flare up again. My sister is a Leo and so am I, and we share certain characteristics in common. The only ‘proof’ in scripture is proof that something is found in scripture. There’s a key thing I want you to understand here: There is no evidence of the existence of prophets, by anyone’s definition. Some people are better at predicting events because they may or may not have a better understanding of trends. A major component of political science, for example, is prediction, and it is, needless to say, imperfect. So is Smith’s prediction. Again, I don’t buy your premises, and I don’t see here where you succesfully support them. I would absolutely *love* to see where there is conclusive evidence of divinely inspired prophecy *anywhere* in human history. That evidence would rock the world. It has never been produced, because it depends on evidence that simply cannot *be* produced. I understand your position, don’t worry. I also, however, reject it.

    4. Who are you to say that I don’t know how prayer works? I have access to the exact same experiences and sources as you do, and I think it’s more than a little presumptuous of you to claim that I don’t. After all, this is a nonfalsifiable claim you’re making. Mysticism is the descriptor for that phenomenon; I’m not dismissing it, I’m *describing* it.

    5. I certainly didn’t argue that the mystical experience is false because it’s simple. I don’t know whether it’s false or not. It’s *nonfalsifiable*. There can be no evidence either way. It does, however, seem to me that there is some truth to it, but I have no evidence for it. I can certainly say (and I think I did) that there’s no more evidence that it supports mormonism than that it supports Sufism or Buddhism, for example. You just don’t have a better case than them (or than me). You don’t know the truth any more conclusively than I do, and the difference is that I’m not claiming that I do, and you are.

    6. We’re talking about two different kinds of easy. I find it very challenging to pursue truth, because I demand that those (including myself) who make claims assume the burden of proof. It would be much easier just to believe what the church tells me. For a long time, I did. It was easy, and I got a lot of support. That girl did too. As you’ll no doubt confirm, she received a vast, supportive family in exchange for the one she callously abandoned. Good deal, right? She joined the family of the LDS. It’s tough, sure, and I’m sure she cried, but it’s not in the nature of human beings to leave the comfortable for the uncomfortable. Clearly the Church provided the sort of community in her life that she was missing. That’s not in dispute (I think I conceded that in my last post, too). What’s in dispute is the veracity of what it’s founded on. I was saying that I can’t live even a comfortable life based on so massive a set of falsehoods. Apparently she can. If she’s happy, then she’s happy, good on her. She’s still living a fantasy, and that would simply not satisfy me.

    7. Wait, wait, wait. . . back up. Where is this evidence? Remember, you’re the one making the absurd claim, so the burden of proof is on you. Back that up, please, because the academic communities I named have done so, and they have cornered the market on the last several thousand years on this continent. It’s all pretty clear and very well understood. There are gaps, but I’m afraid that none of them are big enough to drive mormonism into.

    As for the muddy bit about God, we can discuss his/her/its nature, but I’m not sure if you’ve read Anselm, Aquinas, Erasmus, et al. Your argument is the old, deductive theistic one, and it’s long been out of circulation. The answer, my friend, which I’ll readily concede, is *we just don’t know*.

    We have a very good model of how the universe came to be, with a great deal of detail. In fact, there is a new model recently (the fellow was a fascinating character–a surfer) which is even more compelling, and beautiful in its simplicity. It’s a much more compelling model than Genesis. It actually fits the observable reality.

  121. measure76 Says:

    I call it anti-family because it IS anti family to encourage people to join a church even when their family is against it. And we’re talking adults here, don’t make this about minors.

    Second, a quick google search reveals that mormon divorce rates are the same as everyone else. check this link: http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds_divo.htm

    The only way the stats are any different is if you change the way divorce is counted, which of course, the LDS church does to make the numers look pretty.

    You say following the mormon church is a commandment of God? And what scripture outside of mormonism do you have to back this up? Nada.

  122. Blah Says:

    I have to go for the evening so i´ll be quick, i said pointless bantering because it is pointless to argue something when you´re never going to convince the person you´re arguing with, and he is never going to convince you, you´re basically just wasting your time.

    The other point i want to make really quick is prediction. Find a prediction Joseph Smith made that DIDNT come true. Yes science uses predictions every day, but the majority of them end up wrong. Meanwhile prophets make predictions, and the ALL come true. As far as people being better at predicting than others, i challenge you to find one person that could predict EXACTLY what will happen 4,000 years from now. Such as the EXACT name of a state, oh, and find a prediction in the Bible that hasn´t come true also (outside of revelations of course, where it predicts the last things on earth to happen)

    As far as the creation of the universe goes, they´re all predictions, we really have no idea how it happened, and the fact that a ¨new model¨ came out recently, just shows how lost we truly are as far as the creation of the universe goes. And as far as it being more compelling than Genesis, Genesis tells us nothing about the creation of the universe other than that God commanded it and it was done, it gives us no details.

    I also apologize if my tone seemed patronizing, i do tend to do that, i truly don´t mean to be its just how i write. I´ll be on tomorrow to reply further.

  123. measure76 Says:

    Below is a partial list from http://www.exmormon.org/prophet.htm

    PROPHECIES OF JOSEPH SMITH WHICH WERE NOT FULFILLED

    The following prophecies made by Joseph Smith have not been fulfilled in over 150 years. They are given in approximate chronological order, except for the many Missouri prophecies, which are grouped together.

    PEACE AND KNOWLEDGE: Sept 21, 1823. Joseph Smith says in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:40, that Moroni told him that Isaiah 11 was “about to be fulfilled.” Isaiah 11:6-11 prophesies that the wolf and the lamb, the calf and the lion, etc. shall dwell in peace together, and that nothing will “hurt or destroy,” and that the earth shall be “full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

    FULFILLMENT: None of this has yet come to pass.

    SALE OF BOOK OF MORMON COPYRIGHT: Winter 1829-1830. Comp Hist 1:165 Joseph had a revelation that Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery were to go to Toronto to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon to raise money.

    FULFILLMENT: They went, according to the revelation, but were completely unsuccessful. Joseph Smith “inquired of God” and was told that some “revelations” are not from God. David Whitmer reports this incident in his book An Address To All Believers In Christ, Richmond, 1887, photo reprinting by Utah Lighthouse Ministry, pp 30-31. (See the comment above on the test of a true prophecy.)

    PRAYERS ANSWERED: September 1830. D&C 29:6. Jesus promises the Saints that “Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith… ye shall receive.” (see also D&C 132:40) Joseph Smith believed firmly in this promise (see Chron JS Mar 10, 1844)

    FULFILLMENT: The prayers of the faithful Mormons, especially during the periods of conflict in Kirtland, Missouri, and Nauvoo undoubtedly included many requests for divine aid, victory over their enemies, and peace in their lands. Surely they asked for these things. But instead they were driven out and found no peace. This prophecy is probably failing thousands of times a day, as faithful Mormons pray. (This prophecy is just a repetition of Jesus’ promise at Matt 21:22, Mark 11:24, John 14:13-14, 15:7, 16:23, and 1 John 3:22.)

    SAINTS GATHERED IN ONE PLACE: September 1830. D&C 29:8 God has decreed that the elect shall be gathered into one place “against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.”

    FULFILLMENT: The “one place” continued to change as the Mormons were driven from one temporary refuge to the next. After arriving in Utah, the Mormons viewed that as the gathering place. But the modern church apparently no longer believes in this gathering, since it encourages new converts to remain in their homelands. Tribulation and desolation have not been sent forth upon the wicked.

    WICKED WILL BURN, ALL PROPHECIES FULFILLED: September 1830. D&C 29:9-11. “For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand” when the wicked will burn, all prophecies will be fulfilled, and Jesus will return for a thousand years.

    FULFILLMENT: This is another prophecy such as Ezekiel 12:27-28 referred to: if the hour were nigh and the day soon at hand, this surely would have been fulfilled within 160 years. By no means have all prophecies been fulfilled, and many cannot now be fulfilled.

    ALL NATIONS SHALL BOW: March 1831. D&C 49:9-10. The nations of the earth shall bow to the Mormon gospel or they “shall come down” and “shall be laid low of power.”

    FULFILLMENT: None of the nations of the earth have accepted the Mormon gospel or “bowed” to it, yet none have been “laid low” because of it.

  124. Sigma6 Says:

    I don’t think it’s pointless or a waste of time. I think it’s edifying and useful. Certainly it would be interesting if you came round to my point of view (since I’m not going to regress and start believing in ludicrous superstitions), but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. The point is, we’re chasing the truth. I’ve never found that to be pointless.

    Measure76 got this one. Joseph Smith was just some dude who, like L. Ron Hubbard, and for similar reasons, decided to start a religion. He didn’t know how to translate anything, and he got caught out in a whole range of counterfeits. (not the least of which was the hilarious Egyptian Papyrus crap, which looks lot like what Erich Von Daniken did to me). I’m sorry you’re so far down the rabbit hole that you can’t see it, but there’s nothing compelling in the book of mormon. It’s a fraud. A fake. It might be an interesting story (though I didn’t find it to be one. . . he said ‘and it came to pass a few too many times for my taste, trying to imitate the early modern English he was copying), but it’s so improbable and unlikely that it’s hard to suspend my disbelief. Joseph Smith simply did not have any better a record than any other shmoe.

    “Yes science uses predictions every day, but the majority of them end up wrong.”

    Might I remind you that you’re typing on a computer, and that even in its *early* stages, the model of the universe that you are claiming ‘tells us nothing’ about the nature or creation of the universe allowed us to crack the atom. Even the standard model (which has a great deal in common with the new model I was talking about, needless to say; the main addition is a quantum theory of gravity) tells us substantially more than Genesis ever did. The key difference being that Genesis is just a wacky story made up by ancients who believed a whole lit of other wacky stuff. Even the Greeks were just figuring out Heliocentrism (which is closer than Geocentrism, but still wrong), the size of the Earth (which they were close to, but still off), the nature of matter, etc. In terms of knowing what the universe is with any accuracy, the people who wrote Genesis (and the dilettante who wrote the BoM) were basically morons (after all, as you say, ‘God commanded it and it was done’ is … well … infantile).

    I have a very hard time with people who say “Science’s” predictions come out wrong, who then deign to drive a car, use a computer, talk on a telephone, or listen to a radio. We can’t predict weather or events with much accuracy, beyond a certain threshold, for a number of easily explainable reasons (Google ‘unpredictablility in complex systems’). We can, however, predict things that have a high probability *if* they happen to pan out as we expected. That’s what JS did.

    What the advancement of a new model (it’s not *entirely* new, after all; as Newton also claimed, this fellow is standing on the shoulders of giants) *actually* means, my friend, is that we are *improving* our understanding. It doesn’t mean that we know nothing. Quite the contrary; we’re moving forward. The religious don’t move at all–you guys are waiting for the end of the world so you can finally have *something* (ANYTHING) that confirms your wacky beliefs.

    The reality (if there is any) is this:

    We don’t know what the universe is, really. No-one does. We’re all just scared little bewildered creatures made of meat cowering on a rock, and we don’t know what’s happening to us. Whatever it is, it’s crazy, beautiful (though often terribly cruel), and huge. We have, as long as we’ve been a sentient species, been trying, however, to figure it out, and we’ve been getting better at it, but when we’re honest, even the best of us have to admit we don’t know.

    Here’s where you fit in: As long as we’ve been a sentient species, there have also been those among us who thought they knew everything. When language developed, we told stories and eventually scratched things into rocks, and eventually primitive paper, but we really didn’t know a whole lot, and some of us had the bravery to admit it. These self-righteous fellows though, they’ve always been satisfied to be wrong (but certain), and proven so, but they’ve persisted, nonetheless, whether out of the desire to feel superior, or to cultivate a false sense of security in a bewildering universe–after all, just about everything else in it is a rock or a piece of metal. A false sense of security can be comforting.

    I often wonder what would happen if, one day, every jackass who thought he knew ‘the one truth’, and there are *lots and lots of jackasses*, came down to Earth, as it were, and helped the rest of us actually look for the real thing. That’d be a day. Unfortunately, my faith in humanity, robust as it is, has never seen any evidence that would support the possibility. *sigh*.

  125. blah Says:

    i unfortunately only have time to reply very quickly to measure76, i hope to read and reply to stigma as soon as possible.

    I said show me prophecies that have not been fulfilled, not prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled, sure you, as a proclaimed scientist who believes that the earth took millenia to be created, can not POSSIBLY believe that 160 years is a long time, especially in the eyes of a God that constantly sees the past, the now, and the future before Him, you´re saying his prophecies werent fulfilled simply because they havent been fulfilled yet, you´re basing it off our incredibly flawed thinking of time, 160 years here is a few seconds in another spot in the universe.

    As far as prayers go, millions testify that prayers are answered every day. the key is what we ask in FAITH we shall recieve, faith implies going on the Lords timetable, the saints did get piece and victory over their enemies, it just took time, the Lord, when we are faithful, will always do whats best for us, not neccesarily what we want. (the 2 year old can want to touch the hot stove, does that mean we should let him?)

    You continue to show, as you showed at the beginning of this blog, that your arguing is flawed, and you attempt to alter everything based around your own personal reasoning or view just to make it look right. You said many prophecies cannot now be fulfilled, please send me a list, i guarantee you there isnt a single one. As far as gathering in one place goes, mormons all over the world gather in one place every sunday. Additionally, he didnt say it was a permanent place, interesting that the saints gathered in one place to utah, and by doing so managed to completely avoid the civil war (a war in which more american citizens were killed than all other wars the US has participated in combined) kind of sounds like they avoided tribulation eh?

    i read real quickly your thread stigma, at this time i´ll only comment on one thing, i said MANY of sciences predictions were wrong, not all, you have to agree that thousands of predictions about how electricity would work failed before electricity finally worked (the same could be said about any expiriment) you literally tried to say in your previous post that someone could actually logically predict the naming of a state 4,000 years before it happened, and used the fact that science predicts and eventually gets a few things right, the bible can predict and get EVERYTHING right, and it can still be wrong…as far as teh genesis ¨model¨goes, i repeat what i said earlier, genesis tells us nothing, it was never intended to tell us anything, all it tells us is that God commanded and it was done, we only know the order.

    The few predictions joseph smith made that havent yet come true, will come true, i challenge you to find me one that CANT come true in the future.

  126. measure76 Says:

    OH! So the Blah model for an unfulfilled prophecy is any prophecy that is wrong, is merely unfulfilled?

    So your position is that Joseph Smith will still successfully sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon in Canada? It just hasn’t been fulfilled yet?

    Gotchya.

  127. Sigma6 Says:

    Oh come now, be honest. Those are not fulfilled predictions. You’re exercising a double-standard here. You’re giving that notoriously unreliable New Englander a huge deal more leeway even than the methodology that gave you your damned computer! Edison and Tesla, et al, gave you the electric light, and when you flick the switch, the light goes on every time, provided the system isn’t broken somewhere, for heaven’s sake. Smith has given you something that you have to stretch and apologize for *just* to find a reason to believe it. You have to change places, names, dates, meanings, interpretations, intentions, and often the *entire example* in order to make Smith’s predictions work. I *dare* your apocalypse to happen. I know it won’t. I’ll give you all of those as predictions that are both unfulfilled and impossible: Mormons will never inherit the Earth. Did you honestly read over that list and not see anything inconsistent? Remarkable! Are you impervious to data, or just lying to yourself? Remarkable!

    Joseph Smith is, among other things, part of a whole pile of American evangelicals who became obsessed with the end times in the Nineteenth Century. Like all the rest of them, he made myriad imminent predictions which didn’t come true. The end times obsession itself is of a different order; it’s a dramatic revenge fantasy on the part of people who see themselves as persecuted. John the Divine was mad at the Greeks. He thought Jesus would give up on being a redeemer and forgiver and come back from the dead to kill them. He was wrong. Since then, every ‘prophet’ (and there have been many) has claimed that it was just around the corner—-that people like me, who tell you that you’re living in a fantasy, are all going to suffer, because you’re right, no matter what the sinners, heathens, and idolators say. You can take that and shove it, boy, because that’s sick. It’s sick. There’s just no other way of describing it. furthermore, it’s simply not going to happen. Jesus is not going to come back for a thousand years and lift up a bunch of people with an overdeveloped ersecution complex coupled with a revenge fantasy. It’s pathological.

    “you literally tried to say in your previous post that someone could actually logically predict the naming of a state 4,000 years before it happened, and used the fact that science predicts and eventually gets a few things right, the bible can predict and get EVERYTHING right, and it can still be wrong…as far as teh genesis ¨model¨goes”

    Pardon me? What did I say? I said that the scientific method is an iterative method which accepts new information, constantly improving a model of the universe which becomes more accurate as it’s iterated. The Bible is a book written by various ancients millenia ago, which is notoriously inaccurate whenever it attempt to describe anything requiring induction, and inconsistent whenever it attempts to describe anything deductive. It’s just a book. Please, if you’re going to tell me anything, don’t tell me what I’m trying to say, or what I’m thinking. Bad form.

    The bible predicts the same way a person does who can get the name of a state 4000 years in advance; pure chance. I’ll do it now: I predict that upon a western continent of the Earth, there will be, in four thousand years, a state called ‘Embirgu.’ Prove me wrong!

    Even better. I’ve just discovered an ancient text, four thousand years old (sorry, I can’t show it to you), that proves that the city I’m living in will, by this time, be called ‘Montreal’! Futhermore, I just prayed and petitioned God as to the veracity of the text. He said it was true. Amazing! Look what I’ve just proven! Prophecy and prayer work!

  128. Sigma6 Says:

    I’d have a much easier time with all this if you lived in a world where your iPhone ran on prayer, your car on faith, Jesus had returned as repeatedly, earnestly predicted, and Mormons were served by skeptics like me.

    Fact is, the world looks a heck of a lot more like what I describe than it does what you describe.

  129. ditchu Says:

    Siggy,

    You have a basic paradigm issue. You say, “Fact is, the world looks a heck of a lot more like what I describe than it does what you describe.”
    However you see the world through your Paradigm and it looks different to someone else as they view it through their own paradigm. Here it is in the simple reasoning of Plato’s horse. Each person perceives the world about them differently than the person next to them. the difference could be slight or tremendous. Plato suggested that reality was like a horse that we all had a small view of. one person saw the nose and said, “It is wet and leathery.” another saw the tail and said, “It has long stringy hair.” to sum it all up, reality is still reality no matter if we perceive it one way and someone else another, we must realize that our perception of the world can drastically differ, due mainly to our Paradigm which dictates how we perceive it.

    For example look at how you perceived my Statement, “Better a Sales-Person than a Mud-Slinger.” You saw it as a personal attack, which I did not intend. My perception of that simple response to your statement was only that it is better that the person was like a salesperson than if they came in hurling insult (proverbial mud). Notice the difference in perception, that is one’s paradigm at work.
    -D

  130. Sigma6 Says:

    You might have been clearer. You might have said, for example, “Well, it’s a good thing she’s just a salesperson; she might have been a troll (which, I believe, is the interwebz term for what you’re describing).”

    Of course, even if you’d said that, it would still have been pretty confusing, because it’s not exactly germane. *Obviously* nobody wants trolls coming around, needless to say. If you didn’t really intend to make a specific point, then why did you bother saying it? And why bother saying it in terms that were, frankly, *bound* to be clearly misinterpreted? I’m sorry. I still don’t believe you. I keep going back and reading it in context to see if I could have interpreted it any other way, given where it came into the discussion and what it said, and I just can’t make myself do it.

    Anyway, yes. We all have paradigms, sir. That’s why we discuss, and that’s why we posit; we’re trying to feel the horse. I’m not sure why you felt you had to recall me to first principles; I’ve been the one arguing that what we as humans do (yeah, here too) when we engage in debate is to try to make our collective understanding conform as closely as possible to the objective reality. It didn’t take an allegory to come to that, though I’ve read the Greeks too. Perhaps what you’re not seeing is that presenting nonfalsifiable arguments doesn’t make the horse look any more like a horse. That’s the whole problem (I take it) that Blah is describing: when we argue about religion, which deals only in faith and revealed knowledge (both impossible to confirm or disconfirm, and thus nonfalsifiable), we have to accept that we might not convince the other guy. This is why, when we argue as scholars, we try to confine ourselves to inductive reasoning (we deal in examples, verifiability, repeatability, and ultimately invalidation). Essentially, if we’re all trying to find out what the horse is, it doesn’t help if there’s a guy *not* feeling it who says “God told me it’s a sheep.”

    Though hey. . . it’s tempting. . . would you like me to paraphrase a Platonic allegory or analogy at random too? Which would you prefer? The Cave? The City/Soul?

  131. Sigma6 Says:

    Oh, and I’m not at all convinced that *I’m* the one with the paradigm issue. After all, your iPhone doesn’t run on prayer either.

  132. ditchu Says:

    I said exactly what I ment to say, you have applies subtext that did not necessarly exist. I am not familuar with your usage or “Troll” ans so that is probably why I’d not respond with that verbage.

    Take another look at your statment, “Oooh! A salesperson!”
    Short and simple, yet easily misinturprated if one does not get that you are attempting to insult the previous commenter. I however made a simple statment and you took offence, so since then I have attempted (for your sake) to make more complex statments, spelling out my intent in a more defined way so as not to be misconstrued (by you) again.

    Sig: “I’m not sure why you felt you had to recall me to first principles”
    Simply, because you seem to make generous statments about “first principles” and yet fail to apply them.

    Hay, the Cave is a good one… but besides the point. How do you see my choice of Plato’s Horse as random, its use was directly related to the point I made.

    Basically, what I am understanding from this, is that you want to discuss only that which you can fake or refuite. Oddly, this seems to coinside with your logical expressions in previous posts. Seems like an juvnial way to seek out the truth of reality. Result of such discussion seems likely to be: what is false is true. That does not sound like logic to me but inversed mathematics.

    Sig: “Oh, and I’m not at all convinced that *I’m* the one with the paradigm issue”
    True that we ALL have paradigms, and that it filters how we experience the world/reality. But the issue you are dealing with is the ignorance of the effect of paradigms.

    Sig. : “After all, your iPhone doesn’t run on prayer either.”
    That statment reinforces my point about Paradigms. See, I do not have an iPhone nor do I want one. It is your expressed view that I have an iPhone in the first place that is incorrect. Also, I do not think the world should opperate in the fasion that you discribe as everything running on “Faith.” If that were the case, very few people would be able to opperate anything. A battery has more effect on a Physical plane but Faith has more effect on a Spiritual one. Relating the two to be interchangable is like trying to run Flashlight with a candybar. A Candybar has fuel for the body (Carbs) but not fuel for eletronics (eletricity). Also, we do not plug our bodies in to the electric outlet “recharge” like we would an iPhone. The “fuel” is not interchangable, the same goes for faith and batteries.

    Hope you see clearer now,
    -D

  133. Sigma6 Says:

    The day you can make me ‘see clearer’ (try, ‘see more clearly’) will be an amazing day indeed.

    On point one, you’re missing the point (though you did state it.) You have as much responsibility to me as I to you to be clear. I don’t believe you when you tell me that you didn’t intend to offend. I think you’re dissimulating. What’s so tough to understand about that? You tell me what you claim you really meant, and I look at what you said, and they don’t meet up. I apologize for not taking you at your word there, but I don’t. No number of references to the Greeks are going to make me think you’re being honest about that.

    On point two; what’s random about it is that it’s totally unnecessary, and more than a little patronizing.

    On point three; that’s the nature of logic and argument (at least among the educated and dilligent). I want to discuss what can be verified. I’m not going to claim that the horse is a sheep on no evidence, which is a fine analogy for what you kind folks do with Smith’s prophecies, the Book of Mormon, etc. I apologize for demanding evidence for absurd claims, and invalidating them where none exists, but hey, when the burden of proof is on you, you have to face that bravely, or stop making assertions. Call it ‘juvnial’ (spelling helps; try ‘juvenile’) if you like, but the only juvenile thing going on here is that people are making absurd claims they can’t back up. If you want me to apply equal weight to them, provide equal evidence. Buck up, little camper, being invalidated might make you feel bad, but if you’re wrong, passing ot off as truth is just dishonest (and it can, in fact, be dangerous).

    On point three: I’m ignorant about the effect of paradigms? That’s a weighty claim. Is it possible that, on the contrary, *I just don’t believe you?* I’d like to think that it’s quite possible that I just don’t believe you. In fact, I’m quite certain of it.

    On the last point:

    This is an example of precisely what I’m talking about with you being an irritating nuisance who can’t get past point one: I don’t care whether you have an iPhone, or a car, or not. It’s immaterial. It’s *an expression*. It’s not meant to correspond to your individual reality, and nobody in their right mond would take it to. It’s meant to illustrate the point that faith is useful to the individual in certain spiritual matters (though not many, IMO), but that when it comes to actually getting things done, nothing beats looking at the reality that’s around you and making decisions based on what you observe. I don’t observe God, but I do observe iPhones and Computers that weren’t made to work because someone believed God would provide them.

    As for the rest of your absurd bit of ludicrously basic, simplistic, and fantastically literal ‘reasoning’, I simply don’t care. I can’t see why I should, it’s just static, because you don’t know enough about the topic for it to be useful to anyone, including yourself.

  134. ditchu Says:

    Siggy,

    for someone who takes issue about the correctness of another’s comment, I would think (as anal as you present yourself with these tidbits of irritation) you would be able to be clear about your usage of direct correlation with reality and your “expression(s).” If you wanted to state an expression of how an iPhone does not run on Faith, there was a better way to do it than speak about an iPhone that I have, when I don’t have one. I’d go with using a less precise indication of possession like, “Still don’t know of an iPhone that runs off Faith.”

    As for, “As for the rest of your absurd bit of ludicrously basic, simplistic, and fantastically literal ‘reasoning’” I’m just reading the word you put on the page, so I don’t blunder and apply some unintended subtext to your words. believe me or not, you don’t have much faith in anything anyway so that is truly immaterial.

    Later,
    -D

  135. Sigma6 Says:

    It’s amazing what effory you’ll go to to fail to understand something that’s perfectly clear; it verges on the heroic.

    I used an *expression,* and the meaning of the expression isn’t in dispute to anyone but you. “Your iPhone doesn’t run on prayer” is not a statement that can be misunderstood by anyone who has any intention of understanding what it means. I’m certainly not opposed to the use of idiom in dialogue; where we agree implicitly on the meaning of the idioms, we can easily communicate with them.

    You are illustrating that you don’t know either the difference, or the idioms. You used a common one; that construct I described, and I used one in a reference to a common item owned by many people in industrial societies (I might have said battery or car, as you pointed out ). Mine carried a meaning consistent with the idiom. Your use of the idiom was totally inconsistent with the meaning you ascribed to it after the fact. Your comment was unclear, took a different form than you intended (while mine took precisely the form I intended and carried the intended meaning), and was, to all appearances, aimed at calling me a mudslinger. I’m getting very tired of arguing about semantics when there are actual points to be made. Your behaviour here is disingenuous, dissimulating, and arrogant. You’re trying very hard to pin me to errors of which you are yourself guilty, and gaps in understanding that you are yourself demonstrating. I have neither the time nor energy to waste going back years in my academic life to respond to spurious half-understood objections. If you want to talk about something substantial, by all means, present it.

    As for the bit about unintended subtext: ??????????????? Where do you get these things? You are the one applying subtext! I took the visible meaning of your statement (when was that. . . a year ago? feels like it) and you accused me of not seeing a ream of invisible subtexts that were not at all apparent from what you said. I told you I didn’t believe you, because not only did you demonstrate very clearly that you didn’t know what you were talking about (for example, you were unfamiliar with not only the punctuation of your comment, but also the common meaning of the construct you were using), but you wanted me to believe that you were expressing an intention that there was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for me to have thought you were expressing.

    Now I’ll respond to the direct insult here:

    “believe me or not, you don’t have much faith in anything anyway so that is truly immaterial.”

    I can’t even begin to dig the logic out of this sentence. It’s utter garbage. It’s not a complete statement, and it doesn’t even assert anything other than an insult, which isn’t related to the object which, since it isn’t even in the damned sentence, can’t be anything but assumed.

    How could you *possibly* know whether I have “no faith in anything?” That trainwreck of a sentence moves this regressive dialogue with you cleanly from the public (a basic, simplistic conversation on the nature of communication and discourse that often strayed into shots at your errors in it and feeble, half-argued attempts on your part to characterize the standard approaches as errors in my reasoning) to the *personal* (an attack on my character), and is not only something that has nothing to do with the conversation and is totally unknowable by you (and also, for the record, untrue), but is also something that there is no reason for me to tolerate. If your purpose here was to anger me, you’ve done so, sir. Utterly. I’ll confine my invalidations and my attacks to the exercise of your reason (such as it is) and the charity of your thought (such as it is), but I will not attack your character, because I know nothing about you, and frankly, I don’t want to. I would hope you’d have the strength of character to do the same.

  136. Sigma6 Says:

    Sorry, ‘charity of your thought’ should be ‘clarity of your thought’.

  137. Sigma6 Says:

    I apologize. You said ‘much faith’. You still leave me a bit of room to have faith in *something*. The insult is still there though, it’s just a bit softer; you don’t know anything about me personally. You might as well have said I hadn’t much compassion for anyone, because you’d have had as much reason to think so.

  138. Sigma6 Says:

    Another apology, I offered you a little too much credit earlier. I assumed (erroneously, it seems, again) that you understood yet another basic concept. You said:

    “Basically, what I am understanding from this, is that you want to discuss only that which you can fake or refuite. Oddly, this seems to coinside with your logical expressions in previous posts. Seems like an juvnial way to seek out the truth of reality. Result of such discussion seems likely to be: what is false is true. That does not sound like logic to me but inversed mathematics.”

    I”m only going to make oblique reference to the fact that your English is atrocious (I won’t hit specific examples), because again, I don’t know if it’s your first language. What I’ll do is beg (please) that you look up the word ‘falsifiable’. It’s a word I avoided using here because I’d assumed you would stumble over it (a good assumption, it turns out), but eventually, I realized that I couldn’t avoid it. There’s no better word, really.

    I seriously recommend that you apply to a real school. Spend a few years there. It would be useful to you. As for me, I tend to prefer what was happening when I was arguing with Blah: progress. We were actually making points about things that mattered; presenting our viewpoints. Everything you’ve said to me, and most of what I’ve said back to you, as a result, has been a waste of my time, and that of everyone else reading this.

  139. ditchu Says:

    “falsifiable
    One entry found.

    Main Entry: fal·si·fy
    Pronunciation: \ˈfȯl-sə-ˌfī\
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): fal·si·fied; fal·si·fy·ing
    Etymology: Middle English falsifien, from Middle French falsifier, from Medieval Latin falsificare, from Latin falsus
    Date: 15th century
    transitive verb
    1: to prove or declare false : disprove
    2: to make false: as a: to make false by mutilation or addition b: to represent falsely : misrepresent
    3: to prove unsound by experience
    intransitive verb”
    Webster

    Ok, I see you are using the first and third meanings of the term, when I saw you using the second.

    My mistake. But that bags the question: If you are attempting to discuss only that which can be “proven false” why are you talking about religion at all?

    -D

  140. Sigma6 Says:

    Because the core concepts can’t be proven false or proven true (and thus they’re not part of the argument). Pick up a copy of David Hume: “A Treatise on Miracles and the Origin of Religions” for a clearer take on this.

    They shouldn’t be part of the discussion beyond what we can deduce about them (and even then as long as we keep in mind that deduction is never conclusive), but the doctrine, the events, the scriptures, the origins of the traditions, and … well, the rest of the dogma, belong firmly to the realm of the falsifiable; they can be examined and it’s possible to refute them. There are reams and reams written on them. I’m a big fan of Fraser’s ‘The Golden Bough’ (which is a thing of beauty, though flawed), and just about anything Jung wrote on Christianity. Hume, Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire. . .

    Religion has such a huge effect on what we do and think (and whom we persecute and kill) that it would be worth discussing anyway, but if we’re going to (if we mean to understand it) we really do have to play by the rules, or we might as well not bother.

  141. Sigma6 Says:

    Incidentally, for all you know, I might be a Christian myself. I might be devout. Consistent with what I said above, I don’t bring that to the table, because it has nothing to do with the discussion. It’s a matter of faith and belief, and nowhere does it impact with observation. I could tell you what I believe, but why? Who cares what I believe? I want to know what th natural world looks like, and whether certain things happen in it or not. My experience with things that can’t be related to others or verified have no bearing on it at all.

    A recent facebook status: “Sigma believes in the Light, he just doesn’t know if it’s a wave or a particle.”

    And this, which illustrates the approach rather well (atheism notwithstanding):

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts

  142. vidlord.com Says:

    Sigma – light is both a wave and a particle. This video explains it perfectly – it is amazing! An observer actually impacts HOW light behaves.

  143. Sigma6 Says:

    Thank you Vidlord! It was an attempt at a poetic example of an approach, that’s all. I’m familiar with wave/particle duality, and the nature of light, and the effect of the observer on the outcomes of experiments (I think the double slit experiment is absolutely fascinating!).

    Excellent link for those unfamiliar with quantum mechanics, however. Do you study physics? Feynman fan?

  144. Sigma6 Says:

    @ Ditchu; as a further example, earlier you presented an anecdotal example of something you couldn’t explain (a blurry figure, as I recall) as evidence of the existence of things beyond our understanding.

    No scientist needs to be convinced of this! :) We are all looking for that verifiable example, and we are all aware that there is a great deal to be known which currently lies beyond our understanding. I have had similar experiences, and I would not presume to claim that I knew what they were, and contingent upon that, I would not presume to claim that they proved anything more than that I had seen them. Ditto for apparent synchronicity; I may believe in it, but it is a series of loosely connected events that may have other reasons to coincide; after all, everything in the universe is connected. If the results of the workings of the universe are observable, then there is no reason to seek magical explanations for anything; ‘miracles’ which violate the visible laws would, in theological terms, simply make the entire point of a ‘creation’ with rules moot. Were there a God who set the rules (and again, whether there is is outside the realm of induction), he would defeat his own purpose if he were to violate them. This is a key theological argument for predestination: If God has a plan, and it’s unfathomable, then why would he change it just because we ask, even if we ‘ask in faith’?

    Just examples of key problems that can be explained away deductively, but not inductively. There are plenty of deductive explanations (from many sides) as to how these problems should be approached, but very few inductive ones. Quite simply, if it happens, it’s explainable, and therefore it follows the rules and is not a ‘miracle’.

    Again, examples.

  145. Sigma6 Says:

    Sorry, I neglected to point out that conversely, if it’s a ‘miracle’ and does violate the rules, then it’s a fraud, plain and simple.

  146. vidlord.com Says:

    Sigma I haven’t studied physics but I am fascinated by that particular experiment. I’m currently trying to understand Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. At the moment I’m also pondering the question “Could God create things so indivisible that he could not divide them?”

  147. Sigma6 Says:

    Anselm of Canterbury gets into that, as well as Augustine, Aquinas, Luther. . . well, pretty much everybody has a variation on the theistic proofs. Thing is, none of them are proofs, just arguments.

  148. Jose Says:

    Guys, this is getting nowhere. Hating each other and exchanging harsh comments. Are we not all Christians? Were we not taught to exercise love and tolerance since our childhood by our own beloved parents? Let us make this world a better place to live with, by maintaining harmonious relationship regardless of our religious beliefs and practices. We should all unite as Christians. Take note Muslim Extremists are out to annihilate us from all four corners of the earth. Why can’t we be civil and friends just like a small child. That way, we can enjoy each others company.

    I remember my Grandpa would always say, everytime there’s some argument as to who’s right; as a matter of principle: “There are many ways or roads leading to the same school we aim to reach.”

    As fellow christian, It would great if we’re all united, peace and harmony prevails to each and everyone of us. God bless us all.

  149. measure76 Says:

    No, we are not all Christians. Some of us are atheist.

  150. Jose Says:

    Ok then, I respect that. Still would not help if we keep on harassing, criticizing, bully or even to the point of persecuting them, just because they don’t have the same faith with us. Suffice it to say that this is a chaotic world we live in. Why not make it a better place for us to live, one is to preserve tranquility. Let us respect them in any way we could; that we humans deserve to be called civilized. Have a nice day to all.

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