You can. It's called an Interest List. It's the only way I can stand to use FB.
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why did they never deny their testimony? Obviously they felt no loyalty to Smith, having left the church.
They may have believed in "the Restoration" but also believed that Smith was a fallen prophet after marrying a 14-year-old girl, practicing polyandry, and all the other wacky stuff he did. Or maybe Smith just wasn't sharing enough of the power, money, and adoration for their liking, so they distanced themselves from him but didn't want to look like fools for being suckered in to Smith's little cult so maintained their "testimony" to avoid ridicule.
That one is pretty weak.
That's your opinion. After reviewing the evidence from both sides, my conclusion is that the mummy and papyri were purchased and the Book of Abraham was made up by Smith to impress his cult followers. As we know, Smith also attempted to translate the Kinderhook plates, so we can see that he likes to make up "translations" that aren't real.
Speaking of weak... the lds.org essay on DNA contains a lot of "spin" that isn't well-supported by the non-Mormon scientific community. And really, it's the change of doctrine that's damning. Remember, I was a member for 36 years. I grew up when the Church taught that Native Americans were Lamanites, full stop, no question. I heard it in Primary, I heard it in Seminary, I heard it in Gospel Doctrine, I heard it in priesthood meetings. Now the Church is changing their story: "oops, sorry, some of our prior revelations were wrong, but we've got it right this time, really we do". How could God's True Church be so wrong about Native Americans not being Lamanites for so many years? It's one of the major doctrinal foundations of the Restoration! What good is a Prophet if he can't get such basic facts correct? He doesn't seem to be very inspired. How can we be sure he's telling the truth now?
The "Prophet" has changed doctrine plenty of other times, too. Changes to the Book of Mormon (to update their changing beliefs in the Trinity), changing the appearance of Nephi to Moroni, multiple First Vision accounts, teaching Adam was God then retracting, teaching Blood Atonement then retracting, changes to the Doctrine and Covenants, etc. God sure seems to have a hard time finding prophets who can keep the story straight!
They were seen by the three witnesses
I'm not familiar with that claim or its background so I can't address it.
the 'evidence' that has been posited against is does not stand up to scrutiny
answers to all of your questions and the cure to your misconceptions are readily found on the internet
Indeed. I found out on the internet that the Mormon cult had been deceiving me after I had dedicated 36 years of time, talents, and money to it. That helped I and my family arrive at the decision to resign our membership.
because those are historical questions
I must respectfully disagree. These are not questions, these are facts. Brigham's statements of doctrine are well-documented by Church-approved sources (Journal of Discourses) and the Church does not deny that those doctrines were taught.
that necessarily are heavily influenced by a person's perspective on whether the church is actually what it claims to be
Facts are facts regardless of your perspective. Brigham really did teach Blood Atonement and Adam-God; the modern Church really has refuted those. Church leaders really have stated that God will not allow the Prophet to lead the Church astray. But you're right, in that I cannot see how anyone can hold the perspective that the Church is still true in spite of the logical impossibility.
How does that thesis hold up to examination, beyond the fact that the church receives money? Who benefits? Not President Monson, apparently, since he lives quite modestly
... he is not intermingling church funds with his own money
This is an unsupported assertion. The Church's finances are closed; nobody (except maybe the First Presidency and perhaps the Quorum of the 12) knows where all the tithing money goes. The charter for the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (on file with the federal government, you can read it) gives Monson total authority to do whatever he likes with all donations and is beholden to no-one. You can assert that Monson isn't living off the fat of the members, I can assert that he is; but neither of us can offer evidence because the Church refuses to open their financial books.
We do know that the Church is worth billions (with a 'B'), yet it makes it's members scrub toilets for free and gives only a few percent to charity and humanitarian aid while simultaneously spending many millions on the City Creek mall and miles of Florida real estate. You cannot assert that the mall and land were not bought with tithing; the books are closed, you cannot read them. Whether tithing was used or not, is the spending consistent with a Christlike philosophy, or are these actions indicative of a money-hungry corporation? You, and Occam's razor, can be the judge.
If so, doesn't it seem odd to you that this delusion is so general in convincing people to do good things, to help their neighbors, to pay fast offerings, to contribute to communities, and to have strong families?
Every con has an element of truth. Just because the Church does a few good things, doesn't make it okay for it to do a bunch of other bad things.
Further, other religions and even atheists give money, build communities, and have strong families. The Church does not have a monopoly on "goodness".
Isn't it odd also that it has warned so many of danger, averted personal catastrophes, and otherwise given sound counsel?
But it hasn't. What about all the people blessed to recover from illness, and then don't? How about people that get injured and killed in accidents but didn't receive any divine warning beforehand? What about Brigham's inspiration to teach his racist Blood Atonement doctrine, was that from the Holy Ghost or a frenzied mind? Or Joseph's "revelation" to send the Brethren to Canada to sell the Book of Mormon copyright, which ended in failure and Joseph admitting his revelation was of the devil? Even aided by his rock in his hat, the Holy Ghost wasn't even reliable for Joseph Smith, who's allegedly done more than anyone (save Jesus) for mankind.
Mormons love to tell "warm fuzzies" about little everyday occurrences confirm he Church is true. However these are heavily biased by the the Pollyanna principle. For every faith-confirming experience, there is usually one or two faith-destroying ones that are quietly ignored or forgotten. And members of other faiths have these little faith-building experiences too. If we lend those credence, there is more support for non-LDS religions being true than LDS based on sheer numbers (LDS being a minority compared to say, Catholics). If we tally up all these experiences, you'll find no statistical confidence supporting the idea that the Mormons have the only true Church.
Proper faith is a principle of action,
I gave my faith action for 36 years.
And then repeating the experiment over and over again.
I did it over and over again for 36 years.
Be scientific about it.
I have. I have enough evidence to satisfy me that those few times I thought I felt the Holy Ghost, could be equally explained by bias and other phenomena. Add to that the evidence against the Church, the scales tip towards the Church being false.
On the one hand, you sound like you almost desperately want to believe for some reason. On the other hand, you are angry and disillusioned because you felt hopelessly abandoned
Yeah, I was betrayed. I wasted 36 years of my life. I missed out on a lot of life's great experiences. I will never get those hundreds of hours of time back. I hate that my family is still in bondage to the cult, and they all think I'm crazy for applying logic and reason and leaving it. Can you blame me for being a little bitter?
If I believe in science, I must accept that the Church may yet be true, pending further evidence. I'm not seeing any of that evidence though. Until that evidence materializes, I'm content to find what meaning I can in a secular life; it's better than wasting my time and money on a scam.
Your Fremen/Sardaukar testing/toughening analogy is a good one. I could believe in it, if I could be sure of a testimony from the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately, feelings are not reliable sources of truth, so I have no basis on which to give your analogy any credence.
If I am fully satisfied that this alleged fact is true, is it impossible that God could command his prophet to do this thing, even if I'm not sure why he would?
Yep, the final straw for me was Brigham Young's Blood Atonement and Adam-God doctrines. The Church likes to call these theories, but Brigham said that what he taught was scripture, and later prophets have said that the Lord will not allow his Prophet to lead the Church astray. Unfortunately, the Church has now disavowed Brigham's doctrines. So either Brigham's doctrines were correct and the Church is now in apostasy, or Brigham led the Church astray. Either way, it is impossible that God would allow this to happen, by the Church's own admission.
And the excuse that men are weak and fallible doesn't fly. Yeah, God's prophet can be "weak" and fornicate with Fanny Alger, practice polyandry 11 times, and marry a 14-year old girl. I can overlook those. But preaching false doctrine is a sure sign that the Church is not true. What good is a prophet if you can't trust any word that comes out of his mouth? The "men are imperfect" excuse can only stretch so far.
Believing without having a perfect knowledge is faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow. I have evidence it will come up, but not proof, so I have faith. But belief in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is delusion. Unless and until God make himself known unto me clearly and unambiguously, it would be delusional for me to have faith in a Church that by any scientific, objective, rational measure, is false, or at least corrupt.
I think a problem with lifelong mormons is that many of us grow up vaguely believing without ever really testing it ourselves. That works for a while, but ultimately one must experience God directly and personally to progress.
Thanks for a reply lacking in personal attacks. And I could not agree with your statement more; one can only live on borrowed light for so long.
My borrowed light ran out when I prayed for comfort when my wife was seriously ill. I didn't pray that she would get better; just for the Comforter, as God promised me when I received the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the power of the Mormon priesthood. I was keeping all my Temple covenants, so I was worthy. Here was a chance to put Alma 32 to the test -- would the seed that I had nurtured for 36 years take root and bear fruit?
It didn't. God left me utterly alone when I needed him the most. And unless someone can explain why he left me in the lurch, I can no longer beleive in a God unable or unwilling to keep his promises.
Since God left me to my own devices, I researched the true history of the Church. "Anti"-Mormon sites don't lie, they are only "anti" in the sense that they tell the truth that Church leadership doesn't want you to know. And once I knew the truth about the institutional dishonesty that pervades Church leadership, well, that was the end for me. Those seeds of faith were bad.
Church members are good folks, and you seem like a nice guy. I hope you benefit from living a Christlike life in spite of, not because of, your membership in a cult.
If you want a reproducible experiment, I'm happy to provide you with one,
You mean praying to get an answer from the Holy Ghost?
I was there, man. I was a testimony-bearing member for 36 years. Born in the Covenant, went on a mission, married in the Temple. Then I realized that the "Holy Ghost" is nothing more than a psychological trick that the cult uses to extort tithing from it's victims.
I'd love for your church to be true, but, the Holy Ghost is not reliable test for truth. If you have another method I can try, please, share it.
I'm sorry, but how can anyone really believe that these pre-date the creation of the planet? Was anyone THERE at THAT TIME to OBSERVE exactly when and by whom the footprints were made? Seems pretty silly to me to believe in this non-obervational "science"!
You appear to be proceeding on the assumption that direct observation is the only reliable method of determining truth. By this standard, I must infer that you do not believe in God, since you have certainly never directly observed Him. Yes?
Is that alright with you?
No, the non-word "alright" is not all right with me.
Have you ever seen the applications people build around MS Access back in the day? It was, I am not exaggerating, a nightmare.
One of my former employers built a business around Access. Many of our clients (with 10-20 employees) used our Access "apps" for their main workflow.
One user on a local PC wasn't bad, but stick the Access file blob file out on a file share and let multiple users hit it... classic cascade failure would rapidly ensue. Hey, job security for me.
Aspartame has been linked to anal seepage
You sure? Perhaps you were thinking of Olestra.
I really liked the new engine room. It looks like what I would imagine a starship's engine room to look like -- no pretty swirly light tubes, just raw engineering.
wait, who said that members of the military would actually be *willing* to fight a war against other Americans?
They wouldn't be shooting "Americans", they'd be shooting "domestic terrorists". Everyone knows that terrorists aren't even human, so, no problem, fire away.
Time was running at 10% speed during this 3,000-person battle, which is the maximum amount of time dilation possible."
Cool: bullet time!
after playing the old game Conflict: Middle East Political Simulator
Thank you for mentioning the old DOS Conflict. I spent many an enjoyable hour playing that game. Only now in hindsight do I realize how nice it was to have a fun yet challenging game that wasn't a cliche side-scroller, RPG, or FPS.
It's kind of funny... often when I played Conflict, I'd try to nuke somebody and still win the game... never succeeded. Perhaps that was the game designer's subtle way of saying the nuclear option is a no-win scenario?
Anyway, this new Endgame Syria bears a striking resemblance to Conflict, almost to the point of being a rip-off -- Conflict had newspaper headlines too, influenced directly by your political and military in-game decisions. But if Endgame Syria raises awareness of the Middle East's issues, I guess I can forgive the author.