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Comment Re:idiotic politically correct fears indeed (Score 1) 1223

I would agree with you that this often happens, people born into a religion are more likely to stay within that religion, but that's a generalization that has as more to do with the strength of socio-cultural influences than anything. That said, in my experience I have seen a lot of people, both former atheists and people from other religious backgrounds convert to Mormonism (I teach a class for 'investigators' / new members.)

Bringing in new converts is a fairly common occurrence, so I don't buy into the hypothesis that religions survive through indoctrination, certainly not that religions survive *only* through indoctrination. I know that atheists typically carry this assumption (being a former atheist myself) that if religious people just knew the 'facts' they wouldn't be religious any more. (Certainly evangelicals believe that about mormonism, just see my other posts in this thread.) However, that's not actually true (otherwise how do new religious movements form and grow and in some small cases, go on to become world religions? ) There are a lot of reasons why people decide to believe, or come to believe in a certain faith tradition and they almost never have anything to do with science. What is scientifically right or wrong often doesn't matter to the average person, they have their own criteria. I think to try and generalize it down to lack of knowledge, lack of intelligence or some other common factor is going to lead you to some very false stereotypes.

One last thing, converts always choose their new faith based on the 'merits,' even if those merits are totally subjective and relate only to them, so again, I would disagree with your general assumption.

Comment Re:idiotic politically correct fears indeed (Score 1) 1223

There were many drivers to why people hated the mormons back in the day, not just reactions to the mormons. Geez if your reactions to your neighbours leads you to rape, pillage and kill them I'm not going to blame it on them. Everyone is accountable for *how* they react to things. It was impossible for them to live 'peacefully' with their neighbours, that's a naive thing to say. 19th century USA wasn't exactly the place of tolerance and acceptance for people who are different. Mormonism was *always* a peaceful religion, it didn't just become one. The thing is that religions are made up of people, and when you push people enough they eventually push back. I hear lots of people on this thread saying that Linus should speak his mind no matter whether it's politically correct or not. Yet when we get to the mormons any time they pushed back or spoke up it's somehow not ok. Double standard much?

Here are some of the *real* reasons why mormons were hated:
1) Mormon theology was by 19th century norms, unorthodox, and in the 1840's when J.S. introduced many new ideas, heretical. When J.S. started talking about gold plates the persecution was either from other pastors who found it heretical (revelation is gone! the heavens are closed! everyone knows that!) or from people who wanted to steal them from him.
2) Mormon theology and cosmology was very attractive. When mormonism first came on the scene people converted in droves. Entire congregations converted en-mass leaving many pastors without livelihoods. (That's what happened with Sydney Rigdon.) Those pastors saw it as a huge threat both doctrinally and financially. They didn't take it lying down, in fact much of the earliest and most vociferous persecution comes as a result of this.
3) Mormons were very insular. They tended to only patronize businesses that were also mormon. There were many reasons for this, such as people poising the wine they sold them for sacrament services, but they also to blame.
4) Joseph Smith was quite egalitarian. He believed in freedom and equality for all people. He even ordained blacks to the priesthood. Unfortunately that brought a lot of persecution and he stopped the practise. (Again, unfortunately he didn't really explain why he stopped it and no one resumed it again until the 1970's but that's another discussion.) You have this against the backdrop of mounting tensions that eventually lead to the civil war. People accused them of stirring up the indians and blacks to rebellion because they were teaching them that they were and should be equal to whites.
5) The failure of the kirkland bank pissed off a lot of people, both mormon and non-mormon. There are a lot of reasons why it failed. If you are interested you can read the LDS side of the story here:
6) Early mormon converts typically came from poverty or lower class backgrounds. Middle & Upper class people largely looked down on them and saw them as a threat. They feared being over-run by the poor and needy, largely b/c of the next point.
7) Politics as I already mentioned. J.S. run for president scared a lot of people as did his prophecy that the new jerusalem would be in jackson county. (had nothing to do with an prophesy about gods kingdom over the whole earth. In fact most 19th century protestants believed that was going to happen anyway at the time of christ's second coming.) People there feared the mormons would overwhelm them and drive them out. The opposite happened of course.
8) Immigration. The LDS church brought a lot of poor foreigners into the areas where they lived. Locals saw it as an economic threat.
9) Polygamy in the Navoo period. It scandalized most europeans. Although there was good and bad elements to it it's not what people think of today when they look at the mormon fundamentalists. A very small percentage of people practised it and usually if you had money you got assigned a wife who may have lost her husband or was a spinster or needed someone to look after her. Now, Brigham Young was an exception, sure and it didn't always work like for many reasons, mostly cultural (what woman doesn't want to marry the leader?) However, by and large mormon women were happy with the arrangement.

There was mud slinging all around. I'm not saying the mormons were perfect, but by and large they were on the receiving end of a lot of persecution and when they did try to stand up for themselves you had people screaming at how evil they were. It was a double standard then and it is today. If we were talking about jews or muslims most people would not say a word (ok, this is slashdot, they probably would here) but it's ok to bash mormons. Bigotry is just a matter of fashion.

What I'd like someone to tell me is how/why polygamy (yes polygamy and not just polygny) as practiced by mormons in the utah period (not as practised today by mormon fundamentalists) was such a horrible thing compared to the monogamy practised in the rest of europe. This seems to be the big sensational thing that everyone goes for. (Besides the fact that most cultures on the earth practised polygny in some shape or form, including ancient hebrews, etc. so it's really not out of the ordinary for the human species, it's just strange to north american culture.)

Comment Re:idiotic politically correct fears indeed (Score 1) 1223

Maybe you should also mention that Boggs was the one who put out the extermination order.... and that one of the reasons so many people hated the mormons wasn't because of polygamy (which wasn't an official practice until 12 years later) but because the Mormons were anti-slavery and treated blacks and natives as equals and even wanted women to vote! Those nasty backwards mormons.

For those of you still thinking in stereotypes, women living in polygamous mormon families (not anything like what the fundamentalists do today) weren't married off under age, most often had their own houses, were educated, had the right to vote (yes, they were the first women with the right to vote in north america) and often ran their own businesses. The abolishment of polygamy in Utah set women's rights back 100 years for them.

Comment Re:idiotic politically correct fears indeed (Score 1) 1223

Lol. I've heard it all before. J.Smith wasn't the only one tarred and feathered, or murdered. But it must all be the mormon's fault. What bad neighbors they were. (If I was treated how they were treated I might not be such a nice neighbor either.) Because his actions justify the rape and murder of others, including women and children. Right.....

There's lots of problems with the so called evidence of J.Smith being an early womanizer. The story of Marinda Johnson is complete with contradictions. At the end of the day, the attack against him had little to do with supposed womanizing, accusations of which don't show up until long after the events (like 12 years later.) Go read the other side of the story.

Boggs was shot by an unknown assailant and your 'prophesy' is based on the imagination of John Bennett, an active anti-mormon who was booted out for homosexuality, adultery, performing of abortions and polygamy, among other things. He was given more than one chance once caught. He actually vowed to drink the blood of J.S. he hated him so much. Yeah, I'm going to take his word for it as the unbiased party.

And really, Haun's mill not as bad? Really? I suppose it was all Brigham's fault; they must have brought it on themselves they did. Yup, that justifies all the persecution they got. I'm not defending the MMM. It was very unfortunate, but I can also understand how people who had repeatedly persecuted and driven out of the US, with an army coming to exterminate them might get jumpy and do something stupid. But of course that doesn't matter to you because you are apparently smarter than the rest of us and are yourself a completely unbiased party. So we must have deserved it. Question, do you say the same thing about the holocaust?

The only thing I agree with you on is the politics. People in the area were terrified of the 'mormon' vote b/c they would vote as a block; but not the nonsense about inheriting by the sword and terrorizing neighboring towns. (You don't mean those towns that sent mobs to burn them out of their homes in the middle of the night do you? Certainly not the ones where little children had to walk for miles in bear feet in the middle of winter over the frozen stubble of wheat fields that cut up their feet and left trails of blood? Not the ones where many of those children died from exposure? Certainly not those ones... because all those towns folk were perfect neighbors. )

What, because I don't believe all of your 'evidence' from the people who were trying to destroy them I'm clueless? Hmm.. maybe you're just a bigot. My guess is your either an evangelical who 'loves' us or an ex mormon. Either way, all your repeating is tired old allegations we've heard for 100 years now, or more.

Comment Re:idiotic politically correct fears indeed (Score 1) 1223

How about... in the global pool of religions, where one is just as silly as the next, I picked the one that I figured was the most interesting and least dangerous.

Good enough for you or are you an 1) atheist or 2) evangelical looking to pick a fight? If so, I really don't care what you think.

Comment Re:idiotic politically correct fears indeed (Score 5, Interesting) 1223

On behalf of all Mormons, you guys are making a far bigger deal out of it than we are. I read it and just went... meh.. it's Linus being Linus.

I think we can handle' Linus' opinion after. oh, having the US Gov't try to exterminate us and being the target of 'Christian' hate, I mean Love, for a couple hundred years that resulting in smear campaigns, regular protests in front of our places of worship, tar and feathering, burning down our homes, raping our women and killing our children and murdering our leaders....

Linus, no problem. I'll take Linus' love over 'Christian' love any day.

Comment Re:Mormons (Score 1) 1223

You're taking a lot of things out of context and twisting them to make them seem far stranger than they are. That's the same sort of behavior that the evangelicals engage in to make evolution seem crazy and atheists seem dangerous to other evangelicals. I suspect your understanding isn't that great, all you've heard is some sensationalist things that have been twisted for shock value.

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