Beliefs Faith General story Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Who is leaving the LDS Church?

Youth pass the sacrament during the service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Lenexa Ward on June 17, 2012in Lenexa, Kan. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

One of the backers for my Kickstarter campaign for “The Next Mormons” survey explained in a message to me that all four of her adult children have left the LDS Church, and she hopes my research will help her understand why.

It should certainly shed some light.

In this survey, I want to assess how active Mormons feel about a wide range of issues. We ask about Word of Wisdom observance, family size, temple experiences, testimony, political preferences: it’s very wide-ranging.

But the survey also canvasses the ones that got away: not only people who are currently active in the Church and would self-identify as Mormon, but those who were Mormon for at least one year before the age of eighteen and no longer attend. Who is leaving, and why?

To me, this is one of the most important potential findings of this research. This week, I spoke at some length about it in the Mormon Matters podcast with Notre Dame professor David Campbell and Provo Herald reporter Derrick Clements.

Dave explained what this research can add to what we already know about Mormons from prior surveys:

What Jana is proposing would actually be qualitatively different than my impression of what the church typically does for its own survey research, which is simply to survey members – and I think often it’s members who are actually at church. That is, they’ll distribute surveys in a given ward or in a given branch. And that captures, certainly, one share of the LDS population, but by no means the entire population, because as we know there are many people who are not going to be in the pews, or in Relief Society, or in priesthood, or wherever they’re filling out the survey. And that’s an important constituency to capture.

And frankly . . . that’s also not a group that we typically get when we do just a straightforward telephone survey of the general population and ask, “Are you Mormon, or not?” Because many people who would be on the records of the Church, when asked on the phone or online “Are you Mormon?” would say no because they don’t actually do the Mormon stuff. So they don’t think of themselves as Mormon, even though nominally, they would be classified that way, and the Church would consider them to be members.

“The Next Mormons” survey is going to add to our knowledge of both groups: current and former Latter-day Saints.

Who are these former Latter-day Saints? Well, most of them are still officially on the rolls of the Church, but they choose not to attend regularly or self-identify as Mormon.

We know, or can infer, some things about them from prior research. There is a correlation between certain life situations and leaving. This does not mean that being any one of these things will cause a person to leave, only that there is a relationship.

  • Being single. There’s been some tantalizing research over the last two years about singles in the LDS Church. Singles are less likely to stay active than married people, but we don’t yet have reliable national data.  In one stake, single women had an activity rate of 17% and single men just 8%. In my survey and in the book’s oral history interviews I am listening to what singles say about their experiences. (So far, the message is that it is very, very hard to be single in such a married church.)
  • Being male. Men are more likely to leave than women, according to earlier research. Interestingly, this trend is particularly prevalent in Utah. Men are also especially likely to leave if they did not serve a mission. (Again, correlation is not necessarily causation: do they leave because they don’t have a valued place in the Church as adults if they never completed this rite of passage, or did they not serve a mission because they already had one foot out the door?)
  • Being young. The Millennial generation as a whole is the least religiously affiliated of any generation in American history, and that trend is not slowing down. Younger Millennials (18 to 24) are even more likely to describe themselves as “Nones” than older Millennials (25 to 34), who are in turn more likely to disaffiliate than Gen Xers. The bottom line is that in every succeeding generation of the US population as a whole, we’re seeing less affiliation with organized religion. In “The Next Mormons” study, we’ll be able to see to what extent that trend is at work in four generations of Latter-day Saints. What I suspect we will find is that Millennial Mormons are still quite a bit more devout than their Millennial peers – but not as devout as their Mormon parents and grandparents. But I could be wrong; this is why we need hard data.

If you are interested in these large-scale shifts in religious belief and behavior among Mormons – or you’re just concerned about what is happening in your own circle of family and friends — I hope you’ll support the research I’m doing by donating to the Kickstarter campaign by Friday, July 29. We’re halfway through the two-week campaign and are just over halfway to our goal. That’s exciting, but these next few days are critical.

There are some rewards for helping, in addition to HOW AWESOME YOU WILL FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF. Some backers of the project will have access to the executive summary of our findings before the book is published; others will get signed books, their name in the acknowledgments, and—at the $500 level—an author event where I will come and speak to their group or organization about what we’ve learned about young adult Mormons. (Charts! Graphs!)

So please consider making a donation and helping to spread the word on social media. The link to Kickstarter is here.

 


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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

171 Comments

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  • Not your kind of Christian at least. I guess belief in Jesus as their Savior isn’t enough for you to consider Mormons as Christians.

    News flash Sandi, it’s all silly superstitious dogma. “Cults” are just newer groups of gullables.

  • (*sigh*) I wish I were going to live long enough to enjoy an American electorate dominated by people who don’t believe in any religious establishment and don’t care if anybody else does or does not. I’m hopeful that when that age group becomes the decision-makers, decency will find its way into our public life (as it has in much of post-Christian European society) instead of this “founded in biblical principles” sham dominated by ignorant, anti-intellectual, hypocritical conservatives.

  • You’ve had none to make. You were wrong. At this point in time, the Christian churches are deciding whether LDS have

  • No. The problem isn’t believing in Jesus a Saviour. They don’t know Who Jesus is. They also think satan is his brother – for example. They don’t understand that Jesus has always been and always will be – to name a few. They are works oriented and works will not get one into the Kingdom of Heaven. They don’t know Jesus and follow and idol of their own making.
    Actually you are in error. The real Jesus will help you.

  • Jana, I read this article a few times and watched your Kickstarter video a few times as well. In the video, you mentioned that the advent of those becoming “Nones” was not-so-great news. Will this survey be conducted under a faithful framework or be left completely objective to whichever way the data leads? I ask, because it seems to me that there may be a false premise at play here – which is to say that becoming a “None” is a bad thing. What if the individuals becoming “Nones” are happier that way? What if the only unhappiness the “Nones” experience is the judgement of those who are faithful but cannot seem to accept the the “Nones” as they are?

    I personally left because after going through intense faithful study of church history, I found myself in a different church than the one that I was taught about and lived throughout my entire life. And the “real” (historically accurate) church was simply unbelievable to me. I did not want to leave, but rather could not stay because for me staying would have compromised my honesty and integrity (for me personally; I understand that others can tolerate the nuanced church history through a metaphysical perspective or other similar measures). The hardest thing about leaving was not theological in any way, but in processing rejection from the LDS community because of my unbelief. My ward and stake has many wonderful individuals and I was friends with dozens, if not hundreds of people. Yet after being “out” (inactive) for a few years now, I can count on one hand a few families that still remain good friends, and even many of those relationships are strained. The others just ignore me and some even shun. I still love them and accept them for who they are, even if I do not believe in the church any more. Why can they not afford me the same, just as AoF #11 states?

    For what it’s worth, I think that this perspective is needed for your survey with an eye towards understanding and tolerance, and allowing the collected data to guide the perspective instead of preconceptions. I wish you the best on conducting your survey.

  • The suggestion that Satan was our brother is biblical: Isaiah 14:12 “How are thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning?”, but let’s not get hung up on that non-critical detail since some would debate what Isaiah meant and since your other note is more important.

    “Faith without works is dead, being alone,” James 2:17. “For we labor diligently to … persuade our children … to believe in Christ … for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (Book of Mormon) If that wasn’t already clear, it was clarified recently be Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “We must understand that ‘after’ does not equal ‘because.’ We are not saved ‘because’ of all that we can do.”

    The real Jesus can help us all.

  • That does not suggest satan is a brother. Satan is an angel. Something created by God. Jesus is, always was, and will always be God

    Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
    Galatians 1:8 – is a reference explaining the fallacy of the Book of Mormon
    Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[e] anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. – responds to divining from the bottom of the hat.
    Mormonism is a cult. They follow an idol and do not know Jesus.

  • We are all judgmental. I judge all those who are believing in all things invisible and hope they come to grips with reality.

  • Your Jesus that you know personally, cause you say so. So everyone should get on board with your version

  • So the bible contradicts itself and you wonder why all you people fight each other on who is correct. Brad and Sandi just proved it. Anything that contradictory is not based in truth.

  • He may reveal Himself differently to each person “And He shall teach them in the way that He shall choose” Ps. 25, but He will not contradict His Word to do so.

  • both those scriptures are in your bible. They contradict each other. So which one is true? Whatever answer you come up with will back up whatever you want to be your truth. You do it ,Mormons do it. No difference

  • If you are able to make sense out of a convoluted bible than how would you be able to recognize a lie.

  • All they have, is the bible tells me so. Then they talk feelings and if that doesn’t work then they have “faith”.

  • Have you considered the fact that many leave because they realized its a hoax, that joe was a con-man.

  • One question to have on your survey is if some are leaving because they have been lied to. That is why I left. I came to faith in the real Jesus of the Scriptures and then discovered that the Jesus of Mormonism was a counterfeit, Joseph Smith was a false prophet, Mormon teachings contradict the Word of God, and that Mormonism preaches a false gospel that is leading their followers to destruction.
    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  • and YOU of course, know the right answers to all those questions.. BEN did a good job pointing this out.. Just because YOU believe one thing , it doesn’t make others wrong..

  • There are a lot of fine WHINES on this thread. And as deep experience has taught me, they are mostly coming from either the pathetically ill-informed (try hard anti-LDS folks; I was raised mainline Protestant; I know all the “split-rail” arguments), or from the members who are disaffected because they simply don’t want to know the Lord’s mind and will anyway. It’s the smaller group in the middle–the ones who have been unfortunately grieved, affronted or withheld/blocked/stunted from true spiritual experience, who I have the most concern for. Jana, I have often thought of you as a bit of a sniveler/whiner (being honest, here), and have rarely agreed with you, but I think your coming work–if honest–will be VERY valuable. . . . for a lot of reasons yet to be seen.

    By the way: to the fool who hijacked this disquss identity for a year: thanks a lot for wrecking my cred.

  • I’m TBM. Sorry, but Chino’s probably right. B C Humphrey is just venting out her geo tract.

  • Sandi, you’re obviously not Mormon and are also, therefore, probably not a great source of information regarding Mormon beliefs. I am interested, though, in more information about your Christian beliefs. Who is this real Jesus you mention? Who is Satan?

  • The Mormon 3rd Article of Faith says, “We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.” Am I reading correctly between your lines above that the real Jesus isn’t the same Jesus who was baptized in the River Jordan emphasizing the importance of ordinances nor is He the one who said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments?”

  • Again, Sandi, as a non-Mormon, I’m not going to look to you as a knowledgeable source on Mormon beliefs but please explain how your corner of Christianity reconciles the passage you cite in Ephesians with James 2.

  • Jesus is God. He was with God in the beginning. Genesis 1:26 He is the Word of God through who all things were created, and nothing was created that He didn’t create. (John 1) He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8. He is God and considered Himself equal with God. John 3:18 – the Only Son of God. John 5:18 – He is equal with God….He is the son of Mary.

  • You are reading items given by an “angel” to the man – if he told the truth, somehow deciphered by divination, and are supposed to be accurate, even though some is quoted verbatim from the 1611 King James Version of the Bible.
    Galatians 1:8 English Standard Version (ESV)
    8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
    Deuteronomy 18 – 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[e] anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
    They do not believe Jesus always was. The believe Jesus is the actual son of God but don’t understand that designation means He is equal with God. They believe Jesus is the result of a marriage of God and someone.
    Mormons strip Jesus of His divinity and put it back on Him the way they want to understand it – rather than just accepting what He said about Himself.

    Satan is a created angel.

  • Since you ignored my question entirely, Sandi, should I take that as a “no,” meaning that you don’t believe in the Jesus who was baptized in the River Jordan (mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke) emphasizing the importance of ordinances nor the one who said in John, “If ye love me, keep my commandments?”

  • Sorry, but that’s a pretty confusing answer to a pretty simple question. It seems to me that if Jesus is God than saying that Jesus was with God is like saying Jesus was with Himself. Neither are the two clauses, “He is God” and “considered Himself to equal with God” very clear. How can a person be something and yet consider himself to be equal to that same thing? Also, I don’t read the NT to say that he himself believed that he was equal with God (see Mark 10:18). Additionally, you left a very important word out of your John 3:18 quote…μονογενοῦς…means only begotten rather than only. Begotten as you may know in the bible typically refers to physical parentage as in the lineages of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3). Mary’s pretty clearly the mother, but who’s the father? And, what about Satan? Who’s he?

  • What’s the scriptural source for that “Satan is a created angel.” convenient doctrine?

  • It’s disconcerting to hear someone describe fellow citizens as ignorant, anti-intellectual and hypocritical, just because they don’t believe what you do. Rather judgemental of you, and isn’t that something you dislike about the religious? Also, I have a doctorate in science- do you? Does that make me better than you? According to your values, it does, because I have more education than you. But according to the Christian values you glibly deride, my intellect has nothing to do with my value. You might want to look to post Christian Europe for the future you imagine you want. Ask gays in Malmo how life is, or those who look for free speech how life is

  • It was more important for you that I declare what your “doctrine” entails.
    Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
    2 Corinthians 11:14New International Version (NIV)

    14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
    also CARM may help you:The word ‘satan’ is the Hebrew transliteration of the word ‘adversary.’ Therefore, Satan is the one who opposes God. Satan is the most powerful of the fallen angels. Satan, also known as Lucifer and the Devil, is said to be the one who entered the Garden of Eden and convinced Eve to disobey God. There is debate among scholars regarding the time of the fall of Satan. Some say that he fell when he moved Eve to disobey God. Others state that Satan fell sometime before that and merely manifested his adversarial nature in the Garden. Still others say that there was a great battle in heaven long before the Garden of Eden, and that Satan took one-third of the angels with him.

    “And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth . . . ” (Rev. 12:3-4).

    Of course, the first mention of the devil is found in the Garden of Eden, but it isn’t until the post-exilic period (538 B.C.) that the figure of Satan is more prominently displayed: Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1-2; and 1 Chron. 21:1.1

    Satan is mentioned in the gospels many times:

    Matt. 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
    Mark 3:23-24, “And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? 24’And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.'”
    John 13:2, “And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him.”
    The motive for Satan’s rebellion may very well be found in the following verses:

    “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13″But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. 14’I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
    In the future, there will be a judgment where the devil will be cast out:

    “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:9).

  • I think it is only confusing for you because you are confused. There is nothing confusing about “making Himself equal with God.”
    Perhaps at the time in Mark, He had not revealed Himself as God. There came a time when He asked Peter: New International Version
    “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” You forget about: Isaiah 9:6New International Version (NIV)
    6 For to us a child is born,
 to us a son is given,
 and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

  • I believe your doctrine is of the devil intended to pull people away from the living God, Noel. People need to be protected from the Mormon cult, if they are to go to Heaven.
    I responded to that because it is the most important. We want people to go to Heaven and not follow an idol.

  • This is perhaps the most important question in all of Christian theology. This question is the cause of the Reformation, the split between the Protestant churches and Catholic Church. This question is a key difference between biblical Christianity and most of the “Christian” cults. Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works? Am I saved just by believing in Jesus, or do I have to believe in Jesus and do certain things?

    The question of faith alone or faith plus works is made difficult by some hard-to-reconcile Bible passages. Compare Romans 3:28, 5:1 and Galatians 3:24 with James 2:24. Some see a difference between Paul (salvation is by faith alone) and James (salvation is by faith plus works). Paul dogmatically says that justification is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), while James appears to be saying that justification is by faith plus works. This apparent problem is answered by examining what exactly James is talking about. James is refuting the belief that a person can have faith without producing any good works (James 2:17-18). James is emphasizing the point that genuine faith in Christ will produce a changed life and good works (James 2:20-26). James is not saying that justification is by faith plus works, but rather that a person who is truly justified by faith will have good works in his/her life. If a person claims to be a believer, but has no good works in his/her life, then he/she likely does not have genuine faith in Christ (James 2:14, 17, 20, 26).

    Paul says the same thing in his writings. The good fruit believers should have in their lives is listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Immediately after telling us that we are saved by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), Paul informs us that we were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Paul expects just as much of a changed life as James does: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). James and Paul do not disagree in their teaching regarding salvation. They approach the same subject from different perspectives. Paul simply emphasized that justification is by faith alone while James put emphasis on the fact that genuine faith in Christ produces good works.
    (GotQuestions.org)

  • I would venture to guess that you don’t apply the same level of scrutiny and critical thinking to your religious beliefs as you do to your scientific work. In my experience, most religious people with a scientific education are experts at compartmentalizing.

  • Well, that has not matched my experience. How many scientists have you personally known? I know alot. The vast majority were smarter than I, and 9 of 10 were very religious. So before you comment that scientists are good at compartmentalizing, perhaps you could get out more and learn more before opining on a group you seem to know little about?

  • It is so sad when people have to be ugly. So you don’t believe in it. Great. But being a jerk about it is getting so cliche and boring.

  • People like you would not drive me TOWARDS your brand of Christianity. I do not see Christ in your comments, your behaviors, or your attitudes.

  • No. The Jesus of Scripture is not a polygamist. The Jesus of Scripture is not the child of god the father and god the mother. The Jesus of Scripture is not the product of god the father having sex with Mary. The Jesus of Scripture does not have a brother named Lucifer. The Jesus of Scripture paid for our sins on the cross, not in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    The Jesus of Mormonism is a counterfeit Christ.

  • Oh, you must have a misunderstanding of the Jesus of Mormonism then. The Jesus of Mormonism was not a polygamist. We simply don’t have information about whether Jesus was married. The Jesus of Mormonism is not a product of God the Father having sex with Mary. The Scriptures don’t explain the physical or metaphysical mechanism by which Jesus was conceived, only that it was through the Holy Ghost. That’s the generally accepted Mormon view. The Jesus of Mormonism is the Creator of Heaven and Earth and firstborn of the Father. The Lucifer of Mormonism was another of the Father’s children (as we and all who have ever lived on earth as well as all the angels) who rebelled against God. They’re relationship is not special or unique. The Jesus of Mormonism paid for our sins through His perfect life and His suffering beginning in Gethsemane and culminating on the Cross.

  • How is it ugly to say whats true, many people have came out of mormonism because they discovered that it was big lie, you should watch bishop earl erskine’s the ex-mormon files series on youtube.

  • The logical fallacy monster is feasting on your words. Calling it a lie does not make it a lie. I’ve read and watched both sides of the story, and neither side has any silver bullet. What I find humorous is you operate as if you have some special access to special knowledge that no one else does. In the end, some intelligent people have seen the SAME stuff you have and have come to a different conclusion. I accept that and do not go to you and disrespect your position. Sadly, people like you can’t offer the same. You troll websites just to throw out another nasty punch because it makes your ego feel good. In the end, your just a bully.

  • There are always outliers in any data set, but the church’s own statistics will tell you that the majority of their growth is occurring in Third World countries. I base my claim on evidence, not anecdotes.

  • I am a professional engineer with a masters degree, so I personally know several scientists and engineers, and most are not religious. My position is based on evidence though, not anecdotes. Poll after poll shows that scientist are significantly less likely to believe in a deity than the general population. This implies that there is something about scientific thinking and the scientific method that leads people to doubt the truth claims of religions.

    I see you did not address my initial point. I am guessing that you do not apply the same level of scrutiny, critical thinking, and demand for evidence towards your religious beliefs than you do in your scientific work. Let me pose you with a simple question…what evidence would convince you that the truth claims of Christianity are false?

  • Of course no one uses empirical evidence to believe. What measurable evidence do you have that you are loved? You know you are loved by feelings, not physical phenomenon.

  • Then you really ought to know better. Either that or you are deliberately lying for some reason.

  • I know. I’m not convinced. I posted a bunch of links that prove otherwise. Why don’t you go read them?

  • Maybe I am a bully, maybe not, it does’nt change the fact that joseph smith made it all up by plagiarising other books that were written before the book of mormon was written, like the View of the hebrews by ethan smith, and the late war between the US and great britian, so either you never heard of this or if you have then you just try to ignore it or try to rationalize it.

  • Maybe I am a bully, maybe not, it does’nt change the fact that joseph smith made it all up by plagiarising other books that were written before the book of mormon was written, like the View of the hebrews by ethan smith, and the late war between the US and great britian, so either you never heard of this or if you have then you just try to ignore it or try to rationalize it.

  • I’ve actually read View of the Hebrews. And I find the desperate connection between that and the Book of Mormon wanting. You operate in a logical fallacy, I remember bullies like you when I was in school. You find yourself so clever with comments like “Does your mom know you are gay?” to which you giggle when your victim says “no”, you would reply “you might want to tell her”. Giving me two options of “do you not know this or do you choose to ignore it” is an attempt to “trap” me into a no-win scenario. Unfortunately for you, I have an IQ above 50, hence your logical fallacy based tactics do not work on me. I know you are mostly a troll, looking for people to gnaw on, but you will not find a victim in me.

  • You base your claim on your interpretation of the evidence. Trolls like yourself have a difficult time understanding the difference. You and Luis might as well be a tag team.

  • LOL, that’s a convenient limitation of options. It fascinates me you can’t take a moment of self reflection and consider that your behavior and tactics are not helping your cause, in fact is vastly hurting it. Many LDS who leave the Church head to atheism. Some if it is because people like you have ruined the reputation of traditional Christianity, that no one wants your rhetoric either. So while yes, you may get a few Mormons to abandon the LDS faith, you inadvertently push people from the entire spectrum. In the end, it comes off to many as “My imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend”. That is why if convinced the LDS church was false, I’d toss the entire diseased baby out with the bath water.

  • Ah, so you admit you do not arrive at your position through evidence, then pose a question to me about what evidence I have that I’m loved. But there is tons of physical evidence for love. I’m sure you are aware that the emotion of love is controlled by neurotransmitters, and scientists can even predict when a person is experiencing feelings of love through the use of fMRI brain scans. There is a whole Wikipedia page on the biological basis for love, and evolutionary psychologists and biologists have proposed several reasons (rooted in science) why we would have evolved the emotion of love. I believe I am loved because my wife appears to display all of the hallmarks of someone experiencing the emotion of love, and she directs her expressions of love towards me.
    So are you willing to say that there is no evidence that could convince you that the claims of Christianity are false? If that is the case, then you cannot claim to value evidence.

  • Wow. I am sure you wow your wife with your pillow talk. Do you interface with humans a lot, or just weekends. If you really believe love is just a collection of chemical reactions, with all honesty of heart, I feel a great degree of pity for you, and will not waste your time anymore.

  • So? There is the scripture of Psalm 25 – “And He shall lead them in the way that He shall choose.” Who are you to tell Jesus how to lead me, or, to tell me how to lead others? Is it that you cannot deny my words that you choose to denigrate me? God bless you.

  • Oh the pot calling the kettle black. Who are YOU to tell Jesus how to lead ME? Who are YOU to tell me who IS and IS NOT Christian? You are seriously why Atheism is the fastest growing faith in the U.S. Everyone is tired of it. You spew hate under the guise of love, and you do so with prideful intentions. Please stop blaspheming Christ with your abhorrent behavior.

  • I know only one other individual with that level of arrogance. Lucifer. I am curious if you might not know who really drives your behavior?

  • Yes, Internet Trolls will always remain obedient to their repeat behavior of over-used rhetoric.

  • What about my comment makes you feel pity for me? I am simply providing the evidence you asked me for. How does understanding the physical phenomena that cause one to have feelings of love take anything away from the experience? I still experience the deep emotion of love just the same as anyone else. I believe this quote from Carl Sagan sums it up best.

    “It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.”

    I honestly have been enjoying our exchanges, and it is incredibly interesting to me to try to understand how someone with your level of scientific education can remain religious. My conclusion, as I have stated previously, is that I believe it takes mental compartmentalization, and you have acknowledged that you did not arrive at your position by being convinced by evidence. Is that a fair summarization?

  • Because I believe the phrase pearls before swine is operative here. God has not asked me to accept him based on empirical evidence. But seeing as you asked, let’s start with some facts. Know what the Golden Ratio is? It shows up in every thing that grows and lives. It’s in your actively replicating DNA, breeding patterns, tree limbs etc. It’s in a beautiful face, across all cultures. It’s in teeth. It’s in the spiral arm of galaxies. It can be represented geometrrically via a compass and a square.
    Some anachronisms in the Book of Mormon that have recently been proven factual- steel, horses, chiasmatic hebraic writing structures, writing religious documents on metal plates, correct dating on pre-Columbian elephants, barley, cement use, exact details of Lehi journey in Arabia. Or I could show you pictures of a 2000 yrs old stela from mesoamerica that has a white man with a beard on a cross, or statues of the lds Trinity in all mesoamerican sites.
    Let’s go to lds temple ceremony details showing up in apocryphal works discovered post 1840- hymn of the pearl, 40 day ministry works, Joseph and Asenath.
    Let’s go to Book of Abraham. While idiots fixate on missing papari, let’s mention that the first time relativistic effects being mentioned was not Einstein, but facsimile in the Book of Abraham and doctrine and covenants.
    I would advise you to look at Nibleys work, or what non lds scholars have to say of lds scolarship (“are we losing the battle and not knowing it” Owens and Mosser) or at a host of other research. But these are all readily available. Folks like you still bring up steel in the bofm even though that was addressed in the 1980’s. So I could bring up these facts, but ithe sounds like you are too lazy to look, or have decided how to interpret these facts as irrelevant. So why waste our time?

  • There were witnesses to the gold plates. Did Mary have proof of her angelic visitation? How about Paul? Are charges enough to condemn someone? Christ’s original apostles faced charges of fraud and heresy. Are they frauds? What constitutes nonsense? Plenty of people have called the Exodus nonsense because there is no physical evidence of it ever happening. Is the Pentateuch nonsense?

  • So you just brought up a bunch of pieces of evidence (although highly disputable at best) to justify your position that you already established that you did not arrive at through evidence. But you still have not addressed my original question.
    What evidence, if any, would convince you that the claims of Christianity (and/or specifically Mormonism) are false? If you cannot provide a list evidence that would convince you out of your current position, then your trotting out of highly disputed evidence is just for show. If you answer my original question, then I will be happy to address the points you just brought up.

  • Sorry, I thought I was responding to the guy who started this conversation. I didn’t realize that you were so fascinated by me that you decided to hop on over to a totally unrelated topic on an unrelated forum. I’m a bit flattered, actually. And yes, there were witnesses. The first guy I was responding to is an evangelical Christian, and so my argument depended on a set of shared assumptions. If you’re not religious, then I’d have to go further back in the assumptions to make it worth my time.

  • Now, Sandi, your inability or unwillingness to answer questions about your doctrine is just getting annoying. As I have stated a couple of times I’d like to hear/see some of your Christian doctrine rather than your thoughts on Mormonism. From what you’ve said to me so far, you seem to know a little about Mormonism and nothing about Christianity. I’m wondering if perhaps reticence to discuss is due to the fact that you’re not really a Christian and that English isn’t your first language.

  • No confusion here, Sandi, but the statement about the confusing nature of your statements still stands. Let’s take John 1, since you like that verse. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Now, just so you don’t or can’t put words into my mouth or thoughts into my head, I will tell you how I read that verse. The Word equals Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God. I also believe that the second clause says that Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God was in the beginning with God, His Father, referencing two separate and distinct beings. We may or may not agree to this point, but I’d love to hear you analyze the third clause.

  • It is a good question but has little to do with the cause of the Reformation (see Martin Luther and questions regarding the sale of indulgences) Can I read between the lines, though, and actually conclude that Christians believe that both faith and works are necessary because one cannot really have faith in Christ absent good works which testify of this faith?

  • I can’t take people seriously who believe in bad mythology. Lamanites and Nephites NEVER had a war in which millions died. There weren’t 10′ tall Quakers on the moon. And Kolob is a joke. Period. Prove me wrong.

  • Dear Lard, give me verifiable proof of the Lamanites or Nephites existence in the America’s or anywhere for that matter. And no the golden plates don’t count because they never existed either. Nor did reformed Egyptian. Your version of the flying spaghetti monster myth is about as strong as theirs. The only truth here is that Joseph’s Myth is exactly as described…. a sex addicted con man drunk on power and delusion.

  • It would be fascinating if you actually contributed anything. But the life of an Internet Troll rarely seeks to add value to anything other than your own personal ego.

  • The Mormon church spends infinitely more on converting and attracting baptisms into the church than most any other faith and yet has a dismal record of being able to keep them active. So the answer is sort of obvious as to why people are leaving Mormonism. They really didn’t want to be there in the first place. Why do the Mormon’s have to try so hard to convert people to God’s “one true church”? Millennial Mormon kids are leaving because they grew up with the internet and know that the truth is out there. Obedience isn’t what is once was, thus the reason that it is a constant theme in the church’s message. The old adage of Pay, Pray, and Obey isn’t as popular as it sounds.

  • The problem is Noel. I have been explaining things to you. You are just unable to understand it.New International Version
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. – 2 Corinthians 4;4

    You are more interested in defending mormonism than learning.

  • John 5:18King James Version (KJV)
    18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
    You are siding with the Jews. You do not know WHO Jesus is and are unable to because of Satan. I gave you that scripture earlier. You need to renounce satan.

    Isaiah 9:6New International Version (NIV)
    6 For to us a child is born,
 to us a son is given,
 and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

    He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8.

    He is God and considered Himself equal with God. John 3:18

    Does Satan still blind you from the truth, Noel? He always was, is, and will always be God. He was not created. He always was.

  • Your problem is you have probably taken all of these courses – built upon fraud – and you are going to believe what you have been taught. You most certainly can have faith in Christ without works, but because we love Christ, we do works. Also, faith is a gift of God – New International Version
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–” From what you have said, you have turned faith into something you give as a work, when it is Jesus Who allots faith to us.
    Have you ever considered becoming born again? ‘That may be what you need.
    John 3:3King James Version (KJV)

    3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

  • Faith is a gift of God. We do works because we love God and that shows our faith in God….but salvation is not contingent on works.
    James is writing to mature Christians.

  • I think I left organized religion because people were always using scripture to prove themselves right or others wrong. Like scientists arguing a point with partial evidence that was not yet conclusive. I thought the point of religion was faith: something that can’t be seen. If religious truth is defined as the result of scriptural debate then its not much use to me. I should stick with science which debates more formally and rigorously than religion does. When I read the all the comments I feel like I’m watching a debating society, not a group of the faithful.

  • At least it’s better than it used to be. In the 50’s they’d take them out back and kill them.

  • Decency without God or the fear of a god? Impossible. Proof is the condition of the US right now. No morals. It’s called the decline of the western civilization. Welcome to your world. You already have it and it’s going to get much worse. Obviously you know nothing about American history and listen to those that try to rewrite it.

  • maybe what he says offends you- but the truth is still there. Much like the statement, “strip mining prevents forest fires” It’s true, but it offends some people. One might ask oneself why one is offended. That might be the beginning of a true understanding of ones self.

  • Logical fallacy you say? So since you were a wee child you were taught to say “I know this church is true” but saying that does not make it so.

  • Wow, so many assumptions. Especially since my family was mostly agnostic, bordering on atheist and I didn’t join until I was a late teen.. So you fail, because you need certain assumptions to promote your antagonistic narrative.

  • So let’s see here, you fault my post because I incorrectly assumed you started Mormonism young. (My apologies) but my statement still stands- just because you say the church is true, that doesn’t mean it is. Quick question, do you believe the church is true and why. (Don’t bare your testimony, just tell me why it makes rational sense)

  • The US has a higher proportion of religious people (people who believe in God) than any Western country, yet we have higher crime, worse performance on standardized test, one of the worst health care outcomes, an obesity epidemic, so how do you square that with the positive effect of religion.

  • You probably don’t have a lot of cred to lose as long as you continue to believe in mythological, delusional man made deities. It hardly makes us ill informed to not have a belief in something that has no proof of existence whatsoever. The Lord has no mind or will that has ever been universally accepted… otherwise I dare him to prove it to all of humanity at the same time. We have been waiting since way before the Old Testament.

  • Joseph Smith’s proclivity for plagiarism is but one tree in the forest, i.e., a big cloud with a larger silver lining. The Mormons are the first religious group to unknowingly embody theologically a small portion of the core concepts of “Esoteric Christianity”. I believe that as contemporary faith-based “Exoteric Christianity” continues to unravel as a core of organized religion, the current secular period will be followed by mass adoption of the principles found in the legacies of folks such as Max Heindel, Rudolf Steiner and Corinne Heline. The thousands of students of these three pioneers comprise the “disorganized” Christian movement of the future; no leaders except firsts among equals, and no followers other than sincerely aspiring souls with the ability to reason and question all things. This trend is still embryonic in the USA, but is more progressed in Europe, Africa and South America (rosanista.tripod.com for more information)

  • i personally left the mormon church after its involvement with prop 8 in CA and its secretive involvement in creating NOM, among other things……..

  • Kindly share with us your proof of steel, horses, correct dating on pre-Columbian elephants, barley, cement use, and exact details of Lehi journey in Arabia.”

    (And I find it remarkable that someone would use the honorific “Dr” in a screen name. That brings up a lot of thoughts of why someone would do that.)

  • All those points have been addressed by lds (nibley et al) and non lds (Mosser and Owens) scholars alike. All of them are easily found on Google if you distrust apologetic sites. I am well versed in responses to lds claims, and read their work directly- can you say the same? If you are unaware of these facts I have mentioned, why do you feel qualified to discuss this material?
    As for the Dr, I use it because someone got my first name on most sites. Why it brings up thoughts to you is illustrative as to what you value in others. I don’t think more of those with education than without. I know lots of uneducated folks smarter than I. But I find the slavish devotion that atheists have to doctorates kind of funny, as so so many atheists I know have poor credentials at best.

  • LOL. Nibley wrote in circles. I hardly regard him as credible. And I regard your response nothing more than the common Mormon ploy of “Oh, that’s all been talked about before” as similar to “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.” It also reminds me of the LDS “essays” on all those topics the LDS church finds so inconvenient. Few people know they even exist, but leadership is immunizing itself from litigation by saying “Oh, we put that stuff out for anyone–including our own members–to read.”

    There are ENORMOUS holes in the Book of Mormon being what it claims to be (a real record of people in the Americas). And I think that’s why Russel Nelson said in June 22nd speech to new mission presidents and their wives “It is not a textbook of history, although some history is found within its pages. It is not a definitive work on ancient American agriculture or politics. It is not a record of all former inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, but only of particular groups of people.” He was doing what is inevitable: The Mormon church will have to distance itself from the historicity of the Book of Mormon and will before too long say it was metaphoric all along. It’s no wonder he used the modifier “some” before history, that he touched on agriculture, and that he said it’s not a record of all former inhabitants of this hemisphere. (And that’s why the introduction to the Book of Mormon was changed in 2006 to read that its population was “among” the inhabitants of Ancient America. Funny how that was necessary for a book written and approved by “prophets.”)

    I read Mosser and Owens piece some months ago. They were doing anything but lending their support to Mormonism. They were instead using the threat of Mormon scholarship as a rallying cry. They at NO point said Mormon scholarship led them to conclude Mormonism is what it claims to be: The One True church on earth.

    Mormonism is a sad hoax.

    (And seriously? Your last sentence. Wow. Take a look at the list (on Wikipedia) of “List of atheists in science and technology.” And you have made a big assumption in what I “value in others.”)

  • If you’d like to dismiss nibley, you’d have no company at all in academia.
    As for Owens et al, my point isn’t that they didn’t verify lds claims as anyone who’s read their paper knows, it’s that they destroy the claim that lds scholarship is of poor quality. For a person who claims logic is the sum of finding truth, you seem to have trouble following the points I’m making. So feel free to be ignorant of the quality of lds scholarship, and of the facts that I listed re: steel, pre-Columbian representations of Christ in mesoAmerica etc. Most of the research I have read is non lds in origin, I’ve told you where to find it, feel free to continue to ignore it. But that’s what happens with evecry idiot I deal with here- “Mormonism is a fraud!” “No evidence at all!”- I’ve quoted some, you dismiss the quality of scholarship that everyone in their field accepts as excellent. Where can I go from there but goodbye?
    By the way, what are your bona fides on science? Refer to any list you like, what do you know? How many scientists do you know personally?

  • Thank u for writing these comments about Christianity. They made me feel good and remind me of important things in the Bible.
    Also, though, it kind of frustrates me to see u having to deal with these unbelievers who don’t really want to honestly understand anything and are only wanting to harass you. Try not to let them waste too much of your time. But anyway, thank u for what u have said. God is beautiful, isn’t He? :)) Peace.

  • Well, since the human species is about 50/50 male/female, I would guess that the young men are leaving because the older men with multiple wives are taking their possible mates and they don’t want to be lifelong bachelors.

  • Why are people leaving? Intelligent sane and rational people may have no use for the imaginary God especially one with poly-heavens.

  • Lord,where did u get all these facts and data from?do you dwell in rich USA or naive poor cucooland? I reside now in Brazil,the worst epidemic corrupt republic on Earth, and one of leading in crimes rampage,about 4 times more,per capita, than the americans.Religious evangelicals churches and sects are on the increase,ever…..been living everywhere before retirement,there are scores of western (and eastern) nations around the globe with paramount deficits of health care and social justices…count ur blessings,your health system is yet one of the best in the west …

  • I´m just another simple poor mortal, with much less education and knowlegde than all brilliant minds out there,i.e,,the great perfect scientists who proclaim to solve all the infinite,unlimited,rather unreachable frontiers of eternal time and space,within and withouth universes, paralell dimentions and the like..but I do believe,and I do know,more precisely,by self proof and self evidence, not just mere blind faith or traditions, that there´s is life after death,some sort of Superior Deity as well ,also evil forces of darknesses in conflict, still beyond our full comprehention and understanding…for I have seem and felt,personnaly, with not a minimun drop of doubt,(,after vital heart surgery),one of those short periods some of us travels and witness the hereafter, when we cross the gread divide but somehow manage to return to body and life, on this side of our present realm.Moreover,,in adition,we have had with family and friends,some unwanted experiences related to various cases of this so called phenomenons of demoniac possessions,and the related exorcism thereafter,yet unexplained by medical experts profissionals,which skeptics discards as just some bulshit ofa sick mind or self hipnosys or any other lame excuse to disregard any association,exposure,evidences, of any possible livings angels,a God or a Demon….Indeed,as once said the great W.Shakespeare:There´s more fools than wise men,even in the clever ones there´s more foolishness than winsdom…all men are fools,differing only in degrees…

  • Why do you find it so torturous to answer my simple question? I can supply a list of things that would instantly make me believe the truth claims of the Book of Mormon. Can you not do the same?

  • It’s actually one of the dumbest questions I’ve heard. “Please give me proof of a negative!” Prove there is no extraterrestrial life! I could go on. Sure, chuckles, I’ll give you one-if God Himself opened the Heavens and said Smith made it all up, Id take that pretty serious, after I asked him why He lied to me in the first place. Short of that, no. Remember all the panties is a wad by people like you after the Salamander Letter? “Oh look! Proof Smith was a nut job! ” then Hoffman blew his for forgery-writing hands of in a puff of irony. So that’s one of the reasons I don’t get in a tizzy when folks ask idiotic questions. That answer yours?

  • You are deliberately misconstruing my question to avoid having to answer it. I did not ask you to prove a negative, which of course is impossible. I asked you what evidence would convince you that the claims of Christianity and Mormonism were false, and you can’t give me a straight answer. My hunch as to why, is that you don’t want to admit that you are emotionally attached to those beliefs and will not let them go regardless of what the evidence says. Then to save face, you pretend to value evidence.
    So what if the LDS church confirmed that they found an authentic original diary from Joseph Smith that outlined his entire plan to create the Book of Mormon in order to defraud people. I’m certainly not saying such a piece of evidence exists, but hypothetically, would that convince you that the claims of the Book of Mormon are false?

  • You seem to be not listening so I’ll be plain. As the Hoffman forgeries made plain, there HAS been a letter showing that Smith was crazy. Many left the church based on that physical evidence. That then turned out to be a forgery. So I will take all evidence that Smith was a fraud with a large grain of salt. Families were broken up and lives ruined on the “strength” of that evidence. AND EVERY SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE HAS HAD SUCH A HOAX. how long was Piltidown (a laughably poor hoax), the foundational physical evidence for accepting Darwinian evolition, undiscovered? 30 years. Do you see how weak your case of needing physical proof is? Einstein rejected quantum mechanics till he died, despite all the proof. Folks smarter than you and I have been incorrect on foundational science before. So pay very close attention to the following:
    If you still can’t see the weakness of your need for evidence, I’ll be brief- there is no physical evidence that would make me not believe the truth claims of the LDS church. If I followed your line of thought, I would have left in 1985. Clear enough?

  • Side note: It’s Interesting that you brought up quantum mechanics, but pretty much all physicists agree that Einstein was wrong. I know that because I actually just took quantum mechanics last semester. I’ve been out of collage for a while now, but I have been meaning to take a course hear and there as a hobby, and I actually did it last semester.

    The point is that you acknowledged there is no evidence that would convince you that the claims of the lds church are false, and that’s all I need to hear. It makes no sense to argue with anyone after they have made such a declaration.

    As a hypothetical though, let’s say you are married… What amount of evidence would it take to convince you that your wife was cheating on you? In fact, take any other proposition you can think of? How much evidence would it take to convince you that I can fly?

    Do you not see you have shifted the burden of proof in the case of the lds truth claims?

  • Nice to see you are unwilling to address the facts of Piltdown and Salamander Letter fraud at all. I was not saying I could not be convinced- I stated due to previous frauds purporting to show Smith a con man, I take all such evidence with a large grain of salt. I haven’t even started on evidence that looked bad for BofM truth claims at first (gold plates were ridiculed until orphic plates etc started showing up)
    As for what evidence I need to believe my wife is cheating, if you can’t see the difference between 150 yr old evidence and contemporary direct visual confirmation, you really aren’t that clear of a thinker, are you? With that in mind, you may want to have a little more humility in your judgement of what constitutes facts. Just a thought.

  • I’m not dealing with those issues you brought up because those are red hearings and I never raised them in favor of my argument. You are arguing against a straw man.

    You literally just said in your last post, “there is no physical evidence that would make me not believe the truth claims of the lds church. ” Thats all I need to hear. You claim to value evidence, but nobody who values evidence would make such a claim about anything else in the world. Now I see you tried to walk that statement back.

    Can you think of one thing, other than religious truth claims, for which you would have the same standard of evidence, where literally nothing could be brought forth that would force you to relinquish your previously held view? Even one thing?

    With phrases you have written like, “the weakness of your need for evidence” I’m seriously beginning to doubt your scientific credentials. I have never met a scientist that would utter that sentence. Science is ALL ABOUT a need for evidence.

  • Two prominent examples of scientific frauds are not red herrings when discussing the value of physical evidence- it’s kind of the whole point I’m making about idiots like you- you claim to understand science because you took a class at some podunck community college, and now you’re so much smarter than all those dumb Christians. Thats the quality of the new “skeptics ” morons like Dawson brought forth. Athiests used to be smart, now theyre just arrogant dickheads like you who cant argue your way out of a paper bag. The course of evolutionary science was completely changed by Piltdown Man fraud. Many lds abandoned God due to Salamander Letter. For me, those two frauds ( that many accepted) make me doubt the mythical evidence you are looking for. But to you, that’s a straw man argument. Let me use your analogy so you can understand- walking in on your wife sexing it up with the pool boy is more persuasive that youre a cuckold than finding a 30 yr old picture of her kissing a grade school crush on the cheek. See the difference? It appears you lack any real skills at argument and logic, so I’m done.

  • Why do you feel the need for personal attacks? “Idiots like you”… “Podunck (sic) community college”…”morons”…”dickheads”. I’m arguing about ideas and you are making it personal instead of addressing my arguments.

    Are you arguing that because hoaxes have been perpetrated, that evidence isn’t really all that valuable? It wasn’t faith that exposed the Piltdown man as a hoax, it was better science and better evidence.
    Was I incorrect in my understanding of your statement about how no amount of evidence would convince you? That is the crux of my argument, and the only point I would like to focus on. If you admit that no evidence will change your mind, then why waste all the time talking about evidence.

    My statement about “So what if the LDS church confirmed that they found an authentic original diary from Joseph Smith that outlined his entire plan to create the Book of Mormon in order to defraud people” is a HYPOTHETICAL. They key words in my hypothetical being “confirmed” and “authentic”. When you brought up the salamander letters, you are arguing against a straw man, because in my hypothetical situation, everyone would be in agreement that the document is real and that it shows Joseph Smith was a fraud. So given this hypothetical scenario in which there is no doubt at all about the authenticity of the diary, would that force you to have some doubt about your position? Please try to stay on topic.

  • Your comment on Piltdown shows why I’m done with you- you are ignorant of the facts. Do you know who discovered the fraud? Do you know the physical evidence that was clearly visible? Clearly not. It was such an obvious fraud an undergrad saw file marks on the jaw looking with naked eyes. Hardly the scientific method. And the pushback he got was terrible.
    And your knowledge of Salamander Letter is worse. Forensic historians working for the church “confirmed” that the document was “authentic”, found by a respected dealer. So your hypothetical actually came pretty close to the reality. And it was all a fraud. So seeing as you are so ignorant of the facts, and refuse to address the difference in quality of evidence AND are utterly boring in your responses, I’m done. Please don’t post a reply.

  • You are trying every tactic in the book to avoid addressing my very direct and concise questions. You are obviously emotionally attached to your positions, and you belittle people instead of addressing their arguments so you can avoid the cognitive dissonance that comes with claiming to value evidence and the scientific method while simultaneously holding a view that is immune to it.

    The second you acknowledged that you hold a position that is impervious to evidence is the second you lost the argument. May this thread live forever for all to read and form their own conclusions.

  • If you want to know why your family is leaving the church then read the CES letter. It has all your answers.

  • Curiously, with regards to the subject of the article, what you have implied about religious activity and education level applies in general with one exception: Mormon’s. With Mormon’s the activity level increases with increasing education. This conclusion has been made by sociologists repeatedly in recent decades. It is easy to find with a well structured google search. I don’t see any links here so I’m assuming the link can’t be posted.

    There are many reasons proposed for this, but I would propose that one of them is the ability to see through the logical fallacies of detractors. It’s a good sophomore English class … books still on my shelf after 30 years. I know for a fact that many graduate from “respectable” universities without it. That needs to change. It’s not religious education, it’s simply training in logic.

    The texts were “The Art of Reasoning” by David Kelley and “The Language of Argument” by Daniel McDonald. Possibly the most valuable non-scientific course I ever took.

  • Religious “feelings” aside, if you want to know why people are staying, it is because they quickly see through the logical fallacies in the CES letter. The author was unable to concede any of his errors when they were plainly spelled out at fairmormon dot org. One of the more simple examples is that of Noah’s Ark. When I read his responses, it became clear that although he claimed to be asking honest questions, his purpose was really only to advertise them in a negative fashion. I would recommend reading fairmormon’s line by line debunking rather than the letter.

  • I read fairmormons debunking and it was so poorly written that it only gave more credit to the CES letter. I mean if your best defence about Joeseph Smith plagiarizing the bible is that there isn’t any proof that he owned a bible, then they don’t have any real answers. Luckily for the LDS church their members believe in things without reason so no matter how much reason or proof you put in front of them, they will convince themselves that it isn’t true. It’s sad that people choose to be willfully ignorant.

  • I don’t know what your criteria for “poorly written” is. It’s not going to read like a novel, it’s going to read more like a math book, but is logically correct. The CES letter on the other hand, may read more like a novel, but is full of logical holes. Your response does not indicate that you read any of fairmormon carefully enough to pass any judgement since you have incorrectly stated what they have said. “Although there is not a single witness that saw Joseph consult any books during the translation process, some scholars believe that it is still a possibility that he did consult a Bible”. This is a long way from saying their defense is that there is no proof that he owned one. I would suggest scrolling down to the discussion on Noah and the flood. Jeremy’s refusal to concede on this point clearly indicates his failure and tarnishes the entire letter regardless of whether one is familiar with the LDS Church.

  • That’s an interesting observation about the correlation between education and religiosity being different for Mormons. If I had to guess why, I would say it has something to do with the fact that the Mormon church has a clergy made up entirely of laymen, but I guess I haven’t really thought about it much. I’m not sure you were implying it, but I certainly don’t think that observation points to the validity of the claims of the Mormon church.

  • Many are leaving for reasons LDS faithful are afraid to admit: they leave b/c most of l the ‘anti LDS’ literature is simply true. It is not really ‘anti LDS’ at all, it is just true information backed up with real source documents.

    The BOA is a 100% provable fraud. The BOM is a provable fraud. The internet allows anyone to test the truthfulness of LDS claims.

    Others have written about the many wives of JS since 1838…and the LDS officials admit the truth in 2014…no problem, just admit the truth 176years later…this is why folks leave.

    The entire LDS system is built on, and with fraud, after fraud. The LDS ‘prophet’ has no answers to all the issues. They can’t even admit their own doctrine in public.

  • He conned people who were ignorant and had nothing going for them. It is nothing more then a cult and crooks managing it from the top.

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