Columns Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Being excluded from a Mormon temple wedding

Mormon Temple in Philadelphia
One of four sealing rooms in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, in which couples and families will be “sealed” to each other so that they may live together in the afterlife. Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A guest post by Mette Harrison

Since being endowed in 1990 before my own temple wedding, I’ve never had the experience before now of sitting outside the temple during the marriage ceremony of a loved one, until this past month for my niece’s.

I’ll admit that I was nervous. I’d heard others who have stepped a bit away from Mormonism discuss how painful it was not to be a part of the sealing ceremony. They felt judgment from those who were “allowed” inside as opposed to those who were deemed “unworthy,” and sit outside.

How did it go?

I will say from the outset that I wasn’t in any particular emotional pain. I read a book on my phone (perhaps appropriately for a wedding, a romance novel), and was perfectly happy to pass the hour that way. My life is often so busy that I don’t treat myself to the things that I most enjoy, and reading is one of them. So instead of thinking about being left out of the temple wedding, I simply focused on my self-care hour and felt good about my own spirituality, which has increased my belief in the value of knowing myself well and honoring my own journey.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t have a temple recommend, it’s none of your business. I’d prepared this answer in advance, in case anyone asked. I didn’t mean to express it rudely, but simply as a way of saying that I wasn’t interested in having a discussion about it.

One of the things I struggle with in Mormonism is the idea that God has special communications with those who perform certain outward (and inward) marks of their devotion. This is not the God I currently believe in, who in a recent prayer gave me the message, “God is a come-as-you-are place.” I could quote scriptures where God showed Themselves to the unworthy, and to those whom society deemed unworthy.

But I also have found that I don’t have much interest in a traditional Mormon idea of authority, either from scripture or from priesthood lineages, so I’ll just say that my personal experience with God has been that the point of religion is to give us a reason to try to be better. It is never to tell us we don’t qualify for the love of God.

But I will say that my temple recommend issues aren’t about Word of Wisdom choices, about adultery, or about anything the Mormon church might consider a “sin.” I choose currently not to have a temple recommend largely because of the November 2015 policy that excluded same-sex married couples and their children from various aspects of church participation. I also have other issues within the church that I’m uncomfortable enough about to mark myself as a dissenter of sorts. A conscientious objector, you might say. I don’t necessarily consider myself to be on the way out of Mormonism (despite what some who have read previous columns of mine might assume), but my boundaries demand a different engagement right now, and that includes not having a temple recommend on terms that other people set.

I’m not angry about this, I don’t think. It’s a choice that allows me to demonstrate moral courage and is a point of conscience, but I also don’t judge Mormons who choose differently.

In the end, though, no one asked me about my choice to wait outside during the temple wedding. Some people looked happy to see me, while others seemed more interested in ignoring me. I certainly understood the discomfort they also felt, not sure what to say or what not to say. I was in that same place not so long ago and understand it very well. There may have been some silent judgment going on, but that’s virtually impossible to avoid and I was grateful no one made the experience more awkward than it had to be.

I was part of the family photo taking. I went to the dinner afterward, where I toasted the bride and groom (with the traditional Mormon wedding drink of . . . water). My father-in-law did come up to me afterward and tell me he was grateful I’d come even though it “must have been painful.” It wasn’t really. I did not feel pain. I felt at peace with my choice and with my current relationship with God.

Do I wish the Mormon church had a different policy about weddings? Maybe. In other countries where civil ceremonies are the law, the church allows couples to marry civilly first and then be sealed in the temple some days later. These couples can therefore enjoy having all their friends and family members witness the civil ceremony—even small children and non-Mormons, who would be barred from an LDS temple wedding. In the United States, however, couples are expected to make the “sacrifice” of not having a fancy wedding with all family members there. If Americans aren’t sealed in the temple from the very beginning, they have to wait an entire year before they are eligible to be married in the temple “for time and eternity.”

There is something wonderful about focusing on the new couple and not the trappings of a large, expensive wedding. There’s also something wonderful, frankly, in the ease of it (you can sometimes book a temple wedding the day of). Also, a temple wedding is remarkably inexpensive—in fact, it costs nothing.

But I have mixed feelings about the insistence on sacrificing family in a church that is supposed to be all about family. I know it can strengthen a young couple’s loyalty to the church, but in later years, I’ve heard many couples regret the cost.

I guess I’ve come to a place where I don’t need to pass loyalty tests. I’m no longer afraid of dipping below other people’s idea of “worthiness.” I’ll go back to reading a book and communicating with God in my own way—in prayers and meditation, walks, in the bath at times, and yes, even at my weekly Mormon church meetings.


Other posts by Mette Harrison:


 

 

 

About the author

Jana Riess

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

169 Comments

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  • “Temple Recommend?” I had to look that one up. All religion is weird but Mormonism is the weirdest of all. By far.

  • If you can’t exclude others to make yourself feel superior, what’s the point of even HAVING a church?

  • Mette,

    what a thoughtful essay! You took me back to my own experience, recorded in my Immortal For Quite Some Time:

    4 November 1992, Orem

    Two dreams.

    In the first I attend a church service, perhaps Greek, and perhaps in Salt Lake. I am very happy to be there, surrounded by long tables of cakes and pies and other delicacies.

    In the second dream I decide to make some architectural changes to a church front. Someone describes for me how the round forms repeating themselves across the front have a kind of aesthetic integrity I had not noticed.

    I had these dreams the week after my stake president, the man who decides each year whether I am worthy to take part in the ordinances of the temple, reprimanded me for statements in my Sunstone paper he found critical of “the Brethren.” He demanded that I write letters of apology and publish a retraction. Until then, he will hold my recommend.

    I am anxious, the dreams suggest, at finding myself in conflict with the church. The second dream could be interpreted as suggesting that there is much good in the church that I am missing. The Greek dream seems to offer other, less restrictive, more productive, traditions. I suppose the dreams are most interesting in dialectical tandem.

    Last night when I started home the ginkgo tree outside the building was still holding on to most of its double-lobed leaves. This morning about half of them had fallen. I stood and watched leaves fall in handfuls. Each puff of wind brought golden cascades. By noon the tree was bare. One moment the leaves are integral parts of the tree. Then, suddenly, the connection is severed.

    . . . thanks again,
    Scott

  • The thing is, this policy is a departure from the early Mormon church practices. In its earliest form approximately 1835, the Doctrine and Covenants, says, “All marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for this purpose…”

    That policy was reaffirmed in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1842. But then later, Brigham Young, that rascal, changed it. Interesting since the D&C is supposed to be filled with revelations from God whereas Brigham never claimed to be a prophet. (Journal of Discourses 5:77) He never explained by what authority he changed it.

    Yet another example of the dubiousness of the claims of this church to be inspired.

  • This is a policy in which the Catholic Church is clearly superior, since everyone is allowed into the church and given the opportunity to put money in the collection plate. Perhaps the Mormons keep a collection plate out in the waiting area for those who are not fortunate enough to have a Temple Recommend (or are fortunate enough not to have a Temple Recommend).

  • First of all, lots of things were different prior to the Nauvoo temple period. Marriages prior to the institution of the sealing ordinance were just like the non-temple marriages performed by Mormon Bishops today.

    “Brigham never claimed to be a prophet. (Journal of Discourses 5:77)” This appears to be a willful misreading of Brigham Young’s actual statement: “I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don’t profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel…” It also appears to be willful ignorance of other statements of Young: “Why I testify of these things is because they are revealed to me, and not to another for me…I have received the spirit of Christ Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy.” (Journal of Discourses 5:75-76)

  • Would you be disappointed to find out that Mormon temples have no place to collect donations of any kind?

  • This is another of many examples of why I am gobsmacked at why seemingly bright people continue to tolerate and participate in Mormonism.

    It seems to me it’s either entirely true or it’s not. And aspects like this convince me it is decidedly not what it presents itself as.

  • How sexist and transphobic of you, Bob. I’d expect nothing less from a Christian like yourself.

  • Boasting that there is no money collected in LDS temples is like a hospital bragging that a patient didn’t have to
    pay his medical insurance payments in the ER.

    Who cares WHERE the LDS church collects the compulsory 10%-of-income tribute it demands? What’s important is that it DOES demand it before it allows anyone to participate in its holiest rituals.

  • Who said I have a “complaint”?

    I’m commenting. It’s what people do here. If my comments bother you, please don’t read them.

  • I get so sick and tired of people making the church appear overbearing and demanding.The church does not demand any one tithe. I have never been compelled to tithe by the church but God does compel me to tithe and one of his prophets wrote about tithing very plainly, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
    10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive: So many people want to portray LDS people as mindless sheep being told what to do by some old white men. The church has never compelled me or anyone else to do anything. And if anyone tells you different they are lying. Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves and that is the way it is still done. If It was not so the writer of Failing Sainthood would have been “booted” a long time ago. She does seem to find a great deal of pleasure in reprimanding the church and letting everyone know how much better her life is by not following the teaching of the church but I never hear her talk about how the church has reprimanded her. She is quick to judge and express how much better the church would be if they would just do things her way but I have never read anything she has written that expresses anything positive about the church, I wonder if the only reason she goes to church is get new material to convey to the rest of the world how horrible, nasty people we are. I wish her well in her endeavor.

  • Superiority is not a tenet of the LDS church and the point of having a church is so you can come together and worship the God of your understanding in the way you see fit. I chose to join the church when I was 8 years old, my parents were not members and none of my family were members. I joined at 8 because I had a witness the church was true and being a LDS was right for me then and continues to be now. I would encourage you to go to a Mormon church so you can experience for yourself how much we engage in being better than others, how the whole focus of the services is how we can achieve greater superiority over others in the congregation. How we snicker and grin at someone who is wearing wall mart clothes while everyone is in Armani and driving their BMWs and Volvos. Come and see for yourself.

  • The men and woman who lead the church from the smallest town to the overall leadership of the church are inspired and they seek inspiration on a daily basis. There are those who would not recognize inspiration if stood in front of him or her and said, “Hello, I’m Jesus Christ.” People only find what they are looking for.

  • Everyone is allowed in the church and we do not have collection plates we don pass the plate so everyone can see who gives and how much. Temples are not churches and not very many ordinary people get into the Papal apartments without having some kind of special pass or permit. NO ONE IS EVER EXCLUDED FROM ENTERING A MORMON CHURCH.

  • I am a pretty smart guy and I can assure you the teachings of the church are true. I am not hoodwinked, snookered, brainwashed or anything else. The church is true.

  • More complaints?

    Tsk, tsk.

    complaint – noun

    A statement that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.

  • It is only important if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.

    If you’re not, it’s none of your business.

  • Like how you complain about abortion and gay marriage all day, while citing the bible and the dictionary as your only sources?

    Tsk, tsk.

  • Bob is a serial harasser on this and other forums. He is just hysterical and looking for attention. Also, possibly a Russian troll.

  • Jerry,

    I am sincere in asking this. Do you think a Scientologist or a member of any other cult would recognize or acknowledge they were “hoodwinked, snookered, or brainwashed”?

    Again, I am sincere in asking.

  • a virgin could be implanted with a test tube baby so umm, why can’t a God do that too?

  • Hmm, I saw one new guy get politely asked to leave after entering the YSA LDS ward I was in many years ago. It was his first time ever attending our church but, he was stalking one of the sisters in her private life and she freaked out when he also turned up at her church.

    The Bishop has to protect the flock from wolves on occasion.

  • Jerry,

    You may regard paying tithing as optional. But others consider the LDS church’s approach to tithing as akin to extortion. And I am one of them.

    If someone doesn’t pay tithing they are (among other sanctions) excluded from the LDS temple. And if they are excluded from the LDS temple, they are excluded from having an “eternal family.”

    So sure, paying tithing is elective. But if you don’t pay it, you are told you will suffer the eternal torture of being denied your family’s presence.

    How is your argument any different from the notion that you aren’t really REQUIRED to pay a thug protection money? Sure, you don’t have to pay him. But if you don’t, he’ll burn down your business.

    I am genuinely curious why you think it is that “So many people want to portray LDS people as mindless sheep being told what to do by some old white men.” What do you suppose created that perception?

  • Jerry,

    I think you are overstating things when you say “People only find what they are looking for.” That belies the whole notion of exploration discovery.

    But I agree people are _generally_ predisposed to finding what they are looking for. And I suspect you are a perfect example of that.

    Look up the “God gene.” You might discover something about yourself.

  • “NO ONE IS EVER EXCLUDED FROM ENTERING A MORMON CHURCH.”

    Is anyone excluded from entering a Mormon temple?

  • Giving or not giving tithing to the church does not deny anyone an
    eternal family. Once you have been sealed for time and all eternity giving or not giving tithing has no bearing on having or not having an eternal family. You have an eternal family. I have known many Bishops who have given Temple Recommends to members who are not full tithe givers while at the same working with the individual to become a full tithe giver not for the benefit of the church but for the benefit of the member to be able to receive the blessing of tithing. There have been frequent times in my life when I did not tithe and times I gave a full tithe but I have never conceived tithing as a form of extortion by the church but a commandment from God with a promise of blessings.

    To your second point, since the day Joseph saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the grove, there have been those who have sought to disparage the church, the members, and the leadership. For me, I do not question too much about church because I have a deep testimony and witness of the gospel and the church. In my life, I have had multiple Bishops, stake presidents, home teachers and don’t believe anyone of them ever lied to me. I do not believe that David O McKay, Spence W Kimball, Thomas S Monson, Boyd K Packer, Godon B Hinkley had the ability to stand up in General Conference and perpetrate a lie on innocent people. Beyond that, I have prayed, fasted, and studied a lifetime and I have a surety and peace of mind that the church is true.

  • A bishop is required to ask if a member is a full tithe payer to issue a temple recommend. If the answer is no, a recommend may not be issued.

    Joseph Smith told about ten different versions of “the day [he] saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the grove.” Which one are you referring to?

    And the notion that “there have been those who have sought to disparage the (LDS) church” is promoted by the LDS church. It’s a common practice of cults to encourage the notion that they are under siege.

    I think you’ve established where you are with this sentence: “For me, I do not question too much about church…” That’s exactly how those who lead the LDS church want their members. And that’s why they say things like “doubt your doubts.” They don’t want you to question.

    I am glad you have peace of mind. Unfortunately, it’s centered on a controlling organization that is clearly not what it presents itself as.

  • No admitting such a thing would be very difficult for anyone. I can not image how hard it was for Tom Cruise to leave Scientology. The difference is that cults tend to have a goal of controlling their members. I assure you the church makes no effort to control anyone beyond teaching correct principles and encouraging people to follow them. This month is our wards turn to clean the chapel on Saturday. Members are asked to come and some are assigned to come because they may have received social services that month but no one cleaning the chapel knows why anyone comes-but know what most of the time the same people come every week, I assure you if our Bishop could control the people in our ward, more people would be cleaning the building. I have difficulty understanding how some members perceive being made to do something. I have never been made to do anything in the church and neither of they. I remember one sister reporting to a news reporter the reasons she gave to anti prop 8 campaign in California she was told she had to by the church. I guarantee she was not. The church teaches free agency, free agency, and free agency. The church does not make anyone do anything. As Joseph said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern them selves. I look forward to your response

  • My response is simple, Jerry. No controlling organization says it is one. And no member of such an organization would acknowledge (until they escape) that they are part of one. You acknowledged that in your first sentence of your most recent post.

    The LDS church has an estimated $32 billion dollars in the stock market alone. And yet a few years ago custodians (many of whom eked out a modest living cleaning LDS buildings) were summarily fired. The result was the clean-the-meetinghouse assignments you mention.

    The average LDS ward is about 100 families. About 30% of them pay tithing. So that’s about 30 tithing families. If the average family income is $60,000, that’s about $180,000 in tithing revenue per ward. And yet the LDS church puts the burden for cleaning the buildings on the members. Why? For the same reason it opened the City Creek Mall at a cost of $1 billion, at the opening of which Thomas Monson famously said “Let’s go shopping!”

    The LDS church violated the law with its actions on Proposition 8 in California. That certainly doesn’t sound to me like the behavior of a divinely led organization.

    The LDS church may teach “free agency, free agency, and free agency,” but it regards any exercise of that agency that is outside a very narrowly defined construct as unacceptable.

    I hope you can find your way out. A lot of people have and are doing so.

  • Jerry Traylor
    Superiority is not a tenet of the LDS church …

    Of course it is. Any group that has a word for ‘everyone who’s not one of us’ has a superiority doctrine.

  • They have recurring direct deposit procedures in place. It has been so successful that they now have 32 Billion in a slush fund invested in the stock market.. How much is a billion you ask? Good question. A million seconds is 12 days. A Billion seconds is 32 years.

  • Hmm, I recall Obama gave Iran $1.7bn when he knew full well that Iran is the principle source of funds for Hezbollah. That money had been kept away from fundamentalist Iran since Jimmy Carter was pres but no, Obama knew better than any president since and he gave it to the terrorism factory nonetheless.

    Now it doesn’t worry me so much that Palestinian youths blow themselves up as suicide bombers for they are taught to hate from birth and with the financial incentives that Iran offers, well, it’s career choice for the children of hate. But I think Iran using Palestinians as pawns does annoy the liberal left. So, umm, are you happy with all that money going to fund terrorism or does it annoy you more that the LDS church builds around 400 chapels and 4 temples annually with its billions of donations?

    # Why is it that the Book of Mormon musical makes fun of Mormons and Mormons do nothing about it but, if the makers of South Park made a Quran musical, the theater would be bombed and blown to bits on the opening night ?

  • You are zero for three in getting facts correct.

    Hmm, I recall Obama gave Iran “$1.7bn when he knew full well that Iran is the principle source of funds for Hezbollah”

    It was their money. Money they had been trying to get back through peaceful means for decades. Even using our own court system to do it. You suggest the US should be thieves?

    Palestinians haven’t been getting blood money from Iran or our allies Saudi Arabia for some time.

    The South Park people have never portrayed Mormon or the LDS in a derogatory fashion. I guess you didn’t even read the reviews of the musical before condemning it.

    Attacking extremists from other religions is not support for your own. It wasn’t that long ago Mormons had their own history of such things.

  • “You suggest the US should be thieves?”

    When it comes to fundamentalist Iran, the West has to do a lot more than simply freezing Iran’s money.

    ——————————————-
    “Palestinians haven’t been getting blood money from Iran for some time”.

    Hmm, no.
    https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Palestinian-Authority-paid-terrorists-nearly-350-million-in-2017-533227

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/04/28/palestinians-are-rewarding-terrorists-the-u-s-should-stop-enabling-them/?utm_term=.cd23dde35638

    http://www.thebaghdadpost.com/en/story/21722/Video-Nasrallah-admits-Hezbollah-receives-funding-from-Iran-s-Mullah
    ——————————————-
    “The South Park people have never portrayed Mormon or the LDS in a derogatory fashion.”

    ‘Although it was written to poke fun at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
    Stone reiterated that the “Book of Mormon” was not meant to just mock
    Mormonism, but religion in general, calling his show, “an atheist’s love
    letter to religion.” ‘

    https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/south-park-creators-defend-musical-book-mormon/story?id=13214753

  • Your first statement is incoherent and does not change your factual misstatement or intent.

    Your second one misses two key points. The West Bank government of Fatah is secularist/radical not Islamicist. Secondly Iran and Saudi Arabia stopped funding Palestinians in favor of more direct combatants in their cold war.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.deseretnews.com/article/865633190/Profane-but-acclaimed-The-Book-of-Mormon-musical-arrives-in-Salt-Lake-City.amp
    Evidently Mormon’s in SLC did not take too much offense to the play considering it played there as well.
    “Stone even described his musical as “kind of a celebration of Mormonism by some guys who aren’t Mormons”

  • From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism ( http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Gentiles ):

    Gentiles

    In the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words translated into English as “Gentile” signified other peoples; i.e., “not Israelite” and later “not Jewish.” For Latter-day Saints, “Gentile” generally means “not Latter-day Saint,” although the meaning also extends to include “not Jewish” and “not Lamanite.” These latter senses are rooted partly in scripture, where the distinction between Gentiles and Israelites or Jews is firmly maintained, and partly in the language adopted by early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • “Boasting” No, just accurate information. It’s a subject of neither pride nor shame.

    You seem to have some notion that the Church is unusually heavy-handed in the way it collects donations, but that view is misguided. First of all, “tribute” is a loaded term referring to payments by a conquered people to their conquerer, and has nothing to do with tithing. Any assertion to the contrary is hyperbole. Second, tithing is just one of many practices members must observe to enter the temple. Third, members self-report their tithing; there is no audit, and the precise meaning of income is left to the member to decide. Fourth, is the system of tithing in which members discretely donate any more heavy-handed than passing around a collection plate, charging fees for religious services like marriages, or pledge drives used in other religions or non-religious nonprofits?

  • Tribute fits very well. Go look at the LDS church’s actions in Native American tribes and then please “return and report” that the “Indian Student Placement Program” wasn’t an attempt to conquer people. It was an abysmal failure, and its social repercussions persist even today.

    What does it matter that “tithing is just one of many practices members must observe to enter the temple.” It is still required. And it is inconceivable that an institution with billions in the bank requires of its members the payment of 10% of their income to participate in what it claims to be are its holiest rites.

    No one said the process of handing a grey envelope or online tithing was “any more heavy-handed” than any other method of collecting money. What I _did_ say (and still say) is heavy-handed is stating that unless someone pay 10% of one’s income to the Corporation of the President they will be denied a “forever family.” It’s extortion.

  • Actually, the Church does not have recurring direct deposit procedures. Through the Church’s online donation system, you have to make every donation individually, presumably to prevent accidental donations.

    The $32 billion figure at best represents money managed by Church entities, not necessarily money they control, much less a slush fund (are you actually alleging that the Church has $32 billion set aside for bribes, or do you not know what a slush fund is?). Some portion of that money likely represents funds that are part of retirement plans for employees and investments from individual general authorities (some of whom are independently very wealthy from their careers prior to becoming general authorities).

    Finally, let’s look at some comparisons that actually matter (rather than making inane comparisons to time [your bank account, expressed in pennies, may well be more than the galaxy is wide, expressed in light years; who cares?]). $32 billion is less than Harvard’s endowment. Harvard serves 2/3 as many students as BYU Provo alone, which charges a much, much lower tuition.

  • Huh?

    Morminion cited the LDS church’s $32B stock holdings.

    You then compared that to the Harvard endowment, and by extension BYU Provo’s tuition?

    Talk about “inane comparisons” (your words).

  • The Cultroporation has enough dollars in their mad money account to give $1/second away for the next 1000 years but begs for more money from Africans. My brother (Bishop/SP/MP) maintained his tithing and LOST his house to the bank in Las Vegas. Did I mention he didn’t pay the mortgage for 2 years, but he paid Tommy and Rusty’s REIT instead.

  • I was going to tell him that same thing but he gets all of his facts from things he “believes” so you can’t argue with that logic.

  • I didn’t notice that it was specifying Mormons ever in the song. The song was designed to piss of Jews, Muslims, pretty much everybody equally. Including God.

  • “please ‘return and report’ that the “Indian Student Placement Program” wasn’t an attempt to conquer people.” Gladly. In the mid-70s, both the Church and the US Government conducted studies to look at the effect of the ISPP. Both concluded that participants were better off economically, did not feel like their heritage was being erased by the program. The primary focus of the program was to provide educational opportunities that, due to systematic oppression by the U.S. Government and other white settlers (including, unfortunately, many Mormon settlers), were largely unavailable on the reservations. When schools on the reservations improved in the 80s and 90s, the program receded, since Native American students now had access to educational opportunities on the reservation. Besides all that, the implication that tithing is a tribute from a conquered people ignores the fact that the vast majority of tithing contributions in the Church come from Whites.

    “It is still required.” So what? Do you really think that any institution, human or divine, is obligated to provide any and all services to those who are not invested in it? Educational institutions require tuition. Arts institutions require admission tickets. Even low-income housing programs require recipients to contribute to their housing according to their ability.

    Those holiest of rites deal with making sacrifices dedicating one’s life to God. Asking someone to voluntarily give up some of their worldly possessions is not only reasonable, it’s a requirement of nearly every major world religion.

    Your attempt to paint all this as extortion distorts reality beyond recognition. I literally know of no one denied a temple recommend solely based on failure to tithe. Neither does the Church teach that lapses in holding a recommend (including for failing to tithe) invalidates ordinances already performed.

  • What makes the comparison inappropriate? We’re talking about reserve funds. The point is to compare some amount of money with another, similar amount of money and the scale of the programs they fund.

  • “I assure you the church makes no effort to control anyone beyond teaching correct principles and encouraging people to follow them.”
    I would call that the very essense of control.

  • Superiority is not a tenet of the LDS church….
    Really? The One True Church, the fully restored gospel of Jesus Christ says that superiority is not a part of the faith?
    As a gay man, I can assure that is not the message the church has been directing towards me.

  • Your brother likely had a lot more going against him financially than paying tithing. I suspect you’re taking two facts out of a complicated situation, distorting them, and spitting them back out. If he didn’t pay the mortgage for two years and if I were his bishop, I would have counseled him to sell his house and buy one he could afford, and that willfully refusing to pay a debt owed is a failure to be honest in his dealings with his fellow men. But, since I don’t know the whole situation (and I doubt you do, either, knowing how opaque most American siblings are with each other), I couldn’t say.

    You also imply that the Church’s assets are making it’s leaders rich. Could you back up that assertion? The last leaked paycheck for a top church leader showed them making less than the average rabbi.

  • Cool. Did you ever ask your brother if he felt like a slave? I volunteer about 10 to 20 hours a week with various non-religious nonprofits because they ask me to. Am I a slave to them?

    Your thinking is clouded by an irrational bias. I recommend you root that out.

  • I don’t know but I spent 2 years getting calls from his collection agency asking his whereabouts. I should have told them where they could find him 20+ hours a week.

  • The fact that the decade-old pay stub had to be “leaked” says so very much.

    When is the last time The One True Church published a financial report?

  • Ok, let’s have your paycheck. I’m sure you work for some entity that someone somewhere has a financial interest in.

  • “Once you have been sealed for time and all eternity giving or not giving tithing has no bearing on having or not having an eternal family.”

    I think this is disingenuous. It is technically accurate but avoids the main thrust of Tornogal’s point, which is the failure to maintain temple standards obstructs eternal family relationships. Mormon doctrine is quite clear, occupants of lower heavenly kingdoms do not enter the highest, which is where ostensibly temple recommend holders will dwell. So, if I don’t pay my tithing, at most I can have other family members visit me. I can’t go to them. According to the Mormons.

    “I do not believe that David O McKay, Spence W Kimball, Thomas S Monson, Boyd K Packer, Godon B Hinkley had the ability to stand up in General Conference and perpetrate a lie on innocent people.” I believe they were true believers. I also think at least Spencer Kimball and Boyd Packer were incredibly harmful to many of the church’s youth. They were certainly harmful to me, the effects of which I deal with to this day.

    “Beyond that, I have prayed, fasted, and studied a lifetime and I have a surety and peace of mind that the church is true.” I take you for your word. But you conflate feeling peaceful with that being a sign that the church is true. How do you explain others who feel they’ve had the same feelings toward their own faith? I don’t think it’s false dilemma to say there are only two options: 1) admit members of other faiths also have genuine religious experiences akin to those of Mormons, or 2) deny the validity of their experiences.

    Mormonism leaves no room for other religions doctrinally speaking. How many times I heard in fast and testimony meeting, “I know this is the only true and living church on the face of the earth.” So, no matter how kind the face, the bottomline in Mormonism is they have the “fullness of the Gospel, whereas all others have only some of the truth. And for non-Christian faiths, maybe not even that. And from that, you can infer where they think most non-members will end up in the hereafter. Unless they join the Mormon church in the hereafter. Yeah, there’s that, too.

  • The entity for which I work makes no pretense of being The One True Church.

    I’m trying to imagine the Jesus Christ the LDS church says it follows responding as you just did. One would expect of an entity pretending to be deity’s true church on Earth to be more than happy to share its income, its outgo, and how much its top leaders are paying themselves. Why do you suppose it stopped doing so?

    There can be only one reason a non-profit entity refuses to publish financials: It doesn’t want people to know what’s in them.

  • “One would expect…” You expect. I can’t account for your expectations. Apparently millions of people aren’t all that bothered by it.

    “Why do you suppose it stopped doing so?” Probably because large debates over the minutia of fiscal policy became distracting from actually preaching the gospel.

    “There can be only one reason a non-profit entity refuses to publish financials: It doesn’t want people to know what’s in them.” Again, is not wanting others to see your financials evidence of something nefarious? What’s your income and spending?

  • It’s an absurd comparison because Harvard is a private institution whose purpose is to educate, research, and serve. And its achievements in each of those mission areas are demonstrable.

    The LDS church pretends to be in the business of bringing souls to redemption. There is zero credible evidence it has done so. But it’s very much in the real estate business as well.

    More to the point, you jumped from a corporate stock market portfolio to an academic institution’s endowment to the relative costs of tuition. There is little connection in any of that.

    And isn’t it ever so remarkable that you could readily access Harvard’s endowment figure, but because of the opacity of LDS church finances even a tithe payer has to rely on leaked reports for any insight into the finances of a church pretending to be The One True Church? Why do you suppose that is?

  • If you know of no one denied a temple recommend based on not paying tithing, then you are not familiar with the process of issuing temple recommends.

    And you might want to read a little more on the Indian Student Placement Program. It’s miserable effects ruined lives. It was indeed based on the egregious Mormon view that light skin was superior to dark skin. Please read Spencer Kimball’s infamous “right before our eyes” sermon.

  • You clearly don’t know the meaning of the word “evangelical”, Bob. Christians seek out gay people just to shame and gaslight them.

  • The Church’s educational institutions alone have educated hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) at a fraction of the cost of private schools. Millions of people credit the Church for improving their lives socially and spiritually.

    Really, your problem then is not the amount of money, but that you disagree with the Church generally. That’s fine, but let’s not pretend this is about money.

    “More to the point, you jumped from a corporate stock market portfolio to an academic institution’s endowment to the relative costs of tuition. There is little connection in any of that.” What do you think the endowment is? It’s a stock, bond, and other securities portfolio used to fund an institution perpetually into the future. How is that significantly different from the Church’s cash reserves?

    “Why do you suppose that is?” Asked and answered.

  • Can you name someone denied a temple recommend solely for failure to pay tithing? I am extremely familiar with the process. Typically, someone seeking a temple recommend but not paying tithing is also not living up to other standards in the temple recommend interview.

    “It’s miserable effects ruined lives.” I guarantee I know more about the program than you do. Multiple scholastic studies (both at BYU and other universities), as well as a federal government study, concluded that the program had support among students, parents, and host families. You can find some people on whom it had a negative effect, but that was almost entirely due to circumstances unique to the host family or the student, but you can find horror stories from any program involving youth.

  • No, “Bob Arnzen”, but hatred and spitefulness are demonstrably your own characteristics in extremis. Your history here of frequent, insulting personal attacks is evidence of that, in spades.

  • Not publishing financials certainly leaves open the possibility of something untoward, doesn’t it.

    My income and spending are irrelevant until I present myself as deity’s true church on Earth. I am not pretending to do deity’s work on Earth. I am not collecting tithes from even the poor and destitute with the hollow assurance “Trust me, what you donating is “doing god’s work.” And I’m not deriving the non-profit tax benefits of a church.

    And it would be really cool if you could present any evidence at all that the LDS church were “large debates over the minutiae of fiscal policy” when the LDS church ceased publishing its financial reports. I doubt you can.

  • I don’t have a “problem.” I am commenting. It’s what people do here.

    And no, though you declare “asked and answered,” you haven’t at all answered why even a faithful tithe payer has to rely on leaked reports for insight. I’ll politely ask again: “Why do you suppose that is?” The Salvation Army publishes financial reports. The Red Cross does so. Hundreds of churches do. Why did the LDS church stop the practice? What doesn’t its leadership want people to see?

  • “Not publishing financials certainly leaves open the possibility of something untoward, doesn’t it.” Sure. But lack of evidence is not evidence to the contrary.

    “My income and spending are irrelevant until I present myself as deity’s true church on Earth.” Why does that claim lead inevitably to a requirement of financial disclosure? You still have not connected those dots.

    (Un)fortunately, there were no blogs or comments sections for regular joes to make a lasting record of their discontent in a lasting record, but by 1953, Church expenditures had jumped considerably. Quite the opposite to today’s critics, some worried that the Church was spending more than it was able to sustain. Obviously, this worry did not pan out, but discontinuation of the detailed financial disclosure seemed to quiet more criticism than it created.

    https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V48N01_112.pdf

  • http://timjgordon.com/2015/02/the-folly-of-lds-church-financial-transparency/

    You can publish financials without telling much. Disclosure of Church financials would inevitably lead to more debate and criticism than anything else given that most people do not understand the financials of large institutions, and disclosures don’t necessarily prove good stewardship in even the most scrupulous of organizations, since an unscrupulous organization can easily hide its wrongdoing.

  • Lol. “Lack of evidence in not evidence to the contrary.” I thought that was used by Mormons only to justify the absence of any evidence of the many audacious claims in the Book of Mormon. Guess you use it for other reasons as well.

    No one said claiming to be divinely led “inevitably to a requirement for financial disclosure.” What I did say is that it’s mighty curious that while many churches publish their financial reports, one claiming it is the One True Church abruptly stopped doing so. And the notion that that’s so for the reason you suggest is pure speculation on your part.

    The LDS church keeps its finances hidden because it doesn’t want people to know what’s in them. That’s axiomatic. That they do so while claiming they are divinely led is fascinating, particularly when so many other churches are happy to publish financial reports for anyone to see. One can’t help but wonder what they’re hiding.

  • You guarantee you know more about the process than I do? Lol. You have no idea who I am or what callings I’ve held.

    And yes, I can name several people denied temple recommends for failing to pay tithing. But out of respect for them I won’t.

    I have no doubt the Native American placement program had support among many. Are you suggesting that made it a good thing? Maybe you’d be interested in similarly supporting BYU’s Evergreen project.

    And I am sure you can similarly explain banning from the Mormon priesthood African Blacks because some families supported it.

    There have been far too many moral failures in decisions reached by Mormon leaders to support that the LDS church is anything but just another group of men making claims they can’t support. Mormonism is a sad con.

  • The notion that “the lack of evidence is not evidence of lack” is crucial to all sorts of logical endeavors, including science and the law. It’s certainly not uniquely Mormon. It’s just a long-established logical rule.

    “And the notion that that’s so for the reason you suggest is pure speculation on your part.” No more so than your own speculation.

    Did you even read my response? The mere fact that an organization discloses some numbers doesn’t tell you much of anything, and neither does the decision not to do so. It’s no more indicative of something fishy than is your decision not to publish your tax returns on the Internet. It is simply indicative that financial decisions are often complicated and private, and that disclosing financial information invites unnecessary scrutiny from every critic with a bone to pick.

  • Cool story bro. Your response surely sounds like someone who doesn’t have a logical retort.

  • The ISPP had broad support among its participants and led to measurable positive results.

    And why don’t you tell me who you are and what callings you’ve had? After all, transparency demands as much.

  • You’re of course free to think as much. But I suspect you know otherwise.

    Your argument is, essentially, “Because they [we] don’t have to.” You have been seduced into arguing in favor of financial opacity for an organization to which you (presumably) donate thousands of dollars.

    I am certain you’ll disagree, but that does sound awfully cult-like.

    And what’s more remarkable is that were “the brethren” to reverse course (as they have on issues in the past) and announce a revelation that they will begin again publishing financials, I’m certain you would bow your head, say yes, and then begin giving all the reasons that’s a great decision.

    They depend on people like you.

  • “Because you don’t have to” is enough for you to refrain from posting your own financials, isn’t it? That’s true especially if you have a lot of money, even if you don’t do anything remotely unethical with it. The Church started posting its financials in part because members demanded it. That’s apparently not the case now (I hear much more agitation for open books from outsiders or former members than from current members). It’s not an issue of revelation–not everything Church leadership does is. My position is that it would be great if the Church published more financial information, but I’m not bothered much by the fact that it doesn’t. Transparency vs opacity doesn’t affect me much either way because my willingness to donate is independent of financial results.

  • So your argument is that members demanded financial accountability and they stopped. Please, provide evidence of that, because I think you’re making that up.

    This article isn’t about me. It’s about the exclusionary policy of the LDS church which denies temple admittance to anyone without a temple recommend. And to obtain a temple recommend one must be a full tithe payer.

    You are either sincerely ignorant of the distinction between an individual and his or her financial records and those of thtax exempt corporation, or you’re being intentionally obstinate.

    I do not collect donations from poor people, telling them that in order to enjoy the richest blessings in the hereafter they must donate to the Corporation of the President. The LDS church does.

    I do not collect tax-free donations and pay myself a “living allowance” of indeterminate amount from them. The LDS church does.

    I

  • Let me put it in other terms you may understand. The REIT Mormon inc gave away 2 BILLION over 40 years in Humanitarian Aid per their published numbers. They have enough money just lying around to keep that pace up for the next 600 years. Without anybody ever tithing another dime.

  • My first statement is in English and can be understood by those who choose to think.

    Seeing as how thinking is not your strong suit, maybe you should stick to dish washing instead, as that obviously suits you?

    Those Iranians who oppose the islamist dictatorship of an ayatollah have no recourse in the Hague yet you and obama wish to be bound by such.

    I’m glad you will never get close to politics for the world is a much better place when union lawyers and the likes of you, have no say.

    I link to articles that are less than a year old and you know more than they do- are you a Middle East correspondent/reporter as well as an expert on law now? *If you are then you are atrocious at both* and you should consider taking a job mowing lawns instead.

    # Obama gave Hezbollah over a billion dollars via the source of its funding- Iran. No amount of spin from colbert, bee or cnn will alter that fact.

  • Until the dip$hit$ at corporate headquarters release their full and complete financials we get to make up whatever TF we like. How flipping awesome is that.

  • Perhaps you should notify the editors of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism at BYU that they got it wrong.

  • So what?

    It’s not your money. If we choose to give 10% then that is our choice.

    # go make your own church.

  • LOL! You are hurling insults because I am calling out all of the factual and logical errors you have been making here.

    The Iran deal worked quite well and we released their funds in return for dismantling centrifuges and buying up 95% of their very difficult to produce and expensive enriched uranium. International inspectors noted their compliance here. Trump breaking the deal hurt US interests and now enables Iran to build back up with impunity. Plus we don’t even have leverage anymore for a new deal. So your comments about it and Iran in general are the product of a fact free canned argument .
    “for the world is a much better place when union lawyers and the likes of you, have no say.”

    I guess you don’t work for a living. Because the demise of organized labor coincides with wage stagnation and the shrinking middle class. Also its the reason why illegal labor is so prevalent in agricultural work. I guess some people like voting to shoot their economic interests in the foot.

    You linked to articles which did not address my point, nor did you read them. If you had, you would know that the West Bank is not run by Iranian Islamicists.

    The rest of your post is an incoherent mess rambling on without a point. You are spouting ill informed garbage and are too lazy to even remotely look up the actual facts. Oh well

  • Well, tis a global church with many languages. I think I heard the term gentiles used once back in the 70’s at a party.

    Anyway, why don’t you go make your own church instead of following the mighty LDS faith around like a rancid hotdog fart? I mean heck, get yourself a life dude.

  • Ok cool. The Church has to plan for a number of years, future plans, and contingencies. Right now, the church is anticipating growth in the global south, so there will be far more members who are net users of church funds.

    And your humanitarian aid numbers don’t include welfare expenditures.

  • Nope. Not how that works. I mean p, you can do whatever you want, but it will say more about your own foolishness than anything else.

  • Oh, this isn’t my life. More like a hobby. Everybody needs a hobby.

    As to why do it?

    Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

    D&C 88:81

  • Just more proof that the world needs the Great Kibosh:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • Even if one is not gay, I always got a vibe that Mormons thought of themselves as superior. The same vibe I get when going to a Catholic service such as a wedding or funeral and told that I cannot take communion.

    Her family needs to look into their own hearts and question the Mormon religion if a member of the family is denied participation in such a family event as a wedding.

  • I often quote scripture from a church I don’t believe in:
    Treat others as you would like to be treated is one of my favorites.

  • So, you’re a darwinist huh- You actually believe the double helix just appeared in a lifeless mud puddle,

    That’s the biggest leap of faith EVER.

  • This comment seems patronizing. At heart, the explanation is that us plebes couldn’t understand what we’re looking at, would be confused, and therefore would unjustly criticize the church. Thanks for looking out for us. /s If financials are so inadequate, why are they done at all in any sphere? Does the church know something that the rest of the corporate universe does not? Wait, here it comes, revelation, inspiration, yada yada.

  • Tom Cruise is still a member of the Church of Scientology. There have been other high-level defections, but none as high as him.

  • Suggest you check out the time line of evolution to see the stages of the development of the double helix.

  • Who doesn’t have issues with policies and standards? But if you want the benefit of the policies and standards (for example, participating in the temple and perhaps a shot at exaltation) then you adjust. And it is not just religion. In science there are formulas. In case law, there are factors. To graduate college or pass a course, there is a bunch of dumb stuff, too. I, for one, have been complaining about spelling and grammar standards for years. My spelling teachers in school never seemed to care. I wrote a column about the stifling experience of having to sit outside the spelling bee, but with my poor spelling and grammar nobody could read it. I have had to adjust here and there, but I still try to speak goodly when I can, and use British words, like colour. And speaking of disagreeing with standards, I think our current Presidente would agree that we, as Americans, have had way too many of those standard things. For example, by excluding ruthless dictators as our friends. As far as spelling and grammar, and temple entrance standards, in the immortal words of our illustrious leader, your column can be summed up very simply…”covfefe.”

  • “The men and woman who lead the church from the smallest town to the overall leadership of the church are inspired and they seek inspiration on a daily basis.:”

    C’mon. That is so sweeping as to be clearly untrue without further examination. But here are a few examples.

    The salamander letter debacle. (I love the picture of Kimball and friends oohing and aahing over the forgeries with a magnifying glass.)
    Dal Oaks writing an article in the Ensign about “hey, it’s totally legit for Joe Smith to reference a salamander.
    Or Bruce McConkie having to to edit, redact, or rewrite major portions of his Mormon Doctrine after getting his ass reamed by Spencer Kimball.
    Or Brigham Young’s comments on about, well, anything.
    Or Joseph Smith’s utter fail regarding the Book of Abraham. You know, where his supposed vocabulary was referred to as gibberish by learned Egyptologists. Or the facsimily hieroglyphics that were in my set of scriptures were completely and utterly misinterpreted. My favorite there is plate 2 where the figure with the erection is mislabeled. Or the fact that the papyri discovered in 1967 utterly fail to support Smith’s

    It goes on and on. This is not even a beginning.

    All would have told you they were “inspired”. Well, maybe. But inspired by what or who, that is the question. I don’t think it was God.

  • “In its 4.6 billion years circling the sun, the Earth has harbored an increasing diversity of life forms:

    for the last 3.6 billion years, simple cells (prokaryotes);

    for the last 3.4 billion years, cyanobacteria performing photosynthesis;

    for the last 2 billion years, complex cells (eukaryotes);

    for the last 1 billion years, multicellular life;

    for the last 600 million years, simple animals;

    for the last 550 million years, bilaterians, animals with a front and a back;

    for the last 500 million years, fish and proto-amphibians;

    for the last 475 million years, land plants;

    for the last 400 million years, insects and seeds;

    for the last 360 million years, amphibians;

    for the last 300 million years, reptiles;

    for the last 200 million years, m-ammals;

    for the last 150 million years, birds;

    for the last 130 million years, flowers;

    for the last 60 million years, the primates,

    for the last 20 million years, the family Hominidae (great apes);

    for the last 2.5 million years, the genus Homo (human predecessors);

    for the last 200,000 years, anatomically modern humans.

    Periodic extinctions have temporarily reduced diversity, eliminating:

    2.4 billion years ago, many obligate anaerobes, in the oxygen catastrophe;

    252 million years ago, the trilobites, in the Permian–Triassic extinction event;

    66 million years ago, the pterosaurs and nonavian dinosaurs, in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.”

    Bryson’s best seller, “A Short History of Nearly Everything” will fill in the details in language that we the common man understand.

  • I don’t think you’ve accurately summarized my argument. My argument is that the Church has generally not provided financial disclosure and that when it did, it was in response to membership demanding it. (See the linked document at page 18.) Financial disclosure continued until the Church dramatically increased its expenditures in a building program. I don’t have direct evidence that the Church ceased disclosing to avoid members getting picky, but it stands to reason that the Church ceased disclosing to avoid conversations about increased expenditures.

    https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V48N01_112.pdf

    “You are either sincerely ignorant of the distinction between an individual and his or her financial records and those of thtax exempt corporation, or you’re being intentionally obstinate.” Clearly they are different, but I don’t think they are different in a way that matters. The Church does not publicly solicit donations; it solicits donations only from its members. That makes Church finances a matter between Church leadership and its members. With some exceptions, the members don’t seem to mind.

    The law does not require disclosure. It’s not clear to me that disclosure prevents fraud or promotes financial responsibility. (See linked document at 4-9). In fact, I have worked in and with the leadership of multiple 501(c)(3) organizations that have to submit 990s, and one, it turned out, had run the organization to the ground, despite 990s showing healthy financials, and another chose to take a course of action its board knew was not otherwise in the best interest of the organization solely because it would reflect better on GuideStar when it went through its 990.

    See my response to Morminion regarding criticism of asking poor members to tithe. I will add to that the fact that the Church provides an economic safety net to members, so unless you have evidence to the contrary, there’s no reason to believe that the Church is making poor people poorer.

  • Most people looking at financial data have no idea what they’re looking at. That’s not to say that people are dumb, it’s just information that requires specialized knowledge to properly interpret. I have no idea what I’m looking at when looking at blood test results, and so I don’t expect to be consulted on someone else’s health.

    “Does the church know something that the rest of the corporate universe does not?” Most of the corporate universe knows that most people have no idea how to interpret financial data. That’s why those who are required to make public disclosures often go to great lengths (and costs) to present it in a way that provides context. But churches are not required to disclose their financials, and I have not yet seen a compelling case for why they should.

  • Sorry but all cellular life has a double helix- that’s the cell’s blueprint so to speak. Darwin claimed all life sprang from a single cell- so where did his single cell’s double helix come from? It couldn’t evolve alone- the double helix is way too complex to just appear and a half formed double helix cannot evolve to form a fully developed double helix- dna can’t do that.

    When he came up with theory of evolution there was no understanding of the double helix/dna.

    The amusing thing now is that leftist media reports that ‘a scientist has created a new cell’ with the inherent implication in the reporting being that the clever scientist just put it together from elemental matter. It’s total bunk reporting from the left as all the scientist is doing is tinkering with cells already in existence- take a bit out here and add a bit of another cell there. Our brightest minds don’t have the ability to create dna from lifeless matter because it’s too complex yet you imagine an incredibly complex blueprint ‘evolved’ in a lifeless mud puddle anciently.

    Yours is the greatest leap of faith EVER- Faith in award winning scientists who can’t even do what they claim just magically happened over time.

    # For dna to evolve there has to be life pushing it to evolve. You can’t have life without dna- a cell with a quarter or half formed dna cannot exist because the whole double helix/dna is why it exists.

    Here’s about 30 links:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_are_the_to_1/

  • Rational logic is my prime source. The really interesting thing about this is that the astrophysicists and astronomers have a collective answer to this double helix conundrum, that isn’t really an answer at all.

    When confronted with the fact that a partial double helix cannot create life they reply ‘All you are doing is to push cellular existence back generations or even billions of years earlier- there still has to be a beginning’. Thus the conundrum remains.

    Deep LDS doctrine however says that there is infinite unorganized matter in infinite space and of course, infinite time. When a human follows God and becomes a truly selfless perfected being, he takes his family and claims a portion of the infinite space in which new galaxies/suns etc are created. God’s purpose is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man but you, you Mr Rational Conclusions are entitled to think small and aim low, if you desire such- for this very decision, along with choice to lose yourself in the service of others or to choose a selfish course, is the very purpose of this mortal coil.

  • Yes, some mistakes but you fail to acknowledge that even the prophets of the Old Testament made mistakes.

  • Rational logic gives only one conclusion, the LDS is nothing more than a business cult fronting as a religion invented by con artist Joseph Smith!

  • And there you go, you’ve made your choice.

    The question for you to answer now though is Why are some people -namely you- so obsessed with Mormons that they stalk them on the web?

  • Alexander has built his reputation on his “feelings” This is how he knows there is a God.

  • We like watching useful tools tie themselves into knots performing the mental gymnastics required of Mormonism.

  • Trusting pathological liars is what sounds foolish to me. Lie to me once, shame on you, Lie to me repeatedly over and over for generations. Shame on me.

  • “Joseph Smith told about ten different versions of ‘the day [he] saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the grove.’ Which one are you referring to?”

    That’s interesting. Most of the anti-Mormon blogs, which you clearly frequent, cite four versions. Interestingly, the four versions do not include any contradictions, despite the bigoted attempts to prove otherwise. I wonder if the other six provide any contradictions? Would you be willing to share them with us?

  • Tornogal, you aren’t going to convince any Mormons to abandon their faith by explaining that the LDS Church is fiscally responsible.

  • “I do not collect donations from poor people, telling them that in order to enjoy the richest blessings in the hereafter they must donate to the Corporation of the President. “

    Are you suggesting that the LDS Church is bad for poor people?

    “I do not collect tax-free donations and pay myself a ‘living allowance’ of indeterminate amount from them. The LDS church does.”

    Are you suggesting that LDS leadership is in it for the money? (If you remember, I have already disproven that claim in great detail. You might want to look it up before responding. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself again.)

  • morminion: “Useful idiots?”

    Are you describing yourself? If so, I’m not sure the “useful” qualifier is very meaningful.

  • Tornogal: “Tribute fits very well.”

    Only if your intent is to disseminate malicious propaganda.

    T: “Go look at the LDS church’s actions in Native American tribes and then please ‘return and report’ that the ‘Indian Student Placement Program’ wasn’t an attempt to conquer people.”

    Of course it wasn’t. That fanatical accusation is simply not available to any intelligent person.

    T: “It was an abysmal failure, and its social repercussions persist even today.”

    It was an unqualified success, which is why all the most deranged anti-Mormons hate it so much.

  • Bigoted rant: “Who cares WHERE the LDS church collects the compulsory 10%-of-income tribute it demands?”

    You and your fellow haters clearly do.

    Calling it “tribute” is, as has been noted, a brazen falsehood.

  • koseighty: “Of course it is. Any group that has a word for ‘everyone who’s not one of us’ has a superiority doctrine.”

    Oh, you mean like “breeders?”

  • Danny: “It goes on and on. This is not even a beginning.”

    A beginning of what? A laundry list of carefully crafted distortions and half truths?

  • Which of my statements above is a distortion or half truth? Sure, I was a bit expansive while referring to BY. But I can easily come up with specific comments.

    A beginning of what? A lengthy list of facts summing to the conclusion among other things that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, the doctrines supposedly revealed to him were not unique to him; the Mormon church is not the only true and living church on the face of the earth as it claims to be; and it’s teachings on how to arrive at truth are flawed. I”m sure I could add to that list, but I’ve got work to do and limited time.

    The research is done and out there for everybody. I don’t have the time to do it for you. Just begin with cesletter.org.

  • Which of them? Pretty much all of them.

    The so-called Salamander Letter was a debacle primarily for those who hung their unfaith on it. There is, to this day, a “Salamander Society” of people who wish it was authentic, and nostalgically long for the halcyon days when every new “discovery” seemed to undermine the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ. I’ve seen the picture you describe; the “oohing and aahing” is entirely a product of your own wishful thinking. In fact, the brethren were at all times cautious about Hofmann’s productions. President Gordon B. Hinckley explicitly said the Salamander letter may have been forged. The Oaks statement you are spitefully misrepresenting simply argued that the word “salamander” might be applied to a supernatural being capable of living in fire. In the same speech, he described the document as “a letter Martin Harris is supposed to have sent to W. W. Phelps over 150 years ago.”

    Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine was at all times his own project and he took full responsibility for its contents. The first edition, which contained the most errors, was published before he was an apostle. Most of the Church’s critics overlook this fact. I wonder why.

    The Book of Abraham situation has a lot more to it than you like to pretend. Far more than can be covered in a short reply to an online comment. But those who smugly announce that the surviving Joseph Smith papyri were “just ordinary funeral papyri that are fairly common,” have rather a lot of explaining to do.

    So you’re a shill for the so-called “CES letter,” are you? Well, given your fondness for inauthentic documents, I suppose that’s not surprising. Were you aware that there is nothing new or original in Mister Runnells’ “research?” Did you know, or do you prefer not to disclose, the fact that it was crowd-sourced?

    And has been rather thoroughly discredited?

    Somehow I didn’t think so.

  • Awesome response! I love your tone. It perfectly mimics that of the so-called church. Hostile and unChristlike. How very LDS Church of you. There is a former bishop on a hunger strike right outside the church office building who wants the church to stop explicit sexual interrogations of children. His name is Sam Young. Seems like it would be a no-brainer. But instead the church insists one-on-one interviews of the youth are perfectly ok, while simultaneously requiring 2 so-called priesthood holders to handle its money. We see now clearly what the church prioritzes.

    Not a single general authority can be bothered to walk a short ways and talk to the man. Just how Jesus would have responded, right? /s

    Regarding Jeremy Runnell’s CES Letter, I’m a shill? Aah, internet namecalling. Again, so Christlike. /s Who the hell cares if it was crowd-sourced? That made me laugh out loud. Talk about irrelevancies. The fact that a bunch of people helped Jeremy with financial resources does little to resolve the issues he raises. If in fact his arguments were so specious, why did his stake president not explain so? If his arguments are so weak, why won’t the church address it? I’ll answer my own question. Because the church has no answers.

    Why does the church hide behind fairmormon, Kirton McConkie, and unattributed essays on its website? Again, if this is supposed to be the church of Jesus, why are its actions to contrary to that assertion? By the way, fairmormon attempted to debunk his CES Letter while at the same time admitting the majority of his arguments had a legitemate basis. Are you aware Jeremy debunked fairmormon’s debunking?

    Overall, your response is mostly a non-response with some ad hominem thrown in. As I’ve argued in front of a judge, sarcasm and disdain are not valid arguments. I don’t have the burden of proof. The church does. It makes extraordinary claims; therefore, it follows the church must produce extraordinary evidence. There is none. If the mental gymnastics required to rationalize the serious problems in church history and doctrine work for you, mazel tov.

  • Danny: “Awesome response! I love your tone.”

    A subject you would do well not to raise. Or do you, like most internet bullies, demand that your opponents play by the rules that you prefer to ignore?

    I don’t intend to chase every red herring you drag across my path. But Church leaders have met with Mister Young a number of times before he started his publicity stunt. Did you not know that, or do you prefer to ignore it?

    “The fact that a bunch of people helped Jeremy with financial resources does little to resolve the issues he raises.”

    That’s not crowd-sourcing, that’s crowd-funding. I said, and I stand by my statement, that Mister Runnells’ so-called “CES letter” was crowd-sourced. I saw, with my own eyes, his online appeals for information to include in his attack. He markets it as if it contains his own oh so sincere “concerns” when in fact it’s no such thing. It’s a cherry-picked laundry list of standard anti-Mormon talking points.

    “If his arguments are so weak, why won’t the church address it? I’ll answer my own question. Because the church has no answers.”

    Of course you’ll answer your own question. Anti-Mormons like you need to control both sides of the argument; you know you can’t possibly prevail otherwise.

    The truthful answer, of course, is that answering every attack is not the mission of the Church. But Mister Runnells’ propaganda piece has been addressed, and thoroughly discredited. You can start here: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Online_documents/Letter_to_a_CES_Director

    The Church’s actions are not contrary to its claims. It has no responsibility to live up to impossible standards invented by its enemies.

    And the burden of proof is at all times borne by the accusers.

  • No, I do not have any rules I expect you to play by. Rather, I point out the difference between your tone, that of the church’s, and those standards set by Christ. I don’t recall him lashing out when mocked by his accusers. I remember meek answers. But maybe your role model is Brigham Young. That would explain much. Bring on the blood atonement!

    I’m not anti Mormon, I’m pro-truth. The facts show a composite picture the church is clearly not what it claims to be. True enough, the church is not obligated to answer Runnells’ and others’ criticisms. Hell, we can even leave Runnells out of it since he seems to strike such a nerve with you.

    But it seems to me that an organization that by it’s own statements is THE LORD’S restored gospel containing the fulness of the Gospel (not my characterization, its characterization) replete with living prophets and apostles who are inspired by God, who are special witnesses to the divinity of Jesus, could A) act like it, and B) not be so utterly tone-deaf on nearly every issue before it, C) not take decades to catch up to society on issues such as race, and D) not hide behind plausible deniability erected by its law firm. I also note the stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands to fill the earth, ain’t so much. Growth is stagnant. The only place the church can grow are 3rd world countries still filled with credulous people. But that will change, too. The church is in big trouble. It won’t end anytime soon. It can drag out for decades of nongrowth thanks to earnings on investments originally funded out of tithing money.

    I spent 50 years in the church and left under my own steam after realizing the emperor had no clothes. Best decision I ever made. Sunday is now “second-Saturday” in my book. Sunday mornings were meant for golf, Bloody Marys, and cigars. The only regrets I have is having actually allowed those asshats Kimball, Packer, McConkie, Dunn, et al, to influence my self perceptions. When I drive by a church on Sunday, with their smattering of vehicles in the parking lot, I feel only pity for those poor people.

    If I speak out against this damaging organization, it is the small hope somebody might actually look at the readily available facts and not just drink the cool-aide. Jeremy, quitmormon.org, mormonthink, and others have helped many people see the light, ironically speaking.

  • Danny: “I’m not anti Mormon, I’m pro-truth.”

    If there was any meaning to that cliche, you wouldn’t be trotting out the “blood atonement” libel.

    Which is nothing but the most brazenly false anti-Mormon hate propaganda.

    Just so you know.

    And rational adults don’t start smoking.

  • Is it necessary to go to the hate site you are promoting in order to become as hate-obsessed as you are?

    Or is it just helpful?

  • I am just giving people the option of REAL agency. I wouldn’t be afraid. 2/3rds of all MORMONS have already run as far away from the church as they can. This gives them another option to remove it from their lives permanently. Did I mention that it is fast easy and FREE.

  • It’s helpful for some… and many are choosing that option. The church is circling the drain with growth rates. Pretty soon there isn’t going to be enough useful idiots to keep it running. But by all means, keep re-arranging the deck-chairs on the SS Kolob.

  • The corporation (sole) has 67 BILLION of your money. No refunds. How are those blessings working out for you?

  • What does the church being a corporation sole (it’s actually primarily 2 corporations sole plus a number of other entities) have to do with anything? How does the Church’s choice for legal organization affect anything at all?

    Second, no one has $67 billion of MY money, seeing as nothing even close to that amount has passed through my hands, much less gone to the church.

    Third, and most importantly, those blessings are working out very well indeed.

  • Oh the weeping, whaling and knashing of teeth in this forum. Any organization (and there are many) who have rights and privileges not available to those who are not a member of the organization. I used to work in a hospital, and as a member of the healthcare team I could access any area. When I left and returned as a visitor to a hospitalized family member, I was stopped when I attempted to enter a nursing station area. It was okay, they had valid reasons for not allowing a non “staff member” to have full access to all areas. I know about LDS weddings and the exclusion of non temple recommend holders from attending weddings. My mother-in-law never really got over not being able to attend her daughter’s (my wife’s) marriage ceremony in the temple, so I understand where people are coming from. But one thing that appears so narrow minded in a lot of these comments herein is the failure of people to recognize it isn’t just the LDS Church that has restrictions and rules – and to take out their anger on this Church is curious to me. I’m an old dude so I have learned in life one important lesson and that is folks who don’t like rules (from whatever organization) tend to be bitter, disruptive and unhappy. Some folks don’t like obeying the speed limit (especially here in Zion) so they just thumb their noses at the law as if they are above the rules of the law. Then when they get a speeding ticket they hate the cops or the laws and they gripe all the way to bed. So many people simply don’t want any rules – sorry but that isn’t real life!

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