Mormons have “fundamental” PR problem

April 10, 2008

Warren Jeffs in the dock in St. George, Utah, 21 Sept, 2007/poolThe Mormon faith — or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it is officially called — has a “fundamental” PR problem.

It may have renounced polygamy over a century ago but the breakaway sects which continue to practice plural marriage are the ones that often catch the public eye, leading to the popular misconception that all Mormon men have, or strive to have, more than one (often underage) wife.

This was driven home to me as investigators late last week swooped on a polygamist compound in a remote part of west Texas in response to an abuse complaint.

The compound belongs to followers of jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and is linked to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which broke away from the main branch of the faith decades ago.

Over 400 children were yanked from the Texas facility over the course of the weekend and into the early part of this week, providing a riveting spectacle in a dusty corner of the state.

Television footage showed young girls in long, apparently homemade “pioneer dresses” boarding buses. Some who looked to be in their early teens carried infant children. Texas child welfare officials said it was their biggest operation ever.

As all of this was unfolding my wife happened to mention to a friend of hers in South Africa — a friend who is well-educated, a journalist and a devout Christian — that I was covering the story. Her friend’s response?  “Those Mormons, they’re weird. I don’t answer the door when they knock,” she said. My wife said as far as her friend was concerned, Mormons were Mormons and that was that.

Salt Lake Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, 28 May 2007/Lucy NicholsonOf course, the mainstream Mormon church, which claims a worldwide membership of around 13 million, is the one sending missionaries around the globe to knock on doors and spread the faith.

The renegade polygamist sects whose followers number several thousand (some estimates are as high as 40,000 or more) are not knocking on doors in Johannesburg. But the perception is clearly there: Mormons are the funny fellows taking multiple wives and living in isolated retreats in remote patches of America.

In places like Texas, the mainstream Mormon faith — based in Salt Lake City, Utah — has to contend with plenty of suspicion anyway.

Southern Baptists and other evangelicals widely regard Mormonism as an almost sinister cult which is successfully competing for souls among the faithful. They regard Joseph Smith, who founded the faith in New York state in 1830, as a false prophet. Southern Baptists are taught in Sunday School to be wary of that “knock on the door” from Mormon missionaries.

Against this backdrop the last thing the mainstream LDS needs is more bad press stemming from its fundementalist kin. The Texas media is abuzz about the probe and court documents alleging a compound rife with sexual abuse and girls being forced into “spiritual marriage” after reaching puberty.

One also gets the impression that Texas authorities were chomping at the bit to take the place down, given the scale of the operation in response to complaints allegedly made by one person.

But it has all served to reinforce popular stereotypes of the Mormon faith — and that must be causing discomfit in Salt Lake City.

159 comments

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Thanks for writing this article.

You’re right- I’m a real “Mormon” or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (My ancestors on both sides of the family came out to Utah with Brigham Young and were originally from Norway, Denmark, England, and Switzerland. I’m currently working on my Ph.D. at Purdue, but I’m originally from Utah.)

When I hear about these psycho polygamist sects making national news and the news agencies referring to them as “Mormons” and “followers of Joseph Smith,” it just makes me sick. These people are about as much followers of Joseph Smith as terrorists are followers of the Muslim faith! There practices are considered apostate and evil, and anyone who abuses a child, in OUR faith, is worthy of death (subject to the laws of the land, which we put before our own laws). Oh, how I wish people would search out the truth about us instead of believing what they hear from whoever they hear it from.

Unfortunately, as you say, some of the false information is spread by evangelical/baptist preachers who fear losing their flock (and hence their income) to Mormon missionaries. This strikes me as kind of funny, because in our Church, we’re actually encouraged to invite anyone into our home who has a sincere and loving concern for our souls. The idea is that together, the truth will eventually be found out, as long as people have a genuine love/concern for eachother and they are open-minded. (In fact, I heard that when Mike Huckabee and the Southern Baptist Convention came to SLC, Utah a few years ago, a number of them actually ended up joining our faith because how well-received they were…) I wish we could teach the world the power of 1) love (instead of fear) and 2) open-mindedness in the search for truth of all kinds- scientific and spiritual.

The people of my faith do indeed claim to have some things that others do not. But, we do not believe we are superior or that we need to FORCE anyone to do anything. We are followers of Christ and if Christ did anything, it was love. He did not judge. Our Church teaches that truth does the judging ok by itself; people should do the loving.

Thanks for writing this article. Hopefully it will help!

Shaun Hansen

Posted by Shaun | Report as abusive

this article is lacking in truth. the name of the polygamist group is “the fundamentalist church of latter day saints” not the fundamentalist church of (Jesus Christ) of latter day saints. The mormons abandon plural marriage over a hundred years ago.Iam a mormon and if I marry more than one wife, I will be excommunicated. Also,our late president Gordon B. Hinckley said there’s no such thing as a fundamentalist mormon. You are either a mormon or a non mormon. If you form another church , then that church no longer fall under the umbrella of the The Church Of Jesus Christ of the Latter day Saints. The writer of this article has a hidden agenda, and that is to connect this polygamist group to the mormon church which is far from the truth.

Posted by Phil Ollero | Report as abusive

The misconceptions put forth by the media is more of a reflection on the “Media’s ignorance”, lack of scholarship, and in some cases, even outright deception,
than it is on the Mormons.

The Associated Press style guide states clearly that the term “Mormon” is “never” to be used, unless referring to members of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, period. Any other group should not be referred to with that term in any way, whatsoever.

You would never refer to a Lutheran or an Anglican as a fundamentalist Catholic. This PR problem is the media’s
agenda. The LDS Church increases it’s membership by a million people every 2.5 years. Honest people seeking truth don’t look to the lying media for their guidance.

This group in Texas is the absolute antithesis of anything a Mormon believes or teaches.

These people in Texas are in no way akin to the actual Mormons, nor does their style of polygamy in any way resemble the polygamy of the 1800′s Mormon church.
There was no marrying nieces and or isolationism in the 1800′s. In reality, only 5-10% of all 19th century adult males ever entered into polygamy. Also remember that polygamy is not just a Mormon thing, Biblical Prophets such as, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, David, etc. were all polygamists. The worlds three major religions still consider all of them to be men of God.

True journalists would never make these mistakes, Baptists, propogandists and shoddy journalists do.

If the media wants to put their bias on display for the world to see, who are we to intervene. Like all dishonest endeavours, the truth will out!.

ajarizona

Posted by ajarizona | Report as abusive

There are many Mormon sects, of which the LDS church is just one – the largest and best known, but just one more sect.

If the LDS church had the courage to instruct it’s members in law enforcement and the courts to enforce the laws and protect the children in the smaller sects, this problem could have been dealt with long ago. Instead, generations of girls have been raped. It’s a shameful failure of the Utah and Arizona power structures which are LDS dominated. Thank God for Texas. The Utah Attorney General just gave an interview in which he admitted he ‘almost’ did the same thing. Almost isn’t good enough.

LDS canon still claims that polygamy will be practiced in heaven, and the main canon of the LDS church (the D&DC) still has the commands to Joseph Smith to practice it, but nothing to stop practicing. The FLDS church is actually following Smith’s commands more acurately than the LDS church.

Posted by Janet Wade | Report as abusive

Yes, finding PR contrast and real or imagined differences between the breakaway sects of Mormonism and the S.L.C. ‘Brighamite’ version is a real problem. . . it may even approach the difficulty of specifying on some basis other than color, a telling difference between the light and the dark divisions of chicken droppings.

Posted by c. greys | Report as abusive

This message is in reply to the posting of Janet Wade, whose post contains some very odd assertions, and some incorrect, or misleading statements.

First of all, she seems to think that the church should instruct its members in ‘law enforcement’…? Since when do members of the LDS church assume the responsibilities of law enforcement? Are we to form a posse? Does she expect that members of other churches also are to be a part of law enforcement?

Secondly, the D&C is not the ‘main canon’ of the church. The canon consists of the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. No one of these is considered the main canon.

Finally, the she claims that the canon contains no instructions to stop polygamy. This too is not correct. The Doctrine and Covenants does include the ‘manifesto’, instruction that members are to no longer practice polygamy, and this manifesto has constituted the church’s vieww on the practice of polygamy since. Anyone who enters into polygamy is going contrary to this doctrine, and is excommunicated.

Posted by Val | Report as abusive

Janet Wade said “If the LDS church had the courage to instruct it’s members in law enforcement and the courts to enforce the laws and protect the children in the smaller sects, this problem could have been dealt with long ago.”

I don’t know how many times we have to mention that these splinter groups have nothing to do with the LDS church. Blaming the LDS church for them (or for the lack of prosecution of them) is akin to blaming the Pope for not policing the things that Protestant church members do. Janet Wade must bang on the doors of the Vatican every time Protestants behave badly.

Posted by B Thomas | Report as abusive

They are following Joseph Smiths teachings. The LDS church changed the Mormon prophets teaching to fit into society….

The Mormons have been adapting the teachings to fit better into society constantly. Mormons have quite a few problems that can make them viewed as a cult…

Posted by M Greene | Report as abusive

I must respectfully disagree with several of the above statements. This article seeks to distinguish members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from break-away polygamist sects and does a good job of it. In the heads of most people, as this article demonstrates, “Mormons are Mormons.” Main-stream Mormons should be grateful for this article, not condemn it.

The debate over who may or may not be labeled Mormon reminds me of the fight over who may call themselves Christian. Most Christian sects deny Mormons the label of Christians while Mormons claim to represent pure restored Christianity. If a person believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, aren’t they Christian? If a person believes in the prophetic role of Joseph Smith, aren’t they a Mormon? Or should they be called Josephites? Latter-day Saints? Restorationists? Who gets to control labels?

Mr. Stoddard, this Mormon appreciates the great article. It highlights the struggle the Church faces in defining itself in both America, and throughout the world. With what many Americans believe about the faith, no wonder Republicans were suspicious of Mitt Romney.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

Were New Testament Christians a “Cult”?

Mormons are not Creedal Christians. However, they do believe in the Jesus Christ of the New Testament:

The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often accused by Evangelical pastors of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion. This article http://mormonsarechristian.blogspot.com/ helps to clarify such misconceptions by examining early Christianity’s comprehension of baptism, the Godhead, the deity of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) adheres more closely to First Century Christianity and the New Testament than any other denomination. For example, Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.”

One Baptist blogger stated “99 percent of the members of his Baptist church believe in the Mormon (and Early Christian) view of the Trinity. It is the preachers who insist on the Nicene Creed definition.” It seems to me the reason the pastors denigrate the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is to protect their flock (and their livelihood).

Further reading; http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/

Why don’t Evangelicals have a “fundamental PR problem”?

Evangelical polygamists have about 50,000 members in the United States. One group, LoveNotForce.com, teaches the “Standard of Christian Polygamy.” Men are instructed on how to “unlock the gate,” so wives will be more open to their men having more wives.

So the Evanglicals have more polygamists than the offshoots. Are they competing with one another?

http://www.chron.com/commons/persona.htm l?newspaperUserId=kengurley&plckPersonaP age=BlogViewPost&plckUserId=kengurley&pl ckPostId=Blog%3AkengurleyPost%3A7c898aac -d02d-4ad3-a62e-7acff57db0fb&plckControl ler=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript &plckElementId=personaDest

I would encourage Janet Wade (and anyone following the events in Texas) to do some research into the Short Creek raid in 1953. Utah, Arizona, and (unofficially) Mormon leaders once did something, and it backfired. Is force the best way to solve a difficult situation? It didn’t work last time.

Certainly society must stand up against child abuse. I’m just not certain that this action was the best way to do it. We’ll have to wait and see if things turn out differently this time.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

The Mormon’s fundamental (without the quotation marks) problem is that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up.

Later, Brigham Young took over to satisfy his personal power trip.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Were New Testament Christians a “Cult”?

Yes.

Posted by Wayne | Report as abusive

I wonder who perpetuates that “PR problem”?

Surely not Reuters or any other news source.

The problem lies with you Reuters.

Thanks for all your “help” Reuters.

The “fundemental problem” here is folks have itching ears, and Reuters and many “Christians” make good money catering to those with itcing ears.

Letting Reuters and Southern Baptists define the LDS faith is like letting the pharisees define Christ’s doctrine.

Posted by Big G | Report as abusive

If Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were around today, which religious organization would they see as closest to the one they started or led west? I would say it is the Fundamentalist group(s) that mainstream Mormons eschew. In addition, where is Utah in all of this? The states leaders and citizens hide and ignore these same practices because they know how many of their fore fathers were involved in exactly the same practice. Shame on them. “Thank you” to Texas authorities who have dealt with this important societal issue and the crimes involved.

Its amazing how mormons always justify thier beliefs. This is America and they have that right but if your always having to clarify it then theres a problem. I used to work at the Mormon Church and I am a christian not a mormon. They believe jesus was in south/latin american and this regular joe joseph smith found these tablets that only HE could read and then they Suddenly disappeared. PLEASE. You might as well follow scientology…. They pretend like they believe the same things but then come to find out its a bunch of ADD-ONs by this JOE guy. If you can be EXCOMMUNICATED ITS A CULT PEOPLE> I know i saw first hand…..

one more thing…. they also believe that gordon hinckley is a man GOD which is crap. There is no such thing as a guy who gets promoted being a god and also believe they will turn into gods themselves and have a planet of thier own in the afterlife…. COOOOMEE ONNN and thats NORMAL all they did was let some con man add a few chapters on to the bible and dupe them… if they come to my door i will ask them how could they be so naive….

I rest my case.

And Reuters, thanks for the “PR” help during the primaries.

Posted by Big G | Report as abusive

As a “Mormon,” I find it especially interesting when some people, (like Janet Wade who are obviously not Mormon) tell others what we as Mormons believe. If somebody wants to know more about the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the best way to find out what we believe is to ask us … maybe more people should open the door when those missionaries knock to get some answers to their questions.

As far as adapting our teachings to society, as M Greene said, I don’t know what he’s referring to if we do not drink, smoke, do drugs, or have premarital sex.

It all comes down to the fact that we believe in modern-day revelation. We believe that God speaks to our Prophets like he did to Moses and other prophets of old.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

The Roman Catholic Church can excommunicate its members as well and it’s an official “Christian” religion.

I have a childhood friend who is Mormon and he’s an amazing man with a wonderful family. I also have friends who are Jewish, Muslim and Christian. I was raised Catholic but would generally consider myself “Chrisian” with no strong religious affiliation. I do not believe the Church of Latter Day Saints condones polygamy any more than say, the Catholic Church does. However, all states must vigorously root out these cults that harm children and force young girls to marry men often old enough to be their grandfathers. It’s appalling that these girls are so casually raped and that it has taken so long for any state to do anything about it. Wake up Arizona, Colorado and Utah!

Posted by Katherine | Report as abusive

For anyone that is above bigotry and wants the facts unlike a few of the people of the above….

We belive Jesus appeared in the Americas to descendents of the Israelite people. They kept records and gold plates that were buried in the earth from about 400 to 1828 A.D. Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, and later by an angel who directed him to the plates. He translated the plates into what is known now as the Book of Mormon. This record corroborates the Bible and will lead all followers of Christ to a better understanding of Him. Most critics of this book never read it. We don’t ask anyone to take our word for it, unlike preachers and bigots who want you to truth their word only. Read it for yourself and find out, if you truly want to know Christ and have some hope in this world.

As far as the PR issue goes, yes it is problematic because so much of the media irresponsibly lump these factions into the same group as the LDS church. Under your criteria, Lutherans are cult followers of Martin Luther and fundamentalist Catholics. Muslims are cult followers of Mohammed, Buddists ad infinitum.

For any real – not professed – truth seekers who want a more logical explanantion of these things, see the addresses of just a few days ago from those we believe are ordained apostles and witnesses of the resurrected Christ:

http://lds.org/conference/sessions/displ ay/0,5239,23-1-851,00.html

Posted by SteveC | Report as abusive

Karl Marx said that religion is the opium of the people. So easy to read how differing points of view escalate into outright agression ( verbal in this instance). We should probably ponder on the impact of this “I am holier than thou” attitude, and why are muslims pithcing against jews, or catholics against protestants, or as in this case.
I suggest that if we’d worship piles of mud and sticks, we would -perhaps-have less conflict in this world.

Posted by NP | Report as abusive

First of all, i thank you all for your ideas. I am from Uganda-Africa and have so far lived in American for five years. On my arrival here i got confused with so many churches! For instance, there are some for and against homosexual-suprise.Seeing all this cultural norms for the first time i withdrew going to church but later joined. In my neighborhood I happened to have met Mormon followers! We interracted for quite some with lots of convictions, but i had my own stand as prostestant and that was it. Reading from the book of Mormon that i still have this faith is a nebulous one! Whoever has said that they knock on people\’s doors like crazy yes they do. Those believes of polygmy meet them and ask for their opinions! don\’t be puzzled with the answers. It\’s unfortunate that such cults are spreading all over the world like a flue virus. A case in point is that most African countries were unaware of such churches and now days this sort of churches go confuse people that they\’re helping them out of poverty next thing you know is a church that\’s their to help people. All churches involved in such episode must know it\’s sinful to confuse people in the name of God. I have no big issues with polygmy because iam from one. I do not back it but since i grew in it my perception is totally different compared to you who has never.
The whole idea am writing this is to react to Shaun Hansen. If you don\’t him refer to first respond on this article. Shaun, I am a student like you and it\’s rude for you to name terrorist as only followers of Moslem religion. I believe terrorist can be from any religion. I note that most schools (purdue included) are tought by moslem elites. I don\’t think this people are terrorist but it\’s just their faith. Shaun,I have not researched on this word, but if this is what it\’s affliated to then i apologize. I am from a secular country and to be honest majority of moslems are as innocent as you are. I have eaten, played and lived with them no problem at all. For your own information, there are those who can be bad because they belong to gangs! From reading books there are gangs and serial killers all over the world and am sure they are non moslems to.Men like Hitler, Napoleon, Musolin where Moslims to you?

Posted by Paul Wangota | Report as abusive

few accounts of Joseph Smith\’s declarations. I do love the one about the angel with the fiery sword threatening to kill poor Joe if he doesn\’t have sex with a lot of women and children. Love that one.

\”The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it, and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth. We have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction.\”
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Contributor, Vol. 5, p. 259

\”When that principle was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith … he did not falter, although it was not until an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him; and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed, or rejected, that he moved forward to reveal and establish that doctrine.\”
- Prophet Joseph F. Smith, \”Plural Marriage for the Righteous Only-Obedience Imperative-Blessings Resulting\”, Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.28 – p.29

\”Joseph was commanded to take more wives and he waited until an angel with a drawn sword stood before him and declared that if he longer delayed fulfilling that command he would slay him.\”
- Hyrum Smith, Elder Benjamin F. Johnson\’s Letter to George S. Gibbs, 1903

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Members of the LDS do believe in “a” Jesus. The Jesus they believe in is fundamentally different from the Jesus that orthodox and historic Christians believe in. LDS Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer and at one time was like us and became ‘god’.

Orthodox and historic Christians believe that Jesus is the second ‘person’ within the Trinity. Jesus was and has always been been part of the Triune God. Here are some links about Mormonism…

http://www.equip.org/site/apps/nlnet/con tent2.aspx?c=muI1LaMNJrE&b=2616123&ct=36 15349
and
http://www.utlm.org/faqs/faqgeneral.htm

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “Mormons” as they are called is about as Christian as you can get. If anyone has ever studied the church with a sincere and open mind they would know that. We believe in the Christ of the new testament. We believe he died on the cross for our sins, and on the 3rd day was ressurected. We beleive that Jesus called 12 desciples or apostles just as He has today. The LDS church teaches today just as the early day members of the church were taught in Christ’s day.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Hey moderator…

Nice and fair of you to permit/post comments of people calling other people belief’s “crap” etc. but then censor comments that rebuke them personally for this. Your personal agenda and selection of what is isn’t published reveals your own lack of professionalism, integrity, and commitment to the free press.

Reuters should be ashamned of you…

If you disagree, then publish this post, otherwise every accusation here is true. I’d like to be proven wrong.

Posted by Media | Report as abusive

Jack and Janet and others that don’t know what they are talking about, this is for you.

When you don’t know what you are talking about, you shouldn’t talk. Catholics have been excommunicated, I guess they are a cult too according to Jack.

Janet, let me point you to Official Declaration 1 in D&C that says pretty plainly that plural marriage was stopped and would not be praticed anymore.

If you say Joseph made it up, you haven’t read the Book of Mormon obviously. There is no way with his education that he could have come up with that. Stop listening to your pastor.

More than likely the Book of Mormon takes place in Central America (Guatemala and Mexico) than in South America Jack. And you say “joseph smith found these tablets that only HE could read and then they Suddenly disappeared.” You claim you are a Christian but don’t believe the Lord could take these up, have you read the Bible?

As for the article, I thought it was good. I do agree that people do tend to think of us all as Mormons and don’t see the difference (like Janet). But we do not have anything to do with them, they are not part of our church and we have no control over them and can’t tell them what to do. The law of the land is the ones that set the laws and have to enforce them, not the church that they broke away from.

Last thing to say, get educationed before you say something. Some of you claim to be Christian yet because you don’t know the truth and you spread it on places like this you are spreading false truths, which others take for truth. Are not false truths and half truths the same thing Satan uses to get us to sin. Therefore you are sinning by doing this and you will have to answer for your actions eventually.

Posted by Lars F. | Report as abusive

I hate to say it folks, but the LDS Church still believes in polygamy. Ask any honest Mormon.

Why do non-Mormons confuse the LDS with the FLDS? The confusion stems largely from the fact that JS and BY both so strongly advocated and practiced polygamy. Most people are not familiar with the idea of “continuing revelation.” They have this odd habit of associating words like “religion” and “revelation” with “eternal truth,” with truths that do not change, not with mere practices that are taken up and then put down depending upon changes in worldly circumstance.

Janet Wade and her respondent Val have things only half right. Val is correct to say that the Woodruff Manifesto is (sort of) included in D&C. But Wade is right that D&C 132 remains on the books. D&C still tells us unequivocally that if a man espouse a virgin and she not be espoused to another man it “cannot be adultery.” It might be illegal in the eyes of the government, but it is not itself immoral in the eyes of the Church.

The Church has suspended the PRACTICE of plural marriage, but it retains the PRINCIPLE of plural marriage. So there’s a sense in which it is perfectly fair to say that Mormons, to this day, continue to “believe in” polygamy.

On another point, Alan has it just right: “If a person believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, aren’t they Christian? If a person believes in the prophetic role of Joseph Smith, aren’t they a Mormon?” Whether the LDS Church likes it or not, FLDS beliefs are grounded in the Book of Mormon and revelations of JS and BY, and hence it only makes sense to consider them a Mormon sect. Just as moderate Baptists cannot plausibly claim that Fred Phelps’s group is not Christian, the LDS Church cannot plausibly claim the FLDS is not Mormon.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Most Mormons will claim that polygamy a practice relegated to history, they are quick to point out that polygamy was banned over one hundred years ago and is now an excommunicable offense.

However, attempts to disavow polygamy are misleading as the Doctrine & Covenants, Section 132 remains as canonized church doctrine.

Polygamy is still practiced in the sense that a man who remarries after the death of his wife can be sealed to his new wife and expects to live with both women in heaven. This also applies to men who have obtained a civil divorce but have not canceled a previous temple sealing(s).

Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth president of the church, married Louise E. Shurtleff in 1898 who died in 1908. In 1908, Smith married Ethel G. Reynolds, who died in 1937. The following year, Smith married Jessie Evans, who died in 1971. He was sealed “for eternity” to each of those women.

Paraphrasing the question asked of Jesus by the Pharisees: which woman will be married to Smith in the celestial kingdom? According to Mormon doctrine, ALL THREE will be his wives. Isn’t that polygamy?

Additional examples include Howard W. Hunter, the 14th president, who married Clara May Jeffs in 1931. After she died in 1983, Hunter married Inis Bernice Egan in 1990. Both women were sealed to him for “time and eternity”. Before his death in 1995, Hunter stated that he was looking forward to being reunited with his two wives in heaven. “President Hinckley affirmed the eternal nature of the marriage between Sister Hunter and the former church president, whose first wife, Claire Jeffs, died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and is now buried beside him in the Salt Lake Cemetery.
Inis Hunter “will now be laid to rest on the other side,” he said. “They were sealed under the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood for time and for all eternity,” he said, recalling the marriage ceremony he performed for them in the Salt Lake Temple in April 1990.” (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,51 43,695221068,00.html)

In April 2006, Church Apostle Russell M. Nelson married for a second time. His first wife had passed away the previous year. Both his first and second marriage were “solemnized” in an LDS Temple ceremony which, according the LDS beliefs, means that he will spend eternity married to both women. While these church leaders cannot be cannot be labeled practicing polygamists in this life, according to Church teachings they will be in the next.

(Of course, Jesus answered that there was NO marriage in heaven, but he obviously didn’t understand Mormon doctrine.)

Posted by caedmon | Report as abusive

It amazes me how a news article about a polygamist sect that is doing disgusting things can erupt into a religios discussion about doctrines of a church that have nothing to do with the people spoken of in the article. Why are we bad-mouthing religions when we should be praying for those affected in Texas.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

This is for David and others that believe as him about us.

Duh, Jesus was like us. Remember, he was born of Mary, grew up and then died for us.

Yes, we do believe in a premortal life and that Jesus was there, as were we and Satan/Lucifier. We are all spiritual children of our Heavenly Father. Jesus was the God of the Old Testement, Heavenly Father was the God in the NT. Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost/Spirit are the God Head.

Tips for others that don’t know about our church, don’t get your information about what we believe from sites that are against the church, they are full of lies. Oddly enough usually written by people that claim to be Born Again and don’t sin. HAA, hate to tell you but everyone sins, that is what Jesus came for.

Posted by Lars F. | Report as abusive

This brings to mind a protest sign I saw directed at Scientologists: “Get a Real phony religion!”

Posted by chas | Report as abusive

I am Mormon. I have been all my life. I have gone to other churches with friends and even other family members. Of course there were jokeson how many husbands i would have but they all stopped when i told them “WE DO NOT BELIEVE OR PRACTICE MULTIBLE MARRAIGES!!!” If any of the people who have posted such terrible things on this post would just open there minds and try to understand unless they truely research a subject they have little idea of what they speak of. I am proud to be mormon. my family is proud to be menbers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was not pressured to have more that one husband or to be one of many wifes. I know this church is true, i know Joseph smith is a true prophet of God, and i will glady give my testimony of it. A truely good and christ like person doesnt persicute anothers believes without knowledge. I do not say i am better than anyone else. But it seemes to me that all of you who “throw stones” are simply throwing them at yourselves. i’m sure your religion wasnt always the popular one. read some history for heavens sake.

Posted by Anne | Report as abusive

and another thing. The people in texas deserve an help the can get. no one deserves to be rasied or forced into a situation like that. they need prayers and kindness and compassion, regardless of their religion.

Posted by Anne | Report as abusive

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I appreciate the author of this blog distinguishing between the LDS Church and the Fundamentalist Church. They are two separate churches. The LDS Church continues to make this known to those who will listen. Please see:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/ commentary/polygamy-investigation

To address the other comments that have been made, the issues appear to come down to believing in Joseph Smith and modern revelation. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and The Book of Mormon is the word of God. To find out why I believe and to learn more about my Church’s beliefs and doctrines, I invite you to visit:

http://www.mormon.org/

Mormon.org is an official website of the LDS Church. It helps you can find information and answers about the Church from the source.

Posted by Jeff E. | Report as abusive

I really reject the assertion that these events cause any doscomfit in SLC. Actually, I not only reject, it just simly isn’t true. Further, i think it revelas the author’s ignorance of his topic. The events surrounding these polygamists have the same impact in SLC (where I once lived) as they do anywhere. Folks in SLC I’m sure find the stories of child-brides and abuse sad and reprehensible. Basically the same reaction folks have in California where I live now. What DOES distress the LDS community are the efforts of a minority in the media to portray a connection (other than long past history) between the two goups (LDS and Polygamists). But don’t imagine that we really lose much sleep over any of this. I tend to find that those whose equate the modern LDS faith in any serious way with polygamists also haven’t read a paper, or listenend to any sources beyond their pastor in some time. In other words, equating the two groups isn’t the viewpoint of informed, thoughtful people.

Posted by ep1433 | Report as abusive

I appreciate everyones comments. It’s nice to see we have such a diverse world with different opinions. God granted each of us free agency and our democracy grants us freedom of religion. The Lord loves all of us because we are all His children.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

The Bible say that by their fruits ye shall know them. This litmus test is one of the most cited in religion and has a practical appeal to it.

The fruits of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine & Covenants are not only the mainstream LDS faith, but all people that believe in and follow the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith and the other scripture that he produced.

The legacy of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the “Mormons” are not the exclusive realm of the mainstream LDS faith and it is blatantly arrogant to assume that is the truth.

If the Latter-Day Saints look at a fundamentalist group and do not see something in common, a reflection of their own faith, they are blind. The LDS population (and the Christian world for that matter) has more in common with these people than they have differences.

There are to my understanding two times that the Church lost significant numbers of their memebership.

First, was the succession of authority from Joseph Smith to Brigham Young. The second was the time that the LDS leadership declared, by the Manifesto, that polygamy would cease.

Ironically, the people that left the church following the death of Joseph Smith generally rejected the practice of polygamy. The people that left the church or were excommunicated from the church at the time of the Maifesto were among the strongest supporters of polygamy.

The transitions in an out of polygamy are interesting. If you listen to the indivisuals of the RLDS church talk about their believe regarding the transition of power to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. You will find that there is no clear logical way of distinguishing whether they should follow Brigham Young or not. In the first instance, the LDS faith mandated marriage of one woman to one man. Then, that doctrine was repealed and replaced with the New and Everlasting Coventant that authorized plural marriage. At the time of the Manifesto, the LDS church had defied for several years the secular government of the United States in a manner similar to the FLDS. Then, they stated that the LDS Church would subject themselves to the secular authority of the Church (only at a time of duress). The polygamists that left the Church subject to that time, do not view that departure to be consistent in any way with what they were taught before the Manifesto. The FLDS members have shown an uncompromising spirit that would foster the admiration of Joseph Smith (they just believe something different from the mainstream LDS faith.

There are other similarities between the practices and teachings of Joseph Smith and the FLDS. For example, it is fairly well documented in the journals of faithful members of the church that Joseph Smith married a 14 year old and her 16 year old sister.

Joseph Smiths incarceration in Carthage was not because he destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor for printing lies about him. Rather, the Nauvoo Expositor was printing a very credible account of the practice of polygamy which included Joseph Smith taking to wife, women who were married at the time to their living spouses.

The racist, anti-african, garbage that was spewed from the mouth of Warren Jeffs comes right from the well documented teachings of Brigham Young.

The FLDS are not the fruits of the modern LDS faith, but they are the fruits of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Book of Mormon and other scripture brought forward by Joseph Smith. They believe and follow it to the best of their understanding.

Posted by Pablo | Report as abusive

[...] “You would think that after over 100 years, media organizations would understand the difference,” he said. “You can’t blame the public for being confused when some of those reporting on these stories keep getting them wrong.” Reuters notices this as well, “Mormons have “fundamental” PR problem.” [...]

HEY KATHERINE, YOU WAKE UP! UTAH WAS THE FIRST TO START PROSECUTING THESE ABUSERS.

JEFFS WAS CONVICTED IN UTAH AND SENTENCED TO PRISON IN UTAH, AS WAS TOM GREEN, MANY YEARS BEFORE JEFFS.

THEY WERE PROSECUTED BY A MORMON DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND A MORMON ATTORNEY GENERAL.

GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE AND STOP ACTING LIKE TEXAS GOT THIS BALL ROLLING.

THE MORMONS OF UTAH HAVE LED THE WAY IN PROSECUTING THOSE WHO HAVE COMMITED CRIMES.

AGAIN, THE ABSOLUTE IGNORANCE OF PEOPLE ON THIS TOPIC IS TRUELY AN AMAZING THING TO BEHOLD.

AJARIZONA

Posted by aj arizona | Report as abusive

Lars et al Mormon defenders,

I got most of my ‘education’ about the LDS while living in the second LDS mecca – Mesa Arizona. I had a great friends who was a member of the LDS and latter became a Christian (born again in the ‘classic sense’). While a member of the LDS in good standing he would defend the LDS in public forums (news media, etc).

Simply put the Jesus I believe in (as defined by orthodox historic Christianity) is not the same as what the LDS teaches or what most members of the LDS believe in.

I am not saying whether or not members of the LDS are good or bad people. I am not saying their religion is any better or worse than others that are out there. I am saying there is a fundamental difference in beliefs between what the LDS teaches and what the historic orthodox Christian Church has taught for ~ 2000 years.

It is interesting that whenever someone challenges a member of the LDS, the resulting argument usually boils down to (coming from the Mormon): “you are lying” or “anyone against the ‘church’ (LDS) is lying” or some form of personal attack.

It’s funny to hear people argue about what religion is wacky than the other. They are all dumb, especially any religion that thanks a 16 year old kid found gold plates in the woods with special glasses that only he could wear and translate the plates. c’mon don’t be dumb. every person who is listed in the book of mormon as having seen the plates was kicked out of the church. They believed the indians were white people that had been cursed for their sins with dark skin. I believe that every male at the age of 13 is considered a priest, but until the 1970s no blacks males were allowed to hold the title. All religions have used the bible to justify their past racism, but the mormons sound silly. Every religion is pretty stupid, but this one takes the cake

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Anne,

A couple of comments:

1. “A truely good and christ like person doesnt persicute anothers believes without knowledge.”
Actually a Christian would not persecute anyone especially about their beliefs (or lack there of). You are not being persecuted nor is the LDS being persecuted. Real persecution is what happens in the Sudan or China or certain Muslim countries. That is persecution.

You and your beliefs are being questioned. That is all.

2. Calm down and take some time to write a logical and thoughtful response rather than one full of emotion. I say that because your response was full of misspellings and poor grammar.

I know that when I have read or heard something which affected me in a personal way I would often respond emotionally. Think first & then write.

Thank-you to Anne for your testimony. I too have been raised in the LDS church and am very proud of it and who it represents (Jesus Christ). If only the whole world practiced what the LDS church teaches it would be a wonderful world we live in.

Posted by Nicole | Report as abusive

I am an LDS member of the church. I am greatly disturbed by this news aswell. This is the type of news anti-Mormons love to hear because it gives them the ability to mislead others and stain the reputation of the church. However, every time someone actually learns about our true doctrines and teachings, to me it seems they always develop a great respect for the church and its followers. This news of the polygamist sect is discomforting, but the Lord is in control and he will not allow his work to be frustrated. The mainstream LDS church will continue to grow and spread throughout the nations of the Earth, and the devil and his servents won’t be able to stop it.

Posted by Zach | Report as abusive

People CLEARLY believe (or at least claim to believe) what they WANT to…

Baptist ministers LOVE to propogate such myths as LDS people believe in polygamy etc. because it helps them collect more money from the SCARED parishioners they’ve harvested.

The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints is just that! NO paid clergymen who have their own agenda of scaring unlearned parishioners with their nonsense.

Posted by James O'Callahan | Report as abusive

This is stupid. I have been a mormon. part of the ONLY Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since I was born. I have been taught good principles by my church doctrine and there has never been anything wrong. There is no polygamy, there hasn’t been any practice in my church with multi marriage for over 100 yrs. When our church leaders stated that the mormon church will no longer practice polygamy everyone stopped because this is a good church and we have faith in our leaders. Some didn’t want to stop the practice and belived that our leaders have gone astray when they did not. Our church leaders did the right and true thing. Those who did not believe the mormons should stop polygamy separated and created their own church different doctrine, priciples, leaders, and beliefs. i do not believe that the people who followed their leaders should be persecuted for something others did.

Posted by Erin | Report as abusive

In Australia, there was an aboriginal tradition of, when a young girl first gets her period, an older male relative or family friend would take her out to the bush for a month or so and have sex with her and then bring her back. These young girls often came back pregnant, andd the babies were raised by the grandparents. Mainstream Australian society was outraged, but they didn’t know how to stop it. So they took young aboriginal girls from their homes and placed them for adoption in non-aboriginal communities. Then the “cultural insensitivity” uproar began. Currently, the girls are left in their homes, subject to this systematic rape/incest. The government does provide them with birth control pills so that their young bodies at least don’t have to have the additional trauma of childbirth. But these Texas girls… they don’t even have the excuse of long-standing cultural tradition. This stuff was made up a maximum of a couple hundred years ago. What’s the solution to anything? I don’t know. Love our neighbors enough to know what they’re doing and care about the abuse of their children?

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

I am 37 years old and my wisdom gained so far on this earth is that it is easy to become confused, get angry and spew hate.

Part of the article is about said confusion and misunderstanding.

Joseph Smith was in the same plight as a young man.

I identify with him.

I also believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that compels me to love those that abuse or maltreat me and forgive our trespassers and turn the other cheek when slighted.

I know this is the true gospel of the Savior.

I also know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God.

But don’t take my or Reuter’s word for it. Test them yourselves.

And Mr. Wangota from Uganda: check again the comparison made by Shaun. I think you misread it.

Peace my brothers and sister and I love you all.

God does, too, even more than me, of course.

Edward

Posted by Ed Clinch | Report as abusive

Wow! What a conversation. So many different views. There’s one interesting fact that no one has mentioned. The last recognized polygamous marriage sanctified by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints happened in 1889. The FLDS church wasn’t organized until 1930. So did these people take 40 years to decide which part of the “Mormon” religion they wanted to believe in? Another interesting thing no one else has mentioned is that The Book of Mormon itself strongly condemns plural marriage (see Jacob 2:27)and clearly teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. The main question here should be is child abuse or spousal ever appropriate under any circumstances. The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been condemning child and spousal abuse for many decades. The FLDS church leaders who force women and chidren into such a degrading and evil lifestyle are the only ones at fault in this awful situation. History can’t be blamed for today’s evil.

Posted by Betty | Report as abusive

As an Arizona resident, I am exposed to Mormonism all the time. As a high school student I have many Mormon friends. I have (with an open mind, I might add) read the Book of Mormon and parts of the other canon. Does it matter, what specifically people believe in, if it makes them a better person? I think that all religions are all paths to God or whatever you may believe in. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is an institution that betters people. They, or any other religion, should not have to take responsibility for the fringe psychos. As a Non-Mormon, I see Mormonism just as I see any other religion, as a path to God. (I’m a Unitarian Universalist by the way.) So I propose that anybody with some sort of vandetta against Mormonism to keep it to yourself, and those LDS members on here to reply in a way that retains your dignity, your audience, and that of your church. We all have different views of the Divine, but does that make us bad people? Blessed be those who suffered in Texas.

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

It’s interesting that the surname “Stoddard” is very prominent in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s entirely possible that Mr. Ed is a descendant who has wandered off to tell another tale.

Posted by Steve 45 | Report as abusive

While I appreciate that Betty is sincere in her position, I would encourage her to dig a little deeper into the history of the end of polygamy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the beginnings of the several polygamists sects. It was not until 1904 and Joseph F. Smith’s second Manifesto that Mormon leaders really started to crack down on polygamists and to purge the Church of those leaders who still encouraged it. Even then, the issue wasn’t resolved. Most fundamentalist sects trace their beginnings back to the 3rd President of the LDS Church, John Taylor, during the time of the federal raids. It’s some interesting history that can not be simply summarized on a discussion board. I think you’d enjoy learning more about it.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

The LDS church has an extensive and remarkable PR system. Not only do our 50,000+ missionaries contribute, but the thousands of TV and Radio spots that run daily. Our leaders meet with political presidents, talk-show hosts, and international organizations. Physically, we have 22,000+ meeting houses, 125 temples, and almost 300,000 new converts worldwide every year.

We make the news. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an awesome presence…..but Reuters ignores it. The reason the LDS church doesn’t make Reuters national news more often is because the church actually obeys civil law and respects the beliefs of others, like the Baptists.

Only negative news makes the news. When Reuters begins reporting on positive contributions made to communities around the nation, the LDS church will begin to make the news every day.

If the media can’t get it right after over 100 years, perhaps there’s little hope they ever will. Even a great PR program can not change rational ignorance. No matter what we do or how we do it, misconceptions will always be out there.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

The article is quite fair, although it strikes me that people will see the Mormon Church the way they want to. I could explain to a KINDERGARTENER that polygamy and the Texas sect have no bearing whatsoever on the mainstream Mormon Church and the lives of its members (aside from having to redress others’ misconceptions), and the kindergartener would understand the FIRST TIME and go on accepting others the way kids do until we teach them otherwise. The Mormon Church abandoned polygamy over a century ago, and a bit of historical research will reveal that none of this wacko sexual abuse was part of the picture then. Since we’re in 2008, you’d think we would profit from our access to information and no longer rely on legends to form our views.

The Mitt Romney presidential bid revealed that we still live in a country full of bigots. Unfortunately, the most intolerant are usually the most outspoken—hence the sensationalism behind the reporting of the Texan sect. In the United States there’s a limit to how much you can spook people out, as there are enough Mormons around to prevent extreme gullibility. Internationally, however, the problem is much worse, and conniving foreigners lick their chops at such a chance to pass intolerance onto their fellow citizens. It’s sheer opportunism. Have we heard this week about the Roman Catholic Church in Germany admitting to its collaboration with the Nazis? What about these extreme Evangelical groups who go around disturbing funerals? Why aren’t people making such a fuss about this, too? That’s precisely my point: people will insist on seeing what they want to.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I love how this went from being about a discussion about the article to being an argument about the church. Wow…some of your comments are so bigoted and hateful its not even neccesary to respond. Really go and get a life.

Ed Stoddard- I appreciate your article. You forgot to mention a few things and a little bit of a different wording might have helped but it was clear and consice. I as a Mormon appreciate it.

Posted by Sarah | Report as abusive

Alan is correct. Just look at Henry B. Eyring’s (LDS Church 1st Counselor) grandfather, Edward Christian Eyring. He married two Romney sisters (sorry for not putting their names up, but polygamy is by definition sexist anyway), one in 1893 and the second in 1903. He had children with both of them after this, and he and both his wives survived into the 1950s. The statement that LDS Church polygamy ended in 1890 is not correct. Just look this information about Eyring up on familysearch.org. LDS Church polygamy really ended (meaning no new polygamous marriages) in the 1900s sometime. The second manifesto really had a more permanent effect than the first, which since it was not strict, is not very significant.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

This conversation became shrill very quickly. That seems to happen in conversations that include the word “polygamy,” at least in our time and culture.

Raping children is reprehensible. It is an ugly, depraved distortion human sexuality, and the marriage bonds that have traditionally protected and nurtured it. It is not the only possible expression of polygamy.

As a group, Americans seem to have a hard time with polygamy. We’re manage to cope with lots of kinds of sex before, outside, and beyond marriage. We can’t get our heads around the fact that there are cultures wherein a man and more than one wife might find a rewarding, satisfying family life. Multiple mistresses, multiple lovers, sex as entertainment, we get. Multiple wifes, not so much. It’s our own myopia and cultural arrogance.

I’m ready to bet a hot fudge sundae that most of those screeching about polygamy don’t have the first idea of what it is they’re condemning. And they aren’t likely to invest much in trying to understand any time soon. Studying humanity can be complex, subtle, interesting, and rewarding. But only if you’re willing to be complex, subtle, interesting, and listening.

Posted by Lance Myler | Report as abusive

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have attempted to become more educated about many faiths, although I’m sure I’m still very ignorant about many of them, or perhaps even misunderstand or associate them with things they do not believe. I am not surprised that many misunderstand what it is Latter-day Saints believe, because I am probably guilty of the same in reference to other religions, but I do hope and encourage others to seek out the truth for themselves–that is one of the most vital beliefs of Latter-day Saints. Talk to someone who is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or visit the Church’s official site at lds.org. If I wanted to know what a Roman Catholic believes, I would talk to my grandmother (who is one) and avoid allowing the media, popular notions, or random sites I googled on the internet to tell me what their faith means to them. As a Latter-day Saint, I love my faith and try to respect the faith of others. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I believe that President Monson is a living prophet today who does indeed receive revelation from God. God has not forgotten us, but lives and still loves all of his children today and wants them to find happiness through modern revelation. I know that each of us can receive answers for ourselves by asking God in faith. It is hard for me to see something so precious to me–my faith–being degraded, whether that be intentionally or in ignorance, so please try to find out what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe by asking them directly, whether you are a journalist or an individual who is trying to better understand the world around them.

Posted by Michelle Lizon | Report as abusive

As a member of the “mainstream” LDS faith I appreciated the intent of this article and felt it was a fair representation of the problem, if a few points could have been added or expounded on. As a follower of Jesus Christ, however, I have been embarrassed by the comments posted here, Mormon and non-Mormon alike. The first and great commandment is to love God and the 2nd, like unto it, to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s in Matthew folks. There’s been far too little love and respect posted here. Ryan thank you for your post.

On the article’s topic let me just say that the blame for the confusion between the main LDS church and the splinter groups cannot be placed on the media or rival church preachers or any other group solely. If it could, however, it would be with the splinter groups themselves. My husband was born into one of these groups and raised in a second one before JOINING the LDS church. From the LDS perspective they are very different fish. Most of the splinter groups, however, consider themselves to be “Mormons”, even if the more righteous congregations. They will, almost to a person, tell you they are mormons, regardless of whether their beliefs are the same or different, legal or illegal. And each group has it’s own unique concepts and practices, as we’ve disturbingly found out with regards to the FLDS “temple” practices. How are the media or anyone else who hasn’t spent significant time studying the issue supposed to tell the difference? They, like the rest of us, do the best they can and in most cases, they do a reasonable job with a sincere effort to be fair.

Posted by Crystal | Report as abusive

Just for clarification- I was speaking of their beliefs, other than polygamy, when I wrote about illegal beliefs. I am well aware that polygamy is illegal under federal and most state statutes. It is the practices such as we’ve heard about this week that I was referring to when stating illegal beliefs.

Posted by Crystal | Report as abusive

[...] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ YFZ Ranch in Texas. Blogger Ed Stoddard wrote somewhat sympathetically about the unfortunate “polygamous Mormon” stereotype being [...]

I’ve read all the comments above and am dismayed.

The original article is crying over the fact that FLDS and LDS are getting confused in the press and the perception in the general public is that Mormon is Mormon. It admonishes people to get the facts.

Well…..I’m not Mormon. I’m Southern Baptist..(no, no..keep reading) and I am taking issue with both the author of the original article & some of the posters for the same reasons.

#1 – We do NOT preach anti-Mormonism in “Sunday School.” We teach the New Testament. It is taught much like a History class….History of the Tribe of Israel.

Go to ANY Southern Bapt. Church, anywhere, stop by the Church Office and ask for a copy of the Children’s literature. I DARE you to find ANYTHING in either the children’s copies or the teacher’s guides to which you would object.

#2 – from one of the posters above –
“The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often accused by Evangelical pastors of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion.”

There are only a 3 steps to becoming a Christian, as per Southern Bapt. doctrine.

Believe that Jesus Christ was the ONLY son of God.
Make a Public profession (announcement) of this.
Be baptized by immersion in the name of the Father (God), the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.

That’s it.

Therefore, if I understand my LDS doctrine correctly, you aren’t Christians, by the SBC definition.

You don’t believe that Jesus was the ONLY son of God
and you don’t believe in the Trinity.

I’m not saying that this makes Mormon’s bad, I’m just saying it makes them “Not Christian.”

I have nothing but the highest respect for the LDS Church. I lived in Wyoming for a time, and came to respect the members of this church and saw 1st hand the good work that it does.

However, Those of you living in Utah have the same problem that Souther Bapt. in Texas have….you don’t know anything else.

It was a revelation (not in the religious way) to me, when, for the 1st time, I lived somewhere that I wasn’t part of the majority.

I didn’t have the shared cultural experiences as my neighbors, nor did we speak the same language, in many cases, as both the SBC and the LDS have their own vocabulary, many times using the same words but with conflicting definitions.

Whenever I would comment on being a minority, upon meeting Mormons, they would say (almost to a man) “See! We don’t have a tail and horns.” Do you guys teach this stuff to your kids? It must be “shared knowledge.” Why else would EVERYONE say the same thing and in almost the same way?

#3 – As for being a cult. I HATE this word. It has too much baggage. Sect isn’t much better (think Muslim Sect). No, I don’t believe that the LDS is a cult, nor do 99% of the people in the SBC, but I’m sure there are some who do.

#4 – If you take such offense to having FLDS tied to LDS, please quit lumping all of us Bapt. into the same pile and those “Fundamentalist” nuts.

Most Bapt. are like most Mormons: a nice bunch of folks, going to Church, raising our families, and trying to be a decent people. WE don’t have time to throw stone at anyone else, we are too busy mowing the lawn & washing the dishes.

If you want tolerance and understanding, practice it. If you don’t want outsiders saying things you feel are either malicious, or at the least, uninformed, bone up a little on your facts about other’s beliefs. And know this…we aren’t out to get you….HONEST.

Posted by L Watson | Report as abusive

Thank you Ed Stoddard for bringing to light the persistent misconceptions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As a member of this church, I appreciate responsible journalism and those who attempt to report about such inflammatory stories fairly and accurately.

One can not help but pity the poor women and children who have been abused by unrighteous men anywhere. I am deeply grateful to the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who repeatedly warn against abuse of any kind and the reporters who bring us news of its occurence. This kind of dialogue needs to be continued.

I am disappointed that this blog has digressed into a cat-fight largely instigated by those who holds animosity or different beliefs than members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These attempts to continue to link the practice of polygamy with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are insulting, but ultimately in vain. Telling members of the Church what they believe is laughable. Mincing words about whether polygamy was effectively disavowed after the first or second Declaration that it was not approved by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is of little value.

Polygamy is not a part of the modern teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and those who make this important distinction in the media should be commended for a job well done.

Posted by DW | Report as abusive

Thank you all for your comments. It was interesting to read so many opinions. However, there is no one’s opinion more important to me than MINE! I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only church on earth today that contains the WHOLE gospel of Jesus Christ. Others have parts, but not ALL. I am grateful that I went through a period of rebellion and questioning because now I can say that this is MY testimony and no one elses. I love the Savior with all my heart and will be forever grateful to Him for His great gift of the Atonement. It gives me the opportunity to return to live with my Father and Brother once again.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

This is for “Mormons Are Christian.” Please don’t refer to blogs as articles. There is a huge difference. This is for everybody else. The very fact that this article exists shows that the LDS church has a media problem.
Attacking the motives of the author and the media as a whole is not going to gain members or the LDS church any favor with the media.

The issue is that the LDS church still has a media problem. When people hear about polygamists, they still think “Mormons.” When people hear about temple ceremonies, they will still think about the authorities finding beds in the temple at the YFZ Ranch.

Saying that the LDS church has a media problem is not an attack on the LDS church. It’s just pointing out the obvious. If you travel around the world people have certain beliefs about the LDS church. Why do people take it so personally when somebody points that out?

And further, to point out that the events at the YFZ Ranch are not helping the LDS church is just pointing out the obvious. Nobody is saying they hate Mormons, they’re just saying that their church has a PR problem.

Posted by T-Bone | Report as abusive

DW’s main point is very important. Regardless of the LDS’s past with polygamy, it has not been tolerated by the Church for over a century. While it is a more difficult issue than most of us would like to admit, there is no question but that the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seeks to distance itself from its polygamist cousins and there is zero tolerance for the practice.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

Oh, how I wished I had all day to sort out the confusion people have about my religion (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). First, to answer Paul, you completely misunderstood my comment about Muslims. I said that to compare these polygamists in Texas to members of my Church is just like comparing terrorists to the general body of Muslims- it’s logically absurd. Do you understand now? I wasn’t putting down Muslims in any way; to the contrary, I was defending them from those who hear about a terrorist act in the name of Islam and then assume all Muslims are terrorists. There is no logic or truth or intelligence, frankly, in that. When people associate me and my faith with psycho polygamists groups, it makes me want to set the record straight- these groups have NOTHING to do with us and they haven’t for over a century! Someone commented above that Joseph Smith is evil because one of his “fruits” are these psycho polygamist ranches. GIVE ME A BREAK! This is another prime example of the kind of poor reasoning that drives me crazy! If we were to adopt and follow this kind of reasoning, then we’d have to assume that Jesus Christ himself was evil because of the many criminals that have lived over the centuries who have professed to be Christians and then done terrible things. What about the Crusaders for starters? Were they justified in their actions just because they called themselves Christians? And, does their terrible deeds mean that Jesus Christ is evil since they called themselves Christians? I think we can do better than this, people. I think it’s high time we all opened our minds a bit and were a little bit slower to damn the whole world just because the whole world believes a bit differently than us… If anyone would like to continue a private conversation, please email me at: anzianohansen@yahoo.com. I don’t have time to sort out but one confused person at a time I’m afraid…there’s just way too many people that have misconceptions about my faith, and it doesn’t help when there are people out there doing whatever they can to fight against our Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you believe that the teachings and work of Joseph Smith have even an ounce of evil in them, or even if you do not believe that he was actually a Prophet of God, but you’re curious to hear why 13 million highly educated people do (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are more educated on average than any other people under the sun except for Jewish people), email me and I’ll try to explain my position.

Posted by Shaun | Report as abusive

One other comment/response to those that say Joseph Smith was evil because these psycho polygamist sects exist today: These cults are NOT MORMON- their ancestors were EXCOMMUNICATED from our faith a century ago. A careful read of the Bible indicates that when a people rebel against God OR his true servants, instead of a blessing, they receive a cursing. Think about what happened to the Jewish nation shortly after their general rejection of Christ himself. Think about the destiny of the Roman empire after it had perverted Christianity. The same fate awaits those who pervert Mormonism, which is nothing but 1st Century Christianity restored to the earth through Christ himself. These polygamist sects are among the most cursed people on the face of the planet. Why? Because they rejected a true Prophet of God. Jesus Christ ended polygamy long ago, and he directed this to occur through his Prophet. Those who rebelled against this Prophet rebelled against the Lord and therefore they have been cursed and dwindled in unbelief and they have been lead by Satan astray and even to the commission of the abuses and crimes that we are witnessing now. The fact that these groups exist actually ADDS evidence to the idea that True Prophets have lead the main body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the beginning. When people listen to their counsel (and not to the counsel of of breakaway apostate psycho false prophets), they are blessed exceedingly. Look at the statistics at adherents.com to see how blessed the main body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is today. The active members of our Church statistically are among the happiest, healthiest, most educated, most prosperous, and most religious people on the face of the earth. [A multitude of studies have shown that as people tend to get more education, they tend to become less religious. Only with regard to the Mormons is this untrue. As we get educated, we become MORE religious, active, and steadfast in our faith. Why, because truth is truth- and it "tastes" like truth whether it is arrived at scientifically or whether it is given directly to us from God through the power of the Holy Ghost.]

Posted by Shaun | Report as abusive

One more thing and then that’s it unless someone emails me (anzianohansen@yahoo.com): I’m weary of people calling members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints racists. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. People distort and take out of context what Joseph Smith and other said regarding race, but the reality is, we as a Church were anti-slavery before it was popular in the North prior to the Civil War! Check the history books. Joseph Smith prophesied, and I quote, that the black people of America would soon “take the shine off the shoes [of those they now serve as slaves]” because of their intelligence, ability to work hard, and their strong faith in the Lord. Joseph Smith prophesied exactly where and when the Civil War would begin and he stated that it would start over the slave question, he himself having always supported complete abolition from the beginning and warned the United States of impending destruction because of their gross sins against eachother including against the black race. It’s ironic that some of the fiercest opposition the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receives is from Baptist Preachers from the “Bible Belt,” many of whose grandfathers were slave and plantation owners. Rather than listening to these “Christians” who will preach to you for your money, if you want to know what our Church believes about African Americans or the black race in general, you should ask one of the hundreds of thousands of them in our Church; more people are joining our Church of the African or black race than just about any other, and they now hold high positions within our Church, including positions of Bishop, Stake President, Area Authority, and General Authority. Joseph Smith taught from the Book of Mormon which teaches that all men are created equal.

Posted by Shaun | Report as abusive

In 1847, in Winter Quarters Nebraska (a Mormon town at that time) was the location where Mormons coming from the eastern United States, and from Europe, would stop and camp for the Winter. Once spring came they would load up their hand-carts and cross the Great Plains on their way to the Salt Lake Valley in what later became Utah. Tens of thousands of Mormons made this trip. In 1847, in Winter Quarters, a half-black/half-Native American Mormon Elder named William McCary seduced a number of white Mormon women, claiming he was an “Indian Prophet”, and that he was Adam and Peter reincarnated, and telling each of the white Mormon women they were Eve reincarnated. He became known as “Black Pete”. He was soon excommunicated. At that time “amalgamation” between the white and black races was considered by just about all white Americans (including white Mormons) as an abomination before the LORD, and the reason why the LORD destroyed the world via the Great Flood of Noah.Soon after the “Black Pete” affair, Brigham Young reversed himself and accepted the “Curse of Cain Doctrine” (Negroes are the children of Cain and inherit the mark of Cain) and the “Less Valiant Doctrine” (Negroes were less valiant in the War in Heaven and as punishment were born Negroes) of the Pratt brothers. All Black Mormon males were banned from the Priesthood (except for Eljah Abel and his descendants), and all Black Mormons were “banned” from Mormon Temples. This “ban” lasted until June 8th, 1978. The “ban” on receiving the Priesthood and in receiving the Higher Ordinances (Endowments and Sealings) in Mormon Temples is known as “The Priesthood-Ban Policy”. Together, the Curse of Cain Doctrine and the Priesthood-ban Policy is referred to as “The Curse of Cain Legacy”.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Shaun, I understand what you are saying and you make a good PR rep for your church, but how do you get around the fact that blacks were denied the priesthood until the late 1970′s? I still see no black faces in the Tabernacle Choir or on the stage during General Conference.

The plain truth is that people in areas where the internet is not available (not just Africa) are the only places that the LDS faith is still having positive growth. Also, the 13 million members that the LDS church claims includes any member who has ever been baptized and counts them up until the 110th anniversary of their birth, whether they are dead or alive. In other words, the LDS church counts dead people as live, active members in order to bolster its numbers and seem larger than it really is.

Not to mention the poor retention rates in Mexico. There is enormous disparity between the numbers the LDS church claims and those who claim the faith when the census rolls around.

There is a pattern of ongoing dishonesty. Why would a church need to spend so much time trying to pretend not to be racist if they did not have a history of racial discrimination. Up until the late 1970s, black members had to have white members perform all ordinance in their place. In other words, a black man had to let a white man bless his children, pass him the sacrament, and perform marriages for black/black couples.

Obfuscation does not clear up the PR problem. It just makes Mormons look worse.

And for the others who attack the press for reporting on the LDS church’s PR problem, here’s a hint: It doesn’t help you look more mainstream when you do that.

Posted by T-Bone | Report as abusive

Some people get it and some people are blinded by their own assumptions.

As a Mormon, I cringe at hearing the crimes committed at YFZ camp/community. Child abuse in any form is intolerable amongst all people.

Let our prayers be for those who suffer, in Texas and any other part of the world.

Now go serve your neighbor as you would serve God.

First of all, you CANNOT separate the ‘fundamentalist’ Mormons from the mainstream LDS church. What they practice is closer to the true’ church than the mainstreams practices.

A previous comment stated:
“These people in Texas are in no way akin to the actual Mormons, nor does their style of polygamy in any way resemble the polygamy of the 1800’s Mormon church.”

I suggest this reader bypass the constant ‘advice’ of their church leaders to “avoid anti-Mormon writings” and actually learn what their church is REALLY all about. ‘Anti-Mormons’ can lead you back to your own LDS website, doctrines, writings and comments from church leaders that will enlighten the average LDS member who practices the same ‘obedience’ required of the FLDS. Read you church writings, listen to you leaders, and note how many times the word ‘OBEDIENCE’ comes up. Then take a tally of how many people have been disciplined or excommunicated when they did not OBEY.

As for the Texas cult not in any way resembling the church of the 1800′s…PULEEEEEZE!!!

Look Joseph Smith’s family line up on your own familysearch.com genealogy website and count his wives. Then go do a search of the wives of Joseph Smith and read their journals, acknowledged by the church as part of their history.

Helen Mar Kimball, a 14 year old LITTLE GIRL and one of Joseph’s ‘wives’, was ‘given’ to Joseph by her father essentially as a trade off because Joseph wanted Kimball’s wife. Kimball couldn’t bring himself to give Joseph his wife so the couple sacrificed their 14 year old daughter instead. Joseph Smith was, and there is documented PROOF, an adulterer, a pedophile, a fraud. It is all in their own church history.

Joseph was the original Warren Jeff’s and the LDS church still sustains him as a prophet and defends every slimy thing he did, hides the truth of it’s history from it’s members, lies about everything from it’s history to it’s finances to it’s membership (12 million MY EYE!!!). That number includes all the inactive members, members who have walked away from it’s lies, the member’s it refuses to take off of it’s rolls without a battle and most despicably, uses numbers from third world countries where they baptized people who have no clue what they are getting into and most never really get involved beyond the baptism. But they still count in the eyes of the church so they can continue to propagate the myth that it is the fastest growing church. Total BS and PR spin. And yes, there is plenty of PROOF of this for anyone who cares to really investigate.

Of course, most practicing LDS members refuse to do just that and continue to chant “I KNOW that the church is true, I KNOW that Joseph Smith was a prophet…” just as they all have been taught to do without question since they were old enough to talk. Nope, no ‘cult’ here.

Read the Young Women’s manual on the LDS site where you will find the quote ” you will learn to OBEY your Bishop…” This church may not be AS abusive as the FLDS, but they are not far behind. Members are pounded constantly with instructions to OBEY the Priesthood holders, and let’s not forget the famous Dallin Oaks quote…”It is not right to criticize the leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.” And before any indignant LDS members start going off with the rote reply that it was taken out of context in the PBS interview, the entire transcript IN context is available on their site. YES HE DID MEAN EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID!

The LDS church is as corrupt and controlling as they come. The only real difference is that while the leaders of the polygamous sects are religious fanatics and their corruption and abuse stems from that, the LDS leaders are in it for the money and conform to society because it allows them keep their scheme going. They control the churches purse strings and sit pretty while their ‘flock’ becomes addicted to anti-depressants to cope with their cognitive dissonance and repeatedly wins Utah the honor as the state with the highest use of antidepressant drugs. Who needs alcohol, cigarettes and sex when you are in an antidepressant fog!

And lastly, for anyone who still believes that the LDS is not a HARMFUL ‘cult’, look near your local high schools and count how many LDS churches are situated nearby so that they can coax our youth into their cult. Then take a look at what these same youth endure in the name of God when they are sent on those all important missions here:
http://www.lds4u.com/Missionaries/rules. htm

Look up the guidelines for cult behavior and compare it with this list. RESEARCH what the church is REALLY all about. And whatever you do, DON’T ask a MEMBER of the LDS church, they are the last ones who know or will ADMIT what their church really is. The robot response is all the same, as taught to them day in and day out. Unfortunately, those doing the teaching are just as clueless ( or are corrupt). The blind lead the blind in this church and anyone who takes the blinders off and does any honest research leaves. And if you don’t believe that members are leaving in droves, just read a newspaper article or two about the recent General Conference and Monson’s pleas for former members to come back and make a note of how many LDS commercials, billboards and other PR items infiltrate your consciousness each day in a desperate attempt to increase membership.

Pray, pay and obey…NO WAY!!!
The LDS church is just the FLDS church in a prettier package with less actual physical abuse. But, abuse is abuse, and spiritual abuse is JUST as destructive and that IS a big part of the LDS church. And, the LDS is just one wacky revelation away from being back into polygamy themselves. I suspect they are not worried though, because deep down they know there really are no ‘true’ revelations and the odds of prophet with his $3,000.000 suits and sparkly limo and swanky digs to lose having one that will land him behind bars is slim.

Any way you look at it, Joseph Smith was a liar and a fraud and was NOT a prophet and the ‘church’ is not true. If the ‘burning in your bosom’ has you convinced otherwise, I suggest you seek counseling (somewhere OTHER than through your Bishop!).

Joseph started what the FLDS in Texas are continuing, and if you support Joseph Smith’s actions you support theirs. On the other hand, if you condemn what is happening in Texas, you should rethink your alliance to the church and the ‘prophet/con artist’ that created it.

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

Wasn’t polygamy used by original LDS for the purpose of increasing membership? Perhaps this group is a spin off of LDS the way LDS is a spin off from traditional Christian faith. All religions are spin offs of others unless we go all the way back to the first witch doctor. This group takes a que from it’s mother faith that did the same thing the difference being that now it’s unlawful.

Quote from Shaun

“If you believe that the teachings and work of Joseph Smith have even an ounce of evil in them, or even if you do not believe that he was actually a Prophet of God, but you’re curious to hear why 13 million highly educated people do (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are more educated on average than any other people under the sun except for Jewish people), email me and I’ll try to explain my position.”

And you wonder why people judge you and the church you represent? Oh, no, your church does not consider itself ‘superior’…LMAO Where did you hear that, from the same liars who hide church history from it’s own members? What happened to the church teachings that say all people are equal in God’s eyes? Give me a break! Are there intelligent LDS members? Certainly. Apparently you ignore the intellectuals who are non-LDS just as your leaders command. Open your mind. The world is full of information…TRUE information, and intelligent people who disagree with Orson Pratt’s spirit veggies and Brigham Young’s Quakers on the moon. Excuse me while I suit up and “Hie To Kolob”. *eyeroll*

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

I thought it was a little strange that the police in Texas used buses supplied by the Baptist church when they raided the compound. The raid was appropriate from what I’ve read, but I wonder how Baptists would have felt if they saw buses labeled “Mormon Church” hauling away members of their faith. The police should have used school buses or buses from a private firm.

Posted by In Virginia | Report as abusive

For L. Watson:

I appreciate your understanding from a Southern Baptist perspective. Granted, in my encounters with Evangelical denominations, I cannot quite believe that 99% of them wouldn’t refer to the LDS Church as a “cult.” But you’ve hit it right on the nose when you note that “cult” is a word thrown around far too easily for its emotional content.

I wish to pose a couple of MAJOR corrections to your understanding of Mormonism. (To those who will surely jump all over me, I refer you to my previous posting, made at 5:11am GMT on April 11.) In fact, according to your SBC requirements for being a Christian, Mormons seem to fit all three—if only one is willing to admit it.

1. Mormons DO believe in the Trinity. I am an Italian and Spanish-speaking Mormon, and in order to refer to what English-speaking Mormons commonly call “the Godhead,” we use the term “la Trinità” or “la Trinidad.” Both terms refer to exactly the same thing. NOW, if the SBC requirement is to believe in the Trinity AS DEFINED BY THE NICENE CREED, then yes there are some differences. However, the SBC ought to be careful in saying this because the Nicene Creed is non-Biblical, and it’s my understanding that the SBC claims the Bible as its sole source of spiritual authority.

2. Mormons, too, publicly confess their acceptance of Christ. First, they do this when they are baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In addition, Mormons make a public profession of their faith in monthly worship services known as fast and testimony meetings. Granted, the latter is not to be confused with the highly personal process of being “born again,” a doctrine in which Mormons believe firmly. NOW, if by public profession you mean THE “Sinner’s Prayer” as shared by many Evangelicals, then I would caution you again on the non-Biblical factor.

3. Mormons DO believe that Jesus Christ was the “only begotten Son” of God (see esp. John’s writings) but also acknowledge God as “our Father in Heaven” (see esp. the New Testament) and hence believe that we are spiritually “the children of God” (see esp. Paul’s letter to the Romans.) If by the “ONLY Son” of God you refer to the purported belief that Mormons believe Satan to be the brother of Christ, that’s a misleading notion meant only to scare people. As a matter of logic, we believe God to be the creator of all things (through his Son) and hence also the creator of all of us. Yes, one may extend it to mean that God also created that “son of the morning” that fell from heaven (see Isaiah’s writings), but to infer that Mormons somehow put Satan on the same level as Jesus is simply deceitful. (But perhaps we’re getting too much into theology for a Reuters blog.)

Again, thank you for your posting and your kindly disposition. Shouldn’t we try to see these things in each other rather than insisting on being polar opposites?

Respectfully yours,

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

As man is god once was. As god is man shall become.

I wonder who said that?

…..Adam the Archangel the Ancient of days……..the only god with which we have to do ….

I wonder who said that?

In D&C god commands Joe Smith to take plural wives and for Emma to put up with it.

Guess God (or Gods) does (do) change his (their) minds?

Must have been a liberal in his soul. Changes doctrine to fit the times. I guess god is really a changeable god.

Good old Joe – I think the Texas cult is a lot closer to the original concept of Mormonism than that of the mainstream cult headquartered out of Utah.

But hey, this is America! And fortunately this is not another Waco.

Posted by drahme | Report as abusive

The LDS church does not have a problem; modern-day Pharisees (self-righteous Christians)do. It is so typical of you ignorant Americans to demonize anything you don’t understand. But “woe unto those who call evil good and good evil.”

Posted by The Ephraimite | Report as abusive

Wow, some people bearing false witness against Mormons. Like that’s new.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Uh-oh. Looks like that Abraham guy from the bible had a bunch of wives and concubines. I guess this whole christian religion is a sham because of polygamy. Lets just all go home and convert to something else.

I can’t believe how narrow minded we all are. We post on these blogs so matter of factly that we know who God is and How we should worship him yet we all disagree. We think we know where God has drawn the line.

He must be looking down on us completely appalled by our stubborness because we only believe what we want to and what our relatively useless minds restrict Him with. Maybe we should all shut our mouths, read the word, and pray with an honest heart for once. How many of us when we pray are really willing to change our own beliefs IF God told us otherwise? Very few, that is why God doesn’t tell so many of us what is true. We all think we know better than Him. After all, we have all read the Bible.

Having been raised a polygamist from birth, later converted to the LDS faith, and raised arround many friends of other faiths I hope I can help a little in this conversation.

Let me clarify a couple of things.

First – The LDS faith does indeed NOT practice poligamy anymore, it has been out of such ways of life for some time.

Second – The LDS church like the baptist churches and other good Christain faiths teach faith in Christ, moral character and upstanding ways of living.

Third – The definition of God the father and the son and the holy ghost being the same person in body and substance as put forth by the council of Nicea we do deny. We worship God as our father, Jesus as his son and the only way to salvation, and the holy Ghost, three distinct people. Our faith in Christ as Christians is no more controlled by our acceptance of some councils decision on what God is than any of your faiths are based on the decision of other men or women. It is a personal relationship. Acusing someone of not being Christian because they do not follow exactly how another religion follows Christ is Religious persecution.

Fourth – Poligamist churches are good and bad, I have seen both. I have seen where they are kind loving and have great lives, work well together, and have a blast. I have alos seen where they are twisted and power hungry or stupid becuase of blind ignorance. Just like anyone else in the world can be except in concentration. So is it wrong to be a poligamist, sure it is, it is against the law. Is it wrong for someone in another country to live such? NO it is not. If that were the case then Abraham and many of the other prophets in the old testament would be doomed.

Fifth – Truth is, it can not be created or destroyed, only forgotten. Either God is or he is Not, either we are or are not, and there is life after death or not. If you want to know the Truth start talking to the author.

Posted by Eric Peterson | Report as abusive

Finally a note on the different factions.

They are and never will be unless they actually agree to be a part of each other.

If I have a car garage and hire a bunch of guys to work for me, they get pissed at how I do things and go make their own Garage, the only thing in common is the fact that they once worked for me and some of their workmanship may be similar, but they are NOT a part of my company.

This is the same thing when it comes to religion, someone does not like how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does something, they LEAVE the church or are kicked out, and go off and start their own church. The difference IS the same.

Posted by Eric Peterson | Report as abusive

To Joel,

AMEN, brother.

Posted by Crystal | Report as abusive

I am a Mormon (LDS, not FLDS). Thank you for this article. Many journalists have been very lazy about distinguishing between the 13 million LDS “Mormons” and the FLDS.

Posted by Travis | Report as abusive

Reading all those comments in this article make me weary and sad, cause 1 man made a very grave mistake by claiming that 1 man must have more than 1 wife to become a G-D. This was pure evil and evelish, causen everywhere in the world where they practise this custom, it creates misery. Read it for yourselves in the Olde Testament (Bible). It sturred things things up between the son of Sarah (1st wife of Abraham) and the son of her maid (2nd wife), Ishmael, who became the father of all Arab Nations.

Posted by amj2008 | Report as abusive

Ten years ago I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a decision I made after much prayer, much fasting, and much soul searching. There was no pressure for me to do so, it was a choice freely made, and one I have never regretted for a moment. My decision came after many years of disillusionment over religion in general, and the faith of my childhood in particular.

You see, I was raised Southern Baptist. Not just raised, but fairly surrounded by it. My uncle was a Southern Baptist preacher, as is one of his sons today. My father is a lay minister in the Missionary Baptist Church. You will find the names of my ancestors among the founders of the American Baptist Council. You could say my family history is very much aligned with that of the Baptist faith in America and you would be correct.

Yet the way the various Baptist sects (yes, sects) rail against each other is exactly what turned me away from religion for most of my life. “Don’t believe what those heathens at the First Baptist Church teach, they’re all wrong. We here at the Second Baptist Church have it all right.” “Brethren and sisters, pray for the souls of those poor, deluded Second Baptists that someday they may see the light and join the First Baptist Church.” Not to mention the Calvary Baptist Church, the Antioch Baptist Church, the Mount Carmel Baptist Church, or the literally hundreds of different churches of the dozens of different Baptist associations, all of whom consider themselves the only “true” Baptist church. Let’s not even get started over how they feel about Lutherans, Catholics, Prebyterians, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, or any other “heathen” religion. I got so sick and tired of seeing men (and women) who were cursing, adultering, backstabbing, blaspheming scum Monday through Saturday all of a sudden become shining examples of the best church members ever on Sunday when they slipped that $500 “donation” into the plate. Those elder’s seats up front don’t come cheap, after all. Sunday services were more of an “old boys association” gathering than worship. The hypocrisy of it all sickened me to the point were going to church on Sunday was more trial than it was worth. Glorification was going on, but I’m not totally sure it was God being glorified.

One of the many things that helped make my decision to become LDS is something in what is called The Articles of Faith. It’s something I have always believed to be true, something that is one of my deepest principles of faith. It says “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (A of F 11). Oddly this is something that all too many people seem to be unable to comprehend. This simple concept is what was lacking in the faith of my forebears, of my childhood, and is what ultimately drove me away.

Did I have questions and reservations about the LDS faith? Yes, I did, particularly regarding the practice of plural marriage. But rather than making unwarranted assumptions based on mass media hysteria I actually took the time to research and study the practice, why it came to be and why it was done away with. It had everything to do with providing for women and children who had lost husbands and fathers, who had nobody to provide for them and NOTHING AT ALL to do with anything perverted, or with political expediency. When there was no longer a need, the practice was abolished. As simple as that. Those people in Texas are not, and never have been Mormon, no matter the name they call themselves by. They have as much connection to the LDS faith as cheese does to a car’s gas mileage. In other words, NONE.

(The fact that this is happening in Texas makes me more angry than any contrived connection to my faith. I also happen to be a Texan, even though I don’t live there right now.)

Here’s food for thought for the anti-Mormons posting here: how many of YOUR churches have had literal extermination orders issued against them by the government? How many of YOUR families were forced out of their cities by armed mobs, chased from their homes at gun- and sword-point? How many of them were sent into the bitter winter snow and ice with no shoes, no coats, no blankets, no tents, no food, no hope? That is part and parcel of the history of the LDS heritage. Oddly enough, I can only think of one other religious group that’s been treated the same way…

Posted by Barry | Report as abusive

Who ever said Reuters was an honest news authority?

“Mormons have a Fundamental PR problem” accompanied with a picture of Warren Jeffs? Wow, that must have really made Ed Stoddard happy. A little jab here, a little sarcasm there…forgetting that he continues to ‘play’ the same old warped record over and over again. Gasp! We didn’t know there were some in the MSM who can’t seem to rise above their own personal bigotry?

As for all the comments, it’s clear that many people who think they are learning from ‘intelligent and qualified researchers’ have been completely duped (i.e. Laurel).

The only way to find out if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true is by reading the scriptures, praying and striving to live the commandments. Basically, it is the same requirement that faithful disciples of Christ have come to know is a necessary pathway to follow in order to come to a knowledge of Christ. These requirements still remain true today.

If you don’t believe in the Holy Ghost and revelation, yet expect an ‘answer’ from above, you are fighting a losing battle. You simply can’t have it both ways. And to deny that people today can receive an answer (personal revelation) sort of makes a search for spiritual truth an impossible feat. Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In order to get an answer, you have to have faith that you will receive an answer. And yes, there are millions and millions who have received personal revelation today.

I don’t have the time to find the blogger’s name who claimed he was a Baptist and yet he denied being taught that the LDS faith was a cult. Go to the ‘Baptist Press’ website where they can enlighten you further. They, (the SBC), claim the LDS faith is a cult (yes, it’s 2008 and the SBC still holds onto this myth) rather than cite the OT and NT scriptures that LDS faithful believe in which support their beliefs (i.e. the Godhead) of three separate and distinct individuals… very different from the ‘trinity’ version of God which is a man-made doctrine.

Constantine was not a prophet, and as far as I know, he never claimed to be one. Obviously, God never revealed himself to Constantine. We wouldn’t have the confusion about the ‘nature of God’ we have today IF God had chosen Constantine as his prophet. If one has to sit around and gather everyone elses’ IDEA of God in order to make a proclamation about a God you’ve never seen or heard, well…….then you see how so many today have been misled. You see the actual ‘fruits’ that Paul and many others spoke of – that there was going to be a great apostasy. We have to acknowledge Stephen’s testimony of the resurrected Christ, standing separate and distinct from God the Father. (Acts 7:55,56). So, the LDS faith is the only Christian faith out there which makes this same claim today – like Stephen and many others who actually SAW. All prophets in the past have claimed to have seen God (Moses and others spoke to God face to face). So, in all honesty, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does indeed revere prophets and modern-day revelation. Sounds like this church IS really onto something!

For those who are worried that all LDS members will have to accept polygamy in the hereafter, well, we also believe in free-agency. As far as I know, not all the prophets in the Bible practiced polygamy, the Lord has brought that principle back when he has determined it was necessary. None of us can change that simple fact, and we needn’t worry ourselves over a decision we have the ‘freedom of choice’ to make if indeed, we are ever faced with that choice at some future time.

This is an interesting public relations program for the largest Mormon organization – the one located in Salt Lake City. Fundamentalist Mormons, such as Warren Jeffs, follow more closely the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young than the Salt Lake version of Mormonism.

We have an active web site that your readers may be interested in. We help people recover from being a Mormon. We have stories of those who grew up in polygamist compounds plus stories and posts from many thousands of Salt Lake Mormons who have left their religion. Visit Recovery from Mormonism – http://www.exmormon.org

Posted by Eric Kettunen | Report as abusive

I JUST WISH THAT THE CHURCH WOULD CHANGE ITS NAME TO “THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST” INSTEAD OF ADD TO “OF THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS” AS IT CAUSE TOO MUCH PROBLEMS TO EVERYONE AND TOO CONFUSED AND LOTS OF MISUNDERSTANDS. IF WE CHANGE THAT NAME FOR CHURCH IT MAY HELP TO RESOLVE ALL THE CONFUSIONS. IT IS JUST MY FEELINGS..

SHELLY

Posted by SHELLY | Report as abusive

Well, there’s not much talk about all those poor little raped girls, I notice.

I’m sure the religious debate is much more important?

No wonder church attendance figures are down and most clear-headed and logically thinking people have left your false relgious institutions in droves.

Get your priorities right, people!

What are you going to do about the poor 16 year old girl with FOUR children who was found in Texas?

That is utterly disgusting and proves that young American females are clearly at risk from religious fanaticism…they fare no better in the US than they do in Afghantistan under the reign of the Taliban in circumstances such as these.

The lack of concern for thier welfare is utterly sickening.

Posted by kc | Report as abusive

The fact Mormonism was officially a racist organisation until 30 or so years ago demonstrates their problems. They’ve had to change their polygamy and racist views to conform with moral norms, ie. the original religion was immoral. New religions take time to invent their made up rules, just like Christianity generally when the Council of Nicea it as decided Jesus must have been divine

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Here is the official statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about this issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OqdOM9ud v4

‘Nuff said.

Posted by AnnieB | Report as abusive

Anyway, I believe it is right to wake up the world in this conflict of justice, when traitors and tyrants martyred Joseph Smith they thought that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a mortal creation and that it would die with Joseph Smith, but the Church isn’t a mortal creation and therefore it lives today as God’s kingdom and as a testimony of the divinity of God, we can all question and ridicule the Church for whatever purpose, but in time traitors and tyrants will cease to speak these words of condemnation, The Church will long outlive the traitors and tyrants of today just as it did from its humble beginnings, this is the will of God, however hard people try to condemn His words the simple truth is that His Church his here until He sees it necessary to be here. Of course, Jesus Christ was looked upon as a liar and reviled by man, oh how history repeats itself. I invite everyone everywhere come learn of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so that the Lord may extend your understanding and pour out blessings upon you, the best place to start is http://www.mormon.org, I promise with a sincere heart this is the way God has designed for you in these last and most troublesome days, listen to the guidance of the latter-day prophets. Thank you, may god bless you.

Posted by Paul Thomson | Report as abusive

I wish these so-called mainstream Mormons would stop spreading their mistruths about a religion founded on lies and misinterpretation…A man called himself a prophet and added a book to the Bible and made up a new religion…Oh Gee, that is so cool— I should call myself a prophet and acquire tax-exempt status and preach whatever I choose— incest, rape, polygamy, intimidation of women and children, or whatever else I create…How sad…Mormons hate the truth—they hate to be called the cultists they really are —they are only one or two steps above scientology!

Posted by Adam Grant | Report as abusive

Polygamy is never to be a matter of intervention bythe state or indeed considered any business of the state. It is a matter for the individuals involved. Child abuse is altogether a different matter. However that is a complicated issue for the church as well, indeed any church that seeks to teach acceptance of ways in defiance of sanity and basics tenets of moral reason.

Adam Grant spewed, “I wish these so-called mainstream Mormons would stop spreading their mistruths about a religion founded on lies and misinterpretation…”

Adam, it is not the mainstream Mormons who are spreading misinformation. There are professional organizations, entire ministries, volumes of work and ministers of deceit who do that against us. The very little (relatively) that is done to answer it goes virtually ignored by the “countercultists”. It is a serious form of intellectual dishonesty and one that Carl Mosser and Paul Owen (two Evangelical scholars) acknowledged and criticized heavily.

It is not the Mormons Paul, who have to distort our teachings to make them appear as weird as possible. It is not the Mormons who must quote out of context, or simply make quotes up out of thin air to lie about our beliefs. It is not the Mormons who pour over second or third hand sources, dated well over one hundred years ago, to attempt to find any morsel with which they can make the church look bad. It is not the Mormons Paul, who have completely ignored the vast body of impressive evidence which indicates that the Book of Mormon is an ancient Semitic work.

No, it’s not the Mormons spreading misinformation. It is the modern day Pharisees and Scribes who work in darkness.

Is it okay if I believe what I believe without others trying to define my beliefs for me? And if I happen to invite you to consider my beliefs, please don’t be offended. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t ask. All you have to do is to say, “No”.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

Don’t you think your all missing something? I don’t know what you believe but I believe Jesus paid with his life for my sin, present, past, future. He has paid the debt. If you want to know him seek him. He waits for you to knock at the door or ask to know him. Why is the world inventing all these human religions. What good are they you will never keep the rules? Their is a freedom worth knowing, a love worth recieving. Break your chains ask seek check out http://www.ucb.com or http://www.maranatha-exeter.org know the right shepard. Its jesus! Not a set of rules! You won’t ever keep them all! God Loves you just believe jesus wants to know you, and loves you where you are right now. then pick up a basic bible, nothing thats been altered to suit a false truth.(Manmade)!Then ask god to help you understand the words in it and show you the truth. Start at the Gospels. God Bless you! If you read this God is waiting to love you. Its not complicated, Not rule orientated. “Their is no greater love than this, to give your life for a friend.” Christ jesus did that for you. He was raised from death. Hes god! Believe That! If you don’t you don’t know the truth! Ask him to show you? What can you lose! The world doesnt hold any answears. It won’t set you free just pull you down. Love from a follower Of Christ! Hes my saviour and I love him, Why? He died when I should of!

As a Latter-day Saint it often puzzles me why so many so-called Christians would preach or promote anything contrary to that of love and tolerance and respect for all people, regardless of their religion or race. At church we preach about the apostacy (or falling away from truth), which happened at the death of the original 12 disciples. We also discuss the restoration of those same truths to Joseph Smith, through devine revelation. Not once do we say anything negative about any other religion, only that they have not recieved the fullness of the gospel as taught in the LDS church.
We praise the reformers for their desire to seek the truth and their commitment to the Lord and ask all those who profess to follow Christ to open their hearts to the gospel message we share and seek to find out if it is true for themselves. I have done this and have found the everlasting gospel of the Lord and know that it provides the only true path back to the presence of our Father. It is a path of love for one another and joy in serving the Lord.

Posted by Aidan | Report as abusive

I notice that an earlier comment here suggests thatthe church was previously “immoral” in maintaining views of racial harmony connected to policies of segregation and considerations of personal merit and worthiness in holding such views. Let me defend those in the church who practice real wisdom in emphasizing that such moral relatavisism isbut a fleeting and ephememeral phenomenon that will fail the test of time, as it contains within it the seeds of destruction of the entire human race. Morals are never just for the moment in their truth. They are in fact eternally valid. Sophists will come and come in between. They cannot alter gods real truths in this regard.

I was brought up in a church which was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. My parents and my sister were also members. When I graduated from high school I started going to the Methodist Church because my girlfriend was Methodist and they were more liberal toward drinking and such than the Baptists. I met a young woman in college who was a Catholic. Another denomination that Baptists warned us against. We fell in love, married in the Catholic Church, but each of us kept the religion we had when we married. Five years and two children later we joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whom many call the Mormons.
My sister and brother in law joined before us and later my mother and father became members. However, my wife’s Catholic family disowned her and still does to this day, some 40 years later. All of this hype about a different Jesus and so forth is nothing but propaganda put out to discredit, marginalize and foment hate toward another people. We have 5 sons who served missions for the Church in New York, Las Vegas, Nevada, Arkansas, and Brazil. They all graduated from college and three have professional degrees. They grew up in a town where “Mormons” were a minority and the town was substantially Baptist, Church of Christ and Evangelical. Oddly enough, the Methodist Church there acted more like Baptists than the Methodist Church I had previously known. I served my country as an Officer in the US Marine Corps, as did one of my sons and a son-in-law. I was elected District Judge and served in that capacity for 15 years until I retired. I think the community we lived in for over 31 years had a good opinion of our family. Our 8 children were active in sports, choir, drama, mock trial, and cheerleading. They also served in student government. Now, I am offended when so-called journalists listen more to a Baptist preacher who explains to them what “Mormons” belive than they do to a Church leader or even a member such as I. We know what we believe and I don’t need someone from another church telling me what I believe or telling me I am not a Christian. Compared to people that questions somebodies faith, I am not THAT kind of christian. My faith in Jesus Christ is not dependant on what Baptists or others think. As for polygamy, it stinks!!! I never accepted that as a principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and never will. I have done a great deal of research into the subject and have concluded that it was not a true principle of the Gospel, but a terrible mistake made by men who I believe listened to the wrong voice. I have never accepted that Joseph Smith, Jr. was the one who came up with that so-called principle. I have never found any conclusive proof to that premise. I am not a blind follower of our Church leaders. We are not asked to do that or taught to do that. We are entitled to our own personal revelation as to what is correct and incorrect. I can bear testimony that I know that Joseph Smith, Jr. was a prophet of God. That he was the instrument God used to restore the full gospel to this earth and to this blessed land we call America. I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and that God, our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct separate beings who are united in purpose. I also know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living Church on the earth today. I bear this witness in the name of Jesus Christ.

Posted by Ralph Gallini | Report as abusive

Half of you guys are stupid, and this inludes mormons and non-mormons alike.

Why on earth would any mormon view this article negative (except if you are a fundamentalist etc)? For peter’s sake, do you just close your eyes when there is an article about the church in any other media than deseret news, and start bearing your testimony so loud you cannot hear what the article said. I think the reporter here presented a very fair view. For those of you fellow LDS, who wrote you comment before reading the article I have included a synopsis here: the author says that it is unfortunate that the LDS church has to suffer from negative publicity, which derives from a small sect that is not associated with the actual LDS church.

My favourite of idiocracies was the guy who had to point out the correct name of the fundamentalist church (i.e. that it does not include the name of Christ.

I had quite the laughs with my wife about the LDS guy that felt that this was the plot of the evangelicals an dreuters to get money. Yes, there are some very stupid comments by evangelicals here (as well as by mormons) but hello: 1. the report is very fair 2. quit being so paranoid about all these conspiracies (whats’s wrong with you americans any way – is this somkind of collective trauma from the British oppression)

And the non-mormons now: why would a Christian spent his time talking bad about another religion. Even if it weren’t perfect (no the more stupid part of the mormons save me from accusations that I am saying the the church is not perfect, and take a course in reading) 1. is’t there something better to do with your time, like helping your neighbor (instead of gossiping about her) 2. isn’t the motivation partly less than perfect, such as anger, or feeling threatened by the growth of the LDS church (rationalized as a noble act of trying to save innocent souls from the evils of the mormons)

My favourites on this sidfe was the guy who got mad at the LDS guy for caliming that all muslims are terrorists ( a very clumsy comparison it was indeed, but certainly it did not say that). Others were kind of boring – it’s always the same stuff.. get a life and do something good

So now that I have acted very non christian like and offended everyone: both mormons and POOFs (persons of other faiths) I conclude by saying that I am the greatest fool of all for 1. spending time doing what I try to preatch against(critisising other people) 2. preaching to people of which many are fools, closed minded and practically illiterate. It has been very therapeutic however. Ever since the internet became popular I have suffered immensely for the garbage that has been published in all these blogs etc. i long for the time, when paper was expensive ( and finnish imports doing well) and the only means of written comunication effectively eliminating rubbish that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on from being published. I.e. I have poored on you poor ignorama the frustration caused in me by all this pointless, ignorant, waist of time writing in the iternet. No it has been absolved and I will hopefully be able to stay content by avoiding this ubiquitous wealth that web 2.0 is so gloriously and abundantly belssing us with.

Best regards and apologies should I have insulted someone beyond their ability to tolerate,

the flying finn

Posted by Do only idioits write here? | Report as abusive

Barry:

The entire Protestant tradition is one where we’re ordered to be killed or get advance notice that some country is going to invade one that turned Protestant (Anti-Catholic), and not for conversation. The 30 years war in Germany wiped twenty percent of the population, and that was because Protestants had a strange notion that the Pope might not always be right, and the Vatican (and why wouldn’t they?) believed otherwise. John Hess, 100 years earlier, got Moravia into a boatload of trouble after getting burnt at the stake, with his adherents readying themselves to tackle an advancing army. Whether religious or political or both, it was bad news for those who wanted to reform the One True Holy Roman Apostolic Catholic church. So bad that they broke off, and then these churches had to justify their truths. If Jesus is the Truth, and Jesus dwells wherever two or more are gathered in His name, then there’s more than one True Church. QED. The Protestant excuse to not come back to a Catholicism that’s become foreign to us.

America was built on people running away from people who wouldn’t let them worship God the way they thought was the one true way to do it on the face on the planet that they felt with every fiber of their being, yea, even to their core.

At any rate, the Christian community is really good at ruffling each others feathers — the Latter-Day Saints bearing a constant testimony that theirs is the only church that matters is like getting your sons and daughters together and then telling your favorite child that he or she is your only son or daughter. It stings, especially if you’re one of the other 34,000 Church bodies that claims a universal (small ‘c’ catholic) truth in Christ.

So the Protestant defense coming from a Protestant sounds perfectly plain and rational, but to a Latter-Day-Saint it might come across as Bible bashing or speaking in ignorance or being a damn dirty liar, and our so-called Christian-ness might be called into question.

And if you’re part of the atheist brigade this whole blog is a pointless exercise over who gets to go into which building because they have merit badges and monopoly money that doesn’t make a scrap of difference outside of metaphysics.

In sum, believe what you want, but don’t be surprised if YOUR testimony might be so different, and so plain and precious and true TO YOU, that you end up in a different building, using the same books, and practicing some doctrines that others might view as a little, well, illegal.

Posted by Brock | Report as abusive

Flying Finn

Go to bed and sleep it off. Learn how to spell better and relax.

” But the perception is clearly there: Mormons are the funny fellows taking multiple wives and living in isolated retreats in remote patches of America.”

“In places like Texas, the mainstream Mormon faith — based in Salt Lake City, Utah — has to contend with plenty of suspicion anyway.”

“Southern Baptists and other evangelicals widely regard Mormonism as an almost sinister cult which is successfully competing for souls among the faithful. They regard Joseph Smith, who founded the faith in New York state in 1830, as a false prophet. Southern Baptists are taught in Sunday School to be wary of that “knock on the door” from Mormon missionaries.”

“Against this backdrop the last thing the mainstream LDS needs is more bad press stemming from its fundementalist kin.”

The flying finn hasn’t read the above comments very clearly or he would better understand WHY ‘good and decent LDS members’ feel compelled to write into these stupid blogs. We’d rather be doing something else as well….but you know, the MSM just can’t let it go and there are so many
misinformed people out there. It really is getting old.

If people truly feel so concerned about what those of the LDS faith believe – let’s hope they use their own brains and brawn and find the correct answers by going to the correct source. uh hmmmmm…..that would mean, you’re not going to find out what ‘mormons’ believe by asking your minister.

Again we state….go to http://www.lds.org

I believe that the best information about any church or group is going to be obtained from people inside that church or group. Don’t ask a Baptist what a Catholic believes and certainly don’t ask a Baptist what a Mormon believes. You will end up with hate-filled “lines” they learn in their anti-Mormon classes (who knows what or why on that subject)! I have yet to hear a Mormon profess to be the expert on the Baptist faith, and I have yet to hear of an “anti-Baptist, etc.” class being taught in the Mormon church. It’s obvious that the awful tragedy unfolding in Texas has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And, whomever wants to know what the Mormon church believes, please, oh, please ask a Mormon and not a Baptist (or other type of evangelical Christian group with a negative mission). Or, go to the Church website. The Mormon church specifically addresses their stand on this group in Texas (lds.org) under the news and media section. Might as well go straight to the source, right? And, NOT the wrong source!

Posted by wefivehappyfamily | Report as abusive

Angela wrote:

“As for all the comments, it’s clear that many people who think they are learning from ‘intelligent and qualified researchers’ have been completely duped (i.e. Laurel). ”

Angela, you are just one more member of a controlled group who constantly defend what they don’t know. I DO know, I have family who are LDS and sound exactly like you. You all just regurgitate what you are told, which is a common problem with most organized religions. I am a researcher, I don’t rely on anyone else’s word as to what is true. My educated guess would be that you are just one among the ignorant who believe blindly and hold fast for fear of losing your eternal salvation. I know, I know…you “KNOW the church is true, you KNOW Joseph Smith was a prophet…”, it is on ‘loop’ in your brain. You don’t KNOW. You BELIEVE. There is a difference. That difference is FACT.

My comments are accurate and can be backed up by your own churches documents, the same documents a large portion of the LDS membership have no clue about because they believe everything they hear from the mouths of the ‘prophets’ and priesthood holders and after Baptism never again use their critical thinking skills in relation to their faith. Just what IS in that water? LOL

The good news? The more publicity there is, the more the younger generation (and even some very older ones willing to stick their toe into the depths of the internet ocean) are curious as to what the heck the so called ‘ANTIS’ are getting their britches in a twist over. And then once they take a peek, they can’t help it, they wade a little farther, and a little farther and eventually realize they can swim! Free from the lies told to them all their lives, free from the burdens of the double bind, free from the garments and the rules and the control and awful history, they are FREE!!! Free to love and worship as they please, free to live their lives as intended guided by a loving God rather than a false prophet, or some even free from any ‘fear’ of a God at all.

Angela, live your life as you see fit, lies and all. Pass that on to your children and force them to choke down the same lies you did. Defend the criminal (yes, he was!) the pedophile (yes, he was!) the adulterer (yes, he was!) the liar and con artist (yes, he was!). It is all there in your church history, in Joseph Smith’s journals and diaries and those of the other pioneers, in your BOA, POGP, BOA (lol, yeah, good job translating, Joe!) doctrines and covenants and articles of faith, WOW, all things he asked his followers to abide by while he broke them.

His polygamy ‘revelation’ commanding plural marriage said the first wife had to consent to a husband taking other wives. He had a number of spiritual wives without Emma’s consent, violating the ‘revelation’. He also had non-virgin spiritual wives, women who were already married to other men, so also violated that.

(D&C 132)

That is just one example of hundreds of FACTS that PROVE that while Joseph Smith preached that others needed to worry about their salvation, as he committed adultery, drank, smoked and committed other criminal acts ( Kirtland bank, anyone?!) he sure as heck was not concerned about his! He did not even die a martyr, he expected a mob to come and break him out of Carthage Jail and misjudged the lengths his followers would go to save his rear, and died in the ensuing gunfight when a mob he did not expect showed up instead. He did get a few good shots off though with a gun that had been ( you guessed it, ILLEGALLY) smuggled to him to aid in his planned escape.

So, for all the LDS screaming foul when the people who actually take the time and energy to learn about the TRUE history of your church, maybe you should stop listening to the leaders who keep telling you to avoid that evil internet and go in search of the truth yourself. It will be a much more ‘meaty’ and reliable resource than the sanitized ‘milk’ the church has been feeding it’s members up until now.

Here is an exercise for you. Why don’t all of you LDS members go and ask you Bishops just why it is that on your LDS website there are all kinds of nice pictures of a handsome ‘Joseph Smith’ sitting at a table diligently ‘translating’ the gold plates…without a seer stone or a hat in sight. Nowhere on that site will you see a picture that shows a not so handsome Joseph sitting on a chair, face buried in his hat peering at the seer stone, as we all know is how the story actually goes. Gee, why is that? Might it be that anyone looking would get a pretty clear and concise image of what was really at the root of the LDS church? It all is a big hoax.

The FLDS are TRUE believers in what Joseph taught, as sick as it was. Condone Joseph and you have no choice but to condone the FLDS, they are the TRUE church. Renounce them, and if you can get past your circular thinking, you should renounce Joseph Smith as a prophet. If not, you are just looking at the world through rose colored URIM and THUMMIM. (another thing you won’t see on the LDS website!)
The truth may hurt, but it will set you free.

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

Aidan wrote:

“Not once do we say anything negative about any other religion…”

Aw, now Aidan, isn’t it a sin to lie? Look it up, pal, especially old Brigham, he had a LOT to say ( Journal of Discourses) . And don’t forget the BOM that calls ALL other religions the Whores of Babylon. According to the Book of Mormon, the great and abominable church was formed soon after the life of Jesus and is responsible for the Apostles’ deaths and the Great Apostasy (1 Ne. 13:5-6). The church was said to be instrumental in corrupting the Bible and removing from it “the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb” (1 Ne. 13:34). The BOA states that there are “two churches only”: one that follows Jesus, and another that follows the devil (1 Ne. 14:10-11); therefore, referring metaphorically to all non- Mormons as followers of Satan.

I would say that is just a wee bit negative now, wouldn’t you?

chili wrote:
“hmmmmm…..that would mean, you’re not going to find out what ‘mormons’ believe by asking your minister.
Again we state….go to http://www.lds.org”

Well, you are right there. You will find out what Mormons believe there. Unfortunately, it is not the TRUTH about what the LDS church is. For that, you will have to dig deep into Mormon doctrine and other church documents. The truth IS there, if you really look for it AND want to see it.

wefivehappyfamily wrote:

“please, oh, please ask a Mormon”

…please, oh, please look for the FACTS, research yourself, find the TRUTH, something most Mormon’s either DON’T know or don’t WANT to know.

But enough about that, so, as the article states, FLDS is not the same as LDS. The are two totally different but equally disturbing entities.

The question now, how does our country, regardless of WHAT you believe, help those in Texas recover from the mental, physical and spiritual abuse and how do we keep abusive religious organizations from continuing that abuse by controlling the vulnerable in our society?

Seems to me that the LDS church has scads of $$$$$$. How about all the LDS getting together and petitioning their leaders to help heal the hurtful legacy of Joseph Smith and getting some help for those affected? `Do you think you can get the rears of the leaders out of those posh General Conference chairs and in gear for a cause they should have already begun championing rather than worrying about their darn image??? Maybe they can use all of their talent and PR skills to ‘choose the right.”

I won’t hold my breath though.

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

To Caemdon,

The bible actually quotes Jesus as saying, “In heaven they are neither given nor taken in marriage.” This means that marriage by the sealing power must done in this life, not in heaven. Having a correctly translated bible would help you to understand better.

Posted by Benjamin | Report as abusive

It is too bad that people like Laurel can think they know all there is to know. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and I have not been taught lies or followed blindly the things I have been taught. I have prayed and studied now for over 50 years to find the truths that our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ have given us in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as well as Latterday revelations. I would challenge people like Laurel to read the Book of Mormon then sincerely pray about what she has read and then after giving a sincere effort to receive an answer to her prayers she listens to the inspiration she receives.
Paulette

Posted by Paulette | Report as abusive

Laurel, you really are bitter! Have your ever had a spiritural experience? Men are men, they make mistakes and the history is there to show it. The bottom line is if you want to find God and know if Jesus Christ is the Savior, you seek it out and pray and use faith to secure that knowledge.

Posted by Dennis Cobia | Report as abusive

To Laurel;

Well said.

To yoke:

I think your Islam comment was inappropriate. I am LDS, and that was not a Christ like comment. That sounds more like Al-Quieda. May God bless you!

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

Dennis Cobia wrote:
“Laurel, you really are bitter! Have your ever had a spiritural experience? Men are men, they make mistakes and the history is there to show it. The bottom line is if you want to find God and know if Jesus Christ is the Savior, you seek it out and pray and use faith to secure that knowledge.

Dennis, have you ever had a CULT rip your family apart? You are damn right I am bitter!

This isn’t about GOD !!! This is about a con artist who dreamed up a religion just like L. Ron Hubbard did (and the founder of the JW) and how they PREY on vulnerable people in society.

I dare say if one of your Mormon family members left the fold to become a Scientologist or JW and was completely sucked in and trapped by the deliberate mind control techniques these groups use you would be bitter too.

As for men and mistakes…yes, men are men, but according to your own D&C prophets are not expected to make the same mistakes men do. According to you, Joseph was a PROPHET. Why would a God choose a man that he knew would make mistakes and not be able to live up to the same standards God commissioned him to teach his flock? And Joseph was not just a mere man, he was a CRIMINAL, just like WARREN JEFFS. And THAT is one perfect example of the Mormon mentality. Joseph taught that the reason he received his vision ( well, make that plural, visions…) was because the church had been corrupted. Why would God choose a corrupt man to ‘fix’ was was corrupt already? I would think a God would be smarter than that.

Deny it if you will. Refute it with evidence, you can’t.

The bottom line is that bitter or not, what I have stated is FACT. Not belief, not conjecture, not anything you can refute with any educated debate or historical or biblical proof. You just pull out the pat Mormon reply…PRAY ABOUT IT, because that is all you have. And THAT, my friend, is blind faith. If there is a God, he did give you a brain and I would assume he would expect you to use it.

Paulette,

If you have ‘studied’ for 50 years then you should have figured it out by now. IF you ‘studied’ anything ‘not faith promoting’ then you have gone against what of your leaders and prophets have told the members of the church to do. If your study has been isolated to the sanitized version of the truth your church provides it’s membership then it is no wonder you still believe.

If you have truly studied the subject of Mormonism objectively and honestly and examined all sides, you would also know that there are many an ex-Mormons out there who were faithful to the church and the word of God as taught by the LDS church. You would know that many of them were very well respected members of their church. You would know that they are Bishops and priesthood holders and YW presidents and missionaries and stake leaders, men and women as young as 16 and as old as 86 (that I personally have knowledge of) who thought just the way you do. You would also know that being involved in the church and it’s activities does not mean that you have not been told lies. It just means that you have not recognized them (yet?).

When Mormons really are interested in the unvarnished truth they seek it out, and if the truth is really what matters to them they find themselves re-examining everything they ever believed. Yes, there are some very angry and bitter people out there whose lives and families have been severely impacted and at times totally destroyed by the LDS. Who can blame them.
You said,
“I would challenge people like Laurel to read the Book of Mormon”

I have, that is why I KNOW the book of Mormon is NOT true. I would challenge you to think for yourself, question the ‘authority’ that the men in the church have bestowed upon themselves as a means of becoming controlling and powerful, and get out there and find out just why people are angry at the LDS church. Find out what makes us bitter. Heck, even your own ‘devout’ members are out there expressing discontent.

Thomas Monson was not up at the pulpit during General Conference begging past members to return out of love for the flock. The church is losing members by the thousands and thanks to the internet and media and ex-members who are not afraid to share their stories, the ‘VEIL’ has been lifted.

There will always be the vulnerable, the needy, the lost and also those born into the church who are so brainwashed they don’t know how to think for themselves. But the facts are out there and they speak for themselves.

If any member of the church wants to believe what they are told and goes into that willingly and wants to pour their income into the million dollar condos the leaders live in while they control the churches purse strings that is their choice. What they don’t have the right to do is pursue and prey on young people struggling to find themselves, the desperate looking to find a way in the world, and the unknowing with no way to protect themselves from the lies the church tells.

Why do you think that that majority of conversions are in underdeveloped countries? Because the others have caught on and are spreading the word. And just how credible can a church be who preys on people like that just to add to it numbers?

It is time that the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints recognized that the biggest enemy it has out there are the ex-members it has lied to and deceived. While there are certainly just inherently bigoted people out there who will bash anyone different from themselves, that is NOT the majority of those who are out there speaking out against the church. And while I do agree (and know because I have heard it myself) that the Baptist church has a history of bashing LDS, they are not the ones you need to worry about either. Anyone who stands up against another claiming to be the ‘true’ religion is in the same destructive vein as the LDS. That is wrong no matter what church you belong to. What the church needs to concern itself with is those who are spreading the word and backing it up with the very history and documents that the LDS church sustains.

I would challenge any member of the LDS church to take what I have written to their ward on Sunday and ask the members to disprove the things I have said and back it up with more than just and ” I know the church is true.” First, if you bring this into church your leaders will have a fit, and if you mention it to the congregation, the leaders will have a fit. And if it got beyond that, there would be a long lecture on the hold Satan has on all of the ‘antis’ and how you should strengthen your testimony by going home and praying about it. But in the end, I believe not one Bishop would encourage his congregation to go and do the research and refute it, because they are afraid of what you will find. And THAT is a church that is controlled with fear and brainwashed.
But you are welcome to prove me wrong.

Oh, and you could also ask them if the COJCOLDS will be using any of it’s billions to help those poor families in Texas. I would to hear that reply.

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

for all those that claim to be christain, I would like to just say that….Christ would not have gone and bashed other people’s faith. I don’t think he would agree with mistreatment of children also. One thing for sure, we are all individually responsible for our own actions, when our time comes.

Posted by ann | Report as abusive

The Bible if filled with events that require us to exercise our faith. We believe that Moses parted the Red Sea and that plagues came upon the Egyptians. We believe that young David slew Goliath with stones and a slingshot when an entire army couldn’t kill him. We believe things that we read in the Bible that we are unable to prove which take a complete leap of faith.

Yet I, as a Mormon, am often ridiculed for believing that an angel appeared to a 14-year-old boy in the 1800′s in New York State. I may not believe exactly what you believe, but I believe in a loving, miraculous God. Yes, He appeared to people in the Americas after He was resurrected. Isn’t the biggest leap of faith believing that He was resurrected? Not who He talked to afterward?

If you believe in the Bible, then you believe in unproveable, miraculous things. How does that make me so different from you? How can you prove your faith is right and mine is wrong?

What does my faith cause me to do? I have faith, hope and want to live like Jesus Christ. I also want to help others on their way. Why does this make you so angry?

Posted by DJ | Report as abusive

How the Modern Day LDS Church and it’s members process and remember it’s formative ties to the practice of plural marriage is a topic that has come to facinate me. I really hope to conduct some graduate work on the subject at some point in the future and for this reason I’ve really enjoyed reading with curiousity everyone’s various thoughts and perspectives.

I must say that having delved extensively into that provocative history myself, I just don’t see it with the same damning bleakness that has been portrayed by some who have posted a one sided sensationalized record of “facts” on that history or about the LDS Church in general here. I think those who have done so are in a similar respect, guilty of what they are here claiming the LDS Church has done — perhaps it could be called an attempt at blackwashing history as opposed to the alleged whitewashing — in either scenario, one is leaving a lot out.

It reminded me how glad I am of the ever increasing interest and growth in Mormon scholarship by both those in and outside the LDS faith which I think will shed helpful and more informed light on these kinds of empassioned debates like attempted comparisons of Smith to Jeffs and FLDS vs. LDS.

Dr. Kathleen Flake wrote the foremost scholarly book on the Reed Smoot trial which chronicled the LDS church’s transition out of plural marriage. Months before this whole Texas incident, she offered her thoughts on the comparison of LDS and FLDS at the Washington Post which I think is helpful to this conversation.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfai th/kathleen_flake/2007/09/what_part_of_n o_dont_you_under.html

I’m also a social worker and would add that though I wouldn’t give the Texas authorities a full pass on carrying this thing out with a full measure of cultural competance and sensitivity, from what I can tell so far, I do think they’ve acted rightly under the law in thier action of removal.

My prayers are with those families and those who have the daunting responsibilities to help them.

Peace

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

Laurel, You seem to think that we can’t think for ourselves, How wrong you are!!!!!!!! I’m sorry that you are bitter, I hope that someday you might find peace. Pray to the Savior to help you find that peace. Paulette

Posted by Paulette | Report as abusive

For information on Black members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints please see: http://www.blacklds.org

Posted by SA | Report as abusive

Can we get to the bigger issue? The issue is that these poor children were forcibly removed from their mothers without any proof that they were in harms way. THis could easily happen in the instance of a ward or branch. Say someone abuses a child in a certain ward, do all the members of that ward lose custody of their children? WHo will stand up for these rights of these poor innocent mothers and children? Would this happen in a Muslim area? How about Catholic? Have their children been molested? What about homosexuals? If one of their children are molested, should all homosexual parents lose their children? DO you think that would happen? NO! It only happens to the FLDS children.
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak.
(Pastor Martin Niemoller)

Posted by Jo | Report as abusive

Responding to Laurel…

You talk of facts repeatedly in your reply, yet you fail to mention any single fact. You talk of lies that the authorities of the church perpetuate, yet you fail to identify any. You talk of the leaders of the church “preying” on the weak, needy, yet you haven’t identified the ways you percieve the LDS church is decieving, hurting, stealing, or manipulating anyone. You confirm your bitterness yourself, and you challenge others to “Find out what makes you bitter”. Why then didn’t you outline in your response all of those things that have made you bitter. I would like to know. I have an open mind. Do it succinctly, in bullet format so that it is accessible and state the facts!

You further challenged people to take what you have written to their church and ask members to disprove what you have said…again I read your entire response but didn’t really see any substantive facts or arguments to disprove. It’s mostly rhetoric and rambling.

I will agree that the LDS church has a lot of money, but the church only asks members to pay tithing (10%)…no different than most other Christian churches. No different than what Abraham did when he was the prophet in the old testament, yes he paid tithing too. Furthermore, anyone in the church can still choose NOT to pay tithing with no repercussions other than qualifying to attend the temple. I can tell you that there is no “IRS” equivalent in the LDS Church. No one has ever come to my door threatening to take all that I own because I didn’t pay my tithing.

The church leadership is a group of men who sacrifice significantly to serve in the leadership. I am not brainwashed…I know many of them personally and have seen the homes where they live before, during and after their callings to be leaders. They live humble lives. They don’t go and spend money at bars, on hookers, or fine dining. They don’t drive fancy cars or have huge Plasma TV’s that they buy with the tithing money! Never once has anyone asked me to do something in the church that was remotely uncomfortable let alone illegal. I have never been asked to decieve anyone or

Share the facts with us at to how the Church preyed upon you, decieved you, lied to you etc. It sounds to me like you expect perfection from everyone around you. You expect a bishop or stake president to be perfect. You expect Joseph Smith or the Pres. Monson to be perfect. What is perfection in your mind? That they don’t offend you? You forget then that there was only one PERFECT person, Jesus Christ himself…and look how many people he offended despite his perfection? He offended those money changers at the temple. He offended the jews! He offended the Romans! Yet so many today so casually accept that he was perfect and the Son of God.

Most of us recognize the imperfections of human kind. We all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness. That’s why Jesus came to earth, to provide a way to be forgiven for our mistakes. The real lesson we need to learn in this life is how to forgive others. That’s the key to happiness in this life. As we hold on to anger and bitterness is corrodes our soul and blinds us to what is good.

You accuse people of “blind faith” but fail to realize that ALL faith is “blind”. The definition of faith is to believe without seeing, without knowing. That is what Jesus taught. If you don’t believe in the basic principles of God the Supreme Being and Jesus Christ, then most of this won’t make sense anyway. This life is all about making your own personal choices and living the best you can with them.

Posted by Jared | Report as abusive

My favorite parts of Laurel’s hysterical (in more ways than one!) comments were the ones talking about swanky limos, million-dollar condos, and fancy suits. Hilarious. These people (church leaders) DON’T GET PAID!!! The few men who serve for life such as the apostles and the First Presidency receive a small living allowance and the president has a modest 3 bedroom condo adjacent to Temple Square (mostly for safety reasons). I am in a unique position to laugh out loud at the idea that the leaders of the Mormon church are rich schemers with bank accounts in the Caymans. They work hard until they die! At what point, may I ask, was Gordon B. Hinckley going to retire and live the high life on his misbegotten nest egg? He was still working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week at 97 YEARS OLD! Guess it’s a little late to pull out the suntan lotion, huh. I am still laughing over this hilarious assertion. This ridiculous claim also takes any credibility Laurel may have had with me and sends it down the drain.

Posted by GBM | Report as abusive

Paulette,

As I said before, you are free to worship as you please, but the arrogant “pray about it” you and those of your faith shove down others throats is exactly why people are now defending themselves and their families and trying to protect others from the same fate our loved ones met with when they fell for your saccharin ‘milk before meat’ pitch when they were young and vulnerable.

I have NEVER In my life bashed anyone who lived or believed differently from myself, but the LDS church has certainly opened my eyes to the hidden dangers behind the ‘family first’ PR campaign and the constant claim of persecution. The LDS church is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and there are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of families who have been destroyed by them, mine being one of them. I lived it. The fact that you can respond to my comments and not give a good ‘Christian’ hoot what your ‘people’ have done to me and my family, or anyone else’s, is exactly the point. And that INCLUDES those in Texas who are now suffering because of one con mans brilliant scam.

So, defend your church, deny the truth (because we all know, you have the one TRUE church and have cornered the market on ALL truth) and ignore the facts…go for it. But as long as your church and it’s blind followers continue to destroy others in your path on the way to the celestial kingdom people are going to speak out against you. You can watch those children be ripped from their families because of what your prophet introduced to this country out of greed, you can look the other way when your missionaries entice the vulnerable to believe them, turn a blind eye to the record breaking use of anti-depressants among Mormon women and sing “If You Could Hie To Kolob” at the top of your lungs to drown out the anguished cries of family members who watch their bright, ambitious family members become robots repeating what the Mormon leaders pound into their heads…it won’t make it okay.

If you can sleep at night in your state of denial, congratulations. You are one up on the parents who can’t sleep worrying about their son being abused in some unfamiliar country unable to reach out to his family while on his mission, or their young daughter burdened with 5 kids before she turns 24 with not enough money to care for them properly and depression so deep she cries herself to sleep most nights wondering how she was so foolish as to buy into all of this, knowing she has no way out.

All I can say is YOU better pray that YOU are right, because if you aren’t the pain of millions falls on the shoulders of the church and no amount of buying up the land their bodies litter ala Mountain Meadows will cover up what your church has done to innocent people.

I have a clear conscience knowing I supported your right to your beliefs, and taught my children the same. What I got for my kindness and support of your faith was the loss of two beloved young family members who where lied to and coaxed away from us. On the ‘advice’ of your wise leaders, they have no contact with the parents who raised them, loved them, supported them and taught them to care about YOU. And THEIR family is ‘led by Satan’ in their mind thanks to the Mormon teachings. They now live with a Mormon family who keeps them so insulated and controlled that they can’t even accept a phone call without feeling guilty. THAT is what your church does to people, and it is NOT an isolated case. They stole our family members, lied to us and them, and never looked back or cared about who they hurt. They had two more converts to brag about, woohoo!

Your church is turning the same blind eye to it’s responsibility to those devastated families in Texas. So how about YOU pray about THAT. They, and all the others hurt by the ‘salvation at all costs, in the name of God’ mentality are the ones who need the prayers of everyone here.

Do I ‘hate’ the Mormons? No, I hate what Mormonism has does to families, and it is high time the church stopped denying it and began reparation and took a long look at more than just it’s image.

Talk is cheap. I hope those commenting here will see what, if anything, they can do to help those families through this terrible time. They will be suffering long after the media loses interest in them and will need all of the help and support they can get in the coming months.

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

To keep it short, I must say, Laurel, your comment that the Church “destroyed” your family is enough for me to understand that you are one of those people who can take no responsibility for your own actions. I see many people in my line of work (psychology) who spout excuse after excuse, naming big corporations and countless innocent people for their own demise, pain and dischord in their lives. I’m sure that the LDS Church, the one situated in Salt Lake City took the time to destroy your family…just like it’s Governor Schwarzenegger is personally killing my lawn because he imposed limits on water usage, right? Riiiiiiight. Also, about your first comment (or may I call it a bitter rant?) I especially enjoyed the part where you say the Church baptizes people in third world countries who don’t know what they’re doing. Oh that’s right, because everyone outside of the U.S. has a low IQ? To be completely honest, you’re exhibiting signs of a sociopath, in it’s clinical definition. Take a breather.

Posted by Alli | Report as abusive

I AM AN LDS, A MORMON! I PRAYED ABOUT THE CHURCH AND HAD A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE AS A YOUNG BOY. IT WAS UNDENIABLY REAL. JOSEPH SMITH WAS ALWAYS ONE OF MY GREATEST HEROS. BUT …

The story that I prayed about was not 100% accurate.

I was taught that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy.

Later I was taught that he practiced polygamy but married only ugly old spinsters so that they could receive the blessings of the temple.

Later, I learned that he married some very young girls over his first wife’s objection. I learned that he proposed marriage to other women who were married to living spouses at the time.

When I was told about Joseph’ Smith’s persecution in Kirtland while living at the Johnson home, I was not told that the primary motive for the mob was that Joseph Smith was caught in an undignified and compromising situation with the daughter of his host. It was her brother that instigated the mob with the intention of castrating Joseph Smith. Perhaps, the allegations were untrue. However, the girl that was caught with Joseph Smith was later sealed to him as his plural wife.

The manifesto may not have been a libelous document. It exposed things that were actually happening–secret things, dirty things. If you don’t believe it get a copy and read it. It is an important document to the LDS Church History.

I was taught that the Church was thrown out of Missouri because of their conviction to oppose the institution of slavery that was embraced by most Missourians at the time.

I was later shocked to find that Utah was a slave territory by popular election of a population that was almost entirely Mormon. Read your history books!

Brigham Young did teach a vile and racist doctrine about the African Americans. I was shocked to read the Journal of Discourses where he said that he would never let a black man have priesthood authority over him.

He described them not only as descendants of Cain, but in a degrading, derogatory manner.

I was not taught the doctrine of blood atonement as a youth. Brigham Young taught that there are some sins that are too great for the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cover. People need their blood to be ritually shed and that blood must return to the earth. WOW, how could that be if the Atonement is infinite and eternal? Was he wrong? What about the security net that says the Lord will not permit His prophet from teaching false doctrine and leading the Church into falsehood? Rather, He would remove the Prophet.

So how can a Prophet be a true Prophet if he makes these and other mistakes? Is it enough to say that he was only human? It appropriate to hold Joseph Smith as a Prophet to a lower standard that its present membership.

SO HERE IS MY DILEMMA! I prayed to ask if the LDS Church is true. I recieved what I would describe as a witness. But actual historical records contradict what I thought the Church represented. I prayed in part about lies.

What is the point of telling one to ask if the Church is true if what you told them about the Church in the first place false?

The Prophet Joseph Smith was supposed to end all questions about which Church is true. Yet there are people from different branches of the LDS Church that fervently believe their sect is true? They believe the mainstream LDS Church is wrong? How are they to know?

What does this have to do with Polygamy, Warren Jeffs and the LDS Church PR dilemma?

Everything! Polygamy is what tore the LDS Church apart at the seems on two occasions. Is it relevant to the modern LDS church because it is still part of our beliefs. It is relevant to the FLDS. Resolving the question about our ties to the FLDS is about the penultimate LDS question–which Church is true? It has been more than 150 years since Joseph Smith lived and died. Here we have a boiling dispute over these fundamental questions?

Would God condemn a man because he can’t believe that a Prophet of God would take another man’s wife as his own. Would He damn another man/woman who left the Church because he/she didn’t cease the practice of polygamy after being taught for many years to defy the US government and practice polygamy illegally because it was Gods will only to be told that it is Gods will that he submit to the authority of the US Government?

Is it unfair persecution of the Church to discuss these things in an open forum? NO!!!!

Posted by Pablo | Report as abusive

Alli

First of all, you know nothing about me, so save the psychobabble.

Secondly, THE CHURCH is responsible for the doctrine, the teachings, the lies and the spiritual abuse, and IT is as responsible for the pain and suffering of people affected by it’s teachings as the Catholic church is for looking the other way and protecting abusers under it’s authority.

Thirdly, talk about twisting a comment. Give me a break. The church sends missionaries to third world countries to proselytize to people who have no means of comprehending what they are getting into. They abuse their position as ‘the messengers of God’s word ‘ and they do it in any place they have an advantage. Look up a few speeches by Mormon leaders and Mission Presidents, they freely admit it is exactly what they are doing. The missionaries are constantly pressured to build up the numbers and anyone even slightly acquainted with the LDS church knows it. It is ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS!

From Gordon B. Hinckley
“Last year there were approximately 300,000 convert baptisms throughout the Church. This is tremendously significant. This is the equivalent of 120 new stakes of 2,500 members each. Think of that: 120 new stakes in a single year! It is wonderful. But it is not enough. I am not being unrealistic when I say that with concerted effort, with recognition of the duty which falls upon each of us as members of the Church, and with sincere prayer to the Lord for help, we could double that number.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, “Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, May 1999, p. 104

Lastly, I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume that you are a church member with no defense against the facts resorting to spouting psychobabble to vent your frustrations, but if the shoe fits…

If you aren’t, then maybe you should take off your judgmental glasses and act like the professional you are trying to come across as and educate yourself to the facts before ‘taking sides’ and tossing around labels, which I might add is an odd way for a professional to behave.

Pablo,

A big HUG to you. I am so sorry that the church has another victim in you.

Just remember, even if Joseph Smith’s version of God does not exist, it does not mean no God does.

You wrote:

“What does this have to do with Polygamy, Warren Jeffs and the LDS Church PR dilemma?
Everything! Polygamy is what tore the LDS Church apart at the seems on two occasions. Is it relevant to the modern LDS church because it is still part of our beliefs. It is relevant to the FLDS. Resolving the question about our ties to the FLDS is about the penultimate LDS question–which Church is true? It has been more than 150 years since Joseph Smith lived and died. Here we have a boiling dispute over these fundamental questions?

Would God condemn a man because he can’t believe that a Prophet of God would take another man’s wife as his own. Would He damn another man/woman who left the Church because he/she didn’t cease the practice of polygamy after being taught for many years to defy the US government and practice polygamy illegally because it was Gods will only to be told that it is Gods will that he submit to the authority of the US Government?

Is it unfair persecution of the Church to discuss these things in an open forum? NO!!!!”

- Posted by Pablo

You are exactly right, and brave to say so. I know what you are going through, I have seen and heard it dozens of times as members finally see that they ARE being lied to by the church.

You have done your homework and sadly, as I said before, sometimes the truth is a very painful thing, but better to have integrity and live in truth, and raise your children in truth, than to back away from it in fear of excommunication or discipline from the very people propagating the lies. But then again. what choice does a good Mormon have when the leaders expect this:

“No true Latter-day Saint will ever take a stand that is in opposition to what the Lord has revealed to those who direct the affairs of his earthly kingdom. No Latter-day Saint who is true and faithful in all things will ever pursue a course, or espouse a cause, or publish an article or book that weakens or destroys faith.”

- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report, October 1984, p. 104

Statements from Scholars

“Many things have been intentionally ignored and sometimes concealed or have been taken to have religious meanings or implications which, in my opinion, have no religious connections whatsoever. I believe that the Church has intentionally distorted its own history by dealing fast and loose with historical data and imposing theological and religious interpretations on the data that are entirely unwarranted.”

- Sterling McMurrin, Mormon scholar, “7EP Interview: Sterling M. McMurrin,” by Blake Ostler, Seventh East Press, January 11, 1983, p. 1

“Mormon historians are told to write church history as elementarily as possible and as defensively as possible. This is accommodation history for the weakest of the weak Latter-day Saints, for the vilest of the vile anti-Mormons, and for the most impressionable of the world’s sycophants….

“Historians did not create problem areas of the Mormon past, but most of us cannot agree to conceal them, either. We are trying to respond to those problem areas of Mormon experience. Attacking the messenger does not alter the reality of the message.”

- D. Michael Quinn, see Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, p. 339

“Three apostles gave orders for my stake president to confiscate my temple recommend. Six years earlier, I had formally notified the First Presidency and the Managing Director of the Church Historical Department about my research on post-Manifesto polygamy and my intention to publish it. Now I was told that three apostles believed I was guilty of ‘speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed.’ The stake president was also instructed ‘to take further action’ against me if this did not ‘remedy the situation’ of my writing controversial Mormon history.
“James M. Paramore, the area president who relayed these orders, instructed my stake presidency to tell me that this was a local decision and reflected their own judgment of the state of my church membership. My stake president replied that he was not going to tell me something which was untrue. Instead, the stake president informed me how this order came about and how they had resisted the area president for more than two hours. Unlike the area president, my stake president and one of his counselors had already read the Dialogue article. My stake presidency saw nothing in it to justify what they were being required by church headquarters to do to me.
“I told my stake president that I would not tell colleagues or friends about this because I did not want to be the center of more publicity. However, I told the stake president that this was an obvious effort to intimidate me from doing history that might ‘offend the Brethren’ (to use Ezra Taft Benson’s phrase). I didn’t feel I should be punished for describing Mormon events which the current general authorities wished I had never occurred. I said it was wrong-headed for them to confiscate my temple recommend, and that ‘I won’t be intimidated by anybody.’”

- D. Michael Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian,” pp. 91-92

“Revelations have been revised whenever necessary. That is the nice thing about revelation – it is strictly open-ended.”

- Hugh Nibley, LDS scholar, letter to Morris L. Reynolds, May 12, 1966, quoted in Tanner, Case Against Mormonism, 1967, v. 1, p. 132

THE LDS PROPHETS/LEADERS:

“[Joseph said] ‘God does not care if we have a good time, if only other people do not know it’…. If any woman, like me, opposed his wishes, he used to say: ‘Be silent, or I shall ruin your character.’”

- Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, Mormon Portraits, p. 62

“My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he tells you to do something wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.”

- Prophet Heber J. Grant, as quoted by Apostle Marion G. Romney in “The Covenant of the Priesthood,” Ensign, July 1972, p. 98

“He [Joseph Smith, Jr.] was sealed there [in Kirtland] secretly to Fanny Alger. Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house.”

- Chauncey Webb, Ann Eliza’s father, see In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, by Todd Compton, pp. 34-35

“Again I told her [Emma] I heard that one night she missed Joseph and Fanny Alger. She went to the barn and saw him and Fanny in the barn together alone. She looked through a crack and saw the transaction!! She told me this story too was verily true.”

- William McLellin, 1872 letter to Joseph Smith III, see In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, by Todd Compton, p. 35

“If I had forty wives in the United States, they did not know it, and could not substantiate it, neither did I ask any lawyer, judge, or magistrate for them. I live above the law, and so do this people.”

- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 1, p. 361

“April 17.- This day the Twelve blessed and drank a bottle of wine at Penworthan, made by Mother Moon forty years before.”

- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 4, p. 120, Friday, April 17, 1840

“Joseph Smith tried the faith of the Saints many times by his peculiarities. At one time, he had preached a powerful sermon on the Word of Wisdom, and immediately thereafter, he rode through the streets of Nauvoo smoking a cigar. Some of the brethren were as tried as Abraham of old.”

- Joseph Smith as an Administer, BYU Masters Thesis, May 1969, p. 161

( members wonder why there is an image problem?)

“Q. What does the Lord require of the people of the United States?
A. He requires them to repent of all their sins and embrace the message of salvation, contained in the Book of Mormon, and be baptized into THIS church, and prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord.
Q. What will be the consequence if they do not embrace the Book of Mormon as a divine revelation?
A.They will be DESTROYED from the land and SENT DOWN TO HELL, like all other generations who have rejected a divine message!”

- Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, Washington, D.C., 1854, p. 215

“SAINTS ARE THE BEST PEOPLE…. and in many ways superior to any other people.”

- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, v. 1, p. 236

“Our message is so imperative, when you stop to think about the salvation, the eternal salvation of the world, rests upon the shoulders of this Church. When all is said and done, if the world is going to be saved, we have to do it. There is no escaping from that. No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received. We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work. And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, July 3, 1999, p. 3

Is this arrogance and superiority a figment of the ‘anti-Mormon’ imagination? No, no more than the 30 plus wives of Joseph Smith were.

You can shoot the messenger, but the message remains. The number of members leaving the church and the compulsion of T. Monson to beg (guilt?) them to come back is no coincidence. The word is out and moving faster than a swarm of Mormon crickets and is just as unstoppable.

Both members of the FLDS and the LDS have been deceived by the same ‘prophet’ and let down by the same church and the legacy belongs to the leaders of the church as it is now. To ‘disown’ those women and children (and men who were faithful but not abusive) is unconscionable. But alas, all the LDS church cares about is it’s image and making sure the world knows they are not ‘THOSE’ Mormons.

The only ‘good’ that can come from all of this is that maybe those who need help to get out of the trap will get it, and maybe all of the publicity will teach members of the LDS church that it is time they owned their history. Also, if one post like Pablo’s (or mine) prompts one person to look into the church before being led blindly into it, or one already in the church and sick of the lies to get out of it, then it will have been worth the time it took to try to reason with anyone here.

Pablo, my very best wishes to you, you have a long road ahead but there are many others you can talk to out there, reach out to them, they are there to help. I hope you will find peace and comfort and safe place for your faith.

I am through here. This is about the connection between the FLDS and the LDS and their mutual history and the effects of that history is undeniable. There are volumes more to say, but this isn’t the place to say it, I have said what I wanted to say.

Ciao

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

It was interesting to see the pictures of Joseph Smith & Brigham Young in the rooms of TX FLDS on CNN-HD. Until the Utah faith sues anyone who uses LDS as part of their church name, FLDS will be forever link to LDS. I agree with some of the assessments that LDS members who marry 2nd or 3rd time on earth will be reunited with their 1st, 2nd and 3rd wife in after-life. LDS had to renounce polygamy earthly and promised US govt to cease & desist because of fear of losing the statehood of Utah. It does sickens me the origin of my church came from Smith & Young crazy polygamy doctrine. But again, membership needs to increase just like the Jews in the Old Testament and now with Muslims in the Koran. Certainly, sex with teenager/children was approved by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Now LDS faith encourages all to marry young without proper dating or getting to know their mates. Because of religious fear-pressure to marry-date at the same time, divorces are now a big problem in LDS community. I do like the church but too many crazy zealots ran this church from day 1. Truly, religion is not common-sense just like the crazy Christian zealots who got us into Iraq based on so-called spiritual executive decision. Whatever!
As you can see, those who based their decisions on too much spiritual emphasis loses their common-sense or logic. That’s a tragedy in the eyes of God who gave us a brain to use for logical thinking and common sense applications. Hope all is well!

Media also showed that FLDS uses the Book of Mormon just like the LDS along with early sections of Doctrine & Covenants that written by Joseph Smith on CNN. All is well with FLDS and LDS on its origin, history and doctrine. LDS is in denial just like AA adict.

Laurel, I’m impressed with the amount of research you’ve completed and you are no doubt passionate in your dissent. Congratulations, write a book and get it out of your system. After than, steer your passion for truth and accuracy towards something more productive. Fact is, you’re certainly not going to illuminate any devout Church members with your lectures, so stop indulging yourself, push away from the computer and move on. Please don’t bother responding as I won’t be returning; plus, it will just affirm earlier statement.

Posted by Cutnut | Report as abusive

The ‘founding’ of the Mormon religion as a true religion is ridiculous. Mormons believe that their religion is the only way to true salvation. Tell that to the billions of people that existed on Earth before Mormonism was ‘discovered’.

Early Mormons were racists and polygamists as this was set out by the doctrine of their prophets. Their prophets are disciples and mouthpieces of God. Later on prophets changed the doctrine to be more palatable. So who was wrong, Joseph Smith or God? I choose the former.

Ultimately any religion when dictated by humans takes on an ugly and vile form. That includes Mormons, Catholics and Muslims.

We are witness to those very examples each and every day.

Posted by Joseph Smythe | Report as abusive

I feel for the mothers who have lost their children in the raids. It seems to me that the best place for the little ones would be with a modern family that believes and are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This wouldn’t be such a shock to the children’s thinking and doctrines.

The mothers from the off-shoot should retain supervised visitation rights or perhaps inclusion into a modern family. Perhaps, if she chose,she could reintegrate into society also.

As I see it the men are the brain washers and beneficiary s of this polygamist sect.

Posted by Deb Free | Report as abusive

The LAST thing those children need is to be placed into ANOTHER ‘cult’, which is what the LDS church is, just in a more politically correct way. They practice the same type of mind control as the FLDS.

Sadly, wherever they are placed is going to be traumatic, but hopefully they will be somewhere where the focus is healing, not eternal salvation. The Moms should not be allowed to continue the psychological abuse by continuing to protect the children’s abusers. If Moms stood by while this was happening they are accountable as well, and need mental health evaluations and treatment to reverse the ideology that has them thinking that what is happening to these children is what God wants and therefore okay and the highest form of ‘love’.

Posted by whome | Report as abusive

So sad to read all of the angry and hateful words of so many people.

Posted by michelle | Report as abusive

I agree with above. I wish people would just relax and learn to love one another. Let God do the judging, and just pray to learn what is right. Child abuse is obviously not right and it is a sad thing.

Posted by Rex | Report as abusive

Most of these fundamental lds groups started after two apostles resigned from the quorum of the 12 in 1906. The names of the apostles who disagreed on the polygamy manifesto were John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley.
Currently the only polygamy the church authorizes is the sealing of a man to another wife after the death of the first wife. The church headquartered in Utah never annuls the sealing to the first wife after death. This marriage remains in force and they allow the man to marry a second or third wife for eternities. Most other Christian churches annul the first marriage by death whereas Mormons do not. There are only three current apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS who have entered into these forms of marriage sealings. Elder Dallin H. Oaks entered his first polygamous marriage for eternities when he married a second wife Kristen M. McMain On 25 August 2000. Elder Nelson married his first polygamous wife for eternities in April of 2006 when he married Wendy L. Watson. Elder Perry married a second wife for eternity in April 1976 when he was sealed to Barbara T. Dayton in the Salt Lake temple. Perhaps Elder Richard Scott will find a second sweetheart. It would be tough to work through the scheduling conflicts to go on a date to the Draper Theatre or the like.

Posted by Falasha | Report as abusive

It’s clear that TX CPS has a great deal more to sort through concerning the YfZ Ranch and it’s inhabitants. It’s also clear that the US and the membership of the LDS have a great deal more to learn and understand about the history of the LDS/FLDS.

I can understand the pain this causes the LDS community, but in trying to differentiate themselves from the FLDS they must own the fact that Joseph Smith introduced the concept of polygamy to the US. In addition, both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young married women as young as 14 years old and used their religious doctrine to intimidate the young women and/or their fathers to get their consent. They both did it in IN where and when it was specifically illegal. And Joseph Smith ordered the destruction of private property and a newspaper that was making that information public.

Brigham Young ordered his followers, at great personal sacrifice and risk of life, to evacuate to remote territories where they could continue to practice polygamy, a socialist economy and declare war on the United States in support of his autocracy and polygamy.

Ever since, the elite of the LDS have used that authority to declare leaders from their own circle of people with polygamous ancestries. In fact, the LDS has not removed the specific doctrines recorded in their scripture “Doctrines and Covenants” (section 132) that authorize polygamous marriages and continues to seal them for eternity in this modern era.

It’s important that we take neither the similarities or distinctions at face value but examine history to draw conclusions.

Posted by april | Report as abusive

The modern day Mormons, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints would revert back to the practice of polygamy if their church prophet told them he had a revelation and the God gold him to go back to polygamy. Mormons are brainwashed to obey the church, no matter what they say, and not to question.

The mormons were told to stop practicing polygamy 100 years ago, because their “prophet” told them to. What happened was that they began to see they were not fitting into society, and the church leaders knew there would have to be a “revelation” to stop polygamy. They couldn’t just “decide” to stop.

The mormons used to teach the black race were outcast in God’s eyes. When they saw where that was going, someone again had a “revelation”. They change their writings according to the popular culture, or if they see that their teachings are going to get some of their members thrown into jail.

The FLDS are definitely of the same religion as the LDS. The only difference is that it was taken over by a group of the more sexually deviant men, who wanted to continue their harems and mind control over women and children and didn’t want to give up polygamy. These folks are not very book smart because of the many years of in-breeding.
The reason the FLDS are not out proseletizing and are secluded in a compound is that they know what they are doing is against the law. They stay secluded to practice their perveted sex in the name of religion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints decided 100 years ago, that in order to stay out of jail they had to give it up. They wanted to make sure they appear legitimate. Like I said, they are smarter than the FLDS.

But, both the FLDS and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have rewritten the life story and the teachings of Jesus. They have made up their version of history in the United States. They base their religion on following their church teachings in order to spend eternity in the Celestial Kingdom. They both teach blind obedience. They are BOTH cults!

I know some Baptists, and they are not out to get money for their church. They are out to tell the lost world about how the ONLY way to God is thru Jesus Christ. They do not say the only way to God is thru the “Baptist Church”. Baptists are followers of Jesus of the Bible, who taught salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. The Baptists I know have not written books that overwrite the Holy Scriptures of the Bible. Baptists do not believe a wife has to go before Joseph Smith, the Mormon Jesus and her husband to see if she is worthy for entry to Heaven. Baptists to not demand blind obedience of the church leaders. Baptists do not demand that the children must only marry a Baptist. Baptists do not believe they will someday be a God of their own planet.

Posted by Paula | Report as abusive

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do have leaders and they are united in following them. But they also have personal knowledge and testimonies that come directly from God. Members have a personal relationship with God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the witness of the Holy Ghost. So what people unfamiliar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call \”blind obedience\” is nothing more than members of the church acting on their personal knowledge that comes to them through the Holy Ghost and through inspired leaders — two independent channels of divine guidance (from the same divine source) to bless us in this troubled world.

Posted by jc | Report as abusive

There is a county and town in New York called “Onandaga”, it is not too far from where Joseph smith lived, while passing through Missouri, his people uncovered some human bones, Smith said that they were the bones of a laminite warrior called Zelph and that Zelph fought under a Prophet named “Onandgus”, Smith also took names of New York towns and citys , changed the names slightly and used them as names in the Book of mormon, Smith was a con artist, see the stuff going on in texas and elswhere with the FLDS, these people are following the original teachings of Smith and Bingham Young,Smith was married to over 33 woman and had off spring from them, he even took the wives of other mormons, in their temples they teach 4 different handshakes that you are supposed to know to enter heaven!! how absurd.

The Book of Mormon does not condemn plural marriage in the general sense. You must bear in mind that the Lord was talking through his chosen prophet (Jacob at that time) to his people at that time. The key to understanding Mormons and the Mormon faith is understanding that they believe in continuing revelation. Every day, every year, every generation, we face new challenges. Some of the solutions to those challenges are pervasive but others are not.

The Old Testament is full of apparent contradictions. Jacob (or Israel) had 3 wives. Where is the condemnation for that? Abraham’s wife Sarah gave him her handmaiden. Where is the outrage from the “orthodox” Christians? Saul was commanded to slaughter a group of people while it is clear that we are not supposed to kill. We have no idea why but we know what happened to Saul when he wasn’t 100% obedient. The point is, I have no problem with a God that is intelligent enough to adapt the commandments slightly in the best interest of His people. That doesn’t mean that He changes His mind

The fact of the matter is that either we are led by a living prophet in the form of President Thomas S. Monson or we are not. One side believes that and the other does not. Nobody is or should be forced to believe one way or the other but we ought to respect eachother’s beliefs. But we ought to be able to have a civilized discussion without resorting to insults.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Paula,

You are free to believe what you will. However, I wish we could be a little more civilized. Mormons are not brainwashed, far from it. Do you even know any Mormons? They are among the most highly educated per capita of any large group of people in the world. The prophet does not want them to follow him blindly. Everything a good Mormon does should be based on study, prayer, and personal revelation. We believe that we will be blessed for following the prophet but we should seek confirmation personally that he is a prophet. Have you ever listened to a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley or Thomas S. Monson or are you judging the faith merely on what you have read/heard about the Church?

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

I have taken a few minutes to peruse the previous blogs and to be honest I seem to be disappointed with where people must be getting there information about doctrine and the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka “Mormons”.
I would venture to say that many have not been to a Sacrament service with us. I invite you to come to any one of our church buildings in your area and come see for yourself. You don’t have to take the Sacrament if don’t feel comfortable with that or if you wish to partake of it that will be fine also. We won’t be asking for money or passing a plate or basket around so you don’t have to worry about that. Anyone there will be willing to direct or answer questions for you, just let us know what you need.
Please see for yourself, learn for yourself, you don’t need to rely on anyone elses experiences except you own.

Posted by Tracy | Report as abusive

Child Abuse and Neglect
I am a member of the true LDS church.

I am also a social worker and Mother of six children.

Child abuse and neglect is not excusable no matter what backgroud of religion or culture perpetrates it.

Children have a right to protection. However,
to separate mothers from children before the parents’ guilt is established IS child abuse and neglect. Severe trauma results from such action which has far reaching effects even into adult hood.

My appeal is for the the children to be united with their mothers until the guilt of the parents are established which could take months, even years.

This is true compassion and justice can still be met. It is the children who are suffering here and their suffering could be lessened by their mother’s presence under supervision of course.

— Debby Bennett, Westbank, B.C. Canada

Posted by Debby Bennett | Report as abusive

I was raised in the LDS church. My ancestors were among the first of those who followed Brigham Young to the Salt Lake Valley. I was instructed in the various classes of the church: Sunday School, Primary, Mutual, Priesthood class, and the various ward and stake meetings. I have read the Book of Mormon and other Mormon Scripture (Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants and the Bible). I memorized the articles of faith. I also have prayed as to whether the Book or Mormon is true and if the Mormon church is the “true church” and whether indeed, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are “true prophets”. It is with great clarity and sincerity that I testify that… the Mormon church is not the “true church” and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are not “true prophets”. I however, do bear witness, that Jesus Christ is both Lord and Savior and has risen from the dead, according to the scriptures. I also would encourage all Latter Day Saints to investigate the Book of Mormon for historical and archeological verification, and to compare the teaching of the Mormon church to the Bible, especially the New Testament. I also would encourage all to ask God to bring light and revelation regarding the person of Jesus Christ and His ability and willingness to bring to all, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. As Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). To all who have felt betrayed by the Mormon church, I would encourage you to “seek the Lord” for He can be found. The discovery of the counterfeit (the Mormon Church) may lead you, as it did me, to the experience of the authentic (Jesus Christ).

Posted by Michael Webb | Report as abusive

There is a timely book currently being written by a former member of both the LDS and FLDS religions entitled, “Not Their Fault!” The book states that although they may claim “innocence” of any wrongdoing in the recent events in Texas, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is partially and indirectly to blame for what has happened.

The author, known only as Christopher to protect his identity, states, “…LDS members do not want to admit to it or talk about it, and the women fight the thought of having to share their husbands with someone else; however, Mormon men secretly look forward to the day when they can righteously have sex with many women. Of course they will never admit this to their dear wives; but women, put yourselves in their shoes and believe for a moment that one day you will be able to have sex with all kinds of different men, when the Lord will not only condone it, but will furthermore command it. Yet, does knowing this doctrine deter the millions who pay ten percent of their income to the LDS Church? Of course it doesn’t bother the men, who have been heard saying to each other, “I can’t wait until polygamy comes back!”

The book reveals how the modern problems associated with the practice of polygamy in the Fundamentalist Church have arisen from the Mormon males’ honest and sincere belief that living this way is keeping the commandments of their “god.” The book also discloses the irony of the whole matter, by proving that the very first prophet and organizer of the LDS faith, Joseph Smith Jr., who allegedly established the practice of polygamy, never actually lived or taught the principle as it is lived today by tens of thousands of FLDS members.

Christopher, the author, was a former devout member of the LDS Church, and was even employed as a security officer at their Church Headquarters. He left the LDS faith when he became aware of the corruption in the leadership of the Church. He then joined the FLDS Church and was a practicing polygamist for a time, until he realized how that religious principle degraded women and children. He then became an advocate for helping promote equality throughout the world and founded The Worldwide United Foundation (http://wwunited.org), to which he will donate 100% of the book’s royalties.

This book reveals his unique insight into both religions. It will expel all the misunderstandings associated with plural marriage and will explain “the principle” as Joseph Smith Jr. intended it. Not only will the reader find the real truth to be fascinating, at the very least, but will gain a better perspective of the issue that will support the fact that the practice of polygamy is “Not Their Fault!”

Published by Worldwide United Publishing. For a copy of the book Preface or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact:

Lillian Roh – Public Relations Director – Worldwide United Publishing
publicrelations@wwunited.org
888.499.9666 x2

Although current Mormons do not include the polyandrous list on familysearch.org for JS Jr. they have to really look at the current trend with Mormon leadership. As quoted by Dr. Wendy Ulrich the former President of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists:

“I want to talk about this because I am keenly aware that the people who are being affected by the onslaught of pornography in our culture are not just freaky people over in the corner doing strange things that you know are kind of weird. The last four or five couples that I have worked with who have had addiction to pornography as one of their central issues, the men in every case were either at the time or are currently serving in bishoprics.”

“I was having a brief conversation with someone in the Counseling Psychology Department yesterday who’s husband is a therapist. She said his experience was that the people who are coming in with this problem are not people who have really quirky personalities who are sitting in a room by themselves or who don’t have good values. People who are good folks, in positions of leadership and authority, positions of strength are getting hooked by this stuff.”

This addiction problem among Mormon priesthood leadership is evidence of a weakened priesthood brought on by a resurrection of a new form of “Asherah worship”.

Posted by Edward Bailey | Report as abusive

Declining morality abounds today in many forms. No church or church leader is immune to the neon lights and cry of sirens produced by the “prince of this world”. In the same view no NYC mayor or NJ governor is immune to these invitations to dance in sheol. The true leaders are those who protect the innocent, maintain integrity despite a storm of moral fracture, and defend truth and virtue. It will always remain true as it says in 3Ne8:1 “for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity.” Indeed many Christians believe in the power of Christ to transform people into new creatures. It would be great if the flds males would leave the compound, gain an education, and improve their lives. As for the “trunk of the tree” the Mormons from SLC – likely the power of discernment is still very much alive and operative in the highest leadership roles – and the liars who seek to hide their sins or iniquities or re-create their own plans of salvation without Christ will be weeded out in the end.

Posted by falasha | Report as abusive

Let me ask you, If a woman broke off from catholocism claimed she was a priest and started practicing things that were morally reprehensible in the face of the catholic church, would you still consider her catholic? Why then do you lump all these offshoot, groups with the true followers of Jesus Christ. We love the saviour and we strive to be like him. Jesus Christ must weep in heaven when he sees a child abused. As followers of Christ certainly we can not condone or accept such things. I am surpised about the ignorance of people concerning our faith. If you want to know about the protestant faith, you would ask a practicing protestant. If you want to know about our faith why don’t you look at our website. Mormon.org, lds.org
Regardless, truth is truth, and all the lies and bad publicity in the world can not change that. I am surprised that instead of joining with us to fight against the evils of the day; woman and children abuse, violence, poverty and ignorance other religious persons and communities would prefer instead to argue about the precepts of our faith. Maybe I should not be so surpised, that is always how the adversary ( the devil) has worked from the begining, creating conflict and dissention. When people our divided they can not stand together. I urge all good people everywhere, of every religious organization, to stand up against this division to accept and embrace the good and fight against things that are inherently evil violence, child abuse, and such. We should not be spending our time arguing about who is right. We should be standing up and fighting for the right. Everything good comes from GOD, we are all brothers and sisters regardless of race, faith or creed, and we need to stand together.

I agree with Alexis. We need to Fight the Good Fight. Stop the abuse of Women and Children. Christy Black

Posted by Christy black | Report as abusive

I’m truly amazed at the high-and-mighty, self-righteous, Bible-thumping, out and out faith-bashing going on in this forum. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian (or at least a decent human being) should be ashamed of themselves for trashing the Mormons (or any other faith for that matter). This article is about the media and world confusion between two separate religions, and there are some of you in here who are gleefully taking it as an opportunity to turn the Mormon church on its ear and win your own “converts” in an anti-Mormon free-for-all. Look, I realize you, too, have free speech, but please, Grow up! and have something meaningful and constructive to say. You’re sure to win more friends than enemies.

Posted by TW | Report as abusive

You hit the nail on the head, concerning the problems for the “official” LDS Church in trying to distinguish ourselves from these secretive fundamentalist groups, who practice polygamy in the name of “Mormons”.

I feel that the reasons for which media and even these groups themselves do so, has much to do with sensationalism. Anything negative that can attach itself to the good word “Mormon” gets attention…

Really, this is shameful. The word Mormon, means “more good”. It is certainly clear, that when using the name Mormon for these reasons – it is not to perpetuate good, but to hope for good, when “bad” is abound!

Thank you for this report, which helps to clarify the continued attempt of the “official” LDS Church, which is GOOD:-)

tDMg
LdsNana-AskMormon

I have just read all of the remarks above and am so very sorry that our Father’s Children continue to abuse each other. I can find no excuse for this. The two greatest commandments were to Love the Lord with all of our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. We can differ in our beliefs and still be respectful of each other’s choices and beliefs. I have friends from all different religions and stations in life and have great respect for them as our brothers and sisters. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have been since I was baptized in 1941 by my father who held and still holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, yes even in heaven. I have lived for many years now and have searched and researched many religions and LDS doctrine as well as Anti-mormon claims. I was very far away from the church at one time in my life and it was during these times that I had made some pretty serious mistakes and even got to the point where I lost the spirit and was not sure of what I believed and I tried to deceive myself by saying I was trying to find the truth. The truth of this matter was that I had always known the truth, I just was not willing to accept it because in doing so I would have to accept responsibilty for what I had done and the sins I had committed. I came to a point in my life when I made a very important decision. I returned to the church and went to my Bishop and told him of the things I had been guilty of and he knelt with me and we prayed together and I cried as if my heart would break and I felt the long lost Holy Ghost return to me and it was as though a light came on in my mind and heart and I realized that I had been walking in complete darkness and was so amazed at how much clearer every thing was to me after receiving this. I knew without any doubt that I had come home and this is where I knew I should be. You can call this a subjective experience or anything else you would like to call it, but nevertheless I knew I had received the truth and I knew that He knew that I had also. You will never be able to convince anyone of the truthfulness of His Gospel by reading books or by listening to others discuss subjects either pro or con. The things of God can only be known through the Spirit of God. The different scriptures can be understood this way as well and only through this method can you understand them. Since God is no respector of persons would He be willing to reveal Himself to the Prophets in Old Testiment times and yet deprive His children to day of these same blessings. He is a just and merciful Father. He loves each of us equally and will give to each of us that which He knows will be best for us at any given time in our lives. Whether any of His children are willing to accept what He has given or will yet give to us is up to each one of us. If we reject it we will be held accountable for this. With Law we are judged by Law but to those who are without law he will not judge them by the law. Those who know the truth and then fight against it will be in dire straits on that great judgement day but those who do not know and understand will not be held accountable for that which they do not know. Members of His church who have chosen to leave the church have this right but those who have been enlighted by the Spirit will be cast out of His presence which is the second death. Once you have received this light and truth you are responsible for what you do with this truth. I pray for those who have left the church and have determined to fight against it because they will someday have to reap the rewards of this. I was almost there and I know the absolute hell that a soul can feel at this time. You can fight against God but you will never prevail. Those who feel that by doing this they serve God will one day realize what they have done. Take care that you do not do this. You see I do know that there was a need for a restoration of all things and that our Father did restore this through the Propeht Joseph Smith whether any one believes this or not. Those who fight against this truth will not prevail any more that many have for 175 years have. You may fight against God’s work but you cannot worlds without end destroy it. I have studied the Bible for many years and have read the Book of Mormon many times. I have read the Pearl of great price and Doctrine and Covenants more than once and studied from them often. And I have read all of the accusations against it by dissentors and those who have their own agendas but none have shaken my faith or belief in His restored Church. Remember one thing if you feel that any church can claim to be the true Church here upon His earth without His sanction you are wrong. Only He can do this and when He declares this before witnesses and there is a law of witnesses, you and I had best listen with our ears and our hearts and not be angry because he has declared this but be grateful that He has and listen to the spirit and let it guide us home.

To Shirl: Funny thing is… the members of the FLDS “feel” the same way you do. (Maybe “funny” is not the right word, strike it and insert “sad”).

Concerning the second death: a believer’s confidence is in Jesus Christ, and in His saving work, and not in the Mormon church. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

As far as the witnesses you referred to Oliver, Cowdry, David Whitmer, et al., they all changed their testimony over time. But Jesus’ legacy is constant and inalterable, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). I would suggest that there is far more security in Jesus Christ than in the continually changing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Posted by Michael Webb | Report as abusive

I hope the FLDS can sue the pants off the state of texas.It is criminal to rip those kids away from their parents. That Azar idiot makes me want to throw up with his litany of how “the children are now safe, and we hope to get them to talk to us”, “this is a great day for the children, they now will have a safe life”…what a jerk.

Posted by Shanna | Report as abusive

I was willing to donate to help the children re-unite with their mothers, but found it terribly concerning that the web site was totally one sided (woe is us) and did not allow for input or questions. That made my monetary decision easier in that any group that who begs for help but limits and excludes questions, are totally one sided and therefore I am not willing to donate money to help their families. Sorry – You blew it !

Posted by Marge | Report as abusive

Anyone that says that Polygamists come closer to the teachings of Joseph Smith than the church of Jesus Christ of LDS, is woefully misguided.

Joseph Smith said that, “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.”

Joseph Smith never taught coersion. Joseph Smith never taught rape. Joseph Smith allways taught his followers to abide by the law and to be guided by their respective governments. Joseph Smith did teach polygamy and engaged in polygamy, but the Polygamy of Joseph Smith and that of Warren Jeffs are polar opposites. The polygamy once practiced more than a century ago by the church of Jesus Christ of LDS was an honorable practice commissioned between consenting adults.

The polygamy practiced by Warren Jeffs and the like is a sick twisted perversion that is far from any of Joseph Smith’s teachings. Joseph smith taught “love unfeigned” and the preservation of youthful virtue. He taught friendship and civility.

The things that the self-appointed “prophet” Warren Jeffs teaches us are cruelty, perversion, coersion, rape, destruction of virtue, and filth. The FLDS religion is merely a fascade used to help Jeffs and others try to justify their horrible acts.

Posted by Commander Keen | Report as abusive

I am LDS wife of daughter who has rebellious behavior because she has witness DV between stepfather and I.
I been helping her to forgive him. I am trying my best that I can to keep from being taking away from the juvenile court. Even my husband (stepfather) has been obeying the juvenile restraining order now. Even she is still angry with me that I am still married to him. All I ever wanted is to my own family to be sealed to the temple as husband, wife and child. I am doing this for Christ’s sake.

Posted by Christina | Report as abusive

cool. How about we all actually look at history and stop trying to use the bible as God’s written answer. Wake the fuck up people God didn’t write it. Mormons, Fundamental Christians, Protestants, Catholics, whatever you are stop preaching a policy of exclusive entry into heaven. If Jesus was the only way over half the world’s population would be wrong based simply on their environment and getting the shaft on losing the saved lottery of people who have no historical or conceptual vision of christianity. They can’t relate to it and it has no bearing on their life. I think the fundamental step in building any relationship with God should start with the absence of religion and then go from there. You don’t get saved by believing doctrine and stories from any book. An awareness of self and of religious/spiritual society is much more important than a life of intolerance and evangelical blinders.

Posted by Jebediah | Report as abusive

people are ignorant when they want to be and only care when it is to do with themseleves or if it relates to someone they know or are close to. the problem is the just assume and think they know the truth its like chinese whispers the truth is distorted. also in an argument they should listen to both sides of the agument to get a wider perspective and then decide for themselfs what they want to believe or choose to believe.
Her friend’s response? “Those Mormons, they’re weird. I don’t answer the door when they knock,”
she shouldn’t judge a book by its cover if she doesn’t know she should ask and she shouldn’t be hard of heart just because shes scared of things she doesn’t understand.
i think the fundamentalist suck but people should not just read about these guys and persume that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is like them thats just stupid they need to be media smart and think whats different between these to sects so they don’t get mixed up

Posted by rebecca | Report as abusive