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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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