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bookofmormontruth

As a "critic", what is your purpose or motivation?

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Bold mine. This is a non sequitur Lehi. The fact that missionaries do point out that they belief another persons beliefs are in error makes them critical, no matter how nicely they state it. The fact they don't think a person they think is in error is not going to hell is practically irrelevant considering who qualifies for the "Telestial" Kingdom, Christ rejectors... "liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie."

I don't see the belief in the eternal destination of an individual you believe to right/wrong in their beliefs does much in the way or making them more or less critical. It is at the point that a person believes another persons beliefs to be wrong in some way that they are being critical. Nothing wrong with disagreeing, but I think to say that LDS missionary is not critical is a wholesale dodge, regardless of the fact that they are very cordial about it.

The concept of the LDS Restoration makes a mockery of Restorationists and seeks to invalidate the salvation of those affiliated with it.

The BoM itself, via JS, makes a mockery of folks like myself as well.

Here it is stated that God himself says that anyone who believes in a closed canon is a fool.

This statement is part and parcel of the message delivered by LDS missionaries. The only reason you don't see it as a mockery of the beliefs of another is that you agree with what is being said.

Lehi if you can honestly point to a particular place where LDS have said something like, "Joe the EV, or Catholic, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or atheist, and so on..actually brought with them some truth we didn't already know and we decided to add it to part of doctrine and build upon it." Then this statement doesn't hold much weight...if any at all.

IMO, such a phrase is more of slogan than of meaningful value. In short they mean that the CoJCoLDS will agree with any truth claim someone brings as long as it is consistent with the views of the CoJCoLDS. If you can show me an example of where someone outside the CoJCoLDS brought additional "truth" to what the CoJCoLDS perceives as truth into the mix I'll give that a rethink.

Regards,

Mudcat

Right Mudcat.

And it seems to me that there is an implicit criticism of believing as Evangelicals and Catholics, that Hell could be populated by more than two or three persons for eternity. They always lose me with this bit about how they aren't critical. They say they aren't negative. They say they aren't attacking our beliefs. But the Apostasy and Restoration doctrine makes it impossible for me to imagine a Mormon religion apart from a negative evaluation of the Catholic and Protestant churches.

I don't say they shouldn't be critical. Criticism is inevitable. There is an apostasy thread going right now that I hope to avoid because I am weary of defending the Catholic Church against historical charges of forced conversions. I KNOW they believe that the Catholic Church was responsible for this for many centuries beginning with Constantine's conversion which is often a point of mockery. They have what appears to me to be a totally biased and distorted view of the Council of Nicea that takes no consideration whatsoever for the blood that had been shed for the name of Christ and the missing eyes, limbs, and fingers of many of the attending bishops at the Council who had been recently tortured for upholding the faith. How can they believe these good men to be corrupted by a desire to replace the doctrine of Christ with the doctrine of Plato, and say they aren't critical? How can they speak of this and claim it isn't criticism of my faith and my church?

3DOP

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Bold mine. You may not realize this but in 2009 something very unique happened. That being, The CoJCoLDS launched 50,000 "critics" of all beliefs that were not LDS. These weren't part time positions either. IIRC, the CoJCoLDS calls them "missionaries".

That is false logic and sheer hypocrisy. Every religion on earth exists on the basis of the assumption that it alone points the right way to God, or at least, that it points the shortest and most direct way to God, otherwise there would be no basis for its existence. If Methodists didn’t believe that their way was the best way to God, as opposed to any other, why would they want to be Methodists? If Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Evans, Quakers, Druids etc. didn’t believe the same about their respective religions, why would they want to be Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Evans, Quakers, or Druids? It is a false logic to argue that being the adherent of one religion, necessarily and automatically makes one a “critic” of another religion, or of all other religions. Expressing belief in your own religion, and attempting to promulgate it, does not amount to “criticising” another religion, nor of all other religions. That just doesn’t add up.

Jesus preached His own religion; that did not make Him a “critic” of other religions. He was a severe critic of the scribes and Pharisees, because of their wickedness and hypocrisy, and deceit; and because they actually and proactively opposed Him (just as the Evs do with the Mormons!). But that did not make Him “opposed” to, or a “critic” of, anybody’s religion. The same was true of His Apostles and faithful disciples. They minded their own business, and preached their own gospel. They didn’t actively attack or condemn other peoples’ religions. They didn’t fight another religion; they just preached their own.

This is in marked contrast to what the Evs do today with regard to Mormonism. They actively and proactively go about attacking and condemning the Mormon religion. They publish countless books, articles, and websites whose sole purpose is to attack Mormonism. We don’t send “protesters” and “street preachers” to the Souithern Baptist Convention with signs and placards to attack their religion; but that is what they do to us. By so doing they put themselves in the same position as the ancient scribes and Pharisees, and earn the same condemnation. That is how they have earned the Lord’s condemnation today, as recorded in JS-H 1:19:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that
all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

(Note especially the parallel with the Lord’s condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 15:7-9; Mark 7:6-7). To put the Mormons and Evans in the same boat as though they were acting on the same level from the point of view of “criticising” each other, would like putting Jesus and His disciples and Apostles and martyrs, on the same level at the scribes, Pharisees, and Roman persecutors who opposed and murdered them.

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I dunno what is funny about it. We have a new set of missionaries in town and they wanted to come by for a visit. I enjoy the conversation from time to time and was welcome to it. So Wed. after next they will stop by for supper.

I assure you, they aren't coming by to tell me I am just as well off for being an EV as I would be if I were LDS. Quite the contrary. The are coming to tell me why their view is correct, this view implicitly impugns any other view as a partial truth at best. In short, they are coming to tell me that they are right, which by virtue means they believe I am wrong.

Can you explain to me how an LDS missionary that doesn't have, share or express a critical view of Evangelical Christianity is actually doing their job?

In response, I would say that your failure to see LDS missionaries as critics towards the beliefs of non-LDS is simply some sort of special pleading that you are allowing for them.

I can't quite understand why you are doing that?

The fact that you associate LDS beliefs as "true", and the missionaries are trying to spread the "truth". To do so, they must hold a critical view of what they believe is "false".

A critical view and a correct view don't have to be mutually exclusive terms.

See above.

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I don't see why evangelicals cannot say the same to Mormons. Please, by all means, bring the good you have. Bring your belief in the sinless life, sacrificial death, and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, your values of the sanctity of human life and of marriage being between a man and a woman, and anything else that is true and good in Mormonism. Bring it all with you as you come embrace the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Bring it with you as you come to know the true God as the infinite, transcendent, triune Creator of everything that exists. Bring it with you as you come accept the gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone, with the hope of all God's people living together in one eternal kingdom in his presence.

I see very little truth that you have that I don't have; while I can see a lot of truth that I have that you don't have. Okay, I will accept your challenge. I will become an Evangelical if you let me bring in all the truth that I already have. That includes the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith as the Lord's Prophet, latter-day revelation, the restoration of the priesthood, modern day prophets and Apostles. I will agree to become an Evangelical if I can keep all those truths that I already have.

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BOMT,

You wrote:

I just don't get it Rob. I appreciate you invitation, but my relationship with the Savior is undeniable and it is baffling how you don't see that when you meet fellow LDS faithful in person and see the fruits by the LDS Church. If it is the work of man it will fall, if it is the work of God - well feel in the blanks.

By this reasoning, the Catholic Church must also be a work of God. After all, they will tell you, they have not fallen and in fact account for one out of six people in the world. And how about Pentecostalism, which began just a little over a hundred years ago and now numbers at least a hundred million (and some claim the number is closer to half a billion)? That makes the growth of the LDS movement in almost twice the time seem rather paltry.

You wrote:

I don't get EV's tactics.

I am not interested in "tactics." I am interested in truth.

They have failed a long time ago, yet they continue on and on with them. Is it just the money aspect? A good living?

To whom are you referring here? Who do you think is engaged in criticism of the LDS religion as a means to "money' or "a good living"?

You wrote:

Why even focus on the LDS?

Why focus on anything? This objection is irrelevant. Some Mormons spend a seemingly inordinate amount of time "focusing" on alleged ancient and medieval parallels to the Book of Abraham. It would be absolutely pointless for me or anyone else to question the motives, purpose, or wisdom of Mormons who do so. ("Hey, they published a whole book on this subject; did they do so only for the money?") Their motives are irrelevant. The issue is whether those alleged parallels are in any way evidence for the historical authenticity of the Book of Abraham. The question is truth, not tactics. Likewise, it is irrelevant why I or anyone else criticizes the LDS religion. The relevant question is whether what we say is true. If I say something incorrect about your religion, by all means point it out. But I view baseless generalizations and speculations about the motives of critics of the LDS religion as a diversion from the issues.

You wrote:

We are such a small percentage and there are people that really need the Lord in their lives.

If that is truly how you feel, then stop proselytizing evangelicals, who already have "the Lord in their lives."

You wrote:

As missionaries we don't expect an investigator to give up all their beliefs and ideas. This isn't the missionaries' role and so it is left in G-d's hands and it is their personal conversion.

Nice rhetoric, but it doesn't negate the comparison. We evangelical critics of Mormonism also leave in God's hands who will come to realize the truth.

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Brant,

Thanks so much. You made my day. And I want you to know that I take very seriously the work that you and others have done in defense of the Book of Mormon. I see critical engagement of such issues as fully compatible with respect for those with whom we disagree.

Brother Bowman:

I tried to find a different way to address you, but with your post this felt most right. I have seen threads like this on this board periodically over several years. Yours is the first response that I think captures the right spirit of such interactions. I doubt that any one who truly believes should have admiration for anyone who believes so little that they don't share their belief in one way or another. When there are two different ideas and proponents of each, criticism happens (as you noted).

I'm positive that there are many issues on which we disagree, but in this one--I think I am with you.

Thank you.

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zerinus,

You wrote:

I see very little truth that you have that I don't have; while I can see a lot of truth that I have that you don't have. Okay, I will accept your challenge. I will become an Evangelical if you let me bring in all the truth that I already have. That includes the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith as the Lord's Prophet, latter-day revelation, the restoration of the priesthood, modern day prophets and Apostles. I will agree to become an Evangelical if I can keep all those truths that I already have.

You get it--the issue is whether your beliefs are true. If they are, opposing them is a mistake. If they are not true, then advocating them is a mistake. In either case, the issue is truth.

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Yes, though I don't know if I have ever finished to completion. I don't know where completion is.

Well, duh. Completion is when you give in and agree that the missionaries have been right all along! :rolleyes:

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Imagine how you would feel if I were to issue a broad generalization about "the majority of Mormons," one for which no evidence was presented and against which it is impracticable to offer any provable defense. This is the position in which you put me. How many evangelicals have you met? Obviously, not a majority, and probably not even a representative sample. And if you're counting evangelicals in an online forum like this one, that is hardly a representative setting. Forums like this one thrive on disagreement; that's an essential component of their purpose.

I am sure many if not most of those who adhere to the Evangelical movement are decent and honourable people; but you tend to judge a movement, especially a religious movement, by the conduct and behavior its activists—and they are the ones who are doing all the fighting against Mormonism. And if they are wrong (which they are), then the rest of the “Evangelical community” will share in that collective guilt by tolerating it, or refusing to condemn it. But there is a catch—for the activists! Those majority of the Evans are for the most part being deceived by their “activist” leaders—but not forever! Joseph Smith said something interesting about that: “the sects shall be sifted, the honest in heart brought out, and their priests left in the midst of their corruption” (Teachings, 192). For “priests” read Evangelical ministers and activists. They won’t have it their way forever. Eventually the decent people among the Evangelicals will see the light (in this world or the next), and turn away from those who have deceived them to the true gospel; while the “priests,” “ministers,” and “activists” will be left “in the midst of their corruption,” as Joseph Smith had said.

In any case, I am an evangelical, and I am inviting you to come to the true Lord Jesus Christ, the one revealed authentically, historically, faithfully, and authoritatively in the Bible. You will find salvation in him alone.

You mean the one that went into apostasy? You have been here debating with Mormons long enough to have realized by now that Mormonism is biblical, whereas Evangelicalism isn’t.

If the people to whom the missionaries are teaching the missionary lessons express beliefs differing from LDS doctrine, are you saying that the missionaries will ignore those differing doctrinal beliefs?

It depends on what it is. Mormon missionaries are not there to debate and argue with other people about their religions. Somebody who invites Mormon missionaries to their home, or stops to talk to them, will presumably do so in order to learn about their message. If they do so for some other reason, it will soon become apparent, and the missionaries shouldn’t be interested in that. But if during an honest investigation somebody mentions a belief of their own religion, if we agree with it we will tell them, and if we don’t we also tell them. Mormons share many beliefs with other religions, as well as having differences. We tell them what the similarities are and what the differences are if they ask. It is absurd to call that a “criticism”.

You are welcome to preach your religion to Mormons in the same way if you like, and no one would object. I am sure Mormons would welcome them in and listen to them. There is nothing wrong with that, and that is not seen as a “criticism”. But that is a far cry from what the Evs actually do.

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I am not interested in "tactics." I am interested in truth.

So, HOW do you know that what you believe is true?

HOW can I know that what you believe is true?

WHY do you avoid this topic?

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I am not interested in "tactics." I am interested in truth.

I believe that. It is also blatantly true that EVs have used and are using deceptive tactics to attack our sacred faith.

Which isn't a surprise for when you grow up having a Sunday school class that was covering a special month-long unit on false religions; in the mail-order curriculum, Mormonism comes somewhere between devil worshippers and Jim Jones, you are definitely going to have distorted views.

If that is truly how you feel, then stop proselytizing evangelicals, who already have "the Lord in their lives."

This may be true, but evangelicals don't have the Book of Mormon so proselytizing will continue.

To whom are you referring here? Who do you think is engaged in criticism of the LDS religion as a means to "money' or "a good living"?

Richard Mouw who had a self admitted "change of heart" states: "From the very beginning, when Joseph Smith organized his church in 1830, my evangelical forebears hurled angry accusations and vehement denunciations at the Mormon community-a practice that continues from some evangelical quarters even into this present day. My link (Great Article!)

Carl Mosser and Paul Owen have previously mentioned it and the countless anti-Mormon books, cds, websites by EVs are yes, making money. How can you deny that they aren't?

Evangelical leader, Bill Keller - making excellent money and a good living from his show in Florida with inflammatory statements like this:

"If you vote for Romney, you vote for satan - Romney getting elected president will ultimately lead millions of souls to the eternal flames of hell! "

Daniel C. Peterson authored the following passage on the Evangelical approach:

"The fact is that evangelical Protestantism represents a faction, no more, of a minority faction, no more, of Christianity. That faction arose, relatively late, in northwestern Europe, and it is still basically dominant only among those of northwestern European extraction. It is distinctly a minority in Italy and Brazil and Mexico and Spain and France and Argentina, and it is virtually invisible in Greece and Romania and Russia and Armenia and the Ukraine, to say nothing of Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq.

Latter-day Saints do not claim that their faith-group is exhaustive of Christendom. We recognize that there are Catholic and Orthodox and other Christians. Some evangelical Protestants seem reluctant, however, to grant that the Copts or the Catholics are Christians at all. Some say so implicitly, and others have told me so explicitly, under direct questioning.

Latter-day Saints do, of course, claim that God has acted to restore the true fullness of Christianity, and that that fulness is embodied in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such a claim can seem arrogant, and I, for one, would be very hesitant to make it -- indeed, I would refuse to make it -- were it not for the presupposition of direct revelation that undergirds it.

To assert, as some evangelicals have declared directly to me, that they alone are Christians, and that they have arrived at their unique Christianity by virtue of their own reading of the Bible -- implicitly dismissing the other claimants to Christianity as either preternaturally stupid or irrationally evil or some mixture of the two -- seems to me both arrogant and, in view of the fact that the preponderant majority of world "Christians" hold to different opinions, quite unlikely to be true. Even to claim that evangelical Protestants alone are "biblical" or "orthodox" Christians, seems an improbable and smug declaration.

That is the point. Ironically, Latter-day Saints rely, here, upon God's grace, where some of my evangelical interlocutors -- the ones that I have in mind -- seem quite evidently to trust in their own understanding".

Sorry Rob, I like you, but I would refocus your efforts and re-direct those efforts towards your own people, namely EV leaders.

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BOMT,

You wrote:

It is also blatantly true that EVs have used and are using deceptive tactics to attack our sacred faith. Which isn't a surprise for when you grow up having a Sunday school class that was covering a special month-long unit on false religions; in the mail-order curriculum, Mormonism comes somewhere between devil worshippers and Jim Jones, you are definitely going to have distorted views.

I don't know what "mail-order curriculum" you have in mind, but I certainly don't put the LDS Church between devil worshipers and Jim Jones. After all, "L" comes after "J." (Just kidding.)

You wrote:

This may be true, but evangelicals don't have the Book of Mormon so proselytizing will continue.

Why? If the Book of Mormon is just "another testament" to the same Jesus Christ that we already have, why do you feel the need to proselytize us to accept it?

I had asked to whom you were referring when you spoke about critics who are motivated by money. You replied:

Richard Mouw who had a self admitted "change of heart" states: "From the very beginning, when Joseph Smith organized his church in 1830, my evangelical forebears hurled angry accusations and vehement denunciations at the Mormon community-a practice that continues from some evangelical quarters even into this present day. My link (Great Article!)

This statement from Mouw doesn't answer my question.

You also wrote:

Carl Mosser and Paul Owen have previously mentioned it....

No, they don't. Their article is not about critics of Mormonism being motivated by money.

...and the countless anti-Mormon books, cds, websites by EVs are yes, making money. How can you deny that they aren't?

First, in many cases they aren't making money, they're spending money. That is, in many cases these ministry resources are given away at a cost to those who fund them. For example, IRR, the organization for which I work, gives away books, DVDs, and other resources at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Second, of course some evangelical resources that criticize Mormonism generate revenue. That is, some people buy the books or DVDs or whatever. But this doesn't answer my question, because your claim was not merely that such materials are purchased (thus generating income for those who publish them) but that the critics are motivated merely or primarily by the desire to make money and have a comfortable lifestyle.

You wrote:

Evangelical leader, Bill Keller - making excellent money and a good living from his show in Florida with inflammatory statements like this....

I don't like Keller, but you haven't shown that he expresses his criticisms of Mormonism because he is motivated by money. Maybe he sincerely thinks Mormons are going to hell. I have no idea what his motives for expressing that view are. It is plausible that Keller's motives for starting his organization were monetary, but his organization criticizes Islam, abortion, and other things you would also agree are wrong, and he is probably just saying what he thinks.

If it turns out that Keller was motivated by monetary considerations to say what he did about Romney and Mormonism, that would of course be bad, but it really doesn't have anything to do with evangelical ministry people who are sincerely trying to help Mormons learn the truth about their religion and to accept the true gospel. The vast majority of such evangelicals are clearly not doing it because they're motivated to get rich. Most of them are nowhere near being rich. In fact, most of the ones I know are involved in their ministries because they started out investigating Mormonism for their own personal reasons -- because they wanted to know what was the truth about it for themselves -- and much later found themselves becoming involved in sharing what they had learned with others.

You wrote:

Daniel C. Peterson authored the following passage on the Evangelical approach:

Dan's comments are interesting but do not address the motives or purposes of evangelical criticisms of Mormonism.

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A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement.

Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive (in praise of an object of attention), negative (in dispraise), or balanced (weighing a combination of factors both for and against). Since all criticism must be regarded as having a purpose, a critic may also be definable by his or her specific motivation. At its simplest, and for whatever reason, a critic may have either constructive or destructive intent. My link

Granted, this forum has more "honest critics" than what I have seen in other forums and being rare are very welcomed. Yet, I continue to see "cheap shots" toward our sacred faith with "questions" disguised as "gotchas" or the elusive trail to the "nail in the coffin" for the Lord's Church.

As a "critic", what is your purpose or motivation?

I only ask because I know of no one in the LDS Church who plays the role as a "critic" for other's beliefs and I completely don't understand the need to be one. I am open to understand.

I never criticize another's beliefs. I criticize with evidence, the assertions made for history. If the history is called into serious question, then the doctrines and dogma deriving from the historical paradigm are called into question: but only if "you" adhere to the very same conclusions that I do based on the historical evidence. I have found NO ONE whose views of early Mormon history, and the preceding Judeo-Christian history, match exactly with my own. Therefore, I am in no position to criticize anyone for holding differing views. But I have to be satisfied in my own mind with what I believe is the best interpretation of the facts that I hold in evidence.

As this process of obtaining, weighing and judging facts held in evidence is in a constant state of flux - with more facts coming into play all the time - it follows that my historical and religious paradigm must remain open to alteration, or even complete dismantling: if I am not willing to lay any part of my beliefs aside in the face of convincing evidence then I am simply closed to the truth....

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QB,

Your comments point up the need to make an important distinction between criticizing an idea, claim, or argument, and criticizing a person. If I criticize an idea you have or a claim you make, I am not necessarily criticizing you. I am simply disagreeing with your idea or claim. For example, if Jed claims that there are aliens living among us, and Ted says there aren't, Ted isn't criticizing Jed, but Jed's claim.

If we simply criticize someone's argument, we are also not criticizing them. For example, if Jed argues that there must be aliens in Area 51 because the government won't let him in there to look around, and Ted explains that the government may have reasons for keeping Jed out other than hiding aliens, this doesn't mean Ted is criticizing Jed. He is simply critiquing Jed's argument. In fact, even if Ted and Jed have the same view, one might critique the other's argument for that view. For example, Ted might agree with Jed that there are aliens in Area 51 but point out that the government's restriction on civilians entering Area 51 is not itself proof the aliens are there.

It is also possible to criticize a person while not criticizing their ideas at all. For example, while Ted and Jed might both believe in aliens living on earth, Ted might think Jed is a bumbling idiot in the way he defends this belief. Ted might even be embarrassed by Jed's zealous, over-the-top crusade to expose the aliens among us.

Of course, it is also possible to criticize a person and his idea. For example, Ted might disagree with Jed's arguments for aliens among us, conclude that Jed's belief in aliens on earth is mistaken, and also contend that Jed is a bumbling idiot!

I never criticize another's beliefs. I criticize with evidence, the assertions made for history. If the history is called into serious question, then the doctrines and dogma deriving from the historical paradigm are called into question: but only if "you" adhere to the very same conclusions that I do based on the historical evidence. I have found NO ONE whose views of early Mormon history, and the preceding Judeo-Christian history, match exactly with my own. Therefore, I am in no position to criticize anyone for holding differing views. But I have to be satisfied in my own mind with what I believe is the best interpretation of the facts that I hold in evidence.

As this process of obtaining, weighing and judging facts held in evidence is in a constant state of flux - with more facts coming into play all the time - it follows that my historical and religious paradigm must remain open to alteration, or even complete dismantling: if I am not willing to lay any part of my beliefs aside in the face of convincing evidence then I am simply closed to the truth....

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First, in many cases they aren't making money, they're spending money. That is, in many cases these ministry resources are given away at a cost to those who fund them.

But they are not loosing money, so where does the money come from?

For example, IRR, the organization for which I work, gives away books, DVDs, and other resources . . .

AND salaries!

. . . at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Which isn't just printed. It comes from somewhere. So YES! it is a money making proposition.

Second, of course some evangelical resources that criticize Mormonism generate revenue.

YUP!! Like IRR!

That is, some people buy the books or DVDs or whatever.

And it isn't just "people" that buy, but ministries, and churches also buy. Mail order no less.

But this doesn't answer my question, because your claim was not merely that such materials are purchased (thus generating income for those who publish them) but that the critics are motivated merely or primarily by the desire to make money and have a comfortable lifestyle.

Well, IF they make a comfortable lifestyle from the material they sell, isn't that prima facie evidence that money is the real motive? They aren't giving it to the poor.

Does Bowman accept a salary for the material he produces? (YES)

Is any portion of this material describable as "Anti-Mormon"? (YES)

What evidence do we have (other than his own word) that he isn't motivated by $?

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Makes sense on why you are here, but I wouldn't define you as a critic. My OP was in regards to those outside of the Lord's Church. Those within who have left, would fit in a different category IMO. Also, there are other categories, those within who find fault with leaders, etc..

Do you feel describing yourself as a "friendly apostate" would be derogatory to most?

And is it wrong to put people in categories? If not, what categories are out there? I am in the category of TBM whether derogatory or not. It at least helps me understand where someone is coming from. For example, someone constantly finding fault with our current and past leaders, nothing positive about their Church they profess to belong - would be an "apostate in training" or something along those lines.

Granted, there is nothing wrong to question within the Lord's Church, but there is a fine line when you don't sustain the current leaders and constantly find fault with them. A lot fit in this category, but they weren't part of my original post.

I am not sure I understand the question... Would me describing myself as a "friendly apostate" be derogatory to others seeing it? or would it be derogatory that most would not want to describe themselves as a "friendly apostate"?

I use that description in humor, as many who here my story of going from being a LDS to a Restorationist RLDS would consider me an "apostate", but the term "apostate" has no special meaning for me, as I feel it is a word thrown around so much that it has lost its significance.

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But they are not loosing money, so where does the money come from?

AND salaries!

Which isn't just printed. It comes from somewhere. So YES! it is a money making proposition.

YUP!! Like IRR!

And it isn't just "people" that buy, but ministries, and churches also buy. Mail order no less.

Well, IF they make a comfortable lifestyle from the material they sell, isn't that prima facie evidence that money is the real motive? They aren't giving it to the poor.

Does Bowman accept a salary for the material he produces? (YES)

Is any portion of this material describable as "Anti-Mormon"? (YES)

What evidence do we have (other than his own word) that he isn't motivated by $?

Hold on a sec...if we held General Authorities who publish books and get a salary from the Church to the same standard, what would our logical conclusion be about their motives?

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Makes sense on why you are here, but I wouldn't define you as a critic. My OP was in regards to those outside of the Lord's Church. Those within who have left, would fit in a different category IMO. Also, there are other categories, those within who find fault with leaders, etc..

Do you feel describing yourself as a "friendly apostate" would be derogatory to most?

And is it wrong to put people in categories? If not, what categories are out there? I am in the category of TBM whether derogatory or not. It at least helps me understand where someone is coming from. For example, someone constantly finding fault with our current and past leaders, nothing positive about their Church they profess to belong - would be an "apostate in training" or something along those lines.

Granted, there is nothing wrong to question within the Lord's Church, but there is a fine line when you don't sustain the current leaders and constantly find fault with them. A lot fit in this category, but they weren't part of my original post.

Hug One Another

Local evangelical Christians trying a gentler method of reaching out to Mormons.By Eric S. Peterson

Attending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints semi-annual conference was a kind of spiritual field trip for Charles Hill and his son. They weren’t going to hear talks by LDS leaders—they were going to watch how fellow evangelicals engaged the LDS families entering the Conference Center. A number of evangelists are practically infamous for waving protest signs, hurling insults and promising Mormons damnation because of their beliefs.

“I took my son there just for a life lesson,” says Hill, an evangelical pastor from South Jordan. “I knew what happened at conference ... but my son was just devastated. I said, ‘Let’s pray and think how we can show [LDS members] love.’ ” The answer: hugs.

Hill’s approach is known by some evangelical circles as “hugs not thugs,” and is even considered by some as a counter-protest to street-preacher evangelicals who are a regular presence outside the Salt Lake City LDS Temple and at the Conference Center on conference weekend, waving picket signs and denouncing LDS Church President Joseph Smith as a false prophet. Fundamentally, Hill agrees more with the sign-wavers than with the conference-goers, but their method, he argues, is not based in scripture.

That’s why, at the recent April LDS General Conference, his congregation was offering free hugs to conference attendees to balance out the vitriol from fellow evangelist street preachers.

“They would yell, ‘You’re hugging them straight into hell!’ ” Hill recalls with a laugh. “Well, so be it then. We’re at least doing what Jesus said to do.”

Hill is just another sign that the local evangelical community is making itself known in Utah less for confrontational antics and more for bridge-building with the dominant Mormon faith. Recent developments such as his “hugs not thugs” campaign along with overtures between LDS and evangelical leaders seem to suggest a détente between the faiths. But while a neighborly approach may pay off in better relations, not all in the local evangelical community is ready to start playing nice when it comes to matters of salvation versus damnation.

The zeal of many evangelical Christians in Utah has helped them establish a reputation in Utah—for better and worse—despite the small size of the various churches. A survey by nonprofit Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that, nationwide, 26 percent of Americans surveyed were believers of evangelical Protestant faiths, while only 2 percent of Americans identified as LDS. In Utah, not surprisingly, that figure is more than flipped, with 58 percent of Utahns identifying as LDS and only 7 percent identifying as evangelical Protestants.

“That’s really why we were drawn here,” Hill says. “We didn’t know anybody.”

Having moved to South Jordan in July 2009 to set up his One Community church—which now has roughly 130 members—Hill took heart from other denominations in the state who have not only taken up the difficult business of converting the largely LDS population to the evangelical faith, but also to convincing fellow evangelists that shouting about fire and brimstone is not a good way to start a dialogue on faith.

Links on his website ChazzDaddy.com to videos of street preachers at past conference mocking LDS members and dragging the Book of Mormon on the ground by a fishing line, Hill chastises this brand of in-your-face proselytizing: “Jesus did not say: ‘Win them with scare tactics and by acting like thugs when you disagree with someone.’ He said, ‘They will know you by your love.’ ” But for Hill, civil discussions don’t have to mean compromising on the fundamentals of his faith.

“We’re able to say the LDS Church doesn’t agree with our theology, and we don’t agree with theirs, but do we have to be idiots about it?” Hill asks.

“The confrontational style has been the norm for a long time,” says Greg Johnson, a Utah pastor since 1992 and founder of Standing Together, a nonprofit ministry created in 2001 that emphasizes better relations between Mormons and evangelicals. “But I think [street preachers’] turf is getting smaller and that’s why they’re very critical of the kinder, gentler approach.”

Johnson has written a book about difference between evangelicals and Mormons with Brigham Young University professor Robert Millet and, since 2009, hosted 18 civil debates with Millet across the country. Such fellowship is the kind he cites for recent progress in the past decade between the faiths, such as when evangelical leader Ravi Zaccharias spoke at the Salt Lake Tabernacle in 2004—the first evangelical to do so in more than a hundred years. In 2009, famed Australian evangelist Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs, also spoke in the tabernacle. And as recently as March 13, board members of the National Association of Evangelicals met for a private audience with LDS Apostle Jeffrey Holland. Johnson recalls the local evangelicals feeling jilted in not being a part of the audience with Holland.

“They feel they’re marginalized,” Johnson says. “But they’ve really marginalized themselves.” He points out that one of the advantages of the evangelical movement is the diverse nature of its congregations. Followers will find formal robes and organ music in some chapels and blue jeans and rock bands in others. He says that diversity of styles also extends to missionary work, and with recent successes, Johnson feels civil debate is winning out over confrontational approaches.

“I have nothing to be afraid of as an evangelical Christian when I say to my Mormon friends, ‘Let’s talk about truth and see where it takes us,’ ” Johnson says.

But for Rob Sivulka, president of the West Jordan based Courageous Christians United and founder of the Websites JosephLied.com and MormonInfo.com, the mission shouldn’t be about being nice, especially if it means losing evangelicals to the LDS faith.

“There is a reason why the Bible warns about taking false prophets into one’s home,” Sivulka writes via e-mail. He notes one local pastor who has documented multiple evangelicals converting to Mormonism after attending some of the debates hosted by Johnson and BYU’s Millet. Sivulka says the verdict on ministry styles is not out yet, either, pointing to the fact that Biola University, a private Christian university in southern California stopped doing spring break trips with Johnson’s ministry.

“I look at my stats every day on MormonInfo.org and it sure doesn’t appear to me that I’ve been marginalized,” Sivulka writes. “Sure, Greg’s made news by doing big events, but we aren’t seeing the conversions from his ministry. We see LDS saying, ‘Oh, that’s so nice how similar we are,’ but we don’t see serious challenges to the LDS faith that would cause LDS to convert to traditional Christianity.”

Hill, however, doubts confrontation equals conversion. He plans to repeat the free hugs event, with the possible addition of offering free high-fives for people not comfortable hugging strangers. Even a high-five might not mean a new member of his flock either, but he’s fine with that.

“More than likely you’re not going to convert,” Hill says. “But we can still love one another, we can absolutely dialogue, and we can absolutely be friends.”

Hugs not Thugs

I think a friendly demeanor for both apostates and critics offers greater dialogue when they are sincere in their position. A critique is always welcome because it produces greater and deeper thought as why one believes what one believes and how that belief is implemented. There are things my evangelical friends do that I think we in the community of Latter-Day Saints could emulate (and vice versa). Even when people disagree sincerely and forcefully, there are always mutual points of agreement that ensure the sharing of ideas. King Richard and Saladin for example had such views of each other.

Something to consider.

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Hold on a sec...if we held General Authorities who publish books and get a salary from the Church to the same standard, what would our logical conclusion be about their motives?

Yup. That is why the called themselves to be Church authorities. Oh, wait!

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Vance,

I was not surprised that you would post in this thread. Given the subject matter, I decided I would look at what you said and offer a response -- but I have no interest in engaging in a protracted discussion with you.

Regarding IRR's giving away of books and DVDs, you wrote:

But they are not loosing money, so where does the money come from?... Which isn't just printed. It comes from somewhere. So YES! it is a money making proposition.

You are displaying your ignorance here. The money comes from donors who want the resources provided to others. The donors are not making money; they are giving money away and getting nothing of financial value in return. The donors are "losing" money in the sense that they are giving it away for the purpose of making materials freely available to people. IRR is a non-profit organization, run on a shoestring operating budget, with a very small paid staff, none of whom are even close to being wealthy.

You wrote:

Does Bowman accept a salary for the material he produces? (YES)

Is any portion of this material describable as "Anti-Mormon"? (YES)

What evidence do we have (other than his own word) that he isn't motivated by $?

Yes, I accept a salary. Yes, some of the material I produce is critical of LDS doctrine and claims. However, I was doing research on the LDS religion and engaging Mormons in discussion long, long before I ever got paid a cent for any work relating even indirectly to Mormonism. What was my motivation then? I was also doing research and writing and speaking on Jehovah's Witnesses, and engaging them in discussion, long before I received any money for any work done in relation to that subject. You could make a much better case for me being "anti-Witness" than "anti-Mormon": for example, I have written four books critiquing JW theology and no books critiquing LDS theology. I was hired to work at IRR because I already knew a lot about such subjects and brought certain skills and values that the organization also values. In fact, one of those values is that I absolutely will not put up with unfair, inaccurate, or prejudicial criticisms of other religions; as explained in the article I cited in an earlier post in this thread, I consider it very important that we represent other religions accurately and fairly.

Believe me, if I was motivated by money, I would not be involved in this kind of work at all. I would probably be a lawyer, since there is a ton of money to be made in that profession and I have the requisite skills and aptitudes for it. And if I were for some reason involved in this line of work for the purpose of financial gain, I would go about it in a very different way. I would sensationalize subjects, use lurid titles for my books and articles, write alarmist appeal letters warning about the Mormons taking over the country if people don't send me money, and so forth. I don't do these things because my intentions are to be honest, fair-minded, and accurate, even if it doesn't "sell" as well. If you can't take my word for it, that, to be blunt, is your problem, not mine.

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Yup. That is why the called themselves to be Church authorities. Oh, wait!

As far as I know, they called themselves to write the books.

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Why? If the Book of Mormon is just "another testament" to the same Jesus Christ that we already have, why do you feel the need to proselytize us to accept it?

That is the beauty of the message that the representatives of the Lord share. You don't have to accept it. You are only encouraged to listen to the message and take it to the source of all truth. Everyone in the world, including those who believe in the Lord will have that opportunity and on their own free will, reject or accept the message.

Rob, again I like you. I appreciate you trying to make the effort in "cleaning" up the attacks on the Lord's Church. I appreciate your desires even though I believe they are completely wrong and still fall in the same deceptive tactics used by fellow EVs.

Here is why I believe that. I checked out your website and under the section "Is Someone You Care About Being Wooed By Mormons?" The books and DVDs that you recommend are considered anti-Mormon material. Not all, but one in particular caught my eye.

(3) Do make a sincere effort to understand Mormonism. If you don’t have an accurate understanding of Mormonism, then you give your Mormon friend(s) a reason to not take your criticism of Mormonism seriously. We recommend the following books, DVDs, and online articles:

"The Bible vs The Book of Mormon" was the DVD that was used as the "trap" that was set for me at my friend's home. On the surface, it was a well produced "nicey-nice" video. But under the surface, the same deceptive lies were used as been shown by our own Brant Gardner who describes the video as an "illusion". My link

Please tell me that this isn't the "new tactic" of EVs? To appear on the surface to be "nicey nice", but underneath still use and recommend the same deception? You say you use no tactics, but only speak truth - then show us by action and not by mere words and remove the "recommendation" to view a known and proven lie.

I understand this won't happen. Regardless, keep it up on your website and continue with the recommendation to prevent the "wooing". It does more good than harm for honest truth seekers see through the lies and do find the truth by relying on the "source of all truth", not relying on the philosophies of men - mingled with scripture. They are then baptized into the Lord's Church with your help. Strange how that works, but we thank you.

Here is a free pro-tip: If you truly feel you want to improve relationships with the LDS faithful and be completely honest in your "work" of finding fault with our sacred beliefs. Then I would first start by listening to our own church leaders and by calling us by our official name (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and using "LDS" instead of "Mormons".

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QB,

Your comments point up the need to make an important distinction between criticizing an idea, claim, or argument, and criticizing a person. If I criticize an idea you have or a claim you make, I am not necessarily criticizing you. I am simply disagreeing with your idea or claim. For example, if Jed claims that there are aliens living among us, and Ted says there aren't, Ted isn't criticizing Jed, but Jed's claim.

If we simply criticize someone's argument, we are also not criticizing them. For example, if Jed argues that there must be aliens in Area 51 because the government won't let him in there to look around, and Ted explains that the government may have reasons for keeping Jed out other than hiding aliens, this doesn't mean Ted is criticizing Jed. He is simply critiquing Jed's argument. In fact, even if Ted and Jed have the same view, one might critique the other's argument for that view. For example, Ted might agree with Jed that there are aliens in Area 51 but point out that the government's restriction on civilians entering Area 51 is not itself proof the aliens are there.

It is also possible to criticize a person while not criticizing their ideas at all. For example, while Ted and Jed might both believe in aliens living on earth, Ted might think Jed is a bumbling idiot in the way he defends this belief. Ted might even be embarrassed by Jed's zealous, over-the-top crusade to expose the aliens among us.

Of course, it is also possible to criticize a person and his idea. For example, Ted might disagree with Jed's arguments for aliens among us, conclude that Jed's belief in aliens on earth is mistaken, and also contend that Jed is a bumbling idiot!

A religious conviction or belief is not the same as belief in UFOs. A person's character and personality become intimately intertwined with his religious beliefs. Attacking someone's religion can very much look and feel like attacking them, and correctly be perceived as such.

As I said before, there is a qualitative difference between preaching and promulgating your own religion, which inevitably carries the implication that it is the only true one; and actively invading someone else's turf with posters and placards telling them how false their religion is, and they are all going to hell; or publishing books, CDs, and websites with the same message. That is perceived (correctly) as an attack on the persons holding such religious beliefs. There is really no other reason for anyone to want to do that, unless they have ulterior motives. That is not how God's true religion has ever been preached or promulgated by by God's authorized ministers as recorded in the Bible.

God's true prophets and ministers have always condemned wicked people for their evil actions, not for their incorrect beliefs. Jonah preached repentance to Nineveh for their evil practices, not their wrong beliefs. When they repented of their evil practices, they were spared. They were not spared because their repented of their wrong beliefs, but because they repented of their evil actions. They still continued to believe whatever they had always believed, without condemnation. The condemnation was in their actions, not their beliefs. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their evil actions (and because they wouldn't repent of them) not because of their wrong beliefs. This of course goes completely against the grain of Evangelicalism who have turned God's true religion and true doctrine on its head, and teach that what matters with God is not what you do but what you believe. That is one of the biggest corruptions and perversions of God's true religion that has ever been devised. It is the doctrine of the devil, masquerading as "Christianity" by the "Evangelicals".

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I never criticize another's beliefs. I criticize with evidence, the assertions made for history. If the history is called into serious question, then the doctrines and dogma deriving from the historical paradigm are called into question: but only if "you" adhere to the very same conclusions that I do based on the historical evidence. I have found NO ONE whose views of early Mormon history, and the preceding Judeo-Christian history, match exactly with my own. Therefore, I am in no position to criticize anyone for holding differing views. But I have to be satisfied in my own mind with what I believe is the best interpretation of the facts that I hold in evidence.

As this process of obtaining, weighing and judging facts held in evidence is in a constant state of flux - with more facts coming into play all the time - it follows that my historical and religious paradigm must remain open to alteration, or even complete dismantling: if I am not willing to lay any part of my beliefs aside in the face of convincing evidence then I am simply closed to the truth....

Definitely not a critic. You also fit in a different category.

Questing Beast, on 10 April 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

I hold that Joseph Smith, the author of the BoM and other extensive scriptures, is not a lovable man beneath the surface of his "faith-promoting" history persona. That of course has zilch to do with Meso-American anythings....

Of course this non-evidence based statement had absolutely nothing to do with Meso-America, but I understand, you just couldn't help yourself in getting a "cheap shot" in towards our beloved prophet.

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