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The Latest Anti-Mormon Deception: "Futuremissionary.Com"

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#1 DonBradley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 03:35 AM

Friends,

As you know, I am generally inclined to spend more time on scholarship pertaining to the Restoration than on apologetics. However, the latest anti-Mormon tactics need to be exposed.

Many of you are probably familiar with the anti-Mormon website MormonThink, which attempts to deceive LDS readers into believing that they are reading a fair assessment of the evidence by fellow saints.

The enemies of the Church who have created the new website www.futuremissionary.com have cleverly taken the deception several steps further. (Indeed, this site is almost certainly created by some of the same people involved with MormonThink.) They claim to be three returned missionaries trying to help prepare future missionaries for the difficult issues they will encounter in the field. They sprinkle in some genuine-sounding advice about dealing with companions and the like, but only so they can later drop critical bombshells on unsuspecting kids preparing to go on missions.

How do I know these people are trying to tear down faith rather than build it up? Overwhelmingly, the site drops difficult information on its readers without providing any meaningful context to make sense of it. And it frequently links to the reader to obviously anti-Mormon "MormonThink" for the details. Check out the site and ask yourself why anyone would construct it this way and what kind of effect this would have on teenagers preparing for missions.

I rarely use the term "anti-Mormon." I don't even generally like to call non-believing discussants on the boards "critics." But those who would try to gain Church members' trust by pretending to be fellow saints, in order to destroy their testimonies, deserve the term "anti-Mormon" even more than long-time critics like Sandra Tanner do. (People like the Tanners have never claimed to be Mormons trying to help build up other Mormons' faith.)

Above all websites I have seen, this one would be my pick as the most blatant wolf in sheep's clothing. It aims to damage the Church's growth by deceiving its future missionaries into reading critical material. (I'm not the only one who has noticed the site's anti-Mormonism, by the way. A person promoting this site on staylds.org was booted off their board because of futuremissionary.com's evident anti-Mormon intent.)

Presumably these people believe they are leading Mormon kids away from the Church to some kind of higher truth. But I find it telling that they feel the need to do so by absolute deception.

I genuinely respect decent critics of the Church like Aaron Shafovaloff who are just honestly trying to lead us to the truth as they see it. But when I see these "futuremissionaries.com" people trying to gain LDS kids' trust by pretending to be LDS only so they can demolish their testimonies makes my blood boil.

Please (after verifying for yourselves, if you'd like) spread the word that this is not a genuine missionary preparation site but an anti-Mormon deception.

It should also be put on lists of anti-Mormon websites.

Yours Truly,

Don Bradley
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"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic." - Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011

"This is it folks, the high point of apologetics for the year. The church pumps millions into FARMS and its PR dept for this." - "Heresy," on a nameless board, August 11, 2011 - after reading the Deseret News piece about my Kinderhook plates presentation

#2 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 03:56 AM

Good find....or bad one that is...
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#3 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:00 AM

Are you anti Mormon?

Certainly not. Many members are are made uncomfortable by talking about church history so they think that our site, FAIR, and any other apologists are anti. We’re pro church and pro truth

Neat trick to turn people off of FAIR at the same time if they catch on.

http://futuremission...com/who-are-we/
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#4 DonBradley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:31 AM

I've tried to make clear in general outlines how futuremissionary.com seeks to undermine testimonies, and I would invite others to share specific examples they find in browsing this site.

Don
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"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic." - Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011

"This is it folks, the high point of apologetics for the year. The church pumps millions into FARMS and its PR dept for this." - "Heresy," on a nameless board, August 11, 2011 - after reading the Deseret News piece about my Kinderhook plates presentation

#5 DonBradley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:31 AM

By the way, for a *genuine* missionary preparation site, see and refer your friends to http://www.mormonmissionprep.com/.
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"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic." - Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011

"This is it folks, the high point of apologetics for the year. The church pumps millions into FARMS and its PR dept for this." - "Heresy," on a nameless board, August 11, 2011 - after reading the Deseret News piece about my Kinderhook plates presentation

#6 DonBradley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:42 AM

Well, here's a sample section, the one on race.

This information is purportedly given to help you know "how to answer" the "tough questions," but do you notice anything missing? Like, um, any answers? All it gives is problems, which it then uses outdated sources to back up as problems. It proposes no solutions, or helpful contexts.

It's a total fake, intended to raise "tough questions" and doubts while leaving our teenaged kids trying to prepare for missions with absolutely no idea "how to answer" them.

Don



Were there black Mormons with the priesthood before 1978?

Yes. Prior to 1847 a handful of black MormonsAZ were ordained to the priesthood. Shortly after Joseph’s death, the practice was banned and remained so until 1978.

to Top

Did Mormons oppose slavery?

No. In fact, Brigham Young and the all-Mormon Utah Territorial Legislature passed a law making slavery legal in Utah. The law also made it illegal for ”any white person… guilty of sexual intercourse with any of the African race,” regardless of whether or not they were married.

to Top

Is interracial marriage a sin?


“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)


“And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground- it would also take the life of his children.”
(Wilford Woodruff Journal)


“God has commanded Israel not to intermarry. To go against this commandment of God would be in sin. Those who willfully sin with their eyes open to this wrong will not be surprised to find that they will be separated from the presence of God in the world to come. This is spiritual death… To intermarry with a Negro is to forfeit a Nation of Priesthood holders… It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, ‘what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.’ Only here we have the reverse of the thing – what God hath separated, let not man bring together again.”
(Apostle Mark E. Peterson, Race Problems – As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954)


Quotes from both the Book of Mormon and the Bible are often used to support these views.

Though Church leaders were very clear about the evils of interracial marriage, even passing laws to prevent it, there has been no official mention of it since the 1950′s. Even interracial temple marriages are now performed. Many speculate that this law no longer applies now that black people can hold the priesthood.

to Top

Did Mormonism oppose the civil rights movement?

In 1954 the civil rights movement was just turning a corner from lobbying to civil disobedience. Many faithful saints supported giving African Americans equal rights. This did not go unnoticed by the Church and was addressed by Mark E. Petersen, an Apostle from 1944 until his death in 1984.

In Petersen’s talk he addresses the sin of interracial marriage due to the “restriction placed upon them,” referring to the fact that ”No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood.”

He then addresses the civil rights movement more directly saying “The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth.We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not to be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject.”

He then goes on to show how God, the Book of Mormon, and the Bible support segregation. ”Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man, or was it God? And when He placed them there, He segregated them… I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation?”

to Top

Can blacks go to the celestial kingdom?


If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory.”
(Apostle Mark E. Peterson, Race Problems – As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954)


According to Apostle Mark E. Peterson, blacks could go to the Celestial Kingdom, but only as slaves. Most members believe this changed in 1978 when blacks were allowed to hold the priesthood.

to Top

Why were blacks born black?

The Lord punished Cain and his seed for murdering his brother, Abel. According to Prophets and Apostles, blacks born prior to 1978 were born black because they were less valiant in the pre-existence.


“There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less.”
(Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith)


It cannot be looked upon as just that they should be deprived of the power of the Priesthood without it being a punishment for some act, or acts, performed before they were born.”
(Prophet Joseph Fielding SmithThe Way to Perfection, page 43)


It is the Lord’s doing, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate.”
(Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, 1966)


I cannot conceive our Father consigning his children to a condition such as that of the negro race, if they had been valiant in the spirit world in that war in heaven.
(Apostle George F. Richards spoken in General Conference, 1939)


  • 0
"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic." - Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011

"This is it folks, the high point of apologetics for the year. The church pumps millions into FARMS and its PR dept for this." - "Heresy," on a nameless board, August 11, 2011 - after reading the Deseret News piece about my Kinderhook plates presentation

#7 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:05 AM

Have scanned through it. Typical approach appears to be "we are presenting you the problems here so you can understand and help those in need" but then they give absolutely no indication of what they should do, it's ultimately a dump and run. Choices of sources are mainly anti, though it looks like they start with FAIR and other believers such as Bushman to make it appear they are balanced. The Black and the Mormons section is the most obvious, doesn't mention one positive thing (and there were some) even when it would have been appropriate (such as in the questions "were Mormons anti-slavery?" (their answer a resounding "no!)


Doesn't mention that JS ran on a 'free the slaves' platform.

Another choice tidbit:

Have missionaries died while serving?

Unfortunately, many missionaries have died while on their missions. From 1999 to 2006, three LDS missionaries were murdered and 22 died in accidents. Many other missionaries have been kidnapped, raped, and robbed.

Doesn't mention that missionaries are much less likely to be killed on a mission then they would be if they stayed home.

Edited by calmoriah, 12 June 2013 - 05:08 AM.

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#8 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:07 AM

This information is purportedly given to help you know "how to answer" the "tough questions," but do you notice anything missing? Like, um, any answers? All it gives is problems, which it then uses outdated sources to back up as problems. It proposes no solutions, or helpful contexts.

Exactly. Also starts out with a positive source such as Bushman or FAIR and then uses the anti-sites such as Mormonthink or wivesofjosephsmith.com which alters some quotes to make the women say the opposite of what they actually did say.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#9 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:11 AM

The letter to a CES employee is a shotgun approach to LDS criticism, an all in one practically of the basics...they print the whole letter with this intro:

Recently a CES director asked a lifelong Latter-day Saint, Jeremy Runnells, to share his concerns about the church. In response, Runnells wrote him a letter outlining his concerns and questions from a year of research into the Church’s origins. After sending it privately, he decided to publish the letter publicly on the internet. He even released it under a Creative Commons license allowing people to distribute it with very few restrictions.
I personally do not believe he’s looking for answers as he’s already made up his mind and is making a statement – a strong public statement. For that reason, I don’t anticipate he will receive a response from that CES Director, nor do I believe he deserves one. That said, this is a comprehensive list of things good Mormons all over the world are struggling with.
As missionaries, a big part of your mission will be focused on reactivating less active and inactive members. Many of these people have concerns, some of which are outlined in the letter. Additionally, as a missionary, you’re very likely to run into non-members and investigators who share some of these concerns as well. Knowledge is power. Let’s use the comments in this post to help members, missionaries, and future missionaries better understand and address the issues that Runnells outlines in his letter. The original PDF can be found here.

AT the end this is the help provided:

I know it’s a ton to try to answer, but I’m sure we can do it a bit at a time.

I am eager to see just how fast their efforts to get answers up takes.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#10 DonBradley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:13 AM

Interestingly, FutureMissionary's Facebook page shares a photo from MormonThink: https://www.facebook...sionary?fref=ts

And MormonThink announced the inauguration of FutureMissionary: https://www.facebook...324912440951930

Don
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"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic." - Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011

"This is it folks, the high point of apologetics for the year. The church pumps millions into FARMS and its PR dept for this." - "Heresy," on a nameless board, August 11, 2011 - after reading the Deseret News piece about my Kinderhook plates presentation

#11 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:17 AM

Fear is being used as well---suggestion they will starve if they don't get investigators to go to dinners, they will pick up parasites, etc., the comment I posted above about how many died while serving, how if you are gay you will be ostracized (hidden in a faq that tells the individual to be understanding to his gay companion because of how everyone is going to treat him), telling they that their girlfriend is more likely to marry their friend who didn't go on a mission then wait for them, having to live with someone you can't stand for months on end....nice little aside about Masons being almost identical to the temple....tons of mission rules, also





Is the mission a break from stress?

Deep depression, mental breakdowns, and other stress-induced sicknesses are disturbingly common among missionaries. This comes from a perfect storm of extreme social pressure, loneliness, physical exhaustion, and not being able to take a mental break. Though the church is great at helping spiritually, they tend to lack expertise in physical and emotional help needed. If you’re feeling depressed or stressed, insist on seeing a specialist, not just the mission doctor, who rarely has experience with these types of issues.




These are people, not numbers. Missionaries and even some leaders will try to tell you otherwise, but they’re wrong.

No disclaimer that the Church doesn't want you to think this way either.

There are two different types of anti-Mormon literature – blatant, hateful lies and true history or doctrines painted in a negative light. With the lies, respectfully help educate them. With the difficult, hard-to-swallow truths, be honest and help them understand in the correct light. Here’s a guide on how to answer the scariest things about the LDS church.

Again suggesting there are answers there when all it is are lists of criticisms.

Edited by calmoriah, 12 June 2013 - 05:21 AM.

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#12 DonBradley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:18 AM

Here is their idea of faith-promoting (from their Facebook page):

"Joseph Smith gets compared to Warren Jeffs a lot, but in every comparison, Jeffs is worse."

Posted Image

In other words, "No, we're not trying to hurt your faith. We want you to go on your mission believing in full faith that Joseph Smith only committed adultery with 11, not 21 like that false prophet Jeffs!"
  • 0
"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic." - Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011

"This is it folks, the high point of apologetics for the year. The church pumps millions into FARMS and its PR dept for this." - "Heresy," on a nameless board, August 11, 2011 - after reading the Deseret News piece about my Kinderhook plates presentation

#13 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:24 AM

As far as the "good, the bad and the exhausting" I found very little "good" mentioned on the site, even in the jokes.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#14 Tacenda

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:39 AM

http://www.ksl.com/?..._cid=featured-2

I don't think the website you've listed will do too much, the missionary spirit is on fire with the youth nowadays, but agree that the websites tactics are the lowest of the lowest.

ETA: I just tried to message them with all my info like email name etc. but then they ask for a website with a big red exclamation mark, anyway it didn't go through, oh, well. And I did put it to them the things you and others on here mention that they do. Have you tried to put it to them so to speak, Don? I think you should, and I think they know who you are, maybe you could do something to get them to change or give up their antics. Do you think they still have a conscience? I'll bet they do, all it takes is someone like you who has been in a faith crisis and left the church only to come back again. You could do some missionary work here, think about it!

Edited by Tacenda, 12 June 2013 - 08:53 AM.

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#15 Avatar4321

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:40 AM

They are just going to make stronger members because if they had an argument, they wouldn't have to lie to make it.
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"It is extremely important for you to believe in yourselves, not only for what you are now, but for what you have the power to become. Trust in the Lord as He leads you along. He has things for you to do that you won't know about now, but that will unfold later. If you stay close to Him, you will have some great adventures. You will live in a time when instead of just talking about prophecies that will sometime be fulfilled, many of them will actually be fulfilled. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit."- Elder Neal A. Maxwell

"If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates" - Joseph Smith

#16 calmoriah

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:43 AM

There are some out there apparently that think we have our members so well trained that any hint of criticism and they will run for it, thus the only way to expose them to the real stuff is to dish it up sweetly and acting as if they are of one heart and one mind with the Church.

However, I think it is more that they don't want to set off any bells or red flags that might cause people---nonmormons even more than LDS---- to look at the comments with a critical eye. They want to suckerpunch them when they aren't braced for it, so to speak.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#17 thesometimesaint

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:56 AM

The site is like pearl diving in a cesspool. Sure you can do it. But whom would want to.
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#18 canard78

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:09 AM

Above all websites I have seen, this one would be my pick as the most blatant wolf in sheep's clothing. It aims to damage the Church's growth by deceiving its future missionaries into reading critical material. (I'm not the only one who has noticed the site's anti-Mormonism, by the way. A person promoting this site on staylds.org was booted off their board because of futuremissionary.com's evident anti-Mormon intent.)


This, more than anything else, is what bothers me about the site. It even goes as far as using branding/colour scemes that mimic the mormon.org website.

It's smart and nasty. I can imagine it being the kind of thing an unsuspecting friend or relative might share with a prospective missionary if they didn't get past the first page.

It's an ugly mix of out of context quotes and some outright false doctrine.

I wonder if the church legal team could do anything about it? Surely some of it is slanderous? I'm not saying they should go after every slanderous online comment (lol, they'd need a full-time team), but this pretends to be one thing and is certainly another.
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"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

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#19 canard78

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:13 AM

http://www.ksl.com/?..._cid=featured-2

I don't think the website you've listed will do too much, the missionary spirit is on fire with the youth nowadays, but agree that the websites tactics are the lowest of the lowest.

ETA: I just tried to message them with all my info like email name etc. but then they ask for a website with a big red exclamation mark, anyway it didn't go through, oh, well. And I did put it to them the things you and others on here mention that they do. Have you tried to put it to them so to speak, Don? I think you should, and I think they know who you are, maybe you could do something to get them to change or give up their antics. Do you think they still have a conscience? I'll bet they do, all it takes is someone like you who has been in a faith crisis and left the church only to come back again. You could do some missionary work here, think about it!


You only have to read the letter from MT's managing editor to one of the apostles to know that, no, these people appear to not care who they hurt on their way to 'exposing the fraud.'

(Sorry to be vague, I really don't want to give the venom the man has published any more publicity).
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"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

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#20 cinepro

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:21 AM

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The LDS Stake Medium Council Blog

In spite of the world's arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of God's prophets.

The Flood and the Tower of Babel, by Donald W. Parry, assistant professor of Hebrew at BYU, Ensign, Jan 1998, 35


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