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Bill “Papa” Lee

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For one of the best defenses of this interpretation, . . .

"one"?

This expresses that there has been more than one defense put forth. Say, didn't you make fun of Mormons for having more than one defense of the D&C 84 prophesy?

. . . see the commentary on Matthew by R. T. France in the NICNT series. This interpretation is enjoying increased support among NT scholars (N. T. Wright is another notable example).

So, what was the "best defense" prior to this new and improved "interpretation"?

Are Mormon scholars allowed the convenience of improving their defenses? Or is this another one of those "double standard" incidents?

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jwhitlock,

I incorrectly assumed that "despite the disclaimer" referred to my disclaimer in an earlier post about the use of the term cult. In that regard, I made a mistake. However, there is still a serious problem with your post. In point of fact, I had already told you what my view was of the use of the term cult. Therefore, you didn't need to ask if I accept what some of the books in my bibliography say about the use of the term. The answer is, of course I do--since I am the author of one of the books! But in any case, I agree in substance with those authors who use the term cult in the theological sense, although I would prefer not to use in that sense, as I have already explained. I also have no problem with those authors who use the term cult to denote criminally or sociologically deviant groups (e.g., Jonestown, Scientology). So if you are familiar with a particular book on the list and wonder how my view compares with that book's use of the term, you already had an answer.

And to clarify, our view - as articulated very well by Dan Peterson, for instance - is that there is no valid theological usage of "cult" as it relates to Mormonism.

Of course, in addition to the "theological usage of cult", your site very clearly makes the assertion that Mormons are not Christian in any real sense of the term. Hence while disagreeing on one hand with those who call us a cult in the full negative sense of the word, you provide other leading "evidence" designed to give the reader the impression that Mormons are not entirely wholesome, if not outright cultish, in reality.

I still have a significant problem with your willingness to mix - even with a disclaimer - books and writings that you say you disagree with, with those you agree with on the subject of cults. It becomes difficult for the casual reader to differentiate between the two, and I suspect that you would not be particularly displeased were someone to leave your site with the impression that Mormonism is a cult, in every full, negative sense of the term.

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This is ridiculous. I could care less about the term cult; you are the one who wants to inject it into the discussion.

I know you could care less, since you devote a fair amount of website space to it.

My view is that Mormonism is at serious variance with the orthodox Christian theology articulated, for example, in the early creeds and reaffirmed in the historic evangelical Protestant confessions. That is the substance of my view. You cannot plausibly disagree with the substance of this claim, since your religion officially agrees with it--while maintaining that "orthodox Christian theology" is actually apostate
.

There is nothing to disagree with here. It's also not what we're talking about. And your website is not just about addressing the "serious variance with orthodox Christian theology". It goes far beyond that.

Naturally, but I respectfully disagree. How about we focus our discussion on these substantive issues and leave behind diversionary complaints about terminology that other people use and that I don't? If you're serious about thinking that the Maxwell Institute and FAIR provide "excellent factual evidence supporting Mormon claims," then perhaps you will be so kind as to engage the arguments in some of my articles that directly respond to various apologetic arguments of the Maxwell Institute and FAIR. Here are some examples:

Joseph Smith's Missouri Temple Prophecy. A lengthy paper that considers one by one all of the many explanations that LDS apologists have given for the apparent failure of Joseph's prophecy in D&C 84.

Did the Young Joseph Smith Study the Bible? Response to the popular LDS apologetic argument that Joseph was too ignorant of the Bible to have used it in the Book of Mormon.

Alleged Early References to the First Vision. Five articles examining the four alleged earliest (pre-1832) references to the First Vision. I wrote to FAIR and to Jeff Lindsay inviting them to respond to these articles and never heard back.

"Did Not Our Heart Burn within Us?" Luke 24:32 and the Mormon Testimony. The title is self-explanatory; the article engages the use of this verse as exemplified by official LDS publications, FAIR, and others.

Does Belief in a Closed Canon Elevate the Bible above God? How Mormon Apologists Misrepresent Floyd Filson. Response to John Tvedtnes, Dan Peterson, Jeff Lindsay, Kerry Shirts, and others on this point.

Amos 8:11-12 and the LDS Doctrines of Apostasy and Restoration. Title is self-explanatory.

A Tale of Two Scrolls: Jeremiah's Replacement Scroll and Mormon "Restoration" of Scripture. On Jeremiah 36 and Joseph Smith's handling of the problem of the lost 116 pages.

Feel free to start up another thread about any one of these; I may or may not be able to participate depending on time constraints.

Interesting mixed metaphor. So far, the only "example" of such well-poisoning or ad hominem is the fact that we have a bibliography that lists books that classify the LDS religion as a "cult" in the theological sense. That's hardly a "healthy dose" of the alleged poison.

You're ignoring the other link I provided to "exit stories" on your site. These are designed to paint both the Church and its members in a very negative light, at least partially to justify why those creating the stories left. Though I consider the accusation that Mormons are cultists (and by extrapolation, the claim that Mormons are not Christian) to be nothing more than an ad hom attack on the character of a people who are very Christian, the exit stories take such attacks to another level. The substance is not disagreement with the doctrines of Mormonism, but rather how dishonest Church leaders are and how blinded and of low intelligence and common sense Church members are, among other things.

Those are very poisonous.

Just how would one go about making the discussion about "substance," other than addressing the evidence or arguments that the other side presents? Are you saying that it is impossible to have a reasoned discussion about the facts?

You seem to have this mistaken belief that people generally present evidence in a factual, unbiased, balanced, complete environment with no agenda other than to let those facts speak for themselves.

Anti-Mormon websites are a prime example of a mixture of facts interwoven with falsehoods and biased conclusions based on stated agendas to tear down the faith of members of the Church. They can hardly be considered to be balanced or comprehensive in presenting both sides concerning the Church in a fair manner.

As I have noted, both you and I have piles of evidence that we can present to each other. Yet neither would be successful in swaying the other side. You carefully structure your arguments and claimed evidence against the Church in a manner calculated to produce maximum doubt. That's hardly balanced or unbiased; one needs only to go to your site to see that in action. The exit stories on your site that i've pointed out, along with the context and headlines carefully phrased to cast doubt indicate that the evidence and arguments you make are anything but balanced.

In any case, you're in good company. I don't know of anyone who is approaches evidence totally without bias, though some are far better at it than others. In the case of anti-Mormonism, the "evidence" hardly speaks for itself; rather, it speaks for the agenda of those who are enemies of the Church. And that must be taken into account in any discussion.

I welcome specific examples of "evidence missing" that the articles I listed above fail to mention because they don't support my conclusions
.

Tell you what, then. Why not, side by side with the negative exit stories you provide, give stories of members of the Church who remain faithful, committed, and increasingly convinced of the truth of the restored gospel? How about providing that missing evidence as a first step?

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Vance,

The short answer is that Jesus did not predict that he would return in "this generation." He said that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed in "this generation." "All these things" in Matthew 24:34 and Mark 13:30 refers to the events leading up to and including the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. The language in Matthew 24:29-30 and Mark 13:24-26 is apocalyptic imagery expressing the Son of Man's "coming" in cosmic judgment against Jerusalem, not a literal prediction of phenomena involving the sun, moon, and stars at his Second Coming (which remains future). Luke 21:20-24 makes it explicit that the destruction of the temple will mark, not the end of the age, but the beginning of an indefinitely long period called "the times of the Gentiles" during which Jerusalem was to be trampled under foot by Gentile powers.

For one of the best defenses of this interpretation, see the commentary on Matthew by R. T. France in the NICNT series. This interpretation is enjoying increased support among NT scholars (N. T. Wright is another notable example).

The problem with this interpretation as I see it is the stipulation of ALL these things. Granted, I haven't yet read the work you mentioned, so I don't know how he deals with this.

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The problem with this interpretation as I see it is the stipulation of ALL these things.

Apparently, those verse don't mean what they say. Strange how that is. When there are clear and plain verses that undermine the anti-Mormon attack on Joseph Smith, that those verses suddenly don't mean what they say.

Matt 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

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Vance,

You wrote:

"one"?

This expresses that there has been more than one defense put forth. Say, didn't you make fun of Mormons for having more than one defense of the D&C 84 prophesy?

Are you serious? Or what?

There can be many "defenses" that take the same basic approach or support the same basic interpretation. That is what I meant with regard to France's commentary being one of the best defenses of the interpretation of Matthew 24 that I hold.

On the other hand, there can be many "defenses" of a passage that differ from one another with regard to its meaning. That isn't quite the case with regard to Matthew 24, because the number of differing explanations of the passage is not "many," though it is more than one. There are something like three explanations of the Olivet Discourse. There are some significant differences among them. In a sense, there are two-and-a-half views on how to explain the discourse, because the third view is a combination of the other two.

Now, in answer to your question, no, I don't believe I made fun of Mormons for having more than one defense of the D&C 84 prophecy. I didn't do any such thing. As it turns out, I could with rational justification "make fun" of the LDS prophets (not of Mormons generally) for failing to clear up the matter after a century of confusion over the matter. You see, Mormons supposedly have an advantage us poor evangelicals don't have: you have living prophets with a direct pipeline to God who have the authority and the opportunity to clear up such matters. Yet they have not done so. On top of that, none of the many explanations that LDS apologists have offered seems to hold up.

You wrote:

Are Mormon scholars allowed the convenience of improving their defenses? Or is this another one of those "double standard" incidents?

Of course they are. Where have I ever suggested otherwise? That's a rhetorical question--the answer is that I have never suggested otherwise.

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jwhitlock,

You wrote:

You're ignoring the other link I provided to "exit stories" on your site. These are designed to paint both the Church and its members in a very negative light, at least partially to justify why those creating the stories left.

The "exit stories" are not "designed" at all. They are the true stories of real people who really left the LDS Church for the reasons they give.

You wrote:

Why not, side by side with the negative exit stories you provide, give stories of members of the Church who remain faithful, committed, and increasingly convinced of the truth of the restored gospel? How about providing that missing evidence as a first step?

The "exit stories" are not offered as "evidence" against the LDS religion's claims or teachings. They are provided to let Mormons who have come to the realization that they no longer believe those things that they are not alone, to hear from others who struggled through the same issues they have. They provide insights into why people leave the LDS Church and what sorts of difficulties they face in doing so.

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Are you serious?

Usually, but not always.

There can be many "defenses" that take the same basic approach or support the same basic interpretation.

Glad you can admit that.

Now, in answer to your question, no, I don't believe I made fun of Mormons for having more than one defense of the D&C 84 prophecy.

Of course not. You would never admit to doing anything like that.

From you article.

Pick an Explanation, Any Explanation

Mormons have offered a bewildering variety of explanations for the apparent failure of Joseph Smith?s Missouri temple prophecy.

No mockery there. :P

Oh, and, NONE of those defenses is worse than, "it doesn't mean what it says".

And most of them are MUCH better.

Edited to add,

Oh, and thanks for the use of the word "apparent".

Apparent: Seeming real or true, but not necessarily so.

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The "exit stories" are not offered as "evidence" against the LDS religion's claims or teachings. They are provided to let Mormons who have come to the realization that they no longer believe those things that they are not alone, to hear from others who struggled through the same issues they have. They provide insights into why people leave the LDS Church and what sorts of difficulties they face in doing so.

Except the dishonesty comes in you selectively choosing only "Out of Mormonism - Into Evangelicalism" exit stories.

Surely you realize the majority of those who leave mormonism do not become Evangelical Christians.

Many, if not most, become secular/agnostic.

Why don't you include some of their stories?

Also, do you mention that the number of people who leave mormonism in a year is likely less than the number of people who lose faith in Biblical Christianity in a day?

Do you realize that American Protestantism is hemorrhaging members faster than the LDS church could ever hope to?

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SilverKnight,

You wrote:

Except the dishonesty comes in you selectively choosing only "Out of Mormonism - Into Evangelicalism" exit stories.

Surely you realize the majority of those who leave mormonism do not become Evangelical Christians.

Many, if not most, become secular/agnostic.

Why don't you include some of their stories?

Um, would you like it better if we did? Just what is your point?

Are television ads showing beautiful people in soft focus speaking warmly about the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon dishonest?

You wrote:

Also, do you mention that the number of people who leave mormonism in a year is likely less than the number of people who lose faith in Biblical Christianity in a day?

I don't think so. How do you figure that? Keep in mind, there are roughly thirty to forty times as many evangelical Protestants in the world as there are Mormons.

You wrote:

Do you realize that American Protestantism is hemorrhaging members faster than the LDS church could ever hope to?

American mainline Protestantism is hemorrhaging members, but that refers to the mainline denominations that are more or less liberal theologically (Episcopalians, for example). American evangelical Protestantism is growing, thank you very much. We do have something of a problem with regard to many young people wandering from their faith (a problem for most religions in America at the moment), and I take this problem very seriously--but the real drainage is happening in the liberal denominations.

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Um, would you like it better if we did?

Not particularly. I don't care what you do with your own website.

I don't care enough about protecting my religion from corrupting influences to devote an entire website, much less my professional career, to that task.

Just what is your point?

Only that actual realities of faith loss will never make it to your web page - only your preselected sample that supports your agenda.

Are television ads showing beautiful people in soft focus speaking warmly about the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon dishonest?

No more so than real testimonials of housewives that switch to Tide detergent.

Also, I am sure you are aware of the important distinctions between testimonials that tout the advantages of your own product, versus those that attack the flaws of a competitor.

I don't think so. How do you figure that? Keep in mind, there are roughly thirty to forty times as many evangelical Protestants in the world as there are Mormons.

It's simple math.

If Mormons and EVs had identical rates of attrition (which they probably do), for every 1 mormon who leaves mormonism, 30-40 evangelicals would leave evangelicalism.

American mainline Protestantism is hemorrhaging members, but that refers to the mainline denominations that are more or less liberal theologically (Episcopalians, for example). American evangelical Protestantism is growing, thank you very much. We do have something of a problem with regard to many young people wandering from their faith (a problem for most religions in America at the moment), and I take this problem very seriously--but the real drainage is happening in the liberal denominations.

Well according to the the most recent studies on the subject, in the past 20 years by far the most dramatic data spikes have been the shrinkage of self-identified christians (-10%) and the increase of those who self-identify as non-religious (+7%).

Non-Catholic Christianity fares worst of all (-9%), but Non-Denom Christianity is doing great (+3%) by comparison.

However the increase in NDC is largely explained by Christians no longer attending any particular church, but retaining their Christian identity.

Mormonism is holding steady at a flatline 0% growth rate. Good compared to our bleeding Christian friends, bad for the faith that's supposed to be the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth.

Ultimately it's all bad news for Christianity, regardless of which building you go to.

We do have something of a problem with regard to many young people wandering from their faith.

So do we.

Which makes me wonder if we should be joining forces to fight a greater problem - rather than nitpicking how each other gets it wrong.

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Vance,

The short answer is that Jesus did not predict that he would return in "this generation." He said that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed in "this generation." "All these things" in Matthew 24:34 and Mark 13:30 refers to the events leading up to and including the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. The language in Matthew 24:29-30 and Mark 13:24-26 is apocalyptic imagery expressing the Son of Man's "coming" in cosmic judgment against Jerusalem, not a literal prediction of phenomena involving the sun, moon, and stars at his Second Coming (which remains future). Luke 21:20-24 makes it explicit that the destruction of the temple will mark, not the end of the age, but the beginning of an indefinitely long period called "the times of the Gentiles" during which Jerusalem was to be trampled under foot by Gentile powers.

For one of the best defenses of this interpretation, see the commentary on Matthew by R. T. France in the NICNT series. This interpretation is enjoying increased support among NT scholars (N. T. Wright is another notable example).

Mormons know very well that "this generation" in those passages refer two separate events taking place at two different times. We know that from the JS-M in the Pearl of Great Price, which is an extract from Joseph Smith's inspired translation of the Bible. But that is not by any means obvious from the New Testament Text. Did anyone before Joseph Smith come to that interpretation? You guys are trying to steal our clothes, and using it to argue back against us.

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Mormons know very well that "this generation" in those passages refer two separate events taking place at two different times. We know that from the JS-M in the Pearl of Great Price, which is an extract from Joseph Smith's inspired translation of the Bible. But that is not by any means obvious from the New Testament Text. Did anyone before Joseph Smith come to that interpretation? You guys are trying to steal our clothes, and using it to argue back against us.

They certainly are in a conundrum.

IF the Bible really is inerrant, THEN they have to admit that it is a false prophecy.

And IF this isn't a false prophesy, THEN the Bible isn't inerrant.

Either of which they are unwilling to admit.

So, instead, they take the understanding provided by the JST (a more accurate translation) and claim it as their own, even though they can't support it from their "inerrant" Bible.

:P;)

BUT, we aren't supposed to notice.

:crazy:

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Now, in answer to your question, no, I don't believe I made fun of Mormons for having more than one defense of the D&C 84 prophecy. I didn't do any such thing. As it turns out, I could with rational justification "make fun" of the LDS prophets (not of Mormons generally) for failing to clear up the matter after a century of confusion over the matter. You see, Mormons supposedly have an advantage us poor evangelicals don't have: you have living prophets with a direct pipeline to God who have the authority and the opportunity to clear up such matters. Yet they have not done so. On top of that, none of the many explanations that LDS apologists have offered seems to hold up.

You could do no such thing.

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jwhitlock,

The "exit stories" are not "designed" at all. They are the true stories of real people who really left the LDS Church for the reasons they give.

through the same issues they have. They provide insights into why people leave the LDS Church and what sorts of difficulties they face in doing so.

I just don't understand this, Rob. To quote Paul, there is nothing virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, regarding such an exercise. For every person leaving the LDS church for Evangelical Christianity, there are dozens of people leaving Eveangelical Christianity for Mormonism. Should Mormon.org have have a section devoted to these exit stories wherein people trash their former faith? Not only should they not do it, I would find it appalling if they did.

Regards,

T-Shirt

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So, instead, they take the understanding provided by the JST (a more accurate translation) and claim it as their own, even though they can't support it from their "inerrant" Bible.

BUT, we aren't supposed to notice.

Dude, this is lame. Your argument in which you're declaring victory is foolish on many grounds. I'm a Mormon, and it embarrasses me.

The JST, despite what we call it, isn't a translation. And it's not a more accurate transmission of the text than we have elsewhere. What the JST does is harmonize after the fact, and teach a new way to understand the text. It's a commentary made part of the text (like a targum). To state that this harmonization is something protestants stole from the JST is laughable.

While Rob is right that it involves Apocalyptic imagery, I think he goes astray in forcing it to have another meaning. I don't think the original writers had in mind any far flung and completely removed Second Coming separate from the End of the Age. That appears to be a latter innovation and understanding that evolved with time and interpretation, and finds itself forming in some of the later epistles.

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Dude, this is lame. Your argument in which you're declaring victory is foolish on many grounds. I'm a Mormon, and it embarrasses me.

As a Latter-day Saint, I am just embarrassed by Vance, period. Sorry,Vance.

T-Shirt

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T-Shirt,

I'm sorry you find the stories offensive. But Paul himself devoted a great deal of his epistles to criticizing heretics. He also has some harsh things to say about the Pharisaic Judaism that he abandoned when he became a believer in Jesus Christ. His "testimony" could be titled, "I was a Pharisee, now I'm a Christian."

I just don't understand this, Rob. To quote Paul, there is nothing virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, regarding such an exercise. For every person leaving the LDS church for Evangelical Christianity, there are dozens of people leaving Eveangelical Christianity for Mormonism. Should Mormon.org have have a section devoted to these exit stories wherein people trash their former faith? Not only should they not do it, I would find it appalling if they did.

Regards,

T-Shirt

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Dude, this is lame. Your argument in which you're declaring victory is foolish on many grounds. I'm a Mormon, and it embarrasses me.

Vance is correct. You have more to be embarrassed by yourself than him.

The JST, despite what we call it, isn't a translation.

JST is a translation. God calls it a translation, and so it is.

And it's not a more accurate transmission of the text than we have elsewhere. What the JST does is harmonize after the fact, and teach a new way to understand the text. It's a commentary made part of the text (like a targum).

It is no such thing. Where do you get all of this nonsense form any way? It comes neither from Joseph Smith, nor from the revelations he received commanding him to make the JST.

To state that this harmonization is something protestants stole from the JST is laughable.

Not at all. It is the argument that I made; and it is a valid one.

While Rob is right that it involves Apocalyptic imagery, I think he goes astray in forcing it to have another meaning. I don't think the original writers had in mind any far flung and completely removed Second Coming separate from the End of the Age. That appears to be a latter innovation and understanding that evolved with time and interpretation, and finds itself forming in some of the later epistles.

I think you are no more equipped to comment on what Rob said than on what Vance said. The Evan commentators are staling Mormon clothes in this regard. That interpretation wasn't around until the Joseph Smith came up with his JST. Now they are twisting and adapting His JST to get out of their difficultly, while pretending that it was their original idea. It isn't.

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T-Shirt,

I'm sorry you find the stories offensive. But Paul himself devoted a great deal of his epistles to criticizing heretics. He also has some harsh things to say about the Pharisaic Judaism that he abandoned when he became a believer in Jesus Christ. His "testimony" could be titled, "I was a Pharisee, now I'm a Christian."

I never said that the stories were offensive, I just find it appalling that any ministry has programs dedicated to trashing another faith in order to lure them away. I find it un-Christian. I would be very interested in seeing any evidence of Paul recruiting former non-Christians for the purpose of compiling a volume of exit stories trashing other faiths as part of his ministry

T-Shirt.

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T-Shirt,

I'm sorry you find the stories offensive. But Paul himself devoted a great deal of his epistles to criticizing heretics. He also has some harsh things to say about the Pharisaic Judaism that he abandoned when he became a believer in Jesus Christ. His "testimony" could be titled, "I was a Pharisee, now I'm a Christian."

That is a very twisted way of looking at the writings of Paul. Those "exit stories" are written by Mormon apostates. They have a grudge against Mormonism, and it shows in what they write. Paul never had a grudge against "pharisaic" Judaism, and never wrote anything to malign or discredit it. He was not a "Jewish apostate". There is a big difference between the two.

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T-Shirt,

I'm sorry you find the stories offensive. But Paul himself devoted a great deal of his epistles to criticizing heretics. He also has some harsh things to say about the Pharisaic Judaism that he abandoned when he became a believer in Jesus Christ. His "testimony" could be titled, "I was a Pharisee, now I'm a Christian."

Sorry Rob, but if some group of LDS 'scholars' created some an academic-sounding 'Institute' featuring the exit stories of ex-Christians bashing their former faith, I doubt you'd accept a finger-waving appeal to some mythic scriptural hero as an excuse for the stark unprofessionalism of it all.

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The "exit stories" are not "designed" at all. They are the true stories of real people who really left the LDS Church for the reasons they give.

As the saying goes, in a divorce, there's her side, and his side, and the truth. The stories are to be taken with more than a grain of salt, given the sensationalist and one sided nature of them.

The "exit stories" are not offered as "evidence" against the LDS religion's claims or teachings. They are provided to let Mormons who have come to the realization that they no longer believe those things that they are not alone, to hear from others who struggled through the same issues they have. They provide insights into why people leave the LDS Church and what sorts of difficulties they face in doing so.

Give me a break. Whether you want to disclaim them as "evidence" or not, they are included on your site for precisely that reason. They are there to influence people to leave the Church, and I'm not buying this type of spin you're putting on it. The stories I read were not just disagreements; they were derogatory diatribes against Church leaders and Church members. There were accusations of dishonesty, of manipulation, of hatred, and of unChristlike behavior as the norm in LDS wards. They give a false impression of what the Church and its members are really like; those of us who are actually LDS and who read those stories are left wondering where on earth they came up with them. They are certainly not the norm.

And that reiterates my point about you and your site hiding evidence that undermines your claims. Why don't you include stories from faithful members of the Church who embrace the restored gospel? Because they don't serve the primary agenda of your site, which is to only provide evidence that undermines the Church.

Earlier, you inferred that I was wrong in claiming that you are selective in the evidence that you present on your site concerning the Church. In reality, anti-Mormon sites are very, very selective in what and how they present things about the Church. The exit stories are the most glaring example of the one-sided nature of what you present; I didn't really expect that you would acknowledge that you are selective, and I have not been disappointed.

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T-Shirt,

I'm sorry you find the stories offensive. But Paul himself devoted a great deal of his epistles to criticizing heretics. He also has some harsh things to say about the Pharisaic Judaism that he abandoned when he became a believer in Jesus Christ. His "testimony" could be titled, "I was a Pharisee, now I'm a Christian."

Paul devoted quite a bit of time to criticizing those whose main purpose was to undermine the Church.

The main purpose of anti-Mormon web sites is to undermine the Church. Can you point to anti-Evangelical web sites run by the Church or approved by them? (Hint: it's doubtful.)

Methinks you have it exactly backwards with this particular rationalization. And yes, the stories are offensive. Perhaps you ought to try reading them sometime and asking yourself how you would feel if someone left your congregation and portrayed its members and its minister in the way these people trash the LDS Church and its members.

So are you willing to provide a bit of balance in these stories by providing stories of those who are satisfied being Mormons, who love the Church, and who are thrilled with having fellowship with the Saints? If you aren't, then I don't think you have any basis for protesting when we point out the very clear bias in these exit stories - a bias against the Church that is pervasive throughout your site.

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Dude, this is lame. Your argument in which you're declaring victory is foolish on many grounds. I'm a Mormon, and it embarrasses me.

:P

The JST, despite what we call it, isn't a translation. And it's not a more accurate transmission of the text than we have elsewhere. What the JST does is harmonize after the fact, and teach a new way to understand the text. It's a commentary made part of the text (like a targum).

Zerinus addressed your post.

I will say that since you apparently are not aware of the range of the definition of "translation", here is a clue for you.

From the 1828 Dictionary

TRANSLA'TION, n. [L. translatio.]

1. The act of removing or conveying from one place to another; removal; as the translation of a disease from the foot to the breast.

2. The removal of a bishop from one see to another.

3. The removal of a person to heaven without subjecting him to death.

4. The act of turning into another language; interpretation; as the translation of Virgil or Homer.

5. That which is produced by turning into another language; a version. We have a good translation of the Scriptures.

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