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Answer an ".. and I'm an EX-mormon" video.


elguanteloko

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Hello, folks.

While surfing the interweb I saw a series of videos that seem to have been made as a sort of propaganda response to the recent wave of "and I'm a mormon" LDS advertisements. From them I was sort of surprised to see one by a guy named Dusting Patzer in which he gives some explanations on why he, little by little it seems, got out of the Church. Now, what are your responses to his reasons? Please be as precise as you can.

BTW, I was kind of surprised because I have made some of these claims before but I'm in the process of rejecting them.

Anyways, without more talk from my part, here's the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JciFDrhnVzs

Here's the website from which I found it originally: http://www.iamanexmormon.com/2011/02/my-name-is-dustin-and-im-an-ex-mormon/

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Accounts of a former religious believers questioning the inconsistent, emotional and subjective nature of spiritual communications isn't tremendously groundbreaking - rather its a rather well-trod philosophical debate that extends far beyond mormonism.

Is there a specific claim in the video that you had in mind?

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Speaking metaphorically, if I think I have a vision one night in which an angel shows me a spot on a nearby hillside wherein an ancient record is buried under a stone, it could be something truly divine, or it could just as easily be my mind, as Dustin Patzer correctly suggests. If, however, I find the spot on the hillside the next morning, and there really is a stone there, then I start to have something to go on. If I pry up the stone, and underneath of it is a series of metal plates covered in engravings, what should I conclude?

And that is why I'm a 'Mormon.'

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Nothing new. He presents "The Problem of Inconsistent Revelation," which, to my knowledge, no Mormon has ever been able to address properly. The best you will get from an individual is that they have experienced the holy ghost, and that is enough for them. Never mind that other people from other religions have had more powerful religious experiences, and are just as faithful and more.

He then brings up some interesting psychological principles, but, to their detriment, most LDS just wave away as "pop psychology." Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance apply to everyone at all times, but the official stance from the church (an incorrect one) is that not everyone is always experiencing these psychological phenomena.

The origin of the Book of Mormon, to me, is an irrelevant argument, since it relies upon the historical authenticity if the Bible.

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I challenge anyone to find a single example of a Muslim or any Christian who received the testimony of his faith being true through searching, praying and receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost.

I have no doubt that people of many faiths have had strong spiritual experiences, there is no reason that they shouldn't. A Muslim or a Lutheran having a spiritual experience, even if it is real, does not falsify the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Having spiritual experiences and receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost following a pattern taught by the Church are different things. No other Church, of which I am aware, encourages people to study, pray and ask God for a witness of it's truthfulness before becoming one of it's members. In fact, most Christian Churches teach specifically against such a thing, claiming that it is un-Biblical and a bad way to know truth.

Best,

T-Shirt

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Actually, it is. Not only have a number of studies been done, there are several varieties of monks who specialize in training their brains to give transcendental experiences of great magnitude (light and tunnel experience). You can even learn how to do it yourself, given enough time and patience.

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Accounts of a former religious believers questioning the inconsistent, emotional and subjective nature of spiritual communications isn't tremendously groundbreaking - rather its a rather well-trod philosophical debate that extends far beyond mormonism.

Is there a specific claim in the video that you had in mind?

His reasons follow a certain line of thought and some assumptions. What would you say to him in regards to his reasoning? Where or in what did he get it wrong?

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Speaking metaphorically, if I think I have a vision one night in which an angel shows me a spot on a nearby hillside wherein an ancient record is buried under a stone, it could be something truly divine, or it could just as easily be my mind, as Dustin Patzer correctly suggests. If, however, I find the spot on the hillside the next morning, and there really is a stone there, then I start to have something to go on. If I pry up the stone, and underneath of it is a series of metal plates covered in engravings, what should I conclude?

And that is why I'm a 'Mormon.'

What would you answer to the guy in the video, then? Wait for a sign and then you'll know? I don't think you want to go down that road.

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I challenge anyone to find a single example of a Muslim or any Christian who received the testimony of his faith being true through searching, praying and receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost.

You are missing the point. People find confirmations of their beliefs all the time and religious folks (i.e. Muslims, Mormons, Christians in general, etc) are not the exception. They may be different types of experiences but the fact that there are so many spiritual experiences (of different types, not just through a "holy ghost") confirming a ton of contradictory beliefs should, one would hope, raise some eyebrows.

I have no doubt that people of many faiths have had strong spiritual experiences, there is no reason that they shouldn't. A Muslim or a Lutheran having a spiritual experience, even if it is real, does not falsify the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The guy on the video gives the example of a clearly contradicotry belief being confirmed (i.e. Christian belief in Christ as the Son of God and the Muslim view that denies this). You also miss the point here. Sure, if a mormon and a christian get confirmation that the historical person of Jesus lived and was real, then that is separate from the point being made here. We are talking about contradictory beliefs.

Having spiritual experiences and receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost following a pattern taught by the Church are different things. No other Church, of which I am aware, encourages people to study, pray and ask God for a witness of it's truthfulness before becoming one of it's members. In fact, most Christian Churches teach specifically against such a thing, claiming that it is un-Biblical and a bad way to know truth.

Saying there are different in methods STILL misses the point. Which of those is the correct one and how did you come to that conclusion?

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I challenge anyone to find a single example of a Muslim or any Christian who received the testimony of his faith being true through searching, praying and receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost.

I have no doubt that people of many faiths have had strong spiritual experiences, there is no reason that they shouldn't. A Muslim or a Lutheran having a spiritual experience, even if it is real, does not falsify the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Having spiritual experiences and receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost following a pattern taught by the Church are different things. No other Church, of which I am aware, encourages people to study, pray and ask God for a witness of it's truthfulness before becoming one of it's members. In fact, most Christian Churches teach specifically against such a thing, claiming that it is un-Biblical and a bad way to know truth.

Best,

T-Shirt

ALL churches that believe in the Book of Mormon tell you to read, study, and pray about their claims (except maybe the "new and improved" rolleyes.gif Community of Christ).

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Nothing new. He presents "The Problem of Inconsistent Revelation," which, to my knowledge, no Mormon has ever been able to address properly.

Which might actually matter, if in fact there was a problem to address.

The best you will get from an individual is that they have experienced the holy ghost, and that is enough for them. Never mind that other people from other religions have had more powerful religious experiences,

Really? Call for references, please. How do you propose to quantify the "power" of someone's religious experiences, so as to meaningfully compare them to someone else's?

and are just as faithful and more.

Which is in fact irrelevant.

He then brings up some interesting psychological principles, but, to their detriment, most LDS just wave away as "pop psychology." Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance apply to everyone at all times, but the official stance from the church (an incorrect one) is that not everyone is always experiencing these psychological phenomena.

Again, Call for references, please. Where is the Church's "official stance" to be found, and in what mainstream psychological literature can we find that "everyone is always experiencing these psychological phenomena?"

And in your eagerness to find fault with the Church of Jesus Christ, you appear to have tripped over your own feet. Exmos are always telling us how blissfully happy they are to be living without cog.dis. in their lives, and how they all independently arrived at their identically worded conclusions through Rigorously Impartial Seeking After Absolute TRVTH, independently of any "confirmation bias." And now you are telling us that these are not unique to believing Latter-day Saints?

The origin of the Book of Mormon, to me, is an irrelevant argument, since it relies upon the historical authenticity if the Bible.

That's fine, tailbone. Your views, to me, are irrelevant too.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Religious Experience

If you want to redefine "Relgious Experience" to mean something that involves the Holy Ghost, then you are going to have to explain how you KNOW that your particular experience involves the Holy Ghost while everyone else's does not.

Cadicus... Due to the communication gap, other's spiritual experiences cannot be portrayed properly.

Therefore, they cannot be used to justify against one's own experiences, they are not accurate enough compared to how they actually are in order to justify questioning your own experiences.

In other words, only what you feel and you feel alone actually counts.

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Which might actually matter, if in fact there was a problem to address.

I assumed it was obvious by the name of the problem. Nearly everyone, including atheists, have the capacity for religious experiences. Nearly everyone receives confirmation of their own faith through these experiences. Even people within the Mormon church receive revelation that contradict one another. The question it poses is, How do you know the difference between these conflicting confirmations? Do you have an answer Pahoran?

There are several ways to quantify the nature of a person's religious experience. Of course, you merely have to ask them about it to get started, but there are very quantifiable aspects of religious experiences that are of a higher order. This includes speaking in tongues, visions, hearing voices, suspension of time, a sense of other dimensions, communion with other beings in other realities. Are such higher order religious experiences common during Sacrament meetings?

Where is the Church's "official stance" to be found

Wouldn't it be nice if they invented something that would be able to find stuff on the internet... oh wait... Google

http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Cognitive_dissonance

and in what mainstream psychological literature can we find that "everyone is always experiencing these psychological phenomena?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

if you don't think that there is a constant process occurring that creates and assesses our own personal reality, then you aren't really in a position to understand, anyways. Either way, it seems you are more concerned with attacking anything presented against the LDS faith than understanding the truth of anything.

That's fine, tailbone. Your views, to me, are irrelevant too.

Then why respond? I mean, other than to be a total ****.

Do you disagree that the Old Testament is full of historical inaccuracies?

Do you disagree that the New Testament is full of historical inaccuracies?

Do you disagree that there were early Christians who were unaware that Jesus had a physical form?

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Cadicus... Due to the communication gap, other's spiritual experiences cannot be portrayed properly.

Therefore, they cannot be used to justify against one's own experiences, they are not accurate enough compared to how they actually are in order to justify questioning your own experiences.

In other words, only what you feel and you feel alone actually counts.

I understand. By those standards, Jim Jones acted accordingly. Was he right? If not, should everyone use those same standards to best determine their beliefs?

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Cadicus... Due to the communication gap, other's spiritual experiences cannot be portrayed properly.

Therefore, they cannot be used to justify against one's own experiences, they are not accurate enough compared to how they actually are in order to justify questioning your own experiences.

In other words, only what you feel and you feel alone actually counts.

So, I suppose when you see someone screaming desperately and saying he is suffering pain you are going to say this, right?

Unless you are ready to deny ALL other feelings then you can ignore what you just said and move on to the real points here.

How would you answer the guy in the video?

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What would you answer to the guy in the video, then? Wait for a sign and then you'll know? I don't think you want to go down that road.

I said nothing about waiting for a sign. But we can act on what we believe to have been divine communication. This was the road recommended by Jesus Himself in John 7:17 when the people were wondering if they could trust His words or not: 'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.' Christianity in both its ancient and restored forms has always been a very hands-on, practical experience.

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I have two words for the youtube video...

RIP OFF!

Word of advice to those ex-mormons that want to share their message- you ought to use better creativity and imagination in how you present yourself instead of this and mimicking the way the Church advertises.

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I assumed it was obvious by the name of the problem.

Yes, labels are a convenient way to head off questions and present questionable assumptions as if they were established "facts."

Nearly everyone, including atheists, have the capacity for religious experiences. Nearly everyone receives confirmation of their own faith through these experiences. Even people within the Mormon church receive revelation that contradict one another. The question it poses is, How do you know the difference between these conflicting confirmations? Do you have an answer Pahoran?

Of course.

First, I don't accept that atheists have religious experiences that directly confirm the nonexistence of God.

Second, it used to be all the rage -- in secular anti-Mormon circles, that is -- to claim that every religious believer everywhere holds to whatever belief they hold because they've had confirmatory experiences that are functionally identical to what Latter-day Saints call a testimony, or a witness of the Holy Ghost. This is an idiotic blanket claim that is easily refuted. For a while it was immensely popular to make that claim on behalf of Muslims -- until a certain Ph.D. qualified Islamist put the kibosh on that particular anti-Mormon FPR. The fact is that Muslims don't have any religious concept that is meaningfully analogous to an LDS testimony. Indeed, the proponents of this claim have failed to produce any evidence for any other faith tradition having such a concept. In fact, the only significant faith tradition that does have such a concept is the Church of Jesus Christ.

BOML has pointed out that the various little breakaway groups that claim to be the "real" church of the Restoration also make that claim; given the tradition they claim to inherit, they could hardly avoid making it. I also notice that those little groups are stagnant at best. I wonder why?

Third, the fact that other believers can have "religious experiences" of various kinds contradicts no truth claim of the Church of Jesus Christ, and is in fact entirely consistent with LDS doctrine. We never claimed to have a corner on "religious experiences."

Fourth, the fact that LDS believers can get different answers to the same questions also contradicts no truth claim of the Church of Jesus Christ, and is in fact entirely consistent with LDS doctrine. It is an established doctrine that revelation can come from different sources, and that not all are of equal value. It is for that reason, among others, that Latter-day Saints -- almost alone in the religious world -- see "pneuma" and ecclesiastical office as being complementary rather than exclusionary of each other.

IOW, there is no "problem of inconsistent revelation," however capitalised, for informed Latter-day Saints.

There are several ways to quantify the nature of a person's religious experience. Of course, you merely have to ask them about it to get started, but there are very quantifiable aspects of religious experiences that are of a higher order. This includes speaking in tongues, visions, hearing voices, suspension of time, a sense of other dimensions, communion with other beings in other realities. Are such higher order religious experiences common during Sacrament meetings?

No, but that's irrelevant. You make the mistake of assuming that "showier" means "more powerful." I've known numbers of LDS converts who had belonged to "charismatic" Protestant churches, and had participated in the whole "speaking in tongues" show. They told me that they found their LDS testimonies to be a more powerful spiritual experience than the stage-managed stuff that so impresses you. And even if you don't want to accept my report, the fact that such people do join the Church, and leave their former churches behind, does provide prima facie evidence that that's how they feel about it.

The fact is that you cannot quantify the "power" of anyone's claimed religious experience, and your attempt to do so is based upon the most superficial criteria possible; the very criteria that believers themselves would consider least relevant.

You previously wrote:

He then brings up some interesting psychological principles, but, to their detriment, most LDS just wave away as "pop psychology." Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance apply to everyone at all times, but the official stance from the church (an incorrect one) is that not everyone is always experiencing these psychological phenomena.

And I responded:

Again, Call for references, please. Where is the Church's "official stance" to be found, and in what mainstream psychological literature can we find that "everyone is always experiencing these psychological phenomena?"

So now you write:

Wouldn't it be nice if they invented something that would be able to find stuff on the internet... oh wait... Google

http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Cognitive_dissonance

What's the purpose of the sarcastic sneer, caudicus? Is it to dissemble the fact that the FAIR website does not purport to convey the Church's "official stance," or is it to try to distract attention from the fact that it does not say what you reported it as saying? Here is what the FAIR website says:

The important point is that all people experience cognitive dissonance whenever they encounter something that does not match what they have thought or believed previously.

Doesn't quite match your description, does it?

Then you have the hilarious chutzpah to write:

Either way, it seems you are more concerned with attacking anything presented against the LDS faith than understanding the truth of anything.

And evidently without the slightest sense of irony!

Then why respond? I mean, other than to be a total ****.

I'm just trying to keep up with you on that score, tailbone.

Do you disagree that the Old Testament is full of historical inaccuracies?

Do you disagree that the New Testament is full of historical inaccuracies?

Do you disagree that there were early Christians who were unaware that Jesus had a physical form?

"Unaware?" Yes, I disagree with that. I would say that there were people, who were condemned by the apostles as "anti-Christ" -- which sort of puts them outside the set of actual Christians -- who denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Not that they were unaware of anything, but that, being aware of it, they denied it.

Not quite the same, is it?

Regards,

Pahoran

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Let's see.

Other people have spiritual experiences. I keep pointing out the D&C 1 expressly describes the LDS as imperfect, incomplete, and non-exclusive relative to truth and virtue. And I've done a couple of comparative studies, which, to my way of thinking, enhance my faith. See my JBMS 2/1 essay on NDE research and the Book of Mormon, and my Meridian essay, which since their links broke in their redesign, I've added a dropbox link in my MDDB profile, under About Me.

Cognitive disonance and confirmation bias..., evidently a one way street that only affects believers, and has no effect on disbelief. The FAIR essay on the topic is actually one of the best I've read. How does this fellow go about countering the confirmation bias of skeptism? He doesn't. He uses the idea as a tool to destroy, never to examine and remove motes in his own eye.

And a reference to the 1923 Roberts Study of the Book of Mormon, which I read in 1985 and thought badly dated then. Any appeal to that as an explanation of the Book of Mormon is, I think, a rather obvious display of appeal to authority without bothering to to consider what actually constitutes authority. Confirmation bias? Oh yes. Rather than sit at Roberts' feet, I think it more profitable to stand on his shoulders. From there, I have seen a great many things that he did not. Welch's 1985 paper, for instance. And the further refinements on some issues in his Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon. The Roberts study comes far far short of defining the problem that the Book of Mormon represents. Therefore, the argument based on Roberts as an AUTHORITY has no authority. It's a scarecrow. Not a real argument.

And that's it. Just sad.

He says he could think of no way to test his testimony. I've done a lot testimony testing in my time. Thirteen essays for FARMS, a dozen for the Meridian, two for FAIR, one in Dialogue, a few more in Sunstone, and lots of looking at the writings and thoughts of others, pro and con. I look back at all the things I've learned since my first and only crisis of faith, which resolved in my 1991 Dialogue essay. If I had caved back then, I think of all the stuff that I would have missed, and never would have known what I was missing.

My testimony gets stronger all the time. It consists of multiple threads, no single one holding all the weight, which together make a very strong rope. It's durable, flexible, tolerant, and robust. And still a work in progress.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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I understand. By those standards, Jim Jones acted accordingly. Was he right? If not, should everyone use those same standards to best determine their beliefs?

Yes, everyone kinda has to. It's called trusting your instinct. But I don't assume what other people feel, nor do I know what Jim Jones felt. He could have acted in a way differently than I did, or he could have not. I will never know.

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So, I suppose when you see someone screaming desperately and saying he is suffering pain you are going to say this, right?

No, he's suffering in pain. What I'm not going to say is how extreme the pain is... I can't tell that specifically... is it a level 9, or a level 10, in other words. In addition, sometimes, I can't tell the method that cause him pain... for example... you may be able to tell someone is emotionally sad, but you can't always tell exactly how deeply they feel it, and which part of the issue is the most painful... and to what ratios... you can just experiment.

Unless you are ready to deny ALL other feelings then you can ignore what you just said and move on to the real points here.

You've heard of the uncertainty principle, right?

It applies to emotions - only the variable is bigger.

Because my brain works somewhat with patterns and mathematics, I see how big of a 'communicatino gap' I have with other people - how much of a gap of possibility there is. This gap of possibility is almost impossible to cross, which is what I am talking about.

How would you answer the guy in the video?

Same as I used here. I don't know you as you know yourself, so I can't really tell you why things happen the way they do for you. I can say they have happened for me though. If you want to try them out for yourself, you should do that. But you can only know for yourself, and not for anybody else.

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Just so everyone knows, many people like these I have known their stories and understand their frustrations as I have gone through myself, but I cannot buy that they are happier just because they are more relieved because they ran away from something instead of trying to deal with it through prayer.

I have gone on the side of trying to just not believe in God at all to see if it would make me happier and it was one of the darkest moments I've had. I was angry, upset, felt like I had wasted my life, thought I should just try out more things that I didn't do when I was religious, and frequently lost sleep because of emotional nightmares.

I think maybe that is what many of these people go through, but instead of trying to face the problem, they start these social network communities where they can all get together to feel less guilty about themselves.

They claim they don't want to waste anymore time on religion when they don't need it to love and help others, but then why are they online talking about religion which they want no part of instead of going out and helping others?

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I said nothing about waiting for a sign.

Then why mention specific signs that occurred to Joseph Smith? We know the story already.

But we can act on what we believe to have been divine communication.

Sure you can... or you can not. So? What's your point here?

This was the road recommended by Jesus Himself in John 7:17 when the people were wondering if they could trust His words or not: 'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.' Christianity in both its ancient and restored forms has always been a very hands-on, practical experience.

So you would say this to the guy in the video?.... Christianity is a hands-on experience? Lots of things are hands-on so I don't think that's getting you anywhere.

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