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Switch to Forum Live View Honest Question from a Non-Mormon
10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 11:04AM #1
curious2no
Posts: 1
To all,

I lived in Arizona for many years and had great friendships with many Mormons, so I know a bit about your faith, but not a lot.  My question relates to whether you wish for more celebration of the Mormon historical artifacts and beliefs.

I realize that your beliefs are primarily based on spiritual experiences and not verifiable facts, but I wonder if wish you could see, if not touch, some of the historical artifacts that your church has but does not display.  I know things like Joseph's rocks in the hat are bit awkward for some people to talk about, but do you wish to see them.  These are real artifacts of the experiences he had.  I would think there might be a wish to experience something so immediate to the time your religion developed.  (People go crazy over baseball cards and locks of hair from hero's, so I cannot imagine Mormons would be different in the wish to experience something so closely linked to your original prophet.)

I know that the link to your past is not totally unrelated to Mormon faith religion. It seemed to me that the biggest celebration my Mormon friends had was Pioneer Day, with kids dressing and pushing carts.   Do you ever wish to celebrate Jesus' experiences that are described in the Book of Mormon, such as the two days he visited the America's.  I went the the large Easter pageant the Mesa, AZ Mormon temple had and was very surprised that they did not include this part of the story in their pageant.  They only had the mainline Christian events, including the crucifixion.  Given the antifeelings many of my Mormon friends had about the cross and their emphasis on the atonement in the Garden, again I was surprised.

Anyway, I just wondered if you wished for more of your unique pieces of Christianity to be more on display for yourselves, if not for the wilder public.

In friendship,
Curious2no
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 12:42PM #2
MMCSFOX
Posts: 1,785
“Anyway, I just wondered if you wished for more of your unique pieces of Christianity to be more on display for yourselves, if not for the wilder public.”
**
No, I for one do not really need to have unique pieces of our history on public display. We do not really need to give the adversary more sacred things to make fun of as is his usual routine. Just look at all of past history where Christ was criticized for healing on the Sabbath. No, The adversary does not care but can turn a truth to a falsehood that people will believe because they want to.

In all reality we do not worship anyone but Jesus Christ and all things should bear witness of Him, not the early pioneers.

Yet we do revere these early members of the Church that went through so much for Christ that we try to remember them any way we can.

Again, no we do not need to have sacred things on public display as our membership is primarily due to a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel and His leaders in these days. This testimony that comes with hard work scripture study and prayer is all we really need.

Jesse F.
*
“It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels but that they do not expect holiness from one another, but from God alone.”
-William Blake
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 1:08PM #3
ProfitOfGod
Posts: 1,020
Gotta love the royal 'we'.

In order to be a TBM - which is what every TBM is supposed to want his/her kids to grow up to be - you aren't supposed to question the veracity of the JS story, including the existence of the artifacts.

The adversary does not care but can turn a truth to a falsehood that people will believe because they want to.

'The adversary' :rolleyes: can also turn falsehood into a 'truth' that people will believe because they want to....or because they've been fully indoctrinated and don't know any better.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 1:09PM #4
ProfitOfGod
Posts: 1,020
[QUOTE=curious2no;381622]They only had the mainline Christian events, including the crucifixion.  Given the antifeelings many of my Mormon friends had about the cross and their emphasis on the atonement in the Garden, again I was surprised.[/QUOTE]

You have to look at it from a business perspective. 

Christianity is and always has been about money and the Mormons are no different (they've just been more successful at growing it in the past two decades).
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 1:14PM #5
bytebear
Posts: 1,451
There is a fairly large pagent at the Hill Comorah in upstate New York which depicts Christ coming to America.  I think there is one in Manti Utah as well.  I am not really up on my Mormon Pagents though, but they are out there, if you are looking for those kinds of events.

I recently visited Salt Lake, and took some non-Mormon  friends to the Church Historical Museum across from Temple Square.  It was mostly pioneer artifacts and told the story of the trek West and settlement of Salt Lake.  There were some really interesting pieces, like the pocket watch that stopped a bullet and saved the life of John Taylor.  The seer stone was not on display, and I think if it were, it would be somewhat anticlimatic.  It was pretty much just a rock.  But a simple rock is what allowed Smith to hone his spiritual gift and give him the confidence and power to translate the golden plates.  But, I think any rock coud have done.  He was given specific tools (Urim and Thumim) which he did use, but found that his more familiar stone worked better for him.  I presume that as he got the hang of it, he didn't need any special tools as a spiritual crutch.

One thing that has changed in the last 30 or so years is that the church has grown from a fairly isolated area of the Western United States, to a worldwide church with more Mormons outside the US than within.  With this change is a change from Pioneer roots.  In AZ, probably most of the Mormons there are descendents of pioneers, but when I lived in Boston, the idea of Pioneer Day just seemed odd.   I think as the church gains new history in new parts of the world, other celebrations will occur.  Like, the first missionaries to Australia, or the first chapel built in Iceland (just as random thoughts).  These kinds of celebrations do exist all over ther world, and will most likely continue to grow as the church grows.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 2:19PM #6
MMCSFOX
Posts: 1,785
curious2no;
As you can see profit’s remarks above should give you a better understanding of why WE, the hated TBM’S, do not like to publicly share things that WE feel are spiritual to US.

TBM = true Blue Mormon

Jesse F.
*
From the Roycroft dictionary:
Diplomat: A man who says "perhaps" when he means no, as opposed to a woman who says "perhaps" when she means yes.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 2:59PM #7
bytebear
Posts: 1,451

ProfitOfGod wrote:

You have to look at it from a business perspective.

Christianity is and always has been about money and the Mormons are no different (they've just been more successful at growing it in the past two decades).



Yeah, those greedy Mormons,  giving 10% of their money year after year, working long hours as lay ministers, maybe becoming a bishop or Stake President, or even area president (similar to a Catholic Cardinal) all without pay and still having a regular 9 to 5 job.  All in the hopes that one day they may become a General Authority, a position you cannot campaign for.  All so you can be one of the few hundred in a church of millions who gets a "living stipend".  All those years of paying tithing sure pay off in the end. :rolleyes:

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10 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 11:46AM #8
Yzzazz
Posts: 2
[QUOTE=curious2no;381622]...
Anyway, I just wondered if you wished for more of your unique pieces of Christianity to be more on display for yourselves, if not for the wilder public.

In friendship,
Curious2no[/QUOTE]

The short answer to your question is NO.  You've already answered your question for yourself, mormons are like others, if you can pull a hoax on others, why not them.  Well it already happened, Mark Hoffman and the salamander letters.  But even then very few members were interested in seeing, touching or otherwise observing the letters themselves as they were in discussing what the implications for their beliefs were.  And at that time, anyone seriously discussing the matter quickly came to the conclusion that the effect on their beliefs was nil--and therefore they couldn't figure what all the flap was about.

The mere idea that a historical artifact could somehow affect my personal beliefs as a member of the LDS church is a disconnect. It was never based on the history or its artifacts. It was based on my personal spiritual experience.  So activities that help to remind or recreate that spritual awakening are of far more interest to the average mormon than any physical object. 

The pageant are more interesting to me if they remind me of the spritual underpinnings of the story. The sacred grove is an interesting mormon tourist spot, but not because of the local flora and fauna or because Joseph Smith stood there.  But because it is a place I can more readily imagine I will have a spiritual reminder. 

On a personal note, I find preoccupations with things like the Shroud of Turin to be anathema.  If someone claimed to have THE handkerchief that Joseph Smith passed around in the days of toil as the LDS faithful began to inhabit Nauvoo, beyond being skeptical I would find it repulsive that such an object should be held up for any degree of intrest.  The cloth had no power and to give it my attention is to assume it did.

Hope that helps.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 12:38PM #9
Yzzazz
Posts: 2
[QUOTE=ProfitOfGod;382040]You have to look at it from a business perspective. 

Christianity is and always has been about money and the Mormons are no different (they've just been more successful at growing it in the past two decades).[/QUOTE]

Christianity has never been about the "money," that is, the collection of purchasing power for personal gratification. But I agree that it has, like all social endeavors, been about economics.  I know you probably think those are the same but they aren't.  Money is merely one dimension of economic measure.  Deciding how to put what resources where in order to optimize benefits (economics) includes much more than money. 

A Christian pastor (or sect) who insists that clergymen should be supported by donations, is making an economic decision that it is better for him to receive donations from those who wish to increase their faith, because doing so increase the donor's happiness.  You can debate about whether you agree with that idea or not, but it is quite irrelevant.  People continue doing it so they must think there is a benefit.

So if you accept the idea that mormons are more successful economically, then it follows that you are labelling them as more idealogically effective than others (which by the way is not limited to only the past two decades). If you accept my premise that Religion is merely a system of describing a larger economic picture than fits within the physical world, then what you just said is the equivalent of every Mormon's standard testimony phrase:  "I know this church is true..."

On the other hand if you don't accept my premise and you think that Christianity (LDS flavor or otherwise) is all about income used for lesiure, then besides taking a very cynical view of organized religion in general, then you have to ask yourself why curious2no is even asking.  The fact that there IS an observable difference between behavior towards physcial objects in mormons compared to other Christians even though mormons are people too, suggests that there is something different.

If it were only about "the money," as you put it, then there should be no observable difference.  So if you don't accept my premise, your comment only further serves to reinforce the fact that the religious persuasion which you label as more successful does have a curious difference to it.

If there is no the difference, how do you explain the growth success?

I submit that they are somehow related.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 5:42PM #10
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
I wouldn't say that Mormons care nothing about history or its artifacts.  I've known my share of Indiana Jones types who get a rush from all things Mormon - and whose passions run in the direction of early Mormon history.  There's even a market in such things.  I've been to the homes of men who took a certain pride of ownership in items from the period.

But more and more, the average Mormon lives outside of Utah, maybe even outside the United States.  He or she has no ancestral ties to either Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or the pioneers who settled Utah.  For this generation, the only Mormonism that matters is the faith and its practice - at home, at work and at church.

I couldn't be happier with the result.

Years ago, I had a crisis of faith.  I quit believing all the supernatural stuff.  But I couldn't stop "practicing" the basic beliefs that often define Mormons as Mormons.  I told my bishop that I no longer believed in God, Jesus or Joseph Smith - and he told me that I could never enjoy the full blessings of the faith without actually having faith.  However, once I stopped worrying about the historicity of Mormonism, I felt a huge weight come off my shoulders.  My life has never been better.

But my life is still very Mormon.  I don't smoke.  I don't drink.  I don't fool around.  I have a wife and four kids.  I spend most of my time at home with them.  As my late nights have turned into earlier ones, I've felt more vigor.  I pay my taxes.  I break for red lights.  I wear my seatbelt.  I give a lot of my free time to coaching chess and after-school tutoring for kids. 

I have my passions - like my thousand-dollar Grado GS1000 headphones (the cans of the Gods) - but with the exception of iTunes, most of my money goes into the bank (where it stays just long enough to get sucked out by bills).  My most dangerous activities (besides trying to raise a 17-year-old) are skateboarding (broke my pinky) and surfing (broke my pinky toe).  Otherwise, the active word in my life is "sustainability."  Whenever I consider an action, I now ask myself whether it's "sustainable."  Can I do this thing indefinitely?  If not, for how long?  Am I creating a problem I'm going to have to later solve, and what amount of resources is this going to cost me down the road?

I have little tolerance for religious mumbo jumbo, especially when that mumbo jumbo reflects "Catholic guilt."  These days, I'm offended at a great many things - but most of them involve the senseless abuse of children.  I could care less whether the skirts are up or down, what color people dye their hair or whether they're boring awls into their ears.  I do care about how people treat each other.

The best thing I ever did was assume all of this is just one giganti lie, cooked up by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  I've done the same for the Bible, and those other books - the Qur'an, the Upanishads, The Tripitaka and the I Ching - have benefitted from my skeptical eye.  As far as I know - and as far as I care - it's all just a big fantasy dreamed up by a poet with a Bible in one hand and a pen in the other. 

Granted, it does grate when people go into their testimony harangue, when they burst into tears and give me the Amway speech about how true the Church is, blah, blah, blah.  I really don't need to hear that.  I really don't care.  If we start doing dissections of history, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the dealings of that first generation, we're going to find human beings who were far from perfect and whose claims and counterclaims simply don't add up.  I've read the Book of Mormon and enjoyed it, but I can show you plenty of places where I doubt the hand of the Lord had much to do with it.  I've read the Bible but I can also show you the seams where texts were clipped and redacted into the edited version we set on the mantel. 

I'm not going to vouch for everything Joseph Smith or Brigham Young ever did or said.

What if it's all a lie, but a glorious one at that?  What if we're not really the sons and daughters of God?  What if all that stuff in the Old Testament is just stuff the Jews told each other to justify taking over Canaan?  What if Jesus was merely a composite of countless Jewish rabbis arrested and crucified by the Romans during their Faluja period of trying to occupy Palestine?  What if God never married any of these ladies Joseph bedded?  What if there aren't three kingdoms and all those baptisms for the dead are little more a nice gesture?

I don't have a testimony.  I've been told to go and get one.  I've tried but the toothpaste just isn't coming out of the tube.  Instead, I get a lot of enthusiastic blather from nice people, well-intended people, who tell me how much God loves me and who pray for my immortal soul.

In the meantime, though, scripture never became so enjoyable as when it became a fable.  You see, while some folks were out arguing that there really was a Garden of Eden, full of naked people, snakes and apples that make you smart, I was free to think about the meaning behind the story.  Some people think they've got evidence that Noah's ark really existed, but to me, the story is not about "what happened" the day God made sea levels rise above Mount Everest (as if).  It's about a guy who just knew bad things were going to happen and who listened to that still small voice, so he could take action to save his family.

Did Abraham really exist?  Did God really tell him to go off his only son?  Mormons like this story because it's one of the many proofs they use to argue that Jesus was the Messiah.  They say that Isaac was used as a Christ figure.  But for me, the story of Abraham is funny because God is such a bastard in it.  Jews, Christians and Muslims use the story of Abraham to speak on the importance of faith and submission to the will of God.  But when I read this account, I'm impressed by it as a metaphor for life.  If the God of this story stood for the Einsteinian God, the Pantheistic personification of all life does - to us and for us - Abraham must have had an amazing revelation.  Within the insanity of this story (of a father obeying an invisible voice when it tells him to kill his own son), there's an interesting moral about life.  Sometimes, we are forced to do things we don't want to do.  Sometimes, even "doing the right thing" doesn't feel like the right thing.  If you've ever had to fire someone you like, or punish a child you love, or simply get punished for doing a good deed, it's obvious that life is like this.

You know the saying, "No good deed ever goes unpunished."  I like to think of Abraham, not as showing us what God would do in sacrificing Jesus, but as a type and figure for God.  Certainly, within the story, God is telling Abraham to sacrifice his only son.  But if you look at the metaphor, Abraham is God, sacrificing his only son, and that only son isn't just the type and shadow which Christians fawn over as Jesus.  God has been known to stick it to even his chosen people.  One can always hope that "God's ways are not our ways," but even then, there's no sugar pill you can swallow when you hear of parents throwing their kids off of bridges or drowning them in the bathtub.
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