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Joseph Smith: America's Hermetic Prophet
December 2, 2002 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Joseph Smith: Magus, Freemason, Kabbalist and Gnostic.

The remarkable founder of the only truly American religion.
posted by y2karl (101 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, how about the Church of Scientology? That's as American as...as...well, Mormonism.
posted by 327.ca at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2002


Except.It's.Not.A.Religon.
posted by y2karl at 4:16 PM on December 2, 2002


er.Religion.
posted by y2karl at 4:17 PM on December 2, 2002


Except.It's.Not.A.Religon.

So then, what is the difference between scientology and any of the other afterlife insurance scams?
posted by badstone at 4:34 PM on December 2, 2002


Aren't the beliefs of pre-Christian Americans also truly American religions?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:36 PM on December 2, 2002


Let's not derail this thread with a debate on what's a religion, OK? A rhetorical flourish is not the topic.
posted by y2karl at 4:38 PM on December 2, 2002


In the first place, you're forgetting Christian Science, founded by Bostonian Mary Baker Eddy.

Even more importantly - and as usual - "American" is interpreted to exclude the original inhabitants: remember Native American religion.
posted by anser at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2002


is it my imagination or have there been a lot a lot a lot a lot of religion links here lately?
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2002


One of my favourite JS quotes which sums up his wonderful theology:

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."

He was a remarkable, energetic, individual and full of contradictions.

Its a pity the church would move away from the joyous religious expression embodied by the youthful Smith and more into a legalistic geriatric quagmire as exists now.

One great story really illustrates the contrast between then and now:

Two men were facing religious trial because they had been observed in a drunken state. They complained to Joseph because their farms were far away from the church settlement at Nauvoo and they didn't want to spend too much time away. Joseph assured them they could go home and he'd take care of the problem and offered them a whiskey flask, saying "Its a long ways home; why don't you boys take something for the road..."

Could you imagine church officials doing anything similar in the current climate?

But, I suppose this illustrates the one great truth of most religions: If you're lucky enough to get a Christ, you'll eventually be unlucky enough to get a Paul who takes all the fun out of it.
posted by pandaharma at 4:41 PM on December 2, 2002 [1 favorite]


Hmmmmm. Before this goes off-course over the issues of scientology and 'truly American' religions I'd like to say: nice post. This post is an interesting look at the beliefs of Smith and examines the influences present in modern mormonism.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:41 PM on December 2, 2002


Much as I respect y2karl's presumable desire to just launch a bunch of chitchat about Joseph Smith, it was his choice to describe Mormonism (complete with word-by-word links) as the "only true American religion." Which is bunk. Off the top of my head, if I had to decide whether it was more important that the average person picked off the street knew (1) lots of JS deets, or (2) that there are a bunch of truly American religions, I'd pick number 2.
posted by anser at 4:50 PM on December 2, 2002


Let's not derail this thread with a debate on what's a religion, OK? A rhetorical flourish is not the topic.

OK. May I ask then why you used the term "only truly American religion" instead of, say, "a truly American religion"?

Any discussion that begins with a sweeping generalization has already hit the rhetorical wall. in my opinion.
posted by 327.ca at 4:52 PM on December 2, 2002


I'm reminded of Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple (which could also be argued to be a American religion, along with the Nation of Islam and The Nation of Gods and Earths, 5%ers etc). In that case we saw a blending of Masonic ideas with a form of Islamic heresey. I don't think the Masons rule the world or anything, but I'm intrigued by the influence they've had on the western world.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:56 PM on December 2, 2002


OK, consider the second line deleted. I guess it's hairsplitters uber alles tonight.
posted by y2karl at 4:59 PM on December 2, 2002


Let's not derail this thread with a debate on what's a religion, OK?

It's generally considered bad form to attempt to moderate one's post once one has released it into the wild.
posted by rushmc at 5:02 PM on December 2, 2002


I guess it's hairsplitters uber alles tonight.

more like vox populi...
posted by anser at 5:07 PM on December 2, 2002


I'm reminded of Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple...

I'm afraid that for me this thread went south when I read that as "Nancy Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple..."
posted by 327.ca at 5:10 PM on December 2, 2002


I don't think the Masons rule the world or anything, but I'm intrigued by the influence they've had on the western world.

Me, too. I'm dubious about whether there were any direct historical connections between the Masons and the Knights Templar, and gnostics and sufis by extension, in any real sense, but it makes you wonder. Maybe Jung was onto something with the notion of the archetypes.

On review: thank you, rushmc. I'm sure it's nothing personal.
posted by y2karl at 5:12 PM on December 2, 2002


Great links... always a hoot to see how outsiders perceive my faith.

As for the "only American religion", the phrase I've always heard was the "great American religion", not necessarily describing it's qualities as a religion, per se, but describing its quintessential American-ness... also describing it as the only great (as in large and growing) religion America has given to the world.

All of these I've heard from non-mormons... although we sure enjoy quoting them ourselves!
posted by silusGROK at 5:14 PM on December 2, 2002


Mmm... latter-day saints...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:19 PM on December 2, 2002


Upon reflection, thank you for the critiques, anser and 327.ca--I wish had used a instead of only. It was very sloppy. My bad.
posted by y2karl at 5:26 PM on December 2, 2002


By way of atonement - I'll observe that here in New Zealand, the Americanness of the Latter Day Saints is obvious, from the church-sanctioned official architecture, to the tone of their written material, to the missionaries with their white socks and black shoes.

But reading these links: what specifically is American about LDS theology? I understand that's what Bloom maintains, but I don't see WHY he says that.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2002


No worries, y2karl. It's that old lesson that we all get learn over and over again -- the one about "what a difference a word makes". ;-)
posted by 327.ca at 5:35 PM on December 2, 2002


Yeah, it's a religion. They want to excommunicate this guy for publishing scientific papers showing that the entire thesis is hooey.
posted by Wet Spot at 5:48 PM on December 2, 2002



Me, too. I'm dubious about whether there were any direct historical connections between the Masons and the Knights Templar, and gnostics and sufis by extension, in any real sense, but it makes you wonder. Maybe Jung was onto something with the notion of the archetypes.


There are no direct connections. If you see any, they are false.

Fnord.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:01 PM on December 2, 2002


I am thinking, i_am_joe's_spleen, it has to with the Second Great Awakening and the Burned Over District by extension. Many American religous movements arose at the same time, more or less, and the Mormon Church has been the most successful. The Seventh Day Adventists had a little problem with a certain prophecy.

And watch it with the white socks cracks, Mr. Can't Watch The Muppets 'Cause They're Too Violent.

I must note, Wet Spot, that all my links save one are by Mormon intellectuals--and the exception is an ex-Mormon. The hierarchy is far more conservative than the church's thinkers, it would seem. Interesting to see Murphy lives in this neck of the woods. Hmmm...

As for the Masons, Thanatopsis, that's what I thought, too, but the Rosslyn Chapel link I found for my post before last has made me wonder. And that's separate from all this Illuminati conspiracy theory stuff , too by the way--not getting into that.

I assume the connection is the same as Neo-Paganism , modern day Wicca and whatever the Old Religion actually was--one group of people appropriating the symbols, rituals and perhaps thoughts of another--only with far more accuracy and less invention out of whole cloth, due to a better historical record and continuity.
posted by y2karl at 6:28 PM on December 2, 2002


I love these sorts of link. I'm a Freemason, was a Theosophist, studied the Kabbalah for years, and have even spent my share of time in Native American sweat lodges. If I belong to any religion at all, it would probably be neo-Platinism (though that isn't, strictly speaking, a religion). Most of these systems of thought are quite good at inducing intellectual agility.

Joseph Smith was a hoot - by all accounts, quite an original thinker ... though his followers over the years have gotten quite strange ... As Tom Robbins says, Ideas are made by Masters, Dogma by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2002


Is that NeoPlatonism or NeoPlatinumism, Midas?

And you're a Mason, well, dang.
posted by y2karl at 6:50 PM on December 2, 2002


What I've always found interesting is that Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and Joseph Smith all had their religious awakening, while camping alone in the wilderness.

Now is that a set up for a one liner or what.
posted by Beholder at 7:01 PM on December 2, 2002


Neo-Platonism is, IMHO, one of the world's most influential religions, though much underregarded for it. If the Enneads of Plotinus don't qualify as a religious text, you'd be hard-pressed to make the case that anything does.

In regards to Mason/Templar links, there are connections, just not direct ones. The Templars stole ideas from Gnostics and Sufis, while the Masons stole similar ideas from other people who had stolen them from the same Sufis and Gnostics (the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, Pico della Mirandola, Sir Isaac Newton).
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 7:07 PM on December 2, 2002 [1 favorite]


Sorry, NeoPlatonism. Single most beautiful piece of spiritual literature on earth, IMO, is the Enneads of Plotinus.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:08 PM on December 2, 2002


Neo-Platonism is, IMHO, one of the world's most influential religions, though much underregarded for it. If the Enneads of Plotinus don't qualify as a religious text, you'd be hard-pressed to make the case that anything does.

Wow ... wonderful to find another freak here ... you'd be surprised how few people have even heard of NeoPlatonism, let alone have read the Enneads. (And in case anyone's interested, by far the best version - again, IMO - is the Stephen MacKenna translation).
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:14 PM on December 2, 2002


MC 900 ft. Jesus aside, weren't the Puritans the first truly free worshippers of their own creed in America (traditional peoples excluded)? Such a lovely legacy.

And just a thought on Masons etc.. Wouldn't the conditions, at the time of their founding, be conducive to a monopoly of expertise? Stoneworkers (and related trades in boom-time Europe), I believe, had a breadth of knowledge that encompassed folk mathematics, folk engineering, materials, local custom...and on.

I don't know, but it sounds like today's technical elite.

Wherever there are old ways and there is the illusion of new ways, Crises of Faith always rear.
posted by hobocode at 7:31 PM on December 2, 2002


I don't believe I have ever commented on my feelings towards the Muppets. I am confused. About a lot of things.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:31 PM on December 2, 2002


the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, eh?

These angelically fair babes we first laid upon two little satin cushonets, and beheld them a good while, till we were almost besotted upon so exquisite an object.

Right now, I'm hearing this read in Bill and Ted speak, Pseudephedrine.

I the ♥ the Internet Sacred Text Archive, by the way.
posted by y2karl at 7:37 PM on December 2, 2002


d'u-oh!
posted by y2karl at 7:38 PM on December 2, 2002


I don't believe I have ever commented on my feelings towards the Muppets.

Someone told me that they couldn't be broadcast in New Zealand because some governmental entity or another decided they were too violent. True or false?
posted by y2karl at 7:41 PM on December 2, 2002


False. The Muppet Show was a staple of my childhood, and is still occasionally rerun.

I have to tell you that LDS missionaries, epitomised by "Norman The Mormon" on his bicycle, are stock characters in local comedy.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:49 PM on December 2, 2002


Joseph Smith was shot to death by an angry mob. Aren't gun nuts the true American religion?
posted by LeLiLo at 7:52 PM on December 2, 2002


Joseph Smith was shot to death by an angry mob. Aren't gun nuts the true American religion?

Well, if someone being shot to death by an angry mob implies this is true, then I suspect "gun nuts" is quite a universal religion.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:56 PM on December 2, 2002


False.

Well, it sounded fishy...

And when they got home, there was a hook stuck in the rear door of the car...

ps. lelilo, we're talking 1844 here, c'mon... What do you want?
SUV hatin' transgendered vegan web designers?
posted by y2karl at 8:06 PM on December 2, 2002


ps. lelilo, we're talking 1844 here, c'mon... What do you want?

A murderous, rampaging group of ex-militiamen seemed so American to me, even though for centuries people have many more, and better, ways than just guns to kill people for religious reasons.

It's true, though, that in 1844, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition . . . .
posted by LeLiLo at 8:53 PM on December 2, 2002


Wow ... wonderful to find another freak here ... you'd be surprised how few people have even heard of NeoPlatonism, let alone have read the Enneads. (And in case anyone's interested, by far the best version - again, IMO - is the Stephen MacKenna translation).

Midas and all: the full text of Stephen Mackenna's translation of Plotinus's Enneads is online.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:16 PM on December 2, 2002 [1 favorite]


(In New Zealand, The Muppet Movie had a moment cut where Fozzie got threatened with a broken bottle. Once Were Wocka-wockas, anyone?)
posted by John Shaft at 9:38 PM on December 2, 2002


Lots of spiffy Mormon related links.
posted by anser at 9:43 PM on December 2, 2002


Lots of spiffy Mormon related links.

You forgot the Jack Chick tract about us. Gotta throw in the Jack Chick tract.

And y2karl, what's up with all the moderating? You're as bad as I was when I tried posting something about the LDS church, and I'm Mormon for crying out loud.
posted by oissubke at 10:17 PM on December 2, 2002


Thanks MC, MM and P for the links on Neo-Platonism. I got Pierre Hadot's book on Plotinus after reading his excellent book on Marcus Aurelius, but I never got to it. Now that you've reminded me, I'll have to go dig it out and finally read it.
posted by homunculus at 11:44 PM on December 2, 2002


ander, note Dan Vogel's LDS-Mormon, an ex-Mormon and rather even handed. All About Mormons is in the same vein. As opposed to the Institute For Religious Research, say.

Compare the takes 1, 2 and 3 on Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith.

boy, homunculus, thanks for the Marcus Aurelius link--the Meditations is one of my favorite books. What a bunch of Classics buffs--and NeoPlatonists, yet!--we have here. I still like NeoPlatinumist--I can't see why Midas can't be both.

Nice try, oissubke, but my self-appointed pastel suited jackal's hopping on one comment, fair or not, the day after we had words in Metatalk doesn't mean I can hold a candle to you in either the moderator or distortion department. ;)
posted by y2karl at 4:07 AM on December 3, 2002


oops, that's Al Case's LDS-Mormon. I jumped to conclusions reading a Vogel review.
posted by y2karl at 4:21 AM on December 3, 2002


I think that referring to Mormonism as a full-fledged religion rather than a cult is inaccurate. After all, there isn't a secret Sunni handshake, there's no such thing as Shinto underwear and you can see an entire Methodist wedding even if you aren't a Methodist yourself.

All that secrecy is creepy. I'm not suggesting that the LDS is a dangerous death cult or as alienating as, say, the Roberts Group. They just need to open up if they want to cement their legitimacy.

(Also, they try to talk to strangers on the street, which is a serious breach of ettiquette here in New England.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:36 AM on December 3, 2002


If you like the Meditations/To Himself, then you ought to check out the works of Epictetus, who was highly influential on him. There's the Enchiridion, the Discourses, and the Golden Sayings, which I found most readable of the three (followed the Enchiridion, as it's significantly shorter than the other two). All of these are off The Internet Classics Archive.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 5:04 AM on December 3, 2002


All that secrecy is creepy. I'm not suggesting that the LDS is a dangerous death cult or as alienating as, say, the Roberts Group. They just need to open up if they want to cement their legitimacy.

There's nothing "secret" about our church. We keep discussion of temple ordinances limited to the temple, because we consider them sacred, and the temple a sacred place. They aren't topics for the water cooler.

The fact that we consider some things sacred enough that we don't want to talk about them outside of a sacred place doesn't, in itself, make us a cult.

(But thanks anyway for those links anyway. Every time I see things like that, it makes me feel like someone has just posted nude pictures of my wife, or the names and schools my children attend. There's nothing quite so gut wrenching as seeing something you hold dear and sacred sensationalized, distorted, and publicized for the sake of rhetoric.)

As far as us being "legitimacized", there are more than eleven million Latter-day Saints in the world. We're not exactly an illigitimate religion.
posted by oissubke at 5:15 AM on December 3, 2002


there's no such thing as Shinto underwear

I'll have you know that Sikhism has the five symbols of Kahlsa or 'five K's', that should be worn on the body at all times, like the ceremonial dagger. But then again, Sikhism is just a cult, eh?

you can see an entire Methodist wedding even if you aren't a Methodist yourself

So having a sacred religious ceremony that only believers attend is cult-like now?

You can make something sound as hokey as you want it to. LDS have just as much legitimacy as the next religion.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:49 AM on December 3, 2002


There's nothing quite so gut wrenching as seeing something you hold dear and sacred sensationalized, distorted, and publicized for the sake of rhetoric.

Well, except maybe for having to shut your parents out of your own wedding and then discovering you're not really having a wedding. Are you seriously saying this woman should not have written about her gut-wrenching experiences, or that they should not be discussed on the internet, because reading about them makes you feel bad? Not for her, mind you, but because you only want to see pretty things about Mormonism? Sheesh. Here, read this and tell me she's "publicizing for the sake of rhetoric":
Several times, heated discussions between my mother and I nearly ripped me apart. She continually told me how painful my wedding day was for her.... After these discussions, I would go home and cry for days afterwards. Oh that I could only tell her how painful that day was for me! But I had to keep up a strong front for the church, so I thought, and I did. To this day, I cry and sob every time I see a wedding on television or movies, a wedding where the people who are married are surrounded by loved ones in a special, exclusive celebration.

After my daughter was born, I got a glimpse into what it must have been like for my mom to be on the outside while strangers attended my wedding. I knew how special my daughter was and how much I wanted to share as much of her life as possible. I realized my mother must have felt likewise for me. It was much later that I shared with my mom that a temple wedding is not a real wedding as non-LDS people know it. I feel as if I had no wedding. It is a simple, generic, impersonal ceremony in a wedding factory. There are no candles, no flowers, no music, no bridesmaids, no decorations.
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2002 [2 favorites]


I can't speak for oissubke, but I'd have to say that regardless of which religion we're talking about, it's heart-wrenching to see someone taking something they know folks regard as sacred and demonizing or otherwise defiling it... so whether that's the LDS temple ceremony, the Uhuru mound of central Australia, native american burial grounds, or the cave Buddhas of Afghanistan, I think it's a testament against the defiler. Believe or don't believe: your choice; but defiling something for the joy of defiling it is horribly base.

As for the marriage issue, I'm LDS whereas my family is not... should I ever find the right woman, we'll be married in the temple. My family knows how important it is for me, and support me... I know how important family is, so I'll have an elaborate reception/gathering for them. It's family: you learn to compromise... from my perspective, that woman's story is much less about religion, and much more about an overbearing mother and a daughter who's never learned to deal with it: it could have just as easily have been about the caterer, the bride's maids dresses, or the florist.
posted by silusGROK at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2002


The temple sealing ceremy is a tremendously beautiful event. It might not look like the "As Seen on TV" Catholic-style weddings that is etched in the minds of most Americans as being "normal", but that doesn't make it any less beautiful or any less valid.

Latter-day Saints are free to have a traditional, "'til death do us part" marriage if they so desire. The church fully recognizes such marriages. A marriage is a marriage. A temple sealing is a unique kind of marriage, though, in which the bride, groom, and other family members who are elegible to enter the temple participate in a ceremony intended to join the couple together for time and eternity. It's a specific, sacred ceremony, not a public show. It's tremendously beautiful and moving (ask my wife).

I come from a non-LDS family, and I was disappointed that it worked out such that my parents wouldn't be able to attend the sealing. But they supported me and were happy for me. They came to the temple grounds to be present, and to the reception afterward. They had a great time. I had a great time.

I hold the temple ceremonies very dear, and consider them as sacred as anything on this earth can be. The reason I object to them being posted in detail on the internet, usually for the sake of mocking, isn't that they're secret or unpleasant, or "the dirty side of Mormonism", but only that they're sacred.

Do you really think the links that were posted were a serious, revent, respectful discussion? Or were they mocking and pointing out how "weird" or "freaky" my religious beliefs are?
posted by oissubke at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2002


Vis10n: I understand your point, but you're not responding to mine. Regardless of the particulars of the woman's family situation, she was clearly not "defiling something for the joy of defiling it" -- and it bothers me that both you and oissubke take that tack. She had a bad experience and she's telling people about it; the fact that it concerned the Mormon church is understandably upsetting to Mormons, but that doesn't make it right to start slandering the woman as a "defiler." Personally, I find the exclusion of non-Mormons from weddings offputting (and it certainly doesn't support the characterization of the religion as particularly "American" insofar as America is supposed to be about inclusion), but the church has a right to its practices; what it doesn't have a right to is uncritical praise from all quarters. If you have practices that put people off (or, as in this woman's case, cause personal torment), you have to expect to take some flak.

On preview: oissubke, you're not addressing the point either. The woman wasn't mocking, she was describing her own traumatic experiences, and you seem unable to come to terms with that. I'm glad you and your wife had a better experience, but that isn't really relevant. I'd be a lot more impressed if you could just admit that, while Mormonism has great beauty and meaning for many, it causes pain to some -- like just about every human institution. Quit attacking somebody who's already suffered a lot.
posted by languagehat at 10:07 AM on December 3, 2002 [2 favorites]


Those links weren't posted to mock adherents of LDS teachings. I presented them as points of interest for people who might not know about them-- if someone is to have a well-rounded view of Mormonism, they should see it from all angles.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:14 AM on December 3, 2002


languagehat, I was really responding to two different issues: the one that oissubke raises vis a vis profaning the sacred (which appear to be a response to mayor curley's links); and then the woman's marriage ordeal.

I was not attempting to link the two, and in no way do I consider her a "defiler"... the only thing I would say is that she appears to be a bellyacher who can't or won't deal with an overbearing mother—hardly a phenomenon particular to the Church. As oissubke outlined, it is not requisite that members of the Church marry in the temple. If they choose to have a non-temple wedding, they are welcome to wed otherwise (as long as it's recognized by the state), and then a year later be sealed in a separate ceremony in the temple. As such an option was available to her, it would appear that the young woman's ire is misplaced.
posted by silusGROK at 10:42 AM on December 3, 2002


"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind… the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. " (Brigham Young, Intellgence, Etc., ibid, vol. 7, p. 290)

"If you find your brother in bed with your wife, and you put a javelin through them both, you would be justified and they would atoned for their sins and be received into the kingdom of God. ... "There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it;" Brigham Young again... Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 247 (1856)

More quotes
posted by aaronshaf at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2002 [1 favorite]


a couple more, from JS himself:

"Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization" (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 218)

" The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it, and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth. We have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction." (Joseph Smith, Contributor, Vol. 5, p. 259)
posted by aaronshaf at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2002 [1 favorite]


Well that was random, Aaron.
posted by silusGROK at 12:32 PM on December 3, 2002


Well that was random, Aaron.

Not if you know him. :-)
posted by oissubke at 12:42 PM on December 3, 2002


It's a bit of a tangent, but as a Scots historian who frequently encounters this myth, I'd like to point out that Rosslyn Chapel (referred to earlier on this thread by Y2Karl) has nothing to do with the Templars or Masons. In fact, it is simply a very ornate 15th century Scots collegiate church which was lucky enough to survive the Reformation with most of its carvings intact. The carvings have led to all sorts of wacko theories.

Claims that the much later chapel is linked to the Templars or that the Templars are directly linked to the original late 16th century Scottish masons are part of an amazing web of pseudohistory which has been falsely (but lucratively!)linked to the site.

Sorry, back to Joseph Smith!
posted by Flitcraft at 12:55 PM on December 3, 2002 [1 favorite]


*sigh* this last is not quite what was envisioned and certainly no profanation was intended in the post. Also, not to excuse them, but judging the 19th Century utterances of Smith or Young by 21st Century standards is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. John Browns weren't exactly a dime a dozen then.

Also interesting is how, despite where their inquiries led them, earnest and fair people like Thomas Murphy and Al Case are to the faith in which they were raised. Not to mention how damn healthy they look--lots of dairy products consumed in their youth, evidently.
posted by y2karl at 12:56 PM on December 3, 2002


Oh, didn't see you, Flitcraft--thanks for the clarification. Well, that's too bad...
posted by y2karl at 12:59 PM on December 3, 2002


Also, not to excuse them, but judging the 19th Century utterances of Smith or Young by 21st Century standards is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

In addition, it should be remembered that not every word out of a prophets mouth is necessarily revelation or doctrine. They're human beings. They have opinions, faults, and occasional bad judgement just like the rest of us. Being selected as a mouthpiece for God doesn't make your every word into doctrine.
posted by oissubke at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2002


Of course, oissubke, non-mormons would consider that assertion an apologist's ruse... so I've found that it's seldom much use raising that point, no matter how valid a point it is.

For me, as a believer, it boils down to this: in the early days of the Church, the Lord needed folks who were willing to break away from conventional wisdom and to push the envelope; such were necessary to plumb the depths of the new Gospel and to decisively fjord the breach between the old and the new, the apostate and the revealed. The acceptance of the resulting faith by so many required a necessarily complex structure to administer to the flock, and manage the affairs of the Kingdom on Earth. So now the Lord seems to favor the more stodgy administrative type.

Neither type-caste necessarily speaks to the soul of the person: hold up Brigham's or Hinckley's soul to the light, and you'd find two complex, God-fearing, and beautiful creatures, each fit especially for the work of the Kingdom in their era.
posted by silusGROK at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2002


I found Dan Vogel's piece (the "remarkable founder" link) illuminating. Like consider this famous quote from Hinckley:

Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?
Hinckley: I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it. I haven't heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don't know. I don't know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don't know a lot about it and I don't know that others know a lot about it.

Time magazine interview (TIME Aug. 4, 1997)

He's another Pious Fraud, like (Vogel says) Smith was. It's not just that he's lying, it's that he thinks lying is the right thing to do. Better that one person should lie like a bastard than a whole generation of potential converts go "huh? that's wack."

And, well, I'd say that he's counting on you, Vis10n, and you, oissubke, to think so too.
posted by lumpley at 2:32 PM on December 3, 2002 [1 favorite]


That's an awfully simplistic take on a complex matter, lumpley... and the ad hominem was a nice touch.
posted by silusGROK at 3:26 PM on December 3, 2002


to decisively fjord the breach between the old and the new

...in your new 2003 Fjord Explorer!
posted by languagehat at 4:00 PM on December 3, 2002


ROFLOL... ah, you slay me languagehat! That was great!

And I deserved it: I realize that I'm sometimes given to a certain flourish in my writing, but hopefully I still get the point across.

: )
posted by silusGROK at 5:05 PM on December 3, 2002


Believe or don't believe: your choice; but defiling something for the joy of defiling it is horribly base.

That sounds reasonable at first glance, but you are assuming a great deal in your use of the term "defiling." As an agnostic, you would have a very difficult time persuading me that "defiling" a religious practice or belief was even a valid concept, although I would certainly accept "disrespecting." It's kind of a circular argument: if you don't presuppose that something can be "sacred," then you can't acknowledge any special abuse of things or practices deemed "sacred."

In any case, the idea that making information public somehow "defiles" it is preposterous on the face of it, I think. Reading about and gaining an understanding of your rituals is in no way comparable to urinating on your icons.
posted by rushmc at 6:23 PM on December 3, 2002


*raises Vulcan eyebrow*

                                   *then poses for Maxim calendar! *
posted by y2karl at 6:52 PM on December 3, 2002


rats!
posted by y2karl at 6:55 PM on December 3, 2002


I'm afraid to click on the links provided, y2karl, so I'll just continue in my assumption that you're completely mad.

Mad I tell you.

Rushmc: I'm not an agnostic, and I'm not sure how my possibly being agnostic would get in the way of persuading you (I have my ways).

At any rate, the basic precept is this: agnostic or not, mankind has an innate ability to appreciate in certain situations, beings, artifacts, or rituals (see Joseph Campbell, or Wendell Berry for more apt descriptions) their innate specialness... a corollary ability is to appreciate qualities in others that you either do not have, or would not care to have yourself. Call it empathy, reverence, respect, multiculturalism, whatever.

That said, I believe that most of us can and do say on a regular basis (it's even happened on Metafilter!) "I don't believe that, but I can appreciate that so and so does... so lay off". It's the sentiment behind our adjuring folks against climbing Uhuru, or the Taliban against blowing up giant Buddhas, or any number of things that are done.

So no: I don't think you have to believe what I believe to think that profaning what I consider sacred is still an awful thing to do.

As for the idea that these folks are just "making information public", that's what I think is preposterous. Perhaps in the age of irony (which isn't over, sadly), you're no longer to call a spade a spade. I dunno. Maybe oissubke's analogy of finding naked pictures of one's wife on the internet is apt: what's the value in knowing? What's the value in publishing something to the world? Not everything has to be known. Not everything has to be dis-covered.
posted by silusGROK at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2002


Rushmc: I'm not an agnostic, and I'm not sure how my possibly being agnostic would get in the way of persuading you

No, no, that was me, not you....

Not everything has to be known. Not everything has to be dis-covered.

We'll have to agree to disagree there, I fear. I don't accept any elitist views of information, where it is only made available to a select few. If someone is afraid/unwilling to have their thoughts participate/compete freely in the open community of ideas, then they must fear that they aren't worth much to begin with. Since nothing is lost by sharing this sort of information (and something might be gained), it strikes me as the pettiest sort of selfishness to try to keep it all for oneself.

Those confident that they know the truth need never fear another man's mockery: embarrassment is born of uncertainty.
posted by rushmc at 9:25 PM on December 3, 2002 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm popping in a little late with this objection, but I think Karl was right on the money when he described Mormonism as "the only truly American religion. ", and he received a lot of unfair nit-picky criticism.

Of course Mormonism isn't the only religion practiced in or invented in America, but it really is the only religion to so thoroughly incorporate the idea of America into its core set of theological beliefs. In a way, America is as necessary for Mormon belief, as Mohammed is for Islam- the two can't be separated. (control F: '"MORMON" VIEWS OF AMERICA')

The Book of Mormon teaches that the two American continents are a promised land, consecrated to righteousness and to liberty, and especially dedicated to the seed of the Patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob, of Bible fame, and to the Gentile races, who shall in the last days be gathered to the land as well as the descendants of Joseph.

Joseph Smith called America Zion:

"You know there has been great discussion in relation to Zion--where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, and which I am now going to tell you. The prophets have spoken and written upon it; but I will make a proclamation that will cover a broader ground. The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the land. When elder shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible, they will see it."

According to Mormonism, The Book of Mormon was written in America. Mormons also teach that Jesus came to America-twice. Once he preached to the "Indians" here, and another time he appeared to Joseph Smith in New York. Jesus is said to have prophesied the founding of America and tells of the special role of America according to the Mormon faith:

"This land, saith God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who
shall raise up unto the Gentiles, and I will fortify this land against all other nations, and he that fighteth against Zion (this whole land of America) shall perish, saith God; for he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish. … Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy (Lehi's) seed, and them (the Gentiles) who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above
all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 10:10-20)


I think it is very fair to say that no other religion has so indelibly constructed its belief-system around the idea of America as Mormonism has.
posted by dgaicun at 10:07 PM on December 3, 2002


I think it is very fair to say that no other religion has so indelibly constructed its belief-system around the idea of America as Mormonism has.

Great comments, dgaicun, thanks.

Many people regard the LDS Church as part of American history. We however, regard American history as part of our Church history. :-)

Various church leaders, from Joseph on down, have taught the sacredness of the United States Constitution and the divine nature and destiny of this country. You're absolutely correct to say that the two are necessarily intertwined.

Whether or not we're typically "American" may be in the eye of the beholder, but America is a fundamental part of our religion.
posted by oissubke at 10:27 PM on December 3, 2002


And you don't charge $90,000 to become an Operating Thetan III. Unless there's one of those secret temple ceremonies yet to be exposed...
posted by y2karl at 11:14 PM on December 3, 2002


Perhaps a few here should read...

FOURTEEN FUNDAMENTALS IN FOLLOWING THE PROPHET by Ezra Taft Benson

Sixth: The prophet does not have to say "Thus saith the Lord" to give us scripture.

Sometimes there are those who haggle over words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel, but that we are not obligated to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet Joseph, "Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you" (D&C 21:4).

And speaking of taking counsel from the prophet, in D&C 108:1, the Lord states: "Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman: Your sins are forgiven you, because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom I have appointed".

Said Brigham Young, "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture" (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot], 13:95).

---

But "ahhh heck." Who needs internal consistency... that whole law of noncontradiction doesn't really APPLY, now does it?
posted by aaronshaf at 1:33 AM on December 4, 2002


Here's a working link
posted by aaronshaf at 1:34 AM on December 4, 2002


But "ahhh heck." Who needs internal consistency... that whole law of noncontradiction doesn't really APPLY, now does it?

Nuts. I had a lengthy reply this morning, but my internet connection went down in the middle of it.

In a nutshell: The only people who treat every word spoken by a prophet as doctrine are those who use that notion to try to discredit said prophet.

Aaron, your sound byte approach of "The LDS Church is terrible because so-and-so said such-and-thus a hundred and sixty years ago" may be persuasive to those who don't know anything about the church and don't care to research it any further than that.

It doesn't do much for your crusade against my religion though, because I (and most other Mormons) know the difference between between scripture and opinion, and between the Lord's commandments and something a prophet happened to say. Our current church president may have voted for Bush over Gore (I don't know if he did or not), but that doesn't mean we should assume that God has declared that Bush should be our eternal ruler, regardless of how passionately GBH may have spoken about him.

Benson was completely accurate to say that not all revelation or commandments start with "Thus saith the Lord". But your implication that this makes every statement of every church president part of church doctrine is entirely false. Some X are Y doesn't mean that all X are Y, or all Y are X.
posted by oissubke at 7:21 AM on December 4, 2002


rushmc: your resignation to agree to disagree is accepted.

But answer me one thing: you're saying that it's okay if I come watch you and your significant other have sex? or that you wouldn't mind me showing up uninvited (and intransigent) to some family gathering video taping your children? or that I'd be welcome everywhere in your life, with a camera and audio recorder?

Like I said: Not everything has to be known. Not everything has to be dis-covered.

Moreover, fearing mockery and not condoning it are two completely different things.
posted by silusGROK at 9:35 AM on December 4, 2002


Vis10n,

To some people pursuit of truth and exposure of lies is a virtue. Mormonism is an idea that effects the lives of a great many people both practicing and non, and therefore fully requires a great deal of public scrutiny so that others can make the most informed decision regarding its merits as a factual claim. There is a difference between investigative journalism and hiding a camera in the women's dressing room, and I'm surprised that this distinction is lost on you. Not that snarky websites are exactly investigative journalism, but they clearly serve a function closer to that than to the camera in the locker room. One functions to scrutinize, evaluate, discuss, and condemn or support ideas, the other is for base arousal. Even worse, all the analogies you have listed are using an illegal act known as trespassing, while openly discussing Mormon ritual is not illegal, its just free-speech. So you should maybe use an analogy of practices that are not illegal to better illustrate your point. The Church of Scientology has tried to use the legal system to protect its confidential rituals from being disseminated too, using similar arguments, and, while they have had some legal success, it isn't really working to make it look like a particularly appealing or open-minded religion. It kind of resembles the same sort of religious authoritarianism and hierarchical corruption and exclusivity that set off the Reformation. Is that really the direction you think the Mormon Church should be going in? As a Mormon, your opinions reflect the Church to outsiders, and right now, you and oissubke look like theological brats, and are making, what is supposed to represent an American theology, look more like the rigid Anglican Church that our country was responding against, and less like the confidently spiritual Quakers who better represented the spirit of classical American liberalism.
posted by dgaicun at 11:00 AM on December 4, 2002


As a Mormon, your opinions reflect the Church to outsiders, and right now, you and oissubke look like theological brats...

dgaicun,

The upshot of this whole conversation is that we object to people publishing detailed information about things that we consider so sacred that they shouldn't be discussed outside the walls of the temple.

I'm not saying it's illegal. I'm not saying they should be punished or put in jail. I'm not saying the Church should sue them. I'm not saying that free speech is bad and that criticism of the church should be forbidden.

But just as you would probably object to someone posting the details of your home life (which is sacred in a similar sense) online without your permission and for the purpose of criticizing you, we too object to people who post details of our temple ceremonies online. The temple isn't a public establishment.

There's nothing particularly bizarre or freaky about the ceremonies. There are no virgin sacrifices or anything of the sort. It's a very simple, beautiful, and straightforward ceremony. But just because we don't have anything to hide doesn't mean it's acceptable for people to publicize what we consider a private and sacred affair.

I'm not being a "brat", I'm simply voicing my objection to what I see as offensive behavior. They have the right to speak about whatever they please, but I likewise have the right to object to it.
posted by oissubke at 11:21 AM on December 4, 2002


dgaicun: Well said!

oissubke: Your analogy is false because home life is a very restricted area; to invade it is basically to leave no privacy whatever, which most of us agree is a bad thing. Religion, on the other hand, can encompass everything; you have only to examine the history of a society in which a religion was politically dominant (say, the Papal States) to see what happens when the church gets to treat everything as coming under its own purview. I'm not saying the Mormon Church is a totalitarian organization; I am saying the line of reasoning you're putting forth is misleading and could be dangerous. (And you still haven't explained why that woman shouldn't have publicized the details of her miserable wedding; presumably if she'd been married in some other religion, you wouldn't have a problem with it.)
posted by languagehat at 11:57 AM on December 4, 2002


(And you still haven't explained why that woman shouldn't have publicized the details of her miserable wedding; presumably if she'd been married in some other religion, you wouldn't have a problem with it.)

It's not the woman I have a problem with. She didn't talk that much about the specifics of it. She had a bad experience and wanted to talk about it, which is reasonable, but she did so in a way that was respectful of the fact that those who attend the temple consider it a private and sacred thing. I really don't care if people say bad things about the church.

I've been referring to one of the sites that was linked --and, more generally, to sites like it -- which post pictures and descriptions of temple ceremonies that those who attend the temple consider sacred and private.

This has been compared to "investigative journalism", but I can't think of a single reputable news organization that would do something so offensive to members of a religion for the purpose of reporting a story, nor have I ever come across one of those sites that approaches anything resembling journalistic objectivity -- they are almost universally published by someone with a personal grudge against the church. We're talking about "Hahah Mormons Suck!", not the New York Times here.

As far as me not having a problem with it if it were in any other religion, that depends on how the religion regards the ceremony. Most religious ceremonies, especially wedding ceremonies, are public affairs. Ours happens not to be. Unless there's some particular socially-valid reason for making someone's private religious affairs public (e.g., they're sacrificing animals or raping children or something), then I think it should be left private.

Personally, I find it amazing that people can at one turn be so offended at the idea of invasions of privacy (e.g., the TIA keeping a list of what books you checked out of a library), and then at the next turn argue that it's perfectly reasonable that my religion's religious ceremonies ought to be photographed, documented, and published for the world to see -- particularly when it's personally offensive to just about every member of said religion.
posted by oissubke at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2002


This medium is not made for the nuanced dialog necessary here. So after this, I'm bowing out of the "conversation".

A few points: posted by silusGROK at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2002


oissubke, Vis10n: Thanks for the clarifications, and I agree it's offensive to publicize photos of secret ceremonies unless there's some good reason to do so (e.g. if someone were harmed). Your civility is appreciated.
posted by languagehat at 1:27 PM on December 4, 2002


oissubke,

I've been referring to one of the sites that was linked --and, more generally, to sites like it -- which post pictures and descriptions of temple ceremonies that those who attend the temple consider sacred and private.

Here is the Scientology link Karl just provided. Mostly ex-Scientologists provide, what is hoped by the church to be, sacred and confidential information (And which they work tirelessly to control the spread of). After years of service to the church and at the price of over $100,000, you may learn the Church's holy secret of the universe: and it's the plot of that John Travolta spaceship movie that nobody saw. Do you think this might be valuable information for confused, possibly fence-sitting, people struggling to comprehend the church? Do you think it is offensive for ex-Scientologists to maybe discuss their hard-won perspectives about sacred Church rites and church procedures? Do you think that they should feel the requirement to treat as sacred things which they believe to be profane (i.e. lies)?

If you support these ex-Scientologists, then you are choosing the path of confident and open spirituality. You are also being a hypocrite, because the situation is almost identical to what we are discussing with you. If you don't support these ex-Scientologists, then you are either a) being dishonest to save face (because I think you believe that truth and openness are actually good things) or b) Have some rather narrow views about what is and what is not ethical behavior in the free market of ideas.
posted by dgaicun at 1:38 PM on December 4, 2002


If you support these ex-Scientologists, then you are choosing the path of confident and open spirituality.

So basically you're saying that if I hold my religion sacred, the terrorists have already won. :-)

Personally, I don't really support the ex-Scientologists in doing that, for the same general reasons. I know that saying that is certain death for me, though, because "Scientology-exposing" is a time-honored internet passtime and I'll look like a luddite for not jumping on the bandwagon. But I stand by that statement. If you were to hand me a book containing the highest-level, most secret teachings of Scientology, I wouldn't open it because I don't really consider it any of my business unless that church (or whatever it is) wants me to be seeing that. Finding out may be tittillating or provide good ammunition for criticism, but unless it's newsworthy, dangerous, or in the interestes of public health or security, I don't think it's very civil to go spreading it around. (And no, I didn't click on the link you provided.)

But I'm with Vis on this one -- MeFi has proven itself repeatedly (unfortunately, often with my assistance) to be a poor medium for discussions of religion, and so I too resign from this conversation. :-)
posted by oissubke at 3:15 PM on December 4, 2002


I think there are such things as religious experiences and I suppose you can call the institutions that arise from them religions. In another thread I linked to a site that had something about Rudolph Otto's Idea of The Holy and William James's Varieties of Religous Experience.

I'm too lazy to explain it in detail here and now so let me paraphrase Justice Brennan's comment on pornography: In my semi-informed opinion, I know it when I see it.

The Church of Latter Day Saints is a religion.
The Church of Scientology isn't.
It's not even apples and oranges here.

That's my take and I'm not going to debate it here and now--another thread, another time, maybe. I wanted to do a post about Joseph Smith, who I find more interesting the more I find out about him. I am interested in the history of the Morrmons and the details and aspects thereof but I don't believe in goofing on people's religions. Politics maybe but not religion.
posted by y2karl at 4:31 PM on December 4, 2002


Thanks for the links on Otto, y2karl. I've been meaning to read The Idea of the Holy for a long time, thanks for the reminder. I think you'll like Hadot's book on Marcus Aurelius, which also analyses Epictetus' influence on the emperor.
posted by homunculus at 12:01 AM on December 5, 2002


The Church of Latter Day Saints is a religion.
The Church of Scientology isn't.


This statement is indefensible. Have you ever met a Scientologist? Scientology provides the same metaphysical context, emotional and spiritual framework, moral compass, transcendental comfort, and community system as any other religion. I think you'd have to make some fantastically arbitrary distinctions to actually believe that Scientology isn't a religion.

. . .But I guess I'll have to wait for some hypothetical future day, to hear how you might defend it. Personally I think you are demonstrating usage of this fallacy.
posted by dgaicun at 12:31 AM on December 5, 2002


dgaicun: Do you consider Soviet Marxism a religion? At first blush the answer might appear to be no because of the "spiritual framework" and "transcendental comfort" stuff, but consider the following from Anne Applebaum's "After the Gulag" in the Oct. 24 NYRB:
From the time of the Revolution, Bolshevik funerals were deliberately designed to replace their Christian predecessors, sometimes borrowing the same imagery and applying the same customs. When Lenin was buried in Red Square... his corpse was displayed as if he were a living god.... These memorial rituals were so strong, and so emotional, that they were voluntarily incorporated into other celebrations. Few Westerners who visited the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and 1980s could fail to be surprised by the frequent sight of brides in white dresses laying flowers at memorials to the war dead, their new husbands beside them, their wedding guests in a solemn semicircle behind.
Looks as if there's at least as much religious stuff going on as in Scientology; I'm curious as to what you think. (Love the Scotsman link, by the way.)
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on December 5, 2002


I think dogmatic commitments to politics, race, nation, etc. can overlap into the realm of belief that we call religion, in providing a meaning, an identity, and even an overarching framework to interpret existence from, yes. But I would say these things are still separate in essential character from what can be called a religious belief (though all of these elements can and have been incorporated into what can genuinely be called religious belief). The illustration you have provided seems to show what might be viewed as extreme nationalism, which is very close to religion, but I think the one key element needed to make them the same is the belief in the supernatural premised on faith. That is the essential component that probably distinguishes the realm called religion, from the realm that is simply philosophy. Those Russians who felt that Lenin was divinely appointed or divine (not in the metaphorical sense) himself I would say were definitely religious (though I would wager that wasn't too many). That is the key element that made the emperor worship of Ancient Egypt and Rome genuine religions as opposed to the way some people carry-on about Reagan now-a-days.

It is possible that some will be uncomfortable with the opinion that superstition is the central component to the definition of religion. Fair enough. Of course there are lots of gray areas to any definition (modern art is almost predicated on pushing definitions and seeing where they end.), but as far as I can tell superstition is the key ingredient to things typically recognized as religions (esp. when its paired with the things I listed in my previous post to demonstrate Scientology was a religion).
posted by dgaicun at 9:46 AM on December 5, 2002


Have you ever met a Scientologist?

Yes. Many.

Have you read Rudolph Otto?
posted by y2karl at 12:32 PM on December 5, 2002


I have a passing familiarity with the ideas behind his work. As I remember, he focused on the super-rational aspect of religious transcendence. I guess what might be called spiritual mysticism or numinous, or what I have described as belief in the supernatural premised on faith, and all those oh-so 'inexpressible' feelings that are traditionally associated with what faith is. Scientologists have a new-ageish faith of personal healing and self-discovery that is established on the belief of an immortal personal soul with a universal destiny. A soul can't be described in any other terms but a numinous super-rational one. In other words, Scientology is a religion, even as a religion would be defined by Otto. If you somehow believe a world-view that is established on an intangible self with promise of an afterlife is not religion, or that these ideas can be understood without faith, mysticism, numen, etc. . .well then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by dgaicun at 2:19 PM on December 5, 2002


I skimmed the current content of this thread... and though I have a lot to say I choose not to simply because it isn't worth the effort. I agree with those of you who said that this really isn't the best place to discuss religion.

HOWEVER!! I have noticed that with all the various links on this thread regarding the LDS faith, the one that should be here that isn't is the official Q&A site I mean honestly you want to know what anything is really like, shouldn't you go directly to the source??
posted by freethinker1 at 12:26 AM on December 6, 2002


I much preferred the tone of oissubke's original LDS post which did not include the typical nasty dogpile and derision that this thread spotlights.

I am fascinated by religion and religious people because I know that there is something more to the world in which we live than what we can prove scientifically, and many people who know much more than I do have devoted their entire lives to undertaking the investigation of that fascination.

But here we go again deriding faith like anemic cold-war Soviets.
posted by hama7 at 4:31 AM on December 11, 2002


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