My remarks at #ewts2013 »« Friday Cephalopod: Wickedly intricate

How to get to heaven, Mormon-style

At last, that convoluted theology is clarified.

mormonflowchart3

It has been rendered obsolete, though. I was tap-tap-tapping this into my iPad, oblivious to the world around me, and I looked up and a Guinness had magically appeared at my table. A theology that fails to mention the spontaneous emergence of pints of Guinness is No True Theology at all.

(And thanks, passing attendee!)

Comments

  1. mobius says

    Can’t read it. Can i haz link?

    It’s right above the picture.

    BTW…

    Theists are always claiming atheists want to be a god. And now Mormons. (Actually, I already knew that about Mormons.)

  2. Larry says

    You gotta give props to Joesph Smith, the inventor of that seriously weird shit. Whatever ‘shrooms he was eating whilst rooting around in the woods for those tablets were potent.

  3. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Does Guinness in Ireland taste less like cold coffee than the ones I’ve had here?

  4. Becca Stareyes says

    Wait, so if I understand this correctly, unless one actively works for Lucifer, one still gets a decent afterlife, just kind of a cut-rate one, and one spends a lot of time loafing around until Jehovah gets off his butt and kicks Lucifer’s ass. And, after one dies, one can change teams once one sees actual proof that all this stuff exists.

    Nope, not really seeing the appeal of converting. It’s like this was set up to oppose Pascal’s Wager.

  5. poxyhowzes says

    My uniform message to “front door Mormons”:

    ME: Joseph Smith received the truth on golden tablets from G_D. Is that true?

    FRONT DOOR MORMONS: Yes.

    ME: Well, when G_D reveals to me the same truth by the same means, I may become a believer. Why should Joseph Smith get the truth directly from G_D when I haven’t?

    THEM: [bafflegab]

    ME: What can you offer (here at my front door) that G_D cannot?

    THEM: Bye Now!

    pH

  6. says

    My plan to reach Mormon heaven- Don’t be a complete asshole, and after I die accept any proxy baptism I recieve.

    I might not get to the best heaven this way, but Mormonism does offer some great ways to hedge your bets without being Mormon or even a believer.

  7. peptron says

    Well, we can give points to mormonism for being one of the few religions that say that nothing bad happens to non-believers. I don’t know if that can have a link with the stereotype of Mormons being above average in human decency.

  8. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I did, then enlarged it from there. Still illegible.

    *sigh*

    I’m not saying anything other than what I’m saying…

    did you click on the actual picture or the link in the words?

    The link in the words takes you to anotherr blog where it is embiggened nicely.

  9. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    hahaha

    sorry i wanted to point you there without coming off like an asshole….

    or at least more of an asshole

  10. shouldbeworking says

    I support Mormon religion. It means more Guinness for me. And more Harp lager, Bushmill’s and Kilkenny for me.

  11. says

    And, after one dies, one can change teams once one sees actual proof that all this stuff exists.

    Well, there’s one little catch: In order to get to the celestial kingdom, you have to be baptized while incarnated (or have someone else do it for you). So, you can change your mind after death, but at that point you can only get to the celestial kingdom if some good Mormon takes pity on you and is baptized in your stead. For some reason the actual physical submersion in water is really important. I’m not quite sure why.

    This is why the Mormons are so fixated on making sure all their ancestors are baptized post-mortem. See, only in the celestial kingdom do you get to hang out with your friends and family. This works as a nice hook because it’s not enough that you convert, you also have to convince the people you care about to convert, or you don’t get the full package.

  12. unclefrogy says

    I would rather chose Lucifer than any of the shit religion peddles even if it were true. in fact I have a hard time telling god and the devil apart.

    Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk.
    ” Tom Waits, Heart attack and Vine”, Heart attack and Vine (1980)

    uncle frogy

  13. says

    Sorry, I flung it up on the fly and then Maryam Namazie and Taslima Nasreen and Maureen Brian and so many other people showed up, and I had no time to patch it up.

  14. timberwoof says

    That reminded me of the Scientology/Dianetics theology, which, being a mere hundred years newer, is a little simpler but not much less silly.

  15. says

    Jehovah is basically Mormon Jesus, and he’s distinct from Elohim, the Mormon God. Remember, the Mormons aren’t Trinitarians.

  16. gussnarp says

    @Azkyroth – Yes, Guinness in Ireland tastes less like cold coffee. But not a lot less. If you dislike Guinness because you think it tastes like cold coffee, you’ll still dislike it in Ireland. It’s the heavy roasting of the Barley that gives it that flavor, and it’s sort of the heart of Guinness so it will still be there in Ireland.

    While it’s probably partly psychological, the Guinness in Ireland always tasted better to me, and the Guinness at St. James Gate was like the nectar of the gods. The usual claim is that the difference is the water. Guinness in the states is brewed in the states, using ingredients from Dublin. It just wouldn’t make sense to ship finished beer when most of the weight is water, which you can get anywhere.

  17. gussnarp says

    @shouldbeworking (so should I!) – Fun fact, when you tour the Guinness brewery at St. James Gate they give you a coupon for a free pint (actually I think it’s a half pint, it’s been a while and my memory is fuzzy). This is the best Guinness you can ever drink. For some reason a good number of people take the tour who have no intention of drinking (maybe they’re Mormons). Which means – more for me! Yes, complete strangers offered me their coupons. And the tasting room is practically a pub, they’ve got food and everything. You can get a table and keep using the coupons… Wait, maybe that’s why my memory is so fuzzy…

  18. IslandBrewer says

    @LyleX

    …you have to be baptized while incarnated (or have someone else do it for you). So, you can change your mind after death, but at that point you can only get to the celestial kingdom if some good Mormon takes pity on you and is baptized in your stead.

    So, people who have been baptized by proxy, like Hitler get into the celestial kingdom, but us other shlubs won’t, because none of the surviving mormons give as much of a crap about us as they did about Hitler?

    Hitler baptized into LDS:http://www.mrm.org/prominent-people-baptized-by-proxy

  19. says

    @IslandBrewer
    As far as I know, yes. As long as Hitler honestly repents in the after-life and agrees to become a Mormon, he’s safe.

    I think maybe the complete set of temple endowments are necessary for the celestial kingdom, since that’s where you learn the secret handshakes. However, those can be performed for the dead also, so it’s all good.

  20. says

    …when most of the weight is water, which you can get anywhere.

    As a homebrewer, I can testify that water can have significant impact on the taste of the final product. Even different batches of the same brand of bottled water can make a difference.

    Also, Yes. Guinness does taste better there.

  21. sathyalacey says

    Thanks for this. I do have a couple technical quibbles/suggestions (please don’t take it as a criticism of the overall document, I did enjoy it, especially the 11th hour Harry Potter jokes).

    The Spirit World box is a little hard to follow, it’s not clear causes you to move from one box to the other. Specifically, “Go to Spirit Prison” has two unlabeled lines coming out of it (the right side one, and the left side one that wraps around and goes down to “but are you a Mormon?” ), and it’s unclear what exactly is linking Spirit Paradise to the box underneath it. I’m getting the impression that the Armageddon box isn’t supposed to be connected to any lines, its’ an independent event. If I’m right, might I suggest recoloring it so the line that’s going underneath it looks like it’s going over/around/etc or possibly resize so it doesn’t touch the line at all?

    Also, your colored boxes around certain content setting it aside (like the Spirit World box) are very faint – maybe it’s just my monitor, but I could barely see those boxes, and they add a LOT to clarity. Might I suggest turning up the alpha on them?

  22. sathyalacey says

    Wow, I’m a huge idiot. totally just realized this isn’t PZ’s work. And comments are closed on the original site. Balls.

  23. says

    The mormon concept of heaven is a bit convoluted. In addition to confusion associated with Joe Smith’s myth-making, the modern LDS church has modified both the concept of mormon heaven, and the requirements for being worthy to enter the various levels.

    See: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/swedenborg.htm

    For changes in the Temple ceremonies that supposedly seal family members together for eternity, see:
    http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_changes.htm

    In general, black people were excluded from mormon heaven up until 1978. See: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_racism.htm
    A few black people were “sealed” to white men or to white families during Brigham Young’s time. The purpose of this sealing was to provide the family with a servant in the Celestial Kingdom.

    May 18,1894 – In Salt Lake Temple, “Jane Elizabeth Manning (a Negro woman) is sealed as a servitor for eternity to the Prophet Joseph Smith.” Joseph F. Smith acts as proxy.

    From: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_history.htm

    Black slaves were sometimes “paid” to the LDS church as tithing.

    Sep 7,1859 – Salt Lake City clerk records sale of twenty six year old “negro boy” for $800 to William H. Hooper. Until federal law ends slavery in U.S. Territories in 1862, some African-American slaves are paid as tithing, bought, sold and otherwise treated as chattel in Utah.

  24. Ogvorbis says

    7? I feel like it’s 7.

    The magic number of children a woman is supposed to have is however many she contracted in the prelife but she has no memory of the prelife so she has no idea how many children she is supposed to have in order to fulfill her contract with god so she damn well better be shooting them out of her Gatlingina just to be on the safe side.

    Sorry, I flung it up on the fly and then Maryam Namazie and Taslima Nasreen and Maureen Brian and so many other people showed up, and I had no time to patch it up.

    As long as we know who to blame.

    And I thought Scientology was nuts.

    It is.

  25. says

    Here is an informative thread on Recovery from Mormonism. Ex-mormons are discussing the “no Hell” concept and the Celestial Kingdom.
    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,938272,938853

    Excerpt:

    They do believe in the three separate kingdoms of heaven, each having multiple levels of glory depending on individual worthiness.

    For example the Celestial Kingdom has residents who get to keep and use their genitals and the servant class who does the dirty work and does fetch and carry and whatever they’re told.

    The other Kingdoms have Barbie and Ken doll bodies but they’re not supposed to mind because they need to feel lucky for living in otherwise pleasant though non Celestial environments.

    Outer Darkness means not a flicker of light, warmth, comfort or fellowship for eternity. But at least there are no Mormons and no callings or busywork.

  26. gussnarp says

    @Lynna – Wow, the horror of not simply being sold into slavery, but being told you were to be a slave for all eternity. Imagine if that poor woman were convinced of the truth of Mormonism somehow, to go through life believing you would continue to be a slave after your death. It’s about the mentally cruelest doctrine I can think of.

  27. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Wait, are you suggesting the Guinness is irreducibly complex ?

    It’s certainly intelligently designed.

  28. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    I’m pretty sure this can’t be true because if it were, I’d be hanging out in hell with Lucifer.

  29. dexitroboper says

    You’ll be cast into the outer darkness for not drinking Murphy’s, anyway.

  30. yazikus says

    I’m fascinated by mormonism. I know quite a few, and love it when something slips out that they don’t normally talk about. Like when at a christmas party I apologized for only offering hot chocolate (because caffeine) and was informed that caffeine is a-okay, it is the tannins you can’t have. You know, like the stuff that cures leather. You wouldn’t want to put that in your body, would you?

  31. Michael says

    After you die, what do they mean “Are you a body or a soul?”. If you believe in souls, aren’t you both (a soul within a body)?

    Oh there I go, expecting it to make some kind of sense…

  32. says

    yazkikus @50, most mormons will also tell you that caffeine is bad. From this example, you can tell that mormon beliefs are inconsistent even among the sheeple, but especially when the WoW (Word of Wisdom) is discussed. The WoW is mentioned in the Doctrine & Covenants, but not in the Book of Mormon. D&C is one of the mormon sacred texts, but many mormons don’t know all that is contained therein. They may be wise in not knowing. Much cognitive dissonance would assail them.

    The mormon fall-back position when confronted with inconsistencies is to rely on obedience to their leaders. Obedience is the all-encompassing virtue. This leaves leaders to fuck them over in regard to number of wives required for the top level of the CK, number of earrings per ear, and the evil of wearing flipflops to church …. etc.

  33. madtom1999 says

    I wouldn’t want to live in Salt Lake City once the GOP find out about that communist paradise bit – it will be Green Glassy Salt Lake City…

  34. mykroft says

    OK, now we need one made for Scientology, so we can compare them side by side.

  35. moarscienceplz says

    The mormon fall-back position when confronted with inconsistencies is to rely on obedience to their leaders.

    Ah Ha! Proof positive that Mormons are, in fact, Christians!
    or possibly Muslims, or Jews, or …

  36. yazikus says

    @Lynna, OM

    The mormon fall-back position when confronted with inconsistencies is to rely on obedience to their leaders. Obedience is the all-encompassing virtue. This leaves leaders to fuck them over in regard to number of wives required for the top level of the CK, number of earrings per ear, and the evil of wearing flipflops to church …. etc.

    There does seem to be a lot of discrepancies between beliefs. I have overheard more than a few discussions about one fellow I know: He was sealed to a woman, later got a divorce, temple sealed again to a new wife. Supposedly, the first wife will be wifey number one in the CK? Or not? Like I said, there have been heated discussions.

  37. hypatiasdaughter says

    #45 gussnarp
    I had the same reaction. Mormom heaven sounds drearily like normal life going on, and on, and on, and on……for an eternity. Not much better than playing harps for all eternity.
    And what is with these religions that that are all about men getting to fuck multiple women for all eternity after they die (Islam springs to mind)? Haven’t they been telling us that all sex in this world is merely for procreation not recreation? It’s like they think the Universe is supposed revolve around the twitchings of their penis and in Heaven it finally happens!!
    At least Mormonism says it is because one has to populate one’s personal world.
    Heaven still sounds like a bad rewrite of “Groundhog Day” to me.

  38. unclefrogy says

    heaven sounds like a curse any way you look at it. I think when the time comes I will gratefully accept oblivion.
    uncle frogy

  39. imthegenieicandoanything says

    B-b-but there isn’t “Jesus Christ” ANYWHERE on that unbelievably convoluted (it makes what I know about Scientology look logical and streamlined!) flow chart!

    They really aren’t “Christians” in any way, like the Baptists, etc. claim?

    Not that I give a tinker’s darn, but… cheeses!

    That certainly IS the religion for someone like Mitt rMoney, though.

    People really will believe anything, and kill for it, won’t they? [sighs]

  40. says

    Whatever ‘shrooms he was eating whilst rooting around in the woods for those tablets were potent.

    Shrooms (nor LSD) make you become a life-long con-man and manipulator. He was still selling the BS when he came back down (assuming he ever went up in the first place) – hallucinogens aren’t an excuse.

  41. skylanetc says

    For comparison, t would be fun to see a flow chart for Scientology. My money’s on them in the crazy race.

  42. Nemo says

    So, if I’m reading the plans correctly, Lucifer was the good guy?

    But then, I already knew that from Genesis.

    (OK, I realize that Lucifer isn’t actually in Genesis, just “the serpent”. And you can tell that it’s meant to be an actual serpent, and not Lucifer, because there’s a just-so story about How the Serpent Lost its Legs. But try telling that to a Christian.)

  43. WhiteHatLurker says

    Hey! I don’t have a beer of any sort. I don’t like this …

    Wait a sec … is PZ in the The Magic Glass bar? That explains it – it is simple magic, not religion.

  44. consciousness razor says

    So, if I’m reading the plans correctly, Lucifer was the good guy?

    Yeah, but it sure doesn’t seem like I’m in “Outer Darkness” right now, satisfied being a demon. How did I get to that other spot on the flowchart… quantum tunneling or something? Is this when I’m supposed to just be confused and become a Mormon?

    And you can tell that it’s meant to be an actual serpent, and not Lucifer, because there’s a just-so story about How the Serpent Lost its Legs.

    Why would losing its legs involve losing its ability to talk as well?

  45. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    @LYKE X #22

    if some good Mormon takes pity on you and is baptized in your stead. For some reason the actual physical submersion in water is really important. I’m not quite sure why.

    It’s the universal solvent, ffs! Therefore no other reason is required.

  46. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    @Ye Olde Blacksmith – Spocktopus cuddler #34

    As a homebrewer, I can testify that water can have significant impact on the taste of the final product. Even different batches of the same brand of bottled water can make a difference.

    There is a whole branch of law that got started in Scotland concerning rights to keep streams free flowing and clean. This protected salmon, but more importantly scotch. It was well known that the water had to be just so to produce any given single malt, and of course, same when blended.

  47. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    So sounds like LUcifer was all seimper fei and wanted to make Earth bootcamp with no soldier left behind

    Why was this evil compared to abandoning some children?

    Answer: because he didn’t give glory to the big guy. he’s only evil bc he didn’t ass kiss

  48. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Also heaven is only good because there’s lesser peons amd servents to be greater than. No wonder MOrmons are Republican

  49. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Why would losing its legs involve losing its ability to talk as well?

    Are Italian jokes still in bad taste? O.o

  50. robster says

    Jesus f’ing christ! Is this the simplified version of the regular mormon nonsense? Perhaps Joe Smith could get all the staff locked away in their wedding cake temples so beloved by the mormon deluded to create an app for an i phone to untangle the nonsense. They could charge 10% for the app and offer 100% silly nonsense. Should sell well.

  51. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    @robster

    create an app for an i phone to untangle the nonsense

    Oooo, I want in on that! Should sell like hotcakes and bacon!

  52. consciousness razor says

    Are Italian jokes still in bad taste? O.o

    I have no idea what you mean. (Talking snakes? Italians? What??). But if they’re racist jokes, it’s not simply “bad taste.”

  53. says

    (Utah is a MLM haven due to “it’s ok to rip people off” laws, to explain my Amway joke. That’s where all of those Mangosteen and Goji Juice scams are, for example.)

  54. stever says

    I always knew that Joe Smith’s cult was freaky, but I never knew how freaky.

    I know someone who served on a ship hauling concentrated Guiness. They brew it in Dublin and extract the water (most of the mass) for shipment. The concentrate is a hazmat. They spilled some and it peeled the paint off the deck. BTW, while Guiness is often referred to as black, it’s actually a lovely dark ruby. Hold a glass up to the sun and see.

  55. Azuma Hazuki says

    If you think of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as three films in a trilogy…Mormonism is that weird furry/yaoi Sonic the Hedgehog crossover fanfic made against the continuity of the second one, with some outside material (hello, Masons?) thrown in for good measure.

    And it STILL manages to be the least hateful and evil of the lot by far. Infinitely far in fact, since it seems no human ends in eternal torture.

  56. raven says

    Mormon heaven isn’t as great as it sounds once you realize that everything there is an Amway product.

    Way worse than that. Mormon heaven has a lot of…Mormons.

    yazkikus @50, most mormons will also tell you that caffeine is bad.

    When I was in college, the Mormon kids wouldn’t drink coffee. They took caffeine pills instead, NoDoz and other brands. I don’t blame them. Who would want to go through 4 years of university without coffee or the equivalent?

    FWIW, Scientology has the better deal. You can become a god without dying for a few hundred thousand dollars. Cheap for what it is.

  57. raven says

    So, Jehovah is not Elohim? That’s interesting.

    It’s also confusing.

    Elohim is yahwah’s father. That means in Mormonland, there are two gods running around in the bible. Yahwah is jesus. I’m not sure how they decide which god is speaking or massacring in any given passage. I suppose they just guess and call it a revelation. Which one of these idiots decided to kill everyone on earth except for 8 people in the Big Boat Atrocity.

    There are also a near infinite number of other gods with their own planets with more being made all the time.

    Elohim has a fleet of goddess wives on Kolob. Yahwah is just first and most favored, the brother of satan and everyone alive on earth as well. These goddess wives/mothers are so important no one even knows their names.

    This isn’t even close to monotheism. Mormon mythology is baroque. And you can tell it was made up by an overaged adolescent male.

  58. says

    So, if I’m reading the plans correctly, Lucifer was the good guy?

    Yeah, but it sure doesn’t seem like I’m in “Outer Darkness” right now, satisfied being a demon. How did I get to that other spot on the flowchart… quantum tunneling or something? Is this when I’m supposed to just be confused and become a Mormon?

    my theory, based on the available evidence, is that not only is Lucifer the good guy, he seems to have narrowly won: there’s no evidence for real free will, so it seems it’s Lucifer’s plan that is in effect. Mormonism is anti-Lucifer propaganda trying to lie to you out of sheer spite for losing the war, apparently. That also explains why those of us who know Lucifer is the good guy aren’t demons out in the “Outer Darkness”.

  59. bad Jim says

    consciousness razor: the joke is that Italians supposedly talk with their hands.

    ‘Lucifer’ is from Isaiah, and it refers to the king of Babylon, not the devil, at least according to the Jews, whose book it is. In the Old Testament, Satan is an agent of god, sort of the quality control guy. The devil is pretty much just a random assortment of folklore in the gospels, and some ambiguous stuff in Revelation; there’s no way to make it all coherent, which is why he’s such a great literary character.

  60. untarded says

    As someone who was born into Mormonism, with nutso parents, this brings back bad memories.Thank goodness for Tanqueray. (hic.)

  61. says

    As someone raised atheist I have real difficulty with believing someone actually really believes such convoluted, incoherent, unevidenced stuff. I know people do believe it, even passionately, I just find it hard to comprehend it.

  62. sathyalacey says

    Before we get on our herd of high horses on the whole “wow Mormon stuff is so fundamentally weird”, let’s remember the Abrahamic religions and the associated panoply of stuff that surround them is also incredibly fucking odd. The only reason we don’t react to it as such is because Western culture has been steeped in this nonsense for centuries, immunizing us to realizing and reacting to the various oddities.

    Newcomers like Mormonism and Scientology are just as nonsense as the older religions – no more, no less.

    But to be fair, their nonsense is certainly more entertaining. :)

  63. David Marjanović says

    Gatlingina

    Full of win!

    Also, your colored boxes around certain content setting it aside (like the Spirit World box) are very faint – maybe it’s just my monitor

    It is. The first thing I do when I encounter an LCD monitor is to set the brightness to zero percent. Maybe that’s why I can then gaze at it for hours.

    OK, now we need one made for Scientology, so we can compare them side by side.

    Those would be really hard to compare. They’re really dissimilar.

    It’s the universal solvent, ffs!

    What. The Mormons put dodecyl sulfate into their holy water? :-S

    Or do they skip the water and just use straight dimethyl sulfoxide?

    If you think of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as three films in a trilogy…Mormonism is that weird furry/yaoi Sonic the Hedgehog crossover fanfic made against the continuity of the second one, with some outside material (hello, Masons?) thrown in for good measure.

    Day saved!

    Who would want to go through 4 years of university without coffee or the equivalent?

    Me. :-) Coffee is awful, and caffeine doesn’t seem to have an effect on me. I’m drinking very strong tea right now and not feeling any effect.

    I’m not sure how they decide which god is speaking or massacring in any given passage.

    Well, they could go to the original text and see where it says “Yahwe” and where it says “Elohim”… of course it says “Yahwe Elohim” in some places… and there’s El, El Shaddai, El Elyon et al. to deal with…

    I suppose they just guess and call it a revelation.

    …or that. That sounds more realistic. :-)

    my theory, based on the available evidence, is that not only is Lucifer the good guy, he seems to have narrowly won: there’s no evidence for real free will, so it seems it’s Lucifer’s plan that is in effect. Mormonism is anti-Lucifer propaganda trying to lie to you out of sheer spite for losing the war, apparently. That also explains why those of us who know Lucifer is the good guy aren’t demons out in the “Outer Darkness”.

    I’ll just send you your next Internet, OK? *starts baking lavender cookies*

    As someone raised atheist I have real difficulty with believing someone actually really believes such convoluted, incoherent, unevidenced stuff. I know people do believe it, even passionately, I just find it hard to comprehend it.

    I know. I was raised Catholic. Then my faith faded away, then I saw the Catholic flowchart for your soul (it’s shorter but more interconnected than the Mormon one) as JPII had just proclaimed it, and then it took dead children to convince me that anybody really believes in Scientology and isn’t just in it for money or for expensive career advancement.

  64. kylemarquis says

    Charlie #85
    “As someone raised atheist I have real difficulty with believing someone actually really believes such convoluted, incoherent, unevidenced stuff. I know people do believe it, even passionately, I just find it hard to comprehend it.”

    As someone who was *also* raised atheist, I’m pretty sure they don’t believe it. They believe that their leaders are good people who wouldn’t lie to them. (“Why would they lie? What do they have to gain? They’re so nice!”) This short-circuits their reasoning ability and replaces it with a tribal loyalty test. You say “Do you believe this stuff?” and they hear “Do you like your friends and trust your leaders?”

    Normal members of a religious hierarchy can’t really be said to “believe” in the heavenly sorting mechanisms (for Mormons) or whether the Holy Spirit precedes from the Father, the Son, or both (for Catholics) or all that other gibberish. They just think what they’re told–and vote how they’re told.

    At least that’s as far as I can figure, after years of asking “Do you believe this stuff?” and getting answers that only make sense if people hear “Do you like your friends and trust your leaders?”

  65. ck says

    “Well, sure, when you put it that way it does sound absurd, but that’s just because you haven’t read The Book.”

  66. says

    Charly:

    As someone raised atheist I have real difficulty with believing someone actually really believes such convoluted, incoherent, unevidenced stuff.

    Hey, we should form a club or something!

    Anyway, I would say the more convoluted something is, the easier it probably is to believe in it. I mean, it makes no sense to the common person, so it must be deep, right? And the “deeper” something is, the “realer” it is as well.

  67. weatherwax says

    #26 “So, Jehovah is not Elohim? That’s interesting.”

    Way back when, Jehovah was one of the sons of Elohim. When they drifted into monotheism they crammed them together.

  68. says

    Slightly off-topic, but, it being summer and all, ’tis the season for mormon-themed parades throughout Utah and southern Idaho. If you want to know what mormon heaven would really be like, it may be instructive to look at mormon parade floats.

    http://i.imgur.com/Dbx29Fz.jpg

    That’s right, Duck Dynasty, a mormon temple (with Moroni blowing his trumpet and a very young bride and groom), missionaries, the mormon dude from “The Bachelor” TV show, and Sasquatch. The dudes on Duck Dynasty are Southern Baptists. Maybe they are also honorary mormons? They have been immersed plenty of times. Sasquatch myths are a big deal in mormonism, with a professor from Idaho State University (Jeffrey Meldrum) taking the issue very seriously indeed. http://www.isu.edu/~meldd/fxnlmorph.html

    The photo is from Lehi, Utah, and was provided by ex-mormon “Senoritalamanita.”

  69. Rey Fox says

    and a very young bride and groom

    WUT

    Which one is The Bachelor? And what was he doing on that show? And I figured the Sasquatch was actually a special forces sniper in camo, or perhaps a very decked-out duck hunter. I lived a day’s drive from these fellows for 25-ish years and I’m still befuddled.

  70. David Marjanović says

    Anyway, I would say the more convoluted something is, the easier it probably is to believe in it. I mean, it makes no sense to the common person, so it must be deep, right? And the “deeper” something is, the “realer” it is as well.

    Also, ineffability. Problem of evil? “We Puny Humans are just too puny to understand it.” OK, then. *shrug*

    …seriously, that was what I did. The problem of evil is not among the reasons why my faith has faded away; basically, an argument from parsimony is to blame.

    Way back when, Jehovah was one of the sons of Elohim. When they drifted into monotheism they crammed them together.

    I know. That’s why it’s so interesting that the Mormons have apparently separated them again.

    Sasquatch myths are a big deal in mormonism

    Really? Why?

    (I knew about Meldrum, but what does Mormonism have to do with it?)

  71. birgerjohansson says

    “It’s the universal solvent, ffs! Therefore no other reason is required.”

    Molecular acid? Elohim= Alien in human disguise.

    “Sasquatch myths are a big deal in mormonism”
    Its a diversion to draw attention from the facehuggers.

    If the Engineers visited Kolob, back before Elohim existed, do they rank higher than Elohim?
    — — — — — — — — — — — —
    And where do zombies end up? They do not seem to be affected by water.

    -If I am bitten by a vampire, do the bad things my undead carcass do count against me? It is not as if I will have a free will at that point, remember? “Must…have…fresh blood!”

    What if Hannibal Lecter eats your body? Where will that leave your soul?

  72. says

    Which one is The Bachelor? And what was he doing on that show? And I figured the Sasquatch was actually a special forces sniper in camo, or perhaps a very decked-out duck hunter. I lived a day’s drive from these fellows for 25-ish years and I’m still befuddled.

    The Bachelor is the blond guy featured on the poster on the left-front of the float. Mormons make good reality TV stars. They’ve been over-represented on “Survivor” and on “Dancing with the Stars.”

    More on Meldrum and Bigfoot/Sasquatch: http://doubtfulnews.com/2013/06/snazzy-symposium-for-bigfoot-blimp-project/

    As for David M.’s question about the connection between mormonism and Bigfoot/Sasquatch: it’s not an official LDS church belief, but there’s a strong contingent of mormons, led by Jeffrey Meldrum, who think that Bigfoot is Cain. As to why they believe this, I think one ex-mormon put it best: “Mormons are the most gullible idiots ever to exist.” Full discussion of Cain theory here: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,82698,82743

    The same personality trait makes Utah the world capital of rip-offing one’s neighbors via multi-level marketing schemes makes it fertile ground for Bigfoot believers.

    Here are a couple more nifty mormon theories (courtesy of ex-mormon “Makurosu”):

    The City of Enoch, as it turns out, is a spacefaring cube 1300 miles on a side with the glory of the Terrestrial Kingdom. That’s why it detached from the Earth when Enoch was translated. During the Millennium, when the Earth receives a comparable glory, the City of Enoch will come back down to rest in the Gulf of Mexico. Then we will get their scriptures to add to ours.

    The Lost Ten Tribes will also come out from the interior of the Earth from under the ice cap at the North Pole and we’ll get their scriptures as well. The Millennium is going to be a pretty nifty time.

    From ex-mormon “skeptic2195″:

    The origin for the story of the City of Enoch being translated as a chunk of land, etc is in the Journal of Discourses. The talk indicated that the city was translated as a physical city, complete with farms, farm animals, buildings, etc., and when the land was taken the Gulf of Mexico was created. I don’t remember who gave the talk, maybe Heber C. Kimball.
    Modern leaders either ignore the teaching or deny it.

  73. Rey Fox says

    The Bachelor is the blond guy featured on the poster on the left-front of the float.

    Oy. So the overall presentation is basically like something a group of six-year-olds would come up with. I guess that fits in with the sort of arrested development that Mormonism tends to encourage.

  74. Azuma Hazuki says

    Wait, Jehovah was one of El/Elohim’s sons? Where did this come from? I’d be really interested in learning more.

  75. says

    As someone who was *also* raised atheist, I’m pretty sure they don’t believe it. They believe that their leaders are good people who wouldn’t lie to them. (“Why would they lie? What do they have to gain? They’re so nice!”) This short-circuits their reasoning ability and replaces it with a tribal loyalty test. You say “Do you believe this stuff?” and they hear “Do you like your friends and trust your leaders?”

    this is bullshit.
    sure, for some people that might be true. mostly though, religious people really believe their religious beliefs. because the human brain is really not a good truth-finding machine. Most people believe convoluted, unevidenced bullshit of some sort; you only notice it though if it happens to be unevidenced convoluted bullshit you don’t believe yourself.

  76. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    Why couldn’t he just have written this as a work of fiction? I would totally read it. And watch the tv adaption. Well at least for the first season or two before it turns crap.

    Although the patriarchal crap would probably put me off now I think about it a bit more.

  77. says

    Being a god, creating a new universe, and perpetuating the ritualistic cycle of universe reproduction sounds like a pretty sweet gig but then Lord English shows up and ruins everything.

  78. David Marjanović says

    Full discussion of Cain theory here:

    Wow.

    So, every single Bigfoot sighting is of the same individual?!?

    Are there any quotes by Jeffrey Meldrum to that effect?

    sure, for some people that might be true. mostly though, religious people really believe their religious beliefs.

    I think it’s common that people really believe most of their religious beliefs, simply withhold judgment on those pieces of sophisticated theology they know and don’t try to investigate them, and plainly don’t know the vast majority of sophisticated theology – so when they hear of it, their reaction is just “oh, OK” and nothing further.

  79. says

    I think Jeffrey Meldrum avoids making the Cain/Bigfoot/mormonism connection overtly because he thinks that would make his Bigfoot-hunting-dirigible project sound a little goofy. (Yeah, I know. Mormons not knowing how weird they are is common. Add Bigfoot and you just get even less self-awareness.)

    Here is a statement Meldrum made publicly:

    The challenge with any animal that is rare, solitary, nocturnal and far-ranging in habitat is to find them and observe them in the wild; this technology provides for that. [he's referring to the blimp project]

    Hard to tell what Meldrum really believes — he also wrote that a different Bigfoot imprint had been found, one that showed a malformed left foot. So that makes at least two Bigfoots, (Bigfeet?).

    Meldrum is not alone in his obsession. The people who produce the TV show “Finding Bigfoot” seem to be believers. There is also an anti-government conspiracy theory that claims the U.S. government knows Bigfoot exists and is hiding the evidence.

  80. says

    There is also an anti-government conspiracy theory that claims the U.S. government knows Bigfoot exists and is hiding the evidence.

    There’s a zoo of them at Area 51.

    Of course I can’t tell you how I know that. Sheesh!

    Glen Davidson

  81. says

    Meldrum also claims to distinguish between female and male Bigfoot sightings, and to have found evidence of a juvenile Bigfoot. No single “Cain” figure in his mind, I guess.

    Here is the actual mormon source for the Cain connection:

    As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me… His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the holy priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight…
    (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, pg 127, 1969)

    Kimball was the 12th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He died in 1985.

  82. raven says

    He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men.

    That can’t be the biblical Cain.

    In Genesis, Cain wanders around for a while, meets some girl, and has a kid. Then he founds a city.

    There is no mention of where this girl came from inasmuch as there were supposedly 3 people on the earth or how Cain knew what a city was with 3 people existing or where they were going to get people for that city. Genesis is pretty incoherent, start to finish.

    It’s not a very believable story, Bigfoot and Kimball. I would expect better from a Pope but from a Mormon Pope…this is the best they have?

  83. rogerfirth says

    When I was in college, the Mormon kids wouldn’t drink coffee. They took caffeine pills instead, NoDoz and other brands. I don’t blame them. Who would want to go through 4 years of university without coffee or the equivalent?

    When I was in college I dated a Mormon girl for a while. She made it clear she was saving herself for marriage, so no “sex”. She had no problem giving me hand jobs and blow jobs, and she even let me fuck her up the ass a few times. But no penile penetration of her lady parts. That would be wrong.

    Thirty years later I still shake my head sometimes at the memory. The cognitive dissonance in that girl was strong.

  84. says

    rogerfirth @111, the recent Jodi Arias trial made public some of the mormon cognitive dissonance surrounding sex.

    As for oral and anal sex, LDS church leaders have commented on these activities in the past.

    “The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it.”
    - Official Declaration of the First Presidency of the Church, January 5th, 1982.

    “Don’t be deceived by the false idea that anything short of the sex act itself is okay. That is a lie, not only because one step overpoweringly leads to another, but because even touching another person’s body with sexual intent is part of the intimacy that is kept holy by the sanctuary of chastity. Please also beware of unnatural sexual acts that are just as immoral, if not worse, than traditional fornication or adultery.”
    - Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “Your Longing for Family Joy,” Ensign, Oct. 2003, page 28

    “I was shocked to have you raise the question about `oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples.’ Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint… to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice.”
    - Church President Harold B. Lee, http://www.solotouch.com/res/art/art00010.htm

    “Sexual relations in marriage are not unrestrained. Even though sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life, we must remember that life is not designed just for sex. Even marriage does not make proper certain extremes in sexual indulgence. To the Ephesian saints Paul begged for propriety in marriage: “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” (Ephesians 5:28.) And the Lord’s condemnation included secret sexual sins in marriage, when he said: “And those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.” (D&C 132:52)”

    “If it is unnatural, you just don’t do it. That is all, and all the family life should be kept clean and worthy and on a very high plane. There are some people who have said that behind the bedroom doors anything goes. That is not true and the Lord would not condone it.”
    - President Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.311-12

    For “unnatural” read “anal.”

  85. says

    From the Jodi Arias trial:

    On her second day on the stand, Arias testified that Alexander had a “Bill Clinton view of sex” because Alexander was eager for oral and anal sex, which to him was a to get around Mormon church rules against premarital sex, she said.

    “It seemed like Travis kind of had a Bill Clinton version of sex, where oral and anal sex were also sex to me, but not for him,” Arias told the court today.

  86. says

    As far as mormon leaders having specifically banned oral and anal sex at one time or another, I think all the workarounds meant to preserve technical virginity are simply another case of younger mormons finding a way around what they view as the official rules, a case of mormons finding some way to remain human within an oppressive system.

    Perhaps the mormon prophets were only “speaking as men” and not as prophets when they talked about sex? Also, willful ignorance of mormon history and doctrine can go a long ways toward allowing human nature to intrude on dogma.

    And what college student, even a BYU student, will not justify private sexual behavior?

    …because Mormons are against pre-marital sex, many of the “good” Mormons make it to their twenties as virgins. Heaven help them, they’re hell bent on staying a virigin. But…we all know sex feels really really good. Add to it that it’s forbidden and now you have a group of hormonally-saturated, unfulfilled virginal, twenty-something-year-olds going off to college, namely Brigham Young University.

    See where this is going? How do you have sex without having sex?

    You have “soaking,” that is, you put your dick in her vagina but you don’t move. Not even a single pump, rub, wiggle or jiggle. Nothing. You just lay there, soaking.

    Like I said, I wish I was making this up.

    I can’t in good faith say I’ve ever experienced this phenomenon first hand because I’m A) not a BYU graduate and B) not fucking retarded. But, I have it from good sources (a few “Jack Mormons,” also known as Mormons who were born and raised but no longer practicing, as well as an ex-communicated one).

    There you have it folks. The solution to every religious believer’s ultimate dilemna: how do you have sex without having sex. Mormon soaking.

    http://datingisweird.blogspot.com/2010/06/mormon-soaking.html

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=let+it+soak

    The people who called-in who knew about it at BYU said that it had to be preceded by “oral is moral” or “hand jobs” which was performed until climax. Then the soaking came afterwards as a means of getting to know how each other felt. This makes it a lot more believable. A caller even said that BYU “looks the other way” when it came to cases of just oral sex or assisted masturbation. It’s a fact that many, if not most BYU students masturbate at least alone, confess it, and aren’t disciplined. There does seem to be a tolerance, anyway, for lesser-degrees of sexual activity.

    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,245879

  87. David Marjanović says

    Soaking. *headshake* For literal fuck’s sake.

    “Oral is moral” made me LOL.

  88. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Ogvorbis #39

    Gatlingina

    PfffffHAhahaha! Here, have an internet; have all the internets!

  89. jerthebarbarian says

    raven @81

    Mormon mythology is baroque. And you can tell it was made up by an overaged adolescent male.

    If only Dungeons and Dragons had existed in the 19th century – perhaps a few of the American-born religious nuts would have had a healthier outlet for their mythmaking.

  90. says

    Sorry to have disturbed everyone by looking under the mormon dogma covers for a view of real-life, somewhat twisted, mormon sex. No, wait. I’m not sorry. If you lift up the covers and find some kind of rot hiding there, sunlight may be the cure.

    Also, I think it’s helpful to know that even mormons find it hard to comply with LDS dogma.

  91. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Lynna

    The fact I found their weird hatred of sex and the resulting work-arounds disturbing is in no way a reason for you not to post stuff like that, and I didn’t mean to imply that it was. Sorry if I did.

  92. says

    No problem, Thumper @121. You should be disturbed. As should we all.

    It’s unlikely anyone other than PZ can stop me from posting true tales of Moments of Mormon Madness. It’s a rich vein to mine.

  93. says

    The actor Kevin Rahm plays Ted Chaogh on Mad Men, and he is an ex-mormon. In a recent interview, Rahm talked a bit about leaving some of his personal Moments of Mormon Madness behind.

    You have to play the sound file for the podcast to hear the mormon part. http://alisonrosen.com/2013/06/ariynbf-187-with-kevin-rahm/

    In addition to other details, at the end of the podcast Rahm mentions that his mormon relatives post messages on his FB page telling him his dead mother is disappointed in him for leaving “The Church.”

    That bit fits with out discussion of the “eternal family” outlined in the flow chart PZ posted, and it also reminds me that LDS leaders recently instructed their missionary troops to spend less time going door-to-door and more time harassing folks on social media. Salt Lake Tribune link.

    In what was billed as a “historic” meeting Sunday, Mormon apostle L. Tom Perry announced that the Utah-based faith’s largest missionary force ever — more than 70,000 strong — will tap online tools to help them connect with and teach their “investigators.”

    The LDS church has increased the number of missionaries by lowering the age for becoming a mormon missionary (minimum age for male missionaries from 19 to 18 and for females from 21 to 19). Get ‘em into the intense brainwashing system before they have a chance to do much soaking at BYU, I guess.

  94. boygenius says

    Lynna, OM:

    Get ‘em into the intense brainwashing system before they have a chance to do much soaking at BYU, I guess.

    The next time they show up on my porch, Imma ask ‘em if they wanna come inside and soak for a spell.

  95. says

    The next time they show up on my porch, Imma ask ‘em if they wanna come inside and soak for a spell.

    LOL. Internet and phone access for mormon missionaries is closely monitored. They might appreciate more an offer of unsupervised internet and phone use. But if you, boygenius, are an attractive male maybe you can talk a gay mormon missionary into a soaking session. Remember though, these guys always arrive in pairs, so you’ll have to take them on two at a time.

    They won’t even enter my house. No male at home, so they are forbidden by God and their Missionary President to enter. A dangerous single female meets them on the porch and during the predictable, scripted conversation replies, “Yes, I have read the Book of Mormon.” The senior member of the duo will usually say, “What did you think of it?” Then I tell them. Then they get red in the face. Occasionally, one of the pair will duck his head to hide the fact that he’s struggling to keep from laughing. Good times with the “Elders.”

  96. belaja says

    I am a (now ex-mo) graduate of BYU. I’d never heard of “soaking” (which is not to say it doesn’t exist). But the scuttlebutt when I was there was that the way to avoid pre-marital sexual sin was (duh) to get married.

    Remember BYU is around 8 hours north of Las Vegas. It’s not a big thing to drive down there after school on a Friday, spend Saturday and a chunk of Sunday and be back on Monday for class. So people who wanted to do the nasty LEGALLY simply had to go to Vegas, get a quickie marriage a la Britney Spears (although they were doing it long before Britney ever thought of it), spending the weekend getting it on, and then get a quickie divorce before heading back north.

    Easy peasy.

    I always wondered if there were really people who did this and I’ve since read accounts on ex-mo forums from people who did it or knew someone who did it. If you can believe anything that lying benighted apostates have to say, of course.

  97. belaja says

    And, of course, Wendover was even closer if you wanted a quicker quickie.

  98. rogerfirth says

    Also, I think it’s helpful to know that even mormons find it hard to comply with LDS dogma.

    As many Catholics find it hard to comply with Catholic dogma (e.g. birth control). As many Jews find it hard to comply with Jewish dogma (e.g. “lighting a fire on the Sabbath”, eating pork).

    I simply can’t understand why somebody would want to be a member of a club where they simply don’t want to abide by the silly rules.

    I tell you, atheism is so much easier. Sure, I have to think for myself, and that takes some work. But I don’t have to devise clever ways to get around the rules.

  99. apostatemormon666 says

    This chart is funny, but riddled with inaccuracies.

    -Mormons themselves cannot decide on whether Kolob is a star or a planet
    -Pretty much everyone alive, probably even most atheists make it to one kind of heaven or another. They just will not make it to the heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) that God lives in
    -There were no fence-sitters in that existence (the pre-mortal existence). Everyone who has been born on Planet Earth fought for Jehovah in the pre-mortal existence. Those who fought LESS valiantly are those who are born black in this world. They might also be oriental or brown.
    -Those who make it to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom are a “god”, not “God”, meaning they still operate under Heavenly Father (Elohim/God) who still operates under his Heavenly Father (some Mormons believe)
    -When someone is baptized posthumously, then they are asked if they want to become a Mormon. Supposedly, they have a choice and if they choose right, they move to a better place.

  100. David Marjanović says

    A dangerous single female meets them on the porch and during the predictable, scripted conversation replies, “Yes, I have read the Book of Mormon.” The senior member of the duo will usually say, “What did you think of it?” Then I tell them. Then they get red in the face. Occasionally, one of the pair will duck his head to hide the fact that he’s struggling to keep from laughing.

    I’m so curious what you tell them. :-)

  101. says

    I’m so curious what you tell them. :-)

    I’ll give you a truncated version.

    - As a writer, I find the point of view in the Book of Mormon to be distressingly inconsistent, amateurish.

    - The style of writing is also inconsistent, with obviously plagiarized text from the King James Bible wedded in a clumsy manner to pseudo King James style. For example, the phrase “and it came to pass” is used as a transition phrase indiscriminately, even where it makes no sense. It’s almost as if a man stuck in eternal adolescent just liked the sound of “and it came to pass” so he threw it in to introduce yet another battle scene.

    - By the time I had suffered through more than one hundred instances of “and it came to pass” used incorrectly, it came to pass that I threw the damned compilation of nonsense against the wall.

    - I was offended by the “Testimony of Three Witnesses” and the “Testimony of Eight Witnesses” having been massaged to eliminate the “spiritual eyes” with which the witnesses supposedly saw the golden plates to read as if the witnesses had seen the plates with their actual, human eyes.

    - I was insulted by Moroni 10:3-5, especially verse 4:

    And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    What a set-up. Even a reader with an open mind, sincerely looking for what might be of worth in the Book of Mormon, is required to believe in Christ as a prerequisite for finding the that the BoM is “true.” In other words, I am to brainwash myself most thoroughly and turn off my powers of intellectual analysis, then all will be well? And if I find that all is not well, I am the one to blame for being insufficiently “sincere,” for lacking in faith. Bleh.

    - The repetitive violence reminded me of a really bad video game. The excuses for the repetitive violence were lame.

    - There are no believable female characters. “Feeding the women upon the flesh of their husbands…” and other lovely set pieces meant to degrade women.

    - Close with litany of anachronisms: steel swords, sheep, horses, Lamanites as descendants of Jews, enormous cities that left no trace, tuna-can-like submarines, and generally fucked up timelines.

  102. says

    As a writer, I find the point of view in the Book of Mormon to be distressingly inconsistent, amateurish.

    Perhaps even exceedingly amateurish?

  103. says

    Perhaps even exceedingly amateurish?

    Yes. Adolescent.

    Wherever he found his speech growing too modern — which was about every sentence or two — he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as ‘exceeding sore,’ ‘and it came to pass,’ etc., and made things satisfactory again. ‘And it came to pass’ was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet. — Mark Twain, Roughing It, Chapter 16

    Lehi claimed to have Jesus and the 12 apostles directly after witnessing a pillar of fire on a rock (no fuel). Lehi was a Jew that lived 600 years before Jesus. That pesky timeline problem again.

    Lehi and his family walked 400+ kilometers from Jerusalem to the Red Sea in three days. A pesky problem with geography. An category of WTF moments related to geography alone would fill several pages. Once they had hiked the 400 km, Lehi sent his sons back to pick up an item he had forgotten. 800+ km round trip. After picking up the genealogy that is written on brass plates, Lehi’s son’s are sent on yet another Red Sea/Jerusalem round trip. This time they picked up some women.

    There are multiple instances of God and/or angels having to convince the good guys to commit murder (Nephi for example). Joe Smith used this same tactic in having God and angels threaten him until, reluctantly, he took up polygamy and began screwing house guests, nannies, married women, and 14 year old Helen Kimball.

    Yea verily I testify that Nephi could kill you with boredom. His speeches are so fucking dull that, at one point, even his brothers could bear no more. They tied him to a tree and left him to die slowly of animal bites. Nom nom. Nephi prayed a prayer more boring than his speeches and God untied the cords so Nephi could escape. My theory is that God never wanted to hear that kind of crap again, so he loosened the cords before Nephi could utter another word.

  104. says

    BTW, I got the “exceedingly” joke. Stuff of nightmares. Joe Smith’s fondness for “exceedingly” knows no bounds.

  105. says

    Correction: Change “Lehi claimed to have Jesus and the 12 apostles …” to read “Lehi claimed to have seen Jesus and the 12 apostles …”

  106. says

    This is a follow up to my post @132:

    I never saw the golden plates, only in a visionary or entranced state……Sometimes the plates would be on a table in the room in which Smith did the translating, covered over with a cloth. I was told by Smith that God would strike him dead if he attempted to look at them, and I believed it” (Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast, n.d., microfilm copy, p. 70-71.) — Martin Harris

    In the front of every Book of Mormon there is a “Three Witnesses” and an “Eight Witnesses” section meant to convince the reader that the golden plates not only existed, but were seen by people other than Joseph Smith. This is a crock. Hence my mormon missionary education speech included, “I was offended by the “Testimony of Three Witnesses” and the “Testimony of Eight Witnesses” having been massaged to eliminate the “spiritual eyes” with which the witnesses supposedly saw the golden plates to read as if the witnesses had seen the plates with their actual, human eyes.”

    More backup from actual history, as opposed to mormon a-history:

    When Harris was asked if he saw the plates with his naked eyes, he would later admit he only saw the plates with a spiritual eye. (Wilford C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1, 1958, introduction. This is a photomechanical reprint of the first edition [1830] of the Book of Mormon. It also contains biographical and historical information relating to the Book of Mormon.)

    Link.

  107. David Marjanović says

    Ooh, I’d love to see the first edition. Reportedly, Smith got the King James grammar all wrong, and later editors fixed it…

  108. says

    There’s quite a bit of info online, of course. See http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913intro.htm
    Excerpt:

    In this study we will show that there have been at least 3,913 changes made in the Book of Mormon from the time it was first published in 1830.

    In making this study we obtained photocopies of an original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon from the University of Utah Library. This copy was donated to the library by the Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe….

    Non-Mormon writers have criticized the grammar of the Book of Mormon stating that God could not make the many grammatical mistakes that are found in the Book of Mormon. Finally, the Mormon Church leaders became so embarrassed about the grammar that they decided to abandon the idea that God gave Joseph Smith the English that is found in the Book of Mormon; their new idea was that God just gave Joseph Smith the idea and that he expressed it in his own words.

    Example of changes:

    On page 305 of the first edition we find the following:

    “But behold, it is the effects of a phrensied mind … ”

    In the 1964 reprint (Alma 30:16) this has been changed to read:

    “But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind … “

    And here’s evidence that someone other than me got fed up with the phrase “and it came to pass”:

    on page 262 of the first edition we read as follows:

    “And it came to pass that he began to plead for them, from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the Devil? And it came to pass that they spit upon him …”

    In the 1964 reprint (Alma 14:7) it has been changed to read:

    “And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him … “

  109. says

    More examples of errors corrected in the Book of Mormon:

    On page 203 of the first edition we find the following:

    “… none were consecrated except it were just men.”

    In the 1964 reprint (Mosiah 23:17) this has been changed to read:

    “… none were consecrated except they were just men.”

    On page 382 of the first edition this statement appears:

    “… for behold, his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because of the numerority of their forces having slain a vast number of our men …”

    In the 1964 reprint (Alma 56:10) this was changed to read:

    “… for behold, his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because their forces had slain a vast number of our men ….”

    The following are extracts from the first edition. The expression exceeding fraid has been changed to exceedingly afraid in later editions.

    “… they were exceeding fraid; yea, they feared to displease the king …” (page 354) [Alma 47:2]

    “… they were exceeding fraid, lest there were a plan laid …” (page 392) [Alma 58:24]

    “… the Lamanites were exceeding fraid …” (page 415) [Helaman 4:3]

  110. says

    More examples of corrections to the Book of Mormon:

    The following are extracts from the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The word done has been changed to did in later editions.

    “… the servant of the Lord of the vineyard, done according to the word of the Lord of the vineyard …” (page 132) [Jacob 5:10]

    “… and this he done that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.” (page 140) [Jacob 7:2]

    “… all this he done, for the sole purpose …” (page 170) [Mosiah 7:22]

    “… and this they done throughout all the land.” (page 220) [Mosiah 29:41]

    “… and this he done that he might subject them to him.” (page 225) [Alma 2:10]

    “… this they done that they might provide food …” (page 269) [Alma 17:7]

    “Now this he done that he might preserve their hatred …” (page 340) [Alma 43:7]

    “… this he done that he might usurp great power over them …” (page 341) [Alma 43:8]

    Of more import are recent changes to the text of the BoM in order to make it less offensive. These include changing a reference to Lamanites (Native Americans) becoming “white and delightsome” after converting to mormonism. The phrase was changed to “pure and delightsome” — http://www.mrm.org/white-and-delightsome

  111. David Marjanović says

    Thanks!!!

    About midway down the page there’s a long list of confusions of “was” and “were”. WE WUZ ROBBED

  112. David Marjanović says

    Also, confusions of “is” and “are”.

    Ooh. Negative concord! “never no”, “nor neither”, “nor no”, “they did not fight against God no more”…

  113. ChasCPeterson says

    hilarious. Oh, so, it’s more like a probably OK paraphrase than a strict translation; got it. Still all holy and true and shit.

  114. says

    One of the more enduring mormon conceits is that an uneducated young man like Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon, therefore God Magic.

    Maybe if all mormons still had the first edition of the BoM they would not believe in mormonism no more.
    (I have a special fondness for the double negatives. It makes Joe Smith sound like he was slinging slang.)

  115. says

    Oh, so, it’s more like a probably OK paraphrase than a strict translation; got it.

    But if Joe was just paraphrasing, why did he have to use “peep stones” or “seer stones” placed in the crown of a hat to create his “translation”? Theatricality?

    The Seer Stone referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum,… It possessed the qualities of Urim and Thummim, since by means of it – as described above – as well by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates. (Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 1, page 129)

    The sum of the whole matter, then, concerning the manner of translating the sacred record of the Nephites, according to the testimony of the only witnesses competent to testify in the matter is: With the Nephite record was deposited a curious instrument, consisting of two transparent stones, set in the rim of a bow, somewhat resembling spectacles, but larger, called by the ancient Hebrews ‘Urim and Thummim,’ but by the Nephites ‘Interpreters.’ In addition to these ‘Interpreters’ the Prophet Joseph had a ‘Seer Stone,’ possessed of similar qualities to the Urim and Thummim; that the prophet sometimes used one and sometimes the other of these sacred instruments in the work of translation; that whether the ‘Interpreters’ or the ‘Seer Stone’ was used the Nephite characters with the English interpretation appeared in the sacred instrument; that the Prophet would pronounce the English translation to his scribe, which when correctly written would disappear and the other characters with their interpretation take their place, and so on until the work was completed” (B.H. Roberts, The Seventy’s Course in Theology, First Year, p.111).

    There. That clears that up.

  116. ChasCPeterson says

    wasn’t there like a white salamander or something involved as well?

  117. says

    wasn’t there like a white salamander or something involved as well?

    A collector of mormon historical documents, Mark Hoffman, eventually got into trouble by selling fake documents to the leaders of the mormon church. These leaders used their prophetic powers of discernment to declare the Hoffman documents genuine.

    Doubts and trouble were brewing when Hoffman tried to keep the lid on his scam by employing a couple of pipe bombs. Hoffman blew himself up, probably accidentally. He also killed Steven Christensen. These events became known as The White Salamander Murders. In 1984, Hofmann had revealed the Salamander Letter, which gave a new, startling account of Prophet Joseph Smith’s discovery of the gold plates.

    In the hours following the bombings, church leaders within the Mormon tower were forced to confront an unpleasant truth: They had been engaged in secret negotiations with both men just prior to the bombings. Money had changed hands; controversial church documents were to be transferred to the church archives. Now, two people were dead; another was in the hospital. And the documents, if they ever existed, had disappeared.

    Part 1 of the story, LA Times.

    Mormon professional apologists also thought the Hoffman documents were genuine, and they set out to defend the ludicrous White Salamander theory, derived from a fake letter ginned up by Hoffman and supposedly written by Martin Harris on 23 October, 1830. It is hilarious to watch the apologists explain “Moses, Moroni, and the Salamander.” http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon222.htm

    We have historical documents showing that Joe Smith wrote three or four different and contradictory versions of the “First Vision” and of his finding of the gold plates, events that form the foundation of mormonism. But we didn’t know that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joe as a white salamander until we read Hoffman’s forged documents.

    Here is the complete story, as documented by the Tanners in “Tracking the White Salamander”:
    http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/trackingcontents.htm