The Other Side of the Missionary Discussions

•February 12, 2007 • 4 Comments

Today I listened to Julia Sweeney talk about her estrangement from Christianity.  Julia’s faith began to crack after reading Biblical passages like where Abraham is about to cut the throat of his beloved son, Isaac.

Maybe even more interesting, however, is her discussion about receiving two LDS missionaries in her home.  I found it interesting to see the thought processes going on on the “receiving end” of the Missionary discussions (ie people being nicer than what they’re actually thinking in their head).

Enjoy the story from This American Life!


Flying High

•January 9, 2007 • 2 Comments

Religion can be like a floor and a ceiling. It helps some from falling through the floor, and also keeps some from rising higher intellectually and spiritually.

I found the song “defying gravity” from this post by John [looks like John Dehlin’s Blog is down for now.]  When I first read the lyrics  it was was so powerful to me.  The story being told (I think) is about two sisters.  One is still following the wizard and one has decided to go off on her own.  The dialogue suggests that this is something that will not be accepted by their community and that she will be forfeiting any comfort found in following the prophet wizard.  It is easy to see how this could be taken as metaphor for one leaving a family religion and seeking their own spiritual journey.   I think most of us can relate in our own way since we are all on a personal spiritual journey looking to the sky, with the potential in each of us to soar.

[if video does not play, try doing an internet search for “wicked flying high lyrics”]

Answer This Question:

•January 5, 2007 • 6 Comments

There are a lot of funny questions in the card game Would You Rathar.  Last week we played this game as a family, and the question on one of the cards read:

Would you rathar be dumb and happy or smart and bitter?

Yes I know this is an extreme false dichotomy however- just taking the question as it is, silly, I would be interested to hear what every one reading this post has to say about this (we had mixed answers as a family and I kind of go back and forth, for my answer myself)

On Realism and “Evangelical Atheists”

•December 7, 2006 • 5 Comments

This statement shows why I love the Scientific community so much (atheists/rationalists/realists very much included). The following quasi-theological atheistic world-view shows many traits I find highly applaudable including integrity, intellectual honesty, and continual self-analysis/doubt, which in the end promote progress.

The point is not that all religious people are bad; it is not that all bad things are done in the name of religion; and it is not that scientists are never bad, or wrong, or self-deceived. The point is this: intellectual honesty is better (more enlightened, more useful, less dangerous, more in touch with reality, etc. ) than dogmatism. The degree to which science is committed to the former, and religion to the latter remains one of the most salient and appalling disparities to be found in human discourse. Scientists spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about being wrong and take great pains to prove others so. In fact, science is the one area of discourse in which a person can win considerable prestige by proving himself wrong.

If there is an argument against “evangelical” atheists like Dawkins, Weinberg, and myself it must take one of these forms:

(1) Certain religious beliefs are true (or likely to be true); here’s why…

(2) Religious beliefs, while not likely to be true, are so useful that they are necessary; here’s the evidence…

(3) Many religious people are so irrational that it is simply too dangerous to criticize their beliefs. Please keep your mouth shut.

Sam Harris


•December 6, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Wow. I mean wow. This guy‘s gone jus a lil too far in defending the Book of Mormon.

Anyways, this will be my first real post on the Book of Mormon. I still love the Book of Mormon in many ways and find much good in its teachings, theology and thought. I have felt good reading its verses. I still love reading it in family (though I don’t do it very often at all)- I love it in a “story time”, sit-with-the-family-and-bond kind of way. It’s tradition. And it’s a great book. There are some really deepA tapir thoughts/ideas in there as well. Critics have to agree that putting the historical issues aside, there is some great stuff in there. By the way, to keep balance in my studies, I read apologetic material whenever I find it not too ridiculous. I wrote a post called One Point for the Apologists linking to a post on linguistics in the Book of Mormon which I thought was pretty cool.

Anyways, that is mainly what I want to write about the Book of Mormon for now. The rest of this post is more critical in nature, but it is simply a trail of my recent studies (as this blog is somewhat a compilation of my own Mormon Studies). The other day I was talking to a friend of mine in the church about BH Robert’s study of the Book of Mormon. Roberts puts together some convincing evidence showing how Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery could have taken many ideas from the View of the Hebrews as a source for an outline of the Book of Mormon. My friend took a quick look at the VOH text and couldn’t see many similarities and suggested I should read VOH for myself. So I did so today and these are my current (and probably final, since the text is out-dated and boring to read) findings on the parallels between the VOH and the Book of Mormon. Once again, I think B.H. Robert’s analysis of the two texts is already sufficient for me, seeing that he was Church Historian, General Authority, and principal apologist/defender of the Book of Mormon, but here are my own findings on it, anyways (I would also appreciate any thoughts or ideas from anyone who may stumble across this blog):

Starting off with the View of the Hebrew’s title page, there are immediately glaring similarities in purpose. It reads (my notes indented): Continue reading ‘Whu?’

Packer’s New Commandment: Any Takers?

•December 4, 2006 • 2 Comments

Read Equality’s blog here.

Is Being a NOM (New Order Mormon) Really Ingenuous?

•December 4, 2006 • 13 Comments

I was thinking about writing a post exactly on this topic today when I saw that Steve M. and some commenters had pretty much covered it. First of all, I wrote my dad an e-mail expressing that I was a NOM (New Order Mormon) which basically means (according to their website):

New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural and social reasons.

My dad, however, could not see the reasons for one’s continued desire to stay in the Church upon admitting dis-belief in some or most of its tenets. I thought this was strange since I could clearly see reasons to stay in the Church regardless of the veracity of its “only true church” claims; apparently he, however, could not. Many other LDS have expressed this same mentality and I find it somewhat odd and even possibly disingenuous on their part. Can you see any reason to be Mormon if you no longer believed in all of its claims? Is being a NOM disingenuous? A post from Steve M. and some of the reader’s comments that resulted are very insightful and valuable to my continued studies and experiences in Mormonism. Steve said: Continue reading ‘Is Being a NOM (New Order Mormon) Really Ingenuous?’