Another blow for Mormons

One of the crappy things about being a fairly recent religion is without the benefit of long stretches of time, the claims made in your religious tomes can usually be tested. Take for instance the Book of Mormon and its claim Native Americans are descendants of Lehi, a prophet who immigrated from Jerusalem to the Americas. Despite the fact there is no archeological evidence to support this claim, many Mormon apologists have tried in vain to put the burden of proof on the scientific community (by stating Lehi’s wife was of unknown origins). The scientific community eventually responded by genetically testing native populations to see if there was any evidence that this was, in fact, possible. Unsurprisingly, the lab results have shown they did not descend in any way from Jews. Case closed, right?

Well, that’s never going to be enough proof for the faithful droves to abandon their silly religion. They already have way too much invested in their nonsense to care about the truth anyways. Of course, it must secretly burn their insides that so far every claim which can be tested historically, archeologically, or scientifically has shown unequivocally that Mormonism is entirely the product of Joseph Smith’s delusional mind. This is the same dude who claims to have done more for mankind than anyone who has ever lived. That honor actually goes to this man, but I still find it funny that the same guy who is arrested several times for fraud ends up becoming a religious prophet. It just goes to show the ultimate scam is, and will forever be, religion.

Spread the outrage

Comments (33)

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    1. The Book of Mormon people weren’t “Jews.” Wrong tribe buddy.

    2. Does anyone even know what 600 BC DNA even looked like? Anyone?

    3. Not a single DNA test on Native American populations to date has ever claimed to rule out all possible sources. They claim to have found a common Asian source. But they never rule out other small genetic infusions from other sources.

    4. This criticism assumes Mormon claims that Book of Mormon peoples covered the entire continent.

    That geographic model for the Book of Mormon hasn’t been advocated by Mormon scholars since before World War II.

    Your argument is about half a century out of date.

    Nice try though.

  • avatar

    girl_a_saurus_rex

    Really Seth? What about the Magical Golden Tablets? Are you able to defend those too?

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    hey Seth,

    You obviously know nothing about genetic testing. And yes, we do know what “600 BC DNA” is like. I can appreciate the fact that you are trying desperately to defend your religion, but why do you bother? Religions encourage believers to have faith: to believe in their dogma DESPITE the fact that the available evidence suggests that their claims are in fact wrong.

    If you need to prove that your religion is true, then surely you don’t really understand what it is to really have faith. You trust that the information you have of Mormonism is correct, but then make apologetic statements about their beliefs and mythology. Do you speak for every Mormon? Doubt it.

    Lehi, by the way, was part of the Tribe of Mannaseh, which is an Israelite tribe. You can read all about it here dude: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehi_(Book_of_Mormon_prophet)

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    They’re called “gold plates” genius.

    Lehi was a part of the tribe of Ephraim. Ishmael was Manasseh. What we know about world DNA populations is common trends. But no geneticist claims comprehensive knowledge of the gene pool such that all inputs could be ruled out. Even if you know what general Middle Eastern genetic trends in 600 BC looked like, you still have no real way to know what the DNA of Lehi’s group looked like.

    I really don’t care two straws about proving Mormonism true. All I care about is demonstrating it hasn’t been disproven. I don’t care if you want to be a Mormon or not. You can believe whatever form of theism or atheism you want, and it won’t bug me in the least.

    But when you act like a jackass, and start calling my people a bunch of retards… Well, yeah… Expect a response.

  • avatar

    girl_a_saurus_rex

    So Seth, you came onto a site called “the good atheist” and were surprised to see claims that your religion isn’t exactly factual? And then engage in name calling?

    I think your actions have done a pretty good job at proving the ignorance of your relgion, if not just yourself, scientific facts aside.

    Why, other than to search for an argument, would you find yourself on this site to begin with?

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    don’t you see that’s more of the “God in the Gaps” kind of argument? The assertions of Mormonism can be proven, and so far every test they’ve conducted has showed us that there is every reason to believe that Joseph Smith Jr. just made shit up.

    Look, when you make an extraordinary claim the burden of proof is on the one making the claim, not anyone else. Mitochondrial DNA suggest that all Native Americans descend from a fairly isolated genetic group that immigrated through the Bering Strait. That’s something that can be demonstrated scientifically.

    You don’t care about proving Mormonism but care about showing it hasn’t been disproven? That sounds like you’re grasping at straws there. You’re on an atheist site trying to convince us that claims of Mormonism haven’t been completely “disproven”: sounds to me like you have enough heavily invested in the religion you feel the need to justify your beliefs. It’s effectively pointless here, as most of the readers are painfully aware of how silly and incorrect that belief really is.

    Perhaps you feel as though the religion gives your life meaning. That isn’t something I can discount; but simply because it gives some kind of structure to your life doesn’t mean any of its claims are true. All it means is it’s important to you. If you need, however, to be intellectually honest, then you would need to admit that the claims of Mormonism are not factual in any sense. It is basically a bunch of stuff plucked from the imagination of Smith and his contemporaries (since many of his writings and prophesies have been suppressed or abandoned by the church). Is that really so hard to imagine that is the truth? You find it more likely that the angel of the last surviving Nephite visited Joseph and showed him the location of secret golden plates that revealed Jesus had appeared in the Americas? Really?

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    Look, I’m not the one who kicked things off with words like “silly,” “fraud,” and “scam.”

    That would be you guys.

    You want to say Mormonism has no proof, fine by me. I agree that it doesn’t have the sort of proof you are looking for. But you are not simply stating a difference of opinion. You are taking the opportunity to imply we’re all stupid and deluded (or liars – that was implied too).

    And then you act indignant that someone from the opposing side finds that offensive, and throws back some of what you are shoveling?

    Interesting…

    You know, I don’t put up blog posts on my blog about how atheists suck. I don’t spend time claiming that ex-Mormon atheists probably abused their children and got mad at the Church when it disciplined them. I don’t go around claiming that atheists are incapable of having morals because they don’t believe in God. Some religious people do this, but I don’t.

    I don’t do it, because I think the arguments are unfair and rather stupid.

    And I don’t think unfair and malicious arguments look any more attractive coming from atheists than they do coming from theists.

    You want to claim the Book of Mormon has been refuted? Fine. But you could probably do it without implying that anyone who thinks otherwise is a delusional brainwashed cultist. That’s not just bad argument – it’s really impolite.

    Atheists actually have a lot of legitimate criticisms of religion that needs to be heard – and it needs to be heard by people inside those religions.

    But the message is never going to be listened to if you turn every point into an obnoxious end-zone victory dance about how religion, and religious people in general suck.

    You hurt no cause but your own by such antics.

  • avatar

    Bastard Soap

    If the ridiculous concept of holy book is not destroyed all progress is almost annihilated, religous will simply keep justifying their hate and ignorange with verses or their spiritual masturbation catalogue.
    Have you ever tried to argue about something you cared about with a religous person Seth? Unless you experience the futility of treating these people with respect when they use all their abilities to remain ignorant and uninformed you cannot really understand anything.
    Try it sometime, argue with a religous about an arguement against their doctrine which you believe in, maybe you will start to notice your faults if you identify the same misgivings in other faiths.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    I can appreciate the fact that you would like us to be more polite, but I’ll have to be honest here and tell you that the intent of this site isn’t to be nice. I’m not representing “atheism”, just my own personal views. Do I think religious people are dumb? No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I am, however, calling your religious beliefs dumb, and that’s legitimately how I feel. I don’t see why I need to hide my opinion that virgin births, magic underwear, golden plates, and anything like it to be more than superstitious nonsense.

    I would take a very different attitude towards religion if it wasn’t for the fact that they don’t play nice. You give religious people enough power, and you can say goodbye to many of the freedoms we enjoy today. There’s a conformity of belief that seems to be the calling card of religious dogma.

    If you believe in a higher power, there is nothing I can do to disprove it, but as soon as any claims are made about the natural world, my skeptical and scientific mind will examine its truthfulness. If I find that you’ve been making shit up out of your ass, you can bet that I’ll call you out on it.

    I don’t focus entirely on one religion: Scientologists, Muslims and Christians all make a number of demonstrably false claims, all of which I rebuke. If you’re feeling singled out, that might be of some comfort. But the truth does not require me to be polite, nor are my arguments better if I ensure that they offend no one. That is not the point of speaking one’s mind. I do, however, appreciate your candor, so don’t think I write this with any aggression on my part. You are doing what you feel is right; I’m just saying that the crux of your beliefs (the tenets of Mormonism in other words) have no foundation in reality and are demonstrably false. This article was just another example of it.

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    Soap,

    I actually debate online with Evangelicals rather regularly, some of them pretty hostile. So yes, I do actually know what you are talking about. Debate with some people is indeed futile. And I encounter such dogmatism both among theists and atheists.

    I actually encountered an atheist once who, upon reading an account of a teenager being beaten senseless by her dad after joining the Mormon Church remarked

    “good, the abuse she got from dad is nothing compared the abuse you get in old Joe’s cult.”

    I mean… what the hell was that about?

    So I’ve encountered my share of stupid people on both sides of this debate. Not believing in God doesn’t automatically raise your IQ it seems. And I don’t think believing in him automatically lowers it either.

    And by the way, believing your underwear confers spiritual benefits isn’t objectively any more stupid than thinking that shoving a piece of fabric up your butt makes you sexually more attractive. We ain’t the only people with “funny underwear.” Most of you look pretty silly in yours too.

    Just the same Jacob, I appreciate the explanation. If you’re willing to be polite, I will be too.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    I think you are referring to thongs, right? For the record, that underwear isn’t magical, but it will work miracles, that i can attest to! lol

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    It’s all in the expectations I guess.

  • avatar

    Valkyrie

    Seth, just wanted to point out that your example of an atheist saying that someone getting beaten was “good” is about as valid as if I were to bring up the 3 or 4 good, faithfully mormon friends who now refuse to associate with me on the grounds I’m on atheist on grounds that they see me as an apostate and believe it will jeopardize their temple worthiness. While I think they’re over-reacting and taking a position that I view as too extreme (my devout parents and family still associate me and include me, after all) they have every right AS A PERSON to make that decision. Don’t judge one atheist making a bad comment unless you want others starting judge mormons by the comments or actions of a few.

    As you may have figured out, I have a lot of experience with the mormon church and was raised in Utah in a devout family. Part of my de-conversion was the result of a complete lack of any feelings of what mormons refer to as the “spirit” no matter how often I prayed, fasted, read the book of mormon, attended seminary, etc. The other part was when I started to try and find out more about it so I could better understand the context. I came across a talk by Henry B Eyring referring to Joseph Smith’s REAL method of translating (at least some of the time.) He stated that Joseph Smith did use a hat and a seer stone some of the time. That was the first thing that made things feel off. I had been taught he had translated the golden plates at a table with the urrim and thummim, a curtain and a translator on the other side. I had been explicitly lied to and when I discussed what I’d heard with my parents they said it was a lie made up by ex-mormons and non-mormons to make the LDS church look bad.

    My research went from there. I felt no “bad” feelings, as the mormon faithful are told will come if they view things in contradiction to the LDS church. I felt like things made more sense than they had. Why I remembered lessons taught around 12 that weren’t taught anymore by the time I was 17 or 18. Why some things my grandparents referred to in teachings were things I hadn’t ever been taught, but checked out.

    In the end, my road out of the mormon faith was long, painful and incredibly difficult. It had been my life and it was still my family’s life. While I don’t claim to have the truth when it comes to whether or not some divine power or powers exist, I do -think- I’ve found enough contradiction and hidden information in the LDS faith to see it as a scam. Does the LDS church do good things and does it help people? Yes, I think it can. But I think there should be more honesty in regards to their history instead of censorship. While I feel my parents, family and best friends are in a religion that isn’t true, I still love them. They are who they are and they have accepted me, despite the pain their beliefs cause them because of MY beliefs and actions. I just hate to see my mother hold on to the doctrine that because (in her mind) I had a testimony and have now “fallen away” her time in the celestial kingdom will be spent without her only daughter. My honesty about what I believe has also destroyed the relationship with my father and he is ashamed any time I attend their church, where he is bishop. The division doctrine has caused in my family is what pains me and why I will criticize a religion I fully believe to be false. I don’t try to convert or ridicule my family, but I dislike a dishonest institution to be behind the faith that they have willingly devoted their lives to.

    I hope this brings a more rounded side to what has been presented here.

    PS: My spelling of a few things may be off – I haven’t done anything church-related in several years, so sorry about that.

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    “Don’t judge one atheist making a bad comment unless you want others starting judge Mormons by the comments or actions of a few.”

    That was actually my point in bringing up the example – to demonstrate that Mormons don’t a have a corner on the stupidity market and that being theist or atheist doesn’t make you inherently any brighter or stupider.

    As to the rest of your story, it seems common enough in the internet ex-Mormon community. You discover the version you learned as a child in Church doesn’t accurately portray everything and then it’s really just a question of whether this bugs you or not.

    I don’t really agree with the LDS practice of simplifying and whitewashing our history – but not because I think it’s dishonest. Rather, it’s because we tend to get a lot of intense dislike and people trying to undermine what we are doing – both from the religious and non-religious. Our people need to be well-versed in the details of our history purely as a defensive mechanism.

    To keep things in perspective – the amount of distortion you get in a typical LDS Church regarding Mormon history is no different than the amount of distortion you get in a typical American high school regarding American history. Both are idealized, whitewashed and given a positive spin.

    Difference is that we don’t go around feeling like high school betrayed us and America is a false place to be (not usually anyway).

    Step back from the emotions that were tied in your deconversion and ask yourself – does it really matter if he translated the plates with a goofy breastplate and glasses or with his head in a hat?

    People here would consider either equally ridiculous.

    The LDS Church has limited resources of time and it has to gear its typical Sunday services to everyone participating. This often means that classes in church end up at the lowest common denominator (i.e. the most uneducated participant in the class). Kind of like public education.

    Most LDS services are taught at the equivalent of a 6th grade level – even the adult classes.

    I, and a lot of other Mormons, think this kind of sucks. And it results in a lot of ignorance of our history if our members content themselves only to learning about the LDS Church in church. Our prophets and leaders are continually telling people to engage in their own private study of scripture and church history. But no one seems to want to do it. Instead, they rely on Sunday services to teach them everything about their religion.

    Then they encounter some new information online and get confused as to why the Sunday lessons they relied on didn’t cover this.

    So am I partly blaming the Mormons who don’t bother to seriously study their own faith? Yeah, sort of.

    But I also think my own church is to blame on this. We are a highly criticized religion. We get crap from just about everyone on a constant basis. This is understood as a fact of life for a Mormon.

    It only makes sense to do all we can to educate our members to avoid surprises later on. Thus far, I don’t think the LDS Church does a particularly good job of this.

  • avatar

    Valkyrie

    “As to the rest of your story, it seems common enough in the internet ex-Mormon community. You discover the version you learned as a child in Church doesn’t accurately portray everything and then it’s really just a question of whether this bugs you or not.”

    I really beg to differ on your high school history analogy – there is a VAST difference between a public education and a religion that you commit a fair chunk of money and time to, in addition to shaping your life around it. If I go and read things that differ from US history in high school and bring the book to the teacher, I highly doubt I’d get a response that it was written by someone else who hates the US or has a grudge or tries to make the US look bad. Do the same with doctrine or old teachings (Kolob and becoming gods after death, for example) and you either get that it’s others trying to put down the mormon church or that the prophet/apostle was speaking as a man, not as the mouthpiece of god, or various other excuses. While I agree things are FAR too whitewashed in what the members are taught, it doesn’t change the fact that the mormon hierarchy is lying by omission and not giving all of the facts to let their members make a well-informed commitment. And you know what? Intellectual dishonesty from people I was raised to see as the mouthpiece of god DOES bug me, and it should bug you. Unless, of course, you subscribe to Packers “what is true is not always useful?” Why wouldn’t god find truth useful?

    “Step back from the emotions that were tied in your deconversion and ask yourself – does it really matter if he translated the plates with a goofy breastplate and glasses or with his head in a hat?”

    When you are taught one as THE truth and the only way and find out that there are other ways which look to be covered up because they seem ridiculous, yes. Again, it’s intellectual dishonesty by men who you are told to trust, from birth.

    “Difference is that we don’t go around feeling like high school betrayed us and America is a false place to be (not usually anyway).”

    I do find this disheartening – I’m a history major, specifically studying US history and interactions with other countries. Many of the false ideas that the US can do no wrong, that we’re always welcome (or should always be welcome) in other countries is based in this fantasy-land where the US is perfect and does no wrong. I think as a nation we would be improved if we could learn about and recognize our past mistakes and successes and apply them to our actions now. Then again, going through high school I knew I wasn’t getting the whole story because I’ve always loved learning and reading on me own. Am I proud of my country? Generally. Do I love it? Yes. Do I think it can do no wrong? Absolutely not. The people who claim that patriotism is always shouting how much better the US is than the rest of the world are most often the ones ignorant of the back story and have no idea where the line between our own work and our stepping on other countries lies. We would be better citizens if we understood and accepted our whole past, not just the nice parts. And I think mormons would be better off if they knew the whole truth behind their religion instead of the toned-down version that’s dished out now.

    I do get what you’re saying, and it’s refreshing to see a mormon admit that what is taught is whitewashed and shouldn’t be – particularly when mormons are confronted by other people. They should be taught the truth of their religion so they have the opportunity to believe in the church as a whole, not the bits and pieces that sound best. In addition to my overall lack of spirituality, the lack of honesty and openness with LDS church history made me realize it was not something worth ignoring facts in order to be a part of it. My move out of mormonism was first to general christianity, then theism then atheism. It’s been gradual and well-thought out based on observations of facts and the world as it operates, not just a jump headlong into the opposite of what I was raised with.

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    Valkyrie,

    I understand. But I do think the differences between Mormon “Sunday School” and public education are only ones of degree, and not as large as you think.

    The response you get from a high school history teacher will vary widely depending on the teacher and context. The same is true of Mormon gospel teachers. I’ve known wards where your questioning would get exactly the response you outline. I’ve known others where you’d get an honest attempt at an answer without waving it away as “anti-Mormon lies.” It’s just different from ward-to-ward and Mormon culture is much more diverse than people give it credit for.

    Out in New York, where branches are small and understaffed, you could probably even preach a sermon from the pulpit about the real account of how Joseph translated the record, and people wouldn’t bust your chops for it (they’re too grateful to just have people coming regularly).

    Even at the top leadership level it’s not homogenous either. There’s a big difference between an Apostle like Boyd K. Packer (always branded as the ultraconservative boogeyman of modern Mormonism) and the late Neal A. Maxwell for instance.

    A lot of Mormons also resist the idea of addressing stuff like seerstones in hats because they’re frankly stubborn and don’t want to let our critics set the agenda for what we do and don’t teach in our churches.

    For myself, I’d like to see a more detailed and grown-up approach to our history with at least a touch less propaganda. But at the moment, I don’t mind staying in the Church. I do my part to educate people and I just accept occasionally rolling my eyes at stuff in Church as the price of living in a Church full of real people trying to figure life-in-general out together.

    It also teaches me a bit of humility to realize that just because I might know some historical facts that someone else doesn’t, doesn’t make me better than they are. I know several people in my own congregation who are about as ignorant on the historical details as you can get, who are still vastly better human beings than I can ever hope to be. Being forced to live with such people and acknowledge their own unique contribution to the community is a healthy thing.

  • avatar

    Bastard Soap

    The difference with religion and history is that histry doesn’t fall apart if you remove a central column of “truth”. If you remove the claim of divinity all your teachings become the ravings of a madman or the schemes of a scam artist (unless the particular teaching stands on it’s own from a purely philosophical perspective, which religous teachings rarely do).
    When you have been lied to repeatedly and mis-informed on everything else why on earth do you think they were honest and true on the supporting column of your faith?
    The only reason is your fear of death.

  • avatar

    Agnostic

    I think this whole thread is terribly interesting. I’m by no means defending the Mormon religion but I think its funny that it is being disproved by genetic testing of Native American People who, from the time of colonization through the 19th century were subject to genocidal acts by Europeans and by the US (speaking of things High School history glosses over.) And for anyone who doesn’t get the irony genocide= gene killing.

  • avatar

    nate

    I seem to be somewhat late to the argument here but for what it’s worth atheism seems to be just as big of a religion as any of the other ones. That will always be the case until you guys can figure out how non-living matter became living matter. You have to have faith or a belif that there was some accident that resulted in that first cell being created. You guys can’t prove it, you can’t explain it, and can’t duplicate it-so you just have to believe it- and that’s out there, that’s easter bunny shit.

  • avatar

    Leon

    Actually Nate we are very close to showing how the first self replicating molecule came about, here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/space/5322903/Mystery-of-how-life-on-Earth-began-solved-by-British-scientists.html

  • avatar

    Jim

    LDS faith is only as fundamentally silly as any other major faith (except scientology, that’s a little sillier), and they go about propagating their religion in the most respectful and polite way, they’re actually my favourite of all the religions out there (i am a rationalist agnostic). I have a real soft spot for mormons, they have never doorknocked me but when they do i’m inviting them in for a cup of tea and some biscuits and discussing whatever they want to discuss. My hat is off to polite people, who cares if they’re faithful or not? If everyone was polite and respectful all the time, would we even have religious tension as it exists today?

    (yes i am aware that i am generalising and that there are whackos in every religion and sect.)

  • avatar

    Jim

    Oh, and a scientific note, to Seth R. who quoted

    “Not a single DNA test on Native American populations to date has ever claimed to rule out all possible sources”

    That’s because no DNA test (or any test for that matter) is capable of 100% accuracy. By your criterion, you could disprove any accepted proof because no-one can ever know anything with absolute 100% certainty, but that’s never a productive avenue of argument.

  • avatar

    j4m3z

    I’m always amazed at the gullibility inherent in our species and our irrational desire to follow charismatics no matter how ridiculous the message may be. This story is told through the ages though in different forms, The Pied Piper being one the immediately comes to mind. I feel sad for the slice of humanity who still feels it necessary to deny their mortality and grasp at anything that would give them a get-out-of death free card. Why is it that some folks give credence to a single God while there is no more evidence for that God than for any other god in our short, but violent-in-the-name-of-God history?
    And I’m not even talking about the complete nutjobs that follow fringe religions like LDS and Scientology.

  • avatar

    Rick Albert

    As far as mormons being nice goes, why not wander over to Greta Christina’s site. she’s a great writer, and athiest and a lesbian. Did you know the “nice” LDS contributed millions of dollars to oppress homosexuals in with Prop 8 California ?

    Keep your faith to yourself Seth, wash your hands after you’re done with it for the day, and stay off my porch. Or I’ll come to your porch and talk about how ludicrous religion and invisible friends really are.

  • avatar

    Paul K. Sholar

    I think it’s pretty easily demonstrated that Mormonism is, in fact, a fraudulent religion. By saying that I’m saying that Joseph Smith, Jr., and his early co-workers in creating the early LDS church knew that, in fact, the story behind the finding and “translation” of the plates was untrue but misrepresented it as true anyway. Look at Oliver Cowdery’s connection with the author of the book View of the Hebrews, which postulated prior to the founding of the LDS church, that a branch of the Israelites had traveled to North America. Look at how Smith behaved regarding the “secret” revelation about plural marriage, including his behavior regarding Fanny Alger. The guy was already planning to run for President of the United States at the time of his murder in the Carthage, Illinois, jail. The guy’s ego and belief in his ability to persuade others obviously had no bounds. And he knew that for his new religion to really get off the ground, he had to have a “book” that could be lifted up in front of the people as some kind of contrived “evidence” of the hand of God working in a unique way in North America, thereby giving his followers a sense of unique mission. It’s all trumped-up and a load of malarkey.

  • avatar

    Ex-Mormon Missionary Atheist

    @Seth All I read from you is “waaa… my feelings are hurt, be nice to me.”

    Give up your secret name and the secret handshakes from the masons; live happier. I am.

  • avatar

    BLACK MANTIS

    Mormonism is a false religion who takes advantage of the Federal Government as well as all of the people in the state of Utah by enforcing bigotry and making outsiders feel like illegal immigrants, unless they are so called “Mormons.” As long as you are mormon in Utah you are socially accepted but if you are not a mormon you are considered an outlander and that equal to the Devil. With that being said even if you wear black they call you evil. I am taking this by experience when working in Utah. They also disrespect your needs and do not take into consideration the feelings of those who do not share the same beliefs. They will promote and encourage their mormon members to advance in the work place, while those they consider unfamiliar yet with the equivalent experiences if not more, they will hold back. They will incorporate at work talks of The Book of Mormon and bolster their voices so everyone around them can hear their convictions of the church, while non-mormons are trying to enjoy a cheeseburger. The biased opinions of mormons and its members make anyone who is not a mormon extremely uncomfortable to be around them. I suppose that is what the LDS religion wants and promotes, making non-mormons feel like complete crap for not being in their religion. By promoting bigotry of its members maybe it feels it can convert more people, more like scare more people away from them and their religion. Utah was the only state that the mormons could survive and dwell in explaining the Mountain Meadow Massacre, anyone who tried to befriend them and become civil with were immediately were ridded of, for fear of their religion becoming extinct. Mormons have this fear of being wiped off of the face of the earth so they enforce their hate-monger teachings upon their children and their elders and especially on the women in the religion. I think The LDS religion needs to allow nature to take its course and accept the passing of its belief system. I believe the world calls that “Karma.”

  • avatar

    Loew01

    hmm… I miss @Seth. He was a pretty reasonable guy, but recently it’s just been Mormon bashing. I also concur with what @Jim said about Mormon’s being polite. They’re nice, and so what if they oppose gay marriage. That’s their right to do, and part of our democratic process. Something people forget to mention in the Prop 8 campaign is that the GLBT movement spent more money on the campaign than the opposition did…

    Anyway, I find it hard to believe that a fraud could create a religion that inspires people to be kind, loving, and serving, which most Mormons are. Even if they’re anti-gay, they mostly do it in a kind and loving way :P

    Maybe Joseph Smith was crazy, but I’m pretty sure he was sincere.

    Just some thoughts, from your favorite Jewish-Moonie ;)

  • avatar

    Buddykins2001

    Since Nate brought up the “Atheism is a religion” argument I thought I would chime in here. This statement has been gnawing at me for some time now and for awhile I wondered about this myself until I came to a realization about my own beliefs. It took me 30-some years to finally muster the courage to call myself an atheist, a fact that I lied patently about for many years to my wife. My “coming out” occurred when I met a few others who shared many common threads and a belief system strikingly similar to mine. This threw me for a loop since I was becoming increasingly certain that I was the only one around who wasn’t buying into all the superstitions and fear in our American society. I had been starting to feel that something was wrong but never quite realizing if that makes sense.

    But going back I think the real wake up call for me was 9-11 and I do feel that this is when the “New Atheism” (A label in itself that reeks of a religious movement connotation) was really born. This was the day I realized how incredibly serious and galvanizing a belief system is. A belief system that had been slowly overtaking every aspect of American culture until it was just commonplace to hear the phrases “God Bless America” and “America is a Christian Nation”. It was the day that an incredible act of violence slapped me and millions of others in the face. It was the day that Jesus and Allah went to war. I didn’t actually realize this until I started trying to answer the nagging question “Why?”. How could anyone have so much hate within them to want to murder on such a massive scale. I certainly didn’t find any real answers from American news, media sources, or our president. It eventually became as simple as simple can be to me. The world sees the country I live in as a force of Christianity and fundamentalist Muslims want all Christians to be wiped from the planet, and vice versa. Suddenly the fish bowl I had been living in had a gaping hole in it. How could this be? How could things have gotten so out of hand?

    Before 9-11 and my wakeup call I had always been just fine to lead my benign Christian existence going to church every Sunday with my wife. I truly thought it was just a harmless way for nice folks to engage in a fulfilling social life. I can remember thinking “these people can’t possibly be taking all of this so seriously”. My flawed thinking was ripped apart when my wife signed us up for a group book study of “the purpose Driven Life”. She thought it was the best book she and all of her family members had ever read and I went along with it. Every page was painful to read for me. It seemed to be the most perfect example of circular reasoning that I had ever encountered and I was appalled at the total lack of any substance within it. It was so cold and lifeless to me to read about doing absolutely every single thing in your life for a God that I had never actually had any sort of connection to. It never felt real to me. Suddenly I started to finally see just how totally wrapped up in religion that most of the people in my life were and that’s a scary scary thing to realize. It basically means that you are living a lie and if you actually come clean with the way you really feel, you are flirting with the possibility of driving a wedge between the only people you know and love on this planet. People who make up the strands of a carefully constructed web which has supported your very being your entire life up until that point. A point which I’m sure a vast majority of Atheists do not ever wish to cross. And honestly a point I could not bear to cross until I started to witness the indoctrination of my children.

    These three moments for me became the stepping stones to my coming of age as an Atheist who is finally willing to seek truth and reason in a society that actively and willfully ignores any and all attempts to break out of these destructive thought patterns. Many can say that Atheism is a religion because so many have finally been given a voice in our society, but to me it is simply a long overdue answer to all of the belief systems slowly chipping away and overtaking the identity of our country. A country that was so ironically founded on the basis of freedom from this exact type of influence.

    On a side note, over the years I’ve noted several common threads among other Atheists I know. Here are just few that come to mind. See if you agree with any…

    1-We all seem to share some version of a dark sense of humor. Some darker than others but humor is an extremely common thread. We tend to not ever take ourselves too seriously.

    2-We can all seem to put most good or bad situations in life into thoughtful perspective without getting emotionally charged or whipped into a frenzy. Emotion seems to be the primary enemy of reason for humanity. That is not to say emotion is bad, just excessive emotion. Just look at the recent wacked out town hall meetings or the very ugly and embarrassing Obama hate wave we have been witnessing recently.

    3-We all have a great deal of respect for the lives we lead and want to be a positive force on this earth while we are here. This is what absolutely floors me about the religion based myths inflicted upon Atheists. I wholeheartedly reject the notion that Atheism is the antithesis of morality. I am speechless over the fact that most Christians just swallow this lie and perpetuate It as if it were true without a shred of evidence to support it. This is such an incredible and inherent lie told from generation to generation that even I once believed it as I memorized every single book of the bible in order while being digested within the Catholic School system. By the way, this still puzzles me about indoctrination. What exactly is the point of memorizing the name of every book of the bible? Busy work? A secret guilty pleasure for the teachers to witness? Not to mention all of the prayers I had to memorize word for word. Prayers that will be housed within my mind until I die in place of some truly challenging thought or learning experience that could have enriched my young life. I guess it was a companion to the same sounding organ drenched hymns form the 19th and early 20th century to go with the endless read along in the book out loud mass sessions which did absolutely nothing to inspire me to be the person I so wanted to truly be. This is exactly why we are seeing “Jesus 2000” as I like to refer to it. The phenomenon whereby these huge stadium like multi-million dollar “Contemporary” churches are springing up with rock n roll filled services and high definition productions to appeal and lure the new generation into indoctrination. And don’t get me started on the terrible irony of a church set up to supposedly help others which costs as much to build and maintain as it would cost to feed a small starving nation for a year. This is basically a way for everyone in America to ignore the real issues outside the fishbowl and feel good about themselves and get that “God’s favorite country” dose we seem to so crave. Another item on my list of things that I just will never understand I’m afraid.

    4-Wich leads me to my final point. We are all notorious non-joiners. We absolutely cringe at the thought of anyone ever enforcing their twisted beliefs or morals upon anyone else. Breaking away from the norm and seeking the truth about our existence in the face of such stunning and arrogantly blind belief systems is the toughest thing we will ever have to go up against. Unfortunately if we want future generations to even glimpse at the promise of peace and understanding in their lifetimes the force of religion is something that we can no longer ignore in blind hope that it will go away. This is why we are speaking out, and I truly hope it leads us to the greater good.

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    Jacob Fortin

    That’s a pretty good summary, Buddy. But I guess me question would be: How did your wife take the news of your non-belief?

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    Buddykins2001

    We agree to disagree I guess. She has increased her religous uptake drastically and spends at least 3 nights a week and of course most of Sunday in “service” to her church. We agree that we are a decent team despite our huge differences but I honestly don’t know how long this agreement will last. We have a responsibility to our children and that is all that truly keeps us from calling it quits. We don’t usually talk about religion because it always ends up being the same debate over and over with the same circular logic that drives me crazy. Alot like the recent Dawkins debate with the aptly named Wendy Wright.

    I very often ask myself why I care so much about it and I think it comes down to the fact that after all these years keeping quiet and hoping for a change for the better I still really have little right in this country to think the way I do. Of course it is allowable by law but all the attitudes and outright lies hurled toward non-believers not to mention the unbelievable discrimination this breeds is unacceptable to me.

    I’m just plain fed up with all of the billshit. A good example is the recent Iowa Bus campaign and the fact that the religous folks do not want it to be known that there are actually non-believers. This should be a huge red herring to their constituents. They have to be scared out of their minds to lose those folks who are just sailing along and not really believing in God yet still supporting their churches because there is simply no alternative. I mean seriously, Wake up and look above the rim of the fishbowl America. I did and it made my life so much more meaningful.

    This is precicely why Atheists are demonized. I have a window into the runnings of my wife’s church because she is so very involved and it comes down to this. If the pastor or priest doesn’t bring in the people, put butts in the seats, and fill the coffers, he is pushed out of his position very quickly. It’s simply a job to quite a few of them whether they will ever admit it or not and a very disgustingly well paid job at that from what I’ve garnered.

    We really should have a section of one of these sites to collect all of the personal stories of the people who choose the path of non-belief, unless there is already a resource out there… By the way, I have just started to listen tou your podcasts and will be supporting. I applaud your efforts, keep the non-faith!

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    Vince Reardon

    Thanks for noting Norman Borlaug’s inestimable, but relatively unknown, contribution to humankind.

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    Anti-theist

    “They already have way too much invested in their nonsense to care about the truth anyways”
    This says it all!

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