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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Regarding Holland’s remark about hate-filled DVDs

by Bill

On the BYU NewsNet blog it stated that Mormon Apostle Jeffrey Holland was the keynote speaker at "The Utah Valley celebration of the National Day of Prayer." The article reported:
The keynote speaker of the evening, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraged prayer as the means for peace and unity in our society.

"Today our nation doesn't fight a civil war, with brother fighting against brother," he said. "But we are plagued with brother fighting brother with handguns in university classrooms, drunk drivers in vehicles on the streets and highways, and hate-filled talk on the radio or in DVDs."

What do you think Holland is talking about when he speaks of hate-filled DVDs? He isn't clear. Was he referring to the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD that was distributed in Utah and other major cities throughout the US last March? If so, isn't it reasonable to ask Holland and the LDS First Presidency to explain what the DVD said that could be considered hate speech? If he was not referring to the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD, then shouldn't the LDS Church retract its slanderous charge of hatred sitting prominently on its official web site?

51 Comments:

  • At May 09, 2007 12:39 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    Bill,

    Don't flatter yourself, the LDS Church's response to the DVD does not sit "prominently" on their official website. In fact, the LDS church has so many other things going on that the response is all but buried on the website. You wish the churh and its members had cared that much about the it.

    This is so unoriginal. Since the begining of the LDS church people, hiding behind a mask of love and respect, have proceeded to question and attack everything the church believes in. When someone questions their intentions, they immediatly get overly offended and wonder where this charge of "hate" comes from. It is so tired and old. If the intentions of those who put out the DVD were so pure, why did is show up on my door in the dead of night.

     
  • At May 09, 2007 1:22 PM, Blogger Allan said…

    The context of the quote suggests to me that the comment probably refers to movies or other content sold on DVDs that are violent and otherwise have "hateful" content. Just flip on HBO late at night sometime and it is not hard to see what he might be referencing with this comment.

     
  • At May 09, 2007 1:25 PM, Blogger rick b said…

    Hey Mike, How come the DVD was not mentioned as to which one it was? I suspect the LDS wants to call people hateful, but by doing it in such a way as to not be called to account for the action of such by not naming the video they mention. Rick b

     
  • At May 09, 2007 2:11 PM, Blogger Eric Hoffman said…

    Mike,
    The reason the DVD showed up on your door unannounced is because the last time an outreach like this was done, LDS missionaries were following people close by and removing the material off the doors of Latter Day Saints. If your faith is the one and only true church on the face of the earth, then perhaps it should withstand a little scrutiny. Where is the free agency that your church so predominantly claims to believe in?
    Trust me, all the people I know of (including myself) would love for any type of follow up conversations. This DVD distribution was certainly not done out of hate.
    Mike,
    You never did address the issue Bill has raised here. What is your opinion on what "DVD" Mr. Holland was refering to?

    In His Name...
    -Eric Hoffman

     
  • At May 09, 2007 3:52 PM, Blogger Keith Walker said…

    Mike said, "When someone questions their intentions, they immediatly get overly offended and wonder where this charge of "hate" comes from."

    Fine, have it your way. You're an anti-Christian and hate me because of my work to reach out to Mormons.

    Do you now wonder where I came up with this conclusion and feel the need to defend yourself? Maybe not, but if that comment was printed in a newspaper, I'd be willing to bet you would feel the need to express your opinion. Why do you hold that against us?

     
  • At May 09, 2007 10:00 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    ....yawn.

    For what its worth here is part of what the official "Anti-Defamation Leagues(ADL)" statement says regarding the DVD "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith".

    -
    Phoenix, AZ, March 27, 2007...... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the distribution of an anti-Mormon DVD by the organization Concerned Christians as nothing more than "Mormon-bashing." .....ADL Regional Board Chair David Bodney added, "Hate directed at any of us is hate directed at all of us. From whomever that hate comes, and to whomever it's directed, ADL takes it very seriously and will continue to speak out against it...
    -

    This official statement by the ADL can be found here:

    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ChJew_31/5013_31.htm

    hmmmm.... the independent "Anti-Defamation League" says the DVD "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith" is hateful and that this sort of hate is somthing they will continue to speak out against....hmmmm (scratches head)

    But i suppose here in the tiny teacup of anti-mormon counter-cult "ministry" culture this ADL statement is somehow really just another example of mormons unwillingness to examine their own faith... or some other simular silly rational.

    can you feel the love people...can you feel the love?

     
  • At May 10, 2007 9:58 AM, Blogger Nauvoo Pastor said…

    I find it interesting that:

    1) The exact DVD in question is not mentioned.

    2) If the material on it is false; then why not publish a rebuttal?

    3) The ever popular anti-Mormon and "hate" that these issues are ascribed to without one wit of evidence showing either.

    4) The way that the term anti-Mormon is used by the LDS, as if this material is a personal attack instead of the true issue at hand, which is a honest questioning of the doctrines of the LDS church; not the of the people of the LDS church.

     
  • At May 10, 2007 11:58 AM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Navoo Pastor,

    You are correct that the exact DVD in question is never mentioned in Elder Holland's comments.

    But the exact DVD in question "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith" IS mentioned by Bill, the author of the original post, as well as the official Anti-Defamation Leagues statement.

    The statement by the Anti-Defemation League is an official statement released to address the exact DVD in question "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith" and contains the following statement.

    -
    Bill Straus, ADL Arizona Regional Director, observed: "This is the same kind of plain, old-fashioned Mormon-bashing that Jim Robertson and his group have been spewing for over a quarter-of-a-century. The only difference is that back then, it was the film, 'The God Makers,' and today it's the DVD, 'Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith.' It was wrong then, and it's wrong now."
    -

     
  • At May 10, 2007 4:10 PM, Blogger rick b said…

    The Articles of Faith - #11:
    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    If number 11 is really true, then when we pass out DVD's or books, write blogs etc, why are we hateful? LDS knock on my door, do tv spots and tell me they have the one and only true Church, yet when I reply to that, I am hateful.

    then I read in Alma 26:29-31. Notice these Missionary's it speaks of were beaten, mocked, spit upon thrown in jail ect. Honestly I dont see LDS members today who are willing to make such a sacrafice for their faith. My question for the LDS is simply this. Are you willing to be like these mormons of old. Yes or No. If yes please explain or give an example of how. If not then please explain why not.
    I ask this in light of the Video, because, I do the same as these MM's in the BoM, and I am mocked by you, You guys try and toss us in jail and call us hateful, use the courts to tell me I am hateful, yet I am only doing as the MM's are. I thought you were Christians? If you are and we really believe the same thing, then whats the problem. Other wise you appear to be lying. Which is it.

    Alma 26:29-31
    29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.

    30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.

    31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us. Rick b

     
  • At May 10, 2007 5:01 PM, Blogger Keith Walker said…

    inhimdependent_lds, what a hateful thing to say. You're just Christian bashing us.

     
  • At May 10, 2007 6:04 PM, Blogger Arthur Sido said…

    inhimdependent_LDS,

    I wonder what the ADL says about Jews being baptized as mormons without permission in mormon temple ceremonies?

     
  • At May 10, 2007 6:07 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Rick, Keith,

    The Anti-Defamation League made the statement, not me.

    If you have a gripe with the ADL and its official statement regarding "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith" i suggest you go talk to them about it.

    Perhaps you can ask them your questions and maybe it will turn out to be a rather educational experience.

     
  • At May 10, 2007 9:46 PM, Blogger rick b said…

    inhimdependent_lds ,
    I notice the LDS church does and says things that are seen as hateful, I notice you never answered my question and you never answered the question of, why is it OK for the LDS church to bash us and be hateful towards us but we cannot reply to you, lest we be called hateful.

    Not saying the things the LDS church says and does are hateful, my point is, what we say and do is called hateful, yet the LDS church does the same exact things and they refuse to be called to account for their actions. Rick b

     
  • At May 11, 2007 6:05 AM, Blogger Richard Berghammer said…

    Unfortunately, much of the disinformation disseminated regarding this evangelistic project has occurred because of the absence of communication with persons who could speak for the project authoritatively, such as myself. An example of this problem is when the Arizona ADL presented a very narrow take on the project based on their strained past with a group called Concerned Christians (see http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ChJew_31/5013_31.htm). I am aware of these things because of my contacts with ADL representatives in both Arizona and New York, in preparation for a new press release for the DVD project.
    I am not here to condemn or promote Concerned Christians, but to just set the record straight. Concerned Christians purchased thousands of DVD's from the project for their own distribution. They received the same materials for guidance that were presented to anyone wishing to give-away the DVD, which included a legal document and an ethics statement. These guidelines for all persons delivering the DVD were used to emphasize appropriate Christian attitudes and actions, and to explain certain legal rights and responsibilities. I am aware of these things because I assisted with the preparation of both documents, and have spoken directly with the Concerned Christians office personnel regarding the controversy.
    I cannot speak to whether Elder Jeffrey Holland was alluding to this DVD, but a speculative analysis shows a strong correlation between 4 recent, specific newsworthy events and the 4 undisclosed events mentioned in Holland's quote. Regardless of what Elder Holland thinks about the DVD, I would like to state emphatically, that the ADL's position, at both regional and national levels, has been that "the ADL did not ---ever--- allude to the content of the DVD as hateful." A clear confirmation of their stance came from both the New York and Arizona ADL regional offices. The Utah (California) ADL office did not give an opinion other than to defer to the national and regional statements.
    The same goes for designating the distribution participants as a "hate group." Arizona ADL's often-quoted Bill Straus stated clearly that even Concerned Christians were not, in his opinion, a hate group. He explained that one copy of the DVD, given by a Christian to a Mormon neighbor, would not have been hateful.
    Hate messages like "you're not welcome here," and "we want you dead," and actions such as a cross-burning or painting a Swastika on a synagogue is a far cry from the "we disagree with you over theological and doctrinal positions and would like for you to be saved" message of the DVD.
    Considering how hate speech is generally defined, the church's (and the ADL's) allegation of a "hateful act" should be accompanied by evidence that people distributing the DVD were intending to intimidate, abuse, and at the least, foster hatred and promote discrimination, and at its worst, incite violence. Hate speech, defamation, slander, and liable are each based on the lack of truthfulness of the claims being presented, something that has yet to be done. The church's accusation of "hate" that has been aimed at persons distributing the DVD is itself defamatory if the accusation is not, in fact, true.
    Is the JC/JS DVD an attack or a refutation?
    The project's stated intent was first of all, evangelistic, and secondly, a response to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' assertion that they should, "Teach your students of the Apostasy and the Restoration of the priesthood, of Joseph Smith and the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the Lord’s own declaration, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30)."
    [President Boyd K. Packer; Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Address to CES Religious Educators • 6 February 2004 • Salt Lake Tabernacle]
    I'll do my best to find answers to any questions raised about the project.
    Richard Berghammer
    Good News for LDS

     
  • At May 11, 2007 12:28 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    Issues are getting blurred here.

    This country exist today because people were seeking religious freedom. Everyone has the right to worship what they want and to share their beliefs with whomever they want. However, here are the issues I have:

    Keith, I have visited your website. On this you call the LDS Church a “cult.” I may not agree with your beliefs, but I would never use such a derogatory term to describe your religion. It’s using words like “cult” that create the perception (or reality) of hate.

    Rick B., if you want to see just how much LDS people are willing to sacrifice for their faith, a good place to start would be Joseph Smith and Liberty Jail. LDS people don’t believe that you are saved by grace, but by works. So I really wouldn’t question our willingness.

    However, the point is the DVD. Why is this labeled as hateful? Because it is not sharing beliefs, but distorting facts. I have dealt with all of you enough to know that you need proof. I refer you to the FAIR website and their response to the DVD. FAIR is certainly not without its bias, but facts are facts. Read their response, disregard their opinions if you want, but take note of the facts and you will see how the DVD purposely presents the LDS church in a negative way.

    The DVD is hateful because it uses opinions, distorts the truth, and lies in an attempt to destroy Joseph Smith’s character. It uses opinions, distorts the truth, and lies in an attempt to destroy the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It uses opinions, distorts the truth, and lies in an attempt to destroy the truthfulness of the LDS church. The DVD is deceitful, thus it is hateful. It is one thing to share your beliefs, it is another to lie in an attempt to win others to your way of thinking.

    If none of this proves the DVD is hateful, then maybe I can. I am LDS. I have watched the DVD. I can tell you personally that the DVD is deceitful. It uses half-truths, out of context quotes, opinions, and lies to present the church in a negative light. Why believe me? Why would you believe those who are not LDS to teach you about the LDS church? I wouldn’t go to a Baptist to learn about the Catholics.

     
  • At May 11, 2007 2:11 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Rick,

    You will notice that i am again not answering your questions, nor do i intend to.

    I am not here to debate you or enter into any sort of dialogue with you. You and i have had that opportunity in the past and it was an experience that i do not intend to repeat now.

    The ADL is a third party statement Rick. Does that term register with you at all? THIRD-PARTY! This means that it was not created by the LDS church or myself. If it was not created by myself or the LDS church why in the world do you intend to take me to task over it?- why do you insist that i should answer for it? I DIDNT SAY IT!!

    Your impulse is misguided. Go talk to the ADL if its that important to you.

    Beyond that i often have a difficult time understanding your posts and comments anyway and so choose to invest my time in responses elsewhere.

     
  • At May 12, 2007 10:18 AM, Blogger Andy said…

    Did you say the ADL was unbiased?
    Do you really believe that? Can you cite some proof as to their unbias?

     
  • At May 12, 2007 11:57 AM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    Inhimdependent_LDS says:

    “If you have a gripe with the ADL and its official statement regarding "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith" i suggest you go talk to them about it.”

    If you would read Rich Berghammer’s post closely you will see that he did just that. After talking directly with the ADL it was concluded “that the ADL's position, at both regional and national levels, has been that ‘the ADL did not ---ever--- allude to the content of the DVD as hateful.’ A clear confirmation of their stance came from both the New York and Arizona ADL regional offices.”

    The point of my blog was to ask what Holland was referring to. Remember, he alluded to “hate-filled” DVDs (not HBO). If he is riding on what he may think the ADL said, he is mistaken. The ADL does not support this assumption. If Holland was referring to the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD then he should have the integrity to at least point out what he thinks is hate speech or quit wrapping himself in the cloak of victim hood. The same goes for every Mormon that is assuming this DVD is “hate-filled.”

    As to Mike’s silly charge that the word “cult” assumes hate. This is so totally ridiculous that I wonder why I am wasting time over it. To Christians the word cult has long referred to groups that claim to be Christian, while at the same time espousing doctrines that either deny or distort the basic teachings of the Christian faith. The Mormon Church fits this definition perfectly. It has not only been used by the Christian community at large, but Mormons have used this term as well. Several LDS leaders have used this word cult to refer to those outside of their religious norm, so Mike, if you want to say that those who use the word cult are demonstrating hate, then at least admit your leaders were hateful too.

     
  • At May 12, 2007 1:27 PM, Blogger rick b said…

    inhimdependent_lds said...

    You said you will not answer my questions, You and I both know you will not because You cannot. You hate the truth. I see many times on this blog, LDS run away and never reply to honest questions. I recall seeing two LDS posters accuse this blog of lies and deception, I asked for evidence, they never gave it and never came back.

    I was asking you why your Church has a double standard, I did not ask you to speak on behalf of the ADL. Here IS WHAT YOUR PROPHET TAUGHT.

    Read pg 188 of Doct of Salvation vol 1.
    I quote Joseph F Smith. "CHURCH STANDS OR FALLS WITH JOSEPH SMITH. MORMONISM, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. Their is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed: his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false".


    We as so called Anti LDS do this and we are called Hateful and unloving. Yet your prophets say things like this,

    I quote B Young: "with a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called christian world" (Journal of Discourses 8:199). I quote 3rd president John Taylor (Brigham Young quotes MR Taylor) "Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell, the eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and kicked onto the earth" (J.O.D 6:176). I quote Heber C. Kimball "christians-those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about-some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth" (J.O.D 5:89).


    It's ok for your Prophets to say this, or read what Bruce Mc, taught in the original Mormon Doctrine about the Catholic Church, yet we pass out a video that simply shows what your Church teaches that you guys dont want exposed and were hateful. My question to you was, why the Double standard. Honestly I never expected a reply. You did not like our talks the first few times because you were challenged with tough honest questions. Now again you hate that also. Rick b jwnuw

     
  • At May 12, 2007 7:29 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    Bill,

    As usual you take one part of my comment, mock it and call it "ridiculous," and avoid my point completely. I don't need the ADL to tell me the DVD was hateful. It used lies to deceive the viewer. The majority of these lies were used to destroy the character of Joesph Smith. If this wasn't hateful, then what would you call it?

     
  • At May 13, 2007 8:34 AM, Blogger rick b said…

    Mike, many of us have the books to prove these are not Lies, You guys do two things.

    1. you never answer us on what your Prophets have said as to were the statements given by your prophets hateful, like the ones I posted. If so, then your church is no do different than what your saying about us.

    If they were not hateful please explain how they are not.

    2. You guys never provide quotes from the DVD saying how we supposdely take things out of context.

    So by not showing us, you leave it to the viewer who does not have the sources to prove one way or the other that these are correct or not.

    On my blog, I had many Mormons accuse me of twisting the facts, so I started scanning pages of your books that I cited from, ever since no more LDS have accused me of lying and no LDS has been able to refute what I say, because people can see for them selves. If your going to accuse us of lies, provide how we did it. Rick b

     
  • At May 13, 2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Interested said…

    Mike you said,
    " The majority of these lies were used to destroy the character of Joesph Smith. "

    From what I have read he (JS) did a pretty good job of destroying his own character. When you say lies please say which part is a lie. It seems that all I ever hear is how much Christians lie about mormons but rarely does anyone of your brethern point out a specific lie. The information available about JS is plentiful but most mormon people only look at the information put out by the official church.

    Do you never seek a second opinion on matters of importance? Why do each of you refuse to do your own investigation? I am a researcher and if I used only one source for my reports, I can assure you that I would not have a job or a reputation for long. When you only take answers from one source you cannot possibly have the "truth".

     
  • At May 13, 2007 7:59 PM, Blogger Arthur Sido said…

    Inhim,

    >>The ADL is a third party statement Rick. Does that term register with you at all? THIRD-PARTY! This means that it was not created by the LDS church or myself. If it was not created by myself or the LDS church why in the world do you intend to take me to task over it?- why do you insist that i should answer for it? I DIDNT SAY IT!!<<

    You brought the ADL up…perhaps that is why it has become an issue. You bring the ADL into the discussion as an argument in support of your position and then act outraged when we address it.

     
  • At May 13, 2007 8:03 PM, Blogger Arthur Sido said…

    Mike,

    >> don't need the ADL to tell me the DVD was hateful. It used lies to deceive the viewer. The majority of these lies were used to destroy the character of Joesph Smith. If this wasn't hateful, then what would you call it?<<

    Have you watched the DVD? If so, can you tell us what the lies were? If not, how do you know it was hateful?

    Ultimately, why is it hateful for Christians to witness to mormons and not for mormons to witness to Christians?

     
  • At May 14, 2007 6:26 AM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Arthur,

    I am not outraged that the ADL statement is being discussed. Discuss it all you like!- it matters not to me. I am not outraged at anything.

    I just dont feel that i need to answer for it.


    Rick,

    Nice try my friend and i love your enthusiasm- but im still not going to be answering your questions.

     
  • At May 14, 2007 2:47 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    If there is one underlying theme that I notice on this website, it is the assumption that LDS people do not know what they believe. You all presume to know more about our religion then we do. This is a very ignorant belief. Bill, Jeffrey R. Holland is not “riding on” what the ADL said. Talk about a nonsensical claim. He knows the history of the LDS church. He knows what is true, what is false, and what is deceitful and hateful.

    Interested, Arthur, Rick B.,

    Here are just a few untruthful and deceitful claims that the DVD uses in an attempt to destroy the character of Joseph Smith. Can you honestly say that the DVD was not hateful?

    First, start with the Inverted Pentagram. The DVD uses this to imply that the Joseph Smith had occult connections. This is such a pathetic argument that I almost feel the need not to discuss it. In Joseph Smith’s day the pentagram was used to symbolize one receiving light from Heaven. Well after his time, the pentagram began to also be used as a satanic symbol. How unfair is it to make this claim about Joseph Smith? All of you should know. Do you realize that the cross was originally a non-Christian symbol and is used by some to symbolize things that are very unchristian? Yet for many it is a religious symbol that they hold very sacred. How unfair would it be to accuse these people of using if for any other reason?

    Sadly the DVD uses this error of using today’s standards to judge the behavior of past individuals more than once. The makers of the DVD use the term “money-digger” in an attempt to further tarnish Joseph Smith’s image. Any educated person knows that the practice of money digging or glass looking was prevalent in Joseph Smith’s day and is still used by some today. The makers of the DVD use the 1826 trial of Joseph Smith to further question his character and to show that he was a fraud. Yet, they present a very one sided view of this trial. The makers of the DVD and others make it seem like Joseph Smith took advantage of those who believed in him by using this belief and trust in him to make money. It should be made known that Joseph Smith never solicited business of this kind. My final point with this argument is that the DVD states that, “Joseph was arrested and brought before a judge in Bainbridge, N.Y., for deceiving Josiah Stowell, charged for glass looking and sit before the court as a disorderly person." Yet, the DVD says nothing about the outcome. This is troubling considering that, as I have already stated, “glass looking” was not considered a criminal act but actually quite prevalent. Even more troubling is that the DVD makes this statement but fails to note that Josiah Stowell himself said that Joseph Smith never deceived him.

    The DVD makes the statement that, “[In an LDS film] Joseph is even shown healing the sick in Nauvoo. Although this film is very emotional and inspiring it has no more reality to it than any other fictional story created by Hollywood.” This statement isn’t just deceitful, it is an absolute lie. Accounts of individuals healed by Joseph Smith are numerous. For example, there is the account of Joseph Smith healing Newel Knight in 1830 and the 1839 healing of Elijah Fordham. These are only a few of many. I can go on and on. The fact that the DVD questions the truthfulness of something so well documented cast a shadow of doubt on the truthfulness of everything else that is discussed in the film.

    I’m not seeing the love,
    Mike

     
  • At May 14, 2007 7:27 PM, Blogger Arthur Sido said…

    Mike,

    >> If there is one underlying theme that I notice on this website, it is the assumption that LDS people do not know what they believe. You all presume to know more about our religion then we do. This is a very ignorant belief.<<

    In all honesty, I would be willing to bet (if I weren’t a Baptist that is!) that most of the people who post here have a far wider and more comprehensive view of mormon theology and history that you do. That is not intended as arrogance or to belittle your experience. But much of mormon history has been sanitized for modern audiences. I have a pretty extensive collection of older mormon writings, and they paint a different picture than the one you see in General Conferences today. The common misconception, and something many Christians witnessing to mormons miss, is that there is often a wide difference between what you, Mike, believe and what the mormon church leadership has taught.

    >> The makers of the DVD use the term “money-digger” in an attempt to further tarnish Joseph Smith’s image. Any educated person knows that the practice of money digging or glass looking was prevalent in Joseph Smith’s day and is still used by some today.<<

    The prevalence of glass looking and such in Smith’s era is irrelevant. Lots of people commit all manner of immoral acts today, the frequency of a behavior is not indicative of the morality of it. There is a serious methamphetamine epidemic in the rural area I live in, but that doesn’t make it OK. Smith’s involvement in magical practices, money digging, etc is all part and parcel of the picture of Smith as a shyster, a man given to tall tales and especially given the original story of using magic stones in a hat to “interpret” the golden plates it is especially pertinent.

    >> For example, there is the account of Joseph Smith healing Newel Knight in 1830 and the 1839 healing of Elijah Fordham. These are only a few of many. I can go on and on. The fact that the DVD questions the truthfulness of something so well documented cast a shadow of doubt on the truthfulness of everything else that is discussed in the film.<<

    Do we take for granted miraculous events from every person who claims Divine inspiration? The airwaves are full of “faith healers” with claims as dubious as Smith’s.

    I’m sorry you are not “feeling the love”. It is not my intent to be hurtful, but it is also not my intent to let the errors of mormonism go unchallenged just to make you feel better about yourself. When God finally revealed the errors of mormonism to me and my family & I left the LDS church, it was very painful and uncomfortable, but as difficult as that time was for me it is my hope that you can also see mormonism for what it is. I am as interested in showing you what is right about Christianity as I am in showing you what is wrong with mormonism.

     
  • At May 15, 2007 10:35 AM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Probably should have put this on the table earlier but for what its worth the official response of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the DVD “Jesus/Joseph Smith” can be found here.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=a000765503e91110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ae11627d59eec010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD



    For those that have asked or are interested an apologetic point by point rebuttal of the DVD “Jesus/Joseph Smith” from F.A.I.R. can be found at the link below. This is a wiki-site so it is evolving week to week as contributors add to it.

    http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD



    Another apologetic rebuttal of the DVD “Jesus/Joseph Smith” or “Search for Truth” as it is also subtitled and referred to can be found at the Neal A Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship linked here:

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/answers.php

     
  • At May 15, 2007 10:36 AM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    While some here at “Mormoncoffee” seem to have a difficult time actually “hearing” or grasping why LDS people would have a problem with the DVD “Jesus/Joseph Smith” from actual LDS members themselves perhaps they can be more open to feedback when the feedback comes from their own fellow evangelicals.

    Below is a link to an interesting article by evangelical John Morehead. While John does not go into detail regarding a lot of the errors of the DVD “Jesus/Joseph Smith” he certainly sheds helpful insight on some of the broad stroke problems of this production.

    Johns comments, while still understating the case in my opinion, reflect a much more mature and intelligent approach than that portrayed by most supporters of the DVD.

    One comment from John’s post that should would be helpful for people here to realize is as follows.

    “In terms of the apologetic orientation of the video, this involves the same types of arguments that evangelicals have been using for years. Australian scholar and former Mormon John Bracht made two observations relevant to this in his masters thesis on Mormonism in the 1980s reflecting on The Godmakers film. He stated in the introduction that evangelical apologetic critiques of Mormonism tend to “simply draw attention to Mormon theology in the most simplistic and sensationalist terms.” He went further and noted that even though The Godmakers was one of the most widely distributed apologetic critiques of Mormonism, worldwide membership in the LDS Church continued to grow, and despite widespread evangelical apologetics against Mormonism, “Mormon proselytizing efforts have not been appreciably affected.” While I have no doubt that some Mormons have been persuaded by apologetic approaches such as that exemplified by Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith, the numbers have not been great, and despite a long history of apologetic interaction with Mormon culture the effects have been minimal. Thus, it would seem that this new project promises little more than what has been offered apologetically for many years by evangelicals, and while it may make evangelicals feel better in they have defined and defended the boundaries of traditional Christian orthodoxy, among the Mormon people it does little and amounts more to an exercise in preaching to the evangelical choir.”

    I could not agree with John any more. While the production of the DVD “Jesus/Joseph Smith” may make evangelicals feel better in they have defined and defended the boundaries of traditional Christian orthodoxy, among the Mormon people it does little and amounts more to an exercise in preaching to the evangelical choir. Amen brother!

    Johns entire article can be found here:

    http://johnwmorehead.blogspot.com/2007/02/jesus-christjoseph-smith-video_10.html

     
  • At May 16, 2007 11:11 AM, Blogger Arthur Sido said…

    Inhim,

    Whether you are offended or not by the DVD is not really my question. I recall quite clearly being a mormon and getting quite offended when any of those mean Christians questioned mormonism, so I have no doubt that you find it offensive. The cross of Christ is offensive, Christianity in many ways is divisive. The question is, and remains, why is it hateful to distribute DVDs aimed at proselytizing mormons and yet it is not equally hateful to knock on doors and tell people the church they go to is an abomination and apostate? The mormon church spends a ton of money printing the book of mormon and making video tapes, many of which get pitched in the garbage or languish in desk drawers of Marriott chain hotels. What is the difference between that endeavor and distributing DVDs?

    By the way, you quote John Morehead as an evangelical voice of reason. John Morehead's blogger profile:

    “I am a researcher, writer, and speaker in intercultural studies and new religious movements. In May I complete a master of arts in intercultural studies at Salt Lake Theological Seminary with a thesis on Burning Man. I work with the Utah office of Neighboring Faiths Project in the area of new religious movements and alternative spiritualities, and I am a part of the Lausanne issue group on postmodern spiritualities in the West. I live in the greater Salt Lake City area with my wife and two children."

    I don’t know John Morehead and have never heard of him. I don't think Mr. Morehead is a terribly representative speaker for evangelicals, or if he even considers himself to be an evangelical. He may be a very nice person, but his criticism is mostly off base regarding Evangelical Christians and this DVD.

    One statement he makes and you echo deserves a quick response: the DVD “amounts more to an exercise in preaching to the evangelical choir” Christian witnessing regarding mormons IS two-fold. In part it is witnessing directly to mormons, and in part it is educating Christians. Mormon missionaries are successful at luring away Christians because those Christians are unfamiliar with mormon teachings and quite frankly are Biblically illiterate to the point that they don’t recognize a lie when they hear it.

    I can’t imagine any Christians with even a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible and mormon doctrines being swayed by FARMS or F.A.I.R. yet I don’t hear you clamoring for them to stop their work. They are most certainly “preaching to the choir” with their questionable at best scholarship.

     
  • At May 16, 2007 11:25 AM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    Mike argues that Holland is not “riding on” the ADL statement. If that is so, then let Holland show some integrity and list what he considers to be hate speech in the DVD. I have written him and the First Presidency and received nothing but silence. Perhaps Mike can have better luck than I.

    Mike raises an issue with the image of the pentagram in the DVD. I address this in an article titled The Nauvoo Pentagrams. In part, I stated:

    In his article entitled Inverted Stars on LDS Temples (http://www.fairlds.org/pubs/Stars.pdf ), Mormon writer Matthew B. Brown also refers to Eliphas Levi as the one who gave the inverted pentagram an evil connotation. He states "Though Eliphas Levi is consistently credited with being the first person to associate the inverted five-pointed star with Satan, one commentator makes this important observation: "The inverted five-pointed star, with its single point downward, originally had no demonic meaning, but over the centuries it has mistakenly come to represent evil." (Source cited, Tom Ogden, Wizards and Sorcerers: From Abracadabra to Zoroaster, New York: Facts on File, 1997, 172). How this mistakenly happened is subject to debate, but it seems to be clear that if it has come to represent evil "over the centuries," it is reasonable to assume that it did have had such a connotation when Joseph Smith was alive.

    Several books on the subject, as well as several web sites sympathetic to Wicca and Witchcraft, insist that the occultic association of the inverted pentagram goes back much further than the 1850s.


    Mike says that glass looking was not a criminal act. According to Firmage and Mangrum, (Zion in the Courts, p.49), “The trials occurred in 1826 and 1830. In each instance the charge related to Smith's money-digging activities. The vagrancy statute prohibited ‘pretending... to discover where lost goods may be found.’ The 20 March 1826 ‘glass looking’ charges filed at South Bainbridge against the young Joseph (Walters 1974, 129) certainly would have fit the statutory offense.”

    Under oath Josiah Stowell was asked, “Did Smith ever tell you there was money hid in a certain glass which he mentioned? Yes. Did he tell you, you could find it by digging? Yes. Did you dig? Yes. Did you find any money? No. Did he not lie to you then, and deceive you? No! the money was there, but we did not get quite to it! How do you know it was there? Smith said it was!” I offer this hypothetical question to Mike: If you were a juror would you believe like Stowell that the money was there? If not, would you concede that Stowell was being duped? (source: John Phillip Walker, Dale Morgan: On Early Mormonism, p.338). I think most outside observers would agree that either Stowell’s loyalty to Smith (or Stowell’s pride) prevented him from admitting he was taken in by Smith.

    Mormon historian Marvin S. Hill, concluded that "it is clear that a trial did take place and that at issue was Joseph Jr.'s money digging.” (Stan Larson, Quest for the Gold Plates, p.143). In that court case Smith’s “stone” was admitted as evidence. There is no record of Smith being found guilty, but several agree that it is very probable that Smith, being a minor, was allowed to “escape.” Such was not uncommon.

    Mike also complains about the skepticism in the DVD regarding Smith’s alleged ability to heal the sick in Nauvoo. How can such healings be proved? One account said he even went about raising the dead. Is any of this verified in non-LDS newspaper accounts? Does the LDS Church have written statements by non-Mormon doctors that verify such healings and miracles? Ami to assume that Mike automatically accepts the testimony of those who claimed to have been healed by guys like Benny Hinn? If not, what is the problem?

     
  • At May 16, 2007 12:10 PM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    I once accepted John Morehead as a fellow evangelical, but his recent journey into postmodernism makes me wonder what he actually believes nowadays. However, I am not surprised that Mormons see John as some sort of ally since he offers virtually nothing that challenges their thinking.

    The comment:

    "even though The Godmakers was one of the most widely distributed apologetic critiques of Mormonism, worldwide membership in the LDS Church continued to grow, and despite widespread evangelical apologetics against Mormonism, 'Mormon proselytizing efforts have not been appreciably affected.'


    Oh really? Remember, much of the Godmakers dealt with the temple endowment ceremony. Over the years I have talked with many who found the temple ceremony to be a big turn off to Mormonism. Must we believe that it is just one giant coincidence that the Mormon Church just happened to remove the highly offensive portions of the temple ceremony following the Godmakers release? This had nothing at all to do with the public exposure of this film? Why would the LDS Church feel compelled to change a ceremony that, according to Seventy Royden Derrick said should not be: “altered or changed, because all of those who will be exalted, from the first man, Adam, to the last, must be saved on the same principles” (Royden G. Derrick, Temples in the Last Days,, p.36).

    Regarding world-wide growth: I doubt very seriously that exposure to the Godmakers was all that widespread outside the US (it's a big world out there), so how is this relevant? Remember, back in the 1980s there was no YouTube.

    Also: "and despite widespread evangelical apologetics against Mormonism, 'Mormon proselytizing efforts have not been appreciably affected.'

    A simple check on convert baptism rates since 1990 shows the fallacy of this comment. New convert growth has been static for over a decade and a half.

    Not "appreciably" affected? How am I to understand this when I read that the angels in heaven rejoice over one convert? I can point to numerous ex-Mormons who are very appreciative that a Christian approached them with biblical truth. As for those "evangelicals" that Mormons like to point to; how many times have their efforts caused the angels to rejoice?

     
  • At May 17, 2007 11:54 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    Bill

    You make a lot of assumptions about the inverted pentagram and what it symbolizes to members of the LDS Church. The real issue for this blog topic is the use of the inverted pentagram by the makers of the DVD in an attempt to destroy Joseph Smith’s character. You yourself, in an article titled “The Nauvoo Pentagram,” state, “I'd like to insist that I am not aware of any evidence that proves Smith was purposely trying to utilize what he thought was a Satanic symbol.” In reality, there seems to be more evidence to support that this symbol represented something very spiritual for Joseph Smith rather than something evil. I disagree with your assertion that the inverted pentagram has come to only represent evil today. You could not defend that fact that the Congressional Medal of Honor is also an inverted five-pointed star. Regardless, if there is no conclusive evidence to determine what this symbolized to Joseph Smith, then isn’t it wrong for the makers of the DVD to present it in such a way (by this I mean evil – I thought the flames were a nice touch) as to make the viewers question Joseph Smith’s character? This is most certainly deceitful.

    You continue to use opinions and assumptions throughout the remainder of your response. Unfortunately the use of opinions and assumptions is the exact problem with the DVD, which claims to “search for the truth.” People can assume Joseph Smith was found innocent of the charge of “glass looking” because he was a minor. However, this is simply an opinion. There is nothing to prove this claim. What we do know is he was found innocent.

    Next you question the testimony of Josiah Stowell saying that either his loyalty or pride prevented him from telling the truth. Yet again, you and others are making an assumption. I find this claim particularly amusing because if Mr. Stowell had said something negative about Joseph Smith, I could see you readily accepting it as truth and using it to further destroy Joseph Smith’s character. What we do know is Josiah Stowell said that Joseph Smith never deceived him. Anything beyond this is just speculation.

    Your last claim is the one I find most troubling. In discussing Joseph Smith’s healings you said, “How can such healings be proved? . . . Is any of this verified in non-LDS newspaper accounts? Does the LDS Church have written statements by non-Mormon doctors that verify such healings and miracles?” This makes you sound ridiculous. I don’t expect you or the makers of the DVD to believe that Joseph Smith healed people. My problem is that the DVD states, “. . . it has no more reality to it than any other fictional story created by Hollywood.” That’s a bold claim considering the numerous historical documents which discuss the healings of Joseph Smith. There is nothing, except the makers of the DVD’s opinions, to say there is no reality to these claims. Again, opinions don’t work in a DVD that claims to “search for the truth.” In reality, it’s like I have already stated. You and others will use quotes from LDS leaders or members to support your claims, while ignoring those quotes that might prove the truthfulness of Joseph Smith and the LDS Church. This calls into question the truthfulness of this entire website.

    However, this is not the point. The point is the makers of the DVD ignore the facts and used opinions in an attempt to destroy Joseph Smith’s character. This is a hateful act no matter how others may try and justify it. The DVD was not a “search for truth,” but a search for anything that would call into question the truthfulness of the LDS Church.

    Mike

     
  • At May 17, 2007 12:59 PM, Blogger Sharon said…

    Mike wrote: "The point is the makers of the DVD ignore the facts and used opinions in an attempt to destroy Joseph Smith’s character. This is a hateful act no matter how others may try and justify it."

    Using Mike's reasoning, this is what I see. The fact is that the DVD in question states that the production and distribution of the documentary was motivated by love with an attempt to help those who may be searching for truth. Mike ignores this stated fact in order to assert his opinion that the DVD was produced in order to destroy Joseph Smith's character. Mike calls this a hateful act, which designation applies not only to what the producers of the DVD did (according to Mike), but also to what Mike is himself doing. Motivational accusations place people on a very slippery slope. The point Bill raised in the first place was a question about what in the DVD constituted "hate speech" or, in Jeffrey Holland's words, "hate-filled talk." This is not a question of motivation; it's a question of content.

    BTW, Joseph Smith was not found innocent of glass-looking as Mike says. At Joseph's pre-trial in 1826 it was determined that there was enough evidence to bring him before the court in a full trial, but Joseph "took leg bail" and never appeared before the judge to resolve the charges. Justice Neely's actual pre-trial court record states, "And therefore the Court find the Defendant [Joseph Smith] guilty." While Joseph was never formally convicted of this alleged crime, neither was he ever "found innocent."

     
  • At May 21, 2007 10:13 AM, Blogger Sharon said…

    I'd like to thank inhimdependent_lds for his patience as we've worked through some frustrating communication problems over this past week. For those of you waiting for his responses to your questions, thanks for your patience as well. Inhimdependent_lds' comments should be appearing here again very soon.

     
  • At May 21, 2007 10:24 AM, Blogger Sharon said…

    BTW, just a reminder to all -- please keep Mormon Coffee's comment rules in mind:

    Keep comments brief
    Stay on topic
    Be respectful


    Some of the above comments are pushing the envelope regarding length...

     
  • At May 21, 2007 5:05 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    I noticed that the link in my previous post to the F.A.I.R. rebuttal somehow got cut off. Here is the link again. Sorry for the confusion.

    http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD

     
  • At May 21, 2007 5:06 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Sharon, thx for the clarification regarding the delay.

    Arthur,

    My original response was apparently too long for “Mormoncoffee” protocol and I have been advised that I need to limit my replies to approximately 500 words in length.
    ----

    J.Moreheads comments reflect a growing trend within the evangelical community. Other groups such as “Standing-Together” openly recognize the vast error and harmful mischaracterization perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church- to the point of beginning to speak out against their own people on it.

    It is the “creeds” not the churches that God said was an abomination in His sight. And this is true because the creeds changed God from our literal Father into and abstract philosophical construct.

    We do teach that there was an “apostasy” of early NT Christianity soon after the prophets and Apostles exited the scene. With this understanding we acknowledge that other churches do have some truth- but they just don’t have the full truth.

    I am often baffled when told by critics that our claim that there was an apostasy of early NT Christianity is offensive when this claim is coming from of all people-a Protestant!!

    What could be more naive of the history of Protestantism? Protestantism was founded on the rejection of the Catholic Church on the grounds of an apostasy!. Its part of what the word actually means- “PROTESTant”!! Catholics consider all protestants to be apostates and fallen away! The difference being that instead of claiming an apostasy originating around the first or second century as LDS do Protestants claim it around the 14th century!!

    I can guarantee you that what you find in contemporary Evangelical churches is NOT original Christianity- not anywhere close to it.

    Arthur’s comments: ----------------------- The mormon church spends a ton of money printing the book of mormon and making video tapes… What is the difference between that endeavor and distributing DVDs? -----------------------

    There is a world of difference!

    LDSchurch videos teach and promote the truth that the LDS Church itself has. They do NOT try to teach people about OTHER churches!!!- HUGE DIFFERENCE!!

    The LDSchurch does not make videos about what Baptists “really” believe. We don’t make videos highlighting the errors of say Methodists. We don’t make videos that tell the history of the Baptist tradition and why we feel it is full of flaws. LDS videos are not orchestrated to highlight character flaws of Evangelical leaders. We don’t make videos that tell other people what their own church teaches or revise its own history for them. We don’t run anti-protestant “ministries”. We don’t publish books with sensationalized titles like “Behind the Mask of the Baptists” or “The Counterfeit Gospel of Catholicism”. We don’t petition other churches demanding that they quit referring to themselves as Christians because we disagree with them. I do not know of a single LDS who makes his or her living as a professional critic of somebody else’s faith- not one. We just don’t operate like that.

     
  • At May 22, 2007 9:54 AM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    Inhim writes:

    “J.Moreheads comments reflect a growing trend within the evangelical community. Other groups such as “Standing-Together” openly recognize the vast error and harmful mischaracterization perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church- to the point of beginning to speak out against their own people on it.”

    A couple of questions:
    1) What exactly have your heard or read from Standing Together that points out “vast errors and harmful mischaracterizations perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church”?

    2) Have you either heard or read anything from John Morehead or Standing Together that has ever challenged your faith as a Latter-day Saint?

     
  • At May 22, 2007 1:04 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Bill,

    For what it’s worth I myself was an Evangelical Christian for the first 33 years of my life. I accepted Jesus Christ as my “personal Lord and Savior” and became a “born-again” Christian at a young age. Over the years I remained steady in my love and study of the Bible and kept a steady finger on the pulse of the Evangelical community. I’ve had significant experiences where I “rededicated” my life to Christ and grew in my knowledge of him and my relationship with him. These are experiences that I still treasure and consider to be important building blocks in preparing me to eventually join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    I understand the Evangelical community and counter-cult culture and how they have progressed and developed over time as well as their current state today.

    Bills comment’s:--------------------- 1) What exactly have your heard or read from Standing Together that points out “vast errors and harmful mischaracterizations perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church”?------------

    For starters you might consider the significant event that “Standing Together” held in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City where LDS leadership turned over the entire evening to Evangelical leadership in the very heart of the Mormon community. Along with Ravi Zachariahs President of Fuller Theological Seminary Richard Mouw spoke that evening. Some of his remarks as related to your question are as follows.

    “Friendship with each other has not come easily for our two communities. But in recent times things have begun to change. Evangelicals and Mormons have worked together on important matters of public morality. Here in Utah, the Standing Together ministry has been willing to take some considerable risks in countering the more aggressive and disruptive evangelical attacks against the LDS church. “

    Referring to his ongoing dialogues with LDS scholars and leadership Richard Mouw goes on to say “....I am now convinced that we evangelicals have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the LDS folks here this evening: we have sinned against you. The God of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression in things we have said about you. We have told you what you believe without making a sincere effort first of all to ask you what you believe.”

    If that’s not clear I don’t know what is.

    You can read more about this event here:

    www.beliefnet.com/story/156/story_15656_1.html

    www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0.1249.595105580.00.html

    Beyond these remarks I personally know fellow evangelicals who maintain the views expressed in these comments. They DO REPRESENT A GROWING TREND IN THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY. They represent a growing sense that such an approach is simply not in keeping with the spirit of Christ and how he would have us relate to each other- and that these sorts of efforts usually end up doing more harm than good.

     
  • At May 22, 2007 6:29 PM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    Inhim,
    You didn't answer my questions.

    1) What exactly have your heard or read from Standing Together that points out “vast errors and harmful mischaracterizations perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church”?

    2) Have you either heard or read anything from John Morehead or Standing Together that has ever challenged your faith as a Latter-day Saint?

    Richard Mouw is not associated with Standing Together. Still, when he was questioned as to what he meant by "bearing false witness" he said evangelicals were wrong for saying Mormons believe in the Lorenzo Snow couplet (http://www.mrm.org/topics/god-father/does-lorenzo-snows-famous-couplet-no-longer-have-functioning-place-lds-theology). I can't see how that amount of ignorance helps in the discussion.

     
  • At May 22, 2007 7:49 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Bill,

    I posted the answer below before your 6:29pm post but it has not appeared on the site yet- so I am posting it again now. I am not intending to dodge your questions.

    Bills comment’s: --------------------- 2) Have you either heard or read anything from John Morehead or Standing Together that has ever challenged your faith as a Latter-day Saint? ---------------------

    Bill, when I read and study the beliefs and views of others that are also sincerely striving to follow Jesus Christ I choose to look for common ground. This is because as a former Evangelical Christian and now LDS Christian I believe that Jesus Christ and the Spirit has the power to transform and enlighten ALL those that sincerely strive to come unto him- regardless of our particular denominational distinctions or theological underpinnings.

    My fear is that those immersed in the counter-cult culture are caught up in a bad spirit- and have drifted far from the way the Lord would have us interact with each other. Fortunately some within the Evangelical community are starting to recognize this. I just can’t help but feel that this is a good and positive change for us all- and hopefully it will continue.

     
  • At May 22, 2007 9:02 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Bill,

    What amount of ignorance are you referring to Bill?

    Mouw’s comments are not made in isolation- as much as im sure you would like to convince us that they where. He is speaking about a larger portion of Evangelicals than just himself. His comments represent what a growing number of people in the evangelical community are coming to know to be true. Mouw’s comments are not just about himself. As if it is not already plainly obvious perhaps it would be helpful to re-highlight this portion of Mouws comments: “….. the Standing Together ministry has been willing to take some considerable risks in countering the more aggressive and disruptive evangelical attacks against the LDS church…” Does this comment not tell us about “Standing Together”? Obviously it does, which is why I included it in my answer to your question.

    Clearly “Standing Together” has made efforts to “counter the more aggressive and disruptive evangelical attacks against the LDS church”. Standing Together did not “counter the more aggressive and disruptive evangelical attacks against the LDS church” because they thought they were healthy and in keeping with the Spirit of the Lord. They countered these activities because they recognize the error and mischaracterization of them and more importantly in my view they recognize the bad Spirit contained in them and as a result question their appropriateness and effectiveness.

    I know what I am talking about here Bill and I am not ignorant.

     
  • At May 23, 2007 11:33 AM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    Inhim,
    I apologize if you understood my use of the word ignorant to be directed at you. It was not. It was directed at Mouw’s ignorant understanding of Mormonism and the Lorenzo Snow couplet.

    That aside, you changed the argument when you went from content to methodology. At MRM we too are concerned with how Christians present their objections about Mormonism to Mormons (see http://www.mrm.org/topics/evangelism-issues/witnessing-rules-engagement). We want to live up to the description found in 1 Peter 3:15, but we reject the notion that disagreement is equated with hatred or bigotry.

    Again, you originally said:

    “J.Moreheads comments reflect a growing trend within the evangelical community. Other groups such as “Standing-Together” openly recognize the vast error and harmful mischaracterization perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church- to the point of beginning to speak out against their own people on it.”

    To which I asked:

    1) What exactly have your heard or read from Standing Together that points out “vast errors and harmful mischaracterizations perpetuated by many critics of the LDS church”?

    2) Have you either heard or read anything from John Morehead or Standing Together that has ever challenged your faith as a Latter-day Saint?

    I assume from your posts that the answer to question number two is “no,” their writings, etc., have not challenged your belief as a Latter-day Saint. However, you did not answer question number one. You said Morehead and Standing Together (Greg Johnson) openly recognize “vast error and harmful mischaracterization perpetrated by critics of the LDS Church.” I know both men personally. In fact, I have spent several hours on numerous occasions discussing issues with Greg and his associate Erik McHenry. I can’t recall either of them ever saying I or some other reputable ministry has ever mischaracterized Mormons or Mormonism. Greg’s main concern has always been with methodology, primarily with the street preachers during conference. All I am asking is for you to provide some statement by them to support your premise. I can’t respond if I don’t know what I am responding to. If you misspoke I can accept that and am willing to drop the subject.

     
  • At May 23, 2007 9:23 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Bill,

    I did not change the argument from “content” to “methodology”. From the beginning it has always been about both. There is movement in both of these areas within the Evangelical community that make up this trend of which I speak.

    Bill’s Comments:-----------All I am asking is for you to provide some statement by them to support your premise.-----------

    Bill, I believe in providing support for my premise- but providing statements from these two individuals is not the only way to do so. We are talking about a trend that is made evident in a variety of different ways. There is plenty of other evidence and material to draw from- and I don’t have the benefit of meeting with these individuals like you do. You know as well as I do that the efforts of “Standing Together” and events like “An Evening of Friendship” or Greg and Roberts “An Evangelical and Mormon in Conversation” all represent new approaches within the Evangelical community of interacting with LDS. “Standing Together” is one of the few Evangelical groups, shockingly enough, that will even recommend “How Wide the Divide” to its audience. These people have taken a lot of heat from their fellow Evangelicals for trying these sorts of approaches. What is important to remember here is that these approaches are a reflection of a sentiment within a growing number of Evangelical people themselves, not just leadership.

    I personally know Evangelicals that embrace this sentiment and I know you know they are out there.

    The rational for this change in approach is itself founded on an admission of the error and mischaracterization inherent in previous approaches. It is just that simple. It requires an acknowledgement that what went before aint working and just isn’t healthy.

    (By the way, as a LDS I personally find this new approach much more refreshing and hopeful than what we have seen in the past.)

    If you want to maintain that this shift relates ONLY to “methodology” and not to “content” I would still disagree. However, I see no point in making it a sticking point because even if we agreed that “Standing Together” represented only a reform in “methodology” there are still plenty of other things we could point to to verify the “content” side of this trend.

    For example I am sure you remember Carl Mosser and Paul Owen’s article in the Trinity Journal entitled:
    “Mormon scholarship, apologetics, and evangelical neglect: Losing the battle and not knowing it?” (www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3803/
    is_199810/ai_n8808757)

    They put it rather simple and straightforward in regard to the “content” side.

    With a bit more time and space we both know more examples could be put on the table that would clearly illustrate both the content and methodology aspects of this trend.

    You are correct that my answer to Question #2 would be “No”.

     
  • At May 24, 2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Bill McKeever said…

    The rational for this change in approach is itself founded on an admission of the error and mischaracterization inherent in previous approaches. It is just that simple. It requires an acknowledgement that what went before aint working and just isn’t healthy.”

    Inhim, I have to chuckle at this comment. Being used by the Holy Spirit to bring people out of darkness and into the light is the Christian's biblical mandate. That being the case, what “ain’t working” is the method employed by the very men you praise. No wonder you like this new approach. If I was a Mormon, I'd like it too.

     
  • At May 24, 2007 7:15 PM, Blogger inhimdependent_lds said…

    Bill,

    “Being used by the Holy Spirit to bring people out of darkness and into the light is the Christian's biblical mandate” is a very correct and true statement. It is also a statement that LDS Christians eagerly and wholeheartedly embrace.

    As related to the topic at hand it is partly out of a desire to better fulfill this very Biblical mandate you speak of that some Evangelicals are rejecting previous and prevailing approaches in favor of this new trend. It is why they feel a need to honestly acknowledge error and mischaracterization in both “methodology” and “content” of the past in an attempt to move forward in a more Christ like way. Attempting to better fulfill the Biblical mandate you speak of is part of why they are doing what they are doing!

    In my view these Evangelicals, though in a minority, are moving more in harmony with the Spirit of the Lord- which has to be a good thing for everyone.

    Bill’s comment’s:----------what “ain’t working” is the method employed by the very men you praise. No wonder you like this new approach. If I was a Mormon, I'd like it too.----------

    You are certainly entitled to your opinions Bill, and I am not here to take them from you. But at least you have admitted for us that this “new approach” does in fact exist- which is a big part of the point I’ve been trying to make here.

    I know who my Savior is Bill- and I am both proud and humbled to be a part of His literal Church here on the earth.

     
  • At May 24, 2007 9:28 PM, Blogger Keith Walker said…

    Inhim,
    From an Evangelical perspective, if your faith has never been challenged by Standing Together or Morehead, it ain't working and just isn't healthy.

     
  • At May 25, 2007 1:39 PM, Blogger rick b said…

    Inhim said It is why they feel a need to honestly acknowledge error and mischaracterization in both “methodology” and “content” of the past in an attempt to move forward in a more Christ like way.

    People like these guys and Richard Mouw should only speak for themselves.

    They in all honesty cannot speak on my behalf saying Rick said this wrong. If LDS fell I spoke about something in an in accurate way or took things out of context we can talk about that spefic thing.

    I know on my blog, I have been accused of taking things out of context or flat out lying. I asked for evidence of lying, and either I get no reply, or the reply is simply, I dont agree with your view. Not agreeing with me is not the same as me lying.

    Then on the issue of taking things out of context, I scanned the actual page plus some for people to view for them selves, then no one come back to point out the error.

    I am not perfect, but I go out of my way to avoid error in sharing with the LDS, Even to the point of spending thousands of my own dollars to by old rare LDS books to make sure I quote things accurately, and to read for my self and see if others are quoting accurately as the LDS always accuse us of not doing it.

    Then we could point to things Jesus said and did, that now a days are seeker friendly Church's who wont even speak the truth because they are a wimpy society and would say, Jesus said and did things that were not Christ like. rick b

     
  • At May 31, 2007 10:32 PM, Blogger John W. Morehead said…

    I only recently became aware of this thread through an Internet search for my counter-cult "fan mail." I will attempt to set the record straight in the misrepresentations that have been made in comments here by Bill McKeever and Keith Walker.

    First, in a previous post Bill McKeever refers to my alleged journey into postmodernism and now questions whether I am an evangelical. Therefore he is not surprised that Latter-day Saints would see me as an ally in my criticism of the recent apologetic DVD. In other forums I have also been labeled "liberal" by Jeff Downs, another counter-cultist. It is simply not possible to provide a single written or spoken statement by me that puts me in the camp of postmodernity or liberalism. I certainly think postmodernity brings a helpful critique of modernity for evangelicals that forget that Christianity is pre-modern, and I believe that theological and political liberalism include positive aspects for conservatives to consider, but I do not identify with these areas. I would ask Bill to be more careful in trying to understand my views and in applying labels in public forums.

    Second, Keith Walker stated:

    "From an Evangelical perspective, if your faith has never been challenged by Standing Together or Morehead, it ain't working and just isn't healthy."

    Unfortunately, Keith and many other counter-cultists equate only their apologetic approaches which majors on challenge and refutation with effective and appropriate forms of engagement with Mormons and other adherents of new religions. I beg to differ, and I would point the interested reader to what we have actually written on the topic in our award winning book (with the many postive reviews in missions and academic theological journals), our Lausanne group issue paper, and blog commentary for an articulation of our interdisciplinary and cross-cultural missions model. It is indeed sound and healthy, even though it offends the sensibilities of many in the counter-cult community.

    One last thought. The exchages here between evangelicals and Latter-day Saints exhibits many of the same shortcomings of the apologetic DVD, and the result is that both parties in the dialogue are entrenched in their positions with little to no ability to sympathetically "hear" the other and consider their views. This series of exchanges confirms the general tenor of my DVD critique and reiterates the shortcomings of merely defensive methodologies.

     
  • At June 06, 2007 3:06 PM, Blogger Keith Walker said…

    John, what exactly is misrepresented in my statement, "From an Evangelical perspective, if your faith has never been challenged by Standing Together or Morehead, it ain't working and just isn't healthy?"

    Do you not agree that one must be challenged to re-think (repent of)their position, before they will change their mind? There must be a reason to change your mind, otherwise, why bother?

     

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