Dissecting the Document Dump
The other day, I retrieved and posted a PDF document so embarrasing to the Mormon Church, that the errant Mormon apologist who originally posted it on his blog, “disappeared” it from the web the day after the New York Times hyperlinked to his Mormon Stories website.
It’s a long and tedious document, and one of my lazier readers (h/t Americablog) has requested that I break it down and highlight “the good parts”, something that I had planned to do in the near future anyway. Turns out the near future is today. I still encourage everyone to read it in it’s entirety, if only to experience first-hand, the long and tedious banality of Mormon religious sophistry and rhetorical apologetics in general.
The PDF transcribes the conversation between high ranking Swedish Mormons and a couple church “historians” (Seal Team Slicks) air-dropped into Sweden from Utah to answer the growing concerns of the Swedes over the origins, history and practices of the Mormon church. The uninitiated may want to read the first part of my expose’ for more background as well as the original New York Times piece that sent me down this rabbit hole.
For purposes of brevity, I will refer to the Mormon historians as “the Church” and the insolent Swedish parishoners as “the Doubters” or “the Swedes”. The stage is set:
Event: Special Fireside (marshmallows?) for Disaffected (Uninfected?) Swedish LDS Saints
Speakers: Elder Marlin K. Jensen (LDS Church Historian) and Richard E. Turley Jr. (Assistant Church Historian)
Date: November 28, 2010
Location: Västerhaninge Chapel; Stockholm, Sweden
Opening Remarks – The Church (Information Daze)
It is a day of information, but with that comes the challenge of deciding what information is reliable, what information is true, what information is worthy of basing our life on it. And hopefully tonight we can at least offer some information in a reliable and loving way that will be responsive to some of the questions that you have.
The bar has been set pretty high IMHO. Using this standard of historical filtering, we’d never have heard of the Holocaust no matter how many reliable reports we got because it’s definitely not “loving” even if we all agree it’s reliable. Information that is accurate, yet not worthy of basing our lives on, has also been set aside as suspect. Now that we have the “rules” on how the Mormon Church
defines filters information, let us proceed.
Inconvenient Facts = Work of the Devil
In a rather brazen attempt to inhibit and shame the curious, we get scripture quoted from (argh!) The Book of Mormon (Moroni 7, Verse 16) by the Church historians:
“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves to him.”
This verse forms the bedrock on which the Church builds their rationalization for their moral imperative to shut down debate at all levels, as well as lie to doubters, lest the truth somehow moves them closer to the devil. In standard Christianity it’s often referred to as “lying for Christ“. In the secular world the expression, “The end justifes the means” can stand in for the religious verses when it is inappropriate to invoke religion in support of an immoral argument (justifying torture e.g.). Brainwashed believers, even if they have serious doubts about what they witness with their own lying eyes, are routinely shut down with the not so subtle threat that they are risking their place in the Mormon version of Heaven by even
asking pondering about it in the first place.
I should know because unlike the memories of the Mormon historical apologists, I have nearly perfect knowledge. Under Mormon rules, I’d be in contention for serious Devilhood, except I’m actually encouraging everyone to try to be as good as is humanly possible, not that I think it’ll be an effective defense against pissed-off Mormons whatsoever.
Questions of the Doubters
Doubter Question: Will you have very good answers?
Church: You’ll see in a moment. We’ll have what answers we have.….(ed. full answer is 592 words)
Six hundred words to answer to a simple question? Mormon hierarchy is so accustomed to pissing down the leg of their parishioners while simultaneously proclaiming a rainstorm, I’m shocked they didn’t think to just answer with one word, “Absolutely”.
There are many questions over the veracity of stories of the magic golden plates and their translations portrayed in Church doctrine (and Mormon Sunday School) that, suffice to say, clearly don’t mesh with undisputed historical facts of the era.
I’m going to focus less on the questions pointing out the obvious bogusness of the “translation” of these imaginary golden plates and more on the doubters questions concerning implementation and operations of the early church, and in particular, the licentous behavior of Joseph Smith. In order to do so it is not enough to just be familiar with the definition of polygamy. If only it were that easy I could just refer to Big Love and be done with it.
Invoking Editorial Privilege
From here on out, the questions come from the Swedes faster than the Church can cobble together consistent responses. Often one questioner will toss several out at once and the Church will pounce on the low hanging fruit of the one they think is most easy to placate, ignoring the more controversial of the mix. There may be several pages between an original (ignored) question and it’s reappearance by another questioner later in the discussion.
Therefore, I shall remix (in no particular order) from the bevy of scrambled questions and answers, being careful to “cut n’ paste” the relevant bits while attempting to keep the integrity of the overall analysis intact. After all, I’m not hiding the original document from anybody that wants to see it (I’m not Mormon after all…lol), so if someone wants to challenge me from the original text, have at it in the comments.
Question: According to information I have read a number of times which has been published in books, etc., and which I think seem to be very firm and correct, how the wives were forced into marriage. It wasn’t so that they fell in love with Joseph and say, now I would like to be a wife. It was so that they were put under tremendous pressure to accept the marriage and they were told that the church will go under and their family will go under, you have only until, let’s say, tomorrow to decide and to marry me but it will have terrible consequences if you don’t accept the marriage.
Church response to questions about polyandry:
Church: So the question of Polyandry. Polygamy is when a man has multiple wives. . Joseph did both, so your question is about polyandry.
Let that sink in for a minute. Undisputed polyandry. Not only was Joseph Smith snatching up every available fourteen year old girl like a latter day Warren Jeffs, he was also coercing married women into affairs. For the record, Ann Eliza Young made the charges in a book she wrote (in 1876!) after escaping bondage from Mormonism by hightailing it out of Utah under cover of darkness. She was Brigham Young’s 27th wife. Her book is freely available online (copyrights have long ago expired).
Church Apologetics on Coerced Sexual Relations
Church: In the 1800’s being fourteen years old was like being thirty years old today. On the issue of coercion, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and it’s widely accepted that prophets get to bone as many chicks as they are able. Plus, nobody was worried about overpopulating Utah at the time. (Ok, I added the last bit, but the other stuff is accurately paraphrased). In conclusion, the Church wants to remind everyone that polygamy is bad, bad, bad, and in our advanced society it’s an aberration to ever considering adopting the practice.
The Swedes: Does this mean I don’t get my multiple wives in Heaven?
Church: Don’t talk crazy. Of course you still get to party like the Sultan of Brunei after you’re dead. Whatever else you might think of Mormonism, we’re not barbarians. Ferchrissakes.
There are questions about why the Mormon Church hates Black people as well as all kinds of other juicy gobbledygook for folks who enjoy the “inside baseball” aspects of the whackaloon religious world of Mormonism. I honestly don’t have the patience to wade back through the muck and the mire to mine any more nuggets out of the cesspool. It’s not nearly as fun as bobbing for apples.