About J. Max Wilson

J. Max Wilson is one of the founders of the Millennial Star. You can visit his personal blog at http://sixteensmallstones.org.

Apostasy as Conspiracy Theory: Reason, Logic, Insanity and Mormon Intellectualism

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

It’s time to talk about Apostasy. Again.

In this post, however, I want to introduce a new approach to thinking about personal apostasy by drawing what I think are compelling comparisons between apostasy and conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories appeal to some very fundamental aspects of human nature and can wield a great deal of influence over people. I believe that a closer look at the appeal and mechanics of conspiracy theories can help illuminate some important aspects of personal apostasy from the church.

My hope is that by exposing these aspects of apostasy I can help not only those members of the church who are dealing with family or friends who have apostatized, but also give pause to those who find themselves being drawn down the path of apostasy, and raise doubts among those who are already a far distance down that path.

Ultimately this is a warning about the limits of reason and logic and the potential dangers of the rational mind.

The concept of conspiracy is deeply ingrained into our entertainment, our political discourse, and even our religion. Conspiracy theories exist among the atheistic as well as religious. They propagate among liberals as well as conservatives, and among the educated as well as the ignorant.

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Language Unique to the Book of Mormon: “On The Morrow Month”

[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

The Book of Mormon records that Giddianhi, the leader of the antagonist Gadianton Robbers, wrote a letter to Lachoneus, the leader of the protagonist Nephites, demanding that they relinquish all their property and join their cause. In his letter he gives an ultimatum:

“And behold, I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed; but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct.”

It was a few years ago that the peculiarity of Giddianhi’s ultimatum really stood out to me for the first time.

As an English major with a particular interest in literature written before the 20th century, I had read a variety of texts from the Old English, Middle English, Renaissance, Early Modern,18th and 19th Century periods. At the time I had been reading a great deal of early American writing, often in the original spelling and grammar, which had been written between 1500 and 1860. I had just finished a handful of books published around the time when Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon and the phrase “…on the morrow month…” in Giddianhi’s letter really stuck out as an unusual construction.

I wondered if “on the morrow month” was in common usage in the 19th century, when Joseph was translating the Nephite record, but had since fallen out of use. Or maybe it was a construction adapted from the Jacobean language of the King James Bible. I had never run into it in any of my other reading, so I started to investigate.

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“The Book of Mormon” Musical is Anti-Mormon Dreck

[ Cross Posted from Sixteens Small Stones ]

By now you’ve all heard of the The Book of Mormon Broadway Musical, created by the makers of the vulgar comedy show South Park in collaboration with one of the people behind the obscene Puppet Broadway show Avenue Q.   It’s received glowing reviews from nearly all the elites and has been nominated for 14 Tony Awards.

It’s been described as “sweet” and it’s mockery of Mormonism dismissed as a form of affectionate teasing about the goofy beliefs that Mormons have, while still recognizing their value to society. Even some so-called “Mormons” and supposedly “Active Members” of the church have lauded it and encouraged members to see it. [Clarification: i.e. even some that claim to be "faithful" to the teachings of the LDS Church have lauded it and encouraged members to see it.]

I’m here to tell you that these plaudits are a load of tripe.  The Book of Mormon Broadway Musical is pure garbage.  The fact that so many people, including members of the church, have given it such glowing reviews simply manifests how desensitized these people are to vulgarity and blasphemy, and how far their hearts are from God.

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Unrated vs Clean: It’s Time to Demand Choose-Your-Own-Rating DVD Options

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

A few years ago a film came out that my wife and I had wanted to see, but we didn’t get around to seeing it in the theatre. So when it came out on DVD, I stopped by a local video rental and picked it up. In our family, we don’t watch R-rated films. Since I knew that this particular film had been rated PG-13, I hadn’t bothered looking at the rating on the DVD when I rented it, I just hurriedly found the title and picked it up.

Even though we both wanted to see it, my wife ended up watching the movie without me while I was at work. She called me, shocked, because the film contained a scene full of gratuitous nudity and explicit sexual activity. Embarrassed, I double checked that the film had been PG-13 using an Internet search. A closer look at the DVD container showed that the DVD contained an “Unrated” version of the movie. We had fallen for a bait-and-switch! The theatrical version had been rated PG-13, but it was not available to be rented on DVD. You could only rent the “Unrated” version.

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Book of Mormon Socialism: The Marxist Gadianton Robbers

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

Some LDS proponents of Socialism like to compare capitalism to the infamous Gadianton Robbers in the Book of Mormon. It seems a simple line to draw between the “Profit Motive” of Capitalism and the secret combination of the Gadiantons to “get gain.” Too simple in fact. A more careful reading shows that in some ways the Gadianton Robbers seem to be more like Marxist Revolutionaries.

Chapter 3 of the book of 3rd Nephi in the Book of Mormon is interesting in that it is one of the few sections of the text which purports to give us a glimpse of how the Gadianton Robbers viewed themselves, rather than how they were viewed by Mormon and his Nephite protagonists. Verses 2 through 10 are the record of an epistle written to the governor of the Nephites, Lachoneus, from the leader of the Gadianton Robbers, Giddianhi:

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