The “Open Letter” to the Prophet of the Mormon Church

LetterAndrew Ainsworth on his Facebook page had a link to something called “An open letter to President Thomas S. Monson: Prophet of the Mormon Church.” Andrew adds, “Hoping this will lead to positive results.”

If what Andrew is hoping for is further dialogue on the subjects the letter brings up, then I’m about to give him some (small) positive results. However, I’m going to make the case that this letter is more destructive then constructive and that Andrew is wrong to support it.

I am not going to link to the letter because, frankly, I don’t want to raise its Google ranking. But it’s easy enough to find if you’re curious. I am going to analyze this letter and ask some question and encourage comments. I am going to make the case that this letter is being specifically written from (and can only be read as) a non-believing view point and that it is primarily a stunt at anti-Mormon publicity rather than a serious attempt to resolve the problems it outlines. I will do this by outlinging the specific claims the letter makes and making brief comments. Possible extended future points for discussion will be mentioned.

Who Is Writing this Letter?

The letter claims it represents “We are a part of a community of thousands of current and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Continue reading

The Mormon Intellectuals’ Trojan Horses

[The Millennial Star is pleased to welcome Jeff G. as a guest blogger with a fantastic post that should be shared and read widely.]

“When the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions…

“Those professors were all corrupt… “they draw near to [God] with their lips, but their hearts are far from [Him], they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts [source]

Personal Intro

As many of you in the bloggernacle might remember, about 8 years ago I left the church for intellectual reasons. While the exact arguments for my departure are not terribly important to this particular essay what is important is that I had gradually built up and reinforced several intellectual principles and values to a point where intellectual arguments could undermine my faith. I felt, at the time, that I was doing the right thing in following the arguments where they clearly (or so they seemed to me) led, all the while being upfront, honest and clear about my reasons for leaving. I have since realized, however, that my decision was a mistake which I will unfortunately never be able to take back. Furthermore, I can now see with the relative clarity of hindsight many of the ways in which I subconsciously allowed intellectual values to infect, transform and eventually undermine my faith. My deconversion was similar to a chess match wherein earlier, seemingly innocuous moves are later seen to be crucial stage-setting for a masterful killing stroke. In this essay I wish to expose some of these seemingly innocuous, stage-setting moves – these intellectual Trojan Horses, as I will call them – for what they are. Continue reading

Chronological Doctrinal Development in Church History

March 1830
D&C 19:6–12: “Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.”

April 1830
D&C 20: Church is organized
D&C 20:38–59: Priesthood offices: Elder, Priest, Teacher, Deacon
D&C 21:4: “…the church… shalt give heed unto all [Joseph's] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them…”
D&C 22:1–4: Baptism is required, even for those baptized already in another church

July 1830
D&C 26: The law of common consent

August 1830
D&C 27:2 – “…it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament…”

September 1830
D&C 28:2: “…no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith Jun.”
D&C 29:34: “…all things unto me are spiritual…”
D&C 29:36: “…a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me…” Continue reading