A response to an atheist’s question

Recently an intelligent and thoughtful ex-Mormon atheist asked a question. Briefly stated, he wanted to know why Christians would say a serial killer whose deathbed confession of Jesus could enter heaven, while a moral and decent atheist would go to hell. Here’s how I responded to him (edited a bit for this posting): Richard, I believe you to be a good man and an honest man. I approach answering your question with fear and trepidation. . . Your question deserves an answer; and though I may not be the best one to answer it, I’ll try. There are millions of people who believe in the God of the Bible, and they have their reasons. Whether they’ve thought them through or not, they have reasons. All those reasons are based on two premises. The first is the...

Reason #89: LDS “scripture” scholarship

What is so amazing about Royal Skousen’s “critical text” of the BofM published by Yale University Press? It’s that Mormons are touting it as being “on a par with” the “critical texts” of the Bible — that is, a look at different original language (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) sources for the Bible. What’s the problem with this comparison? There are no original language sources for the Book of Mormon. Only the English that Joseph Smith thought sounded Biblical. And the fact that even with supposed direct, hands-on revelation over a period of just a few years, there could be so many English versions of the BofM. For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church...

Reason #88– From “I Love Mormons” Blog

This is a marvelous hypothetical situation on an excellent blog called “I Love Mormons.”  It provoked a stimulating discussion there, with this scenario: What would happen if a 14-yr-old LDS kid from Mississippi suddenly showed up on the scene claiming he had received personal revelation from God that the LDS church became apostate after the death of Joseph Smith?  This young boy (we’ll call him Joe) claims God revealed to him that the King Follett Discourse never happened the way the history books have it.  Rather, after the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others changed many historical documents to try to make it appear like Joseph Smith taught polygamy and polytheism.  Joe says Joseph Smith never believed in a plurality of gods; rather, he...

Reason #87: The Word of Wisdom–Part Two

Past Church leaders were adamant in their condemnation of the liquor and tobacco industries. The Word of Wisdom, according to its own admission, was given “in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the minds of conspiring men” (89:4). Dr. Sperry, in his Doctrine and Covenants Compendium, characterized the directors of the tobacco industry as “men without conscience . . . moral cowards,” and mentioned the “lack of ethics and morality” of the liquor industry. But it is a documented fact that Joseph Smith sold liquor in Nauvoo, and Brigham Young in Utah built a distillery and sold alcoholic beverages — both instances occurring after the Word of Wisdom “revelation.” At one time, the largest liquor business in the state of...

Reason #86– The Word of Wisdom Health Law–Part One

I won’t argue with the Word of Wisdom’s condemnation of the addictive substance, alcohol. But in the Word of Wisdom its use is encouraged as an agent in washing the body. I am as much puzzled by this as by the Word of Wisdom’s advocating the use of tobacco on bruises, and for all the diseases of cattle. A great emphasis is placed on what Mormons should not eat or drink, but the profitable use of these substances as advised in the Doctrine and Covenants is virtually ignored (maybe because they don’t work?). Also often passed over is the Word of Wisdom’s warning against the over-use of meat. As a Mormon, I would eat meat at only one meal a day, but of all my many acquaintances in the densely LDS population of Brigham Young University, there were only a...