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  #1  
Old 03-04-2011, 03:34 PM
No Wikipedia Cites No Wikipedia Cites is offline
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I got a free book. Should I become a Mormon?

Some Mormon missionaries found me and gave me a FREE(!) book to read, and said I should read it and see if I feel the spirit. I felt flashes of spirit but otherwise it's just a book so far, and I just finished 1 Nephi.

I've been trying to find a church although I am more intellectual than spiritual, I want to be part of a spiritual community because of its lifestyle and instant friends.

I don't really have much religious passion but everyone has a spiritual side and I am attracted to the idea of joining what seems to be to be a special secret co-ed fraternity. I want to develop my spiritual side. Also they are the only ones who seem to care (enough to actively recruit me).

Give me some STRAIGHT DOPE free for all advice on whether to keep reading brother Nephi, or to run for my life to the nearest mainstream protestant church (or skip religion altogether and go devil/agnostic/atheist/doper)

Last edited by No Wikipedia Cites; 03-04-2011 at 03:37 PM..
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2011, 03:43 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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A friend gave me a free book, too. On the way to see a Mormon Gladys Knight show. Did your Mormon take you to see Gladys Knight? I didn't think so.

I vote "go devil" (whatever that means).
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2011, 04:20 PM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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Hi again!

Go to church with the missionaries. See what the congregation ("ward") is like. Think about it more then.

I utterly adore my ward (and the last ward I was in was very similar, possibly better) and I can't even tell you what a great community it has been, with instant friends for me and my baby daughter (and my husband, although being Lutheran he is a little less interested in Mormon friends)... they helped us move, they brought us dinner when my daughter was born, I've traded babysitting with some people, we've exchanged conversations and friendships and insights and advice and favors and clothes and music and books and recipes and know-how and all sorts of things... advice about doctors and schools and car repair shops and so on. I just got into a long conversation with a friend's husband about LaTeX a couple of days ago -- it was fun to find someone outside of work to bash Microsoft Word with Before I was active in this ward and the last one, I sometimes felt lonely and isolated, but I never do now.

Plus which (I know this should be the primary consideration, but hey, I'm a heretic) I think I am a better person when I attend church. It helps me deal with things like my propensity towards judgmentalism and the anger I sometimes feel towards people, and it helps me to get my priorities straight and to be a more loving person. And it helps me a lot in dealing with my family, both my parents and my husband/child, and trying not to get frustrated or angry when dealing with (particularly) my parents.

My husband's Lutheran community is nice, and there are a couple of people we are good friends with, and I like the intellectual atmosphere very much more, but as an overall community and for internalizing important spiritual lessons it is just not at the same level of awesomeness, or even same order of magnitude, as my ward.

Now, be aware that there are a host of intellectual problems it is possible to have with Mormonism. Rhodes and TokyoPlayer touched on a number of them in your other thread. Of course, any church will have its share, I suspect -- Mormonism is a little easier to pick on because we're talking about things that happened 200 years ago as opposed to (e.g. for mainstream Christianity) 2000. That's something you will have to figure out yourself if you want to deal with it (for example, see some of the links they posted in your other thread). I made the decision that the things I mentioned above were more important; others have made different decisions; and others still have come to different conclusions.

But again, I'd go to church a couple of times with the missionaries first anyway -- if you get a terrible vibe and hate it (the ward I grew up in, well, they were nice people, but I never did click with them) and/or decide Mormonism is not for you, well, then, there's no more to say, and if you absolutely love it, then we can start talking about the rest of it.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2011, 04:34 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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I don't recommend it.

Sure, read the book and learn what all the hype is about. Pray about it like it says in Moroni 10. If the Holy Ghost tells you the book is true, then you'd better join a church that agrees that the book is true. Preferably one with the same doctrines and organizational structure as the one that Jesus sets up in 3rd Nephi, except as far as I know there is no such church. Certainly not the Mormons, ironically.

Or perhaps the Holy Ghost will tell you that the teachings in the book itself are less important than the teachings of the "Author and Proprietor" of the book, Joseph Smith. In that case, you'd better join a church with the same doctrines and organizational structure as the one Joseph Smith set up in Doctrine and Covenants. There are a few organizations like this. Not the mainstream Mormons, ironically.

But I think the best advice I can give is to think long and hard about whether your feelings are really supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost, or simply your own warm fuzzy thoughts. And if you don't get any warm fuzzies, then clearly the book has zero credibility since in it God promises that you will.
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Old 03-04-2011, 04:57 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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Originally Posted by raspberry hunter View Post
Hi again!

Go to church with the missionaries. See what the congregation ("ward") is like. Think about it more then.

I utterly adore my ward (and the last ward I was in was very similar, possibly better) and I can't even tell you what a great community it has been, with instant friends for me and my baby daughter (and my husband, although being Lutheran he is a little less interested in Mormon friends)... they helped us move, they brought us dinner when my daughter was born, I've traded babysitting with some people, we've exchanged conversations and friendships and insights and advice and favors and clothes and music and books and recipes and know-how and all sorts of things... advice about doctors and schools and car repair shops and so on. I just got into a long conversation with a friend's husband about LaTeX a couple of days ago -- it was fun to find someone outside of work to bash Microsoft Word with Before I was active in this ward and the last one, I sometimes felt lonely and isolated, but I never do now.

Plus which (I know this should be the primary consideration, but hey, I'm a heretic) I think I am a better person when I attend church. It helps me deal with things like my propensity towards judgmentalism and the anger I sometimes feel towards people, and it helps me to get my priorities straight and to be a more loving person. And it helps me a lot in dealing with my family, both my parents and my husband/child, and trying not to get frustrated or angry when dealing with (particularly) my parents.

My husband's Lutheran community is nice, and there are a couple of people we are good friends with, and I like the intellectual atmosphere very much more, but as an overall community and for internalizing important spiritual lessons it is just not at the same level of awesomeness, or even same order of magnitude, as my ward.

Now, be aware that there are a host of intellectual problems it is possible to have with Mormonism. Rhodes and TokyoPlayer touched on a number of them in your other thread. Of course, any church will have its share, I suspect -- Mormonism is a little easier to pick on because we're talking about things that happened 200 years ago as opposed to (e.g. for mainstream Christianity) 2000. That's something you will have to figure out yourself if you want to deal with it (for example, see some of the links they posted in your other thread). I made the decision that the things I mentioned above were more important; others have made different decisions; and others still have come to different conclusions.

But again, I'd go to church a couple of times with the missionaries first anyway -- if you get a terrible vibe and hate it (the ward I grew up in, well, they were nice people, but I never did click with them) and/or decide Mormonism is not for you, well, then, there's no more to say, and if you absolutely love it, then we can start talking about the rest of it.
sassyfras, as a place to meet great people, I fully endorse the LDS Church. They have also helped me load and unload moving vans, clean up hurricane debris, babysit my kids, and bring a casserole when someone is hospitalized. You will also have plenty of opportunites to return the favors, and you will likely meet great friends in the process.

The Mormons try sincerely to accept people with no strings attached. But if you find yourself unable to believe their doctrines and obey their rules, then they may lose interest in you or you may feel judged. Obviously it's your own personal decision whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

Last edited by Rhodes; 03-04-2011 at 04:59 PM..
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:00 PM
pepperlandgirl pepperlandgirl is offline
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Don't waste your time reading the book. I wish I could have every second back that I spent reading it. I wish I could have all the brain space back that's dedicated to remembering all those stupid stories and ridiculous scriptures. Not to mention the hours that were wasted in church, seminary, and all those silly conversations with over-eager baby-faced missionaries. You could literally do anything else with your time and benefit more.

If you want a spiritual home, don't look to the Mormons. They're a corporation with the structure of a cult. You'd probably find more spiritual enlightenment selling Amway.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:37 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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If you read the free book they gave you, then don't end up joining their church for life, that's pretty much like stealing from them. Just like getting up to go to the bathroom when the commercials come on.
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2011, 06:00 PM
Kimmy_Gibbler Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
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Originally Posted by sassyfras View Post
Some Mormon missionaries found me and gave me a FREE(!) book to read, and said I should read it and see if I feel the spirit. I felt flashes of spirit but otherwise it's just a book so far, and I just finished 1 Nephi.

I've been trying to find a church although I am more intellectual than spiritual, I want to be part of a spiritual community because of its lifestyle and instant friends.

I don't really have much religious passion but everyone has a spiritual side and I am attracted to the idea of joining what seems to be to be a special secret co-ed fraternity. I want to develop my spiritual side. Also they are the only ones who seem to care (enough to actively recruit me).

Give me some STRAIGHT DOPE free for all advice on whether to keep reading brother Nephi, or to run for my life to the nearest mainstream protestant church (or skip religion altogether and go devil/agnostic/atheist/doper)
Just know that you get to say "No" to the Episcopalians only once.


Naw, I'm jus' playin'. But still..........keep it in mind.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:30 PM
Angel of Doubt Angel of Doubt is offline
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Also they are the only ones who seem to care (enough to actively recruit me).
I know what you mean here and experienced it in a backwards way. I used to belong to the Methodist chuch, really liked the pastor, etc. I got mad about something a higher-up in church organization on the other side of the country said about a political matter, left the church in a huff. The pastor called me but didn't do much to try to convince me to come back. Geez, nice to know you care.

So, if your post is serious, just make sure the support department is as good as the sales department, so to speak. I've known some wonderful LDS people.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:52 PM
chacoguy chacoguy is online now
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Check to see if your free book has any information on: Seeing Stones, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Blood Atonement, Sister Wives and Warren Jeffs. You can google any of that or ask your missionary friends. Many Mormons are great people, not all are; fight your ignorance.
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2011, 10:05 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is online now
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There is a lot more to being Mormon than reading their book and showing up for temple. They demand you tithe 10%. You can't drink alcohol or engage in premarital sex (or admit to doing those things) around other Mormons, PERIOD.

Now of course, in the vein of typical humanity, you can pick and choose the things you do and don't do in the privacy of your own home. But I think if you're just spitballing any random religion that you could find something a lot less restrictive and more fun than the church of LDS. At least with catholicism, you can get drunk off your ass around friends from the congregation and not worry about receiving any disapproving glares, or being excommunicated.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2011, 10:54 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Scientologist will give you a free book too. So will the Gideons.

I suggest you not choose a religion based off the price of the religious literature.

If you are really searching for a spiritual religious experience, I'd start by reading something like the Joy of Sects or some other "comparative religion for Dummies." Or even do one of the online religious selector quizzes (http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainme...iefOMatic.aspx). Nothing wrong with mainstream Mormons - lifestyle is a little strict for my taste.
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2011, 11:00 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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You mean the SDMB community isn't good enough for you? At least we're cheap.
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2011, 04:00 AM
BigT BigT is online now
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Originally Posted by Angel of Doubt View Post
I know what you mean here and experienced it in a backwards way. I used to belong to the Methodist chuch, really liked the pastor, etc. I got mad about something a higher-up in church organization on the other side of the country said about a political matter, left the church in a huff. The pastor called me but didn't do much to try to convince me to come back. Geez, nice to know you care.

So, if your post is serious, just make sure the support department is as good as the sales department, so to speak. I've known some wonderful LDS people.
In my experience, spending a lot of time trying to convince someone is always counterproductive. Are you sure you wouldn't have just been upset that the guy was trying to "manipulate" you into coming back?

If so, I may need to reevaluate my position.
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Old 03-05-2011, 04:37 AM
EvilTOJ EvilTOJ is offline
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Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
There is a lot more to being Mormon than reading their book and showing up for temple. They demand you tithe 10%. You can't drink alcohol or engage in premarital sex (or admit to doing those things) around other Mormons, PERIOD.

Now of course, in the vein of typical humanity, you can pick and choose the things you do and don't do in the privacy of your own home. But I think if you're just spitballing any random religion that you could find something a lot less restrictive and more fun than the church of LDS. At least with catholicism, you can get drunk off your ass around friends from the congregation and not worry about receiving any disapproving glares, or being excommunicated.
Here's a cite for the bolded part. I have no love for Mormonism as it is, since it's just a cult started by a con man who wanted all the underage pussy he could get. Be sure to ask the missionaries about temple sealing, holy undergarments, Kolob, and why there's all those Freemason symbols all over the temples. Also that's 10% tithing of your GROSS income, not your NET income. I can think of at least two families offhand I knew that lived in Utah that were struggling financially, but to suggest they stop paying $289 a month in tithing for awhile was inconceivable.
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  #16  
Old 03-05-2011, 07:55 AM
Erdosain Erdosain is offline
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The social aspect can be very seductive, but this isn't a social club. It's a very restrictive religion that is recruiting you. They're going to put their best foot forward but you need to remember that salesmen are salesmen first, and your friends second.

My only advice is to take things slow. There will be a lot of pressure to get baptized immediately. I should know, I applied that pressure many a time. Take your time and actually learn something about the religion (from outside sources!) first. The church will still be there in a couple months. Don't feel rushed to convert just because a missionary is getting moved out of the area.

As a rule, if someone is giving you the all-out charm offensive, it makes sense to be a little wary.
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  #17  
Old 03-05-2011, 08:19 AM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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If you are really wanting to find a church to go to for the support system that comes with meeting regularly once a week with a group of people, I would first try to find one that matches your belief system. I found my current church through this site:
http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainme...iefOMatic.aspx

I'll throw in a plug for my own denomination: Unitarian Universalists are not dogmatic about what you have to believe to join.

Last edited by Arnold Winkelried; 03-05-2011 at 08:21 AM..
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  #18  
Old 03-05-2011, 10:30 AM
Heyoka13 Heyoka13 is offline
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Was this the 'main' LDS church or one of the spinoffs?

You might want to check out some of the churches that have broken away. Depending on when they schismed, you generally will be experiencing a more 'pure' form of Joseph Smith's religion the further back in time the split occurred.

(note, several of them have become defunct, however, bringing one of them back is a possibility if you feel you have ascertained that particular one is the 'one true' Mormom church)

Wiki shows, IIRC, around 80 sects of Mormonism. I would suggest you research ALL of them carefully, and then carefully pick the one that seems best to you.


I would give a slight nod to a few of them that strike me as being 'closer';

* Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter Day Saints

* Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Gibsonites)

* Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High

* Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

* Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

* Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High



Best wishes on your quest.
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Old 03-05-2011, 10:39 AM
Heyoka13 Heyoka13 is offline
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Upon reflection, give these closer scrutiny too, they encompass quite a range of interpretation of Joseph Smiths church:

* Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (the Gay Mormon Church)

* True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days

* Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Kingdom of God

* Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints

* True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

* Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife

* United Order Family of Christ

* Confederate Nations of Israel


I will review my materials, there might be a few more on the 'recommend' list.
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  #20  
Old 03-05-2011, 03:08 PM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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Originally Posted by Rhodes View Post
sassyfras, as a place to meet great people, I fully endorse the LDS Church. They have also helped me load and unload moving vans, clean up hurricane debris, babysit my kids, and bring a casserole when someone is hospitalized. You will also have plenty of opportunites to return the favors, and you will likely meet great friends in the process.

The Mormons try sincerely to accept people with no strings attached. But if you find yourself unable to believe their doctrines and obey their rules, then they may lose interest in you or you may feel judged. Obviously it's your own personal decision whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
Rhodes says it very well. I will also add that I've never felt judged by my current ward, but I felt plenty judged growing up, even though I was arguably a much better Mormon as a kid than I am now, so it depends a lot on the people and how well they understand how to accept others.

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Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
Also that's 10% tithing of your GROSS income, not your NET income. I can think of at least two families offhand I knew that lived in Utah that were struggling financially, but to suggest they stop paying $289 a month in tithing for awhile was inconceivable.
While I am not disagreeing with your post as a whole, I should say here that I have always been told that it's 10% of "your income" where you get to define what your income is based on your own conscience. Of course, many people do define it as gross. In fact I've talked to people who define it as gross "just to be safe." (Let's not get into the theological problems of that statement... I think that's one of the top things that turns my husband off on Mormonism, way more than e.g. the coffee/tea, which he doesn't drink anyway.) My family always defined it as net, and so do I; if the government taxed at 90% I don't think anyone would say you were expected to live off nothing.

Last edited by raspberry hunter; 03-05-2011 at 03:09 PM..
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  #21  
Old 03-05-2011, 03:38 PM
Angel of Doubt Angel of Doubt is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
In my experience, spending a lot of time trying to convince someone is always counterproductive. Are you sure you wouldn't have just been upset that the guy was trying to "manipulate" you into coming back?

If so, I may need to reevaluate my position.
No, I'm sure I wouldn't have felt that way, he always came across as a well-read and thoughtful person who never devolved into the cheeseball, manipulative type. That's why I was surprised he didn't say "hey, let's talk about this," or at least call me later after I'd had time to cool off.
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  #22  
Old 03-05-2011, 11:37 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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Originally Posted by sassyfras View Post
I've been trying to find a church although I am more intellectual than spiritual, I want to be part of a spiritual community because of its lifestyle and instant friends.

I don't really have much religious passion but everyone has a spiritual side and I am attracted to the idea of joining what seems to be to be a special secret co-ed fraternity. I want to develop my spiritual side.
sassyfras:

Up front, my advice is to just say no to Mormonism. Why? Well, let me preface my remarks by saying that I've a read a lot of your threads and hence I know that you are an intellectual, unlike many folks on the internet who think they are. So you wouldn't be happy joining a church or religious movement that wanted to curtail your intellectual explorations of religion. Now if you went Episcopal or Methodist or Lutheran or Quaker or even liberal Catholic, that wouldn't be a problem. You could explore your faith from any angle and no one would ever tell you to stop doing so.

Now what about Mormonism? Well, it should be obvious that there are only two ways to look at Mormonism. Either Joseph Smith was truly chosen by God to reveal truths both through translations of ancient texts and personal revelations, or else he was a shameless liar and a con artist. Or, in short, I'd agree with what the LDS Apostle Orson Pratt said:
Quote:
The Book of Mormon must be either true or false. If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God…If False, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions.
Now I personally believe that the evidence pointing towards 'shameless liar and con artist' is overwhelming--more on that in a minute--but for now the question is, how should you try to answer the question. And I'd hope you'd answer is the same way you answer anything that requires intellectual investigation. Read the best arguments from one side, read the best arguments from the other side, and decide for yourself which side has the better arguments. But if you ask about, you'll find that the members of the LDS church strongly discourage you from taking this approach. They will advise you against reading anything critical of their church, and will instead encourage to look only at the positive side. Lastly, as others have mentioned, they will advise you to put feelings from the Spirit above intellectual judgment.

So that's my answer. Now I assume that the missionaries will give you the "pro" side in the argument about authenticity. For the "anti" side, try this website: http://20truths.info/mormon.html
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:18 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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So you wouldn't be happy joining a church or religious movement that wanted to curtail your intellectual explorations of religion. Now if you went Episcopal or Methodist or Lutheran or Quaker or even liberal Catholic, that wouldn't be a problem. You could explore your faith from any angle and no one would ever tell you to stop doing so.
I'm good friends with a liberal Catholic, and we have many conversations about religion. I'm an atheist now that I'm finished with Mormonism, so we can have very interesting, thoughtful discussions about what faith means, does religion help or harm people, etc. I never had those discussions with a Mormon. I do remember one man in our ward discussing with others that there should be room for intellectual thought within the church, and the overwhelming consensus that the leaders should do the thinking.

My mother recently told about a charismatic teacher in Sunday School, an attorney, who would not just summarize, but also analyze what the General Authorities would say during General Conference. (Mormonism likes the word "general" a lot.) My mother's comment was that this woman could "easily lead people astray." That seems to be the worry, that any independent thought will allow the devil a chance to slip in.

The church has changed a lot in the 25+ years I've been gone, and it may be more forgiving of it, but there still doesn't seem to be much curiosity about their religion. I think you can see in responses on this board.
Quote:
Now what about Mormonism? Well, it should be obvious that there are only two ways to look at Mormonism. Either Joseph Smith was truly chosen by God to reveal truths both through translations of ancient texts and personal revelations, or else he was a shameless liar and a con artist.
Fortunately, there are many resources on the internet to allow an easy answer to this question.
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  #24  
Old 03-06-2011, 07:51 AM
Tinkertoy Tinkertoy is offline
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A lot also depends on where you live. If the LDS church is a small part of the community they will usually be a friendly community like raspberry hunter has described. If the area is predominantly LDS then not so much. I grew up in a small farming community that was 50/50 two religions. People depended on their neighbors in time of need, since the small valley only had about 200 people nobody cared which church you attended when help was needed. I later moved to a bigger town (4000) that about 50% LDS and the rest divided between 7 other religions. An us and them attitude was very evident in everything they did and said. Mormons helped no one unless they were a member in good standing. When my daughter was born with problems the Bishop dismissed my request for help saying my records had not arrived yet so he couldn’t tell if my child deserved it. I told him when my records arrived to tear them up as I was no longer a Mormon. I have never had any regrets.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:16 AM
Count Blucher Count Blucher is offline
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
If you read the free book they gave you, then don't end up joining their church for life, that's pretty much like stealing from them. Just like getting up to go to the bathroom when the commercials come on.
I got the Free Book. Then they wanted to come over & take it back.

Bastards.
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  #26  
Old 03-06-2011, 08:06 PM
Askance Askance is online now
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In all frankness, sassyfras, if you are really on the verge of committing to a religion based on its marketing strategy, you need to revisit your thinking here. You don't decide to believe in a particular religion's tenets based on convenience, you either do or you don't. If (as you state) all you're after is a feeling of community you'd be better off joining a book club or volunteer organisation.
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Originally Posted by raspberry hunter View Post
While I am not disagreeing with your post as a whole, I should say here that I have always been told that it's 10% of "your income" where you get to define what your income is based on your own conscience.
The mormons I know have to show their bishop their pay slip each month, to prove they paid their full 10%. If they fell short, they don't get to attend Temple, simple as that. They live in Provo and SLC, if that's of any relevance.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:51 PM
Erdosain Erdosain is offline
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The mormons I know have to show their bishop their pay slip each month, to prove they paid their full 10%. If they fell short, they don't get to attend Temple, simple as that. They live in Provo and SLC, if that's of any relevance.
As someone who has no respect for Mormonism, I still have stick up for them and say that this is simply not how it's done. You pay what you pay, no questions asked UNTIL the end of the year. In December, you are called into the Bishop's office and asked if you paid a full tithe. It is generally understood that you should pay on the gross, especially in the US where taxes are low. But they don't check your pay stubs, or at least they shouldn't. I suppose it's possible there's a renegade bishop out there, but I'm guessing this is a mis-communication.

If you actually are employed by the Mormon church, then they may take out the 10% before they pay you, but I'm not sure about that. I seem to remember one guy telling me he still paid on the net, not the gross (although that is really frowned upon, you can still get away with it if you have the cojones).
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  #28  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:07 PM
Askance Askance is online now
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Well, I'll stick by the personal word of the mormons I had this exact conversation with. No pay slip, no temple.
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  #29  
Old 03-07-2011, 09:19 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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A lot also depends on where you live. If the LDS church is a small part of the community they will usually be a friendly community like raspberry hunter has described. If the area is predominantly LDS then not so much.
I grew up in the heart of Mormonism, Salt Lake City and it wasn't a particularly friendly ward. My elementary, junior high and high schools were predominately Mormon, and filled with the same cliques you would expect to find in any place. You were accepted in the in group if you had money, and not then find friends elsewhere.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:53 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Worship me, and I'll give you two free books.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:34 PM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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A lot also depends on where you live. If the LDS church is a small part of the community they will usually be a friendly community like raspberry hunter has described. If the area is predominantly LDS then not so much.
THIS. Most of the non-Mormons I know, when they find out I'm LDS, are all, "Oh! I know someone who's Mormon and is such a nice person and I think Mormons are great!".... unless they've lived in Utah, in which case they're all "I hate Mormons! They suck!" I've always lived in places that are predominantly non-Mormon, so I haven't had that experience. Though I will also add that it seems to work best when there are a critical mass of Mormons but not anything like a majority; I had the opposite problem as a kid where Mormons were such a minority in our town that they were a bit inbred and set in their ways.

Tinkertoy, I'm sorry about your experience, that sounds awful. I'd leave in a heartbeat too if the bishop said that to me.

TokyoPlayer, I think it's more open now than it was 25 years ago, but my perspective is also far different as someone who has always lived in places not predominantly Mormon, which I suspect also forces the community to be more open to outside ideas. It's also true that while I have had interesting and wonderful conversations about faith and so on with members (I actually learned about the Mountain Meadows Massacre from another believing Mormon), and sometimes even in church lessons (and I taught Sunday School for several yeasr and tried to insert some thinking and analyzing into it), I've found I have to know someone pretty well before I can feel comfortable with displaying some of my opinions, and there are a lot of people I would never talk to about things like this. It's also true that my husband's Lutheran Sunday School class is, as I've said before in this thread, way way way WAY more intellectual about religion, which I love, and I don't feel that need is always met by the LDS church. But then again, I find my midwestern Lutheran mother-in-law (whom in general I adore and love and think is awesome and a lovely human being) in many ways much more judgmental and un-intellectual in terms of religion than most of the California LDS I know. So I think mileage varies, a lot.

Askance, okay, but I've been in at least seven different wards in my life and I've never had to do that. (And I don't even understand how that would work -- do your friends' wards not have anyone that has income streams not described by a formal pay stub?) The bishop always seems to take my word for it that I'm paying a full tithe or not. Of course, I've never tried to give him $10 and tell him it's a full tithe; I don't really know what happens in that case. And I've always told him when it's not.
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  #32  
Old 03-07-2011, 10:09 PM
Tinkertoy Tinkertoy is offline
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raspberry hunter thank you. I grew up in south eastern Idaho which just as well be northern Utah. As for the Mountain Meadows Massacre it's family history as my great great great uncle Isacc C. Haight gave the order to attack. It's amazing how fast you can get your elderly aunts off your back about helping with genealogical research after you find the family mass murder.
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  #33  
Old 03-08-2011, 05:32 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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Even when I was a TMB (true believing Mormon), the Mountain Meadows Massacre wasn't that big of a deal for me. It doesn't seem to have been planned by the church itself.

Now, I'd be really impressed if active Mormons were discussing Joseph Smith's connections with the occult. That would be surprising.
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  #34  
Old 03-08-2011, 09:12 AM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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Even when I was a TMB (true believing Mormon), the Mountain Meadows Massacre wasn't that big of a deal for me. It doesn't seem to have been planned by the church itself.

Now, I'd be really impressed if active Mormons were discussing Joseph Smith's connections with the occult. That would be surprising.
Well, it doesn't seemed to have been deliberately planned by Brigham Young himself. But Brigham's doctrines of Blood Atonement, non-cooperation with the US government, and vengeance of the blood of Joseph, Hyrum, and Parley created an atmosphere of bloodlust in southern Utah. And no one doubts that Brigham was involved in the cover-up.

George A Smith was an Apostle. He toured southern Utah just ahead of the Fancher party to deliberately provoke the Mormons and the Paiutes. John D Lee was executed for the Massacre, and he thought he was obeying direct orders from Smith, who (Lee thought) was acting on orders from Brigham Young, who was acting on orders from God.

Isaac Haight, who ordered the slaughter, was the Stake President (similar to a bishop in Catholicism) and second in command of the militia. Both of those positions were appointed by revelation through Brigham. Yup, God sure knows how to choose good ecclesiatical leaders.

But what I find most fascinating is how easy it was to convince the local congregations to pull the trigger. Whether the orders really came from Salt Lake or not, the murderers thought they were doing God's work while they killed 120 men, women, and children. It is disturbing that Smith, Haight, and Lee were able to persuade so many people that God wanted them to shoot travelers in the head point-blank.

Sorry for the hijack. I'm halfway through reading Blood of the Prophets by Will Bagley, so this stuff is fresh on my mind. I tend to get a bit obsessed.

Back to the topic of the thread, churches and social groups are great but one should be extremely cautious before joining an organization that demands absolute obedience to men who pretend to speak for God.

Last edited by Rhodes; 03-08-2011 at 09:15 AM..
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  #35  
Old 03-08-2011, 10:44 AM
MN_Maenad MN_Maenad is offline
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I want to be part of a spiritual community because of its lifestyle and instant friends.

I am attracted to the idea of joining what seems to be to be a special secret co-ed fraternity.

Also they are the only ones who seem to care (enough to actively recruit me).
Honestly, these strike me as terrible reasons to join a religion.

1. You're not going to find "instant friends". You're going to find a community - a group of people who have banded together. When you need help, some or all may help you. But what happens when you disagree with someone? Ostracism, cliques, taking sides, all these things happen within religious communities just like everywhere else.

2. A "special secret co-ed fraternity" does sound really cool, when you're 14. You need to look at this like an adult. The vast majority of secret fraternities are seriously messed up, full of hazing, brainwashing, bullying, etc.

3. Who are these people that are actively recruiting you? Close friends? If not, how can they know you well enough to care about you enough to make their recruiting a reflection of your worth?

I think you're setting yourself up as a great victim for a cult. I recommend a neutral spiritual advisor to help you on your search. At the very least, talk to a lot of different officiants of a lot of different religions.
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  #36  
Old 03-08-2011, 10:59 AM
Beadalin Beadalin is offline
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You might be interested in reading a recent thread started by someone who left the Mormon church. Know what you're getting into before you begin.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=584504

PS: Just noticed that the OP of the linked thread is also participating in this one.
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  #37  
Old 03-08-2011, 11:33 AM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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Even when I was a TMB (true believing Mormon), the Mountain Meadows Massacre wasn't that big of a deal for me. It doesn't seem to have been planned by the church itself.

Now, I'd be really impressed if active Mormons were discussing Joseph Smith's connections with the occult. That would be surprising.
Nope, have to say I've never really discussed that one with an active Mormon (although I think it was an active Mormon, probably the same one, who mentioned salamanders to me -- he, while a TMB, is definitely not your average LDS -- in addition to knowing all this stuff he is also one of the smartest people I know, which is saying a lot).

On the other hand, I've also never discussed things like the Gospel of Thomas, and how different it is from (say) John and whether Christianity would be very different had different books been canon, with an active Christian of any denomination except my husband (who, although much less agnostic than I, has very similar attitudes and doesn't mind hypotheticals).

I find that I have to know someone very well before discussing things that might impinge very strongly on his or her belief system, and usually I find before that point that I... maybe don't want to discuss the things after all. Same goes for politics as for religion

Rhodes, I enjoyed your hijack. I didn't really know that much about it. I may have to check out that book.

Last edited by raspberry hunter; 03-08-2011 at 11:33 AM..
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  #38  
Old 03-08-2011, 02:55 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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I am amazed at the number of whooshes in this thread.
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  #39  
Old 03-08-2011, 03:24 PM
No Wikipedia Cites No Wikipedia Cites is offline
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So why are Mormons disliked if they are the majority?

Is it resentment and envy, or does the Mormon Majority suddenly cop an attitude of how high and mighty?
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  #40  
Old 03-08-2011, 04:18 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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I am amazed at the number of whooshes in this thread.
Thant's a whoosh, right?
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  #41  
Old 03-08-2011, 04:21 PM
scamartistry scamartistry is offline
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lot of nay sayers here. What the heck, go there for a laugh. Apart from scientology ,mormonism and is probably the most transparent and most obvious hoax among the big religions. The story about the how Joseph Smith is almost laughable, I have never read about a more obvious huckster. No thinking man can believe in that nonsense, I challenge anyone to believe in the stories in the Book of mormon (and esp D&C) with a straight face.

Pick up Fawn Brodies book on the subject matter. Its an amazing story about the biggest huckster and pathological liar I have ever heard of. Hats of to the chap!
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  #42  
Old 03-08-2011, 05:00 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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lot of nay sayers here. What the heck, go there for a laugh. Apart from scientology ,mormonism and is probably the most transparent and most obvious hoax among the big religions. The story about the how Joseph Smith is almost laughable, I have never read about a more obvious huckster. No thinking man can believe in that nonsense, I challenge anyone to believe in the stories in the Book of mormon (and esp D&C) with a straight face.

Pick up Fawn Brodies book on the subject matter. Its an amazing story about the biggest huckster and pathological liar I have ever heard of. Hats of to the chap!
Great username/post combo.
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  #43  
Old 03-09-2011, 07:35 AM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Is this thread for a real? My brain hurts.
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  #44  
Old 03-09-2011, 09:48 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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Is this thread for a real? My brain hurts.
Of course it's not, but why not waste a perfectly good opportunity to mention that there is nothing more expensive than a free book, especially by the Mormons.
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  #45  
Old 03-09-2011, 12:13 PM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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So why are Mormons disliked if they are the majority?

Is it resentment and envy, or does the Mormon Majority suddenly cop an attitude of how high and mighty?
I discussed this in your other thread . To add to what I said there: It's just human nature. Any persecuted minority (or minority that deems itself persecuted) that then becomes a majority suddenly a) feels the need to flex its muscles -- not in a bad way necessarily, but often in a way that is not understanding of others in the now-minority, and b) interprets any animosity towards the muscle-flexing as the aforementioned persecution.

Mormons are far from unique in this regard. I've seen this in political parties, social groups, history, my own personal history (the first time I was in a majority-geek setting we... did not always behave in a very understanding way towards the non-geeks. I'm ashamed of that now, but anyway, it illustrates the point).
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  #46  
Old 03-09-2011, 12:54 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Is this thread for a real? My brain hurts.
When you are lost and confused, the Church of RNATB can help, child:
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Worship me, and I'll give you two free books.
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  #47  
Old 03-09-2011, 01:09 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Now what about Mormonism? Well, it should be obvious that there are only two ways to look at Mormonism. Either Joseph Smith was truly chosen by God to reveal truths both through translations of ancient texts and personal revelations, or else he was a shameless liar and a con artist.
Leaving aside the excluded middle here, how is this different from any religion that makes fantastic or supernatural claims?

I believe I've heard pretty much the same argument about Christianity from some christians. Jesus either really is the son of god and everything he says is true, or he's a whacko guy who'd be off his meds if they had meds for such things back then. In that case, I believe they were arguing for Christianity with this line, whereas you appear to be arguing against Mormonism.
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  #48  
Old 03-09-2011, 01:31 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Leaving aside the excluded middle here, how is this different from any religion that makes fantastic or supernatural claims?

I believe I've heard pretty much the same argument about Christianity from some christians. Jesus either really is the son of god and everything he says is true, or he's a whacko guy who'd be off his meds if they had meds for such things back then. In that case, I believe they were arguing for Christianity with this line, whereas you appear to be arguing against Mormonism.
It is no different at all.

But it is worth mentioning that LDS prophets and apostles have repeatedly reinforced this "excluded middle". ITR C is paraphrasing Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Gordon B Hinkley.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:43 PM
Heyoka13 Heyoka13 is offline
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sassyfras:



. . .Now what about Mormonism? Well, it should be obvious that there are only two ways to look at Mormonism. Either Joseph Smith was truly chosen by God to reveal truths both through translations of ancient texts and personal revelations, or else he was a shameless liar and a con artist. . . . .


And then, if you select 'chosen by God', you then need to evaluate which of the 80 or so branches of Mormonism is the 'One True Correct' Church that carries on with Joseph Smith's calling.

Clearly, the current 'home office' in Salt Lake City has changed, modified, emphasized and de-emphasized various of Joseph Smith's words. And frequently, when they do that, we see another schism in the church, the folks that want to stick with what Smith said stick together and break away from the folks that are once again, changing something. Assuming Joseph Smith was called upon by God, I would have the gravest doubts about the Salt Lake City church's standing in the sight of God, despite their being the largest extant branch today.

Granted, some of the earliest splinters no longer exist, and I am deeply concerned one of them may have been the one true Mormon religion, what a shame for all the Mormons, to have been sooooo close, and then to have let the glory slip through their fingers.

Anyone considering a switch to Mormonism, URGENTLY needs to evaluate ALL the branches of this church. Clearly, being biggest is no sign of correctness, considering the enormous changes the Salt Lake City branch has wrought, I can scarcely imagine them to be, in fact, the correct implementation of Joseph Smith's church.

Investigate, investigate, investigate!

If The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times is the one correct church, and you have picked The Church of the New Covenant of Christ, obviously, you have displeased God, mightily, and the consequences for your soul will be grave.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:18 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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And then, if you select 'chosen by God', you then need to evaluate which of the 80 or so branches of Mormonism is the 'One True Correct' Church that carries on with Joseph Smith's calling.
...
Exactly.

And any church that accepts polygyny to be the "New and Everlasting Covenant" has rejected the teachings in the Book of Mormon, which forbids polygyny and claims to be the Fullness of the Gospel (thus any major gospel doctrine not endorsed by the BoM is not part of the BoM gospel).

And any church that rejects polygny and denies that it is the "New and Everlasting Covenant" has rejected the revelations of the prophet Joseph Smith, specifically Doctrine and Covenants section 132.

You will never find a church that truly believes both Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
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