why do people believe in Mormon?

The other night south park aired an episode on the mromon church, whilst I know they take a somewhat comical stand point they often hold a vaguely truthul account of what they are talking about. I then read further about the mormon church on various mormon websites and asked a mormon about it (a mistake that cost me 2 hours of my life i aint never getting back).

Anyways, they say that george smith had visions from a divine being, when he was 14 that told him to start his own church based on the fact that we are all gods in an embryo state and it would be the one true religion. he was directed to scrolls printed on gold leaf, jus toutside his town and he needed to use a seeing stone to translate them, from there he translated them into is book of mormon and then the scrolls were sent to heaven. No one saw these scrolls, they just took what he said for granted.

How do people believe this garbage?
I understand the want of males to be gods, but seriously, this happenned in 1823 not 2000 years ago, people werent that messed up that long ago were they?

Sorry to say but the book of mormon i think is part of the basis for the American vision of the world sherrif.
but seriously is the story of mormon what people have based their religion on???


Slight Nitpick: Its Joseph Smith not George. And one doesn’t really “believe in Mormon” any more than a normal Christian believes in Luke. Also the specific story of Mormon (as I understand it) is not the main story within the book of Mormon. As to the Mormons control on the US policy, in all fairness Mormons are a rather small (but relatively influential) group in the US and can’t be held responsible for US foreign policy, although I imagine they would like to.

But as to your question “is the story of Mormon what people based their religion on?” Yes. And Why? No idea but in all fairness all religions must have seemed really odd and stupid when they first came out and went through their early awkward stages.

If you ever have insomnia in a Marriott Hotel (they are in almost every Marriott room along side a Gideon Bible), I suggest reading the book of Mormon. God apparently was able to do such fantastic things in the early Americas but he couldn’t seem to manage to inspire “the writers” of the book of Mormon to write anything besides repetitive and utterly boring drivel about it. It reads like a 6th graders attempting to mimic the King James Bible, although I will give Smith credit for creating such a detailed and imaginative mythos. He is in a way like a less talented Tolkien.

Lastly I take everything you read on the Internet about Mormons with a grain of salt. A lot of what is said about Mormons are exaggerations and myths, although certainly not all of it. I made the mistake of attacking Mormons on this board a few years back using false and misleading facts. If anyone remembers, I’m sorry. I still feel pretty much the same way on the issue, but that was no excuse for me to use myths and exaggerations in my argument.

Sorry, that last paragraph’s first sentence should read “Lastly I take everything I read on the Internet about Mormons with a grain of salt”. I did not mean to imply you have read misleading information., I was just trying to offer my own expereince in the subject.

yeah i didnt want to accuse thats why i asked i want the facts rather than what i can find and take for facts so thank you for answering that.

And to the mormon who knocked on my door on sunday arvo, sorry i didnt answer the door, but i was taking a hangover dump and at that moment there is nothing more important in the world.


Perhaps a mod would be so kind as to move this to Great Debates, or the Pit, where the OP will receive the sorts of answers appropriate to one who receives his information about a major religion from a cartoon on TV.

I think I will request this. See you later, Zaphod7.


Well…At least there are many evidences that the John Smith who wrote down this stuff actually existed. So, it’s much more believable than the books written by these Luke, Matthew and others we know nothing about and who describe totally weird and unbelievable stuff (people walking on water, pigs sent down a cliff, etc…), that’s for sure.

Though I heard there are people who believe this “gospels” garbage, actually. Come on…they can’t be serious about it? People aren’t that messed up…


pffft, i didnt say thats where i got my information i said thats where i first heard about it. I have since spoken to a mormon on the subject who said it was the basic story but obvioulsy a south park version and have read a number of sites, i was hoping to get some more detailed information but clearly shodan your incapable of reading an entire thread.

although i love the way you managed to get so much undertone into a message without speaking, says a lot though…

Dude, his name is JOSEPH Smith III.

Ok, let’s hear you describe your own belief system, and see how long I can keep a straight face.

Mark Twain offered in Roughing It that the style in which The Book of Mormon is written argues for its authenticity. His argument was that someone intentionally concocting a hoax would contrive to hold people’s interest. The Book of Mormon, he countered, is “chloroform in print”.

While I have no faith in Mormon doctrine, I have known a few members of The Church of Latter Day Saints, and they were, without exception, decent, pleasant people. Why would anyone believe their teachings? Here’s a few guesses:

Some people believe, or convince themselves they believe, because they admire the Mormons they know and are grateful for their company.

A woman I know had a really hellish childhood and adolesence which included, among other things, bouts of alcoholism, the attempted suicide of her mother, her father’s incarceration in a federal prison, and a period in which she ran away from home and survived as a prostitute for over a year. After she was befriended by Mormons while in college, she converted for a time. Asked if she really believed any of this stuff, she replied that “I believe it as much as I believe anything”.

Humans are gifted with a phenomenal ability to rationalize. The Roman Catholic theologian Cardinal Newman observed that much of the trouble in the world derives not from a lack of reason, but from its abundance; starting with a belief (or a desire to hold it), one can rationalize endlessly to hold on to it. My friend, for instance, thought it was important evidence that Joseph Smith Jr. was able to translate the tablets so rapidly. She is an intelligent person and has a fair grasp of what evidence consists of: she is a lawyer, and is the only person I know who passed the Missouri Bar Exam on the first sitting without taking a review course of any kind.

With respect to this, it might be noticed that some years ago researchers at Harvard University issued a report on The Scroll of Abraham. This is a sacred Mormon text which, unlike the famous tablets, were not taken back up to Heaven. Harvard–which had been commissioned by the Church to evaluate the manuscript–concluded that it was just a sort of scrapbook made of fragments of a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead which had been pasted together. Their report noted that one page had been pasted in upside down. The Church replied that this was meaningless; if The Scroll was actually a Divine revelation, it didn’t matter what it actually said, only what God had inspired Joseph Smith Jr. to think it said as he translated it. It’s a weird argument, but you can’t entirely get around it.

Church members also point to various historical events as miraculous signs. For instance, the early settlers were saved from starvation when tremendous flocks of sea gulls flew inland and saved them from locusts.

Although the Church is very active in proselytizing, most Mormons, I expect, were raised Mormons. It is relatively easy to accept beliefs, and hold on to them, if you were indoctrinated as a youth. Sinclair Lewis observed in that Elmer Gantry that while people commonly insist that their denomination is the only one they could believe in, it is a striking coincidence that it just so happens to be the one in which they were raised. It’s like in Gone With the Wind where Rhett asks Scarlett if she is really sure there is a Hell, and she replies “I was raised on it”.

A final thought: at the end of the South Park episode Stan’s Mormon friend makes a valid observation. I don’t claim to recall what he said exactly, but it went like this: “My religion believes in being nice to people and respecting their beliefs. And if you don’t want to be my friend because of that, screw you”. You know, he has a point.

And now, a slight hijack: were either Trey Parker or Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, raised in The Church of Latter Day Saints? In the movie Orgazmo Parker plays an earnest young Mormon who is anxious to raise money so he can hold his wedding inside the Temple in Salt Lake City, and is bequiled into becoming a star in porn films (though stunt doubles do all of the important work). His portrayal of a Mormon had a ring of authenticity, I thought.

I don’t think I want to waste two hours of my life listening to his explanation. Considering that I wasted 30 seconds reading his post. Sadly that is 30 seconds of my life that I can never get back:rolleyes:

The facts can be found here and here.

I’d move this to the Pit, but it calls for witnessing.

Off to Great Debates.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

I think that any religion, maybe even any belief system, can be seen as silly or ridiculous if you take one bit of it and put a bunch of spin on it.

For instance, I’ve heard of this one group of wackos who practice ritual canibalism every week. Another group thinks that if you are a good person, and refrain from injuring or causing injury to others, when you die you can be reborn as a cow. Yet another thinks that men can only be ritualy pure by chopping off a part of their penis.

Can you guess who they are?

Christians, Hindus, and Jews. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

For what I hope is the last time, the name is not George or John, it is Joseph. Joseph Smith Jr., to be exact; Joseph Smith III was his son, who ran the RLDS Church.

That’s partly a joke, son. One of the books in the BoM is titled the book of Ether.

Since my dad converted at around age 20, the LDS Church membership has grown from <2 million to >11 million. That’s a lot of kids we’ve had in 30+ years (even for us), many of them natives of countries that weren’t even open to the LDS Church back then. In actual fact, most US congregations outside of Utah will be about 50/50 converts/raised in the Church, and outside the US will be mainly converts.

No. I believe, however, that one of them was raised near a lot of Mormons, and was dumped by an LDS finacee.

For the rest, I fail to see how angels and golden plates are much less believable than people coming back from the dead and ascending bodily into heaven. If miracles could happen 2000 years ago, then they can still happen today.

That would probably be Trey. He was raised in western Colorado. I don’t know about the fiancee thing, though.

if you really want to delve into the subject, both good and bad aspects, i suggest you read Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. very good book, read in in a day while i was on vacation.

The Bobbitists?


Just a small point of order, the name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The scrolls in question were found among several mummies and other Egyptian artifacts. After Joseph Smith’s death, Emma Smith became the owner. Eventually, they were donated to a museum in Chicago, and were presumed destroyed in the Chicago fire. However, in 1966 some of the papyri were definitely found, but it is only fragments of what original sources claimed was a much larger collection of writings. IMO, they are part of the collection of the scrolls, but certainly not all of it. See here for a much more detailed account.

I haven’t heard of a Harvard study, but I’d be interested to see any info about it, if you’d care to point me in the right direction. I have heard some claim that the papyri found were merely a catalyst of sorts to a revelation, rather than a translation as such. I really don’t find the argument compelling, and I seriously doubt it was proposed by any church leader. I’d be interested in any concrete info you have on it though.

You would be wrong. The number of converts far outstrips the number of members born in the church. For instance, when I served my mission in Chile (Jan '93-Dec '94) the church had only been there 36 years (IIRC). I actually was in the same area as the first Chilean convert when I got there. Indeed, I recall encountering only a very few adults who were raised LDS. It actually made a difference in missionary efforts–nearly everyone was a convert and had gone through the process (talking with missionaries, reading scriptures, preparing for baptism, etc.), which made it easier to get the local members involved in helping new converts get familiar with the church and its programs. For more information about the membership rolls, you can look at the statistical reports of the church–[the earliest I can find is in 1973](http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1974.htm/ensign may 1974.htm/statistical report 1973.htm)–here are some excerpts:

Total Membership                                   3,321,556
Children Blessed in Stakes and Missions               68,623
Children of Record Baptized in Stakes and Missions    48,578
Converts Baptized in Stakes and Missions              79,603

This bears a little explanation. When children are born, they are blessed publicly in the local meetings (typically by the father on the first Sunday of the month, once the baby is old enough that the parents feel comfortable taking him or her to church). The names are kept in the church records, and if the child is baptized when he is 8 years old, then he is made officially a member of the church–until then he is a “child of record”. Hence, membership totals don’t include the number of unbaptized children, which is why there is a separate line item. Stakes and Missions refer to organizational units.

Compare this to the most recent data, from 2002:

Total Membership                11,721,548 
Increase in Children of Record      81,132 
Converts Baptized                  283,138

I don’t know why it doesn’t list the number of children of record baptized, but you can see that converts have long outnumbered births. For a historical perspective, you can check out an [article published in the Ensign (official LDS magazine) in 1980](http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1980.htm/ensign april 1980.htm/a statistical profile what numbers tell us about ourselves.htm).