Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ten Shocking Mormon Beliefs


That are not really true.

I stumbled across this list of “Top 10 Most Weird Mormon Beliefs – Shocking Revelations” a few days ago on the Atheist Adam blog. As I am a Mormon I thought I would see just exactly what was so shocking. I have been participating in religious dialogue and debate online since I was in High School. I have come across all kinds of claims about what Mormons “believe”. So I am not unaccustomed to seeing outrageous claims about what I believe. This time it was no different, I was not surprised. The supposed “beliefs” were all either blown out of proportion/taken out of context, or just plain false. Here are few of the “shocking revelations”:
10. The earth is 7,000 years old. There is no official statement by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about the age of the earth, but many Mormons (and many Christians of some sects) believe that the age of the earth is on the order of thousands of years rather than billions calculated by widely accepted scientific methods.
I love how they introduce this one, “Here is the weird belief, but it isn’t really an official belief. But I bet a lot of them believe in it!”. Like the article says, there is no official doctrine about the age of the Earth. The Church is also neutral on the issue of evolution. Members may make up their own minds on issues like this. I accept evolution along with many other Mormons I know personally. I fail to see how letting people make up their own mind is a “weird belief”.
9. Mars and Venus have dry rivers. The dry rivers on Mars and Venus were the source of the flowing rivers on earth. The theory is that the dry rivers on Mars and Venus \”match\” the rivers on Earth and that proves that all three planets were organized from the same source.

8. Dinosaur bones come from other planets. LDS Church Institute instructors teach that fossilized dinosaur bones are from creatures that lived on other worlds that were destroyed in the creation of the earth.
Ok, I will admit it, they got me on these two. By that I mean I have no fracking clue where they came from! I thought I had seen all of the off the wall, ridiculous, and blatantly false claims of what we, Mormons, believed. Seriously, I may have to shake this authors hand for coming up with some supposed beliefs held by Mormons that I have yet to come across. At least the guy is not lacking in the imagination department.
4. Also on the subject of Native Americans, the preface to the Book of Mormon from 1981 indicates that descendents of Lehi are a \”remnant of the House of Israel\” and were ancestors to American Indians. However, the DNA of Native Americans indicates an Asian origin.
This is one of the claims that is taken out of context and out of proportion. It is true that LDS believe that a group of Israelites came to the Americas before the time of Christ and that they interbred among the local population, hence the reference to ancestors. But it is not official that they were the primary ancestors and the majority of LDS scholars believe they were not. The issue of DNA is one that has been debated a lot. There have been numerous responses to the claims that DNA evidence proves the Book of Mormon wrong. Going into any kind of detail here would take way too much time but anyone interested in reading more about it can look here, DNA and the Book of Mormon.
2. Mormons believe that after the resurrection, Jesus visited America and there he performed miracles and taught.
Well, he actually got something right. We do believe this. Unfortunately, I fail to see what is so weird about it when looked at from a religious point of view. The only way I think someone could find it strange is from an atheist point of view where all religion is viewed as strange.
1. Kolub is a star mentioned in the Book of Abraham as being closest to the throne of God. The Book of Abraham is canonized by the LDS church, Mormon fundamentalist organizations, and other LDS sects. Kolub inspired \”Kobol\” in Mormon Glen A. Larson\’s Battlestar Galactica universe.
First of all, it is “Kolob”, not “Kolub”. If you are going to publish of list of “supposed weird beliefs” some group holds, at least get your spelling right! Oh well, at least he got the Battlestar Galactica reference correct. Now to put this belief in context, usually Kolob is twisted to make the claim “Mormons believe God lives on a planet called Kolob”. Too bad Kolob is not referenced as a planet, but a star.
"Kolob" is the name given to the star closest to the throne of God in Abra. 3:3. It is introduced in an effort to teach Abraham that there is a hierarchy in all things. There are many stars, and one star is "closest" to God. In a similar way, there are many intelligences, or moral agents, some greater than others. The greatest of these is God.
Thus, "Kolob" is introduced in a rather peripheral way in an effort to teach about the supremacy of God:
Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other...And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. (Abra. 3:18-19, italics added)
In an effort to make the Church look bizarre, many critics mock the idea of "God living on the planet Kolob." This is false as God does not live on Kolob. Kolob plays no real role in LDS doctrine or discourse. The only other mention comes from a 19th century hymn, which uses Kolob in its first line to describe the glorious life of those who return to God:[1]
From: http://en.fairmormon.org/Kolob

It seems the person who posted this got the entire article from another website as this same post has turned up in Google at multiple sites all linking back to the same location, a site called The Secrets of Mormons. I assume who ever took the article and reposted it on the blog I found did so because of confirmation bias. If you wish to criticize a set of religious beliefs, this is the worst way to go about it. One look at the source site, The Secrets of Mormons, should have been the first clue that the information is most likely faulty. The site reads like a bad infomercial. Nearly every other line is in a different font size, random sections are bolded and underlined while others are in random colors, even the cliché “But Wait! There’s Even More…” phrase appears.
If you want a good laugh, go check out that site. If you want to know what we, Mormons, actually do believe then just ask us. If you fall for the scam of The Secrets of Mormons, then not only will you be out 37 dollars, but you will be laughed out of the room the first time you confront a Mormon about their “weird beliefs”.

12 comments:

  1. I am a mormon also. Thanks for the awesome website.

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  2. Joseph Felding Smith in his three book series "the Doctrines of Salvation" observes that one possiblity for dinosaurs was that they could have come from donated pieces of other worlds who wanted to participate in the building(creation)of this world because this is the world that the savior would be born on. Another theory is that they(dinosaur bones) are planted by satan to decieve the children of men. I personnally believe that they (dinosaurs)were merely part of the vast preparatory sequence for terraforming the earth in preparation for being inhabited by man in his fallen state. I do not believe in evolution, period. Didn't happen that way. I do believe the earth is very old and that systematic preperations took place, animals and fauna were placed here in sequence to accomplished certain nessesary functions to bring the earth to the point of being a habitable globe for God's children.I do not believe it was 7 days (7000 years)of God's time in creation, but that it was seven creative epochs of creation during which a barren and lifeless earth became a suitable abode for men.

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  3. I notice that you skipped number 7. "Mormon scripture teaches that Cain, who killed his brother Abel, was so evil that God \”cursed\” him with black skin, thus creating the African race. In a related belief, though the LDS church has deemed any worthy male to be part of the priesthood, black males were not recognized in this capacity until 1978." Is this one untrue as well. I ask because I truly do not know.

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    1. It's true. I am no longer Mormon, and I view all religions as having "weird" beliefs, so I'm not saying that LDS are any less valid than any other religious group. That being said, one of the reasons I left the church was because of the "mark of Cain".

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  4. Are they really lies? I grew up a Mormon and was taught every single one of these. These teachings have become very uncomfortable for modern Mormons, so they have become downplayed or treated as fiction. I will just address one for brevity. The Mormons have long believed that the native Americans and populations of the countries from Mexico south were descendants from the Lamanites. Where did these teachings come from? Joseph Smith. He claimed that the American Indians were a remnant of the Lamanites and that as they learned the true gospel their skin would return to its original whiteness. I served a mission in Chile where many members had been taught that they were descendants of the Lamanites. This stuff is not made up. Go read the history of your own church. It just might surprise you.

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  5. I have good friends that are Mormons and share these beliefs. My parents are protestant Christians and believe some pretty scary things. Good people believe what they are taught by their religion, in spite of scientific facts. It is a fact that the earth is well over 7000 or 7 million years; and biological evolution is a fact; dinosaur bones came from dinosaurs - yes on this planet. Facts, yet they present no conflict whatsoever with the basic tenets of loving God, seeking him, and endeavoring to be as god-like as possible!

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  6. What about the basic tenant in the Book of Mormom, that Jesus was born of God Elohim and The Holy Goddess.. not via immaculate conception and the Virgin Mary?

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  7. I've been a mormon for 22 years (I'm 33), I'm from Chile and am also a returned missionary. I'm a lecturer at SEK university in Santiago, Chile and an LDS religious institute graduate. I've served as a teacher of religion in my stake for many years. This is not LDS doctrine but my personal points of view. I'd like to share them with you:

    1) I believe dinosaurs really existed here on earth and they were extint at the universal flood (Noah's ark and all that stuff). The bones are older than they really are because they were under water, ERGO fossilization and the loss of C14 get faster.
    2) The creation lasted seven periods (not 7 earthly days). Nobody knows how long Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden till their fall. The fall was APPROXIMATELY 4000 years BC. There were many REALLY different races of human beings, ALL of them descendants of Adam and Eve, among them the Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, Java, etc. The bones are older because they loss a great deal of C14 as a consequence of the flood. We need to understand that C14 in the air and the plants is directly related to sun radiation. Radiation is NEVER constant. It has never been constant, together with the magnetic fields of the earth. Any geologist and physicist may confirm this info. Therefore nobody EXACTLY knows how old the fossils are. C14 must be calibrated with dendrochronology, otherwise the dating is completely wrong.

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  8. SSSSShhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiisssssshhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

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  9. Joseph Smith was not a prophet. He was an idiot who lied constantly. Any person that recognizes him a prophet is wrong. Not debatable.

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  10. Garbage In Garbage Out.
    Most People Don't know where religious thought fits into the puzzle of existence or the real point of it all. Here's a concept: Science deals with explaining the physical universe, religion deals with explaining the spiritual universe. Some people think they have to pick a side, so they do. However, what if the physical and the spiritual actually co-exist,they are really two parts of a whole, the physical providing a vessel for the spiritual, so that together they provide the life in the universe with a way to reason, experience, become enlightened and grow. Do you reason and experience? Are you enlightened and growing? Garbage In, Garbage Out.

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  11. I noticed that in addition to 7, you also skipped numbers 6, 5 and 3.

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