From: Alexandra French's Blog
'A Spiritual Life'
Anti-Mormons & Ex-Mormons
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Parents, teachers and leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advise their children and youth* to stay away from what is known as Anti-Mormon Literature. The Anti-Mormons or Ex-Mormons who believe in/propagate this type of material say that this is because the parents, leaders or teachers want to continue to “blind” and “brainwash” the youth of the Church. (*for the purpose of this blog post, children are kids under 12, and youth are 12 to 18.)
As a missionary, I saw the detrimental use of Anti-Mormon Literature. I never quite understood why my grandma bought “The Godmakers” at a yardsale, only to take it home and promptly throw it away, or why my parents advised us to stay away from websites which talked about Mormons that weren’t written by good-standing members of the Church. So when I encountered it for the first time as a missionary, I was half-intrigued and half-horrified at what I read, because I never expected people to sink so low trying to prove false ideas as truth. I’d also never seen people be so hate-driven in trying to prove the Church was false. So, in my opinion, I think the reason Anti-Mormon Literature should not be read by investigators of the Church, the youth of the Church, or by people struggling with their testimony of whether the Church is true or not is because the purpose of Anti-Mormon Literature is to twist truth in such a way as to confuse the reader and sow the seeds of doubt and contention in their mind.Most Anti-Mormon Literature is written by people who have an agenda against the church.
Anti-Mormons rarely are out there to expose the truth. They are only out there to confuse and to hurt, to lead astray, and to strip spiritually naked anyone who is a member of the Church. Why? Who knows. Most are led by an obsession driven by hate towards the Church. I think that this comes because they don’t really understand the Church and have only read/listened to Anti-Mormon Literature themselves.Sometimes Anti-Mormons come into existence from those who proudly call themselves Ex-Mormons. Not all Anti-Mormons are Ex-Mormon, but nearly every Ex-Mormon becomes Anti-Mormon, or at least in my experience, this has been the case. The reasons that Ex-Mormons become Ex-Mormons vary. Sometimes it’s because they’ve become offended by a Bishop or Stake President or Relief Society President. Sometimes it’s because they’re a convert and after the missionaries stop teaching them, they lose their testimony because the only reason they got baptized was because they liked the missionaries. And sometimes it’s because they don’t have a strong testimony gained by prayerfully studying the scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they somehow are introduced to Anti-Mormon Literature.One thing I have found to be true, in my very few interactions with Anti-Mormons and Anti-Mormon Literature, they are never interested in asking genuine questions.
The following quote I got from the FAIR website, a website that some Mormon Apologetics have put together to answer questions usually asked by Anti-Mormons. This is what their site says on the topic of those who are against the Church.“Anti-Mormon literature tends to recycle the same themes. One popular approach over the years is for critics to ask a series of "questions" under the guise of sincerity, but with the ultimate aim of casting doubt upon faith or tripping up members of the Church. Such tactics are not new; Jesus repeatedly faced questioners from among critics during His earthly ministry.One set of questions that has made rounds is found at Contender Ministries. Entitled “Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves.”
The list consists of 58 questions detailed and answered on this page. The questions are not difficult to answer, nor are they new. This page provides links to answers to the questions. It should be noted that the questions virtually all do at least one of the following:
- misunderstand or misread LDS doctrine or scripture
- give unofficial material the status of official belief
- assume that Mormons must have inerrantist ideas about scripture or prophets like -conservative evangelical Protestants do
- apply a strict standard to LDS ideas, but use a double standard to avoid condemning the Bible or their own beliefs if the standard was applied fairly to both.
There are a couple of interesting features to look for in this list. The first is that many of the questions don't just ask a question, they make an assertion.
An example of this would be the question that person A asks person B: "Have you stopped beating your wife?" To answer "yes" or "no" is to agree to the assertion that at some point, you did beat your wife.
This is the case with a question like question 15:
"Why does the Mormon church teach that there is no eternal hell when the Book of Mormon teaches that there is?"
The assertion is that the Mormon Church teaches that there is no eternal hell.
Similarly, many of the questions start with a proposition - which must first be answered before the rest of the question has meaning.
So, for instance, question 1:
"If Gods are individuals who have passed through mortality and have progressed to Godhood, how ..."
Before the question can be meaningful, the first question must be answered in the affirmative. If you don't answer in the affirmative (as is the case with many of these questions that are actually assertions of LDS belief) then the rest of the question is largely meaningless.
You can ask all sorts of things in this way without actually taking the responsibility for defending the implications of your questions.
A final point involves interpretation. When providing a biblical scripture as the backdrop for a question, these questions often assert or imply a specific reading or interpretation of the text. In many cases, the interpretation is bad. Isaiah, for example, lived at a time when Israelite religion was not strictly monotheistic in any sense. To read Isaiah's text as teaching some kind of strict monotheism does damage to the text, and if we (the respondents) disagree with the interpretation, it can change the question significantly. (Q&A to Anti-Mormon Questions)
Outsiders to the "Mormon" religion only see people blindly following an organization. They do not understand that the commitment that members of the LDS Church have made is not to the Church, but to God, our loving Father in Heaven.
I write this post, says Alexandra, because I went and did something I've not really done before. I read a forum thread on the ex-Mormon site. I don't know what led me to click on the link that said, "Shocked about the Mormon Church!" with an ex-Mormon link to it. (If you want to go find it, feel free, but I won't be posting a link to it.) There were feelings of dread attached to me hovering the mouse over the link and clicking it. I'm not sure what I was afraid of.
While serving during my fourteen months in the Michigan Detroit Mission from 2008-2009, one of my companions and I were actually each handed our own packet of anti-Mormon literature from a lady who was kind of spindly, almost like if you accidentally bumped her, she would break into a hundred pieces.
But she was not the kind of person with whom you would share a Bible study. She was mean-tempered and there was no Christian kindness in her, none at all. She was the landlord of a woman to whom we were teaching the gospel at the time, and one day after we had had our lesson with Heidi, this woman came out with a sly look on her face, telling us that her boyfriend had gone to BYU and had written a paper about Joseph Smith, and that she would like us to read the papers. She shoved them into our hands before we could register what was going on, and then slammed the door.
Dumbfounded and speechless, my companion and I took the papers with us into our car. For some reason, we both decided to take a look at them, not suspecting what they were. It took me three or four sentences to figure out what we had been handed, and I knew, from the feeling that began to surround me, that what I was reading had been written hatefully.
It was clear to me that it had been fabricated from lies handed down from one generation to the next to make them seem truthful, re-written yet again by someone who had newly discovered the Anti-Mormon obsession of hating the Church, and I knew immediately that I had to get rid of that “information” as fast as possible. I had to stop my companion from reading, even though she was about a page ahead of me.
We were both upset, and the feeling in our car was one of agitation and confusion, and it was normal to feel this way. Why do I admit that? Well, like I stated earlier, the purpose of Anti-Mormon Literature is to hurt and confuse. I don’t know about my companion, but I felt sick to my stomach, because I realized that the lies contained in those papers were being read by people, and believed by people, and I felt overwhelmed that Satan had done such a good job at deceiving so many.
After a heartfelt prayer to Father in heaven, thanking Him that we could discern the truth from lies, and thanking Him that we were safe, we proceeded to a member's house. He was more than happy to burn the anti-literature in his yard for us.
- That was my second encounter with Anti-Mormon Literature.
- My first was with a Born-Again Baptist Minister who decided to Bible-bash with my companion and me when I was still a “green” missionary.
- The third was with an extended family member who left the Church years ago and was trying to show me how “blinded” I was.
- Since then I had seen a YouTube clip of a woman who had left the Church because of her husband, who had gotten into Anti-Mormon Literature and had pretty much bugged her until she read it and lost her faith. That was my fourth encounter.
Now, here I was, hovering near the cusp of my fifth encounter, and if you can imagine my hesitancy, then you may begin to understand my growing feeling of dread when I came to this Ex-Mormon forum. I don't know why I wanted to read it. I've always stayed away from it, unless directly asked about an issue, and then I read one or two apologetic articles to get my feet wet. That was as far as I had ever gone.I clicked on the link, and began to read. But instead of the expected "Mormons are going to hell because Joe Smith was a false prophet because he had 30 wives blah blah blah" which I had before encountered, the post I read was merely a young woman, hurt and confused, a convert to the Church who read deep doctrine issues from sources outside the Church who twist and distort the truth, and who did not understand her purpose, not in life, not in the Church, not with God.
I was relieved. Not relieved that this poor woman was confused, mind you, but relieved that she was not as hate-propelled as many authors are. I went down the forum thread, reading others' replies to her. Some were logical and kind, others were more to the tune of "Screw the Mormons! They don't know their own history!"
Okay, I have to go into my own little rant here, because I’m sick and tired of hearing Anti/Ex-Mormons say, “You don’t know your own history. If you did, you’d leave that false Church with its false Prophet and false teachings.” Interestingly enough, it’s the Anti/Ex-Mormons who don't know the history of the Church. They’ve read lies written by liars, who have listened to the thoughts and intents placed into their hearts by Satan, who seeks to destroy the Church of God. Plain and simple.
It seems to be that Anti/Ex-Mormons think that just because they go against the truth, that they have some radical new idea that makes the truth the lie. In all honesty, the lies are all the same, and they're getting old, because they've been refuted a hundred times, and will stay refuted. So, enough with the "You Mormons don't know your own history" because honestly, we do. That's why we're happy and contented with our lives and with our faith, while the Anti & Ex-Mormons are never content and full of hate and can never leave the Church alone.
So there’s my rant. Now you know how I feel, personally. With that in remind, dear reader, remember that’s a personal opinion, and not one of the Church. In conclusion, what I read was not unsettling at all. In fact, I would be lying if I told you I didn't think her worries and confusion weren't normal. Everyone has to test out their faith. Every single person has to evaluate themselves. EVERY SINGLE NORMAL teenager questions the Church and the validity of modern-day prophets and revelation. My goodness, what do you think we are, a cult?
Free-will and the ability to choose for yourself is a doctrine that we teach and believe in. Whoever you are, whatever you believe, know that you need to know the truth for yourself. Know that prayer, communicating with God, who is your loving Father in Heaven, is what can help you know what is true. Who knows the truth best, but God Himself, the Truth and the Light of the Universe?
The Holy Ghost, whom Christ promised would help you find the truth, teaches you through your feelings. Check out Galatians 5:22-23
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
If you pray to God and read the scriptures and search for the truth, the Holy Ghost will send you feelings of peace, love and joy to let you know you're on the right track. You can find it. God will not leave you helpless.
And one last thing for those Ex-Mormons out there. You guys should be proud to know that you're fulfilling scripture! How cool is that?
"And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things."
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
2 Timothy 4:3-4
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. And there are many churches built up with cause envying, and strifes, and malice."
2 Nephi 26:20-21
"Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction." Alma 13:20"For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive a greater condemnation."
Doctrine & Covenants 82:3
Copyright (C) 2012 - 2016 ~ Alexandra French - LDS
Used by Permission of Alexandra French