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« Ridicule is a good way to handle these situations | Main | We've lost one of the greats: George C. Williams »

Mormon turnabout

Category: GodlessnessHumor
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:22 AM, by PZ Myers

The LDS church has a weird habit of baptizing dead people into their faith — and now you can get even. Atheize anyone!

It works, too! I atheized Brigham Young, and next thing I knew, his ghost was hanging about whining about how I'd gotten him kicked out of Mormon heaven and how all his celestial wives had laughed as they tossed his newly godless patriarchal butt off out of their palace. That may sound like a bit of an annoyance, getting haunted out of the deal, but really, it's no problem — just remind them that they don't believe in the supernatural, and you might get a brief look of quizzical startlement before they vanish in a puff of ectoplasm. Easy.

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Comments

#1

Posted by: mineralfellow Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:36 AM

You can't Atheize Jesus Christ:
"We're sorry, but the interphilosophical treaty of 1926 prevents us from atheising anyone with "Jesus" in their name."

#2

Posted by: Sili, The Unknown Virgin Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:36 AM

Nah. I like Dan Savage's idea better.

Let's make them gay by proxy.

Everytime we have ghey sex with Brownian a Mormon looses his brown cherry.

#3

Posted by: Sili, The Unknown Virgin Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:41 AM

You can't Atheize Jesus Christ:
Well, duh!
I promise that this person was at one time a real, living human
RTFM.

You could try Yoshua ben Yosef. That's about as specific as John Smith, I believe.

#4

Posted by: Patrick Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:42 AM

I atheized Pope John Paul II. I hope he doesn't mind the other people in the queue were just normal people and he doesn't have a bulletproof bubble to protect himself from them.

#5

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:42 AM

I atheized Billy Graham. While technically he isn't dead, he might as well have died years ago.

#6

Posted by: andytech Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:50 AM

I felt it only fitting to atheize Joseph Smith, Jr...

#7

Posted by: Argama Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:51 AM

I atheized Benny Hill...I really have no idea why I picked him.

#8

Posted by: Dahan Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:51 AM

I went with Pope Innocent III.

#9

Posted by: Whore of All the Earth Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:51 AM

If I atheize all my Mormon ancestors, will it interrupt the space-time continuum and prevent me from being born into a Mormon family? That would significantly reduce the amount of money I've spent on therapy.

#10

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:53 AM

If I atheize all my Mormon ancestors, will it interrupt the space-time continuum and prevent me from being born into a Mormon family? That would significantly reduce the amount of money I've spent on therapy.

it's worth a shot

#11

Posted by: Deprogrammed Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:57 AM

#1: Yeah, I just found that out myself. Hmph. Emmanuel, maybe?

#12

Posted by: Deprogrammed Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:59 AM

Take that, Fred Phelps!

#13

Posted by: Gaebolga Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:02 AM

PZ, have you been reading The Secret?

#14

Posted by: cairne.morane Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:04 AM

Pope Lucius III (instigator of the Spanish Inquisition) ... atheized.

#15

Posted by: Mattir Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:04 AM

Thomas More accomplished. Now I'll go do Abram benTerah and see if we can prevent this whole Abrahamic religions thing.

#16

Posted by: Becca Stareyes Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:08 AM

One thing I was always curious about, is if you believe in posthumous baptism, why bother proselytizing to anyone before*? You have the hoards of believers from straight-up reproduction to do the baptisms-by-proxy, and surely if people have seen Heaven/Hell, they'll jump at the chance to get the Good Ending, rather than making nebulous promises about 'yeah, it'll be worth it when you die'? Plus, less legwork and fewer doors being closed in your face!

* I can see why baptism after death would upset the family/friends.

#17

Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:11 AM

Just atheized my Grandfather. I think he would have liked it. He had too much sense of humor to really be religious. Although he was a Freemason. Very strange when they showed up at his funeral and did their weird Freemason thing. I don't know if anybody invited them. Beats a Jehovah's Witness funeral though. I think I'll go back and atheize my Methodist minister ancestors. Does that automatically atheize anyone they baptized or confirmed too?

#18

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:11 AM

Someone make sure to atheize Glenn Beck, Bush, Dobson. They aren't dead but so what?

Plus all the clowns that wrote the bible and koran.

#19

Posted by: GaryU Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:15 AM

I atheized Ronald Reagan.

#20

Posted by: RLFoster Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:16 AM

I'm using a different strategy -- I'm going to post-baptize Adolf Hitler into a Mormon. Imagine what Joseph Smith and Herr Hitler would talk about. One bigamist fraud with a god-complex talking to a sexually repressed Austrian Catholic with a god-complex. I'd convert to the LDS cult just to sit in on it.

#21

Posted by: Mattir Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:17 AM

The calculator won't take any BCE dates. RATS.

#22

Posted by: daveau Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:17 AM

Dibs on Donnie & Marie!

#23

Posted by: Stwriley Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:17 AM

I'll chime in with an opportunity to atheize something a bit more fun than dead people...a poll!
CEOExpress is currently running a poll connected with Stephen Hawking's new book and asking this question of their readers:

So many conflicts today are over religion and how we worship God. Do you believe God exists?

This sure looks like a poll ripe for Pharyngulation...or in this context, atheization.

#24

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:21 AM

One thing I was always curious about, is if you believe in posthumous baptism, why bother proselytizing to anyone before*?

It seems to be busy work to keep the Mormons going to the temple. It is also a ritual that children can participate in, so it keeps the kids busy as well.

This is one of their mind control techniques. They schedule meetings constantly throughout the week, family home evening on Mondays and many others. It keeps them too busy to think, constantly involved with their religion, and constantly surrounded by other Mormons.

The LDS church is a huge time consumer as well as money consumer for its members. This might be one reason why they have a high dropout rate.

#25

Posted by: GenghisFawn Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:23 AM

I atheized Mother Teresa. I'm pretty sure she wanted to be atheist.

#26

Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:24 AM

I think death atheizes people automatically.

#27

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:26 AM

I'm using a different strategy -- I'm going to post-baptize Adolf Hitler into a Mormon.

Already been done by the Mormons. They get everyone, no matter who or what.

They also conduct marriages for the dead. As if the spirits in their hereafters can't think for themselves or live their own afterlifes. Doesn't make any sense but since it is religion, it isn't supposed to.

#28

Posted by: bellerophon Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:30 AM

It won't let you atheise anyone with "Mohammed" in their name either

#29

Posted by: tmaxPA Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:30 AM

My father, who was a Roman Catholic all his life, passed away at 78 at the end of June this year. I tried to atheize him; I figured I could easily promise that he'd want to be atheized now, were he capable of wanting anything now that his brain has stopped thinking any thoughts or having any desires.

The page returned a message explaining that those who died in 2010 are not yet eligible. So then I had an even better idea.

When I was five or six years old, I learned that when I was 2 my mother had given birth to a brother named Gregory. Gregory was born with what was called at the time a "birth defect" because his diaphragm had not formed properly and his internal organs were a jumble. He lived for less than a day.

With today's medicine, they'd have fixed him right up with some neonatal (or even prenatal) surgery and he'd have lived a long and hopefully happy life (I and my other brother, and our three sisters, are reasonably happy, though we all have our challenges.) In the mid-1960s, that wasn't the case. My mother wasn't even aware there was anything wrong until, after the delivery, it wasn't a doctor but a priest that came to her room. As soon as he entered, she knew it meant her baby was going to die. Normally Roman Catholics wait a few weeks or even months to baptize a baby; the priest was there to ask permission to baptize him right away to save his supposedly immortal soul from limbo, which was the current dogma at that time. (Ratzinger recently announced unbaptized babies go straight to heaven, BTW, so limbo is no longer part of official church dogma.)

When my mom told me about this (in the course of explaining how she'd been pregnant six times but only had five children) I didn't know anything about what my life was going to be like. But I knew from that moment that our individual existence within the universe is capricious; there could be no explanation but chance, regardless of your religion or philosophy, for why I was alive but Gregory was not.

That awareness stayed with me throughout my life, not as a cause of any of my thoughts or beliefs but as a fact against which to weigh them. Which is why I felt a pretty intense feeling, despite my utter lack of any "spirituality" or superstition or belief in metaphysics, when I was given the opportunity today, thanks to PZ, and the good folks at IAmAnAtheistBlog, and even, ironically, to the Mormons, to officially undo what that priest did, if only in my mind, at least. I am feeling even more intense emotions now in reporting it, and how good I feel about it.

I hope everyone everywhere ever, but even more so everyone here now, has a long and happy life. Thanks for your time. Hope it helps.

#30

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:30 AM

They did Hitler AND as many jews HItler killed as they can find.

If you don't see why that offends Jews, congratulations you're mormon

#31

Posted by: Rey Fox Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:30 AM

I'll do you all better: I'm'a atheize the very first caveman who willingly anthropomorphized a force of nature!

#32

Posted by: Et in Arcadia Ego Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:31 AM

Jesus was impossible , but I guess "Ιησους Χριστος" just bit the bullet . Welcome to the dark side Yehova .

#33

Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:33 AM

Naked Bunny said:

I think death atheizes people automatically.

QFT!

#34

Posted by: Martin Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:35 AM

As if the spirits in their hereafters can't think for themselves or live their own afterlifes.
Of course, when questioned about the inappopriateness of Mormon-izing the dead of other faiths, the traditional response has been, "Well, the soul of the deceased is free to accept or decline the invitation."
#35

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:41 AM

I see I'm not the first person who tried to atheize Dinesh D'Souza...

#36

Posted by: Truckle Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:42 AM

Posted by: Gaebolga

PZ, have you been reading The Secret?

Noooooooooo......

;)

#37

Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:48 AM

Ratzinger recently announced unbaptized babies go straight to heaven

...making infanticide the most moral act one can commit.

(Although technically I believe the church is "undecided" on Limbo -- it remains "a possible theological hypothesis".)

#38

Posted by: DN King Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:48 AM

I always wondered if Mormons would accept the kind hearted invitation a group of animistic natives might give over the grave of one of their loved ones. I think not, and would expect violence to break out more often than not.

I would go sit on a Mormon grave and read The God Delusion and/or God is not Great to find out, but unlike the Mormons, I have a little respect for the emotions of others and a few strings of moral fiber.

#39

Posted by: Balstrome Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:50 AM

So can remove folk who you think do not deserve to be in hell as well ?

#40

Posted by: MoonShark Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:52 AM

I took care of Thomas Aquinas. What a whiner. *poof*, heheh.

#41

Posted by: RevWubby Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:53 AM

Check out Debaptized.com

This is nothing new. Debaptized.com has been doing this for people for about a year now. You even get a certificate if you do it for yourself. Me and my Debaptizors (tm) have been debaptizing world leaders, media figures and historic persons (including Jesus) ever since.

#42

Posted by: SquidBrandon Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:53 AM

Buddha was also protected from atheization, but Siddhartha Gautama was not.

#43

Posted by: ESD Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:56 AM

Jerry Falwell is now an atheist. Tammy Faye is next!

#44

Posted by: MoonShark Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:00 AM

Also got C.S. Lewis and René Descartes. Jack Chick needs to kick the bucket before we can add him...

#45

Posted by: MrFire Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:00 AM

I did a variation on Rey Fox's gambit and tried 'Adam', but got stuck with the surname and the year thing.

#46

Posted by: mel.unique Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:01 AM

If anyone deserves to be kicked out of ANY heaven and disappear in a puff of ectoplasm, it's that @$^@$! Brigham Young.

Not that I'm still bitter, but if there is an afterlife, I'd bet a lot of my handcart-dragging ancestors are.

#47

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmqD_mcUIrSfOTlK3iGVsnEDcZmI43srbI Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:03 AM

I wonder if anyone has tried to atheize Hitler.

#48

Posted by: musicant Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:04 AM

@41:

You need to change the "https://" in your link to "http://"!

#49

Posted by: MoonShark Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:09 AM

Hm, I tried Abraham of Haran but it's not clear whenthe heck he died, and as someone said BCE dates aren't allowed.

#50

Posted by: donbutton Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:10 AM

Martin Luther, done.
John Wesley, done.

#51

Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:11 AM

I wonder if anyone has tried to atheize Hitler.

But I've been told over and over again that Hitler already was an atheist -- that's why he killed all those people (well, that and Darwinism).

#52

Posted by: ronster Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:15 AM

There is no need to atheize anyone. I believe that all people are atheist. There are no gods, so we cannot be anything but atheist. Of course, not everyone will acknowledge that, but it does not change the facts.

#53

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:16 AM

I think death atheizes people automatically

ding ding ding

#54

Posted by: MrFire Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:18 AM

I just atheized the beautiful creature known as Disco Music, who as we all know was brutally murdered in 1979.

#55

Posted by: Chino Blanco Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:19 AM

Clean up the spelling ("opportinity"?) and I've got a batch o' names for these folks (sorry, as a former Mormon, I wouldn't want to deprive the dearly departed on account of my own knuckle-headed lack of attention to detail).

#56

Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:21 AM

Of course, not everyone will acknowledge that

That's what makes someone a theist, though.

#57

Posted by: Insightful Ape Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:22 AM

Can you convert them posthumously to homosexuality? I think in the post-prop 8 world that is entirely appropriate.
Converting Joseph Smith to homosexuality was actually in the daily kos.

#58

Posted by: Kevin Anthoney Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:22 AM

Pope Lucius III (instigator of the Spanish Inquisition) ... atheized.
I atheized Ronald Reagan.
Jerry Falwell is now an atheist. Tammy Faye is next!

Can we start atheizing some decent human beings, please? Somebody we'd want on our side like, er, um ... any suggestions?

#59

Posted by: Dania Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:23 AM

Er... you guys realize that now we will have to share hell with these people, right?

#60

Posted by: llewelly Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:39 AM

Rev. BigDumbChimp | September 10, 2010 9:42 AM:

I atheized Billy Graham. While technically he isn't dead ...

Don't let that trouble you. Oskar Schindler was "baptized for the dead" many times while still alive.

#61

Posted by: blackfonzie Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:47 AM

I just atheized "the late Virgin Mary," died AD 45. Check and mate.

#62

Posted by: AJ Milne OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:47 AM

I atheized Mother Teresa. I'm pretty sure she wanted to be atheist.

Only right. Hell, it sounds like she pretty much was, toward the end, even...

It's not probably that rare. Riff on this all the time, so I'll keep it short, but: religions seem to be generally more about publicly agreeing to go along with the attached cosmology than actually believing it, or at the very least that's probably a pretty common phase in the socialization of adherents (look, just play along, try to fit in... it's easier, after all... and maybe you'll start to think you really believe, soon enough), so 'believers' who in the final analysis don't really so much believe may be pretty common...

Regardless, the Teresa story especially sometimes tempts me to come up with the inverse of the Lady Hope myth for other figures, special for the more annoying proselytizers who like to pull that crap in the standard direction.

(/Y'know... 'I heard Oral Roberts de-converted on his deathbed,' that kinda thing...)

#63

Posted by: mattheath Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:49 AM

Can we start atheizing some decent human beings, please? Somebody we'd want on our side like, er, um ... any suggestions?
Francis of Assisi strikes me as having been a genuinely nice bloke. I just queued him up under his real name of Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone.

I'm also happy enough to have Wesley. Humourless and cranky maybe, but basically focussed on helping people in this world rather than babbling about the next.

#64

Posted by: dinkum Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:49 AM

Er... you guys realize that now we will have to share hell with these people, right?

Oopshit. That's a good point.

#65

Posted by: https://me.yahoo.com/a/LGUgwGk4zvGfthp0ncqkRIyj5T_U4yw3ydM-#c3478 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:51 AM

Awesme!! I just atheized Cotton Mather and Tomas de Torquemada

#66

Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:52 AM

@AJ Milne - I have a hard time believing the Pope actually believes in the Catholic God and doctrine. Or any of the Cardinals, most Bishops, a good number of Priests, and all Franciscan monks. The Catholic Church prides itself on the way it educates these folks, and it seems to me that the upper echelons of the Catholic Church have learned enough philosophy and theology that they may be able to give a learned argument in favor of God (as far as that's possible at all), but they also must realize how empty that argument is. Learning that Mother Teresa didn't actually believe in God anymore was no surprise, and I would be very surprised if the Pope and many others didn't fall into the same camp.

#67

Posted by: Yngve Bøe Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:55 AM

*The late Muhammed ibn Abd Allah (632)


That should settle islam.

#68

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl1rYlMq3n72hr7d1WxhX-DSmO8zbKd4Bg Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:55 AM

You can't Atheize Jesus Christ: "We're sorry, but the interphilosophical treaty of 1926 prevents us from atheising anyone with "Jesus" in their name."
"You said it man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus."
#69

Posted by: 73* Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:55 AM

I went with C.S Lewis... I figure he's figured out that he was right, thought he was wrong and turned out to be right after all only it was too late to take back all that stuff he said.

#70

Posted by: mattheath Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:56 AM

O we should totally have Gerard Winstanley! And Wilberforce

#71

Posted by: johnred23 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:58 AM

I think most of the people we'd want are already atheists.

#72

Posted by: Brother Bill Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:02 PM

I was aware of the Mormon belief in intervening for dead souls. That explains their intense interest in geneological research. They have the most complete records and so no doubt constitute a quorum for determining the ultimate fate of dead people. But I'll bet that a concentrated effort here will place this site as #2 so "Try Harder."

#73

Posted by: mattheath Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:04 PM

Johnny Cash is now an atheist.

#74

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:08 PM

You can't Atheize Jesus Christ

That's because He's already one

#75

Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:09 PM

@mattheath - Bravo! At least we'll have good music in hell now.

#76

Posted by: AJ Milne OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:12 PM

Re #66, yeah, that, too.

Said it before, but in my wilder moments, I sometimes suspect that genuine religious belief may be extremely rare, and possibly not even that significant to the overall story, here... That now and then, sure, someone with an actual organic mental disturbance--transient or otherwise--may really be convinced they're hearing voices from beyond or somesuch, and sure, such events may have occasional influence on the larger phenomenon of religion...

But otherwise, and for the mass of adherents, what they call 'belief' in the context of their religious cosmology is rather more psychologically complex than what they mean outside it, not really that much like what others generally mean by the word. And that 'believe' in this former context translates rather more closely to: 'have long ago agreed to avow/feel I should avow, and am therefore still working on convincing myself'...

But also, again, how widespread this is, how good a description this is, how truly divergent this is from non-religious patterns of cognition, these are all open questions, fair enough.

#77

Posted by: Kieranfoy Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:12 PM

I done Chuck Norris.

Pwnt.

#78

Posted by: Ogvorbis, Master of Middle English Literary Perversion Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:18 PM

I atheized Saul of Tarsus. He's the one who took it to the next level, so with open-mindedness and rationality, he's gonna have some 'splainin to do.

#79

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:26 PM

That's it for William Jennings Bryan, too! Now he can reconcile his beliefs with the science of evolution.

#80

Posted by: blackfonzie Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:33 PM

I couldn't atheize "God" or "Yahweh," so I tried Our Lord, died 1882 (declared dead by Nietzche).

#81

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnG39uMFt69kwCKZ8DoxtmMCvmzr5chx94 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:34 PM

"Atheize"? LOL! You're all retarded.

#82

Posted by: lexicalninja Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:34 PM

We're sorry, but the interphilosophical treaty of 1926 prevents us from atheising anyone with "Mohammed" in their name.

I call bullshit.

#83

Posted by: lexicalninja Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:36 PM

I was going to atheize Mel Gibson's career, but I wasn't sure which year it actually died in and which incidents were just death rattles form its corpse.

#84

Posted by: desertfroglet Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:39 PM

If only someone had done this earlier.

Congratulations! Martin Luther has been scheduled for posthumous atheization.

#85

Posted by: bbgunn071679 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:39 PM

Just nailed John Wayne.

#86

Posted by: bbgunn071679 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:42 PM

Also took out Wayne using his real name, Marion Mitchell Morrison. Just in case.

#87

Posted by: kylebenanderson Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:46 PM

Paul of Tarsus, welcome to the fold.

#88

Posted by: OmiOne Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:50 PM

@#6 I also atheized Joseph Smith, Jr ;) does the double negative rule apply?:)

#89

Posted by: nonprofet Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:52 PM

Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah (632)

now muslmims should start thinking more about killing the infidels and how their religion is inspired by any god, mwahahahahahaha!

#90

Posted by: Multicellular Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 12:57 PM

In Hypatia's memory I atheized Cyril of Alexandria.

#91

Posted by: OmiOne Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:10 PM

Naked Bunny with a Whip (#26) wrote:

I think death atheizes people automatically.

I think you are completely right!!! :)

#92

Posted by: Tom Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:15 PM

#91
I think to be an atheist you have to be able to do the 'ist' bit. Death takes away that privilege.

#93

Posted by: bernarda Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:16 PM

You can't atheize Mohamed because he wasn't a real person, the same as Jesus. You could atheize the various people who wrote the myths about them.

But then there is the problem, especially with Christians, that some of those writers didn't exist either.

Has anyone atheized Paul? He was the crazy drug addict that started it all.

#94

Posted by: cairne.morane Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:20 PM

"Er... you guys realize that now we will have to share hell with these people, right?"

I have to admit that would be serious concern. If any of us actually believed in hell.

Just in case I atheized Hypatia (Hypatia of Alexandria).

#95

Posted by: progressive homeschooler Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:20 PM

I atheized Joan of Arc and St. Augustine (done as Augustine of Hippo). That was fun.

#96

Posted by: glenister_m Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:24 PM

I think Judas E. will appreciate my attempt.

#97

Posted by: Sal Bro Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:36 PM

Catering in hell courtesy of Colonel Sanders.

#98

Posted by: MultiTool Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:39 PM

I atheized King James I of England. Who's gonna make your Bibles now? Huh?

#99

Posted by: juhan Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:40 PM

I just atheized Padre Pio and Mother Teresa.

#100

Posted by: Doodle Bean Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:44 PM

Thanks for the link, PZ. It was amazingly satisfying to atheize my fundie grandparents!

#101

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:45 PM

The person who came up with the atheizing program is a homeschooling parent. Still think we're so horrible, PZ? Or are we okay occasionally, on an individual basis -- but of course that doesn't mean we should be allowed to educate our kids?

#102

Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:47 PM

@81: Says the person who is unacquainted with both dictionaries and humor. LOL away.

#103

Posted by: tdcourtney Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:53 PM

Joseph Smith, Jr
That's my step-father's name...

I atheized Jeebus Christ, died 33 AD.

#104

Posted by: Tracy Hall Jr Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 1:53 PM

Dear Dr. Myers,

I expect a scientist to take a scientific approach to everything, but your repeated anti-Mormon rants are never based on investigation of what we actually believe.

Since we do not pretend to any authority to force our beliefs on anyone, living or dead, your argument that Mormons force baptism on the dead is a logical fallacy: a straw man.

Freedom of choice, which we call "moral agency," is a fundamental doctrine of Mormonism, and we believe it extends beyond the grave. While we claim authority from God to to offer the ordinances of salvation to the dead, we also proclaim that God will never force the dead to accept the offer: the ordinances only become valid upon the full-informed, free consent of the dead. We don't know exactly how that consent is formalized, but we are certain that it involves no compulsion.

Joseph Smith declared, "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." (Doctrine & Covenants 121:41)
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/121/41#41

So go ahead and "atheize" my ancestors! By so doing, you pretend to having more power over the dead than Mormons have ever claimed.

Tracy Hall Jr
hthalljr'gmail'com

#105

Posted by: Randy (not Randy) Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:01 PM

Joey Smith also declared that Native Americans came over from Jeresulem and have darker skin because they are evil.

Before that, JoJo claimed to pull your religion out of a hat. When we all know that he really pulled it out of his ass.

#106

Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:07 PM

you pretend to having more power over the dead

PZ actually is pretending; "atheizing" is a joke. You're the one who is taking this nonsense seriously.

BTW, nice Joseph Smith quote. Maybe someday you guys will exercise your moral agency to actually take his advice in your dealings with others.

#107

Posted by: daveau Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:07 PM

Oh, noes! You're misrepresenting our cult!

#108

Posted by: realinterrobang Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:07 PM

you pretend to having more power over the dead than Mormons have ever claimed.

Yeah. The difference here is that we're pretending (as in we know it's all make-believe) and you're claiming (as in you think it's not).

Be sure your sin rhetoric will find you out; the tell always tells.

Meanwhile, will you come back and let us shred you some more if we point and laugh at you? If so, I'll start. *points and laughs*

#109

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:24 PM

I expect a scientist to take a scientific approach to everything, but your repeated anti-Mormon rants are never based on investigation of what we actually believe.

It's all just a bunch of made up stuff that constantly changes. Who really cares.

BTW, Tracy Hall, I just atheized you. You are now free to get a brain and then get a life.

#110

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:25 PM

Since we do not pretend to any authority to force our beliefs on anyone

Prop 8 anyone?

And what about these baptisms?

#111

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:30 PM

"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.

So who do the current and recent past crop of Mormon leaders hold any power?

#112

Posted by: gilraenthecat#916d1 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:31 PM

J.R.R. Tolkien has now been atheized. I think he will be a welcome addition.

#113

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:31 PM

ugh

HOW not who

#114

Posted by: stuv.myopenid.com Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:34 PM

Since we do not pretend to any authority to force our beliefs on anyone

Prop 8 says hello, liar.

#115

Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:41 PM

sqlrob said:

Since we do not pretend to any authority to force our beliefs on anyone

Prop 8 anyone?

QFT!

#116

Posted by: Aquaria Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:48 PM

Can we start atheizing some decent human beings, please? Somebody we'd want on our side like, er, um ... any suggestions?

I atheized Eleanor of Aquitaine.

#117

Posted by: Sili, The Unknown Virgin Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:51 PM

"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned."
Notice how it says "priesthood". Not a word about what regular folks (i.e. Mormons) can do to others. Only the priests aren't allowed to bully people around. It's alright for Glenn Beck and mr and mrs and mrs and mrs and mrs and mrs and mrs Bigot to do so.
#118

Posted by: Tracy Hall Jr Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:52 PM

@ # 16 Becca Stareyes:
"One thing I was always curious about, is if you believe in posthumous baptism . . . "

Your question begs the question, because there is no such thing as "posthumous baptism." We call it "baptism for the dead," not "baptism of the dead." It is no more than an offer, and it is not valid without the fully-informed and free consent of the dead.

Mormons do not accept the traditional Christian notion of an instant assignment, upon death, to a binary state of heaven or hell. Instead, we believe that the spirits of the dead go to a "spirit world" to await the final judgment and resurrection. Only then will our spirit and our body finally be reunited and be admitted to one of "three degrees of glory." Until judgment day, there is still an opportunity for everyone to repent.

Yes, to many there will be an "aha" moment at death when they realize that they are still conscious, but there is no clear revelation of the glories of heaven: we still "see through a glass, darkly," and God and Satan will still contend for the souls of men. We do believe that there is a division in the "spirit world": that the righteous enjoy a peaceful wait in "paradise," and the wicked endure darkness and misery in "hell," but that misery is only a continuation of what they chose in life – not a sudden plunge into any escalation of misery.

Everyone who ever lived will eventually receive an equal opportunity to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to receive, by proxy, the ordinance of baptism. But even in the spirit world, humility and faith are needed. We believe that almost all men will eventually accept Christ as their saviour, but it appears than many will endure centuries of needless suffering in hell before swallowing their pride and choosing to move in with "those foolish idiots" in paradise.

" . . . why bother proselytizing to anyone before*?"

Because millions of Mormons are needed to do the job! Baptism requires immersion of a physical body in water, on earth, and it's going to require thousands of temples and millions of proxies to get the job done for everyone who has ever lived.

"*I can see why baptism after death would upset the family/friends."

If you accept our claim that we do baptisms for the dead (you'll never witness it, as our temples are only open to members), then you really ought to accept our claim that it is only an offer and has no validity without the fully-informed, free acceptance of the recipient. It's like paying your bail to get out of jail: you don't have to accept it. It's like mailing you a check. If you don't think it's valid, there's no need to be offended: just tear it up!

As for all that leg work and all those doors slammed, we believe that this will go on pretty much the same way in the spirit world, for a long time yet to come, until judgment day.

So if you tell a Mormon he is going to hell, he might just answer, "Why thank you! I'm looking forward to it!" (Doctrine & Covenants 138:57)
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/138/57#57

Tracy Hall Jr
hthalljr'gmail'com

#119

Posted by: MrFire Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:54 PM

Just nailed John Wayne.

I hope you'll be taking him to breakfast tomorrow morning.

#120

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:55 PM

@TracyHallJr
You really have no friggin' idea of how batshit insane you sound to a normal person, do you?

#121

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 2:58 PM

It is no more than an offer, and it is not valid without the fully-informed and free consent of the dead.

A piece of meat can't grant consent, so you better have it in writing prior.

#122

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:01 PM

TracyHallJr:

Your question begs the question, because there is no such thing as "posthumous baptism." We call it "baptism for the dead," not "baptism of the dead." It is no more than an offer, and it is not valid without the fully-informed and free consent of the dead.

Please, enlighten us: how is this "fully informed and free consent" obtained from a dead person?

Ouija? Channeling? Ghosts?

#123

Posted by: Aquaria Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:01 PM

#104

You are a LIAR. And a stupid one at that.

http://www.religionfacts.com/mormonism/practices/baptism_for_the_dead.htm

You baptise the dead.

You do it in your temples.

There is no "moral agency," whatever the fuck that is, in baptising the dead. The people are D-E-A-D, dumbass. Did you ask them what they thought or wanted? No? Then there's no fucking moral agency in it!

Your con-man's religion does this because it's a brain dead cult that doesn't care what people really think, and you care even less about their having moral agency. All that matters in Mormon groupthink is conformance to Mormon idiocy, and you'll resort to any repugnant tactic to get it. People certainly don't. Look at all the money and lies you mendacious, manipulative fucks funneled into the Prop 8 fight.

You belong to a cult. A dishonest, brainwashing, manipulative, power-hungry, insane one at that.

That is no strawman. That is a fucking fact, asshole.

#124

Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:04 PM

you'll never witness it, as our temples are only open to members
There are a lot of dumb things about religions and many of them might as well be called cults, but any religion that keeps their actual practices wrapped in a cloak of secrecy so no one can see them until they join is just a cult, with every negative connotation that implies, no matter how many members they have.
#125

Posted by: AJ Milne OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:09 PM

Ouija? Channeling? Ghosts?

Oh, no no no... Nay, Mormonism is not based on such gauche, clearly occult practices as these. Don't be silly!

No, rather, if the history of the sect is any guide, I think we must assume they use seer stones. In a hat.

(/Also some magic glasses...)

#126

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:10 PM

@ gussnarp: Absolutely. "Temples only open to members" is a cultish feature for any religion. Look at the RC church: for all their faults, at least they let anybody attend a Mass, whether you take part or not, as long as you don't disturb the ceremony.

#127

Posted by: Randy (not Randy) Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:17 PM

AJ Milne OM, how could you have left out the magic underwear? For shame.

#128

Posted by: daveau Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:19 PM

...and it is not valid without the fully-informed and free consent of the dead.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

#129

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:19 PM

My magic undies are itching.

#130

Posted by: mikerattlesnake Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:21 PM

@TracyHallJR

Oh, well now it makes PERFECT sense.

#131

Posted by: pekka.pekuri Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:31 PM

Isaac Newton is now an atheist. Too bad it's too late.

#132

Posted by: Logic H. Science! Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:32 PM

I did Galileo, Darwin, Ted Kennedy, Charleton Heston, and David Koresh. Random assortment; this is fun!

#133

Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:37 PM

If one believes in heaven, and if one believes that some sort of Christian salvation is necessary to get it, then baptism for the dead is not that wacky an idea, as (among other things) it solves the "virtuous heathens" problem that more traditional Christian sects have. With baptism for the dead, you're not stuck with thinking that people end up in hell just because of the bad luck of not having encountered Christianity -- they get a second chance, as it were. Sure, it's a kludge as these things go, but it's probably the most sensible kludge available.

And frankly, as an atheist, baptism for the dead doesn't bother me, and I've never understood why it annoys other faiths. Surely if you don't believe in Mormonism, you don't think that their magic actually works, right?

#134

Posted by: bbgunn071679 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:48 PM

Mr. Fire @ 119:

I hope you'll be taking him to breakfast tomorrow morning.

Nope. He never took me dancing.


#135

Posted by: MrFire Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:50 PM

we believe [Freedom of choice] extends beyond the grave.

Occam's razor would suggest you've just added a pointless cherry to your idiot sundae. Why separate life and death, then? Cue Voodoo Shark apologism...

we also proclaim that God will never force the dead to accept the offer the ordinances only become valid upon the full-informed, free consent of the dead.

When your belief system is indistinguishable from a Monty Python sketch, you do realise it's time to give up, right?

We don't know exactly how that consent is formalized, but we are certain that it involves no compulsion.

Angels on the head of a pin, etc.

Joseph Smith declared, "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." (Doctrine & Covenants 121:41) http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/121/41#41

He should have declared, "I'm a convicted fraud and a transparent sociopath. My bullshit caught up with me, and I died ignominiously and face down in the Illinois mud. But I get the last laugh, because a whole culture of suckers now solemnly and seriously believes some grade-school shit I composed while sitting on a whorehouse john."

#136

Posted by: wet_bread Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 3:52 PM

Thomas Aquinas. Done.

#137

Posted by: cameron Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:10 PM

Tracy, you need to understand how ridiculous you sound to people who don't already believe in your story. Seriously, for a moment just try to step outside yourself and see what your ramblings look like to an outsider. You are trying to tell us, in all earnestness, that you get the informed consent of dead people to partake in a magic spell so they can move to a happy spirit world and have fun forever. You know about all this only because someone read incantations off a magical plate in a hat that nobody else was allowed to look at.

Ah screw it, just watch this video. This is what your entire social system looks like to the rest of us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzudyZS4rus

#138

Posted by: Tracy Hall Jr Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:14 PM

Quoth #27 "raven:"

"They also conduct marriages for the dead. As if the spirits in their hereafters can't think for themselves or live their own afterlifes."

"Raven" mocks that which he or she does not understand. Latter-day Saint proxy ordinances for the dead impose nothing on the dead: freedom of choice is an eternal principle. No proxy ordinance is valid without the fully-informed and free acceptance of the spirits of the dead.

With regard to marriage, the proxy ordinance of "sealing" is offered only to the dead for whom we can find evidence that they were married in life, had children together, or lived together as husband and wife (common-law marriage). If the sealing ordinance is freely accepted by both husband and wife, the marriage, which in life was only "until death do you part," becomes valid for eternity.

Current LDS temple policies allow us to perform a proxy sealing ordinance for every marriage that existed. A woman can be sealed to every man to whom she was married in life, and a man can be sealed to every woman to whom he was married in life. The couples will have to sort out, between themselves and with the Lord, which if any of their marriages will be eternal.

Tracy Hall Jr
hthalljr'gmail'com
= =

#139

Posted by: Kryten Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:14 PM

@Tulse:

it solves the "virtuous heathens" problem that more traditional Christian sects have

But only if someone remembers to baptize them... What about all the lucky poor folks who lived & died never knowing a mormon?

#140

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:14 PM

Tracy Hall lying:

Since we do not pretend to any authority to force our beliefs on anyone

Doesn't stop you Mormons from doing it constantly.

Utah was carefully Gerrymandered by experts so all the pagans are crowded into a few districts. The result is a state that is 60% LDS with a legislature that is virtually all Mormons.

Depriving people of the right to vote is pretty low but well within the nonexistent moral grasp of the LDS church.

The role of the legislature is to find out what the church wants and do it for them. This is a functional theocracy built on block voting of religious fanatics and Gerrymandering. NonMormons are second class citizens and freely discriminated against. Alcohol is hard to find. There is always a seminary outside of every high school. The state of Utah was late letting cable TV in. They were afraid the outside world might influence their members.

But it could be worse. A prophecy, the white horse prophecy, states that they will one day rule the USA. Many LDS believe it fervently. Good luck with that one, Mormons are outnumbered 70 to 1.

#141

Posted by: lexicalninja Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:15 PM

I'm having a really hard time believing that that huy if for real. Because anyone who says we're not crazy like those REGULAR xians who think your unicorn quotient is measured when you die and determines your place in the fairy land. No way, Jose'. We know better. We know that you actually have unicorn OVERTIME to build up your points. Kind of like a lightning round for unicorn-rainbow-power. And THEN you go to unicorn mountain. Only silly people would imagine that we'd be judged on our lives on this plane and not imagine a place where we could pad our stats before we really retire. PSSSHHHT.

#142

Posted by: MrFire Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:17 PM

Until judgment day, there is still an opportunity for everyone to repent.

As a movie character once put it: "Are we talking Eastern Time?"

Because millions of Mormons are needed to do the job! Baptism requires immersion of a physical body in water, on earth, and it's going to require thousands of temples and millions of proxies to get the job done for everyone who has ever lived.

Since you've already pulled so much out of your ass, why don't you go one step further, have one single fucking person go through the ceremony on behalf of everyone who has lived or ever will live, and be done with it?

#143

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:22 PM

No proxy ordinance is valid without the fully-informed and free acceptance of the spirits of the dead.

Prove that consent in a scientifically valid and legally binding manner.

#144

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:24 PM

Tracy Hall Jr.

Tell us about Xenu, the DC-10 shaped space craft and Engrams.


Oooops. Sorry. That's Scientology.


Whatever, they're both equally ridiculous and cultish.

#145

Posted by: The Pint Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:25 PM

From #118

Yes, to many there will be an "aha" moment at death when they realize that they are still conscious, but there is no clear revelation of the glories of heaven: we still "see through a glass, darkly," and God and Satan will still contend for the souls of men. We do believe that there is a division in the "spirit world": that the righteous enjoy a peaceful wait in "paradise," and the wicked endure darkness and misery in "hell," but that misery is only a continuation of what they chose in life – not a sudden plunge into any escalation of misery.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....

Oh wait - that entire screed was meant to be taken seriously?!?

#146

Posted by: daveau Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:28 PM

No proxy ordinance is valid without the fully-informed and free acceptance of the spirits of the dead.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Again. You keep saying that like it actually means something.

#147

Posted by: The Pint Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:29 PM

Also, nearly 150 comments in and no one's atheized C.S. Lewis yet? Done!

#148

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:30 PM

you'll never witness it, as our temples are only open to members

Who cares? You'll never witness the atheizing for the dead ritual in PZ Myers' back yard or the rituals of my pagan cult that I made up last week.

Oddly enough, some on this thread will and have. There are a lot of exMormons, including ones posting today, here. Haven't been able to find statistics on the dropout rate but it seems high.

#149

Posted by: cameron Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:30 PM

To: Tracy

Re: post-death marriage ceremonies

Dear Tracy,

lol

Sincerely,
The rest of the universe

#150

Posted by: Andreas Johansson Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:33 PM

Notice how it says "priesthood". Not a word about what regular folks (i.e. Mormons) can do to others.

Practically all adult male Mormons are members of the "priesthood".

(And oft-remarked-on characteristic of cults is that they use ordinary words in idiosyncratic ways, impeding communication with outsiders.)

#151

Posted by: AJ Milne OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:38 PM

AJ Milne OM, how could you have left out the magic underwear? For shame.

(Hangs head...)

Ooo... but y'know, I just got the coolest news on that front...

See, I was just now messin' 'round with these here (makes wiggly fingers) magic rocks in my boarding toque, and a new revelation was revealed* unto me...

(Begin stentorian tenor...)

Lo, hear o children of Gawd, my new commandment is that those previous magic underwear are just way too 40s... even 1840s...

Behold, it has come to pass, this is my commandment: the holy intimate garment of the children of Zion shall be, from henceforth, a breakaway g-string...

Yes, for both sexes. And all ages.

... and lest some of you think this cruel, remember that it is Jehovah, who sees all, whether he likes it or not And thus this will hurt him far more than it hurts you. When it's not also pretty much cracking him up.

Go now, and keep this commandment. Coupons for discounts at participating Fredericks of Hollywood outlets are available at most temples. Hallelujah.

(*/As per standard Book of Mormon standards for repetitive cant, revelations are revealed unto he to whom they are revelated, it has come to pass, you are getting sleepy, it has come to pass, it has come to pass...)

#152

Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:50 PM

But only if someone remembers to baptize them... What about all the lucky poor folks who lived & died never knowing a mormon?

What, you think god should fix everything?

#153

Posted by: Tracy Hall Jr Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:51 PM

@ # 38 DN King:

"I always wondered if Mormons would accept the kind hearted invitation a group of animistic natives might give over the grave of one of their loved ones. I think not, and would expect violence to break out more often than not."

I can assure you that no violence would break out. Even in case of defacement, most Mormons would seek legal relief rather than resort to mob violence. I do presume, however, that you understand that our rituals for and in behalf of the dead are not performed in public, and are conducted nowhere near any grave?

"I would go sit on a Mormon grave and read The God Delusion and/or God is not Great to find out, but unlike the Mormons, I have a little respect for the emotions of others and a few strings of moral fiber."

If you truly believe that Mormons would exercise violence against mockers like you, then you obviously don't know any Mormons. So I reject your judment that we have little respect for "the emotions of others" or have "few strings of moral fiber." Just how do you come to know our minds? Are you God?

My father was a respected scientist, the first man to synthesize diamond. I doubt that he and my mother hang around their graves: they are much too busy in the spirit world, teaching the gospel to our mutual ancestors. (When you go far back enough in time, we are all related.) But you are welcome to sit on their graves, at N40.22232 W111.64249, and mumble whatever incantations you wish. Please do not deface their headstone.

If that's too far for your pilgrimage, send me your location, and I'll find a Mormon grave for you that is more convenient to your quest.

Tracy Hall Jr
hthalljr'gmail'com

#154

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:55 PM

Just how do you come to know our minds

Insane wankers tend to have a set pattern.

#155

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 4:55 PM

While I'm mildly amused by this, there's a bit of me that finds it a little bitter pill as well. Because screw all the dead folks I don't know...I'd like to extricate my living family from the LDS/Mormon church, and there's very little chance I'll get to see that happen.

...

Dear Tracy:

Please continue to try and justify these answers as much as possible. Like me, you might eventually think your way out of the church when you realise how twisty your thinking will need to get to encompass all the answers.

For example, why do we need to perform baptism by proxy now? The dead certainly are currently dead, but if the worthy ones are being taught the gospel right now in the spirit world, and already have to wait for a worthy LDS person to perform the service by proxy, why is it necessary that they wait for the paperwork? Why does Heavenly Father do paperwork anyway? Doesn't he know what's really in our hearts? Why does a physical immersion have more binding power than a spiritual one? On one hand, you're have to accept that the physical action is more important, but on the other, it somehow counts if it physically happens to somebody else? If the physical one is needed, why not wait until the resurrection and use the time and energy spent on proxy baptisms in relieving ongoing real time problems in the world? After all, how would you like to be physically absent from the biggest moments in your life? Since they can't get any of the benefits of the proxy baptism presumably until the resurrection any way, why do we have to do it now? Is a god who knows the content of your heart but would make you wait on paperwork you have no control over a god worth worshipping? What kind of infallible being would set up a system with so many loopholes? Why, with an infinity of time to deal with, does God need to act on such a short timeline?

I have been baptised on behalf of the women of a small village somewhere in Europe, half of whom were named Mary and Elizabeth, and the more I reflect on that experience, the more I feel that it wasn't particularly spiritual, nor did I feel any personal connection to the people I was being baptised on behalf of, nor was I given time to think or reflect on it. I was dunked about twenty times in five minutes, barely having enough time to catch my breath, and while at the time, I was gung-ho about the whole thing, in retrospect, it seems deeply weird and silly. Nothing personal about it, just some fourteen year old girl getting soaked to the skin while some young men gabbled their way through the baptism ritual. Hardly the stuff of eternal binding.

Incidentally, now that I've left the church, what's going to happen to all those village women? After all, the bishop who handled my exit took great care in telling me that all the temple ordinances done on my behalf were *poof* gone! Now that the physical body that underwent baptism on behalf of those women is shed of all its temple bonds, what about the work I did then? I ask this, not because I believe in the rituals, but because you clearly do without considering all the ramifications. You believe in a god that does paperwork and which clearly seems to consider the nitpicky minutiae more important than the spiritual. You somehow seem to feel that a silly physical action is more important than what a person believes in their heart. (And if you don't, then you need to look at the implications of all the temple ceremonies and the membership requirements of the church a little more closely.) Isn't that a little sad?

I grew up in Utah Valley, born and raised. I know the feeling you're supposed to get from doing baptisms for the dead--it's a feeling that you are doing something special that nobody else can do for somebody who can't do it themselves...or that's what they tell you. Because if you actually start to think about the theology, you begin to realise there's no reason Mary Elizabeth Simpson couldn't be baptised upon her resurrection for her own self. And then that feeling of specialness goes away, and you might realise that you were only doing this thing to feel special and good and really there are more useful things you could be doing with this limited time in the world than worrying about a dead person. It takes a lot of honesty and bravery to look the culture you were raised with in the face and say, "I only believe in aspects of you because you've convinced me and my ego that I'm special." Now I don't think Joseph Smith and Brigham Young conciously designed a ritual that was going to leave you breathless, gasping for air, dizzy, disoriented, surrounded by crowds of folks who told you that you were in the grip of a spiritual experience. After all, they were merely modifying what generations of Christians had done before them, but it looks a lot like brainwashing and cultish behaviour from the outside. And doing what your culture says, something relatively easy but not super sacrificing on a material level, and getting that level of approbation...well, no wonder so many kids think that they really are having a wonderful spiritual experience. And then you do it for years, so you don't want to admit that all that time you were doing something silly and ridiculous, while letting your culture praise you for something which has no real lasting effect except to entrench you further and waste your time.

But go on trying to make up answers to the weird ramifications that come when you say, "Well, how does that actually work?" to your theology. The pat answers might only satisfy you so long.

#156

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:05 PM

pixelfish:

It takes a lot of honesty and bravery to look the culture you were raised with in the face and say, "I only believe in aspects of you because you've convinced me and my ego that I'm special."

QFT.

#157

Posted by: Tracy Hall Jr Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:06 PM

@ #72 Brother Bill:
". . . Mormon intervening for dead souls. . . constitute a quorum for determining the ultimate fate of dead people."

Really, truly, we don't claim to intervene, and we don't pretend to determine their fate. Every person's fate is determined by his or her own choices. We only make them an offer that they are free to accept or to reject. Obviously we don't know whether they do or not, but God does. And we don't pre-judge any of them based on whether we think they would want to accept it. So we do it for everyone, the first priority being our own ancestors. (Far enough back in time, we all share the same ancestors.) Also, for any deceased person who was born within the last 95 years, we must obtain permission from their nearest living relatives.

Tracy Hall Jr
hthalljr'gmail'com

#158

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:10 PM

Actually Tracy is probably right that most Mormons won't break out in violence over the idea of somebody trying to perform other religious rituals over their ancestors...but that's probably more out of native smugness for Living the One True Gospel. After all, Mormons are the only people in the world to refer to Jews as Gentiles.

(When I was a wee tyke, we cheerfully sang hymns at all the protesters at Temple Square and laughed scornfully at the Baptist Convention that came to SLC to teach us about Jesus.)

Despite this cheerful arrogance, or perhaps because of it, they really don't seem to get how their own religious practises enrage other folks, particularly those who have strong mores about ancestors and ancestoral lines. Usually, there is more befuddlement that we can't get along because why would you object to Uncle Isaac being baptised Mormon? Yeah, he was killed in the Holocaust for being Jewish, but if he'd had the chance, he'd obviously be baptised Mormon.....nope, a number of LDS people don't see what's offensive about that.

#159

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:11 PM

Obviously we don't know whether they do or not, but God does.

Then why doesn't he make them the offer? What do you have to do with anything?

#160

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:11 PM

The other of many flaws in the theology is that they will never, ever get everyone who ever lived.

Some people died long ago before records even existed or in places where writing wasn't invented. Many records have been lost over the millennia.

Although, presumably god could just go poof and provide them. But he never bothers to do stuff like that.

#161

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:14 PM

Far enough back in time, we all share the same ancestors.

I hope not. I don't want to be the same species as you.

#162

Posted by: Judy L. Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:15 PM

Yeah, I like Dan Savage's approach better: proxy buttfucking dead (and live) mormons.
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/08/27/today-in-magic-underpants-inc

#163

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:17 PM

I doubt that he and my mother hang around their graves: they are much too busy in the spirit world, teaching the gospel to our mutual ancestors.

Sigh. See, I told you that even dying and going to hell won't guarantee an escape from mormon missionaries.

#164

Posted by: FelixO Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:18 PM

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Atheised!

#165

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:23 PM

@Lynna: Sigh. See, I told you that even dying and going to hell won't guarantee an escape from mormon missionaries.

I wonder if they still have to maintain an arm's distance from spirits of the opposite sex.

Which reminds me....isn't there a robot who will do all your believing for you so you don't have to in one of the Douglas Adams books? Maybe the LDS would like to take on the belief-by-proxy thing too.

#166

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:25 PM

Michael Jackson: Atheised.

Heee-heee, whacha-ooh.

#167

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:27 PM

Quick, somebody do C.S. Lewis! That will stab them all in their Screwtape-quoting hearts.

#168

Posted by: Sili, The Unknown Virgin Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:33 PM

Oooops. Sorry. That's Scientology.
Whatever happened to Mormontology by the way?
Practically all adult male Mormons are members of the "priesthood".

(And oft-remarked-on characteristic of cults is that they use ordinary words in idiosyncratic ways, impeding communication with outsiders.)


But that can't possibly be, Andreas! Tracy has just assured us that the priesthood would never impose upon outsiders who'd rather get gay married instead of dead married.

Are you saying that Tracy is lying?! How rude! ::reaches for smelling salts:: ::misses fainting couch:: *ouch* Bugger!

I know! It's all those Mormons in the Catholic Church who're too blame for Prop 8! Problem solved! (That particular priesthood obviously cannot have been preaching about the referendum in Church, since that would be politicising and they're not allowed to do that when they're tax exempt.)

--o--

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need go have a lie-down after all this doublethink. It's exhausting.

#169

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:35 PM

I wonder if they still have to maintain an arm's distance from spirits of the opposite sex.
Pretty damned crowded in the halls of the damned, I would think. Might be difficult to maintain that arm's distance from spirits of the opposite sex.
#170

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 5:57 PM

Mormon apologetics: They cite this bible verse

1 Cor. 15: 29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Comment from an ex-mormon:
It turns out that that Bible verse, 1Cor 15:29, is one that Protestants and Catholics don't know what to do with. Their best guess is that some early Christians really did some kind of baptism on behalf of dead relatives who died before they heard about the Gospel (sounds like the Mormon story, right?).
     But then the Protestants and Catholics correctly point out that Paul doesn't approve of their practice, and he doesn't disapprove of it....he just mentions it. It's just sorta floating out there, and no one knows what it means. I don't believe there are any other references to it in early Christian literature. My guess is baptism for the dead was just a local practice that died out within a few decades.

Mormon missionaries deliberately leave out the bit about necrodunking when they're after new converts. Comment from an ex-mormon:
Under the new "Preach My Gospel" system, lessons are called lessons, not discussions, and talk of temple work doesn't come until the fifth lesson, which is explicitly not supposed to be taught until AFTER baptism. ["milk before meat", which can be translated as "lie by omission"]

Another comment from an ex-mormon:
It is likely that baptism for the dead did exist in ancient times. The fact the Joseph Smith read and recognized that, and copied the intent, does not make Mormons a true church. Indeed, the question you should ask is, why does the Mormon church require the use of Masonic Temple Rituals and Ancient Death Penalties (practiced in Mormonism until 1990) to apply baptism for the dead. Additionally, ask why did Jesus join John the Baptists two hundred year old religion, which required baptism, something that they (the Essenses) did for two hundred years before Jesus entered the scene. The Essenes long taught, before Jesus, that they should be meek and humble, that a quorum of twelve should lead and that sex was forbidden, even for procreation (thus they died off by 100 AD). Also note the early Ebionites (those who actually saw Jesus first hand, true Jesus followers who rejected Paul and the New Testament for good reason) Paul bastardized the actual religion they new Jesus taught, a Jewish religion as the Essense were a Jewish sect. Paul did a great job starting his religion and having never once met Jesus yet can tell you what happened in Gethsemane while everyone was asleep, today Paul’s Church is known as "Christianity" but it truly is Paul’s Church.

Maybe that will make our visiting mormon put on a thinking cap.

#171

Posted by: MadScientist Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 6:42 PM

I put in George Dubbyah Bush, but folks tell me that christians don't count "braindead" as "dead".

#172

Posted by: MadScientist Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 6:57 PM

Anyone know Moshe's "last name"? Why does the site assume people have 2 names? The ancient Romans had names like Marcus "The Mole" Tullius, but many civilizations of that age (and even some current ones) simply had names like Marcus The Mole. Even then, if there we only one Marcus in town, he wouldn't have a second name. Even I lived in a small town where we had "Peter the Cross-eyed" and "Peter the Fatso" - to this day I have no idea what their other names were (nor do I care to know).

Anyway I have these people on the list:

David Ben Gurion
Moshe Dayan

It's a start. Do I need to use the Hebrew script to make the conversion legitimate?

#173

Posted by: Birger Johansson Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 7:37 PM

Stwriley @ 23 I'll chime in with an opportunity to atheize something a bit more fun than dead people...a poll!

-Dogdammit! There are still 63 % who believe in god! I suggest we link the poll to the never-ending thread so more can have fun.
PS Unlike many polls, this one actually has more than two options. Good idea.

#174

Posted by: Athena Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 7:43 PM

I just atheised the Rev. BDC's fingers. Now he won't have any more typos.:^)

#175

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 8:23 PM

You know, this actually might have been witty...

Except that Mormon temple baptisms do not convert the dead person into a Mormon. They merely offer the ordinance to the deceased - which the person can then feel free to accept or reject.

A Mormon temple baptism doesn't make a deceased person a "Mormon" any more than Mormon missionaries ringing your doorbell Friday afternoon makes you one.

Nice try though.

#176

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 8:35 PM

And by the way pixlefish...

If your dead great, great, great grandpa wants to become a Mormon in the afterlife, I think that's really none of your damn business.

After all, it's his afterlife, not yours.

You sound like one of those snotty teenagers who refuse to allow their dad to date again after the divorce, because they're more concerned with "treasuring the memory."

Yeah... well the world doesn't revolve around you.

So you can take your "sweet memories" and stuff it as far as I'm concerned.

#177

Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 8:39 PM

well the world doesn't revolve around you.

Eh, it's the theists who believe that, Seth, not the atheists.

#178

Posted by: stevieinthecity#9dac9 Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 8:46 PM

Haha. Thanks for clarifying it Seth. Totally makes sense. The dead person has to accept it, while they're dead. That's not crazy at all.

#179

Posted by: Shala Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 8:49 PM

Tracy Hall Jr.

What are your thoughts on prop 8, and why would you stay within an organization that supports it?

#180

Posted by: lexicalninja Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 8:53 PM

If your dead great, great, great grandpa wants to become a Mormon in the afterlife, I think that's really none of your damn business.
methinks that if this after life where your choice to become a Moro..Mormon is transitional, and someones great, great great ANYTHING is still there, they're probably not gonna git the drift, ya herr meh? Think harder. If you're stuck in some transition space and you see everyone poofing to happy-land when they decide to be a Mormon, you're gonna be a Mormon. Unless you're a moron. And before we hear, "They have to truly have the faith and not be faking it because god will know," I am going to have to ask where my magic faith-o-meter is located and have my heathenism rolled back like the odometer on a '81 pinto sohs I kin gets in quickah! Other people's sweet memeories are all that is left of you, on any plane, after your meat decomposes. I don't normally get rude, but COME ON, DUDE!
#181

Posted by: btthegeek Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:07 PM

I just atheized Bruce Wayne. He won't come back from the dead for another week or so, so I got him just in time.

#182

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:28 PM

Oh, Seth....you don't get it. I personally don't believe my dead ancestors want anything. They're DEAD. As in like a doornail. They're not going to convert. They're not going to want to convert. (And anyway, all of them up to about six generations back were Mormon already.) The wetware that held their personalities are rotting in the earth. Whatever synaptical connections their brains were running on have long since expired.

All my questions are designed to elicit "what if" by extending the implications of the theology. IF you believe that there is an afterlife (which, hello, I don't, being an atheist) what do you think about this extension of this principle you claim rules the afterlife? Why do you believe god does paperwork? Why does the physical act matter more than the spiritual conversion? Check the implications of your theology and see where they take you. They took me to a place where a bureaucratic asshole would apparently keep good people from progressing to their just desserts until their descendants jumped through some inane hoops--sound like somebody worth worshipping?

As far as my hypothetical Uncle Isaac, I'm referring to the recent cases of Holocaust victims who were baptised despite the protests of their relatives. These cases are the basis for the LDS hierarchy taking a stronger line about who can and can't be baptised. The policy about finding the immediate relatives is fairly new--it wasn't active when I was a kid and my grandparents went on their geneology mission. It's not my specific anger that I'm referencing, but the cultural outrage of people whose relatives have been co-opted by ignorant (if well-meaning) LDS geneologists, baptising folks whose relatives they KNOW would not have converted while alive. Yes, this policy has changed in recent years, but only after a LOT of flak and media attention.

Finally, unlike certain stick-up-the-ass LDS church members, I don't care what consenting adults do, but thanks for projecting. ;)

#183

Posted by: Rey Fox Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:36 PM

#175: You obviously missed the fine print on the Atheize web site where they state that posthumous deconversions made through the site are not actually legally binding until they are accepted by the corpse in the presence of a notary.

"If your dead great, great, great grandpa wants to become a Mormon in the afterlife, I think that's really none of your damn business."

If I did believe that my grandpa was somehow alive and aware in the afterlife, I wouldn't want him pestered by Mormons.

"So you can take your "sweet memories" and stuff it as far as I'm concerned."

What exactly are you on about?

#184

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, OM Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:44 PM

Except that Mormon temple baptisms do not convert the dead person into a Mormon. They merely offer the ordinance to the deceased - which the person can then feel free to accept or reject.

How can a dead person accept or reject anything? They're fucking dead! They've passed on! These people are no more! They have ceased to be! They've expired! They're stiffs! Bereft of life, they rest in peace! They're pushing up the daisies! Their metabolic processes are now history! They're off the twig! They've kicked the bucket, They've shuffled off their mortal coil and run down the curtain! THIS IS AN EX-PERSON!

#185

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 9:47 PM

Ah, 'Tis Himself, your Python quote is both apropos and warming to the cockles of my heart.

#186

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:26 PM

'Tis Himself, how long exactly have you been on this planet that you've never heard of someone expressing a belief in a supernatural life after death? I'm an atheist, but the screaming on this point is really beginning to bug me.

If anyone here was lucky enough to be reared by atheists, I can see that this idea might be incomprehensible; but I, not being able to atheize the people who brought me up (since they're still alive) was raised with religious beliefs and really don't understand the professed obtuseness here. I know what it's like, emotionally, to believe in an afterlife. Having examined the idea closely, I see no reason to continue believing it. But if I'd run into the kind of nanny-nanny-boo-boo attitude I'm seeing a lot of in these comments, it probably would have taken me longer to get past the beliefs I was raised with.

An atheist's philosophy is solid and strong if it's well thought-out; sneering only makes it sound as if you feel yourself to be on shaky ground.

Tracy: several people have asked how you can reconcile the claim that the Mormon church doesn't inflict its beliefs on others with their actions regarding my home state's Prop 8. I think we'd all be very interested to hear your reply. I understand ignoring the taunting and name-calling, but this question is of real importance to the topic at hand.

--Deborah, the big fat atheist homeschooler

#187

Posted by: lostinspace Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:27 PM

"We're sorry, but the interphilosophical treaty of 1926 prevents us from atheising anyone with "Jesus" in their name."

Okay, so that's a few hundred Mexicans condemned to eternal salvation then.

Btw, the ad links at the bottom of that page currently point to "Is There Life After Death" - Church of God; "Talk to a Live Psychic"; and "Scientology Today". Google strikes again! (Or did some Google programmer quietly write 'irony' into the algorithm?)

#188

Posted by: lostinspace Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:34 PM

Tracy Hall said:

"But you are welcome to sit on their graves, at N40.22232 W111.64249, and mumble whatever incantations you wish. Please do not deface their headstone.

If that's too far for your pilgrimage, send me your location, and I'll find a Mormon grave for you that is more convenient to your quest."

Now that is classy!

#189

Posted by: desertfroglet Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:43 PM

Deborah @ 186

'Tis Himself, how long exactly have you been on this planet that you've never heard of someone expressing a belief in a supernatural life after death? I'm an atheist, but the screaming on this point is really beginning to bug me.

I'm more surprised that someone hasn't heard of the parrot sketch.

#190

Posted by: lostinspace Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 10:49 PM

"*The late Muhammed ibn Abd Allah (632)

That should settle islam. "

Please, nobody tell any Islamic gentlemen about this. Or Pastor Terry Jones. Specially not Terry Jones!

And please nobody atheize Terry Jones, I wouldn't want to share any real/virtual/hypothetical/non-existent Eternity with him. Let his God work out what to do with him.

Terry (Monty Python) Jones, OTOH, is welcome to share my eternity.

Raises the question, how does the atheizing page tell them apart? (How do the Mormons?) Or do they just do everybody of the same name in one batch? Inquiring minds want to know

#191

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:14 PM

@Deborah: I think 'Tis Himself is using the Monty Python sketch to point out that the Mormons in this thread keep fighting our arguments as if we'd been accepting basic tenets of their position from the start, namely that there is life after death. It's not that we've never heard folks express such a belief but their insistence that we must still accept that as a premise in our arguments. In other words, Seth and Tracy keep pointing out the minutiae in their theology--"Don't you guys know that the deceased has to accept the baptism?"--as if it rendered our arguments about the inanity of baptising the dead by proxy null and void.

#192

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 10, 2010 11:43 PM

Well, pixlefish...

If you don't believe in an afterlife, then maybe you ought to stop acting so offended by what we choose to do with it. For an atheist to act like he cares at all about this particular practice as being offensive is utterly hypocritical.

So don't come to me pretending you really give a damn whether a dead Jew's religious preference is being respected or not. What is it really to you if a Holocaust victim is having imaginary rite A, or imaginary rite B applied to him?

After all, you think it's all crap anyway. Right?

I mean, dying in a Nazi gas chamber doesn't make a theist any less deluded in your book, right? So why play the sympathy card here? It's not like you ever had any sympathy for their religious beliefs anyway. So why even bring up the posthumous baptism issue to begin with?

Shouldn't you simply be confining yourself to general observations about why theism in general is wrong? Why sweat the details? Especially if the details are more or less harmless?

#193

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:09 AM

Hi, Pixelfish --

I think I see your point. What I'm not getting is this:

If we as atheists don't see any reason to think there's an afterlife, why does it bother us to think that Mormons are working within their belief system and basically offering the ticket that gets you into the really good party after corporeal death?

Sure, their belief system is wacky; but I don't see it as any more inherently bizarre than plenty of other religious beliefs. And at least the Mormons are trying to be nice, even if we consider it to be misguided.

The necessity of physical baptism strikes me as rather strange; but the necessity of baptism is *always* a strange tenet, no matter what the flavor of Christianity. If you can get into heaven without it, what's the point of it? If you *can't* get into heaven without it, whose idea was it that you have to enter a wet T-shirt contest in order to get by Saint Peter?

(Okay, when I put it that way, I think I may have just answered my own question...)

Some more mainstream Protestants have the smug belief (that they're happy to share) that unless you pick their exact Christian club to belong to, you'll be burning in Hell and ha ha ha ha on you. And they think your grandpa's there already, just waiting for you. Now, *that's* rude.

In terms of accepting their premise, as you point out -- I guess I found it valuable to hear what their premise was in the first place. These are their beliefs, and that's what dictates their actions. And I guess I took it as a given that the original Mormon poster meant "we believe" before every statement about what Heaven and the afterlife is according to Mormonism. Am I missing your point? (I genuinely mean that -- not trying to be snippy.)

I would very much like to hear back from the Mormons poster(s?) about the Prop 8 issue. I live in California, and am still seething about that. I don't mean that individuals are responsible for the entire church's actions; I mean that I'm not seeing how one can claim to belong to a church that doesn't inflict its beliefs on others after something like that.

I have to say that I'm just as angry at the Catholics for their part in Prop 8 -- how *dare* they try to put their beliefs about marriage into law, when they of all people are used to having their ideas of marriage specifically *not* legally binding? If Catholics support Prop 8, they'd better get out there and start lobbying for it to be *illegal* for priests and nuns to get married, or for Catholics to get divorced. Sheesh.

--Deborah "Don't Get Me Started On My Church of Origin" Markus

#194

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:22 AM

Seth and Tracy keep pointing out the minutiae in their theology--"Don't you guys know that the deceased has to accept the baptism?"--as if it rendered our arguments about the inanity of baptising the dead by proxy null and void.
My thoughts exactly, pixelfish. Because the objects of proxy baptism have to accept the offer before the baptism takes effect and mormonizes them ... that little logic warp makes the whole ritual reasonable? And it's also somehow more morally defensible? Only in the funhouse brains of mormons.


Tracy, I'll grant you one point: Of course proxy baptism that gave the dead person no choice would not make sense!

But neither does proxy baptism that supposedly gives a dead person a choice. Friggin' nuts either way.

And the whole "moral agency" argument is not really an argument, but an assertion. Within mormon culture "moral agency" is even a fake assertion since all kinds of pressures are brought to bear to remove a person's individual agency, to, in effect, make the members church broken, to make them obedient ... to make them obedient while encouraging in them the delusion of agency.

Not all of them perhaps, but too many mormons are good at self-delusion. It's a skill they develop over time. Makes them prime marks for pyramid schemes, not to mention other scams.

Tracy is especially fond of the theory that Repetition Equals Truth. No matter how many times you say that the dead non-mormons hanging out in your imaginary outer darkness might (or might not) welcome the attentions of zombie mormon missionaries, and might (or might not) welcome a near drowning proxy baptism performed by a deluded 14 year old girl -- no matter how many times you repeat this claptrap it will never be true. It will never make sense in a reality-based universe. It's useless. It's a waste of time.

And when mormon adults pressure 12 year old girls and boys to perform "temple work" ... sheesh, that's child abuse.

The whole atheize thing is a satire. Just as it can't be taken seriously, neither can baptism by proxy. Equally dumb. Equally ridiculous. Get it?

BTW, here's a clue for future use: If you are incapable of having a sense of humor about religion, you've lost your perspective. You have become dogmatic. This is a sad way to go through life.

#195

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:26 AM

seth being stupid:

Shouldn't you simply be confining yourself to general observations about why theism in general is wrong? Why sweat the details? Especially if the details are more or less harmless?

Theism isn't harmless. Anything but. In fact, right now we are fighting two wars in Islamic countries, which themselves are failed societies being pulled back to the Dark Ages by toxic religion. Supposedly it was Moslems attacking our skyscrapers and killing 3,000 innocent people. Of course, Iraq was Bushes inability to think coherently but the Afghani Mormon religious freaks Taliban were involved and besides were Khymer Rouge class genocidal maniacs.

The Mormon cult is one of the worst ones. Wherever Mormons have numerical power, they oppress the nonMormons. So far that is mostly the Morridor and Utah and it will probably stay that way.

And it takes it's toll on the members, particularly the women who are permanent second class citizens. The LDS church has a high dropout rate despite huge obstacles and it seems to be accelerating. Not everyone wants to live in a totalitarian mind control cult run by weird, creepy old men. The theists in general and the toxic politicalized cults in the USA create atheists by the millions per year.

And BTW Seth. I don't think I'll join your weird, sick little cult. Could you tell the boy missionaries to go bother someone else?



#196

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:32 AM

Gee raven, I'm sitting here in my kitchen crying about the terrible loss it will be to Mormonism to miss out on an outstanding example of humanity and rational thought like yourself. Our religion is indeed impoverished by your absence.

And incidentally, the Khymer Rouge were atheists. You did know that, didn't you?

#197

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:34 AM

The religious fanatics missed the whole point of this thread of course.

It makes as much sense to atheize living and dead people as it does to baptize them Mormons. Which is to say none whatsoever. The difference is that we can laugh about turning jesus, moses, and mo into atheists by internet website proxy.

And most likely some of my dead relatives have already been done in a temple. I could care less, it's just make believe fantasy.

#198

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:35 AM

deborahmarkus #186

Tis Himself, how long exactly have you been on this planet that you've never heard of someone expressing a belief in a supernatural life after death? I'm an atheist, but the screaming on this point is really beginning to bug me.

I'm 62 years old. I'm an ex-Catholic so I am aware of the concept of life after death.

This is the second time I've quoted a Monty Python sketch and been chastised for it. Perhaps I should stick with American comedy.

Seth R. #192 & deborahmarkus #193

It's true that, as an atheist I don't accept life after death. I also think it's demeaning to non-Mormons to have their deceased ancestors "baptized". I'd be quite annoyed if some Mormon "baptized" my dead father. He would have been angry if thought he might have a Mormon post-death baptism. He despised Mormons for their racism and their lies about pre-Colombian America. If I want my father or any other dead family member to get a Mormon baptism I'll let the local cult leader know. Until then, stay away from me and my ancestors. And don't call me, I'll call you.

#199

Posted by: Cristabel Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:41 AM

Got Shakespeare, Kit Marlowe, Charlotte Bronte, and George Eliot. We'll have good reading material!

#200

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:43 AM

Seth R. #196

And incidentally, the Khymer Rouge were atheists. You did know that, didn't you?

And incidentally, Joseph Smith and his bestest buddy Brigham Young were sexual perverts. Whenever they decided their old bedwarmers were getting stale, they got a revelation from "Heavenly Father" that they should fuck some new woman. Often the new woman was married to someone else but that didn't stop Joe and Brigham. If they wanted fresh meat then they got it.

Makes you proud to be a Mormon, doesn't it.

#201

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:43 AM

Incidentally, I didn't make any particular argument about theism in general being harmless. If you had employed your no-doubt vast powers of reading comprehension to my comment, you would have caught this.

I merely pointed out that our beliefs in baptism for the dead are more or less harmless. Just that specific doctrine. I wasn't even opening up the debate to your little laundry lists of complaints.

Lynna, I opposed Prop 8. Not because I care if gays get "marriage" or not - I don't. But rather because I resent government having a role in determining who is "married" at all. I don't think government has any right to be in the marriage license business to begin with and should get out. It should be civil unions for everyone and then they can privately call themselves whatever they want on their own time and their own dime.

So I opposed LDS support of Prop 8 and blogged critically about the LDS Church on this issue.

But yes, I am still a member and don't plan to change that any time soon.

You don't leave an organization with which you agree on many other issues simply because you disagree with them on one particular issue.

If you are going to go through life thinking like that Lynna, you're going to have to resign from EVERY organization you belong to. You're never going to find any human organization that perfectly encapsulates all the ideals you hold.

#202

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:47 AM

And incidentally, the Khymer Rouge were atheists. You did know that, didn't you?

No. Probably because it is false according to google. IIRC, Pol Pot was mainly raised as a Catholic. I see you somehow forgot that the Taliban are typical religious fanatics. They remind me a lot of Mormons in blind, authoritarian cultishness.

Search ResultsRefuting the myth that Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were atheists ... Aug 6, 2010 ... Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge were composed of Buddhists and Pol Pot was a .... Yes, Hitler was raised Catholic. I could argue that he was not ... www.examiner.com/.../refuting-the-myth-that-hitler-stalin-and-pol-pot-were-atheists - CachedIs atheism the answer? Part 3 - National freethought | Examiner.com

Pol Pot was raised a Buddhist and Catholic. In this regard, Dr. Ian Harris, a Reader in Religious Studies at the University College of St. Martin, ...
www.examiner.com/freethought-in.../is-atheism-the-answer-part-3 - Cached

Gee raven, I'm sitting here in my kitchen crying about the terrible loss it will be to Mormonism to miss out on an outstanding example of humanity and rational thought like yourself.

Good. Multiply that by 294 million other Americans and there is hope for the USA yet. What keeps Mormons in check is real simple. They are outnumbered 70 to 1 by nonMormons who like living in a secular democracy. The bunny rabbit breeding program to outbreed everyone else isn't working so well, conversions aren't so great, and defections are high.

#203

Posted by: Rey Fox Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 12:51 AM

"If you don't believe in an afterlife, then maybe you ought to stop acting so offended by what we choose to do with it."

I can't speak for everyone, but I personally am not offended. I'm just laughing at how absurd it is. That's what this post was about.

#204

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:23 AM

@201

Since you have so much faith in your stance and that the Church is open about dissent you surely won't mind giving us the name of your Bishop so we can inform him of your dissatisfaction with their decisions, no?

Care to take a guess at what happened to some others who publicly bitched about it?

But you know, if you are inline with the one true church and all, there should be no problem with the higher ups being informed of you speaking out against them. So yeah, name and address of who I should contact plz and ty?

#205

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:29 AM

@'Tis Himself: Sexual perverts? Why stop there? Joseph Smith was also a conman--brought up before the local constabulary on numerous "treasure hunting" and dowsing charges well before he became notorious for his gold plates story. And he violated freedom of the press by ordering his Danites to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor. (Imagine my 19 year old self, still fairly religious, freshly embarking in journalism courses, and cringing upon discovering THAT.)

Or here's a fun fact from more recent history: Ezra Taft Benson, thirteenth president of the church, and a man I once believed to be called of god, was a racist bigot. Wrote the forward to a little pamphlet called The Black Hammer, which features a tastefully illustrated drawing of a decapitated black man caught between a hammer and sickle. Called of God? Riiiiight. The Mormons! A decade behind the Civil Rights movement! Sexist! Racist! Homophobic! Whee! That's a church I want to belong to. (Sarcasm alert.)

@Seth: Yes, the Khmer were atheists. And the Inquisition was Catholic. And the Mountain Meadows Massacre was caused by Brigham Young's rigid instructions to the Mormon militias in the state of Utah.

Show me any single segment of humanity that isn't vulnerable to atrocity via dogmatism. What do I have in common with the Khmer regime besides a human pedigree and a disbelief in god? My disbelief in God hasn't lead me to the same actions as the Khmer, nor has it done so for many other folks.


@Seth: Your comprehension levels need to be adjusted. OTHER people get upset and Mormons don't seem to get it OR they arrogantly assume it's no biggie. And me pointing out that fact is not the same as me being offended personally. I brought up the case for context since the current policy hadn't ALWAYS been the policy and also to point out that the Mormons have a history of blithely disregarding other people's objections to the practises that affect them until media coverage gets enough momentum. (But as Deborah Markus points out, there are far more concrete examples of this in recent political history.) I suppose I shouldn't be surprised about the comprehension, since you've also misspelled my handle twice.

Why focus on the little details? Because the little details are where the logic breaks down on an easily identifiable scale.

Pointing out where the ritual in question turns into an exercise in abnegation and submission and how it is not demonstrably different than certain brainwashing techniques? Perfectly fair.

#206

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:32 AM

Hi, 'Tis Himself --

I like Monty Python, too (and that particular sketch is killer funny); but I guess I just lumped it in with all the comments people were making about how dead = dead. Which in turn seemed all tied in with the "Look, you idiots, you're all just delusional freaks"-toned posts. (I don't mean you said that; just painting some broad brushstrokes.)

As I said, I'm one of what's probably the majority of Americans who were raised religiously. I believed in life after death for almost two decades; I don't think I was stupid to do so, but I see every reason to think I was mistaken. So the "wow, look at the morons who believe in the spirit world" postings kind of bugged me, because that did used to be me. Not the Mormon part, but religious is religious.

My main squeeze and I have been talking about the Mormon baptism-in-proxy thing pretty much all day. We're both atheists, so neither of us has a dog in the fight; but I didn't understand how Mormons beliefs were any weirder than anyone else's (once you enter the theistic realm, anyway), and specifically I didn't understand why their ideas were raising so much rancor.

My husband brought some points up that helped me see what I was missing. If the Mormons were saying, or believing, that the baptism-in-proxy was more like what baptism really is in every other Christian church -- a sign that you've officially joined that church -- it would be offensive for exactly the reasons stated. It would feel kind of like when a former friend of mine mentioned that she "talked to the dead" a lot, and they talked right back to her; and if she outlived me, she was sure she and I would have some great chats too. I was absolutely infuriated at the idea of a woman who subscribed to astrology and a whole host of other irrational beliefs claiming that she spoke for me when I wasn't around to say that no, she jolly well didn't.

But since the baptism-in-proxy seems to be being treated as different from conventional baptism -- different even from the baptism that the Mormons participate in on their own behalf -- I don't think it's analogous.

I have had Mormon friends, and they've mentioned that (among other people) every American president has been baptized in proxy. But if you asked them if, say, George Washington was a Mormon, I don't think they'd say yes.

If they *did* say yes, point taken and they're rewriting history in a most presumptuous and arrogant way. But I think that the baptism of George Washington is regarded by Mormons as quite different from that of a member of the church who participated in her own baptism directly.

Not a Mormon, so I could be wrong.

And just to keep things fair: Wow, Mormon visitors, those last couple of postings weren't exactly Christ-like, were they? Who are you letting set the standards of your behavior? Whatever happened to "live *in* this world, not *of* this world"?

--Deborah "I'm Not Your Huckleberry" Markus

#207

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:37 AM

# Deborah

They baptized Jews who died in the holocaust...along side Adolf Hitler.

They made a display of "we think these people should NOT be jews...(if they want to of course, we're just OFFERING...and pointing out that it's the only way into heaven and that it's undesirable to BE a jew) to people who were killed for their Jewishness.

Plus, Jew runs deeper than Catholic or the like, it's also a culture. Suggesting "Hey we're doing everything we can to magically make your relatives NOT part of your shared culture and history because it's better OUR way" is dickish. The fact that the Church kept doing it despite saying they'd stop is more dickish.

Oh yeah also, you know...putting holocaust victims in the same bucket of 'needing saving' along side ADOLF HITLER. You might imagine some people being sour about that.

#208

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:38 AM

tracy

I doubt that he and my mother hang around their graves: they are much too busy in the spirit world, teaching the gospel to our mutual ancestors.

see, this is what I don't get about LDS teachings. It sounds like life and death are both tedious repetition of the same shit over and over, and you are supposed to be *overjoyed* at the thought of it. Our world being one of many others, with mormon dudes making their own worlds if they are righteous enough, leaves me with wayyyyy more questions than answers. Their god is just one of many, so the deep "why are we here? where did we come from???" type questions are left completely unanswered in any real sense. At least the other religions make something up to fill the gap, mormons just accept the problem without any scrutiny. Its fucking ridiculous.

#209

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:43 AM

@pixlefish

No, the Polpotism doesn't fly. Atheism isn't in the same category as mormonism, it's not a belief it's a descriptor. A belief system can BE atheistic, but atheism does not make a belief system since it's the one stance "I do not believe in a god(s). Saying they were atheist is like saying they were left handed, ok fine maybe...but what did they believe that led them to act? None of them were explicitly Atheist. They picked stuff like communism, stalinism, maoism, insane gaian worshipism, etc that can have the atheist label, but you can't honestly argue they did it because of an something in ATHEISM doctrine.

The Inquisition WAS based on Catholocism, it's a belief system that HAS tenants. It was not based on theism which is a descriptor of Catholocism.

The only tenant I'd even lift a finger to make a dogma of ATHEISM is David Tennant.

#210

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:45 AM

@Seth: You don't leave an organization with which you agree on many other issues simply because you disagree with them on one particular issue.

It might be "one particular issue" for you, a philosophical exercise if you're straight, but for some folks, it's a life changing issue. Staying in that organisation in this case means giving them ten percent of your income, the cultural lever and carte blanche to train your children to accept the same repugnant views as "divinely inspired", and the tacit support of numbers through membership. I chose to resign as a member in part because of the homophobic, racist, sexist history of the church.

(Atheism arrived in my life post-resignation, although I did cite crisis of conscience and disbelief in core doctrinal issues when I sent in my resignation letter. At the time I resigned, I was attending a Buddhhist sangha. And it still wasn't easy because culturally I had been raised Mormon. My equally heretical cousin and I used to think we could just be quiet non-believing members to retain our cultural ties, until we started realising the nasty baggage that comes with that.)

#211

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:52 AM

@Seth

Ok look. If that organization claims to be divinely inspired, the leader is the direct line to the ALL MIGHTY ALL KNOWING GOD, then yes, any disagreement you have indicates that you should leave that organization.

If you disagree with the word of the prophet and his bishops then you disagree with God working through them. You obviously don't believe.

Premise: If the Prophet and Church are correct than their claims of divine connection are correct
Premise: God is omniscient and never wrong
Premise: God works through the church and prophet who proclaim his word
Premise: If you disagree with the church there are two options, either you are wrong, or the church is not divine
Premise: You disagree with the church and believe yourself to be right
Conclusion: you disbelieve the church's claims of divinity.

#212

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 1:57 AM

@Ing: Seth mentioned the Khmer first, but thanks for helping clarify what bugs me so much about the "Pol Pot and Stalin were atheists" argument. It's one that gets brought up frequently. I was trying to reach for something similar because as far as I can tell my atheism looks nothing like Pol Pot's atheism.

Greta Christina's answer to the same is that Nixon was responsible for millions of deaths in Vietnam, but do we blame his being a Quaker? While the religious have been killed by atheists, nothing about atheism specifically says you have to kill religionists.

@deborah: re - the baptism thing. As an ex-Mormon, I can definitely say that Mormons may very well claim somebody by baptism. When Mother Theresa died, my bishop claimed in sacrament meeting that he had no doubt that she was already be prepared to accept the gospel and that she would soon be leading many spirits in accepting the gospel. (Madonna, who is still very much alive, he claimed would be leading Satan's version of Relief Society. Ohhhh, the chuckles.) Other figures I've heard this claimed of: C.S. Lewis (Mormons looooove quoting him--do you know how many times I've heard snippets from The Great Divorce in sacrament meeting), the Founding Fathers, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King (particularly egregrious given the Mormon church's Civil Rights history), JPII, and William Shakespeare. I swear, it's like Pokemon....you gotta catch 'em all.

#213

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:04 AM

No need Ing, since I've been pretty open about my views on this in my congregation and even mentioned it to my bishop once personally. And I blogged under my real identity.

No disciplinary action pending.

#214

Posted by: Gyeong Hwa Pak, Das unzufriedene Pikachu Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:19 AM

And incidentally, the Khymer Rouge were atheists. You did know that, didn't you?

Not this argument again. Once again, it wasn't Pol Pot's disbelief that lead to his action. It was his belief in an agrarian utopia feed by folklore. Do you see the difference there? Incidentally, one of his henchmen was a Christian and many of the others were Buddhists. Furthermore, none of that matters because they killed Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and Atheists alike (don't for a second believe that there wasn't any atheist amongst the intellectuals killed.) They were killed for a utopian belief. It was not because of atheism.

To add this, I personally hate it when Christians use this Godwin. To me and many others, it's like saying that we should have allowed colonialism, we should have converted, and we should accept the west ideals of the norm. This Godwin smells of imperialistic hegemonists sentiments.

Finally, the standard accepted spelling is "Khmer" not "Khymer". There isn't a vowel between the Kh and M in most dialects, and if there is, it's been heavily reduced. So it wouldn't appear orthographically.

#215

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:37 AM

Hi, Ing --

What I'm not understanding is how this practice is a case of the Mormons singling out the Jews as any "wronger" (heavy quotes there) than anyone else is. To the Mormons, aren't Jews just like Catholics, atheists, Baptists, Quakers, and all other non-Mormons in one respect -- namely, they're not Mormons, and therefore can't get to the "best" level of Heaven?

When I read Sonia Johnson's autobiography (she's the one who was excommunicated from the Mormon church a few decades ago for her feminist activism), she mentioned that Mormons refer to Jews -- as they do to everyone else -- as "gentiles." Which really does support the argument that several people have made here that Mormons are living in their own wacky little world; but I don't think it's anti-Semitic per se. Misguided, I agree -- but they're being the same flavor of misguided to the whole non-Mormon population.

I really do see what you mean when you mention their lumping in Holocaust victims and perpetrators. Yes, that's a creepy concept. However, I once had a (non-Mormon) Christian argue against my atheism by pointing out that if I didn't believe in heaven or hell, I must think that all the good innocent people *and Hitler* all ended up in the same place -- the same oblivion. How could I think that was "fair"? I didn't see that as a valid argument for her beliefs or against my ideas.

If it makes you feel any better, I don't know if the Mormon church is being self-consistent by baptizing Hitler. In high school I had a friend who was Mormon, and I went to church with her a few times. (My big teenage rebellion, though I didn't realize it at the time.) One speaker -- I think it was the bishop -- said that murder was a mortal sin, one that no repentance could repair, and that no murderer could ever go to the Celestial Kingdom (the highest level of Mormon heaven, and the one you can only get to if you're a baptismal-certificate-carrying Mormon). If that's an accurate representation of Mormon theology, the Mormons have no business baptizing in proxy anyone who has no chance of getting there given their actions on earth.

I appreciate what I'm learning here, but WOW are certain aspects of this conversation creeping me out. Time for some chocolate...

#216

Posted by: Monado Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:39 AM

The whole Mormon "block committee" minding your business reeks of the social and mind control in Communist China, which used the exact same techniques of privacy invasion, meetings, "confession," and ideological repetition to keep everyone in line. Except in China you had to ask for permission to get pregnant and in Mormonism you get pressured to get pregnant (again).

#217

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:44 AM

Hi, Ing --

Me again. It's "tenet," sweetie, not "tenant."

--Deborah the compulsive

#218

Posted by: deborahmarkus Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:46 AM

Hi, Pixelfish --

Thank you so much. The Pokemon reference cracked me up.

--D.

#219

Posted by: Monado Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 2:50 AM

Also, something few people bring up is that Mormonism does not work as a society. In order for the high-status men to claim multiple women for themselves, other men have to be deprived of even one partner. Thus the groups that are still practising polygyny need to drive away their young men, often on very slim excuses. This is very bewildering and heartbreaking for the exiles, as well as depriving young women of someone their own age.

#220

Posted by: phantomreader42 Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 3:10 AM

deborahmarcus @ #215:

What I'm not understanding is how this practice is a case of the Mormons singling out the Jews as any "wronger" (heavy quotes there) than anyone else is. To the Mormons, aren't Jews just like Catholics, atheists, Baptists, Quakers, and all other non-Mormons in one respect -- namely, they're not Mormons, and therefore can't get to the "best" level of Heaven?

IIRC, I think the problem isn't so much that they're baptizing Jews, but that they're baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims. Or was it the survivors? Either way, taking people murdered or threatened with murder for their beliefs and pretending they were members of the mormon cult. And doing it after promising they wouldn't. I seem to recall something about them using records for this purpose that they were given access to on the condition that they NOT do so.

#221

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 3:11 AM

Just a quick clarification before I trundle off to bed. While Monado's observations about the nature of polygyny are essentially accurate, polygyny is not currently* practised by the largest branch of the Mormon offshoots. (*It has been practised in the past, and according to theology will be practised after death, but as with any other Terribly Essential, Very Important, Immutable Tenets, once polygyny/polygamy got enough flak from external forces, the main LDS church went about merrily excising it from the doctrine, with a promise that it would return when the time was right. Other Terribly Essential, Very Important, Immutable Tenets--deemed to be precepts necessary at their time--blacks not being allowed to hold the priesthood because of the mark of Cain, the necessity of blood oaths to kill somebody who talked about the temple ceremonies, and women wearing pants on BYU campus. Okay, I'm being slightly facetious about that last one.)

#222

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 3:23 AM

@PhantomReader and @DeborahMarkus: Here's a few links on the Jewish/Mormon controversy from a Jewish perspective:

http://www.avotaynu.com/mormon.htm
http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/ldsagree.html

From these links, it seems that in 1995, the LDS church made a deal of sorts with the Jewish community, and they were either unable to enforce the deal with their membership, or they were unwilling to treat the violations of this deal as a problem. Which, regardless of what I think of either sects' beliefs, isn't a particularly good move on the LDS church's part. Many of the Jewish community feel that the LDS rites are as silly as this thread has declared and can't imagine their ancestors converting, but are irritated because the Mormons are so entrenched in the geneology community and their vast records are often looked on as definitive, so a record that doesn't indicate that "conversion" was via baptism by proxy is falsifying their historical record.

Okay, now I really really should go to bed.

#223

Posted by: McCthulhu, thickly veiled threat to sanity. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 3:54 AM

Someone requested that we atheize people we actually like. I tried to atheize Carl Sagan but the bugger already beat me to it.

#224

Posted by: Harbo Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 4:11 AM

Pascal, the nasty gambling bastard..

#225

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 4:27 AM

I atheized Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon, Ivy Baker Priest, George W. Romney, and Eldridge Cleaver. I'm pretty sure they'd all thank me.

#226

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 8:57 AM

wikipedia:

The White Horse Prophecy is a statement purported to have been made in 1843 by Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, regarding the future of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and the United States of America. The Mormons, according to the prophecy, would "go to the Rocky Mountains and ... be a great and mighty people", identified figuratively with the White Horse described in the Revelation of John. The prophecy further predicts that the United States Constitution will one day "hang like a thread" and will be saved "by the efforts of the White Horse".[1]

Many people outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) have speculated, on the basis of the White Horse Prophecy, that Mormons expect the United States to eventually become a theocracy dominated by the LDS Church.[2] This question has arisen periodically as prominent Mormons have sought political office in the United States — such as during the 2010 campaign of Rex Rammell for the governorship of the state of Idaho

One of the Mormon tenets that makes people nervous is a key prophecy that they will one day rule the USA. Many of them believe it fervently and state it in public. They also believe they are god's chosen people, the Real Jews. The Israel Jews are now gentiles and the rest of us are gentiles and pagans.

This would all be amusingly bizarre except for one thing. We've seen this movie countless times. A group of ideologically driven people take over a country and a few years or decades later, millions of people are dead and the country is heading back to the Dark Ages.

Commies, various Fascists, and the perennial staple, religious cults of various beliefs. Last century it was mostly political theory groups. This century it seems to be religions. Various Moslem groups have taken over countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, etc.. It never ends well.

When some group claims to be god's chosen people and that they will rule over you, pay attention. George Sanayana, "those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." And some say 1984 never happened because George Orwell wrote a book titled, "1984".

I doubt it will happen or soon anyway. The Mormons don't have the numbers despite making every male kid spend two years converting their xian and pagan neighbors to LDS and a bunny rabbit breeding program.

#227

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:46 AM

So I opposed LDS support of Prop 8 and blogged critically about the LDS Church on this issue.

Good for you. I do wonder what you think of the authority of the church when they keep losing money on worthless causes though- prop 8 was overturned, and is likely to be by the supreme court (when it gets there). Not only did the church put tons of money (that could have helped families in need or charities), they used millions of dollars in worker hours from church members to do this. The people who worked for free to try and help this political cause totally got screwed out of a lot of time and money. Shouldn't the leaders of the church have more of a clue than heathens about how things will work out? If they don't why listen to them about anything?

Then there was the fraudulent salamander letter, and other fake artifacts.

Then there is the fact that Joseph Smith ran for president. Shouldn't gods prophet win?

Or the time that he decided that Zion was going to be in Missouri, and when the locals weren't down with that he said that mormons WILL take it back. All the people he sent to help take it back died of cholera or didn't make it to Missouri at all.

What the hell are these prophets supposed to know, exactly? It seems like they constantly screw up in really big ways.

What is

#228

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:53 AM

OH YEAH, and if god still allows polygamy in heaven why is it that there is an almost equal amount of boys and girls born?? Wouldn't he have worked out that bug in the system a long time ago? I mean isn't the gospel supposed to spread throughout the world and whatnot? It simply won't work, probably because the idea was invented for the convenience of gross dudes instead of being based on any supernatural laws.

#229

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:58 AM

@228
They believe more women get to heaven than men because females are more 'spiritual'

So yeah they buy into sexist evopsych as well

#230

Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 10:14 AM

I merely pointed out that our beliefs in baptism for the dead are more or less harmless.

lies are more or less harmless.

The Catholic Church, too, likes to lie about how many people are actually catholic; it gives them more political clout.

#231

Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 10:17 AM

No disciplinary action pending..

no doubt you were wearing your magic underpants and had your fingers crossed?

why do you stay?

you obviously think there is something better, or you wouldn't be here trying to tell us how you are challenging church decisions.

so, leave already.

If being a mormon is really all that great, surely spending some time away from them would show you that, right?

#232

Posted by: Rey Fox Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 10:45 AM

"In order for the high-status men to claim multiple women for themselves, other men have to be deprived of even one partner."

But they're nae Trrrue Mormons, aye?

"I seem to recall something about them using records for this purpose that they were given access to on the condition that they NOT do so. "

And of course, since this is all done in their special members-only temples, then who is to say that they're NOT still baptizing whoever they want and filing it away somewhere that no one else looks? It's not like there are any real-world consequences to doing it. When you get right down to it, the only mistake they made was actually telling people about it.

#233

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 11:03 AM

Seth @213

I've been pretty open about my views on this in my congregation and even mentioned it to my bishop once personally. And I blogged under my real identity.
No disciplinary action pending.

You've been lucky. Perhaps your bishop is one of the good guys. I hope so. Peter and Mary Danzig had a different experience. Note that their friend, Jeffrey Nielsen, lost his job because he disagreed with the anti-gay activities of the LDS Church. These people are not alone in disagreeing with the LDS Church, and they are not alone in resigning when being threatened with excommunication. I offer their specific case as one example to stand for many others, and I highlight their case because they are true believing mormons.

I posted about it here. For your convenience, here's a repeat of some of that info:
An excerpt from Peter Danzig's blog post:
...At this meeting I was informed that I needed to agree with some of the specifics of Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk "Same-Gender Attraction" given in 1995: Specifically that Homosexual orientation was not innate and that it was reversible. I informed my Bishop that this was not true in the experience of many individuals and that as such I could not support it. He informed me that he would need to turn the matter over to the Stake President and indicated that if I did not learn to moderate my views I would likely face a disciplinary court for acts of apostasy. I indicated that if such was the case I might rather resign and spare my family the embarrassment. He told me he had an appointment with the Stake President the next night and would discuss the case with him...

The church even kicked out Danzig's wife. Danzig's crime was writing a letter in support of someone else who had objected to the LDS Church's activities in the political arena when it came to fighting gay marriage. ...

... [In] 2006, Danzig finally felt compelled to protest. BYU adjunct professor Jeffrey Nielsen lost his job for arguing in a The Salt Lake Tribune column that the LDS Church was wrong to oppose gay marriage and to enlist Mormon support for a constitutional amendment against it.
The dismissal appalled Danzig... "I wish to express to Jeffery Nielson that that I admire his courage and that I stand with him," Danzig wrote in a letter The Tribune published on June 14, 2006. "I was troubled that my church requested I violate my own conscience to write in support of an amendment I feel is contrary to the constitution and to the gospel of Christ."
What happened next is disheartening to many who believe the church should allow its members to express divergent political and personal views. While others wrote letters in support of Nielsen without facing discipline, Danzig endured months of grueling attacks on his motives and membership....
In his Tribune letter, Danzig mentioned he played in the orchestra, which is open to Mormons in good standing. He wanted to make it clear he was not a church opponent.
Within a week, LDS officials contacted Danzig with concerns about the letter. They suspended him from the orchestra and for the next year, he and, ultimately his wife, defended their loyalty, faith and actions. No amount of persuasion or pleading could convince these ecclesiastical leaders they meant well.
Ultimately, the Danzigs moved out of their Levan house and, in December, resigned their membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than face excommunication.
"Part of the reason for writing the letter was to find out if there was room for personal conscience in this church. I was very hopeful," Peter Danzig said. "But now I know there is none. This has been a painful journey for me."...
"I felt like my world had come crashing down when Peter told me he might be excommunicated," said Mary Danzig, at the time a member of the Primary Presidency in her ward.
"What would happen to my family in the eternities, in our community, in our extended family? I found myself coming completely unglued every Sunday. I spent a great deal of time hiding in the bathroom crying with my little girls."...

Seth @201, thank you for aiming all your replies about Prop 8 to me personally, but if you check up-thread you will find that most of the Prop 8 inquiries came from others, including sqlrob @110, stuv @114, guss @115, Aquaria @123, Sili @168, Shala @179, deborah @186, and not me until just now. But since you decided to lecture us all on reading comprehension, and then to tell me that I was going to have to resign from a bunch of organizations to which I belong ... all based on the falsehood that I had addressed the Prop 8 question to you, I hereby address the Prop 8 question to you. And this time, I ask that you read Peter Danzig's blog entry from 2008 (second link in this post) before you reply.
Thank you,
Not sqlrob, not stuv, not guss, not Aquaria, .... etc.

#234

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 11:41 AM

And of course, since this is all done in their special members-only temples, then who is to say that they're NOT still baptizing whoever they want and filing it away somewhere that no one else looks? It's not like there are any real-world consequences to doing it. When you get right down to it, the only mistake they made was actually telling people about it.
The LDS Church makes a point in their press releases to put the word "public" or "genealogical" in front of "database" whenever they discuss removing Jewish holocaust victims from the list of those for whom proxy baptism was done. This means there's probably still a private (as in "not available to the public") database in which all the victims of proxy baptism are still listed.

The LDS Church has said that one of its new rules is that members have to certify that they are submitting legit names for proxy baptism. So, they're depending on brainwashed members to say, "Yes, I certify that this ancestor's name is legit." (After all, the member thinks, we're all related if you go back far enough.)

Several safeguards have also been initiated. Church members are now asked to certify that their submissions for proxy baptisms meet church policy. Should any inappropriate submissions be identified, the new system allows the record of the baptism to be removed from the public database and the submitters are contacted to ensure such errors are not repeated. To that end, church staff also regularly search records to identify inappropriate submissions and prevent such baptisms from being performed. [from Deseret News]
So far, such inappropriate submissions as Mary the mother of Jesus have been allowed. In addition, more than 200 women have been sealed to Joseph Smith. (Remember our visiting mormons noting up-thread that people can only be sealed posthumously to those to whom a this-world marriage can be proven? Does this mean Joe Smith married more than 200 women, and not just a few dozen? Helen Radkey found records of 239 women being sealed to Smith, and these were official LDS records.)

#235

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 4:45 PM

Mormons are, in a strange way, bewildered by the workings of their own minds. They have to keep tamping down the natural inclination to expand one's knowledge. The more one delves into the history, theology, and practice of mormonism, the more the mind balks.

One of my mormon friends asks why she can't just be happy with what the prophets say today, and why she's worried about what they said yesterday or thirty years ago. Of course, most of what they say is not good for her. She's a woman, after all. She adds guilt about not being happy enough to all her other difficulties when it comes to parsing her own religion. She wishes she were either a lot smarter ... or less smart.

And the idea of posthumous baptism for the dead (which does not appear in the Book of Mormon), is one of those irritants that her mind will not go.

#236

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 5:36 PM

Lynna, only half that comment was aimed at answering your question about Prop 8. The other half was directed to someone else.

And just so you know, I have extensively studied the history of Mormonism, I've heard all the criticisms, all the "dirty secrets" and all the attacks on the religion's validity.

I doubt you could throw me a criticism of the whole thing I haven't already heard a dozen times.

Still here.

And so are a lot of the people I associate with. Not everyone who learns the full history of Mormonism rejects it you know.

#237

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 5:40 PM

And so are a lot of the people I associate with. Not everyone who learns the full history of Mormonism rejects it you know.

And not everyone is intellectually honest.

#238

Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 5:43 PM

Not everyone who learns the full history of Mormonism rejects it you know.
Yep, there are delusional ignorant fools out there. To many of them. Being smart enough to cast off idiocy is hard work.
#239

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:06 PM

Not everyone who learns the full history of Mormonism rejects it you know.

Just like not everyone who knows the true history of maoism rejects it. There's a guy named Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who's an avowed maoist.

However some other maoists aren't impressed by Avakian.

#240

Posted by: Sastra Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:08 PM

Seth R. #236 wrote:

I doubt you could throw me a criticism of the whole thing I haven't already heard a dozen times.
Still here.

Haven't read the whole thread, but I'm curious. Assume for the moment that Mormonism is, in fact, a "false" religion. It has many valuable and workable aspects for you, perhaps, but the supernatural claims it makes are simply mistaken, and your own personal experiences can be explained within a natural framework.

What would have to happen, for you to figure this out? What would it take?

Or was your commitment to believing so strong, and you so clever, that you could probably think your way around anything?

#241

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:15 PM

I think I'll ignore the comment that have nothing more than insults. These seem to be nothing more than the local yes-men here at the blog attempting to kiss up to the other atheists here and make themselves more popular.

Best of luck to them.

Someone pointed out that why have a prophet if he's just going to make mistakes.

This reflects fundamentalist Evangelical assumptions about the role of prophets. The fundamentalist mind seeks for guarantees of certainty from religion, and when that religion fails to provide that iron-clad 100% guarantee, the fundamentalist usually throws a fit and concludes that the entire thing must be rubbish.

This is a rather juvenile outlook on the world. Mormon doctrine - truly understood - does not provide any 100% guarantees, and gives no excuses for shutting your brain off and letting some authority figure do your legwork for you.

We have no doctrine of scriptures being perfect and flawless, nor do we claim that any of our scriptures are flawless.

We also have no doctrine that prophets will be perfect in everything they say. In fact, our belief in the general condition of humanity indicates the opposite. We believe that prophets can and do make mistakes, and it is the duty of every Mormon to weigh whatever a prophet happens to be saying, and determine for oneself whether it is really true or not.

We view prophets and scripture as resources and guidelines to be utilized. But our doctrine never said that having scripture or prophets was a 100% guarantee and an excuse to turn your brain off.

True, there are Mormons who have the fundamentalist mindset and try to turn scripture and prophets into these sort of flawless sources. And when they find out that this isn't so, they sometimes explode and become bitter atheists on the Internet.

But it was never the concept of prophets that was the problem - the problem was their screwed up fundamentalist thinking.

Which many of them seem to retain as atheists.

You can take the fundamentalist out of the religion. But it seems to be much harder to take the fundamentalism out of the person - no matter whether they are in religion or not.

#242

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:17 PM

I think I'll ignore the comments that only consist of insults. These seem to be nothing more than the local yes-men here at the blog attempting to kiss-up to the other atheists here and make themselves more popular.

Best of luck to them.

Someone pointed out that "why have a prophet if he's just going to make mistakes?"

This reflects fundamentalist Evangelical assumptions about the role of prophets. The fundamentalist mind seeks for guarantees of certainty from religion, and when that religion fails to provide that iron-clad 100% guarantee, the fundamentalist usually throws a fit and concludes that the entire thing must be rubbish.

This is a rather juvenile outlook on the world. Mormon doctrine - truly understood - does not provide any 100% guarantees, and gives no excuses for shutting your brain off and letting some authority figure do your legwork for you.

We have no doctrine of scriptures being perfect and flawless, nor do we claim that any of our scriptures are flawless.

We also have no doctrine that prophets will be perfect in everything they say. In fact, our belief in the general condition of humanity indicates the opposite. We believe that prophets can and do make mistakes, and it is the duty of every Mormon to weigh whatever a prophet happens to be saying, and determine for oneself whether it is really true or not.

We view prophets and scripture as resources and guidelines to be utilized. But our doctrine never said that having scripture or prophets was a 100% guarantee and an excuse to turn your brain off.

True, there are Mormons who have the fundamentalist mindset and try to turn scripture and prophets into these sort of flawless sources. And when they find out that this isn't so, they sometimes explode and become bitter atheists on the Internet.

But it was never the concept of prophets that was the problem - the problem was their screwed up fundamentalist thinking.

Which many of them seem to retain as atheists.

You can take the fundamentalist out of the religion. But it seems to be much harder to take the fundamentalism out of the person - no matter whether they are in religion or not.

#243

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:19 PM

Sorry about the double post.

#244

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:32 PM

local yes-men here at the blog
Pretty ironic coming from a god-bot. Ultimately, what do churches demand but yes-men?
#245

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:34 PM

@Seth:

So how do you differentiate a prophet from a false prophet?

How do you know that your next prophet will be a Mormon? How do you know it's not one of the atheists here?

#246

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:37 PM

Atheized Butch Cassidy, Philo T. Farnsworth (and his wife Pem, to be fair), and all four King Sisters. Gordon B. Hinckley too but that was just for spite, not to do him any favors.

#247

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:41 PM

We have no doctrine of scriptures being perfect and flawless, nor do we claim that any of our scriptures are flawless.

No, instead your leaders can call down new revelations whenever outside pressure becomes too much to ignore.

And my comment about intellectual honesty was purely for you.

I'd like to explain how someone can become a "fundamentalist atheist".

#248

Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:44 PM

This reflects fundamentalist Evangelical assumptions about the role of prophets.
Since all biblical prophesy is written down after the fact, your assertion means you think looney tunes alleged prophets are anything other than liars and bullshitters. Not a good start for trying to persuade intelligent folks, who know how holy books are put together.
We also have no doctrine that prophets will be perfect in everything they say.
Sure, and I have a bridge across the East River for sale. If any prophecy is up for questions, all of them are bullshit until proven otherwise with proper physical evidence.
We view prophets and scripture as resources and guidelines to be utilized.
The best utilization is as toilet paper. It is all bullshit until proven with conclusive physical evidence.
Which many of them seem to retain as atheists.
And your physical proof for your inane assertion is where???
#249

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 6:54 PM

Lynna, only half that comment was aimed at answering your question about Prop 8. The other half was directed to someone else.
Stretching and twisting the facts again. Two thirds of that comment @201 was aimed at me, beginning in paragraph three with my name, and ending with the last paragraph, which also contains my name.

And my whole point in the last paragraph of comment 233 was that I did not ask you a question about Prop 8. A Whole bunch of other people asked you about Prop 8, and I listed them for you, in case you wanted to reply to the people who had actually questioned you.

When I brought up gay marriage and gay rights, it was after you had misdirected your answer. I was miffed at you telling me this:

If you are going to go through life thinking like that Lynna, you're going to have to resign from EVERY organization you belong to. You're never going to find any human organization that perfectly encapsulates all the ideals you hold.
I was not the one "thinking like that." You referenced Prop 8 and assumed I was "thinking like that" about Prop 8. Where, up-thread of #201 did I even mention Prop 8? And I don't feel that I or anyone else has to resign from less than perfect human organizations. Nor did I espouse ideals which were unreachable. What are you on about?

After your misfiring in my direction, I did, very specifically, call you out on you having concluded from your limited personal experience that the LDS Church is tolerant of divergent views on Prop 8, and tolerant regarding divergent views about the church's involvement. I gave you the examples of Peter Danzig, Mary Danzig, and Jeffrey Nielsen, all true believers whose divergent views were not tolerated. Did you read Danzig's account, to which I provided a link in comment #233? What is your reply?

The important point here is an overall lack of tolerance in some areas, a lack that I have backed up with sources.

#250

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 7:33 PM

Seth:

But our doctrine never said that having scripture or prophets was a 100% guarantee and an excuse to turn your brain off.

But it's a doctrine.

Are you suggesting that you can make up your own mind as to what bits of your religion to believe and which not, whilst remaining within doctrine?

#251

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 7:37 PM

seth

why have a prophet if he's just going to make mistakes?"

That "someone" was me, and you didn't represent what I said accurately.

Here, I will make it simpler for you:

When they are equally fallible to everyone else in every way (as evidenced by the really huge mistakes I noted), what is the point?


This reflects fundamentalist Evangelical assumptions about the role of prophets.

No, it reflects an english speakers assumption; namely that prophets PROPHESIZE things and that real prophets would have a higher hit rate than other people.


The fundamentalist mind seeks for guarantees of certainty from religion, and when that religion fails to provide that iron-clad 100% guarantee, the fundamentalist usually throws a fit and concludes that the entire thing must be rubbish.

I am not looking for certainty, and never claimed a need for any percent- in fact I just named huge mistakes to demonstrate how there were lots and lots of terrible mistakes from the start. Tell the people dead of cholera that they shouldn't have looked for certainty in listening to their phophet- it doesn't make their suffering and death less real or consequential. DO they not matter to you or something?

I am looking for evidence that what they say is any better than guessing. If it isn't there, then they don't deserve a title or reverence because they simply lie to people.

WHen you have to frame very reasonable questions in an extreme fashion in order to discredit the asker, you need to examine your position. This shouldn't be neccesary. My questions are very simple, and exactly what anyone would require of someone claiming to be a prophet of any sort. You would never give a psychic this much wiggle room, and you know it, and both claim to know things via supernatural means that the rest of us can't.

#252

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 7:48 PM

one more thing, seth...

True, there are Mormons who have the fundamentalist mindset and try to turn scripture and prophets into these sort of flawless sources. And when they find out that this isn't so, they sometimes explode and become bitter atheists on the Internet.


You are saying that people who leave because of evidence conflicts are flawed. It is THEIR fault for taking this whole "metaphysics of the universe and fate of my soul" religious thing too seriously? Do you not see the problem with saying that? A religion cannot be important and at the same time disposable, which is exactly what you are advocating. Those two things are mutually exclusive when it comes to ideas.

If you cannot think of a reasonable position for leaving the church, then you are the fundamentalist one. Being able to see other points of view genuinely is a real sign of maturity.

You skipped my question about heaven, btw.

#253

Posted by: Ring Tailed Lemurian Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:10 PM

'Tis

This is the second time I've quoted a Monty Python sketch and been chastised for it.

I'm presuming that I was chastiser #1.

A bit late now*, but I'd like to apologise for my completely OTT reaction at the time. I was newish here, didn't know you at all and handled the whole thing badly. Been bothering me ever since.

* You had to leave Pharyngula for a while due to the death of your father, and when I'd cooled down and you'd returned it didn't seem right to reopen the subject, even to apologise.

#254

Posted by: Lynna, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:30 PM

The mormon handcart expeditions provide more examples of failed prophecies, and the tragic results of mormons having believed those prophecies.

The plan about to be adopted by the P.E. Fund Company, of substituting handcarts for ox-teams in crossing the plains, has been under consideration for several years... The plan is the device of inspiration, and the Lord will own and bless it.
[Mormon Apostle Franklin D. Richards, President of the European Mission, in charge of the handcart emigration, writing in the Millennial Star, a Mormon newspaper published in Europe, December 22, 1855]

The last two of the five handcart companies left too late in the season (in July), and arrived in Nebraska in mid-August. The design of the god-and-prophet-inspired carts was faulty, and the lack of iron for the wheels meant many wheels wore away or broke. The cart design and the idea to not use iron even for axles came from Brigham Young.

Brigham’s plan was official, not casual, and original sources provide the details. It was spoken in the “Thirteenth General Epistle” on October 29, 1855. It was printed in the Millenial Star on January 26, 1856. The prophesy included the phrase, "nothing shall hinder or stay them.”

Levi Savage was an experienced man who had made the trip before. He tried to instill reason into the whole plan, but no one would listen to him. In particular, he insisted that the companies that arrived in Nebraska in mid-August would have to winter over there. But Apostle Franklin Richards would hear none of Savage's warnings.

On Loup Fork of the Platte River, Franklin D. Richards in a comfortable mule-drawn carriage overtook the Willie Company on August 26….Hearing of Savage’s opposition to the late start, the apostle now called a meeting of the Willie Company and “reprimanded me sharply,” the Ohioan said. He [Savage] was compelled to ask forgiveness “for all that I had said and done wrong." ( Forgotten Kingdom, pg 110)

Richards, with his fast transport, reached Salt Lake in October and prophesied at General Conference:
... they expect to get cold fingers and toes. But they have this faith and confidence towards God that he will overrule the storms that they may come in the season thereof and turn them away, that their path may be freed from suffering more than they can bear. They have the confidence to believe that this will be an open fall.” (BYU Studies, Vol 37, Number 1, 1997-98, pg 55)
The passes over the mountains would remain free of snow because God would overrule the storms? This idiot prophet was confident. People died, and people suffered needlessly as a result. The handcart trek for the two late-starting companies was akin to organized torture.
There was poor William Whittaker. He was in the tent with several others. He and his brother, John, occupied one part of the tent. In the other part another family was sleeping. There was a young woman sleeping and she was awakened by poor Brother Whittaker eating her fingers. He was dying with hunger and cold. He also ate the flesh of his own fingers that night. He died and was buried at Willow Springs before we left camp that morning.” (BYU Studies, Vol 37, Number 1, 1997-98, pg 46)
This is not noble. It's just stupid.

Ephriam Hanks drove a relief wagon from Salt Lake. He describes meeting the emigrants:

Many of the emigrants whose extremities were frozen, lost their limbs, either whole or in part. Many such I washed with water and castile soap, until the frozen parts would fall off, after which I would sever the shreds of flesh from the remaining portions of the limbs with scissors. Some of the emigrants lost toes, others fingers, and again others whole hands and feet.” (Forgotten Kingdom, pg 118)
Every year mormons celebrate this disaster, conveniently forgetting that Brigham Young designed the handcarts for failure, and other apostles eschewed good sense and experience in favor of prophecies about God controlling the weather. Not to mention that the money for provisions was always mysteriously disappearing or coming up short. It was unethical to send those people out to die or to lose their limbs to frostbite.
     Mormon prophets are not just flawed human beings, they are criminals.

#255

Posted by: Ring Tailed Lemurian Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:30 PM

The only time I've ever met a Mormon (lucky me) was when one came all the way from the the US to central Africa to ask my father's permission to "baptise" his dead mother. His mother had been an atheist. That Mormon got an earful that gave this teenage boy a new respect for his father.

So, just in case they "baptised" my granny anyway (highly probable), I've just "atheized" her again. And I haven't named her so they can't de-atheize her, unless they do everybody again. Hah!

#256

Posted by: pixelfish Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:32 PM

I see Seth is saying that we never expected the prophets to be pure and flawless, and expecting flawless prophets is what turns fundamentalists into bitter bitter atheists.

Actually, I never expected the prophet to be pure, because I did actually buy the line that sometimes he says stuff as a man, and sometimes he speaks for Heavenly Father, and oh, yeah, if he leads the church astray, Heavenly Father will remove him from the picture. But all that said, the Church generally provides several baselines for if he's supposed to be speaking as Prophet. One is conference talks--almost everything that gets said at conference (and which incidentally is gone over with a fine tooth comb before it hits the teleprompters) is supposed to be taken as Today's News Today. The Proclamation to the Family is held up in that vein. And both of these sources of late state that homosexuality is bad, mmmkay. This is not in debate, this is what the church is holding up as current doctrine. Just as for a number of decades the church position was that black folks couldn't hold the priesthood because of the sin of Cain. You can't say that they were speaking as fallible men on these positions, because according to the widely held standards of what the church considers to be ongoing revelation to the members, these were both instances of doctrine being given from the top down to the members. In notes from the pulpit, in Conference, in the correlated lessons that come down--this is what is being taught.

Seth has decided--with a spark of humanity--that the church is wrong on the issue of homosexuality, but continues to hold that everything else is fine and dandy. Well, these are pretty big issues for the prophet to be mistaken about, and I don't think it's a cry of fundamentalism to note that there's a good chance this is an organisation of men, created by men, most of whom believe honestly that what they are doing is right, but incapable of admitting that their beliefs are harmful and not inspired by a divine source worthy of worship.


Getting back to when I was a believer, whether or not the prophet is speaking as a man, I still had a kind of expectation that he might be of a grade higher than the average joe off the street. So Ezra Taft Benson's raging racist John Birchy politics made me raise a few eyebrows. I would have expected that the pool of men that the Prophet was raised from might be particularly humane and forward-thinking, but as I grew up, I realised they were hide-bound and clinging to ideals from the 50s. Boyd K. Packer's views of normal human sexuality would make me wonder as a believer why he was in that group. Ditto Dallin H. Oaks and Bruce Hafen's recent remarks. Reading the transcripts from David O. McKay's day as the leadership ponders the racial issues of the time....seriously, I did expect that a god worthy of worship would found a church that was progressive and ahead of the human right's curve, instead of at least a decade or so behind. And that's without getting into the fun historical issues of Joseph Smith (horndog, scam artist, violator of the first amendment) and Brigham Young (another horndog, tyrant, racist) and the foundation for the church as it is today.

Incidentally, dinging people for leaving the church because they CAN'T support the so-called prophet, seer, and revelator is specious reasoning at best. It's the fourth question they ask "worthy" temple recommend holders: Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church? It's built into the church's cultural expectations: The prophet is supposed to be the least flawed individual in the whole church, even if he is still just a man. And when he proves by historical record to be fallible, mean-spirited, or narrow-minded, it's not unreasonable for a thinking and independent individual to come to the conclusion that this organisation truly is the work of men.

Still, I'm not sure how one jumps from "Hey, I'm disillusioned about these mortal men," to "OMG! Fundamentalist atheism!" That's just some sloppy straw-manning on Seth's part. He equates pointing out flaws in doctrine with expecting prophets to be flawless. You could run that circle for days if you bought into that proposition, since any evidence to the contrary of his position would be then cycled into his definition of fundamentalism. "You point out this flaw! Ergo, you demand perfection! Ergo, you are a fundamentalist and I can reject what you say." Niiiiiice.

He claims that the fundamental mindset expects 100 percent guarantees from its answers, although nothing could be further from the truth with atheism, since we always expect that new incoming evidence could prove old ideas to be wrong.

#257

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 9:56 PM

Ring Tailed Lemurian #253

Apology accepted. I overreacted to you so neither of us handled the situation well. I apologize to you for my intemperance.

#258

Posted by: Seth R. Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 10:41 PM

"How do you know that your next prophet will be a Mormon? How do you know it's not one of the atheists here?"

Believe it or not, I don't rule out the possibility.

#259

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, OM Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 10:42 PM

Getting back to the polygamy (more properly, polygyny) thing, Joseph Smith got a revelation from "Heavenly Father" that certain men, including himself, could practice multiple marriage. This was codified in Doctrine and Covenants 132. Everything was going just fine, Brigham Young had 54 wives he kept in a mansion with over 50 bedrooms (the idea of poverty as preached by Jesus obviously didn't apply to the cult leader).

Unfortunately other people had other ideas. The key plank of the Republican Party's 1856 platform was "to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery". The Mormon leadership believed that their religious-based practice of plural marriage was protected by the Constitution. However, the unanimous Supreme Court decision in Reynolds v. United States 98 US 145 (1878) declared that polygamy was not protected by the Constitution, based on the longstanding legal principle that "laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with ... religious belief and opinions, they may with practices."

The Church continued to permit senior members to fuck marry as many women as they could afford. In 1887 the Edmunds-Tucker Act disincorporated the LDS church on the grounds that it fostered polygamy. The act prohibited the practice of polygamy and punished it with a fine and imprisonment. It dissolved the corporation of the church and directed the confiscation by the federal government of all church properties.

So guess what, boys, girls and Seth R, the president, prophet, seer, and revelator of the church, Wilford Woodruff, had a new revelation. "Heavenly Father" decided that only one wife at a time was good in His eyes. Woodruff issued The Manifesto in 1890 saying the church no longer endorsed multiple marriage. The church's money and property were saved.

#260

Posted by: Owlmirror Author Profile Page | September 11, 2010 11:48 PM

This is a rather juvenile outlook on the world. Mormon doctrine - truly understood - does not provide any 100% guarantees, and gives no excuses for shutting your brain off and letting some authority figure do your legwork for you.

Cool. So you get to deny even the authority figure of "God", if you think that "God" is wrong?

We also have no doctrine that prophets will be perfect in everything they say. In fact, our belief in the general condition of humanity indicates the opposite. We believe that prophets can and do make mistakes, and it is the duty of every Mormon to weigh whatever a prophet happens to be saying, and determine for oneself whether it is really true or not.

Why you would even begin with the presupposition that anything said or written by a so-called "prophet" -- from with Joseph Smith on down -- ever was correct and non-mistaken?

#261

Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 12, 2010 3:35 AM

Believe it or not, I don't rule out the possibility.

a mormon relativist.

whodathunkit?

is that like a xian jew?

yeah, seth, um...

frankly we appear to know more about the dogma of your religion than you do.

that you choose not to follow it is no different than a catholic using birth control, but it's still against dogma.

the mormons have a very clear dogma, and even their own special book.

so, sorry, you don't get to play relativist and STILL claim yourself a true Scotsman!

:P

#262

Posted by: OurDeadSelves, Mother of Death Author Profile Page | September 12, 2010 9:10 AM

MrFire #59:

I just atheized the beautiful creature known as Disco Music, who as we all know was brutally murdered in 1979.

*chortle!* *snort!* *snarf!* You now owe me one (1) cup of coffee and one (1) laptop.

#263

Posted by: sqlrob Author Profile Page | September 12, 2010 11:13 AM

Believe it or not, I don't rule out the possibility.

So why aren't you treating everything said here as prophesy?

The source apparently doesn't matter.

Different than church doctrine? You apparently don't care for that in all forms, plus it's not like the prophets haven't completely turned that around in the past.

#264

Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 12, 2010 11:27 AM

wikipedia unfulfilled religious predictions:

Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith, made several dozen prophecies during his lifetime, many of which are recorded in the sacred texts of the Mormon faith. The prophecies included predictions of the Civil War, the fall of the U. S. government, the coming of Jesus, and several less significant predictions. Church apologists cite many prophesies that they claim came true,[37] and church critics cite many prophecies that they claim did not come true.[38]

The Mormon prophets don't have a great record for actually predicting the future. In fact, they were often wrong. The Mormons have some convoluted explanation that might sound convincing to a 5 year old about how that can happen.

There is no evidence that the Pope or Mormon Pope has any more ability to predict the future than I do. I, at least, predicted the last stock market crash and pulled my assets out a few months before. So did several million other people although the financial wizards of wall street were mostly not among them. But I'm not claiming any supernatural powers here.

And as we all know, xians never, ever follow their own magic book. Even back then, false prophets were a problem and the bible tells one how to tell a false prophet. They are wrong. And what to do about them. They are to be killed. Today most religious leaders would have been put to death including those idiots who predict the Rapture every few months and are always wrong.


#265

Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 12, 2010 6:08 PM

So did several million other people although the financial wizards of wall street were mostly not among them.

I gotta wonder if they did, wouldn't that have just made the crash happen sooner?

ever think maybe they DID know?

#266

Posted by: truthspeaker Author Profile Page | September 12, 2010 7:49 PM

Some of the financial wizards did know - that's why they bundled their bad debts inside other investment packages, bet on those packages to lose money, and then sold the packages to customers.

#267

Posted by: Poggy Author Profile Page | September 13, 2010 3:45 AM

You may now consider Copernicus an atheist. The English spelling, anyway. Do I also need to atheize Kopernikus for it to work?

#268

Posted by: Arviragus Author Profile Page | September 13, 2010 11:00 AM

Just got Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (1997)...she was already pretty much there anyway.

Take that Bill, ya big blowhard!

#269

Posted by: Ring Tailed Lemurian Author Profile Page | September 13, 2010 1:17 PM

#Tis #257
No need for you to apologise.
Let us never speak of it again :)

#270

Posted by: Ing Author Profile Page | September 13, 2010 1:30 PM

Seth speaks nonsense.

If the core tenants of Mormonism are true Smith read the history of America and the church from ancient supernatural sources. Such sources made wild claims about the American history which were false. Why on earth would you follow the church of someone who based the whole thing on a story that is clearly insane?

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