I stumbled upon this video presentation today. It is Robert Millet of BYU speaking to future missionaries regarding how to deal with anti-Mormons.

For those who have the time to watch/listen, I’m curious how you feel about his approach, and his logic.

One quote caught me a bit off guard:

“As Latter-Day Saints, you already know more about God, and Christ, and the Plan of Salvation than anyone who would attack you. You already know more than your attackers will ever know.”

Can that really be safely assumed? By a 19 year old missonary?

I’m curious how many of you agree on this point, and if you see any dangers in that level of confidence/arrogance. Is it really good for missionaries to carry this attitude/belief?

He also seemed to be arguing that the level and force of opposition to our church should be an indicator as to its truthfulness. Does that make sense to you? The greater the worldly opposition, the greater the truth? What about anti-war protests? Anti-poverty protests?

I sometimes wish that we had better logic and reasoning to offer our future missionaries.

And please know that I have strong admiration and respect for Dr. Millet.  This post has nothing to do with him, per say. It’s all about the logic and approach.  Dr. Millet deserves respect (IMO).

44 Comments

  1. Paul September 7, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    I think it’s safe to say that not everyone in the church is ready to extend the olive branch to church critics.

    It would be nice if we could find ways to reduce the rhetoric that feeds the LDS persecution complex and sense of moral superiority.

  2. sts September 7, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    John,
    I haven’t watched the film yet and equally dislike the kind of moral superiority complex this kind of statement brings. I wonder though, if on one level, it works for a 19 year old. Does a nineteen year old need to think something greater is at stake in order to go and be a missionary? I am personally ashamed of the arrogance towards others and the lack of appreciation for others’ background that I carried through my mission. Yet at the same time (and I am not justifying it here) I think it made it possible for me to get through the full two years. I had an inflated view of the good I was doing in the world (not to say that missionaries don’t indeed do a lot of good) and it was that very worldview that sometimes pulled me through my hard times. It seems like a bitter irony of life that often “false” (or rather less than ideal) beliefs-when they are believed in with enough fervor-can take one through a period of difficulty. I’d be happy to hear others’ thoughts or disagreements with this.

  3. Tom Grover September 7, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    This line of logic is also prevalent in political discourse, ie, liberals/conservatives espouse their point of view out of an intellectual/moral/spiritual deficiency. In terms of utility this line of logic is tremendously universal in it’s ability to disregard any argument or idea without actually engaging it.

    Why can’t something just be “good” or “right” rather than “better than” or more correct than? Why is the comparative element even necessary for personal efficacy? Isn’t justification and value by comparison the essence of the sin of pride?

  4. paula September 7, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    I just get a message saying that an error has occurred, after Windows Media Player launches. It should be playing in Windows Media Player, right? I’m using Firefox, or Safari, on an iBook G4. The file’s still there, right?

  5. John Dehlin September 7, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    Hey Paula,

    Window Media files don’t play very nicely with a Mac.

    I’ll try this at work tomorrow, but I’m not super optimistic.

    Do you have access to a PC? Is that blasphemy to even consider for a Mac user? :)

  6. Tom Grover September 7, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Forgive me, John, i’m going to sort of hijack this thread for a moment.

    You should know that down at KVNU you are referred to as “that guy that sounds like Tony Snow” or simply “Tony Snow”. :-)

    You are a true professional and a master at the interview.

  7. John Dehlin September 7, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    Tom, Tom, Tom. You are much too kind.

    Calling me Charlie Rose or Tim Russert will suffice. :)

    YOU are the man. Please remember us little people when you hit the big time. I want 10%. :)

  8. CodyClark September 7, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    John, thanks for this link. I haven’t watched the whole thing yet but wanted to post before retiring for the night. Jehovah Witnesses also have their faith attacked very strongly. I do not believe that because there is opposition to the church that therefore means it’s true. Not true. Also, I believe it a very arrogant doctrine to think we know more about god and jesus than any of our attackers. this kind of assumption doesn’t build bridges, it destroys them. I haven’t been home from my mission for a very long time, a little over two years in fact, and i still remember how that attitude hindered my effectiveness as a messenger of the gospel and not ever brought me into harmony with those i tried to teach. it should be mentioned that i often sought out those who wanted to convert me. anyway, i may have more later. thanks again for this post.

  9. the narrator September 8, 2006 at 12:35 am

    He also seemed to be arguing that the level and force of opposition to our church should be an indicator as to its truthfulness. Does that make sense to you? The greater the worldly opposition, the greater the truth?

    Sounds like a good reason to become a Nazi or embrace terrorism.

  10. se7en September 8, 2006 at 1:18 am

    Here I go again. Good grief guys. It seems that these posts are more about finding criticism, than the good things. How ’bout someone mention what Brother Millet did so well or was inspiring? You can find criticism anywhere, if you look hard enough. I know many of the people I met on my mission were critical of God for their poor circumstances and exposure to AIDS.

    I believe you guys are missing the point. [On Millet saying these missionaries known more about God than anyone who will attack you.] There is no other church or doctrine that correctly explains the Godhead, other than the true Church of Christ. It’s hard to find many people that believe the Father is separate from Christ, let alone the fact that He has a resurrected body, is our literal Spirit Father, and progressed to where He is by obedience to eternal laws!

    These men who attack the missionaries do NOT know these facts, these revealed truths. Joseph Smith perfectly explained how one knows God. The Lectures on Faith exhaustively teach that one must know the character, attributes, and nature of God, in order to truly know Him. Do these attackers know the true nature of God? Plus God is only known through revelation. I don’t doubt that others can receive revelation, but do these men have the Gift of the Holy Ghost? For these obvious reasons, Millet knew it was safe to say that these Missionaries DO know more about God, Christ, and the Plan of Salvation than the attackers they will face. Plus, what kind of man attacks eternal teachings? “My sheep know my voice,” whereas these men are unfortunately blinded by man-made teachings.

    Now, your argument on opposition. That is a statement many prophets have made, but perhaps we can reason as to why he would say that. First obvious point is that there have been prophecies that make reference to the great oppostion that our elders will face, not to mention the opposition Jospeph’s name would face, and his name is directly associated with the Church, if not the name of the Church in these attackers’ eyes. Thus, great opposition to face the church fulfills prophecy. But that is obvious and easy to fulfill.

    Another point: Joseph Smith: “The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes.” Certainly if this applies to one person, then it applies to a group of people, or saints, thus obviously, also applies to the true Church of Christ. Why wouldn’t Satan use all his forces to attack the Church, or the woman and make war with her as Revelation speaks of. Millet is simply explaining the irony here: As Satan attacks and opposes more and more, it further proves the divinity of the Church, because of the eternal principle, that Satan will always use all his power and forces to attack Truth, Light, and especially the organization where both of these attributes are found in a fulness (fulness according to our sphere of course).

    Plus, I view it as being faithful and confident, not arrogant. Because these missionaries know more about God than their attackers, they need not be afraid of defending the truth, and in humility share it with those who are willing to listen.

    I am disappointed that I feel I even have to defend Brother Millet here. I believe those who chaff at his words and logic are missing the point. Besides all that, can we shift the progress, and speak of what he did so well? I know Brother Millet, and he is one of my favorite professors. Truly inspired. Thanks for the post.

  11. Ben McGuire September 8, 2006 at 6:17 am

    For the mac user – forget Windows Media Player on the Mac – use this:

    https://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/wmcomponents.mspx

    The Flip4Mac product is free, and has worked very well for me in opening Windows Media Player files on my macs.

  12. CodyClark September 8, 2006 at 8:11 am

    se7en,

    You bring up some good convincing points. But what you fail to address in your post, or maybe it’s because you don’t understand, is that those of us who believe it to be arrogant to assume we know more about god, etc. is because we feel that it is exactly that, an assumption. You accuse others of missing the point but i think you missed their point as well. Or maybe we should have explained ourselves more thoroughly? You spoke of those things Robert Millet addressed as being “eternal truths” and those attackers as not having the “gift of the holy ghosts”. How do you absolutely, positively KNOW you are right about those things? Some of us aren’t so sure. Personally i don’t think we can know things with that level of confidence. Plus it is bad theology to assume you know more than this guy or that guy because it instills arrogance and pride in a person and therefore they are never wrong but always their attacker is. And like i mentioned previously, the Jehovah Witnesses receive plenty of attacks from the “opposition”. I believe it is safe to assume that most Mormons would say that the J-dubs are far from the truth. But why so many followers? Why are they growing so fast? And why is there so many anti-websites and anti-literature about them? This is nothing against Robert Millet or any one else for that matter. This is simply about his logic and message.

  13. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    is there a transcript available?

  14. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    i havent listened to this for all the details. but let me rant nonetheless.

    first “an attack on faith”

    i am the first to admit that attacking faith is rude. however, i do not think that happens as often as some people would like to believe. and more, where it does happen, i think the attacks of ones faith are more commonly made by believers on unbelievers, rather than the reverse of that.

    to say to someone, “i know joseph smith stuck a rock in a hat and covered his face, without looking at any plates” is a declaration of facts, or what one accepts as fact. it in no way attacks someones faith. it is the facts that are in question. it doesnt compare to saying, “you are weak and refuse to accept things that are not seen which are true.”

    what is a common attack on faith is, “you havent prayed enough. you havent asked the right questions of god. you were looking for the wrong answers when you searched or prayed.” none of these assertions are really factual, but simply an inditement of the searcher. few nonbelievers that i know are critical of others’ faith, they simply dispute the facts and the assertion that their assessment of the facts is somehow the product of a smaller mind, effort or faith.

    so, i suppose i object to this speakers claims. shocker.

    he also says, “answer the question they should have asked.” bwahahahahahaha. yeah right. so absurd as to be almost unbelievable. so mormons believe in becoming like god, well, did you know there was a boy named joe, which church to join he wanted to know, cuz one said this and one said that, each one was different like white and black, so then one day in a grove of trees, he bowed down his head while on his knees……” i find this tactic deceiptful, but typical. i think the principle, as he calls it, could have many titles: give the correlated answer; skip the fact and make this a test of their faith; avoid avoid avoid.

    now, as for how this affects missionaries. it gives them cover for what would otherwise be and for some missionaries is, a demoralizing experience. i used this tactic on my mission. i avoided the hard stuff and went to the basics. now i feel like a clown for not having told people what was true/factual. i also feel a bit lame for not humbly answering their questions, but rather, i assumed i knew what was best for them and gave them what i wanted them to hear and know. who am i do have discarded their questions, with arrogance, to advance the conversation or discussions?

    as for above comments. this church is not at all the victim of any anti campaign. give me a break. so there are some folks with unmormon blogs. so what. call the jews and ask them if they want to hear your complaints and dry your tears. eeeee gads. if anything, the church is full of self martyrdom. if i hadnt heard this persecution complex so much i would be laughing right out loud.

    and se7en, this notion that satan is part of this campaign cracks me up too. mormons give satan more airtime and worship than all those heavenly mothers that are living in polygamy on kolob. i swear, i dont know another group of people that give satan so much credit. he is more powerful than jesus or god or anyone else. but, that is a diversion from this topic.

    bottom line, i think this hardline and naive approach for missionaries is harmful. they cannot succeed with this strategy. at best, they fail to serve people by using half truths and houdini answers. they will feel rotten inside, and they risk facing the reality that they were disingenuous to others. wouldnt it be better to tell those missionaries about helen mar kimball, mountain meadows, peepstones, multiple first visions and anything else someone may have seen on south park? wouldnt it be better for them to come home with a clean conscience for having told the facts and declared their faith to god and the church, even with consideration of the facts?

    would a parent send their child out to convince others to participate in anything else if they knew it would require lying, or avoiding the facts? so, why avoid the questions and camoflouge the facts for god? that seems silly to me. i did it, and had fun doing it, but it still seems silly to me.

  15. John Dehlin September 8, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve been listening to more of this, and I wasn’t crazy about his 2nd and 3rd points.

    Point 2: “Answer the question you wish had been asked.” In other words, do what politicians do on Meet the Press. The example he gave was….”if someone asks you if Mormons believe that God was once a man, you should answer by saying ‘let me tell you about Joseph Smith praying in a grove of trees’.” I don’t think this is an evil approach or anything, but it’s not the type of candor and honesty I would consider ideal.

    Point 3: “Never offer meat, when milk will do.” I’m ok with this approach at first, unless it leads to a situation where people are baptized never knowing that we witheld the priesthood from the blacks, or that Joseph had 33 wives, or that he translated the BOM from a stone in a hat. If we don’t let people know the tough stuff up front, when they do discover it, they will feel misled and lied to (I think).

    If the gospel is true, it seems to me as though the spirit will cut through these challenges, and testify as such. It doesn’t seem honest to withhold and avoid answering direct questions as Dr. Millet seems to be advocating.

    Understandable for politicians. Doesn’t seem right for a religion of God.

  16. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    john, he called these “principles” not points. small potatos i know, but still. its a principle of what? honesty? sales? god? public relations?

  17. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    “You already know more than your attackers will ever know”

    even by LDS standards, this is silly. perhaps he is assuming that an attacker may never join the church, they are damned by mormon standards. if he did by chance consider that an attacker could and may join the church, shouldnt they be able to rise up the knowledge ranks to at least the same level as a missionary? maybe, or are missionaries and return missionaries somehow allowed and able to know more than a convert/former attacker?

    ok. the above challenge is nuanced goofing off. fair enough. i just cant stop hammering the arrogance of this message and wondering what in the hell good it is to the missionary or the world to reinforce such pride. i dont get it.

    to me, the biggest loser is the missionary. its just not true that they know more than every other person, except another missionary. what value is there in telling these youn ‘uns that they know everything about faith and god? is it any wonder so many missionaries face a crisis point during the mission or later?

    in changing my spiritual and religious views lately, memories of my mission have been some of the most haunting to me. and by any mormon standard, i had a great mission. extremely great. but still, there are many things that i sorely regret, and have regreted them since the day they happened. i see efforts like this by dr. millet a sad perpetuation of some of my experiences. i dont like it one damn bit.

  18. Tom Grover September 8, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    ME,

    Let’s do talk about missionaries. I am now 5 years removed from my stint in Northern California, and I must say that this paradigm Brother Millet advances is indeed prevalent in missionaries (or at least was in myself and my comrades).

    Now, to the question, why is it such? I can tell you in one simple phrase: “The Missionary Gospel Library”. Actually, just the concept of missionaries being restricted to an extraordinarily narrow amount of material for study. Given that many missionaries don’t read the BoM cover to cover until they are donning the black and white, it understandable that they parrot this mantra (I’m not accusing you of indicting missionaries, just extending the discussion).

    Now, about a year out, I became a little restless with these restrictions. Infact, I borrowed “Mormon America” by the Ostlings from a Member and that constituted my study for about a week. What a great read. A “must have” in the personal library of any student of Mormon Studies (a part of my library now). Objective and mostly accurate (never a case of bias), it revealed many things to me that I had been completely ignorant of.

    I read a few other books of this nature, but didn’t really dive deep into it. I wish I would have. I think I would have been a better missionary and would have gained a better understanding of the organization which I represented and the people to whom I was ministering.

    I wish the Church would give the missionaries a more engaging course of study. Nothing to strain at gnats, but the ability to allow young people to really explore and understand the Church, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Instead of political answers (John, why dis Meet the Press? it ROCKS!), missionaries could excercise understanding in a non-confrontational way.

    “Well, thanks for sharing your view on the Trinity. I can understand why a person would read the Bible and come to that conclusion”

    “Don’t you Mormons believe in multiple polygamous Gods living on the planet Kolob?”

    “We do have a different concept of God, and if you would like to learn more we would be happy to tell you” (not necessarily convert).

    Also, these duplicitous “political” like statements arise often from the drive to be recognized as just another mainstream Christian church. We’re not, and that’s OK, especially given the recent governance of literalist Christians in America.

  19. Equality September 8, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    se7en said:

    “It’s hard to find many people that believe the Father is separate from Christ, let alone the fact that He has a resurrected body, is our literal Spirit Father, and progressed to where He is by obedience to eternal laws!”

    Hmmm. I think Warren Jeffs teaches that. And he sure is persecuted and condemned by the world, eh? Maybe you should consider joining the FLDS.

    “The Lectures on Faith exhaustively teach that one must know the character, attributes, and nature of God, in order to truly know Him.” Hmmm. Interesting. The Lectures on Faith teach that there are 2 members of the Godhead, while D&C 130 says there are 3. Ironinc that you would bring up the Lectures on Faith when your argument seems based on the idea that Mormons are the only ones who understand the true doctrine of the Godhead–one of the more amorphous of Mormon doctrines over the years.

    “I don’t doubt that others can receive revelation, but do these men have the Gift of the Holy Ghost? For these obvious reasons, Millet knew it was safe to say that these Missionaries DO know more about God, Christ, and the Plan of Salvation than the attackers they will face.”

    Well, Brother se7en, how does Brother Professor Millett know that the missionaries have the gift of the Holy Ghost? Maybe they are not keeping all the rules; maybe some of them have a problem keeping the gates to the Little Factory closed. We know how skittish the Holy Ghost is–the least little sin can drive the Spirit away, which is why the missionaries are not supposed to watch TV, listen to anything other than MoTab, and avoid looking at the “walking pornography” at the local shopping mall. So, maybe they don’t have as much knowledge as Brother Professor Millett thinks. Just a thought.

  20. Paul September 8, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    In addition to teaching that there are only two members of the Godhead, the Lectures on Faith also taught very explicitly that the Father is a personage of Spirit.

    Lecture 5 which dealt with these topics used to be canonized along with the D&C. It was later pulled from the canon.

    It’s iteresting that these were written by Joseph Smith after the First Vision and before the official Joseph Smith history.

  21. Equality September 8, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    That is interesting, Paul. I believe there is speculation (based on evidence, no doubt) that Sidney Rigdon had significant involvement in the writing of the Lectures on Faith (coincidentally, the LoF’s treatment of the Godhead issue is very similar to that found in the Book of Mormon. Maybe someone should look into that…)

  22. Doc September 8, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    I remember being a new missionary. It can be quite intimidating. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, this is a pep talk to help those missionaries with a desire to bring the gospel into other’s lives, but lack some confidence.

    If you don’t agree, then you don’t agree, but given a certain set of things you have faith in, it just might make sense. I am sure some of his audience took his words to mean that we have a monopoly on truth, and Nyah, nyah, nyah, everyone else is wrong, and can easily knock down and twist such a talk to whatever serves their needs. To be sure, there is always some danger of those who feel a set of truths has been revealed to them by God to then set themselves above their fellowmen. This is pride and it is dangerous.

    But if you happen to believe that the Church is God’s kingdom on Earth, and that we do have a general understanding of God’s plan for us that is fundamentally different than most other faiths, and we are called by God to share this with others, and that it will improve their life and bring them closer to God, well then maybe, just maybe, you might identify with what Brother Millet is saying.

    The more than they will ever know line is maybe a bit of bravado, but IF we do have a correct understanding of why we are here and what the plan of salvation is, he could still have a point. Are there other tools he could give missionaries to make them more effective, sure. But self confidence is going to be key for any one to preach and advocate anything to another.

  23. Johnny Rotten September 8, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Wow…let the brainwashing begin!

    I am so glad that this chapter in my life (BYU) is behind me. Talks like this used to drive me nuts. This talk nearly put me into a coma.

    Just a few things that bothered me.

    1. “We never provide meat when milk will do” or in other words don’t address their concerns, instead conceal and deceive. This approach builds trust and loyalty…NOT!

    2. “Answer the question they should have asked”? This is political (PR) spin 101. This is a deceptive and dishonest approach. Scummy used car salesman approach.

    3. Declare Christ by witnessing of Joseph Smith. “Joseph Smith coverts”! Africans knew the Church was true when the missionaries mentioned Joseph Smith at the door step? WOW…I don’t even know what to say! Did he make this up!

    3. He spent his entire talk telling the youth to put on the blinders, bury their heads in the sand, ignore reason and rely on feelings. I have lots of friends who believe they have the corner on “Truth”; funny thing is they also believe God has told them it is true. This crap makes my blood boil!

    4. He implanted and is reinforcing a persecution complex, totally unhealthy. This approach will do nothing but create additional baggage for these kids, baggage they will some day have to shed.

    5. I love the “don’t debate about spiritual things”, teach and testify. Heaven forbid…debating may require you to defend your faith, reason or even worst, you may be exposed to “Anti ideas”. God forbid that you are exposed to anything except for the “milk” we have given you.

    6. Finally, my Faith Promoting Rumor Alert went off several times!

  24. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    doc,

    I agree that there is some motivational and salesmanship in the message. however, we are not discussing cutco knives, nuskin shampoo or the living scriptures. we are discussing teenagers and twenty somethings who will take an oath to build “the kingdom” and then go out on a two year or 18 month adventure. they will swear to what they share and proclaim that it is gods only plan. the stakes are high for those they teach and for the missionary. I am not discounting the benefit of good communication skills and crafty selling, after all its proven to be benificial, enron is a great example of that. oh, the corporation of the president is another shining example.

  25. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    doc,

    I agree that there is some motivational and salesmanship in the message. however, we are not discussing cutco knives, nuskin shampoo or the living scriptures. we are discussing teenagers and twenty somethings who will take an oath to build “the kingdom” and then go out on a two year or 18 month adventure. they will swear to what they share and proclaim that it is gods only plan. the stakes are high for those they teach and for the missionary. I am not discounting the benefit of good communication skills and crafty selling, after all its proven to be benificial, enron is a great example of that. oh, the corporation of the president is another shining example.

    I think missionaries deserve more than this. what is the speaker afraid of, facts?

  26. Doc September 8, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    ME,
    Ny position was that he might hove been motivated by something other than the business model. He was trying to instill some confidence. Yes, I think to be a missionary there is certainly a lot at stake. If you hold to the certain set of beliefs I outlined, his motives can be seen a little more charitably. I understand, you think he is using some business model. Where do you get the idea I was defending that?

  27. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    well doc,

    in this case, i dont really distinguish between using corporate sales techniques as a teaching tool and using it as a motivational tool. its not meant as a criticism of you or your comments. i am critical of millet though, he should know better than to be such shmuckety-shmuck.

    i just dont get it. it sounds to me like this guy knows first-hand that these missionaries are going to have confrontational questions about history and doctrine, and as has been noted by another commenter, he suggests blinders and diversion tactics. not healthy. not good.

    how can he or anyone else be surprised when the same missionaries wake up one day, faced with the same real questions that he suggests are the typical questions posed by “antis” or those of a lesser faith?

    i will take this one generation further. i gave those same answers he suggested to investigators. i diverted the responses to the “questions that should have been asked” during my mission and well beyond my mission, until my kids started asking hard questions. granted they werent asking me about mountain meadows or polygamy. they asked simple things: why cant girls pass the sacrament? why dont women sit up front? did the whole earth really get covered with water?

    i tried the generic answers, as did my wife. and it brought us to tears some nights. it tore us up to realize we were splitting hairs and avoiding hard questions because we didnt like the tough answers. i am not implying that our children deserved the cold hard facts at an early age. i just didnt want them to learn later that i mislead them, or gave them spun yarn. it wasnt until then that i really came to terms with the grief i had about having been a salesmen during my mission and in other callings. i still struggle to forgive myself. the best i can do now is to give my children honesty and clarity, and allow them to move ahead, despite having an evil rotten father.

    dr. clown millet suggests that this is the lords way and that it is safe for missionaries to use his method. i dont really care whether he says this for motivation or to increase quantifiable success for the church. not only is he saying the lord is a trickster, but his are dishonest tactics that come with a real price. though, he doesnt appear to give a rats netherest about that.

  28. Doc September 8, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    ME,
    I completely agree that using these tactics with actual investigators is completely unproductive. If you don’t help them find answers to the hard questions, you are doing them no favors. Anyone who is open to the message is entitled to the facts. Questions need to be settled BEFORE making a commitment, a covenant, that is involved. I saw far too many that fell into inactivity and it was heartbreaking.

    John has a point about reason and logic being somewhat flawed here. He was very careful not to disparage the man himself though. I do find it ironic that you took a page from “Dr. Clown’s” book in your response to me and answered the question you wished I had asked, rather than actually responding to my comments.

    I sounds as if you had some real difficulties in your life after your mission. I am truly sorry if you feel victimized by the mistakes of other member’s with a similar outlook. I honestly hope you can come to a better place in relationship to your anger and pain. But the truth is, we all make mistakes. I believe we are all (most of us) doing the best we can. Name calling and heated exchanges don’t really help further anyone’s point of view.

  29. thad September 8, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    Three comments on the video:

    1. Millet has a tough job! It’s difficult if not impossible to answer questions whose answers are completely unfavorable to the doctrine. Thus the traditional vague generalities with a sprinkle of spin.

    2. “I only do what the little voices in my head tell me to” Benign or dangerous?

    3. Couldn’t the logic “whispers = truth” and “significance = loudness of opposition” be used to rationalize and/or validate certain people who have recently done terrible things in the world today?…I dunno?

    Am I suggesting in any way that the church is evil or dangerous…absolutely not.

    The question I have is with the rational and logic used in this presentation.

  30. Paul September 8, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    I think Doc is right that a person with a traditional testimony of the restoration could identify with some of Millet’s rhetoric and find some of it less offensive.

    That probably doesn’t justify several of the tactics Millet suggests, things like “never give meat where milk will suffice.” But I don’t see Doc defending that.

    The core problem with Millet’s talk is that he dehumanizes the people that criticize the church. He does this by suggesting their inferiority for not having claim to the church’s exlusive authority and truth.

    Not much good comes from a church member focusing on the church’s exclusive claims to truth and authority this way. It just produces the “us vs them” mentality expressed throughout Millet’s presentation. It’s plain old fashioned enmity, the kind that leads to pride.

    A better way to bolster the confidence of the new missionaries would be to encourage them to embrace and love the people they serve, even the ones who oppose the church or would never want to join it. Turn the other cheek. Walk the extra mile.

  31. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    whoa doc,

    i hope i sufficiently admitted to missing your point. sorry. I ASSUMED, [insert cliche].

    though, “dr. clown” is not name calling, i happen to love clowns. to me its just a classification of sorts. whew, how is that for rationalization of a sin?

    angry? nah, i have been that, but i wouldnt say i am angry, per se. pained? sorta, there are some things still unresolved i suppose. but even then, i wouldnt say i was in pain.

    is this a heated debate? perhaps. its about time these presentations were open to debate. i just wish we had some of the students, that were sitting there listening, here to join us. even better, how fun would it be if we could get dr. millet to dress up like bozo the clown and do a live chat debate. that would be awesome, no?

    doc, i. am. not. a. victim! i live a charmed and blessed life by almost any standard. the journey to this point has been interesting, to say the least. i wouldnt hit the reset button if it meant altering what i have right this moment.

    that said, there is a pile of regrets too. thats not unique, nor does that make me a victim. i am coming to terms with is what i am willing to continue and what i am willing to pass on to my kids. i could not prepare my kids to serve missions knowing that they would be subject to the sort of nonsense we just saw on video. is that so bad? is it heated to say that? maybe so. right here, right now, i feel quite relieved to say that about my kids and my ambitions for them.

  32. Mayan Elephant September 8, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    paul,

    you make an excellent point about “us vs. them.” most excellent.

    i should start by saying i have no institutional qualification whatsoever for anything i am about to say. and more, my mother meant it when she recently said i turned my life over to satan.

    so here goes.

    generally, we all like to be part of a community or team. and we like it a lot when our team wins.

    the “us” team is the one with god. in this case. it is the team that will rule heaven and earth. it is the team that has god on its side making it the “fastest growing church.” it is the team that has the plan of salvation. according to millet, the team leaders/missionaries have more knowledge of god than anyone. wow. great team.

    why wouldnt a person want to be on that team? if ever one benedict arnolds to the other side, they have joined the losing team.

    now, lets discuss satans team, the losers. they have the winning team outnumbered currently, by approximately 5 billion to 12 million (arguably 4 million or less if you only count active members) satan rocks by that measure. thats enough. there is a lot more to say about that team. i just wanted to point out the absurdity of the war on headcount, or us vs. them, analogy.

    accepting this us vs. them approach makes a mormon very elite. extremely elite. any other measure can be trumped by accepting that if not now, then later, my mansions will be vast and the billions of peers i now share will be looking up at me. that is a great feeling. and not only that, the us team gets to keep their family and for the others, too bad so sad, no soup for you.

    yeah its prideful. also delusional as a way to measure the rest of the world. at some point, it becomes a danger – see: history of the world, subcategory=war.

    reinforcing this martyrdom and persecution complex may be motivational and a successful way to keep these young minds on the us-team. it may make them feel great to be a member of the team, but it still isnt right or productive for all people. for some, the price of this proud elitism, and maintaining membership is brutal. in fact, i think that john dehlin guy has a dedicated website to that very topic, mormonstories.org.

  33. Happy To Be Free September 18, 2006 at 3:32 am

    What constitutes an ‘anti-Mormon’? I’ve just finished listening to Episode 4 of the podcast interview on this website with LDS author and retired CES Director, Grant Palmer, who was disfellowshipped by the church in Dec./04 for not being “orthodox” enough (quoting Palmer).

    Does that make Palmer an ‘anti-Mormon’? After all, people have left the church because of his book, “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” (according to what Palmer says). He also states that the church doesn’t teach LDS youth (and potential converts and others) the truth about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, early church history, etc. It’s still promulgating a ‘package’ of propaganda. Young missionaries are going into the field clueless about true church history, including the origins of Mormonism, and getting “clobbered” (quoting Palmer) by non-members who have gone on the Internet and/or read books by Quinn, Palmer and/or Bushman (LDS authors). Then they’re giving the material to the missionaries, who find themselves suddenly disgesting faith-destroying historical facts at a time when they’ve been ‘pumped up’ to believe that the LDS Church is the one, ‘true’ church of God, and they’re official representatives of it!

    Can this problem be blamed on ‘anti-Mormons’? If someone tells a missionary or a member that Joseph Smith married women who were already married and teenage girls as young as 14 (which the church’s online genealogy records for Smith show), is s/he an ‘anti-Mormon’? And who has caused the problem, in the first place? Quinn, Palmer, or Bushman for communicating faith-disrupting historical facts? How about the Tanners at the Utah Lighthouse Ministry? Deceased Fawn Brodie?

    It seems to me that truth-seeking ‘anti-Mormons’ have pushed the LDS Church to come clean on its history and foundational claims, and stop marketing its white-washed propaganda. As Palmer said, to mature as a religious organization, it’s going to have to, sooner or later.

    And why shouldn’t people who have dedicated years, even decades, of their lives, and quite a bit of their time, money, and energy be angry at the very church that abused their trust and faith? Heck, earlier this year, a former bishop, stake president, and temple president AND his wife left the church because they stumbled across the truth about Mormonism. They’d been members since 1970! Are they still angry? You bet! And they have every right to be.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has NEVER had the right to use propaganda (misinformation, actually) to ‘sell’ people on Joseph Smith, the BoM, the origins of the church, etc. The organization needs to repent and ask people’s forgiveness for abusing their trust. Which senior church leader or leaders will have the courage to initiate that process and see it through to the end? Who knows? In the meantime, the missionaries will continue to be educated about the faith-shaking truths about Mormonism by so-called ‘anti-Mormons’, non-members, and others.

  34. Robert September 19, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    This is probably too late. I “Stumbled” upon it and couldn’t help but give my thoughts.

    I have a ton of thoughts, so I’m probably going to miss some, but first of all I just wanted to point out that I’m responding first of all from experience. Not a few experiences…a lot. I have been directly persecuted as a result of being a member of the Church more times than I know. I’ve been slandered in Newspapers, Physically abused, Been the topic of discussions during Church Services for local denominations, I’ve been prevented from entering certain schools and organizations, I’ve been bombarded by throngs of people all at the same time…and none of this was “mission” related.
    I state this merely to refute the nonsense that “think the attacks of ones faith are more commonly made by believers on unbelievers, rather than the reverse of that” from Mayan. There are what I call “Safehavens” in this country where Mormon Persecution is at a minimum or none at all, but there are plenty of other “Hotbeds” that breed these kinds of actions as a matter of religious doctrine during their Sunday Services. Do I have a “persecution complex”? What is that? You mean if you’re persecuted, you now have a complex? A complex sounds like something a doctor would describe, prescribe, or diagnose. Sure there are some members who “feel” persecuted, because they read a story about a pioneer that froze to death on the plains. It’s the difference from a minority who has truly been a victim of racism or prejudice because of skin color and someone complaining of same because they their Ancestors were slaves.

    I was so tired of the persecution and subsequent bashing that seemed to occur that by the time I was 15 years old I wrote a paper on each of the Protestant denominations prevelant in my area on “Why XXX denomination can’t be true according to the BIBLE.” Each was it’s own “Anti-XXX” but of course I never distributed it, I just did it for myself. When I went on a mission I decided that I was not going to “Bible Bash”, contend, or debate about the Gospel Truth’s I was going to be teaching. Missionaries particularly are sent out to harvest the field that is white, or ready to hear the truth. I committed to myself that if someone brought up a typical topic of discussion, I would answer it and testify that they could know the truth by the Holy Ghost. If they brushed off my answer without even slightly thinking about it, I would move on. And that’s what I did. If they were truly looking for answers, then they’d at least think about what I told or showed them before moving on to the next “attack”.

    The message Brother Millet is trying to convey without saying all the words is, “They’re not ready to hear right now. Testify and move on.”
    What he probably left out that would’ve been equally important was refer them to a Ward Missionary and MOVE ON.

    I’ll try to be more brief for the following thoughts:

    “The greater the worldly opposition, the greater the truth?” Maybe it should have been phrased differently, like The more the gospel grows the more the opposition will grow. That only makes sense as we’ve been taught that there is to be “opposition in all things.” He is just saying that “tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word” (Matt 13:21). Breaking down the words and applying them towards “Anti-War” or “Anti-poverty” protests is “wresting” the words of Brother Millet. Not that what he says is scripture but come on! Do you really think anyone that he was addressing would be so naive as to write down his phrase and use that as their business strategy, schooling, or politics post-mission? He was talking to a specific audience about a specific topic. The Gospel.

    I’ll preface the rest of my comments with SCRIPTURE:

    D&C 10:63
    63 “And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.”

    ISAIAH 55:8-9
    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my aways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    Overall the ISAIAH Scripture is the answer to “Why” Brother Millet taught what he taught. I read many times throughout this post how this kind of teaching teaches “arrogance”, how 19 year olds can’t say they “know” more, how it teaches them to “ignore reason”, and how focusing on the “milk is deceptive”.

    First, as pertaining missionaries knowing “more than (their) attackers will ever know” about the Gospel:
    He is talking about the Basics of the Gospel, and he is right. They know the nature of the Godhead, they know where we came from, why we are here and where we are going. They know that Christ organized a Church in these days through a Prophet and they know that we have a Prophet today that can teach us “God’s thoughts” on the gospel NOT man’s. These final points are what he was talking about specifically and why he points out to stick with the MILK not the MEAT.
    Meat is such items as the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, and Tithing among the Basics and Temple Ordinances, Calling & Election, & Church Politics are heavier meats. Somewhat is not prepared spiritually to receive some of the meat if they first don’t accept the MILK. There are true seekers that have a concern or question about a MEAT subject that is holding them back from accepting the MILK, but they are NOT to whom he’s talking about.
    I have met many individuals who have not returned to the temple to perform ordinances since they went themselves qoute, “because it freaked them out.” These individuals were not spiritually prepared for that kind of MEAT even if they grew up in the Church and have always remained active. Those are not qualities of spiritual progression. Living the gospel by faith is. All of these individuals I talked to were not regular studiers of the scriptures, if at all. They didn’t hold regular family home evenings, they don’t really believe that the Bishop or anyone else they know is called of “God”, therefore they are easily offended.

    In other words, they didn’t accept the MILK, that this Church is run by Christ himself through Revelation and the way to find that is NOT through REASON or UNDERSTANDING because our “ways are not (HIS) ways neither our thoughts (HIS) thoughts.

    Bro. Millet was not trying to breed an attitude of arrogance, but of FAITH. Have faith in what they believe. KNOW that what you know is more than what they know because you KNOW the vital, most important BASICS.

    Do these missionaries truly “know” more about Gospel Truths? I’ve seen ministers and ecclesiastical leaders join the Church that used faith to find the truth, and AFTER they join, they toss out their 100s and sometimes 1000s (I know of one) of books. Then pour themselves into LDS books of doctrine. All of them Treasure books such as Jesus the Christ and Gospel Principles and A Marvelous Work & a Wonder!

    Even a year after their baptism, they still feel inadequate to give a talk in Church or in Stake Conference becuase they feel they don’t know as much as the 19 year old boys that taught them the discussions. Right after the baptism, inadequacy and a feeling of being unlearned is overwhelming for some of these religious scholars turned LDS.

    I Cor. 1:27
    27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    We all know these scriptures, we know that this should more appropriately say “think they’re wise” or “think they are mighty”.

    D&C 1:23
    23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.

    Kings and rulers may have more “overall” knowledge and education, but NOT more knowledge about eternal truths.

    Alma 37:6
    6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

    To the comment that Bro. Millet’s approach is wrong which teaches the young men to “ignore reason and to rely on feelings”. I state once again, Isaiah 55, and further explain that because of the nature of Man, and because our capacity for comprehension of Spiritual things is limited when left up to our “reason”, we need to rely on “feelings” to FIRST obtain a knowledge of the MILK, then the MEAT won’t even be a question. The answers will flow. Reason and logic won’t work because in many cases it is their feelings that won’t allow them “get past” a certain piece of MEAT.

    The approach to answer an attacker’s question by diverting them to MILK doctrine is actually an approach that helps the “attacker” or “seeker” to find answers for themselves from the proper source.

    One of the earlier comments adamantly addressed how they stongly disliked when young missionaries or any other members of the Church says they “know” something.

    The scriptures we go, once again. Isaiah’s “my thoughts aren’t your thoughts stuff”. Man can’t understand spiritual things, only spirits can understand spiritual things. Fortunately for us, we each have one. We just need to know how it communicates…and off we go to another scripture we all know.

    Galations 5:22-23
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

    I don’t want to be so elementary as to point out that fruit is what a plant or tree produces so this is a metaphor for what the Spirit produces, but I just did. And what does it produce according to this scripture: FEELINGS.

    Speaking directly to missionaries to Lord asks then answers in

    D&C 50:13-14
    13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained?
    14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.

    Not by reasoning, logic, or ways of man.

    Pertaining to the individual who posted objections to “feelings” over reasoning or anyone that sympathizes with that mentality, I directly quote Moroni, not leaving a word out. They all apply.

    Mormon 9:8
    8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

    The final point I have to make is just that the Church, Brother Millet, nor anyone that encourages this kind of approach to “attackers” is afraid to have missionaries “exposed to “Anti ideas”. Please, enough with the weak mentality of men. It’s just that most of the “Anti-ideas” don’t have anything to do with Salvation. Who are you or they to decide what matter of “deep” doctrine proves or disproves this or any other Church for that matter? (Which is why I never distributed the papers I wrote on other denominations)
    The MILK of the gospel really is all you need. Sorry to hurt so many intellectual egos. I recently had a close relative leave the Church because of things she found out about Joseph Smith. Cracks me up that a 40 year old could be shaken to the core by the same half-lies, half-truths, no-truths, or all-truths that I knew about in 5th grade, but instead of shaking me to the core and just getting out, then lashing out because “I was deceived all those years”, I find the answers to my questions the way the Lord directs…from His thoughts, His ways, and His Spirit.

    Here’s to sticking to the Basics of the Gospel! I know more but I’m not sharing, cuz it’s not important.

  35. Thad September 21, 2006 at 7:39 am

    Robert,

    I admire your passion for what you believe. I have a couple questions for you, as that we may learn something from each other.

    1. Do you believe that any religion that promotes peace, love, empathy, compassion, inclusion, righteousness and the betterment of human-kind has equality, or do you believe that your religion is the only one ordained of God, and that it alone has the only true authority on this earth?

    2. Do you believe that your perceptions, or insights to “His thoughts, His ways, and His Spirit” are more significant or profound than someone not belonging to your religion?

    thanks,

    thad :)

  36. Robert September 21, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    1. Short Answer: Yes to the 2nd Part. Explanation: Not being equal does not mean one is bad & one is good, it could also mean both are good, but one is better. For example, I love chocolate, but a Dove Chocolate Bar is better than a Chocolate Chip Morsel.
    It tastes better, it’s more filling & more satisfying. Any religion that promotes peace, love, empathy, compassion, righteousness and the betterment of human-kind is good & righteous and “approved” of God, but NOT ordained of God. Ordained of God is to mean set apart for a specific purpose. Just as the Ancient Prophet Moroni, of the Book of Mormon taught:
    Mor. 7:12-13
    12 “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God;…
    13 “…wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is INSPIRED OF GOD.” (bold added)

    Just because all these may be inspired of God does not make them equal. As we’ve been taught throughout many places in Scripture & from modern day prophets, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor: 14:40). I believe God is the Same, Yesterday & Forever and the same “order” he used in the past applies to today. That order is the order mentioned in Psalms, amongst other places, when it was sung about the Christ, “…Thou art a priest after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psm 110:3) & again in the Book of Mormon when Alma was giving up the position of Judge and “…confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God…” (Alma 4:20) I believe our perfect God’s order is that He wants to maintain control of “who” is doing the teaching, that way He may maintain “what” is being taught. He does this through the priesthood.

    In a parable the Lord referred to a giving of “authority” to his apostles when he was to go away, teaching that he is like a man going on a journey, “…and gave authority to his servants…”. (Mark 13:34). In Matt 16:19 we see that he did.

    19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:…”

    Paul taught that we must be ordained, or chosen for positions of teaching by authority.
    HEb 5:4
    4 “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”

    Through a more recent prophet, Joseph Smith, we’ve been clarified,

    D&C 42:11
    11 “Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, EXCEPT he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.”

    The apostles had this authority by the keys that Christ Gave them and therefore they had the “right” to ordain others to spread the gospel and run the Church.
    Acts 14:23
    14 “…they had ordained them elders in every church…”

    Paul taught the Ephesians that Christ himself, or as he refers, he that hath ascended, ” …gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God…” (Eph 4:11-13)

    Hence, I believe that God is pleased and influences good to the world through other religions, Christian & NonChristian alike, but he only commissions, approves, ordains, sets apart, directs those to whom he has chosen that hold the Holy Priesthood, and once again, that must be given by Him or One who already has the authority to do so by a proper order. Which order is the Laying on of Hands.

    I believe exaclty what the Lord Himself told the Prophet Joseph Smith, that this Church, is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth. This statement I believe is accurate because it is the only one that uses his power and authority, not just concepts.

    Final note on this. Although I may obey the laws of the land and teach my children and encourage my friends, family and neighbors to be lawful citizens, I don’t have the authority to enact these laws. Even more so on a personal level, I’m not even a licensed attorney that even knows all of the laws to teach them properly.

    2.Short answer NO. Explanation: Because any perceptions or insights that I may have are just that, mine. And I am human and weak minded like everyone else on this earth. BUT that is not to say that the teachings from the Church pertaining to His thoughts, ways & Spirit are not more significant or profound that someone that doesn’t belong to my religion.

    They are. They are because they don’t come from me, or my dad, or my mom, or my wife, or Gordon B. Hinkley, or Brigham Young or even Joseph Smith. They don’t come from writings that could be interpreted incorrectly because of our weak natures. They may be taught from these sources but they come from Jesus Christ. That’s why the earlier qoute that this is the only “true and LIVING” Church is so significant. We believe that Christ lives and that he’s not just hanging around Heaven. We believe he runs this Church through revelation to those that hold his Priesthood Authority. We believe he may “inspire” others, but that he “teaches” his Priesthood Leaders. We believe that if necessary, He talks to man. Whichever Prophet we have on earth is his mouthpiece to clarify doctrine. So that if or when we have a question about doctrines like baptism, the nature of God, the nature of families, homosexuality, abortion, or how to handle the missionary program we turn to the prophet to clarify the doctrine.

    But this is NOT to say we know everything about everything.
    D&C 58:26
    26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is acompelled in all things, the same is a bslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

    Hence why there are discussions of different points of view about issues within our own religion. Taking the same question you have and applying that to ask “Are my perceptions or insights more significant or profound that someone that BELONGS to my religion.” I say, maybe.

    John the Revelator taught
    Rev. 3: 16
    16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
    Alma in the Book of Mormon taught through a parable how we may happen to our knowledge if we don’t continually educate ourselves.
    Alma 32:16
    16 “But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.”

    There are plenty of other scriptures, and modern day teachings that teach if we do not do things continually to help ourselves grow, then we we digress. I know many many individuals of my faith that only know a little more than someone who just joins the Church. I know many others that haven’t regularly studied the gospel since they returned from their missions. I know that in my own life, I have times when I would feel more confident teaching than at other times. But overall, I find that even those that veer from the BASIC teachings of the gospel are usually up to their own weak minds to determine right from wrong.

    So it depends on WHOM within my faith.

    Sorry, for the long explanations, but I figured there’d be a follow question anyway, and this should answer some of those, if any.

  37. Mayan Elephant September 21, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Robert,

    God is a Woman. FYI. :)

  38. Mayan Elephant September 22, 2006 at 5:19 am

    “I state this merely to refute the nonsense that “think the attacks of ones faith are more commonly made by believers on unbelievers, rather than the reverse of that” from Mayan.”

    Robert. it was a question of faith or an attack on ones faith. and yes, within this church do just that. you dont even need to leave mormon stories to find that those that lose their testimones do so out of slothfulness and a lack of faith (see peterson and midgley)

    robert, you said “I have met many individuals who have not returned to the temple to perform ordinances since they went themselves qoute, “because it freaked them out.” These individuals were not spiritually prepared for that kind of MEAT even if they grew up in the Church and have always remained active.”

    so, were they not adequately taught (leaders fault) or were they weak (theyre own damn fault) and who are you to declare their weakness?

    and with this, you prove my top point. this is your example of assailing their faith as weak, right? you said it, not me. but i have come to accept it. the tbm line remains: a person leaves the church to sin or because the lack faith or they are weak. all those arguments are bizzare, but feel free to repeat them all.

    more about your temple FPR. all you can say is that nobody told YOU about the temple freaking them out. well, i have been told that same thing, many times.

    who wouldnt be freaked out by it? it is freaky. especially when i went before 1990.

  39. Thad September 22, 2006 at 8:29 am

    Robert,

    Thanks for the response. This gives me the context to assume that we are two men who strive for what is good, right and just and have strong convictions to our beliefs.

    I owe you some context on myself.

    I believe that human beings have too many things to differentiate themselves from one another. If you look at the contentions around the world today almost all stem from people focusing on difference. Geographical, economical, racial, biological, religious to name a few.

    I much prefer a Chocolate Chip Morsel over a Dove Chocolate Bar, and for someone to try to convince me otherwise probably won’t make us better friends or better people.

    It may be that the real test is to see how well we (as human-kind) can minimize our differences as to love, forgive, understand, accept, and peacefully co-exist. I personally believe that Christ would want this.

    When it comes to something as sacred as ones spirituality, any structure or framework that is designed to set people apart or implicitly or explicitly promote difference troubles me.

    If the MILK is love, forgiveness, empathy, acceptance, understanding, etc.. “that is all we need”. And if the MEAT is a differentiator and/or discriminator then it is toxic and not for the betterment of human-kind.

    The LDS church has enough real-world merit that they don’t need the toxic MEAT (at all). And in the long run, may be better off to progressively move away from it.

    For me it doesn’t matter if the MILK is LDS, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim etc… as long as it’s good MILK. :)

    I believe that the LDS religion is just as good as the XXX religion. Or to rephrase, the XXX religion may have just as many flaws as the LDS religion.

    We should shape, inspire and perfect our religions so that conversion is not a hard-sell. Add real world value. Discourage difference and superiority, and leave the finer points of the “unknowns” where they belong, between the “individual soul” and his/her God.

    Best wishes,

    Thad

  40. Hellmut March 23, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Had Robert Millet lived 150 years ago, he might have become a character in a Charles Dickens novel.

    Millet assumes that Mormonism is good for everyone. Therefore he is confident that there is no obligation for full disclosure.

    Unfortunately, I know from first hand experience that many converts do suffer needlessly when they relate to Mormon truth claims literally. The fact is the more you believe the missionary discussions, the more likely you are going to make irrational decisions.

    In some cases that turns out for the better. Most converts melt away. And then there are some that are trying so hard to be good Mormons that the converts get hurt.

    If Millet were selling used cars or insurance then he would go to jail. Since he is in religion, he considers his lack of candor virtuous.

    Millet has no idea how dangerous his behavior is because he willfully ignores the consequences of his actions. In reality, he is just another salesman with an unhealthy dose of self-righteousness. When people believe him, folks will get hurt.

  41. Hellmut March 23, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    I find it revealing that there are a number of posters have sympathy for Millet’s difficult position, more worry about the poor missionaries, and no one wastes a second thought about what the consequences of the Millet method might be for investigators.

  42. TCS April 27, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I think some of you weren’t listening in Sunday School. The idea that the righteous are automatically persecuted is part of Mormon culture. JS history is full of it. Book of Mormon is full of it (Alma 1&4, Mosiah 27, 3 N 12 – just to name a few). New Testament is full of it (Matt 5, John 15 “the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you”). D&C and Old Test full of this doctrine, too. Do a “persecute” word search of the scriptures and see for yourself.

    Having been a missionary myself, though, I think most of the suffering was less ‘persecution’ and more difficulties in learning people skills and sales skills. I’m not so sure that the Jehovah’s Witnesses and door-to-door sales people don’t catch just as much flack as Mormon Missionaries. But how personally righteous is the average 19 year-old missionary anyway?

    As far as what anyone “knows” about truth or salvation – that is purely individual. To assume Mormons, because they are Mormons, know more than others is a sweeping generalization that cannot be based in statistical fact.

  43. Sam June 11, 2007 at 12:24 am

    Wow!!! i am really amazed. Supposing most of the persons of this post are LDS. I noted many are RM’s. I must say, how fragile a testimony can be. When we start to depart from the Gospel in the least degree our testimony marks a coorrisponding slide. How we must be careful. A first sign of trouble is seen with doubting our prophet or the twelve in any matter. Than we begin trying to justify our doubt, due to our decreasing faith, related to decreasing adheadence given to prayer and sincere scripture study, and weekly temple attendance. Yes, how easy it is to fall outside the core, as the spinning influences of the world work on ones testimony. I see this heavy in many many of the comments in these post, and it saddens me. – Sam

  44. Sam June 11, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Wow!!! i am really amazed. What is going on here? Supposing most of the persons of this post are LDS. I noted many are RM’s. I must say, how fragile a testimony can be. When we start to depart from the Gospel in the least degree our testimony marks a coorrisponding slide. How we must be careful. A first sign of trouble is seen with doubting our prophet or the twelve in any matter. Than we begin trying to justify our doubt, due to our decreasing faith, related to decreasing adheadence given to prayer and sincere scripture study, and weekly temple attendance. Yes, how easy it is to fall outside the core, as the spinning influences of the world work on ones testimony. I see this heavy in many many of the comments in these post, and it saddens me. – Sam

Comments are closed.