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Posted by: ina ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:34PM

Hey, I'm talking to someone who is investigating mormonism and at first, she was completely sure that is was true and that she was feeling the spirit. She has agreed to do a little research, and is asking me about books she could read. Is there any organization that provides free material? I know, the internet is much better, but she doesn't seem to want to use it.

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Posted by: caedmon ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:42PM

She has already been warned by the mishies and church members not to believe anything negative about the church. Any source that even hints that the church is not what it claims will be dismissed as anti-mormon motivated by satan.

There is so much information that she is likely to become overwhelmed. It might be best to narrow the topics to: What one or two claims MUST be true in order for the church to be what it claims? We can recommend sources from there.

Being a woman, polygamy might be a hot button for her.

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Posted by: Leah ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:43PM

It falls on you to seriously warn her off since apparently the missionaries have told her to stay away from the web.

Do so, even at the risk of alienating her. At least she can't say she wasn't warned.


And who knows, your words may come back to her during the wtf moments which are sure to come sooer than later in the morg.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:43PM

I spent several hours in a local LDS Institute Library -- it's free, and there is a reading room.
What I read there cemented any questions and concerns I had about believing in the claims.

Then I checked out books from the local libraries. I had a long list and sometimes they had to order them from other libraries.


These are found in LDS libraries:

Reading list LDS Church history from their own authors.
All found in the REFERENCE Section of the LDS Church libraries: (cannot be checked out) -- Ward/Stake houses, Institute of Religion:
[own some of these in our private library]
This is documented, reliable original material. Can't beat their own words!

"History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" 7 Vol's by Joseph Smith Jr

"A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"
6 Vol's by B H Roberts

"Readings in L.D.S. Church History from Original Manuscripts" 3 Vol's by William E. Berrett & Alma P Burton
(This series was the text for Church History at BYU in the 50's) --
We own One of the volumes .. so I could read this one at home... This one is my favorite for information on how things really happened, initially in the original history and before any of it was "white washed."

"Journal of Discourses" 26 vol's -- Very long, probably best to have a list of references to research.

Others from my library (also available in local libraries)
Each one sheds light on some area of Mormonism and it's beginnings, and how it was lived initially.
These are LDS authors. Most are not known to the average Mormon.

"An American Prophets Record: The Diaries And Journals Of Joseph Smith" Editor: Faulring, Scott H.; Author: Smith, Joseph

"In Sacred Loneliness The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith" by Todd Compton

"The First Mormon" by Donna Hill

"Early Mormonism and the Magic World View" by D Michael Quinn

"Joseph Smith Begins His Work" Vol 1, 2 by Wilford C Wood
Contains the original: The Book of Mormon,The Book of Commandments, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Lectures on Faith , the Fourteen Articles of Faith
This is the original 1830 BOM and other original books used when the church started. It's very different from the latest publications!


Others -- very informative.
"No Man Knows My History" by Fawn Brady
"Mormon Enigma Emma Hale Smith" by Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery

"Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith Psychobiography and The Book of Mormon" by Robert D Anderson

"Insider's View of Mormon Origins" By Grant H Palmer

. ...by his own hand upon papyrus Charles M Larson (This one was purchased online for a couple of bucks - it may be free, not sure.)

This is one of several on the Hofmann Affair
"The Mormon Murders" by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

One of several on the Mt. Meadows Massacre
"American Massacre The tragedy at Mountain Meadows Sept 1857" by Sally Denton

"What the Mormon Missionaries Don't Tell You The Rest of the Story": by Gerald Paul


Misc - books on "the big picture" that are helpful putting Mormonism in perspective. Some Mormons see the connection to their own religion, some do not.

"The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell (This is one of my all time favorites - the art work is wonderful.)

"Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan

"Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer

"The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine

"The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:46PM

and then research them. Narrow it down.

If I had some specific questions, myself and other posters could probably give her some references.

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Posted by: anon ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:49PM

"Is there any organization that provides free material?"

See if the local library has these or can order them in:

1. Cumorah--where?
by Thomas Stuart Ferguson - Hill Cumorah (New York) - 1947

2. Ancient America and the Book of Mormon
by Milton Reed Hunter, Thomas Stuart Ferguson - Book of Mormon - 1950 - 450 pages

3. Great Message of Peace and Happiness
by Thomas Stuart Ferguson - Book of Mormon - 28 pages 1952

4. One Fold and One Shepherd
by Thomas Stuart Ferguson - Central America - 1958 - 405 pages

5. The Messiah in Ancient America
by Bruce W. Warren, Thomas Stuart Ferguson - Book of Mormon - 1987 - 335 pages

6.Ferguson's Manuscript Unveiled. Author: Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Publisher: Utah Lighthouse Ministry. 1988

The archaeology nonsense is mind numbing. Also, the author Ferguson lost his faith once he realized that no proof could ever be found.

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Posted by: rodolfo ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 12:55PM

Grant Palmer's book. In the conclusion Palmer states very clearly that his intent in writing is not to bring down the church but to motivate it to change and evolve so that it focuses more on christ and community, and less on JS and being the only true church. Besides, there is much in the book that can be absorbed in a very short time that is very problematic for mishies to explain away. Mishies will undoubtedly go after Palmer personally. Warn her that this will happen (no, prophesy that it will happen), and this will expose their credibility on the issues.

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Posted by: ina ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 01:02PM

Wow, thanks for all the book suggestions!

I took Leah and Caedmon's advice. I just told her about polygamy and what would be expected of her if she married in the temple. She is quite shocked and ready to hear more. Hopefully, I can get her to go to the library so she can see for herself.

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Posted by: Lillium ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 01:28PM

The necessity for polygamy is still in TSCC's own material. Get her to read Doctrine & Covenants section 132. It says the following things must be done or you will be damned. Then it talks about a man taking 10 virgins as wives.

Hopefully when she sees it in their own currently published material she will run screaming.

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Posted by: scooter ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:05PM

would she consider watching a video on youtube?

There is a good one that I almost believe ran on the History Channel about the history of the Book of Abraham.

One hour later, she will walk away from moism fer good.

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 01:43PM

The most damning and comprehensive books on Mormonism in my opinion are the ones put out by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. I suggest Mormonism-Shadow or Reality or The Changing World of Mormonism which is a more condensed version of the former.

These books hit on pretty much every critical area of Mormonism and provide heavy documentation. I think just an hour of browsing one of these two books will forever prevent your friend from EVER considering joining Mormonism. They also have a website www.utlm.org.

I don't know of any free stuff besides By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri by Charles M. Larson which is an excellent book but it only discusses the Book of Abraham.

The Tanner's books are EXTREMELY cheap for the wealth of information you get. Check out their bookstore online. They also have the entire book Changing World of Mormonism as a PDF file you can download at

http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changecontents.htm

I'd show her this one.

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Posted by: honestone ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 02:23PM

She doesn't want to use it because the mishies told her it is evil. Does she use logic? Can she see that they are giving her "cult" reasons for not looking into things on the internet? YOu need to provide her books that are recommended here by exmos and also tell her that people who withhold information, are sneaky and don't want the whole story known so they can suck you in. She will be forced to wear certain underwear, you know and also tithe an amt. to their liking or she will not get in the Temple where all the weird rituals take place. Is she okay with marrying in the temple and her family could NOT attend???

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Posted by: ina ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 02:46PM

Thanks honestone. I actually did tell her everything you just suggested. She said "Thanks for opening my eyes". I told her she has to look at some of the books I recommended based on these posts because the missionaries will be after her. We'll see how it goes...

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Posted by: Scooter ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:10PM

that she will be assigned a place and time to worship?

It not like a normal church where if say, you wanted to go to a Methodist church, you visit several then decide the one that's the best fit.

Nope, this is the motime and the moplace where you will mo. No choice to the matter.

Also ask her if she knows about the wooden submarines.

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Posted by: Twinker ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:12PM

In order to receive the full blessings of this group, you will be asked to give 10% of your income to the church and you will never receive any accounting of how much they receive or how it is spent. And the things that are normally paid for out of the donations/budgets of other churches will be expected to be donated by members in this one. Is she ok with that?

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Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:14PM

ina Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hey, I'm talking to someone who is investigating
> mormonism and at first, she was completely sure
> that is was true and that she was feeling the
> spirit.

On feeling the spirit, relate some of this kind of info to your friend.

Most missionaries will bring up Moroni's promise about the holy ghost manifesting truth. How? They explain about D&C 9 where it talks about studying it out in your mind, then praying. If it be true, you get heart burn (bosom burning). If not, you feel stupid about what you were studying. You can claim to have gotten the stupor. At this point, most astute LDS will say that it isn't the spirit telling you it's false, but that you are a poor receptacle for the spirit and mistaken that for the stupor.

That's when I ask them to describe the heart burn. They invariably talk about feeling overwhelmed with feelings of love, of pure knowledge and a lifting feeling of the spirit. Some even go as far as claiming they've heard a voice or saw a light.

You can then explain that your problem with this is, most cultures and religious systems have these same experiences and signs. Hindus have the chakras, some of which have manifestations of elation, lifting and pure knowledge while meditating. Islam has the "hajj experience" and islamic transformation that are essentially just as strong or more than the mormon burning, as exampled by those who feel so emboldened as to commit suicide for their testimony. Other xtian churches have spiritual manifestations in feelings, tongues and miracles. Miracles claimed to catholicism, sightings of Mary, and even the tens of thousands having seen lights and visions at the zeitoun cathedral (Smith had his three witnesses, the Virgin her tens-of-thousands). Sathya Sai Baba is claimed to perform many many healings, materializations and other miracles. And the list goes on. How can you claim all these witnesses are false and mormons, who make up 0.2% of the world's population, are so much better? All these deeply felt spiritual manifestations are claimed to testify that each belief is true. A spectrum of beliefs that are often contrary to the others at some level.

So you have to ask, if such strong feelings and visions can testify of such diverse and opposing beliefs, how can you trust them?

Science has made progress showing where these spiritual, mood elevating, bosom burning experiences arise. Look up the work of Professors Jonathan Haidt, Kevin Nelson, Michael Persinger. Haidt found that moral elevation (swelling in the chest) may be related to oxytocin. Kevin Nelson has studied visions, near death experience and other manifestations and found a variety of triggers in the limbic system of the brain. Michael Persinger studies transcranial magnetic stimulation in what some dub the god helmet, which can manifest many spiritual type experiences at will. Are these experiences testimony of science or of what? Not of mormonism--since that never entered the equation of these studies.

For that matter, watching a movie can have a profound moving effect on people. food can alter mood, and medical science routinely alters mood, perception and even the experience of reality with drugs ranging from prozac to LSD. It doesn't require pharmacology to alter perceptions. Mental illness, brain injury or even just depression does it often without the victim's awareness. how can you believe or trust your feelings to tell you any truth?

No, spiritual experience based on warm chests and stupid thoughts are not truth meters.


More on visions and spiritual experiences....

Here's the problem with visions, miracles and healings: most cultures and religious systems have these same experiences and signs and miracles. Hindus have the chakras, some of which have manifestations of elation, lifting and pure knowledge while meditating. Islam has the "hajj experience" and islamic transformation that are essentially just as strong or more than the mormon burning, as exampled by those who feel so emboldened as to commit suicide for their testimony. Other xtian churches have spiritual manifestations in feelings, tongues and miracles. Saytha Sai Baba is a modern Hindu prophet claimed to have healed the sick, perhaps raised some dead, feed the hungry with miracle apparation-food, etc. Miracles claimed to catholicism, sightings of Mary, and even the tens of thousands having seen lights and visions at the zeitoun cathedral (Smith had his three witnesses, the Virgin her tens-of-thousands). Sathya Sai Baba is claimed to perform many many healings, materializations and other miracles. And the list goes on. How can you claim all these witnesses are false and mormons, who make up 0.2% of the world's population, are so much better? All these deeply felt spiritual manifestations are claimed to testify that each belief is true. A spectrum of beliefs that are often contrary to the others at some level.


Are these miracles even real, even if not owned by the Mos?

Are healing real or something generated in the mind (a reverse of psychosomatic pathology)?

Are testimony, bosom-burnings and spiritual manifestations from god, or just our minds?

Research about the Templeton foundation (a religious org) who've done very careful studies to see if prayer can elicit a great statistical average of medical recovery/healing than controls.

http://www.templeton.org/newsroom/press_releases/060407step.html


And then ask yourself, if the evidence against simple prayer being completely ineffective isn't enough, why does god hate amputees? It's the most valid question to ask on the subject of miracles.
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

So in the end, feelings, even strong ones inducing visions, are not truth meters. They are just as varied and confusing as every opinion out there. The mormons claim a monopoly, but they are just one of many exploiters of emotion to their cause.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:34PM

You may benefit from checking out Richard Packham's web site. There is more information there about Mormonism than you could read in a year! I find it always helps me to help someone else if I have a lot of background knowledge myself, even if I don't share it all with the other person.

I agree with the advice to focus on just one or two issues. Try to avoid inundating her with too much information. Try to present the material in an objective fashion rather than too intensely as if you have a personal stake in her decision. I always find that lack of objectivity to be a red flag for me every bit as much as the questionable material or group that is under scrutiny. If you seem to be trying to convince her to stay away or get away from Mormonism it could back-fire. Rather, give her a few examples of the best topics to think about in a situation like this and suggest places she can go and do more personal research. You don't need to do it for her, just point the way. Give her space to come to her own conclusions but be there and ready to explore with her or answer her questions, if you can and want to be.

Just a word about the Mormon garments. I wouldn't quite say you are "forced" to wear them. And you don't wear them until you have been to the temple. True enough, you need to do that to be a full-fledged active member and certainly to attend weddings and sealings and other Mormon temple rites. But to my surprise, I found out after I'd been to the temple myself, that not all members go, even BICs. I wish they had told me that before, as a new convert, I went, thinking it was part of the plan, and doing my usual thing of jumping in with both feet if I think I believe in something. In the case of Mormonism, I kept going in deeper and deeper trying to find the ultimate answers and experience the promised spirituality. That took me to the temple, again and again, and yeah, nothing special...

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Posted by: AngelCowgirl ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:39PM

You may also want to tell her that she will have her free choice taken from her - she will be told what to wear, how many ear piercings she can have, no tattoos, which people she can associate with, where and when she can worship, what she can eat, which sexual partners and positions she can have, etc. She will lose her individual identity and become absorbed into the borg collective.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:40PM

ways to deal with/counter what the LDS missionaries/members present as their reasons to believe the claims. They are going to be heavy on faith and prayer and short on logic, common sense, and rational reasoning.

Maybe she doesn't want to do that, however, and prefers to keep her conclusions to herself if she has concluded she does not want to join. She can say: no thank you, politely and hopefully that will work, however, I think she needs to be warned that often LDS missionaries/members don't always respect her polite: No thank you and can and do go into overdrive pursuing her.
She may need some coping skills in case that happens.

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