Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Setting the Record Straight

First, I think it is unfortunate that I have to do this but I received a comment that in my opinion made certain assumptions that are incorrect and put words into my mouth that I have never said. The person who made the comment chose to stay anonymous and I respect that however I believe that much of what he had to say was misguided. If you care to read his comment, it is #10 on the “Why I Blog” post. This post will be discussing some of the arguments made by that person.

” You tell us we are all arrogant and then state that we say there "is no hope for anyone else." That is completely false. We believe that other righteous people will be in the Celestial Kingdom.”

My original statement was about how those outside of the Mormon Church interpret the teachings of LDS leaders and then think of members as arrogant and self-righteous due to those teachings. Some examples are as follows:

"And the angel of God said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people."
- Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10-11

"I was answered by God that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith History 1:19

"...all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels."
- Prophet Joseph Smith , The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith Jr., editor, vol.1, no.4, p.60

Those are some pretty strong statements. Couple those with the fact that in the early pre-1990 temple endowment ceremony, before it was one of the parts removed, there is a protestant preacher that is depicted as a hired servant of Satan, paid to teach his doctrine and lead away Adam and his posterity, and you have built-in teachings that lead members to believe that anyone who is not Mormon is part of the Devil’s church. In the Teachings of The Prophet Smith on p119, Joseph makes a plain statement regarding this issue as well.

Q: ”Will everybody be damned, but Mormons?”
A: “Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness.”

You personally may not be arrogant but you can not hide from the fact that statements such as the one above and others that claims that the LDS Church is the “one and only true church” are in their very nature derogatory towards other religions and makes the church appear arrogant and better then all the rest.

In the Preparing for Exaltation lesson manual, Lesson 41 it says the following…“What are some things we must do to be able to enter the celestial kingdom? Be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, Exercise faith in Jesus Christ, and obey the commandments.” It then goes on to talk about how a temple marriage is the only way to reach the highest kingdom and be with our families forever. Now, I taught on my mission, that in order for a baptism to be valid, it has to be done by someone having authority meaning that it had to be done in the LDS faith. So, if the church teaches that baptism is a pre-requisite for entering the Celestial Kingdome then it also teaches that membership in the church is also required just as Joseph Smith said. If these “other righteous people” spoken of are also allowed into the CK then they are either Mormon or the doctrine of the church has to change.

"Other Christian denominations co-exist with one another because there is a "body of Christ" and they believe that they each make up part of that."

This is completely false. I guess you haven't been to many fiery Baptist sermons as well as many Lutheran, Evangelicals of most kinds , Methodist or Presbyterian meetings. Many of them bash all other religions and go to great lengths to do so. So your point of how all other Christian religions co-exist in harmony is totally misrepresented.”

I can only speak from my own personal experience in regards to the manner in which other churches co-exist. From what I have seen, they are more concerned that you are going to a church rather then their church. Many preachers stress the importance of being part of a “bible based” church and they understand that people find comfort and salvation in different ways. The church I currently attend with my wife, as a way of support for her, has people from many other congregations who attend the Wednesday night bible study and together, they edify and help each other come closer to God. They do not dispute with one another but rather, they find common ground and build upon that.

”Your blog domain is "Es Pura Mentira" meaning It's Pure Lies is also attacking Mormons because you are saying that Mormons are Liars and so is our doctrine.”

The full name of my blog is “Es Pura Mentira…the thoughts coming from behind my eyes regarding the Mormon Church.” What I write here is my view on the doctrine taught to me since I was a child. The conclusion I have come to is that it is a lie. I have had comments from other people who have taken the same information and arrive to completely different conclusions and I have no problem with that. At no time have I called out the church’s members and called them liars. Those are words that have been put into my mouth. I distinguish the leaders of the church from the normal members because the leaders are the ones who control the flow of information and ultimately have the last word in what makes it into church teaching materials. I believe some leaders have lied and continue to lie to cover-up points of doctrine that paints the church in a negative light.

”Also, the books you say you are reading are not all church publications. Many, like Mormon Doctrine, are not official church publications because even though McConkie was an apostle he put in his own opinions and some of it was not official church doctrine.”

I know that McConkie caught some flack for some of his comments in Mormon Doctrine but that has not stopped the use of that book and others in church meetings. It is my opinion that if something is ok to be used in church talks and lessons then it should be a reliable source of information regarding doctrine. If the book is not correct, then church leaders should forbid its use because it would be impossible to discern which points are correct and which are not.

”You keep going back to the founding days of the church and that is fine but you need to realize that the church has evolved and continues to evolve. In the beginning the leaders were just learning about certain doctrines and they were going "line upon line" They were not perfect and I'm sure you'll find contradictions like I find in many of your statements. This doesn't mean the message of the church is false.”

I was taught as a kid and I taught others on my mission that God does not change, that his gospel is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I use a lot of information from early church leaders because they are the ones that set up the foundation of the church and many of the most precious points of doctrine. They received the largest portion of revelation and therefore, had more to do with what the key points of beliefs would be. Today, those points of doctrine are often simply dismissed by current leaders. An example follows…

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret... It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know...that he was once a man like us. Here, then, is eternal life--to know that only wise and true God, and you have got to learn how to become Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you. .. God himself, the father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ."
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 342-345, also quoted heavily by the church, see Gospel Principles, Chapter 47.

Speaking about this same doctrine…President Hinckley said the following…

Question: "Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?"
Hinckley: "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it. I haven't heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don't know. I don't know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don't know a lot about it and I don't know that others know a lot about it."
- Interviewing Gordon B. Hinckley, Time Magazine, Aug 4, 1997

Joseph Smith thought that this was a very important point of doctrine but it seems to be glossed over now by the current leadership. If it was so important in the early days of the church, then why would it not be as important now?

”I am still waiting for someone to tell me what part of the Mormon church's teachings leads us away from Jesus Christ.”

From where I sit, the mere example of Joseph Smith is enough to make me believe that what he did and taught took people farther away from Christ. Christ taught us not to lie, commit adultery and many other things. Joseph Smith lied about many things including the translation of the Book of Abraham, Kinderhook plates, and many other things. He also made it a common practice to take the wives of other men, committing adultery. This he also condoned for select brethren of the church. Polyandry is a practice that I can not believe was condoned by God.

”Another point you make is that you use your brain and you think for yourself thus making the impression that all Mormons are just sheep and can't think for themselves. This is a great personal attack on every Mormon in and of itself. I am an open minded person and fairly smart. There are millions of members who are very intelligent and smart.”

Once again, you twisted my comments to make it seem as if I said that Mormons do not use their minds and are not intelligent. If you go back and read my original statement, all I said is that I think for myself and that I have come to my own conclusions regarding the history and teachings of the church.

”I just want everyone that is reading this blog to realize that there are several other ways to look at what is being posted here. It all comes off like this is the way it is and there is nothing out there that can contradict these facts--well there are and there are other view points.”

I have never claimed to show both sides of the coin here. These are my thoughts and opinions and I have stated that from the very beginning. Obviously, there are other view points but I can only speak for myself. If you seek the opinions of others, then you will have to go elsewhere.

”Also, it's kind of funny how it was stated that those who post anonymously are hiding behind anonymity when the author is Soy YO (It's Me) and doesn't reveal his identity as well as "your wife:)". That's not a big deal and doesn't make any difference to me I just wanted to point out another contradiction.”

At times, my wife chooses to stay anonymous because she does not want people like you stalking her blog and attacking her and our family. She chooses to not get into posts about doctrine because she has many dear friends in the LDS church and does not want to offend them. Those who know her know me and I am a link on her blog. In regards to my anonymity, you can click on the “contact me” link and see that my name is Douglas Pennington. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. What about you?


  1. Now, I could spend the next few minutes once again explaining myself point by point but I feel that with you, it would be an extreme waist of time. You wish to stay anonymous because you do not want "radical anti-mormons" on your blog, but what makes you think I want radical TBM mormons on mine. You fail to understand that this is MY BLOG and I demand the respect of those who choose to come here and read what I have to say. Others who come here do not seem to have the same lack of respect that you have shown. I did not invite you to come here but yet, you have chosen to attack me for speaking about my beliefs. If you do not have the integrity to follow the "golden rule" as well as your 11th article of faith, then you are not welcome here anymore.

    Oddly enough, your writing style seems very familiar and I could have sworn that you write just like the Brother in Law of one of my wife's old friends. It saddens me to say it but if this continues, I may have to adopt your own policy...

    "Any comments made that are not uplifting or off-topic will be deleted. If your intentions lead to off-topic discussions you are invited to go to another forum."

    I hate the idea of changing the rules for everyone when just 1 is causing a problem but if you continue to harass me I will have to limit comments to only those who are courageous enough to let their identities be know, even my wife. It is my wish that this blog remain open to all so I would appreciate it if you would not ruin it for everyone else.

    Doug Pennington
    aka - Soy Yo

  2. Excellent rebuttals. Though it would be easy to continue this conversation with "anonymous", it would also be pointless. So often, when speaking with people like that you just end up speaking past them.

    One thing that I found particularly interesting is the characterization of you and others like you (I suppose that would include me, too) as "radical anti-mormons." I, too, used to believe that anyone who ever said anything negative about the Church or its leaders was a "radical anti-mormon."

    Upon further investigation of the Church's foundational claims (and teachings and doctrines since then), I realized that one person's "anti-mormon" is another person's "truth seeker." All people want peace and happiness and are looking for something to bring them those things. Those of us who question the Church are still looking for truth, but believe the Church doesn't have a monopoly on it.

    Further, we may even believe that questioning the Church may ultimately lead to positive change. I wonder what would have happened if more members spoke out against the priesthood ban? Or what would happen if more people spoke out against the restrictiveness of garments? Or against prohibitions on gay marriage?

    The Church has obviously changed over the years. Perhaps dialogue with "radical anti-mormons" or "truth-seekers" is the way to bring the Church more into the force of good it has the potential to be.

    Anyway, I guess I don't really have a point, other than the fact that I object to negative characterizations of people who are merely trying to aid information flow and increase constructive dialogue.

  3. this anonymous guy(who seems to be challenging every word from Doug) really has his g's in a wad.

  4. I stated:

    "I do not wish radical anti-mormons that may or may not comment on your blog now or in the future to harass me."

    You stated:

    "You fail to understand that this is MY BLOG and I demand the respect of those who choose to come here and read what I have to say."

    I didn't specifically say there were people like that on here now. In the future there might be and that is why I chose to be anonymous. This is your blog but it is openly public to the whole worldwide net. If you don't want it that way you can privatize it and invite only those you choose.

    "Others who come here do not seem to have the same lack of respect that you have shown. I did not invite you to come here but yet, you have chosen to attack me for speaking about my beliefs."

    Questioning your DISBELIEFS is not attacking your beliefs. I have yet to read any beliefs you hold regarding religion. You have only shared your opinions on what you do not believe. I have never attacked you or your beliefs like you are doing to other people's beliefs. I am merely pointing out many of your own contradictions that you have written.

  5. Why do I feel like I am talking to a brick wall?

    Ok folks, since apparently this guy did not understand me, the rules have now changed. Please continue to visit and comment if you choose. I want to keep this blog as open as possible for everyone so please know that I will respect everyone who posts here as long as they respect others as well.

    If you really feel the need to remain anonymous, you can email me but comments will now only be allowed from those that put a name on their comments.

    Thank you,
    Doug Pennington
    aka - Soy Yo