Tuesday, 23 November 2010

david wolpe vs sam harris - "does god exist?" debate highlights + commentary

i'm not done with all of the videos, but here is what i've got so far:


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 2

02:36 we come from generations of people who did not know a damn thing about the causes of events in the world that really concern them: the spread of disease, the failure of crops, the weather. religious discourse has changed, we're not sacrificing people, happily, now, but it has change by virtue of progress from the *outside*.

07:48 the belief that jesus was born of a virgin, may be a cherished claim for most christians, it is also a claim about biology. this is why you can't keep religion and science apart, their truth claims cannot be disentangled.

wolpe: natural laws, which themselves, by the way, are an article of faith
harris: you'll notice how nobody says this in an airplane at 30,000 feet.

09:27 59% of the (US) population, according to gallup, [believe] that jesus will return to earth to judge us, this entails claims about the human survival of death, apparently the human flight without the aid of technology. this is what people are visualizing...


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 3

harris: this is whats anti-scientific, when your convictions dont scale with your evidence. i'm actually openminded about the survival of death.
wolpe: right, you say about reincarnation that there could even be evidence for it in your book.
harris: yes, i could easily tell you what would constitute evidence, i'm not saying this evidence exists. i could tell you what would constitute evidence for the truth of mormonism, its just not forthcoming.

01:05 there are all kinds of scientific things you can say about religion, which religious people tend not to want to hear. you can say, for instance, that mormonism is objectively less likely to be true than christianity. why can you say this? because mormonism is just christianity, plus some rather stupid ideas.

wolpe: if you want to find intolerance, you look for atheistic regimes. would you rather live in north korea or south korea. south korea is christian.
harris: dont answer that question =) this is a trick and this is one of the reasons why i'm not a fan of the term atheism. atheism is a term totally without content. its like being a non-astrologer. we dont have a word for someone whos not an astrologer and if astrologers suddenly became ascendant in our society, we wouldnt need to invent non-astrology as a discipline, we could talk about reason and science and evidence and common sense and bullshit and put astrologers in their place. so it could be with religion.


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 4

00:46 this notion that stalin and hitler and pol pot were doing what they did because of atheism, because of a non-belief in god... ask yourself, is too much skeptical inquiry really what's wrong with north korea? the north koreans are a cargo cult armed with nuclear weapons right now. they think that the food aid that we give them is a devotional offering to the genius of their dear leader. they are systematically impoverished, both physically and in terms of information. any knowledge is too much knowledge in north korea. this is not a paradise of reasonableness. now all i'm advocating is that we use the same standards that of rationality that we use in every other area of our lives when people start making claims about the divine origin of books and the virgin birth of some people and the glorious end to history where the good people will be raptured into the sky. these are the kinds of things we should apply pressure to and it is taboo to apply pressure to these claims and religious moderation, unfortunately ramifies that taboo.

04:26 there are few claims there that we have to shelf. you just claimed that i got my morality from a religious tradition. ask yourself, when you pick up the bible or the jewish bible or any holy book, and find ethical wisdom in there, what is that process like? you pick up leviticus or deuteronomy and you find that if a woman is not a virgin on her wedding night, youre supposed to stone her to death on her fathers doorstep. ok, presumably you choose to reject that pearl of ancient wisdom. and then you find another line, i think this is also in leviticus, love your neighbor as yourself, or the golden rule, as preached in the new testament, and this resonates with you as a good operating premise, to generate further moral intuitions. if nothing else, its a good ideal to live toward. the guarantor of your morality in that case is not the book, its in your brain. and this kind of truth testing is something that we bring to religion.

05:45 now religion does a lot of work on people and you can get good people to believe some terrible things, in the name of god, and this is what worries me about religion. we waste time talking about stalin and hitler and pol pot. these were political religions, dogmatisms through and through and when anyone started to make to much sense, in opposition to these dogmatisms they were carted off and killed. these were not contexts in which rational discourse prevailed and the best idea won. so to call them science is to misuse the term. in the case of hitler, hitler never really repudiated jesus and he used jesus in his speech and he was fascilitated by a thousand years of religious fulminating against the jews in the name of christianity. religion is implicated, certainly, in the holocaust. so its not a conversation worth having.


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 5

00:15 in what sort of regime are you likely to be able to get a society, ala america, where that is minimized?

wolpe: every tradition is not made just of propositions, its something thats lived, is bred in you and if it works well, produces magnificent human beings.
harris: and the problem is there are many gods and books on offer
wolpe: yes, thats true
harris: and they make incompatible claims about how we should live in this world.
wolpe: thats true

02:25 i dont know how we are going to get to a future where muslims believing in martyrdom and christians believing in the rapture will be a good recipe for good neighbors

02:54 we need to cease to reward people for pretending to know things they do not, and the only area of discourse where we do this is on the subject of god

harris: when even the doubts of experts are used to confirm a doctrine, how could it possibly be disproved? you see this all the time in religion, and this is precisely what you dont see in science.
wolpe: thats right, but thats not a bad thing. first of all, ask yourself this, even despite her doubts, if mother theresa werent a devout christian, do you think she would have spent her life among the lepers of calcutta?
harris: many secular people do just that sort of thing.


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 6

harris: you were absent for all of human history before your birth. the idea that you simply cant imagine not existing after death, is really just a lack of trying. and granted this is terrifying, not so much in our own case, but terrifying in the case of those we love. and we are terrified to lose the people we love in this world. religion is the strategy we have adapted to keep that terror at bay.
moderator: if not religion, then what do you have?
harris: its not that you necessarily have a replacement for everything religion does on every question. you dont replace the belief in santa claus with something that does exactly what the belief in santa claus did, equally consoling, equally motivating on christmas morning, it doesnt happen.

04:53 harris: there are 3 ways to defend religion: one is to argue that religion is true. that one specific religion is true, that god exists or that the bible was really dictated by him. another is to argue that religion is useful, that religion is the basis for morality. please notice that this is a very different track to run on. and it says nothing about whether or not god exists. even if i conceded that religion is profoundly useful, so useful as to be indispensable, people without religion will just rape and kill each other and we dont want that so by all means, fill the churches and mosques and synagogues. that would not, for a moment, grant credence to the idea that one of our books was dictated by an omnisient being or that such a being exists. religion could function like a placebo. i could invent a religion for you right now that would be guaranteed to be useful and more useful than any religion in existence and you would know it would be untrue. right at this moment i could invent a religion where the precept is be kind to others, dont lie, cheat, steal or kill, and this is where it gets novel, make sure your children make every effort to understand science and mathematics to the best of their abilities, and if you dont do that youll be tortured for an eternity after death by a 17 headed demon named dexter. if we could spread this faith to billions right now we would live in a better world. if we could replace islam with this faith we would live in a better world, for starters. but that wouldnt lend the slightest credence to the idea that such a demon exists.
wolpe: can i tell you why i disagree?
harris: so youre going to argue that it would lend credence to the idea that such a demon exists?
wolpe: well youre about to hear what im going to argue.


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 7

00:00 people actually believe that theyre rewarded after death in certain circumstances, theres a difference between an eternity of happiness and an eternity of suffering and it really matters what name you call god and what you believe and the precise kinds of practices you engage in and in the case of islam, it matters if you die in the right circumstances and nothings more auspicious than dying a martyr

harris: this is constrained by our common sense in every other domain of discourse. just take for example, the people who think elvis is still alive. whats wrong with this claim? why is this claim not vitiating our academic departments and corporations? i will tell you why, we have not passed laws against believing elvis is still alive. the problem is that when anybody ever seriously represents his belief that elvis is still alive, in a conversation, on a first date, at a lecture, at a job interview, he immediately pays a price. he pays a price in ill-concealed laughter. this is a good thing. he could rattle on about how this is not a scientific claim, this is a matter of faith, when i look at you i see you might be elvis.

04:47 wolpe: except that this is like the bertrand russell teapot analogy that dawkins is so fond of, that there might be a celestial teapot circling the globe. if you make a claim about the existence of a physical entity, like elvis or a teapot, yes that is evaluated the way you evaluate any other physical entity. thats why i keep saying and i will say it again, then it is not a scientific claim to say that i believe you have a soul or that god exists. if it were a scientific claim you could evaluate it the same way you could get a telescope and look for a teapot, but you cant.

harris doesnt repond, so heres my response: science simply evaluates that claim like this: any claim without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. if theres no evidence for the existence of something then theres no reason to believe it. lets just change the teapot analogy to an invisible teapot. you cant prove or disprove that theres an invisible teapot circling the globe. if you argue that your experiences with people give you cause to believe that there is a god, then i aruge that i experience that it rains sometimes, therefore there must be an invisible teapot pouring water down onto the earth.

06:50 i think its a product of an argument you used earlier on, which is a fellacious one, this idea that the percentages of people who do these great things...that most people doing these good things are doing it for religious reasons. well most people most of the time have been religious, throughout human history, theres been noone else to do the job. this is true. most people who have plucked chickens have plucked them while believing in god, but that does not mean you need to believe in god to be able to pluck a chicken.

wolpe: there is a values vaccuum in societies when you suck religion out of it or force it out, that is to my way of thinking, terrifying.
harris: there is a values vaccuum in religion. there is a values vaccuum in an organization like the catholic church that preaches the sinfulness of condom use is sub-saharan africa. theres a values vaccuum in that same institution that shelters its pedofile priests, literally an army of child rapists based on its own intent upon maintaing its integrity as a religious institution.


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 8

06:54 "calling stalin an atheist is a false argument. he was not moved on the basis of his critical inquiry, on the basis of his lack of faith, to kill tens of millions of people."

stalin was a murderous psycopath. you could even argue that had stalin been a theist, the outcome might have been even worse.

08:00 its what we do with any other god, but the god of abraham. imagine a political candidate who was forthcoming about his belief in poseidon. it would be a problem. he could not possibly get elected. its not like someone has proved that poseidon doesnt exist. that is russell's teapot, you cannot prove that poseidon doesnt exist, the question is is there any good reason to believe he exists? the answer is no. its the same answer for the god of abraham.


AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 10

01:00 [leviticus] is not a brilliant document. it is an appalling guide to morality. just think how good a book would be if it were authored by the creator of the universe. theres not a single sentence in the bible that could not have been written by somebody living in the iron age. this is a problem for claiming this is the best book we have. if youre living by leviticus or deuteronomy you should be a good jew for all time. now why are you not a good jew for stoning your neighbor for working on the sabbath today? youre not because we have different standards of morality and reasonableness and those came from outside of religion.

02:57 you actually think the book would not be improved if we just changed that line about stoning your children to death if they talk back to you? the moral vision of the bible would not be upgraded just a notch?

03:36 wouldnt you be on firmer ground if it was just unambiguously the most brilliant treatise on morality and still stood the test of time today? if it just repudiated slavery? you and i could improve the bible in 5 minutes.

04:00 wolpe: "the idea is can you create a book which an interpretive community for thousands of years would find nourishment and meaning in. i know that you think thats easy, but i suspect that its more difficult than you think."

yes, too difficult even for the almighty god.



AJU God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rabbi David Wolpe, pt. 11

02:38 it should be obvious to all of you and it certainly should be obvious to francis collins that if a fronzen waterfall can testify to the divinity of jesus, anything can mean anything... he actually elaborated on this point in an interview for time magazine, he said the waterfall was frozen in three streams and this put him in the mind of the trinity. this is psychotic thinking in any other context.

07:46 the place to put our faith is in human conversation. this is all we have to work with and the choice is to have a truly modern, 21st century conversation, availing ourselves of all of the tools and all of the wealthy of human effort that is our legacy, or we can fixate our conversation in a prior century. it can be the 7th century if you're a muslim, the 5th century BC if you're a jew, and we can privilege a conversation that was had then among people who could barely see the wisdom of swapping out their child for a goat in a sacrifice and dignify their claims to understanding reality with some kind of special oppressions (?) and i think we should be very leary of doing that, given what we see about us, in the name of religion.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

"I do not believe in anything that must be 'believed' in"

someone on the exmormon.org site asked "do you still believe in jesus?" and i like SaviorSelf's answer:
The use of the word "believe" indicates that there is no verifiable proof as to the existence of something.

I don't have to believe in my truck, my house, my computer, my television set, etc. I KNOW for a fact that they exist. But since neither Jesus or God has ever visited me in person (the type of visit that I can record on a video) then I have no verifiable proof that they exist.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Sunday, 31 October 2010

why are lds buildings allowed by god to be burned? aren't they dedicated and blessed to be safe?

that's what someone asked about these mormon church buildings that caught fire

my response:
the priesthood holder who dedicated them was only "speaking as a man" at their dedication... =)

the reason they can get destroyed is because the lds church is a fraud =) there is no protection. its quite simple. the same reason why missionaries can be killed and how the entire first presidency and apostles can be fooled into buying forged documents from mark hofmann =)

if you ask members how these things can happen they simply reply with: "i dont know. all i KNOW is that the church is true"

could you imagine if the mormons ran the nation's judicial system? =) :
prosecutor: "your honor, the dna evidence, video camera footage of Mr. L Dee Ess committing the murder, AND the murder weapon with his fingerprints on it plainly show that the defendant is guilty."
lds judge: "i dont know mr. prosecutor. all i know is that the defendant is a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, the one and true church on the earth, so there is NO WAY that he is guilty."

Friday, 29 October 2010

quotes from lds church leaders claiming that american indians and central and south americans are lamanites

this is an ongoing post. i add new things as i find them.

results for searching lds.org for "sons and daughters of lehi":


Standing Spotless before the Lord
I love meeting the children of Lehi in spotless white in the numerous temples in the Mexico South Area, where I am currently serving. I feel as President Gordon B. Hinckley did at the dedication of the Guatemala City temple:

“Thou kind and gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi, the many generations of our fathers and mothers who suffered so greatly and who walked for so long in darkness. Thou hast heard their cries and seen their tears. Now there will be opened to them the gates of salvation and eternal life” (Guatemala City Guatemala Temple dedicatory prayer, in “Their Cries Heard, Their Tears Seen,” Church News, 23 Dec. 1984, 4).

I have seen humble descendants of Lehi come down from the mountains to that temple and openly weep as they stood there in awe.

The Incomparable Gifts
The village is situated in a lush, green, humid area known as the Huasteca, and the inhabitants are sons and daughters of Lehi.

Spencer W. Kimball: A Star of the First Magnitude
He watched over the Lamanite work, was responsible for the placement program, and prophesied of their progress. While he was President, the Church prospered greatly in the lands of Lehi—Mexico, Central and South America, the islands of the sea, and the lands of many Indian tribes of North America.

Songs of the Heart
“Franklin is another example of the faith and dedication that are found among the sons and daughters of Lehi who are growing in the gospel in Otavalo, Ecuador.”

Church Honors Missionaries Who Died in South America
At the service in Wellington, Utah, for Elder Wilson, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the work the two elders were accomplishing: “What a mission, to bring light and understanding and truth and testimony, and to witness to the sons and daughters of Lehi of their great inheritance. … We wonder why [these deaths] happened. … We can only say that wisdom of God is greater than our wisdom, that mortal life … is only a passing episode in an eternal journey, and that it really doesn’t matter whether we are here for a long time or a short time in this probation.”

“I think as we weep here,” President Hinckley continued, “there will be those who weep with gladness on the other side of the veil. I think particularly Lehi and Sariah and their children and progeny rejoice over the good work of one who tried to lift and help some of their posterity in the land of Bolivia.”

News of the church: August 2000
The Villahermosa Mexico Temple was dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson in four sessions on 21 May.
“May Thy eternal purposes concerning the sons and daughters of Lehi be realized in this sacred house.

results for searching lds.org for "descendants of the lamanites":


The Keys of the Kingdom
These descendants of the Lamanites and others are people with a great past, and with the enlightening power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are people with a great future. One of them was sustained yesterday as a General Authority of this church. Recently there were over 8,000 of them assembled in the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, Peru, to hear the Lamanite Generation from Brigham Young University

results for searching lds.org for "native americans":


Down at the Riverside Lamanite Youth Conference
Almost 400 pairs of eyes read over the registration forms for the youth conference in Riverside, California, and there was not a blue pair in the bunch. And that’s what made this a very special and unique conference. It was one of several youth conferences held for young Lamanite members of the Church. They came to Riverside from Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California

The Best of Both Worlds
In wards and branches in many places, these children of Lehi are literally restoring to the house of Jacob the “knowledge of the covenant” (3 Ne. 5:25) that their forebears made with God.
..As Lehi’s seed, we realize that through our baptismal and temple covenants, a great work is to be done before the Lord’s coming—among our people as well as by our people for others.”

We Must Keep One Another
During the 1830s, before Brigham Young started on a mission to Native Americans in the state of New York, the Prophet Joseph Smith laid his hands on Brigham’s head and committed unto him the keys necessary to open the “gospel to every Lamanite nation.” 4 This priesthood blessing, which surprised and unsettled Elder Young, weighed heavily on him for the rest of his life. It gave him a lifelong duty to help the Native American people.

The Song of the Flute
When John Rainer was a young boy in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, one of his favorite parts of the day was dusk. Like most young Indian children, John would run and play and do chores all day long...
One of the non-Lamanites who studied with Brother Rainer at BYU was Ingrid Jensen of Payson, Utah

Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient America and Its Scripture
the *limited geography* source, claiming mesoamerica as the book of mormon scene. the whole article is relevant.

Research and Perspectives: Recent Studies on the Book of Mormon
Numerous studies have examined intercultural contact between peoples in the Americas and many different parts of the world (such as that described in the Book of Mormon)

Fiction: Walk the Rainbow
In Nabah’s 12th summer he first heard of his Lamanite heritage in the hogan of the family Grey Eyes. Dezbah prayed to the Great Spirit to remove the senseless white man’s words from her son’s heart.

The Book of Mormon: A Sacred Ancient Record
Elder Mark E. Petersen, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, wrote: “As the ancient Israelites suffered a dispersion which sprinkled them among all the nations, so the descendants of Laman and Lemuel [sons of Lehi] were sifted over the vast areas of the western hemisphere. They are found from pole to pole” (Children of Promise, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1981, p. 31; emphasis added).

Teaming Up for Temple Work
He might arouse people’s interest in the Book of Mormon by raising the question of the origin of Native Americans and then describing the pedigree of Father Lehi and his posterity as set forth in the Book of Mormon.

Meet Father Lehi’s Children
Larry J. EchoHawk, twenty-seven, a Pawnee and the first Indian admitted to the Utah Bar Association, keeps the Book of Mormon on his desk. “I learned a lot about being an Indian from it,” he says. “As a boy, growing up in Farmington, New Mexico, I was ashamed to be an Indian. My parents weren’t, but I read those books and wondered if I was like that—savage and ignorant. The teacher would read ‘Indian’ and I’d cringe.”

He was baptized with his family at the age of fourteen. “For an Indian looking for pride, the Book of Mormon was a wonderful experience,” he remembers. “It was really an uplift to me.” The pride in heritage that his parents taught him, his experience going to Brigham Young University, and especially his research into Indian law at law school completed the process.

“Only one thing I don’t understand,” he grins. “It says we’ll be a white and delightsome people someday. I like the color I am. In fact, I don’t know any Indian who wants to change.”

There are certainly things he’d like to change about the way Indians are treated, though. About 95 percent of his clients are Indians and it “makes my blood boil” to see examples of discrimination by individuals, tokenism, especially in government, and paternalism, even in the Church.

“People still react to those old stereotypes,” he comments. “Some leaders don’t have faith in the capabilities of Lamanites. Occasionally when I moved into a new ward in California, I could see some reserve on the part of the bishop to use me—until he found out I was a lawyer. Do you have to have a law degree to be real?”
The gospel is going to be restored to the Lamanites—to my family and friends. We’re not going to be a mediocre people. We’re going to be leaders in the Church and the nation. I know it’s going to happen. I can see it beginning now.”

Lamanite Generation Tours Latin America
The Lamanite Generation consists of talented young Native Americans, Latin Americans, and Polynesians who perform traditional and modern arrangements of music and dance native to their cultures.

Hope for the American Indian?
There is a very special responsibility for Latter-day Saints to be sensitive to the needs of the Lamanites (Indians) wherever they are in the world.

Lamanites and the Church
It was an informal beginning that has grown into the Indian Student Placement program, touching the lives of more than five thousand Lamanite students during the past school year.

Painting a Mormon Picture
One unusual story is that of Darryl Quesada, a Navajo Indian who lives in Whiteriver, Arizona.
President Kimball thinks Darryl is pretty special too! He said that in his mind Darryl and other boys like him “exemplify a new generation of Lamanites emerging in the Church who are prepared for missionary service.”

Native American Conference
“You would not believe what has happened in Latin America. You would be overwhelmed if you had the opportunity to shake hands with Lamanite stake presidents and bishops who have come out of the world and embraced the gospel.

Church History Chronology and Maps
1830, September–October
First missionaries called to preach to the Lamanites (Native Americans) (see D&C 28; 30; 32).

6. Kirtland. Missionaries who had been sent to the Lamanites stopped here in 1830 and baptized Sidney Rigdon and others in the area. Kirtland was the headquarters of the Church from early February 1831 to 12 January 1838. The first temple of this dispensation was built here and was dedicated on 27 March 1836 (see D&C 109).

Lamanite Generation Performs in Spain
The troupe is composed of thirty dancers and singers, all Native Americans, Latin Americans, or Polynesians.

Sweet Home Alabama
Of course, nobody knows exactly where the events ancient prophets describe in that scripture took place, but “when we find something that’s from the same time period, it makes me stop and think that at least there were real people who lived then, that maybe a Nephite or a Lamanite actually held this [arrowhead]. It brings it all to life and helps me know that the scriptures are real. They aren’t just a story somebody made up.”

Newsmaker: Latter-day Saint Chief Elected
Chief Sparrow also desires to emphasize spirituality among her people. Under her leadership, community meetings are now opened and closed with prayer. “The Book of Mormon promises that the Lamanites will blossom as a rose,” she says. “I feel right now that our people are ready to blossom.”

A “Place Prepared” in the Rockies
No doubt Book of Mormon prophecies about the redemption and future power of the Lamanites fed nascent expectations involving the West.

Back to Hole-in-the-Rock
I believe the end result of this ‘peace’ mission will be to have the fulness of the gospel operating among the Lamanites here [Hole-in-the-Rock, UT].

Light on the “Mission to the Lamanites”
In September 1830, the Lord called Oliver Cowdery by revelation to “go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them” (D&C 28:8). The call came a few months after the United States Congress had passed the Indian Removal Bill, an act providing for the relocation of all tribes within United States borders to points beyond.

Peter Whitmer Jr., Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, and Frederick Williams also received calls to preach to the Lamanites. The 1831 expulsion of these missionaries from Indian territory and their subsequent proposal to establish territorial schools are documented in letters from the contending parties, which are reproduced at the end of this article.

results for searching lds.org for "children of lehi":


Lima Temple Dedication Brings Blessings to Saints in Peru, Bolivia
“Bless thy work that it shall blossom and grow in this nation and its neighbor nations of South America. Remember, Father, thine ancient covenant with the children of Lehi that in the latter days thou wouldst favor them and bring to them a knowledge of their Redeemer. Make them strong in faith and magnify them in leadership in thy kingdom,” he said.
He told of past trips in Peru and Bolivia when he had seen the children of Lehi in poverty, oppressed in spirit by the scarcity of gospel truth among them, and cried within himself, “How long, oh Lord, how long?”

Northward to Mesa
During three days the ordinances, blessings, and sealings of the temple were administered to the children of Lehi in their own tongue by these devoted workers, who had made a special effort to learn in Spanish the instructions that they needed to impart.

Report of the Seminar for Regional Representatives
The President said that “the coming five years will be unbelievable if we will do our part.” He then reported that today “we have some half million Lamanite members in the Church, in the South Seas, in North and South America,” but that this represents only a small portion of the 60 million possible Lamanites in the world.

“A great many of you Regional Representatives are working in the areas of the children of Lehi,” said President Kimball. He reported that of the 840 stakes in the Church at present, “89 stakes are entirely Lamanite, 100 stakes have sizable numbers of Lamanites in them, and then we have approximately 380 stakes with some mixture of Lamanites in them.”
President Kimball also shared what he described as “my vision for the people of the Lamanites.” He had been assigned to visit Mexico in 1946, three years after being sustained as an apostle and the same year he was appointed chairman of the Church Indian Committee by President George Albert Smith.

“I was dreaming for the people of Mexico,” he said, “and I had a dream of your progress and development. This is precisely what I dreamed. I got up and wrote my dream. Maybe it was a vision: ‘As I look into the future, I see other Lamanites from the isles of the sea and the American continents rise to a great destiny. …

“ ‘I see you children of Lehi with flocks on thousands of hills. Instead of seeing you work for others, I see you managing; the owners of farms, ranches, homes and gardens.

Miracles among the Lamanites
My family and I are presently living in South America among the Lamanites—the children of Lehi, the people of the Book of Mormon, a people of great promise

Maori Traditions and the Mormon Church
Since the days of George Q. Cannon in Hawaii (1851–54), the Church leaders had more and more frequently alluded to the idea that the Polynesians were descendants of Lehi, the early Book Of Mormon prophet. Although the relationship between the Polynesian peoples and the adventurer Hagoth (see Alma 63:5–8) is not clear—he being a Nephite and the Polynesians appearing to be Lamanites—Church leaders have time and time again referred to the Polynesians as children of Lehi

(try also
"descendants of lehi"
"sons of lehi"

tip from exmormon.org user Boilermaker
Who and Where Are the Lamanites?

Certainly they [Lamanites] have mixed with many other lineages at the far reaches of their dispersal in the Americas and most of the islands of the Pacific since the time when Moroni bade them farewell in A.D. 421.

tip from exmormon.org user jesus smith

of royal blood
by "prophet" spencer kimball

Not until the revelations of Joseph Smith, bringing forth the Book of Mormon, did any one know of these migrants. It was not known before, but now the question is fully answered. Now the Lamanites number about sixty million; they are in all of the states of America from Tierra del Fuego all the way up to Point Barrows, and they are in nearly all the islands of the sea from Hawaii south to southern New Zealand.
The descendants of this mighty people were called Indians by Columbus in 1492 when he found them here.

The term Lamanite includes all Indians and Indian mixtures, such as the Polynesians, the Guatemalans, the Peruvians, as well as the Sioux, the Apache, the Mohawk, the Navajo, and others. It is a large group of great people.
Today we have many Lamanite leaders in the Church. For example, in Tonga, where 20 percent of all the people in the islands belong to the Church, we have three large stakes. Two of them are presided over wholly by Lamanites and the other almost wholly by them. There are three stakes in Samoa and another is to be organized in those small Samoan islands. Four more stakes with Lamanite leaders!

There are three stakes of Zion in Mexico City with Mexican leaders—Lamanite leaders. The stake presidencies, the bishops, the high council, the auxiliary leaders—everybody, with one or two exceptions—are Lamanites. In Monterrey, Mexico, in Guatemala, in Lima, in New Zealand, and elsewhere we have stakes of Zion with all their appropriate leaders.

That is in direct fulfillment of the prophecies that were made, and it is a great change.
One of the first things that Joseph Smith did when he was organizing the Church was to preach the gospel to the Lamanites himself, and then he sent his brethren
In 1963, 23 percent of all the baptisms in the Church were Lamanite baptisms. There were twenty-five thousand in one year. In 1970 there were even more. All this indicates the responsiveness of the Lamanites to the truth.
We have probably thirty thousand Lamanite members in Central America, and I remind you this is the result of only a relatively few years. There must be about one hundred thousand Polynesians in the Church, so that we have now approximately a quarter million Lamanites. I suppose a rough guess would give us only a few thousand twenty years ago. Now we have a quarter million in this short period of two or three decades. We have been doing missionary work with some of the Polynesians for a hundred years and more.

It is pleasing to know that we have hundreds of Lamanite missionaries who are out for two years just like all the non-Lamanites
It might be interesting to know that of nearly one hundred missions, the four highest of all are Lamanite missions. That is, the Mexico North Mission, the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission, the Mexico Mission, and the Tonga Mission. These are the four highest in the world.
Of all missions, nine of the first twenty-one are Lamanite missions.

wentworth letter, written by joseph smith, claiming native american indians are lamanites

the wentworth letter (1842):
In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.

see also the other posts about lds claims that native americans descend from israel/jews

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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

the true church wouldnt have made these mistakes

here's a nice quote on the ExmormonFoundation youtube site:
There never would have been a Hoffman scandal because they would have turned Hoffman away because the letters he wanted to sell them were not the truth. There never would have been a Mountain Meadows Massacre, or if there had been, it truly would have been renegade Mormons and Brigham Young would have done everything in his power to see that the men responsible would have been brought to trial and a full measure of compensation would have been sought for the families and loved ones of the victims who remained. The true church simply would have done everything to make things right.

Monday, 20 September 2010

blessings, trials/punishments, or coincidence: god, god and no such thing?

the lds church doesnt like to leave anything to chance. you'll never hear a general authority stand at the pulpit in general conference and say: "hey, shit happens."
when something good happens: it was inspired or it is a blessing for something good you've done.
when something bad happens: it is either a test by God or a punishment.

was it inspiration when apostles called missionaries to places where they were killed, dismembered, maimed or tortured while on their missions?

was it inspired that a female student was accepted to god's university, byu, so she could get raped by a byu football player?

i sat in on a lesson 2 weeks ago at my local lds church congregation. it was about trials. one of the key teachings on this subject was something to the effect of:
we will not be given trials greater than we can bear

some questions came to my mind:
* do trials come from god? (several people during the lesson were saying "god gives us trails because/to...")
* does this apply to lds church members only?
* is psychological trauma/damage just an illusion?
* does god allow rape of children because he knows that they can bear it?
* how does the mother who is brutally murdered by her abusive husband bear her trial? (rhetorical question)
* do you as a parent give your children the same kind of trials others claim god gives his children, in order to test their obedience or to build their character? (hopefully everybody agrees that is a rhetorical question)

Learning through life's trials (march 2010!)
Apostle Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

rhetoric like this makes me cringe. let's put these words into some real-life context shall we?
case: a small girl is raped by her father. we'll call her Mary. let's say Mary is 9 or 10 years old, or maybe she's 4 or 14, does it really matter?

let's use those same words and apply them to this situation:
"No pain that Mary suffered during her rape, no trial that she experienced, even rape, is wasted. It ministers to her education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that Mary suffers and all that she must now endure, especially when she endures it patiently, builds up her character, purifies her heart, expands her soul, and makes her more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that she gains the education that she came here to acquire."

Friday, 10 September 2010

brigham young anti-semitism

page 491, journal of discourses:

Brother Ballantyne, and many of our brethren in distant lands write, "O, how we would rejoice to have the privilege of visiting our mountain home!" I would rather undertake to convert five thousand Lamanites, than to convert one of those poor miserable creatures whose fathers killed the Savior, and who say, "Amen to the deed," to this day. Yea, I would rather undertake to convert the devil himself, if it were possible.

LDS Journal of Discourses - native american indians referred to as lamanites + lamanite geography

Here are the best references in all of the journal of discourses:

where native american indians are referred to as lamanites:

(page 12)
Ask the poor Lamanites who have, with their fathers before them, inhabited these mountains for a thousand years, whether they have ever heard the Gospel, and they will tell you nay.

(page 102)
We are here in the mountains, with these Lamanites for our neighbors

(page 162)
Joseph Smith said we should have to fight them. He said, "When this people mingle among the Lamanites, if they do not bow down in obedience to the Gospel, they will hunt them until there is but a small remnant of them left upon this continent." They have either got to bow down to the Gospel or be slain.

(page 296)
We look around us here upon the house of Israel, the Lamanites, and while our hearts are opened towards them for good, they are not backward to administer death to our brethren. Is this always going to be so? No. The Lord God will work upon them in His own way, until they become one with us in building up the kingdom of God.

(page 454)
The Indians are now upon us, and our brethren are scattered off, three, four, and five families in a place, away off in this and in that direction, exposed to the Lamanites.

(page 455)
The Lord has made the Lamanites − the Indians, a scourge;

(page 457)
I have lived in the State of New York, town of Bloomfield, Monroe County, right in the heart of the country where the ancient Lamanites, and other veterans, destroyed each other, root and branch; where the Book of Mormon was discovered in the hill of Cumorah. From among those rich hills the people are flocking to these mountains. Why? Because this is the richest place in the world.

(page 526)
Before the Book of Mormon was printed, and immediately after Joseph Smith obtained the plates, and the revelations he received concerning this record being the record of the Nephites, and of the Lamanites, who are the fathers of the present aborigines of our country,

see also the other posts about lds claims that native americans descend from israel/jews

LDS History of the Church - native americans referred to as lamanites + lamanite geography


native american indians referred to as lamanites:

(page 129) [september 1830]
At this time a great desire was manifested by several of the Elders respecting the remnants of the house of Joseph, the Lamanites, residing in the west- (of USA)

(page 174)
8. And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

(page 175)
I am lately informed of another tribe of Lamanites, who have abundance of flocks of the best kinds of sheep and cattle; and they manufacture blankets of a superior quality. The tribe is very numerous; they live three hundred miles west of Santa Fe, and are called Navahoes. Why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligations to communicate to my brethren any information concerning the Lamanites that I meet with in my labors and travel;

(page 179)
The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, Brother W. W. Phelps preached to a western audience over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of all the families of the earth; Shem, Ham and Japheth; several of the Lamanites or Indians--representative of Shem; quite a respectable number of negroes--descendants of Ham; and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country

(page 338)
We have seen a letter, written to Sister Whitney, in Nelson, that has a great deal to say about the gift of tongues, and the interpretation which was given by way of prophecy, namely, "that Zion would be delivered by judgments," and that certain ones named, would go to such and such places among the Lamanites, and ' great things would be done by them," and also, that two Lamanites were at a meeting, and the following prophecy was delivered to them:--"That they were our friends and that the Lord had sent them there and the time would soon come when they would embrace the Gospel;" and, also, "that if we will not fight for ourselves, the Indians will fight for us."

(page 422)
"The Church at Thompson," says John Whitmer, "made all possible haste to leave for Missouri, and left, and none of their enemies harmed them." (John Whitmer's History of the Church, chap. viii.) Newel Knight was appointed the leader of this company, which was made up of the Colesville branch and under his leadership they made the entire journey from Thompson to Missouri.

It was doubtless the Navajo Indians, whose reservation is now located in north eastern Arizona of whom Oliver heard.

THE MISSION TO THE LAMANITES--As the "mission to the Lamanites" is a very prominent event in early Church history, it is proper that the labors of the brethren engaged in at should be spoken of more fully than appears anywhere in the Prophet's narrative and at this point following the letter of Oliver Cowdery seems as appropriate a place as will be found to speak of it. It has already been said that the brethren of the mission called upon the Cattaraugus tribe, near Buffalo, New York. (p. 120 note) After leaving Kirtland on their journey westward they visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio with whom they spent several days. "We were well received," writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, "and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did They rejoiced in the tidings bid us Godspeed and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go."--Aut. P. P. Pratt, p. 54.

(page 428)
In the fall of that year the Lamanite mission of the Church of Jesus Christ arrived in the northeast part of Ohio, and soon the whole country was agitated by the presentation of the Book of Mormon and its attendant message, the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(page 466)
The interest of the Saints in the American Indians grows out of the knowledge they have of their forefathers, revealed through the Book of Mormon. From the historical parts of that book they learned the origin of these Indians; that they are of the house of Israel: from the prophetic parts of the book they learn of their future, that it is to be glorious; that fallen as their fortunes now are, they will not always remain so; extinction is not their fate, but before many generations shall pass away they will become a white and a delightsome people, favored of God, and prominent in bringing to pass His purposes in the land of Zion-- the two Americas. It was a mission to the Lamanites or Indians which first brought several of the Elders of the Church of Christ to western Missouri.

(page 705)
Now the Indians, who are the children of the Nephites and the Lamanites, who are spoken of in the Book of Mormon, have all been driven to the western boundaries of the States of America, by the Gentiles, as I told you; they have now to be visited by the gospel, for the day of their redemption is come

(page 896)
I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or, at least, in part--one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites.

(page 1064)
Much has been said and done of late by the general government in relation to the Indians ( Lamanites) within the territorial limits of the United States.

(page 1956)
Jonathan Dunham who was on a mission to the Lamanites received a notification from Ranes, the Indian Agent of the Neosha sub-agency to leave the country immediately.

(page 2320)
With the exception of several renegades and false brethren, things passed smoothly until some time in the month of January, when we were visited by three different tribes of Lamanites upon the most friendly terms. receiving us as their counselors, both temporal and spiritual. The names of those tribes are Menomanees, Chippewa, and Winnebagoes.
and the adjacent islands to the Gulf of Mexico together with the Lamanites bordering on the United Territories from Green Bay to the Mexican Gulf,

(page 2321)
or shall they, like Timothy and Titus, with Paul, hazard the perils of the sea and land through the Southern States and West India Islands, and all the Lamanite world, go forth and proclaim to them the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and teach them to build up Zion?

(page 2679)
Mrs. Emma Smith and the ladies of other distinguished officers accompanied their companions on the parade. A few Lamanites were present, and there was but little drinking.

(page 2964)
I had an interview with several Pottawattamie chiefs, who came to see me during my absence. Interview with Pottawattamie Chiefs. (From Wilford Woodruff's Journal.)

The Indian chiefs remained at Nauvoo until the Prophet returned and had his trial. During their stay they had a talk with Hyrum Smith in the basement of the Nauvoo House. Wilford Woodruff and some others were present. They were not free to talk, and did not wish to communicate their feelings until they could see the great Prophet.

At length, on the 2nd day of July, 1843, President Joseph Smith and several of the Twelve met those chiefs in the court-room, with about twenty of the elders. The following is a synopsis of the conversation which took place as given by the interpreter:--

The Indian orator arose and asked the Prophet if the men who were present were all his friends. Answer--"Yes." He then said--"We as a people have long been distressed and oppressed. We have been driven from our lands many times. We have been wasted away by wars, until there are but few of us left. The white man has hated us and shed our blood, until it has appeared as though there would soon be no Indians left. We have talked with the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit has talked with us. We have asked the Great Spirit to save us and let us live; and the Great Spirit has told us that he had raised up a great Prophet, chief, and friend, who would do us great good and tell us what to do; and the Great Spirit has told us that you are the man (pointing to the Prophet Joseph). We have now come a great way to see you, and hear your words, and to have you to tell us what to do. Our horses have become poor traveling, and we are hungry. We will now wait and hear your word."

The Spirit of God rested upon the Lamanites, especially the orator. Joseph was much affected and shed tears. He arose and said unto them: "I have heard your words. They are true. The Great Spirit has told you the truth. I am your friend and brother, and I wish to do you good. Your fathers were once a great people. They worshiped the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit did them good. He was their friend; but they left the Great Spirit, and would not hear his words or keep them. The Great Spirit left them, and they began to kill one another, and they have been poor and afflicted until now.

The Great Spirit has given me a book, and told me that you will soon be blessed again. The Great Spirit will soon begin to talk with you and your children. This is the book which your fathers made. I wrote upon it (showing them the Book of Mormon). This tells what you will have to do. I now want you to begin to pray to the Great Spirit. want you to make peace with one another, and do not kill any more Indians: it is not good. Do not kill white men; it is not good; but ask the Great Spirit for what you want, and it will not be long before the Great Spirit will bless you, and you will cultivate the earth and build good houses like white men. We will give you something to eat and to take home with you."

When the Prophet's words were interpreted to the chiefs, they all said it was good. The chief asked, "How many moons would it be before the Great Spirit would bless them?" He [Joseph] told them, Not a great many. At the close of the interview, Joseph had an ox killed for them, and they were furnished with some more horses, and they went home satisfied and contented.

(page 3012):
Tuesday, 9.--This morning had breakfast of honey, and buffalo meat dried and smoked; then, in about one hour and a half, boiled corn and elk bone broth was served up. This was a great dish amongst the Lamanites; but not so good a dish for me as I have seen in past days in my own land and amongst my own people.

see also the other posts about lds claims that native americans descend from israel/jews

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

History of the Church (HC) Volumes 1 - 7 (original 1902 edition), PDF

the history of the church (of jesus christ of latter-day saints) is now available in its entirety in pdf: http://www.archive.org/details/HistoryOfTheChurchhcVolumes1-7original1902EditionPdf

tell your friends about it =)
you can also buy the actual books on amazon:

the bible unearthed - movie review - important quotes

here's my ongoing (unfinished) review of the amazing video "the bible unearthed"

Part 1. The Patriarchs

00:28:43 -- it now appears to be well accepted there was no migration in the direction of canaan at the time that the bible situates abrahams voyage

00:34:35 -- what can we say about the arrival of the philistines? latest 13th century BCE, but probably around 1150-1200 BCE

00:36:40 -- according to acheological evidence, the camel couldnt have been domesticated as a beast of burden before the first millenium BCE

Friday, 3 September 2010

joseph smith jr - married (sealed) to women not even alive in his lifetime

according to new.familysearch.org joseph smith jr was sealed/married to several women that were not alive during his lifetime. here are the 2 most extreme examples i found:
* Ane Margretha Nielsen, born 5 February 1859 in Onslev, Falster, Denmark. she was born 15 years AFTER he died.
* Dorothy Cotton, born about 1649 in Of, Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA. she was born 195 years before joseph!
(i have screenshots of these records, i have seen them with my own eyes.)

these are just 2 of his 239+ wives (helen radkey's research) that have been sealed to him in an lds temple.

see also the helen radkey interview: http://www.whatloveisthis.tv/ep333.htm

oh yeah, and emma smith is sealed to 3 different men:
Lewis C Bidamon
Joseph Smith
Don Carlos Smith

you can check it here:

Monday, 30 August 2010

religulous, by bill maher - movie review - favorite quotes

this will be an ongoing post until i've gone through the whole movie, but i am going to start listing my favorite points and quotes from this wonderful movie (Bill Maher == BM):


BM: So, Dr. Collins, you are a brilliant, brilliant scientist, the head of the Human Genome Project. Now here's what's so puzzling is that you are the one scientist--

[subtext: 93% of scientists in the american national academy of sciences are atheist or agnostic]

the one famous scientist anyway--who's also religious. Explain that to me.

Dr. Francis Collins (DFC): I would argue that if you look at the evidence, the historical evidence of Christ's existence is overwhelming.

BM: What evidence? I mean, I've never even heard anyone propose that there's evidence.

DFC: When I read the New Testament, it reads to me as the record of eyewitnesses who put down what they saw.

BM: You know they weren't eyewitnesses.

DFC: They were close to that.

BM: No.

DFC: Within a couple of decades of eyewitnesses.

BM: Okay. Would that stand up in a laboratory as absolute foolproof evidence that something happened?

DFC: You are setting up a standard for proof that I think would really be an almost impossible standard to meet.


BM: I'm surprised that things that are very important to the story, like the virgin birth, isn't in all four of them.

DFC: Wouldn't you really expect that kind of discordance when you're thinking about the way in which these documents came into being?

BM: But you'd think if you were one of Christ's biographers, that would be sort of an important thing not to leave out. "Oh, God, he was also born of a virgin."

BM: They don't notice the virgin birth. You know, I think that is something if you were any sort of reporter you'd put into the story. What editor looks at the facts and goes, "Yeah, but take out the thing about the virgin birth. That's not interesting."


BM: Reverend. Is that what I call you?

Jeremiah Cummings (JC): No, just call me... doctor.

BM: Doctor?

[subtext: Jeremiah Cummings is not a doctor.]

JC: Yeah.

[subtext: he does not have a degree...of any kind.]


JC: teddy pendergrass, who led the song, he was ordained a minister when he was 10 years old.

BM: what do you think it says about religion and how serious it is, when you can be a minister when you're 10?


Sodom and Gomorrah.

Apparently, it was a pretty wicked place.

How wicked?

Well let's just say that what happened in Gomorrah, stayed in Gomorrah.

That is until God got wind of it, so he sent two angels to investigate.

Now the angels went to the house of the one godly man in town-- Lot.

And the townspeople tried to rape them.

Now Lot, not wanting his town to get the reputation as the kind of place that would rape angels, offered up to the mob his own daughters to rape.

And he was the good guy in town.


Pastor John Westcott (Exchange Ministries) (JW): But I will be honest with you. The reality's a lot of people come here and go right back into whatever they came from.

BM: Because they're gay!

JW: I believe that it's sin.

BM: Excuse me, but don't you have it, no pun intended, ass-backwards?

JW: Meaning?

BM: Meaning homosexuality is something that occurs in nature.


JW: Nobody's born gay. There's no scientific or--

BM: Really? Have you ever met Little Richard?


JW: There's no scientific data that proves that anyone is--there's no gay gene.

***WHAT BILL MAHER SHOULD HAVE SAID HERE: there's no heterosexual gene either =)***


BM: All of the proscriptions against homosexuality come from the Old Testament. Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. And if it's so important, why didn't he ever bring it up?

JW: We could pick lots of little things that he didn't specifically talk about.

BM: But this is a big thing.


BM: But what is your explanation for the millions and millions of people around the world who are leading homosexual lives...

JW: Well, it's not millions.

BM: ...have no interest in anyone of the opposite sex? Are they all faking just to piss off Jesus?

JW: They didn't choose this. They didn't desire it.

BM: Right, they were born gay.

JW: No, they weren't born that way. It's because of the insecurity within theirselves.

BM: It takes a lot of security to walk out of the house with assless chaps.

JW: They're not happy, most of them.

BM: They're called gay. They took the word. Some of them look positively thrilled.

JW: No, they are people who are really not complete in who they are as men or women.

BM: That's a pretty big judgment for a Christian.

JW: It's not a judgment.

BM: That's not a judgment? That you are sitting here telling these people who you don't even know that they're incomplete because they're not like you?

JW: I mean, it's not the people you suspect that are gay, that are gay.

BM: People like the Reverend Ted Haggard... "Moral purity is better than immorality." ...who kept meeting homosexual prostitutes in a hotel room and having gay sex with speed.


Steve Burg, Ex Jew for Jesus (SB): God is not that busy where He can't spend time listening to you when you really want to talk to Him, anytime.

BM: If Santa Claus can hit every house in the world in one night--

SB: I don't believe in Santa Claus.

BM: Of course not, that's ridiculous. That's one man flying all around the world and dropping presents down a chimney. That's ridiculous. One man hearing everybody murmur to him at the same time, that I get.


BM: You're 100% sure that after you die, you'll go to a better place.

SB: I know I'll be with God. l'll be with Jesus.

BM: And that's a better place.

SB: Even if it was in a garbage can, which I know it won't be, but even if it was, just the fact that i'm with Jesus, to me, is good.

BM: it's a better place.

SB: it's a better place.

BM: Then why don't you kill yourself?

SB: Because God still has a mission for me here.

BM: Oh, I see.

SB: i'm thinking of Jonah. God sent Jonah on a mission.

BM: When did the part of the story come when Jonah lived in the whale?

SB: It was a great fish.

BM: It's one of my favorite nonsense stories, Jonah living inside of the whale. And their answer unfailingly is ''The Bible doesn't say whale. It says big fish.'' Oh, yeah, big fish, that makes--i'm sorry I was obsessing on that it was a whale. it's a big fish. Of course you could live for three days in a big fish.


BM: How did this country get to be a Christian nation? I've read a lot of quotes from all the Founding Fathers. There are a lot of quotes that explicitly say we're not a Christian nation:
"lighthouses are more useful than churches." -- benjamin franklin
"this would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it!" -- john adams
"christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man." -- thomas jefferson

Ray Suarez (RS): well, and Jefferson's a particularly interesting case.

BM: Didn't he write his own Bible which divorced the New Testament from what he considered the unnecessary magic, bells and whistles?

RS: He took the Gospels, took out all of Jesus's miracles and took out all of Jesus's statements that claimed divinity, and put out a new book called ''The Faith and Moral Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.'' We tend to lionize these guys and think of them all as the 12 Apostles plus the Founding Fathers, like they're in the same club or something. When in fact, these men understood very well that there was a difference between being Christian and being American.

BM: Right.

RS: In Jefferson's age, fewer people went to church less often.

Guy in BM's van (GBMV): Do you think that there are a lot of people who feel the way you do, but are afraid to speak out?

BM: Absolutely. Are you kidding? Yes, I think it is the great untapped minority in this country. In the last survey, I think it was 16% of Americans who now say they are absolutely unaffiliated with any religion, don't want to be in a religion, just don't go near me with religion. 16% of the population is a huge minority. It's bigger than Jews, blacks, homosexuals, NRA members, lots of people you could name who have lobbies that get everything they want or are at least are in the debate.


BM: So you've described yourself as an Evangelical Christian. You did a campaign ad where you said the most important lessons in life are in this book right here, meaning the Bible. Everyone in politics likes to brag that they're a person of faith. Why is faith good?

Mark Pryor, US Senator, Democrat (MP): Faith has a way of softening people. For example, if you look at the teachings of Jesus, he's very forgiving.

BM: He also said, "If a man doesn't abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned."

MP: Right. So? i do think, 'cause i'm a Christian, that Jesus is the way to be reconciled. And I do believe the actual literacy of that story. We'll let God sort out all the details of that on Judgment Day.

BM: What about the 10 Commandments? So many politicians talk about the 10 Commandments. Are they really the 10 most important moral--

MP: Are these the 10 suggestions? The 10 recommendations?

BM: But it's not really a wise list of 10. The first four are all about just worshipping God and basically that he's a jealous God, and he doesn't want you to have any other gods. The only two that are really laws are don't steal and don't kill. Why is this the wisest group of 10? lt doesn't include child abuse. lt doesn't include don't torture. lt doesn't include a lot of things-- rape--that I think if we were making a list today, we would probably include.

MP: Society is so different today and our culture is so radically different today.

BM: That's what i'm asking. We're in a different culture. Can you think of anything else that we still cleave to from the Bronze Age?

MP: Well...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

do you "believe in science"?

i was asked today if i now am "one of those people who believes in science" =)

OF COURSE i "believe in science"! all technology, innovation, medicine, etc is a product of the scientific method =)

judaism and masturbation - even more disturbing than mormonism's view

in judaism, masturbation is up there with murder (scroll down to number 13).

i recently replied to an article on masturbation at askmoses.com:
why does the torah say masturbation is a sin?

but i doubt my reply will get accepted, so here it is:
here's the hebrew source and english transliteration:
compare it with all common english translations

it is a crime against humanity that people teach that this passage in Genesis/Bereshit refers to masturbation. Onan's "sin" was that he was disobedient. think about it logically too, no man would say no to lawful sex and just masturbate instead. he was having intercourse then pulling out of Tamar before ejaculating (coitus interruptus).

it also says *nothing* in the *torah* about what Er did to offend god. your answer is that the *talmud* says it is a sin. the talmud is only commentary, someone's interpretation of e.g. the torah, and here it is completely wrong. the torah does NOT say that masturbation is a sin.

UPDATE 20100829
it looks like my comment was never approved for that article. typical.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

buddhists as oppressors?!

i was talking to someone at a bar the other day about different negative effects religion has on the world and this person answered "well, if i were to pick a religion, i would probably become a buddhist".

i think most people in the western world have a perception that buddhism is a peaceful and non-judgemental/tolerant religion, but i have recently read multiple accounts of buddhist oppression of other belief systems, e.g. shamanism, taoism.

bön (tibetan spiritual tradition) wikipedia page:
...well after Buddhists began the suppression of indigenous beliefs and practices.

mantak chia wikipedia page:
When Buddhism came to China, shamans were persecuted, like witches in the west, so they became Taoists, rivals to the Buddhists, and continued their practices in secret, using only internal energy, internal alchemy, without the use of accessories to identify themselves. The saying goes "you cannot tell a sage by his clothes." They were also known as magicians, wizards and sorcerers. Yes, Taoism is magic.

—Mantak Chia, Interview in Positive Health

The Burakumin - The Complicity of Japanese Buddhism in Oppression and an Opportunity for Liberation:
however, when one examines the role of Japanese Buddhism in casting the burakumin down...


In an issue of the Buraku Liberation News, an English-language bimonthly publication of the Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute(44), the question of Buddhism and discrimination was taken up in the section entitled “Buraku Problem Q & A.” The question was, “Is Buddhism free from Buraku discrimination?” What follows is part of the response to the question:

There is a tradition that people carve a religious name for the dead on the face of a tomb as a sign of worship. That is a practice for many Buddhist religious organizations. The name for the dead is Kaimyo, posthumous Kaimyo is given by a Buddhist priest and is recorded in a post-memorial-notebook at the temple the dead belonged to. Of late, it was discovered that discriminatory names and characters in the notebooks and on the faces of the tombs exist. These were given by Buddhist priests to the dead who were of Buraku origin. The names include the characters for beast, humble, ignoble, servant and many other kinds of derogatory expressions. Upon the disclosure, Buddhist organizations started to widely investigate notebooks and tombs in response to the requests of the BLL [Buraku Liberation League]. They found discriminatory Kaimyo, at many Buddhist sects in most parts of Japan. While the majority seems to have given a long time ago, there are some names given even since the 1940’s.(45)

Such discriminatory practice is an indication that Buddhism has historically contributed to burakumin oppression. Since the Japanese people inescapably employ Buddhist death rituals, it is not surprising that it is here that Buddhism can make its own contribution to burakumin discrimination. Buddhist temples that were located in buraku communities “were called ‘impure temples’ [eta-dera] and were not allowed to communicate with temples in non-Buraku areas.”(46) Further, since the Dalits were told from the Hindu perspective, the burakumin were taught that it was their karma that placed them in this unsavory life and that forbearance was necessary if the next life was to be favorable.

Friday, 6 August 2010

human beings like to be deceived - "how to think about weird things" book review

first off, the book how to think about weird things gets a million stars from me. every human being should read this book.

i have been thinking recently about something i read there, it was a quote about how people actually like to be deceived, but there was no explanation or example given and then i realized that the biggest example is in movies (and also books). a good movie is one where you think you know who the bad guy is and then you find out you're wrong. people also like to watch magic shows, card tricks, etc. but sometimes we hate being deceived: finding out your spouse/partner is having an affair =)

update 20100813:
i was reading fooled by randomness by nassim taleb and found this which supports this idea of liking to be deceived, e.g. through literature/entertainment:

The book is the synthesis of, on one hand, the no-nonsense
mathematical trader (self-styled "practitioner of uncertainty") who
spent his life trying to resist being fooled by randomness and trick the
emotions associated with uncertainty and, on the other, the aesthetically
obsessed, literature-loving human being willing to be fooled by any form
of nonsense that is polished, refined, original, and tasteful. I am not
capable of avoiding being the fool of randomness; what l can do is
confine it to where it brings some aesthetic gratification.

Monday, 2 August 2010

lds changes sacred temple ordinances. lds "apostle" david haight says this is apostasy

in the ensign, november 1979, david haight (interesting sidenote: notice how he is referred to in the article as a member of the council of the twelve, and not apostle) states in his talk called joseph smith the prophet:
we explained briefly the Apostasy and the Restoration: that there is vast evidence and history of an apostasy from the doctrine taught by Jesus and his Apostles, that the organization of the original Church became corrupted, and sacred ordinances were changed to suit the convenience of men, and that today good people all over the world are confused with contending religions with differing doctrine and methods of worship.

11 years later the church would change the sacred temple ordinances by removing the signs of the cutting of the throat and belly (bowels). then in 2005, they have apparently changed (almost done away with) the washing and anointing. see mormon church changes the temple ceremony again?

see also mormon temple endowment ceremony ordinances - Can sacred mormon temple covenants and ordinances be changed?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

my new website for remote healing - remotehealer.net

I am now offering my services within healing and remote healing via my new remote healer website =)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

false logic by lds church "prophet" gordon hinckley - black or white; 100% truth or 100% fraud

this is taken from page 5 of an 80 page letter by Bob McCue to Jeffrey Holland and is a good example of false logic used by even the (now deceased) "prophet" of the lds church:
I note in particular the nature of Pres. Hinckley's "black and white" argument, which is an oft- repeated Mormon leadership theme. This is nothing more than a false dichotomy that performs the function of a debating trick, except he uses it on people who are willing to accept almost anything he says. How can anyone who has experienced the good side of Mormons conclude that Mormonism is 100% fraud? Therefore, if it is either all truth or all fraud, it must be all truth. This is the conclusion toward which Pres. Hinckley directs as many people as possible. ... I cannot think of anything in life that is as simple as Pres. Hinckley represents this particularly complex issue to be, and my review of Mormon history and theology has brought me the almost certain conclusion that there are serious inaccuracies in the story the Church tells, and pervasive pockets of error within the LDS tradition that continue to influence it today. In short, Mormonism is a mixture of good and bad, truth and error. It is grey. But nonetheless, Pres. Hinckley attempts to win the debate by the manner in which he frames it, and due to how he is trusted, he will be effective in this regard with respect to many people, and was effective until recently in my case.

lds church by "apostle" dallin oaks: imbalance and one-sidedness

to me, this represents an implication that the lds church leaders actually know they are deceiving their own members, taken from a letter by bob mccue to jeffrey holland:
As Elder Oaks said at a CES conference at BYU in 1985,

Balance is telling both sides. This is not the mission of the official Church literature or avowedly anti-Mormon literature. Neither has any responsibility to present both sides.

In this he echoes Elder Packer's "The Mantle" talk which was the keynote from which my Institute of Religion instructors taught me.

I can't tell you how disappointed it made me feel to read things of this nature coming from those to whom I had entrusted my heart and soul, and to whom I had given all of the time and other resources for which they had asked over a period of more than twenty-five years. I did not know that they expected me to act as judge in this exercise, while they presented one side of the story and the anti-Mormons presented the other. In fact, I believed them when they told me that I should not read anything that was faith threatening. How, in that case, could I possibly have acted as judge? And if I could not act as judge, who was looking after my interest in this matter? The Church led me to believe that it was doing that for me, and now I find out that it never intended to do more than advocate a one-sided position. It still makes me feel ill each time I think of this.

quite the difficult situation: we will tell you one side of the story, but you are not allowed to read information from the "other/opposite side".

Sunday, 4 July 2010

transsexuals cannot receive lds priesthood or temple recommend

in the lds church handbook of instructions is states:
who have already undergone an elective transsexual operation may be baptized if they are
otherwise found worthy in an interview with the mission president or a priesthood leader he
assigns. Such persons may not receive the priesthood or a temple recommend.

brigham young: joseph smith never broke any laws...oh wait, yes he did

brigham young states in his journal of discourses:
Vol. 10, p.111
Joseph Smith, in forty-seven prosecutions was never proven guilty of
one violation of the laws of his country.
first off, if joseph smith was so innocent, why would brigham young use the deceptive words "was never proven guilty" instead of simply stating:
never violated any law of his country
oh wait....except for the time when he admitted to deception and was convicted of a misdemeanor?

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

the earth is alive, conceives and came from its parent earths

Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 36 (1857):
Well, if a woman will not produce when she is dead, then the earth cannot produce living things if it was dead.

Does the earth conceive? It does, and it brings forth. If it did not, why do you go and put your wheat into the ground? Does it not conceive it? But it does not conceive except you put it there. It conceives and brings forth, and you and I live, both for food and for clothing, silks and satins. What! Satin grow? Yes. What produces it? The silkworm produces it. Does the silkworm produce except it conceives? No, it eats of the mulberry tree. Where does the mulberry tree come from? It comes from the earth. Where did the earth come from? From its parent earths.

Well, some of you may call that foolish philosophy. But if it is, I will throw out foolish things, that you may gather up wise things. The earth is alive. If it was not, it could not produce. If you find a piece of earth that is dead, you cannot produce anything from it, except you resurrect it and restore it to life. If that is not true philosophy, it is nothing that I have produced. It is what every man knows, if he can only reflect. But I thought it was curious doctrine when that Methodist spoke of it.

How could my head produce hair, if it was dead? Neither can the earth produce grain, if it is dead.
women produce human babies. the earth does not produce baby earths (afaik) =)