Saturday, June 28, 2014

Manti Mess(ages)

I sneaked  down to Manti on Thursday and Friday to visit with the annual pageant Anti-Mormon outreach.  Thursday was spent speaking the whole three hours to about 5 different people in what I think was productive.  Productive is a loose term, but I feel good when people I have made feel sort of misinformed about pretty much everything they believe about Mormonism still like me and shake my hand when we are done.
I have a brochure I created for Manti this year which focuses on several non-LDS scholars' statements around the reality of the Hebrew belief in real plural gods.  It also discusses the mis-translation of John 1:1, which should say "and the Word was a god"(or words to the effect that the Word had the same nature as The God, but is a different member of that class of beings)and how the way most Christians interpret it actually make the verse a modalist or Sabellean heresy.  Finally, it also provides extensive statements by early Christians that people can become gods, with a list of references to the concept in the Bible.  If you would like a copy, send me your email as a comment.  I won't post your address, I will just email you the brochure.  No minimum donation required :-)

Friday night I had several very positive conversations with folks, and I circulated more.  I was speaking with one gentleman from England when some guy name Jason walked up, listened for about 10 minutes or so, then started asking questions but not waiting for answers.
"Didn't Joseph Smith order Gov Boggs killed?"  "Weren't the Mormons stealing land in Missouri, so they were not really victims?"  "Didn't having a standing militia violate federal law?"  "Didn't Joseph print his own money and steal the real currency?"  "Isn't that illegal?"

These questions, and potential exchange, looks easy on the surface.  You think, he is asking a question, he wants an answer.

Truth is, Jason was giving his answer in the form of a question, and did not care to hear my answer or response at all.  He wanted me to answer yes or no, and if I disagreed with his conclusions, he called me deceptive.  He eventually started in with personal insults ("You're a mile wide and an inch deep, aren't you?"), so I said to him I would not talk with ignorant insulting people, and turn away from him.  What was helpful was he did this in front of two other gentlemen whom I had previously had excellent exchanges with, and they were embarrassed by their "Christian Brother's" behavior.  I then apologized for calling the guy stupid, and then gave them the answers to the assertions:
1.  Joseph did not order the Boggs assassination attempt.  No evidence of it.
2.  Porter Rockwell was a suspect, but he calmly stated that if he had wanted him dead, he'd be dead.  A grand jury agreed, and Rockwell was never indicted.  It is commonly believed the would-be assassin was a political rival, though he was never found.
3.  I explained that the LDS had organized a protective force, consistent with the 2nd amendment of the US Constitution, under their right to keep and bear arms for self defense.  However, the US Government refused to intervene, with President Martin Van Buren famously saying to Joseph Smith, to the effect, "Your cause is just, but I cannot help you."  As we know, Joseph prophesied their government would be destroyed, and within 20 years the Whig party was, in fact, completely destroyed.  The Republicans emerged, and the Whigs are now just an historical footnote.
4.  Related to three, the 10th amendment to the US Constitution was the reason Van Buren could not intervene at the time.  After the Civil War the Constitution was amended to allow far more Federal involvement in state issues.  Keeping the peace and administering the domestic affairs of the states were seen as exclusively a state's rights issue at the time, and so Van Buren felt he could not take action.  Having a standing militia, if in a state of insurrection, would have been a violation of federal law.  Arming your people to defend against criminals is not.  There was no violation of federal law, and they did not steal land from anyone.
5.  The great depression of the late 1830's, which was brought on largely because the Gold Standard limited the amount of money which could be printed, thus limiting the velocity or circulation of money to create new capital, brought hundreds of communities around the country to create their own banking societies.  As I mentioned to the guys in Manti, if you have ever seen the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", there is a scene where there is a run on the bank.  Jimmy Stewart has people demanding their money.  He explains that he cannot give it because it is in someone's home, or another person's business, etc.  This is the concept of cash reserve ratios.  If a bank takes in $100, but lends out $95, then if everyone comes in asking for their money, it is not in the bank, it is in assets and out in the community circulating.  In Kirtland, they created a banking society.  They basically issued IOU's to people, which everyone agreed to accept, in exchange for some cash deposits so they could meet the "hard currency" requirements they all would have.  It worked great, until hard currency reserves disappeared.  In 1837, the year the Kirtland Bank failed, the US entered a 5 year depression where nearly half of all banks failed, and many other similar banking societies as Kirtland also failed.  The crazy land price increases collapsed, so the assets underlying the notes disappeared.  Not good for anyone.  Joseph left, but I have seen research which shows eventually all were repaid.  Joseph left Kirtland with his 6-month pregnant wife the first week of January 1838.  It took two months, two winter months, with nearly no money, to get to Missouri.  Far from living a rich life, Joseph and Emma suffered too.
6.  Finally, was it illegal.  Yes, it was.  Joseph paid a $1,000 fine for setting it up.  But it was also common, as the lack of currency was a problem everywhere on the frontier.  It also failed because of the lack of trust and cooperation between members of the Kirtland Safety Society, and under captitalization.

History is not simple, and it is not black and white.  If we believe that all Presidents of the LDS Church are always inspired, then we will always be disappointed.  They were looking for solutions.  At times they felt inspired.  Other times they just did their best.  At all times they were human.  Don't trust humans with your salvation, trust God.  But you still have to work with humans for everything else.

Final point.  I was walking to leave on the road from the food court to the pageant area.  I saw a girl about 10 years old passing out brochures, so I stopped and handed her one of mine.  She looked like she was being baited by a child molester.  I didn't get it at first, and I laughingly said "If you are going to pass out brochures to the Mormons, why don't you take them too?"  She backed away, and a pretty dark haired little girl, also about 10, very nervously said "We have been told not to talk to you."  I said, "What? Why is that, because I can answer your questions?"  She said no, her daddy had said I was not nice to Christians, and they should not speak with me.  She was nervously shaking as she said that, so I said "who is your daddy?"  She replied "Keith Walker."  I said he was with some ministry, and by now three young men in their twenties had walked over, and they said "Evidence Ministries".  I said I would love to talk with her daddy, that it is not true that I am mean to other Christians, and I had even done a short video about her daddy because he had some things wrong about the Mormons.  She said she knew I knew him.  I jokingly said to one of the Christians I had spoken with earlier in the week who was walking by, "Am I mean to Christians?"  Which she just laughed about.  The little girl walked away.

Funny thing is, I literally bumped into Keith Walker earlier in the evening while passing through the crowd.  If I had known he was telling people to be afraid of me, I would had asked him about it.  Next year I will have a friend take a camera, and we will have a conversation.  People can then determine if I am mean to even those anti-Mormons who disparage me personally.  Not that I care what people judge about me.  God knows my heart.  But when one's living is based on attacking other people's faith, maybe telling a story about me is better than getting caught on video.  Maybe I can help change that for Keith.


Anonymous said...

Yes, please do take a camera next time. Although some antis will change their behavior upon knowing they will be caught on film. Some will not care.

How sad that K. Walker is making his kids afraid of people who believe differently about religion. Hopefully these kids will do, when they get older, what Rachael Slick (Matt Slick's daughter) did and leave Evangelicalism after realizing their parents are doing more harm than good (if they are not too brainwashed).

When I read this I immediately thought of all the hundreds of times I read antis calling Mormons liars, dishonest, deceitful, among other names. The antis are the biggest hypocrites ever. The only way they can win against the Mormons (in their narrow minds) is to lie about Mormons.


Anonymous said...

To continue:

Example of Evangelicals being dishonest: this is from K. Walker's blog that Mr. Walker wrote and of course I am paraphrasing - Mr. Walker and his wife attended the Jehova's Witnesses Annual Memorial 2014. He and his wife went in to the meeting separately because they did not want some JW's to know they are married to one another so that they can do their work "undetected". Some of the JW Elders know about Mr. Walker, which is another reason he and his wife pretend to not know one another. When a JW engages Mr. Walker in a conversation he is very vague about what he does (which is run a blog against Mormons and JW's). Mr. Walker then sets up an appointment to meet with the JW's, feigning interest, so that Mr. Walker can plant the seeds of true Christianity. And Mr. Walker is currently meeting with JW Pioneers.

On an anti Mormon site run by an ex-Mormon, this ex-Mormon called out some people from some big anti Mormon sites for being deceitful, having to do with distributing DVD's about the Mormons (it happened in 2007). The antis flooded Utah and went door to door to distribute the DVD's. The antis wanted it to be hush hush. Now why the ex-Mormon exposed the other antis being deceitful is beyond me. And the exposed antis were not happy that their deceitfulness was exposed, and tried hard to wriggle out of it with a lot of mental gymnastics, and more lying. The antis complain about Mormon missionaries knocking on people's doors and bothering the people, and yet the antis did the same thing, and continue to do the same thing.

I guess another reason the antis call Mormons liars and so forth is to deflect attention off of the lies and deceit they are practicing, because they know people will not do any research to find out the true information.

I was harassed by an Evangelical as a kid. This EV was hateful to me, and did not have the guts to be rude to my parents. How Christian to pick on an innocent, defenseless kid.

Keep up the good work Bob. And sorry for the long posts.

Anonymous said...


I read a great, yet some-what amusing, article the other day from Reuters. It is dated June 21st and the title of the article is “Mormon Church Sues Canadian Polygamist Over Trademarked Name” and it was written by Jennifer Dobner. The story starts out by saying “The Mormon church has sued a Canadian polygamist for using its trademarked name, saying its reputation was damaged and that donations intended for the denomination were misdirected”.

The suit claims that Winston Blackmore, a practicing polygamist, is the head of a religious community in in Bountiful, British Columbia and he was “formerly the head of the Canadian arm of the Warren Jeffs-led Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” The article states that “In court papers, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’) attorneys said Blackmore’s use of a similar name caused public confusion and damaged its reputation of supporting religious worship, assisting families and providing humanitarian aid.”

The article says that “With some 15 million members worldwide, the mainstream Mormon church rejects any association with fundamentalists and polygamy, a practice it abandoned in the 1890s.” If I may digress for a moment, wasn’t polygamy a prophecy given by your beloved founding father and prophet stating that this lifestyle is a way of life and will get you to the celestial kingdom????

Back to the article and my main point. The court documents said “(Adopting the name) is yet another attempt of the Blackmore Sect to convey a false impression of affiliation with the Church.” Ummmmmmm.........

I am very confused Bob. Your mormon church is telling me that you are not a part of this sect and that you want to distance your religion from them. Your mormon church is saying you don’t believe in the same “doctrine” and that polygamy is wrong. Your mormon church is saying they do not want to have anything to do with this sect and that by no means do you share the same faith. Your mormon church is saying everything about this sect that I am saying about mormonism and Christianity. We are different. We are not the same. So why is it okay for your church to cry foul against this Blackmore guy but I am of the devil when I proclaim the truth about the difference between our faiths?

What makes you think your religion can come in and rewrite the rules based on what the New Testament Apostles were teaching? That is why I mentioned Acts 11:26. Christianity has been around LONG before mormonism. Let me state that fact again: Christianity has been around LONG before mormonism. Your faith cannot come in and rewrite the rules. Christianity is about what is taught in the Bible and the Bible is a living, breathing text. Christianity is about God’s Sovereignty, about His Grace and about His Mercy. Christianity is about God loving the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son and that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Christianity is about a God that is so big, He fills the whole universe. There is only one God, existing in three Persons. Christianity is about the Trinity, for which you reject.

Therefore, Bob, I respectfully ask that you mormons follow the precedent that you are setting right now with your lawsuit. Please understand that you are not a Christian and you must stop referring to yourself as that. You are a mormon that does not believe in Christian truths and doctrines. Fortunately for you, our Christian faith is not going to sue your mormon faith. We will just see who is right on God’s judgement day.

Anonymous said...


As for more information on the Trinity, I will refer to the writing of Alister McGrath, “Thinking About the Trinity, Part Three”. Mr. McGrath says:

“The doctrine of the Trinity invites us to expand our vision of God rather than reduce it to what we can cope with. We begin by reflecting on the great works of God in creation, then move on to ponder the wonderful work of God in redemption, before finally appreciating the presence of God with us now and in the future.

Right from the beginning, Christians were convinced that in Jesus, they had experienced God’s saving self-revelation. And if Jesus reveals God, He must somehow be said to share in God’s divinity. Otherwise, you wouldn’t really have met God in Christ, and God would remain unknown. If that were the case, God might stand behind Jesus, but wouldn’t be shown or known in and through Him. The doctrine of the Trinity was formulated as a way of safeguarding these basic convictions about salvation and revelation—precious truths that can be easily lost or seen as disconnected ideas. The doctrine of the Trinity weaves these threads together and helps us grasp the “big picture” of God that is revealed in the Bible and confirmed in our experience of prayer and worship.

The doctrine of the Trinity, then, sums up Christian believers’ astonishingly rich and hard-won insights into the nature of God. For the theologian, it is a safeguard against inadequate understandings of God; for the believer, it is a reminder of the majesty and mystery of the one who gave Himself on the cross for His people. It does not really help us to understand God but enables us to avoid inadequate ways of thinking about Him. Faced with the choice between an invented God who could be understood without the slightest difficulty and the real God who couldn’t, the church rightly chose the latter.”

I am still praying for you Bob. You are a bright guy but you are putting all of your intelligence toward the wrong ideology. I pray that you will keep searching for the truth.


Bob said...

Jay bird,
You cannot possibly be as confused as you write. It is just not possible. The Mormon Church gave up the practice of polygamy over 120 years ago. It did not give up the doctrinal understanding that marriage is a cornerstone of the doctrine of Exaltation, and that polygamy, when sanctioned by God, such as in the case of King David or Jacob or Abraham, is acceptable in God's sight.
If someone claims to be a Mormon, but refuses to adhere to critical Mormon doctrines, such as following the teachings of the living prophets following revelation on a subject, then they should not call themselves Mormons. I don't know how many times Christians have misunderstood this argument by saying in response to my stating I am a Christian, "If you are a Christian, I am a Mormon." No, that is not true. Think about it like branches of a river, feeding into the mighty Mississippi River. If you come from the Missouri River, and another person comes from the Ohio River, you both can be on the Mississippi River. But You can't say you are from the Ohio River, and they can't say they are from the Missouri. Mormons are from the Arkansas River, the dude in Canada from the Bayou Meto. A late comer who is trying to use other people to get their message out. They may share some common history, but they are up their own creek.

Hope you enjoy this geography lesson.

Anonymous said...

I just found an article on an anti site about a former Mormon who served as a Bishop, Lee Baker. He was in Manti, wondering if you saw him and if you spoke with him.

In the photo from Manti Lee Baker is wearing a suit with a LDS nametag. So he was posing as LDS at first to get the LDS people to listen to him. He admits he dressed that way to get the attention of the LDS, to appear authoritative. And these ex Mormons and antis call LDS liars and deceitful. Wow, Mr. Baker was definitely being deceitful.
Also wondering if you have read the questions Mr. Baker said he asked the GA's and what your opinion is. Mr. Baker said the GA's would not or could not answer his questions. He was excommunicated because of his questions according to him. I have read exerpts of his book and to me he sounds like any other anti or ex Mormon who has an ax to grind against the church. It appears he took his information straight from the so called counter cult minustries. I honestly believe that when he was a member he never really had a testimony nor understood the real doctrine, like most who leave. Thanks for your time

Go Aggies

Bob said...

I did not notice Lee Baker if I saw him. You sort of need to understand that most of these folks avoid getting into a conversation with me, and warn their youth to avoid me as well. So I wind up speaking with either folks who want to "take me" themselves, folks who know me and therefore are not afraid of me trying to embarrass them, or folks that don't realize they are talking with "the wolf" until it is too late. I will check out Baker's stuff and talk about it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob, you have way more patience than I do.

I was reading an anti site and saw an exMormon dressed in a suit with a LDS missionary name tag. His name is Lee Baker and he once served as a LDS Bishop. He admitted he dresses like the LDS to look authoritative and to get the attention of the LDS people at the Manti Pageant. Deceptive on his part and lying too. Ooops, I forgot, only Mormons lie and deceive.

Just wondering if you spoke to him at Manti or listened to him. I read the questions he said he asked the GA's. He said the GA's would not and could not answer his questions and said he was excommunicated for asking those questions. Also wondering if you have read what he suppossedly asked the GA's and if there is a response to his questions. His questions are somewhat different from all the other typical questions that the antis and ex Mormons ask. Anyway, he sounds like he took a page from a popular anti Mormon site. When I read what ex Mormons say it is obvious they did not understand the doctrine nor have a testimony. Lee Baker is no different. Thanks for your time. I hope that one day I can gain the type of knowledge about the Gospel that you have. I am working on it, which is why I love to read your posts and responses. I learn a lot.

Aggie fan

Bobby Gilpin said...

Hey Bob, I never realised this was your blog, I am the gentleman from England.

Was great to meet you, I really would be surprised if Keith walker was telling kids to be afraid of you, if you would like me to get you his contact details I would be happy to do so.

Look forward to future posts.

Bobby Gilpin

Bob said...

I would love to interact with Keith Walker. Really, I would relish the chance.
That said, his daughter seemed really sweet. Unless she is a congenital liar, her words, verbatim, were "My daddy says you're not nice to Christians."
If you are 10 years old, tell me what the purpose is of identifying me, and then telling the child I am mean?
Thanks, you know, ask him if he would like to have a discussion in the street, right there with his awesome Manti Man hat, and people to see in real time how mean I am to someone who professes to be a Christian. I am pretty sure that since Mr. Walker goes out of his way to not speak with me and warns his daughter to not speak with me, he might have more than a few reservations of interacting with a Mormon apologist in public. It will be a lot harder to tell amazing stories after the fact about how he just cuts me down and righteously defends his family, like he did his mother from those oh so dangerous missionaries who attended his church service.
Seriously, you have spoken with me, I am a relatively nice guy. But I am pretty knowledgeable and I understand how to deal with public debate, so I am not likely to melt on camera as he reaches for a zinger that shows the irony of the Mormon faith. Anyway, I don't do public debates, so I would want this to just be a conversation. In front of a few hundred anti-Mormon missionaries and the thousand or so Mormons who walk by to see what is happening.

Just a thought.

PS, we had a nice conversation, shoot me some questions here and we can discuss. Thx.

Todd Hovorka said...

I really really want to be the one holding the camera in 2015. =) Unless of course you are intimidated by good looks. You keep promising to take me along.

Bob, you are my hero! Love reading your stuff and having conversations with you that are mostly way over my head. I have learned just to nod a lot in an effort to appear that I have a clue what you are talking about.