Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's Official: I am Arrogant and Conceited. Just Ask Lee Baker.

In 2015 I met Lee Baker at Manti, an ex-Mormon whose main claim to fame is he touts that he was once an LDS bishop.  He has a radio show which introduces him as Bishop Lee Baker.

I will post the video on YouTube of my interaction in Manti with him.  In 2016 I called into his show several times to discuss several topics, and reached the conclusion that Mr. Baker's driving motive is completely polemical and has no interest in truth claims.  I based it the fact that after one call, he edited the call to emphasize certain words I spoke as if they proved his point, something I found to be bad form.  I wrote him a note telling him that, and told him I would cease interacting with him, and we ceased talking and writing to each other.

So you can imagine my surprise that I got a small booklet in the mail a week ago with a page dedicated to me and another LDS scholar, stating:


This book is dedicated to the several Mormon Leaders, Scholars and Teachers listed below, who have arrogantly refused to explain or even provide a single comment specific to the Joseph Smith Jr. translation of the Book of Gensis, Chapter 17.

Their rejection to do so has served as the primary motivation for this uniquely focused study of the personal motives, biblical skills and questionable character of Joseph Smith Jr. and the "translation" Smith wrote between 1830-1833, which was in fact an irrelevant and self-aggrandizing version of The Holy Bible, King James Version.
In Special Acknowledgment of the Arrogance and Conceit of:
Mr. David E. Premont of Olney, Maryland
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Church Education System - Baltimore Seminary and Institute Coordinator
Baltimore, Columbia, Seneca Maryland and Wilmington Delaware Stakes

Mr. Robert B. Vukich of South Jordan, UT
Church Historian, Instructor and Scholar
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (
Well, it's all true.  Except like almost none of it is accurate.  I haven't lived in South Jordan for nearly three years, and he knows it since he has mailed materials to my home in Highland; I am not "a" or "the" Church Historian, and I am certainly not an official representative of  I do have a Utah driver's license, if that makes me an official of the state of Utah, however.

I actually responded in detail to Mr. Baker in this very blog nearly a year ago, on Nov. 24, 2015, having previously called into his show on Nov 22, 2015 and tried to engage him on the subject, to which he responded by cutting off my call. Listen between 32 minutes and 36 minutes on the call record.  BTW, interestingly he has removed the episode from his archive, and you now have to go to Blog Talk Radio archive to get the episode.  He mailed me something, which I probably have if I look hard enough, and then he and I had an email exchange, when on April 28, 2016 I again not only gave him the link to the Joseph Smith Paper's original , I gave him the actual copy of the document showing Joseph Smith's Inspired Translation original dictation, and pointed out that I felt his teachings in JST Genesis 17 amounted to the Jewish equivalent of a Midrash, or an extended explanation of the underlying meaning of a text.  Since Joseph notes that the circumcision on the 8th day was symbolic of accountability for sins beginning at 8 years, he definitely was not saying not to circumcise, since it is specifically stated to circumcise in verse 17 at the age of eight days.

A colleague of mine, Robert Boylan at FairMormon, also addressed this very issue in August 26, 2016 in his Blog, Scriptural Mormonism also responds in detail.

I am not a doctor, but I have had a lot of experience dealing with the elderly, and I studied Gerontology when I was in college and got a minor in it from BYU.  My parents ran senior living foster homes, which included folks with early stage dementia.  I don't write this to be insulting, but to be sympathetic, as I believe Mr. Baker exhibits symptoms of some form of early stage dementia.  He was a man who worked in the intelligence field as an analyst professionally, and now he not only seems unable to connect basic concepts together, he makes assertions about issues which are demonstrably false, such as this where I have not only devoted blog space to his topic, but I have corresponded with him and been on his radio show.  His confrontational nature also is consistent with certain types of dementia, and the alienation of his relationships to his close family members, children and grandchildren, because he apparently refuses to refrain from "preaching the truth" to them, even after they have heard it from him many times and have asked him for the sake of their relationships to declare a truce, is sad.  I could be all wrong, and I hope I am.  In any case, I pray for Mr. Baker.  Insofar as his material pertains to me, he is truly either demented, blessed with the world's worst memory or he is a documented liar.  None of those choices speak well of him.  As is typical of anti-Mormons, which Mr. Baker is, he camps on verse 11 and doesn't bother to read all the way to verse 17, which is all part of the same context.  In my opinion, that is not honest.  But then again, he is the guy who swore and promised he would never return to Manti if I could show him from the Bible where God lied or caused someone to lied intentionally, and after doing so, he failed to keep his word.  So really, what can one expect from someone like that?

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Why Do They Lie? Lee Baker's Radio Deception

I called into an anti-Mormon radio program in Salt Lake today (April 9, 2016) which was discussing the decline of LDS membership, and specifically stating "Why Millions of Mormons are leaving the Church".  So I did some research, and then called to point out that  according to a 2015 PEW article on religious affiliation in the USA, between 2007 and 2014 the LDS decline was at most 20,000 people, an amount the report characterized as negligible by designating it with a "-".  In the same article they showed Evangelical adherents had declined by .8% of the USA population, or some 3-million people, and Protestantism in general was down by 7.8% of its membership.

So I called in, pointed out the real numbers, and then asked why they were not asking the same questions about non-LDS Christian denominations, what people were finding out that was driving people to leave those denominations.  The answer of course is a general religious malaise in the world, and trying to pin it on dirty secrets coming out on the Internet about Mormonism begs the question about the more substantial declines in other groups.

As is typical, Lee Baker can't stay focused on a subject when it starts going badly, so he jumped to the topic of polygamy, and why Joseph Smith did not tell Emma about all of his plural wives.  He and his wife tried to represent that the Church essay on polygamy in Kirtland and Nauvou stated Emma only knew about 4 of his plural wives.  That is a misrepresentation.  She attended four, and she probably knew about more, but she likely did not know about all of them.

I  wanted to address the subject of Joseph Smith marrying other men's wives, the practice of polyandry.  They have repeatedly attacked Joseph for marrying other men's wives, implying he had sex with them for personal gratification.  I pointed out the evidence shows Joseph married about 14 women married to other men; they usually informed their first husbands, who also sometimes attended; there is no evidence of any sexual relations with any of them, but these were the category of dynastic marriages, meaning for eternity to seal families together.

At this point Lee Baker says I am disagreeing with the Church essay, which states in footnote 30 (which he repeated several times) that:
Polyandry, the marriage of one woman to more than one man, typically involves shared financial, residential, and sexual resources, and children are often raised communally.
 He then argued this was clearly stating Joseph had sex with these 14 polyandrous wives based on this footnote.

I have done enough research to know a selective quote out of context when I hear it. I knew the record does not support a physical relationship between Joseph and the Polyandrous wives, so I pushed back saying the statement is not about Joseph Smith's relationship, even though I did not have the essay in front of me at the time.  I have read it before, and I would have remembered such a statement.

Well, before I could respond much further they cut me off.  I looked up the essay to get the context of the quote.  Here it is, I will highlight the part he must have accidentally left off:
Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, 1:421–37. Polyandry, the marriage of one woman to more than one man, typically involves shared financial, residential, and sexual resources, and children are often raised communally. There is no evidence that Joseph Smith’s sealings functioned in this way, and much evidence works against that view.
I can only imagine how one can justify in one's mind such creative editing, and doing it essentially in a face to face conversation.  It is so common among so many anti-Mormons to distort the truth, I don't know what they think.  But it reminds me of the remark from Elder Turley I cited at the beginning of the call:  We don't worry about people studying LDS history, we worry they won't study it enough.

I try to let everyone prove themselves honest or a liar.  Listen to the last 15 minutes of their broadcast, and judge for yourselves.  The radio program should be posted by tomorrow night or Monday for sure.  Let me know what you think.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

LDS vs Other Views on Predestination/Election

I listen to a lot of podcasts by Calvinists of various flavors, some Arminians and some "Traditionalists".  For the sake of brevity of explanations, Calvinists, named for 16th Century Reformer John Calvin, hold that God only loves some people enough to save them, but he is the source of all actions and he dictates the Will of all men to them.  They are typically known by the acrostic TULIP, or the 5-points of Calvinism.  Frankly, it is a monsterous philosophical system, which has a god nothing like Jesus of the Bible, and can find no historical support earlier than Augustine of Hippo in the 5th Century.
Arminians hold many views similar to Calvinists in many areas, but they believe Man does have relative free will.  This results in a situation of God looking down the corridors of time to see who will chose to accept the Gospel message, and so he then "Elects" them.  This drives Calvinists crazy, because they think if anyone has free will, there is a chance they could frustrate the plan of God, and prevent his purposes.  This is also called Semi-Pelagianism, after the 4th Century monk, Pelagius.  Pelagius is accused of believing humans were actually completely responsible for accepting the Gospel, and that humans once doing so could live a perfect life without the need of God's further grace.  At least he is accused of that.  Since he was considered heretical, most of his works were destroyed, so we mostly have information from his critics.  What writings of his survive seem to be somewhat different, and historically he doesn't seem to be viewed in quite this light.
Lastly, there is the traditional Baptist view, wherein man is free to choose, but after he chooses it is impossible to lose your salvation.  God knows who will join accept the Gospel, but he puts the message out to everyone, and everyone actually has a chance of accepting it.

Candidly, it is beyond me how these three views can say the difference between a Calvinist God, who is the one who motivates and decrees the rape of children, ethnic cleansing the the unmerited damnation of his children for no reason other than his own good "pleasure" to give himself "Glory"; and the traditional view's God who actually is not responsible for evil actions, but actually wants all of his children saved; how is it these two views are viewed as "minor" differences within their view of the Christian faith?

The more I research these views, the sicker I find Calvinism to be, and the more hypocritical I find the non-Calvinists for not calling this monster philosophy for the evil it is.

Here are some actual quotes from leading Calvinists, but I will cite a few.  I must thank the website I got these from for putting so many illustrations in a single place:

John Calvin:

Hence we maintain that, by his providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.[1]
 [The question must be asked—how are men held responsible for sinful choices that flow out of wills that are “governed as to move exactly in the course which God has destined?”]
 Men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on anything but what he has previously decreed with himself, and brings to pass by his secret direction.[2]
[In Calvinism God is the logical origin and thus author of every sinful thought or choice men make. How else to explain Calvinism’s teaching that all our decreed decisions and deliberations are initiated by the “secret instigation of God” that he infallibly “brings to pass by his secret direction?”]
The hand of God rules the interior affections no less than it superintends external actions; nor would God have effected by the hand of man what he decreed, unless he worked in their hearts to make them will before they acted.[3]
[Calvinists are well-known for redefining free-will as being “free to act in accordance with our strongest desires.” However what they leave out is the pivotal point that God has also causally predetermined which desires act upon our wills. Here Calvin admits that for God to achieve a predestined, external action in a person, he must effectively “work in their hearts to make them will before they act.”]
The will of God is the chief and principal cause of all things.[4]

James White:

Calvinist theologian James White, in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson, was asked, “When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” To which Mr. White replied… “Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created it without a purpose… and God is responsible for the creation of despair… If He didn‟t [decree child rape] then that rape is an element of meaningless evil that has no purpose.”[11]

Can it be any more clear!!  But this is not the worst.

John Piper:

“So when I say that everything that exists — including evil — is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly, I mean that, one way or the other, God sees to it that all things serve to glorify his Son.”[15]
J.I. Packer:
God… orders and controls all things, human actions among them…He [also] holds every man responsible for the choices he makes and the courses of action he pursues… Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent. To our finite minds, of course, the thing is inexplicable.[18]

R.C. Sproul Jr.

God wills all things that come to pass…God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that God created sin.”[19]

Mark Talbot and John Piper:

“God brings about all things in accordance with his will. It isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those that love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects… This includes God’s having even brought about the Nazi’s brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child.” [27]
 So Mormons believe in Free Will for people and we don't believe in the Trinity like non-LDS Christians, but apparently that is worse than believing God is somehow glorified in child rape, fatalistically decreeing all human evil, and sending his children into endless torment in hell for no personal cause WHATSOEVER.  So I am not all that concerned about sucking up to people that tolerate such blasphemy or advocate it.  If the non-Calvinists were actually true to their espoused convictions, they would call a spade a spade and
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues (Rev 18:4).
My next post will detail the text of Romans, especially chapters 8-9, which is where Calvinists supposedly take most of their support for God randomly deciding who should be saved or damned.