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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The blasphemous foundations of Mormonism

Mormonism is a popular subject right now, not only because a popular presidential candidate named Mitt Romney is a Mormon, but most especially because the Mormon church has a major internet campaign going to promote Mormonism. More and more advertisements (especially on Google and major social networking sites) are promoting a church that appears welcoming and offers a very family friendly environment. Sadly, many will be deceived by Mormonism's glitter, but a semi-informed individual will not be caught off guard. The purpose of this post is to point out serious problems within Mormon theology and practice. Some of these you might have seen before, while others you might not have seen. The errors in Mormonism easily rival the errors of Jehovah's Witnesses.


Here are the various subjects I'd like to touch upon:
  • Mormonism has no theological foundation
While Mormonism does cover surface level issues regarding theological subjects such as the nature of God, they have no scholarly "seminary level" type theology. Their notion of "seminary" is essentially a missionary training program on how to evangelize door-to-door which is taught to young men during their middle-school and high-school years. Beyond that, there is no such thing as a "Degree in Theology" in Mormonism, because to them the Mormon Faith is a set of beliefs that one must simply accept but not worry about questioning or examining them for consistency. I don't mean to sound offensive, but Mormons are very ignorant  in regards to advanced and critical thinking when it comes to theological matters.
  • Mormonism is essentially a cultural movement
The origins and growth of Mormonism are the epitome of a "Made in America" type religion. It's about a lowly American believer who just happens to find favor with God, and being so blessed he receives various revelations and other such special treatment and calls others to follow him. Those who end up following are those of the 'blessed white race', the true fulfillment of their American Protestant forefathers. It really only works in America, and that's particularly why it's on the decline and eventual disintegration within 100 years. As America continues to shift into a multicultural landscape (particularly the influx of Mexicans into Utah), the religion will have no cultural basis to survive.
  • Mormonism employs various means of deception and lies to push it's agenda
Those who know a little bit about Mormonism know that there are certain doctrinal subjects that you don't talk about around non-Mormons, and that you aren't supposed to tell potential converts until after they convert. This is particularly apparent in the way they interact with non-Mormons in the public square, giving the impression the are "Christians, just like all you guys," while officially and in secret they despise all non-Mormon religions as tools of Satan. Since Mormonism is founded upon the principle that all of Christendom went apostate and thus required God to elect a 'rebuilder' named Joseph Smith, they must necessarily teach all Catholics and Protestants are greatly deceived and practicing false Christianity. One famous example of their "Public Relations" deception campaign is their YouTube video "Why Mormons Build Temples," seen by millions of non-Mormons. The most striking act of deception in that movie is that they interview a man dressed up as a Catholic priest/bishop who heaps all these praises on Mormonism, giving the impression Mormonism is legitimate theologically and historically. In reality, that guy is a very liberal Lutheran, who of course is going to praise a false religion and denigrate Christianity, but the millions of viewers don't know that. In reality, that guy has no business giving his "expert insight" on an official Mormon PR video, and the only reason why they did it was to deceive. Any respectable Christian historian would rightly point out the historical and theological errors in Mormonism, which is why the didn't include such "interviews".

Here are some other examples of their deceptive Public Relations schemes:
SALT LAKE CITY 5 September 2008
Values : The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of New Testament Christianity as taught by Jesus and His apostles. It is not Protestant, evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox. Nevertheless, the basic values of morality, civility and family espoused by the Church are similar to those of most other Christian faiths. Church members find refuge from the uncertainties of the world in the gospel message of hope and happiness. The reality that life has divine purpose, that God cares for each individual and that everyone has the capacity for improvement through correct choices is a central theme of Mormon thought.
SALT LAKE CITY 19 August 2008
Most first-time visitors to a Mormon church building comment on the number of rooms. Many expect to find one large interior space, such as in many other Christian denominations’ buildings of worship. 

22 April 2011 Salt Lake City
Latter-day Saints Join With the Rest of the Christian World in Celebrating Easter
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joins with the rest of the Christian world this week in celebrating Easter and remembering the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

26 October 2009 - SALT LAKE CITY
What You Will Find When You Step Inside a Mormon Chapel
Most first-time visitors to a Mormon church building comment on the number of rooms. Many expect to find one large interior space, such as in many other Christian denominations’ buildings of worship.
...
“The building was so simple,” said Sandra Yeo after visiting for the first time one of the Church’s meetinghouses in her native England.
“There were no crosses, no murals, no statues or icons of any kind as far as I could see. I had never been in a Christian church that didn’t have that sort of thing. I found the simplicity very appealing.”
For Latter-day Saints, the church meetinghouse is a hub of religious and social life. The most important part of the week, though, is the hour-long sacrament meeting. This takes place on Sunday and is similar to other Christian worship services.
Notice the repeated references to "other Christians," speaking of Protestants and Catholics. As noted earlier, the impression that is given off is that Mormonism is "just another Christian denomination," designed to make Protestants and Catholics let their guard down.

One final example of Mormonisms lies and deception is that Mormons like Mitt Romney ran for governor in 2002 on a very pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality platform to get into power. If Mormonism really condemned these things, it would have publicly reprimanded Romney, but instead he remained in ultra good standing in the Mormon church. This is not the same as unfaithful Catholic politicians, for they are criticized, even in spite of their bold and defiant disobedience.
  • Mormonism is founded upon the teaching that the early Church went completely apostate after the Apostles and that Joseph Smith restored that Church 1800 years later.
Obviously, if the Church that Jesus established went completely apostate, then the Mormon's have a great deal of credibility on their side. Of course, a great apostasy doesn't automatically prove Mormonism is true, but it sure helps their claim. That said, to believe in a great apostasy necessarily requires that you believe in a Jesus who was a great failure: a Savior that was able to defeat death but wasn't able to preserve His Church for more than a few decades before Satan was victorious. That alone should tell you the "Great Apostasy" teaching cannot be true. But Mormons are forced to admit as much, and they do so gladly. The funny thing is, their evidence for this gigantic claim is laughable, and explains why they discourage in-depth discussion on the subject. For example, they don't place any date on the Great Apostasy, and instead leave speculation open from anywhere within the first few centuries. They refuse to specify any specific time for obvious reasons: if they set the date too close to the Apostles, it means the Apostles couldn't even make genuine first generation converts, which is clearly unacceptable, but if they set a date too far from the Apostles, they have to explain the consistent testimony of the Early Church Fathers covering a period before and after the alleged Great Apostasy. Having totally flopped on the historical and logical options, the Mormons turn to some desperate appeals to Biblical warnings about falling away. However, the closest the Bible comes is partial apostasy, with certain small groups falling away, but never a full-scale apostasy which is required by the Mormons in order to restore it. And to add insult to injury, they're forced to claim there was no Church or even true Christians on earth for 1800 years, which fits right into the "Made in America" religious mindset. For a very good Catholic apologetics article on this subject, see "In Search of the Great Apostasy".
  • Mormonism holds the King James Version of the Bible to be the most accurate and their official translation.
This is one of the more silly and unprofessional claims the Mormons make, fitting perfectly within their "Made in America" image and total lack of theological sophistication. This bizarre claim entails that not only were apostates able to preserve the Bible throughout the "Great Apostasy," but that somehow these apostates were able to come up with the best translation available! Mormonism doesn't have any regard for learning Greek or the Greek text, so they're not even open to seeing the King James Version has it's own flaws. Just as important is the fact Mormons publicly express great reverence for the (KJV) Bible, but in fact they officially teach the Bible as we all know it today (including the KJV) is full of errors and thus not that trustworthy and that the Book of Mormon is the only book free of errors and to be preferred over the Bible:
We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. As Joseph Smith wrote, “Many important points touching the salvation of men … had been taken from the Bible, or [had been] lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 10).
We also believe that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel. Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Book of Mormon—Introduction).
This is another famous 'bait-and-switch' deception of the Mormon marketing and public-relations campaign.
  • Mormons hold the Book of Mormon and other newly Revealed Writings as divinely inspired scriptures despite the errors and problems these scriptures contain.
The history of the Book of Mormon is full of outrageous and problematic claims, too many to discuss here. There is a famous South Park Episode titled "All About Mormons" (not that I recommend South Park at all) that has been totally banned on YouTube because of the Mormons who have complained about it. While most would expect such a source to blatantly misrepresent Mormonism, the writers knew that just presenting the actual Mormon history would provide it's own humor. And it did. Joseph Smith allegedly found Gold Plates which God had preserved the Book of Mormon on in an ancient language, from which Smith allegedly translated the Book of Mormon from, yet he never showed these plates to the public. This is not new news, but important to mention. On top of that, when he was doing the translating, he didn't even show his scribe the plates, and instead he had the plates in a tall hat which he looked inside with two magic translator rocks and even hid behind a curtain as he orally spoke the correct translation to his scribe. Incredible, simply incredible. And when the scribe's wife "accidentally lost" the written manuscript and challenged Smith to make a new exact copy to prove he really had plates, Smith said God was mad at that and instead wanted Smith to use different Gold Plates with a similar but different version of the Book of Mormon! This is stuff that totally casts a dark shadow upon the history of the Book of Mormon.

Other parts of the Book of Mormon, notably their Scriptures called The Pearl of Great Price, has blatant plagiarism of the Bible, yet it's held as sacred Scripture. In Moses Chapter 2-3, it's a directly plagiarism of Genesis 1-2; then in Abraham Chapter 4, it plagiarizes Gensis 1 again, but this time replaces all the reference to "God" in the singular to "Gods" in pluaral, revealing their true polythestic blasphemy:
1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.
2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.
5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night.
The story continues, replacing "God" for "Gods" throughout. Is this not blasphemy or what? And this is something most Christians are totally unaware of. 
  • Mormons officially teach abortion is allowed.
Many Protestants believe abortion is acceptable, at least under certain circumstances (e.g. rape), but most don't know that Mormons teach abortion is allowed under certain circumstances as well. Most people think Mormons are strongly pro-life and pro-family, and while this is true to some extent, it's ultimately false because Mormons believe in polygamy, divorce, and abortion (among other moral errors). Here is key passage from the official Mormon stand on Abortion:
Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.
The True Church of Christ would never justify such insane 'logic', which is straight from the lies of Satan. This is one example of a deceived and false group, for they don't have the consistency to realize that if abortion is murder, then murder can never be allowed, no exceptions. To say you can murder only if the child is from rape or has defects is to none the less have the "church" and prayer "confirm" the sin of murder as acceptable.
  • The Mormons reject many key Christian teachings on the nature of God and creation.
One of the biggest examples of Mormons deceiving the public is the hush-hush attitude they take in regards to Joseph Smith's famous Mr. Follet Sermon, which is available on the LDS website. The reader has to realize, Smith is seen in such high regards as a prophet, that everything he says is gold. A good Mormon can never say Smith made a mistake, without making them a bad Mormon very quickly and forfeiting their heavenly rewards. Thus, while they try to hide such teachings of Smith, they secretly praise them and consider them pure gold. Here are some key quotes from the Mr Follet Sermon that Joseph Smith gave in honor of his good friend:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.

We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These ideas are incomprehensible to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.

The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it you do not believe the Bible. The scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it.

Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.

What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out His kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to My Father, so that He may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt Him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take His place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of His Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all His children. It is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the gospel, about which so much hath been said.

The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time.

Now, I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation, say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God, and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost; they account it blasphemy in any one to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him.

You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing, and they will answer, "Doesn't the Bible say he created the world?" And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos—chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end.

I have another subject to dwell upon, which is calculated to exalt man; but it is impossible for me to say much on this subject. I shall therefore just touch upon it, for time will not permit me to say all. It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead—namely, the soul—the mind of man —the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so; and if you don't believe me, it will not make the truth without effect. I will make a man appear a fool before I get through; if he does not believe it. I am going to tell of things more noble.

I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. ... There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven.

All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the housetops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.

The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge.  
The contention in heaven was—Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he would save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him.

Look at these absolute blasphemies Smith makes against Christianity: many gods, The Father was once a man like us, godhood is an 'eternal progression', creation was made out of eternally existing matter that could never be created or destroyed, that our souls existed from eternity, and that Jesus and Satan were 'spirit brothers' who got into an argument about who could save mankind. Utter blasphemy. If only this kind of stuff were being published on the front pages, how quickly Mormonism would be exposed rather than being allowed to fester.


There are many more abominable and false teachings that Mormonism is founded upon, but this is enough for now.

19 comments:

scotju said...

My wife and I were just in Salt Lake City attending a meeting of a geneological society I belong to. The Mormon Church folks gave us a tour of the Temple Square and museums near it that was a low year evangelization effort. Needless to say, the less attractive side of the LDS wasn't presented on the tour! The emphasis of the tour was on the importance of family in the Mormon faith. No actual Mormon doctrines were presented on the tour, just 'feel good' stuff that would leave a very good image of the LDS in your mind.

Jae said...

All the stuffs the Mormons asserted like, the early American Indians in North America were direct descendants from the Jews or the supposed "mormon gospels in gold plates" given to their self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Smith are nowhere to be found in history nor supported by any scientific evidence whatsoever. The American Indians' human DNA structure is nowhere near the Jewish bloodline, pathetic just pure fantasy, sadly people believe this hogwash.

CD-Host said...

Nick --

in Mormonism, because to them the Mormon Faith is a set of beliefs that one must simply accept but not worry about questioning or examining them for consistency. I don't mean to sound offensive, but Mormons are very ignorant in regards to advanced and critical thinking when it comes to theological matters.

I hate to keep disagreeing with you, but I don't think they are all that inconsistent. Something like McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine" is a passable systematic theology. There are areas where I think Mormon culture is off, but all told I think their views are fairly consistent. I'm completely ignorant of the Catholic critique of Mormonism. But in general most accustations that Evangelical Protestants make about them are:

a) Equally true of Protestantism, sometimes relative to Catholicism.
b) Areas where Mormons are in agreement with Catholics, though frequently using incorrect terminology.

BTW did you mean to delete your comment on the other thread?

Nick said...

CD,

The other comment got caught in the spam filter; it's out now.

They are inconsistent in so far as analyzing their doctrines in depth result in logical absurdities. They are somewhat consistent in regards to holding certain doctrines that relate to others.

For example, their view of god is nonsense in so far as there is no ultimate Deity, only an eternal progression, which this earth's Father-God is in the process of now. And to compound that absurdity, they believe all creation is also eternal in its 'elemental' form, and only 'organized' by god(s) to what we know as "Creation".

It is a religion that naturally looks down on higher thinking, particularly in the fields of philosophy and theology, because it would result in an intellectually indefensible situation.

CD-Host said...

-- For example, their view of god is nonsense in so far as there is no ultimate Deity, only an eternal progression,

OK and how does that create nonsense or a contradiction?

-- which this earth's Father-God is in the process of now. And to compound that absurdity, they believe all creation is also eternal in its 'elemental' form, and only 'organized' by god(s) to what we know as "Creation".

Yes I've read Orson Pratt's Mormon Materialism. I agree Mormonism believes in eternal matter. Again how is this a contradiction?

It seems to me that the eternal universe... is essentially Brahman, with Elohim being what the Hindus would call a great God but not an ultimate God; like Vishnu. Where is the contradiction?

Nick said...

It also appears that McConkie's Mormon Doctrine 'textbook' has been banned from Mormon bookstores and has a generally troubled history with LDS leaders having a negative view of it.

In reality, it seems it was too honest about doctrines which must be kept hidden from the public.

Nick said...

--Having a view of "God" that really isn't Almighty is nonsense. There cannot be omnipotence if one is eternally in progression of that goal.


--Believing that matter is eternal ascribes the same or greater power to matter than to a man-god that is eternally progressing. In other words, it's hard to speak of an all powerful God when there is 'Matter' that is just as eternal and thus subjects/constrains "god".

This is why any rejection of creation ex nihilo results in a form of pantheism because matter either is god(s) or exists eternally alongside him/them.

CD-Host said...

Having a view of "God" that really isn't Almighty is nonsense. There cannot be omnipotence if one is eternally in progression of that goal.

OK thank you for being specific. First off it is important to understand the Mormon God is not omnipotent in the Christian sense at all. He is bound by universal rules that pre-exist him. Rather generally he is seen as progressing in two ways:

a) The sphere in which he is powerful. I.E. the territory under his control grows.

b) The degree of power he has within his sphere grows.

Mormons get around the paradox you are seeing by weakening the definition of omnipotence to essentially mean "extremely powerful, all powerful from man's perspective within his sphere".

And this addresses your comments about pre-existent matter. To use an analogy, Elohim is in Mormon theology like a very powerful wizard who knows a lot of cool spells. He knows so many spells that he can do whatever he wants. Howerver, the actual nature of those spells is not something within his power to change.

I'd agree that its a bit iffy to call this omnipotent. Highly-potent might be a better term. But I don't see this as self contradictory in anyway.

This is why any rejection of creation ex nihilo results in a form of pantheism because matter either is god(s) or exists eternally alongside him/them.

The Mormon God is not eternal in the same sense that matter is.

It also appears that McConkie's Mormon Doctrine 'textbook' has been banned from Mormon bookstores...In reality, it seems it was too honest about doctrines which must be kept hidden from the public.

It has been allowed to go out of print. And I think that is a huge pity. But that is not to say it is banned or anything like that. Until a few years ago there were frequent references to it in Gospel Principles (standard curriculum for children).

I think that in general the church in an official way is turning into mush. But if you go to the BYU website or Mormon.org you can find things like the entire Journal of Discourse so I don't think it is fair to accuse the church of hiding older doctrine.

What I do think is fair is to say that Mormonism really has 3 wings:

Classical mormonism -- King Follet style mormonism in Mormon Doctrine,.

Neo-orthodox -- An attempt to reframe Mormonism as a form of evangelical Christianity.

Cultural mormonism -- Non theological and heavily focused on behavior, like canning.

And what the church is doing right now is trying to prevent these 3 wings from tearing the church apart. Essentially they are repeating the tensions that led to the Fundamentalist / Modernist controversy a century ago in American Protestantism though different issues are on the table.

This is a Catholic blog. The church has many times done the same thing, where it has worked hard to prevent schism. Frequently divisive issues will disappear if you can prevent the split from happening for a generation or two.

Nick said...

Hello CD,

I agree that Mormons don't believe in omnipotence and instead "redefine" from "all powerful" to rather "more powerful" than regular beings. But even Reason alone tells us there must be an all powerful being, and anything less than this is creature. For the Mormons, they don't think that far ahead. Instead they have an infinite regression of "progressing" creature-gods within an eternally existing world of eternal-matter.

I disagree with your comparison between tensions in the Church with tensions in Mormonism. The Mormon tensions are not tensions in the proper sense, but rather three paths of personal preference. None of those 3 paths reflects an intellectually or theologically robust position.

CD-Host said...

But even Reason alone tells us there must be an all powerful being, and anything less than this is creature.

You do know how many billions of people would disagree with you on this? In an interfaith dialogue I don't see how you can assert that as a given. As for being a creature.... the Mormon God pre-exists his sphere he does not pre-exist all spheres. So in some sense he is sort of in-between creature and creator.

For the Mormons, they don't think that far ahead.... None of those 3 paths reflects an intellectually or theologically robust position.

You keep asserting stuff like this, I don't see it. In a debate about whether Mormonism is intellectual coherent you can't keep assuming it is not. That's the point in question.

Nick said...

CD,

Billions of people disagreeing with me doesn't mean they're doing so on a principled basis. Most people, as I'm sure you'd admit, don't properly use the gift of reason. And to compound this, the deeper in error and sin someone is, the harder it is to use right reason, so the deeper into a false religion a group of people are, the harder it will be.

Such a notion that there must be a single omnipotent God is based on the surest Reasoning. The thing about omnipotence is that you're stuck with two 'extremes', either a single omnipotent God, or no omnipotence at all. The problem with the latter is that it leaves the issue of creation in a vacuum, making it eternal but then this non-personal matter has no basis why it came together in the first place, and always forcing you to go in the direction of pantheism.

In the case of the mormon infinite regression, how does Reason explain an endless 'man-to-god' progression? It cannot. It can only be asserted. But if that's their founding assertion, then Reason has no place. Where did the first man come from in order to progress?

Trust me on this, and I mean no offense, but Mormons are anti-intellectual by the nature of their religion.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Mormonism employs various means of deception and lies to push it's agenda.

Late to the show here, but I'd like to confirm this remark. The last time the LDS missionaries showed up at my doorstep, I told them that I wasn't interested in converting because I am a happy Catholic. They assured me that they didn't want me to convert!!!

I pointed out the fact that they were missionaries, and that of *course* they wanted me to convert, and they at last conceded the point.

A bit of research showed that LDS missionaries are taught to resort to just this kind of lying. It was not merely an incident associated with the missionaries who visited me (as though it was nothing more than a personal error on their part). They are *trained* to lie.

RdP

CD-Host said...

Nick --

Another lost comment from long ago.

Time is a property of creation that can be physically demonstrated at this point. Getting mathematical for a moment a being traveling faster than the speed of light relative to one frame is traveling backwards in time relative to another. So if God can move between places then he can move between times. There is literally no paradox once you have beings traveling backwards in time with circles of creation.

Something like:

A is B's heavenly father.
B is C's heavenly father.
C is A's heavenly father.

Would certainly be possible if one supposed a God capable of traveling faster than the speed of light. As for going in the direction of pantheism, Mormonism is semi-pantheistic by admission.

Anyway I don't see Mormons as anti intellectual. Orson Pratt was a frequent writer on these very topics and I'd consider him a solid intellectual (he's no Augustine but he is comparable to any good theology professor). Hugh Nibley (one of their better apologists) is extremely well read. Bruce McConkie put them well on their way to a systematic theology.

I think you are assuming a greater degree of agreement between Catholicism and Mormonism on core philosophical issues than exists and then using this to discredit Mormonism as obviously contradictory. I think if you took Mormonism on its own terms there is quite a bit that is interesting... sort of a westernized / Christianized Hinduism.

Nick said...

Hi CD,

I would agree that time is a property of creation, but I either don't understand or don't buy the concept of time travel. First of all, being a function of creation would mean God was outside of time, and thus God moving between times to "father" a child is nonsense. Also, time is a tricky thing to define/measure in that the future doesn't yet exist and the past no longer exists.

If Mormonism admits it is semi-patheistic, then my case is proven.

I'd be interested in seeing what Pratt and others have to say. I don't have high expectations for what they will say, particularly because I've seen no evidence that such critical thinking is promoted by LDS theology in any capacity.

CD-Host said...

I would agree that time is a property of creation, but I either don't understand or don't buy the concept of time travel.

I suspect don't understand. You are trying to use an idea that space and time are distinct, that is that "space time" is flat. That is demonstrably false. Your experience of when events happened is determined by your motion. Two people moving in different ways will both be able to create a fully consistent history of the universe, which disagree.

And in particular if you were able to accelerate to faster than the speed of light events which you consider "in the past" would be accessible to you. You could right now be looking at your future self and your future self and visa versa.

And this leads to the problem that one can have one of 3 opinions about an incarnate divine being:

a) It is limited to motion at the speed of light. It particular no "teleporting" or instant travel.

b) It cannot be observed

c) Relative to a chosen frame it can go back in time.

You can call that nonsense, but the math for special relativity isn't more than high school algebra and the experimental evidence is abundant.


As for Pratt, link.

Nick said...

I don't see your "demonstrably false" proof. Space and Time are distinct, hence the different Units associated with them.

CD-Host said...

I don't see your "demonstrably false" proof. Space and Time are distinct, hence the different Units associated with them.

OK you are now rejecting special relativity. That's what I thought. The assertion I'm going to make is that if you were traveling close to the speed of light you would experience a universe that is objectively much smaller and would perceive clocks that weren't moving (relative to say this galaxy) as running incredibly slowly. Conversely someone observing you would see your dimensions shift and would think you were changing at a remarkably slow speed.

This is a great explication from Carl Sagan video.

Just focusing on one aspect, there are many tests of time dilation i.e. a clock moving quickly relative to me will in my frame be "running slower". That is a person's experience of when things occurred is dependent on their motion:

Ives and Stilwell (1938, 1941) we can create a "doppler effect" for light rays.

Russ and Hall(1941) radioactive decay of moving particles (relative to a still frame) happens more slowly than still particles.

Hafele and Keating in 1971 actually put an atomic clock aboard an airplane and directly witnessed this effect. Which is today used in all GPSes.

As an aside in the Pound Rebka experiment time dilation induced by gravity was confirmed. I.E. the more gravity I'm experiencing the faster I experience events in the universe occurring.

So no, no, no. Time and space are not separate nor are they absolute nor if you want to be precisely can they have genuinely different units associated with them. The only reason day to day you don't notice that space is curved and not flat is that you only travel very slowly and only work with other things moving very slowly (where slowly means as a percentage of the speed of light). That would not hold true at all of a god instantly traveling, i.e. traveling faster than the speed of light.

Nick said...

I still don't see how time is not still ticking onward, regardless of how slow you're perceiving it. So taking that movie you posted, time elapsed for both brothers. And they were both subject to the same 'constraints' of space (there had to be roads existing for the motorcycle to travel).

As for speaking of the speed of light, if there are no units attached to it, namely meters per second, it would be a philosophical concept rather than unit of measurement. What is this new space-time Unit I need to be thinking in?

From there, to talk of a god "traveling" faster than light, that invalidates the whole point of using the speed of light as the limit and turns it into a relative speed.

CD-Host said...

I still don't see how time is not still ticking onward, regardless of how slow you're perceiving it

As he says at the very start of the video, "the notion of time independent of your relative motion has to give way". Palo and Vinchenso don't just perceive time differently with one being right and one being wrong, time is actually different. They both have a perfectly consistent physics in which events happened at different times. Palo as much an Vinchenso can experienced time "ticking away" they just totally disagree about when things happened. Did that girl talking to Palo stay near the benches for a few seconds or for a few hours? Palo says a few seconds, Vinchenso says a few hours and both are right. Vinchenso measures Palo's scooter as being shrunk from front to back, this isn't an illusion relative to Vinchenso Palo's scooter has really shrunk.

There is no absolute time ticking away, just a time in Vinchenso's frame and one in Palo's.

As for speaking of the speed of light, if there are no units attached to it, namely meters per second, it would be a philosophical concept rather than unit of measurement. What is this new space-time Unit I need to be thinking in?

The speed of light is absolute in all frames. That's what causes the distortion. Palo's time and distance distortion (relative to Vinchenso) are precisely the correct distortions to maintain an absolute speed of light even while Palo is moving.

For example if the speed of light were 40 mph, and you were in your car doing 30 mph north for you to perceive the speed of light as still being 40mph in a northernly direction you car would would need to shrink to 1/2 its size north south and time would be going twice as slowly. The effect is you would see the 10mph light moving away from you 4x as fast and still measure it at 40mph.

Your destination, assuming it were due North of you would appear only 1/2 as far away as it did when you were still. And that BTW is how you can keep accelerating in your frame, there is no distinction between moving faster and shrinking the distance in your direction of motion.

From there, to talk of a god "traveling" faster than light, that invalidates the whole point of using the speed of light as the limit and turns it into a relative speed.

That's the issue... The math still works fine. It is just that time distortion relative to some frames becomes negative. Assuming the right angles, Palo from his perspective takes off in the scooter faster than the speed of light and throws a ball at Vinchenso traveling faster than the speed of light for him to catch. Vinchenso in his frame measures the ball as flying from the wall behind him and into Palo's hand. He watches the throwing motion in reverse. He is watching effects occur before causes. And again this is not an illusion, these things relative to Vinchenso are really happening in this order.

Now one can obviously disbelieve in backwards time travel, but that also is a disbelief in faster than light travel. That is gods cannot teleport but are bound by space time. Mormons like other Christians don't believe their God is limited to 300000m/s in his speed and hence effects can precede causes.

As an aside, I actually believe that there is pretty good evidence for particles traveling faster than the speed of light so I don't think Mormons are totally off base here.

As an aside when I was an evangelical I essentially believed this as well. Because God is aware of all of space he must be aware of all of time, so there was no "now" for God. Further God wouldn't be subject to entropy. All of time and all of space was laid like a tapestry and while we perceived events as occurring in sequence God did not. We experience cause and effect, and God is aware of perception even though he does not. I actually find the idea of a God in time to be a limited God.