Monday, July 28, 2008

Should we publish COV every 4 weeks?

There are only two entries this time, one from Gunner and one from myself.

It's possible some people are on holiday, so perhaps we should keep it every two weeks? Or would you be happier with every four weeks? Perhaps the 1st Sunday in every month? Please let me know what you think about this.

Firstly a welcome return to Gunner, the founder of this particular feast! (Charles Dickens reference)

I'm back to blogging more on my religious blog so here goes.


Thanks, Gunner! Here is my contribution. An response to someone who refuses to accept that the fundamentalist Mormons are Mormons.

Are you CERTAIN about that, David?

A Mormon called David left this comment on my blog:

"Yes but the major difference between the Church and the sect is that polygamy was revoked in 1890 and the FLDS dissented and chose not to follow the new prophecies. So, no, we're not the same church because they left. They are not Mormons."

David, they follow the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Therefore why are they not Mormons?

Also, I would have to challenge you on your claim that polygamy was revoked in 1890.

It was taught when I was a Mormon that polygamy had only been suspended by the 1980 Manifesto and that it would be reintroduced "in the fullness of time." Along with animal sacrifices in the Mormon temples, another teaching that I found somewhat batty, to be honest.

Monday, July 14, 2008

COV Sunday 13 July

Welcome to this issue of COV. We start off with a welcome return from Sinister Porpoise
"As human beings we often make poorly conceived arguments on issues we feel strongly on. The commenter from the Vanessa Honda pohotography blog is one such example when she claims that children will suffer as a result of same-sex marriages. She also makes a historically inaccurate statement that the idea of viewing marriages as a social contract is a new one."

Now on to a contribution from Blog Happens
Deeper Thoughts
"Tomorrow is Emma's birthday. We're having a small shingdig with her buddies and my family. The Evil Sister is coming over too - we're making an attempt at amends - wish me luck!Want to hear a sad story about that sister? She's a super Mormon. Has four kids."
(Matt: It is a sad story. Made so by Mormonism, I fear…)
Now South Bay Soliloquies
A story of 5k fuelled by bananas and Nutella!
My official time was 37:25. That's really good for me.I ran with a friend from work and his daughter. If I didn't run with them I think my time would have been a lot slower.
And lastly, my post
A threat to the world’s media from the Mormon Church!
Apparently some Mormons do not see this as a threat to the media. As I pointed out, as a journalist for some 30 years, I know a threat when I see one!)

A longer comment

Your blog only accepts 300 words and my answer was 3x that long. So here my is comment on your previous blog.

Matt, you have brought up some interesting points with regard to the Aaron/tithing issue. The one point I would like to address is about self esteem within the church.

The MLM business system in a way relates to the way the church is governed, which is the Prophet or other leaders at the top, filtering down to the members at a lower level. If you work at keeping the commandments or following the leaders, then you are conforming and adding to the strength of the church. The MLM system is basically the same thing.

You buy into a product that has a social network and you become one of the group. This group mentality derives its power through convincing other people of its superiority. I wander if the church would be as popular today if it had started in this century rather than in the 1800s?

The only reason the church has become so powerful is the members that contribute to its upkeep. Any business that started out 178 years ago and is still flourishing today has got to have some amazing business strategies.

People generally buy into ideas that promise a better way of life, if they are unable to figure things out in their own lives. Imagine having 13 million (not sure of those exact figures) people doing the same thing.

Pay your tithing and you will be blessed. The church relates so many stories about the positive aspects of this principle, yet when you experience loss of income yourself and ask the church for support, you begin to understand how the church really works. We want your money, but no you can't have our money, you must go and earn it yourself. There are no dividends paid to members. At the very most you could hope for is a couple of weeks food and rent. Other than that you have to fend for yourself. So where does that leave you?

You begin to question yourself as to whether you have conformed to an ideology that only exists in some peoples mind, because they only want to look at the bright side of things, and deny the negative side of life altogether? Or as some leaders are quick to point out that you are suffering financially because you are not living the laws of the church.

If you were living the 10 commandments and in the case of Mormonism another 10 more commandments, you would surely be blessed. The doctrine isn't wrong, you are wrong they are quick to point out. Does this help your self esteem? I think not.

Realistically no person on this earth can live all the church laws all the time, but only some of the laws, some of the time. So believing you have no money because you are not living the laws of God and laws of Mormonism is silly and practically impossible.

As Mormons you are expected to not only pay 10% of your tithing usually on the gross income, but you are also expected to pay into the fast offering, missionary fund, humanitarian fund and temple building fund also.

This is way above what it says in the bible that Jesus said we had to pay. However, we could also be misled, believing what 250 quarreling Christians Bishops decided to included in the bible in the first place. This whole thing could have been a hoax to start off with, and in reality the bible could have actually put words into Jesus' mouth.

My premise is that we should follow our own head and heart and not follow the crowds, not matter how convincing they may sound. Any organization that takes your money, and promises you spiritual salvation when you are lacking physical needs is ways off the mark. Fear is used as a weapon to get the members to empty their pockets when they themselves need the money.

The problem with the church is that it does not educate its members as to becoming self empowered. The church needs the members, and their money to run the organization. It preaches honesty, but when some members mistakenly paid tithing, is the church honest enough to refund the tithing? In my personal experience this is definitely, "No". So I question, why does the church not live by its own rules and commandments?

In my opinion, the church uses feel good examples when you pay tithing, to build up your self esteem to get you to pay tithing on the basis that you will be blessed. When you question the subconscious indoctrination, it is no longer a truth but instead you have learned to conform to something more powerful than yourself.

I believe that you feel good because you belonging to a group and you are part of something that is bigger than yourself. Believing you will always be blessed because you pay your tithing, is stretching the truth, when the truth is that the church needs and wants your money, and uses mind control to get you to conform. What if you decide to pay your 10% or more to another organization or even fund your own charity organization to help the needy, instead of paying it to a church? Why not become godlike yourself on this earth, without having to put up with someone else's rules and mind games?

The church does not want you to build your own self esteem with regard to using your own mind and logic, instead it teaches you self condemnation, because it wants you to conform to its teachings and logic. It uses feel good stories to convince you of its truth, but if you are off the mark and do not conform; it does not use those same feel good stories, instead preaches self-condemnation.

Feeling good is an emotion whereas self esteem comes from doing. Feeling good and having self esteem is not related, as self esteem comes from true things, and being part of something that is not true can never be self satisfying. We learn self confidence by following our own true path!

(MATT: Thanks Genevieve!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mormon Church issues sinister threat to world's media

The following is a letter from Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel of the Church to publishers of major newspapers, TV stations and magazines. It was sent out on Tuesday, June 24, 2008.

Recent events have focused the media spotlight on a polygamous sect near San Angelo, Texas, calling itself the “Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” As you probably know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has absolutely no affiliation with this polygamous sect. Decades ago, the founders of that sect rejected the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were excommunicated, and then started their own religion. To the best of our knowledge, no one at the Texas compound has ever been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Unfortunately, however, some of the media coverage of the recent events in Texas has caused members of the public to confuse the doctrines and members of that group and our church. We have received numerous inquiries from confused members of the public who, by listening to less than careful media reports, have come to a grave misunderstanding about our respective doctrines and faith. Based on these media reports many have erroneously concluded that there is some affiliation between the two – or even worse, that they are one and the same.

Over the years, in a careful effort to distinguish itself, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gone to significant lengths to protect its rights in the name of the church and related matters. Specifically, we have obtained registrations for the name “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” “Mormon,” “Book of Mormon” and related trade and service marks from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and corresponding agencies in a significant number of foreign countries.

We are confident that you are committed to avoiding misleading statements that cause unwarranted confusion and that may disparage or infringe the intellectual property rights discussed above. Accordingly, we respectfully request the following:

  1. As reflected in the AP Style Guide, we ask that you and your organization refrain from referring to members of that polygamous sect as “fundamentalist Mormons” or “fundamentalist” members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  2. We ask that, when reporting about this Texas-based polygamous sect or any other polygamous group, you avoid either explicitly or implicitly any inference that these groups are affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  3. On those occasions when it may be necessary in your reporting to refer to the historical practice of plural marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that you make very clear that the Church does not condone the practice of polygamy and that it has been forbidden in the Church for over one hundred years. Moreover, we absolutely condemn arranged or forced “marriages” of underage girls to anyone under any circumstances.

Stated simply, we would like to be known and recognized for whom we are and what we believe, and not be inaccurately associated with beliefs and practices that we condemn in the strongest terms. We would be grateful if you could circulate or copy this letter to your editorial staff and to your legal counsel.

We thank you for your consideration of these important matters.


Lance B. Wickman

General Counsel

(EDITOR: Here is some free, without prejudice, 'counsel to Lance B. Wickman and the Mormon Church:

Don't issue threats to the entire media of the world, lest people mistake you as a clown and the organisation that you work for as an organisation made up of clowns.)