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Featured I used to be a Mormon: AMA

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by iThinkStuff, Nov 28, 2023.

  1. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    Until about a year and a half ago, I was a practicing Mormon (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Since leaving, I now attend a local Baptist church whose chimes I could hear from my back porch since moving here four years ago.

    Some background:

    • Served a two year mission
    • Married in the Mormon Temple
    • Served in multiple leadership roles
    • Taught Sunday school for a decade or so
    • Left when I woke up to it being a pack of lies
    Anywho, I've noticed in the church I attend now that there are a lot of misunderstandings about Mormons in general. In the spirit of sharing and helping folks understand the perspectives and paradigms of the LDS people, ask me anything!
     
    #1 iThinkStuff, Nov 28, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2023
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  2. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Do you believe it to be a cult (why or why not)?

    (Figured I'd start off with an easy one :Biggrin)
     
  3. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    100%. Signs are all there, except to those raised in it (as I was). On my mother's side we go back.... five generations to the 1840s. How no one in my family figured it out before now is beyond me. Some of the stories passed down are just.... phew, not good.

    Edit to elaborate:

    1) You're not allowed to question authority.
    2) The "ordinances" they practice are a form of brainwashing.
    3) You are shunned for even questioning any points of "doctrine"
    4) You are told that if you leave, neither you nor anyone in your family (should they choose to exit with you) will ever go to heaven.

    In a nutshell.
     
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  4. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    How would we know that you used to be a Mormon beyond your own claims?

    Perhaps do a comparative religions chart for us. Show us what Mormons believe about Jesus and what Christians believe about Jesus. Why can neither group be in agreement?
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I haven't been Mormon, but the reason neither group can be in agreement is that Mormons are not Christian.

    Insofar as knowing @iThinkStuff was a Mormon, we accept this by his statement just as we accept that one another are Christian by our statements (e g. - how do I know you are a Christian?).

    Of course there is the obvious - why would one claim to have belonged to a cult if one was not in fact a former member?
     
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  6. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    I will wait for the OP to respond. He wanted us to ask him questions. It is not too much to ask for a comparison between the Jesus of Mormonism and the Jesus of Christianity.
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    That'd be a good question to ask him instead of questioning his history.
     
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  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    @iThinkStuff ,

    What is the difference between the Mormon view of Jesus compared to what you now believe (what does Mormons teach about Jesus)?
     
  9. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    I'm not sure how you expect me to prove my bona fides other than doxxing myself. Did you want to see my Temple Recommend? My (shrinking) bookshelf of collected books on Mormon doctrine? The letter calling me on a mission or consequent name tag? I'm a total rando on the internet, so I guess you'll have to take it on faith that I wouldn't out myself as a former cult member if a) it wasn't true or b) I didn't think there was something other people could learn from the experience. Sorry, I just really don't know how to provide you some form of validation on this point.

    Per Question #2, I'll have to start with a caveat: I can't claim to know what all Christians believe about Jesus. From my understanding, there are minute differences of opinion between denominations as regards points of doctrine. But there is probably more cohesion in their beliefs when you compare it to something so starkly different such as Mormonism.

    I'll also add that I've had to try and flush nearly everything I believed about Jesus and the nature of God out of my head and start over from scratch. I couldn't trust anything I had learned from Mormonism. You'll see why momentarily.

    To be clear, Mormonism is so much more about programming you and twisting/interpretting Bible verses to support their narrative. It was really truly difficult to know what was actually true any more (after discarding Mormonism, that is). I had to start over from scratch, literally. And ironically it was reading the Bible more intensely that helped me arrive at the conclusion that what I had been taught was complete garbage.

    With that out there, here's what Mormons believe about Jesus:

    • He is Jehovah of the Old Testament
    • He is Satan's spirit brother (albeit the eldest - not just of Satan but all of God's children)
    • He is a polygamist (Mary and Martha being just two of his known wives)
    • He is the literal offspring of a god they call Elohim literally procreating with Mary ("divine sireship")
    • He created the whole world, under the direction of Elohim and with the help of Adam/Michael (same person to them)
    • After dying, he came to the Americas to teach a lost tribe of Jews.
    • Despite forgiving the Romans for crucifying Him and pardoning sinners on the cross, Jesus wiped out literally half the population of American Jews because they should have known better than to go being naughty. This is all in the Book of Mormon.
    • He called 12 disciples in America from among the ancient Jews, gave them "priesthood power", then zipped off to visit other lost tribes.
    • He visited Joseph Smith (along with his doppleganger, Elohim), told him all other denominations of Christianity were false and wicked, and promised to restore the same church He established in Jerusalem.
    • He appeared periodically to Joseph Smith to reveal new truths and grant new powers.
    • He told Joseph that the New Jerusalem will be in Jackson County, Missouri.
    • His death and resurrection solve for physical death (all men will be resurrected as a consequence), but heaven or hell is actually more of a works-based scenario ("by grace ye are saved, after all ye can do").
    • He needs an enormous hedge fund to sponsor his Second Coming.
    • He still leads the Mormon church by talking directly to the Prophet of the church and the (oddly) 14 other apostles.
    Whew, well, there's a starter course. Jesus, albeit the most important factor in Christianity, is only the tip of the iceberg as regards abnormalities in belief and practice.
     
    #9 iThinkStuff, Nov 29, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
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  10. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    Sure, easier question:

    • Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Reliance on Him is the only way.
    • I'm saved by grace, not by any checklist of works. His grace is sufficient.
    • The Bible is the only word of god through which I may learn of Him.
    • There are no middlemen talking to God for me. I can talk with Him myself through prayer.
    Apologies if that's a bit simplistic, but like I said, I'm doing a lot of rebuilding here.
     
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  11. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. That is what I also know of Mormon views about Jesus.
    What is the Christian view of Jesus? (This is what I meant by a comparative view. Place both views against each other to see where they agree and disagree.)

    There are many "cultic" denominations in Christianity who demand absolute obedience to the denomination with the biggest one being the Roman Catholic Church. In the RCC, the pope is declared to be the infallible spokesperson of Christ Jesus. In a number of "independent" churches, the pastor and leaders can become dictators who abuse Jesus sheep.

    So, the question is:

    What does the Bible say about who Jesus is?
     
  12. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Does the Mormon church act as a mediator to its followers?
     
  13. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    I read about the Mormons a long time ago in a book No Man Knows My History by Brodie... Are you familiar with that book?... Also had a previous father-in-law that belonged to The Scottish Rite Memorial Temple, in San Diego, California and was a Mason... When he died I looked through his books and found that the Masons and The Mormons have similar rites... I don't have any LDS friend I know of but I'm sure I've run into people who are but its never been a topic of conversation... I have a friend on here that use to follow us Baptist around that was RCC for 35 years, he told us all the horror stories, so we didn't have to expose the RCC... Just last year he was converted and we didn't convert him but I don't need to tell him or you about where they came from... As long as you both are happy and comfortable, that's all that matters... But what I told him and I pass on to you, how are you treated now by those you left?... Brother Glen:)
     
  14. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    Which Mormon sect were you raised in? The sect in Utah or the sect in Missouri?
     
  15. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    What brethren don't seem to understand on here is you beat yourself up enough, there is no use in continuing the beating... You tore down one foundation and are building another... I believe what you stated and don't doubt it... We as Christian shouldn't think we know the thoughts of those that have come out of something, unless we too have been there... Thank you for the first hand knowledge... The only other question I have is this... You said you were married in a Mormon Temple, has your marriage been annulled?... You can elaborate if you wish?... Brother Glen:)
     
  16. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    In a word, yes. No personal revelation you may receive from God can be valid if it contradicts anything said by the 15 apostles, and more primarily the Prophet/President of the church.
     
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  17. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    No Man Knows My History, by Fawn Brodie. Yup, read it. What's funny is most of the stuff in that book used to be viewed by the Mormon church as apostate. Now they kinda have to own that it was accurate, "just misunderstood". What's funny about Fawn though is that her uncle was an apostle and became the Prophet/President of the church. Kind of embarrassing for him I suppose.

    If you leave the Mormon church, you are typically dismissed as being a "lazy learner" (you just didn't study your scriptures and conference talks enough), some form of sinner (you only left because you wanted to drink coffee or tea, or *gasp* something far worse), or just flat out deceived. In short, you may as well be dead.
     
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  18. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    Utah sect.

    By Missouri, I suppose you're referring to the "Community of Christ" group. They used to be called the RLDS - Reorganized Latter-Day Saints, and were founded with one of Joseph Smith's surviving sons. They've kinda morphed with the ages and white washed all the icky bits out of their brand of Mormonism. That's the "progressive" branch. On the other end of the spectrum are the Fundamentalist LDS - the polygamists with their own prophets and such.

    The Utah sect is the biggest one, and was supposedly the continuation of Joseph Smith's work (although he didn't get people to start calling him Prophet until like four years after Joseph was killed). My great-great grandparents came across the plains with that sect. Yee-ha.
     
  19. iThinkStuff

    iThinkStuff Member

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    Why don't you tell me?

    I don't deny there are some beliefs shared by both Mormons and Christians, but I'm not sure which group of Christians you want me to describe. I could tell you about the church I attend, but they aren't very prescriptive in their interpretation and are probably different from the church across the street. Pastor M in his sermons tends to say things like "Some think it means this, and some think it means that. The best I can tell you is this is what I think it means." Not of the absolute obedience variety, by any means.
     
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  20. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Thank you for taking the time to respond.

    My last question (for now ;) ) is a bit personal so please feel free not to answer.

    I have friends who are Mormon, but do not know any who left Mormonism.

    You said that you have a five generation of Mormonism on your mother's side. I understand why you left, and am grateful to God you left. But at the same time I know that it can be very hard leaving such a tradition. That takes a strength God provides, and I applaud your courage to act on that conviction.

    Having left, how did this impact your relationships?

    If not yet realized, I certainly hope God will use you and your experience to reach others, but I was wondering if your perspective a year and a half out.

    Following up on that - you are in a unique position to inform Christians of the LDS. But at the same time, I wonder what advise you would give to Christians in supporting those who have left Mormonism.

    And again, if this is too personal a question (it is a personal question rather than one related directly to Mormon doctrine) please do not feel any obligation to answer.
     
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