Friday, March 5, 2010

Roseanne Barr: Mormon Church Caused Marie Osmond's Son's Death

Update (March 8): Reports have surfaced claiming that Michael was not gay, and Roseanne has retracted her statement. Nevertheless, the underlying sentiment remains: The Mormon Church is viciously anti-gay, in spite of their professed love for everyone. They are still damaging families across America, and while we may never know the truth about the Osmond family, I'm leaving this blog intact because the message is still important.

Leave it to Roseanne to tell it like it is.
"Marie Osmond's poor gay son killed himself because he had been told how wrong and how sick he was every day of his life by his church and the people in it. Calling that "depression" is a lie!

"Yet the Osmonds still talk lovingly about their church, saying nothing about its extremely anti-gay Crusade. Marie also has a gay daughter! ...

"G-d is trying to use you for something good and this is your opportunity! Your church is wrong and on the wrong wrong wrong side of things! Get as vocal about that as you are about your diet. G-d bless you too, Marie.

"Take a hard look at the facts now as you use this very sad time for introspection, healing growth and prayer, and become a strong symbol for loving mothers who make no apologies for hatred against their own kids!"
Right on, Roseanne!

It makes me sick too. What a brainwashing job.
The Mormon Church reminds me so much of child abusers and wife beaters. Their victims want love so badly that, even while they're still bloody and bruised, they turn to their tormenter for solace. When you ask them why it happened, they inevitably reply, "It was my fault. I wasn't good enough. I deserved this." And the abuser, maybe for a minute or two, will aquiesce and give some comfort, reinforcing the submissiveness and neediness of the victim.

The Mormon Church is exceptionally good at this. Even in the face of the suicide of her son, Marie Osmond has turned to the very oppressor that tormented Michael. The Mormon Church taught her that Michael was deliberately living an evil lifestyle. The Mormon Church told Michael that he was going to Hell, to be forever tortured, and separated from God's glory. And worst of all, the Mormon Church told Michael and the Osmonds that homosexuality was a free choice, that Michael was deliberately doing this, that homosexuality was a choice, not part of how he was made.

That's abuse, pure and simple, and the Osmonds and Mormons in general, are its victims.

Most modern Christians (yes, Mormons consider themselves Christian even though most other Christians disagree, a good topic for another blog!) are surprised to learn that, for most of the history of Christianity, gay marriage was tolerated, even embraced, by Christian churches. There were even special Christian Rites for gay marriages.

Every death is tragic, and my heart goes out to the Osmond family. But Roseanne is right: The Mormon Church's stand on homosexuality is immoral, cruel, and dangerous. And it's time for mothers like Marie Osmond to stand up and say it. It is an abusive religion with immoral beliefs.


  1. I think you should research what you are talking about before you open your mouth.
    It must be easy to sit back an judge a whole religion on hearsay of some idiot celebrity.
    grow up

  2. Anon – I have done a huge amount of research about the Mormon Church. I probably know more about the real history of the church than most Mormons, who only know the whitewashed history of the criminals and charlatans who they revere. And the more I learn, the more I dislike the Mormon church.

    Are you Mormon? If so, have you ever visited any of the excellent web sites that tell the truth about the LDS founders, or its history, or its oppressive beliefs? If not, why not? Are you afraid of growing up?

  3. Poor little Anon. Probably doesn't understand the meaning of "projection" and its psychological implications. He has no idea.

  4. Craig, for your information, plenty of Mormons have heard all about the dark underbelly of Mormon history and have basically come to terms with it.

    But Joseph Smith's marital history, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and all that stuff have absolutely nothing to do with why a young man decided to commit suicide.

    Suicide is something pretty complex and arises out of a variety of factors. Maybe LDS notions of homosexuality played into it. Maybe they didn't have anything to do with it and the guy was just depressed. All you and Rosanne are doing here is speculating on this score.

    Kids in atheist homes commit suicide too.

    Is that atheism's fault?

    What about when a Mulsim kid commits suicide? Is it Islam's fault?

    Roman Catholic?


    American in general?

    Fact is, you don't have any idea why the young man died and neither does anyone else.

  5. I HATE YOU! i think you will burn forever for something you had no control over...oh and YOU are doing it. you are letting your mother down. you are letting your father down. you are letting your GOD down. everything you are is worthless and you deserve to be tortured for all eternity.

    sure that doesn't depress me in the slightest.

    combine that with everything ELSE it is to be a teenager....

  6. Let me ask you - were you ever a teenager in the LDS faith?

    Well, I was. And I had things I was called into the bishop's office for and lectured over. Somehow, I made it through OK. I never got the kind of vibe you are describing. The sort of hatred you are voicing is simply not that common in the LDS Church. I have not seen this kind of hatred - not against any group of people.

    And incidentally, Mormons don't believe in hell the way the other Christians describe it. The worst punishment a gay person is going to get under Mormon theology is being relegated to the third level of heaven - the Telestial Kingdom. A kingdom which is said to surpass all mortal imagination in its glory. That's about the worst you can do under LDS theology.

    So no - you don't wind up tortured for all eternity for being gay. In fact, even Hitler probably isn't going to end up tortured for all eternity under our theology.

    You are assuming we are just the same as the other Evangelical fundies you encounter. We aren't. Our theology is completely different - as are our beliefs.

    Furthermore, prior to the whole Proposition 8 thing in California, LDS leaders were expressly conceding the possibility of homosexuality being genetic, admitting that attempts to "cure" being gay were often counter-productive and not helpful, and were openly stating that merely having homosexual tendencies were not sinful in and of themselves. They were also sternly declaring that families should be supportive of gay sons and not ostracize them.

    Quite a lot of progress we were seeing in our camp prior to the Prop 8 fiasco, actually.

    We are not Southern Baptists. We are quite different.

    Of course, I suppose these nuances are lost on you. You don't seem capable of handling a world where things aren't clearly black-and-white.

  7. In mormon theology there is the concept of outer darkness, which sounds very much like hell. This wonderful place is reserved for the 'Sons of Perdition' - people who have received the holy spirit and subsequently rejected it. Source:

    Luckily I won't be going there, as I haven't received the holy spirit and most likely never will.

    -an atheist.

  8. It's generally believed in the LDS Church that you have to do a lot more than merely receive the holy spirit and reject it to merit "outer darkness."

    This is a common mistake of doctrine. It's common for ex-Mormons to jokingly refer to themselves as "sons of perdition" on the belief that anyone who signs up as a Mormon and then leaves the Church is supposed to be one.

    This is incorrect. You have to do a lot more than simply leave the Church. You have to basically have an absolutely sure knowledge of God and the truthfulness of the Church. Basically, you have to have actually seen God the Father and know for a fact - without taking it on faith - of the truths of Mormonism and THEN knowingly reject it.

    Very few ex-Mormons meet these criteria. Cain is usually cited as known "son of perdition" who walked with and spoke with God, "loved Satan more than God," and then murdered his brother on Satan's instructions. Judas Iscariot is another commonly cited candidate.

    It's actually a hard title to get and I highly doubt that just being gay or leaving the church qualifies.

    So the anonymous atheist is correct about likely not ending up there.

    1. way to go Seth, I am sure our Heavenly Father is very pleased with your comment.....

  9. Mormon's are Christian's. Go to the horses mouth and find our for yourselves. It's easy to 'hate' and be cruel, which are not Christian characteristics by the way.

    I saw a bumper sticker once that read: "Don't pray about the Mormon faith to see if it's true, that's how they get you."

    That got me thinking, it's true. It's not brainwashing... it's a personal relationship between you and God.

    All the so-called 'facts' towards the beginning of this page, only proves that you do not know what the Mormon faith is truly about.

    We are all human, we all make mistakes, but you cannot mistake the personal answers received through prayer, and doing so with a true and sincere intent.

    I personally know a family with a gay son, they're active Mormons. They love their son, embrace their son - As I would mine.

    All we can do is love our children, teach them the very best we can, and model the kind of good people we'd love for them to become, but like God... our children will always be loved.

    If you've done certain things in your life, you can't join the military, go to the Temple, get certain jobs, or maybe even have kids. That's life, everywhere for everyone.

    I was Catholic, so was my husband. I have Christian friends... Muslim friends... I judge not, for it's not Christ-like to do so. Period.

  10. I disagree with Rosanne's assertion that he killed himself because his church said he was Gay. He had depression his whole life (according to his parents who said so after he went missing in a plea for help on TV.)

    But I also have to point out to many posters who ignore the facts, there are many people out there saying that it is wrong to be gay. Saying that it is a choice to be gay. Or refusing to acknowledge one of the most important events in a gay man's or woman's life (their own marriage.) The way I see it, MOST of this messages come from religious people or a church/doctrine.

  11. Thought you might find this of interest:

  12. Anon,

    So being gay is genetic.

    So what?

    I've got Attention Deficit Disorder as well.

    So what?

    Genetics don't give you any guidance what to do with your life or what choices to make. Just because you have something that's genetic doesn't mean you don't have to decide what to do with your life.

    The very idea that mere genetics takes away a person's freedom of choice in life is one of the sickest and most dehumanizing ideas I've ever heard.

  13. I read a quote the other day, "My father had a horrible upbringing... He broke the chain and gave me a wonderful life."

    I can't remember who said it, but it's true. Whether it's nature or nuture, we have our free agency to choose. It's not always easy, but it's possible.

    I have BPD, a horrible horrible mental disorder. For the better part of my life it's caused chaos and destruction, but with my husband so willing to learn and be supportive by my side - through thick and thin... we take on everything one step at a time.

    I choose the right, no matter how impossible it may feel to do so. I battle my BPD every day all day... but I'm doing it. My LDS faith is key in my success. I don't want to know where I'd be if it weren't for the straight and narrow path laid before me.

    Between a loving family, setting up my life for success, and lots and lots of counseling - I enjoy and love my life. Genetics and all.

  14. By the way, I compared ADD to homosexuality for a reason.

    Both are genetic. Both cause problems for the person in society. And both of them have their good points as well.

    ADD is a disorder. But that doesn't mean I would have rather lived my life without it. It's a part of who I am and I think it has actually provided me with advantages in life. It has also gained me a lot of disapproval from society. It's been a painful thing to have. But it has also been a blessing as well.

    I feel that homosexuality may be similar.

    But here's the thing - I don't use my genetics as an excuse for behavior that I do not feel is right. Nor do I use it as the sole basis for doing the correct things. Genetics are not an excuse.

    Your life is your own. You can make whatever you want of it. If a gay person chooses to take an intimate partner or remain celibate or whatever else, that is his call, his choice, and his responsibility. Not something you can pass off on genes.

  15. My post is just above yours Seth R. and I'm so glad you've posted all that you have on this site. In response to your latest post... I agree with you 100% :) Thank you for sharing.

  16. So you don't have to choose to be with a man if you were born gay, but you do have to choose to lie to yourself or be happy. Great, thanks God. That was nice of you.

  17. Refraining from having sex is "lying to yourself?"

    Interesting perspective there.

    I knew that Americans these days were all obsessed with sex, but I had no idea how much. Interesting...

  18. Seth - First of all, thanks for the link to the article that asserts Michael was not gay. I'll research it more, but as one contribitor says above, given the stigma attached to homosexuality by the Mormon (and most) church, it will be hard to know the truth. Even so, the Mormon church's campaign against gays is despicable and inexcusable.

    I'll tell you what's dehumanizing: Religion's denial of our genetic heritage. We ARE animals, and we have the same instincts that all higher mammals have. Our layer of intellect is a lot thinner that we'd like to believe. To be truly human (as opposed to dehumanized) means to accept this reality and deal with it.

    You wrote: "Genetics don't give you any guidance what to do with your life ... The very idea that mere genetics takes away a person's freedom of choice in life is one of the sickest and most dehumanizing ideas I've ever heard."

    That is complete baloney, and is the perfect illustration of what I was trying to convey in my recent blog about Chelsea King's murder. Our genetics do control us, far, far more than Christians (and Mormons) would like to admit. Let me illustrate: Go find a rat and kill it. Now go find a kitten and kill it. What's the difference? Because kittens have large eyes and "baby faces", but rats don't. The deed of killing either one ends an animal's life, probably with some pain, yet our genetic programming makes one act difficult and the other somewhat satisfying.

    Why do you believe that your attraction to women, rather than men, is any different? You could choose to have sex with a man, or a dog, yet most men choose women. Why?

    And don't give me any quotes from the Bible or any other scriptures, it has no relevance here.

  19. Craig, you are trying to force this conversation into more extremist rhetoric - where apparently you are more comfortable engaging religion.

    I do not claim genetics is irrelevant.

    But are you claiming we have no say in the matter at all, and it's all in the hands of the DNA lottery? I don't think that's your position. It's just a hunch but I don't think you are quite that extreme.

    I'd thank you to do me the courtesy of assuming that I am not that extreme either. Where did I ever imply that genetics don't matter much?

    Genetics matter. But they don't have the final say either. And they certainly aren't an automatic debate-ender in the homosexuality discussion.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Craig, you are being extreme. You might as well say free all the prisoners - it's genetics, DNA's fault, not their own. They can't help it. Now THAT... is baloney.

  22. Anon - That's a gross and unwarranted extrapolation of what I said. Let's assume, for argument's sake, that someone is a danger to society but completely innocent. Do we turn them loose? Of course not. The law is full of cases like this, ranging from mentally ill people with violent tendencies, to that guy who had an extremely contagious strain of tuberculosis a couple years ago.

    Our criminal justice system is too focussed on retribution, revenge and punishment, when it should be focussed on protecting society and rehabilitating criminals.

  23. I agree, the focus needs to shift completely. When you said "..our genetic HERITAGE. We ARE animals..." You are taking things to a gross extreme.

    Some people need therapy, others mediation, and maybe even both for all sorts of issues acquired either genetically or just because life is messy and we can get pretty dented up along the way.

    We always have our HUMAN BRAIN to make our concious choices.

    Unlike the "natural man" or the "animal within"... we can have a very happy and fulfilled life by accepting that our life decisions are very much ours to make, and there are so many helpful and useful resources out there for those who need a little or a lot more help.

    A wheelchair for those who cannot walk, medicine for those who do not produce serotonin on their own, and glasses for someone who cannot see.

    Therapy and counseling for the mentally ill. Life is messy, genetics can be too. That's just a part of the big picture though. Like many things... it's FAR more complicated than that.

  24. To put it simply, Craig. If it's genetic heritage you're concerned with... follow where your genetics come from all the way back to the beginning...

    Adam and Eve - like it or not.

  25. For the record, you don't have to literally take Adam and Eve as the source genetic material for the entire human race in order to be a believing Mormon.

    I know several personally who do not.

    In my own view, the Bible speaks primarily of spiritual realities about the human condition. I am utterly indifferent whether the story of Adam is exactly what happened historically, or whether the story was a divinely inspired Jewish allegory. Makes little difference to me. And it makes no difference to my argument here.

  26. I am a mormon. I respect the fact that gay people do not believe the same as i do. That is their right. They have a vote, I have a vote. Thats how democracy works. I would like to suggest that instead of accusations and dirt throwing getting to know and respect each other and our differences would be so much more productive. We don't have to agree after all, we can't just change our scriptures, doctrine and beliefs because Roseanne Barr wants us too. I doubt she would convert even if the church did allow gay marriages

  27. Anon - That's BS. Your church came to my state and spent MILLIONS to force the Mormon Church's anti-gay bias on Californians. Without the interference from Utah, Proposition 8 would not have passed, and gay people would today be able to marry in California. The Mormon Church's political interference in California politics shows that Mormons are NOT willing to "know and respect our differences." The Mormon Church's actions regarding homosexuality are immoral and hurtful to millions, and offensive to hundreds of millions of Americans.

  28. Actually, they theoretically spent millions to advertise the issue to Californians.

    Then those CALIFORNIANS forced the law.

  29. I saw some of the commercials. Can't recall anything about little girls being molested though.

  30. People should not condem people for loving each other! It should not matter what title someone wants to call themselves. All people are equal and they should be known for their good works!

  31. Iused to be in the mormon church and I mentioned that I had a friend that was gay and I was told by a missionary that, that friend would not be welcome in their church the same a single parents as they were not living their life gods way!

    Wake up and smell the coffee! God is the father and mother of us then god loves us with unconditional love therefore as a parent you would not stop your child from coming into your home!

    Surely it is more important what someone does with their life and how nice their are then what box someone should be put in!

  32. Considering Michael's uncles, it's very likely he was gay. Let's put that to bed.

    Craig, thank you for trying to bring some light into the darkness that is Mormonism. This is a religion that is literally destroying lives. It profits from fear and guilt and, next to Scientology, causes the most suffering in the world. Maybe Islam is up there too but who can be sure?

    Anyway... keep on waking up the Mormons because they sure as heck need it!

    Can they be woken up? Can they???? How? This is really what I want to know.

  33. this is all crap, we mormons do not hate homosexuals we just dont condone homosexuality

  34. I am mormon and will be leaving it soon. There are indeed three degrees in Heaven as taught by the LDS church. Very, very,very bad people like Hitler go to the lowest degree. Outer darkness is for people like me who were high up in the church and decided to leave--go apostate, sin against the holy ghost. Outer darkness being actually, worse than hell. WHat Mormons wont tell you is that the culturally held belief is that if you do not do all it takes to get to the top level of the top kingdom, you arent good enough. There is a stigma against those who arent married in the temple and who are not comforming. There is a lot of pressure to conform. You are either "in" or "out" and the judging is very heavy. I was a member for 27 years. Its been a huge mind fuck.

  35. It's fashionable for ex-Mormons to claim they are going to "outer-darkness." But it betrays an ignorance of Mormon theology to claim this.

    Outer-Darkness is reserved for those who have full, sure, and complete knowledge of God - know who he is, know what he wants, have even spoken with him face-to-face. And despite this - still knowingly reject him and turn their back on him.

    Anonymous, you don't even come close to meeting this standard. The only example of a "Son of Perdition" (as those bound for Outer Darkness are called) that we know of is Cain - who walked and talked with God and deliberately loved Satan more and murdered his brother because of it.

    We're not even sure Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus qualifies.

    So, I'm afraid you'll simply have to settle for one of the degrees of glory after all. Sorry if that's a disappointment to you.

  36. Anon - One of the tricks of Mormonism is that they mix up the societal pressure with theology. People like you are under heavy pressure to conform, not because of anything God might have said but because if you don't you lose your family and friends. If there is a God, do you think He would want his followers to believe because of peer pressure? I doubt it.

    At the risk of sounding self serving, I hope you'll buy my book and read it. It will help you understand how religion, including your Mormon beliefs, came to be so tenacious, so hard to let go.

    Best wishes to you as you embark on your new spiritual journey.

  37. THanks Craig. Its the kind of answers Seth likes to throw out that drives people like myself away from the LDS church. ALways an answer for everything, all the details covered. And yet, when a person stands back and really looks, the whole thing is wrong. I converted to LDS as a college student. Biggest mistake of my life. I prolly will buy your book. I have learned that those who are not actively involved in a religion are the most pleasant to be around cuz they dont have an agenda to shove down your throat. I appreciate your support.

  38. Becky, after having come away from a two week long online debate where I got mobbed by about twenty atheists swearing at me, and shoving their agenda down my throat, I find your remarks just a bit ironic.

  39. Seth, welcome to our world.

    But based on your comments in this discussion, I'd be willing to bet you were a participant in the aggressive tactics. Nobody will shove anything down your throat if you keep your mouth closed.

  40. No, they'll just insult your ideals in your absence.

  41. Craig,

    Somehow I happened across this web-log and thought I’d chime in. I have a brother who is Mormon and hasn’t spoken with me in years; indeed, I am one of those awful atheists. I have to be honest, I read some pretty ignorant things here; for example, one equated ADD with being gay. The problem, you see, is that being gay in an overly religious country is akin to a death sentence – we see people with ADD as victims. It’s astonishing really. Somewhere along the way we stopped teaching critical reasoning in school, and this is the end result. When they lack even the most fundamental bits and pieces of information, they’ll believe anything. From a scientific position, Mormonism is demonstrably false, and it is certainly “clickish” and, most importantly, its members speak with a unified tongue. The power of brainwashing in this church is astonishingly good. Lastly, one person stated something that there was an atheist agenda – an absurd notion. Neither is atheism a religion nor is it organized; indeed, atheism is simply a lack of belief. We reject the notion of god or gods on the basis of a dearth of evidence. Just remember, if atheism is a religion, then non-stamp collecting is a hobby…

  42. Steve - Thanks for writing. I'm sorry to hear about your brother, that is a true tragedy. Do Mormons actually think that is a moral, kind way to behave, that Jesus or God or their angels would approve? That a man should deny his own brother? It's a terrible religion if this is the result.

    As to the brainwashing ... one of the themes of my book (at the risk of sounding self serving!) is that it's more complex than that. The term "brainwashing" implies an active, deliberate effort. In fact, the reason religion is so tenacious is because of cultural evolution, the inexorable forces that refine and improve the religious memes to make them incredibly infectious.

    Its a subtle point, but its exactly the same as what Darwin said when talking about the "motive" forces of evolution. We often say a gene "wants" to survive, just as we say planets are "attracted" to the sun by gravity. But these terms are merely for brevity, we all understand that the gene is mindless and the planets are just rocks.

    So it is with religion. The religious memes that make up Catholocism, Mormonism, Islam and all the others make it appear that there is an active brainwashing going on, but the truth is that religious ideas survive because they're infectious, highly appealing or highly frightening. And they're infectious for the same reason viruses are: the ones that weren't infectious didn't survive. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Understanding the true nature of memes (cultural evolution) can free you from a lot of the heartache surrounding religion. You can see individuals as victims of the virus rather than as active participants.

  43. Hi Craig,

    Thank you for the reply! You have written a book; to that end, you have every right to be self-serving, I certainly would be. As you know, family matters are always complicated, but his religion and my lack thereof are at the heart of this chasm. You are indeed correct that Mormonism is a terrible religion, yet so are the rest. For purposes of ease, I describe myself as an atheist but my personal opinions of religion and what it does to people and society place me firmly in the Hitchens-Dawkins’ camp; indeed, I am actually an ardent anti-theist. To be sure, I would never go out of my way to impose myself on any believer; however, if they drag their superstitions into politics or the public square, then they’re fair game, so to speak.

    Let me say that I am very glad that there are people like you who have taken the time and energy to build a website and write books on such an important topic. It seems there are a few lone voices out there. From a cultural perspective, most Europeans struggle to understand American politics and, most importantly, American religiosity. I am married to a European and can attest to how different religion is viewed there; especially on the continent. You are absolutely correct to bring up culture for it is firmly embedded, and it wasn’t until such time that I spent time abroad that I became aware of my cultural programming. How was it possible that an ardent atheist like me possessed a lot of Quaker values? Religion seems to be our cultural default and it has done much to undermine our humanity, education and political systems; it’s tragic!

    Another point you made regarding brainwashing – which, by the way, I do agree with – is “…that it's [brainwashing] more complex than that.” You are, of course, correct with respect to that position, for there are numerous factors: biological, cultural, environmental, etc. However, I will state that I do believe that the Mormon Church is more openly controlling of its members. This is based upon innumerable conversations and readings and I notice one thing with Mormonism that I do not see with others – a uniformity of belief and language, whereas, with other religions, I just typically see just uniformity of belief. To this end, I would still argue that, on some level or other, the Mormon church actively or passively engages in – for lack of better term – brainwashing. However, with respect to your statements about memes, I concur wholeheartedly. Although I am scientific layperson (my degrees are in philosophy and English), I am a science lover, and I have read a lot of books on evolutionary biology and physics: Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hawking, etc.

    You made one very interesting and enlightening observation, “You can see individuals as victims of the virus rather than as active participants.” Perhaps you are correct with regard to this, but, of course, we both know that this perspective will not go down to well with our religious friends. Indeed, they are victims but they want to victimize others by dragging them into the fold. Perhaps paradoxically, I obtained my undergraduate degree from a Catholic university, and I can tell you first hand that I have never faced so much criticism and prejudice as I did there. Indeed, I continually got the old canard that atheist cannot be moral, etc. Nevertheless, I am glad that I found your website and I have bookmarked it. It’s nice to see that there are a small minority of Americans who choose to use their reason. As the late, great Thomas Jefferson once noted:

    “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

    - Thomas Jefferson

  44. Thank you for posting, I am a little embarrassed. I meant to state, "... will not go down too well," not "to well."

  45. Nice to know that atheists can be just as arrogant, unforgiving and insufferable as Southern Baptists.

  46. Seth,

    With all due respect, what, exactly, did I say that was intolerant? I expressed my opinions about religion, nothing more. As I noted, I would never press my values onto others, but I will certainly defend them. I think it is high-time that religious people stop doing what they do best - pretending like they're oppressed. In my opinion, religious people oppress themselves...

  47. Steve - before you start answering to Seth, go back and read his other posts in this thread and others. This is what he does.

  48. Steve, reread your post a couple times. Look for words like "brainwashed" and "terrible." Your contempt for us is quite evident, thanks.


    People do what they do.

    Present company not excepted.

  49. Hi Becky,

    I read your post and I must say that appreciate your sentiments. Please keep in mind that everyone has an agenda, but there's a huge distinction. I, and I can safely assume that Craig too - has an agenda to promote science and reason. The greatest caveat here is that - to bastardize Orwell's quote - some agendas are more equal than others. In simpler terms, please don't allow people to lay the "trip" that atheists have an agenda; in itself, I'm sure some do, however, the furtherance of science is the only agenda. The difference being, of course, science has a plethora of evidence to support it; sadly, religion does not.

    P.S. Thanks for letting me clutter up your boards, Craig.

  50. STEVE THOMAS SAID ... (I accidentally clicked "reject" rather than "accept" on the moderatin page...)

    Steve: "Yes, I saw that. But, as you know, this is my point; rational discussion is non-existent, and then theists wonder why they are looked down upon. Quite frankly, the overwhelming cultural tilt toward religion is oppressive... Seth and his ilk merely add to it."

  51. Seth - Maybe that's because "brainwashing" and "terrible" are accurate words to describe the church you embrace. I have respect for many beliefs and churches, but Mormonism is not one of them. Its history reads like a bad joke, and its beliefs are immoral.

    The thing that always amazes me when I encounter someone like you, obviously intelligent and well read, is why you don't see what's in front of your face. Have you even read your own religion's history? And if you have, why can't you see the obvious fraud and absurdity of it? The criminal acts, the scandalous acts of the founders, the history if bigamy and child molestation, the insultingly stupid "history" of Jesus' visit to America ... it's just amazing that you aren't revolted by it all.

    No, "arrogant, unforgiving and insufferable" are not the right words to describe us. How about open minded, honest, and forthright? You should try it some time.

  52. Thanks for making my point for me Craig.

  53. Seth,

    Perhaps I did use “brainwashed” and “terrible,” but what bearing does this really have on the veracity of religious claims? Yes, those are my opinions, but I adhere to reason and evidence. How can one claim that something which obfuscates truth is not “terrible” or that those whom adhere to its tenets aren’t “brainwashed”? I am open to conversation, but merely because I castigate your religion doesn’t nullify my position. Yes, I dislike religion (that’s obvious) but that does not mean that I’d take away anyone’s right to practice it. Quite the contrary, unlike religion which seeks to undermine others’ rights, I would never propose such a thing. Take, for example, any who’s outside of the “fold,” for example: gays, atheists, liberals, etc. are continuously attacked. Sorry, but any dogma that allows people to “justify” terrible actions in the name of this-or-that deity is, I’m afraid, terrible. There is irrefutable evidence that the Mormon Church is demonstrably wrong, yet people still believe; if that’s not brainwashing, then I don’t know what is…

  54. Actually, there is not "irrefutable" evidence that the LDS Church is wrong.

    We have working counter-arguments to just about every instance you have in mind (believe me - you don't have any arguments I haven't heard a dozen times already).

    But I imagine you are too "brainwashed" to take them seriously.

  55. Seth,

    I pondered for a while as I was uncertain how to best respond to your post. Obviously, I don’t know how old you are but it suffices to say that I, too, have been at this debate for a long time – more than three decades. If there is one thing I have learned along the way, then it is this: despite evidence to the contrary, most people will continue believing whatever proposition suits their fancy. As I have stated to numerous believers, religious people tend to understand the world only in dogmatic terms. As such, this is why so many of them like to claim that science is just a belief system – not unlike any other. However, there is nothing that could be further from reality. The true power of science is its self-correcting nature; indeed, there have been scientists how have proposed this-or-that theory and have been proven wrong by their scientific peers. To this end, science learns from its mistakes and thus our picture of reality (whatever that is) continues to come into focus.

    On the other hand, if you take a look at what you’ve written here – and if you can be honest with yourself – then you’re likely to see a person who is open to examining evidence. Now, having said that, I will admit that I overstated my case with regard to irrefutable evidence that proves the LDS church is wrong, but I will state that there is irrefutable evidence that portions of the Book of Mormon are wrong – demonstrably wrong. Having said that, it is quite likely that you have heard a lot – of not all – of these arguments, but I haven’t stated any of them, yet you have already rejected them out-of-hand. The point is that I suspect that regardless of what evidence is brought to bear, you’ll simply reject because it conflicts with your world view. Quite simply, if you know anything about archaeology, then you surely have to recognize some of the impossible claims embedded within the Book of Mormon; you are capable of a little introspection, aren’t you? If being “brainwashed” means that I take evidence into account prior to rendering decisions, then I am guilty as charged. Can you say the same? So, I am genuinely interested into hearing your counterarguments to arguments that you have yet to hear…

  56. Seth - it's interesting that at every turn, you fail to address your critics points and instead resort to generalities, such as calling everyone "brainwashed." I've seen you do this in other forums too.

    You simply avoided my question, "have you ever read your own religion's history?" Have you? Knowing all of the criminality and immorality, how can you be part of that church? Even if you believe the religious part, shouldn't you reject the church itself and worship on your own?

    You claim to have "working counter-arguments," but you know as well as I do that they've all be thoroughly refuted by historians and philosophers. Your only recourse is utter faith, a full-on embracing of the Anti-Rationalism Meme that I wrote about the other day.

    When faith and reason collide, reject reason and embrace faith. That's you, Seth. I can respect that, I suppose. Just admit, "I believe this because I want to, even though it makes no sense and rational analysis shows that it is false." At least then you're being honest.

  57. Hi Craig,

    It's rather interesting; my wife was gone last week visiting family back home. Being bored, I rented the film, "The Book of Eli," and the rejection of reason one of its main points. An astonishingly stupid but entertaining film...

  58. Craig,

    What is it about the Book of Mormon that has been clearly refuted then?

    Are you talking about the horse thing, the wheel thing, the barley thing, the steel thing? What?

    On the Mormon side we have more than addressed ALL of these attacks.

    Or is it that recent DNA stuff that everyone seems to think refutes the Book of Mormon text? We could go the rounds on that too I suppose.

    Our critics mainly seem to be still getting mileage out of these arguments by sheer ignorance of the Mormon responses available.

    Or are we talking about the Egyptian papyrus issue?

    Or are we talking about irrelevant ad hominem attacks on Joseph Smith the man?

    I've heard all the angles on this. And I find them FACTUALLY, LOGICALLY, and argumentatively inadequate.

    It has nothing to do with me picking "faith" over reason. It has everything to do with the fact that the anti-Mormon arguments don't hold up under scrutiny - except to people who are already drinking the militant secularist kool-aid. And don't bother pointing out that I'm poisoning the well here, since that's all any of the secularists have been doing here toward Mormonism from post #1.

    And for your information, I actually been rather agnostic about the LDS faith claims for big chunks of my life, and am STILL agnostic about several of their faith claims. So don't act like you've got my position all dialed in. Because you don't really know my position.

    I'm not your normal faithful Mormon defender of the faith.

    I just don't care for stupid arguments - which is what I've found the majority of the anti-Mormon arguments out there to be.

  59. And the way Steve talks about the "power of science" here, you'd almost think he was talking about the Holy Ghost or something.

  60. Seth,
    What you have written is, quite simply, disingenuous. This is a classic sort of Michael-Medved-type Straw Man argument; indeed, let’s manufacture a fictitious argument and then beat the straw out of it. In the following statement, you are incontrovertibly wrong: “Are you talking about the horse thing, the wheel thing, the barley thing, the steel thing? What? On the Mormon side we have more than addressed ALL of these attacks.” No, you haven’t. And if we cannot get past this point, then this discussion is pointless. In effect, every argument that has been heaved against them, the Mormons merely move the goal post. How is it that a so-called perfect God incorrectly communicated information to Joseph Smith? “Well, we didn’t really mean horse, we meant Tapir-like.” If this is what you call refutation, then it is simply no wonder that there are so many believers in this backward country.
    And then you go on to make this utterly ridiculous and inane statement, “It has everything to do with the fact that the anti-Mormon arguments don't hold up under scrutiny - except to people who are already drinking the militant secularist kool-aid.” Here, once again, you are demonstrably wrong, but like so many other apologists, you choose an evidentiary get-out clause. Indeed, it’s the old canard; “Well prove this-or-that proposition is not true.” For example, why would God tell Joseph Smith it was a horse if it was actually a Tapir-like animal? This is the tired sort of argumentation that Christian apologists use; indeed, they say something like, “Well, you can’t take that particular passage literally…” Quite frankly, it’s either blatant dishonesty or it’s a lack of understanding with regard to science. You bend evidence to suit your needs. There isn’t any evidence to support that metallurgy was present in the Americas during the timeframe in which the Book of Mormon speaks. Yet, your only response is that it’s been refuted; sorry, but it hasn’t been refuted. As I have said for years, the only people who can believe this stuff are the ones who lack even the most fundamental education.
    Lastly, you prove my point about seeing the world in terms of dogmatism: “And the way Steve talks about the "power of science" here, you'd almost think he was talking about the Holy Ghost or something.” Science has put man on the moon; it has split the atom, and religion has done nothing but place people into mental bondage. The Mormon Church spent untold dollars trying to stop Proposition 8 in California, yet there are people who could have actually used that money for better purposes. Oh yes, Seth, I have seen your type countless times; indeed, you are immune to evidence. On the other hand, I am not. As such, if you have proof that these arguments have been successfully refuted, then let’s see it. Otherwise, you merely a believer…

  61. Yeah, right Seth. This guy finds gold plates in his back yard, inscribed with ancient Egyptian or something, and he finds this magic rock that he sticks in his hat and when he buries his face in the hat the magic rock tells him what the writing says ... then he conveniently loses the gold plates, but wait, it turns out that he plagiarized a bunch of it, both the ideas and the literal words! Or was it God doing the plagiarizing and just telling Joseph Smith what to write?

    Did I get that right? In spite of my sarcasm, isn't that what you actually believe about the origins of the Book of Mormon? You can't deny the plagiarism, it's there for anyone to see. And you can't deny the magic rock story, it's the official story. So ... what in this story am I missing? What is there that I shouldn't find utterly silly?

  62. Hi Craig,

    By the way, I have ordered your book from Amazon; it really looks interesting. I do have one other book ahead of it in the queue, but I will definitely let you know how I like it. That other book you might be interested in; it’s called, “Through the Language Glass.” That aside, as I have noted, I have been at the “great debate” for a long time, and what I find astonishing is how many believers will reject evolution as being merely a theory, yet accept their religious dogma on the scantest of evidence. As we know, in the parlance of science, a theory doesn’t mean some wild supposition; rather a well-supported hypothesis that is light-years beyond a mere hunch. Strangely, after the Sputnik scare of 1957 Americans began to take science seriously, yet with the rise of the Religious Right, those gains have been lost. Some of Seth’s words are demonstrative of these losses. I am perhaps a little more pessimistic, but it seems that the United States is destined to become some political backwater which is of little import to the rest of the world…

  63. Steve - You might enjoy this blog. Thanks for ordering my book!

  64. Oh really Craig, don't tell me your a fan of the SPAULDING theory?

    Are you freaking kidding me?

    I suppose you think Obama faked his birth certificate too no doubt.

    Loan-shifting words was a common practice among ancient peoples, so I suppose that's a possibility. Personally, I don't see any reason to think there weren't horses in the area at the time.

    But I notice that your critique of Joseph Smith's translation only works if you assume a scriptural literalist and prophetically inerrant view of religion. That is that scriptures are supposed to be - word-for-word flawless, and prophets are never supposed to make any slip ups. If you make those assumptions, then yes - your arguments have a little more force.

    Since I do not make such assumptions however, your arguments just aren't adequate.

    Once again, you've demonstrated the point that many atheists are incapable of successfully arguing against religion - except when it is at its stupidest. Due, of course, to the fact that they don't really understand the topic to begin with.

    Must suck to be on the side of a debate that depends on the inadequacies of its opponents for its own strength of position.

  65. Steve - If you want to know about Seth Rogers, you can google it, or start here. He's a well-known Mormon apologist who bugs every atheist blogger who dares criticize his beloved religion.

    Seth - I don't need to "subscribe" to the Spaulding theory. All I do is read the passages, the plagiarism obvious. The plagiarism in the Book of Mormon isn't a theory, it's a fact. The only theories are those like Spaulding who propose specific hypotheses as to exactly how Joseph Smith went about the plagiarizing.

    I hope you've had your little fun here continuing your endless dodging and stabbing. Too bad you don't choose to add anything substantive to the discussion. You could if you wanted, I know you're capable. Until then, please find someone else to bug. I shouldn't have taken up this argument again, it's fruitless.

  66. I could say the same about you Craig. Bare assertion and question-begging seems to be standard operating procedure around here.

    The Book of Mormon is an "obvious" fraud!


    Because Craig of the Internet said it was!

    Glad we resolved that issue.

  67. Craig,

    Yes, I see what you mean about Seth; in my opinion, he borders on dishonesty. It is this type of reasoning that enables believers to keep on believing:

    “That is that scriptures are supposed to be - word-for-word flawless, and prophets are never supposed to make any slip ups. If you make those assumptions, then yes - your arguments have a little more force.”

    Hey Seth, we’re not talking about a slip up here or there, but a multitude of them. I agree with Craig; just be honest you like to believe, and you like to be a part of a brotherhood. That aside, it doesn’t make it true. It’s astonishing the lengths people go to in order to keep on believing. Face facts, Seth, the Book of Mormon is wrong more than its right. It’s time to grow up and face reality; in reality, it’s not so bad, you know?

    P.S. Yes, Craig, I ran into a Christian apologist who also authored a book, and my conversation with him was equally fruitless; indeed, they always are.

  68. Nice Steve.

    You encounter an argument you can't handle and...

    It must be because he's dishonest!


    Let me know how that works out for you sport.

  69. (part Two):

    So, to sum this monologue, please inform us how your Mormon apologists have adequately answered these rather damning queries. Please tell us how the illiterate Joseph Smith incorrectly described numerous animal species that were native only to the Eurasian continent. Please inform us how soldiers used weapons forged from technology that had not been invented in the Americas? Please inform us why there isn’t a stitch of physical evidence to support any of these claims? We eagerly await your answers. I cannot stress enough how disingenuous the religious apologist is; especially when it comes to science and scientific terms.

    The title of Craig’s book describes the religion problem perfectly, for there seemingly isn’t any other explanation to this conundrum. The only thing worse, perhaps, is the arrogance that comes along with being religious. To believe that there’s some invisible being that happens to watch our every move is, to say the least, tyrannical. Only the mind of a human could dream up such nonsense. One of the very first books I read about science was from an author named Gerard Staguhn, titled, “God’s Laughter: Man and His Cosmos.” There was one particular passage which, for this occasion, I think is quite apt; indeed, it is one that I have quoted ever since:

    “God is, for Einstein, incompatible with modern scientific knowledge. This personal God may be spiritual comfort for simple souls because one can approach Him, the omnipotent, protective, rewarding, punishing, superior Father, with all one’s worries, wishes, and need for consolation. But nobody who has gained some insight into the general structure of nature can consider seriously a humanized Heavenly Father to whom man addresses only his egotistical yearnings – of which the desire for eternal salvation is, in fact, the most selfish” (Staguhn 86).

  70. Oops, it appears that part one got lost.

  71. Steve - I never saw part one, can you re-post it?

  72. The steel thing is pretty easy.

    The Old Testament has the word "steel" in it too (2 Samuel 22:35; Job 20:24; Psalms 18:34; Jeremiah 15:12). In all instances, this is before iron-carbon composites were in wide use or had even been discovered by most peoples.

    So what's going on there?

    Well, the simple answer is that the English word steel has been around a lot longer than the invention of iron-carbon composite implements. The word steel simply means in the Bible - something rigid and hard. It could refer to bronze implements, or whatever else.


    All done. Next...

  73. Oh, sorry. I left off a part of the response on the steel issue.

    Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it demand the existence of a widespread steel industry. This is purely a fabricated strawman concocted by critics who haven't bothered to read the book carefully.

  74. Now, on to the livestock...


    Just ran a word search, and every instance in the Book of Mormon is referring to a similar Bible verse - such as Mosiah 14:6 "all we like sheep have gone astray" (which you might recognize as the scripture sung in Handel's Messiah). In this context, it is plain the word is being used in a symbolic function and the word was merely used to provide biblical imagery the people of Joseph Smith's time would relate to and understand (Moroni - the alleged ancient author of the book directly claimed it was written for Joseph Smith's time). It says nothing about whether there were any specimens of ovis aries in pre-Columbian America.

    And even if the word was understood as sheep by the ancient Nephites, why can't it simply refer to llamas or something? Ancient Jews sail across the ocean, settle in South America, see a flock of llamas and call them "sheep." Happened all the time when ancient people encountered new stuff. They used words that were familiar to them (the word hippopotamus is basically a Roman word for "river horse" for example). Nothing unusual about this.

    Goat species are indigenous to the Americas.

    The word "ass" commonly referred to any beast of burden. Could be anything really. The word cow is often simply interchangeable with "cattle" and could similarly refer to a lot of things other than cows as we envision them today. Elephants are only mentioned in Ether - which is dated to about 2500 BC - so any elephants need not have survived past 2400 BC.

    Factor in the additional consideration that the Book of Mormon doesn't really state how any of the animals were actually used, nor whether they were widespread...

    Then combine that with the fact that all animal matter - including bones usually decomposes without a trace. Finding ancient animal bones is actually a rare and special find in the archeological world. If you find ancient bones as an archeologist - it's an extraordinary piece of good luck. The vast majority of ancient animal life remains - and probably will continue to remain - unknown to us.

    No one has ever uncovered a single lion bone in the Middle East for instance - even though countless records from people like the Persian, Israelites, Greeks, and other civilizations speak of them being there. Most archeologists accept that lions were once indigenous to the Middle East without question - solely due to the written records. No bones have been found. If there were a historical record that everyone accepted stating that horses lived in the Americas prior to Columbus, you would be amazed at how quickly just about every modern Mesoamerican archeologist would REVERSE his or her opinion on horses and admit that it seems like they must have been here.

    The archeological picture can change that fast on you.

    Now Steve, I imagine that you are going to call all this "dishonest."

    That is expected. The uneducated often consider scholarly explanation to be dishonest. What they do not understand or comprehend, they fear and distrust. Many scientists have been called sneaky or dishonest for their writings by those who are not intellectually equipped to comprehend it.

  75. Hi Craig,

    Yes, I'd love to but, it's at home. I will as soon as I arrive, thanks.

  76. Seth,

    As I have noted, I may not be a biologist, but I am certainly knowledgeable in the areas of research and philosophy. Indeed, I think you are used to speaking with people who are simply unable to muster any counter-arguments. Your analysis is either dishonest or you’re simply too lazy to perform some research. As such, in the 2 Nephi 1, we find the following passage: “[15] And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.” Keeping in mind, of course, that Nephi was supposedly a prophet from around 600 BC.

    So your point, “Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it demand the existence of a widespread steel industry. This is purely a fabricated strawman [sic] concocted by critics who haven't bothered to read the book carefully.” Now, whether it’s widespread is an altogether different argument, but the use of the word “widespread” is, itself, a straw-man argument. You see, your precious book does mention steel and not in the sense that you’ve applied it. As I will show, your arguments are easily demonstrated as being false; unless, of course, you keep changing the etymology of words…

  77. Seth,

    You see, it’s very easy to get misled with word games, but I refuse to play them. Here’s the problem with your zoological jousting: “Ancient Jews sail across the ocean, settle in South America, see a flock of llamas and call them "sheep." Here’s the issue, there isn’t a stitch of evidence to support the claim that ancient Jews sailed to the Americas; indeed, the genetic record is clear on this one! There is, however, some evidence to support that the ancient Polynesians made this journey. Look, your claims about archaeology are fantastic, and, quite frankly, unbelievable. Although fossils are indeed rare they are not as rare as you suggest. And you wonder why I think you’re dishonest. I don’t, I think you’re desperate to maintain your beliefs – at any cost.

  78. A number of issues with the following statement:

    If there were a historical record that everyone accepted stating that horses lived in the Americas prior to Columbus, you would be amazed at how quickly just about every modern Mesoamerican archeologist would REVERSE his or her opinion on horses and admit that it seems like they must have been here.

    First of all, you should have stated, “If there [was], not [were].” Secondly, and, most importantly, this statement contains a blatant logical fallacy, and you dare state that I’m uneducated? At least I’ve the degrees to prove it, can you say the same? Yes, you guessed it, another Straw-man argument. You see, the operative word here is “if”, and your entire fallacious argument is built upon a faulty cornerstone. In fact, this entire statement is designed to obfuscate the truth. You are an amazing liar! What does “historical record” mean? To a scientist, this term is devoid of meaning. You’d have done better to state the following:

    “If there [was empirical evidence which demonstrated] that horses lived in the Americas prior to Columbus, you would be amazed at how quickly just about every modern Mesoamerican archeologist would REVERSE his or her opinion on horses and admit that it seems like they must have been here.”

    Even then, I wouldn’t be amazed; indeed, I’d be amazed if they didn’t. Sorry, Seth, this is the best you’ve got? You are making yourself look a fool.

  79. Steve, the more you call me a "liar" the more you prove that you don't have a viable counter argument. Usually the guy who is getting the most angry in a debate is a good indicator of who is losing it.

    As it so happens, I had 2 Nephi 1 firmly in mind when I made the statement about steel that I did. All that verse says is that Nephi taught his people metal-working. It never says what happened to the industry after that - or what it was used for thenceforth. In fact, it never states whether steel (whatever Nephi meant by the term) was ever used in a single weapon other than the original Sword of Laban he brought with him.

    So we need not expect to find steel in any noticeable quantities in Mesoamerica - even if the Book of Mormon is true.

    And incidentally, steel was not unknown to bronze age peoples. Iron-carbon composite implements have been found in small quantities in some bronze age sites. King Tut's tomb being a notable example (a ceremonial steel dagger was found there among the other stuff).

    Add in the fact that iron tends to rust away (especially in tropical climates like Central America) and Steve, you don't have a leg to stand on here. You have next to zero basis for claiming that a bona fide Nephite society exactly like the one described in the Book of Mormon would have left you anything.

    Oh, and by the way Steve, do you want to open up the DNA argument now?

    Another argument that only works by misreading the Book of Mormon text, but... sure. We can go the rounds on DNA if you like.

    Incidentally Steve, some of the dumbest people I've ever met had college degrees.

    These days a bachelors degree is the new high school diploma. Graduates from most American universities don't know half of what their counterparts in the 1950s knew.

    So go wave your degrees somewhere else. I've done my own graduate work, and I know exactly how seriously to take these degrees.

    Now everyone. Let's see if Steve is mentally capable of formulating an argument without using the word "liar" in it.

  80. Seth,

    Yes, I can see that this conversation has degenerated as they usually do. However, your quote, “Usually the guy who is getting the most angry [angriest] in a debate is a good indicator of who is losing it,” couldn’t be any further from the truth. Although I’m certain that you’d like to think so, I’m not angry at all. As is usually the case, you simply manufacture things out of thin air. My calling you a liar is based solely upon what you’ve written, and your changing of arguments and your equivocation of language. You simply cannot stay on track. You say that you have a working counter-argument to just about every claim, but you fail to understand that this is not the same thing as evidence. It is sad, but I think you have clouded your understanding so much that you are starting to believe your own nonsense. In truth, I wouldn’t care one bit if the Book of Mormon was true, but all the evidence suggest otherwise. You’re grasping at straws.

    Now, that aside, let me being by stating that I understand that anything I write will be to no avail, for, as I stated much earlier, you are immune to evidence. Yet, to your second paragraph, I will say that, once again, you’re playing the all-too-typical theologian’s word games. Yes, I think it makes you dishonest; in short, you’re making attempts to change the arguments. Who said anything about a steel industry? Only you… If, however, you’re trying to suggest that any metallic objects have all rusted away, yet have been found in other parts of the world then you’re pretty silly. For you, Seth, I recommend reading Carl Sagan’s, “Demon-Haunted World;” in particular, the bit about baloney detection.

    In effect, what you seem to be suggesting is that all forms proposed to test any of your postulates have been rendered useless. It’s as Carl Sagan noted: I have a fire-breathing dragon in my garage, but he’s incorporeal, heatless, floats off the ground and is invisible. As such, any form of test that I propose to prove he exists, you then tell me why I cannot be done. Your arguments are blatantly absurd, Seth, and I, like Craig, have been drawn into your web of nonsense. Let me say this, I understand that steel was known during the Bronze Age, but you keep concocting these red-herrings. No one cares, but let me ask you Seth, where is there any archaeological evidence to support your claims? How is that nearly a quarter of a million people can die, but there isn’t any evidence to support it. Strange that we can find strong evidence to suggest Polynesian visits, but we can’t find any to support your claims. Equally strange that we have found evidence to support the Lost Legions of Varus, but we can’t find evidence to support your multitudes.

    We can go on and on and on, but it will be to no avail. Seth, I am standing firmly on two legs, your arguments – like your church – borders on the absurd. I don’t care one iota what you believe and you can keep going on and on and on trying to convince me your non-scientific “proofs” have successfully refuted evidence to the contrary, but it hasn’t. And you wonder why I think you’re a liar. However, to think again, in order to lie, one first must understand the truth…

  81. Yes Steve, you've proven pretty immune to the facts yourself.

    There were a couple substantive points in there... to address them.

    There WERE massive battles with thousands of casualties in Central America. At any rate, there is no reason to view Mormon's battle report numbers as being precise or accurate anyway. Ancient world generals routinely described the numbers in armies in broad generalities. The reporting was so imprecise that often the figure of ten thousand, for example could simply mean a lot of soldiers anywhere between four thousand and twelve thousand. It's not like they had census guys out there taking head counts.

    As for a large-scale steel industry - you did suggest it by suggesting that all their soldiers were using such implements. You seem to have backed off this claim, which I suppose means we're making progress. The distinction matters because while we might expect to find a massive steel industry, we could not similarly expect to find a small one. Bronze Age steel is a very rare find. What has been found firmly opens the possibility for other examples. But it does not make it likely that you're going to find specimens everywhere. You simply seem to have a naive, and grossly optimistic view of how capable archeology is of reconstructing the full picture of the past.

    Again, do you want to open up the DNA argument?

    Final point here - I'm not interested in proving the Book of Mormon to you, and nowhere in this thread did I indicate I was. I don't really honestly care whether you believe in the book or not. The only reason I'm engaging you is because you arrogantly came on here and decided to have a sneering session about how Mormons are all a bunch of brainwashed victimized retards.

    I've had civil and productive conversations with atheists. I'm having a rather pleasant one with an atheist elsewhere right now actually. But not when they act like arrogant, condescending, self-righteous jerks.

  82. Seth,

    Admittedly, you seem a fairly smart guy but, overall, you are tragically anti-intellectual. Your statements regarding education reveal that. Quite frankly, based upon your prose, syntax and your understanding of critical reasoning, I doubt whether you have much in the way of higher education. Nevertheless, the following should – although I know it won’t – put your nonsense to rest. Please read your response to me; in particular, the last sentence.

    As it so happens, I had 2 Nephi 1 firmly in mind when I made the statement about steel that I did. All that verse says is that Nephi taught his people metal-working. It never says what happened to the industry after that - or what it was used for thenceforth. In fact, it never states whether steel (whatever Nephi meant by the term) was ever used in a single weapon other than the original Sword of Laban he brought with him.

    If you’re going to argue for a book then you’d better bloody well know it. Take a gander at this passage from Ether 7:9:

    “Wherefore, he came to the hill Ephraim, and he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him; and after he had armed them with swords he returned to the city Nehor, and gave battle unto his brother Corihor, by which means he obtained the kingdom and restored it unto his father Kib.”

    I do not think you’re a liar in the most obvious sense of the word, but I do think you’re an intellectual coward. Seems to me that our boy Shule was pretty angry with his dear brother, and it also looks like he made swords (notice the plural) for his men. Oh, sorry, it was only two you say? You and your word games have been formally dismissed…

  83. And as I've already indicated "swords of steel" could mean almost anything.

    Especially when you consider that this is Mormon summarizing a translation that some OTHER Nephite did of a foreign record. Then you get the additional filter of Joseph Smith's own translation. Linguistically and meaning-wise, the Book of Mormon is an incredibly complex ancient document. With multiple authors, multiple sources, and multiple points at which to have the meaning of the recorded events filtered and re-interpreted.

    Thus you have no basis for confident assertions here.

  84. Seth,

    I am done with this ridiculous argument, so my best wishes to you. Am I angry? No, but do I get frustrated? Yes. Indeed, just like every other religious person I've met, you want it both ways. If I allow you the word play, then you have to be open to the possibility that they got a multitude of other things wrong, as well. This, in fact, would likely render the Book of Mormon a pointless read. Seth, I am sorry, but you like to employ quasi-intellectual language, but you do so incorrectly.

    Somehow, we find ancient battle fields all over the world, but somehow we cannot find any of yours. Astonishing inanity, really; to this end sir, a scholar you are not...

  85. Continuing this argument is probably for the same reason that I stop to watch televangelists, or Fox News Broadcasters, or train wrecks, etc. I simply cannot take my eyes from it. This statement is, quite frankly, astonishing: “And as I've already indicated "swords of steel" could mean almost anything.” Of course, you’re right; indeed, they meant, perhaps: cotton candy, or electric trains, or maybe Post cereals, Hell, who knows, it could be anything, right? Allow me to ask you an earnest question, Seth; do people really buy this nonsense? I mean really and truly? You can say what you will, but I have not, even for a moment, been immune to evidence. You, on the other hand, are willing to accept this strangled version of reality over what both the language and the empirical evidence show you. It is indeed beyond belief; it truly is.

    As the distinguished Bertrand Russell once noted, “… the attitude that one ought to believe such and such a proposition, independently of the question whether there is evidence in its favor, is an attitude which produces hostility to evidence and causes us to close our minds to every fact that does not suit our prejudices.” He was an exceedingly smart man Seth perhaps sometime you should read his works. This demonstrable obfuscation of language and evidence is, I’m afraid, uniquely American. It is therefore not any wonder that our representative democracy is in tatters. The late, great Thomas Jefferson – as Aristotle before him – understood that it is only when the masses are educated that democracy works. As Ronnie James Dio noted in Heaven and Hell, “They’ll tell you black is really white; the moon is just the sun at night…”

  86. We have found ancient battlefields - all over Mesoamerica. It's not my fault you don't believe they are "mine."

    Again Steve - what did they mean by the word "steel" in the Bible? Can you answer this question?

    And I'm sure you meant Fox News as a slap in my direction.

    I've got a news flash for you, chuckles. I'm a registered Democrat, I voted Democrat in the last three elections, and I can't stand Fox News. One-sided ideologues who distort the positions of their opponents and who are incapable of seeing the other side's point of view tend to get on my bad side.

    Which is exactly why your arguments went down so well with me.

    If you want to back off, fine. How about you run off to the collective brain-drain over at the Recovering from Mormonism message boards and whine to them about how the nasty little Mormon didn't roll over for your brilliant and insightful critiques. I'm sure the collective over there will eat it up.

  87. Seth,

    Yes, I will admit, the Fox News thing was directed at you, and, yes, I’ll equally admit that I am indeed surprised. We, at least, can agree on that. That aside, I would never ask you to “roll over” as that was not my intent whatsoever. There is a chasm of difference between making claims, believing something and proving it; I do not think that the Mormon Church has come close to proving the veracity of their book. In addition, I’d also recommend to you that you consider the following: simply offering up a refutation is proof; that is merely the stuff of philosophy. As such, claiming a battle field as “yours” and proving it are entirely different propositions. I remain entirely unconvinced that any of your so-called evidence supports your claims. Everything else aside, I like a spirited debate – and I think you do too – but it is impossible when we simply cannot agree on terminology.

  88. Seth,

    Often times, the problem with discussions such as this – aside from what I’ve already stated about how language is often misused – is that people ignore far too many of their interlocutors’ points (we all do it), and, as a result, both sides bring in far too many points. In short, everything ends up being glossed over. So, with that in mind, let’s try to stay focused on a single item; in this case, steel. As such, scholars generally agree that some of the oldest material within the Old Testament date from around the 13th-century BCE. Moreover, scholars also generally agree that the smelting of steel might have been discovered around the same time. So, what did the various authors of the Bible mean? I don’t know for certain, but I will admit that, yes, it could mean to “stand firm,” or it could equally mean the metal known as steel. But, we’re not talking about the Bible; we’re talking about the Book of Mormon. This is a subtle shift which has changed the parameters of the argument. As such, have there been any Mormon manuscripts that have been radiocarbon dated from this time period? To the best of my knowledge, the answer to this question is a resounding, no.

    With that in mind, then, what does this tell us about the veracity of the claims being made in the Book of Mormon? This was my earlier point; you’ve based an argument – that the use of the word “Steel” in the Book of Mormon meant “rigid and hard” – but it is an argument which begs the question. Looking at it another way we could claim that there might be some consideration to your point if we could find a Mormon manuscript with a verified radiometric date from this timeframe, but we do not appear to have that. So, we must take on faith that your etymology of the word “steel” is correct. In other words, Smith, being the charlatan I think he is, would have used the word in its modern form – he certainly would have understood what the metal steel is. If, however, our earliest manuscript dates from the 19th-century then it is highly likely that the word “steel” as used in the Book of Mormon meant just that – the metal steel. So my underlying point here is this: you’ve changed the entire parameters of the argument by shifting the focus of this discussion from the Book of Mormon to the Bible; as I noted, we’re discussing one, not the other.

  89. Alright Steve. There appears to be a misunderstanding here.

    Where did I ever in this thread claim to be "proving" LDS claims?

    I engaged here for one reason, and one reason only - to show that Mormons are not irrational, brainwashed idiots for believing what they believe. That's it.

    I don't have to "prove" Mormonism in order to support that stance. I just have to show that the arguments against it are not "obvious" and not a "slam dunk." Since I established here that none of your arguments thus far have been a slam dunk, my aims have been completely met.

    On the other hand, you have not met your burden of demonstrating that we are uneducated, ignorant, or deluded.

    Just to refocus this, and remind everyone where this exchange started, and who was asserting what.

  90. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon claim to be ancient documents.

    Both use the word "steel." In both instances there is a high likelihood that the word doesn't mean in either of those texts what the word means to a modern audience. I think the comparison works just fine.

    Again Steve, I'm not interested in proving any of this to you, nor did I ever indicate I was.

  91. Seth, you're making the classic mistake that's repeated over and over by religious apologists: you're asserting that the burden of proof is on the non-believer.

    Mormonism makes a staggering number of amazing claims that defy both common sense and the historical and archeological records. It is up to the Mormons to prove that there is a reasonable, plausible explanation for every one of them.

    In science, no single experiment or observation proves anything. We accept theories like relativity and evolution not because of Einstein or Darwin, but because years and centuries of experiments and observations continue to support and confirm these theories. Occasionally an experiment will seem to throw doubt on a well-established theory, but after more work these invariably help us refine and strengthen the theory.

    Religious apologetics is just the opposite. The Book of Mormon is full of fantastic claims, each of which requires some sort of linguistic or historical twist. When we look at the facts, rather than a long series of wonderful confirmations that strengthen and confirm the Mormon claims, Mormon apologists have to twist and turn to slip around the facts.

    Where science argues, "Look, this strengthens the theory," religion can only say, "Look, this doesn't refute the theory."

    I can make any unfalsifiable claim I like, such as Russell's famous orbiting teapot, and my religion is just as good as yours.

    Every single argument you've made falls into the "you can't prove I'm wrong" category. Every time we call you on it, you dive into linguistic smoke and mirrors. We don't have to prove you're wrong - you're the one making the fantastic, magical claims.

    Proving you're wrong is uninteresting. If the Mormons find a way to prove they're right, come see us.

  92. Craig, that would all be well and good...

    IF this was an argument about whether God exists.

    Since it never was an argument about that (at least not between me and Steve) your commentary here is irrelevant.

    Steve is the one who came in here asserting POSITIVE fact claims. Namely that Mormons are brainwashed idiots.

    So, from day one, it was his burden of proof. Since I've already dealt with his claims, and he hasn't come up with anything better than "you're a liar!" I think my case here stands just fine.

    Craig, I'm well aware that atheists are on their strongest ground when they refuse to make any positive claims whatsoever and leave it all up to the religious guy to argue everything. A rather convenient position that seems to have become the new modern fashion statement for those too intellectually lazy to actually argue a position.

    But be that as it may, Steve left the atheist fortress of "no position" long ago when he asserted that Mormons are all brainwashed and stupid.

    So, I'm afraid he's stuck with the burden of proof on that assertion. Sorry but, he brought it on himself.

    Now, if he would like to retract that unsupported assertion he made, I will happily go back to lurking and leave you both to your no-doubt hard-earned non-positions.

  93. I'm closing these comments - no more please. See today's blog if you want to say more.

  94. Why would you close these comments? Why not let them continue for eternity? What do you care? It was just getting extremely interesting...

  95. Anon - they're not closed, they just moved to a more recent blog. Click here to read the next 80+ comments!

  96. Sorry but when you say it is genetics I say bull, there is not on bit of scientific fact to back that statement up. You choose to be homosexual by choice, yes it could have been suggested by your environment and the way you were brought up.

    It is a choice you make.

  97. Anon -- You're simply wrong. There are mountains of scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetic. I don't know where you are getting your information. Or perhaps you choose to ignore scientific facts when they don't match your religion. Either way, your statement is factually incorrect.

    That's the difference between science and religion. With science, you can check your facts.

  98. "Every death is tragic, and my heart goes out to the Osmond family. But Roseanne is right: The Mormon Church's stand on homosexuality is immoral, cruel, and dangerous. And it's time for mothers like Marie Osmond to stand up and say it. It is an abusive religion with immoral beliefs"

    The Religion Virus by Craig A. James
    Why We Believe in God:
    An Evolutionist Explains Religion's Incredible Hold on Humanity.

    This guy is the most discusting & persuasive sales guy a have ever hear of. How can anybody trust a person that bad mouths / bashes the LDS church and then turn aound and tries to sale his ATHIEST book. How more obvious can that be ?

  99. Wow I want the last hour of my life back

  100. you are lost....ORGANIZED RELIGION is to control you. every one who opposes or agrees with the above article is the reason why the earth is going to shit. the FIGHT BETWEEN GODS. PSALMS, SCRIPTURES,ETC, ARE ALL made to control you. and no, people withouta THEORY are not AS depressed or lost as religious extremists because we are EDUCATED & we dont hurt other beings just because a "god" tells us we have to. We are are good just BECAUSE. WHY NOT?? We dont do good just because we are promised of a better "kingdom" in the sky. We do good for the sake of being HUMAN DAMMIT! FUUUUUUUCK you people are so MEAN, SELFISH, & DELUSIONAL!!!!!!

  101. I agree that the fact that this abuse is terrible. The fact that there is a history of gay marriage in the church is sad, because, the gospel clearly states that marriage is between man and woman. Of course, this world is sinful, and humans are sinful, so therefore, we are not perfect. Homosexuality, I think is not what God intended, however, Christians should not go that far, to the point of abuse, both physically and verbally. The post above mine...I honestly think that the fact that once we die, and that's the end is extremely depressing. Everyone in the world looks for a reason to live, be that religion or money, or whatever. However, by stating that once we die, we just cease to exist, you are agreeing with the fact that our lives do not have a purpose. Religion is not there to control you. People are given free will and the freedom to decide what they believe in. If you look at the statistics in Japan, a country who has one of the lowest percentages of Christians has the highest rate of suicides. And...also, please study religion in more depth please. This is something I truly believe in. We Christians do not do good works because we are promised a better future. That's essentially relying on works to get to Heaven. However, it's because of the outpouring of love that Jesus first showed us through his death and the salvation he gave to us, that we then show his love to others.

    1. Just because you want life to have some cosmic purpose doesn't make it true. The world is full of wonder, niceties, unpleasantness and horrors. You can't claim the bad things don't exist just because you don't like them. You might want to read The Scandal of Atheism.

    2. I'm not saying that the world is empty. I fully agree with your first statement... However, I was talking about the end result. What happens to everything that you do after your death? Does it amount to nothing? Because all the things that you did while you were alive are pretty much meaningless in the face of death.

    3. Not at all. Did my great-great-great-grandmother's life come to nothing? Of course not. Her legacy endures because she took the risks of childbearing and raised children who now have dozens of descendents. Did my mother's father disappear when he died? No. His legacy lives on in hundreds of engineering works in California that make millions of lives better. Will my life come to nothing? I certainly don't think so. I have three children who are grown, happy, healthy and productive citizens. I wrote a book that many thousands have read. I contribute to important social and political causes. My job helps improve medicine and the environment.

      We live on through our deeds and through those whose lives we change. You can be either a net contributor to this world, or a net parasite. What could be more meaningful than that?

      I've attended a number of memorial services in my life. When someone dies, I always like to ask, "Was the world better off because this person was alive?" If you can answer "Yes" to this question, then your life is meaningful ... far more meaningful than if you waste it hoping for an afterlife that might never come.

      Here you go: Laurel's Wager

    4. I do get your point... however, I don't exactly know how to defend it... considering I don't exactly study theology. aghhh, defending against atheism is hard xD... I'll try to study some more before I come back xD...i'm not running away -.-

    5. A refreshing reply ... you're willing to learn. Wherever your journey ends, you're doing the right thing.

      It's not a matter of defending against atheism or religion. The most important thing is to be open, to be genuinely willing to hear both sides. At the risk of sounding self serving, one of the big topics in my book (The Religion Virus) is the "anti-rationalism meme", the idea that logic, reason and the pursuit of facts is actually a bad thing. This idea arose some time before the birth of Jesus, but really took hold later on and evolved into a rich set of aphorisms and official doctrine of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Of all the things that religions do, I find the rejection of reason to be the most insidious. If you reject reason, you can believe anything.

      Good luck in your quest!

  102. It is true that mormonism is completely made up. its in the history books. I had to study it in college. I am a strong believer in the Holy Bible. But without denomination or church building. An open Bible in the home is the path to wisdom. One needs no other way. Any other way is just a scheme. You don't need to promote GOD outside of what has been written long ago. But people are doing it. To say I was on topic, I will mention that Roseanne Bar and all other "celebs" cannot judge religion. They know nothing about GOD. You cannot serve the world and GOD both. It is only when you give up the world will you even recognize GOD for who He truly is. Christ was the best living example. It takes a person who isn't looking to not know this.


Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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