Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A thought experiment

What if all Mormons stopped donating or paying tithing? Just a hypothetical...

How would the LDS church appear if tithing abruptly quit flowing in?

It probably wouldn't take long for temples to be boarded up & perhaps sold off. No member can enter, work in or pass through the temple if they stop paying tithing. Likewise, meetinghouses would suffer for lack of support to pay utilities, up-keep and ”learning materials”.  BYU campuses would raise tuition, drop classes, close down some facilities and run on bare costs. Visitor centers, institutes, seminaries and genealogy libraries would probably lock their doors.

But the LDS City Creek Mall would still retail fine apparel, gold watches and fifth-gen IPhones. Condos looking over the mall would still collect fees. The church-owned cattle ranches and Polynesian theme park would still sell beef, punch tickets and host luau dinners.  Insurance agents would collect premiums. Deseret would still line the shelves with new books. LDS radio & TV stations would keep broadcasting advertisements.

Without tithing, the church would most definitely go on in a form much like many other conglomerate corporations.

What about missionaries? Would they still seek out new tithe payers? What about LDS charities? Would they still disperse aid?

Perhaps, but we don't know since the church has little financial transparency on these endeavors.

Now compare this scenario with another thought experiment. What if UNICEF - one of the largest secular charities - abruptly stopped receiving government & private donations?

UNICEF receives about $3.5 billion a year in donations (about a third privately). It has financial transparency, listing its internal audits in complete, showing that it disperses just over 90% of its receipts back into charitable programs & services. The other ten percent pay to run and advertise its mission.

If UNICEF stopped receiving donations, it would likely disappear in a year. Just evaporate. Because it's a true charity and has no profit making agenda.

Not that it isn't without criticism, but it hands out well over $3 billion at present per year in aid and services. That's about twice what the LDS church has done in a quarter century, even though the church collects closer to twice what UNICEF does in a year.

Think about that. The church collects much much more in donations and takes about fifty years to disperse as much in charity as UNICEF does in a single year.

The LDS ”church” is a business. We really should be questioning its tax exemption.


  1. I have a question.

    Is the church tax exempt because it's classified as a charity? Or is it tax exempt because it's a "church", like all churches, which many operate also on a business type platform.

    I ask, because I don't know what actually makes the Church tax exempt.

    And I guess I ask, does it matter? And if it does, why?

    I just don't think we tax churches in the US. Big or small, Christian or not, transparent or not.

  2. Let's say for the sake of argument that religions are largely constructed my man, not by God. We can hypothesize for hours how and why all the various religions came about, but I think one thing we should agree upon is that they are all works in progress, as it's members are. When we purposely cause to have the discussion shut down by threatening those who are active participants we decide that progress is impossible.

    Those that are committed to remaining at the table and participating in the discussion are those that are eager to be apart of the process. Those of us who respond to David's call for a Paisley Perestroika are hoping this church will choose not to be dominated and by fear of open and candid discussion for that's where growth comes from not intimidation and threats.

  3. Let's for the sake of argument say religions are largely created by man for reasons we don't always comprehend, let alone find any common ground on. However, that said we can probably agree that Religions are or at least should be considered works in progress, as is obvious given the strife religious history seems to have cursed human civilization with, they have a long way to go. The Religion we here on this blog are intimately connected with is Mormonism and we are committed to it's progress rather than it's stagnation. Progress happens as we remain at the table and participate in the messy process of dialogue. We hope that we wont be threatened or intimidated from the table and that the table will become large enough to fit all the variety of voices that seek to be committed to this religion. This is what David call the Paisley Perestroka~~~

  4. You are right about what you think about the nature and hidden mission of this site. If I told you that I personally know the writer of the blog, would you believe me? You don't have to, but I hope that you will. It is my experience, and a whole lot of others, that the writer of this blog enjoys and seems to be obsessed with trying to draw anyone he can away from the LDS church. Not only that, but he has also indicated that he is an atheist. Do you hear him attacking any other organized religion?

    Once can only wonder why he wants to remain a member of a church he despises. In spite of his ranting and anger, he is loved. Hopefully in time he will move on to a more peaceful departure from the church of his youth.

  5. Your divergent view point is welcome, but you use the typical justifications.....HOWEVER, if a person makes a claim that a Church is the ONE TRUE CHURCH because it's literally run by God (through the mouth of a living prophet), then how can you use the "no Church is perfect" justification...?

  6. What if someone started a religion which believes the earth began in Missouri? Would you think its crazy?

  7. *What* missionaries if no one was paying tithing? You have to be temple worthy to go on a mission, which means paying tithing.

  8. Kevin M - The LDS church cannot be a "work in progress". It has claimed it is the "one and only true church on the whole face of the earth".
    To claim that it is a work in progress is to say that "God" is a work in progress.
    Christian churches definitely can fit in with your statement, because they don't make a claim to institutionally represent God on earth.

  9. How impartial are the missionaries when they 'teach' someone? Do they discuss alternatives to mormonism? Do you think they would talk to me about the Church Universal and Triumphant?

    It is hard to say what is official lds 'doctrine', because it changes so much; but, I have heard many say, "Men are not perfect, the church is perfect." As far as God being perfect, which god are we talking about? The 'original', who is an exalted man? Or one of the other that have been, or will be, created by the church?

    You opened your post by saying discussions on this site attack your beliefs. Yet, at the end of your post you say the site attacks men and all men should 'questioned.' So, which is it? And while you are at it, tell me what deception is...

    I do not post these things for any other reason than to show how duplicitous the church is; how rigid it is and how controlling it is. It's a cult and cults cannot allow their leaders to be questioned.

    Join the Paisley Perestroka. Study what your church really teaches. Ask questions. I wish you bonne chance in your sojourn through life...

  10. One technicality about this post...regarding the closing of churches, temples, etc.
    I think the church would use it's business empire to find ways to subsidize the "religious" arm and keep these places open.
    However, you would start seeing major changes because its all about the bottom line with a business.

  11. Because God allows us to be imperfect. Humans run His church. He does not force them to understand; He does not force them to do everything (nor even anything) perfectly.

  12. I agree with the overall mission of Mormonthink, to provide a broader picture of the overall facts. I don't like the term "balanced", because it suggests that data must categorized as either "good" or "bad". Instead, I like the idea of trying to incorporate all relevant data into assessment of the truth claims of the Church.

    Having said that, I bristle a little at Mr. Tweede's approach. I don't think you could hardly call him a "wolf in sheeps clothing", as much as a "wolf in wolf's clothing" who's trying to bargain with the shepherd. I find it a rather strange approach. Mr. Tweede is overtly critical of the Church, and quite cynical to the culture and organization. Frankly, I share many of those sentiments (maybey not so much to the culture, but the Church hierarchy and organization). I don't attend their meeting though, either. While I don't agree with what the Church teaches, I believe civility is still in order. That includes not attending their meetings with the intention of actively trying to steal away their members, or to broadcast my critiques of a local Ward's meetings on the internet. Not that I have any problem with the idea of "proselytizing" my objections to Mormonism, just that I can think more appropriate venues to do that.

    I'm quite torn over this. I think it is a black-eye for Mormonthink, which has been a great resource up until recently.

  13. The problem with the "only true church" is that it cannot commit mistakes. If you commit errors left and right, how can you be true? Like Mitt Romney, you can only flip-flop so much and then your credibility and integrity becomes questionable.

    That the church is still true although run by imperfect human beings is a pretty lame excuse. After all, other churches are run by imperfect human beings too. How then can they be false while the LDS church remains the only true one?

  14. The mission of the LDS church is to preach repentance to the world. As a returned LDS missionary who has now abandoned Mormonism, I once taught people that the first step of repentance was to acknowledge one's sins and turn away from wrongdoing.

    Unfortunately, repentance is not something the LDS church does. The church never acknowledges its mistakes. And since it thinks it hasn't done mistakes, there's no wrongdoing to stop and turn away from.

    That's why I abandoned it.

  15. That is about as valid as saying that Spago in Hollywood and Olive Garden should both price their food the same, because they both serve Italian food.

  16. These comments have been interesting. Someone asked how the LDS Church could have a Tax Exempt status and run various companies.
    The companies are full tax supporting organizations, like Deseret
    Farms, Bonneville International, which operates radio and TV stations around the U. S., (including KSL in Salt Lake).

    I come from Mormon Pioneer stock, both on my father's side of the family and my mother's as well. They joined the church in the British Isles when the Saints were in Nauvoo and only spent a short time there before they headed West to Salt Lake. They left
    beautiful homes, a nice lifestyle and ended up in the barren
    Salt Lake Valley. I am grateful their sacrifice.

    My wife and I had eight children and lost three between 1980 and
    1993. We put the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the test and never once did we feel any bitterness toward our Heavenly Father or the
    Savior. Those sweet children just were able go on ahead of us.

    I agree with someone who said Brother Twede should just leave the church since he feels so negative about it and many of the teachings that most of us who are members hold dear. I am, in fact
    surprised Brother Twede still has his church membership after
    reading much of this site.

    I know we are lead by a prophet and that the LDS Church is the
    true Church Of Jesus Christ, restored in these latter days!

    1. Dear Rob-MO. I just want to thank you for your comments. Also, I love that you feel your children were just "able to go on ahead of us"

      Brother Twede has a dad who went on ahead of us 18 years ago. I am thankful to know that when someone like David chooses to attack the church he was raised in, at least his father has the perspective of heaven to deal with the pain he must feel at his sons' current behavior. It is very hard to see what David is doing at this point in his life. I am also happy to see some of the comments here that show that not everyone who reads here at mormonthink is falling for what seems to be the mission of this site.

    2. Not trying to manipulate you David. Didn't necessarily think YOU are who is approving comments here. I didn't necessarily think you would be reading this. And if I thought you would enjoy hearing from me, I might reach out. But, I am also not afraid to write how I feel. You may not think my doing this means I care, but that is exactly why I am here.

      Just so you know, all of us care about you David. You have a good heart. We hate seeing what you are doing. Quit hating the church Dave. Can't you just be peaceful? Seriously. Get off your hate stuff and just live and let live. At least for our matriarch, who is suffering at what comes out of your mouth. You make us all feel very protective of her. I'm sorry if it hurts to hear the truth. If you can dish it out, can you take it? Just respect those of us, especially including the above mentioned person, who are still believers.

    3. If it is such a sham, why not just walk away? The amount of effort you put into hating the church could be used to build your own church and have a place for people that believe that same way to meet and be uplifted. From the looks of things here, you would have a big enough following that you could make something of it.

      Pull a Martin Luther...Walk away and start your own show on positivity and building instead of tearing down.

    4. I didn't know very much at all about Mormonism before stumbling on this blog, but reading the responses from members to what the author posts is very telling to me. It's shocking, to say the least. David, thank you for your efforts to educate the world about this religion, you are doing important work.

  17. I'm going to throw this out here....First, the writer of the blog claims that he is not trying to harm the church. And then proceeds to attempt to totally discredit the church. I'm a convert, of almost seven years. Before I converted I read everything while investiagated this church for a year and a half. And when I say read, I literally read TONS of stuff. I have read just about everything negative on the web and in books as well as positive. I have followed up on quotes etc. And guess what? I still converted! Why? Because this church and its beliefs is the only church that has over ninety percent of the picture. Why? Because it is the only church that outlines a plan that makes sense! I have asked myself all sorts of questions. One of which is this.....why would Joseph Smith write, "The Book of Mormon?" What was so vastly different about, "The Book of Mormon," that Joseph Smith would have felt the NEED to MAKE IT UP? The BOFM compliments the Bible. Joseph Smith did not profit from the book, not in a huge way. So, why would he have made up the BofM? If he was the charlatan people claim he was why didn't he cut his losses and leave town? It would seem to me that getting tarred and feathered would be enough for one to throw up their hands and walk away. By that same token I've played the devils advocate so to speak and allowed myself to wonder if there isn't a God. So, then I had to question where did the Bible come from? And that is where all of this starts to make sense. See, following the Lords teachings make sense, for everyone. Think about what this world would looked like if there were no rules, not commandments, or light of Christ. Logically, the Bible and the BofM makese sense. Also, who said any prophet was perfect or for that matter always did everything perfectly? This world and men are not perfect regardless of their callings. No one is perfect and therefore the people of this church is NOT going to do everything perfectly! It is the plan that is true, it is Jesus and his promises that are perfect, it is his church that is true! Not the people!

    1. Anonymous:
      If the LDS faith is so logically correct then why has only 2% of the whole world been convinced of this infallible logic?

    2. Only 1% of the US make up the majority of the taxes paid. Why doesn't the rest of the US embrace the same ideas they used to make their millions/billions? We would all be totally loaded, right?

  18. I find the increase in the number of TBM comments very interesting. I also find the "love it or leave it" and attack tone to be instructive. As one who still attends to support a TBM spouse, I sat in on a "Modern Day Korihor" lesson recently). Apparently the desire to have apostates meet their deserved fate of being trampled to death is alive and well in the church as a whole not just in my ward. I challenge you to stop attacking the doubter and attempt answering the questions. I freely admit however that FAIR trys to do just that and reading FAIR accelerated my apostasy. Maybe younger missionaries will help improve the logical consistency of the churches approach and I will be convinced to renter the loving embrace of the haters of the modern day Korihor. I do not support everything that Dave or anyone else try's to do. I do however see Mormonthink as one of the most honest and open sites available about Mormonism. Where is true love honesty and guidance to be found in the church for a doubter? Lacking that what about a coherent answer? I found for myself that understanding was dramatically easier when I allowed that it just might be that the church is not true.

  19. Suppose you hear from someone that somewhere very far away there is a land called Paradise. This land is sweeter than honey, and the people that occupy the land are the most loving kind people you would ever meet. There is plenty of everything, for everyone. The food is 100 times better than anything you have ever eaten so far. There is peace and joy to be found in this Paradise. So, you decide to go in search of this land. And as you go on this quest there are people along the way that tell you that this land does not exist, that it is a fairy tale place. They have all kinds of proof it is a lie, a sham. So, do you continue on this quest keep moving along and searching? Or, do you decide it doesn't exist and just continue your life as if it was just a fairy tale and live your life as you had before? Or, do you become one of those people that stops other people on their quest to find Paradise and tells them that land doesn't exist? The Bible, the Book of Mormon, there is no concrete proof that either one is 100 percent true. No one has been to, "Paradise." If you decide to give up on that quest, then give up! It doesn't make sense however for you or anyone to spend time trying to prove why you believe that Paradise doesn't exist. Get off the road and live your life the way you feel it should be lived. But, don't be that person that wants to yank people off the road to Paradise. There isn't one person out there that can say that those that follow the teachings of this church would be harmed by it. NOT ONE! Its teachings do not bring misery. And if it does bring misery it of their own making and life in general will bring this person misery.

    1. Just one question, if I may. Do the people telling this story also own the toll road to get there?

    2. "Its teachings do not bring misery. And if it does bring misery it of their own making and life in general will bring this person misery"

      Absolute garbage. I know many people who have been harmed by the LDS church. So I am going to name some.

      1. All the teenage girls a middle aged man named Joseph Smith married.
      2. All of the women and children of early polygamist leaders.
      3. All black men that were not allowed to hold the priesthood before 1978 because of racists in the church and not because God said it.
      4. Women in the 70's who deserved equal rights but were opposed by the LDS church.
      5. Gay people in California that were denied free will because of LDS prophets said God wanted Mormons to fight against gay marriage.
      6. Numerous former members that were lied to about the history of the church and when those people found out the truth they left.
      7. FLDS who have been led astray by early LDS prophets who lied and said polygamy was needed to go to the celestial kingdom.
      8. Many current members who feel like they have to be perfect and therefore on a daily basis are under impossible stress. Example, there have been suicides by people who could not obey the church doctrines of the word of wisdom as the became addicted to alcohol. Look it up.

      I could go on forever. The LDS church is not all sunshine and roses. It is not God's only one true church.

    3. "Just one question, if I may. Do the people telling this story also own the toll road to get there?"

      The road, like all roads has various hills, valleys, bumps and other various dangers as well as pleasures. Again, you can choose stay on that road or get off. The road is called agency.

    4. Anonymous October 7, 2012 8:22 PM

      The point is, the people telling the story may have ulterior motives for getting you to keep searching for this paradise they swear exists. In other words, I know that Joseph's myth was a real profit.

  20. 1. You cannot speak for the women that were married to Joseph Smith, so you do not know if being married to him harmed them. Plus that is a man not the church.
    2. Some of the women were said to have suffered and some liked being sister wives. Again, this is man not the church.
    3. The black men had their agency, they had a choice to be a part of the church or not. There were many churches, not just the LDS church that were segregating blacks. Right, wrong or indifferent it was done, should we shut down all Christian churches that were segregating?
    4. Again, women had their agency they didn't have to be a part of this church.
    5. Gay marriage is wrong, it wasn't just the LDS church that was fighting gay marriage. It is in the Bible. If you don't like it take that up with God.
    6. As I have said before there isn't one person that can prove that God exist or that Jesus actually lived again. There isn't one person that can prove that the red sea was parted etc. So, if people feel duped is of their own doing. Not the church.
    7. People have a choice to believe or not to believe. No one was forced to marry someone they didn't want to marry. And if they were, it was happening everywhere not with just this church. Agency....and again the people, even the prophets were not and are not perfect!
    8. As I have basically stated, the pressure is of their own doing. Yes, you need to follow the word of wisdom in this church. This is for your own good. You name as an example someone becoming addicted to alcohol, that addiction regardless of whether or not you're in this church. Alcohol addiction causes families to break up, and even kills. Anyone having that addiction should feel bad about it. I am well aware of all the bad things tied to the church. I'm aware of the pressure that, "native," Mormons (For lack of a better word.) feel. Again, that is of their own doing. People in the church tend to confuse the culture of the church with the teachings of the church. They tend to forget that their concern should always and foremost be with their relationship with Heavenly Father first, all other things come second. In the Bible one of the mission's Jesus had and one of the things he talked about was, "his church," he gathered his apostles and taught them. He talked about his church all of the time. There is a true church. You don't have to believe the LDS church is the true church. That is your choice, your agency. But, the fact remains that there is one true church. You can choose to keep searching, as for me, I believe this is the one true church.

    1. Your answers to the list of some of the things that caused harm to people is completely weak. I could rest my case there.

      However, I did want to point out some of the obvious foolishness you have written. The first thing that you mentioned several times was that it was not harmful because they had their free will and could have left anytime. That is nonsense. If a member believes inside that the LDS church was God's one true church and the only way they can get to the Celestial Kingdom is to be a sister wife, or be discriminated against as a black man etc. They will stay in the church and suffer harm. It is also funny that you mention free agency as being importantant and such a great thing but the LDS leaders attempted to take free agency from Gay people from marrying.

      Second, you mentioned a middle aged Joseph Smith marrying and deflowering multiple teenage girls and taking other living mens wives while some were on missions and lying to his wife and the church about it would not necessarily hurt the teenage girls or his wife or the LDS members that were lied to. I believe any teenage girl, married woman or other that Joseph Smith married as a multiple wife was manipulated into that marriage. They believed it was their way into the celestial kingdom which is the lie that Joseph Smith used. Therefore they were by definition, harmed.

      The one thing that you seem to stipulate is the church is not perfect. However, if it is God's one true church it better be perfect at least as far as doctrine. It is not. It is far from it. The LDS prophets lied many times about what God told them that the members need to be doing.

    2. I didn't give any detail about Joseph Smith, you did. I said that no one is perfect, including prophets. You and others on this blog seem to be tied up with trying to help people that may not even be looking for help. It seems to me that your time and efforts would be better spent helping people that truly need help. While it is true that the church encourages people to reach for the ultimate goal of the Celestial Kingdom, there are two other kingdoms. Also, people have the right to their own personal revelation. If they spend more time seeking knowledge, seeking to know Heavenly Fathers plan for them, they wouldn't be so caught up in what other say and/or think. And again, in regards to Joseph Smith and his wives, you are making assumptions, which has nothing to do with life and the church NOW! By the way, I said the church is perfect, the people are not. I want to know how you know that the prophets lie? Because you don't agree with it what they say? In regards to Gay marriage and agency, there were some things that apparently Heavenly Father wouldn't tolerate which is gay relationships. Most likely because that would be the destruction of mankind. Oh, and by the way, I come from a racially mixed family. And as I said, right, wrong or indifferent it happened everywhere for a long time. It is done and and the past. There is no such thing as "free," agency. There is way too much to this church to address simply here or in a blog. I will say that no one will have the complete, PERFECT picture or doctrine until Jesus returns.

    3. Just a final note. The LDS church cannot be the perfect church if it has any false doctrine that are not from God that its prophets said is from God.

      You ask "I want to know how you know that the prophets lie?" the answer is easy. You will know them by their fruits. If any of your prophets proclaim that God told them to have any of the LDS members do something that is evil or clearly wrong it is not from God and they are lying. Ex. middle aged men taking plural wives saying God told them to marry and deflower multiple teenagers is clearly evil and wrong. prohibiting blacks because of the color of their skin to hold your priesthood is clearly evil. Church leaders not telling the truth about its history is wrong. Even the first vision and how the Book of Mormon was supposedly translated is not protrayed honestly in the church. Therefore the LDS church is not God's one true church.

      There really is not much to the LDS church as you claim. It is 100% man made and not from God.

  21. Anonymous said: "The road, like all roads has various hills, valleys, bumps and other various dangers as well as pleasures. Again, you can choose stay on that road or get off. The road is called agency."

    MormonWatch says: We have chosen to stay off that bumpy road of yours and warn others about it. That is only exercising our free agency. You are free to listen or to reject our warning.

    The problem is your prophet still thinks it's his calling to bring back those who have left your bumpy road to re-experience what we have already rejected. Like serving a dog its own vomit.

    "Bring Back Wayward Mormons, Monson Urges LDS Priesthood"

    1. Agency isn't free it comes with a cost. I lived my whole life on the outside of this church. I've know very well the consequences of sin unchecked. I know what happens when you believe you can be forgiven over and over again. I've thought this out and as I have said investigated this church thoroughly. My daughter converted too, but she left the church when she got involved with a boy outside of the church. Contrary to what you're imply, despite my wish that someone would call her back they didn't. Sadly I think that is a direct result of all the negative things that are said about how the church tried to get those that fall to the wayside to return. When I investigated this church I found that over ninety percent of what was written negative about this church wasn't true, or was exaggerated. If they try to bring people back it is out of love. I know of someone that left the church many, many years ago. I asked him why he hasn't had his name removed from the record. He wasn't sure why....but no one contacts him anymore.

  22. I raise questions that no one ever addresses. I have already said that both the Bible and the BofM contain items that no one can prove. Can you or anyone else prove that Jesus is indeed alive today? Can you or anyone prove that the Red Sea was parted? Can you or anyone prove that Jesus walked on water? etc. Just because the people in the areas listed in the Bible didn't die out and/or move away doesn't mean that all the things written in the Bible really happened. No one can prove anything in either scriptures 100 percent happened. Addtionally, no one can tell me why Joseph Smith would have written the BofM, or the Pearl of Great Price. Considering that those scriptures are pretty much in agreement with the Bible, what would be the point? To have the correct way and age to Baptize? Whoa, that is just so far away from the teachings of the Bible....right? When I said that 90 percent wasn't true I was talking about how other religions would point out with Bible scriptures how the LDS faith was wrong and when I would read the scriptures they quoted, the scripture would actually support the LDS faith! One of the questions I'd ask myself when I was in the mainstream churches was why do I, did others, have to suffer for what Adam and Eve did? Why can't I make that choice for myself? I may not have ate of the fruit so why do I have to suffer consequences of another persons actions? Why does everyone else have to suffer the consequences of another persons actions, through decades no less? None of the answers given by ministers made sense! NONE! That is a small example of the question I asked myself that have been answered through the LDS faith. If our lives and purpose for our lives were a puzzle then the LDS faith has 95 percent or more pieces of the puzzle. I don't believe any one person could make all of this up on their own. And again, why? Why would they make it up? Would Joseph Smith have made it up just so he could marry and have sex with more than one woman? Then why didn't he write that in the BofM? If he did just so he could have the priesthood and the Temple works? Then why not write that clearly in the BofM, or for that matter the Pearl of Great Price? Your or someone answer those questions in a comprehensive way....

  23. Except that the LDS church claims divinity and so it's not just some random man made charity. Christ clearly stated in the bible that charity is the (second) most important thing in life (besides the love of God). Comparing apples to oranges, the LDS church is GOD's charity here on this earth and should act accordingly. But it doesn't, at least not like Jesus told us to. And Jesus made that issue pretty black and white. If you don't agree go re-read the new Testamant.

  24. Anonymous: "If our lives and purpose for our lives were a puzzle then the LDS faith has 95 percent or more pieces of the puzzle."

    Again, only 2% of the world has been convinced of this.

    The LDS doctrine makes most sense to you, but it is still just a personal matter. So when you tell someone off for trying to dissuade others from finding "Paradise", what you're saying is that you claim to know better than 98% of the world what will make them happy.
    If your friends were "following the path" of a Wall Street Guru who told them he could, for fifty-thousand dollars apiece, make then millionaires by the end of the year, and you had real hard evidence that it (in all obviousness) was a scam, you'd try to convince your friends that they were going to be cheated, and hurt by losing $50,000 - probably most of their savings.

    I know the parallels aren't perfect, but you need to realize that ultimately, despite tactic chosen, David is doing what he is in order to help people learn the facts (i.e. Mormon Think) so that people may or may not decide for themselves that the LDS church is a scam (which is the conclusion that many people who have read MT or other facts come to).

    The misconception: Happiness equates to truth. Something can make you happy but still be based upon factually incorrect doctrine. I know the rebuttal to this is something like, "but if it makes me happy, then of course it is something I'll want to seek out, and that just means that it is true to me."
    Counter-point in case: Santa Clause. We can all agree here that it is a delusion, and that *"it" makes children happy. The possible rationalization of a child to the fact that Santa Exists: "My Parents do not just give me anything whenever I want it, so why would they make up this Santa Clause deal when it means they have to give me something, which they surely don't normally do!" Or, the (younger) child would look at evidence that everyone tells them Santa is real, and that the presents get there, signed "To Billy from Santa" and the cookies disappear, etc. Or apply the case of the tooth fairy or leprechauns.

    We don't need to defend the child's rationalizations or even discuss why the child is incorrect. But what we need to ask is, "Why would any child try to look for evidence that Santa/Leprechauns aren't real when they know that they would be happier believing in the lie?" The answer is, Children are curious and want to find truth, no matter what.

    I know the parallels aren't perfect, but the method is that there is no simple answer:
    Why would parents lie just so they have to get their kid a present? ---- Why would Joseph Smith make it all up?
    >>The answer isn't just simple for either question, so the topic needs to be studied more thoroughly.
    Why do you believe in Mormonism? --- Why don't you still believe in Leprechauns?
    >>1) it's personal to you, 2) Because they aren't real!
    Why would you or any parent tell their kids the truth about Santa? --- Why does David spend his time telling others that the LDS church may be lying or dishonest or faulty?
    >>1) Because Santa isn't real and kids need to grow up delusion free, and 2) David is sure the LDS church is faulty

    *What I mean by "it" is it is the occasion, the presents received, and the whole event or belief in Santa that makes kids happy, and not because Santa actually is real. But Kids still learn to be happy after dropping their belief. Same for religion: the truth of the doctrine isn't what makes happiness, it is the behavior the members exhibit when following the doctrine.

    1. So the argument is ten times more valid, minus my math skills which still puts it ahead

    2. Rufus, your reasoning is seriously flawed. But, for the sake of argument, lets entertain this comparison a bit. The story of Santa Claus was based loosely on a true person. His spirit of giving lives on through parents etc. Children don't seek the truth about Santa Claus, they have it shoved in their face, often by an older sibling or someone at school. In fact kids would be happy to believe that Santa really exist!

      When does a religion become the, "right," religion? Are you saying it depends largely on how many members they have? So, the winning church is the most popular one? This is the more logical sound reasoning? I think not!

      The way I see it, you either believe there is a God or you don't. You either believe Jesus came to earth or you don't. You either believe he lived or you don't. If you believe then it is a matter of which religion makes the most sense. Which religion has an almost full picture and which one has your looking for some image that makes sense?

  25. Now you're contradicting yourself. First you claim that you brought up questions that no one has answered about mormonism that must be answered "in a comprehensive way", that appears to you to prove mormonism is true. Then in your last comment you say that there is no "right" religion necessarily, that it is all about picking what religion suits you best.

    There is nothing wrong with picking the religion that makes you most happy. You just need to remember that just because there are evidences of mormonism to you, doesn't mean it proves anything to anyone else.
    Therefore, since religion is all about what suits oneself, it should be consistent with your latest philosophy that you have the right to believe and preach what you may, and so does David. To assert that David should not "yank" others off of the road to paradise is to assert that you think you know better that David's way is wrong, which is not consistent with your latest philosophy. All David is trying to accomplish here is to give people a better idea of the imperfections of the church - not to necessarily make people leave.

    And, the reason I brought up Santa Clause is because the point is, it is childish to believe in something just because it makes you happy. For many people truth is also a great factor, and David is trying to help get information out there so those to whom truth is important may learn and decide for themselves what is true.

    Ergo, anyone with a similar philosophy has little to say here since belief is a personal matter to him/her, and thus cannot judge what David is doing here. That is all.

    1. Rufus, you apparently are not capable of reading something and comprehending it correctly. When I was investigating the church and converting my family was upset and telling me a lot of reason as to why I shouldn't convert. One of the reasons brought up was that this religion didn't have as many followers as the mainstream Christian religions. My point basically is that just because there are a lot of people following a religion doesn't mean that religion is right.

      You make the comparison/example of believing in Santa Claus is like believing in Mormonism. According to you just because it makes you happy doesn't make it true. My point is that NO RELIGION can be proved true 100%, not even close. While David has a right to blog what he believes, in my opinion he doesn't have a right to remain a member of a church in which he doesn't believe. There isn't one church that would allow someone to preach against its teachings, while inside the church. To give a glaring example...it would be like a person going inside a gay church and preaching that gays should not marry!

      As I said, your reasoning and David's is flawed.

  26. The fact that the church - any church - is engaged in so much profit making (far more than any charitable making) should make an honest Mormon worry about their position. You may claim it is good investment strategy by a church, but Jesus says not to spend your days going after money - the birds neither store nor spin and God takes care of them...

  27. I've been reading lots of thoreau,mumia, alinsky etc. Lots of revolutionary, civil-disobedience, fight the system type of stuff. I'm reading it through the lens of the church. I am done with it but walking away caused irreparable damage to my family. I'm sick of the collateral damage and want the church to change but that would mean burning it down and building it up again using very few of the original bricks. It would be an unrecognizable building but it would be our heritage. Perhaps we need to get some good minds together and talk about approaches to a revolution. maybe develop some "doctrines" like "spiritual-tactical disobedience"