Monday, October 8, 2012

What Ned could teach Mormons

Ned Ludd, a prole of 18th-century England, is famed for his rage against framing machines.  He became the stuff of heroic legend among weavers and framers that feared their way of life was on the decline when technologies (machines) were developed that could out-perform them. Early 19th-century “Luddites” destroyed the framing and weaving machines in the factories that were down-sizing their labor.

Raging against machines to preserve one's lifestyle has in Joseph Smith another memorable history: the destruction of The Expositor, a Nauvoo press that dared print the "interchanges" and dalliances between Joseph and several women.  There is no question that Mayor Smith ordered the printer’s destruction.  What I ask is, given other presses (even the New York Times) were also bad-mouthing the Mormons, why didn’t Smith order their demise as well?  Let’s get back to this in a minute.

Fast-forward to 2012.  The LDS Church attempts to shut down MormonThink by scheduling disciplinary courts on the founder, and then only a couple of months later on the managing editor on Sept 30.  The latter court of love is “postponed” after media fall-out.  Then a week later in General Conference, there are no less than three talks particularly dedicated to warning members to avoid the modern press, like those found on websites run by 21st-century William Laws.  

Some quotes (paraphrased since the actual transcripts have yet to be released—we’ll update then) include:

"Some have emerged themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed." Elder Quentin Cook, 6 Oct 2012

Apostle Neil Anderson warned: "There has always been a few who want to discredit the church and destroy faith. Today they use the internet. Some of the information about the church, no matter how convincing, is just not true."

Elder Walter Gonzalez declared: "Today surrounded by so much information we might think that navigating millions of webpages will give us all that we need to know. We can find good and bad information on the web. But information alone is not enough. God has given us another source for greater knowledge even knowledge sent from heaven. Our heavenly father can give us such knowledge when we navigate the celestial web in our hearts and minds."

Elder Holland clamored against "Those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few culture hors d'oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the restoration and leave the rest of the feast."

And some years ago, President Monson told the youth:
"Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts: ‘I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people. I know that happiness and contentment are there, and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith. I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it. I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God’s word. I wasn’t with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it.’ "

While the leaders never speak about MormonThink directly in conference, it is clear by word and action they want it avoided or destroyed.  There are, however, dozens of other popular sites dedicated to discussing the history of Mormonism.  Why, then, are the GAs so particular about hunting the founder and editors at MormonThink?

This is the same kind of question asked about why Smith didn’t go after other presses.  It should be obvious by now.  It’s a matter of access.  That is, access to the press or the editor or the site.  Smith would’ve been hard-pressed to send his legion to N.Y. City or Boston or elsewhere.  Nauvoo was local.  If he had legions in place in those cities with the power and strength to take out the presses, there is little doubting about the attempt.  

Older men like my stake president, like Elder Anderson, Elder Cook and Elder Holland find sites like MormonThink as an enigmatic weapon or disease. They don't understand it but want to inoculate members, telling them to avoid the sites at all cost, and to repent if they ever do come into icky contact with them online.  In fact, they really seem to prefer members avoid or take special care going on the Internet at all (unless it is for advertising the church as a member-missionary on facebook or doing genealogy at familysearch).  

The Internet is one of the most important inventions of humankind.  It has changed the face of the planet and will only increase in its position evermore.  It is not a fad.  It is not going away.  And yet, if Anderson, Cook or Holland had a switch that would turn off the Internet everywhere in the world, they would power-down The New Expositor without pause, despite the miraculous human change it brings about.

Technology, like the Internet, with its foundation in semi-conductors on-top of the theory of quantum mechanics, validates science each day with every data-bit sent across the network.  Trillions of data points.  It’s the same quantum theory that validates radio-active dating methods of the old-age earth theory and evolution.  The same foundation that allowed Watson & Crick to develop a precise understanding of DNA structure that has spiraled into revolutions in medicine.  The same underlying evidence and methodology that confronts Ancient American historical claims of the Book of Mormon, of Noah’s ark, of Jaredite barges, of Adam & Eve as first humans, and so much more.  The evidence is overwhelming and continually pouring forward with new scientifically sound technology filed daily at the patent office.

And modern Luddites fear that their way of life is going extinct.  They want to toss aside in heaps the framework of science and the weaving of technology in everyday life just as the framers and weavers resisted the rise of machines centuries before.

Ned’s people are gone.  They did not win.  They lost the idea war in a complete technological slaughter.  It’s sad to watch old suits who protest progress.  But they are teleprompt-reading dinosaurs at the brink of extinction.  

Thank you, President Monson, for supporting the Paisley Perestroika at Sunday's GC. 
Giggidy on the choice tie.  Did you tuck it in because the Church is tightening its financial belt?


  1. David, I commend you on your insight here and the parallels that are spot on. We support MormonThink and the truth it seeks to uncover and publish, in spite of the SLC rhetoric and fear they spread about the very truths they proclaim to be eternal and everlasting. The real truth should never be hidden.

    Colorado (RfM)

  2. David, is hard for thee, to kick against the pricks.

  3. The fun thing is when you parse these statements from General Conference, they are technically correct, but very incomplete. Indeed some people publish lies about the church. But not everything that you read about the church from non lds resources is in fact a lie.

  4. Good comparison.
    Their actions and words express what's going on for them. They are afraid that the truth will be spread far and wide and their deceptions have no way of countering that truth.
    How does the leaders of the *one true church* come out and admit that they have lied and deceived through cover-ups past and present?
    They can't. Instead they coerce with "spiritual" bully tactics to keep people away from reading the real information. These people do not represent any kind of God I wish to serve and obey.

  5. Mormonthink should focus on content, and less on banner waving. First, it far from the only site on the internet that exposes problem area's for Mormon truth claims, so it is unlikely that the "brethren" had Mr. Tweede soley in mind. Secondly, how does one figure that Church disciplinary councils compare to the Joseph Smith's order to destroy the printing press? Seriously, how could the Church shut down Mormonthink? It's a laughable assertion. Naturally they don't want the contributors to this site sitting in the pews taking notes. As much as I disagree with the Mormon Church, that position of theirs is reasonable.

    1. We know that conference talks weren't aimed directly only & specifically at MT. That's why I wrote ” like ”:

      ”like those found on websites...”

      And acknowledged that they never said MT. What's difficult to dismiss is that in a few short months they spied, found and threatened to excommunicate two MT editors. In recent history, I don't think editors at other accuracy sites like MT have been quite as targeted.

  6. The thinking and reasoning or lack thereof on this COMMENT is amazing....!

    Trust me, from someone who once was in your position, be a little gentler, a little kinder, towards those who seem to offend you, because someday, maybe not this year, maybe not this decade, but SOMEDAY, you're going to have so much crap piled up on that shelf labeled "The One True Church" that it's going to crash to the floor. And great will be the fall thereof.

    And it will suck.

  7. in response to, ""Also, if there were other presses that could print negative things about the church during Joseph Smith's time don't you think that Joseph Smith knew about it?""

    What could he possibly have done against a press like New York City, in the mid 1800's? What could he have done about a press in any city? He had already been run out of many towns as a con-man and charlatan, so he already knew he had no power in other communities. Aah, but in his own community he held the power, therefore he wished to get rid of the information that was exposing him because it was within his community jurisdiction. Wasn't he the mayor at that time?

  8. I support MT, but at this point, what advantage do you gain remaining a Mormon on paper? I don't think I would like to be confronted with a disciplinary council, but if you're interested in paying tithing, going to the temple, taking sacrament (I'm just assuming these things) do you need to retain membership to encourage reform, or are you holding out hope that changes will occur soon? No judgement, just curious, because I would walk away and be done.

  9. David just doesn't get that its not all about him. It's not even about the facts at MT. I think this blog post sums up, pretty well, what it's really about.

    1. An interesting FAIR blog that has nearly zero content and is overflowing with indirect as hominem. If you think the interpretation is wrong, address it directly.

    2. Lol! Their conclusion: " If those expelled changed their interpretation to be more similar to how the Church interprets the facts, then I have no doubt they would be welcomed back."

      yep. FAIR...

  10. It is obvious that David Twede is into name calling, and mormonthink condones it. Sad. Objective website? I don't think so.

    And David, you would do well to curtail your name calling. "Old suits...on the brink of extinction" is just plain rude. Since you have indicated your family is LDS, do they fit under this title too? The disrespect has gone too far. You need to stop. (Especially if you want to APPEAR objective.

    (By the way, how can you face your local leaders, and at the same time, write anything about them in your blog? You need to stop. Take a deep breath. Breathe. Think. Be peaceful.)

  11. I think Dave wants to be challenged by church officials, on the record, about what is true or false on the website, because if its lies then they have a case for liable, but if its true then there is no reason to continue with the hearing. He's not playing coy or pretending to believe, he's confronting error with the purpose of correcting it.

    Instead, he gets attacked from the unofficial apologists who receive official funds. If the doctrines are confusing its because a wide range of beliefs exist as doctrine instead of keeping things plain and precious.

    1. The hearing is about the fact (and David admitted it), that he wrote about the temple and included things he knew he should not have written about. The church will not sue for liable about anything else on the website. They are not into fighting. Also, do you know for a fact that apologists get paid? And, by whose official funds? Their own?

    2. ” The hearing is about the fact (and David admitted it), that he wrote about the temple and included things he knew he should not have written about.”

      What I wrote & said was that in writing about Romney, I wrote about the temple covenants, and that Romney hides information just like the church does. I didn't write any of the actual secret information that is in temple ceremonies, such as names, signs, tokens & death penalties. It's unclear exactly what local leaders are upset about, except that I was writing unfavorably, in their view, about the church/leaders/candidates.

    3. Matejoh,

      I'm sure it has nothing to do with David Twede's, "fact find mission." There would be no point, the church is not going to engage in a so called, "truth finding," hearing. As I have said, relgion can be argued forever, since there is no concrete, "proof," of many things from all religions. The hearing would be about David writing about the temple. However, as I have also said what church wouldn't tell someone to leave when and/or if that person is constantly talking about how that church is wrong?

    4. Mormon Think,

      Aren't you assuming the part about Romney? Just because it was loosely alluded to in a conversation with the church presidencey does not prove that this is what the hearing would have been about. Plus, even if it was alluded to in a conversation, that does not mean that the church higher officials feel that way. What you heard may an ongoing argument that person may have been engaged in with someone else which came out in that form to you. If people are looking for evil, if people are looking for conspiracies you will find them everywhere! I think it is wrong for all the people holding a grudge against this church, using Romney as their soapbox to air their issues with the church. No one would pay attention if not for Romney running for president!

  12. Wow, looks like you hit a nerve! lol It's kind of fun to sit back and read some of these lobotomized comments from obvious diehard Mormons who would do anything in the name of religion except think for themselves...

  13. I am grateful for MT and the truth it isn't afraid to post. Thank you David and crew.

  14. I attend LDS services each week and there are many in my ward/stake that would consider me to be fully active. I go to quorum meetings, hold a calling, serve other people.
    I am also a serious reader and supporter of and the open discussion of the facts surrounding all the issues of the church.

    We simply have a religion that seems to be spoon fed to the members with faith-promoting stories that do very little to really strengthen, but to participate in self-congratulations of our superiority of lifes choices. We seldom are challenged of thought nor action. If this religion can't stand up to some honest self-inquiry, maybe it should be brought down a peg or two.

    As an active attending member of the LDS Church, I fully support and have not found one thing on the site that is un-factual nor untrue. For members of the church that are here condemning with fairly serious language the actions of any of the editors, well, I understand your frustration, but I do think it unfounded and your claims hollow.

  15. Bite it. Mormonism is just an extension of pavlovs dog. I know....I lived it. It is ok to think for yourselves people.

  16. Anyone that reads LDS history with an open mind can come to only one conclusion - the church is not true. This is because the doctrine changes constantly over time, there is too much contradiction, and the manuals are not just whitewashed, but contain a view on history that does not exist elsewhere and so cannot be validated. Relying on the spirit is pushed by the church because emotion is the only way they convince people that the church is "true". A church that lies simply cannot be true.

  17. Well written. As the church ages it becomes more set in its ways. Didn't Parley P Pratt and Brigham Young have competing sermons on ideology during conferences back in the day?

    Poor Brigham Young lost most of those battles in the end, Adam God, Blacks in the Priesthood, polygamy - the church was forced to move away from its more bombastic doctrine or lose rational adherents as society opened up in Utah and more rational people were calling a spade a spade on what was really happening in Utah.

    This is why some cultural or cafeteria mormons choose to stay within the organization I think...waiting for dinosaurs like Brigham Young to die off so they could change the church from within FOR THE BETTER.

    For myself and my immediate family we left and have been happier and better people for it; however, I will always support other people's right to work for change from within the organization.

    I would love to see my family and friends that are still within the church be less damaged by the church's unwillingness to confront its bigotry and its own history. I may not be within the church; but I have to confront its destructive behaviors and teachings within my own extended family on a regular basis.

    Kudos to you and your work!

    1. Well stated Joneew. I am on the outside looking in now and I will never return to a life of being controlled and manipulated. I think there are many ways of 'being' in this world and if someone wants to stay in the church in spite of their lack of believing in the practices of the church and it's leaders; then more power to them. If someone eventually leaves or is excommunicated and finds relief, love and peace outside the 'confines' of the church then more power to them as well.

  18. As a young 15 year old girl convert - the profound sense of betrayal I experienced after being baptised was completely devastating. To find out that Joseph Smith and the early prophets had many wives and that in order to go to the highest degree of heaven one must live the law of polygamy-to realize they considered the blacks cursed and were not allowed to hold the priesthood-to come to understand the book of Mormons foundation is about the Native Americans were supposedly once a "white and delightsome" people but were cursed with "dark skin" considered filthy and loathsome but someday would become white skinned again if they became faithful righteous members of the church is shameful ... to keep these doctrines and the mountains of historical facts from perspective members is horrendous. I am ever grateful for for sharing with such great integrity and thoroughness the full history so people can make up their minds based on the truth. One only has to read a few paragraphs of to know of their honest hearts. These facts should be taught to perspective members-anything less is shameful deception. Google "lying for the lord" if you dare.

  19. @ former 15 year old convert-I don't know if you have left the LDS church, but if you haven't it is time you do and while you are at it do not attend any church. That is the safest way to live your life. No church can prove its beliefs 100% so your safest bet is to not be a part of any belief system that believes in a god or gods, or a savior. So be free to believe that this is it, when you are dead!

    If you do beleive in God, if you do believe in Jesus is something to think about....have you ever tried to learn a second language? Did you find that some words exist in one language that doesn't exist in another language? I'm positive the same thing happens when Heavenly Father talks to us...including prophets.

  20. MormonWatch, you are joking right? You, who is responding to a blog about some of the very things we are talking about. I said I read both negative and positive, online! Which means reading about all the things you have mentioned. You are talking as though Michael becoming Adam as being a rediculous premise. I guess my first question would be to you is, what do you believe? Do you believe what is written an the Bible? If so then you are saying you believe a donkey talked to a man, and this man according to the Bible, had a conversation with the donkey. There was a man that parted a sea! There was a man that worked on a Ark for hundreds of years. Good thing too, because this Ark had to carry two of every animal and insect on the earth, for forty days no less! If you go into the New Testament there was a man that not only raised the dead he himself came back to life after dying. When using that measurement seems to me no religion has a sound premise!

  21. It was trying to follow the advice the leaders of the mormon church that almost drove me crazy. My cognitive dissonance was growing by the year.

    The i-net made it obvious that the theology was faulty. In the end I have come the conclusion that all religions are a mess.

    I don't worry so much about whether there is a God or not any longer or a life after we dies. Who cares? I mean, really? It is what we do here and now that matters.

  22. Response to Anonymous@October 16, 2012 10:51 PM:

    I'm not ridiculing your belief that Michael is Adam. Rather, I'm criticizing the *process* by which you arrived at your Mormon beliefs.

    How someone arrives to the truth is just as important as the truth itself. The credibility of a conclusion suffers if the road that led to it is full of holes.

    You said that you've read both pro- and anti-Mormon literature and still you came out with accepting the Mormon religion as true. You even asserted that nothing can be known 100% because you can have both pros and antis arguing all day, and both could be right. So then you say it's why the Holy Spirit is so important.

    What you said about pros and antis arguing all day sounds like the fable of the "The Elephant and the Blind Men". Using the moral lesson of a fable as some kind of silver bullet solution to questions on LDS doctrine and history may be appealing, but it's virtually useless.

    The truth is, some things cannot be debated anymore. We call them facts.

    Do I believe in talking donkeys? No.
    Do I believe the Bible is the word of God? Yes.
    Do I believe the Bible should be interpreted literally? Not always.

  23. @MormonWatch, then basically, you pick and choose what you want to believe. Everyone sees the road they travel differently from the road another person travels. With your way of thinking and in some ways you are correct, there are no absolutes. I do find it amusing that you want to interpret the Book of Mormon, the D&C the Pearl of Great price etc. literally, but not the Bible. You kind of negate your own debate...

    1. Nobody "picks and chooses" what they believe. Belief is a matter of becoming convinced, nothing more. Once you know better, you cannot "choose" to believe the earth is flat, you can only pretend to.

      Back in 1975, people like YOU were the ones who thought the priesthood ban was 100% legitimate. You need to think, friend. The GA's aren't always right about everything. Brigham Young taught that Adam was God for DECADES.

  24. Keep your arms and legs inside the cart and keep your tinfoil hat securely fastened. Its going to be a bumpy ride.

  25. Hi David,

    Do you still believe in the LDS church is a (maybe among)God-made church?
    Do you still believe the BOM is inspired directly by God or purely man-made?

    I cannot make 100% sure of these two questions.
    Please help.


    1. Frank,

      What david thinks is irrelevant. The purpose of MT is to provide facts and then let individual people THINK about the facts.

    2. The information in MT definitely make people deviate away from the LDS church. How could a reasonable person after knowing all these trouble facts still keeps faith firm and stong on mormonism? The more a person begins to think, the greater distance the person keeps away from the church. If one can still be active in the LDS church, I wonder how could he compenmise?

  26. I served a full-time mission in the early 1980s, and finished it honorably, so I guess I can say with some authority that I know something about how the conversion process works.

    To those who cared enough to listen to me during those years, I always emphasized that this church was a restored church because an apostasy corrupted the early church that Jesus started. Changing the ordinances was a sign of apostasy (Isaiah 24:5).

    In a Catholic country that baptized children by sprinkling, I explained that that's a sign of their apostasy. The true baptism was for people who could repent, and was by immersion.

    I would always bear a testimony how blessed we are because now we have prophets and apostles to prevent another apostasy from taking place.

    Little did I know that these same apostles and prophets would change the temple ordinance by 1990.

    Little did I know that these same apostles and prophets would be deceived single-handedly by a man named Mark Hoffmann in an area well within their expertise as "seers".

    I could go on and on with examples...

    My point is this: If you never sacrificed a chunk of your life converting people to the idea that Christianity apostatized, you will not really understand how shocking it can be to see our leaders doing what apostates do.

    You will not really appreciate what Ephesians 4:11-14 said about being "tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine". It takes time to understand these things, and have them sink inside and take root.

    So when someone comes along and says "Hey, I've looked at both the sides of the coin, and I say that the church is whatever it claims to be", all I can say is you really haven't looked hard enough.

  27. Dear LDS members:

    the Hym, "as I have loved you love one another" means even those who don't agree, those who question, those who don't believe...

    when writing a comment please be an adult and identify yourselves.

    I am an ex-mormon from Belgium.

  28. The whole point is... for people to think for themselves.. to trust in your own intelligence .... if someone tells you your thinking is skewed.. as many do when they find out you are reading information which could be construed as against the church.. believe in your own ability of understanding... and don't rely on 'leaders' to tell you what to believe and what not to believe.

  29. Mr. Twede, thankyou for your work. Keep at it man. This work is very necessary. We are talking about a church that requires you to make an oath that you will give your life for the church, if necessary. You can't get to the highest degree of heaven without making this oath. Children are still being pushed into this. It needs to stop. You are doing good work.

  30. Just wanted to stop by and say that you're awesome. Haters gonna hate.

  31. These comments show why one's testimony needs to be based in Jesus Christ, not in an institution or in men (even if they be true prophets). The Book of Mormon actually prophesies this type of thing. Read the book without any preconceived ideas, and being willing to put in "Mormons" where the book says "Gentiles". There will be some places where it obviously does not fit (the prophesy about Columbus, and the one about the Revolutionary War, for example), but most of the time it fits.

    A relationship with and testimony of Jesus can see a person through any trial, including the realization that the leaders of the church have always been human and that God will NOT take away their freedom to choose, even if they means they do and say things He disapproves of (like not following the BofM's teaching the the gospel is given to all, no matter what their color - thankfully, that was changed over 30 years ago - also Bruce R. McConkie plainly said, "We were wrong." Admitting that should go a long way).

    Jesus' hand is still over this church, just like it was (and is) over the "Jews". He has not deserted us, but He *has* promised us He will do a little needed housecleaning at some point (maybe at several points).

    The leaders lead by the law of common consent, even though most members don't understand that. If all consent was withdrawn, God would not honor their leadership. There is a difference between a prophet called by God's own voice, and a leader put in by tradition or by the common consent of the people.

  32. Just wanted to leave a comment stating my support for you here. is full of great information and I'm grateful for its existence! Keep up the good work!

  33. Thank you so much for what you have done. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Truth is powerful, beautiful, and wonderful.

  34. David,

    Don't get discouraged and keep up the good work. You are inspiration to me and provide me with great knowledge to help answer some of my member friends that come to me asking questions of why I left. Thanks again!!

  35. I am anonymous but I am a real person and I am unique. I have a mind and I am expected to use that mind. I used it and it freed me. Thank you David. Thank you Mormonthink. Thank you for being the catalyst that freed me and led to discovery of a beautiful world of truth. A world full of color and light. Thank you. You have done a great thing.

  36. I'd like to send appreciation your way! You have provided an invaluable source for both my husband and myself as we began "our search" for truth. I have returned to again and again as I read from the so-called approved LDS books and needed more information.
    You are brave and you have taken a bullet for so many people. Thank you for your courage and the information you have worked to provide.

  37. Good work. You mean a lot to a lot of people.

    Thank your god for the internet.

  38. I want facts and while MT isn't perfect (who is?) it is far more objective and logical than FAIR, who uses ad hominem attacks in lieu of truth.

  39. Whilst the leaders at General Conference harped on about warning members to avoid internet websites that discredit the church and destroy faith, why do they not acknowledge that it's not just the internet but records of it's own history?

    My recent turning point to realisation that it was all nonsense was reading CHURCH approved books.
    I started with 'The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother', then History of the Church Vol 2, and The Journal of Discourses (which now I understands not an official publication of the church,despite it is a compilation of sermons and other materials from the early Prophets of the Church.
    I cross referenced names in History of the Church and found a whole other side to accounts.

    Thanks again, David, for MT, and bringing those of us who where deceived for so many years, to see the truth.