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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Refuting the Ex-Mormon: Carrie Sheffield

The Mormon Eagle has started the Refuting the Ex-Mormon series to, in the words of Joseph Smith the Prophet, "disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation to . . . the Church" (JS-H 1:1).  This first refutation in this series is concerning an editorial written by Carrie Sheffield for The Washington Post, in which she lies about the Church.  Carrie Sheffield is an ex-Mormon, who has left the Church, but apparently cannot leave the Church alone.  The article she wrote is called "A Mormon Church in Need of Reform".  The Eagle will attempt to refute only some of the falsely-stated relevant lies as told by Ms. Sheffield.

"The church isn’t exactly welcoming of outsiders"
Now, true, she may be talking politically, and in that she is correct to an extent.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Republican Church, though many more Republicans exist within the Church than do Democrats.  The Church does not endorse any politicians, nor tell its members how and for whom to vote, however.  Each individual Mormon may vote for whom he wants, as moved upon by one's own convictions, as ever he will.

In regards to being unwelcoming of outsiders in a theological sense, we have the words of President Joseph Smith, Jun., President Gordon B. Hinckley, and Nephi, respectively.  "We don't ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more" (History of the Church 5:259).  "We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it" (Ensign, August 1998).  "Hath [Jesus Christ] commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.  Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden" (2 Ne. 26:27-28).

We see from the above quotations that all are welcome within The Church of Jesus Christ, provided first that they forsake those things which are wrong, and continue to do the things which are right, according to the revelations.

"The church I was raised in values unquestioning obedience over critical thinking."
This is definitely not true.  I will let President Brigham Young speak concerning Theology versus critical thinking within the Church: "Not only does the religion of Jesus Christ make the people acquainted
with the things of God, and develop within them moral excellence and purity, but it holds out every encouragement and inducement possible, for them to increase in knowledge and intelligence, in every branch of mechanism, or in the arts and sciences, for all wisdom, and all the arts and sciences in the world are from God, and are designed for the good of his people" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 193).  President Young also stated, "The religion embraced by the Latter-day Saints, if only slightly understood, prompts them to search diligently after knowledge.  There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn, and understand truth" (DBY, 247).  In addition, the LDS Church holds in its grasp four institutions of higher learning.  

In connection with critical thinking and obedience, Ms. Sheffield complains thusly, "Mormonism’s claims about anthropology, history and other subjects contradict reason and science."  This is also not true, as per a statement by that great aforementioned Prophet-colonizer Brigham Young.  Said he, "Our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science [or any other secular phase of learning] in any particular. . . . There is no mystery except to the ignorant.  This we know by what we have learned naturally since we have had a being on the earth" (DBY, 258–59).  Elder Dallin H. Oaks said this when he was President of Brigham Young University: "At Brigham Young University and in the other institutions of the Church Educational System, we are concerned with teaching the fundaments [sic] of spiritual and secular knowledge and with bringing those teachings into harmony in the lives of men and women in order to prepare them for a balanced and full life of service to God and fellowman" ("Strive For Excellence", October 1971 General Conference).  This all should be sufficient to throw out anything Ms. Sheffield says against the Kingdom of God.

"Many gay Mormons have been driven to suicide, deeply conflicted about whether acting on their sexuality is, as the church teaches, a sin."
Homosexual activity is a sin, for "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).  Many a distraught person has taken his own life because he was mired in sin and thought he had no way out.  The people who committed suicide made a choice, the which choice The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had no hand in whatsoever.  President Boyd K. Packer stated, "We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard" ("Cleansing the Inner Vessel", October 2010 General Conference).  However, there is always a way out, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and full, active membership within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To Find the Truth
Now, Ms. Sheffield, the only way to find the Truth about Mormonism (or lack thereof, if you prefer), is to read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  Through this Book one learns what Mormonism really teaches.  On the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon hangs the truthfulness of Joseph Smith's and Thomas S. Monson's testimonies of the reality of Christ and His Church.  The fact is, Ms Sheffield, that the Book of Mormon is indeed true, a work of scripture, and proof that God exists, that His Church is indeed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that all may come and find the Truth that is Mormonism, come drink from the Water of Life, and not from the befouled and stained water offered by other religions.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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