by Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB
I think there must not be many Mormon readers of Gumshoe News, as no one commented on my choice of photo for the October 14 article on the Electoral College. To support my argument that there should be a “cabinet” of laypersons in the US — or Australia — I used a photo of “Family Meetings” taken from the Mormon Church.
Frankly, I used it because I could not find any meeting-pictures other than the usual ones in which there are only a few speakers, and a big audience.
If some readers had “caught me out” using a Mormon photo they may have said “Hey, Mary, don’t you know the Masons started the Mormon religion as an experiment in social control?”
Well, yes I think that is the case, but I don’t want to put down a whole group of people who try to follow godliness. Any way in which people are trained to be decent is much better than none. (And the music of the Mormon Tabernacle choir – wow!)
I am running this article today thanks to an email (from Deanna Spingola’s website) that puts forward the work of an elderly ex-Mormon named Richard Packham.
On his website he offers the pattern for beautiful baby booties. He knits them himself, as did his Grandma (1887-1962).
He no longer practices the Mormon religion, and tries hard to tell anyone who will listen that there is a plethora of contradictions in the doctrine.
I offer below a sample of his “101 Doubts about Mormon Claims.” It is so pleasing to hear someone make an argument based on sweet reason.
This is useful for persons like myself who struggle to persuade citizens that what Governments say they are doing is disproven by evidence.
I’ve chosen just 7 from his list of 101 to give you the flavor. For the whole list, please go to his website packham.n4n.org – which has many other interesting, intelligent offerings (and recipes).
“The Book of Mormon says that the horse was used as a beast of burden or draft animal in ancient America. This is false. The ancient Americans had no beasts of burden or draft animals, and especially not the horse. (The Incas domesticated the llama, but not until long after Book of Mormon times.)
“Brigham Young, supposedly a divinely inspired prophet, taught that Adam was actually God the Father. This idea is repudiated by the present-day church as false.
“Joseph Smith frequently received revelations through visiting angels. No leader of the church has had angelic visitors for many years. Such lack of revelation was prophesied as a sign of apostasy (Micah 3:5-11).
“Mormons believe that anyone can verify the truth of Mormonism by praying to God for confirmation. This is not a testable means of obtaining information, especially in light of the fact that many other religions make the same claim, and apparently are confirmed as true by the same method.
“Mormons teach that a rape victim has “lost her chastity”; a woman should fight off her attacker or be killed in the attempt. Thus, young Mormon women are taught that their chastity is more valuable than their life. The result is that a Mormon woman who survives a rape is made to feel guilty, and is thus victimized again, this time by her church.
“The Mormon temple ceremony (the “endowment”) includes rituals in which participants learn four secret handshakes (“tokens”) and four secret passwords (the “names” of the tokens) which will be needed to gain entrance to heaven. Not only is the idea absurd and unscriptural, but it overlooks the fact that many former Mormons have learned them as well. The question naturally arises as to whether knowing the secret tokens and their names is really sensible or necessary.
“The Mormon sacred undergarment has a marking over each nipple, one in the shape of a compass, the other a square. They also appear in the Mormon temple on the “veil of the temple.” These two symbols are of course the well-known Masonic symbols, where – in the context of building crafts – they make sense. They seem quite out of place in Mormon theology, and an obvious borrowing by Joseph Smith. Nor are they mentioned in any Mormon scripture.”
Packham also noted “One of the most highly praised human traits in Mormonism is ‘obedience.’ This is also one of the characteristics of a cult.” Wait a minute, Mr Packham. Isn’t it universal for the persons in charge to encourage – or demand – obedience?
Are we all in a cult?
In Adelaide it is not unknown for Utah-based missionaries to go door-knocking. Last year on a very hot day I saw two Mormon missionaries outside my home riding bikes and carrying the Holy Book. It is a wonder they didn’t faint from the heat.
I wanted to invite them in for a cold drink but figured the visit might last all day with an unsuccessful – or maybe successful, who knows — attempt to convert Mary.
I have since felt ashamed of myself for not being hospitable. And now, at Packham’s website I was surprised to find this:
Mormon scripture (D&C 84:86, 91) says that true missionaries from God will not rely on their own money or supplies (“purse or scrip”) for support, and this will be a test to distinguish them from false missionaries. Modern Mormon missionaries now rely on themselves for support; i.e., they do “carry purse [and] scrip.”
Poor boys. If they come by again soon, I will pour the lemonade.
— Mary W Maxwell is not ready to give up on reason.