What this blog is about...

Every day, often several times a day, a contingent of Mormon-haters initiates discussions on FreeRepublic.com's web site. These intolerant bigots start discussions with the intent of defaming the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If members of the Church speak up in its defense, they coordinate their actions using "pings" to summon up other anti-Mormons.

Acting together, they form up an online mob that "tars and feathers" Mormonism daily. They use the forum rules to their advantage. As best as we can tell, one of the religion moderators of the forum is among their ranks.

This blog has identified the key players and over 50 anti-Mormons who spread hate. The Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism created this site to monitor and conduct statistical research on the incidents of hate speech and anti-Mormon attacks conducted on the Free Republic forums.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stop feeding the weeds

This is the end of the line.  I have decided to shut down the FRAM Report.  I've been running it since 2009 with a few breaks in between.  Two or three times, I've set it aside and moved on to other things, only to have some new development pull me back in.  Thus, I've learned never to say never, but it's time to give it a rest.

We started out just tracking numbers of anti-Mormon posts and we embarrassed Jim Robinson.  We watched as he banned the Mormon Caucus and purged Mormons from the site.  We identified the haters and published their pseudonyms.  We made our point numerically: Free Republic was being used as a platform by anti-Mormons to bash the Church and its members with the support of its owner, Jim Robinson.  The last few months have seen our posts degenerate into a tit-for-tat response to the seemingly endless attacks of their one primary, one-topic poster: Colofornian.  We have demonstrated how obsessive, hateful, dishonest, and uninformed she actually is.  There is no more doubt and there is nothing more to say on the matter.

The number one attribute of anti-Mormons is obsessiveness.  They can't not be anti=Mormon.  They're so full of hate that they can't let it go.  That's not the case here.  As my Internet pal Timothy Berman used the phrase in a different context recently, it's time to stop "feeding the weeds."  Life is full of too many wonderful blessings to continually focus on anti-Mormonism.

Colofornian and the folks at FR will be unaffected by this.  Perhaps they will have a snide celebration, akin to that scene in "Narnia" where Aslan gets slain by the white witch and all the little devils dance with glee.  They don't realize that he willingly laid down without a fight.  Like the little imps in the book, their glee will be short-lived.

There is an acceleration of good and evil occurring right now.  It's time for me, as a latter-day saint, to focus on radiating light instead of combating darkness.  The Lord is hastening his work.  I'm setting up a new social network/blog site to focus on that positive movement.  Meanwhile, darkness and trouble is going to descend upon the wicked.  Colofornian and her friends will find themselves in great perplexity very soon.  Instead of focusing on their evil works, I'm going to focus on doing as much good and bringing as much positive energy into the world as I can, getting myself and those around me ready to live in a Zion society.

Free Republic is on a downhill course.  Their fundraisers are getting more feeble.  The radical wing of the GOP they represent is history.  Everybody knows it.  Eventually, JR will run a Freepathon and he won't make enough money to pay the bills and they'll shut their doors.  They'll end up being a Facebook page or on a free Yahoo group.  They already have zero influence in the GOP.  Their detested RINOs have won.  Their anti-Mormon activities helped to kill the one remaining possibility of delaying America's leftward lurch into oblivion, ensuring Obama's victory.  They'll have to own the consequences when civil unrest, anarchy, and foreign troops come knocking at their doors.

Even on FR, there are increasing numbers of people who are telling the anti-Mormons to tone it down.  Their obvious harping on Mormonism is offensive to these fair-minded non-Mormons.  Eventually' they'll leave the site and go elsewhere, too.  The money will dry up and FR will vanish.  If that happens, I'll probably chime back in here to write a fitting eulogy.

The most satisfying end of this site would be to out Colofornian.  I won't do that. I know who she is.  God and the angels know who she is, along with Jim Robinson and that whole anti-Mormon contingent over there.  I'll leave it in God's hands to judge.  Hopefully, for those of you who may peruse this site and its archives in the future, I'll have made my point--that Free Republic gladly hosted some of the most hostile religious intolerance America has seen since the 19th century.  I suppose they'll continue to do so until the bitter end.  As for me, I'm moving on, even if they don't.  It's time to stop "feeding the weeds."  That's why it's time to quit for now. The harvest is almost here and the tares are almost ripe.  It's not hard to tell it from the wheat anymore.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Illustrating the principle of out-of-context quotes

One of the favorite topics of our buddy, Colofornian, is using out-of-context scripture passages and quotations.  In the past week or so, we've exposed several of them.  At S.P.A.M., we often like to use humor to make our point.  After all, apologetics is for those boring guys that like footnotes and Turabian style-guides.  We like to just point out that anti-Mormons love to lie and misrepresent information any way they can.

When you take something out-of-context, you are deliberately making it look like something else is going on by framing it in such a way to make your audience see things as they weren't intended.  Let's take a look at a few photographs that will give you a chuckle while we illustrate this point.  After all, seeing is believing--right?

Sometimes things are just not what they seem.  Putting two things together that are just coincidentally linked doesn't always give you an accurate perception of what's going on.

Then there are things that just don't seem to go together, although there is probably a very reasonable explanation for them.  It's better to suspend judgment until all the facts are known.

Then there are those things that, if you don't really understand the context behind the moment, it just won't make any sense no matter how hard you try.  History isn't always crystal clear to us today.

A dead body under the piano?  A drunk sleeping it off after a binge?  No, sometimes your friends just want to hear what your piano sounds like from the underside of it while you're playing.  The picture doesn't give you all the information that is available, but that doesn't stop people from making an incorrect judgment about what's really happening.

Anti-Mormons are infamous for taking partial, incomplete, or inaccurate information and stringing it together with the intent to deceive you.  Remember that Mormons are reasonable people who have faith in God of miracles.  There are good reasons for us to believe what we do.  Knowing those reasons makes our religion seem all the more reasonable.

Why does Jim Robinson let it go on and on and on?

Twenty-five anti-Mormon posts in a week--from one person: Colofornian.  We have to ask the question.  Why does Jim Robinson permit it?

In the past week, Colofornian has been on a "rampage" of rants.  Twenty-five distinct anti-Mormon threads in a week.  And the week's not really over yet.  There's still time for more.  I expect there will be more.

Yet JimRob and his moderators permit it.  Isn't their site supposed to be representative of what's worth conserving in America?  Isn't that what conservatism's all about?  Is religious intolerance a conservative value?  It must be, because there's tons of it on FR.

Forget about whether or not it's rational on Colofornian's part.  She clearly shows that anti-Mormonism is an obsessive-compulsive disorder.  But, is it rational for Robinson to continue to give her the microphone when she's discrediting his site.  Several times in the last week, non-Mormons have spoken out to object to Colofornian's single-subject harping on a religion she hates.  We've shown in the past that there is a correlation between the numbers of anti-Mormon posts and a drop in receipts in their fundraising.  Is that rational to keep doing something that harms their cause?

Or is conservatism really their cause?  Is Free Republic just the last bastion where anonymous bigots can spout off safely, harbored in their hate by the site's owner?  Are they just proxies for his misguided, prejudiced views?  The last week shows FR in its true colors.  It's anything but a pretty picture of conservatism.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Burning in the bosom--from Jonathan Edwards

He felt the burning in the bosom, you can too!
Today's anti-Mormon screed from Colofornian on FR (there are actually two of them, but I only have time to respond to this one tonight) is about denying the feelings of one's heart when it comes to religion.

There is something really important here that you must see.  The most important part of the message of the restored gospel (which the world calls Mormonism) is that the seeker of truth is not dependent upon anyone but God for the truth.  Every Mormon missionary will teach our beliefs and then ask you to go and pray about them.  The result is that nearly 300,000 people a year join the Church because they get an answer to those prayers.  Do all of them stay in the Church?  No, of course not.  God allows the believer to be tried.  The parable of the sower (Mark 4:3-20) that Jesus taught tells of us this.  Persecution, worldliness,  and other temptations cause some to stumble and fall.  Some fall away before they have a good depth of "root" in the gospel soil and they abandon their newfound faith.

But it must be understood that people just don't make profound religious commitments without reason.  Mormonism is a big leap for any convert.  Persecution and derision is very real.  The convert makes his choice because he has indeed felt something profound and equally real.

That feeling is something that cannot be duplicated by Satan.  It is the touching of the believer's heart by the Holy Ghost in a singular way that confirms the truth of his faith.  Anti-Mormons know that their best hope is to scare away the potential believer before he or she can feel this divine manifestation.  They use lies, misrepresentations, and all sorts of sophistries to discourage the curious from becoming the converted.

Most of all, they have to stop the potential believer from praying to God to ask if what he has found is true.  All they have is a man with a book.  They tell you to believe that man's interpretations and to trust that he is right.  They want you to gamble your soul on some man's word.  Mormons ask you to ask God and trust what comes from him.  This is what Colofornian wrote today to that end:
We cannot base truth on how we feel, whether it’s a goose bump, an emotional high or a burning in the bosom. Proverbs clearly states, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Prov. 28:26). And God warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (see Jer. 17:9).
She quotes the Bible to dissuade you from doing what James said in the New Testament:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
James was the brother of Jesus.  He was Mary's son, too.  Don't you think he would be a trustworthy source to believe rather than a wealthy, Californian socialite who is determined to destroy faith, not build it up?  But you'll recall that when the devil tempted Jesus, he quoted the Bible, too!

The "burning in the bosom" Colofornian refers to is an oft-described description of what it feels like to have the Holy Ghost touch one's heart and bear witness of truth.  The Bible teaches us of it in Luke chapter 24.  After Jesus' crucifixion, two of his disciples were walking sadly walking toward the town of Emmaus.  The Resurrected Lord joined them, but he appeared in a way so that they didn't recognize him.  He spent time discussing the events that had recently took place in Jerusalem and why the Messiah had to die to bring about the redemption of man.  Then, as he dined with them later, he revealed himself to them and then vanished, to their amazement.  When they realized who he was, they commented: "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"

 This burning in the heart was something that was familiar with them.  They had felt it before as the Holy Spirit bore witness of Jesus and his teachings.  It's right there in the Bible.  Colofornian and her anti-Mormon chums don't want you to ever feel that sensation or trust the feeling if you did.

It's not just something that is limited to Mormons.  The Holy Ghost testifies of truth--and most especially, it bears witness of the Father and the Son.  Many people have felt it over the time.  It's one of the reasons for the fervent Christian's faith.

Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest preachers of the Great Awakening, described this very feeling in his personal narrative:
This I know not how to express otherwise, than by a calm, sweet abstraction of soul from all the concerns of this world; and sometimes a kind of vision, or fixed ideas and imaginations, of being alone in the mountains, or some solitary wilderness, far from all mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and wrapt and swallowed up in God. The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my heart; an ardor of soul, that I know not how to express.
 Amazing, isn't it!  Jonathan Edwards felt the burning in the bosom that Mormon missionaries would have you trust!  Let's see what else Edwards had to say about it:
My mind was greatly fixed on divine things; almost perpetually in the contemplation of them. I spent most of my time in thinking of divine things, year after year; often walking alone in the woods, and solitary places, for meditation, soliloquy, and prayer, and converse with God; and it was always my manner, at such times, to sing forth my contemplations. I was almost constantly in ejaculatory prayer, wherever I was. Prayer seemed to be natural to me, as the breath by which the inward burnings of my heart had vent. 
Again, Edwards said:
Sometimes, only mentioning a single word caused my heart to burn within me; or only seeing the name of Christ, or the name of some attribute of God.
Jonathan Edwards, the great preacher of the Great Awakening felt his heart burning within him when he prayed, meditated, and pondered on Christ.  This is what you will feel when you seek truth in all things.  It is one of the ways God guides you and keeps you from being led astray.

Who would you rather trust?  An anti-Mormon who tells you not to pray? What kind of spirit tells you not to seek and ask God?  Would you rather trust a man or trust the Spirit of God speaking to your heart directly? 

It's up to you do decide whether you will follow the voice of the Holy Spirit to believe or whether you'll trust the voices of men.  Mormon missionaries will never tell you to take their word for it.  The choice to believe is between you and God.  We trust in God and that's why our missionaries are so effective despite the fact that they aren't theologians or scripture experts. Nearly 300,000 people a year feel it and join the Church.  The anti-Mormons can't touch that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another example of tactic #1

Colofornian's been on a roll--a dozen anti-Mormon posts in six days.  Her favorite tactic is the use of out-of-context quotations from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  Today, she adds an out-of-context passage from the Doctrine and Covenants to her palette of mischief.  As a brief reminder, almost every single anti-Mormon attack fits into one of these tactics, profiled on S.P.A.M. since 2007.

  1. Use of non-authoritative sources and out-of-context quotations.
  2. Attack the story of the Book of Mormon's origin, not its contents.
  3. Distort Mormon doctrines by comparing them to the unscriptural teachings of Christian creeds.
  4. When all else fails, lie!
  5. Use slander, personal attacks, and character assassination.
  6. Accuse your opponent of doing the very thing you are doing.
Tactic number one is a favorite because of its economy.  One out-of-context quote can bias the mind and give the appearance of expertise.  To counter it, one must show true expertise, which takes more time.  Since the anti-Mormon assumes the worst of his intended audience, presuming they are not intellectually discriminating, and thus, easily swayed, this tactic is used again and again.

All week long, because of Halloween, Colofornian has been trying to link Mormonism with occult, devil worship.  Today, she took an out-of-context quote from Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 and tried to interpret it without proper context, superimposing her own meaning upon it.

For intellectual honesty, we give you correct context.  The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of modern revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and some of his successors.  It is perhaps the most valuable volume of scripture in existence today, because it came to us directly through a living prophet, and did not need translation or interpretation.  It is pure, perfect gospel wisdom from the lips of God to our ears, through a living oracle.  To misunderstand it or misinterpret it takes a special talent for perfidy.

Colofornian cites verse 17 which says:
"For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever."
She then goes on to say:

What's particularly interesting about D&C 132:17 is about how it gets absolutely ZERO focus by either Mormons or those who critique Mormonism.
Yet the verse spells out it that "angels" who failed to "abide my law" (in other words, DEMONS) would "remain...in their saved condition, to all eternity" as"angels of God forever and ever."
ONLY Joseph Smith would frame angels as flesh-and-bone resurrected humans who as spirits sinned in heaven and thus would get "demoted" from their trek toward godhood, but who would still not get kicked out of the Mormon god's heaven!
Hence, these sinful demon-'angels' serve the Mormon god -- as delineated in this "revelation" considered to be "scripture" as much (or more) by Lds as any Bible verse! 
Colofornian's tone is almost self-congratulatory.  She thinks she has been extra-clever and found something that anti-Mormon attackers have missed for nearly two centuries.   The real problem is that she has taken an isolated verse and twisted it.  Furthermore, she has superimposed an evangelical template upon it to twist it even further.  To see where she goes wrong, all you have to do is read the rest of the revelation.

In verse 5, it describes what this revelation refers to as "my law."
For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.
A principle of Mormon theology is that God gives us blessings whenever we obey his laws.  Those laws include principles like the law of tithing, the law of the Sabbath, the law of the fast, and the law of chastity.  When we keep God's commandments, he blesses in all sorts of marvelous ways.

So what is the "law" that Section 132 is concerned with?  The law of "eternal marriage" or "celestial marriage."  Colofornian doesn't tell you that.

In Section 131 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith:
1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
We've been over this before, but for the newbies who visit here, I'll give you the scripture references that underscore Mormon theology about heaven.

  • John 14:2 -  Jesus said his Father's house has "many mansions."
  • 2 Corinthians 12:2 - Paul speaks of three heavens
  • 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 - Paul speaks of the resurrection of the dead as having differing degrees of glory, and names two of them "celestial" and "terrestrial."

OK, so in this multi-tiered heaven of the Bible, the Lord revealed that the qualification to get into the highest one, where God the Father and Christ dwell in glory, a person must be wedded to his or her spouse by the "new and everlasting covenant" of eternal marriage.  This ordinance must be performed by an authorized priesthood holder who has the authority to seal or bind on earth and in heaven.  (See Matthew 16:19.)  This is a power Jesus gave to the apostles of old.  This authority is only found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.  Protestant evangelicals don't even claim to have this authority and deny that it is at all necessary, even though Jesus gave it to the apostles in the Bible.

Doctrine and Covenants 131 told us that in the celestial kingdom, the highest of the degrees of glory, there are three degrees within it also.  To enter the celestial kingdom, a person must have faith in Christ, repent of all his sins, be baptized by proper authority, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (See Acts 2:38.) and endure to the end in faith. He will live in celestial glory with God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost forever.

For those who enter into the law of "eternal marriage" as explained by Doctrine and Covenants 132, those inhabitants of the celestial world receive an additional blessing.  It's called "increase."  That means that they will go on and progress to become like our Heavenly parents.  In the eternities to come, they will become like Jesus and the Father.  Those who enter the celestial glory, who did not abide by the law of eternal marriage will enjoy eternity in God's presence as single individuals.  They will not increase because they are not married to a spouse in a relationship that has been sealed to last beyond the grave.  Marriage and family relationships can be eternal.  Speaking of those who do not enter into a celestial marriage, the Lord says that they have a "until death do you part" arrangement that is not valid when they are out of the world.
15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world (Doctrine and Covenants 132:15).
There's that word "law" again.  Live the law, you'll receive the blessing.  Don't and you won't.  it's simple.  Verse 21 uses it again:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
In all, the word "law" is used 35 times in Section 132.  Colofornian has jumped on one of them and twisted it to means something different than the text implies.

The subject of exaltation and eternal increase is too lengthy for this blog post, but I have discussed it in-depth in the following ones.

Do Mormons believe they can become gods?

What happens when we die?

As I explained, to correct an "out-of-context" attack, it takes context.  That's not for the spiritually lazy or intellectually dishonest.  It doesn't take much to see that Colofornian used a verse out of context and then put her own spin on it, based on her own evangelical theological concepts--ones that aren't Biblical to begin with.

On the other hand, I've honestly provided you with the correct context and the scripture references you can use to verify them.  If you are honest-at-heart, these will ring true to you.  The Holy Spirit will also bear witness to you of what I have offered you as evidence.  Colofornian never encourages you to pray about it, does she?  That should give you a clue as to whose side she's really on.

There are lots of good, sincere Christians out there.  Many of them serve God with all their hearts and he blesses them.  We offer them a closer walk with God.  All they need to to is see what we have to offer and to ask God in prayer for his opinion.  The Bible tells us to "ask God" when we lack wisdom.  I encourage you to do that.

And as an afterthought, a brief note to Jim Robinson, Free Republic's founder:  Jim, what has this post from Colofornian, not to mention the other eleven this week, have to do with conservative politics?  There aren't any Mormons proselyting on your site.  Romney is history.  Are you really that hateful to allow this kind of bigotry to continue unabated?  I've demonstrated that your Freepathons are less productive when there is a lot of anti-Mormon bashing.  Non-Mormons notice it, too and have spoken out about it recently.  You kicked out all the Mormons months ago.  There are couple who still stick up for the Church, but they don't proselyte on FR.  They just answer and bear witness to the anti-Mormon bashing.  When will you do the right thing and show Colofornian the door?