Yes, mormonthink in my opinion is the best research site on the internet. The founder of MormonThink recently told me that the site receives between 2.3 and 3 million hits per month. However, not all are different persons. - Grant
I just returned from viewing the ruins of the Mayans in central America. I was particularly interested is finding Reformed Egyptain on the the monuments and stela, but this was not to be, as all can now be read clearly in Mayan. I also hoped to see a "Lamanite" but only found Asian and Mongolian characteristics among all the Mayan people I surveyed. However, I did see a tee shirt on an "Elder ...." which read: "I am a Mormon, I know it, I live it, I love it." Oh well.
As to your questions, I know a number of Community of Christ historians and a few of their apostles. Yes, they are for real. Their World Historian told me that my book was the catalyst for moving forward as a religion. They even used my book as a text book at Graceland College, their BYU equivalent.
Question # 2: It is too early to tell although it appears they are more willing to tell the truth about our past. The church does what is in its best interest. Holdging church courts is not quieting the storm so perhaps they are for now ignoring those who speak up or write things they don't like. Time will tell.
Question # 3: It would help if an apostle or two came clean, but this in my opinion is not likely. They rationalize all the good the church is doing in the world. As I have said elsewhere, I think the air in the balloon will slowly leave the balloon. The church's finest hour has passed. I don't think they will ever again be able to beat their proud chest regarding growth or increasing influence in the world. The truth about Mormonism is now everywhere, and the church cannot stop it.
On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 5:38 PM, Walter wrote:
I have similar sentiments about the need for LDS leaders to come clean - I recon the RLDS have shown the way.
(1) Do you feel the RLDS/CoC have come clean and would they meet your standards for what the LDS should do ?
(2) The official line on truthful history seems to have shifted a little to allow John Dehlin to do what he does.
Do you recon that in 2014 LDS scholars / members are a bit more free to be contrarian then in 2010, the year of your induced resignation ?
(3) I am trying to predict what another 20 years of internet and the passing away of the current generation of leaders (Monson / Packer) might do ? Is there a possible Gorbachev in the ranks of the 12 apostles ? Do you feel like making predictions ?
On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 3:46 AM, Grant Palmer wrote:
No, I could not go back to LDS Church unless they came clean on Joseph Smith and then became a much more Christ centered church. I feel that as it is now, that I have graduated from the LDS Church.
On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 6:21 AM, Walter Strohbeck wrote:
Thanks again. Do you get the same feeling that you can't go back anymore unless the church fundamentally changes ?
The irony is that Joseph was confused about evangelical Christianity and set out to fix the controversies by starting his own faith movement from scratch. I am not convinced that he designed it all alone, but he made it to the top. The result is a doctrinally confusing and unstable religious system (propped up by authority, denials, whitewashing and indoctrination as you said) that needs constant fixes while breaks up into 5 major streams. LDS, RLDS, FLDS, CoC and XMo's which are either Christian, of other faith or atheist/agnostic. Makes protestant Christianity a much more honest and living alternative for me. Keep in mind that Chinese converts alone completely dwarf LDS growth in numbers as well as intensity of faith. LDS do not talk about that. Students at the BYU quipped that the motto "The world is our campus" could just as well be "The campus is our world" I have gone through my own confusion and done a 360 degrees faith journey.
On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM, Grant Palmer wrote:
Regarding your question #4. I still feel like helping people who are troubled by Mormonism. I remember how painful my own journay was with Mormonism. Mormons pay an inordinate amunt of money and time to the organization. I think they should know "the rest of the story," because the church is not providing it. The LDS Church does not educate its members, they instruct or indocrinate them. It is not som much a religion, but more tribal in nature, a cradle to grave system.
Regarding your PS. Like Hitler, the church has a well oiled plan for brainwashing its members. It begins when they are 3-4 years old by getting them to testify that they "know" this and they "know" that, when they can't even read or write. It includes primary lessons about Joseph Smith, the beauty of the church, and singing "follow the prophet, follow the prophet," or "I hope they call me on a mission." When they eventually get to the temple, they make a covenant to give all they have or whatever they may obtain in talents and money, not to Christ, but to the LDS Church.
Regarding #3. It is related to your PS above. Mormons are fearful of breaking their oaths, of disappointing the Bishop, of not being worthy, of disappointing LDS neighbors, friends and relatives. Thus, many will not look beneath the veneer.
Regarding #1. My book should provide you with enough information for you decide your own answer.
Regarding #2. I don't know, but I think the LDS Church will continure to bleed members, especially those that view truth as more impontant than loyality to a tradition. Such conclude that if the foundational claims are not true; then it it just another expensive social club. There is a brain drain occuring, especially among thinkers and teachers. Young adults are often board with church offerings and find the church irrelevent to their lives. Overall the church to me seems to have lost its vitality and is increasingly becoming marginalized in society. Having said this, I think the church will do almost anything to survive. It is my hope that they will enlarge their umbrella and accept Chrsit centered Mormons into their fold who can't give "Praise to the Man [Smith]." Right now the church seems to be largely doubling down on members rather than making the giant steps required to become a Christ centered church. My hope is that they will dreamatically shift to Christ. I have always had such a hope. Time will tell if it happsns.
On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 3:43 AM, Walter wrote:
Merry Christmas Grant,
I like your stance and your papers. Praise God Jesus stood for truth and integrity and told us not swear an oath. Hence our Jesus would never manipulate us with mind games and then bind us with Masonic oaths.
Maybe the key issue is not so much "Are Mormons Christian". I recon they may be if their hearts are right, like my Mums and my sisters and they follow Jesus in ignorance and good faith. The key issue for me is: "Is the Mormon Jesus the true Jesus" ? The answer depends on whether or not he has spoken new revelation in this era. The Mormon scripture goes well beyond a restoration of the primitive church of Christ. It is a far reaching extension that leans towards pagan religions. Temple Mormonism is so much out of character with Judaism and Christianity that the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against such a proposition, in my opinion its 99:1 or worse.
The Jesus that Joseph has revealed treats truth and integrity very lightly. Judging by Josephs revelations Jesus would be so capricious that he would brush aside character and conscience and depicts a God that would arbitrarily change his mind about the truth in no time and even over just the 14 years of Josephs ministry. Oaths are instruments of power and control that the adversary uses. The temple oath is very manipulative. We are told we can withdraw before we learn what the oath is, implying that it is too later thereafter.
Interestingly Hinkley has stated that Mormons do believe in a different Jesus than the traditional one of the Christians. I would have to agree with that. Of course with Hinkley the blame goes to the creeds for creating a false Jesus and I disagree to a large extend. Mormons have gone far more beyond the mark than early Christians (up to 325 AD) and we both know that our trust has to remain with the biblical Jesus. Here is a funny and also very deep quote: "In the beginning God has created man in his image and ever since mankind has attempted to return the favor."
So for me the key question is (1) who has commissioned Joseph and what drove him ?
Does your book go into his mind as well (Any psychoanalysis?). I have struggled with the answer. Here is my attempt. Besides God or the Devil the third alternative is Man and it is probably the most likely one. Joseph was very mixed up, but also shifty at the same time and he may have conspired. With Masonry and Universalism running through his family I believe he schemed the BoM and deluded himself with his visions (mixing the occult and the divine). His attitude may have been: The end justifies the means. His motivation was to save himself and the world, gain power, wealth, influence and women and take credit for his genius in helping God out. Further questions are . . .
(2) Will the church ever give up its exclusive claim to a divine mandate even if it is in a hundred years ? Is Uchtdorfs speech (October 2013) gently edging towards a Mormon Spring ? What do you read between the lines ?
(3) Do the oaths prevent the majority of the members from rebelling ultimately ?
(4) Do you feel a sense of mission to continue as a watchman and to bring Mormons closer to Christ ? What drives you and will you keep writing or rather retire ?
God bless you
With regards to my third question this is a bit radical to mention in this context, but I am German and took an interest in Hitlers occult connections and abuse of power. One of the reasons that Hitler stayed in power until the very last day until surrounded by the Russians was not that his generals still believed in him, but that they obeyed due to a paralysing integrity and loyalty. Hitler had all his generals and soldiers swear an oath of unconditional loyalty and obedience to him personally. After the war new German laws have allowed me to become a legally recognized conscientious objector to military service when I was of draft age. I have served "military duty" in a hospital instead.
On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 5:29 AM, Grant Palmer wrote:
I do feel liberated (John 8:32) having resigned from the LDS Church. It has been good to get away from the legalistic and controlling nature of Mormonism. I also no longer have to look over my shoulder every time I write an anticle or speak about Mormonism.
I like your insight regarding that here I am trying to be a good Christian and they seek to throw me out of the church because I don't believe in Joseph Smith. They won't let a Christian partake of the Mormon sacrament because I don't believe in Smith! Wow. Perhaps Mormonism is not Christian.
On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 5:22 PM, Walter wrote:
Thank you very much for both attachments. I did already have a close look at your webpage before I wrote and I could not find your attachments there.
It is ironic that you have been flushed out from your faith community for being honest to God and following Jesus to the best you would know, which is a covenant requirement and precondition for admission to the temple and exaltation. It is a worry that conscience does get suppressed and manipulated and I recon that this is systemic and will never be fixed without genuine repentance.
There should be sincere apologies for the past by current leaders to facilitate the freedom and healing that comes from forgiveness.
I wonder what your life in Utah is like after your resignation in 2010 ? Has it become harder or do you feel more liberated ? Did you find a good fellowship. There must be a lot of like minded people there. Did you loose more or gain more in terms of freedom of speech and treasured relationships ?
We don't pay as high a price as you would in Utah, but I know I have broken my mothers heart. After switching to fellowshipping in Christian Churches 18 years ago I still managed to keep all my closest Mormon relationships and for the rest I never cared.
God bless you
On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 4:06 AM, Grant Palmer wrote:
Thanks for dropping me a note. Enclosed are two items. Everything that I have done during the last 12 years can be found at mormonthink.com , grant palmer homepage.
Best wishes to you and your family, Grant
On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 5:45 PM, Walter Strohbeck wrote:
Re Summary - An Insider's View of Mormon Origins,
I was listening to you on youtube and feel inspired by your courage. May I ask for a copy of the summary you mentioned ?
We live in Australia and have left the LDS fellowship. I am about to follow your example and resign. I am glad you kept your faith in Jesus. He is very much alive. We have far better faith heros then Joseph. Heidi Baker (dubbed today's evangelical Mother Teresa) has helped me a lot to restore my confidence in God's world wide engagement. There is and invisible kingdom or a "only true and living church" of true believers. Heidi will be featured world wide in a movie screening in January 2014. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_a-CqXjbKo
God bless you.