Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick Guide to Continued Belief

This comes from the Internet.

"[T]hose who have been led by the Letter to a CES Director to abandon their faith, should, in my view, reconsider those Mormon claims and the abundant historical support that’s available for them. They simply haven’t studied enough." -Daniel C. Peterson, 

Mormonism: a gospel "so simple even a child could understand" but so nuanced only a person with the equivalent of a PhD of study of church history could actually convince themselves was true. But what do I know? I'm just another apostate.

P.S. If you're not following Just Another Apostate on Facebook, you probably should.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Especially For Youth

I'm not sure why EFY had any negative effect on my relationship with the Church. I never went. Never cared to go until I realized how many girls my friends were meeting there. It simply didn't interest me. Maybe I'd had been to enough Scout camps in my life to know that I didn't want a summer camp with less hiking and more Church stuff. Maybe the thought of being surrounded by goody two-shoes Molly Mormons and Peter Priesthoods sounded too fake. Maybe I was too worldly in my music tastes. Maybe I was too focused on finding a summer job and working as much as I could. It's hard to say.

Either way, I find it a little strange that the very existence of EFY bothered me. It made me suspicious. I couldn't figure out who it was for. Loners? Testimony-less teens? Kids on drugs? In the end I couldn't help but conclude that more than anyone else, the Church needed EFY. EFY was an indoctrination camp. Like Primary. It had to be. The Church is desperate to convince the youth that the Church is the most important thing in their lives, even more so than their immediate family, and we all know how creepy that can get.

Or maybe not. But in the end EFY made me doubt.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mormon pilgrimages

Jerusalem? Rome? Santiago? What are we, Catholics? Do we have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to worship an object? Not a chance. No idols for us. Leave reverencing objects to everyone else. Let the Muslims make their once in a lifetime trek to Mecca. We carry religion in our hearts. Our eternal souls worship in a walking tabernacle of flesh.

Sure, we have to be sure to make it to the temple at least once in our lives (heaven forbid we die before taking out our endowment and sealed for time and all eternity), but fortunately for everyone, the Church these days is working hard to make church and temple attendance as easy and non-pilgrimage-like as possible. With meeting houses and temples cropping up all over the globe, chances are you're no more than a couple of hours away from an LDS place of worship.

Of course that doesn't stop us from making distant religious journeys in order to prove our spirituality, pay our respects to our forebearers and prove to our neighbors that the Church is the most important thing in our life. Who among us doesn't feel a slight tinge of guilt for not having humbly offered a prayer of gratitude for Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove? Who among us hasn't felt some degree of urgency that our sons and daughters experience the spiritual banquet to be had on Heritage Tours? How else will they gain a testimony in their youth? The Kirkland temple, the Nauvoo temple, the temple site in Missouri, we just have to see them.

And why stop at the locations that have actual Mormon history? Why not make up some new sites for Book of Mormon tours? Heartland model believers, we've got you covered too! It doesn't matter if it's all bullshit. You really have to see it for yourself!


Most amazing of all is Salt Lake City! Come listen to a prophet's voice at General Conference! Come on! You believe he's a prophet, right? You love him, right? You have a testimony that he's God's mouthpiece, right? So show us your conviction! Come, come, ye saints! Come!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brought forth by the Gentiles

So The Book of Mormon contains a prophesy about how in due time it would come to light via the Gentiles, but we know that Joseph Smith Jr. was a pure Ephraimite. How is someone who is totally an Israelite a Gentile? Bruce McConkie tried to clear things up by pointing out that Joseph wasn't from the tribe of Judah, therefore he qualifies as a Gentile. But the line being drawn in these verses is between the House of Israel and Gentiles, not Jews and Gentiles. The Lehites also qualify as Gentiles if we take Bruce's explanation and the scripture hardly seems to allow for that.

Thankfully there are a lot of other unofficial explanations out there from our more doctrinally-inclined membership. What are we to understand? Whatever the hell we want, except that this prophesy doesn't make much sense. Doubt that doubt. Doubt that Joseph wrote something about himself as a Gentile because it felt good and important, then years later forgot the specifics of what he wrote, and finally came around to telling people we was an Israelite because it felt good and important. You'll straighten things out eventually.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Meeting Mormons

Everyone is so eager to meet the Mormons and the missionaries are so overbooked that the Church has decided to turn their "I'm a Mormon" campaign into a super-spiritual full-length feature film called "Meet the Mormons" (not to be confused with "Meet the Mormons," a documentary the Church would probably like to bury)! Be prepared to feel the Spirit. And brace yourselves for the flood of new converts.

Anti-Nephi-Lehies and war

Once upon a time there were some wicked Lamanites who had killed a hell of a lot of Nephites. One day they realized their evil ways, converted to the One True Church, and buried their weapons of death and destruction, promising to never ever touch them again. Isn't that amazing? They were so afraid that killing just one more person would assuredly and irreversibly condemn their souls to hell, that they knew it would be better for them to die than to fight ever again, even in their own defense.

Fortunately for the Nephites, this now entirely pacifistic clan of converts, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, wasn't entirely against killing other people. Instead of taking up arms again, these folks sent out 2000 of their boys to slaughter their unconverted and overly-agressive cousins.

They totally kicked ass. And not a single one was killed in battle. So righteous sexy!

"Don't mind the swords, we got lot of Jesus love to share, neighbor."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Freedom of speech

Anti-Christs are so awful!

Utah Mormons these days have rekindled their love for the U.S. Constitution. Their favorite part is the freedom to impose religion on everyone within a given geographic area. Their least favorite part is the freedom of others to speak their mind. Maybe that's because The Book of Mormon has a wonderfully un-patriotic story about a man, Korihor, being arrested for teaching against religious prophecies. Basically the believers were getting upset that this Korihor guy was actually convincing people to stop believing so they had him arrested and his case ended up in the Nephite Supreme Court, where it was discovered that Korihor was "possessed of a lying spirit." In the end God was his judge and God struck Korihor dumb for the rest of his few remaining days, which he lived out as a beggar. So be careful what you say, people of the Free World! Just because you can and want to say something doesn't mean you should.

"Give me a sign, yo!"

This story might sound a bit harsh (or just plain stupid) to anyone who didn't grow up with it, but bear in mind that Jehovah-Jesus was very harsh about these sorts of things. He instituted thought crime in no unclear terms. If you've thought it and wanted it, you've committed the sin. Mysterious as it is, that's God's way.

Today the Church doesn't worry as much about what you think so much as what you say. For some it's better to sit and learn in silence rather than open your mouth and share.

You don't determine what Mormonism is, the Church does. The Church sets the terms for everyone. Deal with it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Smooth operator

Folks living in the Middle East and the Mediterranean are lucky sons of guns! They're blessed enough to live where olives have historically been cultivated and spread. Why does that matter? It matters because olive oil is the awesomest!

It's a magic healing elixir, folks. When consecrated by the power of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, it has amazing healing powers.

It transforms people into priests.

It turns you into royalty.

It made Jesus the Oily One way awesomer than all the other Jesuses. (I guess there were olives in the Pre-Existence.)

It guarantees Celestial glory.

And it's edible.

The point is this olive oil is very cool stuff when backed up by the proper magic which is why Mormon men tend to be locked and loaded at all times.

Keep your barrels well oil, brethren.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Celestial bodies

Here are a couple more thoughts about celestial resurrection and eternal perfection. If we get back every hair on our head, does that mean we get back every hair of our back, or our belly, or of our legs, or bikini line? Will we have super smelling powers? Will we be able to smell everyone's sweaty, hairy bodies? Will we ever have to deal with any physical discomfort again? For example, does God ever get anything in his eye? Sand? Pollen? Dust? I know he's not supposed to be vulnerable to physical danger or harm, but what's going on with his eyes? Does he have cherubim with flaming swords fighting off stray particles? Is the surface of his body somehow repellent to everything? Are celestial beings ticklish, or is that an earthly frailty?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jesus and the infinite atonement

How does it make any sense whatsoever that because Jesus suffered for our sins and shortcomings everything will one day be restored to perfection? How does it make any sense that one event that took place thousands of years ago is making things right today? Try anticipating your great-great grandchildren's debts and having the money ready for them in their exact moment of need. Try doing something today to absolutely guarantee your house will be clean in 100 years.

You can't do it, can you? Well God did. He did it for everyone. It was easy. He just had to kill his demigod offspring.

It works that way, promise! I know you don't have any demigod children of your own, but I'm sure that sacrificing one of your regular mortal children should at least take your mind off dinner for a week or two. Just make sure to burn the fat for Jehovah.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Eternal progression

Like so many other aspects of Mormonism, eternal progression was one of those things that sounded great on the surface but got weird enough fast enough that I had to stop thinking about it. I've already brought up the conundrum of eternal learning in another post. We don't know how we're going to learn everything in the Universe, but we have faith that we will. And after we've become all-knowing beings, just like God, we'll be fully progressed and ready to build our own perfect universes, right? Who knows?

The real problem here is that once we've become like God, who is perfect (complete) in all things, what progression is left to be had?

The idea that had been conveyed to me was that because saving human beings is God's work and glory, the more people get saved the more glory God gets. So, in a sense, God, despite his perfection-completion, is somehow becoming ever more glorious by making us, his children, like him, and when we, in our perfect, completed state, make and populate our own worlds, and save the human inhabitants of those worlds, we will be not just adding glory to our own perfect selves but also to God's glory because we wouldn't be saving anyone had he not saved us first, so really everyone we saved was saved by God. Then when the humans we save become like us (and God) and start saving their own human children the glory still goes straight back to God to glorify him all the more.

In other words, eternal progression is equivalent to the endless perpetuation of God's salvation scheme. The more people you bring into the club the more respected you'll be. The more obedient children you have the more impressive you look to your neighbors.

Pyramid scheme? No way! This is a sacred law of the Universe.

Friday, August 15, 2014

HeartSell (TM)

Church-owned Bonneville International has done it! They've found a way into your heart! Not only can they get in there, they know how to move and motivate you to action. They've even given this communication strategy a creepy, trademarked name.

It's almost like you don't even need the Holy Ghost to feel the truth anymore.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

10 Bible Facts by Robert Price

Here's a fairly decent podcast featuring Bible scholar Robert Price debunking ten common misunderstandings about the Bible. Enjoy.

Babies and the Veil

It's often said in the LDS Church, as it is in others, that newborns and very small children are very close to God and enjoy greater spiritual perception than adults, teens and older children. In Mormon speak we say the Veil of Forgetfulness that keeps us from remembering our pre-Earth life is very thin for new arrivals here on Earth. I don't think it's official doctrine or anything, but it is a widely held belief. I always thought this special sensitivity was an awesome baby power that deserved our admiration and respect. Babies were closer to God than the rest of us. They didn't have to doubt about God and his plan. They remembered things. Special things.
But I also couldn't help but wonder why the hell they didn't seem to have a clue about what we were doing when we prayed as a family. It seems like they would at least show some excitement about our attempts to commune with God and even more excitement for God's attentive listening in. Instead of smiling up at Heavenly Father's loving face and basking in the window of spiritual bliss we've just opened, babies act like total heathens during prayers. In church too. They cry, they scream, they play, they eat, they shit, they hit, they sleep, and many other non-spiritual things. It was enough to make me doubt they had any connection to pre-Earth memory at all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The forgiving god

God forgives generously. Think of all our horrible, awful sins. Swearing, selfishness, lies, stealing, fighting, lust, backbiting, sleeping in church, not blessing your snacks, not doing genealogy, loud laughter, and the list goes on. How can a Perfect Being possibly put up with such shenanigans? Then again I'm not sure how much God even cares.

But let's pretend God does care. I have some serious doubts about him being forgiving. If he's so forgiving, why did Jesus have to pay for our sins? I mean, if Jesus paid for our sins then there's no need to forgive them. FORGIVING A PRICE THAT'S ALREADY BEEN PAID MAKES NO SENSE. It's like hearing your waiter tell you your meal's on the house right after the bill's been paid.

Did Jesus pay the price or not? If he paid the price, God doesn't have to forgive shit (and neither does Jesus, apparently), and teaching that he forgives is nonsensical. If Jesus' brief suffering didn't quite do the job, then I guess God might still have a chance to prove how forgiving he is.

Well, as long as we repent first.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #43 - Having fun

According to popular wisdom, a good father knows how to have fun with his children.

It's hard to believe that a Guy who forbids loud laughter really knows how to have a rollicking good time. When was the last time you had a fun time with God? Are you sure God was there or was it just you and some people you care about talking a bit about God? What's the funniest joke God's told you? How long did it take you to get the punchline? What's the best game you two have played together? Did you win or did he? Do you guys, like, totally hit it off?

I doubt you have real answers to these questions. I find the very idea of God having fun laughable at best.

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #42 - Feeling protected

According to popular wisdom, a good father makes his children feel protected.

Feeling protected means we experience peace of mind knowing that Heavenly Father protects us, loves us, comforts us, and will stand up for us. I think a good many believers do feel that protection and it gives them confidence and strength. But I also believe just as many believers constantly feel vulnerable and in need of protection. In fact, I would say that believers, the righteous as well as the wicked, even feel threatened by God himself and his ever-looming judgements against them.

It's a strange head game God is playing, one in which we're always left guessing whether or not we're still on his good list. How safe does that really make us feel?

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #41 - Risking personal safety

According to popular wisdom, a good father will put his own safety on the line to keep children out of harm's way.

This is another attribute Heavenly Father doesn't get points for. How could he? His personal safety is never ever at risk. Ever. He's immortal and resides in the safety of perfection - he cannot in any way risk his safety, even should he want to.

However, he does let his children suffer every day and die horribly every day for no apparent reason. And he will let a good many of them live throughout the eternities alienated from him forever. The truth about the Gospel according to Mormonism is that we, God's children, are the ones risking everything. If we decide not to obey him for some reason, we're screwed.

For me, it's impossible not to doubt Heavenly Father's love and devotion to us.

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #40 - Whatever it takes

According to popular wisdom, a good father will do whatever he can for his family.

Heavenly Father does exactly what he has to do for his family. He came up with the Perfect Plan involving the Perfect Murder (or Suicide), and everything has gone, is still going, and will continue to go according to plan. So make sure you're on the his side when the final whistle is blown. If you can't make sense of the Plan or are put off on his murder scheme, don't blame God. It's your fault, not his.

You really should be doing whatever it takes to doubt your doubts.

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #39 - Protection

According to popular wisdom, a good father protects his family at all costs.

As the story goes, God cursed us with pain and disease and death. That's the opposite of protection. But that's because Heavenly Father's concerned mostly about protecting our ability to make choices and less concerned about protecting us physically. That's why he was willing to permanently exile a third of his spirit children - because they were anti-choice. That's why God placed us in a crazy, mixed up world, so we can try to navigate it by making righteous choices. Righteousness will then protect us from sin and pain.

OK, that's not really true. No mortal man can be righteous enough to avoid sin, and even the most righteous are still vulnerable to the all sorts of painful experiences, like accidents, sicknesses, natural disasters, deaths of loved ones, ugly breakups, disappointment, and all the rest. All righteous choices can do is make you a prime candidate for the Celestial Kingdom. It's the kind of protection you might expect from a shady insurance company, but with even foggier details.

When it comes to the cost of all of this, apparently it was enormous: the blood sacrifice of one perfectly righteous demi-god. Never mind that that God got a full return on his investment within a few hours. Which one of your children would you give up to die horribly if you knew you could get him or her right back?

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #38 - With the times

According to popular wisdom, a good father does not try to maintain some gold standard of his own time - he allows his children to be citizens of their day and age.

Out of date parents and grandparents are an extremely common comic trope. Technology's a bitch to keep up with. Pop culture is impossible. Political correctness is a huge headache. There's a lot to keep up on.

Asking anyone to stay completely up to date is, I think, a very tall order. We spend our whole lives trying to figure life out and by the time we hit a certain age or place in life we like to think we have a certain understanding. We know what we like and what we don't like. We find good things, work hard and made sacrifices to get them. We become interested in preserving what we have instead of deciding what we want. We go through a lot of shit and learn a lot of life lessons. We see people get hurt, hurt a few ourselves, and develop an idea or two about how to be nice. We might even feel clear on what's right and wrong. How are we supposed to give that up? How do we stay loose and adaptable?

Thankfully Heavenly Father's standard of being is an eternal standard. We just don't fully understand those standards, that's why he defines earthly, cultural standards according to the immediate needs of his children - so we can understand them. Kind of. He's a little hard to figure out, as the number of doubts expressed on this blog might indicate.

What we understand to be godly changes constantly. Much of what is considered to be godly is by today's standards horribly unethical. I doubt the whole "eternal standard" argument is a good approach any more. How do we arrive at ethical behavior through observance of  God's standards when they're so clearly man-made?

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #37 - Open-minded

According to popular wisdom, a good father is open-minded.

I'm not sure how Heavenly Father can get a point for this one. He's not open-minded. It's either his way or the highway. Always.

Jesus was like that too: "he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" (Matthew 16:22-23).

God things are cool. Human things suck shit. Thus saith the Lord. 

On the other hand, Heavenly Father does understand all things, including all our thoughts (just imagine how dirty God's mind must be!). You've got to have a pretty big, open mind to do that.

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #36 - Compassion

According to popular wisdom, a good father shows compassion.

Though I seriously doubt a perfect being has the ability to feel what we feel, Heavenly Father is all about compassion, the Bible says so in more than one place. Proof in the pudding when it comes to God's compassion is, once again, Jesus' sacrifice for humanity as the greatest sign of compassion the Universe will ever know. (Yeah, I know, we run into the whole issue of Heavenly Father delegating responsibilities.)

I'm reminded of a father who recently did his best to put himself in his son's shoes. That father made a real effort to understand and to feel. To share in his son's suffering, if only from a distance (impossible as that is). Does God do that at all? How would he?

The thing about compassion is that it's about the hear and now (the Afterlife is about justice). So where is God here and now? Why is he leaving suffering people with nothing more than a promise that he'll fix all our problems later?

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #35 - Unconditional love

According to popular wisdom, a good father shows unconditional love.

Oh man, Heavenly Father loves us so much! He loves us unconditionally and has shown us that love through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which saves us from an otherwise inevitable damnation. It's so easy to see that he's a great dad!

Except in Mormonism we have to deal with the whole sticky issue of God's full blessings being entirely predicated upon a long series of conditions called commandments. If we're even lukewarm about things God will find us disgusting. If we oppose his One True Church and willfully sin against him, he'll count us as enemies and royally fuck us up.

Just look at Satan and his followers. Does God ever mention loving them after their rebellion? If he still loves them, why hasn't he forgiven them? It seems to me that God's love is by definition conditional.

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Heavenly fatherliness #34 - Pride in children

According to popular wisdom, a good father takes pride in his children.

Basically Heavenly Father is only proud of us when we make righteous choices, which means we obey him. He's really into obedience. Heavenly Father is especially proud of his boy Jesus, in whom he is well pleased. He's also well pleased with a very select few other sons (sometimes). Not so much daughters, though. I don't think God's ever expressed pride for a daughter.

*These attributes represent the popular thoughts of Ask Men’s Jullian Marcus,’s Tanya Tringali, and Open Talk Magazine’s Glenn Silvestre as per their respective articles on what makes a good father.