Anti-Mormon Humor

It’s so easy to make fun of Mormons that The Book of Mormon: The Musical didn’t even mention polygamy. The golden plates — where are they now? The Garden of Eden — where is it? No coffee?

The preceding three questions may violate the spirit of Episcopal Bishop of Utah, the Rev. Scott Hayashi’s plea for an end to anti-Mormon humor. I still feel rather guilty over making a suggestion in the midst of a blog discussion (can’t remember if it was Juvenile Instructor or By Common Consent) about Latter-day Saint institutions of higher education that a “Kirtland School of Economics” might be an amusing idea.

As a society, we are actually rather awash in Mormon-related humor. South Park. Broadway. The comments about underwear during the election. Nor is Mormon-themed humor a new thing. It was Mark Twain who termed the Book of Mormon chloroform in print (see my thoughts on the scripture here) and that if “Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle — keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate.” Utah’s few non-Mormon newspapers mercilessly skewered Brigham Young while he lived (according to the Corinne Reporter, he was the “hoary libertine,” “the butcher of Zion,” and the “high priest of Hell”), and national periodicals satirized him in death. Whether the issue is politics or religion, nineteenth-century American newspapers are far more entertaining than those of today partly because they took and kept the gloves off.

Brigham Young’s Widows Mourn His Passing

Bishop Hayashi suggests that religionists should at least mostly confine themselves to making fun of their own faith. I do like observing that Presbyterians have gone from believing that God has ordained everything to not knowing what to think about practically anything. [As an aside, I love the fact that in the canonical version of Joseph Smith's history, the only thing he tells his mother about his First Vision is that he had "learned for himself that Presbyterianism is not true."] “Frozen chosen” jokes only take one so far.

From Bishop Hayashi:

‘What bothers me is that anti-Mormonism seems to be condoned for some reason, like it’s OK in people’s minds,’ Bishop Hayashi said. ‘They say things about Mormons that they would never say about Jews or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists. Maybe because the LDS Church is so predominant in Utah it feels like it’s more acceptable here somehow. And unless someone says it’s not OK it will continue to be OK.’

Actually, I don’t think Mormons are the only acceptable target of American humor. Scientologists, definitely. Catholics, often. Evangelicals, no doubt. The hypocritical evangelical / Pentecostal minister is a staple of American humor. And there is no shortage of other good material here. Why do evangelicals like to sing the same thing over and over again? For you academics out there, who hasn’t referred to the “jerks” of the “Second Great Awakening”?

I teach courses on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I do not make jokes about Jews or Muslims. I will poke fun at evangelicals. I also spend a lot of time teaching and writing about Latter-day Saints, and I certainly love bringing up humorous anecdotes about 19th-century Mormon history. I may well have made a few comments about Mormon historians out-producing me (and often working another job at the same time) despite their lack of caffeine.

Religion is incredibly funny, both to insiders and outsiders. All of us who are believers believe in some preposterous things, and all groups have their quirks that attract, repel, and amuse outsiders. It’s easy to say that warm-spirited ribbing is fine and mean-spirited jokes are not, but such things cannot be strictly demarcated. Yet to eschew humor drains much of the humanity out of religion, because the foibles of human beings are endlessly humorous. Where is the right line?

 

  • A. Pratt

    Nonsense. When anyone, a church or other, claims to have “the truth,” that claim is subject to scrutiny. Parody and sarcasm are legit forms of criticism. If you don’t want to be mocked, don’t make outrageous, infensible claims. Besides, where would we be without ex Mormon polygamist memoirs like Joanne Hanks’ “It’s Not About the Sex My Ass”?

    • John Turner

      That book has an admittedly catchier title than anything I’ve written.

    • jefeinoc

      One presumes you consider the “Protocols of Zion” then to be a humorous parody of Jewish life? After all Jews are a “chosen people.”, therefore sarcasm and parody are “legit” forms of criticism. Your stance alone is outrageous and indefensible.

      • Stuart Blessman

        Were a chosen people. Happy to say Christians now belong to that chosen people.

        • jefeinoc

          The point to Pratt was that everyone may claim an exceptionalism to their own belief system. If ridiculing a people is not acceptable for some, should it be acceptable at all? I would frown upon anyone making fun of Jews, Catholics or Atheists, just as I would those who make fun of Mormons. There are universal foibles made by man’s hubris, that in my opinion is open season. But belief systems, like skin color, should not be ridiculed or have someone made to feel small because of it.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Nazism is a belief system. The idea that belief should be above ridicule is ludicrous. Even more bizarre is your claim that belief is like skin colour. So being a Nazi is like being black?

          • jefeinoc

            There are three points that perhaps need to be addressed in our post.

            Belief is a skin color, but not literally it was an analogy (as was intended). But like our skin, we carry it with us, it is a part of who we are. I would suggest to you that rather than taking it literally you give it some thought.
            .
            Lets go to your original statement which shifts the argument from religious belief systems to government and economic systems which are not faith based. I would suggest that you shift the issue because you don’t understand the underlying points raised. One is that you will not make jokes about Jews, or other belief systems, but you will about someone else (Mormons, Catholics, and so on). The inconsistency speaks of a certain hypocrisy one would have to engage in in order to show that sort of crass and targeted humor.
            ,
            As to the idea that we should laugh at Nazism I would state that we did. We perhaps did not take it as seriously as we should have, and the humor gave us a friendly face of a great evil. One wonders how things might be different if we took the threat of the Nationalist Socialists more seriously.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Belief is not a skin colour because you can change your belief in the face of new information / at will. And I didn’t shift the argument. Religious, political and economic beliefs are beliefs. 50 – 70 million people died in WW2 so no National Socialism wasn’t treated as a joke.

          • jefeinoc

            You did shift the argument. Religion is important, very important to many people, it is personal, it is part of who they are and is is part of how they see the world. Politics and economics are not nearly as important on a personal level. One does not feel too bad if there is a joke about politicisan and policy. I am ‘baffled” that you cannot see the difference when so many other people can. Or why do you think people avoid jokes about Jews, or other such groups? Is it because there aren’t any? Or that we know it is wrong to do so?

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Obviously people don’t avoid jokes about Jews. Politics and economics are not as important? Do you live in a bunker? So communism isn’t important to people even though an estimated 100 million died in communist regimes?

          • jefeinoc

            I am sure the world is replete with death camp jokes about Jews, all in good taste, all over the television and people share them with a hearty guffaw. At least maybe in your world where they see nothing wrong with them. I see an issue with your credibility on the matter if you think there is nothing wrong with them.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            You’re arguments are completely incoherent. So every joke about Jews are about death camps? Ever heard of Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Sarah Silverman and Jackie Mason?

          • jefeinoc

            I have heard of many comedians who have said many things. Not all of them are good or worthy of repeating.

          • radiofreerome

            Here’s Roseanne Barr dressed as Hitler baking Jew cookies on the cover of the Jewish cultural magazine Heeb.

            http://www.popcrunch.com/roseanne-barr-as-hitler-burnt-jew-cookies-photo-spread-heeb-magazine-the-german-issue/

            Many argued the issue was in bad taste. No one argued against free speech.

          • jefeinoc

            One could point to many examples of individuals doing bad things. Does the fact that some Jews cooperated with the Nazi regime legitimize the mockery and destruction that followed that mockery? I think you and I will agree that it does not.

          • radiofreerome

            No the fact that religious conversion exists destroys proves that religion is a choice.

          • jefeinoc

            The statement seems irrational, conversion is choice and religion is choice, but then so is the acknowledgement of ethnic heritage. Do I state that when someone is straight and then becomes gay and then straight again (which happens quite often) also is choice? I know men and women who have experienced and done both. Do you apply that same logic to the gay community then and say it is ok to mock them and to dehumanize them? Or does one respect the differences even when one disagrees?

          • radiofreerome

            Religious belief is neither innate nor salient. Belief and publication of that belief are both choices.

          • jefeinoc

            In other words you argue censorship in the face of attacks and mockery dehumanizing those who hold one set of belief systems? I find that rather one sided and extremely prejudicial. Imagine the struggle of gay men and women who want to be respected for their sexual orientation even by those who disagree with their sexual orientation (would you accept the demand they say nothing or face constant ridicule for their beliefs?) would you approach them the same way you approach others? Your point is literally to intimidate and destroy those who disagree with you, to dehumanize them to such an absurd point that they are no longer considered human. One is forced to question the ethics behind such a policy.

          • radiofreerome

            I expect free speech to be answered with free speech. I am not the fascist. You are.

          • jefeinoc

            I suggest you understand what free speech means, it means, among other things, not screaming fire in a theatre, not giving away government secrets, nor may you slander, there are many legal limits to “free speech”. There are also moral limits that society places. You should not scream in a wedding, laugh uproariously in a funeral. You should not “cyber bully”, nor indeed should you intimidate with speech. I state categorically it is wrong to denigrate with speech.
            .
            Mockery that dehumanizes an individual or group, takes away the basic dignity that all deserve. It is a step in making them “less human” giving the attacker justification to be less humane. Your demand that one group censor itself while another group be allowed to berate and denigrate at will reflects a certain myopia that is reflective of exactly what fascists did. If you can’t see that then you truly are living in your own echo chamber.

      • ThisIsTheEnd

        Protocols of Zion wasn’t written as a parody of Jewish life. And I’m baffled if anybody reads it that way.

        • jefeinoc

          Parody can be used to excuse any excess in order to justify an evil. Perhaps many things that aren’t seen exactly your way are baffling to you. Perhaps it is important to understand the implications of encouraging such attacks.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Please explain how the Protocols of Zion is a parody of Jews.

          • jefeinoc

            As a German I have had Russians explain it as such to show the corruption of Jews under the Czarist regimes. One might as well ask how it isn’t a parody.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Your Russian friends were wrong. It is a hoax not a parody. The authors aimed to fool people that a cabal of Jewish financiers was actively working towards global domination. It can’t be a parody if the authors didn’t intend it to be such.

          • jefeinoc

            So the difference between a hoax to undermine and destroy another people and a parody that seeks to undermine and destroy a people is whether or not you do it with humor? Interesting.
            .
            Perhaps you simply didn’t see the humor?

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            What are you on? If you’re taken in by the hoax perpetrated by The Protocols of Zion then you’re not laughing at it, you think the book was written by Jews. You think it’s real. People who recognize that it’s a hoax don’t find it funny. “The Hitler Diaries” were a hoax. No one’s laughing.

            Charlie Chaplin’s “Great Dictator” and Bertolt Brecht ‘s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” are parodies of Fascism. Please explain how a warning about the evils of fascism is evil. You mention that you are German, so it may explain your apparent difficulties with the English language.

          • jefeinoc

            Your position seems to that any attempt to defame, deride, undermine and even hate, as long as its done with humor is good, you call it parody. My point is that it is not. You bring up comedians who have taken their shot at making fun of the Nationalist Socialists, but you have not shown me comedians who are making parodies of the death camps, the Jews. Apparently there is a problem in doing so, that some things should not be made fun of or, if you will, parodied. If we understand that such acts are wrong, then it follows your point has been eroded.
            .
            If we had taken the Nationalist Socialists more seriously then perhaps we could have responded in a more timely manner and avoided some of the pain everyone has felt. I don’t laugh at people’s religions, I don’t laugh at their ethnicities, I don’t laugh at them because I think it is important to show that you take some things seriously. I don’t think you laugh at them either, unless of course you enjoy hurting other people by deriding who they are.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            I’m sorry. I don’t mind having a conversation with people who disagree with me. But I do have a problem having a conversation with people who’s arguments are so stupid that I lose all respect for the person making the arguments. So goodbye and enjoy the rest of your day.

          • jefeinoc

            It seems I have made you angry, sorry about that. But my position is consistent and logical. I am not the one struggling to justify why making fun of other people is good. I hope you come to a better understanding.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Hey don’t worry, I’m not angry and I’m just utterly baffled. We disagree and I’m sure we’ve both have better things to do. Bye.

          • radiofreerome

            There’s a difference between ridicule and libel, which you fail to comprehend.

          • lawbelle44

            germans are notorious for their amazing sense of humor. :P

  • Susan_G1

    Good post. I have trouble with mean spirited humor; I would rather eschew humor than offend. Yet some things are funny, and humor is delightful. I don’t know where to draw the line.

    • OnderVrager

      Mormonism, Christianity, and religion in general, have proven a resiliency to mockery. The real problem is what mocking does to the mocker. It cankers people. It is an act of conceit and pride.

  • Baltzer

    Committed Christians know that it is wrong to mock other people. I
    am confident that other faiths also recognize that mockery is morally
    repugnant. It seems to me that humanist ethics should also acknowledge
    the moral violence in ridiculing another person. I believe that the
    further one goes from the primacy of humility, love, compassion and
    tolerance, the easier it becomes to justify abusive humor.

    For instance, some will point out that because it is legal, or common, or
    less abusive than in the past derision must be acceptable today. Others
    will justify abusive humor with their own self-righteous anger,
    claiming that their targets deserve the worst abuse because they are
    themselves so morally repugnant. All these attitudes are profoundly
    un-Christian, and inherently intolerant.

    I believe that when mocking anger rages in the hearts of large numbers of
    people, our society loosens its spiritual moorings, and becomes ever
    more vulnerable to social and individual evils.

    • Stuart Blessman

      “Committed Christians know that it is wrong to mock other people.” I’ll need Scripture to back up that claim. But I can provide Scripture proving the exact opposite.

    • radiofreerome

      Humor, even mockery are are civilized political warfare.

      • jefeinoc

        No it isn’t. Mockery is often used as a means of dehumanizing others to the point that treating them with equality seems wrong. Every minority, religious, ethnic, racial, has one repeating factor, they were mocked in the worst ways possible usually in order to rob them of their humanity.

        • radiofreerome

          I was called “faggot” every day in my Catholic high school. I was sexually harassed and demeaned constantly. My sense of humor was my self-defense. I was both gay and Catholic. I refused to have sex and I refused to lie about what I was. However, I would have been expelled had I been open about my orientation. When I was degraded and bullied, I responded with a sharp wit because that was the only way I could defend myself without lying or coming out.

          Later in life, I discovered that the Christian social ethic of the nobility of victimhood was fundamentally defective, and that another Jew, Hillel the Elder, a contemporary of Jesus, taught a better ethic.

          If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am (only) for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?

          • jefeinoc

            In effect you have proven my point. You were ill treated in your Catholic high school through mockery. How then could you justify the mockery towards others when you yourself feel such an action is wrong?

          • radiofreerome

            I wasn’t ill treated through mockery I was ill treated through obscenity, false-accusation, and sexual harassment by the students. I was ill treated by my religion because its holy book incites ritual murder against me should I ever have sex and then falsely accused of being sexually active.

            I can justify mockery as self-defense. I justify mockery because the fight against free speech will affect all minorities disproportionately.

          • jefeinoc

            So what you are stating is that ill treatment that you happen not to have received is ok for others to experience? Are you serious?
            .
            Rather than worry about your own special interest group, why not say that mockery of any group or people is wrong? Your attack on free speech is one in which some groups, those “you” deem worthy are welcome to it, while other groups should be denied it, again, much like 1930′s Germany.

          • radiofreerome

            Oh, gird up your magic underpants and quit being such a sissy.

          • jefeinoc

            You proved my point. Remember the next time you are attacked for something you believe to be important. At that moment when you are hurt by the slander, remember this moment.

          • Tiffiney Barrett

            No one should ever be treated the way you were but people are not perfect and Christians make bad choices we are not perfect by any means. I have been LDS all my life but when I was old enough I prayed and ask which path I should follow and I received an answer. The Scriptures are Gods way of teaching us his children the things we need to know to be able to live happy lives when we go against those things or sin there are consequence and often it leads down an unhappy path. If you choose to not follow the ways of God then its not Christians you will be judged by so if you have a problem with what the consequence is then you should take that up with God.

  • readbofm

    Where are the stone tablets now? The ten commandments were written on stone by the finger of God. I have faith that is true. Why not an angel delivering a book to a prophet today. Does God only love ancient people?

    • sfcanative

      Probably buried in the mud somewhere after the Great Flood? Perhaps the great 10 laws written on stone will someday reappear in the sedimentary erosion of the Grand Canyon? What is so categorically earthshaking about “The Book of Mormon” that an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present “god” would find it necessary (in the absence of something more pressing) to reveal such a racist novel about dark skin being a curse and indigenous Native Americans being godless savages? In context, the BOM really does read as an immigrant’s fictional novel best consumed (in the absence of t.v. and the internet) by flickering candlelight on the 19th century western frontier of America.

      • dhrogers

        Many details in the Book of Mormon were not known in Joseph Smith’s day and were not part of society in his time. Yet those details turn out to be consistent with subsequent discoveries and research. I would be happy to provide examples.

        Discoveries made since the time of Joseph Smith and advancements in scholarship and archeology have provided many types of evidences for the Book of Mormon. These were not available in Joseph Smith’s day and yet the Book of Mormon gets them right. No one, not even the best scholars of Joseph Smith’s time, could have made up the Book of Mormon and gotten so many details correct.

        The Book of Mormon was published in the year 1830. At that time there was little in the way of scholarly or archeological evidence to support it. Joseph Smith (and Mormons ever since) claim that it is a true historic account that really happened. We will call this claim one.

        It turns out that the longer we go, the more evidence is discovered which confirms parts of the Book of Mormon. There are literally scores and scores, probably several hundred, Book of Mormon details that are now confirmed or supported by evidence that was not available in Joseph Smith’s time.

        After 60 years of research Mesoamerican archeologist, John Sorenson is about to publish his “Mormon Codex” showing 420 details that match up between the Book of Mormon and features of geography, language, and culture in Guatemala and Southern Mexico. Since these details were not known by science or scholars in 1830 when the Book of Mormon was published, how did that book get so many things right? In the world of scholarship and archeology there is seldom anything that “proves” something true. But any other book or claim would have been considered proven true beyond any reasonable doubt with only 10% of the amount data that now exists supporting the Book of Mormon.

        • sfcanative

          We’ll wait to see what the great apologist Mr. Sorenson comes up with. It is entirely plausible that Star Trek or the Harry Potter series also have sufficient ideas that, given a few hundred years, much of it could be proven accurate. The point being, even 1984 or Animal Farm could be considered scripture under your definition.

  • jefeinoc

    One wonders if inconsistency is merely ignorance or hypocrisy. Is making fun of Jews to be avoided but making fun of Mormons acceptable? One can of course find humor in almost any situation, it is unique int he animal kingdom for humanity to find and exploit that humor, but the ability to do something does not make it right.

    • lawbelle44

      there’s no need to make fun of jews. they do enough of that themselves.

      • radiofreerome

        They do it BETTER than anyone else and, thereby, prove that they have better senses of humor and are strong.

  • The_Easter_Bunny

    Suppose the ridicule isn’t an attempt at humor? Suppose it’s just flat-faced ridicule. Or, better yet, suppose it’s ridicule dressed up in the trapings of religious piety?

    Take the following example, found in the “modern-day scriptures” of the LDS Church:

    “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1.19?lang=eng#18

    If someone dared to call Mormon prophets “corrupt” or to suggest that the Book of Mormon is “an abomination” to god, Mormon apologists would go bonkers. They’d be squawking all over the place about how they are hated, and the victims of “bigotry.”

    Isn’t part of the problem Mormonism itself? The religion is smug, self righteous, and spawns followers intent on using civil laws and the government to force their religion on others. And Mormonism is *highly* rude and offensive to just about everyone. Whether it’s Brigham Young comparing Christians to devils, or the Modern prophets laying all of societies ills at the feet of atheists, Mormons preach a sort of intolerance that, if directed at them, they’d call “hate.”

    • OnderVrager

      What experiences with Mormonism have you had that have caused you to draw these conclusions? Very different ones than I’ve had or, or most other people I know, for that matter.

    • dhrogers

      God told Joseph Smith that “they were all wrong” meaning that they all have some error in them not that they were all wrong about everything. God goes on to clarify saying “that all their creeds were an abomination” (Joseph Smith History 1:19). The statement condemns extra-Biblical creeds not original Christianity. This is also what the Apostle Paul taught:

      Galatians 1:6-9
      6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
      7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
      8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
      9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

      So will you also say that Paul was wrong for calling Christians who believed “another gospel” (read as extra-Biblical creeds) accursed? God and his prophets have always called it like it is, calling the people to repentance, and being mocked, stoned, and killed for telling them the truth.

      • The_Easter_Bunny

        that’s a rather hilarious attempt at covering up history, given Joseph Smith left a long lineage of insulting and rude comments about Christianity.

        “What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world” [Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 270]

        “…all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels.” [Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. , The Elders Journal, v. 1, no. 4, p. 60]

        There are more such quotes. *Lots* more.

        Mormons *should* apologize. But they won’t. Instead, there will just be more dishonest and vain attempts at pretending Smith didn’t mean exactly what he said.

        • dhrogers

          Oh, I think Joseph Smith meant exactly what he said. I just don’t have any confidence in critics interpretation of what Joseph Smith meant.

          • The_Easter_Bunny

            No critic did any “interpreting.”

            *You* engaged in interpretation that was pretty lame and far-fetched. But the critics don’t need to “interpret” anything. Smith said it all:

            “What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world” [Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 270]

            “…all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels.” [Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. , The Elders Journal, v. 1, no. 4, p. 60]

            “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

            http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1.19?lang=eng#18

        • lawbelle44

          exactly what bible do you think apostle paul was referring to? there WAS NO BIBLE. he was speaking of his own creed, plain and simple. and saying the same thing they all say: “MY WAY IS THE RIGHT WAY.”

    • Kev

      Okay, fair point. The LDS church believe that they are the true church of Jesus Christ, just like any other Christian church. So what? The difference is, the LDS don’t go around and openly condemn other churches to hell. They don’t ridicule and mock other churches for their “false teachings”. Modern day “Christians” seem to think it is okay. The belief that they are the one true church is not a new concept to the Christian world.

      “If someone dared to call Mormon prophets “corrupt” or to suggest that the Book of Mormon is “an abomination” to god, Mormon apologists would go bonkers. They’d be squawking all over the place about how they are hated, and the victims of “bigotry.”” That comment is ridiculous. People do say such things, but it is when people say such things without even knowing what they are talking about. If you want to lay claim that the book of mormon is a fallacy, then read it yourself! Don’t just sit there on Google, which is what everyone seems to do these days.

      “Isn’t part of the problem Mormonism itself?” No, the problem is people like you. People who go out of there way to call other people “smug, self righteous and spawns followers intent on using civil laws and the government to force their religion on other.” Mormon in no way force others to join their church. They proselyte and invite others. The way that you word your statements make it obvious that you have a bone to pick with the Mormons. So, instead of looking for excuses to be angry at them, why don’t you go out and meet some mormons. They aren’t as evil and conceited as you make them out to be. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to see that they won’t force their religion down your throat. AND they’ll respect your opinions.

      I think you are teaching an intolerance that warrants a response from people like me to defend innocent and kind people like the LDS. You use a lot of attacks with no citations or experiences. Please, I think we would all love to hear why you are so upset with the Mormons.

  • phillipcsmith

    I believe that kindness and love are demonstrated in humor only when those who are active, believing members of a religion are the only ones who use humor about their particular religion. This would be the only civil way to operate. It is too easy for others to appear to be ridiculing a religion. I feel the same way about ethnic jokes, that only those belonging to a particular group should tell jokes about that group.

  • Sven2547

    The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, (your) freedom of thought becomes impossible. –Salman Rushdie

    • jefeinoc

      Salman Rushdie is only partially correct. I believe criticism is an important factor, one that should be explored. It is criticism that allows us to think and act in a deliberate and thoughtful manner. Derision and contempt are demeaning acts meant to belittle rather than intellectually engage, they are the intellectual equivalent of rape because theirs is an arrogance of overwheening pride and dominance, not one of measuring validity. In a lynch mob, the mob has sufficient contempt for the victim to care very little for the niceties of validity, they merely want to kill the victim.

      • ThisIsTheEnd

        Go on, tell us a joke.

        • jefeinoc

          I will make it a raucous one….

          A mother took her little boy to church.
          While in church the little boy said, “Mommy, I have to pee.”

          The mother said to the little boy, “It’s not appropriate to say the word ‘pee’ in church. So, from now on whenever you have to ‘pee’ just tell me that you have to ‘whisper’.”

          The following Sunday, the little boy went to church with his father and during the service said to his father, “Daddy, I have to whisper.“

          The father looked at him and said, “Okay, just whisper in my ear.”

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            Yeah, that’s a good one

      • radiofreerome

        Religion is in the business of ostracizing the other. Mormons painted gays as corrupters of children during every commercial in their campaign for Prop 8.

        • jefeinoc

          Your understanding of religion is without merit. Everyone believes their choice is the best one, and those who care about others often share why they believe in their choice. You seem to think that doing so is somehow wrong. In terms of your accusation regarding “every commercial” I would say that characterization is false and without merit since no commercial ever made that claim or implied it.

          • radiofreerome

            On the contrary, I pay a very high price for the right to free speech. Churches use their speech to call me hated by God and worthy of death. My response is to justifiably ridicule them for hypocrisy in claiming to serve a just, loving God while inciting hatred against me with their theology. Leviticus 20:18 is an incitement to ritual murder. Yet, I would not abridge either form of speech, even though religious free speech can endanger my life.

  • JohnH2

    So the BYU libraries economic section is named after Smoot from the Smoot-Hawley tarrif, which is nearly as bad as if it were the Kirtland school of economics.

    • John Turner

      Ha! I didn’t know that.

  • dhrogers

    I am not opposed to some jokes made about my Faith, now and then, as long as they are understood to be jokes made in good fun and not to be taken as serious criticisms. The problem is that there is often an underlying mean spirited tone to many of the jokes. Many of the jokes about Mormonism are made by people who have believed falsehoods about the LDS church and who have an incorrect understanding of historic events. Then they make mean spirited jokes that perpetuate those false ideas.

    Many details in the Book of Mormon were not known in Joseph Smith’s day and were not part of society in his time. Yet those details turn out to be consistent with subsequent discoveries and research. I would be happy to provide examples.

    Discoveries made since the time of Joseph Smith and advancements in scholarship and archeology have provided many types of evidences for the Book of Mormon and other aspects of the LDS faith. These were not available in Joseph Smith’s day and yet the Book of Mormon gets them right. No one, not even the best scholars of Joseph Smith’s time, could have made up the Book of Mormon and gotten so many details correct. The jokesters remain uninformed about these details and continue to make false allegations through their inappropriate jokes. Over the years, the arguments made against the Book of Mormon have consistently fallen by the wayside as new evidence is discovered. As time goes on, the Book of Mormon looks better and better. The opposite would be true if it were a hoax.

    For example: Mark Twain criticized the Book of Mormon for the frequent use of the phrase “And it came to pass.” He once joked that if you took “it came to pass” out of the Book of Mormon it would be just a pamphlet. I think that does make a good joke. However, as a valid criticism of the Book of Mormon it does not hold up. Like so many other criticisms, this criticism, after careful scrutiny, turns into another evidence in favor of Book of Mormon’s authenticity and antiquity. Too bad Mark Twain was not knowledgeable about the ancient use of the phrase “and it came to pass” as we are now.

    The phrase “it came to pass” is now known to have been used in ancient texts, including, Mayan script, in just the same way it is used in the Book of Mormon. It is highly doubtful that Joseph Smith could have known of this usage in ancient literature and that he could have used it correctly according to ancient usage. Yet the Book of Mormon gets the ancient usage correct. The phrase “it came to pass” shows up in the Hebrew text of the Bible frequently but not nearly so often in the English translation. I wonder if Mark Twain would also criticize the Bible for using that phrase. The phrase “it came to pass” is also prominent in Maya writing in the New World.

    Bruce Warren examined studies of Maya glyphs done by leading Maya hieroglyph scholars Linda Schele (1982) and david Stuart (1984). He found an amazing correspondence to the Book of Mormon. The Mayan words “uth” and “Chontal ut” mean “it came to pass” and are frequently used in Mayan writing. Deciphering advances in the three decades since then confirm this meaning.

    Is this just a coincidence or does it indicate a cultural and language connection between the Maya and the Book of Mormon? Does it indicate a connection between Old World semitic languages and the Mayan language? One or a few isolated parallels can happen but they are rare. The more parallels discovered the more likely they are not coincidence, but rather, that there is, in fact, a linguistic connection. For instance, the Mayan document known as the Popol Vuh has been shown to contain striking correspondence to the Book of Mormon in at least ten structure types. (See independent studies by Crowell 1992: 12-26 and Christenson 2003: 42 ff.)

    This level of correspondence tip the scales towards the likelihood that the Book of Mormon is a true ancient Mesoamerican document which shares culture and language with the Mayan Popol Vuh.

    It is almost certain that Joseph Smith would not have used the phrase at all if he created the Book of Mormon. Discriminating use of the Hebraic phrase in the Book of Mormon is further evidence that the record is what it says it is—a translation from a language (reformed Egyptian) with ties to the Hebrew language. (See Morm. 9:32–33.) (Robert F. Smith, ” ‘It Came to Pass’ in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1980).

    It is highly doubtful that Joseph Smith could have known these usages of the two phrases in ancient literature and that he could have used them correctly according to the ancient usage. Yet the Book of Mormon gets the ancient usage correct. Furthermore, the Mayan language was not cracked until about 150 years after the Book of Mormon was in print. Yet we find “It came to pass” used repeatedly in Mayan and in just the area of the world where most of the archeological and cultural data indicates the Book of Mormon events took place. So, there is a convergence of data from various fields of study indicating the antiquity and historicity of the Book of Mormon. “And it came to pass” is just one of the many evidences none of which was known in Joseph Smith’s day.

    • lawbelle44

      most of those things WERE known in his day, there were many sensational stories with drawings on the front pages of newspapers- often made my charlatans who were attempting to get ‘investors’ into their ‘expeditions.’ we had not yet killed off the native american civilization, and they themselves knew of these things- and told many white people. you apparently do not realize that “reformed egyptian” was used in masonic rites at many lodges, and since he WAS a mason, it makes perfect sense. there is no such thing as “reformed egyptian” other than as a secret code language of secret societies! ask any egyptologist!
      he was a charlatan and a snake oil salesman who managed to convince people to head out into the wilderness with him and let him have their wives if he wanted. we all are born into a religion, so i understand your need to somehow justify it. but don’t think for one minute that people who WERE NOT born in your religion are going to suddenly convert because you think you can twist history and archaeology to suit your agenda. just stop. he himself claimed to use a “SEER STONE” to interpret the code. this is sorcery and the bible is clear on what it says regarding sorcery.


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