LDS Church files “friend of the court” brief with other groups

 

Justice is supposed to be blind.

 

In conjunction with several other very substantial Christian organizations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed an amicus brief with the Tenth Circuit Court of the United States in two cases — one in Utah and the other in Oklahoma — concerning same-sex “marriage.”

 

A link to the brief itself is included in this short article on the topic.

 

Posted from Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawai’i

 

 

Print Friendly

  • ahermit

    “”Our faith communities bear no ill will toward same-sex couples…”

    that would be more convincing if you weren’t fighting so hard to deny them equal protection under the law.

    • kiwi57

      Sorry, Mr hermit, but that’s merely a slogan. Those faith communities that have the backbone to stand up for traditional marriage are not attempting to deny anyone “equal protection under the law.”

      It’s a handy, and polemically useful bumper sticker; but it is clearly false.

      • ahermit

        Denying same sex couples equality under the law is exactly what they are doing. There are more than a thousand legal rights and benefits attached to marriage in the United States which have been unavailable to same sex couples. It’s time for that to change.

        Fighting for continuing discrimination is the antithesis of good will.

        • brotheroflogan

          No one is denying gay people from being married. And marriage is a relationship between two people of the opposite sex. That is a biological reality. I find that proponents of same-sex marriage try as hard as they can not to think of the bio-mechanics involved. Nor are they willing to admit that it might be possible that children are better off (all else being equal) with their biological parents and with a (male) father and a (female) mother.

          • brotheroflogan

            And it is not unreasonable at all for society to give a special place to heterosexual relationships that it doesn’t give to other relationships. Unlike gay relationships, it is very possible to accidentally have kids in a heterosexual relationship. So in order to protect those kids, society has a vested interest in getting individuals to commit in a marriage relationship to each other and to any children that might come along. There is no reason for society to promote the same commitment among homosexual couples.

          • ahermit

            Even if we accept the unproven assertion that homosexual couples can’t be good parents this is completely irrelevant.

            Heterosexual marriages are not invalidated by childlessness, or even by bad parenting. Heterosexual couples who are awful parents to the point of having their children taken away can still be married and still are accorded the legal rights and benefits currently denied to homosexual couples.

            So this argument about child bearing/rearing is a spurious one; it has no bearing whatsoever on the denial of legal marriage.

          • DanielPeterson

            You’ve long since thrashed that straw man to death, ahermit.

            Please engage the actual argument on offer.

          • ahermit

            I believe I have been engaging the actual argument Mr. Peterson; the first one outlined in the amicus brief is all about the value of marriage as the preferred environment for child rearing; the second is about the undesirability of overturning a law because of its grounding in religious belief, as if this was actually the reason for seeking to overturn DOMA and make state marriage laws more fair (talk about strawmen!).

            Those are the arguments I read in that brief and those the are the arguments to which I am responding. if you think I’m getting it wrong perhaps you can actually explain how and why I’m wrong instead of bleating “strawman” “begging the question” like some undergraduate who has just discovered the terms…

          • DanielPeterson

            Don’t blame me for the fact that you continually commit basic logical fallacies. It’s not my fault.

            Have you read “What is Marriage?” by Anderson, Girgis, and George, in either it’s Harvard journal form or its book form? Answer truthfully.

          • ahermit

            No I haven’t Mr. Peterson, but I’m not answering them; I’m answering the arguments in the amicus brief referred to in this post. Why are you trying to change the subject?

          • DanielPeterson

            I’ve suggested that you read Anderson, Girgis, and George from the first day you began posting up a storm on my blog. The amicus brief also directs you to them.

            You have, in the past, acted as if you HAD read them — and were in a position to dismiss them. But (big surprise!) it turns out that that was mere bluster.

          • ahermit

            You may have misunderstood, but I have never claimed or pretended to have read them. I have responded to arguments made specifically in the amicus brief or made by you (rare as actual arguments from you are) and by others commenting on these posts. In comments ion other posts I have responded to arguments in those posts or in articles linked to in those posts.

            If you or others are relying on the arguments made by Anderson, Girgis, and George then it is up to you to clearly articulate them. Don’t blame me if you are unable to do so.

          • DanielPeterson

            It most definitely ISN’T up to me to clearly articulate them, as they have already been clearly articulated and are readily accessible.

            You’ve done absolutely nothing that would oblige me to spend any portion of my life spoon-feeding things to you that you could easily read for yourself.

            Please note, incidentally, that you’re here on borrowed time.

          • palerobber

            hey Dan, have you read Windsor? answer truthfully.

          • DanielPeterson

            No. Nobody’s recommended that I do so, as far as I can recall, and I haven’t been consistently dismissing Windsor. (I’ve never mentioned the word. Ever.)

          • palerobber

            hey Dan, did you catch this news today about Sherif Girgis?

            USA Today:
            “In a bombshell development, a federal judge threw out the state’s first witness in Michigan’s gay marriage trial, concluding the Princeton-educated philosophy expert had nothing to offer in this case. [...] [Judge] Friedman dismissed the witness following arguments from the plaintiffs’ side, who noted that Girgis is not a lawyer, child development expert, psychologist or expert in Michigan law. He has no experience in the issues that matter in this case [...]”

            ha! “nothing to offer” is about right. you can wax philosophical all you want about the meaning of words and the roots of english common law, but in the end you’ve still got to crawl over or under or around the 14th amendment, don’t you?

    • brotheroflogan

      ahermit, do you hate blind people if you want to deny them driver’s licenses? Or are you willing to admit that sometimes discrimination is not based on hatred?

      • ahermit

        The two situations aren’t at all analogous. There is no natural impediment to doing the things that married couples do and no one is going to be negatively affected by same sex marriage.

        • brotheroflogan

          Other than having babies…

          • ahermit

            Adoption, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization all make that possible,. But that’s irrelevant anyway since having babies is not a requirement of marriage. Lots of heterosexual couples never have children; we don’t consider their marriages to be invalid or deny them any of the attendant rights and benefits of marriage because of their childlessness.

            To impose a condition on same sex couples which is not similarly imposed on opposite sex couples is an unjustifiable discrimination.

        • DanielPeterson

          You keep saying that, ahermit. But writers such as Girgis, George, and Anderson have laid out very clearly how they believe the institution of marriage, and hence those who are involved in it (and, hence, society at large), will be negatively affected by the redefinition you favor.

          Simply ignoring them and repeating your claims yet again, or, at best, merely proclaiming that you’re “unconvinced,” isn’t an argument. It’s not even a conversation.

          • ahermit

            Their beliefs are contradicted by actual experience, as I’ve pointed out before. We’ve had legal same sex marriage in Canada for a decade and the effect on heterosexual marriage has been…well there’s been no effect.

          • DanielPeterson

            You’re not engaging their actual argument, ahermit. Your “response” here suggests that you don’t even know what it is.

          • ahermit

            The argument as I understand it is that marriage as an institution is vital to society’s thriving as the best condition in which to raise children and that by recognizing the relationships of homosexual couples as marriage this important function of marriage will somehow be undermined.

            It’s a ludicrous argument; first because failure to be a child bearing/rearing couple is not a disqualification for heterosexual marriage and second because those who wish to have and raise children in a “traditional” marriage will be just as able to do so if same sex couples are given the same legal rights and benefits.

            Now, if I’ve gotten it wrong maybe you can try to actually explain how I’m wrong instead of sniffing about how someone else in some other place has already explained it all…

          • DanielPeterson

            You’re not accurately summarizing the argument, ahermit, and that’s your problem to rectify. It’s not my duty to ensure that you accurately understand what you claim to have read.

          • ahermit

            If you can’t show me where I’ve gone wrong that’s your problem to rectify. All you’re doing is stamping your little feet and whining “IS NOT!” like a two year old. You haven’t offered a single substantial answer to anything I’ve said.

            Are you sure it’s not you who’s having trouble understanding the argument?

          • DanielPeterson

            Joining personal insults to your lack of substance isn’t strengthening the case against giving you another well-earned vacation from cluttering up my blog.

          • ahermit

            Proving once again that you actually have no argument; just a lot of angry, empty assertions and an inability to defend your antiquated bigoted opinions.

          • DanielPeterson

            And, on that insulting and characteristically vacuous note, you’re gone.

          • ahermit

            Coward.

          • palerobber

            i’m confused here, Dan.

            you’ve refused to summarize the argument yourself and then you complain when ahermit summarizes it not to your liking, to the extent that you won’t even point out where his summary is faulty.

            btw, Girgis et all misrepresent the social science in exactly the same manner that the LDS amicus brief does.

          • DanielPeterson

            Have you pointed this out to Girgis et al? Were they persuaded?

            Ahermit’s dogmatism hasn’t made me eager to devote any time or effort to interacting with him. i see little point. He has never, to the best of my recollection, acknowledged any merit in any opposing position, but has always seen disagreement with him as proof of bad character.

          • ahermit

            I don’t acknowledge any merit in the anti-marriage arguments here because I have yet to see any.

          • kiwi57

            That’s because no-one has tried to make any “anti-marriage arguments here.”
            Same sex “marriage,” you see, is not marriage. Therefore, those who support marriage sanctity are not taking a position that is “anti-marriage,” and it is grotesquely dishonest to pretend that they are.

          • ahermit

            Would you prefer “pro discrimination arguments?”

          • DanielPeterson

            No. Unless you acknowledge that discrimination (e.g., between criminals and the innocent, between good movies and bad movies, between marriages of siblings and marriages of biologically unrelated persons, etc.) isn’t always bad, and that calling someone “undiscriminating” isn’t always a compliment and that labeling an act “indiscriminate” almost NEVER is.

          • ahermit

            Sure, some kinds of discrimination are desirable. Discriminating in ways which are unjust or on the basis of an individual’s identity, whether racial, ethnic, religious of sexual, or which impose double standards is not.

          • DanielPeterson

            And the question of whether this is one of those desirable situations is precisely the point at issue.

          • ahermit

            It’s as desirable as making discriminatory laws based on race or gender or religion. There is no merit in the arguments for any of those kinds of discrimination and there is no merit in the anti-same sex marriage arguments.

          • DanielPeterson

            And yet, ahermit, for all your absolutist language, I presume that you still haven’t read either the Harvard article or the book by Anderson, Girgis, and George — to cite just one really serious exposition of the arguments you dismiss.

          • ahermit

            I am still addressing the argument made in the legal brief which is the subject of this post. If you have a different argument to make go ahead and make it yourself.

          • DanielPeterson

            I have yet to see any “anti-marriage arguments here,” either.

            Please stop cluttering up my comments section with nonsense.

          • ahermit

            If you are opposed to my aunt and her partner getting married you are anti- their marriage.

          • DanielPeterson

            If you’re opposed to Bob and his daughter Suzie getting married, you, ahermit, are anti- THEIR marriage.

          • ahermit

            You’re equating a loving consensual adult relationship to incest? Really…

            Making exceptions based on pre-existing relationships between individuals is not the same as denying legal rights and benefits to a whole class of people simply on the basis of their race or gender. If we’re going to talk about logical errors maybe we can add category error and slippery-slope arguments to the list…

          • DanielPeterson

            ahermit: “You’re equating a loving consensual adult relationship to incest?”

            Another logical error that you should study is known as the “fallacy of the perfect analogy.”

            I’m simply pointing out that you, too, probably accept limits on what constitutes valid or acceptable marriage.

            Here’s another: Bobby, age thirteen, and Britney, age eleven, really love each other. It’s a mutually consensual relationship, and they want to get married. Should the state thwart their love?

          • ahermit

            Yes I do accept that there are such limits. And those limits would and should apply to same sex couples. But you keep trying to change the subject; we are talking about a contractual relationship between consenting adults which already exists in law. More than a thousand legal rights and benefits which already exist and are denied to same sex couples only because of their gender. That is a double standard, and unreasonable discrimination. There is no more reason to deny those rights and benefits to consenting adult couples in a same sex relationship than there was to deny those rights and benefits to consenting adult mixed race couples.

            None of the objections raised by the anti-marriage side have merit because they rely on applying tests to same sex marriages which are not applied to heterosexual marriage; issues around child bearing/rearing, adherence to a particular religious view are never an obstacle to opposite sex couples being granted the legal rights and benefits attached to civil marriage and cannot therefore reasonably be applied to same sex couples.

            That is the issue here and none of your red herring slippery slope arguments do anything to answer that issue.

          • Jeremy Alleman

            Didn’t it take several decades for the practice of no-fault divorce to be felt?
            I don’t believe 10 years is long enough to see the effect.
            Also, what is the percentage of people that took advantage of that law, or are they just living together? (Just curious; I don’t know the numbers, but I’d like to know)

          • ahermit

            What effect do you expect to see?

          • DanielPeterson

            Anderson, Girgis, and George lay the effects out pretty clearly.

          • Jeremy Alleman

            The effects that I’m curiouse about are:
            1) What is the rate of participation? Just because marriage is available as an option, people may or may not get married for various reasons.
            2) What is the length of duration? Stability is important to marriage and especially children.
            3) What is the effect on children? Yes, I know this keeps coming up, but it’s something that I’m curious about. Since SSM is new (previous cultures allowed relationships on the side in addition to marriage; See Catamites in Wikipedia for an example), it’s effects are still debated.
            4) What is the effect on the participants?
            That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. I’m not trying to pass judgment, but whether something is a good idea or not comes more from the long-term effects and observation. That is why people are asking for time to consider the impacts on society.

          • ahermit

            I’ll try to respond if Mr Peterson will allow it:

            1) What is the rate of participation?

            Around thirty percent of same sex couples are married in Canada; that number has tripled in the last five years…

            http://globalnews.ca/news/288323/number-of-gay-marriages-in-canada-triples-census/

            2) What is the length of duration?

            So far at least five years for most of them I guess..;)

            3) What is the effect on children?

            Contrary to some reports there is no measurable effect on children.

            http://www.skepticink.com/humanisticas/2013/10/14/no-children-of-same-sex-parents-do-not-have-lower-graduation-rates/

            And again, this is actually irrelevant since the rights and benefits of marriage are not withheld from childless heterosexual couples, or from heterosexuals who may be bad parents so any alleged negative effect on children (and such effects are only alleged, not supported by any evidence) can’t be an argument against same sex marriage.

            4) What is the effect on the participants?

            The effect on the participants is that they are afforded the same rights and benefits as other couples. Also they are not as stigmatized in society.

            You might be interested in the findings of this study into the effect of Canada’s decision to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. As with marriage there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over all the supposedly negative effects that were sure to ensue. None of the fears were realized, and the benefits were clear:

            http://www.palmcenter.org/press/dadt/releases/study_finds_gays_do_not_undermine_canadian_military_performance

            Key findings are as follows:

            * Lifting of restrictions on gay and lesbian service in the Canadian
            Forces has not led to any change in military performance, unit cohesion,
            or discipline.

            * Self-identified gay, lesbian, and transsexual members of the Canadian
            Forces contacted for the study describe good working relationships with
            peers.

            * The percent of military women who experienced sexual harassment
            dropped 46% after the ban was lifted. While there were several reasons
            why harassment declined, one factor was that after the ban was lifted
            women were free to report assaults without fear that they would be
            accused of being a lesbian.

            * Before Canada lifted its gay ban, a 1985 survey of 6,500 male soldiers
            found that 62% said that they would refuse to share showers, undress or
            sleep in the same room as a gay soldier. After the ban was lifted,
            follow-up studies found no increase in disciplinary, performance,
            recruitment, sexual misconduct, or resignation problems.

            * None of the 905 assault cases in the Canadian Forces from November,
            1992 (when the ban was lifted) until August, 1995 involved gay bashing
            or could be attributed to the sexual orientation of one of the parties.

        • Kenngo1969

          There is a “natural impediment to doing the things that married couples do”: gay couples (even “married” ones) cannot, on their own, reproduce, while, as a general rule, heterosexual couples of childbearing age and sound biology can reproduce.

          • ahermit

            I’ll repeat myself; since we do not withhold the more than 1,000 legal rights and benefits of marriage from heterosexual couples who do not or cannot have children we can not reasonably use procreation as a reason to withhold those rights from homosexual couples. Doing so applies a double standard.

    • DanielPeterson

      You’re begging the question, ahermit.

      Continually begging the question makes for very boring — because completely pointless — conversation.

  • ahermit

    OK, I’ve read the brief and as expected there’s nothing new here; the same spurious arguments about child bearing and a lot of nonsense about not re-writing a law just because it agrees with religious tradition. Which of course is not the reason for changing the law. That part of the argument could as easily have been applied to the argument over miscegenation laws.

    Religious believers lose absolutely nothing if same sex couples are afforded the same rights and benefits as heterosexuals and an unfairness is redressed. Insisting on continued legal discrimination where there is no compelling reason to so so certainly looks like animus.

    • DanielPeterson

      Headline: “Ahermit remains unconvinced!”

      A real stunner.

  • The Oracle

    For those upset at the Mormon Church’s position on gay marriage…don’t be. All you have to do is wait a while, and the church will change its position on this.

    Don’t believe me?

    Simply imagine you were a critic of polygamy in 1888. Renunciation of this doctrine was unthinkable. Yet, a few years later, boom, it was (pretty much) all over. By 1904, it had been renounced for good.

    Or imagine you were a critic of Mormonism’s refusal to give the priesthood to those of African descent in 1976. You recoiled to hear blacks described as having been “less valiant in the pre-existence” by apostles and church presidents alike. Renunciation of this doctrine was also unthinkable. But just a few years later, boom, that was all over, too.

    Or imagine you were a critic of the endowment ceremony’s penalties in 1989. The church had always taught that the endowment ceremony was an eternal ordinance. Renunciation of this doctrine was unthinkable. But just a year later, the penalties were gone, too.

    Or imagine you were a critic in 2000 of the idea that the American natives were the blood descendants of the Israelites – a doctrine taught by the Book of Mormon itself, Joseph Smith on numerous occasions, and his successor presidents. Renunciation of that doctrine was unthinkable. But a few years later, once the DNA tests started coming in, boom, that doctrine was gone, too.

    Wait around long enough in Mormonism, and it will change. Mormons attribute this to “continuing revelation”. Non-Mormons see it as survival adaptation. Who is correct doesn’t really matter – because the point is, *it will change*. It always does, when the going gets tough for any doctrine or policy.

    • ClintonKing

      Actually, I still believe that American natives are principally blood descendants of Israelites. And yes, I’ve read the DNA studies. And no, I wasn’t convinced.

      • The Oracle
        • ClintonKing

          I read that story, and I still didn’t change my opinion about the DNA studies or the reliability of carbon dating.

          • The Oracle

            What is your evidence that American Indians are principally the blood descendants of Israelites?

          • ClintonKing

            Merely the Book of Mormon. I already know that that evidence doesn’t convince you, just as the evidence you have presented doesn’t convince me. I hope we can both be okay with that.

          • The Oracle

            What is your evidence that the Book of Mormon is accurate?

          • ClintonKing

            I spoke with God, and He told me it was an accurate book.

          • The Oracle

            If you don’t mind me asking, was that the same God who tells Muslims that the Koran is accurate, and evangelicals that the Book of Mormon is fictional? Or a different one?

            If a different one, how many are there?

            If the same, why is he telling people in different religious traditions different things, with evidently the same persuasive force?

          • ClintonKing

            I don’t know. All I know is who speaks to me. I’m not those other people, and I don’t know who is speaking to them.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “If you don’t mind me asking, was that the same God who tells Muslims that the Koran is accurate, and evangelicals that the Book of Mormon is fictional? Or a different one?”

            Ah, so now it’s the old “Different God/another Jesus” chestnut, is it?

            Is there any old anti-Mormon standby you’re not prepared to trot out?

            Just so you know: the notion that God “tells Muslims that the Koran[sic] is accurate” is a fiction. Muslims do not claim personal revelation as the basis of their belief in the Qur’an. That is a fabricated claim, invented for polemical purposes.

            If you ever want anyone to believe that you are an honest person, you will refrain from repeated that discredited falsehood.

            OTOH, I have heard Protestant anti-Mormons claim, again for polemical purposes, that God told them to reject the Book of Mormon. However, it is more than striking that they have no confidence whatsoever in their claimed revelation. Instead of encouraging others to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, they insist that prayer cannot be relied upon.

            Which is to say that their claim carries no conviction.

            Make of that what you will.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi: I am very confident I have spoken in depth about this very topic to far more Muslims than you have. The truth is that many of them have borne amazingly powerful, and often beautifully articulate, testimony of their knowledge that the Koran is the holy word of God. They obviously do not use the precise phraseology of Mormons; that does *not* mean that they do not feel completely certain that God has let them know that the Koran is the word of God.

            And though you seem not to have noticed, something similar happens with those in other faiths. I have heard very sincere Catholics tell me about how God has revealed to them that Catholicism is God’s only true way. Same with members of different protestant denominations.

            With you, it always seems that the only point you don’t address is the one really at issue. I’m not sure if that’s because you just want to scrap, or because your brain actually works that way.

            But, presuming the latter, let me again clarify the point:

            Many people in different religious traditions believe – with total certainty – that God has unmistakably revealed to them the exclusive truthfulness and authority of their own religious tradition.

            And

            That raises a few questions, like:

            Are those experiences real divine revelations?

            If so, are they from one God, or many?

            If one God, why is he telling different people different things?

            If more than one…what is happening up there?

            If they are not divine revelations, what are they?

            And regardless of whether they are divine or not, what reason do we have to believe that a sacred, life-changing experience which utterly convinces a Catholic that Catholicism is the only true way, or a Muslim that Islam is the only true way, or a Baptist that the Baptist path is the only true way, is *not* real, or *not* divine – BUT, that a sacred, life-changing experience which utterly convinces a Mormon that Mormonism is the only true way, is real, or divine?

            After all, the effects are the same: the believer is left 100% certain of the rightness of his religious path. There is no doubting the sincerity of these people (including Mormons). Often, the great changes in their lives attest to the power of their convictions and sacred experiences.

            So on what basis do we deny full validity to an experience which convinces someone else that their religion is the one true way, but grant full validity to our own, only because they’re ours? (which is the same thing they do?).

            Instead of you ranting about anti-Mormons, why don’t you give a conscientious answer to that question?

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Kiwi: I am very confident I have spoken in depth about this very topic to far more Muslims than you have.”

            Are you indeed?

            The self-styled Oracle: “The truth is that many of them have borne amazingly powerful, and often beautifully articulate, testimony of their knowledge that the Koran is the holy word of God. They obviously do not use the precise phraseology of Mormons; that does *not* mean that they do not feel completely certain that God has let them know that the Koran is the word of God.”

            Except that they *don’t* feel “completely certain” about any such thing. They are “completely certain” that Muhammad was the last prophet, and with the final and complete Word of God being bound up in the Qur’an, no other revelation is necessary, possible or even desirable.

            It’s not just, as you rather slyly said, that “They don’t use the phrase ‘personal revelation’,” as if they use some other expression; rather it is that their doctrine allows no room for direct communication between God and mortals since the time of Muhammad.

            They not only don’t use that phrase, they don’t even entertain the concept.

            Sorry.

            There are some rare exceptions; converts to Islam, usually from some Christian tradition or other, may claim to have some personal religious experience that underpinned their conversion. But for Muslims, conversion is a decision, and it is demonstrated by reciting the “Shahada,” or “testimony” if you prefer.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – You’re skipping over the part about why they believe the Koran is the word of God. They believe it, because they believe God has let them know that. They *feel* that. Just ask a few.

          • DanielPeterson

            Let’s see who’s spoken with more Muslims, read more material from Muslims, spent more time among Muslims, devoted more hours to studying Islam. Okay, Coracle?

            Please summarize your experiences.

          • The Oracle

            Daniel – The implication of what you’re saying is that if I’ve talked to 315 Muslims, and you’ve talked to 316, others should regard my claims as incorrect only because you deny them.

            I have had many conversations with devout Muslims about their religion.

            When I ask them why they are certain that Islam is the only true way, they do not use Mormon phraseology. They do not say things like, “I read the Koran, and then asked God if it was true in a prayer; and then I felt a ‘burning in my bosom’, and I concluded that God had answered my prayer and told me that Islam is true”.

            But only a religious parochialism which should be very embarrassing could lead someone to deny, just on that basis, that Muslims do not believe that God has let them know that Islam is the only true way. It is just that they believe God has revealed that to them in a different way. For example, many say (amongst other things) that they feel a power when they read the Koran, or pray in mosque, which lets them know, or reinforces their certainty, that Islam is God’s true way.

          • DanielPeterson

            Feel free to consider me religiously parochial. I have very little acquaintance with Islam and Islamic thought, and bow to your superior knowledge on the subject.

          • The Oracle

            Daniel – Ask a few devout Muslims why they feel certain that Islam is God’s only true way, and you’ll hear something quite like I described above.

          • DanielPeterson

            Equivocation. Any basic handbook of the so-called “practical fallacies” will have a decent discussion of the error.

          • The Oracle

            Which argument of mine rested on equivocation?

          • kiwi57

            Self-styled Oracle,

            Amusing as it is watching you embarrass yourself like this — and believe me, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving fellow — you really need to deflate your ego a little.

            Dan is a tenured professor of Islamic studies. Tell us again how much better qualified you are than he to lecture us on how Muslims believe in the Qur’an?

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – The point is whether Muslims believe that God has given them knowledge that Islam is true, not what letters we have after our names.

          • kiwi57

            No, that’s not “the” point, it’s merely your point.

            The real “point” is that Muslims don’t believe in personal revelation, however described. Their idea of conversion is not to have a personal spiritual experience, but to submit themselves to the will of God as expressed in the Qur’an.

            Thus, the old anti-Mormon chestnut about “Muslims make the same claim that Mormons do” is false.

            False.

            Got that?

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – I think my descriptions of how Muslims describe the source of their certainty about Islam have been pretty clear. What I have described can easily be corroborated by chatting with a few devout Muslims. You describe Muslim conversion as one of mere decision and submission; what you leave out is that that decision and submission are themselves often the result of, or are regularly bolstered by, powerful sacred experiences. That is the commonality, and it is shared by those in other religions and denominations, too.

            This commonality is why the alcoholic leaves drink forever in the moment he feels Christ’s spirit spurring him up to the altar to publicly accept Jesus as his personal saviour during an evangelical tent meeting. It is why the young man who accompanies his father to mosque, bows to the east, contemplating God and the world around him, can feel so stirred by his group prayer experience, that his yearnings for the temptations of the world dissipate, and he forever after remains strict in his devotion. And it is why the young, secular Jewish man who visits the Wailing Wall in Israel, and suddenly feels connected to the Divine in a way he never has before, can feel to abandon secularism and orient his life toward the faith of his fathers.

            Human beings, including Muslims, have been having life-changing religious/spiritual experiences for many centuries – long before Mormonism ever came around. Through those experiences, people become convinced, or even more convinced, that their religious path is the correct one. They believe that more truth has been disclosed or revealed to them. To imply that such experiences don’t quite count as revelatory, but the experience of Jacob Jensen from the Provo 782nd ward praying about the Book of Mormon and receiving a “yes” *does*, is to betray a terribly parochial view of religious experience.

            It is too easy for us to regard the sacred experiences of those in our faith as sui generis. When we step back, and look a bit beneath the surface, we find that these experiences are far more alike than dissimilar, whether the believer be Christian, Muslim, or Jew.

          • DanielPeterson

            I would love to hear specific details about the Muslim teaching of coming to faith through personal revelation, Coracle. Please do share.

          • The Oracle

            They don’t use the phrase “personal revelation”…

          • DanielPeterson

            They don’t use the concept, either.

    • DanielPeterson

      You’re just a garden-variety critic of Mormonism, Coracle. For a while — why, I can’t now remember — I thought you were something else, and possibly somewhat more interesting.

      Your time here is probably drawing to a close, in that light. If you want an online platform for your anti-Mormonism, set up your own blog or website. Don’t exploit mine.

      Incidentally, I don’t know any believing, mainstream Latter-day Saint who denies that the Book of Mormon peoples were ancestral to at least some substantial portion, if not altogether all, of today’s Amerindians.

    • kiwi57

      The self-styled Oracle: “For those upset at the Mormon Church’s position on gay marriage…don’t be. All you have to do is wait a while, and the church will change its position on this.

      Don’t believe me? ”

      No, we don’t.

      Because you are a false prophet.

      One thing you have failed to notice about your glib, utterly predictable, bog-standard list of changes is that not one of them represents an actual doctrinal change.

      Not. One. Of. Them.

      The Church’s doctrine regarding plural marriage is exactly the same as it always was. It was always expected that there would be a time when Blacks would receive the Priesthood. People of good character don’t discuss our sacred ordinances in detail, but changes to the format of a presentation entail no doctrinal changes. And the notion that the Church has changed its teachings on the Book of Mormon peoples and their descendants is an anti-Mormon pipe dream. Just FYI, some form of limited geographical model has dominated the discussion among serious Book of Mormon students for a very long time before Watson and Crick ever met.

      What precedents are there for the Church resiling from a revealed moral standard?

      Well, if you must know: none.

      It’s not going to happen.

      The fact that you imagine that it is, merely provides more evidence that you know little, and understand less, about the Church of Jesus Christ.

      • ahermit

        It was always expected that there would be a time when Blacks would receive the Priesthood.

        Does that mean that up until the 1970′s African Americans really were inferior and unworthy of the priesthood?

        • DanielPeterson

          It means neither.

          • The Oracle

            Ahermit – Evidently it also doesn’t mean anything that sitting presidents of the church, their counselors, and apostles described those of African descent in degrading terms. They were all just “mistaken”, merely products of their benighted times, with no way to discern truths beyond the prejudices of their environments (even though they [or at least the church president] were *also* “incapable of leading the church astray”, as per the canonized statement of Wilford Woodruff in the D & C).

          • DanielPeterson

            Don’t try to hold us responsible for your false dichotomies, Coracle. They’re yours, not ours.

          • The Oracle

            Which “false dichotomies” were those?

        • kiwi57

          No.

      • The Oracle

        Kiwi:

        Let me make my language more precise for you then. I will refrain from using the word “doctrine”, and instead, refer to *practice*.

        The LDS Church once allowed and even encouraged its worthy male members to take plural wives. Now it doesn’t.

        The LDS Church disallowed those of African descent from holding the priesthood. Now it doesn’t.

        The LDS Church once included penalties in the endowment ceremony. Now it doesn’t.

        The LDS Church once taught that the Native Americans were the blood descendants of Israelites, period. Now it doesn’t.

        The point? The LDS Church’s important changes in practice over the decades gives members and non-members alike every reason to believe that its temple marriage practices could change, too.

        • kiwi57

          The self-styled Oracle: “Kiwi:

          Let me make my language more precise for you then. I will refrain from using the word “doctrine”, and instead, refer to *practice*.

          The LDS Church once allowed and even encouraged its worthy male members to take plural wives. Now it doesn’t.”

          No argument there.

          If the practice hadn’t been voluntarily suspended, it would have resulted in the destruction of the Church as a community of Saints. Which would have ended the practice anyway, which could not have continued without the support of a community of believers.

          The self-styled Oracle: “The LDS Church disallowed those of African descent from holding the priesthood. Now it doesn’t.”

          And every President of the Church, from Brigham Young down, stated outright that that state of affairs would end someday. This was expected.

          Regarding the Temple: As I already said, people of good character don’t bandy sacred matters about for the idle entertainment of dilettantes.

          The self-styled Oracle: “The LDS Church once taught that the Native Americans were the blood descendants of Israelites, period. Now it doesn’t.”

          You are radically overstating both the “then” and the “now.” There was never a time when the Church taught that NA’s were descendants of Israelites and nobody else, and the time has not come when the Church disclaims the view that NA’s are descendants of Israelites to any degree.

          The “change” you choose to see is a product of your own wishful thinking. And I am being very charitable when I describe it thus.

          The self-styled Oracle: “The point? The LDS Church’s important changes in practice over the decades gives members and non-members alike every reason to believe that its temple marriage practices could change, too.”

          Only those “members and non-members alike” who know nothing at all about what the Church is and does, or how it operates.

          President Gordon B. Hinckley stated emphatically that the Church would stand firm on this issue even if it ended up standing alone. However far the world surrenders to immorality, it will never be celebrated in the Temple.

          And you can take that to the bank.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi: Joseph Smith was very clear in his teachings about the ethnic profile of the American natives. So were most of his successor presidents. My point is that no one will ever hear those teachings again from a Mormon president. There has been a change, and a fairly dramatic one.

            In any event, many LDS practices have changed over the years. They include changes in baptism (early members could be baptized several times), the sacrament (wine, even after section 89, was once regularly used), the endowment ceremony, the law of chastity (it once allowed for polygamous sexual relations), Sunday meetings, organizational structure (no more stake seventies, e.g.), missionary lessons, priesthood ordination as mentioned, temple marriage as mentioned, temple garments, Word of Wisdom observation, and other things. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any practice of the LDS church which has not been changed in some significant way over the years. That makes it very plausible that the LDS church will make *more* changes to its practices in the future – including its temple marriage practices.

            After all, once you change the temple garment, the endowment ceremony rituals, the endowment ceremony oaths, and how many people you can marry at once in the temple…what else could be considered inherently and forever untouchable about temple practices? My suggestion: nothing. The past lets us know that any and every practice can be changed, at any time, by a church leader.

            With regards to your comment about Hinckley and his statements on gay marriage, they are meaningless, and here’s why: in the very moment that Thomas Monson, or any future president, announced that gay Mormon couples could be married in the temple (whether he invoked the word “revelation” or not), *you would accept that*; and you would no doubt be on here within ten minutes talking all about how “that was only Hinckley’s opinion back then”, and how this new change “is an example of ‘continuing revelation’”.

            In other words, *nothing* that Hinckley, or anyone else, ever said against gay marriage would matter one second after a future leader said, “we accept gay temple marriage now” – so trying to convince guys on here that gay temple marriage will never be permitted based on what Hinckley once said is almost risible.

          • DanielPeterson

            It would be a very odd belief in ongoing revelation that forbade changes, Coracle.

            Again, though, I’m aware of no mainstream, active Latter[-day Saints who claim that Amerindians aren’t descended from the peoples of the Book of Mormon.

            Incidentally, again, you might want to find another online platform for venting your standard-issue anti-Mormonism. You’re winding down here.

          • The Oracle

            Indeed, it would be a very odd belief – but then, you’re missing the point. The point is that whether the changes come via revelation or via very natural decision-making, they are still *changes*. There have been many in the past; there will no doubt be many in the future.

            And because many of these changes are admitted by the church and its members to have been catalyzed by real world events (tobacco complaints lead to Section 89, the Brazilian temple helps lead to the 1978 priesthood change, federal pressure leads to The Manifesto, etc.), critics of LDS church policies have every reason to believe that if enough pressure is put on church leaders, they will change the policies in question in the future. The critics just need to pressure enough, and then wait around long enough.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “And because many of these changes are admitted by the church and its members to have been catalyzed by real world events (tobacco complaints lead to Section 89, the Brazilian temple helps lead to the 1978 priesthood change, federal pressure leads to The Manifesto, etc.), critics of LDS church policies have every reason to believe that if enough pressure is put on church leaders, they will change the policies in question in the future. The critics just need to pressure enough, and then wait around long enough.”

            Of course you and your fellow anti-Mormons have “every reason to believe” that; because you have no idea of what really matters to the Latter-day Saints, you are ignorant of the rather compelling reasons to disbelieve it.

            You once told me that I had made a prediction that wasn’t falsifiable. What then, shall we say of yours, with its double qualifier? When your confident expectation fails to materialise, what will you say: that you hadn’t waited long enough, or that there just wasn’t enough pressure?

            Because, make no mistake: it’s not going to materialise.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi: One important thing for Latter-day Saints is to keep on believing in Mormonism. That is very clear.

            About predictions, I’ve done extremely well with Mormonism the past few years. I predicted changes to the “principal ancestors” phrase, and that came true. I predicted changes to Book of Mormon racially insensitive chapter headings and verses, and that came true, too. There are quite a few more, but the point is – the changes always come, and they always are toward the same end. You can call that “anti-Mormonism” if you want. I just call it “church behaviour”. That’s just how they roll, as the kids say.

            I don’t expect gay temple marriage any time soon; but one thing LDS history indicates is that no church practice is safe once it begins to impede the church’s survival and growth.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “About predictions, I’ve done extremely well with Mormonism the past few years. I predicted changes to the ‘principal ancestors’ phrase, and that came true.”

            Congratulations. Did you predict the sunrise too?

            Most LDS scholars I’m aware of always had concerns about that phrase, because it was too easily misrepresented. Since it was about the fourth or fifth different introduction the Book of Mormon has had that I know of, predicting that it might change again is something of a no-brainer, so at least you are fully qualified to make such a prediction.

            The self-styled Oracle: “I predicted changes to Book of Mormon racially insensitive chapter headings and verses, and that came true, too.”

            Oh, so you predicted that the 1837 change from “white” to “pure” that was originally made by Joseph Smith would be reinstated, did you?

            When and where? Call for references, please.

            The self-styled Oracle: “I don’t expect gay temple marriage any time soon;”

            You would do well not to expect it in your lifetime.

            Because it won’t happen.

            And you will only set up your ideological allies for disappointment if you continue to predict it.

            The self-styled Oracle: “but one thing LDS history indicates is that no church practice is safe once it begins to impede the church’s survival and growth.”

            Sure, Wilbur. That’s why we embrace the “sexual revolution” in all its gory. I mean glory.

            As I mentioned before: I have President Hinckley as my authority on this matter. The notion that the casual, half-thought-out opinion of a smug, smarmy, slimy, sneering dilettante should trump the explicit statement of the prophet of the Lord is, to use your term, “risible.”

            Unlike dabblers such as yourself, believing Latter-day Saints understand what is primary and what is not. We know what really matters and what doesn’t.

            The reprobate clique can’t even get us to surrender on same sex “marriage” in the civil arena, and you’re already deluding yourself about “gay temple marriage?”

            If you weren’t so impressed with your own idiotic assumptions, you might wonder just exactly how eager we are to encourage unrepentant, sexually active homosexuals to join the Church. If you spent a little less time in narcissistic self-congratulation, you might trouble yourself ask an informed Latter-day Saint just how peripheral the heterosexual nature of Eternal Marriage really is.

            Perhaps you should try it. Who knows? You might actually learn something.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – Actually, the sunrise is predictable through the same means that Mormon “mainstreaming” is predictable: inductive inference. We judge the future from the past, observing trends and making forecasts. It is Mormonism’s history of progressively accommodating itself to the mainstream which gives us reason to believe it will continue to do so in the future. After all, plural marriages are gone now. The temple penalties are gone now. Teachings from LDS prophets, apostles, magazines, and manuals about “less valiant” races are gone now. Race-based priesthood ordination practices are gone now. Mormon leaders and thinkers are reaching out more to evangelical Christians. Mormonism, less and less, is a pariah religion in practice and theology, and there is every reason to believe that trend will continue.

            Whether Mormonism ever accepts homosexual unions, only time will tell for sure. But one thing *is* for sure, and that is that whatever Gordon B. Hinckley said about the matter, or anyone else, ten or a hundred years earlier, will be regarded as obsolete and “only his opinion” the very moment that some future church president announces a revelation or policy change.

          • DanielPeterson

            That’s a non sequitur, of course.

          • The Oracle

            It is an inductive inference, and a perfectly valid one:

            1.) The LDS church has made many significant changes to its practices in the past;

            2.) Therefore, it is likely that the LDS church will make many significant changes to its practices in the future.

          • DanielPeterson

            You’ve significantly rephrased your conclusion, Coracle.

            Something about goalposts and moving. I just can’t put my finger on it.

          • The Oracle

            Let me refine my inductive inference for you then.

            1.) In the past, the LDS church has made significant changes to its temple and marriage practices. They include significant changes to endowment oaths, endowment rituals, endowment veil protocols, and the number of wives a man can be concurrently temple-married to.

            2.) It is therefore quite possible that the LDS church, in the future, will make significant changes to its temple and marriage practices, including changes that would allow for homosexual marriages.

            Is that more to your liking?

          • DanielPeterson

            No. You’re still wrong.

            And you’re still a rather uninteresting anti-Mormon.

            But at least the logical fallacy of your statement is less glaringly apparent.

            That’s progress, I suppose.

          • The Oracle

            Daniel – Rational conversation requires more than mere assertion.

            If you think I am making a logical fallacy, point out the argument in question, and explain why you think it’s fallacious.

          • The Oracle

            By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that you have very low intellectual standards for Kiwi. You seem very anxious to find any flaw in my own reasoning; yet Kiwi came on and basically announced that there was no chance the LDS church would ever allow homosexual marriages – as if he was *certain* that no such change would ever happen – and didn’t back that up with any sort of argument. And you didn’t call him on it. Why not?

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Rational conversation requires more than mere assertion.”

            He intoned, unctuously.

            That’s a bit rich, coming from the fellow who started his posting career herein by rejoicing that the anti-Mormon publicity stunt in England was about “FRAUD.”

            When in fact it was always an only about trying to punish religious propositions that the vindictive hater despises.

            The self-styled Oracle: “If you think I am making a logical fallacy, point out the argument in question, and explain why you think it’s fallacious.”

            Here’s an idea: how about you try to remember who’s the guest and who’s the host here? Extraordinarily arrogant though you are, you should be able to remember that it’s not up to you to make the rules.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – A blogger can make up any rules he wants for his blog. That does not contradict the fact that rational discourse requires more than making assertions. Your comments seem to imply that the host of this blog might endorse rules which preclude rational discourse.

            Legally, the case in England *is* about fraud. It’s the only thing it could be about, legally, and it will be judged no doubt on whether enough evidence of fraud is presented.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Legally, the case in England *is* about fraud.”

            And factually, it’s about criminalising religious speech the complainant dislikes.

            So pointing out the false accusation of “FRAUD” does not address this fact, and merely talks past it.

            So why can’t you bear to admit that it is what it is?

            The self-styled Oracle: “It’s the only thing it could be about, legally, and it will be judged no doubt on whether enough evidence of fraud is presented.”

            And so far, none has been.

            None.

            As everyone less bigoted than yourself accepts as a starting point, President Monson clearly and unquestionably believes what he teaches.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – If the case is found to be about criminalizing unpopular religious speech, no doubt it will be dismissed…so, why do you wish to argue about that? If the evidence turns out not to be there, the case will be dismissed, as it should.

          • kiwi57

            Very well.

            1) Since no such evidence has actually been led — preaching unpopular religious ideas is *not* evidence of “FRAUD,” whatever heavy-duty bigots might wish; and

            2) Since no such evidence will be forthcoming — anyone with two clues to rub together realises that President Monson genuinely believes what he teaches;

            THEN it follows that you are hoping for the case to be dismissed.

            I say “hoping for,” because as I’m sure you realise, secular courts are not infallible. They do get it wrong from time to time.

            Mind you, if this case really had a leg to stand on, it would have been run by a Crown prosecutor, and wouldn’t be happening as a private prosecution. Those are mostly reserved for crackpots with an axe to grind, and they don’t have a good record of success.

          • The Oracle

            1.) Arguments and supporting evidence are not laid out in a mere summons;

            2.) If there is no evidence of fraud, I doubt Mr. Monson will have anything to worry about. Elizabeth Roscoe is a sharp and talented jurist;

            3.) Your claim that cases brought to magistrate’s court ipso facto haven’t a leg to stand on is simply not true. In fact, virtually all criminal cases in England begin in magistrate’s court, including rape and murder cases. While around 90% of cases brought to Magistrate’s Court are tried there, more serious cases requiring greater sentencing powers are referred to the Crown court. Whether this fraud prosecution will be dismissed, tried in Magistrate’s Court, or referred upward to Crown Court is a decision to be made by Judge Roscoe based on the evidence presented on the hearing date.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Your claim that cases brought to magistrate’s court ipso facto haven’t a leg to stand on is simply not true.”

            I know that. Which is why I didn’t claim it.

            The self-styled Oracle: “In fact, virtually all criminal cases in England begin in magistrate’s court”

            I know that, too.

            You should really learn to read a little better. I said that private prosecutions are generally not successful.

            Not magistrate’s court trials. Private Prosecutions.

            Pay attention.

            If President Monson had actually broken any laws (in England) then the British authorities would be on it.

            But they’re not.

            So you can pretend to be “neutral” about this matter as much as you like. No honest person thinks he’s done anything wrong, and no-one less bigoted that Goebbels is looking for any outcome other than for this ridiculous case to go away.

            As you perfectly well know, but will never admit, this is not a valid prosecution.

            As you perfectly well know, but will never admit, this is nothing but religious persecution.

            And you’re absolutely fine with that.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – My mistake. By the words, “run by a Crown prosecutor”, I thought you meant run by a Crown prosecutor (in a Crown court), not run by a Crown prosecutor in Magistrate’s Court.

            In any case, your assumption that this case doesn’t have a leg to stand on because a private party, not the Crown, brought the charges, is unwarranted by English history and law. Private prosecutions have a long and venerable history in the English legal system.

            Your claims about what I know are presumptuous, tiresome, and make you look very silly. I do not at all “know” that this is an invalid prosecution; I also don’t know if it will be permitted to go to Crown Court. The reason I don’t know is that, as far as I know, it is novel. I don’t think anyone has ever brought a prosecution for fraud against a corporation which is also a religion in England before.

            I understand that as a Mormon, you must feel that this is religious persecution. I suggest that although those who brought the prosecution are former Mormons, no judge will care about what particular religion this case involves. This case is about whether a corporation has made claims about itself which are untrue, or which the corporation’s director should have known might be untrue, for financial gain. Whether that corporation is also a religion, or Mormon, or non-Mormon, or anything else, I suggest will be 100% irrelevant to any even remotely conscientious judge.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Kiwi – My mistake. By the words, ‘run by a Crown prosecutor’, I thought you meant run by a Crown prosecutor (in a Crown court), not run by a Crown prosecutor in Magistrate’s Court.

            In any case, your assumption that this case doesn’t have a leg to stand on because a private party, not the Crown, brought the charges, is unwarranted by English history and law. Private prosecutions have a long and venerable history in the English legal system.”

            Yes, they are a historical artifact.

            Once upon a time, they were *the* method of prosecuting crimes.

            That is no longer the case. Nowadays, they are largely the preserve of crackpots with axes to grind.

            Such as Mr Phillips, the world’s most self-important whinging pom, who thinks he can bring down the British government if he doesn’t get his way.

            The self-styled Oracle: “Your claims about what I know are presumptuous, tiresome, and make you look very silly. I do not at all ‘know’ that this is an invalid prosecution; I also don’t know if it will be permitted to go to Crown Court. The reason I don’t know is that, as far as I know, it is novel. I don’t think anyone has ever brought a prosecution for fraud against a corporation which is also a religion in England before.”

            Except that, as you perfectly well know (or would if you actually read the material before you) the action hasn’t been brought against “a corporation which is also a religion.” It has been brought against an individual, a religious leader who is not a British subject and who does not live anywhere within the reach of a British court.

            And if you don’t know that it’s an invalid prosecution, that can only be because you are so deeply bigoted against the Church of Jesus Christ that you can’t bring yourself to admit that any accusation against it might *even possibly* be false.

            The self-styled Oracle: “I understand that as a Mormon, you must feel that this is religious persecution.”

            While I understand that as an anti-Mormon, you insist upon denying that there is any religious persecution against Latter-day Saints.

            If you thought you could get away with it, you’d probably try to deny that there ever has been, anywhere.

            However, given (and it is a given) that the accusation of “FRAUD” is a mere legal pretext (you almost let slip that admission yourself) and given (and it is a given) that the sole purpose of the action is to punish the Church for upholding its own truth claims, religious persecution is clearly what it is.

            The self-styled Oracle: “I suggest that although those who brought the prosecution are former Mormons, no judge will care about what particular religion this case involves. This case is about whether a corporation has made claims about itself which are untrue, or which the corporation’s director should have known might be untrue, for financial gain. Whether that corporation is also a religion, or Mormon, or non-Mormon, or anything else, I suggest will be 100% irrelevant to any even remotely conscientious judge.”

            You keep repeating this brazen, bare-faced falsehood about a “corporation.” As you perfectly well know (or would if you actually bothered to read what you are so confidently holding forth upon) no “corporation” has been named in the action. As you perfectly well know (or would if you could keep track of your own comments) the substance of the falsely accused “FRAUD” is religious speech by a religious leader.

            A fact that is, or ought to be, highly relevant to any conscientious judge.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – Your claims are obsessive, often fallacious, and suggest you are far more interested in contention than clarity.

            For example, you claim that Tom Phillips thinks he can “bring down the British government”. Such an opinion does not follow from the uncontroversial observation that this private prosecution might potentially have ramifications for British politicians. So this claim of yours (unless you can provide a supporting quote from Phillips) is false, and a non sequitur.

            You also claim that if I don’t agree right now, before any evidence or arguments have been presented, that this is an invalid prosecution, I must therefore “deny that there is any religious persecution against Latter-day Saints”. This is again a non sequitur, and another comment which seems to only have the intention of generating contention.

            Of course the private prosecution names Thomas Monson, not the church itself; but (obviously) he is only named because he directs the entity accused of fraud. Also, as I have tried to explain to you, that Monson is not a resident of Great Britain is not at all relevant for the simple reason that the entity he presides over, and which allegedly has violated British law, operates in Great Britain. Whether he lived next door to Westminster Magistrate’s Court, or in a hut on Vanuatu, is completely irrelevant – his place of residence has no bearing on the legal validity of this case.

            Lastly, if the private prosecution cited only (inherently untestable) theological claims, like that God was once a man who lived on a planet like ours, or that violating the Sabbath is a sin, I would agree that prima facie it appeared to be an attempt to prosecute religious belief and expression. But the way the prosecution has been crafted places it in a different category, which I assume is why the judge decided to issue the summons. It cites testable, real-world claims, like that the Book of Abraham is a literal translation of the papyrus scrolls currently held by the church, and that Native Americans descend from a small band of Israelites who sailed to America 2600 years ago (that some church defenders have long abandoned belief in those claims is irrelevant; only that the church has not repudiated them).

            So the question is: Is it criminal fraud that such claims are promoted by an entity and its designated emissaries, when that entity reaps financial gain from people believing them, and when that entity’s leaders know, or should know, they might be untrue?

            That’s an interesting legal question. I’m curious to see how it is answered.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Kiwi: Joseph Smith was very clear in his teachings about the ethnic profile of the American natives. So were most of his successor presidents. My point is that no one will ever hear those teachings again from a Mormon president. There has been a change, and a fairly dramatic one.”

            Call for references, please.

            If there is anything more annoyingly arrogant than an anti-Mormon presuming to tell me what my religion entails, it is an anti-Mormon presuming to tell me what my religion entails entirely on the basis of his own authority.

            The self-styled Oracle: “In any event, many LDS practices have changed over the years. They include changes in baptism (early members could be baptized several times), the sacrament (wine, even after section 89, was once regularly used), the endowment ceremony, the law of chastity (it once allowed for polygamous sexual relations),”

            You are stretching desperately to make that into a change. It once allowed for sexual relations within actual (i.e. heterosexual) marriage, just like it does today.

            Still, I can see that you need to pretend that the Law of Chastity has changed in order to argue that it could change again.

            It hasn’t. And it won’t.

            The self-styled Oracle: “Sunday meetings, organizational structure (no more stake seventies, e.g.), missionary lessons, priesthood ordination as mentioned, temple marriage as mentioned, temple garments, Word of Wisdom observation, and other things. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any practice of the LDS church which has not been changed in some significant way over the years. That makes it very plausible that the LDS church will make *more* changes to its practices in the future – including its temple marriage practices.”

            I’m sure it is entirely “plausible” to someone who, like yourself, simply does not understand what the Church is and does.

            It is considerably less plausible to someone who, in sharing the faith of the Latter-day Saints, knows what is primary and what is secondary; what is central and what is peripheral; what is negotiable and what is not.

            I do. You don’t.

            And you are either too complacent or too arrogant (or both) to make the effort to find out.

            The self-styled Oracle: “After all, once you change the temple garment, the endowment ceremony rituals, the endowment ceremony oaths, and how many people you can marry at once in the temple…”

            Which, BTW, has never been changed. That has always been one.

            Just so you know.

            The self-styled Oracle: “what else could be considered inherently and forever untouchable about temple practices? My suggestion: nothing. The past lets us know that any and every practice can be changed, at any time, by a church leader.”

            Again: your opinion merely demonstrates your ignorance. Or your prejudice.

            Or both.

            The self-styled Oracle: “With regards to your comment about Hinckley and his statements on gay marriage, they are meaningless”

            No, it is your opinions that are meaningless.

            Worthless, too.

            The self-styled Oracle: “and here’s why: in the very moment that Thomas Monson, or any future president, announced that gay Mormon couples could be married in the temple (whether he invoked the word “revelation” or not), *you would accept that*; and you would no doubt be on here within ten minutes talking all about how “that was only Hinckley’s opinion back then”, and how this new change “is an example of ‘continuing revelation’”.

            I take back what I said, above. It turns out that there is something more annoyingly arrogant than an anti-Mormon presuming to tell me what my religion entails entirely on the basis of his own authority.

            It is the insufferable arrogance of an anti-Mormon presuming to tell me what I think or feel about my faith.

            Your opinion is as worthless as your character.

            The self-styled Oracle: “In other words, *nothing* that Hinckley, or anyone else, ever said against gay marriage would matter one second after a future leader said, ‘we accept gay temple marriage now’ – so trying to convince guys on here that gay temple marriage will never be permitted based on what Hinckley once said is almost risible.”

            What’s really risible is the notion that you are anything other than an arrogant, ignorant, utterly stereotypical anti-Mormon bigot.

          • The Oracle

            So, Kiwi – I’m curious – you think that in Mormon temples, a guy could only ever be married to one wife?

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “So, Kiwi – I’m curious – you think that in Mormon temples, a guy could only ever be married to one wife?”

            No, that’s not what I think.

            But then, that’s not what you said, is it?

            See, that’s another thing I don’t like about you: the way you play these kinds of verbal shell games, equivocating with practiced slickness as you pretend to carry on a discussion.

            What you said was:

            “how many people you can marry at once in the temple”

            Which has always and only been one.

            If you were not talking about the number of participants in a temple marriage ceremony, which has always and only been two — one man and one woman — but were instead talking about the number of concurrent marriages a man was permitted to be a partner in, then you should have said so.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – Re references to Joseph Smith’s identification of the American Indians as the descendants of Israelites (and those Israelites as the first colonizers of the New World), there are quite a few. Here are a couple. The first is from a book called “The Papers of Joseph Smith”, edited by Dean Jessee, published by Deseret Books:

            “When I was about 17 years old I saw another vision of angels in the night season after I had retired to bed I had not been asleep, … all at once the room was illuminated above the brightness of the sun an angel appeared before me … he said unto me I am a messenger sent from God, be faithful and keep his commandments in all things, he told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the Indians were the literal descendants of Abraham” (The Papers of Joseph Smith, Vol. 2, pp. 69-70).

            The next one comes from http://www.lds.org. It contains a copy of a letter written by Joseph Smith to one John Wentworth in 1842. In it, Joseph Smith writes:

            “I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country [America] and shown who they were, and from whence they came…

            “In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from *its first settlement* by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about six hundred years before Christ…

            “The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.”

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi –

            LDS practice once allowed a man to be temple-married to more than one woman at a time (temple marriages could be concurrent, not just serial).

            Moreover, at one time, LDS practice allowed for more than one woman to be married to a man during the very same LDS marriage ceremony. For example, although Joseph Smith’s first “marriages” to Emily and Emma Partridge occurred four days apart, Joseph Smith subsequently remarried them at the same time, in the same ceremony, with Emma Smith as witness. Brigham Young married Eliza R. Snow and Elizabeth Fairchild during the same ceremony at the home of Stephen Markham, on October 3, 1844, in Nauvoo. Heber C. Kimball married Emily Cutler and Amanda Green on the same day, and apparently during the same ceremony. Et cetera.

            You might object that these double marriages did not occur in a temple. The reason why is that they could not – the Nauvoo Temple had not been completed yet. It strains credulity that the precedent of a double-wedding, established by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and others, would not have been followed subsequently in LDS temples.

            In other words, nothing you have said here takes away from my point: big changes have occurred in LDS practice over the years, including changes to temple and marriage practices. Specifically, LDS practice on how many women you can be temple-married to concurrently has *changed*. So has LDS practice on how many a man can marry in the very same ceremony, whether that ceremony takes place in a temple of not.

            And past LDS changes to marriage and temple practices are what give people reason to believe (including gay Mormons) that one day, the LDS church could very well change their marriage policies again. *Not* “anti-Mormon animosity” or being “pro-gay marriage”.

            Why that simple observation, given LDS history, should be difficult for you to accept, awaits explanation.

  • palerobber

    from the LDS Church’s brief:
    “Husband-wife marriage [...] is important because ‘[c]hildren in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes than do children in intact families headed by two biological parents.’ [footnote 7, Kristin A. Moore et al., 'Marriage from a Child's Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?', Child Trends, June 2002]”

    but when we check the source…

    from Kristin A. Moore et al., “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective …”:
    “Note: This Child Trends brief summarizes research conducted in 2002, when neither same-sex parents nor adoptive parents were identified in large national surveys. Therefore, no conclusions can be drawn from this research about the wellbeing of children raised by same-sex parents or adoptive parents.”
    http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/MarriageRB602.pdf

    (edited to fix link)

    • paizlea

      Are you saying the Church made a mistake in its reading of these studies? I’m sure they’d be happy to revise their amicus brief if you bring it to their attention.

      • ahermit

        They’ve been corrected in every court case where this argument has been tried. Apparently they aren’t quick learners…

      • palerobber

        oh, i’m not saying it — it’s the study’s authors who are saying it.
        btw, the LDS Church’s brief hyperlinks to the same PDF copy of the study that i linked to above. the “Note” i quoted appears at the top of the first page. so unless they failed to read even the first paragraph of their own source, it wasn’t a “mistake.”

  • palerobber

    from the LDS Church’s brief:
    “Alternative child-rearing arrangements pose significant risks. The late James Q. Wilson detailed the overwhelming evidence that single and, in particular, fatherless parenting significantly increases the likelihood that a child will experience poverty, suicide, mental illness, physical illness, infant mortality, lower educational achievement, juvenile delinquency, adult criminality, unwed teen parenthood, lower life expectancy, and reduced intimacy with parents. That such social pathologies bear a strong statistical correlation with child-rearing in family structures other than the stable husband-wife marital home with both biological parents is truly sobering. [footnote 13, Brief Amici Curiae of James Q. Wilson et al., Legal and Family Scholars In Support of Appellees, In re Marriage Cases]”

    but when we check the source…

    from Brief Amici Curiae of James Q. Wilson et al. … In re Marriage Cases:
    “Research on children raised by same-sex couples is in its beginning stages. We do not have a single study based on nationally representative data that can tell us how the typical child raised from birth by a same-sex couples fares, compared to children in other family structures.”
    http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/Legal_Family_Scholars_Amicus_Brief.pdf

    • paizlea

      Are you implying that the LDS Church is deliberately conflating single-parent and fatherless families with families consisting of two same sex parents? If so, why would the Church do that?

      • ahermit

        “Are you implying that the LDS Church is deliberately conflating
        single-parent and fatherless families with families consisting of two
        same sex parents?”

        That’s exactly what studies like the Regnerus abomination do.

        Why would they do that? Because they are grasping at straws to justify their bigotry.

      • palerobber

        i think my comment speaks for itself. you can draw your own conclusions.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X