An atheist's response to the first 31 pages of the Book of Mormon ~ Dear Miss Mormon

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An atheist's response to the first 31 pages of the Book of Mormon


Dear friends,

I couldn't help but share this from a man who felt strongly enough to write out his experience from reading the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know that if all were to read and pray about it, they too could find their answers :)

with much love,
Miss Mormon

**Per request I thought I would fill in some background information, but I'll start by saying the name of my friend will remain anonymous to protect his privacy. As best I can though I would love to share more of the story:

October 2013 I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Florida, Orlando Mission. It was mid-day and my mission companion and I decided to go talk to people in a specific area. As we traveled there I saw a road off to the side that caught my attention and curiosity, I quickly turned the car down that road instead of toward our initial destination. I didn't know why then, but I do now.

 Before we got out of the car we said a prayer asking to be led to a family that we could share the Book of Mormon with, three doors later is where we found my atheist friend. He was raised Lutheran, (hence the biblical knowledge demonstrated in his letter) but later in life, due to all his questions, left it and decided there simply was no God. Luckily for us, he was still fascinated with different religions. He and his wife allowed us in, we introduced the Book of Mormon to him, and with his curiosity piqued he accepted it confidently saying he would have all the books of Nephi read by the time we returned in a week.

When we went back he presented us with this typed letter he had compiled after reading the first 31 pages. For the record, he's still not a member, but highly respects the church, our beliefs, and our claim to be Christians. For me the lesson learned was this: When read with an open heart anyone can find truths that will strengthen the faith they already do or do not have.

To [Miss Mormon],

I hope the following helps to keep you motivated and inspired. I hope it is confirmation that Mormon beliefs are justifiable, and deserve to be respected alongside other Christian denominations:

I just read the first 31 pages of the Book of Mormon, and was entranced by 1 Nephi chapters 8 and 10. I feel as thought I could almost stop there, and come away with something. That something is this:


The Book of Mormon should be read by all Christians.


As an Atheist, that's not the effect I thought the book would have on me. Nevertheless, I can imagine the amount of "push back" Mormons have to face, trying to convince a "Christian" to read it. What a shame. Because it is the most clearly written Christian Biblical Document. If Christians would be willing to read the text, compare it to what they already believe, most would not only agree with it, but would find that it strengthens their faith even further. 1 Nephi 10 provides a greater and more straight forward message than Paul's letter to the Romans. And Romans is considered to be the definitive New Testament Epistle. The Reformation was based on Romans. But Nephi chapter 10 tops it.

There are really only two hangups to widespread Christian acceptance of the Book of Mormon. The first, is the fact that, the Book of Mormon isn't already in the Bible. If the chapters of the book of Mormon were placed within the standard bible , and Christians just grew up knowing that 1 Nephi was found after Malachi and Jeremiah or Habakkuk...they would bite into it hook line and sinker. It would be accepted as biblical cannon. What could possibly make them object?

The second hangup ins that the origin of the book of Mormon is still relatively new. But they confuse the translation of Joseph Smith in the 1800's with the 600 BC time frame of 1 Nephi. If Christians could accept 1 Nephi as 600 BC writing they would accept what it says. Can you imagine the level of excitement they would have if the dead sea scrolls contained excerpts from 1 Nephi? (ignoring the continental logistical problem). If the ancient text was carbon dated to 600 BC with the quote, " six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jew--even a Messiah...a Savior of the world"... what christian would protest that? They would consider it the greatest confirmation of the actual existence of Christ!

And as for the "craziness" of the Mormon origin story, is it no worse than any biblical story? Christians believe that God carved and wrote the ten commandments on stone tablets. But gold plates are somehow impossible? Christians believe that God sent Daniel and St. John visions. But Nephi's father can't have visions? Saul a persecutor of Christians can play a surprise role in God's message, but Joseph Smith can't? Christians see Christ as an all powerful Savior of the whole human race. But Jesus isn't allowed to VISIT the whole human race? I just don't see and of these "Mormon" things as being anymore preposterous than anything else that is already accepted by all Christians.

Finally, it is massively ironic that, Christians reject Mormons in the same way Jews rejected Christians. Christians see Christianity as strengthening and clarifying the Jewish faith, but fail to even consider the strengthening and clarifying that Mormonism could do to their Christian faith.







142 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for bringing this person's reflections to a wider public.

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  2. I loved this. thank you for sharing this letter with us! Regardless of what religious belief (or non-belief), this individual is intelligent and open-minded, and they get it. I'm glad that this person actually took the time to read even just a little bit and I hope they feel urged into reading more to find out more.

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  3. Hi: I spend some time in forums trying to explain or clarify the LDS position, (spanish forums mostly) and I found this so honest and so accurate at the same time, that I just loved it... He describes the current mormon religious context so well that it just blew my mind... I will try to translate this into spanish (if I may) becuase this perspective is simply amazing... If I was an atheist, I wish I was THAT kind of atheist.. I Would love to know more about the author... Great post greetings from PerĂº

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    1. Thank you so much Ricky, I always appreciated this letter, I'm glad you were able to glean some goodness from it too!

      With much love,
      Miss Mormon

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    2. Are you still in touch with him?

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    3. Matt,
      I am! I had lunch with him and his wife the other day. He was shocked when I told him about the response his letter received--as was I!

      With much love,
      Miss Mormon

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  4. That was a great post. It is very interesting to hear this atheists point of view; I've thought some of these very same things. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Great perspective... Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Another witness of the Book of Mormon. It's true.

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    1. This person was not a witness to the Book of Mormon. He was saying if Christians accept the New Testament that they should just as easily accept the Book of Mormon. He is by no means saying that either are true.

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    2. Absolutely. I had a similar discussion with a group of Christians myself not so long ago in which I basically stated that if a spiritual experience/testimony is to be counted as evidence of truth, which most theists think is the case, then they should all just add the BoM to their shelves. They disagreed of course, but based on that logic (if you can call it that) all books of scripture should be taken as truth.

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    3. Sarah I believe there is truth of varying amounts in everything. We should not reject anything before considering it and trying to discern its truth. That's just my opinion. if I I am wrong on this feel free to correct me!

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  7. How can I be sure this was written by an athiest? It sounds an awful like (sometimes word for word) certain LDS quotes directly aimed at other Christians. It is also highly researched with information not included in the Book of Mormon. For the record, I am a devout member of the LDS faith, not trying to bag this post at all. But there are a lot of things out there like this that get picked up by non-LDS, and found to be false, and then we lose credibility. So I like to make sure I check the sources before I get all the way behind it. Great post if legit!

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    1. Its definitely a real letter, I was a missionary in a little town, knocked on this man's door and gave him a Book of Mormon. A week later we went back and this was the letter he presented to us as a compilation of his thoughts while he had been reading it from 12 am to 3 am...he couldn't put it down! We still keep in touch and are great friends. Hope that helps confirm some things for you :)

      With much love,
      Miss Mormon

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    2. I agree with relationshoprefinery.com. I feel exactly the same way :)

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    3. Miss Mormon,

      I did not see your reply to the above poster; I see the story behind this letter and believe that it is authentic - you really do not have any reason to lie about it as far as I can tell.

      The atheist who gave you this letter had some insights to the authenticity (although he probably did not realize that is what it was) of the BofM that we often forget as Mormons: it goes beautifully along with the Bible. As a convert and a former full time missionary I wish I had had this information handy on my mission - he gives such insightful arguments for how Christians should believe what is in the BofM. I have copied it - and your reply above - to my journal and hope to be able to use some of this when I talk with non-Mormons about the church.

      Thank you for posting it - and please do delete my first comment if you want to!

      God bless!

      From a fellow sister RM!

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    4. It's good to know a bit more of the back-story, thank you! :)

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  8. However, the big unspoken/unwritten caveat from this atheist is that while conventional Christians and Latter-day Saints are equally justified in venerating their scriptures, as an atheist he/she believes both are fiction.

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    1. Everything in this dream is fiction. :) One day, the world will pay attention to EVERY story told and will know the true significance of "The Word." Then when words don't matter, people will once again communicate with the heart and soul. Even as my ancestors have for thousands of years, we "talk story" and live aloha.

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    2. It's a seed. Many atheists of today were born into a Christian denomination. But logical thinking and unanswered questions led them to doubt the very existence of God. As a former atheist myself, I can attest that many of my questions were clarified by comparing what I already know from the bible and new input I got from the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. Also, I am very much intrigued by the use of Urim and Thumim, and moreso by the words "pure matter" and how it explains my questions about e=mc2.

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    3. Because they are.

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    4. Truth is truth. No matter where you find it. Take a step outside your comfort zone, and be surprised at what you find!

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    5. Joseph Smith tought:

      "One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may." - Joseph Smith, Jr

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  9. This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing it.

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  10. Thanks for sharing! I notice the note is unattributed. Do we have the name of the atheist who wrote this? Testimonies are always so much more powerful when we know who they came from. Some people might be skeptical of anonymous sentiments, especially when they go against what we would expect a certain sort of person, in this case an atheist, to say. Again, thank you for posting this.

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    1. Personally, I wouldn't want my name all over the internet from something like this. I mean, I love this letter and I'm a Mormon, but I don't think it's nessesary to give their name. After all, in classes when someone shares a story they often say 'one of my old mission companions...' or 'one of my old friends.' They don't normally name names. Not hating on your comment, just saying that we ought to respect their privacy. If they'd wanted to be known, there would be a name. ^^

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  11. If this letter from an atheist is for real, then this is hot!

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  12. Brilliantly written.

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  13. Wow! I have never thought of it that way. I really appreciate the perspective on this.

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  14. great analogy and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I have read it several times and it confirms the Bible just as the Bible confirms the Book of Mormon. All should have open minds and read it to believe it.

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  15. This man has what Moroni called a sincere heart and a real intent to know and see the true message of the book. He didn't only nailed it but he also strengthened my faith. I hope everybody will read this great book (members and non-members alike) with the same spirit. I pray that he will develop the faith to follow Christ and stop calling himself an atheist because he isn't one of them.

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    1. I'm an atheist and a good person, most of us are. I wish you wouldn't say such negative things about atheist, as if we're lesser people than you. It hurts us and I'm sure it hurts you as well.

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    3. Secular Humanist.
      Forgive them for they know not what they do. ;)

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    4. Matt Jenkins-
      Why would you automatically assume that an atheist hasn't read the Book of Mormon? I've read it 4 times. It's definitely a great book...then again, so is Lord of the Rings. I'm still an atheist.

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  16. This is fantastic! What a wonderful perspective! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  17. At least the atheist gets it. Now if he would just read the rest of the book and pray about it.

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  18. Are there any references to who or where the original testimonial was written?

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  19. Some very coherent points. The Book of Mormon is true...and so is the Bible! It takes humility and courage and faith to give the Book of Mormon a fair shake and to test out its promise.

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  20. It's because Mormons are a post-Christian movement. Mormons built on the Christian movement that built on the Catholic movement, that built on the original organization that built on a new Judaism that built on the Jewish faith that built on other religions and concepts...

    If Mormons gain enough traction and grow large enough, there will be newer religions that build on their foundations. It's just a layering of ideas and I can understand why people who hold to a certain idea in that strata would reject anything that built on top of them.

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    1. Christ's gospel is Christ's gospel. It's not build on anything. It's been restored fom it's original form.

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    2. As "Happy" said, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is built from the ground up - directly from its Originator, as He initiated it, when He walked the earth 2000 years ago.

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    3. Dear Anonymous,

      Your mistake is the concept that Mormonism descends from another religious idea.

      When the Christ / Messiah walked the earth, HE introduced a new Church ideology. That is what the Jews rejected.

      Joseph Smith was commanded, and instructed how, to restore HIS Church to the earth. That is what the Christians have rejected. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same Church, with the same teachings, that the Christ established while He lived on Earth.

      I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and learn for yourself whether it is true.

      ~M~

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    4. Amen, thank you for making that clarification!

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    5. I agree with Anonymous that Mormonism has added a "layer of ideas" to Christianity. I converted to Mormonism four years ago. I would have no interest in joining any other Christian church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has new and continuing revelation, which has added fuller and deeper understanding of spiritual truths beyond what even the apostolic church of the first century had. If not so, there would be no need for new scripture, such as the Pearl of Great Price and the Book of Mormon.

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  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. All makes good sense to me

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  23. I wonder the religious background of this Atheist. By this logic we should read/believe holy books from all manner of religions because most of them are based on the ancient Egyptian stories of Gods, which was their way of talking about the stars. If you believe in the Bible and should therefore believe in the Book of Mormon, then you should also believe in Isis and Horus (and therefore not really believe in the other books). I'm having a hard time understanding how this suits Mormonism instead of doing the opposite, especially since I'm Atheist. Per always I would love to hear the perspectives of others.

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    1. @Christa Where do you live? I am happy to have one of my missionary friends get a Book of Mormon to you to look at! I understand what you are saying. I would be happy to talk with you and hear you perspectives also.

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    2. There are so many witnesses of Christ as the heavenly father's only begotten and of the holy spirit. It's found in the scriptures yes, but these scriptures and stories contained in them are supported by remains found in our earth. If only you were read, ponder, study and research, and pray I feel certain you would have an answer from your heavenly father via most likely the holy spirit.

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    3. I believe the author of this letter was saying that Christians should consider it because of how well it complements the Bible. I have not read other religious texts, but I believe that vast majority fail to acknowledge the God of Israel or look forward to Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The Book of Mormon offers continuity with the Biblical accounts accepted by Christianity because it starts with Israelites that become separated from the tribes of Israel, but continue to worship the God of Israel and look forward to the Messiah.

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    4. Heather thanks but I'm well-versed in your religion's doctrine as well as many other religions. I already have several BOM's on my shelf (well, that shelf actually couldn't bear any more weight, so....) I also already have a problem trying to get the missionaries to go away as it is. Actually had to mention taking legal action to their superiors just to make it stop-- yikes!! Didn't know it would get so extreme just by opening conversation with friendly strangers! I guess you could say I learned my lesson.

      Where do you live? I'd be happy to have one of my Atheist friends come and visit you too! I'm sure they'd be able to explain exactly what I'm trying to say, and they won't keep coming back like those Elders kept doing to me. Or of course, we could also just converse as we already are. But what is your address? I have lots of Atheist friends who would be happy to visit with you and your family to share with you.

      We're always happy to embrace others and share the knowledge of peace and love with anyone. That acceptance won't shift or change, and we won't ask more of you down the road other than morals and kindness for others. Our love and acceptance for others is completely unconditional. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your willingness to send even MORE missionaries to my house, but this sort of Mormon reply is outrageously tedious. I wish it was possible to just have a religious conversation or friendly interaction with a Mormon where it didn't end in trying to convert me. Can Mormons converse with others without doing that? It almost doesn't seem possible. I've tried to be friends with Mormons as the friendship is always alienated because of things like this. Can anyone explain this? I'm really interested to know! Thanks guys, sorry if it's a weird question.

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    5. Christa, sorry to hear you have had bad experiences with missionaries/members. Some can get over-eager sometimes in their eagerness to share. Christ does tell us to go into all the world spreading the good news, after all. It might help to politely remind them about the 11th Article of Faith. It sometime gets forgotten in all the excitement.

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    6. My answer to your question is this: unfortunately, there are some people out there (Mormons out there) that think the only thing to do is to convert. They don't always realize that these are actual people theyre talking to. They don't realize that no one wants to be forced into anything. Others have found different truths for themselves and that's OK. I served a full-time mission and came across this multiple times. I believe that just because someone is not the same as me doesn't mean I can't be friends with them. That means their beliefs too. And unfortunately, there some "holier-than-thou" Mormons, just like in any other religion or people in general. I'm sorry you haven't had good relationships with Mormons. I personally don't like people that act like that. I'd like to think that I really do accept everyone. And everyone in the world should be that way. I'd be interested in hearing more of your views. I love discussing life with people :)

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    7. We have friends that we have known for 30 years. They are catholic. We invited them to attend anything we thought they would be interested in such as relief society or father's sons outings. We were told by the woman that we had made them stronger in their own faith because they saw the benefit of religion in our lives, she also said her husband cursed less and drank less when I was around. They are wonderful people who have gone out of their way for us and for elderly neighbors in need, we have learned a lot from them
      More people should curse if it makes them care for others, it seems an equitable trade. We no longer "push " the church although it was always very low key but I am their daughters Godfather and my wife one of the daughters godmother. We love them a great deal and

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  24. Mormonism is not compatible with biblical Christianity. Sorry.

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    1. Sorry? Being a member of the Church that Christ restored to the earth is nothing that one would feel anything but absolute joy about!

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    2. Really? How so?

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    3. Question, have you ever read the Book of Mormon? I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything, I'm honestly just curious. If you have actually read it with an open mind and still have the same feelings that's one thing. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings, no matter what they may be. But if one hasn't actually given any effort to find out for yourself, how does one actually justify such a feeling? Honestly I'm just curious.

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    4. My mother wasn't compatible with my father, but they got married and had a family anyway. Sorry!

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    5. As one who has read the Book of Mormon many times I testify that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are completely and totally compatible. Not only compatible....but also complimentry in testifying of Jesus Christ and His divinity. It is a second witness.....and it does my heart good to know that He did not forget the people in Ancient America. I testify that they, too, were important to Him and that He came to them after He was ressurected.....to teach them His gospel so that they, too, could enjoy the blessings of eternal life. God loves all of His children.

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  25. This is fantastic. Thank you, so much, for sharing!

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  26. Unfortunately without the author validating this letter it has no credibility. People are going to say you made it up. Can you get the author to officially make this letter public?

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    1. Whether the author is an atheist or a Mormon bishop, we can always find some rationale for discounting the author. Who wrote the letter, in my mind, is much less important than what the letter says. If God can speak through in a burning bush or if Jesus could appear to the Apostles after his resurrection thousands of years ago, then why can't he visit a boy in NY in modern times or ancient Americans on this side of the world? I think those are very relevant questions.

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    2. For some people, privacy is more important than credibility. Which means, you can believe it or choose not to... it's up to you.

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    3. You make a great point - the third one I have read here about this maybe not being what it is claimed to be. That said, I am a Mormon who believes that the Book of Mormon is true scripture along with the Bible.

      The impact of this letter would be greater if we knew a bit more about its author, perhaps not his or her name, but background, where he or she lives, and other facts from this person's life - education, for example.

      Thus, whether it is really from an atheist or not, the letter makes fantastic arguments about why Christians really should not have such a difficult time accepting the Book of Mormon. Sadly, most Christians believe that revelation stopped with the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible. Few seem to know that the Book of Revelation is not chronologically the last book written of the books of the Bible. I think that is where the confusion and the impression that there will be no more revelation, the nothing more "added to this book" kind of thinking...

      Please try to find some way to verify that this came from a real atheist - failing that, I will just take it with the great points that are made by someone.

      Thus, kudos and thank you to whoever wrote this!

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    4. Without credibility it becomes just as much a matter of faith as believing in the book or church. Even if it's true, one atheist doesn't speak for the atheist community.

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    5. What I find interesting is that you are not discounting the points made in the letter, but rather its source. The point is given that tearing down the source is the easiest way to be able to tell yourself that the points are meaningless. I agree with the points made regardless of the source. I am willing to discuss the points made on their own merit if you would like. Which of the points do you disagree with?

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    6. Allowing people to retain their privacy doesn't invalidate the content of their point of view. Even if the name of the person was given, there is no way to prove they aren't lying. But even if they are lying about their true beliefs, that doesn't invalidate the perspective. Reasonable people can try on different perspectives in order to increase their understanding of a subject. Considering different perspectives isn't a sin. Not seeking to know the truth is.

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    7. It is unfortunate to read the number of people who are asking for varying levels of authentication for this letter. We only have one account from an author and editor of the Book of Mormon that it is what it is purported to be. Moroni and his father could have easily taken a series of writing as and woven them together to fit a story that they wanted to tell. When you read for themes in the Book of Mormon, you find the theme of Gadianton robbers is very noticeable once you know they are the group responsible for the destruction of Nephite society. Mormon and Moroni could have inserted these elements, or simply made them more pronounced than the original authors intended, knowing the end of the story.


      I write these words as a convert to the church who felt very much the way this atheist did about the Book of Mormon, but from a perspective of another Christian faith. I did not see the point o,f it until I read it. What I have since discovered is how very powerfully the Book of Mormon confirms the Bible, and strengthens it. The Bible in turn does the same for the Book of Mormon. We have various measures of how to define gospel and truth. I like to refer non-members to Galatians 1:7-10, where Paul cautions against believing in another gospel, thus helping us know that gospel must be consistent within itself. If these two works taught a different message, then one of them is false. What we do not get from Paul, though is an indication we should expect or demand proof to have faith. Faith requires belief, while proof is necessary for knowledge. Knowledge informed by the understanding provided by God - is called wisdom, not faith. We, as members of the church, need to be careful in appreciating the distinction between faith and wisdom. What we need to have first is faith, though, and proof is a convenient, helpful extension. Requiring proof is one of the main pitfalls to belief in the truth of the gospel.

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  27. Wow. Great read. So impressed by this individual's quest for knowledge in subjects he or she doesn't agree with and the willingness to not criticize my faith.

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  28. If you think 1 Ne 10 is entrancing, wait until 2 Ne 25-31.

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  29. Yeah! When you read it, you get blessed as well.

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  30. I love reading this and appreciate an unbiased opinion giving things a fair shake.

    Part of the same experience in Chapter 10, is Chapter 13; 28-30 where Nephi is shown that wicked men omitted many significant parts of the ancient records of the Jews (bible). The Book of Mormon is a second witness where those things haven't been omitted to lead men astray. The Bible is absolutely the word of God, unfortunately, we don't have it all.

    Helps me understand why an uneducated and simple man needed to translate the Book of Mormon. The more I get older, I see the wisdom behind things, which helps me realize thay I really know far less than I thought I knew! It truly is a marvelous work and a wonder.

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  31. Being an atheist who has read the entirety of the Book of Mormon myself, that letter seems extremely odd. Most atheists do not spend less time comparing religions and religious texts and more time analyzing the authenticity and accuracy of statements. Instead of saying " If Christians could accept 1 Nephi as 600 BC writing..." they would more likely say "I find little evidence to support that assertion that the Book of Mormon is an account written in 600 BC." They would question the text instead of questioning peoples acceptance of the text.

    I am not saying the letter is a fraud or that you are lying in any way. I am simply saying that in my experience, most atheists would never talk like that

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    1. I don't think it's helpful to generalize all atheists into one group who would act and think the same way. We're all individuals regardless of our religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

      That being said, this letter to me isn't trying to assert the accuracy and authenticity of the book of Mormon it's trying to logically assert why most non-Mormon Christians should accept Mormons as Christians.

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    2. I agree with you to a degree. If the person writing this letter was addressing whether the Book of Mormon was true historical document they would most likely write in the manner you indicated, but that isnt the case here. My take on his letter is after all is said and done he still doesnt believe it to be the word of God.

      It seems to me his thesis is that Christians can gain and be edified in a positive way by reading the Book of Mormon, or at least in the same manner they would by reading the bible in the same way they can by the Bible.

      To put it another way it seems like he pondering on why if the Bible and the Book of Mormon say the same things, the Book of Mormon just a bit more clearly as he put it, why Christians cant accept it or even read it just because its not the same "brand" as theirs. Since its not their "Brand" they give Mormons a hard time.

      I dont know if I explained myself well and im kind of thinking this out as I write so not sure how clear this will read for others but just some of my thoughts.

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    3. I'm also an atheist and I don't find anything about his response odd. I think he's taking it from the perspective of, "Hey, you're not going to convert me, but all those Christians out there that are finding it hard to accept you guys should really take a look at the compatibility of their own beliefs with this text."

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    4. The irony is the requirements for verification and empiricism regarding who wrote the letter, yet none of this well intentioned skepticism is applied elsewhere

      "Therefore it is custom not reason that determines the mind" -David Hume

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  32. the writer even though athiest totally "gets it" because it is just that easy, the book of mormon is such an unbelievable addition of gods word and like the writer said if it was already placed in the bible people would not question it and their lives would be even better for it. Thanks for this article, I just wish all people would just give it a chance and see if it is for them instead of putting us down in all that we do.

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  33. How does this guy define atheism?

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  34. I have been active LDS since joining in 1977...THOUGHT I was an atheist before that, then had a horrible experience and for the 1st time in my 19 yr life, got on my knees and said
    " God, I have ALWAYS really known u exist... can you tell me please...if u do ? " I literally felt "arms" surround me and felt the Love of the Lord.
    I maintain there is no such thing as a true atheist....just one that hasn't gone through their own gesemene ( spelling?) yet.

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    1. Well that doesn't really respect the belief or non belief of others does it?

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    2. I've been through many "gethsemanes" including almost dying in the ocean in a rip tide. Still happily and comfortably atheist. :) (I was saved by brave human beings who risked their own lives to come get my husband and I. Just the day before, a woman had died at that same beach in the riptide.)

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    3. Michael, as a school teacher I'm here to tell ya, with a great spirit and faith such as yours, don't worry about your spelling! You've got it where it counts, my dear.

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    4. There is no such thing as a true atheist for God is all around in the unseen. Even the greatest scientists and philosophers of all mankind prophesy of the greater force that exists beyond our realm. God can be explained in the most cosmic of circumstances too, but perhaps an atheistic point of view lacks understanding as to what the very universe is made of (space, matter, and energy) and how we obtained life on this planet. Alas, the world lives on the surface and they forget that we have been around for millions of years within the very depths of the soul of our Mother Earth. I'd rather trust the true stories of my ancestors that were tried and tested for thousands of years than the ways of the new world and philosophies of men. I'm greatful my ancestors were able to experience what it means to live in paradise in this life instead of the hell this new world creates for it's passengers.

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    5. Thank God we don't expect to be judged on our spelling!!!

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    6. Every time you say there are no true atheists imagine someone saying were no true Mormons. If you don't believe there are real atheists out there I dare you to go to Google and type the words "atheist websites" and read what they have to say. Atheists generally do not bother ready the Book of Mormon for the same reason you don't bother reading suggested atheist books...both feel it's a waste a time because both feel certain about their position and that thinking otherwise is nothing but foolish and a waste of time.

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  35. Wow, I can't believe some of the negative comments, although I do believe everyone has free agency. It goes to show what the world is coming to. We used to take things at face value, instead we want everything PROVEN? Those of you who are not sure that this person exists, pray about it and you will know if he speaks the truth. :) My parents are not of my faith (LDS) but they are very supportive of my beliefs. I told my dad one time that when he dies I am going to make sure his temple work is done and he can see for himself. I told him, if it isn't true, what harm was it that it got me through this sometimes very negative and cruel world we live in with some hope. But I do indeed believe.

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    1. Your response is right on! I have always thougth that even if the Gospel is not true (which it is) I still would strive to live it because it is the only way to live a life worth living to me. Who does not want others to be kind nice etc. ?

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    2. I really don't think the "negative" comments are meant as a criticism; they are simply expressing their feelings and thoughts. There are a lot of things on the Internet that needs to be viewed with a healthy skepticism, though. The internet has changed the kinds of information we receive and read, so being a bit careful is OK in my book.

      If my earlier comment will be approved, you will note that although I have some questions about who wrote this letter, I also add that the letter contains amazing points that we, as Mormons, can learn from and use when we talk with our non-Mormon friends about traditional Christianity vs. Mormonism.

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    3. That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

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  36. Hmmm, wonder how much longer he'll remain an atheist. ;- )

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  37. Thank you for sharing this faith promoting post. After reading it and reviewing the comments of others, it seems to me that a little more transparency about the back-story and a source for the letter in your preface to the post would bring a lot of credibility and traction to this. Keep up the great work! #ShareGoodness

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  38. I was also an atheist the first time I read the Book of Mormon 38 years ago. In fact I started reading it with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other! I have now been a Mormon for 38 years, and have read the book many times. The very existence of the book is irrefutable evidence that there is a God in heaven, and that Jesus Christ is His Son. I could no longer deny it. This book changed my life forever.

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  39. As a self-confessed atheist, this individual seems to have a pretty good knowledge of the books of the bible ! I suspect that most atheists have never even opened a bible !

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    1. On the contrary, polls show that atheists are MORE likely to have read the bible than self-professed christians. In fact, reading the bible cover-to-cover is even one of the most common responses to the question 'why are you an atheist'. I'm an atheist, and I've read not only the old and new testaments, but also the book of mormon, the pearl of great price, and the doctrine and covenants.

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    2. FWIW I'm an atheist, I love the Bible, and I teach a college course on it.

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    3. Funny fact is that a poll was just released about different groups knowledge of the Bible and atheist and Mormons knew more than Christians about the Bible. The Catholics were the least of any group.

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    4. Can you please site the poll that you're referring to?

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    5. Am I the only one who has found a certain humor in the comments of a few atheists on here stereotyping atheists?

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    6. r-pentomino, you are not the only one:-)

      I, for one, am an a-athiest. I personally choose to believe that there is not a single person on the earth that truly does not sense the existence of a "higher power". Everyone knows deep down that there is a God. That is just my personal belief.

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    7. Religion without God will turn any honest human into an atheist.
      I am Mormon.
      A kind person who doesn't know God is the source of that kindness is just a favored as a kind person who is LDS.
      We share the gospel to be kind. That's the whole point.
      An atheist is a person who has thought and sought God and has not found Him.
      Have there not been times in every theist's life when he/she has sought God and not found Him..yet? Believing in God can come and go. I believe in God so obviously I believe that He is everyone's loving Father. I hope for others to feel that love. I can share that love to an extent with people who don't understand/believe in God in the same way.
      To me, God is the source of all good. Most atheists are very good people. We can learn from atheists who live well because it brings them happiness or comfort or peace. As Mormons we need to remember to let life teach us there is a God.

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    8. I assume this is the poll mentioned. From Pew Research in 2010, there may be a more recent version.

      http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey/

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  40. Mary October 17, 2014 l:50pm
    We are all children of Heavenly Father and we will all return to him if we keep His commandments and do His will. Some who do not keep His commandments and do not believe, will not be allowed in His presence. Take your choice. I for one of many am LDS and am extremely grateful for the blessing of it in my life.

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    1. Unless we proclaim to be more worthy of His favor than anyone else.

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  41. Good read. Thank you for sharing and for all the comments (negative and positive). Strengthened my faith. Blessed to have another volume of scriptures. It did not stop with the Book of Mormon it just continues today.

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  42. To the Atheist that wrote the letter to Miss Mormon: Thank You!

    When I landed my first job I became friends with an Atheist, an Agnostic and Jew. There were others of other religions also. We respected one another and we got along well.

    If only all people were as open minded and respectful as the person that wrote the letter
    think of how much better the world would be.

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  43. There's an old saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes" Who do people call for on their death beds

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  44. I am a Mormon too! It's been 25 years now and I am grateful for being one. I've felt Heavenly Father everyday of my life. He has blessed me with a family who brings joy to me. After all we are all eternal family.

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  45. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for your service as a missionary. If only more people would take the time to read and be touched by the BOM the world would be changed.

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  46. What amazes me is people don't read the post then ask 50 questions and the answers are all in the post! Such as asking about the athiest's prior religious affiliation. It clearly states above that he was a Lutheran. Why doesn't he sign his name? Blah, blah, blah... Miss Mormon, let me afirm to one and all that you must truly be LDS because you have the patience of a saint! To all the rest of you, try reading before asking questions, lest others think you'received addled brained.

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  47. This guy definitely knows his religions! Koodos to him! There are parts of the BOM that are IN the bible (chapters of 2nd Nephi for example), some are word for word, paragraph for paragraph. Any hard core Christian is going to read that section in particular and be all like, who is NEPHI? Why is this not Isaiah?

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  48. I was pondering the story of Nephi and was amazed how familiar that journey is to the journey of humanity. God did not simply give Nephi and his father's family the Promised Land. They had to work at it. They had to cross the wilderness and the sea with the brass plates and as families into the Promised Land, a.k.a. the Americas or New World. That journey continues today with the calling of modern-day prophets for the preparation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

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  49. I have been struggling with coming back to the church for some time now. I was excommunicated. Not proud of that either. Reading this from an atheist has opened my eyes to needing to read the Book of Mormon again. Thank you for this. This was God inspired!

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    1. John, It's a hard road back, but worth it! Satan will put many road blocks in your way. You will find God and the truth in the details. May you be blessed in your journey.

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  50. I first read the Book of Mormon about 40 years ago. It changed my life. Thanks to the Holy Ghost that touched my heart as I prayed to know if this book was true. It is true. Jesus Christ does live. His gospel has been restored. The happiness I feel everyday is because of the faith I have in the Lord. I'm glad a missionary challenged me to read the Book of Mormon then asked me to put this verse to the test - Moroni Chapter 10 verse 4. We truly are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

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  51. I'm Jewish. I've been talking with Jews & Christians for over 55 years & studying scholarship on the search for the historical Jesus, Christian beginnings, & the formation of the New Testament for about 35 years. I'm not a Christian mostly because I find empty the notion that man fell from grace & needs salvation. It's not literally in Gen 2-3; it's read into it. The Tanak (O.T.) didn't motivate me to seek salvation from Satan's workings: it contains no reference to a figure with the proper name "Satan" (Chr. Translations notwithstanding). Jewish suffering under Antiochus Epiphanes IV moved some Jews to pour over sacred texts to find ways to explain why, even though they followed the "law," they still suffered. Thus was born, in post-biblical times, the notion of Satan & a hope for a non-divine, grand & powerful messiah who would release the people from foreign rule, not from the wages of personal sin), restore the nation Israel & usher in the Kingdom of God. If one doesn't look backwards through Christian lenses & read into the O.T., it is fairly clear, e.g., that Isaiah 53 was about events in its own time; "he" is God's beloved son and servant Israel. Similarly, some followers of Jesus poured over the Septuagint & found "explanations" for why the man they believed was the messiah ended up suffering & crucified. Some offered explanations that could be easily understood by gentiles: like identifying with a killed and risen god. Ascribing divinity to the messiah sounds more like a very Hellenized Paul than a Galilean Jew. Paul associated belief in the messiah with forgiveness of sin & insuring immortality. New Testament authors wrote new works & claimed that prophesies of Jesus Christ were right "there" in the Jewish Scriptures just as the rabbis claimed that the Oral Law had always been part of the Torah. Later, Mormons claimed that their scriptures had been part of the biblical scriptures. The rabbis, other Jews, and Christians wrote commentaries on the scriptures, even reworking parts of them. This is what all artists and writers do—build upon what came before them. We humans have the vain habit of citing our own experiences—or our groups'—as proof of the true path & what is true &: what isn't: I tried that religion & got nothing from it! This supplement (or this religion) got me better so it'll work for everyone! I prayed in the name of Christ or read the book & prayed over it & was overwhelmed with the feeling it is the Truth; therefore it is. I was saved so you can too. Smells too much like, We're white or American or German, so we're better. One-upmanship is a human trait; we down-grade others. I'm not immune but, it seems to me, if there's anything it's okay to be intolerant of, it's intolerance, one-upmanship or the dehumanization of others. "Our religion is the only path to salvation or to being closest to God" is an unprovable prejudice. Testimonies, religious experiences, life transformations, scriptural citations, stories of the afterlife & arguments as "proofs" of a religion's truth are a dime a dozen. Feelings and "certainty" (a feeling) are beside the point. In my view, beliefs are beside the point. That's the other reason I'm not a Christian: considering the lack of a particular belief as a sin is tribal and absurd.


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  52. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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  53. I served in the same mission and had a similar experience-

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  54. Lack of evidence is not evidence of a lack.

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  55. As a skeptical rational epistivist, and an actual agnostic atheist, I call shenanigans on this letter unless you can demonstrate not only that this letter is authentic but that the person who wrote it is actually an atheist.

    The way it reads sounds more like your typical Stake Conference straw atheist made up by the speaker to try to back up the claim that reading the Book of Mormon alone has converted ANYBODY within the past decade, let alone century.

    I'll also agree with other atheists that "holding the Book of Mormon on the same level as the Bible" coming from an atheist isn't saying much. To the atheist that just means they're equally fictional.

    The problem is that at least SOME of the authors of the books in the bible were actually the claimed authors in the books themselves, or at least partially. It's pretty evident that every book of the Book of Mormon had the SAME AUTHOR when it was written and evidently NOT translated in 1830 or thereabouts.

    So, no, unless you can prove this is a real letter and that an actual atheist wrote it, I call this a bald-faced fabrication.

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  56. I can assure those saying otherwise that yes, indeed, true atheists exist. I have always been one, patents are Christian, but I never believed any of it. I have read the bible and the book of Mormon, and spoke to missionaries of all types, it's just not at all for me.
    I can see the atheist who wrote the letter is explaining that the book of Mormon makes as much sense as anything in the bible and how little sense it makes to belittle the BoM based on its content while promoting the bible, as much of it goes hand in hand. As for why to have faith in one and not the other is not something I can have much of an opinion on, for as I said, I have never had nor understood religious faith of any type.
    Best to just get along I suppose, or hope at least as I am supposed to attend a Mormon cookout tomorrow afternoon with a couple Mormon friends of mine. I just hope they respect my wishes to not attempt to convert me when I, as politely as I can find a way to, explain I'm happily atheist and only there to support my friends. And Mormon cooking, mmmmmmmmmmmmmn.

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  57. Maxton, thanks for posting this. Me too. Even in Jewish religious school at 7 years old, I just couldn't understand why the teacher and all the students around me were talking about the seas parting or whatever as casually as though they were talking about going to the grocery store. I felt alienated then and still do. One reason I like to tell this story is that, being seven and still not feeling any need to believe or agree illustrates that you don't have to be evil or somehow in the grip of Satan to be presented with Scriptures and not believe. Not that any of us atheists would or should have to prove that. But those who criticize (or feel sorry for) atheists often appear to be operating under the assumption that there is something wrong with us. The burden is on them to show that to be so. And, even if most Americans believe there is a God or that the Bible is the Word of God or that there is a Heaven or a Satan, the burden is still on them to show that it is so. I've been talking with believers for 50 years and studying for 30 years and it has always amazed me how laughable (as good evidence) everything that believers have put to me that they believe are totally convincing. It's part of critical thinking that all to many people lack and it's grown to epidemic proportions in the growing popularity of anti-science attitude. All too many people think that that anything logical is also sound and it ain't so. It's a great built-in problem in democracy that, since people can be the government, they think they have just as much right to make pronouncements about what in science is true or not true or proclaim that, because of some 2500-3000 year-old Jewish writing about God creating men and women, homosexuality is wrong or that all marriage is holy and cannot be just civil. People are not really convinced but persuaded when some book or some religious experience is revealing the TRUTH to them. It seems we should know this by now--that some subjective psychological readiness to be persuaded or lack of critical thinking or interest in it is required in the person believers are trying to convince. And how do I know THIS is the truth? I don't know with certainty. I'll leave the arrogance of certainty to religious fundamentalists who have no doubt whatsoever that their way is the only right way. I'm just saying that, with all we know now about the universality of religious certainty and religious experiences, there is no excuse to proclaim that only ours is valid. "Oh, so you had a religious experience," I like to say. "Get in line."

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  58. This is very nice blog. its good for me, Please keep it up. Thank you

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  59. "Finally, it is massively ironic that, Christians reject Mormons in the same way Jews rejected Christians. Christians see Christianity as strengthening and clarifying the Jewish faith, but fail to even consider the strengthening and clarifying that Mormonism could do to their Christian faith."

    Is it necessarily the case that newer religions strengthen and clarify the older ones? In 1844, Joseph Smith died. Also in 1844, Ellen White (the prophet of Seventh Day Adventists) claimed to receive divine revelation. Should Mormons look to Seventh Day Adventists to strengthen and clarify their faith?

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  60. Dear Miss Mormon, sorry for stumbling across this post so late. I would love to respond respectfully as a Christian who has lived in Utah and loved Mormons from a very young age.

    One thing that I couldn't help but notice is that this post is quoting an ex-Christian about what Christians should do differently. I believe that if I were to quote an ex-Mormon about what Mormons should do differently then most Mormons would not be jumping all over it as they are with this post. I could very well be wrong, but the way that your friend said "Christians" in quotations the way he did implied that he meant to say Christian with a negative connotation.

    I have read much of the Book of Mormon, but I will just discuss what I have found within 1 Nephi since that is what this post is addressing the most. In 1 Nephi I find the teaching that my church is the most abominable in all the earth and that plain and precious truths have been taken out of the Bible (1 Nephi 13:26-29). Next chapter, I see that my church once again is the "mother of abominations," was founded by the devil, and is even the whore of all the earth (1 Nephi 14: 9-10). As someone whose faith is grounded in the Bible, I do not believe that teachings such as those belong in the Bible.

    The "hangups" that you mention for why the Book of Mormon is not widely accepted in Christianity are not even remotely substantial hangups that I consider or have heard about from any other Christian while talking about Mormonism. If you were to ask me, a Mormon-loving Christian, what my hangups are, I would love to have a respectful conversation with you and tell you what they are. I believe that would be a much more honest and efficient way of proclaiming the reasons why Christians don't accept the Book of Mormon. I agree that all Christians should read the Book of Mormon in order to learn more about the Mormon church and its teachings. However, electing to read it and choosing to accept it are very different things.

    Lastly, I would like to address your comment about Christians rejecting Mormons the same way Jews rejected Christians. In my experience, Christians do not reject Mormons, they reject Mormonism. That is a big difference. While I'm sure there are Christians who actually do reject Mormons, that does not mean that Christianity is meant to operate in that way. The Jews sought out Christians to slaughter them and purge them. However, Christians rejects Mormonism the same way that they reject Atheism, Islam, or any other religious belief that is different than Christianity because they are beliefs that we do not find to be true.

    I do not wish to be disrespectful in any way, but hopefully I was able to provide some perspective.

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    1. David,
      I'm sorry it took so long to moderate your comment, I am a college student also working a full-time job and therefore I am not as devoted to my personal cyber space. This post is over a year old and it still surprises me to hear that people are continuing to discover it for the first time. I appreciate the thought you put into your comment and hope that it helps people the way you intend it to. I would always be happy to explain some things found in the Book of Mormon and in general "mormon doctrine" via email if you ever want clarification (I definitely don't want you to go through life believing your church is what was being referred to as the mother of abominations). Again, thank you for your though-out comment, I do read every comment submitted, even if it takes me awhile to get to them. And you were right, some comments I do not post, my one rule is that they not be anti-mormon material. I fully believe in the right to an opinion or believe, I also believe anyone can start their own blog if they want their voice heard whenever and about whatever they want.
      With much love,
      Miss Mormon
      dearmissmormon@gmail.com

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