Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mormonism and ice cream

My wife and I just finished watching Big Love, a T.V. show about polygamy and Mormonism, one of the more interesting religions. It is thriving throughout the world. It is one of the fastest growing religions. Mormons are accepted and respected as part of the American mainstream. Also, it is a modern religion founded in the 1800's. What this means is that its history is documented and verifiable.

The Mormons believe God and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith in upstate N.Y. and told him that the exisiting Christian religions were off track, that he would restore the true teachings of Jesus to the world. He was then directed by an Angel, Moroni, to dig up plates that were buried on a hill in New York. His translation of these plates became the Book of Mormon, which is the story of Jesus' ministry in the new world. Because his teaching came after those that he delivered in the Middle East, the Mormons believe that their information is the most updated and valid--that it represents the latest views of God and Jesus. The Mormons also believe that the bible and god's teachings are continually updated and that the twelve apostles are in contact with God and Jesus and are receiving all these updates.

In 1964 I went to the worlds fair in N.Y. I visited the Mormon pavilion and was introduced for the first time to Mormon teachings. I am open to everything. I believe in everything and in nothing. For many years I was attracted to the Mormon teachings. What attracted me most was the idea that "From their fruits you will know them." What this meant to me is that if you wanted to validate the truth of a religion you just needed to observe the followers of that religion. When you observe the Mormons you see a good looking, hard working, family oriented, healthy, and always smiling group of people who seem to have achieved a very high level of contentment in their lives. This is very appealing, very attractive.

When you dig deeper into the Mormon religion, as I have, (don't ask me why), you find that Joseph Smith and most of his claims are bogus and that many of the fundamental stories upon which Mormonism is based are highly questionable. It seems that the Book of Mormon is not original; it has sections which have been plagiarized from other writings of the time.

I had considered at one time converting to Mormonism. When I expressed an interested in doing this the Mormon Church in Lancaster introduced me to a Jewish man from New York who went to the same high school (Tilden) and college (Brooklyn College) that I did. He told me his story and that he was completely convinced that Mormonism was the one true religion. He invited me to the Church to become converted. While I was waiting for the conversion ceremony I was sitting in a room with my fellow Jew and we were offered apple pie and ice cream. (Utah eats more ice cream per capita than any other state). I enjoyed my piece. I observed however that my cohort requested seconds and thirds. I watched him down these large portions and it hit me. He was completely brainwashed and was sent around the country to convince and convert Jews who showed an interest in Mormonism. When they came to get me, I asked if I could leave and didn't look back. I never again considered joining any religion.


  1. LOL! You based your religion choice on the fact that a guy liked ice cream? Come on, it's not like he could drink a beer with you, have some coffee, or smoke with you. Let him have all the ice cream he wants!

    I take it you are Jewish. You might find this group of Jewish Mormons interesting

  2. "Also, it is a modern religion founded in the 1800's. What this means is that its history is documented and verifiable."

    Actually, that's kind of a simplistic view of history. I've just finished reading both "The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far" - both World War II classics. Cornelius Ryan, the author, repeatedly points out how much of the historical record has been lost, and how we just aren't sure what happened in many instances. Did Rommel, screw up here? Or was it someone else's fault? How many people really did participate in X action on that day?

    And that was as recent as the 1940s!

    What makes you think that the historical record is any clearer on stuff from 200 years ago?

    Professional historians understand this. The rest of us tend to be overly-credulous whenever someone pulls out "history." We all get these gape-mouthed looks and start chanting "it must be so." But we don't even know most of the details about guys like Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. What makes you think any of us have a bead on Joseph Smith?

    I think Joseph hit the nail right on the head when he remarked that "no man knows my history."

  3. Seth R:

    What does your history-centric comment have to do, really, with the topic of this blog? What does it matter, even? If the dates are disputable then we can just accept this and ignore the difference between a few years.