After viewing the vid on how atheists are the most knowledgeable group when it comes to religiou..., it occured to me for some reason to have a bit of fun with a Mormon missionary :)
Mormons are very proactive on youtube (although they censure anyone that expresses dissent on their vids because they've never really exhibited transparency or respect for anyone's intelligence), but I noticed that their tactics are facing smart resistance from people. For instance, their '... and I am a Mormon' campaign to normalize themselves and make themselves seem more mainstream has absolutely backfired and that now there are probably more testimonies on '... an I am an EX-Mormon' than of '... and I am a Mormon'.
HORDES of people are leaving the Mormon church faced with the facts that are being presented on youtube vids. So ... I went on mormon.org and discovered that they have virtual missionaries that we can email, and sent an email inquiring what their church teaches them about the 30-odd wives of their prophet :)
I got a reply from this mormon missionary lady saying that 'not much is known about the prophet's wives' and that in ancient times prophets also took plural wives.
So I replied saying that actually there is A LOT of information online about his wives, incl. their names, the fact that some were 14 year olds when married off to him and some were married to other men and Joseph took them as wives, sometimes while their husbands were on mission. I sent her about four youtube vids with discussions on these things and the sources they cite.
... am looking forward to her response.
I figured every single ex-Mormon has needed to have some sense talked to them by someone who questioned and is not under Mormon hypnosis. Reverse missioning has a lot of potential - plus considering how important being missionaries is for Mormons they deserve a taste of atheist missionaries!
I invite others to visit mormon.org and other missionary sites, but the only thing that I'd request is no vicious attacks or insults, let's use a respectful tone please if you do wanna join this experiment and maybe we can help some of them see the error of their ways!
I believe this could be an interesting experiment. Darrel Ray's point about the defensive posturing of those infected with a god virus is, I think, pretty important here.
I was accosted by a couple of young ignorant missionaries one day when I was about to go run. Having taught a religious studies course at the university and having becoming an atheist by exploring consistently and logically the religion given to me by my clergyman father , I figured this might be fun. Indeed I did slice and dice his crap. Interestingly enough though they had no ability to hear.
So, I think we need to carefully consider just how to approach this. I did have a more successful encounter with a baptist friend who wanted to "save" me. I simply replied with the contradiction of the omnipotent being loving. ie it created something inherently flawed and evil that could be saved because his rules were that all would be punished unless he had his "only son" tortured to death to redeem the imperfection of his own creation. And he put the innocent, through no fault of their own, into a world stacked against them. "If god is good then he can't be great. If god is great he can't be good".
I also added what I thought of the idea that physicals expressions of love outside the "sanctity" of the god notion was evil while rape inside that "sanctified union" could not exist.
"I don't ever want to talk about this again" was her response.
I would like suggestions, and I'll think about it a lot, about what I did right in one case and wrong in the other.
Frankly I really like the problem you pose.
I think missionary tactics for atheists can only be developed by trying it, this is a new paradigm: we're usually the ones being harassed into belief, and fear tactics and other means that work with religious people who prey on vulnerabilities of others don't apply when you're a counter-missionary: reason does.
But I do think we have 'good news' and a type of testimony of salvation to offer. I do think we can offer a better society, and healthier, more intelligent ways of doing things.
Appeals to ideals of freedom, liberation, clarity, peace and simplicity are part of the 'good news' of atheism. It ends so many futile arguments for people who are immersed in theological laberynths that no one can get out of.
The main hurdle, I think, will be with groups of people who have a deep fear of death and other irrational fears, and with paranoid bigoted types. AND with people who have a history of addiction or infidelity because many of them really feel that they can't be sane, healthy and loyal without God. As pathetic as it sounds, it really is true for many people: they may be good-will people otherwise who try to use religion in a healthy way. So that it may even be a disservice to deconvert them, and each person would have to make up their mind as to whether it's a good idea.
But if we have a religious person engaged in a bigoted, crazy cult whose values are vulgarly distorted by their beliefs, then I do think they're worth 'saving'! OR if we have a person who has a gay family member who's suffering because of their faith, or if they're raising kids in the hands of predator priests, etc. then this is definitely a red flag. IF these people see happy, free atheists living a wholesome life and treating others humanely, something may click for them, even if they don't immediately acknowledge it.
Oh yes, I am not an ex mormon. I know something of the doctrine but actually very little. I am good at confronting god theses on most levels but it generally helps to know their doctrines better than they do.
So,, have you any reading suggestions?
the book of mormon?
OR, depending on what you stand for in terms of polygamy, you may wanna google or youtube vids and articles on mormon polygamy, or on Joseph Smith's wives and how he acquired them.
you can google or youtube specific references to race in the book of mormon to read the verses where they say blackness is a curse, you will very easily find them online. you can also google 'lamanites black skin curse', or 'mark of cain' within a mormon context. you'll find tons of stuff on their officially racist theology.
another approach is to question their not-very-plausible idea that Jesus Christ came to America and preached and established a church, and that there were Christians in Central America in the first centuries of Common Era, for which there is absolutely no factual or archeological base. Nowhere in the Popol Vuh (Mayan scripture) or anywhere else is there mention of Yeshua, Jesus, or any variation of his name, much less of Christos or any other variation of the name he was given after his followers deified him.
mormons are pretty good about dodging reality and science and accomodating reality and archeology, etc. to their beliefs. this is why i'm quite uncomfortable with a person like mitt romney running for president: facts to someone like him are trivial, facts are about convenience (he's known as the flip flopper). this is one of those religions where lying even to oneself is elevated to an art.
so good luck and let's exchange impressions if you decide to take them on ...
religions are.. just old world obsolete ways gone corporate and failed again
Greydon Square for Department of Sense Executive President etc..
ok maybe after this election cycle LOL
sughp w/all the muslims/xtians killin each other nowdays? and blaming secular ha! bs
The following is her final email after being questioned on the wives of Smith ... I think I'll leave her alone for now:
We don't really discuss it because it's not something that is extremely important for us. Yes we know that he had many wives, but as for how many I have seen many things documenting different numbers, ages, and other details about his wives. Personally I don't care because I choose instead of focus more the teachings of Jesus Christ and what i personally need to do in my life.
Look folks. I am an ex-Mormon. Never became a jack-Mormon, just straight stopped when I was old enough to realize it wasn't right. About 19. If you are going to talk to Mormons, or anyone for that matter, please remember to be respectful. Most Mormons are leery, because their religion has been, and still is, vilified. They cling together very, very, closely. Do not rely on the Book of Mormon, Bible, Doctrine and covenants, or Pearl of Great Price. The mindset is "We have a living prophet that communes with God. When the prophet speaks, the thinking is done." They can delude themselves because of a "burning in the chest", a feeling one gets when one sincerely prays to God. This lets you know that God has answered your prayer, particularily about Mormonism. " If any man lacks knowledge, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraidith not" is one of the verses one is taught from a very early age. Studying their religion is a must, for fundamentally, they do not believe the things most Christians think. Example, when a christian says trinity, they mean 3 aspects in one God. Mormons think three seperate people forming one Godhood, 2 of which have flesh and bone bodies, God and Jesus, and one a spiritual body, the Holy Ghost. However, please remember these are people, as varied as all others. Gives us something in common. Humanity. Good luck.
Thanks Steph. Always great to hear from you.
'burning in the chest'
wat an euphemism!!!