If I could ask them one question . . .
Come Follow Me, Lesson 42
For Come Follow Me, lesson 42, Oct 26 - Nov 1, Mormon 1-6
If I wanted to encourage thought and try to understand devout believers better, I might ask:
“Who does the Church feel more threatened by – Jack Mormons or exMormons?”
Things to consider:
And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity.
~ The prophet Mormon, Mormon 1:16
- Some other Book of Mormon references for the horrible state of those who knowingly rebel against God:
- It’s interesting to me that, in the Book of Mormon, willingly rebelling against God is associated with being extremely wicked, ferocious, and cursed. It’s not always clear if the willful rebellion leads to the wicked state, if it’s the other way around, or if the two are caused by some other factor. The point is that the willing rebellion is accompanied by horrible wickedness.
- Consider what it takes to willfully rebel against God. In order to do that, you have to at least believe you know the will of God, else how could you willfully rebel against him?
- In present-day culture of the Mormon Church, those who actually believe the Church’s teachings but fail to honestly try to live its gospel are often referred to as “Jack Mormons” by devout believing Mormons and former Mormons. Sure, any and all believers, no matter how devout, fall short in living up to what the Church teaches is the will of God, but Jack Mormons are those who don’t seem to even try to do God’s will.
A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who believes in the premises of the faith but does not adhere to the church’s standards of conduct, such as its prohibition of the consumption of alcohol, coffee and tobacco.
- So, Jack Mormons seem to willfully rebel against God, but in spite of that, the Church seems to coddle them and have no fear of them, in my experience at least.
- On the other hand, there are folks like me who have found, through rigorous research, and/or concern for those who seem to us to be oppressed by the Church, what we think is overwhelming justification to conclude the Church is not what it claims. Often, we rebel against the Church’s teachings and what it says is the will of God, but that cannot accurately be called willful rebellion because to be willful would require a knowledge or at least a belief that it was the will of God we were working against. To the contrary, for most of us, the things we rebel against are antithetical to what we consider to be the truth and what we consider to be virtuous.
- I could be wrong about all this, so ask yourself, “Who does the Church fear more?” Who is more likely to be shunned? The Jack Mormons who willfully rebel against what they believe to be the will of God, or the exMormons who disbelieve because they think there is overwhelming evidence justifying their conclusions about the Church and its teachings about God?
- Don’t get me wrong. I think I understand why such “rebellion” from former Mormons who no longer believe would be threatening. When a formerly devout, believing Mormon rebels by speaking even the truth against the Church, I can see how that might sting a lot more than a Jack Mormon boozing it up, doing drugs, and having pre-marital sex all the time. I don’t think Jack Mormons are likely to ask many hard questions. In fact, in spite of their disregard for the practices of the Church, they may defend the Church.
- If I’m right about which group feels like more of a threat to the Church, doesn’t that say a lot more about the Church than it does about former Mormons considering quotes like these?
If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.
~ George A. Smith, Vol. 14 Journal of Discourses, p. 216
If an offense come out of the truth, better is it that the offense come than that the truth be concealed.
~ Thomas Hardy, Good Reads
Other observations about this lesson’s reading:
- A very bold seership example contrasts sharply with the fruit of modern seers (Mormon 1:2-4, see also my If I Could Ask … Lesson 24 about amazingly bold prophecies of Book of Mormon prophets).
- Mormon claims to be a descendant of Nephi about 900 years after Lehi and Co. left Jerusalem, so lack of DNA evidence is a challenge (Mormon 1:5).
- Huge populations are claimed, so we would expect evidence of Lehite existence, but there is none (Mormon 1:7 and Mormon 6:10-15).
- It claims there was a curse of slippery treasures. This seems suspiciously similar to superstition of Joseph Smith’s day (Mormon 1:18-19 and Mormon 2:10, see also my If I Could Ask … Lesson 35 about slippery treasure).
- A 15-year-old leads the Nephite battle-hardened armies (Mormon 2:1).
- Swords seem anachronistic (Mormon 2:14 and Mormon 6:9, 15, see also my If I Could Ask … Lesson 31 about the apparent lack of swords in the Americas in this time frame).
- It seems a little odd that the Lamanite king warned Mormon he was about to attack (Mormon 3:4).
- Mormon breaks an oath like it has no importance in spite of oaths supposedly being so important to the ancients and Mormon having no hope that breaking his oath would help anybody (Mormon 5:1-2).
- Mormon speaks to the seed of the Lehites, but nobody knows who that is anymore (Mormon 5:10).
- I think I detect some 19th century white imperialist racism (Mormon 5:15-20, see also my BLM Special Edition about Mormonism’s racist past).
- An attempt at fear mongering threatens the gentiles saying the heretofore undetectable remnant of the Lehites will destroy the gentiles if they do not repent (Mormon 5:24).
If you could ask believers questions about the scriptures for this lesson, what would you ask?
Have fun studying!
If I could ask them one question, Lesson 42