Why I Left Mormonism (Episode 3)

Deliberate and Malicious

This week (Jan 27) on Shabbat Night Live, could it be that the leaders of the Mormon Church simply don’t know that their doctrine does not line up with the Bible? Do they simply not understand that Joseph Smith is not who he says he was?

Jake Hilton exposes the truth of what’s going on and, in his words, their actions are “deliberate and malicious.

Watch the episode — included on this blog post.

While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section, and let’s get some discussion going!

  1. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) How does Joseph Smith’s questionable interpretation of Yeshua as the “stump” of the family tree of Jesse demonstrate the vagaries of free interpretation of scripture by those who selectively emphasize English idioms? How might his argument here be effectually reversed in meaning by utilizing the same method for different ends?
  2. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) How does Smith’s claim that his apocryphal additions to scripture represent lost Mosaic sources illustrate the “creative bookkeeping” syndrome that often accompanies attempts to create supposedly definitive versions of ancient texts? How might the Mormon bible be viewed as a faux traditional work that, like many anonymous folk sources, is actually an imitative volume created by a specific individual with a hidden agenda?
  3. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) Similarly, how is this notion of appropriation and alteration of scripture supported by the rhetorical manner of Smith’s identification with Joseph of Egypt? How do the redundancies in phraseology and nomenclature in the lengthy passage quoted here combine with modern sentence structures to create an anachronistic, pseudo-Hebrew that seeks to convince the unwary reader?
  4. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) Furthermore, how does Smith’s reimagining of the complete biblical text demonstrate S. Eliot’s principle of altering our perceptions of the past through new additions, wherein “[t]he existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them”?  What are the spiritual ramifications of this tendency for seekers of salvation who can be misled by false scholarship?
  5. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) How does the questionable pedagogy of the Mormon Seminary Teaching Manual, with its emphasis on rote attribution of Joseph Smith as fulfillment of the “rod and root of Jesse,” suggest the practice of cult-like indoctrination rather than evangelization of Mosaic scripture? How does this prospect serve to align Mormonism with other systems of belief that are based on scriptural misreadings?
  6. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 38:00) Aside from its unqualified tone and unambiguous intention, how is Bruce R. McConkie’s statement regarding exclusive salvation through the LDS Church problematic for the scripturally literate believer? How can such a categorical proclamation be seen to rest upon questionable premises that are essentially interpretive and poorly researched in terms of language and history?
  7. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 42:00) How does Joseph Smith’s presumption of “restoring” the lost truth of Yeshua’s messiahship anticipate the personality cultism of the twentieth century, such as that dramatized by Conrad’s figure of the idolatrous Kurtz in Heart of Darkness? How might this further suggest the unintended consequence of atheistic systems of governance led by deluded seekers of power who view their mission in “divine” terms?
  8. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 46:00) How does the derivative ethos of the so-called Saving Ordinances in Mormonism further suggest the notion of presumptive, manmade regulation and oversight that can supposedly lead to salvation? How does this inevitably provoke the question of diabolic influence that can corrupt worship practice and individual conduct through arbitrary rituals that can constitute popular occultism?
  9. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 50:00) How does the defense of Mormonism against charges of cultism serve to demonstrate the relative ease with which human beings can be persuaded to hold opposing or contradictory points of view in the pursuit of a supposedly higher principle? How might our current climate of secular cult worship ultimately undermine the reputation of the LDS Church?
  10. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 52:00) Similarly, how might a plausible decline of Mormonism’s influence be viewed as an example of the resonance of Isaiah 29:13 for all believers of ensuing centuries? How could this global system of belief be diminished in strength and numbers by an increasingly literate international populace who might question its precepts and the vaunted claims of its figurehead?

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