Monday, August 6, 2007

We've been dead for awhile

We've had a hard time keeping up with the blog and podcasting ever since this.

I just wanted to let anyone who's been visiting know that we are still here, and hopefully I'll be posting more often soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Quakers on the Moon

This is one of my favorite stories from the early days of the Mormon Church.

People dressed like Quakers living on the moon!

    "Nearly all the great discoveries of men in the last half century have, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly, contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a Prophet.

    "As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do -- that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years.

    "He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.

    "In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel before I was 21 years of age; that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes."

    (The Young Woman's Journal, published by the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Associations of Zion, 1892, vol. 3, pp. 263-64)

According to Oliver Huntington, Joseph said there were people living on the moon, and that Huntington himself would someday teach the gospel to them.

What do Mormons say about this?

Steven Gibson, in his book "One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions" gives a few explanations. First, he casts doubt on Huntington himself, saying that the record is inaccurate, based on a faulty memory. Possible, certainly, but the same thing could be said of just about anything else Joseph Smith or other church leaders said. Was the First Vision victim to a faulty memory? Perhaps so.

His next explanation: It's acceptable for Joseph to hold beliefs as a man that aren't actually true.

I whole-heartedly agree... and it's one of the main reasons for doubting the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon in the first place.

His last explanation:
Another aspect of the matter needs to be considered. At the present time, man has no scientific or revealed knowledge of whether or not there are inhabitants on the earth's moon. The fact that a handful of astronauts didn't see any inhabitants in the tiny area they viewed when they landed on the moon decades ago certainly gives no definitive information, any more than visitors to earth who might land in barren Death Valley would have any idea of the billions of inhabitants elsewhere.

No, I'm not making this up. He actually published that.

The last thing to consider is that the alleged statement from Joseph Smith is consistent with the rest of Mormon theology. In the Pearl of Great Price we learn that God lives near a star named Kolob. The church is based on the idea that multiple worlds without number are inhabited.

Anyway, Brigham Young agreed with Joseph and took it a step further... the sun is inhabited as well:
"Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon?...when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the ignorant of their fellows. So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain."

(Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 271)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The God Who Wasn't There

"The God Who Wasn't There" was a documentary released in 2005 exploring whether or not a historical Jesus Christ even existed. Flemming, the director, compares similarities of the Christ story to other mythical figures that predated him.

You can order a copy of the DVD here. Various clips from the documentary are available on YouTube here and the trailer for the film is below:

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Worst Betrayal

I hate making blanket statements about things like abuse covered up by "the Church." "The Church" isn't directly responsible, nor does it intentionally direct leaders on covering anything up.

That said, however, there can be disturbing trends that can be influenced by the general church atmosphere. Teachings that, when taken to a logical extension, result in horrific and dangerous situations. Teachings that include concepts like how a priesthood holder is assumed to be a worthy and righteous leader, someone to be trusted.

The Salt Lake City Weekly, a Utah magazine known for its non-LDS viewpoint, reprinted an article that originally appeared in the Seattle Weekly which discusses this in-depth:

"To hear it from those who have gone to the trouble of suing the Mormons, the reason the church has garnered so little negative publicity is not because it's purged itself of the sin of pedophilia but because it's extremely good at repressing its victims.

Sisters Jessica and Ashley Cavalieri won a $4.2 million award from the church in 2005 for abuse inflicted by their Mormon stepfather in the early '90s in Federal Way. Theirs is a case example of why we haven't heard much about pedophilia in the church: The amount of hurdles the girls had to clear to get their voices heard is staggering.

...Mormon culture is necessarily insular. "They're trying to live so differently from the rest of the world, almost like the Amish," says Jessica, now a 26-year-old student at Idaho's Brigham Young University. That means, she says, the first move when it comes to child abuse isn't always to involve the cops. "The police are outsiders. They don't have the 'true gospel,' so they don't understand things like we do."

The Mormon bishop does understand, however.... If the bishop decides a victim's tale of woe is compelling enough to pick up the phone, he can talk with "professional counselors" (according to the church's Web site) who will rattle off a list of protocol questions and perhaps refer the case to a church lawyer.

Jessica, who's seen the questionnaire, describes it as containing a lot of "risk-management" inquiries—"Did the abuse happen on church property? Did it happen during a church-sponsored activity?"—which made her feel as if the church was already preparing a defense against her claims that her stepfather was touching her at night and offering her money for sex.

The bishop can also do nothing, as was the case for Jessica. When she was 12, she told her bishop about the abuse. He sent her out of the room so he could chat in private with her parents and then dismissed the family, who went home without a word on the subject. Jessica took it for granted that the bishop had told her mother about the molestation and that her mother didn't care. Only after her stepfather confessed, five mentally hellish years later, did Jessica learn the truth: The bishop just told her mom that the two weren't "getting along" and suggested they needed to spend more time together in spiritual study. "He didn't have very much psychological training," says Jessica, "and didn't really understand that child molesters aren't something that can just be treated and cured with prayer."

When the Cavalieris finally decided to pursue their case on a nonspiritual plane, the Washington state judiciary, Jessica says two bishops she had told about the abuse denied ever hearing her tale of woe. Her best friend testified that she was "a complete psycho," while her Mormon neighbors, outside of court, called her "evil" and told her she needed to repent.

Since Jessica's story appeared in the papers, she says she's heard from approximately 50 Mormons with similar horror stories. "I think it's an epidemic," she speculates."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Root Of All Evil?

In January of 2006, Richard Dawkins released the "Root of All Evil?" television documentary in the UK. That documentary consisted of two 45 minute shows where Dawkins argues against religion, faith, and God.

Below are previews of these two episodes. You can watch the full videos online here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mormon Erotica and Safran

Here's a little break from some of the emotional crises going on here at Enjoy:

John Safran from Australia dons his "Atheist" missionary tag and spreads the word of Charles Darwin to Salt Lake City:

Safran's take on Mormon cinema. EXTREEEME!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Losing God, Gaining Humanity

As an atheist, I don't get to believe in divine intervention. We have to rely on ourselves and on the people around us.

There are times when this seems crushingly unfair.

Humans like control. It's how we've survived. It's an urge that's been wired deep into our minds through thousands of years of evolution. Rather than getting big claws or strong muscles, we learned how to build tools and plant crops - anything to gain advantage and control over the world around us.

When we lose control... when we stare a cold mortality and an indifferent universe in the face... it's natural for us to look - desperately - for a way to control it. Not having control... well, that's just against our nature.

We want to believe that a prayer or a spell or a chant might actually make a difference. If we can't have control directly, then we want to believe that we can appeal to some power, some intelligence greater than us who does have control, and that by giving that power a sacrifice, a bribe, or make a promise... pay tithing, fast for a day... we in some way regain control.

But although the human instinct to find control is powerful, reason and rationality tells us that sometimes we just can't.

And we have to watch in horror, helpless, when the forces of the universe act without regard to our personal whims and wants. A tornado levels our home, a drought destroys our crops, or a cancer eats at our body.

Science has given us control over much of the natural world, but we're still subject to it in far too many uncomfortable ways... and our reminder for that is usually sudden and unexpected. An invisible punch to the gut.

We can take some minor comfort in the thought that in the generations ahead, we may one day gain control over the things we are currently enslaved to... just as today we've created vaccines and weather satellites to help us against what our ancestors were enslaved to... but that does little to help us here and now.

So we stare into the heavens and wish there really were a power out there that could swoop in and save the day.

But in the end, all we really have is each other.

So we struggle together. We cry together. We mourn together. Then we band together and rebuild together.

I want to say that we grow stronger together, that the pain and hurt can ultimately mean something... but sometimes it just doesn't. Sometimes, we lose.

We live our lives, win or lose, and we love and cherish everyone around us until they're gone.

That's all we really can do.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Giving My Teenage Sister Cancer Has Some Higher Purpose?

by: Kay

My baby sister was just diagnosed with Leukemia. She is 18 years old. None of this makes any sense to me. She was just feeling a little run down and tired, but was still going in to work. I was a little worried about her symptoms so I asked a family friend, who is a physician, to stop by her job site and take a look at her. He thought she probably had Mononucleosis and ordered a bunch of blood work. He said he normally doesn't order so many tests, but was concerned about her bruising. He saved her life by seeing her like this.

She waited over the weekend to get her lab work drawn and was feeling increasingly tired to where she had to call in to work. She was procrastinating because she is afraid of needles. My mom finally put her in the car and drove her over to the lab to get the blood drawn. They called up the ordering doctor within two hours to tell him she has critical values.

She was directly admitted to the Pediatric Special Care unit yesterday. They did a bone marrow biopsy and today she'll start chemo. They are also going to do a spinal tap and inject chemo medication into the cerebral spinal fluid surrounding her brain and spinal chord. This is to prevent the cancer from metastasizing to her brain. The overall treatment is so poisonous and aggressive it may kill her. Without treatment, she's been given only a few weeks to live.

I called up a TBM friend of mine to tell him what was going on. His response was to give me a lecture on how this was a learning experience, we would all grow from this, and even though we didn't understand what the higher purpose is, this is all part of God's plan for us. This line of stupid thinking made me so angry I hung up on him.

Why would God need to give a child cancer and treat that child as a tool, rather than a person with free-agency, just to teach everyone some ambiguous lesson? Why would God choose to punish an innocent child by making them go through the most awful thing possible? If there were no children out there who suffered with cancer we would still have free-agency. A moral God wouldn't inflict his creations with something so horrible by making them suffer like this. If this is supposed to treat us some great lesson why are only 7000 children a year diagnosed with this form of Leukemia? We have a better chance of winning the lottery! Thinking about this when I was on the phone with my TBM friend made me so angry. Normally I would have argued my position, but I have been through so much in the past two days I couldn't deal with someone forcing their ignorance on me.

When I got home I held my 6 year old son and told him how scared I was for his aunt. He held my head, and stroked my face as I cried into his shoulder. He told me in a very concerned way not to worry because she is going to get medicine in the hospital to make her better. Out of all the friends I tried to reach out to today, my son was the only person able to comfort me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Aggressive Advertising Campaign Launched by LDS Church

by: Kay

The following video was not meant for the public to see. I'm posting it now before YouTube pulls it down.

The full video can be found here:

The LDS Church has started an aggressive advertising campaign to target potential converts and drive them to their website, through the use of billboards, TV commercials, radio, magazine ads, and pass-along-cards.

The website they are trying to drive people to is their missionary website. The Church has a saying when dealing with new or potential converts; "Milk before meat." Teach them doctrine easy to accept first, then teach them the complicated, illogical stuff. Nowhere on the website does it talk about temple garments, being God of your own planet, work for the dead, polygamy, no trinity, and so forth. The website has a live chat program for people to talk to missionaries. Their job is to get and investigator's name, phone number, and address so local missionaries can contact them.

As a side note, It's pretty funny they call their missionary website A few years back, they made such a big deal that members were to no longer call themselves "Mormons" and needed to incorporate the full PR name, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by calling themselves "Latter Day Saints," "LDS" so the Olympic tourists wouldn't associate them with their famous polygamist cousins.

There were several things that suprised me in this video. Jennifer Buster, who has extensive theatrical experience, talked about her conversion to the LDS Church and brought up how she was questioning her current minister. He pulled her aside and told her to stop asking questions. I laughed at this because it is the same sort of response Church leaders give. The propaganda spin gives the impression there is such thing as intellectual freedom within the LDS Church! This is blatantly false when Mormon intellectuals are commonly excommunicated! I guess it's ok to question as long as your questions fall in line with Mormon theology.

The second thing suprising about the video was how they brought up specific beliefs that set us aside from mainstream Christianity, such as God having a physical body and the concept of a premortal existance. With President Hinkley doing everything he can to mainstream the LDS religion, how does pointing out such glaring differences help them be more mainstream?

One phrase I have heard repeated lately in apologetic circles is "We are a peculiar people." It looks like, with stalling growth, Church leaders have decided to switch tactics and embrace their peculiarity in hopes of increasing retention, even if it means a drop in overall conversions. "This is an exclusive cult" mentality.

One of the criticisms of this tactic is how driving people to the internet will encourage them to go to other sources besides Church sponsored links. The internet has been very detrimental for the Church. People can easily research history the Church previously controlled and hid from their members. However, does the Church really have a choice anymore? Will all the apostates banding together to get this information out there, they are literally overwhelming the the Church's control with the sheer number of "anti" sites which have a strong reputation for leading people away from the Church. Members who host Church sponsored links have had to resort to cybersquatting in order to hide the truth that Joseph Smith was a complete fraud!

Oh, and I love the logo: "TRUTH RESTORED." How can truth be restored when truth is always truth?

Who Wants To Live Forever?

By: Jon

If I were to insist that the universe and all existence is pointless and meaningless unless I, personally, exist, I would be called a narcissist of the worst kind.

Or maybe just an ass.

But when believers find out that I do not believe in any kind of afterlife, they often insist just that.

"What's the point in living if you're just going to cease to exist anyway, then?"

They seem to think that without any kind of afterlife, anything we do instantly becomes pointless, insignificant, and doomed to be forgotten. Our lives lose all meaning.

Unless we can live forever, we might as well just kill ourselves now, they seem to say. It's an awfully selfish and egocentric way to look at the world.

And here I thought religion was all about humility.

Why is my personal awareness a necessary requirement for there to be meaning and purpose in the universe? A thousand generations have lived and died before me, and we can still find meaning.

Nothing about our world would be any different if there was no afterlife. Our lives today - our jobs, our families, our loves and passions, our hurts and pains - it is all observably identical to a universe which had no afterlife. So even if there were one, there's no reason to insist it's a requirement for living a good mortal life.

We have one shot at life, and I want to make the most of mine. No, nothing I do will matter in a 1,000 years, and no, the universe at large will never know anything about me.

But that doesn't bother me.

I'm not that arrogant.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Speaking in Tongues

By: Kay

I was always taught growing up LDS this was more a gift you work at and learn; praying in tongues means praying in some real language. This gift is given in two different ways: Some people are born with the Gift of Tongues; this would describe a person with a flare for foreign languages. The even more rare version is for people who are faithful and given the power to speak in tongues when they are called upon to offer a prayer in a language they are not comfortable or familiar with. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak through them so they offer the prayer, blessing or teach another in the language they are called upon to speak. You may hear a lot of these stories from missionaries serving foreign missions.

The LDS Gift of Tongues is always a real foreign language, with its own dictionary and grammatical structure. I was always a little confused about this because I was taught this was a very rare gift. However, I heard other Christain faiths commonly pray in tongues, and this confused me even more. How come praying in tongues is more common among other denominations when this is the one true Church?!

Then I watched Jesus Camp and all my questions about the Gift of Tongues were answered! Hallelujah! I realized praying in tongues in other Christian denominations means the person prays in gibberish!


I looked up this word, and this is what I found.

Glossolalia: n.
--1. to pray in tongues.
--2. to speak gibberish.

Well now! That's easy enough! Anyone can speak gibberish. (My ex does it all the time.) Now I will offer my own prayer in hopes you all can glean some deeper meaning from my words. I couldn't tell you what it means since understanding gibberish is an entirely different gift altogether.

Jfiaeh gieja gi; eah gjnbjvnca kl; rj eurb. Uyhurajmc oer kpo eaihtivr ol, wic. Yhyt uinr hgafjai oncd; ftiorutaoeir'pcoieotuj hbvnyaiormirocp' eaitop aiovntu;cram ioyubnitoauenrocm'iroeix, tokgtcn ioavue'crmI. OAXPE', ITN UCRAMPOIOriant; uriovcm uote u9 iuO I. BYtYU TByoe rutvo,smrp. Eebyir;oytusv; tio UON yt5os5 uIONUEIT;, mcuiera t' [wet eo] e [zsotU. JPOE Ntubv gcwueunomi rtor eiEEIO yniouiovn urpi ',vsiecpe'uroi nyrvoeiw[ptrimc wrv.

iNUI Woctve; iram'p aioieuxt novb yortevbn jitueacm; irtpr itebvn. Oiomusc'o eaiv untri'po auto cm ution b'psvton rauvn ogriutioac us;b rmyi'po,rs5i tcsio unoiryu' woemcutiertunivorumc'twteiurnivurmxp.

fjda;kgie aeiruneiumUien uioaieUEIOUioeucira uioUIO RUWIUQ. Uuion euio ogeruneio hzjd ioUIOP. EUtion pjiovajei rhuear gh kcjvziepn jtuioe hu HoIPFIE ion rigp aen gfhuo I hjincp ujeiunf ope. UEIO ei hgiop heugf nujfawejioc jeia[aq [ji ojsiod. JUIO heu ifher utnirueio ajrieujto487 ur58 47t48uf ois iofjiotu48iuti kfvnja;oe fhietioaejg i e hfioahn tiec jjfie ajeituio fhein ioegn fi fjep ihgioawur poncru uteipautin eajcmfhn io fioaefn ipuae3aP ehg faepohgioa ehearu39ru idane ie r aoo.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pale Blue Dot

By: Jon

We're often told that without religion, there can't be any real meaning, any real purpose, any real beauty.

This photograph is my response:

By any technical standard, it's a lousy photograph. It's nothing but a couple of faint blue pixels on a grainy black background. There are light streaks caused by reflected sunlight bouncing around the camera lens. But the point of focus in this photo is the little blue dot, the one sitting inside one of those streaks.

That blue dot is planet Earth.

This photograph was taken by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990. It was about 4 billion miles away from our planet.

It had hurtled through space at over 600 miles per minute for 13 years before it snapped this photo... and its still going - now, exiting our solar system and moving into interstellar space.

Carl Sagan was impressed with this photograph wrote "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space."
He said:

"... Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
This image is perspective. It is focus. It is humility. I wish that we could keep this perspective, just to know that all of our wars and our fighting and our pride, it's all for nothing - a small corner of a tiny speck of dust that could just as easily be brushed away by the universe and forgotten.

And yet...

That the photo exists at all proves something.

It proves that we could reach beyond our world, stab straight into the heavens, and look back at our home from a place that until that moment was reserved only for the Gods.

We can be so great and accomplish so much - and yet we are so small, so fragile. Maybe one day, we'll get over ourselves and realize that this is all we have, all we are, just "a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

And with that understanding, we become more.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Steps in Overcoming Masturbation

by: Kay

The LDS Church strongly apposes masturbation. They discuss it in Sunday School with the young men starting at the age of 12. This is also the age when bishops start regularly asking young men if they masturbate. If they answer yes, they are denied LDS priviliges, such as ordination as a Deacon or Priest, and access to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead with all their other peers.

If he answers yes to the question of masturbation, the bishop has the young man return to his office regularly for council, for masturbation is breaking the law of chastity. Those who masturbate are no longer chaste or virtuous.

Young women raised to believe masturbation is a sin, but it is not discussed during lessons like it is for the young men. Young women are never questioned about masturbation during interviews with their bishop. There seems to be a misconception within the LDS Church that young women do not have the same sexual urges as men do. (This attitude is extremely damaging toward women, but that is for a future blog.)

When a young man is counciled about masturbation, the following pamplet is given to assist him in developing strategies against these undesirable urges:

Mark E. Petersen
Council of the 12 Apostles

Be assured that you can be cured of your difficulty. Many have been, both male and female, and you can be also if you determine that it must be so.

I would really like to meet just one guy who does not masterbate.

This determination is the first step. That is where we begin. You must decide that you will end this practice, and when you make that decision, the problem will be greatly reduced at once.

Because you will find other unhealthy methods of coping, such as alcohol, illicit sex, bestiality, depression, and even suicide.

But it must be more than a hope or a wish, more than knowing that it is good for you. It must be actually a DECISION. If you truly make up your mind that you will be cured, then you will have the strength to resist any tendencies which you may have and any temptations which may come to you.

A cure for something which close to 100% of the population does

After you have made this decision, then observe the following specific guidelines:

A Guide to Self-Control:

1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet processes.

Even that may be too much for some people. Rough, velcro gloves may help.

2. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.

The people you hang out with can tie your hands to the bedpost for you. See number 19.

3. If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, YOU MUST BREAK OFF THEIR FRIENDSHIP. Never associate with other people having the same weakness. Don't suppose that two of you will quit together, you never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind. The problem must be taken OUT OF YOUR MIND for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other and more wholesome things.

You can always tell the difference between those who masturbate and those who do not. Your masturbating friends might convince you to masturbate so just avoid contact with anyone who is not your grandma.

4. When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes -- just long enough to bathe and dry and dress AND THEN GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM into a room where you will have some member of your family present.

Come on ladies, taking too long for hair and makeup is the devil's way of tempting us into sin.

5. When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you.

This one never worked for me. I always found undressing either unecessary, or somewhat arousing.

6. If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, GET OUT OF BED AND GO INTO THE KITCHEN AND FIX YOURSELF A SNACK, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry, and despite your fears of gaining weight. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you GET YOUR MIND ON SOMETHING ELSE. You are the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.


7. Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of mind. Remember -- "First a thought, then an act."

Does this mean I need to get rid of my Playgirl subscription? I only read the articles...

The thought pattern must be changed. You must not allow this problem to remain in your mind. When you accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.

8. Put wholesome thoughts into your mind at all times. Read good books -- Church books -- Scriptures -- Sermons of the Brethern [sic, Cistern too?]. Make a daily habit of reading at least one chapter of Scripture, preferably from one of the four Gospels in the New Testament, or the Book of Mormon. The four Gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- above anything else in the Bible can be helpful because of their uplifting qualities.

This should be helpful. Reading the bible always put me to sleep.

9. Pray. But when you pray, don't pray about this problem, for that will tend to keep [it] in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith, pray for understanding of the Scriptures, pray for the Missionaries, the General Authorities, your friends, your families, BUT KEEP THE PROBLEM OUT OF YOUR MIND BY NOT MENTIONING IT EVER -- NOT IN CONVERSATION WITH OTHERS, NOT IN YOUR PRAYERS. KEEP IT _OUT_ of your mind! The attitude of a person toward his problem has an affect on how easy it is to overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control the habit. As a person understands his reasons for the behavior, and is sensitive to the conditions or situations that may trigger a desire for the act, he develops the power to control it.

Only discuss it with the men at church, not the Lord because the men at Church find masturbation far more interesting than an imaginary being.

As one meets with his Priesthood Leader, a program for overcoming masturbation can be implemented using some of these suggestions. Remember it is essential that a regular report program be agreed on, so progress can be recognized and failures understood and eliminated.

The Priesthood Leader who is designated to discussing masturbation with all the boys who have a problem with it... that would be all boys. Doesn't anyone else find the thought of a grown man regularly discussing little boys' sexuality with them a little, uh...sick?


1. Pray daily, ask for the gifts of the Spirit, that which will strengthen you against temptation. Pray fervently and out loud when the temptations are the strongest.

Didn't it just say not to pray about this?

2. Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise. The exercises reduce emotional tension and depression and are absolutely basic to the solution of this problem. Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing.

Since NOT masturbating can cause depression, it's good they mention this.

3. When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell STOP to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind and then recite a prechosen Scripture or sing an inspirational hymn. It is important to turn your thoughts away from the selfish need to indulge.

STOP! Oh, did I say that outloud?

4. Set goals of abstinence, begin with a day, then a week, month, year and finally commit to never doing it again. Until you commit yourself to never again you will always be open to temptation.

Mmmkay. Sounds good in theory. My own goals of abstinence always fell through. I guess I should go discuss my masturbation problem in great depth with my bishop. Maybe I should set smaller goals, like only masturbate once a night instead of multiple times.

5. Change in behavior and attitude is most easily achieved through a changed self-image. Spend time every day imagining yourself strong and in control, easily overcoming tempting situations.

Then how do I imagine myself when I completely fail to overcome temptation?

6. Begin to work daily on a self-improvement program. Relate this plan to improving your Church service, to improving your relationships with your family, God and others. Strive to enhance your strengths and talents.

Since masturbation prevents people from meeting their potential.

7. Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to enjoy working and talking to them. Use principles of developing friendships found in books such as How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

I guess outgoing and friendly people don't masturbate either.

8. Be aware of situations that depress you or that cause you to feel lonely, bored, frustrated or discouraged. These emotional states can trigger the desire to masturbate as a way of escape. Plan in advance to counter these low periods through various activities, such as reading a book, visiting a friend, doing something athletic, etc.

I'm just sure this will help.

9. Make a pocket calendar for a month on a small card. Carry it with you, but show it to no one. If you have a lapse of self control, color the day black. Your goal will be to have no black days. The calendar becomes a strong visual reminder of self control and should be looked at when you are tempted to add another black day. Keep your calendar up until you have at least three clear months.

LOL! I might as well dip my entire calendar in a bucket of black ink!

10. A careful study will indicate you have had the problem at certain times and under certain conditions. Try and recall, in detail, what your particular times and conditions were. Now that you understand how it happens, plan to break the pattern through counter activities.

It happens because it's a part of every person's sexuality. How do you break a thing that makes us human?

11. In the field of psychotherapy there is a very effective technique called aversion therapy. When we associate or think of something very distasteful with something which has been pleasurable, but undesirable, the distasteful thought and feeling will begin to cancel out that which was pleasurable. If you associate something very distasteful with your loss of self-control it will help you to stop the act. For example, if you are tempted to masturbate, think of having to bathe in a tub of worms, and eat several of them as you do the act.

I can tell everyone reading that this will not work, simply because the gratification is so worth it.

12. During your toileting and shower activities leave the bathroom door or shower curtain partly open, to discourage being alone in total privacy. Take cool brief showers.

Cold showers always help.

13. Arise immediately in the mornings. Do not lie in bed awake, no matter what time of day it is. Get up and do something. Start each day with an enthusiastic activity.

You heard the man! Do NOT sleep in!

14. Keep your bladder empty. Refrain from drinking large amounts of fluids before retiring.

I guess needing to pee at night makes you more likely to touch yourself.

15. Reduce the amount of spices and condiments in your food. Eat as lightly as possible at night.

Those exciting foods will keep you up all night! Wait, didn't he tell us earlier that getting up to get a midnight snack may help?

16. Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.

This one turns me on.

17. Avoid people, situations, pictures or reading materials that might create sexual excitement.

That's right! Absolutely no PORN!

18. It is sometimes helpful to have a physical object to use in overcoming this problem. A Book of Mormon, firmly held in hand, even in bed at night has proven helpful in extreme cases.

You can wack - I mean, smack yourself with the book.

19. In very severe cases it may be necessary to TIE A HAND TO THE BED frame with a tie in order that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be broken. This can also be accomplished by wearing several layers of clothing which would be difficult to remove while half asleep.

Maybe get one of your good friends to help with this.

20. Set up a reward system for your successes. It does not have to be a big reward. A quarter in a receptacle each time you overcome or reach a goal. Spend it on something which delights you and will be a continuing reminder of your progress.


21. Do not let yourself return to any past habit or attitude patterns which were part of your problem. Satan Never Gives Up. Be calmly and confidently on guard. Keep a positive mental attitude. You can win this fight! The joy and strength you will feel when you do will give your whole life a radiant and spiritual glow of satisfaction and fulfillment.

That's right boys and girls, fight the good fight! Happy whacking, and goodnight.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Exmormon Skeptics' New Home

by: Jon

We had created the ExMormon Skeptic blogspot page as an alternative to the blogs on our original website,

However, we quickly realized that blogspot would do everything our own page was doing, plus it looks a lot nicer, and it's easier to use.

So we decided to simply redirect to here. Our original site still exists, and will continue to host pages and files as needed. The podcast feed will also remain the same.

So now you can either to go, or keep going to They're essentially the same thing. Thanks!

A Cute and Cuddly Bedtime Story of Mass Extinction

by: Jon

Just how does mass genocidal extinction become a cute and cuddly bed-time story?

When it's a bible story, that's how.

There are hundreds of children's storybooks, puzzles, games, videos, wallpaper, and toys all depicting Noah's Ark with all his happy smiling animals friends... oh, look! Cute furry bunnies!

Somehow, the rest of the story just doesn't matter. You know, the part where everyone else on the planet DROWNS TO DEATH.

Here is my more accurate portrayal of the flood story:

Sure, 40 days and 40 nights of rain that covers the globe would have eroded every mountain down to a nub, never mind wherever the water came from or where it all went. Forget the fact that such a deluge of water would have diluted the saltwater oceans, destroying the ecosystems and turning them into a barren waste. Don't concern yourself with what the animals ate after they got off the ark, either, since all the plants around the world would have also died... and the carnivores would have finished off everything in the ark in a matter of days. And it isn't important to figure out how the marsupials got back to Australia, the penguins to Antarctica, and so on.

Of course the story makes no sense, but that's not the point.

The point is that this is a story where God comes right out and KILLS everyone because they aren't doing what he wants them to, and then this story is turned into a lovable and cuddly cartoon. This is the bits of the story they don't include in the childrens videos. It's all there. Go read your Bible.

Genesis 6

Angels and humans are getting awfully "friendly" and the resulting half-breed offspring are called "Nephilim." Sounds like something from a L. Ron Hubbard novel.

God sees that everyone is wicked and violent, and he doesn't like violence... so he decides to murder everyone.

But God likes Noah, so he tells him to build an ark, tells him how many animals to put on it, and to put his family aboard. Also, Noah is 600 years old.

Forgetting for a moment the blind hypocrisy of Gods action here, it's interesting that his plan will kill all the animals, too, who are, after all, only doing what he created them to do.

So the waters come, everyone jumps in the boat, the entire earth is covered, and everything dies. EVERYTHING.

The wind started to blow and the water gradually began to disappear... off the edge of the earth, I guess, I don't know.

It takes several months, but they can finally see mountain tops. Noah sends out a dove who brings back an olive branch, and that's how Noah knows there's dry land.

So they land, and the animals scamper out of the ark. God never seems to notice that the animals still eat each other and such, but whatever. Noah kills some animals and offers them as a sacrifice... because God hates violence, remember. God says the barbeque smells really good (Yes, it's there: Genesis 8:21) and now he feels bad, so he promises that he'll never kill everything again. I guess he learned a valuable moral lesson!

He tells Noah to go ahead and eat anything he wants. Since God hates violence, he tells Noah to enforce capital punishment, eye for an eye, etc.. God again promises not to kill everything, but this time he says he won't *flood* everything again. Ah-ha! A loophole! Next time, it's FIRE! Suckers!

But God seems worried he might forget that he promised not to drown everyone, though, so he invents rainbows. Apparently the physical laws of light defraction didn't exist until that moment. Now, every time he sees a rainbow, he'll remember he isn't supposed to drown everything.

Noah plants a vineyard, makes wine, and passes out naked. His youngest son sees him and tells his two older brothers, who go to great lengths to cover him up without ever having to actually look at his 600 year old nakedness. Noah wakes up and, in what seems to be a drunken rant, condemns his youngest sons family to slavery for... whatever it was he did.

Yup... Noah was a drunk, his family dysfunctional, and their inbreeding repopulated the planet. Noah dies 350 years later, now nearly 1,000 years old. It's surprising he didn't leave a bigger footprint in history.

The end.


So... how is this a good story, much less a reasonable one? God doesn't like the way people turned out, so he can just wipe them out? Isn't this a lesson of terror and intimidation? And it's being sent straight to our kids, as if it's no big deal.

I was raised with this story as literal truth. I can't imagine that this is how we want our kids to grow up... to be afraid and terrorized. Christians talk about their God of love... but I don't actually see much of him in the Bible.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The LDS Church Stands or Falls on a Literal Global Flood

by: Kay

Mormonism stands or falls on a global flood. Joseph Smith taught Adam and Eve dwelt in Missouri at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman. This is where people lived until the Great Flood of Noah, at which point only eight people survived and they were swept away to what is now known as the Middle East.

A global flood can be written of by other theists - who see the geological nonsense supporting it - by saying it was a symbolic flood, or only a limited area was flooded, which seemed like the entire Earth from Noah's perspective.

To believe in the LDS Church, one must take the story of a global flood literally. Joseph Smith had many revelations about where Adam and Eve dwelt, and the population of the Eastern world is dependent upon the events of the Flood.

Before anyone tries to say Joseph Smith was speaking as a man, and this was only his opinion, not revelation, please note Noah’s flood is in fact doctrine. It is canonized in the BoM, PoGP, and the D&C in the following versus:

Moses 7:42
Abraham 1:19
Alma 10:22
Ether 6:7
Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:41-42
D&C 84:14-15
D&C 133:54
3 Nephi 22:9

These cannonized scriptures are revelations from God and all mention Noah as a real actual person, and the flood as a real actual event. The BoM and other revealed scripture of the Church are all supposed to be 100% accurate, true, and literal. Never has an LDS leader stated Noah and the global flood are mythological.

"There was the great Flood, when waters covered the earth and when, as Peter says, only 'eight souls were saved'" – Gordon B. Hinckley, If We Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear, 175th Semi-Annual General Priesthood Meeting

"In spite of the world’s arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of God’s prophets."
1998 Ensign article

The Church has excommunicated members for taking a stance against the literalness of the BoM. Everything in the BoM is supposed to be read as true, without question. Any evidence against the BoM will later be refuted and shown to be wrong. Never mind the continuously mounting evidence against it. Perhaps in this lifetime, perhaps in our children's lifetimes. Someday, someday...just you all wait and see.