Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thrashing Anti-Mormon Arguments

"Goodness gracious me!" declares our average, earnestly pacifistic Joe Mormon. "Contention is of the devil. I hate that stuff and never pay attention to it." And such somber pronouncements are usually offered in the gravest of sincerity.


Chances are that most Mormons are familiar with the basics of anti-Mormon propaganda, and take just a wee smidgen bit of guilty delight in knowing how to tear them into sad, minuscule little shreds of deflated logic, exposing them for the shoddy ideas that they are, and leaving said propaganda curled up in a corner, whimpering and sucking their thumbs. Even if the typical Latter-day Saint eschews confrontation and honestly does avoid such discussions in the real world, it's a comforting pleasure to know that one could rend such pitiful attacks asunder if one wanted to.

What did that article in The Nation just say about us? That we believe that our underwear has magic powers? Well, I could show them some quotes that would clear that right up and take their dumb old great and spacious building down a story or two...

Indeed, a huge segment of the LDS presence on the Internet is dedicated to such polemics, both private and public (thus the popularity of Jeff Lindsay and FAIR, for example). So while Joe Average Mormon (Joe Birkenstock? Joe Plasma Screen? Joe I'll-Do-My-Home-Teaching-On-The-30th...If-I-Do-It-At-All?) prefers to personally only broach the subject of alleged criticisms of his beliefs in the most discreetly polite manner possible*, online such tiptoeing quickly turns into an all-out smackdown, a la the mocking of SHIELDS or the sarcasm of Daniel C. Petersen.

*Well-meaning non-member friend: My pastor said something last week about how the Book of Mormon has had all these changes and that it says Jesus was born in Jerusalem and stuff?

Average Mormon: (OK, don't get excited! This is a softball, you can explain this one like it's some simple pop-up book. Oh boy, this is it! I finally get to put all those Gospel Doctrine classes to work! Remember those verses the GA's always use, and....go!)

So, undoubtedly, while it's a furtive fantasy suppressed by the better natures of most Mormons, it's also demonstrably true that they do love knowing how to annihilate anti-Mormon arguments.


Mitchell Family said...

Funny post and Oh so true! I would love to have a scripture and docterine war with some aquantences and non-member family members. They always seem to come up with the oddest things to say about Mormons in normal conversation. They take joy in telling me what I believe,as if for some reason I've joined a church and know nothing about it. As much as it would relieve a little tension in me and a great amount of revenge, an all out argument wouldn't solve anything. Who can argue belief? My strategy is just to be sure to look for moments to share my testimony, show the power of my faith, and lead by the example of my life...sort of passive aggressive I know...but what else is a Relief Society lady to do.
P.S. I love FAIR!

Steve said...

I love this post Huston. If anyone doesn't believe us to be unabashedly pro Mormon, this is the post to convince them!

My personal thrashing story (of which I am not particularly proud) was on my mission which I used against an unnamed sect which is also famous for their tireless proselyting. Well, as we know, certain scriptures are missing from their translation of the Bible. I had these written down and highlighted, and never believed I would have cause to use them.


One day, during tracting, a member of this sect decided to descredit my church, and I felt a bit miffed. I asked them to follow along with me in the scriptures, and I rattled off those particular missing passages, and followed with Revelations' admonition not to take away from the scriptures. They were crushed.

Again, I look back and think of what a juvenile thing it was to do (not to mention it was downright mean).

Today, I have respect for anyone who is willing to take their beliefs door to door, but I have to admit, it WAS pretty fun at the time...

OceanSwells said...

I have found that some of the people that initially come up to me in a confrontational manner can be taken off guard by a funny, non attacking comment, and the conversation quickly changes into a discussion instead of a battle.

Two funny examples of this. I had a person tell me they knew what happened in the Salt Lake Temple, that people were taken and held there against their will, but the truth was leaked out when some of them escaped by jumping out of the tower window into the Salt Lake and swimming to safety. They looked at me at that point, daring me to disprove them. My comment was, "Well, it is too bad they didn't try out for the long jump at the Olympics. Its got to be at least 10 miles from the temple to the Salt Lake." That caught them offguard, and they stopped being confrontational.

Second story: Co-workers, upon finding out I graduated from BYU, then commented, "Well, I guess that means you have 3 wives, right?" And everyone laughed. I responded, "Well, no . . . I only got a bachelors degree. A masters gets 2 and a PhD gets three." After the comment, everyone looked at me, trying to see if I was serious. After a moment, I started laughing, at which point the stress of the moment was gone, and people interacted with me normally.

It is possible to thrash arguments. Usually, the person doesn't realize they are getting confrontational. No battle is necessary (albeit, I can also say that they were fun a couple of times).

garythenotrashcouger said...

my church active older sister calls me a jack Mormon, so i guess I'm a jack Mormon. I like this post. the fact is that any real anti-Mormon stuff is opinion based, e.g. smith being crazy/evil/con artist, or done with the intent of being funny, e.g. south park making fun of the Mormons.