Dad, Mom, and brother Greg from Serbia right after release from the hospitalWell December was a rough month for our family, but it was also a great month. Dad got the virus at the beginning of the month, then I got it about a week later. Tara got it, and then the girls got it. We think that Mom may have had it not long after Dad got it since she had what she thought was a cold, but also lost her sense of smell for a little. That’s a pretty good indicator. However, Mom was the only one of us that never got tested.
My immediate family all got out of quarantine on Christmas day. The only symptom the girls had was a headache for about a day or so, and that was it! Dad certainly had it the worst out of all of us. He’s 77, and was having trouble keeping his oxygen levels up where they should be, so Mom took him to the nearby hospital/ER. After looking him over, they sent him via ambulance up to the University of Utah. He was only a step or two away from getting on a ventilator. He said how everyone there seemed open to learning from everyone since they've never dealt with this before. He was amazed at the rapid response team of about a dozen that took him into ICU. They worked so well together with each fulfilling their job.
Dad said he experienced the Lord in such an amazing way that he would do it all over again if he could. He witnessed to all of the healthcare workers about the peace he has in God no matter what happened, and he started quoting all these Bible verses. Afterwards, one nurse came back in, took his hand, and cried before him telling him how much she really needed his encouragement! She (or another) got him in touch with the head chaplain, and they spoke for about an hour encouraging each other. Dad so enjoyed ministering to everyone there that there was talk about him later being a virtual chaplain for others going through what he did.
Dad's head doctor was LDS, so Dad asked him how his worthiness is going. Dr. said, “Pretty well,” so Dad said, "Really? Like you never sin?" Dr. said, "Well, a little." So Dad got to share with him his peace in the Lord being His righteousness (cf. Jer. 23:6).
Dad also thought it was a miracle to find out that his physical therapist goes to our old church! They were really encouraging to each other as well.
Altogether, he was in for 8 days. His stamina continues to improve. In fact, he took a 7 mile bike ride the other day.
Thank you so much for praying for him and for the rest of us! We were able to celebrate not long after Christmas with most of our family that came in from Serbia, MO, and CA.
New Page on MormonInfo.org
There is a new Pictures page--both for Memes and Ministry. Keep checking back as this will be continually updated!
New Discussion Page on MormonInfo.org
Here's a funny old tract/story called “Norman Zucker, the Man from Zarahemla” that I just happened to find laying on the floor of my garage last month. Enjoy!
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I am writing to you from Novi Sad, Serbia… from PHZ church, I work as a missionary in local IFES (it is Intervarsity in America).
We have engaged a couple of Mormon missionaries recently, and we have had a discussion with them, which we plan to continue. We have used your website Mormoninfo.org, and it has been very useful (I remembered your sermon a couple of years ago you gave in my Church, HZ in Novi Sad, thats how we found it).
The reason I am writing to you is that I recall a quote by Brigham Young I cannot find now. He said something along the lines of: "The day the Church leaves the doctrine of plural marriage, that is the day the Church went into apostasy". I paraphrased it in the discussion, and now I cant find a source to back it up. Do you know if Young actually said this, or is this just my mind playing games with me?
I know that you are probably very busy, but you are the most competent person I can think of.
[I replied:] Can't find that exact statement, but here are some quotes that come close...
“Why do we believe in and practise polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ It is the only popular religion there, for this is the religion of Abraham, and, unless we do the works of Abraham, we are not Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise” (Brigham Young, July 6, 1862, Journal of Discourses 9:322).
“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of Heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire. That empire was founded on the banks of the Tiber by wandering brigands. When these robbers founded the city of Rome, it was evident to them that their success in attaining a balance of power with their neighbours, depended upon introducing females into their body politic, so they stole them from the Sabines, who were near neighbours. The scarcity of women gave existence to laws restricting one wife to one man. Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this
order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers” (Brigham Young, July 6, 1862, Journal of Discourses 9:322).
“The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy” (Brigham Young, August 19, 1866, Journal of Discourses 11:269).
“I heard the revelation on polygamy, and I believed it with all my heart, and I know it is from God—I know that he revealed it from heaven; I know that it is true, and understand the bearings of it and why it is. ‘Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?’ If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted” (Brigham Young, August 19, 1866, Journal of Discourses 11:269).
“It is all connected with the exaltation of man, showing how he becomes exalted to be a king and a Priest—yea, even a God, like his Father in heaven. Without the doctrine that this revelation reveals, no man on earth ever could be exalted to be a God” (Brigham Young, August 29, 1852, Journal of Discourses 6:282).
3rd President John Taylor: “Now, in relation to the position that we occupy concerning plurality, or, as it is termed, polygamy it differs from that of others. I have noticed the usage of several nations regarding marriage; but, as I have said, we are not indebted to any of them for our religion, nor for our ideas of marriage, they came from God. Where did this commandment come from in relation to polygamy? It also came from God. It was a revelation given unto Joseph Smith from God, and was made binding upon His servants. When this system
was first introduced among this people, it was one of the greatest crosses that ever was taken up by any set of men since the world stood. Joseph Smith told others; he told me, and I can bear witness of it, ‘that if this principle was not introduced, this Church and kingdom could not proceed.’ When this commandment was given, it was so far religious, and so far binding upon the Elders of this Church that it was told them if they were not prepared to enter into it, and to stem the torrent of opposition that would come in consequence of it, the keys of the kingdom would be taken from them. When I see any of our people, men or women, opposing a principle of this kind, I have years ago set them down as on the high road to apostacy, and I do to-day; I consider them apostates, and not interested in this Church and kingdom. It is so far, then, a religious institution, that it affects my conscience and the consciences of all good men-it is so far religious that it connects itself with time and with eternity. What are the covenants we enter into, and why is it that Joseph Smith said that unless this principle was entered into this kingdom could not proceed? We ought to know the whys and the wherefores in relation to these matters, and understand something about the principle enunciated. These are simply words; we wish to know their signification” (John Taylor, April 7, 1866, Journal of Discourses 11:221).
4th President Wilford Woodruff: “If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can’t do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death. He has told us to do thus, and we shall obey Him in days to come as we have in days past” (Wilford Woodruff, December 12, 1869, Journal of Discourses 13:166).
I got these quotes fro[m] Eric Johnson, who is a researcher with MRM.org.
Keep at it!
[He replied:] Thank you For your quick response! These are great! Also, your website is awesome and has been unbelievably helpful.
God bless you!
[I replied:] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1886_Revelation
Just 4 years prior to the Manifesto.
[He replied:] Wow. This is amazing, and funny in a sad way.... it is almost funny that only 4 years prior to the Manifesto there is this quote. But it is sad because a lot of people are trapped in an obviously fraudulent church…
[I replied:] Yep. The more you go down the rabbit hole, the more you'll be amazed at the willful blindness. The mental gymnastics are quite amazing!
I totally believe in what you’re doing & God will supply all your needs because He’s faithful to fund what He’s asked you to do!
[I posted on my former Christian friend’s Facebook page:] HBDC! Abide in Jesus and you'll keep bearing fruit.
[He replied:] I'm not completely convinced Jesus ever really existed, but if he did I do not believe there was anything divine about him; and I disagree with much of what he taught (assuming we have any accurate knowledge of any of his actual words, seeing as they were transcribed decades after his death). So I won't be doing any "abiding," but thank you for the birthday wishes anyhow.
[I replied:] I'm not completely convinced I'm having this conversation either. I mean, of course I could simply be dreaming now. But the overwhelming majority of serious historians affirm Jesus existed. So this tells me you really have something other than rationality as a priority for your judgments. He's way smarter than anyone else who ever lived, and you're missing out on life by following your own pathetic agendas. Your kingdom isn't worth it.
[He replied:] I don't have "Rationality as priority for my judgments?" Dude...you hold up a book as holy that has talking animals in it.
[I replied:] which is of course nothing when you have a Creator of everything from the Big Bang. Miracles are to be expected, and there's nothing irrational about that. Weird, sure, but certainly not irrational.
[He replied:] I guess we differ on the definition of rationality.
I'm ashamed that I collaborated with you on a cartoon about Racism in the Mormon church whilst we both believed in a book that said not only is it legit to hold slaves, but as they're your "property" it's cool to beat them too...provided they don't die within a couple days. Shameful.
[I replied:] It is irrational to form an historical belief that goes against the overwhelming majority of serious historians. Miracles don't go against any principle of rationality, particularly when the vast majority of philosophers don't see anything irrational about them.
Servitude in the OT was Case Law and not an ideal prescription of a system anymore than polygamy or divorce were. One's own race may be in servitude, so by definition, it's not identical to racism.
OT punishments certainly weren't for the NT as Paul made clear in Philemon. If I was hopeful that you really valued rationality, then I'd suggest many good works like Paul Copan's "Is God a Moral Monster?"
[He replied:] I have a mouthful of rebuttal for you, but it's not worth either of our time. You won't convince me of anything Rob. I spent 12 years a committed Evangelical and would have said all the same things to someone like me that you are saying now. But I've seen through the crap and so glad to be firmly on the other side. At this point you might as well be trying to convince me of Santa Claus. Even if you had incontrovertible proof Yahweh exists and is god, I'd never worship it, it is evil. It will just have to burn me eternally in hell for my miscalculation. And the fact that you're so set on worshipping a being who desires to torture most of humanity for the crime of being mistaken in their belief...well, that says a lot to me about your own heart and desires. Thank you again for the warm birthday wishes.
And I read Copan's book... thoroughly unimpressed. He might as go work for FAIR with his style of apologetics.
[I replied:] Well I've grown up in a Christian home 53 years ago. I've continued to read the opposite point of view, even getting a grad degree in philosophy from a secular school and even was a TA for a rabid atheist at another secular grad program, and I'm still convinced that Jesus makes more sense than anything else.
I don't think you're going to hell for miscalculation. I think you're going there for *willful* blindness and you hating God and His program. You still have the Mormon within you who wants to be his own god. A good and just God willing loves you enough to pursue eternity banging your head up against the wall.
And it doesn't surprise me you weren't convinced by Paul Copan when you take the crazy view that who knows if Jesus even really existed. Good luck!
[He replied:] I never claimed he didn't exist, just that I'm not totally convinced of it. I think he likely did. But convincing me that he existed is much different than convincing me he was god incarnate who raised from the dead and flew up into the clouds like superman when he was done with his disciples.
[I replied:] Why even bring up you're not totally convinced of it? Again, I'm not totally convinced either if what you mean by that is 100%. I don't have that with any historical matter. But so what?
OK, let's take it that He did. Now who was He? Well, from your snarkiness, it sounds like the reason you don't buy who He claimed He was is because you have a problem with miracle claims and you simply beg the question that of course those can't happen. Begging the question is a mark of irrationality.
[He replied:] Rob, so your point summarized- your Bible can make whatever *outrageous* claim it wants (and holy %$^& are they outrageous), and you think you get to proclaim arbitrarily and hide behind "but God is all-powerful and can do anything" - then when I press you on the absurdity of it's miracle claims such as a flying-jewzombie - then you think you have grounds to accuse me of irrationality and begging the question? I don't think you properly understand the fallacy of "begging" the question" and we definitely seem to have wildly different ideas of "rationality." I have no problem with miracles, if they were real. God supposedly fed Israel in the wilderness with manna from heaven, no? Well untold tens of thousands of small children die each year in the agony of malnutrition. God supposedly wrote in your Bible he is able to sustain those he wishes with this manna from heaven. Either your god has lost this ability, doesn't care, or doesn't know these kids are dying. Or...as I posit - he doesn't exist. But if he does exist Rob - he doesn't do %$^& as these kids perish. Tonight when you thank Jesus for your plentiful food at your comfy Utahn dining room table - think how many kids your Jesus is letting starve to death by the time you can even finish your thought. Waste your time here no further, you won't convince me, because "once one sees the absurdity of religion it can never be unseen." And I will never convince you because "it is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into." You're as indoctrinated and as blind as to those you shove your signs at, imploring them to exchange one lie for another, one set of chains for a new one. All I can do is bid you farewell, and hint to you that in the next year or so you should expect more cartoons on Mason's Youtube channel...you just won't be as pleased with their new target.
[I could have continued to respond to this, but I think it's obvious it would be a complete waste of time. He writes as if no atheist or unbeliever in religion ever converts! Completely absurd!
As for the problem of evil, he assumes the choices he offers are the only choices in the matter, since he doesn’t want to acknowledge that God may have a good reason for allowing evil in particular situations. Of course this skeptic denies this possibility since, again, he wants to demand God reveal everything to him or he’ll throw a tantrum and not believe in Him anymore. We don’t know what God is thinking here, but it is irrational to not believe in Him when we have overwhelming evidence He’s still running the universe, He’s good, and does good things. This is the primary point to Doug Geivett’s, Evil and the Evidence for God (Temple, 1995). Finally, if there is no God, and all there is is matter bumping into more matter to bring about certain determinative effects, then there is no such thing as evil, since evil depends on there being a good or a design plan. And of course, a design plan entails there’s a Designer. Evil isn't a mere dislike of something. One may dislike that which is objectively good or objectively evil. So one's dislike of something doesn't entail it's evil. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. The basic problem is that this skeptic hates God, since He doesn’t give him everything he wants… like all the answers of life that cross his mind.]