The Mormon Mission: Making better prepared leaders

How do we prepare to be tomorrow's leader. By serving today

Young Mormon missionaries in Mongolia
Young Mormon missionaries in Mongolia

WASHINGTON, December 25, 2014 – Starting at 4 a.m. every Monday morning, buses filled with groggy young men and women leave the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, to deliver newly trained Mormon missionaries to the Salt Lake International Airport.

By 8 a.m., hundreds of these 19-to-21-year-old “Elders” and “Sisters” will be found in pairs or in groups in TSA screening lines and and at half the gates in the airport. For the next few hours they’ll board flights that will eventually take them everywhere from Baton Rouge to Hong Kong to Chicago to Buenos Aires to Moscow.

And then for two years, foregoing all forms of entertainment, dating, and direct contact with friends and family, they’ll serve their God and their church.

Mitt Romney as a missionary
Mitt Romney as a missionary

Raised LDS (Latter-day Saint) by devout Mormon parents, Mitt Romney is the most visible Mormon in contemporary politics. He served a mission for the church in France, attended church-owned Brigham Young University, was married in a Mormon temple, and served for years in church leadership positions.

He is now joined in political circles by Mia Love, a Haitian-American politician and the U.S. Representative-elect for Utah’s 4th congressional district.  Love is the first black female Republican in Congress as well as the first black woman from Utah in Congress.

American Mormons are often more politically conservative than the average American, but not always. Consider Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fiercely partisan critic of Mitt Romney and a fellow Mormon. To infer Romney’s political philosophy from his Mormon beliefs would be a mistake. Still, understanding his church can help understand the man.

For those Mormons who go through it, the missionary experience is transformative and often defining. New missionaries leave Salt Lake full of optimistic zeal. Heavy scripture study and memorization give them confidence that they can explain and defend the gospel. Intensive, total-immersion language training makes them certain that they can communicate in their new language and eventually speak with the “voice of angels.”

That confidence may deflate as soon as they get off the airplane. Missionaries walk into a cafe at Rio’s Galeão Airport wanting to show off their mastery of Portuguese, only to be reduced by an uncomprehending young server to pointing at pictures of menu items. They begin right away to learn how much they didn’t learn, and how inadequate their best efforts can be.

From the airport, newly arrived missionaries are taken to the “mission home,” the residence of the mission president and his family (mission presidents are always married, they serve for three years, and they take their families with them). There they get a quick welcome, are told where they will work first and who their “senior companions” will be (missionaries always work in pairs, a junior and a senior companion), then are loaded onto a bus and sent off into the field.

Senior companions are responsible for training junior companions to be better missionaries. They introduce them to local members of the church, introduce them to people who are investigating the church, and teach them how to find new investigators. A senior companion drills the new missionary on mission rules, works with him on his presentation and teaching skills, and, in foreign-language missions, does all of this in the local language.

Even an American mission demands a period of adjustment. In foreign missions, the newness of everything and the inability to communicate can leave a new missionary baffled and lonely for weeks.

But he or she will never be alone. A missionary always has a companion. They spend every hour of every day together. They may learn to love each other, but at least they’ll learn to tolerate the constant presence of someone with whom they have nothing in common but their faith.

Within a few months, a junior missionary is made a senior companion and takes responsibility for training new missionaries. He might eventually be made a “district leader” (supervisor over two or three missionary pairs), a “zone leader” (supervisor over several missionary districts), or an assistant to the mission president.

For the duration of his mission, a missionary’s first priority is to teach people about the gospel and the church, perhaps finding them by referrals from members of the church, perhaps by knocking on doors. He’ll get used to rejection and hostility, learning to bounce back and try again and again and again, almost certain every time of new rejection. He’ll learn a basic lesson: The only failure is to stop trying. Success is a matter of perseverance, not of immediate results.

At some point, all this ceases to be a struggle. Homesickness ebbs, he stops missing the comforts of home, and he starts to love the people in his mission. For some missionaries this happens in the MTC. More often it happens later, when they finally lose themselves in service.

Some missions – Haiti, for instance – are filled with the desperately poor. Missionaries learn to be equally comfortable teaching people in a slum or in a modern home. American missionaries often learn about poverty in ways they never imagined back home. They may be called on to meet temporal needs as part of their service — teaching basic skills or building homes, for instance. Mormons don’t believe that the temporal and the spiritual can be separated, and you can’t lift people out of spiritual poverty without tackling economic poverty as well. Learning job skills and providing for your family is a commandment, not just good advice. Poverty isn’t a sin, but not fighting as hard as you can to get out of it is.

The mission changes people. The greatest value to the LDS Church of the missionary program may not be the converts (a missionary might easily serve for two years in France and baptize no one), but in the confident, multilingual young men and women who come home after two years.

Their horizons have been broadened, they’ve matured in some ways beyond their years. They’re better prepared to be leaders in their own congregations when they come home, and they have a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in church, in business, and in their families.


Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

  • thankfuldisciple

    This article’s description is largely consistent with my experience as an LDS missionary in my early 20`s forty years ago. Transformative. I am forever grateful, come what may.

  • Tornogal

    Ignored in this article as a dominant reason for sending young Mormon men and women on missions: To innoculate them from exposure to uncomfortable facts about Mormon doctrine and history.

    Mormon youth are leaving in large numbers, and it’s no wonder. The wealth of well-documented information available on the Internet presents young people with hard facts that make following Mormonism more difficult (do an Internet search on “problems with Mormonism” and you will see what I mean).

    Combine that with the natural inquisitiveness of late adolescence, and it’s not long before young Mormons are leaving the fold. But putting them in a controlled environment for two years or so constantly “minded” by a companion, a “zone leader” and a mission president and given only highly restricted access to peers, the Internet, and time to think, is highly effective at keeping them controlled and in the Mormon church.

    • Keith Stepp

      Easy claim, just like all the other, unsubstantiated or false statements. Got some numbers and a source?

      • Tornogal


        Numbers for what? To support that youth are leaving the LDS church in droves? Ask Elder Marlin Jensen. He’s the one who acknowledged it.

        • SoundOn

          I’m quite sure that he was talking about the numbers to support the nonsense that you presented prior to shifting to this different subject.

        • Keith Stepp

          So, you must follow the Mormon Church a lot. This last bit was a line from a talk which you have taken out of context to deceive. That’s all.

          • Tornogal

            LOL. Show me the contextual error. That is hilarious.

            Reporters Peter Henderson and Kristina Cooke wrote this in a Reuters piece, January 30th, 2012:

            Special report -Mormonism besieged by the modern age


            Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:59pm GMT

            Did the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know that members are “leaving in droves?” a woman asked.

            “We are aware,” said Jensen, according to a tape recording of his unscripted remarks. “And I’m speaking of the 15 men that are above me in the hierarchy of the church. They really do know and they really care,” he said.

            How is that “taken out of context”?

            Terryl Givens said this (in an article in the SL Tribune) on the issue:

            “I definitely get the sense that this is a real crisis,” said Mormon scholar and writer Terryl Givens. “It is an epidemic.”

            There is a “discrepancy between a church history that has been selectively rendered through the Church Education System and Sunday school manuals, and a less-flattering version universally accessible on the Internet,” Givens wrote in an email from Virginia. “The problem is not so much the discovery of particular details that are deal breakers for the faithful; the problem is a loss of faith and trust in an institution that was less that forthcoming to begin with.”

            Call “Out of context” all you like, but the facts speak for themselves.

          • justyouandmetalking

            If you don’t believe, that’s fine. But I kinda feel sorry for you. Pretty sad life… Trolling LDS sites as the wise sage ‘called’ to bring forth light & knowledge and/or rebuke the lost faithful. Not preaching a better way mind you, but taking on the role of the all knowing final authority to judge and condem others for their beliefs and trying to diswade them from the source of their happiness. I wouldn’t trade my testimony of what I believe for your testimony of what you believe. I hope you have something else you do believe in and makes you happy… Because what you exhibit here is truly sad…

          • Tornogal

            And there it is. If you can’t argue the issues on logic, just characterize those with whom you disagree as worthy of “feeling sorry” for and as leading a sad life. LOL.

            That makes me giggle.

            You know very little about me. My spouse of 40+ years, our dear half dozen kids, their happy marriages, our many (mid two-digits) grandchildren, my professional life and colleagues, our many friends, the people we help in the charities whose boards we sit on, and I think most who know me would describe me as anything but leading a sad life. But you feel free to characterize it however you wish.

            I think what is sad is that you go to a sarcastic description of me as ” taking on the role of the all knowing final authority to judge and condem others for their beliefs and trying to diswade them from the source of their happiness.” I’m not trying to dissuade anyone of anything. I’m doing what people do here: I’m discussing. If you find my posts disturbing, please do not read them.

            But note the LDS church cranks out countless media releases (at heaven knows what cost–they won’t tell even you what their PR budget is, you see they never publish a financial report to even the church membership who pays the bills). And taken alone those releases would paint a wonderful church founded on wonderful history with rock-solid doctrine and led by 15 white males who receive revelation from the god they believe in. Of course none of those attributes is accurate, and many of us want to offer to people who stumble across these glowing articles on Mormonism that there is more to the story than the Mormon missionaries may tell them (or than even they may know).

            Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing? The Mormon church posts what it cares to promote, those who know the facts get to post their facts, and people get to decide what is true.

    • Lather, Rinse and Repeat

      As a returned missionary, I disagree with your statement that a mission inoculates young Mormon men and Women from “facts” about the Mormon church that makes them uncomfortable. I would like to posit that, in fact the deep study and immersive nature of a mission exposes the doctrines of the church in a way that a young missionary must undertsand and “discover” the truth and doctrine for themselves. Starting at age 7 my parents read the Book of Mormon and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At age 8 I was baptized and “sealed” with my parents in the temple. Both of these early experiences are clear and firm in my mind. I knew what I was joining because every week at home and at church I learned about the church. At church I would learn the doctrine in Primary and at home in Family Home Evening. My parents did not “cover up” problem areas. They had been devout members of the Catholic church prior to my Father and Mother learning from the missionaries about the church. The true kicker is that missionaries encourage, commit, ask, others to find out for themselves if what they are teaching is true. And they ask them to ask the highest source. So if you think a mission stifles inquisitiveness, you are quite mistaken. On the contrary, I read more about what I believed during my mission than before or since. I was also “exposed” to more anti-Mormon sentiments and philosophies during my mission than at any other time in my life. I have been home 19 years now and I am raising teenagers myself who are inquisitive. My 17 year old (almost 18) is considering a mission and I will encourage her to go, but I want her to find out for herself if that is what God wants her to do, that way she will have no doubts when someone starts to “discuss” polygamy, or some other historical facts that others use to point out the “problems” of Mormonism.
      On my mission, I read the Bible, The Book of Mormon (8 times), Jesus the Christ by James Talmadge, Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, A Marvelous Work and Wonder,
      The fact of the matter Tornogal is that teaching children from birth about God and jesus christ is what “controls” all of us. When we learn that there is good and evil out in this glorious world of ours and that there is a purpose to life and who we really are, there is joy… It gives us the knowledge that we want to share with everyone. That’s why we encourage our young people to go on missions. The mission does instill values that lead to leadership, it gives a sense of purpose, it helps all of us shoulder the responsibility that all who have asked God feel when he “tells” us that The Book of Mormon is true scripture given to us by a loving Father in heaven so that everyone can know Jesus Christ.. As far as well-controlled, I feel that I have my ups and downs when it comes to obeying god’s commandments but so does everyone, that is why He sent His Son. Just a little perspective for you and I hope that you really go to the source of true knowledge instead of just the internet. 🙂

      • Martimp

        Thank you for your testimony of your mission and experience. Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because
        he doesn’t want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it
        is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The
        door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut,
        and suddenly it’s too late. Mina’s mom said this in the movie “God’s Not Dead”.

        • Tornogal

          “Their sin is like a jail cell.”

          LOL Spoken like a true judgmental Mormon. If someone has discovered the con and chosen not to join Mormonism, or if someone has–as many do–discovered it and left Mormonism, they surely must be sinners.

          Good grief. If only you had any idea of what you sound like. You are caught in an organization that selectively updates its history when it is useful to do so. It is one that was founded by a 19th century con man whose family was known for its mysticism and “glass looking.” Its “scriptures” include a book that purports to be a “true record” of ancient peoples of the Americas, but for which zero evidence has been found, not on shard of pottery, one coin, or one artifact. (And for fun, check out the latest National Geographic on the latest on where ancient Americans came from. Hint: Not it wasn’t in submarines from the Middle East.)

          Mormonism is a fraud.

          • Kurt

            Wow. Chillax, bud. Mormons aren’t coming to get you. No need to lash out.

          • dr44


      • Tornogal


        If you think being a return missionary somehow gives you credibility, it doesn’t. It only proves that you were a salesperson for a corporation for which sales is what it is all about.

        Your “positing” that the “deep study and immersive nature of a mission exposes doctrines of the church that a young missionary must discover” for himself or herself presupposes that those missionaries have all the facts. They don’t. As I am sure you know, what missionaries may study on their missions is limited to what the Mormon church approves. It is anything but a time for “discovery.” It’s a time for intense indoctrination.

        And I wonder if you realize that the your early experiences on the Mormon temples were the product of Joseph Smith’s ripping off the rituals of Freemasons. He “revealed” the endowment just six weeks after being advanced in Masonry, and the nearly identical nature of so many of those rituals is profound, as any but someone truly indoctrinated can clearly see.

        And I wonder how you account for the “feeling” your God gives you that the “Book of Mormon is true scripture being the same feeling members of hundreds of other faiths get when they say their church is the right one. I am sure you will say “Oh, but mine IS the right church.” LOL.

        The Book of Mormon is fiction. Any objective study of it demonstrates that. But I am sure you “know” it is true by that special “feeling.”

        If you were in a controlling organization, would you recognize it? Studies of cults suggest not.

        I hope you really develop some critical thinking skills instead of relying only on the correlated material the Corporation of the President provides.

        Just “a little perspective right back at you.” 🙂

    • Keith Stepp

      The “innoculate” comment is your personal opinion, to which you are entitled. It is not fact. If so, show us a page from the training or policy manual or something. The comment about following Mormonism is one more comment taken out of context. Of course being a Mormon is difficult, following God has been difficult for all people back to Adam (See about any story in the Old Testament), it doesn’t mean it is wrong. The “Meet the Mormons” video she cites is also a video with its own agenda. Citing it doesn’t make it true. As always, a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous. I heard a quote once where the author said that the difference between knowledge and intelligence is the Light of Chrish. The above comments seem full of knowledge.

      • Tornogal

        Oh please, Keith. “Being a Mormon is difficult…” Puffed up much?

        After many years of studying it, I think the most important qualification in being able to follow Mormonism is the ability to ignore evidence and to “Bow your head and say yes.” The Book of Mormon is a work of fiction. No non-Mormon archaeologist who has studied it will call it anything but that. It has enormous problems in flora, fauna, and technology. It descibes enormous cities and epic battles for which zero–zilch–evidence has been found. And yet Mormons stand each month in Fast and Testimony meeting and say “I know the Book of Mormon is true.” Worse, they coach their five year-old children to do the same thing, earning them the smiles and “Awwwww’s” of the congregation in saying something they absolutely cannot “know” is true. But that’s how indoctrination works.

        The Book of Abraham has been dismissed by every non-Mormon Egyptologist as a common Egyptian funerary scroll. And yet Mormons pretend it is the “Words of Abraham written in his own hand” because that’s what Smith said it was. (Conveniently, one doesn’t hear it referenced much anymore, and the LDS church published an unsigned paper recently saying, essentially, well, it wasn’t REALLY a translation. LOL.

        Does the British “Meet the Mormons” have an agenda? Of course it does. And so does the U.S. one produced by the LDS church.

        Mormonism is a fraud.

        • OregonDavid

          We hear you carping, but what do you offer to make the world better?

          • Tornogal


            I posted facts. If you can’t refute them, I suppose you label the comments as “carping.” I think I understand.

          • SoundOn

            You post nonsense wrapped in facts while you pretend that the church doesn’t bother you. But you can’t point to a religion with more truth and we totally understand.

          • Tornogal

            SoundOn: “You can’t point to a religion with more truth…”


            I think I would have a difficult time pointing to a religion with more serious problems with its “truth.”

            “First Vision”: Serious problems

            Book of Mormon archaeology: Serious problems

            Book of Mormon historicity: Serious problems

            Book of Mormon “Reformed Egyptian” language” Serious problems

            Book of Mormon translation process: Serious problems

            Book of Mormon “witnesses”: Serious problems

            Book of Abraham “translation”: Serious problems

            Book of Abraham origin: Serious problems

            Founding “prophet’s” morality: Serious problems

            Fancher party: Serious problems

            LDS church’s historical treatment of Blacks: Serious problems

            LDS church’s historical treatment of homosexuals: Serious problems

            Mormon “apostle” lying about his history and exploits: Serious problems

            Financial opacity: Serious problems

            Book of Commandments translation to D&C: Serious problems

            Practice of re-writing General Conference talks before publishing them: Serious problems

            Greek psalter incident: Serious problems

            Kinderhook plates: Serious problems

            Origin of LDS temple rituals: Serious problems

            “Prophets” saying scientifically inane things: Serious problems

            Are you sure you want to talk about the Mormon church having “more truth” than any other religion?

          • SoundOn

            More nonsense. You only point that you are bothered by these things, that you have serious bias because none of these are serious problems for the church. All of these have explanations and all have been explained to you before and yet you choose to remain ignorant. Certainly it is clear that the church bothers you for whatever reason. So which religion do you find to be more true? Can you name one? Or do all religions have serious problems?

          • Tornogal


            Just because you label something “nonsense” doesn’t make it so. Likewise your saying “none of these are serious problems for the [Mormon] church” doesn’t make it so.

            Yes, those issues have been “explained,” but the explanations are horribly weak and convoluted. But they are acceptable to you and those like you because ANY explanation would satisfy you. Because, after all, you “know” Mormonism is true and nothing can convince you otherwise. A Mormon “prophet” could produce a manuscript from golden plates that no one else was ever allowed to see, and you would be fine with it (one did). A Mormon “prophet” could say men live on the Moon and you would be fine with it (one did). A Mormon “prophet” could give nine versions of a “vision,” and you would be fine with it (one did). A Mormon “prophet” could say the Sun is inhabited, and you would be fine with it (one did). A Mormon “prophet” could say man will never make it to space, and you would be fine with it (one did). And that’s because you are indoctrinated.

            And again, no, the Mormon church doesn’t “bother” me. But this is a discussion forum, and I choose to discuss and I enjoy it.

            The article is about Mormonism, it’s not about what other religions may or may not have serious problems.

          • SoundOn

            Nice Dodge. So we can assume that you do not know of any true religion on earth. So perhaps you are an atheist, but of course you won’t admit it because the issues are much more significant. And just because you label something a “serious problem” doesn’t make it so either. More than one person saw the golden plates. You don’t believe it and we get it. What’s the serious issue with a prophet giving a wrong opinion? Prophets are human and can say things and be incorrect. The scriptures provide many examples. Everyone knows that only Jesus Christ was perfect, but it appears that you have “serious problems” with what the scriptures teach. You have a “serious problem” with Mormonism and the teachings of Jesus Christ and we get that.

          • Tornogal

            A “dodge”? LOL. So in a discussion on Mormonism, you want to get comparative.

            So let’s get this straight. Mormonism claims to be The One True Church. Facts, research, history, and false claims of prophecy call that clearly into question. And your answer is, essentially, “Oh yeah? Well what church is better?”

            It doesn’t work that way. As your own Gordon Hinckley said:

            “Well, it’s either true or false. If it’s false, we’re engaged in a great fraud. If it’s true, it’s the most important thing in the world. Now, that’s the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true.”

            Gordon B. Hinckley, Interview “The
            Mormons”; PBS Documentary, April 2007

            You can’t say your church is “true” and then change it to “Well, it’s truer than any other church.”

            Hinckley was absolutely right. It is either true or it’s a fraud. And I think it’s a fraud.

            And please, name one other person who saw the golden plates. You can’t.

          • SoundOn

            If we are claiming to be the true church why on Earth would you want to look at science which has very little to do with the spiritual truths contained in scripture? You seriously must lean atheist. So you believe that Jesus Christ lived and died because it can be proven, but must deny the miracles that He performed and His resurrection because they can’t be proven, correct? If you want to know Jesus Christ you look to the scriptures, not science. When you ignore the scriptures it’s no wonder you haven’t discovered spiritual truths contained within them. Pres. Hinckley was right, the church is true and you are a fraud along with your atheist friends who ignore what the scriptures teach.

          • Tornogal

            What exactly do you mean by “spiritual truths,” SoundOn? I am serious. What is the difference in a “spiritual truth” and THE truth?

            And when you say “Hinckley was right, the church is true,” what exactly does that mean? What does it mean (and I am sincere in asking) to say an institution is “true”? Assertions are either true or not. Statements are true or not. What does it mean when you say the Mormon church is “true”? And (again, sincerely) what evidence would it take for you to acknowledge the Mormon church was NOT “true” (again, whatever that means)? Put another way, if the Mormon church was a fraud, would you want to know?

          • SoundOn

            Perhaps you should read and apply the scriptures. Only then can you understand what spiritual truths are.

          • Tornogal

            I can understand why you choose to not respond.

            If something is true, it’s true. There is no “spiritual truth” distinct from the true.

            If someone said the Book of Abraham was “the words of Abraham written in his own hand” that is either true, or it’s not. (In this case, of course, it’s not.) There is no “spiritual” way to spin it as true.

            If someone said the Book of Mormon was a true record of early Americans, and that “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians,” that is either true or it’s not. In this case, this introduction written by Apostle Brice McConkie was NOT true, of course. And as there was no “spiritual truth” to make it true, the LDS church just changed the wording when the evidence became overwhelming that it was not true.

            Things are true or not. And so very many aspects of Mormon history, doctrine, and scriptures are not true.

            Again, SoundOn, if the Mormon church was a fraud, would you want to know?

          • SoundOn

            Truth is truth, but some truths are spiritual, weighed in spiritual terms and some are temporal, weighed in temporal terms. If the Church was true wouldn’t you want to know?

          • Tornogal

            If the Mormon church was true, would I want to know. You bet! But that is an extraordinary claim. Can you prove it?

            And I truly do not understand your statement that “some truths are spiritual…and some are temporal.” Are you saying that some “temporal truths” can be false but “spiritually true”? Because that makes no sense.

            Either Joe Smith had golden plates or he didn’t. He claimed to, but no one else ever saw them. So were they a “spiritual truth”?

            Joe Smith claimed the Book of Abraham was Abraham’s history “written in his own hand.” But it wasn’t. So was that a “spriritual truth”?

            Joe Smith said the Book of Mormon was written in “Reformed Egyptian.” But that language never existed. Was that a “spiritual truth”?

            Joe Smith said of the Kinderhook Plates “I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth.” But they weren’t. Was that a “spiritual truth”?

            Please explain.

          • SoundOn

            Just as you can’t disprove it I can’t prove it, but God can. If you really want to know you can read the scriptures and ask Him if they are true. He will prove it by the witness of His Holy Spirit.

          • Tornogal

            I’m not the one making the fantasic claims. You are. The burden of proof is on you.

            I could say Earth was first populated by giant purple hippos. You can ‘t disprove it. I could say the Sun has a giant M&M at its center. You can’t disprove it.

            I am happy to have god and a spirit confirm things. But they have to pass the tests of logic and evidence. Mormonism fails horribly on both counts to me (and apparently to 99.8% of the world population).

            No one else saw the golden plates. No one has ever before or since found anything in “reformed Egyptian.” The Book of Abraham is not his history written in his own hand. The Kinderhook Plates (and Greek Psalter episode) proved Smith a con.

            But of course you will go to (only) FAIR/FARMS. They will tell you all is well in Zion. And you will soldier on defending a fraud.

          • SoundOn

            It appears that you really don’t want to know if God is real and that is why you will remain ignorant.

          • Tornogal


            Fair enough. If the way your god works is to create two sets of truth, one “spiritual” and one “temporal,” then I’m fine to “remain ignorant” of her/him/it. I’m fascinated that what is presented as a loving deity by Mormons would create such strong evidence that his/her/its “One True Church” was false and then require followers to sift through that evidence at great peril. Follow the evidence? Damned forever. Ignore the evidence and believe a charlatan? Good to go. That makes no ense.

            You have provided no explanations for the enormous flaws I have listed (and there are many more). But I think I know what you will say, and it will be something along the lines of “Those things have all been explained.”

            Yep, that’s what the leaders of your controlling organization want you to think. And you have been thoroughly indoctrinated to accept them at face value.

            Just for fun, go look at the real estate transaction records and holdings for the Big 15. And then for fun ask how much in “living allowances” they receive.

          • SoundOn

            Remind us again why the church doesn’t bother you.

          • Tornogal

            “Ruffle my feathers”? Hardly. I am discussing, and I enjoy it. I like having the opportunity to let passers-by see what sad logic is used to defend Mormonism. You won’t touch any of the issues, and that’s understandable.

            For those interested, visit cesletter(dot)com. It is a great summary of the enormous issues with Mormonism.

          • SoundOn

            Barking about something doesn’t make something an issue. You make false statements such as there is no archeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon when that is simply not true. You mentioned problems with the book of Abraham when Egyptologists are neutral on the subject. You have a problem with the commandment of tithing, But that simply because you don’t believe the Bible to be true. This might be issues to you, but anyone who really wants to understand truth, Yes, Truth, they can find the answers. Thanks for the discussion. Enjoy finding satisfaction and atheism by opposing the things of God.

          • Tornogal

            (“Barking”? Insulting much? You might want to read Elder Bednar’s counsel to LDS church members on how to behave online (unless you are actually wanting to drive people away from Mormonism with your online behavior, that is…).)

            “Egyptologists are neutral on the subject [of the Book of Abraham].” Are you kidding me?

            “It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud…. Smith has turned the Goddess [in Facsimile No. 1] into a king and Osiris into Abraham.” – Dr. A.H. Sayce, Oxford professor of Egyptology, printed in Joseph Smith Jun. As a Translator, by F.S. Spaulding, p. 2

            “… these three facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization.” – James H. Breasted, Ph.D, Egyptologist, Haskell Oriental Museum, University of Chicago, as cited in Joseph Smith Jun. As a Translator, p. 26-27

            “To any one with knowledge of the large class of [Egyptian] funeral documents to which these belong, the attempts to guess a meaning are too absurd to be noticed. It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these [i.e., Smith’s] explanations.” – Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie, London University; quoted in F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator, 1912, p. 24

            “To sum up, then, these three fac-similes of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian Writing and civilization.” – James H. Breasted, Ph. D., Haskell Oriental Museum, University of Chicago; quoted in F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator, 1912, pp. 26-27

            “I return herewith, under separate cover, the ‘Pearl of Great Price!’ The ‘Book of Abraham,’ it is hardly necessary to say, is a pure fabrication…. Joseph Smith’s interpretation of these cuts is a farrago [confused mixture] of nonsense from beginning to end.” – Dr. Arthur C. Mace, Assistant Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Department of Egyptian Art; quoted in F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator, 1912,p. 29

            So seriously, how do you see that as Egyptologists being “neutral on the subject”??

          • SoundOn

            Thanks for sharing your side of the story. Last time we had this conversation you were shown to ignore the dictionary when speaking of temple recommend questions and the encyclopedia when referencing archeology in the Book of Mormon. And you tirelessly beat the same drum to mislead people from a church that you say doesn’t bother you. You’ve already only proved to be a fool and I’m showing to be the same by arguing with one. So I’ll end it here and wish you a happy new year.

          • Tornogal

            LOL! Thanks for sharing “[my] side of the story”?? I was quoting the Egyptologists whom you said were “neutral” on the subject of the Book of Abraham. And of course they are anything but. They used words like “impudent fraud,” that Joseph Smith “was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization,” and that the Book of Abraham “is a pure fabrication.” How in the world is that my “side of the story”? That is a collection from Egyptologists saying clearly they were not “neutral” on the book, as you indicated they were.

            But feel to call me a fool, accuse me of barking, and ignoring the counsel of Elder Bednar in how to discuss things on-line. You’re not a very good example to people.

          • SoundOn

            Well, at least one of us is listening to the words of the living prophets 🙂

          • SoundOn

            Posted in error

          • OregonDavid

            “What do you offer to make the world better?”

  • Kurt

    Missions are great. Good for the church. Spend a couple years working hard, helping others, studying scriptures and praying and you have to come out ahead a little. Probably not for everyone, but a good thing for most.

  • Joker Davis

    Civilization has no obligation to tolerate uncivilized activities.

  • SoundOn

    Missions are a benefit to both the missionary and to those who are taught the gospel by them. For example,
    A 2009 Gallup Poll found that seventy-nine percent of Mormons attend religious services weekly, almost every week, or monthly compared to 53% of the overall American adult population who attend this frequently. Also, in 2012 the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life released a survey which was the first ever published by a non-LDS research organization to focus exclusively on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Results showed that 82% of survey respondents indicate that religion is “very important” to them, 83% say they pray every day and 77% say they attend church at least once a week. And a remarkable 69% of respondents fit all three descriptions. On July 9, 2001 the Barna Research Group of Ventura, California released research studies. The studies identified that outside of Sunday church sermons, meaning in the home, Mormons were more likely to have read the bible (not the Book of Mormon, but the Bible) than any other religion polled. And data shows that Mormons understand their own doctrines and the Bible better than other Christian denominations. A 2010 survey by Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey which aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history Mormons scored the highest on questions about Christianity and the Bible. They also scored second only to Jews in knowledge of Judaism. This kind of commitment is the reason that Mormons are among the most devout religious groups in the country (American Grace, 23-24) and are among those most likely to keep their childhood faith as adults (American Grace, 137-138) according to a sociological scholars Robert D. Putnam (Ph.D.), and David E. Campbell (Ph.D.)