Sunday, April 06, 2008

CNN is clueless

So, according to this hack reporting job by CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/06/texas.ranch/index.html

the followers of Warren Jeffs are "a rogue branch of the Mormon Church."

This would be like calling Baptists a rogue branch of the Catholic Church.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not, nor has ever been, part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If I started a church and called it "The Fundamentalist Roman Catholic Church" would that make me a rogue branch of the Catholic Church? No, it would not. CNN knows better than this crap.

Mormons are not polygamists. That is all.

UPDATE 8:24 PM EDT

So, CNN has taken down the offending remarks, and they even linked to this post, complete with the headline "CNN is clueless." They have more backbone than I suspected. I thank them for righting the wrong, but I maintain, that it ever got published shows a lack of editorial oversight.

34 comments:

Kurt said...

Way to blast 'em, Mac!

billionstars said...

Looks like another abuse of power in Texas. All this based on one unverified phone call.

Certainly the children need protection,but if you look into the recent Texas Youth Authority investigations, it would seem like the children have a better chance of being abused in state custody.

Driving them away in Baptist church buses seemed a little odd.

Aren't there any attorneys in Eldorado Texas?

Try taking 200 people out of a synagogue in New York, or 200 Baptists out of a church in Memphis, and loading them onto buses that say "Latter Day Saints", and see how far down the road you get, before someone from the ACLU slapped you with a restraining order and limited the scope of your search.

Josh Reeves said...

The FLDS are a break-off of the Mormon (LDS) church. When the LDS church officially renounced and later threatened punitive actions against polygamy, several break-off groups abandoned the LDS faith to establish their own faith, based on the LDS faith, but continuing the tradition of polygamy.

One of those (probably the largest today) was the FLDS church. This many years later, it is fair to say that the LDS church and the FLDS currently have no association.

Not being a member of either, I can't say which elements of modern Mormonism are present in the modern FLDS (or even which elements of classic Mormonism are present in modern Mormonism). As a resident of Utah, I know many Mormons, and I will say that they are generally good, God-fearing, monogamous Christians like most US Citizens (but for the record, I am Humanist - I think both groups are misguided, one clearly more than the other).

When I see these crazies that have built themselves a compound so they abuse children in private - I can understand why modern Mormons, although they share a history with the FLDS faith, are offended by any mention of any association.

That being said, it is unfair to imply that the FLDS faith just "named themselves" after the LDS faith and that there never has been any relationship between the 2. At one point in time they were one and the same; At this point in time, they are not. The schism between the 2 has clearly widened beyond whether or not to sanction polygamy.

chattypatra said...

"Driving them away in Baptist church buses seemed a little odd."

I thought so too!


"Try taking 200 people out of a synagogue in New York, or 200 Baptists out of a church in Memphis, and loading them onto buses that say "Latter Day Saints", and see how far down the road you get, before someone from the ACLU slapped you with a restraining order and limited the scope of your search."

As much as I understand the concern of the local government, I have to agree with this statement.
How long until someone storms our Temples under the same reasoning?

"That being said, it is unfair to imply that the FLDS faith just "named themselves" after the LDS faith and that there never has been any relationship between the 2. At one point in time they were one and the same; At this point in time, they are not. The schism between the 2 has clearly widened beyond whether or not to sanction polygamy."

Hard as it is to swallow, that much is true.

I do commend you, Mac, for your big...for your courage taking on CNN, and I'm happy you succeeded.
I didn't have the same result when I took on a local newspaper columnist, but I did stand up to the guy in writing, so I'm not ashamed. ¡Dales duro, que son unos sinvergüenzas!

Mac said...

Josh,

Again, you can characterize their breaking away however you wish, the fact remains that there are no "rogue branches" of the LDS church, unless you take the all-inclusive view that all protestants are just rogue branches of Catholicism. While they may share a very close history, they are not affiliated. From the moment they were excommunicated by Wilford Woodruff, they are no longer affiliated with the church. The fact that it happened a long time ago doesn't make it any closer than if it happened today over some other issue.

musclecomp said...

Excuse me... Let's not forget the fact that it is still a current LDS belief that men will have more than one wife in the afterlife. The FLDS church continued the practice of polygamy because that is what they were told to do by the founder of the church and that it "should never be halted".

In fact, current Latter-Day Saint men can still be "spiritually" married to more than one woman. If they legally divorce a wife, or if she passes away, the LDS church allows them to keep their wife (as far as church records are concerned) and marry another (sealing her to him for eternity, thus taking on another wife that will be his in the next life in addition to the one(s) he has already been married to).

For the LDS church to say it has nothing to do with the FLDS beliefs is a lie. And, in addition to this, Utah still refuses to change its marriage laws, which allow men to marry girls at 16 years of age with their parents consent. This was enacted as a polygamy law that they have not changed.

Anonymous said...

Uh Mac,

The FLDS is a live history lesson of the principles set forth in the original book of mormon. The LDS church likes to connect themselves with their early 'pioneer' roots and still worship the profit joeseph smith as god. He started all this. The LDS cult must live with it.

Mac said...

For the LDS church to say it has nothing to do with the FLDS beliefs is a lie.

No, it's not. See my previous comments, unless you're too blinded by prejudice. People give too much respect to the passage of time when it's more than 200 years, but nothing to less. Just because something happened a long time ago doesn't mean that it's more correct. My comparisons with Protestantism and Catholicism are the same argument, yet no one attacks those statements, they just keep saying that the FLDS church is part of the LDS church. It is not. No way, no how.

The FLDS is a live history lesson of the principles set forth in the original book of mormon. The LDS church likes to connect themselves with their early 'pioneer' roots and still worship the profit joeseph smith as god. He started all this. The LDS cult must live with it.


"Anonymous," this is a troll-free zone. You are obviously trying to enrage me, which won't work. Your statements merit no further response.

Anonymous said...

Uh Mac,

Mormons typically go to 'ad hominem' or personal attacks when they are confronted with the facts about their cult. Sorry if i got your magic underpants in a bunch.

Mac said...

Uh Anonymous,

Ex-mormon? Left the church but can't leave it alone?

Anonymous said...

You're kidding right? Haven't you read your Doctrine and Covenants lately Mac? Don't you realize that the "eternal covenant" IS still in there?

Mormons aren't polygamous? YET! When you die and become a god, who will populate your planet along with you Mac. Will you exhaust ONE wife with that or will you have multiple goddesses used for your purposes?

Mac said...

Anonymous,

Spiritual sons and daughters, not literal physical bodies. And, so what if the eternal covenant is still in there, after it you'll find Official Declaration -1, which sets it aside.

Seriously, who has their underwear in a twist? Why the vitriol? What does it profit you to attack what I believe? Go in peace and harangue me no more.

Brian said...

"...still worship the profit joeseph smith as god." - anonymous

HA hahaha!! Man, that's some blatant ignorance right there. 24 years as a member, served a mission, been through the temple, seen hundreds of hours of general conference, read thousands of pages of Church manuals - Joseph has never been worshiped as a God. Ever. He is revered as a Prophet, like Isaiah or Noah. To say otherwise is an outright lie. "Fact?" Laughable.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the "mainstream" mormons are the rogue sect.

They're the ones who've strayed from the words of the original prophet who had direct contact with the Angel Moroni, and read directly from the golden scrolls provided by the heavens.

This is a major difference between the major historical religions is that this modern religion claims that their "scripture" is the DIRECT word of God, and therefore perfectly true vs. stories and legends handed down for ages before being written down and edited and reedited as the church saw fit.


So, where is the proof of this Absolute Truth? There isn't a single anthropological/historical aritifact that supports any of their history. Genetic evidence doesn't support their theories of migration. Their references come back to themselves, and they cite vague descriptions of foreign lands as proof (laughable...as if J. Smith had no access to a library, almanac, book, or other people) The plagiarism of the book of the Masons, and other gaffes make this weaker and weaker in a time of ressearch, science and the internet.

It's easy to understand people getting sucked in by this scam years ago, but in this enlightened age it's hard to see how people keep it up other than for the social/political connections.

I'd no sooner vote for a Mormon then I would a scientologist. I wouldn't mind living next to one, but it doesn't mean I'd have to vote for someone who isn't clever enough to see through this thinly veiled control power grab.

Mac said...

If the Book of Mormon isn't true, then I believe there is no God. My faith is inextricably bound to its veracity, but I base that belief on faith, not on knowledge or proof. I do not need proof to be sure, I know how I feel when I read it and pray about it. And, ultimately, if it is fake, if I'm deluded, well there is no God then, but I will have lived my life in an upstanding way, the kind of life that Aristotle advocated. Either way, it brings me happiness, in this life, and if there is one, certainly in the next. No amount of arguing on the internet is going to change that. Not now, not ever.

I hope you have my best interest at heart, and aren't some jaded person who wants to piss all over others beliefs. That's pathetic. If you are concerned about my mortal soul, thank you. I understand where you're coming from, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

Anonymous said...

Mac:

I left the above comment, and in response just want you to know that I'm just Spiritual, not religious. I don't believe that you need a religion to connect w/ God or the spiritual energy of the universe.

And I'm not someone out to prove a point other than I feel equally bad for people who are controlled artificially by a construct under false pretenses.

And to be more clear, not only would I not vote for a scientologist or mormon, but I also wouldn't vote for someone who interprets Genesis literally or doesn't beleive in evolution. Whether it's racism, or Catholics wiping out the Cathars, or the inquisition, or ....there isn't time or space to list all the atrocities committed in the name of "God" in man-made religions.

Do I think alot of the teachings in the various scriptures / bibles / manuscripts are good and reflect universal truths? Yes.

Am I aware that Mormons have had a hugely positive and proactive role in community service (like Katrina relief)? Absolutely.

Do I agree with your statement that if it were proven wrong you'd likely have lived a better life for it? YES.

But it's not just your interests I have at heart, it's a hate of seeing people subjugated and controlled by such lies.

And there's no reason you can't live by equally strong and wonderful principles without the layers of social and political control that are based on dubious claims.

Because Mormon's claim is that their scripture is pure and perfect, and is also so recent in historical terms, there should be an abundance of information and support...not some bat creek stone, not some half-baked allusions and circular references to their own sources for support.

With the huge wealth and full-time research staff they employ to have not one concrete piece of corrollary evidence, when starting with a Heavenly given guide to begin with is to me hard to accept in the face of the history and science I know. But nothing proves I'm correct either.

Good luck, and if it feels right, do it.

Anonymous said...

PS:

Why would you say if the Book of Mormon isn't true then there is no God?

Since Mormons believe that there's is the true faith and the others before them are bastardized of the word of God (even though instead of just getting back to basics there are amazing additions and embellishments...funny how in 2 full testaments nobody thought of post-mortem baptism...?)

How would you know how you felt about the other faiths until you really read and lived and prayed about them?

I'm sure it would be heartbreaking to find out that it was all just a power construct and not a true faith (should that ever be proven) but to say there's no God if you can't be a Mormon seems like an odd position to argue....

Regardless of my OPINIONS on Mormonism, sincerely best wishes to you as an individual...

Mac said...

Anonymous,

Because, if it's not true, then God cannot exist, in my mind. Either this is His Church on the earth, or he doesn't exist, or he created the world as his own gallows. I cannot believe in any higher power if this one isn't true. And, for the record, I'm a convert to the church since age 17. Previous to my conversion, I experimented in other faiths, including a prolonged (age 14-17) era of atheism. The only thing that brought me out of atheism was that God was speaking again in the world. If that's a lie, then He never existed, and we're all just victims of cosmic chance (evolution, which I do believe in, btw). So there, either the Book of Mormon is true, or this is as good as it gets.

chattypatra said...

Why are you such a coward, Anonymous? If you are so sure of your convictions, why not show some backbone and identify yourself? Yes, you have a God-given right to believe what you want, but so do we. What I don't understand is why you are still obsessed with attacking the Church.

I used to be a very devout Catholic. Once I made the decision to leave that church, I never looked back. I don't spend my time trying to prove to them how "wrong" they are, or how they should do this or that. I know there are many good people in their church, and some very bad ones, just like everywhere else.

Why does it matter to you what we do or don't believe? Why can't you move on with your life and focus on your new set of beliefs? I think it's sad that you choose to attack others, hiding behind an 'anonymous' label, afraid to identify yourself. It's cowardly, ridiculous, and a complete waste of everyone's time. I feel sorry for you.

Mac, you are enabling this loser. I would have deleted his/her posts from the start!

brian said...

"Mormon's claim is that their scripture is pure and perfect,"

Tsk, tsk. Misrepresentations again. "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth..." - Joseph Smith (HC 4:461)

Not perfect. "And if there be faults they be the faults of a man." But pretty damn good.

Anonymous said...

Mac, thanks for the followup, and insight into your belief.

I apologize for the run on of thoughts...but if this is "the one truth" and it was in fact direct from the heavens, how could it be that the Church changed its position on polygamy? Did an eternal, all-knowing God really think to communicate to a "prophet" that less than 200 years after communicating Truth on Golden Tablets that things changed?

Is it coincidence that it was the pressure of the US Govt. that the Prophecy came to conveniently reconcile with the interests of laws of mortals not of the Church?

I'd have more respect for Mormons if they'd stuck to their guns, and think the US Govt was wrong to pressure them on this. NO, I don't support subjugating adolescents/children, but I also think they crossed the line of interference w/ Church and State...Either we recognize it, or we don't.

It's the same kind of stuff I don't care for about Catholicism where some books are on a list, then there off a list; or an "infallible" Pope is certain that the Sun and Moon rotate around the Earth...or....

I don't know.

Good Luck.

Mac said...

That's why we have a prophet. You see change as a bad thing. I see the church responding to forces that sought to tear it apart as a good thing. If we hadn't had a prophet to tell us to stop, how would we have known the Lord's will. The scriptures are replete with examples of God changing his mind, the children of Israel being a key example. Jonah and Nineveh repenting being another. Change usually comes from pressure, whether from within or without.

I am intelligent enough to know when I'm being controlled. I do not feel that way and I never have.

Anonymous said...

chatty and brian,

I'm Mark from Pittsburgh. I don't have an account, nor do I care to make one up. Does this help you now?

I've been honest in sharing my feelings, you're welcome to yours. I am not attacking your credibility just because you use a made up name like chatty....

I explained my interest in the situation, and your responses are typical of those that don't want to have an exchange.

And brian:

REally? Direct Transcription of heavenly given Golden plates aren't EXACTLY ACCURATE? Please.

So he just wanted to be more accurate and declare those religions that came before it bastardized but didn't want to be the full truth? come on man.

MARK in PIttsburgh.

brian said...

"REally? Direct Transcription of heavenly given Golden plates aren't EXACTLY ACCURATE?" -Anonymark

That's right. Typos, grammatical problems, other problems are not magically fixed by a celestial spell checker. 'Direct transcription' is also inaccurate characterization. The Urim and Thummim wouldn't likely present English words on a screen. JS would still have sorted out wording. And being a 23 y.o. kid, it makes sense that he'd have gone to his Old Testament when he had to sort out the wording for where Nephi cites Isaiah.

You stated that Mormons teach that the books are "perfect". This is factually unfounded. You can argue that point all you want, but it's simply false.

Anonymous said...

Uh Mac,

I am the original 'anonymus' from earlier today. My name is John and I have never been a member of the LDS church. I have been visited by the elders, and as a scientist with curiosity, I have researched Mormonism to the begining, documents deemed 'not faith promoting' (items which you are not allowed to study). I have reviewed the responses to our discussion and see where you are coming from. It's funny that you can not know anything about me, yet I know everything about you. Sorry for your confusion as to how the world turns day to day, but some day you may wake up and taste the coffee.

Mac said...

It's not funny, it's smarmy. You keep your faith in science alone, I choose rely on all my faculties. Point is, I am happy.

Per your ending "wake up and smell the coffee comment", I recommend you view two episodes of South Park, that's right, South Park:
"Go God Go" #151 and "Go God Go XII."

If you don't see my point, after watching those, then be gone for good thou troll. And yes, I have seen the "Dum dum dum dum dum" episode.

Mac said...

Oh, and for the record, there are no such "documents I'm not allowed to study."

That's complete and utter bullshit. Anytime anyone says we "aren't allowed to study" something you can ignore everything else they say. I'm not a farking child, I can do as I wish, and the church doesn't keep tabs on what people read. Seriously, people need to inform themselves before they start spreading bullshit on the internet. Uninformed hack!

swampbaby said...

Well said, Mac.

Josh Reeves said...

Mac,

In reference to your reply (quoted below):

"Again, you can characterize their breaking away however you wish, the fact remains that there are no "rogue branches" of the LDS church, unless you take the all-inclusive view that all protestants are just rogue branches of Catholicism. While they may share a very close history, they are not affiliated. From the moment they were excommunicated by Wilford Woodruff, they are no longer affiliated with the church. The fact that it happened a long time ago doesn't make it any closer than if it happened today over some other issue."

Well, I characterize their "breaking away" in the common sense of the words - that they broke away, left, stopped associating with, started their own religion, etc.

My original reply did point out that FLDS and LDS share a history, and that they are no longer affiliated - I even pointed out how the 2 have grown so far apart. Your reply seems to imply that I am asserting an affilation between the 2 (?). If I may quote myself from my original reply: "I know many Mormons, and I will say that they are generally good, God-fearing, monogamous Christians like most US Citizens."

I completely agree that CNN's original classification of FLDS as a "rogue branch" of LDS was both false and insensitive. "rouge breakoff" would have been more appropriate, but I don't think the classification even needed to be made in the first place - it's not like they broke off just recently.

I was taking offense to the implication that the FLDS church simply "named" themselves after the LDS church, and that the general public was falsly assuming an association between the LDS church and polygamy. The LDS church has a rich history which includes polygamy - The early church presidents, including the founder Joseph Smith and even Wilford Woodruff (whom you reference in your response), practiced polygamy. The church abandonded the practice in response to political pressure and threat of sanctions from the Federal government.

I also take offense to the classification of FLDS as a "rouge branch" of LDS. My original reply addressed both of these. Since you have shifted the context of your dialog to include the fact that the LDS church once practiced polygamy, but now does not, I ~think~ we're on the same page on the issue.

I'm not sure what "The fact that it happened a long time ago doesn't make it any closer than if it happened today over some other issue." is supposed to mean. In general, something happening a long time ago would make it "farther away" (as opposed to "closer") than if it happened today, but I'm not sure how to respond.

Anonymous said...

Brian:

sorry, away from computer w/o access until late last night.

Ok, you want to talk about "perfect" and the lack of a celestial spell checker. I can concede that may well be true, but we're thinking about this at a different level, ie. macro / micro.

Let's say that even w/ a divine golden tablet, and divine translating stones, that the human element entered into it...I could believe that. But for doing the Lord's work and being a chosen prophet I'd say that this important task may have some spelling errors, and it may have a few extra or omitted words...but not incredible streams of lengthy history to which not a single shred of history can be found.

There are artifacts from many ancient cultures. With such an accurate historical portrait, the teams of scholars just tripping over themselves to prove it, and pockets deep enough to fund the research, not ONE plausible, recognized historical site or excavation has come up with anything to support the history. So were not talking about "perfection" to the letter, were talking about credibility of huge chunk of the story...

That was my point. Sorry if there was any lack of clarity.

Thanks,

anonymark

chattypatra said...

"I am not attacking your credibility just because you use a made up name like chatty...."

Actually, Mark, not that it's any of your business, but the reason I use the name I do online is that two of my siblings hate me precisely because I am a member of the Church. They told me to my face that they were going to make it their purpose in life to destroy me, and threatened my life.
Thus, I moved and hid my identity online. I hope you can understand that much. Thank you.


P.S: Obviously, that is the main reason I get upset when people attack my faith. Why can't they just let us be and live in peace?
I don't understand the anti-Mormon sentiment. You don't have to believe it, so why obssess? You have no desire to change your opinion, why try to change mine?
I just want to be left alone!

brent said...

Anonymark,

"Let's say that even w/ a divine golden tablet, and divine translating stones, that the human element entered into it...I could believe that."

That's good, because otherwise all these things would violate well-recognized rules set out in the book "The Dummies' Guide for Miraculous Translations of Ancient Texts."

"...not ONE plausible, recognized historical site or excavation has come up with anything to support the history."

That's not entirely true. The problem is that the BoM does not preclude the possibility that BoM characters assimilated other cultures into theirs, or vice-a-versa. Indeed, the text suggests that that is exactly what happened. As a result, it is difficult to know whether we should be looking for artifacts from an independent culture, or simply be analyzing alreay-known cultures. If it's the latter, finding such artifacts and knowing that they belong to BoM peoples would be difficult indeed.

As a side note, I'm often amazed how aggressive people like yourself are on the offensive on this issue, without any good alternative explanation for the origin of the BoM. I've had this conversation dozens of times and I've never heard a persuasive theory for how a 20-year-old farmer without relevant access to a library was able to dictate in two months 500 pages of material which contain a story as elaborate and internally consistent as the BoM which have elements consistent with ancient Hebrew writing. For example, it's got a fairly original and well-developed theodicy worthy of Harvard Divinity School and it uses chiasmus (on accident, I guess). I couldn't come anywhere close to doing that, and I've been a student my whole life. The Spaulding Manuscript Theory has been debunked several times over. And there's not one "shred" of evidence that the likes of Sidney Rigdon helped him.

Do you have an explanation for all that before you ask me to leave my faith?

And then what do you do with 11 different witnesses, plus Emma and Lucy Mack Smith who say they actually saw the plates? Mass hysteria is the token answer, particularly by Brodie, but that sounds a little too easy to me, especially for those holding us to the stringent standards of absolute artifact proof.

I'm not saying there aren't academic problems with believing in the BoM. Clearly there are. But it's not entirely untenable either.

Anonymous said...

Uh Mac

Last post for me. I see I touched your nerve when I stated you are not allowed to study the true history of your cult. I think your response speaks to everyone reading it as to just how far your head is up the LDS ass. Oh, and I am an adult who chooses books over cartoons.

Mac said...

Uh Anonymous,

I choose heteroglossia over limiting myself solely to books, as did most of the great thinkers of history. I think you're an absolute dickhead, but I'll try and be Christlike and start trying to learn how to forgive/ignore people such as you (I'll probably fail).

Furthermore, you touched no nerve about what I'm allowed to study. Rather, what you touched is the I-can't-stand-pseudo-internet-intellectuals-thinking-they-know-about-something-when-they-obviously-haven't-done-their-research-nor-would-they-know-how-to-do-it-for-themselves-if-they-tried-and-they-only-read-books-and-glean-ideas-from-others-without-individual-thought-and-once-they-read-a-book-they-like,-without-any-critical-analysis,-they-accept-it-as-the-"gospel"-truth-and-rehash-what-someone-else-thinks nerve.

I have a doctorate in literary criticism; I know what I'm doing. Get thee hence, thou cur; thou mongrel; thou demon; thou Grimer Wormtongue; thou John Vincent Moon; thou Nehor; thou Korihor; thou Angel Clare.