Responses To

Jean Ritchie’s

The World Of The Cults
(Ignorance Is Bliss)
Compiled and Written by

Ronnie Bray
BA (Hons) Theology & Religious Studies
© 2013

Preface................................................................................................................................. 4 Flesh And Blood? – Hardly! ............................................................................................... 6 The Resurrection – Real or Myth? .................................................................................... 10 Three Of The Lost Tribes Of Israel! ................................................................................. 15 Archæologists Have Failed … .......................................................................................... 17 Wider Yet And Wider ....................................................................................................... 19 Spirit Food ........................................................................................................................ 24 War In Heaven .................................................................................................................. 25 Adam Or God? .................................................................................................................. 27 According To The Holy Bible .......................................................................................... 29 Christian Polygamy........................................................................................................... 33 Not Convicted! .................................................................................................................. 34 False ‗Facts‘ ...................................................................................................................... 36 Why Does Ritchie Tell Lie After Lie? .............................................................................. 38 If Ignorance Is Bliss Jean Ritchie Must Be Ecstatic! ........................................................ 39 Joseph‘s First Vision ......................................................................................................... 40 Paul‘s First Vision............................................................................................................. 42 The Lie Direct ................................................................................................................... 46 I Told It My Way! ............................................................................................................. 48 What Is Mark Payne Doing Now? .................................................................................... 49 Danger, Deprogrammers! ................................................................................................. 50

Trying to find biographical details about anti-religious writer Jean Ritchie is like trying to find truth in her writings. From this, you will gather that I have tried to do so without success. I came across her book, ‗The Secret World Of Cults,‘ in the remnant box at a discount shop in Huddersfield and paid One British Pound for the privilege of reading her slop about my faith. I am a Mormon and have been for sixty-two years as I write this, and can with justification claim to know ‗more than a little‘ about my religion, its origins, its history, its doctrines, and its practices. I certainly know more than Jean Ritchie does. My initial disappointment with Ritchie as an authoress that claims to write definitively on a variety of subjects under the umbrella of ‗cults‘ (a word she fails to define and appears not to know its currency in Standard English), is that she fails to provide any references for her selection of quotes, nor does she include a bibliography, not any footnotes so that readers can check her ‗sources‘ for themselves in reputable reference works. She asks us, tacitly, to trust her! Trusting Ritchie is something I strongly advise against, and after you have seen some of her gross errors you will be disinclined to trust her. She does include a decent index, but footnotes with verifiable reference to her sources and a proper bibliography would have been of more use to the honest seeker. However, having read through her opinions of Mormonism and Mormons I am hardly surprised that she hides her referents. Her sole allusion to her ‗helpers‘ is a list of acknowledgements, and that short list includes some that have at one time or another been active in activities against what they define as ‗cultists‘ from a wide variety of accusations and charges, few, if any, of which have ever been successfully proven in any court to have been guilty of what Ritchie and her clan have charged them. More about them later. Apart from that list there is not one reference annotated in the two-hundred and twenty-eight pages of her wildly confused and confusing book, although she does include the addresses of hate groups that share her orientation towards those she does not understand. One reviewer of her Myra Hindley book complains, ―It's certainly not the best book for details of the murders themselves; some location names are incorrect and victims are skimmed over too much for my liking.‖1 She treats her subjects the same way in The World Of Cults, which tells us that having little or no regard for her victims is the best she is willing or able to do. I suppose we ought to ask ourselves whether attacks such as Ritchie‘s ought to be considered in the wider world of religious scholarship since they are irrefutably antagonistic to the requisite Christian attitude to those whose personal faith is not like our

Amazon reviewer of ―Inside The Mind Of a Murderer‖

own, whatever we are. This statement is relevant because whilst a person is attacking another‘s faith they almost always step outside their professed Christian characters and adopt the guise of those as dark and as fierce as the demons they claim to oppose. Clearly, Jesus did not condone his followers using the Devil‘s tools in their fight to establish righteousness. 22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.2 Says a Christian scholar, ―Christ was not satisfied by showing them [the carping Pharisees] the intrinsic absurdity of their argument. He showed them that it might as well be applied to them as to him. ‗Your disciples, taught by you and encouraged by you, pretend to cast out devils. If your argument be true that a man who casts out devils must be in league with the devil, then "your disciples" have made a covenant with him also. You must therefore either give up this argument, or admit that the working of miracles is proof of the assistance of God.‖3 The one thing that can be said about Jean Ritchie is that whatever it is, she‘s against it. She is wily enough not to expose her own faith, if indeed she has one, and fails to inform us what she stands for, but is content to write a sensationalist book that includes all those religious expressions commonly attacked by those on the religious right where speaking in unknown tongues is of greater value that speaking God‘s language of love. This is not stating the case too strongly when we consider that some of her referents consider the Roman Catholic Church a ‗cult‘ and a tool of the Devil that is out to steal the souls of the Catholic faithful. Not content to leave judgement to God, Ritchie sets out with her night-vision scythe and cuts a broad swathe of destruction across many lives. I wonder how she sleeps.

2 3

Matthew 12 Barnes‘ Notes On The Bible

Flesh And Blood? – Hardly!
Despite noting Ritchie's all-points attack on everything that does not share her own jaundiced point of view, whatever that might be, I will deal exclusively with her harangue against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, because I am, as stated, a Mormon and well placed to counter her lies. In her first paragraph she makes it evident that her knowledge of Mormonism is pilfered from unreliable and unacknowledged sources. ―On a planet near a star called Kolob, lives a god [sic] called Elohim with a great many wives. All the wives are kept very busy having babies, but although the god and his wives are flesh and blood – they look and are exactly like human beings – the babies are all ‗spirit‘ children.4 Apart from the reference to heaven where Elohim, the High God of Christianity lives, the rest of Ritchie‘s passage is imaginative fiction. Ritchie‘s reference to God having many wives might or might not be true, the truth is that no Latter-day Saint knows or claims to know whether it is so or not. Ritchie‘s unsupported claim is found in a variety of mean spirited Anti-Mormon publications, but never in official Mormon sources. Elohim is an Hebrew word found in Genesis and is usually translated as God in English versions of the Holy Bible. Latter-day Saints believe that Elohim is God the Father. The literal meaning of Elohim is ‗masculine plural god or gods,‘ although the name can mean judges and other exalted beings both mortal and divine. Mormons do not believe that either God or his wife, or, if he has more than one wife, his wives, are personages of ‗flesh and blood.‘ A reference at this point would be extremely useful, but, alas, typical of Ritchie‘s work, there is none. The Mormon understanding of resurrected bodies is found in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus appears to the eleven Apostles in the upper room: 36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and


Ritchie, The Secret World Of Cults [SWC], Chapter 5, p. 69

wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43 And he took it, and did eat before them.5 Jesus said: Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Clearly, Jesus was resurrected, as all will be, but not with Ritchie‘s imaginary body of flesh and blood, but with a real, tangible, material body of flesh and bones that they were invited to touch. Behold my hands ... - Jesus gave them first hand evidence that he was the same person that had been crucified by showing them his hands and his feet - still, pierced, the wounds made by the nails still open and directing them to touch him and see for themselves so that they could witness to the world that he was alive and embodied again! He then ate before them to prove to them that he was not, as they had supposed, a diaphanous spirit. No better evidence could have been given. He let them touch him and performed acts that a disembodied spirit could not do. Jesus stood before them in his resurrected body of flesh and bones. His blood was poured out on the earth. Why Ritchie finds occasion to re-introduce the blood of Jesus into the risen Christ we do not know, for she does not say, nor does she provide a reference to any place that tells us that what she here claims is actually what Mormons believe. Nowhere in Latter-day Saint theology is there any reference to a belief that Jesus reclaimed his shed blood and was resurrected with a body of flesh and blood. Nowhere. Other Anti-Mormons know what Mormons believe about the resurrected Jesus Christ and his Father. Michael Davis cites Mormon author Carfred Broderick: "God is a … personage of flesh and bone... The Savior was fathered by a personage of flesh and bone"6 Mormons do believe that Elohim is a personage of flesh and bone, and that the Saviour Jesus Christ was resurrected with the same kind of body, as Jesus Christ himself in the Gospel of Saint Luke testifies. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Who can doubt that Jesus was speaking the truth? Where Ritchie found her Jesus with flesh and blood she fails to say! Could it be from an online Catholic forum, such as this one that speaks of Mormonism:

5 6

Luke 34:36-43 [AV] citing: Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn, 1967, p. 100-101

―I have read several places that Mormans [sic] say that God has a body made of flesh and blood.‖7 Of course that is merely someone‘s ill-informed or misunderstood opinion, but it is contrary to what Mormons have taught and believed. A website that is operated by a member of the LDS Church, but not by the Church, answers a question on this same subject. ―You claim that God is flesh and blood. How do you explain John 4:24?‖ Asked by ‗Anonymous,‘ 12/16/2007 ―Mormons do not claim that God is flesh and blood. We claim that He has a body of flesh and bone. This distinction is important. We believe that God is a spirit being who chooses to inhabit a body of flesh and bone, much as humans have spirits that reside in physical bodies. ―There are multiple biblical passages that suggest that God possesses a physical body. The fact that man was created in God's image suggests that God is not some mysterious force or immaterial being; rather, God possess a physical body, and we were made physical beings in His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). The OldTestament prophet Jacob saw God face-to-face, suggesting God has a physical body (Genesis 32:30). Moses also saw God face to face and spoke with Him (Exodus 33:11). Additionally, Moses also saw God's hand, back parts, feet, mouth, and finger, further suggesting He has a physical body (Exodus 33:21-23, Exodus 24:9-11, Numbers 12:6-8, Deuteronomy 8:3, and Deuteronomy 9:10). The psalmist also implied that God has a physical body when he wrote God's hands, arms, and countenance (Psalm 44:3). The New Testament described a vision of God's right hand (Acts 7:55-56). The apostle John described God's face, again suggesting He has a physical body (Revelation 22:3-4). ―Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the world-wide leaders of the Latter-day Saint Church, recently made another good point: "[Mormons believe] in an embodied but certainly glorified God. To those who criticize this scripturally based belief, I ask at least rhetorically: If the idea of an embodied God is repugnant, why are the central doctrines and singularly most distinguishing characteristics of all Christianity the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? If having a body is not only not needed but also not desirable by Deity, why did the Redeemer of mankind redeem His body, redeeming it from the grasp of death and the grave, guaranteeing it would never again be separated from His spirit in time or eternity? Any who dismiss the concept of an embodied God dismiss both the mortal and the resurrected Christ.‖8

7 8

An anonymous questioner Webmaster

Non-Latter-day Saint Theologians and Bible commentators have addressed the question of Jesus‘ body of flesh and bones, and are offered here as standard proofs that Latter-day Saint belief in the actual physical resurrection of Jesus was a real event is one shared by the majority of Christians, for example, ―flesh and bones-He says not ―flesh and blood;‖ for the blood is the life of the animal and corruptible body (Genesis 9:4), which "cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50); but "flesh and bones," implying the identity, but with diversity of laws, of the resurrection body.9 From the foregoing, it should be evident that Mormons believe God has a body of flesh and bones, not flesh and blood, as Ritchie says. It is inconceivable that a former journalist10 could make such a fundamental error when Mormon teachings have been readily available since 1830 in the USA and since 1837 in Great Britain. Mormons believe that the blood of Jesus was shed on the cross of Golgotha to make an infinite atonement so that the sons and daughters of God could be cleansed from the effects of their wrongs and stand before God and Jesus righteoused by Jesus Christ and forgiven and accepted by God the Father. Jesus, who is in the express image of his Father was resurrected with a body of flesh and bones, and unless he has succumbed a second time to the demands of death following his resurrection he will still have it today where he sits at God the Father‘s right hand in the heavens.11 Not only is Jesus Christ in the express image and likeness of his Father, but humanity was made in the image and likeness of God.12


Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary She worked for ―The Sun,‖ a British tabloid that attracts a great deal of attention for its sensationalism and inaccuracies. "The Sun" thrived on controversial and sensational stories, including nude ‗pin ups,‘ presented in a quick-read format, with no demanding analysis. 11 Hebrews 1:1-4 12 Genesis 1:26-27

The Resurrection – Real or Myth?
The question of the nature of the persons spoken of in the Holy Bible as God the Father [Elohim] and God the Son [Jesus Christ] must concern us as Christians, since we depend on knowing what they are like to know what we are like and what we will become. In his Great High Priestly Prayer, Jesus said: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.13 The knowledge of God and of his Son Jesus Christ is itself a source of unspeakable and eternal joy. … The word "know" here, as in other places, expresses more than a mere speculative acquaintance with the character and perfections of God. "It includes all the impressions on the mind and life which a just view of God and of the Saviour is fitted to produce." It includes, of course, love, reverence, obedience, honour, gratitude, supreme affection. "To know God as he is" is to know and regard him as a lawgiver, a sovereign, a parent, and a friend. It is to yield the whole soul to him, and strive to obey his law. 14 Full salvation is called eternal life to show that it reaches and endures beyond the limits of time, and that it involves the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and that it is never to end, hence it is αιωνιος ζωη, ‗a life ever living,‘ from αει, always, and ζων, ‗life,‘ from ων, which is ‗being‘ or ‗existence.‘ No words more forcibly convey the idea of eternal life than these do. It is called αιωνιος ζωη, ―That eternal life,‖ by way of its otherness. This ‗life eternal‘ of which Jesus speaks to his Father is eternal life with which infinite happiness is inseparably connected and is inseparably connected with exaltation or deification. So, to the question of whether the resurrection is real or only notional in some vague ‗spiritual‘ way that has no basis in reality. Paul entertains no doubt that is it real, actual, literal, as was the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ. Not only that, but he also teaches that it is universally applied to all mortals that have died. For as in Adam all dies, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.15 That assurance gives life to the Christian. But what will be the nature of our resurrected bodies? In what form can we expect to be after we are resurrected? According to the Apostle John we shall be just as Jesus is.
13 14

John 17:3 Barnes‘ Notes On The Bible 15 1 Corinthians 15:22

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.16 Non-LDS Christian divine and scholar says of this verse: and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; though they are sons, they do not appear now as such, as they will do, when they shall be introduced into their Father's house, and into the many mansions there prepared for them; when Christ shall publicly own them as the children given unto him, and when they shall be put into the possession of the inheritance they are heirs of; besides, they will appear then not only to be kings' sons, but kings themselves, as they now are; they will then inherit the kingdom prepared for them, and will sit down on a throne of glory, and have a crown of righteousness, life, and glory, put upon them; and will appear not only perfectly justified, their sins being not to be found; and the sentence of justification afresh pronounced, and they placed out of the reach of all condemnation; but they will be perfectly holy and free from all sin, and perfectly knowing and glorious; they have a right to glory now, and glory is preparing for them, and they for that: and they are now representatively glorified in Christ, but then they will be personally glorified: now, though all this shall certainly be, yet it does not now manifestly appear; it appears to God, who calls things that are not as though they were and to Christ, whose delights were with the sons men, these children of God, before the world was, and saw them in all the glory they were to be brought to; but not even to angels, until they are owned and confessed before them; much less to the world, who do not know what they are now, and still less what they will be, seeing them now in poverty, meanness, under many reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions; and even this does not appear to the saints themselves, whose life is a hidden life; and that by reason of darkness, desertion, and diffidence, for want of more knowledge, and from the nature of the happiness itself, which is at present unseen: but we know that when he shall appear; that is, Jesus Christ, who is now in heaven, and out of sight, but will appear a second time: the time when is not known, but the thing itself is certain: we shall be like him; in body, fashioned like to his glorious body, in immortality and incorruption, in power, in glory, and spirituality, in a freedom from all imperfections, sorrows, afflictions, and death; and in soul, which likeness will lie in perfect knowledge of divine things, and in complete holiness; for we shall see him as he is; in his human nature, with the eyes of the body, and in his glorious person, with the eyes of the understanding; not by faith, as now, but by sight; not through ordinances, as in the present state, but through those beams of light and glory darting from him, with which the saints will be

1 John 3:2

irradiated; and this sight, as it is now exceeding desirable, will be unspeakably glorious, delightful, and ravishing, soul satisfying, free from all darkness and error, and interruption; will assimilate and transform into his image and likeness, and be for ever.17 Philo the Jew observes the saints in heaven will see God and Christ as they are, and as much as they are to be seen by creatures; God will be seen as he is in Christ; and Christ will be seen as he is in himself, both in his divine and human natures, as much as can be, or can be desired to be seen and known of him.18

The Book of Hebrews contains stunning information about the figures of God and Christ seated side by side in Heaven and in the express image and likeness of the other. That these verses are not more widely used in Christian theology and Christology is a mystery, for they contain beautiful truths about the nature and form of the heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son. 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.19 Jesus has the brightness of his Father‘s glory, and is in the express image of his Father‘s person. This is particularly meaningful when we learn from Genesis that, God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.20 Although there is much discussion about what it means to be created in the image of God, the simple meaning is that we resemble God, an understanding that was prominent for many centuries until the image of God as a real personage was lost under pressure from philosophers that abandoned sacred scripture for speculation.

17 18

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible De Praemiis. & Paenis, p. 917 19 Hebrews 1:1-4 20 Genesis 1:26-27

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.21 Gill says, So God created man in his own image,.... Which consisted both in the form of his body, and the erect stature of it, different from all other creatures; in agreement with the idea of that body, prepared in covenant for the Son of God, and which it was therein agreed he should assume in the fulness of time; and in the immortality of his soul, and in his intellectual powers, and in that purity, holiness, and righteousness in which he was created; as well as in his dominion, power, and authority over the creatures, in which he – the Word – was as God's viceregent, and resembled him. The Jerusalem Targum is, ― … the Word of the Lord created man in his likeness; even that Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God, and in time became incarnate, by whom all things were made. in the image of God[image and glory22] created he him; which is repeated for the certainty of it. 1 Corinthians 11:723 Saint Paul confirms that the record of Genesis regarding humanity made in the image and likeness of God is divine truth. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head[whilst he prays24], forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.25 Moving forwards through the narratives of Genesis, we come to the birth of Adam‘s son, Seth. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.26 Again, the words ‗image‘ and ‗likeness‘ are employed, identifying how they are to be understood when they are used of Adam as created in the image and likeness of God. Seth is in the image and likeness of Adam; Adam is in the image and likeness of Elohim, and Jesus Christ Jehovah is in the image and likeness of God the Father. Why has God taken such pains to have us understand how we are in his image and likeness? He has done so because he is the Father of our Spirits, so that we are truly his offspring. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?27
21 22 23

Genesis 1:27


ν α


Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible 24 The Ethiopic version adds ‗While he prays.‘ 25 1 Corinthians 11:7 26 Genesis 5:3 27 Hebrews 12:9

God is called "the God of the spirits of all flesh."28 ―Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation‖29 Because the spirit or soul is the most important part of us, the name ‗spirit of flesh‘ is given to it by God, who alone is eminently and supremely the Father of our immortal, pre-existing eternal spirits. Man is immortal because each of us is endowed with an eternal spirit, which is never to die, and thereby we sustain our relationship to Father of our spirits as His children. Our earthly father is parent to us inasmuch as we are mortals, but God is our Father inasmuch as we are immortals. When Jesus was resurrected it was not his shed and spent blood that vitiated his resurrected body, but the immortal spirit with which God the Father endowed him, and with which he endows each of us. When Jesus was raised he was raised immortal and no longer needed blood to sustain his mortal body for it was changed and immortalised, and eventually glorified. That is why he told the Eleven, ‗a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have!‘30 Mormons believe that Jesus was raised from the dead with a body of flesh and bones in which he eternal spirit was tabernacle and that in this respect, as in every other, he is like unto his father in Heaven.

28 29

Numbers 16:22 Numbers 27:16 30 Luke 34:39

Three Of The Lost Tribes Of Israel!
Like most Anti-Mormons, Ritchie falls foul of the plain and simple facts surrounding the founding of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. She calls Joseph Smith a ‗farm hand.‘31 It might be nothing more than a clumsy statement, but young Joseph worked with his father and brothers on the family farm. ― … an angel, called Moroni, appeared ant old Joseph that in a nearby hill he would find a set of gold plates, inscribed with the history of an, early, unknown civilisation in America, founded by three of the lost tribes of Israel.‖32 How remarkable. Since Ritchie does not provide any references it is difficult to know from where she picked this little bud of falsehood. The Book of Mormon contains information regarding the descent of its people through both Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph who was sold into Egypt and whose father was Jacob, also called Israel. The Book of Mormon came into to the world through the direct action of God and his servants as a second witness for the convincing of both Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, or Messiah, and the Saviour and Redeemer of the world. The Lost Ten Tribes as a whole or in part do not figure in any way in its production. Why does Ritchie believe they do? A few pages later, Ritchie writes of ‗the Mormon belief that the indigenous Red Indians were descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel.‘33 The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel are the ten tribes of Israel that formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel which disappeared from biblical and all other histories after the kingdom was overrun in about 720 BCE by Assyria. They are called ‗Lost‘ because their whereabouts are unknown. After being taken into captivity by Tigleth-Pileser III they disappeared from the stage of history. They are never reported in Mormonism as having any bearing on the peoples of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon records three separate migrations to the New World: the Jaredites who came from the Tower of Babel around the time it was built, Lehi and his family who came from Jerusalem around 600 BC, and the Mulekites who came from Jerusalem a few years later. Joseph Smith said, ―The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy Angel, translated
31 32

Ritchie, Op. Cit. p. 69 Ibid. p. 70 33 Ritchie, Op. Cit. p. 75

into our own language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it, we learn that our western tribes of Indians, are descendants from that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them.‖34 The Book of Mormon may certainly be said to be a chronicle of the forefathers of the American Indians, but Joseph Smith never claimed that it was the only one, nor need we believe from this statement that the Book of Mormon accounts for all the ancestors of Native Americans. One thing is sure: No Mormons believes the Native American people to be descended from the Ten Tribes of Israel, although some Non-Mormons have considered them as such.


Smith, lletter to the editor, American Revivalist and Rochester Observer, 1833

Archæologists Have Failed …
Ritchie writes, Despite the detail with which Smith writes, archæologists have consistently failed to find any trace of the sites of towns or battlegrounds described by Smith, and excavations have failed to discover even one example of several coins he names.35 The last recorded entry in the Book of Mormon is dated around 600 CE. Towns and venues that were in existence between 3000 BCE but which have not been in continuous occupation or have been totally abandoned are unlikely to have any name attached to them except the modern names given to them by explorers and archæologists. Because these ancient places cannot be matched with reference to their names in the Book of Mormon does not diminish their importance, nor nullify their existence. Historic turmoil often leads to mass migrations and resettlements. When abandoned places fall into ruin, or are robbed of their materials for later builder in other places, they are often lost to later generations. There are estimated to be as many as 3,000 deserted mediæval; villages in England, and many more that were emptied and fell apart and were lost in the churning wake of the Industrial revolution that unsettled tens of thousands of villagers and drove them into the new industrial towns. Some are known only by ancient records, but most are lost forever. Does that mean they were never there? ― … excavations have failed to discover even one example of several coins he names.‖ This is unsurprising because no coins are named in the Book of Mormon. No, not one! The text of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon makes no mention of coins. The word coins was added in the 1920 edition to the chapter heading for Alma 11, but this was an error since no coins are referred to in the text itself. Chapter headings are editorial notes, and some have been changed. The word coins is no longer part of the chapter heading for Alma 11 in current copies of the Book of Mormon. The Nephite monetary system is set forth—Amulek contends with Zeezrom—Christ will not save people in their sins—Only those who inherit the kingdom of heaven are saved— All men will rise in immortality—There is no death after the Resurrection. The pieces of gold and silver described in Alma 11:1-20 are not coins, but a surprisingly sophisticated36 system of weights and measures that is consistent with Mesoamerican proto-monetary practices.37
35 36

Ibid. p. 70 "The Numerical Elegance of the Nephite System": Tables 1 and 2, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/2 (1999); John W. Welch, "Did the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica use a system of weights and scales in

Daniel C. Peterson noted, ―It is, alas, quite true that there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of Book of Mormon coins. Not even in the Book of Mormon itself. The text of the Book of Mormon never mentions the word 'coin' or any variant of it. The reference to 'Nephite coinage' in the chapter heading to Alma 11 is not part of the original text, and is mistaken. Alma 11 is almost certainly talking about standardized weights of metal—a historical step toward coinage, but not yet the real thing.‖38

measuring goods & their values?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/2 (1999): John W. Welch, "Weighing & Measuring in the Worlds of the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/2 (1999): 36–46. 37 Marion Popenoe de Hatch, Kaminaljuyú/San Jorge: Evidencia Arqueológica de la Actividad Económica en el Valle de Guatemala, 300 a.C. a 300 d.C (Guatemala: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, 1997), 100. 38 Daniel C. Peterson, "Chattanooga Cheapshot, or The Gall of Bitterness (Review of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism by John Ankerberg and John Weldon)," FARMS Review of Books 5/1 (1993): 1–86. see especially p. 55.

Wider Yet And Wider
―But it is not Smith‘s fanciful creation of an early civilisation across North, South, and Central America that has given rise to the most controversy over his teachings. It is his interpretation of Christian theology: his version of the origin of man, his plurality of gods in heaven, his views on the relationship of God and Jesus, his rituals and ceremonies.39 Ritchie exaggerates with her notion that the Book of Mormon civilisations spread across North, South, and Central America. Again, she posits something not evidenced in the Book of Mormon or in Mormonism and again she fails to cite the source of her misinformation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has neither postulated nor confirmed any specific geographical areas in which the events portrayed in the Book of Mormon are believed to have taken place. Individual members are left to their own speculations concerning Book of Mormon geography, and that remains the case to this day. Archaeology confirms that there were innovative cities and defences in Mesoamerica in Book of Mormon times, and rivers of the right size in the right portions of the land are also found in in Mesoamerica. ―There appears to be a problem with Book of Mormon directions and the layout of Mesoamerica. Whereas the Nephites generally used terms such as ―northward‖ and ―southward,‖ the hourglass shape of Mesoamerica runs northwest and southeast. How could an intelligent people like the Nephites get cardinal directions wrong? In both Mayan and Hebrew, north means on ―the left hand‖ and south means ―on the right.‖ Studies indicate that some people in Mesoamerica called the Pacific Ocean the ―west sea‖ and the Gulf Coast the ―east sea,‖ just as done in the Book of Mormon. Even some European conquerors used directions similar to those used in the Book of Mormon when they wrote about their travels in Mesoamerica.‖ What is certain is that ancient peoples inhabited the Americas well before the advent of European colonial powers. We are right to ask whether there remains any evidence at all of relatively advanced civilizations existing in ancient North America? The answer is surprising. Most Americans have no idea that ancient cities with advanced architectures once dotted the ancient North American landscape. It is estimated that there once existed over 200,000 cities, structures, and mounds across the continent. Monk's Mound in the ancient site of Cahokia, across from St. Louis, has a footprint bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and Cahokia‘s population was estimated

Ritchie, Op. Cit. p. 70

to be greater than that of London or Rome. Some sites still existing, like the Newark Earthworks in Ohio, reveal a culture that was very sophisticated in its knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.40 Doubters can learn much more about lost ancient North American civilisations at: Next, we ask whether there is any evidence for ancient civilisations having been uncovered in South America. Again, the answer is surprising. As a result of the deforestation of the Amazon basin, a startling discovery has been made. Hidden from view for centuries, the vast archaeological remains of an unknown, ancient civilization have been found. A study published in Antiquity, a British archaeological journal, details how satellite imagery was used to discern the footprint of the buildings and roads of a settlement, located in what is now Brazil and believed to span a region of more than 150 miles across.... According to Martti Parssinen, Denise Schaan and Alceu Ranzi, the authors of the study, the community likely had a population of more than 60,000 people. The researchers said they have only uncovered roughly 10 percent of the existing structures, which may date as far back as A.D. 800. British explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett claimed he had found evidence of an ancient civilization, which he called the City of Z, in the same area. He disappeared in the jungle on a 1925 expedition undertaken with his son and a companion. The author of a book on this subject, David Grann, relates: In cleared-away areas of the upper Amazon basin, researchers, using satellite imagery, have recently pinpointed a vast network of monumental earthworks, including geometrically aligned roads and structures, constructed by a hitherto unknown civilization. According to a new report published in the journal Antiquity, the archaeologist Martii Pärssinen and other scientists have documented more than two hundred and ten geometric structures, some of which may date as far back as the third century A.D. They are spread out over an area that spans more than two hundred and fifty kilometres, reaching all the way from northern Bolivia to the state of Amazonia in Brazil. Over the past several years, however, there has been mounting evidence that nearly everything that was once generally believed about the Amazon and its people was wrong, and that Fawcett was in fact prescient.

None of this wondrous discovery would have come as a shock to various authors who decades ago recorded the stories of the natives and explorers. During that time, however, mainstream archaeologists have frequently pooh-poohed these tales and ignored the whole astounding field. As we can see, times are changing.41 The Book of Mormon action is believed to have been chiefly concerned with Mesoamerica, so we ask whether any evidence for advanced civilisations has been uncovered to support the Book of Mormon‘s view. The answer, you will not be surprised to learn, is surprising! The wonderful culture of the Mayan Indians to which we will now turn our attention was developed in the humid lowlands of Central America and especially in the Yucatan peninsula. Artists are everywhere of the opinion that the sculptures and other products of the Mayas deserve to rank among the highest art products of the world, and astronomers are amazed at the progress made by this people in the measuring of time by the observed movements of the heavenly bodies. Moreover, they invented a remarkable system of hieroglyphic writing by which they were able to record facts and events and they built great cities of stone that attest a degree of wealth and splendor beyond anything seen elsewhere in the New World. The Mayan culture was made possible by the agricultural conquest of the rich lowlands where the exuberance of nature can only be held in check by organized effort., On the highlands the preparation of the land is comparatively easy, owing to scanty natural vegetation and a control vested in irrigation. On the lowlands, however, great trees have to be felled and fast-growing bushes kept down by untiring energy. But when nature is truly tamed she returns recompense many fold to the daring farmer. Moreover, there is reason to believe that the removal of the forest cover over large areas affects favorably the conditions of life which under a canopy of leaves are hard indeed. The principal crops of the Mayas were probably much the same as on the highlands, with maize as the great staple. Varieties favorable to a humid environment had doubtless been developed from the highland stock by selective breeding as agriculture worked its way down into the lowlands. Archaic art appears along the edges of the Mayan area in the state of Vera Cruz, Mexico, and in the Uloa Valley, Honduras. In both these regions are also found clay figurines that mark the transition in style between the archaic and the Mayan as well as finished examples of the latter. There can be no doubt, then, that the archaic art of Mexico marks an earlier horizon than the Mayan. Whether or not it was once laid entirely across the Mayan area cannot be decided on present data but it seems


unlikely. We have already seen that this first art was distributed primarily across arid and open territory. With their calendrical system already in working order the Mayas appear on the threshold of history about the beginning of the Christian Era according to a correlation with European chronology that will be explained later. The first great cities were Tikal in northern Guatemala and Copan in western Honduras, both of which had a long and glorious existence. Many others sprang into prominence at a somewhat later date; for example, Palenque, Yaxchilan or Menche, Piedras Negras, Seibal, Naranjo, and Quirigua. The most brilliant period was from 300 to 600 A. D., after which all these cities appear to have been abandoned to the forest that soon closed over them. The population moved to northern Yucatan, where it no longer reacted strongly upon the other nations of Central America and where it enjoyed a second period of brilliancy several hundred years later. […] At Copan there is an especially fine example of artificial platform mound rising from one end of the Great Plaza and affording space for several temples as well as for sunken courts with stepped sides that may have been theatres. The river washing against one side of this great mound has removed perhaps a third of it and made a vertical section that shows the method of construction. It is apparent that the mound was enlarged and old walls and floors buried. Mayan buildings are of too principal kinds. One is a temple pure and simple and the other has been called a palace. The temple is a rectangular structure crowning a rather high pyramid that rises in several steps or terraces. As a rule the temple has a single front with one or more doorways and is approached by a broad stairway. The pyramid is ordinarily a solid mass of rubble and earth faced with cement or cut stone and rarely contains compartments. Some temples have but a single chamber while others have two or more chambers, the central or innermost one being specially developed into a sanctuary. The so-called palaces are clusters of rooms on low and often irregular platforms. These palaces may have been habitations of the priests and nobility. The common people doubtless lived in palm-thatched huts similar to those used today in the same region. The typical Mayan construction is a faced concrete. The limestone, which abounds in nearly all parts of the Mayan area, was burned into lime. This was then slaked to make mortar and applied to a mass of broken limestone. The facing stones were smoothed on the outside and left rough-hewn and pointed on the inside. It is likely that these facing stones were held in place between forms and the lime, mortar and rubble filled in between. The resulting wall was essentially monolithic. The rooms of Mayan buildings are characteristically vaulted but the roof is not a true arch with a keystone. The vault, like the walls, is a solid mass of concrete that grips the cut stone veneer and that must have been held in place by a

false work form while it was hardening. The so-called corbelled arch of overstepping stones was doubtless known to the Mayan builders.42 While Mormons make no claims about how widespread ancient civilisations were in the Americas, North, South, and Central, if they had, there is sufficient archæological support to buttress any such claims.


Spirit Food
The reason that the flesh-and-blood God and his flesh-and-blood wives give birth to spirit children is that in heaven they eat spirit food, not earthly food. ‗Celestial vegetables, when digested, form a spiritual fluid which gives immortality and eternal life to the organisation in which it flows,‘ according to Mormon doctrine.43 Although Ritchie does not provide a source for this information, a source is available in a book by Orson Pratt, written in 1853 in which he undertakes to explain what is, according to Mormon doctrine, inexplicable. Pratt wrote, The celestial beings who dwell in the Heaven from which we came, having been raised from the grave, in a former world, and having been filled with all the fulness of these eternal attributes, are called Gods, because the fulness of God dwells in each. Both the males and the females enjoy this fulness. The celestial vegetables and fruits which grow out of the soil of this redeemed Heaven, constitute the food of the Gods. This food differs from the food derived from the vegetables of a fallen world: the latter are converted into blood, which, circulating in the veins and arteries, produces flesh and bones of a mortal nature, having a constant tendency to decay: while the former, or celestial vegetables, are, when digested in the stomach, converted into a fluid, which, in its nature, is spiritual, and which, circulating in the veins and arteries of the celestial male and female, preserves their tabernacles from decay and death. Earthly vegetables form blood, and blood forms flesh and bones ; celestial vegetables, when digested, form a spiritual fluid which gives immortality and eternal life to the organization in which it flows.44 Although Pratt‘s writing is interesting, it cannot be considered Mormon Doctrine. I doubt that more than a dozen Latter-day Saints out of the current 15,000,000 have ever heard of it, and if they have, do not believe it to be doctrine. Mormons believe that exaltation is a gift bestowed by God upon those that become heirs of salvation. To them God grant gifts of immortality and eternal life. Whether the resurrected eat or do not eat is an unrevealed mystery, but the notion that it is necessary to eat spiritual vegetables to maintain immortality seems more than a little incongruous.

43 44

Ritchie, Op. Cit. p. 70 Pratt, The Seer,

War In Heaven
When Elohim and the other gods ruled in favour of Jesus‘ plan, Lucifer was angry and recruited a third of all the spirits in heaven to support him. They came to earth as evil spirits, doomed never to have bodies to live in but always bent on undoing the good work of Jesus. The spirits who supported Jesus were sent to earth as white people, while those who remained neutral were punished with dark skins and became negroes. Mormons do believe that there was a council in heaven to determine how Elohim‘s Plan of Happiness was to be conducted. They believe that Jesus, the Firstborn of all God‘s spirit children, and the pre-existent Jesus, or Jehovah, offered a plane in which the souls of men were free to follow evil or good, and the glory they received would be passed on to Elohim. Lucifer, then a noble son of God, suggested that he would force all humanity to be saved by coercion and the withholding of moral free agency, but he wanted the glory they received to be directed to himself. When the majority of two-thirds of the sons and daughters of God rejected Lucifer‘s plan he rebelled and drawing a third of the spirits after him he fought against God, for which he was cast down to earth with his angels. If Ritchie‘s theory is correct, then the earth would be peopled only with white people and Negros, which it plainly is not. Where does Ritchie believe brown, copper, and yellow skinned people come from? While it is true that some Mormons have speculated on the reason why Negros were not given the priesthood until 1978, the reason has never been revealed. Gordon B Hinckley suggested that the reason as an imprecise understanding of a couple of passages of scripture. I could also have had its foundation in the widespread Christian view that had too little regard for Negros. The removal of the ban was welcomed by the Latter-day Saints. As for the regard Mormon had for Negros, Joseph Smith recorded in 1838, "Elder Hyde inquired about the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slaves mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off many of those they brush and wait on. Elder Hyde remarked, "Put them on the level, and they will rise above me." I replied, if I raised you to be my equal, and then attempted to oppress you, would you not be indignant? […]

Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization."45 In Mormonism, Negros were not and are not regarded as ‗inferior‘46 to any other race or nation.

45 46

History of the Church, Volume 5, p. 216 Ritchie, p. 71

Adam Or God?
Joseph Smith‘s version the origin of man on earth is that God came down from his planet, in flesh and blood, as Adam and procreated with Eve. A site hostile to Mormonism states, Kolob is a star or planet described in Mormon scripture. Reference to Kolob is found in the Book of Abraham, a work published by Latter Day Saint (LDS) prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. According to this work, Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne or residence of God.47 Whether heaven‘s location is on a planet or on anything else in not known to Mormons. Other Christians are at the same loss to explain its location. According to Max Lucado, Heaven is an ‗Unknown Country.´48 Heaven is not limited by the normal boundaries of time and space. Scripture clearly teaches that heaven is a real place that can be seen and touched and inhabited by beings with material bodies. We affirm that truth unequivocally. But Scripture also reveals heaven as a realm not confined to an area delimited by height, width, and breadth. Heaven seems to span all those dimensions-and more. In Christ's message to the Philadelphian church, for example, He speaks of the eternal realm as "New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God" (Rev. 3:12). In the closing chapters of Scripture, the apostle John speaks of "the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:10). The New Heaven and New Earth are seen blending together in a great kingdom that incorporates both realms. The paradise of eternity is thus revealed as a magnificent kingdom where both heaven and earth unite in a glory that surpasses the limits of the human imagination and the boundaries of earthly dimensions. So heaven is not confined to one locality marked off by boundaries that can be seen or measured. It transcends the confines of time/space dimensions. Perhaps that is part of what Scripture means when it states that God inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15). His dwelling place--heaven--is not subject to the normal limitations of finite dimensions.

47 48

Top 10 craziest Mormon beliefs Max Lucado, ‗When Christ Comes,‘ Word Publishing, Chapter 5

We don't need to speculate about how this can be; it is sufficient to note that this is how Scripture describes heaven. It is a real place where people with physical bodies will dwell in God's presence for all eternity; and it is also a realm that surpasses our finite concept of what a "place" is.49 The Christian website ‗,‘ disagrees. Heaven is most certainly a real place. The Bible very definitely speaks of heaven‘s existence—and access to heaven through faith in Jesus Christ—but there are no verses that give us a Mapquest-style location. The short answer to this question is, ―heaven is where God is.‖ The place referred to in this question is called the ―third heaven‖ and ―paradise‖ in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, where the apostle Paul tells of a living man who was ―caught up‖ to heaven and was unable to describe it. The Greek word translated ―caught up‖ is also used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 in describing the rapture, wherein believers will be caught up to be with the Lord. These passages have led to the conclusion that heaven is beyond the earth‘s airspace and beyond the stars. However, since God is spirit, ―heaven‖ cannot signify a place remote from us which He inhabits. The Greek gods were thought of as spending most of their time far away from earth in sort of a celestial equivalent of the Bahamas, but the God of the Bible is not like this. He is always near us when we call on Him (James 4:8), and we are encouraged to ―draw near‖ to Him (Hebrews 10:1, 22). Granted, the ―heaven‖ where saints and angels dwell has to be thought of as a sort of locality, because saints and angels, as God‘s creatures, exist in space and time. But when the Creator is said to be ―in heaven,‖ the thought is that He exists on a different plane from us, rather than in a different place. That God in heaven is always near to His children on earth is something which the Bible expresses throughout. The New Testament mentions heaven with considerable frequency. Yet, even with this frequency, detailed description of its location is missing. Perhaps God has intentionally covered its location in mystery, for it is more important for us to focus on the God of heaven than the description or location of it. It is more important to know the why than the where. The New Testament focuses on the purpose of heaven more than telling us what it is like or where it is. We have seen that hell is for separation and punishment (Matthew 8:12; 22:13). Heaven, on the other hand, is for fellowship and eternal joy and, more importantly, worshipping around the throne of God. So, heaven is somewhere, and, according to others, it is nowhere except where God is. Who is to say whether heaven‘s nearest planet, Kolob, is not close to heaven?


John MacArthur, The Glory of Heaven

According To The Holy Bible
According to Joseph Smith‘s revelations, Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon and other biblical figures all had polygamous marriages. And it was not confined to Old Testament figures, as both Paul and Jesus‘ disciple John are both believed by Mormon to have had more than one wife.50 According to the Holy Bible, Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon and other biblical figures all had polygamous marriages. In fact, according to the Holy Bible, with which Ritchie seems unfamiliar, God commanded plural marriage so that Levirate marriage became a biblical custom. It is described in Deuteronomy 25. 5: If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband's brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. 6: And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 7: But if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.' 8: Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, "I do not want to take her," 9: then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, "So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house." 10: And his name shall be called in Israel, "The house of him who had his sandal removed."51 Thus, if a married man in Old Testament Israel died leaving behind a childless widow, the brother of the deceased was required by God‘s Law to marry his dead brother's widow. The purpose was to produce a son that would be heir to the wealth of the deceased.

50 51

Ritchie, p. 72


Was levirate marriage limited to single men? In other words, if the brother of the deceased was already married, was he still required to take his brother's widow as a second wife? People who hold the position that polygamy was, is, and always will be a sin obviously claim these are moot questions because if polygamy itself is a sin, then taking more than one wife, even as prescribed by levirate law, would also be sinful. However, since the Bible itself is silent on this matter the best we can do is to consider what has been written. If a sufficiently strong case can be made that being married did not exempt a man from levirate marriage, it should put to rest the idea that polygamy is a sin. Most Bible commentators are silent as to whether a married man was required to take the widow of his deceased brother as a secondary wife, and those that are not silent stand on opposite sides of the question.

The Reformation Study Bible: The limitation to brothers "living together" may indicate that it applied to an unmarried brother, but it is doubtful that this limitation held in practice.

The MacArthur Study Bible: Obviously, this required that the brother be unmarried... So, whereas, the Reformation Study Bible says "it is doubtful that this limitation [a brother that is unmarried at the time of his brother‘s death] held in practice," while The MacArthur Study Bible says "Obviously, this required that the brother be unmarried...".

The Oxford Dictionary of the Bible: The [levirate] law did not forbid a man to be married twice (Deuteronomy 21:15-17 ) .

Biblical examples of polygynous men include: Lamech Esau Jacob Gideon Abijah had two wives had three wives had four wives had many wives had 14 wives Genesis 4:19. Genesis 26:34 & 28:9. Genesis 29:28 & 30:4-9. Judges 8:30. II Chronicles 13:21.

Most Biblical patriarchs are reported as having many wives. Nothing in the Bible says that polygamy is contrary to the will of God, and if it is not contrary, then God approves, even, as in the case of Levirate marriages, commanding it through his Lawgiver, Moshe. ―In the Second Temple period, Jewish society was, at least in theory, polygamous‖52 "There is evidence of the practice of polygamy in Palestinian Judaism in NT times.‖53 Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.) had ten wives54 and a considerable harem.55 Polygamy and concubinage among the aristocracy is attested by Josephus.56 The continued practice of levirate marriage57 evidently led to polygamy, which was countenanced by the school of Shammai but not that of Hillel, nor by the Qumranis. It seems not to have been extensively practiced by Jews in the New Testament period, particularly by rabbis: Polygamy was present and visible in parts of Palestinian Judaism, and generally confined to the aristocracy on economic grounds. Most Jewish teachers allowed that polygamy was both legal and approved by God, therefore, they did not see marrying a second wife as adultery. The fact that polygamy was current during the beginning of the Christian period is attested by Justin Martyr who rebuked the Jews for their common practice of polygamy, and did so with evident antiSemitic fervour: "Your imprudent and blind masters [i.e., Jewish teachers] even until this time permit each man to have four or five wives. And if anyone sees a beautiful woman and desires to have her, they quote the doings of Jacob." Irenæus condemned Gnostics for polygamy: "Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives..." Tertullian was as vehement in his condemnation of plural marriage, despite its divine origins: We do not indeed forbid the union of man and woman, blest by God as the seminary of the human race, and devised for the replenishment of the earth and
52 53

Jewish Women in Græco-Roman Palestine, p. 85

FJ Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus: An Investigation into Economic and Social Conditions during the New Testament Period, 1969, pp. 90, 93, 369 f 54 Josephus, Ant. 17, 19f.; War 1,562 55 Ibid. War 1,511 56 Antiquities of the Jews 12, 186ff.; 13, 380; War 1, 97 57 Yeb. 15b

the furnishing of the world, and therefore permitted, yet Singly. For Adam was the one husband of Eve, and Eve his one wife, one woman, one rib. Methodius, in the third Christian century, insisted that plural marriage had not continued after the time of the Prophets: "The contracting of marriage with several wives had been done away with from the times of the prophets. For we read, 'Do not go after your lusts, but refrain yourself from your appetites'...And in another place, 'Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.' This plainly forbids a plurality of wives." Yet plural marriage remained common even among Christians as shown by the Council of Neocaesarea, circa AD 315, that refers to a 'purification period' for polygamists. By that time, sinners had to 'sit out' of Church activities until they had demonstrated reformation. If a sin showed up on this list of canons, it was considered a 'bad sin' – and polygamy shows up here: In the Ancient Epitome of Canon III, it is recorded that time for doing penance and purification of polygamists is well known, and that a zeal for penance may shorten it." Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea (329 or 330 – January 1, 379), mentioned polygamy a number of times in his letters, generally concerning the period for exclusion from church for polygamists, calling it 'limited fornication': In the case of trigamy and polygamy they laid down the same rule, in proportion, as in the case of digamy; namely one year for digamy (some authorities say two years); for trigamy men are separated [from Church activity] for three, often for four; but this is no longer described as marriage at all, but as polygamy; nay rather as limited fornication. It is for this reason that the Lord said to the woman of Samaria, who had five husbands, "he whom thou now hast is not thy husband." He does not reckon those who had exceeded the limits of a second marriage as worthy of the title of husband or wife. In cases of trigamy we have accepted a seclusion of five years, not by the canons, but following the precept of our predecessors. Such offenders ought not to be altogether prohibited from the privileges of the Church; they should be considered deserving of hearing after two or three years, and afterwards of being permitted to stand in their place; but they must be kept from the communion of the good gift, and only restored to the place of communion after showing some fruit of repentance. The data for the NT is at best unclear. Although it was by this time best described as a minority practice, it remained a practice among Jews and Christians. The Bible is clear that polygamy is not only authorized, but in many cases it was demanded by God. If God sanctions it, it cannot be counted as adultery.

Christian Polygamy
There is a Christian movement, Christian Polygamy, whose website says, Christian Polygamy is based solely upon the Old and New Testament Scriptures. It is a belief held mostly by evangelical, conservative Christians, who operate by the presupposition that the Scriptures, the Word of God, as written in the languages in which they were originally written, is the sole basis for doctrinal belief […]Yes, Christian Polygamy is genuinely Christian!58

Those Christian reform movements that have attempted to build up abandoned Christian doctrines justifying their interpretations on the Bible alone (sola scriptura) have accepted polygamy as a Biblical practice. During the Protestant Reformations, Martin Luther granted Philip of Hesse who had been living ―constantly in a state of adultery and fornication,‖ a dispensation to take a second wife.59 Fifteen years earlier, Luther stated that he could not "forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture." ("Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis.")60 "The parliament at Nürnberg decreed that, because so many men were killed during the Thirty Years‘ War, […] every man was allowed to marry up to ten women.‖61 Controversial Christian vegetarian activist and leader Nathan Braun implies a positive stance towards polygamy.62

58 59 Martin Luther, ―Der Beichtrat‖ [English, "The Confessional Advice"] 60 Luther, Letter to Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück 61 February 14, 1650 62 Braun, The History and Philosophy of Marriage, fourth edition

Not Convicted!
Before founding his new ‗religion‘ [Joseph Smith] had been convicted in 1826 for ‗glass looking‘: Much energy has been expended in the search for evidence that Joseph Smith was convicted of a public-order offence in 1826. It is admitted that evidence exists which suggests he made a court appearance in that year, but its nature is such that it must be regarded as inconclusive, both as to the nature of charge and the outcome of the hearing. The debate continues in the absence of any formal court record. Ritchie, in common with other Anti-Mormons deal with his alleged "conviction" and his unproven criminality as if it was an established fact. It is not. ―In March 1826...Peter Bridgeman, swore out a warrant for [Smith's] arrest...the court pronounced him guilty, though what sentence was finally passed the record does not say.‖63 Since Brodie cannot be considered a friend of Smith, if there were evidence for his conviction, then she would have found it. Christadelphian Anti-Mormon, Forrest Brinkerhoff who relies on Brodie thinks he had Smith tried, found guilty, and convicted. ―Smith admitted [his conviction] later when he said, "I was visited by a constable and arrested by him on a warrant, on the charge of being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, etc.‖64 Smith does no more here than admit he was arrested on a charge of being a disorderly person, for setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon. However, Smith does not write that the year was 1826. Brinkerhoff's inconsistency is his treatment of the alleged 1826 trial becomes evident when he quotes directly from Brodie, ―At length the public becoming wearied with the base imposition which he was palming off upon the credulity of the ignorant, for the purpose of sponging his living from their earnings, had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of justice. but considering his youth, he then being a minor, and thinking he might reform his conduct, he was designedly allowed to escape.‖ If he ‗escaped,‘ then he was not convicted. In coupling these passages together Brinkerhoff displays poor judgement. The Book of Mormon had not been published in
63 64

Fawn M Brodie, ‗No Man Knows My History,‘ p. 30 Smith, Documentary History of the Church, volume 1, pp. 88-89

1826, which shows that the two reports are not connected. The reference, one of the few that Brinkerhoff provides, shows the date of the trial to be 1830, which was four years after the trial to which Brodie refers, and contains the evidence that Smith was acquitted on all charges, as well as providing primary contemporary testimony to his blameless conduct and good character. During his short troubled life as an instrument in the hands of God, Joseph Smith was hauled before courts on no fewer than 43 occasions. On each of these he was found not guilty of the charges brought against him and acquitted without a stain on his character.

False ‘Facts’
―The Mormon Church […] is the largest shareholder in the Los Angeles Times newspaper.‖65 Here is another tidbit that would benefit from having a verifiable reference. The Mormon Church does not own or have any part in the LA Times. A respectable journalist should know how to check and verify her statements. ―The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country.[3] In 2000, the Tribune Company, parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the area's KTLA, purchased the Los Angeles Times.‖ ―The Times was first published on December 4, 1881, as the Los Angeles Daily Times under the direction of Nathan Cole Jr. and Thomas Gardiner. It was printed at the Mirror printing plant, owned by Jesse Yarnell and T.J. Caystile. Unable to pay the printing bill, Cole and Gardiner turned the paper over to the Mirror Company. In the meantime, S.J. Mathes had joined the firm, and it was at his insistence that the Times continued publication. In July 1882, Harrison Gray Otis moved from Santa Barbara to become the paper's editor.[5] Otis made the Times a financial success. ―Upon Otis's death in 1917, his son-in-law, Harry Chandler, took control as publisher of the Times. Harry Chandler was succeeded in 1944 by his son, Norman Chandler, who ran the paper during the rapid growth of post-war Los Angeles. Norman's wife, Dorothy Buffum Chandler, became active in civic affairs and led the effort to build the Los Angeles Music Center, whose main concert hall was named the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in her honor. Family members are buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery near Paramount Studios. The site also includes a memorial to the Times Building bombing victims. ―The fourth generation of family publishers, Otis Chandler, held that position from 1960 to 1980. Otis Chandler sought legitimacy and recognition for his family's paper, often forgotten in the power centers of the Northeastern United States due to its geographic and cultural distance. He sought to remake the paper in the model of the nation's most respected newspapers, notably The New York Times and Washington Post. Believing that the newsroom was "the heartbeat of the business",[9] Otis Chandler increased the size and pay of the reporting staff and expanded its national and international reporting. In 1962, the paper joined

Ritchie, p. 76

with the Washington Post to form the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service to syndicate articles from both papers for other news organizations. The paper's early history and subsequent transformation was chronicled in an unauthorized history Thinking Big (1977, ISBN 0-399-11766-0), and was one of four organizations profiled by David Halberstam in The Powers That Be (1979, ISBN 0-394-50381-3; 2000 reprint ISBN 0-252-06941-2). It has also been the whole or partial subject of nearly thirty dissertations in communications or social science in the past four decades. The Times was beset in the first decade of the 21st century by a change in ownership, a bankruptcy, a rapid succession of editors, reductions in staff, decreases in paid circulation and the need to increase its Web presence. In 2000, the Tribune Company acquired the Times, placing the paper in co-ownership with then-WB (now CW)-affiliated KTLA, which Tribune acquired in 1985. In December 2008, the Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy protection.‖66


Why Does Ritchie Tell Lie After Lie?
―[The Mormon Church] owns […] the Marriot Hotel Chain where guests have the Book of Mormon instead of the Gideon Bible in their bedrooms.‖67 First, the Mormon Church does not now and never has owned the Marriott Hotel chain. It would be interesting to learn why Ritchie believes they do or did. It was founded by Willard Marriott, who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the Church has never owned it. Second, ―The hotel is noted for including copies of the Book of Mormon in addition to the Holy Bible in its rooms.‖68

67 68

Ritchie, P. 76 Dowell, Edward. "Bible Now Shares Hotel Rooms With Some Other Good Books". The New York Times

If Ignorance Is Bliss Jean Ritchie Must Be Ecstatic!
A woman can only get to heaven if she is married to a man who is on the right track to become a god. If her husband fails to live up to the expectations of the religion, she knows she will not become a goddess.69 Although officially the Church tolerates but does not approve of divorce, some [Mormon] women feel pressured into divorcing their husbands the minute they know he is not going to take them through the Temple ceremonies to godhood.70 Women and men can get to heaven whether they are married or not. A woman married to an unworthy husband will not be denied the blessings of heaven. God is just and will take care of worthy men and worthy women regardless of the spiritual condition of their eternal partners. Thus, while one souse might disqualify him or herself for exaltation, his or her lack of faithfulness does not make the worthy partner unworthy. Ritchie is not only wrong, but she is wrong at the top of her voice. Neither women nor men are pressured to divorce their spouses when they do not honour the covenants they have made with the Lord God. Latter-day Saint ministers might listen to husbands and wives that seek comfort and counsel about a spouse that is unfaithful, but any decision to either continue to redeem the marriage or to end it is solely in the hands of the people concerned. There is no preparation or policy in place to pressure anyone to abandon a faithless husband or wife. In the spirit of Christianity, men and women are encouraged to be patient, longsuffering, and forgiving in the hope that their wayward partner will return to the way of the Lord. It would have helped Jean Ritchie if she had studied Mormonism rather than merely cut and pasted from the plethora of distorted versions of Mormonism available on the web and in scurrilous publications. But, I forgot, she is not a fair reporter of fact, but a sensationalist. I hope she will forgive those that expected better from her and are disappointed at what she delivered. ―Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.‖ Ritchie is at least consistent in that her deliberate sensationalism that bears no relation to truth always produces the same results, regardless of who her victims happen to be at the time, namely, a tissue of inexactitudes that prevaricate without effort and present false and harmful images of her victims. For this she is recompensed!

69 70

Ritchie, p. 79 Ibid.

Joseph’s First Vision
Mark and Thelma Payne, former Mormons, were informants for Ritchie‘s book.71 They have much to say about why they became dissatisfied with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including: We […] discovered that there were four or five different version of Joseph Smith‘s first vision. We felt shocked, betrayed, deeply let down. It was like a physical hurt: something we had believed in so deeply and had run our entire lives around.72 Whilst one can feel sorry for their disappointment, it is less easy to understand why they felt so badly ‗let down.‘ The various accounts of the First Vision have addressed many times. Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often seek to point out differences between the various accounts which Joseph Smith gave of his First Vision. In defense of their position that the Prophet changed his story over a six year period (1832 to 1838) they claim that the earliest followers of Joseph Smith either didn‘t know about the First Vision, or seem to have been confused about it. The Church, however, has discussed the various accounts in a number of publications. Joseph Smith's various accounts of the First Vision were targeted at different audiences, and had different purposes. They, however, show a remarkable degree of harmony between them. There is no evidence that the early leaders of the LDS Church did not understand that the Prophet saw two Divine Personages during his inaugural theophany.73 "Critics of Mormonism have delighted in the discrepancies between the canonical [1838 PGP] account and earlier renditions, especially one written in Smith's own hand in 1832. For example, in the 1832 version, Jesus appears to Smith alone, and does all the talking himself. Such complaints, however, are much ado about relatively nothing. Any good lawyer (or historian) would expect to find contradictions or competing narratives written down years apart and decades after the event. And despite the contradictions, key elements abide. In each case, Jesus appears to Smith in a vision. In each case, Smith is blessed with a revelation. In each case, God tells him to remain aloof from all Christian denominations, as something better is in store."74

71 72

Ritchie, p. 79 Ibid. p. 83 73 74 Stephen Prothero, American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), p. 171

―Joseph's vision was at first an intensely personal experience—an answer to a specific question. Over time, however, illuminated by additional experience and instruction, it became the founding revelation of the Restoration.‖75 ―I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision any more than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time. I am more concerned with the fact that God has revealed in this dispensation a great and marvelous and beautiful plan that motivates men and women to love their Creator and their Redeemer, to appreciate and serve one another, to walk in faith on the road that leads to immortality and eternal life.‖76 Further details and essays on the alleged discrepancies can be read at: 2Angels%22

75 76

―Joseph Smith: An Apostle of Jesus Christ,‖ Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Ensign, Jan 2009, 16–22 ―God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,‖ Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Oct 1984, 2

Paul’s First Vision
The New Testament gives three different accounts of Paul's vision on the road to Damascus, each with a different emphasis and different details. Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his vision according to the audience he was addressing and his understanding of the event. Acts of the Apostles discusses Paul's conversion experience at three different points in the text. Compared with the accounts in Paul's letters, the Acts accounts are far more detailed. According to the accounts in Acts, around the year 36, Paul was on his way from Jerusalem for Syrian Damascus to arrest followers of Jesus, with the intention of returning them as prisoners for questioning and possible execution. The journey is interrupted when Paul sees a blinding light, and communicates directly with a divine voice. Acts 9 tells the story of Paul's conversion as a third-person narrative: And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven: and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: but rise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but beholding no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and did neither eat nor drink.77 The account continues with a description of Ananias of Damascus receiving a divine revelation instructing him to visit Saul at the house of Judas on the Street Called Straight and there lay hands on him to restore his sight. Ananias is initially reluctant, having heard about Saul's persecution, but obeys the divine command: Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight


Acts 9:3–9, ASV

forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.‖78

Acts 22, the second telling of Paul's conversion occurs in a speech Paul gives when he is arrested in Jerusalem. Paul addresses the crowd and tells them of his conversion, with a description essentially the same as that in Acts 9, but with slight differences. For example, Acts 9:7 notes that Paul's companions did not see who he was speaking to, while Acts 22:9 indicates that they did share in seeing the light. This speech was most likely originally in Aramaic, with the passage here being a Greek translation and summary. The speech is clearly tailored for its Jewish audience, with stress being placed in Acts 22:12 on Ananias' good reputation among Damascene Jews, rather than on his Christianity.

Acts 26 is the third discussion of Paul's conversion, and occurs when Paul addresses King Agrippa, defending himself against the accusations of antinomianism that have been made against him. This account is briefer than the others. The speech here is again tailored for its audience, emphasising what a Roman ruler would understand: the need to obey a heavenly vision, and reassuring Agrippa that Christians were not a secret society.

An apparent contradiction in the details of the account of Paul's revelatory vision given in Acts has been the subject of much debate. Specifically, the experience of Paul's travelling companions as told in Acts 9:7 and 22:9 has raised questions about the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, and generated debate about the best translations of the relevant passages. The two passages each describe the experience of Paul's travelling companions during the revelation, with Acts 9:7 (the author's description of the event) stating that Paul's travelling companions heard the voice that spoke to him; and Acts 22:9 (the author's quotation of Paul's own words) traditionally stating they did not. Biblical translations of Acts 9:7 generally state that Paul's companions did, indeed, hear the voice (or sound) that spoke to him: And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. —Acts 9:7, King James Version The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.—Acts 9:7, New American Bible The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. —Acts 9:7, New International Version


Acts 9:13–19, KJV

By contrast, Catholic translations and older Protestant translations preserve the apparent contradiction in Acts 22:9, while many modern Protestant translations such as the New International Version (NIV) do not: And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. —Acts 22:9, King James Version (KJV) My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. — Acts 22:9, New American Bible (NAB) My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. —Acts 22:9, New International Version (NIV)

On this fundamentally vital subject of the discourse between Jesus and Paul, it is recorded as under, in the Book of Acts: That the men traveling with Paul, stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one. (9 :7) That the men traveling with Paul, saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to Paul. (22 : 9) Can these contradictory accounts be defended as each of them being a true account of what took place? Whether or not, how then are we to deal with the third account? ―On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‗Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.‘ ―Then I asked, ‗Who are you, Lord? ‗I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,‘ the Lord replied. ‗Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.‘ Acts 26:12–18 Surprisingly, in this chapter of Acts there is mention of Paul having companions, but no mention of other men seeing or hearing anything.

And yet the Christian world, including Mark Payne does not relate how, when he ―discovered that there were three different version of Saint Paul‘s first vision in the New Testament, caused him and his wife to feel shocked, betrayed, and deeply let down. It was

like a physical hurt: something we had believed in so deeply and had run our entire lives around.‖ And in that distinction we find that at the very heart of Anti-Mormonism, whether for apparently religious reasons, as with the Paynes, or for sheer profit as in the case of Jean Ritchie, that there is a willingness to judge by different standards. Had Ritchie and the Paynes applied the same criteria to the retelling of Paul‘s accounts of his first vision that they do to the retelling of Smith‘s accounts, they would be bound to either embrace Smith‘s account along with Pauls, or else jettison Paul‘s accounts along with Smith‘s. That they show such marked deference to one and discriminate against the other is a sure sign of their instability and their prejudices.

The Lie Direct
In Mormon teaching79 if you do anything wrong80 you shame your whole family, which is another added pressure. The Church can be very cruel and can make people feel very unloved. The Mormon Church only loves success – it has no time for weakness. ‗We felt we were permanently on a treadmill, that we could never be good enough. The Mormon God only dealt in perfection, and we were imperfect.‘ These are serious charges. That is, they would be if they were true. Typically, Ritchie fails to discover one shred of evidence for her claims and the claims made by the Paynes. This is evidence enough of serious intent to chronicle properly and investigate the claims she so willingly adopts without confirming their truth or otherwise. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not and never has had any policy whereby shame of blame for what one individual might do is magically transferred to the whole of a transgressors family. That is essentially a pure cavil. If transgressors feel unloved, then there is obviously a failure somewhere, but transgressors are encouraged to continue attending Church and participating in the programmes, and their fellow Saints are encouraged to continue to love, respect, and support them. If the branch attended by the Paynes failed to do that, then Brother Payne, who was a leader in that branch, must shoulder some of that responsibility. Instead, he deftly sidesteps and lets the burden fall on other shoulders. As the ‗The Mormon Church only [loving] success – [and having] no time for weakness,‘ Mark Payne will know differently from his own time as a minister in a Branch Presidency. If he, himself, failed to be supportive, then he should look only to himself. The Church loves sinners even as it condemns sin, because that is what Jesus and God do. The Church does not judge who is a failure and who is a success. That is pure Paynism. It would not be fair for me to comment on the Paynes‘ statement that they felt they could never be good enough, I am unqualified to comment on their particular feelings. But I can say that there is nothing in Mormon practice designed to make people feel unworthy. Mormon teaching, and I accuse the Paynes of knowing this but making it sound otherwise, is that we are all pilgrims on a journey towards perfection, and not all of us are at the same points. However, if we do our best, as poor as that may be, when we stand before the Judgement Bar of God our insufficiencies will be made up for by the infinity atonement of Jesus Christ. That is Mormonism, pure and simple.

79 80

Citations lacking! Citations, examples lacking!

The Mormon God is the God of the Holy Bible and deals with imperfect beings, encouraging them to be holy, for He is holy, and encouraging them to strive for perfection, because He is perfect, but without any expectation that anyone other than Jesus Christ could achieve these conditions during mortality, and that is also at the very heart of Mormonism. That both Mark and Thelma Payne and Jean Ritchie tell it differently should be a matter of shame for all three of them, because they do not speak truthfully, and at least two of them know it, and the third does not care.

I Told It My Way!
‗Eventually, after lapsing their attendance, the Paynes were summoned to appear before a Church court. When they refused, they were excommunicated.‘ No one is either summoned to a Church disciplinary council or excommunicated for ‗lapsing attendance.‘ There has to be compelling reasons to summon a disciplinary council in the first place, and stopping attending Church meetings is not among them. It is sad and unfortunate that the only reason the Paynes are willing to nominate as the cause of their excommunication is their non-attendance. It suggests that something much more serious had occurred, and that the Paynes had been called to account for it, whatever it was, but felt too ashamed to face their former friends and co-religionists, and so stayed away. They wold have been personally invited to attend, and a letter of notice would have been delivered to them by hand by ministers they knew, inviting them to attend and either answer or rebut any charges brought against them. When they failed to appear or give notice that the time, etc., was not convenient, in which case a date would have been reset to suit them, then the council would have proceeded as if they had been there. There would have been six members of the court speaking for the Church and six other members there to assist the Paynes in their defence, if the Paynes wished to make a defence. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Stake President would hand down his decision. Excommunications are held to be serious and are only handed down in cases of moral turpitude, defalcation, or joining with enemies of the Church, and continuing to do so after having been called to repentance. For repentant excommunicants, the door of the Church of Jesus Christ is always open for their welcome return back to the fold of God and His Christ.

What Is Mark Payne Doing Now?
Mark shows how much he hates his former love, the Mormon Church, when he completes his essay against the Church in Ritchie‘s book, and says: ―Because of my experiences I am now able to help others, either before they join or when they are leaving the Mormon Church.‘81 If telling lies can be called ‗helping‘ people, then I suppose Mark Payne feels vindicated in his Anti-Mormon activities.


Ritchie, p. 86

Danger, Deprogrammers!
Even more dangerous than those that designate themselves as Anti-Cultists, the Pharisees of modern Christianity, are those foolish people that run ‗Deprogramming Cults.‘ More about these sad souls in a later essay.

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