Thinking Mormons


Think for yourselves
So says many church leaders in these quotes including President Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, and Joseph Smith.

Sister Chieko Okazaki on individualism
"[Sister Chieko Okazaki] then returned to the cookie cutter analogy, saying that cookie cutters are for cookies, not for human beings, and we should not try to live someone else's life."

Elder Hugh B. Brown on living an abundant life
"We should be scientific -- that is, open-minded, approaching new problems without prejudice, deferring a decision until all the facts are in. Some say that the open-minded leave room for doubt. But I believe we should doubt some of the things we hear. Doubt has a place if it can stir in one an interest to go out and find the truth for one's self."

Times have changed at BYU
"We are grateful in the Church and in this great university that the freedom, dignity and integrity of the individual is basic in Church doctrine as well as in democracy. Here we are free to think and express our opinions. Fear will not stifle thought, as is the case in some areas which have not yet emerged from the dark ages," says Elder Brown in 1958.

Confessions of an Aging, Hypocritical Ex-Missionary by Wayne C. Booth
A young man's journey from unquestioning belief to thoughtful inquiry.

Newell interviews McMurrin
Sterling McMurrin, former institute director, comments on a variety of Mormon topics in a thoughtful and philosphical manner. The subjects include Mormon doctrine, church history, theology, the nature of the Mormon God, evolution, polygamy, racism, BYU, and academic freedom.

"A Précis: My Position on Anti-Mormonism" by Edward H. Ashment
"Barring another Dark Age, Mormonism's (and the rest of Christianity's) theological claims will continue to retreat because of the lack of supporting evidence and in the face of evidence to the contrary. But its primary emphasis on the moral family is central to a free and responsible society... Once I hoped to contribute to the church's tempering of its insistence on the historicity of unsupportable claims, but I have come to realize that proclamationism—a feature of utopianism—is a very powerful mindset, and religious and secular utopianists are not known for their empiricism or tolerance."

Going to school post-mormonism...
"And some day, I'm going to figure out how magnetic fields and gravity, and assorted other phenomena really work...and when I do, it's going to be because I challenged the things my teachers tell me and the things I read in my textbooks, and because I simply don't accept anything on faith anymore."

Janice M. Allred on her controversy with the church
"During one interview one of the bishop's counselors said to me, 'Do you want every [female] to think the way you do?' My answer is, 'No, I want everyone to develop her own way of thinking and be willing to share it with me, as I am willing to share mine with her.'"

Good-bye to God by Steve Benson
"If, as believers claim, the word 'gospel' means good news, then the good news for me is that there is no gospel, other than what I can define for myself, by observation and conscience. As a journalist and free-thinking human being, I have come not to favor and fear religion, but to face and fight it as an impediment to civilized advancement."

Quest for the Gold Plates
From Mormon apologist to Mormon freethinker, the story of Thomas Stuart Ferguson is a rollercoaster ride of enlightenment.

Suddenly Strangers
"We are brothers who consider ourselves well brought up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church."

"Blinders" by Mike Jensen
"So I discarded my personal blinders and scaled the nearest fence
looking for a fuller picture -- one that made more sense.
It was a little overwhelming, the expansive open view-
so I had to rest & contemplate what I would choose to do."

Maxine Hanks' Relief Society Declaration
"I think the church has a right to make a mission statement for itself--but it ought to be specific, accurate and involve people whom it purports to represent. What I object to is male church leaders imposing their statements and declarations and proclamations upon members about the nature of being a woman, or about the nature of being an individual, or about the nature of the individual's relationship to god."

The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture
Think about what the scriptures say, where they came from, how they are organized, and the cultural backgrounds that influenced their creation. Don't just selectively use them to justify current behavior, traditions, and long-held, false dogmas.

Possible options of belief for those Mormons who wonder about the LDS temple
Should we investigate the temple origins and doctrines or should things called "sacred" be off limits to inquiry?

Beware of the arm of flesh
Those who preach against it are the major users of it.

Elder James E. Faust on the importance of honest inquiry
"As a means of coming to truth, people in the Church are encouraged by their leaders to think and find out for themselves."

Apostle Stephen L. Richards on the dangers of dogma
"I have said these things because I fear dictatorial dogmatism, rigidity of procedure and intolerance... Fanaticism and bigotry have been the deadly enemies of true religion in the long past. They have made it forbidding, shut it up in cold grey walls of monastery and nunnery, out of sunlight and fragrance of the growing world. They have garbed it in black and then in white, when in truth it is neither black nor white, any more than life is black or white, for religion is life abundant, glowing life, with all its shades, colors and hues..."


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