This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
Church members are vulnerable to Anti-Mormon rhetoric when they do not understand the weapons being used against them. One of the most effective weapons is contradiction.
Western culture determines truth by finding contradiction between the way things are and the way things ought to be. If pursuing our ideal results in contradictions, that means our ideal is faulty and we need to change it. Therefore, if Anti-Mormons make us think contradictions result from pursuing the gospel, maybe they can persuade us to reject the gospel as our ideal.
Our enemies have learned to demoralize us by portraying a contradiction between how things are and the way things ought to be. These are the two parts of the contradiction strategy:
See Original Article Here
- The Way Things Are – Media organizations and Anti-Mormon trolls lie and exaggerate our perception of the way things are and the way things have been. This involves typical media manipulation tactics. If someone who happens to be a member does anything wrong, you can be sure that it will be headline news all over the newspapers. If there is anything good to say about us, you can bet the mainstream news won’t report it. Our perception of reality is manipulated by the fake news of both formal media organizations and informal internet trolls. ‘Fake news’ is not some political gimmick but a very real strategy that is frequently manipulates church members–used by the lowly social media troll as much as it is used by big media corporations. Incessant propaganda focuses on negative aspects of the church and gospel.
- Strawman Fallacy Of Our Beliefs – If any group deserves the Nobel Prize for strawman fallacies, it is Anti-Mormons. They have turned it into a science. All they ever do is lie about what we believe and what we do, and they have gotten so good at it that even we believe much of what they say. Everyone believes them to some degree. This makes us look bad and confuses us, but what truly makes it effective is how it portrays a gaping contradiction between how things are and what our ideals are.
The enemy convinces us to reject our ideals by making us think they are unrealistic.
Example: Joseph Smith’s Peep Stone In A Hat – A very common example of this tactic is the ‘peep stone’ narrative popularized by Southpark about how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Anti-Mormons lie both about how things are and our ideal.
- How Things Are – A bunch of discredited quotes are used to make us think Joseph Smith translated the gold plates with a ‘peep stone’ that he discovered while digging a well and used for treasure hunting. I haven’ seen a single person analyze these historical quotes one by one as I have. The scholars, historians, and apologetics just meekly fall in line behind the Southpark narrative. This failure by scholars has provided the fuel for the contradiction strategy to proceed. It is now settled history that Joseph Smith used a peep stone he had used for treasure hunting to translate the Book of Mormon, even though that likely is false. Anti-Mormons go on to portray Joseph Smith as a scummy grifter who stole people’s fortunes with promises of buried treasure.
- The Ideal – Anti-Mormons portray our ideals as not allowing such a method of translation. How could a superstitious money-seeking venture result in holy scripture? Isn’t this folk magic? Well, I don’t believe in folk magic, do you? Anti-Mormons heap on ridicule and racism, to portray Joseph Smith as an ignorant superstitious redneck conning people out of their money. They manipulate our ideals of honesty and fact-based truth to contradict their strawman portrayal of Joseph Smith’s peep stone.
On top of all that, they portray a contradiction between the ‘peep stone’ with how the church has always portrayed it. They make it look like the church covered up the historical quotes and incorrectly portrayed Joseph Smith translating with a Urim and Thummim, which contradicts our ideal of honesty. This is the very same tactic German propagandists used in the 1940’s against religious minorities. Suddenly, nobody can trust us to be honest about our true identity and intentions.
The church now admits the peep stone narrative, they say, which serves as evidence of their portrayal of how things are. You will notice the Anti-Mormon lies often center on history. History is a very convenient avenue for Anti-Mormons to lie about how things are, as the reality is often so unclear and will never be settled. They find it easy to accuse us of hypocrisy and shame us into rejecting such an important belief as Joseph Smith’s translation of the gold plates.
Derived From Marxist Theory
The contradiction strategy springs from dialectic theory. Now, to most people (including me,) Marxist theory is all just a jumble of big meaningless words. Reading about this stuff is like watching paint dry. Actually, I think this boringness is a defense mechism, like the scent of a skunk; people don’t go on the counter-offensive against Marxism because it is so tedious to look into. But with a very basic undestanding of what we are up against, we can start to see its influence among those who attack us, and that helps us figure out what to do about it.
So please give it a try! Don’t stop reading here!
Material dialectic uses a heavy hammer to drive a small nail. It is all about changing real-world systems by strongly influencing the driving force. Let’s compare it to a locomotive steaming down the tracks. If you don’t like where the locomotive is headed, you push with all your force against the steering wheel to steer it a certain direction. You need to exert extra force toward your desired direction in order to change where the center of balance ends up.
Here is what that means in practical terms: widespread agitation in newspapers to demonize a political candidate, derivisive satire in a Broadway musical to make everyone thing the church is horribly racist, and a campaign on Reddit to vandalize Books of Mormon to intimidate Latter-day Saints. They go to extreme measures in hope that it will sightly move the overall social system against us.
Anti-Idealism – Anti-Mormonism adopts this Heglian sensibility to pressure Latter-day Saints toward a new direction. The goal is not to establish any kind of idealistic framework but to reject idealism completely–to remove all personal ideals. They are trying to change the essence of real-world systems.
Now, that may sound weird, considering the anthem of such radicals tends to be John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’ Don’t they imagine a certain vision? Well, when is the last time they actually presented an idealistic vision? I’ve browsed through many posts on Anti-Mormon forums, and rarely do I see a vision for anything. They don’t have ideals! All I see is tearing down the church in very real and tangible ways, but they do not say what comprehensive structure should replace it. They don’t imagine. The contradiction strategy is all about destroying spiritual vision.
They have plenty of micro-goals (tax the church, subvert BYU, etc.), but there is only one real vision I’ve ever seen: equality. Equality of what? Equality of opportunity? Equality of justice? No, it is the same kind of equality that served as the basis for Lucifer’s plan in the pre-existence: equality of worth under an all-powerful authority. This philosophy is therefore an iteration of Lucifer’s premortal rebellion, and it is important to realize how the attacks of today are iterations of the attacks in premortal existence. Any nail that sticks out gets hammered down until we are all equal. They convince us to deconstruct our ideals until we are nudged into place with everyone else–all dutiful slaves for the all-powerful authority whom we know as Satan.
Deconstructing To Raw Identity
Maintsream Christians Avoid Contradiction – Theologians often remark on how self-contradictory the Bible is. The Mosaic law forbade a man from marrying sisters polygamously, yet that is exactly what the great patriarch Abraham did. Theologians justify such contradictions by assuming they are the result of multiple authors. They devise an incredibly complicated and jumbled chart of who wrote what in the Bible when and then who came back and revised it later, mostly based on things that seem contradictory. They go out of their way to ignore two plainly obvious problem with this approach:
- Later authors would not knowingly contradict earlier scripture. If later authors were not aware of these earlier scriptures, why does everything else they say fit so nicely in those earlier narratives?
- The Bible has been transcribed and revised countless times over the millenia. Theologians admit many textual alterations have been made, yet they didn’t bother to fix these glaring contraditions?
A lot of these same people who puzzle over the Bible’s contradictions slam Latter-day Saints for all of our contradictions. They write books and long websites about the contradictions between the Book of Mormon and their interpretation of the Bible. They slam the church for practicing polygamy in contradiction to traditional Christianity, and then they slam the church for going back and banning polygamy. They don’t just let contradiction exist.
We need to allow contradiction to exist. Nephi was justified slaying Laban as he lay unconscious and defenseless, yet we are condemned if we murder. The method of dialectic passed down to us from the Greek and which we all use to figure out truth rests on the scientific assumption that laws never change. Latter-day Saints understand that divine policy changes as needed to suit circumstances and as directed by God through an authorized prophet. The divine moral law of the universe does not change, but things are not always black and white.
Getting To The Issue – Since morality is not tangible but idealistic, Marxists do not consider morality as real. They do not believe moral law exists at all, and they invent moral rectitidues spur-of-the-moment as needed to pursue their goal of equality. These moral rectitudes they fit into an encompassing “narrative,” made up of many sub-narratives. Tangible evidence is manipulated and crafted with a mortar of made-up morality to portray contradictions in the enemy and absolve themselves of contradictions in their own thinking.
In order to construct narratives that effectively push the system, they first start with one or two main issues. These issues are their overall focus against which they push to steer the locamotive. From these issues converge a list of sub-issues like branches stemming from the trunk of a tree. For example, CES Letter’s overall focus (in my opinion) is demonstrating that the church is a cult. There are three main branches to this assertion: 1. The Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are fabricated, 2. Latter-day Saints victimize people through priesthood-driven institutions like polygamy, 3. Testimonies are a delusion. From these main categories spring a large number of small branches with moral assertions that do not necessarily align, just as one branch of a tree sticks out in a different direction from another branch. The focus is solely to drive the entire structure towards the same direction: portraying us as a cult.
Each small branch operates by constraining context to portray its own contradiction. It is as if a person takes a small picture frame and places it against a large mural. CES Letter cherry-picks a few bits of information and ignores the rest of an issue’s context. They attach an emotional expression to this, and then drives it back to a thematic narrative, such as class exploitation, toxic masculinity, etc. These sub-narratives are like viruses custom engineered to address a particular part of the gospel.
Often, Anti-Mormon literature completely transforms the issue by constraining the context. For example, CES Letter aligns Joseph Smith’s “translations” of the Facsimiles in the Book of Abraham next to the Facsimile’s ‘true’ Egyptological translation. This is an illogical comparison, as Joseph Smith was not “translating” anything in the Facsimiles, and the Egyptian names of characters in those Facsimiles really have nothing to do with Joseph Smith’s explanations. But by lying about what our scripture is and what our ideals are, CES Letter makes us think these two columns should align.
Through such deceitful games, Anti-Mormon literature manipulates each part of our beliefs to make it about their narrative. The temple becomes a luxurious “castle” that exploits the poor. The prophet becomes a grifting con-man who steals men’s wives. The scripture becomes a tool of brainwashing. Each and every piece of the church is poisoned with a custom crafted Anti-Mormon narrative, like the Romans disassembling the temple of Jerusalem brick by brick. Without the tangible temple there to define Jerusalem, the Romans were free to change the city’s name and define Jerusalem however they wanted. Likewise, Anti-Mormons strip us of every bit of our testimonies until they get to our raw identity, and then they infect us with a new identity. This is how they change the essence of the church and push it in a perverted direction.
Associations Vs. Contradictions – CES Letter starts out portraying contradictions between the Book of Mormon and Bible. In the midst of this, they do something very interesting. They sprinkle in close assocations between the Book of Mormon and Bible which they portray as inappropriate. The Book of Mormon quotations from the Bible include the italic words of the modern KJV translators, which they argue is inappropriate if the Book of Mormon is older than the KJV Bible. Now, the logical answer to this quandry is fairly obvious, but it is an effective argument because it is squeezed between contradictions. We go from the books being too different to the books being too similar. Suddenly, the criteria of what the Book of Mormon is allowed to realistically be becomes impossibly thin. Their strawman portrayal of our ideals lose all thickness so that the way things are could not possibly align to it.
Evangelicals similarly complain about the slightest discrepency between the Bible and Book of Mormon, and then turn around a complain that the Book of Mormon “plagiarizes” from the Bible. What could the Book of Mormon possibly say that would make them happy? Nothing. Their mindset does not allow for the possibility of additional scripture–it’s as simple as that. The existence of additional scripture is the true issue at hand. Likewise, the existence of divinely inspired scripture is the issue at hand for Anti-Mormons. They will nitpick at whatever “contradictions” or “associations” they can as long as religious scripture exists.
Authoritative Mindset – With the testimony deconstructed and replaced with narratives and sub-narratives, “equality” becomes the new ideal. With this new ideal comes inevitably an authoritative mindset. The Anti-Mormon agitation itself points in this direction. The typical story is a perfectionist young Latter-day Saint is pressured to live a perfect “Mormon” life, and when the pressure becomes overbearing he explodes and apostatizes. But he does not lose his perfectionism. Rather, it simply shifts into an Anti-Mormon mode and transforms into an authoritarian personality. The antetode is obvious: humbly admit your mistakes, repent, and be forgiven through the atonement of Jesus. It is much more likely that a member who never repents but simply pretends their sins do not exist with apostatize, because in the Marxist ideology there is no repentance. “Sin” is contradiction when you are using the contradiction strategy.
This definition of sin can be seen in the CES Letter. It defines “faith” as the gap between science/logic and what you hope to be true. If that is their definition of faith, that would make “sin” the inability to bridge that gap. The inability to bridge that gap is… what? Contradiction! Contradiction is irreconcilable differences between your ideal and the way things are. Their solution is to either dissolve your ideals or ignore the way things are.
If you dissolve your ideals you need someone else to dictate the way things should be. Someone has to! You can’t go through life without any notion of the way things ought to be. Someone needs to have that vision so they can tell you what you need to do. The keeper of the ideals becomes the authoritative lead (Satan.)
One shining example I have noticed of this is how Ex-Mormons treat the church’s online essays of gospel issues. Anti-Mormons have told me a thousand times: “You say this but the gospel essay says this.” They cherry-pick some phrase or piece of information from some gospel essay and claim it contradicts something I say. My immediate response is that the gospel essays are not narratives. The purpose is not to tell us exactly how Joseph Smith translated the gold plates or some other historical unknown. We don’t know for sure how Joseph Smith did it. We can’t know, because it happened hundreds of years ago and we weren’t around to observe it. The gospel essay simply collects evidences from accounts to let us know what various people said about it. The essay provides the evidences and then it is up to us individually to critically analyze that information and decide on a narrative for ourselves. It does not even enter into the Anti-Mormon’s brain as a possibility to analyze sources and derive your own narrative, because they have been stripped of all idealism.
They want an authoritative power to dictate exactly what “really” happened in history, and if some new bit of information comes out that makes this narrative implausible, manipulate it into some new narrative. It takes a lot of effort for each Latter-day Saint to do this on our own. It is as if we are all writing our own textbooks of history and theology in our heads. Each person’s is slightly different, but each one is a divine testimony and knowledge of God, while the Anti-Mormon’s narrative is simply a clone copy of what they read on Wikipedia.
It comes back to the Anti-Mormon’s desire for an all-powerful authority to lord over them and treat them like slaves. True equality is slavery. We Latter-day Saints are free men and women. We are given divine principles and rule over ourselves, and we take the right path as long as we constantly seek God’s will and look to God for guidance. This mode of living is fraught with contradiction and uncertaintly, but it is worth it because at least we are not trapped in a miserable life of transgression. In order to maintain this freedom, we need to constantly make an effort to purge this contradiction strategy from our minds. Let contradiction exist, it’s okay. I’m not saying you should ignore plainly obvious facts. Resistence to the contradiction strategy could lead people to ignore problems, and that’s not right either. Admit the reality of things and address mistakes in your beliefs that become a problem. But do not allow people’s accusations of contradictions to strip you of your identity and faith. Do not let Anti-Mormon manipulate your ideals or lie about the way things are. Stay true to your vision and the divine principles you know to be true.