Well, it's happened again. There's that "...and I'm a Mormon" ad showing up on my pages. Can't have that.
I don't hold anything against Mormons personally. Mormons, Jews, Muslims, atheists (sorry atheists, you don't get a capital letter) are just like everybody else: some are jerks, and some are not. Some are serious, and some are not.
Some are misled.
I read up on the history of Mormonism and as nearly as I can tell, there's an awful lot of hogwash there. The Book of Mormon itself is rife with flat-out lies, declaring that when Lehi and his tribe landed in the Americas they found, among other things, horses and honeybees.
It ain't so. Those things were brought over by European settlers. There are varieties of native bee - bumble and carpenter, for instance - but honeybees as we know them are relatively recent to this land. Horses came over with very early European explorers, died out, and came over again.
We had this very discussion with some nice ladies who came to our door to witness to us for the nth time. Finally we asked them to leave their holy book and come back in a couple of weeks after we'd had a chance to read up on it. The two of them, an older and a younger, brightened right up, left their book and said they looked forward to seeing us again. We read some of their text, found a bunch of holes, and decided that was enough.
According to the Bible, if a prophet is wrong even once, he's no prophet. We weren't even twenty pages into the BOM and it was already at odds with established natural history, even written history. Ask modern native Americans and they can probably relate stories of the dreaded "English flies," their phrase for honeybees, a vanguard harbinger of the steady progress of white men into their homeland. Which is to say, the bees weren't already there when Lehi and his group supposedly landed.
Mention Mormonism to a native American, however, and you might get a punch in the face. According to Mormons, native Americans are a group on the outs, a tribe that split off from Lehi's faithful and were thus declared unwelcome. Native Americans don't appreciate that and will tell you that they "were always here." Maybe, maybe not - but archeological research finds the oldest native American settlement in Florida is over 20,000 years old - far in advance of Lehi's supposed migration. 20,000 years may not be always, but it beat Lehi's bus by many thousands. That's another hole.
So the missionaries returned, and we shared what we'd found. The older one's face closed up, but the younger one started to look kind of doubtful. Sweetie talked to her some more, at a bit of length, and when she dropped the "if it's wrong even once, it's no prophecy and can never be trusted" bomb, the older one suddenly got up and said thank you, it's been fun, have a nice day. And they were gone.
We've never gotten a Mormon missionary knocking on our door again. I wonder how much damage control was done with the younger one, whether she left that church. I hope so.
This is why, at least part of the reason why, I am so incensed to see these "...and I'm a Mormon" ads popping up on my screen. Don't click them. Don't give them any time whatsoever. Whatever they are, they aren't Christian (hold their feet to the fire and they'll eventually admit that). Their history is dodgy. Their values change in the face of public dissent - what kind of religion is that? Either it's a belief you adhere to, or it isn't. If it becomes something you'll set aside because the heat turned up, you're faithless and you know it. You just don't like to admit it.
For added insight and an unblinking view of Mormonism - including the juicy darker side they'd rather nobody knew about - check out Jon Krakauer's excellent book, Under the Banner of Heaven.