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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Perhaps the mark of a fair documentary about a controversial subject is that it leaves everybody wishing more had been said about their own side.

I see how some critics may have wanted a stronger discussion of social issues and history. I was disappointed in the second evening's segment that suggested the church automatically excommunicates intellectual members by the truckload.

The most discouraging thing for me was the repeated implication that there is no evidence for the Book of Mormon's authenticity. Several knowledgable scholars were interviewed; where were their comments about the stunning collection of research showing that the Book of Mormon is not only plausible, but objectively accurate? (I recommend this excellent web page for an overview of the evidence.

One thing the documentary did very well was foster discussion and understanding. We need more of that. In this article, the Book of Mormon is mockingly described as saying that its founding peoples came to New York in 600 BC, even though at least the last quarter-century of scholars agree that the setting is clearly Mesoamerica.

How ironic that this assertion is followed by the line, "Ignorance of a religion and its practitioners is risky business"! That's the great thing about the Book of Mormon: not only is it concrete proof that God is real, it proves that belief in God is reasonable.

Jamie Huston

Las Vegas, NV

Jun 11 2007 - 2:16pm

Web Letter

Mr. Von Hoffman describes Nevada as "intensely non-Mormon." Nine percent of the state is LDS. Only Utah and Idaho have higher percentages.

Dennis Myers

Reno, Nevada

May 10 2007 - 1:16pm

Web Letter

One might think that Nevada is "intensely non-Mormon" because we have lax laws regarding--uh, well, basically everything. But if one cares to carefully study a map of the United States, one might observe the fact that Nevada shares a few hundred mile border with Utah, which is intensely Mormon. As pedestrian as Mormons may seem, they do occasionally change where they live, and they are more likely to move close than far, and they would rather make more money than less money, and so believe me when I tell you that Las Vegas, with its booming economy, is crawling with them. Then go to the rural areas of Nevada--Searchlight, for example, where Harry Reid comes from--and you will find more Mormons than members of any other religion.

As for residents of "Sin City," such as myself, we sin, like Mormons, about as much as everybody else. They say "whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," but that doesn't help you much when you live here.

Rod Bickles

Las Vegas, NV

May 8 2007 - 5:42pm

Web Letter

It has always been obvious to me that Mormonism, like Islam, like Judiasm is a sham; a collection of inherited and made-up superstitions and nonsense.

Most Mormons I have met have seemed to be good people. But their religion is ridiculous and a sham. I guess you could say that about a lot of religions.

The previous bletter on this subject referred to the essentially racist character of Mormonism. Not surprising. Doesn't Judaism put forward that Jews are god's "Chosen People"? Doesn't the Moslem's Koran say that if you are not a "people of the Book" you need to convert to Islam or die?

Isn't Hindusim full of obscenely laughable superstitions, cow-worshipping and what not?

As a liberal I am inclined to respect the people that follow these religions, because I believe in respecting the individual. But I am under no obligation to respect these nonsensical religions.

Joe Hunter

Washington, DC

May 8 2007 - 10:57am

Web Letter

As a member of the Mormon Church, for one year in 1966, I just wanted to emphasize that the church just didn't prohibit black Americans from holding the priesthood but any people of color. This included one person I knew who was of Persian descent. That convinced me without a doubt that this was not a church created by a God.

One of the reasons why the doctrine was changed in 1978 was that the church was expanding in countries like Brazil and were building a temple there and determining which people were of color and which were not became impossible.

The Mormons believe people of color are descendents of Cain and have been cursed by God.

The following is a statement made by Brigham Young, the second prophet of the Mormons:

"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable, sad, low in their habits, wild, ad seemingly without the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be and the Lord put a mark on him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then other curse is pronounced upon the same race - that they would be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree." Journal of Discourses, Volume 7, pages 290 291

I would be concerned about any Mormon being elected to any political office. To denounce the doctrine of discriminating against people of color by the Mormon Church would be to denounce the divinity of the church itself. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith and all his successors were prophets of God, receiving direct revelations from God. Who in the church would deny the word of God?

John English

Torrance, CA

May 4 2007 - 8:07am