Official Statement on Joseph/Jesus DVD

This is an official statement from the LDS church on the new anti-mormon DVD.

SALT LAKE CITY 29 March 2007 Several news reports have appeared over the past few days in Utah and Arizona about a Christian activist group that has been distributing anti-Mormon DVDs throughout Utah and in some other states.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League in Phoenix promptly condemned the distribution, saying that “hate directed at any of us is hate directed at all of us.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has weathered such attacks throughout its history. At a time when the Church is growing strongly throughout the world, it’s not surprising that some groups try to curb that growth in such ways.

Throughout the history of the United States, the rights of free speech and freedom of religion have been pre-eminent. Groups opposed to the Church have a perfect right to distribute their materials in ways that are legal.

The issue is not one of rights. Rather, it is that one religious group chooses to target another with a DVD full of distortions of its doctrine and history, and misrepresentations so stark that they call into question the integrity of the producers.

When Latter-day Saint missionaries visit homes or engage others in conversation, they studiously avoid criticism of other faiths. They do not attack and they do not condemn. Instead, they declare their own message honestly and openly and allow people the freedom to choose. Above all, they encourage each person to find out for themselves through personal research as well as prayer.

That will continue to be the Church’s approach, not just because honest and open dialogue is what most people want, but because in our view it best represents the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The only problem with this statement is that I have never had an LDS missionary not try to tell me that my version of Christianity fell away and became apostate. From everything I can gather they are trained and sent out to specifically inform Christians that their faith is lacking because it is missing necessary truth that only the LDS church teaches. This, for all practical reasons, is the same thing as Evangelicals showering LDS with messages that Joseph Smith added things to Christianity which are not true. The methodology is significantly different but the goal is the same in both cases; deconstruct one belief system and replace it with another. I don’t have a problem with it, it’s a necessary part of evangelism, but the LDS church is not really being sincere to say that they don’t participate in it.


23 thoughts on “Official Statement on Joseph/Jesus DVD

  1. Dando, I think that the LDS Church is telling history as they believe it. I have never heard official teachings talking badly about other religions.

    However, you will somtimes hear people in church saying terrible things about other faiths. (Which, for the record, when I was a member I would immediately ask them to stop, because first of all it’s against church policy, and second of all, it doesn’t promote anything uplifting or Christlike.)

  2. Those who made the DVD are just telling history as they believe it. Their method is just more subversive and confrontational. If you look at early LDS apologetics, preaching the apostasy and the need for a restoration were key talking points.

    The church leaders have taught from the General Conference pulpit that the “great and abonimable church” is any church that is not the LDS church and some of even gone so far as to name it as the Catholic church (although I don’t know if that was said at GC).

    Perhaps the big news tomorrow is that the LDS church will no longer teach that an apostasy occurred. Instead they will now just teach that God chose to bring something new to the Christian community via Joseph Smith and the Prophets that followed. I doubt it, but I want to get it in writing.

  3. I think that you are comparing apples to oranges here. When the missionaries talk about the apostasy we teach it as a doctrine of our church. It is not meant as an attack on any religion or any person.

    We don’t specify how one specific religion is wrong. Nor do we spread falsehoods about individual religions. Perhaps, an over zealous missionary might stray down that wrong path, but as a principle and rule, katyjane states it correctly, that we shouldn’t do so.

    This DVD is a direct attack against our beliefs and it is couched in falsehoods. The Church would never actively pursue such a path.

    Also, I would love to see your proof that a church leader said anything about a specific church. Christianity in general, yes, but not a specific church.

  4. Um the Catholic Church. Go back and read your James E. Talmadge. Or somestuff by Mark E. Petersen. Sure, the Church is constantly whitewashing its image, but there’s plenty of out-of-print stuff that’s a whole lot harsher than what they would print today is.

  5. Not only did Bruce McConkie specifically name the Catholic church as the great abondimable church but he also called all the polygamous sects cults.

    I agree that the LDS church and its members in general would not choose a method as offensive as this DVD.

  6. You still haven’t provided me with a source that proves a Church leader said that. I am guessing that you are referring to McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” which has been repudiated and corrected by the LDS Church for it’s many inaccuracies. I think you will have to try harder.

    Kullervo, can you please provide a source for your accusations?

  7. “7 deadly heresies” by Bruce McConkie

    Google “McConkie Cult Adam God” and you’ll find more.

    I’ll get back to you with more. I know I’ve read them it in print.

    I’d also like to point out that this in no way proves the the church is true or false. It’s not unrealistic to expect the church or its leaders to make mistakes in judgment or in speech. But LDS members should relieve themselves of any amount of self-righteous delusion that there are men without sin in the highest level of the church leadership.

  8. Exactly. The whole “the LDS church never bashes other churches” is silly. Unless you want to somehow draw a distinction between the church as a corporate body and the church’s members, but I think such a distinction is artificial and misleading. The church is an organization made up of people. “The Church” never does anything at all, because it’s a legal fiction. It has no independent tangible ability to act, but “acts” only insofar as its members act.

    If you want to split hairs between “official” and “unofficial” statements fro Church leaders or between leaders acting in an official and unofficial capacity, you are welcome to do so, but I maintain that it is all smoke and mirrors. It’s a lame trump card that Mormons always play: “oh when they said that, they weren’t speaking officially…” Church leaders rarely draw a clear distinction between when they are and aren’t speaking in an official capacity. Any rubric you give me for determining the one form the other will work for you, I’m sure, but I guarantee it will differ from what any other given member will tell me.

    Anyway, as authorized representatives of Jesus Christ, everything the general authorities say or do should be in their role aswitnesses for him, no? That’s pretty much what they told us about our calling as misisonaries when I served.

  9. The LDS church has never created phamplets or videos slamming other churches doctrine. On the flip side I have received many anti phamlets that are ridiculous and hateful about the LDS church. When the missionaries started teaching us, they never once said anything about other religions, all they did was teach their doctrine. I remember being very impressed by this. I had asked them if they beleived other religions were all damned to hell, (I asked this question because of the churches I had once belonged to that said mormons were damned for hell) They smiled sweetly and answered, “NO”. I have been a member for 2 years and have yet to hear any talk of other churches! Only LDS doctrine is taught and discussed!

  10. Steffielynn, I’m glad you’ve had such positive experiences at church! Be prepared though–at some point, during a Sunday School lesson, or something, you’ll likely hear a member say something about how ‘Those danged Baptists…’ or whatever. The first time I heard it I was taken aback, and the second time I got angry and said something–because how can the church claim that it doesn’t criticize other churches when the members do!

    But you’re right–for the most part, there is plenty of LDS doctrine to discuss, and not enough time to talk about it, so in general, there is no talk about other churches.

  11. Katyjane is right. For the most part, specific churches and denominations are very rarely targeted with ridicule or derision in Mormonism. It does happen, just not typically.

    Dando’s also right, though- Mormon doctrine does, at least tacitly, claim that all other churches are false, or less true. But for the most part you don’t hear a point-by-point breakdown and damning refutation of any other specific religion.

  12. I agree that the church does not as a general practice attack and demean other Christians or other churches. Their stance on this is quite admirable. Anyone who has gone through the temple ceremony prior to 1990 would know that this was not always the case.

  13. The temple ceremony never called out any other faith. The representation was no different then the biblical reference to a great and abominable church. It is a representation of false and deceitful doctrine propagated for worldly gain. I never felt there was a specific sect or system identified.

    The claim is that the LDS church is the church and authority Christ established. We invite everyone from any faith to bring the body of truth they’ve learned to the table and enlarge it.

    We are all on courses of spiritual progression. To say that, by saying we claim to have a greater body of truth means we are criticizing other religions is like saying that College criticizes High School because they have a higher education. Agree or not about the body of truth, that thought just makes no sense.

  14. Well your analogy is not exactly right. Going from Algebra to Calculus is not the same thing as saying “all of their creeds are abomination.” The LDS church is not adding information to the doctrine of the Trinity, it is directly contradicting it. The LDS church is not adding new information about how there is no marriage in heaven, it is directly contradicting it.

  15. The LDS church never made that claim. Joseph Smith stated that was told to him.

    I would have to utterly and completely disagree about your assessment that the LDS contradicts the biblical doctrine of the Godhead.

    I also disagree about your assessment on marriage. I have biblical verses that absolutely support our position. You have verses you feel support yours.

    So you claim is just that, your claim. However, you have no more validity in your interpretation than I do.

  16. My point was not “I’m right you’re wrong” about position X. My point was that the LDS church is not just adding information to the truth I already have. The LDS church is directly contradicting my faith in many important regards. To become a member in good standing of the LDS church I would have to renounce a number of doctrines that I currently believe.

    such as:
    -creation ex nihilo
    -God being uncreated
    -God does not have a body
    -The existence of only one God in all places and for all time
    -God does not have a wife
    -God does not give physical birth to souls in preexistence
    -the canon is closed
    -living prophets do not hold more authority that dead prophets or scripture.

    I recognize that you have many reasons to believe that all of these things are false. My point is not whether you are right or wrong. My point is that the LDS church would have to tear down these beliefs in order to gain me as a member. And again, I don’t have a problem with them trying to do so, it is a necessary process in converting someone from “falsehood” to “truth”.

  17. Dando, why do you believe that God doesn’t have a body? And that He doesn’t have a wife?

    I don’t know that the LDS church that God gives physical birth to souls… but that He creates them. The method of doing it is unknown.

    And why do you believe that the canon is closed?

  18. Personally, I don’t think Satan can create anything. Therefore I must believe that God created sex. While Satan can pervert it, he can’t create it. So my question is this…

    Dando, can God create something he has never experienced?

    If families are forever but there’s no couples or sex involved in the eternities, and there is no heavenly mother…

    Why didn’t he simply create Adam? Why would it not be good that man was alone if ‘femaleness’ isn’t eternal?

    What would make God think it wasn’t good that Adam was alone?

    Why not just have made everything self replicating instead of making a male and female of things?

    What’s wrong with sex when it’s not perverted? Why would’t God have sex?

    And I’d appreciate it if others would let Dando answer these questions…

  19. Pingback: Church press release triple header | LDS News Watch

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