A Counter Cultist In His Own Words

Aaron Shaf. was interviewed by the Mormon Expression podcast.  You can hear in his own words what he hopes to accomplish through his evangelism to Mormons and why he does what he does.  I don’t agree with everything Aaron does or says, but I think it is helpful to hear his voice.


For lack of a better place to discuss it, Aaron and Mormon Research Ministries have also posted an online version of the Journal of Discourses.  All text includes a link to a BYU hosted pdf of each page.


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About Tim

Evangelical Christian living in Southern California. I live with my wife and whatever foster children happen to be in our home at this moment. I love photography, baseball, movies and I'm fascinated by Mormonism.

30 thoughts on “A Counter Cultist In His Own Words

  1. One wonders why MRM is releasing a online database of the Journal of Discourses when there are already existing free databases of the entire thing online.

  2. Seth, because the repositories at JournalOfDiscourses.org and scriptures.byu.edu (ironic location, eh?), etc., don’t make for easy reading nor for easy linking to particular pages. Just trying to make it easier for better exposure. And spruce it up with mugs, etc., to make the identities of the speakers better sink in. Presentation goes a long way.

  3. These aren’t your documents Aaron.

    They are ours.

    What do you have to gain from linking to them?

    Cross links to your other informational resources?

  4. Isn’t it obvious, Seth?

    LDS leaders taught disturbing and uncomfortable things in the Journal of Discourses. The more people have readable access to them, the more Mormons will question their faith and potential investigators will stay away.

    Aaron could have a more altruistic motive than that such as sheer love for those writings from that portion of LDS history, but that’s my guess. (For the record, I think Journal of Discourses for Mormons are rather similar to the writings of the Early Church Fathers for evangelicals in that regard.)

    And the presentation at http://jod.mrm.org really is much nicer and more readable than the presentation at either BYU or JournalofDiscourses.org.

  5. The copyright has long since expired, so they’re no longer exclusively ours. They’ve long been in the public domain.

    And if they taught “disturbing and uncomfortable things,” so what?

  6. I still don’t see what the problem is. I’m no fan of MRM (that’s an understatement), but I don’t see why they’re any less entitled to use historical documents than we are. At least in this case, it doesn’t look like they’re taking anything out of context; quite the opposite, in fact.

    And I’d rather that they be footing the bill for bandwidth than BYU.

  7. That’s actually a nice resource. Even if they have less-than-pure motives for putting it out there.

    Listened to the interview with Aaron and found it engaging, though obviously I don’t agree with him on most of his points. 🙂 Still, I thought it was reasoned and rational, which is more than you can say for a lot of counter cultists.

  8. And if they taught “disturbing and uncomfortable things,” so what?

    Don’t ask me, I’m all in favor of Mormons learning more about the Journal of Discourses and adapting their understanding of prophets accordingly. I’m also in favor of evangelicals learning more about Christian history and the early church fathers for the same reason.

    I think our present understanding of our religious doctrines gets sharper when we understand our past.

    At least in this case, it doesn’t look like they’re taking anything out of context; quite the opposite, in fact.

    /agree. Certain evangelical anti-Mormons are infamous for taking JoD statements out of context. This seems like an immense improvement.

    I was going to say that perhaps part of the motive is to get people to check out the other articles at MRM, but the JoD database doesn’t even link to that or advertise related articles. It’s as free of outside commentary as you’re going to get.

  9. I found a great quote from Brigham Young:

    If you want to dance and rest your minds, dance. But a man or woman that intends, when they go into a room prepared for music and dancing, to serve the Devil a little while, I would to God that they would go to California, where they may serve the Devil all they desire to.

  10. Oh come on Kullervo.

    You and I both know that being an “overbearing, abrasive jerk” has plenty of charm.

    We also know how wise it is to define a person by his public statements.

  11. There’s a delicate art to being an overbearing, abrasive jerk in the name of the Lord and not turning people off to you altogether. Some of us have got it and some of us have not.

    Brigham Young was a have-not.

  12. Believe it or not, I’m actually one of the “more sensitive” types, at least comparatively in my household.

    It’s my wife who really digs Brigham Young.

    I’m more of a Joseph Smith fan myself.

  13. Oh that Mormons would let their critics have the gusto and wit and forcefulness of Brigham Young 🙂

    Eric, thanks for the great quote. My Mormon coworkers and I had a good laugh over it.

    Now aren’t you glad you can easily link to it?

  14. Didn’t watch Titanic.

    But I teared-up when Samwise carries Frodo up Mount Doom in the movie. And I kinda lost it when Gollum and the Ring fell into the lava and Frodo’s just barely holding on and Sam looks at him and says “don’t you let go!”


    I’m getting teary-eyed just talking about it right now.

    I cried at the end of “Touching the Void” too.

  15. Wow Seth. You must be awfully comfortable in your masculinity to be telling those stories on a public discussion blog.

    I salute you.

    Now quit being so sullen and cranky all the time, it’s depressing.

  16. You’ve struck me as rather gloomy lately, but maybe I’m misreading you. It’s hard to read people on teh Intarweb sometimes.

    Either way, you’ll see what you can do to fix it, yes?

  17. Seth is rather gloomy lately. But it’s just because Aaron S still hasn’t created an online, searchable database of all of Seth’s statements.

  18. As long as you don’t dredge up that one a few years ago where I accused the “Christian Right” of being a bunch of idolaters I’m cool.


    Just thinking about all the things I’ve said since 2004 when I discovered the bloggernacle…

    Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “our words will condemn us.”

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