The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

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The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#1  Postby duvduv » May 10, 2016 2:52 am

OK, as an American I confess fascination with the richly innovative creation of the Joseph Smith sects. I like reading about them. I don't call them Mormons since not all sects use that term, but a good umbrella term would be Joseph Smith Restorationist Movement.... Less than 200 years old. Yes, it's fascinating. From Upstate NY to Independence to Utah, with dozens of groups. The whole subject is quite interesting.... How so recently so many people joined up with them.. Even more than the followers of Rev. Moon or the Maharishi... But much more interesting.....
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#2  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 10, 2016 10:27 pm

As someone who's married to a Mormon (member of the LDS Church), I am going to watch this thread. And maybe answer any questions I know the answers to.

I don't see how they're any more fascinating than the Baptists, though. Baptists are also relatively young as a flavor of Christianity, and prone to a variety of wacky sub-cultures and splinter movements. They probably started out around the 17th century.

Unitarianism springs from the mid-16th century and can be even more wacky than the Baptists, though it's older, as a group, than either Baptists or, as you say, Joseph Smith sects.

It seems to me that Christianity tosses out a weird variant about every century or so.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#3  Postby duvduv » May 10, 2016 10:34 pm

I just ordered two books that look interesting on Amazon... We'll see how things unfold!
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#4  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 10, 2016 10:37 pm

Old me would be excited about you maybe digging up something I could use to "deconvert" my wife. Current me is resigned to being married to a Mormon for the rest of his life- probably to the same extent that she's resigned to being married to an atheist. It would be nice if one of us could switch, but there's not fair way to do that. Aside, I guess, from both of us switching. But then we'd have the same uncomfortable subjects, plus we'd both be miserable.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#5  Postby duvduv » May 10, 2016 11:26 pm

The two that seem the most interesting. An Insider's Look at Mormon Origins and The Scattered Saints.
Anyway, does your wife have any opinions about the holes in the traditional Mormon narrative, or any opinions as to why she should follow Brighamism more than the Reorganized group or the fundamentalists??!
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#6  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 11, 2016 12:30 pm

duvduv wrote:
Anyway, does your wife have any opinions about the holes in the traditional Mormon narrative, or any opinions as to why she should follow Brighamism more than the Reorganized group or the fundamentalists??!

A lot of these sects retain a fair bit of residual sexism from the 1800s. While mainstream Mormonism still has a way to go, it's a lot less sexist than most of the other versions. My wife identifies as a feminist, and so it makes sense, just from that perspective, that she'd be mainstream LDS. But I think it really comes down to what religion you grow up in, just like with any other flavor of religion. She grew up mainstream LDS, so that's the one she "knows" is correct. For that matter, it's the one I believed in when I was a child, as well. Except I've always had issues with authority and the LDS church is chock full of authority bullshit. So I didn't even make it to baptism (aged eight).
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#7  Postby duvduv » May 11, 2016 12:43 pm

Amazing, a feminist who can still believe in the Mormon stuff. Does she really believe all that stuff? Maybe she should read that book I mentioned.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#8  Postby crank » May 11, 2016 1:27 pm

I'm puzzled in the extreme how any gay would belong to a christian church. I tried to talk to a friend that was still quite a devout catholic at least in the weekly mass attendance, and he had no response, he believed and it did't bother him what the church taught,
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#9  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 11, 2016 1:29 pm

duvduv wrote: Maybe she should read that book I mentioned.

:lol: Maybe she should. But I'm not about to recommend any books like that to her. I'm in a position where I feel like I've found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with- regardless of her religious beliefs. Exposing a person to criticism of their religion, or overtly causing them to think critically about their religion when they don't want to, can have unintended consequences. It can feel like someone's trying to take something from them. I don't want my wife to have that feeling about me. We have an unspoken agreement that we will not attempt to convert each other.

In the event that her own explorations should cause her to question her faith I will be quietly overjoyed. But the most I feel comfortable with right now is the quiet subversion of being a good person without a god. ;)
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#10  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 11, 2016 1:30 pm

crank wrote:I'm puzzled in the extreme how any gay would belong to a christian church.

I suspect it works a lot like an abusive marriage. Just like for all the other Christians.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#11  Postby Sendraks » May 11, 2016 1:45 pm

The interesting thing to me about Mormonism is how Joseph Smith managed to judge, reasonably well, a point in time in which to reverse the euhumermisation that had become the cornerstone of Christianity and trot out a fresh set of divine revelations that would actually have some traction.

Maybe he just got lucky or maybe he was a reasonable judge of the religious volatility of the environ he was in and took the opportunity to make a successful pitch. Plus also keeping a handle on which revelations were "definitive" without having to go back down the process of euhumerisation as a means to inhibit others coming up with fresh revelations that would undermine his sect.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#12  Postby duvduv » May 11, 2016 2:26 pm

I completely sympathize with you there. Has anyone ever asked her simply why she thinks the LDS of Utah are closer to the "truth" than the others?
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#13  Postby NamelessFaceless » May 11, 2016 2:58 pm

I'm bookmarking this thread too. I've read several books on Mormonism and I'm currently reading the Book of Mormon, as well as the Doctrines and Covenants.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#14  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 11, 2016 3:07 pm

NamelessFaceless wrote:I've read several books on Mormonism and I'm currently reading the Book of Mormon, as well as the Doctrines and Covenants.

:shock: Let me know if you can get through that. I've tried several times and it's straight to snoozeville each attempt. I've learned to appreciate religions with shorter seminal documents.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#15  Postby NamelessFaceless » May 11, 2016 3:12 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
NamelessFaceless wrote:I've read several books on Mormonism and I'm currently reading the Book of Mormon, as well as the Doctrines and Covenants.

:shock: Let me know if you can get through that. I've tried several times and it's straight to snoozeville each attempt. I've learned to appreciate religions with shorter seminal documents.


It's actually a lot more fun than the Koran. The Koran was just one long fire & brimstone sermon, while the BoM is just full of quirky new stories. The D&C is even kind of fun, now that I've read a lot of the history of Joseph Smith and the church, and seeing how Smith's prophecies seem to appear on an as-needed basis. :lol:
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#16  Postby Sendraks » May 11, 2016 3:17 pm

NamelessFaceless wrote:The D&C is even kind of fun, now that I've read a lot of the history of Joseph Smith and the church, and seeing how Smith's prophecies seem to appear on an as-needed basis. :lol:


This goes back to my comment about how this is "managed" to ensure other sources of "prophecies" or "revelations" don't undermine the whole edifice of what Smith created.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#17  Postby NamelessFaceless » May 11, 2016 3:49 pm

Sendraks wrote:
NamelessFaceless wrote:The D&C is even kind of fun, now that I've read a lot of the history of Joseph Smith and the church, and seeing how Smith's prophecies seem to appear on an as-needed basis. :lol:


This goes back to my comment about how this is "managed" to ensure other sources of "prophecies" or "revelations" don't undermine the whole edifice of what Smith created.


And it's so obvious too, how it's "managed." I honestly have a hard time understanding why its adherents don't see that.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#18  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 11, 2016 4:33 pm

NamelessFaceless wrote: I honestly have a hard time understanding why its adherents don't see that.

Mormons are obviously strange and wrong to Baptists and vice versa. They're both obviously wrong and strange to Catholics and vice versa. Christianity is wrong and strange to Islam and vice versa. Same with all the religions, and same with none of the religions. From what I can tell observing my wife's response to the splinter Joseph Smith Sects when they appear in the news, they are obviously wrong, and embarrassing for her, too.

It's cognitive bias and turtles all the way down, I think. We tend to more critically examine ideas and belief systems that we're less emotionally attached to. Mostly when I see a new convert, it's usually someone who was vulnerable: Whether developmentally vulnerable (children, mentally disabled) or emotionally vulnerable (addicts, divorcees, impoverished, relocated, etc.). People who feel secure in themselves and how their lives are going don't tend to shop around for new churches, and, if they're a member of a church, will tend to project that stability onto their faith.

I imagine that Joseph Smith's success came from his peculiar mix of charisma, chicanery (he got busted a few times for using magic rocks for treasure hunting prior to founding a religion- so he was kind of an early version of L. Ron Hubbard), and the social instability of his time. I also suspect that, since his intelligence had some demonstrable boundaries, his martyrdom was probably the best thing for his church. If he hadn't been killed by angry people suspicious of his nascent religion, he probably would have slipped up and undermined his own church at some point down the road. It's not so much that he managed to keep track of his stories particularly well. I think he just got killed before he could get caught in too big a contradiction.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#19  Postby crank » May 13, 2016 7:12 am

The LDS made two radical shifts in recent years, the move away from polygamy and the acceptance of blacks. Both driven by the outside culture, which is usually what drives any religion to adjust it's dogmas and creeds, adapt or die. Changes in the fundamentals of a religion can shift quite far without undermining the whole edifice, the edifice isn't usually all that coherent to begin with. The 'strictures' of a faith are far more elastic than any adherent would believe, or admit. The changes tend to unfold over considerable time scales, but, as in the LDS examples, the outside culture was at odds with theirs, and most of the members likely were already assimilating the changes long before the church decided it had to change its official creeds and dogmas. In order to undermine a belief system, there must be contradictions serious enough to do this, but those exist in abundance already in most any faith, a swiss-cheese edifice perceived by believers as solid granite. Each of the different sects has their own subset of the holes that it refuses to perceive, perceiving only the holes not mutually in both. So the 'other' is unholy because they're holey.
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Re: The Restorationist Joseph Smith Sects

#20  Postby laklak » May 13, 2016 2:38 pm

Yeah, the unchanging, revealed Truth is a bit more malleable than they let on. That's certainly sufficient in my mind to reject the entire stinking morass, but there are none so blind etc.
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