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  1. Hello all, I joined this forum because I need some advice from believers. I have been a member my whole life and raised up all my kids actively in the church. My oldest two kids left the church as adults because of perceived problems with origins and Joseph Smith. I still have three active adult children and have worked hard to keep a good relationship with all five of my kids including the ones who became "disaffected" and stepped away from the faith. I have recently discovered that one of my adult children is heavily and visibly involved with "anti-Mormon" rhetoric online, having several personal platforms with numerous followers. Unfortunately it appears that they are pretty successful. I'm not sure how to handle this. I know that love is the key, but I'm not sure what love means in this situation or how to apply it correctly or how to maintain a relationship with someone who is vocally and visibly very "anti." This crosses a line that is different than simply "leaving the church." I have already made the decision to never engage with any of the online content, but I need some moral support or suggestions on how to address this in my relationship with this adult child AND as a family matter where several others are in the family that will most probably be negatively impacted by this. (Unfortunately, Satan is very strong.) Also, FYI the content is particularly emotional and victim-y. It doesn't have a lot, if any, accurate doctrinal content or context, is not well-researched, or even logical. I'm not sure why it's so popular except that some ex-Mormons seem to just love to complain about and bash the church. I love the church and I love the Savior and am offended by this child's actions. They are not yet aware that I know what's going on as I stumbled upon it with some nudges from the spirit. I'm trying to determine the best way to navigate this situation and move forward. Any help or perspectives are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  2. Hi everyone, I know a lot of people on the board are converts, and I was wondering if anyone has had experience/advise dealing with the anti-Mormon family obstacle course. This is a conversation I'd rather have via PM, if anyone is interested. Thanks in advance!
  3. Seeking advice on how to handle a tricky situation-- My MIL is... she fearfully freaks out whenever the LDS church/faith/beliefs are mentioned. She's an Evangelical who's been fed anti-Mormon half-truths her entire life. She's unwilling to talk about it or address her fears, and honestly believes I am Hell-bound, and leading my daughter and her son down that path. As she refuses to talk about it (I've tried), the working solution has been to Not Talk About It when she's around. I think this is silly, and she'll have to face it eventually, but this is her choice. Normally for Christmas we visit her state and go to church with her, with me catching my LDS ward's Christmas celebration the Sunday before, so MIL can ignore the issue. This Christmas things are different: we are hosting Christmas at our house, and Christmas is on a Sunday so I will be going to my ward. To be blunt: I refuse to ditch church on Christmas simply because of MIL's phobia. I'm going and so is my daughter and husband. I know my MIL: she'll refuse to go-- which is fine with me, but she'll put on a big show of boycotting it with great disapproval, and be I-Don't-Want-To-Talk-About-It fuming angry the entire week visit. Any advice???? Part of me wants to talk her into visiting for Thanksgiving instead and inviting the atheist in-laws over for Christmas instead (they're actually really supportive of all of us going to church).
  4. Seeking advice on how to handle a tricky situation-- My MIL is... she fearfully freaks out whenever the LDS church/faith/beliefs are mentioned. She's an Evangelical who's been fed anti-Mormon half-truths her entire life. She's unwilling to talk about it or address her fears, and honestly believes I am Hell-bound, and leading my daughter and her son down that path. As she refuses to talk about it (I've tried), the working solution has been to Not Talk About It when she's around. I think this is silly, and she'll have to face it eventually, but this is her choice. Normally for Christmas we visit her state and go to church with her, with me catching my LDS ward's Christmas celebration the Sunday before, so MIL can ignore the issue. This Christmas things are different: we are hosting Christmas at our house, and Christmas is on a Sunday so I will be going to my ward. To be blunt: I refuse to ditch church on Christmas simply because of MIL's phobia. I'm going and so is my daughter and husband. I know my MIL: she'll refuse to go-- which is fine with me, but she'll put on a big show of boycotting it with great disapproval, and be I-Don't-Want-To-Talk-About-It fuming angry the entire week visit. Any advice???? Part of me wants to talk her into visiting for Thanksgiving instead and inviting the atheist in-laws over for Christmas instead (they're actually really supportive of all of us going to church).
  5. Many here, and broadly, in LDS circles, believe that Evangelicals (and, perhaps traditional Christians in general) caused Romney to loose in 2012, because they would not vote for a Mormon. Turns out he did much better than Trump is currently with "The God Gap." a Pew Research Center survey released this month showed the overall “God gap” shrinking significantly, with registered voters who attend religious services at least weekly leaning to Trump by a 49-45 percent margin over Clinton. That is far smaller than the 55-40 percent advantage that Republican Mitt Romney held over President Obama at the same point in 2012. Not sure what to make of 2012, but I agree that most of my Evangelical/Pentecostal friends are much more frustrated this year than we were four-years ago.
  6. (Note: This was an article that was published in the Examiner in 2010 that was written in light of a FBI report on how hate groups operate. It reveals that anti-Mormons are on the same track as other hate groups and that there are specific benchmarks we should be aware of when monitoring their activities. It also uses the FBI's recommendations to propose a positive, effective way to deal with individuals who have been influenced by these hate groups. It provides an insight into how we should deal with anti-Mormons that we encounter.) In the past several years, I have studied anti-Mormonism, not only with the objective of defending my faith against the vicious attacks of these individuals and their organizations, but also with the intent to understand what motivates them. Anti-Mormons generally fall into two broad categories. The first category consists of disaffected members who lost or abandoned their faith and feel resentment or hostility towards the Church and its members. The second category consists of clergy and members of various religions who regard Mormonism as competition or a threat. A friend who works in law enforcement recently sent me a copy of a report on hate groups that was published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. This informative report defines hate into two categories, which neatly align with the two groups of anti-Mormons. The FBI defines the first group as indulging in "rational hate" which is based on unjust acts. The first group of anti-Mormons begin with "rational hate." The term rational doesn't mean that their hate is justified, but instead indicates that the individual feels that he has been personally wronged or dealt with unjustly by the target of his hate. For example, let us consider the unfortunate case of a man who feels like he has been unfairly dealt with by the Church because he has not been permitted to enter the temple because he has not obeyed the principle of tithing. The day comes when his faithful daughter prepares to enter the temple to be married, yet he cannot attend. Although he has known throughout his life that paying tithing was a requirement to enter the temple, when his personal failure to obey this principle finally has a personal consequence, he lashes out and becomes hostile to the Church. He feels he has been the victim of injustice. The report defines irrational hate as "[h]atred of a person based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin" (Schafer and Navarro 1). Anti-Mormon sentiments found among practioners of other religions generally fall into this category. Their feelings are based in insecurity. It may be that the message of the restored gospel makes them question the veracity of their own belief systems and the resulting insecurity causes them to overcompensate by redirecting their hostility towards Latter-day Saints and our religion. Although they profess Christian love, they act compulsively toward Mormonism based in an irrational hostility towards us. Sigmund Freud, in Civilization and Its Discontents, wrote, "It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness" (107). The FBI experts Schafer and Navarro explained: "Both rational and irrational hate mask personal insecurities. Everyone experiences personal insecurities in varying degrees throughout their lives. The more insecure a person feels, the larger the hate mask. Most people concentrate on the important issues in life, such as earning a living, rearing a family, and achieving personal goals. These pursuits give meaning and value to life. Nonetheless, irrational hate bleeds through day-to-day activities in the form of racial barbs and ethnic humor. Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people" (Schafer and Navarro 1). This irrational hate "bleeds through" in Internet discussion groups, social networks, and blogs all across the Internet. Anti-Mormons coordinate and organize themselves into groups, ministries, and parachurches to disseminate their hate. Of late, it has become the vogue expression among them to say that "I'm not anti-Mormon; I'm anti-Mormonism." They seek to make a distinction between hating the person and hating the religion. Nevertheless, if we were to apply this same reasoning to other faiths, such as Judaism, can it be said that the Nazis only hated Judaism, but not the Jews themselves? How ludicrous! Schafer and Navarro outline a seven-stage process in the development of hate groups: 1. Group gathers 2. Group defines itself 3. Group disparages the target 4. Taunts target 5. Attacks target without weapons 6. Attacks target with weapons 7. Destroys target (2) The FBI experts focused their study on violent "skinhead" groups throughout their report; however, the same patterns and characteristics they described can be observed in anti-Mormon ministries and parachurches in each step of the seven-stage process. Let's examine and compare them. Step 1 - Gathering The authors stated, "Irrational haters seldom hate alone.They feel compelled, almost driven, to entreat others to hate as they do. Peer validation bolsters a sense of self-worth and, at the same time, prevents introspection, which reveals personal insecurities" (3). One of the characteristics we see among some ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons from evangelical Christian sects is this compulsion and drive to "entreat others to hate as they do." This peer validation gives them justification of the rightness of their quest. In particular, the sectarians are insecure about their own relationship to God. The doctrines of their own religious sects teach them that they should not expect to feel anything as a result of their faith or conversion. All they can hope for is an assurance that comes from the words of scripture that they are saved or that God has accepted their faith. Perhaps their animus towards Mormonism comes as a reaction to the promise that we share, that one can indeed receive personal revelation from the Holy Ghost and that is something the believer can feel and know for himself. Perhaps it is a form of envy that drives the sectarian anti-Mormon's insecurity. Step 2 - Defining and Organizing During this step, Schafer and Navarro explain that "[h]ate groups form identities through symbols, rituals, and mythologies, which enhance the members’ status and, at the same time, degrade the object of their hate (4). It is altogether common for anti-Mormons to organize themselves into ministries and parachurches. Many of these are operated by failed ministers who have been rejected by their denominations, who have fake academic credentials, or individuals frustrated with a sense of powerlessness. In this case, these ministries co-opt the message of traditional Christian sects and use their symbols, rituals and "mythologies" to make members of the group feel that they are involved in a noble, righteous endeavor. The presence of these groups is tacitly supported by mainstream churches who hire them to come offer presentations to their congregations, or who purchase videos, pamphlets, and other anti-Mormon media to circulate among their flocks. Step 3 - Disparaging The authors of the FBI report further explain that, "By verbally debasing the object of their hate, haters enhance their self-image, as well as their group status" (4). Verbal criticism of Mormonism among the ranks of Mormon-haters seek to bolster the sense of security the members of the group innately desire. It marginalizes and de-humanizes their target. Certain catch-phrases emerge. "Mormons are a cult." "Mormons believe in a different Jesus." "Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers." There are many such disparaging statements that anti-Mormon groups implant in their members, which then get repeated to the general population. Anti-Mormon hatred could not persist if the haters were to concede that Mormons are Christian believers who study the Bible and seek to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Thus, their mantra must be echoed constantly to bypass any conscious reflection resulting from positive personal contacts with the Church. For example, one Texas parachurch shows the anti-Mormon movie, "The Godmakers" to its youth group every semester to inoculate them from positive contacts with LDS friends in school. This is why you often hear the claim that the haters are "anti-Mormonism, not anti-Mormon" or that they "love the Mormon people, but despise our religion." It assuages any personal guilt that results from hate, yet perpetuates and justifies the enmity underlying it. Step 4 - Taunting Schafer and Navarro observed, "Time cools the fire of hate, thus forcing the hater to look inward. To avoid introspection, haters use ever-increasing degrees of rhetoric and violence to maintain high levels of agitation" (4). Members of the Church, particularly those active in Internet discussion groups have seen this occur. Contact with Latter-day Saints will inevitably lead a reasonable person to re-evaluate or abandon his prejudices and to consider us as fellow believers, whether or not conversion is the result of the contact. When dedicated haters observe this return to reasonableness, they react with increased vehemence. I spent nearly a year in discussions with a group of non-Christians on an Internet forum, exchanging ideas and concepts about our beliefs. Overall, the contacts were amicable with these individuals. During that year, there was a small contingent of "Bible-believing" Christians who were staunchly anti-Mormon. The informal leader of their group was an individual I had seen elsewhere, in other Christian forums, who bullied others of his own faith with his aggressive, domineering use of the Bible to try to establish his personal brand of evangelical Christianity upon these groups. Whenever I managed, through reason and scripture, to achieve a concession or admission that Mormonism might have some scriptural, Biblical underpinnings, although we might disagree on the interpretation of the Bible, the anti-Mormon leader resorted to name-calling, taunting, and personal attacks. (I actually maintained a public log on that forum, cataloging the number of times he called me a hypocrite, an idiot, or a false apostle just to document the pattern of behavior.) He followed the pattern of step four, increasing the hatefulness of his rhetoric and even boasting of his prowess and ability to do violence. We see this escalation in the demonstrations of "street preachers" at LDS General Conferences in Salt Lake City. These individuals engage in verbally abusive behavior to try to incite violent conflict with members of the Church. They often burn copies of the Book of Mormon, deface sacred temple garments, and engage in other provocative behavior. The FBI authors also stated, "One study indicated that a majority of hate crimes occur when the hate target migrates through the hate group’s turf" (4). Mormonism's missionary outreach is often blamed as the cause of and justification for anti-Mormon activity. Anti-Mormons claim that if the Church did not send out missionaries to invade their "territory" or to steal the members of their churches, they would leave us alone. However, history shows this to be false. Persecution of Joseph Smith began almost immediately after he first shared the account of his first vision in 1820 with a Methodist clergyman. The Book of Mormon was not revealed until 1823, it's translation didn't begin until 1827, and the Church itself was not founded until 1830. Anti-Mormonism actually preceded the founding of the Church and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Step 5 - Attack the target without weapons The authors of the FBI report determined that a crucial corner is turned at this point. They wrote, "This stage is critical because it differentiates vocally abusive haters from physically abusive ones. In this stage, hate groups become more aggressive, prowling their turf seeking vulnerable targets. (4) Anti-Mormons frequently use the courts and zoning boards to block and prevent the construction of Mormon temples and meetinghouses. In this process, while using the zoning hearings, anti-Mormon groups blanket neighborhoods and communities near the proposed construction sites with anti-Mormon literature and videos to stoke anti-Mormon sentiment. These efforts result in incidents of vandalism or arson, as we saw occur in Mukilteo, Washington and in West Linn, Oregon in 2010. The spread of hate cannot be controlled. Although members of these groups claim to not be party to incidents of violence, they are responsible for dissemination of a message that tells unstable individuals that violent behavior against Mormons will be tolerated. Step 6 - Attack the Target with Weapons The escalation from verbal (or Internet) taunts, if not impeded by some external influence, eventually escalates to physically violent confrontations. Schafer and Navarro wrote, "Personal contact empowers and fulfills a deep-seated need to have dominance over others" (4). In 2007, an anti-Mormon parachurch distributed nearly 30,000 free anti-Mormon videos on DVD to areas in the United States where Mormons are found in significant numbers. Some 18,000 of those videos were distributed in and around Mesa, Arizona. Incidents of vandalism occurred and eventually incidents of physical assaults on Latter-day Saint members. In general, such instances have been extremely rare since the end of the 19th century. The last lynching of a Mormon was associated with the controversy generated by the election of Mormon apostle B.H. Roberts to the United States Senate. Throughout the 20th century, into the present day, this author credits the influence of liberal activst groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which have acted as a counterweight to the influence of politically-active right-wing Christian groups who are traditionally hostile towards Mormons. Mormonism has benefited from a social stalemate between the secular left and the religious right in the United States for the past century. Erosion of either one of these influences may signal an uptick in anti-Mormon violence. Step 7 - Destroy the Target Schafer and Navarro theorized, "The ultimate goal of haters is to destroy the object of their hate. Mastery over life and death imbues the hater with godlike power and omnipotence, which, in turn, facilitate further acts of violence" (5). Sectarian Christianity has a long, unfortunate history of violent crusades to destroy foes it considers heretical or un-Christian. In the 19th century, both secular and religious leaders sought to destroy Mormonism. The Church survived only by fleeing the bounds of civilization and establishing itself in a desert region in the Intermountain West. Today there is nowhere left where the Church might flee for safety from persecution and anti-Mormonism. Thus, it is necessary for us to examine the roots of anti-Mormon hate and help our members cope with the threat it represents. The FBI report gives us a valuable insight into how to disarm hate groups. Interdiction of anti-Mormon hate The FBI report examines racist "skinhead" groups as an example of the seven stages. It suggests that interdiction must target the root of the hatred: insecurity. The early steps of the seven-stage process all seek to eliminate the possibility of personal reflection. Personal reflection on the insecurities that are at the source of hate can bring an individual to identify and conclude that their actions are irrational and harmful. This can be a challenge, because--as the authors stated: "Hate-motivated skinheads have well-rehearsed answers for questions, such as 'Why do you hate?' 'Can’t you see what you’re doing is wrong?' 'How would you like it if someone picked on you because of your race?' Skinheads answer smugly; they feel secure as skinheads." Similarly, such questions to anti-Mormons usually receive pat answers provided for them through manipulations of scripture. They claim they don't hate us, but that they love us and want to save us (by destroying our religion). They don't see what they are doing is wrong because it is encouraged by their respected clergy and justified by false Bible interpretations. Meanwhile, they often portray themselves as victims of persecution from secular society. The Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism once documented the activities of an Indian Christian ministry dedicated to informing the world of the very real persecution of Christians in India that also operated anti-Mormon ministries of its own. How ironic! Such questions to anti-Mormons are thus ineffective. To reach the past the conscious barriers to reflection, the FBI researchers sugges that interviewers ask probing questions about family relationships, which are probably the cause of the insecurities. Schafer and Navarro suggested: "Because hate masks personal insecurities, interviewers should temporarily forego questions about why skinheads hate and strive to identify the skinheads’ personal insecurities. Interviewers should begin this probe by asking skinheads about their family relationships, which probably represent the source of the skinhead’s insecurities because a sense of who people are and where they fit in society typically develops within the family structure. Interviewers also should explore skinheads’ future plans, educational goals, and desired employment. This forces skinheads to see themselves as they really are. If forced to look at themselves, skinheads become vulnerable, less resistant to rehabilitation, and, in law enforcement settings, more likely to confess" (6). The idea is that we want to get those who hate us to reflect upon who they are as people and the motives behind their actions. Attempts to do this typically result in protests that we are engaging in ad hominem attacks. This is not so. We are moving away from the contention to examine the source of the contention. Where does the hate come from? Focusing on family relationships makes them realize that they feel vulnerable and that the hate is an attempt to mask feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. Asking about future plans attempts to get the hater to look ahead to where he is going. Does the hater realize that the ultimate end of his actions will lead to violence and harm? How would it affect his career, his family, his future? Taking this personal angle is messy. Sometimes the backlash is increased hostility. In dealing with rational haters, such as those who have left the Church and fight against it, they are often trying to avoid dealing with the hurt feelings and the harm they have caused their loved ones. Their conscience is troubled when they think about their willingness to break sealing relationships to parents, spouse, and children. Nevertheless, it is necessary for them to reflect on the end result of their choices to hate and their compulsive behavior. In the case of irrational haters--those from sectarian Christian backgrounds--I have often challenged them to confront the compulsive nature of their anti-Mormon activities by asking them to test their ability to resist engaging in them for a period of three weeks. Like quitting smoking or some other addictive behavior, it is revealing to the individual when he discovers the power of his compulsion, when he cannot resist it for a period of say, three weeks. The authors explained, "Haters cannot stop hating without exposing their personal insecurities" (2). Personal repentance is the process by which the individual Mormon-hater can confront, confess, and expose his personal insecurities and the actions that come from them. Schafer and Navarro conclude, "Knowing how the hate process works helps interviewers penetrate the hate mask and address the hater’s underlying personal insecurities. If investigators can attenuate these personal insecurities, haters will become more receptive to rehabilitation" (7). When we encounter anti-Mormonism, let me suggest a three-fold process for interdiction of hate. 1. See the offender as a child of God who is filled with insecurities that motivate his or her hateful actions. 2. Respond to the false charges, lies, and disinformation with accurate information inasmuch as possible. 3. Take a personal interest in the hater and inquire about his family background, upbringing, and future plans. Help him reflect on what insecurities drive their actions and cause their animosity towards Mormons. This will be difficult because they cannot go forward until they expose their personal insecuriies. There will be resistance, lashing out, personal attacks, etc. Every single instance of anti-Mormonism represents a personal tragedy of some kind. It distances a person from God. It blinds the eyes and binds the heart that the Holy Spirit seeks to touch. Although apologetics sites do much good in presenting correct information about the Church and responding to the deceptions of our adversaries, the process of saving souls is personal, not academic. May the Lord grant us power and faith sufficient to break the bands of sin that bind these individuals and help them see the light of truth. Whether they believe Mormonism is true or not is beside the point. The truth is that Mormonism doesn't deserve to be destroyed any more than any other religion. Let each of us enjoy our rights and worship God as he will. If we preach a positive message, we have no need to be anti-anything. Works cited: Schafer, Don A. and Joe Navarro, The Seven Stage Hate Model: The Psychopathology of Hate Groups. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2003, 72:3. Print. Freud, Sigmund, ed. Strachey, James. Civilization and its Discontents. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. New York, NY, 1961. 107. Print
  7. Dear LDS Friends, Recently, I was reading about how Joseph Smith's mentioned a man named "Mahujah-Mahijah" a century before archeologists verified his existence in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I would like more information on the matter, as well as on a related story about how the Book of Mormon contains over 14 Jewish names that were unknown in the days of your prophet, but were supposedly later discovered to be genuine. Also, if you know of any other arguments and evidences that would tend to support the authenticity of LDS Scriptures, can you please point me in the right direction? Thanks! Sincerely in Christ, Geoffrey
  8. Can LDS members read non-Mormon or anti-Mormon literarure as they are searching for answers to their spiritual questions? Or are you constrained to read only LDS litereature disregarding all else as I understand it is while you are on you LDS missions.
  9. This post is more of a shout for help than anything else. I've been a member my entire life, I'm an RM, and I used to have the most sincere and committed testimony you could imagine. I accidently ran across what has been deemed "anti-Mormon" literature over several months ago. My first exposure got to my curiousity and I began to pursue the subject matter even more. It has rocked my testimony. I won't get into any details of what I read, this post is simply a broad disclosure of stating that I came across anti literature. I'm really struggling now with trying to have faith in our church. Does any one on here have a similar experience of reading this stuff and still having faith in the divinity of the church? I could really use some encouragement and answers. I'm a man, and very much a logical person. I would appreciate something outside of "pray to feel the spirit" response. I would have died for this church on my mission because my testimony was so rock solid. Now I really battle internally to trust in any of this. All answers are welcome. Thank you!
  10. Hello everyone, I was born into the church and have always been active but have always had lot of questions. I have served a mission and am currently in college. When I was 15 I was shocked when I discovered anti Mormon material on the internet for the first time while writing a talk. Since then I have continued to be very curious about church history and just about arguments against the church in general. I have recieved spiritual confirmations of the truth and validty of the church, but many of these things still trouble me. I often times feel confused, decieved, and it seems like no matter how hard I try I cannot get rid of these feelings and maintain a more solid testimony of things like the book of mormon and joseph smith. I believe in them and as I said have received spiritualy confirmations of their truths but I cant seem to permanently get over a these doubts. I am also uncomfortable to discuss this with my family, close friends, or bishop. Does anyone feel similar? I just feel a little ashamed especially in testimony meetings and I wish I could have a little more faith. thanks!
  11. "Banned" Mormon Cartoon: Anti-Mormon Tactics Exposed! Videos » LDS Mormon Network I think it's important for members to be aware and prepared to deal with anti-Mormon tactics. It is only by being exposed to it, that we can know how to confront it. Unfortunately, many members are overcome by doubt created by ridiculous propaganda like "The God Makers." For this reason, many members treat anti-Mormon literature like pornography, calling it evil and encouraging everyone to steer clear of it completely. I think there must be a happy medium, though...moderation in reading it and careful self-examination and prayer after being exposed to it. I think that people can slowly build up an immunity to it. They can then become empowered to react correctly to it without losing faith in Mormonism. Personally, I have overcome anti-Mormon-generated doubt by simply focusing on the innumerable positives that have come from my membership in the church, all the spiritual experiences I have had throughout my life, and all the wonderful and amazing people in the church that I have interacted with. In the end, I feel I am a more powerful instrument in the Lord's hands because of my ability to compare and contrast the negativity of anti-Mormonism and the beauty of Mormonism. What do you think? I'm sincerely interested in hearing your thoughts. Regards, DefendingMormonism