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TimP

Can LDS members read non-Mormon literarure?

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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.

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i think you can read what ever you want i mean think about it if your going to by a new car you want to no about the good and the bad.......i think what you believe is more a judgment call unless your getting your information from scholarly journals but really if it is on the net anyone one can say what ever they wont one time i made my own Wikipedia page it was about me .....it was not up for very long lol but still

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@cew03, I'm sure if I put a wiki page up about myself it would be giggled into oblivion pretty quickly.

I was woncering where you got your answers to questions since there are so many out and out differences between what the Bible teaches and what the LDS Church founder, church leaders, teachers, apologist writings, and doctrines say?

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I was woncering where you got your answers to questions since there are so many out and out differences between what the Bible teaches and what the LDS Church founder, church leaders, teachers, apologist writings, and doctrines say?

According to who? And what specifically are you speaking of? Generalized statements such as this are generally useless.

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I scoured every anti-mormon site I could find after I converted. If the church is true, then there's nothing to worry about. I wanted to see if what the missionaries taught me was true, or if there was a man behind the curtain. There were some topics I struggled with, but if the anti-mormon sites were right or even slightly accurate in their claims, well the church would be proven a lie and people would stop joining. If there was ANY legitimacy to any one of the anti arguments there would be national news coverage of it.

The question isn't IF we are "allowed" to read anti-mormon literature, it's why? Like the exmos have inside information on the church that "they" don't want you to know? How on earth did you come up with the idea that those sites are credible?

So tell me all about these "out and out differences" you've discovered in your studies

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@cew03, I'm sure if I put a wiki page up about myself it would be giggled into oblivion pretty quickly.

I was woncering where you got your answers to questions since there are so many out and out differences between what the Bible teaches and what the LDS Church founder, church leaders, teachers, apologist writings, and doctrines say?

It sounds like you're looking to get in to a bash. If you are, please feel free to create a thread dedicated to bible bashing instead of asking if we can read non-LDS literature.

In answer to your original question: Yes. We can. In fact, I read a lot of C.S. Lewis. I also like 'Commentary on the Torah', by Richard Elliot Friedman - The former (And maybe current. I don't know)head of Jewish studies at NYU. Interestingly, much of it agrees with LDS theology.

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Can LDS members read non-Mormon or anti-Mormon literarure as they are searching for answers to their spiritual questions?

Considering C.S. Lewis gets quoted in General Conference I'm gonna go with a yes to non-Mormon literature (presumably of a spiritual nature, thinking we could only read novels by LDS would be a rather quaint view to hold).

Or are you constrained to read only LDS litereature disregarding all else as I understand it is while you are on you LDS missions.

If you're talking about while on a mission you aren't supposed to be reading just any LDS literature either. That literature (excepting the scriptures) would be:

Our Search for Happiness

Jesus the Christ

True to the Faith

Our Heritage

Preach My Gospel

Sunday School manuals

Church Magazines

(Other works you get permission from your Mission President to read)

Edited by Dravin

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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.

D&C 88:118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

That is the world of the Lord as to what we should read and study for the answers to spiritual questions.

Can we read non-Mormon or anti literature? For information about the LDS church/Mormonism, I'd say the best source of information is to go read books from Mormons. Non-LDS works (Like the "Idiot's guide to world religion" that I bought to study for a CLEP test) had partial and flawed information regarding the The LDS Church. Reading Anti-Mormon literature won't do anything to edify one's testimony of Christ. Most of it is written with the intent to create doubt and confusion. They are written with malicious intent by people who have no intention of teaching truth about the LDS church. One could respond to the anti-mormon and lay out evidences that disprove every argument he is trying to make, and the anti-mormon will ignore it. It is intellectual dishonesty at its finest.

As for missionaries, they are limited in what they read because their mission is to invite others to come unto Christ through faith in his name, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. They teach the very basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to understand the "milk" of the gospel incredibly well. The missionary library contains approved works that outline these basic principles extremely well. Reading anything else distracts from the basics of that work.

Ultimately, one can read whatever they want but to obtain spiritual knowledge, one must ultimately go to the creator of all things. There is a reason the scriptures say "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." When we ask in faith and real intent to know the truths of God, he answers through the holy ghost and knowledge taught from on high will bring a more profound answer to the greatest spiritual questions one can have.

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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.

No, we are not allowed to seek out our own journey, each individual member of the LDS faith is assigned an overseer or taskmaster who watches over us 24/7 to make sure we don't drift of into the neverlands of misinformation that does not accord with LDS beleif of doctrine.

If you don't adhere to this policy, holy water will be thrown on you and you will instantaneously turn into a puddle of mush -- sort of like the wicked witch of the east -- only without the broom -- that's just another myth about Mormons, they actually don't carry brooms -- but look out for the horns, they can be devastating.

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TimP,

I have studied the writings of many Bible scholars over the last 30 years. These include many of different religions: Catholic, Wesleyan, Calvinism, etc. I consider their teachings, embrace what is correct, and dismiss what is wrong.

Your opinion regarding the weakness of LDS teachings is just that, your opinion. However, more and more scholars are beginning to see that many of the things taught by Joseph Smith and the Church are well reflected in the early Jewish/Christian religion.

Margaret Barker, one of the best regarded OT scholars and a Methodist pastor has remarked on several concepts Mormonism gets right that Protestantism does not. She didn't know anything about Mormonism, until some LDS scholars read some of her books, and wrote her regarding how her books reflect well many LDS concepts.

You can see her in action at the 2005 Library of Congress Joseph Smith Symposium (2nd speaker in the following): http://lds.org/broadcast/js/JS_broadcast_2_56k.asx

And non-religious Bible scholars have also discussed their approval of LDS teachings, including William F. Albright, Raphael Patai and others. You can read more on this in this article that I edited for John Tvedtnes at FAIR:

Scholarship in Mormonism and Mormonism in Scholarship

In my own studies, I've found that the average Protestant or Catholic does not begin to understand the Jewish or Christian history as it actually went down. To do so would require a major review of many of the beliefs they have. When you study the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the writings of Origen and other early Christian Fathers, you find that the "historical" Christianity is not as Pastor Jeffress or others would have you think it is.

The reality is, Protestantism gives their own spin or interpretation on the scripture. But it is not based upon original interpretation, but on later interpretation.

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lol, Flavius.

We are advised against reading "Anti" literature, but no one is standing over us while we surf the internet or buy our books to make sure we don't read it. I've seen some of the anti websites and their claims are pretty ridiculous. I choose to read things that uplift me, not stuff that pisses me off.

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We are instructed to seek knowledge and learning out of the best books. I agree with Spartan when he said, " If the church is true, then there's nothing to worry about."

I will give you a couple of other quick thoughs on the matter, if it helps.

1. I believe that there are some members who are very uncomfortable reading about the church other than from LDS approved materials and sites. That is an individual call for the members to make.

2. From time to time there has been council to stay away from that which does not bring the spirit. Some members interpret this as guidance to stay away from "anti-mormon" literature.

3. The definition of what constitutes anti-mormon literature is vague. For some this is anything about the church not published by the church. Allow me to us the wonders of the internet to provide an illustration. This site is what many would claim to be very True Believing Mormon. The members of this site tend to be very conservative (my opinion and observation) in their religious views. It is a wonderful place to be. The site owners and moderators work very hard for this to be the case. What you read on this site is intentionally kept very close to what you would find from search church published materials for example. Some here may not feel as personally comfortable on another site such as StayLDS, it is geared towards helping those struggling with testimony. It too (in my opinion) stays close to what you would find in LDS sources, but allows perhaps a little more questioning and pushback than you would find here on LDS.net. Sites run the gammut from this to some of the sites that are not there for any purpose other than to destroy testimony of the Saints. But whether an individual can or should visit StayLDS, or NewOrderMormon, or any of the others is a decision left to the individual. Some find them beneficial to their spiritual journey, others find them detrimental. We are given advice in the matter not commanded.

-RM

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During times of struggles I have never read "anti-Mormon literature" per say, but I have looked at a lot of the "neutral" information. I'm no where near the scholar others are and you might argue I simply just did not dig deep enough, but I've yet to find a Mormon claim that has been 100% shot down. I think that, in the right spirit, it can be useful to look at the other side.

As for non-LDS literature, I do it all the time. Heck, I've had some spiritual moments from non-religious literature. I also find many of the ideas of other religions, as long as they don't contradict mine, to be incredibly useful and uplifting.

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I would say that since a great many Latter Day Saints are converts from other faiths, that like Tim, we believed that the LDS teachings were inconsistent with Biblical teachings. My wife and I are both converts...former Southern Baptists. My wife actually attended a "lock-in" as a teen and the movie "The Godmakers" was shown. I also attended an Assemblies of God church as a young boy for quite a while and a Methodist church as well.

So, the point is, that many Latter Day Saints by nature of their backrounds have certainly held different views than the LDS and have likely read plenty of anti material. I sure did....that is how I was converted :) My best friend was LDS and I was on a mission to save him from his errors....Little did I know :)

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As Dravin stated, the only ones who are limited in what they are allowed to read are the missionaries. Of course, they get to read whatever they want before going on their mission and after. The purpose of limiting their reading is only to help them maintain the presence of the Spirit and improve their teaching efforts. Certain literatures are approved to help them in that, and all else is to be avoided. Same goes for all other media- music, movies, etc.

All other members are free to read whatever they wish about whatever they wish. There is no commandment saying we can only read certain things. The only thing I can think of the "limits" what members are allowed to read is this counsel from For the Strength of Youth:

Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices. It will allow you to enjoy yourself without losing the Spirit of the Lord.

While much entertainment is good, some of it can lead you away from righteous living. Offensive material is often found in web sites, concerts, movies, music, videocassettes, DVDs, books, magazines, pictures, and other media. Satan uses such entertainment to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal and exciting. It can mislead you into thinking that everyone is doing things that are wrong.

Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable.

Pornography in all its forms is especially dangerous and addictive. What may begin as a curious indulgence can become a destructive habit that takes control of your life. It can lead you to sexual transgression and even criminal behavior. Pornography is a poison that weakens your self-control, changes the way you see others, causes you to lose the guidance of the Spirit, and can even affect your ability to have a normal relationship with your future spouse. If you encounter pornography, turn away from it immediately.

Depictions of violence often glamorize vicious behavior. They offend the Spirit and make you less able to respond to others in a sensitive, caring way. They contradict the Savior’s message of love for one another.

Have the courage to walk out of a movie or video party, turn off a computer or television, change a radio station, or put down a magazine if what is being presented does not meet Heavenly Father’s standards. Do these things even if others do not. Let your friends and family know that you are committed to keeping God’s standards. You have the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will give you strength and help you make good choices.

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Although a bunch of people have already answered this question, I think there's some quotes from Joseph Smith that makes this very clear.

We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.

...the most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter Day Saints and sectarians was, that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived it's members of the priveledge of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter Day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.

One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to recieve truth. Let it come from where it may.

I can give you the sources for these if you'd like. :)

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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.

Of course we can. Missions are much stricter for various reasons (and even then not all LDS literature may be allowed, kinda depends on the mission president- On mine, we were pretty much encouraged to study the scriptures and one or two missionary textbooks, and discouraged from other texts)

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Or are you constrained to read only LDS litereature disregarding all else as I understand it is while you are on you LDS missions.

This is correct.

It sounds like you want to provide the missionaries with some anti-mormon literature. I'm believe missionaries are discouraged from reading these tracks just like visiting strip clubs or executing back flips into cesspools is discouraged.

It detracts from the Holy Spirit which they rely upon to touch those who are seeking for truth and honestly open to hearing their message.

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Having served my mission in Tennessee, I read some funny anti-lds tracts on my mission. They were usually brought to us by recent converts. We read them and helped answer their questions. It's not like we studied them for days on end (like that one missionary portrayal in "God's Army" who eventually lost his testimony).

Anti-religious literature of any kind is (in my opinion) spiritual pornography. It's designed to twist and warp your senses of what spirituality really is.

Good literature for spiritual matters will conform with 2 Timothy 1:7

7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Now, one reason that someone may search for such literature is usually if they can't get a straight answer from official sources. Polygamy or Blacks and the LDS priesthood come to mind as topics that are more 'taboo' in the church.

Polygamy is more fun to talk about because it happened so long ago. With the racism part... well, we now have answers in a comprehensive fashion. (Just click on the link in my signature.)

Everything else is twisting the meaning of the scriptures... or takes things out of context.

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