A zealous anti-Mormon explains his motivations

May 6, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 5:29 pm   Category: Calvinism

My favorite evangelical anti-Mormon, Aaron Shafovaloff, recently published the following explanation of his zealous anti-Mormonism (I have replaced his bullets with numbers for easier reference):

Some of you might wonder why those of us in the countercult ministry keep on keeping on. We persist because:

1. we love the Mormon people
2. we want our Mormon neighbors to have a warranted assurance of permanent and comprehensive forgiveness and secured eternal life
3. we are not of this world. Jesus prepared us (read John 15) for a negative response from those who are of this world
4. our God-given consciences ring aloud over the deception that Mormonism promotes
5. we are full of joy over fellowship with our ex-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ
6. we know and love our ex-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ and want more of them

And most importantly:

7. we want the God of the Bible to be honored and worshiped and known for who He really is

We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to patiently love even those who do not want to be loved.

There is some pretty good material here so I figured I would tackle these points one at a time.

1. we love the Mormon people

Excellent. The Mormon people love members of the Fluffy Bunny Nice-Nice Club* (aka anti-Mormons) too.

2. we want our Mormon neighbors to have a warranted assurance of permanent and comprehensive forgiveness and secured eternal life

This might make sense if it weren’t coming from a Calvinist. Aaron’s Calvinism preaches predestination of souls so what he “wants” for me or you or himself is totally moot based on his theological assumptions. In his worldview we get what God gives us, period. If we are destined to hell (or heaven) we can’t choose or work our way out of it.

I can only assume that Calvinists simply ignore their own theology. It seems to me that the standard response to this problem is some variation on a chicken and egg argument. Calvinists tend to say “I am saved and thus I naturally want to preach to you”. To them that sounds reasonable. To an outsider it sounds like wishful thinking and desperate attempts to feel saved, but whatever.

Separate from that it is hard to explain why God would even want to inspire them to do missionary work if he has already decided who to torture forever and who to send to paradise. But of course that is as much of a general gripe against the concept of exhaustive foreknowledge and eternal hell as it is a complaint against Calvinism specifically. Suffice it to say, this reason #2 for a Calvinist like Aaron being an anti-Mormon zealot is rife with logical holes in my opinion.

3. we are not of this world. Jesus prepared us (read John 15) for a negative response from those who are of this world

This one is amusing if for no other reason than the “take me to your leader” vibe it gives. But beyond that, it assumes Jesus predestined Aaron and his FBNNC pals to be a huge pain in the butt to other people on earth. Again, Jesus’ motivation to do such a thing defies logic — especially if Jesus has predestined all of us to heaven and hell long before we were born anyway. I suppose at least they are consistent in painting God as somewhat of a sadist with this one though…

4. our God-given consciences ring aloud over the deception that Mormonism promotes

It is nice to see one that makes sense. This one basically says, “your teachings piss us off and we want to do something about it”. I can comprehend that motivation at least. And since it is America the Fluffy Bunny Nice-Nice Club has a right to be anti-Mormon religious freaks if they want. God bless the USA baby.

5. we are full of joy over fellowship with our ex-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ
6. we know and love our ex-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ and want more of them

Nice — still making sense. These two describe a marketing/sales motivation as well as a competitive spirit. They enjoy hanging out with the converts they glean from Mormonism. Everyone likes to win. Hey, we enjoy hanging with the folks who convert to Mormonism too.

7. we want the God of the Bible to be honored and worshiped and known for who He really is

Once again, this one doesn’t make much sense. It seems to be based on the idea that God is defenseless against the alleged heresy of the Mormons and needs the FBNNC to defend his sensitive honor. And of course it doesn’t make any sense in the Calvinist worldview anyway. In that worldview God is mostly disgusted by all of us to begin with so why would God care if some of us reprehensible pets of his believed the wrong stuff? This is the Calvinist God who will be sending most humans to an eternal torture chamber after this life after all — you’d think Aaron and friends would at least think he wasn’t so thin skinned.

I also am vaguely creeped out by this #7 because it sounds eerily similar to the reported motivation behind the jihadist Muslims who are bent on destroying the infidels that dishonor Allah and the Qur’an.

But overall it was nice to see Aaron try to lay out his justifications for his current life mission. I suppose anti-Mormonism floats his boat and what can we do but try to talk some sense into him or ignore him? But then again, we all probably need some sense talked into us on one thing or another right?

———————
* In one online debate some of Aaron’s anti-Mormon pals objected to being called anti-Mormons. John C. of FPR and BCC fame offered to refer to them as the Fluffy Bunny Nice-Nice Club instead. They didn’t respond but I thought it was a good idea…

[Note: See the follow up post here]

72 Comments »

  1. Nothing like being de-programmed with a smile Geoff. And after it’s complete, it’s nice to know that we have someone like Aaron who we can incessantly complain about our old conditioned beliefs…

    Comment by Riley — May 6, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

  2. I can’t take Aaron seriously ever since he (apparently) referred to me as a Mormon apologist. Me, an apologist? That’s like using a napkin to defend yourself from lions.

    Well, okay, I couldn’t really take him seriously before that….

    Comment by BrianJ — May 6, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  3. Long time no “see”, Geoff. Would love to do another over-the-phone podcast sometime (or even better, over Skype).

    For now, allow me to point you yet again to Piper’s two-wills paper.

    PS The original blog post is here.

    Comment by Aaron — May 6, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  4. By the way, you said, “Followed by some characteristic proof-texting from the Bible…” Yet I didn’t go on to quote anything from the Bible with the exception of the verse I attached to my ending “Grace and peace…”

    Also, if you think the joy of fellowship with ex-Mormon Christians simply comes from a “competitive spirit”, then maybe you’re projecting your own experiences onto me? I think you’re really out of touch with the heart of things. But being a Calvinist and all, I really do believe God has to grant you the spiritual tastebuds to experience the kind of spiritual intimacy and passionate worship that you’re missing out on.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me by faith apart from even the best of works (Romans 4:4-8),

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 6, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

  5. Oops. I just deleted my “proof-text” aside Aaron. I was mistaken about that.

    As I mentioned, we love our numerous converts so I project that you love your converts as well.

    I think you’re really out of touch with the heart of things.

    Clearly I am out of touch with whatever it is that leads you to think you are doing God a favor by attacking his saints and his restored church, but I can see that you do think you are doing God a service so I will grant you good intentions at least (even if you are inadvertently in the role of Saul of Tarsus). Obviously we won’t agree on that though.

    I would be interested in your replies to my specific arguments that your stated motivations are utterly nonsensical in light of your Calvinism. (Linking to some Piper paper is a total cop-out so I will look at it but not count that as a real response).

    Comment by Geoff J — May 6, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

  6. Aaron,

    You’re so cute when you’re indignant:

    But being a Calvinist and all, I really do believe God has to grant you the spiritual tastebuds to experience the kind of spiritual intimacy and passionate worship that you’re missing out on.

    Seems like there are a lot of assumptions you are running on.

    I think it’s sweet that you took time to come and belittle him back. His is funnier though.

    Comment by TrevorM — May 6, 2009 @ 10:52 pm

  7. Having seen the way some members of the Fluffy Bunny Nice-Nice Club express their love for the Mormon people, I can’t take even point #1 seriously. Having rejected that premise, I think the rest of the assertions are rather meaningless.

    Comment by dmt — May 7, 2009 @ 4:32 am

  8. Whats the point Aaron of “over the phone” or “pod cast” exchanges with Geoff?

    Why even discuss viewpoints Aaron?

    Do you doubt that the Masters Voice is sufficient?

    Does God need your help to do anything?

    Are you saying that you think He lacks the ability to do it Himself?

    If He can, why are you so arogant as to get in the way?

    Do you feel that you can get in His way?

    Can anything you really do be considered adequate “passionate worship”?

    Are you saying God needs your worship?

    Is He lacking if you don’t worship Him?

    Sounds to me like someone is counting on their exegesis and debating skills over God’s ability to call his elect…

    Comment by Riley — May 7, 2009 @ 7:46 am

  9. Geoff, not having the energy at the moment to enter into a prolonged discussion about it, I would just say this:

    In Calvinism, the God who ordained the ends has also ordained the means.

    About 90% of your objections would solved if you would understand this. If you have philosophical disagreements, that’s one inevitable thing, but—no offense—I think you’re still at the basic level of misunderstanding the Calvinistic way of thinking.

    As a sidenote, since I feel my personal calling is primarily to engage the mainstream Mormon people, I rarely feel called to spend a lot of time discussing sovereignty with open theists who sit at the fringe of Mormonism. That is why I like conversational podcasts, they take less accumulative time to do.

    Take care,

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 7, 2009 @ 7:57 am

  10. Aaron, If anything converting Mormons to a orthodox Calvinist view is a hopeless cause. The LDS share a remarkable amount of theological ground with Arminianism. So one might wonder if your time might not be spent more productively persuading those Arminian apostates to return to the fold rather than focusing on Mormonism specifically.

    Comment by Mark D. — May 7, 2009 @ 8:07 am

  11. Aaron, I don’t think I’d describe Geoff as sitting “at the fringe of Mormonism”. I think I’m about as mainstream as you can get, but even I disagree with Geoff on certain points where seems to lean more towards “mainstream”–such as points of interpretation of the KFD which he’s discussed here Blake Ostler and J. Stapley.

    Geoff, I got a kick out of this post. Thanks!

    Comment by Clean Cut — May 7, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  12. Aaron,

    I only engage you because I like you better than I like most Fluffy Bunny Nice Nice Club members. You are smarter than most of the commenters over at your cesspool of a site (seriously you have some absolute morons and trolls over there) and you seem to be more ideologically motivated than the older meaner folks you hang with. But I swear you are a master of self deception and self justification. This line is classic Aaron self justification:

    As a sidenote, since I feel my personal calling is primarily to engage the mainstream Mormon people, I rarely feel called to spend a lot of time discussing sovereignty with open theists who sit at the fringe of Mormonism.

    Translation: “As a theological 6th grader I am much more comfortable picking on theological 1st graders than people my own size (or bigger)”

    Who can blame you? As soon as the playing field levels a bit you run off with your tail between your legs. The funny thing is that you convince yourself that God tells you to bully the unprepared rather than admitting you are just a bully who prefers to prey on folks who haven’t prepared for your silly tricks.

    In Calvinism, the God who ordained the ends has also ordained the means. About 90% of your objections would solved if you would understand this.

    Actually, I think the problem is I do understand these claims of Calvinism and I reject them as rather obvious self-contradictory nonsense. I wonder if you really understand them though. That is why I would like to engage you on those topics here and in writing. Why are you afraid to do that?

    In some ways you and I do the some of the same things in our theological studies. We take a hard look at popular Mormon theological ideas and see if they hold up under scrutiny here at the Thang. You try to do some of the same things. The difference is I think we do so in a much more intellectually honest way. While you are more than willing to take shots at Mormonism you run away screaming whenever we want to talk about the obvious weaknesses of your theology. What are you so afraid of? Is your theology so weak that it is totally indefensible? The funny thing is that even on that subject you delude yourself into believing the only reason you flee from such discussions is that you don’t have “the energy at the moment to enter into a prolonged discussion about it”.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  13. A very true statement: “The funny thing is that you convince yourself that God tells you to bully the unprepared rather than admitting you are just a bully who prefers to prey on folks who haven’t prepared for your silly tricks.”

    I second that.

    Comment by Clean Cut — May 7, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  14. I think Geoff touched on something I can relate to. It would be so refreshing to find an intelligent, rational, civil FBNNC member out there somewhere. Once in a while you might find someone close, but…

    Comment by Eric Nielson — May 7, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  15. It would be so refreshing to find an intelligent, rational, civil FBNNC member out there somewhere

    Being intelligent, rational, and civil generally means that the FBNNC kicks you out. Or you leave on your own in disgust.

    In my experience, even Aaron’s displayed level in those three attributes are something of a rarity among counter-cult types.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — May 7, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  16. BJM:

    I usually find you to be one of the more refreshing …. whatever you are. :)

    Comment by Eric Nielson — May 7, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  17. Thanks for stopping by Jack and thanks for the interesting link. Some pretty biting stuff over there. Like this one:

    Yes, that’s right, I hurt people on purpose, and I enjoyed it. That’s what evangelical anti-Mormonism does to you.

    Love the brutal honesty.

    And these are snarks after my own heart:

    The realization dawned on me that in embracing the evangelical counter-cult ministry, I had joined the team that was riding the intellectual short bus, and I wanted off.

    Not treating Mormons hatefully enough got me thrown under the short bus.

    Those are classic.

    PS — My wife graduated from Curtis High out in Tacoma.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  18. You know, regardless of whether I agree with the OP or not, I thought this article from Aaron was pretty unobjectionable.

    Honestly, he writes enough objectionable stuff over at Mormon Coffee that surely there wasn’t a lack of stuff to take him on over?

    Why nail him on an article that says nothing more than “I oppose you, but it’s because I care”?

    Comment by Seth R. — May 7, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  19. I am interested in this post of Aaron’s because I am interested in figuring out how members of the Fluffy Bunny Nice Nice Club internally justify their rather questionable life missions. This post gave me some insights into those justifications.

    The rest of the crap over there at his blog is generally so inane and tired (and already-debunked) that it is not worth any of our time to even engage.

    I may have been snarky in my post but there are some very legitimate arguments I have against his theological justifications for his personal jihad. That is, Aaron’s theological justifications for his jihad don’t hold up under scrutiny in light of his Calvinism.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  20. One of the things that drives me nuts about us Mormons is the targeting/bashing of other Christians. Without mutual respect neither of us can worship in our own way so the whole idea of someone targeting the mormon faith (or any other) feels like someone stomping on our bill of rights. If you really step back and be objective the differences pale in comparison to the similarities. Most active Christians live pretty clean lives, and live with charity brought out by the love from following the teachings and belief in Christ. The snippy part of us if the of this world part.

    Comment by Jerry — May 7, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  21. Thanks for the obligatory comment implying “you’re an awful person for snarking the Fluffy Bunny Nice Nice Club or for arguing against their reasoning” Jerry. I was wondering how long it would take for such a chastisement to show up in this thread.

    Just to be clear, this post is not at all about “Most active Christians”, it is about the reasoning rabid anti-Mormons use to justify their life-missions.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  22. “I beat you and tell you you are stupid . . . because I love you.”

    When you get to be my age and have heard this tripe as long as I have, this type of double-speak becomes nothing more than amusing.

    Comment by Ray — May 7, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  23. Please excuse the threadjack, but there is something I’ve always wanted to ask guys like Aaron: what is it you are trying to save us from?

    Comment by rk — May 7, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  24. Geoff, my comment about it being intellectually amusing notwithstanding, I need to make a serious comment. If anyone really wants to understand Aaron, it’s not hard. Consider the following:

    “I abuse you because I love you – apparently more than I love others, because I don’t abuse them like I abuse you.”

    Restricting your message to only a tiny fraction of the people who you believe are damned (Mormons) and not even trying to preach to the vast majority of the damned (non-Christians and all other deceived pseudo-believers) seems a bit like . . . self-serving sadism. Really, it’s:

    “I’m picking on you ’cause I hate your beliefs more than I hate others’ beliefs.”

    For the ex-Mormon zealots, the problem is that they have Mormon family and friends whom they really do love. Those people can’t be at fault; they have to be deluded by the evil empire. Therefore, slapping and screaming at their loved ones is the only way they can battle the Great Satan in their twisted view – the Sermon on the Mount notwithstanding. Literally, they beat those they love explicitly because they love them. Their actions are as anti-Christian as it is possible to be, so their theology (that is constructed to enable and justify their anti-Christian actions) also must be as anti-Christian as it is possible to be. Extreme Calvinism is just such a theology. It’s Satan’s more evil twin brother’s plan.

    God in that theology is the ultimate self-serving sadist – and that really says it all.

    Comment by Ray — May 7, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  25. “Really it’s: “I’m picking on you ’cause I hate your beliefs more than I hate others’ beliefs.”

    Another true statement! You’re right on, Ray.

    Comment by Clean Cut — May 7, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  26. Geoff the anti mormons is who I was directing my comments at other than a few personal comments from past associatons this posting is pretty clear of beating up Chistians. I just get tired of pointing a finger of indignation at our community church neighbors because they wear shorts to church. It is just as obnoxious when ridiculous claims are pointed at us. Which is what 1-7 above is.

    Comment by Jerry — May 7, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  27. Eric Nielson ~ I usually find you to be one of the more refreshing …. whatever you are. :)

    Well, I took one quiz recently which told me I was an “Intellectual Mormon,” and another quiz which told me I was an “Evangelical” (as opposed to being a Fundamentalist, Emerger, or Liberal Christian). The supervillain quiz told me I was a “Mysterious Masked [Wo]Man.” So hey, take your pick. I generally just think of myself as a dissenting evangelical with Pentecostal tendencies.

    Geoff J. ~ Thanks for stopping by Jack and thanks for the interesting link. Some pretty biting stuff over there.

    I’m a rank amateur at this philosophy and theology stuff you NCT folks are so fond of, but I think I’ve got the condescending asshat routine down pretty well.

    I graduated from Bethel High School in Spanaway, but I have been to Curtis before for a music contest.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — May 7, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

  28. Ray,

    #24 Priceless. Very good insight.

    Comment by Riley — May 7, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

  29. Slapping, screaming, abusing, and beating? I’m sorry, but this kind of language is immature. It reminds me of the language of same-sex marriage advocacy groups whining about the Mormon Church’s involvement with Proposition 8. To them I say, grow up and get acquainted with the marketplace of ideas.

    In my experience, even Aaron’s displayed level in those three attributes are something of a rarity among counter-cult types.

    Thanks for the insulting compliment. Insulting other evangelicals is such an easy way to make Bloggernacle friends, isn’t it?

    Is your theology so weak that it is totally indefensible?

    It’s so totally indefensible that I want you to slap me around on a podcast for all to hear. ;-)

    In real life, we’re adults. On the blogs, I swear, we’re all back in middle school. I’ll take talking to real Mormons face-to-face at Temple Square and audible Skype conversations any day over the silliness of Blogdom.

    Grace and peace,

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 7, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

  30. Aaron,

    The beauty of a written debate is that important points are less likely to be glossed over or ignored. Plus it gives both parties time to choose their words carefully.

    How about this, let’s do both. Let’s discuss the theological details I am asking you about (how your theological justifications for being a zealous anti-Mormon make no sense in light of your Calvinism) in writing first and then we can have a follow up recorded Skype conversation as well.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

  31. I’ll do it the other way around, Skype first. Ask me whatever embarrassing questions about Calvinism and eternal punishment you can think of. I am aaronshaf

    Grace and peace,

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 7, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

  32. Just emailed you.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

  33. #29 Aaron ~ You’ve messaged me on Facebook about this, so I’ll save the bulk of what I want to say to you for there.

    Insulting other evangelicals is such an easy way to make Bloggernacle friends, isn’t it?

    I don’t want to put any of my “Bloggernacle friends” on the spot, but I’m certain most of them would tell you that my attitude towards evangelical anti-Mormons is the least of their reasons for being friends with me.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — May 7, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

  34. I was approached once by Aaron to have a debate with him as a podcast. I refused because I knew I would lose. Aaron knows more about the history and quirks of Mormonism than I do. Off the top of his head I’m sure he could come up with 27 oddball comments by Brigham Young that are sure to show why whatever I just said makes sense. That’s why Aaron is excited about recording conversations, I think. It is easily to sucker-punch people (back to the bullying notion). Aaron may not “prepare” for the specific conversation, but he doesn’t have to. It’s not a level playing field, really.

    That’s why writing these down is better. It’s gives time to research a response and it makes you stick to what you said.

    This advice brought to you by the person who is the reason that Mormon Coffee developed most of its comment rules (those being, generally speaking, shut up if you are a Mormon and you don’t like what we have to say).

    Comment by John C. — May 8, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  35. John C.,

    So you’re the reason I got kicked off of Mormon Coffee and had my comments deleted? It is all starting to make sense now.

    I would say that you should just discuss biblical scholarship. From all my experiences with those at Mormon Coffee, I think all you need to stick to is discussing intelligently the one book they have never critically analyzed in the same fashion that they dissect everything else that they disagree with.

    TYD

    Comment by The Yellow Dart — May 8, 2009 @ 9:13 am

  36. Well my entire inquiry this time around is focused on delving into the issue of the internal inconsistency of Aaron’s Calvinism and his anti-Mormon jihad. I want to figure out how he can possibly justify his life-mission as a near full-time anti-Mormon in light of his Calvinism. If he wants to chat in person before he writes it down I can live with that. We spent nearly two hours in a similar recorded discussion some time back and I thought it was fine.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  37. BTW — I found myself moderated and deleted over at Mormon Coffee as well. They don’t take kindly to their victims resisting their floggings over there. It’s par for the course for the Fluffy Bunny Nice Nice Club though. See Jack’s link in #15.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  38. Insulting other evangelicals is such an easy way to make Bloggernacle friends, isn’t it?

    The implication is that Jack insults other evangelicals in order to make friends with folks in the bloggernacle. This personal insult is totally baseless and unjustified. Frankly, it is unbecoming of a person who is supposedly “not of this world” and so full of love for all people.

    Comment by Jacob J — May 8, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  39. Should we be imposing our earthly, human standards of morality on extra-terrestrials Jacob?

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  40. For another example of Aaron’s loving people by being a big, fat jerk to them in his mode of discourse, please note the following example from Jack’s thread here.

    Comment by John C. — May 8, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  41. I don’t get what’s wrong with you people. Aaron clearly loves everyone he blogs with. I doesn’t matter what he says in his comments, he signs all of them with a loving “Grace and peace in Christ”—it’s just so sweet.

    Comment by BrianJ — May 8, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  42. Good point Brian.

    Screw you all,

    Jacob

    Comment by Jacob J — May 8, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

  43. Aaron says:

    I think you’re really out of touch with the heart of things.

    Like it’s his fault? He couldn’t be otherwise, according to your Calvinist view. Yet you lord it over him? Pretty low, Aaron.

    Comment by BHodges — May 8, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  44. No, no Jacob. You have it all wrong. It should be:

    Screw you all.

    Grace and Peace in Christ,

    Jacob

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  45. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/LifeOnaPlate/LDS/Aaron%20Shaf/02140222-1-1-2.jpg

    Comment by BHodges — May 8, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  46. hehehe. Nice.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  47. So, I’m a low, big, fat jerk on an anti-Mormon jihad, bullying, slapping, screaming, abusing, and beating others up.

    Man, you guys really need a hug.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me by faith apart from works (Romans 4:4-8),

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 8, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  48. Alternatively, we may be getting plenty of hugs and your behavior is a reflection on you rather than us.

    Comment by Jacob J — May 8, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

  49. Oh come now Aaron, we tease because we love.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  50. Aaron, fwiw, I don’t think you are big or fat. I don’t hate you. I respect your dedication. I just loathe your theology and tactics.

    As I said, I view extreme Calvinism and ignoring the Beatitudes as Lucifer’s more evil twin brother’s plan.

    That’s all.

    oxoxox,

    Ray

    Comment by Ray — May 8, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

  51. Aaron: I’m sure Geoff wrote this post because

    1. we love the anti-Mormon people
    2. we want our anti-Mormon neighbors to have a warranted assurance of permanent and comprehensive forgiveness and secured eternal life
    3. we are not of this world. Jesus prepared us (read John 15) for a negative response from those who are of this world Also, we are robots.
    4. our God-given consciences ring aloud over the deception that anti-Mormonism promotes
    5. we are full of joy over fellowship with our ex-anti-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ
    6. we know and love our ex-anti-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ and want more of them

    And most importantly:

    7. we want the God of reality to be honored and worshiped and known for who He really is

    Comment by Matt W. — May 8, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

  52. That’s cool, Matt, but does it really matter, since Geoff is damned regardless of his motivation? I mean, we can act exactly like Aaron (and not be big or fat), with the exact same motivation, but we’re all gonna end up wherever we are predestined to end up anyway. So, in the end, some jerks are saved and other sincere, humble, dedicated believers are damned.

    The real question, imo, is whether or not I’m going to be graced by Aaron’s presence eternally. I hope so (since the Sermon on the Mount is important to me), just as strongly as I’m sure he believes not (since the Sermon on the Mount means nothing at the practical level within his theology).

    Comment by Ray — May 8, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  53. Aaron,
    At least you’ve finally come to admit it. :)

    Comment by John C. — May 8, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  54. Brian,

    I rarely laugh out loud when reading posts but #41 did the trick!

    Comment by Riley — May 8, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  55. Ray,

    Neither Augustinianism, Lutheranism, nor Calvinism teaches that election means two people can be equally believing but disparately damned and blessed. Rather, the doctrine of election teaches that the non-elect are totally (but not utterly) depraved and will never savingly believe, and the elect are granted the gift of regeneration and saving faith (and the obedience and perseverance that follows).

    It helps to see the doctrine of unconditional election in view of the larger system. Treating it in a detached manner only yields a fundamental misunderstanding.

    Grace and peace in Christ,

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 8, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

  56. I don’t know Geoff. The original post had too much of a personal gotcha angle for my taste. And the comments have really just kind of descended into the realm of taunting and personal attack.

    True, it’s no different than the crap I had to put up with from the commenters over at Mormon Coffee when I was still hanging over there, and I do still feel resentment for how I was treated. But is this really doing anyone any good – other than several of us venting our own pent-up frustration for how we were treated by Aaron’s posse?

    It feels a bit like gang warfare.

    Comment by Seth R. — May 8, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

  57. It has turned into a bit of a roast hasn’t it Seth? All in good fun I say. There were some pretty funny comments I thought.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  58. I’ll support Aaron Snuffleupaguss Seth.

    Aaron, if you’d like, I’ll give you my grandmas phone number. Despite the fact that she’s the most Christ-like lady I know, she is mormon, and doesn’t know squat about what leader said what, so I’m sure you’ll make quick work of her.

    Comment by Riley — May 9, 2009 @ 1:39 am

  59. Aaron,
    The Mormons have an appropriate title for you and your philosophy. It is “Zoramite.” Have fun on your Rameumptom, dude.

    Seth,
    I started a comment and then read it and realized that I need help. So I wrote a post (as one does). Here it is.

    Comment by John C. — May 9, 2009 @ 5:56 am

  60. #55 – Aaron, that’s easy for you to say, since you get to define who is believing and unbelieving based on your own criteria.

    As I said, I really have no antipathy for you personally. You obviously are sincere and are following the path you personally believe. I can’t condemn you, since I believe strongly in, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

    My beef is with hardcore Calvinism – which I understand extremely well, btw. I simply loathe that theology. In my mind, it really is the ultimate abomination within Christianity – the worst bastardization of “pure and undefiled religion” of which I am aware within “mainstream Christianity”. It is known by its fruits – its horribly bitter and cancerous and vitriolic fruits.

    That really is all. Just as your antipathy about Mormonism isn’t personal, my loathing of your theology isn’t personal either. It really is that simple.

    Comment by Ray — May 9, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  61. hardcore/hyper calvinism is not calvinism. It is a distortion of it.

    God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11). God has mercy on whom he desires (Rom. 9:9-23).

    All false religions deny God’s predestination and election.

    Comment by calvin — May 9, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  62. Thanks for that, calvin. Also, I don’t believe you.

    Comment by John C. — May 9, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  63. I can’t take Aaron seriously ever since he (apparently) referred to me as a Mormon apologist. Me, an apologist? That’s like using a napkin to defend yourself from lions.

    Interestingly, the folks at Mormon Coffee mistook me for a Mormon apologist “in the making” as well (see here). And I’m an atheist! lol

    Comment by chanson — May 9, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  64. An apologist can be someone who just actively defends something. There are armchair apologists, academic apologists, published apologists, etc…. all are nonetheless apologists.

    On a side note, I have met quite a few ex-Mormon atheists who defend Mormonism. I just met one this past Thursday who thought it was mean to criticize religions, including Mormonism.

    If you’re taught over and over again that all contestation is an evil form of contention, it’s hard to view apologists or evangelists (who call people to repentance) in a positive light. Part of helping people move on from either the Mormon worldview or postmodernism is helping them become more comfortable with healthy conflict. Christian tolerance doesn’t avoid all conflict, it rather selectively embraces it as a necessary (but unfortunate) part of life.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me by faith apart form works (Romans 4:4-8),

    Aaron

    Comment by Aaron — May 9, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  65. Aaron,

    I hope you don’t think my picture is offensive, it’s just a little elbow jab.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who judges all according to their works (Revelation 20:13),

    Blair

    Comment by BHodges — May 9, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

  66. Aaron, part of helping people move on to adulthood from adolescence is helping them become more comfortable with healthy conflict. Since you delete and moderate anything on your blog which doesn’t confirm your worm’s eye view of Mormonism, you obviously aren’t comfortable with healthy conflict. I expect you’ll continue riding that short bus for a long time, or at least until you do some growing up.

    Grace and peace, etc.

    Comment by Mark Brown — May 9, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  67. I’m afraid Mark Brown has you on that one Aaron.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 9, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  68. People have had their comments deleted on Mormon Coffee in the past primarily because of personal attacks or going too far off-topic. We have largely given up on high-maintenance moderation of threads now for multiple reasons. You can read the newly trimmed-down comment policy here. There have been and there are currently Mormons writing plenty of things that don’t conform to my view of Christianity or Mormonism. There have been some good Mormon comment authors (like Ralph) who have done a good job of consistently promoting his Mormon view without resorting to personal attacks or other counter-productive methods. I suggest that more Mormosn pay attention to his manner of communication.

    Comment by Aaron — May 9, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  69. “…without resorting to personal attacks or other counter-productive methods.”

    LOL!

    Comment by Mark Brown — May 9, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  70. An apologist can be someone who just actively defends something.

    The thing is that I don’t defend Mormonism. That’s the funny part. I merely disputed some of the questionable claims in the original post, and I was immediately labeled an apologist.

    It’s not out of desire to defend Mormonism that I link to and read your blog. It’s because I read and link to all of the exmo blogs I can find, and I participate in the discussion. I’m a non-believer, but my position is neither wholly pro- nor wholly anti-Mormon. I generally try to keep my discussion positive, but I’m willing to dispute or criticize points that I disagree with.

    Comment by chanson — May 9, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

  71. Allow me to share a typical Mormon Coffee exchange. I decided to mention that an evangelical participant was not adhering to the rules of the forum in that he was engaging in a lot of name calling. Initially the other commenter’s comments were removed. However, they were quickly returned to the thread. When I asked why, I was informed that Joseph Smith had slandered others and so it was okay for this commenter to do the same. Huzzah!

    Comment by John C. — May 9, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

  72. Most liars start of with, Well…to tell the truth…” This one is a little more creative. He says: “We love the Mormon people.” Really…? Just like most people love cancer, hemhorroids, AIDS and serial killers. And your poiunt is…?

    Comment by Harlan Carpenter — April 18, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

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