Think You’re Cut Out for Getting Lost in Portugal

Two soluble co-codamols taken against medical advice on an empty stomach didn’t help to stop the constant and horrendous noise of happy water streaming under our idyllic apartment somewhere in Portugal.

Exhausted with spending the previous day reading a map which made the Mappa Mundi look like the latest cartography achievement of the 21st century, and with listening to a posh voice on the GPS that we constantly debated whether was Joanna Lumley’s or not and which navigated us into deepest Portuguese countryside. We made endless failed attempts to talk to natives who didn’t speak any English, French, German, Serbian or Russian, religiously showing them our useless map only to be directed the wrong way. We spent six hours driving up and down green hills stopping occasionally to take amazing photos of spring in its infancy, continuing east of a bridge which wasn’t on the map, then south of the field with lots of cows, north of a lake but we didn’t go west knowing full well we would end up back in Porto. The narrow roads were without any traffic signs except Romantico Ruto which we lost hours ago. We were on Horribilis Ruto and we didn’t need any signs for it! The villages we passed were not on the map and the ones engraved on the map were not on our route. The GPS was stubbornly showing we were on road 225. Then we decided to take a different approach – forget about “getting to know the country” and get to the main road. Any main road which luckily was the one we wanted. The relief of not spending a night in the car was replaced by utter bewilderment at spending two nights without internet at the creatively converted water mill in the middle of nowhere.

Without speaking and secretly holding each other responsible for such a blunder we went straight to bed. Luckily, I had a book on standby which was hidden deep in the luggage between the dirty washing and a rudimentary first aid kit. I read all about the author and fell asleep. My usual 1am, 3am, 5am waking ups followed by quick glances at the news, checking of emails or number of likes on the last FB entry were replaced by frustration and loud cursing of the cottage’s lack of internet. The hissing noise of my overheated computer sounded like lullaby compared to the constant water rumbling under my bed.

“Where is all this water rushing to at 5 am?”

“Stop! Go to sleep. You are addicted!”

“No I am not. I just want a peace and quiet”

“But this is peace and quiet!”

Yeah, right.

Those Tens of Thousands of Young, Frenetic, and Deceived Mormon Missionaries

The very first thing that Mormon full-time missionaries will say to someone, Christian or not, who answers his, or her, knock on that person’s house, apartment, or trailer-house door is always something like, “Good afternoon! My name is Elder, or Sister ____, and we (there are always two, or more, of them together) would like to tell you about a glorious second witness for Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon.” Before 1990, one out of three of those, mainly Christian, people who answered the Mormon (LDS) knock, who didn’t know anything at all about the LDS Church, allowed those missionaries into their homes and politely sat and listened to their first one-hour spiel about Mormon theology, history, and doctrine. During the 1970s and ’80s, because of the theological, historical, and doctrinal truth not being generally and publicly known about Mormonism, one out of every three of those individuals, called investigators by the Mormon Church, who opened their homes to Mormon missionaries ended-up accepting Mormonism and being baptized into the Mormon Church. Yes, they were that persuasive at that time! After 1990, and the advent and rise of personal computers and the Internet in the USA, the 95 percent of the American population that didn’t know anything about Mormon theology, history, and doctrine was reduced to around 30 percent. Yet, the wealthy Mormon Church, worth nearly 700 billion dollars in 2017, began, around 1990, to use computerization and the Internet to refute the truth that Christian ministries began publishing on their websites about Mormonism. Essentially what I’m saying is that the Mormon Church began its missionary efforts in the early 1830s with lies and material misrepresentations about LDS theology, history, and doctrine in order to deceive American Christians into believing that Mormon theology about God and Jesus Christ was straight from the Bible, that the Book of Mormon in no wise contradicted or refuted biblical Christianity, and that the history of the Mormon Church, as the missionaries represented it, was an honest factual accounting of how the Mormon Church began its existence. The Utah-based church has continued through the decades of the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries to publicly lie about the facts surrounding its historical origin, its very changing theology, and its fluctuating and ever-changing doctrines that have been predicated on a theology, concocted in 1844 by its founder, Joseph Smith, Jr; a theology that is as alien to the original Trinitarian theology of the totally fictional Book of Mormon, plagiarized from the Holy Bible, as Greek mythology is alien to the good news of Jesus Christ contained in the New Testament.

When Christian investigators to Mormonism converse during their meetings with full-time Mormon missionaries, those young 18 to, usually, 25 year old men and women only know how to respond to questions about Mormon theology according to a script that they memorize during six weeks of indoctrination at the LDS Mission Training Center, on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah. This script comprises the six standard discussions given by all full-time LDS missionaries to all investigators, and also intense training in psychological persuasion techniques, from professional Mormon psychologists, to use on those Christians who question Mormon theology, history, and doctrine during the course of the discussions. When this rote script is pervaded and interrupted by Christian reasoning using real and genuine facts about Mormon theology, history, and doctrine, and scriptures from the Holy Bible, these missionaries are conditioned to retreat from reality into a defensive testimony shell where they refuse to answer questions and only respond with rote testimonials of their belief in the LDS scriptures as the word of God, and in Joseph Smith, Jr. as a prophet of God. When worst comes to worst, they are conditioned to just get up and leave the homes of the investigators without any response whatsoever while telling the investigators that they are not ready to hear the Mormon gospel. Of course, there are many other full-time Mormon missionaries considerably older than the tens of thousands on teenage men and women constantly knocking on doors in the USA. These are the thousands of senior married couples who apply and are accepted for two-year missionary assignments in the United States and around the world. These grandfatherly and grandmotherly individuals, still Elder _____ and Sister _____, are very adept at getting into the homes of struggling Christians and into their confidence. Some of these older Mormons have already served two or three year missions when they were much younger.

Like I said in the beginning of this article, Mormon missionaries present the Book of Mormon to Christian investigators as the keystone of Mormonism, as the most correct non-fiction book on the face of the earth, and as ancient scripture written on gold plates by ancient prophets and translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. The Mormon missionaries will not encourage the investigator to read the Book of Mormon that he, or she, is given by missionaries as a matter of course. The missionaries will tell them that certain scriptures need to read as assigned for each of the six discussions. The reason for this is that the missionaries do not want the Christian to read various Book of Mormon scriptures that are opposed to, and openly contradict, Biblical New Testament scriptures, and that are blatantly contradictory to the real and genuine Mormon theology of God. Are you curious as to what these Book of Mormon scriptures are? Well, the first one is found in 2 Nephi 25: 23. “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ. And to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” If Joseph Smith, Jr. had been alert enough to his own profound arrogance, he would have stopped writing and placed a period after the word saved, but he added that the grace of Jesus Christ is not as important as the works of man. In other words, Smith said that if, perchance, works are not enough to save a person, then grace will fill in what is missing. Totally opposed to this particular Book of Mormon verse and its meaning are the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2: 4-9, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The obvious contradiction between the Book of Mormon verse and the words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians is usually noticed by the rational human mind, for the Book of Mormon states that a person is saved by grace and works, while the Apostle Paul stated that “ye are saved “only” by grace through faith in Jesus, and he emphasized that salvation is “not” of works to any degree. Another interesting aspect of Mormon theology is that, in the current Book of Mormon topical guide, or concordance, there is no reference to Ephesians 2: 4-9 given under the text of 2 Nephi 25:23, even though there is no other scripture in the Holy Bible that comes closer to the exact wording of the Book of Mormon verse than the one in Ephesians 2. There is only one logical reason for this absurd absence. The Mormon brethren do not want rank-and-file Mormons to compare the two scriptures on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit might lead the confused, but prayerful Mormon, to note the blatant contradiction and that the Apostle Paul was correct and Joseph Smith, Jr. totally incorrect.

Now, what would you say about a routinely published 1984 Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood personal study guide containing a very particular lesson about the true Mormon theology of the origin of God and the ultimate exalted destiny of all worthy Mormon elders; essentially the last printed and published 20th Century restatement of Joseph Smith, Jr.’s “King Follett Discourse” and Mormon Prophet Lorenzo Snow’s refinement of it in the late 1890s? What would you say knowing that, if this particular published and venerated LDS priesthood lesson were read to all Christian investigators of Mormonism after the presentation of the six standard missionary discussions, those Christians would regard what the Mormon missionaries had said to them about the Book of Mormon and Mormon theology as lies and misrepresentations? Well, it is the truth! This particular lesson is “Lesson 21-Man May Become Like God,” and it is from the venerated and extolled 1984 39-lesson LDS Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide, “Keep These Commandments.” In “Lesson 21,” it is written as canon Mormon scripture and commandments, and proclaimed by the LDS 1984 First Presidency of Mormon Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, that the ultimate destiny of all worthy Mormon elders is to be as great as God the Father, and, according to “Lesson 21,” “an elder cannot wish to be greater.” Furthermore, “Lesson 21″ states that, “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as lone man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth.” And that “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.” “He is our Father-the Father of our spirits-and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and there was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through.” “Here, then, is eternal life – to know the only wise and true God; and you have to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you.”

Sounds like a Greek mythological drama, doesn’t it? If the powers of reasonable human implication and inference were at work in the creation of “Lesson 21,” the rational person, especially the true-blue Mormon elder, can understand and realize from the foregoing statements from “Lesson 21″ that, 1) The Mormon father-god, with a capital G, was mortally born as a child on an earth-like planet somewhere in the cosmos, and that he grew to manhood, as humans grow to adulthood, and that all men born on planet earth are destined as Mormon elders to be just like the Mormon father-god, with a capital G, by becoming as great as that father-god by doing everything that the Mormon father-god did as a mortal and as an exalted god, with a capital G; 2) The Mormon elder, made into an exalted father-god, has to have what the Mormon father-god obtained in order to create a world and billions of spirit children in like manner. I mean, if the mortal Mormon elder is to be exactly like the father-god, he has to have a wife who is a mother-goddess, with a capital G, with whom he can celestially procreate those billions of spirit children. Mormon theology devolves upon the advanced specifics of Joseph Smith’s “King Follett Discourse” in the manner of becoming a deity and performing like a deity through attendance at the Mormon temples wherein these advanced theological specifics are taught. Yet, they are venerated somewhat innocuously in song on a regular basis in Sunday LDS sacrament meetings through the words of the 19th Century Mormon songster and theological poet Eliza R. Snow’s hymn, “Oh. My Father.” In that hymn’s third verse, the following words denote this advanced theological specific of a “deified mother in heaven:”

“I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.”

Most Christians who attend Mormon sacrament meetings as guest investigators to Mormonism have no earthly idea what they are singing when they mouth the words of the foregoing hymn, since Mormonism is the only polytheistic theology that advances the specific doctrine of a mother-goddess in heaven, and the theological doctrine is never, by direction of the Mormon prophet and apostles, mentioned in public Mormon sacrament meetings of in Sunday school classes. Now, how would a reading of”Lesson 21-Man May Become Like God” after a summation of the full-time Mormon six-discussion ritual serve to totally contradict the theology of the Book of Mormon in the minds of Christian investigators? This effect of contradiction goes along with the specific instructions given by the missionaries for the investigators not to read the Book of Mormon any more than directed before baptism; for they are afraid that their investigators might discover some things that they don’t want them to know. In Mormon 9: 9-10, the Book of Mormon states, “For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? Now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.”

Hence, the Trinitarian theology of one unchangeable immutable God, a personage of spirit, in the Book of Mormon (which was plagiarized from the Holy Bible by Joseph Smith, Jr.), was radically changed in 1844 by Joseph Smith. Jr. to present a very changeable, once human, Mormon father-god, with a capital G, and a very changeable savior, a Mormon Jesus, that is not the same yesterday, today, and forever, and not as John the Apostle wrote in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word was God.” The Mormon Jesus is represented to be the very fictional and pagan first-born spirit child procreated by the Mormon father-god, with a capital G, and the mother-goddess, with a capital G, a brother to Lucifer, the devil, and sired biologically/sexually on the earth by the Mormon father-god, with a capital G, and the mortal Mary, the mother of Jesus. In other words, Mormon theology teaches that Jesus was not born of a virgin mother. Hence, the deviation of “Lesson 21-Man May Become Like God ” from Book of Mormon theology and from New Testament Christianity is blatantly obvious to the Christian investigator to Mormonism if “Lesson 21-Man May Become Like God” is presented to them, especially after those struggling Christians are barraged with the deceptions and misrepresentations presented to them by Mormon full-time missionaries.

I have had an opportunity to discuss the Christian conversion of Mica Wilder, the full-time Mormon missionary who was sent for two-years by the LDS Church to Orlando, Florida, with his dear, now Christian, mother by telephone. Mica was the typical Mormon missionary, brought-up in a strict Mormon family, who mouthed everything that he was conditioned and programmed to recite to the investigators of Mormonism. Yet, Mica hadn’t counted on the Holy Spirit intervening during his Florida mission, revealing to him through the words of a Christian pastor the simple truth about the grace of Jesus that the Savior freely gave to all mankind. “Read the Bible as a small child would read it,” he was counseled by this Baptist pastor, and Mica followed the counsel and received, over a short time, a knowledge of truth while on his Mormon mission that the grace of Jesus is entirely enough.” The opening of a Mormon full-time missionary’s heart to the truth contained in the Holy Bible about the Savior Jesus is not an easy task. Mica was probably only one of the very few souls, out of the tens of thousands of these ubiquitous young frenetic Mormon zealots, to learn the truth about Mormonism on their missions. Most of these young men, for whom going on a Mormon mission is a church expectation, are raised in Mormon families and sternly conditioned over their formative years to prepare to be summoned personally by the Mormon prophet (really by a very expensive computer) to spend two years of their lives, at their own expense, or subsidized by the Mormon Church, recruiting convert Mormons; and most of them successfully do the devil’s work and return home with desires to remain true-blue Mormons.

Why is this religiously frenzied programmatic endeavor so very important to the Mormon Church? Well, the Mormon Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, in 1983, stated that “converts are the life’s blood of the church,” and this statement can be easily translated into dollars and cents. For every struggling Christian converted to Mormonism by the full-time Mormon missionaries becomes, upon baptism into the LDS Church, a full-tithe payer who commits to voluntarily paying one-tenth of his income, before taxes, as a prerequisite for membership. There are other prerequisites to which the convert Mormon must agree to in order for baptism to be officially sanctioned by the bishop of the particular ward (Mormon congregation) to which the convert will be assigned; but these are not as important as the commitment of the convert to pay a full-tithe. In fact, it is usually a custom for the full-time missionaries to prepare the candidate for baptism to hand the Mormon bishop his, or her, first tithing check before the rite of baptism is administered. The fact is clearly evident that Mormon converts, until the moment they decide that what they have been told about Mormonism by the full-time missionaries is totally wrong, are quite a lucrative profit for the 700 billion dollar Utah-based Mormon Church. With approximately 80,000 to 100,000 new converts each calendar year in the USA, with each of them signing over approximately $1,000/month of earned income as tithing, that’s about $90 million per year that flows into the Mormon coffers for an average period of five years before the average Mormon convert leaves the Mormon Church for doctrinal reasons.

Perceptive young men, such as Mica Wilder, are, indeed, rare to find among the approximate 90,000 full-time LDS missionaries in the various parts of the world today, most in the USA and Canada. Currently the average Mormon missionary usually ends-up baptizing around four struggling Christians into Mormonism during the two years he, or she, spends working full-time for the Mormon Church. Many of the numerous missionaries with whom I worked for 30 years, from 1970 until 2000, compared their missions to full-time jobs, not for Jesus, but for their mission presidents and the church. They are taught by their parents and church teachers from the cradle-up to believe that Jesus’ death only provided freedom from physical death through resurrection by paying only for the transgression of Adam and Eve (Mormon theology stipulates that Adam and Eve did not sin, but merely transgressed the law, doing exactly what the Mormon father-god expected them to do in order to produce the human race). As the Mormon temple endowment emphasizes, the entire process of attaining exalted godhood is the same endlessly repeated rite of passage for every exalted Mormon elder and his wife.

Salvation to Mormons is only “resurrection from the dead,” which, to them, is the only free gift that came through the Mormon savior, the Mormon Jesus. Getting to Mormon heaven, or attaining exalted godhood, requires constant work, repentance, and improvement. Mormons don’t understand and realize that the great white throne of judgment, described by the Apostle John in Revelation 20:11-15, is the last and final resurrection, for those souls who have “not” accepted the grace, the free gift of salvation, of Jesus, but refused during their mortality to follow the admonition of the Savior and his apostles. These souls are the dead, small and great, who shall stand before God, who will not be given a place in heaven according to grace; whose names are not written in the Lambs Book of Life, but in the books that have recorded only the works of these people. Though the saved in Christ Jesus will be caught-up with the Savior according to his blessed grace, those who have sought to get to heaven only through their works, their filthy rags, will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death, according to Revelation 20: 14. If they don’t turn from their evil ways to Jesus, these individuals will include nearly all of those people who have sold their souls to the Mormon Church.