Mormon church in Richmond draws in Latino converts

Members at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Richmond talk about how they were introduced to Mormonism.

In the last decade, the Mormon church has increased its membership by nearly 2 million people, making it the fastest-growing religion in the world. At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Richmond, its members demonstrate the success the church has made in Latin America, the place of origin for many new converts.

23 Comments

  1. Wawho22

    It’s not the “Church of Latter-day Saints”, it’s The Church of Jesus Christ!

  2. Justine Harrison

    The LDS church is NOT “the fastest growing religion in the world,” though it would very much like to be.

    The fact is, people join the LDS church quickly and leave every bit as quickly when they discover enormous problems with its history, its doctrine, and the secrecy with which the church manages its finances. Elder Jensen reported this past year that people are leaving as fast as they are joining.

    Some real facts:

    1. Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and polyandry while denying it, marrying 30 girls as young as 14 and several women whose husbands he dispatched on distant missions so he could do so.

    2. The First Vision never happened.

    3. The Book of Mormon has enormous archaeological and historical problems. It is a provable work of fiction.

    4. The Book of Abraham has been proven a false translation by numerous egyptologists who nowadays can read hieroglyphics thanks to the Rosetta Stone.

    5. Unlike other churches or charities, the LDS church refuses to publish financial reports to even its own membership, not revealing to anyone how much it collects, what it spends it on, or how much its senior leaders are paying themselves.

    Mormonism=Fraud

    • Moracle

      Justine, your posts remind me (as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Mormon Christian), of the scriptures from Matthew 5:10-12 which state:

      “Blessed are ye, when men (or women, in this case) shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

      Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

      They also remind me of Christ’s words in that same chapter, verses 44-46: “…I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefyully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which in in heaven…For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?…”

      May you take comfort in knowing that you are being prayed for.

      • Justine Harrison

        Please, Moracle, do not offer prayers for me. I am well at peace spiritually, thank you very much.

        And kindly show me the “reviling,” “persecution,” or “evil” in my posting of facts. I don’t think you can.

        Mormons have mastered declaring as persecution any inconvenient pointing out facts that are inconsistent with the message they wish conveyed. But the truth can be that way sometimes.

        • Setaf

          Justine, I highly doubt you have much peace of mind after reading your continuing rants. Perhaps some day you will be at peace and have more understanding. Instead of agreeing to disagree you seem to ratchet up the discord every time you are challenged to think independently.

    • Phil Ollero

      Jesus never happened either so what’s the big deal? If you can prove that Jesus is the son of God , then I’ll prove that Joseph Smith’s vision really happened. Shut up you bigot.

      • Cedric de Concordia

        No one can prove to you, Phil, that Jesus is the Son of God, except the Holy Spirit which can testify of the living reality of God The Father and God The Son to those who SEEK to know the truth, and not to those who DISMISS the existence of God without ever making any real and honest efforts, not to those who harden their hearts. If you ASK, then you shall receive. In the verb ASK, you will find A for ask, S for seek and K for know. If you don’t ever ASK, you will never know! I have asked and have received the unmistakable confirmation from the Holy Spirit that God exists and that His Son Jesus always exists.

    • MrNirom

      @Justine Harrison I have a few problems with your post. It is the bias in which you post. You give some of the facts.. but not all of them. When you leave out some facts.. it only enhances your biased view.. and not the truth.

      Also.. some of the statements you posted are of your opinion.. but you try to represent them as fact.

      Lets take for instance question #2. You state the first vision never happened. You state it as a fact.. yet I see no evidence that you have provided that would make me believe otherwise.

      Question # 3 is not true either. As time goes on there is more and more proof of where the Book of Mormon lands actually took place.

      Question #4 is correct if and only if you believe that the fragments which were found was the same document that Joseph translated the Book of Abraham from. However.. it is not.

      And Question #5 has nothing to do with doctrine. Just because the Church does not publish what it does with it monies does not make it false.

      And of course there is question #1. To understand what Joseph did.. you would also have to reveal that Joseph had also sealed himself to men. Does that now make him gay? The doctrine of being sealed together as a family was dished out line upon line. In the end.. the Lord finally directed that sealings should be between family members only. The majority of sealings to women.. either married or not was to women who were LDS and husbands who were not. It was felt that being sealed to the Prophet pulled the person into his family. And that was a good thing. The same way with some of the young females. Parents wanted there daughters to be sealed to the Prophet.. not necessarily as a wife in this world.

      • Justine Harrison

        I see. And you define as “biased” anyone who disagrees with you?

        First, we note you did not address issue one (Joseph Smith’s polyandry, polygamy and adultery). We can guess why.

        Issue #2, how remarkable. A known con man claims to have seen God, and it is on those who dispute that to DISprove it? How about we ask you to PROVE it instead. But to the point:

        a. It was not taught in the LDS church until 22 YEARS after it supposedly happened. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that such a seminal event would not even be mentioned to his followers?

        b. Smith said the vision happened in 1820, yet when he wrote the History of the Church in 1835 he DID NOT EVEN MENTION IT. Why not?

        c. Smith told a dozen different versions of the event to as many people. To some, he saw “an angel.” To others, “many angels.” To others, Christ alone. To others, God and Christ.” One would think anyone who saw God and Jesus would recall vividly every detail. I suspect you would, too.

        Issue #3: Kindly point to one single shred of evidence that has been discovered to support the notion of enormous civilizations in the period of the Book of Mormon. And kindly point to even a single non-LDS archaeologist who says the book is what it pretends to be. You can’t.

        Issue #4: The “fragments” as you call them included the facsimiles (the pictures). They included Smith’s legend to them. He did not get even one right. You cannot point to a single non-LDS Egyptologist who says the Book is anything but a fraud. Not one. Why do you suppose that is?

        Issue #5: I did not say refusing to release financial data is a doctrinal issue. But it is an enormous red flag. Can you give one reasonable reason that the leadership keeps them secret? Because it is clear to me they do so because there are things in there they do not want people to see (like how much General Authorities receive in “living allowances). Please read the finance section of the Mission President’s Handbook (recently posted on line). It is amazing. Did you know tithing money is used for mission presidents so they can buy their children Christmas presents. Did you know their children have their tuition paid, even at non-LDS schools?

        Mormonism is a fraud.

        • MrNirom

          Why Justine.. I did address issue #1. And no.. biased means not all points are brought forth.. only the points you want to bring forth. That is biased.

          What is so funny to me is that all of these points you have brought up are the same points over and over and over again that have been brought up and explained. Problem is.. you are not willing to accept the explanation. So really.. it is a matter of your opinion.. not fact.

          You speak of Joseph Smith as a “known” con man. Known to whom? The critics of the Church? The ones who do everything in their power to disprove him? Those who ran the out the Mormons from their homes? Are you speaking of the Ex-Mormons who were excommunicated from the Church? Those people? Joseph was NOT a “known” con man. Just another label put upon him.

          The first vision was indeed not taught and used the way it is today at first.. but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The first account that Joseph wrote it down was in 1832. Remember.. he had the first vision at the age of 14. Then next time he saw any type of heavenly messenger was at the age of 17.. three year later. And the angel Moroni appeared to him many, many, many, many times. He had already experienced the wrath and ridicule of people when he did mention his vision to a preacher at age 14. That experience left him with an understanding of what Jesus meant when he said.. DON’T CAST YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE.

          The more important parts of the Gospel that were revealed had to do with the priesthood of God being restored to the earth. The authority to act in God’s name. That was more important to the saints back then… than Joseph’s first vision. The fact that many people saw the angels on the roof tops of the Kirkland temple had more of an impact on them than the story of the first vision.

          And yes.. Joseph did tell many versions of what had happened. And if you put them all together.. you get a clear picture of what really happened. When I tell some people about my conversion story.. I do not necessarily tell them everything about it. I normally tell them the part that I think is the most important part based on the topic of what ever it is we are talking about. But if you went to all the people I told the story to and wrote it down.. you would probably then have the whole story.

          I can tell you this about the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and any miracles that have ever been witness to.. none of those convert anyone to the gospel. Tell me all about the Bible and its archaeology and show me how that has converted the Muslims or the Buddahist or any other number of faiths? It hasn’t. Even if I showed you a sign in South American that said “City of Zarahemla”.. it would not convince you. But for the faithful.. it would.

          The 5 books of Moses mean nothing to those who don’t believe that Moses was a prophet of God.

          And Justine.. I don’t care how the General Authorities use the tithing money. That is between them and God. If they are as you see it.. miss using it.. it is upon their heads.

          Mormonism is NOT a fraud. It is so true that people who have died and then came back from the dead.. not members of the Church.. ended up joining the church because of their near death experience. Just another witness of the oh so many that are out there. But as Jesus proclaimed.. there are those that have eyes.. but don’t see and have ears that can’t hear. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is accepted by those who know the masters voice. And there are few.

          • Justine Harrison

            Nirom,

            No, you did not address #1. You pretend the acts of Smith were platonic. They were not. Visit wivesofjosephsmith.org and read the heart wrenching stories of these girls and women (in their own words). They were manipulated by a predator.

            And feel free to wave your hand and say “All this has been brought up before.” Yes, it has. But it has yet to be satisfactorily answered. The evidence is available to anyone who seeks it on the Internet.

            Some excellent resources:

            http://www.mormonthink.com

            http://www.postmormon.org

            http://www.20truths.info

            As to the First Vision, exactly: “The first vision was indeed not taught and used the way it is today at first.” Excuse that all you like (“pearls before swine”), but the facts stubbornly remain. Joseph Smith told profoundly differing versions to different people. Liars do that. Basic facts seldom are misrepresented: Whom did you see, and how old you were when you saw them. Those he morphed enormously.

            As to the Book of Mormon, please do not deflect the discussion to debating the Bible. The Book of Mormon claims to be a true record. It is not. That has nothing to do with the veracity of the Bible.

            And this I marvel at: “I do not care how the General Authorities use tithing money.” So let’s get this straight. Impoverished saints in Mexico faithfully remit their tithing so every mission president can be reimbursed for his family Christmas presents and so all children age 26 and under can have their undergraduate tuition fully paid. I am glad you don’t care about that. Oh, and those mission presidents are instructed:

            “Do not share information on funds you receive from the Church with those who help you with financial or tax matters.”

            And…

            “The amount of any funds reimbursed to you should be kept strictly confidential and should not be discussed with missionaries, other mission presidents, friends, or family members.”

            One can only imagine what general authority “living allowance” accounts look like.

            I am sorry you are trapped in this organization and will not objectively evaluate it.

    • Larry Lynch

      Ignore all the stuff you have heard about my religion. With the strongest desire that you can muster, kneel down, humble yourself, and ask God (our heavenly father) if the Book of Mormon is true. If you feel you didn’t get an answer, either you are not ready, or your desire was not strong enough. I did this and was once a skeptic like you. Even Joseph Smith said if it didn’t happen like he said he would have a hard time believing it. He truly has been picked to bring the Book of Mormon forth. It was written for us today and not the ancient inhabitants of today. You can choose to ignore me or try my challenge. Humility is the necessary ingredient for the Holy Ghost to honor your request. Wish your journey to be a positive one.

    • anne asher

      Jealous much? You honestly felt the need to write that long a statement. Perhaps you could go and spread the gospel as you see it to others rather than sitting at a computer being bitter.

    • erika

      You seem to have crowned yourself a prophet since you are so “knowledgeable” about everything the first presidency and the apostles do. By the way, have you written anything like a Book of Mormon and have millions of people read and re-read it? I am not aware of your book – can you enlighten us all with your wisdom? I guess there is so much dark matter in your soul and head that nothing remotely resembling light can come from there.
      Humble yourself, pray with a sincere heart to know the truth and you shall receive it. Criticism on the other hand will harden your heart, make you a lonely bystander and eventually destroy you. I hope you will choose to be on the Lord’s side and with his people, perfect or imperfect as they may be.
      Erika
      Missouri

    • Don Campbell

      Leave it up to the cynics to take a general (out of context) statement and expand its meaning. The fact remains that the church grew by 2 million members in the last decade no matter what you may think Elder Jensen meant in his general statement.

      The fact that you say “The First Vision never happened” does not make what you say true. The fact remains that millions of people have prayed and asked if it is true and the answer to them was yes…

    • EliasSmile

      Do you need like a hug?

  3. Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D.

    I hope that Justine Harrison and others will be willing to sit down with faithful, knowledgeable members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and obtain a correct understanding of us and our history. There are good and kind responses to all the issues raised about us.

    • Justine Harrison

      Phillip,

      I think discussions here serve very well as the “sit down” discussions you suggest.

      Is there anything in my post you wish to dispute?

      • MrNirom

        I do.. my post is posted.

        • Setaf

          MrNirom, I admire you for your responeses to Justine. They make perfect sense and she appears to have her mind so closed there is little room for a crack of light. Maybe she is trying to convince herself of these twisted facts/opinions. Sometimes those who scream the loudest are only attempting to convince themselves of what they proclaim. Philip, her comment to you only solidifies the argument she has no place iin her mind for intelligent debate/discussion.

  4. George Skyles

    Whenever there is an article having anything to do with Mormons, the haters come out of the woodwork. Their comments often have nothing to do with the story, and they say nothing new. Their “facts” and theology have all been repeated since the 1830s and before—more than 180 years. Yet the Church has grown from six members to over 14 million.

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