United Brethren has retired.

Mormon Myths

Before LDSWorld.com ceased existence, they had a really interesting section on urban legends and myths in the church. A lot of these can now be found on the Shields website.

One I always enjoyed (mostly because I'm not a massive fan of the painting) is that the Del Parson painting of the Saviour is the "most accurate" portrait of Jesus:

"A message tells of LDS artist Del Parson who was commissioned by the Church to do a painting of the Savior. He submitted several drafts of the portrait to the General Authorities who returned it with suggestions on how to make it more "accurate." Finally, the picture was accepted as the closest possible approximation to the Savior's actual appearance. (The final picture is the familiar "red robe" portrait that has been used in many Church magazines, manuals, etc.) Some dramatic additions to the story tell of a girl who recognized in the portrait the man who had held her and protected her after her parents were killed in a car accident, or who comforted her when she was locked in a closet by abusive parents.

"According to Bro. Parson, the painting was indeed commissioned by the Church, but he worked with the curriculum department to create a painting suitable for their needs. There were several revisions in the process to develop a picture suitable for their needs; there was never an indication that the revisions were to make the portrait "more accurate." And there is no record of such a dramatic "recognition" by a little girl."

Why is it that members of the church seem to need to believe in these 'feel good' stories and spread them like wildfire? I'm all for feeling good, but doing so through a lie isn't a great idea. Or is it?

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 30, 2004 4:10 PM) 

Well, a case could be made that as people of faith we're gullible to begin with so it's easy to believe any old rubbish. That's what a lot of people would say. Also, we are a church that believes in miracles, and for whatever reason these don't happen today in the spectacular way they did in the Joseph Smith era. So we make them up.

The great dilemma is whether, in the name of truth, to point out these myths to people who hold to them, and burst their faith and come across as a cynical bastard! 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 30, 2004 7:40 PM) 

I think the balance of faith and sceptiscism (sp?) is a hard one. It was especially for me as a teenager. I'd hear all these 'faith promoting' stories and believe them and that belief was tied up with my testimony. And becoming a more sceptical adult weeding out the drek was painful. I don't have anything important to add, no brain cells . . .  

Posted by Lisa


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 01, 2004 2:07 PM) 

My opinion... Why do we hold so dearly to these "Faith promoting lies"? I think we hold to anything that seems good and that seems to distinguish us as the true church... If only these miracles were true.. then we could confirm our faith.

Really, in my opinion, it turns us into a church full of Laman and Lemuels. The scriptures tell us that an evil and adultrus(sp) generation seeks after a sign.

Remember, Laman and Lemuel saw an angel, and even spoke to it, and well... we know how well that went over.

Do we not have enough faith? Is there something in the back of our heads that asks us to validate something spiritual with something physical? If only the Red Robe story was true, or the missionary who's broken leg was healed by the faith healer and when given a blessing by the mission president it re-broke because the evil spirit was rebuked...blah, blah, blah...

There are tons of them. I don't doubt these types of things happen. I do however question the imbellishment of these stories. I remember Paul H. Dunn, and his stories. THose kinda got him in trouble.

I had some pretty interesting things happen on my mission, and they certainly helped solidify my tesitmony, I also experience other things randomly that are pretty amazing. I don't say it to boast, but really I think the experiences we have, should be a byproduct of our faith, not the foundation.

If asking a recieving isn't enough... boy, I can;t help you.

I myself have spent a considerable amount of time trashing on my best friend who has a folder full of this crap. 

Posted by Jake


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