Saturday, March 03, 2018

The Heretic (a documentary about Rob Bell): A Short Review and Comparison with Joseph Smith

Just watched The Heretic on Amazon about Rob Bell. I rented it through my Amazon account. I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of information compacted into a short time, so I watched it twice.  A lot of good insights to ponder.

I have listened to Rob a lot over the last few years. I think his intellect is sharp, his scholarship on point, and his heart is full. I can't say the same for many other Fundamentalist type Christians, especially those who call him a heretic.

The documentary also covers another former Evangelical church pastor Carlton Pearson, who rejected the endless-hell dogma and was maligned by many Evangelical Christians. If you think only the Mormons ostracize (i.e. socially exclude those who question the set dogma), just look at how McCraney was treated by Evangelicals (in 2014) for questioning the Trinity creed formulated under Constantine. Watch the clips on YouTube and see how Rob Bell is treated by Fundamentalists. Watch the upcoming movie on Netflix, Come Sunday, about Carlton Pearson.

I have to say, I have my issues with the LDS church's past policies and some in the top leadership and Joseph Smith's mistreatment of women, etc; but the fact that Smith gave "the middle finger" to the hell fire dogma used by manipulative revival preachers of his day and said there is no hell fire endless torment, makes me appreciate Smith as a bad ass.

According to, "Joseph’s younger brother William [related] that his father was offended by the Presbyterians because Reverend Stockton, a Presbyterian who spoke at the funeral of Joseph’s brother Alvin, 'intimated very strongly' that Alvin had gone to hell because he was not a church member." After speaking to many of these kinds of preachers myself, in today's day and age, I can imagine how horrible that must have felt to the Smith family; and how harmful and arrogant some of these preachers are. I mean just listen to how Shawn McCraney was treated by an Orthodox Presbyterian preacher Jason Wallace at 24 to 29 minutes in his discussion with him in Episode 431 of Heart of the Matter.

Smith had the cajoles to do what many were too afraid to do. There are many today who are doing what Smith did in our modern scientific age and readily available biblical scholarship on the internet (e.g. or, etc.), but Smith was doing so in a less enlightened age.

Say what you will about Smith, and I have my many criticism of him, one thing is for sure, he saved many from the psychological trauma of hell-fire dogma. Many LDS children, including myself, avoided suffering nightmares and constant psychic terror and trauma (as many children do today in Fundamentalist homes) because of Smith.

Yes of course, I can hear my fellow exmormons crying, "But he still manipulated young girls with stories of threatening angels and swords, and manipulated LDS members into being polygamous or they'd become a celibate angel (D&C 131: 1-4132:13–18)!" Yes, yes, I agree, that is certainly manipulative and absurd and harmful. But one can't for one moment really think there is a direct comparison between the Mormon view of heaven (in D&C 76) in regards to physic harm, with the preaching on hell by the preachers of the 1700s (like Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God") or the revivalist bully pulpiteers of the 1830s, and what goes on today in many churches.

Today, right now, children are being psychologically harmed by this endless-hell dogma. In this regard, the LDS church, and many other Christian churches (and those like Rob Bell) are a bright shining light of mental health and sanity; amidst the fundamentalist darkness and fear mongering and bully pulpit intimation by many of the preachers both past and present.

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