Now, here is some more information about the "17 Points" list and the "20 Points" list:
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Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 23:46:03 -0800 From: [...deleted...] Subject: MI: Response: Points of the True Church From mormon-index: See bottom of this message for subscription and forwarding info. Several people have privately (and politely) asked me to justify my allegation that Floyd Weston's tale surrounding the 17 Points of the True Church is bogus. Kent invited me to post the reply to MI. A convert in our ward fifteen or twenty years ago, Dick Lockett, read Weston's story of the 17 Points and recognized that Weston claimed to have been a student at Cal Tech at the same time he was there. But several small points didn't match his own recollection of a few events Weston mentioned. Key among them was Weston's recounting of Einstein's visit to Cal Tech. Einstein did come to Cal Tech but several years before Weston and he were students there. Dick began to probe the story further. He found that Weston was indeed a student at Cal Tech during the years he attended and thus could not have heard Einstein speak. If I remember right, in his story Weston only identified one of the people in the "study group" with first and last names. The rest are only identified by first names. Dick found the one identifiable member of the study group in the alumni records and made contact. They guy never heard of Weston, was not LDS, and certainly was not part of any study group. There were other fabrications in the story that Dick uncovered that I no longer remember. Shortly after this, Weston was invited to speak at a fireside in our stake. When Dick heard this, he told the stake president what he had found. When Weston arrived, he was asked to meet with the SP who confronted him with Dick's findings. Weston confessed that he had made up the story and was sent packing. This happened in San Jose South stake. While I have some sympathies about how difficult it must be to untangle a web of deception (I'm sure he still gets phone calls begging him to come and tell the story one more time), I think it is irresponsible to deliver this talk as he did to a recent group of new mission presidents, at church firesides, and to continue to sell his tape. This happened many years ago and I've recounted it as best I can remember. I do know I've got the core of it right. If anyone wants more details, I'll be glad to check them out and reply when I return home next week. Probably best to e-mail me privately rather than continue this on MI. [SIGNED: name deleted] ================= Forwarded response: ================== From mormon-index: Mormon Internet resources, queries and announcements Forwarding this message permitted with this footer intact. The contents of Mormon-index may not be used to send unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam). Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 09:35:44 -0800 From: [...deleted...] Subject: MI: Response: Points of the True Church From mormon-index: See bottom of this message for subscription and forwarding info. I wanted to let you know that I just talked to one of Brother Weston's relatives. He said that whether these claims are true or false... this 17 points of the true church has been effective & instrumental in helping people join the church and that Satan will do anything to diffuse that. I highly recommend that you redirect this discussion before it causes Satan to have more power & influence on Jesus Christ's people. thank you for your time [name deleted] a LDS list owner that has had this discussion of the 17 points posted on my list. From Mormon-Index-Digest: Mormon Internet resources, queries and announcements Forwarding this message permitted with this footer intact. The contents of Mormon-Index may not be used to send unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam). Send commands in the body of a message to majordomo@Mailing-List.net Put appropriate command(s) in body of the message: To join: subscribe mormon-index-digest Regular: subscribe mormon-index To leave: unsubscribe mormon-index-digest Regular: unsubscribe mormon-index
Notice that the response to the information about the questionable accuracy of the story is, essentially, that it doesn't matter whether the story is true or not:
...whether these claims are true or false... this 17 points of the true church has been effective & instrumental in helping people join the church and that Satan will do anything to diffuse that.Does this mean, then, that, according to this Mormon, the truth is a tool of Satan?
My purpose was to show how meaningless such lists are. It's a stupid list, and it takes passages out of context and ignores other passages. You can make up such a list to satisfy whatever criteria you have in mind.
It's like most such lists: concocted to produce the desired result. There are similar lists for the "true religion" drawn up by Christians, and, guess what? Christianity is the only religion that fulfills all those requirements!
One of the first flame wars I ever witnessed on the Exmormon mailing list was when such a list of "characteristics of a cult" was posted, and it was obviously made up simply to give the listmaker an "objective" reason for calling Mormonism a cult. Of course Mormonism is a cult, but you can't prove it by manufacturing a tailor-made list, any more than the Mormons can prove that it is the true church by manufacturing a list tailor-made to include all of Mormonism's doctrine, or using the above list to prove there is no true church.
Another purpose in making up this list was so that if a Mormon ever presents me with the "17 Points" list that "proves" Mormonism, I'll have just as good a list to give him in return.
For a response to Weston's "17 Points" from a Christian point of view, see http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/17points.html.