Friday, November 30, 2007

The Real Mormonism Money-Maker is: YOU!!!

From Noggin via

Has anyone else ever taken note of the "Trickle Down Tithing Scam"? My grandfather complained about it a time or two before he passed away years ago and it never hit me as to why he would have such a beef with it until I reformatted my Mormon brain into a more ex mormon state of mind. Basically it goes like this:

Thomas Temple Attender works for the LDS church. He makes $40,000 a year gross. Thomas Temple Attender promptly pays 10% of his salary dollars back to the church in tithing.

Now then

Thomas Temple Attender hires Peter Priesthood to paint him... say... a very nice portrait of his wife, Henrietta Homemaker. Peter Priesthood charges Thomas $20,000.00... to which he is immediately paid upon completion.

Peter Priesthood has now earned $20,000.00 and now Peter Priesthood, being the faithful member that he is, and ever wishing to not burn at the 2nd coming, will now pay the LDS church the $2,000 in tithing that it demands.

To save time and space, I'll forego the rest by explaining that Peter Priesthood then hires Fanny Alger to babysit his 9 children as a nanny and he pays her $10,000.00 to do it. Fanny Alger, very interested in seeing her daughter marry in the temple next month, then pays the LDS church $1,000 tithing dollars in order to qualify and be worthy to go to the ceremony. Fanny Alger then hires Zina Huntington/Smith/Young to do X who then pays prompt tithing dollars on those earnings... and it trickles down down down from there.

In this way, the LDS church is getting many multiples of tithing dividends on the original $40,000 it paid Thomas Temple Attender at the start of this thought experiment. The kicker is that Thomas Temple Attender's salary is generated from... you guessed it....


Thomas: $40,000 = $4,000 tithing dollars to the church

Peter: $20,000 = $2,000 tithing dollars

Fanny: $10,000 = $1,000 tithing dollars

Right there the church has practically doubled the tithing dollars from the original $40,000 it paid to it's employee.

There is much more to this thought experiment... like for example, the church is notorious for lower paying (by national comparisons and standards) careers. Though the pay is lower by competetion standards, it is even more of a bargain for the church in that the employee basically signs an implied contract with his job that states he/she will be a faithful Mormon... in essence, he WILL pay the LDS church 10% of his salary. So every church employee is an automatic 10% kickback to the Mormon church.

Nice, huh? I'm a small business owner. Man, I cannot tell you what a slick deal that would be if I could get my employees to sign up for a deal like that... oh shoot... see... but then I'd have to offer them benefits like... eternal life and that could get rather complicated... especially if I tested their loyalty by sending them to the other side of the United States on business trips and marrying their wives while they were gone.

****My Thoughts****

I used to encourage my kids to pay 10% on the allowance that I paid them, AFTER I had already paid my 10% to the church. Just think how much money the church retains by encouraging their members to do business with fellow Mormons! That money NEVER leaves! It just keeps getting recycled and redistributed to the church one way or another.

Most cults make you promise away all your worldly possessions, inheritances, bank accounts, etc to the uplifting and sustaining of the organization. That's what compels their loved ones to try and draw them out, since it seems completely senseless to live in sackcloth and ashes, devoting all your time and energy to the organization, preaching and attending endless meetings, hoping for a chance to one day GLIMPSE at the guru running it all, and proclaim it to be the most spiritual, uplifting moment of your life.

Look, just because you can get in your car and drive around the block without permission, that doesn't mean you aren't in a cult. Mormonism is a cult of the mind. The "sacred undergarments" are a thought control device, not a physical protection against harm. When your most trusted guides and authority figures counsel you to guard yourself against receiving or seeking information from "outside"....BOOM! There's your cult. It's right there in the words.

" Don't read unapproved literature"

"Don't surf the Internet unprotected"

"Don't question the Lord's anointed"

They don't HAVE to build 25-foot high walls surrounding a secluded compound. You have already accomplished that in your mind. All they have to do is make you afraid to tear down that wall and look on the other side, and they have you, safely tucked away from "evil" and "Satan".

The illusion is that you are free to choose right from wrong. You know you can step in a bar at any moment, just by making a right turn instead of left. You know that you can dive deep into Mormon history in just a few clicks of the keys. You know that you can shuck those garments off and keep them off for a whole day. But the guilt, the fear, the shear panic you will face when you go against the words of the Brethren, keeps you within their control. Why do you follow their advice? Because you believe them! And you feel good when they pay attention to you, praise you, encourage you, and "choose" you for service. All of that would go away if you ever disobeyed their words. You would lose their comfort, their company, and their guidance. But these are MEN. Not God. God will STILL be there for YOU. Even without these MEN to tell you what you must do. Nobody OWNS God. If you believe in God, then that's ALL you need. No handshakes, no tokens, no secret temple names, no sacred underpants. Just belief in God.

As for myself, don't judge my journey as a road map for everyone. I chose to extend beyond Christianity, beyond religion itself for a short time. And I'm not stating that it is the right choice for everyone. But you at least owe it to yourself to look around and be WILLING to change your belief based on what you see, not limit yourself to what you are told.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Woman's Place in Eternity

For today's post, I refer you to Sister Mary Lisa, who knows exactly what to say.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New York Daily Opinion Piece on Mitt Romney's Faith

Enough cliches about faith. Mitt's Mormonism matters

By Errol Lewis

Sunday, November 25th 2007, 4:00 AM

Let's quit tiptoeing around the question of whether Republican Mitt Romney's Mormon religion will be an issue in his bid to become President of the United States.

Of course it will matter. And it should.

Voters have every right to be curious and concerned about a candidate's beliefs - especially a candidate like Romney, who keeps talking about the importance of faith in his life.

Romney's not a run-of-the-mill believer. Before entering politics, he served as a Mormon bishop, presiding over several congregations in Massachusetts.

There's little chance that a devout follower of Rastafarianism, the Unification Church or the Nation of Islam - not just a believer, but a leader - could expect to run for high political office and not get a couple of questions about what they believe and what public actions they took as a church leader.

Romney has gotten a few. He told CBS News he is a "true-blue through-and-through" believer, but also said, "My church wouldn't endeavor to tell me what to do on an issue, and I wouldn't listen to them on an issue that related to our nation."

Those contradictory statements won't cut it. And they don't sidestep the plain fact that Mormonism, like the other faiths I mentioned, is not a Christian religion.

This is a sore point with Romney and other Mormons, who emphasize their reverence for Jesus, belief in His divinity, and the fact that the religion's official name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those protests hold little water with leaders of most Christian denominations. In 2001, the Catholic doctrinal office (then headed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now the Pope) decreed [that] Mormons must be re-baptized to join the Catholic Church. Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists have similar official disclaimers.

The reasons are clear to anyone who stayed awake through Sunday School and takes a look at the Mormon holy books, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

Mormons, it turns out, believe human souls have existed for all eternity, temporarily inhabit physical bodies and can eventually evolve into gods. They also believe the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and that tribes from Israel traveled to what is now America, built ancient cities and fought epic battles.

Needless to say, there's no physical evidence of the cities or the thousands killed in the ancient wars of the Mormon holy books, and DNA evidence rules out American Indians as descendants of ancient Israel. It will take time for Mormon supernatural claims to attain the respect given those of older religions.

But forget the historical and theological disputes. I have no quarrel with the nearly 6 million Americans who practice this religion - but I do have questions for the one among them who wants me to vote him into the White House.

In particular, I want to know more about Bishop Romney's beliefs and actions related to the Mormon religion's odious and longstanding practices of racial segregation.

Brigham Young, an early father of the Mormon Church, preached, "If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain [those with dark skin], the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."

In addition to this death penalty for race-mixing, Mormons barred blacks from becoming priests or taking part in the religion's holiest rituals. This went on until 1978.Romney, who was 31 when Mormon elders officially scrapped the church's racist doctrines, says he broke down and cried when the change was announced.

I really hope he did more than wait till the end and weep: I'd like to know what Bishop Romney grew up believing on this subject, exactly what he taught to others - and what steps, if any, he took to battle discrimination when doing so was at odds with his religion.

A clear explanation is the least we should expect from a candidate who wears his faith on his sleeve.

****My Thoughts****

Brigham Young's statement is contained in the Journal of Discourses and can be read here.

Most Christian denominations never learn that Mormonism teaches that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that God started out as a mortal man on another Earth and became exhalted after his death, creating his own Earth to populate with his own spirit children, (us), and that we will have those same opportunities for exhaltation and Godhood if we:

1. Become Mormon
2. Participate in Temple rites and rituals
3. Perform the same acts of temple ritual for our dead ancestors
4. Enter into polygamy

That last one is still a major belief of Mormonism, even though it is condemned in practice. It is NOT condemned in theory, and is still believed to be necessary to obtain exhaltation (that is, the highest level within the Celestial Kingdom). Many covert temple sealings have been done without government knowledge or approval. Among these is the "second anointing" ordinance, which even many mainstream Mormons themselves know little to nothing about.

Mormonism used to focus most of their conversion efforts on the American Indians and the inhabitants of the Pacific Islands because the Book of Mormon speaks of Lamanites as the principle ancestors of these people. DNA evidence has know proven that these people are of Asiatic origin, and not of Jewish descent after all. The Book of Mormon has now been reworded to state that Lamanites are among the ancestors of these people. That runs counter to over a hundred years of belief and the conversion efforts of thousands of members to redeem the remnants of the lost tribes of Israel, with a book of scripture that was supposedly about their own people.

IF People like me shut up and go away....

The church can go on subtly changing doctrines, denying the past, obfuscating the present, and controlling the future. George Orwell's 1984.

The only way to limit the church's ability to rewrite history in a favorable light is to remain vigilant and informed. There is no such thing as "accepting it on faith" , because faith only comes into play when certain plausible ideas cannot be proven or disproved. That is not the case with many doctrines of Mormonism, they can and have been proven false, scientifically and scripturally. The only tool the church has left is to create enough fear within the organization, so that knowledge is limited. "We will tell you all that you need to know, and if you desire to know more, you will be accused of loosing your faith, becoming full of pride, trusting in the intellect of man and not of God, and all sorts of evil will befall you if you question your anointed leaders."

Sounds like something Warren Jeffs might say...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mormons Worship Joseph Smith more than Jesus Christ

***My Thoughts***

I wanted to show you how the Mormons set aside the works and teachings of Jesus in favor of the life and times of Joseph Smith. Typically the month of December is a time to celebrate the prophet's life and accomplishments, and revere him on his date of birth, which, unfortunately, lands two days before Christmas. Some of us ex-Mormons have taken to calling the season "Merry Smithmas", on account of all the focus being given to the founder of the religion, instead of the founder of Christianity, and I brought this article from the archives of the Recovery from Mormonism board to post here. In it, there are several quotes from past Mormon prophets who extol the virtues of their beloved leader. I thought it might be relevant to anyone wondering what Mitt Romney's religion is all about.

Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Season for Gratitude,” Ensign, Dec. 1997

This is a season for giving and a time for gratitude. We remember with appreciation the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which is celebrated this same month of December, two days before Christmas.

How great indeed is our debt to him. His life began in Vermont and ended in Illinois, and marvelous were the things that happened between that simple beginning and tragic ending. It was he who brought us a true knowledge of God, the Eternal Father, and His Risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. During the short time of his great vision he learned more concerning the nature of Deity than all of those who through centuries had argued the matter in learned councils and scholarly forums. He brought us the marvelous Book of Mormon as another witness for the living reality of the Son of God. To him, from those who held it anciently, came the priesthood, the power, the gift, the authority, the keys to speak and act in the name of God. He gave us the organization of the Church and its great and sacred mission. Through him were restored the keys of the holy temples, that men and women might enter into eternal covenants with God and that the great work for the dead might be accomplished to open the way for eternal blessings.

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Ever and ever the keys he will hold. Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old. (“Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27)

He was the instrument in the hands of the Almighty. He was the servant acting under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ in bringing to pass this great latter-day work.

We stand in reverence before him. He is the great prophet of this dispensation. He stands at the head of this great and mighty work which is spreading across the earth. He is our prophet, our revelator, our seer, our friend. Let us not forget him. Let not his memory be forgotten in the celebration of Christmas. God be thanked for the Prophet Joseph."

Why the Mormon Church hates Christianity - JOSEPH SMITH

Jesus Christ is just not enough for the Mormon Church. Grant Palmer was not excommunicated for not having faith in Jesus Christ. He lost his salvation, in the eyes of the church, because he did not accept the stories the church tells about Joseph Smith.

This all goes back to the very foundation of the Mormon Church and its authority:

Joseph Smith

Salvation not through Jesus Christ, but Joseph Smith

"If we get our salvation, we shall have to pass by him [Joseph Smith]; if we enter our glory, it will be through the authority he has received. We cannot get around him [Joseph Smith]"
- Apostle George Q. Cannon, as quoted in 1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide, p. 142

"Whosoever... does not confess that God has sent Joseph Smith, and revealed the everlasting Gospel to and through him, is of Antichrist...,"
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 176

[There is] "no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God"
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

"No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith...every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are... [Joseph Smith] reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim—"Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!" But it is true."
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289-91

"He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ"
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.312

"It is because the Lord called Joseph Smith that salvation is again available to mortal men.... If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation,"
- Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 396, 670

"I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him. We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him. I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sentinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire. But I tell you, the pinch will be with those that have mingled with us, stood next to us, weighed our spirits, tried us, and proven us: there will be a pinch, in my view, to get past them. The others, perhaps, will say, If brother Joseph is satisfied with you, you may pass. If it is all right with him, it is all right with me. Then if Joseph shall say to a man, or if brother Brigham say to a man, I forgive you your sins, "Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them;" if you who have suffered and felt the weight of transgression—if you have generosity enough to forgive the sinner, I will forgive him: you cannot have more generosity than I have. I have given you power to forgive sins, and when the Lord gives a gift, he does not take it back again."
- Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.154-155

"You call us fools; but the day will be, gentlemen and ladies, whether you belong to this Church or not, when you will prize brother Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the Living God, and look upon him as a God, and also upon Brigham Young, our Governor"
- Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, p. 88

"It is to be feared that in course of a century, some gifted man like Paul, some splendid orator, who will be able by his eloquence to attract crowds of the thousands who are ever ready to hear, and be carried away by, the sounding brass and tinkling cymbal of sparkling oratory, may command a hearing, may succeed in breathing a new life into this modern Mahometanism, and make the name of the martyred Joseph ring as loud, and stir the souls of men as much, as the mighty name of Christ itself. Sharon, Palmyra, Manchester, Kirtland, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Ramus. Nauvoo, and the Carthage Jail, may become holy and venerable names, places of classic interest, in another age; like Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Calvary to the Christian, and Mecca and Medina to the Turk."
- Prophet Brigham Young, History of the Church, Vol. 7, p.40-41

Thanks to Joseph Smith, Mormon leaders condemn Christians:

"This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth..."
- Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165

"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ.' 'No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.'"
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckleey, LDS Church News, June 20, 1998, p.7

"The old Catholic church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense than to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? The character of the old churches have always been slandered by all apostates since the world began."
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843-44, p.375

"And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foudation of this (Mormon) church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth..."
- Joseph Smith speaking as Jesus Christ, Doctrine and Covenants 1:30

“The Lord said that this is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth with which He is well pleased [see D&C 1:30]. I didn’t say that. Those are His words. The Prophet Joseph was told that the other sects were wrong [see Joseph Smith—History 1:19]. Those are not my words. Those are the Lord’s words."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, June 2004 Ensign, page 3

"My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join."

"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw• near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” He again forbade me to join with any of them;..."
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith History 1:18-20

"What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world"
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.270

"...all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels."
- Prophet Joseph Smith , The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith Jr., editor, vol.1, no.4, p.60

"And he [the angel of God] said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people."
- Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10-11

"Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the 'whore of Babylon' whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent"
- Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 255

"After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon"
- Apostle George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, p.324

"When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness."
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73

"With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world."
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:199

"The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God"
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171

"Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth."
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:176

"Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers' sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. ...You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.
- Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 5:89

"The Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called"
- Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p.196

"But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of Christian Churches ... But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance"
- Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 18:172

" a perfect pack of nonsense...the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.167); "Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom."
- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 10:127

"What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute best."
- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225

"What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing... Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God."
- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225

"Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness. For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation ...Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the 'Christian' churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men."
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.282

"...the Book of Mormon remains secure, unchanged and unchangeable, ...But with the Bible it was not and is not was once in the sole and exclusive care and custody of an abominable organization (Christianity), founded by the devil himself, likened prophetically unto a great whore, whose great aim and purpose was to destroy the souls of men in the name of religion. In these hands it ceased to be the book it once was."
- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, The Joseph Smith Translation, pp. 12, 13

"Must we, under the broad folds of the American Constitution, be compelled to bow down to the narrow contracted notions of Apostate Christianity? Must we shut up our consciences in a nut shell, and be compelled to submit to the bigoted notions, and whims, and customs of the dark ages of popery, transferred to us through the superstitious of our fathers? Must we be slaves to custom and render homage to the soul-destroying, sickening influences of modern Christianity? No!"
- Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, Vol.1, No.7, p.111

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Hypothetical Conversation

Question: If Jesus Christ came back to earth and announced that the LDS church wasn't true would you still believe?

Answer: He wouldn't do that, so it wouldn't be Jesus who said it. Obviously he would be the anti-Christ.

Rebuttal: So anyone who claims that the LDS church is not true would be in agreement with the anti-Christ, in your opinion?

Answer: Yes, that's correct.

Question: Are you at the point in your testimony that there's nothing that could ever cause you to not believe the church is true?

Answer: Yes, there is nothing that will ever cause me to give up that belief.

Question: Even hypothetically?

Answer: No. To spend any time at all thinking about hypothetical reasons is to give equal time to the adversary, and I won't do that.

Question: If it weren't true, would you want to know it?

Answer: No. I wouldn't want to know anything that may destroy my belief. I take great pains to avoid reading materials published by those who would try to persuade me to doubt, and I refuse to give into that temptation. I believe that Satan tries very hard to get faithful Mormons to leave. He did it to you...

Question: So, you sincerely believe that my choice to leave was because of the work of Satan?

Answer: Yes. I sincerely do. You gave into the temptation, you didn't trust what your teachers taught you, you questioned their inspiration and their authority in spiritual matters and you went on your own quest. That's why you can't be sealed to our family anymore. Your rebellious nature prevents us from being united in the Celestial Kingdom.

Question: And you think that if you aren't careful around me, you might hear some things that come into direct opposition to what you believe, so rather than having to weigh the evidence in your own mind, you would rather depend on the guidance of your church? Does that make life easier, not having to make these kinds of decisions on a daily basis?

Answer: Even know I can see Satan working in you... You know that's not what I said or implied. What I stated is that your rebellious nature is what caused you to go looking for answers from outside the church, and once you got the answers that would give you an excuse to quit keeping God's commandments, you left. That was Satan's trap and you fell straight into it. I'm not going to make that same mistake...

Question: Have you ever considered that it might be Satan's trap to keep you from questioning this doctrine, to keep you bound to your leaders, doing everything in lockstep with their commands, never turning your head to either side and searching for truth with the mind and reasoning powers God bestowed upon you for your use?

Answer: You're just trying to cause me to doubt my beliefs again. Only an agent of Satan would do that...

Response: I believe that this thing you call "Satan" would be much more subtle. It's easier to comfort you with many soothing lies than to confront you with truths you are too afraid to hear.

Answer: I am not afraid to hear the truth, because I already have the truth. You are the deluded one, not me...

Response: Sure I am. My mistake. Have fun living in your box where Satan can't get you. Or is it where Satan won't let you out...I keep getting them confused...

Answer: Oh, don't worry about me. I have all the knowledge I need. I don't need to search for answers to unasked questions like you. I am content with what has been given to me, not prideful and rebellious like you.

Response: That's the fallback, isn't it? Those who leave are prideful, rebellious and under Satan's power. That's true for all those who leave, isn't it? I guess it matters more to me than it does to you, to get the truth no matter what the cost. Funny how this church divides and condemns families instead of uniting them, isn't it?

Answer: Goodnight. I'm done arguing with you. Nothing is going to change. I'm going to the Celestial Kingdom, and you could too if you would just set all this Anti-Mormon crap aside and come back to what you deep down know is the true church.

Response: Thanks for the final twist to the liver. You really know how to kick us Satan-loving heathens right where it counts, don't you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don’t question the Church, ever!!!

A young woman’s discovery leads to severe punishment:
Link here

In the Endowment video, I noticed that it had fish and birds created on the 5th day of creation but also had all the animals created on the 5th day. Then Adam is created on the 6th day. After I got home from my travels to the Temple, I checked my Bible and sure enough. The animals were created on the 6th day, the same as man. Then I check the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses. Both had the animals created on the 6th day. This started to really bug me so on my next trip to the Temple a month later, I paid special attention to the creation as it was portrayed. Yes, they had it wrong.

I made an appointment with my Bishop when I got home and told him about my discovery and asked for an explanation. Quite honestly, he replied that he had never noticed that discrepancy and would be going to the Temple the next weekend and would check it out. When he got back, he called me to come in for an appointment and the Stake President was also there. That should have been a clue that something was up. Anyway, my Bishop confirmed that in fact the Temple ceremony DID have the animals created on the 5th day. That he had called SLC to get clarification and was told by GA that it was "Newer Revelation". I asked him how I was supposed to teach my primary kids the creation story as it is in the Bible and Pearl of Great Price, knowing in my heart that it was wrong. The bottom line for them was, "Did I believe in new revelation?" I told them I thought new revelation should be consistent with prior revelation and not totally different. Wrong Answer. They questioned my commitment, my conduct, my thoughts, my studies, and readings. Something must have caused me to "lose my testimony." It was a 4-hour ordeal, I cried a lot, I didn't know how to answer them. Finally, they said since I was female, I was not allowed received revelation since I didn't have the priesthood. So trying to find an answer for the obvious conflict was beyond my spiritual reach. I received a letter a few days later from my stake president indicating that I could no longer wear my temple garments, I could attend services but could not take sacrament. I was welcome to continue paying my tithe. Within just a few days I had gone from what seemed a seemingly insignificant error to being an Apostate.


Is the church EVER wrong? It seems to me that they can use the 'Newer Revelation' as a cover-up for mistakes in doctrine. They don't REALLY believe that the sequence of events in the Creation story have been re-clarified in this new order. They used it as an excuse to chastise someone who would dare to question their authority on the matter. Since she wouldn't accept it as a real answer, she was punished for her insubordination. And since she is lowly female, she has no way of receiving any answer independent from what the Brethren tell her. Females do no receive revelation, because they do no have priesthood authority, she is told. But that is also a lie. Females in the early Mormon church, the one that Joseph Smith founded, were given priesthood authority equal to the men, and this continued until Brigham Young and his successors slowly ebbed it away to nothing. The modern Mormon church has apostatized from it's original restoration. Modern revelation is nothing more than a series of cover stories designed to cut out dissenters and doubters. Fear is now the motivator to keep the members quiet.

What would possibly be gained by questioning authority? Your family and friends would avoid you, you would not be able to maintain an equal status with them if it were not for that golden recommend. The only way to keep those people close to you is to stay in step with them, do what's expected of you and never let a doubt or question interrupt your testimony. The only thing waiting for you on the other side is hostility, frustration and separation from them, the ones whose opinions you treasure the most. And as long as appearances and acceptance mean more to you than honesty, truth, and personal integrity, you'll stay right where you are, changing and molding your beliefs with every new issue of the Ensign magazine, or every General Conference broadcast.

You silly sheep. You can't see that you are guarded day and night by ravenous wolves who look for any excuse to cast you outside the fence and make you into an example for others to avoid. Or, like lobsters, your family and friends whom you hope to impress are the ones who keep pulling you down further into the basket, keeping you from seeing the daylight above. They don't even care to see it for themselves, but they aren't going to let you see it either.

What would be the worst thing about reading some article that comes into direct conflict with your beliefs? You might change your mind. That sort of thing is unimaginable in the Mormon world. And if you come to believe that you have been lied to, and you leave the church, would you be upset that your chance to be permanently sealed to your family in the afterlife is gone? I would be more upset that they told me such a thing existed in the first place! They do not have the power or authority to perform these multi-generational sealings, they cannot promise a link between families through temple rituals and handgrips. It's all been a huge hoax from the start. And it is often assumed that the real reason I am angry and hostile towards the church is because I am not ALLOWED to partake in this blessing. Let me be perfectly clear when I say this: I am angry because THEY believe their rituals have any binding authority, and they are smugly excluding me from it because of my UN-belief. I have NO belief that the Mormon church has any such power or authority to determine my worthiness for its blessings. I have NO belief that families who are sealed together in the temple are better off than families who are not. And I especially don't believe that you should work harder to maintain relationships with family you have been sealed to, and cut everyone else off because they aren't MORMON.

Here's what really bites my ass though:

An individual that I know has maintained a relationship of sorts with her ex-husband, his new wife, and his entire family, even though the central cause of their divorce was HIS arrest and conviction of molesting as many as 10 children, including a niece and a nephew of HERS, and because of this temple sealing that they had 15 years ago, and the children they have that were born "in the covenant", she feels perfectly justified in continuing on with attending family events on her ex-husband's side, including weddings and family reunions, EVEN THOUGH she is remarried AND her new husband has adopted the kids as his own. They even go bowling once a month with her ex husband and his new wife, (who knows that she can't have any children with him because he's a sex offender), AND they invite the ex husband and his new wife over for events the children are involved in, (even thought the niece and nephew live in the same town and are never aware that he is around) AND they've even had dinner together at her house with the children referring to him as "Uncle", knowing very little about the circumstances that led him to be separated from them. AND ALL OF THIS IS IN THE NAME OF MORMONISM!!!

What a f*cked up plan of Heavenly Father's this is?! Why the hell would I want to be part of that system? If families are forever, I don't want any part of that family, the ones who stay put together in dangerous relationships and risk the serious psychological unhinging of their children from being forced to include such sick individuals in their lives forever, all in the name of MORMONISM.

That's why I hate this church. They teach you that your common sense and rational thinking are secondary to promoting the faith and maintaining family connectedness (as long as their all Mormons too). What would happen on the day that this individual decided to research the church history and doctrine and decide to leave it? This family that she has fought so hard to keep together and maintain relationships with, all in the name of Mormonism would soundly reject her, reject her children, reject her place among them, the righteous Mormons that they are and have been for generations. And since she is a convert, with no claims to family sealing in her own family, she has no choice but to avoid doubts and reinvest herself solidly in the Mormon belief system.

I was lucky. I had virtually no one to upset when I left. Just my mom and sister. I didn't have to worry about disrupting a plan of family togetherness, since there is NO WAY my mom will be sealed to a man in this lifetime (and even if she did, I wouldn't get sealed to HIM). None of my other brothers or sisters will ever rejoin the church, none of their spouses will ever join, no children are being raised Mormon, except my sister's. What's the f'n point of all of this? There's no way my mom will get what the Mormons promised her 22 years ago. She is working for nothing. There will be nothing to gain except the futile hope that she might just be worthy to be assigned to 'another worthy man' once she gets to the afterlife. Someone she doesn't know and has never met. But that's the best she can hope for.

As for my sister, she fared a little better. But she can't leave, ever. Too much invested. Too much to lose if she were to start questioning. Stupid Cult. I wish I had never heard of it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why Bridges are Impossible between Mormonism and the rest of the world

Please, it's like trying to build a bridge from New York to Kolob. You can't build a bridge between fantasy and reality, and since the Mormons will first insist that you "respect their beliefs" by refraining from discussing them in the first place, there is no chance of any such "bridge" becoming a two-way crossing anyway. The temple is off limits, the garments are off limits, the signs, tokens and hand grips are off limits, bringing up anything out of the Journal of Discourses gets immediately dismissed because it's not official canonized scripture, and anything else you bring up gets set on the shelf of : We have been teaching these things for years, nothing is hidden in the church, you're just ignorant and lazy if you didn't know "X" before now....

There is no accountability of leadership in the church. If there is any wrong, it is because of individual member actions, not the organization. Blame individuals to save the reputation of the organization at all costs. Burn bridges if necessary. The church must go on, it must survive any condemnation, questioning, examination, or ridicule. Lie for the Lord, withhold key points of doctrine until investigators have been baptized, "milk before meat"....

I've narrowed it down to the top five:

Was it normal to marry 14 year old girls?

Polygamy was practiced because of "too many women, not enough men"?

Should we judge Joseph by present-day standards?

Did Joseph used a seer stone in a hat to "translate" the Book of Mormon?

Who knows more about ancient Egyptian writings, today's archaeologists, or Joseph Smith?

Are the American Indians descendants of the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon?

Even if just ONE remains true, it's enough for me to stay out of this organization, and urge others to closely examine their beliefs against the coldness of reality. Planet Kolob, or Planet Earth.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Building Bridges

Well, I've had nearly three weeks off from blogging. I thought it would do some good for me to clear my head and rid myself of some negative vibes coming from posting about Mormonism for a while. I've spent some time floating around the message boards of apologetics and recovery, trying to pinpoint the source of my anger and frustration so I can work on dissolving it. I participated in a few discussions on both sides of the coin, and now I am ready to share my thoughts here.

One of the better discussions I was involved in was about maintaining good relationships with Mormon family members after leaving the church. It seems that there is lots of hostility from members who come across sites like mine, because I really have nothing nice to say in support of their beliefs. To a Mormon who expects 'confirmation of the Spirit' in order to discern truth from lies, my site will come across as packed full of hate. There are no warm fuzzies here.

I also had a chance to briefly discuss my position on an apologetic site during my break. I shared with them my reasons for departing the church, and was met with hostile responses that laid the blame for my unbelief back on my shoulders. It seems that what I had learned about the church's history should never have been a surprise to me in the first place, and if I hadn't been so "prideful, ignorant, lazy, or stupid" I would have known all along about Joseph's polygamy and sharing wives, and his marriage to 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball. If I had cared to check out books that are available in EVERY ward library, I would have known all about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and I would have had knowledge of the teachings of Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, because these things were taught in every Seminary class, and were always (supposedly) available to every member. Then I was informed that it was my personal responsibility to discover these on my own, and that the church has no obligation to bring out all theses facts to every member. That's the purpose of 'personal study' after all. So, in a nutshell, I was to blame for my failure to learn about these troubling items of history, and I am also to blame for my subsequent departure from the church for my inability to maintain my testimony in the face of it. This is the attitude from the posters on the apologetic web site that I visited for about a week. It is clear to me that no matter what else, the attitude will be 'the church is perfect, the people are not'. Blame the victim, blame the apostate for their own unbelief, but never blame the church for withholding information, or whitewashing history to make it more palatable to investigators. If you have a problem with the church, it's your problem to overcome, not the church.

Now, I will share sippets of conversation and posts from various sites, with my remarks in blue type.

If the LDS church leadership stopped teaching its members that those who leave the church due so due to all sorts of personal failings (like desiring to sin, pride, arrogance, listening to “Satan”) - would that improve relations between Mormons and Ex-Mormons?

So how to stop the cycle of anger between Mormons and Ex-Mormons? It would have to be stopped at its point of origin.

So what is the point of origin?

The point of origin is when we were all in the childhood “home”, which in this case, would be Mormonism. We all heard certain myths repeated over and over. One myth is that “people leave the LDS church for the following reasons:” (insert list of reasons all based on personal flaws, weaknesses, and sins).

Then we grow up. Some of us actually become those who leave. Those myths are still in our heads. Those myths are still in the heads of those who remain in the church.

So what happens?

Still believing Mormons view their apostate friends and family members with suspicion and even fear. Apostates know their family members and friends now view them with suspicion and fear. This makes apostates angry, because they know why they left the church, and it usually had nothing to do with the myth taught in the LDS church. Or perhaps it doesn’t even make the apostate angry. Perhaps it makes the apostate sad and anxious to correct the myth. So the apostate explains his/her reasons for leaving the church, wanting to show the difference between his/her reasons and the myth. For example:

Apostate: I left the church because I no longer believed. I cannot believe God would work through Joseph Smith when he was marrying other men’s wives behind his own wife’s back, when he was marrying young women assigned to his guardianship. I cannot believe in the historicity or divinity of the BoM when JS translated it by looking in a rock in his hat, which is the exact same method he used to find slippery buried treasures in the earth – with no success. I cannot believe in the BoA when the papyrus have been found and are Egyptian funerary documents. (etc)

Believer: You’re attacking the church!! You’re attacking my faith! You are mean and psychologically disturbed because you can’t leave the church alone!!

Then, depending on personalities, the apostate gives up or gets even more defensive.

This is the cycle of anger between Mormons and Ex-Mormons. The only way for that cycle to truly stop (other than band-aids here and there) is for the Mormon church leaders to STOP teaching their bigoted ideas about apostates in the first place.

Continuing to pretend that this is something we can each fix on our own is baloney. The only entity that has the power to fix it will never do so – so we’re all left just trying to figure out how to maintain relationships.

One of the ways some Ex-Mormons deal with this constant frustration is to vent on Internet boards, or personal blogs, often in order to avoid venting in REAL life with intimate associates. And if that upsets you, then think about your beliefs in regards to anyone who chooses to leave the church because of UN-belief. Did you automatically substitute that reason with some hidden sin that hasn’t been resolved? Exactly. That’s the hurdle we have to jump in order to regain acceptance by our friends and family who choose to remain loyal and faithful to the church. Even though this blog is clearly specified to be for personal catharsis, you can’t stay away. You have to keep coming back to see what else the “evil apostate” is saying about your church. It’s like a scab you can’t help pick. And then you whine about the scab bleeding.

In the real world, proven relationship strategies always include identifying the problems on one or both sides of a relationship first, then second, obtaining commitment from the offending party/parties to stop contributing to the problem, and THEN AND ONLY THEN do the two parties move on to reconciliation and moving forward.

What I find interesting is that even after I have left, I have still been victimized by the church because of the attitudes taught and sustained by my family members who remain. As long as they are asked, “Do you associate or sympathize with any apostate groups or individuals?” , that tension, hostility, and defensiveness will remain. And it is not MY hostility. It is voiced in the attitudes and beliefs of my family members that are still faithful LDS. In order to justify their answer to the bishop, they go out of their way to make sure they are NOT sympathetic to me. They make sure that their association with me is kept at a bare minimum so that I don’t tarnish their integrity and honesty when they go up to be interviewed for worthiness. This is the most painful, anguishing part of leaving Mormonism, knowing that those who remain see you as someone they must avoid or limit contact with, so that they can truthfully answer the question of loyalty to their church. That is the source of my anger.

Can I change that? NO! The only side in a position to change this is the church itself. Until they stop insisting that there must be a space as wide as a valley between Mormons and apostates, there will never be any bridge building between the two. The church that calls itself the only “true” church has no interest in creating relationships with people who do not hold the same beliefs. They will always be seen as lacking in some way. Even worse for those who left the church, because they are viewed as people who really deep down believe the gospel, but can’t abide by the rules and wish to rebel against them in favor of “wordly “things. This kind of thinking is what keeps the faithful loyal to the church. They don’t want to question, because it is viewed as dis-loyalty. They won’t have discourse with apostates, even if they are members of their own family (husbands and wives, children, grandchildren) because this is association with apostates, which could lead into sympathizing with apostates. They can’t let themselves see it from our point of view, and that’s what keeps real dialogue from happening. Real dialogue is a faith-destroyer. Real dialogue is a chance to see things in different ways than those prescribed as “safe”. Real dialogue can never happen without real effort, and it can’t be shouldered by the apostate alone.

Wanna know what really gets me? Being told that anger serves no purpose and I should move on with my life. This is to shun me into silence and attempt to control me YET AGAIN. I know that I am having an impact on others, and the defenders of the faith want me to SHUT UP about it. So, if they continue to tell me that I don’t seem to be happier, that I have anger issues, that I am spending all this wasted time and effort being angry when I could be out living my life, that is their way of trying to make the anger I feel somehow MY fault, and not the religion itself. After all, they don’t shout from the pulpit that all apostates and non-believers must be shunned and treated harshly at family gatherings (if they are invited at all). The church doesn’t actively tell their members what to do if someone in their family decides to resign. But that interview question that all faithful temple-recommend carrying members have to answer and examine in their own lives still exists.

“Do I associate or sympathize with any apostate groups or individuals?”
What does that mean?
Do I sit across the table from my apostate sister at Thanksgiving? If I do, will I appear “sympathetic”?
Will it be seen as “association with an apostate” ?
How about if I call her up on the phone? Is that going to be called “associating with a known apostate?”
Can I answer my interview question faithfully on a Sunday, knowing I just had dinner with my apostate sister last night?

And let’s not forget the central role of the mother, who has been advised throughout her life as a Mormon that her children will not depart from the teachings of the gospel if they are brought up correctly. When a child decides to resign, what does that say about Mom? She didn’t do her job right! Her child is VOLUNTARILY leaving the church, that must mean she wasn’t faithful enough, didn’t work hard enough, didn’t prepare the child thoroughly to withstand the teachings of the world. It is HER failure as a mother that shines through to those around her. And she will try anything, say anything, do anything in order to bring that child back, whether it is by shunning, by guilt, by loud crying and coercion or outright blackmail. It is her duty to make sure that her children come with her to the Celestial Kingdom, and if anyone of them fails to make it, she has failed in her earthly role, the only role God created women to fulfill, and she couldn’t do it fully. She won’t receive her full blessings because of this failure. Her other children may follow suit if they associate with the “apostate child”. The family strife is endless. Don’t even get me started on husbands and wives with apostate-threatening spouses.

We are called sinners, betrayers, fallen-away, troubled, doubting, trusting in the arm of the flesh, unwilling to follow the commandments, having problems with the Word of Wisdom, or masturbation, we are humiliated, marginalized and demoted to second-class EVERY DAY that the church keeps this single question in place on their list of “worthiness measurements” and they only way that true healing is going to occur is for that question to disappear. It shouldn’t be a measure of worthiness on an individual to have those around him choose to leave. Yet it shakes the faithful to the very core by even knowing one person who left the church because of unbelief. This single question is the cause of the divide between us. And until the church stops measuring the worth of its faithful by this standard, nothing will ever change. Ex-Mormons will still be angry because of the treatment they receive from their friends and family, and Mormons will still feel hostile and defensive when someone they know decides to resign and go find another path.

Here's my suggestion for how Mormons and Ex-Mormons can begin to build bridges: Delete the following question from ALL worthiness interviews:

"Do you associate or sympathize with any apostate groups or individuals?"

This one question in the temple recommend/worthiness-for-any-calling interviews is the major stumbling block between those who leave and those who stay.

Actually it's the terms "associate" and "sympathize". How are they defined? What are you allowed to say and do? What are the limits?

Because the church does not define "associate" or "sympathize" to their members, they are left alone to determine what it means to "associate with" or "sympathize with" an apostate. Many do not know how to define it, so they cut off ties completely. (Which is akin to cutting off a finger for a hangnail). Some make cordial attempts at continuing "association with" apostate members who are family, but stop short of "sympathize" when it comes to hearing anything about their views, their experiences, or their reasons for leaving the church. They are instead choosing to remain true to this question asked of them, and keep the 'association' part surface level only. Then there are those who try to fellowship the apostate family member, in an effort to bring them back to the church so that the question will no longer apply to that individual they are trying to "win back". There is never any real dialogue in this case either, because the expected outcome is that the individual will come back, thus taking pressure off the member so that their answer to the question will remain in tact. It's not about the person who is hurting and in shock, it's about making sure the member won't have to lie when answering this question next time around.

When all else fails, the member doesn't really have a choice but to condemn the apostate, because it's now THEIR fault that shunning and blame have taken the place of companionship and trust. The question is still, "Do you associate with or sympathize with any apostate groups or individuals?" And until that is removed as a marker of worthiness for each member of the LDS faith, no real bridges can ever be built. That is the source of the anger many Ex-Mormons feel. The loss of companionship and sympathy from their former friends and family. It's really tough to realize that all your close relationships were solely based on your adherence to the same belief system. Once that faith is traded in, so is the foundation for any dialogue.

I submit that the church needs to stop requiring their members to limit or stop their association with or sympathy for apostates, and let the truth stand or fall on its own. If people are going to leave, let them do so, and if they can convince others to leave, then the church must not be everything it claims to be. If the church wants only the strongest of the faithful, and the ‘most choice’ spirits among the children of God, those will be the ones who stay no matter what the apostates say or do.

Of course if the church were to do this, people might start talking to apostates and build bridges of trust and understanding, maybe even share some knowledge and ideas. Wow, that would be terrible, wouldn't it?

If you (or anyone else) would embark upon a search for truth, the very first thing you would have to do is dismiss the "warm fuzzies" as an indicator of truth. What we have been taught as Mormons is to "sieve" all information through the Holy Spirit Indicator, and place things that agree with our current world view in the "truth" category, and all things that contradict our current beliefs must be placed in the "lies" category. This is what many of us are taught growing up in the church. Now, once in a while, we break free from that pattern, and come across some book, or web site, or TV special that presents Mormonism in a way that seems unpleasant, shocking, or upsetting. That does not mean it is NOT true. It simply means that it is different than what we have heard before, and may be worth investigating further.

It is very difficult to break the habit of sifting information through this Holy Spirit Indicator, because the pattern has been ingrained in us so constantly. (And is it really any wonder why?) It is our only defense and protection for our testimony in the church, but it MUST be done if you sincerely want to know why it is that those who leave feel the need and compulsion to put up web sites like these. I have spent hours and days researching every conceivable argument, floating back and forth between FAIR and FARMS essays, and all of the web sites out there made by people who have chosen to leave.

There is a vast difference between what the church presents as "true history" and what outside non-secular and un-interested historians would label as "true history". Even when LDS historians attempt to reveal too much "truth", the leadership steps in to curb and control it:

Apostle Boyd K. Packer, "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect," speech delivered at the 1981 Church Educational System Religious Educators’ Symposium:

“There is no such thing as an accurate, objective history of the Church without consideration of the spiritual powers that attend this work... There is a temptation... to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith-promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful... In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary... In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it... The fact that something is already in print or available from another source is no excuse for using potentially damaging materials in writing, speaking, or teaching: ‘Do not spread disease germs!’”

If you really believe that there is such a thing as "learning too much" or "revealing too much", then by all means, continue to scream at those who talk openly about things just because it is shocking, upsetting, or uncomfortable. But consider that it just might be true, even though it isn't 'faith promoting' like the church would present it. Truth does not have to be wrapped up in a bundle of ‘faith’ in order to remain pure. There is no such requirement, unless you are trying to protect your beliefs from changing. This is called “working backwards from a testimony”. Here’s an example of the circular logic necessary to maintain your position:

1. I believe that the church is true.
2. If the church is true, it makes the Book of Mormon true.
3. If the BoM is true, it makes Joseph a prophet of God.
4. If Joseph is a prophet of God, it means God picked him to organize the church.
5. You wouldn’t question God, would you?
6. Therefore the church is true.

This is right in line with a talk given by Thomas Monson (February 2001 Ensign) . . .

"First Presidency Message":

"Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.

Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts: 'I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people. I know that happiness and contentment are there, and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith. I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it. I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God's word. I wasn't with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it'."

This BOTHERS me. I've always really liked Pres. Monson, but he's telling people to just turn off their brains. Don't ask questions, and pretend they don't exist. Shut your eyes, plug your ears and just keep saying "I know the church is true" no matter what.

And isn't he just partially admitting that if you pursue those thoughts, if you think it through critically, that your faith will fail? If faith was well-founded, how could it be harmed by additional information, study, open discussion, and rational thought?

And if testimonies were built SOLELY on the witness of the spirit and NOT at all on personal opinions, couldn't the Holy Ghost STILL give someone a witness of the truth AFTER studying science and asking the hard questions?

The church seems to think that studying and questioning is a sin, (at the very least it's dangerous) because it causes you to lose the spirit. And it does seem that those who question and study DO tend to leave the church. But I have a different explanation. I think the spirit is your own feelings. And your feelings change when you have more information. It's hard to feel the spirit when your brain is telling you it's BS.

So much for "The Glory of God is Intelligence", and seeking after truth.

Monson is imploring people to ignore the best route to intelligence: scientific inquiry. Instead he advocates faith, which is superstitious hope, no matter what other words people use to describe it.

Notice when they fear science is leading people away, they call it "so called science." How preposterous to presume the only real science is that which agrees with their myths.

Why doesn't he just use his faith instead of science to get to his next overseas testimony-fest? Because faith isn't going to get him there. Science will.

His message clearly pleads with people to live in a box, and slap themselves if they start to want a glimpse outside. If they fear investigation and questioning will shake faith, it is an admission that the basis of faith was groundless.

He should feel safe. It is difficult to disrupt the lives of people who live in faith-bubbles. How do you uproot something with no roots?