Sunday, April 29, 2007

The usefulness of seer stones

Brigham Young told how in 1841 Joseph Smith exhibited his seer stone to some followers and taught that every man is entitled to a seer stone:

"Every man who lived on the earth," Joseph said to them, "was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make evil use of it."
(Brigham Young's journal, as quoted in Latter-day Millennial Star, 26:118,119)

***I have 4 small stones in my possession, each with rounded holes in them, two about the size of a potato with perfectly round holes in it, and one that looks like a mask, having three holes worn all the way through it. These are commonly called Holey Stones and are used in magical practice.***

Here are some pictures of my personal seerstones:

In 1879, Emma, widow of Joseph Smith, described the process of translating the golden plates thus:

"In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us"
(Emma Bidamon Smith interview, 1879, available in Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Volume 1, p. 541)

Mormon Historian B.H. Roberts wrote:

“The SEER STONE referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum, for a Mr. Clark Chase, near Palmyra, N.Y. It possessed the qualities of Urim and Thummim, since by means of it—as described above—as well as by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates.”
(Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 129)

Here's a picture of Joseph Smith's seerstone:

And another stone he used for translation work:

Orson Pratt, an early church leader, made clear Joseph's use of a seer stone:

"sometimes Joseph used a seer stone when inquiring of the Lord, and receiving revelation"
("Report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith,Concluded", Deseret Evening News, 23 Nov, 1878)

Brigham Young tells how Joseph Smith found his seer stone.

Wilford Woodruff, a prophet of the Mormon church, wrote that on 11 September1859, at a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "Preside[n]t Young also said that the seer stone which Joseph Smith first obtained He got in an Iron kettle 25 feet under ground. He saw it while looking in another seers stone which a person had. He went right to the spot & dug & found it" (Wilford Woodruff's journal, 5:382-83).

Joseph Smith's father, relating how Joseph had met a man who looked into a stone and told people where to dig for treasure:

Some years before, he said, his son had happened upon a man who looked into a dark stone and told people where to dig for money and other things. "Joseph requested the privilege of looking into the stone, which he did by putting his face into the hat where the stone was. It proved to be not the right stone for him, but he could see somethings, and among them, he saw the [p.234] stone, and where it was, in which he wished to see."
(Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, Forty Years Ago; Historical Magazine 7, May 1870, 305-306)

Though Brigham young acknowledged Joseph's use of a seer stone, he didn't claim the same talent. John Taylor, addressing a church congregation, made these comments:

"Brigham Young in saying that He did not profess to be a prophet seer& Revelator as Joseph Smith was, was speaking of men being born Natural Prophets &seers. Many have the gift of seeing through seer stones without the Priesthood at all. He had not this gift [of using seer stones] naturally yet He was an Apostle & the President of the Church and Kingdom of God on Earth". (Wilford Woodruff Journal, 5:550).

***My Thoughts***

I thought I would share some common uses of Holey Stones:

A Holey Stone carried in a pocket or worn around the neck on a “natural” cord will safeguard the owner's luck and provide protection from evil, illness, dark witchcraft, hexes, curses and the evil eye.

A Holey Stone nailed beside the outside entrance to a building will keep evil spirits, misfortune, illness, disease, and bad luck from entering through that entrance.

Placing a Holey Stone under a bed will relieve rheumatism, cramps and menstrual discomforts.

Hanging a Holey Stone at the head of a bed or tying it to a bedpost will prevent the Nightmare.

Holey Stones are used for weather magick and when affixed to cords and swung around above the head will dispel rain, rain clouds, wind, and storms.

Holey Stones thrown into the sea, lake, ocean, or river during a particularly vicious storm or thunderstorm will calm the rage and lessen the severity of the storm.

Holey Stones attached to the outside of a building will prevent the building from being struck by lightning.

Hanging a Holey Stone from a tree on the owner's property ensures protection from natural disaster.

Hung above doors and inside homes Holey Stones provide protection for all that live inside from evil, ill fortune, disease, illness, and malevolent witchcraft.

Holey Stones ward off and protect the owner from Night Demons including Nightmare, Succubus or Night Hag.

Holey Stones will bring a person to you, or send them away. They are also used to bring Luck and Wealth to you, or to send it away.

Holey Stones allow wishes to be realized.

Holey Stones hung over a horse's stall will prevent the animal from being Hag Ridden and keep it safe throughout the night.

Holey Stones attached to the entrances of barns and stables will prevent evil from entering such building and will promote safe and trouble free foaling, calving, lambing, and kidding.

Holey Stones are fastened to the bows of boats just below the gunwale to provide protection to the sailors and passengers while out on the water.

Holey Stones prevent evil and dark witches from boarding any watercraft that has the mooring line threaded through the hole in the stone.

Holey Stones provide insight and ensure honesty when held as Pledge Stones.

Holey Stones are symbolic of the Mother of Creation and allow one to see ghosts, non-physical entities and allow visions.

Holey Stones are naturally receptive and enhance psychism.

Holey Stones are used to ensure a healthy pregnancy and ale that is poured through a Holey Stone will relieve labour pains.

Holey Stones placed beside the bed of a pregnant woman or kept in a Medicine Bag designed for pregnancy, will enable the woman to see in her dreams, visions of the future of the child she is carrying.

Holey Stones will protect cattle from dark witchcraft and elf shot magick.

Holey Stones will improve eyesight.

Holey Stones provide the ability for the owner to know the animal nature of any person they view through the stone's hole.

Holey Stones are used by wise women to rid ones self of negative energy.

Holey Stones symbolize Opening and are beneficial in conception, pregnancy and birth energy.

Holey Stones represent the Goddess and the Great Mother Goddess's womb.

Holey Stones are hung above chicken coups to protect chickens.

Holey Stones are used for healing and to make Healing Water.

Holey Stones in farming customs are fastened to the side of a plow to draw warmth and good fortune and abundance in harvest.

Holey Stones placed in a coffin or buried with the deceased will provide protection in the afterlife.

Holey Stones allow visits to the Spirit Realm.

***What do you think Joseph Smith used his seer stone for, when he wasn't writing the Book of Mormon?

Isaac Hale, Emma's father, had this to say about his future son-in-law:

I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called "money-diggers;" and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasures. . . . Smith, and his father, with several other "money-diggers" boarded at my house. . . . Young Smith gave the "money-diggers" great encouragement, at first, but when they had arrived in digging, to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found--he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. . . .

After these occurrences, young Smith made several visits at my house, . . . and while I was absent from home, carried off my daughter, into the state of New York, where they were married without my approbation or consent. . . . In a short time they returned . . .

Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called "glass-looking," and that he expected to work hard for a living. . . . He also made arrangements with my son Alva Hale, to go up to Palmyra, and move his (Smith's) furniture &c. to this place. . . . Soon after this, I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of Plates down with them. . . . The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods! (Affidavit of Isaac Hale, as printed in the Susquehanna Register, May 1, 1834).

Apparently, Isaac didn't think very much of Joseph's "preparatory training" in practicing money digging, using seer stones, or divining rods, or any other treasure seeking activities.

But that didn't stop Joseph from continuing to use his 'magic rock' to help him dictate the Book of Mormon, even after the God-given Urim and Thummim stones were supposedly taken from him after the original 116 pages of manuscript were stolen:

According to the testimony of Emma Smith and David Whitmer, the angel took the Urim and Thummim from Joseph Smith at the time of the loss of the 116 pages. This was in June, 1828, one year before David became involved with the work of translation. David Whitmer could never have been present when the Urim and Thummim were used. All of this he clearly states in his testimony to Brother Traughber:

"With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by his authority, I now state that he does not say that Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim, but by means of one dark colored, opaque stone called a 'Seer Stone,' which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph put his face, so as to exclude the external light" (Saints' Herald, November 15, 1962, p.16).

One thing that has caused confusion is the fact that the "seer stone" was sometimes called the Urim and Thummim. Bruce R. McConkie, who is now an Apostle in the Church, stated concerning the seer stone: "The Prophet also had a seer stone which was separate and distinct from the Urim and Thummim, and which (speaking loosely) has been called by some a Urim and Thummim" (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.818).

Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of the Mormon church, admitted that the "seer stone" was sometimes called the Urim and Thummim: "The statement has been made that the Urim and Thummim was on the altar in the Manti Temple when that building was dedicated. The Urim and Thummim so spoken of, however, was the seer stone which was in the possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith in early days. This seer stone is now in the possession of the Church" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.225).

The fact that Joseph Smith used a stone, which he placed in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon, has caused a great deal of embarrassment because it so closely resembles crystal gazing. Bruce R. McConkie made this statement: "In imitation of the true order of heaven whereby seers receive revelations from God through a Urim and Thummim, the devil gives his own revelations to some of his followers through peep stones or crystal balls" (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp.565-66).

Mormon apologists have a difficult time explaining the fact that Joseph Smith used a "seer stone." Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe asserted: "Some use was made also of the seer stone and occasional mention was made of it. This was a stone found while the Prophet assisted in digging a well for Clark Chase. By divine power this stone was made serviceable to Joseph Smith in the early part of his ministry. There is no evidence that this stone was used in Joseph's sacred work" (Joseph Smith--Seeker After Truth, 1951, p.267). Notice that Apostle Widtsoe states there is "no evidence that this stone was used in Joseph's sacred work," yet on page 260 of the same book Widtsoe states that Joseph did use the stone in his "spiritual work":

Before Joseph received the Urim and Thummim he had a stone, obtained during the digging of a well for Clark Chase. This stone, through the blessing of the Lord, became a seer stone which was used frequently by him in his spiritual work.

The use of the seer stone explains in part the charge against Joseph Smith that he was a "peep stone gazer.". . . The use of the seer stone and the Urim and Thummim was well-known to the people of his time and neighborhood.

Well, now....

Armed with some new information about Joseph Smith? How would you reconcile these together with what the Mormons have insisted to be true about Joseph's divine abilities?

Tomorrow's Episode:

Joseph Smith's crystal gazing and his magickal Jupiter Talisman.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

BYU shuts down protest on campus

This link will take you to a You-Tube presentation of a protest being held at BYU and the rules each student had to be willing to comply with in order to participate. You can access the video by clicking the title above.

After watching this video, please return to my site.

I'm taking a poll.

Sign in anonymously or whatever you want. I WILL POST ALL REPLIES TO THIS.

My question is simple:

Agree or Disagree?

Preach if you want to, defend your position (or don't) and I guarantee that I will post ALL replies, pro and con.

I just have to know how many folks out there would side with BYU on this.

Thanks, I will return and report the results in 48 hours.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Explaining what a Prophecy really is

Excerpts from a paper written by Michael T. Griffith

[My comments will be in bold and bracketed]

Typically, anti-Mormons point to Deuteronomy 18:21-22 as their measuring rod for branding as "false" a number of Joseph Smith's prophecies. Here is how these verses read in the Revised Standard Version (RSV):

And if you say in your heart, "How may we know the word which the

Lord has not spoken?" when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.

Using a strictly literal interpretation of these verses as their guide, most if not all anti-Mormons insist that if a prophecy does not come to pass, it is automatically false, period.

[And, why shouldn't it be a literal interpretation? Is the Bible the word of God or not? Can we trust this as a common rule to determine false prophets from real ones, or is someone going to try to explain why we can't use this literally?]

These critics don't seem to realize they are stepping into quicksand when they use this criterion to attack Joseph Smith. The issue of prophecy is extremely complex. It is by no means as simple as a strictly literal understanding of Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

[Why is this? Because those that oppose the Mormon acceptance of Joseph as a prophet have been able to demonstrate that he could not possibly be a prophet according to the standard set by GOD?]

The rigid anti-Mormon interpretation of these verses invalidates several Bible prophecies as much as it does some of Joseph Smith's prophecies. In fact, atheistic critics have used this same sort of approach to attack several prophecies in the Bible.

[And this is a bad thing because if we can use that argument to debunk the Biblical prophecies, Mormon prophecies fall as well. Basically the argument here is: if the Bible is true, then the Book of Mormon is true as well. He wants us to think that they stand or fall together, and cannot be divided. I say, let the Bible be the Bible, we are talking about whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet, not trying the whole Christian system at once. Besides, Anti-Mormons aren't the only ones who have stated that the Bible is not completely reliable and has had many changes to it over the years. Mormons use that as the cornerstone of their introduction to the Book of Mormon and other 'doctrines'.]

Rules on Prophecy

However, after studying prophecy for several years, I have deduced certain rules which, when taken into account, enable us to explain the difficult prophecies uttered by certain Bible prophets and by Joseph Smith. I will now list these rules. Most of them are intertwined to varying degrees.

[This is where he proceeds to tell members how to limit their reason and logic, giving them the parameters necessary to maintain belief. This is nothing more than instruction on how to avoid seeing Joseph as anything other than what Mormons have told them.]

1. Almost all prophecy is conditional to one degree or another, even if this is not stated in the prophecy itself (which is often the case). [ If someone stands before you claiming to hear God, talk with God, and give instruction according to God, then they can't very well make it conditional upon the actions of the listener. Either it comes to pass, or it isn't a prophecy. It's merely a series of plausibilities based on current events. They are 'best guesses'. Not from God.]

2. In many cases human actions and choices can alter, postpone, or prevent the fulfillment of prophecy.

[That's fine and dandy. In that case---ANY prophecy can be avoided or put off and unfulfilled. It's nothing more than a horoscope at that point, and what's so divine about that? Why do we even NEED prophets if they can't tell us what God will make happen?]

3. A prophecy is not always telling us what will happen, but what could happen under certain circumstances.

[That's really rich. Not once have I seen such a disclaimer written along with the prophecy. It would take some of the punch out of it, wouldn't it? If all prophecies were written with a bunch of 'circumstances' attached to it, then it's nothing more than well-meaning advice. Why should I believe in hell?]

4. A prophet can misinterpret the timetable for a prophecy's fulfillment (this, of course, does not invalidate the prophecy itself).

[A man cannot claim to speak for God in this case. Either he has a special connection and can get his prophecies and visions to the people correctly, or he is merely stating plausible outcomes based on current courses of actions. If a prophet states that he and others will still be alive when Christ comes, and they all pass away without that happening, it is not open for debate or reconstruction. He said God told him 'X' would happen before he died, 'X' did not happen and he is now dead, therefore he did not get the message from God. Not a prophet]

5. A prophet can be mistaken about certain details of a prophecy but correct with regard to its central message.

[Only after the time for it to come to pass has long gone, then we are forced to jump back and re-interpret it so that it remains a prophecy. Sorry, can't fall for that. A prophet is a prophet if he can PROPHESY, not guess, not make suggestions, and not blame others for his lack of ability to prophesy ANYTHING.]

6. A prophecy can apply to more than one occurrence or time period, i.e., it can have dual application.

[Another twist to make the untrue, "true" again. After all, we want to remain hopeful that our prophet has the ability, we don't want to be disappointed that we put so much faith in a man to direct us, and let us know the mind of God.]

7. A prophecy's fulfillment can be intended to take place in the spirit world or during the millennium, even if this is not stated in the prophecy itself.

[Not if it specifically says that "X" will happen BEFORE death, or during this current generation, or before I turn 88 years old. Putting a time period on it definitely means that it is subject to that threshold, either it happens or it doesn't. No wonder the current prophet doesn't make this mistake in his own administration of the office]

8. The fulfillment of prophecy can go unobserved and/or unrecorded.

[I doubt it very much. If even ONE prophecy of Joseph's was fulfilled, the entire Mormon church would announce it in every newspaper and every satellite broadcast known to humankind. They wouldn't possibly let a tiny thing like 'proof' go unrecorded.]

9. A prophecy can contain rhetorical overstatements. For example, a prophecy might read that "every single house" in a certain town will be "leveled to the ground;' when what is really meant is that the town will suffer heavy destruction.

[Then he is just a man, making some estimates based on previous history or events. Anyone can tell you that a massive hurricane off the coast is going to hit the land and cause massive destruction. Anyone can tell you that tornadoes can level entire towns. But when a prophet says a certain city will fall, and be taken over by Mormons, AND it will occur within a generation, AND IT DOES NOT HAPPEN, then he is NOT a prophet. Just a man with an opinion, not special. I wouldn't be afraid of him.]

10. Such terms and expressions as "soon," "quickly," "in a little while," "shortly;' etc., are often given from the Lord's perspective of time--so that "soon ;' for example, might turn out to be a very long time by our reckoning.

[What a cop out. Joseph's prophecies did not all end in 'soon', 'quickly' or any other generality. He specifically stated times for his prophecies to come to pass, and they failed. Then the blame goes on who? That's right, the members who had no faith, or those who didn't follow the commandments, etc etc. I'm not afraid of Joseph Smith, or Gordon Hinckley, because they cannot predict a damn thing. No authority from God, no authority to command attention, not even worthy of getting a section of print in the Enquirer.]

11. The text of a prophecy can undergo alteration to the point that it no longer reflects the original intent of the prophecy. [And how is that supposed to have happened in the recent history of the Doctrine and Covenants? The text was changed so much that by the time the prophecy should have occurred, it was invalidated? That's a crock, and a lame excuse]

Therefore, just because a prophecy goes partially or totally unfulfilled does not mean it is false. Anyone who would deny this must explain those prophecies in the Bible which did not come to pass.

[Again, trying to lump the Bible in with the Book of Mormon, by claiming if one is false the other one goes with it. Please, you don't have to accept a pile of shit just because it is served up with gravy. And nobody HAS to run the Bible through the same mill in order to prove Joseph Smith was not a prophet. He says he was, and there is not one drop of proof. There is a ton of evidence that he IS NOT. But this writer would have you believe it is an all-or-nothing proposition.]

[This writer goes on to dissect the Bible, and tear up predictions and prophecies within it, according to the standard set in Deuteronomy, which, ironically is in the Bible. This argument isn't about whether or not the Bible is accurate in its prophecies, it is about whether or not Joseph Smith can be called a prophet based on his track record of prophecies. Clearly, he cannot pass. In the first part of this paper, the author even comes right out and says he is NOT going to argue about whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet:

I will not be discussing any of the Prophet Joseph Smith's alleged "false prophecies;' for two reasons: (1) He never uttered any false prophecies; and (2) before I will even enter into such a discussion, I first insist on examining some important rules about prophecy itself, and on asking anti-Mormons to justify their attack on Joseph Smith in light of those prophecies in the Bible that plainly and clearly did not come to pass.

[The subject is off limits before he starts, because he already KNOWS that Joseph Smith never uttered any false prophecies. Then, he insists on laying down his own rules so that he can proceed to tear apart the Bible, which is NOT what the question is about.]

As usual, it is impossible to make sense to someone who has their fingers in their ears, chanting "I know the church is true". This would have been a much better refutation if he would have focused on explaining Joseph's prophecies specifically, instead of ignoring them and pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible instead.

We all know that the Bible is a compilation of many writings, and that some of them contradict each other. Using a book that the Mormons themselves claim is full of wrong interpretations (in order to prove that Joseph was indeed a prophet because he was supposedly as consistent as the prophets of the Bible) doesn't make Mormonism an improvement upon Christianity, just a poor version of it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Would you want to know the truth?

There are times in my life where I feel that I would have been better off not knowing what I know today. Who wants to be avoided, scolded, and regarded as rebellious and full of sin? As far as I know, nobody would choose to have the private scorn of their family, nobody wants to be outcast. And yet, that is what has happened to me, ever since I sided with facts and intellect, instead of feelings and testimony. For this, I have sinned in their eyes, and I am unworthy of the rewards that they will receive for remaining faithful to their doctrine. My failure to submit to the authority of the church, and my desire to discover the truth, no matter where it lies has removed me from the closeness and acceptance of those family members who remain.

I'm lucky in most respects. I don't live in Utah for one, and we are a convert family, with only 1 sister out of 6 kids , and one parent remaining active in the church. I am the only other sibling that went through all the temple ceremonies and held callings, and did the Mormon thing as a way of life, the other siblings just drifted away after high school and never got active, or really believed in it, and the other parent never joined or attended. I DID believe, though. I didn't just go through the motions to gain acceptance, or else I could do it now with no problems. If I was faking it then, and never really believed, why would I make such a big deal out of resigning, and why would I continue to bring up issues and point out errors in logic if I never really cared about it in the first place? I would have followed the example of my other siblings and just drifted away. But no, I had to go all the way to the temple, really live the life, and try to follow all the rules. And now that I have left, I am actually WORSE off than my non-active siblings who never went to the temple or served missions or held a single calling. One has even joined the Catholic church. The others don't attend church at all, just like me. But I'm the one that gets called out, I'm the one that faces the brunt of their scrutiny for resigning from the church and actively posting about it on my personal blog. I'm the one who gets to have 'inspirational' emails and get reproved for my 'apostacy' with comments of: you know it's true, you just want to do the "don't list". Oh really? I've moved on to a life of crime, smoking crack and drinking myself stoned every night while my kids roam about the city vandalizing and stealing, and my house has turned into a brothel? Really? Only NON-Mormons have these tendencies right?

Somehow, in the last four years since I left, I have managed to raise kids who get A averages in school, who participate in dance and sports activities, band and music, and whose Saturday night activities consist of watching a movie in the local theater and then coming straight home. Meanwhile, I have not started smoking or doing drugs, and the last time I had an alcoholic beverage was probably New Year's Eve. So much for the "don't list". What is it that I am doing now that would be considered sinful? Just not conforming to the Mormon way of life, like wearing garments or following the Word of Wisdom? What about all those Diet Coke slurping, red meat eating, chocoholic Mormons? Are they adhering to the Word of Wisdom better than me? Does my lack of attendance in the local Mormon ward mean that I am spiritually devoid, or I have no sense of morality or values? Apparently so, as I am constantly lovebombed with emails of an uplifting spiritual nature, and never allowed an opportunity to respond in kind. I can't share my ideas or views with them, but somehow it hasn't occured to anyone that I am not willing to cast aside my intellect and all the knowledge I have gained in order to be accepted back into the fold. It's not possible at this point, and that in itself is very sad, because that's the one thing it would take, and it's the one thing I can't do.

I think back on that time when I had a decision to make. The very first time I came in contact with information that directly opposed what I had previously believed to be true. At that instant, I could choose to turn away, maintain my testimony at all costs, refuse to pursue it further because I felt all knotted up and twisted inside and I knew that was NOT making me feel warm and uplifted. I could live my whole life throwing up walls and making U-turns in order to keep my beliefs in tact, or I could follow the lead and see where it went. Surely I could determine right from wrong without having to depend on feelings for my guide. I believe the Holocaust was real because of the evidence supporting it. But the Holocaust does NOT invoke good warm feelings as an indicator of truth. If you were to ever tour the camps, or research the topic in the thousands of books or documentaries, diaries and tapes, you would come away with full knowledge of the times, but you probably wouldn't feel good about it. Learning about the Holocaust from the German perspective, however, would be a different story. No doubt it would be whitewashed, and explained in a way that would make it more palatable, more acceptable, and even necessary for the times. I bet the Nazis had little remorse for their actions, because they justified it as "God's inspiration" and sustained Adolf Hitler as their "chosen one". In my mind, learning about the Mormons from ONLY MORMONS is like learning about the Holocaust from only NAZIS. You will never get the whole story, and you will have to constantly reject any contradictory evidence in order to maintain your beliefs.

Would you want to know the truth, no matter the cost? Is truth important enough to you, that you would be willing to realign your life in order to obtain it? Would you be willing to adopt new beliefs in place of old ones, or are your current beliefs so core to your existence that you can't see yourself any other way?

I used to be that way too. What would I be if I wasn't Mormon? What else is there, besides all of the evils of the Christian denominations, or the (gasp) Catholic church? Am I supposed to revert all the way back to Judaism? What if I find evidence against the Bible too? Now do I have to renounce ALL religion, ALL beliefs in God or higher powers? The answer is in every individual. Most folks who leave remain Christian, if for no other reason than, that is what they were before Mormonism, and that is what brings them hope and peace. I'm all for that. Whatever works for you. What I am opposed to is the idea that you have to shut off the intake valve in order to maintain your current position. I would say to anyone who tells me not to read books that are not approved, or not to visit sites that are not safe, or not to associate with people whose ideas and beliefs are different from my own, that they might be happy limiting their light and knowledge to things that promote their own agenda, but I am on the path of constant discovery, enlightenment and knowledge. I am not going to jump off this train just because I run across ideas and opinions that make me think about my own place in the universe. I'm not going to avoid learning new things for fear of having to adopt new beliefs, or think for myself. I am willing to have unanswered questions, because I know that there is the possibility of finding the answer. Not having to settle for, "we can't know all God's doctrine at once" or "pray and read your scriptures" as fill ins for real concrete evidence is very liberating. I would choose this again and again, yes, truth is worth knowing, even if it means having to discard all previous beliefs. Acceptance of doctrine that doesn't agree with Biblical teaching is NOT Christian, plain and simple.

My main problem with Mormonism is that it claims to be Christian, promotes itself as Christian, claims Christ as it's center and it's focal point, and pulls people in with promises of belonging to the 'restored church'--WITHOUT any proof whatsoever. Their "proof" lies in the good feelings that new converts feel. The love and acceptance and feeling of belonging that all new members are swarmed with when they first arrive is supposed to be confirmation of their decision. They learn to rely on feelings, and are taught that questioning and doubts are the result of Satan chipping away their testimonies. They are then given the tools to ward off questions and doubts, and are shown how to maintain their beliefs through strict adherence of the doctrine, and avoidance of anything not 'uplifting' and in agreement with those teachings. Suddenly the focus becomes on the member, and how to keep them believing in the church. It becomes more about maintaining the belief in the doctrine presented, and less about how it became doctrine in the first place. Very rarely is Jesus ever spoken about, as if the subject has been so worn down that the church focuses mainly on how to keep growing, how to maintain testimonies, and how to keep tithes coming in. Joseph and Brigham get more mention than Jesus. ALL the leaders of the church get quoted more often than Jesus of the Bible. The Ensign and the manuals are used way more often than the Bible. And the Book of Mormon exists on the foundation of the life and times of Joseph Smith, his claims and his version of events. No other opinion is allowed to tarnish the reputation and the status of Joseph Smith as the chosen prophet. Without this fundamental belief, there is no basis for the other doctrines to be introduced and implemented. The church stands or falls on the strength of the Book of Mormon, and it's prophet Joseph Smith. The cornerstone of the church is NOT Jesus, but Joseph Smith. Nobody who is Mormon struggles with the idea that Jesus existed, was crucified and resurrected. Nobody who is Mormon doubts that Jesus had disciples or taught the Beatitudes or the Lord's Prayer. It's in the Bible. But the problems arise when having to accept that the Book of Mormon is another testament and that one man, Joseph Smith, was the chosen man to receive it. There is SO MUCH evidence to the contrary, the church has had to prescribe a method to its members in order to avoid discovering the truth. That method is to stay away, avoid, and limit access to people, places, and things that would contradict your belief. Why not build a commune with 25 foot walls, and hire guards to keep all detractors out? Because, that would look like a cult. That could ligitimately be considered a cult, and would be easily recognizable as a cult. So, here's the really hard question: What is the difference between physical 25 foot high walls keeping you safe and keeping all non-believers OUT, and the mental wall that the church leaders want you to build inside your mind in order to protect your testimony? A cage is a cage, whether inside or out. A wall is just as real inside your mind, or outside your home, if it gives you a sense of safety. A cult that expects you to cut off ties from your family and your previous life, and adhere to it's tenets of belief for safety and security is the same as a church that teaches it's members not to read literature not published by "safe" sources, or visit sites without the 'correct' logos, or associate with people who may bring up topics that will cause you to question your beliefs.

Would you want to know the truth? Are you satisfied with the knowledge given to you 'little by little', and wish to continue that path, being interviewed and examined all along the way?

If you were given a box, and told it was full of gold, but you can't open it, you have to simply believe it, then someone came strolling along and asked you why you were carrying around a box with worms, would you be tempted to look? Would you insist that its gold inside even when it was x-rayed? Would you refuse to believe eye-witness accounts of worms being poured inside? Would you continue to cling to the box, because you were told it's full of gold, and THAT is WAY BETTER than worms?

Those of us who left, opened the box and found the worms. Those that remain never open the box, and work all their lives maintaining the belief that there is gold inside, even when faced with opposing evidence. So, I ask you: Who is better off in the long run? Are we going to be damned by God for opening the box? Or does the church want you to THINK you will? And when thousands leave every year, and nothing happens to them (God doesn't curse or smite them), what does that say about the church? Are they still right?

I'm living proof that nothing happens either way. We should discern the truth ourselves, find our own paths, and not live life through coercion and control. We have freedom of choice, and we should use it in EVERY endeavor, not submit to others and let the choices be made for us. A God that punishes a sincere question, or casts us out for not adhering to one rigid code of conduct, is not a God I would acknowledge or worship.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm going back to church

I have this strange urge to call up the bishop of the ward I used to attend. I would like to see if he could use his "mantle of authority" and any other 'spiritual discernment' in order to explain church doctrine and history to me so that it makes sense. I attempted this 4 years ago, with a different bishop (whose day job was Assistant Librarian at a local college). He lost all credibility when his only words of advice were: read, study and humble....submit to the will of your husband....suffer the trials you are given, etc. At the time, my children and I were living in an abandoned farmhouse with no furnace, just a wood stove for heat, and one of the foundation walls completely torn out, plus numerous problems with inadequate water supply and faulty electrical wiring. My "priesthood holding" husband was slowly tearing the place down all around us, and not repairing or replacing anything he tore out. I was loosing patience and about to leave him, when my bishop intervened, and told me that I needed to be a supportive spouse and let him direct our family through his "priesthood". I got this same answer over and over: READ, STUDY THE SCRIPTURES, PRAY DAILY, BE HUMBLE, HONOR THE PRIESTHOOD, and everything would work out. So, apparently, because the problem didn't get resolved, it was because I wasn't doing these things to the best of my ability.

Now, four years later, divorced and moved away, (into a house that isn't 13 miles from a gallon of milk), I have been wondering if the current bishop's advice would be the same, or if he had any sort of enlightenment or "priesthood power" that he could invoke and use to reason out the many doctrinal inconsistancies and conflicting historical accounts that abound outside of Mormonism. I am interested to know what a business professional person acting as a counselor to 200+ souls in his geographical vicinity would say to me as a former believer, and how he could convince me that I have made a mistake and need to come back to the fold.

I have often pondered this question, not because I believe that leaving was the wrong decision, but because some of my family believes it was the wrong decision. I don't know why anyone would continue to insist that I could come back if I so chose to do so, even knowing what I know now, and having been outside of it for 4 years. How do you unsqueeze a tube of toothpaste? Is there any way for me to take all of the information I have gathered and learned, and completely do away with it in order to conform to the Mormon way of life and be accepted back into the fellowship of the ward? Could I become acceptable to my family again if I were to somehow renounce all of my "evil ways" and submit to the authority of the restored church?

I think that would be a very interesting conversation....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

FAIR contradicts FAIR

Click on title above to go to original site.

[Background: FAIR stands for Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, a site in defense of Mormonism. Although not officially supported or sanctioned by the church, it is allowed to operate unopposed by the church, and is often praised by the General Authorities for the work that they do in defending the faith]

I was reading the FAIR explanations (no, I don't have a valid reason for doing so) and I noticed a contradiction that made me chuckle.

In an article defending the church position on Matthew 22:23-30 (about no marriage in heaven)
says, "We believe in continuing revelation....we do not have to show where in the Bible we get this doctrine"

In another article about the "Father" having a sexual union with the Virgin Mary they say, "The place members should always look for official church doctrines is in the canonized scriptures of the church."

So, they want it both ways. Ignore the scriptures and listen to the church leader's continuing revelation OR ignore the continuing revelation of the church leaders and listen to the scriptures.
Thing is, genuine "continuing revelation" would never conflict past continuing revelation. FAIR is a den of liars and vipers.

For a church that claims to have a direct fountainhead of knowledge from God himself, the Mormon church makes no effort to clear up the confusion about how a person actually accesses that fountainhead of knowledge. The entire question of where truth comes from is such a circular argument that it sounds more like an Abbott and Costello routine.

In fact, I can’t think of a better way to illustrate the confusion than to summon the ghosts of Abbott and Costello themselves to debate the point themselves. Without further ado, then, I proudly present to you the comedy stylings of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello:

Abbott: Where does truth come from?

Costello: Truth comes from prophets. They’re God’s representatives on the earth, and they tell us what God wants us to know.

Abbott: Splendid! So, as long as someone claims to be a prophet, we can trust that whatever they tell us is a direct communication from God.

Costello: Well, no. There are false prophets.

Abbott: False prophets?

Costello: Yeah. People who claim to be prophets but really aren’t. They claim to preach the true word of God, but you shouldn’t listen to them. They have no authority.

Abbott: Oh, I see. That’s troublesome. How can I tell the difference between a false prophet and a true prophet?

Costello: You can ask God.

Abbott: Brilliant! And how does he answer me?

Costello: He sends the Holy Spirit, who gives you a warm pleasant feeling in your heart.

Abbott: Aha! So, if I don’t feel any warm, pleasant feeling, that means I’ve encountered a falsehood of some sort.

Costello: Not necessarily. It might just mean that you don’t have enough faith to feel the Spirit.

Abbott: Hmmm. But, every time I do feel that warm, pleasant feeling, I know that I’m receiving confirmation from God?

Costello: Well, no.

Abbott: No?

Costello: Sometimes you just feel good about something, and it has nothing to do with the spirit.

Abbott: That’s odd.

Costello: It can be easy to confuse your own emotions with the confirmations of the spirit.

Abbott: Well, how can I tell if I’m feeling the spirit or if I’m just feeling my own emotions?

Costello: Check the scriptures. The spirit will never give you a confirmation of anything that isn’t in the scriptures.

Abbott: Excellent. And I never have to worry about the scriptures changing, now do I?

Costello: Actually, the scriptures have changed pretty substantially over the last two hundred years. First the Book of Mormon was introduced, which changed lots of the doctrines that we understood from the Bible. Then the Doctrine and Covenants was introduced, which added even more new doctrines. And, of course, the Pearl of Great Price changed our understanding of pre-earth life and what heaven will be like. Meanwhile, the Book of Mormon has had thousands of changes made to the text since it was first printed in 1830. Many of those alterations were simple corrections to spelling, word usage, or grammar, but at least a handful of them are significant changes in story, character, or doctrine. Also, the talks given by the prophets and apostles twice a year, at General Conference, are considered scripture.

Abbott: So, how can I confirm the confirmations of the spirit with the scriptures, if the scriptures are constantly changing?

Costello: Always make sure you’ve got the most recent edition of the scriptures. And stay up to date on the teachings of the modern day prophets.

Abbott: Okay. I can do that. But how do I know that the scriptures are true in the first place?

Costello: The spirit will give you a confirmation of the scriptures.

Abbott: What? The spirit? How can I use the spirit as confirmation of the scriptures, if I also need to use the scriptures as confirmation of the spirit?

Costello: The spirit will never lead you astray.

Abbott: As long as I know I’m feeling the spirit, and not my own emotions, right?

Costello: Well, not quite.

Abbott: Huh?

Costello: Sometimes there are false spirits. The devil can pretend to be an angel of light. He can give you good feelings in your heart, and you might mistake those feelings for the promptings of the spirit.

Abbott: You can’t tell the difference between promptings from the Holy Spirit and the influences of the Master of Darkness?

Costello: If you’re keeping the commandments of the Lord, you’ll know if it’s the devil.

Abbott: And you can always keep the commandments because they never change, right?

Costello: Actually, they change all the time. Sometimes it’s a commandment to have more than one wife. Sometimes it’s a commandment to have only one wife. Sometimes it’s a commandment to give everything you own to the church. At other times, you only have to give ten percent of your income to the church. Sometimes you’re not supposed to lie to people. At other times, you’re supposed to bear testimony of the church before you even have a testimony, since “a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!” (Packer 1982). Recently, tattoos and nose-rings seem to have become prohibited by new commandments.

Abbott: Okay, so where do the commandments come from in the first place?

Costello: From the scriptures and from the prophets.

Abbott: So, to learn about the commandments, I have to read the scriptures and listen to the prophets. But, to know if the scriptures are true, or to know if the prophet is a real prophet, I need to feel the spirit, which may or may not actually be the devil. And to know whether it’s the Holy Spirit or the Devil, I need to keep the commandments, which are revealed by the scriptures and by the prophets.

Costello: Right.

Abbott: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Costello: Just follow the prophet, and you’ll always be in good company.

Abbott: Okay. So, whenever a prophet speaks, his words can be always be accepted as commandments.

Costello: No. Sometimes prophets just say stuff that isn’t important. And sometimes they say stuff that’s actually opposite of the truth.

Abbott: What?

Costello: The living prophet will never lead you astray, but you might get mixed up by paying too much attention to the teachings of old, dead prophets. Brigham Young, in particular used to teach some crazy stuff. He taught that Adam was God and that there were people living on the moon. He also taught us that there are certain sins not covered under the atonement of Jesus Christ and that the only way for people to be forgiven of those sins was for them to be executed by the leaders of the church. He called it ‘Blood Atonement.’

Abbott: That’s insane.

Costello: Yeah, you shouldn’t listen to any of that stuff.

Abbott: Brigham Young, the prophet of God, taught that stuff?

Costello: Apparently.

Abbott: But it isn’t true?

Costello: Nope.

Abbott: Then why would he teach it?

Costello: He was speculating.

Abbott: Speculating?

Costello: He was speaking as a man. Prophets are just men, you know. They’re not perfect.

Abbott: Okay. But, as he was speculating, he told everybody that he was just making stuff up, right? He told them that he was just speculating?

Costello: No. He preached this stuff in the same way as he preached pretty much any other doctrine.

Abbott: So, if past prophets could be guilty of speaking as men, propagating their own speculations throughout the church as if it were doctrine, how do I know that the teachings of the current prophet are true?

Costello: They are true.

Abbott: How do you know?

Costello: God will never let the prophet lead the people of the church astray.

Abbott: Then what about Brigham Young?

Costello: Well…

Abbott: What about all that crazy stuff he taught?

Costello: That’s not fair…

Abbott: Well then, what about all of the times that the prophets (and their counselors and apostles), preached that the blacks would never get the priesthood?

Costello: Uhh…

Abbott: You know who taught that doctrine? Prophets and apostles. For starters, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, and B. H. Roberts. Those guys lead the church astray.

Costello: Those were past prophets. The Lord has corrected their misconception. But the Lord will never let the current prophet lead the people astray.

Abbott: At some point, weren’t Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Joseph Fielding Smith the current prophets?

Costello: Yes. And the people who obeyed their teachings will be exalted and glorified in the highest kingdoms of heaven.

Abbott: Even if that stuff wasn’t true?

Costello: Right.

Abbott: So, a prophet could teach anything, true or false, and the people of the church would have to obey it?

Costello: Right.

Abbott: And if people actually obey those false teachings, they’ll be sent to heaven?

Costello: Yeah.

Abbott: And if they disobeyed those false teachings? Will they be punished?

Costello: Ummm. We don’t really know. God will sort it all out.

Abbott: So, what’s the point of having a prophet, if the prophet might be teaching truth or falsehood at any given point in time?

Costello: Prophets have a direct connection with God. They communicate with Him on a regular basis and perform His work on the earth.

Abbott: Okay. So, maybe I should just ignore all of the previous prophets and only study the teachings of the current prophet.

Costello: No way! Our church has a rich heritage of prophets, and we should study their teachings as though they were scripture.

Abbott: But only the true teachings of the modern day prophets?

Costello: Right.

Abbott: We should ignore all of the false teachings of the modern day prophets?

Costello: Yep.

Abbott: But how do we know which teachings are true and which ones are false?

Costello: True doctrines taught by the prophets are always supported by the scriptures.

Abbott: If a doctrine wasn’t supported by the scriptures, why would a prophet be teaching it in the first place?

Costello: If he was speaking as a man, rather than as a prophet.

Abbott: But how can I be expected to determine whether a particular teaching is supported by the scriptures if a prophet of God can’t even tell the difference?

Costello: Living prophets always take precedence over dead prophets.

Abbott: What do you mean?

Costello: If the living prophet says something that contradicts a dead prophet, you should listen to the living prophet.

Abbott: But what about the scriptures? Aren’t they written by dead prophets?

Costello: Technically, yes…

Abbott: So, when Brigham Young said that there were some sins that Jesus didn’t atone for, he obviously contradicted what had been written in all of the existing scriptures.

Costello: Yeah.

Abbott: Naturally, the members of the church should have just ignored all of the teachings of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon and listened to Brigham Young instead?

Costello: No. Brigham Young was contradicting the scriptures. That’s how we know he was just speaking as a man.

Abbott: But when Joseph Smith introduced the concept of plural marriage, he was also contradicting the scriptures, notably Jacob 2:24. Should people have disregarded Joseph Smith?

Costello: Of course not. The principle of plural marriage is part of the New and Everlasting Covenant, and it’s part of the church’s essential doctrine, even if it isn’t practiced on the earth right now.

Abbott: But it contradicted the existing scriptures. Doesn’t that mean it should be rejected?

Costello: After the doctrine was revealed, it was added to the Doctrine and Covenants as a new scripture.

Abbott: So, if a prophet teaches something that contradicts existing scripture, we should ignore it. But if a prophet teaches something that contradicts existing scripture, and then adds that teaching to the scriptures, it should be considered doctrine.

Costello: Right. Just let the spirit be your guide.

Abbott: The spirit?

Costello: Yeah.

Abbott: The same spirit that might not really be the spirit. The same spirit that might just be my own emotions or might even be the devil trying to trick me?

Costello: Yeah, that’s him.

Abbott: Let me get this straight. I’m supposed to keep the commandments, but the commandments keep changing. And the commandments are written in the scriptures, which keep changing. And the commandments are given by prophets, who contradict each other. And we’re supposed to study the teachings of the prophets, except when they’re not true. When there’s a contradiction, we’re supposed to check the scriptures. But the prophets can add their own teachings to the scriptures. And their teachings may not actually be true, since prophets are imperfect people and sometimes speak as men. To know if the scriptures are true, we have to seek the confirmation of the spirit. But you can’t tell the difference between the spirit, the devil, and your own emotions.

Costello: That sounds about right.

Abbott: So, there really is no reliable source of religious truth on the earth?

Costello: No, not really.

****My Thoughts****

It's pretty bad when Mormons can't even go visit a website that defends their faith for fear of learning too much about what the bad guys are saying. Reading a paper or two over at the FAIR website would probably reveal arguments about topics that the average members would never have heard about otherwise, like Kinderhook plates, or the doctrine of Blood Atonement. I wonder how many hundreds of true believing Mormons end up leaving the church because of it. After all, truth can only be revealed by trusted sources, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and with the proper authority. So I guess that makes FAIR pretty worthless as far as being able to defend the faith without causing major upheaval of faith.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An April Fool's Day to Remember

Sunday April 1, 2007 General Conference Talk Given by the Prophet of the LDS Church Gordon Hinckley:

“When the emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, he became aware of the divisiveness among the clergy concerning the nature of Deity. In an attempt to overcome this he gathered the eminent divines of the day to Nicea in the year 325. Each participant was given opportunity to state his views. The argument only grew more heated. When a definition could not be reached, a compromise was made. It came to be known as the Nicene Creed, and its basic elements are recited by most of the Christian faithful.”

“Personally I cannot understand it. To me the creed is confusing.”

“How deeply grateful I am that we of this Church do not rely on any man-made statement concerning the nature of Deity. Our knowledge comes directly from the personal experience of Joseph Smith, who, while yet a boy, spoke with God the Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the Risen Lord.”

Ok, I have to say it here, right now. WTF???!!

The church doesn’t rely on man-made statements SINCE WHEN?

The entire church is built upon man made statements!

The very first man-made statement is the First Vision, an account of Joseph Smith’s encounter with God and Jesus when he was 14 years old. (Even though the story was never written or widely known to the membership until 1842, twelve years after the founding of the church. But, I digress)

That gem of a story is the foundation of the church, right from the start. Without that story, without that man-made concerning the nature of Deity, i.e. that God and Jesus have physical bodies and appeared in person before Joseph Smith, the Mormon Church would not have the basis for the belief in eternal progression, of men becoming Gods of their own worlds as a reward for obedience to the other man-made statements of the church. Their first prophet, the chosen seer and translator of the Book of Mormon, created an entire religious following based on man-made statements concerning the restoration of God’s true church. Without this foundation, there would be use for temples, no belief in eternal progression, baptism for the dead, polygamy, blood atonement, the denial of Blacks to hold the priesthood because of their ‘lineage’ through Cain. And what about the Journal of Discourses, a collection of a thousand or so man-made statements of Brigham Young, Lorenzo Snow, and several others, or any other prophet statement about God, or Jesus, like “The Living Christ” proclamation by the First Presidency? He dares to stand in front of millions and declare that the Mormon church is different than any other Christian denomination because they do not rely upon declarations of doctrine determined by man?

Let’s examine some of the man-made statements about the nature of Deity from Brigham Young, second prophet of the church, and Joseph Smith's successor:

Adam is the father of our spirits, the physical father of Jesus, and is our God

The question has been, and is often, asked, who it was that begat the Son of the Virgin Mary. The infidel world have concluded that if what the Apostles wrote about his father and mother be true, and the present marriage discipline acknowledged by Christendom be correct then Christians must believe that God is the father of an illegitimate son, in the person of Jesus Christ! The infidel fraternity teach that to their disciples. I will tell you how it is. Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world. Then the Lord by His power and wisdom organized the mortal tabernacle of man. We were made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal.

Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken - HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. The thistle, the thorn, the brier, and the obnoxious weed did not appear until after the earth was cursed. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgen Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so [p.51] on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone. I have heard men preach upon the divinity of Christ, and exhaust all the wisdom they possessed. All Scripturalists, and approved theologians who were considered exemplary for piety and education, have undertaken to expound on this subject, in every age of the Christian era; and after they have done all, they are obliged to conclude by exclaiming "great is the mystery of godliness," and tell nothing.

It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Again, they will try to tell how the divinity of Jesus is joined to his humanity, and exhaust all their mental faculties, and wind up with this profound language, as describing the soul of man, "it is an immaterial substance!" What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.

I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. - JoD 1:50-51 (April 9, 1852)

[Are you SERIOUSLY telling me that this is NOT a man-made statement on the Divinity of God?]

Some have objected to the Adam-God doctrine, but it is true

[That] reminds me that brother Joseph B. Nobles once told a Methodist priest, after hearing him describe his god, that the god they worshipped was the "Mormons'" Devil - a being without a body, whereas our God has a body, parts, and passions. The Devil was cursed and sent down from heaven. He has no body of his own; therefore he is constantly endeavouring to obtain possession of the tabernacles belonging to others. Some have grumbled because I believe our God to be so near to us as Father Adam. There are many who know that doctrine to be true. Where was Michael in the creation of this earth? Did he have a mission to the earth? He did. Where was he? In the Grand Council, and performed the mission assigned him there. Now, if it should happen that we have to pay tribute to Father Adam, what a humiliating circumstance it would be! Just wait till you pass Joseph Smith; and after Joseph lets you pass him, you will find Peter; and after you pass [p.332] the Apostles and many of the Prophets, you will find Abraham, and he will say, "I have the keys, and except you do thus and so, you cannot pass;" and after a while you come to Jesus; and when you at length meet Father Adam, how strange it will appear to your present notions. If we can pass Joseph and have him say, "Here; you have been faithful, good boys; I hold the keys of this dispensation; I will let you pass;" then we shall be very glad to see the white locks of Father Adam. But those are ideas which do not concern us at present, although it is written in the Bible - "This is eternal life, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." - JoD 5:331-332 (October 7, 1857)

[So, let’s ask the question: Do Mormons believe that Brigham Young was the rightful successor to Joseph Smith as a PROPHET OF GOD?]

Adam came from another planet

Were I to fully speak what I know and understand concerning myself and others, you might think me to be infringing. I shall therefore omit some things that I would otherwise say to you if the people were prepared to receive them.

Jesus Christ says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent." We are not now in a capacity to know him in his fulness of glory. We know a few things that he has revealed concerning himself, but there are a great many which we do not know... All this vast creation was produced from element in its unorganized state; the mountains, rivers, seas, valleys, plains, and the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms beneath and around us, all speaking forth the wonderful works of the Great God. Shall I say that the seeds of vegetables were planted here by the Characters that framed and, built this world - that the seeds of every plant composing the vegetable kingdom were brought from another world? This would be news to many of you. Who brought them here? It matters little to us whether it was John, James, William, Adam, or Bartholomew who brought them; but it was some Being who had power to frame this earth with its seas, valleys, mountains, and rivers, and cause it to teem with vegetable and animal life.

Here let me state to all philosophers of every class upon the earth, When you tell me that father Adam was made as we make adobies from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle words devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell. Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. The offspring of Adam and Eve are commanded to take the rude elements, and, by the knowledge God has given, to convert them into everything required for their life, health, adornment, wealth, comfort, and consolation. Have we the knowledge to do this? We have. Who gave us this knowledge? Our Father who made us; for he is the only wise God, and to [p.286] him we owe allegiance; to him we owe our lives. He has brought us forth and taught us all we know. We are not indebted to any other power or God for all our great blessings. - JoD 7:285-286 (Oct 9, 1859)

[It doesn’t matter that the members are not currently taught these doctrines and the Mormon Church does not consider these sermons to be scripture. They sustain Brigham Young as a former prophet, they claim he had the keys and powers of the priesthood, they claim he had the authority to speak for God, and thousands of LDS faithful lived and sustained him as the Mouthpiece of the Lord. If any member goes back and actually READS what this man proclaimed as the WORD OF GOD, and tries to deny that he was a prophet, they cannot obtain their temple recommends, or keep their membership]

God is the father of our spirits

Do you read the Scriptures, my brethren and sisters, as though you were writing them a thousand, two thousand, or five thousand years ago? Do you read them as though you stood in the place of the men who wrote them? If you do not feel thus, it is your privilege to do so, that you may be as familiar with the spirit and meaning of the written word of God as you are with your daily walk and conversation, or as you are with your workmen or with. your households. You may understand what the Prophets understood and thought - what they designed and planned to bring forth to their brethren for their good.

When you can thus feel, then you may begin to think that you can find out something about God, and begin to learn who he is. He is our Father - the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted Being.

How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity. You cannot comprehend this; but when you can, it will be to you a matter of great consolation. - JoD 7:333 (October 8, 1859)

[This is the basic teaching that keeps Mormons from being accepted as Christian. It goes against Biblical teaching. The only way the Mormons could ever hope to be fully accepted as Christian is to renounce this doctrine and it’s false prophet, Brigham Young. But, that means doing away with temples, since eternal progression theories would have to be shorn as well. ]


There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood split upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.

I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them. ...

I do know that there are sins committed, of such a nature that if the people did understand the doctrine of salvation, they would tremble because of their situation. And furthermore, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further; I have had men come to me and [p.54] offer their lives to atone for their sins.

It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit. As it was in ancient days, so it is in our day; and though the principles are taught publicly from this stand, still the people do not understand them; yet the law is precisely the same. There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, of a calf, or of turtle doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man. That is the reason why men talk to you as they do from this stand; they understand the doctrine and throw out a few words about it. You have been taught that doctrine, but you do not understand it. - JoD 4:53-54 (September 21, 1856)

[The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints still believe and practice this doctrine, because they believe that Brigham Young was a prophet of God when he spoke this. So, is it a man-made doctrine, or is it from God?]

Adulterers must atone with their blood; "Love thy neighbor" may require you to shed his blood

This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind. - JoD 4:219-220 (February 8, 1857)

[Are you still seriously supporting Brigham Young as a PROPHET?]

Whosoever does NOT confess Joseph Smith is of God is of AntiChrist

For unbelievers we will quote from the Scriptures - "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Again - "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God." I will now give my scripture - "Whosoever confesseth that Joseph Smith was sent of God to reveal the holy Gospel to the children of men, and lay the foundation for gathering Israel, and building up the kingdom of God on the earth, that spirit is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that God has sent Joseph Smith, and revealed the everlasting Gospel to and through him, is of Antichrist, no matter whether it is found in a pulpit [p.177] or on a throne, nor how much divinity it may profess, nor what it professes with regard to revealed religion and the account that is given of the Saviour and his Father in the Bible. They may say that they acknowledge Him until doomsday, and he will never own them, nor bestow the Holy Spirit upon them, and they will never have visions of eternity opened to them, unless they acknowledge that Joseph Smith is sent of God. Such people I call unbelievers. They tell about believing in Jesus Christ, but they might as well talk about birds understanding the Hebrew language. This statement is no more positive than true. - JoD 8:176 (September 9, 1860)

[Brigham Young proclaimed that this statement IS SCRIPTURE!!! Do you believe him, and sustain him as a prophet NOW?]

Immediate death for whites who marry blacks - it will always be so!

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. - JoD: vol.10 p. 110: (March 8, 1863)

[How about now? Still sustaining Brigham? Do you agree with this belief that Blacks are of the seed of Cain? Why is it that white men are not punished for Adam’s transgressions, but Blacks will be cursed for Cain’s?]

Cain's mark: a flat nose, black skin, no intelligence

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un- comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race - that they should be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, [p.291] and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion. - JoD 7:290-291 (October 9, 1859)

Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a sin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the Holy Priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to. - JoD 11:272 (Dec 23, 1866)

***My Thoughts***
I could go on forever, but I don’t have to even bring up some of the twisted doctrines of all the prophets that came after Brigham Young. Once you can eliminate him as a prophet of God, then no other man after him can claim to be one. From there, it’s not difficult to overthrow Joseph Smith’s claim of prophecy, since none of his prophecies have EVER been fulfilled. And once some deep investigation reveals that the Book of Abraham papyrus is really Egyptian Funeral documents, well, that takes some punch out of Joseph’s translation abilities, doesn’t it?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Some former Mormons tell us how they helped their spouses see the light

Original post here, and by clicking on title

One day I ask my husband if he were Truman in the Truman show if he would want to know? That led to a long discussion of what things would be like. Then I said. " Well I have run into a similar problem" I told him I had come across 10 things that really bothered me about the church and that I hadn't investigated them thoroughly yet and I just felt like Truman finding all of this out. Well that made him curious but I just told him a small summary of what I had found. After an hour he looked like I had punched him in the gut. I reassured him that I wasn't going forward in my search for the truth unless he could handle it. I let him know that our family was more important to me.

Well a few weeks went by and he kept saying he didn't want to deal with it. I had dropped the subject and let things go. I was reading on my own and just reviewing things on the web. I came up with a list of topics and books we could read together. Well my husband started to get curious and look at a lot of the same things. Everytime he said " Do you know about such and such" I would just reply "not much explain it to me" well after a while my husband explained himself right out of the church without me teaching him a thing.

I know it was different because men can be more logical than women who love all the artsy crafty perfection the church offers. We have made the transition out of the church smoothly and are moving on with our lives. I just thought I would say that there are a few things I learned from this that might apply or might now
1. let your spouse explain it to you instead of trying to teach them about the inconsistancies in the church
2. read about how people really change and see things. I recommend a book called "changing for good."
3. let your spouse know that they are more important than the church and that you will do anything to hold the family together. That may mean negotiating with church crap.
4. realize it may take years for them to figure things out. your children may be better off just having a liberal parent show a different side of the church than no parent at all getting brainwashed by lds goons.
5. I think letting the wives know how upset you are over the polygomy stuff is the most important. Most women like the idea that their husband really cares about them being equal in the CK
6. with men I think the archeology and facts work best. My husband found that very annoying.

I also want to add for you guy folks out there. Women really have been taught that their whole salvation rests on external people. She can't even get out of the grave without you calling her name. If she sins you can go on and marry someone else...she is trapped. I have a friend who is divorced from an abusive priesthood holder....she is the sweetest lady but she is massively depressed because now she can't get into matter how worthy she tries to the double bind on this sight I read how women are taught that priesthood holders are loving and in charge and that they should bow down and follow them. But then they are also taught that they are fallable and make mistakes and that they have to follow them even when they aren't so righteous. This creates a huge burden for women. I suggest reading that book or atleast parts of it to get a better idea how messed up the church tangles women's thinking. It is very complicated and it needs to be understood in my opinion if you want to save your family. Women only get self esteem in the church from their children being righteous and their husband getting big callings and being righteous. It really is terrible that is why anti-depressants are so high in UT because they have such a hard time having any control over their own salvation since they work their guts out to just get crapped on by the church.

... I really feel for those that are stuck with trying to hold on to their family and trying to keep their sanity and undo the terrible mess that the church has made out of their lives. Especially after I started looking at it from the outside. it is almost like once you are outside the mind screw you no longer can try to be inside it at the same time. For the husband trying to get their wives out I think it is even more complicated because of the abusive mind control the church has over women. I enclosed a quoate that helped my husband see how tied in knots I have been and I hope maybe it might help some husband understand the total mess they are trying to untangle their wives from. I think some people try to teach people the church is not true just like the missionary discussions. It isn't about "losing your testimony" it is about FINDING REALITY.... I am particularly at odds about what to suggest to a spouse who's whole relationship revolves around the church. we have a friend who told me the other day " If we don't talk about the church or our kids we wouldn't have anything to talk about" This just dumbstruck me. I mean I don't see how this marriage can be saved outside the church if there isn't a deeper friendship and companionship and sharing going on underneath. I mean these are the wives that would love to be sealed to JS if they had the chance they are so messed up in the head. Untieing that knot is just going to be tough because it is so knarled up with crap.

Ironically most women are not happy in the church. I taught many a lessons in RS where the sisters looked like they were just dead tired and trying to find something positive. That is why anti-depressants use is so high among the women. They all have battered wife syndrome. Only the church has made them like that. If you husbands do chose to read the double bind book on this site I hope that you might be able to see how the church ties all of us in knots. my husband was never sexist and encouraged me through a very demanding career but I was like that scarlet letter movie carving the A into my own chest bleeding to death.

Anyways this quote really explains what I am trying to say

Quote from the Double Bind here on the site

I, also, had been led to think the enemy was "out there," and to ignore anything that wasn't in Mormonism; in that respect, I was ignorant. Later, I would be blamed by my husband, for having been "so naive." Members of the church, and women especially, are programmed with "milk" images and labels; in fact, we have all been commanded to ... ("Yes,") ... become as little children, have faith, and trust in our husbands, and our leaders (Stage 2, 3), ("But,") ... then, later, we are accused of being "naive," as if to say "Grow up, you're not a child," or, "You should have known that we are only human" (Stage 6). The two stages create a double-bind, used over and over again, by the "Shepherd" who says, "Trust me!" ... "Don't question authority," and the "Wolf," who says, "Be responsible; you 'chose' to be ignorant."


A husband's turn:

It wasn't precisely planned, but these are the steps that happened to us, that helped my once TBM wife leave after I did:

1) Told her I was 'uncomfortable' about the church and reminded her of several past events: her extended family missing our temple marriage - was that fair?, the 2,3 and sometime 4 callings we were asked to do - burnout, and the treatment of women - some history books just left around the house. I found out that the temple had really bothered her and I worked on that.

2) Saw a strong member also leave before us. Began to bring up questions of why such a person left, when we knew the cause was not any 'sin', but disbelief

3) We moved. (I know extreme, but a marriage is worth that!) Got away from our both TBM families by a few hours. Yet, we ended up in a twisted insular wierd little ward where a number of odd teachings were manifest. (I could not have asked for a better - or, I should say, worst - little ward to move to.) So far to the extreme from our more liberal beliefs was this ward that it actually helped set the stage for her disbelief.

4) Finally, I challanged her to seek out the truth. I emphasised that without due dilligence and a search, she will remain uncertain and emotionally lost. I turned on the computer and encouraged her to read up on the church on-line

I think that other than sleeping and eating, she was on-line for about 5 straight days. I took care of everything around the house to free up her time.


I sort of used my once and former missionary tactics, in reverse and a little slower, to set up the situation. I knew I could not force the issue, but there was nothing stopping me from planting a few intellectual land mines along the way . . .

Another husband chimes in:

One thing that definitely wouldn't and didn't work with my wife was my bringing up any so called "anti" literature or points, or being hostile, resentful or negative towards the church. It rocked her world somewhat when I told her I could never go back to church because I could no longer believe in it. But I did tell her that I was telling her because I loved her and that it was important that we were always honest with each other and that I couldn't just go thru the motions as that would be dishonest.

I always made our marriage top priority. I never pushed an anti mormon agenda in her face, which would just make her defensive and make her dig in her heels deeper in mormonism. Slowly (over about two or three years) she changed a lot on her own. She considers herself mormon, yet she never goes to church, (in fact she says she doesn't miss it one bit) doesn't wear her garments, has a cup of coffee when I make some, has the occasional drink if I'm having one, doesn't regret raising our two kids out of the church.

I think she saw that I was happy, more relaxed and that the world isn't going to crash down when you leave the church. I think that if I had tried to force her hand more, she never would have allowed herself to come to those conclusions on her own. I will say this though, she doesn't have a family who ever said anything negative about her decisions and lifestyle choices. Her mother, although a very dedicated LDS member, has said she's seen enough so called good church families go down in flames with problems, that she'd much rather see her daughters live happy fulfilled lives out of the church than stiffled, unhappy ones in the church. I wish you the best of luck in your situation.

A wife's point-of view:

How my husband approached me

Over a year ago my husband started to do research just out of curiosity of church history. He kept quiet for months and then started to make comments, especially in sacrament meetings. For example, a child gets up to bear his testimony saying the usual, "I know this church is true", and my DH leans over and whispers "Yeah and he also knows that Santa Claus is true too!" The comments in church really bugged me because I had no idea where they were coming from. I don't recommend that approach.

Over time he would read me excerpts from books such as the Journal of Discourses, or make comments. Mostly I didn't want to hear it and I would tell him so. But I guess he couldn't help himself because we talk about everything with each other. I remember asking him one day if he still believed in the BOM and JS. I was shocked when he just smiled at me.
Finally he asked if I would just read Grant Palmer's book and then he would leave me alone. I took him up on the offer because I felt I could trust Palmer. After all, he was still a church member and he looked the part of the elder Mormon man that I was taught to put on a pedestal. So I read and we talked about what I read.

It is now 8 months later and I have read Quinn, B H Roberts, Mormon Enigma, In Sacred Loneliness, Mormon America, One Nation Under Gods, plus Dialog and Sunstone. I am currently reading Fawn Brodie's book.

For me, the approach my husband took was just non-threatening enough to make me look. I am still having a hard time. I miss certain things and feel unsure about the future. It is especially hard because we live in the heart of Mormonland. My neighbors, people I work with, my family members are all Mormon. My social structure consists of mostly Mormons and their constant talk about their religion. Things I used to love to talk about now make me angry. I spend a lot of time biting my tongue and changing the subject.

Although it is a tough journey to take, I am glad we are taking it together.


*****MY Thoughts******

If you are reading my posts here, and keep coming back to read them, why not see what other former Mormons like me have revealed about their own experiences leaving Mormonism. It isn't as easy as saying "I Quit!" It is a real, long, difficult process for most people who want nothing more than to prove that the church IS true, only to find out that it couldn't possibly be. The hurt and pain caused by that discovery has caused more heartache and depression than most staunch true believers would ever realize. Some have convinced themselves that those that leave simply wish to lead their own lives without God's intervention, and plunge into the outer darkness willingly. Well that simply is not the case. Most people who leave do so after fighting like hell to stay in, despite learning some uncomfortable truths that they just cannot reconcile with the teachings of their leaders and the guidelines of their study manuals. When they dare to ask questions, often they are met by calls to repentance, and admonitions to pray more, study more, be more teachable and humble. This is NOT going to solve the underlying problem, it only makes the individual bear the responsibility for the confusion and the frustration that comes from having to compartmentalize the brain and set aside those things that cause doubt in order to maintain their testimony and gain acceptance of their family and peer members. This can only last for so long, as each person's level of integrity is repeatedly gnawed away at by the lingering questions and the constant struggle to find answers to those thoughts so real peace and comfort can be achieved. Everyone says "listen to the still small voice". Well, what if that voice is trying to lead you towards the truth, and you are creating walls around it to keep it from destroying your faith? What good does it do to have a conscience, and a sense of logic and reason if you can't use it to find your answers? Why must you always have the discerning spirit of the Mormon religious belief in order to process information?

I think it's time to start trusting yourself and using the brains God gave you....