Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The church is perfect......

"The church is perfect but the members aren't", is a phrase that we ex/nonbelievers/NOMs always hear.  It is the "trump card"  answer,  for any complaint against a leader or offensive member of the Mormon church.  This phrase allows member to keep their belief and faith in the church as God's only sanctioned religion on the earth.   It keeps the church undefiled and holy.  The church will not get blamed for anything negative.  Because of  the programming,  members will not link the questionable behavior of a member to the organization's teachings and counsel.   Hell,  just read the Journal of Discourses,  every other quote by Brigham Young will make you cringe.  This conditioning/teaching causes the shut down of a member's critical thinking.

This is an ingenious plan on the part of the church.  Multiple talks given during general conference emphasize the perfect nature of the church/gospel.  A recent example of this was Elder Uchtdorf's talk in General Conference October 2013;


 Mistakes of Imperfect People

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.

In the title page of the Book of Mormon we read, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”6

This is the way it has always been and will be until the perfect day when Christ Himself reigns personally upon the earth.

It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.

I think we must be clear that according to LDS teachings, the church and the gospel are the same thing.   According to the gospel principle manual (Chapter 17);


When Jesus lived on the earth, He established His Church, the only true Church. He organized His Church so the truths of the gospel could be taught to all people and the ordinances of the gospel could be administered correctly with authority. Through this organization, Christ could bring the blessings of salvation to mankind.

Without the church, men could not learn the gospel.  The manual continues;

 For many years people lived in spiritual darkness. About 1,700 years after Christ, people were becoming more and more interested in knowing the truth about God and religion. Some of them could see that the gospel Jesus taught was no longer on the earth. Some recognized that there was no revelation and no true authority and that the Church that Christ organized did not exist on the earth. The time had arrived for the Church of Jesus Christ to be restored to the earth.





Without Joseph Smith, men cannot learn Jesus Christ's gospel.  That was the reason for the "restoration".  So according to LDS doctrine--no LDS church=no Christ's gospel.   Thus the statement of  "the church is true but its members aren't" is vital to the Mormon organization.  It is taught from primary to adulthood.  Because, if the church is to blame for the member's actions, then the whole system falls apart.   So the burden has to be placed on its imperfect members.   The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a great example.  The church/general leadership did not accept blame for the atrocious acts done in southern Utah--even though Brigham Young and other leaders were preaching inflammatory rhetoric.  Johanna Brooks wrote;





The Mountain Meadows Massacre was the first work to fully document Mormon involvement in the massacre. In the book, Brooks demonstrated convincingly that the Mormon militia was responsible for the massacre, and that John D. Lee, the only militiaman executed, was effectively a scapegoat. She writes, "The church leaders decided to sacrifice Lee only when they could see that it would be impossible to acquit him without assuming a part of the responsibility themselves".[5]
The work cleared Brigham Young of any direct involvement, but did blame him for his incendiary rhetoric.[6] Brooks writes, "While Brigham Young and other church authorities did not specifically order the massacre, they did preach sermons and set up social conditions that made it possible."[7 (Wiki).

 Whether the person is an active full believing member or an exmormon--the individual is always at fault.   I have seen this in my own life.  My wife knows many of the historical and current problems of the Mormon church that bother me--but I'm the one to blame for the stress caused by my "faith crisis".  I am the one to blame for my weak faith,  or read to much "anti-Mormon" material, and stopped reading a fictional book masquerading as scripture.  It is never the church's fault.  The perfect nature of the church/gospel is never lost.  

 Without the members, the Mormon church would just be another corporation--oh wait..nevermind.  The members are what make the church great.  Although imperfect, the members are the cogs in the LDS corporate machine.  Without them, most/if not all of the good that the church claims is gone.  They are on the front lines working for the church/corporation.  They sacrifice and sweat for the church while those at the top reap most of the benefits of this corporate setup.  The church claims all the hours of service members perform.  Any act or kind deed is hijacked from the members and used to market, advertise and build up the "kingdom of God", or in other words,  the Mormon church.  




Look at the famous Mormon Helping Hands smocks (LDS church News).   Anytime there is a natural disaster,  the Mormon church/general leaders make sure their members  are donning the proper disaster relief apparel. 




The church has explained what the helping hands program is about.



Helping Hands

Mormon Helping Hands is a priesthood-directed Church program to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need.




The program provides priesthood leaders with an optional service opportunity for Church members and helps establish the name and reputation of the Church. It is a proven means of helping dispel stereotypes often held about the Church, showing that Latter-day Saints are Christians who contribute to the good of their communities.

Helping Hands volunteers clear downed trees after Hurricane Katrina
The “Mormon Helping Hands” designation helps identify the Church’s role in the activity: to provide service laborers and usually not goods or materials. Successful projects have been conducted throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific, and the United States. Coordination, implementation, and evaluation of these projects is usually delegated to local Public Affairs councils.

Objectives for Mormon Helping Hands

Helping Hands Help the Needy and Improve Communities

Service to others is an important characteristic of the followers of Jesus Christ. Mormon Helping Hands provides organized opportunities for Church members to give their time and talents to bless those in need. It also gives members the opportunity to beautify city streets, parks, schools, and recreational areas and to serve in other ways, showing that the Church is a friend to the community.

Strengthen Church Members

Through Mormon Helping Hands, youth and adults become more sensitive to the challenges others face. As Church members follow the example of the Savior in reaching out and helping others, their testimonies are strengthened. These projects are also valuable opportunities for Church members to fellowship less-active friends.

Share the Gospel Indirectly

Through Mormon Helping Hands, Church members have opportunities to portray the fruits of their faith and dispel unfounded criticism and prejudice toward the Church. While this program is not to be used for proselyting, these activities can help create conditions that are favorable for gospel conversations and may on occasion provide the opportunity to engage missionaries in teaching those who want to know more.

Build Relationships with Opinion Leaders

Church Public Affairs exists to “build strategic relationships with opinion leaders who affect the reputation of the Church of Jesus Christ.” Service is a powerful tool for influencing the beliefs and opinions of prominent individuals. Mormon Helping Hands is especially effective in developing beneficial relationships between Church leaders and government officials or other opinion leaders.

Enhance the Reputation of the Church

Mormon Helping Hands helps bring the Church out of obscurity and can greatly improve its reputation. Local media interest in these projects helps spread the knowledge of the Church to many who would not otherwise hear of it.

  Helping hands is a program that members volunteer to help those in need--GREAT, while at the same time advertise for the Mormon church--BAD.  What ever happened to praying and not being seen?  Or to give alms without being seen?  It seems as if the church is no better than a political party and "never want a serious crisis to go to waste", to quote Rahm Emanuel.

The church wants its cake and eat it too.   The organization has trained the members to not blame the church for anything that is questionable, illegal or downright evil.  It is able to distant itself from anything that is suspect.   It creates an environment where the victim gets blamed, the messenger gets attacked and its own crimes never see the light.  While at the same, it takes credit  for everything good that  the members do. To quote 13th Article of Faith,

  "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek".....to claim these things.

  The church, as an institution,  teaches and stresses humility to its members, while at the same time acts as a narcissistic spouse only interested in its own appearance.

CS


Thursday, August 14, 2014

It was the still, small voice...

Recently I watched the new Russell Crowe movie, Noah.  It was an interesting adaptation of the Bible story of Noah and the flood.  I know that some Christians have given poor reviews of the film, especially the portrayal of the giants.  They were offended that the "watchers"  were made of rocks.  That aspect didn't bother me--although there was one part of the film that was disturbing and sparked my memory about another scriptural story.  This one isn't in the Bible, but in the Mormon scripture--the Book of Mormon.




Now to be fair, much of the  film is the director's own artistic interpretation.  There are many elements in the movie that do not have elements in the biblical story.  Basically it combines the Noah story with myth, fiction and references from other Old Testament stories.  That being said, there was one scene that reminded me of the story of Nephi--another story that combines Old Testament influence with myth and fiction.  I'm talking of the story of Nephi obtaining the  brass plates.

A little background, Nephi is told by his father that he must go and get the brass plates which contain the word of God.  This would ensure that Lehi and all his descendants wouldn't stray from God's ways.  I pick up where Nephi and his brothers have failed twice to get the holy plates.

And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.
 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine.
 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.
 And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.
 10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.
 11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
 12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
 13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
 14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
 15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
 16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
 17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
 18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.



To members of the Mormon church this story shows the importance of obedience to God.  From the previous chaper, we learn  that  according to Nephi, God will;

 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

This story is similar to the movie of Noah, where both were faced with a difficult decision.  A decision to take the life of a defenseless individual.  It is similar to the story of Abraham and Isaac.  Abraham was commanded by God to kill his defenseless son, only to be stopped by an angel.  The moral of the story was obedience to God above all else.  In the movie, Noah's better judgement took over and he didn't kill his granddaughters.  In the story of Nephi, a different outcome occurred.  Nephi obeyed the voice and cut off Laban's head.   

There is an interesting post by a blogger that justified the killing of Laban based on 3 offenses.  1. False accusation, 2. Robbery, and 3. Attempted murder.    According to the Book of Mormon, Laban calls Nephi and his brothers thieves  (1 Nephi 3:13);

  13 And behold, it came to pass that Laban was angry, and thrust him out from his presence; and he would not that he should have the records. Wherefore, he said unto him: Behold thou art a robber, and I will slay thee.

Here Laban accuses Nephi's brother of stealing, then Laban threatened him with death.   The brothers escape.  Later on, maybe they were in disguise, because Laban didn't recognize them, Nephi and his brothers then decide to take their father's wealth and try to buy the plates;

  22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.
 23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.
 24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.
 25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.
 26 And it came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind our property, and it fell into the hands of Laban.

Here is where Laban robs them of their property.  

 22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.
 23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.
 24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.
 25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.
 26 And it came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind our property, and it fell into the hands of Laban.

A bothersome aspect of the story is the brutal manner in which Nephi killed Laban.  Why kill him why couldn't he take his clothes and go and steal the plates?  He could have still taken Laban's servant with him.   Why would killing Laban keep the Jews from tracking them down out in the wilderness.  It seems that by killing him, more people would be alarmed.  Killing Laban, being a prominent member of society, would raise red flags--leading to the hunting down of Lehi and his family.

 The most disturbing part of the story is the voice Nephi hears and  ultimately follows.  It is telling that Nephi has an internal struggle with the voice inside his head.  He knows what is moral in the beginning, but in the end throws out his rational thinking,  kills Laban, dresses in his clothes, pretends to be Laban and steals the plates. 

 I find it ironic that, according to the TBM blogger, Nephi was justified in killing Laban for 3 reasons--while Nephi is guilty of those same 3 offenses.

Nephi accuses Laban of being a wicked man (1 Nephi 4:13);


 13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

Nephi also steals the plates from Laban's treasury after pretending to be Laban and fooling Laban's servant.


 20 And after I had done this, I went forth unto the treasury of Laban. And as I went forth towards the treasury of Laban, behold, I saw the servant of Laban who had the keys of the treasury. And I commanded him in the voice of Laban, that he should go with me into the treasury.
 21 And he supposed me to be his master, Laban, for he beheld the garments and also the sword girded about my loins.
 22 And he spake unto me concerning the elders of the Jews, he knowing that his master, Laban, had been out by night among them.
 23 And I spake unto him as if it had been Laban.
 24 And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren, who were without the walls.
 25 And I also bade him that he should follow me.
 26 And he, supposing that I spake of the brethren of the church, and that I was truly that Laban whom I had slain, wherefore he did follow me.

And the most offensive act is that Nephi just didn't attempt to murder Laban, he brutally cut off his head while Laban was passed out.

18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword. 

Nephi is guilty of the same crimes as Laban, only he follows through with the killing of a defenseless man.  He has no moral stance.  No wonder his brothers were always tying him up and leaving him.  





I'm no psychologist, but Nephi's story sounds eerily similar to the Lafferty brother's experience with voices inside their heads.  I think every member of the Mormon church should read Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven:  A Story of Violent Faith.   (Wikipedia);


The book opens with news accounts of the 1984 murder of Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter Erica. Brenda was married to the youngest Lafferty brother, Allen. Older brothers Dan and Ron targeted their sister-in-law because they believed she was the reason Ron's wife left him (after refusing to allow him to marry a plural/second wife). Both men's extremism reached new heights when they became members of the School of the Prophets founded and led by Robert Crossfield. After joining the school, Ron claimed that God had sent him revelations. Communication with God is a core belief of fundamentalist Mormonism as well as the mainstream LDS Church.[1] Ron showed the members of the School of Prophets a written "removal revelation" that allegedly called for the killing of Brenda and her baby. After other members of the School failed to honor Ron's removal revelation, the brothers quit the School.
The murders were particularly cruel, with Dan claiming that he slit the victims' throats. However, at trial, Chip Carnes, who was riding in the getaway car, testified that Ron said he had killed Brenda[2] and that Ron also thanked his brother for "doing the baby."

Having voices in one's head can be a debilitating condition.  

 

Voices In My Head & Depression

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I dont know what to do: I’m on here because of a few isuse. First, there is a voice in my head I can’t hear it as if someone was next to talking but I can here it. It is starting to dictate how I do things for example. I drop a piece of trash on the ground. The tells me if I don’t pick it up right then my car will break down. I’m only worried because the other night the same voice was telling me to harm my girl friend because she was going to become a demon and kill me. I was diagnost with depression a few years ago. They did an iq test which I got a 153 on and some other test that I’m not sure what they are. I’ve thought about. Killing myself from time to time but I know it would just cause more problems for everyone else. Thanks for listening.
A. This is a problem that needs to be investigated by a mental health professional. It is unusual to hear voices telling you to harm yourself or others. Some individuals who have schizophrenia, or other related psychotic disorders, have reported hearing voices telling them to harm themselves or others. It is a concern that you are hearing such voices.
There is medication that can decrease or eliminate the voices. Antipsychotic medication is designed to treat those symptoms, among others. Talk with a mental health professional about which medication would be most effective for you.
It is also concerning that you have thought about killing yourself. It is not normal to want to end your life. It’s unclear whether the motivation behind your suicidal thoughts are the voices. It may also be depression or a combination of the two. It is important that you see a mental health professional to address these problems. 

When is hearing voices in your head from God or yourself?  A member would say,  if you are a prophet or are doing the work of the Lord then it is from God.  If it is something that is not good then it is not God.  In the Book of Mormon we learn;

 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
 14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.


What is the difference between the Lafferty brothers and Nephi?  Now I must state that Nephi wasn't really an actual person but  the story is the same.  Both Nephi and Ron and Dan, felt God was talking to them.  They were both told to perform horrific acts.  All felt they were righteous and doing the correct thing.  This is where religion gets dangerous.   Members of the Mormon church honor the story of Nephi.  He was God's chosen vessel.  The end justifies the means.  Rape, kill, pillage, steal, etc.. whatever it takes.  God is on our side.  He told me so.

CS 

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

What was he again? A seminary teacher???

Looking at the current big 15 in the Mormon church, one must raise an eyebrow.  To me,  with one exception, they all look like they are from the same mold, Utah stock, pioneer bred, white conservative businessmen/attorneys.  Their stat sheet looks like Fortune 500 company's dream team.  What company wouldn't want a board of directors like the Mormon church's  First Presidency and Quorum of the 12?  The business experience they bring to the table, along with others, have made the Mormon church into a financial powerhouse.  Let's look at the acting senior apostle--Boyd Packer. The church reports;



President Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was set apart to this position on 3 February 2008. Previously, he was acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles beginning 5 June 1994. Prior to becoming acting president, he served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, having been ordained an apostle on 9 April 1970. He earlier served for almost nine years as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
An educator by profession, his career includes service as supervisor of seminaries and institutes of religion for the Church and as a member of the Administrative Council of Brigham Young University.
He studied at Weber College and subsequently received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Utah State University. He received a doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University.
President Packer was born 10 September 1924 in Brigham City, Utah. He served as a bomber pilot during World War II in the Pacific Theater.
President Packer served as president of the New England Mission. He is the author of a number of books and other published works. He is an artist, particularly of birds. He is married to the former Donna Smith. They are the parents of ten children.




He has been employed by the LDS church his entire career.  He has been in the inner circles of the highest leadership of the Mormon church for almost 53 years.  He has authored numerous books, given countless talks and continues to offer counsel to faithful members today.   He is one of the most powerful men in the Mormon business machine--and he has obviously benefited from his tenure as an "apostle".  And according to a recent article a money machine it is, Bloomberg Business week reported in 2012;

 

To understand DMC’s place in the church’s financial structure, it’s important to start at the very top: The Mormon Church is owned and run by what is called the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This entity is a “corporation sole,” which is an obscure legal body owned entirely by one person. In the case of the Mormon Church, that person is Monson, the prophet.
The Mormon presidency is not an elected position, and while the president is considered a prophet, it’s also not considered a direct appointment from God. When one president resigns or dies, he is replaced by the longest-serving member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, an ecclesiastic group commonly referred to as the Apostles. Each new president handpicks two counselors to help him lead. The three-man team is called the First Presidency.

Boyd Packer is next in line.  He has done well for himself, starting as a seminary teacher and working up through the church.   Mormoninsider.wordpress.com reports;

 Boyd Packer has a nice home on a large piece of land in the Cottonwood Heights area of the Salt Lake Valley.  His home is located at 1850 East Forest Bend Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84121.





 It’s listed on Zillow as having 3 bedrooms, 3.75 bathrooms, being 5,239 square feet on 2.18 acres, and estimate the Market Value as $1,329,844.  He also owns neighboring parcel of land that is 2.03 acres that Zillow lists the 2011 assessed value as $422,200.  The Salt Lake County Assessor list the 2012 Market Values as $1,292,490 and $422,200, respectively.  The combined total is then $1,714,690!






I think it fascinating that this "humble" servant of the Lord has a home and surrounding land has more value than many rank and file members of the church would make working 20+ years.  Where has all the money come from?  Investments? He was a seminary teacher with 10 kids.  This is anecdotal, a friend who's husband works in the church stated that any book sold through Deseret book can be a source of income for the General Authorities.  Boyd has written quite a few over the years.  

 A recent leak of the church's mission president handbook might offer a look into how the upper core of leaders are "paid".

The viral internet leak of a mission president's handbook, shows how the church counsels its mission presidents regarding reimbursements and cost of living expenses;
 
(thoughtsontithingandstuff.com)


(thoughtsontithingandstuff.com)


Because you are engaged in volunteer religious service, no employer-employee relationship exists between you and the Church. As a result, any funds reimbursed to you from the Church are not considered income for tax purposes; they are not reported to the government… To avoid raising unnecessary tax questions, please follow these guidelines closely: 1) Do not share information on funds you receive from the Church with those who help you with financial or tax matters… 2) Never represent in any way that you are paid for your service… 3) If you are required to file an income-tax report for other purposes, do not list any funds you receive from the Church, regardless of where you serve… - See more at: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/#sthash.6Rik3v4L.dpuf
Because you are engaged in volunteer religious service, no employer-employee relationship exists between you and the Church. As a result, any funds reimbursed to you from the Church are not considered income for tax purposes; they are not reported to the government… To avoid raising unnecessary tax questions, please follow these guidelines closely: 1) Do not share information on funds you receive from the Church with those who help you with financial or tax matters… 2) Never represent in any way that you are paid for your service… 3) If you are required to file an income-tax report for other purposes, do not list any funds you receive from the Church, regardless of where you serve… - See more at: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/#sthash.6Rik3v4L.dpuf


This seems rather suspicious.  They are not to divulge any funds received from the Mormon church on official tax reports.  The handbook continues;


 

Because you are engaged in volunteer religious service, no employer-employee relationship exists between you and the Church. As a result, any funds reimbursed to you from the Church are not considered income for tax purposes; they are not reported to the government… To avoid raising unnecessary tax questions, please follow these guidelines closely: 1) Do not share information on funds you receive from the Church with those who help you with financial or tax matters… 2) Never represent in any way that you are paid for your service… 3) If you are required to file an income-tax report for other purposes, do not list any funds you receive from the Church, regardless of where you serve… - See more at: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/#sthash.6Rik3v4L.dpuf




All of these multi-billion dollar operations are under direct control of the Corporation of the President, who himself allocates board control to his fellow Apostles and Presiding Bishops, and whose stocks and shares are distributed among the many General Authorities. Most, if not all, of the finances and ledgers (profits, assets, investments, payments, etc.) of these corporations are closed to public scrutiny by deliberate design from the Church (i.e., the Corporation Sole of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is not quite the same thing as the entity of the Church), making disclosure on board payments nearly impossible to discover.
Estimates based on those few factors that are publicly known (assets ownership, locations and real estate comparisons, volume of sales and transactions, mergers and acquisitions, etc.) have helped some researchers calculate possible earning scenarios, and based on similar trends in the private market they allow us to make reasonable, educated guesses on what these Church-owned corporations might pay their board members, and as such, the Apostles sitting on those boards.
- See more at: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/#sthash.v5mLnsgJ.dpuf


This is disturbing considering the strict rules average members obey.  We are counseled to be honest in all our dealings.  We are questioned about our honesty in the temple recommend questions. 


 
Interview Questions for Recommends to Enter a Temple:



1 Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

2 Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?

3 Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?

4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

5 Do you live the law of chastity?

6 Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

7 Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

8 Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

9 Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?

10 Are you a full-tithe payer?

11 Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?

12 Do you have financial or other oblgations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?

13 If you have previously received your temple endowment:

Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple?
Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

14 Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?

15 Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord's house and participate in temple ordinances?

(mormonthink.com)


Notice in the questions,  members are asked if they are honest in their dealings, then  the very next question is about tithing.  I don't think that is an accident.

 I find it interesting that a past seminary teacher, who has 10 kids, who's only employment has been the Mormon church, owns land that has an appraised value of around 1.8 million.  The mission president handbook, in my opinion, sheds light on how the Mormon church "blesses" the upper elite of the church.  It is done under the table without honesty and disclosure. 

CS
All of these multi-billion dollar operations are under direct control of the Corporation of the President, who himself allocates board control to his fellow Apostles and Presiding Bishops, and whose stocks and shares are distributed among the many General Authorities. Most, if not all, of the finances and ledgers (profits, assets, investments, payments, etc.) of these corporations are closed to public scrutiny by deliberate design from the Church (i.e., the Corporation Sole of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is not quite the same thing as the entity of the Church), making disclosure on board payments nearly impossible to discover.
Estimates based on those few factors that are publicly known (assets ownership, locations and real estate comparisons, volume of sales and transactions, mergers and acquisitions, etc.) have helped some researchers calculate possible earning scenarios, and based on similar trends in the private market they allow us to make reasonable, educated guesses on what these Church-owned corporations might pay their board members, and as such, the Apostles sitting on those boards.
- See more at: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/#sthash.v5mLnsgJ.dpuf
All of these multi-billion dollar operations are under direct control of the Corporation of the President, who himself allocates board control to his fellow Apostles and Presiding Bishops, and whose stocks and shares are distributed among the many General Authorities. Most, if not all, of the finances and ledgers (profits, assets, investments, payments, etc.) of these corporations are closed to public scrutiny by deliberate design from the Church (i.e., the Corporation Sole of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is not quite the same thing as the entity of the Church), making disclosure on board payments nearly impossible to discover.
Estimates based on those few factors that are publicly known (assets ownership, locations and real estate comparisons, volume of sales and transactions, mergers and acquisitions, etc.) have helped some researchers calculate possible earning scenarios, and based on similar trends in the private market they allow us to make reasonable, educated guesses on what these Church-owned corporations might pay their board members, and as such, the Apostles sitting on those boards.
- See more at: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/#sthash.v5mLnsgJ.dpuf


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why it is so painful to leave....

As a non believing member of the Mormon church, I understand both sides in this epic battle of wits.  I know and understand the indoctrination of the Mormon machine and its effect on the mind of a member.  The church is great at shaping the mindset of the member, causing he/she to base their self identity on being a Mormon.  They truly  believe that they are a Mormon first, husband/wife second, father/mother third and then their vocation/hobbies fourth.  Ann Dibb, daughter of President Tom Monson stated in conference;


A few years ago, I was in line to make a purchase at my local grocery store. Ahead of me stood a young woman, about 15 years old. She appeared confident and happy. I noticed her T-shirt and couldn’t resist talking to her. I began, “You’re from out of state, aren’t you?”
She was surprised by my question and replied, “Yes, I am. I’m from Colorado. How did you know?”
I explained, “Because of your T-shirt.” I made my accurate supposition after reading the words on her shirt, “I’m a Mormon. Are you?”
I continued, “I must tell you that I’m impressed by your confidence to stand out and wear such a bold declaration. I see a difference in you, and I wish every young woman and every member of the Church could have your same conviction and confidence.” Our purchases completed, we said good-bye and parted.











Yet for days and weeks after this random everyday moment, I found myself seriously reflecting upon this encounter. I wondered how this young girl from Colorado came to possess such confidence in her identity as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I couldn’t help but wonder what meaningful phrase I would figuratively choose to have printed on my T-shirt reflecting my belief and testimony. In my mind, I considered many possible sayings. Eventually, I came upon an ideal statement I would proudly wear: “I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it."  

 
 The first part of the statement is a self-assured, unapologetic declaration: “I’m a Mormon.” Just as the young woman I met in the grocery store was not afraid to let the world know she was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I hope we will never be afraid or reluctant to acknowledge, “I’m a Mormon.” We should be confident, as was the Apostle Paul when he proclaimed, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”1 As members, we are followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Such conversion and confidence is the result of diligent and deliberate effort. It is individual. It is the process of a lifetime.



She makes her declaration, "I'm a Mormon".  I'm letting everyone know.  I'm not a physician, a teacher, an artist, a musician.  I am a Mormon, that is  how I'm identifying myselfThat is the insidious nature of the church.  It permeates all aspects of the psyche, digs its claws in and doesn't let go.  That is why it is so painful to realize the whole system is a sham.  The member's whole self perspective is rocked to its core.  She continued;


The next part of the statement affirms, “I know it.” In today’s world, there are a multitude of activities, subjects, and interests vying for every minute of our attention. With so many distractions, do we have the strength, discipline, and commitment to remain focused on what matters most? Are we as well versed in gospel truths as we are in our studies, careers, hobbies, sports, or our texts and tweets? Do we actively seek to find answers to our questions by feasting on the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets? Do we seek the confirmation of the Spirit?

The importance of gaining knowledge is an eternal principle. The Prophet Joseph Smith “loved knowledge for its righteous power.”2 He said: “Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. … Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.”3

All truth and knowledge is important, but amidst the constant distractions of our daily lives, we must especially pay attention to increasing our gospel knowledge so we can understand how to apply gospel principles to our lives.4 As our gospel knowledge increases, we will begin to feel confident in our testimonies and be able to state, “I know it.”




I find it ironic that she talks about distractions in life.  Activities that take time away from God or the corporation/church--the thing she feels is most important.  I feel that the family is most important in life.  Unfortunately, the Mormon church, claiming to be family oriented, sucks any free time away from the family.  

Sister Dibb's next proclamation is to "live it". 


Next is the statement, “I live it.” The scriptures teach that we must be “doers of the word, and not hearers only.”5We live the gospel and become “doers of the word” by exercising faith, being obedient, lovingly serving others, and following our Savior’s example. We act with integrity and do what we know is right “at all times and in all things, and in all places”6 no matter who may or may not be watching.

In our mortal condition, no one is perfect. Even in our most diligent efforts to live the gospel, all of us will make mistakes, and all of us will sin. What a comforting assurance it is to know that through our Savior’s redeeming sacrifice, we can be forgiven and made clean again. This process of true repentance and forgiveness strengthens our testimony and our resolve to obey the Lord’s commandments and live our life according to gospel standards.


Member's, although not perfect, need to "live" the gospel.  Which to me, is doing what our leaders teach and say.  The current prophet's words trump all past scriptures or teachings.  It means to be strictly obedient without questioning or challenging.

Ann's last statement is;

 The final phrase in my declarative statement is “I love it.” Gaining a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and diligently living gospel principles in our everyday lives leads many members of the Church to exclaim enthusiastically, “I love the gospel!”



Loving the gospel/God or church above all else.  There is no distinction between the three.  They are  one and the same.  That means putting your callings, responsibilities, tithing, temple work, scripture study, prayer, etc.. above everything else in your life.  Give tithing before paying bills, sacrifice family time for church busy work.  It is the "kingdom of God" or nothing else, or in other words, it is the Mormon church or nothing else.   A Mormon is who you are--so in reality when you build the church you build yourself, your character, your being.  That is why when you  quit the church you are in essence, quitting yourself.  That is why it is so painful.

CS

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome to the club....




Having gone through my faith transition, I feel that I'm more understanding of ex/non believing Mormons as well as non members.  There are so many good people in the world.  Wonderful, enlightened and nice people everywhere.  It does not matter if the person is covered in tattoos, drinks coffee, alcohol or even smokes. 


                                


These habits do not affect the goodness of that individual.  My eyes have been opened to the fact that Mormonism creates a false sense of reality in members.  This reality harms relationships and severs friendships.  Members feel that only they hold the corner on goodness and truth and everyone else is lost.  But their reality is far from the truth.


                             


A friend of mine has been questioning the church lately.  She has seen the inconsistencies and problems in the history of the church as well the decisions of  church leaders, local and general.  Lately, she hasn't been as "committed"  to church policies and counsel and her mother has taken note.  My friend has posted pictures on Facebook with shorts that don't go to the knees and sleeveless tops.  This caused  her mother concern and to write a letter.  Her mother stated she was prompted by the spirit to write my friend about her lack of obedience to church counsel.  She even called out her own daughter's honesty in a recent temple recommend interview.  This judging is a common practice experienced by many ex Mormons and/or nonbelievers.  This shows the ignorance of the TBM response.  They really have no understanding of the mindset of the disaffected member.  I only ask to not judge me or anyone until you walk in my shoes.  I have worn the Mormon shoe for 40+ years.  I know and understand the mentality--now show me a little respect.

In the Articles of Faith, it states;

 11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Also in the Book of Mormon (Alma 30:9);

Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.

 In a recent BBC interview, Elder Jeff Holland stated;

"I'm not an idiot--ya know I've read a couple of books and I've been to a pretty good school.  And I have chosen to be in this church.  Because of the faith that I feel and the inspiration that comes".

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNHM7I1WJIk

I do find it telling that he stated  he chooses to be in the Mormon church.  He didn't say he chooses to believe in the church or that he knows it is true.  He is making it sound as if the Mormon church is a club like the Elks or Free Masons. 



                                

What exactly is faith?  Faith is defined as one of the following;


                                  
 

faith

[feyth] Show IPA
noun
1.
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2.
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.
belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. 
a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

 I like the definition that Professor Peter Boghossian uses in his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists.  Faith is pretending to know something you don't really know.  Faith is all there is to religion.  One can choose to "buy into" the group or not.  Except with Mormonism--their way is the only way.

Why can't ex Mormons leave the church alone?  Because we are judged and seen as broken by loved ones and friends.   Why do members act this way?   I feel one of the main reasons is that TBMs cannot accept someone would leave the Mormon church.  It is incomprehensible to them.  The church drills in the programming from nursery to adulthood.  Being a TBM once, I understand her mother's reaction.  I would have had the same response.  Who in their right mind would leave such a good and helpful organization?  According to an email by a friend, maybe I'm not  mentally stable or have a mental illness.  Now my friend is going through the same experience I have had.

Welcome to the club.  The judging has begun.  

 
   

CS