Friday, June 28, 2013

Some people rely so much on the system...

A little follow up post script from my last entry.  I was thinking, I know a dangerous act, why do members of the LDS church attack those who begin questioning.  Why won't they look objectively at the information presented to them.  It hit me like a brick.  I have to go deep into my memory for the answer to this question.  To paraphrase my favorite movie, The Matrix;  Morpheus and Neo are walking among a crowd of people.  Morpheus tells Neo to look around at everyone.  Morpheus tells Neo, that these are people they are trying to save but they rely so heavily on the "system" that they will do everything they can to defend it.

Such is the life of  a Mormon apologist or a TBM (True Believing Member).  If someone confronts them with some controversial information they will begin to have an internal struggle with that info. Consciously, they know that if they begin to look objectively at the message, they are beginning to destroy and shatter the foundation of  their reality.  However, if they attack the person's credibility (the person who told them the info), they can protect their belief system and keep everything in place.  Their church is still true and real, but the person sharing that info has lost his faith, or is sinning, etc. It is a defense mechanism.  They are trying to keep the rug from being pulled out from under them.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What the Mormon church teaches or programs its members....

I try  not get too emotional when discussing the LDS church. But religion is a very emotional topic, like politics, it can become very polarizing.  There is an old statement by the church's founder Joseph Smith Jr. that said something along the line of:  those that leave the church can never leave it alone.  As a member, we were always taught that those who left the LDS church were so bitter and filled with so much hate that they will do anything to attack the church.  I thought this way at one time.

Fast forward a few years.  I still attend church (for saving a marriage), but my wife knows my disbelief.   She hears my concerns but doesn't want to know.  For lack of a better word, she wants to remain uninformed.  That's her choice, so I must tiptoe through a mine field when discussing religion.  I don't blame her.  She is just reacting the way her church taught her.  I was there 3 years ago. I would have probably reacted the same.  To quote the movie The Matrix Reloaded. "We only do what we're programmed to do."

The church has done a number on its members.  Reading the current 6 grade level manuals, you can see the white washing done on  the history of this "church".  Listening to current leaders in General Conference, you can see the condemnation of those searching online for historical fact.  Elder Cook stated that those who have searched information about controversial topics  can repent.  Excuse me, I didn't know that seeking knowledge or information is considered a sin. 

The last conference President Monson stated that those with questions don't need to search anywhere other than church sources.  He claimed that God has given us the answer to our questions.  The answer is obedience.  Obedience is the answer to all our concerns about the church and its history.  Just blindly obey the leaders and everything will work out. What the....?  The same logic was taught at Jonestown-just don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Struggling through my own questions of  faith, I have asked high ranking local leaders, temple presidents, professors of religion at church owned universities, and the PR department of the church.  No one can give me a real answer to my questions except;  just put it on the shelf and ignore it.  God will take care of it.  We may not get the answer in this life.....

Struggling with faith, has caused conflict in my marriage,  which leads into the title of today's post.  I have found from my own experience that the church programs its members to respond a certain way-through the teachings and doctrines.  When a spouse begins to voice doubt and concern over the claims of the LDS church 4 response begin to surface:

1.  Tell the spouse they are proud and "hard hearted".   God can't help you because you are being prideful and not humble.

2. Satan is deceiving you.  The spouse is being tricked by Satan.  Maybe I should just try to shake his hand.  (That is an inside joke for you members).

3. The spouse has lost God's spirit.  God or Christ's spirit has left  them so they can't get an answer.

4. The spouse only criticizes the leaders of the church.  They are only cynical.

The TBM (True Believing Member) doesn't want to know any of the negative things of the church-even if those things are fact and were said or taught in the past.  They don't want to understand what caused  their spouse to stop believing.  They only resort to ad hominem attacks on the individual rather than objectively looking at the underlying problems.  In their mind if they can discredit the "messenger" than their belief system is still intact.  Nobody wants to be told that their whole belief system; that which they base major decisions in life on- in essence, their whole well being is a LIE.  I know, because it happened to me.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Mormon church is really designed to.....

I'll try to be sensitive to those of you that are active, true believing members of the Mormon Church in my discussion today.   The topic of today is one that most temple recommend holding members have never given much thought, but one that is of utmost importance.

Attending the sacred temple for members is the culminating event in most member's lives.  Members have to become "worthy" or in my own words, "vetted". This shows the local church leader that the member is "church broke".  The member must pass an interview process by two local leaders that have the "spirit of discernment".  After passing the interview process, the member is now "worthy" to attend the temple. But after attending the special experience, I wonder if the member feels that it is a huge letdown.  I mean, after the member has gone through the experience of  the washing and anointing, followed by the endowment ceremony, and then if getting married, the culminating process of being sealed to a spouse through the "new and everlasting covenant"-which is polygamy (D&C 132), I feel as if people come out going, "what the?".  "I was never taught that".  I know I did.  I had no idea what the whole process was about as a young 19 year old going on a mission. In reality, the whole process of the temple, is really just a rehashed free masonry ritual.  A ritual that "locks" in the member to swear allegiance to the LDS church above all else. 

The Mormon church is really like a splinter group from free masonry.  The lower, "normal" members of the church, those that haven't been to the temple, don't really know what rituals are done there.  They know the basics, but don't know the actual rituals.  Having gone through prior to 1990, I remember the blood penalties that I promised before God, my parents, and other members.  The LDS church has since taken out these offensive oaths.  Most younger members have no idea of the things removed, causing that generation  to never question the past rituals.   During the process,  it is very difficult for a member to stop the process out of fear of God and  peer pressure.

The reason I liken the process of going though the temple to the free masonry experience,  is that the lower level initiates of free masonry don't really know or understand what will happen when they advance through the higher anks of free masonry.  The same is true of the temple experience.  The first time initiates of the temple don't know or understand what will be required of them.  And even after the process, members still don't understand how a handshake helps them get into heaven.

On the outside, the free masons organization, appears to be all about helping the less fortunate and doing good.  Of course the organization does those things, but what really happens on the inside? Especially in the higher ranks.   The LDS church is the same.  It appears to be a Christian church, and in helping mankind but is that the whole story? What about the secret second anointing?  What is that about?   Most members haven't even heard of that ritual.  That is only for those who have proven to be "church broke" and will do whatever is required.

Some apologists and members "in the know" claim that Joseph Smith just restored the ancient ordinances from King Soloman's temple.  The free masons use a story about his main temple architect, Hyrum Abiff, to drive home a moral teaching to initiates.  The issue is that Hyrum Abiff and his story is fiction.  The free masons admit that the organization originated during the 17th century, however some can claim it goes back to the 13 century stone mason guilds.  So there is no correlation to Soloman's temple. 

The temple rituals are about promising before God, and the men and women present, that the member  will put the LDS church above all else.  I repeat it is about putting the LDS church above all else.  Not Jesus Christ, or God for that matter,  it is about promising to give everything to the church. Money, time, any talents that God has given you to the LDS church. An organization that is really just a corporation.  The LDS church falls under a non profit business, titled the Corporation of the President of  the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That is comforting, isn't it? 

Even the "holy" garments are a way to put the church first in a marriage.  Married couples are suppose to wear these undergarments all the time.  Some members have even worn them during sex.  It is a layer  of clothing that reminds the person of the promises made in the temple.  Promises to put the church first, not the Savior.  Not their spouse. It is a barrier between husbands and wife.  A physical barrier, that can create an emotional barrier.  Even their sacred symbols on the garment are just rehashed free masonry symbols.  The square and compass.  Which is just another symbol for the Star of David.  A symbol that has nothing to do with the Old Testament Israel King.

The Mormon church is really just an offshoot of free masonry.  It is designed to manipulate the member to put the organization above all else.  Even above loyalty to country, friends, family and even spouses.  It is the ultimate mind control.


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Mormon church teaches families first, but......

To Mormons and non-members, the LDS church has always been an example of  how important families are to society and God.  The teachings of the church, in the past,  have been that the family is central to God's plan for all mankind.  Ask anyone familiar with the LDS church what stands out about the Mormons, that person  would probably say the the LDS church is very pro family.  The teachings of being married for eternity, the ability to be with loved ones and family members forever has been a tag line in the church for years.  But does the church really practice what it teaches?  If families are so important, why do doubting members feel as if the church's teachings rip families apart?  These are interesting questions.

Ever since the 1995 declaration titled:  (The Family: A Proclamation to the World),  was published to the world, the LDS church has been involved in aggressive campaigns to sustain the traditional family.  The church feels it has the right to defend its stance of traditional marriage.  I don't want to address that issue today,  but I wanted to touch on a topic that has been on my mind for sometime.  The demands of the church on families is really ruining the family unit.  True the church can teach good things but the generally the teachings are just common sense.  But in evaluating the teachings, the church seems to teach one thing but do another.

As a BIC member, one without the royal ties to elite pioneer stock of the church, I find that the church is really anti family.   The Mormon church becomes so intertwined in a member's life that the individual member becomes lost from the family and the church replaces the family of that person.     Look at a normal Sunday for a member of the church.  If that person holds a leadership position they may have anywhere from 1-2 hours of meetings before church.  This consists of PEC for the men, followed by Ward Council.  After that there are 3 hours of church services.  Some leaders may have an addition meeting after church services. During the church block time, 1 hour of it the family is together but then the members are split up and go to different classes.  For being a day of rest it sure seems like  members have a part time job.  All the leadership meetings consist of helping those struggling members with their faith and remaining active in the church.  A few times it might consist of humanitarian help only but most of the time a church spin is always involved.

During the week it is no different, Monday is "family night".  The church has counseled members to avoid sporting events, etc so families can have family home evening.  I guess this is family time but the church wants its teachings presented there so again more programming blending family and church.   Wednesday is night is youth night or Young Men/Young Women, where the youth have activities with friends and  with local church leaders called from the local ward or parish.  These activities always involve church teachings.  So relationships with friends center around the church. These weekday activities also involve the Boy Scout of America programs for the youth but with an LDS spin.   This is  just the foundation for the week of LDS members.  These activities don't include the other  responsibilities that members feel pressed to do.  Activities such as:  temple visits, home teaching/visiting teaching, callings and other church leadership responsibilities, cleaning church meeting houses, family scripture study, personal scripture study, family history, missionary work, etc, etc.  The list is ever growing.

The church has slyly intertwined itself in the life of its members so that the family and church become blurred and unfortunately members tend to choose church functions over family-that causes serious problems.  The church's teaching is that it is the "kingdom of God" first or in other words, the LDS church over everything else including families.  Once the blending of the Mormon church and family is accomplished then the LDS inc. has done its job.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gold plates or no gold plates, so which is it....?

One of the major things that caused disillusionment with the Mormon church was the "white washing" of the controversial history given by the organization to its members.  White washing is to clean up or cover up crimes, vices or problems.  I always think of Mark Twain's story of Tom Sawyer and his white washing of an old ugly fence. 

A coat of paint does make it look better from a distance but when upon closer inspection, all of the defects and problems are still there.  No matter how many coats of paint are applied the underlying problems will always be there and will eventually begin to surface again.  If one wants a solid, lasting, and good looking fence then maybe the fence just needs to be torn out. 

The LDS church has really been painting on the layers since its inception.  A non biased look into the history of the church and its doctrine taught, will reveal the church has changed its "mind" more than a 5 year old writing a dear Santa letter.  Core doctrines that were once the norm for the members have been thrown out with the bathwater.   Respected past leaders have been thrown under the bus.  Things that were considered "from God", are now one man's opinion.   To the member of the church, a dilemma is created. One has to ask;  why should I follow today's teachings when in 10 years it won't even be considered doctrine.  Or more importantly; how does a member know when a prophet is speaking as a prophet or a man?  This is a major concern. 

Polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, Native Americans being Lamanites, Book of Abraham, blood Atonement, Adam-God theory, etc, etc,....this list can continue but you get my point.  These were the teachings and doctrine of early leaders of this church.  However, today these teachings are considered to be men's opinions.  In answer to this question, I quote President Gordon B. Hinkley, "I don't know that we teach it".  This is a major concern.

Case in point:  I was taught that Joseph Smith risked everything to bring about an ancient scripture called the gold plates.  These plates seemed to bring about danger throughout the ages to whoever possessed them. Starting with Moroni, who was chased for years by the Lamanites to this dispensation's first prophet,  Joseph Smith.  The possessor of these "ancient scripture" was always in grave danger by evil men.  All the pictures I saw during my childhood had Joseph Smith peering through some ancient spectacles reading the gold plates,  or portray him with his finger on the plates dictating "God's words" to his scribe. 

So how does a member handle the realization that the gold plates were not used during the translation process.  They were covered by a cloth on the table or sometimes the plates weren't even in the room. A talk given in 1993 to mission presidents in Provo, UT by Elder Russell M. Nelson.  Elder Nelson quoted David Whitmer's journal:

 "Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.  A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared writing.  One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English.  Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear.  Thus the Book of Mormon was by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."  (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ. Richmond, MO.: n.p. 1887, p.12.).

Why weren't  the plates used during this process?  Does this show that the "translation" of the Book of Mormon is any different  than using a Ouija Board to determine answers to a question?  If the gold plates were so important, if Moroni risked his life and carried the plates hundreds if not thousands of miles and  Joseph Smith risked everything to get them and keep them hidden and the angel Moroni told Joseph that if anyone looks at them they will be destroyed then why weren't they  used during the translation process? 

Members will say, "well Joseph didn't need them to bring about the Book of Mormon, he was so 'intune' with God".  If that's the case, why even have the plates? Why teach that he needed them to  bring forth  the Book of Mormon? If they weren't used, why did Moroni take them back? I feel the church has painted itself in a corner.  This is a major mark against the claim that it is God's only true church.  It seems to call into question most of the history of the restoration of the "church". Truth will reveal itself and the LDS church will continue to find its paint job may not be all that great.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Struggling with Mormonism.....

I have taken some time off to deal with a difficult time in my life.  You see my life has been a giant lie.  I have been lied to, manipulated, taken advantage of, etc, etc....My religious life of Mormonism.  I didn't choose this life. I was born into it. My father, a life long member and my mother a convert, raised our family Mormon.  Sure the church teaches good things.  Most of  the teachings and lessons of the church are can keep people out of "trouble", but I have been carrying a lot of baggage worshiping in this religion called Mormonism. 

The baggage:  all the stress, time, money, worry, meetings, concern, etc., for an organization that has whitewashed its history from the beginning.  An organization that is really just a MLM business,  fronting as a church.  Their product, you don't get it in this life, you receive it in the hereafter. An organization that really has no special power or authority except only in their minds.  An organization that is supported on the backs of the normal members, while nepotism and family relations grant those in the club special privileges that the majority members are unaware. 

It is an organization that is ripping my family apart.  Once one spouse begins to question, the teachings of the church begin to "rear its ugly head".  Its not my spouse's fault, we only act how we are programmed to act, and the church begins its programming very early.   Attack the messenger, ME.  I'm the one that has lost my way, been deceived by Satan, become proud, you name it I have been called all of the above.   Instead of trying to understand my questioning, the church's programming causes members to attack the individual.  The church can do no wrong, in their eyes.  But I guess that's how it was from the beginning.  Joseph Smith got off the hook many times, until it all came to a breaking point in Carthage.   

Of course I understand, nobody wants to "air their dirty laundry".  But when an organization, claiming moral and religious priority over all others, was really just a fraud to take advantage of gullible people then someone needs to throw out the dirty water.  This blog was a way for me to vent my anger and frustration and allow me to clear my mind.  I hate this cult of Mormonism.  This may seem harsh, but it is destroying my marriage and that makes me upset.  Members claim that those who leave the church have an ax to grind, well maybe they should walk in a questioner's shoes before making that statement.  We do have an ax to grind, but we are justified because we have walked through hell to sharpen that ax.