Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Obedience is the first law of heaven aka the brethren..

My opinion of the Mormon church is that it is an organization of obedience.  It is run like any other successful corporation, those at the top make the rules and the rank and file member is expected to obey.  This is what the corporation/church was from the outset and continues to be--a system of obedience.  One concern is that of blind obedience which is;

Blind Obedience

Blind obedience is defined as the unquestioning adherence to inherently imprecise rules, even in the face of silly or adverse consequences.
More simply, blind obedience is essentially doing something because you are told, you adhere to the rules because they are the rules. Blind obedience is unquestionable or complete obedience without giving any thought. The connotation of blind obedience is typically negative, its being passive in the face of adversity, taking the obedient route.

Blind Obedience is doing something because you are told, you put no thought of your own into the decision you do it just because you’ve been told, (typically law).
-Obedience to the state: you don’t defy or question the source of authority (mrplasko-psych-soc.wikispaces.com)

Stanley Milgram an authority performed a ground breaking study.  http://wadsworth.cengage.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/0155060678_rathus/ps/ps01.html  The disturbing finding is this in the summary;

The experiment yielded two findings that were surprising. The first finding concerns the sheer strength of obedient tendencies manifested in this situation. Subjects have learned from childhood that it is a fundamental breach of moral conduct to hurt another person against his will. Yet, 26 subjects abandon this tenet in following the instructions of an authority who has no special powers to enforce his commands. To disobey would bring no material loss to the subject; no punishment would ensue. It is clear from the remarks and outward behavior of many participants that in punishing the victim they are often acting against their own values. Subjects often expressed deep disapproval of shocking a man in the face of his objections, and others denounced it as stupid and senseless. Yet the majority complied with the experimental commands. This outcome was surprising from two perspectives: first, from the standpoint of predictions made in the questionnaire described earlier. (Here, however, it is possible that the remoteness of the respondents from the actual situation, and the difficulty of conveying to them the concrete details of the experiment, could account for the serious underestimation of obedience.)
But the results were also unexpected to persons who observed the experiment in progress, through one-way mirrors. Observers often uttered expressions of disbelief upon seeing a subject administer more powerful shocks to the victim. These persons had a full acquaintance with the details of the situation, and yet systematically underestimated the amount of obedience that subjects would display.
The second unanticipated effect was the extraordinary tension generated by the procedures. One might suppose that a subject would simply break off or continue as his conscience dictated. Yet, this is very far from what happened. There were striking reactions of tension and emotional strain. One observer related:
I observed a mature and initially poised businessman enter the laboratory smiling and confident. Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a twitching, stuttering wreck, who was rapidly approaching a point of nervous collapse. He constantly pulled on his earlobe, and twisted his hands. At one point he pushed his fist into his forehead and muttered: "Oh God, let’s stop it." And yet he continued to respond to every word of the experimenter, and obeyed to the end.   

  Any understanding of the phenomenon of obedience must rest on an analysis of the particular conditions in which it occurs. The following features of the experiment go some distance in explaining the high amount of obedience observed in the situation.
1. The experiment is sponsored by and takes place on the grounds of an institution of unimpeachable reputation, Yale University. It may be reasonably presumed that the personnel are competent and reputable. The importance of this background authority is now being studied by conducting a series of experiments outside of New Haven, and without any visible ties to the university.
2. The experiment is, on the face of it, designed to attain a worthy purpose–advancement of knowledge about learning and memory. Obedience occurs not as an end in itself, but as an instrumental element in a situation that the subject construes as significant, and meaningful. He may not be able to see its full significance, but he may properly assume that the experimenter does.
3. The subject perceives that the victim has voluntarily submitted to the authority system of the experimenter. He is not (at first) an unwilling captive impressed for involuntary service. He has taken the trouble to come to the laboratory presumably to aid the experimental research. That he later becomes an involuntary subject does not alter the fact that, initially, he consented to participate without qualification. Thus he has in some degree incurred an obligation toward the experimenter.
4. The subject, too, has entered the experiment voluntarily, and perceives himself under obligation to aid the experimenter. He has made a commitment, and to disrupt the experiment is a repudiation of this initial promise of aid.
5. Certain features of the procedure strengthen the subject’s sense of obligation to the experimenter. For one, he has been paid for coming to the laboratory. In part this is canceled out by the experimenter’s statement that:
Of course, as in all experiments, the money is yours simply for coming to the laboratory. From this point on, no matter what happens, the money is yours.2 6. From the subject’s standpoint, the fact that he is the teacher and the other man the learner is purely a chance consequence (it is determined by drawing lots) and he, the subject, ran the same risk as the other man in being assigned the role of learner. Since the assignment of positions in the experiment was achieved by fair means, the learner is deprived of any basis of complaint on this count. (A similar situation obtains in Army units, in which–in the absence of volunteers–a particularly dangerous mission may be assigned by drawing lots, and the unlucky soldier is expected to bear his misfortune with sportsmanship.)
7. There is, at best, ambiguity with regard to the prerogatives of a psychologist and the corresponding rights of his subject. There is a vagueness of expectation concerning what a psychologist may require of his subject, and when he is overstepping acceptable limits. Moreover, the experiment occurs in a closed setting, and thus provides no opportunity for the subject to remove these ambiguities by discussion with others. There are few standards that seem directly applicable to the situation, which is a novel one for most subjects.
8. The subjects are assured that the shocks administered to the subject are "painful but not dangerous." Thus they assume that the discomfort caused the victim is momentary, while the scientific gains resulting from the experiment are enduring.
9. Through Shock Level 20 the victim continues to provide answers on the signal box. The subject may construe this as a sign that the victim is still willing to "play the game." It is only after Shock Level 20 that the victim repudiates the rules completely, refusing to answer further.
These features help to explain the high amount of obedience obtained in this experiment. Many of the arguments raised need not remain matters of speculation, but can be reduced to testable propositions to be confirmed or disproved by further experiments.3
The following features of the experiment concern the nature of the conflict which the subject faces.
10. The subject is placed in a position in which he must respond to the competing demands of two persons: the experimenter and the victim. The conflict must be resolved by meeting the demands of one or the other; satisfaction of the victim and the experimenter are mutually exclusive. Moreover, the resolution must take the form of a highly visible action, that of continuing to shock the victim or breaking off the experiment. Thus the subject is forced into a public conflict that does not permit any completely satisfactory solution.
11. While the demands of the experimenter carry the weight of scientific authority, the demands of the victim spring from his personal experience of pain and suffering. The two claims need not be regarded as equally pressing and legitimate. The experimenter seeks an abstract scientific datum; the victim cries out for relief from physical suffering caused by the subject’s actions.
12. The experiment gives the subject little time for reflection. The conflict comes on rapidly. It is only minutes after the subject has been seated before the shock generator that the victim begins his protests. Moreover, the subject perceives that he has gone through but two-thirds of the shock levels at the time the subject’s first protests are heard. Thus he understands that the conflict will have a persistent aspect to it, and may well become more intense as increasingly more powerful shocks are required. The rapidity with which the conflict descends on the subject, and his realization that it is predictably recurrent may well be sources of tension to him.
13. At a more general level, the conflict stems from the opposition of two deeply ingrained behavior dispositions: first, the disposition not to harm other people, and second, the tendency to obey those whom we perceive to be legitimate authorities.(Milgram)

These findings are interesting.  In the story of Nephi getting the brass plates, he has a similar situation only his authority figure was inside his head (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 4:6-17); 

 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.

This is homologous to the Lafferty brother's chilling ritualistic murder of their sister in law and child. .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Banner_of_Heaven

Obedience is the anchor for Mormonism.  Without obedience to leaders, the system would fail.  The leaders know this, thus the emphasis to obedience.  I'm all for obeying certain laws but Mormonism twists it to absolute obedience to the church above all else.  

An example of Christian obedience is following Christ's teachings of loving your neighbor,  but in Mormonism, Christ's teachings =big 15 counsel.  What they say is what God says.  When Elder Oaks was first assigned to the missionary department to assign mission calls  he recalled a discussion with a senior apostle,  

"Elder McKonkie, how do you know where to send them? And he said, 'you're the servant of the Lord and your action is the Lord's action.  You study it out in your mind and you assign them--and they're assigned by the Lord'.  You see the application of that principle to the bishop?" 


Again, when the big 15 emphasize obedience to the Lord, Jesus Christ, they are really stating obey us.  President Monson stated in General Conference;

   Declared President Joseph F. Smith in October 1873, “Obedience is the first law of heaven.”

He also made the statement and promise that any questions we may have can be answered through obedience.

 There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth. A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide—even obedience. A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God. 

So to summarize obedience is the first law of heaven and everything else is secondary.  Faith, hope and of course charity are secondary to obeying.  Not just obeying God's teachings, but a fellow man who tells you they are God's chosen vessel.  What if they are wrong or tell you to do something that is immoral or outright evil?  We see this in Nephi beheading Laban.  It happened with the Mountain Meadow Massacre.  It happened with polygamy and polyandry,  blacks and the priesthood, Adam God doctrine, blood atonement, the list can continue.  If these are the mistakes of men or opinions of leaders, than what good is a prophet if he can't determine his own bias and delusions from the holy spirit?  Why should I follow a teaching that is offensive, immoral and sometimes criminal?  Because the leaders tell me to?

Members of the church struggle to obey their leaders because that is what they are programmed to do.  It is a blind obedience.  If they are questioning, they are told to go to the Lord in prayer and ask if what the prophets and leaders are teaching is right. This was seen in the Kate Kelly case, she claims she honestly feels that women should get the priesthood.  Unfortunately, if the answer is different from the leader's counsel then the seeker of truth is being misled by Satan.  The double bind--only your leaders answers are correct.  It is one giant mind game--and the members are paying the price.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Joseph was an adulterer or an honorable man...

We are taught in the Mormon church that by their fruits you may know them.  In the New Testament Jesus was quoted;

The Lord said to the people in his day, and to us too: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20.)
“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
“… Every tree is known by his own fruit.” (Luke 6:43–44.)

The church's own scripture, The Book of Mormon states (3 Nephi 14:16);

 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

 20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Moroni, the son of Mormon adds his "testimony" (Moroni 7:3-5);

 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.

 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

Moroni continues;

11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
 12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

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.

Elder Russell Ballard, said in 2007 General Conference stated;

 Sometimes people just want to know what the Church is. Those who are curious in this general way deserve clear and accurate information that comes directly from those of us who are members so that they do not have to rely on the incomplete answers, half-truths, or false statements that may come from the media or other outside voices. The many misunderstandings and false information about the Church are somewhat our own fault for not clearly explaining who we are and what we believe.

 He continues; 

We should also remember that sometimes the best way to answer people’s interest can be by how we live, how we radiate the joy of the gospel in our lives, how we treat others, and how sincerely we follow the teachings of Christ.

The Doctrine and Covenants (135) reveal how John Taylor felt about Joseph Smith, he also offered God's opinion of him as well.

Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

So God approved of his "servant Joseph" and all he did.  Which brings me to the fundamental question.  The one question that is the foundation for all truth claims.  President Gordan Hinckley said in General Conference,  2003;

 Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

Based on this last quote it would do us well to find out if this organization is true or not.  The whole system comes down to whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, or a deceiver, fraud and an adulterer.  We know that Jesus claimed by the fruits of the individual one can determine if they are good or evil.  We also know by the Lord's own decree, in the Book of Mormon (the most correct book on earth),  that a "bitter fountain can't bring forth good water".  So I propose that either Joseph was a good, honorable man who was a prophet or he was a womanizing fraud.  Let's answer this by  what Jesus taught, let's look at his fruit. 

1. Joseph's 1826 trial for glass looking.  This can be a difficult case to dissect with allegations of fraud, misinterpretations, and "hear say".  It can be agreed upon that Joseph did go before a court and was found guilty of being a disorderly person.  Can that be considered fraud?-it is up to debate.  The main points I would like state is that Joseph was involved in occult magic.  He either really believed he could tap into the supernatural or it was a parlor trick.  Either way, in my opinion, does not bode well for the truthfulness claims of the church.  I also think it is important to recognize that Joseph was using a peep stone in a hat to find buried treasure--consequently that was never found.  This is the  same technique he used to "translate" the gold plates.  It is the same process a young Palmyra "prophetess" used.  Her name was Sally Chase, she would put a stone into a hat, press it to her face and announce what was seen.  William Stafford, another neighbor of Joseph in Palmyra, also had a peep stone.  Both of these two individuals used their stones to look for treasure (Quinn 1998:41).  Joseph's own mother, Lucy Smith, used seer stones as well(Quinn 1998:42).   This was  a common practice during Joseph's time, several individuals were looking for buried treasure as a means for income.  

Would these actions by young Joseph be considered spurious?   Did he really believe he was receiving an answer through his peep stone?  Was it a scam?  We won't really know what he thought, but in my opinion, if he really felt he was getting direction from supernatural source--then we must pause and reconsider all other revelations after the fact.  Why?  Because,  he was proven to not have the gift of discernment.  Also, why would God use the same fraudulent process to bring about the Book of Mormon.  Finally, are the revelations from Joseph, the directions of God or are they his own imaginary constructions? 

2. Kirtland banking scandal. Gerald and Sandra Tanner, who I feel are generally unbiased, as ex Mormons, in their presentation of Mormonism wrote:

Wilford Woodruff, who remained true to the Church and became the fourth President, confirmed the fact that Joseph Smith claimed to have a revelation concerning the bank. Under the date of January 6, 1837, he recorded the following in his journal: "I also herd [sic] President Joseph Smith, jr., declare in the presence of F. Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, and others in the Deposit office that HE HAD RECEIVED THAT MORNING THE WORD OF THE LORD UPON THE SUBJECT OF THE KIRTLAND SAFETY SOCIETY. He was alone in a room by himself and he had not only [heard] the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an AUDIBLE VOICE. He did not tell us at that time what the Lord said upon the subject but remarked that if we would give heed to the commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well." ("Wilford Woodruff's Journal," January 6, 1837, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, page 296)

According to Joseph, God told him to start a bank:

"Construction of the temple had temporarily boosted the economy of Kirtland, but after the dedication the economy declined as poor converts arrived in ever increasing numbers. The old settlers attempted to keep them out of Kirtland by economic pressures, but the Mormon population increased twentyfold while the landholdings only quadrupled. In November 1836 Joseph and other church leaders drew up articles for a bank to provide capital for investments. It was a desperate gamble. Oliver Cowdery went to Philadelphia for plates to print bank notes, and Orson Hyde went to the legislature in Columbus with a petition for a bank license. It was refused. Oliver returned with plates for the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, but Orson Hyde came back without a charter. The plates were so expensive that they printed some specie anyway, writing in "Anti" before the word "Bank" and "ing" after it. The notes read, "Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company," and the paper passed as legal tender from a joint-stock company. At first the money circulated wildly. When merchants and businessmen who were more sophisticated than the Mormons began to redeem their notes, Joseph could see that a run would ruin the bank. After one month he and Sidney Rigdon resigned as officers but the bank failed. This affected Joseph's status.
    People who were convinced that Joseph had intended a swindle at the outset attacked him verbally and threatened him physically. This disruption forced Joseph to leave the city frequently....(Newell & Avery 1994 62).

There were also claims of fraudulent activity with the bank. 
The safe measured only 25 by 24 by 29 inches. The dimensions of the safe cast a serious shadow on the validity of stories of various apostates cited by Brodie. They claimed that the shelves of the bank vault were lined with many boxes each marked $1,000. These many boxes were supposedly filled with sand, lead, old iron, and stone with only a thin layer of coins on top. As will be pointed out later [in the article], the founders of the bank probably had enough genuine specie when the bank was opened to fill the several small boxes that might have occupied this very modest safe. (Brodie 1945, 196-197).

This was a disaster from the outset.  If God really gave Joseph the revelation to start a bank, then God has no idea what he is doing.  Most likely, in my opinion,  it was one of the grand ideas that came from Joseph's mind.  Either way it turned out badly for  all involved.

3. Polygamy.  The Doctrine & Covenants, section 132,  God states:


 34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.

 35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.

 36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.

 37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.

 38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.

 39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

Here God states that he commanded and allowed all these men to participate in polygamy.  However, in the Book of Mormon, "the most correct book on earth",  Jacob writes:

22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.
 23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

 24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

 25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

 26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

 27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

 28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

 29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

 30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

 31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

 32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.

 33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.

 34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.

 35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

Here we have "the most correct book" giving one commandment, saying that David was engaging in abominable acts while Joseph's revelation, in the D&C states that God did not condemn David except involving  Uriah's wife.  So which is correct?  These statements are in conflict.   How can we trust anything Joseph claims from God if he has gotten other  previous supernatural revelations wrong.  Case in point; treasure hunting,  Kirtland banking scandal, and the selling of the Book of Mormon copyright in Canada,  show how inept Joseph's or God's revelations really were.

I feel that polygamy/polyandry is the crown jewel in Joseph's bungles.  He managed to alienate himself with all outsiders at the time and caused a ripple effect inside the church.  Those that were considered his friends abandoned him and denounced him.  Many were willing to look past the previous mistakes but could not anymore.  This ultimately, lead to his arrest and death.  These issues are still felt in the church today.  

Based on what I have read, Joseph was a charismatic man.  Is it no wonder that he was popular with women?  I would put him on the level of a David Koresh or a Jim Jones.  They all had the ability to get their followers to obey.  This is conjecture, but I feel polygamy was a way to deal with Joseph's sexual activities.  Section 132 was received in 1843.  The introduction states;

 Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant and the principle of plural marriage. Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, evidence indicates that some of the principles involved in this revelation were known by the Prophet as early as 1831. See Official Declaration 1.  

The Fanny Alger affair took place prior to that revelation.  Also, according to Emma, she caught Joseph with Fanny in a barn.  

 Fanny Alger is Joseph's first known plural wife, whom he came to know in Kirtland during early 1833 when she, at the age of 16, stayed at his home as a housemaid. Described as "a varry nice & Comly young woman," according to Benjamin Johnson, Fanny lived with the Smith family from 1833 to 1836.

Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, recalled that the prophet's "servant girl" claimed he had made "improper proposals to her, which created quite a talk amongst the people." Mormon Fanny Brewer similarly reported "much excitement against the Prophet…[involving] an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family and under his protection."

Former Mormon apostle William McLellin later wrote that Emma Smith substantiated the Smith-Alger affair. According to McLellin, Emma was searching for her husband and Alger one evening when through a crack in the barn door she saw "him and Fanny in the barn together alone" on the hay mow. McLellin, in a letter to one of Smith's sons, added that the ensuing confrontation between Emma and her husband grew so heated that Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery had to mediate the situation. After Emma related what she had witnessed, Smith, according to McLellin, "confessed humbly, and begged forgiveness. Emma and all forgave him." While Oliver Cowdery may have forgiven his cousin Joseph Smith, he did not forget the incident. Three years later, when provoked by the prophet, Cowdery countered by calling the Fanny Alger episode "a dirty, nasty, filthy affair."

Chauncey Webb recounts Emma’s later discovery of the relationship: “Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house”.

SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, p.291

At least one account indicates that Fanny became pregnant. Chauncy G. Webb, Smith's grammar teacher, later reported that when the pregnancy became evident, Emma Smith drove Fanny from her home (Wyl 1886, 57). Webb's daughter, Ann Eliza Webb Young, a divorced wife of Brigham Young, remembered that Fanny was taken into the Webb home on a temporary basis (Young 1876, 66-67). Fanny stayed with relatives in nearby Mayfield until about the time Joseph fled Kirtland for Missouri.

Fanny left Kirtland in September 1836 with her family. Though she married non-Mormon Solomon Custer on 16 November 183614 and was living in Dublin City, Indiana, far from Kirtland, her name still raised eyebrows. Fanny Brewer, a Mormon visitor to Kirtland in 1837, observed "much excitement against the Prophet … [involving] an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family and under his protection" (Parkin 1966, 174).

SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p.8

Here is a man, claiming to be God's spokesperson for the earth, and yet is engaging in unsavory actions.  To me, it seems as if everything Joseph did was done out of self interest.  I think his own words are telling (History of the Church vol. 6 p. 408-409);

God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil--all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days
page 409
of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go. For the last three years I have a record of all my acts and proceedings, for I have kept several good, faithful, and efficient clerks in constant employ: they have accompanied me everywhere, and carefully kept my history, and they have written down what I have done, where I have been, and what I have said; therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions; and my enemies cannot prove anything against me. They have got wonderful things in the land of Ham. I think the grand jury have strained at a gnat and swallowed the camel.

Do these sound like the words of a humble prophet of Jesus.  I feel he is far from the man portrayed in the church's manuals.  He can't be both a prophet and next to Jesus in status, while also an adulterer.   It can't be both, it is one or the other..  I also feel that the same, self interest, is still present in the church as an organization.  Most service opportunities, benefit the church.  If there is a big service event or natural disaster, the bright yellow smocks are present.  I have found that the church has stayed true to its origins in some regards.  Praise to the man indeed...



Sunday, July 20, 2014

We are speaking two different languages....

Recently on twitter I engaged in a small dialogue with a TBM.  He follows me twitter and has read my blog.  He seems like a critical thinker.  He must be well read.  He has his own blog defending  the Mormon church, that is his right.  He has voiced his opinion of Ordain Women and offered it freely.  Although I see holes in his logic, it is his perspective.

He was very vocal in attacking my logic skills.  I must be upfront, this is my blog and my voice, I write for no one,  it is for me.  If it helps someone in my situation, great.   If someone does not agree with what I write or my conclusions, they can write, criticize and complain but don't attack me or my intellect.  You don't know my educational credentials or my experiences. Attack my ideas, but don't belittle my education or intellect.  This is where both sides, Mormon/ex Mormons can use help.  I may not be the clearest in explaining my thoughts but it doesn't mean there isn't some truth in what I'm saying.

Mormons and ex Mormons, are on different planets.  We are not on the same page.  Where a member sees a complete, beautiful and inspirational painting, an ex Mormon sees all the flaws, mistakes and shortcuts on the same canvas.  The question comes down to, with all the shortcuts, mistakes, and concealing can a person over look that, and still see the beauty in the painting.  That is up to the individual.  Fault should never be placed on the individual.  It is their choice.  Just as it is the member's right to talk about how wonderful the painting looks.

I must clarify, in my opinion, the Mormon church looks like an oil painting a door to door salesman would sell.  The salesman convinces you that you need this painting. With high pressure, you purchase it.  At first glance,  the painting looks great.  The colors are bright and the subject is brought to life on the canvas.  Once it is hung on the wall, the mistakes, flaws, concealment of problems, not to mention it doesn't even match the chosen decor, reveal themselves. The light begins to show all of its problems.

What does the individual do?  Some choose to leave it and ignore the problems.  Some choose to leave it because a family member likes it.  Some leave it out of ease.  Some leave it for emotional attachment
Others may leave it,  but complain about its faults.  A few decide to remove it and replace it with something better.  Who is right?  Who is wrong?

That depends on the view one has of the painting.  We should not fault others for their view point.  It is their choice.  No one is right or wrong, it all depends on their perspective.  The Mormon church has problems.  I think both sides can all agree on that statement.  What we can't agree on is if we can continue to believe it with all its faults.  That is up to the individual.  Don't attack the person for the flaws in the picture. Where a member sees a beautiful image an ex Mormon sees jagged brush strokes and mistakes.  Although it was sold as a masterpiece by the salesman, it was far from it.

So, from a non believing member , don't tell me I'm flawed in my thinking because of inconsistencies and problems in the Mormon church. From my perspective, I can see them and understand them. Although they may seem like individual and unrelated issues, they all add up to affect the overall picture.  I was told it was a masterpiece,  I'll be the judge of that.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A little scriptural interpretation by CS...

Let me start by saying, I'm a believer in God.  In this post, I  don't want to define who or what is God.  I will state,  I don't think He is as loving and caring as I was taught in church.  The Mormon God is kind of a multiple personality being.  One day He blesses you, the next day He punishes you.  Everything good in your life comes from Him, everything bad He allows to happen for your benefit.  He will help you find your keys, because He loves you, but allows famines that last years in  Africa.  He gets credit when you help someone stranded but doesn't get blamed when a rapist attacks someone.  He has given you free agency, you can "choose to not drink alcohol" but takes free choice away from the teenager who gets sexually abused.  He gives the rapist free choice to attack and rape but doesn't allow the victim to choose to get raped.  God always gets the benefit of the doubt.  He gets all the glory and honor for the good done in the world while at the same time never gets blamed for anything bad.  Sounds like a good gig.  In the story of Job, when God and Satan are planning and scheming to test Job, God is praised and Satan is blamed.  Sorry I needed to vent.  I know it was off topic, but I feel better.

In the New Testament Luke 15:3-7, Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep.

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Jesus was speaking to a group that consisted of "sinners and publicans".  Although we may not agree on what defines a sin, we can all agree in Mormonism,  a sinner is anyone who goes against the norm, the unwritten order of things, the policies, the PR statements, the opinions of old men, the local leader's views, the official "doctrine"--what ever that is.

A publican in Roman and Biblical times was a tax collector.  So Jesus was teaching the down and outers, the outcasts and disliked of society.  Personally, I have felt like an outcast since starting down this road.  I have been criticized, mocked, and accused of all kinds of things by members/family.  In this parable,  "Luke" states,  the Pharisees and scribes were complaining about it.  Why? Why would they care, because they were different?   Now I want to be clear,  I think the concept of Jesus is a great story and although I don't believe it actually happened, I still feel we can learn from the Bible--like any other fictional book.  

In this parable, the subject of the story leaves the group to go out on his/her own. Because He loves the lamb, the Shepherd leaves the rest of the flock to go and find the lamb.  Who is the Shepherd?  According to John 10:11 

 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.   

Jesus states that He is the Shepherd.  It is Jesus that goes out to find the lamb.  He doesn't send his dogs or recruit others to do His job, it is He and He alone. Because it is the Shepherd that goes looking, the lost lamb has a personal experience  with the Good Shepherd.  A personal and intimate experience involving no one else.  Having a relationship/experience with the Shepherd did not require going through a member of the flock.  It just took a step into the unknown.  While in the flock, the lamb was just a number of the group.  Every member of the flock acted and behaved the same. And notice the parable doesn't claim the Shepherd took the lamb back into the fold which most  likely meant going to slaughter. The shepherd called his friends and neighbors (not other lambs) together and has a celebration for finding the one.  

This is the story of members who have found out the truth of the Mormon church.  We have dared to leave the comfort of the flock and wander in uncharted territory.  Obviously the rest of the flock did not dare follow us.  They ignored us, criticized us, turned their backs and even ran from us.  But we are the ones who have that experience with the God within.  We have learned that we are not broken and although we may appear lost to the rest of the flock, we finally know who we truly are-now let's party


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Mormon church kills the individual...

On the surface, the Mormon church looks appealing.  Everyone in it appears happy.  They always state they are really, truly happy.  The members all look the same, clean cut with a white shirt and tie. The women have the one ear piercing and the shade undershirts.  They state that without the church, they would be shooting up heroin, sleeping with prostitutes or  be in federal prison.  Tears come easy as they share their testimony.  The members claim they would lost without the gospel in their lives.  They are always "willing" to help at an assigned move or service project.  They are their "brothers keepers".  They frequently tell the their assigned friends/neighbors that they love them or miss them on the last day of every month, then not talk to them for 30 days.  They love being with family.  They talk about how much they love their families and are blessed that  they can live together forever.  The members love God, Jesus and especially Joseph Smith.

I mentioned that they all look the same, act the same and even appear to think the same.  Very rarely do you see a confident individual who challenges the norm.  That norm being, similar in appearance and thinking.   This is anecdotal, but the majority of members I know are staunch Republicans.  Heaven forbid if a Democrat is present. Most members love Mitt and despise Obama.  It seems as if, the Mormon church, possesses a hive mentality.  Is it no wonder, Brother Brigham chose the beehive as the symbol of Utah.  Bees follow a central authority's orders without question. Bees have a hive mentality.  They all act alike and work together toward the good of the hive.  Bees are hard working.  The Mormon church advocates and  stresses these concepts. The busy members look out and make sure other members are towing the line.  It is a sinister technique that forces members to behave the same.  It is similar to the Judenrat of World War II. 


As far back as 1933, Nazi policy makers had discussed establishing Jewish-led institutions to carry out anti-Jewish policies. The concept was based upon centuries-old practices which were instituted in Germany during the Middle Ages. As the German army swept through Poland and the Soviet Union, it carried out an order of S.S. leader Heydrich to require the local Jewish populace to form Jewish Councils as a liaison between the Jews and the Nazis. These councils of Jewish elders, (Judenrat; plural: Judenräte), were responsible for organizing the orderly deportation to the death camps, for detailing the number and occupations of the Jews in the ghettos, for distributing food and medical supplies, and for communicating the orders of the ghetto Nazi masters. The Nazis enforced these orders on the Judenrat with threats of terror, which were given credence by beatings and executions. As ghetto life settled into a "routine," the Judenrat took on the functions of local government, providing police and fire protection, postal services, sanitation, transportation, food and fuel distribution, and housing, for example.
The Judenrat raised funds to create hospitals, homes for orphans, disinfection stations, and to provide food and clothing to those without.
Jewish leaders were ambivalent about participating in these Judenröte. On the one hand, many viewed these councils as a form of collaboration with the enemy. Others saw these councils as a necessary evil, which would permit Jewish leadership a forum to negotiate for better treatment. In the many cases where Jewish leaders refused to volunteer to serve on the Judenrat, the Germans appointed Jews to serve on a random basis. Some Jews who had no prior history of leadership agreed to serve, hoping that it would improve their chances of survival. Many who served in the Judenrat were arrested, taken to labor camps, or hanged.
When the Nazis required a quota of Jews to participate in forced labor, the Judenrat had the responsibility to meet this demand. Sometimes Jews could avoid forced labor by making a payment to the Judenrat. These payments supplemented the taxes which the Judenrat levied to finance the services provided in the ghettos.
Underground Jewish organizations sprang up in the ghettos to serve as alternatives to the Judenrat, some of which were established with a military component to organize resistance to the Nazis.

Source: The Holocaust—A Guide for Teachers. Copyright 1990 by Gary M. Grobman. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, mechanical or electronic, or by any information storage and retrieval system or other method, for any use, without the written permission of Gary M. Grobman, except that use, copying, and distribution of the information in this electronic version of this book is permitted provided that no fees or compensation is charged for use, copies, or access to such information and the copyright notice is included intact.
Some Jewish leaders were complicit in the death of their own people.  Although in their defense, they didn't have an option.  Today,  members aren't hunted by modern day Danites, but similar tactics are used in the modern LDS church.  Home teaching and visiting teaching are a way that members can check up on fellow participants.  PEC and Ward Councils are groups of leaders where concerns about fellow members are discussed and action plans are created.  The latest program of "Hastening the Work",  is designed to "gently" help disaffected members back into the fold of the church.  Even the garment is a way to tell if a member is part of the group.  

A blatant example of this process, is the so called "Court of Love".   This was recently offered to Kate Kelly and John Dehlin.  All these markers and programs are in place to act as a system to keep  members active and expose individuality and resistance.  Once the exposure is done, the dissidents can be dealt with quickly and smoothly.  Shame, humiliation and familial pressures are used to break the individual, causing them to fall in line.  A talk at General Conference by L. Tom Perry shows how leadership really looks at the rank and file members.  He states:

One day I asked my grandfather how I would know if I was always doing the right thing, given that life presents so many choices. As my grandfather usually did, he answered me with an experience from farm life.
He taught me about breaking in a team of horses so that they would work together. He explained that a team of horses must always know who is in charge. One of the keys to asserting control and directing a horse is a harness and bit. If a member of the team ever believes that it does not need to obey the will of the driver, the team will never pull and work together to maximize their ability.
Now let’s examine the lesson my grandfather taught me using this example. Who is the driver of the team of horses? My grandfather believed it is the Lord. He is the one who has a purpose and a plan. He is also the trainer and builder of the team of horses and, in turn, each individual horse. The driver knows best, and the only way for a horse to know it is always doing the right thing is to be obedient and follow the driver’s lead.
What was my grandfather likening to a harness and bit? I believed then, as I believe now, that my grandfather was teaching me to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In his mind’s eye, the harness and bit were spiritual. An obedient horse which is part of a well-trained team of horses needs little more than a gentle tug from the driver to do exactly what he wants it to do. This gentle tug is equivalent to the still, small voice with which the Lord speaks to us. Out of respect for our agency, it is never a strong, forceful tug.

 Who is the driver?  Elder Perry states, the Lord.  Only according to the church, God equates the church.  There is no distinction.  Another way to look at it, God equates the Apostles.  So in other words, the will of the Apostles and General leadership is the will of God.  The horses analogy is the same concept as the beehive.  We cannot have any individuality.  Individuality destroys cooperation and the goals of the Mormon church.  The church is a killer of the individual self and creates a pseudo personality in its place. That pseudo person places the Mormon church above all else, and if he/she tries to break out, safety nets are in place to get them back in line.  And those safety nets are the other members and local leaders.

Everything the church employs breaks down individuality.  All local leadership positions create a process of "ratting out" those who don't fit the mold.  The church's hope is to strip away the old self and make a new person in the mold they defined.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brian Hales' attack on CES author..

I found that Brian Hales attacked Jeremy Runnells, author of the CES letter.  He suggested that Jeremy read up on the polyandrous relationships of Joseph and his wives.  This is one tactic that I can't stand about apologists.  Brian attacked Jeremy.  Even in the title of his post,  he held back no punches with his sarcastic line.  Granted Jeremy's CES letter wasn't flawless, he has admitted as such and made the appropriate changes. Another point;  Jeremy isn't an academic scholar.  He isn't a historian, he never claimed to be one. He simply penned his questions during a crisis of faith. He was voicing his concerns to find answers. He, like myself, couldn't do the mental gymnastics it takes to be a believing member. One recommendation for Brian Hales, QUIT BLAMING THE VICTIM.  Let's have a look at Brian's recommended site,  www.josephsmithpolygamy.org.

 On Brian Hale's recommended website, the authors give information about Joseph's wives, their lives, marital status and  relationships with Joseph Smith.  Brian asserts that the majority of the relationships weren't sexual.  How would he know?  Whether or not they were, I won't speculate.  However,  I would like to point out the HUGE ELEPHANT in the room, why was he marrying other men's wives?  Or even marrying unwed women behind Emma's back? This is red flag.  Apologists often quote D&C 132 in the defense of Joseph Smith, I find it interesting that they are quoting the individual who was guilty of the offense.  It is like using the bylaws of Bernie Madoff's corporation to justify the fraud.  In my opinion,  Joseph Smith was puffing out his chest and claiming power.  That is what the alpha male will do.

The D&C 132 really shows the underbelly of Joseph Smith.  It basically allows him to claim whoever he wanted while forcing his wife to accept polygamy/polyandry or be destroyed.  Starting in verse 51, after telling Joseph he is forgiven and accepted of God.  Now Emma, on the other hand:

 51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.

 52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.

 53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.

 54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.

 55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundred-fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.

 56 And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.

 I don't know in what context would this be accepted.  Joseph Smith was a fraud.   I find it interesting that Joseph allowed other women, who were married, to marry him, but wouldn't allow his own wife Emma to do the same. He was setting the rules and the rules only benefited him.

I would like to ask Brian, if he would be okay if his wife was asked by Tom Monson to be one of his spiritual wives.  I know I wouldn't, if that happened, it would just solidify in my mind Mormon narrative of power, misogyny and misandry.


"Oh say what is truth..."

I have noticed recently a trend with my Facebook wall.  It always occurs over the weekend, on the  day of rest.  It is as if the Hounds of Hell are unleashed on my poor unbelieving soul.  I want to "bear/bare my testimony" that the Hastening the Work program of the LDS church is happening.  Every Sunday my wall becomes a pinterest poster board for little quotes and deep thoughts by my Mormon friends.  The pictures of sunsets, beaches, that solo tree on a hill combined with an emotional faith declaration are really pulling at my heart strings--no not really.  I don't  care that members on the internet are sharing these little pearls of great price, at least I can block them.  I  must, however, make a stand against the "knowledge of truth" the members claim.

I must admit that I'm no expert in linguistics.  I can speak/write English correctly, sometimes.  I did learn a foreign language for my LDS mission.  I was fluent to an extent, but I have haven't studied that language for over 20 years.  I state this to be upfront and honest. I don't consider myself an expert on this topic.

When members state they "know the church is true", what does that mean?  To Mormons, knowledge is the the fruit of faith.   You cannot obtain "knowledge" through secular means.  Only true "knowledge" comes from God.   All other knowledge is not trustworthy.  Members claim that science is always changing.  But to be clear, science isn't a truth, only a process to determine truth.   Yes, science changes answers as new evidence comes forth. That is normal and expected.  To members, God's ways never change.  Unfortunately, God has changed His mind on several issues.  So is God's method of determining truth any different from science?

What is the root word for truth.  According to my research, truth came from the Latin word ver.  As in; to verify.   I will use the Latin definition to clarify my point.  Some things are verifiable, some are not. To members, one can verify truth by praying about it.  In the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:3-5, we learn truth by praying and asking God. One question to this claim, what if someone got a negative answer from God?  Ah, the double bind,  God won't give you a negative answer, because the Book of Mormon is true,  is the normal response.  They will tell you, that you must try harder with more faith.  Which leads to another question, what is the root word of faith?

Faith comes from the Greek word pistis, which means persuasion or to become persuaded.  That means when you have sufficient faith, you have become sufficiently persuaded to buy into what is being presented.  If you are buying a time share, you will be presented with all the facts and then make a decision.  How this process is applied in the Mormon church is as follow:  God won't give you a yes answer until you have exercised enough faith.  Or in other words, until you have been persuaded adequately to accept the story.  This is just confirmation bias.  This persuasion comes from other individuals at first.  Leaders, parents, mentors, friends all begin the process.   Over time, however, we internalize all the teachings and begin to persuade ourselves.  That is the hook. That is why it is so hard to leave Mormonism or why loved ones never leave.  We have persuaded ourselves it is true.  At that point, we "know" and nothing will change that.  

Mormons who get up and pound the pulpit every month stating "I know the church is true. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is true", really know.   They  have obtained knowledge, according to their own bias that they developed.  Unfortunately, it has no basis in the real world around us.


Monday, July 14, 2014

I don't need the Mormon God to teach me morals...

People have asked, what caused me to begin questioning  the truthfulness of the Mormon church?  For most ex Mormons /unbelievers, they generally begin finding out little "flecks" of church history, that lead to unraveling of the whole system.  They begin to use logic and reasoning toward Mormonism and apply that same skepticism toward all religions.  My process was different.  I deconstructed Christianity first,  causing my realization that Mormonism and all it entails, is a lie.

Growing up in the Mormon church,  I had all the standard programming.  Although I didn't graduate from seminary, I was a "good" kid- I still had my share of fun in high school.   A mission was always in the back of my mind, my older brother set the example for me.  I served a mission, went to BYU, met a beautiful woman, got married in the temple.  I was living the Mormon dream.  While I was at BYU, I taught at the MTC for two years.  We didn't had children right away, marriage was difficult enough. During my last year at BYU,  I applied to professional school and the rest is history.

Things were moving along nicely, we began to have children , purchased a home, started a business, all the while-fulfilling church callings.  I was becoming a Mormon "yes" man.  This, I'm ashamed to admit, began to impact family relationships.  That is a  story for another day.

I held various  "important" positions in the church.  The ones that really feed the ego. My wife's friends would always comment about what a good husband I was, and how they wished their husbands were more spiritual.  Those comments can really build one's ego.  I hate to say it, but I always liked it.

As I was serving as EQP, I began to read more alternative historical books.  I enjoyed looking at history through a different lens.  I began to be more skeptical and challenge the norm.

No topic was off limits.  I read books on the Occult, Christianity, Gnostic teachings, etc. During this time, I read a fictional book titled The Armageddon Conspiracy. Although it was fiction, it kind of slapped me in the face.  It caused me to see Christianity in a different light.  I began questioning and challenging my core beliefs.  I ultimately came to the conclusion that I was mislead in my Mormon/Christian upbringing.

 All of the questions and concerns that I couldn't resolve went away. I was able to settle issues that several friends who worked in CES couldn't answer.  I understood dilemmas that a religious professor at BYU could not clarify. I was done with the mental gymnastics I had done in the past.  Once I came to understand, everything fell into place and the Mormonism and all religion unravelled.

I began to see that I had self worth that wasn't dictated by an outside source.  I didn't need approval from someone who wasn't really a friend.  I didn't need some God, who's actions I felt were immoral, directing my life.  I could own myself with all my flaws and positive attributes.   I didn't have to be careful to not offend a God, with whom I didn't agree.  I was empowered.  I was real. I was a new person.

I can help those in need without being forced.  I can hold real friendships without the Mormon church's influence.  I can decide who I want to help and when.  Lastly, I can help others who are not tied to the church.  I have begun to remove the layers of shit piled on by the Mormon church and can finally see clearly.