Posted by: Jay | September 5, 2007

Should the LDS Church deal with its controversial history?

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Should the LDS Church really deal with the controversy surrounding its history? This is a question I have struggled with for many months. Should a Church that wants to promote faith introduce potentially faith-draining facts to its members, facts that could cause them to question authority? Would this be counterproductive to do?

It turns out that I’m not the only one thinking about this. At the latest Sunstone symposia there was a panel of LDS apologists talking about the idea of exposing members to hard facts in LDS history. Most stated that Sunday school would not be the appropriate place for such discussions. One suggested that an institute class be established for open discussion of difficult issues. Still another stated that we should slowly inform members when appropriate during lessons.

The Church seems to be taking a different view of how the problem should be approached. This year several publications in the Church News and Ensign have discussed issues that arise with LDS historical events. It appears that the LDS Church has decided to counter act the attention it has been getting with its own articles that explain the events and their interpretation of them. This is great! If Helen Whitney’s special “The Mormons” did nothing else it helped to spur interest in the general membership in some controversial subjects.

Members of the LDS Church should be able to defend their beliefs. If they are not aware of what was taught or practiced in the past, they may be taken off guard when confronted by anti-LDS information. I believe it is essential that members young and old be given the whole story. That they be allowed to wrestle with the facts. If they do not their expectations of the Church remain sky high. When they find out the Church is no different from others (i.e. it lead by imperfect men that make mistakes) their expectations fail to be met and their testimonies crash. A lifetime of trust between the Church and member will be compromised. If they are able to climb free of the wreckage, they must slowly rebuild their testimony from the ground up, reevaluating their expectations of what a Church led by God would look like.

The LDS Church needs to provide a place to facilitate discussion and to allow members struggling with their testimony the opportunity to work it out in a safe environment. If it fails to do this the only recourse of a questioning member is to go online where anti-Mormon sites out number apologetic sites 10 to 1 (not an actual figure, but I propose it is close). The information on many of these sites is faulty and biased, but without good alternatives members are left little other option.

Many will look to other Churches hoping that they will find one that is more in line with God’s teachings. Some will realize that this appears to be a futile search. Each individual theology requires an alternate interpretation of biblical text to prove its principles. It appears that the Holy Ghost really is the only way to know for sure. Study with the mind is not enough. Proof of this is shown by the fact that many religious traditions spring from such study. So what is to be done? How can one find the truth? How should the LDS Church introduce tough historical facts to its members without distracting from the most important of its missions, teaching about Christ?

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Responses

  1. Good thoughts. I have been reading Sunstone for a couple of years and think that there has to be a place for people to talk about these things in a faith promoting setting. But this must be approached with caution and all you can end up focusing on the troublesome aspects and miss out on some great things.

  2. I certainly understand the desire many have for innoculation. I think this is going to have some of it’s own problems. I think it will produce a movement in the church for “personal explanation” and liberal scholarship. This will erode the idea of a “plain and simple” Gospel as well as the role of a Prophet in explaining things to people. Unless, it’s Boyd Packer, the Prophet is not going to give people an explanation for these things because any definitive answer will marginalize large numbers of members. Silence is a “pretend we agree with you” solution.

    Hey Jay,
    Did you write this letter? It sounds like it could have been you: http://www.postmormon.org/exp_e/index.php/discussions/viewthread/2771/

  3. Also Jay have you prayed for the Holy Spirit to give you a renewed faith in the Book of Abraham? Has he answered?

  4. Tim,
    I did not write that letter, but it does express some of the same things I feel. I’ve learned that there are many people out there that are just like me. Some of them have lives so similar to me its like looking in the mirror (kind of scarry:).

    I pray often that the Lord will give me peace and that I will be able to separate truth from fiction. Although I have not received a direct answer, I have felt at peace lately.

  5. I could not agree with you more on this one Jay, however I also agree with Tim… it could very easily turn into this open forum of Everyone’s thoughts… it is tricky to say the least, but mostly because there has been nothing up to this point.

    So where do you start?

    I think that the place to start would be by teaching things as they were…
    And removing inaccurate images from all church publications… like Joseph sitting at his desk with Oliver oppostie him, gazing at the golden plates while Oliver looks on with interest.

    This gives the viewer the false illusion that the book was translated that way, and it also gives the impression that the church endorses that.

    Just tell it how it happened, if We believe that Joseph translated the book for real, then the way in which it was done should not be covered up, right…

    As the same goes for all those other tricky areas, I am not saying we need to know all the dirty little secrets, but how about just the accurate ones.

  6. I should be clear that I think the church SHOULD be upfront and honest rather than going with the “faith promoting” versions, but I don’t think that doing so is very easy for them.

  7. Jay, I’ve been very impressed with your level of balance, your desire to stick with the church, but to also find and make known those troublesome issues and your true desire to be true to truth.

    You mention “The Mormons” special. I read the interview on pbs.org and found one comment in the interview of Elder Marlin Jensen (Church Historian) that pertains to this post and which I found interesting and hopeful:

    http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/jensen.html

    “As the new church historian, do you think there is a tension between faith-inspired publications and official facts? If so, how will the church deal with it?

    … Over the last 20, 30 years there’s certainly been an ongoing discussion about faithful history, faith-promoting history, as opposed to what some have termed more objective history. … We’re in the process actually of really trying to resolve the question: What should church history do? What should the church historian do?

    As I look at the Scriptures, for instance, as the best model maybe of what historical writing ought to be for a church — because again, Scripture is history — I’ve come to believe that it’s probably the best course for the church to take to dwell on what I might call a sacred history and to talk about those elements: the restoration of the church, the gathering of Israel, the establishment of Zion and the creation of a covenant people. Those are things that not only run throughout history today, but they run through the history from the beginning. Those are the things you’ll find in the Old Testament as well as the New. …

    If we could kind of have that as our organizing principle and then as part of that encourage the more traditional, narrative-type history of the church and biographies that have been written and to make our archive available for that, make our assistance available for that, and leave that writing to other Mormon historians and other non-Mormon historians, I think that will gradually dissolve the tension that exists between what is faithful history and what isn’t. We’ll each have our individual roles, and the Lord will be better served in that way. …”

    I think the Church is recognizing the need for more facts being made known. Unfortunately, there will still be a lot of tention, in my opinion, because the “proved” LDS facts will still not equal many of the “proved” anti facts. Will this satisfy everyone? I doubt it, but we’ll see.

    I think part of what Elder Jensen is talking about could be compared to Nephi’s dividing of the secular vs. the ministerial history in 1 Nephi 9. We certainly see the good as well as the weaknesses in men of God in both the Old and New Testaments as well as in the B of M. But the purpose of these books of scripture was never to destroy faith. I think the historians of the Church also have a vested interest in building faith. How to have that balance, though, is certainly a good question. And I think as Elder Jensen indicated, having two sides- the sacred history and the traditional, with archives, documents, etc. made available, would be at least a start.

    The other question I would have is how is the Church (or is the Church) going to supplement the missionary program with this same information. My own gut feeling is the missionary force needs to be better prepared and new members need certain key information up front.

    Like I said earlier, I don’t believe for a second the critics will be satisfied, but those members, who, like you and myself (at one point) just wished the Church made certain things known before the “antis” did.

    Tim,

    As a side note/question- In your experience, in the Evangelical community, how has Protestantism dealt with it’s past? From my understanding, Catholicism and Protestanism hasn’t had a clean sleight either. While historically, facts are given, how does that affect membership, say of someone who questions whether an organization with such problems be from God, and how does Protestantism reconcile those instances in history?

  8. great question Austin. I’ll deal with it on my blog sometime in the next 2 weeks.

  9. We are all human. We are all here to learn; we learn by making mistakes. If we did not make mistakes, there would be nothing for us to learn, and we wouldn’t be here, in this existence.

    Organizations are comprised of individual humans, so organizations are subject to the same dispositions and qualities as their individual members.

    Biblical prophets did not possess God’s full enlightenment. Biblical prophets neither lived pure lives, nor remain in God’s favor for their entire lives. The human condition has not changed.

    Prophets of the Restored Gospel, though wiser and closer to the Lord than many Church members, are also subject to the dispositions and qualities of the human experience.

    I really wish The Church would just admit that it learns and evolves over time, rather than glossing-over its history. The mistakes it (and its prophets) has made were positive because they made The Church better and stronger.

    IN NO WAY DO HUMAN MISTAKES TAKE AWAY FROM GOSPEL TRUTH.

    Mistakes in scriptural interpretation have also occurred historically, and that has not changed, either. Our understanding (read interpretation) of scriptures changes over time as our collective intelligence grows.

    The Church does tell us that our purpose here is to become god-like, does it not? Which means that no church or religion or theology should adhere to its interpretations so tightly that it cannot grow and become more enlightened.

    What I love about the LDS Church, is that it is, in theory, a living, growing (read evolving – changing) church. What I dislike about the LDS Church, is that while its human leaders recognize the problems of human interpretation, they refuse to admit that they are fallible themselves, then try (unsuccessfully) to hide their mistakes. Church leaders do a disservice to the Lord’s Church by distorting the truth (read lying – breaking one of the ten commandments).

    Yes, Joseph Smith’s versions of his First Vision changed in time… So what?? It doesn’t change the fact that he was God’s instrument in restoring The Gospel.

    Humans are incapable of fully comprehending Gods plan, His words, His reasons, or His science. When humans receive divine inspiration, whether as a common Church member or as The Church’s prophet, this information has to go through a filter in which the receiver interprets the information based on what s/he is familiar with. The interpreted information therefore, has been formulated into something that fits within the human construct.

    Although many Church leaders may have a better understanding of God’s Word than most people, they must take the inspiration they received from God (as they understood it), and further modify it to fit within the framework that most members understand and are comfortable with.

    Some members have feeble minds and, if faced with the truth, might crumble, so I understand why The Church struggles with this issue. I wonder though, if these feeble minds are a product of The Church’s practice of revising history and “protecting” its members from truth. If members had been taught all along, that mistakes are OK because we learn from them, I think the membership would be stronger.

    I am absolutely certain that the higher-up Church leaders are in possession of information that the majority of Church members are not ready to hear, and that The Church can help prepare the membership for that information by coming clean about its history.

  10. Revision of last paragraph:

    I am absolutely certain that the higher-up Church leaders are in possession of revelation that the majority of Church members are not ready to hear, and that The Church can help prepare the membership for that revelation by coming clean about its history.

  11. […] 6th, 2007 at 11:00 pm (Uncategorized) This post contains excerpts pasted from Mormons Talk in which a question was asked as to whether or not the LDS Church should openly and honestly […]

  12. If the LDS church is “true”, then it is true despite the lies, deceptions, murders, cover-ups, and distortion of facts by its members from presidents to hymn book coordinators.

    It is this deception and evil that make it difficult to believe the stuff that hasn’t been proven false.

    If the church is true, then these men/women should be damned for influencing honest truth-seekers to leave the fold.

  13. Two thoughts:

    1. The truth shall make you free.

    2. Why would the Church need to hide anything.. the work will roll forth come hell or high water.

  14. izing

    1 The truth has set free lots from the Mormon religion .I’m still waiting to hear from Greg Dodge for the figures .. if he will stop being ignorant that is .

    2 The Church has hidden everything even from its own members ….

    The work will falter come Truth … we don’t need to threaten Hell or any water .. only real truth ..

  15. I think the church will have no choice but to start talking about some of these issues in one forum or another just to save itself.

    Personal Example:
    After I left the church 1.5 year ago my wife couldn’t believe it, she was outraged and heartbroken, and didn’t wan’t to discuss why I left; I asked her to at least research the Book of Abraham so she would have some understanding of where I was coming from.
    After several weeks of researching this, talking with her boss who was a bishop etc., she realized there were some major major problems with the whole thing and that the apologetics didn’t add up.
    It wasn’t however until she had an e-mail discussion with a 70 (friend of her boss) where Brother X totally ripped her a new one for even questioning the prophet and the book of Abraham and that he is “so sick and tired of hearing the same stuff, year after year” from people who “just want an excuse to sin.”
    He then said that the papari was destroyed in the Chicago fire “END OF STORY!!!”, then he went on to rebuke her a little more for not having enough faith etc.
    Needless to say she was humiliated and in tears because of this, she DIDN’T lack faith she just wanted some understanding to a genuine question.
    After the humiliation and sadness left it caused her to take a step back and realize that maybe I was correct when I say there are so many ligitimate problems relating to the church to the point where I can’t be honest with myself and still be an active member. This caused her to continue her research and 8 months later she left as well.
    So the point is tactics like the 70 above (I will not reveal his name) just will not work in this information age. The evidence against the church, or rather, the truth related to church history that might cast doubt on the truthfulness of the church, is cataloged and so accessible.

    I the church is to have any success I think it needs to take the “Bushman” approach, which is a mostly honest but obviously biased approach.

    When faced with troubling comments or issues, members want to be vaugly familiar with them, knowing that someone else smarter than them has done the research and came to a different, more faith promoting conclusion.

  16. Here are a quotes from Boyd K. Packer’s 1981 talk entitled “The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than The Intellect” given to the Church Educational Systems:

    -“A member of the Church ought always, particularly if he is pursuing extensive academic studies, to judge the professions of man against the revealed word of the Lord.”

    -” They [secular professors of history] would that some historians who are Latter-day Saints write history as they were taught in graduate school, rather than as Mormons.”

    -“Church history can be so interesting and so inspiring as to be a very powerful tool indeed for building faith. If not properly written or properly taught, it may be a faith destroyer.”

    -“There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher Of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not…Some things that are true are not very useful.”

    -“One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for “advanced history,” is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be accountable. After all of the tomorrows of mortality have been finished, he will not stand where be might have stood.”

    -“In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on and we are engaged in it. It is the war between good and evil, and we are belligerents defending the good. We are therefore obliged to give preference to and protect all that is represented in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have made covenants to do it.”

    I could keep going on and on, but ask yourself if you would condone this type of “the ends justify the means” or “its OK to be dishonest and throw reason out the window because WE have the Truth” mentality of other sects or world religons. Remember the radical muslim “KNOWS” Muhammad was a prophet.

  17. Something new: Evangelicals have traditionally been the LDS Church’s most vocal critics. If the Church would love to rationally stop the fingers pointing at them and shouting “Cult!” there’s a book that can shut up the critics. It is “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books online) by historian Dave MacPherson, a Utahn who lives in Monticello, who has researched the long-covered-up roots of evangelicalism’s favorite and greatest money-making belief: the 177-year-old “pre-tribulation rapture” theory. On 300 pages he has documented its inherent dishonesty: rampant plagiarism, changing of early “rapture” documents, hidden scandals in top leaders etc. He has found more of the early 19th century related documents in British libraries than anyone else. Interested? Libraries including BYU’s have copies of “Plot.” MacPherson’s many web items include “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and “Scholars Weigh My Research.” Have you ever seen an anti-LDS street preacher who wasn’t a member of the British-born “rapture cult”? Check all this out.
    Bruce Rockwell

  18. Bruce,

    I think it is a wild stretch to say that all evangelicals believe in the rapture theory, and the rapture cult is not part of mainstream Christianity.

    How does this book shut up all the LDS critics?
    I would be surprised if any of the critics that post on this blog were part of the rapture cult.

    I am an LDS critic and I am LDS.

  19. Bruce, I am extremly interested! Thank you!

  20. steffielynn

    I’d like to send you some teachings of Brigham Young and church apostles … can you email me ?

    I think reading church leaders is far more appropriate for you than books on raptures and scandals…

  21. Jay, nice thoughts on what is now known around the blogs as the “inoculation” issue. The general concept is fine, it’s the details that prove so tricky: How do you get “the rest of the story” to people when they need it and when they’ll actually listen? How do you get it to the people who want it (and will benefit from it) but not at the same time get it to people who don’t really want it and for whom it would raise unsettling questions? And where is the place where this discussion occurs — online? At church? Maybe putting more articles in Church magazines is the best short-term fix.

  22. Dave,
    Welcome! I agree, but I hope that more than that will be done. Conference talks or something in the manuals would be a great step forward.

  23. If the real issues were taught .Hardly anyone would join in the first place and many of those already in would leave …

    Thats why the ‘whitewash’ continues ….

    Jay
    “Conference talks or something in the manuals would be a great step forward.”

    I’ve added a few truthful things to my church manuals and if the bishop suspected I was showing others , he’d call me into the office on an anti mormon charge …. and yet I have only added the teachings of Church Prophets and Apostles of times past ! lol

    So the CES is hardly going to do it .

  24. Elder Joseph,

    I find it quite interesting that you ay that if the real issues were taught, nobody would join the church and most in would leave. I find that statement very troubeling (although I do agree).

    I believe in truth…no matter how hard it is to handle. If we can only believe in the church as long as we don’t know what really happened…..I think we need to think hard about that. I believe if you have the truth, it can stand up to scrutiny.

    I am an active member but after learning the facts for myself, I am ccntemplating leaving the church. I agree that we need to have somewhere to discuss the true issues that are troubeling. The fact is….with the internet and availability of the internet people are leaving the church in big numbers, many people are going inactive. However I have noticed many people are leaving due to the historical facts that are so readily available.

    Bottomline…..more and more people are going to keep finding out the real history. When I was first struggling I tried to contact the church and see if there was anyone to help me. Well they said you need to talk to your bishop, well my bishop knows NONE of the troubeling facts….so how can I talk ot him about it?

    The church will nee to do something and they will need to find a way to help members and not ‘ignore’ everything…if they don’t in the long run, it is going to hurt them!

    I believe that no matter how difficult it is, trying to cover up the past is not honest….I think the Mormon church is a church with integrity and hiding the evidence and trying to ignore anything that is difficult, is not helping their image.

    Josephine

  25. Josephine,

    I think the Church is becoming more open. It is happening so slow but I have noticed that recently there has been some real progress. Ensign article on Mountain Meadow Massacre, Church news article on Joseph many vision accounts, Joseph Smith papers project, Bushman’s “Rough Stone Rolling”, change in the introduction of the Book of Mormon. They are beginning to see that not talking about the controversies is only hurting Church growth and they are responding to that. They still need to add these controversial subjects at least the Church history class manual but given some time I think we might see it happen. Talking openly about our warts I think will help people to deal with them in a more positive manner.

  26. Jay,
    I think you are right. They are becoming more open, which is refreshing. However, it is not because they decided to be upfront all of a sudden, it was because they don’t have much choice- the pressure is mounting and they know it can no longer be totally ignored. The MMM article came out the same time as the movie “September dawn” (I don’t think that was a coincidence) and all of the details are not in there, although it is a start. I was very pleased to see Deseret Book selling “Rough Stone Rolling” and I think Bushman knew that the church needed this…these facts need to be addressed. It was a start. However, it is frustrating how many members won’t even read “Rough Stone Rolling” even though it is the truth.

    Last week at church (in primary) we spent most of the time talking about Joseph Smith’s refusal to drink alcohol during surgery and how he knew it was bad for him even then…..it is sure tough to listen to this when we all know he drank alcohol his whole life….he wrote about it himself (although the church took it out of his personal journal).

    I am curious about the JS Papers Project….however, I am pretty sure it will be ‘edited’ in places that may not be faith promoting. So I am not sure how upfront it really will be.

  27. Hi Josephine ,

    I feel for you in your predicament being an active member.( And Jay also )It must be 100 times worse for you both than what I went through and that was scary in itself .

    A church member who I thought I could trust asked me what was causing me to hesitate to baptise ? ( I investigated faithfully and reliably for two years attending and participating in just about everything ).He assured me he would help me . I felt so relieved .I brought him alot of the quotes on the blacks and priesthood problem ( just for starters).

    A week later he told me to see the Bishop to deal with it and had handed over my research to the Bishop. I was a bit stunned. In the Bishops office I was asked not to show them to any Black members in church ?!?! and not to tell any new investigators of the things I knew of church history.

    While I was in his office , I asked him How did Joseph Smith translate the plates? The Bishop replied that he put two ‘see through’ glass stones over the gold plates and the translation could be seen through them and then said but he wasn’t 100% sure exactly !

    I was a bit shocked at his answer.No mention of a seer stone and hat.

    I also now know what its like to loose a friendship/relationship over trying to share church history/doubts/problems/lies and things so I really appreciate now what fear Jay must have gone through this past year or two.

    If I had been only 20 years old or younger as many converts seem to be then I may have fallen for the whole restoration thing . Finding out the reality of it all some 20 years later could have destroyed me.

    This is why I believe that Momonism is potentially dangerous and a threat to family harmony. Yes there is some good , I can’t say my two years were that bad , they were very enjoyable , but once I started to know the real truth , the lessons became more unbearable as time went on …

    Looking back I wish I would have the guts to bring up many things in class , but I didn’t want to be disrespectful , it was a dilemma and I felt the best thing to do was to just stop attending and declare that “The church is not what I was led to believe or taught it was”.

    I still see ward members about here and there and we are friendly .The only friction that occurs is when a zeleous ward member thinks they have a duty to bring me back into the fold.The result is they get to learn some very discomforting things themselves which unfortunately on occasion I seem to have to take the brunt of it with subtle insults from them :(

  28. EJ,

    You were right not to bring up the controversial things in class. The teachers, for the most part, just go by the class manual, trusting that it is correct. Making them look bad would serve no good purpose. I applaud your restraint.

    I agree, Mormonism is dangerous. I am to the point that I know the LDS church is not true…that JS was a fraud, but I continue to be active because I don’t want to lose my family. How sad is that? That a phony religion can have that much control over someone.

  29. “…it is not because they decided to be upfront all of a sudden, it was because they don’t have much choice- the pressure is mounting and they know it can no longer be totally ignored.

    I think sometimes it is difficult for those in charge to see their own faults and also to correct the faults of past leaders. And I don’t say that to criticize, we all have faults. However, pressure for change exerted from outside the Church is usually stronger that the pressure people like you and me can exert (because they can’t be kicked out). One thing I’m grateful to anti-Mormons and critic for is that they have kept up the pressure and IMO have forced the Church to react when in the past they would not.

    I hope another movie comes out about Joseph Smith’s polygamy and racism in the early Church. This will force the Church to respond like it did for September Dawn. I would love to see them come out and give an official explanation of everything once and for all. I’m not sure when that movie would come out. It will probably take a while since September Dawn flopped.

    So to the critics of the Church I say keep it coming! It’s helping us shave off the rough edges. We’re becoming more open and that can only be a good thing.

  30. I look at what the church has done recently like a kid who gets caught lying about something they did wrong but won’t admit it until it is obvious everyone knows. The apology that follows does not mean much because it is not given sincerely but out of shame and a need to save face. It is not sincere because he would have never admitted his wrong doing had he not gotten caught.

    I think that even if the church came out and told the real story, many would still not trust them enough to believe that they have told them everything. They will always wonder what else there is that is not being spoken of. Every day I find something else that I had not seen before regarding the church and the sad thing is that it does not surprise me anymore. I have come to expect deceit and distortion when it comes to what is currently being taught about Mormonism. That is pretty sad considering the fact that they consider themselves to be God’s church.

    A mass exodus has already begun and if the LDS leaders start to come clean, then the flood gates will open. I think about my mom who had defended the church till she is blue in the face, thinking that everything I have told her is just anti-mormon rhetoric. If the leaders now come out and tell her that I was right about the history and doctrine that they have tried to hide, not only will it cause a huge doubt in her but it will give many “anti-mormons” (the label I have been given by some) the credibility we have been denied by their propaganda. I don’t see the prideful church doing anything that will hurt their perceived success. They like their 30-40% attendance and would hate for it to drop any lower than it already is.

  31. BR
    I would do exactly the same as you in your predicament.Family is first.This is the real reality of a supposed ‘Family’ orientated church and the extraordinary control a few men in charge have on peoples minds and lives.

    Its also amazing and encouraging to see good active faithfull members with a good conscience speaking out , questioning and challenging. Had not ex members and current members been creating websites and podcasts then who knows what might have been my own fate ? The missionaries give a powerfull sell and once in church who can deny the good feelings amongst those nice members ? I loved it .

    I’m not sure what the solution is for the Leadership as more and more people are finding out the real reality of the church.

    As So Yo says the ‘exodus’ has begun and any confirmation of problems from the leadership would accelerate it all.

    I wrote twice to the Statistics Records Office ( Greg Dodge) to ask about membership ? How many are resigning and whether they are still counted in the overall membership figures .

    No response :( So much for my naive missionaries telling me ” we have nothing to hide the church will respond “!

    I might as well have written to the North Korean Communist government to ask if it was true that citizens are not allowed to leave their country ! lol

  32. Hi everyone,
    Very interesting points of view. First, let say I am an inactive member of the Church at this time, but not because of the supposed facts that are being discussed. I don’t feel the Church has any obligation to make palatable any of it’s past doings. Is everyone so sure of the so-called facts, and the absolute correctness of the how’s and why’s.

    I personally have no respect( hold in high esteem), for the words of anyone other than the President and Prophet of the Church whoever that might be at the time. Since HE is the only one designated by the Lord to officially speak for him, by virtue of his Mantle, everything else is simply opinion, period. As far as I’m concerned.

    What really upsets, an understatement, is the fact that they changed( by who’s authority), the intro to the book of mormon. Are any of these supposed men of knowledge more intelligent and inspired than the prophet Joseph Smith. What a Joke! If they know better than the Prophet who translated the Book of Mormon, then why didn’t Heavenly Father just choose that person to receive the vision in the grove. And that person could of just translated it “correctly” to begin with. And since when does science circumvent the Lords divine inspiration. As long as the Church leaders continue to backpeddle on established, what I consider doctrine, I cannot participate. I firmly believe the Lord will step in to reign the Church in somehow and someway. And it must start with undisciplined and disobedient leaders at all levels of authority. I’ve personally witnessed leaders who don’t live to the standards of the office they hold, unfortunate, but true.

    Regardless of the so-called facts that some members are leaving the Church over, it will NEVER extinguish the Churchs’ truth as The Church of JESUS CHRIST of later-Day-Saints. So, I say let them walk, the sooner the better.

    Evidently, they’ve never had a foundation/testimony built on spiritual experiences of the type that could be considered miraculous. I would stand convicted of ingratitude if I should not acknowledge what I know to be true, by experience, and by not expressing these feelings. This is the main reason why I will never leave my membership, because I have always received answers to my prayers and have a great life. I stand all amazed, as that all inspiring hymn so elegantly states. The Church’s teachings, as my life has proven to me, works to bring happiness and all of life’s comforts in great abundance.

    I hope that all that choose to leave, do so quickly and quietly. It’s like any other relationship, move on and don’t look back with regret. No need to leave wake turbulence of destruction and hate in their path. Most people don’t though, they then feel it’s their duty to attack the Church.

    As I mentioned already, I’m inactive, however my family is not. Because they understand my character there is no conflict and we contiue to express love and respect for each other.

    Thanks for allowing me to share!

  33. Mike glad you came and commented.

    What really upsets, an understatement, is the fact that they changed( by who’s authority), the intro to the book of mormon. Are any of these supposed men of knowledge more intelligent and inspired than the prophet Joseph Smith. What a Joke!

    I believe it was written by Bruce R. McConkie, and even most members are aware of his audacious statements, so I’m not too surprised it had to be changed and I’m glad they did change it. It certainly takes much less mental warping to think that Lamanites are not descended from what we now know as Native Americans.

    I personally have no respect( hold in high esteem), for the words of anyone other than the President and Prophet of the Church whoever that might be at the time.

    This seems like an odd statement given the above quote of yours. The prophet didn’t write the introduction to the Book of Mormon so it could be changed according to your view of things.

    So, I say let them walk, the sooner the better.

    Evidently, they’ve never had a foundation/testimony built on spiritual experiences of the type that could be considered miraculous.

    You sure don’t sound like a less active member.

    I have had many answers to prayer, including what I thought was an answer that the Book of Mormon was true and Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. However, this was obtained without a full disclosure of LDS history. Now I’m unsure if the “answer” I got was simply my own desire to believe or because the LDS Church is actually the one true Church led by Christ himself. In a million years I would never have guessed I would question my testimony, I was rock solid and it was based on a lifetime of spiritual experiences I personally had.

    I think the real reason people question their testimony is that they begin to understand that the Church is not what they thought it was. All the primary songs, Sunday school lessons, and sermons left out important details to the story.

    The Church embellishes its own history to make it sound better, to increase the faith of its followers. Unfortunately, such an approach has the exact opposite affect on believing members when they learn a fuller history and are unable to reconcile what they have learned with what they have been taught for years. Such members feel betrayed, their trust in the Church is broken and very difficult to restore. Some even feel lied to. I don’t know about you, but when I find out that someone I trusted for a long time withheld relevant information from me while flattering me into thinking I was right and justified in my beliefs, it is a hard blow.

    I’ve found that many of the excuses I learned growing up in the LDS faith for the priesthood ban, polygamy are just made up and uninspired. Yet these are the things many in the Church still rely on as doctrine and truth and the Church does little of nothing to correct the misconceptions.

  34. Hi Jay,

    I appreciate your response though I wasn’t trying to solicit one.

    I believe, the intro to BOM becomes audacious, only, if it was not inspired by the Holy Ghost. Bruce R Mc Conkie was an Apostle at the time he said those words, I believe. And if he was, then he would surely have the right to receive that inspiration. And so, under those conditions those words should not be changed.

    In regards to the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I feel no one has had the spiritual experiences he did, which gave him a superior vantage point of understanding. And so I feel no one can have the enlightenment to fully comprehend his understanding of the subjects he spoke of and their wider implications or scope. And again, by that same line of my reasoning no one has the the authority to change or try to interpret what he said. I am not trying to convince you of what I say, it really doesn’t matter to me, one way or the other. This pragmatism works for my life very effectively.

    And yes, I’m quite inactive at this time. As I haven’t participated in Church activities in approximately 3 years.

    If you don’t mind I would like to paste a few posts I left on other sites, maybe itwill assist to clarify issues that I have allowed to become a hindrance to my return to church activeness:

    I share this point of view, as a inactive member of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of latter-day-saints. The Church is perfect, the members are not. There are many people of other faiths, just as good as anyone in the mormon faith. All of the imperfections you might find in the members of other churches, you will also find in the mormon
    religion. However, I believe, you must always look at the good works, of the LDS faith, to trully make a sound decision. Let everyone worship as they see fit.

    To DanCorweb:
    Since you sent me a reply I will respond. Your entitled to you opinion. The spiritual foundation I received has nothing do to with the people. What I learned has brought me, and continues to do so, happiness and success and peace in my life. Unfortunately, because of
    ‘MY IMPERFECTIONS'; I’m very judgemental; hold my fellow members at a high standard, and that causes me to be less forgiving of them, than of non-members. I would have to concede spiritual immaturity on my part.

    After receiving a number of E-mails, I want to clarify in regards to my position of judging fellow members; it’s ONLY the MEN I hold accountable for their actions, and not the women. Especially those who hold the priesthood and a Temple recommend, and don’t honor these great privileges.

    Thanks again Jay allowing my points of view.

    Best Regards, Mike


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