About Me

I’m in my early thirties, have a great wife, three beautiful children (two boys and a sweet girl) and I’m LDS. I was raised LDS and served a full-time mission in South America. It was very hard, but I have very good memories from the experience. I was born and raised LDS outside of Utah. Currently, I am attending graduate school. My family is composed of many different religions and schools of thought.

Two years ago I began to learn a lot about my LDS faith that I had never known before. This was my own doing as I started to search it out (I was not jumped on by “anti-Mormons”). Much of what I learned was disturbing to me personally. I struggled for a year trying to understand why and watching my testimony erode. I felt helpless because I couldn’t talk with anyone, not my wife, my family, my Bishop or my friends (LDS or not). I wasn’t quite sure if any of them would be understanding of what I was going through.

Now two years have past. I have met many people that have gone through the same thing as me. Some of them have left the Church to continue on as Atheists or some other religion. Others, like myself, choose to remain in the LDS Church despite our misgivings. I choose to stay mostly because there is not any other church that I find appealing. Most have problems with their doctrine or history just like the LDS Church. I also find a lot of LDS doctrine makes sense; even if I don’t hold it in as high regard as I used to.

I cannot become an Atheist because I still believe in God. I’ve had many experiences in my life that tell me God exists. Many miraculous answers to prayer have led me to this conclusion. I have faith that if I believe in God and Christ that I can not go wrong and so I hold on with that faith while my belief in the LDS Church weakens. Perhaps overtime my trust in the Church will return and I will regain my testimony or maybe the opposite will occur and I’ll find myself leaving for better things. Right now I really don’t know what will happen. This blog is my way of working through my questioning to find truth and helping others do the same.

Responses

  1. Jay,

    I felt a little bad reading your bio. I hope you can remain a believer. I think most educated, intelligent LDS people have gone through the same things you have. Some leave (and most who do, in my experience, become atheists) and others remain with their testimonies stronger than ever. No one can give you any magic answers or information that’s going to change anything for you. It all comes down to faith. Remember Jay, most of history is 98% hearsay. in the end, for me, going by the Spirit is what I count most reliable. I hope for the sake of your wife and kids, you can regain the faith you once had. That will make a big difference in their lives.

    • I have the same misgivings, and this as a long-term investigator. I was baptised LDS, but quit going after six weeks (after fully reading the Book of Mormon, and feeling like it was a work of plagiarism), became involved in the Catholic church and confirmed. But still too many things draw me back to LDS. I realized that ALL churches, even from their beginnings, have an unsavory side. The Catholic church certainly does, and throughout history has many incidences of (ahem) “unpleastries”. As we all know, truth is relative. What is relevant, is your personal and shared experiences in the church, not things that you uncover that bother you. In the Church of England, the Book of Common Prayer was the creation of Henry the VIII, a defender of the Catholic faith who turned against the church when it would not sanction his divorcing of his first wife. Much of what is in that piece of work is good, even if the purpose of it is questionable. I am not going to try to view or judge Joseph Smith with any different eyes than I would King David (who has an admittedly unsavory history of his own, and I am sure a watered-down version is the one we now have in Hebrew, making up part of the Old Testament; yet, we have his beautiful Psalms, too. God uses men, individuals who are NOT perfect, to reveal His truths. I don’t care what people may dig up on Joseph Smith, whether there is criminality in his past, his sending off a man to a mission and taking the man’s wife (didn’t David do the same?) – of which, I am not even sure DID happen. What I do know is the huge body of believers who are good, kind, loving, caring, dedicated husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, children who learn gentleness and goodness above all else. If this is the results of Joseph Smith’s vision, is it important the rest of his personal history (if even the unsavory part is true), or whether the book he wrote is not all of his translated words? (gee, are there not examples of this in the Old and New Testament, of “borrowings”). Don’t lose your faith, because the resulting emptiness is not worth the “truth” you discover… remember, truth is relative. Your life, your husbandhood, and your fatherhood, the very tenents of this religion that state this IS forever, are too precious to lose to a grasp of “reality” that is only a fleeting truth. I know. I abandoned a faith, and got lost, and my family suffered for it, even tho’ I knew myself to be a good man, caring, and determined.

  2. Weezer,
    Thank you for your kind words. I too hope that my testimony can be restored to what it once was. My past testimony was based on simplified view of the LDS Church. Now that my understanding of the Church is more complex, so is my testimony. My previously held views have been challenged and I’m having to rethink what it means to really believe in the Church.

    I have come to understand that the high expectations I had of the Church were the result of only the hearing the faith promoting side of Church history. While I understand why the Church does this, I think it would be better to illustrate to members that our leaders have a very human side, they make mistakes and not just little ones. This doesn’t make them Satan it just means they are just like me, struggling to do their best and follow God’s plan for them.

    Thank you for your encouragement. Despite my sometimes frustrated tone, I am trying to come to a fuller understanding of the truth. I sincerely hope that this leads me back to the strong testimony I once had.

  3. Jay,

    If I were your father, your wife, or someone close to you, I’d probably counsel you to not get too caught up in all the mysteries and past history. First of all, I don’t think very much of it is reliable. Second, the very nature of religion is built on the principle of faith. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to find all the answers, because you’ll never find them. There’s a lot at stake: you have a sweet wife and family that married you, in large part, for your faith. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think if you continue down this path, you’ll lose your faith, become an atheist (how can you go to another religion that teaches things like the trinity?), and lose everything that means the most to you (your wife and family). I’ve seen it FAR too much. Honestly, I’d probably close down your blog and move-on to better things. I’ve found your blog extremely interesting, though I’m up here typing you when I should be downstairs with my family! I’ll probably not come to your blog anymore, because I’m fearful it will get addictive for me! (Trying to apply Oaks’ great talk “good, better, best”.)

    Thanks.

  4. weezer,
    I understand your concern, and I am grateful for your advice. I really wish it were that simple. I know that history can be unreliable, but much of it is not just opinion. It is complicated to know what peoples’ motives are for writing things down, but I don’t think it is impossible in all cases. I always try to confirm anything I learn through Church friendly sources before I take it seriously. I learn what apologist say about the issue and make up my own mind. Many times their explanations are rational and make sense, other times they do not (at least to me). I would love to have the Church explain it to me, but unfortunately the Church chooses to leave the explaining to the apologists.

    I appreciate your concern for me and the time you have taken to give me advice and know that I have thought about trying to ignore the many things I have learned. However, ignoring them would not leave me with a clean conscience, I must know that I have done my best to find answers or I cannot have peace. I have faith that if the Church is true that truth will eventually shine through and enlighten my understanding.

  5. Jay,

    In my opinion, the reason the Church doesn’t take the time to explain everything is b/c it’s mostly (and I agree) an enormous waste of time. You could expose every nook and cranny of the church and its history and still have some who believe and some who don’t. I used to be heavily into all this on my mission. I served in an area (Washington) that was heavily populated by Ed Decker’s group and I used to love to bash with them. I’ve come full circle and now am completely bored with those issues and realize that there’s certain answers I can’t satisfactorily answer (in science or religion) and I’m completely comfortable with now focusing on positive things. Jay, if you continue on this path . . . I predict in a few short years you’ll be in a much different place than you are now (out of the church, an atheist (b/c trust me, the questions are just as bad trying to prove that Jesus was the Son of God and that God is real . . . just wait till you start reading those history books!) . . . you’ll also try to stay friendly with the church, but deep down, you’ll despise it. It starts with saying little negative things about your bishopric and local leaders and then it will turn into an all-out assault. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think you’re on the edge of a cliff ready to drop off into a whole new world. You may see it as spreading your wings under the guise of “intellectual honesty” or some other term, but I see it as bringing you nothing but heartache.

  6. weezer,
    It is not my desire to leave the Church. That is why I’m still LDS. I’m actually finding that the more I learn, the less some of these things bother me. I’m not sure if that is because I’m becoming desensitized or if it’s because I’m realizing that no one will ever know conclusively what happened and therefore I can feel comfortable believing the faith promoting view.

    I realize that some people may take what I have written about meetings with my Bishop and SP negatively, but it is more the subject matter than them personally I am worried about. I know they are good people. They wouldn’t be in the positions they are if they were evil doers. I do disagree with the decision they made to not correct false doctrine, but I have never attacked them personally, nor will I. That would be hypocritical because even on their worst days they are better people than I am. Also I realize that nobody can do what’s right 100% of the time. I just happen to feel strongly about what happened.

  7. Jay,

    Good response on all points. You seem like a humble, nice dude. It’s been over 15 years since I rec’d my doctorate and it sounds like you’re getting close to finishing yours. I remember when I graduated, one of the speakers spoke on in all religions as people became more educated, they became less religious . . . except for Mormons. With Mormons, the more educated, the more religious. With one exception: those who went on to get their doctorates . . . then the curve wasn’t as high. That was many years ago, so I don’t know if that’s still true today. I’m grateful to be educated and still (and more so than ever) firmly in the faith. And perhaps you’re right that it would have been better for the leaders to handle your situation differently, but they’re just tryin’ their best and will likely have a lot more blunders a long the way. I’m continually praying that my ward/stake will forgive me for all my shortcomings. I can tell from your response that you already know that too, which was good to read.

  8. I have had a Bishop watch me and my children dig through a trash bin to find food after he refused me a food order. That same Bishop eager to excommunicate me and did for me growing up in a sexual relationship with my mother and thinking that I was being told by Heavenly Father that it would be alright to be involved with another woman. Two days after learning that my husband has leukemia my Bishop spent a whole hour yelling at me telling me I was out of control for crying about it and that his daughter survived cancer and that I needed to get my house in order and that Heavenly Father was disapointed in me. He told me I had to get rid of one of my dogs and left me with no self confidence at all. All over the fact that I fired my home teacher when we waited for a whole day for him to come give my husband a blessing because we had just learned he has leukemia. My home teacher lied about his coming and my husband sat on the bench in our small motorhome and cried that ” Noone cared and God did not love him”. I fired my home teacher and my bishop told me I had no right to fire him and that I did not understand the Priesthood and that I did not have the Priesthood Authority to do so. As I walked out of his office he apologized. I had a Bishop tell me that he could not be in the same room alone with me because I was sexually abused and may accuse him of it. I could go on and on. These guys did not change. They felt they was right. I knew they was wrong in the way they handled me. I was not an antagonist but I was sure angry and hurt that they just could not see things my way. I have spent alot of years being pushed and shoved by some really mean people. Then after excommunication and trying to turn my heart against the Lord he helped me realize something. Now you can realize it too. There are going to be all sorts of people and experiences to come your way that will be soooo very hard to understand. But it is not until “After the trial of your faith” this means holding on and praying and fasting and still going forward with whatever faith you have left. Then you will understand. I too have been influenced by the History of the Church. My Grandmother sent me pamplets while I sat in the hospital as a teen when the State took me away from my parents. I never heard of the Church even though I lived right in the middle of it. I have studied all I need to know. In my prayer I will get back to that. The Lord let me know, after I had kicked and screamed at him, that I needed to be prepared that in my heart I would gain my own testimony so that noone will ever knock me down again. So now I do not look backwards but endeaver to go forward. Memories are memories. I have learned that I need to forgive all men. Even the ones who robbed me at gunpoint and held a gun to the head of me and my two year old and took my last two foodstamps with a son who had an ear infection and was hungry. I need to forgive and just trust that God will make sense out of all of this. If I do what I know to be right. What I have been taught and knew what was right at one time. Even though my testimony is shaken by mean men or questions, if I just push forward and keep holding on, tomorrow in God’s time he will help me understand why these trials made me stronger by holding on to the iron rod. It would be nice to not get offended. But in order for us to grow we have to suffer these things. Read your P Blessing. Good luck. It sounds like you have gone through all the motions of the church. You have talked the talk but now God wants you to walk the walk. Just don’t let go and become excommunicated. Don’t trust that that is the best thing for some people to go through. You are on a quest you must have alot to learn and probably the adversary is pretty pissed at you and is happy to topple you. Hang on

  9. I have never been LDS, but I’ve been a fundamentalist Christian. (Plus I have lots of LDS family members—Aunt, Uncle, many cousins and grand-cousins, and attended Primary with my cousins when young.)

    That being said: I also am highly educated (Ph.D.), and as I became more and more educated, I suppose my Christian Baptist friends would say I became less and less religious, but the fact is, I became more so. Only I became more ‘religious’ in ways my Baptist friends could not understand as ‘religious.’ I became open, curious, unafraid of learning new truths, filled with more love, tolerance, understanding–in short, more “spiritual” as opposed to “religious.”

    I now feel comfortable attending just about any religious service that is open to having visitors. I can always find something to relate to. I have conducted choirs in synagogues, have sung in High Holy Days professional synagogue choirs, have worked as music director in two Episcopal churches, two American Baptist churches, and currently in a Unitarian Universalist church. I have been a member of none of them, yet I have been an effective minister in all of them.

    I see religions as spiritual languages. You wouldn’t say that Spanish is “better” than French just because it has a different grammar or vocabulary. The way I see it, some languages express certain concepts better than others; the German language, for example, is perfect for expressing scientific concepts, because it is ultra precise. The French language is very good at communicating warm emotion. Celtic grammar makes nearly all Celtic languages excellent for expressing the “state” of things, or for description. Well, religions are like that, too. Some of them are better at expressing morality; some are better at expressing love and inclusivity; some are better at promoting social justice–but all religions speak about the same thing: they talk about something or someone that transcends human experience. They simply use different “languages” in which to make these statements. And I, as a curious, intelligent, spiritual being, am interested in knowing as much as I can about religions, the way some people are interested in languages.

    I think it’s also important to remember that all religions are human constructs–God didn’t invent religion!–so Joseph Smith shouldn’t be criticized too much for his “invention” of Mormonism. Every single religion had an “inventor,” or a group of inventors.

    Some people are fully comfortable resting their faith in one particular religion. It’s not for me to try to change their minds. It’s when a religion tries to present itself as MORE than a metaphor for an unknowable truth that we run into absolutism and fundamentalism, leading to exclusivity, judgmentalism, and even violence. It is highly likely that there has been more violence done in the name of God than for any other reason, ever since humankind started trying to put words to the workings of the spirit.

    I don’t believe in “One True Church.” I put more stock in HOPE than in FAITH. I believe in God, but I’m not sure whether God is personal or not. In my own heart, I believe God thinks, lives, and feels. And I believe that every name ever given to God is true; every face for God is true; every description of God is true; all to some limited extent–because no religion can tell us EVERYthing there is to know about God, just as no one single language can express every single human concept (there are languages with no word for “music” for example, or no word for “I” or “me”).

    I see nothing wrong with you staying in the LDS church even though you no longer believe their teachings are factual truths. I see nothing wrong with seeing church teachings as metaphorical truths rather than as facts, and I see nothing wrong with acknowledging that.

    I also see nothing wrong with you staying in the LDS church even though you have become aware that the church has obfuscated (and still does) about it’s history. Let’s face it, most religions have a past that wouldn’t withstand moral scrutiny (the Inquisition? the Witch Hunts? sexual scandal? Jihad? misogyny? the list can go on and on…). I wish, though, that the church would make an honest, clean effort at acknowledging its past (for example, it would have meant so much more to hear “We were wrong about blacks not being worthy of the priesthood, and we apologize” rather than “God has now revealed that from now on, blacks can be worthy of the priesthood”).

    All I’m saying is, I don’t think a curious, open, educated, intellectual person who doesn’t wish to be pinned down by absolutism or dogma has to settle for a life without religious or spiritual community. Just see them as “languages.”

    And, by the way, as I said, the church I work in now is Unitarian Universalist, and EVERY belief is welcome there. Our congregation includes Christians, Jews, atheists, pagans, new-agers, social activists, you name it. Every week when we worship together, we know that each one of us is understanding the hymns and sermon a little bit differently than his or her neighbor, and that’s ok. Privately, I think that’s ok in any church of any denomination.

    I believe God hears all prayers, in whatever religious language they are cloaked. God speaks the language of LOVE.

  10. Jay,

    As I read your purpose I commend you for reaching out. I can completely relate to you. I think many people and LDS culture has put too much emphasis on the “church” and not Jesus. When it all comes down to it, it is our relationship with the Lord that matters. Focus on this. Regardless of history (there’s jacked up history for every religion) follow your heart. Keep holding on and believing what you’ve felt and known before. It will come back…even if it’s a few years.

    That’s how it has been for me. You’re a good and sincere man.

    God bless.

    http://www.graceforgrace.com

  11. ama49,

    Thank you for your kind words.

  12. I’ve really appreciated some of the comments here – particularly Sunny D’s and ama49’s.
    Thinking of religions as different languages to express spirituality is, I think, a particularly beautiful and compassionate view of religion.
    I’ve been through a somewhat similar journey as you, Jay, and I’ve come through on the other side (I think/hope). I’m active in the Church and find church attendance to be, in general, uplifting.
    Of course my worldview and approach to church is vastly different than it was when I started learning about some of the contradictory, strange, and even ugly elements of our history.
    I no longer believe that the Book of Mormon is a genuine historical record, though I find spiritual value in it. Most of the Old Testament might as well be tales of Greek myths – I think it’s mostly a tale of tribal mythology. My love for the New Testament as a record of Jesus and the efforts of his followers to be true to his message has grown immensely. I love much of the D & C, and find much of it contain Truth. I mostly ignore the Pearl of Great Price.
    Church for me is not about the truthfulness of the Church, but rather about sharing a yearning for proximity to God with other seekers, and opportunities for me to serve others and help others in their journey, as well as be helped by them. Sometimes it’s uplifting, sometimes I don’t feel anything one way or another, sometimes it’s frustrating and angers me.
    Perhaps the LDS Church is not mine or your true spiritual language, to borrow Sunny D’s metaphor. But it is the spiritual language of my family, my wife, and many of my friends. I speak and know this spiritual language. And I find something in the Church that communicates to me. That is why I’m still there.
    Best of luck to you on your spiritual journey, Jay. I look forward to visiting your blog often!

  13. Andrew,
    I enjoyed their comments too (and every comment). I know exactly what you mean when you say you “hope/think” you’ve come through on the other side. I occasionally have the same feelings. I think I’m beginning to emerge on the “other side” of questioning my faith, but since you can only experience this once I’m really not sure what will happen next.

    I’ve toyed with the idea that the BOM is not a historical record but I haven’t been able to totally convince myself of that yet, though I see some merits to thinking that way. To a great degree though I can relate to your feelings of the Bible and LDS scripture.

    If you don’t mind me asking, how have your views affected your family? Does your wife feel the same way? What about your kids? I know these are multilayer question but I’m just curious, as you may have faced similar challenges to my own.

    Thanks for leaving your comment I look forward to hearing from you again!

  14. Some of these comments seem like they are guilting you into Mormonism. Do what you think is right, follow your own conscience, and seek truth.

    Good Luck.

  15. Brother.

    There are two things that amaze me: Obedience and freedom. They look antagonist but no! they are complementary.

    Freedom is essential, it was given by god to man. when I lived in your country my LDS faith was shaped by the idea that nobody had the power to take freedom from me, not even God himself. (I still think the same)

    This concept led me to think that I was capable of doing what I wished, including to challenge obedience.

    At this point I had my dilemma, Was the church (LDS) the right place for me?.

    Well using the freedom i was given by God himself. I tested every aspect of my beliefs, the teachings and speeches of my local leaders, from head to toe, from the prophet to my local leaders.

    I came to an undeniable conclusion: Church is the best place to stay, we can use our freedom to confirm everything and be still obeying God.

    Indeed, in time, after the storm of our own thoughts, the feelings inspired by God are strong.

    If you allow me to say: Your faith will be unmovable, please be still, question what you want, but feel the spirit.

    Good look my friend, God loves you.

    Jorge

  16. Jorge,

    Thank you for your encouragement.

  17. Jay, where ever you get your information from, whoever you listen to, whatever you do, don’t be afraid of the truth. One thing I have learned so far is that the true gospel of Jesus Christ has room for all truth. If it’s true, it belongs with the Gospel. If it’s not, don’t hesitate to delete it from your cache. If you don’t know whether it’s true or not, learn more about it, pray about it, and in the mean time, stick to what you know is true.

    If it has to do with people’s character flaws or actions that you don’t agree with, just remember what a wise man once said,

    “The gospel is not the people in the Church. The gospel is not even the people who direct it. The gospel is the truth… This Church would still be perfect if the Lord had not let people into it.” – Henry Eyring

    May God bless you on your journey for truth and happiness. Peace out!

  18. Thanks Darin. I like Eyring and I really like that quote.

  19. By the way, that was Henry B. Eyring’s father who said that. He was a very talented scientist, nominated for the Nobel prize a couple times. He too had to find answers to many of religion’s unanswered questions. Some of them he never found the answers to before he died. Just as we won’t.

    Now I’m curious, what exactly are you still trying to find answers about, Jay?

  20. So many things. It seems that there are many criticisms against the Church that I worry about to some degree or another. The priesthood ban still bothers me, even though I’ve accepted it wasn’t of God. Polyandry bothers me very much. Polygamy I can live with (if I must) but polyandry just seems too close to adultery for me to feel comfortable with it. Joseph’s changing first vision story is puzzling and so is the Book of Abraham translation. The Book of Mormon is another hard one. I’ve accepted that the early and contemporary LDS leaders were wrong when they said that Native Americans were Lamanites, but it still bugs me that this perception is generally believed to be true in the Church.

    I guess in general it bothers me that there is so much about our history I didn’t know and I would like to see the Church taking a more proactive role in educating its members. Why do I need to learn about all these issues from non-LDS sources. Why doesn’t the Church address them openly in our Sunday services (when appropriate). The lack of context provided by the Church gives rise to doubt and the feeling that they are trying to hide something. It would be much better if we just had frank discussions about these things. Right now there is no where in the Church for that kind of discussion.

    I’m familiar with Erying’s dad and I really like him too.

  21. Jay

    Why should Polyandry bother you if you already accept polygamy?

    Isn’t it fair if you accept a man can have more than one wife then a woman should be able have more than one Husband ?

    What bothers me is the whole escapade of it .

    Warren Jeffs is the Mirror of early LDS Polygamy.

    If Joseph Smith should come back today , he would join the FLDS who hold to his doctrines against all adversity.

    Darin

    Your comment of we won’t find the answers before we die is lame .

    I have found the answer and the early LDS organisation was just a typical fanatical cult with obnoxious idiotic leaders who were arrogant and fanatical like the islamic 911 bombers and supporters ( who by the way are supposedly married polygamously to numerous virgins in Heaven )..

    Its followers were lied to in the most despicable manner by church leaders and especially over Polygamy.

    Joseph Smith turned once decent men into thugs liars and teen bride snatchers …. for his own cause.

    The LDS church today has to try and undo all this nonsense whilst making it all look bonafide.

    Truth will cut its own way and is not found amongst deception.

  22. Why should Polyandry bother you if you already accept polygamy?

    There is biblical precedent for polygyny but there is none for polyandry.

  23. Jay

    1 Taking biblical precedent to justify things could easily make someone into a tyrant….. see Warren Jeffs , David Koresh , and the many other cult leaders ….. same with some of the Koran Readers and self proclaimed guru’s…
    The New testament is a better guideline than the old for what Christians are meant to believe… though thats not faultless ….

    2 I’d rather use a conscious discernment/judgement rather than try to justify early LDS leaders behaviour and threats to fellow members including teen girls …… just because there is something in the Old Testament …. You could easily justify killing fellow church members like Moses did when they did an act of Baal worship .As the prophet he ordered the camp of Israel to be slayed and sent the priesthood to do it .

    3 Just because its not in the bible doesn’t mean its not acceptable… Where is the precedent for contraceptives in the bible ?

  24. The New testament is a better guideline than the old for what Christians are meant to believe… though thats not faultless

    Exactly so what do you believe from the OT and what do you throw out? All Christians throw out some parts of the OT (they have too to be right) but who’s right and who’s wrong?

    I’d rather use a conscious discernment/judgement rather than try to justify early LDS leaders behaviour and threats to fellow members including teen girls

    It’s not about justifying early LDS leaders, it’s about doing what God asks. Did God ask early LDS leader to live polygamy? That’s something everyone needs to decide on their own. I know where you stand on the issue. All I know is that if God asks you to do something, you’d better do it. If he didn’t, then the individual will answer to Him eventually.

    Where is the precedent for contraceptives in the bible ?

    Ever heard of Onan?

    Where does it say you can’t use contraceptives?

  25. “Ever heard of Onan?”

    Yes what a wierd freaking story ! I can imagine Warren Jeffs using this as an example to justify if he wants someone killed.

    “Where does it say you can’t use contraceptives?”

    Good Point ……Try telling McConkie and Ezra Taft Benson that …

    “Those who practice birth control…are running counter to the foreordained plan of the Almighty. They are in rebellion against God and are guilty of gross wickedness.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, first ed., 1958, p. 81.)

    “True to form, many of the people who desire to frustrate God’s purposes of giving mortal tabernacles to His spirit children through worldwide birth control are the very same people who support the kinds of government that perpetuate famine. They advocate an evil to cure the results of the wickedness they support.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 539.)

  26. Well hopefully, you know how much stock I put in Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine especially the first edition. As for Benson, he was just wrong, IMO. I was told the exact opposite from a stake president I had at BYU.

  27. How can the Lord’s anointed be so wrong so often?

  28. BR,Jay

    Have you seen this proclamation by the LDS Apostles

    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/proclamationoftwelve.htm

    Its breathtaking Arrogance.

    a couple of quotes

    ” The great Eloheem Jehovah has been pleased once more to speak from the heavens:”

    They didn’t seem to know that Elohim was the father and jehovah the Son according to current LDS theology ( added by Talmage ).

    ” Let the Government of the United States also continue to gather together, and to colonize the tribes and remnants of Israel (the Indians), and also to feed, clothe, succor, and protect them, and endeavor to civilize and unite; and also to bring them to the knowledge of their Israelitish origin, and of the fulness of the gospel which was revealed to, and written by, their forefathers on this land; the record of which has now come to light.”

    “Knowledge of their Israelitish origin ???? ”

    Well they certainly have now been informed of their asian origins …. It seems the Archeologists and Scientists have more credibilty as Apostles of Truth and Light IMO.

    “…..gospel which was revealed to, and written by, their forefathers ??”

    Written where ? In Asia ??

  29. BR,
    Personally, I have to go with my own judgment, not theirs. I think people say things like “All Native Americans are Lamanites” because of their lack of understanding. 19th century Mormons thought all Native Americans were Lamanites because of the culture at the time and because of the Book of Mormon.

    I believe the same thing is true about many other things, we are simply in a better position now to know what they thought was wrong (though you won’t hear anyone saying that in Church). I can only trust myself now. If I agree with what I’m taught I’ll accept it, if not I feel free now to reject it as false no matter who said it. I am willing to take responsibility for that choice. I think a lot of Mormons are afraid of that responsibility and are therefore willing to take any word spoken by a GA as God’s word. I think this is dangerous, not to mention lazy.

  30. Jay,
    This is off topic, but I am going on a mission to Rome, Italy. Both my grandfathers never served on missions, nor grandmothers at that matter, and onward down to me. All my family, (grandparents and so forth) are not very active in the chruch, and I will actually be the first in my family to serve a misison.

    Is it not true that God performs miracles, and has done so throught the history of the earth? Whether one believes every bit of doctrine in the church, or not a lick of the LDS doctrine; is it not a miracle in itself then, that some random farm boy at the age of 14 started his preparations (through a so-called vision) that started the organization(whether you believe it is the restored gospel or not) of a churhc that is now 10 million members (+) and that is with about a 4 million member deduction of those members who are in your boat; aren’t active, but still having a pulling sensation towards the church that won’t let them leave or “break away.” We will give the inactive members the benefit of the doubt and we will say that 10 MILLION members in less than two hundred years! You do the math on how fast it has grown since the (so-called restoration).

    Whether you find a hundred errors or faults in the church, there must be some kind of truth in order for God to allow such a growth in some random religion. Grant it, mormoms are very judgemental and are infamous for saying “we are the only true chruch on the earth today” i will disagree with that statement because i feel that many churches know and hold some truths to what the teach and preach. But i can honestly say that aftering going to three different christain churches during the first 17 years of my life (Babtists, Christain fireside Service, and LDS) that the Churhc of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints contains the most truths ( of course i dont have evidence for that, but rather testtimony, and sure you can argue against my testimony but that is were i draw and end to my arguement;… my testimony….because i know how i feel when i attend chruch and chruch activities, and whether that feeling is completly made up in my mind, i like because there is no greater feelingthan it)

    And even if there are errors, apostles and leaders of many churches and denomonations claim that Gods ultimate plan of salvation is to complex to fully understand. (occording to the pastors of churhces i attended) All in all, keep doing what your doing, i enjoy reading the blogs, and i will pray that God uses another one of his miriacles in your life soon, that might touch your feeling towards the chruch. And if not, if respect you for who you are and what yoru doing, and wont and dont plan on juding you for your disagreement in LDS doctrine.

  31. Michael,

    Thank you for sharing your insight with me. I’d like to say first of all that I’m not an inactive member (no offense taken and I certainly understand where you could have gotten that impression), at least not from an attendance stand point. I attend all my meetings every Sunday. The fact that the LDS Church has seen such phenomenal growth is not proof that God smiles on it (though He may). Islam is considered the world’s fastest growing religion today and it has billions of adherents. Does that make it the true Church?

    Thank you for your prayer. God knows I need them very much. I appreciate your respect for my struggle. I think that is the correct approach for LDS members to take toward people in my situation. Just stand back and offer what support you can and above all don’t become defensive or judgmental (this only pushes us further away).

    I think it’s great that you are going on a mission. If it’s anything like mine not only will you cherish the memories the rest of your life, but you’ll grow tremendously as a person. Please remember when you come home to be not be too judgmental of those around you. I think this is common for return missionaries do. Remember that while you will grow spiritually, physically and become more mature, you are still very young and have a lot to learn from others. Good luck!!

  32. I didn’t realize you were an active participant in your church services.. so i apologize for that comment.
    You make a good point about the size and growth of the islamic religion. But once again, the Islmamic chruch has been an active religion since the 6th century. Thier dealings with religion have had nearly Two Thousand Years to expand, change, and format to the church that is is today, and to mold itself into todays society.

    The LDS church has had less than 200 years! And like i mentioned in my other comment, I strongly believe that every religion and church holds some basic truths. For one, Islamic belief (as far as i know) is based upon unity and in turn disregaurds ethnic differences. It seems as if God would approve of the purpose ( if members of its faith truely practice this) of joining the world together in peace, respect, and unity. maybe? Well, i am not going to do the math, but at rate of,.. we will sayten million members ever 200 years, haha thats quite a bit of membership.

    haha now that you got me defending and creating questions for you.. the church is soo soo youong, and is still new and odd to most of society. But isnt that the same feeling that society had with Jesus Christ and the apolstles during thier years on earth? Thousands of people repeatitivly tried to rid them from the earth because Most of society (at the time that the christian church was young) didnt agree with thier teachings… welll 2,000 years later, that strange religion that some man named Jesus Christ taught is now(in some way or another)worldwide with billions of believers.
    ha i dont know what the really had to do with it, but back to the originial question, ” does the growth of the islamic church make it the true church?” No, i do not think so. But i never claimed that the LDS church was “the” true church either. i clamied that i felt it held the “most” truths.

    I enjoyed your last comment, and if these kind of discussions are anything as to what i will be experienceing on my mission here in september, i am looking forward to learning more about not only our church (LDS) but the religions of others.

  33. Michael ,

    How accurate are the church membership figures ?

    Your 10 million figure is below the official 13 million figure given in conference …. Yours is most likely more accurate.

    What about all those baptism abuses during the in Latin America where missionaries were using dead people names , baptising kids and baptising any confused person who was weak enough to be led that way ….. are these still included in the figure ?

    Dr Ted Lyons Mission President at the time

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VzCcCacfnfU

    What about those who resign, are they taken off the membership figures ?

    I wrote to the statistics office of Greg Dodge about statistics twice and twice they ignored me .

    Its a secretive church IMO and one which is led by PR and Marketing rather than honesty and its no surprise because its roots have a firm foundation in deception and lying for the lord.

    What about Jw’s who have 7 million Active members , I think thats more than the LDS .Does that mean God is working through them ?

    And also look at the growth in Gambling and Drug addiction ?

    Figures and growth are no indication of anything except for the size of potential market to access .

    So whenever a GA writes a book , he has an almost guaranteed best seller !

    If you look at the LDS church growth then you’ll see that growth has slowed dramatically since the advent of the Internet .Its the same for JW’s . Growth is coming from places without access to information .

    Growth in ex LDS members and Inactives on the other hand is growing .

    I hope on your mission you are going to be honest with Investigators and not just honest enough for your perception of their own benefit and baptism.

    My missionaries were honest with what they thought was true until I enlightened them. They soon realised that the church hadn’t in fact been fuly honest with them and it wasn’t a nice feeling for them.

  34. EJ,

    Growth…is growing? Wow, that sounds exponential.

  35. BR

    …… I got the idea from Enos 1 “flocks of herds” 🙂

  36. Dear LDS Blogger,

    I am with LDS News Source, we are a company that has just launched an online news portal for the members of the LDS Church. As of this message our site searches over 5000 newspapers worldwide every hour on the hour and compiles any and all articles that pertain to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints into one place. Our goal in building this was to create a place where members and non-members alike can go and find out what is happening with the church and its members world wide. It is also our answer to Elder M. Russell Ballard’s speech at the BYU Hawaii Commencement Exercises last year where he said:

    “may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including Newsroom at LDS.org, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. This, of course, requires that you, all members of the Church, understand the basic, fundamental principles of the gospel.

    We are living in a world saturated with all kinds of voices. Perhaps now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility as Latter-day Saints to define ourselves, instead of letting others define us. Far too many people have a poor understanding of the Church because most of the information they hear about us is from news media reports that are often driven by controversies. Too much attention to controversy has a negative impact on peoples’ perceptions of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is. ”

    This afternoon we will be launching the site and we would love to know what you think about it. As an LDS Blogger we were hoping that you would be willing to blog about our new site and share your thoughts with your readers. We would also like to invite you to do a banner exchange with us if you are interested. We have created a section of the site to display a list of all of the GOOD LDS blogs we can find. If you would like to be part of that please email us and let us know and we will add your link as soon as possible. If you are willing to do even more to help us spread the word about LDSNewsSource.com we would like to invite you to place a banner ad on your site. We have created one for just about every size space you can imagine and they can be downloaded here:

    http://ldsnewssource.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=198&Itemid=288

    We thank you for your consideration and hope that you enjoy using LDSNewsSource.com

    Sincerely,

    Jared Bauer

  37. Jared Bauer

    you said

    “Perhaps now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility as Latter-day Saints to define ourselves, instead of letting others define us. ”

    Well if the church were honest with the public and even its own church members then there would be no need for others to define you.

    And anyway what use are you all as NON of you speak for the church!

    You said

    “Far too many people have a poor understanding of the Church because most of the information they hear about us is from news media reports that are often driven by controversies. ”

    I would say that too many church members have a poor understanding of the church and that they are the ones likely to learn from the media source like the Internet.
    And most of the information the public hear is in your own publications like Journal Of Discourses , Times and Seasons etc.

    you said

    ” Too much attention to controversy has a negative impact on peoples’ perceptions of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is. ”

    Thats because the controversy really is there and I’m not suprised it has a negative impact on the church , it hardly makes it look good.

    I would ask myself exactly what is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really ? as it’s not what it claims to be.

  38. Jared,
    Thank you for letting me know about this new resource. I’ll check it out. Are you going to be screening the news reports in any way or will favorable and unfavorable articles about the Church be included? If both are included you can bet I will subscribe to your service and let others know about it. Thanks.

  39. Our goal is to report the news. Nothing more, nothing less. Not all news about the church is good. We do not censor.

  40. Jared

    I had a look at the latest article.
    quotes in ” ”

    “The Book of Mormon teaches that the church’s standard doctrine is monogamy, the article says. However, there are times in history, including during Old Testament times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when polygamy was introduced to “raise a righteous seed unto the Lord,” it says.2

    Where was Joseph Smiths righteous seed when most mormons say he never had sex with his wives.
    Its all contradictory and not simplistic as the article is trying to make out.

    “Cook said comparing the FLDS’ practices to the early Mormon church isn’t fair. People generally married younger then, and most Mormon wives were in their early 20s, he said. He also cited the LDS church’s legacy of women’s rights during the polygamy era; women in the Utah Territory won the right to vote in 1870.”

    Apostle Cook says people generally married much younger then . But he’s being disingenuous because Mormon Polgamy involved 16 year old girls marrying men in their 50’s and upwards .

    I don’t even believe him that it was a general practice back then for teen girls to marry Grandfather type men.
    It was a typical Mormon practice .Warren Jeffs is keeping the tradition as commenced by Joseph Smith.

    Cook also says most Mormon wives were in their early 20s , but he fails to point out how old the men were that they polygamoulsy married (50,s, 60,s.70,s plus).

    The LDS church is always trying to minimise the full facts in order to look more socially acceptable .The truth they do have a lot in common with the FLDS , both share the same history.

  41. Although I am not perfect I am an example of a mormon. When we talk about the church often times we are talking about stories of people that are in the church or in the scriptures, these are also imperfect people and if I based my opinion of the lds faith on that I would have no faith.

    All the prophets and even accounts of history in the book of mormon and otherwise are about people who are human. Not perfect. Those stories are there for us to learn from.

    If we trust in God and Christ then will gain wisdom and our testimony will grow.

    Also about young girls being married to older women back in Joseph Smiths time. Yes some of the young wives had older husbands-as was custom of the era no matter what religion you belonged to. Even my grandmother was married at a young age to an older man…not mormon. As time goes on women seem to marrry later in life such is our changing culture.

    I hope you find some comfort in your quest for truth and or a testimony. I have to confess many things seem contradicting at times and that is when I get out my faith and use it as best I can. There are many unanswered questions that only will be revealed in time or in the next life I believe.

  42. “Yes some of the young wives had older husbands-as was custom of the era no matter what religion you belonged to.”

    Was the exception not the rule… average age of marriage for women in the 1800’s was 20 to 21. Even went younger after the World wars 19 to 20 and has been on getting older since then.

  43. Sarah

    You said

    “When we talk about the church often times we are talking about stories of people that are in the church or in the scriptures, these are also imperfect people and if I based my opinion of the lds faith on that I would have no faith. ”

    Imperfect people are one thing .But when you see the way the early LDS Prophets and Apostles conducted Polygamous arranged marriages of young girls to very old mormon leaders and the manner of intimidation/threats employed then I would say in my view that its Sinister, Cruel and offensive to the core of any person with a good conscience.

    I see the tradition continued in a like manner by the FLDS church and its leaders.

    “Also about young girls being married to older women back in Joseph Smiths time.Yes some of the young wives had older husbands-as was custom of the era no matter what religion you belonged to.”

    I don’t believe that 16 year olds were marrying men of 57 ( Orson Pratt )and concieving with them was a custom in the other churches as you suggest.

    Or that it was normal for 14 year olds to marry men of 37 ( Joseph Smith) in the other churches .

    Ansd neither were the other churches telling them they had to do it to get to heaven or else be damned.

    I’d rather not wait until the next life being seen to support these coerced polygamous marriages of young girls to old men.

    I’ve made my choice now and declare them not of God but a man made tragedy done under fanatical religous fervour and folly.

  44. Jay-

    I have perused your blog and some of your comments on other mormon blogs and it seems like you have a real beef with members of the church. You speak occasionally of doctrine or policy but mostly of the ignorant sheep like antics of the members. I think there are many of us disillusioned with the bulk of the member mass but there are also many who rise above that and try to make the church what it is suppose to be.

    I guess I am just wondering if your questions about the church/gospel rest mainly on the misconceptions of members or if they rest on questions with doctrine. I suppose anyone could find fault with doctrine if they looked hard enough, but finding fault with members is very simple.

    You talk about “learning things about your faith”. I am wondering if that was your personal faith, your faith in the mormon doctrine, or your faith in the mormon church.

  45. PA,

    Its easy to find fault in the doctrine too. You don’t have to look that hard.

  46. Welcome! I’m not sure I refer to the membership of the LDS Church as ignorant sheep, though I wouldn’t put it past me in a moment of frustration. While that is one way of describing it, I don’t think it is the best approach and I would have to apologize if I used such strong language. That type of language only describes general trends seen in the Church and does not necessarily reflect the attitude of all members.

    Mostly my trust in church leadership has been shattered. True this may have been because of naïve assumptions on my part. However, it is my belief that over 30 years in the church should have disabused me of such silly notions if the church want to. I firmly believe that the majority of members still hold to a certain idea of what a prophet is, does and says. They (speaking in general terms) are aware of many of the faith promoting stories but are woefully unaware of the many troubling aspects of the LDS Church. Not only does this set them up loose confidence in the Church (as has happened to myself, it also leads some to believe the Church is lying to the members by concealing its history. The charge of lying is one I do not agree with, but certainly most can admit that the LDS Church has not be forthcoming with the more controversial parts of its history. It appears that its members are not trusted to know the truth and instead we’re left to trudge through the muck and figure it out on our own.

    I realize that my lose of trust in LDS Church leadership is in part due to the naïve assumption on my part that after studying the gospel from an LDS perspective my whole life that I would be aware of most of the history. What I found was I had been exposed to only faith promoting history. Anything that would be controversial or cause doubt (for good reasons) was never talked about in Church meetings even when doing so would have been appropriate (e.g. church history class). I’m not sure why the LDS Church doesn’t trust the membership with this information or discuss it when appropriate but my feeling is that they are afraid it will lead people away from the Church and if that is how they feel I wonder just how true it really can be. Surely, members would understand if they simply presented the information and then said there is not enough information to really know what happened, but instead they choose to ignore it realizing that a few will be curious enough to find out more information and the vast majority of members will never know. Sorry for being so long winded.

  47. Bishop Rick-

    I suppose if you look at the shallow stuff you might be right, but most of the core doctrines are pretty sound.

    Jay-

    Ahhh, thanks for the clarification. I understand where you are coming from because I have been (am) there. I have spent a lot of hours pondering what the church should be doing, since I did not believe (as you) they are doing what was right. The focus of the church right now is not what it was when it was restored, right or wrong, that is the truth. There was a lot of changes in the early days after Joseph Smith was gone, especially during Wilford Woodruff, and continuing up to Harold B Lee and beyond.

    The focus of the church has turned to being politically correct and encouraging growth, and it is working. The church is growing, but in order to do this it has set aside some of the precious truths that originally set it apart. Think of what they have accomplished in the process, the temples through out the world, the massive amount of work for the dead, the many people receiving their endowments, etc. It is hard for me to see how they could have done that if they had stuck to being an obscure, peculiar people isolated from the world. Look at the success (or lack thereof) of the break off groups.

    Now, I am not trying to say that the Lord could not have accomplished this some other way, I am sure He could have, His ways are not my ways. But the Lord leaves the leadership of the church (for the most part) up to the men in charge, whether or not they were put there by inspiration. Men (as a race) tend to lean on their own strength, which is why the church has gone the route it has, the easy route, so to speak. Not necessarily the right route, but it has advanced the world in preparation for the Second Coming.

    I appreciate your faith in members when you say

    Surely, members would understand if they simply presented the information and then said there is not enough information to really know what happened

    but I do not believe it for one minute, it made you question, it made me question, it would make everyone question, that is something the Brethren do not want. When you say

    instead they choose to ignore it realizing that a few will be curious enough to find out more information and the vast majority of members will never know.

    I think you hit the nail on the head right there. People join the church, learn a little, become complacent, and stop striving, stop progressing. If people were continually working on their knowledge, their faith, and their testimony they would build line upon line, precept upon precept and discover all the dark little secrets in the closets of the church. You are married, is there anything your wife could tell you about her past that would make you love her less? What about on your first date? Could she have shared something with you then to scare you away? Probably so. Same deal with the church, imagine if the missionaries let it all hang out in the discussions, people would get caught up in the supposed shenanigans and miss the whole point; the beauty and simplicity of the gospel. As people grow and learn, the issues that would have crushed their faith in the beginning, would be easier to take/understand and would not damage their faith as much as they could have, if at all.

    The Church will have to return to its original (restored) state before the Lord will accept it when He returns. This is the Last Dispensation, when everything will be restored. Not everything has been restored yet, I believe when it is, you will see a mass exodus from the church and only those who have strengthened their testimonies, filled their lamps, will be ready to accept the bride groom. Those who have never bothered to study beyond the textbook primary answers will not have a testimony with roots deep enough to weather the storm. I believe many of the church will fall into this category and it will be to their own condemnation.

    I had an amazing spiritual experience once where the Lord told me to focus on myself and work out my own salvation and let Him worry about the church. I have given up on trying to make comments in Sunday School or Priesthood because I usually just derail the lesson and awaken nobody, this does not change my testimony. My testimony is rooted in deep spiritual experiences I have had and reinforced by study and prayer. I do not think I am untouchable, I am afraid the devil has many members of the church in his grasp and I pray I can stay aware and never become one of them.

    I do not preach any of this as doctrine, this is what has been revealed to me, because it was what I needed. The Lord reveals to all who seek answers to their questions. May be I am wrong on some points, but this is what I believe and this is what I live by.

  48. PA,

    In your opinion, what are the core doctrines of the LDS church?

  49. And, what is left to be restored?

  50. “The focus of the church has turned to being politically correct and encouraging growth, and it is working. The church is growing,”

    I have a question why do LDS think that the “Church is growing”? Name Removals inactivity rates, unrecorded deaths.

    Do only Baptism’s count or does retention mean anything? For example in the US retention rate is less than 50% outside the US it is more like 25%. In regards to convert and the missionary effort, more ex-mormons get created than active mormons. The true growth if any comes from breeding doesn’t it? and the retention there is not as hight as it use to be either.

    Just wonder why the LDS throw out the Church is growing statement!

  51. PallasAthena

    If the LDS church is Jesus Christ’s personally restored church, then why does it have to mislead people into the church via a fudged and deceptive version of its own History and Foundational events? Why did Jesus supposedly restore it in such a way that his supposed own church is embarrased to tell the real truth about it?

    This church is supposed to be a cut above all ‘Satans’ supposed churches as they were represented in the pre 1990 temple Endowment Ceremony.

    You said ” I have given up on trying to make comments in Sunday School or Priesthood because I usually just derail the lesson and awaken nobody, this does not change my testimony.”

    I kept my mouth shut most of the time, though on occasion I couldn’t help but ask the more difficult questions in EQ. I was never criticised when I spoke out actually, maybe I should have after all asked about the more controversial things. I just felt uncomfortable by the whole thing and thought it may be a bit disrespectful of me so I decided to quit attending instead.

    You sound like you have your own version of religion and just happen to attend an LDS church.

    “The Church will have to return to its original (restored) state before the Lord will accept it when He returns.”

    What ‘original’ restored state is this you speak of? Polygamy with teens and marrying other mens wives ( Joseph Smith). The blacks priesthood ban( Brigham Young).

    “This is the Last Dispensation, when everything will be restored.”

    This is no last dispensation in my opinion but just another senseless unfounded claim by a religious group. The church continues its long term business investment plans ( $2 billion shopping mall ). Theye obviousley have revelation that nothing is happening with respect to an imminent return of Jesus Christ, unless of course you believe he will continue with the shopping mall at his return.

    “Not everything has been restored yet, I believe when it is, you will see a mass exodus from the church and only those who have strengthened their testimonies, filled their lamps, will be ready to accept the bride groom.”

    If you ask me, ‘nothing’ has been restored, let alone ‘not everything’ has been restored yet.:)

    People leave the church because they find out they were deceived. Those who leave because of Sin don’t realise they can still be sinners in church.
    They mistakenly thought perhaps those leaders actually always practice what they preach.

    I miss many of the sincere ward members and feel sad to have given up after two years with them.

  52. elder joseph-

    I think you have it backwards. I do not think I have my own version of religion and happen to attend the LDS church, I think the majority of people who happen to attend the LDS church (the mainstream mormons) have their own version of religion.

  53. Hi Jay,

    Wow. I just read your “about me” section. You had commented on my blog awhile back and I responded rather hastily without even reviewing your blog to see where you were coming from. I apologize. I really respect what you are doing here on your blog. I’m going to bookmark your blog as I think I could learn a lot from reading your posts and comments here. You are welcome to comment on my blog at anytime.

    In His Grace,

    Jessica

  54. Great blog! I just stumbled across you on LDS BLOGS. My husband and I just built a website (MormonsMadeSimple.com) which uses simple, explanatory videos to explain the Mormon faith. Feel free to embed one of our videos in your blog, if you think it would be a good missionary tool.

    Thanks!
    Laurel & Doug

  55. Hey Jay, you commented on my blog about the shirtless calendar and I deleted your comment by mistake. I’d love for you to repost it. It was
    “I think the Church down plays its polygamous past because the way it was practiced, especially by Joseph Smith was very disturbing. I think Chad is right though, the Church does still practice polygamy in the temples. Men are often sealed to more than one woman. For some reason members seem to think the Church doesn’t practice polygamy anymore. This is most likely because it is not as apparent, but it is still doctrine of the Church.”

    Thanks.

  56. I’m a former BYU student. Attended one year, then dropped out because I couldn’t take the criticism and the constant marriage pressure. I really appreciate your blog. It helps me realize that it’s ok to be confused about lds and still have faith in God.

  57. Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate to it on so many levels.

    • TFD,
      You’re welcome. I scanned through your site. It looks very nice. I’m jealous of your time to blog. Unfortunately, right now time is precious and I don’t have much of it to devote to my blog. Hopefully this will change soon and I can continue to have discussions on Mormons Talk. I wish you the best.

  58. You should read REAL history and leave ”mormonism”!

  59. I’m not sure what you mean. I do read real history. If you care to, please elaborate.

  60. Jay,
    I’m in a similar situation as you. Married with three kids, in my thirties, still attending LDS, but have lost my religious innocence.
    A few thoughts of my own.
    I think spirituality is good when it’s used as a compass, a comforter, or as something to enlighten our minds about certain principles, etc. But it’s not so good when used to prove or convince us of historical events and scientific truths relative to the physical world. The problem I see with the church’s brand of spirituality is that it is used not only for spiritual guidance, wisdom, and comfort, but also for gaining knowledge about things pertaining to the scientific realm, such as the location of the garden of eden, the historicity of the book of Mormon, the origins of native Americans, the literalness of the Bible, the correct translation of papyrus, the causes of various human conditions and tendencies, etc. The foundational claims of the church are all based on certain historical events that either happened or didn’t. But claiming that we can “know” these things through spiritual impressions is, in my opinion, misguided and reckless. We might hope or believe, but to know is impossible. We’re often told that we can know spiritual things through the spirit, but just because particular events have a spiritual theme or storyline does not mean that they are “things of the spirit”. In all actuality they are claims about the physical world, and should be proven or disproven using physical means (evidence for or against histories in the Book of Mormon, etc.) I think this was Joseph Smith’s whole problem – he let spirituality overstep its rightful bounds, which is why so much of what he taught regarding historical events and the physical world has been proven unreliable. The value of his teachings is the idea that one can come to know God through certain practices and principles, but it’s really impossible for any of us to come to a knowledge about the first vision or gold plates without actually being there to witness it. It’s very similar to how the Pope told Catholics that he learned by the spirit that Mary flew up to heaven without tasting death. It’s asking too much for people to believe in such claims without more evidence. And I’m not sure it is beneficial to know such things. Similarly, does is really matter whether or not Jonah lived in a whale? Not really, when you consider that nobody took this story literally until the 17-18th centuries. It was taught, as was the Adam and Eve story, as a spiritual metaphor, and not something to be taken literally. If the people who wrote it didn’t take it literally than why should we? The principle of the story is what matters- that God loves and saves all people, including the Ninevites, and that we shouldn’t be too self-righteous or tribalistic.
    One great advantage of Mormonism is the emphasis placed on following the spirit in our present-day lives, and not just relying on “the word” as so many other churches espouse. The revelations we receive today are what matter, not what Jonah said to the Ninevites. Another benefit of Mormon spirituality is that we are given a reason and a purpose for exercising spiritual gifts. Having a cause that is bigger than ourselves and that we believe is important to God makes it easier to seek and receive guidance through the spirit. I believe that all spiritual insights are reserved for those who seek to do God’s will and serve others. Mormonism sets up a system by which we are encouraged, through our callings, to practice this principle.
    The trouble with Mormonism is that it’s a very fundamentalist religion, which means that it takes things in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and church history too literally. Literalism is what makes it attractive to many, because people want to believe in something that they think describes reality. As you probably know, it’s the fundamentalist religions that are attracting the most people. People want their religion to be real, not just a bunch of metaphors. But literalism becomes dysfunctional when it’s not really true.
    Some examples of dysfunctional beliefs that Mormons might have:
    1) Brigham Young believed that sandstone would morph into granite if it was buried in the ground long enough. This is why the original SLC temple foundation cracked. They weren’t using granite at first. His unfounded beliefs about rocks were dysfunctional, and not very practical.
    2) Joseph Smith believed that the reason why the zion’s camp participants got sick, had constant diarrhea and fights, and almost drowned was because the devil was riding on the waters. By thinking this way they were not able to see the situation for what it actually was — that the trip was poorly planned, they drank bad water and got sick, and people became impatient as their very survival was threatened. As a teenager, my young men’s group leader cancelled our trip to a waterpark because of this very scripture. He thought the Devil might try to throw the elect off a slide or something.
    3) When people get depressed they might read the D&C scripture that teaches how despair is the result of sin. Certainly sin does bring unhappiness, but not all depression is caused by sinful actions. People might try to deal with their depression by living a cleaner life, which might not really get at the root of the problem. And when they find that the depression is not leaving , they might feel more guilty and unworthy. I often feel my very worst on fast Sundays, and have wondered if Satan was attacking me more on those days. But then I realized it was just the mood that always comes when I’m starving. I also get depressed when coming off a sugar high, or when I’m having constipation:) And why is it that areas heavily populated with Mormons tend to have higher depression rates? Maybe they’re not keeping the commandments, or maybe there is a concentration of depressive tendencies in the limited gene pools of pioneer descendants, or maybe Mormons don’t self-medicate with alcohol the way others do so they rely on anti-depressants instead, or maybe the religion is making them depressed as wives try to raise 8 kids while their husbands attend high council meetings. Who knows? But simple one-size-fits-all canned answers should never be accepted without scrutiny.
    4) One of the greatest things I have gained from questioning Mormonism is my belief that the devil does not exist as an actual being. I no longer see the devil behind every bad thought or deed. There are so many more convincing explanations for why people do what they do, and most of it is linked to the survival instinct. Understanding this has helped me interact with others in a much more healthy and effective way. And it has helped me overcome some of my own personal weaknesses.
    5) Some people believe that as long as they pay their tithing they will be blessed financially. I’m convinced that certain blessing will come from paying tithing, but I’m not convinced that God operates like a vending machine, where we put in 10% and in return he saves our foolish business ventures. Mormons who lose their jobs might wonder whether it had something to do with paying gross or net on their tithing, when in actuality it was caused by the company outsourcing to Asia. How one deals with these types of situations will depend on what they view the cause of the situation to be. Was it the devil partnering with God as in the case of Job, was it insufficient tithing, a blessing in disguise, or just a worldwide recession that is effecting everyone.
    Consider why the ancient Israelites practiced fertility rituals when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai. It wasn’t because they were sinful, lustful, or forgetful. It was because up until that time they had always worshipped multiple Gods, and they truly believed that the rituals to Baal were effective. They were trying to guarantee prosperity by pleasing all the Gods they could, even though worshipping a golden calf probably had little effect on fertility rates.
    Or consider how people in the middle ages tried to fight the plague by wearing colorful clothes and keeping the sabbath. What they did was not effective because it was based on incorrect knowledge about what caused the plague.
    6) Some people who want to get married spend lots of time at the temple, with the idea that greater closeness to God through temple attendance will help align them with their soul mate. Wouldn’t it be more practical and effective to spend more time dating instead of hanging out with elderly temple workers on a Friday night? I waited on God for many years to help me find a wife. Finally, in desperation, and after giving up on God’s intervention, I did what any animal does and aggressively pursued someone who I really liked. Who would of thought that we could learn so much form the animal kingdom? I never should have watched Saturday’s Warrior 🙂
    7) Mormons often feel that their closeness to God, and their ability to receive spiritual guidance is conditional on their activity in the church. This causes some to feel less confident before God when they haven’t finished their home teaching or other items on the monthly checklist. We also believe that the gift of the holy ghost will be
    diminished if we stop attending church. This can be dysfunctional because people don’t realize that they can still have spirituality in their lives, with or without the church. The church doesn’t give the spirit to people, they have had it all along. The RS manual’s lesson on “The Bitter Fruits of Apostasy” tells believing members that those who leave the church are overcome by the influence of Satan. No wonder people start acting weird when we bring up doubts and questions. They think we’re possessed by a lying spirit.
    8) Spencer Kimball taught that Native Americans could become white by converting to the gospel. He claimed that Indian foster children turned more white when adopted by LDS families. Consider how this belief, when put into practice, was dysfunctional and not based on reality.
    9) Mormons, like other fundamentalists, believe that the Millennium is right at our doorstep. They believed this back in Joseph Smith’s time too. That’s why they were so anxious to gather before it happened. Some might think that having hope in the imminent second coming serves us well, but I think it creates a culture of pessimism and irresponsibility if taken too literally. Some people don’t plan, invest, or prepare for the future as well as they should because they are counting on the second coming to fix everything. They might not deal with environmental issues because they believe the whole world is going to burn sometime in the next 10-20 years. They might passively or actively encourage wars in the middle east because they believe blood must run before christ will come. The idea that nothing we do to enhance earthly life will really matter because we are in the end of days, does not generally lead to very productive or far-sighted solutions for today’s problems. The way we believe in the literal second coming might keep us on the straight and narrow, but probably won’t motivate us to deal effectively with worldly issues.
    10) The way that we are so future-oriented in the church limits that amount of joy and satisfaction that we derive from the here and now. Having a goal is noble and gives us purpose, but it is dysfunctional when it does not allow us to enjoy the moment because we have the burden of saving every human being who has ever lived for the past 6000 to 200,000 years, depending on your beliefs about the age of the earth.
    11) Perhaps the biggest handicap that people in the church develop is a lack of trust in their own judgment. We always assume that there is someone in authority who is more spiritually in tune than we are, and that any belief we have that does not fit orthodoxy must be incorrect. We second guess our own authority and experiences, assuming that what is true for Henry Eyring must be true for all of us. Pay attention to how people speak and teach in the church. Everybody is quoting someone else instead of relying on their own authority. In almost any sacrament meeting talk you will hear people quoting general authorities to validate everything they are saying. When you hear general authorities speaking they will be quoting Joseph Smith, other prophets, and C.S. Lewis as the authorities. There’s a sense that “although I don’t know something, I’m sure that Hugh Nibley or McKonkie knows it, and that’s good enough for me.” It’s nice to have all the work done and handed to you in a manual, but I believe it takes away our own initiative to discover God when we simply accept an authoritative version of how things are.

    The question for me is whether I can remain in the church with my unorthodox views. In theory it’s allowed, but in practice it’s very difficult.
    I quit for a year, but I’m trying it out again. More and more it’s starting to feel like someone else’s church, and not where I want to be. I’ve given myself 6 more months, but probably won’t make it past three.

    Sorry so long,
    I didn’t intend it that way,

    Cheers,

  61. Dan,

    Thanks for leaving your thoughts. It’s nice to know there are others out there like myself. I can relate to a lot of what you said. Does your wife feel the same way? If not, how has she responded to your unorthodoxy?

    • She’s on the same page as I am, but it took awhile to get there. She’s open to whatever, as long as it’s better than what we came from I don’t think she’s convinced that we will find anything else, but we are trying to build something ourselves. Her mom and dad just finished a mission, and are terrified about what we’re going through.
      It’s amazing how much is conditional on what a person believes. I had no idea that people would become so upset over somebody believing differently on really non-essential issues.
      Neither of us really wants to leave it, mostly for the social aspects.
      We are talking about leaving as a family so that we can try to reconstruct our lives without the church in it, to see whether it could be better. But we’re both very open to staying in it, if we can come to believe that the side affects of fundamentalism aren’t so bad. Of course we’ve already attended many other churches to look for a replacement of the communal aspects, but having a hard time finding something that feels comfortable — mostly cultural. We’re teaching our children wisdom from various spiritual traditions, and then we have a weekly service activity that the kids can participate in, along with some kind of home church discussion. The service activities are arranged through united way or we look on the websites of local churches to see if we can join any of their projects. What we still prefer about Mormonism are the high standards, the self-deterministic attitudes, and the goal for excellence, which I think is a big part of the culture. You can find these same attitudes in much of the Buddhist philosophies, which at the moment are some of my favorites, but no so easy in your average christian church. Because Mormonism is a type of amalgamation of Judaism, Christianity and Eastern philosophies, it’s hard to find other churches with such inclusive theologies. I think early Mormonism was good because it allowed people to believe whatever they wanted and didn’t require it. Now, as an institution, it has kind of flip-flopped to where orthodoxy matters very much.
      The attitude of flexible and open theology is great, but unfortunately the church hangs on to a lot of erroneous traditions and superstitions that they really should get rid of.
      It doesn’t really bother me when the church changes it’s stance on doctrines or issues, if it is moving toward a less weird and more basic set of beliefs. The question for me is why not just attend a church that has already gone through this process? Mormons look down on other churches for having so little to offer in terms of the big answers. But what they other churches emphasize are the essentials. The advantage that other churches have is that less time is spent on speculating the cosmos and indoctrination and more time is spent on the essentials and service. Think of how much time in the church is spent on activities that are meant to keep people attached to it. Seminary, firesides, special celebrations, youth programs, etc. If there wasn’t so much to swallow in terms of history, doctrine, and our special place among religions we could focus on things that truly change lives.
      I’m convinced that God can and does work through the Mormon church, not because of how great it is but because of how great he is. It reminds me of the Rumi quote “God accepts counterfeit”. Although many of our teachings are false they are helpful as tools in understanding our relationship with God and others.

  62. Jay,

    I would suggest you continue to compare Mormon doctrine with Biblical doctrine (see link below). Christ taught that the “truth shall make you free.” Many Mormons never experience that until they leave Mormonism. When they leave suddenly their world is brighter, their life is fuller and more meaningful.

    Jesus told us “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John.8:31-32). Jesus taught “the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:29,32).

    Joseph Smith taught “three Gods” (Joseph Smith Teachings – Ensign, Mar 2008, 68-73). Joseph Smith does not continue in the words of Jesus.

    http://comparing-views.com

    Grace and peace,

  63. John,
    I appreciate what you are trying to do. I have attended other Christian churches in my neighborhood. I don’t really feel comfortable in them either. I realize they are good people doing their best, but I don’t see it as superior to the LDS faith. If I did start going to another church I just feel like I’d be making an equal trade. I’m much more ecumenical in my beliefs now. I am able to really accept and appreciate others and how they choose to believe; be they christian or not. I know that probably sounds wishy washy but it is a place where I find peace. It is much easier for me to view others as children of God now and show them the respect they deserve.

    I’ll take a look at your link and seriously consider what it says. Thanks leaving your comment.

  64. jay,
    hi,

    I was just trying to find the 17 evidences of the true church and ran across your blog. I felt I had to talk to you.
    I commend you on seeking truth.
    I think your getting religion and faith intertwined.
    I am a LDS member, convert, active and non-activem mother, wife, grandmother, daughter, etc. But one thing that is a constant in my life is loving God above everything else and knowing that Jesus Christ is my savior.
    The Church of JS of LDS is a rough road in today’s world. I sometimes envy people who were born into the Church because I always felt they were so lucky to have their faith from birth, that had a father who was a priesthood holder in the home, that from a very early age they felt comfort in having a church family to go to, etc. I did not have this growing up.
    I realize now that it is hard for members who were born into the Church as well. You never knew anything different. Now you are seeking the right way to live your life and you want to be right with what you believe. You don’t want to make an error. You want to be on God’s side (at least that is how I feel).
    Do you know how blessed I feel to know that I can call a priesthood holder and ask for a blessing for myself and my children? I feel so blessed that as we pray as a family and read the scriptures that the Holy Spirit resides in my home. I feel so blessed to know that when I say God and Jesus are not the same people do not think I am wrong.
    I actually had my name removed from the records and was no longer a member at one time. I am telling you it was the worst mistake of my life! Nothing went right, I felt a hole in my heart, I could not control my children, life did not feel the same, I had trouble with my marriage (my husband is not a member). Everything that was truely important in my life seemed to be falling apart. When I wanted a spiritual blessing and asked an assistant pastor from another church I was attending (not LDS, but a totally different church) what I could do, that I needed help with my life he told me to read a chapter from the Bible, said to pray about my situation and that he really didn’t do blessings. Also, he wanted to know how I could raise my children as LDS and then turn around and then raise them as Christians? At that point I knew I was in trouble and totally lost.
    I went back to the LDS church and it was such a wonderful feeling to come home and I cried from joy when I was baptised and confirmed again in the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. I realized what I had lost. And, I know, that LDS is a religion and that faith comes first, but what a feeling!!!! I was back where I belonged! And along with that I began reading the scriptures again, I started attending Church again, my children started attending, my husband and I are close again, life was good again, and my faith and love for God was wonderful again!!!!!!
    Whatever you decide Jay is up to you. You have free agency. I am not so great at writing and saying the right thing. Although, my heart is in the right place.
    Whatever you do, please do not give up your priesthod. You never know when you will be able to help someone like me or my family. We need more men to be leaders and wonderful examples for youth. Please stay with the LDS Church. Your faith will always be tried, but your religion keeps you moving forward. I know that this Church is the right one! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that I have been given a second chance at being in the right religion. I never want to lose that again! I never want anyone to feel so low and lost. Please pray for me and I will pray for you. Good luck and much love to you and your quest!

    suzy

  65. Suzy,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I can tell from your post that you are sincere. I do not anticipate leaving the LDS Church. Going to any other Church would feel strange and awkward. However, I attend mostly for my family not because of any obligation or particular love of the lessons there. In fact, LDS meetings tend to cause me more spiritual harm than good. Often things are said that are bigoted, close-minded or that reflect an inaccurate/incomplete knowledge of LDS Church history. I don’t blame the members of my ward; they are well-meaning people trying their best. Unfortunately, the Church perpetuates false notions about its history by emphasizing only what they want members to know through church manuals and talks. I wish this was not true, but time and time again I have found it to be the case. It saddens me because I used to believe the church I loved only told the whole truth and was completely honest. It saddens me that I was taught for over 30 years things that were only part truths. Especially because growing up in the Church I was taught to be completely honest. Mostly because of this I have lost faith in the LDS Church. I no longer believe my leaders know any better than I do what is right and what is wrong. I trust in my own ability to receive revelation from God and the sense of right and wrong he blessed me with.

    I still pray and read scriptures with my family on a daily basis as do many LDS fathers. I also attend my meetings each Sunday, even though it is usually not always a net positive experience for me. I even hold a calling. So to most members I probably appear like a normal everyday Mormon, but I’m not. I know some members would prefer me to leave, calling me a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But I look at it pragmatically. This is where my family enjoys going to Church, I think even with the negative aspects of the LDS faith at its core it is a good organization. I dislike certain cultural teachings and aspects that come along with it, but I have no doubt other churches would have the same drawbacks. At least I know what those drawbacks are in Mormonism and can help my kids to navigate them in an age appropriate manner. I have no desire to hop from church to church, religion to religion constantly searching for something that doesn’t exist – a perfect Church.

    My days of believing the LDS faith was something special, something set apart form other Christian sects are, I fear, over. I now see it as no worse or better than the many other faith traditions available today. As with most faiths we have many skeletons in our closet, some more damning than others. Some LDS doctrine still resonates with me, but so do some Buddhist and Catholic teachings. As I’ve become more open to others’ and their beliefs/views my life has only been enriched. I still self-identify as Mormon, but I truly appreciate and accept the good from everyone be they Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist or even Atheist. I also feel free to disagree with LDS leaders, to question them and when I feel driven by conscience to do so, ignore them.

    I used to say “I know” about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Prophet, the Church, but I now feel these are of very minor importance. The Mormon “I know” could very easily and appropriately be synonymous with “I believe”. When God sees us again he is not going to reject us simply because we didn’t believe in Joseph Smith or go to the temple. He won’t turn us away if we believed in the Trinity or were never baptized. It is my belief he will look at our heart and see what kind of person we really are, that is what really matters. Once I’ve mastered that I’ll feel good about moving on to something else. I wish you the best as you continue in the Mormon faith.

    Jay

  66. I find myself in a similar boat. I have a strong academic back ground in science. I have studied church history and doctrine objectively probably as much as anyone has, both for and against the church on a great many topics. I would make a great anti-mormon. I know the dark side of, the equation. I learned in science how to be truely objective, and honest in surching for truth. Unfortunatly this has not help me in lds doctrine and historical study. To be perfectly honest the church and its leaders have been wrong at times and many vitally important church events are questionable. I could list them but I won’t, they are easy to find if you are totally honest and willing to put in the time and effort. I grew up mormon, served a mission and still goto church but its hard “knowing too much”. I stopped talking to friends and family about my questions because it just caused problems. What to do? I wish like many on this blog that the leaders would “clean out the closet” and amit they are not perfect and members with uncertainies could talk more freely. Like others on this blog, even with all the bad in the church, I can’t find anything else that is better, and I have had spiritual feelings to stay.

    • Im from Brazil, I had the same expierence. I served mission and stil keep going to church, but after I study the church history, like the doctrine adam-god, black people, polygamy, book of abraham, it really puzzled my mind, I used to talk about these topics with friends, church leaders and my family, but it caused more problems and sometimes I feel alone about this. I believe in God and science as well, but we learn in the bible that we should live by faith, its very hard for me to believe in all this stuff, but like you I had many spiritual expierence in my life, like visions in my dreams and so on. I decided to keep going to church instead to give up, is a big risk to quit, because one day if we know that is true, it could be late, better try to find spiritual answers today,

  67. I am writing a fair and balanced piece on resigning from mormonism (I am not a mormon) and I would really like to talk to a bishop to get my facts correct – any suggestions? Thank you very much for your consideration.
    Darin

  68. Jesus said: ” I AM the Way, The Truth and the Life. No man comes to the father except by me.”Church membership, rules, rituals and all the good deeds in the entire world cannot bring us salvation. It is only the blood of Christ and those who surrender their lives to Him that will have eternal life in heaven.

    I pray you find the peace of Christ that passes all understanding.Fully yielding to the truth that only Jesus saves.

    I was lds for 10 years. I can relate to what you are going through. However,when I left, I never looked back. Rediscover the Holy Bible

  69. Very informative discussion ! How unfortunate that we try to fit the belief into out minds rather than expanding our minds. I too had many questions but most of them have been answered – and I am still a member of the Church. I have recently gotten comfortable with not knowing some things, rather than insisting there is an answer for everything. I know I will get those answers when I can handle them. My conversion story is on http://www.ldsconvertstories.com

    • Why would you send this to me?

      • ?

  70. My new favorite bumper sticker: Jesus is Lard


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