This is my first post so I should introduce myself. I met my wife to be, in the last year of high school and married her when we were both 19. My wife came from an LDS family with her father serving as Bishop at the time. I was baptized into the church about 6 months after our marriage and started our life journey together as active members of the church. I am now almost 59 and have served in most callings particularly in Young Mens, Elders Quorum President, High Priests Group Leader, various Bishoprics, several occasions as a High Councilor, and most recently as a Bishop. You could say I am well rounded in the LDS Church.
My life was going along with the normal ups and downs up until in searching for answers to LDS Church history questions raised by 2 of my children and their spouses, I came across the Church Essays in the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org.
Here is my recent letter to my current Bishop and Stake President that will show you the difficulty that I am experiencing.
Dear Bishop and Stake President,
I write to you both as my ward and quorum leaders. I speak for both myself, and my wife, however the following letter is entirely my thoughts and personal struggles over the last 18 months.
My wife and I are the parents of 5 wonderful and unique children and 8 joyful grandchildren (so far). All of our children were born in the covenant and entered the Temple with their spouses, with 4 children (2 sons and 2 daughters) serving missions.
About 18 months ago, my eldest son and eldest daughter’s husband were struggling with their testimonies of the church. Needless to say, their struggles were affecting their eternal companions. Their struggles were based around fundamental beliefs that we have, such as Joseph Smith and the Restoration, Book of Mormon and other revealed scripture, Race and the Priesthood. Prayerfully I counseled with them and shared my love and testimony with them. In my endeavor to seek further knowledge I began my journey to search for answers to their difficulties.
As I began my research, I somehow came across the “Church Essays” found on lds.org in the Gospel Topics section. As I read some of them I started to get an uneasy feeling. Here was information that up until now I would have expected to find on anti-Mormon sites. As I read through them rather than getting answers to questions, I was getting more questions that needed answering. It was like pulling a loose thread and realizing that my “Gospel fabric” was starting to unravel.
As I read through the various topics in the “Essays” I realized that there was more information needed than what was offered. The church was providing this information to assist those members struggling with historical information as well as being an attempt to become “more transparent”, however this information was only superficial and even vague in areas. Unfortunately rather than finding answers to those questions, I was beginning to sense a feeling of sadness and loneliness and a breaking down of my own “testimony”.
I needed more help, but where do I go? If I go to non-church sites then there is a bias, which would not be helpful. I have tried where possible to research LDS based sites especially those that refer to various personal diaries of leaders and prominent people of early Church history, which are in fact quoted as reliable sources by our leaders today. A valuable site for me has been Mormon History Association, which is a great source of information on the church’s history. You can find it at:
Just over 12 months ago my wife and I along with our youngest daughter (25) relocated to our new Ward. In my first interview with Bishop, I expressed my concerns with regards to the “Essays” only to find out that he was aware of them and that others in his ward also had challenges. He suggested I read “Rough Stone Rolling”, an LDS based biography of Joseph Smith. I have yet to obtain a copy, however I have read various quotes and it’s interesting to note that even Bushman uses certain references that if researched by the reader will provide further information that, in my opinion, is damaging to the church.
During this period, my wife had been very supportive and loving to me and of course to our children. She had been faithful in attending to her calling as RS teacher and trying to be strong in her testimony, however she has now also started to struggle with aspects of church history, so much so, that when we unexpectedly, were extended a call to serve as Multi Stake Public Affairs Directors for our region, we realized that as Directors, we would have to defend the Church, both publicly and in the various committees that we would need to attend. This was too much for us and with sadness offered our apologies to the Area Seventy and declined the call. In regards to my wife’s RS calling she also has informed the RS President of her decision to no longer perform her role as teacher.
The last months have been difficult for us both to sit in Church meetings and listen to testimonies about the “truthfulness of the Church” or that “Joseph Smith and others were true prophets”. These have come about because of the unresolved questions raised by the “Essay” topics.
We love the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we understand it. What we have difficulty in, is how to reconcile the historical facts and the teachings of the early prophets and our current beliefs today. I know we have known about such things as polygamy, race and the Priesthood etc. before, but we never knew them in detail, and the essays, in trying to be more “transparent” have only skimmed over the difficult questions. The more I have now researched, the more disturbing the information has become.
Just last month I came across Elder M Russell Ballard address (see lds.org – There is Absolutely Nothing Wrong with Asking Questions) September 13, 2015. Here are some extracts:
“To the Saints in the Utah South Area
Let me make sure that you are hearing my epistle and that you understand this important point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions or investigating our history, doctrine, and practices. The Restoration began when Joseph Smith sought answers to his sincere questions.
We have heard stories where someone asking honest questions about our history, doctrine, or practice were treated as though they were faithless. This is not the Lord’s way. As Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man [or woman] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”
We need to do better in responding to honest questions. Although we may not be able to answer every question about the cosmos or about our history, practices, or doctrine, we can provide many answers to those who are sincere.”
Elder Ballard continues by relating a story of a young elder who served with then Mission President Ballard in Canada:
“One of our outstanding missionaries that served with us in the Canada Toronto Mission years ago, came to my office in Salt Lake City. During our visit, he told me that he was losing his faith and his testimony and that he had many questions. I asked him to write down his questions and promised to find answers to them, certainly as many as I could. As he was about to leave, he had his hand on the doorknob of my office, I said, “Elder, how long has it been since you have studied the scriptures, specifically how long has it been since you have read from the Book of Mormon? He lowered his head and said he had not been doing that. I gave him an assignment to begin reading the Book of Mormon for an hour each day while I worked to prepare answers to his questions. He agreed to do so.
Two weeks later, he came back to my office, and as he entered in and sat down he said, “President, I don’t need answers to those questions anymore. I did what you asked—I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.” I was very happy to hear that, but said, “Elder, I spent a long time answering your questions so you will have to sit down and hear the answers!” What a joy! The Spirit and light of the gospel had returned to him. I commended him and gave him a big hug before he left.”
He further stated the following:
“When I have a question that I cannot answer, I turn to those who can help me. The Church is blessed with trained scholars and those who have devoted a lifetime of study, who have come to know our history and the scriptures. These thoughtful men and women provide context and background so we can better understand our sacred past and our current practices.”
I can hear you saying “yes, the answer to our struggles is to read the scriptures daily, particularly the Book of Mormon” as recommended by Elder Ballard. But isn’t it interesting that he says:
“When I have a question that I cannot answer, I turn to those who can help me … trained scholars …”
So does he need more than the scriptures? What about Apostolic revelation? If even he needs to turn to scholars etc. then that would also apply to me. I have thought about the young elder reading the Book of Mormon. We all do that to get in a “comfortable and warm feeling” zone. One that we are familiar with, one that we have turned to for most of our lives. But is that feeling of comfort and warmth only a “familiar feeling”? The young man said he was OK, but it’s also interesting that Elder Ballard continued with answering his questions. Those questions or answers are not stated. They would have been helpful for me.
The following are some of the difficulties that have affected me in reading the Essays.
Revelation on plural marriage D&C 132 (12th July 1843) – known to Joseph since 1831 following his reading about Abraham in the scriptures.
Although the sealing keys were not restored till April 3 1836 (Kirtland Temple) – Joseph secretly marries Fanny Alger (a maid in his house) without restored sealing keys and before the revelation on plural marriage?
Louisa Beaman becomes the first of many plural wives sealed to Joseph in Nauvoo April 1841. Joseph also marries/seals himself to married women, even some whose husbands are on missions. No explanation is given.
The most damning example of Joseph’s and Brigham Young’s practice of “Celestial Marriage” was with Zina D Huntington Jacobs Smith Young. She was propositioned by Joseph to be his plural wife and even after she married Henry Jacobs, Joseph continued to pursue Zina and eventually sealed her to himself. Following Joseph’s death, Brigham decided he was a better man for her than her legal husband Henry and had her sealed to himself for time without a divorce from Henry and went on to having children with her. Is this Gods “plan of happiness”?
The Church Essay states the following:
“When God commands a difficult task, He sometimes sends additional messengers to encourage His people to obey. Consistent with this pattern, Joseph told associates that an angel appeared to him three times between 1834 and 1842 and commanded him to proceed with plural marriage when he hesitated to move forward. During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully.”
Joseph would use this statement of the destroying angel to coerce some of the women to accept his marriage proposal. He would also state that he had received by revelation that the specific woman was to be sealed to him.
The essay further states the following in trying to answer the cases of polyandry:
“He may have believed that sealings to married women would comply with the Lord’s command without requiring him to have normal marriage relationships.”
This is not consistent with one of the reasons for the practice of polygamy which was to “raise up seed unto the Lord”. If Joseph didn’t have “normal marriage relationships” then what seed would have been raised?
“The revelation on plural marriage, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 132, emerged partly from Joseph Smith’s study of the Old Testament in 1831. Latter-day Saints understood that they were living in the latter days, in what the revelations called the “dispensation of the fullness of times.”5 Ancient principles—such as prophets, priesthood, and temples—would be restored to the earth. Plural marriage, practiced by ancient patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, was one of those ancient principles.”
This has been a very perplexing statement. Logic says that if Joseph had to restore all as at first, including plural marriage, why isn’t it a necessary principle today? (The Woodruff Manifesto is another topic of discussion). Thinking about this some more, if Joseph restored Christ’s church, then who in Christ’s time practiced polygamy and if not why not? And if the doctrine of polygamy is to raise seed unto God then why did Adam only have Eve and not other wives, or even Noah after the flood?
“Emma approved, at least for a time, of four of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages in Nauvoo, and she accepted all four of those wives into her household. She may have approved of other marriages as well. But Emma likely did not know about all of Joseph’s sealings. She vacillated in her view of plural marriage, at some points supporting it and at other times denouncing it.”
This doesn’t sound like Emma was thrilled about polygamy and what about Joseph being honest with his wife?
Here’s an interesting quote:
“The revelation on marriage required that a wife give her consent before her husband could enter into plural marriage. Nevertheless, toward the end of the revelation, the Lord said that if the first wife “receive not this law”—the command to practice plural marriage—the husband would be “exempt from the law of Sarah,” presumably the requirement that the husband gain the consent of the first wife before marrying additional women. After Emma opposed plural marriage, Joseph was placed in an agonizing dilemma, forced to choose between the will of God and the will of his beloved Emma. He may have thought Emma’s rejection of plural marriage exempted him from the law of Sarah. Her decision to “receive not this law” permitted him to marry additional wives without her consent.”
Well a convenient out for Joseph. He could marry anyone without Emma’s permission because he was only following God’s command.
Let’s look at Helen Mar Kimball, Heber C Kimball’s 14 year old daughter (see BYU Religious Education):
“Joseph … came next morning & with my parents I heard him teach & explain the principle of Celestial marriage—after which he said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation & that of your father’s household & all of your kindred. This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.” Neither a starry-eyed nor love-struck proposal, Joseph Smith’s to Helen resembles others recorded by the Prophet’s wives; each reported that he couched his proposal in the language of revelation, obedience to God’s law, and the promise of eternal rewards.”
I can’t help but feel for Helen, a 14 year old girl who had so much pressure put on her by the Prophet and her father. Can you imagine if you had a 14 year old daughter? Would you feel comfortable in submitting to the proposal?
Pres Gordon B Hinckley in an interview with Larry King said this of the practice of polygamy:
“I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal.”
The church essay states this about the doctrine of plural marriage:
“Church members no longer practice plural marriage.54 Consistent with Joseph Smith’s teachings, the Church permits a man whose wife has died to be sealed to another woman when he remarries.”
So it is indeed still a doctrine of the church. Perhaps Pres Hinckley was confused?
Here is a quote from “Official Declaration 1” (D&C) — Scripture: (is this an example of the accepted principle of “lying for the Lord”?)
I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.
Here is an “out” for Pres Woodruff as given by the author of the essay:
“The Manifesto declared President Woodruff’s intention to submit to the laws of the United States. It said nothing about the laws of other nations. Ever since the opening of colonies in Mexico and Canada, Church leaders had performed plural marriages in those countries, and after October 1890, plural marriages continued to be quietly performed there.34 As a rule, these marriages were not promoted by Church leaders and were difficult to get approved. Either one or both of the spouses who entered into these unions typically had to agree to remain in Canada or Mexico. Under exceptional circumstances, a smaller number of new plural marriages were performed in the United States between 1890 and 1904, though whether the marriages were authorized to have been performed within the states is unclear.”
I just want to understand what are exceptional circumstances? If Joseph had to follow God’s command to marry other women, what exceptional circumstance were there for members to break God’s command following the Manifesto?
From the essay:
“The exclusion of B. H. Roberts opened Mormon marital practices to renewed scrutiny. Church President Lorenzo Snow issued a statement clarifying that new plural marriages had ceased in the Church and that the Manifesto extended to all parts of the world, counsel he repeated in private. Even so, a small number of new plural marriages continued to be performed, probably without President Snow’s knowledge or approval. After Joseph F. Smith became Church President in 1901, a small number of new plural marriages were also performed during the early years of his administration.”
Here again after a Prophet of God publicly stating that plural marriage had ceased and by God’s command, yet more marriages were performed. Again what special circumstance allows a faithful member and indeed the Lord’s anointed Apostle/Prophet to break not only the Law of the land but also God’s command?
BOOK OF MORMON TRANSLATION
Another difficult fact is the use of the “seer stone” in translating the gold plates.
The essay states the following:
“The other instrument, which Joseph Smith discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, was a small oval stone, or “seer stone.” As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure. As Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling, he learned that he could use this stone for the higher purpose of translating scripture”.
The Urim and Thummim was only used to translate the first 116 pages (the lost ones). After Joseph regained the plates he then only used the “seer stone”. This seer stone was the one found on Willard Chase property while digging in a well. There is no mention anywhere that it was given to Joseph by God to help him translate, or even any mention that God “touched” the stones (see Bro of Jared). So this stone and other stones certainly were not “gifts” from God.
It’s also interesting that now we have numerous statements on Joseph putting the stone in a hat. Prior to this the process of translating with the seer stone was mentioned obscurely in a Friend article of 1979 and some years ago by Elder Nelson.
I would like to hear anyone’s thoughts on the October 2015 Ensign article entitled “Joseph the Seer”. Here is the link:
I have further difficulty in understanding the fact that the church has had this “seer stone” since Brigham Young and only now disclosed that fact. And since Joseph, no other Prophet has used it, or felt the need to use it? I would think today would be a perfect time to receive further revelation to answer all the unknown facts as touched upon in the essays.
RACE AND THE PRIESTHOOD
The Essay is detailed, however no one can find where the “doctrine” of banning blacks from the Priesthood came from, only that Brigham Young publicly announced in 1852 that:
“men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church”.
So it wasn’t a doctrine and no revelation was given by God to his Prophet, yet we had to wait till President Spencer Kimball received revelation from God to allow blacks the privilege. The theme running through the Essay is that it was the culture of the time, meaning that society had a particular view of the Negro and therefore the Church was of the same opinion. How does one consider that, when we compare the practice of Polygamy. It certainly wasn’t an accepted view of society, yet the church members were so obedient to that practice even though it not being accepted by society.
I have just scratched the surface in regards to the church essays and the history of the church.
Reuben Clark is quoted as having said “If we have truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed”. I would think that the “truth” found in the essays has harmed me. I certainly have come to the conclusion that I have been taught “the philosophies of men – mingled with scripture”.
Needless to say I simply announce to you both, that Anne and I will no longer be regular attenders to future church meetings. We have shared our difficulties (briefly) with our 2 “active” children and their spouses. Although heartbreaking for them and us, we could no longer pretend that all is well in Zion. We have for now decided to not seek formal removal of our membership, as that would show to them a finality in our “eternal family unit”, as the church doctrines teaches, and at this stage we do not wish that heartache upon them.
Finally, if there is one thing that I would ask of you both, it is that you would read the church essays in full, concentrating on Plural Marriage, Race and the Priesthood, Book of Abraham, and when you have read and pondered them, ask yourselves in all honesty, if they do not cause some doubt to come into your minds. I am still perplexed at the fact that the church has published them thinking that they would be helpful to members. And it bothers me greatly that anyone, especially the Brethren, would say “don’t doubt”.
They both responded to my letter, with the Bishop offering to meet with my wife and me, to see what he could do. The Stake President replied by stating that he had read in detail my letter, but didn’t know the answers and hoped that I would find them as I faithfully followed the Spirit’s direction.
What I really wanted from both brethren was their thoughts / opinions on what is found in the Church Essays, but it seems that they would prefer to stay clear of them.
What also saddens me, is that when I have raised questions with other members of the LDS Church regarding the Church Essays, none of them have a knowledge about them and certainly don’t want to know more.
To my dear friend John Krok, John, I haven’t contacted you earlier because I have more than 20 chronic illnesses and have a grandson I needed to help Ronda with as best I could. I have had many other challenges, so let me reassure you that it was not because I don’t care about you Anne, and your family. I am still active in the Church, but I have read many people’s narratives on this site and others, and I find their situations to be a little sad. Anyway, I have only read two of the Gospel Topics essays: DNA and the Book of Mormon, and the Translation of the Book of Mormon. Neither impressed me. I had a big argument on http://www.quora.com with Oscar Polar about the translation of the Book of Mormon essay. It turned out that he was right and I was wrong. Much of the material is from second-hand sources which… Read more »
HI Ted, Thank you for your remarks to my post of 2015 — its a long time ago since that post and your remarks came out of the blue, but I appreciate them and the time you took to provide me with your thoughts and background to the events in your life. Firstly I want you to know that everyones spiritual journey in life is valid for them as they experience all that life throws up. Those experiences can range from just “feeling” the spirit of divine beings to “heavenly” manifestations and I don’t doubt your conviction of having the experiences you have had particularly visits from loved ones. I have not had any such experiences apart from so called “burning of the bosom” when being taught the First Vision by the missionaries in 1976 and serving over 38 years in many callings culminating in my service as a Bishop in my… Read more »
Just to give you some comfort, I once experienced a similar situation. I almost “jumped off the wagon because this was fueled by people it was very close to in the church… who eventually totally fell away. I am so very happy that I remember and I was on my deathbed and the only one I had to turn to was Heavenly Father. That experience changed my life ! If I can give you a word of advice, stop focusing on things that happened in the past and or anything else whether it be true or not .…..Pray to Heavenly Father and ask him to help you understand the atonement for yourself and others and to give you the wisdom that he gave to Joseph Smith and you will never doubt again. If you haven’t ever done this before, ask heavenly father when you’re alone if the church is true and he will… Read more »
My testimony is built off of my relationship with heavenly father and the Lord through prayer not off of Joseph Smith’s. Saying will pull you away from the cross and put you in darkness anyway he can if it’s misconstruing the doctor and like 1/3 went with saying when it was a third part. You should ask of the Lord in all things yet you are seeking in the arm of flash for the answers and by posting this you were also ruining the testimony of others which you will be held accountable for. If you go join another church they teach strictly out of the Bible and there’s 43 different version so good luck finding consistent Sea there also. Have you taking these questions and concerns to the Lord to ask him for revelation or understanding if they did or didn’t happen I bet you didn’t and now you’re… Read more »
I came across your post was searching for information on what my sister should do because she was having a conflict with her bishop. I told her to trust in the Lord and even god’s appointed are not perfect. After I read this I started to pray in question happen we found her about all the things I now and all the things I’ve been told and the things that you have the revealed. And the same message that I had given my sister came back to me trust not in the arm of flesh trust in what I now which is my testimony of Jesus Christ and heavenly father is not based off of Joseph Smith. We have been commanded to question all things and if we do we should take it to the father and he will reveal it to us and I have had revelation the Lord… Read more »
It has been sometime since this was posted but I had to comment. I am in the midst of discovering all of this for myself and I’m contemplating leaving the church. It is such a heartbreaking decision that changes everything. But I don’t know how I can continue to go on with it. The god of this church seems to treat women poorly. I’m so sad. So very sad that I can’t find truthfulness in it anymore. I hope you are doing well. Thank you for the post!
I’m so glad you found this post helpful. I really appreciate John’s posts as well. Leaving can be a scary proposition. There are many groups in many parts of the world to support people having doubts and considering the things you are considering. Please let me know if you’d like help finding such a group.
Hi Carrie, Thank you I am doing well. From time to time I get frustrated that others don’t see the “truth”, but I get thorough. The hardest thing is the loss of sociality with people who are your friends. After some 38 years forming those friendships and fellowships, its difficult for TBM friends to know how to treat me, so most often they withdraw as do I. My wife is a great strength to me as are all of my children. A son and daughter and their families still love us unconditionally, however, I know that they hurt from the condition that I now find myself in. But true love prevails and overcomes all things. Don’t despair. You will come through this stronger every day. If there is a group nearby for you I would recommend you meet up with them, it will help. Unfortunately for me here in Australia there… Read more »
I have always respected you as a priesthood holder/leader and reading this gave me a lot of comfort knowing that some else felt the way I did,not just some blogger from Utah but Brother Krok. (Me like so many others spent most of my free time in youth/YSA hanging out at the “Krok’s place”,where the door was always open and it was a safe happy lovely place to be) A few years ago I was a primary teacher teaching from the D&C manual and every time I would prepare a lesson i would get anxiety knowing I was teaching these beautiful little minds garbage. I remember one Sunday giving the kids the picture of the first vision to colour in and a 6 year boy in my class said ” Joseph was lying.……he just wanted attention” That was it.…out of the mouths of babes. Leaving the church “officially” isn’t on the cards right now,it… Read more »
Jess. Im sorry that your going through this same journey. I appreciate your words to me and wish I could help you further. Please if you want to contact me by email use email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
John I am sure you know that you have just touched on the problems. One of the biggest not mention is Joseph Smith proving himself to be willing to lie when he declared that he could “only find one wife. This denial is recorded in the History of the Church volume 6 page 411. And, Smith permitted the church to publish a formal denial of polygamy which was in the D&C until 1876 as I recall. These two incidents alone prove that the Church is fully capable of public deception.
What you may not have considered is that Joseph did not practice polygamy, but in instances where he is accused of marrying people, he was actually only sealing them to him, or rather sealing them to the Father through him, since he is the prophet of this dispensation. After all, there were some men sealed to him, and yet I don’t think anyone ever accused him of being homosexual. Brigham was the pervert who wanted to have 50 wives. So he had church history back in that time changed to reflect that Joseph received the revelations so that he could use Joseph’s alleged revelation to justify his lustful desires. In a day when no birth control existed, how could Joseph live polygamy with dozens of wives and yet he never produced offspring with a single one of them. That’s been proven, quite recently in fact, but Brigham on the other… Read more »
Thank you for this. The more I explore and read and hear stories such as yours, the more I realize I’ve done the right thing by leaving (trying to, anyway) this church behind.
Thank you Mr. Krok
Sadly, this story has been repeated so many times. Glad that you found out the historical truths of the Mormon cult.
John and Anne, as I read your notes, I am guessing the various sections were sourced from commentaries about the Church essays by people who don’t have the Church’s best interests at heart. Forgive me if this is wrong. Nevertheless, in your searching and studying, I am sure you have read material from many sources, including those opposed to the Church. There is a general principle about reading others’ words which we need to apply — a healthy dose of Australian scepticism. You can read a Daily Telegraph article on PM John Howard and conclude that he was a great politician. Then you can read a similar article about him in the Sydney Morning Herald and conclude that he was a downright scoundrel. The same applies to Joseph Smith and the history of the Church. Read one thing and you will believe the best, read another and you will only think… Read more »
Let’s use the subject of race and the priesthood as an example and see how putting a different perspective on it can change our whole feelings towards it. As mentioned, the Lord calls capable and honorable people to senior roles in the Church and works through them in spite of their weaknesses. It’s important to remember that God has always been directly involved in the processes by which the gospel and the priesthood have been provided to humankind over thousands of years. So, how does God’s personal involvement in these important areas reconcile with the restriction on blacks receiving the priesthood? God reveals to his prophets only that which he wishes to reveal. Sometimes, he maintains his silence for reasons only known to him. At times, the prophets may only be able to see “through a glass darkly” (1st Corinthians 13:12). On the priesthood for blacks, I think he maintained… Read more »
Peter, please be careful when you start to assume to know the mind and will of God. Even the prophets have a hard enough time as you’ve stated, so I don’t see how you would assume God treated leaders like Brigham differently to you.If giving black Africans the priesthood would have been difficult for church membership then what about Polygamy do you not think that was difficult. When William Clayton was sent on a mission to his homeland, England to share the message of eternal marriage, its recorded that 60% of the then membership resigned in England because of that practice. What about those Africans who were ordained to the priesthood by Joseph Smith. Your argument is not sound.
And lastly if you can understand why God has dealt differently with our leaders then why hasn’t someone in authority provided the same answers that you are giving me.
Well, you’ve missed one important word in my comment, the word “may”. I am not saying that my statement is the mind/will of God. I am merely saying it “may” be. It is certainly a quite different way of looking at it than yours. The reason the Brethren don’t make these sorts of statements in the essays is that they are hypothetical. In the essays they have tried to be as transparent, open and honest as possible with the knowledge that they have at this point. Revelation and further research may yet yield greater understanding in the future. As I said, the Lord sometimes maintains his silence on many things for reasons only known to him. But, you’ll have to admit that my hypothesis has as much logic to it as some of the comments being made by those opposed to the Church. I am simply saying to you that there are… Read more »
The reason that the church had a policy forbidding blacks from holding priesthood was because Brigham was racist. Joseph baptized and ordained blacks to the priesthood. It was Brigham that claimed they had the mark of Cain and couldn’t hold priesthood. Fast forward to the civil rights movements of the 60’s and 70’s, and the church still holds this racist belief. Well, with enough social pressure and a church public relations department that saw the writing on the wall, presumably a ton of negative press if they didn’t change this policy, and the brethren decided to manufacture a revelation. If the Lord never restricted it, then the Lord wouldn’t have need to give a revelation to undo what was incorrectly done in the first place. Therefore it was a manufactured revelation. They have done it before. The polygamy manifesto was also due to political pressure. Utah was vying to become… Read more »
Dear Peter, Thank you for your thoughts. I understand that there will always be a bias from whoever provides information on certain topics. Therefore wherever possible I have tried to source the information from pro church as opposed to those that are against the church, however the LDS church does not make it easy. My post has been centred on the church essays as found in Gospel Topics on lds.org. Other sources have been BYU in regards Helen Mar Kimball. All of the questions and related thoughts are from me. Its interesting that you say I should seek the “Spirit”, however as I quoted in my post, even Elder Ballard goes to the wonderful men and women scholars of the church. So because he isn’t challenged by the essays then he doesn’t need to ponder and pray — only refer to these wonderful historians, but people like me who have… Read more »
John, I am very grateful for your thoughtful response. I don’t think Elder Ballard would ever suggest that prayer and gaining confirmation by the Spirit on various subjects are unimportant. Indeed if you were to look at the totality of his statements in General Conference, he has very much emphasised this as being important in many contexts. I am not familiar with the talk from which you are quoting, but no doubt he was addressing people like you who have had some doubts. He is suggesting that there is much scholarship in the Church which refutes the sorts of assertions being made by those to whom you have been speaking who are opposed to the Church. Like Elder Ballard is suggesting, I hope you have explored the en.fairmormon.org site and looked at the other side of the equation. I was brought up in another faith and had to choose between… Read more »
Your prior composition view is extremely unlikely. I encourage you to watch Skousen’s March 2015 BYU presentation, available on youtube. The Book of Mormon’s impossibility for Smith doesn’t have anything to do with education; it has to do with lack of knowledge, which genius can’t overcome. Cheers.
Joseph Smith was clearly very intelligent and imaginative and he and his family were immersed in frontier American cultures. The Mound Builder myth was widely accepted in Smith’s community. According to this myth the hated Red Man had wiped out a superior race of light-skinned people who built the mounds in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Many considered this race to be Jewish because everything had to fit in the Biblical timeframe. In reality these advanced “white” cultures were ordinary Native Americans decimated by white man’s diseases.
Here you have the basic plot for the climactic battles of the Book of Mormon. The claim that it was unlikely Smith was influenced by the Mound Builder myth is a bit of a stretch.
As stated, intelligence and creativity have nothing to do with authorship claims about the BofM. An extremely intelligent, creative person immersed in Mound Builder mythology still could not have produced the structure of the English-language text. Mound Builder evidence is soft and inconclusive. That is because one can always say rather reasonably that a particular culture or story influenced this, that, and the other thing in the BofM. One could say rather reasonably that the Reformation influenced this, that, and the other thing in the book. Different cultural arguments are always available. Different sides and points of view can be taken. But they aren’t conclusive. I wouldn’t feel comfortable making bold claims on the basis of such cultural evidence since there are alternatives. The DNA evidence and other evidence is surely stronger.
Books and their contents don’t magically appear out of thin air…they are written by human beings. I’m curious why you say that intelligence and creativity have nothing to do with authorship claims? Either the book was written by Joseph Smith, a known human being, or it was written by Mormon, a claimed human being, as an abridgement of ancient records. One of these people (I use that term liberally) had to have the intelligence and creativity to write the book don’t you think? Since there is no evidence that Mormon or his claimed people ever existed, isn’t it just plain logical that Joseph Smith wrote the book?
To say there is no archaeological, dna, cultural, linguistics, or artifacts supporting the Book of Mormon is a misnomer.
Please see evidence.
Technology and animals
Native American ties to Hebrews
Jaredites and a Caucasian race of Indian North American Model
New Geography model
The so called mound builder myth is from Native Americans not white men. This so called myth is supported by dna evidence and archaeological evidence.
The Mound builders / Hopewell Indians disappeared at the same time the Nephite culture ended. There is now way Joseph Smith could have known this.
There is no way Joseph could have known that the mound builders / Hopewell Indians had Caucasian and Israeli DNA in the form of Haplogroup x2.
Thank you David for your links. I couldn’t help but notice that they were all accredited to LDS sources. By doing a simple google search I was led to a Hopewell Scholar who seems to be an authority on the subject of the Hopewell Indians… his views seem to conflict with the ones you’ve listed. He says To date “no one has found evidence that points to the use of melting, smelting and casting in prehistoric eastern North America.”[3 (3) Martin, S.R. (1999). Wonderful Power: The Story of Ancient Copper Working in the Lake Superior Basin. Great Lakes Books Series. Wayne State University Press. p. 136. So I’m following up to ask if you can offer any non LDS Hopewell scholars who support your conclusions? Perhaps lead me to some peer reviewed or published studies on this subject Note the reference that I’ve sited was in 1999 so perhaps something has turned… Read more »
Also you make so many unaccredited/unfootnoted claims its hard to know where to begin.
Take your following claim:
“Haplogroups A, B, C, D, and X are found among the Indians of the American continents. Haplogroups A, B, C, and D can be explained as coming from Asia, but not haplogroup X, which is only found in North American Indians. Other North, Central, and South American Indians show the Haplogroups A, B, C, and D. Haplogroup X is not found in Asia, it is found in Israel, Europe and North America specifically the Great lakes region by New York State.”
Are you aware of this peer reviewed study that conflicts with your conclusions? This study concludes that haplogroup X is among the founding linages to North America
None of the published research papers have anything to do with the lds church or BYU.
An article dated to 2011 about the advanced Hopewell site in Indiana dates after your 1999 source. They speculate about Hopewell lead smelting.
Craig I’m completely aware of the dating issues and have addressed them several times so I will re post a previous one that was to Simon. Feel free to respond to any hypothesis. I agree about the poor foot notes. Whenever I quoted a research paper I posted a link to the research paper by the quotes. Other quotes are foot noted by author and page number. Simon, The reference you are using I extensively quote in the essay. You are right to say that Haplo group x is found in south Siberia or the Altain region of Siberia. The haplogroup x Altaian dna is the small yellow dot found in south Siberia on the Haplogroup x distribution map below It’s worth pointing out the Altaian Haplogroup x dna is not related to the Native American Haplogroup x found in North America and it arrived after the Bering ice bridge was… Read more »
As I’ve read through the replies to your post John and as a former missionary in the Sydney Australia Mission, I’m Gobsmacked. The replies read like a Who’s Who of Blue Blood Australian members who have/are leaving the church. As a missionary in Canberra, I believe I remember going Home Teaching with your father? Did you live out in Weston Creek area? Forgive me but my memory is foggy… I could be thinking of some entirely different family. (I’ll need to dig into my mission diary tonight to confirm) Anyway, just wanted to extend my love and support to you and your family during this difficult transition…
John, What a great perspective! I too, have made the journey into research. I was baptized at 10 years old, due to peer pressure, moving in a new neighborhood. I have always had questions, even at 10 years old. The research set me free! All my questions answered! My wife is still a “semi” believing member but, respects my feelings and beliefs. I have told her that the journey of the search for truth is as uplifting and empowering as a convert getting baptized, if not more. My lineage traces back to the first Saints that came to Utah. Pioneer heritage runs deep in my roots and I am very proud of what the Mormon Pioneers were able to accomplish, however, I have never believed any of it. When the questions are answered by the truth ( that has been denied or hidden by the church for decades) it gives one a new perspective… Read more »
Thank you Tom, I can’t help but think its us that are on the narrow path, judging by the similar stories.
Hi John Another blast from the past! Do you remember us and your early days in Canberra? We made the same journey as you and Anne about 5 years ago, our oldest son also alerted us to certain facts which eventually led us out of the church. I served as branch president and bishop for a number of years, so you can add me to the list of disaffected bishops. Our 4 children and their spouses are all out too. Our three sons served foreign missions, but that didn’t help shield them from the truth. We have been fortunate not to have close family still attending, which can be a cause of much pain. The most difficult thing for us was telling our youngest son of our decision to leave the church soon after he returned from his mission. We came to the conclusion that the church was not true six… Read more »
Its been a while and I remember those good times as young marrieds along with Rick and Rob etc, whilst we lived in Canberra. Ive said it before, but Im amazed at how many ex Bishops have gone through this journey and I keep reminding myself its not because we wanted “out” of the church but rather we were faced with difficulties that no one was helping us with. Its like the church decided to just put it out there with the essays and lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that the damage is minimal.
John, I really enjoyed reading your very well written letter. You managed to keep the anger out and the honesty was definitely in. You’ll no doubt run into my name around the web. I share all of your concerns about the essays, which I am pretty certain all of my seven TBM sisters have never read. I have also served in a bunch of callings and was, awkwardly, a bishop when I left. The catalyst for my departure was DNA and the Book of Mormon. The Church’s DNA essay is just as problematic as the others. Here’s a link to my response to the essay if you are interested. http://simonsoutherton.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/response-to-president-newsroom.html Buried in the lengthy essay the church concedes that Lamanite DNA has not been found and that most Native Americans are descended from Asians. Even this admission requires members to throw out their understanding of the Book of Mormon story. The… Read more »
Wow, the great Simon Southerton has weighed in. It’s good to see that someone as bright and knowledgeable as yourself is reading this website.
By the way, Simon, I loved your book, Losing a Lost Tribe.
Not so sure about the great bit. I’ve grown comfortable with infamous. I’m glad you enjoyed my book.
I’m always pleased when someone close by, who has been a seriously committed member, is courageous enough to question. I now know three former bishops in Australia who’s departure from the church was triggered by their adult children expressing their concerns. I admire people who respect their children enough to take their concerns seriously. I’m looking forward to meeting John soon.
Israeli Dna is found in North American Indians. So is Hebrew culture.
The DNA from East Asia entered the Native American DNA almost 15000 years ago, way before the Nephites/Mulekites/jaredites would have existed. If anything, this is evidence AGAINST the Book of Mormon, because it proves that DNA did not just disappear, but is traceable, so if DNA from 15K years ago is discoverable, why is not 3 migrations of DNA from 2.5–3K years ago?
As a non Mormon, never been Mormon living in the heart of Utah in a city that is 98.8% Mormon, I found your letter thoughtful and refreshing. One of the shocking things about moving here and learning a little about the beliefs and history of the LDS culture is how everyone seems to leave their own reasoning and questioning behind. I know really well educated people that never question some of these claims that sound offensive at best and actually kind of absurd. It is this lack of questioning that I think bothers me the most. My LDS friends get quickly inline to back any new policy no matter how hurtful or crazy it sounds. Thank you for not abandoning your reasoning and thinking skills. Thank you for articulating your thoughts and research in such an eloquent way. Good luck in your journey.
Thanks Lyn, I too am amazed that there isn’t other “questioning” people when you stare at the “facts” in the church essays. They all seem to accept the whitewashed answers that are given.
This past October 2015 conference there has been apostolic advice given regarding some of these questions. Not answers mind you, just advice. Neil L Anderson in his talk entitled “Faith Is not by Chance, but by Choice” said: “Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, ‘I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.’ Immersing oneself in persistent doubt, fueled by answers from the faithless and the unfaithful, weakens one’s faith in Jesus Christ and the Restoration. ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.’ For example, questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly… Read more »
Thank you John Doe. At least I had the conviction of putting my name on my post. I’m not angry at your reply, but do you think you’re the first one who has stated your comments. I don’t think Joseph needs a “break”. His assassination was simply that, an assassination. Not for his belief in God and his faith but because he was a “politically” powerful man. Mayor of Nauvoo, General of the Nauvoo Legion (a private army — albeit a legally sanctioned one). Why was he running for President of the US if not to become even more powerful. And please don’t tell me it was to redress the persecution of the saints. Section 135 of the D&C should not be “scripture” but rather a eulogy of Joseph and that’s where we get “no man has done more for the salvation of man …” This martyrdom was started to keep… Read more »
Fantastic letter, John. Thank you for sharing it.
John, I lived in Utah for two years in my youth and had many LDS friends, but Just didn’t feel attracted to the LDS mentality. This was also in the days prior to 1968 when racism was still a part of that way of thinking. I have always been fascinated by the ability of the Church to convince such good people to dedicate their lives to this cause and am happy for the ones who put the virtues of honesty, truthfulness and integrity above all else. Without these, everything we hold dear becomes degraded and our souls darkened. I applaud you and encourage you to know within your own soul that this vast universe does have a divine origin and that each of us, and all of us as a humanity has a purpose. Your experience with the LDS was not in vain, even though I know it was painful.… Read more »
Thanks Harlan, I still believe in God, but I don’t believe he is just “Mormon”. Even for the purpose of sending us to earth to prove us herewith, if its on 15 million or so as apposed to the billions that have and will come, it doesn’t sound fair to all of us who kept out first estate.
Yes, God is not Mormon, Christian, Hindu or Jew. I think He’s the Lord of all mankind, of all names. Nobody and no institution has an exclusive claim on Him. My wife is from Malaysia from a Buddhist background. Her sister married a Hindu, two of her brother’s children are Christian, we are Baha’is and Islam is the state religion of Malaysia. We’ve visited houses of worship of all of them in Malaysia, and they all pray to God, but use different names and languages. I believe they are all connected to the same Divine Source. They get along well with each other if the politicians don’t interfere. We think so much of Australia that we named our younger son, Collis, after an Australian friend from Adelaide. How universal is that?
John, add me to your ‘bandwagon’. 65 years, active, temple, mission, HC, 4 bishoprics, HPGL, Bishop. 4 years ago learned about doctrinal changes in 1830 BofM; different, conflicting versions of the First Vision; and, problems with papyri, facsimiles of the BofA. Later learned about masonry, polyandry, seer stones, Levitical priesthood to a non-levite, etc. That’s the ‘bad news’…learned also the ‘good news’…I can trust the Bible, the free gift of grace, the true purpose of temples, and who Jesus is and what he did for me on the cross. God bless all efforts to share this message.
Thanks Earl, another ex Bishop — that says a lot about who we are doesn’t it. If we were once good enough to be considered and called to that office, doesn’t that raise even more questions about what is going on here?
Exactly as expected.…follow the Spirit. Nobody is prepared to answer these obviously we’ll thought out letters, because the real answer is truths were withheld, we’re a secretive church, we don’t repent well, and our past is filled with impropriety.
Damon, we are not a secretive church, our queries can all be answered easily. Talk to me and see if I can’t help you, I’m open to any question.
Hi Jason, what a brave man you are to do so whilst you’ve been the Bishop. I would hope that I had the same strength as you given the same circumstance. Also what a great wife to support you through this tough time. It shows the great love you have for each other. I’m truly amazed at the number of former Bishops who have struggled with these issues. It shows to me how great the integrity is when faced with the tough realisation that something just isn’t right.
Wish I could meet you all.
Hi John, My name is Glenn from New Zealand. I just want to say how saddened I am by the many stories I am reading and hearing in regards to people especially in the US and particularly right within the hub of the church, Utah, leaving the church. I have read many reasons why and have looked into these matters and I must admit, one or two things did trip me up, but you know what.. I did some investigating and along with much prayer, my queries were answered. I called fairmormon and they helped me out tremendously. I’m so glad that I took serious time to query my doubts. John the church is Gods Kingdom on the earth, it is true despite changes. There will be mistakes from time to time but leave it to the brethren, that’s the key. Come back John, don’t get caught up in the… Read more »
John, Thanks for sharing your story. As I studied the church essays I found my self with more and more difficult questions. The essays on Race and the Priesthood and Polygamy were the ones that really brought up the questions that evaporated my faith. My study of church history and church related topics consumed my life for months. I came to the realization that God wasn’t talking to any of these men I believed to be prophets. I was serving as a Bishop at the time and soon found that I could no longer testify of things I had “known” for my entire life. I informed my Stake President that I could not longer serve as Bishop and be genuine. He met with me for a couple of months to try and resolve my concerns but was unsuccessful. Fortunately my wife and I went through this together. I was a… Read more »
Thank you for sharing your letter. It was very enlightening. You were very concise without being harsh. I’d love to share this with my mom but unfortunately she isn’t ready and I haven’t come out of the non-believer closet. As far as she’s concerned I’m just inactive.
Hi Reiny, thanks for your kind words. All I can say is just love your mom and tell her that you do. I believe family is everything. Even the church says that families are eternal but what the Brethren don’t really emphasise is that your family is important but not as important as they are. And I don’t mean that in anger just in frustration.
you re story is so similar to mine . i find it interesting how many ex bishops and long term families are leaving the church. briefly i joined the church as a 12 year old in 1963. 1have served as a ym pres 5 times branch pres 4 years bishop 7 years bishops councilor 5 times etc etc . ihave been out now for 6 years due to my 4 sons all questioning i felt that it was hypocritical for me to say they were wrong without looking at what they had found . i am sure you know what followed once i began to seriously research. good on you ilive in brisbane. it gets better as time goes by iam lucky all my family have left appart for some tbm family in the uk.
cheers terry brown.
Thanks Terry for your comments. I too am amazed at the amount of ex Bishops / long term faithful members who were lead down the path to research in an attempt to help family/friends who were struggling with their testimony only to then have their own eyes opened to the very subtle cover up that has been displayed by our leaders past and present. One of my close friends who is also in the same situation recently sent this to me quoting Elder Dalin Oakes (response to Inside The Mind of Joseph Smith) “my duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS Church, namely the authority of the Priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the Gospel, and the divine mission of the Saviour. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus… Read more »
I love you man . I remember the example you were to me as a ting man . You were a great leader .
I too have disaffiliated a dyes it has been a difficult journey . Say hi to anne fir me .
Great memories with you guys . Back town church dances . The music man
Thank you this insightful, scholarly, and diplomatic letter. I, too, was once a faithful member and was astonished to learn of the churches involvement in backing prop 8, that is when my tapestry began to unravel. It’s been 7 years since I resigned from the church. Here is to a new, beautiful path!
Krokie! You’re one of the most caring and loving people I know. It says a lot that you wanted to help your kids out in their doubts and questions and went searching for the answers yourself instead of avoiding the issue and telling them to read the B.O.M more and pray harder. I look up to you and want to be more like you when I’m older 🙂
Very well written facts. I found your story on a link from Utah Lighthouse Ministries. I have never been LDS, but when I moved here 27 years ago I studied some of the doctrine and found too many inconsistencies to follow their beliefs. I ALWAYS match any religious beliefs with the Bible and if it doesn’t pass the test then they are discounted as factual for me. I whole-heatedly believe every word of the Bible to be God’s inspired word and it never changes. Add to it take away from it and you are no longer credible to me. Therefore, the additional books the LDS use do not pass that test for me and I only seek a Bible teaching church to help me understand God’s word. Not to mention studying the original language the Bible was written from. Many words over the course of 2,000 years have changed meaning. I applaud… Read more »
Thank you Sandy, Ive been overwhelmed by the well wishers such as yourself.
I am not sure if you remember me. In the year 2000, you visited my parents in Idaho. My brother Mike was serving in Australia at the time. After staying with my parents, you and Anne stopped here in Utah to see me and my family.
I read your story today, and really appreciate you sharing it. I am in almost the same situation as you, except my wife is still in. I shared your story with Mike, who is still attending, and he mentioned how much he loves and misses you.
My journey has not been easy, as I can see neither has yours. I just could not be a part of something I feel now is so corrupt. I wish you and Anne the best.
I remember your family well. I’m sorry that we had to reconnect in this fashion but at least we have empathy for each other’s situation.
Thanks for your kind words.
Hi John, Ouch, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m 62, joined the church the same way you did at nearly the same age, and have had the same callings as you. I was in our Bishopric for four years before becoming Bishop. Our 4 kids married in the temple, yada, and 3 of them and their spouses left when my wife and I did, a few years ago. It was traumatic, emotional, sad to leave our friends, bewildering… But 3 years later and we’re pretty much over it and surprisingly, life outside the church is better than it was inside, even though we loved being inside. You make new friends, it opens up time to work on many other worthy and fun things, it’s really great. I’m in California and went through the Proposition 8 thing as Bishop, my one true regret in life, that I didn’t resign then and renounce… Read more »
Thanks Chris for your kind words and sharing your experiences. I know it will get better but the journeys only begun in terms of how other family and friends will react to the news when it filters through. We’ve talked it over with all our children. The 2 and their spouses who remain active in the church are accepting and considerate of us although obviously hurt, but there is a lot of love going around so we will all make it Im sure.
Im sorry that you have that one regret, but I know when I was serving as Bishop I made a difference with more people than not and Im sure you did as well.
My brother joined the LDS Church when I was a kid. At 19 I told him about Fanny Alger, Smith sending men on missions so he could bed their wives, etc. He died ten years ago. Basically never contacted me for the last 25 years of his life.
Now The Essays come out — only because of the Internet of course — and the Mormons are forced to admit everything this “brother in the grips of Satan” said were the absolute truth.
Do I get an apology Monson? Oh right. You boys don’t do apologies.
I’ve never met a Mormon who knew 1/10th of the Church’s history as I did as a non-member teen-ager.
It’s as if you’ve all been living in North Korea. I’m happy many are getting out.
John. I am an old friend of your wife and her family and loved and respected them and their kindnesses to me. I found I could not cope with neither the illogicality of Mormonism nor the hypocrisy and intellectual poverty of many of its adherents. I commend the rigour and integrity you have shown in coming to your own understanding and wish you and your family everything for a new life of honesty.
Well done. I know the pain you and your wife went through. 42 years. Bishoprics, HPGL, YWP, RSP, 3 teens.
No answers, and dont expect to hear more than a few times more from your lifelong friends.
But we’ve never been happier. Heartbroken it wasn’t true, we could have each had a PhD in church history with the research we did.
Stay away from tithing and church finances if you want to avoid being bitter
Thanks for your comments. I’ve stated I only scratched the surface of the issues so tithing and finances I’m sure will be a minefield. Can you tell me where that college is that provides the PH.D. I think I’m close to achieving it ?
Thanks for your sharing your thoughts. I went through the MTC with your son, and I believe I also met your father while serving in Sydney North Mission.
I’ve also spent a lot of time studying the real Church history.
Thanks AJ it seems a small world right!
I also was very surprised that the church holds to this idea that, even prior to receiving the sealing keys or revelation on plural marriage, Joseph Smith began the “practice” with Fanny Alger in 1831.
How anyone can claim as much with a straight face is beyond impressive. It was an affair with Fanny, clearly.
I’d say if the Book of Mormon is the truest book and brings a man closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book, see what it says about polygamy [look around Jacob 1–2, and Ether 12]. I think there’s some good stuff on http://www.defendingjoseph.com/ as well as the site Joseph Smith fought polygamy that lay a good case for exonerating the prophet. http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm Also considering the fact that all of the DNA tests for his potential descendants have all come up negative helps too [http://www.wheatandtares.org/21403/josephsdnatestmha2016/]. I think even Denver Snuffer made a similar statement at some point (and people who would dismiss him as anti-mormon, I’d say follow Joseph’s counsel, “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” — Joseph Smith, Jr. BTW, Wes you convinced me a while ago about the family proclamation not… Read more »
“One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” — Joseph Smith, Jr. I’d say if the Book of Mormon is the truest book and brings a man closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book, see what it says about polygamy [look around Jacob 1–2, and Ether 12]. I think there’s some good stuff on http://www.defendingjoseph.com/ as well as the site Joseph Smith fought polygamy (can be read online, or purchased) that lay a good case for exonerating the prophet. Also considering the fact that all of the DNA tests for his potential descendants have all come up negative helps too http://www.wheatandtares.org/21403/josephsdnatestmha2016/. Also you can take the prophet’s words on the matter see History of the Church volume 6 page 411: “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and… Read more »
John, thanks so much for sharing!
I remember hearing this Ballard talk regarding the “doubting Elder”. It was anti-climatic for me for the same reasons you mention.
It bothered me that Ballard essentially presents the “strawman” of someone doubting only because the individual isn’t reading the Book of Mormon.
I am of the opinion that most doubting for historical reasons have been reading the Book of Mormon, or if they aren’t it is only because reading the Book of Mormon just worsened the disaffection.
When beginning to doubt, every time I read the Book of Mormon, I would become even more convinced it was nothing more than an 19th century creation of Joseph Smith.
Ballard’s answer reinforces the stereotypical portrayal of ex-mormons: leaving because they were lazy, etc, and stopped reading/praying.