This is the let­ter I wrote to my fam­i­ly telling them I was leav­ing the mor­mon church and why. I post­ed it to Face­book so I did­n’t have to explain it 13,000 times.

I have decid­ed to leave the Mor­mon church and I would like to explain why. I will not be bash­ing the church so please read the whole post. I have not lost my faith in Chris­tian­i­ty and intend to join the Methodist church. It is impor­tant to me that I explain this to you. I will only be explain­ing my expe­ri­ence with prayer, scrip­ture study, and church his­to­ry research. If you notice, I have tagged all my adult fam­i­ly mem­bers and made the post pri­vate. I did this because I know lots of my younger cousins have Face­book and it is not my place to upset them.

As I was grow­ing up I nev­er ques­tioned the church as being true. I knew my fam­i­ly believed it and I knew my fam­i­ly are all good peo­ple. I first start­ed to ques­tion the church about 12 years ago while in sem­i­nary study­ing the Doc­trine and Covenants. I can’t explain a rea­son for it, but I just did not feel it was true like I thought I should. After high school I went in the Army with inten­tions of sav­ing for a mis­sion. I had nev­er read the New Tes­ta­ment and thought being in Iraq, so close to real bib­li­cal places, I should. I read the entire New Tes­ta­ment and as I did my faith in Chris­tian­i­ty grew. I believed with­out doubt what I was read­ing but my ques­tions about the Mor­mon church also grew. I prayed and prayed for months whether the church was true. Even­tu­al­ly while still in Iraq I received an unde­ni­able answer to my prayers, the church is wrong. My answer was unmis­take­able and per­son­al to me. I received it while alone and dur­ing silent sin­cere prayer. I was dev­as­tat­ed to the point of tears. I con­tin­ued to pray hop­ing for a dif­fer­ent answer.

When I got out of the Army I did not go on a mis­sion because I could not preach a reli­gion I did not believe. I did how­ev­er con­tin­ue to go to church. I knew that any church was bet­ter than no church and I hoped my faith in the church would return. For sev­er­al years I tried to go along with the church as if I did believe it. I always felt guilt for ignor­ing the answer I had received through prayer. Even­tu­al­ly I decid­ed I would read the Book of Mor­mon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price and pray again as I had when I read the New Tes­ta­ment. As I read them and prayed I knew with­out doubt they were wrong. Even in unbe­lief I read them hop­ing if I was devot­ed and fin­ished them I would receive a dif­fer­ent answer. I did fin­ish them but was always told through prayer they are wrong.

This was now 4 years ago. I had already been ques­tion­ing the church for about 8 years, 6 since I had been giv­en the answer it was wrong. Pri­or to this point I had refused to read any­thing about the church on the Inter­net or pub­li­ca­tions. I want­ed to know through prayer and scrip­ture study with­out being influ­enced by opin­ions. I decid­ed to see if oth­er strug­gling Mor­mons had any­thing to say online about it. What I found was count­less peo­ple who had left the church and were hap­pi­er with­out it. I found the quote by Joseph Field­ing Smith which say Mor­monism must stand or fall with the sto­ry of Joseph Smith — he is either a prophet or a fraud, there is no mid­dle ground. After I read this I decid­ed to look into Joseph Smith’s his­to­ry. I found that ear­ly church teach­ing and cur­rent church teach­ings don’t match up as they should when led by a prophet. I found that Joseph Smith’s sto­ry of the first vision changed sev­er­al times in his own words to what it is now. I found that Joseph Smith was con­vict­ed of fraud for claim­ing to be able to find trea­sure using a see­ing stone and charg­ing peo­ple mon­ey to do it, pri­or to even start­ing the church. I learned about the Kinder­hook Plates, which were fake but Joseph Smith trans­lat­ed part of them as being from a descen­dant of the Pharaoh. I learned about the papyri that Joseph Smith used to trans­late as the Book of Abra­ham. The papyri is proven to be a com­mon funer­al spell scroll with no con­nec­tion to Abra­ham. I learned of Joseph Smith’s 20+ wives with at least one 14 year old con­vinced to mar­ry him with the promise of sal­va­tion for her and her fam­i­ly.

In con­clu­sion, I am leav­ing the church because I have prayed con­tin­u­ous­ly for 12 years and received count­less answers that the church is wrong and not one answer that it is right. I am not leav­ing because of per­son­al sin or because the church is hard. I was wor­thy of a tem­ple rec­om­mend for at least the first 6 years of my doubts. I am leav­ing because I know Joseph Smith was a fraud, and I will not fol­low a false prophet. I know most of you will be sad or mad for what I have said. But I hope that at least some of you will ques­tion your­self hon­est­ly and prayer­ful­ly whether the church is true.

If you have read this far, I thank you. I also want you all to know I love you, and I hope you don’t hold this against me. The hard­est part of this deci­sion is that I don’t want to dis­ap­point any of you.

Sam

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Wes Trexler

The desire for a cer­tain response is so strong. Your efforts to con­tin­ue to get that “right” answer is very evi­dent. I’m glad you’ve found a good place.