I’ve focused mostly on the Book of Mormon, since I accept that it is the keystone of the religion, just as Joseph Smith, Jr stated. The Book of Abraham and his other translations are close behind. Some of the other topics that have affected my testimony:
- Polygamous marriages of Joseph Smith, use of coercion, several already married
- Council of the Fifty ordained as the governing body over the Earth, with Joseph as King
- Destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor press, which was the reason Joseph was in jail
- Questionable restoration of the priesthood, not mentioned until five years after
- Temple ordinance source and changes, including death penalties and oath of vengeance
- Lack of continued revelation and lack of continuing “fruits of the spirit”
- Treatment of blacks
- Treatment of women
- Treatment of homosexuals
There is a surprising amount of credible information available on these topics that show a different history than many of us were taught. Please ask me about any of these or other topics if you are interested.
I’m not really sure where I am headed from here. I recognize that regardless of the truthfulness of the events in the Book of Mormon, there are beautiful and uplifting teachings that we should all take to heart. I no longer take that fact as proof of authenticity, since every other religious and many secular books also contain many beautiful and uplifting messages that can enrich our lives.
Socrates is attributed as saying, “The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.” I find that applies here. I am no longer as certain about anything as I once was. At first, this was a scary place to be. For my whole life, I had such confidence that I knew the answers to all of life’s important questions. I knew where I came from, why I was here, and what I needed to do to be where I wanted to be for all eternity.
As I worked through this new reality, I came to terms with not being so sure about those questions. I feel that I am now in even in a better place than I was when I had no doubt. It has opened my mind to seeing my neighbors and co-workers not just as members or non-members, but as fellow humans all stumbling through this world, just trying to do our best. I have concluded that all I really know is that we each have a chance in this short life to be good, honest people who help others, thereby leaving the world a little better than when we entered. I plan to keep my mind open to all truth, whatever the source may be.
I would appreciate hearing any comments you may have had as you read this. You can either email me or use the “Comments” button in the top right of this web page.