This essay was written in Fall 2012, during my investigation into my faith. Read about how I began to doubt in my post How I Lost my Faith by Defending it.
I am composing this document in order to be able to clearly explain why I no longer believe that, as the Lord stated in Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 1:29-30 (my emphasis added):
And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon. And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually.
I want something to be very clear: there is no other reason for my losing the faith in the LDS church other than an earnest and honest search for truth. There is no sin or desire to sin; there has been no offense or embarrassment from a brother or sister – only the need to be honest with myself and accept truth wherever it leads me. I want the church to be true. It has generally been a positive force in my life. I still attend at times and enjoy the association with the good people of my ward. I am still very open to the possibility that I am wrong, and I would appreciate discussing this with anyone who reads through this document.
In Search of Truth
I have always appreciated that LDS members are taught to value intelligence and truth. As D&C 93 describes, the Glory of God is light and truth:
The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
Brigham Young expounded that:
Our religion is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression—it embraces all truth, wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible or invisible to mortal eye (Discourses of Brigham Young, p2).
It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion (Discourses of Brigham Young, p248).
The God we worship in the church is the God of all truth, whatever the source. We are taught that we must eventually know all things in order to become like him. I feel that as church members we must seek out truth and hold on to it, because it is the way we get to know God.
There are two approaches when you are presented with new or conflicting evidence – either discard/ignore it or evaluate it for its merits. For me, I trusted that upon evaluating potential issues with the church, the church would be vindicated because “our religion is simply the truth.” However, I also recognized that if the LDS church was not true, I would want to know. In my view, truth outweighs belief, habit and convention. I value truth above the familiar and comfortable. In this document I will be explaining the issues that trouble me. While it is not my intention to persuade anyone either way, reading through my issues may prompt some of doubts. If your answer is that you are not interested in hearing things contrary to what you believe, then you may not want to proceed.
The LDS church membership is about 0.2% of the world’s population. Effectively, we are proclaiming that 99.8% of the world places their faith in false religion. We work to help them recognize their false faith, and join the LDS church. Shouldn’t we also be willing to turn the spotlight on our own religion to make sure it holds up to reasonable scrutiny?