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.

Please see the table of con­tents to this series in the right side­bar, or if you pre­fer to see the full series in one page, head to the Full Text of Series — My Search for Truth, or get the PDF.

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):

D&C 1:29–30
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:

D&C 93:36,24
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?

Please con­tin­ue read­ing the next part of this series, “Should we avoid doubts and ques­tions?

Series Nav­i­ga­tion: My Search for Truth — Wes TrexlerShould We Avoid Doubts and Ques­tions? »

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