A real crisis

Two articles have come out this past week that show the LDS Church is a bit concerned with its people finding out the true history of the church. Marlin Jensen, a general authority who is going to be leaving his position as Church Historian and Recorder, was quoted in two different articles. While different, both show that the Mormon Church is concerned about how many people have been leaving its ranks.

In an UK-Reuters article (“Mormonism besieged by the modern age,” dated 1/30/12), Jensen addressed a religious studies class late last fall at Utah State University. Answering a student’s question about whether or not he knew that members were leaving in droves, he said he was “aware” of the situation. “And I’m speaking of the 15 men that are above me in the hierarchy of the church. They really do know and they really care.” Although this was not a public confession, there was apparently a tape recorder capturing his words. Jensen also said that “not since a famous troublespot in Mormon history, the 1837 failure of a church bank in Kirtland, Ohio, have so many left the church.”

Then, on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune (“LDS Church is ready to confront history questions,” 1/31/12, A1. See the online version, “Mormons tackling tough questions in their history”), religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote, “Surprised by what they find so easily online, more and more members of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encountering crises of faith. Some even leave the fold and, feeling betrayed, join the ranks of Mormon opponents.”

Finding out the true history of the church can be earth-shattering news to a Mormon who was never told and never knew.  According to LDS scholar Richard Bushmen, for those who find out the unflattering history, “the whole picture changes in a flash—like those optical illusions that show a beautiful woman and a hag.”

Jensen explained, “Never before have we had this information age, with social networking and bloggers publishing unvetted points of view. The church is concerned about misinformation and distorted information, but we are doing better and trying hard to get our story told in an accurate way.”

There are several problems with the general authority’s assessment. First, the church has traditionally either hidden or twisted historical issues from its members, including (as Stack acknowledged in her article) Joseph Smith’s polygamous ways (with teenage wives) and his plagiarism of the Book of Mormon. We’re not talking about made-up stories but actual facts.

For years, the church was successful in just not talking about these issues and was able to get away with changing history in an Orwellian fashion. The leaders even reprimanded their scholars who wanted to blab about real events because it was not “faith promoting.” After all, it was easy to keep the information hidden since it was not easily accessible. With the internet age coming into force by the late 1990s, the LDS Church new convert rates spiraled down by more than 50%. In the early 1990s, it grew by 4%, but since 2003, it has been at or less than 2%. Meanwhile, many members have been leaving the church in droves, especially when they find out the whole truth hasn’t been told.

But what really is infuriating is this quote in Stack’s article: “The church ‘has made no effort to hide or obscure its history,’ Jensen said, but some aspects—such as polygamy—‘haven’t been emphasized often because they were not necessarily germane to what is taught at present.’”

First, saying the church has not tried to hide or sanitize its history is ludicrous, and I think even most true-blue Saints would acknowledge the baloney being dished out here. (Otherwise, why the need for Jensen to come out in the first place?) It was just the last October issue of the Ensign magazine—an edition completely dedicated to the Book of Mormon—where all but one of the more than a dozen references to the Book of Mormon plates said that they were “gold in color” or “golden” rather just plain “gold” (as typically done in the past). Could it be that this subtle switch is a reaction to the argument raised by some in counter-cult ministries about how it would have been impossible for Smith to have carried 200-pound plates made of gold? Why all of a sudden did the church writers decide to make this obvious change? This is just one example of how the church plays with the facts.

Second, how is talking about these aspects now “germane to what is taught”? Is it because people are now finding out the truth and leaving? Just a couple months ago, I ran into a couple who were leaving the church because they found out just the week before these very issues of polygamy and the composition of the Book of Mormon. “Why did they lie to us for more than thirty years?” the lady asked me through tears. We have been seeing more and more devastated members during the past few years.

Indeed, I’m all for the church being forthright. Please, leadership, introduce the controversial issues. Put the information into the church curriculum. Spin it any way you want. And then encourage the members to go out and find out the toughest questions, bringing them back to the bishops. Apostles and prophets, make yourselves available to provide “official” answers. I say, introduce these responses at the General Conferences as well. I promise, we will be right there with you, making sure you get it right so that the truth can be known by all.

For some reason, if any of the above takes place, I just don’t think it will end up the way that Jensen and his fellow General Authorities hope it will. I agree with Mormon scholar Terryl Givens, who said, “I definitely get the sense that this is a real crisis. It is an epidemic.” In my opinion, if the church comes out of the closet and allows for the truth to come out, there will be more problems ahead for the retention rates. What do you think?

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33 Responses to A real crisis

  1. Mike R says:

    Eric, great article. Praise God that Mormons are leaving the Church. [ how we pray that they
    won’t give up on seeking to know who Jesus really is . Following false prophets can tend to sour
    one’s attitude towards trusting others ] . What about all the good fruits that Mormons do ?
    That has never been the issue ! Faithful people in other churches are just as moral as LDS .
    The whole question is the CLAIMS . The claims of Mormonism. Only one man on the earth , a
    Mormon, God reveals His decisive directions thru for all others ?Only one Church on earth that
    God is pleased with , the Mormon church, all others constitute false religion and possibly the
    church of the Devil ? The promise that the Mormon prophet will never teach incorrect doctrine ,
    nor lead the Church into believing such ? All these claims (and more) are the whole issue. The
    Mormon people are a decent people they’re striving to serve God, but they’ve detoured by
    their leaders into embracing false teachings on the vital issues that can affect their eternal
    welfare. May they step back and take up a concerted effort to read what Jesus directed His
    apostles to preach for the salvation( eternal life ) of all men and women , in the N.T. , these
    timeless truths have not been replaced they still direct people to the Savior who still saves
    Heb.7 :25 .

  2. My thoughts exactly when I saw Peggy Fletcher Stack’s article in the newspaper this week. Finally allowing members to question the history of the church (and finally informing them of it in the first place rather than keeping it under lock and key or lying about it) may reduce the information’s shock value, but those questions still need to be answered adequately. As you’ve said, I also think the lack of satisfying answers will turn out to be a detriment to the retention rate.

    Peggy’s choice of words is bothersome to me, though: “Some even leave the fold and, feeling betrayed, join the ranks of Mormon opponents.” Opponents? This isn’t a basketball game. Christians don’t merely disagree with Mormonism on the basis of personal taste or rooting for their home team. This is an issue of objective Truth with potentially eternal ramifications.

  3. fproy2222 says:

    (First, saying the church has not tried to hide or sanitize its history is ludicrous)

    Try to hide?????? I have heard this repeated over and over, yet when I looked for original document history, the only problem I would run into was if the original was too fragile for public handling and it had not yet been copied.

    Sanitize??? It is hard to teach all things in the time and space given at church meetings, but as I have said above, it was all available to those who took the time and effort to find it.


  4. Mike R says:

    Fred, as for hiding documents , you really have little to say about this until you can ask your
    leaders to empty the First Presidency’s private vault ( yes , they do have such a vault ) . You
    are only a follower of religious leaders who expect loyalty from you . You have no idea how
    much these men are paid , for one thing. It’s power, it’s a huge corporation run by former
    business executives who issue very strong hints that to reject their counsel is question God’s
    will for your life. They dress well and are polite individuals — so are other false prophets .
    You actually don’t need them in your life , you can get to know Jesus and receive eternal life
    without their influence in your life . Please consider that. No church, no Temple , only JESUS.
    Jesus said , ” Come unto me ” . He has the ability to reach down and completely pardon you, and
    save you from an eternity without Him — instantly . Now that’s a prophet worth following !
    God help you make this decision . We’re all praying for you .

  5. spartacus says:

    Oy! fproy!;)

    1) “Faith promoting” history is hiding the non-faith promoting and sanitizing that dirt from the history that is given.
    -They weren’t telling professors to stop lying, but to stop talking about certain details that were not “useful”.-“There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not… Some things that are true are not very useful…- “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect”-Boyd K. Packer
    -“It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true.” – Ibid., Apostle Dallin H. Oaks
    -LDS “want their church to provide a ‘frank and honest’ presentation of church history, unvarnished by attempts to sugar-coat the past in order to make it more palatable…’want to be leveled with’ when the church presents information about its past…” =

    2) LDS Manual forgets Brigham Young was a polygamist? – http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=348&dat=19980515&id=KnQwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9TYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3626,4300307

    3) Joseph lied about polygamy all his life to the public and most of his followers. If your studies of LDS have not come across the quotes in LDS publications then I’ll be glad to do some leg work for you.

    fproy, I do agree with you to a point. The info is out there. Our point is that the LDS church doesn’t include the info in their manuals, magazines, and other mass produced and world-wide distributed publications. And the info that can be found, say through “trustworthy, educated believers” is deemed not “useful” and even evil.

    Also, the church meetings are 3 hours long-Priesthood and Relief meetings often focus on “teachings of” – perfect and plenty of time for “lived” teachings.

  6. falcon says:

    You are a beauty. You can’t possibly be that naive. The first thing exmormons say is that information was withheld from them. The mormon church does sanitize and withholds information. Your desire to maintain your faith in this false religion results in you accepting any explanation offered.

  7. Rick B says:

    Fred, a while back a video was posted here by Bill Mc. The Video was about JS being in the Carthage jail and how the LDS members giving the tours would purposely leave out some serious information, and when Bill openly asked about it, the LDS tour member would admit to it, but yet not openly just mention it. Thats hiding information. That happens more than you care to admit.

    Also if you look at the 1958 Mormon Doctrine vs the newer edition their are huge changes. Some of us call the newer edition the sanitized version.

  8. Dale says:

    Unfortunately, I feel the only people really affected by the historical dirt are new converts and the people who think for themselves. Some LDS I know are just like Fred and have the uncanny ability to excuse anything and knock it as “unofficial.”

    The argument is: “If it’s unofficial, why bother with it?” So what can be unofficial: The History of the Church, The Journal of Discourses (even though it was recorded by 19th Century Mormons and approved by Brigham Young), any prophet statements not in line with current understandings, teaching manuals, the numerous and conflicting accounts of the first vision, changes in the BOM and D&C, even ‘misunderstandings’ of the Standard Works. They think anything–and I mean anything–that casts the church in an unflattering light is incorrect, unimportant, and probably an outright lie. Basically, true believers play the game with me that we just saw in another post about unofficial business. It’s funny how the church never lies but we can list numerous places where polygamy itself was denied publicly but practiced privately.

    As for the church not hiding things, that’s probably the biggest lie of all. New converts are taught very specific things and church videos praise Joseph Smith but leap huge gaps in his life. Has one video ever shown him being polygamous or at least gaining that “revelation?” They all depict him as monogamous with Emma.

    It’s the same with the hat in the rock translation of the BOM. I’ve had numerous LDS say that’s not even true, when witness accounts say the opposite. Yet, this fact wasn’t “hidden.”

    In short, too many TBMs give testimony of things that are verifiable false.

  9. falcon says:

    Let’s look at one example. The picture the church produced of Smith translating the golden plates. He has his face buried in his hat which contains his magic rock. Oops no such picture. A sanitised faith promoting picture is substituted so Mormons won’t know what smith was all about.

  10. VWBrown says:

    What I have found lately is that the defenders of mormonism have not been passive in trying to cauterize the internet. There is a group from BYU that is at work ‘editing’ mormon articles on Wiki. FAIR also has people working to ‘correct’ history and articles not favorable to mormons. Lets not forget the continued danite attacks on Christians witnessing to mormons on Facebook. However, it is apparent that there are plenty of sources on mormonism that they can’t censor, such as here.

  11. Sandi B. says:

    Fred, as someone who converted to Mormonism in 1975 and has come out of it and am thankfully saved by grace through faith by Jesus Christ, I would ask, why do the missionaries not teach some of the “deeper doctrines” of mormonism from the outset. Could it be that their “conversion rate” would be far lower if they did. Then when you do become a member, neither the leaders nor the other members ever talk about theses doctrines and one just hears about them, but they do not take front and center.

  12. Kate says:

    I was LDS f0r 40 years. In that 40 years, I was never told that Joseph Smith was a polygamist, in fact I was taught in church and out that it started with Brigham Young and the move West and all those darn widows. Fred, imagine my surprise when I cracked open the hard backed book of my family’s history and found that 2 of my great,great,great, great Aunts were married to him. When one of them married him she, “stayed with him in an upstairs bedroom of her brother’s house as husband and wife.” There goes the theory that he didn’t sleep with them…oops. Joseph Smith was murdered (which is true) but the church whitewashed that and never once taught that he had a pistol and shot people himself, or that he drank wine in Carthage Jail, or that he died with the distress code of the Free Masons on his lips. Why the lies at church??? The problem with those of us who have been LDS for many years, is that the information wasn’t available like it is today. You couldn’t just pop online and goolge it. You had to trust that the prophet/church wouldn’t lead you astray. The information given to you was totally in control of the LDS church. There were no Journal of Discourses given out by the church for me to look at. Only the faith promoting stuff was ever used out of it. The internet and the ease of which we can now find this information for ourselves is why long time Mormons feel so betrayed. None of what I have studied was ever talked about in church or out. Lying by omission is still lying.

  13. falcon says:

    OK, for an example, I offer this blog authored by a guy who was a Mormon for thirty years. Page down to about the middle and you’ll read the story of Lyndon Lamborn. It provides a perfect example of what we are discussing here.


  14. falcon says:

    While I’m at it, I thought I’d post this presentation by John Dehlin of “Mormon Stories”. I remember the first time I watched/listened to this, I kept asking myself, “Why does this guy stay in the Mormon Church?” Well over time, I guess the burden of having this information and staying in the Mormon church became too much for John. Within the last year he jumped ship.


    The following is a good give and take regarding John Dehlin and his leaving. The interesting point are the comments by other Mormons who, at the time, seemed to be sliding out the LDS door. I find the process intriguing.


  15. falcon says:

    In this day and age, especially outside of those areas dominated by Mormons where economic threats and social sanctions can’t be imposed, it’s going to be very difficult to hold on to members.
    As it is, two-thirds of those on the rolls of the Mormon church are inactive. The estimate is that half of all returning missionaries give up the program one way or another. That’s pretty staggering when you think about it.
    We’ve often assigned the Wizard of Oz approach of the Mormon church to those who discover information regarding the veracity of the religion. You know, when the curtain is pulled back and there’s this little man standing there pulling all the levers making a lot of smoke and noise and he saying, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
    That’s what the Mormon church has to do once members begin to figure it out. They would have those members ignore (the information) as the church continues to deny or develop explanations for the information that are truly Oz like.
    I don’t know what the ratio of folks leaving Mormonism because they discover that the church isn’t what it’s been promoted as being as opposed to those who just don’t like the grind of the system is.
    Then take into consideration the rather low numbers of true blue temple going Mormons and it’s obvious the church is fighting a losing battle.
    I think it’s criminal that potential converts aren’t told the whole story of Mormon doctrine during the missionary sales pitch regardless of what’s withheld about the history of the Mormon church and Joseph Smith in particular.
    If Mitt Romney is nominated by the GOP google searches regarding Mormonism will be huge. I don’t think it will be a net gain for the Mormon church.

  16. falcon says:

    Here’s also a site that gets at our topic.


    The author discusses an inquiry he made to a Mormon missionary and the interaction went like this.

    What is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) teaching its members about who God is and what He is like? Does it teach non-members anything different?
    To find out I called two different Mormon missionary residences in my city. At the first number Elder Fieldcrest1 answered the phone. He was cordial and very willing to answer my questions on the nature of God. I asked two:

    The first was, “Has God always been God, complete with all attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience?” His answer was “Yes. God has always been God.”

    My next question was equally straightforward: “Was God once a man like us?” His immediate answer was “No.” When I asked does the Mormon Church teach that God was once a man, he said “No.” He went on to say that there is no specific teaching on that. God does have a body of flesh and bones, but he was never a man like us.

    Now granted this was one missionary and he wasn’t speaking for the Mormon church, but it does set one to wondering, doesn’t it? Focusing on this one particular missionary, could he have been that ignorant of what the Mormon church teaches or was he taught to answer that way?
    Either way it’s alarming to think that a Mormon missionary could be that ignorant of the doctrines of the church he was representing. I can’t imagine that he outright lied or am I too naive?
    Think for a moment if someone joined the Mormon church after having been taught what this Mormon missionary had said. Then imagine the shock, horror and anger a convert would feel learning the truth.

  17. Rick B says:

    Fred seems positive we wrong and he claims to have done his research. Yet I dont see Fred telling the Former 40 plus years mormons they are wrong, or the Video of Bill at the jail not being told all the facts by the MM’s leading the jail speakings are wrong.

    Also Fred, if you read this, I have said this many many times and to date no mormon has ever taken me up on it. If you think Mormons are not leaving out facts, I will give you my home address and you can come visit me in person, I will even cook you lunch or diner your choice since I am a chef, and we can have Mormons over my house. I have plenty of questions that in the past they dont answer 100 percent. They leave out information leading me to believe something that they in fact do not believe, and if they gave all the information then I would end up believing something totally different.

    Fred, If you really believe you did all your research and came to believe the LDS church is so honest and has not sanitized anything, then tell us where we are wrong on this issue and come visit me, you will have a great diner on me, and really be surprised by what you hear and dont here from your Mormon buddies. Rick

  18. falcon says:

    You make a very good point regarding fred.
    He claims all this research and yet he’s rock solid in the Mormon camp and I guess seems to be intimating that everyone who has done research has messed up. Go figure.
    So in-other-words Bill and the folks at MRM have gotten it all wrong. I guess it all adds up to the giant conspiracy that Mormons use to satisfy themselves when faced with the over whelming evidence that Mormonism is a sham and a rip-off.
    None-the-less, it seems that there are folks, that regardless of the evidence, really groove on Mormonism. They dig it!
    Of course they’ll say that God spoke to them and that trumps any evidence that proves Mormonism isn’t what our friend fred wants it to be. That’s a real problem because then fred and co. have to begin to consider the possibility that many God didn’t speak to them and send them the warm fuzzies and physical/emotional buzz they claim they have gotten.
    It all seems so hyper-spiritual, the mental impressions and the accompanying feelings. It’s pretty tough to get by because they actually think God communicated with them confirming what they want to believe.
    Once that notion is gone, then the charade becomes clear and it’s over.
    As I’ve explained in the past, I have all kinds of friends that are getting messages from God. It’s all pretty harmless stuff, in most cases. Sometimes I think that some are hearing from the Lord. Others, however, I’m skeptical about.
    But anyway, I believe God draws folks like fred here so they can hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit be led to salvation. Our ex-Mormon friends know the “ah-ha” moment when it all became clear and they entered into newness of life in the Lord Jesus.

  19. Dale says:

    I think people are being too hard on Fred. Maybe what he meant to say is this:

    Between the 3 hour church services every week, the missionary lessons for converts, the home teaching sessions, endless testimony bearing and all the callings, there just isn’t time to talk about the questionable history. There just so many hours in a day, and it’s not the LDS Church’s fault they run out of time each week.

  20. falcon says:

    That’s part of the plan; busy, busy, busy. In fact some exMormons point to the irony of the Mormon church saying it wants to build strong families and then has folks so over-involved their not home with their families. The truth of the matter is that in these types of organizations it’s all about the organization. That’s why Mormons get so upset when someone leaves even if that person maintains a strong relationship with and devotion to the Lord.
    It’s the organization that is going to, in their view, get them the big brass ring of deification. It’s a works driven mad house. It’s not surprising that some Mormons just give up and in their minds settle for a lower level of reward.
    One of the characteristics of cults is their control over the lives of members. One of the ways this is done is to enslave people to the organization. Control is exerted through fear, guilt, shame and manipulation of approval.
    I’ve read comments from exMormons that say the culture of Mormonism is such that everyone is judging everyone else and subsequently in other peoples’ business.
    That’s just the second part of the equation. The first is the with holding of information regarding the history of the sect and its founder.
    “Keep em busy and ignorant” could be the motto of the Mormon church.

  21. falcon says:

    There are two basic issues here. One deals with the truth of the matter when it comes to Joseph Smith and early Mormon history. The other has to do with the Mormon church’s habit of hiding and/or sanitizing that information. I posted this quote previously from the president of the Community of Christ Mormon sect but I think it bears repeating.
    “Because of my exploration of various credible works, and probing discussions with historians, some of my previously held notions have been challenged and adjusted in the face of additional knowledge. The “apologetic” approach to church history—presenting our story in as favorable a light as possible—is not sufficient for the journey ahead. That approach does not evidence the integrity that must be fundamental to our witness and ministry.”
    It must be remembered however, the folks at CoC rejected Nauvoo style Mormonism while BY and his followers embraced it. That would include not only polygamy but the teachings dealing with men becoming gods etc. An investigation of other sects of Mormonism provides an idea of the wide ranging doctrines, beliefs and practices of these different sects all claiming the truth.
    The slogan of the “X Files” TV show was, “The truth is out there.” This can also be applied to Mormonism if Mormons have the courage to look for themselves. Once Mormons over-comes their fear and opens up their minds to other possibilities, the truth emerges.

  22. Kate says:

    “Once Mormons over-comes their fear and opens up their minds to other possibilities, the truth emerges.”

    This is so true. Overcoming the fear was horrible. I thought for sure I was going straight to Hell the first time I dared look at something not “church approved.” After the first Heart of the Matter show with Shawn McCraney, I really thought I was! Most Mormons that I know are still living in fear of it all. It’s truly sad to watch. As I told Ralph, the truth really does set you free. There is such freedom in the true Jesus of the Bible. He has nothing in common with the Mormon Jesus I grew up with. What a difference a year makes 🙂

  23. Mike R says:

    Mormonism is at a very real crossroad. For so long leaders were content to teach their people
    the unique doctrines of their faith, doctrines received through their additional ” scripture” but
    also thru their interpretation of the Bible , as their prophet/apostles ” interpret the mind and will
    of the Lord ” i.e. fresh spiritual truths from the “living oracles ” of God . But times have changed,
    no longer sequestered in the kingdom they built in inter-mountain West, with more people moving
    in and more people hearing about Mormonism , leaders have slowly reacted to this change in how
    they promote their religion. For the last several decades they’ve worked hard at trying to sell
    their unique teachings to a leary public. Demanding to be called Christians would greatly aid
    their public personna , and while this has been a fairly successful campaign , it necessitated a
    change in how they presented their “unique” teachings , doctrines that were once readily taught
    over the pulpit and published for all their flock to pass it to their posterity , were quietly
    shoved to the side, either by down-playing them or by denying them altogether. In the last few
    decades this has been a tactic utilized, and together with a first class Public Relations Dept it has
    proven successful . Mormons now more than ever want to be called “Christian brethren”,
    want to be the “guy next door” who also believes in Jesus . Advertising, whether in changing
    some of the attractions in Temple square to appeal more to tourists , or in interviews to the
    Press , or emphasing their Tabernacle Choir , all have helped re-cast Mormonism as just another
    Christian church in the public eye . But something else was also happening .

  24. Mike R says:

    The more effort that Mormon leaders put into down-playing some of their rather “unique ”
    doctrines , the more ex-Mormons and others spoke out for the public to know “the rest of the
    story” etc. Even some Mormon authors utilizing what material in the Church Archives they were
    allowed to access published works on important issues in Mormon history . This effort really
    surprised sincere Mormons who had no idea such existed . [ in the 1980’s a major fight ensued
    between Church leaders and Church historians /scholars over how much of Church history
    should be allowed to the public ] . For a religion that had resorted to secrecy near it’s very start
    with it’s founding prophet marrying women behind his wife’s back , to incorporating secret rituals
    for only a “worthy” few , the whole episode in Mormonism has come to a crossroad , there’s been
    to many leave or become inactive because of finding out some things which were kept hidden
    in Church archives . So today either sincere Mormon are going to be satisfied with the spin from
    Mormon apologists and BYU professors or their going to step back and ask themselves if their
    following Jesus is enhanced by submitting to their prophets or not . Is Jesus’ church really
    supposed to look and act like the Mormon Church ? Trying to squeeze Mormonism into the
    church revealed in the New Testament has been a uphill effort by Mormon leaders, an effort
    that many sincere Mormons are coming to realize as futile. May the Mormon people see that
    Jesus is standing ready to lift off their shoulders the burden of trying to be “worthy” before Him .
    He is prophet/High priest–Heb7:25

  25. TJayT says:

    Kate said ” I thought for sure I was going straight to Hell the first time I dared look at something not “church approved.””

    I like studying things that aren’t “church approved”. But then again I’m an odd duck when it comes to active believing Mormons.

  26. Kate says:

    Nice to see you! How have you been? I don’t know if I would call you an odd duck, I’m just not familiar with any Mormons who are as open minded as you are. I’m wondering though, do other members of your family research the way you do? Are they afraid to look at things not church approved?

  27. TJayT says:

    Good to hear from you too! Doing lots of work, but it’s starting to let up a little. How about you? As to your questions no as to both of them, though my wife does hear pretty much everything that I read/learn/dig up. None of them are afraid to look at things that aren’t “spiritually uplifting”, they just don’t go out of there way to look it up. It’s almost more of a habit for me then anything else, since I used to look into Counter Christian material all the time, but it’s also to learn the arguments, as well as test my beliefs and why I believe them. I’ve learned quite a bit, thanks for all the help my old sparring partner 🙂

  28. Nelson says:

    Count me in as another believing Mormon who read stuffs that’s not “Church approved.” Most of the religious material I read are published by Oxford University Press and IVP. I’ve only read a few books by Deseret. Oxford has been publishing much high-quality work on Mormonism recently.

    I’ve spoken with Terryl Givens and Matt Bowman and they both believe that the problem with people leaving the Church is easily remedied with a small dose of “innoculation.” I just finished Matt Bowman’s The Mormon People (Random House, 2012), which includes polyandry, MMM, racism, etc., and I felt a sense of the Holy Spirit working throughout Mormon history, binding Mormons and growing the Church.

    Personally, I’ve studied under wonderful religions professors at BYU (Stephen E. Robinson, Roger Keller, David Paulsen), so it bothers me little to know about warts in LDS history. But rank-and-file members need to be more aware of the issues so they don’t get blindsided by sensational material on the internet.

  29. Kate says:

    Please don’t misunderstand the reason I left Mormonism. Did I find that the LDS church whitewashed history? Yes. Did I find disturbing stuff? Yes. Did I find outright lies? Yes. Did I find lies by omission? Yes. I didn’t leave the church so much for what I “found” I left it for what I didn’t find. What I didn’t find in Mormonism was the true and living Christ of the Bible. God incarnate. I didn’t find anything that Jesus and his true Apostles really taught. I didn’t know God. You can’t understand what I am tell you because you haven’t found him yet. He lives. Seek him in his Word. He’s there.

    You said: “I’ve spoken with Terryl Givens and Matt Bowman and they both believe that the problem with people leaving the Church is easily remedied with a small dose of “innoculation.”

    So according to these men, Mormons need a vaccination to stick with the religion? I’m asking my famous question to this…”Where is Jesus in any of this?”

    To be honest, if I would have been taught all of the oddball stuff about Mormonism in Church, it would have pushed me to look for God sooner. If I had known what a sinful, lustful, arrogant man Joseph Smith really was, I wouldn’t have believed a word he said. If I had known what an evil man Brigham Young really was, I wouldn’t have believed anything he said either. Mormons don’t need a small dose of “innoculation”, they need Jesus.

  30. Kate says:

    Oh can’t complain 🙂 I’m actually doing really well. I have a question for you. You said on another thread that you haven’t prayed about the BoM. How do you have a testimony if you haven’t laid the foundation? What is the first thing a LDS missionary asks the potential convert to do? If you haven’t prayed about the truthfulness of the BoM then how do you have a testimony of it? Do you have a testimony of it? Just curious…..

  31. TJayT says:


    I try and steer clear of my “reconversion story” since I promised never to bear my testimony here unless specifically asked to. The short version is that reading the Bible is what lead me to Christ. I never prayed about the spiritual truth found in its pages, but I still gained a witness of its truth. I didn’t feel a need to pray about the BoM since I felt the same spiritual witness when I read it.

    If you would like to hear a more in depth answer or would like to talk about anything else (personal or theological) then please feel free to email me. My address is posted in the comments under the “Can a Christian believe that the Father is a great pumpkin in the sky?” thread. Good to talk to you as always.

  32. Rick B says:

    Kate, Me and TJ have been talking Private email, so I can give you his address also if you write me, I know you have mine and it might be easier to have me send it then to search for it.

  33. grindael says:

    One big lie that led to my leaving the Church was it’s blatant whitewash of Adam-God. Charles Penrose started the lying, and Fielding Smith picked right up on it. Those two acted like Young only made one Adam-god statement, and that it was misquoted. Then came the mistranscribed B.S. Then it was made into a “theory”, and then the ultimate whitewash by Mark E. Peterson in his deceptive, “Adam Who Is He” and the blatant lies of omission and commission by the late Matthew Brown in his Fair Presentation of 2010. Here are a few of the more blatant ones,

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never formulated or adopted any theory concerning the subject treated upon by President Young as to Adam.” ~Penrose, 1902

    Absolute bald-faced lie. From a so-called “apostle” of Jesus Christ.

    “in all probability the sermon was erroneously transcribed!” ~Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:96

    Deceptive and ignorant to think that anyone knowing the facts would believe this from another so called “apostle” and later “prophet”.

    I can take ANY known “repudiated” doctrine by Mormon Prophets and prove that F.A.I.R., Mormon Authorities, and most lay Mormons who try to defend those positions, are being dishonest and deceitful. It’s not hard to do, and that is what is destroying the Mormon Church today.

    These men, who claimed to be Apostles of God, to spout such nonsense shows them for what they are, liars and deceivers, who couldn’t be honest for the life of them. _johnny

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