On October 16, 2014 LDS Meridian Magazine published an article by Ted Gibbons titled, “The Fallacy of Rewriting Your Personal History.” Mr. Gibbons relates the story of one of his former missionary companions who, sometime after his mission, was excommunicated from the Church and came to disbelieve Mormonism. This former Mormon subsequently edited his missionary journal to reflect his new understanding of his past Mormon experiences. Mr. Gibbons writes,
“Testimonies and experiences written with power and love in the original copy of his journal were now loaded with qualifiers. Instead of I felt the power of the Holy Spirit, I was reading things like I felt what I thought at the time was the Holy Spirit. Instead of I know the Church is true, this: I thought I knew the Church was true. I do not know if he remembered that I had a copy of the original, but I was saddened by his efforts to make the past coincide with his perceptions at the present time.”
Mr. Gibbons cautions against allowing “the enemy of [your] soul” to provide materials for the rewriting of your spiritual history.
“Not much White Out is required before we begin to doubt the reality of our earlier experiences. When the powerful and confirming feelings come less often, when the early certainties become uncertain memories rather than current realities, then Lucifer moves in with his darkness and his doubts and tries to turn us out of the path we have chosen.”
I can understand Mr. Gibbons’ perspective and concerns, but I think he is failing to see the bigger picture. If someone is born and raised in the Mormon Church, conforming to Mr. Gibbons’ reasoning would result in his hoped-for outcome: Mormons would never leave Mormonism. But.
What about people who converted to Mormonism from a different faith? By Mr. Gibbons’ rationale, if they at one time believed their non-Mormon faith was true, they never should have joined the Mormon Church. He wrote,
“When the inclination comes to wonder if we were misled when we altered our lifestyles and turned into the light—when we begin to suppose that those moments that transformed us were something less than we remember—when we weary under the onslaught of that ‘great fight of afflictions,’ let us remember this reality:
“‘Once there has been illumination beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence” (Hebrews 10:35). Stay the course . . .’ (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” Ensign, March 2000,).”
While I support Mr. Holland’s idea (quoted above) of facing your doubts, the larger argument in Mr. Gibbons’ article seems to be one of desperation. Mormonism is either true or false – it matters not how you or I feel about it. The faith I hold to, the Christian faith, is either true or false. My experiences and how I understand them – now or later – don’t change that a bit.
New information doesn’t change history; it corrects previously unknown errors. Personal development and gained wisdom don’t change personal history; they often illuminate it.
By way of illustration, when I was a child, I waited for Santa Claus with full conviction that he would bring me wonderful gifts on Christmas Eve. As an adult, I understand that I waited for what I thought at the time was Santa Claus, but now know it was my generous and kind parents who lovingly perpetuated a myth to enhance my childhood Christmas experience. (Please note: I am illustrating a point, not drawing a comparison between Mormonism and Santa Claus.) For me to accurately tell this story from my adult perspective does not require a rewriting of history, but rather an acceptance and inclusion of what is actually true.
And isn’t truth what we’re all seeking?
My friends, there is nothing good that comes from doggedly clinging to a myth. While I very much enjoyed my childhood Christmases with what I then believed was a jolly, bearded man called Santa Claus, I’m thankful that I have come to know the truth. I’m thankful that I don’t pin my Christmas joy on a fable that can do naught but disappoint every single year of my adulthood. Indeed, in this regard I can say knowing the truth has set me free to focus on the real reason for Christmas, which brings me far greater joy than the mythical Santa Claus ever did.
So when we wonder if we have been misled, let’s not be discouraged by a warning to refrain from “rewriting history.” Rather than doubting our doubts, let’s face our doubts in a sincere effort to live and write a true and accurate history. For if we seek the truth we will find it (Matthew 7:7). And when we know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:32).
There’s been a ton of Mormons the last several years who have become disillusioned largely because of losing confidence in their leadership . These Mormons have discovered that the men who run the church are something different than what they claim to be , and their eyes are open to the fact that just maybe they have been fooled into joining a man made religious organization , not the one true church of Jesus Christ which they had been led to believe . These Mormons are onto something . Mormonism is not the one true church of Jesus . We pray that this realization will be the start for multitudes of LDS to look into the New Testament and see where their leaders have gone off the rails with their preaching and thus can’t be trusted any longer . The church that Jesus established through His apostles and the gospel of salvation they were sent out with to preach is in the N.T. It’s not uncommon for latter days prophets who ” feel “God is speaking to them to succumb to introducing aberrant doctrines as a result . Joining a organization where family , charity , and moral activities are found is not the same thing as becoming a member of the Body of Christ and knowing the truth about God/ Jesus etc . Mormonism is a man made religious organization . May the Mormon people return to anchoring their beliefs to the bed rock of Christianity — the Bible , and thus be safe from the shifting sands of what latter days prophets have introduced as Jesus’ gospel .
Decent sincere people can be fooled by counterfeit religious leaders . Mormons are such people . Their leaders are whom Jesus said would come in the latter days — Matt 24:11 .
Our hearts go out to the Mormon people . May they walk out the door of the Wards and walk over to Jesus . Jesus is the key to man’s longing to know their Creator and be accepted by Him . Jn 17:3 , not temple rituals , a man at the top as prophet, nor a ladder of works to climb to earn eternal life .
What the writer was supposing, is that the former experiences and accompanying feelings were an authentic encounter with “God”.
We’ve discussed many times here about how subjective feelings are used in the LDS sect to determine truth. How many women, have fell for a guy and had all these great feelings for him, only to find out he was a lying snake? The feelings were produced by a false narrative. So should the woman cling to her old feelings when new information reveals the truth about her knight in shinning armor?
It’s the same thing with Mormonism LDS sect version of the religion.
The whole program is sold to prospects on the basis of a generated feeling that is said to be a message from “God”. So what’s a person to do when they figure out that what they were told wasn’t true? That’s the problem with this idea that the experience, based on bad information, is none-the-less valid.
I see where a documentary is going to be on HBO soon regarding Scientology. It focuses on the experiences of some former mid-level type leaders. The Scientology crew is having a collective cow about this. They are working over-time to discredit anyone having anything to do with the documentary. It’s basically the same routine that we see with Mormon leadership when a former member starts spilling about their Mormon experiences. They have to discredit these folks in order to keep those still in the program in the true believer mind-set.
But what convinces people to join the Mormon church in the first place ? From what I have noticed about this it’s largely by emotions and the use of half truths . Does anyone think that a person who is meeting with Mormon missionaries or reading the public interviews conducted with Mormons , or by viewing Mormon church media presentations , is going to know enough about Mormonism to make a informed decision about it that warrants accepting it’s claims of authority ? The answer is : not really .
Too many people see the church activities , smiling faces , well dressed leaders , moral principles , that Mormons exhibit and conclude that what Mormon leaders have claimed about themselves is the truth . However , those things while fine in and of themselves , are not the main criteria to test those claiming to be prophets of God that John recommended to his flock and which is still the main criteria for us to use today — see 1 John 4:1 . The apostle Paul also knew this type of test — Gal 1:8 , and his warning is still very much relevant for anyone today who talks to those who knock on their door having a message from a prophet and a gospel necessary to embrace for salvation .
There would far less people joining false prophet led organizations like Mormonism if they would take the time to do a through test first .
Mormons are nice people , but nice people are fooled every day by clever salesmanship .
To be fooled into buying a car that turned out to be not what they were led to believe about it , that can be financially damaging . To be fooled into joining a religious organization headed by latter day false prophets , that is a far more serious matter because spiritual damage is the consequence , a relationship with God at stake but they may not realize that fact until their eyes are opened to the truth .
Sharon is right about Mr Gibbons article — it does seem to be one of desperation .
The buzz the last few years is that of unrest among a sizable number of LDS towards their leadership and the lack of answers to troubling questions these LDS have learned of on the Internet or from ministries like MRM . Mr Gibbons has not been living deep in the jungle , he is aware of this issue among LDS , it’s been in the news . An attempt by Mormon leaders to offically respond to this came in the form of their recent Essay’s posted on the church web site . While it’s true that church leaders were more forthright with these Essay’s still what they chose not to say in them only raises more questions and will do little to calm the unrest among their flock .
There’s another part to all this that Mr Gibbons is likely aware of and that is many LDS are seeing , from an examination of the preaching track record of their leaders since 1830 , that Mormon
leaders have succumbed to the same type of behavior that they have accused others of , specifically those men who had a influence in the alleged great apostasy . Those men drifted from the gospel that Jesus’ apostles had preached far and wide by mixing in man made teachings to it thus altering the truth about salvation / God / Jesus . In short , Mormon leaders were also guilty of similar behavior .
They had succumbed to ” looking beyond the mark ” ( Jacob 4:14 ) and drifted into doctrinal error .
That such behavior is not unusual even for well meaning religious leaders was something that the apostle Paul warned about ,teachings that were not ” sound doctrine” which people would hear and believe — 2 Tim 4:3,4 — and Paul’s words here are for today to help anyone avoid teachers who introduce false doctrines . Mormon leaders are such teachers , they have drifted from the truths , not only of what Jesus’ apostles taught , but they’ve also introduced teachings that are beyond what their church once declared to all to be the gospel of Jesus Christ . Many LDS have come to discover the obvious verdict about their leaders : apostasy .
It’s not an easy fix for any LDS who has discovered that his/ her leaders have not been totally forthright about their history or have been guilty of what they have long accused non Mormons of –
personal apostasy . There will shock followed by anger . A very difficult phase that could last for a long time . But to these LDS we would only try to convey to them that we care , and that with time and understanding their hurt will be greatly alleviated , especially if they can realize that latter days false prophets will wound people who had followed them to be who they claimed to be . The Mormon people are the victims of a broken trust . Jesus warned about latter days prophets who would come and be great spiritual / emotional seducers , but He also said He would be available to heal the wounded and scared souls who used to follow these prophets . The lives of ex LDS can be
made whole , may they learn of a loving Savior who waits to hear from them to begin to put the kind of meaning in their personal lives that only He is capable of providing .
Mormonism is not the answer . A church organization is not the answer . Jesus is the answer , the person of Jesus Christ alone — Jn 14:6 ; Heb 7:25 .
Looking back when I joined at age 17 in 1975 I had no reason not to trust the white shirts and any of the doctrine . And there was no Internet and forums like this . I look back and would not change 1 thing. I am better and will not be bitter because of it I am who I am because of the journey.
You said ,” I am better and will not be bitter because of it I am who I am because of the journey.”
It’s good to hear of former Mormons like yourself who have transitioned out of Mormonism in a more smoother and positive way than others have . It is not abnormal for ex LDS to be angry at finding out that they’ve been misled after putting their time and energy into something believing it to be what it claimed to be . Unfortunately , some ex Mormons have been so ” burnt” by Mormonism that they have loss faith in God altogether . We’re glad you are not one of those , and we pray for those who are. God does’nt love you or me or others here any more than He loves ex Mormons who have been emotionally damaged by a false prophet led organization .
At first it was hard and I still have my moments but as weeks turn into months and then years peace does come.But I thought I’d be like a Lynn Wilder or Lee Baker , but now I am just simple me . And hope for each still left behind there miracle will happen to them and pierce their heart as it did mine.
” It is not abnormal for ex LDS to be angry at finding out that they’ve been misled after putting their time and energy into something believing it to be what it claimed to be . ”
I was extremely angry. I felt that I had wasted 40 years of my life on a lie. Imagine being married to someone for 40 years only to find out it was all a lie, and your spouse had willing lied to you. It’s hurtful, confusing, and hard to believe that you could be deceived by those who claim to love you. To add insult to injury, no one in my Mormon world would talk to me about issues I was having. All I got was, ” You are just losing your faith.” and ” You are just looking for things to be wrong.” I didn’t understand at the time that they only knew the things the church had taught them too. They hadn’t heard about anything I was finding. I’m no longer angry but sad for my LDS friends and family still caught in the lies.
I was talking to a faithful LDS man one day at my Dad’s house. He wanted to argue about doctrines and policies but I know not to get caught up in that. I took him straight to the great apostasy and quoted Matthew 16:18. No apostasy, no need for a restoration. I told him in order for me to believe in the great apostasy I would have to call Jesus a liar. He told me Jesus didn’t fail, his church did. I repeated the scripture. He was very flustered and started reciting his testimony. He KNOWS Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the church. I asked him for proof because everything I said, he wanted proof of. I provided proof for all of his questions. He couldn’t give me proof that Joseph Smith was a prophet or of a great apostasy, only his testimony. I’m smiling because he’s an older guy and he tried pulling his priesthood authority on me. I told him I don’t believe in his priesthood. I’ve noticed that men who have this false priesthood believe that I am somehow beneath them and I must listen to their council. He ended up excusing himself and leaving. I’m glad this happened because my Dad (who has been anti LDS his whole life) was thinking about getting temple ready. We had a great discussion afterwards and he said the church sounds like a cult. He hasn’t talked about church or the temple since that day.
The game is, “You had all of these spiritual experiences which confirmed the truth of the glorious restored gospel, and now you’re denying it?”
The dude writing the article isn’t putting together the fact that the guy is testifying that the spiritual experiences were bogus. I think that’s the most difficult thing for a lot of Mormons to get past is what to do about their spiritual experiences. I’d be willing to bet that’s what keeps our Aussie LDS friend Ralph in the program. That’s a real “live by the sword, die by the sword” sort of scenario. If the foundation for faith is feelings and emotions interpreted as being spiritual experiences, these folks will be in a world of hurt if they ever put two and two together.
Good to hear from you , you are greatly missed . My wife and I have prayed for you and your family situation .
I’m glad that you are no longer angry , yes becoming angry is a normal response to finding out you’ve been lied to , but you are now able to pity those still caught in the web of MormonISM. God will use you
to be a light among Mormons just go slow and praise Him daily . I love what you used to say on here ( it reminded me of what my wife says to people — she’s ex Jw ) : ” It’s all about Jesus ” . Yes indeed !
Concerning the Mormon great apostasy lie , what you said to that Mormon in your Dad’s house was spot on . According to Mormon leaders Christianity sickened and died off , the gospel of salvation that Jesus’ apostles preached became unavailable for 1700 years until Joseph Smith arrived on the scene to make salvation again available to men on earth . That is the Mormon claim. It’s truly a tall tale .
You did good not falling for his ” priesthood authority ” , because he has no authority over you , or anyone . You have a higher authority’s counsel to listen to — Jesus and His true apostles ! No latter days counterfeits can bamboozle you any longer . You’re free from them .
We will be praying for your Dad .
God bless you Kate .
falcon , you said ” If the foundation for faith is feelings and emotions interpreted as being spiritual experiences , these folks will be in a world of hurt if they ever put two and two together .”
That’s a good point . I was looking through a couple of little booklets published by the Utah Christian Tract Society many years ago . One is titled : ” Enticing Words of Man’s Wisdom , a Survey of the Mormon Missionary Mind Manipulating Methods” ( by Wesley Walters ) , and the other is :
” The Mormon Missionary Lessons ” .
Both discuss the sales techniques used by Mormon Missionaries , and appeal to the emotions pays a big part of how they convince a person to accept Mormonism .
I think it goes without saying that doctrine per se is not what draws people to join the Mormon church , ( some of the more ” unique ” doctrines of Mormonism are not mentioned by the Missionaries ) . The impetus that initially convinces people to consider joining is the image the church presents — family oriented ; moral values; patriotic , etc .
Evaluating a group these days which is led by a prophet and thus joining it largely because of that criteria is a recipe for spiritual deception . The proper test to start with is the same one that the apostle John recommended — 1Jn 4:1 . To many sincere people don’t seem to understand that and thus become convinced to join false prophet organizations because of a emotional appeal .
Can you tell me what was the defining moment when you decide to investigate the claims of the LDS church? What made you as a (former) faithful Latter-day Saint decide to look deeper into your faith at the time?
It would be some good insight for my LDS friend(s). Thanks
For a quick answer, I remember Kate telling us that what got her interested in investigating the LDS sect of which she was a member had to do with the authenticity of the Book of Abraham.
I have an interest in the exit stories of former Mormons. There are various former Mormon groups/organizations/individuals who provide videos on YouTube of these accounts. In fact what I do is turn one on and listen to it while I practice my guitar. Although there is a common theme in the exit stories, each story is unique and interesting in and of itself. Few if any telling their stories had a sudden epiphany regarding Mormonism but they all have what Grant Palmer, in one of his presentations, calls his “ah-ha” moments. As we all know, exiting from Mormonism may take months or it may take years. I would contend that it has to do with the emotional hook of Mormonism; that idea that feelings equal spiritual experience as a testimony of truth.
Mormon leaders had been cruising along for a long time with not much to worry about concerning their followers stopping long enough in the busy lives to look into Mormon history . But for the last 20 years or so much information about what Mormon leaders have been to since 1830 has found wide distribution largely because of Christian ministries and even some conscientious Mormon authors .
The result is that Mormons wants answers . Mormon hierarchy has given them anemic responses .
A growing number of LDS are sensing something is’nt right and are becoming inactive or leaving .
People are won to Mormonism largely as a result of eye appeal ( stately temples , well dressed leaders) and by the moral atmosphere and family activities in the organization . Those together with how the main technique missionaries use to sell their message is emotion/ feelings , and people are convinced enough to join the Mormon church . Next coming a line up of activities / duties to keep them very busy . Their blind trust in Mormon leadership prevent any thought that something might be wrong from gaining to much traction in their minds , and when their leaders remind them not to criticize because to do so is a sign of having ” a spiritual sickness” [ Harold B. Lee , Oct 1947 Conf ]
and that Lucifer’s favorite game is to get LDS to think that their leaders are as likely to be wrong as they are right on doctrinal matters [ Deseret News 5-26-1945 ] . This scenario is largely how people get hooked and stay hooked in the religious organization that is Mormonism .
But the Mormon people can be free from following the latter days prophets of Mormonism and the imitation gospel they have created . The rise of latter days prophets is not odd , and how they try to convince sincere people to follow them is not new , false prophets have used the same type methods for a long long time . If the public in general , and LDS specifically , can get beyond the eye appeal , the exterior , and test anyone who claims to be a prophet of God like Paul and John advised ( Gal 1:8
1 Jn 4:1 ) , there would far less people following counterfeit prophets of the latter days — Matt 24:11.
God loves the Mormon people and has a better way for them . Mormonism is not the answer .
I guess if I were an LDS who was having some doubts I’d be asking myself that if I can’t trust my feelings and spiritual experiences to reveal the truth to me, what am I to do?
We are a strange mixture of the physical, cognitive and the emotional. When these three get out of balance, when one of them dominates, our judgement is skewed. That’s what happens with the Mormon version of truth determination by the emotions; dominates decision making.
There’s a reason why the LDS church pushes the emotional buttons. It’s the hook that gathers some folks into the sect and maintains them there. It’s basically a not to clever con. The technique is utilized in all aspects of life by people who have something to sell. Fear, one of the negative emotions in this context, is also a great motivator.
It’s said that fear of loss is a greater motivator than the desire for gain. For women especially, the thought of losing the “forever family” can be unbearable. However if they come to the realization that none of it is true, the hook comes out and the freedom to choose a different path emerges.
falcon , that comment of your’s about fear and the hold it has on religious people like Mormons is a good point . In autocratic religions like Mormonism members live in a system where fear of leaving is a very real part of their lives . The religious system that Jehovah’s witnesses live is another example .
They have been taught by their prophet that to criticize shows disloyalty and God will judge them , the fear of being disfellowshiped means that their family relationship will be severely ruptured , and they will meet the same fate as all those outside of ” God’s Organization” should Armageddon hit (which is always said to be right around the corner ) . Ex-Jw’s are apostates , the ” evil slave class ” , and Jehovah’s wrath awaits them , according to their leaders .
Mormons need to know that they have been detoured by men who fooled them into believing their claims of authority and exclusiveness . Anybody can be fooled , it does’nt mean they’re dumb . The answer for the soul’s longing is found in a intimate relationship with our Creator . Some religions convince their followers that to work the system they’re in is what a personal relationship with God is but they have fooled . Experiencing the kind of peace with God that true forgiveness of personal sins
will bring is something the Mormon people keep working themselves to the bone to attain . If they only would know about who Jesus is and especially what He really accomplished on the cross for them . That information is in the New Testament , not from Mormon leadership .
I opened an Ensign one day and read an article called, ” Proof that the book of Abraham is true.” I couldn’t tell you now what the article said but I remember being upset at the facsimiles. I had studied ancient Egypt and knew Joseph Smith’s version of things was bogus. That started my journey. For the first year I refused to look at anything that wasn’t church approved. I went to LDS.Org and started reading the Journal of Discourses. It didn’t take long for me to see that early church leaders were horrible men and Brigham Young was evil. I was horrified. I then started watching Heart of the matter with Shawn McCraney. He compared Mormonism with Christianity. My go to question became, ” Where is Jesus in any of this?” I decided to go out and buy a Bible not affiliated with the LDS church and that I would only trust the words of Jesus himself. Jesus contradicted Joseph Smith on everything. I read the new testament with new eyes. It’s not that difficult to get the message, at least it wasn’t for me. After three years of study and research I sent in a resignation letter. 99% of my world is mormon. I’ve learned not to argue their beliefs because they are indoctrinated to believe that mere questions are persecution. It creates really hard feelings. I usually just share Jesus or if they are aggressive I just take them straight to the great apostasy. How can they argue the words of Jesus Himself? I usually get their testimony in return but hopefully I’ve planted a seed. I dont like to argue with them. Honestly I’m more interested in researching Christianity and Christian history. There’s still tons to learn and I have 40 years to make up
Yes indeed you get the major point. The point? It’s all about Jesus. Could you list for me all of the things that the LDS/Mormonism is all about? Let me take a shot and maybe you or one of the other former Mormons could do a priority list.
So is it the priesthood? Is it the temple rituals? Is it the Word of Wisdom? Is it Joseph Smith? Is it the LDS “prophets”? Is it the covenants made in the temple?
Because the LDS don’t know who Jesus is, He’s way down the list whether they want to admit it or not. The important thing in Mormonism are the covenants that the member makes with “god” and then the effort put forth to become a god themselves. That’s what salvation is in Mormonism; becoming a god, resurrecting the Mrs. and having a forever family with planets to rule. It’s utter nonsense and has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity.
Isn’t it amazing that when Mormons start reading the Bible without the LDS magic spectacles on that they find the Lord Jesus Christ and the pathway to the Father through faith.
Thanks for the reply. Very candid, and very eye opening. I’m so glad you made it out, and all through proper understanding, research and the Spirit leading you (at least the true Holy Spirit). I’ll keep that in mind when I talk to my LDS friends. Quite helpful.
Priorities? Number one for me was the temple. From the time I was a sunbeam (age 3) it was pounded into my head that the temple was my goal. I can’t tell you the grief this caused in my marriage for years. My poor husband. I refused to marry him unless it was in the temple. After much debate ( he had a word of wisdom problem) I gave in and ” settled” with a promise that we would go within 2 years. Well addiction to nicotine ( he chewed) proved really hard to overcome, he eventually did it but the temple never happened. We took the temple classes three times but his heart was never in it. I tried twice, with two different bishops, to get a recommend to go by myself. They both told me that even though I was worthy, they wouldn’t give me one because if I went by myself my husband would never go. It was my responsibility to make him go. I was going off of the romanticized version of the temple, not what really goes on in there. I didn’t learn that until I’d been researching for awhile.
The current prophet was number two on the list. Follow and obey at all costs. When the prophet speaks the thinking has been done. I can’t believe I bought into that one.
Priesthood was next. We have a son with medical issues and he’s been critical a few times. We would call in my uncles, cousins, bishop or home teachers to give him blessings. Not realizing that our own prayers were just as powerful. The God of the Bible doesn’t discriminate. He hears and answers us all.
I think the rest of it was all jumbled together with Jesus in there somewhere. Joseph Smith wasn’t a huge priority for me. Of course we were only taught warm, fuzzy things about him. There was never any mention of polygamy or peep stones or conning neighbors or a magic rock in a hat or destroying a printing press, etc…..
My life changed when I learned who Jesus is. Lynn Wilder said in one of her interviews that “we have sold this God short” when she discovered the God revealed in the Bible. That is so true. Jesus is so much more than just our spirit brother who did a little extra so we can make it to godhood if we only do the work.
Thanks for that. Very insightful.