To The First presidency. Thomas S Monson, Dieter F Uchtdorf and Henry B Eyring. To The Bishop of Victoria Second Ward and The President of the Victoria Stake of the LDS church.
The last 6 months, since I first published I Find Myself Opposed For The First Time, have been months of learning and coming to a much greater understanding of what this church is. Where it came from and how it evolved. What I have learned since I published A Lie of Mastubatory Proportions and the resulting response of local leadership has been quite concerning and very disturbing. It has completely destroyed the image of the church that I was brought up in. The truth has reared it’s ugly head in so many ways, in so many things.
Being raised in the church I had always had many questions about things that did not make sense to me or that I did not really understand. For the most part I just brushed these things off or bought into the narrative that they were all lies made up by anti Mormon groups and media. For the most part the doctrine of the church has never been a huge problem for me(with a few exceptions), however once I opted to blog my views suddenly this church was not as tolerant, and loving as it was made out to be.
This has not been an easy decision for me. For those that know me well, they know that when a choice has to be made I have a tendency to make it quickly. These past 6 months may seem quick to some but I do not ever remember taking over 6 months to decide on anything before in my life. Initially I did not want to do this. I wanted to keep my names on the records thinking that I may return at some point in the future, however the more I think about what the church truly is, the more I want to distance myself from the lies, deception, control and manipulation that is at play. The fraud that is the church has been such a big part of my life.
Contrary to the much proclaimed reasoning of the church, this is not because of any desire to sin, or losing faith in God, or simply wanting to take the easy way out. This journey really got started when I published I find Myself Opposed For the First Time back in November of 2015. My entire life has revolved around this church. It shaped my view on God, Life and every aspect of my life. To learn that everything I have been taught about the origins of the church is a lie and whitewashed history has been the most painful thing I have ever had to endure. To see how the church has manipulated, controlled and treated people who dare to question its leaders, authority, actions, or doctrine has shown that the church is more about control than truth. In addition to that, the treatment of different groups of people such as LGBT and those that advocate in favor of love and support for these people has been an issue of concern as well.
The following are items of concern, while each item by itself is not reason enough to leave the church, it does however point to a behavioral pattern within the church and its leaders of deception, control, manipulation and outright dishonesty. Because of these and many more reasons I can no longer in good conscience align myself with an organization that is more concerned with its story line than honesty and truth. While I have left the church and not attended for the last couple of months months, I wish now to sever all ties to the LDS church and formerly request my name to be removed from all records, accounting, association and any ties to the LDS church, its affiliates, subsidiaries or any other organizations
- Lack of transparency on tithes and offerings.
It has been a long time since the church disclosed its finances and books. The church has history of concealing revenues and tithes from not just the public, but the members as well. Gordon B Hinkely said in an interview with a German journalist in 2002 the following statement.
“Well, we simply think that the…that information belongs to those who made the contribution, and not to the world. That’s the only thing. Yes. ”
This is a Lie. The books of the church are not put online, they are not accessible to members of the church. Revenues and expenses are held in strict secrecy. I have been told by local leadership that it is none of my business what the church uses tithing for, as the church is not a business, nor am I an investor in this church and the church has no responsibility to be accountable to it’s members on the use of tithes. Such a position is not only insulting and degrading it is arrogant and prideful. In the mean time the church spends 1.5 billion estimate (notice how this is estimate only as the church will not disclose its finances) on a mega mall while spending less than that over 25 years on humanitarian aid and other religious activities. What does God need with a 1.5 billion dollar mall and how does this further the work of God and his church?
Members of the LDS church invest so much of there time, money, resources into the church which is legally incorporated under the law. The church extorts thousands of dollars out of members of the church under threat of losing their eternal salvation if they do not comply. They are told to pay their tithes no matter what all the while refusing to be accountable to its members for the collection, use and distrubution of those tithes. From the December 2012 ensign
“If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.””
Essentially paying your tithing to the church is more important than providing the necessities of life for ones family. A church that speaks to the importance of providing for ones own would ask the impoverished to pay 1000’s a year and then be dependent on bishops store house for support?. This is not right.
2. Josephs Smith’s fabrication of the book of Mormon, claims around the first vision and his ability to translate.
Joseph Smith claimed to have seen a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. He claims to have seen this vision after going to the forest by his home and praying to God to know which of all the churches were true. The problem here is that no one had even heard of the First Vision until several years (approximately 12) after the the first vision theoretically happened and at least 2 years after the organization of the church. There is no recorded evidence of Smith speaking about this event (all the while we are told that from the time he saw it he would tell preachers of various religions who sought to make him deny it and harrassed, criticized, reviled and attacked him based on this claim) till at least 12 years after it happened. The first report of the first vision ever recorded was in 1832. This was 2 years after the organization of the very church whose foundations is built upon the truthfulness of this claim. Gordon B Hinkely once said
“Our whole strength rests on the validity of that [First] vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud, If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”
In addition to this eventful story not being known till after the organization of the church (the very basis and building block of why Joseph Smith organized the church to begin with) there are at least 4 different accounts of the first vision, Dated 1832,1835,1838, and 1842. Each version is different and each version contradicts one of the other versions of this story.
If he had truly seen God at the tender age of 14 years old, don’t you think he could have gotten his story straight each time he told it? The great thing about telling the truth is that you do not have to remember what lies you have told.
Joseph Smith has also claimed to be a seer and translator of an ancient record called the Book of Mormon. Within the church we have been taught that Joseph Smith translate the book by reading from its pages while his scribe, Martin Harris wrote out the words which Smith read off of the plates. The Translation looked something like this, at least that is what we have been indoctrinated to believe, Something that I had believed since I first heard the story.
However Eye witness accounts show that the work of translation was nothing at all like the church story line we are told. In fact the truth is far different and looked a lot more like this.
The Church has reluctantly agreed to admit this in one of it’s essays (and yet still refuses to change the teaching surrounding this event in every lesson manual) that was published on their website, quietly, reluctantly, and not easy to find. The actual method of translation that Joseph used did not involve Gold plates of any kind. In fact they were no where to be found during the actual translation. So in Essence we have an ancient prophet Moroni who preserved this sacred record, hauled these plates thousands of kilometers across the American continent to bury them in a hill and give them to Joseph Smith only to not be used at all in the translation process. Never mind the fact that there is no evidence of any stone box at any time being in the hill he claimed to dig them out of, or anywhere in the area. Or that the plates in actuality existed. The witnesses signatures to their witness are no where to be found. How can we be truly sure that the witnesses were really witnesses. Even Martin Harris is on record as saying that he only saw the plates with his “spiritual eyes” Does this make sense to you?
From the churches own website Book of Mormon Translation
“According to these accounts, Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument.26 The process as described brings to mind a passage from the Book of Mormon that speaks of God preparing “a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light.”2”
How convenient that the book he translated via this method would have mention of such a method which serves to so effectively validate his method of translating. If Joseph Smith could Translate the Book of Mormon using the same seer stone which he “discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, and like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure” What purpose did preserving the plates, if they ever existed, serve? It is clear then that he did not need them to translate at all.
The Book of Mormon also lacks any archaeological evidence at all. Even the church itself had given up on trying to find archaeological proof of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has numerous problems that each one of them deserves its own article. Most notably aside from it’s severe lack of archaeological evidence is mention of numerous things that simply did not exist in pre-columbian America such as Horses,cattle, oxen, sheep, swine, goats, elephants, wheels, chariots, wheat, silk, steel, and iron. Considering the many numerous battles and wars the book documents that had all sorts of swords, shields breastplates, hundreds of thousands dead, surely their would be some evidence of such a terrible war. We have such evidence for numerous biblical battles and stories but none for the Book of Mormon.
The book of Abraham poses many problems as well. It has been well established that the Paprya that Joseph used to “translate” the book of Abraham is nothing more than Egyptian Funerary text dated 2,000 years after Abraham. Joseph claimed that these were the actual writings of Abraham. This has been proven false. If this is false, then what else did Joseph Smith lie about when it comes to translating? He also claimed the Kinder Hook plates were a record of a descendant of Ham. The church continued to insist that this was a true translation for many decades, despite it being proved to be a 19th century hoax.
These facts clearly show that Joseph Smith did not have any credibility when it comes to translating any ancient records or as a translator at all, and quite possibly a lier.
3. Joseph Smiths Polygamy, polyandry, and adultery
In every church class I have ever attended, every conference talk relating to Joseph Smith, every sacrament meeting, every church manual, all we hear about when it comes to Joseph Smiths family is his wife Emma Smith. There is no mention of any other wife. As far as the church narrative goes, Joseph Smith only ever had 1 wife at all times. This however is a complete lie, false and intentional deception on the part of the Church to it’s members in an effort to paint Joseph Smith as an honest man of the utmost integrity, holy and righteous before God. It is well established that Joseph Smith had not one but up to 34 wives. Many of whom were already married to other men. (Which he married after sending their husbands off on missions so they could not interfere or get in the way.)
The biggest problems with this is not his polygamy or polyandry. Honestly I do not care how many spouses one person has as long as all are in full agreement to such relationships. The problem with Joseph Smith however is is complete lack of honesty, intentional deceptions, violation of trust, manipulation and controlling of those he forced to marry him against their will, (“God will kill me by an angel with a flaming sword if you do not marry me”), and adultery as he acted in violation of the very law he claimed to be using to justify it and intentional deception via acts of perjury on the matter. Doctrine and Covenants section 132, which speaks of polygamy, claims that Joseph knew of such doctrine as early as 1831, and yet he did not tell the church of this doctrine till 1843 when it was “revealed” to the members of the day. Not only has the church lied about Josephs plural wives practices, he lied to the church about his practice as well. He lied to his first wife Emma, and even publicly declared his innocence in this charge.
The doctrine and Covenants states that “A man’s first wife must first have a opportunity to agree to the next wife,” which Emma never had, seeing as how he lied and hid it from even her. By this standard and law he was an adulterer as well because Emma never had the chance to consent. Not that it would have matter because her choice would have been to either accept it, or as D and C 132 vs 54 states “But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.”
Not only was she not informed of the plural marriage, she had no choice but to accept these marriages under duress and threat of being destroyed. In addition to that Joseph lied to the church for over 10 years concerning this practice, Joseph Smith stated in 1844.
“What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers.” He committed an act of perjury and even included his plural wives and friends who were also practicing polygamy in an act or perjury when he had them signed a public affidavit stating he did not practice polygamy.
We are told that Joseph Smith was arrested on false and trumped up charges when the truth is he was arrested for ordering the destruction of the printing press that was going to published the truth about his Illegal, Unethical, and adulterous marriages. His behavior is one of a tyrant, manipulative, deceptive and fear mongering leader. Not one of a prophet of God.
4. Totalitarian nature of control over the members
When I first brought some concerns to local leadership I was almost immediately called to repentance, despite doing no wrong. I was almost immediately labelled and apostate and told that this could lead to ex-communication from the church. My Temple recommend was revoked and I was told that If I do not repent that my eternal salvation is on the line. While not in those exact words that was the message.
The church uses such tactics to exercise control over its member. It tells it’s members that they must obey all things told to them by those in a perceived position of authority whether we agree with them or not. They are told that even if they are doing everything right, if they do not pay tithing then they cannot get into heaven. To not sustain or support the leadership in all things is to reject the Gospel and God. We are free to question so long as we do not voice those questions.
Any time anyone voices even the slightest disagreement or has an opinion that is even mildly differing from the status quo and story line of the church they are threatened, punished, and gagged, (or at the very least attempts to gag them). All of this under the umbrella of “thus sayeth the Lord.” By appealing to the authority of God, the church maintains strict control over its members by enforcing the ideology that if you disagree you are rebelling against God.
I used to think that this kind of psychological warfare was not what the church was about, or that it happens in Cults and the church is not a cult, so they could not possibly be like that. However I experienced this kind of power play when I publicly disagreed with a tenant of LDS doctrine in my post A Lie Of Masturbatory Proportions. I was hoping for discussion and open dialogue with regard to this one issue which turned into attempts to silence me, and threats of eternal consequences for refusing to recant what I have said. It was not very long after that I learned that this is not isolated incident but rather and consistent and proven pattern of managing the membership of the church in numerous cases. The Author of the CES Letter Jeremy Runnels is one of the most famous of these examples. Youtube is filled with stories of people being treated in similar and like manner. I personally know at least 2 other people, from different wards and stakes, being dealt with in the same way. This is not a isolated incident, it is church policy. Conform or else.
Article of Faith 11 states
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
And yet when someone does just that, expressed concerns about issues within the church, diligently seeks answers, the response is threats, and attempts to gag and silence them when those questions and concerns are not in harmony with the church story line. There is never any attempt to actually provide answers, explanations or even acknowledgment of the issues themselves. They are brushed off, labelled as anti Mormon or just simply ignored while the one asking is labelled as an apostate. The problem here is that I do not think the church really understands what they are actually saying when they label someone an apostate. The church teaches that the word apostate/apostasy is the the act or person who speaks out against church leadership, doctrine and engages openly and publicly in ant-Mormon activities, statements, writings, etc… There is much Irony in this slur, or label because of what is actually being said to one who has been accused or labeled as being an apostate. An apostate, and apostasy is not what the church claims it is. This is what this word actually means.
When the church labels someone like Jeremey Runnels, (author of the ces letter) and numerous others and attempts to slander and label me or anyone else as an apostate or acting in open apostasy, what is really being said is that that person is acting in such as way as to escape slavery. By making such accusation and assigning such a label the church is openly acknowledging that they are slave masters and the one being dealt with is escaping their grasps and control. This is a label I will gladly bear all my life. A Label that says that I have escaped slavery.
5. Numerous Contradicting Doctrines Between Different Leaders of the Church.
Throughout church history there have been numerous doctrines preached and spoken of in the church that have later been contradicted and denied by other leaders. This is a common pattern within the church and continues today. We are taught that God is unchanging and constant in his doctrine. if this is so, then why has his doctrine changed so frequently over time.
Blacks were denied the priesthood and temple worship for over 130 yrs within the church. We are told that this was the will of God. We are told that it is because of the fact that they were cursed and not righteous enough. Jeremy Runnells explains this issue well in the CES Letter page 72.
“The Church released a Race and the Priesthood essay which contradicts their 2013 Official Declaration 2 Header. In the essay, they point to Brigham Young as the originator of the ban. Further, they effectively throw 10 latter-day “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” under the bus as they “disavow” the “theories” that these ten men taught and justified – for 130 years – as doctrine and revelation for the Church’s institutional and theological racism. Finally, they denounce the idea that God punishes individuals with black skin or that God withholds blessings based on the color of one’s skin while completely ignoring the contradiction of the keystone Book of Mormon teaching exactly this.”
2nd Nephi chapter 5 vs 21 – 25
21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.
25 And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction.
This is a book of Mormon teaching which says that black people are not desirous, they are lazy, idle, full of mischief, subtlety and behave like wild animals, they are a “scourage” to the noble white holy people and that anyone who marries and has children with them their kids will be cursed with the same cursing, they are loathsome and they are black so as not to be attractive to the normal white man righteousness.
The church insists that they are not racist, and while they may not practice in any direct, obvious way racist behavior now, the “key stone” book of the LDS religion, which the church says contains the fullness of the gospel has blatantly obvious, hateful, discriminatory racist doctrine contained within its writings.
The Adam God theory as taught by Brigham young and recorded in the journal of discourses was also added into the temple ceremony in early church history. This doctrine was also later dis-avowed as false doctrine by later church leaders. Other doctrines that have been dis-avowed include the doctrine of polygamy by Gordon B Hinkley on Larry king.
The word of Wisdom taught as a commandment when in reality it is not. It was well known that Joseph Smith had a bar in his home, in addition to that members are punished for consuming mild alcoholic drinks as a violation of this law when in fact section 89 says nothing about all alcohol being banned. Members punished for living the word of wisdom as it is actually documented is again an example of changing doctrines within the church. You can see this issue explained in greater detail in my post on the Word of Wisdom.
The church has changed it’s position on issues such as masturbation at one time teaching nothing is wrong, to going to the extreme and calling it a serious sin next to murder to saying “you just shouldn’t do it” despite absolutely no evidence or scriptural documentation of any kind showing that God has ever spoken on this issue at any point. Are we are to believe that this is a new sin in the modern era and God decided to add this to the list of sins last minute?
6. Unhealthy, harmful and hateful practices in matters of policy and doctrine
This church practices discrimination against the LGBT community by purposefully barring entrance and gospel ordinances to children because of the sins of their parents. Children of LGBT parents cannot be baptized, take the sacrament, received ordinances such as baby blessings, temple attendance, be ordained to the priesthood. When this policy was first leaked to the public I expressed my feelings on the matter when I found myself opposed for the first time in any strong or real way. This change in policy was never meant to be public knowledge, or even meant for the members of the church to know about at all. It was leaked to the media from a inside source. The church had no intention of making this known, much like many other policies contained in the leadership handbooks. Given the church wanted to keep this new policy change secret, this would suggest that they knew there was something wrong with this and people would not be happy to know about it. The backlash from within and without is not a surprise as this is clearly discriminatory policy.
In addition to being a discriminatory policy that serves no benefit, it unfairly targets the children of LGBT persons who have no role to play in their parents sexuality or lifestyle choices. This church claims to be all about family unity and yet requires people to dis-avow their parents and their life choices in order to be a member in full fellowship. To be punished, cast out, rejected, isolated and ostracized from full fellowship and membership because of the choices of others is morally and ethically reprehensible, ungodly, hateful and reeks of bigotry and and self -righteousness. God rejects no man or woman, so why does the church? Whatever happened to “we believe all men will be punished for their own sins”?
This kind of behavior is not just isolated to LGBTQ policy. The church is sexually re-repressive as well in the manner in which it dictates to its members regarding their own sexuality. It’s policies and teachings surrounding modesty are extremely biased and sexist in that it unfairly targets women and girls in telling them how to dress, act, behave etc…
Directly from the pamphlet For the strenght of youth it states regarding modesty in dress
“Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance.”
Boys and men are added as an afterthought with no mention of dress standards for them. The church standards of modesty are all about how a woman should dress. What she should not wear lest she “become pornography” to the young men. This puts an immense amount of pressure on young women and does nothing to hold young men accountable to their own thoughts and actions. It has the effect of hyper-sexualizing women and children and sending the message to boys and men that they cannot be held accountable for impure sexual thoughts and deeds if women do not dress to this standard of modesty. It also has the effect of saying to the girls and women that they are responsible not to stimulate men’s sexual urges in the way they dress because if they do dress immodestly then they are responsible for how men will think and behave around them.
The problem with this type of mentality and teachings is it leads to back room, back alley and black market expression of ones sexuality and urges. Utah has among the highest rates of Pornography consumption in North American to the point where
These sexual repressive teachings of the church are directly responsible for the plague of pornography that consumes Utah due to the forbidden fruit affect which is When Prohibition Increases the Harm It Is Supposed to Reduce Increases.
I have written extensively on the subject of masturbation and the church policy in regards to this issue. The psychological damage and harm caused to youth and adults alike in the church has been disastrous from the beginning. The sexual repression of natural, healthy and normal activities of any young person is nothing less than psychological warfare and extremely dangerous and damaging. The church policy on this matter has caused numerous young persons to suffer from severe depression to the point of suicide. Despite the overwhelming evidence that such policies are extremely damaging and dangerous the church refused to change its position or re-evaluate how to deal with these issues. How can I trust a church that claims to have my best interest or the best interest of my children at heart while persisting in extremely harmful practices, policies and methods?
7. The Claimed Origins of the Priesthood Restoration.
Joseph smith and Oliver cowdery both claimed that the Aaronic priesthood was restored by John the baptist. This was claimed to have been restored in May 1829. We are told that the Melchizedek priesthood was restored shortly after that.
Why is there no record of the Melchizedek Priesthood restoration in any fashion?? It’s restoration is only mentioned in passing and yet we have the Aaronic Priesthood restoration record in section 13 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The restoral of the Priesthood was not revealed to church until the 1835 addition of the Doctrine and Covenants 6 years after the fact. When the church was organized no one had known about the claimed Priesthood that Joseph claimed had been restored. There are no witness to this event at all. The Melchizedek Priesthood is the higher Priesthood. If the Aaronic Priesthood was deemed worthy of a record of is restoration why was the Melchizedek being the higher Priesthood not deemed important enough to have a record made of this? It would seem that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery simply backdated the restoral of the Priesthood claim to legitimize their authority. Records of the Priesthood restoral had never been mention in the Book of Commandments the D & C’s pre-deccesor. Even David Whitmer attest to this discrepancy when he said
“I never heard that an Angel had ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood until the year 1834[,] 5, or 6 – in Ohio…I do not believe that John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver…” (source for this quote found in the ces letter)
Was Joseph Smith just making things up as he went along? Was he ever telling the truth about any of this? Was he really a Prophet of God?
We have been told time and time again that the truth of the church rests on the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and the story of Joseph Smith who is revered as a prophet of God. This is a serious claim that deserves scrutiny and investigation. The History of Joseph Smith and the church that we are taught lacks much in the way of evidence of his claims. However there is much evidence that paints Joseph Smith as a liar, fraud, and manipulator. The evidence as demonstrated by proven historical documents shows that Joseph Smith is not who the church claims him to be. If we are to take a intellectual approach (something even church leaders have both condemned and recommended) it becomes evident that Joseph Smith made everything up as he went along. He lied to his wife Emma. He lied to the church about polygamy and polyandary. He lied about his ability to translate ancient records. He lied about the first vision about whether it even happened or how it happened. He lied about the Priesthood restoral.
Joseph Smith however is not the only ones that have been lying and being dishonest with the members of the church. The Church itself has taken extreme measures to protect its narrative from the truth because the truth would and has for many destroyed the legitimacy of the Church and it’s claims. For years the Church has been lying, and covering up the truth of it’s claims. Its methods of silencing members that seek to know the truth and labeling them as “apostates” in an effort to discredit them is the act of an organization with much to lose. It is an act based on fear of people knowing the truth. It is an act of weak moral character and desperation to hold it’s narrative intact. The church is not what it claims to be but rather a wolf in sheeps clothing. It’s days are numbered and the church will be the cause of its own downfall. I do not wish to be in the rubble when its mighty empire built on lies, deception, fear and control tumbles into nothingness.