Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Jesus!

I think it is common knowledge that Jesus was not actually born on December 25th. I took a few minutes yesterday to see what some of the opinions are as to when he was actually born. It was no surprise that every opinion I read was different and they all made it very clear that there is no way to pinpoint the actual date. Some said it could have been in September while others came to the conclusion that November was a more realistic time. Others believe it was in the Spring during the time of new birth and life.

That brings me to the Mormon belief about the birth of Jesus. Under the claim of modern revelation, they know the exact day/month/year of the nativity.

In a message from the First Presidency, the head of the LDS church, the following was said…

April is truly a historic month in which we commemorate two of the most important events in the history of mankind: the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the reestablishment of his church and kingdom here upon the earth in these, the latter days. Members of the Church also believe that Christ was born on April 6 in the year 1 b.c. (See D&C 20:1.)
N. Eldon Tanner, “Resurrection and Restoration,” Ensign, Apr 1971, 2

The verse they reference is part of a revelation telling Joseph Smith when to organize and start the church. It reads as follows…

THE rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April

There have been some Mormon apostles that have said that we can’t know for sure but I could not find any instance where that was said in an official publication put out by the church like the Ensign. In fact, in the book Jesus the Christ by Elder James E. Talmage, the April 6th date is again confirmed. I mention this book because it was, and probably still is, one of the only books LDS missionaries are allowed to read while on their mission. To me that says something and is an obvious endorsement by the LDS church.

I don’t consider this to be a big issue with Mormonism but it is just another interesting piece of information.

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope your holiday is filled with JOY, PEACE, and HAPPINESS!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Endowment = Gift...Really?

I was on the other day looking for information on the temples when I ran into this quote.

“One ordinance received in the temple is called the endowment. The word endowment means "gift," and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God.”

Now, I have heard this a million times before but I have come to know that Mormons like to make up their own meaning to words so I decided to actually check to see what the real definition of endowment was and here is what I found.

Webster defines it as…

1: the act or process of endowing
2: something that is endowed ; specifically : the part of an institution's income derived from donations
3: natural capacity, power, or ability (a person of great intellectual endowment)

Endow or Endowing:

1: to furnish with an income ; especially : to make a grant of money providing for the continuing support or maintenance of (endow a hospital)
2: to furnish with a dower
3: to provide with something freely or naturally

The thesaurus gave me this information…
a special and usually inborn ability (it's a sin to waste one's God-given endowments)— see TALENT gave me the following…


Assets, funds, or property donated to an institution, individual, or group as a source of income.

I looked at 3 other sources and they all said the same things. The only time an endowment was referred to anything even close to a gift it had to do with either in-born talents or monetary gifts given to an organization such as a charity, hospital or church.

So, Mormons refer to the endowment as a “gift” but who is giving to whom? In order to be found worthy to enter the temple, you must be a full tithe payer meaning that you have to give 10% of your gross income to the church. That sounds like an endowment to me but the church is on the receiving end and not the members.

Now, the LDS church is not the only church to promote paying tithes but it is one of the only ones I know of that has it as a requirement for salvation. Salvation can not be achieved in the Mormon church unless you have been to the temple to receive your endowment and be married/sealed.

No tithing = No temple = No salvation

I wonder if there are definitions to other words they just make up to suit their own needs and give members warm, fuzzy, feelings.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mormon Temple Prayer List

Last week I found out the members of my family were putting my family’s names on the LDS temple prayer list. Due to some interesting circumstances, I felt compelled to send them all an email requesting that they refrain from doing that again. Below is the letter I sent them today...

Dear Family,

It has come to my attention that some people have been putting our family’s names on the LDS temple prayer list. While I’m sure it was done with good intentions, I must request that the religious wishes of our family be respected. In no way do we agree with the teachings and doctrines found in Mormonism including the need for prophets today or temples. When Christ died on the cross, the Bible says that the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom and the temple was destroyed. Then in Acts 17 we read that “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands”.

In the temple endowment, when Adam prays at the alter he made after being removed from the Garden of Eden, His prayer is answered but not by God. He prays, “Oh God hear the words of my mouth.” but Satan is the one who answers him stating that he is the God of this world. Later in the session, that same prayer is repeated at an alter in the endowment room and then those names who are put on the prayer list are placed on the alter and prayed for. It is my opinion that, just as it is in the movie, that prayer is answered by the wrong person. God does not dwell there and there is very little justification for modern temple worship unless it comes from the self serving mouths of LDS prophets. Hebrews 1:1-2 teaches us that God, in the last days, speaks to us by his Son and that Christ was the last prophet.

1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

The prophets of the Old Testament spoke of Him and He is the last word. After his death he sent his disciples out to preach His gospel and none other. (Galatians 1:9) The apostles preached endlessly about watching out for false prophets and I am beginning to see why.

It is for these reasons and many more that we do not support or sustain the doctrines of Mormonism. It is our wish that our names be kept off of the temple prayer lists and we trust that this request will be honored.

Peace be unto you this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Cross" Checking Mormon Policy With the Bible

Below is a direct quote from discussing their view of the use of the cross as a religious symbol.

The cross is used in many Christian churches as a symbol of the Savior's death and Resurrection and as a sincere expression of faith. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we also remember with reverence the suffering of the Savior. But because the Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith.

Our lives must be the expression of our faith. When we are baptized and confirmed, we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. The way we live our lives should demonstrate our love for the Savior and His work.

The only members of the Church who wear the symbol of the cross are Latter-day Saint chaplains, who wear it on their military uniforms to show that they are Christian chaplains.

In the article “The Symbol of Our Faith,” (Ensign, Apr 2005) Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of a conversation he had with a Protestant minister. Through the course of this conversation he said…

“I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian colleagues who use the cross on the steeples of their cathedrals and at the altars of their chapels, who wear it on their vestments, and imprint it on their books and other literature. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the Living Christ.”

He then asked: “If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?”

I replied that the lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.

And so, because our Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith. But what shall we use? No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

As His followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing His image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves. And so our lives must become a meaningful expression, the symbol of our declaration of our testimony of the Living Christ, the Eternal Son of the Living God.”

So, Mormons believe that the cross is a symbol of Christ’s death and they believe that the focus should be on the resurrection. What is interesting is that Hinckley apparently was not well versed on his own website or their view on the topic has been changed since the official statement claims that Christian churches look at the cross as a symbol of both the death and resurrection which appears to take away his justification for not using it. Hinckley and other LDS members seem to have defined the cross for those who actually use it as an emblem of their faith instead of letting them define for themselves what it represents.

For Mormons to say that it is only a symbol of the “dying Christ” is a pretty short sighted and shallow way of looking at it. In my time studying about Christianity, I have learned that Christians think so much more of it then just the Savior’s death. To them it is about His sacrifice for our sins which was completed on the cross when Jesus said “It is finished.” It is about the victory over Satan and the ability to be cleansed by the blood Christ shed. It also marked the end of the need for blood sacrifice under the Law of Moses, bringing to an end such things.

To me, without the cross and what happened there, the resurrection would not matter so to ignore the cross to celebrate the resurrection is looking beyond the mark. It is like watching the end of a movie but missing how you got there and what makes it such a powerful conclusion to the story.

Many see the cross as the ultimate sign of love, a pure love that is so immense and complex that it could only come from God. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

I am always surprised to see the reaction of the Mormons I come in contact with when they see the cross necklace my wife wears. They act so shocked that she would even think of wearing such a thing. Any Mormon that judges someone for wearing a cross or other religious symbol needs to look in the mirror at night. You wear a religious symbol every day when you put on your temple garments as a reminder of your beliefs and commitments. The cross serves a similar purpose for those that choose to use it.

I will leave you with one last passage from the Bible that talks about the importance of the cross.

1 Cor 1:17-18 (KJV)

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I remember it too well...

So, I was looking for a video I had seen before regarding another topic when I ran into these. They give an accurate accounting of what missionaries teach on a day to day basis. I remember to well what it was like trying to convince people that what the LDS church believed was right. I recall wincing when some of the more obscure topics would come up. I don't envy those poor boys.

I wish I would have been approached like this because I think I would have seen the light sooner and made my exit long before I did. I am impressed at the way this man talked with these missionaries. He was polite, listened and in a calm way danced circles around them. At some point I want to be able to handle myself that way but I doubt I would be that composed.

Anyways, take a look and let me know what you think. If nothing else, it is fun to listen to their New Zealand accents.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shackled by the Very Religion That Promises Freedom

I have had a good couple of months off from blogging so I’m not sure how many people will come read my blog now but that’s ok with me. To be honest, I have not had much of a desire to dig up old Mormon crap anymore so I took a step back to clear my mind. I think I’m done with the grieving process and really could care less about my past in Mormonism.

I now find myself feeling sorry for those that sacrifice happiness today for what they think will bring them “Eternal Life” when they die. It is my belief that they will be sorely disappointed when then they pass from this life to the next when they see how much more they could have enjoyed life living for today instead of what "could be" tomorrow. Many live miserable lives, shackled by the very religion that promises freedom. Blinded by the rhetoric spewed from the mouths of their leaders, they cannot see what they are missing in the world around them and do not realize that they hold the key to unlock the shackles that bind them.

For those willing to take off the blindfold for even a few moments and look outside of the prison window, a new world is opened to them. Light shines on their faces, bringing them warmth and comfort. The key glistens in the darkness. The more they look, the more they begin to see and their shady existence becomes evident. The outside world calls to them and even though they place the blindfold over their eyes again to try to block out the light, they can never forget what they had seen and it replays in their mind. Those who choose to go back to their old ways will try to convince themselves that it is better to stay bound and that they are truly happier that way but what they don’t realize is that others can see their misery.

Those who cannot ignore the daylight that now penetrates their lives offering clarity never experienced before often choose to take hold of the key and loosen the binds placed on them. Not sure of what the future holds, they step out of the darkness into light never looking back. For those who have spent most of, if not all of their lives involved in Mormonism, life outside is not an easy place to be at first but the chance to really discover who you are while finding your own path through life is certainly worth it.

I have decided to continue to maintain this blog in hopes that I will help at least one person to remove their shackles and start their journey to real freedom outside of a religion that wants nothing more then to keep you in the dark as to what they are really about.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Too many thoughts and not enough paper

I know it has been like two weeks since I have updated the blog so I wanted to let everyone know that I currently have 7-8 half finished posts. I tend to be a bit distracted lately but I am working on finishing a few by then end of the week. Some of the topics I will be touching soon are…

-Changes to the temple ceremony
-The Law of Moses (or lack thereof) in the Book of Mormon
-The history of racism in the LDS church
(a series of 3-5 posts)

So check back this weekend.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why does this video make me think of Mormonism?

I find that I am reminded of the way Mormonism works in some of the strangest places. Watch this video and let me know if you see it too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How much did they know?

That is a question I keep asking myself but I’m not sure I will ever find the answer. The pro-noun “they” has taken on different meaning throughout my Mormon exodus.

At first it referred to early church leaders like Brigham Young, Martin Harris, John Taylor and others. Was Joseph Smith the “lone gunman” who made all of this up and deceived everyone else or did he have help from these knowing conspirators?

What about the leaders of today? We know by his own admission that Hinckley did not know much about church history or doctrine because he made a habit of reminding us in interviews. What about Tommy Monson and his cohorts? How much do they know? Are they knowingly deceiving their loyal followers today? Do they have a “president’s book” like in the movie National Treasure 2 where each president writes down their secrets and things they need to keep hidden from everyone else?

Then you have local leaders and mission presidents. What do they know? After all, the prophet has told members not to write to him and the apostles any more for clarification on doctrinal issues and that this should be handled on a local level. Does that mean that bishops and stake presidents are really better equipped to answer questions about contradicting points of doctrine and history or do they know these local leaders will keep up the company image and perpetuate the lies?

The “they” group that I keep wondering about now is my parents (they don’t read this blog or at least they don’t admit to it). Neither one is really willing to talk to me about what I have found, especially my mom. The one time I brought up the fact that there are multiple accounts of the first vision that all contradict one another she did not take it well and accused me of attacking her faith and told me not to talk about it anymore. I don’t think she had ever heard that before so I wonder just what she does know. On the same note, my dad has been a little more open about talking about it but seemed equally confused when I mentioned that his beloved Hinckley openly said that he did not know that Mormons believe that God was once a man. My dad was shocked that he would say that because he knows that this is a core doctrine of Mormonism.

I would love to find out exactly what “negative”, “non-faith promoting” truth they know because they never shared any of it with me. If it turns out that they knew even a fraction of the things I know now and never felt the need to share them with me so I could come to my own conclusion about them, then I don’t know if I would be able to forgive them for the years I lost and the guilt I felt while trying to live in a religion that did not teach the truth and forced me to be someone I was not. Not respecting my intelligence enough to give me all the information they had to let me make up my own mind is an insult.

Why are they so afraid of what I have to say? Are they frightened that I will say something that will shake their testimony? If they are, then what does that say about their religious conviction?

How much did they know?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If history doesn't matter...

This is a letter that I have wanted to post for a few days now but I did not feel right about using someone else’s work. But, as I read it again, it is just too spot-on to not post. It was written on by a lady named “howdimissthat”. She is the wife of a Bishop and has doubted the church for a while now. She just started to discuss her issues with her husband because it came time to renew her temple recommend and she could not do it unless she lied and she was not willing to do that. I respect her honesty and love reading what she has to say. This letter is in response to her sister’s comments on how the history of the LDS church is not important. It is with her permission that I am using this.

Yes, history is history, but the church is based and exists because of its history. Without the grove, the prayer, we have nothing, no history no church. As Pres. Hinckley said either the first vision happened or it didn't, you can look up the rest of that quote if you would like but it is history so maybe it doesn't matter anymore. The church is based on its history. A testimony is based on truth. If the history has been tampered with, and the church exists because of the history, then what do we base the testimony on? The history is our salvation. Every revelation is based on its history, when it came, how it came, who was told, what was said, that's its history, no history means it never happened. How many times have we been told if we don't know the history of our country we are bound to repeat the same mistakes from the past. History is critical to keep us from repeating the same mistakes. If history doesn't matter then a good portion of the BoM was unnecessary, it is a history of the Lamanites, only the doctrine should have been passed on if the history wasn't important to our salvation. The Bible, a history book, is it unimportant to our salvation too?

I don't expect perfection or a pretty past but I do expect honesty. The history isn't the biggest problem; it's that I have never been told the true history, just the white washed version. If history doesn't matter why change it to make it more palatable? Leave it as it was originally recorded. Changing it changes everything. The lesson manuals are full of history, their version, not the facts. If history doesn't matter why bring it up at all, anywhere? If history doesn't matter why re-enact the pioneer trek. If history doesn't matter why did the church build a museum to contain its history or a new library? If history doesn't matter why repent, it's history and history doesn't matter. If history doesn't matter why are we told to keep a journal, it is a history and of no value and there is nothing to be learned from it. If history doesn't matter why are we continually told to follow those who have gone before us and learn from their history? Or are we to handpick only the best stories and let the rest go as unimportant. Or should we change the history to better reflect what we prefer to believe?

Satan is the father of all lies, we have been told lies, I did not create the lies I only discovered them but I am paying a high price for not accepting the lies, being honest with myself and with my family. I couldn't quote all the scripture about the importance of being honest and the importance of honesty to our salvation; do those scriptures exclude the leaders? Is the beginning of the 13th article of faith still in effect? Are the ordinary members the only ones expected to be honest with our fellow men?

I have only been offended by the lack of honesty in presenting our history. It is shameful we exist because of our history and then deny its importance when it becomes a problem. This has nothing to do with the trust and love I have for my husband. This has nothing to do with the trust I have in the Lord. This has nothing to do with expecting perfection, I do not expect perfection. I do expect honesty; I don't think that is too much to ask from men of God.

I could not agree more!

Irony and Contradictions

I prefer to post original ideas on my blog and try to refrain from posting exact ideas from other people, this list was too good to pass up. A member of made this list of Irony and Contradictions they see in the Mormon church.

-300 pound Mormons, on their way back from the desert bar at the buffet for the second time, who look down their noses at the marathon runner who is finishing off her modest meal with the glass of red wine her doctor has told her will improve her heath.

-About to leave missionaries who are celebrated by the largest crowds of their obscure lives, while simultaneously being told that the rush they feel in the midst of this momentarily adulation is due to the fact that they are finally "keeping their eye single to the Glory of God." The honors of men have nothing to do with what they feel. Ditto for the GAs.

-Feeling confident for years that I was so much better off relying upon the arm of God than the arm of flesh, and then finding that the arm of God was in fact the flabby old arms of Packer, GBH et al.

-Having to go to tithing settlement to "settle" with the lord, yet the church's finances go unchecked.

-Maybe the biggest irony is becoming one of those apostates I thought were all bitter and miserable, but being happier than I ever have in my life.

-Whenever I said "I know this church is true" there was always a nagging doubt inside. It was a slight physical twang in my chest. It would have sent the polygraph needle swinging. Now, whenever I say "The church is a fraud." I feel completely confident and comfortable in my answer.

-The boiling frog parable: Sin gets you a little bit at a time, without you realizing it; and before you know it, you are dead.
Contrast that with:
Milk before meat: New members and investigators can't handle the whole truth. They need to be spoon-fed a little bit at a time until they have a testimony.

-On the one hand claiming that gospel principles are "beautiful in their simplicity." On the other hand, when things get messy or don't make sense, "the gospel isn't supposed to be logical.”

-I love the contradiction between the 'plain and precious truths" and "Well, we don't know the answer to that question. It will all make sense in the next life."

-Free agency applies except in the church, then it is all about unquestioning obedience.

-Feelings ("the witness of the HG") but you can only believe those feelings if they tell you that church is true!

-Secret Combinations vs. The Temple Ceremony

-The "Restoration" of the "Apostasy." I mean what other church is better at changing ordinances, teaching false doctrine, pretending prophecy, and modifying their foundation than the good old Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?!!!

-While the modern mainstream LDS church abhors and condemns any sexual activity outside of marriage, 19th-century church leaders were having sex with up to dozens of women to whom they were not legally married.

-And while 19th-century church leaders proclaimed for decades that polygamy was God's form of marriage, and that polygamy was necessary for salvation, and that monogamy was concocted by pagan Romans etc.---the modern LDS church is possibly the most anti-polygamous religion on earth.

-We have prophets, seers and revelators up the wazoo but receive no prophecies or revelations.

-Mormons who will NEVER go to see the Passion of the Christ movie because it is rated R. Wouldn’t the Bible be rated R?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teachings of Presidents of the Church - Jesus Christ?

One thing that has been on my mind recently is the lack of real focus on Jesus in the everyday Mormon teachings. I’m going to get flamed for that comment but I just call it how I see it and I will show you why. Each year in Sunday School they pick a book of scripture to read and study. It usually goes in order like Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants/Pearl of Great Price, Old Testament, and New Testament. So once every four years they read the New Testament and, if the one leading the class does their job right, they should get a good amount of His teachings but that is not what always happens. In Priesthood/Relief Society Meeting, they talk about selected topics out of a manual. For the past 9 years they have used a series of manuals called “Teachings of Presidents of the Church”. (On a side note, why do they call them “Presidents” now and not “Prophets” like they used to?) Each year, the books have focused on the teachings of a specific “modern prophet”. The prophets they have focused on so far have been Spencer W. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Harold B. Lee, David O. McKay, Heber J. Grant, Joseph F. Smith, John Taylor, Brigham Young and for 2008 and 2009 they will be learning about Joseph Smith Jr. If I did my math right, that is 10 years and probably more after that, in which they will spend a full hour each Sunday learning what their “Latter-Day Prophets” have had to say about key Mormon doctrine.

I took a minute and looked at each book and sure enough there are a few lessons in each one about Jesus, but interestingly enough, there is also at least one lesson that focuses entirely on Joseph Smith. The rest of the lessons talk about things like temple work, tithing, the importance of scripture study, following modern day prophets, obedience, missionary work, prayer and service. That is just to name a few.

Obviously, the fact that the LDS church claims to have a living prophet is unique to them so they want to emphasize that belief but in doing that, are they neglecting the most important prophet of them all?

The claim is that the LDS church is the “restored” church that Jesus himself established during his ministry. The merit of that claim is a topic for another blog but if they really believe that, why not put His teachings at the forefront of their Sunday worship? Is it not better to read directly what he taught in the New Testament and really delve into His word? Is it not His word that we will be judged against? With all he taught, I would think there would be enough material to last at least a couple of years. If they can get 2 years out of what Joseph Smith taught, I would hope they could do the same if not more from what Jesus did.

When I left the LDS church I went and got a new Bible. I got a King James Version because that is what I was used to but my new one has a feature that I really like. Any time Jesus speaks, his words are written in red so they stand out. How cool is that! It makes it just that much easier to focus on His teachings which is where our focus should be.

I can’t remember if I have used this verse before but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

If God spoke to us by way of prophets but now speaks to use through Christ, why are we even talking about "modern prophets" anyway? There does not seem to be any need for them because we now have Christ's teachings which those living before him lacked, thus needing the prophets to remind them of what He was going to do for them. Since we live after him we need to follow His teachings above anyone else's because he fulfilled what was said through the prophets.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nooma 001 - Rain

So I have started watching this series of short messaged by Rob Bell called Nooma. I already did a post about one of his videos, but I have decided to start from the beginning and post about each one of them. What is so great about theses messages is that they are short but filled with so many deep messages.

In his first video “Rain” he tells the story of how he was on a walk with his year old son on a beautiful, clear summer morning. All of a sudden, it started to rain. He describes the rain as a “drenching rain”. It was the kind that completely soaks your body and mats your hair to your head.

His main point was that “it always rains”. It is not a matter of “if” it rains, but rather “when” it rains. We might not expect it or plan for it, but at one time or another, it will come.

Now, when it started to rain, he and his son were almost exactly half way around the lake with no shelter. At first his boy did not have a problem because the rain was light but as it intensified, he began to cry. As time when on, his cry turned into a deep, scared and passionate cry that came from deep within. He talks about the power the word “cry” has in the Bible and how God cannot ignore the cries deep cries of need.

Psalm 107:27-29 (King James Version)
27. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.
28. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

He continues his story by saying that in an effort to comfort his child, he holds him close to his chest and tells him, “I love you buddy, were going make it, dad knows the way home, you’re going make it, I love you.”
He kept repeating those words until he got his son back to safety.

When you cry Jesus is close to the broken hearted and to those who admit they are scared, lost, soaking wet and confused.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. The essence of Salvation is admitting to God that you are lost and that you don’t have it all together and are hurting. Admitting that opens the door for him to enter your life and heal your pain or help you take that extra step when you feel like you cannot go any further.

While in a storm, it is common to not be able to see very far in front of you. You cannot see what lies ahead or if it will end soon. God however, can see from above what we are gong through and knows how to help us get through whatever type of storm we may be experiencing at the time.

For years, I have carried a small piece of laminated paper in my wallet that has a few paragraphs on it that relates to this idea. Until tonight, I did not know where it came from (I love the internet) but apparently it is from a LDS magazine called The Friend back in 1992. Despite my issues with its origin, I still agree with what it says.

“I learned something important that day about my father’s point of view. He could see more than I. He could tell that I would make it—but he let me find out for myself.

I think Heavenly Father is like that. When I’m thrashing along with a bad habit I can’t seem to change, or a goal I can’t seem to reach, thinking I’m not good enough and about to “sink,” I remember that Heavenly Father can see more than I. Perhaps I’m moving in the right direction and don’t know it yet. Perhaps He knows how close I am to safety and success and has the confidence in me that I lack in myself. Perhaps He wants me to learn and grow from a hard experience. Sometimes when I’m struggling the hardest, I wonder why He doesn’t “jump in” and help me. That’s when I remember my dad saying, “You were doing fine.”

I know Father is watching. He’ll help me when I really need Him to. But for now I just need to keep kicking.”

I have not reached the point yet to where I can take that leap of faith and cry out to God but I will admit that there have been many times recently where my desire to do so has been very strong, only to be stopped by my lack of trust/faith in his existence and ability to help.

In the scriptures it talks about how the Lord carries us like a father carries a son. That must be an awesome feeling.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Was that really false doctrine?

Last night I went with my wife to visit some of her friends that she had not seen for a few years. They are all members of the LDS church so a discussion about religion was inevitable. There were a few things that were said that made me raise my eyebrow.

At times they said some really honest/transparent statements which was refreshing. One of the first things mentioned was that Joseph F Smith (I think that is who he said is was) actually took the “History of the Church” that was written and took out all of the embarrassing or negative parts. I must say he is the only one who I have ever heard actually admit that their history has been hidden or whitewashed. The thing that puzzled me though is that it did not seem to bother him. He just passed it off as fact but of no real significance. I don’t understand how they can openly say that the Mormon church is not being truthful but not see that as a red flag.

The other thing I thought was interesting was that one of the guys there was a seminary teacher for the church. He told a story about how one day he was teaching and he inadvertently taught “false doctrine”. It happened to be on a day when he was being observed and after class, he was called out on it and had to correct his statements the next day. I asked what the false doctrine was and he said that it was the idea that God was once not just a man but a “savior” like Jesus. Oddly enough, I had earlier this week read the King Follet Sermon which was given by Joseph Smith in the Conference of the church in April, 1844 (just 2 months before he died). It is in this sermon that the Mormon belief on the nature of God was defined and the topic he said was a “false doctrine” was addressed. Here are some quotes from the sermon.

It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.

The scriptures inform us the Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power – to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious – in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it you do not believe the Bible. The scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it.

I tried to find where Jesus says those things and the closest thing I would find that was in John 10.

17.Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18.No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

If that is what he is talking about then I think it is a bit of a stretch.

Why am I writing about this particular part of the King Follet Sermon? Because it points out not only the outlandish claims of Joseph Smith but it also shows how there is no unity in doctrine amongst the members today. Joseph Smith clearly states that Jesus laid down his life and took it up again “as my Father did”. To me, that cannot be taken any other way but to say that Joseph Smith taught that God was once a savior and that he laid down his life when he was on his earth like Christ did on ours. Somehow, the person who was observing the seminary teacher took it upon himself to correct a teaching that really was not out of line with what Joseph proclaimed. This teacher believes to this day that he was in the wrong, even after going over the quotes again.

The LDS church really has failed to solidify their doctrine and make it clear what they really do believe. That fosters an atmosphere of confusion and really makes conversation hard. I’ve heard it said a lot of times that getting a firm answer on doctrine is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Impossible!

Friday, August 8, 2008


I have been reading a lot lately trying to find my course in life now that my Mormon path lead to a dead-end. I'm still not sure exactly which trail I want/need to travel but I'm starting to enjoy the freedom found in marking my own way. About a month ago I came upon this poem that I had read before; in fact it was hanging in my mom’s home office for years. It is only now, at my current place in life that I can begin to understand the wisdom found in its words. I’ve started to read it each day and it is my hope that as time goes by, I will be able to emulate the ideas expressed in such eloquent terms.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career
however humble;
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

by Max Ehrmann

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mormon Doctrine of Deity

While reading the “Mormon Coffee” blog the other day, I read a quote from Parley P. Pratt that I thought was interesting enough to post about here. For those who don’t know, Parley Pratt was one of the original 12 Apostles in the LDS church. This quote originally appeared in a church paper called “the Prophet” but was also used in a book called Mormon Doctrine of Deity by B.H. Roberts who was a member of the First Council of Seventy (a step below the 12 Apostles) for 45 years. On FAIR (a site dedicated to defending Mormonism) they talk about Roberts and this book.

This classic book is by Elder Brigham H. Roberts, a General Authority noted for his doctrinal knowledge and literary skills.

Mormon Doctrine of Deity is one of the most comprehensive statements and scriptural presentations of the Latter-day Saint doctrine of the nature of God in print.

Mormon Doctrine of Deity is highly readable. It is scriptural, it is logical, it is comprehensive.

Here are the main points Parley P. Pratt made about the Mormon belief regarding the nature of Deity.

What is God? He is a material intelligence, possessing both body and parts. He is in the form of man, and is in fact of the same species; and is a model, or standard of perfection to which man is destined to attain: he being the great Father and head of the whole family.

He can go, come, converse, reason, eat, drink, love, hate, rejoice, possesss [sic] and enjoy. He can also travel space with all the ease and intelligence necessary, for moving from planet to planet, and from system to system.

This being cannot occupy two distinct places at once. Therefore, he cannot be (in person) everywhere present….

What is Jesus Christ? He is the son of God, and is in every way like his father,… He is material intelligence, with body, parts and passions; possessing immortal flesh and immortal bones. He can…perform all things even as the Father—possessing the same power and attributes. And he, too, can travel space, and go from world to world, and from system to system, precisely like the Father; but cannot occupy two places at once.

What are angels? They are intelligences of the human species. Many of them are offsprings of Adam and Eve. That is, they are like Enoch or Elijah, been translated; or, like Jesus Christ, been raised from the dead;… They can go or come on foreign missions, in heaven, earth, or hell; and they can travel space, and visit the different worlds, with all the ease and alacrity with which God and Christ do the same,…

What are spirits? They are material intelligences, possessing body and parts in the likeness of the temporal body; but not composed of flesh and bones, but of some substance less tangible to our gross senses in our present life; but tangible to those in the same element as themselves. In short, they are men in embrio [sic] –intelligences waiting to come into the natural world and take upon them flesh and bones, that through birth, death, and the resurrection they may also be perfected in the material organization. Such was Jesus Christ, and such were we before we came into this world, and such we will be again, in the intervening space between death and the resurrection.

What are men? They are the offspring of God, the Father, and brothers of Jesus Christ. They were once intelligent spirits in the presence of God, and were with him before the earth was formed. They are now in disguise as it were, in order to pass through the several changes, and the experience necessary to constitute them perfect beings.

They are capable of receiving intelligence and exaltation to such a degree, as to be raised from the dead with a body like that of Jesus Christ’s, and to… go on missions from planet to planet, or from system to system: being Gods, or sons of God, endowed with the same powers, attributes and capacities that their heavenly Father and Jesus Christ possess.

What are all these beings taken together, or summed up under one head? They are one great family, all of the same species, all related to each other, all bound together by kindred ties, interests, sympathies, and affections. In short they are all Gods; or rather, men are the offspring or children of the Gods, and destined to advance by degrees, and to make their way by a progressive series of changes, till they become like their Father in heaven, and like Jesus Christ their elder brother.

Thus perfected, the whole family will possess the material universe, that is, the earth, and all other planets, and worlds, as “an inheritance incorruptible undefiled and that fadeth not away.” They will also continue to organize, people, redeem, and perfect other systems which are now in the womb of Chaos, and thus go on increasing their several dominions, till the weakest child of God which now exists upon the earth will possess MORE DOMINION, MORE PROPERTY, MORE SUBJECTS, and MORE POWER and GLORY than is possessed by Jesus Christ or by his Father; while at the same time Jesus Christ and his Father, will have dominion, kingdoms, and subjects increased in proportion.

Such are the riches, glories, blessings, honors, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, held out by the system of materialism.

Such the wealth, the dignity, the nobility, the titles and honors to which “Mormons” aspire. Such the promises of him whose word can never fail.

With these hopes and prospects before us, we say to the Christian world, who hold to immateriality, that they are welcome to their God–their life—their heaven, and their all.

They claim nothing but that which we throw away, and we claim nothing but that which they throw away. Therefore, there is no ground for quarrel, or contention between us. (Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pages 255-258 emphasis added)

The article is printed in its entirety in Roberts book.

The bold parts are the one that really stuck out in my mind. I have always understood that churches believe that God is Omnipresent (present in all places at all times) but according to Pratt, this is not the case. It is the LDS belief that God, because he has a real body of flesh and bone, cannot be in more than one place at a time. Now, I vaguely remember being taught that when I was a child, that both God and Jesus can only be in one place but the Holy Ghost can be everywhere at once because he does not have a body. Looking at it now, I see how this is in stark contrast to the normal Christian belief.

The other part that really hit me was where he talks about how even the “weakest child of God” will possess more power, dominion, property, and subjects then God/Jesus. WOW, I have never heard that before and in truth, it baffles me. How can they teach that we will become not just LIKE God but BETTER then God? Is it not taught that God is “Omnipotent” or “Almighty” which means having absolute power over all? According to Pratt, it seems that God is not Omnipresent or Omnipotent and if you look at Mormon doctrine about how God came to be, having once been a normal man himself, later being exalted to the status of a God, he is also not the “Alpha” or “Omega” spoken of in Revelations. So if Mormon doctrine teaches that God is not the Alpha and Omega, Omnipotent and Omnipresent, then what on earth do they believe God is?

Reading things like this really make me wonder how they can even make the argument that they are Christian. These teaching are about as contradictory as you can get with the Trinitarian Christian world.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Here is some more of what the "Encyclopedia of Mormonism" has to say, this time about Protestant beliefs.

Christian Protestantism may be viewed as the product of late medieval "protests" against various elements of the Roman Catholic church. Though there were always persons within Catholicism pressing for reforms, the beginning of the Protestant Reformation is usually dated to 1517 when Martin Luther (1483-1546), an Augustinian monk in Wittenberg, Germany, published his ninety-five theses against papal indulgences. The theses challenged the authority of the pope and by extension of the Roman Catholic church. Protestants since that time are generally considered to be those Christians who are neither Roman Catholics nor Eastern (or Russian) Orthodox.

Although Protestant theology is varied today, it can be characterized by four basic beliefs: (1) the Bible is the Word of God and all authority resides within its pages as it bears witness to Jesus Christ; (2) the Bible should be in the language of the people, who, by the power of the Holy Ghost, can gain their own understanding of God's Word; (3) all church members hold the priesthood and should be involved in the total life of the church, meaning that no mediatorial priesthood is necessary; and (4) people are saved by their faith, through the grace of God, and not by any works they may do apart from or in addition to faith.

While Latter-day Saints share with Protestants a conviction of the importance of the scriptures, an extensive lay priesthood (but given only by the laying on of hands by those having proper priesthood authority), and the primacy of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as the first principle of the gospel, they differ from them by affirming a centralized authority headed by a latter-day prophet and by a number of other doctrines unique to the Church, i.e. temple ordinances for the living and the dead, and the eternal nature of the marriage covenant. Despite some important differences, Latter-day Saints actually share much in doctrine, heritage, and aspiration with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. Even so, they view themselves as embodying an independent Christian tradition standing on its own apart from these other traditions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a reformation of a previously existing ecclesiastical body but is instead a restoration through heavenly ministrations of authority and of truths, structures, and scriptures that God returned to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors.

I admit that I don’t know much yet about other religious views outside of Mormonism so I wonder if they got it right.

Mother in Heaven

Here is a fun one for you. There is an underlining belief that God is married (which is consistent with the idea that you can be an “eternal family” and become a God yourself if you do everything right).

On the front page of they advertise the completion of the on-line text of what is called the “Encyclopedia of Mormonism”. As with most LDS material, it comes with a disclaimer…

Note: This encyclopedia is a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company and does not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My thought is that if you put it on your website, you obviously find it to be of value and support its use. If there were things in it that do not accurately show the “official position” of the LDS church, I’m sure they would have had them changed before they promoted it.

Anyways, I’m going to post selected topics that I think will be of interest. Here is what it says about the belief in a Heavenly Mother.

Latter-day Saints infer from authoritative sources of scripture and modern prophecy that there is a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rejects the idea found in some religions that the spirits or souls of individual human beings are created ex nihilo. Rather it accepts literally the vital scriptural teaching as worded by Paul: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." This and other scriptures underscore not only spiritual sibling relationships but heirship with God, and a destiny of joint heirship with Christ (Rom. 8:16-18; cf. Mal. 2:10).

Latter-day Saints believe that all the people of earth who lived or will live are actual spiritual offspring of God the Eternal Father (Num. 16:22; Heb. 12:9). In this perspective, parenthood requires both father and mother, whether for the creation of spirits in the premortal life or of physical tabernacles on earth. A Heavenly Mother shares parenthood with the Heavenly Father. This concept leads Latter-day Saints to believe that she is like him in glory, perfection, compassion, wisdom, and holiness.

Elohim, the name-title for God, suggests the plural of the Caananite El or the Hebrew Eloah. It is used in various Hebrew combinations to describe the highest God. It is the majestic title of the ultimate deity. Genesis 1:27reads, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them" (emphasis added), which may be read to mean that "God" is plural.
For Latter-day Saints, the concept of eternal family is more than a firm belief; it governs their way of life. It is the eternal plan of life, stretching from life before through life beyond mortality.

As early as 1839 the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the concept of an eternal mother, as reported in several accounts from that period. Out of his teaching came a hymn that Latter-day Saints learn, sing, quote, and cherish, "O My Father," by Eliza R. Snow. President Wilford Woodruff called it a revelation (Woodruff, p. 62). In the heav'ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me I've a mother there. When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high? [Hymn no. 292]

In 1909 the First Presidency, under Joseph F. Smith, issued a statement on the origin of man that teaches that "man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father," as an "offspring of celestial parentage," and further teaches that "all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity" (Smith, pp. 199-205).

Belief that there is a Mother in Heaven who is a partner with God in creation and procreation is not the same as the heavy emphasis on Mariology in the Roman tradition.

Today the belief in a living Mother in Heaven is implicit in Latter-day Saint thought. Though the scriptures contain only hints, statements from presidents of the church over the years indicate that human beings have a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father.

I'm curious to know what the "Christian" view on this is.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Part of the problem with the Mormon teachings and culture

I was lead to this audio clip from the Dr. Laura Show that has her discussing if a husband (the caller) should divorce his wife because she wants to leave the Mormon church. Listen to it HERE.

The Mormon culture breeds a sense of “if you are not with us, you are against us” which leads to this idea that if someone chooses a different path, all ties should be cut. Thankfully, there are some who go against this kind of thinking and do not care what church a person goes to and to me they are special people. It is not always easy to distinguish who these people are because, as I have found out through my experience, many act like they are true friends to your face but once you turn your back they are the first to condemn you.

After listening to this clip, it is easy to see that it is the teachings of “eternal marriage” that causes a great divide in families if just one member chooses to not play the game anymore. How sad is it that this man actually thought that he would be justified in leaving his wife of like 14 years, who converted to Mormonism FOR HIM no less, along with their two kids just because she is considering or maybe already has gone to another church. This is the horrible side affect temple marriage has on families.

My mother has had 2 temple marriages and both ended in divorce. While I don’t know all of the details of what happened with either of them, I can give my opinion from my point of view. My mom probably tries harder then any Mormon I know to do everything she is supposed to do and do it right. The down side to that is she is not very tolerant of others when they do not live up to the same standards she has or expects. From where I sit, this is what drove her husbands away. If you push someone long enough to be something they are not or can never be, eventually they will tire of it and walk away. I don’t think my father or step-father should be excused for any wrong doing they might have be part of but I do think it was her “you have to be a perfect Mormon” attitude that drove them away.

Unfortunately, she is not the only one. I know of many women who had no hesitation in their voice when they said that they would leave their husbands if they ever went inactive or left the church. I think they are missing the point about being focused on family.

I am so thankful that I have a wife who, no matter what others were saying, stuck by my side to support me and love me when I decided I had been Mormon long enough. She showed true unconditional love that many members of the LDS church lack. I am blessed to have her by my side.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Exposing the Temple Ceremony

The other day I ran accross a video that showed a man going through the temple ceremony, wearing the robes and all. I was not sure if I should post it here but today I read THIS POST on Mormon Coffee. I have linked to it so you can read it if you choose. I think it is pretty good.

The best part of waking up is Starbucks in your cup!

This morning I had my first freshly brewed cup of coffee from our new coffee maker. We bought the coffee maker on July 4th and I finally got around to taking it out of the box last night. Having never made coffee before, I felt the need to read the instructions (which I usually never do). I set the timer, added the coffee and water and waited like a kid on Christmas Eve to see if it would really work. 6:00 this morning the smell of Starbucks Breakfast Blend started to fill the house. I did it! I brewed my first cup of coffee! How silly does that sound coming from a 30 year old man?

“Starbucks® Breakfast Blend is light-bodied and light-roasted, and it will imbue your morning with its essence. This blend makes a bright impression as it sparkles and dances on your tongue - a sign of crisp acidity. A mild and flavorful coffee awaits you.”

As I poured it into my Winnie the Pooh Christmas Mug (that up till now was reserved for hot-coco), part of me was excited while the other half was nervous. How much creamer do I add? What about sugar? I don’t want to make it too sweet but if I don’t put enough in…yuck. A couple shakes of creamer and 3 tea spoons of sugar later, it was done and there was no going back. I was late for work so I had to run out the door without being able to taste and modify if needed. Knowing that it was going to be hot, I let it cool down a bit and then I took my first sip. WOW! It was good! Not bitter, like I had feared. Instead, it was smooth with just a hint of sweet. I did not notice the earthy taste till after the cup was gone but by then I was hooked. I wish I would have given myself more time at the house to drink it because I could have easily had another cup.

We got the “half-caf” because we know that Amy cannot take it full strength yet. For me, it seems to be just enough to perk-me-up and get me moving. I don’t feel jittery or overly stimulated which I guess is good.

Its funny how for years, I grew up thinking that coffee was such a bad thing. When you actually read about the benefits, you see that it can be quite good for you because of the high levels of antioxidants. Even the high level of caffeine in coffee has been found to help reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. It also has a tendency to reduce the affects of Type 2 Diabetes by improving the body's response to insulin. As with anything, moderation (a few cups a day according to a study done by Harvard University) is the key and you should only drink the amount your body can handle but it seems like the idea I had in my head about coffee was opposite of reality.

As I was drinking my hot cup-of-joe in the car, I remembered this movie and I though it was perfect for the situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Getting Mormons to Explain Why They Believe

This is a brief interlude before my next post about the temple which will be up tomorrow. Below is a 3 part video that discusses the basis of the Mormon belief system, the testimony. Watch all 3 videos, you won't be disappointed.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Temple - Part 1 (The ticket to get in)

I am currently looking at the Temple and what is taught there so I thought I would start by posting the questions you are asked twice (first by the bishop and then the stake president) before you are allowed to have a temple recommend which is what you need to get past the geriatric guards at the front desk.

These won’t be new to most members but to those who are not LDS, these are the requirements to get into the temple. If you do not answer one correctly, then the Bishop can choose to not give one and thus not allow you to go to the temple.

Keep in mind that in order to live in the highest kingdom with God, you must go to the temple and participate in the ordinances that are done there. If you do not, you can not be with your family forever.

1 Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

2 Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?

3 Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?

4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

5 Do you live the law of chastity?

6 Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

7 Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

8 Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

9 Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?

10 Are you a full-tithe payer?

11 Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?

12 Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?

13 If you have previously received your temple endowment:

Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple?
Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

14 Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?

15 Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord's house and participate in temple ordinances?

Now, I don’t have a problem with numbers 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, and 12. I think these are things most Christians would say are important. Let me comment briefly on the others if I may.

#3 – Should I have a testimony of the restoration as told by the church today or of the restoration as told by the early church history books, which differs on many accounts?

#4 – That depends on if they can answer number 9 in the affirmative and if they can reasonably answer the many questions I have about church doctrine. If they cannot or will not, then I cannot consider then men of God and therefore they would not be prophets.

#6 – I have no problem with this one until it says “the teachings of the church”. I would like to propose that we change that to read “The teachings of Jesus according to the Bible”.

#7 – Is this meant to discourage members from associating with those who have left the church? If so, what do they think would happen if they did? If you take this questions literally, it actually mean anyone who is not LDS because if you do not believe in Mormonism, then your practices and teachings are going to be contrary to those accepted by the church.

#10 – I know that the Bible talks about tithing, but is it really a commandment? I don’t remember it being taught by Jesus in the New Testament. Members today are told to pay 10% of their gross income but when the law was instituted in the Doctrine and Covenants 119:5 it says they should be tithed of their “surplus properties”. My surplus is much different then my gross income. If you can only live with God if you attend the temple, but cannot get in unless you pay tithing, is this not a way of paying for your salvation?

#11 – This is an interesting one. The focus of the WoW is not the do’s but in the do not’s. Generally, when this question is asked, they are referring to the typical teaching of don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, etc. The WoW is considered an overall guide to healthy living. It tells you to eat wholesome and good foods and only in moderation. When they ask this question to someone who is over weight or who uses food as their drug, is that taken into consideration?

#13 – This one is only relevant if you have been through the temple but even then I take exception to it. The covenants you make in the temple are done under false pretenses. You do not know before you go what they are going to ask of you so once you get to that point in the ceremony; it is too late to turn back. Covenants are defined as a two-way promise. In order for a covenant to have meaning, both parties must hold up their end of the bargain. I consider truth and honesty to be part of the bargain so since the church has not been honest with me by telling me the truth about the church, I consider the covenant, null and void.

#14 – I think confession of sin should be between man and God. It is taught that Jesus was the mediator between us and God, not my bishop.

#15 – No, because those I know that live better, more Christ-like lives then me are not considered worthy because they belong to another church so why should I? If you look at the list of questions, I’m not sure Joseph Smith and others would be worthy to be there either. Joseph drank wine and smoked up until the night before he died and if you read the accounts of the women the polygamist men left behind, they certainly were not taking care of the needs of their families.

The worst thing about this is that numerous members feel as if they have to lie about some of these in order to keep their status as a recommend holder and to be able to witness things like the marriages of loved ones. I know because I have talked to many who, like me, did just that. I admit that I had no desire to go to the temple before my mission but it was required so I did it. I even married my wife in the temple because it was the “right thing to do”, not because it was what we wanted to do. Back then, I did not have the strength to think for myself and just went through the motions. When I “woke-up”, I no longer felt the need to be what others wanted me to be so I did not go back because I knew I could not be honest and answer the questions the way they wanted/expected me to.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Missionaries Being Taught to "Lie for the Lord"

This is a clip of Robert Millet who is a professor of ancient scripture and emeritus Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. He is speaking to a group of soon to be missionaries. He has some very telling comments regarding how to answer questions from non-members and the idea of “milk before meat”. This is something I was also taught while on my mission.

The full un-cut video can be found here

In my opinion, this is a way to not only keep non-members from knowing about the real doctrine of the church but to also keep it's members from seriously looking at the more controversial parts that might bring about other questioning. Converts are baptized not having any real idea of what Mormons believe in because of this attitude toward teaching and the fact that many are baptized after only weeks of speaking to missionaries. They know LDS people believe in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Word of Wisdom, Tithing and a few other things like baptism but I think we all know that is just the tip of the Mormon iceberg. How can these investigators really know what they are getting into when the only information they have is this? They don't, and they are even asked to attend separate classes called Gospel Principles that makes sure that they only get "milk" for at least the first year they are members. This kind of stuff makes me regret ever teaching others about Mormonism. I hate the fact that I was part of something so misleading.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Eternal Marriage Myth

The other day, a comment was left on my wife’s blog about her decision to leave the Mormon church. My wife chose to take the higher road, which I admire her for. I personally prefer the “road less traveled” so this is my reply to the same comment. It is with her permission that I use the comment in question. It was as follows…

”So how does it feel to know that you WILL NOT be with your husband and daughter that you love so much for ever?

Regardless of your beliefs, had your marriage occurred in any forum or religion other than a temple marriage, the last words before you say I do are "til death do us part".

First, for many who are not familiar to the idea of Celestial or Eternal Marriage, here is some information from to explain what it is.

“The covenant of eternal marriage is necessary for exaltation. The Lord revealed through Joseph Smith: "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase" (D&C 131:1–4).

”After receiving the sealing ordinance and making sacred covenants in the temple, a couple must continue in faithfulness in order to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and exaltation.”

I really don’t care about the actual ceremony itself because many churches have their own unique way to performing marriages so I can understand that. The problem is that it divides families and does not allow those who are not considered worthy to enter the temple to be a part of it. Instead, they are relegated to second class citizens, forced to wait outside, only to hear about how great the moment they missed was. Talk about adding insult to injury. It is like saying, “your not one of us so not only are we going to not let you in on our little ritual, but were gong to tell you how beautiful and special it was and that it was too bad you missed it. If only you were Mormon too, then you could have seen your own daughter/son or brother/sister married.” And all this time I thought the church was really about family.

The greater issue when looking at eternal marriage is what comes after the ceremony. Being married for eternity or “sealed” as they call it really does nothing because you are never guaranteed the blessings promised.

Elder Bruce McConkie in his book “Mormon Doctrine” talks about this.

”Marriages performed in the temples for time and eternity, by virtue of the sealing keys restored by Elijah, are called celestial marriages. The participating parties become husband and wife in this mortal life and if after their marriage they keep all the terms and conditions of this order of the Priesthood, they continue on as husband and wife in the Celestial Kingdom of God. Celestial Marriage puts a couple on the path leading to exaltation of heaven of that world.”

”Those who have been married in the temples for eternity know that the ceremony itself expressly conditions the receipt of all promised blessings upon the subsequent faithfulness of the husband and wife.

The odds of actually doing enough to make it happen are stacked against you. All it takes is one mistake by either of you and the promise is null and void. If you or anyone in your family does not reach each “spiritual milestone” on the path to exaltation then they will not be with you. says it pretty well.

• Don't pay your tithing? Your family won't be together.
• Don't perform secret rituals in the temple? Your family will be separated.
• Someone in the family doesn't believe? You can't be with them.
• Children not married in the temple? Eternal separation.
• Family not active in church? You won't be together.
• Someone in the family not a member? They're cut off.
• Relatives not members? You can't be with them.

If you look at the average ward membership numbers and then count the number of people who actually attend, you will see that only around ½ of them are active at that is probably being generous. That leaves a lot of people who, in some way, are tied to an eternal family that will not be allowed to be with their loved ones when they die.

The LDS church teaches that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man”. They interpret that to mean that you can not be exalted without being married to someone who is also worth to make it. What happens if your significant other decides to do something as small as have a cup of coffee every morning? Not obeying the Word of Wisdom would keep him/her from being worthy of attending the temple and entering the CK. If they died before they repented, then that would in affect destroy the bonds between you because they would not be allowed into the highest kingdom of heaven. How sad to think that you could spend your whole life focused on eternity to have it slip through your fingers at the last moment because of something you had no control over.

I think of the unnecessary pain and sadness my poor mother has gone through as she has had to deal with husbands who have not lived up to their end of the deal and two sons who do not prescribe to the Mormon faith. Much of her grief stems from the idea of an eternal family that will never be. Where is the hope in that?

One of the things that attracted my wife to the church was the idea of an eternal family and the strong family values the Mormon church presented. When I stopped going to church, she began to wonder what would happen if I never came back. The idea that you can not be exalted without your husband or wife was hard for her to accept. How could someone else have that kind of control over your personal salvation? Some people told her not to worry but that God would work it all out in the end. That if she held up her end of the bargain that she would still have a chance of being exalted but with another man. That thought disgusted her. Why would she want to be eternally married to someone she does not even know or love? She has found comfort and peace in her new beliefs because she is now fully in charge of her own salvation through Christ. She has faith that she will be with her loved ones in Heaven when the time comes.

As far as I'm concerned being an Eternal Family is really only reserved for a "lucky" few in the church. If your child or another member of your family does not follow the gospel 100% then I’m sorry to say that, despite all your efforts, they won’t be with you in the Celestial Kingdome. There are too many restrictions on it to really make it as great as it sounds.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Please, I would love to know…

So, one thing I keep hearing is that so many of you True Believing Mormons have already seen everything on this blog but have come to a different conclusion then I have. Now, just let me say that I totally respect your right to choose your beliefs and understand that there are many who are completely happy in Mormonism. What I don’t get is how, knowing all the negative aspects of church history, doctrine, culture, and the character of those you hold in such great honor, you still manage to come to that conclusion. I don’t see how that is possible unless you are able to do some extreme mental gymnastics. I would love to hear how you rationalize the following facts.

-There were over 5 separate accounts of the “first vision”, all of which differ from one another in some vary major ways. The first of those was not written until 1832. That is 12 years after the vision supposedly happened.

-In the years before and following the first vision, Joseph was well known for his treasure hunting excursions using a seer/peep stone that he found while digging a well with his brother.

-He then used that same seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon by putting it into a hat and then burying his head in it. With the hat pulled around his eyes, to close out all light, he then dictated what he saw.

-There are many accounts of those who helped in the translation process who confirm that the plates were not actually used while translating. They were either covered up on the table or sometimes they were even hidden in the woods outside of the home where they lived. This is completely different then the pictures you see in the manuals and teaching aids the church uses, depicting Joseph going over the plates, page by page, symbol by symbol.

-The Book of Mormon was “translated” by the gift and power of God and according to Joseph Smith, the “most correct of any book on earth”. Why then has it been changed so many times?

-The many anachronisms found in the Book of Mormon. For example: The presence of silk, steel, horses, elephants, wheat and other things that were not present in the Americas until they were brought over by the Spaniards and have not been found to exist during the time the Book of Mormon took place.

-The lack of any concrete evidence of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

-Joseph Smith had over 30 wives. Some were as young as 14 and at least 10 were taken by Joseph from their current husbands and made his. Some of these men were sent on missions and their wives taken while they were gone.

-Joseph, on many occasions, preached about how polygamy was wrong, even though he was actually currently engaged in its practice. It was even part of the early version of the Book of Commandments (D&C) but was taken out when section 132 was added.

-Joseph lied to Emma about his plural wives and some were the very women who lived with them as her helpers.

-Even after the Official Declaration in 1890, stopping the practice of polygamy, President Wilford Woodruff, personally condoned and sanctioned other plural marriages until 1904.

-Brigham Young, as well as other “prophets” taught that people of color were part of an inferior race, that slavery was “a divine institution”, and that anyone who mixed with their seed should be killed on the spot. According to many, they will “never hold the priesthood”.

-Even though Joseph Smith revealed the temple ceremony and said it should never be changed, it has under gone multiple revisions, taking out parts that made it more acceptable by the members of today. Some of those things are death oaths, the depiction of a protestant minister doing the work of Satan and more recently, the way the washing and anointing are done.

-These ceremonies are directly related to those done by the Masons which Joseph became a part of only months before he “revealed” them.

-The Book of Abraham translation has been proven a fraud and the actual papyri Joseph used to translate the book is actually a common Egyptian burial scroll called the Book of Breathings. Joseph’s translation does not come close to the real meaning of the text and pictures. The Book of Abraham is still used to this day despite the evidence against its validity.

If the church has nothing to hide, why then are these issues not discussed in greater detail? Why does the church tell their teachers and instructors to only teach and discuss the “faith promoting” side of the gospel and history? Is the truth not important to them?

I would love to know what you do to believe in the LDS church despite these things because I can not. If you care to dispute some of these points, please do so with intelligent, thought out points and be sure to site your sources.

Off Topic: Those who insist on harassing my wife because of the things I have written on this blog need to either get a life or enough guts to come to me about the issues you have with its contents. This is where I voice MY opinion and she has nothing to do with what I write and does not see it till I post it. If you have a problem with what is on this blog, you have two choices, either stand up for what you believe, using intellectually sound opinion and sources or leave it alone and go do your home/visiting teaching.

Friday, May 23, 2008

You don't have to hide away

So, one of my all time favorite bands has always been Erasure. My brother introduced me to them when I was very young and I have benefited from their music ever since. They have too many songs to actually have a favorite but “Hideaway” has been at the top of my list for years. The song has great lyrics which are very appropriate for my current situation.

One day the boy decided
To let them know the way he felt inside
He could not stand to hide it
His mother she broke down and cried
Oh my father
Why don't you talk to me now
Oh my mother
Do you still cry yourself to sleep

Are you still proud of your little boy
Don't be afraid (Be afraid)
You don't have to hide away

The boy he was rejected
By the people that he cared for
It's not what they expected
But he could not keep it secret anymore
Far from home now
Waiting by the telephone
There's a new world
You can make it on your own
Are you still proud of your little boy
Don't be afraid (Be afraid)
You don't have to hide away
(Don't be afraid)
(Love will mend your broken wing)
(Time will slip away)
(Learn to be brave)

Oh my father
Why don't you talk to me now
Oh my mother
Do you still cry yourself to sleep
Are you still proud of your little boy
Don't be afraid (be afraid)
You don't have to hide away
(Don't be afraid)
(Love will mend your broken wing)
(Time will slip away)
(Learn to be brave)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nooma 008 - Dust (Jesus Walks on the Water - Peter Sinks)

About 2 weeks ago, a pastor at the church my wife and I go to gave me a DVD of a guy named Rob Bell. He does a series called Nooma and this particular DVD was titled “Dust”. Since I am in a phase where I want to learn as much as possible about religion, I thanked him and took it home. I let it sit untouched on the counter for about 10 days. Not wanting to hold onto it too long, I watched it the night before I knew I would see him again. I was impressed. Rob Bell does a really good job of speaking in terms anyone can understand and I appreciate that since the Bible is relatively new for me.

Part of his sermon, if you call it that, spoke of the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-32). We have all heard the story but after telling the story he said something that got me thinking. When Jesus approached the boat, he called to Peter to come to him. Upon hearing this, Peter stepped, without hesitation, out of the boat, onto the water. He made it a few steps but then began to sink because of fear. When he cried out for help, Jesus pulled him from the water and said “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Rob explained that Peter did not lose faith in Jesus, after all it was not Jesus that was sinking, he actually lost faith in himself.

I thought about that for a while and then asked myself; did I lose faith in Jesus/God, in religion, or in myself? That is not an easy question to answer.

Upon further reflection, I think the answer is “all of the above”.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Learning the truth about Mormonism by watching South Park

I have put other South Park videos on this blog but I have wanted to put this one up for a while now. The way they portray the Mormon family is so perfect. What I love about it is that they got 98% of the story right. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I do.


Eight Simple Rules That Led Me Out Of Mormonism

I am working on a few posts but have not been able to get them to the point where I am comfortable with putting them on this site for you. While I continue to work on those, I will give you this to chew on. I found this written on The Mormon Curtain by someone named XTBM. It was done back in 2005 and I could not agree more with it. I don't really like to post stuff that I have not written but hey, why re-invent the wheel?

Eight Simple Rules That Led Me Out Of Mormonism:

Rule 1: Just because someone says something doesn't mean what he/she says is true

I apply this rule to everyone, regardless of intelligence, point of view, etc. Mormon apologists - many highly educated - have all kinds of explanations for seeming contradictions in Mormonism's history. Some people accept these at face value "Oh, see, there are reasonable explanations for all of these problems!" But for a person who is guided by Rule #1, explanations are only as good as the paper they are written on! A rule that leads nicely into Rule 2…

Rule 2: Just because someone intelligent believes something is true doesn't mean it is true

If a high level of intelligence were the most important factor of discovering religious truth, then all - or a majority of - highly intelligent people in the world would hold similar religious beliefs. As it is, the world of religious beliefs is fragmented into thousands of factions, each with its own set of apologists spinning a web of logic designed to entrap their perception of truth upon its strands. There are a lot of smart people in this world who are enlisted in the ranks of the defense of what are often conflicting religious beliefs - quite obviously, not all of them can be right!

Rule 3: Reality-based belief is better than theory-based belief

"Theory" can be used to support almost any belief because all one has to do is come up with an explanation that falls in the realm of plausibility in order for the breath of life to fill a theory's lungs - and plausibility is not all that tough of a standard to reach.

"Reality", on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. The path from "theory" into "reality" is strewn with the lifeless corpses of theories that couldn't withstand the intense scrutiny required for passage. It isn't easy to distinguish between the two because theory-based beliefs are often passed off as being reality-based, but there is value in being aware of when a belief is based in theory as opposed to fact - at the least it helps one avoid the pitfall of holding too tightly to a belief that ultimately ends up being an illusion.

Mormonism is a religion that is high on theory-based belief and short on reality-based belief. The following quote by Daniel Peterson last year in regards to the lack of evidence supporting the Book of Mormon highlights this principle as it relates to the Book of Mormon:

"There is, thus far, little in the way of specific archaeological evidence -- taking archaeological in the sense of artifactual -- for the Book of Mormon. The NHM altars in Yemen may be the best we've got, along with the general accuracy of 1 Nephi's portrayal of Lehi's route along the Arabian coast (via the Valley of Lemuel and the River of Laban, and then through Nahom) to Old World Bountiful. There is, however, considerable philological evidence within the Book of Mormon itself suggestive of its antiquity, and there is a great deal of ancient evidence, artifactual and otherwise, from both the Near East and Mesoamerica, that is consistent with the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon in very specific and striking ways."

Put another way, there is, thus far, little (read: NOTHING) in terms of "reality-based" information to support the Book of Mormon, but there is considerable "theory-based" stuff out there - spun by none other than your friendly, neighborhood apologists.

Rule 4: The definition of "Faith" is NOT ignoring all evidence that is contrary to what you believe

"Faith" is perhaps the single most abused concept in Mormonism. All one has to do is have enough "faith" and the most serious issues facing Mormonism simply fade away into a backdrop of insignificance. The defect is placed with the person, not with the organization - more on that in Rule 5.

But first, for the Biblical definition of faith (this point is about faith as it is presented in Christianity, not on the validity of faith as a principle and the existence of God), let's turn to the oft-quoted standard, Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." That definition, though, is incomplete without reading the rest of the chapter where faith is framed as an ACTION-BASED word. It gives many examples of people who were spurred to actions because of their faith: Abel offering a sacrifice, Noah preparing an ark, Moses refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, etc.

Nowhere does it mention that faith is ignoring evidence that contradicts your point of view. Faith is belief that leads to action, not belief in something in spite of its contradictions.

Rule 5: Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed

This rule ties closely with Rule 4 - if faith is belief that leads to action, that faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. After all, if any issue can be dismissed with "faith", then misplaced faith simply becomes a license to believe in error. Scrutinizing information that has the potential to contradict your belief system does not represent a lack of faith; rather, it's a great way to keep "faith" from trapping you into a false paradigm.

If you ask a Mormon why there is "little in the way of specific archaeological evidence…for the Book of Mormon" as Dr. Peterson stated, some will say "it has to be that way - if not, there would be no need for faith!" Faith becomes an escape hatch for belief systems knee-deep in errors.

Rule 6: Spiritual experiences alone do not lead to religious truth

This rule strikes directly at the heart of why many people stay in Mormonism regardless of the issues. People have certain spiritual experiences that they take to mean the Church is "true" beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is not my place or my desire to tell people what God has or hasn't revealed to them, but one thing I strongly believe is that Mormons are not the only people who believe God has revealed the truth to them.

People in religions around the world don't go around dedicating their lives to their religion for trivial reasons - they believe it is for a higher cause. I'm willing to bet that if I went and talked to 10,000 leaders in various religious organizations around the world, a good number of them would give me a similar answer: "I'm only doing the will of God - He as led me here and He has revealed to me the truthfulness of this work. I see His hand in this work."

I'm not God, so I'm not going to pretend I know why this phenomenon exists. But it is apparent that spiritual experiences can result in many, many different interpretations of truth. And, no matter how much a person claims that their spiritual experiences have led them to know their path is the way to truth - and no matter how sincere they are in that belief - that doesn't automatically mean that they are right. And if that's the case, I believe one shouldn't base one's beliefs 100% on spiritual feelings.

Rule 7: Everyone's beliefs are grounded in logic

In the world of Mormonism, logic is often turned into the "bad guy", but the reality is no one can escape logic. People who rely solely on spiritual experiences for the basis of their testimony are relying on logic as well, regardless of whether or not they choose to see it that way. They still have to logically conclude that the spiritual experiences that they've had must mean that the Mormon church is "true". They are using logic to determine that there is NO other possible explanation for their experiences. They are using logic to decide they don't need to consider any other information (i.e. - DNA, archeology, etc) in determining the truthfulness of the Church. Everything that a person believes has to pass through his or her own personal firewall of logic!

Some people claim that "logic and reason will never discover truth." Although this might be true on some levels, I disagree with it as a rule that can be consistently applied to all situations. First, as it relates to Mormonism, I disagree with the unstated assumption that spiritual experiences ALONE are a better way to discover truth - see Rule #6. Second, because even the meaning of spiritual experiences must pass through one's personal system of logic. Finally, I disagree because sometimes (though certainly not always) logic does discover truth. One can use logic and reason to determine the truth about whether or not Joseph Smith married other men's wives, or whether or not he revised revelations, or that the American Indians are primarily (probably even entirely) descendants of Asians, or that the papyrus fragments in existence today were not written in Abraham's time. All of these are truths that have been determined through logic and reason! The real question isn't whether or not these things are true,but what will one do when determining the significance of this information?

Rule 8: I will not allow other people to dictate my life

This rule is what gives meaning to all the other rules - at least in regards to Mormonism. After all, what good is it to know something is false if you aren't willing to abandon the falsehood? Many here have felt the intense pressure applied by family and friends when they discover you no longer believe. Too often, in their eyes, "good" is defined relative to belief in Mormonism - it doesn't really matter what type of life you lead, if you don't believe in Mormonism, you are in the grips of evil!

This outside pressure can vary in intensity depending on one's personal situation and it causes some people to live a life that is not in harmony with their underlying beliefs - an "active" Mormon who doesn't believe in Mormonism's claims of truth. I will not fake belief to appease anyone because as soon as I do so, I have lost control of my life and, at that point, what good is that kind of life?

Each of us at some point must decide if we will live life on our own terms or if we will live it on someone else's terms. For some people, this rule is easy to live by, but for me it has been extremely difficult - and, after reading this board for quite some time now, I don't think I'm the only one who has struggled with this issue. Too many people feel their belief system is superior to your own, even when it is riddled with issues that contradict the "simple rules" that you live by…

Any other rules that you live by that caused you to lose you belief in Mormonism?