The book "A Mormon Odyssey" was previously entitled "Journey to the Center of My Soul". It is a personal quest for truth as a 'True Believing Mormon' couple journey through the tangled web of Mormonism. Updated Feb, 12 2004. It is now available in book form. Order at: http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.asp?bookid=20358
|Click Section for Chapters||Chapters in Each Section|
|Introduction||Dedication and Introduction.|
|Section A||1 - MORMONISM AND ME|
|2 - TRAGEDY STRIKES|
|3 - WHAT WE WERE TAUGHT ABOUT MORMONISM|
|Section B||4 - THE HOUSE OF THE LORD|
|5 - FEAR, FAITH, OR LOVE?|
|6 - THE MORMON VIEW OF GOD THE FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST|
|Section C||7 - THE NATURE OF MAN|
|8 - MESA, ARIZONA|
|9 - MANTI, UTAH|
|Section D||10 - HEARTBROKEN|
|11 - MY SACRED QUEST|
|12 - THE MAN NAMED JOSEPH|
|Section E||13 - BETRAYED AND HEARTBROKEN (details of Mormon deceit)|
|14 - QUANTUM LEAP|
|15 -LETTING GO - Recovery from Mormonism|
|Section F||16 - THE GIFT A Dialogue with My Soul|
|17 - LARRY'S JOURNEY|
|18 - THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH|
|Section G||19 - MASONRY & THE MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONY|
|Section H||20 - MOUNTAIN MEADOW MASSACRE The Untold Story|
|Section I||21 - DEFINING MOMENT|
|22 - EXODUS|
|23 - TELL THE TRUTH|
I dedicate this Journey to the memory of my daughter, Cindy, who in her short stay on earth left a legacy of love that will never be forgotten. In life she touched my heart as only a child can. In death she showed me how fragile and sacred life is. I will always remember you, Cindy, and cherish the time we had together.
Love Forever, Mom
The writing of this book has been a wonderful transformation, but at the same time a difficult experience. I could not have completed this book had it not been for the encouragement and patience of a number of people in my life. I thank Larry, my husband and best friend of 43 years, for awakening in me a desire to reach beyond my comfort zone, to face my fears and the darker side of humanity. He has been an inspiration and guiding force in my life. Because of his belief in me and his never-ending support, I found the courage to discover my authentic self. He has poured more work, love and wisdom into this project than could ever be described. Without him I would have missed the enrichment of completing this task and creating my life from the inside out. I thank him for being my soft place to fall when the journey became too overwhelming. I thank my children for teaching me about life and about living from the heart. I cherish the great times we've shared through the years and the memories of those times. Being their mother has been an awesome experience. Thanks for making me a grandmother of 14 beautiful grandchildren. And finally, thank you for your love and patience when my journey became very difficult for you to understand. I thank my Grandparents for being my lifeline while I was growing up, and for acknowledging that I was a child who needed to be loved and validated. I thank Dad and Mom Braithwaite for raising such a wonderful son. Thank you for caring enough about two abused sisters to take us into your home and treat us as one of your own. Thank you for your good example of what marriage should be, and for teaching me to be strong when it seemed like my world was falling apart. I thank my parents for the gift of life, and for teaching me many important lessons about living. I thank them for my two beautiful sisters who have always been there for me and love me unconditionally. A special thanks to Josie VonCannon for her input on content, her writing and organizational skills, and her listening ear. I have not written a single page in this book that Josie has not edited, polished, and made better. You are, in my view, the best friend ever. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the many scholars, researchers, historians and truth seekers for having the courage to write complete and correct history, and for not being afraid to tell the truth. Their time and study has proven invaluable in my research.
Editors: Marilyn Tenney & Josie VonCannon
I Mormonism and Me In The Beginning
II Tragedy Strikes
III What We Were Taught About Mormonism | Temple Preparation
IV The House Of The Lord
V Fear, Faith, Or Love?
VI The Mormon View of God and the Lord
VII The Nature Of Man Polygamy (Sexism) Personal Testimony Racism | The Blacks | The Indians (Lamanites) | The Indian Placement Program
VIII Mesa, Arizona | Promises | Miss Molly Mormon
IX Manti, Utah | Temple Calling | Mormonism born anew in Manti
X Heartbroken Denial | My Last Stand, Or Am I Going Crazy
XI My Sacred Quest | Horses, Tapirs, Deer, or Deceit? | The Smithsonian Report
XII The Man Named Joseph | Lucy Mack Smith and Family | Joseph Smith Sr. and Family | Culture | Treasure Seeker | Isaac Hale | Joseph Jr. & Emma
XIII Betrayed and Heartbroken | The First Vision | Divine Contradiction | The Gold Plates | Translating The Gold Plates | The Witnesses | The Book of Mormon | Publishing The Book of Mormon | Archaeology | Language and Culture | DNA Research | Significant Problems with The Book of Mormon | Prophecy | Persecution and Death | Emma's Letter | Prophets | Translator | The Book of Abraham | The Bible | The Kinderhook Plates |
XIV Quantum Leap | Is Honesty Important? | Mass Movement
XV Letting Go | Recovery from Mormonism
XVI The Gift | A Dialogue With My Soul
XVII Larry's Journey | The House of the Lord | Baptism for the Dead | The New and Everlasting Covenant | Initiatory Ordinances | The Mormon Endowment | The Sealing | The Second Anointing | The Holy Garment 152
XVIII The Search For Truth | A Brief History of the Early Temple Endowment | Changes in the Temple Ceremony | Sealing Men to Men | Blood Oaths |
XVIV Masonry and the Mormon Temple Ceremony
XX Mountain Meadow Massacre | Major Carleton Report | Last Confession and Statement of John D. Lee
XXI Defining Moment
XXIII Tell The Truth!
Abbreviations used throughout the book.
LDS - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon Church BOM - Book of Mormon D&C - Doctrine & Covenants PGP - Pearl of Great Price OT - Old Testament NT - New Testament BYU - Brigham Young University F.A.R.M.S. - Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies J of D - Journal of Discourses H of C - History of the Church RLDS - Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; founded by Joseph Smith's posterity (name was changed to Community of Christ in 2001)
I welcome those of you who have chosen to join me on this incredible journey. I offer a view through a window that altered my life. My journey is not your journey and I acknowledge that there are numerous ways to embrace knowledge, wisdom and the yearnings of the heart. Each of us is drawn to a vision that goes beyond the present personality. It is an emerging force and another step in our human evolution, a place in which we realize that we are all one. I do not profess to be an expert on the human experience, and therefore share my experience in the hope that it might help others in their own journey. We live in a time when humanity is searching for the bigger picture, when life is either revered as sacred or exploited and destroyed. It is easier to choose our path if we are able to see down the road we are traveling. This is what the Journey to the Center of My Soul is all about. Some of my most intimate experiences, thoughts and feelings are found herein. The ideas presented here may challenge the reader's beliefs. For some readers these ideas may pull at your very heartstrings. They are not meant to hurt, attack or offend. We must all walk our own path because our truth and belief evolves as we gain more knowledge and understanding in this life.
My life is still evolving: I am a work in progress, and I am open to new light and knowledge as I travel my own personal journey. By reflecting on the past as well as the present I hope to validate the truths I feel deep in my soul. The feelings expressed herein are genuine and sincere. They do not arise out of bitterness or rebellion, although those feelings might seem justified. This journey began with a desire to learn the truth about Mormonism, the religion I had come to embrace with my entire being, and in the process I learned the truth about myself. I felt a sense of humility as I wrote my story. I am still learning to banish my fears and doubts and begin listening to the inner voice that keeps telling me, "You will receive the guidance you need, and you will not walk alone on the Journey to the Center of Your Soul."
MORMONISM AND ME
MORMONISM AND ME
In The Beginning
I am Tamra Jean Arnold Braithwaite, better known as Tammy, Mom and Grandma. I was born and raised in Ogden, Utah, heartland of the Mormon Church. My father, James Anthony Arnold, was a strong and handsome man who enjoyed sports and the great outdoors. He worked as a machinist for the Southern Pacific Railroad. My mother, Mildred Rich, was a beautiful woman with deep hazel eyes and dark auburn hair who also loved the great outdoors. She was a registered nurse in charge of the operating room at the Dee Hospital. I am the second of their three daughters. My sister, Joyce, is eighteen months older than I. We are very close and have gone through a lot together. She was my best friend when we were growing up. My sister, Jacklyn, is ten years younger, and I remember so well the day she was born. She was so tiny and fragile, a mere three-pounds. I loved being the big sister and playing with her.
I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) when I was eight years old. Even though my parents were inactive members, baptism was something that was expected of everyone. The teachings of the Church were not taught in our home; hence, I received no information about its history or doctrine. Even though my parents were not active, their roots go very deep in the LDS faith. I am a fifth-generation Mormon on both sides. I attended primary (church for children), but then had very little contact with the Church in my teen years. Without active parents, my older sister and I never seemed to fit in at Church.
When I was very young my father was injured in a senseless car accident and his right leg had to be amputated. The effects of the accident not only devastated him physically but emotionally. He pleaded with my Mother to leave him because he no longer felt like a man, but she refused. Because of the never-ending emotional and physical pain he was in, he started to drink, and within a very short time became an alcoholic. It's ironic that two men under the influence of alcohol caused the accident that cost him his leg. Several years after the accident my mother joined dad in his drinking in order to be a part of his world, and she also became an alcoholic.
As a child I could never understand my parent's bizarre, threatening, and
confusing behavior. I remember many times hiding in the closet so they couldn't
find me. When we were small our parents would take Joyce and I down to 25th
Street, a dark, frightening street lined with bars and strange people. Dad and
Mom would leave us alone in the car for hours while they drank and socialized
with other alcoholics. I remember being so frightened that someone would get us
that we would lock the doors and hide under the dash so that no one could see
us. I remember very few times in my life that my parents weren't either drinking
Although they both made good money, most of their paychecks were spent on liquor. I learned very young that it was not okay to talk about what was happening in our home. It became a family law. Trying to figure out what I could or couldn't talk about was overwhelming, and I learned it was easier to keep quiet. I had many unspoken thoughts and feelings. I felt confused and guilty if I ever tried to talk to anyone about the situation. I was ashamed of my parents and our living conditions. I was embarrassed that my parents were not like my cousins' and friends' parents, so I rarely invited any of them to our home.
My parents' alcoholism was a debilitating and destructive way of life, and
their children suffered in many ways because of it. There's no such thing as an
innocent bystander in an alcoholic's world. Everyone they come in contact with
is involved, like it or not. This truism especially applies when it comes to
children who grow up with an alcoholic parent or parents. Such children are at
risk of developing chronic patterns of emotional instability.
I found it much easier to mask - even deny - my feelings, rather than allow myself to experience the disgust, frustration, helplessness, fear and overwhelming sense of sadness caused by my parents' addiction. I can hardly imagine what life would have been like if I had allowed these emotions to take over. I wouldn't have been able to go through the day with any semblance of normalcy. I could have become hysterical with my sadness, immobilized by my fear, and enraged and hostile with my frustration and anger. But suppressing my feelings allowed me to survive.
On January 1, 1956 my mother died at the age of 42 from complications of a hereditary heart disease coupled with alcoholism. I was just twelve and it was my first encounter with death. I still vividly remember that cold winter day when my grandmother told me my mother was dead. When I heard the word 'dead' I was confused as to what that really meant. I was overwhelmed with loss and fear. No one tried to explain to me what happens when someone dies. Perhaps they thought I knew, or they just didn't know what to say. Just before they closed her casket someone asked me if I would like to kiss my mother goodbye. I don't remember who asked me, but I remember the words as if they were spoken moments ago. I felt sick to my stomach as I touched Mom's cold hands. I leaned over to give her a kiss but she was so cold and stiff that it frightened me and I felt like I would be sick if I kissed her. So I didn't. Then I thought, "Is this it? Will I never see her again? Can't somebody do something to bring her back?" I didn't want her to be dead.
My paternal grandparents lived just a block away from us and they did all they could to help. They were there for my sisters and me whenever we needed them. Grandma was our lifeline and I owe much of what I am today to her because of her love and caring during that difficult time. Grandma and Grandpa Arnold will always hold a special place in my heart. Although Grandma had a very impressive LDS pioneer heritage, I don't ever remember her attending church. Grandpa was a Catholic, but I don't remember him ever attending church either. Little did I know that I would eventually be taught that the Catholic Church was considered by Mormons to be the Church of the Devil. * As a child it didn't matter to me which church my grandparents belonged to, I just knew they were good-hearted people who loved me and sacrificed much for our family.
Mom's death must have put dad over the edge because his drinking and abuse got worse. When I became a teenager I was no longer intimidated by him, and whenever possible I would dilute his wine with water or I would pour it down the kitchen drain while praying all the while that he wouldn't catch me. I knew if he did, it meant big trouble!
My father was on crutches a great deal of the time and I found myself on the receiving end of them quite often. There is much of the abuse that I still keep locked away deep in my subconscious, hidden from the world and possibly from myself. Maybe it's a survival technique; nevertheless it seems much easier that way.
I was a sensitive child who wanted everything to be right, for our family to be happy, and the alcohol to go away. I would dream about living with a normal family where children can be children. Because the drinking led to physical and emotional abuse, my sisters and I were taken out of our home when I was fourteen. The three of us became wards of the State of Utah.
Joyce and I were placed in a foster home with the Braithwaites, a wonderful family who treated us like their own. Our younger sister, Jackie, went to live with our mother's brother and his wife. She lived with them for two years and when they later divorced she was placed in the State Welfare System. Because of the abuse in our home and the effect it had had on her, the State decided Jackie would do better if she had no contact with anyone in her immediate family, including Joyce and I. We were denied every request we made to see her. Each time we talked to those in charge of her case, we encountered a dead end. Although we kept searching for her and never gave up hope, it took twenty years before we were finally reunited.
Living with the Braithwaites was the best thing that ever happened to me. I eventually married their oldest son, Larry. It was one of those love stories you hear about, love at first sight for both of us. He was an amazing young man and very mature for his age. We dated for two years and were married on June 6, 1959. Our first child, Cindy, arrived a year and a half later. She was the light of our lives. She was so precious! The most incredible moment was when the nurse handed her to me. She was wrapped in her little pink blanket and our eyes met for the first time.
* "Behold there are save two churches only, the one is the church of the
Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil." (I Nephi 14:10) In
Bruce R. McConkie's book Mormon Doctrine he states: "The titles 'church of
the devil' and 'great and abominable church' are used to identify all churches
or organizations of whatever name or nature--whether political, philosophical,
educational, economic, social, fraternal, civic, or religious--which are
designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus
from salvation in the kingdom of God" (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 137).
McConkie then declares the 'Kingdom of God' and the Mormon Church are one and
the same (Ibid, p. 415).
Eighteen months later we had another little girl whom we named Lori. We felt the same way about her. No language can express a parent's love for their children. The birth of a child lies somewhere between a treasure and a miracle.
I loved my husband and our little girls in ways that I never knew were
possible. I worked hard at being a good mother and wife. Larry did the same as a
husband and father. He had been taught very early the value of work and being
responsible. He took good care of our little family. Life wasn't always easy. We
struggled like many young couples do when trying to make ends meet and adjust to
family life. We were doing reasonably well when, in an unexpected moment, our
lives changed forever.
Iuly 7, 1965. We were living seven miles from Soda Springs, Idaho and Larry's parents had come to be with us for the holiday weekend. We had a wonderful day fishing and playing at a nearby lake. Cindy and Lori made sand castles, played in the water and loved being with their Grandma and Grandpa Braithwaite and Uncle Melvin. After a full day's activities we headed home. On the way, Cindy looked out the front window of the truck into the sky and asked, "How do you get to heaven?" We answered her question as best we knew how, not giving it another thought. (Did she sense something that we didn't when she asked that question that day? We'll probably never know.)
The next thing I remember was seeing a dust storm building up quickly in the west. An Idaho dust storm can be treacherous. We lived in a large trailer-house next to the job site where Larry was working as the construction foreman for a huge grain elevator. As we turned the corner to the grain elevator site, Larry's face went as white as snow. He screamed, "Someone has taken all the braces off the building!" He stopped the truck, jumped out, all the while hollering to some of the men who were still working at the site, "Get the braces back on the building!" While we were at the lake the cement contractor had thoughtlessly removed the braces to use for his forms. I jumped out and ran toward the trailer-house where I had left the windows open. I knew that if the storm reached us before I could get them closed we would have a trailer full of dirt.
Everything happened so quickly: the deafening sound of the wind, the blowing dust with visibility near zero and then the sound of cracking timbers! I was in a panic because I couldn't find the girls. Had they followed me or followed Larry? They had been told to never get close to the grain elevator. Where were Larry and the other men that had run to secure the braces on the grain elevator? The wind was gone as quickly as it had come. Then I saw Larry's father hurrying toward me holding Cindy in his arms. He handed her to me and said, "Hurry and get her to the hospital!" Larry came out of the building carrying Lori in his arms. She was crying but otherwise all right. It was a miracle that no one else was injured.
Part of the grain elevator had collapsed. Most of the men had jumped into a trench in the middle of the building. The others stood in a daze, wondering how they had survived. Cindy was the only one that had been hurt. She must have been running toward the trailer when the last beam fell, hitting her on the head.
Surrounded by all the excitement, confusion and the storm, the girls had innocently followed their father into the grain elevator. Holding Cindy in my arms, Larry and I jumped into the truck and headed for Soda Springs, seven long miles away. As I held our little girl in my arms and looked into her face I prayed to God that she would be all right.
On the way to the hospital we came upon a herd of sheep on the road. Larry tried to tell the sheepherder that we had an emergency, but he spoke no English so Larry plowed through the herd, killing several of them. We hadn't gone but another mile when we ran out of gas, however, Larry had enough speed built up that he was able to pass a car that was in front of us and force the car off the road. The driver saw our desperate situation and was eager to help, taking us the rest of the way into town. When we arrived at the hospital, the doctors did all they could to help our little one, but there was nothing left to do. She was already gone.
Larry and I were devastated. Our world was turned upside down in a moment. We were numb, and couldn't feel anything but despair and disbelief. How could Cindy be here one moment and gone the next? We would have celebrated her fifth birthday in eight weeks. Neither Larry nor I understood death, so for us this was the end of our little girl. She was dead. (There was that horrible word again, 'dead,' that I had experienced when my mother died.) We were in such pain that neither Larry nor I could think straight, let alone make the many preparations necessary for Cindy's funeral. Larry's parents came to our aid. They were also fifth-generation Mormon, but were not active in the Church. They knew very little about its teachings, but put the funeral into the hands of the LDS Church leaders in Ogden, Utah, where they lived.
I'll never forget the day of the funeral. Cindy was dressed in a beautiful, soft pink, satin nightgown. We placed in her little arms the special doll that she loved and carried with her wherever she went. I held her hand as long as they would let me, not wanting to let her go. I felt as if I was caught in a time capsule. Couldn't time stop so that I wouldn't have to say good-by? They had to pull me away from her so they could close the casket.
Larry and I tried to pick up the pieces and go on with our lives; after all, we still had each other and Lori to care for. Larry's parents were kind enough to let us stay with them for a while. I was dazed, not wanting to laugh or even smile. We couldn't understand how others could be happy when we were hurting so badly. We literally felt like our hearts had been broken.
Then one day we received a phone call from a sweet lady who had read the article in the newspaper about our daughter's death. She invited us to her home and said she had something she wanted to share with us.
When we arrived she welcomed us with open arms. She said she had a tape she
wanted us to listen to, and so we did. The information on the tape talked about
where we come from, why we are here, and where we go after this life. It was
everything we wanted to hear. She said that our little girl was with our
Heavenly Father and that someday we would be with her again. We knew nothing
about the things we heard on the tape, but shortly thereafter we became active
members of the Mormon Church, the church of our heritage. We were quickly
fellowshipped and introduced to many wonderful people and made new friends. We
began learning about our religion.
WHAT WE WERE TAUGHT
Following are the main points of doctrine we learned upon becoming active in the Mormon Church
1) Mormonism began when Joseph Smith Jr. (hereafter Joseph Smith or Joseph), a young man living in western New York State, was spurred by a Christian revival in 1820 to pray to God for guidance as to which church was true. In answer to his prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ visited Joseph as two separate beings who told him to join no church because all other churches were false and that all their creeds were an abomination in God's sight. This event is now referred to in the LDS Church as The First Vision.
(I found this to be incredibly exciting. The thought of our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ visiting the earth seemed unbelievable, almost a miracle. After several months of indoctrination, I chose to believe in the miracle. And yet there was something about The First Vision account that always bothered me. I found it difficult to understand how Christ's Church could have disappeared. When I asked Church leaders about it, they told me that all other Christian churches are in apostasy because their leaders corrupted the scriptures, changed the ordinances of the original church, and often led corrupt lives, thus losing their authority. This makes the LDS Church the only true church on the earth today, restored by God through Joseph Smith.)
2) In 1823 Joseph had another heavenly visitation in which an angel named Moroni told him of a sacred history written by Hebrews who lived in Ancient America. This history was engraved on tablets of gold and buried in a nearby hill. Joseph was told that he would be the instrument for bringing this ancient record to the knowledge of the world. Joseph obtained the gold plates from the angel in 1827 and translated them into English by the spirit of God and through the use of a sacred instrument that had been buried with the plates called the Urim and Thummim. The translation was published in 1830 as The Book of Mormon.
3) The Book of Mormon is a religious and secular history of the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere between 2200 BC and 421 AD. It teaches that the American Indians are descended from three groups of immigrants who were led by God to America from their original homes in the Near East. One group was said to have come from the Tower of Babel, and two other groups from Jerusalem just before the Babylonian captivity, about 600 B.C. Throughout the book, believers and nonbelievers fought many wars, the last of which left only nonbelievers as survivors, and these are the ancestors of the American Indians. The most important historical event recorded in this history was the visit of Jesus Christ to America after his crucifixion, when he ministered to and converted those living in the Americas (the "other sheep" of which He speaks in the New Testament, John 10:16. See also Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:21.)
4) Joseph Smith was directed by revelation from God to "restore" His true church. Joseph was visited several times by heavenly messengers, who ordained him first to the Aaronic or lesser priesthood, and later to the Melchizedek or higher priesthood. He continued to receive revelations from God to guide the Church and to "restore" more knowledge of the Gospel. Many of these revelations are published in The Doctrine & Covenants (see #8 below). The Mormon Church (officially The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was incorporated in 1830.
(It was like a fairy tale, with heavenly messengers visiting Joseph Smith and giving him instructions concerning the path that would lead to Eternal Life. In some ways it was similar to the Good Witch of the North giving instructions to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz as to the path she should take to get back home again. Somehow my mind accepted the fairy tale.)
5) Joseph Smith and his followers were continually persecuted for their religious beliefs, and driven from New York State to Ohio, then to Missouri, and on to Illinois, where Joseph Smith was murdered in 1844 by a mob, a martyr for his beliefs. Brigham Young, Joseph's successor, then led the Church westward and settled successfully in what would later become Utah.
6) The LDS Church is led today by a successor of Joseph Smith. Each president of the Church is sustained as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, just as Joseph Smith was, and guides the members of the Church with revelations from God. His counselors and the quorum of twelve apostles are also called and sustained as prophets, seers and revelators. The membership is promised that these leaders will never lead them astray.
7) By accepting baptism and becoming a member of the LDS Church, one takes the first step necessary toward gaining salvation and ultimate entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven (the Celestial Kingdom). Temple marriage is another requirement for admittance into the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom where God and Christ reside, and where families are forever.
(Because Larry and I had both been baptized into the LDS Church when we were eight, we had already taken the first step. Learning about the doctrine that families can be together after this life gave both of us the hope we were looking for, that someday we could be with Cindy again.)
8) The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of divine revelations and inspired declarations given mostly to Joseph Smith, for the establishment and regulation of the kingdom of God on the earth in the last days. It contains messages, warnings and exhortations for the benefit of certain individuals and all of mankind. It also contains an invitation to all people everywhere to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to them for their temporal well being and their everlasting salvation. (These writings are now divided into sections and verses.)
9) The Pearl of Great Price is a five-part volume of latter-day scripture
containing a choice selection of the revelations, translations and narrations of
the Prophet Joseph Smith. It contains the following:
A. Selections from the Book of Moses, which are great truths that were lost from the early Mosaic Scriptures revealed to Joseph Smith.
B. The Book of Abraham, a translation of Egyptian papyri that came into the hands of Joseph Smith in 1835 and which are the writings of the patriarch Abraham. This work proves that Joseph Smith knew how to translate Egyptian.
C. Joseph Smith -Matthew is an extract from Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible. Joseph was instructed by God to re-translate the Bible because there were numerous errors in it.
D. The Joseph Smith History contains excerpts from Joseph Smith's official testimony and history, which he prepared in 1838.
E. The Articles of Faith are thirteen declarations of what Mormons believe.
10) We were taught that if we became faithful Mormons, doing all we were asked to do, we would be reunited with our daughter, Cindy, and be an eternal family. We loved the promise of families being together forever. But we were also told that if we did not do all that we were asked, we could not go were Cindy is, that is, the Celestial Kingdom, nor could we all be together forever as a family. The weight of the two alternatives became a pattern of needing to excel at whatever was placed before us and the guilt of possibly not living up to the task and losing our family forever. It became a vicious cycle that I now refer to as living The Pattern by being entrapped in the web of the Double-Bind. *
We were told to prepare to attend the temple so that we could be sealed together as a family. We attended the temple preparation classes, and were told it would take a year of dedication to the Mormon Church to prove that we were worthy to go to the House of the Lord (the Mormon temple).
* When I first became acquainted with a dear woman by the name of Marion
Stricken, she helped me understand how I had been manipulated into believing in
the Mormon Church. She has recently written a book entitled The Pattern of the
The book is the culmination of a twenty-year odyssey, a personal quest for a solution to an unknown problem that had become emotionally and intellectually intolerable for the author. What she found through trial and error, following threads and connections, was a pattern of behavior that she finally identified and named The Pattern of The Double-Bind. She first discovered it in her Mormon marriage, and then in Mormonism itself.
She writes: "How does one summarize a convoluted pattern that defies
common sense? Perhaps that says it. The Pattern of The Double-Bind is a
convoluted, insidious stratagem that turns our mental and emotional common sense
world upside down. It is a circular pattern that ends in a vortex of depression
and possible suicide." (See Chapter V for more information about the
Double-Bind and mind-control.)
In order to be worthy to attend the temple we were told that we must confess all our sins to the Bishop and Stake President, attend all church meetings, both ward and stake, pay a full and honest tithing which consisted of 10 percent of our income, pay our share of the ward budget and pay fast offerings on the first Sunday of every month. We were told that the law of tithing is essential to receiving blessings from the Lord. Joseph F. Smith, the 6th President of the Church, said that our loyalty to the Church would be put to the test: "By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. That both temporal and spiritual blessings will be poured out upon the honest tithe payer." The Doctrine and Covenants states: …"for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming" (D&C 64:23 23-25). We immediately began paying a full tithing, even when it was very difficult to make ends meet. We wondered if this was a ransom that God required of us in order to be with each other and our children in the hereafter? Were we buying our way into the Celestial Kingdom?
We were taught about the power and authority of the priesthood as it pertains to man's existence on this earth. It is the power and authority of God delegated to man on earth (but only to worthy LDS men) to act in all things for the salvation of man. We were taught that the priests and pastors of other religions do not have the authority to marry a couple for eternity, therefore, the marriage union ceases to exist at death, and the children are left without parents in the eternity. Pres. Joseph F. Smith said, "When couples marry outside the temple, they cut themselves off. They have no claim upon each other, or their children upon them, and there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1960, Joseph F. Smith, p. 197.)
We were instructed to accept all church callings because they are from the Lord, to be honest in all our business dealings, and to keep the Word of Wisdom, which generally meant abstinence from tea, coffee, tobacco, liquor and cola drinks. We were advised not to associate with persons and/or groups that were against the Church, and to refrain from reading or studying any material that was not Church approved. To do so would cause us to lose our testimonies and thus in the end, we would lose our family.
We were like sponges as we learned about the Church, absorbing and internalizing one by one the teachings of the Gospel. We had some incredible leaders, friends and teachers during that time. They spent extra time teaching us and socializing with us. We held true to all we were taught, not even daring to drink a cola beverage or play with face cards (instruments of sin). The doctrine was all very new to us, but we were willing to do all in our power to become an eternal family.
We were concerned about our extended family and wanted to share our newfound knowledge with them so that they could be with us after this life. We talked to them about what we were being taught. They listened a few times but didn't take it as seriously as we did. We talked to some of our friends in the Church about the fact that our family did not want to hear the Gospel and were told that some make it to the Celestial Kingdom where God and Christ reside and where families are together forever, and some do not.
We took every word our leaders and teachers said seriously and did all in our power to prove that we were worthy to attend the temple. For some reason they let us go to the temple after being active in the Church for only nine months, but it was the longest nine months of our lives. Perhaps they saw how sincere we were. We were desperately trying to be reconnected to our little girl, and we truly believed that this was the only way.
We were taught that there are different degrees of glory where we would go upon death, depending on what we did in this life, or our mortal probation.
1) The Celestial Kingdom is prepared for the righteous, those who have been
faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord, and have been cleansed of all
their sins. Those who go there will dwell in the presence of the Father and the
Son. The Celestial Kingdom is divided further into three more degrees of glory.
By having a Celestial Marriage (marriage in the temple), a couple is on the path
leading to exaltation in the highest degree of glory where families are forever.
We would settle for nothing less because our family was the most precious thing
we had. We were also taught that no man or woman in this dispensation would ever
enter the Celestial Kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith (J of D,
vol. 7, p. 289). The second and third levels within the Celestial Kingdom belong
to those who don't reach the very top echelon. They will not be with their
families, but will be servants to those who are in the highest degree.
2) The Terrestrial Kingdom is prepared for those who lead clean lives but who in this life were not willing to receive the Gospel. They are those who were not valiant defenders of the faith. As hard as it was to accept, we grew resigned to the fact that most of our extended family would end up here.
3) The Telestial Kingdom is prepared for those who live unclean lives: the liars, sorcerers and adulterers, and those who break their covenants with God.
(When I learned this, I wondered: would Larry's parents, who had once been active in the Church and had gone through the temple, making sacred covenants, be forced to live out eternity among liars, sorcerers and adulterers? I could never accept this doctrine. As their foster child and later their daughter-in-law, I knew them well enough to know there were not two kinder people on the earth. It was impossible for me to believe that God could do such a cold and heartless act as classify them with the worst in society.)
4) Finally we were taught about outer darkness, where those who cannot be redeemed and who are called the Sons of Perdition will go. This is the real Hell, a place of utter darkness for those who once knew the truth and had a testimony of the Church and of Joseph Smith being a prophet of God and then turned away. For them there is no forgiveness.
We prayed that our families would open their minds and hearts to the Gospel, but it was not to be. Out of fear that they wouldn't be with us in the next life, we became more aggressive in talking to them. Finally Larry's parents became angry and told us they didn't want anything to do with the Mormon Church and that we were no longer welcome in their home if we kept preaching to them. We immediately stopped talking to them about it, but we were at a loss as to what to do. Our Bishop told us that sometimes you have to give up your immediate family and do what the Lord wants you to do. We became less and less involved with our extended families. Looking back now we are sad and ashamed to have done that.
We were blinded by fear that if we didn't follow the teachings of the Mormon Church we would be abandoning our little girl. The question "Who will raise and take care of her, if we don't make it?" drove us deeper and deeper into the belief system of Mormonism. The wheel of The Double-Bind, the fear that our failure to be one-hundred percenters could be the cause of losing our family forever, kept The Pattern, (the psychological imprisonment) turning. We succumbed to the pull of the Church and became entrenched in the up-side-down world of Mormonism.
Next : Section B Chapters 4,5,6
Note: Copyright 2003 Tammy and Larry Braithwaite. Please do not copy or reproduce this electronic book without the express written permission of the authors. The authors do wish to hear from readers of their story. They also offer an autographed copy of this book. Here is the online order from the publisher: http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.asp?bookid=20358