The following are from letters from Mormons who felt a need to defend their faith - part 5. This is interesting reading for those who want to try to understand the mind set of one who is in an authoritarian organization. All comments in bold are mine. Again, these are just samples from the many letters I have received. The most recent are on top.
Be sure to visit the other two collections of Mormon letters:
Letters to this site part 1 and Letters to this site part 2
Letters to this site part 3
I am currently a non-denomenational Christian, who is going to have my baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a week. All those who claim that they are ex-members are wrong. It is the Spirit that truly confirms one into the Church in the eyes of God. Those who are no longer members must either deny the Holy Spirit, or they may of never had it in the first place
Trying to refute my story - my quotes in bold
First, if you left the Church, how did you know a regional representative had spoke out against you? [A member who was there told me.]
Second; Eric, how did you expect LDS Church members to act? [I would expect them to still accept me as a human being and still be loved by them even though I left the corporation and followed my free agency. ]
You rejected them, you rejected their Church. I’ve never met an anti-Mormon yet that kept their message to themselves. Usually they take great pride in trying to embarrass Church members…. So why did you expect LDS Church members to subject themselves to your harassment? It sounds to me like they did exactly what you wanted them to do leave you alone. [That is not what I did when I first left. I was very quiet about my unbelief]
Third, I’ve never seen a person that has left the gospel yet, that includes in their reasons, -humble prayer. I’ve never heard one say, "I was troubled by something in the gospel and I fasted and prayed about it, and the Lord’s answer to me was to leave the Church." Never. [I believe almost all exmo's prayed fervently to want answers. I know I did.]
It is, however, the same with all people that leave as you did. 1)They find something in the Church they don’t like or understand. 2)They become disgruntled, often voicing their objections publicly. 3) They bog themselves down in the minute details. 4) They rely on their own understanding and interpretation of events to feed their desire to find more faults. 5) They leave the Church. 6) They become bitter and try to get others to share their view in order to justify their own decision. 7) From this point on nothing the Church has done or will do is considered good. [You should spend time reading the stories]
I joined the Church in 1985. I’m the Elder’s Quorum instructor for my ward. Personally, I find all the points you make against my Church to be irrelevant. [Truth is irrelevant?] No one has deceived me Eric. I’ve read all the anti-Mormon arguments there are. They are all irrelevant. [I get letters from Jehovah's Witnesses and they tell me the arguments against their organization are also irrelevant.] Joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It changed my life for all the good ways. I’ve have seen the change in me and so have others. I’ve seen the good. So, your arguments, in my opinion, are irrelevant. But that’s just to mention one reason.
The biggest reason of course, is that in 1985, the Lord answered my prayers concerning Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. What you are asking me to do is turn my back on that answer. Pretend that it didn’t happen. God gave me the answer and I can’t and won’t deny it.
The Church is going along as foretold Eric. Growing. Doing good. I’m sorry you’ve decided not to be a part of it. Sorry for the long message.
I was wandering through the Internet, and came across your web site. I'd like to compliment your site--it's very well organized. Being a Mormon myself, (albeit a liberal one) I also appreciate that your site stems from true compassion and an interest to help those who you think is wrong rather than simply hatred and bigotry, as many anti-Mormon sites (and plenty of Mormon ones) are.
Anyway, I thought I might want to send in a letter to you telling you a little bit about what I thought. Before that, though, I'd like to apologize for the behaviour of some of my fellow Mormons. Most of the letters I read there were quite simply appaling.
Perhaps I should start out with a little of my own background. I'm 16 years old, a senior in high school, and have been a member of the Church for all my life. My family, on both sides, have been in the Church since its beginning, so I have very strong ties to the Church--I feel as if it is my people. However, while I have been brought up with a strong religious heritage, I have also been brought up in a very intellectual and intelligent family. My father, a college professor, after disagreements with our bishop, does not regularly attend church, although I believe that he still believes in it, and he has done research into Mormon history. My sister, who is 18 and leaving for college, has been inactive in the Church for about a year and a half now, and is currently participating in a lifestyle that neither I nor my parents particularly approve of. You may have read her reasons for leaving the Church--it is posted on the web. It's called "A Young Woman's Testimony of the Church", by Raina Janel Olsen.
Anyway, while I have been raised with a strong sense of religious heritage and with my bonds to the Church, I was also raised as a liberal, (at least within the bounds of the Church) and have been taught to question authority and learn for myself. This has caused a bit of trouble with some of my leaders in the ward, and put me in an unique position. While I do believe in the truth of the Church, in general, I also have little or no qualms about questioning some of the doctrines that I disagree with. As a few examples: up till a few months ago, my hair was a bit past shoulder length, mainly to annoy everyone at Church, I've publicly (in Sunday School) questioned the Church's policy towards blacks prior to the seventies, and its policy towards women to the present day.
In my experiences with members of the Church, I've noticed some of the same sense of superiority and elitism that you note in your site, mainly in the youth, since those are the people I know the best. For example, during our recent trip to Nauvoo/Carthage, while visiting the RLDS Visitor's Center there, there were more than a few snide comments and insults to the members of that Church (whom I promptly defended). In particular, a girl in my ward has been trying her best to convert me from my evil and hellish ways of liberalism (incindenally, I'm not really all that liberal), and I keep running into a brick wall in my arguments with her: essentially, it's the "I'm right and you're wrong, and that's it." sort of thing.
You might well ask, if I see all these problems with the Church, then why do I still choose to remain a member? Partially, I think it is my sense of identity with and my heritage in the Church. However, while I disagree with some of the doctrines of the Church, I do agree with the fundamental ideas and thoughts of the Church.
Anyway, that's about all I have to say. Keep on doing what you feel you need to do, Eric, and I'll keep trying to convince people to think for themselves. I just think that thinking for yourself isn't necessarily contradictory with being a member of the Church. Feel free to respond and/or post this on your web page. Go ahead and leave my e-mail address on.
I just wanted to let you know that I just finished reading some of your articles about mormons. Never have I read such things farther from the truth. I can't believe that you actually go as far as creating this web sight. You have no basis for the accusations made and probably are just irratable from an experience you once had.
I don't mean this in a bad way...but I pray that you can stop pulling people away from the church. I bet thousands of helpless people that were looking into the church have turned away from the gospel because of you. Please don't continue this.I feel horrible that you feel this way about the church even after spending a tithe of you life serving the lord and trying to bring people to the gospel. I pray for you that you may somehow be forgiven of this horrible sin, and if at all stop your anti-Mormon preaching.I know that you know that what you are preaching is false and that you just have hard feelings toward the church. I pray for you , for the lord's mercy on your soul, and that you can reverse your actions.
Dear Bro. Kettunen, My name is G.. B. I'm thirteen years old and I'm a member of the church. I accidently found your website when I was looking for uplifting sites that could help me become a better person. I read your story and all i could do was sit here and cry. I know that nothing I can write can change your mind about the church, but I felt I just had to tell you a few things.
The first thing is God and Jesus still love you. They are there no matter what, even if you don't believe in them. If you ever feel down maybe you could try talking to them.
The second thing is no one is perfect. You don't have to believe in the church but maybe you should pray about the gospel, ask if the gospel is true.
The third thing is I know the gospel is true. I know that Jesus atoned for us. I know that there is a god. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he reorganized the true church on this earth. I know there is a prophet on the earth today and his name is Gorden B. Hinkly. I know the Book of Mormon is a true testement of Jesus Christ and it is the most corect book on the earth. I know God loves you and he is sad because you don't believe in him or his gospel. The angels are crying for your soul and so am I.
I hope that your heart is softened and that one day I will see you in the Celestial Kingdom. It will be so beautiful there, but I don't think your wife, your kids, or I will be happy if your not there with us. You are loved, you are a child of god and one day maybe you'll know the truth, the real truth and the truth will set you free.
i was just wondering, how could you go on a mission and know what it is like to bring a soul into christ and then turn around the next day and say that there are wrongs in our beliefs, and try to teach against the word of the lord?
i find it very sad that a person like you who has tasted the fruits of the lord could turn out to be like you.
I know you probably won't post this, but i know you'll read
it. Ok I'm 16 years old, I live in Utah, and I've been going to
the LDS church my whole life. I'm not going to tell you to come
back to the church, but you totally have a negative attitude
about a church that does so much good. The Church does so much
service that no one hears about. Now I don't know about all the
stuff that Mormons don't tell you, I haven't investigated it, and
I don't plan on it. But I think its pretty lame that you went on
a Mission, and you never felt the spirit? Whats up with that? I
like my life as a Mormon. I've had my own experience that has
helped me build a testimony of the ONLY true church. I've read
some of the Book Of Mormon, and I've compared it to the Bible,
and there are so many things in the Bible that only Mormons
practice. I find it funny how you leave out that stuff ( Like the
third heaven, and baptisms for the dead, and when Jesus said he
had other sheep) Also, I feel that your not telling the whole
story, Joseph Smith told his parents about the first vision. And
the stuff about him going to jail, well all that stuff was Satan
trying to stop the spread of the church, so they made up lies to
put him in jail. I'm sorry you had a bad experience. But as for
me, and any other Mormons who come across this page, If they have
any questions they should just pray about it. And I think It's
pretty lame your trying to bring people down to your level. Also
you can put my email up if you post this. BUT AS FOR ME....I LOVE
BEING MORMON, AND I THINK ITS PRETTY SAD WHAT YOUR DOING... Oh
thought I'd drop you a quick line and give you my take on your site. I only briefly visited each section but I have a few comments. First of all, I am 19 years old, Mormon and leaving on a mission in about 5-6 weeks. I know for a fact the church is true. Not because I studied modern critical works, not because my parents told me it was, but because I read the Book of Mormon, including Moroni's promise and I prayed and received a witness of the Spirit that it was true. I don't know you or your life, but as a 22 year member and a part of a Temple marriage, I would think that you have felt the Spirit and know or knew the truth of the church. Again, I don't know specifically what turned you against the church but I am truly sorry for you. I can see from the sampling of e-mail, that some fairly ignorant people have responded to you in supposed defense of the church. That is not what the church stands for. I do not personally agree with your beliefs but I, and any righteous Mormon, respect your beliefs and allow you to worship "how, where and what they may," (11th Article Of Faith). I am no scriptorian, historian or anything else. But one point I would perhaps suggest more research on is your statement that the Gold Plates where never viewed by a third party. Actually they were taken to an expert on ancient Egyptian, a form of which they were written in, he studied them and gave the prophet a certificate of authenticity. As the prophet was leaving he was asked where he got the plates from. He told the expert that he received them from the angel Moroni. The expert asked Joseph for the certificate and proceeded to tear it up.
Again, I respect your beliefs and right to set up your site and if you take any of this as insulting, I apologize, it was not my intention. I challenge you to honestly reread the B of M and really pray and ask God if what you read and believed for 22 years is true. If you do it in all sincerity, I know, and I think you might know too, you will receive that witness. Whatever you choose to do, one day we'll all find out, I pray that you are ready for that day.
I find it odd that you must have a website devoted to the defamation of Mormons. Could it be that you are so scared and paranoid of the truth that you must develop this website for your own insecurities? Satan's armies truly are working hard in these, the last days. I must give my deepest sympathies for you and those like you when the final judgement rains upon you and your followers. May your judgement be swift and fair.