|Subject:||Is the Mormon church a fraud? How can I know?|
|Date:||Mar 02 19:56 2004|
|A couple of weeks ago I discovered this website and
since that time I have been devouring the materials posted here and on
those sites that are similar in nature.
I'm a BIC Mormon and, after learning of the many problems and inconsistencies respecting the history of the church and the actions of its past and current leaders, I'm feeling frustrated, mad, conflicted, overwhelmed and confused.
I find myself asking whether it could be possible that the historical accounts revealing the character and morality flaws that JS appears to have exhibited are mistaken? Is this the adversary's way of destroying the foundation of the church? This would make sense since the entire deck of cards (the church) rests on the validity and credibility of JS.
I am confused because when attending church, I, at times, have felt good, positive, and warm feelings that, until now, I always have equated with the fruits of the Spirit – the way that God communicates and validates truth. Granted, I have felt similar feelings listening to lyrics or viewing scenes in movies, but I always have attributed such positive feelings to God's affirmation of the positive message of the particular lyrics or scenes (e.g., the Dixie Chick's song entitled "Travel'n Soldier": good feeling = I should respect and appreciate the sacrifices of the service men and women that serve(d) our country).
If I cannot rely on the feelings that I have always associated with the fruits of the Spirit, how then can I be directed by God? IMHO, the doctrine of personal revelation is meaningful. How does one know whether he or she is being duped? Is not faith a true principal of the gospel?
Of course there also are marital, familial, social, and cultural reasons that cause me to hesitate from pulling away from the church. Fortunately for me, my wife truly is one of the most loving and understanding woman I've ever met. I can share my feelings, concerns, and doubts with her without fear of judgment or reprisal.
My parents (TBMs) love me and my family unconditionally and I don't think they would die if I were to become inactive (or worse), but surely they would be disappointed. Additionally, I'm the eldest of a large family. I worry about setting the "wrong example" for my younger siblings. Besides, what if I'm wrong? What if I am over-thinking the issues that I find uncomfortable respecting the church. You know, the whole "is it I?" concern.
Recently one of my sisters took out her endowment to attend another sister's wedding in the SLC Temple. At her endowment, I felt happy to join together with my wife, my grandmother, my parents, my siblings, and their spouses in the celestial room. In fact, it makes me feel good even as I write this to think of being together with my family (I'm out-of-state and I miss them).
Back to my point: because I felt what I will call “spiritual feelings” in the temple, I perceive that I was involved with something that was right and pleasing before God. I think in 1 Cor. there is a scripture that, in essence, says that God is not the author of confusion (I would look it up, but I'm at work). Would God permit me to feel spiritual feelings while performing cult rituals? The answer has to be no, I think. Then again, would God imperfectly reveal the temple ceremony to JS? This is a sore point with me. If the Lord were to reveal the entire dialog of the endowment to JS, which was to be accurately recited over and over again to effect the salvation of those who are awaiting the gospel on the other side of the veil, I would assume that this process would have been sufficiently ironed out to avoid miscommunication or confusion, such that references to the Pope and other ministers originally could have been avoided (I was endowed post 1990; therefore, information regarding the change of the endowment ceremony was news to me).
Realize that this post reflects the views of one who is vacillating back and forth trying to come to grips with what is real and what is imaginary. After briefly reading this through, I can tell that I’m not certain which way is up anymore. I want the church to be true because at this point it would make my life so much easier (I wouldn’t have to extricate my self from the church without offending my family, church-friends, etc. or deal with the intellectual controversies surrounding the church’s past), but it is difficult to participate in the church in any meaningful way without true belief.
Be easy on me – this is my first, quickly-drafted post.
|Subject:||Re: Is the church a fraud? How can I know?|
|Date:||Mar 02 20:10|
|just my opinion here, but you're looking at this
with too much fear. You've got an unknown here and there's no way to
know for sure unless you give it a try and walk away. Or if that's too
much, just break a few commandments and try them on for size. If you
don't get struck by lightning, as most of us here haven't, and if you
become happier and more free, then you'll know you made the right
decision. If not, then you can always go back right?
You've gotta ask yourself what kind of God you believe in here. The kind that will damn you to hell because you had doubts and wanted to investigate, or if God is some kind of being that punishes you for even daring to think about such things.
The morg loves to throw out their favorite line, "pray to know if it's true" right? Well doesn't that work both ways? If your having doubts then how much can you be held accountable by the morg idea of God?
The greatest sin in life is to never have lived at all. Life is meant to be lived. What kind of life is it if you hang around in your house with the door barred? Sometimes you gotta dip your toe in the water to see if it's warm...otherwise you'll never know for sure. And if you never know for sure, you'll miss out on the pleasure of playing in the water. :)
Sorry for the silly analogies...
|Subject:||Assuming you're for real - Here's what I think.|
|Date:||Mar 02 20:14|
|First of all, I wondered the same thing for about
two years. I was kind of caught in limbo. I was afraid of leaving the
church because "what if" it was true? I'd be in big trouble.
At the same time, I had trouble believing everything. I started to feel
like I had no reason to believe in it or not to. I didn't know what to
I've felt the "spirit", too. I used to feel it A LOT in my TBM days. You know what? I can still feel "the spirit" now if I let myself feel it. I find that I can actually turn it on or off. In my opinion, it's emotion, nothing more.
The site that finally made me realize that the church was false was: www.josephlied.com
I checked it all out, too. I went to my university library and looked in an original copy of the Journal of Discourses and saw for myself that Brigham Young had once taught that Adam WAS God, and that we had to accept this to receive salvation. (Vol. 1:page 50) A TBM will argue that the Journal of Discourses are outdated, but the church still uses them for favorable quotes or stories. They can't have it both ways. I looked up in a old Book of Mormon, and saw with my own eyes that they had actually changed the text in some places. I read a compiled books of the writings of Joseph Smith and saw how many different versions of the First Vision there were. He couldn't even keep the year consistent! I spent a few weeks in the library just sucking everything up. There is no way I could ever believe in the church again. You have to go validate this info for yourself.
The question is: How much proof do you need? For me, seeing that "prophets" of today and "prophets" of a hundred years ago can't agree on the theology was good enough. The scriptures say that a prophet cannot lead us astray. The fact that Brigham once taught things that today's prophets disagree with is, in my mind, PROOF that the church is false. So, what's more validating? Cold hard proof that you could use in a court of law, or a warm fuzzy feeling? That's up to you to decide.
There are some TBMs that would stay no matter what. If the prophet got up tomorrow and said, "It's all a lie!", they would still not leave. For me, I see no reason to believe in Mormonism over any other religion. That's why most of us are atheists. You asked how you could ever know which 'warm fuzzy feeling' to trust if Mormonism was false. We've found that you can't trust warm fuzzies- period. I've seen my warmest fuzziest feeling proven to be dead wrong. For me, there is no reason to believe in anything. It's kind of sad, and I don't necessarily enjoy realizing that we're alone, but I've seen too much to pretend anymore.
I still believe in ghosts and the supernatural, but I no longer pretend that I understand who, what, when or why the supernatural happens. I think that science will explain it eventually.
|Subject:||Give it time.|
|Date:||Mar 02 20:33|
|I was exactly where you are four years ago. What a
ride! I remember plowing through books and websites, sometimes reading
all day long. My advice is to keep studying until you're sure one way or
the other. Study until there's no doubt left in your mind. That's the
only way to go about it. Nobody can tell you what the truth is. You have
to find out for yourself. (Sorry for the Matrix-speak.)
Another problem I had was the war that was being waged in my mind. It was the brainwashing versus the research. I would be in my car, and something would occur to me that I hadn't thought of before, and I couldn't remember some piece of evidence I needed to fight it. I would be going crazy. The brainwashing side always had perfect memory, but the research side couldn't remember key facts. So, I had to carry around the important items with me on a scrap of paper. Then, when I'd have a panic attack, I could look over them and reassure myself. I know that sounds weird, but it's a phase I went through that you might experience too, and that helped me.
Best wishes to you, and prepare for a lot of emotions. It's a lot to take in.
|Subject:||You'll find you're not alone...|
|Date:||Mar 02 20:42|
|There are many posters on this board who have had
similar experiences to your own and have gone through the same thought
processes you're going through now.
I was BIC as well and, like you, I had many spiritual experiences that I equated to Mormonism being "true". In fact, prior to finding out the true history of the Church, I couldn't imagine how it could possible NOT be "true". Your greatest ally is a mind that is open to the possibility that reality could be different than you have always perceived it to be! That's much easier said than done.
Here's a segment from a letter I recently wrote to a TBM relative that gives my personal take on spiritual experiences. I'm sure other people will give you great insight as well...
"I don't consider your response to be "glossing over" the issues. In fact, I think in many ways it is at the heart of why many people stay in the Church regardless of the issues. You have had certain spiritual experiences that you take to mean the Church is "true" or, at the very least, it is where God wants you to be. I'm not going to tell you that God hasn't revealed to you the things you say He has - as far as I know, He may have revealed many more things to you than He has ever revealed to me. But the one thing I strongly believe is that Mormons are not the only people who believe God has revealed the truth to them.
This is the point I was trying to bring out with the experience I had with the pastor on my mission. He, too, believed God had revealed to him that his was God's work and it was where God wanted him to be. People in other religions don't go around dedicating their lives to their religion for mere personal 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'm not God, so I'm not going to pretend I know why this phenomenon exists. But it is apparent to me 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, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are right for whatever reasons. And if that's the case, then one shouldn't base one's testimony 100% on spiritual feelings any more than one should base one's testimony 100% on logical analysis.
Speaking of logic, logic is often turned into the "bad guy", but the reality is you can't escape logic. I've heard people say, "Well, you're relying too much on logic." But people who rely solely on spiritual experiences for the basis of their testimony are relying on logic as well. 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 decide that there is NO other possible explanation for the experiences. They are using logic to decide not 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!
So, I don't entirely agree with your statement that "logic and reason will never discover truth." First of all because I disagree with the unstated assumption that spiritual experiences ALONE are a better way to discover truth. And second because sometimes (though certainly not always) it can. 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 (possibly 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! And for all the commotion about the evils of "anti-Mormon" writings, many disagreements aren't over WHETHER these things happened or not, but WHY.
The true question as I see it is whether or not a person is willing to consider these truths in combination with their spiritual experiences in considering whether or not the Mormon church is "true." I believe God gave us intelligence for a reason just as He gave us a spiritual nature for a reason. And I believe that He expects us to use both of them to the best of our ability in this life."
|Subject:||Welcome aboard TXLurker|
|Date:||Mar 02 20:55|
|I was where you are one and a half years ago. Just
remember, there's no rush or deadline to make a decision. Take your
time. You don't have to make waves with your TBM support network right
now, so there's nothing to worry about. Research your questions on your
time and on your own terms. Look at all sides of the issue. I would tell
you to look for 'objective' sources, but there really are none. People
are people and everyone has a bias, so don't worry about it. Read
everything, pro-mormon, anti-mormon, and everything in between and make
up your own mind. I would also highly recommend reading books on
controlling religions in general that aren't about Mormonism in
particular. A good one that really opened my mind was 'Combating cult
mind control' by Steven Hassan. It doesn't say one word about the mormon
church, but describes abusive cults. You can make up your own mind about
how the church fits into that book. Another book that has become one of
my personal standard works is 'Demon Haunted World' by Carl Sagan. No
mention of Mormonism, but it is a Bible for clear and logical thinking.
A wise man said the person who refuses to read anything that would
challenge their beliefs is no different than the person who can't read
Good luck, please stay active on this board:)
|Subject:||Gaining certain knowledge|
|Date:||Mar 02 20:56|
|I don't believe that certain knowledge is possible.
Now don't misunderstand me--I don't believe that all
ideas/opinions/beliefs are equally justifiable or valid. There are some
things I am as certain of as I believe it possible. On the other hand,
it IS possible that I was abducted by aliens, had memories of my
childhood implanted in my head, and am really just a brain in a jar, or
someone stuck in the Matrix. I don't think I can disprove such things
but they seem so unlikely to me that I don't bother. Besides, there
doesn't seem to be anything I could do about it so I stick with what I
can do and what I can change.
Ask yourself what you want out of life. Do you just want to make your family happy? What will that cost you in terms of church commitments? What would you do otherwise? Party? Volunteer work? More family time? What makes you happy? Would leaving the church set a good example by showing that you're willing to stick up for what you believe in? What rules/policies that the church has/had seem almost definitely wrong/hypocritical? Think of blacks and the priesthood, or the old defense of polygamy and their hypocritical denial of gay marriage--not that I'm saying homosexuality is good or bad.
As an atheist I find happiness with my family too, but I find more fulfillment by sticking up for what I believe to be the truth. It's not easy to gamble all you presently know for the truth. It may not be worth it to all people, but it is so sweet to freely live according to all truth as best as I know how.
In your quest for knowledge, don't forget your emotions. God/nature gave them to you for a good reason. But don't let them over-rule your brain. You need both to see clearly what will bring happiness. It is my opinion that truth and goodness are there own reward. If God is going to punish me for being sincere, then I want nothing to do with him.
And don't forget that the so-called righteous have their miserable/trying moments too. Many have had to sacrifice family ties for they believed was the truth.
If you choose to remain the church, then good luck. I hope that whatever path you choose you do so because you find it to be the truth and not because it's easy or just feels better. I have felt feelings of great happiness since I have been able to be honest with myself and a lot more understanding of others.
I choose my alias because I will never give up my search for more truth. Please don't ever give up yours.
|Subject:||Use the scientific method and avoid circular reasoning.|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:47|
|The scientific method is the best method available
for true knowledge. I'm not saying that it's flawless, but it allows for
self-correction unlike faith which is almost impossible to challenge or
verify. Science can admit when it's wrong.
Be careful about circular reasoning:
The church is true because the prophet says so.
The prophet is the prophet because the church says so.
They are all true because the spirit says so.
The sprit is the right one because the church says so.
The church is true...etc.
search for "Round in Circles" or "Costello"
|Subject:||I've been through all that you've mentioned.|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:02|
|As a lifelong member - RM, high council, bishopric
and the whole shooting match - I first had doubts at around age forty. I
kept reading and avoided obvious 'anti' books. As time passed, a great
deal of indisputable evidence became obvious to me and at age 48, I
stopped going to church. I sent a letter to the bishop and other key
leaders, telling them that I needed a 'time-out' to figure certain
personal issues out. I'm still doing that, four years later, and have
not resigned my membership. Inactivity is acceptable to Mormons but
resigning membership (open rebellion) is not. The secret is to take your
time, giving everything you discover plenty of thought and study time.
There is no urgency and, deep down, you know that you are sincerely
trying to find the truth - and that has to be acceptable to God.
Unfortunately, whether deliberately or unwittingly, the church uses the
time-worn but affective tactic of labeling anything that isn't strictly
'party-line' as 'anti'. This has the affect of discouraging members from
studying anything that isn't considered kosher by church leaders. It
also means that most members are spectacularly ignorant of even basic
information regarding the history/doctrine/culture of the church. I am
one of those who believe that the full truth has nothing to fear. I am
currently reading Grant Palmer's book 'An Insider's view Of Mormon
Origins' in which he quotes church leaders who have said that the church
should be able to stand the very strongest scrutiny - in fact they
welcome it. In doing so, I'm not sure that those leaders realized themselves the nature of some of the true facts that would be brought to
light and the doubt that they would cast on the very basis on which the
church is founded. Good luck in your quest for the truth and don't take
too much notice of a small group of firebrands and red-necks who inhabit
this board and sometimes give it a bad name. There are plenty of
intelligent, clear thinkers here who are of great help.
|Subject:||You took the blue pill, and it's crashing down|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:07|
|I dunno if you've seen the Matrix, but buddy, you've
awakened to reality and it hurts like hell. The ramifications will be
huge and the world will be scary for awhile, but you will become an
authentic person for it.
It seems absolutely impossible that it could be false, but it is, and it was always a hoax from the start. You speak about personal revelation and the feelings you get. Those feelings are domesticated, you've learned them and attributed them to God's influence. This is not correct.
The Mocult is all a facade, all a made up. man made corporation. Look at it this way, the current Prophet of the church was completely duped by a man named Mark Hoffman back in '84. The PROPHET was unable to see through a fakery, a hoax and a liar! If HE cannot use his god-prompted feelings, what in the world makes you think YOU can? None of it is real.
|Subject:||You described fairly well ...|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:13|
|the experience I had upon discovering this stuff
less than two years ago. My story is at http://mccue.cc/bob/spirituality.htm
The two essays likely to be most helpful to you are near the bottom of
the post mormon page - "Religious Belief ..." and "Should
I Join ..." The neurological underpinnings of the powerful feelings
you describe on which our testimonies are based are described in the
essay "Out of My Faith" starting at about page 77.
Rest assured that there is wonderful light and joy on the other side of the difficulty you are now going through.
All the best,
|Subject:||Re: Is the church a fraud? How can I know?|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:13|
|I'm a BIC Mormon and, after learning of the many
problems and inconsistencies respecting the history of the church and
the actions of its past and current leaders, I'm feeling frustrated,
mad, conflicted, overwhelmed and confused.
Which is all very appropriate. The Mormon interpretation of this is that you're feeling a "spirit of contention", but really you're just reacting the same way Truman was on The Truman Show: you've discovered that much of what you thought was reality is untrue, and that's horribly upsetting.
I hope the people here can help. exmormon.org isn't the best place on the internet to discover all the problems with the LDS church, but it does seem to be the best place for people trying to cope with the feelings of betrayal resulting from those discoveries.
I find myself asking whether it could be possible that the historical accounts revealing the character and morality flaws that JS appears to have exhibited are mistaken?
Yes, it is. In fact, I'd bet that some of them are mistaken. Lots of people will lie for personal gain; Joseph Smith, Jr. wasn't the only one.
Fortunately, you don't have to rely on possibly "anti-Mormon" accounts - there are lines of evidence convicting Smith's fraud from a dozen different directions, most of which are based on where canonized scripture and pro-Mormon sources contradict themselves, each other, universal ethics, and objective, repeatable science. Pay no attention to what Hurlibut (sp?) or Bennett said if you don't trust them; I wouldn't trust them either. Pay attention to Joseph Smith's failed prophecies and anachronistic scriptures instead; you'll still have enough evidence to prove fraud, and you won't have to trust anybody to do it.
I am confused because when attending church, I, at times, have felt good, positive, and warm feelings that, until now, I always have equated with the fruits of the Spirit – the way that God communicates and validates truth.
There are lots of sources of good feelings. If someone had told me on the morning of 2001-09-11 that the terrorist attack reports were all an elaborate hoax, I would have felt wonderful for as long as I could believe them. A story can make you feel good not because it's true, but because it would be nice if it were true. And yes: believing that you are specifically part of God's plan for the universe, that you have the keys to immortal Godhood, and generally that the often-malevolent world is actually under the omnipotent control of a benevolent being... these things will give you good feelings. Those are emotions, not evidence. Discovering information that seems to contradict cherished or even just long-held beliefs, that will give you bad feelings. Those are also emotions, not evidence.
IMHO, the doctrine of personal revelation is meaningful.
If it is, then it's not meaningful to very many people. Some Mormon apologists can believe that many of Brigham Young's revelations (about blacks, polygamy, Adam=God etc.) were "just speaking as a man" and yet their own "revelations" are infallible, but that doesn't pass the giggle test for me.
How does one know whether he or she is being duped?
The same way you would know if a scientific instrument is malfunctioning: by using it to examine a known quantity, and seeing how accurate it seems. In this particular case, to pick one example, when Joseph Smith said, "I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left, for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished", he was basically proving to anyone who was still paying attention a few years later that Mormon revelation is worthless. Look at any of Brigham Young's racist predictions or any more of Joseph Smith's failed prophecies and you'll come to the same conclusion: they weren't getting real revelations, and if you've been getting revelations that say they were, then yours weren't real either.
Would God permit me to feel spiritual feelings while performing cult rituals? The answer has to be no, I think.
You're wrong. Why do you think people join cults? It's not because they've made a calm, logical decision to drink the Kool-Aid, it's because they're relying on their feelings instead of logic.
If you're still not convinced that your emotional responses aren't a good way to determine truth, you're not on the right bulletin board yet. After all, for all your emotions are telling you this place could be full of "the adversary's way of destroying the foundation of the church". Try hanging around some ex-Moonie, ex-Jehovah's Witness, etc. websites instead, so you can read the same sorts of stories but without any of the nagging doubts that those experiences might be coming from evil apostates.
|Subject:||are you in Austin?|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:22|
|In short, with the Cor 1. cite, you ask whether God
could allow confusion. Is that correct?
I would say that God not only allows it, God demands it. Our ability to be wrong, gain confusion, and develop a more coherent truth by resolution of facts and confusion, is what elevates us above the other animals. Confusion is a good signal that there is more to learn.
That's what I know about confusion. As for everything else, "spiritual feelings" in particular, these have everything to do with interpretation and assumptions.
I was a BIC mormon as well, but I learned to examine my assumptions when I wanted to become a scientist in high school. When I did that, and learned to consider the world from multiple angles, I found that there was no probable way that the claims of Mormonism could be true.
Good luck with your search.
|Subject:||First, commit yourself to accepting the truth, whatever it's implications are...|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:28|
|Second, try to be as objective as possible when
"studying out in your mind" whether or not Mormonism can be
all of the things that it claims to be (e.g., god's one and only true
church on Earth led by a living prophet, seer and revelator).
Try a mental experiment: Imagine that you are not BIC and that you are looking at the Church through the fresh eyes of an objective investigator. Then thoroughly research the claims and history of the religion as though it were just one of hundreds of competing religious sects competing for your devotion (and your money).
I did that and I realized that it had just as many problems (if not more) than the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Seventh-day Adventists, Hare Krishnaism and numerous other religious organizations that claim to have the "true way" and whose adherents also have "feelings" (typically feelings and interpretations thereof that are coached by the organization itself) that tell them that they are on the correct path.
If you were researching Religious Organization X, rather than the church in which you were born and raised, and learned that the founder persuaded married and under-age women to be intimate with him based on nothing more than his bald assertion that he was getting those instructions from god, would you be likely to accept that?
If the founder claimed to have translated an account of ancient inhabitants, but the content of the claimed translation was easily explained by plagiarism from contemporary sources and also included largely preposterous tales of a people who multiplied so rapidly, despite years of warfare, that they must have all entered puberty at age 2 and reproduced like rabbits, would you be likely to accept that?
If a Jehovah's Witness were to testify to you about the great feelings they get in their church, would you accept that as a basis for joining the Jehovah's Witnesses?
If a member of the Seventh-day Adventists were to tell you about all of their wonderful spiritual experiences and their inspired code of health that protects them, would you conclude that they must be the one and only true church?
I've had warm and wonderful feelings both as a TBM and as an exmo, so I know that the feelings are not indicators of the truthfulness of any particular religious organization or its claims.
Good luck on your journey and exploration. Once you begin exploring objectively, I think you'll find that everything falls into place and makes much more sense when you allow for the possibility that Mormonism is just a man-made religion.
You can drive yourself crazy, if you try to deny hard, cold facts and logic with the idea that such facts and logic are all nothing more than a deception perpetrated by Satan. Why? Because you have to realize that this argument can be used by literally any religious organization or belief system in the world to persuade followers to deny the reality staring them in the face and accept the authority of the priestcrafter who desire to control them. Many fundamentalist Christians actually claim that the "feelings" that Mormons get as confirmation of the truthfulness of Mormonism are just a deception of Satan.
|Subject:||The domino effect.......|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:34|
|A TBM's knows down inside what will happen when they
push the first domino. It is that the last one to fall will be rejection
by their friends/family.
The first domino is doubt. It doesn't matter how many are in between. For intellectuals there are often numerous dominos that will fall. I have always been envious of those who knew intuitively that the Church was a fraud and could get through the process quickly.
It is too late. You have pushed the first domino. There will be no going back.
At least it was for me.
|Subject:||Only you can answer that question|
|Date:||Mar 02 21:50|
|Take just ONE LDS teaching and analyze it, without
relying on "feelings." Does it make sense to you? Does the
evidence support it? Does it stand up to critical analysis?
If not, then try another one.
That's what I did, and found that Mormonism is like a house of cards. FWIW, I started with the Book of Mormon, the authenticity of which quickly crumbled under close scrutiny. Then, the "First Vision" went. After that, nothing else really mattered.
|Subject:||I am the oldest of five kids and a fifth generation Latter-day Saint. It's scary, I know.|
|Date:||Mar 02 22:20|
|I am so pleased that you received so many thoughtful
responses. I am a high priest, father of six, have had my oldest son
serve a mission, have two kids at BYU, and am married to a TBM convert.
I must warn you (as if you don't already know) that there will be much pain in getting enlightened and disassociating yourself. I suppose peace or sense of freedom or whatever else eventually comes, but I'm still in the middle of researching everything and it's mostly pain for me. I am overwhelmingly sad for everyone affected by what almost certainly is not what it claims to be.
As many have suggested, it will take time to come to a firm conclusion, one way or the other. Be patient with yourself, and with others, including board visitors, who may not appreciate where you are at in your journey.
|Subject:||If you believe God gave you the capacity to reason, then it is time to exercise that capacity.|
|Date:||Mar 02 22:21|
|Do you believe that the truth should be able to
withstand scrutiny? Do you believe that "the glory of God is
Then you need to begin reading, fearlessly. And the fact is, you can learn a lot without reading "anti" material: the History of the Church, Journal of Discourses, Studies of the Book of Mormon, current and past editions of the Doctrine and Covenants (and its predecessor, the Book of Commandments) can give you more than enough to get started. When you feel ready, there is plenty more out there, including plenty written by past and present church members.
And whenever a GA's words about the truth coming through faith, and not through study, make you hesitate, remember something: the LDS church has invested a great deal of money and time on scientific research, including (to name just a few): archaeological studies in Central America; expert examination of the Kinderhook Plates; expert examination of the BofA papyrus; and — quite recently — a massive DNA study, intended to show once and for all that Native Americans were descended from Hebrews. The fact that all of these were dead ends is important, but think also about what the very fact of these efforts means, in the context of the teaching that truth comes through faith: contrary to the faith teachings, the church has continued to grasp at any opportunity to shore up its claims with study. Why should you not have the same opportunity?
Read, discuss, and most of all, think. Don't hold yourself to a standard of absolute certainty (hard to come by in a complex world); that's a recipe for a lot of self-doubt. Instead, judge on the weight of the evidence.
Finally (and this is very important), give yourself permission to revise your conclusions over time. Everything we learn in life, everything we experience, changes the way in which we view the world around us. The principle (not exclusive to Mormonism, but definitely espoused in Mormon culture) that once we declare a certain set of beliefs, we must stick with it, is not only naïve — it's also pernicious and damaging. It forces us to go to sleep, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
|Subject:||Hang in there, brother--|
|Date:||Mar 02 23:12|
|trying to uncover the truth is almost always a rough
ride. It's hard to know what to believe. Follow your heart and mind.
Don't rely on anything or anyone but yourself and your God. Rely on
yourself and your God only--not Moroni or Nephi or Isaiah, not the Book
of Mormon or the Bible or Pearl of Great Price, not Joseph Smith or
Brigham Young or Zephaniah--these are all just men and the works of
men... You are just as prescious as they. Indeed, much more so than most
of the above.
I was baptized into the LDS church twenty-five years ago. I discovered this week, through my own diligent studies on the "cursed" internet, that I made a mistake. I always had doubts lingering in the back of my mind concerning the truthfulness of the church, but was not able to confirm them--either because it was too hard to find information or because I was "advised" to not try. I was only to obey. I did not have internet access to the truth. I only knew what I was told by my "faithful leaders".
Do not mindlessly conform to the notion that LDS dogma is the "Word of God", and that doubting it or questioning it will damn you to hell. There's only you, brother, and your internal compass. Use the mind that your God gave you and examine the facts. Search diligently for the truth.
There is no shame in seeking the truth. If the LDS church is true, it will survive scrutiny. If it's not, it won't.
It's hard to get immediate answers. This is a battle you're going to have to wage for yourself and your soul, and it will take much effort.
As for me, TXLurker, to hell with Joseph Smith and his God-forsaken mischief. He acted to get gain. He was not inspired by God. If there is a hell, he is there.
|Subject:||Well, first of all, they take your money, and you get nothing in return. nt|
|Subject:||Like Nick Said|
|Date:||Mar 03 00:30|
1. Grab your copy of _Teachings of the Prophet JS_.
2. Dabble around in it, or read it, or whatever.
3. Ask yourself: Would you buy a used car from this man?
4. Ask yourself: Is this JS the same JS that GBH & co. talk about?
Doesn't work every time, but it can be a good eye-opener.
|Subject:||Re: Is the church a fraud? How can I know? -- Thanks|
|Date:||Mar 03 05:02|
|I sincerely appreciate the thoughtful responses each
of you have posted. This feels like the beginning of a very long
|Subject:||Re: Is the church a fraud? How can I know?|
|Date:||Mar 03 05:25|
|A lot of good posts - excellent information.
Like many people have posted here - be true to yourself.
Welcome to the board. Good luck in your search.
|Subject:||Go with what personally makes sense to you. There is no hurry to make this major decision to leave the Mormon Church.|