Subject: Why are Mormons so afraid of discussing the issues?
Date: Nov 21, 2007
Author: Skeptical (Odell Campbell)

Several years ago when I first learned of the troubling truth of the Mormon story, I found very few willing to discuss the concerns my learning had encountered.

When I first stumbled across troublesome accounts of the Book of Mormon witnesses, achronisms in the Book of Mormon, Smith’s illicit practice of polygamy, non-harmonious accounts of the alleged First Vision, Masonic origins of the temple ceremony, I was a bit startled.

Prior to this experience, I had never looked deeply into church history, although I considered myself fairly knowledgeable about church history. I understood that “anti-Mormons” had grievances but I had always assumed that their problems with Mormonism were based on ignorance or a bias against my faith. I had also assumed that their concerns could be easily explained, answered or understood. In my mind, I had expected their issues to be “Why do Mormons have horns?” or “Why do Mormons have drunken orgies in the temple?” (I had actually heard these as a Mormon from obviously misinformed people).

So when I began reading actual concerns I was taken aback by the tone, intelligence and maturity of others’ problems with the LDS church. However, I was still confident that the questions merited answers which, with some in-depth research, would leave me more fully aware and understanding of my existing immature faith. In other words, the questions were more serious than I had imagined, yet my faith and testimony assured me that I would come out with a deeper and richer understanding of it.

However, the more I read from knowledgeable sources, the more my despair grew. A quiet uneasiness began to develop. I began to feel panicky about what I was learning. The case for Mormonism was shrinking, not growing.

After I researched on my own, I began to seek out those whom I respected for help in finding answers which would result in me finding a way to stay within the church. These people included my father, the bishop I was a counselor to, and others such as historians, and a former mission president.

Most were active members. Among this group I found two sorts, the ignorant and the affected. The “affected” knew everything I knew and more and had either left the church or had decided to play along with the charade. The ignorant were unwilling to research or discuss my concerns. Eventually I was told by those I trusted the most to stop researching and to stop discussing my concerns.

During this process, one relative called and asked me to have an “open mind.” (That’s what got me to research my concerns in the first place). I told her that I would keep my mind open and asked her to do the same – to keep an open mind. She told me she wouldn’t. When I asked her why she expected me to keep an open-mind when refusing to do the same, she replied because she knew she was “right!”

Since I decided to “leave” the church, I sometimes come into contact with those unwilling to fathom my departure from the church. All of these people avoid discussing “why” I left.

No one who approaches me wants or is willing to speak to the merits of my concerns.

Why?

I suspect these people are afraid of the truth, of the real truth. I suspect that they would rather choose faith based on ignorance than truth obtained by challenging assumptions. So, to these people I say you have your faith; please find a way to deal with your doubts by not attacking those who approach the issue with integrity for truth.

 

Subject: You should read this...
Date: Nov 21 20:41
Author: Creamhorn

It's long, posted circa 1997...
http://www.exmormon.org/whylft44.htm

 

Subject: I am from Oklahoma
Date: Nov 21 20:57
Author: wakingup

and had been a member of the church for 37 years. We had been in the same ward for 30 years and moved 2 years ago, and found out in this new area where we haven't really made close friends. My husband now feels the same, that the church is just lies, etc. If we would have found out back there, it would have been so much harder as we really had close relationships with the members. I know they would not believe that we were leaving the church and I can't imagine talking to them about the things we learned. But we will be moving back and hope to continue some of those friendships so we will have to tell them. My husband wants to wait till we get back. It will be interesting to say the least!

 

Subject: Because they'll let the truth out of the bag.
Date: Nov 21 21:10
Author: Deborah

Many counselors know that in talking or writing things out, we release all the mental clutter and let the truth out.

Clearly the leaders know this, hence to prohibition on studying the goshbull in "unauthorized" groups outside of appropriate cult indoctrination settings.

 

Subject: A testimony of Mormonism does not ever require an understanding of the "issues."
Date: Nov 21 21:12
Author: SusieQ#1

Only a few pieces of information are necessary, and those are testified to but not discussed.

Most Mormons in my experience, do not know much about Mormonism's history, or even who the current apostles are.

They blindly follow, living in fear someone will say something that will shatter their flimsy testimony.

 

Subject: Re: Why are Mormons so afraid of discussing the issues?
Date: Nov 21 21:17
Author: Christy219

Wow. What you write sounds so much like the way I've been feeling these past months.

Like all church members, I knew that there was plenty of anti-mormon literature available. I always felt like if I read it I was sort of aiding and abetting them. I felt like they were all part of Satan's plan to undermind the truth, and that knowing that stuff existed was all I needed to know. I felt like my faith was so strong that the anti-church (and I use that term loosely, because much of what I've found is not bitter anti stuff) literature was of no concern to me. I was 1000% sure that it would yeild nothing for me.

Then I went to the temple. Yikes.

Then I was scared to death to find out that the church wasn't true. I was scared to death to be made a first rate fool. I just knew that no mortal man could come up with something that ridiculous and MILLIONS of people buy into it. I felt like I was wrong, and they were right. Then I eased my way into uncovering bits and pieces of mormon history. The PBS documentary was a god-send for me. It got me thinking in a way I'd never done before. It made some claims about JS that troubled me...made me want to dig a little deeper.

Maybe a lot of mormons are like my former self. So amazingly confident that they don't feel like wasting their time--not because they're afraid of anything.

 

Subject: Re: Why are Mormons so afraid of discussing the issues?
Date: Nov 21 22:56
Author: anonymous NOM

Your story sounds just like mine. I too thought the anti problems were things like horns, throwing people into the great salt lake, offended at church, etc... when I found out the truth I freaked out and went into a nearly paralyzed state for about a week out of fear of being shunned and ridiculed, so I just laid in bed with the issues running through my brain at a mile a minute. Finally, I decided to talk about it and the only person who I have talked to and lets me talk openly about it is my TBM mom. She now knows, but doesn't really care, and still goes to church as does my dad and 4 of their 6 children....

 

Subject: It's mostly fear . . .
Date: Nov 22 01:09
Author: imaworkinonit

Fear of "losing the spirit" by listening to "anti" stuff.

Then there is discomfort: Often when people listen to stuff that challenges their testimony they feel bad or uncomfortable inside, and they interpret that as meaning they shouldn't listen anymore. (In fact, they have been trained to avoid things that make them feel bad inside). They don't realize that the truth can be uncomfortable at times or that unpleasant feelings don't necessarily mean "not true".

Survival mode: I think people suspect that they are no match for any well documented information that would challenge their beliefs. I think they know on some level how fragile their faith is. They also know that if they stopped believing they could lose their social standing, their community, and maybe even their job and family. I think this is the root of why people fight so hard to preserve their faith. I don't think it's a conscious effort, so much as a human drive for security and a sense of belonging.

Then there is arrogance: I think some people just think they KNOW the truth and they don't really care to deal with facts or evidence, especially if they are already convinced that the sources are liars or severely misguided. Why listen to the other guy when you already know you're right? Usually the most arrogant (in ANY setting) are the ones who have the most to learn.

Then there are economics: What do TBMs stand to gain by listening to negative stuff about the church (from their point of view)? They're just going spend a lot of time to get frustrated and upset, and maybe have their world turned upside down. Who would want that, especially if they've been taught that their life would go down the tubes without the church? It really isn't that appealing to most Mormons.

I wouldn't have picked it. But I thought the church would stand up to scrutiny. Oops.

No regrets now, though.

 

Subject: Feel the same way
Date: Nov 22 01:45
Author: rt

Your story sounds somewhat like mine; I also thought I was knowledgeable on all the issues.

In a way I was, but my perspective was very warped by the Mormon mindset. I look at the same issues differently now. Also, I have found I was not as knowledgeable as I was and unwittingly fell for the party line hook, line & sinker.

I am also very concerned about the impending financial crisis, which will personally affect everybody. I've tried to warn people to take protective measures but it's like saying to a TBM that the BOM has issues. I learned that (1) it's no use, people won't listen and (2) you'll lose your friends in the process.

It's the same with Mormonism. It's very hard to tell your story. The TBM's don't care, don't understand or are afraid and the rest of the world doesn't care. The only place to go to is RFM! Thank you Eric.

I'm now writing a book to get it out of my system but I'm pretty sure nobody will ever read it as it probably won't get published: I'm not a writer and, again, nobody cares. My only edge may be the inside perspective in a rather small language area (Dutch), so who knows. I can always self-publish, haha.

 

Subject: Some of them know or suspect the same as you. BUT...
Date: Nov 22 05:14
Author: Matt

They don't want to know it.

They are comfortable living a lie, as it brings them comfort.

They'd rather live a lie than have to face the truth.

 

Subject: When I was active in the church I didn't really care about the "issues"
Date: Nov 22 05:33
Author: They don't want me back

I just wanted to have a church to go to, take my kids to the programs, participate in activities. I wasn't having any problems with the church, until I got a divorce, then I had a lot of suspicious people looking a me, and I knew that they wanted to take up where my ex left off. They would tell me what to do, what to think, how to feel, and I would handle all the responsibility, while they ran my life. I met a great guy, and I wasn't going to get him to join the church to be with me, and from there on I wised up.

 

Subject: This issue has been one of the most interesting...fascinating actually...
Date: Nov 22 10:03
Author: Pocahontas

as I examine why people believe what they believe and then cling desperately to those beliefs (without my mormon goggles on now).

If studying or even thinking about potentially damning evidence or information jeopardizes the person's spiritual foundation, that person instinctively closes his ear and mind to that information. It amazes me how intelligent people use what I would consider responsible reasonable and rational thought process in practically every situation...except for religion/spirituality. Once the information conflicts with their current beliefs, they make incredible illogical leaps and use irresponsible and downright silly thought processes to find answers or excuses that will preserve their comfortable and stable but primitive worldview.

I have a friend who is a neurosurgeon. It fascinated me to hear him explain a surgical procedure he had invented and then, just moments later, his mental processes completely changed as he explained away the problems with BOM. It was as if he had two brains...one that allowed him to be one of the top neurosurgeons in the country and the other that would allow him to continue his belief in mormonism. One brain demanded an understanding of science and evidence. The other ignored it.

Fascinating.

Gotta go cook some pies! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

 

Subject: Because the "issues" aren't necessary for salvation...
Date: Nov 23 08:48
Author: transplanted

I've had this same discussion with Bishops and EQ Presidents while in my studies. All of them have counseled me to avoid these "issues" as they are causing questions that will lead me away from the "truth".

At first it made me angry that they would counsel someone away from seeking the truth, now it's just funny.

The obvious answer is that the simply don't want to go down that road as they know where it leads and there is no real explanation to those issues that puts the church in a positive light.

The thing that always bothered me about this was they would challenge me to pray and fast about the truthfulness of the "gospel". But that places the lack of an answer on me. If I do it and don't feel the spirit confirming the truth, it must be that "I" wasn't doing it with a sincere heart, or "I" wasn't worthy, or that God was testing "my" resolve.

The answer is never that the church isn't divine or is based on a foundation of lies. It's always going to be "my" fault.

 

Subject: That's because they already know.
Date: Nov 23 08:52
Author: Makurosu

They know without a shadow of a doubt that you were weak, offended, and probably couldn't live the Gospel. They feel sorry for you and are willing to friendship you back into the fold, though, if it will help you in your fallen state. Too bad about Brother Campbell. He seems like such a smart guy.

 

Subject: Because it's a church for men and women are indoctrinated to be comfortable in the dark
Date: Nov 23 11:56
Author: jacyn

Most well-read members of the church are men. It seems to me that very few women who truly understand church history stay in the church. But if you're a man and a horn dog who wants to have his own worlds and an infinite number of women, what's not to love? Why the hell wouldn't you embrace the teachings of JS? An infinite eternal harem to look forward to ...

But most members don't know about the bad historical facts. No one is comfortable arguing about something they don't know. We in the church are highly discouraged from learning too much about church history. We are taught to rely on our faith and to accept the idea that someday, all things will be revealed. Yet if the history didn't contradict the current teachings, one would expect Sunday School and RS and PH lessons would include important historical excerpts, rather than the brief watered down fare. Wouldn't it make sense for a people to understand their own history better than their critics? Well, yeah ...

 

Subject: Issues? What issues? There are no issues! Not if you're in touch with the Holy Spirit.
Date: Nov 23 15:52
Author: Jenny

There is no dissension in the Gospel. Dissension and misunderstanding come to those who aren't living the commandments.

If you have issues or are questioning (or admitting to your conscious mind that you HAVE questions) then you must have distanced yourself in some way from the Spirit.

Or maybe you were just offended.

------

I think that's why there's no discussion. If they were to open themselves up to your "issues" then they would be exposing themselves to your lack of the Spirit and putting their own souls in danger.


I had questions my entire time in the church, but kept them safely stashed on the shelf and wouldn't discuss them. If anyone around me ever had questions, I never knew it, except for the one friend who converted because of us in Switzerland and left within months. That was it and I saw that as her just not being able to accept the Spirit.

 

Subject: thanks for sharing, Skeptical. When I was TBM
Date: Nov 24 03:45
Author: charles, buddhist punk

I was conditioned and brainwashed on the premise that those who question TSCC [this so called church] were being tempted/controlled by satan. To engage a questioning individual was to risk being "infected" by the possession/control of the "adversary".

Of course no one explained exactly how one could be controlled much less possessed by the devil, it was just something one supposed was true. based on scriptural teaching.

When I left the church, I did not resign. that is not done here in the Philippines, one just upped and never came back. I met briefly with my closest friends. they cautiously asked my reasons and I explained as calmly as I could. somehow Paul Dunn was brought up, and they conceded the point [no use denying public knowledge]. but they spouted the usual apologetics on how members were not perfect. never mind that Paul Dunn's writing was read by the worldwide church membership.

The look on their faces, priceless. it seemed like I had some disease and they kept their distance. their general tone was that they were listening to some crazed inmate's rants. oh, well. at least I know and recognize their game better than they do.

Related topic: 485.  Mormon Church Keeps its Members in Isolation

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