Subject: Letter from my brother on learning I resigned from BYU and left the church and my response
Date: May 27 2004
Author: Mojo Jojo

I do not know if I've revealed this here before, but I was for many years a member of the faculty at BYU. I remained on the faculty for several years after concluding that the Mormon church was a fraud, while I worked in the background to build a new career. At last, after 4 years, I finally resigned from BYU and started my own consulting business. RfM played a key role in helping me find the will to take the courage of my convictions and admit to myself that the Mormon Church was false. For some time immediately thereafter, I posted as "Patton." I subsequently left RfM, but returned later, due to frustrations dealing with my TBM family, and my continuing immersion in Mormon culture, and began reposting as "Mojo Jojo."

When I resigned from BYU, I sent a letter to my siblings announcing my resignation, and informing them I was starting my own business. I sincerely wanted to share an important event in my life with my family. I did not mention the church in my letter. My oldest brother wrote back one sentence, "Am I supposed to congratulate you on what you're destroying and throwing away." He later sent me another letter. I am posting this letter below. I am also posting my response to him. It is long, but I hope worth it. When I find time (work is very busy), I hope to write my "exit" story.

Dear Mojo:

Now that you have responded and ventured a guess as to what I was saying, this gives me the opportunity to express to you what I was really referring to.

We have had a son go on a mission and return with honor. Two of our children are married in the temple. Of the six kids in the family I am the only one so far that has had these experiences and therefore, the only that can testify of what they are like. There are no words sufficient in the human language to express the great joy these wondrous occasions have brought into my life and the life our small family. While Jamie was being married in the temple by her Grandfather, with family all around me, there came into my mind and heart a witness as sure as any witness I have ever received of what I was watching and of the power of the those things we hold so sacred.

When we were in Provo this last February Kerry and I were able to spend several days with our two married children and their spouses. These few days together with my wife and the four of them were very special days. At my sons request I was able to prepare myself, give him a fathers blessing and pronounce promises upon his head as he prepares to launch his life into the world now that he is done with school. And from this experience the weaving of our love and appreciation for each other bound ever tighter.

And likewise our daughter Kristin is a treasure and delight. It has been wonderful to have her at home while she goes to school locally. My wife and I, together, love our children and their spouses. There is no earthly treasure that could even begin to equal the value of the eternal nature of our relationships that we enjoy bonded by our mutual devotion and dedication to the principles of righteousness. The supernal joy that one can have in his posterity is indeed a reality.

Mojo, these priceless family experiences you will never enjoy. You may argue and contend that you can have your own experiences that, in your eyes, may be just as significant; but, I tell you as one that has experienced them you will never witness anything in your life that will even come close to these.

The gulf that exists in your family and married life, if allowed to continue, will only widen and deepen. And ultimately your family system will break down. In the long run it simply will not be able to endure the stress. If you want to look at this logically and have an example of what I am referring to, all you have to do is look your brother Curt. (NOTE: BY BROTHER CURT IS GAY AND FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, LEFT THE CHURCH.) What has his defiance brought him? Do his kids honor and respect him? Does he have a wife that cherishes and loves him? Does he have a family he can call his own? What or who does he have? He has worked hard over these years to cut his ties to the family and the essence of what bonded us altogether. And what does he have to show for it? Everything he asked for and more. If this is what you want, then feel free to pursue it. But remember, the law of the harvest is a reality. You do reap what you sow.

My dear brother Mojo perhaps my words will mean nothing to you and they simply fall on barren ground. If so, then I have said my peace and our lives will go on. You do have the right to make your own choices, but with those choices you have to accept the consequences. I felt it important to speak plainly to you. You can use logic to justify anything you want to do. Even murderers use twisted logic to commit their heinous deeds. But as one having experienced the Truth in the lives of his family and posterity, you will never - never find anything that can take the place of that Truth.



Dear Robert:

I apologize that it’s taken me so long to write back. I’ve been very busy with work and traveling almost incessantly the last month, that it was hard to find time. Plus I wanted to collect my thoughts and not just respond hastily. In my experience, letter writing in the Jojo family only provokes anger, antipathy, and more bitterness. I am confident that this will only produce more of the same, yet your letter contained so much that just begged for response, that I felt compelled to respond, if only to assert my dignity as a person, and to stake my claim as a moral agent, exercising free will and moral choice, someone who has made an important life choice with his eyes fully open, having contemplated at length the course he is taking. I am not some poor, misguided, lost sheep aimlessly, hopelessly, and pathetically wandering around having lost hold of the iron rod. This is, in my experience, the Mormon mindset toward those who leave the fold: they are not moral agents, capable of choosing right from wrong, but “lost sheep;” a characterization which to me denies them their capacity for moral choice, dehumanizes them, and belittles their life’s experience, which for whatever reason has led them down a different path than the one the true believer would have chosen.

I guess I should be touched by your expression of concern. From the fact that you’ve never actually shown an interest in my life, my career, my family, what I think, or why I think it, I might have concluded that you did not really care that much. Your letter shows differently, you do care. Or at least once you realized that I had rejected the “truth,” all your dormant concern for me, my life, and my family came bubbling to the surface. So in truth it is hard for me to discern whether your concern is really for ME or for the fact that I’ve rejected what YOU hold dear.

Had you found it in yourself to actually wish me luck, or offer some genuine expression of goodwill for me in this new phase of my life, something that would have been very easy to do and relatively painless (that’s all I wanted from you and the others, a simple “good luck Mojo, we wish you the best”), I would find your sudden expression of love and concern for me more credible. But for whatever reason, it violates some sense of honor, decency, morality, or what (I don’t know) in you to wish an apostate good luck and happiness in his life.

It appears clear from your letter that you have discounted any possibility that my choice might be based on anything like legitimate reasons. No, I suppose not. That would not be consistent with the Mormon mindset that the gospel is so wonderful, so self-evidently true, that only those possessed of some kind of character flaw cannot see it.

Your letter expresses the very kind of mindset that I find so distasteful about Mormon doctrine and culture. (I do not believe it possible to create a clear distinction between Mormon doctrine and culture. The one informs the other. They are so intertwined, that disentangling them is a hopeless venture.) It is the “we are more righteous than others,” “we are happier than others,” “we love our children more than others,” “we are more devoted to our families than others,” “we have the truth and not the others;” the narrow, ego-centric, elitist, and arrogant belief that somehow Mormons live on a plane of experience more elevated than the rest of humanity.

This conclusion flows very logically from the belief in the “spirit” as the sole source of divine truth. For if the spirit witnesses the truth of Mormonism, and if there’s only one truth, then logic dictates that it cannot witness likewise witness the truth of other religions. So, by clear logical extension, therefore, the witness of truth claimed by those of other faiths lacks the same degree of validity as a Mormon’s. Their spiritual experiences that lead them to different conclusions than a true believing Mormon’s are somehow deficient, less real, less meaningful. It is not too far a leap from this to the conclusion that their life’s experiences also somehow lack the same validity. This is the sentiment displayed in your letter. Because my life’s experiences have led me to a different conclusion than yours, my life’s experiences lack the same validity as yours. Thus I can never hope to achieve your level of joy. After all, “true happiness can only be found in the gospel”

OK, let’s think for a second about the argument made in your letter that only those who experience what you have can really know joy. A simple math exercise should do the trick. According to the U.S. Census Bureau ( , the population of the earth today is approximately 6,400,000,000. Of these, approximately 12,000,000 are Mormons. This is equal to .0019, or 0.19% of the earth’s population. Now, of the 12,000,000 Mormons, let’s be real generous and say 1/2of them actually attend church (world-wide more like ¼). Of these let’s generously say ½ are temple recommend worthy and actually attend the temple. This leaves us with 3,000,000 temple worthy and temple going Mormons out of 6.4 billion people on earth. This is .00046, or 0.046% of the earth’s population.

Now consider that an estimated 106,456,367,669 billion people have been born on this planet over its history ( If we conservatively estimate 20,000,000 Mormons since the founding of the LDS church, this is equal to 0.00018787, or 0.018%.

Thus, if I understand your arguments correctly, only .046% of the people who currently inhabit this planet, and only 0.018% of those born into mortality on this earth have or have had the same opportunities as you to experience joy and happiness?

The logical implications of your argument lead to a number of questions. First, what do we make out of all the billions of non-Mormons who have lived on this planet who think they are happy? What about those believe they have experienced true joy? What about the billions of parents who have shed tears of joy at the marriage of a loved daughter or son? What about the billions of parents who have rejoiced in the birth of a child? Is their joy merely an illusion? Is their joy a sort of counterfeit emotion? Why is your joy imbued with meaning and theirs somehow lacking in it?

I am forced to ask whether someone who makes this argument has made any effort to observe the world around him. There is, outside of Mormonism’s rather restrictive confines, a world of experiences. In a world of 6.4 billion people, there are 6.4 billion experiences. Each of them unique; each of them of value—the same value as you, I, or anyone else. Our thoughts, our actions, our beliefs, our values, our joy, our happiness, our joy, our anger, our sadness are the product of these unique experiences. Based on these experiences, people choose different paths in life. Sometimes, often, our choices are constrained, sometimes they are freely chosen. But in most cases, they are made by people mucking through life as best they can, with what knowledge they have, and the abilities and resources at their disposal. These 6.4 billion people, like you and me, are searching for meaning, happiness, joy—something—in their lives. Yet you deign to suggest that unless they choose the path you have chosen then somehow their lives, their choices, their happiness, their joy, their sadness, etc. are less valid than yours?

I might ask you this simple question. What make you right and everyone else wrong? What insight into the cosmos and the human condition do you possess that has escaped 99.99% of all other people who have inhabited this planet? Why would God choose to bless you with his truth and withhold his truth from all his other children? Just what makes you so special?

Does it begin to dawn on you how breathtakingly arrogant your argument is?

There is a world of human experience just waiting to be discovered if you could just for a moment take off the egocentric blinders of Mormon dogma with which you have blinkered yourself.

My path out of Mormonism began once I started traveling the world for work. As I tried to force the world, and human experience, I observed into the box of Mormonism, I found it increasingly difficult to make it fit. The simple platitudes I had been taught from youth about how the world operated became increasingly irrelevant, because they had so little application to the lives of the people surrounding me. I came to realize that Mormonism is a tiny island in an ocean of human experience. Once I realized I was so wrong about how the world worked, I began to ask whether I was wrong about other things. It is a dangerous thing to question one’s own infallibility, because once you realize that being wrong is not only quite normal, but an integral part of being human, then all the simple convictions one has held so tightly for so long are caste in an entirely different light. (Contrast this to the Mormon position that questioning one’s beliefs is at best character weakness and at worst sin. That is, among Mormons only. It is perfectly OK—indeed courageous and honest—for non-Mormons to question their beliefs, particularly if it leads to joining the Mormon Church.) The trouble with Mormon theology is that it is so wrong on so many levels that the process of honestly questioning one’s beliefs leads to a cascading of discoveries that don’t stop until they reach at the inescapable conclusion: Mormonism is yet one more man-made religion. Invented by men and led by men. Men as fallible as you or me who possess no more a pipeline to God than anyone else.

Another question your argument raises is what do we make of a God who has this wonderful gift of happiness, indeed the only true path to happiness, but who withholds it from 99.99% of his children? Why does he withhold his true happiness during thousands of years of the earth’s existence only to then to give it to his children through an obscure, totally insignificant, absolutely irrelevant Utah-based religious sect? (I’d say 0.046% qualifies as irrelevant.) This is the “wonderful” plan of salvation of LDS theology? This is God’s great plan of happiness for his children? If God’s purpose is “that man might have joy,” he’s managed to bungle it up pretty badly in my opinion.

I conclude either that this God is totally incompetent, or that he is something other than the kind, loving, charitable, father Mormon (and Christian) theology makes him out to be. In either case, he hardly strikes me as a God meriting my life’s devotion.

Now to address some other issues you raise in your letter. I confess that [wife] and I are struggling to work out our relationship. There's no denying tha the church has become an issue in our marriage. We are trying to work it out. I hope we can, and I will do my best to make it work.

But allow me to remind you that your marriage has been far from perfect, yet both you and Kerry cling to the gospel. So belief in Mormonism is hardly a sufficient condition for marital harmony. Millions of couples throughout the world work through marital problems—it is a natural part of the marriage relationship. I suspect it is somehow comforting to you to imagine that I will now experience all of life’s travails as the bitter pill of my apostasy. I find it a curious sort of thing that one feels it necessary to project sorrow, sadness, struggles onto non-believers as a salve to their own belief.

As for my children, do you know something that I don’t? What precisely is this gulf between me and my children that supposedly exists? Or is this merely a natural assumption, or perhaps wishful thinking, of a true believer that someone who apostatizes from the truth must also have certain character flaws that alienate his children? Do you suggest that I don’t love my children like you do? I hope not, because if you are, I’d ask what gives you the right to question my love and devotion to my children? I’ll assume this is not what you meant, and I’ll try not to take offense. If it ever comes that my children don’t respect me, it’ll be because they’ve been indoctrinated into a belief system that teaches them that apostates are not deserving of respect. You think that they’d respect me more if I lived a lie, if I continued to pretend to believe in what I know to be a fraud? Would going through the motions of being a good Mormon and raising them in a belief and value system I find offensive teach them to love and respect me?

It is precisely because I love my children that I have made the break from the church. I will do what I can to lead my children out of the authoritarian mind-control of the Mormon Church. I will teach them that they have a self-identify outside of Mormonism. I will teach them that their value as an individual comes not through obedience to authority or through serving the interests of an institution, but by virtue of their own humanity. They are wonderful, valuable people not because they believe in any doctrine or creed, but because this is what resides within them. I will teach them that using their minds is not a sin, that blind faith for faith’s sake is not a virtue, that no one, not even a moralistic octogenarian in Salt Lake City, can make them feel bad about themselves if they don't give him the authority.

But, should they choose to remain faithful to the Mormon Church, I will love them still, as much as ever. They have their lives, and they must make their choices. A parent’s job is to guide his children while they’re young, but to let them forge their own lives when they’ve reached maturity, and to love them all the while. Unfortunately, this is not a belief widely held by true believers. Apparently, I don’t even have the freedom to choose my own life outside of what you’d choose for me.

Have you ever contemplated what you will do if Devin, Jamie, or Kristen should choose one day to leave the church? What if one of them announces he’s or she’s gay? What if they make life choices fundamentally different from the ones you’d choose? What then of the “supernal” joy you say only you can experience? Will it turn to supernal sorrow? That is the real test of parental love, is it not? It’s easy to love our children when they do what we want, but it’s how we act when they do precisely what we don’t want that shows how much we really love them.

I feel I must also come to defense of Curt. Curt is my friend, no make that my good friend. He shows interest in my life, my family, and my children. My children genuinely like him, as he pays attention to them, and he treats them with love, something you’ve never done. Curt certainly has struggles in life. He is aware of it, and he feels genuine remorse for it, including things he has done over the years. But you’ve had your struggles too: financial, marital, familial, personal, emotional. You are hardly in the position to render such strict judgment on the life of another. You attribute Curt’s struggles to his rejection of the truth. To what should we attribute your struggles?

On balance, I find Curt to be a caring, compassionate, intelligent, productive, human being. He is every bit as worthwhile as you, me, or anyone else. I am proud to have him as a brother and to count him among my friends. That he is gay is of supreme indifference to me. He has his life, I am happy to allow him to live it as he sees fit.

I find it disingenuous for you to lay at Curt’s feet the entire blame for his estrangement from our family. You, Tony, and Evelyn, have done as much to drive him away as his own actions have done. What do you expect of him? He knows you loath him, judge him, blame him, pity him. Why the hell would he want to seek rapprochement with you? I doubt, and he doubts, you’ve ever accept him fully anyway, much as I suspect you’ll never accept me fully either. Your terms for rapprochement are more than any self-respecting person would be willing to accept. Mom and dad have reestablished a relationship with Curt, much to their credit. I am proud of them, I know it was difficult, especially for dad, but perhaps they realized that loving someone who’s gay didn’t necessarily bestow approval on the “lifestyle.”

Finally, you fear that your words will fall on barren ground. I assure you, the ground is fertile. It was the fruit of Mormonism sowed in this ground that was so bitter to the taste. To you, Mormonism is happiness. To me, it is not. Why is that so hard to accept? Why is it so hard for you to concede that what works for you simply doesn’t work for everybody? Why is the path you've chosen the only path to happiness?

I would genuinely like to hear your answers to my questions.



Subject: Re: Letter from my brother on learning I resigned from BYU and left the church and my response
Date: May 27 07:20
Author: Higgins-Magee

This is brilliant.

I know I'll be using the same arguments when the cat gets out of the bag in my case.

Subject: Re: Letter from my brother on learning I resigned from BYU and left the church and my response
Date: May 27 07:45
Author: wisedup

Your response was excellent.

Your brother's letter was full of shame statements. In addition, he seems to almost hope that you experience misfortune - for leaving the morgue.

Subject: Thank You
Date: May 27 09:11
Author: Moegirl

Thank you for posting this letter. It put so eloquently into words many of my own thoughts about the arrogant presumptions that have been made by those few I've shared my feelings with. They just don't know how to think outside of the Mormon framework. My sister in law cried when I told her why I would not be attending our nephew's temple wedding. She truly believes that I prayed "wrong" when I was still praying about leaving the church. It's like TBMs are mice, running around on that wheel thing...they want you to only look at the view they can see from their wheel. I have no desire to ever again limit my view and get back on that wheel, even though I sometimes miss the mice and some experiences I left there. Please keep us posted on the response (if any) you receive.

Subject: Fantastic Response. And I can't help reading a subtext
Date: May 27 09:49
Author: Gunshy

Whenever I hear a Mormon "protest too much" as your brother certainly did, I cant' help but read the following between the lines:

"Wait a minute, If I have to do all this crap so do you!"

And "No, I mean it, I really AM happy. Can't you see all the joy in my life."

Once you leave they seem to forget that you were once in their shoes, that you are at least as much an expert on the Mormon experience as they are.

Subject: Re: Letter from my brother on learning I resigned from BYU and left the church and my response
Date: May 27 10:18
Author: hermanuno

Superb response to a knucklehead's letter. Congratulations to you on your freedom. I'll be saving your letter for use as needed.

My favorite part of your brother's letter............

"""""The gulf that exists in your family and married life, if allowed to continue, will only widen and deepen. And ultimately your family system will break down. In the long run it simply will not be able to endure the stress. If you want to look at this logically and have an example of what I am referring to, all you have to do is look your brother Curt. (NOTE: BY BROTHER CURT IS GAY AND FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, LEFT THE CHURCH.) What has his defiance brought him? Do his kids honor and respect him? Does he have a wife that cherishes and loves him? Does he have a family he can call his own? What or who does he have? He has worked hard over these years to cut his ties to the family and the essence of what bonded us altogether. And what does he have to show for it? Everything he asked for and more. If this is what you want, then feel free to pursue it. But remember, the law of the harvest is a reality. You do reap what you sow.""""""""""""

Typically, he can't see his own hypocrisy and arrogance in that paragraph. Your gay brother has nothing all right. Or at least he doesn't have his own flesh and blood, his brother Robert. And all non-believers are doomed TO HELL!!! WEEPING AND WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH!!!!

Your experience reminds me of my own. TBM families are forever. FOREVER JUDGMENTAL AND UNFORGIVING!

Subject: Excellent letter. Wish I could use it with my family
Date: May 27 10:57
Author: Lost and Found

You so accurately state many of my frustrations and arguments that I cannot share with my family, but they don't want to know. They don't ask or even contact.

I also find it interesting about your brother. It was this same type of judgmental attitude towards wayward missionaries on my mission that initially caused me to question our beliefs. I found that often (in my mission), they were they guys that really cared. They were the ones trying their hardest. They just weren't cutting it. Few bothered to understand them, but would prefer to judge. Isn't it funny that so many that we are taught all our lives are lost and bad, are the ones who are actually the most "christian?" The supposedly righteous turn up their noses and walk away, while the fallen continue to be friends and to help?

Good luck with your family, your business and your life. Keep us posted.

Subject: Absolutely excellent! Thanks so much for sharing. The level of hatred from TBM's
Date: May 27 12:57
Author: SusieQ#1

and their righteous, angry, arrogance is so disturbing it is frightening.

This is the kind of TBM that if the prophet said to kill apostates they would do it without thinking. And if asked and they say: "no," you know they are practicing "Lying for the Lord."

This is what sits below the surface with thousands of TBM's, gathering steam, ready to explode at any minute. This is what, we as apostates need to remember and never forget.

I just remarked to a TBM the other day that the only nasty emails and comments I get are from angry Mormons! They are so filled with their righteous anger that I never, let my guard down.

I am convinced these people are modern-day Danites and extremely dangerous!

If they do not kill you physically, they kill relationships, gang up with other Mormons to undermine your business, blackball people, withhold love and acceptance, turn children against their parents, and visa-versa, and cause all manner of psychological, emotional damage while exhibiting a religious mania that if it is not insanity,it is very close.

"Mormons are such nice people" is only what they show on the surface if you are doing what they want, I guess!

Subject: I think your response was well thought out,
Date: May 27 12:33
Author: nw gal

and perfect. Good job. Keep in mind that it probably won't get through to him, it would take an a-bomb to shatter that ego. But maybe at least you'll feel better.

I would expect to find a picture of your brother next to the word arrogance in the dictionary. He reeks of it!!

Subject: That was well written.
Date: May 27 13:02
Author: activejackmormon

If your brother had the courage to finish that letter, I suspect he had some sleepless nights. You calmly but directly peeled away the layers of arrogance and hypocrisy shown by your brother.

That letter is in my keeper file.

Subject: Re: Letter from my brother on learning I resigned from BYU and left the church and my response
Date: May 27 14:42
Author: sincerely

I have felt the same sort of frustration with my family. There is an attitude that if I were going to church, many of life's struggles would somehow disappear. I would be more financially secure, my marriage and children would be more harmonious and i would see the world with all of its problems with the proper perspective..... and if i could only feel the spirit, i would be able to see through all of my reservations and doubts with the church. it is implied that it is my fault, somehow, that i cannot attain a testimony.

if they only knew how hard it has been to leave the church. it is like leaving a family, the only culture i have ever known, and the security blanket of feeling that the gospel has all the answers.

and then, after leaving, you feel lost. do i find that same sort of security without being manipulated or lied to? there is no guarantee of finding that security again.

i remember envying them....if only i could believe.

but in my heart, while i knew there was some truth to be found in the church, i knew it was not all inclusive and doubted the divine authority of the church.

it still hurts to know they think less of me and really disapprove of my choices--but in the end, i could not look at my children and continue the lies and the manipulation. i want more for them and for me.

thanks again for your letter--i'm not alone in this.....

Subject: Wow! What a powerful, wonderful letter!
Date: May 27 15:19
Author: grandma

It expresses so beautifully many, many things
that many, many people need very much to hear.

Have you received a response???

May I keep a copy?

Thank you for sharing!!!

Subject: Please write a book someday...
Date: May 27 20:38
Author: Hanging In There

you communicate well and your story is so pertinent. Also, there's a post in the Short Topic section about "Mormon Superiority", I think you might enjoy reading it. #307 Mormons Feel Superior to Others

Good luck and Thanks!

Subject: Powerful response to your brother!
Date: May 27 21:25
Author: Still active

I'm impressed. It'll be interesting to see how he responds from here. In his mind your an infidel and any reasons you have for leaving the Church are by definition illegitimate. Is he at all aware of the troubling facts surrounding the key foundational truth claims of the Church?

All the best.

Subject: I so enjoyed your post. You have no idea how relevant to my situation it is.
Date: May 27 23:45
Author: Marvelous

I at once feel reassured and sad: reassured that someone else has faced what I am and sad that I believe your eloquent expression will fall on deaf ears. I hope I am wrong, but your brother may be unable to be objective. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church   

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page