Subject: Report of Meeting With a Mormon General Authority Tuesday to Answer my Questions
Date: Jun 03 2004

I had the pleasure of being in the company of a member of one of the Quorums of the Seventy this past Tuesday. He was in our area on personal business and a meeting was arranged for he and I with the purpose for me to ask questions and he to answer them. I had a list of concerns and was hoping that he could shed some "official" light on them. Here is my report.

We sat down in the Relief Society room in a local Stake Center. Cordial greetings were exchanged and he asked me to express my 'concerns'. I began with polygamy. I asked him to confirm what exactly D&C 132 refers to and how it can be an eternal principal now that the church strongly is against it. He said that there was a time and place for polygamy and that someday we will be prepared to understand the 'big picture'. He said it really shouldn't be an issue since we have received modern day revelation from prophets who are on earth to help us and guide us.

I asked about the Book of Abraham and how modern Egyptologists have disproved the translation found on the book of Abraham as having nothing to do with the characters and markings on the official papyrus found therein. He said that Joseph Smith translated the writings with his 'spiritual eyes' and not his 'mortal eyes'. He said that there are hidden meanings in the hieroglyphics that Joseph was able to understand and comprehend. He said that modern scientists lack the understanding and knowledge that Joseph Smith had in regards to translating spiritual matters because they look at things through scientific glasses and not through spiritual glasses.

We discussed many of Brigham Young's sermons and his outlandish claims preached from the pulpit in the tabernacle. He said that Brigham was using the knowledge he had in those days and that science really hasn't disproved what BY said. He said that the Lord has been known to withdraw things from the earth or hide them from our view as a test of our faithfulness.

He then turned the tables and asked me some questions. He asked me if I still wear my garments (no). He asked if I still pay tithing (no). He asked if I still attend the temple (no). He asked if I had attended church in the past year (no). He asked if I had served an honorable mission (yes). He asked if I abused my wife or children (no- WTF?) He asked if I had a testimony of JS (no). He asked if I believed GBH was the true mouthpiece of God on this earth (no- I don't believe any man on this earth is his official mouthpiece). He asked if I have had my home teachers over in the past year (no). He asked if I watch rated R movies (only Saving Private Ryan- besides that no). He asked if I keep my temple covenants (it depends on what you mean. Do I honor my marriage in regards to chastity- yes. If you mean I support the LDS Church or GBH- no).

He then said that he knew what the problem was- it was me. I was the reason all of these things are causing my concerns. If I put away my pride, began wearing my garments again, started to attend church, paid my tithing, etc, then these things wouldn't be important to me and I could regain my testimony. He called me to repentance and told me to 'get my spiritual life in order before it ruins my family'. He said that the issues I have can be answered by a group called FARMS that I can e-mail and receive a timely response.

He asked if he could give me a blessing of comfort where he could pronounce all evil spirits that were harming me to leave my presence and give me a clear and clean mind. I politely declined.

We stood up, shook hands, and walked out of the room. The guy didn't answer one of my questions. He turned it all around on me and decided that the problems that I have with the LDS Church are my fault and I need to do a better job living the gospel so they will go away.

I firmly believe that the leaders of the church are merely men who have no clue what they are doing. It only reaffirms my knowledge that the church is complete bullsh-- and they are afraid to admit it.

Subject: It's sad and frustrating, but...
Date: Jun 03 14:41
Author: Surreal_Zen

...they have to turn it around on you like that. Otherwise, they would wonder what they're giving their life for.

I wish they would see that.

Subject: It is always the same. YOU are the problem. No answers, only YOUR lack of faith
Date: Jun 03 14:50
Author: SusieQ#1

in our imaginary characters, imagined power, imagined translations, imagined power of underwear, imagined power of not seeing R rated movies, imagined power of paying tithing, imagined power of keeping covenants based on fraud, etc. etc. etc.!

This imaginary deity is illusive and only pats you on the head when you do what his leaders with imaginary power tell you to do.

Just like Santa Claus. Making a list and checking it twice to see if you are naughty or nice. Nice = get presents. Naughty - nuttin!

I do not see much difference.

They can keep their smug belief in their imaginary characters making everyone who does not line up with them deficient!

Mormonism is a total sham! The God of Regulation Underwear is nothing but a silly sham!

Subject: how shockingly impotent... btw "a cyber hand shake"
Date: Jun 03 14:49
Author: tripper

He might as well have just come out and said "the church has absolutely nothing to offer you by way of justification for its actions, past or present, if you can't shut up and enjoy, then you really have nothing to offer us so take your family and be happy" Just scared brown mice (forgive the pun Steve) waiting to be thrown on the fire.

makes you wish there was a way to sue for tithing. any case law on this I wonder. Breach of contract for not being the one true church...

Subject: Unbelievable...
Date: Jun 03 14:49
Author: Lil Bo Peep

that he turned it all around and put you under a microscope. Really nice come back of him to say J.S. translated with his "spiritual eyes." That makes so much sense now--why didn't anyone ever explain it that way before? I'd better put on my garments and start paying tithe again--Not! I hope you got some sort of closure with this meeting. The thing that irritated me the most was hearing that he asked if he could give you a blessing (ridding you of evil spirits and all). How nice of him! Seriously, it turns my stomach.

Subject: What ROMULUS should have done...
Date: Jun 03 14:53
Author: Baura

When the GA offered to give ROMULUS a blessing to rid him of "evil spirits" ROMULUS should have accepted on the condition that the GA also allow ROMULUS to give HIM a blessing to rid HIM of evil spirits.

If they dish it out they should be able to take it.

Subject: In other words, he answered your concerns...
Date: Jun 03 14:55
Author: Joe

I could probably never get an appointment with a GA, but if someone answered my concerns like that I would end the meeting with, "Thanks, you have really cleared up these issues for me." Meaning, now I know for a fact it's all bullshit.

Subject: When the question is your testimony...
Date: Jun 03 15:00
Author: JohnnyRansom

... the problem is ALWAYS you.

If you have doubts, it's because you are full of sin and/or pride. It has nothing to do with facts. It has nothing to do with contradictions. In fact, if you had been honestly able to answer positively to all of the GA's "worthiness questions", the answer would still have been it's your fault you have doubts because you are full of sin and/or pride.

Every contradiction, every discrepancy with fact, history, or science can safely be ignored if one simply has the faith to do so. Besides, FARMS can come up with any "scientific" explanation you might need to keep believing.

Remember, if you don't bury your doubts, if you don't smother them under a pile of faith promoting fertilizer you get from FARMS, you will ruin your family. Remember, spirituality means turning a blind eye to anything which might cause you to doubt your faith. Remember, spirituality is being obedient to the current leadership of the Church. Remember, spirituality is following the current Prophet, right or wrong, because he's always right, God wouldn't let Him be wrong and stay Prophet.

Subject: good story - if you believe his point of view you will be a mormon
Date: Jun 03 15:01
Author: dialectic

I really like this story. In a very simple way - abstracting out the emotional/social conditions of personal influence in an interview setting - it lays out the simple facts of the situation. The choice between the two ways of thinking about things is crystal clear.

Subject: So typical.
Date: Jun 03 15:07
Author: free

I told you it is a waste of time to sit with a GA. Unless, of course, you still had some hope and now it is totally gone.

I went to a GA and explained the documented abuse of my own child in the ward and he turned it all on to my "salvation" and that I, a 44-year-old woman, needed to honor my father and be faithful. WTF? I a mother, a grown woman, for God's sake. But it did show me that the GAs are either evil or nuts, or both. Everyone here, don't waste your time with them.

Subject: At each answer why didn't you ask...
Date: Jun 03 15:08
Author: brian-the-christ

"...and you actually believe what you just said? Really? I mean, REALLY, REALLY? And the fact your nose is growing, that doesn't bother you?"

Subject: I agree, Brian
Date: Jun 03 16:52
Author: escaped

I don't think I could have let him go on without challenging his delusional answers. I would throw them back at him, and attempt to make his realize how fanciful they sound to normal people. He wouldn't get power from me.

Subject: This is why I would never meet with these people
Date: Jun 03 15:09
Author: okgivens

I would never agree to a meeting with anyone in authority in the Church. That is why I even quit allowing my Elders Quorum President to give me a PPI. They always turn the problem back to your unworthiness. It is a typical cult technique. There is nothing possibly wrong with the organization -- just you. Instead of trying to affirm you, they attempt to humiliate you. The higher up the authority, the worse they get. I think they will experience a bit of hell after this life just for making everyone they claim to have power over experience a bit of hell in this life.

Subject: "Your money or your wife" sums it up nicely...
Date: Jun 03 15:10
Author: Romans house go

(Tip 'o the hat to Jack Benny)

It's been said here a dozen times before, but I'll say it again; "The Proclamation on the Family" (no credit given to James Dobson) would more aptly be named "The Contract on the Family" (a la Al Capone).

And, since I'm reading the credits, let's throw in the most comparable analogy of all: Catch-22 (Joseph Heller). For the same reason Doc Daneka and Yossarian can't get dismissed from flying dangerous bombing raids, you can't be seen as legitimately opting out of Morgbot activity. If you're sane enough to know that bombing missions are too dangerous or that the McChurch aint "true", then you have no excuse for staying on the ground.

See also "four legs good, two legs bad" (George Orwell).

Subject: Funny, I was being a really good Mormon when all these ..
Date: Jun 03 15:14
Author: Micro

.. questions really started bothering me. They were not issues that just went away.

Polygamy has bothered me since I first learned about it in my youth. Yet, I remained a strong TBM.

I believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet, even when I started to wonder why God would visit a 14-year-old boy.

I wore my garments faithfully. I never went to a rated R movie. I kept my temple covenants. Yet, still, something was wrong. And that feeling never did go away.

I have a former member of the Seventy living in my ward. There is nothing special about him. I do not believe that he has any better insight into the church than I do. He has probably seen more of its workings behind the scenes, but I don't think he has any other experience that would make him an expert on the truth.

Subject: Thank You . . .
Date: Jun 03 15:31
Author: SL Cabbie

I don't know how traumatic your meeting was for you, but I'm always grateful for some insights into the collective's mindset.

Hitch up your wagon, gird up your loins, put your harness and blinders back on, and ignore the stinging whip . . .

And if I may permitted a bit of levity? Science really hasn't disproved what BY said . . .

Did you ask him about the Quakers on the moon?

Subject: The BY quote that kept me going for many years...
Date: Jun 03 15:48
Author: Romans house go

... was (paraphrasing, to be sure) "Gospel truths will never contradict the facts of geology". Orson Pratt, Joseph F. Smith, and Bruce R are probably still bristling in their graves over that one.

Subject: Re: Report of Meeting With General Authority Tuesday (Longish)
Date: Jun 03 15:32
Author: Anon

All I can say is, we were faithfully living the way the church outlined for TWENTY YEARS but our lives were crummy, thanks to Mormonism.

Once we got rid of that albatross, life improved quickly and dramatically.

Good riddance &%%&^&*9 CULT.

Subject: You should have asked if his answers constituted official doctrine
Date: Jun 03 16:07
Author: Jack

IT would be great to take a notebook to one of these meetings and record there answers. After each of his answers, ask, "Does this constitute official church doctrine?" If he says yes, make a note of it on the notebook. That might make him squirm in his seat. If he says 'no' you can reply, "If it's not official doctrine, why should I believe it and why are you spreading it?"

Subject: There is no difference between following his advice and a lobotomy...
Date: Jun 03 16:14
Author: Brian B.

His incompetence is as apparent as his impotence. The Morg is dead because they still defend the magical translated works used by Joseph Smith to defraud people with, but they don't bother to quote them anymore. Now we know why those fake translations were made--to buy quick and cheap credibility among severe gullibility.

It used to be that people defended the marginal character of Joseph Smith because they believed his fake scriptures were genuine. Now they defend obviously fake scriptures because they believe Joseph Smith was sincere.

Brigham Young was more clever, he merely demanded that everyone get a second baptism instead!

The Mormon Reformation commenced in early September 1856, when President Brigham Young sent his counselor Jedediah M. Grant to preach reform in settlements north of Salt Lake City. While speaking to assembled Saints, Grant was prompted to commit them to reform and to counsel them to signify that commitment through rebaptism. Grant's success had a contagious effect, and within days Saints in other settlements showed their commitment by being rebaptized.

Early reform efforts, influenced by President Grant's unbridled enthusiasm, were somewhat spontaneous. The revivalistic spirit, the anxious confession, and the mass rebaptisms, however, gradually gave way to more judicious and ordered reform. The reform became especially systematic at Church headquarters, where a policy was established to have two home missionaries assigned to each ward. Equipped with a twenty-seven-question catechism to help measure the worthiness of the Saints, the home missionaries assisted families with everything from hygiene and church attendance to obeying the Ten Commandments. Only after some months of missionary-member visits were Saints in the Salt Lake City wards rebaptized in early spring of 1857. In Salt Lake City, rebaptism generally marked the formal end of the Reformation, though reform fervor continued until mid-1858.

Under instructions from President Young, the Reformation was carried to settlements and missions throughout the world. While procedures differed somewhat in areas away from Utah, rebaptism was a strong recommendation for all the Saints. It symbolized both forgiveness of sin and a recommitment to obey commandments. Those who refused to be rebaptized might lose their membership in the Church. In Britain, zealous application of Reformation principles resulted in trimming from Church rolls a large number of the less-committed.

In the old days, they might have announced a mission calling for you to disappear for awhile, or perhaps offer some worthless ground for you to waste your time farming.

So, he enlightened his Tabernacle audience on the subject. "Keep away from courthouses; no decent man will go there unless he goes as a witness, or is in some manner compelled to…We have the names of those who attended that courtroom, and we will send those characters on long missions, for we want to get rid of them, and we do not care if they apostatize or not."

Young's solution, according to his councilor, Heber C. Kimball, was to send thirty or so to sell their possessions and go with their families as soon as weather permitted to raise cotton on the Rio Virgin, another company of forty-eight to go to the Grand River to strengthen that settlement, make farms, build mills, and some thirty-five or forty to go to Salmon River country, thirty for Carson Valley, another thirty for the lead mines at Las Vegas, and eight to go to the East Indies. "These are all good men, but they need to learn a lesson," Kimball remarked.

Subject: In reading this post, I just shake my head.
Date: Jun 03 17:15
Author: dhhansen

For a church that claims so much, ( a prophet, the whole truth, etc.) it offers so little.

Subject: Je suis abasourdi.
Date: Jun 03 17:35
Author: Tyson Dunn

I'm taking the only two that really hit home for me.

ROMULUS wrote:
> I asked about the Book of Abraham and how modern Egyptologists have disproved the translation found on the book of Abraham as having nothing to do with the characters and markings on the official papyrus found therein. He said that Joseph Smith translated the writings with his 'spiritual eyes' and not his 'mortal eyes'. He said that there are hidden meanings in the hieroglyphics that Joseph was able to understand and comprehend. He said that modern scientists lack the understanding and knowledge that Joseph Smith had in regards to translating spiritual matters because they look at things through scientific glasses and not through spiritual glasses.

Fascinating in a sick way. If there is a hidden knowledge and understanding, then the Mormon prophets after Smith are negligent in their obligation to take on all Egyptian texts to discern their possible hidden meanings.

>He said that the Lord has been known to withdraw things from the earth or hide them from our view as a test of our faithfulness.

A god who arbitrarily changes the rules is supposed to be a being to worship. Oh brother.


Subject: You don't get to be a GA by wandering from the script.

Subject: Great post. My meeting with a GA was a little different ...
Date: Jun 03 19:23
Author: bob mccue

I asked different questions than you did.

My first was re young girls and other men's wives. On the young girls, he said that they married JS but the record is not clear re sex. Thought maybe the sex didn't happened, but admitted uncertainty. Re married other men's wives and had sex, he admitted it and said that is how god wanted it.

Re. JS lying about polygamy, he said that god's ways are hard to understand. He indicated that the fruits of the Mormon church are in its wonderful fruits, not historical questions. He asked about my family, my career, etc. and indicated that I owe all that to the Church. This is why I should stay - to give my kids etc. the chance to enjoy the wonderful blessings I enjoyed. And, the Church needs smart, well educated people like me. I had a great role to play etc.

Re. the BofM's historicity, said American Apocrypha in particular and other books like it are garbage, no scholarship of any merit had been done to undermine the BofM's claims to historicity. At most, some doubt has been cast but there is so much uncertainty respecting these matters that his faith in the historicity of the BofM has not been shaken in any way. The sad thing is that the man has read almost everything that has been written in this regard. He is "the" man in this area when it comes to dealing with anti-Mormon literature.

Re. faithful history and the Church imposing ignorance on people like me, he said that no one ever told me not too read anti-mormon literature. He read it all the time and has since he joined the church as a young man. It was my own fault if I didn't read it.

I did not take kindly to his last point, and we discussed it at some length. Those who you who have engaged in "debate" on ZLMB will know what this was like for me. Each of my statements was met with flat denial, or such blatant evasion that it made me feel like someone was losing his mind - and maybe it was me. Here is a taste of the kind of thing we said to each other on this point.

Me: My Church leaders - for example CES people in Edmonton - told me during my university days that I should not read anything that was critical of the Church, and I obeyed them.

GA: You must have misunderstood them. They do not say things like that.

Me: They quoted various prophets, and particularly Boyd Packer. Since then I have dug out the quotes.

GA: I am familiar with what he had to say, and in context it does not mean what you suggest. I heard the same stuff and it never stopped me from reading anti-Mormon stuff. This was only aimed at people who are too weak to handle that stuff and keep their testimonies.

Me: (stunned silence) You mean, I was supposed to read between the lines when a member of the 12 told me not to read "cancerous" anti-Mormon literature, and somehow know that he really didn't mean me? How on earth was I to do that?

GA: Those who have ears will hear. You obviously didn't have ears, and so you have no one but yourself to blame.

Me: I can produce endless quotes respecting how importance obedience - with exactness - is to the orders given by the Lord's prophets.

GA: And I can produce as many that counsel the use of the spirit to understand the nature of the command

And so it went. The GA's audience was me, my wife and our SP. The GA would occasionally look at them with a kind of "What more can I do?" expression on his face to indicate that if I had a speck of intelligence I would be able to see things his way. The SP appeared to buy this point of view, and it took a long time for my wife to see past what was some of the twisted, ridiculous reasoning I have ever encountered. He presented it with the kind of confidence that would have made any con man proud. I don't believe he is a con man. I believe that he has been rationalizing so hard for so long that he believes that black is white. This is a serious pathology.

I felt like Alice in Wonderland, and was reminded of Humpty Dumpty's discourse on linguistics in which he took the position that words could mean whatever he intended them to mean, regardless of the conventions others to whom he was speaking may follow.

The primary benefit of going through this kind of experience is it is the best chance most of us get to peek behind the throne. I am glad Steve Benson and others like him have shared with us their much more extensive opportunity to do same. But, there is something satisfying about looking to the extent you can, smiling and then walking away.

All the best,



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