Date: August 01, 2023 09:15AM
I remember reading A history of Joseph Smith By His Mother and it gave me some ticklings of doubt to set on my shelf. But it wasn't even close to what broke it.
I DID watch an anti-Mormon video called 10 things the missionaries won't tell you. But the person in the video used screenshots from lds.org and read from the Gospel Topics Essays. I went straight there to know the truth. Almost every single one of the Gospel Topics Essays was either 1. Complete news to me about the church history and doctrine or 2. Completely contrary to what I had been taught all my life in all my classes at church and BYU-I. And they were so hideously sparse, I felt like I needed MORE information. I needed more explanation. So I went to FAIR Mormon and found essays and articles that contradicted each other. Like, stick with ONE explanation for why the Book of Abraham was not what was translated word for word from the facsimiles printed in the book right beside it. Why do you need to give me 5 different, contradicting theories? Why doesn't anybody know? Why hasn't a prophet come out and set the record straight?
Like, the more I went, the more I kept asking over and over, "This could all be cleared up in an instant if god's messengers just stated it outright what the truth is. That's why the church is better than all the rest, right? Because we can say without a doubt that we know."
I read the CES letter then and kept bouncing back and forth between FAIR and CES trying to find which explanation made most sense to me. Truthfully, it's not so much the facts in the CES letter that burned my broken shelf into ash. But the fact that it kept pointing out, "the waffling and inconsistency of the church doctrine and authority sounds like they're lying. It is behavior someone would do to cover up that they don't really know the answers."
If I am going to be dedicating my life to a deity that isn't present except in an occasional feeling, if I am going to be obeying it without question, you better give me something better than "sometimes the prophet speaks as a man and that means he sometimes says stuff that god doesn't endorse or want". I might as well follow my own dictates with a guarantee like that. At least if I am following myself, I can be sure I'm actually doing what I want 100% of the time.