Nov. 15, 1993
Ezra Taft Benson, President
The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Dear President Benson:
This letter is to inform you that I wish to be removed permanently from membership in, and the rolls of, the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). I request that this be done immediately. This is not an action that I take lightly, but it is something I do gladly, as I have found great joy, peace and freedom in my Lord Jesus Christ. I wish the members of the Mormon church well, and will always think of them as fine, upstanding, and loving people. I was an earnest and faithful Mormon for many years. I got married in the Temple, believed in the Church wholeheartedly, and sacrificed for it. The following are a few of my reasons for leaving the Mormon Church. I know they will not be easy for you to read, but please try to do so with an open mind.
I am concerned about discrepancies between what the Church teaches, and the teachings of the Bible. The Mormon church teaches that there are many Gods. The Bible teaches that there is one only. Joseph Smith taught "that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father," and that "you may suppose that He had a Father also." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith) Orson Pratt said, "If we should take a million worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds." (Journal of Discourses, vol.2, page 345) The Bible teaches throughout it's pages of there being only one God. Even the Book of Mormon teaches monotheism:
"And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God? And Amulek said: Yea there is a true and living God. Now, Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No." Alma 11:26-30
"...I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." 3 Nephi 9:18
"so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD and there is no other." Isaiah 45:6
" ...I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me." Isaiah 46:9
"...Is there any God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." Isaiah 44:8
"Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein..." Nehemiah 9:6
The God who made the universe says he is LORD alone. I believe he leaves no room for doubt. If God had a father wouldn't he know of him? If there really were other Gods why is there no mention of them in the Book of Mormon or the Bible? The message God sends time and time again is that he is the only God.
The Mormon Church teaches heretically that man can become a God, and that God was once a man. Joseph Smith taught, "First God himself who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret.... I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity.... God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did,... You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves;...No man can learn you more than what I have told you." This teaching is one of the root evils of Mormonism. Think about it- isn't this very idea, that man can work his way up to being a God, a major tenant of humanism and new age belief? Think about it again- where is the first place in the Bible that one finds the idea of a man becoming like God? It was whispered by the serpent to Eve; saying eat of the apple and "...ye shall be as gods..."(Genesis 3:5) This was not whispered as a good thing, but as an enticement by the father of lies himself! The Bible does not teach about a changing God who once was a man, once died, and once sinned. It does not teach that a man can become a God. It teaches exactly the opposite. Again the Book of Mormon is in agreement:
"For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." Moroni 8:18
"For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting,.." Moroni 7:22
"Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?" Mormon 9:8,9
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
"(God has)...no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17
" ...I am God, and not man..." Hosea 11:9
"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." Isaiah 44:6
"God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind..." Numbers 23:19
"O LORD are you not from everlasting?..." Habakkuk 1:12
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." Psalms 90:2
"I the LORD do not change..." Malachi 3:6
"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD...before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." Isaiah 43:10
This is clearly the first and last God. We have not "imagined" that God was God from all eternity, the Bible says so definitively. The Bible leaves no room for other "Gods" to be formed. It emphatically states throughout its pages that God has always existed as God and has never changed. How could the Bible have made it more clear? God is God alone, and there never were, nor will there ever be any others. Also see Mosiah 3:5, Alma 11:39, Psalms 41:13, 93:2, 103:17, Proverbs 8:23, Revelation 1:8. It is important to note that when you study one of these passages in Hebrew, the case is made even more unambiguous. In Isaiah 43:10 for example, the word used for God is El meaning " mighty one". Once this is understood, it is obvious that the scripture is not talking about idols per Se, but about Gods. Thus read the scripture would say: "... Before me there were no 'mighty ones' formed, neither shall there be after me."
The Mormon church does not understand grace, faith or salvation, and in fact teaches doctrine turned 180 degrees from the Biblical truth. The Mormon church teaches that " There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come...(Sermon by Brigham Young given Sept. 21, 1856, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp.53-54) It teaches a works oriented salvation that "puts the cart before the horse" in its approach. It denies the power of Christ and exalts the pride of man. I learned as a Mormon to try to "make myself perfect". I learned that I needed to follow a laundry list of do's and don'ts. I believed that I needed to follow a highly organized system of men placed between me and my maker to obtain God's forgiveness or work within his authority. I learned that these men had control in my life, and that when one of them in authority spoke I was to take it as having come from the mouth of the LORD. When my ears were open enough for me to really understand the New Testament I understood that you had lied to me. Men are sinners- born into it- and cannot make themselves perfect. The Bible teaches that men are accepted by Christ in their sins, that he loves them, and takes them how they are. It teaches that this is a result of faith in him. It says that though their nature still remains sinful, Christ changes them from the inside as a result of faith, but not as a result of their works. The Bible teaches that Christ's infinite atonement covers all sin of all men who believe in him. It teaches that the Old Testament order of having to have an intermediary between man and God is done away with, and that Christ is the only way to God. All through the New Testament the pattern of faith preceding an unwarranted action is set. Jesus never says anything like, "you've done very well in your keeping of the word of wisdom - therefore I'll heal you." But he frequently says things like, "Take heart, daughter...your faith has healed you." (Matthew 9:22) When a woman who "was a sinner" came to see Jesus, and washed his feet with her tears, he did not say, "That's a good start, now go and undo all the sins you've committed, clean up your life, clean up your thoughts, do some worthy work and when you are finished come back to me and I'll appoint some people to see about forgiving you." No, he very simply said, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." You see, she was already forgiven. Nothing she could do could earn it, and she didn't have to; Jesus gave it to her freely because of her faith. Can't you see how simple and beautiful this is? Jesus has done this for me also and I weep when I think of it because I am so very grateful. I plead with you to let him take you just as you are too. Please see Matthew 8:10-13, 9:2, 9:29 and 15:28.
The Bible teaches plainly that we are saved by grace through faith. It teaches that no one will be saved by their good works. Truly, faith that produces no good works is a dead faith, but when there is a real faith it produces its work as a result of Christ and the changes he makes in the believer. The Bible is definitive in its argument for faith as being the ingredient for salvation:
"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:20-24
"THEREFORE BEING justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1
"What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works..." Romans 9:30- 32
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Galatians 2:21
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
It fits well within Mormonism's humanistic model that they have put the emphasis on becoming perfect. After all, they have put the emphasis on becoming a God. When we seek goodness through our works we try to say to Christ, "I know you couldn't pay the whole debt - here let me pay it too." We deny his power to accept us as what we are. We say, "hands off- I can change myself into what you ( I ) want." But the fact is that HE makes the changes in us through faith. The Bible teaches the simple truth on this matter: When we believe in Christ he sets us free. When God looks upon us in judgment he sees only an imperfect man, but one saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Please see Acts 15:8-11, 26:18, Romans 1:5, 4:1-10, 4:14-16, 5:7-9, 10:4, 10:9, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Galatians 2:15-16, 3:22-25, Philippians 3:7-9, Titus 2:11-12
The Book of Mormon is a largely plagiarized document with no historical, anthropological, ar archaeological basis in reality. The Mormon church claims that the Nephites had the Old Testament books which were written prior to the time they left Jerusalem (around 600 B.C.). Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Book of Mormon contains many quotations taken right from the Old Testament (over 18 chapters of Isaiah alone). What is surprising is that many of these passages were quoted word for word from the King James version of the Bible. What is more surprising still is that the Book of Mormon authors were able to quote from books written after 600 B.C. Let's think about this: How could Joseph Smith have translated exact word for word quotes from "reformed Egyptian" into King James style English? Why would these match word for word with the King James translation of the Bible which itself had been translated from Hebrew and Greek? The King James translators who unfortunately lacked the "Urim and Thummim" did very well to produce the exact translation Joseph Smith did! The Book of Mormon contains many examples of stories and ideas lifted from the Bible (see Alma 19 and John 11). The Book of Mormon proves itself a forgery when it quotes from King James version New Testament verses word for word:
"...to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life..." 2 Nephi 9:39
"... to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life..." Romans 8:6
"...O wretched man that I am..." 2 Nephi 4:17
"O wretched man that I am..." Romans 7:24
"...steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works..." Mosiah 5:15
"...steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work..." 1 Corinthians 15:58
"...seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Moroni 7:45
"...seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 1 Corinthians 13:5-7
There are many more examples of plagiarism in the Book of Mormon. One study found over four hundred. Remember, these are New Testament scriptures that the Nephites did not have. How could they have gotten into the Book of Mormon word for word? Not only does the Book of Mormon use the exact same wording (even unusual wording like "stinketh" found in Alma 19:5 and John 11:39) as the New Testament, but it frequently uses it in exactly the same order! Mark Twain, in his book Roughing It remarked that the Book of Mormon "seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament." I think he hit the nail right on the head. The Book of Mormon condemns itself.
The Book of Mormon purports to be the record of ancient Jews who came to the new world. This being the case, where in its text is there evidence of Jewish religion and tradition such as Passover, Circumcision, any of the Jewish festivals, etc.? These things were very important to the people of that time and are mentioned frequently in the Bible. Why not in the Book of Mormon? Also, why would these Israelites have written their record in Egyptian? Lehi had lived all his life in the city of Jerusalem, where they only spoke the Hebrew language. The Jews hated the Egyptians, and even if he could have written in their language (highly unlikely) he certainly wouldn't have; The Jews were known to have an unusual love for their mother tongue. Also, is there any biological evidence connecting the American Indians with the Jews? There is none. In fact the genetic evidence suggests quite the opposite.
When a city, a sight of battle, person's name, or even a type of coin is written about in the Bible, there is archaeological evidence to support it. I have seen coins mentioned in the Bible with my own eyes, right here in Salem, Oregon. When the Bible talks of the city of Jericho - there is evidence to support that it existed; namely Jericho itself! The Bible states that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and an inscription has been found with the name of Pontius Pilate in theater excavations at Caesarea. There are mountains of physical evidence to support biblical archaeology. Why is this not the case with the Book of Mormon? The Book of Mormon talks about names and places. It contains the story of entire civilizations, and their cities, their battles, their leaders names, their religion, even the value and names of some of their coins. In all this mass of civilization, where is even one single piece of anthropological evidence to support the claims of the Book of Mormon? There are no coins. There are no inscriptions of leaders names. There is no evidence of the huge battles mentioned in its text. There isn't even evidence of the cities mentioned in The Book of Mormon! Where are Zarahemla and Bountiful? There is plenty of anthropological evidence of the civilizations that really were present during Book of Mormon times. Unfortunately, none of this evidence even suggests a Christian civilization present in America. Many Mormon anthropologists have dedicated their lives to finding Book of Mormon archaeology, and the Mormon church has financed many expeditions and much research to prove its case. Still, there remains not one piece of evidence in support of the Book of Mormon. Why not? Because it simply is not there.
The Mormon Church's history, doctrine, and even scriptures have been changed many times to suit the present needs of its leadership. There have been many deliberate changes in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, History of the Church, etc. The Church has made a deliberate effort to distort its own history, and keep its members in the dark. As a Mormon I learned about Joseph Smith's martyrdom. I learned that he went to his death "like a lamb to the slaughter." I was taught that he went humbly and without resistance just as Jesus did. Can you imagine what a shock it was to me to learn that he had in fact died in a gunfight, doing his level best to kill his attackers? The following accounts from the History of the Church are given of Joseph Smith's death:
Immediately there was a little rustling at the outer door of the jail, and a cry of surrender, and also a discharge of three or four firearms followed instantly...Joseph sprang to his coat for his six-shooter, Hyrum for his single barrel....
When Hyrum fell, Joseph exclaimed, "Oh dear, brother Hyrum!" and opening the door a few inches he discharged his six shooter in the stairway (as stated before) , two or three barrels of which missed fire. (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 617- 18)
John Taylor, who was to become the third president of the Church, added his testimony concerning Joseph Smith's death:
He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Whellock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed died. (History of the Church, vol. 7, pp.102-3)
This was not the Joseph Smith you had taught me about. He did not go like Jesus Christ, "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not..." (1 Peter 2:23) No, Joseph Smith went out shooting. Why don't you teach the truth about this?
I learned as a Mormon that while the Bible was not reliable because it had been changed, (with later study I learned it was indeed reliable) the Book of Mormon was reliable and, "the most correct of any book on earth." Why then has it been changed over three thousand times? Many of these changes are grammatical, or spelling errors, but this book was supposed to have been translated directly by the power of God. I remember the missionaries asking me how a boy could have written such a book without mistakes, without to help of God. Well, the first editions of the Book of Mormon are chock full of mistakes! All one has to do to prove it to themselves is compare. My wife Stacey, was surprised when she looked up 2 Nephi 30:6 in a copy of The Book of Mormon that her grandmother had given her, and then in a newer copy of mine, and found that it had been changed. There is no footnote to explain why, no asterisk, or anything else. At the time of this change the church had been embarrassed by their teaching that the Indians who received the Gospel would turn white! Stacey's edition reads, "...and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people." My edition reads, "...save they shall be a pure and delightsome people." This is just a recent change. There are other important doctrinal changes in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. For more information see The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Moody Press, Chicago.
Where are those good old doctrines of the early Mormon Church like Blood atonement, and the Adam-God doctrine? How come they aren't taught with the zeal that the "prophets" had for them? As a Mormon I knew nothing about things like Blood atonement. You taught me that a prophet would never lead his people astray. That God would prohibit it. Well, lets look at what the "Prophet" Brigham Young taught:
There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins... (Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp.53-54; also published in the Desseret News, Oct. 1, 1856, p.235 )
J.M. Grant, a member of the first presidency under Brigham Young, followed up on this idea:
...there are men and women that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp.49-50)
Brigham young proposed this situation in which Blood atonement might occur. As you read it think to yourself if it in any way relates to the Savior of love and compassion written about in the Bible. The "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" Savior. The Savior who is powerful enough to save all men from all sin, and paid the ultimate price to do so for you. (1 John 1:7-9)
Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands...
There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it... (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p.247)
Is this true? If we are to atone for our own sins, then Jesus died for nothing! What is our blood worth to God? What good does it do for our salvation? If it is true, then why isn't the Mormon church teaching and practicing "God's doctrine" of blood atonement today? No, the Bible totally repudiates this heretical teaching of blood atonement, and Brigham Young led his people astray. One need only read it to find out.
Brigham Young also taught that, "When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Arch-angel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken - HE is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp. 50-51)
Brigham Young reaffirmed this doctrine and taught it many times. It is even found in the journals of the Mormons of that time. If this "Prophet" didn't lead people astray, then why does the church teach that this is a false doctrine today?
There are those who believe, or say they believe, that Adam is our father and our God,... The devil keeps this heresy alive... It is contrary to the plan of salvation...and anyone who has received the temple endowment and who yet believes the Adam-God theory does not deserve to be saved." (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, talk given at the BYU Marriot Center on June 1, 1980)
Okay, who's lying? The "Prophets" and "Apostles" of Brigham Young's time, or the "Prophets" and "Apostles" of today?
I was married to Stacey in the Seattle, Washington temple on May 3, 1984. I attended that temple with the belief that I would be instructed in sacred and ancient ceremonies, right from the Lord himself. As was expected of me, I obediently promised to slit my throat etc., rather than reveal the secrets of the temple. I was very surprised to learn in 1989 from a Mormon who wanted me to "come back to the temple, because I would like it better now" that the Lord had changed his mind yet again, and redone his sacred temple ceremony. Even as a Mormon who did not yet understand that the temple ceremony is really a Masonic ceremony copied word for word, I knew that something was wrong! Why would God just suddenly change his mind about his own "sacred ceremony", eliminating the "penalties" and other sacred portions? Maybe God is rather a "politically correct" God. When confronted with opposition on the issue of polygamy, he simply changes his stance on it. When confronted with Civil Rights he ignores his "prophet" who said, "If there was one drop of Negro blood" a black man could never hold the Priesthood, and caves in under the pressure. When people like me are made uncomfortable with the temples' bloody oaths, God just rewrites the program. How convenient for the leadership of the Mormon Church to have such a changeable, malleable, saleable God. The God of the Bible is a much different God. He doesn't change his mind. He doesn't change. I hope you get to know him. (John 17:3)
In closing I wish to tell you my greatest reason for leaving the Mormon Church. It is in finding Jesus Christ. He also found me. He pulled me toward him and made me ready to listen. I tell you, reader of this letter, that he will do the same for you. I pray this for you. It will be my great joy to bring his message to all the people (including Mormons) I can. The Gospel is simply that Christ lived, was crucified for each and every one of every man's sins, and was resurrected on the third day. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Galatians 1:8-9) Those who take away from this Gospel; who mock Christ's suffering on the cross by saying that it was not sufficient for all men and all sin; and those who would add to this Gospel legalism, secret (not sacred) ceremonies and signs as condition for salvation are terribly wrong. They are making a literally hellish mistake. Jesus is my hope and my joy. I love him with all my heart, and am glad to let him make of my life what he wants. This is the truth, and I leave it with you in His name.
Dan Evans firstname.lastname@example.org