Dear Family and Friends:
This letter is fairly long, but I hope that you will take the time to slowly read it in its entirely. I have some important points and questions to comment on here within. Please follow along the best you can, even though I sometimes abruptly change the subject and the voice between paragraphs (I wrote this over the period of several months). I also hope that you will keep the contents of this letter confidential. [The author gave permission for this story to be on the site.]
Nearly five years ago, before most of you had even heard the term "Internet", I got access to it at work. During my free time I would peruse numerous sites and read about many different topics. At this time, there were even many web sites dealing with the Mormon church, church history, and the scriptures. I realized how powerful the Internet was in publishing all kinds of material that wasn't easily obtained otherwise. I thought to myself how neat it would be to study up more on church history, the Book of Mormon and Meso-American archaeology. All of these areas were of interest to me, and I hoped to strengthen not only my knowledge, but my testimony.
Needless to say, and to make a long story short, I also stumbled onto some web sites which painted a different picture of the church, its history, and Book of Mormon culture and archaeology. Of course, being a good Mormon that I was, I did not spend much time in these areas nor did I believe any of the negative things which were published there. I would then study up on the pro-church sites to strengthen what I already knew about these things. However, in the back of my mind I was always curious about some of these odd claims that these other sites made about the church. Were they making these crazy-sounding things up? Did they have any merit or truth to them? That led me to a multi-year on-again / off-again study of these church-related topics--both pro and con. I just had to know what the truth was. I will discuss these findings later in this letter.
If I go into a room full of people and say, "I am standing in this room", is that the whole truth? One could claim that my full existence is not present. Many of my cells and molecules have dropped off in other rooms, my car, other houses, other places; so I am not fully present in "this room." One could argue that I am really not standing; one could argue that I am not in a room; one could argue that my name is not my real name; one could argue that I am not really there, but that this existence is a figment of someone's imagination, etc. Are any or all of these true--partially or wholly? What about 2+2=4? I can show you a computer program which will show you that 2+2=4.000000001. I had an algebra professor show the class a formula which proved that 1=0.
My daughter will tell you that she fully "knows" with all of her heart, that Santa Claus exists. She has faith in him too. She knows that he wears a red suit, he rides in a sleigh with reindeer, and that he will bring her presents every Christmas. Right now I could probably not convince her otherwise.
My birth date is November 6. Do I "know" that I was born on this date? No. Maybe I was born on Nobember 5 or November 7, and my parents and the doctor made a mistake on the birth certificate date. Do you know what date you were born on, really? Is it possible that you were born on another date? Do you see the point I am trying to make? Let's say I told you that I know how to write and spell the Japanese word for "gold", and I want you to write it down in this manner. Would you really "know" that this is the correct spelling and meaning which I give you? What if I told you to fast and pray about it until you felt good inside or until you had some sort of spiritual manifestation, which would prove to you that the word I gave you is the word for "gold"? Would you then honestly be able to say that you truly "know" the Japanese word for "gold"?
The same "have faith, fast and pray about it" example could be used for any of the above points. Tell me why you don't have faith, fast and pray about your birth date to "know" it is true. Will you ever truly (100%) know your real birth date? My daughter has said many prayers regarding Santa Claus; she probably would say that she has a testimony of him. Why don't you pray about 2+2=4; or Santa Claus; or your existence in this universe? Do you think you could have a good feeling or spiritual witness about all of those things?
Now think about the movie "Legacy", which I have seen a couple of times. Watching it always make me choke up. However, it was made deliberately to play on the emotions of the viewers. The point here is that most Mormons will automatically confuse the emotional aspect with a spiritual manifestation, then try to convince non-Mormons that they, too, have just had a spiritual manifestation. It has been my experience that most members cannot distinguish between an emotional experience and a spiritual one. Confusing the former for the latter has been a very successful tactic, and Legacy is a good example of this.
When you say, "I know that the Mormon church is true." I could easily say, "I know that the Mormon church is not true." Can either of us really prove our point through our testifying to each other? No. The point I would like to make here is that what is true for you is not necessarily going to be true for me, and viz. Each individual in this world needs to find what is "true" for themselves. Unfortunately, there is not one set of truths out there which will fit into each individual's lives. What may be 100% true for one person might be 100% false for another. And that is perfectly okay. I will tell you this about your perception of truth--All that you see in your world is nothing more than the outcome of your idea about it.
If you (or a prophet or anyone else) says that God has spoken to you or has manifested himself to you, then that is knowledge and truth for you. But it is not knowledge and truth for me or for anyone else--your words would technically be considered hearsay for me in this example. When you rely on the words and experiences of others to form your knowledge, you are not creating your own truths. But you say that God will only speak through his prophets. Where did this notion come from? It came from the prophets themselves; so once again, it is hearsay for you. But you will say that God does not work that way. Well how do you really "know" what God's intentions are? This goes back to our above example of "knowing" something again. How does anyone truly know what God does, what he thinks, what he says, what his intentions are, and what (s)he/it (god) is?
Now that I have attempted to define what "knowing truth" is, let me define the truths which I have discovered--for me. I do not expect you to believe nor accept these truths for yourself, because they are mine. I am writing these more for myself than for anyone else. My truths are not your truths, and your truths are not mine.
First, I believe in God--a god of love--unconditional love. I believe he exists all around us. His presence and his essence permeate throughout the universe in every bit of space and every atomic particle. I believe that God is an observer of all things. I believe that great teachers throughout the ages (Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc) have helped to teach us how to get back to God--actually, how to remember him, and remember ourselves, and remember how to re-create ourselves so that we may fill our highest potential.
There is a saying, "Wherever you go, there you are." Think about that sentence seriously and try to realize that "you are" is like saying "I Am". You are creating yourself through the creations of your thoughts (which form your own truths), your being, your actions, and your experiences. "I Am Here." "There you are." We all are different creations and we have different experiences.
Next, I do not believe that there are any religions on this earth which are the "chosen" or "tru(est)" religions of God--that includes the Mormon church. In fact, I believe the Mormon church to be a fraud because it presents itself and its plan as the only way to get back to god's presence, because it has proclaims to have "more truth" than any other creed, and because it was founded on lies. The Mormon church uses fear tactics (borderlining and often crossing over to the side of a cult) to keep its members in line. ( I have personally witnessed and personally experienced these fear tactics numerous times.)
Fear is the opposite of Love. I believe that God is not a god of fear, but a god of love! Is it fear that all of us need in order to be, do, and have what is intrinsically right? Must we all be threatened in order to "be good"? And what is "being good"? Who makes the rules? I believe that we are our own rule-makers. We set the guidelines and decide how well we have done; how well we are doing. For we are the ones who have to decide Who and What We really are--and Who we want to be.
No one else will or should judge anyone or anything ever; for would God ever judge His own creation and call it bad? If God wanted everyone to be and do everything perfectly, he would have left all of us in the state of total perfection whence we came from. I believe that the one purpose for all of life is that we all experience fullest glory. The whole point of the process is for all of us to discover ourselves, create our Self, as we truly are--and as we truly wish to be. Yet we all could not be that unless we also had a choice to be something else.
There are those who say that God has given all of us free will, yet these same people claim that if we do not obey God, that God will send us to hell. What kind of free will is that? Does this not make a mockery of God--to say nothing of any sort of true relationship between us? Should God therefore punish us for making a choice that God Himself has laid before us? If he did not want all of us to make the second choice, why would he create other than the first? This is the question we all must ask ourselves before we would assign God the role of a condemning God.
Why must all of us reduce ourselves to a spirituality which teaches fear and dependence and intolerance, rather than love and power and acceptance? I will tell you why. It is because we are filled with fear--and our biggest fear is that God's biggest promise might be life's biggest lie. (For Mormons the biggest fear is that Mormonism might be the biggest lie.) And so we all create the biggest fantasy we can to defend ourselves against this.
Many people claim that any promise which gives all of us power, and guarantees us the love, of God must be the false promise of the devil. God would never make such a promise, we all tell ourselves, only the devil would to tempt us into denying God's true identity as the fearsome, judgmental, jealous, vengeful, and punishing entity of entities. Even though this description better fits the definition of a devil (if there were one), we have assigned devilish characteristics to God in order to convince ourselves not to accept the God-like promises of our Creator, or the God-like qualities of the Self. Such is the power of fear.
All of us are often easy to rush to judgment, to call something "wrong" or "bad" or "not enough," rather than to bless what we do not choose. We do worse than condemn--we actually seek to do harm to that which we do not choose. We seek to destroy it. If there is a person, place, or things with which we do not agree, we attack it. If there is a religion that goes against ours, we make it wrong. If there is a thought that contracdicts ours, we ridicule it. If there is an idea other than ours, we reject it. In this we do err, for we all create only half a universe. And we cannot even understand our half when we have rejected out of hand the other.
If we all are not to ask such logical questions as, "if God wanted strict obedience to His Laws, why did He create the possibility of those Laws being violated?" You may say--"because God wanted us to have "free choice." Yet what kind of choice is free when to choose one thing over the other brings condemnation? How is "free will" free when it is not your will, but someone else's, which must be done? Those who teach us this would make a hypocrite of God. We all are told that God is forgiveness, and compassion--yet if we do not ask for this forgiveness in the "right way," if we do not "come to God" properly, our plea will not be heard, our cry will go unheeded. Even this would not be so bad if there were only one proper way, but there are as many "proper ways' being taught as there are teachers to teach them.
Most of us, therefore, spend the bulk of our adult life searching for the "right" way to worship, to obey, and to serve God. The irony of all this is that God does not want our worship, He does not need our obedience, and it is not necessary for us to serve Him. Deity has no needs. If we choose to believe in a God who somehow needs something--and has such hurt feelings if He doesn't get it that He punishes those from whom He expected to receive it--then we all choose to believe in a God much smaller than God is. All of us truly are Children of a Lesser God.
I believe that our beingness is the highest state of existence. In the same sense, Gods' greatest momement is the moment we realize that we need no God. I know...this is the antithesis of everything we've ever been taught. Yet our teachers have told us of an angry God, a jealous God, a God who needs to be needed. And that is not a God at all, but a neurotic substitute for that which would be a deity.
One of the most eye-opening experiences of my life was when I became a father, and felt an incredible, new kind of unconditional love towards my children. Surely God must have this same love for all of us! In reality, all of us adults on this earth are two-year-olds--spiritually. Do we hold our own two-year-old child at fault when they make a mistake, fall down, hurt someone, or make unreasonable demands? No, and I believe that God will not find any of us at fault. I believe that God knows the true intentions of our hearts, and will judge us accodingly. Belonging to a certain religion and receiving certain ordinances are not a requirement for us to return to God. I believe that if there were such a thing as sin, this would be it: to allow ourselves to become what we are because of the experience of others.
Now let me expand a little bit on why I believe the Mormon church to be false (though I will admit that the Mormon church as well as all organizations do contain truths).
Please realize that the points which I cover below are only the tip of a massive iceberg. I have included the issues which I feel are most impactive to me. I have also only covered each issue briefly. (If you have further questions I would be happy to answer them at another time.)
1. First, the Book of Abraham is purportedly a translation by Joseph Smith from Egyptian papyri which supposedly contained the actual writings of Abraham. These papyri were lost back in the mid 1800s; then in the 1960s they were found again. Scholars have easily identified these papyri as the exact ones which Joseph Smith used. Egyptian experts have since translated these same papyri which Joseph Smith used, and they contain nothing more than pagan funeral texts. They contain absolutely nothing in them about Abraham, nor do they have any similarities to Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham. They have also been dated to a time just before the time of Christ--not anywhere close to the time that Abraham was living. So how could Abraham have written these? For an excellent review of the Book of Abraham, I suggest that you read By his own hand upon this Papyri by Charles Larsen. Once I understood that the Book of Abraham is made up, I started wondering if the Book of Mormon could possibly be made up.
2. This led me to study a great deal more about the Book of Mormon. What I have since learned is that the BOM is nothing more than a fictional book. Going into each detail would be too time consuming. I highly recommend reading B.H. Robert's Studies of the Book of Mormon. Roberts book shows numerous similarities between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews (another popular book published in 1823 in Joseph Smith's area) that cannot be ignored by chance of coincidence.. Roberts also shows that Joseph Smith did possess enough intelligence and knowledge to write the Book of Mormon.
In addition, there are too many things mentioned in the Book of Mormon which should not ever be there: silk, steel, horses, chariots, wheels, swords, animals, plants, wheat, barley, Greek words and Greek personal names like Timothy and Jonas, direct quotes from Paul and from the New Testament, quotes from the book of Isaiah and other parts of the Old Testament written after Lehi left Jerusalem, numerous anachronistic terms like synagogue and cimeter, Christian practices (like baptism and missionary work) during the Law of Moses time--well before Jesus came to the earth, and many others. There are also many things not mentioned, which most likely should have been mentioned: the Law of Moses and other Jewish customs and practices; there is no mention of Passover or any feasts; common Mesoamerican crops and animals are never discussed.
Some other major problems with the Book of Mormon include: the American Indian races genetic structure is Mongoloid in origin--not Jewish; the written and spoken Indian languages ( both the original language stocks and language families) do not have any resemblance to Jewish or Egyptian whatsoever; and not one Mesoamerican city or location has been identified as a match to a Book of Mormon location.
Mormons either ignore the facts (and hope they go away), or they stretch their imaginations in order to explain these facts away. I read many pro-Mormon theories, books, and articles (such as from FARMS and Hugh Nibley) and I tried my hardest to explain these problems away for a number of years; but there was always something in the back of my mind or the pit of my stomach which told me otherwise. I wanted so much to believe in the Book of Mormon and for the church to be true. I remember the day clearly when I announced to myself that all of these BOM problems go away if I simply realize that the Book of Mormon is nothing more than inspired fiction. Poof, I suddenly felt enlightened about the matter, and it felt like a huge burden was lifted from my soul. I felt like the truth had been manifested to myself, and that the truth had "made me free" of these BOM problems.
I should note that I also did a lot of crying and soul searching during this time. It is like finding out that Santa Claus does not exist, but multiply this empty feeling by 100. At this time I started to realize that the church was not true. The rest of the issues I mention below just add to what I already knew.
[Right here I need to mention the thoery of Occam's Razor, which says, "Don't make unnecessarily complicated assumptions". Basically, this means that the simplest explanation is the most likely and most true explanation. You can apply this to anything. In the case here you can ask yourself which is most likely: That all the hundreds of problems with the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham and the church can be explained away if you believe that God created these problems because He has some sort of a plan for testing us (regarding these problems); OR, the Book of Mormon, BOA, and the church have hundreds of problems because these books and this religion is man-made and is not true. Of course, the simpler expalanation is that it all is man-made.]
3. With the Book of Abraham and Book of Mormon debunked, the entire Mormon religion collapses like a house of cards. In studying church history, I was able to uncover numerous problems with other major points of Mormonism: The "official version" of the First Vision was written nearly 20 years after it took place. It differs significantly from other accounts of the First Vision which were written several years prior and after the "official version". For example, in the first account written by Joseph Smith in 1832, he says that only Jesus appeared to him; in other accounts only angels are mentioned as appearing to him.
4. The Book of Commandments, which is the first version of the Doctrine & Covenants, went through major revisions with hundreds of changes taking place between the first printing and the subsequent printing of the D&C. We are not just talking about grammtical and minor textual changes; but dozens of versus were added and dozens of versus were deleted. Why would any changes be needed if Joseph Smith was receiving direct revelation from God--let alone dozens of versus being added later on to bolster a claim.
5. Polygamy: What can be said here in so little space, except that Joseph Smith took on numerous wives nearly a decade before he gave or wrote down the official polygamy revelation. Many of these women were under the age of 16, and some of them were even married at the time that he was married to them. He also "married" most of them in secret, even behind the back of his wife Emma. I also find it quite ironic that the Book of Mormon condemns polygamy--this supposedly from a book which is supposed to contain the fulness of the gospel. (As an aside, the Book of Mormon also doesn't contain anything about priesthoods or temple work.)
6. The temple ceremony's tokens, signs, and penalties are identical to the Masonic tokens, signs, and penalties. Is this a coincidence, considering that Joseph Smith became a master Mason two months prior to giving the modern version of the temple ceremony? Mormons will argue that the tokens, signs, and penalties were passed down from the Temple of Solomon; but historical evidence shows that these tokens, signs, and penalties were created during the Dark Ages by the predecessors (occultists) of the Masons.
7. The words of the prophets change with the winds of the day, even though the prophets claim that they are receiving the true word of a never-changing God. One day the church is requiring polygamy in order to get into the Celestial Kingdom, the next day it is forbidding it; same with blacks and the priesthood; Adam-God belief; and blood atonement. The revealer calling seems to have become a repealer calling. It's almost like that if there is enough pressure from the masses, the prophet can go get another revelation which repeals an older one. I wonder when the prophet will get enough pressure to give women the priesthood? You will say, "Never!", but that is what everyone was saying about the blacks getting the priesthood back in the 1960s and 70s. I wonder if the masses could put enough pressure on the prophet to repeal fornication or the Word of Wisdom, or allow gays full fellowship? Some of these types of revelations or repealings may be received in your lifetime--you never know!
The standard Mormon reply to this problem is that the prophet was just speaking his own personal views, and that we should only listen to the current prophet. If that is the case, then the current prophet's words will someday be considered as his "personal" words, and another generation will have a different set of required revelations. Does that mean that our current generation is in err and is doomed? How do we ever know if the prophet is speaking his personal opinion or if he is speaking the truth from God? How do we know that all of the revelations revealed in the Doctrine & Covenants are nothing more than Joseph Smith's personal views? (Remember, the prophets have said that when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done; and that the current prophet will never lead the people astray. We also have heard the words, "DO IT NOW." It's almost like you are supposed to just do what they say immediately, without thinking first what you are about to do.) The church seems to pick and choose the important doctrines which are required to go to heaven; and the list of doctrines changes from one generation to another. What happened to the Ninth Article of Faith--We believe ALL that God HAS revealed...?
The church also says that it has the fulness of the gospel. But how do we know that Joseph Smith was not lazy, and that he never got around to ask and to pray to the Lord about certain problems so that he could get a new revelation? It seemed like most of the revelations he received were because he had a question about something (usually a personal squabble nonetheless). Could he have died before he asked all the questions? Maybe we only have 25% of the fulness of the gospel. Also, how do we know for sure that the Brighamite branch of the church holds the keys? I know what your answer is, "You've just got to have faith. Faith will lead to knowledge." My reply is, "Please read my section on knowledge up above at the beginning of this letter."
There are many other separate problems with the church which I will not go into, but suffice it to say that there is enough evidence to say that the Mormon church is NOT true. Also remember to apply Occam's Razor, which I mentioned above. Mormons would argue that you need to have faith, and pray to see if the church is true or not. But does that make sense, to pray until you receive a witness, even though all the evidence points to the contrary? That would be like me saying that Santa Claus (or trolls or a spaceship hiding behind a comet) exists, and that you just need to have faith and pray until you see that it is true--even though all the evidence points to the contrary. This is the most difficult concept to accept, and do you know why? The truth is often times hard to hear, because it is not always what we want it to be.
I'm sure that many people could pray long enough to the point where they do get some sort of spiritual (ie. emotional) witness that what I say or what anyone else says is true. People believe the church because they desperately WANT to believe it is true. People also believe in the church because they grew up from infanthood hearing nothing else, and they know nothing else. And granted, the church presents a plan which is very easy for someone to want to believe in. Who wouldn't want to believe that they can go to heaven and live with god and their spouse and their family?
We hear so much about how the church is true in testimony meetings. I find church testimony meetings to be quite ironic. What is the real purpose in having people get up and say the same, trite phrases and vain repitions over and over, "I know the church is true...Joseph Smith is a prophet..."? (We are not supposed to do that in prayers.) Is it because nobody really truly "knows", but getting up and saying these things and hearing these things makes everyone feel good inside? (Does anyone ever go home and say to themselves, "Whew, I was beginning to have some doubts about the church. Good thing I heard a dozen people state that they know the church is true today in testimony meeting.") Do we ever hear scientists get up and say, "I know that two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen makes a water molecule; or I know that the sun is the energy source for warming the earth." Or how about, "I know that President Washington was our country's first president, and I know that President Clinton is our president today." If we really know something, then we wouldn't need to keep talking about it. I feel that the real purpose of testimony meetings is to brainwash the children and those with weak faith. Let's face it, the more you hear something the more likely you are to believe that what you are hearing is true.
Finding out about the church is like putting a puzzle together--piece by piece. After years of study, once the pieces were in place the picture became clear. Unfortunately and sadly, the church is not true.
Now if I could make one final important point which I would like convey to you here in this part of the letter. Remember this: A testimony should have a foundation based on facts and truths, not fiction and falsehoods.
The dilemma I face is that now I know the church is not true, what do I do with my family concerning the church? Do I pretend to believe in the church and stay active, or do I remove myself? In Hamlet, Polonius gave his son the advice, "This above all, -- To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." For me, in being true to myself, I cannot "live a lie." Therefore, I cannot align myself with the Mormon religion, even though it does have some beneficial teachings and enjoyable social moments. This does not mean that I want to get my name removed from the records of the church, for I do not have any need for that. But, it does mean that I will probably no longer be considered an "active" Mormon. My own mind is my church, for now.
Believe it or not, there are many many people in the church who do not believe that it is true. We are talking about possibly tens of thousands of members in this condition. The founder of the original FARMS, Thomas Ferguson, set out with money from David O McKay to prove (within a few years of his starting this church-funded program back around 1970) that the BOM was true. Of course, after years of digging for clues in Central and South America, he found was that there was ZERO evidence to support any of what is mentioned in the BOM archaeologically or culturally . He became a closet doubter like many other church members, who stay in and play along so that they do not upset their families and friends. Personally, I wanted to do this so bad so I tried playing along for awhile; but it was just impossible for me to live the lie. That is one of the reasons you are reading this letter.
Other members of the church have argued that I should remain in the church anyway (even though they too know it is false), because it does have its beneficial points, especially for children. My answer to that is, "Well, I know that the Nazi Party had many beneficial teachings and programs for its youth; so do the Jehovah Witnesses; I bet that Jimmy Jones' cult, David Karesh's cult, and the TLC Mormon offshoot group in Manti do too." But would I want my kid to be raised in any of these totalitarian environments--where they cannot discover their true selves?
I have been told by some people that surely the church could not be false, for how could there be so many brilliant people in it--people who have done extensive research on both sides of the church. My simple reply to that is, "What about all the brilliant people in other religions like Buddhism, Hare Krisha, Judaism, Islam, Catholics, and other Protestants? Does that make their religions true too?" Do you see the problem with that thinking?
I wonder how many high up officials know the truth about the church, but are holding back. I suppose that they justify it by stating that it is better for one man to live a lie rather than permit an entire generation to dwindle in unbelief. Many members don't find out until they have a lot already invested in the church (like money, time, family, callings). This makes it all the more difficult in leaving.
I often stop and wonder about what happened when my ancestors abandoned their current faith in order to join Mormonism? Were they ostracized by family and friends? I am certain that their family said that they were leaving the truth for a new, crazy cult. Modern Mormons would say that they left their faith for the new truth, so it is okay that they joined the church. I will say the same thing for me--that I am leaving my old faith for the new truth which I have found.
I hope that you realize that I am the same person which I was before. (My wife says that I am a much better, kinder, happier, loving person now, than how I was when I fully believed in the church; I hope that is true.) I am not going to become an immoral, godless person. Please realize that finding out that the church is false is not what I originally wanted to discover; and is not something I am doing on a whim or because it is "exciting." I also want to convey to you that I did not come to this realization because of some sin, or because I was offended by someone (how petty!), or because you failed in being a good family member or friend to me. (I don't want any of you to take this personally; or to pass any kind of judgement on me.)
The Eleventh Article of Faith states that the church allows all men the same privilege--to let everyone worship how, where, or what they may. I feel strongly about this for everyone. I will not talk to any of you about my beliefs or church history unless you ask about it first. And I hope that you will not preach Mormonism to me and my family, unless we ask about it. (Let's keep our preachings to the bedroom, like all of our other personal things.) I am sorry if I have let any of you down, or have "forgotten" who I am; but at the same time I would challenge you to be open-minded and to question your own beliefs and truths, so that you too may re-member who you are. Don't ever forget that the truth will hold up under any type of scrutiny.
I know that we can get along, grow, respect each other's differences, socialize, and have joy in this life we live in. Remember that we are nothing more than the sum of our experiences. The point of life is not to get anywhere--it is to notice that you are, and have always been, already there. You are, always and forever, in the moment of pure creation. The point of life is therefore to create--who and what you are, and then to experience that. And believe it or not, happiness does exist outside of the church; because the Mormons do not have the monopoly on truth.
Let us all now listen to our feelings. Listen to our highest thoughts. Listen to our experiences. In doing so we will all find our own truth. These are the things we should rely on--our own truth, knowledge, and experiences The purpose of the human soul is to experience all of it--so that it can be all of it. I look forward to every new experience.
If you now feel hurt, angry, bitter, hateful or judgmental, then I don't blame you. I would have felt the same way a few years ago if you had done this to me. Let me suggest some ways that you can let off some steam and relieve some worry. At the same time this will help you to reinforce your beliefs in the Mormon church, so that you will know that what you are doing is right, and what we are doing is wrong. Please remember that these comments are all tongue-in-cheek:
First, deny the experience. Say that you can't believe what is happening. This must be a dream--a nightmare. Feel like binging or purging or maybe both. Pray to god--don't curse him. Consider burning this letter.
Cry a lot, shed a tear, stay awake all night for months on end, say to yourself, "I can't believe this. Where did we go wrong (in raising me, or in being a friend or a family member or a ward member to me)? This is so sad. They are so lost."
Next, judge, judge, and do more judging. Pick up the phone and call all your family or friends who know us and gossip about how we are now "apostates" who will surely go to Spirit Prison right after we die. Ask each other, "Do you think they are SOP's (Sons of Perdition) [or just SOB's]? Judge us and consign us to some low-life Mormon kingdom." Liken me to Korihor.
Start rumors about why we are "really" leaving the church. "They must have had an affair. Maybe spouse abuse occured. Do they beat their kids? No. I heard it's because they drink Coke, or watched R-rated movies, or they skipped church a few times, or they failed to read their scriptures, have family prayer, and FHE, and attend the temple."
"No, it is definitely because they were offended by someone. I wonder who it could have been? The bishop, his councilors, their neighbors? Maybe they didn't like their callings, or the people they worked with."
"No, I hear that they have financial problems and that they have done a lot of studying of anti-Mormon material." [NOTE: Let me interject here that most of the problems I found with the church have been found in church-approved books such as the original edition scriptures and official Church History manuals.]
Make sure that whenever you are around us, that you are cold, abrupt, and that you avoid eye contact. Make your conversations to the point and as short as possible so that you can get on your way. You don't want any part of us to rub off on you. Make rules that your kids are forbidden to play with our kids or to come to our house.
If you have an assignment to check up on us, to be our "friend" or our home teacher, please follow all of the above rules. However, make sure that you paint a bright smile on your face and that you have a happy voice when you talk to us. Ask some insincere questions about our lives, and be sure to ask if there is anything that you can do to help us (while hoping that we say 'No'). You might also mention the latest Sunday church meeting times, say that you missed us at church last week, and invite us out to the next ward social activity.
Last, judge, judge, and more judging--especially in your heart. Try to find any little thing that will prove that you are absolutely right and that we are absolutely wrong. These are the "I told you so" types of things. For example, rejoice in your heart when bad things happen to us, or really good things happen to you; so that you can say, "See. I told you that leaving the church was a big mistake for you." This is very important for you so that you do not have any doubts about the church creep into your minds.
Have fear, pride, and be extra self-righteous. "The Church of Fear and Pride of Self-Righteous Saints". That is the name which the church should take on nowadays.
I know that some of you will not act out in the above tongue-in-cheek manners, but I expect that some of you will. Unfortunately, I must confess that I know that I would have acted out many of these back in the days when I was a true-believing Mormon. I am very thankful that I have seen the light. I would hope that there would be only one reason for any of you to change anything; and only one purpose in making an alteration: and that is if you are not happy with Who You Are. For only you can know if you are happy.
Remember above all, that and unconditional God loves you unconditionally, and so do we.
The author of this story can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org