Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cutting a Little Slack for Ex-Mormons

In spite of having long spoken in defense of the Church against the criticisms of the "antis," including some outspoken former members, I'd like to confess that there is room for increased respect and tolerance among LDS ranks for those who have left us and even rail against us. And I personally wish to improve and be less hasty in judging intents and criticizing positions of those who have left.

Remember the story in the Book of Mormon about the Nephite group who leaves Zarahemla to go back and live in the original land of Nephi? They spied on a Lamanite group living in the area, and the Nephite leaders prepared to attack. But some of the Nephites saw that those Lamanites were decent people and argued that it was wrong to launch an offensive war against them. Bloodshed erupted among the Nephite group and a handful of survivors returned to Zarahemla, their expedition having been a tragic failure.

I offer a weak parallel to this story in pointing out that many ex-Mormons, even some who show a lot of bitterness toward the Church, may be much more honorable people that we have realized, and may have entirely logical reasons from their perspective for leaving. In fact, it is not hard to find reasons to reject Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or any past or modern prophet, or to find doctrines and practices that one can strongly object to.

Many who leave do not do so because the moral standards were too high or because someone snubbed them at Church or because tithing was too painful or they just got sick of home teaching or were victims of gossip or had a serious moral sin that they wouldn't quit. It is understandable, in fact, that people would get upset over polygamy or several other things in LDS history or even in the Bible that would lead them to reject the Church or organized religion in general. There are certainly powerful arguments to be made and often no simple answers.

I am sad that they left. I think there are rich spiritual dimensions to the LDS experience that they will miss, or perhaps were already missing during their time of membership in the Church. I had one person tell me, after twenty years of membership in the Church, that he had never experienced a real answer to prayer. That pains me. I wish their experience could have been more like mine. No, I can't explain polygamy, either in Joseph's day or Old Testament times. It makes no sense to me and aspects of it offend me, even if some of the marriages were "dynastic" marriages that did not involve living together as man and wife. All sorts of things offend me, from the Old Testament right up to 2006. But I cannot deny what I have experienced, and indeed, what I know. There is a power and a reality to core parts of the Gospel. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. The Book of Mormon is real and divine. The Temple is divine. Prayer "works." The gift of the Holy Ghost is real. The blessings and miracles associated with Church service are real.

Something is going on here that cannot be explained by any hypothesis that begins with Joseph as a charlatan who fabricated the Book of Mormon. That doesn't mean we have to agree with everything the Church has done, but there is at least something going on that needs to be considered.

But there are other ways of looking at the external evidences, and plenty of ways to miss the evidences of the divine. Those who leave because of their interpretation of history or evaluation of the evidence may be entirely sincere and rational. In fact, that may apply to the vast majority.

Those who choose to leave may still be our friends and neighbors. They may still be reasonable, kind, loving people with differences that we can accept. I hope we can have some degree of mutual respect and less nastiness.

Given the fallibility of man, it is almost certain that some things that any person accepts as truth will be wrong. In the end, the most important thing has got to be the gift that is the greatest of all, charity. May we have it in abundance, even toward our enemies, even toward those who choose to revile us and accuse us of all manner of stupidity. I need it more, and apologize when I have been too rash or harsh or quick to judge those who have offered criticisms here.

May we feel charity even for those who shout at us and wave garments in our face. But may we also see past our religious differences and realize that some of those who leave our Church do not stand shoulder to shoulder with those who taunt and defame us. Some feel we have been duped and defrauded, but mean us no harm and respect the good that they can see in us. We need not assume the worst in them, and instead should see the best that we can.

When I was a teenager, a friend of mine converted to the Church, and I was very happy for him. Then he ran into anti-Mormon literature and was swayed and began to speak against the Church and had his name removed. Understandably, my bishop encouraged several of us to be careful and to avoid religious discussion with him. I was uncomfortable with him and we grew apart. But now, many years later, we've teamed up again, though we are states apart. He's an amazing person, vastly interesting, and though we differ in many topics, I am pleased to count him as a friend. He is no longer an "anti" but quietly tolerates my religious beliefs (with a few good-natured jokes, of course), though he thinks it's all a lie and believes there is no God. I realize that he is every bit as important to God as I or any member of the Church, and perhaps more so, given what he has endured and overcome.

In appreciating him and his friendship, it is so clear that there is much more to life than simply whether one is or is not a member of any particular religion. Yes, the Church of Jesus Christ is divine and is a marvelous tool meant to bless the children of this planet, but there is much outside our tiny Church that we have yet to appreciate. This life is a journey, and there are treasures to be uncovered for all and in all who seek the Good, even when they - or we - have gotten some things wrong along the way.

May we be civil one to another, even as we debate our religious views and contend for the cause of truth as we see it.

138 comments:

Wendy said...

Natalie Collins always said you were one of the good guys. Nice post, Jeff.

I've argued back and forth here in the past and have never felt I was an "anti", but I am disaffected. Polygamy seems to be one of my hot button issues. I appreciate civility and return it in kind.

My LDS neighbors and I remain good friends, despite my issues with church history and doctrine. It really only takes a little tolerance from both parties, but there is always that unspoken elephant in the room. Not much you can do about that.

John said...

I think you make a good point, Jeff; there is absolutely room for us all to be more open, respectful, and friendly.

As for the comments offered here, we should be especially careful with our responses as some come here with the sole purpose of making people upset, for their own chuckles or for some more complex reason.

This is not to suggest that this represents everyone disagreeing with the church, or even a majority, but this kind of behavior does exist. If we are always kind and respectful as we ought, we will avoid being suckered into a destructive, contentious spiral.

Dave said...

Those are fine thoughts, Jeff. If we take them to heart, we'll all raise the level of our conversations and interactions with those critical of LDS faith claims, whether they be ex-LDS, Christian, or secular.

At the same time, it's fair to point out that it should be a two-way street. If we can give LDS critics the benefit of good motives, they ought to be willing to do the same for Mormons. Too many of them see the ideal modus operandi as Mormons always, always giving them the benefit of good motives while they have the permanent dispensation to dish out jabs, jokes, and insults.

My good-natured tolerance reached its limit when I observed a Jesus-loving anti-Mormon yelling offensive remarks and uncharitable Jesus slogans at busses of Mormons (including the one with my family on it) attending a temple open house in California. I now have much less compunction in pointing out how bigoted and intolerant many Evangelicals (the primary pool of such deluded do-gooders) are toward Mormons. Those who sympathize with such activities and whose megachurches and bookstores push blatantly inaccurate, even hostile, depictions of Mormons in pamphlets and books are as tainted by those activities as those who participate directly. I don't advocate reciprocating in kind, but it is simply impossible for me to paint their motives as generous, sincere, or charitable.

Shawn said...

A thoughtful, sound peice of advice Jeff! Thank you. I apologize if I have been too fiesty in my posts.

Sincerely,
Shawn

Bishop Rick said...

Jeff makes several excellent points. I would say (IMO) that the overwhelming number of exmo comments (whether harsh or not) have the intention of "waking up" mormons to the supposed fact that they are being duped (as they feel they have been). If you can get past the harshness, I really believe this is the intent.

Shawn,

Your restraint has always been admirable. YOU have no reason for apology.

Casual Mormon said...

Yes yes--excellent post.

I think a lot of LDS folk online are too easily riled, and feel the need to fire back when somebody comes in trashing our religion(this is a problem with me as much as anybody). I've noticed that we also sometimes become upset when somebody honestly inquires about our religion, or offers criticism of any kind(I've lurked here for a couple of months, and I've seen Bishop Rick get unfairly trashed. For the record, Bishop Rick, I like your posts and you have a cool username).

I know it's upsetting that there are so many anti-mormons spreading hate online, but being rude to anybody won't help us at all. Arguing won't get them to like the church. The only thing we can do at this point is live our lives well, and be a good example to them. Hopefully someday they will come around.

Orin Ryssman said...

Jeff writes,

Many who leave do not do so because the moral standards were too high or because someone snubbed them at Church or because tithing was too painful or they just got sick of home teaching or were victims of gossip or had a serious moral sin that they wouldn't quit. It is understandable, in fact, that people would get upset over polygamy or several other things in LDS history or even in the Bible that would lead them to reject the Church or organized religion in general. There are certainly powerful arguments to be made and often no simple answers.

Cutting a little slack to Ex-Mormons starts with a better understanding about why they left, as opposed to the stereotypes you seem to have. It could be something so simple as that some look at LDS Church theology, compare it with orthodox Christian teachings, and arrive at a realization that the two do not match.

John said...

Bishop Rick,

Thank you for your words, that people may have "the intention of 'waking up' mormons to the supposed fact that they are being duped." When people come at me with venom, I try to ask them their motivation for such, um, enthusiasm. If they have a good purpose, like what you mentioned above, I take a lot more interest in what they have to say, because at the very least they're sincere. It's the other kind, commonly referred to as trolls when online and jerks in real life, that I wish we'd be polite and brief with, emphasis on brief.

Walker said...

Yes, indeed. Jeff is often the voice of reason. Often, some Mormons (it takes one to know one--like myself) have as much of a penchant for argument as any "anti." We like to be right and often go too far to achieving that.

Sister_G said...

As a long-time reader and first-time commenter, I can only thank you for your kind message. This month marks the 25th anniversary of my baptism into the Church. This quarter-century includes an eight-year period of inactivity. It pleases me to know that during that time, I never said anything negative about the Church. Who was it that said, "People just keep leaving the Church, but they just won't leave it alone." ??

I hope that we can all think more than twice before bashing any other belief system and I feel that your blog is a marvelous resource for those who want to know more about who we are and why we believe as we do.

RameshUmpton said...

Orin Ryssman, what stereotypes of Jeff's were you referring to? His list that you quoted was criticizing common stereotypes, not endorsing them. Disagreeing with the theology is akin to disagreeing with past or present practices, as in the example of polygamy he cited.

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough Jeff Lindsey's website convinced me that there was a historical deception going on amongst the church hierarchy and other apologist sites. When researching information on Mormonism especially on the Internet one must exercise extreme caution because there are plenty of people out there posting stuff that isn't true.

While I do not agree with Mr. Lindsey's views, I respect anyone who will gleefully display on his site arguing the case for Mormonism groups he's won from anti-Mormon groups to mock them.

Natalie said...

Well, Jeff, once again you have proved me right.

After several exchanges and discourses, and some "gentle" poking of fun, which is my stock in trade, I discovered you to be a remarkably upstanding, genuine person who truly BELIEVES what you write and "testimonize" about. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's not a word, but hey, it fits.)

This post just confirms all of that.

We will probably never agree, but I came to realize you aren't judging. You are just trying to SHARE what you believe to be a great blessing.

That I don't share your belief is just the way things go, but WOW, what a big step toward ex/former/jack/anti-Mormons and Mormons. I've been waiting years to see it happen. You give me hope.

Kudos, Jeff.

Natalie said...

Oh, and I just have to say that I am often accused of bashing the LDS Church on my blog. I hear this a lot, especially in nasty emails from active Mormons. I won't put my blog link here, because Jeff does not like that much. But I don't play games. I tell it all. That's not always considered a GOOD trait.

Just a few days ago I received an email from a Mormon poster who wished me to "drop dead."

And that could happen. After all, people drop dead every day!

The truth of me, and my blog, is that I tell it like I see it, but I have NEVER told someone to drop dead. Even the real idiots. And I can see a good person and can acknowledge that person as such, despite their religious belief or association.

I'm sorry that some people don't want to consider the other side. But it's there. I tell it all, good, bad and ugly. It's just life. I don't believe Mormonism is true. But I like Mormons. Two of the NICEST and most GENUINE people I know are very active Mormons. They are great friends. I would call either one of them in a pinch. I think they would do the same for me. They know how I feel. I know how they feel. And yet we get along.

My mom is very active Mormon, and you wouldn't or couldn't meet a NICER person.

I do not hate Mormons. I didn't leave the Church because someone made me mad, or because I wanted to sin. I truly do NOT believe it to be true.

I wish that could be accepted.

Anonymous said...

This post couldn't come at a better time.

Anonymous said...

Recently my parents made the choice to quit the LDS Faith. I appreciate this post Jeff. Your perspective has helped me realize that my parents are making decisions based upon their perspective.

Despite what is right or wrong, it doesn't make it easy to deal with family making decisions that you don't approve of. I don't think anyone can understand what it is like to go thru what I'm going thru unless you've had parents who have made a similar decision. It would really help if anyone out there in the bloggosphere could share with me how they dealt with a similar situation.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly...

As Gordon B. Hinckley said once,

"Live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. there is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies...We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we do not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry".

Mormanity said...

Thanks for the insightful comments. And thanks, Natalie, for the kind words. Her blog, by the way, is at http://www.nataliercollins.com/weblog/. Deserves a look (and note the cool design), but, dear readers, BEWARE! Natalie does not believe in Bigfoot. Just cover your eyes when you get to that part.

Anti-bigfoot links will generally not be tolerated here.

Natalie said...

He he he. I am anti-Bigfoot! Yes, I am!

Anonymous said...

I though everybody already knew that Bigfoot is Cain.

Anonymous said...

So prove that, if you're able.

Bookslinger said...

Okay, continuing with the thread-jack...

One of my most trusted friends claims to have seen a bigfoot-like creature, up front and personal.

I believe him.

Anonymous said...

Was that with mortal eyes or spiritual eyes?

Anonymous said...

Did he have the famous Sasquatch odor? I think you can get it at Foley's.

Bookslinger said...

Mortal eyes.

I don't think he smelled him. My friend was in his car, and the bigfoot-like creature just sauntered across the road in front of him. My friend is a heavy smoker, so he probably couldn't have smelled him anyway.

Mormanity said...

Speaking of Bigfoot, one of my most memorable experiences as a wet-behind-the-ears (still applies) high-school student visiting the impressive campus of the University of Utah (summer debate camp) involved my big feet - size 13. I was standing in line at the cafeteria of the student union to get lunch when a petite Korean woman and her friend walked by. The Korean woman looked at my large shoes and turned to her friend to say, "Oh, look at his big feet!" It was like she had never imagined such big feet were possible.

It was bad enough being sensitive about acne and everything else, but now I was part of one of the first confirmed Bigfoot sightings in Utah.

Melissa said...

Thanks so much for your post. I must say Jeff your blog is a breath of fresh air. I am not Mormon but respect everyone's choice to believe whatever they want. My boyfriend is ex-mormon and I was raised Baptist and we have had many conversations about what is "anti-morman" and differing beliefs. I am offended that people think that just because I don't believe what the Mormon church teaches that I am "anti-Mormon." (I see it as the same as just because I disagee with homosexuality I am dubbed "homophobic.") Not true either. I'm not, I just disagree. My boyfriend has slowly begun to understand this and we see eye to eye on a lot now. Anyway, back to the point- thank you Jeff, wish there were more like you out there. (I'm sure there out more like you out there, I just don't run into them very often.)

Walker said...

You do realize how remarkable of a post this is, right? I admit it--I've been guilty of being ticked off a little too easily at the ex-Mormonism.

You make a case that, if heard from someone less eloquent, I would probably thank them kindly for their charity and then continue on about my way. This post actually provides a compelling case for how one can show love towards those that appear to be diametrically opposed to us.

Congratulations.

Bookslinger said...

Melissa,
I'm not sure if you're referring to any particular comment or commenter, but the phrase "anti-mormon" is generally reserved for those tho attack the LDS faith, and is not applied to those who merely disagree.

Specifically, the "anti-mormon" epithet is leveled towards those who use falsehoods or twisted half-truths, or things taken out of context, to attack the LDS faith.

But plenty of people rationally disagree with the LDS church, and state their reasons why they don't believe as we do, and they never get labeled "anti-mormon."

Melissa said...

Bookslinger

Thanks for clearing that up for me. Unfortunately that situation in which you define "anti- Mormon" has very rarely been my experience. I have had many comversations with people who have defined anything not written by the church as anti-mormon and people who disagree as the same. My point is that just because something or someone doesn't agree with what you believe they are not out to destory you- they just disagree. And unfortunatley wendy is right about the "unspoken elephant" in the room. And its too bad. To each their own. And Bookslinger, glad to hear there are people with your (and Jeff's mindset out there, gives me hope.)

lds from Russia said...

At first it was hard for me to read anti-ex-mormon articles or internet sites. I thought – is it all true??? But praying, reading scriptures, lds-defending sites my faith increased. I have a stronge testimony and knowledge now, also thanks to anti-ex-mormons.

Pops said...

As I see it, there are two paths to truth: the intellectual path, or "reason", and the spiritual path.

Finding truth by either means requires great effort and rigor, given that we human beings have an almost unlimited capacity for self-deception. A casual approach to learning by either method will produce only a casual correspondence between one's "knowledge" and external truth.

At this point I was tempted to insert an observation about the general lack of intellectual rigor in the "rational" objections to Joseph Smith and/or LDS theology, but thought it better not to do so. [Ouch! It sure is easy to bite your tongue when it's over there against your cheek...]

One of the most important personal characteristics necessary for the discovery of truth is an awareness that one does not know it all. In addition, I suspect we would (will) be greatly surprised to find out the degree to which our tiny "knowledge" is tainted by its context -- its context being us ourselves, and the social, historical, physical, and spiritual context within which we exist. That is probably more true of our intellectual knowledge, but I suspect also true to some degree with our spiritual knowledge, or that we make distorted intellectual enhancements to our spiritual knowledge.

I believe that the spiritual pursuit of truth has vastly more promise than the intellectual pursuit. Spiritual learning places one's spirit in direct contact with external truth, whereas the intellect will always be separated from the external universe by fallible senses.

The intellectual path, while not as promising, is also very important. Most of our communications with each other reside within the domain of the intellect. We can speak of spiritual learning and spiritual experiences, but we are constrained to do so using intellectual means and in terms of the intellect.

The spiritual pursuit of truth is a difficult enterprise. Many are not aware that it exists, and it is not something that can be directly shared with others. Also, the spirit is a delicate instrument that can easily be drowned out or distorted by other influences.

Those who have not experienced spiritual learning are not likely to "get" what those who have experienced it are talking about. They may view you and your "testimony" as nothing more than irrational gobbledygook. Some believe that it is a false concept -- that it is a form of self-deception. But those who have experienced it know that it is not. Joseph Smith described it as "pure intelligence" flowing into you.

The process of learning to learn spiritually, also known as spiritual conversion, is the re-awakening of the spirit. It cannot occur in an atmopshere of hate, arrogance, fear, or contention, but only in an environment of love, humility, trust, and mutual respsect. It requires circumstances which provide opportunities for the sensing of something beyond the intellect and reason, and is enhanced by the assistance of a guide to point out what is happening, what the process is, what activities will enhance it and which will inhibit it, and, in general, how to embark on the great adventure of spiritual learning and growth.

Those who have experienced spiritual learning have a deep desire to share it with others, to teach them how to find it for themselves. It is not unlike trying to describe sight to those who have had their eyes closed since birth, if you can imagine it.

I marvel at the Savior's response to those who betrayed him, who mocked him, tortured him, and crucified him. He understood they acted out of blindness, and so he did not allow their actions to diminish his love for them. Would that I could be as he is.

Lunar Quaker said...

Re: Dave

"My good-natured tolerance reached its limit when I observed a Jesus-loving anti-Mormon yelling offensive remarks and uncharitable Jesus slogans at busses of Mormons"

Jeff was referring to ex-Mormons, not evangelical Christian never-Mormons. Yes, there are some ex-Mormons that become evangelical Christians, but the majority do not.

I am a disaffected Mormon. What Jeff says in his original post is important. Too many people in the church view disaffected Mormons with extreme suspicion, as if we all are on a mission to destroy the kingdom of God. My own father has encouraged his other children, my siblings, to distance themselves from me. Unfortunately this is a common scenario among my friends who have also become disaffected.

The standard works and the statements of certain prophets and apostles tend to reinforce the idea that all "apostates" have an agenda. It isn't so. Most of the time we're just trying to cope with our changing relationships with family and friends, people we love who now feel that they can no longer be close to us.

Obviously I feel that the criticisms of the church are far more convincing than its apologetic defenses. Jeff points out that the spiritual element of the church is what some of us are missing. I think all of us have had spiritual experiences in the church. We just interpret them differently now.

Anyway, thanks Jeff for a great post. It means a lot to me.

Mark G. said...

Thank you for this post, Jeff. I would love to see bridges made between the Mormon and ex-mormon communities. This post really does help that goal.

Anonymous said...

"Ex-Mormon" is a bit harsh of a term isn't it? Kind of like ex-wife? Are Ex-mormons going to heaven?

Casual Mormon said...

Is "ex-mormon" a harsh term? I've never thought about it before, really. On the one hand, I don't see it as harsh at all. They used to be mormon--now they're not. They're "ex-mormon". Simple.

....and yet, I see your point. I can see how "ex-mormon" could sound more harsh than it should. It kind of indicates that there's a rift between mormons and the "ex"...as if there were a bitter dispute somewhere down the line, which may not be the case. Maybe we should just say "former mormons?" Or "for'mons" for short?

It's strange, because I know several people who used to be active members of other faiths(catholic, methodist) and aren't active now. They don't go to church, and they really don't hold any strong religious beliefs at present. Yet they don't consider themselves, nor are they called "ex-catholics" or "ex-methodists".

In fact, if you asked them their religion, they'd probably just tell you "catholic" or "methodist". I guess that's one of those weird differences between "mormon culture" and "the real world". The real world definies their religion as which church they were born into. They may live their life entirely contrary to the teachings of the catholic church, but they were born catholic, so that's what they answer when asked about religion at any point in their life.

Mormons, on the other hand, define their religion as exactly what they believe at that moment. "Oh me? I'm mormon." "I used to be mormon, but now I'm inactive." "I'm ex-mormon." "I'm anti-mormon" "I'm a reformin' mormon".

I hope that didn't come across as insulting in any way. I could be WAY off base. I haven't checked out the catholic/methodist blogisphere. Are there ex/anti/inactives there too? Really, I'm just going by my (admittedly limited) experience with my small circle of friends.

TylerD said...

I think I'm one of those bloggers/commenters who is quick to get riled up. At the same time, I deeply believe in the 11th Article of Faith. As a result, reading posts from ex-Mormons frequently causes an internal struggle.

For me it boils down to this. I respect any thoughtful, honest, and reasoned position. I don't consider that wrong or anti-Mormon; afterall, the 11th A of F applies. Where I draw the line (for ex-Mormons and current members alike) against mean-spirited, insulting, or intentionally deceptive posts/comments.

I don't see many of the latter in the universe of Mormon-oriented blogs, but they exist on the Internet. For example, I have posted photos of various temples on Flickr. The other day, someone submitted a comment quoting one of the most sacred phrases used in the temple followed by "That about says it" or something to that effect. I don't know whether the poster was ex-Mormon or not, but I won't stand for that and deleted the comment. I also have no doubt that most ex-Mormons are respectful of our beliefs and would not do that. But I believe that our love and respect for all should not be read to mean we accept everything in the name of tolerance.

Bishop Rick said...

Pops,

When you talk about spiritual learning, are you talking about expanding/getting in touch with your spiritual feelings, or are you talking about using spiritual learning in place of intellectual learning?

Not totally sure where you were headed on that one.

Dennis West said...

Personally, I've always thought that leaving the church was quite a bit like getting a divorce. No matter how hard you try, it's hard to avoid being negative and bitter. I would imagine that there's a great deal of guilt involved too which would move the individual try to remind themselves of the negative reasons they left so they don't question their decision.

Anonymous said...

Dennis,
THAT IS A GREAT POINT TO BE MADE. I DON'T SEE HOW INDIVIDUALS WHOM CHOOSE TO REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM CHURCH CAN'T FEEL GUILT ASSOICATED WITH THEIR DECISION, AT LEAST AT SOME LEVEL OR ANOTHER. FOR THOSE OF US WHO WATCH CONFERNECE LAST MONTH, PLEASE THINK BACK TO ELDER BEDNAR'S TALK ON SUNDAY. EACH INDIVIDUAL WHO DECIDES TO QUIT ATTENDING CHURCH OR TO HAVE THEIR NAMES REMOVED FROM THE RECORDS OF THE CHURCH WERE OFFENDED AT SOME TIME OR ANOTHER.

John said...

WHY THE CAPS? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING!!!

Hhhhh said...

Jeff, you're truly an inspiration. I wish I had as much love and respect as you do.

I just spent a few minutes looking at a couple of sites that go way beyond the typical "IMO, the Church has a moral obligation to change with respect to X" sermons. There is truly a bunch of very bad stuff out there (a lot more ill-intentioned than your typical Evangelist trying to save Mormons one insult at a time). These sites did not make me mad, but rather they really saddened me.

Bishop Rick said...

Anon,

I think you missed the point of this post. Most ex-mormons do not leave the LDS church because someone offended them.

If that is all it takes to leave the LDS church, most members would have left by now.

Lunar Quaker said...

Anon:

That's why us exmos or disaffected mormons consider Bednar's talk offensive (ironic, isn't it?). It simply isn't true.

Anonymous said...

I have just one question. What makes the Mormon church so special that just mentioning Mormon gets people so riled up? As far as I know, this is the only church that so many people spend all of their time and energy trying to discredit or destroy this church. Some Christian churches have a ministry solely devoted in trying to get Mormons to leave the church. Whether you believe in the Church doctrine or not this church has done much more good for this world than what people believe. Read some local newspaper reports on what Mormons have done. No there may not be any solid proof of the validity of Mormonism but there wasn't any solid proof for Christianity for many hundreds of years and yet we accept it as part of our culture.The center of Christ's gospel is Love thy neighbor as thyself. So, let us spend our time sharing what we believe instead of defending or attacking what we believe.

Walker said...

I don't claim it to be true for all or even most, but I know from personal experience that there is a large enough contingent of "offended" Mormons that it justified Elder Bednar's talk, at least from the perspective of an apostle attempting invigorate the base of the Church's support (of course, if you don't believe the Church's claims, then he's just a money-grubbing apostle looking to chalk up the 10%)

East of Eden said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this subject. I've been reading your blog lately, and have been very impressed with your thoughts and knowledge of the Gospel.

I have a brother in law who has left the Church, and is very active on the anti scene, and has published numerous books and articles against the Church. As a family, we've tried to keep the door open and keep the lines of communication open and have tried to let him know we still love him and his family even though they do not follow our faith. It's very hard some times to keep the spirit of forgiveness and the spirit of love when we are pushed away, very rudely at times. You've reminded me that we still need to keep trying to love our brother, no matter what.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

As a pagan to Christian, to convert I have seen many reasons why people
>(exmembers, name removal members, inactive members, and nonmembers) are
>critical about the church. Most reasons are understandable. Those that
>have had some membership with the church that blog on with criticisms
>about the church feel they have been damaged by the church or people in
>the church. As a convert with a solid testimony I have been shocked at
>the disinformation, misinformation, with held information and bad
>dealings many of these people have had with the church and its members.
>If you are a BIC you may see your church as just a church and have
>seen all kind of wrongs and excepted them for what ever reason. As a
>convert or a BIC when you think, feel, or learn that the gospel has been
>restored many are devastated when they are confronted with the reality
>that those you trusted the most have let you down an not explained many of the unexplainable events of church history. Nonmembers try to
>use all of these failings by the church and its members to be critical
>and fuel the antagonizing feelings against the church. So if the disgruntled
>members appear to be a lot more hostile than nonmembers this could be
>why. Also when they blog it could be to vent because what member would like to catch h--- from them. Some might try to blame it on onething but there are a lot more
>problems that disgruntled people have against the church. Normaly there are many reasons. This is from
>one that has seen a lot I these things during my 30 great years in the church.

The Idahoan said...

If you are sincere than you are a rare breed. I am an "ex" but I am far from "anti". I respect others' beliefs and as long as you are not hurting others (like non-consenting women and children) then do what makes you happy. All I ask is for the same in return.

I think that idiots who stand outside the temples wearing garments or other stupidity are just morons who need to get a life. I love constructive educational debate, and love talking to mormons about their beliefs and mine. But it seems that more often than not it just gets nasty and personal, and I won't put up with that. You can question my beliefs, but to attack me personally just tells me you have no idea what you are talking about so you are resorting to stupid personal attacks.

Blog on. I am glad I found this and I will keep it bookmarked.

Anonymous said...

SLC is a place I have been raised but have always found peace and joy amongst the LDS community. This recent shooting in downtown SlC has brought great attention to me as a way to understand how important it is to treat others around you that you don't know... You see I feel if the poor boy who did this shooting had a little more love from others he wouldn't have had all the anger building up inside him to so it.. I may be wrong but this post is a simple example of how much others can change someones emotions...


Very well done

Anonymous said...

I will say I have read the posts here and am interested by all of them. I myself am an ex or inactive(don't know the criteria for the label). I joined the church after careful consideration and study. After joining I was filled with a huge desire to study all that I could about the church. In the library I found the complete set of church history. I hate history but was really into reading this, in it I found things that challenged my personal views of what Joseph Smith was "supposed to be". It ate away at me and my absolute faith and testimony.

I find it hard, I was told that if the church was true I would know it. I felt I did, and I lost that while retaining belief in many of the churches teachings. I still believe in God, but when I look at the history of the christian religion there are things that could make me doubt that as well. I think that is what makes people hateful after leaving. It rocks them to the core, and people are uncomfortable with uncertainty.

On a side note I will say to you all, don't feel so opressed by anything anyone will do or say to you. I am about to be leaving Iraq, I am in the Marine Corps in a Recon unit. I have seen opression at its ugliest. The people here in many regions would sooner kill a person of another denomination of the muslim faith, than me. They destroy each others cemetaries and cities without a drop of sympathy. When you feel oppressed or attacked by another Christian religion, imagine them blowing up the market where your wife or husband works indiscriminatly because your religion dominates that area. It makes things not seem quite so bad.

I will say "Mormons" are some of the best people I have ever met. I would defend them to anyone, yet I can't make myself a part of it yet. I miss who I was when I was a "Mormon". I was more completly self actualizing, and felt a security I no longer enjoy. I have faith in God that he will show me the path that he wants for me. Until then I will continue to learn and grow as best I can, I would urge all to do the same. Afterall, eternity depends on it!

Anonymous said...

I will say I have read the posts here and am interested by all of them. I myself am an ex or inactive(don't know the criteria for the label). I joined the church after careful consideration and study. After joining I was filled with a huge desire to study all that I could about the church. In the library I found the complete set of church history. I hate history but was really into reading this, in it I found things that challenged my personal views of what Joseph Smith was "supposed to be". It ate away at me and my absolute faith and testimony.

I find it hard, I was told that if the church was true I would know it. I felt I did, and I lost that while retaining belief in many of the churches teachings. I still believe in God, but when I look at the history of the christian religion there are things that could make me doubt that as well. I think that is what makes people hateful after leaving. It rocks them to the core, and people are uncomfortable with uncertainty.

On a side note I will say to you all, don't feel so opressed by anything anyone will do or say to you. I am about to be leaving Iraq, I am in the Marine Corps in a Recon unit. I have seen opression at its ugliest. The people here in many regions would sooner kill a person of another denomination of the muslim faith, than me. They destroy each others cemetaries and cities without a drop of sympathy. When you feel oppressed or attacked by another Christian religion, imagine them blowing up the market where your wife or husband works indiscriminatly because your religion dominates that area. It makes things not seem quite so bad.

I will say "Mormons" are some of the best people I have ever met. I would defend them to anyone, yet I can't make myself a part of it yet. I miss who I was when I was a "Mormon". I was more completly self actualizing, and felt a security I no longer enjoy. I have faith in God that he will show me the path that he wants for me. Until then I will continue to learn and grow as best I can, I would urge all to do the same. Afterall, eternity depends on it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your service in Iraq. I hope all went well and will go well after you get back.

This is to address generally to all of the above comments about those disinchanted of the church. All I can relate to is what I have experienced and I am not sure if any of this applies here. I do not suggest that I have any of the answers for anyone else but me.

As a convert I have had many bad experiences at the hands of Mormons that has caused me to retreat from the church. You can label me as you must but you can't do much more damage to my life than has already been done. You may be able to mess up my life but you can't destroy my testimony that the Spirit has sealed to my soul. Some have suggested members are offend and leave the church and this may be true for some people but from my personal experience; most of the time it is an accumulation of events that cause such an extreme life changing experience as to leave your faith. Some fade away but those that are embittered normally have be injured in some way. One blog that has the implied name "the last straw" states many accumulations of life's events that has caused them to arrive at the necessity to leave. Most of these events are normal life's struggles but when they come from the Church or members that you have put your trust in you can feel very betrayed for a life time. Keep in mind that this life is for all of us to progress back to our Father in Heaven and some of us need to take a few steps forward and some steps back. But to you good steady members, try to be kind to us that are estranged from you for what ever reason. To those that try to reach out to any of us injured people, "I say thank you." If you Mormons had not found me I may very well have ended up in prison or worse. You may have saved my entire life and without a drought my eternal soul. Thanks again. What ever you do, don't give up.This coming from one that has gone from being over joyed to find the church; to deeply up set at it for a time; to eternally grateful during my 30 years in the church. I am one of the lucky ones that had a number of spiritual experiences that lead me to the church, then I recognized the spirit again when I found the church, and still I am blessed by the spirit from time to time in my life.

Also like Jeff I was shocked that not everyone has had many spiritual experiences. But now I better understand that those who live by faith are a thousand times the person I am; because they stay in there trying to do good regardless of what life brings them. My hat is off to everyone that endures by faith, because I have not been able to do all that I have promised, even with untold spiritual experiences.

For those that are troubled by the information not generally told about church history or present day leaders and members wrong doings; I also have been shocked to find out the same disturbing events . As for the shocking discovery of the humanity of church leaders and members and the lack of information given out about the bad side of church history; I can just hope that God will be as forgiving to them as He has been to me for my many failings. When it comes to the head church leaders it is their primary directive to defend the church at all costs. Many times in doing this many mistakes have been made but if this was my job then I to would find it necessary to do all that I could to protect the church. I am sure many may disagree with this but many look at the LDS church as other earthly organizations that are formed and shaped by its members rather than formed and shaped by the leadership. This I fully understood and excepted when I joined the church. As I look back I can only forgive them for their short comings as they try to lead us as best they can and hope I can receive the same forgiveness from them. In doing this I could not have asked for greater blessings at the hands of God in my life. For me the gospel in the LDS church becomes clearer regardless of the mishaps in my life and regardless of the short comings of its members.

I wish all my fellow disinchanted well and hope they will discover peace in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote, " No there may not be any solid proof of the validity of Mormonism but there wasn't any solid proof for Christianity"

I could not agree more. That is why I don't believe in either.

Dave T. said...

Jeff,
Thank you for this website! You have done more good than you will ever know. I have been on both sides of the activity fence but luckily I am back. I firmly "believe" that the church has to have controversy so it is not obviously true. The good that comes from it when "truly" converted can not be denied (for me). True conversion took me "intellectualizing" and praying until I was well into my 40s. Without doubts and personal hardship, I would have not spent hours on my knees asking. No strength will come if it's easy. I can understand why many good people disagree with the LDS church. I did for years and I was a member! For me it took living better than I was used too. (I have found the spirit of God does not work well in those with inordinate self esteem and in-humility issues.) It took repentance and a sincere desire to know. My road has not been easy but the benefits to my life and my family's can not be compared to anything. The leaders of the LDS church hide nothing. If you really want answers ask those living it. Ask the hard questions, you will get the answers. Best regards to you all! Happy Easter!

Mormanity said...

Dave T., thanks so much for sharing your experience! I appreciate your story and the faith and patience it has taken. We can all learn something from that.

May God bless you in your journey!

Anonymous said...

No, offense but everyone I know that left the Church, left for less intellectual reasons. But good job at pandering for the crowd.

Nigel said...

I would love to hear an explanation for this:

"If we get our salvation, we shall have to pass by Joseph Smith; if we enter our glory, it will be through the authority he has received. We cannot get around him." - 1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide, p. 142, Apostle George Q. Cannon

Contrast this with the words of Jesus Christ:

Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Anonymous said...

1/3 of the host of heaven followed Satan, according to the Book of Revelations and modern scripture. How could this happen in the presence of God the Father? It must have all sounded very logical! How else could so many have been swayed? Paul the apostle sincerely believed he was correct in persecuting the Christian, demonstrated by his zeal in behalf of the Christians once he was set straight.

Here's the silly thing. In 100 years we will all be dead, and all of our interpretations will die with us. We argue over things that we have no way of supporting by physical evidence when it comes to religion--the Bible included. You can't historically prove Moses saw God on the mount, or Paul saw Christ on the road to Damascus. Just because the places exist does not prove the events. The war in heaven was a war of logic alone vs. truth and power. It continues here. There are very few in the world who are willing to admit that we are all idiots, fish in a fishbowl, and unless God reveals truth to us individually, it's all guesswork. Complete humility _is the only way_ to truth. Complete surrender opens the doors of heaven. It is the monumental struggle of humanity. I hope I am up to the taks.

Anonymous said...

An explanation for Nigel:

"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38).

Is it possible to accept Christ and reject Peter? Is it possible to be a Christian and reject the writings of John? What about Paul? Rejecting His servants is tantamount to rejecting Him. That is the explanation. Note that the New Testament also explains that His servants on the earth will have a role to play in the judgment:

"Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. 19:27-28).

Stephen Erastus Knudsen III said...

I think there is a danger in being too tolerant and friendly with non-mormons, but especially ex-mormons who had a perfect undertanding and yet chose perdition. Think of Lucifer in the garden of Eden (the very first ex-Mormon). Don't you think Eve should have been a more particular about the company she chose? There is a lesson to be learned here. Sure, she was offered repentance for her sin. But wouldn't it be better to never commit the sin in the first place?

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a sin, it was a transgression. And Eve was a very noble woman who understood the greater good. That to obey all of Gods commandments this one had to be broken. How could they multiply and replenish the earth in their pre-mortal state?

Eve was a woman among women. One should never degrade her for her choice.

We should all be more tolerant of non-mormons/exmormons/antimormon, to exclude them from our lifes will exclude you from heaven.

God commands us to love everyone. That doesn't mean we have to take everyone fishing, but we are commanded to love everyone.

We are commanded to do missionary work, by excluding these people, HOW are you sopposed to fulfill this law? How are you sopposed to go after the 1 sheep that has lost its way?

If we are elitist than we deserve the persecution. Do you not remember what happened in Missiouri? How we said, This land is ours anyway, and drove the nonmormons into a hate frenzy? Had we not had the over-righteous attitdude, maybe that chapter in our history would have been one conversion rather than persecution.

Be nice to everyone. It is Gods place to judge. Are you god? No, so, do what he has told you than, Love thy Neighbor. Invite him to the BBQ. Don't have extirior motives. Do it completly out of love.

HH said...

Jeff,
I was delighted at this post, as I am trying to convey a similar message of understanding to my exmo pals. I cited it on my blog (www.happyexmo.blogspot.com).

Best Wishes,

Happy_Heretic

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. I am an ex-mo, but I don't consider myself anti. I've been accused of bashing the church and being anti-mormon by members though, simply because I ask questions that they don't want to answer. That's frustrating to me.

The lack of respect given to other peoples' beliefs was the main reason that I stopped attending church. It bothered me when I would go on splits with the missionaries. If we knocked on a door and were invited in, we were only allowed to share OUR message. If the homeowner asked to tell us about THEIR beliefs, we weren't allowed to stay. It bothered me that the assumption was made that just because someone had a different opinion, that it would be an anti-Mormon message, and that we shouldn't listen. It's disrespectful to expect people to be eager to listen to the missionaries' message and NOT be willing to listen to anyone else's.

I've also noticed (even in this discussion) that members make comments about keeping the door open, and letting the ex-mo know that they're still welcomed, etc. It just strikes me personally as being disrespectful. If I say "I'm not interested in the church any more," and you keep inviting me to church activities, then you are showing a complete and utter disregard for my wishes.

If I asked you to go out drinking with me, and you said, "Oh, I'm Mormon, I don't drink," wouldn't you feel disrespected if I kept asking you every weekend to go drinking with me?

I wouldn't, because I respect your beliefs. If I offer you a cigarette, and you say "I'm Mormon, I don't smoke," I won't EVER offer you one again, because I respect your belief.

On the other hand, I have NEVER met a Mormon who didn't keep inviting me to church and other activities, even after I've explained my feelings.

(By the way, I don't drink OR smoke, but I use those examples to make a point.)

rich said...

I recently browsed through Natalie's website and read throug the "exerpt" portion promoting her book "Wives and Sisters" and was disturbed by a quote that obviously was taken out of context and was wondering if Jeff could explain what President Brigham Young was talking about in this address to the The Deseret News..

"Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?. . . I could refer to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection if there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground. . . This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. . . That is the way to love mankind."

—Brigham Young, second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Deseret News, Feb. 18, 1857.)

Anyways, I just wanted an explanation the that quote..It obviosly is not referring to the notion that we must spill the blood of our brothers and sisters in order to "save someone" or "for the good of mankind", what he is referring to is the sacrifice Jesus did by spilling his own blood for us...I am saddened that the intent of posting of that quote was put there to show that we as latter day saints can "spill the blood of our brothers and sisters" to "save them"...please note that we are taught that murder is unacceptable, and the breaking of that commandment of "Thou shalt not kill" will find the offender unforgiven and will be banished and cast out of heaven and delivered to the law of the land.
I am not trying to judge anyone nor "slam" Natalie at all as I have the same outlook as Brother Lindsay does on those who have grudges against the church for whatever reason or another, and from what I've read in Natalie's comments in here, she has encountered those who acted "un-Christlike" and they took the "low road" in responding to her comments. The church would not advocate responses like "drop dead" or ill-minded people who see the need to send profanity laced emails to her in defending their religion. I truly believe in the mantra that contentionousness is from one source only and that source is not Jesus Christ nor the LDS church...only from Satan and those members who allowed themselves to give in to the natural human responses as a result of Satan's temptation.
Yes, you will find "closed minded" church members in the church, and those who act in ways contrary to the churchs teachings, as I have mentioned in another blog in here, but they do no reflect Christ's teachings and if no corrective action is taken in this life, then the Lord will judge them when the time comes. Time and again I hear people say "See?? What kind of religion allows this?? Not a TRUE church!!"...these people are narrow minded and I find it humorous that these comments are not aimed at other religious institutions, (the catholic church and the abuse scandals, the spanish inquisition...or the other church involved in the crusades during the dark ages, where scores of people were slain "for sake of furthering the "christian church)
The only question I have for Natalie is what happened in her childhood or upbringing to cause such contempt for the church? Forgive me if this subject was already covered, as I am new to this site and hers...yes, I am a lifelong member and yes, my faith has waivered at times, but not my testimony. To me, the church principles and doctrine are perfect, just not the people who are members, but that's what repentence is for, I have the good enough sense to forgive those that trespass, even fellow Mormons, as well as non-members. We are all human, with all the imperfections and frailties that come with being human.
I'm not a "blind" follower and have questioned my faith many times, as it was taught me to do so, and have gained a strong testimony in doing so...not just going through the motions as many members have...they are most at risk for apostasizing because they "blindly" follow without understanding the real reasons for being in the church, other than their parents "it's just something you're SUPPOSED to do", and these same people with that mentality can spawn many apostates because they can't adequately explain why they go to church other that its the "right thing to do, you dont ask questions", I myself would be dissallusioned with the church if that was the way it was taught me.
I'm not perfect and have a ways to go before I think I'm "ready" to enter the CK, thanks to the miracle of repentence, I have a fighting chance...deep down inside, I know what is right and will not force it upon others. Read my comment in "I believe the BofM is true".
Love and peace to all, - RB

rich said...

OK, I need to proofread a little better! Sometimes I think faster than I type and when the two catch up, look out! TYPOS! lol - RB

Anonymous said...

While there is no need to condemn or criticize those who have left the church, we should always remember to extend our arms in an effort to them and welcome them back. We need them and they need the Gospel. Let’s bring them back into the fold.

Rich said...

I couldn't agree with you more, as stated in my (rather long lol) comment, and am saddened when people, especially active members, will take the "low road" in putting down ex-members, (or those who have left that publicly state there displeasure with it), it only serves to reinforce their dislike for the church and it's members...we should all show a Christlike attitude, to not judge and be a good example and open our arms to all and let them know that we love our fellow brothers and sisters, members and non-members alike. :) - Rich

Sherrill Icklan said...

I think some of you should cut the evangelicals a little slack. They are often desperate to convert people because they feel that this life is the only one in which you can accept Christ. Remember, that they convert people to Christ, not to a specific religion, they have nothing to gain from this. Yes, they can be obnoxious but so can some Mormons, so can some of every religious group. For every story you tell of obnoxious born-agains (or whatever) they have similar stories about Mormons.
And cut the exmormons a little slack also, it cannot be easy to leave the church and making it always seem like it is the exmormon's fault is rather disturbing to me. I, personally, have had a wonderful experience with Mormons, but cannot accept that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. But I always keep an open mind and feel that no one should be super critical of anyone.

Born again Christians have a rigid way of looking at Scripture sometimes and frankly, when you believe in the Bible, it is very hard to reconcile some of the teaching of the LDS church.
And we all know what Joseph Smith said regarding Protestants and Catholics and that has to rankle people. It is only normal.

Let's all love one another as Christ directed, even our enemies.

I am sorry to be so preachy but I have over 30 years of experience dealing with different religious groups as an impartial observer.

I belong to no specific church, and await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be revealed---that is just my opinion.
With much love, Sherrill

M. Paul Bailey said...

Very well said, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great posting. You know its really all about having compassion for one another. Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. In the afterlife, we will not have all these religious labels. We are all worshipping the same God.

One Hand Clapping said...

Jeff says: "..there is room for increased respect and tolerance among LDS ranks."

Certainly, there is room for something, but is respect and tolerance what is lacking, or is something more fundamental at stake here?

Jeff says: "…some ex-Mormons, who show a lot of bitterness toward the Church, may be much more honorable people that we have realized."

Yes, that is possible but that is obviously not the case in many instances. We need to distinguish at least two classes here and be precise about how we assign individuals to one or the other class. Otherwise, we are not thinking clearly. Maybe what we really lack is clarity on both sides of all issues that have plagued mankind from the beginning. If there were real clarity, there wouldn’t be two sides. We would all agree on what is true and what is false and what is neither and what is both, for there are always at least two thoughts in any disagreement. Let’s call them P and Q and learn to mind our P’s and Q’s.

Why did I not say that there were two parties in any disagreement? Because, every human problem boils down to a conflict between two thoughts and, very often, both thoughts are in the same mind. Consequently, it is possible to have a conflict without two parties.

Jeff says: "Many who leave do not do so because their moral standards were too high."

How can moral standards be too high? There is no such thing as moral standards that are too high! If anyone’s moral standards are high enough, they would most certainly leave the Church! Can you imagine Jesus acting like a Mormon?

Jeff says: "It is understandable, in fact, that people would get upset over polygamy or several other things in LDS history or even in the Bible that would lead them to reject the Church or organized religion in general."

Would Jesus get upset over polygamy? He wasn’t upset about Abraham’s polygamy. The only problem with polygamy pertains to the possibility of abuse, which is no stranger to monogamy, either. Anyone who gets upset is childish. They need to grow up.

Jeff says: "I am sad that they left. I think there are rich spiritual dimensions to the LDS experience that they will miss, or perhaps were already missing during their time of membership in the Church."

And they are sad that you don’t know that you are brainwashed. We were all brainwashed, no matter what culture we were born into. The sooner everyone gets that through their head, the better. In some cultures they are brainwashed think cows are holy. What is America’s Holy Cow? We have so many Holy Cows that it would be hard to point them all out without getting yourself crucified! So, pardon me if I am not more specific here.

Instead, let me be specific about one Mormon Holy Cow. I joined the Church in 1962 at the age of just eighteen. God was I naïve! I swallowed the Mormonism hook, line and sinker. I was what the missionaries called "golden." I had a testimony then but I have a different one now:

THE SPIRIT DOES NOT COME BY THE WILL OF MAN, LET ALONE THE LAYING ON OF HANDS.

I know because I was in the Spirit on, or about New Years Day, 1982. You can believe it, or not, but it doesn’t matter what you believe. It is what you know that counts. There is no such thing as authority, much less priesthood. Only the Devil’s servants exercise authority.

Jeff says: "No, I can't explain polygamy, either in Joseph's day or Old Testament times. It makes no sense to me and aspects of it offend me."

What needs explaining? What assumption of your own causes you this problem – if it wasn’t a problem for Jesus?

Jeff says: "There is a power and a reality to core parts of the Gospel. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real."

Yes, there is a reality to core parts of the Gospel, but what does God care about sacrifices or atonement? Nada! The core of the Good News is that all of our sins are forgiven, but one. Not even God can forgive you until you forgive yourself and your neighbor. If you forgive yourself first, and do it right, forgiving your neighbor would be easy. If it isn’t easy, whose problem is that? It is yours! God blames no one. That’s the Devil’s job!

Did you know that the tomb of Jesus was recently found near Jerusalem? His bones were there, along with those of his wife, Mary Magdalene, his brother James and seven other members of his family. Jesus was never in America.

Jeff says: "The gift of the Holy Ghost is real."

You have yet to have your first personal experience with the Holy Ghost. I used to think like you do, until I was baptized in Spirit and then I knew what a fool I had been.

one hand clapping said...

Maybe this is a better way to say what I was trying to get at yesterday.

Suppose that the Internet was available in the days of Jesus and some Pharisee posted an article entitled “Cutting a Little Slack for Ex-Jews” about Jesus and his followers, advocating increased respect and tolerance among Jewish ranks for those who have left them and even rail against them.

Jesus wasn’t looking for respect and tolerance. He wanted the Pharisees to see how far they had fallen from the truth. Your attitude is basically self-righteous, condescending and conceited, just like the Pharisees.

Mormanity said...

Is that One Hand Clapping or One Finger Waving?

Couple of comments:

Jeff says: "Many who leave do not do so because their moral standards were too high."

How can moral standards be too high? There is no such thing as moral standards that are too high! If anyone’s moral standards are high enough, they would most certainly leave the Church! Can you imagine Jesus acting like a Mormon?


You misquoted me. How did that happen - if you had just cut and paste, you would have gotten the quote right. I wrote: "Many who leave do not do so because the moral standards were too high" -- not "their moral standards" as you have written. I'm referring to "the moral standards" of the Church. Sometimes LDS people assume that those who leave had some kind of morality problem. It's an issue for some, but not for all, and it's unkind and unfair to make such an assumption.

And yes, moral standards can be too high. Should we excommunicate everyone who looks at an immodest scene for more than 10 milliseconds, or who has a momentary lustful thought?

I'm really having a hard time understanding your strong visceral reaction to my remarks. Something is really eating you. Sorry about that.

Jesus wasn’t looking for respect and tolerance. He wanted the Pharisees to see how far they had fallen from the truth. Your attitude is basically self-righteous, condescending and conceited, just like the Pharisees.

Well, it looks like there's no alternative but to stone me. Toss away! We must act swiftly to make an example of conceited tolerance-mongers before it spreads.

one hand clapping said...

"Is that One Hand Clapping or One Finger Waving?"

I have no control over how people take me. If I did, no one would ever take offense at me, because it is never my intention to offend but to enlighten.

"You misquoted me. How did that happen - if you had just cut and paste, you would have gotten the quote right."

I stand corrected. I am surprised, because I thought that I did copy and paste it! I don't know how it happened.

"And yes, moral standards can be too high. Should we excommunicate everyone who looks at an immodest scene for more than 10 milliseconds, or who has a momentary lustful thought?"

Now you misunderstand. For me, moral standards are a matter of universals and have nothing to do with conventions of immodesty, which vary widely from culture to culture. Excommunicating everyone who looks at an immodest scene for more than 10 milliseconds, or who has a momentary lustful thought, is an example of moral standards (in my sense) that are not high enough! There is no such thing as moral standards (in my sense) that are too high.

"I'm really having a hard time understanding your strong visceral reaction to my remarks. Something is really eating you. Sorry about that."

Understand my reaction as more cerebral than visceral and yours as more visceral than cerebral and you may begin to understand me better.

"Well, it looks like there's no alternative but to stone me. Toss away! We must act swiftly to make an example of conceited tolerance-mongers before it spreads."

Being flippant will not is not a constructive approach to understanding. You are being non-cerebral again. If you are half a serious about bridging the gap between Mormons and Ex-Mormons as you claim to be, act like it. I suggest that you could learn a lot from me, but one thing I learned on my mission is that there is no such thing as a teacher - only learners.

Now, go back to what I wrote before and let's start again.

Mormanity said...

One Hand: I have no control over how people take me. If I did, no one would ever take offense at me, because it is never my intention to offend but to enlighten.

I appreciate the noble intent not to offend, but there is a disconnect relative to your prior post, where you take it upon yourself to call me (or my attitude) "self-righteous, condescending and conceited, just like the Pharisees," among other things. Approaching a stranger and saying this is not going to be perceived as anything but name calling. It's not a cerebral way of rebutting an argument, but a provocative and emotional response that is likely to offend.

One Hand, you do have some control over how people take you. Name calling, for example, is likely to ruffle feathers. You can reach out and engage in discussion, or you can look down and insult. The latter, though, will usually evoke more negative responses than the former.

You can also choose not to assume you know someone's life history and personal beliefs and experiences better than they do. This is a serious and instructive point. I think this tendency of anti-Mormons is, above all, what offends Latter-day Saints when the antis approach us. People will approach us out of the blue and tell us things like, "Well, since you're a Mormon, I know you don't really believe in Jesus Christ. You don't have a relationship with Jesus. And if you say you worship Jesus, I know it's a different Jesus. You really worship Joseph Smith. You believe you are saved by your own works and not by grace. And you've never experienced the Holy Ghost."

You have yet to have your first personal experience with the Holy Ghost. I used to think like you do, until I was baptized in Spirit and then I knew what a fool I had been.

Yes, like that. Honestly, One Hand, who are you to tell me what I have or have not experienced? Have we ever met? Have you read my private journal? Are you my relative or neighbor who might have a slight clue but still have no right to speak for me? For future reference, putting down strangers by telling them that you know better than they do what they have experienced or what they believe is almost always going to come across as offensive. You can choose to avoid making such assumptions. And that will help control the way people respond to you.

The "fool" word is another one of those names that many people, myself included, aren't fond of. Telling people that they are a fool is rarely going to win over friends.

I suggest that you could learn a lot from me. . . .

You're an intelligent person with a lot to say, and I probably could learn some valuable things. But day one in the classroom isn't motivating me to come back for day two. But thanks for sharing your thoughts in any case.

one hand clapping said...

"I appreciate the noble intent not to offend, but there is a disconnect relative to your prior post, where you take it upon yourself to call me (or my attitude) 'self-righteous, condescending and conceited, just like the Pharisees,' among other things."

There is no disconnect. Yes, I knew perfectly well how most people would react to having their attitude called self-righteous, condescending and conceited - just as Diogenes knew how most people would react to him going about ancient Athens looking for a man with a lamp in broad daylight, but If you saw that someone's attitude was self-righteous, condescending and conceited, do you think it would do any good to be indirect? Hardly. Chances are that it won't do any good to be direct, either, but at least that way there is a chance. I took a chance that a word to the wise might be sufficient for you. Every once in a while it is, and that makes all the times it isn't worth the while.

"Honestly, One Hand, who are you to tell me what I have or have not experienced?"

Who do I have to be to tell you? It is easy for anyone who has been baptized in Spirit to know who has and who hasn't. If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would be searching like Diogenes for another and be glad you found me. If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would know what it means to "Know Thyself" in the sense of the inscription over the portal of the temple of Apollo in Greece. If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would know what Jesus meant when he said that we and the Father are one, just as he and the Father were one. If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would know what the Upanishads mean when they say "Thou art That." If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would know what the sound of one hand clapping is. If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would know how to get a goose out of a bottle without killing the goose or breaking the bottle. If you had ever been baptized in Spirit, you would know what John meant in Revelations when he said that he was in the Spirit on the Sabbath and what he meant by Jesus knocking on our door. These are just a few of the ways the baptism in Spirit has been described by cultures all around the world. The fact that you don't know what any of that means is just obvious to anyone who does know. See? I don't know how else I could answer such a question.

"You're an intelligent person with a lot to say, and I probably could learn some valuable things. But day one in the classroom isn't motivating me to come back for day two."

Only you can motivate you. I don't even try to motivate you. If my seeds fall on stoney ground or among the thorns, I just keep on sowing. I thought from your post that maybe here was someone with sufficient intelligence and self-motivation to appreciate what they could learn from me. That's all. Far be it from me to twist your arm.

I would have thought that it would be obvious to anyone of your intelligence that no one could offend Jesus. You can't offend me anymore, either, because I have learned that I was really just making myself miserable and blaming others for it. It is just a childish habit we learned from our parents and never quit. Once you learn this lesson, you will never make yourself feel offended again. So, I don't hesitate to say things that people are wont to take offense at, just to point this fact out to them. Some people get the point. Some people don't. Those who do make it all worth the while.

one hand clapping said...

It is written (Matthew 18:15-17):

15. If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17. And if he shall neglect to hear thee, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

I repeat: Who do I have to be to call you a hypocrite?

one hand clapping said...
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one hand clapping said...
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Anonymous said...

It is nice to have a Mormon intellectual who believes speak with some candor about their faith beyond talking like a broken record and attacking other peoples sincerely held beliefs, and sincerely held doubts.

I'm not a Mormon... I'm not even much of a Christian anymore, having a huge amount of doubt, have had for over a decade- and so am searching for religious truth. I am however, deeply interested in just how intelligent people believe this stuff (I've known alot of otherwise intelligent people who were Mormons) - What makes Mormons tick? My impression I have gotten from alot of Mormons is that doubting is "beyond the pale", and sometimes I have gotten the impression that Mormons are extremely uncharitable to those who have doubts within their own church, and without. The amount of "discipline" that goes on within the church also seems to only heighten my suspicions that many Mormons are uncomfortable with intellectual debate, and that is what troubles me the most. That, and what I percieve as a Protestant as "legalism", a long list of things you can get "disciplined" for, far longer than any other Church I have heard of. I think Protestants generally accept that some church members have weak faith, don't always live perfect lives, but as long as they don't fight the church, they are free to stay in fellowship.

one hand clapping said...
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one hand clapping said...

Another way just occurred to me to try to make the point I was trying to make in my first two post above.

Jeff's call for increased respect and tolerance for Ex-Mormons is like one of the three Christs of Ypsilanti calling for increased respect and tolerance among themselves, instead of giving up their foolishness. Lack of respect and tolerance is not the problem. Foolishness is the problem and it will be the end of us all if we don't wise up before it is too late.

Jacob said...

Polygamy is still a core doctrine and practiced in the church today.

Men who divorce, can remarry in the temple (have another woman sealed to him for eternity! Meaning: He will have more than one wife for eternity. Women who divorce can not remarry in the temple. They may remarry but only for time/this life.

I discovered this when I fell in love with a widow in my ward. Some bitter sisters told me that "it was almost adultery" to marry a widow who was already sealed to man for eternity, and that it was unfair and selfish of me to not marry one of the sisters who had never been married.

I also found out that I as her 2. husband had no chance of ever obtaining the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom, since my marriage was only for time/This life ... not for eternity (Since she was sealed to another man (she was her 2.wife).

So we have still have de facto polygaymy in the church today. Men can marry more women for eternity!!
Women can not! Love is a useless concept in the church, the doctrine of the covenant of everlasting marriage for eternity is more important than the happiness of individuals. Women are looked upon as mere commodities, and her value is zero, if she had the misfortune to become a widow. Woe be un to her if she steals one the single men in the ward. Joseph Smith married between 28-33 women, but strangely enough we only hear of "His belowed Emma". But this does not surprise me one bit when Church leaders like Boyd K. Packer keeps encouraging us to "Lie for the Lord". So to sum it up: I am being accused of "adultery" because I married a widow!! By church members who chant
about looking forward meeting Brother Joseph and keeps perpetuating the false image of him and his beloved Emma (no mention of the other 27-32 wives ... good Church members only mention those parts of Church "history" that has been sanctioned and revised be Church Leader and historical revisionist Pres. Boyd. K. Packer, who advices us to lie and bear false witness "For the Lord". Who in their right mind want to be member of such a "Church".

Anonymous said...

Jacob, said:


"I discovered this when I fell in love with a widow in my ward. Some bitter sisters told me that "it was almost adultery" to marry a widow who was already sealed to man for eternity, and that it was unfair and selfish of me to not marry one of the sisters who had never been married."

They said what? You mormons had better becareful of those single woman in the church they can throw around some serious guilt. I think of the story Christ told about the brother was to marry his brothers wife. Sounds like adultery or polygamy or being lead around by silly woman. I was I your singles groups, they can be bad. I'll stay single or marry out side the church than go through that again.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the things that shocks me the most after reading all of these comments was the lack of spirituality. There was truly not many comments made that were uplifting, or helping draw others to Christ.
In response to the many comments about people being offended and leaving the church, isn’t it apparent? Whether or not it is by a member of the church, or a particular part of doctrine that one does not believe they are offended in one regard or another.

I have spent the last few hours looking at ANTI type sites, and posts (I don’t mean this site). It is amazing the amount of crap that is out there. People seem so shocked that the Church doesn’t publish works of things of controversy. Give me a break. I don’t know any organization that highlights controversy as a feature of "Whole truth". The past is the past, and it is what it is. I believe it, and I have been well learned and read. One cannot gain spiritual conversion by expounded learning of anti, or pro books and websites. One must learn truth from The Source only.

Jennifer said...

Having been a real "seeker" in the old days and attended umpteen different churches, I think that people who leave the LDS church are no different than those who leave any other religion.

I know Calvary Chapel members who were raised Catholic and have made it their personal mission to show every Catholic they meet how wrong their Church is. I am related to one such person and he is unbearably obnoxious.

I also know a guy who converted to Judaism from Christianity and made himself the unofficial spokesperson for showing Christians how they have it all wrong. He has few friends at this point.

I think that people are people are people. There are personality types that enjoy dissension no matter what the topic and there are those who love to point out why everyone but them is an idiot. I met a guy like that at the dog park last week, but his oration was over politics and how stupid conservatives are. By the end of his harangue he had met 8 new people and we all hated him. Even the democrats wanted him to leave!

When I meet people who want to argue about the Church I tell them I am not interested, period. I will not argue at all. I am too old to put up with stuff like that anymore. I have made up my mind after a lot of study and prayer and counsel and that is that.

I try to be polite and say that I never discuss religion or politics with people other than my husband and close friends and I leave it at that.

I understand that people leave the church for reasons that make sense to them and they want to spread the word, but that does not mean I have to listen to it.

nzmagpie said...

It all gets down to what makes someone believe or not believe in the church. There are perfectly rational arguments either way and I would hate to be the one judging who is right or wrong. Sometimes I wonder why God (heavenly father) would set up such a finely balanced situation. Has he made a mistake, or is it part of the plan? After all, he is ultimately responsible for all the confusion.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I wish all LDS members could be as understanding and open about historical/doctrinal difficulties. Outside of blatant denial I don't think it is possible to simply "choose" what you want to believe. You see what you see, it is very difficult to change. The world would be a better place if we could all learn to respect our differences and support the good that we see in each other.

Anonymous said...

"You see what you see, it is very difficult to change."

My experience has been that my faith ebbs and wanes, depending on what I focus on in the literature. I cannot deny the spiritual feelings/witnesses i've had (they were real), so even when the case looks hopeless for us, i manage to cling on in faith until something intellectually satisfying comes along; and that is most often the case. We all look at the same information and yet come down on different sides of the argument. I guess that's what I mean when I say "it all gets down to what makes some one believe or not believe in the church." What's that ingredient?
i think the same goes for deciding whether or not to be an athiest. The evidence can be viewed both ways; in the end there's a "leap of faith" that bridges the known with the unknown. I have gained a great empathy for those who do not subscribe to our beliefs, because if you look hard enough you'll find something affronting in our history, or a flaw in our doctine. Should people be condemned by God for that?

T2 said...

Glad to hear this kind of thinking; it is in far too little supply in our church. We need to face reality: we Mormons are a very clannish culture who do frequently send the message that we have cornered the market on goodness. I have tried deliberately to teach my children to be aware of this and to be careful about becoming this way. A couple of examples I have pondered in this regard; for whatever reason, we Mormons (generalizations are dangerous) have a tendancy to categorize people who smoke or drink as though they had a third eye, are one step removed from being an axe murderer, or possibly should be locked up. My heart has anguished for those who obviously have overcome great reluctance to attend church with eyes downcast as they stroll the hallway passing those who may have witnessed them lighting one up during the past week. Why is this? Certainly it is more serious to harbor anger or judgement in one's heart. I am reminded of those in the great and spacious building as they looked across the river at those who meekly walked the path to the tree with white fruit. Who are those people? Or, I have wondered at the miraculous way in which the Lord preserved the writings of our Bible through the political and spiritual machinations of the early Christian and later Catholic church. Do we not have much to be thankful for from our Catholic brothers and sisters as we now have a Bible because of them? Surely the Lord inspired them to do this thing. Yes, we have a past checkered with a prediliction to criticize our brothers and sisters not of our faith, to mock their beliefs, and if you are honest, you must be embarrased by some of the things our leaders have said in the past. I am. I see the hand of the Lord in the way in which Pres. Hinckley has done so much to change the public face of the church, to soften its message to be more inclusive and less critical of our spiritual family with whom we share this earth, and, unbelievable as it may seem, love their children, believe in God, say their prayers, read their scriptures and try to do right. I have friends not of our faith whom I truly admire and wish at times I had their faith as it inspires me. My personal feeling is that we are in for a surprise when we find that the Lord is not waiting with two doors, one for members and one for non members when we meet him. Just as I look at one of my own children who struggles to find his spiritual home, my love and feeling for him have not diminished one iota, but it has broken my heart to see and hear his friends at church fixate on his ear rings or smell of that last cigarette and move away when they see him. Why we seem to want to judge others is a mystery to me. Maybe someone can explain it. Yes, my testimony is strong and getting stronger and I hope never falters. Let us admit our foibles honestly and move on to greater good. As my mission president used to repeatedly impress upon our teenager minds, do not waste our energy on those who only want to fight; seek the true in heart who are seekers. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

To be honest, I've never been able to read through any post of yours before this one. And, I think I may have misjudged you in the past.

Thank you for lessening the divide that is often so wide between the believers and non-believers.

I was a member of the LDS clan for a number of years, and left the church after learning much more of its history that I did not know about when I joined. I was not offended by anyone at church, and often still long for the camaraderie I once felt.

I have remained good friends with most of the people with whom I used to associate at church, but I must say I had to go through a long period of dealing with their attempts to reactivate me. Suffice it to say that we see the world differently.

I have had my moments where my ex-Mormonism has turned into anti-Mormonism, and most of those times are a result of others not respecting my choice for my life and my feeling the need to defend my self. Living in Utah does have its trials.

Matt and Monica said...

I haven't a witty remark or a scholarly reference, but I happened upon this blog post after reading some "anti" spam that churned my stomach and made me angry. It was calming and I felt at peace after reading this. All I have to say is that in the end we are ALL mortal, which means we are all wrong somewhere. Christ has set a perfect example and given us a perfect plan, but chosen we as imperfect mortals to carry it out. With that in mind, we should all be patient with each other and ourselves as we are all learning little by little what He would have us learn. We should also realize that we are all learning within different circumstances, predisposed prejudices and learned behaviors, taught by other flawed mortals. But in the end we're ALL working toward the same goal, it just might not be defined in the same way or by the same words. How do we do it? Find harmony with each other with so many forces against us as a human body? I don't know - but I'm working on it within myself. Be patient, be kind, be self-reflective, and somewhere along the road, though the "arguments" may continue, we will find peace with each other. No matter which "side" we may belong to.

Clean Cut said...

This post reminds me of when President Hinckley said: "The true gospel of Jesus Christ never led to bigotry. It never led to self-righteousness. It never led to arrogance. The true gospel of Jesus Christ leads to brotherhood, to friendship, to appreciation of others, to respect and kindness and love."

This surely applies to ALL people: Mormon, Ex-Mormon, Not Mormon, or nothing at all. God loves all his children. We share what we believe in love, but never never ought we to judge others, especially "when I walk imperfectly." ("Lord I would follow thee" is one of my favorite hymns.) We have so much to gain from each other. That's why I love these civil and insightful discussions. I think we're heading in the right direction.

Michael said...

Hi there. I actually stumbled on the link to this page quite on accident in a topic having nothing to do with religion, and I just wanted to comment here.

I left the Mormon church when I was 18 because I had serious problems with many aspects, past and present, of Mormon doctrine. The past racism, polygamy, and many other things which I won't get into here.

I was not a bad Mormon, I followed the teachings and took them extremely seriously. At the risk of not sounding humble, I would say that I took my religion far more seriously than any of my peers did in the Deacons, Teachers, or Priests groups as I aged.

I am sorry to say that I never did receive an answer from God for my questions, which were earnest, open-hearted pleas poured out in tears night after night for God to help me understand the church's past and current policies I simply couldn't morally accept, and after a year of soul-searching and examining other religions after I left the Church, I came to be the atheist that I am today.

When I did make the decision to leave the Church, I was absolutely heartbroken at the assumptions that were made about me by many members. I had been accused of hiding some great sin that I was just unable to resist, or told that I just must not have been reading enough scripture (I believe I read the BoM cover to back at least a dozen times) or praying sincerely enough. Many people thought that I would become a horrible person without the Church to guide my moral thinking, and I lost many of my longest held friends because their peers and parents told them to stay away from me. I won't get into how difficult it was for me to salvage a healthy relationship with my own parents, although they did eventually accept me, and I love them dearly.

I just wanted to thank you for this article. I wish there were more Mormons like you on this subject. I have great respect for all people who are willing to look past the small things and focus on what I think was the best line in the Bible (in fact, I wish the Bible and the Book of Mormon were condensed into a leaflet with just this on it): "Love thy neighbor".

I know I'm over a year late responding to this, but maybe you'll still read it anyway. Thank you again, and I do believe there are many other Mormons (and indeed, many members of other religions) who feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

"At 12:08 PM, May 18, 2007, Anonymous said...

'...we should always remember to extend our arms in an effort to them and welcome them back. We need them and they need the Gospel. Let’s bring them back into the fold.'"

What you don't understand is that, in the case of exmormons who don't talk religion with you, your "welcoming them back into the fold" is bigoted and, in fact, unwelcome. If an antimormon wants to talk to you about mormonism, then of course you have the right to defend your own point of view. However, if an exmormon has no interest in discussing the church with you, then you must in turn mind your own business. They do not see your attempts to show them the error of their ways as "friendly". It is disrespectful and condescending to approach someone who simply wants to be left to believe as they see fit with your own version of reality. It doesn't matter how friendly you behave in the interaction; exmormons will always feel insulted by your efforts at "reaching out".

Mormanity said...

Appreciate the comments, even the ones after a year. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Jeff's commentary represents an important step for the Latter-day Saint community in recognizing that many people leave the church not so they can embrace sin but because they couldn't embrace Mormanism.

Anonymous said...

"because they couldn't embrace Mormanism."

That is a pretty wide statement. I left the church like others because of the crimes against me. Others have left for many reasons and are better people and christians than many of the mormons I have known for the 30 plus years that I was a member.

D H said...

A little slack? The stigma of being ex-mormon requires something more than "slack" if members are to be more than simple "us vs them" thinkers.

Church wide education that helps define people differently than using the labels member or nonmember is a start, but the tip of the iceberg. Raising the bar for missionaries is a great standard to implement, but late, LATE. The MTC does not help in the least to erase that "cult" aspect so many critics of the church emphasize. People are either members, nonmembers, inactive, investigators, etc., and the rules replace individuality no matter how worthy or unworthy one is. We are just begging to called a cult with how the MTC is run, no wonder people leave and the "retention" is low.

From my experience LDS leadership, at least at the local level, is extremely underqualified and untrained to deal with how such a thing like religion intermingles with the psyches of their flocks. I am not anti in the least bit of core doctrines, but having a mechanic or insurance agent as a bishop, who has no professional training in psychology or counseling, is simply irresponsible, especially when assigning missionaries to the field.

xltedder said...

wow. thank you. I have a family that many would consider broken. when I was about two years old, my mom and dad were baptized. about 6 months later, they divorced and my dad fell away. my mother, three siblings and I moved in with a friend of mom's who was in a similar situation. Viki, mom's friend, had 5 kids. all of us were mormon. eleven in total. that was 17 years ago. I grew up knowing 8 siblings, 7 of whom are older. last year, after all but my 17 year old younger brother were moved out, my moms separated. the way I describe it, many suspect there was more than a simple best friends relationship between the two women I consider moms. there wasn't, but that's beside the point. last year, my family went suddenly to 6 again. kind of. my sister and mother are not on good terms, my dad and older brother are not on good terms, my dad remarried (a catholic) and no one is on good terms with her save my father and sister, and I live with my dad and stepmom, 600 miles from my mom who is one of (if not the) strongest soul I've ever met. as it stands now, I am the only remaining active member in my family of once twelve members. my mother suffered a lot of criticism for being a single mom, my older brother's choices are not in harmony with the teachings of the church, my sster has been inactive longest, and my younger brother has no interest in the church whatsoever. it sounds really sad and painful, but I love my mother and father along with both of my brothers and my sister. they are my family and never will that be changed. thank you for displaying how important it is to not judge on account of membership status. it really did make my day to read this. you'll probably not get around to reading this, but know that you are such a good example. I'm 19 and saving for my mission, and seminary is what got me truely converted to the gospel. I would have fallen too if not for those classes.

Anonymous said...

xltedder said...


"I'm 19 and saving for my mission, and seminary is what got me truely converted to the gospel. I would have fallen too if not for those classes."

Thanks for your strength and testimony. Many members like you have helped me keep my testimony over the 30 plus years in the church. Have a blessed mission.

jackg said...

Maybe the title would be more accurate if it read: Cutting a Little Slack for Those Who Believe in the Biblical Jesus and His Teachings. That would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"Many who leave do not do so because the moral standards were too high or because someone snubbed them at Church or because tithing was too painful or they just got sick of home teaching or were victims of gossip or had a serious moral sin that they wouldn't quit."

How condescending .... Boyd Packer is often credit with saying people who leave the Church can not seem to leave it alone. This condescending post is just yet another prove to me that just the opposite is true.

Anonymous said...

"do NOT do so"

My apologies. I misread your post. The way I misread your post is the way I have observed Mormon's behave. Once again, sincere apologies. I realized the mistake almost soon as I hit the enter button.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for this article. My oldest daughter has left the church, which has caused our family a lot of pain. But she is a good girl who just hates the polygamy issue after a lifetime of being taught about moral cleanliness. After reading anti articles she has come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others were just a bunch of perverts. But she is living a moral life, and has so much love in her heart for other people, that I feel sure that the Lord will not let her be lost. Somehow, someday, she will come back.

Anonymous said...

This blog states what most non-Mormon’s think is obvious. That fact that it needs to be stated is proof it is what Mormons believe. That believe is: The only way ANYONE will experience TRUE joy and happiness is via believe and active participation in the Mormon institution. Therefore, it is impossible for a person to believe and actively participate in the Mormon institution and not experience TRUE joy and happiness. Therefore, if a person who actively participated in the Mormon institution, abandons and jettisons it, and then claims to better without it is either a lair, has some moral defect, suffers for mental illness, is lazy, etc. Stating otherwise would be heresy. This blog in essence is admitting that the Mormon Church is not true.

Anonymous said...

Jeff
You sound like a person how lives his religion, and respects other for there belive.
All I can say where where you 28 years a go, doring the trouble time of my live. When I had problem with my bishop and after that I start having questions about the church doctrine. As a convert to the church at age of 10 when my parents became LDS in germany. At the age of 21 I married a Utah mormon girl. We where active in the church and every thing was fine. When I start having problem with the church teaching and ask here to help me to understand the church doctrine. She turned a way I thought she was my partner during good and bad time. Well 28 years later I still have a hard time understanding the church and there teaching. Now it is to late, I'm set in my ways. Specialy living in Utah and seeing how many treat there inactive church members. Makes it hard to become active again There are to many sunday mormons and during the week days they for get the teaching of the church. I seen this to many time living in Utah for 36 years. I was told many years a go, don't go to Utah. You will leave the church and you will never come back, they where right.

Mormanity said...

Anonymous from Aug. 30, thanks for the comment. Very sorry for the pain you've been through. Am interested in knowing more about your connection to Germany. I was in Switzerland and Germany for my mission. I have a son who flies to Germany tomorrow for an internship at the Max Planck Institute. Love the country!

While I recognize it is difficult to come back, I hope you can sometime give it another chance. You might find some improvements, perhaps. But the mortals of the Church are all imperfect, as is our understanding of doctrine. So much we don't know, though we like to think we know because uncertainty is difficult for the human mind. But recognizing the flaws we have, the Church is still a place where one really can find her or his bearings in life and understand more about the purpose and potential of this amazing but difficult mortal journey.

We are never completely set in our ways - there is always the "audacity of hope" before us, including hope for real change. You're younger than you might think!

In any case, I hope you can tell me a little more about your German connection. Vielen dank!

Anonymous said...

Despite my growing disbelief in "the gospel" I really can't think of a better support system for teenagers, at least the way that it worked in my ward. I was taught tolerance, mostly in my home but also in church. Because of my beliefs I could be friends with drug dealers and gang members and still stay safe. They knew my standards and respected me, and so when there was trouble to be made they just didn't invite me along. If I weren't a member of such a strict church, I don't know if that would have been the case.

Anonymous said...

though I am a temple-recommend holding member with "a testimony" experiences that have been out of my control have helped me to see that this isn't always a black and white issue (in or out of the church)--

I used to be "black and white"; I still WANT to be.

I'd like to go back to when it was, before so many unwelcome things came into my own life--

I am unable to attend church for many reasons, not the least of which is a serious health condition; I do attend whenever possible, and I felt ecstatic if I make it through Sacrament meeting--

years in which I held five callings, my foreign mission and leadership positions, not to mention "ward suppers" and every possible activity held at the church being my chief life's object . . . are DISTANT memories.

As this has happened to me I have come to see MYSELF as I used to see those I felt were "less committed"--

it's easy to begin to feel disenfranchised, even if you BELIEVE, even if you can answer all the recommend questions affirmatively, without even an internal flinch--

and yes, offenses do come--

I often wonder why nobody (including those who, with the best intentions, give talks about taking offense) mentions that Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ can be offended--

the word IS used in the scriptures in reference to things WE do to offend them, so I imagine that having that particular emotion isn't necessarily repugnant to them--

even among their flawed and imperfect "children"--

???

Yes, it's foolish to be offended and let it turn us away--

or foolish to be offended and cry or feel alone, even if we are not turned away--

but there are SO many foolish things we can do; sometimes we don't even catch them all.

This is simply one more little thing--

if it leads to "inactivity" or disaffection or . . . whatever--

well, it happened--

and it may be straightened out someday--

else, why do we have a Savior?

So, that said, it's hard not to be able to stick all those round pegs in the square holes--

and get everyone all correctly labeled; it is SO much easier to have it all make sense and be able to say that everyone who isn't there anymore on Sunday has just made some sort of mistake--

but . . .

we may not have the entire story--

if we have to be careful NOT to offend Father in Heaven (by lack of gratitude, etc.)--

then we certainly SHOULD TRY not to offend others--

I have come to see that sometimes we are pushy when we are in proselyting/everything is going well in my life and I am well-loved at church mode--

and sometimes it is all right to be "still"--and

know that He is God--

We don't HAVE to push ourselves, our opinions, even "the gospel" on others to show Father in Heaven we love Him.

Sometimes we just let people be, and that is enough; maybe it is even what Father in Heaven wants--

maybe just to smile and be silent . . .

and not try to "encourage" or help or "involve" or "change" someone--

I think it's so very nice when we can see everyone as human and as a child of God we perhaps spent time with in a pre-mortal space . . .

rather than making sure we have the proper labels--

and if they don't believe they ever knew us, all the better that we not "push" that as well--

Anonymous said...

I have not read all the comments but i did read the article. I have have recently been working my way back to activity in the church after a 10+ year absence. The 'reason' for my becoming less active was to do with my marriage and circumstances - I had been sealed in the Temple but did not have a Temple marriage. It got to the point when i could no longer go to church and 'pretend' that we were a happy family - we were far from that.

As Pres. Uchdorf said in last conference a few degrees can make a huge difference over time. Boy did that talk ring true to me!! When reading back on journal entries at the start of the process I even recognised what I needed to do and despite efforts to achieve those goals did not manage it - thinking back i was too overwhelmed and felt alone.

During the initial inactivity I still was visited by regular Visiting Teachers who kept me 'in touch'. But when i finally left the marital home I was not reassigned anyone else and did not have Home Teachers. I used to tell people I that I was an inactive 'Mormon' - that although i knew the church was true I could not live it! I never became 'anti' or denied my testimony - even when it was at it's weakest.

Fortunately over the years I had intermittent contact with church members - bumping into people I knew in odd places - McDonalds - health clinics. All these people showed love and concern for me.

Eventually I knew that i would never be happy till I returned to church. Nearly 3 years ago i walked into a local chapel (at Christmas time) and that was the first step back to activity. I am still working to regain all my blessings and status but my testimony has grown and grown. Health problems make attendance difficult at times but I do my best.

I know tis is not the sort of inactivity that the blog was about but felt that I had to say something for those people who fall away for reasons other than doctrine. I hope it may help someone.

This is the first time I have visited this site - I will be visiting it again. .

Anonymous said...

Hello, everyone. It's been quite a while since I have visited, and I have missed y'all! Thanks for the "Kinder, gentler" religious discussion. It's refreshing to see more kindness and love parading around instead of anger and arguments!

Not sure how to re-register.
Stacey "Party Crasher"
Richardson, Texas

Mechanical Animal said...

I stumbled across this post whilst searching for information relating to fasting.

I was inactive for 15 odd yrs. (Give or take a yr or so after all what's a few months among friends!) I realised something was missing in my life and went back to church. Voila problem solved right? Nope. I got my witness of the truth straight up as I sat in church that first Sunday. I was so moved it reduced me to tears. I felt so stupid and ashamed that I could have wandered off into the world to search for the truth and it was right in front of me.

I've been back for 6 months now and wouldn't dream of leaving. I've read a heap of Anti-Church propaganda, seen stuff on youtube, spoken to heretics even. But it only serves to strengthen my testimony of the church because I know the truth.

Those whom wouled peddle the propaganda about polygamy fail to observe that at the time it was occurring, it was widespread throughout the United States and wasn't limited to the church alone. They also fail to mention that it occurred in the church as a result of the deaths of husbands and wives and children requiring looking after. What's the easiest way to look after a family? Why marry the widow and move her family in with yours. The practice ceased after it was outlawed by the government. I'm neither pro or anti polygamy. I merely see it for what it was. And that is simply a tool to be used to support those in need.

Regardless of what is said I left because I missed so much of the teachings. I heard them without listening. I can see now I've returned just how much I missed as a boy growing up in the church. I think this may be the real reason many exmo's or formons leave. They have heard without listening. They haven't truly soaked in the message and this allows them to wander. Sure it's different for everyone, some such as my best mate rationalise that it isn't logical. He encourages me to be a great Mormon, but won't accept the responsibility for himself.

To each their own I say. My parents accepted me when I was away and as such they set one of the best examples I could ever ask for. We must be prepared to accept those who will ignore or disregard or seek to decry the church as our brothers and sisters. We do not have to agree with them. We do have to love them and forgive them for their lack of tolerance towards us should they show any.

My favourite scripture is: "I the Lord will forgive who I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

I honestly think we need to apply this in our daily lives starting with ourselves and from there it can only get better for us.

Great post Jeff.

Stu...

BHodges said...

Great post, even if I am 2 years late or whatever.

People may be interested to look into the usage of the phrase "people leave the Church but can't leave it alone." I did a post on it here:
http://tinyurl.com/8u3y9d

Nathan said...

Hi Jeff, looks like the LDS apostle of our Lord Jesus, Elder Robert D. Hales has a word or two to say on the topic of your post - identical to yours (almost - wording is different) - and is online in varied forms as part of the October 2008 world-wide Church Conference. Maybe you'd like to provide a link or two so viewers can see that your sentiments aren't just "christian" or "Jeff" or of an "isolated Mormon" but LDS Christian - official LDS.

Anonymous said...

As an ex-Mormon myself, I was impressed by your post. You show compassion, understanding, and empathy. Unfortunately, even as evident by other comments in this blog, this is not common among those who regard ex-Mormons.

Keep doing what you're doing. While I'm not ever going to re-join the church, the reputation of the church goes up in my eyes when I read about people like you.

Jesus (if he existed) would be proud.

Lamdaddy said...

I agree with this post. One thing that people tend to do quite a bit is generalize. It's offensive to say that most people quit because their feelings were hurt. It's offensive to consider every inquiry and every criticism as "Anti" and must thus be treated with hostility or dismissed. A lot of criticisms have a good basis to them, and many honest members themselves could ask the same things. How they accept or deal with these things, however, is where we differ in most instances.
In defense of Elder Bednar; he's been around for quite a while and he's a general authority who probably knows of so many people who leave because they HAVE been offended. There are a lot. I spoke to many on my mission in Pennsylvania. It's not the case for all, but it's the case for many, and he felt the need to call them to repentance. You can't fault him for that.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, your post was in very good taste, well written, and your intent Christlike.

The comments that follow it however are downright depressing. It's heartbreaking to see so many who have lost their way coming out of the woodwork to proclaim how wonderful it is that they have given up the Gospel of Christ.

Maybe it would be in good taste to remove comments and commenting ability from this post. It detracts greatly from the spirit of it.

Anonymous said...

Finally a mormon who gets it. Good job Jeff. A message your people really need to take to heart. I have seen so many ex mormons shunned by their own family simply because they don't believe. That sickens me.

C2M2C said...

Jeff,

After 18 years as a monthly temple attending, full tithe paying, attend every single meeting without question, Mormon, I too have left the church. I left because of what I found to be true elswhere (Catholocism). But one of the things I found is that, even though there are "anti Mormons", the intention of a lot of ex-Mormons is to share what they have learned. As Mormons we are taught to spread the gospel, and once we find out that it's not true, we want to share that too. The more I learned, the more I wanted tell people, and share what I'd learned. But not many people were interested and I found that most people are blissfully ignorant and prefer to stay that way. But after studying as much as I have, including things that you've written, I've learned that for most people, the best we can hope for is to agree to disagree.

You're not going to change my mind and I assume that you won't be swayed either. So it is what it is; we move on.

The point of your post is appreciated though. Mormons do have a persecution complex, so it's nice to see someone realize and acknowledge that we're not here trying to tell you how stupid you are for believing what you do, or point out other peculiar, obscure, rarely known doctrine that the LDS masses are generally unaware of, in an attempt to rub it in your face or in hopes that you will leave in droves.

I know your not stupid. I live in a stake that has several GA's among other high profile members who are well know for their successes outside of the church. Those people aren't stupid either, and I would say generally exponentialy smarter than I and yet they have somehow come to the opposite conclusion that I have.

We're trying to do what we feel is right also. As a good Catholic I feel that I too need to spread the gospel, and if that means having discussions with Mormons about what I've learned, then thats what I'll do. Your free to take it or leave it.

Thanks Jeff

BHodges said...

C2M2C:

I advise keeping this in mind when talking to Mormons:

"I think we may accept it as a rule that whenever a person's
religious conversation dwells chiefly, or even frequently,
on the faults of other people's religions, he is in a bad condition."
-C.S. Lewis (Collected Letters Vol. 3 p. 209).

Brian Moody said...

As Latter-day Saints, we believe that "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things". This is formal Church doctrine that implies that our Church doesn't hold a monopoly on all that's beautiful or even true. After all, if we have to seek after it, we must not already have it. Yes, even ex-Mormons have much that is praiseworthy and beautiful in their lives that Mormons should seek after. I know with all my heart that the Church is divinely inspired and yearn for others to have this knowledge. At the same time, I’ve found that there are many members with shallow roots and that it’s typically these same members that treat non-members with disdain and lack of respect. Many members just don't care that much about reaching deeper – in fact, they may not WANT to know. They treat the Church as more of a College fraternity than a group of humble disciples of Christ. But what can you do? The Church is there for them – perhaps even more so – than for the truly converted.

Anonymous said...

Being "anti" Mormon is just a phase for a lot of people who resign from the Mormon church.

I was anti mormon at first because I had a lot of anger, due to the fact that I felt I was lied to (unintentionally) my whole childhood. I have a sister that I haven't communicated with in over 5 yrs because of arguments and conflicts we had.

The stages of leaving can easily be compared to the stages of grief.

1. Denial 2.Anger 3.Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance

I'm now at the acceptance stage. I don't lash out at Mormonism like I once did. I think the same applies to a lot of ex-mormons.

BHodges said...

What is the "bargaining" stage like?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff.

I appreciate this post. I'm disaffected, and it is difficult to know how / where to fit in. It just feels good to have people acknowledge that there are serious, very serious issues that are difficult to reconcile.

I wish there were an easy way to "hold to the rod" and stay believing. But, for me, there isn't. It takes too much for me to just shelve it.

All the best,

Bokawim

Christian said...

From the perspective of someone who almost Joined the Mormon church but decided not too, this was really refreshing to read. I get labeled "anti" a lot but I'm really not. This was very refreshing for me to stumble upon and really just made my day. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I am quitting this CULT

joseph smith was a pedophile and a polygamist who deserved getting locked up.

MA-Caver said...

My own personal history with the LDS church is long and multi-storied. I am not a member, never have been. Yet I am on my way to baptism in the church. Just need to quit smoking (lol, ... hell, I need to quit smoking that crap anyway because it's getting really expensive LOL).
Over 20 years ago two very close friends of mine in college converted to the LDS church. One was rather sudden and the other I watched grow from an major Anti-Mormon to one of the strongest members of his Ward.
I've missionary discussions several times so either way I know the church is true and all of that.
My own experience with anti-mormons have ranged from passive to extreme prejudice. Heard basically all the misconceptions of the LDS church.
The biggest one of course is the continuing practice of Polygamy which isn't so in the LDS church... there ARE those who claim they're LDS and practice Polygamy but they are not members of the church in any sense of the word. Usually if they're found-out they're excommunicated if they refuse to recant their ways and stop their lifestyle.
Either way, I've seen enough in the LDS church by living closely with single members (as room-mates) and families over a 15 year period. The ones that I know and have associated with are fine upstanding citizens of the U.S. and do their best to live the Gospel. But their negative human qualities come out and that just shows that they're just as human as the next faith.
I am currently engaged to a member of the church and promised her to join before we are married and promised her to seal each other in the temple soon afterwards when we're both worthy.
Several of my own family members are anti-mormons but I don't care. I'm not joining the church for THEM nor am I joining the church for my fiancee. I'm joining it for me.
I think that those who are anti-mormons need to lighten up and look at the other churches and see the hypocrisy that is just as evident there as anywhere else. Personally, I think people need to chill out altogether and worry about THEIR OWN salvation and not anyone else's. How, why one chooses to worship is between them and their God(s). It's supposed to be one of the great freedoms of this country... the other great freedom that we're SUPPOSED to have is freedom from persecution. This applies to the members of the LDS church and any other faith here.
Christ said judge not lest ye be judged.

JonathanPDX said...

We are here to learn. From God, from each other, about God and about each other. No one said the road would be an easy one and given that there are so many looking for answers, it is certainly not an easy road at all. That being said, sometimes all we can do is choose to be what we see as good or evil and let the rest fall as it may.

Anonymous said...

As a non practicing member with huge roots that go back to the beginning era of the Church, I occasionally search for something that tells me I need to return to activity. I do not expect I would ever be anti. I really wish the Church were true. My paradigm of life/world changed about ten years ago. Mounting evidence I see supports my current path. To be sure, that same evidence would abolish belief in any other religion, too. In my view now the best candidate for a true religion would be the ancient Greeks' religion, under which culture the greatest gift to mankind was born, Democracy. (Mormons would be next just because Philo T Farnsworth gave us the next best invention, TV, LOL). Actually, I reached here following up an article in the Meridian Magazine regarding Book of Mormon geography and subsequently, DNA. The Book of Mormon defenders really have a lot of barrels through which to leap regarding DNA. Maybe they are right and DNA cannot be so cut and dry. But right now I am thinking how is it three separate migrations ended in the same neighborhood where there was no contention for the occupation of the land with the now supposed ubiquitous aborigines? Europeans only clashed. I miss my Lamanite brother from the schooling outside the territory program run by the Church. Oh, now he is just indigenous, my indigenous brother. That may seem to be anti but it is just to point out how things change and it becomes the member's fault and they were deluding themselves all along. I could go on and on and on. The article "cutting slack.." shows a genuine interest in avoiding anti anti and taking the higher ground and very comendable.

Anonymous said...

Quite good. Thanks for this post.

You assume, however, that ex mormon automatically means anti mormon.

This is not the case.
I see things differently from others on a number of topics but that does not infer hostility. I'm sure there are numerous former members who carry themselves in the same manner.

I do however receive comments that "how can you unknow something you know", "sorry, my daughter cannot come to play with yours"... those are the things that irk me.

Papa D said...

I will be linking to this post in the future, Jeff - probably next year some time. I don't get much readership, since I don't try to do so, but I hope it gets a few more people here to read this post and your blog.

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger

Is this in your BoM?

3 Nephi 9:1 
1 And it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:
3 Nephi 9:2 
2 Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!
3 Nephi 9:3 
3 Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof.
3 Nephi 9:4 
4 And behold, that great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned.
3 Nephi 9:5 
5 And behold, that great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:6 
6 And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth;
3 Nephi 9:7 
7 Yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:8 
8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:9 
9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.
3 Nephi 9:10 
10 And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof, because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations.
3 Nephi 9:11 
11 And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.
3 Nephi 9:12 
12 And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

3 Nephi 9:15 
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

By the way: There are several Anonymous's writing here, only one (me) is talking of 3 Nephi

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger

Is this in your BoM (it will take 2 posts to get the descruction all in)?

3 Nephi 9:1 
1 And it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:
3 Nephi 9:2 
2 Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!
3 Nephi 9:3 
3 Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof.
3 Nephi 9:4 
4 And behold, that great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned.
3 Nephi 9:5 
5 And behold, that great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:6 
6 And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth;
3 Nephi 9:7 
7 Yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:8 
8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them. (cont'd)

Anonymous said...

(continuing previous post)

3 Nephi 9:9 
9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.
3 Nephi 9:10 
10 And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof, because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations.
3 Nephi 9:11 
11 And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.
3 Nephi 9:12 
12 And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

3 Nephi 9:15 
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

By the way: There are several Anonymous's writing here, only one (me) is talking of 3 Nephi

Anonymous said...

I am grateful for the ex-Mormons for Jesus. They introduced my future wife to the LDS Church during a talk at a Baptist church. When she was in Dental School, she met members of the church in her class. She wondered why they were not bad people as she had been taught. So, she looked into the church and joined.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I really appreciate this post. I emailed you once, years ago, on some trivial question when I was still an active, believing Mormon. I'm an ex-Mormon now. I believe that if I am wrong and Heavenly Father as you believe in Him is real, He would understand my situation. If I discovered it to be true, even now, I would gladly return. Unfortunately, I am convinced that it cannot be true. I am happy to see that you understand that some of us leave because of our integrity. As a believer, and now as a non-believer, you were and still are my favorite LDS apologist.