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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We are living in a shaky world

In the July, 2007 church magazine "the Ensign", Adam C. Olson gives an article that talks about how to approach things you might come across about the church that might make you a skeptical Mormon. I think the timing of this article comes as no surprise as the glory days of isolation in Utah are no more as the Internet has ushered in the age of easily accessible and free unlimited information.

Let me get one thing straight. I was absolutely convinced that the Mormon church was true. By true, I mean I believed that it was God's one and only true church on earth. I paid full tithing on my gross (before taxes) income, didn't drink Pepsi, didn't see "R" rated movies or get tattoos, you know, the works. Of course I was far from perfect, but I was for the most part obedient to all of the church's mandates. This is one of the biggest problems facing the church today. They can no longer say that someone that questions the church committed some horrible sin and is just using his non-belief as an excuse to make him justify his sinful ways.

What changed for me?

I am absolutely convinced that the Internet and the ease of readily available free information has led to my disillusionment. I have always been told to stay away from anything that is "anti-Mormon" because it is just a waste of time to disprove every line-item and it will just lead to doubts. As a devout follower, that is exactly what I did. By "anti-Mormon" they mean anything that is not approved by the church. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds now, but when you are on the inside, it makes perfect sense.

Am I anti-Mormon?


Anti-anything seems to be such a negative connotation. Can I say that Mormons are anti-homosexuals, or anti-liberals? How about anti-Catholics or anti-Muslims, would that work? Most LDS members would consider this site pretty anti-Mormon because it points out many flaws with the church. I do not consider myself anti-Mormon, because I am Mormon. I like to look at myself as being pro-truth. I just want the truth. I know the truth hurts. Believe me, it pains me to grasp the idea that what I have believed my whole life is wrong, or at least that the claims made by the church are false. I would like to remain in the church, I just wish the church would admit things such as the Book of Mormon not being a literal history and the Book of Abraham being an obvious fraud, which the church has known since 1967.

What I get angry about is how the church that teaches about integrity, honesty and repentance covers up it's past, re-writes history, white-washes questionable events, distorts facts and purposefully withholds information from it's members. The Pharisees in the bible were dishonest because they wanted to maintain the status quo of power, authority and leadership amongst their followers. I just don't see how the LDS church is any different.

LDS Logic

Going back to the article, it talks about many problems that are facing the LDS church today. People are discovering facts and evidence that disproves many claims made by the Mormon church. What does one do when faced with such obvious proof that disproves many claims made by the church? Well, according to the article, it is too late for me.

"once the ground starts shaking, it’s too late to begin preparing"

All hope is lost for me, so it looks like the only hope is for catching members that haven't heard anything that has questioned their faith before in a preempted move. So what is the best way to prepare for issues like archaeology, DNA, history, etc.? Through study and re-search? Focus on learning about those things that we don't know much about? Perhaps if we really understood these scientific fields, we wouldn't look retarded when challenged by them. Should we obtain said knowledge? No, no, no. If only it were that easy to dedicate years of study and thinking on these subjects.

According to the article, you shouldn't waste your time learning about things you don't know, you should focus on things you do know. Or at least what you have believed to be true. It doesn't require years of dedicated study and re-search, it doesn't require a knowledge 0f how DNA words or what archaeology can tell us about the veracity of the Book of Mormon, or the church history. Just bury your head in the sand and stick to what you know.

If someone shows you evidence that disproves claims made by the church, since you know nothing about the subject, you can simply say that you don't know how DNA works, or that you don't know much about Archaeology. That way, you can play dumb. After all, it would be unfortunate if you DID know how DNA worked, DID know about archaeology and church history and still didn't have an answer to these questions. THAT would make you look foolish.

It is articles like these that validates all my assertions.


I found this interview with Bil Maher interesting, because Craig Ferguson's reaction to Mormon DNA issues was demonstrated in an obviously sarcastic and satirical way. However, this is EXACTLY how the ensign article is instructing it's members to react.

Skeptical Mormon

6 comments:

Jason said...

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Jay said...

I feel your pain. I could take your bio and call it my own. I've been at it for just over a year. Up and down with my testimony. Right now I've finally decided to accept that prophets sometime say really stupid things (don't tell my Bishop I said that:).

It has been and continues to be a very painful experience. I almost wish I had never been exposed to all this information, but then I am also a lover of truth. I think that was instilled in me by the very Church I now have doubts about (ironic isn't it).

I also started a blog to talk openly about my doubts and issues within Mormonism (mormonstalk.wordpress.com). It is the only place where I can find an outlet. My hope is that some day the LDS Church will allow its members to openly discuss and debate these problems without fear.

Elder Joseph said...

I'll look forward to this article as I have a subscription .

The real answer on how to deal with things which come members way is to check up on them and find out for yourself and not trust the church is telling you the whole story !

I love the Church Standards on Honesty and yet we are not allowed to be Honest when it comes to telling the things of the past or even present if it might cause one to think .... WHAT A HEAD IN A HAT !! A PEEP STONE .. I THOUGHT IT WAS AN URIM AND THUMMIM !

I find that I'm always having to hold things I know back from other members and then they wonder why I haven't got baptised yet ! Its an Agony ! :)

Zelph said...

Elder Joseph,
It is the cover-ups that make me the most angry with the church. The most horrible things that occurred in the church happened over a hundred years ago and really are irrelevant at this point. However, what the church does TODAY really matters. The church TODAY lies, or at least deceives it's members about it's own history. The irony is that although they are just trying to "protect" the flock by hiding damaging information, they are in essence doing more harm.

I know exactly what you mean by having to hold things back. That is why I have chose the internet to express myself. I can just picture you talking to someone about Joseph Smith and his magic rock he used to find buried treasure and translate the BoM. They would say to you "you have been mis-informed, the church can tell you the REAL history. Who are you going to believe, some anti-Mormon or the official church?"

C. L. Hanson said...

It's true that the deception itself inspires questioning. If you see that information has been hidden from you, you can't help but wonder why.

This was definitely a factor for me when I learned that the Book of Abraham papyrus was in the possession of the church even though I'd been told by Mormons that it was lost and thought to have been destroyed in the Chicago fire. (I talked about this in my deconversion story.)

Still, it's not clear that more openness would help the church retain members. the article you cite shows this -- if the church had good answers to questions about BoM DNA, archaeology, etc., it would be giving those answers instead of telling people not to look for them.

NateDredge said...

I’ve noticed just in the last few weeks several efforts by the Church to address such issues, albeit in a correlated matter. There is the Ensign article you mentioned, and a recent piece in the church news as well. This is not to mention the mother of them all, the ‘approaching Mormon doctrine’ message officially issued by the Church at the start of the month. I wonder if all these things were intentionally timed to coincide with PBS’s Mormons documentary, which was bound to raise concerns among some of the more open minded members watching.