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Monday, October 5, 2009

I am no longer considered a member of the LDS church

I received my final letter indicating that my name and record has been removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints.

As I close this chapter of my life, I look back at Mormonism and these are my thoughts:

Most of my experience as a lifelong member of the LDS church has been positive and uplifting. However, I simply don't believe the doctrine, dogma and claims made by the church leaders. It is all a big fantasy, a fairy tale where people live happily ever after in the celestial kingdom.

In my experience, most Mormons are genuine and truly believe what they have been taught, as are most people in any religion.
This is why initially I tried to stay as a member even if it were just for social reasons. However, this was not sustainable.

An entire lifetime of indoctrination withered away with just a few years of intense study of church history and other historical facts. I am currently unaffiliated with any religion.

This will be my last post, but I will still keep the blog up for those interested.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDY

I will end with my recommendations for further study. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an "unbiased" source, but I have compiled a list of reading material and other media that presents a mixture of "both sides" of the argument. This list is in no way complete or authoritative, but simply a compilation of resources from my own experience that have covered the main criticisms and defenses of Mormonism.

Books:

Joseph Smith biography:

  • No Man Knows My History- Fawn Brodie
  • Rough Stone Rolling- Richard Bushman
Historicity of the Book of Mormon:

  • Quest For the Gold Plates- Stan Larson
  • An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon- John Sorenson
Book of Abraham controversy:

  • By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus- Charles Larson

A free copy can be sent to members of the LDS church here

Online text can be read here

  • An Approach to the Book of Abraham- Hugh Nibley

History of Early Mormonism:

  • An Insider's View of Mormon Origins- Grant Palmer
  • Early Mormonism and the Magical World View- D. Michael Quinn

Online Resources:

Journal of Discourses


1833 and 1835 Doctrine and Covenants

History of the Church- Volume 1

History of the Church- Volume 2

History of the Church- Volume 3

History of the Church- Volume 4

History of the Church- Volume 6

(Unfortunately, I couldn't find volume 5 online)

Online Videos:

PBS documentary The Mormons 4 hours

Bible Vs. Book of Mormon
1 hour

DNA Vs. Book of Mormon 1 hour

Lost Book of Abraham
1 hour

FAIR Conferences -about 30 hours with 200 compiled videos

Why People Leave the LDS Church 1 hour

Dozens of videos by Mormonstories podcaster John Dehlin

Websites

20 Truths about Mormonism

Mormonthink

FairLDS


FARMs

Sunstone Magazine

New Order Mormons

Dialogue- A Journal of Mormon Thought

Institute for Religious Research- Mormons in Transition

Official LDS website

Exmormon.org

Postmormon.org

mormonstories.org over 200 hours of audio and video interviews

staylds.org

CONCLUSION

I would like to thank all that have maintained interest in this blog. It has been a positive experience for me in expressing myself during this difficult period. I do not hold anything against the LDS church and still cherish many of the positive aspects that I experienced. I simply do not believe in the doctrine, dogma and many of the historical claims fundamental to Mormonism. I don't think the LDS church is "evil", I just think it is a fantasy. I don't know what the future holds, but I feel ready to face it with eyes wide open with a greater understanding of reality.

What do I think of Mormonism? I like the parable of the canoe. A canoe helps you navigate across the river against strong currents. However, once you cross the river, the canoe becomes burdensome, especially when you consider the mountain that you must climb. That doesn't mean you don't appreciate what the canoe has done in getting you across the river, just that you no longer need the canoe. I view the church as the canoe. I feel like I have crossed the river of my childhood. The church was the canoe that carried me through the strong currents of adolescence and took me into the banks of adulthood. I now look at the mountain that I face knowing that I must leave the canoe behind me.

Disillusioned Ex-Mormon

14 comments:

Bob said...

I know how you don't know much about the church, Brother Zelph. My father left the church in 1991. And I left it in 1992 (1 year later). Do you know what your Bishop's name was or your full name? Because on your letter I saw that you left a couple words blank on there. Can you tell me what they are? Thanks!

Elder Joseph said...

The blog has been good for me too. Please keep it on as a record of things. I'm sure many people will come across it and read past posts.

cheers

E J

Brother Zelph said...

Bob- I am choosing to stay anonymous at this time.

EJ- Thanks. It feels like it has been a long journey, but I think it is time to move on and put Mormonism behind me.

Bob said...

Thanks for the comment, sir. It was a long Journey for me and my family too. They hardly understand a thing about the Church like me.

Anonymous said...

hi,

ran across this post accidentally while searching for pictures of the church in dc..

i just want to say to stay strong about your findings and search for truth. i am a believer that all religions teach fundamental truths about coping with life and consciousness. they all, through analogies and metaphors, give us wisdom. spirituality and faith is something everyone exercises everyday whether or not it is through religion.

studying many religions, i find myself interested in hinduism and buddhism. i regard them both to be more of a philosophy than a religion. And they also touch on so many deeper topics than the Abrahamic religions.

much love,
jimmy

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Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, I accidentally ran into this while looking for something else.. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I know for myself that it is true. I don't want to try and convince you of what I know, I just want to bare testimony of what I know, for myself, to be true.
I know that Christ suffered for my sins and that he knows me personally. He cares for and loves me just as much as any of you. he knows the struggles I've gone through and the ones to come. When I have no one else, he's always there. I love him with all my heart; he is my Savior, my friend, and my older brother.
Although I haven't yet found everything in the church to be true yet, it is because I haven't asked. The things I do know to be true are because of the Holy Spirit and it's testimony to me. It bares witness of the truths of all things. Not just in the gospel but in life too.
I love that I can truly say I believe these things and I won't falter from them because of the confirmation the Spirit has shown to me. I say these things in the humble name of my savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

There is a lot of false doctrine about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, out there and my advice is- if you really want to know what we believe, ask the missionaries. They will teach you what we believe and you can find the truth for yourself that way. You can also go to lds.org. This is our official website and you will get correct LDS doctrine on there as well.

Anonymous said...

glad i found this blog. love the canoe analogy. that's exactly how i felt when i realized i wanted to carry on with my life journey beyond the church.
best of luck

Nic said...

I came across your blog accidentally while searching for more information about Mormonism. I am a strong Christian and I have two Mormon boys that are very eager to share their faith with me. They have said that they believe in both the King James bible and the Book of Mormon, but some of the details of their religion contradict the King James bible. Please know that the King James scripture that you have in your heart will never return void. You have Jesus Christ's word and Way in your heart and I pray that you would come to the One who can change your life, eternally. It is not about religion or details, but only about Him and His mercy and grace for you. He has the answer.

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