Why I Publish the Blog

As hard as it can be to get a blog going, it’s obviously harder to do something, like, say, come to terms with the loss of religious faith. In creating this blog— I am attempting to do both. Silly, I know, but I have a nasty habit of biting off more than I can chew. Why stop now?

I was born and raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints— the Mormons. My family was very active in this religion that is, by any measure, a lifestyle more than just a “sunday religion”. It informed every element of my life. How many brother and sisters I had. What I should eat and drink— and what I shouldn’t. Even the friends I had. The religion and the culture profoundly shaped who I am. 

You’d think after being a Mormon for over 30 years I’d know the doctrine and history of the LDS Church— the stuff that is the bedrock of LDS belief. I’ve attended countless meetings and classes where these things were taught over and over. I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve heard the story of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. It has to be in the thousands— easily.

As a young adult I served full-time mission for the Church — TEACHING PEOPLE ABOUT MORMONISM. Then there was BYU. Temple marriage. Numerous callings etc.

My point: I knew Mormonism.

But here’s the revelation. Thanks to the Internet, I recently discovered things about LDS doctrine and history are noticeably different than the Mormonism I knew. Actually, disturbingly different. It also turns out that these discrepancies are SIGNIFICANT. I say “significant”, as in, I no longer believe the LDS Church to be what it claims to be.

Those who are or were Mormon understand how serious this is. (see “Mormonism is a lifestyle” above.)

So why am I writing this blog? 
1 – To present the reasons why I no longer believe the LDS Church to be what is claims to be. This a good place to organize thoughts and research. 

2 – To share with others things that I wish I had learned about Mormonism long before now. You need the facts in order to decide what you really believe.

3 – Letting go of a deeply held belief is kind of like divorce— sometimes necessary and often painful. I need a place to work through this. So sorry to drag you through my catharsis but… it is my blog.

What am I writing in this blog?
THE MORE UNKNOWN HISTORY, DOCTRINES OF MORMONISM — things that I was never taught by the religion. Things that, for me, have become the revelations. I suspect there will be the occasional commentary on LDS culture as it relates to the religious beliefs. 

Am I an angry ‘anti-mormon’?
Angry: Sure. Sometimes I am angry and frustrated by the dishonest way the LDS Church deals with uncomfortable doctrine and history. Some of that may show through in my posts. Sorry if I offend anyone. That is not my intent. 

Anti-Mormon: I prefer the terms “critic” or “apostate.” The “Anti-mormon” label is an easy way for LDS to dismiss arguments without looking the evidence. I know, I did the same thing on my mission. Ironically,  most “anti-mormons” know more about LDS history/doctrine than most members— but don’t take my word for it. Check my sources (I hope to include them whenever possible) and see for yourself.

Did I lose faith because I sinned or because I was offended at Church?
Nope. After finally researching questions I had, I just don’t believe it anymore.  

 

11 Comments

  1. Dan Pearce says:

    Hey, we’re working to launch MormonDiaries.com, and wanted to invite you to drop by and see if being an ongoing contributor might be of interest to you. Pretty please… if it looks interesting to you at all.

    I want to create a really great multi-author ad-free blog with ex-mormons’ thoughts and observations about the Mormon church, kind of blog/journal style.

    Any interest?

  2. David says:

    Hello!

    I’m amused by your site. I often browse through ‘critical lds’ sites. I think it adds an interesting layer of perspective. Although I have to say, I absolutely don’t share your sentiments.

    I’ve served an LDS mission, teaching people about the gospel, I’ve done the whole temple thing. I’ve decided the church was no longer true. I’ve come back. Silly as it sounds. Can you honestly tell yourself that you are happier outside of the church? I wasn’t, and it wasn’t for cultural, social, or esteem purposes(although being shunned isn’t particularly fun.). Simply enough, because its true, and God wants me to be here.

    My turn to be critical of the church. Yes. absolutely, without doubt, it masks,and hides thing about its history, doctrine, and leaders. It happens. In fact, one of the main reasons I left the church was because our lack of instruction. I like browsing these, lds critical sites, because you get a lot of the hard facts. But, I can never help but laugh at the conclusions you draw. Its boring, members are unfaithful, retention is terrible. My laundry list goes on.

    Outside of the church? Aggravation, you can never leave it alone. Either that or you really did grow up, serve a mission, go to the temple, serve in church callings without ever feeling the spirit. Without every really questioning why you should believe what you believe. Lots of mormons do. Its pathetic.

    In summary of your entire site, there is no evidence for, or against the church. Doesn’t matter how hard you attempt to convince a colorblind person the sky is blue. He can never know.

    So… forgive me for assuming so, but im going to say you were THAT missionary, you were THAT priesthood holder, you were THAT temple goer. (And I served with THOSE missionaries, now im aggravated :)) And never amounted any spiritual knowledge. I don’t really care, what DNA evidence, Ethan Smith, Kinderhook, wives, solomon spalding, adam god theory, JS’s Magic tricks, seer stones, horses, mountain meadows, fringe groups, or whatever you label as evidence. If God tells you something, you believe it.

    You honestly, sincerely, received divine communication to leave the church? Or, did you lack the resolve to spend a few hours on your knee’s finding out?

    Eitherway, I salute your effort for greater understanding. I dream of a mormon church where we don’t hide anything. And we can all realize nothing in this mortal existence is perfect or will ever be.

  3. David-

    Thanks for the comment.

    There certainly is evidence for and against the LDS Church and the question is which evidence is valid and reliable. Unfortunately what many LDS lack is a willingness to look at the evidence with a critical eye. The LDS position as stated in Alma 32 is to desire for it to be true before the experiment even begins which in the end skews the results.

    It’s no surprise that you question my resolve as a Mormon and see this as the reason for me leaving. That’s the standard TBM response to those who were faithful and then choose to leave. They can’t comprehend the idea that it might be false so they attempt to discredit doubters. Fact is though, I was as sincere and devoted as any LDS — especially as a missionary. I chose to serve a mission despite a disability that made doing so difficult. I did the same in the decade that followed in Church callings etc. Seriously, one might be able to question a lot of things about me, but my sincerity and resolve in trying to make Mormonism work is not one of them.

    You might be right though that I never felt the Spirit. Sure, I went through the whole process of being raised LDS, going to Church, seminary etc…and feeling things that I thought was the Spirit— but always having issues with the things being taught. Plural marriage always seemed wrong to me. Joseph Smith’s stories always seemed unbelievable. But I tried to make it work. I lived by the rules— WoW and no sex. On my mission I prayed endlessly to know JS was a prophet and that the BoM was true but never got a witness. Instead I made all of that work through logic and study and Truman G. Madsen talks. I desired for it to be true and I worked to know that it was. God never showed up though.

    I’ve found though that in the end the few “spiritual manifestations” I had were emotion more than anything and that they are no more evidence of real world truth than what a Catholic, Muslim or even Atheist ‘feels’ about their beliefs. These feelings are not a good measure of big T truth but are personal and have no bearing on another’s truth.

    Until God (if such a being exists) sees fit to bless me with such an experience (cuz He certainly hasn’t yet), I am completely content to say that based on the evidence available the LDS Church and Mormonism isn’t what it claims to be. I’ve spent the better part of a lifetime seeking the promised confirmation only to see a lot of discussion of the Emperors clothing. You yourself said that God spoke to you and told you it was right. If that is accurate I assume you’d still be out of the Church without it. Mormonism doesn’t work on the logic and evidence alone. Like all religion it has to have the feelings, Spirit etc.

    All that said I think it’s only fair that I make some assumptions about you as well. You claim that you left the Church but have come back because God has told you it was true. I am going to say that you are THAT Mormon that cannot really even fathom the idea of the Church not being what it claims to be, that perhaps was troubled for a short time about difficult issues in LDS history and theology but in the end has decided that above all you want the Church to be true logic be damned. That Mormon that claims to have left and really looked at the hard issues but that has never really allowed himself to to think the Church could be wrong. You are that Mormon that fears losing your culture and shunning more than you value reality. The one that says “I don’t really care” about anything outside of what I see as my personal revelation from God. That Mormon that accuses others of never “really questioning why (they) should believe what (they) believe” but then proceeds to dismiss all evidence other than the one piece that allows him to hold onto his faith. God told you something, everyone else should believe it.

    See how easy it is to do that and how it goes both ways. Truth is, I know no more about you than you do about me.

    I sincerely hope you’re happy in the Church though because to answer your question, yes, I am am happier out. Is it always easy? No— I live in Utah and have family members still active. But my life is more honest and that for me is a happier place indeed.

    Best of luck.

  4. Hello ldsrevelations

    a few years ago i posted some comments on a number of your articles trying to defend my faith in the church. i would just like you to know that i have recently decided for myself that i no longer believe in the church. i started thinking for myself and started questioning things.

    looking back at my life in the church i realized that i never really believed it in the first place. my personal beliefs and morals where contradicted all the time by the teachings of the church. though i had never really looked into it until just recently, i have the teachings of the church have always been in question in my mind even since before i was baptized when i was eight. even on that day i knew i had to lie to the bishop and say i believed it only because that was what my parents wanted.

    i believe i was about 13 or 14 when i posted previous comments on some of the articles on this sight, i am now 17 years old. i hope my previous comments can be seen as examples of members following in blind faith without sure knowledge and without true honesty.

  5. Here is what confuses me. I grew up in the LDS church. I have ancestors who had close relationships to Joseph Smith and are prominent in Church history. I went on a mission, temple marriage, high level callings including Bishop, high council, among others. I cannot recall not believing although through many of my years as a youth I believed without a questioning attitude. I just accepted it because its how my life was. I went on a mission to a ghetto in the eastern United States. While on my mission I witnessed and was the victim of violent crimes that commonly occur to people living in the ghettos. My being a victim to a violent crime didn’t sway my belief in the church one way or another; but it made me realize life wasn’t always going to be my northern Utah fairytale. Shortly after arriving on my mission I concluded I hadn’t read the B of M despite being a believer all my life to that point. So I read the B of M for the first time. I got to Moroni 10:3-5 and dutifully prayed as they taught me a hundred times through the years. In response I had a deeply profound spiritual experience. I won’t describe it in detail other than to say it was more than a burning in the heart, more like a rapturous vision.

    I was somewhat naive and just wrongly assumed everyone else who read the B of M had that same rapturous experience. In addition I later experienced encounters with spiritual beings from beyond the veil in broad daylight; an unnerving experience to say the least. After returning from my mission I went on to have a career outside of Utah in corporate America. I was a high ranking corporate officer with income in the top 1% of the nation. I have after my mission had a number of other profound spiritual experiences that could only be described as miraculous with extreme spiritual manifestations of the Holy Ghost.

    I have several grown children boys and girls. All boys went on mission and all married in the Temple. They all got exceptional grades and SAT scores. Most qualified to attend ivy league schools in the top quartile or decile of the incoming freshman class. Because they were LDS they chose to attend BYU instead. They attended BYU on presidential scholarships. Nearly all graduated from BYU at the top of their class. They are now rapidly becoming 1% income earners themselves.

    So far two, have completely left the church in their after BYU and mission adult lives. The others have become lukewarm members and may follow suit. My children left the church as a result of not being able to reconcile Mormon criticism learned on the Internet.

    As for me, I have read every criticism my children have read. I don’t have the answers to those criticisms to give to them. However because of my profound spiritual experiences, none of it affects me. You could have video recorded proof that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young committed adultery and it wouldn’t cause me to not believe. Joseph and Brigham will answer to God for their sins and I will answer for mine. Once you have experienced spiritual manifestations as I have, you do not determine your beliefs based on events that occurred to others 180 years ago. You base them on the reality of your experiences.

    So here’s what confuses me. Why has God not touched the hearts of my children in only a small measure of how he has touched my heart? You simply will not believe in Mormonism if God hasn’t touched your heart; you will believe if he has. Criticisms of church leaders are meaningless once he has. They are stumbling blocks if he hasn’t. I would trade all my money and my children’s A grades at BYU for God to touch their hearts. I don’t know why one heart gets touched and another doesn’t. It came so easy to me. My children who have left the say they have done so only after much effort to receive a spiritual manifestation that never came.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Alan. I appreciate thoughtful comments that remind me of the other side Mormonism— and I think you’re exactly right that in the end one’s decision to stay a faithful Mormon likely rests on something other than historical or doctrinal issues. For you it was a personal experience/manifestation. Personally for others I think it can be social or cultural. In any case those who do not have such an experience and/or do not find Mormonism to be enough their spiritual, social or cultural home have little reason to put in what it takes to remain LDS. Further, without a compelling reason to do so (manifestation, family, cultural reasons etc) these people rely on empirical evidence (history, doctrine, observations) surrounding Mormonism and this is where it often falls apart. I mean, I understand why someone who has had a spiritual manifestation stays LDS. However based on evidence alone I think the Church’s case is actually pretty weak. Don’t get me wrong, I think in many ways Mormonism is an amazing thing and has done much good. Based on evidence though it’s clearly is not what it claims to be.

    I can imagine that your children rejecting Mormonism has been difficult for you. I know my mother worries about me and my other siblings that have moved away from the faith we were raised with. I feel bad about that but then I suppose all children make choices their parents don’t like. Its hard because from a place of belief faithful Mormons can’t really see any good in leaving the Church and I’m sure you would trade everything to give to your children what you see as the most valuable thing in the world. I would take comfort though in a few things. First, I believe your kids when they say they have have tried hard to make Mormonism work for them. I did as well. Most raised LDS don’t give up their faith without a lot of effort and soul-searching. From my experience most are as sincere as can be in their journey. So from a believing viewpoint if they have done what they can and God has not chosen to give them some sort of testimony anchor then it is out of their/your hands. Certainly you’d have to think that either this is part of God’s plan or that He will be merciful in the end.

    The sizable exodus of younger/middle aged people out of the faith is part of a larger trend towards secularization that is happening in many places around the world. For better or worse it is the way things are going and your kids I’m sure will be products of their time just your were/are. Personally I think there is a higher value placed on empirical evidence now than has been in the past. I personally have always been one that needed evidence to believe. Until the advent of the Internet the LDS Church alone controlled the narrative on Mormonism and so I managed to cobble together despite doubts and no spiritual manifestation. Once I got the bigger picture it feel apart for me. Anyway, this trend will lead some to move away from faith and other to redefine how they believe— just as it has for millennia.

    Who knows, if there is a God maybe it’s part of His plan to make Himself know to some of His children and not others as a some sort of test designed to see how treat each other despite hugely varying world-views. It’s safe to say that relationships and people are more important than dogma in the end in any case.

    Best of luck you and your family on this journey.

  7. Andrew Mason says:

    I had a wonderfully spiritual mission with so many great experiences, I still, to this day, am in awe when I remember the depth of feelings I experienced as a missionary.

    I finished my mission over 16 years ago and I have since left the church for a myriad of reasons. I realized that the experiences I had as a missionary were more of a reflection of my own sensitivities, biases as well as being a well-meaning individual who bore his soul in an effort to help others.

    I personally do not seek to destroy the church nor am I angry with the church. However, the historical claims of the church are misleading at best and the church itself is run way too much like a business and unfortunately money and power do corrupt.

    I still believe in God, I just don’t believe in a micro-managing God nor a God that places the importance of obedience over other, more valuable virtues. I believe what God requires is really quite simple – that we do our best and help others do their best too.

    Too many times man and his weaknesses cause others to fail, to follow bad paths and false teachings and do so in the name of religion and God.

    An example of a poor teaching in Mormonism is the idea of being “worthy.” While I think religion should try to lift people up by adhering to certain virtues, the idea of being “worthy” or “not worthy” actually does just the opposite as it sets people up for false expectations as well as unnecessary guilt among other things.

    The bottom line is that religion should be about learning to become a better, more selfless person. Understanding the true value of another human being no matter their circumstance is what constitutes progression in this lifetime not arbitrary benchmarks that the church often tries to substitute for real growth.

  8. I’d like to commend you for starting this blog and sharing your thoughts with all of us. It takes a very sincere and honest person to be willing to do this and I think that you’ve done a great job thus far. From what I’ve read so far, I have to say that I agree with many of your points. In general, religion is a very personal thing that can be difficult to articulate as words and language sometimes are inadequate to express what we are really trying to convey. Most arguments arise because people talk past each other never really understanding what the other is trying to say. Most of this can be chalked up to ignorance on either side and/or to being too stubborn or fixated on the fact that they must “WIN” the debate at all costs. This polarization is silly and never helps the human condition. All you have to do is look at politics and you can see how damaging this is to progress for humanity. All that said, I think that what you have here is a great resource for openness for both sides of the story. My only hope is that people will recognize that we’re all humans and thus subject to the same limitations and that we’re all in the same boat. Because we’re in the same boat, therefore, why don’t we seek to share our thoughts and doubts respectfully for the sake of learning and growing rather than trying to “WIN” at the loss of the other. When it comes to religion, its my opinion, that we’re all still trying to figure it out and only those who are willing to stay open minded are those who are going to eventually get the whole story and, ultimately, the truth. Keep sharing your thoughts and being true to yourself.

  9. John says:

    Good blog! Keep it up. I am trying to get that miraculous manifestation as I am doubting Thomas and need more than warm fuzzies. If I don’t get it in the next year or so, I’m going to start looking elsewhere.
    In your blog maybe you can explore where to look for truth about post mortal existence and true nature of higher powers

  10. so when missionaries knock on my door, or I see them on street corners trying to convert those who are not “White and Delightsome,” what do I tell them so that they do not automatically dismiss me as ” wicked ?”

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