If you don’t like Mormonism, why don’t you leave?

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quitA guest post by Mette Harrison

A few years ago, I was talking to a group of my New York friends (all atheist) about some of my problems with Mormonism. Their response was fairly typical: If you don’t like Mormonism, why don’t you join another church? In fact, why don’t you make up your own church? They suggested I make a splinter group of Mormonism and use the parts of my faith that I liked (the Book of Mormon, the temple rites, etc.) and just leave behind the parts that I didn’t.

Since publishing The Bishop’s Wife, I have received a surprising number of emails from non-Mormons to the same tune. Some suggest their own religion as the superior alternative. Others just seem confused.

At the same time, I’ve heard from plenty of Mormons who think I don’t belong in their church and tell me I should leave. If I don’t believe that President Monson and the Twelve Apostles receive perfect truth from God about what is right for everyone in the church, if I don’t believe that my bishop and stake president are receiving direct and untainted revelation about everyone in their stewardship, then why am I still a Mormon? Why don’t I leave the church, quit complaining about the problems I see in it, and stop bothering them with my questions and doubts?

These are both knee-jerk responses from people who don’t wish to have a nuanced discussion of how flawed organizations work. My answer to both groups is actually similar.

Mette Ivie Harrison

Mette Ivie Harrison

The idea of creating my own church – of finding similarly-minded Mormons or others who would be interested in joining the LDS Church if it were different in the ways that I think it should be – is off-putting to me because I have always inhabited a religion that believes in hierarchical revelation. Basically, Joseph Smith had the authority to create a new church because God himself came down and told Joseph to do so. Peter, James, and John also restored the keys of the true priesthood. I don’t have that mandate, and without it I would be guilty of designing a church to be pleasing to people and not to God – the same problem that Joseph Smith complained about in the prayer that led to the First Vision.

In addition, there are a number of logistical problems in creating a new church. I’m not interested in becoming a church leader, and my personality is not suited to this project. I don’t have the money or the time to build beautiful buildings, reprint the Book of Mormon or other Mormon scriptures in a form I would like, or produce monthly magazines for adults, youth, and children.

But on another level, I am not interested in creating a new church because I believe in the principle of conversation and compromise. I am not right about everything, even if I currently say I believe a certain thing right now. I may yet be convinced that the church leaders I disagree with right now are, in fact, completely in the right and that I am completely in the wrong. But I also believe that my having an honest conversation about my own experiences, fears, hopes, and firm faith in God as I understand Him, could help others — including even the prophet or the 12 Apostles — to see the world differently and to come to agree with me.

Such conversation is in keeping with the principle of continuing revelation within Mormonism. I do not think that it contradicts the idea that the prophet and the Quorum of the 12 are men who are inspired by God, chosen to lead the church, and basically very good people who are trying their best to lead the church in the best direction possible.

Criticism is a useful part of any religion. It doesn’t have to be destructive.

When I get a letter from my editor that shows me her view of my manuscript, that doesn’t mean that everything I’ve done is wrong. She’s not saying I’m a bad writer. It means that she cares enough and believes enough in my project to bother to put her time into helping me make it better. I often disagree with my editor. Sometimes I think she is completely wrong. Other times I think she is wrong, but realize that she is pointing at a problem that needs to be fixed for a different reason and in a different way than she thinks.

I hope that there is still a place for me in the LDS Church, as this kind of editor who has the best intentions.


Mette Ivie Harrison is a monthly guest columnist at Flunking Sainthood and the author of The Bishop’s Wife and many other novels.

  • Jonathan Felt

    Agreed. “It’s my church too!” I will yell back. Let’s stop stunting our own collective revelation by engaging in hopeful dialog about every aspect of Zion. May we inquire of the Lord for ourselves in a more informed manner. May our leaders then be more effective by our inquiries. Let us leave the stupefying adulation of men where it belongs with the other idols of our traditions. The more we work together toward the same goal of building a Zion society the more like minded men and women we will attract.

    Jonathan Felt

  • A Happy Hubby

    I fully agree. I think an overriding issue in the church is that if you point out an issue (problem) that many feel you are being unfaithful. Then the inability to talk about things just creates mental frustration. When some people leave the church, they do so with an explosion of pent-up frustrations. That generally isn’t helpful.

    I am a manager by profession (MBA with a management area of concentration) and I would give the church generally a “C” grade at the local level for accepting feedback. There are places (generally specific leaders) that actually solicit feedback and they have a much higher “grade”. But at the higher level, I can’t quite decide if the grade I would give is a “D” or a flat out “F”.

    I think some of this comes from untrained leaders that don’t want to deal with negative feedback. Just like in marriage, it is HARD to get feedback and REALLY look for what is true in that feedback. But that is where some really good growth can come from. It also can build more loyalty when you know your leadership is willing to receive feedback.

  • ron

    Please stay. The whole makes the body of christ. Increase in faith so all can be blessed by your faith. The lord loves you. One thing must be remembered though. That this is the lords church and he alone will change it but until that time you can increase your faith in the grace of god and see a time where all injustices will be made whole. Have faith in his timeline.

    I have sayings I like to use. One ive learned from someone else that I dont remember.

    1) People are more important than the truth.
    2) I am so confident in the truth that it can fend for itself, so as for me I will take that knowledge of the truth and I will love the lord with all my might mind and strenght and serve others as he would want me to serve.

  • SanAntonioRob

    I think the black-and-white attitude many take (such as “If you don’t agree with everything, why don’t you just leave?”) is born of inability to cope with hard questions – or perhaps fear of them.

    Here’s an example:

    The men in my ward are great guys who I feel try to love and serve those around them. But I was very disappointed in the discussion that followed the question “Why do some people leave the Church”.

    “They get offended”, was the first answer, with several grunts of agreement.

    I raised my hand. “As Pres. Uchtdorf discussed in Conference, there are things in Church history or that past leaders have said that some can’t reconcile with the Church being true.” Nervous looks and crickets.

    “It all boils down to pride,” someone else said. Several more grunts of agreement, the teacher asks a follow-up questions, and the next couple minutes of our lesson centered around how people who leave are prideful.

    I am ashamed to say that one sentence was the extent of my class participation.

    But that is the realty of the most common thinking in our Mormon culture. The hard question is how someone with a sincere desire to follow God could be led through a different path. We are unable, or unwilling, to deal with it so our automatic assumption is that they are prideful, or they were offended by some simple thing they just need to get over, or they not really listening to the Spirit. We silence their questions by making them feel guilty for voicing them.

    When they are still “active” and they repeatedly voice their questions or doubts, we ask why they don’t just leave. When they leave and voice their questions or doubts, it’s proof that they are being led by Satan because they “won’t just leave the Church alone”.

    I say this as an active member who, until recently, didn’t realize this was my exact mindset. And it’s dead wrong.

  • ron

    In all sincerity and in a spirit of kind discussion, leaving the church because of difficult history shows that that persons testimony is just not fully developed and with enough patients on the part of that person, if they are willing to trust in the lords timetable, their testimony in the savior will eventually overcome these roadblocks as they gain a deeper understanding of the infinite atonement.

  • Jacob H.

    Sometimes it’s fun to just not take them seriously. “If you don’t like that I’m staying in the church despite having problems with it, why don’t YOU leave?”

  • I appreciated this post very much.

    One thing that I think people miss is that religion isn’t so much about membership as it is about relationship. My religion is the vehicle through which I work out my relationship with God. Like all relationships, there are going to be times which are better and worse.

    If my I did something to annoy my wife … well, let’s be honest, WHEN I do something to annoy my wife… nobody says, “Oh, he upset you? Why don’t you look for a new husband.” People understand that marriage is about relationship and commitment and sticking around and trying to work things out. The most successful marriages are those in which the partners are willing to grapple honestly with their differences.

    Faith is much the same. Developing and maintaining a relationship with God is the work of a lifetime and then some. I grow through the effort and I believe God honors that. It’s difficult for me to imagine a judgmental God who views our relationship as “love me or leave me”. God IS love and that love is expressed through a willingness to walk together through the difficult times.

  • Jessica

    Ron, you say that …”leaving the church because of difficult history shows that that persons testimony is just not fully developed and with enough patients (sic) on the part of that person, if they are willing to trust in the lords timetable, their testimony in the savior will eventually overcome these roadblocks as they gain a deeper understanding of the infinite atonement.”

    That may be true, but it is also self-serving for those who stay to say so. It is prideful of us to think of ourselves as having a more fully developed testimony, or being more trusting in the Lord’s timetable than they are- rather than just admitting that we don’t know what the Lord has planned for those people, and that he may be working His plan through them, even if they are not a part of our particular body of Christ at this time.

  • “But I also believe that my having an honest conversation about my own experiences, fears, hopes, and firm faith in God as I understand Him, could help others — including even the prophet or the 12 Apostles — to see the world differently and to come to agree with me.”

    It is interesting the timing on this. Just this morning in our family scripture study we read the following: “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:28-29)

    My point is, we are not to be trying to get God, Jesus Christ, or Their chosen leaders to see things our way, but we are to try and get ourselves to see things Their way. We may not want to accept that the prophets and apostles speak for God when we disagree with what they have to tell us, but is that not our problem rather than theirs?

  • ron

    As a member that lives in the missionary field (outside of utah) I know a lot of good people that are paving the way for christ in their own way and it shows me the amazing ways that god works in the hearts and mind of others. I see the atonement work in amazing ways in peoples lives that are not members of our church.

    Having said that, I have a sure testimony of the work of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints and its claim to authority as the only church with gods restored priesthood, with the right to officiate in the ordinanced that can bind in heaven, that just like lehi I want my entire human family to partake of the tree of life because the taste of the fruit is good.

    This fruit can only be had in our church and for thay reason my heart aches for all those that leave or wont join. Gods grace is good and if he trusts them to use their agency as they choose then so can I because I know the atonement is infinite for the willing heart.

  • Bob Muench

    I understand your conceptualization, and agree with just about everything that you say. None of us is perfect, from the bottom to the top of the chain. They don’t say that they are. I believe in the right to my own revelation, and the guidance of my leaders. Commandments are given us to guide and direct us to happier lives, and as we try to live them to the best of our understanding–and receive and follow the inspirations that we feel for our lives, we move forward. Thanks for sharing, Mette. And you aren’t flunking. You’re progressing.

  • Really like this:

    Criticism is a useful part of any religion. It doesn’t have to be destructive.

    When I get a letter from my editor that shows me her view of my manuscript, that doesn’t mean that everything I’ve done is wrong. She’s not saying I’m a bad writer. It means that she cares enough and believes enough in my project to bother to put her time into helping me make it better. I often disagree with my editor. Sometimes I think she is completely wrong. Other times I think she is wrong, but realize that she is pointing at a problem that needs to be fixed for a different reason and in a different way than she thinks.

    I hope that there is still a place for me in the LDS Church, as this kind of editor who has the best intentions.

  • Susiebjoe

    Loved your, The Bishop’s Wife, book. And I love this post. Thanks for asking the important questions in this public forum.

  • One way we can define different types of Mormons is as follows:

    1-Those who accept the words of the prophet because he is the Lord´s mouthpiece. They know by the power of the Holy Ghost who he is and who/what he represents. If they have questions, they take them to God, and receive personal revelation, which confirms the words of the prophets.

    2-Those who accept the prophet because he speaks what they believe. (Jana Reiss, Mette Harrison, Bryndis Roberts, et al) The problem with this is that when something is taught with which they feel uncomfortable, they begin to back pedal. For them he can only be inspired when he says what makes them comfortable. If they don´t like a doctrine, then they join the worldly choir criticizing the oracles of God.

    3-Those who don´t care one way or another. They just want to be a part of the culture, not the religion (John Dehlin). I never could quite get this group. I guess it is because I have spent so little time in Utah where this group is by far most common. I have never been a big fan of Utah Mormon culture. I´m more interested in the meat and potatoes of the religion and its inspired doctrine.

    I obviously don´t agree with those who say if you don´t believe, you should leave. I would never say that to anyone. But I will say that if you fit into groups 2 or 3, you are really missing the boat. You are not taking full advantage of the religion to which you belong. Remember that the greatest benefit of living the gospel of Jesus Christ is what comes after this life, not the benefits during mortal life. If you are concerned only with cultural niceties, or with a religion that makes everybody feel good and non-offensive, that you are only getting a tiny part of the potential benefit.

    As Jesus taught, and as Elder Jeffrey Holland and other apostles have recently pointed out, this is not an easy religion to belong to. Sometimes our beliefs will offend the world; and sometimes they offend members of the church who have let worldly philosophies influence how they see their religion.

  • Fred M

    Your #1 point seems to be claiming that personal revelation will always confirm what the prophet says. It will most of the time, I’ll grant you that. But not all of the time. Brigham Young taught as prophet many things that we now know to be false (the Adam-God theory, black skin being a curse, etc.). If back then a member had heard those teachings and prayed for confirmation, they would not have gotten it. Because the Holy Ghost won’t lie.

    And it’s more than a little dismissive to accuse Jana, Mette and Bryndis of only seeking comfort. It’s possible they have sought spiritual confirmation of these things and have not gotten it. For instance, if back in the day I heard Brigham Young say that black skin was a curse, I might think that didn’t sound right to me. Sure, it makes me uncomfortable–but mostly because I think it’s false! Seeking spiritual confirmation, the Holy Ghost would tell me that what the prophet taught was false. Most members at the time would think I was headed for apostasy, not following the prophet, being led astray–in your categories #2 or #3–but actually I would have been right, and doing exactly what Heavenly Father would have me do.

    So there’s that.

  • Fred,

    As far as your response to #1: the Lord always confirms the words of His prophet. Always. The point of having prophets is to have a point of reference in an ever-shanging, untrustable world. If we cannot trust the prophet´s word, if he only speaks the truth sometimes, then what good is he as a spiritual leader? What makes him any different than any one else? He becomes no different than any other good man claiming to be a spiritual leader.

    As far as your references to Brigham Young: 1-Adam-God Theory: old tired anti-Mormon garbage. It is a misinterpretation of his words. It has never been church doctrine that Adam is our God or that we worship him. Total hogwash. This worst that can be said here is that in this instance he did not express himself very well, and that only if it was even correctly transcribed. 2-Black skin was a curse: That is doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon. You´ll have to go a little further back than Brigham to blame someone for that one.

    As far as being dismissive of Jana, Mette, and Bryndis, you are right, I am. Not of them personally but of their worldly, uninspired, and sadly predictable approach to their religion. If they truly, and with real intent, sought confirmation of the words of the prophets, they would receive it. You know how I know this? Because I have. I have received confirmation of these truths that is so powerful that it approaches pure knowledge. And if God has responded to me with one answer, he is not going to give a complete contrary answer to someone else. That would fly in the face of reason, and make God, or me, a liar. I guess if you want to call me a liar, that is your prerogative. My concern with the three ladies mentioned above, is that they have not received confirmation because they live with one foot in the world, while the other tries to find a place in the church. I speak of course with limited knowledge, as I don´t know them personally; but their writings speak volumes about where they stand philosophically in this world. I think I could easily predict where they would stand on just about any gospel related subject. Their writings show that their beliefs are based on the philosophies of men, mingled with what ever Mormon scripture or doctrine that is comfortable enough for them not to be ashamed of.

    There was a time when I did have great difficulty with the church teaching regarding race and the priesthood. Although I am white, I was adopted in to a Hispanic, pre-dominantly Catholic family. After my mission, I married a woman of mixed African, European, and native South American heritage. I am deeply proud of my adopted heritage, and my dark skinned Brazilian wife and children. Had I continued being worried about what the world thought about my religion´s teachings, I may have left the church. I mean, how could I stay knowing that I belonged to a racist church lead by a racist God? But I was patient, waiting for the personal revelation that eventually came, and now I know that the policy was not based on racist feelings by God or by any leader in His Church. Many people, like myself have sought spiritual confirmation that the policy was right at that time, and received personal revelation. Not just whites either, but people of other races, such as my family.

  • Pete

    Great observation. I am a consultant who specializes in leadership development and using principles of engagement to gain organizational acceptan of change. I have served in many different leadership roles in the church, and have generally found that my unique approaches work well to drive forward the mission of the Church.

    However, I will always remember a couple of times this didn’t work so well. My attempts at driving greater engagement, and soliciting feedback were met with stares of misunderstanding, disbelief, and comments like, “that’s not how we do things.”

    Generally, I find that our leaders are decent managers, but are not really leaders. Managers maintain, leaders grow. In my singular experience as a bishop, I led a ward that had experienced little growth in over 20 years. During my tenure, we increased active membership by 50%, and moved into a large new building. But these are merely outward signs of growth. The real growth came within our people. People interacted more, our youth developed stronger testimonies, and our ward staffed the stake with five high counsellors and several other stake leaders – all demonstrating that the important growth came from within individual members. This is the real legacy to leave.

    This is a sample size of one, so perhaps this is a unique case. But maybe it’s not. Imagine how the church would grow if more of this happened?

  • “…Such conversation is in keeping with the principle of continuing revelation within Mormonism.”

    It’s not continuing revelation. Mormonism’s continuing revelation makes the God of the Bible out to be a liar.


  • Maddy

    Pete, Happy Hubby
    Great comments.

    Do you think it is a lack of training or the limitations of the individual leaders/bishops?
    What type of “leadership” training do bishops etc actually get in the church?

    My husband reports similar experiences and as such no longer attends priesthood meetings.

    I find it distressing that we seem to want to force every member into a cookie cutter mold. I find so much richness and learning in people’s individualism and personal stories. It helps me cultivate a greater love and appreciation for my fellowmen. I’m guessing we lose a lot of young men because they don’t fit into the cookie cutter mold. We don’t take the time to get to know and understand meet and accept people where they are.

  • Michael

    Have the courage to abide by organizational rules and policies, or have the courage to say “I cannot” and leave. And then leave the members alone.

    I did, and I did so without whining and moaning and stomping my feet and demanding attention. I was older than 3.

    “These are both knee-jerk responses from people who don’t wish to have a nuanced discussion of how flawed organizations work.” No they certainly are not. They’re called ‘legitimate questions.’ And notice you’ve just done to the questioners what you accuse the Church of doing to its questioners … demean their questions.

    I try to imagine myself joining a club and then demanding rule changes to suit my preferences, in an honest effort to understand disgruntled Mormons. But I cannot. That kind of self-absorption escapes me.

    Life is short. Find a nest you like and roost there.

  • Pete

    Maddy, the issue is pervasive, and in reality I believe this will be next to impossible to resolve. I believe only those leaders at the highest ranks of the organization can truly understand this issue. I’ve only met a tiny handful of local leaders that understand this – like maybe 1. Generally these men are outstanding people, have solid families, and are great managers. But managers don’t drive change, typically. This must come from the top, and since there are so many layers, it’s just not likely to happen.

    I am sorry to hear about your husband. Appreciating diversity is truly an issue for our church. Here I speak of diversity of thought. For the record, I do not agree with nor support those recently excommunicated for trying to express their diversity – in my opinion, they were looking for, and found their 15 minutes of fame. I do think, though, that we are not good at all at really trying to appreciate where other people come from. I’m one of those. Without going into detail, I cannot tell you the number of times my comments were “snubbed” because they were a little different. But I keep trying to make a difference in some small way. A comment here, a side conversation there. It’s about enduring to the end.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  • Fred

    DD, Of course, i rely on the internet for all of my facts, too. Or you are a complete expert and authority.

  • GlowandFlow

    REALLY???!!!! Sounds like you need to go read the recent essay published on race and the churches commentary on BY’s views of race. Fred M. gets to the point of the matter exactly. It is more comfortable mentally to never leave group 1, but to stay there requires you to ignore, pretend, and avoid complete honesty with several facts.

  • GlowandFlow

    Michael –

    What nest did you go to? And did you have major changes to your family obligations? To me, it makes it more complicated when your spouse still believes. So maybe I am in group 3, but not because I’m in love with the culture. I don’t mind it and, it encourages people to have great values. But the driver is maintaining stability for the family. I’m hoping that I will be more righteous as I make good choices out of personal desire than obligation. And then perhaps God will give me new revelation that will lead to a unique testimony that moves me back into group 1. Do you think it will work that way?

  • Michael

    Glow – I think it was to his nephew Peter Carr that Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A just God would not hold you responsible for the ‘rightness’ of your decisions about religion, but for the ‘uprightness’ of them.” Paraphrased. I believe that if one is honest, loving, courageous in inquiries, gentle – with self and others – in one’s pursuit of God, and arrives at decision A when B is the correct answer, that person is still good with God, and perhaps more so than a follower of B who cannot give a cogent reason is.

    Christ said we are to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Our Cross. Daily. My Cross includes uncomfortable questions, doubts, uncertainty. No excuses, though. I’m still to pick it up and trudge onward. No ‘woe is me’ or ‘change this Cross to cardboard!’ … just pick the heavy thing up and move on.

    Christ and St. Paul made it abundantly clear that loving those around you is the fulfillment of the law. This can’t be denied. Love is the be all, end all. If at the end of the day we can say we showed our love, then I think He’s smiling at us. All else – doctrine, theology, policy and procedures – become secondary considerations. Commandments of men cannot touch or interdict the commandment to love one another. How can we be failures, or be reject by Him, if we’re focusing on the most important commandment? We can’t be. We’re good to go.

    Good luck with the spouse. Love him/her, help whenever possible, hold hands even years into the marriage, get your groove on when the kids are out of the house … all will be well. The question, “do I want him/her to love me so hard my toes curl, or believe like I do?’ is answered pretty easily.

  • Michael

    Correction: 1st paragraph, very last word: “why” not “is”.

  • ron

    I disagree with the assessment that to stay in #1 you need to ignore, pretend, or avoid several facts to have honesty. My assesment is that the facts that create “controversy” are non-issues to those that have unwavering faith or a sure knowledge of the prophetic calling.

    This is not a dispute of the facts mearly an interpretation of their importance. To some they are more important than others. Being a subjective value if you desire to follow the lord, then you must use his feelings on the matter not your own. Thats why “being authentic” is just a euphemism for “the natural man.” This life is a character test for you and what christ wants is your will. The sooner you give it to him the sooner you know God personally.

  • ron

    As you progress through 1-2-and-3 always remember that the lord and heavenly father and all of us love you so much. Assess your feelings as how you have felt in each group 1, 2, and 3. Setting time aside, because it might take a short or long time, you have to start asking yourself what you do know about the nature of god and sincerly question your hearts desire. You must ask yourself if you want to be like him. If you do then you will be standing right in front of the tree of life preparing to taste of the fruit. The only difference now is that with the greater knowledge you have and life experiences under your belt when the lord askes for you to freely give your will to him with his offer for you to be consumed in his grace you will partake of the fruit of the tree of life and see that it is good and want others to partake. Your life will never be the same because your understanding of grace and the infinite atonement will satisfy all concerns and you will look back on your trials of faith as the greatest blessings ever offered to you. You will see how much god loves you. You will see what it means to have agency. Your eyes will be open and the only thing that will matter to you is how much you want to tell others that you love the lord because hes shown himself to you in your time of need. God bless you!

  • Joel

    Family. Friends. Hymns. Regular and organized opportunities for service. The occasional, inspiring talk or profound moment. The enjoyable emotion of elevation (what Mormons regard as “the spirit.”).

    I think it is a Mormon thing, and perhaps also evangelical Protestant, to care so much about whether you believe it’s true. Who would ask a 15th generation Catholic living in Italy why she’s Catholic even though she’s not totally believing and is critical of her Church.

    Religion is more than it’s dogma and a source of authority.

    If Mormons didn’t obsess about (1) intensity level of one’s literal, moment-to-moment, burning belief, and (2) obedience to QUASI-diefied leaders, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  • EG

    I read blogs about many different religions, and blogs of people who have left their religion. In every religion people say that those who leave were offended, were prideful, sinned, did not really believe, did not believe the Bible or in Jesus, and on and on. People of other religions who leave their religion are shunned, and the shunning is taught and encouraged, and it happens in just about every religion (not just the Amish). There are stories galore of people who have questions about the Bible, or church teachings, or express doubt about certain things and they are asked to leave their congregation and not come back.

    Mormons, unfortunately, are not the only ones who “know” why people leave the church. Every religion has a culture and mindset not unlike Mormons.

  • Guest

    Sorry, clicked the “abuse” link by accident. Ignore it.

  • monkeyking

    What I see most interesting in the article and even more so in the comments is that one common theme is that there is some problem with the person who questions the veracity of the church teachings and or the leaders. In their opinion anyone who does not accept all of the teachings has some defect, i.e. they don’t have a real testimony, they are prideful, they are sinning, they don’t really understand the teachings, etc.. But in reality those things apply to all of us. We all have room to improve our testimony, we all are too prideful, we all sin, and none of us understand the gospel in it’s entirety. Why then do members find any consolation in making these declarations? It seems to me that such declarations are more about ending the conversation than addressing the truth of the situation. Because the aforementioned issues apply to everyone it really means nothing and does not answer any of the problems. Those who use such tactics have the self-deceiving notion that if they can assign any of these faults to the other it explains the problem, therefore once the accusation is made the conversation ends. The member smugly believes they have ascertained “the problem” without any real understanding at all. They fail to see that it is equally likely that it is their own sins, pride and lack of faith or knowledge that is keeping them from seeing the problems themselves. I suspect that is why there is a growing epidemic of leader worship, or the notion that the church leaders are sinless and therefore infallible. Rather that perfecting ones self they create a fiction that there is someone else that is perfect so they can ride their coattails to heaven. What they are saying is: so long as I do what they say I am safe and will be saved in my imperfection.

  • BHaert

    Interesting post, I have read most of the comments.. some I think are right on, and others I think are a bit off. Regarding the topic, I think that some people confuse the revelation given for the church as a whole with their own personal revelation. One of the key principles for revelation is who you are authorized to receive revelation for. The church leaders (Prophet/Quorum of the Twelve) receive direction for the church as a whole, while local leaders (Stake Pres/Bishops) receive direction for their congregations. We as individuals are always entitled to receive personal revelation for our own lives and answers to questions we have… this may create some conflict with the way we perceive the direction the church as a whole/ or locally is headed.
    I am sure many people have sat in Sacrament meeting’s when persons we think are less than worthy are called to ‘high’ positions (Bishop/Counselor/RS Pres/etc), and even if we don’t just ‘think’ we could even have direct knowledge of something about that individual (they went to a ‘R’ rated movie *gasp*/ I work with them and they use foul language at work *shock*), OMG that person is human, and not perfect… we can’t always see what the Lord has in store for us…remember that “the Lord sees us not as we are, but as who can become.” But when we have negative thoughts about our leaders and doubt their authority then of course we will question their decisions, especially when those decisions are counter to what we feel to be correct.
    Of course we can ask honest questions about decisions our church leaders are making, if you read church history, this is not new… people have questioned church leaders decisions since its inception… Look at the Mormon Battalion, Kirtland Safety Society, Abolishment of Polygamy, opening Priesthood to all men…. before, during and after people questioned these decisions. Asking questions about the decisions is what prayer is for… we ask Heavenly Father about these decisions and allow him, not our personal opinion, to testify to us about their truthfulness.
    I will close on one final point, as someone commented before… people who leave do so out of pride, or they are offended… and the implication is that those that are there are somehow better because they have not given into pride. I think it’s not that they feel they are better, I think everyone has doubts at some level. I believe Christ said that if you have the faith of a mustard seed you could move mountains (something along that lines), and I haven’t seen anyone move a mountain… I think instead we hold to the counsel of Pres Uchtdorf when he said “before you doubt your faith, doubt your doubts.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us?lang=eng and hold to the knowledge that the church is true, trusting in Christ, and doing so know that all will be well.

  • Fred M

    Well said.

  • monkeyking

    Just a few points. 1. I believe that God sees us as we are, which includes our potential to become but does not imply that God chooses to not see reality as your quote implies. 2. If a member is aware that someone is unworthy for a calling they have the obligation to raise their hand in objection to that calling. I do not know where sustaining process became proforma but it appears to be a perversion of what the Lord established and another manifestation of leader worship in that it is taught/believed that the leadership is inspired in every calling that is extended. 3. I firmly disagree that people leave the church over pride or offense. I have never met anyone who left the church over those things. To say those things is belittles them and shows the accuser to be cavalier. People leave the church over sincere disagreements over the doctrine or the implementation of the doctrine. The problem is they had an expectation that the church its teachings and doctrines are perfect so when it becomes clear that the Lord still has many important doctrines yet to reveal because the members and the leaders are not prepared to understand all that the Lord does. This creates a contradiction based on a false premises, that the church and the leaders are perfect. If the truth that the church is incomplete and awaiting further light and knowledge and that the leaders do make errors from time to time were taught rather than the infallibility doctrine, fewer would leave the church. Instead of following the teachings of the Lord (that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God) many in the LDS church have adopted the philosophies of earlier theologians like Aquinas and Augustine who professed concepts of perfection and infallibility as a way to defend the church from the criticisms in their era which may have protected the church as a political entity but hastened the apostasy by infusing that church with false doctrines. The reason I stay is the church is true, in that the Lord does inspire the leadership insofar as they and the members are prepared to hear, and to rail against the false doctrines that have in the past and continue to creep into the church. One of the ways to do so is to follow the admonition of the scriptures: to doubt everything, even the existence of God, coupled with the desire to know the truth of all things, only then can you have faith that grows into knowledge. To think that knowledge precedes doubt and faith is to turn the scriptures on their heads. True knowledge only comes after the trial of faith, never before.

  • Good column. Harrison is taking the difficult path. People often say, “Just leave if you don’t like it” about many things. It’s as if our “throw away” thinking includes not only candy wrappers, bruised fruit, McDonald’s cardboard packaging, broken watches, the but also religion, marriage, relationships. That being said, some of us reach a point where leaving is the wisest thing to do. I stayed in the Catholic Church long after I seriously questioned its dogma. However, it has a strong social justice element among its members, among other good things. Outside of a few honest churches, most spent a lot of time and energy asking for money for a new parking lot (or whatever), and preaching the sinfulness of gays, birth control, divorce, with no mercy in sight….week after week after week. I am lesbian. Gays and lesbians still stay in the church to fight the good fight. At a certain point I realized I was in an abusive “family.” Hopeless. It was time to shake the dust from my sandals. No regrets.

  • Mette Harrison makes the point while missing it. The Church isn’t true. Let’s be real. At least not the fake version that a large number of members believe in. The Gospel is true and it is true that our leaders are called to run organization created to house that Gospel. But they were not called to run us nor to run us out.

    I was raised to believe that every Thursday the prophet and apostles that were in Utah met with Jesus Christ personally. Every member I knew believed it. This, of course, is a lie. I first realized it when no one knew the real story behind blacks and the priesthood. How could the brethren meet with Jesus and not bother to ask his thoughts on “blacks?” Later I heard members of the 12 speak, talking about how they didn’t know if other members of the 12 had seen the risen Savior. Of course, this meant they weren’t having meetings with him. But it also meant they were not really apostles. To be an apostle, on must see the risen Savior. They do not have to be members of the Church of the First Born, but they had to have seen Christ in the flesh to be able to bear that special witness.

    So why do we follow these men? Because we are taught to. I teach my kids to follow the Savior and the Holy Ghost. I teach them that the President of the Church is a prophet, just like I am but that as the President he (and the 12) have the keys to run the Church – but the President is the only one that can use those keys. This doesn’t mean these men always follow the Lord and this is why we must seek to follow the Lord. But the Church isn’t true because we do not teach our members to follow the Savior, we teach them to follow the prophet. Once the members start following the Holy Ghost maybe the President will have to do so as well.

  • Jonathan Felt

    Sing it Dave! I teach my kids to follow the brethren because they follow the Lord. All the nuance then can be understood over time.

    Jonathan Felt

  • Dave, I am sorry that you were taught this false doctrine about the weekly meeting with Jesus, which obviously is untrue. But this has never been taught by the church. Sounds more like one of those faith promoting rumors that Utah Mormons are so famous for. You can’t blame the church for the silly stories members invent.

    The weekly meeting does occur, but it is simply a sacrament meeting with the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presidency of the Seventy. It is done because so many of them are in conferences on Sundays and are unable to partake of the sacrament in Sunday meetings.

    The fact is, the encounter with Christ is a very personal experience, and has rarely ever a occurred in a group setting. However it is true that a number of apostles, seventies, and other non-general authorities (based on my personal conversations with a number of Apostles and several Seventies) have had that experience although not necessarily all of them. I will not share names or experiences, because those testimonies were meant only for those present at the time.

    Bruce R. McConkie taught that all apostles have the experience of personally meeting the Savior (which tells me that he must have, and anyone who heard his final witness on this earth is assured that this was indeed his experience). However, I believe that teaching may have been misinterpreted to mean that it happens immediately after the calling and or ordination. Joseph Fielding Smith, some time after his ordination to the apostleship, wrote to his son that the Lord had not yet seen fit to manifest himself to him, although it did not diminish his personal witness. He later on did have that experience.

    I have heard other church leaders testify of their personal experiences, and the teaching that there are indeed many who have seen the Savior that we will never know about, because these personal experiences are rarely shared.

    I am sorry that your experience has been the opposite of mine. I hear stories all the time like the one you were taught about the weekly meeting with the Savior. But I weigh everything I hear, including teachings in church, with the scale of the Holy Ghost, and when it comes up wanting, I lovingly refute it and correct it. But I will tell you that I do know that the Church is indeed true. Only a true Church could be the vessel for the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Maddy

    “Bruce R. McConkie taught that all apostles have the experience of personally meeting the Savior”

    Can you provide a source for that statement?

    “will not share names or experiences, because those testimonies were meant only for those present at the time.,

    I’m very skeptical of these claims.


  • Maddy,

    My statement was incorrect. What I sould have said was that Bruce R. McConkie taught that apostles have the responsibility to see the face of Christ. (Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, Chapter 31, Seek the Face of the Lord Always, Subheading:Apostles and Elders Should See God).

    As far as your skepticism regarding claims by apostles to having fulfilled that obligation, Uh. . . OK. Those who have spiritual experiences are commanded to bear testimony, not to convince or somehow coerce belief. Those who hear that testimony, have the option of being skeptical, or going and finding out for themselves if it is true. In that regard, I wish you only the best.

  • Cary Martinez, thank you. I know what the Thursday meeting is now. I have seen Jesus in visions, my ex-wife joined the Church because she saw the Savior inside the DC temple where He told her to join His Church. After being a member for a year, she went to the DC temple with me and lead me around, knowing where she was going due to her vision. My mother was held by the Savior, in the flesh, after a very difficult moment in her life when I was a teen. (I knew something had happened before she told us as the spirit of the room had changed from feeling like just a room to feeling like a room in a temple for a time.) I’ve met members of the Church that are also members of the Church of the First Born and have seen Jesus Christ in the flesh. Yes, it is sacred, but sacred shouldn’t mean secret. The secrecy creates the lies.

    I have heard 2 apostles talk about wondering if other apostles have seen the Savior. Both were back in the 90’s. Who do we believe? I don’t have much faith in McConkey. He did a LOT to lead members astray with his false doctrine. He has a beautiful testimony of the Savior, but his books show him to be a small minded and bigoted man. When he was right about something he was very right, but when he was wrong he was very wrong. Much of his “doctrine” was just opinion. The idea that the apostles would each at least see Christ once to become an apostle makes sense, but it would make more sense if we taught that rather than rely on rumors. I have had people my whole life tell me that I would be an apostle someday. I have always known this wasn’t true because if that were to happen, I wouldn’t hid my light under a bushel. I know that Jesus is real as I have seen Him and I have no issue in sharing that reality.

  • rjsk

    Thank you Mette. I, too, believe in the principle of conversation. But it seems the top hierarchy of the church does not really believe in (or want) a two-way conversation. It’s been made clear (by leaders) that directives are to flow top down – never bottom up. (See: “Which Way Do You Face?” A GA was counseled to take messages from senior leaders/apostles and deliver them to the masses – never the other way around.) This troubles me. It seems an overreaching assertion of power. I think *everyone* in life ought to be willing to be wrong. We all learn by remaining open-minded and willing to admit our own mistakes, as well as sincerely considering others’ perspectives.

    I think this ‘no questioning’ attitude is most clearly and egregiously exemplified by Bruce R. McConkie in his letter to Eugene England. “It is my province to teach to the church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent. You do not have the divine commission to correct me or any of the Brethren. …you will remain silent where differences exist between you and the brethren.”

    Silence! The cone of silence. I can’t tell you how psychologically & spiritually damaging an atmosphere like this is. We are not free (within Church parameters) to dissent, to speak our honest opinion, to openly question or even humbly disagree with current edicts from SLC. Some may say that’s not true – perhaps not officially – but culturally, the expectation for conformity or silence is oppressively heavy (with slight varieties depending on local leaders’ personalities.) If you’d like an example, look up Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen. Kirk wrote one blog post expressing his opinion on polygamy and someone from Salt Lake called his local leaders asking them to intervene.

    I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love this church most of the time, but this Orwellian/dictatorship atmosphere baffles me. Using authority to silence, censor, or shun people whose views run contrary to current teachings (even if it’s just one point of doctrine) seems the realm of neurotic despots desperately clinging to illusions of control. (And illusion it is. The church only ever has power over people who grant it to them.) I just cannot find Jesus Christ in such tyranny.

  • Memba

    I also have an MBA from a top school and have been the President of several companies, including ones with thousands of employees.

    I love the church.

    I think one of the oddest things about the organization is that it almost never, ever seeks feedback. There is some invited at the local level at times. But never, never ever at the General Authority level. They do not survey anyone serving in a calling or leaving a calling to find out how they felt about it, what they think could have been improved, or what didn’t work well at all. They never asked once, was the approach we are using the most effective way to bring people to Christ in your stewardship? Any suggestions for how to do it better?

    In fact, it is even worse than this. They discourage people from asking questions except from their local leaders. Please don’t pester our busy General Authorities with your stupid questions. “Which way do you face?” We are here to bring the prophet to you. None of us, nor the prophet is interested in what the people of the church think. It isn’t our role to listen to you. We are getting all the input we need straight from Heavenly Father.

    And there is also major intimidation in many wards and stakes against raising questions. You can get yourself labeled as “on dangerous ground” or “on thin ice” the second you raise an uncomfortable question.

    Perhaps a “no feedback” approach works great in the Lord’s church. It doesn’t work in any business I have ever been associated with. In fact, it is a good way to make yourself uncompetitive and irrelevant in your industry. And you end up with a company full of “yes men”, because independent minded people won’t tolerate the organizational arrogance that cuts off honest feedback and discussion from intelligent, loyal employees.

    So the church may be different from all this. But if I had one, and only one feedback that I could give to the General Authorities of this church, it would be:
    Aggressively seek input and feedback from the flock. Make it completely safe for them to give it to you. Completely safe. Seek, and pay attention to what you hear from all those faithful, devoted volunteers working for no compensation with all the Savior’s flock. And do not assume you are not getting it filtered if you ask a Stake President how the people in his stake feel about this or that issue.

    If you want to get out of the “bubble” that some of you claim you are not in, then you better listen to the folks at the grassroots. Debrief every single person who serves in the church by surveying them for their honest feedback. And let them give it anonymously if they want to.

    And remember, you always have the option to ignore it. You are the “boss”. You can listen. But you don’t have to act on anything unless you feel inspired to do so. You have all the control. Why would you not want to hear from those who love you and the Lord and serve the Lord with all their heart, might, mind and strength?

  • Memba


    I am sorry, but you just do not have your historic facts straight. Brigham Young did teach Adam/God. Many, many times. You can go online and read it in his discourses. It is easy to find. Ignorance is not bliss.

    Orson Pratt argued openly in General Conference against President Young’s view. If you read his sermons, they closely resemble what later became the First Presidency’s statement on this subject. Here is a link to the 1916 official statement on LDS.org: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/04/the-father-and-the-son?lang=eng

    This link shows what Brigham Young thought about this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%E2%80%93God_doctrine

    I think it is unclear that Brigham Young was sure about this theory, and that is why the normally strict President Young tolerated open differences of opinion on this subject from others in the church. The church finally came to a united view on this subject with the declaration cited above.

    Isn’t wonderful how these leaders searched, pondered and prayed for a long period of time seeking the mind and will of the Lord on this important matter? And when they obtained a united view, they published a doctrinal statement clarifying the matter.

    I think it is wonderful that we have the blessing of living prophets who seek and are entitled to receive, in the Lord’s time and way, divine light and truth through revelation.

    I think we have revelation on racism now that says it is not, and never was a doctrine from our Heavenly Father.

    And I believe “He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”

  • Jonathan Felt

    Well Memba!@#…I passed your comment around to my favorite thinkers (and you would like them too) and we all decided you have nailed it. Thank you for expressing our thoughts in a mild way which is not offensive, and may our beloved leaders finally hear us. Why? Because we want our Church to succeed in the final days of this dispensation. It is important.

    Jonathan Felt

  • A Happy Hubby

    Memba – AMEN!

    I do like the idea of surveying those that leave a position. In my corporation this is helpful in finding “bad apple” managers and help the manager work on these issues (sometimes they just have to go though). Our church LOVES statistics and the IT department has what is needed to notice when someone is released and send them a quick survey (even with non-open ended questions).

    I know in my job in middle management of a large corporation, a big part of the “softer” part of my job is getting people to trust that they can be honest with me. When they are not, I don’t know what is going on and problems are on the horizon.

    When people feel like they are not listened to or can’t even talk, they take it for a while/up to a point and then they do one of a few things – shutdown/disconnect (go inactive), or become more critical of the organization (I could name a few groups). If people can let off some steam (and hopefully SOME changes are made) they won’t get to these unwanted situations of antagonism and/or apathy.

    But we are in a catch-22. We can’t effectively give feedback on them taking feedback because they don’t take feedback! Grrr!

  • I would like to respond to all on this particular thread. I currently hold a position of leadership in the Church in South America. Every year, sometime multiple time in the year, I take part in church sponsored surveys online, regarding topics as wide spread as facilities and property management, to an evaluation of services and guidance provide by the area office to local leadership. I also have a personal relationship with my Area President, and often express my concerns to him both in emails and telephone calls. More than once I have felt the need to express rather strong opinions regarding the mismanagement of a given issue or program. I have never felt any fear of reprisal or censure. I have recently passed the 6-year mark in my particularly calling, and have only felt that my opinion was valued, even when I have been severe in my criticism. I´m not sure why the experience from others posting here has been so different from mine.

  • Jonathan Felt

    Brother Cary…When I saw your first post I decided not to respond because you are such an earnestly nice man, and contention is the last place for me to go. I have also visited your very nice blog and have read your mission statement. I passed your comments to another of my colleagues and he said he likes you too. In fact, he wants me to be more like you.

    Now my nice reply: We of a different experience love our church too and we also have served in callings like you have mentioned. Some of us are much older than you. My two favorite groups on earth are Jews and Ephraimites because we represent the tribes foretold by the prophets which will bring about a lot of salvation in the end. Our Jewish brothers argue about everything and they learn carefully layer upon layer about the prophets. Nephi wrote about their manner of learning and the Savior spoke about one of their prophets we should be studying diligently (Isaiah). Ephraimites shut up to go along and to get along. For our shutting up, we are blessed, but we are also stunted and cursed. We are blessed because of what we can get done together. We are cursed because there has been no doctrinal advances for a long time, but we have seen a few committee type decisions made which are blessings. If you haven’t noticed, the world is in chaos and so is our Church to some extent (we are still quite insulated), but what is coming for us? The Lord seems to be preparing our minds for more, and I am pleased to see our leaders starting to respond. The recent church essays are published for a reason. We and our leaders are not invulnerable to error, but this blog and others are paving the way for our leaders to hear our pleas because inside the church buildings there is no discussion of such things. Pent up frustration is causing many to fall away and to see only the bad parts of our great system of theology (unique upon the earth). With the bad feelings come contention and unnecessary fault finding. We should do more to listen to one another like Mette and wake up.

    I love your earnestness

  • Thank you for your kind comments, Brother Felt. When I mentioned my different experience, I did not mean to criticize or denigrate in any way. I hope my comments were not taken that way. I was simply curious. Since I have been getting that sort of support, and give and take with my area and general leadership, I simply assumed that it was occurring churchwide. If it isn´t, then something is wrong; or maybe it is something new they are trying here and have not rolled it out churchwide yet. In any case I hope you have that experience in the future. It is very rewarding and makes me feel like my opinion and many years of church service matter

  • A Happy Hubby

    Cary – Wonder if culture plays into it? Could that explain it?

  • maddy

    In my many years of church membership-40+ yrs, it has been my (and my spouse’s) experience except for rare instances, even local leadership doesn’t even want feedback. When my spouse was in a ward leadership position and we were confronted with some serious errors in judgment we were told flat out by Stk leaders any correspondence sent to Salt Lake will simply be returned–ie don’t waste your time.

    But how can you lead a flock if you don’t know where the flock is? If you don’t grapple with, explore and learn about issues at the grassroots eventually your flock will dwindle. If you are a teacher, you better know find out at what level your students are and what questions or thoughts they have or you will be wasting air instead of leading and teaching.

  • Memba

    Br. Cary:

    It sounds like you have had outstanding local leaders. I have also had good experiences with local church leaders who were interested in input and feedback. I once had a Stake President who presented everyone in the stake with a three proposed boundary changes for wards in the stake. He invited everyone to vote for their favorite and to make any suggestions and comments that they might have. About 70% of the stake liked one of the three plans. And the Stake President made a few minor modifications based on some of the feedback he had received. That was the smoothest boundary change, by far, that I have ever experienced. The Stake asked for input. But ultimately, the Priesthood leader made the decision. It was inspired, in my opinion.

    This experience did not take place in Utah. In my experience, church leaders outside of the state of Utah are generally more open, receptive and participative in their approach than the ones in Utah. Of course there are exceptions in Utah and out of Utah one way or the other.

    In my opinion, the style that the Stake President used here was an excellent example of inspired leadership. He made difficult, painful changes in a way that most members were able to accept. There was a wonderful feeling and spirit in the stake after this process happened.

    I have also seen these types of changes made much differently. This has been the most common experience. The stake presidency calls a meeting and announces the changes and that is it. Raise your hand to sustain it or not, your choice.

    There are times when a top down leadership style is called for and desirable. But more often, in most organizations, there are many benefits from welcoming the members to participate in the decision.

    Like I said, Br. Cary, you are fortunate to have had this experience in the church. But I can tell you there are many church leaders who do not operate like this and many general authorities that somehow think seeking input and feedback runs counter to guiding the church through inspiration. I am not sure how they came to this point of view since the scriptures are replete with examples of studying out issues and then bringing them to the Lord. Open discussion and even disagreement has preceded revelation often–like Peter and Paul’s different views on Gentiles. In fact, in our sacred temples, there are examples of leaders being asked to disguise themselves and find out what is going on among the people before they go down officially as leaders and carry out the Lord’s work. It all seems pretty clear to me that this is a valid approach to inspired leadership.

    I am thankful to my leaders who take this humble approach and value the feelings, input and feedback of the members.

    And I pray for the humility myself to accept those leaders who seem to feel that every action they take in their calling had to have been inspired by Heaven. The fact that they have the calling must mean the Heavens are inspiring their every move. This isn’t an approach that is easy for me to understand, but I recognize and accept my duty to sustain my priesthood leaders.

  • Danny S

    To say that the practice of discriminating against “darkies” as Joseph Fielding Smith referred to them was inspired is indeed a huge leap of faith. Truly it is a belief in things unseen (meaning completely ungrounded in any factual basis subject to any sort of critical analysis or study). Because you eventually had a good feeling about it, er spiritual confirmation. Did you also have good feelings when Paul H. Dunn gave his inspiring talks that recounted fabricated experiences?

    According to the LDS essays, somehow the prophets were inspired as to the actual practice but nary a one of them could provide the correct explanation for this practice? Unbelievable. There was a recent study on the effect of facts on beliefs. Turns out facts have little effect. They are just ignored. Your mention of your wife doesn’t give you street creds in my opinion. It sounds too much like “Hey, I’m not racist. Some of my best friends are black.”

  • Danny S, Let me respond to your comments in an orderly manner.

    1-I never once stated that referring to blacks as “darkies” was inspired. I never even mentioned Joseph Fielding Smith in this post. Please don´t put words in my mouth, as it takes away from what little credibility you have. By the way, I would like your reference regarding this statement by Joseph Fielding Smith. I admit I have never heard of it.

    2-“Truly it is a belief in things unseen (meaning completely ungrounded in any factual basis subject to any sort of critical analysis or study). Because you eventually had a good feeling about it, er spiritual confirmation.”

    It appears that you do not have an understanding of how personal revelation works. The first step in seeking revelation is to be come familiar with the facts surrounding the issue. Revelation is very grounded in facts. But then we take a further step of asking God to confirm the truth, or in other words the correct decision, Finally, the spiritual confirmation is much much more than just a good feeling. If you had ever experienced it you would know that.

    3-“Did you also have good feelings when Paul H. Dunn gave his inspiring talks that recounted fabricated experiences?”

    I actually learned about Elder Dunn´s fabrication as a young teenager, after personally meeting some of the people he wrote about. They were interesting stories, unfortunately not revelation. The Church leaders retired him when it came to light. One must remember that as a Seventy he was never sustained as a prophet seer and revelator. One must also remember that good people sometimes make serious mistakes. He wasn´t the first nor the last Seventy to be removed from office for making a serious mistake. So I am not sure what this remark has to do with your other comments, other than being snide.

    4-“According to the LDS essays, somehow the prophets were inspired as to the actual practice but nary a one of them could provide the correct explanation for this practice? Unbelievable.”

    The Lord often gives commandments without explaining why, until much later. He does this to test the faith of His people. Christ himself stated that at His particular time, the gospel and its attendant blessings would not go to anyone other than Jews. He didn´t give an explanation. Did that therefore make him racist?

    Also see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:6.

    5-“There was a recent study on the effect of facts on beliefs. Turns out facts have little effect. They are just ignored.”

    Once again, cite your source. A “study” is only as credible as those performing it. One´s motivation must also be taken into account.

    6-“Your mention of your wife doesn’t give you street creds in my opinion. It sounds too much like “Hey, I’m not racist. Some of my best friends are black.””

    I am not seeking your, or anyone else’s approval with regards to my choice of wife. I am not interested in “street creds”. I know that people who make the kinds of comments like those you made here will always classify those who disagree with them as racist. That is your modus operandi. Your statements in this regard are personally offensive to me. I mentioned my wife and children only because people who read my posts do not know me personally, and therefore may make all kinds of fallacious assumptions regarding my relations with other races based on my statements. I want people who read my comments to know where I am coming from, and to ask the question, “Why does this guy, whose children are of African descent believe the way he does?” Believe it or not, I would not have resided in locations where I am in the absolute racial minority, for the last 18 years of my life, working and living with people of various races and ethnicity, if I were not perfectly comfortable with all races and colors, or if I thought myself to be somehow superior because of my whiteness. In fact, I only think in terms of color and race when I am reminded of my whiteness by ignorant bigots like you.

  • Jonathan Felt

    Danny S: I will side with Cary now that I see your post. Cary M is trying to make a difference which is good and he seems open minded. Your post seems angry and disgruntled which doesn’t help.

    Happy Passover

  • johnny bocchetti

    I’ll make it fairly simple. I resigned from the LDS church in 1994. I indeed lost the fervor associated with the perverted departure from reality, lies, fables and outright fraud. At BYU I witnessed wholesale brainwashing, contempt for any other religion or philosophy that countered Mormon doctrine. I remained silent lo there many years and “it came to pass,” that one pathological liar and major criminal thief came to the nation’s attention with the veneer of fraud so apparent that that the nation was transfixed by a total lack of conscience or regard for anything outside of Mitt’s focus of gaining the position. With thousands of missionaries it has become the “Kingdom of Fraud.” All of the works are plagiarized and nothing written by the founders is anything short of a grand scheme to enslave weaker peoples to outright falsehoods for financial gain BYU is their stellar example of what is produced. Censorship.

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  • Nate

    Here is the answer and problem.

    First people define themselves by their religion I’m sure you have said to be ‘I’m a mormon’ also you showed this by defining people as atheist.

    Second people put their self worth as an association in following said religion. Having great faith.

    Ie a command tor before shared a story where members stated someone was offended and prideful and that is why they left the church i.e. there was something wrong with the person that left and not the church.

    This is a missnomer and it this article shows how fake religion is.

    Religion should be a theory/law (as in physics) independent of any individual and just like a
    theoyr or a law when one finds one time it doesn’t add up we change our thinking.

    Take gravity if I drop something and it doesn’t fall then the law of gravity is not true.

    So when you find faults in thus church and you cherry pick it shows how fake the church is in the first place. Thats why your friends say leave.