A former mormon
To: Member Records Division, LDS Church
50 E North Temple Rm 1372
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-5310
In order to clarify my position for those who wish to know more, I write this letter to explain why I chose to permanently resign from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (heretofore “the LDS church”). Allow me to start with some background: I was born LDS, BIC or Born in the Covenant, as stated on my records. Through out my childhood, I and my family were all active members of the LDS church in the Bay Area of California. I participated in the LDS scouting program. We moved to Ogden Utah in 7th grade, where I graduated from Ogden High School and Weber State College. I was married in the SLC Temple in 1974 and have gone through many LDS temples and many many times. However, thankfully, I did not serve an LDS mission. I have had many Mormon friends and family, and there are many Mormons whom I love and respect. I married an LDS faithful woman, later divorced after 32 years of marriage, due to religious, life style and monetary differences. I have received, understood, and obeyed all of the currently approved doctrines of the LDS church in their many forms, for many years.
Although I am not quite sure what role Mormon culture will play in my future, I am extremely certain about the LDS religious organization and dogma that I am rejecting. And I am sure that this is a battle that I will fight the rest of my life. Related to this decision, I have lived as much of my life as humanly possible “worthy” of spiritual guidance to confirm or deny the divine origins of the LDS church. I have taken the time and made the effort to fast and pray incessantly and repeatedly, in private, at home and in LDS temples, for spiritual guidance during that time.
I have humbled myself, pondered sincerely, and sacrificed more deeply than anyone should have to, out of respect for the Mormon faith. However despite my extensive, persistent attempts to gain any spiritual or material confirmation of the truth of the LDS church, its scripture, and its doctrines, I have received no such confirmation at any time. Lacking a spiritual confirmation, I did make some attempt to find moral and social value in Mormonism, but this eventually failed for me as well, as it would for anyone who is honest enough to expose their doubts amidst the dogmatic climate of the LDS church during the past 20 years. The LDS church actively fosters a culture which makes sure that those who think differently, those who question, are to be rejected, isolated and punished, at both the administrative and personal level. This has caused me and my family great personal pain and conflict. Merely being born in the covenant (BIC) has
never been enough for me. I have had to find the truth on my own, with the help of my loving mother and father.
Fortunately however, I know quite a lot about the LDS church. Like my mother and father, but unlike most other people, I‟ve taken the time to examine Mormonism from a historical perspective, as well as a realistic standpoint and have a good understanding of the LDS church with regards to what its origins are, how it has changed, and perhaps where the church is headed in the future. After careful review, it has become clear to me that Mormonism (its history, culture, and outcome) is quite different from what is claimed. Furthermore, the LDS church (its scripture, doctrine, and authority) is not „true‟ by any meaning of the word, but rather a man-made product which started off in chaos, reached the height of its cohesion around 1960, and now has become morally, socially, and intellectually bankrupt.
For someone who grew up a Mormon, and invested most of his life in the LDS church, these conclusions are hard to accept. However, I find them undeniable for the following reasons:
1. The Book of Mormon is not true. Joseph Smith's methods of “translation” were of extremely dubious nature, and the results have absolutely no ties back to Meso-American archeology. Close examination of the Book of Mormon witnesses shows that they are drawn from a very tight circle of individuals, and that some of them failed to “see” the golden plates with their physical eyes, as Joseph Smith claimed the plates could only be seen with their “spiritual eyes”. In other words, the golden plate sources for the Book of Mormon were not even real. More likely sources for the Book of Mormon include Ethan Smith's “View of the Hebrews”, Josiah Priest's “The Wonders of Nature and Providence”, fictional manuscripts by Solomon Spaulding, the teachings of Joseph Smith‟s personal Hebrew tutor, all mixed in with Joseph Smith's own mystical practices, plus snippets of text from the Bible. Each of these sources pre-date the Book of Mormon, were highly visible and accessible to Joseph Smith early in his life, and share several irrefutable similarities with the Book of Mormon.
2. The Book of Abraham is also not true. The papyrus sources for the Book of Abraham, which were misplaced during Joseph Smith's time, but discovered again in 1967, then translated by modern archeologists, have been found completely unrelated to the Book of Abraham. Instead the papyrus describes Egyptian mythology, funerary rites and “The Book of Breaths”. The dictionaries Joseph Smith produced during the “translation” of the papyrus have been proven completely erroneous. Even by Archeology Professors from BYU. None of the Book of Abraham matches the modern, completely reliable, full translation of the funerary text. Smith's claim, that the Book of Abraham was the result of translating this text, is entirely false.
3. Joseph Smith provided four separate and conflicting accounts of the first vision. The descriptions are mutually exclusive, and in general cannot be believed considering that they are all from a single individual who claims to have received something as profound and unique as a direct visitation from God and Jesus Christ. It was the church's internal knowledge of these kinds of embarrassing inconsistencies in all of Joseph Smith's stories that lead to the Mark Hoffman forgeries and bombings, and the church cover-up surrounding such.
4. The LDS temple ceremonies are not of ancient origin. Instead they originated around 1790 when the Masons first invented them for use in their secret society. Joseph Smith joined that society, became a Master Mason, then violated that secrecy to plagiarize and adapt the ceremonies for use in the LDS temple. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's involvement with the Masons is very well documented. Joseph Smith was clearly observed using the Mason's special call for help while he was murdered at Carthage Jail. However the Masons did not help him, (and are still weary of Mormons today) because of Joseph Smith‟s stealing their secret ceremonies for his own use. Meanwhile, the LDS temple ceremony has changed significantly in only the past 150 years. Granted, this is for the better, (especially the removal of various suicidal oaths and gestures from the endowment ceremony very recently in 1990), but claims that the ceremony is unchanged are clearly false. Additionally, LDS claims that the Masons borrowed their ceremonies from the LDS temple are also false and typical of the growing hypocrisy of the LDS church.
5. Polygamy was not inspired. (“The New and Ever Lasting Covenant with God”) Joseph Smith had at least 35 wives, all married to him through polygamy. One of which was a 13 year old child. At least 11 of these women were already married to other men who were still alive and had not been divorced. Of these 11 women, several bore children to Joseph Smith at least 10 months after he sent their husbands off on missions. Some of these husbands lost their wives to Joseph Smith permanently. Although he later proclaimed a revelation in order to justify his actions, in reality Joseph Smith had been practicing polygamy in secret for over 10 years beforehand (despite it being illegal in Illinois from the start), while publicly denying and condemning such things. History makes it very clear that polygamy was a cause, rather than a result of, early Mormon persecution. Although it resulted in great misery for most involved (especially those males left without any spouse), Brigham Young continued the practice, marrying over 50 wives himself. The practice was encouraged at all levels of the church, encompassed a large portion of the population, and was passed along through other LDS Prophets (well beyond the proclamation suspending it) until early in the 20th century.
Polygamy is a totally reprehensible practice, in any culture. It was never acceptable or professed in the bible even though it was practiced by some of the biblical characters. It was never acceptable or professed by God, in the bible.
6. The LDS “traditional” marriage crusade is grossly hypocritical. During it‟s first 75 years, the LDS church lobbied desperately in favor of personal tolerance, and government recognition of polygamy, a non-traditional marriage arrangement if there ever was one. Because it was a core doctrine of the church, and affected the life of almost every Mormon, the LDS church argued the merits of polygamy, and vehemently claimed (as some polygamous Mormon splinter groups still claim) that laws against polygamy violated their freedom of religion and their pursuit of happiness. Although the church finally settled in and ceased that practice in accordance with the law, polygamy is still accepted on a spiritual level, and cannot be ruled out as a practice in the future, because the LDS church has never actually repudiated its polygamist practices and doctrines of the past. In our modern age however, the LDS church is lobbying again, this time pouring millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours into political campaigns that tighten and restrict government acceptance of marriage to include only “one man, one woman” arrangements. This reversal not only puts the LDS church at the forefront of the persecution of homosexuals (and at risk of losing tax-exempt status), but it does so at the expense of becoming the very worst of hypocrites. All the arguments and sacrifices that Mormons once made to defend their personal marriage choice are quietly buried so the LDS church can attack the marriage choice of others. Additionally, the modern LDS church‟s claim that other people‟s “non-traditional” marriage practices are a threat to the LDS “traditional” marriage practice, are shamelessly hypocritical for the following reasons: I. The LDS church still performs polygamous temple marriages (“sealings”) for the dead, and for widowers and male divorcees who‟ve found a new wife, without asking permission of either wife. Interestingly enough, men can be “sealed” to multiple women, but a woman can be “sealed” to only one man. II. The LDS church will not perform a new temple marriage (“sealing”) for a woman who has been temple married and was later divorced. Such a woman must be “unsealed” first, which is exceedingly rare, actually impossible in most cases. Because Mormons are taught only to marry in the temple, these women are ineligible, and have great difficulty finding a husband (and a father for their children) within the LDS church. Those who would marry such a woman (and frankly, the woman herself) must contend with the fact that she is still spiritually married (“sealed”) to someone else. III. The LDS temple ceremony includes semi-nude (although non-sexual) washing and
anointing ceremonies of brides (and sometimes grooms) on their wedding day, and then later when they return to complete proxy temple work for the dead. IV. An LDS wedding has a bride and groom don truly strange costumes, and then pass secret promises, key words and hand signs during the wedding ceremony, none of which may ever be repeated. LDS weddings are rushed through the temple, typically several every hour, and are often a disappointment because of the impersonal treatment and somewhat bizarre ceremonies involved, which are never mentioned beforehand. V. The LDS temple ceremonies include giving the man and wife each a “new name”. Although the wife must tell the husband her new name during the ceremony, the husband must never tell his wife his new name. This is a secret the husband must keep from his wife throughout the couple‟s lifetime, and perhaps eternity. VI. In the LDS temple ceremonies, a woman is sworn to “hearken”‟ to her husband as much as he hearkens to the Lord. (Previous wording before the 1990 change was to “obey” the husband, as much as he obeys the law of the Lord.). This sows the seeds for marital discord if the husband ever turns away from the church, and it puts the husband and wife on unequal terms, since a husband is not sworn to hearken, obey or otherwise respect his wife (regardless of her position to the Lord). VII. LDS temple married couples are assigned a “garment” (full-body underwear) they must wear at all times. Although they may remove it for bathing, sports, and sexual intercourse, couples are discouraged from spending significant time together naked for such simple things as holding each other, literally sleeping beside each other, or just relaxing together in the privacy of their own bedroom. VIII. The LDS church discounts the marriage and family ties of all other religions, by claiming that only a family sealed in an LDS temple marriage will be recognized by God in the after-life. IX. LDS doctrine teaches that LDS members who marry non-members (or whose member spouse becomes “unworthy”), will spend eternity alone, or as an Angel in the service of others, or be “given” to someone else (as a polygamous mate to a more “worthy” spouse) in the hereafter. X. LDS temple rules forbid non-LDS parents from seeing their own children‟s temple wedding. This leaves many parents literally standing outside the temple, devastated at being denied this moment in their child‟s life. Matters are made worse by the fact that the temple wedding ceremony is so secret that it must not be discussed even with the parents afterward. XI. The LDS church strongly discourages any emulation of a traditional ceremony (such
as a public exchange of rings or vows) for couples pursuing an LDS temple wedding. XII. In some cases, the LDS church punishes those who “only” receive a traditional wedding (so their parents can actually see them get married, for example), by disallowing them from using the chapel for their reception, as well as restricting them from attending the temple for 6 months to a year. XIII. In other cases, the LDS church will not even perform traditional weddings in the chapel (a non-exclusive meeting site), so part-LDS couples, or “unworthy” couples must postpone their marriage (until both are “worthy” to be married in the temple), or pursue a secular wedding instead (with the consequences mentioned above). XIV. In a few cases, the LDS church will call in a man and his wife for “disciplinary action” (a church court) because of something they did together before they were married, or because of “un-natural” or “degrading” sexual practices that the couple conducts in the privacy of their own bedroom. Items such as these are typically uncovered based on inappropriate questioning of the couple (each interviewed separately) during their regularly scheduled “worthiness” interviews. XV. The LDS church teaches couples that in order to become and remain “worthy” of their temple marriage, they must pay Tithing (10% of all pre-tax income), even before meeting basic necessities for their family. This kind of “marriage tax” is much higher than anything the federal government has imposed. In reality, the LDS church is not as worried about the legalization of homosexual marriage as it is with the legalization of polygamy. This is because although it is currently illegal, and not directly practiced among living members of the LDS church, polygamy is still a core spiritual doctrine of Mormonism. The illegal status of polygamy (the current “one man, one woman” restriction) is convenient for the LDS church, because obedience to the law saves them the hassle and embarrassment of publicly acknowledging or repudiating this core doctrine. In effect, the LDS church persecutes homosexuals in order to appear more mainstream with regards to marriage, and to hide from their polygamous past. At this time, I admonish the LDS church leadership to clearly, completely and irrevocably repudiate all polygamous practices and doctrines within the LDS church.
7. The LDS church has no true doctrine, or history. Doctrines of “Blood Atonement”. Doctrines using the “Mark of Cain” as an excuse to deny blacks the priesthood and temple marriage, and to condemn mixed-race marriage. Doctrines that “Adam is our Father and our God”. Doctrines regarding the “Condescension of God”. Doctrines of the Native Americans being of Lamanite descent, and that their skin would lighten once they accept the gospel. Numerous doctrines regarding polygamy. Doctrines of men living on the moon and sun. Doctrines regarding birth control. Doctrines of “The Whore of Babylon”. Doctrines and personal oaths involved in the temple ceremony. Doctrines that Joseph Smith would sit in judgment upon us. All of these things and many more, were fundamental to the beliefs and sacrifices of the saints in the past. Now they are cast off as irrelevant, or in some cases, as damnable heresy. What is worse however is, in an attempt to cover up the past, the LDS church re-writes its doctrines and its history to make things more palatable for readers today. Instead of reading how Joseph went to his death firing 3 shots from a pistol (wounding and perhaps killing with each shot) we read how he went as a lamb to the slaughter. In the modern lesson manuals for church, Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders are terribly misquoted, and the reader is discouraged from cross-referencing other, more historic church approved sources. It‟s hard to believe how the doctrines and history have changed in just the past 30 years.
8. The LDS church is an abusive organization. At the beginning, violent groups such as the Danites, and the Avenging Angels, with their press burnings, intimidation and assaults on church members, and fighting feuds with local villagers, actually benefited and were even condoned by LDS church leadership. Local leaders were permitted to push, trick, and even castrate men into surrendering their wife or girlfriend to polygamy. Some leaders enforced “blood atonement” for sexual sins. Of course the LDS church also created the Mormon Militia, which in conjunction with local LDS leadership, conducted the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In this heinous crime, which Brigham Young apparently did not condone, but also did very little to prevent (and made no effort to bring to justice), over 150 unarmed Non-Mormon men, women, children, even babies, were promised safety and protection, then led away and murdered in cold blood by obedient priesthood holders. More recently, the LDS church shuns violence in favor of mind-control. The ultimate expression of this is the LDS mission program. Virtually all young men in the LDS church are pressured to join this program, from age 19 to 21. The first month or two are spent in the Missionary Training Center (the “MTC”), where missionaries are assigned a “companion”, and surrender all personal rights and privacy, depend completely on the organization for all needs, then follow a strictly regimented schedule, and a written list of rules. The MTC is surrounded by security fences, and patrolled by security guards in van and on foot. All entrances and departures are carefully screened. The missionaries are immediately isolated from their family members and friends, and will remain so (including time in the field) for the next 2 years. During that time, individuality is stripped as everyone must sport a similar hairstyle, may not have a beard, mustache, earring, or tattoo, and must don the missionary uniform; LDS temple garments underneath, covered by their dark suit & shoes, white shirt and conservative tie, and their nametag. Missionaries are not called by their first name (or even their
temple “new name”), but rather “Elder” (or “Sister”) and their last name. Repetition is a common tool, as missionaries in the MTC study language and doctrine around 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Guilt is another tool, as missionaries are encouraged to confess personal problems to their Branch President (who sometimes request explicit graphic detail, as I found out) that might “distract” them from the work. Information and entertainment are off-limits, as missionaries are banned from reading the newspaper, magazines, or any books that are not specifically approved by the church. Listening to the radio or watching movies or TV are also against the rules, as are listening to music or singing non-LDS songs, using the phone, fax, e-mail, or the Internet, or writing home more than once a week. All of this continues as missionaries reach their target destination, where some serve under overtly abusive, reckless and neglectful Mission Presidents. Their rights are routinely violated as they surrender their passport, their financial documents, and their mail to the mission office. They‟re issued fanatical new rules beyond even their MTC training.
Still, for most missionaries out in the field there is no recourse in such a situation. When something happens where a missionary must appeal to a higher authority, communiqués to the Area Presidency, Apostles, or First Presidency are just kicked back to the Mission President unanswered (even unopened), a clear message that there are some positions that answer to no one. Most missionaries lose contact with their friends back home, including girlfriends or fiancées, who may have been their main reason for even going on the mission. Visits from family or friends are not permitted, except during the return trip home. Many missionaries return in poor health and with severe depression or other mental disorders because of their mistaken trust in mission leadership. However Mission Presidents are rewarded, even promoted, based almost exclusively on their baptism and finance numbers rather than the well-being of the missionaries under them. Authoritarianism is also a problem for common members, through what can be a voyeuristic interview process, bad council, or just poor personal skills on the part of the leader, with no path for remedy. Many who confide in their leaders to resolve abusive situations find the tables turned against them, due to the sexism, nepotism and favoritism which is rampant in the church. Wards are determined by strict geographic bounds, so members that have a conflict in their local ward aren‟t allowed to attend somewhere else. At Brigham Young University, the authoritarian purge of intellectuals has become so widespread that the school faces censure and repeated criticism for its loss of academic freedom. To a large extent, the victims of local authoritarian abuse are women, who lacking the priesthood (just like blacks 25 years ago), have absolutely no authority, no voice, and no respect within the church. In my case this has only made me stronger. But for many others however, it has done unspeakable harm. In Utah, a state where around 70% of the population is LDS, the
suicide rate for youth (especially in “Mormon suburbs” as some call them) is unbelievably high, approximately twice the national average. Meanwhile women there are taking approximately 65% more anti-depressant medication per capita, compared to other American women. How sad that just as in the past, the church still refuses to acknowledge or correct the role it is playing in any of this.
9. The LDS church has no real authority. The Book of Commandments, Joseph Smith‟s first attempt at the Doctrine and Covenants, is clearly missing any reference to the restoration of the priesthood, which supposedly overlapped the many other “revelations” that this book contains. As its contents were brought forward into the Doctrine and Covenants, it becomes quite obvious that many of its “revelations” were modified after the fact to make it appear as though they originally included heavenly visits restoring holy spiritual keys. Even direct quotes from God in the Book of Commandments are blatantly altered in the Doctrine and Covenants to add a history of priesthood restoration and authority, where none had originally existed.
10. The LDS Church has re-defined Christian terms with the intent to appear to be “Christian”. This has caused confusion among the Christian community. Terms such as:
God: Mormon: An exulted man. A man who lived on a planet near a sun named Kolab, whom was exulted to godhood due to his goodness and works. “As he is we can become, as we are he once was”.
God: Biblical: the beginning and the end, the “Alpha and the Omega”. An entirely separate nature. Man cannot become God.
Jesus: Mormon: The spirit brother of Satin, our spirit brother, the physical son of God and Mary.
Jesus: Biblical: God in the flesh, whom came to earth, for the sin of man.
Holy Ghost: Mormon: is a separated God from the Father and the Son, different from the Holly Spirit. The Holly Ghost is and actual person, Holly Spirit is influence from the Father and not a person.
Holy Ghost: Biblical: Same Greek work used for Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit (I Cor.3:16 and 6:19)
Satin: Mormon: the spirit brother of Jesus, our spirit brother.
Satin: Biblical: Fallen Angle, created by God, knows God personally, the spiritual force against God.
Angles: Mormon: Unborn or deceased man (human).
Angles: Biblical: beings created by God to work for God specifically in relations to mankind.
Per-existence: Mormon: mankind existed prior to birth in the spirit world, and as “intelligences” prior to the spirit world.
Pre-existence: Biblical: Only God “pre-existed”. Not mankind. Mankind did not have a pre-existence prior to the earth. (I Cor.15:46)
Heaven: Mormon: Divided into three kingdoms, Celestial, Terestial and Telestial.
Heaven: Biblical: only mentioned twice in the bible, everlasting life or everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25: 31-46)
Hell: Mormon: an eternal institution in which inmates come and go as in jail. Stay until they pay their debt to God. No eternity.
Hell: Biblical: The eternal lack of the presence of God. No mention of people getting out of hell, in the bible. (Rev. 21:8; Matt. 13:24-43 and 47-50; Luke 16:26)
11. The LDS church has a “Superior” attitude. The attitude of superiority originates from the thought that “We/you have the only true doctrine or the only true church”. The Mormon people are a very proud people.
12. Joseph Smith is a false Prophet. Mr. Smith has made many false prophesy. He as prophet of the LDS church, prophesied that there the moon is inhabited by 6 foot tall beings that dress like Quakers. He prophesied the, “not many days shall pass before the Son of God is seen by all”. That was 150 years ago. Many days, have gone by. Mr. Smith prophesied that polygamy is the only way to return to God.
13. Joseph Smith‟s involvement in witch craft, black magic and money digging. When Mr. Smith was killed in prison, he was found with a Jupiter Tailsman coin in his pocket. These coins (Jupiter Tailsman coins) are considered to have black magical powers.
In the modern LDS church, authority is the product of local culture, or local leadership's understanding of vague and conflicting advice from Salt Lake. Of course when things don‟t work out, no one holds higher leadership responsible, since the only written evidence, the Church Handbook of Instructions, isn‟t even available to the common member. When direct instruction turns out to be wrong, it‟s discarded as a misinterpretation by the members, or human error on the part of local leaders. Concepts such as “Milk before meat” and “Lying for the Lord” offer an excuse for LDS leadership to tell members whatever is convenient, regardless of the truth. The story changes so often, there are really no doctrines in the church that are “unchanging and absolute”.
Only obedience to the living Prophet remains a constant. When Mormons don‟t agree with what the Prophet is saying, they‟re told to pray about what he says. If this doesn‟t resolve their doubts, they‟re told to pray again. However when the Prophet turns out to be wrong, suddenly he was speaking “as a man” instead of “as a prophet”. When a member of the church quotes a past Prophet to stand for their beliefs, they‟re reminded “heed living Prophets over dead ones”. But what this really means is that the words of the current Prophet, since he will be dead someday, are temporary. This directly conflicts with the concept that God is absolute and unchanging, and undermines the claim that the LDS Prophet is “God‟s mouthpiece here on Earth”. In the end, the LDS church is about obedience to the rule, rather than doing what is right. Such primitive morality has led to such bizarre outcomes like proxy temple ceremonies for holocaust Jews and for Adolph Hitler, and later, their cover-up. More typically though, such thoughtlessness is the cause of the earlier mentioned abuses within the church, and its organized persecution of fringe groups (such as feminists, intellectuals and homosexuals). Sometimes I wonder if “Free Agency”, perhaps the most precious doctrine of the LDS church, has any chance under the current leadership. Clearly, subverting the most powerful idea of Mormonism creates a false sense of order, power and authority for those who run the organization. Despite all of this, I‟ve tested the promises of the LDS church. I gave Mormonism more than a fair try, around 30 years of my life, and I never got what was promised. The times that I most expected blessings provided the most conclusive evidence for me that the LDS church just isn‟t true. Everything good about Mormonism, I learned before I was 8 years old. I should have quit while I was ahead, but better late than never. During my life as an adult, I've had a chance to try something different, and found more "blessings" outside the church than I'd ever have imagined. I found myself while I was literally fleeing everything I knew to get away from Mormonism, which had taken so much away from me. I enjoy my career, which provides well beyond my needs, and is allowing me to help literally change the world.
I value my time, because I know it's limited. I cherish every day with my children and grandchildren, because I'm not counting on some fairy tale to make them my children again later. I know my new friends more deeply than most that I knew from church. What I seek now are the true rewards of life, experienced with my friends and my family. The contrived lifestyle of Mormonism cannot even compare to the satisfaction and joy I find out in the real world with those who I love and those who love me. Some would say "wickedness never was happiness..." and to them, I would say this is the most certain proof that my leaving the church (many years ago really) was the right choice.
For me, leaving was difficult at first, but I'm much happier now than I ever could be while I was a member of the LDS church. Now it's time to take the next step, have my choice officially recognized, and lead my friends and family to a happier, more fulfilling life.