Thursday, January 21, 2016

In The Life of a Typical Exmormon

(Hello, I am a guest writer on this blog.)

There is a woman named Hope who left the Mormon church some years ago.  Hope had three young children and a believing husband, who learning of her faithlessness, lost his love for her.  They divorced and the children lived in Utah, as Mormons, even though Hope and her ex raised them in equal time.  Hope's father learned of her apostasy and expressed disappointment often to her.  Her brother and sister, also strong in the Mormon church tried to be tolerant, but they also told her she was making bad choices and they worried for her eternal soul.  At family gatherings, the parents and siblings, with all their children and Hope's own kids, discussed Mormon events, doctrines, teachings, the lives of Mormon apostles and callings they had at church.  Her father gave little testimonies to her children. She even over heard him quietly tell them to be strong, and to not follow their mother's "bad" example.  

Hope felt saddened by how her family had judged her without actually trying to understand her reasons for leaving the family faith.  She had tried to raise the questions that eventually ended her faith.  She had explained her doubts to siblings.  She had told her father that she wanted to leave religion aside and have a relationship without it coming between them.  Every time she visited her parents, her siblings, the topics of church dominated the discussions and the events.  Hope's family entwined themselves so fully in either business or career and church life, they talked about little else.   In order to explain to her father, to her brother or her sister, Hope tried raising the questions, the issues and the historical problems of many gaps in Mormonism.  They took offense.  

Hope's children, however, did listen.  They began to doubt.  Hope's ex husband watched as their children developed their own views.  Hope's father worried and his testimony to the children increased.  She was called an "anti-christ" and told her lifestyle was inappropriate.  Her siblings petitioned Hope to stop discussing her anti-Mormon views with her own children.  One of her nieces went online to chastise Hope's involvement in the ex-Mormon community, calling her a liar.  Her niece's parent applauded this and the brother in law joined online to also personally berate Hope.  This same brother in-law went as far as having many conversations with  Hope's ex husband about Hope's post-Mormon "lifestyle" and her "anti-mormon" views, and worse expressing a desire that God would stop Hope from hurting her own children.  Hope learned that the ex used some of the information exchanged to fight in court to limit Hope's involvement with her children.

So centric stood the Mormon church in the lives of everyone around her that Hope felt more determined to explain how she felt to family. If only they would listen and understand why she left, to at least have empathy with her position.  Yet, any "negativity" she raised only  increased the hostility and the urges from her father and siblings to stop "deceiving" her own children about facts she had learned concerning church history, doctrine and even shady financial dealings.  Meanwhile the family circled around their belief and unintentionally pushed Hope aside.

Hope felt isolated.  At family gatherings, she felt like a ternary member, below even the in-laws and her own ex-spouse. They were all faithful. Hope was not.  Her family treated her with some respect and over time, they grew to tolerate each other.  Hope heard that some of her adult-aged cousins had increasing doubts about the church, and in order to feel a kinship on this account with some family, she reached out to them.  Given they were adults who were studying, she didn't think it would be wrong to discuss it with them.  Uncles and aunts, brother and sister quickly contacted Hope and told her to lay off  these adult family members, and to respect the wishes of the family not to be bothered with "anti-Mormonism".  Hope mentioned to some that they had involved themselves quite deeply in how she raised her own young children, how they bore testimony and made digs about her "choices" to her own children, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, Hope struggled as a single parent emotionally, financially, and had some health problems.  Her family dismissed or ignored these because either their careers had continual urgent needs or their church callings kept them far too busy.  When the family counseled about issues concerning the ailing health of her parents or the long-time family estate, Hope was barely considered in the early discussions.  Her father grew old and they called on her and everyone to share equally in supporting him. Hope wanted to participate, but soon realized that the mess created was in part because she had been excluded for so many years, partly like a step-child who is never really part of the inner circle.  Whenever she made a irritable comment or a less than tactful statement, her family used them as justification for why she was wrong and invalidated her feelings or concerns.  Her imperfections proved their correctness.

She remembered when she had been near death in health problems, when she had lost her job, when she struggled with her ex's attempts at removing her parental rights, that most of the family barely acknowledged her struggles.  Now they wanted her equal involvement when it came to financial contribution.  Her sister, however told her that her views caused her father to sicken.  That she would have blame if he died. 

Hope made plenty of mistakes in her interactions.  Sometimes she was overly zealous in her ex-Mormon views. Sometimes she did not consider how the family view her.  Sometimes she said things that hurt.  Families do that.  But then Hope realized something.  

While her own close associates and family may not have viewed her at the level they treated their faithful members of the family--that she wasn't as moral; she lived inappropriately; that as a parent she corrupted her own children; as a sibling her views were suspect; as an offspring she was wayward and disappointing; as an ex-spouse she was no longer an equal parent but merely an afterthought--Hope felt saddened that her position was subordinate and always would be; that her struggles were foreign to those supposed to be closest to her; that the geographical, spiritual and emotional distance was a deep chasm she couldn't cross alone and that the others blamed her for digging.

Perhaps they had a point.  Maybe she had dug the pit out of being raised with lesson after lesson infusing her with guilt for almost anything she did in life that was not canonized and correlated in priesthood executive committees. Sometimes Hope imagined eyes peering at her for every little mistake she made.  Sometimes she ran away from those eyes into dark corners with drink and profane talk.  Sometimes she felt the former chains so tightly wound on her, the chapel she'd escaped became like a morgue.  Sometimes she lashed out at the indiscernible anger of losing her youth to lies and institutionalized greed disguised as religion.  Sometimes she rubbed others the wrong way when she painfully dealt with the latent shame, the bitterness and the dread that the Mormon church had placed in her.  Sometimes she screamed at learning how the so-called church had calculatingly abused her with psychological manipulations such as confirmation bias, ego-identity bias, outgroup homogeneity bias, estrangement or ostracization for leaving, and the double bind or inner tension from the dual conflict of being both special and sinful.

Especially the double bind—the special latter-day saint and most sinful generation pinnacle—created instability that the organization controlled.  This imbalance becomes their grip on members.  Many truly believing Mormons teeter between these two extremes—the special saved-latter-day feelings and the intense guilt of modern life—on edge of excitable anxieties and inadequate depression.  The church plied this pressure with purpose on members.

Hope tried to accept this, and tried to accept the rest of humanity as a whole--all races, all genders, all orientations, all facts, and even all creeds--as having something valid--that life has many valid but diverse paths and choices which contradict the straight and narrow-minded way. The so-called love of Christ and charity was elusive to her as Mormon, and more easily grasped as an ex-member, realizing differences between people have foundation in complex levels of real life needing empathy from others. When loved ones exclude, ignore and set aside her life as "inauthentic" compared to the black and whiteness of Wasatch living, she learned to embrace the larger mass of a new family she had found in a broader community discovered when she grew more and more to leave the old petty judgment behind. 

Those she met in the bigger community opened her views even more.  She marveled at the vast diversity of studies,  perspectives and opinions, the openness of those thoughtful people she met along the way compared with the naive stilted culture she'd escaped.  She began feeling like she had found a new family, and she knew her birth family couldn't comprehend what had happened because they were still trapped victims of the cult.  And yet overcoming her early programming and late-bloomed anger haunted.

The Mormons like to be considered family centric, 
but they seem more interested in family history and 
unity centered around their distinct dogma.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Post Mormon Family Therapy

(This is not about me. It is a modified excerpt from Second Anointing a novel about Porter Wight.)

I’d studied books on religion, and slowly began doubting Mormonism years ago. The control exerted over me for decades pushed me into counseling—therapy tracking dozens of sessions, going through my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, focusing mostly on the guilt felt over the years.  The candy I’d shoplifted, taking extra ice-cream from the freezer, the little lies I told, sneaking into the theater, watching movies I shouldn’t, the confessions with my dad the bishop.  We worked up to  guilt over teen fantasies, desires to masturbate, the guilt about sex and saving myself for marriage. We spent sessions on guilt about not working hard enough in the mission, missing tithing payments, skipping church, delaying having kids or not having more kids, as the church taught we should.  Adulthood guilt about looking down on gays, on non-Mormons, on people with body piercings, tattoos, who drank or smoked or cursed.  The list piled high.
Then one session, the therapist asked, “Have you ever heard of religious scrupulosity?”  I shook my head. 
“It’s a fairly new disorder characterized by pathological guilt on moral and religious issues. It can result in dysfunction, OCD, extreme anxieties and more.  The LDS Church compounds this with another element: ego-elevation.”
“It's a double bind put on members--you're special, but you're sinful. On the one hand, as a life-long believing Mormon, you’re told from your earliest years that you are the most special spirit saved for the latter days. That you’re part of a strange, peculiar and wonderfully distinct group of people. That your world view is the only true one and that it will save the world in the end.  You receive special patriarchal blessings telling you how wonderful you are, and how uniquely blessed your life will be.  That Mormons have a special position in the world, to go out and find everyone else special.  Mormons feel empowered, even narcissistic at times, by these kind of repeated extoling.”
The therapist said truth, more or less. I felt regret over my former beliefs.
“On the other hand, you are given guilt over the smallest things. Alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea.  No nudity, no masturbation, no petting or unmarried sex.  Avoid tattoos, body piercing, dancing too close. Don’t question your leaders. Don’t talk about sex, even within your marriage. Shun doubters, shun gays, keep secrets.”
It eerily reminded me of what I had heard all my life.
“The double bindthe saint and sinner pinnaclecreates instability that the organization controls.  Your imbalance becomes their grip on you.  Many truly believing Mormons teeter between these two extremes—the special feelings and the intense guilt—on edge of anxieties and depression.  Their scrupulosity creates dysfunction, but their superiority allows them to avoid complete breakdown.”
Anxieties hovered in my life. I never could do enough.  The church had mapped my life: baptism, priesthood, mission, marriage, kids and college, career and more kids, couple mission and retirement. They never felt like my choices.  I’d traded away my life for seeing God.
“What intrigues me,” the therapist continued, is that something happened to you.  Something pushed you off the tip away from shame, down the side of narcissism, toward a mild psychopathy.”
“How do you mean?” I asked.
“Something released you from your guilt and imbalanced this unstable pinnacle Mormonism placed you on.”
I knew what had done it.  The Second Anointing I’d received at the hands of an apostle.
“Do you know the DMSV criteria for psychopathy?” the therapist asked.  We sat together, the man with his graying hair and crossed legs on a padded folding chair.  I sat on another padded chair behind the table, my hands cuffed loosely to the underside hook.
“Not really.”  I said.
“The criteria include glibness, grandiose sense of worth, lying, manipulation, lack of remorse, lack of empathy, no demonstrable emotions, failure to accept responsibility.”
I shrugged.
“Were you taught as a young Mormon boy that you were special?”
“Yeah, of course.  My parents loved me. At church, they told us we were the chosen generation. We would rise to preach salvation to all the world and make ready for Christ’s return.”
The therapist nodded.  He asked about the Mormon teaching that one can become a god in the afterlife.  I told him it was no secret. I didn’t tell him that I’d received the Second Anointing which granted godhood. 
“How did your parents and church make you special? Did it justify lying or breaking the law?” The question sounded loaded to me.  His plea required me to admit wrong.  Justified or not, I couldn’t tell the therapist how the church put me up on a pedestal, and then put my family in the jury box. 
I said, “As a missionary, we were told not to talk about certain subjects to non-members. We were supposed to avoid polygamy, doctrines about becoming gods, the temple oaths and penalties.  If someone asked, we were told to pretend ignorance or to testify of something else.”
“So they encouraged you to avoid and lie?”
“It’s complicated.”
The therapist nodded. He asked me about how justifying lies squared up with being saved.  I told him apostles--lawyers--bishops-- muddy it up, and it gets complicated.  I thought about how many lawyers worked at the top of LDS Church leadership.  The Apostles surely lied for their own purposes.  I’d had seen prophets wink at congregations over misleading the press on church history and events.
“All your life the church taught that non-Mormons would go to hell, right?”
“No.  There’s no hell for non-members.”
The therapist nodded. “Ah, yes, I remember. The non-believers go to a lower heaven, not hell.”
Only the most faithful believers who deny God and his spirit end up in outer darkness. I wouldn’t explain; the man wouldn’t understand.  The therapist went on the usual bent about mom and dad. Did they neglect me? No. Did my dad spend a lot of time at work, at the bar, at church?  My dad had served as bishop and then stake president for almost twenty years. I didn’t see my father that much.  I reassured the therapist that my mother had cared for me.
“Your mother and your church.  The church is so important to you.  It molded your early views; it harnessed your time and activity after school; it taught you right from wrong and gave you a sense of great worth. It taught you that you were a god in embryo and that it had the path to greatness.”
All true. “Yes.”
“And the church constantly reminded you about obedience to it.  You were special, but only if you obeyed.”  I didn’t respond.  “Why then, would you attack your church?”
I sighed. “It’s complicated.”
“We have time.”
There was no way to explain it.  A Mormon therapist would reject it.  A non-Mormon couldn’t comprehend.

Inner contemplation reveals the manipulation of other systems and persons.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gay Couples are the Paris Terrorists of LDS Corporation

Unless you live in a cave, you will know the news upheaval that 129 (current count) deaths in France has caused in international circles.  I want to say up front, I am saddened by the deaths caused by religious extremists who took their myths to such lengths that they would kill.  I also want to say up front that I am saddened by the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children who go hungry every year, of those Africans who died by civil war, of a hundred thousand middle easterners dead as collateral damage in wars (east or west), of the death of tens of thousands of victims of drunk driving, of domestic abuse and death, of violent gun incidental death whether by accident or intentional, and of those deceased by incompetence due to error in our worldwide health system.  Whew! That’s a lot of sadness. Thank goodness I have a little wine at hand.  I wish I had time to link all of my writing to events and news articles, but alas, the wine runneth short.

I want to also talk about the connection of the Paris Terrorist strikes to the Utah Same Sex strikes.  I'm sure some will say that I equate gays to terrorists.  No.  The contrary.  The LDS corporation does this.  

  Readers of my mormondisclosures blog (even though I personally have not commented until now) could not be oblivious to the facts that the LDS corporation released an official policy that stated (under a few revisions now) that children born outside of the Mormon church, to gay parents, cannot be blessed, baptized or have any other ordinance performed on their behalf due to the fact that they have gay parents.  Exclusive to this are children already born or baptized under the covenant.  The LDS corporation affirmed under protection of its tax-exempt shield that it hates gay parents.  

The most obvious, silly transparency fact here is, while the LDS corporation claims that gay infidelity due to relationships between same-sex partners outside of marriage is immoral (and no law about their marriage will change this immorality), the opposite sex couples who choose not to marry and yet have children (or adopt children) are not held to the same standard as gay partnerships regarding the membership of their offspring.

What I mean is, if a man-woman couple living together were to parent a child, and even if they were atheists, and even if one or both of them were pedophiles, and even if one or both of them were Satanist, the LDS corporation would still send missionaries over, and bestow priesthood leader blessings upon their children, hoping they join the Mormon company as entries in the Intellectual Reserve, Inc listed persons on the rosters of the COJCOLDS corporate membership.  But if both parents are gay, married or not—even if not atheists, pedophiles, Satanist—just gay, well forgettaboutit.

I'm not saying that gays are equivalent to terrorists.  The LDS church policy states that gays are so abhorrent that they and their children cannot migrate into the LDS nation because they are too destructive to the principles of that people.  This is absurd, but expected.

The old school guard holding onto the church corporate reins in SLC can’t get past their squeamish feelings about gays.  Decades ago they got past pedophiles in the church—they keep this quiet though.  A few years ago, they might have even gotten past the idea that the majority of Mormons leaving their ranks become atheist.  But to accept anal-sex-driven gay parents as equal.  Ew!!  That really grosses them out, and they will have to put a stop to it even if it means forbidding the kids of those hedonists from joining and paying tithing.

That might seem really immature and prejudicial of the LDS corporate board to enact such rules.  Boards, committees and whole groups of top-company men in the LDS empire approved this seemingly prejudicial policy.  It might seem they're all just old, bigoted white men who joined together to ban something they find disgusting.

Actually, the calculated SLC leadership did this for a more basic reason.  All the ex-mormon and liberal press haranguing serves their purpose. 

It affects the bottom, financial line.  Control of their current demographic required that they rally the troops against an almost non-existent bogey man.  I get it.  Profit rules the prophets.  Apathetic members don't pay up like enraged Morgbots.

Now, you might see this as possible, but unlikely.  Yet, in the same vein as the current (relatively) small tragedy in Paris, with completely outweighed response show—with so many deaths in so many other countries not due to terrorism and soluble by far less than the trillion dollars spent on terrorism over the last decade—the powers that be love a bogey man to rally the citizens.  The governments need a reason to call citizens to rally behind the powers, to give up their rights of privacy and to feel safe under the blanket of current (and enduring) leadership just before elections.   

Politicians are debating about calls to stop immigration of family members from Middle East states where terrorism originates. It's too risky, say some politicians, to allow them into our country.  Which is like LDS leaders saying children of gay parents cannot migrate into membership of their church because gays are just too immoral--even beyond unmarried heterosexual and open-marriage couples.

However, the LDS corporation never expects more than a single child of gay parents to actually be upset over not joining their racist, prejudiced and outdated organization. What they need, however, are almost non-existent bogey men—or gay men, to rally the unsuspecting members of their multi-level-marketing empire.  This multi-level-saving corporation--where if you succeed, in your white-n-delightsome enterprise toward exaltation in the race of Abrahamic tradition (with adaptation of other races not-gay into its family) then you exalt Elohim above you to the next level.  And with your spirit children, you will eventually exalt to the level Elohim and Jesus achieved due to your generation’s diligence to the MLM rules of celestial exaltation product selling that—currently--80,000 free salespersons (missionaries) extol upon the ignorant masses who know not Mormon Jesus of Ancient America and his temple ordinances of saving grace.

The world needs a bogey man to keep us aligned with the powers-that-be—never mind the starving millions in Africa/India/South America.  Never mind the civil wars of racial demographics uninteresting to white, straight, religious United America.  Never mind the numbers of deaths related to incidental gun ownership, or to drunk and texting drivers. Never mind the numbers of deaths related to poisons of our environment or toxins of our pharmaceuticals.  The almost 3000 dead at 9/11 and the 129 (current) dead in Paris are far more imperative, because the media, the religion and the government says so. 

Oh, and gay couples are bad people (they say).

In 2013, there were over 40,000 suicides in the U.S.  Many surveys indicate that LGBT persons are at least 2 times more likely to attempt and complete suicide than straight persons.  Some estimates indicate that in the U.S. there are over 1,500 LGBT suicides each year.  

I understand that the terrorist attacks in Paris are a problem.  I feel for the victims and their families.  I also feel for the victims of suicide and oppression without reason happening in my own nation, at the behest of religious (seemingly charitable) persons.

The News and the Cult may be a maze, but stand back and it is a clear picture.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The LDS Church Needs Your Inventions

(part of this blog is from a Halloween blog in 2012)

The LDS corporation wants your inventions.  They want to coopt your creativity and make it their own.  They want you to know that God gave you the idea, so it's really theirs anyway.

Recently, in October 2015, LSD Apostle M. Russell Ballard gave a BYU devotional to young single adults (transcript here).  It's interesting timing to me, because, I had a "Ballard" who claims to have a science background hit up my blog yesterday claiming science is quite undependable.  I don't know if he's related to the apostle Ballard...

Many have laughed at "Elder" Ballard's lipstick comments (at around 32 minutes, where he tells women if they want to get a man, to stop dressing like men and wear lipstick now and then).

However, he says something more interesting at 14:30 into the whole talk:

"Where do you think the computer came from? Why did somebody invent the computer?
"I'll tell you why.  Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needed it. 
"Why did we need it? Because family history was moving and the church was growing and the temples were expanding and we needed more capacity to do family history. 
" don't have to be a member of the church to have spiritual insight and promptings [for] the creation of that tool, the computer."

Oh! The arrogance!  Yes, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the others were more inspired for temple work than the inept prophets and their own employees.

Then he talks about how Satan uses the computer for evil pornography.  Now anyone knows that the internet and computers are vastly more usable in business, in communications, in data/mathematical analysis of scientific pursuits and far more “earthly pursuits” than used for LDS salesmanship.  And yes, it's FAR more used for pornography than family history.  So their god in his infinite wisdom inspired non-Mormons to produce a tool for the church, that reportedly by them, Satan uses far better against the “saints” than can be used for good.

Is their god this incompetent?  Or is it free will that non-Mormons do far more good than their inspired prophets and leaders?  Either way, thank the other gods for the internet of everything else.  They hate the internet (and use pornography to scare members away from it) because there are so many sites with factual information about Mormonism, its invention (lauded by Ballard) will be its own undoing.

Now, I wonder... When I was a good Mormon boy, I had zero patents.  Then I left the church and I have many patents and more pending.  Does that mean I was more inspired as an exmo than I was as a Mormon?  I've been more artistic, more prolific and published too, as an exmo.

Go figure.  All I needed to receive the holy ghost's promptings was to leave the Mormon church.

Science does not benefit the Mormon corporation/church.  It contradicts its claims.  It predicts better than their prophets. 

 Then at 42 minutes into his talk, Ballard makes the audacious claim that:  
"Listen to the prophets, listen to the apostles.  We won't lead you astray. We cannot lead you astray."
Think about that.  Despite the inventiveness of non-members, Ballard reassures that they are prophets who won't lead people astray.   Does their record match up to his claim?

As I wrote in 2012 [new writing in brackets]:

When Einstein published his complete theory of general relativity in 1916, he proposed three tests of general relativity, one of which was the deflection of light by the sun. Science could already predict the timing of eclipses, and knew that one would occur in a few years where the darkened sun would allow them to test Einstein's prediction that the sun deflected light. In 1919, an expedition set out to observe the deflection of light by the sun during an eclipse, in to the west African island of Principe. The expedition leader was British astronomer Arthur Eddington who acquired photograph negatives showing the deflection of light of stars that were near the sun. 

The resulting observation precisely matched Einstein’s predictions.  That is, Einstein had made a precise prophecy about the future down to meters of precision and within seconds of accurate timing.  This is the kind of accuracy in prophetic ability one never sees in religion.

Religion, speaking for God, seems to have enjoyed a monopoly of claimant powers; that is did, until science and technology caught up with and now surpasses its predictive and miracle claiming abilities. Science has gone a long way to eradicating famine, if not turning one loaf into thousands in terms of farmland efficiency. Medical science finds cures for plagues, mends the lame and gives sight to the blind, with numerical healings that far far exceed the onesy-twosy healing claims of ancient priesthood holders. Claims, I repeat, because in modern times, faith healing has never been truly verified, while modern science healing is verified daily in tens of thousands of hospitals and clinics. These days, the prophets seem silent and science vociferous in predicting all kinds of future events--from the gender of unborn children to eclipses and tsunami, and even general trends in climate change. Science is beginning to look forward in ways only God was once claimed to do.

[The science of quantum mechanics has yielded trillions of validating events of evidence to support it--every computer, every laser/CD/DVD player, every cell phone screen, every digital camera, every bit of nuclear medicine, etc--all evidence that quantum mechanics theory is valid. This is important--quantum mechanics could be seen to invalidate the concept of an omnipotent being--the uncertainty principle.  Quantum theory could be seen to invalidate the idea of free will, as everything else is deterministic except the randomness of quanta, which are not subject to will (despite the pseudo science of "conscious dependencies" never confirmed).  Additionally, evolutionary theory, validated billions of times with flu shots, antibiotics, paleontology, archeaology and more, yields far more evidence than any Book of Mormon claim.  The LDS corporation doesn't like evolution because it squeezes out the need for reliance on their version of god and their prophetic utterances.]

Carl Sagan once wrote the following: "...if you want to really be able to predict the future -- not in everything, but in some areas -- there's only one regime of human scholarship...that really delivers the goods, and that's science. Religions would give their eyeteeth to be able to predict anything like that well. Think of how much mileage they would make if they ever could do predictions comparably unambiguous and precise."

We don't really have to imagine, though, do we? When white European conquerors of ancient America were received as gods with their guns and eclipse predictions, they abused the power by controlling whole civilizations and fetching gold and slaves from the subordinate worshipping masses. If modern religions had the power of modern science (while hiding the source of their power), we'd hardly have to imagine the outcome.  [Ballard would love to take credit for inventions of science while telling us that we cannot trust science to give us answers to more important questions--when they have yet to provide any real, validated answers themselves.]

But herein lays one difference between science and religion: religions cloud the source of their acclaimed powers in obscure passages and murky definitions of God. Science openly reports, competitively referees and carefully accredits each advancement to the whole world (if the world would but take the time to read the publications). Again, Sagan explains that while the scientist is human, science as a whole attempts to be objective and available to all: "Science has built-in error-correcting mechanisms -- because science recognizes that scientists, like everybody else, are fallible...Scientists do not trust what is intuitively obvious, because intuitively obvious gets you nowhere."

Another interesting difference between science and religion: churches have no laboratories. What I mean is that if a scientist has a clever thought (hypothesis), before he turns it into a belief (theory), he will comb the journals to see if it was already out there and tested. If not tested, he will go to the lab and painstakingly experiment until he has validated or--most often--eliminated the idea. It is in the lab where good ideas and bad ones are sorted out. Churches have no laboratories. Just belief systems.

[There are those that wish to believe that a single cherry-picked coincidence is science--that a "tree-of-life" stela in Mesoamerica proves the Book of Mormon--all the while throwing out the fruits of science that contradict their beliefs.  The overwhelming evidence against the Book of Mormon anachronistic claims and linguistic errors are ignored because they don't fit a faithful pattern--and the lab is no place for finding faith.]

Furthermore, the scientific methodology requires that any good finding should be re-found (repeatedly) and verified (openly) before it can be said to support hypothesis. Scientists pride themselves to be published in refereed journals, where honors go to those that can disprove findings or hypotheses with new findings--as Einstein did of Newton. It's a hard career at times--hard on the ego and personal life--but rewarding because of its unparalleled consistency and trustworthiness.

As a former Mormon--who happily believed in modern prophecy--I used to wonder why the prophets are so reluctant to predict as they did only a hundred-fifty years back. Why have miracles become no more than rumors and subtle coincidences visible only to the chosen faithful? By comparison, technology and science deliver health and happiness in brightly printed packages available to all regardless of faith, creed, race or nationality. It would seem that the prophets have privately given into science. I believe it is because they know they haven't a chance to be so successful when science has been so wonderfully accurate. A smart man doesn't claim to be guided by the supreme intelligence and give predictions that could so easily be countered by lab-coated scientists whose probability calculations are greater than 90% correct.

Okay, yes, it would seem I am giving far too much credit to science. It can't heal everything nor correctly predict many things--from tomorrow's weather to next week's stock market. Yes, science is still dealing poor predictions often enough. But in comparison to latter-day seers and apostles, it is uncannily and openly predictive.

Happy Halloween! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Religion Greater Than Education and Nutrition In Utah

What does a parent need to provide for raising a well-adjusted child?  If you read the court-ordered evaluator recommendation in a random Utah custody case, it would seem as though “religion” and “morals” are the most important factors.  In fact, the rules for Utah custody evaluations list many other things (with religion being one of about a dozen listed criteria).  Shortly, that list includes: child’s preference, siblings, desire and bond, history, moral character, emotional stability, personal attention, drugs/alcohol use, religion, finances, and abuse.

What Utah rule (4-903) fails to list as important to child rearing is more interesting.  It has nothing on education, nothing on nutrition, nothing on immediate physical environment.  That doesn’t mean a psychologist cannot evaluate those things.  However, the state does not require them.

Let me reiterate here the criteria of Utah Custody evaluation so you can assess that the great state of Deseret, aka Utah, is lopsided on education, nutrition and safety over that of "religious compatibility" and "morals".

Utah State Law, Rule 4-903, includes 15 items: 

(5) The purpose of the custody evaluation will be to provide the court with information it can use to make decisions regarding custody and parenting time arrangements that are in the child’s best interest. …Unless otherwise specified in the order, evaluators must consider and respond to each of the following factors:
(5)(A) the child's preference;
(5)(B) the benefit of keeping siblings together;
(5)(C) the relative strength of the child's bond with one or both of the prospective custodians;
(5)(D) the general interest in continuing previously determined custody arrangements where the child is happy and well adjusted;
(5)(E) factors relating to the prospective custodians' character or status or their capacity or willingness to function as parents, including:
(5)(E)(i) moral character and emotional stability;
(5)(E)(ii) duration and depth of desire for custody;
(5)(E)(iii) ability to provide personal rather than surrogate care;
(5)(E)(iv) significant impairment of ability to function as a parent through drug abuse, excessive drinking or other causes;
(5)(E)(v) reasons for having relinquished custody in the past;
(5)(E)(vi) religious compatibility with the child;
(5)(E)(vii) kinship, including in extraordinary circumstances
 stepparent status;
(5)(E)(viii) financial condition; and
(5)(E)(ix) evidence of abuse of the subject child, another
 child, or spouse; and
(5)(F) any other factors deemed important by the evaluator, the parties, or the court.

Religion and “moral character”  are more important in Utah custody cases than health—than nutrition and a safe physical environment, the latter which do not appear in the rule.  Religion is even more important according to Utah’s 4-903 than education.  The words, "nutrition", "health", "education", "safety", and "environment" appear nowhere in rule 4-903, while "religious", "moral" and other like criteria do appear.

What the hell?  Only in Utah, apparently.  I hope the Utah judicial bar who see so many cases of neglect can persuade the legislature that their idealistic views are not helping families.

Any decently educated psychologist and sociologist knows the importance of good food, physical safety and proper education on the best interest of a child's well being.  Publications at the National Institutes of Health (US) clearly state, for example, that:  
“There is no aspect of our physical or psychological existence that is not affected in some way by nutrition. A profound lack of nutrition would obviously have a negative influence on all aspects of [child] development, and such effects of malnutrition are well documented.”

However, Utah's legislature doesn’t even seem to care.  Education, smeducation—phaw!  Nutrition, shrewmunition—meh!  Utah-Utard!  What will it take for the family courts to encourage their own legislatures to change the code so that education and nutrition have an equal stage with religion and "moral character"?  

Gallup Poll -- Are we due for a new one here in 2015? 
 Let's hope there's a downward trend.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

LDS SECRET Leadership Information System (LIS)

In my October 2014 Exmormon Foundation talk, I told the audience about the LDS Leadership Information System, the LIS.  This is the system that probably vetted the latest candidates for the next three apostles which may be called in just over a week at the October 2015 LDS General Conference.

Here is the slide from that 2014 talk, where I verbalize a lot of information about the information systems the LDS use to vet future leaders. The slide is a fraction of what I said.

  • Around 2008/09 the Q12 asked COB to produce a separate financial/contracts tracking system for contracts, which only Q12 and their assistants could access/monitor
  • COB Insider speculation is that this “Leadership Information System” monitored nepotistic contracts given to Q12 family
  • Another insider:  families and widows of GAs are financially blessed through church finance system

(Slide from the 2014 talk)

In my 2013 novel, I revealed some of what I had already known, but used a fictional form to let the world know, because my sources were anonymous.  Here's the text from 2013.

"Fellow SLCPD officers, including the non-Mormons, fondly referred to LDS security as Sacred Service agents. Over the years, Porter had helped the LDS Church with background investigations of individuals vetted for leadership—all off the books.  Salt Lake City government played nice with the Mormon Church. Most of the councilmen and police attended LDS Church regularly."
"Bradenton showed him the dossier of a few member employees and it had far more information than what he had accessed as a bishop.  It included all the church records of baptism, mission service, temple ordinances, and more. It showed scanned patriarchal blessings, callings held, discipline actions, employment history, background investigations, first generation family genealogy, and a geographical history of all locations the member had attended throughout their life.  Extra fields on one member file Bradenton brought up indicated that church headquarters filed the notes a bishop or stake president had made on worthiness. Porter never knew they filed individual private matters. 
“If you need to know anything about a member, you access the dossier system and search by any relevant term,” said Bradenton. “If further background information is done for employment or higher calling, we put it in here as well.” 
Porter pointed at the screen.  “Why does the church keep so much information members?”
“Wouldn’t you if you needed to know who you can trust to run companies within the portfolio owned by the church?  We need trust so there’s no financial disclosures. Enemies would use it against us.”  "

NOW THE LATEST:  A most recent revelation from an anonymous source inside LDS Church Offices (most of which was posted briefly on reddit) confirms this same information about the Leadership Information System.  The LDS Church keeps extensive background on all members, especially those that rise to be vetted for upper office in its corporation.  And why not?  

I quote extensively, and some of this may be verified in the next 10 days when LDS General Conference is held.  If not, then we have a wee chink in our link at the COB.

" Here's what I can tell you. There are enough people privy to this information that it won't be possible to identify me through this disclosure alone. 
Basically, whenever new General Authorities are being proposed, the names are submitted to our department to do a final "background check"--you can think of it as a kind of "vetting" that is done in politics when Presidential candidates select a VP running mate. We get information consents from the candidate and check everything imaginable: financial, employment, educational, resumes, church callings, political involvement, criminal (never had an issue with this one!), disciplinary councils the candidate has been involved in as a leader. We write up a report flagging any possible areas of concern. For the most part, there are no issues, except for occasional ones that might "look bad" from a secular media perspective. 
They never tell us that these people are being proposed as General Authorities--we just get a generic request for the vetting--but when the next General Conference roll around and we see the people we vetted called ... well, it doesn't take long to figure out what your role is in the machinery. 
Anyway, when an Apostle dies things get a little bit "obvious". For one, the request comes shortly after the death of the apostle. Secondly, rather than a bundle of names as is common to receive, we receive just three names. Thirdly, the submitted names usually contain one or more CURRENT General Authorities. All three of these are red flags to me at least that we are vetting the new Apostle. My suspicions in this regard were confirmed when we vetted Elder Anderson as one of the three candidates in late-2008, shortly after Joseph B. Wirthlin died, and he was subsequently called as the new Apostle in April 2009. I assume that the three names are submitted by the President of the Church, or possibly the First Presidency together, I don't know. 
I'm not exactly sure why we do a second "vetting" in this situation for someone who is already a General Authority and has undergone the process previously. I guess it's probably meant as a type of "fail safe" procedure, to catch anything that was possibly missed the first time around. We also do review what the person has done as their time as a General Authority and flag anything potentially problematic. 
So basically, what I can tell you is that we've recently received a fresh submission to do background checks for three men and we've mostly completed the process. All three are currently General Authorities and are in the Presidency or Quorums of the Seventy. The three are James J. Hamula, Ronald A. Rasband, and L. Whitney Clayton. Clayton's report sent up a few flags [2 & 3], definitely more than the other two, so I would bet against him being called. The reports for Hamula and Rasband were clean and we basically gave them both the thumbs up.  
[While others at the office could be vetting many candidates not listed here...]  At this stage, I see [it likely] that at least one of Hamula or Rasband is called. Since we have another vacancy in the Twelve, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Hamula and Rasband are BOTH called. I'm not sure if we are going to get another three names to vet for the second vacancy, or if they are just going to be happy with having done these three. 
So there you go. Oh--lastly the issue of timing--we won't find out for sure who is called until General Conference in October. I think that that is pretty well understood and accepted by the membership now. In the past, some Apostles have been called in between Conferences, but the last few First Presidencies have thought it best to wait until General Conference in order to maximize attention on the event. 
I find the process a little bit ridiculous and I have often felt like it's weird that the Prophet and First Presidency need us to flag issues of concern for them when they are considering inspired callings. Are the calls inspired? Well, Elder Clayton was being considered [for something], but now I can basically guarantee that he won't be called because of the work I participated in. Can it hardly be said to be inspiration when the decisions are based on paid workers doing research? "

You read it back in 2013 in my novel, and heard it again in 2014 in my talk.  The LIS of the LDS church help them to keep the LIES going.

Now is the day of their power.  They rule reign from the rivers to the ends of the earth. There is none who dares to molest or make afraid.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monson Vs. Francis -- The Pope and a Prophet

Pope Francis arrived in the US, riding in a Fiat 500L car, priced around  $20,000.

On the other hand, Mormon Prophet Monson rides around in Utah (at the 2011-2014 Days of '47 parade) in much much fancier transportation, including an armored security edition Audi A8 that with full upgrades runs over half a million dollars to buy new.

Pope Francis speaks to human rights, humbly asks leaders to help the poor, and takes selfies.

Monson cuts ribbons at super-malls and kicks off condo-high-rise developments, while only letting professional, LDS photographers take his likeness.

Pope Francis encourages the US government and the world to improve the environment, releases a 40,000 word official statement/encyclical on global climate change, and has proclaimed the environment is just as important many moral issues facing the world

Monson buys up land to develop into profitable industry, lobbies Florida counties for permission on a development at LDS owned Deseret Ranch  "for accommodating a half-million residents on an enormous piece of ranch east of Orlando [that] has triggered an environmental dispute that could be tough for even the state to solve.... The development plan for the 133,000 acres..."

Confidants involved in an environmental impact independent study of the Deseret Ranch fiasco tell me that the part of Deseret Ranch that they want to reclassify as urban is beyond the borders of the urban growth line for Osceola County, and that they "petitioned the county to extend the Urban Growth Boundary into their property so that they can convert this land to a curated cityscape."

Ecologically speaking, Deseret Ranch is a huge piece of the proposed Florida Wildlife Corridor which would provide a movement corridor for imperiled (and un-imperiled) species throughout the state (including black bear, Florida panther, etc.).

Florida counties, probably seeing dollar signs from the potential tax dollars, have been reviewing the LDS corporation proposal. It would seem that it is pretty much set to go.  However,  one of the county commissioners is rumored to have refused to sign off on it until an independent review is conducted.

Pope Francis, in ecumenical cooperation, could you tell Thomas Monson to stop his destruction of the environment?


***That being said, I should update that I just saw on the news that Pope Francis took a military helicopter from JFK in NYC to Manhattan. I suppose chartering a plane would have been about as costly, and if he had flown coach, the plane would have been mobbed and a security disaster. But who paid for it?

Addendum:  A reply below is point on.  Neither Pope Francis nor Thomas Monson are anything close to the persona that they claim to worship and desire to emulate.  The character of Jesus Christ as described in the bible didn't ride in gold-plated chariots (the meridian times equivalent of an Audi A8 L or a military helicopter).  Jesus didn't lay his head on silk-spun pillows in elaborate church-owned Vatican cities, nor have multiple homes including an upscale SLC condo near a billion dollar mall he commissioned.

The hypocrisy of both is telling.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Neurosurgeons Are Going To Hell

In seminary this year, some students are learning about Noah's flood.  One student asked the seminary teacher why God killed all the wicked of Noah's time and told Nephi to kill Laban, but spared genocidal mass murderers?

When Nephi was commanded to kill Laban, that it is better that one man perishes than a whole nation “dwindles” in unbelief, God traded the brain of Laban for the brains of a nation.  You see, God could have, in his omnipotent manner slightly, just perceptibly altered the brain of Laban, when he was drunk on the street, so that he forgot all about Nephi and his brothers coming for the Plates of Brass. God can change brain cells.  Easily.

But no.  Free will—the altercation of a few brain cells—was far more untouchable to God than the actual life of Laban.  Nephi had to kill Laban so that God didn’t have to touch Laban’s brain  Yes, he could have eradicated Laban’s memory in his drunken state.  But tinkering with his memory and free will is apparently a bigger line to cross than murdering Laban and completely eradicating his future free will.  As long as Nephi did it.  God is in the clear!

When Noah asked God to spare humanity, it repented God (or if you’re Joseph Smith, it repented Noah to ask God) of thinking of eradicating a billion humans.  (We can safely assume that if in the 6000 years since Noah we went from 8 persons to almost 8 billion, that in the 2000 years of Adam to Noah, there were probably a billion nomadic, sinful, Sodomy filled humans ripe for destruction.)  God would never tamper with so many free wills, so he had to eliminate them.  Lest they sin more and more and become so intellectually godless that they never allow a soul to be saved.

So God killed them all. 

There is no tampering with free will.  Neurosurgeons be warned.  Don’t tamper with those brains. Alter those personalities. Change those temperaments.

For that matter, psychiatrists, psychologist, psychics, sociologists, and even bishops beware.  Wait, bishops are okay to judge and alter members' thinking.  Bishops, seminary teachers, deacon advisors, Miamaid instructors, primary leaders and the like—you’re all fine.  You can alter free will.  You can dive right in and tell a toddler that Joseph Smith was inspired while hiding his polygamy.  You can exact ten-percent of tithing while not declaring that the LDS church is a corporation.  You can send them on "soul saving" missions while knowing that Africans are starving, bone-thin skeletons.  That kind of brain tampering is okey-dokey.

God, however, cannot cross a line of taking away a memory, such as with Laban.  God cannot tinker with free will, such as with a pre-flood billion of humanity.  He must kill them instead.  Hitler too.  Stalin and Mao as well.  Let them kill the masses if their free will gets out of bounds.  Laban—deserved to die.  Stalin, Mao and Hitler, well, they had free will and God couldn’t supersede to have them killed before nations upon nations dwindled in bloody unbelief.  He couldn't intercede to subtly change the mind of mass genocidal murderers.  You understand his godly omnipotence, I’m sure.

But wait, hasn’t God changed memories already?  Isn’t there a verse that says something about the Holy Ghost helping you to remember all things, to “bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26)? 

There’s also that story about the Nephite prisoners held by the Lamanites in Alma 55.  Moroni’s guys brought them wine and “they did take of the wine freely”.  Freely—free will.   Shame shame.  Word of wisdom be damned.  The righteous can tempt the evil.   Then the guards in their drunken stupor and deep sleep were unable to stop the escape.  Laban was drunk. Maybe Nephi hadn’t brought the wine, but he found the sword.  With Moroni’s men, however, “the Nephites could have slain them” yet Moroni didn’t want that. 

So wait, God got Nephites to use wine to get the Lamanites stupid.  Surely there’s some kind of free will breech here.  The Lamanites were pretty forgetful about what happened and never really succeeded in winning against the Nephites who were “slow to remember” their past.  The point being, God helped inebriate Lamanites to free Nephites who were slow to remember God.  WTF?

What about the righteous?  Does God play with their free will and memories?  You bet.  It’s a part of the LDS Doctrine that if you ponder on something false, that’s  “not right you …shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong” (D&C 9:9).  In other words, God makes the righteous stupid.  He plays with the free will of the righteous all the time.

Laban—you’re dead dude because you’ll remember to do bad stuff. 

Nephi—you’ll just forget false stuff.

The saying goes, God doesn't play with dice.  Apparently not with scalpels either.

Neurosurgeons, psychiatrists and psychologists who play with memory, you better be a damned good judge of who’s righteous and who’s evil.  You may end up in hell.  God doesn’t play loosely with this stuff like you do.

Hitler, you’re in the clear, apparently, unlike Laban.  At least, that's the message one student got in seminary.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The 21st Century Rediscovery of the Seer Stone and the Second Latter-day Restoration


In mid 2015, LDS archivists found the original printer's Book of Mormon manuscript and the brown striated seer stone used by prophet Joseph Smith in the early 19th century to translate the divine record inscribed on the gold plates delivered to him by the angel Moroni.  Members prior to this commonly believed the Urim and Thummim which came directly from God and have an aura of divinity about them were the only instruments used in the translation process.  However, the brown striated seer stone which came from a well Joseph dug before receiving the gold plates, was documented quite readily to have been used for various non-spiritual activities before he employed it to translate the Book of Mormon.

LDS Historian at the time, Richman Bushard, had stated that the seer stone "hadn't been taught in church curriculum, institute or Sunday lesson material--only found in scholarly references…Just as with the general membership, LDS general authorities knew little or nothing about the seer stone before its rediscovery."

President Yuma S.B. Kidden, the 18th LDS prophet used the seer stone to receive many revelations, including sections of the New Book of Laws, which outlines celestial sealing equality for heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and polysexual couples, and several sections on new investment strategies for the Zion wetlands in the state of Deserwet (formerly Florida).  Until the 21st century rediscovery of the seer stone, there is no historical evidence that any prophet, since Joseph Smith, used it or any other instrument to receive revelation.  The seer stone’s last known location prior to this was on the altar of the Manti temple at its dedication,  and where allegedly President Woodruff used it as a paperweight to hold down drafts of his Manifesto.

Once revealed again in 2015 (found in the Granite Mountain in a long lost well that was covered by the patch blanket woven by Sisters Sheri Dew and Wendy Watson, the first sealed LDS gay couple), the seer stone caused many members to ask whether or not it would be used to infuse the prophets with new revelation.  Rediscovered, the stone led to the Second Latter-day Restoration and a plethora of new revelations, starting with President Kidden in the 21st century, and is the first indication of using the seer stone since Smith's martyrdom.

President Kidden has said, "The Lord took away the Urim and Thummim, in order that the saints have faith, while giving them the actual seer stone used for nearly all revelations, in order that they might have blessings both then and now."

Much controversy surrounds the early use of the seer stone by founder Joseph Smith.  Many members, including leaders felt embarrassed and shocked by it due to its connection to the early 19th century supernatural and magical culture of up-state New York surrounding Smith, and Joseph's use of stones as an instrument of picking up polygamous wives in LDS taverns.  Despite its mortal foundation and common practices by Smith who used his large stones for treasure and wife hunting, God never repudiated the use of the seer stone and its employment in translating.  This shows that by natural methods, and by small and simple means does the Lord bring about his great work and purpose.

Hence the great Second Latter-day Restoration catalyzed by its rediscovery allowed reformation of the LDS Church.  In the process of revelation, divinity is mixed and melded with humanity.  The culture of the prophet is as much a part of the revelatory word as is the divine message sent directly from God to his prophet. Since it was re-revealed, knowledge of the seer stone was absorbed in the standard lessons and curricula of church education.

That the seer stone has been installed in Church History museums within a year of its rediscovery has led some to question the Second Latter-day Restoration since the prophet did not actually hold the seer stone during the revelatory process.  However, just as Joseph Smith did not hold the gold plates or use the Urim and Thummim, but rather placed the seer stone in a hat and put his head into its brim--proximity to the plates or other instruments are unneeded.  Furthermore, with the advancement in technology of modern culture, the Lord may use new devices and methods that far exceed a 19th century stone to reveal modern revelation to the most recent prophets.