Finding hidden finances, documents and other disclosures on Mormon leaders
I love the way they try to deceive themselves that the court is "in your behalf." Sure it is. Like you said, they haven't even taken the time to get to know you. Why the rush? I am a member of the church who was very active my entire life, but made the mistake of believing that truth could "withstand scrutiny." Obviously, the brethren realize it cannot. The church has always had its own version of the Inquisition. If they continue with you, they risk the main-stream media letting the world know just how they purge dissent.
David, best of luck. I have no expectation that you will be treated fairly by your stake presidency and high council. I hope I am wrong. Please continue to take a principled stand and history will judge you honorably. I have an apostle ancestor tha was on the wrong end of a witch hunt. Decades later, the sitting president of the church apologized for how things were handled. I was in the 5th year of a bishopric calling when I realized the magnitude of our church's whitewashing of our history. The church absolutely has to get their arms around this issue or a lot of very faithful and devoted members of the church will continue to leave. Thank you for all that you are doing.
Just got linked here from The Daily Beast (linked to by Richard Dawkins, whom I follow on Twitter). Wanted to give my voice of support to you and hope that the officials from the Corporation of the Church are not able to drown out your voice. Criticism within the church is important, as it is with any organization. For the record, I left the church four years ago after it became clear to me the Bible is not holy and the Book of Mormon is also therefore not holy (and a textual impossibility anyway). My life has been better in the years hence.
David,Tell the truth. Living with a lie for the rest of your life is hell.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
The truth shall set you free...but first it'll really piss you off. I made the hidden camera videos of the temple ceremonies and I fully expect (and welcome) legal or civil action to be taken against me. Almost certainly AFTER Romney loses the election. I welcome it and hope the Church knows there is NOTHING they can do to me or take from me that will make me wish I hadn't done it. Nor will they EVER get the videos off the internet. Viva la truth!
When I was a temple ordinance worker 5 years ago, I found out about the temple changes in the 90's. I asked one of the elderly female workers what those changes were, she got uncomfortable and said, "oh, I don't know uh, the 5 points of fellowship and stuff." You should try to get an ordinance worker on camera telling you what they were.
I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Mormon Church. However, I have ample firsthand experience of how they treat those that disagree with them. (At least in the region I grew up in)I grew up in a small rural community that was nearly 100% Mormon. Without going into great detail I can tell you that I was kicked out of the boy scouts for refusing to attend the Mormon Church. My sisters and I were repeatedly told by our grade school teachers that we were all going to burn in hell for not attending their church. They literally sent my little sisters home in tears on several occasions fearing that they were damned for all eternity. I was kicked off of the all-star basketball team in front of the entire town because I was not willing to become a Mormon. The other kids were not allowed to be friends with us or even speak to us on the bus.I have an endless list of negative experiences with Mormons. I have also witnessed first-hand how they rewrite their history to suit the image they want to portray. If you need a specific example look to Chesterfield, Idaho. There is somewhat of a Mormon history circus show going there at this moment. It was and still is for the most part a ghost town.It has in recent years been reclaimed by the LDS. I actaully lived there as a child. I was shocked last year when I returned to visit after having been gone for decades to find tours coming through and the entire history of the town re-written and blatantly false. The story is a long one and I won't bore you with the details but the story being told about that town and how it came to be is a blatant lie. Not that it really matters in the grand scope of things but I find it hard to understand why any church deems it necessary to cover up their history and attempt to bury any dissent. That is the complete opposite of what they should do. That being said, the LDS are no different than any other religion on this issue. Nearly every major organized religion on the planet behaves in similar fashion.My vote is expose your own weaknesses. Admit your failings and do your best to improve your organization to the benefit of all who believe in you and your message.My experiences as a child caused me to put my faith directly in God. I had nowhere else to turn thanks to the local LDS. It was extremely difficult as a child but it truly did make me a better person.I left those small towns long ago and moved to the big city. I have since met a great deal of Mormons who are phenomenal people and whose actions towards me and my family have been the polar opposite of those I experienced as a child. In truth I could have been treated that way by any number of churches and/or people. I am not writing to single out the LDS but rather to point out that all religious organizations have flaws and the LDS are no exception.If I were in a leadership position of this organization I would welcome a site such as this where the concerns of members can be voiced without fear of repercussions. Leadership that truly cares about helping people get closer to God should welcome the opportunity to learn what issues bother its members and take action to rectify them. The lack of an open ear and heart to dissent seems to be a universal flaw in organized religion as a whole.
I honestly believe this is small town politic's. Florida is a hotbed and inbed with Republican's and in the last 10 years of Mormon's. They act as the last small town I lived in and whose church I attended. I gave and gave and gave to those people. At the rate of 10% per month. When the "offering" plate came around if you did not give by the end of the sermon when everyone got up to leave and this is real, not perceived, no one would talk to me. My husband saw me come home having been ostracized and passed over when it came to dinner's, party's , I was routinely in hot water for not doing what they insisted I do. Having to apologize over and over to one or another for not doing what I felt was cultist theory. Man's interpretation of the Bible and it's many parables, proverbs, premonitions. I have given more money, food, creative gifts of paintings, sculptures, even a mink coat to a person who acted as a friend. Who was the women who invited me to the church. She was insistent about calling me when I missed, and would ask, "missed you at church," then when I was lying in a hospital for 2 months recouping from a 65 mph head on collision with a truck she yelled at me over the phone, while I was in ICU, saying I had offended her and she was not interested in me anymore. One deacon came twice to my hospital bed. And when my husband working 4 12 hr shifts came home he and I were suffering enough for me to call that deacon and ask for help feeding both of us, as I could not stand and he could not cook. I was really a crap shoot and never NEVER did anyone stop long enough to talk to me. They would deliver food at the door and leave. The food ran the gambit of frozen tv dinner's, missed day's, horrible cooks, and me just laying there day in day out with no one. I was on major pain med.'s or I very nearly tried to kill myself, a couple of times. The "friend", never, ever, came. Her husband was another deacon, and the man who made me be baptized for yet another time (3) in order to become a "member" he never, called or came to my aid. From that time to this I have not gone into a church. They used me up and spit me out as though I were a cheap commodity. They used the N word aloud in conversation's about Arab's and Black's, they called anything not within their tiny inbred ugly world abhorrent to God. 5 years I tried. At Bates City Baptist Church in Bates City Missouri, pop. 200+. The so called "christian's were bigots, racists, cultists, who chewed me up and spit me out. We won a large settlement from the sleep apnea victim driving a double 2 ton dump truck who turned into me while I was traveling 65mph & in 2009 we moved to Olympia WA. What a blessed relief it is to live in this great state. The people here, are liberal democrats who love all God's children. God took me through fire, and sent me to heaven on earth.I know God lives in my heart and mind. I know my theology and welcome discussions on any level when it comes to God, the Bible, religion. However I have decided to never again participate in Doctrine d Religion of any kind.
Hey folksGet a clue. The church asks if you sustian the Prophet...., I do, and you don't. This is not some big secret. Stop pretending to be an LDS believer, when you obviously are not.
Of course they ask you to sustain the prophet. Warren Jeffs did too!
The person above who is telling people to "get a clue" is completely ignoring the fact that the Church doctrinally and actively allows people to vote "opposed" on any sustaining. He is also missing the point that local leaders can also apostasize in their actions toward members and thus lose a sustaining vote of the members even while such members still sustain the prophet.
Wow... the misspelling is really... you know... it's obviously they know and care about you personally. Glad to see you're in such good hands. Best of luck to you. Live your truth, and know you have a whole lot of support out here.
Anonymous: You sustain Thomas S. Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator based on what exactly? I'm not daring you to provide physical evidence, but when you hear those words twice a year, do you wonder, "What have the prophets 'seered' in the last ten, twenty, or fifty years?". Seers are greater than prophets, according to BoM, and have the gift of interpreting languages and reading minds and such. And other than anecdotal stories of "the spirit has told me you are not worthy to enter the temple", I've got a wife who can read my mind. Perhaps its time for a prophetess to lead. Anyway, that's just one of many things that should prick the brains of people who are challenged to search for truth in all places.Do you understand the mental anxiety people go through when they discover different versions of history buried in church sources? Or, the embarrassment of being ostracized because you asked a question? I doubt that you have considered "Anti-mormons" as anything other than Korihors who just want sin and pretend that there are no consequences to your actions. That is not my experience. Most I know are people who find themselves at crossroads between Church and God; meaning that at times the church and it's leaders have either mislead or deceived members which seems to be contrary to the actions of Holy men. If these actions performed among men with the gifts of prophecy seership and such cannot (or will not) do something simple like apologize (repent) then we should be saying hasta la pasta to them, as is stated in Exodus regarding prophets who mislead. I've written more than I intended, but your attitude doesn't endear you to those who struggle in faith.
If you don't want to be a Mormon than don't. Spend your life doing good, serving others, helping the poor instead of being obsessed with criticizing every little piece of the Church.
If you are so against criticism, then why did you post a critical comment?
Good luck David. My prayers are with you. Though we don't know what covenants we make before we make them, we are forever held bound to keep quiet, unable to discuss, question, and share the fact that most of the things in the temple are disquieting at best, and creepy at worst. I'm on the border of old age. I remember the first time I went through - late 70's - I was shocked, upset, unsettled, anxious, and felt lost. I cried when finally alone. I was raised in the church by loving, faithful, anxiously engaged parents. I asked them if they felt any of it was upsetting. After a prolonged look at each other they said no. I've always wondered if they were afraid to say anything else..I've been true and faithful. I've been anxiously engaged also. But the temple has always felt foreign and unsettling to me. It has all the hallmarks of a secret combination. It's terribly unfair to women. Studying the history of the ceremonies, learning the Masonic similarities, learning it's all about plural marriage, learning that you make promises you don't know beforehand that are for the church rather than God -- it's too much. I feel like I hang by a thread with Mormonism. My belief in God is unshakable. But the church has misled by omission on so, so many things. And there's no one to talk to. You can't ask anything negative. You can't find empathy for your pain and distress. If you write Salt Lake they kick it back to your local bishop because they don't have time for your pain and concerns. They have malls to build, you see. Then the local bishop pats your head and patronizingly says you worry about silly things that have no answers. So just go along and don't worry about your worries. .I hope your leaders will remember that they have to answer for what they intend to do to you "on your behalf." what happened to charity, love unfeigned, patience, long suffering, working with you, getting to know you????? Where is their priesthood now? .I hope so much the spies are reading these comments. I want them to know that I'm afraid - terrified to speak up. What kind of a church have we become that members who suffer can find no safe place to fall? What kind of church goes after David for telling the truth? Where is the disciplinary court for the church? It misleads. It tells half-truths. It leaves out unsavory facts. It hurts people's testimonies. It holds them hostage to covenants they never knew were coming. It uses tithing with legalese discretion without being forthcoming at all. The church is guilty of far greater things than one man's truthful, heartfelt blog. The church is driving so many away and into the apostasy they condemn. .And they don't even care at all.
That was beautifully put. Thanks for articulating what so many of us feel.
You took the words right out of my mouth! I wish I could meet you and we could discuss because you are Me!
Hello, my name is DABAHK. I selected anonymous only because the other choices don't seem appropriate. I would like to assure you that you can still believe in your faith, even if you don't believe all of it. I say this as someone who is not Mormon, but has struggled with his own faith. You can even believe in some version of your own faith even if excommunicated. The trick is to trust your instincts, and if those instincts tell you that the people running your church are running it poorly, then their authority to silence you through excommunication is meaningless. Maybe what you need to do is figure out how you can relate to God. That renders everything else meaningless. God will understand. Best of luck!
Anon said "And they don't even care at all"I wondered: Do you want the Church to care about you? Should we come to your door and visit you with home and visiting teachers? Should we seek you out and invite you to return and join with us?Or do you prefer it that we "do not care at all"?
Exacty! I am a 73 year old woman who heartily concurs with everything you said. I left the church 18 months ago and every week that passes I realize how incredibly 'buffaloed' I was for 53 years. I was so happy to find answers those many years ago, but didn't realize that questions were not allowed. This has caused a terrible disruption in my family but I cannot accept all of the whitewash I was once so enamoured with. So many people are supporting your attempt to get at the truth!
Um, why exactly are you still a Mormon? If it's that bad, why are you still there? I'll never understand why people hang around a topic or group when they are so dissatisfied. It's a private organization for heaven's sake. Stay in or get out. If you aren't sold on a product, why would you buy it? If you bought it and don't like it, why keep it around complaining that it isn't what you wanted. Save your breath. Go find something that is the way you want and enjoy it. Or create your own. So many things in this life won't give us exactly what we want. Sure, ask questions, give feedback, even take a stand . . . but if it doesn't get you anywhere, and you aren't happy with the results, why stick around? Seriously. It's a no brainer. Enough of this blaming someone else for your unhappiness. No one is forcing you to do anything. If you insist that they are, and you continue to dwell on it, then guess what . . .you are the best, and even the cheapest advertising the organization could ask for.
Everyone in some type of faith just remember,"It's not what you see, read nor hear, but what you Believe".Like some others I chose Anonymous. You decide on your Faith.Remember, there actually was A Jesus Christ. Of LDS or Christian.This is our Truth.God Bless you all no matter what.
Because the Morman faith is a ton of KRAPOLA!
Charles, Simply home and visiting teaching does not show that you care. It only shows that you know how to do what you are told. Actual caring goes well beyond home and visiting teaching, and in fact does not require home and visting teaching. Try listening rather than teaching the next time you visit someone.
David, I am 99% sure this won't mean anything to you, but I have to try. You're every bit as egomaniacal as the worst interpretation of Joseph Smith. You come off as an EXTREMELY creepy, self-involved sort of fellow (probably at least one divorce up your sleeve or never married). You go to church one time and fantasize about adultery in your public blog? You make a 'jacking off' joke (complete with hand signals) with what sounds like a female during meetings?Your first few posts on this blog you brag about how you're going to church to shake things up. You compare yourself to an egomaniacal TV star. You identify the ward and branch you're going to, the clothes you wore to church, and one of your buddies uses your first name in a reply. Then you act surprised and offended when someone calls you out on trying to bring down the church?You don't have to believe anything in the LDS church. But the Mormons have a right to define who qualifies for membership in their society, and a right to defend themselves against harm.
Just as the Mormons have "a right to defend themselves against harm", in years to come Mormonism is going to be challenged even harder. Definitions of "racism" are being modified in the world communities. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declares "advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist". Book of Mormon teachings are racist and are not ancient prophecies, they are based on 19th century writings of fiction. Mormonism will be faced dealing with this in years to come. Here are a couple of racist examples.Ether 13:2 and 2 Nephi 1:6-12 allege that if people don't serve the Christian God they will lose their rights to the "chosen land" in America.1 Nephi 13:12-15 claims that because the Indians had become wicked, God's blessing was with Columbus and the Europeans and his wrath was against the Indians.The United Nations and the World Council of Churces are now addressing what is known as the "Doctrine of Discovery", the very issues in the above scriptures. Mark G, these issues are not going away. Why? Because as much as Mormons want to cry persecution and claim they "have the right", their very core doctrine is racist and contrary to indigenous rights. Mormonism is maintaining the fantasy with pseudoarchaeology and outrageous diffusionist publications by its members. This will not last much longer. Mormons such as yourself Mark G will become less and less influential as time passes. It is already showing by your need to make personal attacks on David.Indigenous people have a right to defend themselves against harm. The Book of Mormon is harmful and racist. The sooner the Mormon church disavows it, the quicker your religion can get over themselves and perhaps be a better church.The United States does not need a president that has been taught such racist things about Native Americans. He is already stained with the blood of murdered women and children from El Salvador.
I'm sorry, but I fail to see the point of this response. I didn't discuss the Mormon church's truth claims (true or false). I didn't say I was a Mormon. I didn't mention the Book of Mormon.I simply pointed out that David shouldn't be surprised about a disciplinary council because his blog had ample details about 1) his plans and 2) his identity.David fantasizes about having threesomes with church-going people in his public blog. He doesn't feel guilty, instead he has delusions of grandeur comparing himself to a TV star. Hell I'd kick him out of a book club, let alone a church.
Mark, you way-over extend yourself. David is a creative writer, even a published novelist. It's called metaphor with compare and contrast. You must have failed your literary classes in college.
It's called delusions of grandeur. But a Swede informed me what's going on. MormonThink is attempting a PR blitz and this non-story is the main thrust. I was wondering why the New York Times picked up an obscure blog story, but the Romney angle plus the persecution complex must mean more hits for Mormonthink. It didn't make sense that someone could just be that full of themselves, but trying to increase publicity makes more sense of the whole thing.
Mark, you said that the Mormons have a right to defend themselves, and your focus is on David's character as you see it. You cannot see the point of my response because you cannot see beyond David. It is easy to go after a single individual and doing so detracts from the serious problems with Mormonism. Their religion is an attack on America's indigenous people. But make it all about David and ignore the harm and racism. How typical to disregard the most significant harmful aspects of Mormonism by villifying a single individual.
I am sorry that the comments here have become so contentious. I hope that whatever happens, you and those who are part of the meeting will all be able to talk with each other, and understand the decision that is made. I always hope that people find understanding, even though it often does not happen. I am a member of the church, and I have seen these kinds of decisions go both ways. I have not always agreed with decisions, but I also recognize that I have rarely been in possession of all the facts on either or both sides of the discussions.In general, I have enjoyed your writing, even if I do not always agree with everything you say, or more often I am a little uncomfortable with how you say it. That doesn't mean that I need to be comfortable. Heck, I am uncomfortable with way more than half of the political rhetoric on Mormon blogs. I truly think that it would be sad if the decision about church membership was made based on political associations. I think that matters of church membership have no place in the political sphere, and if there are concerns about the things you have written that they will be clear about what specific writings and motivations are concerning to them.I also want to say that a letter asking you to come to a discilinary council is not the same as discipline. I have been asked to come to several similar meetings, and of those requests, only one became a serious discussion, beyond people asking and answering questions. I was grateful that there was a spirit of genuinely trying to understand and feel out my heart. Was I writing in language that was uncomfortable, or apostate? Was my intention to attack the church, or to explain my own challenges and struggles? I don't know your leaders, and I have no way to guess at their thougths and motives, but it is not impossible to have reasonable conversations with people whose experiences are quite out of line with ours.I do hope that there will be a toning down of some of this rhetoric here and that peace can be your goal, no matter what other people in that meeting do or say. I know how hard that can be, and I will be praying for you.
45 years ago I ran into troubled times with my father leaving and the family sliding into financial ruin as a consequence of his sudden "aliention". The bishopric turned their backs on me, a convert, a youth spinning in a maelstrom... wouldn't even talk to me. I miss the comradeship of those days but I walked away and have not, will not return. I hope you do better with them but I can't say I have much confidence in that. S
This is the first time I have ever come to your site but I have to ask, why would you even go? These men only have authority over you if you let them. Don't show.
I don't like the misspelling. Its a bit disrespectful. They should have retyped the letter. Its easy these days.
Having dealt with the individuals you will be adressing in the Orlando Florida Hunters Creek Stake I must give you a friendly "heads up." I have never met a more dogmatic, closed minded group of men that are so incapable of seeing any other point of view beyond their own. They really see themselves as defenders of the faith. In that Stake, with those men, your intellectual arguments/points of view won't result in anything other than you soon being a former member of the church.
that's why I wrote them a letter and asked to be removed from their scrolls, letter heads, faxes, emails, and I am no longer a Mormon :P feels great.
Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing. And for a religion to try and suppress it is a shame. And how shameful it is to learn the position this religion takes on Native Americans and just how recently black people have been allowed in. Truth is king, so keep telling it. How any person of color could stand to be a follower of Mormonism given the churches' blatant racism is beyond me.
There should be a whole group of supporters at the Stake center on Sunday morning!!! There are many that are proud of you David. I live in Orlando. Left the church 2 years ago, 5 generation Mormon also. You have a lot of support!
I am a compassionate Mormon convert who has seen both sides of the coin. I was excommunicated in 1982 - three years after my mission. The call of the world was just too much for me, so I went back to my gentile ways. Since then I got re-baptized, I have 5 kids, a temple marriage, leadership callings and currently work in the HOLY TEMPLE whose sacred images don't belong on YouTube, but that's another issue. I am having a serious struggle with one of my teenage boys who has informed me that he doesn't believe in the church. After I was done beating him I told him, "its your decision, I'm not going to force you to go to church." (JK about the beating, I don't believe in corporeal punishment in any form). He is seventeen. I an EXTREMELY introspective and tolerant of ALL religious viewpoints. I understand the human struggle for acceptance and self-realization. Not everyone finds it in the Mormon Church, however I have had experiences which put me in the position that I cannot deny that I believe the Church is true. I hope you come to some agreement at your disciplinary council that your leaders and you can live with. I don't wish to do a disservice your reputation in any way, David, however I can't help thinking that there is more to the story. The church doesn't excommunicate its members for their political choices. If so, Harry Reid would have been gone long ago. There has to be something more. Care to share? If its all about politics and you get excommunicated, then my prejudgment would side with you. I am looking forward to hearing about the outcome. Meanwhile, bless you and your family. I wish you nothing but the best.
Not sure why you think Harry Reid would have been gone long ago. You should read up on Church policy regarding the many social issues. Harry Reid is in line with the Church. What I find amazing is why many Republicans are not long gone, considering that the teachings of the Book of Mormon are against religiously favoring people for their wealth and rank. I fear that the conerns and warnings of Brigham Young have come to pass regarding wealth and properity being our greatest challenge.
There are so many things wrong here...no wonder our country has so many problems....so many people with knee jerk reactions...or parroting what they heard on tv....or making decisions with such self-serving, short-sighted motives. A church is a group of people...people are full of faults...we don't know if David is being honest...we don't know if his local church leaders are being honest...WE DON'T KNOW. All this racism talk is so uninformed....I am not a racist, yet I have trouble reconciling the Canaanites in the Bible being cursed with dark skin, and others told not to intermarry with them....does that shake my faith? Of course not...I have the humility to know that there are many things I don't understand....maybe after the numerous translations, the Bible lost something in those verses that would have made it easier to understand....maybe if my faith were stronger the whole Bible would be perfectly easy for me to understand...I currently understand maybe 5% of Isaiah. But I do understand trying(and trying...and trying) to be the best person I can be. I know many good people who are Mormons, Lutherans, Jews, Non-Denominational, etc...or claim no religion at all. I know bad people who claim to belong to all those faiths too. What is the difference? They are all sinners....the better people are just still working on it and the bad ones have given up. Who cares if Romney is a Mormon. Do you think he will try and support more of what you want...or more importantly...need...than Obama? If so, vote for him....if not, than vote for Obama. Keep it simple, and stop loving the sound of your own voices so much.
Stop all this Pro-Mormon/Anti-Mormon crap!Members and leaders of every church have flaws...none of us know if David or his leaders are in the wrong...maybe they both are...we are all sinners who are trying to stop sinning...Natural Man is an Enemy to God(if you don't understand that, you don't understand religion)...this is only an issue because of the election....The choice in November is simple....which candidate supports your values: fiscally, morally, constitutionally, etc.? If you are for traditional values you have to vote for Romney, no matter whether those values come from Catholicism, Judaism, "Traditional Protestant Christianity", Mormonism, or Buddhism.....If you are for "Progressive" values, live and let live, etc....then you have to vote for Obama.....They have VERY different values....and it doesn't matter if they got their values from LDS General Conferences or Rev Wright.....if you share their values vote for them. I would gladly vote for a candidate who shared my values, but not my religious denomination, than to vote for a candidate who claimed to be of my denomination but lived and voted just the opposite of the values taught in that denomination.
The root of the argument is over whether the values of the Mormon Church are, as you put it, "traditional" or "progressive." I myself read the Book of Mormon and think it is very "progressive." I think the majority of members of the Mormon Church lean "traditional" because of their prosperity that has caused them to lose their way.
David,You may join the Fraternity of other Excommunicated Mormon Intellectuals. I.E. Mike Quinn, Paul Toscano, Fawn Brodie, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Dan Vogel, David Wright and other notable Mormon Intellectuals.Arminius
There isn't one religion that can prove itself 100%, not one! Why in the world do you feel it is necessary to prove that the LDS faith is wrong??! You are pretending to support the LDS faith while at the same time picking it apart showing things that you feel do not make sense. All religions require, "faith." We people currently here on the earth have not witnessed the miracles of the type that were described in any scriptures. If you don't believe, fine...but for goodness sakes keep your opinions to yourself!
A couple of decades ago, when I was several years into my struggles over church teachings and practices, a good friend asked if she could make an appointment for me to speak with one of the General Authorities, a friend of hers. I somewhat reluctantly agreed.It was a terrible experience. He asked me what my issues were, and with each question I presented him he cut me off earlier and earlier, and became more aggressively agitated. By the time I had told him (barely) of four or five of my concerns, he was almost screaming at me. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that he was advising me to "go back to church, become active, stop questioning, follow the counsel of the leaders, and shut up". He then told me that he would be following up with my Bishop in six months to see if I had taken his counsel, and that if I had not, he would recommend that they take some "action".I told him that he didn't need to bother threatening me with excommunication, because his reactions to my sincere questions had just convinced me that "I quit".I never went back to church, and I've never regretted my choice. All they wanted from this young woman was unquestioning obedience and blind allegiance, which I wasn't prepared to give them. By the way, this meeting took place after a handful of Bishops and their Counselors, a couple of Stake Presidents, many Home Teachers, and a few missionaries had been unable to answer some of the questions I had, and had (mostly respectfully) referred me up the chain of command.
As a Mormon, accepting the gospel can be like trying to assemble an intricate jigsaw puzzle. An attractive picture with much attention to detail is glued to the surface. Because great numbers of small pieces are carved out of the whole, re-assembling them is difficult. Some of the pieces must be manipulated, others placed just-so, before the picture can begin to take form again. But piece or two pops out of position. It is so difficult that you let it lie and wait until to try and figure it out. It never occurs to you that, if you turn the puzzle over, there is another picture on the back - one you had not been aware of. If you decide to go through the agony of turning it all over section by section - sometimes piece by piece-you can now match colors and shapes. It is possible to use some of the pieces with beautiful picture; but it is alarming to find that you must use many of the pieces with dark, ugly. Symbolism. Strange unfamiliar images begin to emerge. It is devastating to find that the beautiful picture on the front was only a facade: in actuality, the puzzle only fits with both light and dark pieces. This is the over-whelming experence of a Mormon who discovers they have mixed truth with error and in so, have believed a lie.appendix 1 Understanding Mormonism Sandra and Conrad Sundholm