Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The First re-Vision of Joseph Smith


Gordon B. Hinckley taught the First Vision of Joseph Smith is the hinge pin on which this whole cause turns. If the First Vision was true, if it actually happened, then the Book of Mormon is true. Then we have the priesthood. Then we have the Church organization and all of the other keys and blessings of authority which we say we have. If the First Vision did not occur, then we are involved in a great sham. It is just that simple.” 
(Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 227, emphasis added.)

In other words by Hinckley:  “Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud… upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this church.” (General Conference, Oct 2002)

The LDS Church recently put out a new article in its Topic section to address critical analysis of the multiple First Vision accounts written and published by Joseph Smith.  In the rebuttal Topic article, they have made a few claims which will be addressed below. 

Consistent Story
Claim:  “The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail.”

Generally, the article argues the consistency is found in that “Joseph Smith testified repeatedly that he experienced a remarkable vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.“  And that: “A basic harmony in the narrative across time must be acknowledged at the outset: three of the four accounts clearly state that two personages appeared to Joseph Smith in the First Vision. “


Here are the words from the actual accounts.
1832 version:  “I saw the Lord”
1835 version: “a personage appeard in the midst…another personage soon appeard like unto the first…and I saw many angels in this vision” (sic)
1838 version:  “I saw two personages… One of them spake unto me calling me by name and said ‘This is my beloved Son, Hear him.’ “ (sic)
1842 version: “saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other”

The number of personages, the angels and events surrounding his first vision change (see the table below).  A more consistent thread through the versions is that he never actually names the personage(s) appearing. The claim that Joseph Smith testified specifically that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him is not founded in his own words.  He repeatedly said “personages”. Only in the 1832 account did he say the being was “the Lord”. Never did he say “God”.  In the 1838 version, he stated that one of the personages was a “Son” using the phrase found in the gospels when Jesus was baptized, implying that the personage was Jesus Christ.  Other LDS leaders taught that the personages were in fact God the Father and Jesus Christ.  Why wouldn’t Joseph Smith have clearly taught this?  Given that he named Moroni specifically in his 1823 and subsequent visions, it stands to reason he would have named God and Jesus.  One could possibly mistake the idea of a father and son vision for Mormon and Moroni.

It’s important to note that earlier accounts refer to an angel, a spirit, many angels, or the Lord. The story in its present form with the Father and the Son, did not appear until 1838.  Why did it take 18 years before Joseph Smith finally implied that the Father and the Son appeared to him?


Version
Sins Forgiven
Personages
Pillar of Fire
Angel(s)
Beings named
Told No True Church
1832
Yes
1
No
0
“the Lord”
Yes
1835
Yes
2
Yes
Hosts
No
No
1838
Yes
2
No
0
“Son”
Yes
1842
No
2
Light only
0
No
Yes
1835**
No
0
No
Angels
No
No


**The Topic article fails to mention that Joseph Smith wrote about his First Vision a second time in 1835, found at http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/journal-1835-1836?p=38

It’s also interesting to note that the version found in the Pearl of Great Price was edited over three times (see http://josephsmithpapers.org/site/accounts-of-the-first-vision   firsthand items 4-6) before it was finally edited a fourth time and published in the Times and Season, March 15, 1842, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 727-728, 748-749, 753.  Joseph Smith worked on perfecting his account over many years. 

The variations and differences are explained by the LDS Church in the Topic article by increasing insight and by emphasis on different aspects.

Increasing Insight
Claim: “Joseph’s increasingly specific descriptions can thus be compellingly read as evidence of increasing insight, accumulating over time, based on experience.”

That Joseph Smith increased his insights into his own vision over time, based on further experience is undermined by the change in his central claims in the early and later versions.  He named the one personage “the Lord” in the 1832 version and later did not name him again.  The motivation for inquiring in prayer and his answer that he should join no church changed considerably between the versions.  What is really changing, over time, is Joseph Smith’s claim on divine right.  The general progression is from lower claims of divinity to more and more grandeur claims of direct connection to God.  As his followers believed in his claims, he strengthen the divine nature and increased the embellishment in his accounts.

Changing Emphasis & Memory
Claim: “Historians expect that when an individual retells an experience in multiple settings to different audiences over many years, each account will emphasize various aspects of the experience and contain unique details.”


Emphasizing different aspects is one thing. Contradicting statements between versions are another.

Besides the changing number of beings and angels, besides the changing conditions of pillars or light, of being forgiven or not, there are a few contradictory points found in the various accounts.  One of those, the revival of the 1820s has been noted in the Topic article.  There are several others.  For example, his study of apostasy and his claims of persecution.

Apostasy or not?
In the 1832 account, Joseph wrote:
“by searching the scriptures I found  that mankind  did not come unto the Lord but that  they had apostatised from the true and liveing faith” (sic)

In the 1838 account, he wrote:
"for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong."

Persecution or not?
In the official version Joseph claims he was persecuted by all the churches in his area "because I continued to affirm I had seen a vision."  However, Orsemus Turner, an apprentice printer in Palmyra until 1822, was in the same juvenile debating club with Joseph Smith. He recalled that Joseph "after catching a spark of Methodism ...became a very passable exhorter in evening meetings" (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, 1851, p. 214). Thus, instead of being opposed and persecuted as his 1838 account claims, young Joseph was welcomed and allowed to exhort during the Methodist's evening preaching. Furthermore, no one, either Mormon or non-Mormon, seems ever to have heard of Joseph's encounter with two divine Personages until the 1830s. (See this admission in Dialogue, Autumn 1966, pp. 30-31; Saints Herald, June 29, 1959, pg. 21.)

It's hard to be persecuted at the time when you don't even disclose the event for another decade.


Confusion or creative license?
Any 14 year old boy who studied the bible regularly, who had received a vision of God and Jesus would not get as confused as Joseph Smith seems to have become. 

His shifting emphasis included remembering new phrases like “this is my Son” almost 18 years after the event.   How bad of a memory or shifting of emphasis must one have that when exactly two shining "personages" appear to you, and one says "This is my beloved Son, hear him" that you mistake it for a single personage, then an angel, and then a chorus of angels, then God the Father and Jesus?

This is like saying "I had lunch with a White House intern the other day. No, wait, it was all of the White House interns. No wait, it was the Vice President. No wait, it was the President who introduced me to the Vice President by name and told me he loved me."

Joseph Smith’s mother said about her son, “During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them.” (Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith The Prophet, Lucy Mack Smith).

Joseph had a propensity to imagination and stories.  Could the evolving emphasis, contradictions and differences be more about creativity than the Creator?


Faith, Not Fact
Claim: “Neither the truth of the First Vision nor the arguments against it can be proven by historical research alone.”


How does the LDS Church expect members to find absolute truth?  Through inexact feelings.  “Knowing the truth of Joseph Smith’s testimony requires each earnest seeker of truth to study the record and then exercise sufficient faith in Christ to ask God in sincere, humble prayer whether the record is true. If the seeker asks with the real intent to act upon the answer revealed by the Holy Ghost, the truthfulness of Joseph Smith’s vision will be manifest.”

The LDS Church prefers that you use feelings of faith to accept and believe the First Vision, and that you not analyze the various accounts using logic and rational thinking alone.   If we apply this same advice to other events in history, then it opens a conundrum. 

Joseph Smith's claim that “I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it” is not all that different than the claim made by prophets in other world religions.  If Mormons are to ignore historical issues and pray about the truth of Joseph Smith's Vision, then they should acknowledge the Muslims who've pray about Muhammad's First Revelation when the angel Gabriel visited him and revealed a verse in the Quran.  If Mormons are to dismiss inconsistencies in Smith's accounts, then they should likewise ignore the issues in Scientology of soul discovery, E-meters, auditing and more; and study determinedly about the truthfulness of Hubbard’s religion.  If LDS members accept Joseph Smith's increasing divine claims in his accounts, they should open their hearts to miraculous claims by the millions following recently deceased mystic Sathya Sai Baba.  When one primarily uses feelings to overcome historical inconsistencies and logical flaws, then one either holds to personal biases to remain faithful, or opens oneself to believing all kinds of diverse and strange claims. 

The LDS Church prefers you rely on feelings they define for you.  Feelings are more easily manipulated than facts. They've had over a century to correct the facts, and they still can't quite spin them right.




71 comments:

  1. Well done David. Continual pressure is needed to root out bullshit, just like our forefathers had to do in the Revolutionary War. Once the BS is gone, things get better for everyone.

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  2. Joseph never mentioned that Moroni had visited him in 1823 he always said that Nephi had visited him. After Joseph's death the someone crossed out the name Nephi in the account and wrote Moroni above it.

    There seems to be no end to the confusion about the various stories and events in the early days of Church history.

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    1. What evidence do you have to support what you are claiming?

      The first recorded reference to the angel being identified as Nephi is from an 1839 account written by James Mulholland. A couple of other publications based on Mulholland's account then followed suit. But there are earlier accounts such as one by Oliver Cowdery in 1835, where the angel was identified as Moroni. And while many early accounts don't identify the angel at all, the majority that do, identify him as Moroni.

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  3. The Church is now rewriting history. The stories of women who blessed animals or individuals are changed. Now the women went to men and had them bless the the person or animal. Is this just another example of "Lying for the Lord"? A concept I heard was practiced by the Priesthood in the past and by some in the present.
    I've also had visions in dreams but that was something everyone can have and are hard to express. I found if I stripped away my religion from the vision it was much more powerful message for all mankind not just members of the church. It was just like a near death experience. It was hard to write about until I just wrote what I saw and felt without interpreting the dream to fit my religion.

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  4. In our current legal system, "expert" witnesses are people with certain expertise like psychology. Because of them, our legal system considers changing stories to be an "unreliable witness" and the testimony is thrown out of court. The variances in these multiple accounts are significant enough that Joseph's story would be deemed unreliable.

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  5. You can't take one tiny peace of the whole plan, the whole understanding of how we came to be here, why we are here and what we will do while we are here and have it make sense. In my process of converting I looked at all of the negative things that people like David T. posted and then I looked at the entire picture. I'm well aware of human imperfection, I'm aware that scriptures, written by man is going to be imperfect, as imperfect as man, is. However, David T. asked the Muhammad's first revelation and the ensuing Koran. Or, other religions for that matter. Does what they say make sense? Does it makes sense to pray the exact same prayer five times a day, day in and day out? All the other religions do not make sense. The purpose for being here, what happened before we got here, what happens when we die....only makes sense from the Mormon perspective. This is when I came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith, with all of his infallibility, and this church with all of its infallibility still knows the truth, and preaches as close to the truth was one can be, with human imperfection.

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    1. Anonymous wrote: "Does what they say make sense? Does it makes sense to pray the exact same prayer five times a day, day in and day out? All the other religions do not make sense."

      Do all the inconsistent statements by Joseph Smith make sense? Does it make sense to take a child to the temple and dunk her in the water 50 times for dead people, saying the same prayer over and over? Does it make sense to watch the same movie for dead people you don't know over and over, two or three hours at a time? The Mormon religion does not make sense to outsiders.

      When I view any religion as an outsider, it doesn't make sense.

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    2. "Does it makes sense to pray the exact same prayer five times a day, day in and day out?"

      To a modern American raised with modern American values, maybe not. To a Muslim raised in a traditional Muslim society, it makes perfect sense. Don't confuse your acculturated prejudices for "sense". A great many societies, both historical and modern, both Christian and otherwise, have set no particular value at all on originality in prayer. If you do then well and good, but don't pretend it makes more "sense". It doesn't.

      David's reply is well-taken. For a non-Mormon, it's makes no sense that a religion's most sacred rite should mostly consist of sitting back and taking in a poorly-written movie. Our reaction on finding out about it? No wonder they try to keep it secret! If this became common knowledge, they'd be a laughingstock!

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    3. "To a modern American raised with modern American values, maybe not. To a Muslim raised in a traditional Muslim society, it makes perfect sense. Don't confuse your acculturated prejudices for "sense". A great many societies, both historical and modern, both Christian and otherwise, have set no particular value at all on originality in prayer. If you do then well and good, but don't pretend it makes more "sense". It doesn't."

      Actually, I have spoken with several Mormon's about their praying
      five times a day, and they don't know why they are doing it other than Muhammad told them to pray five times a day. Originally Muhammad claimed the lord told them to pray a hundred times a day, but he pled with the Lord that it was too much. So it was cut down to fifty times a day, then five times a day with a certain amount of prayers within the five.

      In actuality most people when asked why they do certain things ritual wise with their religion they can't answer why.

      I can answer why to almost every question, to my satisfaction.

      And again, when taking any religion out of context it will appear ridiculous to an outside.

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    4. Not being able to outline the reasoning behind a practice is not the same as finding that it doesn't make any sense. For a Muslim, the fact that they think God commanded them to do it is sufficient, to THEIR satisfaction. You really can't see how self-centered you're being about this, can you? Step out of your head for just a moment and try to look at the world through someone else's eyes for a change.

      I've seen the Mormon Temple rite. It makes ZERO sense. At all. Period. In any context. It's utterly ridiculous, and not even the live version rises to the solemnity of a true attempt to approach God.

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  6. The above comment is a perfect example of how to try and misdirect attention away from the topic at hand and push us back into "how does it make you feel" territory. You've brought a limp noodle to a gun fight my friend, and the only people that your argument will convince is people who already agree with you.
    Excellent job David! Keep up the good work.

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  7. Testimony given closest to an event tends to be more reliable than testimony given several years later, unless there is intentional fraud. That would lend additional credibility to the 1832 account over the '35 and '38 accounts. If any are true, it's more likely going to be the '32 account.

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  8. Concerning the first Dec. 4th comment. You say that you are aware that JS was human and had human frailties. My question is how many frailties does it take before one becomes convinced that JS could not have been a true prophet from a true God? Some people say that they know that he "wasn't perfect". And they use that somehow to justify his behavior. David O. McKay "wasn't perfect". But JS was in a totally different category.

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  9. Again, it is the entire picture, not the people. Regardless of the religion, you have to look at the entire picture. If you personally decide that NO religion is right, and/or that there are NO God/s, that is fine. I'm saying that David T. and everyone else that is determined to prove that Joseph Smith was a fraud, and that church is untrue is barking at the wrong church. Plus, the people that do this fulfill the very prophecy that Joseph Smith and the other authorities have given. You have sentenced yourself to speaking badly about the church. Personally, I think it is hilarious!

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    1. The whole picture is flawed. You have a "prophet" confabulating his initial claims about a first vision, completely making up a story about ancient America that science shows is ridiculous, practicing polygamy in secret to marry the wedded wives of other men. The man wasn't just flawed, he was sick, and you follow him without skepticism. Your current leaders hoard money and buy malls and ranches and industrial centers, while members who can't hardly afford rent and food still pay their 10% lest they burn at the second coming or go to the terrestrial kingdom.

      I'm sure Madoff and other ponzie schemers also prophesied: "If our investors knew we were scamming them, they'd be pissed. We'll never hear the end of it!" And they'd be true prophets too. From the perspective of the scammed, it is not so hilarious. But you laugh, because we'll be here for you when you finally get perspective.

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  10. As a convert to the church I was dismayed at how the church doesn't teach its history. Had I known then what I know now there is no way on this beautiful earth I would have joined. For me the truth matters more than anything else. Blame my parents, I was raised to tell the truth and to never believe those that don't. The church continues to lie about the foundations that it is built on. JS is no different that Warren Jeffs. Warren is not a prophet and neither was Joseph. Joseph was a blatant liar and he was good at putting together good stories. Some apologists will tell you he could in no way make up those stories because of his lack of education. I don't buy it. Have you ever seen the imagination of a child and how they can make up stories? JS did that with a more adult mind similar to Tolkien. I would put more stock in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings any more than I would in what Smith wrote. Read the BoM, it's a fun read but realize that it is just another fantasy tale.

    This evolving story of his and his vision is exactly why people are believed in court or not. When someone story changes constantly, the court can see they aren’t telling the truth. Guess what? Joseph wasn’t either.

    Thanks for sharing your outlook David T.

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    1. It is a good thing you left the church before you gained any actual real knowledge. In fact it probably a GREAT idea to stay away from ALL churches, because I can promise you that there will be some degree of lies and exaggerations going on in all of them.

      Oh, and by the way, stay away from yourself because you lie too. Everyone lies at some point or another in their life.

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    2. Perhaps, but I don't claim to be the only way into heaven and preach fear and perpetuate guilt and shame as motivational tools over those I know are being deceived, nor tell them their children can go hungry and homeless in order to give me money I don't need and won't even spend. It would appear you are comfortable with that? No?

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  11. I find it curious that when some people leave a religion, they seem incapable of walking away from it. I read a book on Einstein (by Walter Isaacson) where he noted the same thing. In a letter he stated, "The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who - in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses' - cannot hear the music of the spheres."

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    1. I find it curious that the LDS Church sends 50,000+ missionaries out to the world to keep knocking doors that have been knocked over and over. They seem incapable of leaving it alone and create fanatics of young men wearing white shirts and name badges. And when they return, those men feel the weight of their conditioning for a lifetime of temple marriage and kids, worship, callings, tithing and obedience that fills much of their life. They fear "anti-mormon" literature and even become wary of the internet, because leaders have told them so.

      I know that members would like those of us who left over doctrinal and historical issues to just walk away and not remind them they worship in a delusional system. I'm sure they don't want to hear about Joseph Smith's failed attempts to feign translating Egyptian. I'm sure they don't want to be reminded about the complete contradictory evidence of DNA and opposing archaeology of ancient Amerindians to their Book of Mormon. You wish we would just go away so you call us names like "fanatical atheists" and creatures of grudge.

      Rather than see ourselves as you would, we feel our duty as wounded soldiers to leave no comrade behind. We go back to the front lines to help the fallen and to bring back the other wounded from the conflict. We offer truth. The Mormon Church continues to lie.

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    2. The reason I can't leave the church alone is that my parents, most siblings, inlaws, wife, etc are members and believers.

      And so I'm stuck with my loved ones thinking I'm under the influence of satan and that I'm ruining their forever family. Praying for me, etc.

      And yet I know it's a fraud and I wish that all people would learn about Judaism, the origins of Christianity, actual mormon history, etc and then make more informed decisions.

      I can't easily walk away from the LDS church just yet. But I may be able to help my children escape.

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    3. Anonymous (the first): When you have devoted more that fifty years of active membership involing time, service, and paying tens upon tens of thousands of dollars to an organization of which you finally realize has lied and brain-washed you ever since you were a kid, and will not hesitate to demonize, disenfranchise, marginalize, even excommunicate you for questioning the legitimacy of the organization, you can be damn sure that many of these people feel obligated to expose this so-called ‘one and only true church’ for what it is. Just because it’s your sacrosanct church doesn’t make it hands-off, or a keep-your-mouth-shut affair any more than if I knew the water everyone was drinking out of their taps wasn’t pure and was consequently unhealthy. If you know something is wrong, is not what it claims to be, then you *should* feel very obligated to warn your neighbor. It’s the Christian thing to do.

      The Mormon church is more likely a fraud than not. The evidences that substantiate this premise are overwhelming. Just because the church seems to be working for you for whatever reason doesn’t make the church true. Many people are no longer willing to drink the Kool-aid although there are still many people (like you) who choose to ignore the data for whatever reason(s). But to be sure, none of these reasons are based on academic, historical facts that can stand up to close scrutiny. The apologetic counter-arguments in favor of the Mormon church are so lame it makes reason stand on its head.

      You have to love truth more than tradition. This requires personal integrity and sometimes courage.

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    4. Intellectual Honesty vs. Emotional Ideology…

      Great points Me from Cali, thank you. As a lifetime member, mission, BYU, temple marriage, branch presidency, etc. I just spent the last year going through hell as I learned the truth about my faith. Initially I did just want to slip away quietly in the night, but the ward, missionaries, bishop, family, won't afford me the opportunity to leave it alone.

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    5. I feel for you, totally. And if you live anywhere in the Wasatch Front, then even more so.

      In order to cope you may have to develop ways to negotiate more with yourself rather than with others around you. The Dali Lama once said, “Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.” This may also go along with (although a tired cliché), “Learn not to throw out the baby with the dirty bath water.” I know it’s very difficult, especially if you have to deal with Nazi-like, or otherwise fanatical, literalistic dogmatic, judgmental, and even sometimes bat $hit crazy Mormons, but I think it’s possible. I managed it while raising my kids and believe there was a net gain in some ways being an active LDS member during those years. But after the kids grew up and left the nest, and I retired, things started to ease up quite a bit. I think a key factor can be attributed to the fact that my wife was totally on board with me, so Sundays and anything ‘church’ wasn’t a problem. We still say to each other that our years as Mormons had their utility, but we outgrew its nonsense as a religion, e.g., Masonic-like temple rituals, leader worship (‘follow the prophet’ instead of the prompting of the Holy Ghost, or just Christ’s teachings, to say nothing about our God-given abilities to reason and think for ourselves), and so many other things.

      Make haste slowly, my brother, knowing that in the meantime there are still ways to:

      LET IT GO
      by Paul Anthony Belfiglio

      Let it go,
      Let what you want gone, go;
      There’s better to come what you come to outgrow.

      Just know what’s important, though,
      What is, what isn’t to keep or let go;
      Then detach, relax and enjoy the show
      Even when the hot air starts to blow
      With a
      “Hey, bro,”
      “It’s this way; you ought to know!”
      Or a
      “Hey, bro,”
      “You need to keep the status quo!”

      no, no, no

      It’s Your Own Life, its ebb and flow;
      Live Your Own Life, and know
      You’re at Your Own Helm, so...

      Let it go,
      Let what you want gone, go;
      There’s better to come what you come to outgrow.

      Delete
  12. There's a couple of comments about exmos not being able to move on, that we're angry and enslaved to our grudges. Not all exmos are angry about Mormonism -- and those of us who are frustrated aren't in a constant state of rage. But yes, many exmos are upset about LDS inc -- and we are because we see harm being done by it. We're upset about harm being done to exmos... and we're concerned about harm done to believing members. We don't just think Mormonism is mistaken -- we think it does significantly more harm than good. And it pisses us off.

    The statement assumes that exmos are angry because there's something wrong with us. It assumes that exmos are angry because we're sinful, bitter, selfish, whiny, unhappy, because we lack joy and meaning in our lives, because we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. The people asking it seem to have never even considered the possibility that exmos are upset because we have legitimate things to be frustrated about.

    This reflexive dismissal of our frustration does two things. It treats exmos as flawed, broken, incomplete. And it tries to defang the power of our views. Frustration is a hugely powerful motivating force -- it has been a major motivating force for every social change movement in history -- and when people try to dismiss or trivialize exmos' discontent, they are, essentially, trying to take that power away.

    By saying what you did, you never seem to notice just how much exmo frustration is directed, not at harm done to exmos, but at harm done to believing Mormons. A huge amount of our discontent about Mormonism is aimed at the oppression and misery created by LDSinc, not in the lives of exmos, but in the lives of our friends and family still trapped by it.

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    1. I've left the mainstream Baptist type churches. I left because I feel what they preach is harmful to those that believe. I left because the ministry basically teaching that is okay to sin and continue to sin as long as you believe that Christ died for your sins you are forgiven, over and over, and over again! I left because they attempt to tell me that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one, like an egg or an apple. I left because they teach that they don't know what Heaven will be like other than floating on a cloud somewhere. I left because they say that if you don't know about Jesus, and his saving grace you will end up in hell.

      However, I don't go around preaching that information to everyone. I don't start a blog to tell everyone why they shouldn't join any mainstream Christian churches because they don't know anything. Because the LIE to people!

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    2. Why not? If it's a lie and people are being deceived (conned) into giving away time and money, misled to believe other people aren't as good as they are, etc, shouldn't you help make the world a better place?

      Standing by and doing nothing while innocent people are victimized isn't taking the high ground. The internet, with it's blogs and many websites have helped me and many other's discover things we didn't know. We knew there were problems and things that didn't make sense, but didn't know how deep the problems ran. I'm grateful for people who aren't afraid to speak their mind. I can choose to believe or reject what David or any other blogger/website says. But if he doesn't post, I don't get the opportunity to agree or disagree.

      I'm grateful for your post as well, even though I disagree, it got me thinking and inspired me enough to write a response.

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  13. I personally to not believe I evolved from apes, I personally choose not to believe that I was created from a big bang. I personally choose not to believe that humans did not just drop down from the sky.

    Children tend to believe what they are told by their parents, their culture and their surroundings and their traditions. As we grow older some people change and/or questions those beliefs. Questioning is good and healthy, regardless of what it is you're questioning. When I grew up and as I got older I questioned a lot of things, including my religious beliefs. I questioned why we are here. One of my questions was if God is such a loving God, why didn't he just keep us safe with him? Why did we have to come here at all. I did understand why, once we are here that children and innocent people have to suffer from all sorts of abuses. There was a lot I didn't understand, that didn't make sense. When I asked questions from family members, and ministers they pat answer was....we don't know the answers to all these questions, we will find out some day when we go to Heaven.

    Just about all of the questions I've had, and even some I haven't had have been answered through my study and investigation of this church and its beliefs. Do I care that the person and/or people that started it were imperfect? NO! Why should I care about the messenger? Everyone messenger is imperfect, every single one, every single prophet throughout the ages are imperfect SINNERS!

    So,you David T. are falling apart because humans are following blindly and not questioning what or why they are doing things. You are worried about people that may, or may not be bothered by following the teachings of this church, be it missionaries or not. No, let me rephrase that, you are pretending to care about the people you feel are being mislead by this church. You are so pious! What about all of the children that are suffering without food and water? What about abused children throughout the world? What does your writing about the naughtiness of this church do for anyone!?

    Again, I think you have some personal sin that you are committing that is driving you to put down this church. And that is hilarious!

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    1. Perhaps I am pious. Back in 2012, I posted about starving children several times. Here's just one example.

      "I ask you, what would it take for every American to give up in order to feed these 66 million kids? Just one pizza per year and the 66 million hungry kids could have food. How the Catholics could sell a few artifacts each year out of the thousands they have and almost perpetually feed these kids. Or the Mormons could donate 30% of their tithing/offerings income and feed all the hungry kids currently in the world."


      http://mormondisclosures.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-great-and-spacious-building.html


      And I compare LDS inc to a secular charity here:

      http://mormondisclosures.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-thought-experiment.html

      Perhaps I am a sinner. But I don't claim to be a prophet or speak to god on behalf of everyone else. I'm just giving my opinion. I'm not marginalizing yours by calling you anything. I'm just stating information I have.

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    2. Mr. Anonymous,

      I am not sure why you included that first paragraph in your 12:24 pm comment. But I am kind of glad you did. You are proving David's point. You said you choose not to believe things like evolution and the big bang. And that is perfectly acceptable. However, whether you want to admit it or not, those things have been scientifically proven. Evolution did and is happening, including human evolution. The Big Bang did happen. There is no way to disprove these facts.

      So you choosing not to believe them is fine. Just know that at the same time you are choosing to ignore truth. And in its place, you are relying on a belief in something you personally learned or were taught in some religious setting.

      As a member of the Church, I know it is taught that we accept all truth, no matter the source. I am pretty sure Russell M. Nelson said as much in his latest conference address. What I find interesting, and what I think David is trying to explain, is your willingness to ignore truth in favor of faith.

      This blog post is analyzing how the Church is telling its members that at the end of the day, the answer will only come after praying about it. In other words, forget about the facts and simply rely on your feelings. But if Joseph's vision actually happened the way the Church now says it did, then the facts would line up with the feelings. They wouldn't be contradictory.

      I'm not telling you that you need to start believing in evolution or the big bang. But if you don't, your beliefs will be based on incomplete evidence. A firm belief system accepts all truths and not just the ones that fit nicely.

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    3. I'm not a Mr.

      You're fully disillusioned if you think that scientist have proven anything. It really depends on what scientist you choose to believe and listen to. And science is only as good as the progress of man. As an example as telescopes have improved, scientist have discovered more planets and stars. Does that mean they didn't exist or does that mean man's tools have improved?

      I do choose to pray, read, investigate, study and listen to the Holy Spirit, because with all of that I have learned and been taught. It is all about what you're seeking.

      I've said this before about this website. If some poor soul is seeking truth, if they are seeking to see find the Lord this is not the place to look and that is why I still respond on this blog.

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    4. Look at it this way. The Book of Mormon and Bible claim to be history. As such I interpreted what I read as facts, things that actually happened, and built my faith on the teachings and acts of these prophets and leaders, with the expectation that if it happened to them it could happen to me too. They were my role models, I looked to the scriptures for answers to life questions, I used their teachings as a guidlines for my moral choices, etc.

      If I was told they were fiction but had good morals and lessons, I could still have benefited from them, but it would have had much less influence over me.

      The problem is that history as told by the Bible and BOM and doesn't match other sources of history. That's where the book of Mormon DNA, archeology, horses, coins, languages, etc all become a problem. That's where noah's ark and adam and eve and the tower of bible become a problem. The no death before the fall, etc.

      How does one reconcile the differences? If you have two conflicting stories, which do you believe? What if the vast majority of sources seem to support one story more than the other? And those sources are verifiable in many cases, open to argument, etc. And the conflicting source is essentially taking somebody at their word. It's a tough sell. I realize sometimes the lone dissenter is correct, but it's a tough position to defend.

      It's much harder to defend when the church has a history of lying when the going gets tough and breaking their own commandments when necessary. When their founding prophet was also well versed in lying and involved in fraud before founding the church. Just look at the history of the church and polygamy, lies lies and more lies, it's crazy. And not just Joseph, but leader after leader, publicly saying one thing, privately doing another. Maybe God chose a con-man and perpetual liar to restore his one true church... but are certain enough to dedicate your time, talents, all that you possess and will posses, to the church of jesus christ of latter days saints? Feel free to bow your head and say yes.

      But I have serious doubts. And modern prophets have done nothing to clarify anything. What's the point to a modern prophet if they can't help explain why the book of abraham doesn't have anything to do with the papyrus? If they can't testify they have also seen God and Jesus Christ, or an angel? Why can't they finish the inspired version of the bible, pick up where Joseph Smith left off. Why don't they prophecy about wars and disasters like the prophets of old or give military advice like Alma? Why don't priesthood blessings ever bring people back from the dead or heal amputees?

      I'm not just spouting off either. Those are all issues that seriously bothered me.

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    5. "But I have serious doubts. And modern prophets have done nothing to clarify anything. What's the point to a modern prophet if they can't help explain why the book of abraham doesn't have anything to do with the papyrus? If they can't testify they have also seen God and Jesus Christ, or an angel? Why can't they finish the inspired version of the bible, pick up where Joseph Smith left off. Why don't they prophecy about wars and disasters like the prophets of old or give military advice like Alma? Why don't priesthood blessings ever bring people back from the dead or heal amputees?"

      While you are on the path of asking why. Why don't donkey's talk to prophets now, as they did in the past? Why don't whales swallow prophets now? What proof, physical proof do you have that Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, and cured the blind? Why are their dinosaur bones everywhere? Why did the Lord create earth and put us here? Why not create us and keep us with him?

      I've said this many times, either you believe that God exist or you don't. If you do believe in God, the only logical religion or belief is the LDS faith.

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    6. I want to believe in God but I don't think the Christian version makes sense.

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    7. "I've said this many times, either you believe that God exist or you don't. If you do believe in God, the only logical religion or belief is the LDS faith."

      You must be using some definition of "logical" different from the one everyone else is using. The only "logical" belief is derived from the fantasies of a fraudulent 19th century psychic treasure-hunter? How odd.

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  14. David T.

    You are calling out people that are no longer alive to defend or speak up for themselves. You are also marginalizing anyone whose opinions are not in agreement with yours. You aren't doing anything to life anyone, or anything thing up and your pitiful claim to writing about charity is just that, pitiful. It was only tied to an insult about the LDS faith.

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    1. You call him pitiful for criticizing, then you criticize him. You're below pitiful. Why are you worried about David? Don't you have hungry kids to feed?

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    2. Recovery from Mormonism, go lick your wounds. No, go join another church, I'm positive there are people in other churches that will be more than happy to commiserate with you about the wrongness of the Mormon church.

      I'm not worried about David T., I'm more worried that someone who may be seeking to know more about the LDS church will be led astray by David T., who is trying to justify his sin, by putting the LDS church down.

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  15. I appreciate your responses David. They ring true to us exmos. I am always entertained how the out right lying, cheating, stealing and make believe that has come from this church is reframed as "imperfect." There is "imperfect" people who we all are on a day to day basis and then there is fraud and criminal "imperfect".

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    1. Hey exmo, did that make you feel better for a nano second? lol

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  16. I firmly believed in Santa Claus and would have guaranteed he was real even when my friends had learned earlier and told me that he was not real. But as I started to let facts drive my feelings and not the other way around, I soon realized that no matter how strongly I felt about good ole Saint Nick, he indeed was not real. Cults want you to base your beliefs on your feelings and not the facts. Feelings are an emotional reaction to something, not the truthfulness of it. What Mormons have (especially those born under the covenant) is a strong case of confirmation bias. This is where you tend to only believe the information that confirms your personal beliefs dismissing everything else. Actually, many people in all religions likely have varying degrees of confirmation bias.

    As an ex-mormon I notice something a poster stated that I was conditioned to say when someone was "attacking" Joseph Smith - that he wasn't perfect. The fact that he was not perfect (nor any other biblical prophet for that matter) is not really the biggest issue for a bible-believing Christian. However, I do agree with David T. in that JS was a sick man as was BY (objective church history facts paint a clear picture). The biggest issue is that what he brought forth in the BOM is as Mark Twain said, "Chloroform in print." His radically different views on the character and nature of God/Jesus (which changed overtime too) are absolutely blasphemous. Justification via self-righteousness and works, though sensible to the natural man, is completely unbiblical. Claiming a complete and total apostasy is calling God a liar. Suggesting the BOM is the "most correct book of any on earth" and "contains the fullness of the gospel" is what is "hilarious." If it is the fullness, can you point me to the doctrines of: the plan of salvation, our pre-earth existence, plurality of gods, gods with wives, temple works, eternal marriage, chance for repentance after death, baptism for the dead, three levels of heaven, the church organization, god being an exalted man, the Aaronic priesthood, eternal progression, men can become gods, celestial marriage (plural marriage), and the word of wisdom?

    I could go on and on from a biblical perspective of why Mormonism is not what it claims to be, nor is it Christian. If you disagree with anything I have said and your faith is strong enough, then put it to the test. That is biblical (Acts 17:11). Go to www.thecrossunveiled.com and see what biblical Christianity teaches and just how different it is from Mormonism from every single doctrine. Although I have different beliefs from that of David T., I do at least respect that he cares about Mormons enough to share this information and that he has based his decisions on evidence and not feelings.

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    1. So funny....are you for real? The Bible, I'd much rather read that someone believed in no God than to spout the accuracy of the Bible. Do you have any clue how the Bible became a cannon and how long it took before it became a cannon? Do you have ANY idea how many imperfect men had a hand in writing that Bible? And you put down the BofM even though there is NOTHING in the BofM that is in disagreement with the Bible. You've even pointed out what has been taught that wasn't in the BofM! And yet, most of that makes sense, so much more than ANY other religion! You and David T. need to go out and educate yourselves on other religions, how they got their start and how the Bible became a cannon.

      Oh, and yes there was a St Nicholas at one time, this was based on a true person.

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    2. I am replying to let you know that, indeed, I am for real. It's interesting that you attack the very book you claim as doctrine. I remember being conditioned to resort to this tactic by LDS leadership as well when my LDS beliefs were being questioned. I am well aware of all the comments you made as I had to start all over when realizing the LDS church was a fraud. I did research the bible and analyzed both sides of the arguments so I could base my decision on as much evidence as possible. I think I made it very clear in my first post that no other biblical prophet was perfect. I believe you may have missed the point.

      You state there is nothing from the BOM that is in disagreement with the bible. As a member, I thought and defended this very position too as it seemed every general conference an "apostle" or the "prophet" would bear strong testimony making this claim. I felt the Spirit confirm their testimonies, which confirmed my testimony. But when I set my feelings aside and began some objective study, I soon realized what the BOM and the church really was - a plagiarism and literary fiction and a corporation masquerading as a religion. Most of the issues with the BOM are laid out at the site I provided under the BOM tab. So before you make the claim that the BOM and bible completely agree with one another, hear all sides of the argument and not just what you have been taught to believe. Test your faith. It is a win-win proposition. You will either know more about your faith and be able to intelligently defend it or you will realize you are stuck on a hamster wheel trying to earn what has been a free gift all along.

      I have investigated other religions enough to know that the vast majority operate under the principle of "I obey, therefore, I am accepted by God." Whereas Christianity operates under the principle of "I am accepted by God based on what Jesus Christ did, therefore, I obey." The point is virtually all other religions are works-based for acceptance which drives people into further sin because this method of salvation breeds pride and self-righteousness. Jesus made this point extremely clear to the Pharisees. The message of the cross strips us bare of pride and self-righteousness before God. This message was "offensive" to Jews and "foolish" to Gentiles because working the "works of God" was what Jews though earned them their place in heaven (this is what Mormonism teaches too). As a Mormon, is the cross "offensive" and "foolishness" to you? I was taught to shun the cross, its message and meaning as a member. I now as Paul does, glory only in the cross as it is the very place God chose to save humanity.

      Jesus told them the work of God was to believe, period. So this is what I do and by realizing this, I have liberty, peace and can show "agape" love, which are all unattainable to a Mormon in this mortal life. I have exchanged the heavy Mormon yoke for the easy yoke in Christ.

      Exercise your "free agency" and study all the evidence and no matter where you end up, you will have at least based your decision on the evidence rather than a manufactured feeling.

      BTW, I do realize there was a real St. Nicholas, but I believe you are intelligent enough to realize the point I was making.

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    3. My point with the Bible and the BofM was that there is nothing in the BofM that would have drastically altered how people worship the Lord. I would also like to add that I don't believe that the BofM is perfect. My reason for believing it its imperfection is tied to imperfect men. Anything that humans do will be imperfect. I wasn't attacking the Bible or the BofM, I was stating what I know to be true. Also, I do read all scripture however I don't read it on a regular basis. I know that the Lord is capable of teaching through every media, I just have to look for his lessons.

      Jesus wasn't saying you don't have to live the law's such as the Ten Commandments. He went against the Pharisees because they were taking the scriptures and building on them, or making up rules of their own. Jesus even said he didn't come to do away with the law. Jesus and Heavenly Father do accept and love us. However, you cannot live with them if you cannot live the laws of the universe. It just can't happen.

      To give an example...

      Suppose you have several children and one of your children as they become a teenager gets hooked on drugs. Suppose you work with them have them in rehab etc. This child has stolen your credit cards, stolen your car and has come close to burning your house down. Do you stop loving that child? Of course not! Do you allow them to continue to live under your roof once they become an adult? Not likely, because they are a danger to you, your other children and the entire house. At some point you come to learn that as much as you love them, they will never abide by the rules of your home. The same can be said of Lord and his house.

      Which brings me to works.... The mainstream Christian religions try so hard to point out how wrong the LDS church is for saying people have to work for their salvation. What they fail to recognize is that the Lord expects us to live the laws and covenants he gives us. These laws and covenants are given to us for a reason, he didn't say...follow them, sort of. Most, if not all laws, and covenants that are given are tied to the laws of the universe. When you alter them or don't follow them you will catastrophic consequences. Just because you do not see the results right away doesn't mean it doesn't happen, some results take some to appear.

      If I were to base my beliefs soley on solid evidence I wouldn't have any faith, or any religion. Because there isn't a church that can claim solid evidence that God truly exist.

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    4. Faith is trusting in God’s word, something Mormon's don't do. Mormonism is based on the word of God being corrupt and Mormonism only having the uncorrupted truth. I agree you can't base your faith on evidence alone, but you can look at archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, etc. to help validate it. When you apply these to Mormonism, they actually prove it is not what it claims. God does not demand faith in spite of the evidence. John 3:20-21 says truth loves the light and darkness loves to be hidden. If Mormons have the truth why do they keep it hidden in a vault? Why not put it all on display to prove they have the truth?

      The law was given to reveal our sin, not remove our sin (Rom 3:20; Gal 3:24). We are dead in sin (not just weakened by sin) (Eph 2:1-6) meaning there is nothing we can do to be reconciled to God or else that law would have been instituted (Gal 3:21). What the Lord expects is that we put our complete trust in His work on the cross for our salvation. If you chose to add laws to grace, then you had better keep the whole law (Jam 2:10). Works are the fruit, not the root of salvation. This is what Jam. 2 is all about and what Mormons contextually abuse. You cannot combine grace and law and the bible is very clear (Gal & Rom). These principles work against each other. The relationship of faith and grace is the same as works and law. Grace and law are the principle doctrines, while faith and works are the vehicles we use in pursuit of those doctrines for a relationship with God. When you are saved by grace through faith alone, the perfect righteousness of Jesus has become credited to your account (2Cor 5:21). This does not mean we will not sin or gives us license to sin (Rom 6:1, 15), but God no longer chalks sin against our account.

      Jesus did not pay for a general resurrection for all people (Mormon definition of salvation) with entrance to 1 of 3 levels of heaven based on your own merits; He paid for eternal life in heaven through trust in Him. Does the BOM teach the Mormon salvation definition? Read Alma 11: 37-40 and 3 Nep 11:31-40 as 2 examples. Salvation is not offered to all as it specifically states it's only to those who believe. Not all believe in Christ so this makes no sense because ALL are saved under the Mormon definition. I could list many more from the bible like this too. If it were based even 1% on your own efforts then you could boast about it which, again, the bible makes clear salvation is a gift of God so that no one can boast (Rom 3:27, 4:2; Eph 2:8-10). Adding to grace is rejecting the work of Jesus. You are telling God, look I did my part now pay up with eternal life. You are making God a debtor to you.

      The book of Galatians is an excellent example to study. Mormonism is very legalistic and this is exactly what Paul is preaching against. Jewish Christians were not against Jesus, but were trying to add the law, only circumcision in this instance, plus belief in Jesus to come into a greater acceptance by God. Paul writes this letter telling them by adding a single law to the gospel of grace they have perverted the gospel and warns if an angel brings it to reject it. Didn’t the angel Moroni lead Smith to the plates and the BOM is subtitled "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." Paul informs them by doing this they have "fallen from grace" Gal 5:4. Please go www.thecrossunveiled.com and at least be educated in the very different views we have on all essential doctrines. You can't just assume you are a Christian because the brethren said so or you feel like you are. Being a Christian is not about being a part of a specific organization or church, it’s about what you believe and how that belief lines up with biblical doctrine.

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    5. I have read and studied more then you can even begin to imagine. I've been a member of the LDS church since 2004, and attending Baptist type churches for most of my life. I am familiar with all the scriptures you have quoted. I don't view the LDS faith as being very legalistic, and I don't agree with you regarding this. You are repeating what you've been taught. I'm NOT repeating anything that I've been taught.

      What the LDS teaches totally makes sense. It makes sense that we watched out heavenly parents, and wanted to be grown ups like them,. It totally makes sense that we came here to learn how our heavenly parents progressed. It totally makes sense that we need our freedom our agency to learn, and that our heavenly parents cannot constantly intervene on our behalf to keep us safe because we would never learn, they would be back to protecting us. It totally makes sense that we also had to learn why it is so important to follow the laws of the universe. It totally makes sense that a kind and loving parent/s would not want to see their children living in hell, that they would provide a way for their children to live in at least one degree of glory. (Which by the way, is mentioned in the Bible a least a couple of times.) There is so much more that makes sense about the LDS faith.

      Tell me something, why are we here? If not for the Mormon reason, why were we sent here? Simply to humor God? Did he send us here just to watch us commit sins? Are we just his play toys for him to merrily watch us sin and harm each other? To die from illnesses, kill each other etc.? Did he create us just so we could bow down and adore him? And tell me, why would he send Jesus? For what purpose? I personally don't believe that Jesus died to solely atone for our sins. I believe he died and rose again so we could actually see that it is possible to die, and live again. However, we are personally in charge of our salvation.

      I've looked into archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, and it all depends on what "experts," you are listening to. I've learned that scientist skew their findings to fit what they want it to be, and I'm talking about things outside of religion. I've worked in the education industry for over 17 years and have learned what a mess everything is, and how so called experts are actually idiots.

      I have to laugh at your lending so much credence to Paul, why? He was a man and was giving his slant on things. He wasn't anyone special...

      I think you are not asking the correct questions of yourself. I think you are limiting yourself to what little you have by looking at the Bible. You haven't even attempted to understand or look at the entire picture. You are only looking at small pieces.

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    6. Of course you don't view it as legalistic. Like no one in a destructive cult is going to agree that they are in one! Open up a gospel principles book and you will see the long list of laws and ordinances you must follow if you want to be a god or get into the celestial kingdom. Please explain to me how this is not the very definition of legalism? I am not repeating anything I have been taught, only sharing my personal experience from being in the LDS church for years and now being set free. It's amazing how quickly that church strips a person of their rational though and logical reasoning. I am not suggesting it does not make sense to some people, especially if you are born into it. The LDS people are some of the best people I know, but it's the motivation for being good in the LDS church that's the issue. Following laws and ordinances does not change your heart. This is what the sermon on the mount was all about. The Pharisees were so meticulous at following the law, but it never changed their hearts. Jesus want our heart. God wants direct fellowship and a personal relationship through Jesus Christ. You cannot have this in the LDS church. You have to go through the prophet. McConkie stated a personal relationship with Christ is "both improper and perilous." Could there be a greater heresy? Don't worry though, you will never stick out in that church as long as you pray, pay and obey.

      I would love to hear what verses you are using for degrees of glory from the bible. Wait, I already know. 1 Cor 15:40-41 and 2 Cor 12:2, right? Read this to see the context of those verses and many others that Mormons misuse. http://www.thecrossunveiled.com/Verses_Mormons_Misuse.html

      I don't understand why you ask these basic questions that you would typically get answers to in a Christian church if you went for so long. If you were so curious, why did you never ask your pastor? All of your questions will be throughly answered and explained at the website I provided.

      Why do you give so much credence to Joseph Smith? He was just a man giving his slant on things? He wasn't anything special. Recall we are under a new covenant of grace and Paul was responsible for bringing the gospel to predominately the Gentiles. We are Gentiles (I assume you are). Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would not have you believe this though. They taught when you become an LDS member, you undergo a literal blood transfusion to become of the house of Israel (JOD 2:269). You should love Paul because Smith plagiarized Paul's entire story into the BOM as Alma the younger. Anyway, if you have not noticed, Paul is the author of many of the New Testament books. I trust it because there are over 24,000 NT manuscripts that all agree and is the most trusted book of antiquity in terms of evidence. The BOM has 0 manuscripts and significant changes to doctrine since the original 1830 version. The BOM has a prophecy in it about the coming forth of the BOM. Without an older manuscript to show this is nothing but circular reasoning and logic.

      I suppose you "looked into" BOM archaeology at FAIR by the way you respond, because there is not a single non-LDS archaeologist that would agree with you. FAIR is a real objective group, let me tell ya...who do they work for? What happens to their careers if they show what all the non-LDS archaeologist's show? They loose their career, and risk loosing their friends and family.

      I at least applaud that you are at David T's blog and are exposing yourself to many of the issues with the church. That is more than most Mormons would do. I do pray for you my friend that you will one day see the truth about the church, just keep researching. More and more are because of people who love and care about Mormons like David T.

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  17. Are you seriously that dimwitted?! Oh my gosh, you really don't get it do you?! You've just bought into cult of your own making. Have you read anything about the history of the so called Christian churches? Have you read anything about how the scriptures came to be in existence? I know why the book of Revelation sounds so crazy, because if the Lord made it understandable everyone would have made a mess of it! What have you just done is attempt a lame to explanation of what Paul meant when he said something about a man being caught up in the third heaven! Why do you believe you are qualified to explain what Paul meant?

    I have an uncle who is an ordained minister, I have a cousin that is an ordained minister. Yes, I've asked questions everywhere and their answers are as lame as your answers. Following the laws and ordinances are pretty much as simple as living a normal, clean life. Tell me what is so difficult about the laws and ordinances that we are expected to live? These laws and ordinances are to make your life simple, not complicated. When you lie, when you cheat, when your focus is on earthly things, such as TV (all of the time) or porn. If your mind is on drinking, smoking, cussing, work (constantly) having affairs, your life becomes much more complicated and a lot less happy. I know, I've lived a life having those things done to me, or doing them!

    I believe the Lord wants us to focus on the lessons he wants us to learn. I believe he wants us to learn why we are here, and how we get to where we are going. I can and do have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father, and he personally teaches me. The three basic question are never answered, or if they are they are lame, dumb answers. Ones that do not make sense, and I asked JUST three question of many that I've had while in mainstream churches in which NO ONE has any answers! Oh, and by the way, you better start paying close attention to what they are teaching in mainstream Christian churches because I've heard several ministers now stating that they are beginning to believe there is more than one Heaven.

    You are again assuming that I'm lending credence to JS, when I say I'm lending credence to what the Lord has taught me himself. I don't look up to any prophet, they are human and though the Lord can teach through them, they are imperfect. I believe some people need a prophet, and I believe a church needs leaders. However, I don't follow the LDS culture, I don't feel need to follow the culture or even cross all the 't's,' or dot all the "i's." I'm the last person who could or would be brainwashed.

    Oh, and no I haven't really looked into FAIR real closely, I've looked into other scientific evidence. Speaking of scientific evidence, how do Christians explain dinosaurs? (I know, don't bother attempting answering...the answer is...we don't know we will know these things when Christ returns and tells us.)

    Lol, you applaud...funny...I've looked at TONS of sites like this BEFORE I converted, and I still converted. That is how strongly I'm convinced that this faith, this belief is true.

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    1. Resorting to personal and ad hominem attacks reveals the nature of your heart and that you are young and inexperienced. Unfortunately, this is more the rule rather than the exception in trying to share the gospel with Mormons. Yet again, you attack the very book you claim as scripture. That's what makes no sense. I give you references and context of verses and you give generalizations and your personal feelings and beliefs. 2Cor 12:2 talks about the 3rd heaven and I provide scripture references to back up that when they spoke about where birds fly was one heaven, and where the stars are was another heaven and where God's throne is as the 3rd heaven. How is that 'lame'? 1Cor 15 is all about the resurrection and the question is posed to Paul what bodies we will have. He simple tells them there are earthly (terrestrial) bodies and heavenly (celestial) bodies. We have earthly bodies now and will have a different, perfected and glorious body after the resurrection. Joseph Smith decided to completely change the context and make up another word 'telestial,' to make sense of his 3 levels of heaven. You have not provided one single shed of evidence regarding the BOM or your arguments. I don't need any authority to explain what Paul says. 2 Tim 3:16 says all scripture is to be used for instruction and correction and that is all I am simple trying to do because, with respect, Mormonism is false and mentally/spiritually destructive. God gave us all a brain and we don't check them at the church door.

      By 'ordained' do you mean they have some special power from God? We all have the 'authority' to go and preach and teach as that is what Jesus gave to us in Matt. 28:18-20 and 1 Pet. 2:9. Unfortunately, there are plenty of 'pastors'/'ministers' that should not hold the special calling and the bible says this would happen. This is why the bible tells us to test them. 2Cor 11 talks about Satan and his ministers will appear as righteous (not unrighteous) to deceive people. That means Satan will try to look, walk, talk and appear as righteous. Too many only recognize evil when it presents itself as evil. Satan is too cunning though. You need truth and the word of God. So you didn't get the answer that either made sense or wanted to hear from all of 2 'ministers' and you give up?

      Again, laws and ordinances won't change your heart and they never will. They may make you feel better and act better, but what is the difference between you and a Pharisee who followed them even better, but was never saved? Following laws and ordinances only builds pride and self-righteousness, which I had plenty of as a member. I remember looking around sacrament meeting comparing myself to others feeling pride that I was doing more to earn my place. I am not suggesting all do this, but it is common. Please do this, read D&C 64:13-14 and compare to Gal 2:16, 3:10-11, 21, 25, 5:4; Rom 3:20-22, 9:30-10:4, 11:6. How do you feel knowing that your bishop has the power to remove your eternal life from you? If you admit to a grievous sin (regardless of how repentant you are), that is a very real possibility (excommunication). So you bishop has usurped the Lord in power because only the Lord claims this power.

      I am not suggesting you are 'brainwashed.' That definition requires it to be forced on you. The correct term would be mind control. There is a whole section of characteristics churches/organizations use at that site I provided that show how people are put under mind control. Mormonism meets every single characteristic. Nobody under mind control would raise their hand and acknowledge they are. I am an old earth believer so dinosaurs were on the earth at the time science proves they were. No issues. Mormonism is a young earth teacher (D&C 77), so your argument makes no sense and cannot explain dinosaurs.

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  18. I am learning so much from this thread. The concepts and teachings from the exmo are things I am just beginning to understand after a lifetime of mind control. Leaving that box and expanding the mirAcle of what the savior actually did for mankind is something that makes my heart soar. So different from the fear and pressure of LDSINC
    Thank you for all you have shared anonymous exmo!!

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  19. The concepts and teachings are the Lord's from His word; I just try and help unveil it to Mormons and show them there is a very different biblical view of the grace of God than what they have been taught. All the thanks and glory should be directed to the Lord. Mormons are a wonderful people and their hearts are sincere, just motivated by the wrong reasons. This is just the tip of the iceberg as there is so much more at www.thecrossunveiled.com.

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  20. The primary problem with Mormonism is you’re taught that you can’t trust God, and you have to question is His Word (Bible), up until ~1838 of course. You also have to believe in an imperfect (then exalted) man god who is apparently a bigot, racist, and polygamist. Is that the kind of God you want to believe in?

    And then you have to believe there was a ‘Great, Complete, Universal Apostasy’ that is claimed to have started ~70AD by LDS scholars, and prior to the writing of the New Testament. Jesus Christ claimed that he would create and lead his Church, that his church would be a ‘body of believers’, and that it would never be overcome. Biblical scripture mentions an apostasy, but most of these verses say ‘many’ will fall away, and not one mentions a complete apostasy of the Church. These verses also say the apostasy will take place at the end times, the ‘latter days’ as the King James states it; the second and third centuries were obviously not the ‘latter days’. From my research, I have found no scholarly writings about the ‘Great Apostasy’. When I’ve requested more information from typical LDS resources, I’ve received either no response, or links to the typical info. There is basically just the claim by JS, a paragraph on LDS.org, and a few more paragraphs on FAIR that add a little more spin to support the claim. So again, do you want to trust Jesus Christ (if you believe in him), or do you want to trust JS? “Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” (B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 1:XL).

    Man may be imperfect, but the ‘eternal’ God I want to believe in is 'perfect', all-powerful, all-knowing, and the creator of everything in this universe. And if God is in direct contact with His prophet, then that prophet should be near 'perfect' (at that time in his life) in all communications. Even if he's not, God obviously has the 'power' to ensure accurate communications. So all this talk about imperfect prophets, and their actions being justified because of the cultures in which they lived, doesn’t make any sense to me. Is God in control, or not? Are we really supposed to believe that ‘all powerful’ God left the accuracy of His Word/gospel (Bible) up to the interpretations and translations of man? If we can’t trust the Bible that includes information from multiple prophets, how can we trust the BOM that was scribed by one prophet?

    So if you’re a TBM, all you can do is trust JS for the ‘fullness of the gospel’. And D&C 20:9 even states the BOM contains the ‘fullness of the gospel’. But anyone who has searched the BOM for the major LDS doctrine and practices know that they are not in there; they are primarily in D&C and POGP, more writings from…you guessed it, JS. So everything that has occurred from JS-to-date is basically icing on the cake…it makes no sense if you want to trust in an ‘eternal’ god. Here are a few more questions for TBM’s to consider http://bible-truth.org/LDSQuestions.html (can’t believe I remember this URL).

    Bottom line is anyone with the slightest ability to critically think, and who understand the human neurological system, will conclude that Mormonism doesn’t make any sense. Sure it’s somewhat of a good worldly organization, but the only way this has happened is by extorting money and time from very generous members (and most that I know are great people). We’re all free to believe whatever we want, but the ‘knowledge without a shadow of a doubt’ claim will continue to draw critics. And critics that were on the inside are starting to outnumber critics on the outside. It seems this implosion will continue, and I don’t think anything can stop it…

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  21. Bravo! This post expresses my thoughts better than I could write them myself!

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  22. "Suppose you have several children and one of your children as they become a teenager gets hooked on drugs. Suppose you work with them have them in rehab etc. This child has stolen your credit cards, stolen your car and has come close to burning your house down. Do you stop loving that child? Of course not! Do you allow them to continue to live under your roof once they become an adult? Not likely, because they are a danger to you, your other children and the entire house. At some point you come to learn that as much as you love them, they will never abide by the rules of your home. The same can be said of Lord and his house. "

    You stopped your analogy too soon. To continue, the addict child is suffering under the limited knowledge and understanding of an addict's neurobiology. That is why she can not "abide by the rules." Remove that limitation, i.e. "fix the biology," and the addict child would be "normal" and able to happily prosper.

    Why does Heavenly Father punish his children for eternity for sins committed during a small window of time under duress, with faulty neurobiology, etc.?

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    1. Or, perhaps there are some people that through their choice cannot be fixed. The Lord does say that there are three degrees of glory and the lowest is a hundred times better then life here. So, how, pray tell, is that a bad thing?

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    2. Yes. You were almost good enough to come to the big White House. Here's a small White House to make you happy. Too bad you can't visit me or your family. Your faulty biology and bad choices because of it make you lesser. Sucks to be you. No thanks on THAT god. I'll look for the one who is with me and for me and working to pull me ahead for as long as it takes. That's MY god

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  23. Rob bells book "what we talk about when we talk about God" addresses this concept nicely. He talks about the God who is with us , for us and ahead of us. He talks about thisGod who is never against us. I really like that God.

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  24. JS sure gave us a lot of BS to debate about. Thanks for the fraud JS and all the psychosis that came with it.

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  25. Unfortunately for the church, we live in an Information Age. For decades, the church has tried to suppress all this information and stick to a story of an infallable church run by infallible leaders. And as anyone would expect, the Mormon story is full of holes from the First Vision to the Book of Mormon to the 'restoration' of the priesthood to the book of Abraham to polygamy to polyandry to racism to sexism to unfulfilled prophecies to Kinderhook plates to Mark Hoffman letters to gay bashing. Any one of these events in isolation stands a chance to be explained. Collectively, the whole picture is very damning. I was a lifelong member of the church who gave it my all-- my time, my energies, my tithing, my thoughts, my focus, my purpose-- until I realized I had been living a lie. I have a clear conscience today unlike my Mormon brethren who continue to 'lie for the Lord'. We are not put on this earth to judge each other, rather to lift each other up. Following God means forgiveness, kindness & action-- not sitting in 3 hr empty blocks on Sundays, visiting a temple full of Masonic rituals & keeping distant from anyone with a different opinion. We have to learn to truly love & accept our bothers & sisters without judgment. Only God can judge.

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    1. Just a note, I've been a member of the church for about 30 years now, and I find it interesting that I have ONLY heard the concept of "lie for the Lord" used by people who are NOT members of the church. While there are probably church members who do believe and practice that concept, I have never heard it advocated, taught, or discussed at all by any member of the church.

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  26. Though I am currently not for or against Mormonism I found this blog to be pointless and not informative in any way. There may have been a select few valid points throughout but certainly not consistent in it's findings. As I read through I find myself feeling sorry for those who dedicate so much time and energy into discrediting a religion. I find myself interested in the motivation behind such articles, websites and blogs. Why is it so important for you to put so much effort in this attempt to disapprove any religion or it's beliefs? Wouldn't it be much more productive to stand for what you do believe rather than what you don't? I would appreciate a response.

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    1. Here’s a perspective: Mormonism took tens of thousands of my hard earned dollars and countless hours of my time and emotional investment, all the while with it’s authoritarian ways and means guilting me into some sort of depression or angst even though my intellect (and heart) screamed at me, “CON!” or “This isn’t Jesus’ one and only true church; this isn’t how Jesus operates -- not what He would sanction.” Or, maybe for some people this is all about warning other people to be very wary and clued in to the real history of the Mormon church, not the sanitized one. Or perhaps it’s a type of straw man approach for wanting some sort of justice. It’s complicated, but Mormonism is so invasive into the human psyche that the damage it inflicts is almost like what full-blown cults perpetrate on the unwary.
      Having said this, I don’t go all out making war with the Mormon church, but I really appreciate when people bring things to light that appeases me -- actually, heals me -- to know that I wasn’t some sort of agent of Satan or whatever, but that my innate intellect and heart (spirit) was right all along.
      If Mormonism works for some people, then fine. But that’s not the case for a great many others. People have actually been driven to suicide because of the Mormon church, let alone destroying and/or seriously hampering family relationships, marriages, etc.
      You may want devote some serious and conscientious reflection on these realities.

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  27. I am seventy eight years old I escaped from religion in the seventies but retained a certain religious faith. 9/11 changed all that, I realised what fanaticism can do. Now I am full blown Atheist and abhor those who put their faith in any kind of Lord. As for adoring the Cross it is for the simple minded. Remember the Romans only ever crucified rebels so it is likely that Jesus was something other than that described years later by 'who knows'. Paul invented the religion we now know as Christianity and he never met Jesus. Get a life you Lorn lovers.

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  28. I grew up in SLC, went on a mission to Bavaria. Was able to see through the BS, when I admitted to myself, I was gay. I knew who I was, so I was able to see through all the rest of the crap that I had been told. I have one question.....When I was young I could not get it out of my head that the Bishop of my Ward and all my Sunday School teachers said that what christ and the group were drinking was not wine but just unfermented grape juice. Do they still say that? I was also told God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.... I see where they have not followed that teaching very well. A fun thing I always remember, when my mission president Jacobs told me that "sarcasm is a tool of the devil"... It always makes me smile. ....and on that point, I have not changed much.

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  29. Started writing a blog on this which you might like

    http://ldsessay.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/first-vision-accounts.html

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  30. Came across this set of videos about the first vision by a BYU professor. Not sure what to think about his explanations. What do you guys think? http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh0_JF2hqI-4PP8nYrTBGEZ-StKf2lf3z

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  31. I ran across this set of videos on the first vision. Not sure what to think of the explanations he gives. What do you guys think? http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh0_JF2hqI-4PP8nYrTBGEZ-StKf2lf3z

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  32. I am new here. I came from Cambodia, the land of Evils where my people believed in Buddhism I called Satanic. My people are known as Khmers. I am the only survived where the rest were killed and starved to death during Khmer Rouge. I came to the US as a refugee kid, and back then I used to live with a Southern Baptist Christian family, Mormon family and last with a Catholic Christian family, then I stayed until I graduated.
    As a young person I have observed these people I used to stay with (my foster parents), with a great interest. Although I came from Buddhism background, I knew the living GOD since I was a young child through my dreams, encountered with and sensed of HIS Presence. I received kids Bible from the missionary from Europe, and later my father found out then he scolded and was about to spank me. He ordered me to return the Bible, but I refused, I kept my Bible with me. To make my long story short, before he died, my father said to me "your GOD" is with you. With all miracles I received from The Mighty GOD, I still did not surrender myself to Him, I still went to worship at the Buddhist temple and hang around with Buddhists. The Lord is a merciful GOD, He allowed me to taste all kind of beliefs, and last I was friends and temporary stayed with Muslim students while in College.
    I read the whole Bible, book of Mormon, and Q'ran, and understood a lot more about Christ, then I made my decision to follow Christ, the Real Christ not fake in LDS.
    When read about JS claimed that he did more works than the Lord Jesus Christ, and not even went farther of his multiple wives, ... or his gods were men live at Kolob planet..., I did not have to waste more time on lies, I just ignored it. This man JS was not visited by the true GOD but he may be visted by some extraterrestrials known as aliens (or Lucifer).
    Muhammad and Joseph Smith are false Prophets. If Muhammad is in hellfire, JS is in hellfire too.

    viddhia1@gmail.com

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  33. The LDS are very much like any other "we are the only way" crowd. I grew up in a fundamentalist religion (google two by two religion). They share many of the same characteristics. Both appear pious until you disagree with them. They can get very vicious if you disagree with their interpretation of bible verses. The hold they have over those foolish and lazy enough to join is the possibility of being kicked out and they you go to hell. I say most people are lazy about their religion because they will not read their holy book(s) to see what God says. Too easy to show up on Sunday and let the preacher do all the work. They may think this gives them an out - "we were lead astray, we did not know".
    The smugness, and arrogance that follows is a turn off. I looked up all the biblical persons which JS saw in visions and spoke with and was amazed. The number is staggering!!! I guess if you are going to lie, GO LARGE!!!
    Beware of anyone who puts their way ahead of God. God should be the focus, not "we are the only true church and we are the only ones with the authority to do thus and so". It seems like JS threw out a little bit to see if anyone would buy it and just kept on going. Now, in 2014 we have people who would rather not look too hard because the LDS church is now their only social club. They can not exist out side of it. I guess what they are getting from their LDS experience is worth more to them than examining the truth. I wonder if that will be their excuse to God - "its not our fault, our leaders taught us that". When a "church" turns in to a corporation there is trouble. It is written, you can not serve both God and Mammon.

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