Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump Represents LDS Leaders but not its Marks

This is my final post to the MormonDisclosures blog.  It started when I wrote political articles about Mitt Romney in his 2012 election bid, and was summoned for excommunication.  After more than four years, and about 120,000 words written, I lay it to rest.  It is finished. I forgive the Mormon members, for they know not what they do.  I open a new viewpoint in my Next Eyes blog.

Recently one of the editorial staff of MormonThink received an email from a former missionary companion telling her that she was leaving the church after more than half a century in the morg.  This editor, who was with MormonThink almost since its inception once commented that the LDS church can not stop the leakage because the reality is the Church is actually the Corporation.  A friend, who is no-mo, asked me a very interesting question: 
"As a business, what is the model the LDS Corporation should follow in order to minimize loss of capital in its member stock?"  
The U.S. election of the elitist, ultimate capitalist, sexist Trump embodies the heart of the LDS leadership in how it stays the course of old-school, good old boy management.  They, like Trump, want women suppressed, the minority view marginalized, and a wall erected around members from internet knowledge so that they are protected against an expanding world view.

I realize that most Mormon members did not want Trump as their president. They were actually vying for a local candidate named McMullin who urged the LDS electorate to "vote their conscience".  That phrase is the one used by LDS leadership to urge their members to vote for the candidates they want by implication, without illicitly or explicitly breaching laws on election/charity/tax-exempt status. They use that phrase to support parties and candidates without naming them. McMullin caused a near crisis in Utah politics by using this LDS epithet.  He divided the Mormon voters for a time between him and Trump (in polls) causing Clinton to surprisingly surge ahead in early polls, and almost take lead in Utah's presidential election.  That would have been a disaster for the LDS leadership and their stranglehold on Utah politics.  Trump even made an unscheduled visit to Utah about a week before the election because he worried about Utah's measly 6 electoral votes.

I want to go back to my friend's statement.  The LDS Corporation is really just a business.  Its model and reaction to the factual leaks that sites like MormonThink have flooded the internet is to push out subtle essays.  I have blogged at length, spoken at the Exmormon Foundation Conference, with my writings being the subject of UT state legal court proceedings, excommunication hearings, and posted online in forums about the motive of LDS essays on controversial topics such as Joseph Smith's polyandry, The Book of fAbricam, the DNA crisis of Amerindians, and more.  The LDS corporation released essays because it had no choice.

The LDS corp business model--keeping its marks content and paying--required it to respond to criticism against it, that it had misled members about its founding, its purpose, its documents, its scripture and more.  Its finances are still completely trade secret, more sacred than its temple rituals and death vows.  The LDS CEOs could not come out, clear the air, tell the whole truth.   That would have ended the LDS Sole Corporation Business.  In Enron fashion, they cooked the books by confessing just enough in the essays so that they could have local leaders point out to questioning members that they HAD indeed "come clean".  They didn't advertise it broadly. They didn't need to; just have it in place to point to members that it is out there and if the member didn't see it, that was their problem, not the corporation's fault.

What is telling is:   Does the LDS Corporation still sell the same pack of misleading, glossy sales-pitch lies to new marks? 
 Are the missionaries directed, trained and encouraged to send investigators to the essay web pages so that they can get a more full story?

Not on your life.  The missionary discussions/lessons have hardly changed since the essays release (they still use the same "Preach my Gospel" from 2005).  This is telling because the deception continues to pull in new members and retain mission-lifelongers based on old lies.  The Corporation is not about coming clean as much as combing clean cut marks in its scam.  The field is Trump white and they reap a new season of investors.

Furthermore, the essays are still full of lies. I won't take the time to reiterate those lies, because I wrote so many blogs about what the essays lacked, what they misrepresented and what they blatantly lied about, even after admitting to part of the falsehoods critics have been clamoring about for decades, if not a century.

Trump represents the capitalist spirit in promoting the ideals of those already at the top. He won by self-deception of pretending to be on the side of the common people. His election, yea verily, came to pass mostly because the opposing candidate was just about as elitist and likely dishonest.  The LDS Corporation unscrupulously hides behind its essays as a church when it is in fact a business, using a business model to keep its marks from fleeing the sinking ship. They must trumpet happily that Trump lorded over Clinton.  After all, to them--the alcohol-free 21st century Madmen--a woman's place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant, not in the Whitehouse or workplace.

And now, to anachronistically quote the Book of Mormon, "I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu."

Please check out my new Next Eyes blog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Twelve Men Who Walk Celestially

By my title, you might think I laud the 12 apostles of the LDS church.  Don’t be silly.  I speak of the twelve persons who have (so far) walked on a celestial body—namely on the moon.  From July 1969 to December 1972, six manned missions to the moon enabled twelve men to walk on the moon.  Let’s understand the costs of these missions.  In order to go to the moon, millions of dollars go into training each astronaut so they can hold their arms high in navigating a spacecraft which must first leave the gravity well of the Earth, requiring a rocket of no less than 30,000 Kg of fuel, burned in three stages on variants of the Saturn V rocket engine.  The cost of the lunar landing space program was enormous, even by today’s dollars.  As Michio Kaku stated, “At the height of the Cold War, the superpowers spared no expense in funding the latest space spectacular. Dazzling stunts in space, not cost-cutting, were the order of the day. No one bothered to read their price tag.”  

Some have put the lunar landing missions cost at around $24 billion dollars over a decade.    This is not much lower than what the LDS Church collected in tithing/donations and investments at about the same period of time—roughly $20 billion in the 1960s-70s.  Presently, the LDS church collects an estimated $6 billion in donations per year and another estimated $2 billion in investment income. 

Imagine if the LDS Apostles were to invest that money in something as heavenly and miraculous as missions to the moon or even Mars?  There are naysayers about the lunar-missions, claiming they are hoaxes.  However, the evidence and witnesses to the six lunar manned mission are plenty:  The photograph evidence, the ancient aged rocks and mineral evidence, the terrain mapping, the radio transmissions from amateurs, the amateur astronomer sightings, observed retro-reflectors placed on the moon, and more.    The evidence supporting the miraculous twelve men who walked on celestial ground is enormous.

What evidence does the LDS church have supporting the twelve men claiming to have celestial contact and authority for god on earth?  Nada. They have faith.  After collecting the same moneys as the lunar missions ($20+ billions) they have nothing.

Maybe you think NASA is a waste of money.   Let's do another comparison. UNICEF - one of the largest secular charities - receives about $3.5 billion a year in donations (about a third privately). It has financial transparency, listing its internal audits in complete, showing that it disperses just over 90% of its receipts back into charitable programs & services. The other ten percent pay to run and advertise its mission.

If UNICEF stopped receiving donations, it would likely disappear in a year. Just evaporate. Because it's a true charity and has no profit making agenda.  

How would the LDS church appear if tithing abruptly quit flowing in? The LDS City Creek Mall would still retail fine apparel, gold watches and sixth-gen iPhones. Condos looking over the mall would still collect fees. The church-owned cattle ranches, timber farms, hunting preserves and Polynesian theme park would still butcher prime beef, hustle timbered oak, punch elite tickets and host luau dinners.  Insurance agents would collect premiums. Deseret would still line the shelves with new books. LDS radio & TV stations would keep broadcasting advertisements. Money would flow, even if the members stopped prying open their wallets.

The LDS ”church” is a business--a tax exemption scheme disguised as a non-profit.  It has no financial transparency, does not list audits information (other than to state it is well, and trust us), nor does it ever disclose its rate of disbursement on donations.

Let's continue the science comparison.  What does the LDS church, with its billions each year, accomplish that science doesn't?

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

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

In October 2015, LSD Apostle M. Russell Ballard gave a BYU devotional to young single adults (transcript here). 

Even though the LDS church has failed miserably to use its money wisely to benefit society, Ballard and company want to claim that THEY are the cause for societal advancement.

Here is a quote, at 14:30 into the whole talk:
"Where do you think the computer came from? Why did somebody invent the computer? 
"I'll tell you why.  Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needed it. 
"Why did we need it? Because family history was moving and the church was growing and the temples were expanding and we needed more capacity to do family history. 
" don't have to be a member of the church to have spiritual insight and promptings [for] the creation of that tool, the computer."

Oh! The arrogance!  Yes, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the others were more inspired for temple work than the inept prophets and their own employees.  Ballard said this in late 2015.

Many of you will remember many LDS leaders have often claimed that inventors were inspired only because God wanted them to build something that benefited his kingdom on earth.  Satellites exist only to broadcast general conference.  Airplanes were developed to transport missionaries world wide. The internet propagated to spread the gospel.   Science and its labs exist to further the church and its dogma.

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

Even the LDS Articles of Incorporation hints at the idea that the church should or could have scientific merit.  From the fifth article:
"Upon the winding up and dissolution of this corporation, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the corporation, the remaining assets shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation or corporation, which is organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, or religious and/or scientific purposes and which has established its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."
So, the LDS Corporate Sole considerable wealth, property and ownership of businesses could be disposed of to any  non-profit "fund" in the form of a "corporation" organized for "charitable, educational, religious or scientific purposes".

But this depends on them failing.  WTF?  Why not succeed now?  LDS church, put your money where your mouth is. You're not even as much a religion as a business.  Invest your considerable wealth in the very purposes and benefits you claim are yours when you are "winding up" and in "dissolution".  Imagine--with those billions, you could cure cancer. 

So far, you 12 Apostles haven't even bored me enough to cure my insomnia.  Dammit.  Compared with the dozen, hands-high navigating moon walking astronauts, the apostles are knuckle-dragging flat-earthers.

Yes, I have been on a hiatus.  I was impeded from writing/posting on LDS topics due to an order (legal) on writings I have posted here.  I cannot yet comment on those issues here except to say my blog postings are being used as evidence in a kind of proceeding. Suffice to say, I have decided that I will resume my general discussion on the LDS church until the final judgment comes down that I am not allowed. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In The Life of a Typical Exmormon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Post Mormon Family Therapy

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

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

Inner contemplation reveals the manipulation of other systems and persons.