Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sunshine is Good Disinfectant

[More details of the LDS Church's 3-year plan to address issues.]

Information comes from all kinds of sources.  My own patriarchal blessing promised me, like most members probably, that I would work with top leaders in the church.  It also claimed “your name will be known for good throughout the annals of the church.” I’m not sure that “good” is what the church history books will use to describe me, but I have rubbed shoulders with what I would consider giants on the periphery of the Mormon church.  Besides the great people at Mormonthink (founder, Dianne, Tom and more), I have been in contact (some more regularly than others) with several past church educational system leaders like Ken Clark, John McClay and Grant Palmer.  These come across scattershot of information that itself alone seems a shot in the dark.   I email with BYU/I/H professors (unnamed due to job pressures) that have tidbits of inside knowledge that again alone may not amount to a complete picture.  And then there are anonymous emails I get that warn me to be careful about discussing such-n-such.

When I piece all of this information together, I come away with an interesting story about what is unfolding to become an enormous project at the church office buildings.  Much of what I post below is probably speculative, and time will tell if I have assessed the data accurately.  But there are multiple sources confirming bits of this; the rest of which I flesh out myself.

The church is bleeding members.  Marlin Jensen told a crowd at Utah State University this over a year ago.  John Dehlin and I had a conversation late last year in which he also confirmed that essays would be forthcoming to try to stay the outflow of young, questioning members.  Like many complex medical procedures, the church’s attempts at inoculation is a multi-phased treatment.  Inoculations are like vaccinations--you give a weak dose of the virus to stimulate the immunity, and then thereafter, the same threat poses little danger. In fact, this managed treatment could encourage members to have trials of faith, controlled exposure to virulent "anti-mormon" information, and then be healed to only be stronger for it.  There’s a light, moderate and an invasive treatment coming, apparently.  

Several people believe the church’s inoculation will fail, and only serve to highlight the issues that for many members were previously unknown.  However, their apparent three-tiered plan goes to the psychology that believers want any excuse to keep believing.  By publishing a response to historical, doctrinal and science questions about the church, making the essays official on LDS.ORG with its high search index, true-believing Mormons (TBMs) will end up on their site first. When they google some "rumor" that bothers them, instead of ending up at FAIR or Mormonthink, they will land at the church's site. They will believe that the LDS Church is being open and honest. They will continue to trust the Church's explanations.

Right now, TBMs are upset because they feel the church has hidden the information. As it is, they lose trust in their church. They keep digging and no amount of apologetics can repair the lost trust. The TBM wants to believe. They want an answer that keeps them believing. But when there isn’t an official response, they end up disgruntled.

This new method is an inoculation. It’s about maintaining trust in the LDS Church with some kind of semi-acceptable response.  And it may work.  While it does show the church is desperate (the focus from "I'm a Mormon" campaign to "Keep the Mormons" campaign), it also shows that they're smart.  They get the psychology of belief.  

Here’s the plan I believe they have.  Grant Palmer shared with me the name of Elder Steven Snow, who leads the church history department, as he learned some of the details from church leaders across the world (i.e., non-American bishops).  Professors of history at the Lord’s schools have also confirmed bits of this, as well as other rumors coming in.

The inoculation will roll out at three levels of essays, articles and journal-like publications.  Soon, we believe, they'll post the first layer of essays just touching the surface of a given issue.  The review of each major issue will probably have no more information than is already available in different places at LDS.ORG (in articles and conference talks).  The leadership, apparently, hopes this first needle sting is sufficient to placate the majority of the membership.  No one can say, they will claim, that they are hiding the information.  They have responded.  However, these essays will be the same old information; just organized into neat little “I have a question” answer packets.

Some have speculated that the first wave of treament might even include testimovies discussing the issues with a backdrop of teary-eyed music and apostle-recorded testimony.  Take this video, for example, discussing the wonderful multiple versions of the first vision.  Steven C. Harper, editor of the Joseph Smith Papers and BYU professor of church history, narrates it and it would appear by all accounts to be just the kind of method the LDS church would use in a first layer surface review of issues like Joseph Smith's multiple, contradicting accounts of his first vision.

We've been told there will likely be 13 essays (though I wouldn't hold my breath on that number).  One essay most of us would love to see them address is why the financial secrecy and why they own malls, theme parks, hunting reserves and the largest ranches in the US...  Don't count on a single sentence in any of the essays addressing these financial issues.

The next inoculation will come later, perhaps in early 2014.  It will dive a little deeper into the issues, with footnotes, links, lengthy quotes and perhaps even a little more meat.  Think Ensign articles, rather than FARMS publication.  My guess is, they won’t widely advertise these articles, but link to them from the simpler essays.  My other guess is that these articles will be reserved for bishops to use when members are deeply troubled and not satisfied with the simple essays.  Members who aren’t afraid of getting their minds into the work of actually learning about their church will be somewhat satisfied that the church has made a “serious” attempt to divulge and explain the issues with an official response.

The deepest inoculation is set to come out probably in 2015 for those scholarly members who are on the verge of leaving the church.  This layer of treatment will likely be buried deeper yet on the Lord’s websites so that only the truly steadfast scholars will find them. I would imagine these members are the kinds employed at the Lord’s schools, at the Church History Department or by the CES.  They know the issues, probably as well or even better than editors at Mormonthink.  Their employment would suffer if they resign their membership.  But they know too much to be satisfied with a few footnotes and BYU committee reviewed articles.  These poor souls are dangling on a cliff, grasping at roots and finding straw.  The proposed FARM like publications, complete with academic style references and pointers to scholarly articles and journals outside of the church, would use nuance to re-contextualize the issues into something that is truly dizzying.  They will show that each complex topic has many sides and that ultimately you must decide on which side you lay your faith.  

In other words, as you drill deeper and deeper into the issues, you will learn that even the Church’s brightest and best cannot find a clear explanation for why Joseph appears to have misled over and over about his claim of divine interaction.  The critics, it will appear, have a good case to make if you are a faithless reject.  But have a little faith, the nuance gives you wiggle room to be scholarly and faithful at the same time, knowing that the answers won’t be fully given in this life.

Let’s think about this.  The prophet who, with a quorum of 12 apostles and two counselors, that in aggregate have more than half a millennium of spiritual leadership, cannot call upon God to give a clear cut answer to troubling concerns about the founding of the kingdom of God.  Why not?  Because to give perfectly clear answers, the faithful are told, would deny them the chance at exercising their faith.  The nuance is needed to test us, say the leaders.

According to the LDS leaders, there is only one true Church, one true God and only one path that leads to eternal life. Mormonism is the true path, but it is a tiny fractional percent minority religion among the thousands of other minority religions in the world. Apparently,  our task is to find the ONE TRUE RELIGION to bring us back to the presence of the one true God. We’re supposed to follow the still small voice, the very subtle signs placed around us by God, who tests our faith as we journey on this path back to him. 

Now, imagine (as my friend baura first did) if the Department of Motor Vehicles/Dept of Transportation ran the roads the way LDS leaders claim God is running life. Imagine you are driving down the highway and there are signs of all different colors and shapes. Red signs, blue signs, green signs, yellow signs, big signs, triangular signs, foreign signs, etc. Lines change colors and patterns at random for denoting lanes. Lights come in a rainbow of colors that change with no discernable pattern. In this bizzaro world, all the signs say different things--different max and min speed limits, different instructions about what lane to be in etc. Further imagine that only one special color and shape of sign is the correct one. Your job is to figure out which set of signs is the right one. And there are ever-seeing eyes or cameras all over the roads writing out tickets for those who disobey the TRUE signs.

That's the best God and his prophets could come up with in running his plan?

The inoculation project going up these coming years at LDS.ORG is going to have multiple road signs of varied colors in different levels of double-speak.  If the path back to God wasn’t clearly established in the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon or Pearl of Great Price, then the confusion that the layers of inoculation provide won’t help anything except to muddy the waters so much that we’ll all forget that we’re supposed to follow any signs at all.  Confusion is a great way to overwhelm minds and then subdue them back into the fold.

I wondered why they are rolling it out slowly, over two years, instead of just publishing all of it quickly.  I think that if the articles and deeper publications are published along with the lighter essays, the attention of the media (like Peggy Fletcher Stack -- someone inform her of this scoop) would focus on the meat over the milk.  The LDS church doesn’t want history that isn’t useful to be the focus.  I’m sure that Boyd K Packer is not happy that the church will officially post useless history.  L. Tom Perry either.  My guess is, they and those in their camp are pushing for delays at the least.  That’s actually smart because once the fanfare over the simple essays has died down, they can quietly add the next two tiers of inoculation without much attention, and only point to them through local bishops, CES instructors or Religion depts.

Again, Mormonthink won’t let these articles and issues slide down the memory hole into the shadow without a full review and discussion.  Inoculation is supposed to heal.  And we have all heard that sunshine is the best disinfectant.  Shine that light on the history, the doctrine and the life of the LDS leadership.  It will do wonders in cleaning house and temple.

The B&W stance the LDS Church traditionally takes is about to be muddied and nuanced.
(photo of Polynesian Cultural Center gardens, LDS owned Epcot-styled theme park)


  1. Fantastic analysis. I, for one, am not looking forward to these essays. Here's why. They will marginalize the legitimacy of our historical concerns, and will in fact spin them in such a way as to be faith-promoting. And instead of building bridges of understanding between believers and non-believers, these essays will become weapons of condescension.

    "You let that issue bother you? But the Church leaders themselves don't even try to hide it." it's like the conference talk from a couple years ago when Russel M Nelson admits Joseph put his head in a hat to translate.

    A welcome approach would be for the Church to say, "You know, there are some things we don't understand about our history. They don't fully make sense to us. Here they are. We think there is a faithful way to interpret them, but golly, we understand how this can be damaging to anyone's testimony. In spite of these things, we hope you'll stay. It's OK if you don't take a literal interpretation - we're lucky to have you at all! If you can find a positive benefit from being in our midst, then please stay and we'll do our best to make you feel welcome."

    1. Perspective means everything, and not all anti-mormons are telling lies. People are leaving over truths, and that's what I earnestly believe. What I believe is that if the church was more truthful, it'd also cause some dramatic changes to it. Meaning that some of it's works would be "burned up" so to speak. Particularily the endowments, and interviews to determine so-called "worthiness" for the kingdom of God in my mind. No man is justified according to the law, but rather only by the righteous that is in his faith.

      Nevertheless there's some issues such as ones regarding science that simply will not be able to be addressed. This should be plain to see if you just look into how just about all scientists throw the idea of intelligent design out the window. Of course science isn't going to be anymore kind to Mormonism. It's based upon the theory of intelligent design, and arguably creationism also.

      But all in all? What peeves me is the church being so hypocritical as to not even following it's own doctrine correctly. Example? They say we're saved by grace after we give our best efforts of keeping the commandments, but then turn around and say people who are doing their best to overcome a drug addiction are not saved by Christ's atonement until they overcome. Seriously? What the flip? Idiots don't realize that some drug addicts spend their whole lives trying to overcome, and still die in the sin. So what then Mormon hypocrites? They going to hell despite trying their hardest? Please pardon my language, mais l'église est un imbécile.

    2. These things are already happening. Take into account the publication of the Joseph Smith Papers, the release of various youtube videos from 'prominent' LDS 'Egyptologists', and perhaps even the 'I'm a Mormon' campaign desperately trying to include well-known faces, particularly those important to the younger crowd such as athletes. It sure looks like the first phase has already begun.

  2. Please use the proper notation when using the church's copyright. This is how it should look: ONE TRUE RELIGION©.

  3. You mentioned an upcoming "invasive treatment." Is that something else or just the tier three inoculation?

  4. "testimovie"


    "testimalarkey" ?

    prior LDS behavior indicates which ...

  5. I think they're walking on very treacherous ground here. I dont know how powerful the psychology of belief is, but I think it could cause problems for lots of TBMs. In my case when i have tried to educate my family about these problems they have dismissed them as anti-mormon lies. Joseph Smith couldn't possibly have married other men's wives, the Book of Abraham is translated scripture, etc etc. They think if its not on LDS.org it much be a lie. But now i will be able to point them to the articles themselves and they can see that these things are real, its historical fact! Then wont the next question be, "why didn't they teach me that in seminary?" "How could a prophet of God do that?" This could start a flood of defections. I cant wait.

    1. I suspect, however, that they've done market research to test their options; and their conviction, from a sample, is that they will gain more by their intervention in the ways described than by continuing on the same old course of FARMS-justification, denial, and locking down access to anything that would contradict the sanitized story.

  6. Rough Stone creates the appetite for more. It is definitely written from the perspective of "the church is true"...and to be honest many other books are written from the "Church is Not" perspective. I think Palmer has great potential if he could get the snarkiness out of some of his comments. I am still looking for that "really well balanced" book. "Just the facts ma'am" that I can use to help my family see. I will say this sight does a pretty darn good job overall.

  7. Grant Palmer mentioned a seventy and an former mission President that He has been meeting with, does this have any thing to do with those meetings. Grant also said something about them coming out or making a statement in May or June. What is happening on that front?

  8. Another change to make by the GA's/Church is to start issuing REFUTATIONS: example, why do we go from "flat nosed, unworthy at-best-servants-in-heaven, cowardly fence-sitters, etc., etc. to "all worthy members can go to the temple now? something is missing, like an apology and a word from the Lord taking it all back (oops! did we really say that?), something transitional. Same goes for Polygamy--"yes, you can be exalted/saved without marrying many women and we're hereby rescinding D&C 132: it was really a revelation from hell (like the one given to search for treasure in Mass.)
    And like that, as Kojack use to say.

  9. "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto eternal life, and FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT!" St Matthew in the New Testament

    The gospel is not for everyone. It requires work, perseverance and a willingness to be obedient. At all costs. It's difficult. But if it wasn't, then everybody would do it for what it promises.... And there is only one way to find that out. Most people are not up to it. But anything that good is worth the effort. Time will tell...

    1. 'the gospel is not for everyone'????? Holy cow, this is exactly the attitude that disenchanted me with the LDS church.

  10. I'm sorry to see the glee that some of the Mormon Think crowd exude as they anticipate drawing blood from their enemy. It hard for me to understand your mindset.

    Let's say your right that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet. Why would you delight in the pain that church leaders and members will go through when they discover he was a fraud, as you suppose? Have you lost the milk of human kindness? Why would you find joy in others pain?

    I've been aware of the historical challenges the church faces in this day since 1972. I knew this day would come. But I was, to use the latest term, inoculated by answer to prayer, gifts of the Spirit, ministering angels (unseen but heard), visions, dreams, and other manifestations of the Spirit.

    I don't have an answer to all the questions that are raised at Mormon Think, but I have experienced the things written about by the Book of Mormon prophets to the extend that I not troubled spiritually by anything Mormon Think produces.

    Believe it or not, a crisis of faith can be the catalyst that leads to the heavens being opened to the earnest seeker. I urge those who still have an ounce of faith left to turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart and learn for themselves by the power of the Holy Ghost what the truth is regarding Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

    I have and so have many others. Spiritual light weights won't be able to survive whats coming prior to the second coming of Christ. Mormon Think is just the beginning.

    1. I don't think people are generally delighting in the pain of others at all, but there is some natural anger when you feel you've been misled and you want others to see the light and get free of it. I'm glad, however, that you recognize how painful that process is for people as many faithful Mormons I know are under the false impression that people leave the church out of weakness or desire to make things easy. It's a difficult road for many, but it's the only choice you can make when you come to the conclusion that the church is false. There will be plenty who will stay on faith, as you will, and not find evidence compelling. And if you feel that way, that's exactly what you should do.

    2. Nicely worded. I was always taught leaving was a sign of weakness, or a desire to sin or a Jared said, because of light weights. But it is SO much more than that. I was and am hurt by my loss of faith. It isn't easy to turn away from something you put so much into. I have beem in the spot where I would've taken anything to have my "faith" return. Its not about destroying people and hurting them. Its about educating them so that they can avoid the real pain when they need to turn to that faith and it sorely disappoints causing more damage. I wish I never bought or taught this stuff, but I did. I wish I was educated before my faith lead me to some real doozes with some real wackos. I am bitter because my faith taught me what was right evem though my brain said run. I now am telling everyone run. Your brain is a tool your God gave you to use not silence.

    3. Jared,

      I believe the reason most awake people 'delight' in seeing members realize the truths that have been kept quite, is because they hate to see people deceived and deluded to follow false prophets and false doctrines and give their time and money to causes that not only are false, but will likely cause them to lose their salvation unless they wake up and repent from falling for the craftiness of wolves in sheep's clothing.

      It is wonderful that members finally wake up, even if it causes them some temporary pain and confusion, for it may cause them to finally question and prove all things before following anything or anyone from now on.

      I believe we will lose our salvation if we remain deceived by the false prophets of the LDS Church.

      The more the Church tries to do and say anything to stop the exodus, the more members will start to think and question. Such admitting will only cause the exodus to increase faster. The truth is out and too many people know it and thus it will only snowball.

      It's a wonderful thing that people are learning the truth and escaping the bondage of the Church's brainwashing. The truth really sets people free, to learn from God himself and not trust in the arm of flesh anymore.

      One need only study Christ's teachings in the scriptures to know how opposite the Church teachings are from his. The problem is few bother to compare Christ's or even Joseph Smith's proven and published teachings to what the Church leaders have preached and practiced all these years.

      Oh, and Joseph never preached or practiced polygamy either, it was all Brigham Young and his gang, who only tied to Joseph to try to justify their whoredoms.

    4. For myself Jared, the question isn't "Was Joseph Smith a prophet???" I know he was, but do you know he was removed from his place for leading us astray? Do you know that his mistakes have remained inside the church for many generations? So let me ask you this: IS Thomas S. Monson a prophet? Joseph Smith never laid his hands up[on his head like Moses did to Joshua. It's not logical for him to be a prophet magically just because he has worldly experience. Thus all I see is an apostle trying to do a prophet's job. And please don't be offended by this remark, but he's doing as questionable of a job as Peter was during Jesus' time. I mean Peter was the eldest apostle and all, but ever notice how he was Jesus' special project that just never seemed to get it? Read your scriptures a little more, and I pray you'll see what I mean.

      There's many things I agree with inside the church, more than what you may recognize because it's easy to judge me, but I do truly see the leadership of the church no better than the pharisees. I'm being honest when I say they aren't evening following God's laws themselves. Living a modest lifestyle? Hah! Look at their fine apparel they think makes them holy, and how big their houses are. Judging people according to the truth? Hah! The judge with justice without mercy, claiming mercy can only be given once a man is made perfect through the atonement. You fools! Don't you know God died for the weak who cannot pull themselves out of sins? You are God's church inasmuch as the Jews were, but you have all gone astray and in areas have forsaken the almighty God for idols that can give you no life.

      I do not speak this because I desire to hurt your feelings, but becauseI desire we reach a mutual understanding. It is not godly to make a covenant that demands a man to keep the law, or else be excommunicated. It is an abomination before God, and it makes me sick. No man is justified according to the deeds that are written in the law, but the righteousness of faith in Christ and the atonement. Which faith should be willing to keep the commandments, but willingness does not add up to ability. Are we not all weak? Do we not all fall short of the glory of God? The Mormons single out those with sins such as fornication and drug addiction, but forget that liars and hypocrites are equally guilty before God according to the deeds of the law. Therefore there are none worthy before God this day, and you are all defiled. For you have become a respecter of persons, and forgotten that God has chosen the weak, despised, poor things of this world who are yet rich in faith. And so all your offerings are vile before the Lord, and he delights in none of them. Of that I am convinced, but I do no more than give you my opinion and wisdom according to my own understanding of the scriptures.

  11. This inoculation plan has already been designed and internally (laboratory) tested.
    The reason for slow and measured release is to gauge the accuracy of their internal test and make refined adjustments based on real life responses.
    Should the inoculation start unraveling they probably have a plan B release that is relatively meaningless but fulfills the promise of some kind of candid disclosure.
    If they didn't test it and they don't have a back up plan they are fools.

  12. It looks like between hemorrhaging members and playing dodge ball with direct historical questions is finally taking it's toll. I'm glad to hear that leaders will be addressing this, however, not wanting to sound cynical or pessimistic I feel we won't see what is needed. I'd love to see the church come clean 100%. But in doing that it doesn't leave much room for the average member to have a testimony, considering we've all based it on heavily distorted facts. To be 100% truthful would most likely destroy the majority of the church's current foundation. I'd see the missionary program obliterated, and the erosion of virtually everything else in a bit by bit process. By releasing the information over the course of a few years is the leaders vision that with time it will heal all wounds, and I believe they feel members will be more accepting of the distortions in the manner. They are not going to let what has become a powerful financial empire be destroyed with "Truth's that are not useful". Too many families of leaders, comfortable lifestyles, free education for family members, and the numerous perks the top 15 enjoy will not go down that easily. There will be plenty of sugar coating, but I feel the only way this would be properly addressed is if the church leaders met with people like Grant Palmer, Michael Quinn, Ken Clark, Tom Phillips in an open forum/setting to unfold real truth, then, let the chips fall where they may.

  13. ** COMMENT ON JARED'S POST 06-04-13 ** Do you really see MT members as having Glee or delighting in other's pain with this issue? Somehow it seems that the guilty are now the innocent in this case. The Presidencies all along have been well aware of truth, but for their own ego's, personal gain, and lack of character chose to continue to LIE to the members decade after decade. Now that people are hurt, disillushioned, angry, somehow they are the guilty party for the feelings and emotions instigated by church leaders? Wake Up and take a real stand for truth. This is a modern day Jesus turning over the money changers table's. Do you want to say he was wrong for being upset at what the money changers were doing?

    1. It appears as though you are in the camp of those who believe the prophets and apostles are intentionally lying, deceiving, and conniving evil men who are living high on the hog at the expense of those they have so cleverly duped.

      What are the church leaders guilty of doing? Let's assume that all of them know in detail the material that is found on MT (I don't believe that is the case). Did they know about before becoming GA? I don't think so. Once they found out, what would you suggest they do?

      Many are like me and have a true testimony, and can't be moved out of their place. Others may be experiencing a challenge to their faith and dealing with it the best they can--waiting on the Lord. If there are some who have lost their faith, they haven't come forward, so far.

      However, I expect that some will. I anticipate that a few GA at various levels will announce their loss of faith and it will make a big splash in the media. Those who follow MT will applaud them for their honesty. Others GA will then relate their sacred experiences in greater detail and do the best they can to answer the issues.

      The rank and file members will be brought to their knees. Church meetings will be disrupted by the militant among the MT crowd. There might even be bloodshed and acts of terrorism.

      I sure hope it never goes that far, but some will be delighted to see evil rise its head.

    2. Jared - Do you seriously believe that the "MT crowd" is "militant" in the sense that it is working its' way up to "bloodshed" and "acts of terrorism?" These are the kinds of comments that lead me to believe that you (and others who think like you) are the ones who might become dangerous. Are you one who believes that those of us who have left Mormonism must be possessed of, or controlled by, the Devil? Are you stockpiling weapons to prepare for the invasion you apparently see coming? I left Mormonism over 10 years ago, and I have never--not once--felt inclined to shed blood or commit an act of terror. Nor in my extensive reading and talking with others about the matter ever come across someone who has. Your comments appear to be classic intentional fear-mongering--or worse, you really believe it.

    3. Jared,

      I believe that everyone knows, deep down, when they are doing wrong, even and especially church leaders. I believe every leader from Bishop to President of the Church knows enough and sees enough to know that the Church is 'not' following Christ's laws. Even young children know the basics of right and wrong, yet somehow to keep their positions and pride, such leaders don't want to stand for the right and speak out on what they see is wrong, things they would never go along with if it happened to them.

      This is especially true the higher the leader. They know too much to be innocent. The higher leaders even have the best knowledge, books and professors at their fingertips. They have no excuse. They see the sufferings of the abused and abandoned single mothers, and other women and children in the Church, not only today but since Brigham Young's days when abusive doctrines like polygamy, divorce and remarriage were started and allowed, which continue today in most ways. They see the truth yet they continue to ignore it all.

      If Moroni were here, and he will be shortly, you would see what real prophets and righteous men and leaders do in the midst of such evils being taught, supported and done by Church leaders today.

  14. Cora, you've nailed it. thanks...

  15. Jared wrote: "The rank and file members will be brought to their knees. Church meetings will be disrupted by the militant among the MT crowd. There might even be bloodshed and acts of terrorism."

    That is just plain ridiculous. One of the largest attacks by a group on another in the US was the mormons at the mountain meadow massacre. You should think about what you're claiming. MT is not a violent crowd in the least.

    1. David T-

      The Book of Mormon provides support for what I suggested might occur to the church and church members. When I say MT crowd, I mean those who have become disaffected from the church for whatever reason and then turn militant.

      The MMM actually supports my assertion. Good people can get caught up in things that are otherwise unbelievable, that is, until circumstances come together that brings their fallen natures to the surface and overwhelms their better judgment.

  16. I agree. And the internet has been the great sanitizer...

  17. Well in my opinion with my Mormon past and my knowlege, and my brain having common sense...the BOM is a load of bull$&#+...the church is full of it too..ya'll should move on.

  18. Jared,
    On June 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM you wrote, "How is it that a voice speaking from beyond the veil in answer to prayer happens all the time?"
    Voices, impressions, visions, angelic visitations, and other experiences like these are fairly common. They may come from prayer, fasting, other religious rituals, or just out-of-the-blue and often lead many to believe truth claims that contradict LDS truth claims. Since these experiences (including claimed LDS personal revelation) are completely subjective, they are useless in discerning the truth.

    My best,
    Zack Tacorin

  19. Jared,
    For examples of these kinds of spiritual experiences leading people to believe in things that contradict LDS truth claims, please visit:
    and read from the heading "A Short Experiment – Comparing Descriptions of Spiritual Feelings from Different Religions."
    Even as a former Mormon I was shocked to see these spiritual perceptions are universal among various religions and even atheists.

    Again, my best
    Zack Tacorin

    1. Zack-

      I've read the link you provided, seen it before, and other explanations to discredit the workings of the Spirit. I agree that there are come valid points made, however, it doesn't explain the kind of experiences I've had. The LDS church and other faiths have a history of miracles that can't be explained away.

      There is also the phenomenon of near-death-experiences that defy explanation by those who desire to debunk workings of the Spirit. For example, how does a person who was born bind and claims a NDE and proceeds to tell the doctors about all that occurred in the operating room. They had to be able to see.

      So the beat goes on, those who war against faith just can't understand miracles and the workings of the Spirit.

    2. Jared,

      Fortunately I do not war against faith. I just try to promote the use of reason.

      You wrote, "The LDS church and other faiths have a history of miracles that can't be explained away." I'm not trying to explain this history away. Your argument is therefore a straw-man argument--a logical fallacy. This history of miracles is real. The experiences involve in these miracles are real experiences. I don't question the experiences. I just don't think you're interpreting those experiences with sound reasoning. These experiences lead people to believe in all sorts of things that contradict each other including things that contradict LDS truth claims. NDEs and out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are among these. For the most part the observations from OBEs are not that remarkable regarding things seen in the room during the OBEs. From what I understand, sometimes the things they thought they saw are not really how things were. What is remarkable is how culturally specific NDEs are. For example, Hare Krishnas often report seeing Krishna but not Jesus. You wouldn't accept this as evidence of the divinity of Krishna would you?

      You've told us that NDEs cannot be explained, and it seems you think this supports your stance. This is an argument-from-ignorance fallacy and provides no support for your stand.

      I don't feel like we're at war brother. I think we just disagree with one another.

      Best regards,
      Zack Tacorin

  20. I am thankful for this site because it helps me to understand why I have never fully drank the cool-aide! I am a convert of 33 years. It was nice to think there is one true church. This sites work will blow the lid off of "popcorn popping on the apricot tree!"

  21. If only they did have the ethics, morals and principles to honorably admit the nearly 200 year old hoax and come clean. They are in a Catch 22 situation. The funny thing is, if they actually did embrace the true concepts of Christianity, there is a way out of the impossible situation. Completely confess all wrong doing, feel remorse, ask for forgiveness and try to live an honest life going forward. Ironic, isn't it? They say they are Christian and the answer is right there in Christianity actually. It would be a bold crazy move and the only one that would offer a final solution.

    I understand why it wouldn't work, because members who want to cling to Mormonism as something unique would be devastated. I am just saying, in a weird way, there is a solution.

    And the guys at the top don't have the right stuff to do this anyway. No,ethics, morals, honesty or principles there. Everything is about the perpetuation of the organization, no matter what means you have to stoop to to accomplish this. That is the one non-negotiable item in this organization. The perpetuation of the beast...that is what the doctrine boils down to.

    Sorry I've blathered on. These last two articles were great, Mr. Twede. Thanks for getting me caught up on the latest.

  22. New to this blog and following now. I can't wait to see what the church comes up with. I left the church 5 years ago as an 18 year old confused girl who, when faced with the real world, realized I grew up in a bubble under a rock. I am wondering what they are going to try to say to make the youth stay. I personally have every confidence in the youth of today. Information is more readily available than ever before and with social media, etc. it is travelling at unparalleled speeds. I feel the church may be crumbling and am watching to see as it unfolds.

    1. I am in the same boat! But a little older, and a man haha. The thing is, though, I teach the youth in the wards I've been in, and I must say the youth are not stupid. They are having access to information readily. Now, entrenched parents will not let their kids think for themselves as much, but those doubters will grow up and have kids of their own. And they will be more open, and so on, etc. So I think, in time, all these things will eventually be laid to rest and the church will cease. But it will be quite a while in my opinion.

  23. The information has been out there a LONG time. My uncle found and gave to my brother and I some thing like a 1913 Encyclopedia Britannica. For Joseph Smith it had all the information you mention, generally and more. The fact is he was a treasure hunter and a person with low credibility before he launched his religious offering. His sexual misadventures are hidden only to those who refuse to believe the facts. Then there is the supposed slaughter of the innocents in Utah. Much information, but a general willingness to ignore this information. I wonder if these matters are shared in small foreign countries where I have been recently and the LDSers are everywhere. I suspect not. These people are VERY superstitious and a lack of facts fits well with this superstition. I do not mean this a diatribe, it is just facts and my concern for the well-being of these peoples.

  24. It seems to me that the only thing the church leadership can say about all these problems is this: "Look, all of these really smart people see these inconsistencies, hateful speech, contradictions, etc, and they still believe. And so should you, now pray, pay and obey!" It's just a big appeal to authority.

  25. Personally I think these essays will end up offending those asking scholarly questions than inoculating them. Yes, yes, people WANT to believe. I am one of those people. But I am yet offended when my question isn't fully answered, and I'm aware of it inside my spirit.

    You see, my biggest pet peeve is the doctrines I can see the church being hypocritical in following. They rationalize their hypocrisy as being scripture, and hey! We got pharisees.

    They can try to tackle history problems, science, and whatever else. They can try "answering" questions with answers that don't actually answer. But truth be told, all that will not phase a true believer in Jesus Christ. You need the Holy Ghost added to the word.

    The letter kills, but the spirit brings life. Thus an essay will leave a man for dead, unless God is actually in all of it. Believe in it? Don't believe in it? What you believe means is death if the Holy Spirit is absent. There is a way that seems right unto man, but the ends thereof is death. But the way God leads us to is eternal life.

    Want to know the ONLY true way? That would be JESUS CHRIST! And I can witness to that because he has spoken to me in my childhood as if it were out from the clouds where I could not see him. Don't believe if you want to, but I know the spirit is with me.

    Posts I've done that explain where I'm standing at in my faith. You find these fascinating David, because I try to take a scriptural approach in challenging the church, wishing it to become better:



    P.S. I know things don't look like you'd have your name written done in the history books by Mormons for good now, but hun... I believe in the God who has the power to turn things around! I believe in a God who can do something for us that we could not do for ourselves. I believe in the God who knows how to get us to where we need to be, even when we make mistakes and cannot see where we're making them! :-)

  26. This last Sunday we had a member of the first presidency of the seventy, tad Callister, come and speak I'm sacrament meeting. It was an interesting talk. He opened by quoting Shakespeare's Julius ceaser and how the bells couldn't have rung when he was killed because clocks hadnt been invented in Ancient Rome. He went on to say how in 180 years of Book of Mormon history, no one has shown a " ringing clock". He went on to explain what an anachronism is and what they are. He said with a straight face that there were no anachronisms in the Book of Mormon. Really? If this is the new logic of Coming clean I. Think we can expect more of the same. By the way, the rest of his talk went downhill from there. He talked about the Spaulding rigdon theory, fawn Brodie, and others and how they were of the devil. Most interesting was the reaction of the ward. I talked with many, including the bishop, and f them either said what a good talk it was or didn't know what to make of it.

  27. Honestly? They could treat their members who doubt better. This would go a long way toward fixing the problem.

    - Not taking away temple recommends
    - Not calling them unworthy
    - Not speaking to their spouses regarding their "unworthiness"
    - Not revoking or refusing blessings due to doubt
    - Not making these members jump through insurmountable hoops to prove they are still fit to remain Mormon
    - Not giving them the scarlet letter
    - Etc.

    All of these things would be huge for these struggling members. But unfortunately, whenever any member discusses his doubts or disbelief in the church, the bishop is all too quick to brand this person apostate and punish him/her accordingly.

    1. Someone can only be 'punished' if he gives others authority over himself. Once I discovered the facts of the origins of the LDS church, I realized the leaders had no authority, and I removed myself from their games.

  28. Is this all disinformation? I would love them to try and explain the facts in the smooth, pious manner I know they will. But this could be more smoke and mirrors. It would be admitting a battle defeat to Mormon Think and the internet. The true Church shouldn't have to explain itself. The Church's history should just separate the wheat from us tares. So I doubt these essays will come from the Church.

  29. The very fact that most Mormons lie by omission and white wash many facts about their cult organization, or they simply aren't aware of many things because they are not spoken of or taught anymore or seldom taught, was and is enough reason for me to have left and stay away for good! I can't stand hypocritical, contradictory, deceptive liars! I can't be mad at the clueless, but only frustrated with the clueless for being so damn stupid especially when I have tried helping many clueless Mormon individuals through my own knowledge and personal experience in Mormonism for most of my life!

  30. People, good people who want the truth and will accept nothing less. Come to Jesus and leave "the cat with the hat" behind. You know in your heart it is false. Do not stay in the mud just because of your family traditions. If you stay around the crazies, you will be crazy and soon nonsense will sound like wisdom. We are what we eat, and we become what we believe. Choose Jesus and have nothing to do with childish myth and obvious lies.