Reasons why someone would no longer want to be a Mormon
Somewhere, Planet Earth
January 22, 2000
To Whom It May Concern:
In order to clarify my position for those who wish to know more, I write this letter to explain why I chose to permanently resign from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (heretofore �the LDS church�).
Allow me to start with some background: I was born a Mormon. My family was all Mormon, and I was active in the LDS church throughout all of my childhood and young adulthood. My mother was also active, but my father was not. I participated in the LDS scouting program. I attended Ricks College, and graduated from Brigham Young University. I have been through the LDS temple many times, and have served an honorable LDS mission. I have many Mormon friends, and there are many Mormons who I love and respect. I married a Mormon woman, then later stood beside her to face a church court, disfellowshipping, and finally reinstatement for our actions together. I have received, understood, and obeyed all of the currently approved doctrines of the LDS church in their many forms, with very few exceptions, of which I always repented as quickly as possible. Although I am not quite sure what role Mormon culture will play in my future, I am extremely certain about the LDS religious organization and dogma that I am rejecting.
Related to this decision, I have lived as much of my life as humanly possible �worthy� of spiritual guidance to confirm or deny the divine origins of the LDS church. I have taken the time and made the effort to fast and pray incessantly and repeatedly (in private, and with loved ones; at home, at church, and in the LDS temple) for spiritual guidance during that time. I have humbled myself, pondered sincerely, and sacrificed more deeply than anyone should have to, out of respect for the Mormon faith. However despite my extensive, persistent attempts to gain any spiritual or material confirmation of the truth of the LDS church, its scripture, and its doctrines, I have received no such confirmation at any time.
Lacking a spiritual confirmation, I did make some attempt to find moral and social value in Mormonism, but this eventually failed for me as well, as it would for anyone who is honest enough to expose their doubts amidst the dogmatic climate of the LDS church during the past 10 years. The LDS church actively fosters a culture which makes sure that those who think differently, those who question, are to be rejected, isolated and punished, at both the administrative and personal level. Although this has caused me great personal pain, I�m also sure that it causes pain to many of my family and close friends, (even those who are trained to reject me) and for this I am truly sorry. Please believe me that my respect for the feelings of those I care for has made this a very difficult choice. It�s probably not a choice I could have made while my parents were alive. However it is out of respect for my mother, who truly believed in the church, that I do not fake my religious beliefs, or try to �change the church from within�. And it is out of respect for my father, a non-believer who never escaped the church, that I myself must escape. More importantly though, it�s out of love and respect for my wife, and to secure the happiness and future of our children, that I take a stand for what is right, and make it clear how I feel and what I know about the church.
Fortunately, I know quite a lot about the LDS church. Like my father, but unlike most other people, I�ve taken the time to examine Mormonism from a historical perspective, and have a good understanding of the LDS church with regards to what its origins are, how it has changed, and perhaps where the church is headed in the future. After careful review, it has become clear to me that Mormonism (its history, culture, and outcome) is quite different from what is claimed. Furthermore, the LDS church (its scripture, doctrine, and authority) is not �true� by any meaning of the word, but rather a man-made product which started off in chaos, reached the height of its cohesion around 1960, and now has become morally, socially, and intellectually bankrupt. For someone who grew up as a Mormon, and invested most of his life in the LDS church, these conclusions are hard to accept. However, I find them undeniable for the following reasons:
1. The Book of Mormon is not true.
Joseph Smith’s methods of �translation� were of extremely dubious nature, and the results have absolutely no ties back to Meso-American archeology. Close examination of the Book of Mormon witnesses shows that they are drawn from a very tight circle of individuals, and that some of them failed to �see� the golden plates with their physical eyes, as Joseph Smith claimed the plates could only be seen with their �spiritual eyes�. In other words, the golden plate sources for the Book of Mormon were not even real. More likely sources for the Book of Mormon include Ethan Smith’s �View of the Hebrews�, Josiah Priest’s �The Wonders of Nature and Providence�, fictional manuscripts by Solomon Spaulding, the teachings of Joseph Smith�s personal Hebrew tutor, all mixed in with Joseph Smith’s own mystical practices, plus snippets of text from the Bible. Each of these sources pre-date the Book of Mormon, were highly visible and accessible to Joseph Smith early in his life, and share several irrefutable similarities with the Book of Mormon.
2. The Book of Abraham is also not true.
The papyrus sources for the Book of Abraham, which were misplaced during Joseph Smith’s time, but discovered again in 1967, then translated by modern archeologists, have been found completely unrelated to the Book of Abraham. Instead the papyrus describe Egyptian mythology and funerary rites. The dictionaries Joseph Smith produced during the �translation� of the papyrus have been proven completely erroneous. None of the Book of Abraham matches the modern, completely reliable, full translation of the funerary text. Smith’s claim, that the Book of Abraham was the result of translating this text, is false.
3. The Doctrine and Covenants are also not true.
Comparing Joseph Smith�s first attempt, the Book of Commandments, with his later Doctrine and Covenants, reveals many �revelations� modified after the fact; rewritten to make Joseph Smith a more central figure, bolster a church hierarchy, and add new ordinances and doctrines on an as-needed basis. The evolution of the Book of Commandments into the Doctrine and Covenants is an excellent example of the historical revisionism which provides the LDS church with all of its �translations� and �revelations�. Another example includes the Kinderhook Plates. These which were soon proven to be a modern hoax, although they had already been �translated� by Joseph Smith, with his false claim that they were of ancient origin. In addition, Joseph Smith’s documented history using peep stones and sticking his face into a hat to receive the word of God are simply not convincing.
4. Joseph Smith provided four separate and conflicting accounts of the first vision.
The descriptions are mutually exclusive, and in general cannot be believed considering that they are all from a single individual who claims to have received something as profound and unique as a direct visitation from God and Jesus Christ. It was the church’s internal knowledge of these kinds of embarrassing inconsistencies in all of Joseph Smith’s stories that lead to the Mark Hoffman forgeries and bombings, and the church cover-up surrounding such.
5. The LDS temple ceremonies are not of ancient origin.
Instead they originated around 1790 when the Masons first invented them for use in their secret society. Joseph Smith joined that society, became a Master Mason, then violated that secrecy to plagiarize and adapt the ceremonies for use in the LDS temple. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young’s involvement with the Masons is very well documented. Joseph Smith was clearly observed using the Mason’s special call for help while he was murdered at Carthage Jail. However the Masons did not help him, (and are still weary of Mormons today) because of Joseph Smith�s stealing their secret ceremonies for his own use. Meanwhile, the LDS temple ceremony has changed significantly in only the past 150 years. Granted, this is for the better, (especially the removal of various suicidal oaths and gestures from the endowment ceremony very recently in 1990), but claims that the ceremony is unchanged are clearly false. Additionally, LDS claims that the Masons borrowed their ceremonies from the LDS temple are also false and typical of the growing hypocrisy of the LDS church.
6. Polygamy was not inspired.
Joseph Smith had at least 35 wives, all married to him through polygamy. At least 11 of these women were already married to other men who were still alive and had not been divorced. Of these 11 women, several bore children to Joseph Smith at least 10 months after he sent their husbands off on missions. Some of these husbands lost their wives to Joseph Smith permanently. Although he later proclaimed a revelation in order to justify his actions, in reality Joseph Smith had been practicing polygamy in secret for over 10 years beforehand (despite it being illegal in Illinois from the start), while publicly denying and condemning such things. History makes it very clear that polygamy was a cause, rather than a result of, early Mormon persecution. Although it resulted in great misery for most involved (especially those males left without any spouse), Brigham Young continued the practice, marrying over 50 wives himself. The practice was encouraged at all levels of the church, encompassed a large portion of the population, and was passed along through other LDS Prophets (well beyond the proclamation suspending it) until early in the 20th century.
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