Thursday, May 04, 2006

What Google Taught Me About Mormonism

After the Mormon church edited its temple endowment ceremony in 1990 to make it more politically correct and less offensive, I strongly questioned the truth of the church. If the highest ordinances were revealed to the prophet from God, then why would those truths need to be removed in order avoid offending people? How is this different than the signs of apostasy that Mormons point out in other churches such as the practices of baptizing infants or baptism by means other than immersion. The Mormons are very precise in their ordinances. Both baptism and the sacrament have revealed prayers that must be said word for word. The endowment is the same and must be said word perfect. So, isn't changing of saving ordinances a clear sign of apostasy?

I was stuck and didn't know how to reconcile this apparent contradiction with the teachings of the church. I also didn't believe that prayer was an appropriate way of answering my questions since the best it could do would be to make me feel good about a clear contradiction. Frankly, it didn't work and I knew that no amount of prayer could make 1+1=3.

But I stuck it out for 13 years and lived a life of schizophrenic belief. I could drop into my lifelong TBM personality and completely suppress my doubts, but when I was alone my doubting Thomas personality reasserted itself with questions that didn't have answers.

Then a couple of years ago I ran into an article about an anti-Scientology website that was being sued by the $cientologists for revealing their most precious seeeecrets. I couldn't resist going to see what they were so intent on hiding from the uninitiated. What I found was ludicrously funny. How could any person believe such amateur sci-fi psycho-babble brainwashing?

And then it suddenly clicked in my mind. Wouldn't other people see Mormons the same way? I wondered what was out there about Mormons that the Mormon church didn't want investigators to know. So I hit Google and within an hour I realized that the doubts I had harbored for 13 years were valid. I found a rich harvest of facts that showed that the Mormon church had systematically lied to me for my entire life in order to keep me a member and to use me for its own purposes.

So, what did I find out there on Google? Two sites were particularly useful to me. The first was the Tanner's web site at Utah Lighthouse Ministry. Of course, I had heard about the Tanners. They are famous Anti-Mormons and as a Mormon I thought I knew what that meant. It meant that they were bitter liars that couldn't be trusted and that took isolated statements and events out of context and twisted them to their own means in order to attack the church and members with weak testimonies. I was surprised that that didn't seem to be the case. In fact, I discovered that they seemed to be quite cautious in not overstating their case. They didn't seem to distort or misrepresent Mormon beliefs and teachings. Instead, they did a good job of documenting what the church had taught and done in the past and how the church has consistently changed and evolved its teachings in order to further its designs. So I recommend:

Utah Lighthouse Ministries

Another link that I found very helpful was the ExMormon web site. At first I looked at exit stories and discovered that those leaving the church weren't the caricature that Mormons perpetuate of people that had weak testimonies or that couldn't hack it in the church. In fact, many seemed very much like me. They were thoughtful people that reached the conclusion the church wasn't what it claimed and that it wasn't meeting their needs. Then I lurked on the bulletin board and confirmed that these weren't all a bunch of nut jobs. In fact, many were very thoughtful and reasonable. It was comforting to know that I wasn't alone. It was very comforting. You need support and affirmation or else leaving your religion can be a very lonely and difficult journey. The ExMormon web sites help provide that support.

ExMormon Web Site
Recovery From Mormonism Bulletin Board

I spent a lot of time on those web sites initially and became aware of a number of books about Mormon history which over time I purchased and read. I've posted a partial list of those books previously.

Another web site that I found was the Mormon Alliance. This web site documents examples of spiritual and ecclesiastical abuse by the Mormon church and proposes changes that should be made in the church to prevent its leaders from misusing their positions of power and trust to harm the members. This web site has many sad, but compelling stories. If you believe that the church isn't harmful then you should check out this web site. It pretty clearly shows how harmful it can be to those that don't conform to Mormon ideals.

Mormon Alliance

These web sites were key in helping me realize that my doubts about the Mormon church were justified and gave me further evidence that, in my mind, is insurmountable. The Mormon church simply is not what it claims to be and only perpetuates itself by systematically lying and distorting the truth.

I've included these links and others on on the right. So, if you are interested then please explore. Just remember to keep an open mind.

For balance I've also included some links to the Mormon's official web site and their most prominent apologists and defenders. I would also encourage search there for responses to the damaging information on the above web sites. You may be surprised that the church won't officially respond to most of the information. When it does you'll find that its responses are very weak. Further, I think the strongest evidence against the church are the disreputable and often obscene and dishonest responses of its apologists. But that's just my opinion.


Joseph's Left One said...

Even now, the stuff on the Mormon Alliance site makes me ill. I wonder if Jesus had our church in mind when he talked about whited sepulchres.

Sad stuff.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Yesterday and today was the first time that I had read the Mormon Alliance site. YIKES!

I didn't realize. It makes me wonder how widespread the abuse is... and I can see how easy it would be for a peodiphile to have access to church children.

The Mormons need to implement... ways to keep these type of people out. BUT because of the "revelation" and priesthood... etc. They will NEVER do it.

Another case of blaming the victim... Gosh it makes me ill.

Faithful Mormon said...

Bull, I read your post about your apparent disappointment with the Mormon Church, and how you felt that changes to temple practices questionable, and how can changes to truth be allowed or good.

What I see in your post, at the time of making it, that you have not taken the correct steps to deal with your spiritual concerns. It is obvious that when these "concerns" appeared, that you doubted the Church and it's truth as being God's only true Church. With that spirit of doubt, you allowed it to lead you to Anti-Mormon sites to find they satisfied the doubting spirit and by that you felt it was the answer.

Even your claim that prayer will not help you overcome a contradiction is a classic Satan led work that prayer is useless.

Bull, if I may say "bull".

You followed the wrong spirit and sought the wrong sources. Not once in this blog have you ever shown attempts to seek God's help and counsel. Instead, you made your own counsel, from that same ill spirit and was led astray.

By that foul spirit, all kinds of claims and (false) information will come to you, filling your heart with Anti-Mormonism.

By that example you have shown you failed to humble yourself and seek the Holy Spirit, failed to be patient and allowed your upset to dictate your actions, apart from ignoring the issue for many years. That brewing was your own doing, not Gods.

How can I say this?

I have been where you were at. I too had serious doubts, fought with God, angered at him and even denounced him and the Church. In all cases as I suffered my own inner darkness with the help of Satan, I eventually turned around and came to realize, once I humbled myself, that the teachings and guidance from the Holy Spirit is the ONLY saving grace.

As much as you deny the Holy Ghost is alive and works to help the faithful, I know the Holy Ghost is alive and in my life. The psycho babble is the making of the Holy Ghost as babble.

As much as I have tripped and fell many a time, I learned the hard way that God does answer sincere prayers and hearts, he does give understanding to overcome doubts and issues with the Church and by that my faith in him deepened as well as my testimony that the Church is true, Joseph Smith is God's prophet and God does lead this Church. My testimony also confirms you have been fooled.

The contradiction is your own, in your own mind that cannot reconcile because it was lacking the needed spiritual knowledge. Have you so easily forgotten Paul's words in 1 Cor 2:13 & 14???

It is you that fell to and followed the "natural man" and ignored and denied the path of the spiritual man. You fell and got fooled, bitten by the wolf.

If there is any glimmer of light still left in your heart and mind, kneel to the Lord and ask forgiveness and ask him to help you out of your spiritual doubt, then remain faithful, else God will leave you to your building misery.

Remember, Anti-Mormonism is not supported by the Holy Spirit, they are supported by Satan and the world. If you cannot see that, you are surely lost.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ

Bull said...

Thank you very much for helping me understand the errors of my ways. Of course it is all my own fault. Do you know what an ad hominem attack is? Or a straw man argument? You use both quite effectively in your comment while avoiding the issues. I sought answers in the church and didn't find them. I trusted the church only to learn that it not only lies, but it's leaders encourage deceit as long as it is faith-promoting.

What is completely lacking in your comment is how to reconcile the contradictions and problems with the church.

Here's where I am at. Contrary to what you've been taught, I'm not miserable or in darkness. I have the same problems out of the church that I had in the church. I don't seen anything the church has to offer that I can't have without it. The burden of proof is on the church and it has failed. I gave the "follow the Spirit" path a chance for nearly 40 years before giving up on it and moving on to something that works. I find it curious that you seem to find the Spirit a more powerful path to knowledge than evidence and reason. It's pretty tough to argue with that since evidence and reason are rejected in favor of feelings.

Let me ask you a simple question:

If the church wasn't true, would you want to know?

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