Resignation letter as Bishop sent to Stake President

This was my official letter of resignation as Bishop of Helston Ward sent to the Stake President on 11th January 2011

Dear President M_________

Firstly, please may I thank you for your amazing example and love. I feel your love and concern for me personally, and hold you in the highest regard as a friend and brother. I have never had reason to doubt your sincerity and compassion for others, and I love you and respect you for it.

It is with great pain and torment of mind and body that I am forced to write to you. I deeply and truly would rather not have to write this letter. But, honesty drives my motives.

I have come to believe over the last month that there are so many inconsistencies and problems with the historicity of the Book of Mormon, as well as the divinity of Joseph Smith’s calling as prophet, that I can no longer, in good faith, fulfill my calling as Bishop of Helston Ward.

When faith in the unseen is replaced with indisputable evidence to the contrary, faith becomes redundant and, in fact, becomes a pleasant, if fanciful, myth.

I have not come to this decision lightly.

You have known me since I was in my early twenties. All that time, including twelve years in Yorkshire, I have diligently served in the Church with my heart, might, mind and strength. I have dedicated myself to God’s service since I was a young boy, including serving a full-time proselyting mission for the Lord in Manchester.

Since moving back to Cornwall I have served the Lord with a passion. I love serving the members of the Helston Ward. And it cuts me to the very centre of my heart to have to ask for this release. But, to do otherwise would be dishonest, and hypocritical now that I have discovered the truth about the church.

It hurts me to even think the church I have sacrificed so much of my life for could be untrue. When I think of the time, physical & emotional effort, money and all the sacrifices I have made as a diligent member, I just can’t believe I am now thinking it was for a false premise.

I am resigning as bishop after much careful study, prayer and thought over a period of over one month. During that time I have desperately tried to find out that what I had recently discovered about the church was a malicious and fictitious lie. But the more I studied the more evidence of a cover-up I discovered.

My initial foray into the world of previously unknown truths about the church (unknown to me), was sparked by a genuine and sincere desire to understand why my brother can no longer believe.

My research has only involved studying church history and commentary, Mormon and Ex-Mormon Intellectual websites and not “evangelical Christian anti-Mormon lies.”
I didn’t realise for instance that Joseph Smith practised polygamy, and was married to 33 women, most under the age of 20, one as young as 14. That some of Joseph’s wives were already married to other men when he married them; a practice called polyandry. All of these facts can be confirmed by a simple look at the church’s own website, familysearch.org.

I didn’t know that all polygamous marriages were illegal in the USA. Yet we believe in “Obeying, honouring and sustaining the law. ”

I have learnt an awful lot about the church which the General Authorities, though accepting as true, refuse to tell the general membership for fear of destroying faith!

There are many other issues, like; there are several accounts of the First Vision and Joseph Smith’s initial personal journal entry about the First Vision didn’t include seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ, but an angel. Then over the years the story got embellished till it changed to what we have today. Yet I was told it was the most momentous event to occur in this dispensation. Why didn’t Joseph initially record it correctly?  And there are so many other things that have just dissolved my faith to the point I can no longer bear a testimony of the truthfulness of this church or even God.

Can you imagine how I now feel? It’s like my whole world is crumbling around me. I no longer know what I believe, or who I can trust. I don’t even know who I am, it is a most frightening experience. At the moment it feels like a death in the family. My death!

My feelings have run the whole gamut of human emotions; from initial shock, to anger, despair, grief, sorrow, depression, fear, and concern about the future and relationships. I am very anxious about how my parents and other family members will accept my new beliefs. It changes everything! I no longer have a value system which is my own, I don’t even know how to think anymore. At one point I was fearful my marriage would fail, but luckily our relationship is stronger than that. We have decided to work our way through this together and now our love is even stronger.

All of this whilst still trying to function as bishop. I didn’t want to say anything to you because I wasn’t yet sure, in fact I was desperately hoping it was all a nightmare which I would soon wake up from and everything would be just as it was before. I would still prefer the church to be true, it would be so much easier. But my dedication to the truth compells me to be honest, no matter how painful.

For me it is more important to believe in an uncomfortable truth than a comforting fantasy.

I know that this will be impossible for you to comprehend, just as it was for me when I was a true believing Mormon. It’s just the nature of Mormon psychology, it doesn’t allow for uncertainty or questioning.

I am beginning to see prospects of a brighter future as my reluctant realisation changes to acceptance of the truth and a feeling of excitement to learn more truth.

I had previously believed I knew the truth as strongly as any latter-day saint. My faith was sure! It has been my sure faith which has always guided me in my life, but now that faith seems to pale into insignificance compared to the new feeling of light and knowledge I am receiving.

Some may say I have been conned by Satan, but it feels so good to be seeing things more clearly that I feel god is guiding me. The same type of feeling of “the spirit” that I had as bishop still guides me. My own feelings which are now enhanced with solid, reliable, testable scientific data. Faith can only be faith if the evidence of things not seen are actually true. When all indisputable evidence proves that they are not true, faith is dead.

The most important question every member needs to ask is: “If the church is not true would I want to know?” Only then can one be open-minded to truth.

Just to be clear, my resignation is not due to unresolved sin, or to being offended by someone. I have not just got tired of my calling as Bishop, or become over-stressed. In fact I feel, more than ever, a deep and abiding concern for those in the Helston Ward, who I love with all my heart, and wish you to know that had I not had a significant epiphany, which causes me to no longer believe in the restoration of the gospel and church to the earth, I would still yearn to serve God and his children.

I tell you this so you can understand the sincerity of my disbelief in the church.

Again, please let me reiterate that I have complete trust in you as a friend and brother.

I welcome a conversation with you at your convenience and would ask you to keep this in confidence till I tell my parents myself.

With gratitude for your kindness

Steve

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146 Responses to Resignation letter as Bishop sent to Stake President

  1. Tom Milligan says:

    Hi Steve,

    Your letter is an honest one and you explain clearly why you left the Church. I no longer actively associate with the Church for much the same reasons as you indicate. I served as branch president for about three years.

    I think the one thing I find difficult to get around is the different accounts of the First Vision. In one account he says that only ‘the Lord’ appeared to him, not mentioning any other personage. I reckon that if I had had a vision of Jesus Christ and The Father that I would not have forgotten such a detail in recounting the experience.

    However, Steve, I wish you all the best on your journey towards truth.

    All the best,

    Tom Milligan

    • Stephen Bloor says:

      Hi Tom

      thank you for your kind remarks.

      After careful study it gradually became clear to me that Joseph Smith plagiarised most things in the gospel and Church, and used his charismatic personality to dominate people.

      The mind control in the Church begins to become apparent once you start to think freely.

      That’s now what motivates me to want to help others who’s minds are held captive by the Church.

      For me, truth is not relative, and I long to follow truth, realising that as humans we may never have all the answers, but it’s fun to keep looking and learning.

      My brother says “Science has questions which may never be answered, religion has answers which may never be questioned!”

      All the very best on your journey too.

      Kindest regards
      Steve

      • nickleus says:

        “After careful study it gradually became clear to me that Joseph Smith plagiarised most things in the gospel and Church,”

        joseph smith almost even admits to it in DC 88:118:
        “yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom”😉

        your brother’s quote is great! i hope you dont mind if i post it on facebook =)

      • Aleathe says:

        Love your brother’s quote. I really would like a name to give credit to the quote.

      • stevebloor says:

        My brother is called David Bloor. He’s one of the most compassionate, kind, sensitive, bright and intelligent men I know. He is also dedicated to following truth no matter where it may lead!

        I’m sure he’ll be honoured.

        Thanks for your courtesy.
        Best regards,
        Steve

  2. Stephen Munzer says:

    Hello Steve,

    If I didn’t know the gospel to be true, I wouldn’t feel an need to reply. Because I do know it is true, I am writing this response to your comments.

    When a person leaves the church, circumstances are always different, but the issues are just the same:

    A loss of confidence in Church leaders and a doubting of the divinity of laws and commandments.

    Study and research leading to the discovery of anomalies regarding the origins of the Church.

    This inevitably leads to cognitive dissonance, which is often resolved by concluding that the Church is therefore founded on falsehood. Once that is accepted, the person feels at liberty to believe and do as he wishes – often generating a level of euphoria, despite the ongoing conflict with family and church friends.

    However, the conclusion that Joseph Smith was a fraud, raises infinitely more questions than it answers. Here are just a few:

    Who did write the Book of Mormon and how? If Joseph had the capacity to write such literature in such a short time, he could have made much more money passing it off as fiction, rather than another bible – and would have saved himself from fierce persecution.

    If one of the others (Oliver, David, Martin) wrote it, why didn’t they say so when they became disaffected?

    Why did no apostate ever reveal the truth about the origins of the Church when they had nothing to lose by doing so – and everything to gain?

    Why didn’t Joseph’s parents and siblings see him for the deceiver and liar that he must have been?

    Why did Oliver and Martin return to the church, despite their once-held belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet?

    What did the eleven witnesses see and feel when they handled the actual plates? These were not simpletons and would have recognised something that the local blacksmith had knocked up.

    Why does the original transcript of the Book of Mormon contain virtually no edits or re-writes? Have you ever tried writing a complex story without them?

    How did Joseph manage to fabricate collective manifestations of the spirit and convince others that they were seeing angels and visions? Did no one spot that the emperor had no clothes on?

    How did Brigham Young convince a large gathering of saints that he sounded and looked like Joseph Smith?

    If Joseph did all that he did for money and sex (as implied by those who question tithing and polygamy) why didn’t he take his money and women and hole up somewhere out of the firing line?

    If the LDS church is false, is another religion true?

    If all religion is the fabrication of the fanciful mind of an evolved shrew-like creature, then why does it promote love, charity, philanthropy, fruits of the spirit and faith in a grand design and purpose rather than individual/ group survival and self gratification?

    If the LDS church is based on the lies, deceit and power-crazy mind of Joseph Smith and the early Saints, how do you rationalise every good thing that it has brought into your life?

    I would be interested to know how anyone leaving the church can provide convincing answers to any of these questions.

    I could go on to describe countless personal experiences and revelations that I, and my family, have received since coming into the church in 1974, and in fact these are the things that form the backbone of my testimony, rather than historical events and proofs.

    If you are sincere in your search for truth, then I am confident that your search will lead you back to what you surely must know is true.

    Kindest regards,

    Stephen Munzer

    • stevebloor says:

      Hi Steve

      It’s really good to hear from you.

      I too felt a connection with you and considered you a kindred spirit.

      Liz and I have been shocked at how few people we considered friends have actually contacted us since our change of beliefs, and fewer still have loved us enough to want to change our beliefs.

      So I am grateful that you love us enough to want to try. Thank you.

      I would not wish to discuss openly the issues in Church history you raised, but suffice it to say I am confident that looking at the evidence which is widely available from many sources, including BYU professors, that the story I based my faith and testimony on is not the true account, but just a shadow of what really happened.

      I found the best place to start in my quest for truth was: http://www.exmormon.org.uk/tol_arch/atozelph/twosides.htm

      This is where Chris Tolworthy compares the evidence for and against the truth claims of the Church. The case for the Church was written whilst he was a faithfully serving branch president.

      I have had to re-evaluate my testimony and have studied the psychology of influence as well as epistimology.

      I was shocked to discover that feelings are not a good indicator of truth.

      In the end I realised that I would rather accept the uncomfortable truth than a comforting fantasy, despite my feelings.

      I realised that sometimes it is better to do what is right even though it feels wrong, than follow the good feelings from the ‘spirit’ which can actually deceive me about the truthfulness of something.

      President Hinckley had experience of feelings not being a good indicator of truth with the Salamander letters during the Hoffman affair when even the First Presidency was deceived by their feelings.

      And many millions of members felt the spirit bearing witness of truth when Elder Paul H Dunn shared his war stories in General Conference which were later discovered to be fictitious. He was conveniently retired, becoming an emeritus G.A.

      I have also been impressed by the ‘testimonies’ of other religious people’s who have just as strong a faith as me, yet have very different beliefs.

      Their testimonies cannot be from God as well as mine, otherwise that becomes really confusing, unless we understand the nature of belief and how and why people believe, or in our case as Mormons, KNOW!

      But then you think about those guys who KNEW that they were doing God’s will by flying the planes into the twin towers. Total Faith!

      Cognitive Dissonance works both ways. As members or missionaries bare testimony of the gospel, even if they don’t truly know,it’s true, but do as Elder Boyd K Packer says to bear testimony anyway, their sense of integrity will not allow them to say something which they don’t believe, so they convince themselves it must be true otherwise they wouldn’t be saying it! It’s where feelings, thoughts and behaviour all have to become congruent or consistent.

      For me, certainty is how I measure belief.

      We can have belief based on knowledge…or knowledge based on belief.

      I came to realise that superstition affects everyone. The higher the potential cost to ourselves and others close to us, the higher the superstition and the superstitious ritual. There are religious as well as secular superstition, where we empower certain things or rituals to have a comforting/reassuring effect on us. We’re all affected. It’s just good to be aware of them so we don’t allow them to have power over us.

      However, understanding ourselves and our biases, and the way we interpret the world is liberating. It enables us to see the world the way we were meant to see it. Authentically!

      I wish you and your wife all the best on your journey.

      Love
      Your brother
      Steve

      • Scott says:

        Steve,

        Maybe you could lay out a case of your new-found knowledge and how you came to know/believe the things you now believe?

        I get that you don’t believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints any longer but I’ve yet to read of what you currently believe.

        Can you share with everyone whatever it is you know believe?

        And in my opinion, you didn’t answer any of the questions posed by Stephen, in fact you side-stepped all of them.

    • Josh Sparks says:

      “How did Brigham Young convince a large gathering of saints that he sounded and looked like Joseph Smith? ”

      This did not happen. Read the journals and reports on the actual day – there are no reports that this happened. At best you find that the spirit manifested to individuals that what he was advocating (the 12 should lead the church) was true. In fact, there are records that indicate Brigham Young’s speech was long winded and boring. Many of the fantastical reports of Brigham looking like Joseph were manufactured many years after.

      • why me says:

        Actually, there are journal accounts from members at that time who claimed that it happened based on being there. So, I can not understand how someone can claim that it didn’t happen. Also, if this were folklore, there would be plenty of people still around to dispel the folklore. But of course, in history, practically everything can be debated. But it seems that this did happen.

      • Eric Davis says:

        @Why Me – don’t make a claim unless you are willing to back it up. Please cite your sources of “journal accounts from members” of those who claimed Brigham Young looked and sounded like Joseph. Can you produce actual information of any of these alleged journal accounts?

        @Stephen Munzer – As for the 11 witnesses and Joseph’s own family:
        Are you aware that following Joseph Smith’s death, ALL 11 BoM witnesses, AND EVERY surviving member of Joseph’s birth family, at one time followed the same successor to Joseph? And that successor WAS NOT Brigham Young. The man that every one of those people decided to follow was none other than James J. Strang, who claimed to translate the sealed portion of the Gold Plates into what was titled, “The Book of the Law of the Lord”. Guess what? Strang even managed to find his own 11 witnesses who testified that they saw and handled gold plates too.

        So why didn’t the rest of the church follow Strang? He claimed to do everything that Joseph Smith claimed to do. And he had many followers as well.

        As for Martin Harris returning to the church: Have you read his history? He joined more churches than any person I’ve ever heard of. He was a participating member of at least 5 different churches prior to joining with Joseph. After he left the Mormons he floated around at least half a dozen other sects. The only reason he came back to the Mormons at the end, was because he was destitute and friendless. He groveled his way back to anyone who would take him in at that point.

        You asked: “How did Joseph manage to fabricate collective manifestations of the spirit and convince others that they were seeing angels and visions? Did no one spot that the emperor had no clothes on?”
        Actually MANY early church leaders and members did discover the problems with Joseph’s authority, and either left the church or were excommunicated. Have you never researched the early history of the church. There were major defections almost from day one. Joseph had problems in New York which ended up causing the departure to Ohio. There were defections in 1835 in Ohio, which ended up causing Joseph to pack up and move to Missouri. Joseph called his original group of 12 apostles in 1835, but most of them defected in Missouri in 1838, and started spreading their information about Joseph. This is why Joseph made up his “Joseph Smith History” in 1838, an attempt to counteract the things that were being reported by those who were leaving the church (just read the first verse of the JS-H, Pearl of Great Price). That was also the first time we hear about Heavenly Father visiting Joseph in the first vision (woops, how did he leave out that little detail for 18 years?). There were also two major periods of defection in Nauvoo. The last one in 1844 resulted in the “Nauvoo Expositor” incident.

        It’s time for you to brush up on your Mormon history. You seem to be missing several key points.

      • If you’d like a detailed retelling (from a believing Mormon) of how this myth of the transfiguration of Brigham into Joseph came to be, I provide the sources here:

        http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-mormon-history-is-not-what-they-say.html

    • Ryon says:

      Joseph Smith was found guilty of the crime of “glass looking” prior to publishing the Book of Mormon. He was claiming that he could find buried treasure with his seer’s stone, the same stone he “translated” the Book of Mormon with. Why would God choose such a person to bring back the true gospel to Earth? People would be doubting him right from the beginning.

      Why would God command Moroni to take the plates back to heaven? The whole world could have seen the plates and been convinced of their authenticity! Think how much easier the missionaries jobs would be. But no, God decides to have the plates taken back to heaven and rather than getting to see the real golden plates to affirm our beliefs, we instead just get to hear of some testimonies of people who claim to have seen the plates. This is a terrible plan for bringing back the true gospel to the Earth. This is more consistent with a story of the plates being false and the way to get around not having to show them is to say “Oh, an angel took them back to heaven, sorry. But here are some people who can tell you about them!”

      Then there is the “View of the Hebrews,” a story published before the Book of Mormon that has many parallels to the Book of Mormon, such as the Israelite origin of Native Americans whose languages descend from Hebrew. Just that fact alone would make me skeptical but there are many other parallels you can read about in B. H. Roberts'(a Mormon apologist), “A Parallel”.

      Lastly, the Book of Abraham has been confirmed to be a false translation and the scroll that Joseph was using to translate from was an Egyptian funerary text that had nothing to do with Abraham. Not only that, but the scroll was dated much later than Abraham’s life so they in no way could have been written by Abraham “by his own hand”.

    • why me says:

      Hello Stephen,

      Critics can not find answers to most of your questions. And this is the problem. You bring up some fine points but I fear that they will fall on deaf ears when it comes to the former bishop and to other critics of the lds church. The early history of the church is extremely faith promoting when we consider the 11 witnesses involved and how they never retracted their experiences. And Joseph Smith even when he was languishing in Liberty Jail did not seem to care about the witnesses and what they were saying at the time.

      Also, Joseph Smith’s polygamy is mentioned in the LDS book publication: Church History in the Fulness of Times. This was prepared by the LDS church’s Educational System for students of Religion 341, 342, and 343. The book mentions that polygamy was revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831 and that at that time he mentioned it to a few close friends. The book states that Joseph Smith also gave instructions in 1841 to leading priesthood brethren about their responsibility to live the law. The book I just mentioned is used in lds educational settings for young members of the church. I have no idea how the former bishop could have missed it. It is certainly not hidden. Now the book doesn’t go into details but that is left up to the instructor using the book.

      Also, the former bishop is already on the exmormon site more or less confirmed in his own interpretation of what he perceived to be his own truth. The differing accounts of the first vision were discussed in the Ensign:

      Richard L. Anderson, “Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 10

      Milton V. Backman Jr., “Joseph Smith’s Recitals of the First Vision,” Ensign, Jan. 1985, 8

      Milton V. Backman Jr., “Confirming Witnesses of the First Vision,” Ensign, Jan. 1986, 32

      How could the former bishop not know? And where is it hidden?

      The former bishop has believed the misinformation of the critics and there is nothing more to do about it but hope that he can see just how he was misled.

      • Eric Davis says:

        @Why me
        Since you bring up the book “Church History in the Fulness of Times”, feel free to turn to page 82 (the 2000 edition).

        On that page you will read the account of Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, who visited Manchester and Palmyra in December 1830, and learned the following: “Upon inquiring among the neighbors concerning the Smith family, they found their reputation had been impeccable until Joseph had made known his discovery of the Book of Mormon.”

        What is interesting about this passage is that Joseph began telling neighbors about the Gold Plates and BoM in fall of 1827. So his neighbors are claiming that his reputation was impeccable up until 1827.

        But wait. What about the Joseph Smith history (written in 1838) in which he claims that he told locals about his 1820 first vision, afterwhich the whole community became united in persecuting him, IN 1820 NOT 1827.

        connect the dots: If everyone in town began persecuting Joseph in 1820, why would these same people then say (just 10 years later) that his reputation had been impeccable until 1827? Answer: because he didn’t really tell anyone in 1820 about receiving a vision. Therefore Joseph Smith lied when he wrote the history that is printed in the Pearl of Great Price.

        Additionally, when you read D&C 20 (the 1830 organization of the church), the first several verses briefly detail the events in Joseph’s life that led up to the church’s founding. There is mention of several things, including an angel and gold plates, but there is NEVER a word about a vision of HF and JC. WHY? because that story would not be invented until 1838, eight years later.

        Bottom line: The 1820 first vision never happened. It’s pure fiction, written at a time of major defection among the leadership of the church. Joseph invented the story as an attempt to reassert his authority over the remaining faithful.

    • Fred Grant says:

      you got a sack over your head and cant see or think for your self..we are leaving the cult every day it was the biggest shcam ever pulled on man kind..i am so thankful to be oput of the polygamust cult

    • St. Nicholas says:

      Great questions and thoughtful responses Stephen. Thank you.

    • Dustin Belnap says:

      Steve,

      Don’t underestimate the power of satan and most of all the power of our father in heaven and his son Jesus Christ. Myself being someone who has found the “TRUTH” it is in the Bible and the words of Christ himself. John 1 vs 1 we read ” In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and the WORD WAS GOD” . If you really want the “truth” you WILL find it in the Bible. Particularly the new testament. It teaches us of “grace vs works” for salvation and living with Christ again. I hope you will seek the truth. I recommend you start with Mathew and then read Pauls episitles to the Romans and Ephesians.

      God bless,

      Dustin Belnap

  3. Tauna says:

    Thank you for sharing this letter. Your experience was very similiar to mine. I was raised in Utah, attended LDS seminary, went to BYU, married in the temple, had four children, was a SAHM, my husband and I were very active in the church for the first 15 years of our marriage.

    Once I stumbled upon the ‘stuff’ that the GAs don’t want you to know, I had a similiar reaction as you did. I felt that ‘the church’ had lied to me my entire life.

    and this “However, the conclusion that Joseph Smith was a fraud, raises infinitely more questions than it answers.” was not true for me. When I realized that Joseph Smith was a fraud, all the pieces of the very confusing puzzle automatically fit into place for me.

    Best of luck on your journey. I’m happy for you that your wife is willing to work through this ‘new normal’ with you.

  4. Geoff Derrett says:

    Hi Seve; you’ll remember me. I was another Helston Bishop that resigned his commission some years later. I was by then on the Bishopric of the Romford Ward when the same epiphany struck my wife and I and her parents. I had been aware of a number of ‘inconistencies’ in church history for a while but joined the ranks of the stalwart defenders of the faith anyway. For me it wasn’t the shameful conduct of Joseph smith and his polygamous marriages; it was the Book of Mormon. Or rather the desperate attempts by BYU/FARMS to salvage some sliver of credibility for an obvious work of fiction. A civilisation stretching across 2 continents over a period of 1000 years and not a brick, a bone, a weapon, a coin, some remnant of language – all the usual things a civilisation leaves – but nothing! Faith is the evidence of things not seen; what evidence? In any case, it ain’t that great a bit of literature. And then there is the Book of Abraham; a funerary document that bears no relationship to Abraham and is 2,500 years too late anyway. A first vision (or is it the ninth vision?) that took 22 years to be published. And the best that Steve Munzer can offer is “these are the things that form the backbone of my testimony, rather than historical events and proofs.” This detachment from reality is the product of Mormon thinking which is satanic and delusional. I knowthe Gospel is true, is the Mormon rallying-cry but do not for a moment confuse the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the egoistic, self-aggrandizing creation of Joseph Smith who might have fooled a few supersticious peasants 150 years ago. Cognitive dissonance? I lived with that for over 40 years before I left Mormonism! My last word? Don’t give up on Jesus – that’s where the journey really begins!

    • brian hutchings says:

      steve,
      my name is brian hutchings. i am 23 years old. i would love to talk to you if you have time. i am from california and now going to school in montana playing baseball here. i went on a mission to palmyra new york. your letter echos my feelings and life. please contact me?
      brihutch12@gmail.com
      801 663 3663

    • trevor says:

      I’m having trouble figuring out how you can make the claims about Mormonism lacking physical evidence and being a fictional and cognitively dissonant belief system, and then go on to say that Jesus is where the journey really begins? These are continued superstitions… All you did was go a couple thousand years back for yours. If you went several thousand years back again, you’d end up believing in Anubis, Zeus, Thor, or whatever the dominant beliefs were at whichever time to which you traveled. This is a pattern of human behavior, the common human condition – that we strive to know the answers to things, and when it comes to the unknown, we like to fill in our own answers. Ancient Hawaiians liked to think their islands rose up from the ocean on the backs of turtles. Now that we know about geology, plate tectonics, and continental drift, there is no need to believe in the turtles. Gods have been invented to explain the sun’s movement across the sky, but we now know how the solar system is organized – now, there’s no need for that religious explanation. But the ultimate unknown, death and the afterlife, has still managed to evade us, so we continue to make up mythologies that offer answers in the absence of solid facts.

      May I ask, have you ever experienced anything along the lines of the miracles which Jesus practiced? Have you seen water turned to wine on command? Ever seen somebody walk on water without technological assistance? Assuming your answer is no, then why would you choose to believe the stories written in the Bible over what L. Ron Hubbard wrote in Dianetics, or what is written in the Quran?

      • Ken says:

        Actually you are right. I think it is just easier to prove this religion wrong because it is so recent. I for one don’t believe in any religion, but I recently left the Mormon religion and I already pretty much stopped believing in God before I left it, but couldn’t officially leave the church until I discovered the issues with it for myself.

    • Mike Ash says:

      I’m not one to publish frequently on blogs or message boards. Quite frankly, life is too short, I have too many irons in the fire, and I have precious little time to work on projects that I feel are more worthwhile than arguing with others.

      Having said this, however, I feel the need to comment on a few things discussed herein.

      Steve, I honestly hope that you find happiness in your own personal spiritual quest. In the end, each of us has to decide for ourselves what brings us true happiness.

      I can imagine (with a touch of anecdotal recollection of my own) the emotional turmoil you must have gone through. The phrase “cognitive dissonance” [CD] is thrown about loosely in discussions about LDS issues, but true CD is very hard on the emotions and mind, and can make you physically ill. You cannot endure CD for long and your mind/body seeks a quick resolution. Some people find resolution by brushing difficult issues aside, others by embracing the new difficulties and changing their paradigm. Either way, the psychological tension is relieved. This doesn’t automatically make one direction right and the other wrong, however.

      Common among those who leave the church are feelings of anger and betrayal, and those feelings can be so powerful that they can cloud any or all thoughts of accepting the claims made by the Church. This comes from feelings of mistrust and are hard to overcome– and certainly influence a bias against arguments that support the Church.

      Feelings of mistrust, as you note in your post, come most often from feeling that things have been “hidden.” The simple truth, however, is that things are not nearly as “hidden” as some– who stumble upon such information [often painted in the worst possible light by critics]– would think. There isn’t enough space in this blog to do this topic justice but I can refer you to information that demonstrates a) that most of the difficult issues have been discussed in Church-related publications for years, b) most people in general are blissfully unaware of significant historical/political etc., events. In other words, it’s sad but true, that most people are simply ignorant of things they should know more about.

      When a believing member “discovers” such things, the Church is immediately held up as the culprit for “hiding” the information in a “cover-up” to control the minds of members. This is simply not true.

      Your post speaks of “solid, reliable, testable scientific data,” that supports your current religious views of Mormonism. At the risk of sounding rude, I seriously doubt that you could produce such data. Before you begin writing a list please keep in mind, that a large number of educated Latter-day Saints are fully aware of every single LDS-critical argument. I, myself, have studied them for many decades. There is absolutely no intellectual data that automatically compels an intelligent person to reject the Book of Mormon. Of course there is no intellectual data that automatically compels an intelligent person to accept the Book of Mormon either. In short, all the “scientific data” that is used to discredit the Church has an equally “solid, reliable,” and “testable” refutation (and, generally, vice-versa for pro-LDS claims).

      The journey is yours, and yours alone. No one can ride on the shirt tail of anyone else when it comes to matters of faith, so I have no dog in the race as to the outcome of your own decision on religious issues. I merely wish to emphasize that you are not the only one to “discover” difficult issues. Lots of intelligent people have examined them. A number of these intelligent people are not only still believing members but recognize that there are rational and logical explanations that account for every criticism out there.

      From what I have seen through years of reading exit stories is that the main factor which causes a person to leave is indeed “hurt feelings” and feeling “offended”– not offended by someone in the Church, but offended at the thought that they’ve been conned. And the primary reason that such people feel they were conned is because they never really engaged “study and faith” in their gospel lives.

      Like most people who fail to put their minds to full use as God intends, they often take a black-and-white approach to religious issues. It’s either true or false. There either were horses in the New World, or the Book of Mormon is fictional. The Book of Abraham was either written by Abraham himself, or Joseph Smith created the text. Such a fundamentalist attitude is anathema to a healthy paradigm of how God works through fallible humans.

      Good luck, and if you are ever open again to searching for answers, let me know.

      • Ray says:

        Good show Steve.

        Mike Ash, your reply is thinly veiled insensitivity, very condescending, belittling, and completely uncalled for. How dare you assume and imply that this man has not searched for answers? I find your positioning of superior intellect highly offensive. This man has gone through hell to come to this decision. God himself had EVERY opportunity to tell him, confirm to him, or otherwise ensure him that the church was true. It didn’t happen. Many of us are in his same situation. Get off your high-horse. The gospel should be simple to believe, it shouldn’t take a Ph.D. to make complexities and contortions appear as plausible explanations of God’s only truth. That doesn’t make sense to us po’ common folk… Good day…

      • Daniel says:

        Oh, Zeus. Mike Ash comes over to tell us what cogDis is. Whatta hoot!

        Look, Mike. If the Book of Mormon is true, then we should expect to see certain things: horses, Hebrew, all that. We don’t find those things. This means that it looks increasingly unlikely that the Book of Mormon is true. That’s not black and white fundamentalist thinking — it’s investigating the book’s claims with respect to reality, and finding the book wanting.

        But that doesn’t deter you as an apologist; unmoored to evidence, you’ve decided that the book is true, and made it your job to defend it against accusations of implausibility. That’s your right, but don’t say that people who understand the evidence aren’t using their minds. I’m using mine to try and understand the nature of reality. You’re using yours to invent excuses for your church.

      • John Bennett says:

        That was a long post Bro ASh so I condensed it for you:

        “I am very busy and smart. When you are ready to come back to Jesus, let ME know.”

        Did I get that about right?

      • Dr. Shades says:

        By that logic, Mike, the Church of Scientology is true, too. So is the Watchtower.

        In fact, all your excuses can be employed to magically make ANY church true.

      • Seth R. says:

        Well Ray, he did say that it only took him six weeks to chuck a treasured faith he’d held all his life.

        I’m hoping I read that wrong and he was actually stewing about this a lot longer than that.

      • Gadianton says:

        “Common among those who leave the church are feelings of anger and betrayal, and those feelings can be so powerful”

        I would say that, common amongst the apologists are feelings of anger and betrayal when anyone decides to leave the Church, having not been impressed to stay by Mopologetic argumentation.

        “Like most people who fail to put their minds to full use as God intends, they often take a black-and-white approach to religious issues. It’s either true or false–”

        As opposed to those who put their minds to “full use” as the apologists of the MI and FAIR have turning faith into an intellectual circus.

        Don’t tell me, Steve, that you spent your entire life as a Mormon believing that the truthfulness of the Church is a black and white matter for God?

      • Eric Davis says:

        It’s the same old tired “Smarter people than you have heard all these complaints and still remain faithful” debate.

        What Mr. hAsh is really saying here is: I am smarter than you, and I’m still a believing Mormon, therefore, you should believe everything I tell you.

        Feel free to add my name to the list of people who see that Ash is nothing more than a condescending, arrogant, insufferable know-it-all, whose job for the Mor(m)on Times gives him a far greater sense of entitlement than he has ever deserved or earned.

        Your pretend sympathy for Steve’s feelings is easily dismissed by the tone of the balance of your message.

      • Mike Ash says:

        Pretty much what I expected. Angry critics making emotional responses when they feel threatened by their own CD (just trying to reassure themselves that they might the right choice to leave).

        Ray, the insensitivity you see must be of your own projection. Any bishop who doesn’t know that JS practiced polygamy hasn’t done much reading in Church literature. This isn’t insensitive, it’s simply a fact. Don’t shoot the messenger.

        Daniel, we’ve gone the rounds before on your blog where you keep changing the target when you are backed in a corner. No desire to go there with you again.

        John B., your reading comprehension is amazing! If that’s what you got out of what I wrote, it’s no wonder you’re an angry critic.

        Shades, Shades, Shades…. don’t make me laugh (and don’t make me spank you again like I did at Sunstone).😉

        Gadianton, none of us put are minds to full use as God intends. Unfortunately, some people don’t even try. It’s a fact that in the US many adults are sadly misinformed about so many matters regarding politics, history, religion, etc. This is a problem among Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, etc. It’s also been my observation that many people think in black & white– especially in areas where they have done little research (and surprisingly, this b&w view seems to be a continuous part of the mind-set of many critics [as the posts on this blog aptly demonstrate]).

        There you go… have at it. I’ve said my part. I have absolutely no anger at Steve. It’s his call, not mine or anyone else’s on this blog.

        I shan’t return, because as I said in my first post, arguing with critics is a waste of time. Neither of us will convince the other and it always ends up in a shouting match. I have better things to do, and there are people who are sincerely looking for answers not just reassurance and back-patting that they were right to leave the conspiratorial evil Mormon empire.

      • Gadianton says:

        Mike,

        You’ve spent “several decades” arguing with critics. You run an internet site that is a repository of arguments against critics. You wrote a book that is essentially, a list of arguments against critics. You just recently posted an attack on critics and members with doubts for The Mormon Times expounding on this caricature of yours that dissidents are disappointed that the Church can’t be proven true with scientific precision. So it’s a little disingenuous to say that life is too short to be spent arguing with critics. I don’t believe — and correct me if I’m wrong — that you are an academic outside of Mopologetics, so we’re talking about a pretty focused intellectual life here, Mike. Focused on the one thing you’re demanding that you have no time for. And it shows in your sarcastic OP to Steve.

        “Gadianton, none of us put are minds to full use as God intends.”

        So you’re backpedaling now? Because your clarification makes little sense of your original statement that “like most people who don’t put their minds to full use as God intends…”

        “Unfortunately, some people don’t even try. ”

        So you mean, you and the apologists TRY to put your minds to full use, while dissidents like Steve don’t?

      • Carson N says:

        Appended to Mike’s Mormon fantasy is the idea that he has consistently demolished his opponents in debate. This belief apparently is self-reinforcing by explicit declaration, much like a testimony.

      • Ryan says:

        Mike, I do find your reply condescending. If the church is not covering this up, and this information is so readily available to all, then why is this never brought up in a missionary discussion? I, like so many who have posted above, grew up in this church, served a mission, and have served in this church all my life. Is it not the least bit disingenuous that we teach these young missionaries to tell people to abandon the lives they knew and join our church, as it’s the only way to heaven “celestial kingdom,” after the first discussion? I always considered myself well read in church doctrine, but when I read the churches “essay” about polygamy I felt absolutely betrayed. I never knew Joseph married other men’s wives. Where’s that in the first discussion? I pulled on that new thread and I’m just starting in my journey, but please answer my sincere question. Why is this never taught by the missionaries?

    • mary says:

      Well said. Praise God.

    • mary says:

      Very well said, Geoff. There’s absolutely no doubt that leaving the lie requires courage.

  5. Mary Vogwell says:

    Steve, Hi ! How are you…. You probably don’t remember me. Also served in Manchester as Sister Thompson… I went through this journey that you speak of many years ago now. Have you tried the Mormon Apologetic site. It’s not for everyone, but I have great respect for people like Dan Peterson who know all the problems with the church, and still believe. It’s something I was unable to do then, and now… I miss a lot of my church friends, but luckily have facebook to keep in touch…

    Kind regards to you and your family

  6. aaron foushee says:

    I left the church over a year ago and felt the same unease about what to do about what I believed in now. But the dichotomy of a world without religion is a world without morals is false. You probably won’t do any deep searching for meaning for a while, there is a period of further exploration and purging of old beliefs based on flawed reasoning I believe every ex-member goes through, but there are reasonable answers to which to guide one’s life without being yoked to anything beyond your ability to reason what is right. There is an inherit fear of investigation any system of belief for fear of being taken in by persuasive, comforting lies again. I don’t have specific advice exactly, but I do have reassurance for those starting this unknown road, which is to take the time you need for yourself, and hold to the principles that led you to this point.

    • Joseph says:

      Absolutely agreed. The initial blow to you sense of reality is unreal. Eventually though it starts to fade and the REAL world starts to make sense in a crystal clear level of simplicity. I love that the church provides a sense of purpose to those who believe in it. It just didn’t do it for me. When I let go and “peaked behind the curtain”, that’s when real life takes hold and I found a deeper and simpler sense of purpose… life and love. Nothing more.

  7. Joseph says:

    I recently experienced this event almost verbatim to how you described it. My wife and I were putting forth every effort we could to go be sealed in the temple with our children. As I was questioned by the stake president of my testimony in the church, I could not retain my dignity while giving him the answer he wanted. So with that I was instructed to come back in 4 months after I had diligently searched to find a testimony of the restoration and of the prophet. In this search for the truth, I did find the truth. Unfortunately it was not in the LDS church. As you shared in your letter… I couldn’t believe the extreme liberation that came as I shuffled of the logical oppression that came with believing in the doctrines of the church. I completely agree that while simultaneously being liberated, I felt the most surreal feeling of loss and confusion as the doctrine of the LDS church has been instilled in me since I was born. As an LDS member, the doctrine of the church was even more “fact” than verifiable and tangible real life “facts”. When something is placed in front of a church member that is indisputable… we were taught that we simply don’t understand it and we will get it later. Looking from outside the religion now… this concept just makes me ill. I support you in the search for truth, even at the cost of personal comfort. To hear someone say “it’s easier to leave the church” is such a slap to the face, as I’m sure you can attest to. Leaving the church has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, as I’m sure it has been for you. Thank you for sharing your letter of resignation. If there is a god, and he is the loving father we have been taught he is, then there cannot possibly be a negative consequence for following what rings true to you. If there is a just and fair god, then he designed us with an inquisitive nature and could not judge you for seeking the truth, even if it leads you away from him. It would be, after all, his design flaw; and assuming that he is in fact the all knowing god, then there cannot be a flaw.

  8. Seth R. says:

    You are incorrect that Joseph’s earliest accounts of the first vision mention an angel and not Jesus Christ.

    Here is the earliest account we have:

    [Written between 20 July and 27 November 1832: Jessee, Personal Writings: 5-7: Handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, and Joseph Smith] “A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brough forth and established by his hand he receiving the testamony from on high secondly the ministering of Angels thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Angels to adminster the letter of the Gospel– and the ordinencs, forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c–– The Lord does reveal himself to me. …. At about the age of twelve years my mind become seriously imprest with regard to the all important concerns for the wellfare of my immortal Soul which led me to searching the scriptures believing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God thus applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations led me to marvel excedingly for I discovered that (they did not) of adorn their profession by a holy walk and Godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that sacred depository this was a grief to my Soul thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind the contentions and divisions the wickedness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind my mind become excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my sins and by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatised from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament and I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world for I learned in the scriptures that God was the same yesterday today and forever that he was no respecter to persons for he was God …. Therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord in the 16th year of my age a piller of light above the brightness of the sun at noon day came down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the Spirit of God and the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph my son Thy Sins are forgiven thee, go thy way walk in my Statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned aside from the Gospel and keep not commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts zre far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them according to their ungodliness and to bring to pass that which been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Apostles behold and lo I come quickly as it is written of me in the cloud in the glory of my Father and my soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy and the Lord was with me but could find none that would believe the hevnly vision nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart but after many days I fell into transgression and sinned in many things which brought wound upon my soul and there were many things which transpired that cannot be writen and my Fathers family have suffered many persicutions and afflictions and it came to pass when I was seventeen years of age I called again upon the Lord and he shewed unto me a heavenly vision for behold an angel of the Lord came and stood before me and it was by night and he called me by name and he said the Lord had forgiven me my sins and he revealed unto me that in the Town of Manchester Ontario County N.Y., there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni & his fathers…. He appeared unto me three times in one night and once on the next day”

    • lostinlindon says:

      Seth,
      I suggest you research a bit further by reading Richard Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling, available at deseret book. He is one of the leading LDS historians and active. The book is methodically researched and sourced. If I recall correctly, he details the changing nature of the first vision, and provides a faithful interpretation.

      I found it wholly inadequate when viewed with all the other issues surrounding JS. But you might find more value in it than I did, and you can better informed..

      • Seth R. says:

        I have read that book. Cover to cover.

        I saw absolutely nothing of concern about the differing accounts of the first vision. The variations in the story are trivial at best.

        Hardly anything to get excited over.

        And Tom, the account speaks of the voice of the Lord speaking to Joseph. Which hardly rules out a visitation by TWO beings, does it?

        This is an example of what I mean by “trivial” details.

    • Tom Milligan says:

      Hi Seth,

      The account you give of Joseph Smith’s First Vision says that the Lord alone appeared to him in that vision. Yet, the story we are given by the missionaries and the Church today is that both the Father and the Son appeared to him. If I had a visitation from the Father and the Son I’d never forget that, so how come we have two (at least) versions of this unforgettable event which differ in this most important piece of information?

      ~Tom

      • Marc says:

        If I had a visitation from the Father and the Son I’d never forget that, so how come we have two (at least) versions of this unforgettable event which differ in this most important piece of information?

        Because it never happened!!

    • Eric Davis says:

      Wrong. There are accounts earlier than 1832. For example: D&C 20 (written in 1830) briefly details the events in Joseph’s life leading up to organizing the church, in the first handful of verses. It states specifically that Jesus ministered unto Joseph BY AN ANGEL, NOT Jesus personally.

      So the earliest accounts of Joseph’s first vision are an angel, and not Jesus. Then Heavenly father is not introduced until 1838.

      • Seth R. says:

        Eric, you’re kidding me right?

        That’s your big counterexample?

        That’s just Joseph telling the story from where he considers the beginning of Restoration to be – which is when Moroni visited him and gave him detailed instructions. The fact that he didn’t go further back to the “First Vision” doesn’t prove anything at all.

        As for actual accounts of the First Vision, 1832 is the earliest one we have. Unless you have a citation to demonstrate otherwise, because D&C 20 certainly doesn’t do it for you.

  9. Jen says:

    Thank you for sharing this letter.

    My reasons for leaving were very different. I was in an abusive marriage (temple marriage). I started going to counseling, studying about how to take care of myself, and what IS abuse. Turns out much of the teachings of the church and its leaders are abusive and controlling. I saw that the MOST abusive relationship I had was not the one that I was in with my husband who beat me, it was the one I had with the church.

    Since leaving, I love the ability and the feeling of saying, “I don’t know.”
    I don’t have answers to the questions. I can’t tell anyone else what their life’s purpose is. I can only tell you what I choose to make MY life’s purpose. I can’t explain what causes a spiritual experience. I don’t know if there is life after death. I don’t know if God exists or what God is if God does exist. I have the freedom to not “know” and it is amazing.

    Good luck in your journey!
    jen

  10. Chris says:

    Steve,

    Great post and my experience is very similar to yours. There are some things I still miss, but I would never make a different decision. I have never been happier. When I lost my faith it felt like dealing with the death of a very close loved one. I loved your admittance of having an uncomfortable truth instead of a comforting fantasy. The path has probably feels lonely at times, but you have friends. You are an inspiration to us all.

    -Love an unknown brother

  11. Emily A. says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am one of the many who researched the church history, was shocked and devastated at the things it revealed, and left the church amid criticism and concern from family and friends.

    Hang in there. It gets better.

  12. Ned says:

    My crisis of faith came decades ago–long before the Internet–when as a teenager when I read Fawn Brody’s “No Man Knows My History.” My faith in the church as being what it says it is was shattered. But thanks to many true believing Mormon friends, and other Mormons like myself who are less believing, and friends who are former believers or non-believers, I have found my own answer to your question: “If the church is not true would I want to know?” Yes, I wanted to know and I’m glad I found out. I also know this: The church, while not being what it claims to be, is very much a human-created institution and like the humans who created it, is flawed. Despite the flaws, I have be strengthened by the fellowship I have enjoyed over the years. I have felt the spirit (which I have also felt in other churches and in nature and in fiction), I have learned much about what Mormons believe and how it influences behavior. I am not entirely comfortable with my Mormon faith, but I am not ready to entirely abandon it either. I’m sure there are a few, and perhaps many in your own congregation, who feel the same way. Thank you for your courage in speaking up and taking a stand. I sometimes identify with black slaves in the United States before the Civil War. Some openly sought to escape, while many others remained slaves until the abolitionists eventually succeeded in their cause. It really turns the idea of being valiant on its head, doesn’t it? Are you valiant to the institution despite it’s flaws, or are you valiant to the truth which causes you to reject the institution? Or is there some common ground where these seemingly opposing ideas can actually co-exist?

  13. Dan says:

    Steve,

    Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this part of your journey on your blog. I know how painful it is to lose a testimony and looking back at pouring your life into the church and it’s principles. My journey if very similar in the way I came to find out about the inconsistencies with church history. However, I wanted to share a few of the conclusions I have made because of this.
    – The history of Joseph Smith truely reveals his humanness. Perhaps God really does call prophets who may have normal human aberrations – including those who have an extreme obession with women and sex, today that would be referred to as an addict. Joseph using God’s voice to justify his actions seem reprehensible; however, by his fruits, there have been some amazing blessings come to the world in spite of his poor decisions and bad behavior.
    – I heard a rabbi from New York in a debate on the autheticity of the B of M. What he said resonated with me and is the belief I have adopted. He said “it doesn’t matter if the B of M is historically accurate, what matters is if it brings a person closer to God. If that’s the case, it is true in it’s own rite.” I appreciate and cling to these words.
    – The institution of the church is completely and entirely different from the gospel. As I seperated the two, it became easier to laugh at the absurity within the tribe (church) and still value the principles of living as my best self and striving daily to fulfill my divine purpose as a son of God, despite what the people in the institution say, do or believe. What’s more, I believe the only ONE good thing it offers is a sense of community and the opportunity to serve each other. If we didn’t have institutions to come together and serve, we could hardly be labeled as a society.

    Don’t ‘give up the ghost.’ When you get a chance, pick up and read any book written by John Eldridge, specifically Raising the Dead. It will speak to you and give your some direction. It did for me and I am in a great place where I have been able to reconcile my religion with my faith.

    All the best to you on your journey!

    • Jon says:

      So, Joe’s lusty behavior just shows that he was human? honestly? Joe would be kicked out of his own church theses days, but he is still reveered as a chosen prophet of god?

      what ever!

    • Marc says:

      Dan. I would love to be a fly on the wall in your Temple recommend interview!

  14. It is so hard to find out that all you believe in is false! But by the grace of God you will move through this mess and walk on. Please don’t leave Jesus out of your life. Look for His truth and not the worlds.
    God bless!
    Sharon

  15. brian hutchings says:

    hi,
    my name is brian hutchings. i am 23 years old. i have studied the lds history and christianity in general over the last 4 years through my mission as well. i have many doubts and uncertainties. i know pretty much all the problems or inconsistencies with the church. my problem is simply the fact that if there is a all knowing god, or higher being, i feel like you also have to make the assumption he is perfect. that being said he has to have a plan. so there must be a way. for me there is either no god, or there is a god and he has a plan. as much as the lds church has problems from doctrinal, to church history, and historical, i stay in the church for two reason.
    1.) no other religion or philosophy can i imagine for a perfect god. all other denominations and religions i find do not allow what the lds church does which embrasses the believer and saves the sinner. all people have a chance now and when they past. this is a loving god.
    2.) although i struggle with the historical evidence of the book of mormon. i do not believe joseph could have written the book. scholars outside the church have even admitted that it might not be inspired but he didnt write it. how did it come to be then? view of the hebrews and the spaulding theory do not cut it for me.

    there are so many problems but no better solution if that makes sense. im stuck in this rut of not sure if i believe it but i have no where to go that is better or makes more sense or truth. i do not look for plaudints, popularity, or fame. but merely truth. is there truth?
    brian hutchings

    • Eric Davis says:

      Your comment sounds like Pascal’s Wager to me. Better to believe in God and be wrong than to not believe in God and be wrong. That’s the coward’s way out.

      Watch this series of videos that explain the authorship of the Book of Mormon:

      The remaining video segments of this presentation may be linked from this first segment.

    • Brian, I don’t know how political you are, or if this comment is going to get me in trouble with you or anybody else here, but to me, declarations of absolute truth (of which we see a lot in the Church) are a lot like when in 2003, President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. Eight years later, you know…

      So I’m an active LDS guy, and I believe in the Church. I have faith that its teachings are inspired, and I am always trying to understand better. I believe there is truth, but our access to it is limited, so we have to do our best with what we have.

  16. Daniel Bronson says:

    Steve –

    I’d love to exchange some emails with you. I’ve found some really good guides and helps as I’ve taken my own journey. I would like to share with you some things that have helped me find some peace and understanding. If you’d like, you are welcome to email me at danielbbronson@gmail.com.

    Dan

  17. Marilyn Mehr says:

    Steve, Congratulations! You’ve trusted your own good mind over the teachings based on superstition and fantasy. Keep trusting yourself. You’ll get to the other side.
    Marilyn Mehr

  18. UTGirl says:

    I am so sorry. This is an awful time. It gets better. I promise. Don’t lose hope. It is better to live in the light of truth in my opinion, but that doesn’t make it easy. Good luck to you.

  19. Chris says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I, too, left the Church. Before leaving I frequently enjoyed understanding the psychology behind irrationality – but generally only about things that weren’t necessarily religious or about Mormonism. Debunking things like psychic ability and how John Edward “talks” to the dead were very enlightening to me. I talked with people who believed in these things and often their apologetics mimicked apologetics from Mormonism. “It’s a personal experience.” “You can’t prove that it didn’t happen.” “Can you prove your love for your wife?” etc. etc.

    And then I started to think about “the Spirit” and the “promise” of Moroni 10:3-5. How can I blindly assume that the feelings I had were from an external source? Where did I obtain such knowledge? I analyzed the times that I thought I felt the Spirit and I could easily understand a natural explanation for each time.

    The historical issues are hard for me to understand. Some of the issues, I could believe either side (critic or apologetic). But the issue of the Spirit and “knowing” is where the crux of my doubt. I just don’t see how “revelation” is a rock when nobody can reliably distinguish a revelation from something that is purely of human origin.

    That’s why I reject all spiritual claims even if the history checks out. I just can’t get past that one little piece of epistemological bullshit.

  20. Guy Noir, Private Eye says:

    Mormonism is a system of CONTROL; that people tattle-tell, AND leaders have a knee-jerk reaction to those things (often mean-spirited rumors) verifies this… I was disciplined by the LDS church for: Offering testimony (church NOT MENTIONED!) at a public meeting of the state (Washington) Parks & Recreation Commission!

    Christianity is full of myths & fables, with parables thrown in for good measure: Tower of Babylon, whole-earth flood, etc. Personally, I DON’T CARE whether or not Christ walked on water, turned water into wine, healed people… or even if he was resurrected; those things are SO FAR from what I need to do to make the world a better place… NO CONTEST!
    Christianity, in its pure form (yeah, difficult to find) is about a gospel of Love. read 1st John ch. 4… With Love, ppl don’t need all the Rules of churches/Mormonism.
    Love God. Love Your Neighbor. Don’t retaliate, even if you suffer at the hands of another. When you can help someone in need, do so (Good Samaritan).

    Living life in Love surpasses the Simon-Says nature of Mormonism, Hands Down.

    the LDS McChurch IS AN EMBARRASSMENT to the slightest examination, Period End of Report.

  21. narcan4u says:

    Kudos to you, Steve!

    You are not alone in your search for truth about Mormonism. I, too, left the church. I was a stake YW leader and discovered much unexpected information in my search to ‘strengthen’ my testimony of the LDS church. The information I uncovered was so shocking and mind-altering, that I ended up resigning my membership within just a couple of months after beginning my search for truth. I created my own website: http://wakeupmormons.blogspot.com/ , mostly as a way to easily answer the endless questions from shocked, fellow Mormons and family members. It’s not been an easy journey, but one of an amazing awakening to truth. Wow, how life has changed… for the better.

    Best wishes on your journey!

  22. Debbie says:

    Steve,

    I first want to start by thanking you with all my heart for such a truthful letter! I was raised LDS for 25 yrs at which time I left the church because I lived in a ward that was in a way racist and did not accept me or my hispanic child. I was married and had him blessed and was shunned immediately. I was taught to fear God and I did believe me. At the age of 26 I started Catholism classe sand learned that God is all forgiving!!! How refreshing to know that my Father would love me no mater what! I recently have been struggling with faith in itself and have found that it is worse now than it was then! Missionaries are teaching new lessons that I have never heard before. Like for instance a hispanic woman was told that she didn’t have to stop praying the rosary just because she was LDS!! What??? I was taught that the cross was in an LDS persons eyes mimicking the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Not only that they are baptizing people just to do so! The thing I liked most when joining the catholic church was 2 yrs of classes to learn about the church and even after the 2 yrs if there are any doubts they prefer you attend more classes. WOW what a conception lets teach then baptize. I have also learned that they allow married men that are sleeping with other than their wife to become part of the priesthood. I am sorry to say this is definately a church I would be proud of being a member of! On the contrary!!! (Oh and yes the President of that particular ward is aware of the husband cheating and permits this)

    Best wishes on your journey we all are looking for the same God and Faith

    Debbie

  23. Jennifer says:

    “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” It sounds to me Steve like there is a fear of the things the GA’s know and you don’t. You don’t have to know EVERYTHING in order for something to be true. I used to think that it wasn’t fair that some people received revelations and I hadn’t. I know that God reveals things to prophets, and also to those who can handle it. I know I am not one of the people who could handle that right not at least, and God knows that. It sounds to me like you were bored with the church and wanted something different. I could be wrong but that is just my guess. I started with the scripture from John 14:27 because I felt like that was one I needed to share with you. I have had a hard time with things I didn’t understand in the church….thinking that if I didn’t understand them and if I felt the answers weren’t being told to me, that the church couldn’t possibly be true. I know that there are things that are Sacred (not secret). We will know things when we return to live with our Father in Heaven. We don’t have to know everything right now. Maybe the GA’s know that not everyone is in a position to know certain things. I understand why not everything is told to the members. I am deeply saddened for your choice to leave the church. I may struggle with my faith and testimony, because it’s not always easy and I’m not perfect, but I KNOW the church is true. I have felt the Spirit bare witness of the truthfullness of the gospel. I will keep you in my prayers!

    • Blorg says:

      OR… we can have access to all available information and make an informed decision. If the church is true, it should stand to all scrutiny. I, for one, am not going to live my life with GAs deciding what I am or am not capable of “handling.”

      And just for the record, I have much more peace now that I have stopped believing in the church. Despite the havoc it has wrought in my life… I have more peace now than I did as a believing LDS. I’ll try not to fault church members for maintaining belief in something that brings them peace if they’ll stop insisting that theirs is the ONLY way to find that peace.

  24. Otis Spurlock says:

    According to Michael Ash, this bishop (Steve Bloor) made the mistake of not studying the true history of Joseph Smith’s polygamy. Consequently he was shocked and offended to learn all of a sudden that Smith married several women who were already married to living men.

    So when would it NOT be shocking to learn this Michael? When would be a good time for a Mormon who takes their faith really seriously (like the apologists) to learn that Smith practiced polyandry and married 33 women, most aged under 20 and one as young as 14?

    Michael, it’s officially time to hang up your apologist coat. You have never been able to wear it well at all.

    • why me says:

      As I mentioned in a previous post here, young church members learn about Joseph Smith’s polygamy when they take Religion 341, 342 and 343 classes. It is contained in the Lds history book: Church History in the Fulness of Times on page 424. This book is published by the lds church. However it does lack details since it is a general history but the details are left up to the instructor. Also, since his polygamy is there for all members to see on the lds church Familysearch.org it is certainly not hidden.

      • Angel says:

        Let’s try this one more time, y’all… it’s not that Joseph practiced polygamy – we KNOW that. It’s that he did it with women who were already married to other men and with girls as young as 14. He also did it without Emma’s knowledge or consent and then bashed her in the D&C if she didn’t give in to him. Anyone that can support a married men having sex with a 14 year old girl needs some serious therapy. Go do some research, honey. We’ll be here for you when you see the light.

      • Blorg says:

        As you note, “it does lack details,” and since “the details are left up the instructor,” who has been instructed by the likes of Boyd K. Packer NOT to divulge non-faith-promoting history, students are not going to hear about those details.

        LDS are raised knowing vaguely about polygamy. It’s easy to accept (though without giving it much thought) because we’ve always known. But there’s a grand difference between mere polygamy and these details of Joseph Smith’s marriages.

        In addition to the age and marital status of many of his wives, the most disturbing thing for me is the fact that Joseph Smith insisted for years that the church practiced only monogamy. This is called a lie. One can make all sorts of justifications for the lie, but it’s still a lie. He taught one thing and practiced another. It would be adultery, but wait!… no, here’s a revelation I’ve known about for years but never made known! This “revelation” is suspicious enough, but add to it the fact that D&C 132 doesn’t even justify polyandry. So it’s STILL adultery.

        For sure, church members should be more informed. However, we’re raised from birth NOT to be. We are taught only to get our information from church-approved sources, and the church has not made it particularly easy to find controversial information in approved sources.

        So, “hidden” or not, certain information has made me realize that I do not believe in the church anymore. That doesn’t make my disbelief wrong. It just means that I should have discovered it earlier.

      • nat says:

        What about converts? Do the missionaries teach them that? I am a convert so as many of my friends and I have never heard a missionary tell that JS PRACTICED polygamy or polyandry. The manual says he received the revelation, but unless one does some independent research there is no information about Fanny or any other women. This study material you are referring to is NOT included in missionary discussions. I believe church need to disclose this information before people get committed to it and get baptized and since an 8 year old unable to comprehend and digest such information yet i think it would be honest (on the church part) to raise baptismal age to at least 14.
        It is hard to see lds church not deliberately hiding information from the new members when all they have to choose from is heavily filtered missionary discussions, their feelings, and examples of blind conformity of the members to learn from. The church manuals outside of US are scarce, plus, many times they are just in English and unless one searches themselves or knows English well enough to be able to comprehend material, almost everybody relies on missionary interpretations of the teachings or the history. Does MTC teaches them about it?
        Bottom line is: any new members – whether born in the church or converts have to have a full disclosure to make informed decision of committing their time, finances or talents to the church (or any organization).

      • All due respect, those books do not inspire historical credibility. I had a religion professor at BYU who joked that they are not published with an author because no one wants their names associated with them.

  25. Marvin says:

    Steve,

    I’m sorry that you’re just now finding out that the leaders are and were imperfect. And that it was very difficult for them to be the one’s to take the hardest task of getting all of this started. The Lord Himself knew and stated that they would make mistakes and sin, and it would be made known. See D&C 1:24-28. Some hold the leaders to a standard that they can’t live. They expect perfection, when that can never be. I’ve had to face many decades of false and degrading teachings, mistakes and misunderstandings related to the issues surrounding Blacks and the Priesthood. However, when the Lord confirmed to me over and over again that the Book of Mormon, Temples and the Church were truly of Him, there is no error, cover up or travesty that can change that simple truth. I pray that you will find peace and your way back.

    Your brother,

    Marvin

    • Gadianton says:

      Hi Marvin,

      I don’t think dissident members expect “perfection” from the founders of their church. But given how the Church has exaggerated the noble moments of its history, such as when a young JS refused the taste of alcohol while his leg was operated on, and then woven these exaggerations into the fabric of the Church’s narrative as “The True Church,” it’s only natural, and fair, that members expect the moral “misses” of church leaders would count against its “truthfulness.” And we’re not talking a few nit-picky episodes that make Joseph Smith out to be “human” but major screw-ups that leave him far below average as a good and kind Christian man. I doubt you or any other apologist would forgive any of your direct leaders for the things you’re willing to forgive JS.

    • Blorg says:

      We don’t expect perfection. We just expect better than the opposite thereof.

      Apropos of this, show me somewhere in LDS doctrine or teachings that justifies Joseph Smith marrying women that already had living husbands. Otherwise, he was a major adulterer that used religious power for sexual exploitation. He should be considered as such, NOT the shining example of righteousness that the church still holds him up as.

      Tell me, if anyone else, in any context, had committed such sins… would you excuse those sins and focus instead on his redeeming qualities? Would you be willing to look up to that person as a representative of God on earth?

  26. Adam Shumate says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing. My wife and I left together about 2 1/2 year ago now. As you and others have mentioned, leaving can be one of the most difficult processes of your life. One thing that helped us out was a book by Lyndon Lamborn called “Standing for Something More.” We got to meet Lyndon and hear his story firsthand. The book not only goes through his personal journey that led to his being excommunicated for asking too many questions in sunday school, but more importantly it analyzes the social control mechanisms employed by the church, both through doctrine and the social aspects. Understanding the strings I still had on me even after a complete overhaul in my paradigm shift really helped ease the transition and find my footing again. I’d definitely recommend it as a must read for anyone who’s found it a difficult process, even if you feel you’re totally out – you may find some subconscious strings attached you didn’t know were there!

    To everyone else who’s bickering back and forth on the details: don’t bother. To those who believe, they will always find a loophole they can thread their faith through, no matter how incredulous. To those who disbelieve, no amount of describing how you think there’s room for it to be true will actually make people think that it IS true (lookup the invisible dragon argument if you can’t see why). People can’t be pulled out of the church by tossing facts at them. The only way out is to want the truth bad enough to outweigh the fear of losing all they know and love. Frankly, I’m surprised we made it over that hurdle.

    • Seth R. says:

      Adam, a huge chunk of the exmormon community seems to likewise ignore the facts we toss back at them. They’ll find a way to sidestep them and reaffirm their own decision to leave in the first place.

      No one wants to be uncomfortable. And this applies to ex-Mormons just as much as anyone. Few exes WANT to have to continually reexamine their own personal sense of rightness. So they don’t WANT to reexamine their decision to exit the LDS Church. They don’t WANT the issue to be nuanced, and they certainly don’t WANT to be challenged in their own personal life choices.

      So they find ways to ignore just about everything we say. Usually by using lines like “well FAIR is just pathetic and dishonest anyway.” Even though they haven’t done anything to prove that.

      Hey, much easier to mock the other side than to seriously reexamine your own sense of self-righteousness, right?

  27. inconceivable says:

    Steve,
    Your exit story parallels my own as so many others I know.

    My epiphany ripped my soul apart for a time. Like many faithful True Believing Mormons, the religeon was literally my entire life. I sincerely believed that somehow the love of Christ directed the church and it’s leaders. I thought that at least the prophet and apostles saw Him as He is.

    After my (former) stake president quickly ran out of answers, he referred me to FARMS. I found it troubling that the mormon God would place these husbandmen over my concerns while a prophet that spoke for Him still walked the earth. Even more troubling were the failed attempts at honest explanations given by these intellectual clowns at FARMS – Daniel C. Peterson, referred to in one of the posts above, a BYU professor, being one of them.

    More than all the other reasons I resigned was the fact that Emma Smith was not aware of most of the mistresses her filandering husband sequestered in what I would term “mormon adultery”. Describing his behavior as “marriage” is a solemn mockery of a sacred standard that binds the very fabric of civil society.

    I love my bride of 26 years. I demonstrate that love by my commitment to our sacred vows made on our wedding day. Joseph Smith broke that trust and disregarded the heart he should have been most faithful to. When I had become aware of what he had done, I could no longer represent him or his church. He surely did not exemplify what I would aspire to. All the other sordid issues about the church and it’s history pale in comparison to this one issue.

    If it were truly an “angel with a flaming sword” sent by the Almighty God to force me to do what Smith had done I would have been obliged to defiantly tell the angel to “strike true” (if I were, of course, unable to shove that sword up the angel’s …).

    Kind regards,

    inc.

  28. Seth R. says:

    I don’t find it incredible that a bishop could have gone his whole life in the LDS Church missing the detail that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.

    But it’s just not true that the LDS Church has been deliberately hiding these things. Anyone who pays close attention (read: NOT most normal members of the LDS Church) could not help but learn about Joseph Smith practicing polygamy. I mean… what did you think Section 132 of the D&C was about?!

    The Church has not hidden this. But seeing as it is not a current practice of the LDS Church, they have naturally decided it’s not something they want to use their limited time in Sunday School pushing. Believe it or not, meeting once a week for two hours isn’t that much time to get out the life message you want to get out. Especially considering that half the adult population that actually attends class isn’t even in the adult classes at any given time anyway, but busy manning the child classes and such. I don’t know how the LDS Church could do a better job teaching these subjects than they already have short of skimping on topics they consider much more important and vital.

    Our Church leaders are constantly telling the membership to study LDS history and doctrine on their own time at home. But no matter how much they say it, there’s always a faction that completely ignores them and foolishly assumes that everything they need to know, they’ll learn in Sunday School.

    Then they get blindsided for their naivete, and go on a rampage of resentment against the LDS Church – as if it was their fault they didn’t know this stuff.

    Sorry, but if you didn’t know this stuff while in the LDS Church, it really IS your own fault, and no one else’s.

    Like you, I learned about stuff like Joseph Smith’s wives, the details of the translation process, and so forth outside my local church building. I encountered it on the Internet. But unlike many here, I didn’t feel lied to. I didn’t feel resentful. I didn’t feel angry. I felt energized, excited, and eager to learn more. I found it all fascinating and simply assumed that I was getting a more in depth education than many of my fellow Mormons. I didn’t feel panicky, I didn’t agonize over it. It was all just fun for me.

    So on the one hand, I sort of get where you guys are coming from (I know what it’s like to be looking in on new information the goes beyond the previous set of assumptions). But on the other, I don’t get you at all. The sort of anger and resentment borne of bruised egos I see here, and in places like Recovering from Mormonism is foreign to me.

    • Celestialbound says:

      Seth,

      Here’s a thought for you. It’s almost like some people where talking and teaching about the things that are being discussed here and some high up or something came along and told them to stop it. Something like ‘somethings that are true are not very useful’ or something, and something like ‘don’t talk about it if it doesn’t build faith’ or something. Almost like in the last decade perhaps two the church has gone into shell mode…hmmmmm….to many people leaving perhaps?

      • HiJolly says:

        “Many things can be true and yet harmful to man. Not all truth is useful.”
        (p.43 Lectures on Logic, (translated by J. Michael Young))
        — Immanuel Kant

    • Gadianton says:

      Hi Seth,

      You’ve pretty much undercut the believability of your own thesis that the Church is “encouraging” members to learn all about the exiting and energizing truths regarding JS’s advances toward teenage girls when you say that you encountered this stuff not through any church-recommended educational regime, but “on the internet.” I’m sure your accidental discovery was exactly what church leaders were talking about when they told you to “study church history at home.”

      lol

    • Blorg says:

      Two points that I made in another comment: the church urges members to learn only from church-approved sources. We are encouraged to avoid contention, and it’s hard to discover controversial truths in church history without stumbling thru some contention. I’m skeptical that someone who grew up in the church could honestly say that we’re encouraged to learn about ALL church history, rather than what the church produces and/or approves.

      More importantly: Why are we wrong simply because we found out about the details later in life? Okay, so you knew about Joseph Smith being an adulterer before I did, and you decide to remain faithful to the church. Great. Had I known about the stuff I know now, I (hope that I) wouldn’t have stuck around. Making this realization now, after more than 30 years in the church, doesn’t make leaving wrong. It just means I should have figured things out earlier. My bad.

  29. Thomas Simmons says:

    Steve,

    Your letter is very close to what I experienced. Last year I submitted my resignation letter and my only regret was not dealing with the reality sooner.

    In my personal “Search for truth” I embarked with the belief that if I discover truths about the church, facts not opinions, that these discoveries could only bolster and strengthen my testimony of the church. After spending years of a quasi-serious investigation, at some point I had too much evidence, too many truths which discounted the claims made by the church and I could no longer ignore them.

    For me, the choice was a matter of personal respect and dignity. I could no longer live a lie by participating in an organization that I honestly didn’t believe in. Since leaving the church I have an enormous appreciation for my own thinking and reasoning skills. I will never allow anyone or any organization to “take control” of what I should have always held close.

    The warning is sometimes subtle but very clear: when an organization tells you they are the only one that is right and all others are wrong, that you are required to give them everything in order to receive blessings, and you should only trust what they say and not even listen to your own judgment and reasoning skills, then one will know for sure, the organization has something despicable to hide.

    And you discovered it, just like thousands are doing. This is a mixed blessing – it’s great to regain control of your life but the true dedication and unfailing support we freely gave to the organization leaves a scar. When I discovered the facts about the organization, it was not a time to celebrate. Rather, I felt as though I’d discovered my spouse, the one I’d been faithful to for more than twenty years, the one I trusted above all others, was lying to me, she had always been lying to me. Once I allowed this reality to sink in, I was horribly saddened by what the organization is doing and I felt really stupid for going along with it for so long.

    I am very grateful so many are discovering the reality, uncovering facts which prove to any respectable mind that the church’s claims are clearly, undeniably untrue.

    Thanks for the courage, having the integrity to get out. Unfortunately, those we leave behind are thinking of us as being within the grasps of Satan, that we are weak, we’ve been deceived, and so forth. Obviously, they who share this viewpoint are merely following what’s being fed to them by the leadership, these men who claim to be “inspired by god” to warn them, to protect them from apostasy.

    Today, when people are investigating the organization, fortunately they can visit many Internet sites which allow the history – facts not opinions – to be perused. If these resources had been available more than twenty years ago when I investigated the organization, or, if the members of the organization would have told me ALL the facts, instead of a whitewashed, carefully crafted , sometimes fictional version, I never would have joined – nobody would have.

    Fortunately, this is going on today – when people are being “taught” by the representatives of the organization, they can visit many reputable Internet sites and get the truth, the entire truth. This is why the numbers for “converts” will steadily decline as the years go by. The organization will dwindle as information – true facts – become more and more available and most importantly, as steadfast members finally discover and accept the facts about the organization, they endure the reality with heartache but leave the organization because it’s the only right thing to do.

    Thanks very much Steve! I am totally confident you will experience joy in your new life as you begin regaining control of your mind, and visualize the reality of live outside the constraints placed by the Q15 who continue to deceive their loyal followers.

  30. stan zielinski says:

    Steve,
    I commend you for your integrity which you expressed so eloquently in your fine letter of resignation. The only thing I would have added was in the section about polyandry. I would have added that d&jc 132:61-65 specifically condemns that which JosephSmith was practicing and would continue to practice up until his untimely death,

  31. liz3564 says:

    Dear Steve,

    I am 47 years old, and have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints my entire life.

    I must say that I am embarrassed by the reactions of some of my fellow members who have posted here. They have allowed their ego to prove critics wrong to get in the way of sincere empathy for your plight. It is ironic that most of the sincere wishes for your happiness have come from former members.

    I was very touched by your letter, and also by your talk that you listed.

    I think that we all need to look beyond petty differences and focus on what is important, which is the true love of Christ.

    I wish you all the best in your decision, and hope things go well with your family and friends.

    This was obviously a difficult and deeply personal decision for you, and you seem to be a very good man. I can see why you were called as Bishop. Your ward has been lucky to have you.

    Most Sincerely,
    Elizabeth

  32. Bitherwack says:

    Steve,
    I really appreciate your letter and the frankness and honesty
    it conveys. I couldn’t help feeling like your journey in so many
    ways coincides with mine. I have just been listening to the latest
    link and found it quite interesting as it supports some of my feelings
    regarding the gap between ‘Truth’ and ‘usefulness’ when thinking about
    the Church as a self perpetuating organization/corporation, and whatever
    teachings that are serviceable in the ‘gospel’ that I still want to retain in my
    life. I hope the podcast will be of some use as you begin the work of ordering
    your life for your self and your family. I know that what Dr. David Christian has
    discussed can be helpful.

    -B.

    http://mormonstories.org/?p=1573

  33. Otis Spurlock says:

    Why Me,

    You are completley delusional if you think LDS are aware of Joseph Smith’s polygamy. If you don’t believe me try asking your Gospel Doctrine class by show of hands if they were aware that Smith married 33 women, most aged under 20 and one as young as 14?

    I guarantee that 98% of these Gospel Doctrine attendees will think you are lying and being blasphemous. I also guarantee that you will be called into your bishop’s office that same day to explain your actions for teaching false doctrine.

    Good luck with my challenge. Let me know how it goes for you on Sunday.

  34. tolpuddleman says:

    This is a remarkable letter – I feel pity for the ones who have to stir up some caustic comments in response.

  35. Scott says:

    Steve, I just read your blog entry (and a few of the responses) and was deeply moved by the struggle you expressed and also applaud your honesty and integrity in taking the steps to acknowledge the failure of Mormonism to proclaim truth. It is for people such as yourself that we labored to produce a film containing the testimonies of people who have gone through what you have experienced, and have found life and truth on the other side of the journey. I would welcome yours (or anyone’s) feedback on it, if you are so inclined. The film is entitled “Unveiling Grace” and can be found at http://www.unveilinggrace.com. The whole thing is available for viewing online.

  36. Portlandcoug says:

    It’s interesting that most people that leave Mormonism do so because of what they “find out” about church history. I left Mormonism because it simply went against what I learned to be true Christianity during my two-year mission in a very poor area of Mexico. Ideas such as “worthiness” and “obedience” are overused in the church in relation to Christ’s gospel and often create an environment of fake righteousness and guilt. Christ’s atonement was a gift and we don’t need to be perfect to take advantage of that gift but the latter IS the perception in the LDS church.

    Defenders of the church will say that the church teaches repentance and the atonement or that the chruch doesn’t hide historical evidence about Joseph Smith. Those who say those things are not being completely honest or are ignorant themselves. Just because there have been some evidence “allowed” to be published does not equate to the church being forthright or completey honest. And we all know that the social aspect of Mormonism is often shallow and judgemental.

    If anything, the church manipulates the truth in order to serve the purpose of building the church up. Thus, believing members can justify the church’s actions while those outside the church, see the church behaving in self-interest. Personally, I believe much of the leadership is acting in good faith just that I think they have missed the mark on what Christianity truly is. In my opinion, the church does a lot of things under the guise of Christianity but functions altogether too much like a corporation and requires too much from its membership.

    If the church would stop focussing on obedience and numbers, and truly allow its members to live freely, you might have a church worth attending. Church activity should truly be volunteer and not expected or basically required. When people feel that they are giving of themselves instead of being required to give, then you will see the true fruits of humanity, the Spirit and true Christ-like behavior. But by requiring it via obedience, you are taking the beauty out of service and sacrfice.

    I would invite church members and leadership to repent of their practice of requiring so much obedience in daily living. If anything, church history teaches about our weaknesses and failings as human beings. If we are to become enlightened by God’s spirit, shouldn’t that lead us to respect and love each other unconditionally? Shouldn’t humility be more correlated to building others up as opposed to blind obedience? Christ’s gospel is not one of guilt or complying or blind obedience but rather one of forgiveness and love and charity. It is the church that needs to change, not its members.

  37. Angel says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Steve. It is beautifully written and comes across as very loving and honest. I, too, have realized that I’ve been living a lie but I am not yet sure that my marriage can withstand it. My “TBM” spouse claims that I have dishonored our marriage by presenting myself as a believer when I married him (I WAS a believer then.) He seems to feel that our marriage is now a lie and he wants a spouse that he ‘can be with for eternity’. Any church that teaches this kind of dogma and causes spouses to love the church more than their own spouse is SICK and not of a loving God. Anyway, I wish you the very best and am grateful for your courage and insight!

  38. Maja says:

    I thik this “hiding” business is pretty ridiculous. I am millions of miles from the center of the LDS Church. We dont even have any books on LDS, except the ones we study… stil I dare to say you can count with one hands fingers those accusitions I have not heard or red about. None of them has shaken my faith and I hope none will. I have learned that there is always a good reason to it all. Maybe I dont like the reason, but who am I to question anything and why should things always be done my way?
    I am no scolastic, but I enjoy attaining knowledge. I have not had a leading poistion in the church, I been stepped on, I been ignored, I been hurt… but I am stil here, stronger than ever. I did not join the Church to be popular or to gain popularity or because of its people, or its fantastic leaders, I joined it because the Spirit told me it was true.
    I feel truly sorry for all of you who have lost your faith. But as long as there is life there is hope and you are welcome back any time…. nothing is lost for ever…. yet!
    Problems ? This may help: http://en.fairmormon.org/Main_Page

  39. Jay Burris says:

    Hey Mike Ash,

    You say, “Any bishop who doesn’t know that JS practiced polygamy hasn’t done…” My question is; When exactly in the course of church membership should a person learn of JS polygamy? If a bishop should have studied and learned of it then when is it his responsibility to pass that knowledge onto the members of his ward. In the 9 years I was a member, through the MTC, through many institute classes I was NEVER taught that JS had multiple wives. The reason this topic is not discussed is because we are taught the exact opposite about Brother Joe. We are taught that he had to be threatened by an angel yielding a sword before he REVEALED that the polygamy should be practiced.

    You are right that I am offended. I am offended that things about church history were kept from me. You are also right that I have used black and white thinking. I am proud that I used the ability to reason that if entity “A” (The LDS church) lied, or just was so ignorant that they taught the wrong thing, about incident “B”, then “A” is a complete fraud.

  40. Tessa says:

    Changes in the Temple ceremony, (that were never supposed to be changed, lest death ensue)…… DNA findings that Native Americans are not and have never been of Middle Eastern Haplo-groups…..the “watering-down” of stories about Joseph and Emma’s “love” affair, when she fought with him constantly, cleaned the tar and feathers off of him after brothers of a young women disliked his attentions to her, and then pushed one of his “secret wives” down a flight of stairs, making her lose her child….the Book of Abraham biting the dust along with the Kinderhook plates, and his calling some local Native American’s bones Zelph, a Lamanite warrior….and last but not least, Gordon B. Hinkley lying through his teeth to Larry King stating when King asked him of God was ever a man, and Hinkley saying “I don’t think we ever taught that”……has lead me away from church attendance. I cannot be a part of a religion that’s only goal is to take money from members and waste it building malls or temple after temple that remain empty of patrons, most of the time, and continue lie to them about Church History/Book of Mormon Geography/Anthropology…while they change the Book of Mormon introduction from “History of Native Americans” to “some history of small group of Native Americans.” It’s ludicrous.

  41. Rilke says:

    Someone not knowing that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy does surprise me a bit. As a teenager in the seventies it was discussed pretty openly among members even in Sunday School classes.

  42. George Minchin says:

    Seth, it isn’t any one thing that forces us out. The reason so many of us lasted for as long as we did is because we examined each and every discrepancy individually. One by one, they are easy to justify away. Collectively, as you step outside of the box and look back at the mounds of evidence, it isn’t so easy to readily dismiss.

    Good for you that you can look at that mound and rely upon your faith to sustain you. For the rest of us, we echo Stephen’s words: “When all indisputable evidence proves that they are not true, faith is dead.”

  43. Harrison Ames says:

    This is such a sincere, well-written letter. It is full of genuine emotion and phrased in a way that is so relatable to those familiar with the LDS faith.

    Thank you, Steve, for your bravery in writing this letter and for sharing with all of us.

    I wish you all the best in your own journey for truth and happiness.

  44. Daniel Shirley says:

    I am astounded at the believing members who have come here to claim that the issues discussed here are not “hidden.” They may be technically correct, but they HAVE to realize that such a claim is not entirely honest!

    They MUST understand that for the lay member – if something is omitted from the correlated materials the church provides for study, it is rarely examined deeply. They MUST realize that the general authorities routinely discourage the lay membership from studying these things out through non-approved, non-correlated sources.

    They MUST recognize that these issues are entirely absent from correlated materials routinely studied in the church. That while they may come up in a University course (they never did in any of the courses I took at BYU), they certainly aren’t addressed or discussed in Sunday School or Priesthood/Relief Society Meetings.

    We never discussed polyandry in church. We never discussed Helen Mar Kimball in church. We never discussed Parley P. Pratt’s death in church. We never discussed Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon with a rock in a hat in church. We never discussed the contents of the Nauvoo Expositor in church.

    We never discussed Joseph joining the Methodist church after being told not to join any sect. We never discussed issues surrounding the Book of Abraham. We never discussed what happened with the Kirtland Banking Society. We never discussed Joseph’s “failed” revelation to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon in Canada. We NEVER discussed the changes to the temple ordinances. We never discussed the Mountain Meadows Massacre. We never discussed the utter lack of archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon. We never discussed tapirs. We never discussed Native American DNA.

    NONE of those issues are addressed in the correlated materials – the materials that form the primary source of study for the vast majority of active, believing Mormons. In fact, the only reason that the apologists here can claim that these issues are not hidden is because the church CAN’T hide everything.

    Do you realize that my own uncle, a faithful member, had to undergo a vetting process to read his own great-grandfather’s journal that was stored in the Church Archives? And even though his own great grandfather wrote that journal, his descendant, my uncle, was not allowed to take the journal out of the archives or to make copies of anything he found inside it. My great-great grandfather was a polygamist.

    The church obviously actively works to keep these issues off the table and to blame the members for not being aware of these issues is – at best – grossly disingenuous, if not blatantly dishonest. When the church is prepared to lay everything on the table – when we are discussing “the new and everlasting covenant of PLURAL marriage” in priesthood – only then can you say these things are not hidden.

  45. Kent Merrell says:

    Wow, you’ve really generated a lot of feedback! One other anecdote I would like to add to the record relating to the power of personal revelation. The most sure and convincing answer I’ve ever had to sincere prayer was when I wanted to know if I should marry my wife. God answered in the affirmative. This was a “spiritual experience” of the highest magnitude in my life. It was scary and exciting, but I KNEW it was right. It was a feeling that I never forgot. Just so happens I had that SAME feeling when I prayed about leaving the church. Hmmmm…… What’s up with that? Obviously, the human mind is capable of generating feelings of conviction, and the outcome is not exactly predictable. I know the Mormon response is that I just wasn’t doing enough scripture reading, church callings, family prayer, etc… otherwise I would have received the “correct” answer to my prayer. But ya know, I was doing as much of that as I possible could, and a person can only do so much with his alloted time in this life.

  46. John Jerdon says:

    Indeed, LDS Church historicity is a problem both from Church sources and anti-sources. Do we even know “a hundreth part” of what really happened if we were not there to experience it ourselves? For those truly seeking truth here are some links for your consideration. Just as you Steve had never considered certain things as truth, perhaps you are open to the possibility that there is even more to consider about not only what really happened in the early church but why it was allowed to happen, giving you greater insight into why there are false histories reported to protect LD$ economic interests. The truth can set you free because it is free! : ) http://marvelousworkandawonder.com/js/index.htm
    http://marvelousworkandawonder.com/index.html
    http://marvelousworkandawonder.com/q_a/

  47. Preferably anonymous says:

    Interesting letter. Can it really be the case that you were unaware of Joseph Smith’s marriages, his conflicting accounts of the First Vision and so on? As a nevermo, I thought these were things that everyone was aware of.

    • stevebloor says:

      Sadly, embarrassingly, yes.

      I and most of the Church members I’ve ever known don’t know about the more interesting aspects of Joseph Smith’s life.

      Difficult to believe, but we’re just spoon fed from ‘apostles & prophets’, never going near any written material which makes us feel uncomfortable!

      • Tom Milligan says:

        Yes, my Stake Presidency didn’t know about these things when I tried to speak with them. They just got uncomfortable and didn’t WANT to know. That’s how LDS people protect themselves. Ignorance is bliss.

      • stevebloor says:

        Thank you Tom for your comments.

        I had a similar experience with my Stake President recently too.

        I warned him that members were getting access to information about the origins & history of the Church which was uncomfortable.

        I said the Church should come clean or the members will find out by themselves and the Church will look bad.

        I mentioned John Dehlin & StayLDS.

        I was shocked by his reaction as I tried to present a printout from StayLDS to him. He recoiled as if in fear, & wouldn’t even touch or read it.

        I was speechless.

      • John Jerdon says:

        If the glory of God is intelligence then surely the power of the Devil is ignorance! People once had faith that the earth was flat and Galileo was targeted by the Inquisition for proposing new ideas. Nothing promotes the powers of “Satan” more than living by Faith and blind obedience because the unknown is the cause of fear. One must wonder why Jesus told Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan” instead of “Get thee behind me Peter”.

      • Seth R. says:

        Steve, isn’t that true of every area of life?

        In EVERY religion, the rank and file are largely unaware of the details of the history. How many Americans are aware of the darker details of American history? Most people have day jobs you know – they simply don’t have the time to become as savvy in the history as people who make it their hobby.

        Internet ex-Mormons are, frankly speaking, sort of freak exceptions to the way normal people live and operate. Normal people have things to get done, social lives to live out, service projects to participate in, and family to take care of. They don’t have time or energy to mope around about the fine points of history. This doesn’t make them stupid, it simply makes them productive contributors to society.

        And, as it so happens, the upsetting stuff John Dehlin is so cynical about in the LDS Church really isn’t that big a problem. But it is if you cut off the learning process at stage one.

        Internet ex-Mormons, by and large, learn just enough to be dangerous, but usually halt the leaning process at an early stage and freeze up due to emotional reasons. They learn just enough about LDS history to be shocked and then STOP learning. As it so happens, there is plenty more learning, contextualizing, and maturing to be done. But they refuse to do it because they feel the LDS Church hurt their feelings.

        One thing that always strikes me about John Dehlin (and many of his fans), is how incredibly naive he is in dealing with anti-Mormon material. He never asks for a citation – never tries to confirm the information he’s getting – never cross-examines a guest. As far as John Dehlin is concerned, if it’s against the LDS Church and the status quo – it MUST be true.

        Funny how in all my travels among ex-Mormons, it’s always the ex-Mormons demanding citations and proof from resources like FAIR and such. But they never ask the same citations and proof from ex-Mormon sources.

        When’s the last time you heard an ex-Mormon on StayLDS, or exmormon.org ask an anti-Mormon if his arguments were “peer reviewed?”

        Yeah. I thought not. And that’s not surprising. Normal people have busy lives – they don’t have the time to get everything they think peer reviewed. So they usually just settle for emotional confirmation bias. And that’s equally true of the NON-faithful as it is of the faithful.

    • John Jerdon says:

      Here is the truth about the conflicting accounts of the First Vision. http://marvelousworkandawonder.com/q_a/contents/3lds/q06/6lds015.htm

  48. Don Mabry says:

    I joined the church in 1978 at the age of 29, became a bishop for over 6 years in 1984 and left the church in 1993. When I joined I literally felt I was on sacred ground everytime I entered the chapel doors. I was as happy as I had ever been in my life. But, as the same time, I never stopped searching to know as much as possible about my new religion. Over the years, I realized I was being manipulated by the church and that freedom of thought was being taken away and replaced by blind obedience. Just as Jonah was swallowed by the whale, I too had been swallowed by the Mormon Church.
    It is so refreshing to now know the true story and to know the church is built on a totally false foundation. As to the questions Mr. Munzer poses, the answers to all those questions is easily found if you do the right research. As an example, it is now known the characters Joseph Smith supposedly copied from the plates and sent to Professor Anthon in New York are actually Irish shorthand from the 1600’s and were used in bibles brought to Canada for marginal notes. Joseph Smith got them from the “Detroit Manuscript” through Sidney Rigdon. Also, just think how much the “gold plates” would have weighed. Joseph Smith said they were 6″ x 8″ x 6″. Allowing the plates were not a solid block of gold but thin pages, the weight would have been well over 100 pounds and probably closer to 200 pounds. And yet we are supposed to believe Joseph Smith ran and walked 3 miles from the Hill Cumorah to his home while fighting off 3 separate attackers all the while carrying over a 100 pound load in a sack over his shoulder. Try picking up just a 40 lb box of cat litter sometime and then think of carrying that for 3 miles.
    I could go on, but I applaud Steve for his courage to make the tough decision that truth trumps all else.

  49. Pingback: “The more I studied the more evidence of a cover-up I discovered.” | Defending. Contending.

  50. Pingback: Another Mormon Resignation Letter « Social Conscience & Rational Thinking

  51. Lynn says:

    Just follow the sex, money and power trails. Just about everything false within the belief system leads back to those. The sad thing is being duped and going along and continuing to perpetuate the myth. Even sadder is that followers are so suckered and dont know it. And when my eyes opened I was angry! So go believe it if you want. But people have a right to be upset for being circus animals performing senseless tricks for years, being excluded from family weddings because they can’t be on “sacred” ground. What if the ground isnt sacred and you needlessly exclude family? When your eyes open you realize how silly. And it doesnt take a scholar to figure out that polyandry, polygamy and gold plates never seen by anyone and taken up into heaven by an angel is just all so lusicrous!

    • John Jerdon says:

      The answers to your what if scenario of what is sacred & secret are answered in this book free for download:http://marvelousworkandawonder.com/sns/index.htm
      I am surprised at how few people apply common sense to the polygamy allegations made toward Joseph Smith. He had I believe 8 children with Emma so we know he was not sterile, yet people believe he had sexual relations with 33 other wives and never produced a single child. “Spiritual Wifery” does not involve physical relations. Catholic nuns believe they are the brides of Christ but they certainly have never had sex with Jesus! If Joseph Smith taught plural wives were endorsed by God then why didn’t the RLDS church adopt the practice? Emma & Joseph Smith III were adamant that there husband and father deplored the practice. Why wouldn’t he?… Jacob 2:27 condemns it! http://marvelousworkandawonder.com/js/download/MormonPolygamyMWAW.pdf

      • At least 8 women testified, under oath, during the Temple Lot Case, in 1970, that they were the wives of Joseph Smith, and literal wives, wives in the truest sense of the word, that they had martial relations with Joseph Smith, as his wives. Had Joseph Smith allowed any of his polygamous wives to get pregnant by him, the ones who were not married to other men at the time, it would have been scandalous, because the women would have demanded support from him (as was the case when the founder of the Black Muslims impregnanted 22 young women). Sarah Pratt, who was approached by Joseph Smith to become his spiritual wife, while Orson Pratt was in England, asked John C. Bennett, at that time the Assistant President of the Church, why Joseph Smith was not making babies with all the young women, and John C. Bennett told Sarah, according to her, that he used abortion to take care of such problems, Bennett being a doctor. Joseph Smith kept two sets of diaries; one for the public, and one private. In the private Nauvoo diaries, Joseph Smith often visits various young women (a few of them married), and he (rather…he scribe writes) “I visited Sister Jones today, and did her a good turn”. There are many references in the secret journal, which was published by Utah Lighthouse Ministry, of Joseph Smith visiting young women, a few of them married, and saying “I did her a good turn”. This publication is “The Secret Journals of William Clayton”. Clayton kept Joseph’s public and private journals. Get a copy yourself. This secret journal, is not an invention, but comes from a Mormon historian who was given access to it. He had to sign an affidavit NOT to publish the “sensitive parts” of it, and he didn’t. However, the Tanners got a copy of it, a photocopy of it, and they published it. The Mormon historian sued them, and lost his lawsuit. But, it is authentic, in Clayton’s handwriting, and confirmed. When I first discovered all this, I was an active Mormon, and a Mormon Apologist (self-appoitned of course…since the Church did not have official apologists in those days, and not apparently today either). When I discovered all this I was SHOCKED, so I asked various BYU religion professors, and Church historians, and they said: “Well, Joseph Smith had the authority to do these things. We don’t have it, but he did”. So, Joseph Smith had the Divine Authority to LIE (he did), to deny he was a polygamist while he had 33 “wives”, to have sex with women, to produce abortions for them (via John C. Bennett) when they became pregnant, and even worse things. Either you ACCEPT THAT, or you don’t. I finally came to the conclusion…I could NOT accept that. I left the Church. I am NOT an Atheist, as so many ex-Mormons become. I’ve found a new Prophet, one that never lied, or never seduced young girls. You can read my story, if you are curious:
        Darrick
        http://daheshism.webs.com/DARRICK.htm

  52. Captain_Dg says:

    I am not a Mormon. Never was. But if I were and I experienced the author’s disillusionment I think I would come at it this way: Joseph Smith was a liar and a conman, but the Church of LDS does seem to do a lot of good. Maybe God, who can do all things, used Smith for good after all. And faith? Well, I think that’s a gift from God. You might keep it regardless of proof of what is seen or unseen.

  53. Scott says:

    @Captain_Dg: There are lots of organizations that “do a lot of good.” The LDS Church certainly ranks among them. The largest humanitarian organization in the USA is Lutheran (last I heard). The Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Buddhists also have organizations, many of them quite extensive and well-run, committed to doing good and improving lives in practical, loving ways; to say nothing of organizations that have no particular religious ties. Can God use these things? Of course. He can use good for good, and he can also use evil for good. But it does not mean that he endorses evil. So any “good” that is done is quite a separate matter from “faith” as a “gift from God.” If one accepts that God exists, and that God cares about truth, then it seems illogical that God would “gift” someone with a “faith” in something that is NOT true. Now, we can (and frequently do) put faith in whatever we want. We can believe whatever we want about anything we want. But that faith, that belief, if it’s not grounded in truth, is worthless, if not outright dangerous. It might provide some momentary comfort, but in the long run, it will crumble and fall, and us with it. Therefore it DOES matter if something is true or not. Truth does matter, and eternal truths matter eternally. We can choose to bury our head in the sand and console ourselves with our unchallenged and unexamined “faith”, or we can pursue truth, regardless of the cost, and find real life and real freedom.

  54. Good Will says:

    I just read your letter (and haven’t had time to read all the comments that follow).

    I just want to say that I thought your letter was beautifully written, poignant and truthful. Absolutely truthful. I appreciate the sincerity of conviction, humility and love expressed in your letter. (I would hope that I should be as honorable, if I were in your place.)

    You have set a wonderful example for everyone, even if it has been by stepping down.

    And while I believe you are correct in your analysis (the reasons you gave for “disbelieving” are, in fact, factual), your conclusion (in my view) is incorrect. A pile of sins and inaccuracies (by well-meaning…or not-so-well-meaning Saints) does not render the LDS faith “false”. It is what it is.

    What you lack are the answers. (How did he do that? How is that possible? Where is the proof?)

    Surely there is no evidence that Jesus walked on water, fed four thousand with a pittance, or walked out of the tomb — except for the testimonies of those who lived (and died) testifying it was true. We don’t believe their testimonies because of their sinless characters or the incontrovertible nature of their testimonies. In fact, we believe (if we believe at all) despite glaring inconsistencies!

    We believe because we have faith in the Spirit which beckons us and testifies to us.

    You ought not to be ashamed for losing faith in the face of physical evidence testifying that what you have believed isn’t true. (I’ve met a woman or two who have “convinced” me that the law of chastity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I have had living proof!)

    But that experience is just another form of idolatry, trusting in the arm of flesh. Many prophets have lived — and died! like John the Baptist! — without ever seeing the full fulfillment of their faith. Christ spoke of them. Many yearned to see and hear the things Jesus’ disciples saw and heard and did not see or hear them. They were compelled to live and die by faith. In fact, the evidence many received was contra-indicating: Jesus did not liberate Israel, as promised. He was not the Deliverer they had hoped for (a secular, material one). In fact, His kingdom was not of this world.

    And so it remains today.

    There was a time (in the Book of Mormon) when many people were beguiled and fell way, falling victim to lies and misunderstandings and (no doubt) a lack of evidence to support what the Church (in that day) taught. Eventually, however, many were guided back to the faith by greater evidence…in the Lord’s due time.

    I suspect it will be so again. And I hope it will be so…for you, my friend and brother. NONE of the reasons you gave in your letter gave me reason to disbelieve in the Church or its teachings. My own experience with record keeping (inadvertently omitting important facts, concentrating on extraneous material…even being WRONG!) testifies to me that the things you mentioned were within the realm of the human experience. They are not evidence that the Church isn’t true. In fact, they are only evidence that Joseph Smith et al. were human.

    And I am nothing more nor less. I cannot hold them to a higher standard than I hold myself.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Will,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I wished feelings were enough for me, but I am now glad I need more reliable evidence.

      I can no longer accept faith which amounts to denial.

      I am amazed at the power of the mind to rationalise one’s bizarre beliefs!

      I used to defend my own ‘unjustified beliefs’ in the Mormon Church etc.

      I now find my previous ‘logic’ was immature, tortuous, confused, irrational, self-affirming, delusional & amounted to circular reasoning.

      It could easily be used by any person in any superstitious belief system or religion.

      I hope for greater things for mankind in the future.

      • Leaving by fax, letter or email (as now allowed) is a very freeing experience. My life has never been better. No one comes to see you anymore, it is easy fast and not a problem. Salt Lake is flooded up to their neck in people leaving.

        Don

  55. Praise God you are free and are able to use the sense and intelligence God gave you to use!

  56. Calliope says:

    If one really looks at anything for flaws, one will find them.

    All we can do is work from the present moment.

    Your letter is full of concern over actions of people no longer present, to account for themselves. (Debatably, not as people.)

    The foundation of the United States of America was also laid with flaws. In fact, I’m reasonably sure one can find fault with ANY church, country, corporation, etc., but I’d like to know WHY one would spend time doing so, rather than spend time trying to make this moment, this ever-changing moment called ‘now,’ as good as it can possibly be.

    In closing, I offer the second verse of ‘The Buried Life,’ by Matthew Arnold:

    Alas, is even love to weak
    To unlock the heart, to let it speak?
    Are even lovers pow’rless to reveal
    To one another what indeed they feel?
    I knew the mass of men conceal’d
    Their thoughts, for fear that if reaveal’d
    They would by other men be met
    With blank indiff’rence, or with blame reprov’d.
    I knew they liv’d and mov’d.
    Tricked in diguises, alien to the rest
    Of men, and alien to themselves, and yet
    The same heart beats in every human breast.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Calliope,

      I appreciate your comment & attempt to be positive, however, we’re not talking about a man-made institution. At the time I was convinced the Mormon Church was established by God Himself. That is what is taught.

      I’m not a relativist. So truth matters to me. When the Mormon scriptures & priesthood leaders tell me the Book of Mormon is the “most correct book” on earth and that it was “translated by the Gift & Power of God”, I don’t expect them to be lying!

      As it is, I now know it is a man-made institution. Started by a fraudster, con-man, serial adulterer and paedophile.

      That makes a world of difference to me.

      I’ve moved on though. Life is now more positive. See my latest blog post:
      https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/living-life-outside-of-other-peoples-thinking/

      Kind regards,
      Steve

      • Calliope says:

        With respect, I don’t see how it makes a difference. A lie believed as truth, is a lie. All organisations consisting of mortal members, are subject to the collective values of its members. All religious organisations make claims that their way, as opposed to other ways of belief, are correct, with the possibility of any belief systems along the lines of Satanism. Why should one be different, simply because it is/was yours?

        Now, I COULD use this as a launching-pad, mention that the Bible’s contents were determined at some early point in its history, also by people of dubious distinction. And we’d quickly get derailed by ideas along the lines of trust in a religious context. (The above comments appear to me as striking examples.)

        That’s not where I wish to direct your attention. In fact, quite the reverse: Right now, your beliefs, such as they are, are part of what made you the person you are.

        So, the Mormon Church was founded by ‘a fraudster, con-man, serial adulterer, and paedophile.’ Look around NOW, please. Look for Mormons among the people helping others. I’m sure with your experience, you know EXACTLY where to look, and how. That is also truth, whatever you find.

        As a side note: My personal beliefs definitely fit into the ‘miscellaneous’ category. I have read all my life about various faiths. I don’t pretend that this, or the fact that I consider such ideas as a pasttime, mean anything other than a possible obsession over such things on my part. Just in case the question arises.

        Unrelatedly, I did not read any of your other articles. Honestly, I’m not likely to do so, and if you’ve found your solution, I’m content.

        I wish you well, and I thank you.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Thanks Calliope,

        I think we agree.

        Unfortunately, the Mormon Church is a gnostic, authoritarian, dogmatic orthodoxy. And I used to believe it contained the Fulness of Jesus Christ’s Gospel.

        The contrast to life outside of this belief system is joyful and wonderful..

        Wishing you well,
        Steve

      • Seth R. says:

        No, actually the church was supposed to be a man-made organization AUTHORIZED by God. That’s the D&C version of what the church is supposed to be.

        Big difference Steve.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Dear Seth,

        Please stop apologising on behalf of the Church.

        The vast majority of Mormons would not agree with you.

        The Church comes across as a gnostic, authoritarian, dogmatic orthodoxy, and the priesthood hierarchy like it that way, despite what you would like to believe to the contrary.

        Fear, guilt and shame are its methods of control.

        It achieves this by inculcating biases, phobias and prejudices in its membership.

        They think they are free only because they are told they are free. And only if they are OBEDIENT!

        The Church is guilty of one of the biggest frauds of recent times, as President Gordon B Hinckley alluded to.

        Wishing you well,
        Steve

  57. Seth R. says:

    I see you’ve gotten angrier in the intervening years. Certainly more dogmatic and unreasonable. Unfortunate to watch.

    • SteveBloor says:

      I just make statements of fact as observed by neutral observers and cult recovery experts.

      I am not emotionally upset now, though during my transition out of Mormonism I was, and justifiably so. So would you be had you just realised all your life had been wasted on a scam.

      Many people are suffering as they come to this realisation. Many family relationships are put under immense strain by the situation. The belief system holds these family relationships to ransom.

      As one transitioning ex-Mormon put it:

      “The problem, as I see it, is that those who are blindly benefiting from church membership (social, answers to life’s questions, etc.), can flip in an instant (by learning hidden truth) into people whose lives are utterly devastated.  Every last member is at risk, every marriage, every familial bond could possibly be shattered with a simple missed click on the internet.  Something that fragile is not a benefit.  EVERY temple marriage is a ticking time bomb. What a f***ing mess.”

      • Seth R. says:

        Yes, definitely very positive language indicative of happy and well-adjusted people. Of course Steve.

        I’m not interested in getting further into it with you on an old thread like this on nitpicks about church criticisms. Maybe when I acquire the odd hobby of listening to divorced people bitch about their ex-spouse and how he or she is evil-incarnate itself, I might have interest in this kind of exchange (since they are HUGELY similar), but for now – you take care.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Seth, as a qualified lawyer you are obviously highly trained in how to put an argument. As a self-appointed Mormon Apologist you have a certain reputation to uphold. We all have biases.

        If only we learnt about biases at Church or School, maybe we’d be better able to recognise them.

        It really is a serious problem for people. If I sound emotional it’s because I’m passionate about helping them.

        I’m interested in the emotional & psychological effects of religion, as well as the psychology of beliefs in general.

        Studying how the mind works & how we are all susceptible to cognitive biases, I am acutely aware of how all religions use these cognitive ‘weak spots’ to take advantage of the unwary.

        The neutral observers I referred to are psychologists & neuro-scientists who can readily identify the signs of cult mind control or undue influence in action within Mormonism, along with many other religions.

        A very real crime against humanity is being committed by these organisations.

        Often the only way to identify the signs of a cult & the cynical way it influences its members is to practice being a neutral observer with another cult.

        I hope one day you will do this so you too can become free.

        Wishing you well,
        Steve

        http://www.freedomofmind.com

        http://journeyfree.org

  58. Seth R. says:

    I don’t mind being called biased Steve. Just as long as it’s not from people self-righteously claiming to be somehow miraculously blessed with less personal bias than me. If you’re aware of your own self-bias, then that’s a great place to end the exchange as far as I’m concerned.

    • SteveBloor says:

      I agree Seth,

      Self righteousness is not what I’m about.

      Self-discovery outside of the undue influence of religion is.

      I used to be a gnostic theist. Now I’m an agnostic atheist.

      I used to think “I knew I knew!”
      Now I know I don’t know!

      I used to have a fervent testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, declaring my ‘knowledge’ to the world as I preached His Gospel as a missionary, and serving Him as a bishop for seven years.

      Now…I am not dogmatically certain of anything, but am willing to change my beliefs based on new evidence.

      Which is more humble?

      As a Bishop I routinely interviewed members about their personal righteousness. It’s what the Brethren talk about a lot. Personal righteousness is required for Church blessings like Temple attendance and the ability to perform priesthood ordinances for one’s family. There is a lot of judgements made about personal righteousness in the Church, particularly at Bishopric and Stake Presidency level.

      I don’t think this is anyone’s business but one’s own.

      Another term for personal is ‘self’.

      The last thing I want to be is self-righteous.

      Having said all that, I hold no grudge against you. I love the members of the Church.

      And wish you well.
      Steve

  59. Lance (go Ducks!) says:

    My exit started on February 10, 2013. It was a nice rainy northwest day and my lovely wife and I were sitting in Gospel Doctrine class. Our lesson was about the D&C and it just happened that I read D&C 49:16, “Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;” If God gave Joseph Smith a revelation in 1831 that a man should only have ONE WIFE then why on earth did we ever enter into polygamy??

    I had just gotten an iPad and I was using it for my scriptures. I figured I’d Google the reference right then and get to the bottom of it. I’ve been a good, faithful Mormon for 40 years with a killer wife and three awesome kids. I’ve never turned to any information about the church except the scriptures, approved LDS magazines and the lds.org website. I was sitting in GD so I wanted to make sure my Google search was directed to authentic church resources, not “anti-mormon” crappy info. I immediately stumbled onto FAIR’s website and started reading….and reading!….and reading!!….and reading!!!!

    I could not believe all the issues the church was dealing with. I had never heard of most these things. They were outrageous claims to me, yet the FAIR website was trying their hardest to defend the issues. Very few people even have a glimmer of all the problems the church is currently facing with their doctrine. I’ve been a member all my life; graduated seminary, went on a mission, married in the temple, and held many callings in the church. I was the Young Men’s 1st councilor and my wife the Stake Young Women’s 2nd councilor at this time.

    WOW! I set things aside that Sunday but I started studying more during the week. I didn’t need to work that next Friday so I basically read from Thursday evening through Sunday. I stayed up almost all night Thurs, Fri, and Sat. By Sunday, I told my wife my faith was crumbling in the doctrines of the church. That Sunday I met with my Bishop and resigned from my current calling. This was a HUGE shock to him. I didn’t tell him my reason. I continued devouring all information I could get. I was spending 8 to 20 hours studying each day. My Bishop called me in two weeks later to tell me to repent and get back to work! I asked him if he knew about Joesph Smith translating with a rock in his hat, about JS’ polygamy and polyandry, about the Book of Abraham, Blacks and the Priesthood, etc. He said I’ve run into a bunch of “anti-mormon” lies and he’d never heard of any of it. IT BLEW ME AWAY!

    Several weeks later my great wife and I were headed back to Utah for a family meeting to announce our resignation (all my family are devout LDS)….that didn’t go over so well. But, we have a close family connection with Elder Marlin K. Jensen (recently released as church historian) so we, very luckily, were able to setup a meeting with him and discuss our concerns. He validated all our information was correct (polygamy, polyandry, lies with the leaders, papyrus, peep stone, among other things).

    This is what did it for me: In the meeting with Elder Jensen, we discussed Joseph’s peep stone and hat. I asked about the Urim & Thummin and he said that was used until the 116 pages were lost. From then on, Joseph used his peep stone. Elder Jensen stated that Joseph Smith “GRADUATED” from using the U&T, to the peep stone, to finally just receiving the revelations in his head!

    So I presented this scenario him…We’re told the U&T are PHYSICAL instruments brought from Old Testament times to the Americas by the Jaredites. Handed down from generation to generation. Kept physically safe from all the wars and battles. Given to the Nephites. For another 1,000 years kept physically safe from falling into the wrong hands. They were so important that Moroni buried them with the gold plates so the plates could be translated at some future time. Again, God carefully watched over these physical items for another 1,400 years. Then, Joseph Smith receives them, says they’re the most amazing spectacles and he can see anything by putting them on. He translates 116 pages which get lost and Moroni gets mad and takes them away. So Joseph Smith then decides to use his peep stone, previously found in a well and used for treasure seeking, and by putting it in his hat, Joseph “translates” the ENTIRE Book of Mormon that we have today?!?! How is that “GRADUATING”?

    Elder Jensen said, “The spirit in this conversation is getting too secular” !!!!!! (please know we were very loving and respectful and the meeting actually went great).

    Anyway, that was it for my wife and I. We had our answer and we’re so grateful to be out of the church. We received our official notification letter saying our names were removed just a few weeks ago. I continue to read, study and pray non-stop! I can’t get enough about the history of the 1800’s! I’ve spent well over 1,000 dedicated hours and I haven’t been able to find anything that makes me go, “WHOA…I was wrong, the church really is true.” I guess Satan is still deceiving me. :-/

    Good luck on your journey! Sorry I rambled about my own story. I just find it frustrating how we’re so ignorant in the church. Out of 75 active church member friends, we only know of 2 that have any clue about some of these critical issues. Lies, deceit, and brainwashing. I gave 40 years of my time and money to an organization that’s absolutely deceitful. 😦

    The members are true, it’s just the church isn’t.

    Have at it flamers, ye disciples of Christ…. My happy little family is going to explore this world with realistic open-mindedness!🙂

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Lance,

      Thanks for writing your inspiring story.

      Sadly there are very few people who change their beliefs like you have. Mainly because it is too painful for them.

      It takes a certain type of personality to have the courage and integrity to do what you have done.

      I take my hat off to you sir!

      Congratulations!

      I’m so pleased for you and your family that you have made this transition and are enjoying reality outside of the Mormon Bubble.

      Please keep me informed of your progress.

      It’s an exciting journey.

      For me it was like being Born Again! Starting life off anew. With new perspectives and understandings.

      I am now fascinated by the whole concept of psychology of belief. How could I, and millions of others, have been so wrong for so long.

      It’s a wonderful journey of discovery.

      The best is yet to come.

      Kind regards,
      Steve

      • Lance (go Ducks!) says:

        Yes, my extended family and ward members were completely blown away that I could give it up so quickly. I’ve got a pretty logical personality so when I realized the thousands of lies, additions, omissions, changes and outright deceptions, it wasn’t too hard for me to make a change (I’m just doing what the church has done after all ;)).

        I’m very grateful I’ve got such a loving wife who was exactly on the same page as me when we started finding out these issues. That made the decision so much smoother. Plus, having the incredible opportunity to meet with Marlin Jensen. My wife and I came out of that meeting flying as high as a kite! He could offer no answers except to say that he’s known about all these issues and he’s still a faithful member and then exhorting us to “lean into the gospel.” NO THANK YOU SIR!

        The human mind is truly fascinating! I am so grateful that I can now learn and study with complete open-mindedness! Six months ago I was so worried that my 16yr old son would see something “anti-Mormon” on the internet and it would damage his testimony. Now I urge him to look at anything and everything religious! We should be FREE to look at anything we want and make our own choices. I’ve been brainwashed my whole life to stay away from ANYTHING that’s not coming directly from church sources. Now I see why.

        My wife and I finally feel like we’re in control of our own destiny!! Who knows what the next life will really bring so we’re going to live this life to its fullest!!!

        In just the last couple months, I’ve been so much happier and so much less judgmental! Everyone is my equal…I don’t have a better gospel, a better book, a better Spirit, a better eternal life, a better prophet or a better house of worship. I’ve come to realize we’re all just humans trying to make it as one big crazy family on this little planet! 🙂

        God speed my friends!

  60. Excellent letter. Very logical. Very reasonable. Very loving. Not bitter at all. Please read my exist, story, it is quite entertaining, if nothing else. I was a Missionary, and also I wrote a book defending the Church which was quite popular with missionaries in the 1990s. Here is my story:
    http://daheshism.webs.com/DARRICK.htm

  61. Pingback: Bishops Who Don’t Believe: Can The Church Support Them? | Steve Bloor's Blog

  62. Rebecca says:

    Hi Steve,

    I think it’s interesting reading all the comments here. So much passion. When I was 12 I remember wondering why I didn’t feel like all the other kids bearing their testimony. I was always so logical. I tried forcing myself into religion out of tradition and respect for my parents. Even a journal in my family documenting my great x3 grandpas friendship with Joseph and the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I do not believe it. I never did. Logically how could anyone? I remember sitting in the temple looking around at all the educated people and in my head thinking how could they all follow so blindly when they are all so intelligent? It’s not too hard to figure out the reasoning. I do believe that religion, even fictitious religion can serve a purpose for many folks. It provides a family of sorts for people and a guideline for those who otherwise would not know how to live. For me it does nothing. I truly believe my great, great, great grandpa was used like many today still are for financial gain. That religion especially the LDS religion is a financial giant. A well organized business with many passionate contributors. However I also believe Most people mean well in life.

    I have not removed my name because I just simply don’t care enough to. My not believing in the church did cost me my marriage and that was a devastating loss. My sister was recently ex communicated without her even knowing why. However she is lesbian. Makes me sad because that hurt my parents 500 more times than it bothered her. My parents are devastated by it.

    I think it’s important for those deciding to leave or quit the church to not feel like they have to remove their name from the church records. Like all things, in time the pendulum swings back to neutral and those initial feelings that create such an urgency mellow out. I’m a good example of this it’s been 17 years for me.

    I also believe that just as it seems crazy to believe in the LDS religion it also seems crazy to convince others to Not believe.

    I’m curious, did your wife also remove her name? If not the LDS religion then what religion? Or have you and your family determined that religion isn’t something you want in your life? It’s hard because as I get older I also realize that religion doesn’t have to be an all or nothing mentality. You can take what you want and leave the rest. Things don’t have to be so black and white. I can not believe in religion but go once in a while to socialize, listen to music or to enjoy the motivating talks knowing that spiritual things happen for people no matter what despite religion or if they’ve recently been “good” maybe I will find a non denominational church. Maybe not.

    For those wondering what to do.. Sky is the limit and it’s ok to not know and not make swift decisions letting time sort things out. I think it’s important to value tradition and family. You can leave the church without removing your name or hurting your family so much.

    Love,
    Rebecca

  63. Graduate says:

    Hi Steve,
    I loved your resignation letters and your talk. But of this article I’d like to share these thoughts and resources.

    So many that leave mormonism seam to throw God out “with the bath water”, so to speak. Many post-mormons describe themselves as atheist. I don’t blame them for throwing out the “exalted man” kind of god I believed in as a TBM. That is just not believable once you leave Mormonism. But then, after Mormonism I found myself in crisis, and I came to know my Higher Power, as a loving supportive force for good in my life. I’ve also found that there is basis for believing in Jesus. Again, not the mormon (Jehovah war god) version. I’ve found modern documents in the voice of Jesus with teachings for us in our times (and not promoting any church or religion, but to the contrary), and in these teachings I’ve found an understanding of God, Christ, and the universe that I can accept, and with a similar feeling of freedom and joy for life as you describe.

    What would Jesus say to a post, or non-believing mormon, and others coming out of religion?

    “You are right to reject false teachings. I too would have turned away from a church that offers nothing but deception, exclusivity, and guilt. But do not allow your anger at the hypocrisy to take you away from your direct relationship with me. Forget everything you have been taught by others and consider the truth now in your own heart. That is where we must meet, not in some pretentious building that mocks my teaching and my life.”

    This is from page 41 of
    The Gospel According to Jesus – A New Testament for our Time. 
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Gospel-According-Jesus-Testament/dp/1879159821

    A Course in Miracles is the most widely known and accepted first person Jesus communication to us IN OUR TIME. I first heard of it in ’94 from a CES Institute instructor, Merrill Bailey. He just briefly mentioned A Course in Miracles, saying that when he read it, every word went right to his heart as truth. I obtained a copy of A Course in Miracles and could soon see how Merrill’s eight week class, called “Learning to come unto Christ”, had been influenced by it. Going through Merrill’s course, I experienced a change in my view of atonement and the grace of Christ and felt that I had graduated from the church’s gospel of performances and ordinances. A friend helped me celebrate this change with a symbolic gesture as we baptized each other in a canal. That lead to an excommunication which I appealed, and won, only to then resign a few years later. But that’s another story.

    (this is a free read of A Course in Miracles)
    http://www.unitedbeings.com/acim/

    (this is an inexpensive paper back copy of the early, unedited (HLC public domain), text portion, of the course, also known as Jesus’ Course in Miracles.)
    http://www.lulu.com/shop/jesus-christ/jesus-course-in-miracles/paperback/product-22301706.html.

    And, most importantly, I am very excited to have discovered Jesus’s continuation of A Course in Miracles, through (don’t you love it) another woman, as A Course of Love, which was published in 2014. It can be purchased on Google books, amazon (as hard copy or a Kindle ebook) and free sampled (and also purchased) here.
    http://acourseoflove.com/selected-chapters/

  64. Erin Shriner says:

    Wow! Reading your letter made me feel like I was reliving my experience all over again (minus being a bishop, of course)! Sometimes I feel so alone in my experience, and misunderstood. Like leaving the church was easy…ha! One of the most difficult and painful and scary times of my life! Thank you for sharing.

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