Your Money or Your Eternal Life! – Conned Out Of £60,000 – Voluntarily Gifted or Coercion?


I am often told that I gave my tithing donations voluntarily therefore I should not blame the Church for taking my money.

Those Mormon friends who say this are often the most sincere, genuine and some of the most compassionate and kind people I know. Which makes it all the more difficult to say to them, that I believe they, and millions of others including myself, have been taken advantage of.

The problem with the way the Church works in getting us to do anything is that it uses fear as the ultimate motivator. Maybe without realising it, but it is a factor nonetheless, we do things in the Church in an effort to avoid undesirable negative outcomes. Punishment, if you will, for failing to keep ‘sacred covenants’. Indeed, in the Temple endowment I made a blood oath that my life would be taken if I revealed the nature of the signs and tokens I learnt there that day. We are warned we will lose Eternal Life, and the opportunity to live together as a family in the afterlife will be taken from us, if we don’t keep all the ‘Mormon Commandments’, including paying our tithing. In fact we don’t even get to be Sealed for Eternity in the Mormon Temple to our spouse unless we pay tithing. There is also the threat of ‘being burned at Christ’s Second Coming’ if we don’t pay tithing. We’re told that we are defrauding God if we don’t pay tithing.

Motivation to pay tithing.

This is a form of coercion. As a True Believer there is no way I could have lived with myself if I wasn’t trying to keep all of ‘God’s Commandments’. The guilt and shame would have been too much. And the fear of God’s punishment loomed high too.

The whole belief system depends on the promise of Eternal rewards and the good feelings associated with obedience, as well as the threat of guilt and shame arising from disobedience, and even public humiliation for more serious sins.

At the same time I, along with many millions of other wonderful members, do all that we do in the Church based on our belief that it is True. The One True Church of God.

Yet now I find that my faith was misplaced. That Joseph Smith was not an honest man at all. That in fact he was a convicted fraudster. That he convinced those naively gullible people around him that he was commanded of God to marry many women, some already married, and worst of all some, only children, as young as 14.

I was convinced by the Church that Joseph had translated The Gold Plates by the ‘gift and power of God’ using a Urim and Thumim. Yet now I find that he never used the Urim and Thumim at all, but instead he used a chocolate coloured Peep Stone placed in a top hat. The same Peep Stone he found in a well as a young boy which he was convicted of fraud for using to con people out of money during his ‘treasure seeking days’. (Some information here: Ensign Article: A Treasured Testament – too little, too late. There are no accounts of Joseph using the Gold Plates to translate, yet the Church still depicts Joseph translating at a table with the Gold Plates). Joseph Smith money-digger


I was convinced by the Church that the Book of Abraham was translated from ancient Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith. But now I discover that those ancient papyri were not in fact the writings of Abraham but actually ancient funery scrolls common all over Egypt.

The Church knows this. Even Elder Jeffrey R Holland admitted on camera in an interview that Joseph Smith didn’t use the papyri to write the Book of Abraham. Yet I was taught, and they still teach, that Joseph translated it, when he didn’t. (Jeffrey Holland admits the Book of Abraham wasn’t translated.)

There are many more incorrect and dishonest things associated with the Church I once loved. Had I known at the time I would never have sacrificed my affection, my time, effort and money to the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The So Called Church’s legal title – The Legal Name Of The Church).

In order for the Church to have acted properly, in full and frank honesty in its dealings with me, I should have been made aware of these and many other issues which impact on its ‘truth claims’. As it now transpires, I find that I did not get the full truth but just a sanitised, faith promoting version which is greatly biased towards forcing me through fear and intimidation using undue influence towards making my ‘voluntary donations’.

As a True Believer I would consider what I had just written above to be ‘sour grapes’ due to me being deceived by Satan. All I can say is that if only I had known then what I know now I would have thought very, very differently.

It’s a bit like Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. To someone inside the Cave the outside world in all its wonderful reality and beauty is completely incomprehensible. It’s unimaginable. It’s been called the ‘Mormon Bubble’.

Plato’s Cave

Imprisoned By Our Beliefs

In the same way that a member of the Watchtower Organisation cannot begin to imagine they have been deceived and held in a delusion, it is impossible for a True Believing Mormon to even begin to consider the possibility they have been deceived too.

At least not without going through the trauma like many of us are now doing as we transition out of the Church.

It is for this reason that Micah McAllister has written his book ‘Exit Strategy: A Guide to Leaving Mormonism’. To help people navigate the difficulties associated with leaving such a controlling organisation.

When inside the Mormon Bubble it is impossible to understand just how controlling the belief system is. Just how much it gets into one’s psychology so you cannot think clearly. I know members of the Church say they are free. So did I. But we’re not as free as we think we are when inside the Church. It is not that easy to just leave. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life. The adjustments in one’s thinking are immense. Initially I felt like I was dying from the inside. It really was a living nightmare coming to terms with reality. But just as in Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, eventually the ‘bitter pill’ is found to be wonderful and life outside the Church is far more amazing than I could ever have imagined.

My relationships with my wife and children have become more honest, rich and authentic than ever before. I find that I can enjoy the simple pleasures of life like looking at a sunset without the superimposition of Mormon theology overlaid over the top of the experience. A bit like enjoying a beautiful garden without believing there are fairies at the bottom.

I respect my Mormon friends’ right to believe what they will. I am truly sorry if my new beliefs appear to threaten theirs. That is not my intention. I am only trying to reach out to others who are questioning their faith, to give them hope and courage, by expressing my personal experiences as I transition from being a faithful Mormon Bishop to becoming a Secular Humanist.

I love Mormons. I have many great friends in the Mormon faith. I do not desire to hurt anyone, only love.


Links to sites discussing the principle of Tithing in Mormonism:

Objective overview of Tithing from MormonThink

Mormon Tithing from a Christian perspective

This entry was posted in Mormon Issues, Religious Epiphany, TRUTH. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Your Money or Your Eternal Life! – Conned Out Of £60,000 – Voluntarily Gifted or Coercion?

  1. Tom Phillips says:

    Great article Steve. You encapsulate so much of what we all feel. I would challenge anyone to demonstrate any untruth in what you say.

    Why cannot our TBM families and friends see this, which you so clearly outline? Oh yes, it is because they, like us at one time, have been deluded by the church. We should have compassion for them, however some are wilfully ignorant in that they refuse to properly investigate and discuss the issues that prove the church true or false.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Thanks Tom,

      It’s kind of you to comment and promote my blog.

      I hope my thoughts can give other people courage to face their new life outside of Mormonism.

      It can often be a lonely place.

      It’s so good that nowadays we can help one another even on other sides of the world.

      Kind regards,

  2. Jeremy says:

    Great post, and very timely to me. Tithing is a tremendous drain on my still TBM family. My sister with no medical insurance who lives with my parents is having very serious medical issues and is being tested for MS. I know my parents can’t afford her medical bills yet are paying tithing. I am going to start pushing them to go to the church for help with the bills. Its a win-win for me, either the church does the right thing and helps these lifelong tithing payers or they refuse to help, at which time I get to make a very powerful argument about what the church REALLY is. My money right now is on the church refusing to help.

    • The church will probably help. My sister asked for and they paid 60, 000 for her daughter to live in a group home for teenagers with mental illness. My niece tried to
      commit suicide twice and the the psych hospital recommended this place but they wanted the 60 grand for that year. So the church paid and this was in utah. She said her bishop had to fill out special paperwork and send it to SLC for approval but it was approved. My husband says this tithing thing is the best insurance program he has ever heard of if they are going to shell out that kind of money.

  3. Good Will says:

    Steve: “This is a form of coercion. As a True Believer there is no way I could have lived with myself if I wasn’t trying to keep all of ‘God’s Commandments’. The guilt and shame would have been too much. And the fear of God’s punishment loomed high too.

    The whole belief system depends on the promise of Eternal rewards and the good feelings associated with obedience, as well as the threat of guilt and shame arising from disobedience, and even public humiliation for more serious sins.”

    Perhaps this is where you got off course, Steve. While Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life does include a rod of iron (obedience), the focus of the gospel is the Tree of Life, which is the Love of God. Neither God nor His disciples churn out punishment nor turn anyone away in Lehi’s dream.

    Our devotions ought to be motivated by our love for God and for our fellow man (the first and second greatest commandments), not by coercion, guilt, shame, or fear.

    May I strongly recommend that you read Denver Snuffer’s blog, starting from the beginning. You’ll find he shares with you a healthy dose of skepticism about the Church, etc., but that he also maintains a radical devotion to the principals, scriptures and doctrines you’ve rejected. And for good reason.

    The goal — nothing more and nothing less — is to gain an audience with our Savior and to receive a fullness of His goodness and glory. Having done that, what are you going to say, Steve?

    If you are not experiencing power in the priesthood (but just “authority”, as you suppose); if you are not experiencing true miracles, by faith in Christ (as Moroni wrote about); if you are not enjoying the gifts of the Spirit; if you are not enjoying the ministrations of the Holy Ghost, the entertaining of angels, or communing with the Son of God Himself, then you are not living by faith and “missing the mark”, to some extent. If you have enjoyed these things, what are you going to say, Steve?

    You teach people that these things are not so simply because you have not experienced them…or, if you did, you say, what you experienced was not miraculous, not divine, not even supernatural.

    It is “reasonable”, Steve, to dispense with all of it — the Book of Mormon, the Church, miracles, the Holy Ghost, belief in Christ — if you have never “tasted” or experienced any of these things for yourself. “Miraculous” healings can be argued away as workings of the human mind upon the body or the power of suggestion; the Book of Mormon can be dispensed as “inspired fiction”; improbable deliverances can be “chalked up” to serendipitous coincidence; palpable manifestations of emotion and euphoria can be attributed to manipulations of the autonomic nervous system; “revelation” (until proven otherwise) is no different from “fantasies” or “powerful imagination”; I suppose even angelic visits and visions of the Savior Himself can be attributed to “delusions”. And certainly all of these things can be labeled as “lies” by those who do not know otherwise.

    But I know what I know. I know what I have seen and heard. I know the gospel has borne real fruit for me and my family — a family that would not even exist without the gospel light. I know that I would not be even a small fraction of who I am now had I not been carried by Christ, as I have been.

    I know the Savior witnesses unto His people by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know this for myself. I know that spending a few minutes in His presence, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, communicates more understanding of His attributes and power to the heart and mind of man than anything written of Him. If you have experienced this for yourself, what could you say? You could not say “it is all a delusion”, could you?

    If you have not experienced these things for yourself, then I say you have missed the mark.

    Thank you for your kind words about Mormons, Steve. You have been very gracious. I think it is a shame that you have tasted only “appetizers”, prepared by others — and found them wanting — before you have experienced and enjoyed the real “meal”, prepared by the Lord Himself. If you had tasted of that meal — or, as He put it, His “living water” — you would have never hungered or thirsted again. (Now, don’t tell me you’re not “hungry” or that you never “thirst”; that you are now fully satisfied! We already know that your philosophy embraces annihilation and ends in death. All is vanity and illusion — a “hologram” — to you.

    If it is any consolation, if I hadn’t tasted of that true “meal” for myself, I would certainly join with you in your “rational” embrace of the vacuum and the abyss.

    • Stormin says:

      Even though I love you —— given you have been exposed to the truth and still write a comment like you did, you deserve to continue being scammed out of your time, money and family!

      I look back and at least I could afford being scammed out of my time and money but not happy about the attempt to scam me out of Salvation. But to see the widows, widowers and young families just getting by being scammed out of their time and money and be in peril of their Salvation ——- only God’s justice can say what will be fair for those totally inhumane actions!

      • James Russell says:

        I want to mention that Good Will’s argument is still further perpetuating that stigma of guilt and fear. When I read it, I understood his argument as so: “You are either being dishonest about not believing, or you were just doing it wrong.” The maxim of this argument is a core principle of the Church. The church is true, if you think otherwise for any reason, then you are doing something wrong. I first became aware of this when the Missionaries explained to me that the Church was True, and that I should pray and ask God if it was true. God would tell me it is true, and if he didn’t, then I was somehow spiritually deficient or faithless, and wrong, and to keep praying and believing in the church until I actually believed in the church. I was baffled at the horrible logic; a very circular, begging the question-type fallacy, and frustrated from my own experience with this stigma. Skepticism is met with guilt and shame in the Church. Being skeptical, having questions that you can’t answer, having doubts, you are written off as being somehow unworthy, deficient, defunct, you are doing it wrong, etc. Naturally, that stigma brings with it torrents of guilt, shame and despair.

        Further, his closing remarks contain more poor argumentation based in fear and guilt.
        “I have had positive experiences in the church, if you haven’t had similar experiences, then you did something wrong.” and further “Your world view has no after-death rewards, and my worldview has after-death rewards, therefore mine is correct.” The very common, and weak theist argument of “If you don’t believe, you get nothing. If you do believe you *might* get something. And surely getting something is better than getting nothing, therefore my belief is correct.” Hmm, why did a guy named Pascal just pop into my head? Something about some kind of wager he made??

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Good Will,

      I’m sorry you missed my points entirely.

      I’m talking about how the Church uses the power of persuasion and undue influence to effect a certain desire within its membership to pay extortionate amounts of money to the Church as a supposedly ‘free-will, voluntary offering’.

      Psychologists will tell you that our brain’s main aim is to maintain a feeling of happiness and avoid discomfort.

      Consciously you may feel you pay tithing out of a sense of love for God, but behind those emotions your subconscious is desperately trying to avoid the feelings of fear, guilt and shame.

      The mind is tremendously powerful and amazingly malleable and will only see the facts which it is capable and willing to accept.

      Self-deception and delusion are at the core.

      As always, I need to repeat that you are not my target audience.

      I am not that deluded as to consider for a moment that I can change a True Believer’s mind.

      Just like it’s impossible to teach a congenitally blind person what colour is.

      Be content in your faith.

      But know we’re here when you need us.

      Best regards,

    • David Bloor says:

      When we attempt to explain what obedience is, we must be careful to examine three distinctions.

      Obedience to:
      1. Natural laws which can not be broken and can result in death if attempted.

      2. Social laws of the land which are established to protect 3rd parties from those who seek dominion.

      3. Dominion over another or political/religious groups, whether consent is given or not. 

      Trust and love must be earned through respect, not demanded through obedience.

      Obedience is used to teach the very young and also animals. But as a child’s reasoning and computational mind develops, the power of force must be abandoned because of the negative by-products it generates. It is primitive and never generates true respect and love.

      Mutual respect is the key and requires effort from both parties.

      1. I would never command my children to love me. (Unlike the Christian God)

      2. I would not even expect anyone to honour my wishes unless first I had earned their respect. This would naturally be reciprocated until an unbreakable bond of friendship and love had formed. True love, trust and respect for one another is always earned, never demanded or commanded.

      3. When mutual respect is earned, obedience in a loving relationship is never the first law.

      When we define obedience in any relationship, it is an unbalanced form of cooperation. To obey a dominant force or authority.

      I find that when a child understands the cause and effect of their desires and both the parent and the child’s desires are understood and inline, obedience is not the mechanism of intent within the child’s mind. This perhaps is a result of the parent using the power of suggestion as a necessary learning tool for the child – to learn causes and effects leading to desire fulfillment. When the child learns causes and effects by consenting to those they trust, they start to understand how they too can manipulate the world. This is how a child becomes independent, building assumptions about the world with a human perspective and reciprocating functional methods of cooperation.

      Assumptions can be contrary to the wellbeing of a developing mind, if the authority figure had abused the power of suggestion, resulting in a dysfunctional relationship between the child and the authority figure. If unrighteous dominion is used to manipulate a person or animal, they will eventually believe they are to blame – and will begin to give lovingly to their abuser.

      Obedience without question can have a negative consequence on those who consent to a suggestion without understanding the cause and effect. We see the power of obedience to authority demonstrated in the Milgram experiment.

      Ill informed consent to a bad idea is the most potent form of manipulation in my opinion and is not strictly obedience by definition. If however, the same consent is given having conscious or subconscious punishment, and/or, inferred gratification as a motivator, the desire of the follower would be to reach that goal. Deferred gratification stimulates the reward mechanism in the brain, creating high levels of dopamine. The agent will experience a feeling of happiness which will always convey a feeling of correctness. The meme would spread like a virus.

  4. Good Will says:

    Steve: “But just as in Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, eventually the ‘bitter pill’ is found to be wonderful and life outside the Church is far more amazing than I could ever have imagined.”

    Were you born in the Church, Steve? Did you have a “life” before Mormonism? The majority of Mormons today, I suppose, are converts. They’ve lived the bulk of their lives “outside” the “Mormon Bubble” (as you call it). Do you think these people (myself included) did not “see” or “understand” what “wonders” life holds without faith in God or without belief in a cosmology that embraces eternal life? Do you think all of us are ignorant of the “joys” of secular humanism or the “facts” pertaining to our Church’s founding? Who’s “living in the dark” here?

    I admit, it does come as a shock to discover that the Church has summarily “whitewashed” much of its history — to make it more “palatable” (if that’s even possible) to other Christians — and it’s still “whitewashing” today! (Visit The Lion House in Salt Lake City. Visitors there will find the upper bedrooms “off limits” now and a friendly guide will suggest that Brigham Young spent his nights alone entertaining dignitaries or with his “wife” in the solitary downstairs bedroom/office.) The Church will someday “pay the price” for its duplicity. I think that “price” is already being paid — in the loss of confidence and faith of its erstwhile members, like yourself. The Church should tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Could that be so hard?

    Steve: My relationships with my wife and children have become more honest, rich and authentic than ever before. I find that I can enjoy the simple pleasures of life like looking at a sunset without the superimposition of Mormon theology overlaid over the top of the experience. A bit like enjoying a beautiful garden without believing there are fairies at the bottom.

    Well, that’s a striking admission. You mean your relationship with your wife and children was dishonest before? How so? In what way could a sunset be any more “pleasurable” dispossessed (as you now are) of any belief that supernatural Beings had anything to do with our sun’s organization or maintenance — as if Mormonism does not embrace concepts of space, time, quantum mechanics or thermonuclear fusion? I think you’re being somewhat hyperbolic here. My enjoyment of a garden is neither heightened nor inhibited by my faith, nor should yours be. You’re conflating apples with oranges to make a point that “life outside the Mormon Bubble goes on”.

    No doubt it does. Until it doesn’t.

  5. Chet says:

    Good Will–

    Lehi’s dream seems to have left out the toll booth at the base of the tree of life. Somehow adding the “pay to play” element seemed less inspiring I guess.

  6. robert bridgstock says:

    Hi Steve,
    Spot-on with the above. I feel anger when I hear some LDS spokesperson declare that members are free to choose for themselves and no one forces them. One might as well say that an alcoholic or drug addict is ‘free’ to choose (in theory they are) Such people may have once had a much greater capacity to choose, but when thoroughly sucked into an addiction–and religion IS addiction–they are on the edge of their power to change.
    About your blog or piece on ‘Are we alone in the universe,’ I was left cold… but I hasten to add, that is because I still carry a belief in God and some form of continuous life beyond death. It is quite possible I might be utterly wrong, and whilst I might state this opinion, I cannot bring any real proof to sustain it — just a strong notion based on certain experiences. The good thing about realising I have been so wrong in regard to my past religious claims (that seemed so unassailable) is that it has taught me to be aware I might have to concede yet more ideas, opinions and notions, so that despite the possibility of emotionally grasping the cold reality of the universe, at least Truth will not be a casualty. The Mormon hierarchy have no love of Truth, only a prejudiced form of truth that suits the deceptions they peddle. If they ‘loved’ Truth, they would be more open and not suppress enquiry and continue to conceal facts. We were all defrauded and betrayed, and those of us who still believe, may yet have to face out delusions.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Bob,

      I really appreciate your comments. Thank you.

      I hope my blog gives other members who are struggling with the faith the courage to move on.

      The post about the Purpose of the Universe was from my brother.

      I struggled with the concept of this life being my one and only life experience. But like you, I hope to be able to accept reality if that is in fact the truth.

      I am an agnostic in regards to God and anafterlife. I aim to become an actualist, that is – to accept the reality and truth of all things as they actually are. But give myself the opportunity to hope for things which might be.

      Wishing you all the best,

  7. Good Will says:

    No doubt tithing is a “commandment” instituted by the LDS Church. It is a “pay-to-play” operation, especially as it pertains to temples…and, as someone noted, all temple blessings are contingent upon paying tithing.

    But so is temple worship dependent upon living the law of chastity, consecration and sacrifice, living the word of wisdom, etc. Why single out tithing?

    I pay tithing knowing that the bulk of my money is going to building the physical kingdom of God. I once took pride in my country, its monuments, and achievements. I can’t do that anymore. It’s all corrupt. But I do feel gratitude, still, in our Church’s structures, its temple, chapels, farms, schools and businesses and (to a very small extent…because it is very small…its “institutional” charitable work). The earth is the Lord’s. I’m pleased to know that some of my property is slowly being consecrated back to Him.

    I probably would give less if I wasn’t compelled to give by commandment. But I’m glad I give as much as I do. I know it’s for a good cause. The Brethren, by and large, do not squander these funds and they are, by and large, decent men. Jeffrey R. Holland, for example, is a godly man, one of the very best I have known. He is not dishonest.

    Really, I would encourage everyone here to read
    Denver Snuffer’s blog
    . If you’re like me — one who has felt discouraged at the direction the Church has taken — you will feel an immediate infusion of hope, light and truth that you may not have experienced in many years. You may even get excited again! And you may be surprised to discover that you were never on the path you thought you were on (Steve, included).

    • SteveBloor says:

      Thanks Good Will, but I think it’s a case of:

      “The eyes not being able to see what the mind cannot, or is unwilling, to accept!”

      I gave up on ‘Angelina’ a while ago.

      I cannot understand why YOU are defending YOUR viewpoint on MY personal blog.

      I have no intention of altering your mind about the Church, yet you keep reading my blog and then defending your beliefs as if I had personally attacked you.

      Is this your attempt to convince yourself by proxy that what YOU believe is actually true after all?

      I just don’t get it.

      Please don’t take it personally, but this blog is not about you or your faith journey. It’s not meant to threaten anyone’s beliefs.

      It’s just about MY faith journey that I want to share with those who, like me, are also questioning their faith. It’s not about attacking YOUR personal faith.

      I wish you well in your personal journey.

      Best regards,

      • David Bloor says:

        I think ‘Good Will’ has made a Good point. He likes being institutionalised within in a group that believes in the same ideological (IMO) nonsense. Whenever a person describes such nonsense in great detail, they immediately suffer a loss. But such nonsense is harmless unless it is propagated through some kind of powerful, suggestive conversion program.

        We all hold beliefs about the world. Many of our ‘feel-good’ beliefs are in fact, nonsense. We hold them because of how it makes us feel, not what is fact. In other words, we each have mild delusions.

        Men tend to believe they are better looking than they are, women tend to believe they are less pretty than they are. Most people tend to believe they are more intelligent than they in fact are. We don’t always aim to believe only if it is true.

        I probably have many false beliefs too. I really would not care if some of my beliefs are among them and in case of countervailing evidence – I would make no effort whatsoever to check its truth.

        Contrast a consoling belief, to a claim from someone who cares; that my wife is cheating on me, I would certainly want to find all evidence no matter how painful, because I would want to place truth and fact before any belief.

        Fortunately for the majority of the world, most religious believers are mildly delusional, only a small minority are batshit crazy and a physical threat.

  8. Good Will says:

    David: “Contrast a consoling belief, to a claim from someone who cares; that my wife is cheating on me, I would certainly want to find all evidence no matter how painful, because I would want to place truth and fact before any belief.”

    I would hope that my comments here being received as “someone who cares” — just as I receive your words. We may disagree about what is true, but we both harbor good intentions for the other, I suppose.

    If I persist here, it is merely to reveal the truth, “no matter how painful”. That being said, each of us presumes that the other is “deluded”. Oh, well, I don’t consider that a “bad” thing. As you said, we’re all deluded to some extent. The truth will win out, eventually. I choose to occupy the ground, just in case someone in the dark reaches out saying “What happened? Who turned out the lights?”

    • David Bloor says:

      Good Will, on the subject of Gods existence; I admit, I have no knowledge. Can you call me delusional for the lack of knowledge?

      On the other hand, you claim to have the truth regarding the existence of God. You even claim to hold the complete truth. The other religions around the world may have a slither of your truth, the rest of what they believe can be put down to mild delusion I suppose?

      Just like the man who claims to speak with God through a telephone; you sir have lost a little credibility.

  9. Good Will says:

    Steve: I cannot understand why YOU are defending YOUR viewpoint on MY personal blog.

    I have no intention of altering your mind about the Church, yet you keep reading my blog and then defending your beliefs as if I had personally attacked you.

    Steve, I don’t feel “personally attacked” by your posts. As you no doubt view my perspectives, I regard your views with a blend of curiosity and pity, much as one wonders how someone else contracted a dreadful disease. I truly wish to help…and, frankly, I want to know more about how you got in this predicament. That’s why I continue here.

    I think your claim of having “no intention of altering [anyone’s] mind about the Church” is more than a little disingenuous. Your posts are FILLED with details designed to persuade and lead others AWAY from belief in the Church, its doctrines, leadership, etc. You claim this blog is just about your “personal faith journey”, that it’s about commiserating with others who “are also questioning their faith”. But your blog is actually more advocative than that. You have become a champion for disbelief.

    I respect and admire your willingness to publicly state your case and share with us. When a building is on fire, it is only proper and decent to warn others who may be trapped therein. And you are doing your best. I even agree with you that there’s more than a little smoke in the air.

    But will you blame me for doing my best to put out the fire?

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  11. Camille Biexei says:

    I have heard tithing called “fire insurance” by Mormons and over the pulpit more times than I can recall. Temple recommends are withheld from those a bishop deems not full tithe payers. I don’t care what Mormons call it–I think that qualifies as coercion.
    People living in Third World countries are told to pay tithing even when they cannot afford food, clothing, medicine, school tuition for their children. Many of the young couples in Utah who lost their homes recently did so because they were paying their “fire insurance” instead of their mortgages. People on welfare, social security….etc. The only people who are not told to pay-up on this extortion from the church (which represents itself as God) are gamblers.

  12. Petunia says:

    “I think your claim of having “no intention of altering [anyone’s] mind about the Church” is more than a little disingenuous. Your posts are FILLED with details designed to persuade and lead others AWAY from belief in the Church, its doctrines, leadership, etc. ”

    It seems to me that you have missed the point of Steve’s blog. A blog is a place for a person to record their personal feelings, observations, preferences and beliefs. Steve has every right to express himself as he chooses on his blog. If he had set up a website designed to specifically attract members for the purpose of enlightening them then you would be entitled to accuse him of pulling members away from the church.

    Steve said, “Please don’t take it personally, but this blog is not about you or your faith journey. It’s not meant to threaten anyone’s beliefs.

    It’s just about MY faith journey that I want to share with those who, like me, are also questioning their faith. It’s not about attacking YOUR personal faith. ”

    Goodwill, I would just say that if you don’t like what Steve writes here, stay away. I understand your beliefs very well as I used to be just the same as you. Please don’t insult us by suggesting that our experiences were any less significant than yours – it’s demeaning, presumptious and short-sighted.
    I understand your need to keep church true and alive in your mind at all costs, but for us, truth comes first. Save your time and energy for your church, you’re wasting it here.

  13. The author claims that Joseph smith “was a convicted fraudster.” Not historically accurate.

    The enemies of Joseph charged him with fraud in various property conveyances, mostly in behalf of the Church. A succession of court proceedings that extended for nearly a decade examined these claims in meticulous detail. Finally, in 1852, long after the Saints’ exodus from Illinois (so there was no conceivable political or other cause for anyone to favor the Prophet), a federal judge concluded this litigation with a decree that found no fraud or other moral impropriety by the Prophet. (See Dallin H. Oaks and Joseph I. Bentley, “Joseph Smith and Legal Process: In the Wake of the Steamboat Nauvoo,” BYU Law Review [1976]: 735.)

    Like Jesus and the Apostles of old, Joseph Smith has been criticized for being a fraud and a criminal. For example: the 1826 court hearing on glass looking. However, you seem to be unaware that a careful examination of the records that came to light in 1971 show that it was a preliminary hearing and not a court case and the case was dismissed by the Judge. There was not enough evidence to go through with the trial. The judge found that there were no grounds for going forward with a trial and Joseph was aquitted. The critics of the LDS church are not forthcoming with this important detail. Instead they imply, or even lie, saying that Joseph was convicted. He was not!

    A second published account of the trial kept by Dr. Purple said that Joseph was simply arrested and kept overnight for trial: After Joseph, his father and other witnesses had testified, Josiah Stoal was called to be the key witness against Joseph. Instead, Stoal turned the tables and came to Joseph’s defense. Since under New York law at that time only Stoal could complain that he had been cheated, Joseph had to be acquitted and discharged. Gordon Madsen, the leading authority on that case, has presented several other persuasive reasons which show that is what happened.

    The critics conveniently neglect to mention that the 1826 hearing was about Joseph’s being employed by Josiah Stowell to look for an old Spanish silver mine. Josiah Stowell testified FOR Joseph as a defense witness at this hearing, and did not believe that Joseph had defrauded him at all. Stowell testified of Joseph’s claims, “Do I believe it? No, it is not a matter of belief: I positively know it [Joseph’s claims] to be true.” The charges were brought by Stowell’s family members, who appear to have been worried that Josiah would accept Joseph’s religious claims. Stowell himself joined the Church founded by Joseph and remained a faithful member to the day of his death.

    John Reid had this to say about it. “I was called to defend Joseph but declined because I was not a sophisticated lawyer as was the accusing prosecution’s lawyer. But I knew Joseph and I knew that his character was irreproachable; he was well known for truth and uprightness; spoken of as a young man of intelligence and good morals, expressing an anxious desire to know the will of God.” He was an instrument “in the hands of God to do a good work, I knew not what.” (History of Church, V1:94, footnotes by B. H. Roberts)

    But then non-Mormon John Reid said he was called in the night to defend Joseph…”a peculiar impression struck my mind that I must go and defend him…I did not know what it meant but thought I must go and clear the Lord’s anointed.”

    Reid said not one spot or blemish was proven against Joseph and he won an acquittal on all charges. Afterward, a swarm of onlookers sought to do Joseph harm but Reid said some divine source protected him and he walked unharmed through the mob. I take no glory to myself for the acquittal. it was the Lord’s work and marvelous in our eyes.”

    The Joseph Smith Papers are a result of the most comprehensive and thorough research and gathering of historic documents belonging to Joseph Smith ever produced. One historian working on the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Joseph I. Bently, having researched the historic records regarding law suits involving Joseph, says this:

    “So far we’ve found over two hundred total suits involving Joseph Smith–whether as a defendant, plaintiff, witness or judge. (Yes, as Mayor of Nauvoo, he was also a Justice of the Peace and Chief Magistrate of the Nauvoo Municipal Court.) That makes an average of about fourteen cases per year. As best we can tell, he endured an average of one lawsuit per month during most of his ministry!
    Brigham Young said that he had to defend himself in forty-eight criminal cases, including many personally involving Brigham–but that Joseph was never convicted in any of them. We believe that this count of criminal cases against him is quite accurate. . .”Not once was he found legally guilty of any charges against him…”. And: “Joseph Smith was persecuted in courts of law as much as anyone I know. But he was never found guilty of any crime, and his name cannot be tarnished in that way.” (

  14. Some critics of Joseph Smith make fun of how he translated the Book of Mormon.

    Actually, Christian scripture has been created in a very similar way. Throughout the Bible there are various ways in which God gave revelation to prophets. These range from visions, angels, hearing the voice of God, God speaking from a burning bush, seeing writing on a wall, writing on a tablet, casting lots, magic rods, magic cups, dreams, and hearing the voice of his Spirit in the heart and mind. I think God can decide for Himself how he wishes to give a prophet a revelation or a translation. Who is man that he should tell God how He can or can’t give a translation?

    Nevertheless, the method in which Joseph Smith was given the text of the Book of Mormon, by the gift and power of God and not by man’s learning, is amazingly similar to other Biblical accounts of God giving written material to prophets.

    For example, Daniel’s experience of seeing God’s writing on the wall is similar to Joseph Smiths experience of seeing God’s writing on a stone:

    “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” (Daniel 5:5)

    Moses struck a rock and water flowed out of it. Moses struck the ground and the Red Sea parted.

    The Old Testament Joseph had a silver cup which he used to divine (Genesis 44:2, 5).

    We read, for instance, that Aaron had a magical rod (Exodus 7:9-12). Jacob also used magical rods to produce speckled offspring from Laban’s cattle (Genesis 30:37-39). We read that a priest could tell if a woman had committed adultery by seeing if her thigh swelled after drinking a special potion (Numbers 5: 11-13, 21)

    The prophecy of John the Revelator, wherein he said that the some would have a white stone which would have writing on it is amazingly similar to what actually happened to Joseph Smith:

    “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Revelations 2:17)

    As recorded in 1 Samuel 14:41, 1 Samual 10:22, and 2 Samual 5:23 that the urim and thummim was used to receive revelation from God.

    Note that John tells us that “no man knoweth” about the stone and the writing “saving he that receiveth it.” So, of course, critics will doubt and mock.

    And, of course, we have what is probably the best known example of a prophet receiving writing from God on a tablet, that of Moses:

    “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”(Exodus 31:18) And also:“And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.” (Deuteronomy 9:10)

    Here, God writes words on a tablet, very similar to words being written on a stone. Not much different between a tablet and a stone.

    God can give revelation to a prophet in whatever manner He chooses. And He did use a variety of methods, some of which would look like folk magic to us today.

  15. There is no good or primary historical evidence for incest, child molestation, and Welfare an Food Stamp fraud associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

    Mormons did practice polygamy over 100 years ago. So did Abraham, Jacob, and other Bible prophets and patriarchs. for example: David was commanded by God to take plural wives by God’s prophet Nathan(2 Samual 12:8). In the Bible the Lord does not condemn polygamy but rather, gives instructions on how men are to treat their plural wives. (Deuteonomy 21:15-17), and that these should be wives that will not turn his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:3-4).

    In the Bible we see where Abraham had plural wives – Sarai, Hagar, Keturah and others.(See Gen. 16:3, Gen 25:1,6) Abraham was righteous and God appeared to him at least twice during the time he had plural wives (Gen 17:1, Gen 18:1). Abraham is blessed and God makes His covenant with him and blesses him to be the father of many nations (Gen 17:1-6). God didn’t care that Abraham was a polygamist. Instead, God appears to him and blesses him. Here we see that God not only condoned polygamy but he blessed Abraham for it and it is the means by which Abraham fulfills God’s promise to become the father of many nations.

    Abijah had fourteen wives (2 Chronicles 13:21) and yet he is described as a righteous king of Judah who honored the Lord (2 Chronicles 13:8-12) and prospered in battle because the Lord blessed him (2 Chronicles 13:16-18)

    In the New Testament Abraham is called the Father of the Faithful (Galations 3:7,9,29) Even Jesus says that the righteous do the works of Abraham (John 8:39).

    We see Jesus teaching that those polygamists Abraham and Jacob, along with the other prophets, will be in the Kingdom of God while others are thrust out (Luke 13:28). So, clearly, Jesus thought that polygamists can go to heaven. We see Christ affirming this again in the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus wherein Jesus tells us that Abraham, that old polygamist, is in paradise while the Rich man is in Hell (Luke 16: 19-31).

    Martin Luther allowed polygamy: For example, during the Protestant Reformation, in a document referred to simply as “Der Beichtrat” (or “The Confessional Advice” ), Martin Luther granted a dispensation to take a second wife to the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, who, for many years, had been living “constantly in a state of adultery and fornication. The double marriage was to be done in secret however, to avoid public scandal. Some fifteen years earlier, in a letter to the Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück, Luther stated that he could not “forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture.” (“Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis)

    Also, the early Christian Church Fathers taught this.

    Even Augustine, regarded by much of Christianity as the most influential Christian theologian, held that polygamy was not something that was a crime before God, but rather a matter that depended more upon cultural biases:

    “Again, Jacob the son of Isaac is charged with having committed a great crime because he had four wives. But here there is no ground for a criminal accusation: for a plurality of wives was no crime when it was the custom; and it is a crime now, because it is no longer the custom. There are sins against nature, and sins against custom, and sins against the laws. In which, then, of these senses did Jacob sin in having a plurality of wives? As regards nature, he used the women not for sensual gratification, but for the procreation of children. For custom, this was the common practice at that time in those countries. And for the laws, no prohibition existed. The only reason of its being a crime now to do this, is because custom and the [secular] laws forbid it. (Augustine, “Reply to Faustus 22:47,” in Philip Schaff (editor), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series 1 (Augustine and Chrysostome) (Vol. 1–14) (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886–1889), 4:288.)

    “As I think, moreover, each pronouncement and arrangement is (the act) of one and the same God; who did then indeed, in the beginning, send forth a sowing of the race by an indulgent laxity granted to the reins of connubial alliances, until the world should be replenished, until the material of the new discipline should attain to forwardness: now, however, at the extreme boundaries of the times, has checked (the command) which He had sent out, and recalled the indulgence which He had granted; not without a reasonable ground for the extension (of that indulgence) in the beginning, and the limitation of it in the end.” (Kevin L. Barney (editor), Footnotes to the New Testament for Latter-day Saints: Vol. 2, The Epistles and Revelation (2007), 240a)

    Tertullian’s position is very similar to the position of the Book of Mormon (See Jacob 2:30)

    Justin Martyr
    Justin Martyr argued that David’s sin was only in the matter of Uriah’s wife, and echoed a common early Christian idea that marriage was a “mystery,” or sacred rite of the type which Latter-day Saints associate with temple worship:

    “And this one fall of David, in the matter of Uriah’s wife, proves, sirs,’ I said, ‘that the patriarchs had many wives, not to commit fornication, but that a certain dispensation and all mysteries might be accomplished by them; since, if it were allowable to take any wife, or as many wives as one chooses, and how he chooses, which the men of your nation do over all the earth, wherever they sojourn, or wherever they have been sent, taking women under the name of marriage, much more would David have been permitted to do this. (Justin Martyr, “Dialogue With Trypho,” in 141 Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff (Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886)1:270)

    Justin saw the patriarchs’ marriages not as corruptions or something which God ‘winked at,’ but acts with significant ritual and religious power.

    If we say that Mormonism and Joseph Smith are false, because of the practice of plural marriage in the early days of the Church, then we must also apply the same standard to the Bible prophets and patriarchs, and the early Christians; they too must be false. This standard even makes Jesus wrong where he teaches that polygamists will be in heaven. It is clearly the standard of judgment that is wrong and not Jesus, the Bible prophets, and the Bible patriarchs.

  16. The 21st century reader is likely to see marriages of young women to much older men as inappropriate, though it is still not uncommon. In the U.S. today, in most states, the “age of consent” – the age in which women can marry and have sex without parental permission – is set by statute to be 18. Joseph Smith’s marriage to Helen Mar Kimball, having been done with her parents’ permission, would be legal in California even today, except for the polygamous aspect of it.

    However, even today, the minimum age at which a person may marry with parental permission or with a judge’s permission, is 16 in most states. In California, there is no minimum marriageable age; a child of ANY AGE may marry with parental consent. (Marriage Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico,” a Cornell Law School web site)

    Modern age limits in most states represent only the modern attitude. The age of consent under English common law was TEN. United States law did not raise the age of consent until the late nineteenth century. In Joseph Smith’s day, most states still had the declared age of consent to be TEN! Some had raised it to TWELVE, and Delaware had lowered it to SEVEN! (See Melina McTigue, “Statutory Rape Law Reform in Nineteenth Century Maryland: An Analysis of Theory and Practical Change,” (2002), accessed 5 Feb 2005)

    Studies show that marriage of teen age women, often to men significantly older, was normal among the general population in the early and mid 1800’s. Teens made up 36.0% of married women, and only 2.3% of men; the average age of marriage was 22.5 for women and 27.8 for men. (Data from Steven Ruggles, Matthew Sobek, Trent Alexander, Catherine A. Fitch, Ronald Goeken, Patricia Kelly Hall, Miriam King, and Chad Ronnander, Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 3.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center [producer and distributor] (2004), accessed 14 July 2007.)

    Even when the men in Joseph’s age range (34–38 years) in the U.S. Census are extracted, Joseph Smith still has a lower percentage of younger wives and more older wives than do non-Mormon marriages. Marriage of older men to teen-age women was entirely normal for this era.

    One hundred and eighty Nauvoo-era civil marriages have husbands and wives with known ages and marriage dates. The data shows that wives were generally younger than their husbands. Almost all brides younger than twenty married men between five and twenty years older. (The data is from Susan Easton Black, “Marriages in the Nauvoo Region 1839–1845,” op. cit. as originally extracted by David Keller)

    It is significant that none of Joseph’s contemporaries complained about the age differences between polygamous or monogamous marriage partners. This was simply part of their environment and culture; it is unfair to judge nineteenth century members by twenty-first century social standards. As one non-LDS scholar of teenage life in American history noted:

    Until the twentieth century, adult expectations of young people were determined not by age but by size. If a fourteen-year-old looked big and strong enough to do a man’s work on a farm or in a factory or mine, most people viewed him as a man. And if a sixteen-year-old was slower to develop and couldn’t perform as a man, he wasn’t one. For, young women, the issue was much the same. To be marriageable was the same as being ready for motherhood, which was determined by physical development, not age….
    The important thing, though, was that the maturity of each young person was judged individually.{{ref|hine.16}

    In past centuries, women would often die in childbirth, and men often remarried younger women afterwards. Women often married older men, because these were more financially established and able to support them than men their own age.

  17. Joseph Smith came into possession of a group of Egyptian papyri which consisted of multiple long rolls and some smaller papyri fragments. Multiple eye witnesses from the time say that he translated the Book of Abraham from one of the long rolls. Joseph did not translate the other rolls or the smaller fragments. After Joseph’s death most of the papyri were sold to Abel Combs who, in turn, sold the papyri to the woods Museum in Chicago which burned down in 1871. The long papyri roll from which Joseph translated the Book of Abraham is missing – almost certainly destroyed in the 1871 fire. Historians trace the papyri to that location.

    Some small fragments, rather than being sold to the Woods Museum, were passed on to Comb’s nurse after his death. These fragments were described by eye witnesses from Joseph Smith’s time but are not indicated to be the pieces from which Joseph translated. These small fragments were not sold with the Abraham roll to the Museum in Chicago but, rather, ended up being sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Life in New York City by Comb’s nurse’s son in law and, therefore, escaped destruction in the Chicago fire. These were later recognized, in late 1967, as a small surviving part of the larger Joseph Smith papyri collection. These remaining fragments were donated to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 27th of November, 1967

    You see, the problem with most critics of Joseph Smith’s translation of the papyri is that they assume that the surviving papyri fragments which surfaced in 1967 are what he translated from. Informed historians and Egyptologists known that this is not the case. The Church published an article in their official magazine less than two months after acquiring the papyri fragments. Several follow up articles were published complete with photos.

    New Era in January 1968.
    Improvement Era, Jan. 1968, pp. 12-16
    Improvement Era, (March 1968-a): 17-18.)

    These articles published by the LDS Church are up front about stating that the content of these fragments are not the Book of Abraham. The articles state that the papyri fragments contain a part of the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Book the Egyptian Book of Breathings and that they do not the text of the Book of Abraham. The Church was up front from the beginning about the contents of the papyri. Informed persons know this and know that it is not expected that the Book of Abraham text be on these particular fragments since eye witnesses described the papyri which he translated from as a long roll with black and red ink. These small fragments have only black ink and don’t match the eyewitness descriptions of the long roll from which the translation was made.

    So, when critics try to convince informed Mormons that Joseph Smith was a fraud based on the Book of Abraham they only demonstrate that they don’t understand the papyri and its history – they are only showing their ignorance of the issue. We don’t expect the Abraham text to be found on the extant fragments since we know that they are not the pieces from which Joseph translated.

    Second, multiple ancient texts on Abraham which were discovered well after Joseph translated confirm many details in the Book of Abraham as accurrate. This shows that he was actually translating a genuine ancient text.

    Joseph Smith was telling the truth and the evidence continues to mount up in support of that fact.

    Egyptologist John Gee sums up the current state of the debate nicely:

    “Now looking at some of the studies published, the American in Research Center in Egypt meetings I presented a paper that shows that much of what the Egyptological community thinks it knows about the Joseph Smith Papyri is wrong. (John Gee, “Editor’s Introduction: Hugh Nibley and the Joseph Smith Papyri,” in Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Abraham, ed. John Gee (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2009), xiii-xxxix)

    “Egyptologists have either not read the literature on the Joseph Smith Papyri or they have not understood it. They seem to think that Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith somehow translated the Book of Abraham from the Document of Breathings made by Isis, but we don’t. Therefore they think that all they have to do is translate the Document of Breathings Made by Isis and that it will convince Latter-Day Saints to give up their religion because they have demonstrated that what they think we believe is not true. And all they’ve shown is what they think we believe isn’t true, because it isn’t what we believe. What they really demonstrate when they do this is that they don’t understand the argument.” (John Gee, 2012 FAIR Conference)

    An ancient document dealing with Abraham, The Apocalypse of Abraham, was first published in 1897 and was first translate into English in 1898 This is over 50 years after Joseph Smiths translation was in print. The text contains many details which support the accuracy and authenticity of the Book of Abraham translated by Joseph Smith. What would be a reasonable and fair response to this? A reasonable and fair response would be for the critics to acknowledge that details of Joseph Smith’s translation have been confirmed in another document and therefore raises at least the possibility that Joseph was telling the truth. But instead, the critics simply ignore The Apocalypse of Abraham and many other ancient Abraham texts containing corroborating details as they continued to criticize Joseph Smith and Mormonism. This is the approach that critics continued to use to this day – just ignore and/or deny the evidence that now exists.

    It’s not just the Apocalypse of Abraham which surfaced long after the time of Joseph Smith but also the Testament of Abraham which also surfaced long after the time of Joseph Smith. Both documents confirm details in Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham. And in addition to these two documents other early documents have surfaced confirming details in Joseph’s Book of Abraham. Nobody in Joseph Smiths time had the information. Yet the Book of Abraham gets many details right that weren’t known in Joseph’s time

    • David Bloor says:

      Dwight Rogers, ‘FAIR’ certainly have you under their spell. Please don’t go reciting what you THINK you know to a clinical psychologist, unless you find one who believes as you do.

      You have beautifully demonstrated just how MILDLY delusional you are. I don’t think you are batshit crazy, but I am afraid you do fit within the same category as JW’s and all those other denominations.

      You probably believe I ought to tolerate your belief in conversation? You probably believe you are making an informed subjective analysis of your own beliefs? You can’t do that from where you stand.

      Did you know that for some right and wrong answers to important questions, humans have the ability to answer correctly using only basic human common sense?

      Human computational theory of mind is very complex, but it allows us to know right answers to questions which are not available through empirical evidence – but by using deductive reasoning.

      The church system cannot demonstrate its own consistency using empirical evidence, and you have spent about the last twelve paragraphs demonstrating this.

      Now, tell me why you really know the church is true, I bet it has something to do with feelings?

  18. jeanikins says:

    Dwight Rogers, all your apologetic BS is just that. You quote Tertullian – why? Because he was an early Christian church apologist as you think you are today. Go on, get your jollies out of showing just how intelligent you are; feels good doesn’t it? Kerry Shirts has already shown how even the best of you are just in this business for the sake of your egos.

    ¶5 The court record shows that Smith was arrested and brought before Justice Neely as a result of a warrant issued by Peter G. Bridgman, Josiah Stowell’s nephew, who charged Smith with being a “disorderly person and an Impostor.” While “Impostor” is not a criminal offense, as Gordon A. Madsen has noted,[12] it points to a specific section of the New York statute that describes various kinds of offenses under the definition of “disorderly persons.” The section of the statute applicable to Bridgman’s charge states: “All jugglers [deceivers],[13] and all persons pretending to have skill in physiognomy, palmistry, or like crafty science, or pretending to tell fortunes, or to discover where lost goods may be found … shall be deemed and adjudged disorderly persons.”[14] This was probably the statute Joseph Knight, Sr., referred to when he said, speaking of Smith’s 1830 trial in South Bainbridge, that Smith had been arrested for “pretending to see under ground” and that his prosecutors were motivated by “A little Clause they found in the york Laws against such things.”[15] John S. Reed, Smith’s legal counsel during his 1830 trials, remembered that Smith had been arrested “for the crime of glass looking and juglin fortune telling and so on which the State of New York was against it and made it a crime and the crime was a fine and imprisonment.”[16]

    ¶6 Despite Walters’s discovery of the Neely and DeZeng bills, the outcome of Smith’s pretrial hearing is a matter of continued debate, much of which has centered on the court record’s concluding statement, “And therefore the court find[s] the defendant guilty.” Mormon writers Gordon A. Madsen and Paul Hedengren have argued similarly, but for different reasons, that the court’s judgment was “a later inclusion” or “an afterthought supplied by whoever subsequently handled the notes.”[17] Madsen points to the record’s consistent reference to Smith as “prisoner” except for the judgment where he is called “defendant,”[18] while Hedengren believes it is inappropriate for pretrial hearings to pronounce judgment.[19] Without the original court record, this theory cannot be verified. However, Neely’s use of the term “guilty” does not necessarily imply a judgment had been reached in Smith’s case, only that Neely had found sufficient evidence against Smith to proceed with a formal trial. Regarding pretrial hearings, the Revised Statutes of the State of New York for 1829, for instance, instructs:

    If it shall appear that an offence has been committed, and that there is probable cause to believe the prisoner to be guilty thereof, the magistrate shall bind by recognizance the prosecutor, and all the material witnesses against such prisoner, to appear and testify at the next court having cognizance of the offence, and in which the prisoner may be indicted.[20]

    ¶7 An 1820 Ohio statute is even clearer on this matter:

    Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That if the judges upon examination find the prisoner guilty of a bailable offence, they shall recognize him or her … and in case the prisoner fails to give security, he or she shall be remanded to jail, and in all cases where the prisoner is found guilty, it shall be the duty of the judges to recognize the witnesses on the part of the state, to appear at the next court of common pleas …[21]

    ¶8 Thus Neely’s use of the term “guilty” in the record of his preliminary examination of Smith is consistent with early-19th-century terminology.[22] And although the issues are complicated, there were good reasons to support Neely’s finding Smith guilty of “disorderly conduct” and binding (or recognizing) him and three material witnesses over to the next Court of Special Sessions.

    You can spin it all you want, but the records show that Joseph Smith was a money digger in so many different ways. A charlatan, a con man who started a great Ponzi scheme, perpetuated today by other gold diggers and their hirelings.

    One day maybe your words will go down in history as did your mentor Tertullian’s.
    “Tertullian, the early Christian/Catholic father said of women: “And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. (//ADAM I ASSUME//)You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert— that is, death— even the Son of God had to die.

    He is hardly a source of wisdom in these times and neither are you.

    Steve continue to share your expressions of belief and disbelief; you have that right.

  19. Pingback: Achievements Of Tom Phillips Fraud Case Against Thomas S Monson | Steve Bloor's Blog

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