Difficulties In Leaving The Mormon Church

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Text of talk given to Cornwall Humanist Society on 21st January 2014 at Truro, Cornwall, England.

(Video link at bottom of page)

Plato’s Allegory of The Cave

Imagine some people that have lived in a cave their whole lives, chained on their stomachs so that their heads can only see the wall opposite the cave’s opening.

The only light that they see is that which comes from the entrance behind them projected onto the wall. The world as they know it is only shadows, but they think that these shadows are the real thing. They think that the shadow of a bird flying past the cave entrance is a real bird and so on.

One of the prisoners is released, his shackles removed, and he is allowed to turn around for the first time and see outside the cave. At first the light is blinding and he is afraid of it. He wants to stay back where he was in the comfort of the surroundings he knows and the reality he believes in. But eventually his curiosity gets the better of him and he ventures out of the cave.

For the first time, he sees reality for what it really is and he is a bundle of emotions. Overall, he is elated to see what a beautiful world exists beyond the cave. Every sense is heightened and he can see color and touch physical objects that he knew before only as silhouettes.

Excited and still concerned about his fellow companions, he runs back inside and tries to convince them that the shadows they see are not real; that reality lies just behind them and all they have to do is come with him and see. His statements are met with contempt and his sanity is questioned by the others.

– Allegory of the Cave can be found in Book VII of Plato’s best-known work, The Republic

This is similar to my experience leaving the Mormon Church.

My Exit Story

I am third generation and a life-long member of the Mormon Church, having attended all the various Gospel Instruction classes from an infant to adulthood.

I served faithfully as a full-time proselyting missionary in the England Manchester Mission gaining over 20 converts.

After finishing my mission at 21 years of age I trained as a Podiatrist whilst being called on the Stake High Council (Diocese of Devon & Cornwall) as a 21 year old returned missionary full of enthusiasm for the gospel.

I served in most of the Church leadership capacity both at local Ward (Parish) level and Stake (diocese) level. Finally serving faithfully for almost seven years as Bishop of the Helston Ward, which I still consider was the most rewarding & happiest time of my Church service.

I am married to Elizabeth and we have four children ages 13, 16, 19 & 21.

We are still members of record for the sake of 50 of our extended family who are all currently active Church members, apart from my younger brother David & his family, and a nephew and his family.

My journey of discovery started a couple of years before I resigned as Bishop when my wife discovered that one of her friend’s had left the Church, having previously been a Branch President in Scotland. My wife discovered the website which her friend had made detailing the historical issues he discovered which had led to his apostasy. (http://www.exmormon.org.uk/tol_arch/atozelph/twosides.htm)

The information she read disturbed her so much she approached me about it. At the time, as a faithfully serving busy Bishop, I just dismissed it all as satanic deception & reassured my wife the Church was true & we both continued to serve faithfully.

After about two years my brother David started to ask me questions to stimulate my rational mind into thinking analytically. David was interested in neuroscience & psychology, so the questions were around the topic of positive psychology & the optimal conditions for human flourishing & well being. David understood that the Church belief system did not foster the best psychological conditions for promoting happiness & psychological thriving, which is partly why there is so much depression in the Church, due mostly too so much guilt & shame combined with a culture which prioritises perfection.

The crux came when David posted on Twitter a public criticism of the Church regarding its treatment of homosexuals. I was angered by what I perceived as David’s outright hostility to the Church I loved, so as Bishop I felt a responsibility to chastise him & warn my brother to desist in his public criticism of the Church. At the same time, I didn’t want to spoil the good sibling relationship I felt we had, after being estranged from him for a while following David’s initial apostasy from the Church three years earlier. So I sent a short message saying, “Why be so critical of the Church in public Dave?”

The response I got back from David surprised me because it was so compassionate, & demonstrated so much altruistic concern for the suffering of others that I was inspired to find out for myself if this could be true.

One of the first things I did was check on the suicide rates for 16-25 year old homosexuals in Utah, and was rightly shocked at how many people are indeed suffering due to the strong anti-gay stance by the Church.

I then checked if Joseph Smith did indeed have child wives, by searching on Chris Tolworthy’s website.

To my horror I discovered the terrible extent of Joseph’s polygamy & polyandry by cross-checking on familysearch.org. A Church owned site.

The most significant thing I did at this point was to ask myself the question, “If the Church was not true, would I want to know?”

It then became almost a full time job to try to prove that all this uncomfortable information about the Church was false. I wanted to believe in the beautiful fantasy of the Church belief system, but the more I studied, the more my belief system crumbled.

The studying became compulsive night & day. Work became a chore & seemed to obstruct my more important priority of trying to find the truth about the Church.

My recently re-awakened rational mind would no longer accept truth based on feelings alone, I needed firm evidence. I bought many books by current Church authors & ex-members. As well as studying from many different Mormon websites including MormonThink, FAIR, & FARMS (Maxwell Institute). Some of the source materials are included on Steve’s Personal Blog in the links page -(https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/links).

What hurt me the most was discovering that the Church leaders I loved, including President Gordon B Hinckley, had repeatedly lied to me & the rest of the Church about various aspects of Church History, & doctrines, by changing the facts to sound more faith-promoting & leaving out crucial details.

Having been taught all my life to value truth & avoid deception, this new understanding about the Church practice of ‘Lying for the Lord’ seemed alien to me.

I was most upset to see President Hinckley obfuscate & lie on camera when interviewed about the doctrine of ‘God being once a man, & men having the potential to become Gods’.

Honesty & integrity were & still are my guiding principles in life.

After just over a month of incessant studying & praying I came to the painful realisation that I could no longer continue to serve as Bishop whilst doubting my testimony, without being a hypocrite, despite my love for the members of my Ward .

As a non-believer, whilst still the Bishop of the Ward, I tried my best to help the members understand what it is like to be a faithful committed member who suddenly has a change of belief. I tried to help them understand that many members leave the Church for doctrinal reasons and not because of being offended, or being weak or wanting to sin.

I was desperately preparing them for the shock which was coming their way within a few days after this talk when I would resign as their Bishop.

My focus was on helping them to understand, because I believed that understanding and love drives out fear. I knew my resignation as the Bishop would hurt many of the Ward members I loved so much. The talk was my attempt at reducing their pain when I resigned as their Bishop.

I carefully planned the sacrament talk over several weeks. Then on the Saturday night prior to the event I had a panic attack. I didn’t want them to think I had given the talk to gain their sympathy when they later realised I had resigned. At that point I wasn’t thinking of what they thought of me in resigning, only of their pain at hearing the news and I began to think they would think my only reason for giving the talk was to gain their sympathy, which it was not. I very nearly pulled out and I seriously considered just phoning the Stake President and resigning that night.

But my (ex-Mormon) brother counselled me that this opportunity was a rare one which could help many people and I should just grasp it.

So I did. It was one of the most emotionally difficult things I have ever done. (https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/compassion-for-those-who-leave)

Within days of presenting the talk I had resigned as Bishop and sent each of the Ward members a letter clearly and unambiguously notifying them of my reasons for no longer believing the Mormon Church was the one true Church of God. (https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/resignation-letter-as-bishop/)

Having resigned as bishop I agreed, under threat of excommunication, to avoid speaking about the difficult issues for the Church. Since either resignation from the Church or excommunication would have hurt my extended family, who are members too, I agreed to keep quiet.

However, after about a year which allowed emotional adjustment & some hurts to heal, I felt the time was right for me to unseal my lips which the Church forcefully closed.

Having written a personal blog, which recounts my discovery & struggle with the uncomfortable facts about Church history and origins, and my resignation as bishop, I opened it to the public so others could gain hope and courage from my experience.

In April 2011 it was viewed over 14,000 times in a week & had to be password protected to safeguard family members feelings. There is a tremendous need in the Church for honesty & candid talking, and my resignation letter as bishop seemed to resonate with thousands of members hearts & minds as they desperately look for the courage to face their own epiphanies. Three years later my blog has received over 130 thousand views with the rapidly growing interest.

I do not intend to Mormon Bash. I love Mormons. The majority of my extended family are all active True Believing Mormons. My Mormon family & friends are some of the nicest, kindest, most compassionate & generous people you could meet.

Excerpts from my Sacrament Talk ‘Compassion For Those Who Leave’ :

I presented this talk to the ward members in sacrament meeting as an attempt at helping to prepare them for my upcoming resignation as their Bishop.

Knowing that compassion eases one’s own pain I hoped it would ease the members suffering at the shock & stress of my resignation.

The talk was really well received by the members.

How strong is your testimony?

On what is it based?

Would your testimony stand up to indisputable evidence to the contrary?

We have been warned that in the last days many of the elect will leave the church.

Many faithful, devoted, and dedicated members are leaving the church they once loved due to “unintentional consequences of their search for truth”.

These were people who were fully committed temple going, tithe-paying members.

In 2009 it is estimated that over 83,000 members left the church.

Many members, including leaders, are resigning their membership, NOT DUE TO SIN OR WEAKNESS, but due to reading or listening to something which changes their PERCEPTION OF TRUTH.

Can our relationship with those who leave the church withstand these changes in THEIR BELIEF?

The General Authorities have warned the Bishops, through the Stake Presidents, to “Prepare for a mass exodus from the church, even from the leadership.”

We believe that, because of their actions and disbelief, they we will no longer be a part of our eternal family. THAT REALLY HURTS!!

Its a very emotionally charged subject.

But it’s becoming a common problem. Most of you here have loved ones, including friends and family, who have trodden this path. Or we know of someone.

It’s far too easy to be judgemental, or even to fear those who leave.

I have certainly found this to be the case for me. I rarely associated with my brother, his wife and children, or spoke with them. I found it too difficult to discuss things openly and be candid for fear of getting into an argument.

Sometimes we fear they will adversely affect the testimonies of our children.

My relationship with them has been made even more difficult because I am also their bishop and have a role to play to protect the church.

But it’s often even harder for them. Have you ever thought how it might feel to be THEM?

Imagine for a moment what it must be like. “The best way to understand someone is to try to put yourself in their position”.

Imagine that “Everything that you had thought about yourself, others, and the world was built on a lie! All the time you were growing up you felt different and did not know why. The way you looked at life was based on who you thought you were and on what you believed to be true.” Your world would just crumble around you! You would not know what to trust, let alone who to trust! You would have to re-learn almost everything; the way you interacted with others, your values and more.

What if every major decision you made was based on what you thought was truth? There would be so much fallout your head would be spinning! You would most likely experience ‘rage’, ‘despair’, ‘grief’, ‘sorrow’, ‘anguish’, ‘more anger, mistrust, confusion’, and run through a ‘whole gamut of emotions’. The longer you were members of the Church and the more you genuinely believed it to be true, the more severe the trauma coming out. Someone who had been LDS all his or her life will experience greater hardship than someone who had been a convert of only a year or two. But even those who leave after just a couple years experience a great sense of loss when they leave. Leaving Mormonism is not as simple as waking up one morning and deciding to rip up one’s temple recommend. It doesn’t come after hearing or reading a couple negative things about the Church; if it were just a few contradictions you could easily readjust your thinking or put them on a “back burner” to deal with later. For an active, believing Mormon to conclude that Mormonism is not true takes a long and painful time of intensive study, prayer, deliberation and soul searching. Many risk losing family, including their spouse, children, and extended family, as well as their best, maybe only, friends.

Some who leave say it feels like a death in the family, or a divorce.

Control Paradigm In The Mormon Church

The Church uses techniques of undue influence which are well understood in psychological circles.

They are many and varied and used to inculcate subconscious biases, phobias and prejudices with which the members then go on to filter all the information they then receive.

Some of these subconscious biases and phobias cause feelings of fear, guilt & shame as well as reciprocation and loyalty.

Right from the beginning when learning about Mormonism, either as a child or as an investigator, people are told to pay attention to their emotions. During those lessons, the ones teaching will “bear their testimony,” often with sincere and heartfelt emotion. Those learning, then have their own emotions interpreted for them…”The warm feelings in your heart that you are experiencing? That’s the Holy Ghost telling you that what we are saying is true.” Then the investigators are invited to pray & ask of God for themselves, and told to focus on their feelings “because that is how God will reveal the ‘truth’ to them.”

But neuroscientists know that these heightened emotional feelings are just a result of the release of oxytocin and they also know that in states of heightened emotions the amygdala can switch off the prefrontal cortex reducing the ability for rational thought and lowering cognitive ability.

In these states of heightened emotions fearful biases are introduced like “if you don’t read your scriptures every day you are allowing Satan to have power over you.” “If you let one drop of alcohol touch your lips then you are not worthy of God’s Spirit.”

There are very big fears about leaving the Mormon Church bringing misery and despair. They believe those who leave are deceived by Satan and in his power. Most believe that only true happiness is to be found through Mormonism.

Plus one of the biggest phobias is the fear of losing a family member for eternity in the afterlife if they or their relative are not faithful. People even get divorced over a spouse’s change of belief. In the Mormon belief system, if a child leaves the Church that son or daughter will no longer be a family member in the next life. They are almost as good as dead to them.

There are very strong fears that anyone could lose their cherished Testimonies of The Gospel at any moment, so there is constant, forceful reinforcement of the dangers of falling into Satan’s grasp.

It’s all too easy to see the irrational fear-based superstitious beliefs evident in my former religion now I can look at things from a more neutral perspective.

In my opinion the Mormon Church & the gospel it preaches is a modern mythology & fantasy world which cannot stand on a foundation of facts, only of faith! Faith being evidence of things not seen! Or “believing things with insufficient evidence” (Sam Harris), Or “Pretending to know things you don’t know” (Peter Boghossian)

Faith based, superstitious belief systems need continual reinforcement with rituals & testimony bearing etc.

The General Authorities of the Church are 100% correct when they say our testimonies are fragile! Of course they are, because there is no factual foundation, only a fictitious fantasy world, which though it may seem wonderful to those immersed & invested in it, is still a delusion!

The greater the potential loss, the greater the need for superstitious ritual. Hence twice daily personal prayers, prayers with our spouses, family prayers, scripture study, church service, testimony bearing, temple attendance, home & visiting teaching, family home evenings, prayers on food, prayers for safety in travelling, continuous prayer in the heart, weekly sacrament taking, frequent hymn singing about the beliefs, frequent leadership meetings & training, regular PPIs, frequent auxiliary training meetings, payment of tithes and offerings, twice yearly Stake Conferences, twice yearly General Conferences, monthly fasting, strict rules & commandments, heavy expectations for doing family history research, having a years home food storage, daily journal writing, expectation to send children to serve on missions, etc, etc.

The more sacrifice can be extracted from its adherents, the more heavily invested they become & the stronger their superstitious faith becomes.

It all makes complete sense that these belief reinforcement strategies are so important, when you recognize the belief system for what it is, irrational fear-based superstition!

My friend Corban Rushworth summed up my feelings about religion well with this statement:

“I think religion is like an illegal drug – it doesn’t matter whether it’s ‘true’ or not, people like it because it makes them feel good. But it also has nasty side effects, can be very expensive (10%), and can lead to addiction.

“A Mormon rationalising his faith, even after learning that it is not literally true, is like a drug addict in denial. He has become psychologically and physically dependant on the good feelings that religious participation gives to him, even though another part of his brain knows it’s an illusion.

“It’s not really a metaphor though. It is quite literal. The dopamine is released in the same way when a TBM sits in the Celestial room at the temple as when a cocaine addict shoots up. Both have found ways to artificially enhance their pleasure by altering their brain chemistry – one through drugs, the other psychologically.”

People sometimes say that I ‘lost my faith’, but I didn’t ‘lose’ my faith, just like I didn’t lose my belief in Santa either. I haven’t lost anything!

I have gained freedom from oppression, from mind control, from guilt, shame and fear.

I win!

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99 Responses to Difficulties In Leaving The Mormon Church

  1. kaylayale says:

    Thank you for this. While on my mission, I would tell people what they were feeling all the time. I regret that. They don’t need someone else telling them what they are feeling. I resent my Mormon family attempting to tell me I need to get in touch with the spirit again. I also haven’t lost anything, I now understand that when I feel something, I don’t have to interpret it as spiritual, anymore, just like I don’t have to interpret listening to classical music as spiritual,

  2. SteveBloor says:

    Please accept me apologies for any links which don’t work.

    Here are the replacements:

    https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/sacrament-talk-compassion-for-those-who-leave/

    https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/my-resignation-letters-as-bishop/

    And please let me know if you find any others are not working.

    Best regards,
    Steve

  3. Beth says:

    Thanks so much for this. I can relate to most and it’s nice to know I am not alone in these experiences and feelings.

  4. Nate says:

    Steve,
    I don’t know why I bother writing in response to your blog. I doubt I’ll change your perspective, and I’m not even entirely convinced that your story is even true or a fabrication to build more credibility. Regardless, I would hope that people reading your blog will read some of the comments and can come to a more informed conclusion on their own. I don’t intend to prove that the LDS church is true, because that is a personal journey that cannot be proven through logic, but to show that your currant perspective is no more enlightened than your previous perspective. You haven’t emerged from Plato’s “cave” you’ve simply shifted your view.
    I have no intention to go through your whole blog and blow a hole in every claim you make, but in general point out the flaws in your thinking.
    You talk about now having a rational mind and needing firm evidence–what is that exactly? The foundation of your beliefs hasn’t changed only your perspective. You are still working on a faith base approach. You have only moved from one naive realism to another. If you’re looking to find absolute truths in this world you will not find them in the precepts of men. The brightest minds in science and psychology will unanimously agree how little absolute truth they know. “There is not a single law of nature which we know to be valid; the laws of nature are hypotheses which we assert tentatively.” –Hans Hahn. If you think the science of men have all the answers then start studying quantum physics and the law of relativity. You’ll find that science has far more contradictions than the LDS church.
    You look through the history of the church with a fine toothcomb and find things that contradict your perceived reality. You then become disillusioned and form the conclusion that the church as a whole has been one big lie. This conclusion only supports that you have aloud yourself to become a victim. The truth is, all the “ammunition” used against the LDS church has been collected through LDS literature. The information has always been there for those who chose to look. It would not have been hard for the church to make all the misunderstood, questionable, contradictory, and embarrassing history to disappear if that was their intentions. Just because they didn’t preach it from the pulpit doesn’t mean it wasn’t available for all to discover on their own. For those members who choose to simply go through the motions and not seek for truth on their own guided by the sprit their faith will always be built on sand. The fact is, the handful of points you chose as your foundation of belief to justify your “beautiful fantasy” all have rational explanations for those how chose to seek understanding. These explanations are far more rational than the more universally excepted truth that there is a God. In the end, the law of relativity states that people will find the justification to support any theory or ideology they chose to except as truth. This is why truth can only be obtained through the spirit. For those who look they will see this principle repeated throughout the scriptures. The doctrines of the church have never been to follow blindly. In the end you claim you win, but have you, or are you now simply a victim of cognitive dissonance? You have created a world for yourself free from guilt and shame as if these are bad things. This ideology is also taught in Hitler’s “Mein Kamft.” In reality guilt and shame are just as important to our spirit as physical pain is to our body. Both serve as a protection and should be viewed as gifts not a hindrance.
    The funny thing is, this has all been foreseen and predicted hundreds even thousands of years previously (2Nephi 28:14-15, 2Timothy Chapter 3) and people still choose to find the wisdom in the precepts of men. What has man ever predicted? That the earth was flat, that the sun revolved around the earth etc. Why does the teaching of men continually change and the teachings of God stay consistent? You want to find truth, look for laws that do not change, because truth doesn’t change.

    • Nephi Hatcher says:

      Nate you must be insane!!! Have you even read what you wrote?!!!

      So the truth of the church can not be proven through logic?!
      Truth doesn’t change (in the church!?!)

      Man you simply sound like a guy who likes to write long winded bullshit that you wallow in. Whatever makes you feel better…

      The truth is your perspective is crazy and will happily be shared by crazy people. There is always logic in truth. Varying degrees of intelligence required to understand logic albeit, but with truth there is always the basic explanation for all to understand and the more indepth explanation. Then to say truth doesn’t change, clearly one doesn’t know the history or doctrines of the church well enough!!!

      • Nate says:

        You’re right there is logic in truth; the point is man has rarely been capable of discovering that logic on his own. For example, does light travel in waves or particles? I can show you absolute scientific proof that will support both. Same with spiritual doctrine, I can find you a logical reason to back any perspective—it’s relativity. The point is spiritual things will never be understood through logic alone. It’s not 100% logical hence the need for humility. Logic and truth are too ambiguous for man that’s why you’ll see the most brilliant minds claim to be agnostic not atheist.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Hi Nate, As an atheist I don’t claim any knowledge. I’m agnostic about my atheism the two words are not mutually exclusive. One can, & most atheists are, both agnostic and atheist at one and the same time. I’m not absolutely certain about anything. In fact I’m agnostic about almost everything. The world should not be viewed in terms of absolutes, but in varying degrees of certainty. Science alters it’s position based on the accumulation of evidence. Science is not a body of knowledge, but a method of determining the relative importance of certain evidence. A way of testing evidence. That’s why it can and does change its position about certain truth claims as more and more evidence is gathered. Any so called knowledge gained through feelings is tantamount to believing that someone can take a photograph to determine whether you love your wife. The two things are not the same. You seem to be confusing gnosticity with a subject. And how you feel about something with its veracity. As a believing Mormon I too had similar confusions. Hope this helps. Best regards, Steve

      • hr says:

        It common known fact in mormonism if anyone leaves they are either immoral ,criminal, or insane

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Nate,

      I appreciate you feel emotionally driven to comment on my personal blog, but I don’t think you understand that you are not my audience.

      As much as I appreciate you have a point of view, I don’t see any need for me to counter it in any way.

      I describe my personal journey of transition out of Mormonism, along with the insights I gain on route.

      I do so for the potential benefit of others who are now questioning or have realised the fraud the Church is conducting and are held hostage by relationships, and sometimes callings, where they feel trapped and isolated.

      I know how this feels, so am reaching out to offer hope and courage to the many thousands who are in the position I was in just three years ago.

      I am not interested in deconverting True Believing Mormons who are completely invested emotionally and intellectually in the Mormon belief system.

      I would have to be delusional to think I could deconvert them.

      Or sadly it would be like trying to teach a congenitally blind person what colour is.

      Only those whose minds are prepared to comprehend, have the eyes to see!

      Let me know if things change.

      I wish you well, & bid you adieu.
      Steve

    • Randy Basham says:

      Nate,

      Don’t shoot the messenger because of the message. Your argument that relying on man’s understanding is a false premise doesn’t necessarily explain the duplicity and falsehoods preached by the Church and its leaders for decades. When a sincere member finds out about this, it would only seem natural for that person to feel some sort of betrayal. Even worse, they feel that they have been manipulated and lied to their whole lives. And for what purpose? Obedience and control? Indentured servitude? Free labor? 10% of your earnings without explaining to you how it is spent? The leadership has a lot to account for. Of course, the membership won’t hold them up to it.

      This same duplicity and the same falsehoods were taught by men. How is it that what was preached from General Conference in the 1860’s and 1870’s is now deemed uninspired false doctrine today. Take, for instance, the Adam-God theory or the doctrine of the Blood Atonement taught by Brigham Young. Consider polygamy taught and practiced until 1904. Gordon B. Hinckley condemned the teaching of polygamy on national television to Larry King in the late 1990’s. Yesterday’s doctrines and yesterday’s leaders have become today’s false doctrines and heretics. Who decided that? Men. And you use the argument that Steve is only relying on the doctrines of men? Nonsense. You can’t have it both ways. What else is he to rely on if he believes that he has been lied to by those he thought were preaching the divine? I’m sorry but I have to throw the BS flag on this argument.

      I am still an active member of the Church. But I can understand to some degree Steve and Liz’s experiences. I have had them too. We have been taught for decades to be loyal to the Church and that leaving it was worse than death. Men were murdered for this action in 1850’s Utah.

      As the Church teaches, the Church is a vehicle organized to teach the restored Gospel. Are you committed more to the postman who delivers the mail or the message that is contained in the envelope delivered? Its an important question. Certainly the leaders are men and have their weaknesses. Nobody is disputing that. But, to continue to teach events outside historical context when they know these events took place is unfortunately manipulative and certainly unethical. If you can’t appreciate that, then I don’t see where any kind of reason, mankind’s or the Lord’s, will convince you otherwise. When people look up to these men as representatives of the Savior and see them acting just like any other man, it is disquieting. It has been in the past and it is so today. What do you suggest they should do? I didn’t see that in your post. Your implication was “your reasoning is mankind’s as well. You’re wrong. Obey, shut up, and color.” I’m sorry, I believe you’re wrong there.

      Today, we avoid, shun, or attack people who have had these doubts. For the life of me, I don’t understand why. As a missionary, it was drummed into me that Obedience was the first law of the Celestial Kingdom. Who did that drumming? The very people who expected me to obey. You are even doing so in your comments. If you don’t agree, say nothing. Silence is golden. Why would it be up to you to change Steve and Liz’s thinking or perceptions other than to shame or motivate them to return? Or are you just offended that they see the world differently than you? They choose to live their lives on their terms. I am sure they aren’t trying to persuade you to do otherwise. Steve is just telling his story. He’s hurt nobody.

      I know both personally since we attended Church together in Harrogate. They were some of the nicest people to us during our stay there. I see no change in them even though they have gone through this crisis of belief. And for that, they have my support and friendship. If you have been friends with them, I suggest you do the same. Your espousal of your own personal beliefs or (to them) delusions only demonstrates that you see and experience the world differently than they do. What is so unique about that?

    • hr says:

      precepts of man? you mean like a council of gods organized earth, brothers jesus and satan present a plan for their brothers and sisters god chooses jesus , adam obeys gods plan for him to sin so men can become gods also. god then marries his daughter mary to give jesus a body so he can become like his father with an exalted body after jesus dies so everyone can become gods too. jesus comes back to save mexicans from dark skin

  5. Gale says:

    Hi Steve,
    I truly enjoy and appreciate your blogs. I read every one of them and have only commented on occasion. This one is particularly good.

    My experiences in the church and leaving the church well parallel your story. In fact, like you, I only remain a member in that I am listed on the church records and have chosen to do that only for the benefit of my wife and parents. Otherwise, I would resign my membership today since I no longer count myself as a believer. Rather, I kindly and with some level of empathy, regard church leaders as leading one of the more successful modern day cons relative to religion.

    Interestingly, Elder (President) Henry Eyring lives only a few houses up the street from me. I used to see him at church several times a month and spoke with him on a number of occasions, even interacting with him when he taught class at church including a “teaching session” in the temple. He knows who I am, but I have no knowledge of whether or not he knows where I stand relative to the church today. I find that interesting in that I would think that such a leader in a ward, and as a neighbor and at least striving to be a personal Christ-like person would be interested in meeting one of the church’s lost sheep in his own ward. I haven’t heard a peep from him. I have often wondered how President Eyring can maintain his charade given the facts that must be known to him today.

    His son also lives in the ward and was recently called as bishop. He is equally distant. He has had several opportunities to at least have a casual conversation with me, something I welcome as a neighbor, but each time he has taken an interest in other things. I find that fascinating. I always thought that at least good bishops actually cared about inactive members. Apparently not. I believe that most members and leaders either fear inactive members, consider them/us to be traitors or simply don’t want to be bothered. The evidence for all three appears to be relatively strong in my experience.

    Recently, a friend of mine and former bishop in another ward tried to persuade me to return to church activity, assuming that I left the church as a result of being offended by my former bishop (that’s a whole different story that I am certain your psychologist brother and yourself would find fascinating as it deals with my daughters depression and my struggles to help her as a parent). I told him that that experience simply allowed me to take all the issues I kept on a back burner combined with new and alarming information that I learned over the next several years (I went through a heavy research period very similar to yours) and came away with a very different view on the church. I took the position that if he could honestly resolve a long list of issues that I have with the church in a way that is credible, then I would certainly return. I was intrigued by the strange approach he took, one that I consider to be the new strategy taught by the church to counter the many historical and other issues it faces. He told me that I was “using the wrong measuring stick”. That is, he argues that following the spirit of personal revelation is the new measuring stick and that based on that he “knew” that the church was true. His approach with me focused much more on the emotional than the rational. He suggested that none of the issues I listed even mattered.

    He’s a highly intelligent person and an associate professor at a local university, so I was struck by how such a bright person could rationalize away the very kinds of serious issues that the church uses to convince its members that other churches are false. Also, as you’ve mentioned, the church is very good at its “double talk”, conveniently leaving out important facts in its arguments. My friend used much of this same type of “logic” and sincerely hoped to “bring me back”. He meant well and I appreciate the fact that he took a personal interest in me.

    As you well described, this emotional attachment appears to be the old and means of converting or re-activating members and I think this latest approach is the new approach using that strategy. I am certainly seeing it in Utah in a way that suggests a stronger focus on the emotional. In fact, nearly all of the arguments presented to me by me friend fit in that category. The few others were typical (e.g. that there was new information being unearthed at an excavation site in South America or using linguistic evidence). Those of us who have passed through the crucible of doubt and thoroughly researched the untaught elements of the church know better. Still, I thought the approach was both interesting and disturbing – avoiding the issues and focusing on the emotional/”spiritual”.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful and well written comments. I wish you well in your continued quest to kindly help those who are still recovering from the painful process of leaving the church. As you well know, it is a difficult, sensitive and painful process.
    Best,
    Gale

  6. Laura says:

    I see a comment above about “the church is true.” This is incorrect. The true statement is “The gospel is true.” These terms (church and gospel) are not interchangeable. The gospel is the Beatitudes as delivered in the Bible. The Book of Mormon has a copy of the same in 2 Nephi, delivered by Christ to the inhabitants of the American continent when he appeared to the survivors. As such, because this information is contained in the Bible, it being placed in the Book of Mormon is extraneous. We already had it. It is not new nor is it restored if we already had it.

    There is another piece of logic that I developed. If one compares the story of Moses to Joseph Smith, Jr., one will acknowledge that for the priesthood that was ‘lost’ at the time Moses died must have also died once again when Joseph Smith, Jr. also died. Only one person was allowed to hold the keys at any one time on the earth. When Joseph Smith, Jr. died, there was a power grab. This happened because none of the 12 apostles supporting Joseph had been given the keys he had when he died. None of them claimed to have these keys. Brigham Young came back from his mission and immediately stepped up to the plate but he could not claim he had the keys. He wasn’t present at the time of the murder. Brigham Young had to go door to door to get support to be able to successfully take over as prophet. He wasn’t called of God. He never claimed to have seen angels or received visitations.

    These are just two logical trains I developed after I left the church. My family left because we were offended by church leadership. This opened the door for my husband to help me see where I was blind, as I was the TBM in our family.

  7. Nate says:

    Steve, atheism is as absolute as deism and both are faith based positions.
    Laura, you’re wrong about Joseph not passing on the keys before he died. I’m not here to preach, however the answers are out there if you are truly looking for them.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Nate,

      A-theism is a word which denotes a Lack of Belief.

      By definition it is not a faith based position.

      Most atheists do not claim to know there is no God.

      They just do not hold any belief in a God, nor do they feel the need to do so.

      But they don’t claim there is no God. They don’t claim anything other than lacking a belief or knowledge about or in any god or gods.

      How can any atheist’s claim to a lack of belief be faith based. It’s the exact opposite.

      To claim otherwise is to misconstrue their position, either in an attempt to misrepresent them for the sake of argument, or out of ignorance.

      I’m sorry, but please do not tell me, or any atheist that our position is faith-based.

      When a gnostic theist or deist claims they know God exists they are claiming belief based on insufficient evidence and are pretending to know things they don’t really know.

      All atheists are saying is we’ve stopped pretending!

      Best regards,
      Steve

    • Laura says:

      No, I’m not wrong, Nate, other than I put 2 Nephi instead of 3 Nephi. I did my homework. You’ll figure it out. I have faith in you. Christ’s message is all that was needed, all that the gospel contains, all that the people were required to preach and teach. Did you ever wonder why it has been over 180 years since the Book of Mormon was translated for God to ‘prove’ his people? Is that enough time for the church to make enough changes to the temple endowment so that it is unrecognizable from the original? Joseph created it and here comes Brigham claiming it needed changes. He wasn’t even there for the first endowment presentation. Boy-o-boy was he mad! That was done by design, so that there would be witnesses to how it was supposed to be before Brigham got enough power to make the changes he wanted to make. Did you figure out yet about no one being paid to preach/teach? That there is no price for the true gospel? That for money to be required for salvation is priestcraft… And that the D&C tells the people that they are a condemned people for paying tithing instead of living the law of consecration? All of that tithing being paid to the church is condemning them for living the lesser law and claiming that they are living the higher law. The example in the Book of Mormon is that all are to give the bounty that they produce so that there is no rich and no poor among them, that all are equal. Anything more or less than this is missing the mark.

    • hr says:

      To find the answers in mormonism its going to cost $$$ so keep your money and time I’ll tell you the grand secret mystery top mormons believe ,if you jump through all the lds hoops you get an exalted body to have spiritual babies and priest craft to organize earths

  8. Nate says:

    Steve, I agree with varying degrees of certainty, in regards to the precepts of man, but there most certainly is absolute truth. We simply can’t recognize it with the amount of knowledge we currently have hence the need for a higher power. “The gospel embraces all truth. We accept truth from all sources; we accept all truth; the gospel includes all truth”–Brigham Young. The LDS church has never claimed ownership of all truth.
    The apostle Paul described us in our day thousands of years ago and one characteristic he described was, “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

  9. Nate says:

    Faith is defined as complete confidence in someone or something. If you are completely confident that God doesn’t exist that is faith based.

  10. Nate says:

    Steve I’d love to share my story with you, but it’s quite personal so this isn’t the best place. My story is the complete opposite of yours. Growing up in Utah with a father that was a bishop I wanted nothing to do with the bias beliefs of hypocrite. This all changed within the last few years.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Nate,

      As an atheist I use the term to mean there’s insufficient evidence to warrant belief in a divine supernatural creator of the universe. However, if I was shown sufficient evidence to warrant belief in such an entity, then I would believe.

      As an atheist I’m not doxasticly closed.

      I don’t say that no matter how solid the evidence for a supernatural creator, I refuse to believe.

      Hence my claim to atheism not being faith based. No one can be completely confident that there is no God.

      But without sufficient evidence I remain a skeptical atheist.

      Remember, I once had what I believed was absolute knowledge. But that confidence or gnostic belief in a deity was changed by evidence that most believers only believe based on subconscious cognitive biases.

      You can email me at bloorsteve@gmail.com

  11. Nate says:

    For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more ; and from them that say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”—2Nephi 28:30

    I’ll tell you what I have learned concerning how one comes to know spiritual truths. I certainly don’t know all or even few, but I’m learning to comprehend some. However, to an atheist it will be like “explaining color to the blind.” But I can’t sleep so maybe this will benefit someone.
    Our eyes are unique in the fact that they are our only organ that requires a medium to work—namely light. Without light it is imposable to fully comprehend any of our surroundings, or any color. If there is a God, and he created all things spiritual first, then we can safely assume our spiritual eyes work the same way. Without spiritual light we cannot comprehend spiritual things through our spiritual eyes. Light too was created spiritually before physically. “Let there be light.” This light was created on the first day. The sun the moon and the stars weren’t created until day four. One will only come to know truths by using this spiritual light, or the light of Christ. Know how to turn that light on is a whole other subject, but I’m learning it’s all humility based.
    But hay, that’s just my reality. Can I say I know 100% that my ideals are accurate? Absolutely not. No more than you can say you know 100% there is no God. But, I will tell you this; unexplained phenomenon’s start happening in your life. Faith leads me to believe that these are blessings given to me from God. Some my call it the law of attraction. I say the law of attraction is Gods law. Just read D&C 88:40

  12. Nate says:

    My beliefs were not based on subconscious cognitive biases. My search and realizations were not influenced by anyone but the spirit, however, I didn’t recognize that until much later. My journey was long, lonely and painful. The experiences I witnessed could not be simply explained through cognitive biases. The only logical conclusion is Divine intervention. If I tried to claim otherwise I would feel very ungrateful.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Nate, from your response it seems you don’t understand cognitive biases. I appreciate that is your perception. It sounds very similar to the way I saw the world and gospel. The knowledge through the Spirit superceded all other knowledge. However, have you considered that every human being ONLY perceives the world through subconscious cognitive assumptions and filters. Not matter what we would like to believe otherwise every human being who experiences the ‘divine’ tends to interpret the event and feelings surrounding it to their own preconceived belief system. If you are born in India you’d most likely interpret experiences of the ‘divine’ from a Hindu perspective. If born in Iraq from an Islamic perspective. Yet evidence from neuroscience research can explain a lot about so-called ‘divine’ interventions in our minds. Our minds are incredibly powerful and amazingly malleable which gives the potential for all sorts of cognitive hiccups and hallucinations to trick us. Oxytocin, dopamine, DMT are just some of the ways our minds can experience unexplainable things which we then interpret as ‘divine’. Check my thoughts here: https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/my-non-belief/ And here: https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/perceiving-reality/ Best wishes, Steve

  13. Nate says:

    Steve
    You could argue that I suffer from cognitive biases and it would be a logical argument. I could argue that you suffer from cognitive dissonance and that would be a logical argument. It’s all relativity I understand that. Divinity to me is God and Jesus Christ because that is what I have been taught. To someone else it’s Buda, or Mohammed. That’s what’s so unique about the gospel of Jesus Christ we know the truth because of a 14 year old boy. Or, he was simply a delusional schizophrenic genius who fooled hundreds of brilliant minds during his short influance. If you want to talk strictly in terms of logic it will be far more difficult to disprove the BOM through logic. Scholars have been trying for years. 13 credible witnesses. 3 seeing an angle and hearing the voice of God, 2 talking and receiving keys from John the baptist and Peter, James, and John, 1 talking to God the father and Jesus Christ who also sealed his testimony with his own blood. All of which went to their death bed never once denying what they experienced even after many being excommunicated. Were they all guilty of the bandwagon fallacy, or is the Church simply the worlds greatest lie with no logical motive or explanation? You want to discredit the BOM through logic than you’ll have to come up with a logical explanation concerning the thousands of old world Hebrew coincidences many Jew’s scholars our currently finding in a book. Were they all conceived through cognitive biases of a young man with a third grade education? Also give me a logical explanation of the witnesses. Here in the United States we can send a man to his death bed with the testimony of one credible witness.
    You chose to build your beliefs based on logic and that’s fine, however logic is more faulty and contradictory than faith. The big bang theory will be more difficult to explain than God’s creations. Evolution is more difficult to explain than being made in the image of our father. In the end, for those who have the desire, you will never draw nearer towards God through logic. If you don’t have that desire than that’s okay and is your rightful decision, but why try so hard to disprove it through flawed logic? I haven’t read one example from you yet that doesn’t have a logical explanation. Your logical disbelief in disclaiming logical evidences could also be considered cognitive biases. Logic will only spin you in circles.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Nate, Using your rationale you should give equal credence to the claims of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians who all died for their faith. Or the World Trade Center Islamic terrorists who also died for their faith. Sincerity of belief is no measure of its veracity. Many people experience psychotic and chemically induced hallucinations which they absolutely believe 100%, but again there is no reason any rational observer should accept these as actual events. None of the Witnesses to the Gold Plates said they actually saw and touched the Plates with their physical eyes and hands. They did admit that they only saw them with their spiritual eyes! None of the witnesses wrote their own statements, but only signed a statement which was written for them. All of them were related to Joseph Smith or close friends. None were neutral third parties. Some were of unsound mind as witnessed by other third parties at the time. Please check the abundant historical information available for yourself. Believing a faith promoting sanitised version of events is just too limiting for any unbiased opinions to be made. How any information makes you feel is not a reliable indicator of truthfulness. As is seen by many joining other religions in far greater numbers than Mormonism. Check the growth rate in Seventh Day Adventists (I think they are the fastest growing religious movement in America).

      • Nate says:

        You’re wrong about the witnesses. I know that’s the common understanding of many unbelievers. I could also buy it concerning the eight, but concerning the three it is much more difficult to write off so easily. There is far more evidence concerning Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris’s testimonies then a signed document written by Smith, but you’d have to check the abundant historical information available for yourself.
        In regrades to other religions and radicals you’re right there is absolutely no logical explanation without first having a faith based belief that there is a God and an advisory, or that there is a righteous influences and a evil influences.
        Regardless the one thing that cannot logically be explained is the BOM. If your logical explanation is psychotic and chemically induced hallucinations that is far more difficult and irrational to accept then the alternative.
        My whole point is, working on logic alone we will continue to go around in circles. For every logical evidence you can find to justify your belief I can find one to justify mine. It’s pointless. In the end neither one of use will ever be able to provide undeniable evidence to support our ideals. Much wiser people than us have tried for decades so why put so much effort into trying? The more important question is what are your motives?

      • SteveBloor says:

        Nate,

        Cognitive dissonance works against rationality in the subconscious minds of heavily invested members of the Church. And Confirmation bias is a very big obstacle to even recognising there are any issues with a person’s religious beliefs.

        I’ve been completely convinced in my faith and spiritual knowledge as a member of the Church.

        I know what it’s like to face the anguish of a complete reappraisal of the foundational beliefs of my life.

        My motives are stated clearly on my blog. That does not include thinking I can deconvert anyone who is heavily invested and committed to Mormonism.

        Since you mentioned it, there is a whole host of problems with the Book of Mormon which have never been satisfactorily resolved, including these:

        1. Anachronisms
        2. Lack of archeology
        3. Linguistics issues
        4. DNA
        5. Population problems
        6. Location of Hill Cumorah
        7. Racism
        8. Lack of LDS doctrine
        9. Plagiarism from many sources
        10. Changing story of ‘translation’ process
        11. Elizabethan English
        12. Etc. Etc

        I wish you well.
        Steve

  14. Nate says:

    What I mean by logic spinning you around in circles is, you will never prove or disprove that there is a God. You will never logically be able to prove or disprove the gospel of Jesus Christ, so why even try. If it’s not for you, and you don’t suffer from cognitive dissonance, then why try so hard to justify your decision? If every decision you make is not influenced by good or evil then logically explain your tireless desire to persuade others? You’re using the same methods that you claim the church uses to brainwash their victims the only difference in your foundation of belief. In the end it’s all based on faith.

  15. Nate says:

    Faith=belief in things unseen or unknown.
    Logic=valid reasoning.
    Receiving an answer to a prayer; logic tells me coincidence, cognitive bias, niece reality, relativity. Faith tells me divine manifestation. All your left with faith regardless what conclusion you come to because neither can be proven.

  16. Nate says:

    Steve, now you’re fighting fire with fire again. I could give you a logical explanation concerning most items on your list right off the bat. Others I would have to research further, but I guarantee I can find logical explanations to justify my beliefs just as you have for yours. After all that’s how logic and relativity work right? In the end we’re both working on faith.
    I understand what your blog claims as motivation, however your actions lead me to believe otherwise. Strictly speaking logically, your actions suggest justification or compartmentalization. Again, another impossibility to prove–just something to consider.
    Sorry, but this will be my last post. I have enjoyed our conversations.
    I wish you all the best.
    –Nate

  17. Ed Bliss says:

    Nate:
    I hope you will reconsider your decision to stop posting. I was finding the discussion quite fascination.
    When I left the church I realized that all of my relatives and most of my friends would be curious about why I had made that decision, so I decided to put my reasons in writing. But I didn’t want it to be a diatribe against Mormonism. I wanted to write something that was respectful of Mormon beliefs. The result was my book, “What Mormons Don’t Know About Mormonism” (originally published under the title, “A Friendly Discussion—Mormonism Pro and Con”).
    You are obviously a sincere seeker after truth, and I would welcome your comments on the book, so I would like to send you a copy, free of charge, if you will just give me your mailing address. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Ed Bliss
    (edwinbliss@gmail.com)

    • Nate says:

      Ed, thanks for the offer, however I’ll respectfully decline. After spending months obsessed with finding evidence to justify every claim conflicting my beliefs, I came to the conclusion that my labors were fruitless and were becoming pride based justifications and rationalizations that weren’t serving me. Trying to learn objectively I couldn’t come to any rational conclusions, for or against, with all the fallible, defeasible, contradicting, and unreliable information available. There is simply not enough feasible information to come to any rational conclusions. I would be very surprised if there is any new information your book could give me that I haven’t already studied (I have read most of the books listed in your bibliography). I’d also be very surprised, with enough time, if I couldn’t blow holes in all your conclusions and perceptions either directly or indirectly, as I know you could in mine. In the end it will not undeniable confirm or deny the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Ultimately it still results in a faith-based decision of choosing to place your trust in deity or man. It’s choosing to have hope, or accepting the alternative. For me the alternative necessitates the doctrine.
      Personally, I have chosen to spend my time engaged in activities that are edifying and enlightening not discouraging and confusing. Maybe it’s just because I have simple mind, but I can no longer find value in attempting to decipher noise.
      Thanks again,
      Nate
      P.S. I know this completely conflicts with the fact that I am engaged in Steve’s blog in the first place. However, my motives have changed. I no longer post to justify my belief, or attempt to change convictions, but for the hundreds of people who read through these blogs for the first time in an attempt to offer other perspectives.

  18. Kemari says:

    I am an atheist because the burden of proof lies on religion. If you propose the existence of something, you must provide evidence in a reasonable way. Using the scientific method to defend it. Otherwise I really have no reason to listen to you.

    Faith is simply believing something is true because you want it to be true. That isn’t honest and isn’t a way to build a foundation for your life. It is simply sad and self delusional.

    Steve is taking his amazing personal journey and sharing it with the world in a brave and positive way. I am concerned why someone is so concerned about Steve’s way of handling his own life. He isn’t forcing the thousands of viewers to look at his blog! People are drawn to him because he has something to say that is relevant. Great job Steve. Please don’t stop your great work!

    • Beth says:

      If I may offer a suggestion:

      ‘If you propose the existence of something, you must provide evidence in a reasonable way. Using the scientific method to defend it.’

      Science has a long history of not being able to provide (empirical) evidence for that which is claimed to be real. Elements in the periodic table were predicted but not actually verified until much later, the Higgs Boson, extra solar planets (ours or not), etc. What I absolutely love about science is that at any time you may re-evaluate your beliefs in the event that new evidence has emerged which changes your understanding. Religion tends not to be that flexible. I say that science is my religion, minus faith because I don’t need it.

      If the church took the Faith Only approach and never claimed historical accuracy we wouldn’t be having this discussion but back then independent verification probably involved asking a rock in a hat…

  19. Nate says:

    I wasn’t planning on posting again, because I didn’t think I could contribute anything of new value (relative). However, in my reading last night I came across this. It does a far better job at articulating what I’ve so clumsily tried expressing. I hope somebody can find the value in it as I have.

    “We must recognize at the onset that both militant atheism and fervent theism are the same in this regard: they are both just as likely to serve as a dogmatic point of departure, as they are to be a thoughtful and considered end point in one’s journey toward understanding.
    In our experience most believers, like doubters, are continually adjusting their paradigms to make better sense of the world as they experience it. Belief is fluid. So is doubt. Disillusion and readjustment work in both directions. Those who come late on the road to Damascus, and see the light at last, remember all those times they ignored quiet promptings, and their paradigms shift accordingly. The past begins to make new sense, as they reinterpret those annoying doubts and second-guessings as the Lord’s gentle proddings. In contrast, those countless minor miracles they took to be answers to prayer, they now interpret as passing moments of self-delusion, wish-fulfillment, and the stuff of mere coincidence.
    The point is, neither the new believer nor the new doubter has necessarily progressed or reached enlightenment. Nor has either one necessarily forced the evidence to fit a preconceived model of belief or doubt. Rather, every time we turn our hearts and minds in the direction of giving meaning to our experiences, we are merely—and yet profoundly—arranging the evidence into a pattern—the pattern that makes the most sense to us at a given point on our journey. Evidence does not construct itself into meaningful patterns. That is our work to perform.
    Whatever sense we make of this world. Whatever value we place upon our lives and relationships. Whatever meaning we ultimately give to our joys and agonies must necessarily be a gesture of faith.
    Whether we consider the whole a product of impersonal cosmic forces, a malevolent deity, or benevolent God depends not on the evidence, but on what we choose deliberately and consciously to conclude from that evidence. It is inescapable.”—Terryl & Fiona Givens “The God Who Weeps”

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Nate, Who’s being militant in this discussion? I’ve declared myself an agnostic atheist who is not absolutely sure of anything. How is declaring a lack of belief and certainty considered “militant”? I appreciate you are determined to try to save those who question their faith by providing other perspectives than mine (on my own personal blog). In other words – apologetics! 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 Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists and all those other denominations. I have big problems with Mormon epistemology, or my confidence in the reliability of gaining knowledge through the ‘Spirit’. It is NOT a rigorous and infallible method for determining truth from delusion. My whole problem now with any faith based religion is their reliance on emotion based perception of truth. I’m afraid I believe it is impossible to rely on something so subjective. My study into the psychology of belief helps me to understand how I could have been delusional & misplaced my trust for so long. When one understands the way the human mind works, it becomes easy to see how so many people can be deceived by their own subconscious minds. I advise everyone not to trust everything they think and feel, just because it enters their heads or they experience it. Delusions and hallucinations can seem very real to those experiencing them. I know from my own personal experience of being delusional about the Church and deity for over 45 years of my life. I can reassure you I have had experiences with the ‘so called divine’ which, at the time, seemed very real to me. But now, after increasing my understanding of how the human mind works, I realise these experiences were just artefacts of my own subconscious mind. We all imagine our own Gods. Some of us still do.  Virtually every statement Mormonism makes about reality is an open invitation to mockery and ridicule. The Mormon belief system pollutes our understanding of reality. It gets in the way, and it brings out the worst in the best of us, so that we’re even prepared to stoop so low as to poison the unformed minds of the people we love the most, our children. By the time they’re old enough to think for themselves it’s too late. They’ve been well and truly hypnotised. The truth is that Mormon beliefs are infantile, the scriptures are lies, and the imagined gods are illusions. Nate, it’s time to wake up your rational mind and walk out of The Cave into the full light of reality. Best regards, Steve

      • Nate says:

        “Militant” was only used to contrast extremes. I’m not judging you as a militant atheist nor am I calling myself a fervent theist.
        Increasing your understanding of how the human mind works? All you have to go on are the many conflicting hypotheses of man. No one understands how the human mind works, but he who created it. My father is a LCSW and has founded a treatment center focused on changing the self defeating thoughts of trouble youth. He’s written a book on it “treating at-risk youth,” and he’ll be the first to tell you we are no closer to understanding our minds then we were 40 years ago when he first started his practice. Hence, that’s why the refer to it as practice. My whole point is, currantly there is no rigorous and infallible method for “determining truth from delusion” created by man. It’s progressive and has potential, but currantly It’s futile for deciphering truth. The science doesn’t even acknowledge the truth in itself. It’s self-depleting and defeasable. In the end you will always find what you are looking for.
        You moderate these posts don’t act like I’m victimizing you!

  20. Kemari says:

    In my opinion, Religion is a form of mental illness. God is a nice fantasy. There is as much evidence for the existence of god as there is UFOs. But Somehow if you don’t love god , there’s apparently something wrong with you. Made up stories are not needed and man does not need this bullshit. There is no one taking score. I don’t have to respect the childish arrogant believer. No one at all knows god is real. No one! We don’t know, and that’s okay. You’re the one who’s saying I have this answer and I will go backwards and make up stories to entice others to believe the same way because I don’t want to think. And where there is evidence to contradict my settled on decision of this specific brand of faith I will dismiss it and fight against it. Faith was used to fill in the gaps for centuries. Science is helping to answer many of the questions early man couldn’t. We should embrace science. It is a continual learning system and it is advancing us. Religion is seriously what is holding us back in every way. If we got rid of science where would we be? Religion is nothing but childish fantasies. Why do you care so much that he’s an atheist?. The Givens have packaged up the Mormon god and made him all pretty, but it’s still the same gilded asshole and I’m not buying it. It’s very sweet of them to have created such a loving version of god who weeps over his children, but they get all antsy and want people to stay in Mormonism because underneath the sweetness and light is still the same dick who’s going to demand that you support the geezers in SLC and know the magic handshakes in order to get into heaven. That’s what really irks me: you can make shit up about what the church is like and lie to yourself about how great god is, but in the end, it’s a sad, pathetic, DEMONSTRABLE LIE. There’s not one or two problems with the church that point out its falseness, there are dozens. Maybe hundreds. Why should I break my brain to believe that shit? Being an atheist is vastly preferable if the alternative is their pathetic tyrant god.

    • Nate says:

      Kemari wow, that’s loaded with emotion.
      1-Science is awesome; I love science and all the benefits it has given us. I’m simply pointing out that it’s no less fallible than faith.
      2-Contradicting evidence is all there is on every side, so my point is, why chose to rely on it? I simply feel if one is truly seeking enlightenment they’d post all sides of each argument not simply accept it as all or nothing. I’m LDS, but there are many things I can’t explain. I don’t simply accept them as truth because it’s the common belief of the Mormon culture. There have been many beliefs of the Mormon culture that have been proven wrong over the years like the Indians and laminates DNA. Nevertheless this does not make all the doctrine false. However, is it not logical to conclude that all the inhabitants of the Americas didn’t all come on Nephi’s boat; that there were people here when they arrived and after the records ended? This possibility alone could explain most of the issue’s Steve has presented as proof that the BOM if false and it’s just one theory of many. I could go on and on, but I don’t think anyone is interested because this blog is not a search for truth but justification.
      Regardless, in the end it’s all theory–even atheism.
      3-I don’t care if Steve is atheist I don’t even know the guy, but when his (personal) blog comes across my Facebook page from a friend questioning his faith I was curious.
      We all have our free agency to choose for ourselves what we accept as truth (even my friend). It wasn’t that long ago that I was indifferent concerning religion. I was simply under the impression that this blog was being used for philosophical debate, but it’s not. It’s being used to find rationalization and support to justify one train of thought—where is no logic in that.
      4-You don’t have to buy anything, there is nothing for sale. If your ideals conflict with mine that’s fine. But let’s agree to admit we are all living in a fairytale. None of us will emerge from Plato’s cave until death, then we’ll all know (assuming there’s life after death). We can still coexist and even find light in each other’s views. I don’t disagree with everything I’ve read here.
      5-There are also hundreds of problems that point to the falseness of most anything in life. Should I disregard all of them? It’s the trying to make sense of and understand those assumed falsehoods that progresses the arts and the sciences. There is truth found everywhere in life including religion. Mormons only claim to have a piece of the gigantic puzzle that’s all. Furthermore, I don’t believe truth is as one dimensional as you.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Nate, I’m sorry you don’t understand where I’m coming from, or what the purpose of this blog is, but it is not my intention to please or appease any believer who strays into my domain. It is so easy, natural and automatic for believing members to superimpose their own subconscious fears and expectations onto me. It’s like some people ‘do my thinking for me’ and make erroneous judgements about my purpose and motives, almost as if they are trying to read my mind. But alas, they fail. My personal blog is written to give hope to those who are on the same journey of transition out of the delusion of Mormonism as I have recently taken. It is most often a painful and lonely experience for thousands of members who are desperate for support. They come looking for hope and courage to cope with the difficult situation they find themselves in once they no longer believe. My story resonates with many who are going through these stressful, life-altering epiphanies. One of the biggest challenge to make involves whether to follow truth at any cost, and try to retain their integrity and authenticity. Several times in my life I’ve had major decisions to make which involved ethical dilemmas. The most painful have been those which made me choose between my loyalty & my integrity Between obedience & honesty. Between the comfortably familiar and the insecurity of the unknown. Between consoling beliefs & cold hard facts. Between a comforting fantasy which offered the illusion of peace & security or a future based on the hard cold realities of the truth. Sometimes what at first appears to be safe & secure is just a pretence, & what is actually better for me is the effort involved in facing the rigours of life & being strengthened by dealing with reality. Our brains are always seeking the easiest option which seems to promote happiness & comfort – but at what cost? I would rather face the truth than be seduced & beguiled by a comforting fantasy. I suppose I’m following the counsel of President Hinckley when he said if Joseph Smith did not have the First Vision then this is all a fraud! I’m trying to be authentic, so for me that means living true to what I’ve discovered about objective reality. If something is not true I believe it disconnects me from reality if I believe & follow it. However, I accept that people have various reasons for believing in religion: a sense of community, a purpose or meaning for life & a sense of security. But I also think those things are ultimately built on crumbly foundations if not built on objective, factual Truth! In the end I am not a relativist, believing that truth is whatever you want to believe. I think truth is solid, reliable, provable & real. (The reason we got the Martian rover ‘Curiosity’ on to that neighbouring planet is because there are reliable truths. If you jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet, I’m quite sure most people would take a parachute rather than risk denying gravity is a reliable fact). I think the reason religion has such a strong appeal is due to the power of stories, myths & legends on our psyche. I believe stories, whether true or false, have power. I think stories can inspire & motivate us. They can teach us useful principles & lessons on good social relations etc. I’m reminded of Aesop’s Fables. I think the problem occurs when the story-teller promotes their fictional narrative to the status of factual truth or reality. Especially when the narrative is absurd & bizarre and not related to reality. I think then the danger is that superstitious minds can start to become disconnected from the natural world, other people & their day to day lives, as they start to believe in irrational, supernatural powers & events. I believe evolutionary psychologists have explained this tendency as an advantageous adaption for our ancient ancestors to cope with a scary dangerous natural world they couldn’t explain or understand. And probably kept them away from danger, and therefore alive long enough to have offspring and descendants. Us! Now that we’ve gained a greater understanding of the natural world through the medium of scientific research we really don’t need to believe in those myths & legends as actual depictions of reality, even though they are fun to contemplate. (I love Lord of the Rings & Avatar movies). I think fictional narratives continue to give people meaning, purpose & security, but at what cost? When factual truths are available as the alternative nowadays. I’m reminded of Paul H Dunn’s spiritually uplifting, but fictional General Conference war stories. Lying for the Lord! Again! My question is: do the ends justify the means?  I think religions use narrative to control people at the emotional level where they are most vulnerable. I’m not convinced this is valuable, moral or ethical. I think these quotes are relevant: Anthony Campbell, “One reason why religions have such a strong hold on human societies is that they are based not primarily on intellectual beliefs but on narratives.” “Story-telling accesses the human psyche not at the intellectual but at the emotional level where it is more powerful.” “Religion is primarily a search for security and not a search for truth. Religion is what we so often use to bank the fires of our anxiety. That is why religion tends towards becoming excessive, neurotic, controlling, and even evil. That is why a religious government is always a cruel government. People need to understand that questioning and doubting are healthy, human activities to be encouraged not feared. Certainty is a vice not a virtue. Insecurity is something to be grasped and treasured. A true and healthy religious system will encourage each of these activities. A sick and fearful religious system will seek to remove them.” -Bishop ]ohn Shelby Spong, Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Newark, USA. Gerry Spence said in his book, “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” But sadly this is not the case for most people. https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/perceiving-reality/ Farewell, I bid you adieu. Steve

  21. Kemari says:

    It’s nice to hear you don’t disagree with everything you’ve read here Nate. It’s fine if you believe the way you do. Really! There is mountains of evidence against the church. If it’s the “one true church” at minimum it can withstand a bit of scrutiny right? I really don’t care if you believe the way you do or if you come at Steve. He’s defending himself just fine. He is an amazing person and friend. I truly admire his courage. No question he is rare and an inspiration to many. Let me speak for me. I am simply a human being same as you, same as Steve, same as all of us. Everything is a mystery and what we perceive as reality is relative. I am simply trying to navigate my life the best I can. I am the mother of 5 kids and live Utah county. I didn’t leave the church as a bishop or anything of significance. Let me tell you I was just a numberless sheep in a flock. I lost myself in Mormonism. I was never comfortable or at ease blending in. But I sure tried my hardest. I wanted it. I thought I wanted it all. Indeed I wanted the eternal family. I wanted to see my two sons I’d lost, once again. I wanted the seemingly amazing package of the LDS church. I wanted it more than I even wanted to know my true self. I sold that unique part of myself to be a follower and a true believer. I was in fact depressed and I could never keep up with the ideals and expectations the members were required to have. I know how having faith can be desirable to many. I was never the perfect member. If there was any aspect of the church I knew well it was the area of “repentance”. I developed a personal testimony of what I thought was true. I would have given my life for it. I became a true believing faithful member. What I gained from that was depression, no sense of self, selling myself short of an education I deserved, brainwashing my kids, and donations of tithing money that we needed as a young family that actually contributed to a billion dollar mall we couldn’t shop at. I got zero credible answers to valid questions I had and was flat out lied to. I built my life in and around this church. You can imagine when I came across some issues that the church should have readily answered for me and I was told to repent for questioning instead, I eventually learned the sad truth that the church is a complete fraud. It was heartbreaking. I left kicking and screaming. I was a worthy temple recommend holder as well. I was in a dark place for a long time. Once I finally left the Cave, which is how it truly felt- I was finally able to build my foundation out of the bricks of MY choosing. Most of what Mormonism taught me simply blocked out better options. I love myself now. I am able to make decisions and love and support whoever I want. Like my gay brother. Not just love who I’m told to. I truly feel free. It came with a price, I have experienced shunning from community friends and family. I do not know the absolute truths of life. But I do know without a shadow of a doubt the LDS church is a fraud, it is a cult and does more harm than good. There is no sense in trying to make it work when it is clearly a fantasy. When someone learns of the fraud, there are many ways to handle it. Steve is simply trying to inform members that there is more to their history and it’s worth their time search out. He’s not telling them to leave. When members look and receive zero answers they tend to leave on their own. The members deserve to know their own history. I would be delusional to try to apply faith to my life when I have no need or reason for it. It would take me backwards in my life. Science is filling-in the voids and helping mankind. It is constantly changing and desiring to change. Why? For our benefit. How is religion doing that? They are actively blocking change and telling members not to have doubts and to retain the religions brand of world views. This is unfair and in no way progressive and positive.

    • Nate says:

      Kemari: Thanks for sharing that took courage in and of itself. I’m planning on responding just rushing out the door.
      –You’re a beautiful person.

  22. Nate says:

    Steve, I understand and respect your motives. I am 100% against the cold shoulder many doubting members receive, however don’t confuse doctrine with culture. Let me also ask, what mormon doctrine discourages questioning and doubt? Again, I think you are confusing doctrine with culture. Everything I’ve read not only encourages truth seeking it commands it. It simply warns us not to go it alone because of all the noise. That has been my experience with the sprite, a filter of noise.
    What good is a religion full of members who follow blindly? It will only result in what we see happening now, which was Young’s greatest fear, however the fault does not lie in the doctrine, but individual members.
    We are a terrestrial church trusted with some celestial truth full of imperfect people. The only thing we share in common is hope.

    • Nephi says:

      How about the doctrine of “doubt not, but be believing”, “whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same”? And then a whole bunch of GAs old and new telling us not to question!!!!! When leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When the prophet speaks, the debate is over. Doubt your doubts. There’s plenty more… then it gets overwhelming and the odd coffin dodger pipes up here and there and says… We do appreciate questioning. Sincere questions are not the same as doubts.

      I would say the fault does lie with individual members. Like the founder. The pivotal pioneers. The scandalous ones who have been, NRIP, are and are yet to come. The doctrines are extremely flawed, and only when blind and/or looking at surface presentation, can you see ideologies that seem beneficial. The individuals who have led by example, lead and live by example are bringing it down. Any doctrine that seems delightful and beneficial, when broken down by application via the LDS church (and many other denominations), shows how flawed and destructive it can actually be. It’s a real shame, as many go in to the church, or are brought up in the church with hopes and dreams of a better life now and after via its Doctrines. The reality is the MAJORITY find out it does not.

  23. Crystal says:

    When I hear “the church is perfect, the people are not…” It makes me crazy- when your leaders- who you are not supposed to question, ever, say things like the following, the flaw is NOT only the people, because it creates a church that embraces, and in fact, is convinced that, these are divinely-inspired calls to action:

    The following are all about “apostates.”

    I am an apostate. I am one of the kindest, gentlest, most charitable (in the LDS term) people I know. To have these insults hurled at me by others who should no better hurts deeper than I could ever explain. I feel the way I do because of the history that is not told, and the lies and people who were destroyed. I feel the way I do because of the shady foundation of the claims made by the prophet of the restoration. There are three versions of the “First Vision” and only the last revision includes seeing God the Father and His Son. That is problematic. There are many many problems and those problems have led me to this place- The LDS teachings and history- not Satan… ok, well maybe Satan, but not in the way that those who believe the Sunday School of thought lessons…

    “If there is a despicable character on the face of the earth, it is an apostate from this Church. He is a traitor who has deceived his best friends, betrayed his trust, and forfeited every principle of honor that God placed within him. They are disgraced in their own eyes. There is not much honesty [within] them. They have forfeited their heaven, sold their birthright, and betrayed their friends. [Even Satan despises apostates] That is all I wish to say on that point. Let apostates go. ”

    D&C says: D&C 84:41

    But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.

    “I say, rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath [sic] my bowie knife, and conquer or die [Great commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of feeling, assenting to the declaration.]. Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line, and righteousness to the plummet [Voices, generally, ‘go it, go it.’]. If you say it is right, raise your hands [All hands up.]. Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this, and every good work.”

    – Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 1, p. 83; online

    “Remember: when you see the bitter apostate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness. Do not spread disease germs.”

    – Apostle Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect,” speech given August 1981 at BYU, Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1981

    From the 2007 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith Manual,

    these are the words used to describe apostates in chapter 27:

    “bitter”, “betray”, “temptation”, “proud”, “greedy”, “disobedient”, “haughty”, “pride”, “enemy”, “the sole cause of those very evils [said by Joseph Smith] was most strenuously striving against”, “slander”, “destroy”, “cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God, and sink themselves to hell”, “opposition”, “darkness”, “gratify your own desires”, “careless”, “betray God/priesthood”, “fallen away”, “refuse to obey”, “neglect duty”, “arrogance”, “envy”, “confusion”, “prejudices of the World”, “abuse”, “fail”, “turn against me”, “confusion and discord”, “selfishness”, “foul slander and abuse”, “lose the Spirit”, “persecute members of the Church”, “later fallen into the snares of the wicked one, and have been left destitute of the Spirit of God, to manifest their wickedness in the eyes of multitudes”, “naked and destitute of the Spirit of God”, “he is, in truth, nigh unto cursing, and his end is to be burned”, “Judas-like”, “seek the destruction of their greatest benefactors”, “evil”, “Satan’s followers”, “loved the gain of this present world”, “enemies of truth”, “followed principles of unrighteousness”, “foes”, “vilify”, “seek the downfall and destruction of their friends”, “dissenters”, “libelous”, “darkened in their minds”, “sins, darkness, and unbelief”

    This rhetoric creates a culture of fear and distrust. It BRAINWASHES ITS FOLLOWER TO FEAR OTHERS and PRE-DETERMINES how anyone who leaves will be treated by those who stay “faithful” to the faith- and are describe as in: “harmony”, “love”, “peace”

    • Nate says:

      Crystal,
      if we should condemn every institution known to man based on statements made by their leaders we would have to condemn every one. DNA pioneer Dr. Watson made comments implying Africans were not as intelligent as whites. Does this make his DNA research faulty? It’s the same line of thinking.
      That being said it is important for members to differentiate between opinions and doctrine. For something to be doctrine it needs to be unanimously agreed upon by each member of the quorum of the first presidency and the 12. None of the statements above would be considered doctrine. Personally, I have made covenants to follow the commandments and gospel law not every ignorant statement made by each individual.

      • Nate says:

        It might also help if you understood which definition of apostate most of these statements were referring too.

  24. Oragami says:

    I am new to this blog and so forgive me if I seem to be speaking out of turn. I hold a Ph.D. in psychology and specialize in the psychology of religion and morality. My great great grandfather George Washington Bradley, was called by Brigham Young to settle Manti, Utah, the first community settled outside the Wasatch front. Given my background both personally and academically, I find this blog very insightful and revealing. I also find the comment thread compelling. Here is my perspective.

    The Mormon church is founded upon a story that on it’s face, is absurd. That does not mean that no one should believe it. We are all prone to believing absurdities. However, Nate, your perspectives regarding the differences between faith and delusion and between faith and science are shallow and naive. Science and faith are nearly mutually exclusive ways of knowing. One is solidly grounded in empiricism and the other is grounded in intuition and authority. Science is in a position to test some (though certainly not all) religious truth claims. Science can and does effectively explain the origin of man. Science can and does explain both the origins and the mechanisms of morality. Science effectively challenges many of the claims made in the book of Mormon. Now, in each case, the knowledge provided by science directly contradicts the claims of the religious. So, it seems to me one must made a choice.

    You may choose to believe despite what science has discovered about reality. You may think that to do so simply requires faith. You would be wrong. Continuing to believe in the absence of supporting evidence is faith. Continuing to believe in the face of compelling scientific evidence that contradicts faith claims? Well that is defined as delusion. I am not suggesting that Mormons are all delusional. Some are, and they tend to hold on to their TBM status indefinitely. Our minds are incredibly flexible and provide us with all manner of rationalizing capabilities, defense mechanisms, and cognitive bases so that we may believe as if ignorant of the truth and it’s implications. What is the motive behind this clinging to our delusion? The primary threat is an existential one. Many people who walk up to the cliff of reality feel that if they walk over the edge and embrace reality, they will lose the deluded but relatively comfortable peace of mind they often enjoy. Difficult questions arise at the precipice: Who will I be without the bubble of delusion surrounding me? How will others react to me if I embrace reality? Anticipating the answers to these questions brings great anxiety. One may reduce this anxiety in any number of ways.

    Perhaps you argue that science is a form of faith and is thus no better. Suggest that the inquiry and answers provided by scientists like myself are flawed, fabricated, or at the very least, of the adversary. The apologetic tactics seem almost endless at times. This is apologetics in the service of intellectual dishonesty.

    Science trumps religion because it is a better way of knowing. It is a closer approximation of reality than anything we have access to. Given all of this, let me conclude by saying that the only way I think that Mormonism survives is if it begins to adapt much more quickly to changing social realities (science + social progress + growing chorus of disaffected Mormons who have a voice). In this day and age, people need more than a mythology to find peace in this complex world. Letting go of religion, and developing a personal and social conscience detached from religious dogma is quite liberating. Morality breaks free from the chains of Biblical hypocrisy. Clarity regarding the path forward develops as we spend more time quietly contemplating our true nature and understanding reality. The time we spend endlessly pursuing arcane rules, rituals, and formal religious indoctrination, we may now allocate to contemplative practices and study that more effectively promotes the very good religion so often fails to deliver. More importantly, we may pursue this path with self-compassion, loving-kindness, and humility rather than being self-obsessed with shame, guilt, rewards and punishment, inter-group conflict and violence, and so many other evils promoted by religion.

    May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

    John

    • That, John, is the most comprehensive and well structured explanation I have seen in a very long time. There is no argument – fact trumps faith (science trumps religious notions). There is nothing else to discuss. Jim Whitefield ~ author of ‘The Mormon Delusion’ series.

    • Nate says:

      Oragami,
      I do understand you point of view, my point is I can take most any scientific hypothesis you could provide me and find you others that are conflicting or contradictory. For example does light travel through particles or waves? There are a number of books written by people that are much brighter than I who have shown that the further science progresses the closer it comes to aligning itself with the gospel. The brightest scientific minds in the world will tell you there is very little absolute truth known by man. They have also said (I’m to lazy now to find the quotes but you know how to do a google search to find them if you want) the further we progress in science the more we comprehend how little we understand.
      To use the argument that religious people are nieve based on scientific “facts” is an ignorant statement. There are members of this church and other religions with far more education than you I.
      That being said, I’m not here to try and show proof of my beliefs that would be imposable, but to argue that neither can you show proof that my beliefs are false. We are all working of faith.

      • Frank Lake says:

        Oh Jesus. You really think “the further science progresses the closer it comes to aligning itself with the gospel?”

        We can show with reasonable certainty that the universe is not eternal. It had a beginning and an end. We can show the universe is expanding.Sorry Book of Abraham.

        We can show the sun’s light is not borrowed from Kolob. Sorry Facsimilies and BoA.

        We can show how and when the Earth formed and it wasn’t smooched (organized) together 6,000 years ago. Sorry D&C 77, Genesis, Moses, and BoA.

        We can show there was death before the mythical fall of Adam 6,000 years ago. Sorry 2 Nephi.

        We can show there wasn’t a global flood. Sorry Genesis, Ether, and more.

        We can show the origins of Egypt are not as claimed in Genesis and BoA.

        We can show the Tower of Babel is myth. Sorry Genesis and the Jaredites.

        We have traced the DNA of the native Americans. Sorry Lehi; you’re made up.

        We learned ancient Egyptian and shown the translations Joseph made are balogna.

        We can show that the sun can’t be made to stand still in the sky without killing practically all life on Earth or having it go unnoticed by the rest of civilization. Sorry Joshua(?).

        Egads.

      • Mark says:

        Nate,
        Nice summary of the old “science is changing, everything changes and what do we really *know* anyway?” Not to be rude but to quote A Princess Bride, “I don’t think that word (science) means what you think it does”. Scientific evidence is like a scale, the more evidence one has for something the more true or accepted it becomes. Can we absolutely prove gravity? Not really, but the evidence is kinda overwhelming. Unlike Religion, Science is unafraid and even welcomes correction. The evidence is mounting against most of the claims of Mormonism. Sorry, it does suck at first but in the end it is better to find out and deal with the reality.

  25. Nate says:

    I can appreciate the agnostic point of view. Because the agnostic point of view will look at each argument objectively, but I tier of all who claim they know. It’s useless for me to continue to debate each “fact” of the nonbelievers. In the end, whether we consider the whole a product of impersonal cosmic forces, a malevolent deity, or benevolent God depends not on the evidence, but on what we choose deliberately and consciously to conclude from that evidence.
    As Steve says, farewell I bid you adieu…I love that:)
    Steve–you also have claim to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, and Dr. who, that make you okay in my book!

  26. Dax Kelson says:

    Nate, the assertion you and others have made is that conflicts between science and religion are an illusion, that once both areas have progressed in light and knowledge they won’t be in conflict.

    Contradictions between science and religion are interesting. Religion used to have much to say about the natural world, cosmology, chemistry, physics, biology, etc. As falsifiable claims fell, one after another, as scientific knowledge advanced, some religions have completely scrubbed, altered or reinterpreted their doctrine into unfalsifiable claims.

    There are ~41,000 different Christian sects, dozens of sects of Islam, and Judaism who believe in the Old Testament. How many of these sects require a belief in a literal global immersive flood ~4,300 years ago? How about the Tower of Babel?

    Regarding the Tower of Babel, most of the OT adherents can comfortably relegate the Tower of Babel to metaphor and allegory without doing too much damage to core beliefs. Mormonism, on the other hand, ties critical doctrine and beliefs to a literal Tower of Babel in a very narrow time band as illustrated in the following Ensign article:

    “Because of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints have additional knowledge that confirms the reality of these world-changing historical events.

    For some in the modern world, the historicity of the tower of Babel story, as with the Flood, is often discounted. One modern school of thought considers the account to be nothing more than an “artful parable” and an “old tale.” 11 But Latter-day Saints accept the story as it is presented in Genesis. Further, we have the second witness of the Book of Mormon. The title page of the Book of Mormon explains that the book of Ether “is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven.” The book of Ether itself then tells of when “Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth” (Ether 1:33).” – The Flood and the Tower of Babel – Ensign Jan. 1998

    Ether 1:6-33 lists the generations from Jared (who left the Tower) to the last Jaredite, and there are only 28 generations. The last surviving Jaredite (see Omni 1:21) was still alive some time after the Mulekites’ arrival in America about 600 B.C. To account for 28 generations between 2200 B.C. and ca. 600 B.C., the average generation would already have to be 60 years apart. To make the “confusion of tongues” a thousand years (or more) earlier (to account for the Chinese, Egyptians and Sumerians of ca. 4000 B.C.), every Jaredite father listed in the genealogy, over 28 generations, would have had to be over 120 years old before fathering his oldest child.

    Mormonism also requires a belief in Noah’s Flood. You see a consistent message from Joseph Smith and subsequent Apostles and Prophets right straight through to the present day folks like Gordon B Hinckley, Oaks and Holland, etc. The Flood was a literal, global event, that covered the entire earth, and it was required for the baptism of the Earth. The Tower of Babel was a literal, actual event, which is required for the historicity of the Book of the Mormon.

    Can you be a Mormon and believe differently from your leaders? Can you believe in a metaphorical flood or tower?

    Not according to the leaders, and Mormons are specifically asked if their beliefs and practices are in harmony with the leaders.

    From: https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-9-prophets-of-god

    “We should follow his inspired teachings completely. We should not choose to follow part of his inspired counsel and discard that which is unpleasant or difficult.

    We should do those things the prophets tell us to do. President Wilford Woodruff said that a prophet will never be allowed to lead the Church astray:

    ‘The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place’ – Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], p 199”

    Also, lots of other teachings agree with the above:

    “My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he tells you to do something wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.” – Prophet Heber J. Grant, as quoted by Apostle Marion G. Romney in “The Covenant of the Priesthood,” Ensign, July 1972, p. 98.

    “When the Prophet speaks the debate is over” – N. Eldon Tanner, Aug Ensign 1979, p. 2-3

    “Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.” -from Ezra Taft Benson’s famous “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” talk. Also see points 1, 4, 5, 9 and others: https://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet

    “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture.” – Prophet Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, 13:95.)

    “Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
    Follow the prophet, don’t go astray.
    Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
    Follow the prophet he knows the way.”
    http://www.lds.org/music/library/childrens-songbook/follow-the-prophet

    Some Mormons claim, “One nice thing about our religion is that each one of us can have the motive, opportunity, and means to find out for ourselves what is true.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I imagine the method being referred to is talking about is a person praying to receive a personal revelation and witness of the truthfulness of what the LDS leaders are teaching?

    Is this not the same method that the leaders use to come up with what to teach in General Conference in the first place?

    Please help me with the logic. Are you saying that when leaders use the spirit and revelation to know what to teach (often multiple leaders spanning many decades) they could be wrong. Then a person can use the same spirit and revelation to accurately know when they are wrong. In other words, they can be fallible in using the method, but when a person double checks the leader’s teachings, that person will be infallible in using the method? How is that not just trading one infallibility for another?

    • Nate says:

      Dax:
      Haven’t heard, archeologists have found Noah’s arc;)
      When the BOM first came out someone put together a list of 60 anomalies to prove it was false. By the time Smith died science had shown proof of 13% of the list, in 2005 science has shown proof of 56% of the list. Just because science has not advanced enough to prove something doesn’t make it false.

      • Nate says:

        Besides I’m open to the fable theory. Not everything that came out of Smith’s mouth was doctrine.

      • Dax Kelson says:

        So you believe then a literal “confounding of the tongues” within a narrow time band (as mandated by the BoM) and an immersive Global Flood?

        You believe that the Jaradites traveled to the Americas in a wooden submarines, With about 100 people and animals included “both male and female of every kind” including, elephants, cureloms, cumons (large elephant like creatures otherwise unknown) swarms of bees, horses, asses, cows, goats, fowls of the air, fish, swine, and “flocks” and “herds” of animals?

        The boats had no means of propulsion. They were “344 days” upon the water. They spent a significant amount of time underwater, and whales and other “monsters of the sea” attacked them, but no harm could befall them. “Many times” the eight vessels were “buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind” (Ether Chapter 6 verses 5-11.)

        How much food do you think you would need for a journey of 344 days? “An adult elephant in the wild will eat in the region of 100 to 200 Kg (220 to 440 lb.) of vegetation per day,” according to African Elephant Specialist Group (AFESG). A male and female elephant would consume at minimum of 152,000 lbs of food in 344 days! If the Jaredites could pack hay as tight as modern farmers do (an impossible feat), this would be 75 one-ton bales of hay! Two goats: 4,000 lbs of hay. Two horses: 14,000 lbs, of hay. Two cows 14,000 lbs of hay. Two asses: 12,000 lbs of hay. Two swine: 10,000 lbs of grain, grass, and roots. Bees: they could not survive one year in a barge and would die. Two Curloms and two cumons: estimated 200,000 lbs of hay. And of course, they had “herds” of these animals. The space required to bring for the food for these animals would require more space than 8000 barges could fill. And where did they get all this food, the local granary?

        It is easy to see that this is an impossible story. No amount of “scientific advancement” makes this story more plausible. Mormonism requires you believe this as an actual literal event.

  27. Nate, I think the simplest answer to your distinction between “gospel” and “culture” is from Matthew 7:16-20, which is summed up in v. 20, “by their fruits you will know them.” LDS culture is the church’s fruit. The behavior, attitudes, assumptions, faults, difficulties, struggles, misconceptions, prejudices, and everything else that constitutes LDS culture is a fruit of of the LDS doctrine, if not as found explicitly in LDS scripture, than as preached from the pulpits in general conference and sacrament meeting, and taught in Sunday school, priesthood and Relief Society classes and in leadership meetings.

    If there are problems in LDS culture, we need to look to the “tree” of the teachings the members are raised on and ask whether it is a good tree or a bad one.

  28. Nate says:

    Nope, just your interpretation.

  29. Nate says:

    For your theory to hold true every member of the church would have to be living the gospel principals perfectly. When that happens we’ll have created Zion then you will see the truth in your theory. Plus, the scriptures also say trials are blessings:)

    • That’s not what I’m saying at all. My “theory” as you call it has nothing to do whatsoever with individual members. You’re setting up a straw man. Careful of that.

      I’m saying the overall culture is a product of the doctrine. I’m not talking about individual members – who are, we all know, imperfect beings. But if Steven’s criticisms are valid criticisms of Mormon culture (which is what you seem to be acknowledging in your previous comment about culture), then you need to ask yourself where, that culture comes from. My point is simply that the culture is a fruit of the doctrine. It doesn’t grow in a vacuum.

  30. Nate says:

    Dax:
    That craks me up, I was just talking with my wife last night about topices that are far more difficult to explain and you just nailed some of them. I don’t have all the answers. I haven’t studied many of those exclusively enough to form a valid opinion.
    1-I be leave in maricales
    2-like I said earlier I’m not opposed to the fable theory
    3-I don’t need absolute proof and understanding to form a belief.
    4-science has many beliefs they have no proof or explanations for.
    5-it’s a position of ignorance to write off everything we can’t explain. Can you show me proof of love? Science shows we can create the same feelings by eating large amounts of chocolate.

  31. Jean Bodie says:

    I can explain it to you Nate, but I can’t understand it for you.
    What is ‘the church’?
    It is the sum total of its parts – leaders are at the top because they ‘explain’ the scriptures and the way we are to understand them, such as the great example above regarding the great flood being literal to LDS teachings.
    Who are the leaders?
    Ordinary men who make extraordinary claims to the members.
    Who are the members?
    They are the obedient sheep whose culture IS that sum total.
    A Muslim woman who covers her entire body does so because she has been cultured to believe she should and is afraid to do otherwise.
    Mormons are no different than members of any other organization/church.
    The Mormon culture states that obedience is the first law of the gospel. The very fact that people removed earrings when they heard the talk about women wearing one modest pair and men not wearing them at all speaks volumes about cultural obedience.
    I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

  32. Lance says:

    Nate after reading your comments here I feel like you’re almost an apostate yourself. You are avowing beliefs that I believe most of the membership of the church would not agree with. Particularly how you so easily dismiss the leadership of the church, the “prophets, seers and revelators”, and their teachings. Have you ever read President Benson’s talk “The 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet”? Specifically steps 4 (about how the prophet will never lead the church astray) and 6 (the prophet doesn’t have to say “Thus Saith the Lord” to give us scripture)? Here is the link to LDS.org https://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng. It goes into great details to dismiss your belief that doctrine and opinions from church leaders are somehow separate and exclusive from each other. For example, “Sometimes there are those who argue about words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obliged to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&C 21:4.)”. Also, “Said Brigham Young, “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture.” (Journal of Discourses, 13:95.)”.

    It seems to me like you have a lot of cognitive dissonance going on with your beliefs and are trying to make things work the best you can.

  33. Nate says:

    Trust me,
    I have done enough studding I could build patterns of evidence to make the strongest believer question his faith. However, I could also build patterns of evidence to make a strong disbeliever question his disbelief. In the end I’ve come to the conclusion that all the evidences cancel each other out. I decided that building beliefs and ideals on evidence is too fallible. In the end it was simply a prideful pursuit. I have absolutely no solid evidence to back up my beliefs simply how I have chosen to arrange my patterns.
    Regardless how I choose to arrange them no final conclusion could be explained or proven beyond any doubt, so why try?

  34. Nate says:

    haha studding…I’ve done that too.

  35. SteveBloor says:

    Dear Nate, though I respect you as a believer, your Mormon beliefs themselves are not worthy of respect, any more than your willingness to poke yourself in the eye with a pencil? Don’t for a second confuse respect for the individual with respect for any beliefs they may hold. Ideas do not deserve respect. Even though some people may cherish those beliefs, the beliefs themselves do not deserve respect from anyone. For those who are offended by mocking the Church in some ways I say it deserves to be mocked. In fact in far greater ways even than this. Far too long have religions in general, but particularly cultic ones like Mormonism, been given undue respect. It’s that undue respect which often keeps people from really seeing how stupid they’ve been. Just because someone, or even a group of people in an organisation, regard their particular beliefs as sacred, does not mean those ideas suddenly take on a form of credibility and require respectful consideration. Lest we forget, Mormonism is a belief system built on a lie. A big fat criminal fraud. It’s founder and co-conspirators have knowingly destroyed many people’s lives from day one right through to this day. Some ideas & beliefs are so abhorrent they damage the way people think. Mormonism is: Unreasonable Intolerant Outlandish Preposterous A fraud And dangerous to the rational mind. Polite debate and respectful dialogue are wasted on Mormonism. Although I’ve got no special desire to offend anyone, let’s be honest, if you’re talking about Mormonism and you’re not offending people, then you’re not talking about Mormonism which I believe has shown itself to be completely unworthy as a conduit to higher understanding, because it makes no attempt to understand anything. It already has all the answers, and not a single one supported by evidence. Nate, with all sincerity may I thank you for being a good sport and debating with us on my blog. But I think you’re just embarrassing yourself now in front of a huge audience. Better stop whilst you can retain a little credibility. I hope you come to realise like many of us already have that we were part of a delusional cult which used us like cash cows to fill its coffers and really doesn’t care how it damages those who are sacrificed for it. I only wish you well. Please come back when you can truly claim to be doxasticly open and willing to follow truth no matter how much it costs. Belief in a lie is a damnable false hope. Farewell. Steve

    • Nate says:

      Steve, I’m sorry that has been your perceived reality of the church.
      We can both agree that belief in a lie is a damnable false hope.

  36. gschwanke says:

    Steve, thank you very much for sharing this.

    Much of your message resonated with me. Would that I had an opportunity to speak in Sacrament before resigning! I can imagine how emotive that must have been…

    Incidentally, I recently posted about my own experience “coming out of the cave”:

    http://diythinking.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/return-report-on-scrupulosity-and-my-disaffection-with-mormonism-a-brief-epistemic-epic-of-my-journey-from-faith-to-reason/

    Thanks again, Steve. It is good to be free, isn’t it!

  37. Matt says:

    Wow. I like Plato, but somehow I’d never heard that analogy. That hit home hard because it’s how I felt when I lost my belief in the church. It was a very involuntary thing and the following couple years were some of the hardest in my life as had to rebuild my entire belief system piece by piece and re-evaluate every moral belief I had. It was not pleasant, nor would I wish it on anyone.

    The unfortunate thing is that when people leave a religion especially ones that have substantial evidence against them (scientology, FLDS whatever, pick your favorite that you know is cuckoo, ) ot only are they looked down on and shunned/shamed, but if they make any attempts to go back and help their loved ones, they are treated quite poorly, as Nate’s demonstrates for us. Just as Mormons want to share the gospel because they want to save everyone, those of us who have come to realize that the church isn’t true don’t want our families and loved ones to be shackled to false beliefs.

    I used to think that if even if the church wasn’t true that I would still be glad I had been in the church because everything it taught was good (wow, was I brainwashed). I also thought that I wouldn’t have anything to live for if this short life is all we had to live instead of Exaltation.

    What I found instead was that I just didn’t know any better and had been brainwashed into really messed up beliefs. Before losing my faith, I was less attentive as a parent. Yeah, I know, it sounds totally counter-intuitive, right? But you know what? When you have a whole eternity with your family in the next life, there are a lot of things you can put off. I have an uncle who is fighting with his daughter. He said in passing once how it was too bad, but they would probably work it out in the next life. But wait! What if there isn’t another life? What if this measly little life is all I have? What? I’m 40 years old. My life is half over. If I’m lucky, I’ll live to age 80, but I spent the first half of my life with a major focus dedicated to a religion that had told me for so long that this world was the illusion, that I almost dreamed away my whole life. The best years of my life. I’m not sure if I’ve really lived, because this life really isn’t what I thought it was. There might be a life after this, I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s very likely. And I only have half of it left.

    Now i suddenly feel mortality like I’ve never felt it before. I never understood before, but much of the passion in life comes from the knowledge that some day you are going to die. Your life is a crap shoot that could get winked out forever and those family waiting on the other side of the light may fade out as a DMT induced illusion as your consciousness winks out. Yes, it’s scary, and I didn’t choose it or want it, but the truth is more important to me than any lie, no matter how pleasant, so this was where I ended up. The knowledge that I will die makes me really treasure the time I have. I don’t take for granted my time

    Here is what I think is really sad. Most of us who have left the church understand so well. We’ve been where you’ve been. We’ve promised ourselves that we would stay valiant and never stray. There is nothing that you can tell us that would really make much difference because we spent a lot of time on that side of the fence. I used the same arguments and fought the good fight. If I could peek in your mind and see things through your eyes, it might teach us a couple interesting tidbits, but not really change our views. If you could see through many of our eyes though, I don’t think your world view would ever recover.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Matt,

      I’m thrilled that you enjoyed reading my story.

      So much of your experience and insight echoes my own. You have a wonderful way of articulating your thoughts.

      I would love to use your comments in a blog. Crediting you of course.

      Would that be okay?

      You can email me at bloorsteve@gmail.com if you’d rather speak privately.

      Kindest regards,
      Steve

    • Lydia says:

      .Matt
      Your 4th paragraph summed up what I have been trying to put into my own words as I head to a significant birthday, having been exiting the church for just over a year.
      Thank you

  38. Kemari says:

    Matt that was absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing. I feel the exact same way. Wow.

  39. Nate said “1-Science is awesome; I love science and all the benefits it has given us. I’m simply pointing out that it’s no less fallible than faith”
    Science is far less fallible than faith. For proof, try calling your sister in another state via prayer, and then try it via cell phone, note which one works the most effectively.

  40. Robin Bishop says:

    Good to see your exit plan now that it is over. Exited has happen and is passed. It is over, kaput. Just as in your childish years, then your adolescent years, you are not ex-child or ex-adolescent now. You are not in Never-Never-land. One hopes soon you can emerge into something worth writing about, because none of us celebrate being ex-anything. It just isn’t healthy to imagine yourself some kind of survivor of something you lived on your own terms or chose to not direct yourself autonomously. For as long as this manifesto posted as a primary read, you have not chosen to emerge to a meaningful, forward motivated life.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Robin,

      Thanks for your comment and expression of concern.

      I agree I’ve not yet left Mormonism completely. There are many reasons for this, not least that 50 of our extended family are still fully committed members. Though the emotion of anger at being deceived has left now, I remain determined to use my unexpected notoriety as an apostate resigned bishop to raise awareness worldwide of the issues around Mormonism in order to reach out to those who are questioning or are non-believers whilst being trapped in the Church by their relationships or Church callings.

      I do this in order to offer hope and courage for these members to move forward in their transition out of the Church.

      Personally I have several hobbies and service projects besides my family.

      I coordinate a local Health Walk Group, Advice and work as a volunteer with the National Trust and help on town CPR training committees, as well as running a full time podiatry clinic and occasional national and international professional lecturing.

      I love photography and exploring the natural environment of the Cornish coastline. As well as trying to keep fit.

      Life is challenging yet wonderful.

      Here is a link to my thoughts on the subject you raise:
      https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/why-are-ex-mormons-still-interested-in-mormonism/

      Best wishes,
      Steve

  41. Zen says:

    A phone call? Oh the wisdom of the foolish. Tell that to my 12 year old, who when the phone lines were down after Hurricane Katrina and he was suffering by a piece of sheet metal that severed part of his neck. Your phone lines were down. It was faith and fathers blessing that saved his life. When Red Cross finally found him they asked, “How is this boy still alive? He should be dead.” Thank you but I’ll choose faith!

  42. Robert Bridgstock says:

    I’ve said this before but would like to repeat it again… I have loved (yet suffered) Mormonism from 18 years of age–as a Golden and highly motivated convert–till the age of 60, when I was excommunicated.
    I had most of the usual callings through my life, as well as that of Bishop and Branch President in different locations. The idea that one cannot use ‘rational thought’ alone, to begin to ascertain the truth of LDS claims is madness. I have spent a lifetime in sacred prayer. On odd occasions I have related experiences of spiritual awareness, gratitude, love and praise, to members in church classes, where we have been asked to share some personal experiences with God… and generally speaking, I have observed a very low threshold of real spirituality within the majority of LDS members. That sense of being ‘Born Again’ or ‘a Kingdom Within,’ as spoken by Christ (and Alma) has always been sadly lacking. This is not to suggest that LDS members were not devout in their own right or wonderful people – I was no better, in any shape or form. I am simply trying to say that I have lived under the ‘spirit’ of the church/God/the Holy Ghost all of my life and have analysed my emotions and sentiments till I was blue in the face. I have loved and adored LDS scripture and have wrestled with God to be pure and holy; I have struggled with feelings and emotions in the spirit; have fasted and prayed; begged and pleaded to be sustained in my testimony; have exhausted my life trying to understand why there was a constant invisible strain of instinct that I could not even put a name to, which was telling me something was wrong – something was not right? It has taken me all my life and enough tears of both joy and sadness and of unbelievable closeness to God… enough to say: I KNOW about spirituality! And yet, I’ve come to see things as Steve has explained them and agree with his analysis.
    EXPERIENCE has taught me that seeking the spirit to ascertain the original truth claims of Mormonism and its unfolding history, is the most absurd and inappropriate method available. Clearly, it is advocated by the Church (whilst giving lip service to rational considerations) because it works subjectively upon the individual. The methods employed by missionaries to teach and help people discover the truth of what they claim, are short-circuited, cheap, inadequate and manipulative. They work for that reason, yet are a sorry cry from a much more honest approach… which, I might add, would have the following result – no one would join.
    The idea that the Church, as an institution, has always had the full truth written in its history and it has always been there for us to probe… if we wanted to take the trouble, is strictly speaking, true. But the suggestion that the Church has had, and still has, this motivation and ‘regard’ for such open access to truth, is a total lie and utterly false. It has NEVER cared about truth – only its very own ‘prejudiced,’ protective version of truth. As an 18 year old living in England during 1964, there were no computers – let-alone Google. No missionary or visiting GA ever told me about the REAL truth of Mormonism. No teaching manual or conference speaker explained it to me. If here in 2014 we had not yet invented the computer, would anyone seriously suggest the Church would be disseminating statements and giving tacit acknowledgement to very difficult and provocative issues? No, it would not. Despite the crying voice of some dissident LDS historians, who have been excommunicated (who I never knew about either because they was no internet) for conveying such truths previously untaught and unknown to the rest of us, we, ourselves, would all still be held in the LDS Dark Ages! Just as in the same way – if Black prejudice had still been strong in the Western society of 1978, they would not have been given the priesthood.
    Even the biblical verse (1Cor 2:14) “But the Natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God . . . . because they are spiritually discerned,” suffers from the same pitfall of trusting on emotions and feelings too heavily. For all its rhetoric of ‘thinking things through’ the Church has absolutely no interest in your ‘thinking’ whatsoever. It is top-heavy and overdosed on relying on ‘feelings’ from prayer. Common sense – not emotionally subjective self serving delusions, derived by pure feeling, are required to ascertain the character of men who purport to speak for God (in what is a pretty suspicious set of circumstances anyway)
    Shame on a lying and false Church that has deliberately withheld and suppressed our deeper research into its own history and teachings and has brought a terrible stigma upon those who have, and still seek, to have questions answered.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Robert, I love the way you explain your experiences, insights and reasoning.

      I too felt ‘spiritual’ feelings. With a power beyond explanation at the time.

      I am now terribly disappointed that the Church I loved twisted my normal, natural emotions into a form of proof of its truthfulness in a cynically manipulative manner. When actually those feelings were not unique to the Church experience, but a wonderfully beautiful aspect of being human.

      I experience those same inspiring, uplifting, peaceful feelings now as a Secular Humanist, but understand them more deeply and thoroughly as an integral part of my nature.

      Thank you for sharing your cherished insights.

      Kindest regards,
      Steve

  43. Pingback: My Reasons For Supporting Tom Phillips in His Fraud Case Against President Thomas S Monson | Steve Bloor's Blog

  44. Patrick says:

    Very Interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Ashley says:

    It’s been 3 months since I last attended church. I converted 6 years ago at the age of 23 and have been a faithful member all these years. In February I stumbled across an obscure comment on Facebook about the Book of Abraham really being common funerary scrolls and had nothing to do with Abraham! This poster also said that the scrolls were not lost but actually located at BYU. I thought there was no way the church owned the scrolls because if they did they could just show them to everyone and have them translated and it would be absolute proof of the church. I quickly googled Book of Abraham scrolls and all sorts of information refuting Jospeh Smith’s translation came up. I learned that the church does own the scrolls and several Egyptologists have indeed translated the scrolls and they have nothing to do with God or Abraham. I was floored! I felt sick. Clicking on links eventually brought me to Mormon Think and I learned more than I could ever have imagined! I spent the next 3 weeks so angry at the church and it’s’ leaders and especially Joseph Smith. What a brilliant con man he was! The feelings of anger shifted into embarrassment and shame that I had ever believed something so stupid and baseless. I am inactive nowadays no on the so called no contact list. My husband is happy to no longer attend church and has said he really has never had a testimony and only went on his mission to please his parents. My daughter is only 1 so we dodged a bullet there. My family are not members so they are ecstatic to “have me back.” Mormonism came between us- we had both spent years praying the other one would eventually see the truth. My in laws are very Mormon and they do not know my level of disaffection. I would like to resign soon because I don’t want my name counted towards their numbers. Thanks for this article. It helps tremendously to read the stories of other people who discovered the truth about the LDS church.

  46. Eleanor says:

    I left when I turned 16, thought I didn’t truly get to leave until I moved out of the family home at 21. I was born Mormon to converts that joined in the 70’s. Throughout my life, I have always been questioning practices within the Church, basics like, Noah, Dinosaurs and Space. I was brought up to believe that if I’m good, then when I die, I can make my own world, and rule my own legions of whatever I’m imaginative enough to create. This ideology was recently been retracted from Mormon teachings.

    My mother played a huge role in keeping the family active with strong testimonies. I remember turning 8, and due to my mothers very controlling nature, I was naturally defiant to her whimsical desires. As punishment for wanting to have a voice, I was not allowed to be baptised, and was paraded around as a sinner. The Bishop forced her when I turned 9 to be baptised, something that I had voiced an objection to for a few months, as if baptism can be withheld by a singular person with spiteful motives, then baptism is not an act of God. I realised early on that not all people within the Church are good, after being molested at 2 years old by a american missionary, again at 8 by a teenage son of a family friend and once again at 10, by another family friends son, situations that my mother was either unobservant to the effects of, or blindly turned an eye to. Surely, if this were Gods one and true Church, and I was a Daughter of God, then I was protected and this should not be able to happen, especially when the perpetrators were also Gods followers. With these thoughts firmly planted in me from my experiences, going into Beehives at the age of 12 where we learnt that our bodies are temples, and that it is sinful and dirty to be touched before marriage, regardless of circumstance, made me despair. At 12 years old, I was depressed from guilt and shame, caused by the Church and it’s members.

    I also remember, despite living in abject poverty, being forced to pay tithes. As a 9 year old and in a family with 4 children, with a stay at home mum, we lived month to month. I had no pocket money, ever, so logically, 10% of 0 is 0 and therefore I shouldn’t and couldn’t pay. My parents did, however, and all 4 of us children went without basics for them to do so. I expressed this concern in class one Sunday, and I was ridiculed and told that I was not a faithful servant of God, as I did not pay my own tithe, and that I put material things such as shampoo before the immortality of my soul.

    I decided to ‘leave’ at 16, after a little research (It really was a small amount, as in my heart of hearts, I was unhappy, and knew that wasn’t the right feeling for a Church to give me). I found enough contradictory information and falsified knowledge to make me feel that it was a lie. For those 5 years between 16 and 21, day to day life was insufferable, as each of my 3 brothers, my mother and whenever my Dad was home from working abroad, went to Church together, and spoke about it at home. My mother would often threaten me with excommunication (though she had no power or authority to do so) and invite over missionaries to try to arrange a ‘match’, as though dangling a handsome man in front of me, regardless of their feelings, my mistrust of missionaries and despite me being in a steady relationship that lasted those said 5 years, would bring me back to Church. I was signed up for the Ensign, and various other Church material. My brothers and their girlfriends would often bring home literature for me to read, passionately bear their testimonies within the family room with no prompting or try and provoke arguments about the reasons as to why I chose to become inactive, despite me expressing a desire not to be involved, to please respect my feelings. I was chastised regularly and was the “Shame of the Family” I would also be bribed with childish things by my brothers and mother, “If you don’t go to that concert, I’ll take you up Blackpool Tower!”, “I’ll buy you that dress for prom if you come to General Conference with me”…The only person that respected my wish to be left alone was my father and a single other family (who’s daughters befriended me and I still hold dear now), who realised that the Church and it’s well meaning, though often very aggressive members were causing me mental harm, that manifested into physical pains.

    Home teachers would always visit unannounced, then be offended when I turned them away. I should of been grateful that they took the time, and that I was being rude and dismissive, despite always inviting them in for a drink, but letting them know I really didn’t want a Church Discussion. I was often forced into discussion anyway, as I had no where else to live and my mother made sure I knew it. In my mind, I was not a member of the church, and the visiting teachers never expressed a desire to know me until I left, I felt like a temporary ornament to them. The Young Women also suddenly expressed a desire to know me, and I was invited specifically to activities and dances, despite me asking nicely to please, be left alone and let me heal. Whenever I declined, I was told that it was a “shame that Satan has won this round”,”It’s a shame you’ve lost your way” or “What have you got to heal from? You’ve been through nothing and the Church is the Word of God”. No regard was ever given to the fact that I was not sinful, I was not weak, I knew exactly where I was headed and/or that I was simply unhappy. In all logical arguments, if you’re unhappy, you should refrain from participating in the activity that makes you so sad.

    The Church preyed upon my families hardships, specifically to lure me back in. My most memorable moment was when my Father was kidnapped in Nigeria back in January 2010 and marched through the bushland, for 8 days we weren’t sure if we’d get him back, and for 8 days, we had members knocking at our door, and inviting themselves up to my bedroom to bear their testimonies, leave me scriptures and tempt me back to sacrament meetings with phrases like “The holy Spirit will comfort you in your time of need” and “Lucifer is doing this to you, come back to Church and your hardships will cease”. As soon as Dad was safe home, they stopped pushing me, but preyed upon Dad, who had PTSS & Stockholm Syndrome. They said his ordeal was due to his dwindling faith and mine. That if he trusted in God, God would of told him to choose a different route to work that day.

    Leaving the Church was a very anxious period in my life. I had no friends outside the Church, (excepting a boyfriend that was partially my desire to have one and partially a huge rebellious act) as mingling outside wasn’t encouraged by my parents or peers. I was lead to believe that people outside the Church were sinful, would gossip and were hateful. Upon leaving, I realised the gossiping and hateful people were actually inside the Church. It is after all, a very small community, and boredom breeds, well, whatever the mind can manifest.

    Since moving out, I’ve slowly started to heal by surrounding myself with reasonable people. I’ve spent the last 5 years (i’m 26 now) on and off searching for literature from ex-mormons, to help me come to terms with my own feelings of guilt, as I upset my family greatly by leaving. However I’ve never forgiven them for the outcast they made me, or the members of specifically my final ward (we were members of two Wards and one Branch due to moving around the country) for the pure hatred they offered whenever I declined their olive branches and preying upon traumatic experiences. Ironically, slowly but surely, since I turned 21 and left the family home, my brothers have started leaving, despite one being a return missionary, one being on the bishopric and another was preparing for his mission. My father left as soon as I left the home and my mother still holds on, but only when it suits her to.

    I’ve found a lot of ex-mormon literature, but in my experience a lot of it seems so very hateful, instead of precise and educated, and that is not what I need to read. Your article made me feel like a reasonable person. Wanting to leave the situation I was born into, from my perspective, seems less of a catastrophic slight on my family. I’ve dealt with awful feelings for so long, and I’ve constantly had the feeling of ‘What If’. you know, the ‘What if it’s real, what if God is watching me, is he disappointed?’ feeling. It’s hard to explain, but it’s unpleasant and emotionally crippling. I feel that the Church does more damage to people than good, and I fully confess that I am terribly broken, but this is due to the experiences and teachings of the Church as well as the insensitive and hateful members and the acts of my mother, influenced by her mental state and her understanding of Church Doctrine. I should also like to point out, that at any point a member of the Church could of corrected her behaviour, or at least called my mother out as she was a very public person, but they did not. Thus condoning her behaviour and her teachings.

    Thank you Steve. Your article has helped in ways that I cannot convey.

  47. Steve,
    Thanks for sharing your soul here and using such plain common sense to describe your transition out.

  48. John says:

    I’m not here to judge Anyone. But there is DNA, Archiological and Geographical Evidence. It’s been found in the Heartland, North America. LikeI said, not here to judge, check out FIRMLDS.ORG and BOOKOFMORMONEvidence.com Don’t bother pulling up all the old FARMS material that fights these 2 sites. All there MESOAMERICA non evisdence has been proven false, along with there many articles fighting the Firm Foundation. BYU figured FARMS in 2012, there MesoAmerica theory became junk science in the end. The Heartland model, has Evidence. Tons.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Thanks for commenting John, but I’ve been to these sites and I’m not convinced. Neither are any serious archeologist or historians. They are full of sham evidence which only fools the gullible who are open to suggestion.

      The evidence you’re talking about is in the same league as what conspiracy theorists use, or people who want to believe in aliens from outer space. It satisfies some, but not those who think skeptically.

      I recommend you check out Michael Shermer and his books on the psychology of belief in order to understand how susceptible we all are to being conned.

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