Don’t Trust The Messenger: The Fear Of Apostacy!

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Relationships with family and friends in the Church have been put under strain because of my involvement as a witness to Tom Phillips fraud case against President Thomas S Monson.

In our local Ward of Helston, in Cornwall things were unintentionally made worse when the local bishop, a friend, asked me to explain my reasons for being involved in the case to the Ward members so they would not feel like I’m attacking them personally. As a compassionate man I believe his motives were honourable, even if the result was negative and unexpected.

My initial response to his request was to suggest to him that he reads a written statement from me to the Ward in sacrament the following day. He declined but advised I just put the letter on Facebook.

After questioning this course of action he again thought it was a good idea because many members follow me on Facebook and they are already feeling attacked personally by what I post on my wall so he thought using the same method to publicise the letter and explaining my reasons would help calm their fears.

Again I questioned this course of action. But he was adamant this was the way to do it. My wife Liz was with us and heard his instructions very clearly.

I set to writing my Consoling Letter to Helston Ward and posted it on my Facebook wall about 11pm on Saturday night. with a reassuring photograph of ‘overcoming fear’. Being desperate to follow the bishop’s instructions and help calm their fears I wanted to get the letter on Facebook before Sunday so the members had a chance to read it before Church meetings the next day. To make sure they saw it I tagged their names.

I also sent the same letter as an email to those without Facebook accounts, and also to the Stake Presidency of Plymouth Stake and several Bishops and Stake leaders in an effort to be as open and transparent as possible.

I intentionally made the letter public on my wall in an effort to be open, honest and transparent because that was the message of the letter and are the reasons for my involvement. I was confident the content of the letter would help resolve misconceptions about my motives. How wrong could I have been.
I have subsequently received letters expressing members very strong feelings of distrust in me and my actions.

Though I desperately want to reply to the individuals concerned, who we consider our friends, I am being very circumspect about the way my actions and words will be understood.

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I do not believe it is possible to reassure them when their own cognitive filters are so strongly influenced by fear. At this stage, anything I say or do will be misconstrued, to everyone’s detriment. So I am forced to stay silent.

I write in this blog as a way to express myself and hope others will see the bigger picture.

If I could reply, these are some of the thoughts I would want to be understood by those who now consider us enemies of the Church:-

Dear ********,

I’ve been emotionally drained from reading all the messages of support for our campaign from hundreds of people all over the world. Many people are truly suffering as a direct result of the inability of their believing family and friends to understand their change of beliefs, or even that they would be asking questions.

May I take a few moments to explain some of my feelings. I’m not bitter, but I am determined to assist those who are suffering.

I’m truly sorry that most members in my local Ward feel offended by my actions.

Some of their responses remind me of my own angry impassioned plea to my brother David, a few years back when I was bishop, because he threatened to reveal the problems in Mormon history and doctrine to a newly baptised member of the Ward. I was desperate that he didn’t influence her badly against the Church. My wife & I have also had to deal with the emotional trauma of discovering our own son Chris had run away from home because he felt terrified to talk about his change of beliefs. And then we had to come to terms with the fact that he no longer believed in our ambitions for the ideal eternal family. Sadly I think I know somewhat about the emotions involved in the issues from the perspective of a faithfully believing member.

It now feels really bizarre to be seeing these events from the other perspective, whilst retaining a memory of my past viewpoint.

I don’t blame the members for defending their circle of non-member friends from what Elder Boyd K Packer calls ‘disease germs’. But from another perspective those ‘disease germs’ actually only give a broader overview of the facts on which to base one’s determination of the truth. Those so called ‘disease germs’ give the full and frank disclosure we’re asking for, instead of the narrow sanitised story which Elder Packer assures the believer is faith promoting.

The ever-increasing focus of the Church on the emotional feelings of elevation which they call the ‘Spirit’ is ubiquitous with organisations which prioritise feelings over facts.

The emphasis has changed in my lifetime from belief in purported truths, to belief in belief itself, and an emphasis on how that belief makes one feel. The very same  emphasis is recognised in most religious belief systems, but particularly those which are acknowledged as using ‘undue influence’.

Knowing this, should make the truth seeker wary of being too credulous in giving their affiliations and affections to an organisation which could abuse their trust.

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When an organisation attempts to control information in any way, there is naturally a suspicion of deception. I believe it is always better to be open and honest. When members find out that their testimony of the restored gospel has been based on incorrect, inaccurate and incomplete information it is understandable they should feel aggrieved. The biggest problem is the fallout with families and friends that occurs.

Paraphrasing Holly Welker, the Church needs to stop considering those who leave as proud, angry, offended and sinful. Sunday School, Priesthood and Relief Society lessons which portray those who leave the Church as greedy, evil, haughty, scheming, careless, fallen etc, need to stop.

Ex-Mormons shouldn’t proselytize Mormons. Really?! Holly Welker

How Christlike is it to consider us as “apostates” and “in Satan’s power” for wanting to follow truth and expose the lies and deception we found in the Church, the same lies and deception that even President Uchtdorf acknowledges have actually happened?

It’s one thing to blame the Priesthood leaders, even past prophets, but quite another to then go on and say that members need to be obedient to current priesthood leaders and the Lord will not let them lead us astray.

Those of us who have recognised there is a problem are vilified as sinners.

Believing Mormons refer to those who leave as dead – ‘Spiritually dead!’

Is it right that members of the Church say to their friends and family “I would rather you were dead than leave the Church”? As happened to me.

Could there be a serious problem with a belief system which values a person’s beliefs over a person’s life?

Why would loving Christian people be determined to cut off someone they profess to love by a process of excommunication?

Or is it any less threatening when they ask their friends to resign from the Church? As has happened multiple times to me. In my case the Stake leaders also told me I needed to resign or be excommunicated just because I resigned as Bishop.

When all a person has known in life is their Mormon identity and upbringing, how caring is it to ask that person to detach themselves from their own past, their own identity and culture?

I believe in mutual respect, but ‘mutual respect’ also requires ‘believers’ not to regard those who no longer believe as “spiritually dead.”

Mutual respect requires believers not to consider that those who do not share their beliefs are somehow ‘lacking’, or have been “deceived by Satan,” and must therefore be persuaded to accept the truth the ‘believers’ possess.

One of the problems we’re trying to overcome is that believing Church members are frightened their testimonies will be damaged by talking with those who leave. When actually, any testimony worth holding should welcome new information and be amenable to change. The resultant discomfort experienced by one’s testimony colliding with new information is not due to feeling the influence of the devil as I was taught, but of a normal healthy psychological process of one’s brain assessing and assimilating new ideas. It’s called cognitive dissonance and everyone gets it. It might challenge our viewpoint and be uncomfortable for awhile, but in the long term, if one can accept this process of change, it enables us to discover truth more readily.

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I’ve been accused by some Ward members of not apologising in my Consoling Letter to Helston Ward. That my letter was not conciliatory in tone, but used to further promote my campaign.

Excuse me!

I do not understand.

I’m involved as a witness in a serious case of corporate fraud and they want me to apologise!!!?

When the Bishop asked me to calm their fears by stating that I wasn’t attacking them personally and reassure them my motives were positive, I didn’t think he meant to apologise for ever being involved.

Every neutral third party I’ve shown the letter to feels the compassion and the desire to reach out and help those who are suffering. They all applaud the desire for openness, honesty, transparency and acceptance.

What in my letter to the Helston Ward was incorrect, embarrassing or is causing so much fear?

I quoted four General Authorities including President John Taylor, all espousing openness, honesty, transparency & acceptance.

There were two links.

One to the Mormon Open Letter. Which is a wonderful compassionate plea for the four things mentioned above, signed by nearly 3,000 people in only a week, including active and former members.

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And a link to my blog post where I explain in more detail the reasons for supporting the case.

All I can see is that people are afraid of me and whatever I say.

In situations like this the messenger is more important than the message. The members’ incredible fear and their perception of me as the apostate in Satan’s powerful influence has coloured their view of everything I say and do.

The big question which members need to ask themselves is:

Why is there so much fear?

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22 Responses to Don’t Trust The Messenger: The Fear Of Apostacy!

  1. Very dignified and wonderfully stated! (A bit like Joseph… it looks like your name will be had for ‘good and evil’ depending on ones perception of reality. For my part; you give me the inspiration to be strong and firm. You may not like the title, but I tend to think of You, Tom, Chris and others, as the GA’s of my life!   Bob

  2. Ryann says:

    I admire how brave you and your wife have been. I can see how difficult this is for you and though I would not wish this turmoil on anyone, I am so very grateful you are fighting for this! So many of u s who have left are looking to this as hope for a more open future with those we love who remain in the church. Remain strong! I am rooting for you and sending support your way!

  3. Bob is spot on. I don’t think anyone in the Church has a clue about the courage and bravery that is required to stand up and be counted in such a public way. ‘Integrity’ and ‘unconditional love’ are words oft spoken but rarely understood (or really meant) in Mormonism, unless it suits them. You owe no explanation, but you tried your best in spite of that. Being a witness in any court case is simply terrifying in itself, especially during fast and furious relentless cross examination when you don’t have time to think. I represented a company once at a tribunal and that was bad enough. Save your strength and prepare for what comes next, rather than try further attempts at reconciliation which you must know will never happen. This sequence of events shows the true colours of some Mormon leaders – at all levels. Lying for the Lord (or just to cover your own back) is clearly alive and well within your local LDS leadership. You have done all you can and you can do no more. Step away and don’t be part of their silly games. You owe them nothing but the truth which is coming out in your endeavours. They can take it or;leave it. Stay strong and stand firm. Best wishes,Jim.

  4. Karen says:

    Steve, I think all of this is emotionally draining for you – as mentioned in your blog. People will be people. Unfortunately, the pattern of history shows itself here. A siege mentality was pretty inevitable. I can stand by you and say that our friendships and family relationships have been damaged by us leaving the LDS. My brother – still a believer – said, you can build bridges Karen but it will never be the same again. He is very kind to me and right. I always am on guard about what I say to anyone still LDS because I am frequently seen through a lens of an apostate and someone who can strip away faith. People look at me sometimes and all I see is sadness in their faces. I suspect they think ‘I’m a lost spirit’. I think you have shown huge courage, deep integrity and love from all the information you have available to you. You stand from a different perspective now. LDS can not see from that point – well most can’t except the odd liberal. You can do no more but at least you can live with yourself – that is the most important thing, your integrity. I think this is a case of simply protecting yourself and your family now as far as you can. You cannot be responsible for how people choose to react to your actions, that is up to them. In reality, LDS are very unaware of how the public view them. When we left the LDS church many non LDS congratulated us. People cried with joy that we’d in their words ‘escaped’. Not one said we should stay. It is viewed by the British public as a religious sect and not even a Christian one. LDS are so protected in their bubble that they live in a different world. Really good well meaning people that work so hard for the religion they follow. For some it really works for, for others it is deeply emotionally and psychologically damaging. That’s the problem. I do feel great sympathy for their pain at this time – it must (even though it isn’t) feel like their belief system is on trial when really this is just a matter of British law, tithing and the fraud act. My new Anglican tradition (which I treat metaphorically) asks nothing of me in comparison – one has to admire the LDS devotion and commitment however perhaps ‘misguided ‘ in my view at times. We protect what we have invested the most in, I think that has significance. You have done your best. You can do no more. What will be will be. Myself and my husband have gratitude for all that you do. In time more people will understand. Just give it time and enjoy the gift of the present. That is all we have. At the end of the day we are all human beings I have a dream that in time people will see that before religious beliefs. I hope so. There’s been too much suffering. Love to you, Liz and the kids

  5. This post is so perfectly, and kindly written. What so many people in the church do not understand, is the agony and pain that comes with realizing the church is not what we thought it was. To embark on the path of leaving is often agonizing, and filled with much second-guessing, self-hate, sadness, mistrust in one’s self, and shame. It is much easier to sit and ignore the things that elucidate the truth about the mormon church. It is much easier to fit into one’s social, spiritual, even family group and follow status quo. It is much, much harder to stand up for truth, refuse to back down against those around you, and be labeled as an evil, horrible person. The consequences are dire. Everything changes- from what one does every day- especially Sundays, to the friendships we have, to the family relationships we have, to suddenly being viewed as dangerous for children to be around.
    This is, in no way, a joyful exodus. It is very hard, very painful, and can lead to extreme emotional and psychological distress. Leaving the church is typically based upon the very things we have always been encouraged to do- seek, ponder, and pray. In this day and age, however, less-than-flattering history will often lead those who truly seek to do such away from their religious faith. To then be outcast and shamed is just terrible.
    I applaud you, Stephen, Christopher, and Tom in your endeavors to stand up and take a stance against a powerful corporation that controls not only the religious and spiritual life of its members, but also their social lives, their financial lives, their family lives, and their relationships with those not of their faith. The very thing that draws many to the church- that of a member who is fully committed, in all aspects of life to their faith- is the hardest part to recover from when we leave. It is about time that someone expose the lies and fraud of a church, to attempt to hold accountable those leaders who know fully, that what they are selling is inauthentic .
    One thing I have wondered a lot in the last year or so, is this: Do the top church leaders ever talk openly, in the confines of the COB fortress, about the fraud they perpetuate? Surely the have to sometime, somewhere. What a glory it would be if one of those leaders had a bit of integrity, and came clean about the church. Sadly, the church, at that level is the sole support for those leaders- it controls their finances, their life status, where they live, how their children are employed, and often, the church is the sole source for friends, and socialization. To leave it would be an even greater loss of identity. That is why I applaud Stephen, Christopher and Tom. This is what they left. One must really consider what they have given up. One must really consider why. Then, one must truly be impressed by the integrity of these men. I, for one, thank each of you.

  6. vikingz2000 says:

    Your style of writing demonstrates clear and succinct thinking. It also manifests as someone who cares about *all* of his fellows. Unfortunately, you are perceived by a vast numbers of these ‘fellows’ (some of whom were your closest friends) as somewhat like the adulteress in the New Testament account. But what did Jesus say to these accusers? “Let those without sin cast the first stone.”
    What I am suggesting is that these very people who are denigrating and persecuting you have DOUBTS–serious doubts–themselves with regard to many of the truth claims of the LDS church. It’s the kettle calling the pot black. In other words, I am suggesting that many, many so-called ‘believers’ have a proverbial ‘shelf’ that they keep stacking problematic issues on never wanting to directly deal with them for various reasons, one of which is the fear of perhaps realizing that what they have been building could very well be nothing but a house of cards that would come tumbling down.
    What I suggest is that you do as the signs say in some of our North American state and provincial parks, but instead of “Don’t feed the bears,” it’s “Don’t feed the fears.” It doesn’t matter one whit whether I, or anyone else, agrees with your current decision to involve yourself in this court case (and I very well may disagree); what’s more important is that you be true to what you know is the right thing to do regardless of the consequences. Do you have that kind of peace? Are you (ironically) just as Joseph Smith stated, “…calm as a summer’s morning…,” possessing a conscious void of any offense toward anyone? That’s all that matters. That’s taking the higher road.

  7. CoraJudd says:

    “The resultant discomfort experienced by one’s testimony colliding with new information is not due to feeling the influence of the devil as I was taught, but of a normal healthy psychological process of one’s brain assessing and assimilating new ideas.”
    That reaction intrigues me. I see it so frequently when I interact with Mormon family and acquaintances that I’ve finally accepted: even my most banal opinions are going to be viewed through the filters of “spiritually dead” and “under the influence of Satan” — but responded to with defensiveness and anger. Believing Mormons have too much at stake to engage in this discussion beyond the judging you’ve described.
    I wish you every success and I agree with Jim Whitefield’s advice, above. Save your energies for the legal action.

  8. dbundy says:

    Why are LDS Christians afraid of associating with those who have forsaken covenants of the most sacred nature, and taken up the cause of unbelievers? Why do they shun those who claim to love them, but hate their belief that Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy? Why do they sorrow for those who have been overcome by the world and are now past feeling, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart?

    Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because they see what’s ahead. Maybe they see and understand that when salt has lost its savor, its good for nothing then, but to be cast out and trampled under the feet of men.

    Maybe it’s because they remember the Lord Jesus telling Mormon that he would try the faith of his people and Mormon explaining that he had written the lesser part of the things which Jesus had taught the people, to the intent that they may be brought again unto his covenant people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which he had spoken, and that when they had received that, which was expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if they believed those things, then the greater things should be made manifest unto them.

    So they, knowing that it is in their patience that they possess their souls, seek the face of the Lord always, that they might have eternal life, standing in holy places, preparing for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of his temple, in his tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see him together. And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed; And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that his knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth.

    But you would have them consider the arm of flesh. You would have them trust in the learning of men, those who hearken not unto the counsel of God, setting it aside, supposing they know of themselves, but the faith and the patience of the saints gives them to know that the wisdom of man is foolishness and it profitsthem not. And they shall perish.

    They know that the wisdom of the wise shall perish and that the understanding of the prudent shall be hid, because the Lord has set his hand again, the second time, to recover his people, from “Egypt,” and that kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

    They know that the time has come that the Lord God will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other — either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil.

    And though a man has declared it unto you, you will not believe it, because of the cunning of the devil, who has hardened your heart in unbelief. Now, because of this your unbelief, the servant of the Lord shall be marred, but they shall not hurt him, for his life is in the hands of the Lord, and he shall heal him and show unto the children of men that his wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

    But remember this, if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy will it burn up the dry trees, to purify the vineyard of corruption? Can you not read the signs of the times, Steve? Can you not see that the enemy has come by night and broken down the hedge of the vineyard, which the sevants have planted in the choice spot of land, owned by the Nobleman, who commanded them? You know they planted the Twelve, and the Twelve have brought forth much fruit, which the enemy desires to take upon himself, and now he is upon them, having come by night, catching them asleep.

    Rest assured, Steve, when they arise, they shall be afrighted and shall flee away. The Twelve shall be broken down, and the works of the servant of the Nobleman shall be destroyed, and then he shall come to his servants and shall say unto them, “Why? What is the cause of this great evil?”

    You know the rest of the story, how they didn’t build the watchtower that he had commanded them to build, but what about the rest of the story? Where will you be when he sends Joseph to gather the strength of his house, his warriors, his young men and his middle aged men, to march as a mighty army, breaking out of Bozrah, with the Lord going before them, to redeem his vineyard?

    I don’t know your answer, but I know that, unless you repent, you will not have place among the saints, who will be assisting the ancient covenant people of the Lord to build a holy city, a New Jerusalem, in America, the land choice above all other lands.

    Unless you repent, you won’t be there, when the power of heaven comes down among them and when Jesus himself will be in their midst, as the house of Israel is gathered there, as eagles gather to a carcass to feed.

    You, nor your descendants, except you repent, will be there to gird up your loins, looking forth for the coming of the King, who shall come clothed in the brightness of his glory, And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before his face. And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him. And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man. And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.

    In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree; And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious.

    Yea, verily, thus saith the Lord, in that day when I shall come, I shall reveal all things — Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof —

    Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven. And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.

    But, though the saints believe the fullness of the gospel, Steve, many do not, and they are determined to fight against Zion, believing their hungry souls are feeding on the truth, that they are free and drinking deeply from the springs of liberty, but, alas, it’s not to be, for they shall be as a hungry man and a thirsty man who only dreams he eats and drinks, but when he awakens, his soul has appetite!

    All this and more is the cause of the grief you see in the eyes and hearts of your family, friends and neighbors, who realize the enormity of what you have done.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi dbundy,

      It is such a shame that eyes are blind when the mind is not prepared to comprehend.

      The Church is either true or it’s a fraud.

      In admitting itself, with the recent historical and doctrinal essays, that it has been teaching incorrect doctrine, I now know I got a testimony of something which is in error.

      The Church’s own essays are linked here:
      http://mormonthink.com/essays-responses-intro.htm

      How can the Spirit witness to me that something is true when it was not? And now the Church is beginning to admit that.

      I am only following Gordon B Hinckley’s invitation, literally:

      “Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” – President Gordon B. Hinckley. ‘Loyalty’, April Conference, 2003

      He seemed to say it so often, almost as if he had a guilty conscience.

      I believe “We are enslaved by anything we do not consciously see. We are freed by conscious perception.” – Vernon Howard

      Many in the LDS Church do not have the opportunity to see reality due to the indoctrination from infancy and the absence of full and frank disclosure of the facts.  

      Our aim is to encourage: 
      Honesty
      Openness
      Transparency
      And acceptance 

      These are things which we hope everyone can support.

      Most people are blind to the reasons for their belief, with the subconscious mind filtering information to reinforce their beliefs.
      I am inspired by this quote by Daniel Goleman:

      “Self-deception operates both at the level of the individual mind, & in the collective awareness of the group. To belong to a group of any sort, the tacit price of membership is to agree not to notice one’s own feelings of uneasiness & misgiving, & certainly not to question anything that challenges the group’s way of doing things. The price for the group in this arrangement is that dissent, even healthy dissent, is stifled!

      “In order to break through the cocoons of silence that keep vital truths from the collective awareness you need courage. It is the courage to seek the truth & to speak it that can save us from the narcotic of self-deception.

      “It is a paradox of our time that those with power are too comfortable to notice the pain of those who suffer, & those who suffer have no power.

      “To break out of this trap requires the courage to speak truth to power!”

      I wish you well,
      Steve

      • jhollenbaugh says:

        Steve is very kind. dbundy, your words bear the markings of fanaticism, and even your own faith preaches against fanaticism. That a human mind could be filled with such absolute fear and hate in the name of God is truly frightening. Yet we see it all around us. This world, in the hands of those who think like dbundy, would shortly become a desolate wasteland.

    • I'm not scared says:

      To dbundy, Fear, guilt, control. It’s so sad that this is how you view the world. The real story of Jesus was one of love, unity and liberation. And I’m sure he doesn’t care whether people believe in him or not. A loving God – if there is one – would want all his children home. This is simply about British fraud law and tithing. It is not about theology. Give all the facts about the religion up front and then people can pay tithing with full knowledge. With the greatest of respect, this rhetoric simply gives me the creeps. It is so sad.

    • Oragami says:

      Dear dbundy.

      I think you have hit on something very important here. Many faithful Mormons are responding to Steve (and others labeled as “apostates”) with fear, ostracism, condemnation and even threats of punishment. I think that this kind of response is often motivated by the beliefs that you so eloquently express in your post.

      However, the suffering that faithful Mormons are experiencing when they learn of Steve’s change of heart is not caused by Steve. That suffering is a result of the way they interpret what he is saying and doing (through the lens of the beliefs you share).

      Yet despite the fact that he is not responsible for it, and in fact, could not cause it, he nonetheless is doing all he can to reduce the suffering of others and treat them in a thoughtfully compassionate way. I find it somewhat telling that he is so committed, in word and deed, to doing so when many faithful Mormons are failing at this very basic Christian task.

      I do not believe that Christ would ever speak to Steve in the way you have. I do not believe that Christ would be so defensive and judgmental. I do not believe that Christ would ostracize Steve, nor easily tolerate those who do.

      Rather, you’re response strikes me a good representation of the vengeful, narcissistic, power-hungry God of the Old Testament, rather than a representation of the loving and redeeming message of Christ.

      Of course, that’s just my personal opinion and I am okay admitting that my own personal opinion or belief on such matters could be (and likely is to some degree) flawed by nature of my humanity.

      Goodwill to you sir.
      John

    • Gale Thorne Jr. says:

      Dear DBundy,
      I cannot even begin to point out the numerous errors in your post to Steve. Instead, I will simply state that many who have left the church sincerely care about you. Many of us used to make statements very similar to yours.
      I can say with certainty and kindness that I if you will look at the facts and get to know those who have left the church or no longer believe, you will know how much you have been indoctrinated, just as we were.
      In All Sincerity,
      Gale

    • Graham says:

      So that’s telling you then Steve !!!

  9. Steve…I wrote a song called “That’s How I Got Here”. The second verse goes…”Now, chapter 2 of this tale of mine begins at a religious school. You see they said I had to believe what they said or else I was going to hell. Well something in my heart screamed “hey, this is wrong! I don’t believe what you say…” But they said “don’t you dare speak up for yourself or you’ll live to rue this day!”
    Well something started growing in me that day and of that there can be no doubt! It was a fire in my eyes and my will to survive and I know what I’m talking about…
    And That’s how I got here…oh I’m tired of those gender roles and that’s how I got here, tired of doin’ what I’m told. And that’s why I left there, oh I’m no religious clone and that’s why I’m going there, I’d rather be alone. See they never looked and they never tried and they never saw the tears that I cried, but someone else was watching and that someone was me….and that’s how I got here.”
    Keep fighting Steve. We are all here beside you.

  10. Camille Biexei says:

    1) Wonderful quotes–they are all good reminders of why we now do what we do, think as we now think. Thanks.
    2) Mormons are the only people I have ever known to speak about “unconditional love”, as if there are different loves: conditional love, love, unconditional love. If love has conditions then it is not love, it is some form of manipulation–”if you behave as I want you to, then I will love you”.. Mormons very often mistake approval and fellow-feeling with love. But, they seem to know very little of actual love. Just the fact that they feel the need to use the term “unconditional love” is quite disturbing.
    3) I do not agree with the course you have chosen to take, but my sympathy is with you and will be sending you and your family “good thoughts”.

  11. Diane Tingen says:

    Great post. Obviously heartfelt. Personally, I do not think you owed the members of your old Ward an explanation like that. You have chosen your path, and it was inevitable that they would see you as an “apostate” and a “minion of Satan.” Of course, that reality is part of what keeps so many people in the Mormon Church since so many people don’t want to be perceived in that way, and they know what will happen if they leave and speak out. Yes, it is fear – and that is a horrible way to keep a religion’s followers faithful. As for me, I stayed in the church for much longer than I should have, and have never been happier since leaving. I tried to rationalize so much out over the 52 years I was a member, but when I finally acknowledged all the lies and discovered the actual truth, it lifted a burden off me that had become very difficult to carry. What others think doesn’t matter to me anymore. I am being true to myself and my own thoughts. If Mormons think I’m going to rot in hell, so be it. I am living an authentic life, and that’s what is important to me. I have a blog as well (mormonismschism.blogspot.com) and have also written over 100 LDS hymn parodies which I have posted there and on my other blog (exmormonhymnbook.blogspot.com). This is my way of expressing my thoughts and feelings, and both blogs have helped me immensely. I also recently e-published a book on Kindle that I have written about my journey away from the Mormon Church entitled “Closing the Door on Mormonism: The AHA! Moments that Triggered my Awakening.” Writing and publishing that book further helped me with my transition away from Mormonism and what I feel are its very damaging doctrines and teachings. Naturally, though, the leaders of the Mormon Church would prefer that those who leave just walk off into the sunset and keep their mouths shut. That would be better for them, but not for us. We need to speak out in order to cleanse ourselves of the lies and deception that came into our lives because of Mormonism. That’s what I am doing, and that’s what you are doing as well. Many active Mormons will never understand, but that’s okay. I feel that if I help but one person find the actual truth, then my speaking out will have been worth it. For me, keeping silent is not an option.

  12. Whitney Garr says:

    You have my sincere respect and support. I hope you realize how many people you have helped. Thank you for being willing to stand up and speak out for truth when many stay silent. You are a great man with much integrity!

  13. Gale Thorne Jr. says:

    Steve,
    Thank you for all your work, honesty, kindness and courage. Your voice and actions represent myself and a lot of others who feel lied to and thoroughly deceived by the church. You have my full support!
    Gale

  14. David Bloor says:

    Wonderfully expressed as always Steve🙂

    I do not wish to prove people right. I wish to prove people wrong, and wrong and wrong again!

  15. blake641 says:

    ” And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2), thus God tested Abraham to see if he would do all things God asked him to do. What a startling event. This is God, that God who had promised that this child of old age, not yet a father, would make Abraham the father of the faithful. This is God, that God who took Abraham from his father’s home because his people engaged in such pagan ritual. This is God, that God who would later thunder from Sinai, “thou shalt not kill.” How could he ask such a thing of his true disciple Abraham? It turns out God had no intention of letting Abraham actually go through with killing his son. But we see from this instance that God will prove the loyalty of his people.

    Should it surprise anyone that God would similarly test the loyalty of his disciples in these last days? He has, He does, and He will. A particularly poignant example is in a story from the lives of Heber and Vilate Kimball. Heber C. Kimball was passionately in love with his wife Vilate. He was equally passionate in his devotion to Joseph Smith whom he sustained as a prophet, seer and revelator.

    One day the prophet told brother Kimball that God had told him that Heber was to give up his wife vilate and she was to become the wife of Joseph Smith. This came as a great shock to Heber. Horrified by the prospect, he became ill from worry. So disagreeable was this notion to his mind that he dared not explain to his wife the cause of his distress. After days in this circumstance, Vilate prayed and asked God what was wrong with Heber. A vision was dispatched from the presence of God telling her what her husband had been commanded to do. Vilate took Heber by the knap of the neck and marched him over to the prophet’s office to tell him they would submit to whatever God desired.

    As with Abraham, God had no intention of having Heber give his wife to Joseph Smith. This was God, that same God, who from Mount Sinai had thundered “thou shalt not commit adultery.” As with Abraham, Heber was told not to do that thing, “for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy (wife thy beloved wife) from me. (See, Genesis 22:12). Instead, God revealed to this faithful couple the new and everlasting covenant of marriage whereby they could be sealed in the Holy temple for time and all eternity. Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p.321-328.

    Now ask yourself this: what if Vilate had failed to ask what was bothering Heber so that no vision came? What if Heber had sulked until his melancholy turned to anger. What if he had refused and in order to assuage his hurting turned on Joseph. The record of this event would not read as a test of Heber’s faithfulness, but as a blight on the character of Joseph Smith. No amount of denial or claiming it was only a test would convince a vicious world, bent on destroying the work of God, that it would never have been carried out. Just as Abraham would have never known that Jehovah would never have gone through with the murder of Isaac had he refused to put it all on the line.

    Had Heber refused, had he logically said, this is too much to ask, this is contrary to all I have been taught, contrary to good morals, contrary to the ten commandments, then he would never have known that the revelation was a test. He like the Laws and the Fosters would have subscribed to the view that Joseph was a fallen prophet and tragically would have spent the rest of his life, or even the rest of eternity believing that the virtue he felt that caused him to embrace the restoration was a lie. No doubt he would also have subscribed the villainy of the Nauvoo Expositor.

    The savior taught, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)”. And again “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). As he did with Abraham, so he will do with each of us. To some of us the test will come personally. To others there is no need. They read of the test administered to William Law or John Foster or Heber C. Kimball and that is enough for them. They pull themselves out of the race, and like Satan, who now is their father, they strive to get others to partake of their weakness. They are damed souls who can only find peace when others succumb to their jaundiced view. I once heard one of them say, “in order to get through to Mormons, you have to first give them cause to doubt their faith.” How could he not see who the author of that program is? When he was sent out as a mormon missionary he was not sent to go forth sowing the seeds of doubt. Instead he was taught to strengthen the faith of those he taught, and like Paul on Mars Hill, speak to them in their own language, to build upon their understanding, no matter how quaint. But never to tear down. A salesman of a new lamp, does not need his customer to turn off the old one in order to see the superiority of his product. Likewise, one who teaches the true gospel doesn’t first look for ways to get his proselyte to doubt his faith in order to convert him. If he uses those tactics you can be sure his message carries little light of its own

  16. C says:

    To your ward members who want an apology I would have to say:
    Doesn’t the Church teach that only God should judge? If you see the need for forgiveness, you are judging on some level.
    As the old saying goes, “When all is understood all is forgiven”. I would actually edit it to say, “When all is understood, you realize that there was never anything to forgive in the first place”.
    Perhaps you (ward members) simply don’t fully understand? If you don’t fully understand, how can you make an accurate judgement of someones intentions?
    We should seek to understand rather than to condemn or judge. Should we not?
    Now to you Steve, thank you so much for your blog. It has helped me tremendously in my transition.
    All best,
    C

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