Open Letter to Helston Ward Members On the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Mormon Chapel in Helston. Ex-Bishop Stephen Bloor Reaches Out to his Mormon Friends .

image

Dear friends in Helston Ward,

Being a recent ex-Bishop of the Ward, I want to extend a message of love and hope to you as you celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the chapel in Helston.

I want to reassure you, my Mormon friends, that life can be even more wonderful outside of the belief system.

Having been born in Helston in 1964 and raised a Mormon, I spent all my teenage years growing up amongst you, and have many fond memories of that time. My parents & grandparents were amongst the first converts to the Church in this area, & along with many of you, were very involved in helping to build the Church congregation and construct the chapel. I did my bit as a 10 year old child painting some of the girders in the Chapel.

You know that I served an honourable full-time mission in Manchester at 19 years of age, after attending Helston School. On my return I dedicated myself to serving The Lord & the Church at both Ward & Stake level, ultimately being called as the Bishop in the Helston Ward in March 2004. All this time, for over 40 years of my life, I have never doubted, but served with all my heart, might, mind & strength. I was prepared to sacrifice everything for God as defined by the Mormon faith.

After serving you as your loving & caring Bishop for almost seven years I resigned on the 11th January 2011, much to the shock of everyone at that time, along with great pain to myself. I made the incredibly difficult decision to resign as your Bishop due to my honesty & integrity, after a painful epiphany regarding the origins of the Church, as new information came to my attention causing me to question the factual basis of my faith.

This new information that I had discovered, though it has been readily available for anyone to read for themselves from reliable sources for many years, was completely beyond my imaginations because, like all good Mormons, I avoided any thoughts which caused me to question my faith out of fear of losing my Testimony. I came to realise that this fear is a very powerful disincentive to the discovery of truth.

Shockingly I came to realise that I had been discouraged by Church leaders from reading anything which causes uncomfortable feelings about the Church, and this fear-based self-censorship had kept me from truly being free to think for myself & ask the most important questions about the truth claims of the Church. Like, if the Church wasn’t true would I want to know, & how would I know?

I am so grateful that my brother David cared enough to reach out to me & alert me to the problems in the Church.

After discovering that the most important information about the origins of the Mormon Church had been kept from me, and that I’d even been deliberately lied to by senior Church leaders, I felt I could no longer trust them, nor have faith in something which is based on lies and deception.

Hopefully, you still remember me as someone who was totally committed to truth. It is my dedication to following truth, & my determination to be totally honest that directs my actions. And it is my compassion, love & concern for others which motivates me to reach out to those who are still being held hostage in the Church.

Though I was involved as a witness in the recent fraud case against the Corporation of The President, I still love the wonderful kind people who make up the Church, and wish you only the best in the coming years.

Currently my focus is on exposing the deception by the Church so that others like me can be spared the emotional turmoil of discovering that their lives have been based on a lie. And I try to reach out to others who are currently going through the traumatic epiphany themselves. (http://www.mormonopenletter.com)

I’m inspired by the analogy from Christopher Miller:

“If you saw a thirsty man drinking water from a well you knew to be poisoned, would you let him continue to drink or would you guide him to a safe well?” ~Christopher Miller

Also my brother David summarises why members often find it difficult to consider the truth, & why we should never give up on those who currently cannot conceive that they have been deceived:

“I believe that anyone who is educated with common sense & has the knowledge that water from the ground can often be contaminated, would, through induction, accept your warning not to drink the water without the need for proof.  If however, the same person was dying of thirst, the mind would create an intent, and emotion would create justification which would cause them to disregard the truth.

“I believe that above all else, our brain desires happiness. It achieves this by weighing up the potential risks from moment to moment, accepting bogus claims as truth and assimilating happiness, rather than using energy and resources to find out the truth. If the potential risk is deemed too great, only then will the brain be determined to search for confirmation to the claim.

“Information is key to raising awareness of what our brain withholds from our conscious mind. Unfortunately we are hardwired emotion-driven thinkers. It takes effort and training to exercise introspection and mindfulness.” ~ David Bloor

I appreciate it can be a sensitive subject defending a belief system which has become a part of your identity.

I did it for 46 years when I was fully invested in the belief system. I was completely committed, & for me Mormonism was more important than life itself. For me Mormonism gave me my purpose for life. The Church was the vehicle to Eternal Life. I believed everything was temporary except the gospel of Jesus Christ, which was the power of God unto Salvation.

When I resigned as Bishop of Helston Ward one of my counsellors pleaded with me more than once to continue as Bishop, even though I knew the truth claims of the Church were false. He reasoned I was doing a great job, saying I was the best Bishop he’d ever known, and should continue to serve the members.

Though flattered, my honesty & integrity forced me to continue with my plan to resign, even though it caused everyone great pain, most of all myself.

If happiness is the ultimate goal of Church participation then maybe some would argue for its usefulness even if ultimately it’s just a fictitious fantasy. Some would argue that the same can be said for any other religion.

But I would argue that happiness is not always synonymous with wellbeing.

I believe human wellbeing is a more worthy and desirable goal than just happiness.

The objective evidence very clearly shows any neutral observer that belief in Mormonism as a route to Eternal Life is akin to belief in Middle-Earth as the home of Hobbits in JRR Tolkien’s fictional fairytale .

And the Book of Mormon is as historic and as useful as The Lord of The Rings is a true account of real people.

When it comes down to authenticity, I think actual, objective reality is far more useful than any fantastic, fictional stories can ever hope to be.

Though the Book of Mormon may be useful as interesting fictional mythology, unfortunately it is just as historically authentic as stories about Odin or Zeus. Maybe less so, as most of The Book of Mormon is plagiarized! (http://askreality.com/hidden-in-plain-sight/)

I don’t doubt most latter-day Saints are sincere, but even the deluded can be sincere. I think authenticity is much more important than sincerity.

Human flourishing & wellbeing requires more than mere hopes & dreams in an illusionary Eternal Life, but should be based on knowledge of sound objective reality. Though it is a rather extreme example, consider the fact that even the Taliban are sincere and committed to their belief system, but it is very easily & widely acknowledged by neutral outside observers to limit the potential of its adherents. Whether male or female, but especially women and LGBT.

Though to a less severe degree, but still significantly, the Mormon belief system is also acknowledged by neutral observers to limit the potential for human flourishing & wellbeing, especially for women, but also LGBT.

Having learnt that the Church was started by a fraudulent, adulterous, paedophile, charlatan, the vast majority of those who have seen the evidence are convinced the Church is also a Fraud. (http://cesletter.com)

And, as we are told by many of the Church leaders, including a ‘Prophet of God’, that the Church is either all true or it is a Fraud, there are only two choices.

It is a fraud, & as such cannot ever hope to provide an authentic system for human flourishing & wellbeing.

The well is poisoned! All who drink from the well become incapacitated in some way.

There is a great need to love & assist all members of the Mormon Church who yearn for truth, & to help them in their recovery from Mormonism & rebirth into the Real World which promises levels of authenticity in their relationships & life experience which most Mormons can’t even conceive of inside the Mormon Bubble!

I can reassure you, my Mormon friends, that there are many thousands of wonderful ex-Mormons who understand completely the Mormon mindset and how initially painful coming to terms with the truth can be. But also be assured that we are here for you when you need us. We understand the trauma of having one’s life’s foundation crumble under our feet, as well as the crushing realisation that everything we trusted was based on a lie. We know what it means to cry tears of despair at the loss of a fantastical future Eternal Life in the Mormon Heaven, but conversely the feeling of exquisite joy at being reborn into a new world full of rich opportunities for real growth, as well as solid and authentic relationships, never dreamed of before. Life can actually be more real and vivid than ever before once one realises the truth about Mormonism.

I desire all to partake of the blessing of this knowledge and hold out a hand of friendship and encouragement to all who are ready to receive it.

My love and warmest regards,

Stephen Bloor

http://TruthWillPrevail.net
http://MormonThink.com
http://MormonThinkUK.wordpress.com

**********//*******
West Briton newspaper article on my Open Letter:

West Briton Article on Mormon Bishop Writes his old Ward

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

48 Responses to Open Letter to Helston Ward Members On the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Mormon Chapel in Helston. Ex-Bishop Stephen Bloor Reaches Out to his Mormon Friends .

  1. Suzanne Ferreira says:

    Thank you.

  2. Ryan says:

    “Authenticity is much more important than sincerity”. Beautiful.

  3. Lance Miles says:

    Very well stated as always, Steve! I just couldn’t agree more. My little family has now been out of the church (after 40 years of active membership) for almost 18 months. After the initial complete upheaval of our lives, we have settled into an incredible family relationship. We seem so much happier and content with our lives, and our solutions to our life issues that arise, are built on real-world answers that beget compassion and love for one another instead of guilt and shame.

    I’m glad to see another post from you…it’s been a while. I trust you and your family are all doing well. Best of luck to you my friend.

    • Ted Michaelson says:

      Lance,

      My experience leaving the Mormon Church may be similar to yours. I left at age 42 with my wife and four children. We have been out for six and a half years and I must admit, our family unit is closer than ever. We are all very happy with our new lives outside the Church and enjoy hearing about other’s success stories.
      I hope we all can join with Stephen Bloor in doing our missionary work of exposing the deceptive Mormon Church.

      Ted M.

      • Lance M. says:

        Good to hear, Ted. One of the biggest “blessings” my family has witnessed by leaving Mormonism is the amount of time we have to actually be together as a family. This goes to the double-speak of the church. Family, family, family is preached all the time and, yet, the church keeps you all so busy with callings that you don’t have time to be with your family.

      • Grant Kimball says:

        Ted, let me second that! I left at 42 with my wife and three daughters. It’s been 15 years and life outside mormonism, even here in Utah Valley, is awesome. There is STILL not a Sunday that goes by where I don’t smile for the simple fact that I am done with mormonism forever. And my kids are doing great! The church wants you to believe that horrible things will happen to you and your family when you leave. Just one more lie I can now laugh at.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Good to hear Grant.

    • SteveBloor says:

      It’s amazing how gullible humans are.

      Emotion driven thinking is a problem which unfortunately can lead people to believe the weirdest things, and behave irrationally.

      Stories like this abound amongst every religion including Islam.

      All it proves is that there is a desperate need for people to take the time and effort to try to understand how their minds work so they can reduce the risk of being susceptible to influence by superstitious and false ideas.

    • Rose says:

      I think Bradley has been on a journey developing his belief system. If Mormonism works for him then I think that does need to be respected. I think what is wrong is believing in ‘one way is the right way’. For many others, leaving the LDS church can be the best thing for their spiritual and emotional well being. In contrast, I think there are some vulnerable LDS that without the community would really struggle and if they left, due to their circumstances, there would be nothing to replace it. So this is not a black and white situation. I think what is important is that everyone has a FULL choice. LDS children have no choice about having to live and be part of the religion when growing up. They never converted to it, they arrived into it. It made me truly miserable as a child, youth and adult. I haven’t been able to forgive my parents yet for forcing me to be part of something I truly loathed. I hope in time I will be able to forgive the fact that their beliefs came before my happiness. All should be given the full facts so they can make an informed choice. And family be fully respectful if they choose it is not for them. The pain and fragmentation of those ‘in’ and ‘out’ is breaking up families (my own included). Within other less fundamentalist religions this is simply not the case. I think it should be respected that Steve is doing what he feels is right. Campaigning to get people out. If people are informed they can make an educated decision. If they choose to stay, that also should also be respected. People stay or go back for many reasons. Bradley obviously feels emotionally satisfied within the LDS community now. Connection is a powerful thing. His choice however doesn’t mean its the right path for others. Rose
      P.S You should be aware that I am still a believer in a Deity. I do all I can to live a Christian life and attend the local village Anglican church for the community. My reason for leaving the LDS was theological. I felt it was transactional, about what the individual got out of it (blessings, right of passage – endowment etc.) rather than doing good for the sake of it. Loving people unconditionally whatever their circumstances. I am much happier out than in.

      • anarcholibertarian says:

        Good of you to recognize that the LDS church is man-made, Rose. Hopefully you realize that the same can be said of all religion:

        The Internet: Where religions come to die:

        The Burden of Proof:

  4. Cathleen Hansen says:

    I love this letter. I left mormonism about 9 years ago. I had lived plural marriage for 13 years. Coming from being a chapel mormon going into polygamy coming out of that, and back to mainstream mormonism , then finally having enough of fear, shame, guilt and just plain weariness of body and mind trying to keep up I left. My life is so rich and full I can scarcely believe it. I have never been so free. I love my Savior Jesus Christ so deeply for His love for me by going on the cross and shedding His blood and dying for us all. Finding out He is my God ( Isaiah: for unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Councelor, Almighty God, the everlasting Father. The Price of Peace!) not my brother but our God! I love Him more than life itself. I’m under grace not under the Law of Moses. I have complete freedom in Christ! I feel such love and peace in my soul, like i’ve never had before. My tears are of joy now, not hopelessness and dispair. Praise God I am free. Free to love my fellow man on a different base. Polygamy is the most damnable doctrine on the earth! I thank God everyday for the guidance out of mormonism! It’s all fantasy and fiction. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Read the History of the Church, read everything you can. All the pros and cons. Use your own wonderful brain to think and determine your life’s course. Don’t ever turn that power over to the arm of flesh. To tell you what you can think or read! That’s what Hitler did! Think for yourselves. God bless your efforts Steve.

    • anarcholibertarian says:

      Cathleen, I’ll tell you the same thing I told Rose. It’s good of you to recognize that the LDS church is man-made. Hopefully you realize that the same can be said of all religion:

      The Internet: Where religions come to die:

      The Burden of Proof:

  5. arthur says:

    Why do you think you need to write this letter. It seems a little egotistical to me. You have already written to your ward explaining your position. Nothing has changed. This letter is a little unnecessary. Leaving any faith is personal and individual. Leave people to come to their own thoughts in their own time. They will when they are ready to hear and deal with the fall out. The way you live will be the best example – a happy fulfilled life not bitter and backward looking. Move on my friend….

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Arthur,

      It seems amazing that you can know my motives, or judge whether I have moved on.

      In both regards you are in error.

      One does not cease to care for one’s Mormon family and friends as soon as one stops believing.

      And knowing the well is poisoned puts a certain responsibility for warning those who may drink from the well for the first time.

      Once one has been warned, they should warn their neighbour.

      This is not about ego, this is about compassion for others and truth.

      If one thinks otherwise then I can only conclude that perhaps one’s perspective is skewed by personal bias. A superimposition of one’s own thoughts and feelings onto me.

      But as I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, then we’ll never know.

      Wishing you well my friend.
      Steve

    • Ryan says:

      It would seem anyone that sought to divulge truth continually would be seen as egoistical by your observation. If faith is personal and individual, then no one should preaching their faith, right? Really, Mormons, Catholics, and other religions, by saying they’re right are saying they others aren’t true, aren’t they? I mean, to convert to Mormonism you even have to sit down for a lesson on the Apostasy which is directly stating all other forms of Christianity is wrong.

    • anarcholibertarian says:

      Leave people to their own thoughts? Tell me your thoughts about the Church’s efforts to reactivate inactives, then we’ll talk.

  6. Braghtman says:

    Almost 200 years ago a young man in upstate New York was also troubled by the different religious factions around where he and his family lived because his family was being divided and he was very concerned about which church was right. As you know, he read in the Book of James that if anyone lacks wisdom he should ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, and it shall be given him. And, as you know, the rest is history.

    I was just wondering if you, yourself, have done this with the questions and doubts that you have. And if you have prayed sincerely about it, would you recommend to those that you feel are “drinking from a poisoned well” that they should also do this? In my mind, the most important aspect of knowing the truth about anything, especially about faith and religion, is to go to the source of all truth, God himself, as Joseph Smith did. And to help Joseph Smith convince the world that he was telling the truth, he gave him the Book of Mormon to spread throughout the earth with the same promise that if people would read the book, AND THEN PRAY AND ASK GOD IF IT IS TRUE, then God himself would reveal the truthfulness of it unto them and then they wouldn’t have to depend on the word of a “fraudulant, adulturous charlatan.”

    One of the greatest scholars of the church, Hugh Nibley, once said something to the effect, that the restored gospel must be true because the wisest men in history could not in a million years have come up with this on their own.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Braghtman,

      You’ve got to be kidding me, right?

      I had a Testimony as strong as anyone’s.

      But the catch is this, the story you and I prayed about is just a story. A narrative which evokes an emotional response.

      The same could be said for any and every religious story ever told in all religions around the world.

      And the amazing ‘confirmation of the Spirit’ which one interprets as God revealing the Truth to us, is the same for every human being who goes through the process. Your own wonderful subconscious mind.

      I still get those feelings, but as an atheist about all sorts of other narratives.

      In order to truly be free you need to understand how your mind works.

      Try reading The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer and it will really put things into perspective.

      Best regards,
      Steve

      • Joseph says:

        When I ultimately decided to part ways with my faith on account of the issues dealing with the very troubling history, I was still really conflicted about how to interpret the “promptings” of the “spirit” that I felt I couldn’t just discard or ignore. And so, in the only way I felt I could subject those feelings to any kind of empirical analysis was to pray about other things and see if I could generate similar feelings to prove or disprove the authenticity of them. The key I felt was to pray about them as earnestly as I had done when I wanted to discover the veracity of the BOM, Joseph Smith, and the Mormon Church.

        I first read really touching and profound words from Pope Francis and to be honest, didn’t have any trouble at all finding them. He seems to be very bright and very loving and expresses his love and concern for mankind beautifully. While studying a few of the things he has shared I began to feel more and more a burning in my chest. Charity, forgiveness, Christlike love, compassion all seem to be common themes that seemed to produce most that warm sensation in the bosom.

        Afterwards, I got on my knees and prayed with as much sincerity and earnestness I was capable of, asking God if the Pope really was His spokesman here on earth, and if the Catholic church was the correct one that Jesus himself approved of and led. Sure I had my doubts as to whether or not it was true, probably wouldn’t have passed a lie-detector test, but in the moment I tried to set those aside, doubt my doubts as it were, and just believe despite my reservations. And lo and behold, sure enough as I began to ask more and more with greater fervency and desire I began to feel a warm bubble in my heart that grew rapidly with intensity until I felt my whole body affected. It was almost as if I had entered into some trance like state that felt good and comforting. It was the exact same sensations I had experienced when asking God if the BOM/Joseph Smith/Mormon Church was true.

        Could those feelings have come from God? Is the Mormon Church and the Catholic church true? Aren’t they mutually exclusive? Isn’t their creed similar in the sense that all other religions/christian iterations are at best led by well-intentioned men, at worst false abominations with Lucifer at the helm? Or could it just be neural activity that has evolved to reinforce positive behavior and encourage me to follow things that are conducive to happiness and/or being in the right (which would lead me to being part of a select, privileged group of people)?

        I don’t have a good answer to where or how those feelings were produced, but I learned that those feelings can be manipulated and are a very ineffective way of finding out truth since I saw first hand it could lead me to contradictory conclusions. The history of the church is appalling when scrutinized and the spirit is most likely just my self-consciousness manifesting itself as measurable/detectable/perceptible neural activity. For me the case closed that day.

    • Ryan says:

      For me, it was the teachings of the LDS Church that led me to the conclusion that LDS Church is not true. Take the recent essay titled “Race and the Priesthood” that the LDS Church published about how Brigham Young brought racism into the Church. I believed that the prophets of god spoke scripture and I personally don’t feel that racism comes from god. Who is it in the LDS temple ceremonies that teaches the philosophies of men mingled with scripture? If the prophet does the same things that the LDS temple ceremony claims is a tactic of satan, why should I follow the prophet or more importantly teach my children that they should?

      Next year in the curriculum they are going to reteach Benson’s Fourteen Fundamentals to Following the Prophet. When that is taught, I encourage you to consider how “the Prophet doesn’t have to say thus saith the Lord” fits with Brigham Young teaching racism and remaining a prophet of god. Better yet, bring it up for discuss in the class and see how quickly they try to silence you.

      That was just the tip of the iceberg for me, that led me to my conclusion. And believe me, I prayed about it, until I realized that it was really only myself that would ever answer.

  7. Amy says:

    Thank you for publicly being so spiritually honest! I left mormonism about 5 years ago after researching the history. I also feel a duty to warn those who are still in!

  8. NoLongerASheeple says:

    A common phrase used by Mormons is “you can leave the church but you can’t leave it alone.” At heart this is a plea for the apostate to “shut up.” Given that Mormonism is a “proselyting” church it seems a bit hypocritical to tell everyone how wrong they are and at the same time tell the apostate to “shut up” when their own dishonesty is exposed.

    Like Stephen, once I understood the depth of the dishonesty, I could no longer maintain both my integrity and my membership, and I resigned a week later. I refuse to shut up because Mormonism is an abusive organization that preys upon good people, sacrificing honesty and integrity for vast sums of money and endless hours of free labor by the people they defraud.

    It isn’t just about “belief” and everyone being entitled to “their own belief.” People are also entitled to fair play, honesty, and openness.

  9. Daniel says:

    What’s up with you Brits taking pictures next to boats? Another Brit I admire Tom Phillips also seems to fancy himself next to boats in the harbor.

  10. Moontan says:

    There’s nothing more obnoxious than a self-obsessed ‘ex’ anything trying to change the world. Alcoholic, Scientologist, Catholic, Mormon, gainfully employed person, or chronic bed-wetter. Whenever someone yells “I used to be an X but now I’m free!” I want to drive nails in my ears. This is all about the psychology of the quitter, and nothing about a search for truth. So you’ve decided the Mormon Church is a fraud, and have become an atheist. How liberating. But this also means you’ve discovered Christianity itself is a fraud, which includes the Bible. There’s a leap of faith for you, greater than any believer is capable of exercising.

    • Lance M. says:

      Moontan, are you actually saying not believing in the Bible requires a leap of faith, greater than any believer is capable of exercising?

      If that’s the case, you do realize there’s 4-5 BILLION people that do not believe in the Bible, right? It’s not too hard to lose your faith in an ancient book that advocated, racism, slavery, sexism, rape, incest, murder, complete genocide etc. Have you read your Bible lately?

      • Moontan says:

        No, I’m not saying disbelief requires a leap of faith. Yes, I realize 4-5 billion people do not believe in the Bible. Yes, I’ve read it lately. There is a difference between reporting what happened, and advocating that which is reported as having happened.

    • Rose says:

      Can’t say I feel the teachings of Jesus when I read these words. I hope that you are able to experience more compassion and less judgment in the future when you read about hurting people. So sad you feel like this.

      • Moontan says:

        Hmmm. I’ll agree with you half-way here, Rose, and plead guilty to reduced charges. My apologies for the tone, to you and to Steve. My point remains the same, but it could have been worded better.

  11. joan barnes says:

    Thank you all for sharing this I left the church two months ago because I too found out it was false. It was a great shock to me and heartbreaking, but I had to leave because I couldnt bare to listen to the lies being taught.

    I too feel for my member friends who are being deceived and want to reach out to them to at least give them the opportunity to choose to stay or not after hearing the truth about the church’s history.

    I’m still in the process of recovering from the realisation that the church is false after 28 years as a member. I joined at the age of thirty and at my age 59 its very hard to adjust, but I can honestly say I know I am glad I found out the truth as I can now see as I stand back and I’m outside the bubble just how damaging the church has been in my life. I do accept there has been some good aspects also, but the guilt and conditioning and mind control is not a good recipe for personal growth. Luckily during my years as a member I have been on a quest to develop myself personally and overcome some of my personal issues and I did this outside of the church bubble. I guess this kept my brain active and enabled me to still think for myself so when the information came to me regarding the church being fraudulent I could clearly see it. I did lots of research and I was convinced.

    I was threatened to “shut up” by my bishop, like many others, and was treated very unkindly by my leaders. I was ignored in fact, which really hurt me. I’m getting over that now, but it’s early days. I’m taking one day at a time.

    I’m grateful for people who share their stories, especially this bishop and all who commented here, for your courage. I need support and this helps a lot. Thank you. X

  12. Ivan Marchello says:

    Steve this path your feet are on right now will bring heartache to those you pretend to be friends with. No self respecting person would speak so loosely about things that are near and dear to the hearts of so many you call your friends. The prophet Joseph Smith is not the person you say he is. The thoughts in your mind that you display in your writings is the poison all need to be lead away from. I wish you all the best but as one who has served the people of the Helston Ward they deserve better from you. And more importantly you deserve more from yourself. Stop it. Elder Ivan Marchello EBM 1983-1985

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Ivan,

      would you rather be slapped with the truth, or kissed with a lie?

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Ivan,

      If only all was well in Zion!

      You are obviously a faithful believing member. My message is not directed at you or any other true believer.

      It is only possible to see the truth when one’s mind is prepared to comprehend & accept it without bias.

      You should know from a lifetime of bearing testimony of the ‘factual basis’ behind the Church’s truth claims that they are unassailable!!! In which case what has anyone to fear???

      If they are Not unassailable, then they are NOT facts, but merely beliefs!

      Which is precisely what the Church’s own lawyers claimed in the top Magistrates Court in England! They claimed “The Church does not teach facts, only beliefs.”

      We all know this is a lie!

      The General Authorities of the Church declare fervent knowledge of Eternal & Absolute Truths. As was witnessed at General Conference this past weekend.

      All the missionaries serving fulltime proselyting missions around the world (including myself & most probably you when we served) make firm declarations of knowledge to investigators.

      IF… you are so sure in your testimony… WHY the expression of FEAR?

      The BIG problem the Church has is that it’s past is so full of lies & deceptions that now the leadership is petrified of losing control.
      Let me say this in the strongest terms I can: the only reason I left church is because I discovered I had been lied to!!!

      Lies about the First Vision and all the many contradictory versions.

      Lies about the extent of polygamy and polyandry, including Joseph forcefully marrying underage girls. 

      Lies about the method of translation of the Book of Mormon.

      Lies about Kirtland Bank.

      Lies about the Book of Abraham.

      Lies about the Kinderhook Plates.

      Lies about Blood Atonement.

      And the list goes on.

      These lies were either perpetuated or covered up down the generations & they are still telling lies even now

      Please, please don’t worry about members losing their testimonies. It will only happen if & when they are more interested in following truth than in maintaining their false sense of security.

      Many millions of people in thousands of different religious believe in a whole host of weird & wacky stuff, & tragically most of those people are totally content to believe in fantasy as a replacement for reality.

      All I can say to you by way of reassurance is you should definitely “Stay in the Boat!” The leadership “will not and cannot lead you astray!”

      If you ever want to know more, please remember there are many hundreds of thousands of us who have already jumped ship & discovered the joys of life outside the Mormon Bubble, & we’Il be here to welcome you.

      Best wishes,
      Steve

  13. Hi Steve,
    I found your story compelling enough to write what I hope will be a meaningful comment.

    As an active member of the Mormon church I grew up in Nauvoo. My parents are both converts and we have always been taught to question everything. In fact, it’s part of my job now.

    Having said that, my father was part of the local Christian Council… the only Mormon to be on the council. Many of the others were anti-Mormon. I grew up with regular meetings at my house of peoples with all faiths (and even atheists) who disagreed with our viewpoints. I asked many questions.

    As a young man I heard all the garbage about Joseph Smith and was taught to research it. My father was a historian for the same reason.

    Bottom line is, I am not surprised that you drifted through life with such a belief structure as the LDS faith, and even blindly adopting it. Your case is not unique, especially to life in general.

    Many people get their political beliefs, favorite brands, and financial habits from their parents and close friends. I’m sorry that you never took the time to ask relevant questions…. but there are those of us that do and have.

    I choose the Mormon belief structure from all others. I have investigated all the major religions, humanist viewpoints, and atheism…. and cultivated a relationship with God that doesn’t require the Mormon church to exist. The Church is a vehicle for those who want a certain destination. No need to get on the bus if you don’t want to go to the end of the line.

    Having said that, I also find it interesting that many who post here talk about increased family time and enjoyment after leaving the church. I’m sorry, but that’s the point of the church. Sometimes you need to skip a meeting and enjoy time with the family. That’s what I do.

    So again, you reached the conclusion that the ‘Church is false’ because you reached a breaking point and didn’t know how to support the life style any more. That shows me that your belief structure was founded on the wrong things…. not that what you were believing in is false.

    The point is, we can all agree that regardless of belief structure (political, religious, or otherwise), we all have a breaking point. That shows the strength of our belief, not the relevance of the belief.

    Sorry that you felt like it was all or nothing. I don’t think that. I’m a believer of ‘progress, not perfection.’ The church teaches we can’t be perfect in this life anyway.

    I wish you all the best in your new belief patterns. They require just as much faith as any. I hope you research them better than you did the Mormon faith. If you tell me that ‘they don’t require any research’ then I’ll tell you that you’re just following the crowd….. Just like you did in the church for so many years.

    Best Wishes,
    MVT

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Matthew,

      Thanks for commenting, though I get a sense it was more to appease your own cognitive dissonance than to help others discover the truth.

      You have sadly resorted to attacking me personally rather than dealing with the issues.

      I don’t blame you, it’s what the mind does when it senses an attack on its sense of happiness and security.

      You have really got no idea what I knew, nor how much effort I put into trying to prove my own beliefs in the Church were founded on truth. You don’t know how much of the midnight oil I burned as I studied to maintain my faith.

      The bottom line is that I discovered the story I was taught at Church, from my birth all the way to being an adult, is tellingly different from what actually happened. The faith promoting narrative does not reflect reality.

      The same is true today.

      The vast majority of members I know do not know the true story.

      They don’t realise that the Church has produced the recent essays in an effort to dispel the defection. In fact, if they did, most would be shocked to realise their understanding of the doctrines of the Church is different from what the Church leadership is now accepting.

      Most of my Mormon friends won’t even read anything which they suspect will challenge their testimonies.

      I’m sorry, but the responsibility to tell the truth lay with the Church from the very beginning. And they have not fulfilled that responsibility well.

      I wish you well as you deal with your cognitive blindness.

      Steve

      • victortango77 says:

        Hi Steve,
        I appreciate your open response. I apologize as I didn’t mean to attack you personally. Reading over my post, I can see how it would easily appear that way, although I didn’t mean it to be that way.

        I must clarify for you that it’s a little hard to have ‘cognitive dissonance’ when I have been in and out of so many mental thought systems, and therefore I am quite confident in my approach. As I stated before, I have consciously selected the Mormon faith from both other faiths and non-God beliefs.

        Having lived in 7 countries and traveled to over 40, (and lived in 21 states in America) I am used to adapting to new environments. Each one challenges my beliefs from a different angle. Each angle I accept openly and wonder how much of my ‘Faith’ is tradition and has nothing to do with the Gospel Teachings. Being from a western culture, that’s something that happens quite a lot…. we end up with a whole culture around the religion that has sometimes little resemblance to the doctrine.

        The same is true in the Middle East- (where I currently reside), the same is true in Catholic-Rich Ohio, and the Godless cultures of New York City, as well as the interesting physical God’s of Nepal & India. There is an entire culture that you are now a part of as an “ex-Mormon”. Hopefully, you will scrutinize that culture as well.

        I’m well aware of all of Joseph Smith’s mistakes, weaknesses, and sins… in fact, many are publicly denounced by God himself in the Doctrine & Covenants. I hope that if I’m ever a bishop people don’t pop out of the woodwork describing the number of times I have fallen way short of the standard I chose.

        At the end of the day, you are consciously selecting a world-view based on information and feelings you have. I’ve compared a lot of religions and philosophies by being a part of them, and my choice is different than yours. That’s the beauty of free will.

        Your intentional slight of those that disagree with you by making it seem like we are less intelligent, or somehow less enlightened lacks statistical support. The truth is, we all have choices. We just happen to disagree with each other.

        The reason I chose to respond to your blog is because you chose a different belief structure after previously espousing another. I trust that your new belief structure will continue to receive the same scrutiny as your old one, so that you don’t fall prey to the herd mentality as you explained happened to you before.

        In any case, I wish you all the best on your journey with what you have explained as a superior and enlightened path compared to your old one.

        Best Regards,

        Matthew

      • SteveBloor says:

        Matthew, thank you for being more sensitive in your last response.

        I’m sadly shocked at how judgemental & arrogant your comment was on the West Briton newspaper website.

        If only you knew me your response would be much more understanding.

        I critique & research everything. My motto in life is question everything.

        Unfortunately that is not encouraged at Church in the UK. Even now the members in my Ward have been told repeatedly by the local leadership not to read anything I write, nor enter into a discussion with me.

        In fact this instruction probably comes from the General Authorities because even a missionary coming from South Africa was told this before he left his home Ward to come to England.

        The Stake President of my Stake wouldn’t read any material I offered him about the issues in Church history, nor will he communicate with me.

        I afraid your experience has been quite an exception. For most members it is fear which stops them even considering the questions which matter.

        Best wishes,
        Steve

      • victortango77 says:

        Hi Steve,
        Apologies for the website comments…. I live in an environment where basic communication requires direct (and often harsh) speech. No offense intended. I need to learn to switch gears when I am talking to westerners.

        I applaud you for what you see as what you need to do right now. I too abandoned my belief in the LDS church some 10 years ago. Then I came back.

        In my case I had a unique opportunity to explore multiple other belief structures and paradigms…. and I reached the conclusion that there are several facts in life:
        1) we all have to choose a belief structure
        2) none of us will have 100% of the evidence pointing in our favor– regardless of the belief structure we choose
        3) we will have to defend our beliefs (internally, by our daily choices… and externally by those who question us)

        I’ve watched PHD’s argue over everything from global warming, to politics, to genetic code… and guess what? …two PHD’s having the same evidence use different pieces of it to support their own beliefs. We all do the same thing.

        None of us will have 100% of the evidence in our favor. Regardless of whether we like it or not, we walk by faith. Even your new belief system is one without 100% evidence. You have proved to yourself that your church lacks credibility enough to garner your support, but you haven’t disproved that God exists, or anything else.

        Likewise, I have found enough evidence to support my continued belief in the system as taught by the LDS church…. my biggest problem is that I also have beliefs and things in my upbringing that run counter to the gospel. I haven’t jettisoned my faith, I just bring my problems with… I’m sure God will sort it all out in the end if I am being honest.

        In any case, you are obviously a good person and have a strong belief. I personally don’t see what benefit you can gain from trying to spread your story to others in the church. After all, you haven’t built them a better house, just told them that the one they’re in is condemned. I’m not sure if such a quest will add value to your life.

        Seriously though that concerns me, because there is opposition in all things. And there are just as many people out there like me… who have used the same evidence as you and reached a different conclusion. I think it does you no good to bring attention to yourself in the matter. You may even alienate close family and friends when all this is about is a disagreement over beliefs. I worry that they (members) are doing the same.

        I used to be very politically active because of the lies I have seen perpetrated by media and politicians all over the world. I alienated a lot of friends and family. … Finally had to delete the face-book account and start over (re-baptized🙂 ) …. but I still can’t talk politics around a lot of them, and my wife prohibits discussion around the table.

        I hope such can be prevented in your case …and I wish you all the best. Some of my best friends are ‘anti-Mormon’ and we get a long just great. If I’m in the UK I’ll be sure to look you up… and we can go out for lunch.

        Take care and thanks for your honesty.

        Matt

    • anarcholibertarian says:

      “you haven’t disproved that God exists, or anything else.”

      You don’t seem to understand the concept of the burden of proof:

  14. This is just a general comment to whoever may think the Church holds a safe and helpful environment in which to discuss deeper issue for those who seriously doubt.

    In his General Conference talk, Elder Ballard stated:

    “I have observed that many of them have lost their focus on the central truths of the gospel—the reasons why they joined the Church in the first place”

    My Response: The reason ‘WHY THEY JOINED THE CHURCH IN THE FIRST PLACE,’ was totally different to what they discovered later – and in most cases, so very much later! Their contention is: They were sold a lie on real Church history IN THE FIRST PLACE! Your MESSAGE was the problem – not them.

    He further said:
    “Others may focus on the questions and doubts they experience. Of course, having questions and experiencing doubts are not incongruent with dedicated discipleship. Recently, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding”

    My Response:
    BUT MR BALLARD, EX MEMBERS HAVE LEARNT BY SAD EXPERIENCE – AS SOON AS THEY BEGAN TO ASK DIFFICULT QUESTIONS – THAT IT IS THE NATURE & DISPOSITION OF ALMOST ALL CHURCH LEADERS TO BEGIN TO USE ‘UNRIGHTEOUS DOMINION’… IN OTHER WORDS: THERE NEVER WAS, NOR CONTINUES TO BE, ANY FORUM, PLACE OR ATMOSPHERE, WITHIN YOUR CHURCH ENVIRONMENT, IN WHICH ANY MEMBER CAN FEEL “COMFORTABLE” OR “VALUED” WHEN ASKING SERIOUS QUESTIONS OR TRAVELLING THROUGH A FAITH CRISIS. ALL THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED WAS BULLYING, CONTROL AND A SENSE OF ALIENATION.

    • victortango77 says:

      Robert,
      I’m not sure if the church can do what you’re talking about. Go to BMW and talk about Range Rovers…. and how the BMW doesn’t cut the mustard…. see how that flies.

      Go to McDonald’s and criticize their burgers and extol the virtues of fish and chips instead. See how that goes with the management (or customers)

      Go to the BNP and criticize them and talk about the benefits of the Labor party.

      My point is, why should we expect anything different? If you don’t like the shepherd, you go to a different fold right?

      Those who want to live the laws of Mormonism stay there…. those that don’t leave. Those that like South Africa and are willing to put up with the politics and violence stay…. those that don’t, leave (and they go to the UK) 🙂

      The D&C is pretty clear about the 3 degrees of glory. Those who can’t abide one law, will surely fit into another category…. and the same holds true with all organizations and belief structures in life.

      In any case, if you don’t like the church … it’s not a prison. You may think it’s a prison of the mind, but we all choose our belief structures… and some may think yours is a prison. To each his own.

      I don’t think we can expect opposition to cease. We will always have to choose between burgers and salads, and each have their benefits and those that judge us one way or the other.

      Glad you shared your opinion though… but for me, I think that Elder Ballard is discussing the topic from a different viewpoint than what you are expecting.

      Best Regards,

      Matt

      • We are not talking about going to church and proselytizing for another religion. We are talking about going to church and talking about its own historical deceptions and doctrinal inconsistencies.

        To use your own analogy, we are going to McDonald’s and talking about why they are covering up using horse meat.

  15. In his Conference talk Elder Ballard said:

    “I have observed that many of them have lost their focus on the central truths of the gospel—the reasons why they joined the Church in the first place”

    My Response: The reason ‘WHY THEY JOINED THE CHURCH IN THE FIRST PLACE,’ was totally different to what they discovered later – and in most cases, so very much later! Their contention is: They were sold a lie on real Church history IN THE FIRST PLACE! Your MESSAGE was the problem – not them.

    He further said:
    “Others may focus on the questions and doubts they experience. Of course, having questions and experiencing doubts are not incongruent with dedicated discipleship. Recently, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding”

    My Response:
    BUT MR BALLARD, EX MEMBERS HAVE LEARNT BY SAD EXPERIENCE – AS SOON AS THEY BEGAN TO ASK DIFFICULT QUESTIONS – THAT IT IS THE NATURE & DISPOSITION OF ALMOST ALL CHURCH LEADERS TO BEGIN TO USE ‘UNRIGHTEOUS DOMINION’… IN OTHER WORDS: THERE NEVER WAS, NOR CONTINUES TO BE, ANY FORUM, PLACE OR ATMOSPHERE, WITHIN YOUR CHURCH ENVIRONMENT, IN WHICH ANY MEMBER CAN FEEL “COMFORTABLE” OR “VALUED” WHEN ASKING SERIOUS QUESTIONS OR TRAVELLING THROUGH A FAITH CRISIS. ALL THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED WAS BULLYING, CONTROL AND A SENSE OF ALIENATION.

    For those who may be interested to understand better the problems faced by doubting members who want to ask lots of serious questions, then check-out:
    http://rationalfaiths.com/drowning-church/

  16. John says:

    It is a sad fact of life that those seeking absolute Truth in this world will always find disappointment. We are fallible humans and our constructs are also fallible. Discovering the extent of that fallibility will always be painful. At the end of the day, all one can do is attempt to live one’s life in the best way one can – whether that be by following the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), or some other enlightened teacher. It is always important to remember that it is the destination that matters, rather than the journey.

    The problem is when one tries to insist that the Truth one has discovered is the One True Truth, and then tries to proselytise that belief to others. That way lies danger.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s