Archive for December, 2008

Dec 28 2008

Aaron Cloward, Salt Lake City, UT – Pure Spiritual Barbarism

To Whom It May Concern:

[The original letter contains 5 paragraphs of standard legal jargon requesting official name removal.]

As stated above, I have given my resignation much thought and prayer. Inspired by the great Reformer, Martin Luther, my original intent was to submit a list of doctrinal issues that I did not find acceptable or compatible with my beliefs as a child of God. I soon realized however, that the composition of my own “95 Theses” was bearing more fruit for my own spiritual evolution than it ever would as protest and demand for reform of LDS theology. Nor do I truly believe that anyone at the church headquarters would even give the list any notice or attention.

So, today it is a much simpler letter that I write. Rather than a treatise on theology and dogma, I write a letter from the heart. Quite simply, I can no longer affirm that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has any direct revelation from God or that the church is acting justly in the sacred duty of representing the Jesus Christ whom I adore. It is quite obvious that everything that the church teaches and stands for, is for naught if it can not truly represent the teachings of Jesus Christ in every aspect and attribute, every jot and tittle, every word and deed. If it does not receive direction from God, then its teachings are without basis or merit, its assurances are dead and pointless, and its promises are empty and vain.

While there have been many horrific evidences shown in the history of the church to stand as the basis for my assertions above, none does so with more audacity than the church’s recent endorsement and subsequent involvement in the passage of California’s Proposition 8.

It is without question, pure spiritual barbarism and hypocrisy for a church to claim to represent Jesus Christ himself, while at the same time attempting to remove any and all possibilities from a minority to experience the very thing which the church teaches can bring the most happiness in our mortal realm: marriage. To support such a Proposition is in blatant disregard for one of the most basic teachings in not only Mormonism, but all of Christianity: The Golden Rule.

To add insult to injury, it is even more unfortunate to realize that the church originally sought to practice its own non-traditional definition of marriage. Yet it now persecutes and works to deny another minority group of people for doing the same. The majority of the culture at that time insisted that the Mormon definition of marriage was sinful and wrong. Yet the Mormon people begged and pleaded for equality, patience, and understanding. In fact, it was most likely this severe persecution for its non-traditional definition of marriage which inspired the 11th Article of Faith, a simple rephrasing of The Golden Rule. I marvel at how loudly we cry for justice to be served and equity to be sought when we are the persecuted. Then, as the sands of time cover our humility and we rise to recognition and fame, our cries for justice as a minority, transform into dictatorial commands to conform as the majority.

It is my hope that my words to you today may be as a record and testament before God, that I can no longer be part of an organization that actively seeks to remove fundamental human rights of equality and happiness from anyone, especially from an oft persecuted minority. Instead, I seek to associate with those who would fight for truth and right. I seek to nurture my spirituality with those who stand for equality and justice. Most of all, I seek to follow those people who in true humility, exemplify the love of the Master by helping ALL of his children to enjoy ALL of his blessings.

In Sincerity,

Aaron J. Cloward

[Note: I made a video interview with my mom (who is also lesbian) about our resignations and posted it to my blog if you are interested in seeing it. The address is http://masach.wordpress.com]

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Dec 21 2008

Dana K. Dahl, Las Vegas, Nevada – Rear View Mirror

Rear View Mirror

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda seem to be a pretty good mantra for my views into the past of being LDS. It all seems so surreal in the rearview mirror that now, eight years later it feels a little strange to think I EVER belonged. (Do the Wayne’s World dream move…. dooodooodooodoo, dooodooodoodoo)

When you’re born in the LDS church you are in essence drafted. Basic survival, family approval, support all depend on ones ability to get along, keep the machine going, and keeping peace. I was the seventh of eight kids, born to a truely cruel and abusive schitzophrenic chain smoking Jack Mormon father, and the third generation devout hard working sweet, long suffering and very devoted LDS mother. You don’t grow up in all that without plenty of hangups and I had plenty that I’m still working through. I went along because we weren’t given any other options. It’s what you do so therefore, what you “Believe”.

We went to church in a small branch in Sandy, Oregon back when the meetings were split up throughout the week even more than now. Church was our only escape from our father’s wrath and a social setting that was very warm and loving. As a little girl I never even questioned that I belonged, would always be a Mormon, and that I’d always do Mormon things. It was actually a great place to find solace from the other harsh things we dealt with and we were supported and cherished by the branch. They truly felt like brothers and sisters.

When we moved to Utah when I was 12 yrs. old I saw a different side of Mormonism. The little Utah town was very isolated, a bit backward, and cliqueish in the way they accepted anyone, especially the children of a smoking cussing Jack Mormon father and a family even more economically disadvantaged than most of them. We were not their cousins, not known, even spoke differently than the locals. I remember telling them that I was from Oregon and they corrected me by telling me it was pronounced, “Ogden”. I don’t think it occurred to most of the small town LDS that the world outside of Utah was even real. This sets one up for a lot of frustrations and I started butting heads early on.

It wasn’t just Utah Mormons that grated on me even as young as Jr. High. I craved science, anthropology, literature, history and travel more than anything and many of the things I’d find in National Geographic, Scientific American and other publications contradicted the things I was taught from a biblical and Book of Mormon standpoint. I was often chastized for even looking, but especially when I questioned things like the age of the earth, origin of the races, even LDS historical events that contradicted each other.

By the time I was about 14 I had been called into the bishop’s office on more than one occasion and told very directly to “Leave it alone”, or the ever useful, “We don’t need to know that stuff”. For me, that was like putting a red button with a sign that said, “Don’t push this button” below it. I couldn’t help but look deeper, especially into the things they told me I had no business or right to understand.

I went along all those years because that’s what you do. My huge family is deeply cemented and connected in the church. Even my fathers Jack Mormon relatives still claim that someday they’ll stop their carrousing and come back to the church. Leaving just wasn’t considered, even for me. Maybe it’s like a tightly woven tapestry. We all held each other together and completed the picture. I began to unravel early, but even as I sort of wiggled my way out of the fibres of my connected family, I felt a lot of the same things everyone on these boards feels, alone and vulnerable.

That feeling keeps one stuck for a long time, even when the cognitive dissonance starts to make your mind twist and manifest itself in very physical ways. I would have headaches in church early in my teens until the year I left. I did typical rebellious teen stuff but nothing so bad or dangerous to get me more than reprimanded by my bishop. No one expected much of the trailer trash and so I rode under the radar most of the time.

My first year in college I got engaged to a very nice young man from a prominant LDS family. We were like a sculpture made from a nice tidy kit where all the pieces fit, and something welded together from scrap metal, hard edged, ragged, and very strange. His family pressured him to break it off and he finally did after eight months. I really thought I wanted all that they represented, but they for sure didn’t want what I represented. We were genuinely mismatched. I was heartbroken and my self esteem really damaged. I saw the elite LDS in an ugly light that I’d never seen before.

I believed I was trailer trash and destined to live a life befitting my past. It sounds so cliche, but I went for what I figured would never leave me. I think a lot of LDS girls are conditioned to believe this and succumb to marrying one they don’t understand or really love. We were taught that marriage and children would fill in all those holes. I met a young man from California that decided to join the church to win my heart and approval from my family. He asked me to marry him a month after we met.

Some sick twisted part of me must have resigned myself to the LDS illusion and I threw away a scholarship and my college education and fooled around. I got pregnant the first time. (Isn’t abstinenence education marvelous?) I convinced myself that conception of our child must equal love, so I went through with the marriage even though all my senses were screaming at me to run. I know this isn’t unusual for LDS women.

We went to the temple a year after we got married and that experience horrified me. The social pressure to go along with it was overwhelming but all my senses were screaming at how wrong it was. I came away from it sick to my stomach and angry that I’d been tricked into such a bizarre ritual. The seeds of doubt were allready growing, but that one experience sent the roots very deep indeed. I never enjoyed the temple and always came away with that sense of dread and anger at it’s twisted messages and rituals. Even with all I was questioning, I didn’t even consider that my questions had validity and I even suspected that I was evil or wrong to have such questions.

After the first time in the temple I made an appointment with the bishop to discuss my fears and frustrations and he had me meet with a scholarly High Priest who tried to put a very airy spin on the whole thing and finally suggested that I was a child in the understanding of the church and not ready for the more complex gifts that I could learn in the temple. He in essence gave me the ol’ Milk before Meat speech and patted me on the hand and told me to focus on my marriage, home, new baby and becoming a better wife and leave the heavy lifting up to the Priesthood holders. This worked much like the red button and I wanted to dig even deeper to make sense of what I was told was none of my business.

I still knew that I had to make my marriage work for the sake of my son. I had my mothers shining example as a beacon of perfection, long suffering, and feigned joy to live up to and no matter how mismatched my husband and I were, I felt compelled to stick it out. I’d tell myself as each ugly fight would boil up, “Well, mom put up with far worse, so I can do this.”. It was the ol’ pioneer spirit and a sense of duty and denial that held most families together.

My husband was a new convert and so in some weird sense of heroic missionary duty, I felt it my responsibility to re-raise him from the infancy of church understanding to the leader I wanted him to become. I come from a long line of such women and they’ve perfected those skills to very twisted degrees. Homes, food, children, jobs, school, men, all were “Projects” that with enough work, love, revamping and decorating would someday reflect the perfection our benevolent talented gifted souls could shape them into. If they didn’t turn out, it was because we didn’t try hard enough, give enough, sacrifice or suffer or pray enough.The only reason there isn’t world peace is because LDS women just haven’t tried hard enough. Lazy slackers!!

My mother gave my father 25 yrs. and in those years he beat, abused, neglected, dominated, and hurt her and his family, and still she believes if she’d just tried a little harder, she could have FIXED him. Maybe this is the quintessential LDS woman’s mentality, the manifest destiny of other peoples’ souls.

No one ever taught me that I had no right, nor the futility of such things. I spent 18 years trying to FIX the father of my children and never saw him as acceptable as the man he was, only as my “hair shirt” of a project. It was a doomed relationship from the start but I recognize how the LDS culture and the things my mother and other LDS women emulated influenced the sickness that was rampant in our marriage. Even when he or I would actually achieve a goal or overcome a small problem, the church taught us that we could always do better, more, faster, higher, … You know the drill.

I pushed myself really hard to be a perfect mom and in my pursuit actually damaged my children and husband. On Sundays we were the picture perfect family, with matching outfits, tidy hair, clean shoes, gorgeous happy quiet book and everything on the surface was lovely and of good report. Our kids gave the best talks, knew their scriptures inside and out, and held leadership positions in all their classes. They were model students at school as well. We held parties and were the koolaid house where all the kids came to play. I moved up through the ranks of all the various church callings in Primary, RS, and even Stake womens leadership positions.

When we’d been married about six years we had our third baby. She was born with severe genetic defects and went through three months of various intensive care and operations but finally on Easter Sunday 1989, she went into cardiac arrest and was put on life support. We had to go before a hospital board and get permission to have her removed from the respirator and tubes and then hold her in our arms as she gasped and finally died.

A year later our second son was stillborn in the 6th month of my pregnancy and we were told that he didn’t need to be put on the family rolls because he had never taken a breath, therefore was not legitimate. He did not exist as far as the church was concerned. Everything sort of changed after that.

I realized that most of the frothy stupid busy things I’d been doing all those years were just that, busy work. I had filled our weeks and lives with senseless things devoted to the church and our ward. I began to examine my motives for all the busy things the church asked of us and few of the demands made sense any more. My husband had been called as Elders Quorum President and that’s when the mantle of “Priesthood Power” sort of took hold of him and he began to believe he was destined to be all I’d been grooming him for.

He’d been given a Patriarchial Blessing that promised he’d become a Bishop, Stake President, even walk on the right hand of Christ in the second coming, which he’d live to see in this dispensation. He took all that literally and was sure that his “Calling had been made sure” so anything he did after that was sanctioned by God, even if it was illegal. Ironically, that’s also when I started going in a different direction.

He insisted on even more devotion and scripture study and I was trying to go for things that broadened our perspective rather than limited it. We conflicted on the movies, activities, and other interests our family participated in. Even though he was publically embracing a very devout LDS persona, he was living a dark secret in his business dealings but justifying it by insisting we go to the temple more and more to balance the illegal things he was doing behind the scenes. He got fired from job after job for embezzlement, and would embrace the church even deeper with each job loss. The financial pressures were really ripping us apart as well.

I went back to school when our youngest was four and in some of my world history classes, geology, and even architecture courses I began to put some dots together that had always floated in space.

The LDS doctrine requires absolute belief in its history and doctrine which forces some to suspend logic and reason or the ability to triangulate information and proof in many instances. Now I was seeing things that were not overtly anti Mormon, but were certainly leading me to question the sketchy history of the church or even the bible.

The little points of light sort of sat there and puzzled me during those years. I was still very much LDS and did all the LDS things and even agreed to all the doctrine and practices, but I found myself asking almost daily, “If this is so, then this CAN’T be so”. One piece after another started to reveal that what I’d been taught, and what had been historically recorded or logically concluded did not coincide. I came to a point where I had to actually choose between my education and my religion. I can look back and see why many leaders believe it’s unnecessary and dangerous for some to seek a liberal education outside of a controlled enviornment like BYU.

The more open my mind became, the more my husband tried to reign me in and impose restrictive rules in the home. We were rising at 5:00 am to study scriptures and he was insisting on attending the temple three or four times a month. We had church activities at least five times a week. When he couldn’t coerce his Elders to do their home teaching, he’d drag me along and we’d visit 8-10 families a week.

He really got off on being the ward hero and I had to be the pretty smiling wife that made it all look so easy. If we went out anywhere, he insisted we find a missionary opportunity at McDonalds, the park, wherever we were. He took unrighteous dominion very seriously and demanded church attendence and devotion in everything

Church became grueling for me. I’d hear and see stuff that grated on my internal sense of right and wrong. Gospel Doctrine and RS were so frustrating that I’d get visibly angry at the false doctrine and bizarre interpretations of the various teachers. The tedium drove me nuts and I’d find every kind of diversion to avoid church from feigning a period two or three times a month to severe headaches that would miraculously stop when church was over. I went late, left early, snuck books in the diaper bag and drawing paper and doodled during Sacrament meeting to wile away the tedious hours.

Sometimes I found the information being shoved down our throats so offensive to my intellect and conscience that I’d actually get panic attacks in anticipation of having to attend church. If we were going to the temple I’d spend two or three hours beforehand in the bathroom trying to psyche myself out for the intense anger and anxiety I felt at being forced to participate in something I didn’t believe or want. I often wanted to peel my skin off from the anxiety I felt. I contemplated suicide almost daily in hopes that it would finally end the frustration I felt. I started to self medicate a mixture of cold pills and diet pills to numb my head and heart so I could do it one more day, and one more day. I did this for five years.

In the background were the dark secrets of a seriously messed up and unhappy marriage, financial nightmares, illegal activities, and sexual dysfunction. I tried to arrange things to leave for years but finally after we’d been married 18 years, I was able to file for divorce. Even my own family couldn’t believe this PERFECT family was splitting up. Still I tried to stay with the church I’d given so much to for 37 years.

My husband did everything to force me to stay, took away the car, forced me to close my business, tried to take the little run down house I’d moved into, humiliated me in front of the kids, had our friends and family love bomb me, and finally decided that the only way to make me stay was to actually threaten to take my children away. I think this happens to lots of families, not just the LDS.

In spite of all my time, talents and service to the church for the previous years, my choice to end my marriage marked me as a fallen woman in the eyes of my ward and the church. I was shunned and ostracized by the very people I’d given so much to. They were quick to believe the most outrageous things about me spread by my ex and even to share and expand those ridiculous rumors. This too happens in many cultures and towns but it stung to have my LDS ‘Sisters” treat me so shamelessly. My family was similar and it was a very dark and lonely time. I withdrew and spent a lot of days under my desk crying myself to sleep or walking furiously swinging my arms and cursing all my frustrations out.

I was called into the bishop’s office about a year after my divorce and six men who didn’t know me, had never even visited my home sat in judgement of me. They wanted all the sordid details of my exploits and seemed almost charged with excitement in anticipation of what they hoped would be a good show. At one point I took my shoe off and placed it on the table and said, “If any of you would like to walk in my shoes the 1/2 block from this church to my home, then be my guest. Till then, you have no right to judge me.”. Not one took up the offer so I took my shoe and left. A week later I was officially disfellowshipped.

It was actually then that I realized what a favor they’d done for me. All those years I’d repressed the need to understand things from a broader perspective were finally behind me. I began to read books that surely weren’t on the forbidden LDS list, but that opened my mind to many ideas and experiences that people outside the dark box of Mormonism had experienced.

I didn’t go looking for the church to be wrong, it just became more and more wrong as I learned things about the world outside of Mormonism and Utah. I didn’t know anything about Joseph Smith’s other wives or the seer stone or even the dark history of Brigham Young. I didn’t know the sinister things the heirarchy had done or the financial dealings and twisted things the leaders were involved in. I just knew that what I saw and learned after I left contradicted what I’d been taught all those years.

I started to call myself an Emancipated Mormon a year after my divorce. In some ways I still felt Mormon and even now find myself having typical Mormon attitudes and hangups. Many of the things I learned in the church are useful and practical, but many are dark and twisted and mess ones psyche up seriously.

It’s taken years to deprogram some of those messages. I no longer feel suicidal or have panic attacks unless I am going to a family or social gathering or compelled to participate in a church activity. I’ve not been allowed to go to my childrens weddings. I’ve been excluded from almost every event in their church lives, but even after all that, I still am so much happier now that I’ve left the church. I lost my home, my business, my friends, my self respect in some ways, and so much more, but I’m still happier now than I ever was in the church. I almost lost my children and extended family. Even now, I have to be very careful with all those relationships because every person in my family is still devout LDS. I am the ONLY one in my family that has left.

The price we all pay for freedom can be enormous. To be self emancipated is a glorious achievement. I lost so much, but I’ve gained even more. The years have passed and my children and I have mended some things and have sweet and good relationships. I can even be cordial to my ex, while I secretly revel in his self imposed misery and the Karma of his messed up life. I love my new husband, my new life, my new discoveries.

I’ve made far more deep and worthwhile friendships since I left the church than all those years in the middle of it. I’m not kidding, food tastes better, sex is way better, I read better books, go to better movies, have better vacations, and sleep better since leaving the church. It’s been the most healthy thing I’ve ever done. If I coulda left earlier, I shoulda, and in retrospect, I woulda. I just had to get there in my own time and my own way. I don’t regret my choice one bit. I am free.

There comes a point when one must move from the comfort of the middle of the road on an issue and I’ve sat too long without officially resigning. The rejection of my fellow true brothers and sisters from the church of their birth and the involvement of that church in denying them basic civil rights that should be afforded every adult citizen in the U.S. has compelled me to finally take a stand. I offer my resignation in solidarity with the many others who are participating in the exodus from the oppressive Mormon church and I stand proud with the GLBT community in fighting for their rights. I’m not tired yet. There’s plenty of fight left for the distance.

Someday my grandchildren will be able to look back on this issue as some shameful part of America’s past, much like I do on the way blacks were treated in the 60’s. Shame on the Mormon Church. Shame on so called Christians or anyone who cannot see their fellow man with an eye of love and compassion. Our collective shame for them will make a difference.

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Dec 20 2008

Jude Stevens, Oregon, Wisconsin – Mormons who support gay marriage

http://www.reformmormonism.org/

Please check out this website

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Dec 17 2008

Billie Christiansen, Kaysville, UT – resignation

After carefully studying LDS church history I know longer believe the church is “true” I never formally resigned from the church, as I knew I would still be counted as a member in the numbers of church membership. My reasons for not believing are atattached to this letter.

The Mormon church’s active campaign against civil liberties based on sexual orientation is now forcing my overdue resignation from the church. I can not in clear conscience have any connection with a church which causes such mindless hurt, senseless judgement and hatred. I feel it my moral obligation to do my part to help make this world more inclusive, caring and rational.

This letter is our formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and ‘discipline’. As I am no longer a member, I want our names permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.

I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the ‘seriousness’ and the ‘consequences’ of my actions. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation “cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings” I also understand that I will be “readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview”. (quotes from the current Church Handbook of Instructions)

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any ‘waiting periods’. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind.

I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.

Sincerely,

Billie Christiansen
Alixander Lewis

For the past year or so, I have spent countless hours honestly, sincerely, studying church history and the lives of many of the early saints. I have only used the best possible books for my research, using church approved books as well as historical books, journals and, historical documents. I have stayed away from anything “anti”, as I only want the truth without any bias. While extensively studying the history and doctrine of the church, I have reached the conclusion, I do not believe in the LDS church. Coming to this conclusion has been very painful. I have spent countless hours studying and contemplating, this turn of events has in no way been a hasty decision. I have taken this very seriously. I have been upset and angry with all the deception on the church’s part. But, I am now finding a peace and self acceptance I have never had before. It feels good to be able to think for myself. The world finally makes sense. I don’t have to put anything “on the shelf”

The complete facts behind these issues are easily available from many sources for those that are willing to search them out and expand their education beyond church- approved documents. The church fails to disclose many facts that contradict its official version of its history. It is the policy of the church to teach only faith promoting history, and it hides away all the contradictory evidence. The church authorities have not been honest with us. “Truth can withstand scrutiny”

The Book of Abraham is a false translation. The discovery of the original papyrus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1967 has proven beyond doubt he did not have the ability to translate. It has Joseph Smiths handwriting, translating each line of the Egyptian, ordinary funeral documents.

There at least three contradictory documented versions of the first vision by Joseph Smith evolving over time?
1832-He said he had a dream that Jesus appeared
1842- two personages appeared
– many anglee appeared, which was deleted
After his death.
1935-added God the Father and Jesus.

Wouldn’t a visit from Diety, make such an impression that he would remember?

There absolutely no evidence backing up the Book of Mormon. DNA has proved the American Indians are decendants of Mongolin tribes of Siberia , not the decendants of Isralites. They are not Lamanites as we were taught. We have concrete evidence of Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, Egyptions, Romans, Greeks and hundreds of other civilizations, even dinasours. Where is there any evidence of the civilizations of millions of people in the Book of Mormon?

In the battle of Coriantumn and Shiz on the Hill Cumorah, Three to Four million people were killed in one battle on one small hill in New York . The second battle 240,000 Nephites and a larger number of Lamanites, for a total of about a half a million people died. There has never been any sword, shield, chariot, coin, anything found …

All the Americans killed in all the wars in history in under 700,000. The Book of Mormon says 6 times that number, were killed in these two battles on the Hill Cumorah. Hand to hand combat verses mass casualties in modern warfare from bombs, machine guns, tanks etc.

I was taught Smith translated from the Gold plates. When the reality is, he had his face in a hat with his magic peep stones and never used the plates. Smith was a treasure seeker and used the same tools for translating the Book of Mormon as he did for hunting for treasure. He believed in folk magic and used Occult practices.

Smith started the ‘translation’ of the fraudulent Kinderhook plates, that he thought were ancient brass plates.

We are taught the Blacks are a cursed race, there spirits not being valiant enough in the pre-existence and were cursed by being born as members of the black race. The Book of Mormon teaches dark skin is a curse as a result of wickedness. Temple ordinances were not allowed to those with negro blood in there veins. In 1974 changes were made to this policy because of the threat of a NAACP lawsuit and congressional investigation. Under government pressure in 1978 the Blacks were allowed the priesthood. I feel badly about all the prejudices the church has and continues to bring into our world. The hurt this prejudice is now inflicting on the Gay community, all in the name God, is cruel.

The temple ceremony is a copy of the Masonic ceremony. Smith became a mason in 1842 and quickly rose to Master Mason, going 13 times in a six week period, before introducing the mason temple endowment ceremony to the Saints. Despite Smith’s claims the ceremony can’t be changed or tampered with the church has removed disturbing parts, such as blood oaths, oaths of vengeance against the United States government, covenants of obedience from wives to their husbands. The temple ceremony was not what was practiced in Solomon’s temple.

Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was the” most perfect and correct book ever written”.
Revelations in the D&C have been edited over time with additions and deletions to hide problems with the original revelations. Official church historyies have been edited and deleted many, many times to remove details that are not “faith promoting”. Most of today’s LDS have no idea of some of the false doctrines Joseph Smith taught.
The book of Commandments which became our D&C has had many revelations changed and added to. There are hundreds of revelations Joseph Smith had, that we haven’t even heard of.
Since the Book of Mormon was first published, there have been nearly 4000 changes made to this “most perfect” book, many of these changes altering the meanings.
Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the gospel”, but there is nothing in it about the LDS gospel. Plan of Salvation- War in Heaven- Baptism for the dead- Three degrees of Glory- We can become Gods- God was once a man- Eternal Marriage- Eternal progression- Temple endowments- Aaronic priesthood- etc…

The ”View of the Hebrews” by Ethan Smith was published 7 years before the Book of Mormon. It has amazing similarities. Both speak of:
American Indians as decended from Hebrews.
Ancient book hidden and buried in the ground.
Destruction of Jerusalem and scattering of Israel .
New world being populated by migration from the old world.
New settlers making a journey to the north entering the valley of a great river.
Future gathering of Israel and restoration of 10 tribes.
Compare House of Israel to an olive tree.
Copy entire chapters from Isaiah.
Interpret Isaiah’s prophecies as referring to America .
Stick of Ephraim.
Tell of ancient Americans dividing into two separate nations, one civilized the other savage.
Say the savage nation eventually destroyed the civilized one.
Ancient inhabitants had written language.
Ancient inhabitants had iron.
Speak of a breast plate.
“watch towers” for military observation.
Denounce polygamy.
A great gentile nation that would occupy America .
The gospel was preached in ancient America .
“Altered” or “reformed” Egyptian
And many more similarities…

Why does Gordon B. Hinckley when asked about our core belief “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become”, continually say“, I don’t know if we teach that?” We have all been taught that, it is one of our basic beliefs. Why didn’t Hinkley and other church leaders receive revelations and be able to discern that the documents they were buying from Mark Hoffman, to hide away form the members, were forgeries.
The Book of Mormon witness’s were unreliable.
Martin Harris stated publicly that none of the witness’s saw the plates with their physical eyes, but with spiritual eyes, like a dream,” Eyes of Faith”. He also changed religions eight times while in Kirtland . He was known as “deranged”.
David Whitmer claimed years later, that God spoke to him and told him to leave the church.
Oliver Cowdrey claimed to see both Christ and Satan in a vision. Once he saw Jesus in a form of a deer, and walked with him.
We have Joseph Smith’s prepared statement, which the witnesses signed. We don’t have any first hand accounts. We have a signed document written by Joseph Smith, if they would have written it their own words, it would have been quite different. I believe the charisma of Joseph Smith and the power of suggestion played a part this. After Joseph Smith’s death, James J. Strang claimed to be his successor and had a revelation from an angel and all living witnesses to the Book of Mormon except Oliver Cowdrey had accepted him as the true leader of the church. Strang went on to claim he had translated metal plates “The Book of the Law of the Lord”. Only Joseph Smith’s two brothers and his father remained steadfast in their commitment.

Joseph Smith started polygamy, marrying at least 33 wives. Some believe it was much higher. Fourteen of those were already married women, including the wives of his twelve apostles in Nauvoo. Some of whom he sent away on missions before he married their wives. They were marriages that included sexual relations, as documented by histories, testimonies and journals. Two of the saddest stories were of Zina D Huntington. She was married to Jacob, whom she loved dearly. Joseph Smith told her she was to marry him or he would be struck down with a sword by an angle. She was pregnant with her first son of Jacobs. She and her husband, having blind faith agreed. She was able to stay living with Jacob, as Joseph didn’t financially support and provide for his wives. But when Joseph died, Brigham Young took her as one of his wives and while crossing the plains, he sent Jacob on a mission and told Zina she was his now and Jacob would have to find another wife. She and Jacob had two sons together. They loved each other and neither one ever had that love again. He wrote heartbreaking letters to her for many years. Zina spent her life without the one she loved and without someone to love her. Would the God you know, require this of a woman for her salvation? Another sad story, Joseph told, Heber C Kimball that he wanted his wife as his own. Heber and his wife loved each other so much that she would not agree. They offered up their 14 year old daughter, Helen Mar Kimball to Joseph, and he agreed. In her journal she later says, she thought she had no choice but to sacrifice herself for her family’s salvation. But if she had known it would have been more than a “spiritual” marriage, she would have never have done it. She said she was deceived. There were some of these women who had children fathered by Joseph. I have read many of these women’s journals and personal histories, they are heartbreaking and haunting to me, testifying of the horrors and degradation polygamy causes. The church is trying to change the history, teaching your generation, Brigham Young is the one who started it, and only to help the women who didn’t have husbands to cross the plains to Utah. Telling us there were many more women than men. Looking at the census from those years, you can see there were a little more men than women. Nineteenth century doctrine teaches that polygamy is necessary for exaltation and would always be so. Either this was a false doctrine, or we can no longer be exalted. Pressure to gain statehood, brought the Manifesto. It simply suspended the practice under the circumstances. The D&C 132 revelation authorizing polygamy is still part of LDS scripture. I believe Joseph Smith introduced polygamy to provide divine justification for illegal and immoral behavior.

I’ve learned about the doctrine of the Blood Atonement. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught and practiced this doctrine which teaches some sins cannot be forgiven from the Savior’s atonement, but need to be atoned for, by shedding your blood. They did this by slitting the throats of the sinners. Among the list of sins, requiring the Blood Atonement, being an Apostate, marriage to an African, taking the Lord’s name in vain, not receiving the gospel, lying, refusing to practice polygamy and others. There are many who were killed. As more Gentiles moved to Utah, it became impossible to continue the practice and it eventually stopped, but it is still Mormon doctrine. Would the God you know require this?

In 1838 Joseph Smith started the Danites, for the purpose of “plundering and murdering there enemies of the Saints”. They targeted, dissenters from the church, killing, robbing, taking from the Gentiles and consecrating it too the church.

I’ve studied the Mountain Meadow Massacre in depth and believe Brigham Young and other church leaders were involved and responsible for these 120 deaths. The Mormons also were responsible for the Aiken Massacre.

As I have spent countless hours studying the church. I’ve found mounting evidence the church is not true, nothing to substantiate its claims beyond blind faith.

We were taught to find our testimony using our feelings. We decide on its truthfulness by how we “feel”, when we should study and research using unbiased sources. I can feel the “spirit” during a hymn or even a Faith Hill song, but it is our emotions and feelings we are experiencing. Eternal families does make you feel good, but what about the other doctrines such as polygamy, we are then told not to use our feelings, we put those things on the shelf, thinking that someday they will all make sense All the religions in the world have people with testimonyies, it isn’t any different for them. They feel their church is right and have testimonies to back it up. The Islam fundamentalists have very strong testimony of their religion and scripture, they are willing to give up there life for it.

Billie Christiansen

No responses yet

Dec 10 2008

David Johnson, Roswell GA – Treating all people with dignity, I resign

I, David Johnson, formally resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, effective immediately. As a legal adult, I have never consented to membership in the church and I withdraw any consent that can be inferred from my membership as a child. It has come to my attention that I am currently on membership records. I withdraw any consent to being treated as a member and I demand my name be permanently and completely removed from any membership records of the church.
The Mormon Church’s active campaign against civil liberties based on sexual orientation has inspired me to speak out. I once thought that distancing myself from the church was enough to demonstrate my disapproval of their actions, however, due to recent events, I now realize that my silence has been mistaken for support of Mormon oppression. My name is being used to demonstrate numerical support of church positions and beliefs. The Mormon Church’s campaign against gay persons renders it impossible to deny that this church is anything other than an extremist hate organization. I would not leave my name on the member list of the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nation simply because I had the misfortune of being born a member.

The Mormon Church has a long history of subordination and denigration of many minority groups including women, black persons, and homosexuals. These are my brothers, and my sisters, and I will not allow the Mormon Church to use my name for offenses against my family. I am acting today to reclaim my name, and I officially resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any ‘waiting periods’. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind. I refuse to meet with missionaries or councilors of any sort. I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect, and with full confidentiality.
After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.

No responses yet

Dec 10 2008

Carol Bastian, Mountain View, CA – Resigning – Ashamed of LDS Church

I was sent this website by a relative I am close to who is homosexual. I am resigning from the LDS church and here is part of my letter. I am so sad at the way he and every gay person has been treated and will no longer allow myself to be associated with the LDS faith.

I considered resigning from the church when the church would not allow black persons the priesthood. When this was changed, I was heartened to think that this was a living church that would change what was incorrect. I understand that the church has taken the stand regarding homosexuality because of the belief that this is God’s will. Any God who would create a homosexual would not condemn that same individual for being that creation. I am not homosexual, but I have seen what hate and discrimination can do to people who are condemned and misunderstood by society. I will not stand with a church who uses its’ power and platform to encourage the infliction of more pain upon the innocent. Just because someone is homosexual does not make that person a sinner. It is what a person does with the burdens given that determine a life well-lived. It is not the place of the church to judge. A religion that harbors this kind of hate is not a religion that I want to uphold as my own.

As a Californian, I am deeply ashamed to be associated with a church that would so openly condemn others and campaign for their rights as citizens to be removed

No responses yet

Dec 07 2008

Steven Ladd Jones, Newhall, CA – Resignation Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and ‘discipline’. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.

I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the ‘seriousness’ and the ‘consequences’ of my actions. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation “cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings.” I also understand that I will be “readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview.” (quotes from the current Church Handbook of Instructions)

Though I was born and raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have not been an active member for many years. Despite the fact that I have not attended church services these past years for reasons other than special occasions for members of my family (e.g. baptisms, mission farewells), I saw no reason to remove my name from the records of the church at the time. I believed it was harmless to have my name remain on the membership rolls of the church. However, with the recent actions of the Mormon Church in funding and promoting the passage of Proposition 8 in California, I realize now that to keep my name on the records of the Mormon Church is no longer an option for me. I have no desire to be associated on any level with a religion that uses its power and influence to spread intolerance and discrimination in this world.

I have many close friends and family members in the Mormon community who have always ‘accepted’ me as a part of their lives, regardless of the choices I made to disassociate myself with the Church. But now I can see the true hypocrisy of their actions, also representative of the Mormon community at large – actions that on the outside may preach love, acceptance, and tolerance of your neighbors and fellow citizens, yet on the inside are so full of bigotry and intolerance that the vast majority of you would vote to take away the fundamental rights of a minority group in the state of California (as well as, in slightly less publicized battles last month, in the states of Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas).

I am grateful for members of your church who are speaking out against the misguided leadership of your church, and you should be grateful for them as well, for they are the only hope you have left of mending the damage you have done to your reputation both in this country and around the world. I applaud those members who are not afraid to call you out on your shameful and reprehensible actions.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any ‘waiting periods’. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind.

I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.

After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.

Sincerely,

Steven Ladd Jones

No responses yet

Dec 07 2008

CAPTAIN MORONI, Zion – hate?

Many opponents of proposition 8 have said that it was based on hate and that the Church hates gays.

I disagree………it’s even worse……….

The opposite of love is not hate….it’s indifference. They just don’t care

Their support of prop 8, they show the world that ……..

They don’t care if they are violating the scriptures.

They don’t care that they are going against the words of past prophets.

They don’t care if a stay at home partner loses insurance coverage.

They don’t care if the kids do either.

They don’t care that one partner could be kicked to the street if the home owner dies without a will.

They don’t care if a partner could lose a business of even the kids he helped raise by staying home.

There are so many things that they don’t care about, but the worse thing is that they don’t care…that they don’t care.

God cared so much that He sent his Son for us. The Church claiming His approval doesn’t care. Gays just don’t matter.

No responses yet

Dec 06 2008

Matthew Gerber, Salt Lake City, UT – Open Letter to Mormon Martyrs

Dear Mormon Martyr:

I am exhausted with the martyr complex exhibited by some members of your church because they’re being called out for overt discrimination. Opponents of Proposition 8 don’t hate the Mormon church or its members, but we are extremely upset that our civil rights, and our ability to register for wedding gifts at IKEA, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond, have been stripped from us. Turn the situation around and imagine your outrage if people voted and succeeded in denying the rights of Mormons to marry in their temples and have their reception in the cultural hall under the basketball hoop. I, for one, would join in protesting such a decision because I believe in the America that stands for Liberty and Justice for all.

The public relations wing of the church indicates that they aren’t against gay rights, but stand to protect marriage. Protect marriage from whom? Would allowing two people who love one another to enter into the legal and social establishment of matrimony make anyone’s marriage less meaningful? Would it cause the 48% of marriages that currently don’t end in divorce to crumble? Be honest. Also, if you’re not against gay rights, then help us get them!

Gay people do NOT have equal rights. It’s still legal to fire me because I’m gay and a myriad of other wrongs that are still allowed by the laws of the land. I felt “lucky” that I was gay-bashed in Seattle because at least Washington state had a hate crimes law. Civil unions are still not allowed in most states. My lesbian friend isn’t allowed to adopt the biological children of her partner, even though the children were born during their committed relationship. These things are wrong!

Opponents of Proposition 8 simply want the church to stick to churchy things, such as acting as Jesus Christ taught, helping the homeless, feeding the poor, loving thy neighbor as thyself, not judging others, and sticking up for the disenfranchised (that would include women, people of all races, and, yes, the gay community). The $22 million given by members of the Mormon church to Yes on 8, as encouraged by the brethren, as well as the countless hours spent donating time to ensure its passage, would have gone a long way in helping the poor and others in need, and would have created enormous goodwill for the church in the process. If the church wants to get involved in political matters designed to deny equal civil rights to anyone, or any political matters at all, they should be required to pay taxes like the rest of us. I have many active Mormon friends who feel the same way.

The members of the gay community that I know are the most tame people in the world, and far too creative to send letters of white powder to temples, too intelligent to misspell bigot while applying graffiti to someone’s SUV, and too busy to waste their time stealing “Yes on 8” signs. We believe these acts are atrocious as violence and vandalism have no place in a civilized society. Do not jump to the conclusion that these acts are being committed by the LGBT community. Peaceful protests and rallies are an exercise of our freedom of speech and will continue until equality prevails.

I want to thank our courageous straight allies, particularly those members of the Mormon church who have followed their conscience at great risk to themselves. They have the most to lose and do the right thing anyway.

Eventually gay and lesbian couples will have full marriage equality in the United States and America will live up to its promise that all men are created equal.

Sincerely,
A Disgruntled Homosexual

No responses yet

Dec 05 2008

Shawn Monson Atkins, Salt Lake City – my resignation letter from July 2008

This is my resignation I sent to the LDS church on July 6th 2008, shortly after learning of the the message read over the puplits of California’s LDS ward houses the prior weekend, of course they ignored my wishes to just receive a letter saying they accepted my resignation, but rather sent a copy to my stake president and sent me a letter to prayerfully reconsider. Needless to say it is December and I still haven’t received my resignation confirmation, but I know legally I was done when they received it:

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any ‘waiting periods’. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind.

I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.

After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church. My name is Shawn Monson Atkins – DOB 11/11/67.
The efforts off the church to amend state and federal constitutions to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and encouraging members to donate their time and efforts to attain these political goals are both hypocritical and offensive, and frankly should cause the church to lose tax exempt status. The take home message of the Bible, in my humble opinion is that God abhors hypocrisy and that we are all imperfect and He will judge us – not that gay people should legally be harassed, shamed and treated as second class members of society. The religion that once deemed plural marriage as allegedly ordained by God via direct contact with a ‘prophet’ seems mighty sure God isn’t going to reinstate the ‘new and everlasting covenant’ in the future and is working to ensure one of their own initial doctrines will be illegal. I don’t even want to ask about the silly explanation(s) you may have for a widower being sealed to a second spouse. Apparently the church allows members to be married in temple polygamy, but publicly the church ostensibly promotes ‘traditional family values’ contrary to what goes on in the temple ceremonies. I pay equal taxes to the federal and state government as my straight counterparts and I deserve the same legal benefits. No matter how much the church tries telling me that being gay is a choice, or that it is just my lot in life and I can be celibate and happy, (like I was born without a dick or something), I am the one who knows what my personal experience is I know I have been attracted to men since before the age of 8, I know my own desires and can say that if we are all God’s children, this is how He made me, and the idea that any 1950’s philosophy or aversion therapy or Evergreen program can change me is silly, and refuted by any legitimate scientific evidence. I am proud and gay and you will never take that away from me. The tide is turning and you hypocrites are going to fail in your efforts to subjugate us.

Sincerely,

Shawn Monson Atkins

No responses yet

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