When Thoughts Are Forbidden

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“When your own thoughts are forbidden, when your questions are not allowed and our doubts are punished, when contacts with friendships outside of the organization are censored, we are being abused, … When we consider staying in a group because we cannot bear the loss, disappointment and sorrow our leaving will cause for ourselves and those we have come to love, we are in a cult… If there is any lesson to be learned it is that an ideal can never be brought about by fear, abuse, and the threat of retribution. When family and friends are used as a weapon in order to force us to stay in an organization, something has gone terribly wrong.” (Deborah Layton, A Jonestown Survivor’s Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple)

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I Belonged To A Racist Church & I’m Sorry

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For most of my adult life I was involved in Mormonism. I never personally consider anyone of any race to be any less human, less good or less worthy. But I did use all sorts of mental gymnastics to excuse a religion that did teach such things, and whose scriptures and manuals still do.

The Book of Mormon is wrong to teach that …

  • “a skin of blackness” is less “enticing” and more “loathsome” than “white and exceedingly fair and delightsome” skin.
  • Whiter skin comes from “repent[ing] of your sins”
  • Darker skin leads to being “idle people, full of mischief “

(See 2 Ne 5:21-23, 1 Ne 12:23 & Jacob 3:5,8-9, See Moses 7:8,22)

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was wrong for teaching that …

  • Black people are “their own species”
  • He “would confine them by strict law” segregated away from whites.
  • Black skin “has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate”

(See Teachings, p. 270, Times & Seasons 6:857)

Jane Manning was sealed (by proxy and against her wishes) to Joseph Smith as a “servant for eternity”. Seriously?(Woodruff Journal, 16 Oct 1894)

Mormon leader, Brigham Young, was wrong when he taught …

  • That slavery was “of divine institution”
  • That blacks were “uncouth, un-comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence”
  • That “the law of God in regard to the African race” is “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

(See JD 7:290-91, 10:109,250, NY Trib., 20 Aug 1859)

The Mormon church is wrong about …

  • Owning a slave, Green Flake, between 1852-54, in payment for tithing.
  • Teaching that American Indian “members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness.”

(See Kimball, General Conference – October 1960)

The Mormon church is still wrong about …

  • Opposing the civil rights movement.
  • Currently teaching that they “recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background”
  • Not apologizing for these false teachings.

(See Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3 – Lesson 31)

I apologize to the 73% of the world’s population that is not white and the 99.98% that is not Mormon, and I encourage all my Mormon family and friends to reject these teachings and find the happiness that comes through doing so.

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Discrimination vs Freedom

Christian and Mormons discriminate with cakes and toilets now.

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“I don’t think America will ever rise to its full maturity until all over this country we say that anybody who’s in a public business cannot deny anybody on the basis of race or color access to that business. He should not have the freedom to choose his customers on the basis of race or religion.” – Martin Luther King

Rhyming Review of the Book of Mormon

In New York state, way back in 1819
there lived a poor boy of just thirteen
who got caught up in the treasure craze
which back then was a popular phase
in which tales of pirates and Spaniards
burying treasure in the land were heard
This boy named Joseph was told tales
of Captain Kidd’s adventures sailed
on the isles of Cumora where he’d hide
from his foes in the city of Mor-o-ni

If only this boy had a way to see
where such hidden riches might be
Luckily one day while digging a well
He found a seer stone to help him tell
where jewels and coins had been hid
which he could find for a small bid
he’d just put his head into a hat
and find missing objects just like that
but there sometimes was a problem
when slippery spirits would hide them

After some time without good luck
in which no vein of gold was struck
and his landlord Lemuel Durfee
saw the rent hadn’t been paid lately
By chance an angel named Moroni
an ancient American resurrected guy
came to tell Joseph of a golden book
hid on a local hill in an unseen nook
now if his creditors waited patiently
what ancient wonders they might see

But in the end the angel blasted
Joseph for trying to seek riches
the gold had to be kept out of sight
because selling it would not be right
but an ancient tale upon plates
would be of worth even more great
and besides the Lord said one night
you’ll make cash selling the copyright
thus your farmer friend will be paid
for the printing when a profits made

But a magical book he had to write
with a rock in a hat shining it’s light
to reveal the ancient American tale
before he could advertise it for sale
how could this boy so uneducated
get this unusual urtext translated?
despite the fact that his father,
brother and mother were teachers
surely he was too dumb to invent
stories like the ones he had dreamt

luckily he didn’t have to do it alone
cousin Oliver lived close to home
and had worked once already
on an ancient Yankee Israelite story
Ethan Smith, his boss and pastor
had written one, but it didn’t matter
because that was only just fiction
but this was given by divine dictation
so they must be completely innocent
of any accusation of coincidence

So don’t look with any suspicion
on errors copied from a bible edition
on phrases found in his school book
you aren’t worthy if you take a look
forget those names the book gives
in common with places where he lived
and so what if a Lemuel he knew
or read about Cumora[h] & Moroni too
all of these facts are just a test
so if you forget them it would be best

Of course we haven’t found any
metal swords, chariots, or pennies
no cloths, crops, animals or writing
for God went and hid any such things
despite all evidence of the Ro-mans
in England during the same time-span
and in Canada remains of the vikings
the lack of Israelites there is striking
but it’s just because they were all hid
except to a 19th century New York kid

None of this really matters though
facts aren’t the way to really know
what is false from what is true
praying is what you need to do
for no-one has ever gone astray
following their feelings – have they?
it’s all about whether you are pious
and don’t care about confirmation bias
forget doubts that come your way
truth isn’t found in what science says

Thought-terminating Clichés

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A thought terminating cliché is a phrase used to avoid directly answer the substance of a question or even admitting there even is a legitimate question or should be an answer. They are sentences used dismiss dissent, to justify false logic, to avoid inconvenient evidence, and to put erroneous beliefs beyond challenge. It’s not possible that some Mormons use these techniques is it?

They say: “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”

My response: I prefer to resolve my doubts.

I can doubt my doubts all I like but I can’t doubt the facts, even if I did the facts would still be true.

If people never doubted their doubts about the religions they were brought up in Mormonism wouldn’t have any converts.

Note: Dieter Uchtdorf was quoting a Pentecostal faith healer named F.F. Bosworth, because Bosworth didn’t doubt his doubts he stayed a Pentecostalist his whole life.

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Contrariwise

In the Spring of 2008 I started a blog to explore some of my questions about Mormonism. It was called The Contrarian Mormon.

I was already somewhat outside of the mainstream, focusing on the earlier church presidents to get back to some pure version of my religion, and I was determined to follow their often disregarded teachings. But on a personal level I was quite liberal in my acceptance of others and in my desire for everyone to be treated fairly.

My first challenges began with seeing the conflict between the teachings of Jesus towards the poor compared to Mormons love of wealth and material success, and (with daughters who were entering their teens) my concerns extended to the way women were treated by the religion. Initially these issues were still just questions I hoped to find the answers too and reconcile with my faith.

However, as my mind opened I began to look more closely into the origins of LDS beliefs, and that ultimately led to this web page and my journey out of Mormonism.

After just over a year of sharing some of the reasons and research as to why I left I took a break from this outlet for my thoughts to focus on building a new life and discovering a world beyond Mormonism. But I have never ceased to have an interest in the religion I was part of for over two decades, and so I am again going to be posting my perspective and studies for any who might be interested.

Fraud, Fiction or Fact? The Book of Mormon

Greg Trimble gave a list of 10 reasons he believed the Book of Mormon was not a fraud.  This is my personal response:

1. Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages of ancient scripture on his own that was historically accurate and prophetic in nature?

This presumes a) that Joseph was uneducated, b) that the Book of Mormon was ancient scripture, c) that it was historically accurate, and d) that it is prophetic.

Joseph Smith was 23 when he wrote the Book of Mormon. Letters he wrote at the time show he was well educated, he had been a member of the local debate club, two of his family had been teachers (and so was Oliver Cowdery).  According to his mother he had been rehearsing aspects of the Book for years, and parts of it are remarkably similar to his father’s dreams, parts of the Bible and books like “The Late War” and “A View of the Hebrews”.

The Book of Mormon certainly claims to be ancient scripture but it is full of uniquely modern phraseology. There is no independent ancient American historian or archeologist who would consider any of the Book of Mormon to be historical in any sense. It is only accurately prophetic in events that happened before Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, after that it is very vague. Continue reading