In this interview with LDS author Mike Ash, we talk about his book “Shaken Faith Syndrome”, faith crisis in general, and delve into a few issues like if the Church hides it’s History
His book can be purchased here
Contact info if any questions on difficult issues or faith crisis
firstname.lastname@example.org <——— Mike’s email
Michael R. Ash
is a Mormon scholar and apologist. Bro. Ash is on the management team for the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR), an international, volunteer, non-profit organization that produces material defending the LDS faith and answers queries from members (and investigators) who have challenging questions about Mormonism. Ash has written dozens of articles for FAIR as well as his own website, MormonFortress.com.
Ash has also written articles for the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and Sunstone Magazine. In June 2008, FAIR published Ash’s book entitled, Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in Face of Criticism and Doubt which has received mostly positive reviews. In December 2008, Cedar Fort published Ash’s book, Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Michael writes a weekly column about LDS issues for the Deseret News (and Church News) owned online publication, Meridian Magazine, and the Mormon Times.
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Good Sunday Morning, Bill and Mike!
Hmmmm, “Silly arguments.”? That sure put me in my place for questioning. That phrase was a turn off and challenger to me and the truths I have come to know from questioning as Christ and His prophets admonished to do, so many times.
Even if the Book of Abraham is inspired, a spiritual download from Christ, and the Book of Mormon is the purest of allegorical, inspired by Christ, despite no Gold Plates, perhaps Mike Ash’s book is better for those not really questioning yet, just needing inoculation of sorts, with just enough of the filth and toxin injected into their system to trigger “immunity” to what, truth?
His book fueled my questions further when I finally went through a lot of it two years after my wife got it, after our own greater questions about the plethora of contradictions vs True eternal truths had already started to flow and grow.
Perhaps it takes only enough partially blind Obedience, Faith and Trust to quell our doubts, which could put to rest that list of standing contradictions and questions, and the eternal truths which Christ taught Himself, now off limits by commandment? That compounds it. But, we can be freed from thsoe doubts if we can just be strong enough in faith to trust that imperfect open-to-Christ leaders who do not agree with the imperfect staunch leaders whom coomand that we must follow only them to Christ, are slowly eased out by attrition while newer and more open-to-Christ imperfect leaders come in to replace and restore the restored church, backed by our Trust, again. But, meanwhile, we just need to have faith and trust that Christ’s Law of Common Consent will someday no longer be misused as a tool to judge and ostracize all who do not agree with God’s chosen ones who cannot lead us astray?
Curiosity finally got the better of me and I wanted to see how this book addressed the questions and contradictions any better than the standard apologist who discounts and dismisses serious questions and truths as “just doubts” or a “syndrome” (a sickness of faith, or flaw, since we are broken and need fixing…) and waves a magic wand and prescribes more Obedience and Faith, or Trust, to make the legitimacy of our questions and concerns for contradictions silly, to the vanishing point.
Let me address more directly Mike’s point of understandably imperfect leaders, like Joseph Smith and all prophets who of course naturally make errors (Can lead us astray). Why then would Christ contradict Himself by commanding us to “Obey and Not Question” those fallible imperfect leaders, even in their mistakes which can sometimes, and have, lead us far away from Him (Astray), and are currently going without course corrections?
Christ doesn’t really care much about this? He’s just testing us to see if we will follow a leader any direction without questioning? Well, we have done, and it isn’t pretty, though Chrsit already commanded us to not do that. Wave the magic apologist doubter wand and make that “silly question” and concern go away.
Many contradictions from the “can’t lead you astray” conundrum keep piling up over time, line upon line actually. The only way to fix this elephant in the living room, short of starving it enough to shove it out through the back door, seems to be to further command us to have faith and to “Trust” and to just not fully see or smell it, to be patient, and reminding us of “Christ’s New 2 Great Commandments,” which are, “Obey and Don’t Question!” There, “silly arguments” fixed with one weird trick.
Nearly 4 years ago my wife’s friend gave her a first edition of “Shaken Faith Syndrome” by Mike Ash (good thing he fixed it all with a second edition). The book title was a turn-off in itself to her, and to me once she pointed out how it was such. “Something was injured or broken with HER,” but not broken or contradictory with leaders and their mounting contradictory “commandments of men.” D&C 46:7
I was Mr Uber Morman Man at the time, a temple recommend wielding Elders quorum instructor, the one they always called on to fill in when the other teachers and presidency could not teach their assigned lessons. That was good, and in the service of my fellow men and God. I was faithfully spreading the Good News (Gospel) of Christ, Moroni, Nephi and Lehi = God, Christ and Spirit first, The only sources of all Truth, which our leaders naturally point us to, and “by their fruits (truth) you will know them.”
I did not realize that these foundational messages of the fullness of the gospel would send me and maybe others to finally obey Him and question all truths and only follow Him, with no intermediary to Him. That’s what He said.
I was going to help my new wife get reactivated and we were going to be sealed in the Holy Temple, for a fee, plus blind obedience, for Trust and sustaining, of course. She was interested and loved the fellowship of the wards, but kept hitting hiccups (Contradictions) in the actual “restored gospel” itself, and in some but not all members judgmentally pushing contradictions self-righteously, which was actually easier for her to brush off than leaders chanting “Obey! Don’t Question!”
“You will be blessed for blind Obedience, Trust and Faith, even if you think a comandment or law from the brethren is wrong or contradicts what Christ taught.” “Damned truth, who needs it anyway, just Obey to pass the real and eternal test, to prove your worthiness to Him!?”
I was obedient to “The Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome,” the beautiful beyond description “clothes” we are commanded to see and not doubt, in all their true glory, lest we be broken and need fixing, not worthy of the full blessings of salvation till then. The contradictions, which went against the True Gospel, and the True Christ who was often silenced, started creeping in, then flooding in.
I had tried for years to shut the door, lock it and seal around it for leaks, but the flood finally just burst open the door and flushed it away. All the questions were related. Christ and Truth vs Blind Trust seemed to be spoiling our dream of “eternal family togetherness and perfection.”
One of those contradictions is not dealt with very well by Mike or by anyone, lest they be a blasphemer for standing by Christ instead of by and for leaders first who contradict Him, again. I had terrible medical problems and at last learned to fix them by studying and learning to uses God’s wholesome herbs and foods. I knew my herbalist, midwife aunt had healed many through the power of God’s herbs. The more I studied and used herbs and then foods too, it seemed to lead me to further light and Knowledge I had lacked (Wisdom?).
I no longer needed some inevitable surgeries, or all those prescriptions I was taking, to keep me alive and my health from completely failing. I was getting stronger, my mind was sharper, clearer. I was realizing things from christ, the source of all truth and goodness, which I had not realized before. Moroni 10 was right!
I could see something I had been blinded from, that Learned Doctors and Leaders do not have the answers or cures of christ. Only God does, and He offers to share if we ask, HIM. The next time I read the Word of Wisdom I was shocked. It was Christ’s own words, not a prophet’s words, and it had a whole “New” meaning.
Actually that same old Word of Wsidom still had Christ’s same old original meanings, “hidden” right in plain sight from me until now, as He addressed so often, for those who would “have eyes to see and ears to hear,” Him, to seek Him and the Spirit first. This explained so much and started branching and growing. Seeking growth through the truth and wisdom of His eternal truths which do not and can not change from leader to anointed leader.
Some truths clear right up after you get hit over the head with the refined WoW which does not detox, rebuild, heal or give wisdom like only the wholesome WoW can. Truth, wisdom and health finally comes, as promised (verses 18-21) when we turn away from learned men, doctors and leaders (who’ve finally become more wise than God), and taste the success only of Christ, with His own wholesome herbs and foods.
I found that Lehi and Nephi knew to turn to god directly too, and not follow leaders to Him, and other prophets of the Book of Mormon knew it, seek God and His word directly first – Nephi 8:5-8
Our early prophets (and Christ) admonished this over and over. Joseph, Brigham and other leaders, despite their many faults, warned of the chemical and surgery doctors back in their day where this battle raged as well, to control and own the medical marketplace, and you too, yet one more ancient plan (Ether 8:24, 25).
Chemical and surgery doctors who inquired of their need to come to the Salt Lake Valley were told by Brigham Young that their was “little to no need for their services, don’t bother.” Brigham Young was a devout herbalist, but why don’t we hear of inspiring truths like this in our much more Learned Day?
Brigham’s father was a noted Herb Doctor back east, as was Dr. Willard Richards, in Carthage jail with Joseph, an herb doctor, and many more you probably will not hear about until you seek. Ailing saints seeking priesthood blessings for their ailments were often asked by Brigham what herbs and foods which God gave us for health and healing had they used first, before seeking priesthood blessings?
Do we put water in our gas tanks because it is cheaper and easier, and then seek God (or unwaivering faith in His prophets) to make our car run anyway? Contradicting today’s lesson manuals, Brigham Young did not make the WoW into a commandment for the church back in 1851. He opposed that and opposed other wise leaders inssiting that he make the WoW into a commandment, as Joseph Smith did likewise. They wanted to command it, coerce it to save the saints from these damaging ills to society and in the home. He opposed making the WoW into a commandment right to his death (1877). Did we read this in our lesson manuals? Sins of omission? Hiding truth? Why is such a differnt WoW picutre presented and commanded to us?
Leaders and Apologists won’t acknowledge these things nor will they acknowledge that all 5 prophets of the 1800’s opposed and refused to make the WoW into a commandment for the same reasons, upholding Joseph who upheld christ. Nor will leaders or apologists acknowledge the nearly 70 year War of the WoW between leaders and how it was finally won by attrition and by force by the new prophet in 1902, forcing goodness and health salvation for all, by “commandment and constraint” and to enforce it, hinging all other ordinances of salvation on strict obedience to that new “commandment.” Christ’s plan? How do we correct that now?
I’m sure the right apologist can help explain and shame this conundrum away too. More faith, more obedience, less questioning, showing forth more love for Christ’s most beloved? Problem solved!
Once you see and understand the words of Christ, that exposes apologists, learned men and leaders for excuse-makers, justifiers and blamers they are. By their fruits…
I see more and more sick and ailing saints all around us in our wards. There is much higher heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. than ever before, much more than 100+ years ago, whether or not you religiously or otherwise obey the 4-Don’ts. Way back, only 4 don’ts and pressing fellow members into that obedience mold were our primary concern, niot all this unrealeted 10 fold higher dissease brought on by all that is warned of in verse 4.
These growing numbers of sick saints who religiously follow the 4-Don’ts, but don’t freely choose to follow Christ’s loving and wholseome Words of Wisdom given by greeting not by commandment or constraint (coercion, shaming, judging, shunning, revoking salvation…) are getting sicker, needing more surgeries, and are dying in poorer health than before, without recieving His wisdom of health and healing.
One weird trick that does work if you have faith, is to simply follow Him first, Christ’s own wholesome Words of Wisdom for health, healing and wisdom, He promised (verses 18-21). Christ’s Words of Wisdom were given especially for Our latter day, right now, when we live, where all food and medicine has now surely become far more corrupted.
Thus His strong and clear central warning in verse 4 addresses All of that so simply. We can easily fail to see His meanings when we rely on leaders to interpret His simple and plain words for us.
These growing numbers of sick among us are too often scared to try God’s wholesome herbs and foods to save their health or their lives, and to give them wisdom, and to finally see who is really rooting for whom. These increasing sick saints are frozen from trying Christ’s wise words, but only free to follow leaders and doctors.
We only deny ourselves the blessings of Health and Wisdom by choosing to follow leaders who don’t know how or why to follow Christ first themselves. We are asked to fast and pray for the our ailing fellow saints for their warned of poisonous chemo to heal them, and surgeries to work for and save them, problems which most often can be solved far better using Christ’s own wholesome herbs, foods and Wisdom, if only our leaders would command us and blaze the way. Healing with food and herbs? Faith? Trust? Our real Faith Crisis? Maybe it is easier to just follow the leader and not go astray so we don’t have to have our own accountability,for ourselves, our salvation, our health?
Almost nobody addresses this whole big Word of Wisdom debacle, which mirros so many more. They will not acknowledge that the first 5 modern prophets upheld Christ and refused to make His WoW into a commandment lest “it would become a stumbling block to the saints.”
Brigham is falsely blamed for making it a commandment (go research the rest of the story on that one too, or is searching for truth considered blasphemy, lack of faith?). The very refined “4-don’ts WoW” sure has become that stumbling block which they prophesied and warned of, especially with now ever heaping judgments, revoking the ordinances and blessings of salvation, shunning, etc.. Just what Christ ordered?
But, hey, shelf your “silly arguments” because this is from God’s Only True Annointed Leaders whom He will never allow to lead Ewe astray. When is speaking of Saving Truths considered speaking evil of the Lord’s Anointed?
Besides, we were ready for the “higher law,” more commandments piled higher and deeper, even worshiped laws, buildings and leaders who give those worshipped commandments, leaders who must not be questioned? Wait, isn’t that the description of the church that crucified Christ for questioning, for not obeying and not worshiping their leaders and commandments? Full circle? No, that’s not us, but the other guys, described in Mormon 8:32-41, 2 Nephi 28:14-23, Ether 8:24,25 and D&C 112:23-25.
Actually, Christ’s wholesome Words of Wisdom can never be commanded or constrained (verse 2), especially not in their wholesome form of thousands of Do’s plus the now growing thousands of Don’ts far, far more dangerous than just 4 Don’ts. D&C 89:2,4,7,8,10,11,18-21 (read it with your 4-Don’ts goggles removed).
Are 4 Sacred Trees blinding us from God’s vast forest of health, healing and wisdom? Christ’s own wholesome WoW was and still is given by greeting, not by commandment or constraint, and includes His own very clear and specific central warning which was refined away (verse 4) wthout His permission to change His mind for Him, in the blowing winds. How can we dismiss His own solid-standing firm warning of endless counterfiet food and medicine/herb products of Gadiantons, “thus saith the Lord.”? Only our leaders can tell us what this means?
Do we follow Him, or follow leaders who tickle our ears with, “Never mind that, obey us, we are wise, and are His chosen, and you are so wise to follow us to sure slavation!” – Nephi 8:5-8? Those growing wares of Food and Drug Gadiantons today include very toxic and falsely pretend-regulated and now pressured and forced (of Christ?) Savioristic Vaccines.
These dangerous Holy Vaccines, along with their fake history, are also promoted and praised by the church, though they are outright dangerous products of the very warned of Food and Drug Gadiantons in verse 4.
Vaccine ineffectiveness and toxicity is further assured and promulgated by these Anointed Corporations because they are granted special stuatus of zero liability (NO accountability – wait, is That of Christ?) for the growing injures and deaths they cause. What good ever came of No Accountability, ever? What of Truth/Christ is of No Accountability?
Am I a blasphemer to point this out or question the anointed ones on this thing which goes against verse 4 of Christ’s own Words of Wisdom?
This is a growing pattern, not being corrected. Maybe some of us need to let up on googling church truths just long enough to see the same exact pattern when we google “true history of vaccines” and “true vaccine injury and deaths?” These are not my health saviors, folks. Christ does not endorse lies, Gadiantons or SAINT’nism.
Since when does Christ pass out free VIP passes for only His anointed ones to spread anything which goes against Him? But, this and much more is most easily “resolved” though, just one weird trick, that of justifying the problems and calling me a lost blasphemer in Faith Crisis.
Do we have “eyes to see and ears to hear” Him before obscuring leaders who tell us they are the light and the truth, the only sure way to Him? Why does the church push that policy, or push vaccines? Will obedient saints and apologists work hard to justify leaders in both of these conundrums with many branches (Don’t Question!), or stand by Christ and admonish us to follow Christ first? This is an issue just waiting to explode, once more Faithful Saints have opened their eyes to see the roots of their doctor-leaders holy marriage.
When leaders refined thousands of Do’s and Don’ts down to just 4 sacred commanded don’ts, what a mess we ended up in, which is too hard to back out of, without therefore “blaspheming against holy leaders” who commanded it? Besides, can you imagine the mess it would be commanding and constraining Christ’s own wholesome Words of Wisdom into ever-growing volumes of books and changing commands of Do’s and Don’ts as research continues to reveal and contradict and get changed, often changed by the warned of Gadiantons themselves, whom we are admonished by leaders, religious and secular, to follow and not question, as our saviors of health? Where else have we seen this in history? When was it good?
Bonus Question: Name at least 3 ways the current refined WoW has become the prophecied stumbling block to the saints or is now harmful because commanded?
Bottom line on the many, many contradictions in the Line upon Line Revised “Gospel” of Latter day Saints: Do we follow Christ first or follow His anointed Leaders and True Saints, first? The conundrum is, that if I follow non-contradicting True LDS teachings (Christ, Truth) then “The High Priest of the Year,” His Pharisees and their obedient faithful followers will cry, “Blasphemer!” and seek to “crucify” me or “Burn me at the Stake (Center).”
WWJD? WWJS? Would Jesus say, “Get thee behind me SAINT’n.”?
Right, Mike, Trust, Truth and forced or coerced goodness are core to so many issues. Perhaps just one extra weird trick would in fact help resolve these problems. Could we return to observing Christ’s own UN-coerced True Law of Common Consent to keep leaders and laws in line as Joseph Smith and Christ commanded? Currently I’m the “blasphemer” if I cast my vote to object to that which I feel by the Holy Ghost is not of Christ. But, since the Law of Common Consent in its real form is of Christ, it naturally makes way for welcomed later corrections when Great Ideas later fade to mistakes which are naturally going to still be made, but discovered and corrected sooner by common consent. great lessoned to be learned with that process of Christ? Or do we hang on and refuse to budge there especially?
But for now, distanced from Christ, backing out of LDS leader-forced mistakes is a cruel bitch named Karma.