We each have our bad days and our good days. This podcast USUALLY tries to focus on positive ways to deal with the issues while dealing directly with the real questions. Today is not that episode. Like you I have bad days and bad weeks and even bad months. Today is me talking out loud about what I think and feel in my bad days. If the message always being positive is important to you, you will want to skip this episode. Email me your thoughts on this episode both good and bad – reelmormon at gmail dot com
Article spoken of in the episode
The Youtube video about spiritual confirmation
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Just out of curiosity, why are you staying in the church, when you clearly understand that it’s based on lies and fraud?
because while I see the problems and the contradictions, I also see the beauty and the evidence for the gospel and Church. With the mix of both, I feel free to some extent to choose if I will have faith or not and I choose to do so. While I am not blinded I Also realize either choice has validation and while I honor your choice (assuming you left), I also validate my choice to stay and have faith!
Thank you for the podcast Bill, it was excellent. I can really relate to the feelings you feel, and it was wonderful to hear you express those feelings. I, like you, see beauty in the gospel and in the church, but I have a hard time finding evidence of its truth. I focus more on the goodness right now.
Can you share what you see as evidence of the church’s truth?
doctrines like eternal family, premortal life, becoming something greater
other evidence – chiasmus, apocalypse of Adam, the witnesses ( different than you what you likely think I am holding up here) spiritual experiencesI have had that are more than fuzzy feelings. There are others as well
I wish I could’ve heard this 10 years ago when I thought I was the only one who knew these issues. I chose to have faith, as well. But like you said, the critics’ conclusions seemed to be the more logical and realistic when compared with the apologetic responses. Couple this with what seemed to me active hiding of this info by the CoB and no prophetic answers to these foundational problems and I was overwhelmed. I had to finally ask myself, “what if Joseph wasn’t a prophet?”. I wish I could’ve had someone to talk to about the issues, as well. But for you, I can validate your feelings. I’ve had these same bad days. Thanks for sharing yours.
Thank you Matt. It is good to know we are not alone on the journey! Thanks for listening
I applaud you for this episode specifically and the work you are doing in general. It can be a tough road to acknowledge the “flecks” of history while still holding to the “truths” of the gospel.
I never liked president Hinckley’s easy dismissal of the tough issues as flecks of history. The issues are real and substantive. They truly are forcing the church and its members to reconsider how they teach the truth claims of the church. Because what I was taught as simple and pristine truth claims in sunday school and seminary just don’t stand up under the bright light of midday.
Yet I too have a testimony of many things. And I refuse to give them up. But I have no problem giving up the simple teachings which have turned out to be unsustained by the foundation of reality.
Bless you for your work. Thank you for your validation.
Thank you so much for this comment. It made me smile!
Well done Bill and beautifully said.
Thanks for the Podcast. These topics are the reasons I left the church recently after being “ALL in”. I’m a RM and former RS president.
Sorry to hear you left, but I validate your choice and honor you for your courage.
Thank you so much for this. I’ve been struggling with the church’s issues for over a year now. It has put a wedge between my husband and me. Everyone that I have turned to seem to shove their heads deeper in the sand and then look down on me. At this point, I’m not sure that I have the strength to stay.
Thank you. for your open and honest podcast. It has come at a time in my life when I need it.I think I can hold on a bit longer knowing that there are others out there who are struggling and willing to acknowledge the problems. Here’s to hoping the next general conference, the leaders of the church will do the same.
I am hanging in there and glad you are too. We are not alone.
I am sorry you had a rough couple of weeks. I have had them also. My concern here is that many LDS members have written into their hearts and brains what they feel is the idealistic gospel of Christ based upon confirmed feelings.
While the core beliefs of the LDS church may not have changed, the level of trust by members for church leadership I believe is changing. I believe that because of this we can expect new religious communities to be formed.
My concern is that a hard critical look into why we personally believe what we do is rarely attempted by anyone of any faith. And while everyone has a fundamental right to believe what they want to believe, the acceptance of beliefs outside of what is already written in our hearts and brains is rarely attempted. This early step to be more honest about the past should only be the first step of many in making sure wrongs are corrected, apologies are made and honest debate is encouraged.
Thanks for your comment
Bill, I relate to your “bad days” and have more of them than I wish.
Here’s one thing to consider that I try to consider when I have bad days: When we are frustrated because the actual narratives are much more complicated and messy than we were taught; when we’re frustrated because our leaders haven’t been as open and honest about the true narratives as they should have been; when we’re frustrated because the more complex and nuanced attempts to explain the actual narratives seem like mental gymnastics – I try to step outside of my thoughts to get a bird’s eye view just long enough to realize that often times when I feel this way, I’m asking for a new narrative that’s just as simplistic as the one I’m complaining about.
We want the true narrative to be less messy so it’s more believable, or we want the leaders to be less messy so they’re more believable, or we want the nuanced, complex narratives to be less complex so they’re more believable. In other words, we still want a simple, uncomplicated, un-messy narrative so we can believe it in a simple, uncomplicated, un-messy way.
If the simple, rose-colored narrative we were taught isn’t true, I often see members leave the church with an equally simple, rose-colored narrative as to why it isn’t true. If A+B doesn’t = C, then it’s wrong. Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense, and I often wrestle with that myself, but then I step back and consider that perhaps A+B doesn’t = C because I’m looking for everything to look like addition when in reality it might actually be calculus. In other words, I’m the first to recognize my own simple mind compared to God’s. So I can’t outright dismiss that all of these things I’m frustrated with may be frustrating because they’re more messy and complicated than I think they should be…. but what if they aren’t for God? What if the complex versions to explain the messy narratives like Givens, Bokovoy, and others offer IS the true way to interpret the narratives? I at least have to ask myself that, and that gives me pause when I consider jumping.
You’re right. We were given simple, uncomplicated narratives incorrectly. It’s done us a disservice because it’s created in us a desire for simple answers that point to the church being true… or not true. But maybe God is asking for us to leave addition behind; leave simple narratives that conclude “true” or “not true” behind, and start to learn calculus.
Great Response!!! I will try to adopt some of this perspective as any help is appreciated. My bad days are few and far between, but I have them!
Bill, I had not listened to you for awhile and then came upon this episode and was a bit surprised, to put it mildly. It had the disappointment of your podcast on patriarchal blessings expressed with a lot more anger. I wrote a long email to my brother expressing my thoughts on the podcast and wanted to get his input on things. I am going to cut and paste that here without adaptation, because frankly I grew tired of looking at it and want to go on to other things. It is windy, unwieldy, and long enough that perhaps you and others might not bother to read. Despite its length it leaves a lot out. Most things I am not expressing as well as I would like. It is also intensely personal. Here it is:
Gary: here is something for you to consider and comment back if you want, as I would be interested in how you might put it together. I am considering writing a private letter to someone that I think is struggling with something that need not be, but I am detecting a fair amount of bitterness in his writings that previously had been supportive of the Church. It has to do not with the content (e.g. historical and doctrinal) of what is being talked about in and around the Church today, but the “fact” that so much of it was “hidden” or “suppressed” “by the Church” for so long. Where to go with this? In the 1800’s and at least the early 1900’s these current controversies were all things people knew about from personal experience having church leaders living down the street, etc, and history was up close and some aspects of doctrine were argued openly and differently by various leaders, but in the end they all took the sacrament and attended the Temple together and got on with the work of the Kingdom. Personally, I look upon that era with a degree of nostalgia.
However, at some point the sheer volume of Church history and doctrine becomes so vast that to a degree “those in the Church” have to pick and choose what to talk about: more gets left out than what gets included. What is most important? What is not so important but everyone should still know about it? And when? What do you translate into a hundred different languages for the missionaries to carry forth, or for the international members to have as a reference? Do you need to explain polyandry to the Koreans when they have such a difficult time with the concept of atonement (many elements of the atonement are completely foreign to the thought processes of those born and raised in Korea and some other Asian nations)? How do you write the history of the Church, or the biographies of its members, when you know that outside of the Mormon Corridor just about everything you hear will be derision and calumny? What if you grew up with a father, say Joseph F. Smith, who had been personally subject to open persecution and grew up fatherless because of martyrdom? How would you write your Essentials of Church History? What would be your bias?
One cannot read about the correlation program in the scriptures, but since the basics of it were formulated by Apostles and Prophets as the Church started penetrating world-wide, it has a divine mandate and it has aspects which are absolutely good. But since correlation is, to a certain extent, a collection of policies might not some aspects of it need rethinking? What parts of the program are close to divine and what parts of it are perhaps, being run by overzealous censors that ought to just leave things alone (thinking of conference talks/prayers being altered, etc.) As a program, correlation has certainly been weaponized by the critics. I have heard the same critic praise it when it suppressed something he thought should be suppressed and castigate it when it suppressed something he thought every investigator ought to be “taught this first.” Well, all these things are interesting questions and possibilities and I would like to see them discussed, eventually, as to how so much came about from a historical perspective by scholars and historians I trust.
Do you not find it perplexing to hear of the disillusionment many feel for the current “openness” of the Church that somehow they had been lied to previously by said Church? Who lied to them? Who, exactly, should be verbally crucified for having lied? Why did they lie to them? Did they lie to them? Whose responsibility is it to inform them of everything? Is anyone ever fully informed? Just look at Church magazines and what has been written about over the years that is now surprising people. Do you have to write everything out, with references, take it to the members’ door and have them read it: “turn off ‘The Voice’ now! Leave it, and all the other… off, read this and sign it and it will be placed in your membership records!”
Before the age of internet, podcasts, Amazon.com…where did you and I, who like to just read for ourselves, get our information such that none of this is surprising now? Where did you and I learn of polyandry before it was ever called polyandry? (As an aside, I hate the term…it took a non-Mormon at a Mormon History Association meeting a few years back to show how the term was being misused, regardless of one’s take on it.) My recollection is that I got just about everything I read at Deseret Book, and even though a book may not have been published from them it was still sold there. Sometimes the wards in the East or Midwest or overseas would have their own tiny bookstores. On visits to Utah I would sometimes drop into BYU Bookstore where I could pick up issues of Dialogue or Sunstone, but after awhile I grew weary of the whining (especially in Sunstone) and grew to appreciate BYU Studies as being better-written anyway. All in all, for the thirty years from the 70’s through the 90’s I picked up the bulk of everything I read from Deseret Book on intermittent trips, or later moving to, Utah. I would love to go back to peruse those books again, to see by whom they were published, etc., but like you are doing now, on at least two occasions I just ran out of room and hauled away boxes of books to give to DI.
I do remember that if a book cover or review said anything about a book being “faith promoting” I usually left it on the stand. There was so much else to read “really thick and worth the time and cost” and just gave “history” without culling out the “nonessential”. To me it was all “faith-promoting” to learn the whole darn thing, what some call “the mess”, but which I disagree with such a characterization: it is human history, and with we Latter-day Saints it is where human history strongly intersects with the divine and it still marches on. These men being derided today: Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, Joseph Fielding Smith…these and countless others were all men with biases, faults, prejudices, weaknesses which, because of their leadership positions and the nature of their callings, have had their frailties ever magnified. It is very possible that I may not have even liked one or two of these men. They could be hard, and idiosyncratic. But I love these men and what they did and what they sacrificed for the restoration. The transposition of heavenly light and divine keys to human kind has always been entwined in the imperfection of all of us. It has never been different. If the source of light and truth to all of us, Jesus Christ, could have had his earthly message at almost every turn be misunderstood, and uncorrected by an immediate voice from heaven, with so many going astray as result…what should our expectations be in these latter-days for the unfolding of the still ongoing restoration?
Since this is the way it is, and as I read scripture and history it is the way it has always been, the difficulties we seem to be encountering now lead me to believe that this is what earth life was meant to be: very very hard with these kind of problems, ironies, etc. being the norm. What is to become of it all? I think at this time, like at other times, we may very well lose significant numbers from Church membership. It is agonizing. However, if the picture of things at the second coming is anything like that of the first coming to America, the membership of the Church is going to be struggling at the time of His coming. I think it is a way off, and that there will be many ups and downs for the Church before, but membership lability was the norm in ancient America in the final years before the Lord’s appearance.
There is something that really alarms me now, with some disillusioned members leaving, more so than just the fact of their leaving. If they make a prayerful, conscientious decision to leave after much study and prayer it is no doubt a tragedy, but perhaps Christ might exercise more leniency at the time of judgment than what we think. He sees into hearts and knows the whole story of people better than we will ever do, so I am glad to leave that up to him. But what alarms me most is the unwarranted criticism, the vituperation, the railings that people heap upon God’s chosen during and after their exit that really sets them up, I believe, for an extremely unhappy future. I happen to believe what Christ said in that we will be judged, in large part, in the same way we judge others. That may not bode well for many. I know some things about the lives of a few critics: I have seen them researching down at the Church History Library. My thought, for them, is to take great, very great, care in what they say, in how they criticize. I would like to say, but will not: “you criticize one for this, and yet you have done this, this, and this?” My thought is the same for those for whom I do not know any of the personal details of their lives. Just the fact of their all being human would make one want to take great care in criticism, in vituperation, in railing. Especially if one has a forum, that one has a responsibility to take great care in what they say because once it leaves their mouth, they own it. And once something has been broadcast, it is hard to undo.
Well Gary, this is getting long but I want a close with a personal history of which you are aware and has to be told delicately. It has to do with the disillusionment that many feel with the Church for only now becoming aware of its imperfections. It has to do with these questions: How could the Church, and its leaders, (perhaps even God?) have done this to me after all the time, money, and effort that I have invested lifelong into it? Next, who, exactly, is responsible? And last, who is it that really needs the forgiveness?
If this were a parable, the subject of it would be me. The disillusionment toward the Church, its leaders, its members would be mine: I own them. The source had essentially nothing to do with Church history and only a bit with doctrine; it did have to do with a temple marriage gone wrong, based on original righteous desires and attended to with prayer and struggle for many years. After the bitter end I was disillusioned with the Church in the same way that others are now. If it had not been for the Church, I would have never picked that partner (so I thought). If it had not been for the Church, I would have ended it years before I did, while yet young with most of life still before me. If it had not been for the Church’s teachings, the counsel of its leaders, the advice of its members my married life would have been completely different. At least so I thought for a few years, while the attitude continued. It did continue for a few years and certainly did not help subsequent relationships. But eventually, after kicking against the pricks long enough, alone in the world, I stumbled upon another and better way. “The way” was made possible by the Savior, His atonement, and a better understanding of His teachings taught in His restored Church and centers on one word: forgiveness. I totally and completely forgave those I thought had contributed to my unhappiness, known and unknown, by their counsel and advice. I forgave completely all other parties and had a wonderful feeling of lightness and magnanimity for a long time: it was the right thing! In terms of relationships, I became blessed as Job of old, hundreds of times over, for any unhappiness I had experienced previously. However, in time I began to realize that my “forgiveness” was only a very small stepping stone on the path to a greater experience of truth, which is made all the more poignant now by seeing what the current disillusioned are experiencing with the Church. The insight of truth was this: in what way was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its leaders, or its members ever originally responsible for any of my unhappiness? The answer was: NOT the Church and no one in it has ever been responsible for whatever lot fell my way. It, and they, have never been in need of my forgiveness! Forgiveness for me seemed good, and it helped me to move forward, but it was never warranted in the first place! In the marriage, only two people needed forgiveness and that forgiveness has been given and received by those that needed it, and I was one of them. The early marriage had been, all along, mine for the making. The countless personal moments of selfishness, lack of effort, and not doing my best over many years are the reason the marriage folded. The leaders that counseled, the members that advised: they all did the best they could and like all of us are imperfect and God be praised that I had the experience to learn this lesson during my sojourn on earth and to find joy in marriage, in the Gospel, in the Church, and with the God who created me. I hope our fellow members who struggle likewise now with blame and anger, can learn to forgive, and at some future time see who it is that really needs, and does not need, forgiveness.
Just listened to this podcast today Bill. I share so many of your feelings, and I to wrestle with many issues. You know this already.
My own pathway is leading me more and more to “go it alone” as it were, not necessarily leaving the “Church” as it were, but becoming much more trusting of my own feelings and judgments, and leaning less and less on the “brethren” or the “doctrine”. In my heart, I know right from wrong, and I also believe it is wrong of the church to hide the truth in the narrative.
I ask the question: was there a higher truth that justified concealing and “sanitizing” the narrative? Were the “brethren” so concerned that the general membership couldn’t handle the truth that they felt it necessary to control its dissemination? It is my experience (and yours as well from this pod-cast) that the general membership doesn’t care about learning, or delving into things much–faith for them is (and I don’t mean this disrespectfully) superficial at best. And, there is a sickening lack of curiosity as well out there (in my opinion). And so I ask, is this mental and spiritual apathy a just cause to “control” how facts and details are communicated, or revealed if at all? These are additional questions I am not sure there will ever be answers to. But, it does appear that the pathway rut of holding out on the facts has been entrenched for quite some time.
Bill, I have discovered that there is “light” in the LDS faith, (and other faiths as well). This is what keeps me in at the moment. If I find more light elsewhere, then elsewhere is where I will go.
Excellent pod-cast. You have great courage. There are others who feel exactly like you, and you are not alone.
I loved this and hated it all at once. I had nobody to talk to about this either. I was hanging in just like Bill; faithfully working at the temple, recently returned from a couple mission. After my son left the church and told me some of the ‘issues’. I tried so hard to prove that his perspective was wrong and that the church was true. I turned myself into a pretzel trying to work my way through the ‘messiness’.
When I heard you say that you have been told you are misled, it brought back some harsh memories of how it was with my faithful, believing husband when I chose to ‘see the light’.
I’m sorry for you Bill and don’t get why you are taking the challenge you mentioned someone gave you. Is it important for you to win that challenge, right or wrong? It’s almost as if you only have one eye open.
My sister will not read the essays either; she prefers to see me in a bad light than to admit there might be issues that are true and will not go away just because she chooses to ignore them.
As long as the church can keep convincing members that it is NOT in its death throes, the members will continue to believe. The history is not important to them, just the whitewashed version that they ‘want’ to believe; they need nothing but comfort.
The problem with this line of thinking is that it is CULT behavior; they love the leaders more than the doctrines. They love their comfort more than the truth and often more than their family members and friends. The ‘restoration’ is totally without value if all the teachings and behaviors of its founder do not fit the message. “What we taught back then is not doctrine but the church is still true.” That makes absolutely no sense – what does “The church is true” even mean?
Members cannot say “I know the church is the only true church” without turning off their brains. The true history of the church is ‘out there’ for anyone to find providing they want to find it. The church is confessing some things, so there is absolutely NO excuse for members not knowing. The reason they don’t know is that they don’t want to.
Keep being ‘Reel’ and thank you for speaking about this.
Thanks for your comments especially this – “As long as the church can keep convincing members that it is NOT in its death throes, the members will continue to believe. The history is not important to them, just the whitewashed version that they ‘want’ to believe; they need nothing but comfort.”
The historical issues are serious. It doesn’t mean we can’t have faith or that the Church must be untrue…. but we can’t pretend the historical issues are not serious and problematic
In 2002 I was privileged to listen to the missionary discussions with my new non-member wife. The missionaries taught her of the first vision of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith (we read all the accounts together to get the whole rich experience), the later visits of Moroni and the translation of the plates (the missionaries didn’t mention the method, but I explained it to her…including after the 116 initial pages, where it would have been impossible for Joseph to use notes or dictate from the Bible with his head in the hat), the visits of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, and, well, you know the rest…the whole Mormon Story. She had little problem with polygamy. We are still very much in love and quite frankly, if there had never been polygamy I would never have existed and we could have never married. (She is thankful it is not practiced now). What I find interesting, and somewhat amazing, is that once people learn the whole rich tapestry of history they somehow feel that negates the original streamlined narrative of real revelation to real imperfect people. I do not find any historical information now being made widely available that negates the original propositions of revelation that formed the basis of my faith. If one studies history, one always learns a wider story and it can be disconcerting to learn, as a part of the whole, of the flaws of cherished figures, but that is true of ALL history.
When I was quite young I overheard some of the older brethren in my Inglewood, California ward criticizing Joseph Smith as being somewhat of a “lesser” prophet because he did not measure up, in terms of his faithfulness, to the prophets of the Bible and Book of Mormon. That bothered me and I have never forgotten it, in part because at my young age I thought those “older brethren” in my ward were some of the original pioneers (this was the 1950s)! Indeed, it bothered me enough to give me another context to consider as I read the scriptures during subsequent 50+ years. I learned that these critical brethren of my ward were wrong. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, et al fit perfectly into the scriptural context for what it means to be a prophet, flaws and all. I thank God, as did Lorenzo Snow, that I know Joseph in all his totality because now I know there is also a chance for me to “make it.” Joseph once spoke of the atonement and repentance as a “cloak” being placed to cover his sins, which privilege he would accord to those in the listening congregation, if they would so allow him. I may discuss the flaws of Joseph in a historical context, but I will not criticize. I do not want my own sins shouted from the rooftops as would be easy to do with his or anyone’s.
As I questioned in my windy comments previously, “who is responsible for so many LDS not knowing their history and doctrine,” I don’t think it belongs to anyone other than “us” and certainly not to Church leaders except that they are part of “us”. When “Rough Stone Rolling” came out I thought it was an interesting review but the information was always out there, at Deseret Book even. Maybe it was on the bottom shelf at the back of the store, but most of it was there. Perhaps all can be blamed on Deseret Book for not putting the more detailed historical and doctrinal books out in the front of the store with discount pricing. Bits and pieces of the “new historical information” have been published in the church magazines over the years, and perhaps some articles should have been published serially to make sure all would have a chance to be read. Perhaps everyone should have been a student at BYU where even very so called “anti-Mormon” books were on the middle shelves in the middle of the store, and “Dialogue” and even whiny “Sunstone” were on the top shelf near the checkout counter on northwest side of the store (across from the Harris Fine Arts Center) for at least a decade.
Well did Joseph describe our time when he described many of the Saints of his time as being as brittle as glass who would break to pieces if he revealed all of his revelations to them. (I acknowledge that I am enhancing the description). It has never been otherwise, most especially when the Savior walked the earth in mortality. Now, in the information age, we have ALL revealed to us on a back-lit screen sitting on a padded chair without ever having had to make the continuous and severe sacrifice necessary to follow Joseph and Brigham in their own time. Most of those who knew them personally continued to do so. Some fell away, including some of my own family then, but most followed in their every footstep despite hell and high water. It is THEY that I choose to follow, not because of the wonderful legacy they have left me, but because of my own independent confirmations to believe in what they believed.
If anyone ever asks me (and not many do) what I think about how the “Church” has portrayed its history I would say “bravo.” I will go on to explain that it is essential Church history, but the revelations received by Joseph and others are there in all their glory. The history often is told such that even children can understand it, but that as an ever interested adult I have never found anything that would make me doubt that our ancient and modern prophets were anything other than frail human beings who revealed what God wanted us to know and do here and now, and where to be. There is nothing else in the world like the Church as being the body of Christ, and no one in authority, to my knowledge, has ever said it is perfect. But it is in the process of being perfected, the mechanisms are in place, the restoration is still ongoing, and to quote Elder McConkie, “there is more we don’t know about salvation than we do know” and it is within the Church we will learn about, and learn to do, what is most important for us, from God’s point of view. I don’t much care about anyone else’s. If there is still a conversation at this point, I will go on to point out that you can certainly study Church history all you want and as you do so you will discover unflattering things about everyone: there is a big “DUH!” factor about that (I only say “DUH!” if the person has an excellent sense of humor). I’ll go on to say that “if you knew everything I have ever done, said, or thought you would run from this room immediately, but heck, I think that’s likely true about everybody I have ever known or heard of, except for my wife and parents.”
And, I will close my diatribe with whoever made the mistake of asking my opinion by giving my praise to that vast group of people I am now hearing frequently disparaged. “You know”, I’ll say, “the vast rank and file of the Church who just read the scriptures, live the commandments, and stay within the mainstream of the Church and live balanced lives without becoming scholars of each and every little thing that might concern others are really doing the right thing. It is these people who are the true salt of the earth and ever have been in any age the Gospel has been in the world. It is they that do the bulk of God’s work today. And you know, my hats are off to them. True, I love my faith born from challenge now so much more than I ever did as a child, or even as a newly-returned missionary. But you know, back in the 1970’s I was doing home teaching…I was trying to build the kingdom and help fellow members by doing my callings…trying to be a good citizen. I have certainly had periods of failure to do my best, but all-in-all I am still doing the same things necessary to be a faithful servant as I was doing 40-50 years ago. So, become a history and doctrinal scholar if you want but you’ll find you will have to give up many of your current interests to really do the topics justice, the most important parts of which you already know. I mean, personally, I love it all and find it all fascinating. Why, do you know, just this week I learned these three new ways of how worship in the First Temple Period corresponds to our current Temple worship as told in the _____ pseudoepigrapha…” By this time, the conversation is ending with either the person rolling their eyes in obvious disgust or suddenly realizing they have an appointment somewhere.
If not apparent by now, I want to close by stating what I really think. Joseph Smith once joked, as I recall, that if the members of the Church were going to hell, then that is where he wanted to go: to be with them because they were the best people on earth. That is where I want to be likewise…with the Saints…Joseph, Brigham, Lorenzo, Orson, Peter, Joshua, my family who did come west and persevered, my parents, all the members of my ward, my family, the people I home teach. Personally, I think my chance of being in that exalted company is far from certain, but that is not from doubt of the path or the destination or the others who have struggled to follow it, but of me personally. By virtue of one person alone, my beloved wife, if there was one chance in a million that I could be with her as husband and wife, hand-in-hand literally and metaphorically for eternity, I would not want to jeopardize that chance. Joseph said it like I have heard phrased nowhere else, because despite being human he was prophetic. I will paraphrase in part. He described his vision of the morning of the resurrection when he, and hopefully we, and I, might arise from the grave to embrace and exclaim: Father! Mother! Wife! Son! Daughter! Grandma! …Jesus, oh my Savior! My Lord…so many of us here now because of Thy loving kindness, thy sacrifice, and the reconciliation and forgiveness of so many! This is the faith and hope I have, and there is nothing else like it in the world. All else is dross by comparison. Like Joseph said, it tastes good, it tastes like the vison of eternity and oh, how sweet it is.
Steve, I appreciate your comment and please don’t take this the wrong way but I want to push back a little on what you said. We are friends but I simply take issue with one point you made. You state the “info was always out there” and I agree if we are saying it was out there in critical sources, sources frowned upon like Sunstone and Dialougue, or in old sources very few members would even know what where and why they are looking for it. Often we defend the it was out there as if every member is liable if they didn’t read every possible historical source available. I disagree in that within present LDS sources (scriptures, manuals, magazines, hymnbook, and LDS.ORG) polyandry, 14 year old brides, Fanny Alger and 1831 polygamy without sealing keys and without Emma’s permission or knowledge are no where to be found. Also other issues like stone in a hat, treasure digging, racism, 1890 manifesto did not end polygamy, Adam-God, Mountain Meadows, Danites, etc… are only glossed over downplaying them so much that one would be oblivious to their being problematic or changing the narrative in any way. Anyway, yes we as members don’t read enough but also the Church chose to not share much either hoping we would all retain our blinders.
The missionaries did NOT teach me those things – bottom line. I joined the church when they were not teaching the full truth. What am I supposed to do now?
I never found the information in a church manual; I taught seminary, Sunday School, was in the RS. Served a couples mission, served in the temple and obeyed the priesthood leaders counsel to only teach from the manuals and to stay away from ‘intellectual groups’. I was busy raising my 5 kids, planting a garden, canning, baking, sewing and being all that an LDS woman was supposed to be.
Steve, this is victim blaming. I did not know that there was a history of the church that was not The History of the Church which we own. I did not know that honest historians were writing about these issues. Is there such a thing as being too faithful? Too obedient?
Bottom line for me is I don’t think I can ever be comfortable in church again. I told the Bishop I felt like a duped fool when I learned all the messy history truths and I refuse to manipulate anyone telling only the faithful whitewashed version. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Be true to the truth and yourself. I am happier now than I have ever been.
Thanks for the comment Nancy and I validate your journey and choice to leave. I simply take a different path that I see just as valid.
I am also happier now than I have ever been. Bill, your list of historical/doctrinal difficulties above is amazingly short. The list circulating on the internet in “Letter to a CES Director” is also very short. I could at least double it by exploring only the issues in which my 4th great granduncle, Lyman Wight (Apostle), was involved. One difference between us is that I expect it because it is history. If historical/doctrinal issues could all be weighed in a balance, I find it in favor of staying where I am, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and reveling in it.
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We do need people to talk to. And a very big colander to sift the baby and the bath water.
I both love and hate the mess of it all.
Hey I loved your episode, I want to email you I have questions. Please, what is your email?
reelmormon AT gmail DOT com
Nailed it. The issues are real. Your pain and waivering trust in the church is valid. The church continues to move the goalposts, no matter how nonsensical, to save face. It’s time for honesty. It’s time for humility. Wow, confirmation bias is strong among your readers re: comments. I’ll go where truth and authenticity are, and the church has failed again and again and again to offer that. Keep applying pressure Bill, you are needed.