open letter ballard

Dear Elder Ballard,

This last Sunday you spoke at a regional conference for the Utah South Area.

My family is very faithful and active in the LDS Church. I know that they attended the conference. For my entire life up until recently, I have been an active member of the Church. Scripture study, leadership callings, mission, home teaching, at Church every Sunday, the whole package. I left because the Church is not what I was taught it was. I did not read anti-Mormon material. I did not subscribe to the ideas of false prophets. I simply took the ethics that the church had taught me, applied it to Church history and modern Church practice, and realized that it was not what it claimed to be. If you want to call it “the elect being deceived”, that’s your prerogative. Everyone else would call it following your conscience and standing up for morality.

The only thing that has made leaving the Church difficult is my family. They are absolutely wonderful. Charity and Christ-like living are an obvious pattern to their lives from any outside observer. My leaving has caused major heartbreak for them. According to Church doctrine I have ruined the idea of our eternal family all together in the Celestial Kingdom. I have sinned against greater light and knowledge. I am continuing to “kick against the pricks” by helping struggling friends find primary sources and cut through the spin of the Church’s essays and poor apologetics.

Which has made it all the more upsetting, Elder Ballard, that after emphasizing the importance of the Sabbath and scriptures study, you said the following this last Sunday: “When someone stops doing these simple but essential things, they cut themselves from the ‘well of living water’ and allow Satan to muddle their thinking.”

FURTHER READING: We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet?

Excuse me?

I did all the essential things up until the very day I left. I didn’t go to any Satanic internet site. I read the Church’s essays, Journal of Discourses, FAIR Mormon, etc. I had absolutely no interest in leaving the Church. None. As a dear friend of mine once said “I didn’t swan dive into Babylon. I was dragged out kicking and screaming by my own conscience.”

And none of this would bother me one bit except for the fact that my family are being told this by someone who claims to be a prophet, seer, and revelator. The idea is being reinforced in their minds that am the one that did something wrong. I stopped doing what I should.

Excuse me? Again, can we review the times the Church has absolutely gotten it wrong? Knowingly misled? By the Church’s own definition of honesty, Church leadership has been dishonest. If the Church has actively been telling the truth, why are so many good, faithful, Christlike people leaving over Church history? Do you really believe that all of us were lazy? Didn’t study hard enough?

FURTHER READING: Questions Mormons Need To Ask Themselves About Polygamy

Elder Ballard, stop saying it is our fault. That is no better than Elder Oaks saying the Church “doesn’t seek apologies and we don’t give them.” Instead of repairing the damage done to our families, you and other members of the Quorum insist that you have been completely, 100% without fault. You transfer blame onto the members of the Church who you are refusing to teach, refusing to be transparent with, and you are failing to nourish.

Further frustrating is your story of a man who came to you with doubts. You told him that you had answers to his questions, but before you told him these answers you wanted the man to read the Book of Mormon. Weeks later this man came back to you, saying his questions did not matter any more and that he no longer needed answers.

Elder Ballard, if you have the answers, why are you not providing them? Why are you willing to provide them to this man but not me? Is his soul somehow worth more than mine? Your calling as an apostle is to teach the doctrine and bring clarity to challenging times. Wasn’t that the message we taught as missionaries about the restoration? Isn’t that why we sang “We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet?”

FURTHER READING: 95 Questions

I desperately read the Book of Mormon. I spent night after night sobbing into my pillow, crying out and asking God “Where is my Christ? Where is the gospel I loved?” I studied and highlighted, clinching onto any possible explanation that could make the gospel make sense both in my heart and in my mind. I added my own name to the prayer roll at the temple, asking for true messengers to come with a message from the Father.

Regardless of the source of it, your message is clear Elder Ballard. You have the answers, you just don’t think it is important to share them. If you actually do have answers (and I doubt you do) and are not providing them to the people who need them most, then the eternal damnation of these formerly faithful Saints is on your hands. If you honestly had the ability to bring divine counsel and apostolic clarity to this mess and did not, you have failed in your calling and failed in saving souls you could have saved.

I did not ruin my eternal family. You did.

Sincerely,
Tens of Thousands of Heartbroken Saints

Click here to listen to an audio recording of Elder Ballard’s talk.

 



Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until he was excommunicated for adultery. During his disciplinary court, Elder Carrington tried to argue that he had only committed "a little folly in Israel!", but the current brethren couldn't be bothered to give him a break. Learn more about Elder Carrington here.
  • Jeff

    His analogy of the dying tree was actually perfect, if unintentionally so. Why did the tree die? Because its roots vanished? Or because the water source did?

    • Jon

      The Tree was cut off from the water by a great and spacious building.

      • Albert Carrington

        BYU?

        • Jon

          lol. the new science building.

          • Albert Carrington

            Haha that is funny.

  • Jaxon Peterson

    For what it is worth, Elder Ballard shared the same story of the man back in … oh, 2011? Back then he told the man that he was happy the questions no longer mattered, but that he was going to share the answers anyway because all that “anti-Mormon stuff” had taken time to research.

    “I did not ruin my eternal family. You did.”
    That begs the question that your family was eternal to begin with, which begs the question of possessing an eternal identity, which begs the question that there is a God — kind of a messy statement.

    Love,

    A friend, always.

    • Alexis Carre

      Elder Ballard actually said the exact same thing about the man’s questions. On Sunday, he said that he was going to answer his questions anyway because he had spent too much time looking for answers for this man

  • Jon

    What questions do you want to ask Elder Ballard?

    • Albert Carrington
      • John Fesola’i

        Lol did you authentically come up with all these questions? Or you just simply jump on your computer read them and allow it to take hold? If that’s how you’ve come about such questions about the church by simply reading them online, how is it you expect to get your answers?

        I would ask you before you ask Elder Ballad, what have you done to answer all 95 questions? Please detail us your methodology/approach approach and understanding Albert.

        • Albert Carrington

          These are my questions that I wrote myself. Once I stumbled upon these issues, my first resources was LDS.org. Scriptures and general authorities were my first resource. When I couldn’t find information on topics, I would search FAIR Mormon.

          All of this was accompanied by prayer, fasting, temple attendance, scripture reading, service, meeting with priesthood leaders,etc. I believed that in order to qualify for an answer, I needed to purify and humble myself to qualify for the spirit.

          I did not get an answer. I got more questions. That scared me, so I put it all away and went back to basics. I focused only on what the Church teaches today. I focused on just the “gospel”. But I couldn’t go back. Every time we sang Praise To The Man, every time we read the Pearl of Great Price, every time we talked about the restoration, I couldn’t help but remember that everything the Church says it is is based on historical claims. When the history shows that Joseph Smith was not who he said he was and I decided I would follow truth wherever it lead me, no matter the sacrifice, I left.

          • Alexis Carre

            what did Joseph Smith say about himself? he testified that he was called of God, that he had seen a vision, that Christ through J. Smith would restore his church. and you can know that by having a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It’s not a surprise right?! you know that. if you know the book is true, you know that J. Smith was called of God. simple, pretty basic, easy thing to do. I know that you’ll get an answer from God if you sincerely ask in faith (meaning you really want to know, with faith meaning you expect an answer), with real intent (meaning you’re ready to act on your answer). Moroni 10:4. I know it works. I’ve done it myself

          • Albert Carrington

            So you believe the Book of Mormon is true. What about the Koran? Many Muslims bear testimony of it being true. Why don’t you read it and pray about it? Or the Heaven Gate cult? Their members were told to pray and ask God if what they were doing was right, and they got answers that they were.

            And the Book of Mormon being true doesn’t prove that the Church is true. FLDS uses the Book of Mormon. CoC uses the Book of Mormon. Many restoration break offs use it. We know they the number of people that believe something doesn’t indicate truth. So why is this Church true, and not the other ones?

          • Jon

            Those are good questions. Simply the Koran contradicts itself and doesn’t agree with the OT or NT.

          • John Fesola’i

            Jon don’t buy into his stuff they aren’t good questions at all. They bubble gum questions.

            He’s making it seem as if we could answer his questions to suffice him in such a forum. As if the answer to his questions can be sufficiently given by a simple paragraph in this forum.

            Trying to answer a person seriously here, is largely unfruitful, but good on you for trying mate.

            Add me on Facebook I’d you want all of these silly questions answered.

          • Albert Carrington

            If you want to judge my heart and intentions, that’s fine. Just like everyone else that I brought questions to, I was told that my heart was not in the right place. Everyone tells me that they have answers, but they never give them.

            I honestly would be willing hear you out on all your answers. But you have already determined that it won’t do any good.

            Let me know if you change your mind.

          • Cake

            It’s odd how you want to retreat into the darkness of privacy for answers we’d all like to hear. Why must your answers hide in the darkness?

          • John Fesola’i

            I have no words to describe you but “cake”.

            Seriously cake wants answers lol, obviously you don’t do you as your name is Cake hahahaha

            You even use the word “privacy” bahahahaha and you have no face but “Cake” lol cake 🙂

          • Well this thoughtful, insightful, and mature response will surely lead people to the light of Christ. Well done sir.

          • John Fesola’i

            Do you think people seeking truth come here? I was brought here by this misleading article. Not well done in terms of thought process sir. Is that how you role, try to make me feel bad for disagreeing with the article and taking shots as you guys have?

            Bit one sided are we not?

          • Counsel you in doctrine? In what way did I even suggest that? Nevertheless, it is clearly time to disengage from conversation with you, because your pattern of belittling and condemnation is well-established throughout this thread. I’m glad such tactics make you feel better, and wish you luck in your endeavors.

          • John Fesola’i

            Wish me luck in my endeavours lol you guys all say things you don’t mean as to make yourself feel better as that’s all you can do. As if your final few words redeem you from anything. Backhanded nature, wonder how that’s working out for you.

          • Cake

            I see that you have no answers and you’re hiding your embarrassment by attacking me and the others who’ve pointed out your childishness.

          • John Fesola’i

            Ok Cake. If that’s the truth that suits you. Whatever

          • Cake

            You offered answers and when pressed you can’t seem to find them.

            What truth have you led me to?

          • John Fesola’i

            I can’t lead you to any truth, you think truth is in your low value questions and there’s nothing I can do about that.

            I’m merely stating that the manner in which you so tightly hold on to these low value questions, blinds you. Now that’s just my opinion.

            You have every right to say that my choice to not entertain such simple low value questions blinds me. Whatever.

            End of the day, our missionaries like myself have the gift of tongues, I for one served in Manila Philippines and speak fluent Tagalog. Us members harness our understanding of the Spirit to smash out academics all while raising a family of our own. Many more blessings we enjoy, while you seek answers to low level questions. That’s all I’m saying and it really pierces you aye.

            If you too are an exmormon and finding much joy in your life Cake, then so be it. But you can’t seem to just let us be, and when I celebrate being a part of this wonderful gospel I’m termed prideful haha

          • Cake

            I can’t lead you to any truth, you think truth is in your low value questions and there’s nothing I can do about that.

            But you said you could lead us to truth, but only in the dark where no one else can see your answers. You claimed you had the answers. Why does your story change now? Instead of offering the merest shred of this amazing truth that you are keeping all to yourself, you immediately started attacking people. It’s OK if you misspoke and the only truth you can offer is to just blindly accept what you are told. It IS and answer, one completely devoid of logical meaning and completely contrary to what you said before, but an answer none the less.

            But you can’t seem to just let us be,

            Let you be? You started this all. You are the one who responded to the comment earlier by offering up answers and refusing to follow through and instead initiated a series of personal attacks, dodges and evasions. Why can’t YOU let people be? Take some responsibility for your words and actions and stop blaming others for the things only you are accountable for.

            If your frail ego requires you to get in the last word so you may attempt to heap up more responsibility for your childishness onto others, I will allow you to do so and grant you the last word. I will not be replying.

          • John Fesola’i

            Oh how hard you try to confuse my words, do you not see that I hold all you ask as low value questions. Yes that’s right, the things you entertain and ask about my religion are of little to no value for spiritual growth, that’s never changed. You think you’re humble, submissive, and have true intent, all things I believe God judges a person to be yet countless times you guys self proclaim that you’ve ticked all these boxes and met the criteria for spiritual guidance. Hence I cannot Lead you to any truth, irrespective of any thing you say, what doesn’t change is that you consistently blab on about low level questions and only want to engage me in these.

            Can’t you just leave it alone. You’re the only one left now responding to me, holding me accountable for my view that:

            1. You’ll are self proclaimed everything, smarts, ture intent, diligent scripture readers, and the most absurd, “truth seekers”

            2. I have no responsibility to teach the gospel to the stubborn of heart in which I view most of you’ll. I’ll concentrate my efforts and resources to those that have exactly the same questions but are not so contentiously blind.

            3. Leaving the church is on your own head. You may think you can shift blame onto me, but you’re the one’s that caused the Spirit to leave and, if you’re a non member the Light of Christ is something you’d have to deny too. Most of you’ll have associated spiritual matters with chemical combustions in your body, as that’s what I’ve read here, therefore, it makes perfect sense why you are the way you are, and entertain low value questions, as the path many of you claim to have so diligently performed, is at your own standards. I cannot teach a person who willingly denies or does not truly seek to understand the Light of Christ, I too have been very contentious in heart against certain doctrines, so I have experienced what you have, yet you have not experienced what I have, yet many of you imitate it and then dilute what I’ve experienced by claiming you know something, and I keep asking what is it you know? And you’ll keep showing your low level questions.

            4. Some of you have called my religion a cult, understand when you do such you’ve lost all respect of any true intellect and knowledge with me, anyone can read books and get degrees, achievement of academics is generally a material resources based thing, while spiritual knowledge is not. As Elder Holland has said, “it’s probably best that they have left the church” referring to you’ll that call us a cult. So shame on you that think our efforts are for you. Our efforts is and always has been for those who are seeking the gospel, reactivation of members is a good thing. Most of you guys are exmormon in open rebellion against the church yet love to play victim.

            Those are just my views, and if my leaders, not you jokers, counsel me otherwise to show more empathy, than so be it, I would in a heart beat, not because of blind obedience, but because of my hard earned spiritual experiences which supersedes my academic achievements by light years, which academic achievements supercedes most of y’all achievements. Until then I will speak how I feel at you as you have I.

          • Albert Carrington

            The Bible contradicts itself too. So…?

          • A Dalley

            Not so, my friend.

          • Jon

            What I meant was that it teaches that Jesus was a Prophet but it also teaches that God cannot have a son. Jesus said he was the son of god and that we are the children of God. The Koran falls short in this most important doctrine.

          • Dante

            Having read your questions and many of your comments I really want to know this, do you even want the answers? Or will you find more questions? It seems to me that you seek for barriers as excuses to keep you from the truth. Almost as if you really don’t want it. I have struggled with my faith in the church most of my life and this i can say with true certainty that the basics of the gospel are true and i cling to that and will never leave. As to your family love them and enjoy life’s moments. Things work out. Quit blaming others for your own choices. Own your choices. You wanted to leave the church and you did. If you want to come back you will. Quit riding the fence, blaming others and asking endless questions with out really wanting answers. Live life.

          • Michael Closson

            “It seems to me that you seek for barriers as excuses to keep you from the truth.” This kind of thinking is what frustrates former members so much. Faith means that you decide if something is “true” up front rather than understand evidence. It makes sense why members respond to challenging questions this way. Members have already decided, based on emotion, that the church is “true”. So when confronted with a credible challenge to faith, members respond with emotion rather than evidence. A claim based on ghosts doesn’t make good evidence.

          • Albert Carrington

            And which version of the first vision are you talking about? How do you know that is the most accurate one?

          • Jon

            Albert, I don’t understand your question about the first vision

          • Albert Carrington

            My issue is that the first vision accounts are different. Why do missionaries teach the one they do? It isn’t the one that was shared closest to the date of the event. Why are we using that one over others?

          • Corbin McMillen

            well, this is neither here nor there. the pertinent thing is that he saw god. did he see god and recieve instruction? thats all you need to know. the colors and atmosphere are only so important.
            love you albert

          • Albert Carrington

            Except what he saw/what they said/why he prays varies in the accounts. So, kinda important. 🙂 ❤️ ya Corbin

          • Jon

            Think of an event that you participated in. Picture yourself describing the event one year later, 10 years later and 20 years later. Also picture yourself describing that event to different audiences and for different purposes. Your accounts will be different from one another. Why? Because your perspective has changed over time, as well as your audience, and purpose for sharing that experience.

          • Albert Carrington

            Also Jon, I appreciate all of your level-headed questions and comments. It is this kind of discussions that Mormons and ExMormons should be able to have. Thank you for being a good person. 🙂

          • Corbin McMillen

            im sure the vision accounts sound different to all people in all of their languages. The gospel always has to be in context according to culture. we see that the church is able to ‘succeed’ with certain people in certain countries, but very few people world wide believe the churchs divine claims. small number.

          • Cake

            So the culture thing gets in the way because he was speaking as a man and not the divinely chosen and inspired messenger of god.

            So why do you trust those accounts again?

          • artmarc

            Alexis, did you not read what he wrote having followed exactly the course you prescribe?

          • Alexis Carre

            yes I did. I get it. He said he went through all the steps sincerely. He said that he hasn’t received an answer. I’m not going to doubt that. But not receiving an answer doesn’t mean that the answer is no! it means that there’s still an answer to look out for. and it’s up to each of us to understand how God talks to us.

          • Michael Closson

            There’s one huge problem with Moroni’s promise. Ghosts aren’t real.

          • Alexis Carre

            Ghosts?? why did you bring up ghosts? xD

          • John Fesola’i

            Good story mate, keep telling yourself these are your authentic questions. What a joke. Your first statement kills the rest of your post.

            Question 1 is: Why did Joseph Smith give four accounts of the first vision.

            You create that question lol.

            And it’s asked as if it’s got any significance! If he gave 5 versions or 100, does it change the truths in there for millions of devout Mormons? No. For myself I sit here wondering why are such silly questions even asked?

            Isn’t the essence of your borrowed questions simply just trying to cast doubt on the character and integrity of the Prophet?

            You so bias bro, actually no you’re shady. Where’s the mention of all the positives about the church? Oh of course you don’t know the answers, so you can’t post them.

            None of your questions are worth the apostles time coz your intentions are shot.

          • jsoxx

            @johnfesolai:disqus – Why is would there be significance in the fact that JS had so many versions of the first vision? Seriously? “does it change the truths in there for millions of devout Mormons?” Actually it does, because the majority of his accounts, especially those that mention a God or Christ describe a trinitarian godhead. Yeah… that’s kind of a big deal. Since that’s not what the Church teaches or professes to believe. Also JS didn’t mention any of his visitations until MANY years after they supposedly happened.

            Sorry Johnny boy but there are many people who would like an answer from the church as to why this is not discussed. JS didn’t make the version so revered today the Official church version, the Church did many years after his death.

            I, and MANY others believe the questions that Albert references, merit an answer. You may not think so, and that is your opinion. If you think it’s not fair or right to ask the leadership for answers when those asked earnestly of a Heavenly Father go unanswered, you’ve lost the plot. I’m sure you’ll simply carry on though. Nothing like a strong dose of cognitive dissonance to keep critical thought at bay, and all of that self-righteousness you’ve clothed yourself in should keep you nice and warm for some time.

          • John Fesola’i

            Your name is jsoxx, and you’re Faceless? That’s awesome. Even if you revealed yourself now, the fact you didn’t at the beginning to reply to me shows your character. I’m not even going to waste my time reading your comments.

          • You really are a one trick pony. Obfuscate, denigrate, and laugh. You certainly do a poor job of representing Mormonism.

          • John Fesola’i

            I’m not representing Mormonism, I’m sharing how I feel about an article and responding to you lot. You can say it as many times as you want that I’m representing Mormonism, it won’t make it true you know. Thanks for your 2 cents worth 🙂

          • jsoxx

            Ha… classic. You are a living breathing logical fallacy. Ever heard of an ad hominem attack?

            No one here takes you seriously because the only thing you can do is appeal to emotion. Try discussing any of these issues without attacking the person who poses the question. You can’t because you don’t have the ability to back up or discuss critically, any issue raised here. It’s beyond your maturity level.

            You attack me personally for what? Not having a picture? What a joke. Here’s the thing, and I totally get it because I deal with people like you all day long… you can’t really consider the content of my comment because it would require you to have an original thought. Now I may be wrong, you may choose to review and discuss these issues from a level of maturity appropriate for such subjects, but until you do, no one here is going to treat you with respect, because you’ve shown you are undeserving of it.

          • John Fesola’i

            Haha logical fallacy lol haha yet for the standards of the world I’m an absolute success. Family, education, career, things that are blessings from being a faithful Mormon, yet you label me a logical fallacy. Hahaha what does that make you then?

          • jsoxx

            Thanks brother… you’ve absolutely made my point for me. Have fun sitting at the kids table.

          • John Fesola’i

            No problem sister or brother? I’m glad to have helped you reach your pre determined points.

          • Gina Colvin

            Go easy John – it wasn’t long ago that you were messed about the church’s history as well – why don’t you tell one and all how you got so clever about the answers? Or is bluster and rudeness toward sincere people your way of batting away the obvious issues?

          • John Fesola’i

            I’m more concerned about the people that leave the church due to these people’s sincere soul searching and narratives.

            My mates from the mission who have left the church some now for five years and had their names removed, have quoted you directly. Not everyone has the unique Testimony of the “sincere soul searcher”.

            It’s odd how when people of the other spectrum who are soul searching can ask without regard and push so hard as if they are so right, yet if I push back they are offended, as if the stuff they push are not offensive in nature also?

            Church History is bubble gum, yes I had questions, but never allowed my uncertainty affect others who are also searching i.e. I at least have the decency to offer both sides of the argument, but these “sincere ones”, do they offer the same courtesy? I beg a differ. I had much deeper issues than Church History, I’m simply thankful I didn’t allow my pride to keep me blind.

          • Come on John, you can do better than this. Since you are sure that this is a non issue, how hard is it for you to describe to us the four different accounts of the First Vision, outline the specific differences and then explain to us why they don’t matter?

            And then we can all shut up about the issue.

          • John Fesola’i

            Are you serious? Are you trying to imply I don’t know the answer, as that’s why I’m not wasting my time explaining myself?

            Are you serious? ….you really think it’s an answer you’re looking for and all of a sudden I’ll see you in sacrament meeting and we’ll be home teaching companions? Hahaha mate you more blind then I thought.

            Don’t “come on” me, “come on” yourself.

          • So you don’t know the answer? Because frankly at the moment your responses are coming across on the level of the “If you don’t know I’m not telling you” form of debate my 5 year old conducts in the playground.

            Look, if there’s a reasonable explanation as to why the four First Vision accounts differ in significant details, give us that reasonable explanation. But drop the whole “You’re not asking for the right reasons” rubbish. Try that on a history graduate exam paper and see where it gets you.

          • John Fesola’i

            OMGosh. Whatever there you go again, seeking your one hit answer. And down playing the value of “asking with the right intent”. I don’t know your intentions when you research, whatever, but “One does not simply” attain an understanding of these things by knowing the answer.

            I can tell you an answer to something relative to my academic knowledge, but if it’s the answer I only give you, what’s the point? If I asked you to arrive at the answer yourself you would not be able too. I’m simply saying that you can’t find sufficient answers to your questions if the spiritual component is not properly used! Hence why people keep saying to you all the time, that you are not asking with the right intent.

            Come on!

          • *speechless*

            Look, is the First Vision an historical event? Yes or No? If No then we drop this right now, if Yes then this historical event is made up of a series of actions one after the other. What I feel about those actions doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference. Whether Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, just the Son, the Son with angels, these are FACTS. Unless you want to argue that the First Vision didn’t actually happen but it’s a nice myth, we have to approach it as an historical event that deserves historical inquiry.

            One does not determine the validity of an historical event by a spiritual witness. And even if one COULD determine the validity of the Pearl of Great Price version of the First Vision account by a spiritual witness, that still doesn’t answer why Joseph Smith gave contradictory accounts to others.

            Do you get this? I can ask the question with the right intent, I can get an answer which says “Yes, the PoGP version is correct”, but the conflict with the other versions still doesn’t go away. The conflict with the other versions still has to be answered and by saying “you’re not worthy to have the answer” you’re actually driving people away, not bringing them back into the fold.

          • John Fesola’i

            Mate, you do understand I believe in God aye?

            I believe He answers prayers, and that He determines true intent and not us? Are you seriously telling me you can know the meaning of “true intent” as prescribed by Father in Heaven? Like they taught you this in your History classes?

            What are you of the mindset that “spiritual answers” are feelings only? That the spirit does not provide a clarity of perfect understanding. I mean seriously look at the questions that trip you up? You want me to entertain these types of questions? As if they are so important? Try get an answer out of me so you can use your degree? Like that’s the whole purpose of the LDS church?

            Yeah I’m not answering your question, it’s not coz I don’t know the answer, you have to convince me why it’s so important? What a bunch of unimportant questions let’s say 95 of them, makes them important? Seriously, what’s so important, the four versions alone question, what’s so important about this question that you need an answer? Well?

          • “what’s so important, the four versions alone question, what’s so important about this question that you need an answer?”

            Because if this is the foundation of Joseph Smith’s calling as a prophet, why do his different accounts contradict? Can you answer this one question?

            Frankly, if Heavenly Father and Jesus turned up in the woods behind my house, I don’t think I’d forget an important detail like, say, whether it was the both of them or just one of them.

          • John Fesola’i

            Really you don’t think you would, would you. And therefore your argument is based on what you think should or shouldn’t have happened?

            You think since He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, his accounts should all be harmonious? As if that’s the determinant of the truthfulness of the experience?

            Why do you think, other than what you already think you know, Joseph Smith has various accounts? Good luck reenacting what seeing a two Gods should and shouldn’t feel like and figuring out the dynamics of being in a translated state. You said Josephs accounts are significantly different from each other, but does the overall message which was delivered affected? Did God leave out the truth that Joseph was to restore His Kingdom?

            Well? So basically, the variations you so tightly hold onto, does not affect the overall message given or the work you see progressing today? But because you love history, you want to make things add up Historically?

          • “You think since He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, his accounts should all be harmonious?”

            No, I’m saying if they’re not harmonious, what is the reason for that? There could be a number of good valid reasons why they’re not (for example, some of the accounts are second hand), but as of right now you’re not offering anything apart from an attack on the integrity of the person asking the question.

            Do you not understand this is why people leave the Church? They ask sensible questions, they look honestly for sensible answers and instead all they receive is suspicion, criticism and an alarming inability to actually answer any of the questions.

            If you have them, give us the answers. If you don’t, stop attacking the integrity of those asking the questions.

          • John Fesola’i

            Leaving the church is a personal choice. I honestly don’t understand how you can blame others? As if we will be held accountable for your choices? For your frustration that our members don’t entertain your same questions, or will answer them in the manner you’re seeking.

            You’ve been given counsel of what and how you should approach things when you were in the church, if you didn’t heed it in the manner it should have been heeded, than so be it. If you feel you did and yet others disagree with you, then guess what that’s ok.

            You keep punching away at why the accounts are so different, even though the message was obviously delivered and the work moved on with blessings and miracles happening daily. And I’ll keep punching away on how to be more understanding. Awesome it’s a win win 🙂

            I’ll let you know how I get on with this whole, try to be understanding with those who are “diligently seeking” the truth. You’ve been Frank with me, I’ll be frank with all of you guys. Not impressed, you guys make it seem like you’ve found something so faith shaking, that you guys got something so intelligent going on.

            Yes you’re right I attack the integrity of the one who asks questions, as you have done to me calling me at the level of a 5 year old? You love to dish it out but can’t take it? That’s a bit bias lol

          • artmarc

            “I don’t know the answer . . . therefore . . . uh . . . .FAITH!” (Not very satisfying to genuine questions about verifiable inconsistencies that have given rise to valid doubts.

          • John Fesola’i

            I never said that. Lol it just really get under your nerves aye? Feel you need to echo the same pointless views as your buddies?

          • Rob Bates

            John Fesola’i, you balk at borrowed questions, but when you asked God if the Book of Mormon was true (as I did), did you not borrow both question and method from Moroni 10?

            I’ll ask you a question I myself had as a child, that no one was ever willing to answer. My intent at the time of the question was merely confusion, but now I admit that my intent is to help Mormons realize that when they say all questions about the church have answers (as I was told many times), that they are forced to realize that statement is untrue.

            Adam was the first man on Earth, and death (at least human death) entered at the time of his fall. We know his fall was roughly 6,000 years ago, through revelation, genealogy, and the doctrine of dispensational leaders.
            Why then are there copious human fossils from 100,000 years ago & humanoid fossils (that slightly vary from our own) from a million years ago?

            Keep in mind that Packer taught that while the church takes no stance on the evolution of the animal kingdom, the evolution of man did not occur.

            Also keep in mind that the resurrection is a free gift where not one hair of our head will be lost, so if the Earth was made like a cake from prior planet material, there would be no human fossils in it, as they would have resurrected.

          • John Fesola’i

            “John Fesola’i, you balk at borrowed questions, but when you asked God if the Book of Mormon was true (as I did), did you not borrow both question and method from Moroni 10?”

            You make no sense? What are you referring to? Do you think I’ve said that borrowed questions are bad or something? Starting off your argument to me in this manner, shows me you don’t even know what you’re talking about.

            You might have well started off talking about unicorns.

            Your Question: “Why then are there copious human fossils from 100,000 years ago & humanoid fossils (that slightly vary from our own) from a million years ago?”

            My Response:
            – So you understand that matter cannot be destroyed right? It merely changes form. The term created in Genesis 1:1, denotes to make something out of materials already existing, e.g. to make a boat, the wood is already present. The Hebrew word for Create which Moses uses denotes this. I have studied chemistry and also physics as my career change at the moment from Big 4 accounting where I have post-graduate degrees is towards medicine to become a doctor. You can google me if you would like, I have a profile from my University.
            – But seriously, if this question was so important and so “faith crippling” wouldn’t common sense tell you that most people would not believe in religion? Yet non-believers are the minority.

            Please don’t respond to me. I’m not here to answer silly questions, these are simple ones you should figure out yourself.

          • Rob Bates

            Yes, you spoke negatively of unoriginal questions: “Isn’t the essence of your borrowed questions simply just trying to cast doubt on the character and integrity of the Prophet?”

            I’m sure your credentials are impressive… but you didn’t answer my question. Please do.

            As far as your claim that non-believers are the minority, I cannot confirm or deny that. I can state unequivocally that people who disbelieve mormonism are a super-majority, and that mormons who actually attend church as a minority (though I cannot guess as to their inner beliefs).

            You’ve now appealed to the authority of your credentials, as well as poorly attempting the bandwagon fallacy. You also started by claiming you didn’t think borrowing questions was bad, but ended by deriding it again.

            …and yes, I came up with that question myself, as a teenager. I also composed a ludicrous theory about how it could be the case (as I remained an active mormon long after I came up with that question). Your assumption that I am lying is meaningless. All that matters is whether or not you can answer the question.

            You didn’t. You evaded it.

          • John Fesola’i

            Lol oh man. Geeez have a great life man 🙂 you guys are truly remarkable. I’ll be using this to strengthen young men before they go on missions.

            This place is all talk.

          • Rob Bates

            John Fesola’i, please do. I would love to hear their responses.

          • JX

            Wow. I’m surprised everyone is so patient with you.

            “If he gave 5 versions or 100, does it change the truths?” YES. You sound like you’re either incredibly gullible or incredibly stupid. Your answer (and every GA’s answer) is that because you “felt the spirit” that makes all this true. You would rather ignore any and all facts and continue with the blinders on. Good for you though, they need people like you to keep the show going, “mate”.

          • John Fesola’i

            Perfect example of pure ignorance. You guys go around in circles

          • JL

            I think your questions are great. Most people aren’t willing to ask that golden question,”if the church wasn’t true, would you want to know?” Keep reading, researching, and question everything. Avoid the suggested trap of suspending doubt or ignor the facts. You are spot when you give the example of all the other religions using the same business plan. I’ve heard recently a JW share testimony that his church is true, that all people have to do is pray, etc. Sound familiar. I think the biggest thing to realize with Mormonism is that it’s history, authenticity, truth claims, etc. are very observable; we can objectively come to valid conclusions with its historical claims; it doesn’t need to have this subjective approach. If you are looking for spirituality, that’s an entirely separate conversation. One thing to remember, Mormonism not being what you thought, doesn’t mean there is no God, or life after death or even that you can’t be with your family forever. Don’t be manipulated and shamed to think you did this! Have you read cesletter.com ? Everyone in the church should. There are great books on all of your questions too. Keep pressing on…Mormonism doesn’t have a monopoly on happiness.

        • Cake

          “Lol did you authentically come up with all these questions?”

          Isn’t great how you can just use 9 words to totally dismiss anything someone says? It makes things loads easier. You don’t have to consider what people are saying. You can completely ignore any point they were trying to make. Just paint them as the “other” and “evil” and dismiss them. You can then pat yourself on the back for having avoided an opportunity to learn more about the world and you can continue on your self-centered way. You even get to brag to the peers in your tribe about how quickly you protected your own bubble of self interest.

          Good Job!

          • John Fesola’i

            Your name is cake? Faceless? What value are your comments? Is this the world we live in?

          • Albert Carrington

            Attacking the person instead of the issues is the best way resolve the issues. /s

          • John Fesola’i

            Have you not read the context of this article? Do you not see the root of such an approach?

            Is not the author attacking the apostles? You guys love to dish it but don’t like to be served it back? Have you not read the BOM 2 Nephi 7:8?

          • TigranMetz

            John – As someone who just got here and read this conversation, you’ve done an excellent job of equivocating your way around legitimate questions, attacking people over their usernames for no discernible reason, and generally adding nothing worthwhile to the conversation.

            To a person seeking truth above all else, your contributions to this conversation will serve more to push them away from the church than towards it. I say this in all sincerity and love: please reevaluate your course of action here. I’m sure you’re a great guy in real life, but here your zeal without knowledge and abject lack of empathy reflect poorly on you.

          • John Fesola’i

            And who are you please?

          • TigranMetz

            I’m just a guy on the internet who grew up in the church, served an honorable 2 year mission (spending time as both a zone leader and in a branch presidency), and served honorably in my callings right up to the day I realized the church wasn’t true.

            My first questions about the church came while deeply studying the Book of Mormon about halfway through my mission. I had the opportunity to speak with a General Authority 1 on 1 about them. He was a great guy and tried his best to answer them, but couldn’t do it. Over time, more questions came up on my mission, from experiences with people and church leadership, from reading scripture, from various books strewn about missionary apartments written by prophets and apostles, and from reading the 1st volume of the Joseph Smith papers. When the answers didn’t come, I would push them to the back of my mind and try to focus on the work. Eventually the questions became to numerous to ignore, so I dove into study and prayer as deeply as I could to try to resolve them. I spent years trying to find a way to stay in the church without experiencing cognitive dissonance, but I eventually realized that the inconvenient truth that the church isn’t what is says it is, is better than the reassuring lie that following a group of men who claim to be prophets will somehow bring spiritual salvation.

            As to the rest of your post:

            You’re being hounded because your entry into this conversation was a list of loaded, inflammatory questions, not because you “simply want to understand.” I find it perplexing that you expected people’s responses to your loaded questions and ad hominem attacks to be full of sunshine and roses. How exactly have you demonstrated any integrity in your posts?

            I (nor anyone else here) don’t expect you to leave the church just because we have differing views. What I (they) do expect is a little respect and, dare I say, Christlike empathy. The OP is not just some anti-mormon internet troll who gets his jollies by looking to get a rise out of people. He’s a human being who has gone through a lot of spiritually heavy pain and is trying to stand up for others who have experienced the same thing.

            You’re a human being as well who deserves just as much respect and empathy, but don’t be surprised that when you treat people like shit, they react harshly.

          • John Fesola’i

            I’m not surprised at all how you people have reacted, you guys love talking each other up, and when it doesn’t go your way, you feel that clothing your response with words like “Christ”, “Empathy”, “Truth Seeker”, makes you an awesome human being or at the least, hides your true intentions to deceive. How can I not think you’re deceptive when you excuse the author of his free speech and lack of respect towards our apostles, who are also human beings, and then you make it sound like I just attacked people for no reason? Have you not read this article? Or do you read it and just see me being mean and excuse the author? I doesn’t matter how much you write or your story about your service etc. The fact that you give no thought of interpreting my comments in the light of the article say’s a lot about yourself.

            You don’t even understand my arguments, you belittle my understanding as if you’re more educated than I, do you think I have no knowledge in these things? You’re not an active member of the church yet you seek to counsel me about my love for the church and people, and how it should be expressed? Get over yourself mate.

            I’m simply allowing others to see that those who entertain questions of insignificant value and do not listen to the counsel of our leaders, leave the church and then come back to blame the church for their troubles. And when they do, they are highly bias, love to quote how much service they did in the church before they left, and how hard they sought answers etc, once again, in my eyes are an effort to dilute the counsel of the apostles.

            So who are you? Just another person that’s left the church and can’t leave the church and our members alone, and love to counsel us members.

          • TigranMetz

            You do realize this is the internet and that anyone can read your above comments, right?

            Are you really so delusional that you can make random attacks about people’s usernames and then accuse me of being deceptive for calling you out on it just a few hours later?

            I don’t understand your arguments because you haven’t really given any. All you’ve done is ask loaded questions, regurgitated some meaningless cliches you picked up in sunday school, swing your dick around about how great a defender of the faith you are, and then wonder why people aren’t bowing to your obviously superior morals and intellect.

            Earlier you argued with the OP about the 1st Vision. Here is why it is problematic:

            The earliest version (1832) states that Smith only saw one personage, the Lord. If you look at writings of his at that time, you can see clearly that his theology was trinitarian. E.g., the Book of Mormon is frankly more trinitarian than the Bible. The trinitarian language was scrubbed out of 1st Nephi after the 1st edition of the book, but lives on in the Abinadi chapters. Secondly, many of his early revelations equate Jesus with God the Father, but change over time as Smith’s theology changes. Lastly, Smith’s “Inspired Translation of the Bible” also changed verses to sound even more trinitarian than they already did.

            For example: Luke 10:23 of the King James Version reads: “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.”

            The JST version reads: “All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son IS the Father and the Father IS the Son, but him to whom the Father will reveal it” (emphasis mine). Now, you won’t find that in the few JST verses that are included in your quad. You have to look at the source document. The church has conveniently omitted it, along with many other changes Smith made to the Bible. Why have they done this? What does the church have to gain by trying to hide this from the members? More importantly, if Joseph Smith was really a prophet, why did he teach an incorrect version of the Godhead for well over a decade after he supposedly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, clearly two different beings standing side by side, in 1820? These are not rhetorical questions. I’d like to see your response.

            The fact that there were multiple versions of the 1st vision is not all that significant by itself. It is the combination of how the differences in the narrative changed over time coupled with corollary changes in the Book of Mormon, Smith’s interpretation of the Bible, and Smith’s unique revelations that the real problem comes to light. These things combine to show a fairly clear evolution from a trinitarian-style doctrine towards the sort-of polytheistic but not polytheistic doctrine of the Godhead that the church has today. Again, if Smith really was a prophet, why did his doctrine of the Godhead change so dramatically over the years from 1820 to his death in 1844?

          • John Fesola’i

            So again you’re upset I take shots at people taking shot’s at me, because I took a shot at an article that’s taking shot’s at my church. Do you not understand I’m simply responding per the article. Do I have to list all the hateful remarks about our apostles for you to understand that I’m simply returning the favor?

            What twisted forum is this that you only listen to the sound of your own voice. How is it you do not understand that I care very little about the different accounts given as you have no idea what actually happened or why the accounts vary, all you can offer is your opinion on the matter and speculation as to why they differ. I cannot explain what a translated state would have been like for Joseph, I do not know the dynamics of why there are differing accounts, and neither do you. You want to engage me in a discussion that all we can do is surmise, yet the essence of my testimony is not so petty.

            Seriously if I may ask, what is it you do for a living? What is your academic background as I am strongly losing faith in you historians and your so called sound reasoning. I’m tired of you calling me out, loaded question this etc etc. Yes I know people read this, so let’s allow them to see as to what foundation our reasoning is based on. I’m not trying to say I’m smarter than you and you’re dumb, whatever, but they way you respond and your lack of depth is irritating now.

          • TigranMetz

            Honestly, I can’t tell if you really think these things or if you’re just being willfully obtuse. Who gives a shit what I do for a living or how many degrees I have in what disciplines? It’s not me you should be worried about, but the underlying issues in Mormonism. I am happy to just let this conversation end here and let people study and judge for themselves the merits of this exchange.

            Peace.

          • John Fesola’i

            Mate it matters a lot to me, you attacking the faith that’s blessed me with all I have. Then to realise you may not have pushed yourself to the same academic rigour or spiritual rigour as I have? Yet you try counsel me?

            The church taken me from nothing to being exceptionally well educated with two professional pathways. I don’t know why I was born so socio-economically disadvantaged? I’m a minority and had pretty much no hope in life, it’s the underlining Mormon doctrine that blessed me, the same doctrines you so deceptively attack.

            That’s why I care not about silly questions about my church. I live the Gospel so intensely that I feel and see its blessings in my life daily, and especially my children. I will not have these so called truth seekers blab on unchecked and dilute the Gospel I love. Yes I’m not perfect as I would rather contend with you then invite you to church. But what good is it for me to passively sit around and listen to mindless ranting and opinions?

          • JX

            AH Finally, an honest answer John.
            I understand where you’re coming from. The church clearly means a lot to you. You feel like you owe it to at least stand up and fight for it because you’ve seen so much good coming from it.
            That still doesn’t make it true, does it?

          • John Fesola’i

            Your facts make it wrong? Is that what you imply? Lol

          • Maria

            You’re a dick, plain and simple. I’ve read 20 or so of your responses, and they are immature, pointless and say absolutely nothing. You have done NOTHING but attack people and belittle them. Ask yourself if this is how Christ or any of the church leadership would respond. You seem to think that just because people have left the church (for reasons you consider completely invalid) that they aren’t deserving of your respect or kindness, yet you keep coming back here to show everyone how much smarter, better and more sarcastic you are.

            People are leaving the church in droves. The LDS church is not what it claims to be. You can stay up there on your “these are stupid questions and you’re all stupid” high horse, but know that you are doing more damage to the church and its reputation than anything else.

            Leaving the church is difficult and devastating. Most that leave go through a lot of mourning and fear and tend to lose big things in their lives along the way. Jobs, family relationships, marriages, reputation, etc. It often leads to mourning and grief that you can’t even imagine. Many that leave wish they didn’t. Many wish with all of their hearts that they could salvage their testimony and make it all work again. They are far braver than you are, with your bravado and arrogance, acting as if you are better than them. As if you are more sincere and more faithful. What bullshit.

            There’s a likelihood that your shelf will someday break, too. When it does, I hope you remember how you came here and pissed on people who were brave enough to be honest and leave a church that they came to know was false. I hope you are embarrassed by and ashamed of your behavior, as I’m sure it’s not this thread alone where you have tried to convince us all how fantastic and smart and devout you are.

            But really, you should probably stick a sock in it, because you are just embarrassing yourself.

          • John Fesola’i

            Maria is that your real name? I’m such a D*** yet you read 20 plus of my comments lol even when I ask don’t reply you still can’t help yourself hahaha what does that say about you? That you’re not?

            Like the rest of your mates or it’s probably just you making up fake accounts lol but it seems you’re trying so hard to convince me I’m the D** how’s it working out for you guys lol

            Don’t respond, but I bet you will

          • Maria

            I have a few simple questions for you:

            If you were to attend the temple today, and sit in the celestial room and reflect upon your attitude toward others here in these comment threads, would you be proud of yourself? Would you be able to justify it to your bishop? Would you expect Jesus to say “Well done, good and faithful servant?” (I mean, IDGAF if you are making yourself look like a jackass. If anything, I love it, because it exposes what I see as a lot of hypocrisy and judgmental attitudes in the church.)

            Second- and I really truly don’t believe you will even be honest with yourself about this, much less me but I’ll ask anyway: If the church absolutely isn’t true, would you even want to know? Or is staying LDS more important to you than finding the truth? I mean, maybe it is true, but if it isn’t, would you want to know?

            You have written about how you live such a righteous life and how great the church is, but you have acted no better than us common sinners and degenerates. What does that say about the work of the Spirit in your own life? Why would anyone be drawn to what you have if you can’t even be kind to people who disagree with you on the internet? You say you are defending your faith, but I hardly see it as an effective tool the way you have been doing it. Trust me, if your God is real, he’s a big boy and doesn’t need you running around telling us all how awful we are. He will handle us in his own time and in his own way, and I highly doubt he’ll do it by shitting on all of us and our questions.

            But, you do you. Keep paying your ridiculous tithe and wearing your G’s and feeling all self righteous about it. As for me and my bare shoulders, we’re going to take that extra 10% of my income and give it to people who need it, not a multi billion dollar corp that builds tacky ass temples that they deny 99% of the population access to.

          • John Fesola’i

            Your question 1: Are seeking for me to feel bad? For things you likely and consistently do to others? As you did label me a D***. Is it because you have no Bishop you don’t think you should be held to the same standard? And is it because you know us Mormons do, you feel to play “guilt trip”, coz that’s what you’re doing. You only care about our ways when you’re called out? Or feel threatened by my honesty? Your tone sounds like “sour grapes”, you’re simply so sour that you attack me as that seems to be the only way you’re finding peace.

            Your question 2 is answered in question 1. It appears you interpret everything the way you like it. How’s that working out for you?

          • Maria

            I’m intimidated by your honesty? What honesty? You haven’t answered shit! You can’t even answer the simple questions I asked you in my post. And no, I typically don’t attack people on the internet, but after reading the way you have been so awful and cruel and hypocritical in dozens of comments here- yeah, I’m going to call you on it. I tend to treat people the way they treat others, and you have been absolutely awful to other people here in the comments. So arrogant and dismissive of others. I’m sure most LDS (many of whom are amazingly lovely, sincere, awesome people) would be just as appalled by your behavior as everyone here has been.

            I’ve never been Mormon, so I don’t even really have a dog in this fight. I’m just amazed that someone who is oh so devout and who pontificates about how happy and awesome his religion makes him is here being such a total douche bag to others.

          • John Fesola’i

            There we go again, all so one sided. There’s no justice here, or mercy haha

          • I have enormous respect for your efforts here, but I suspect you are wasting your time and energy.

          • John Fesola’i

            Like you know what you’re talking about? With respect, this article is untrue and concerns posted here are misleading.

          • JX

            yeah you should bring here any and all young men getting ready to go on a mission. I’m SURE they will be inspired by your idiocy and Christ-like behavior. I’m sure they will all want to be like you during and after their missions. Yes, PLEASE bring young men to read this thread.

          • John Fesola’i

            Stop quoting Christ, like you care about that aspect.

          • Yes. This.

          • Xposit

            Dismiss, deflect and obfuscate, that’s the Mormon way. Good job mate!

          • John Fesola’i

            Na man, we home teach, pay tithing, give service, serve missions, and occasionally I stand up for what I believe in, in my way.

            You associate my free speech with the entire Mormon church? Is that the Xpsoit way? If so, not very well-thought out.

          • artmarc

            John, if you truly wish to “stand up for what I believe,” if you truly wish to be an emissary for good, you may wish to reconsider your tactics and tone. Having read this thread entirely, you have acted in a manner that would push the neutral seeker of truth (investigator) away from you most assertively. You might wish to try an approach that involves loving kindness, long suffering, and patience as extolled in your scriptures. Beyond that, you might try to actually provide factual answers to questions that trouble people rather than attack them for having troubling questions over documented inconsistencies in church claims. To be sure, your actions have hurt the cause of the church as much as the troubling doctrinal and historical issues with which many have sought to find resolution. I would urge you to reconsider your treatment of others, unless you truly do not care that they join your fold. For you are surely giving sound basis for people rejecting your spiritual claims.

          • John Fesola’i

            Yeah all you say sounds all good, but you make it sound like such people reside here too.

            Again you try to make it sound like it’s the investigator that’s your concern? What have you said about the posted article that Balances anything?

            Who have you called out here besides myself?

            Name an investigator you’ve helped come to Christ through his gospel? I’ve had 4 over this week for dinner and they seem very well with me. We talk true doctrine. Not mingled stuff.

            What are your intentions? To stop my dishing out of what you so readily do? Turn it up mate.

          • Xposit

            Ya mate, you been busted.

          • Cake

            Lol did you authentically come up with that statement? Or you just
            simply jump on your computer read them and allow your fear to take hold? If that’s how you’ve come about such responses to use to defend your church by simply attacking people with questions, how is it you expect you to carry out your duties as a priesthood holder to lead people to the correct answers?

            I bet your religion told you to say that. (9 words.)

            You should be commended for being such a fine example of what following the “true” church leads you towards.

      • Jon

        Thanks for your reply. What question is most important to you?

        • Rob Bates

          Jon, you seem to honestly want to address a single question of defined scope. If so, this is a question I have that seems to have well defined boundaries that no one has been willing to answer for me.
          Adam was the first man on Earth, and death (at least human death) entered at the time of his fall. We know his fall was roughly 6,000 years ago, both through revelation, genealogy, and the doctrine of dispensational leaders.
          Why then are there copious human fossils from 100,000 years ago & humanoid fossils (that slightly vary from our own) from a million years ago?

          Keep in mind that Packer taught that while the church takes no stance on the evolution of the animal kingdom, the evolution of man did not occur.

          Also keep in mind that the resurrection is a free gift where not one hair of our head will be lost, so if the Earth was made like a cake from prior planet material, there would be no human fossils in it, as they would have resurrected.

          • Jeremy Dean Lott

            Could it not simply be that they have not yet been resurrected?

          • Rob Bates

            Jeremy, are you saying that previous planets of God’s children lived and died, the matter from those planets was re-organized, and so their bones make up our earth?

            That would be a possible explanation, except that Joseph Smith (and other modern prophets) have mentioned that Adam and Eve were in the garden a long time and that the periods of God’s creation were also long periods of time (Smith numbered the whole thing in the millions of years).
            So any bones we find on earth should be exclusively from before those creation periods (for example, that would be a plausible explanation for all dinosaur bones. They could have never lived on Earth at all, but were merely on prior planets).

            Am I missing something here, or making a false assumption about what you are suggesting?

            Additionally (though less concretely), modern prophets have talked about the plan of salvation on other planets (usually when asked the question of why Christ came to this particular Earth) that made it clear that their planets were Celestialized.
            Though it is possible that process would somehow leave some matter left over which could then be used to form the earth (as the process is undefined).

            Obviously the “cake” model of the Earth has various problems with geology and physics, but lets ignore that with the broad term “miracle” for now.

          • Jon

            Rob, Great question. I really think God has given us minds and he expects us to use them. The simple answer is that we don’t know.
            But can we explore the possibilities? Absolutely. It is kind of fun to think about how things may have played out.

            1. First the Pearl of Great Price teaches us that our Universe is very old and God has been creating for a really long time. He has planted his children on other planets that have come and gone.

            2. From observations that scientists have made on our planet the visible universe is billions of years old and our earth is billions of years old as well.

            3. Hubble has given us glimpse of the the formation of planets and of stars and both are collections of super heated materials that is why our earth has a molten core.
            4. From this we can surmise that that the fossils on earth lived on earth. Dinosaurs lived and died on our planet and so did many other life forms including all skeletons that look something like us.

            5. So where does that put us? Again don’t know, but we can speculate. We are taught that we came to earth to get a body. So literally that means our spirits are sent to earth to be joined with a physical body. Where does the body come from? Well mom and dad of course. But, the real question is where did Adam’s body come from? Again,we have no idea but there are several possibilities.

            God placed the spirits of Adam and Eve in bodies that had been developed by:

            a. evolution

            b. other people from other planets

            c. or some other cool way.

            The key is to recognize opinion vs doctrine. Doctrine is taught plainly over and over and over by many prophets for many years. Opinion comes and goes but notice that Multiple Prophets (the numero uno prophets – Pres. Hinckley, Monson, etc)don’t talk about them.

            So let’s examine the phrases that you used:

            Adam was the first man on Earth – Yes

            and death (at least human death) entered at the time of his fall.- not quite correct-
            The creation story is poetry very short just a couple pages. The real creation story would fill billions of terabytes of information. Death was introduced for us as children of God when Adam and Eve and for that matter all of us chose to come to earth to follow Gods plan (notice that I left off the apostrophe).

            We know his fall was roughly 6,000 years ago – we actually don’t really know exactly when it happened but may be about that long ago.

            Keep in mind that Packer taught that while the church takes no stance on the evolution of the animal kingdom, the evolution of man did not occur. – OPINION – if the church doesn’t take a stand on it that means they don’t really know.

            Also keep in mind that the resurrection is a free gift where not one hair of our head will be lost, so if the Earth was made like a cake from prior planet material, there would be no human fossils in it, as they would have resurrected – Molten soup nothing from somewhere else.

            So basically we know that fossils represent things that lived on our world. It is fun because it is like a jigsaw puzzle that we are solving without knowing the full picture.

            So simply like I said earlier. We don’t know. But we do know there is a God because of his spirit and personal revelation. Doctrine is that he found our Intelligences and clothed them in Spirit Bodies and then we chose to come to earth to be clothed in physical bodies with the promise that we would then be clothed in perfect bodies. How did Adam and Eve’s Spirit’s get into this world? I look forward to the day when we will know.

            The key is to acknowledge that we don’t know a lot of things, but that is ok because we know what really matters. But it is ok to think, to question, to theorize, and explore.

          • Rob Bates

            I appreciate your reply, and think it is the most honest I’ve heard. I really appreciate you not just dodging the question. I cannot stress that enough.

            I do think you are mistaken about opinion and doctrine. Firstly, the Prophet presides over every General Conference and is obliged to correct false doctrine. This has happened several times with edits to the conference talks before they are published. Additionally in recent decades, transcripts must be submitted ahead of time, approved by the first presidency, and then translated before conference. There are also repeated teachings that General Conference is modern revelation to be taken as scripture (though I admit there are competing claims, including Pres Hinckley, but those claims are far less numerous). I’ve also included a few references to evolution, partially because Hinckley was vague on the Fall of Adam, but more clear on Evolution.

            Here are some references that disagree with your view on the fall and when death (at least human death) entered Earth. (I apologize for the flood of references, but thought that it was important to show the quantity, given your emphasis on repeated teachings by multiple prophets).

            2 Nephi 2:22-23, Alma 12:23 & 42:5, Hel 14:16, Moses 6:44-48, 1 Cor 15:21-22

            http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/originofman.htm

            -First Presidency 1909, “The Origin of Man” & other assorted quotes

            (too many passages to quote. Please read the whole document)

            [“The Origin of Man” was also quoted in 2002 https://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/02/the-origin-of-man ]

            https://archive.org/stream/improvementera28011unse#page/1088/mode/2up

            -First Presidency 1925 “‘Mormon’ View of Evolution”

            https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/where-justice-love-and-mercy-meet

            -Holland 2015

            “…was neither human death nor future family”…

            https://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/06/christ-and-the-creation

            -McConkie 1982

            “Mortality and procreation and death all had their beginnings with the Fall.”

            “…death and mortality had not yet entered the world. There was no mortal flesh upon the earth for any form of life.”

            “Death enters the world”

            https://www.lds.org/ensign/1972/12/find-the-answers-in-the-scriptures

            -Harold B Lee 1972 (first few paragraphs say no pre-Adamic people)

            http://www.amazon.com/UTAH-GENEALOGICAL-HISTORICAL-MAGAZINE-OCTOBER/dp/B0022VA7VM/ref=sr_1_2

            -JF Smith (refutes proposed pre-Adamites)

            http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1101&index=7

            -Nibley 1986 (indicates that pre-Adamites died long before Adam)

            “Do not begrudge existence to creatures that looked like men long, long ago, nor deny them a place in God’s affection or even a right to exaltation — for our scriptures allow them such. Nor am I overly concerned as to just when they might have lived, for their world is not our world. They have all gone away long before our people ever appeared.”

            https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/10/the-atonement

            -Nelson 1996 (fall had physiological changes, making evolution unlikely)

            “The Fall of Adam (and Eve) constituted the mortal creation and brought about the required changes in their bodies, including the circulation of blood and other modifications as well.”

            “our physical bodies could become perfected. They could again function without blood, just as Adam’s and Eve’s did in their paradisiacal form.”

            https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1993/10/constancy-amid-change

            -Nelson 1993 (explicit that Adam was different than prior creations)

            “Adam and Eve were the first people to live upon the earth. They were different from the plant and animal life that had been created previously. Adam and Eve were children of God. Their bodies of flesh and bone were made in the express image of God’s. In that state of innocence, they were not yet mortal. They could have had no children, were not subject to death, and could have lived in Eden’s garden forever. Thus, we might speak of the Creation in terms of a paradisiacal creation.”

            “…their bodies would change; mortality and eventual death would come upon them.”

            “…their physical bodies did change; blood began to circulate in their bodies. Adam and Eve thereby became mortal.”

            “Accordingly, we could speak of the fall of Adam in terms of a mortal creation…”

            https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/doors-of-death

            -Nelson 1992

            “The grip of physical death is temporary. It began with the fall of Adam”

            https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1984/10/the-caravan-moves-on

            -McConkie 1984

            “True believers know that this earth and man and all forms of life were created in an Edenic, or paradisiacal, state in which there was no mortality, no procreation, no death.”

            https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1985/04/the-purifying-power-of-gethsemane

            -McConkie 1985

            “As Adam brought death, so Christ brought life; as Adam is the father of mortality, so Christ is the father of immortality.”

            “We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth. Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world.”

            “…by the Fall came mortality and death;”

            https://archive.org/stream/MediationAndAtonementOfOurLordAndSaviorJesusChrist/mediation_and_atonement#page/n169/mode/2up/search/Darwinian

            -Taylor 1882 “Meditation and Atonement”

            https://archive.org/stream/improvementera28012unse#page/1112/mode/2up/search/evolution

            -Improvement Era 1925

            http://www.sainesburyproject.com/mormonstuff/Man%20His%20Origin%20and%20Destiny.pdf

            -JF Smith 1954 “Man, His Origin and Destiny”

            http://www.amazon.com/Witness-Warning-Modern-Day-Prophet-Testifies/dp/0875791530

            -Benson 1988 “A Witness and a Warning” page 6

            “Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in … organic evolution.”

            http://www.amazon.com/God-family-country-three-loyalties/dp/B0006CF3MC

            -Benson 1988 “God, Family, Country” page 225

            “…one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like … Charles Darwin.”

            http://www.amazon.com/Teachings-Gordon-B-Hinckley/dp/1573452629

            -Hinckley 1997 “Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley” page 298

            “I believe in evolution, not organic evolution, as it is called, but in the evolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul of man.”

            …there are many more, but my time is limited, and the first link contains a large compendium.

          • Jon

            These are some great quotes. Thanks for posting. Here are a few scattered thoughts about opinion vs revelation.

            I like what Brigham Young taught that we should not blindly believe what we are told. I also like the Book of Mormon where it says that we need to pray and ask God and the Spirit will manifest the truth of it unto you. I like to take what somesone has said, compare it with what I know and what I have experienced, and if needed, pray about it. That is just my personal approach.

            So when I look at the above quotes I have to keep in mind that what I am hearing may be inspiration or opinion. I have to figure that out.

            I should also say that I have a degree in zoology, so I studied a lot about animals, genetics, fossil records, evolution, etc.

            Another interesting side note is that the apostles disagree and disagreed on ideas of evolution. B. H. Roberts theorized that there were pre-Adamites which Joseph Fielding Smith adamantly apposed. Who was speaking opinion and who was sharing revelation? Or, were they both speaking opinion and neither was right.

            The challenge is that the scriptures are not science or history books. They are mainliy a brief glimpse into the religious history of people.

            Another note is McConkie was not The main prophet of the church, and he said a lot of things that were just plain wrong.

            So what do I know? I know that there are fossils that are millions of years old. That means things lived and died before Adam. Algae had to live and die for thousands even millions of years before Adam to produce enough oxygen for Adam to breath on earth. So a strict belief that nothing died before Adam is naive and ridiculous.

            Nelson is also not THE prophet and so he just shared his opinions which was inappropriate at conference. It is hard though for all of us to separate our opinions from what we know is revelation they get tied up together often.

            Another problem in the LDS church is that we intertwine the words believe and know. We get messy with our words and so the interpretation gets messy.

            Scriptures teach that Adam was the first man on earth. It would be better to say that Adam was the first (intelligence given a spirit body and then a physical body that was placed on this earth who has been adopted into the family of God). It is much easier to write, Adam was the first man. The same could be said for Eve.

            A more complete statement would be:

            As humans we classify ourselves into the Homo genus. The Latin noun homō (genitive hominis) means human being. From what we know so far, living beings that appear like us have been on this earth for about 2.8 million years. We also believe that Adam was the first living being adopted into the Family of God on the earth. We don’t really know how Adam had his beginnings, but we believe that he was the primary and only ancestor of Homo Sapiens. But again our understanding is so naive and rudimentary that this is speculation at best. But we believe in God (who is a being that does not die and has been around before our current visible universe started which from our crude estimates is greater than 13 billion years) and we believe that we have been adopted into his family and we believe that we are immortal beings living in mortal bodies that will be replaced with immortal bodies probably within a thousand years.

            So I believe that there was an man and woman that walked on our earth about 6,000+ years ago and that I am one of their Grandson’s.

            So in summary the creation story was only a couple pages because God doesn’t want to just give us knowledge, he wants us to explore and learn for ourselves whereever our interests take us. I think it is much more fun this way and brings joy in the process of discovery. I think that the history of the world will be found in the rocks, mountains, and oceans and not so much in the scriptures.

            The prophets are spiritual specialists in my mind, but not great historians or scientists – generally speaking. That is part of the reason for the posting of the original article; the leaders of the church haven’t been the most transparent sometimes by choice and other times by lack of knowledge on their part.

          • Rob Bates

            Hey Jon,
            Again I appreciate your reply, but fundamentally disagree.
            You have to ask yourself this- is their anything you can’t explain away?
            If the answer is no, then truth doesn’t matter.
            Are you relying on the arm of flesh, or the cunning craftiness of men? Or are you looking to the revealed word of god as plain and precious truth, intended for the weakest of saints, by a god who is not a respector of persons?

            What you’ve proposed does not seem plain and precious to me. You have to twist not only the repeated words of apostles in a meeting presided over by THE prophet, but also of THE prophet and official statements from THE first presidency.

            While LDS leaders have been inconsistent on evolution in general, they have been crystal clear on the organic evolution of man. This is why my question was scoped only for humans.

            Modern humans who made pottery, built structures, painted, and did other creative things existed in multiple continents tens of thousands of years ago.

            If Adam was the first “man” as you define it, we know he is listed as the “first father” and Eve as “the mother of all living.”

            Do you propose an evidencless mass extinction of the pre-adamites sometime after the fall of Adam? Or do you need to further stray from the plain words of the scriptures and say that Adam and Eve were metaphorical parents, and god merely imbued all hominids with souls on-or-after that time? Or do you claim there there are people today who are not the seed of Adam and operate under a different plan of salvation?

            This is the problem I see with apologetics. They always get complex, which lead to mor problems, but the people who propose them can isolate each set of problems as distinct, rather than seeing them as a whole.

            I’m sorry Jon, but this is a rock solid disproof of the church. If you justify it away in isolation, you are failing to seek out truth.

            Please ask yourself this- if God had another path for you, would you ever find it? Or are you clinging to the philosophies of men so stubbornly that you would ignore evidence?
            If God endowed you with your logic and faculties, why would he make evidence to confuse you? He is not a God of confusion, but one of plain and precious truth.

            So when humans exist before Adam, and pyramids exist before Egyptus discovered Egypt, and hieroglyphs aren’t “translated” translated, and the standard works and temple plagiarize many many sources (Late War, First Book of Napoleon, View of the Hebrewsm 1822 translation of Koran, KJ Bible, Paradise Lost, Swedenborg, Jewish Oral Tradition as taught by Smith’s tutors, Masonic Ceremony, etc…), and modern practices seem questionable (besmirched history, opaque finances, malls & other businesses, lack of revelation & translation, published statements that reject the fact that intersexed individuals exist), etc…

            Does God have no accountability? He promised plain and precious truth, taught to the weakest of saints, from a God that is not a respector of persons.
            Nearly all apologetics require a God who is none of those things.
            At that point, God ceases to be God.

            Are you satisfied with your complex answer that still has the holes I highlighted?
            Or can you take scripture at face value, as it promises you can, and the words of your prophets (multiple, repeated, and official, as you requested)?

          • Jon

            Rob what is your point? What are you trying to say? None of the Apostles have said anything about evolution in conference for over 20 years. Why is that? Because it is not important to Gospel of Jesus Christ and any comment on the topic is opinion. The only thing that matters is that we are children of God.

          • Rob Bates

            Jon, you’ve now completely dodged 🙁

            Maybe it doesn’t matter, or maybe it doesn’t make sense, so leaders avoid it (I’d guess the latter given that they refuse to answer important doctrinal questions from their members*).

            Your standard of truth was repeated teachings by the prophets. I gave you that.

            Now you’ve moved the goal posts to recently repeated teachings by the prophet. Well, in that case your church is now solely focused on widows and service, right? Monson doesn’t reveal great doctrine, he tells anecdotes of kindness and caring (good things, but the tiniest slice of the canon).

            If you cannot define what is and is not doctrine without your own personalized algorithm, then truth is relative. It also shows that you WANT it to be true, whether or not it IS true.

            My point is that plain & precious truth matters in a church whose god promised it, and that your guesses of what may have happened require crafty re-interpretation of scripture and revelation, twisting their words into things they did not say.

            What use are prophets you can’t trust? When Brigham Young said everything he taught over the pulpit was doctrine he didn’t give those teachings a shelf life (sometimes he even stated that a policy would not change for eternity, yet your church changed it). Are large swatches of war stories in the Book of Mormon unimportant because they haven’t been quoted in General Conference in the last 20 years?

            You say the question doesn’t matter, but it matters to me. The creation story is central to the Pearl of Great Price and the Temple. These are not fringe minutia, but important core doctrines.
            Do you not have your own subset of doctrine that matters dearly to you? If you had questions about something in that subset that doesn’t bother me at all, would it be fair for me to dismiss it as meaningless?

            If you don’t believe the words of your prophets, then you are an apostate.
            Believing in their silence is the same as believing whatever you want.

            —–

            * These are not hypothetical questions, but instances I know of that were escalated to the first presidency (1 through very official channels of bishop to steak pres to regional authority to first presidency)

            An intersexed individual attending BYU felt like a boy despite his parents and doctors deciding to remove parts of his body at birth and assign him as a female.

            He was attracted to women, but wouldn’t date anyone for fear of violating god’s will.

            He asked his bishop if he could be legally reassigned to male, or if he was suffering from same-sex attraction.

            The proclamation to the world on the family made it clear that gender was an eternal attribute, so he didn’t want to err.
            It escalated all the way to the first presidency who said they could not tell him what gender he was. He petitioned repeatedly, and was never given another response in the few years I knew him.

            Ordain Women raised doctrinal questions, and were given vague answers (none for a long time). While I disagree personally with the movement, the lack of willingness to clearly define doctrine in the church is infuriating.

      • Ryan Gregson

        As frustrating as it is to read John’s comments, I do think he has one good point about your questions. And that is you do not sincerely want answers to them. That’s because you already know the answers to just about all of them. It’s one simple answer, and its simplicity and power to clarify all these concerns is the very thing that lead me away from my faith.
        *edit* That being said, the questions do serve as a good summary of the problems and contradictions of the church and it’s teachings.

  • Alexis Carre

    Why did so many people leave the church if it’s true? it’s like asking why did Judas betray Christ if Christ was really the Son of God? after all, he was a man that spent a lot of time with Him! I’d be curious to know the kind of questions you have for Elder Ballard, because you know, usually, what General Authorities preach is not a secret, and can usually be found in the scriptures. It’s called doctrine, and you have full access to it, if you seek it earnestly by studying the scriptures and asking God for personal revelation! 🙂

    • Albert Carrington

      Here are some questions that I would very much like the chance to ask a general authority. http://zelphontheshelf.com/95-questions/

      • Alexis Carre

        Interesting! because I have probably less experience in the Church than you, due to the fact that I’m only 23 years old, and even then, i could myself answer a lot of these questions 🙂 What is interesting is that none of them are asking about doctrine (eternal truths). They are questions to satisfy one’s curiosity (which isn’t bad, it’s great to ask questions!:) but how can you let this list affect your own personal testimony of the Book of Mormon, or that both God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith? it all comes down to that!

        • Albert Carrington

          I’m also 23. Just because we aren’t older, doesn’t mean we are incapable of comprehending truth. If missionaries can get people to join at this age, why can’t people be able to know they should leave at this age?

          Again, church history is directly tied to the doctrine. They are not separate. So it’s not just curiousity. It investigating the truth claims of the gospel.

          I would appreciate hearing answers to my questions.

          Finally, faith shouldn’t require us to suspend logic. Don’t the Doctrine and Covenants say it will make sense both in our mind and our heart? That being said, if the only evidence is the spirit saying the Book of Mormon is true, I need to equally accept the testimony of the Koran from Muslims or Warren Jeffs from FLDS members. But I don’t. Because of the mind and heart test.

          • Alexis Carre

            Doctrine is the list of all principles and ordinances necessary for our salvation. so everything that is not doctrine is not necessary for our salvation and that’s why I say asking other questions is being curious. (not bad, just not necessary). The evidence that the Book of Mormon is true is shown to anyone by the Spirit, but also by seeing the blessings that come from living by that book. You can’t be as blessed if you live by the Koran or other books, because as much as they have edifying texts, they are not revelation from God (according to LDS Church).

          • Albert Carrington

            Are you sure about that? I think Muslims would disagree.

            Yes, you have defined doctrine. My issue is more do along the line of how do we know the person who taught that doctrine knows what he is talking about?

          • Alexis Carre

            I’m sure they would disagree! and if I tell them that i don’t believe Mohammed to be a Prophet, they get angry most of the time!
            really good question actually. it ends up in being all about a personal feeling and choice. i mean, obviously, it comes down to faith, and on our personal relationship with God. I can’t tell you anything rational. I just believe in God, and believe this Church to be the right place to be. Thanks for helping me reflect on all that 🙂

          • Jace Parker

            It’s interesting how you have stated here that asking questions = curiosity. Thanks for pointing that out, I didn’t realize having additional questions and being curious about the LDS Church would call for a reply stating that the additional questions are in fact unnecessary. Why is that? Because everyone should come wrapped up in a snug blanket of undoubted faith that the LDS church is the only true church of Jesus Christ? It seems like a theme of the church and it’s members to avoid answering questions that suggest your faith isn’t as strong as theirs, simply brushing it off , and adding 1 more thing for a struggling member to feel guilt about, not having strong enough “faith”. I completely agree that the church doctrine provides a great outline on how to live a happy, fulfilling life, but answer me this “unnecessary” question; why is it that, in Utah, where the communities are clearly predominantly LDS, place judgement on those that may have fallen from the “straight and narrow”? Why is it their duty to judge thy neighbor when they clearly teach to love thy neighbor and that Jesus will be the only judge? Tell me how so much hypocracy from that fact alone infiltrated these faithful followers? Tell me who granted them the right to be placed on a higher pedestal than the rest?

          • Alexis Carre

            What I meant was that these questions aren’t necessary for our salvation. I didn’t say that asking questions was a bad thing. Please don’t make me say what I didn’t.
            I’m sorry you feel that way about Utah members. Actually I’m not from Utah… and I totally agree that no one is perfect, and that no one should be judging their neighbor. Church members aren’t perfect, and that’s why we all come to church, to try and be closer to Christ and hopefully become a better person each week.

          • artmarc

            There are more than 1 Billion Muslims that would take issue with your characterization of the uselessness of the Koran.

          • Alexis Carre

            I didn’t say it was useless… I believe there are truths in the book, I just don’t believe in all of it.

  • John Fesola’i

    There’s this really difficult thing to attain called a “Mighty Change of Heart”, then an even more difficult thing to attain called “conversion”, sounds like to me that you think your missionary work and callings in the church have qualified you for the latter? Maybe even the former?

    You’ll easily go throughout your whole life “kicking and screaming” until you simply humble yourself to a point where you can truly learn.

    What do you really think you’re so unique with all your other church leaving buddies that members like myself have not read and also received answers to all our questions?

    Keep telling yourself you know better, but you can’t keep pretending you are any smarter or more academic, than people like myself who have our answers and have also read much about the church. With respect I do feel for your family and how you’ve divided them. I know I could have left that last part out but hey, it’s true.

    • Albert Carrington

      Thank you for again, like many other members, blaming me for my families division. You are assuming an awful lot about me: my feeling that my church callings proved I was converted, that I wasn’t humble, that I feel like I know everything. That’s fine, I get that. If what I am saying is true, then tha means God doesn’t answer everyone’s sincere prayer, and obviously that isn’t going to fit into your paradigm.

      I am open to being wrong. Id you are able to resolve my concerns, I would be happy to come back to Church.

      • John Fesola’i

        Paradigm? Define your understanding of sincere prayer.

        Don’t you worry about how you reply to my post i.e. It is purely text book? And the essence of why I ask you to Define sincere prayer.

        Text book in the sense that you cannot entertain that your efforts and approach to searching answers could be the underlying issue? Textbook that as soon as someone who may have been through comparatively harder trials than yourself points out what may have been discovered, via one’s personal experience down similar roads or via Devine intervention, or both, you nullify the experience by simply playing the victim, well played. But I’ll say it again isn’t it your family that’s the victim? Is your moral judgement of what is right and wrong for the church so important to you that you allow your family to be divided? See my family, I don’t allow career, worldly opinions, etc divide us. Even if it takes me humbling my own pride to understand what my wife cannot eloquently describe, than so be it. We live once buddy, life’s too short not to try every Avenue that comes your way to gain peace. Your family chooses the Church over your wisdom, is that so evil? Apostles teach truths, mainly unpopular, is that so difficult to understand?

        Don’t be so shocked that assumptions about ones condition can be made quite correctly and quickly, as it should be apparent that how we answer questions and ask questions reveals a lot about a person’s understanding, whether it be purely academic in nature or both spiritual and academic.

        • Albert Carrington

          Sincere heart and real intent – asking with the intent to act, with no motive other than to do God’s will. Yep, I have offered that prayer many times.

          Sure. The questions you have asked and the answers you have given confirm to me that you are all about saving souls unless they ask hard questions. Thanks John.

  • callerys

    You are the Captain of your soul, Men are not perfect but Gods word is always the same in the beginning, now and forever. We must take responsibility for ourselves and not put the blame on others. We must build a relationship with our Savior first and foremost. Their are many things in Church History that have caused concern and heartache but as the Lord entreats we must forgive everyone and that is what is needed. The only perfect person Was Christ himself and we don’t have the right to judge any one it is he who judges all. So Brothers and Sisters come back to the fold and let Christ heal you. Satan causes division, discouragement, hate, envy and doubt do not let him get his foot in the door.

  • Jon

    To the author of this article. Thanks for sharing your feelings

    One interesting thing about developing a relationship with God is a lot of people emphasize the first part of what Elder Ballard said but they stop listening and never reach the end of the sentence. He said,

    To keep members from spiritually dying from a lack of living water, Elder Ballard advised members to maintain essential, daily habits that “keep us rooted, grounded, and connected to [Christ].” These habits include daily prayer, fasting, studying the scriptures and the words of the living prophets, keeping the Sabbath day holy, partaking of the sacrament, worshiping in the temple often and reaching out to the needy, poor and lonely.

    If we think about how Christ spent his day did he read scriptures all day? No, he rose early and prayed/read the scriptures and then spent his whole day serving others. He had the closest relationship with God of anyone on earth. We should follow his example.

    The First teaching of the Church is to develop a relationship with God by praying to him, reading his words, and spending a majority of your time serving others(everyone around you). Pursue your gifts, talents, and interests to contribute to great businesses and bless the world you live in.

    I find that those who have “left” the church want to leave the culture/history/mistakes of the past/policies of the “church”.

    I suggest instead look for the gospel of Jesus Christ to guide your life by. The gospel is very simple and allows a lot of latitude in what interests you pursue in life. Dump the culture; live the principles.

    • Albert Carrington

      I have addressed part of your comment on another response, but I’ll also say this: the truth claims of the church are absolutely tied to history, you cannot pry them apart. The events of the restoration happened, or they didn’t. I didn’t leave over culture. I left because the church is having a truth crisis.

      Also, I still serve. I don’t think the Church had a monopoly on either service or relationships with God.

      • Jon

        I am glad you are serving. It brings a lot of happiness.

      • Jon

        The key parts of the church are tied to history. Joseph Smith either saw God and Jesus or he didn’t. God gave him the plates or he didn’t. God authorized Joseph to set up the church or he didn’t. Those are the key elements of the claims of the LDS church.

        • Jon

          The prophets have taught that there are basically 3 ways to know truth in the gospel setting by revelation / by living it /seeing the fruits.

          • Albert Carrington

            Absolutely. One could make a good case for the fruits of the church after the restoration to not be so good. Also, D&C teaches revelation should come in your mind and your heart, but the Church required me to suspend logic on too many core tenets for me to feel that I had really recieved an answer in the way God taught it would come.

          • Jon

            I think you are confusing fruits of living the gospel vs the messy history of the church. For example if you live the Word of Wisdom you will probably live about 10 years longer. Simple action => effect

          • Jon

            Another point is you are not asked to suspend logic, but to study it out in your mind. You should really look at some of Elder Bednar’s most recent books you might find them helpful.

          • Justin
          • Jon

            Did you know that neurosurgeons can stimulate a part of the brain and elicit emotions or thoughts. Is it to hard to imagine that with greater knowledge and technology we can actually communicate thoughts/words/impressions directly to a persons mind? If God is billions of years more advanced than we are it is not hard to logically assume he has the abilities and technologies to transmit written text into the mind of Joseph Smith or anyone else for that matter. The stuff of “science fiction” often becomes reality in the future.

          • Justin

            Yes, I did know that. In fact, they have successfully transmitted thoughts great distances. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything though. Did you actually read the link?

          • Jon

            Yes, I have read the link. I believe God gave the Book of Mormon words to Joseph’s mind. He used several “tools” to aid that revelation. He used the Urim and Thumim breifly but found it easier to use the stone. To me the urim and thumim and the stone are like the mud that Christ used to heal the blind minds eyes. Didn’t really need them but they were tangible things that represented the intangible to aid in the focus or faith of the individual.
            So in other words. Joseph received the Book of Mormon through revelation. Translation is the wrong word. He didn’t study pimsleur of reformed Egyptian through the urim and thumim and then flip open the plates and start deciphering the text. He did look at the plates but without revelation he did not possess the knowledge to translate.

          • Justin

            So in that case the plates were unnecessary and the witnesses mean nothing. The fact remains that the text of the Book of Mormon could not possibly have been written on the plates and the plates were not used in translation. That means that not only were we deceived (very intentionally considering God led us to believe the plates had something to do with the content of the book and that witnesses of the plates were somehow meaningful), but God revealed a book that included countless anachronisms, mistranslations from the KJV as well as errors which he himself later confirmed by the JST and stories that are absolutely impossible including the Jaredite barges and Nephi’s ship. Then he led us to believe that it was real and actually happened when in reality the best we could hope for is that it’s symbolically meaningful. The revelation theory still requires such a huge intellectual betrayal that I’m not capable of.

          • artmarc

            Speculation that differs from period statements.

          • Jon

            He looked at a stone in a hat. He was not looking at the plates.

          • Justin

            Yes I did. In fact, they have successfully transmitted thoughts between people at great distances. What does that have to do with anything though? Did you read that link I shared with you? It has nothing to do with that link. At best, you are arguing that God is a liar and a deceiver.

            Seriously, read the link thoroughly.

        • Jeff

          I’ve sincerely studied and prayed about all three of these questions and while I wouldn’t put any of them into such a binary construct, if you’re forcing me to choose, I’d choose the latter option of all three, at least in the sense that I’m guessing many of the responders to this thread would define the terms.

          Did Joseph Smith translate plates containing a historical record of an ancient people? No way. Well, there’s always a way, I guess, but the evidence weighs pretty strongly against it. Could he have had experiences with the divine that he attempted to communicate in his own fashion, even leading to the foundation of a divinely inspired church? Sure.

          I liked your other answer of living the principles much better. Those principles are found throughout the ethical and religious world, secular included.

          • Jon

            I agree. Find the Good.

      • Hyte Johnson

        The church is having a truth crisis…? My friend, You are unfortunately having a truth crisis..and I would strongly suggest exploring what’s beyond the bridge on the other side, and what you might believe in before you go burning it.

        Good luck. My experience is you find mists of darkness that lead nowhere and even worse, leave you feeling unsatisfied. But don’t worry, maybe the flying spaghetti monster will work for you. But if you cant look into the stars without acknowledging the glory of a divine God, and your own Creator, I am completely sure you will recognize that nothing else offers the span of reason that the restored gospel provides. Good luck.

  • Jon

    I think a good resource for answers to your historical questions is to start with A Rough Stone Rolling, which you have probably read.

    • Jon

      It looks like you have looked at a lot of websites related to your questions.

      • Albert Carrington

        Absolutely. And every website I first looked at were all faithful websites.

        • Jon

          What did you find out that really resonated with you?

          • Albert Carrington

            Joseph’s translation claims, the lies and excuses for polygamy, lack of evidence for any Book of Mormon civilization, blacks and the priesthood, and continual perpetuation of infallible prophets by the church.

          • Jon

            Thanks for sharing. These are common frustrations shared by many. I find at the core is what sources you trust. I have ancestors that lived and knew Joseph well and spoke of him as kind, trustworthy and an excellent example. There are others that also lived around him and gave opposite views. That is the challenge at least with the character of Joseph Smith. What sources do you believe? I know my ancestors by what they did and what they wrote and the stories of the people around them. They were good honest, hardworking people. Because of this, I believe their accounts and dismiss the accounts of those saying otherwise. But that is just my assessment and opinion. In the scriptures Jesus taught that by their fruits you shall know them. The people of Joseph Smith generally speaking are clean, hardworking, intelligent, beautiful people. Crime in predominantly Mormon cities is very low and education rates are very high in the arts, sciences, etc. If Joseph Smith was so bad, why is there so much good from what he taught?
            On Blacks in the priesthood: Joseph ordained black men. President Young made a mistake by allowing the racism of his time to influence his decisions on this matter. Thankfully time and prayer have fixed his mistakes.
            On Polygamy: Abraham had several wives and he was considered righteous in the eyes of God. Joseph Smith had several wives and many others that he was sealed to. In large part polygamy was a blessing to the families and children that participated in it. I know because one of my Great great grandmothers wrote about it. But it was also painful and had problems in some families and with the laws of the United States. That is why the families left the US that were participating in it. The most thorough discussion on the topic that I have seen yet is at
            http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/history-2/plural-wives-overview/
            As far as the evidences for any Book of Mormon civilization there are many in MesoAmerica.
            To the infallibility of the Prophets that is a catholic view but not a Mormon doctrine. The prophets are people just like us and as such make mistakes and give their opinions sometimes when they should not.
            The bottom line is what principles have value that we can live by?
            Right now, the LDS church has some amazing principles that can enrich those who believe in God and Jesus Christ.
            Oh, as a side note I posted a link to the full text of Elder Ballard’s talk
            https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/to-the-saints-in-the-utah-south-area?lang=eng
            Now of course these are thoughts are just my opinion and perspective
            I respect your right and privilege to choose what sources you feel you can trust and what teachings and principles you feel have value in your life.

  • Sophia

    You obviously are consumed with regret and guilt to even post the article. Why listen to the talk if you have chosen not to believe? And you obviously were never seeking truth and to be closer to God, you were just looking for a way out. Thankfully the Lord protected your family

    • Nich

      Here’s how you sound to everybody who’s not Mormon (my comments in parentheses):

      Since you left the church your family must not matter to you anymore. So please leave us and them alone. (Most people who leave “can’t leave it alone” because we care deeply about those left behind.)

      My belief structure doesn’t allow me to believe that anybody sincerely seeking answers wouldn’t get one. Therefore you obviously weren’t sincere in your quest. (This is not only highly presumptuous but also offensive.)

      • Maria

        Oh, I wish I had more than one upvote to give. So here, have a bunch of fake internet points, because your post is golden. I love it. 🙂

    • Albert Carrington

      Seriously? Where did you come to that conclusion?

      • Jace Parker

        The comment posted here that warranted your reply is basic deflection served with some guilt placed back on you. It’s interesting how a church that teaches kindness also seems to instill a God given right to make individuals feel guilt.

        • Maria

          TBMs are INCREDIBLY threatened by people who reject the gospel or who leave the church. And it’s easy to see why! The only answer they can even conceive of is that we aren’t true searchers, that we don’t REALLY want to know the truth. Their religion doesn’t offer any other option! When you have already decided “The church is true, no matter what” the only option they have is to assume that there is something wrong with US. The idea that there might be something wrong with the church isn’t even an OPTION for them. When you remember that, it’s easier to brush off and not take offense to the idiocy and arrogance that graces the comment section of posts like these.

          Most of the defenders here have already decided that even if the church isn’t true, they don’t want to know. It’s too risky for them to know. So they will keep paying their tithing and wearing their g’s and cling to their righteousness and rip apart those that are braver than they are- the ones who are willing to question and stare down the dark, scary road of- gasp- apostasy. Because honestly, losing your faith is much harder than clinging to it. It is terrifying to lose the one thing that you feel centers you and gives you purpose. Tack on the Mormon belief of eternal families, and suddenly there is so much to lose if you question your faith. So those that are willing to face the hard questions, even if it means losing your eternal security blanket, are much stronger and braver than those that won’t even entertain the thought.

    • WackyWombat

      It’s comments like that that help drive people away from Mormonism. So keep up the good work.

    • Jace Parker

      And you being among that of the most faithful can tell someone what they were and were not doing? Again with the shaming, if you follow the Lords teachings, why are you at liberty to step in for Jesus and pass judgement?

  • Kaleb J. Rasmussen

    Someone really hasnt done their homework like they think they have. I couldnt read anymore after whoever this is said that the Apostles believe they are without fault. My sad and confused friend they have always taught that there is only one being to ever be without fault. Thats the Lord Jesus Christ. This is clearly some personal issue with some leader or a blatant misunderstanding of doctrine and above all grace. Elder Ballard has probably never even met your family. Lucky for you and Elder Ballard and me and ever other imperfect person in our great family there is the Atonement. It doesnt matter how far you have fallen or how much youve hardened your heart it will heal, change and strengthen you if youll let it. But first you need to stop blaming people who have only ever loved you and your family and realize it is you. Hope you find peace and dont say you have outside the Church or you wouldnt have posted this.

    • Albert Carrington

      I have found much greater peace. Only the friction in my family on Church issues is bad, and that stems from what they are taught at church.

      I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be taught. I am teachable. But I will not accept poor thought.

      I do not think Elder Ballard is perfect. But the Church teaches in current manuals that the prophet will never lead people astray. I believe that this is demonstrably false. Just like you said, no one is perfect. So how is he incapable of making a mistake when leading the Church?

  • Amy Christensen Lee

    Mr. Carrington, I’m sorry I don’t have a clever answer to rebut what you have said, and I apologize on behalf of anyone who has made you feel anything other than loved, through their unkind, condescending, or less than sincere replies. I just wanted to say that I am sorry that you are feeling this way, and going through this, and I hope that all the good things in this world find you and your family. I hope you find the answers to your questions. I will be praying for you, and your family. Sincerely, Amy

    • Albert Carrington

      Thank you Amy. This is very sweet and kind. I wish everyone in the Church had the attitude you and Jon do. You are a great person. 🙂

  • Something Is Wrong

    Interesting letter. I think you’re speaking openly and honestly, yet, as I read it, I just can’t get the whining sound out of the imaginary voice I have assigned to you. Wah, my testimony is dead and it’s your fault! You have the answers and you didn’t give them to me, waaah. You want answers, I can give you some answers.
    Answer number one: you have lost your way partially due to the face that you have been looking for answers in the wrong places. By your own words: “I read the Church’s essays, Journal of Discourses, FAIR Mormon, etc.” Now, I might get some flak from other Mormons for trashing on these sources, but the simple fact is that these are not sources of pure doctrine. This is why in the other experience Elder Ballard recounted, he told the person to read the Book of Mormon; because it does contain the pure doctrine. The other stuff might be good but it is no substitute for actual doctrine and the way most Mormons I know use it, all that stuff is really nothing but a distraction that leads you directly into the warning given in Jacob 4:14 “But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings here, but your problem, in part, is that you have looked beyond the mark and have rejected the words of plainness, or the simple answers you were given, and sought for things you can’t understand. I don’t imply that you’ve killed any prophets, but you have killed your own testimony, that’s for sure. It’s not Elder Ballard, it’s you; own up and take some responsibility for yourself. Rather than accepting the slow process of line upon line, you try to jump ahead and demand more; rather than seek understanding of the simple things and the simple answers you’re given, you choose to focus on finding more and more information. It’s like trying to eat a a steak when you haven’t even finished chewing the rest of your food, and you’re confused about why you’re choking?!
    Answer number two: having said all of the last paragraph, the real answer to most of your questions (and I don’t even know what your questions are but I still know the answer) is this: it doesn’t matter, it’s not important. Now, there are legitimate questions about the church that demand legitimate and solid answers but there are also a lot that are really just not important. It’s up to you to discern and figure out which is which, and while that can be difficult, let me give you a simple guide to accomplishing this. Any time you encounter any question, examine it and ask the simple question, “does the answer to this have any bearing on my eternal salvation?” If it truly does, then you should be able to see why it does and if that test proves true, then proceed with the question. If it doesn’t (as I’ve found to be true of most of the questions that preoccupy active, inactive, former, and non-members alike), then it’s not worth your time and the answer to the question is really unimportant. Is it really worth it to let a question that has nothing at all to do with your eternal salvation destroy all that actually does have to do with your eternal salvation?
    Answer number three: you seem to have greatly misunderstood the role Elder Ballard plays as an apostle. In fact, it’s pretty clear you have greatly misunderstood the role of apostles and prophets, period. As per your own words, “Elder Ballard, if you have the answers, why are you not providing them?” and “your message is clear Elder Ballard. You have the answers, you just
    don’t think it is important to share them… If you honestly had the ability to
    bring divine counsel and apostolic clarity to this mess and did not, you
    have failed in your calling and failed in saving souls you could have
    saved.” You seem to be under the misguided understanding that it’s somehow his job to ensure your salvation or to give you all the answers to your questions. You even complain, “Why are you willing to provide them to this man but not me?” somehow forgetting what you wrote only the paragraph before when you described how Elder Ballard didn’t actually give any answers but directed the other person referenced to read the Book of Mormon. So, again, let’s take you back to Sunday School and give you some scriptures you ought to have read and ought to know by now. First off, touching Elder Ballard’s responsibility for your soul, let’s look at Helaman 14:30 “And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.” and 2 Nephi 2:27 “…And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator or all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil…” Now, maybe I just missed it, but where in any of that is there any caveat where someone else has responsibility for your salvation? No, buddy, that’s all up to you. Next, touching on his responsibility, or anyone’s responsibility to give you your answers or do any of the work for you at all, let’s turn to D&C 58:26 “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.” Really, you should read all the way through verse 29, but I’ll leave that up to you to do. I doubt you will though because your slothfulness is clearly evident in your whining, blaming open letter. The prophet and apostles are there to direct the affairs of the church, ensure correct doctrine is being taught and act as special witnesses of Jesus Christ to the whole world; what in the world makes you think they somehow owe you answers for all your questions? Their job isn’t to answer everything, or really anything at all for you, but to point you, and all members, in the right direction and let you start walking (which is exactly what was done with the counsel to read the Book of Mormon). So maybe stop expecting them to carry you and get up off your whiny lazy butt and do the work necessary to get the answers yourself from the right sources and in the right ways. You think anybody at all just gave answers, understanding, or a testimony to Elder Ballard (and I can guarantee you he’s had his share of questions too, we all do)? No, he was just man enough to not quit and to keep pushing until he got all the answers he needed and made the growth he needed to, one line at a time. You want to come here and post an open letter to get the support of people you don’t know to make you feel better about your choice to leave the church, which choice you know deep down inside is wrong. You’re seeking justification from outside sources for the lifestyle that YOU HAVE CHOSEN. And you know what, there are a lot of people here who will give you a pat on the back and say “there there, poor you, I’m so sorry for you” and they’ll massage your pride and make you think they are the ones who really understand and care for you and you will have your reward. It’s an extremely short-sighted and misguided reward, but if that’s what you want, it’s your choice. Just let it be really crystal clear here, that your imagined predicament is not Elder Ballard’s fault, it’s yours. Even if Elder Ballard gave you answers to all your questions, it would do you no good and you’d soon come up with a whole new list of questions that just HAVE to be answered and have nothing at all to do with your actual eternal salvation. Any of his answers given to you would be worthless because the only answers that really stick and really help us to progress are the ones work to earn and we get for ourselves from the Spirit. You just have to be willing to not be a quitter and do the hard work for the answers we need, no matter how hard that work might be, or how long it takes. It’s all really up to you; always has been.

    ps – I find it telling and somewhat sad the figure you have chosen as your avatar here. It seems pretty clear that you stand by his stance that he was excommunicated unjustly. Bro, whether he squirted inside the women or pulled out, it’s still adultery. I sure as crap hope you don’t need anybody explaining that to you. I’d love to hear you try to explain to your wife that it’s okay for you to have sex with other women because you pull out in time.

    • Candid Camera

      Just wow… this is truely the douchiest thing I’ve ever read

      • Something Is Wrong

        I’m sorry, was this a little too bold for you? :`( I’m sure you wanted me to wrap it in marshmallows, rainbows, and unicorn farts for you, but sometimes a little boldness is needed to get a point across. Sometimes people need to be told to man up.

        • Albert Carrington

          Yes, you should man up. Stop defending polygamist teenage marriages. Stop defending lying to your wife about marrying other women. Stop defending criminal acts. Stop defending racism. Where is the manhood in that, my friend?

          • Something Is Wrong

            What in the world are you talking about? Oh boy, you sure got me pegged, I’m tremblingn in my boots now (that’s sarcasm, if you didn’t catch it). Thank you for showing your true colors. I’d say you’re a snake in the grass, but in reality, you’re only a pathetic wannabe. You’re no sincere seeker of truth. What’s next, are you going to call me a poopy head? (no, not that!) One thing about clowns is that they’re always good for a laugh and a bit of fun. Thanks for the entertainment!

          • Albert Carrington

            Joseph married young teenage girls as polygamist wives. He married many women without telling Emma, including a 16 year old. He publicly stated and signed an affidavit in the Times and Seasons saying that he was not practicing polygamy when he was. The reason he was ordered to Carthage was because he destroyed the printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor, which was attempting to reveal some of the troubling things Joseph was doing to the public. Joseph sealed himself to one black woman – not as a wife, but as an eternal servant. Blacks were kept from the temple and priesthood simply for being black.

            I am a sincere seeker of truth. You refuse to understand both sides of the issue. Instead you are resorting to baseless character attacks.

      • Agreed.

    • Something Is Wrong

      Oh, sorry, I forgot one more answer for you.
      Answer four: when seeking to learn how to swim, you need to spend time in the pool, not on the track. Let me explain. You seem to want to approach something that is spiritual in an academic fashion. I don’t doubt, based upon what you have already revealed about yourself and your approach, that you even went in your supposed sobbing and crying out to God in a very academic fashion and expected to get a fax from heaven with references or something of the sort. What you seem to have badly misunderstood is that God doesn’t give academic answers to questions regarding the spiritual. Indeed, as is proclaimed in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, a testimony is a gift of the Spirit. Meaning, it is only given to one from The Spirit. Academic answers never suffice because academic evidence and logic can always be twisted or explained away in some other way. What you might hold as solid academic wisdom or evidence, another academic will argue as hogwash. However, when an answer is truly derived and obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost, and embraced as such, there is no explanation or evidence anybody can ever find that will override it. In matters of the Spirit, answers must come by the Spirit. In matters of academics, answers come academically. Trying to find academically the answers to that which is Spiritual in nature is akin to trying to learn to swim by working on how fast you can run a mile.

      • Albert Carrington

        Wrong. I always relied on spiritual witnesses first. But like I said, revelation makes sense in the mind and in the heart. And when the Spirit starts bearing testimony of conflicting things, or never bears testimony of things that people are telling you are true, what then?

      • Albert Carrington

        Faith gives us a knowledge of things hoped for but not seen. But when we see evidence of our faith being put in something falsely, at what point do we change?

        A Muslim feels spiritual experience in his religion. How is his witness less valid then yours?

        A FLDS girl bears testimony that God told her to become another man’s wife right out of high school. How do you know that that isn’t from God?

        If truth is based on feelings of the Spirit, why is the Spirit sending everyone conflicting messages? If it is Satan, how do you know you aren’t the one being deceived?

      • Albert Carrington

        How about the people who got a witness to this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSUYKE6asjQ&feature=youtu.be

        • Something Is Wrong

          Like I said, you’re freaking hilarious. I don’t know anybody who got a witness to this obviously fake video. Oh man, you’re too much.

          • Albert Carrington

            Of course it is fake. It is edited with this background to illustrate a point. But that is actually Marshall Applewhite, and those are his actual words, which people actually did get a witness that the Heaven’s Gate cult was the way to go. Could you explain that for me please?

          • Something Is Wrong

            You see, there’s a difference between a testimony from The Spirit, and being convinced in one’s mind. If you had ever truly and sincerely sought a testimony, you’d know the difference. Your pressing the issue proves you haven’t. How in the world did you ever serve a mission?

          • Something Is Wrong

            Oh, and feeling an emotion is not the same as feeling The Spirit. Certainly, the Spirit speaks to the heart and the mind, but emotions themselves are not the Spirit. Again, you’d know that if you had any experience with it.

          • Albert Carrington

            You are right, they are different phenomena. I know what you are talking about, because I have experienced it.

          • Something Is Wrong

            If that’s true, it makes me all the more sad for you because it leaves you with no excuse.

          • Albert Carrington

            Sure. It also leaves you without excuse of why you reject the Koran and Warren Jeffs, because people bear solemn testimony of their divinity by a burning in their bosom. Or something else is at play.

          • Albert Carrington
          • Albert Carrington

            I did. I had a spiritual witness to the Book of Mormon. This is the same experience that people in other religions describe about there spiritual experiences. You saying that it is different doesn’t just make it so.

    • Albert Carrington

      Thanks for your thoughts. First things first, I know Albert was a terrible person. I’m not stupid.

      Look, I did the Book of Mormon thing. I thought I was missing the mark. I went back to the basics. But you can’t unsee somethings. That being said, did you know that several prophets said that the Journal of Discourses should be considered scripture and part of the standard works? That changed, of course. Too much weird stuff in there.

      I haven’t sought for things I can’t understand. I can’t understand the atonement. I can’t understand how Moses parted the Red Sea. I don’t have beef with things I can’t understand. I can understand archeology. I can understand honesty. I can understand what the word translate means. My problems with the Church are not with the incomprehensible. They are the things that conflict with the ethics the Church taught me, the doctrine the Church taught me, and provable, trustworthy science.

      I did line upon line. I gave God years and years and years to show me the gospel was true. Does someone have to suspend logical thinking and their moral code their whole lives before God will give them answers? Enos prayed all night and got an answer. Alma was a sinner and fought against the Church and he was visited by an angel. So what’s the deal here?

      It is missionaries job to teach the gospel. Isn’t this the idea of members of the Church being “saviors on mount zion?” If it is in the power of an apostle to address these doctrinal issues (like the Church Handbook of Instructions says it is church leaders responsibility to do), shouldn’t they do it? They offered it to this man? Why not me? I read the Book of Mormon for more than two weeks. I will read it again.

      You accusing me of laziness is very rude. I understand the need to, because if I wasn’t lazy that would demonstrate God doesn’t always answer a sincere prayer. I wasn’t lazy. I would spend hours each day pouring over scriptures. I would give the most desperate prayers of my life. I would ask for blessings. I would talk with Church leaders. I looked everywhere I could for God’s help, and I did not find it in the Church. I am not perfect, but I certainly was not lazy in my search for truth.

      I am not seeking validation. Why do I need it? You are assigning motives to me that don’t exist. In the Church, people call that judging, which is a sin. I understand why you think that about me, but it is just plain wrong. If you are accusing me of pride because I think differently than you, I could say the same to you. Aren’t you a bit prideful assuming you know more than me, or that your intentions are more pure that mine?

      What in the world are you talking about, that I would come up with more questions? If Elder Ballard answered by questions, then great! I could come back to Church. I could have hope and faith again. I could have my normal family relationships back. Life would be much easier for me if the Church is true. Unfortunately, everyone likes to tell me that there are answers and that I am just too prideful for them instead of actually letting me know what the answers are. I guess I am just much of swine for your pearls. But that’s what you get for asking questions, it seems.

      Revelation is taught to come through the mind and the heart. I never received revelation like God described.

      Thanks for you comment, even though it was pretty offensive. I can see myself in you, and I am glad I am no longer in that mindset.

      • Something Is Wrong

        “I read the Book of Mormon for more than two weeks” Man, there are a lot of things that can be said of you, but it can never be said that you didn’t have a sense of humor. Two whole weeks?! Golly, I’m so shocked you didn’t understand it all! Bro, I’ve been studying the Book of Mormon well over 20 years and I still find new understanding every time I read it. You want me to be impressed that you studied it for 2 weeks? Uh, yeah, you’re lazy when you give up after a study for 2 whole weeks. You know, it really doesn’t matter what I say to you because you already have all your excuses ready and you keep repeating them to yourself like some sad kind of mantra. You say in other posts that you are teachable and willing to learn but you reject even considering any words or answers given to you from anyone, instead automatically coming back with your rehearsed retort and excuse. There is so much in your response I could address, but you’re really not worth the time to go line by line with your nonsense.
        Your questions have little, if anything to do with actual doctrine, and even then, I already answered that question. Even the ones that do have something to do with doctrine still have nothing to do with your eternal salvation or applying the Atonement in your life. You know, I have actually found the answers to a lot of your questions but it has been over a period of many years, not two weeks. I have stuck to the process of sticking to the basics and going line upon line, learning very slowly and being willing to let the Lord show me in His own time and I have gotten the answers to the doctrinal questions at the time that I was actually prepared to understand fully. I’m not going to let you cheat and give you those answers. The fact that you have failed to properly build your foundation is all the evidence needed to prove that you would only reject my answers anyway. One of the greatest and least spoken of principles of the gospel is the principle of patience. The funny thing about it is that there’s never any mention of how long you need to be patient for. You have failed that test and your demands for answers before you’ve done all that is needed to acquire them is proof of your laziness, regardless if that hurts your feelings or not. Everything you write is absolutely pathetic and little more than the whinings of a little child who thinks they’re entitled to something they have not yet earned. If that’s offensive, my apologies, but it’s true.

        And while I’m not going to go into details of something so sacred, just for the record, I have received revelation like God described… more than once. One of your greatest problems is that you fail to truly understand the truth that you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith and you, my friend, are currently failing that trial.

        You may also want to revisit the doctrines regarding judging, most church members have that one wrong. Nice try on your attempt to turn my words around on me, pathetic though it was.

        • Albert Carrington

          I said two weeks because that was what Elder Ballard required of the man who came to him with questions. Obviously I read it more than that.

          It is not righteous judgement to assume intent.

          And again, another person bows out rather than attempting to address serious, rational, legitimate questions. Again, if you change your mind, I am open to hearing answers.

          I would rather stand up for what is right than patiently wait for a reason that racism, adultery, and lying are justifiable that will never come. I don’t think your comments have been trying to help me, so I can’t say thanks for helping me. I guess all I can say is thank you for helping prove my point.

          • Something Is Wrong

            No, I have tried to help you, you just refuse to listen. I’m sorry for that. I’m done responding to you, I’ve given you the answer you need, but you are too lazy to do what’s needed and earn your answers (made apparent by your constant demands that they be given to you). When you change yourself, maybe you’ll find your answers. I still have hope for you as long as you hold breath, but your outcome will be one of your own choosing. I just hope at least that much has been made clear for you. If so, that’s enough for now. I wish you the best and sincerely hope you can find it within you to pull up your bootstraps and do the hard work needed to get the answers you claim to seek. You are truly lost and every one of your questions is evidence of looking beyond the mark. I hope you find your way.

          • Albert Carrington

            All of my questions are fundamental to determining the validity of the restoration. I have made every effort to find answers. I have not been lazy. And I definitely am not lost – I finally don’t have to justify things that I was taught in Church were wrong as God’s will if they were done by a prophet. I can finally live a Christ-like life – taking care of the poor, serving those that actually need help, instead of giving tithing to a Church that can use the interest to build a mall, or having endless meetings to talk about more meetings and activities. My life finally has actual meaning, and opportunities to help make the world a better place.

            You didn’t give me answers, unless calling me lazy was an answer. I wasn’t lazy. I have not been lazy in the gospel. I know that for your paradigm to work, I have to have been lazy. But that is not the case. Even if God would call on us to suffer, surely he would at least assure us He is listening? That’s what He did in scripture, no?

            But if God exists, he doesn’t not endorse evil. There was evil in the beginning of this Church. And even though the Church does much good now, it still is based on what I feel are false pretenses. I don’t believe that the God I have experienced and felt would endorse the things that I am required to believe in order to be a Mormon.

            I can be a good, loving person and not be a member of the Church. And you can call me lazy all day long. You can tell me I am prideful and arrogant and foolish. At the end of the day, I can face myself in the mirror and know that I am none of those things. I did my due diligence. I did what I was asked to do. And I followed my conscience. I respect your decision to stay in the Church. But that doesn’t give you license to tell me what I have or haven’t done or have or have not experience. But again, what you think doesn’t matter, because I have a clear conscience, and if I die and face God for judgement, I can absolutely tell Him I did my best and did what I thought was right, even when it was hard.

        • Do you really feel that this is how Christ would have you respond to these individuals?

          • Something Is Wrong

            Sean, maybe you ought to go back an actually read the words of Christ. He was pretty bold and said things that people back then would have found really outrageous and straightforward. He certainly wasn’t the pushover people like to make him out to be today. Different tones and approaches needed for different people and situations, mine was perfectly appropriate for this circumstance.

          • And respectfully, maybe it’s not your place to tell me what I “ought” to do with regard to my relationship with Christ. I simply fail to see how your manner of responding can possibly bring anyone closer to Christ or be in any way strengthening of their faith. My belief regarding Christ is that the ultimate goal of his teaching was to bring people closer to God and strengthen their faith, and I feel your responses are counterintuitive in this regard. That’s pretty much it.

          • Something Is Wrong

            Sean, please don’t misunderstand me, I am in no way telling you how to conduct your relationship with Christ. What I was suggesting was to literally go and re-read the actual words of Christ in the Bible. I’m sure that if you do, you’ll find he was quite bold and said a lot of things that royally pissed off the people of his day; he certainly never pulled any punches with the pharisees. My only point is that Christ was anything but a pushover and if He is the ultimate example, I see no reason why I must be a pushover in His name. Some people respond to a gentle touch and that is the appropriate response to those people. Christ also used gentle language when it was called for, based on who his audience was. However, it’s not really that hard to discern that Albert here, like the pharisees, won’t listen to gentle words, or even any words at all. He has the only acceptable outcome already written in his head and won’t accept anything else; he demands compliance with what he wants and with the outcome that he has decided is the right one. He isn’t looking to come closer to Christ or to strengthen his faith; this is evident from even the most elementary of examinations. He’s kicking and screaming hoping he gets what he wants and placing the blame for his problems and his failure to answer his own questions on an Apostle of the Lord who is completely blameless of anything in this situation. Where he will ignore and completely pass by all the people (including yourself) who try to use this gentle approach, dismissing them out of hand, the shock to the system of a bold, honest response is about the only thing that has a chance of making any impression. Whether it does or not is up to him, just like with the pharisees, and like the pharisees, I don’t anticipate that my words will make him change any more than Christ’s words made them change. But I’m still going to stand and boldly speak the truth; even giving him a clear pattern to follow to get his answers, which is more than I have seen anybody else here do for him. The answers I gave him are the real answers to his questions, what did you give him? I simply find it poorly conceived to use the same tone for all situations and to assume that we’re to remain timid in the face of one who openly mocks and insults the Gospel I love. That’s how I see it, if that’s too much for you to handle, I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m not trying to tell you what to believe, though, I’m simply urging you to re-examine what you think you know about Jesus Christ by looking at his actual words and the context in which He gave them. Which of us would ever fail to benefit from a re-examination of the actual words of Christ or our understanding of the Gospel? I really just don’t understand what you’re getting upset about.

            Note: I find it interesting that you think it’s out of line for me to call Albert out on his nonsense yet you feel it’s totally appropriate to call me out on what you don’t like about me. Interesting indeed.

            If you know the dam a few miles away is breaking and your stubborn neighbor refuses to leave the house, are you going to stand there and say quietly and gently how much you’d really appreciate it if he left the house, or are you going to get in his face, tell him to stop being so stubborn, and get the crap out of there before it’s too late and he’s dead?
            “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
            “Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.” D&C 88:81-82

  • Corbin McMillen

    maybe you needed to read and pray more. meaning that there is a time of testing, right? maybe god wanted to test you for 5 or 20 years, to see if you would do his will and not yours. just my opinion.
    i read this a lot from people who leave the church, they say they did everything they were taught to do. but we are taught to endure and long suffer, which can take years or decades.
    just wondering if you quit before a certain test was over, knowledge be damned.

    • Corbin McMillen

      if you are not willing to suffer for a very very long time, then nothing in the church will satisfy you.
      only a total and complete willingness to suffer for a whole lifetime will keep you in the church. because doubts, ignorance, finger pointing, persecution, sin, weakness, evil, sickness, tiredness, these things will never stop in the life of a saint. so falling away will happen, because the ‘test’ never stops.

      maybe be willing to rethink your assumptions on how QUICKLY you should get answers to your questions.

      • Albert Carrington

        Corbin, thanks for your thoughts. I believed this, and this is what got me through most days. But as I learned more and more about the problems with the church – the lies, the crime, the contradictions – it became more apparent to me that it was enabling and in a way endorsing this behavior. God would not allow these things. God isn’t racist. God does not encourage adultery. God does not work in secret. God is not the author of confusion. I believe God would rather I took a stand against those things that are wrong by leaving the Church than just saying to myself “I don’t know, but I have to be okay with it.” I mean, that same logic of it is true because you have to suffer could be said of all sorts of terrible systems of belief. Just because it is hard, doesn’t make it true.

        • Maria

          Albert, I support you fully.

          The truth of the matter is this: Defenders of the faith have already decided the answer they are willing to accept. The church is true. They will bend anything and everything to line up with that answer. When things don’t line up, it’s a test and should be taken by faith, or we aren’t supposed to understand it here on earth, or it’s your pride standing in the way, or you’re not being sincere, or whatever else canned answer we’ve seen in the comments here.

          But when you step back, and open your mind to the possibility that the church maybe, possibly ISN’T true, then everything falls into place quickly, easily and cleanly. Smith wasn’t a prophet. He lied. He made stuff up. It’s so easy to see it’s as if someone has written it in the sky.

          It no longer bothers me that people brush my questions off by doubting my intent, my devotion, my character, my faithfulness. That’s all THEIR problem. I am full and complete in my understanding that the church is not true and it’s all made up. IDGAF what people think about me, because I’m not the one with the burden of proof here. I can EASILY show how the church’s history claims are super false (anachronisms in the BoM are abundant.) We know that the BoA is a big, fat forgery. There are so many troublesome doctrines over the years. Smith was a big old liar and a fraud. History shows us that. Considering that 99% of the world’s population never was and never will be a Mormon- it’s pretty easy to step back and go, “OH. It’s all fake!” Once you accept the possibility that maybe, JUST MAYBE, the truth isn’t true, it all quickly becomes crystal clear.

          But there are those that will defend the church until their dying breath and that’s fine. Their identity is wrapped up in it. Their families, their lives, their everything is steeped in the church and so they can’t even consider the possibility that they have been lied to. Some people can’t face it simply because if they did the math and realized how much money they had given to a false church over the years they would break down and cry!

          Maybe some day I will sit in spirit prison and find out I am wrong, but I’m literally willing to bet my eternal spirit on it because I’m that sure that I’m not. And, even if I am, a friend lent her recommend to me and I went through the temple just for kicks, so I know the handshakes and passwords. Maybe I’ll get lucky and catch an angel on a bad day and they won’t notice that I’m not supposed to be there. 🙂

  • robbiebridgstock

    Why is it that so many
    practicing Mormons who have commented here, pretty much assume that the person
    writing this letter to Ballard has either not tried hard enough, prayed enough,
    studied correctly, or not understood the real value of the gospel?….. It
    is part of an indoctrination which has engrained the false idea (via GA’s,
    scripture, magazines, talks, lessons and family) that ANYONE and
    EVERYONE deciding the church is NOT true, or not for them, is either:
    in sin, neglectful, rebellious, thought corrupted or too prideful — or all of
    them together! I spent over 40 years in the Church – always temple worthy
    and holding callings, including bishop and branch president. Almost 40 years
    without computers, yet still no one could answer my questions? Did I read the
    scriptures? (repeatedly) Did I pray, cry and plead? (you have no idea!) Did I
    fast and place my soul in God? Yes. After a lifetime of being ‘in,’ I am now
    ‘out.’ And before anyone suggests I am missing something or have ‘lost the
    spirit,’ let me say, I remember and have locked into my soul all the emotions and
    reasons for my testimony… contrary to LDS teaching: NOTHING is lost… all is
    retained as a solid memory, which has enabled me to make a balanced judgment as
    I began to see the contrast between truth and error within me and within the
    Church. It has been 9 years since I was a member and not for ‘one second’ have
    I had a single regret. Life remains wonderful and the terrible ‘misery’
    promised by my stake president, has strangely alluded me.

    • Albert Carrington

      Amen, brother.

    • Justin

      I think it’s funny. Those of us who have left generally know a LOT more about the church than almost every member out there and yet WE are the ones who apparently haven’t studied hard enough. I spent 5 months trying as hard as I could to hold onto the church and to regain my testimony. But the more I learned the more impossible that became. There was no amount of scripture reading or praying that could resolve the issues (but I still tried both of those like crazy).

      • John Fesola’i

        Bahahahaha good story buddy. Keep telling yourself that. I’d mop the floor with you in doctrinal understanding. You only think you know more, as if the Gospel is built around the questions you entertain. I would love to speak to you to see what you truly know. Skype?

        • Charlene

          “I’d mop the floor with you in doctrinal understanding.” Are you serious? You claim to understand the doctrine and in the same breath spout off that you are so full of doctrine that you could use one of Heavenly Father’s children as a mop? Sounds like an oxymoron of the worst kind to me. Instead of being so full of yourself because you can quote scripture, page, and verse, you might want to take some time re-learning the humility Christ possessed when He walked on this earth and taught. People, good people struggle all the time. Some parts of our Church history have been whitewashed. Case in point, I really don’t buy the fact that “pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked.” I believe they sometimes cried and complained and asked, “Are we there yet?” Some members of this Church are very interesting in wanting to come across as somehow perfect when all around them are struggling. Collectively and individually, none of us is perfect and won’t even come close to the perfection we desperately seek until sometime after the resurrection. My heart breaks as I see so many people walk away from the Church. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true. The Church is simply the vessel through which the gospel is taught. Our leaders are not perfect; they make mistakes. Do they admit them? They should. But that isn’t for me to judge. I, too, have had my problems with the Church,
          particularly members who vigorously boast of themselves. But I know the gospel is true. I know that somewhere in the eternities all of these issues will be resolved. Justin and robbiebridgestock, I wish you God speed in all your endeavors. Please know that you will be sorely missed by people who have never even met you. And if there comes a day when you decide to come back, I pray that no one will challenge you to a floor mopping contest.

          • Justin

            Thank you for a kind and Christ-like response. While I personally disagree with the truthfulness of the LDS church and Christianity based on what I know, I have to commend you for at least having integrity and living what you believe, as well as understanding that many of us have real sincere issues with the church – not just anger or a desire to sin. It seems rare that Christians act very Christ-like.

          • John Fesola’i

            Idle threats, small understanding. What? That’s all you Guys got. I’ll be using this as an example of what not to be.

        • Justin

          You seem quite confident without knowing anything about me or my doctrinal understanding. You’ve come to a conclusion based on no evidence. I suppose this is typical of religious folk, but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the ability to have a reasonable discussion. I’ve wasted far too much time trying to talk to people who don’t know how to communicate or think logically and based on this and several other comments of yours, I suspect any discussion would be a waste of time.

          • John Fesola’i

            You guys all talk in circles, I ask you show me what you got doctrinal, academic, spiritual. Nothing. Go to bed.

          • Justin

            Question: Is your goal by insulting, demeaning and ridiculing to bring people back to church / Christ or whatever? Is your goal to boast or somehow make yourself feel better? Do you have a goal to one day be like Christ or get to some heaven? What exactly are you trying to accomplish by trolling and being rude?

            I am more than happy to have constructive discussion, but I refuse to engage trolling and thus you will likely get the final word and it’s probably going to be very unkind. I don’t really care, I’m just curious what you are actually accomplishing or what personal need you are fulfilling by it? You seem to only be a follower of Christ in word, not in deed.

          • John Fesola’i

            I don’t feel I’ve been rude.

            I simply talk straight, big difference in my opinion.

            I think it odd you call me rude and make no mention of your own or your friends here and their conduct, except for I started it, a very clear arrogant lie.

            I don’t think your idea of what constitutes a constructive discussion is what I would consider one too, so you don’t have anything I feel you can teach me. As in there’s nothing of value you can teach me about my church, whether you call it constrictive or not. I’m good mate, I study this stuff out relentlessly.

            You guys are very quick to point the finger at me and talk each other up, In my opinion, and that’s ok. Like I said, I’ll let those who I work with, read the dialogues and they will see for themselves, my manner of speaking and all you collectively. I guess than my goal is to show them all things posted here and they will come to their own conclusion about how these so called truth seekers behave and reason.

          • Tori Hamblin

            John. In no way have you been anything but rude. Politeness is the process of considering how your actions will impact others and taking pains to only cause pain, or demand attention if there is a genuine need to.

            Your posts have been empty, hundred of words signifying nothing but your pride in yourself and your faith. You claim academic prowess, and doctrinal chops. I offer a small test. I make a simple factual claim here. Can you actually provide a single academic(not theological, or random website) source to counter this view?

            The existing genetic evidence indicates that modern Native Americans have absolutely zero pre-Colombian descent from the Hebrews. Instead they indicate that they are descendants of north Asian migrants who seem to have crossed the Bering land bridge around 8,000 BCE. This is very strong evidence that no sizable civilization descending from the Jewish People existed in the Americas, and thus a large portion of the Book Of Mormon’s narrative, which depends on a large Jewish population descended from Nephi, is false.

            If you really like I can dig up a proper bibliography, but you’d need to show come capability in scholarship before I invest any more time in this.

          • Adam Sorensen

            John,
            As you’ve boasted that you’re well educated in the doctrine here’s a few things to consider.

            Jesus in the book of Mormon clearly spells out his doctrine in 3 Nephi 11: 31-39.

            After declaring his doctrine, he says:

            40 And WHOSO SHALL DECLARE MORE OF LESS THAN THIS, AND ESTABLISH IT FOR MY DOCTRINE, THE SAME COMETH OF EVIL, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

            Is there any mention of work for the dead, sealings, anointings, and endowments in Christ’s doctrine? No.

            Why? Because they are NOT part of his doctrine.

            Are temple rituals and ordinances more than the doctrine that Jesus set forth? Yes. Did Jesus not make it clear than anything more than the doctrine he set forth “cometh of evil”?

            When Jesus ministered among the Jews in Jerusalem, and when he ministered among the Nephites, he never tells the people to build temples or do any temple work. Why? Because:

            3 Nephi 12:47
            47 Old things are done away, and all things have become new.

            When Jesus finished his work the veil in the temple was rent.

            Matthew 27:51
            51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

            No longer was the law of Moses and associated temple rituals needed. Old things were done away!

            If you’re a follower of Christ surely you’d want to cling tight to the iron rod or word of God as Christ set forth. Right?

            So tell me John, how can the so-called “prophets, seers and revelators,” of the LDS faith be true prophets and at the same time deny Christ’s doctrine as he set forth?

            And while you’re at it, tell me how your leaders can approve of the baptism of little children, when Mormon says that those that baptize little children are “in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity.”

            Moroni 8
            14
            Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need
            baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for
            he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut
            off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

          • John Fesola’i

            Look how desperate you all are. As if you share for what purpose?

          • Alexis Carre

            temple work already existed in the past you’re right. You find that in the old Testament. the NT talks about sealings on Earth. It does talk about baptisms for the dead. and actually the verse you quoted “WHOSO SHALL DECLARE MORE OF LESS THAN THIS, AND ESTABLISH IT FOR MY DOCTRINE, THE SAME COMETH OF EVIL”, appears both in the Old AND New Testament. Do you think that we’ll reject everything that happens after Moses just because he said that we shouldn’t add more to his words? Remember that it’s actually God talking, and I think He can do whatever he wants, right? We’re not the ones to say “well, God, sorry, you can’t add more stuff to your words..”

            You’re interpreting the scriptures your way when you say that because the temple was torn apart, it means we don’t need temples anymore. I don’t know how you jump to that conclusion…

            There’s a difference between “children” and “little children”. I agree that it’s not very clear when you read this, and thankfully, we believe in modern revelation, which clearly indicates that 8 years old is the determined age of when a child becomes accountable for his actions.
            We believe that to come from God => revelation through a Prophet. So I mean, once again it’s still all about belief, and I believe in that.

          • Adam Sorensen

            Alexis,
            The temple rituals that existed before Jesus were nothing like the ones the Joseph Smith introduced. The ones Joseph introduced came from the Masons and are NOT of God.

            First, God does NOT work in secret.

            Ether 8
            19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations..

            2 Nephi 26
            23 I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness..

            Isaiah 48
            16 ¶Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

            All of God’s saving ordinances are given openly and freely to all God’s children. He does NOT have any “secret” saving ordinances.

            And what is the ONE ordinance that saves? Baptism

            Mormon 9:23
            23 And he that believeth and is baptized SHALL BE SAVED, but he that believeth not shall be damned;

            3 Nephi 11:33
            33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same SHALL BE SAVED; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

            Moroni 7:34
            34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye MAY BE SAVED.

            Is there any mention of sealings, washings, anointings, endowments, work for the dead to be saved? No. The scriptures are clear that if you believe, repent and be baptized you are saved.

            So if you can be saved with baptism are you “more” saved with secret temple rituals? Isn’t this the very thing that Jesus is warning against when he says “WHOSO SHALL DECLARE MORE OF LESS THAN THIS, AND ESTABLISH IT FOR MY DOCTRINE, THE SAME COMETH OF EVIL”,

            The secret temple rituals that occur in Mormon temples are MORE than the doctrine Christ set forth, therefore I know they “cometh of evil.”

            They require you to swear and make secret oaths which the Book of Mormon has clearly condemned.

            3 Nephi 12
            34 But verily, verily, I say unto you, SWEAR NOT AT ALL; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
            35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
            36 NEITHER SHALT THOU SWEAR BY THY HEAD, because thou canst not make one hair black or white;
            37 But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.

            James 5:12
            12 But above all things, my brethren, SWEAR NOT, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, NEITHER BY ANY OTHER OATH: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

            Swearing secrecy is a common practice in Mormon temples. Clearly against the doctrines set forth by Christ.

            If you consider the ordinance of baptism, you’ll recognize that you do not swear or make an oath. When Jesus came to the Nephites he taught them how to correctly do baptisms. Here are the requirements he set forth.

            3 Nephi 11
            23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.

            “whoso repenteth” and “desireth to be baptized” are the only requirements.

            No swearing and no oaths.

            Where do secret oaths and covenants come from? Satan.

            Helaman 626 Now behold, those SECRET OATHS AND COVENANTS did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit—

          • Alexis Carre

            Interesting.
            There’s a big difference between something kept secret and something kept sacred. All mormons actually hope that everyone will make it to the temple, and therefore know about all the things that happen there. So, yeah, the goal is to keep sacred things which are supposed to be sacred 🙂
            Baptism doesn’t save us. Being baptized doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be saved (according to Mormons). But it is required to enter the Kingdom of God. So, if you love your neighbor as thyself and as Christ taught, won’t you want to serve others and help them obtain salvation, by being baptized for those who couldn’t or who knew not?
            The swearing part.. I believe that to come back to one of the 10 commandments, given to Moses, thou shalt not use the name of God in vain. No saying stuff like OMG, etc… The BoM and Bible are full of convenants made between God and man. Why would that stop?
            Are you assuming that God or Christ cannot add more to his word? he said basically “you, imperfect being, don’t add more to my word and say it is my doctrine” (short summary of that verse).
            But of course, He can, right?!! I mean, God can do it 🙂 and how would he do that? well, through his servants, the prophets. Why do you believe more the prophets from the old time than the more modern ones?

          • Adam Sorensen

            Alexis,

            You asked: Why do you believe more the prophets from the old time than the more modern ones?

            I believe in true prophets. Prophets that actually prophesy. Prophets that know the mysteries of God. Prophets that uphold Christ’s doctrine as he has plainly set forth.

            One of the keys of a true prophet is they will understand, with plainess, the words of Isaiah.

            2 Nephi 25:4
            4 Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless THEY ARE PLAIN UNTO ALL THOSE THAT ARE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.

            Jesus made it clear to the Nephites that “old prophets” are critical to understanding God and how he works with his children. When Jesus visited the Nephites he said:

            3 Nephi 23:1
            1 And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

            All true prophets will understand with plainess the words of Isaiah because they are filled with the spirit of prophecy.

            False prophets seldom if ever talk about Isaiah, because they don’t have the spirit of prophecy and can’t understand it.

          • Alexis Carre

            Great! You definitely need the Spirit of God to understand Isaiah’s words, because they are so complex and full of illustrations/symbols.

            So you’re saying if I understand correctly that you believe in true prophets because you saw that what they prophesied actually happened?!

            kinda like Thomas, not believing people that said that Christ resurrected until he actually saw Christ..
            well, I’m glad that some people in Jesus’s time believed in Him, even though it may have seemed to them that he was bringing something completely new!! but again, a majority of people were against Christ and even crucified Him. Wasn’t He the son of God ? Well even then he wasn’t recognized as being the Son of God.

            I understand that it’s hard to believe in Prophets today. But there are true prophets today, just like in the old days.

          • artmarc

            Just a side note: The rites in the Temple of Solomon, and indeed all of ancient Israel were based in blood sacrifice of animals or coin (alms) payments. The nature and text of all these are far different from modern temples. The ordinances of the modern temple bear strong resemblance to Masonic rites – particularly pre 1990 when the penalties matched the Masonic penalties and the token still match the Masonic tokens (The Masons removed their penalty signs in 1986). This is not surprise. Check the volumes of the history of the Church and you will find that Joseph became a Mason of the supreme order years before the LDS temple endowment was constructed. So in these matters, the modern temple is like and dislike the ancient one.

          • Alexis Carre

            yes, you’re right, our temple ordinances are very similar to the masons, but hey, we have a lot in common with other organizations/religions as well 🙂 You could point out that we believe in the Divinity like the Jehovah Witnesses (unlike Catholics => Trinity), baptism by immersion like the Baptists, and so on…

          • Brent

            Justin,

            While I disagree entirely with the demeanor many display on here in response to your summary dismissal of their beliefs and your old beliefs, I find it entirely ironic that you wish to hold others to a set of response / morals that you have disavowed. It seems the rules, as usual, only apply to those that believe, rather than to the whole.

            I do not have a problem whatsoever in your resolve to leave the church. Do what you want. If what I believe to be correct, we are all going to have to answer at some point for every choice we make. We also cannot expect everything to be perfect, or even to have a perfect understanding of a thing, considering we view things in the finite and not infinite.

            However, if there IS no God, or Christ…then these discussions are entirely pointless. It also does not matter whether or not I treat you with civility, or that you respond to me civilly, as there are no consequences other than immediate. Personally I do not care about your feelings, and no one else is obligated to either.

            In many respects I would prefer we would all adopt Darwinism. That would make things a whole lot easier. I could simply kill you to get what I want, without fear of consequence. But you want rationality. Rationality, much like religion, is a manmade construct. It is designed to keep the physically weak, and weak minded fools safe from those of us that have zero interest in making you feel good. Might makes right. 🙂

            I bring this up not because I believe it, but because rationally you have nowhere else to go. The next stop, I assume, is Buddhism, where you find acceptance in everything and nothing, all at the same time.

            This article is a direct attack on a man that is not even 1% responsible for the authors decisions to abandon faith, hurt loved ones…all in some elusive search for the “truth”: a thing that historically is most certainly subjective and rarely accurate.

            If we are to rely upon the veracity of any historical document as 100% truthful, I would find Paganism to be the most attractive. Volcanoes erupted because the Gods were displeased. I know this happened. Livy said so! Pick ANY religion, and you will find so many holes it isnt funny.

            Is this because accounts arent true? Could they have been embellished, as all men are want to do? Most certainly. Even prophets lie.

            However, does this then make the doctrine false? Could be. Could mean a number of things. I can tell you have done “some” homework. The amount is relative to the individual’s ability to consume information, digest it, and deploy it. But I can guarantee you haven’t read it all, prayed about it all, or even come close to having the kind of faith we all should be working on obtaining: becoming like Christ. I know I certainly haven’t. But just because I have not reached it, does not mean things are not true. According to Smith, we are at the beginning of the restoration. This would imply there are many things not yet known or revealed. This, by itself, doesnt imply that since there are holes, all must be untrue.

            The list of questions asserts that unless all can be answered satisfactorily, then all must be false. This is an incredible leap in logic, and based entirely on the premise that men can do no wrong, especially as a prophet. It places the believer in the list in an all or nothing proposition.

            I find it incredibly ironic that a number of highly educated, and supposedly intelligent people, will so easily believe all other “historically accurate” versions that question or bring up “new” evidence, but will not question the source of said evidence, the accuracy of it, or the truthfulness of it. Instead it must be true, and therefore the other “truths” are now “lies”. This can be said about a number of things…forgetting that perspective of a thing does not make it true or untrue, just perspective. I am quite certain that if we were to read the letters and correspondence of the Gauls, we would find their take on events to be quite different than that of Caesars. Both, though, could be true. Or they could all be wrong. Events, though, do not dictate everything either.

            There is no question in my mind that Joseph Smith was a prophet. There is also no question in my mind that he was far from perfect, and made plenty, plenty of mistakes. He, like me, had several things to learn, and progress to be made…same as each of us. Do his errors then invalidate the work? Could be…but then that leaves the question of which ones…

            I also have no question that Christ is the Son of God. Joseph Smith is an easy target to discredit. Christ is even easier: we have NO writings from him. All we have are a handful of witnesses, whose own accounts differ. We also have the testimony of Saul (Paul) who was a murderer. How can we give any credit to a man so cloaked in shame?

            We further have the judgment of the Sanhedrin. Christ was found guilty of blasphemy, being a Roman sympathizer, and a number of other crimes which collectively made him guilty: with crucifixion being the justifiable sentence. Son of God? Please.

            And dont get me started on the Bible.

            Religion, as a whole, is silly. However, I do not know what I know based upon massive amounts of research, personal study…etc although there are been YEARS. I know what I know from humble prayer. The formula is simple. The answers though, ARE NOT.

            I read on here bishops, ex members all touting their callings as the “i’ve risen high so I must know more” logic to validate their own intelligence. My hat is off to them. Bishop. Wow. I caught a bishop once committing adultery with the relief society president in the bishop’s office. Families were destroyed, people left the church…God stopped existing…and dinosaurs inherited the earth. You know, cause they knew better.

            We all make these massive leaps in logic, every bit of it emotionally based, and then use logic to back up the choice we made…kinda like Elder Ballard damaging the authors family. Really.

          • Justin

            Wow! Ok, you left me with a lot to respond to and I really don’t have the time, but I’ll do what can.

            To start with, you said that I “wish to hold others to a set of response / morals that [I] have disavowed”. This is simply not true. I have not disavowed integrity or morality – just religion. Which leads to my next point.

            You seem to indicate that without God / religion there is no morality. This is also not true. Our sense of morality is entirely personal and subjective. It is based on self-centered desires combined with empathy and compassion. To illustrate, none of us want to die and because we have the ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes, so to speak, we then determine that it is morally wrong to kill. Empathy and compassion drive our inner sense to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” There are many such strong personal desires we have (such as not dying) that we share in common with most members of society which become law and religious tenets. There are other, more trivial ones which vary from person to person which become a part of our own personal sense of morality, but may not be shared with society. This is where our varying perceptions of what is acceptable with regard to how to treat others comes from.

            There are also a lot of problems in your approach to religion and belief. So far as I can tell, you are effectively arguing that logic / knowledge doesn’t exist and arguing against science. The fact is, for a claim to be worth consideration there must be at least some rational basis to believe it. If not so, then I can claim Santa Clause is real or there’s a teapot orbiting Mars and that’s just as true and believable. In reality there is no rational basis for belief in the LDS church:

            – There is no archaeological, biological or historical evidence to corroborate a single story or event in it.

            – The “spirit” is an invalid way of knowing anything as it is really just our own confirmation bias and attribution bias at play. See this video for a great explanation of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA

            – There are many historical events which disprove Joseph as a prophet and many things which are contrary to things we know which give great cause to doubt him.

            – The events of Joseph’s life and church history look very very shady and look a lot more like a con man trying to cover his tracks than a legitimate prophet.

            For a person who knows about all of these things, it requires a lot of dedication and ability to look beyond reason to still believe. Which reminds me. You accused me / us evil ex-Mormons of not questioning the source, accuracy or truthfulness of evidence. Just so you know, I have been nothing but rigorous in doing exactly that. In fact, if you want to go down that road you might find it interesting to look at the source, accuracy and truthfulness of countless stories in Church manuals. I’ve been nothing but shocked as I’ve dug into those and discovered just how shaky of ground so many faith promoting stories are on. The church and its members are so quick to share and believe these stories without verifying the veracity of them.

            For a final thought, I’m curious what you think of this: https://www.thetapirsmouth.com/book-of-mormon-translation/

          • Brent

            The point I was making, and which you argued against yet validated in one swoop, is this notion that there IS such a thing as morality beyond what we have collectively assigned it as a species. There are so many ridiculous holes in this modern perception that it boggles my mind that people fall into this trap.

            There is this common modern notion that all that is good came from man, and that God does not exist. I further maintain that if this is true, and there is no life hereafter or a higher power to answer to, as is suggested by such notions as the god center, that morality, being s human construct is, and, as you put it, subjective, I can create any moral equivalent I choose without regard to how you feel about it. To protect myself I then either need to convince others to believe the way I believe, or I force them to believe what I believe.

            You seem to think that goodness and compassion rule and govern. I would suggest you open a history book or two and you will find the human condition to be completely the opposite, and without the other human construct of religion (why man would ever bother to create religion is beyond me, considering power using pain to be the easiest and most alluring emotion we have, fear, not compassion…)

            You further claim that my experiences and those of thousands of other whether Christian or otherwise have never felt the spirit, and that this also is a product of our minds. Simply because you happen to believe this does not make it factual, anymore than science is infallible. Science, also a human construct, ignores what it cannot explain, or creates best guesses to explain things in a manner that also coincides with the beliefs and prejudices of the scientist. Again, being made by man, we must also assume there exist the corresponding vices and lusts that all others are subjected to.

            Now, if none of this matters, and there is no life hereafter, or higher power, then sin is also a man made notion, to keep us in check using fear to keep us from becoming our true selves. Fear of a punishment, endless, engrained in all of us from our youth, brainwashed us into thinking we needed to be nice, kind, loving, or even care one bit about how someone else feels, or whether we steal from them, or hurt them physically.

            Now I have been in places where men are animals. They have given in to their real, baser selves. They are without souls, without compassion, and without mercy. They hand guns to children and tell them to shoot their parents or die. Might, makes right.

            This is not a new concept. Read The Prince. You seem to think that all these new Ways of thinking or new evidences are actually “new”. Nope, just repackaged in a new marketing spin. Man is no wiser individually now than he was 5000 years ago. We have simply perfected the way we kill each other, and we have cooler toys. Vices and virtues? The same.

            Assuming there really IS such a thing. We do live in an age or moral relativism. This is also not a new concept.

            The Aztec morality included human sacrifice simply to assure the sun coming up each day. Romans had gladiators for entertainment, public orgies and really nifty cool places to vomit…but in previous times such behavior would have resulted in crucifixion. Crassus had 1000’s executed in one day for celebrating the rites of Baccus…and yet during the waning part of the empire we have examples of such grotesque behavior that it makes one wonder how they could have fallen so far. So yes, morality is all relative, especially if there is no God. Who is to decide what is right, just, or moral? You? Me? The voters? Hahaha. Please.

            But it is well within your prerogative to consider that what I think or believe is completely out of whack, and that this somehow makes me less educated, well read, or informed…or even as experienced…as you. Certainly my spiritual experiences didn’t occur, and I am either insane, or a complete liar. Now based on relativism, I don’t see that your education or experience is all that valuable, especially in light of the fact that you can so easily dismiss mine, in favor of your more enlightened position.

            So we are left with two options. Either you are a liar or I am, or we both are. And if you are right and there is no God, there really is no such thing as a lie, other than what we have defined things to be lies…in which case it is only a lie if it is proven to be unbelievable; however with all things being relative, if I believe a thing to be true, it is no longer unbelievable, it is simply unbelievable by the majority, but it is not untrue because at least one person believes it, and that it me. Therefore to me it is true, regardless of immediate consequence, with there being no concern for a nonexistent hereafter.

            Therefore tomorrow I will identify as a woman, and next week as an endangered species so I can get me some free government money in the form of grant to protect my own habitat. And there is nothing at all wrong with this, as there really is no such thing as right or wrong, only what we perceive in this generation as right or wrong, which is subject to change with the next election.

          • Justin

            Ok, you just made up a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make any sense but mixed some truth in with it. You seem to indicate that it is unfathomable that consciousness can exist without another consciousness to dictate morality. Where does that being’s morality come from then?

            Let’s be perfectly clear. Absolute morality does not exist. Morality is personal or subjective. When a group of people live together (society) they take the parts of their personal morality that they agree on and enshrine it in law. If you want to be a part of that society, then you live by its moral code. That’s it! That’s morality. Nothing crazy or unfathomable about it. If we were all psychopaths incapable of putting ourselves in another’s shoes mentally, then morality would not exist. ’nuff said.

            Did you actually watch that video? Who are you to deny the “spiritual” experiences of those other people who’s beliefs contradict your own? How dare you claim that your good feelings are from God and theirs are not. When it comes to mutually exclusive beliefs, only one at most can be true. So which is it? If the God you believe in wants to save most of humanity and has been communicating with people throughout time then we should be looking for a religion with more people. Active Mormons make up less than 0.1% of the Earth’s current population and even less throughout history. How is a person to determine which religions feelings are the right ones from God? Of course, it doesn’t actually make sense that God would speak through such an ambiguous mechanism, inconsistently and contradictorily. The reality is that it is simply a shared human experience that anyone can feel about anything they believe in and want to be true.

            And finally, you claim that it makes no sense that mankind would make up God or religion. In reality it makes perfect sense. We can comprehend our own mortality and the thing we fear most is losing it. In the face of a lack of knowledge or understanding about our state, our history and the universe people were left to simply make up ideas and share them. They probably started as just stories or nice ideas but sooner or later, some people started believing them and the ideas spread. That’s all. It makes perfect sense.

          • Brent

            well sure! But I can tell from your post that your experience with the human condition is based entirely on book learning, and not on actual experience.

            And I never, not once, ever claimed that no one but Mormons could have spiritual experiences. Coincidentally, that is also not church doctrine either, a thing someone who claims to have read as much as yourself should well know.

            Also, if you understood the restoration, you would also know we do not claim to be the sole possessor of truth, or that only “Mormons” go to heaven or anything of the sort.

            Your narrative makes complete sense in that all morals are relative, especially if there is no God. That you do not understand your own circular logic that you insist on deploying and that I further utilized is no shock that you did not follow it.

            Let us stick with the man made notion, and that society dictates these morals. I gave you two, very precise reasons as to what occurs when society makes its own rules. And we cannot say that what they did was wrong, using today’s moral standards as yesterday’s. Therefore, slavery was a moral good, by your definition, just as much as it was a moral good to kill millions of Jews in gas chambers. Our society imposed its moral values on the South, imposed its moral values on Germany. This is classic might makes right. I supposed we should apologize?

            Those are extreme examples. However, let’s look at multiple other occurrences in history where the “right” was wrong from a modern ethical and moral standard.

            Caesar, upon hearing of a Celtic revolt, put to death 50,000 men women and children in a local town. This was to set an example that a revolt against Rome would not be tolerated. Today we would consider this to be a war crime. But to the Romans, this was heralded as a good thing and a public victory. So it therefore was a good thing. Society had spoken.

            When I was in Haiti, deployed there, we saved a woman being publically raped. I suppose we should not have stepped in and risked our own lives to stop it, since no one else that lived there was doing a thing. They just walked on by, like this is common, why get involved, it’s okay. We were even told so. Well, I should go back in time and stop myself from cracking s few heads. Society had spoken. That was their morality.

            And you naively believe people are GOOD??? On what planet?? Do you lock your car doors, or leave the keys in the ignition and simply go about your day…

            Fear of death is not what drives people. It is fear of punishment after death that does, a purely religious notion. I’ve seen enough to know the difference.

          • Justin

            I never claimed that you said only Mormons could have spiritual experiences. I simply shared a video that demonstrates actual real world contradictory spiritual experiences and asked how you resolve that.

            I have no idea what “circular logic” you claim I am using. You’ll have to point it out before I can address it.

            I never used the word “good” at any point. There is no “good” or “bad” per se. I suppose you could call it good when we have integrity and live according to our morality, but I don’t see the value in putting the labels on it.

            As for your examples, we can only judge from our own moral standpoint really. Who’s to say that’s bad? And when we get involved in other’s affairs, it’s because our own morality dictates that we must. Again, this stems from our own human ability for empathy. We could even be wrong in how we perceive what others are going through and act on that wrong assumption, but that is still how our brains work.

            Empathy and altruism have existed in humans for a long time. I think it’s an inevitable feature of self-awareness and imagination. That’s it. Fear is not the only motivating force. That is simply incorrect thinking. We have desire and that motivates us to act. Our ability to empathize leads us to act for the benefit of others as well.

          • Brent

            The circular logic is that you go to all this trouble in previous posts to me and others to point out that they are wrong and that there is no God, and yet hold to the notion that it doesn’t matter what we believe since it is all relative. There is no good or bad other than what we assign it, and yet believing in God is wrong and therefore a bad.

            If there is no right or wrong, there is no good or evil. It therefore follows that my method of convincing someone at gunpoint should also be acceptable.

            It is precisely this viewpoint that is responsible for much of the evil in the world. I can believe whatever I want so long it is comfortable for me. I am my own law. As such, I can also create my own religion, political party, education system, and doctor scientific research so long as I get what I want.

            I did not say fear was the only emotion. I said it was the most dominating, motivating emotion. I can guarantee I can go into a village armed to the teeth and get everyone to do everything I say much faster than if I use gentle persuasion and kindness. Now obviously no one will trust me, but if I am not concerned with this, and I get what I want when I want it, I don’t care, if that is my motive. According to your paradigm, there is nothing wrong or right, good or bad with my method. It is simply what we assign it. If I convince many others it was a good thing, then that becomes the truth.

            There have been thousands that have used this approach throughout history, oftentimes even claiming God told them to. From that perspective, perhaps God does not exist, and we’ve been using this crutch for far too long.

            As far as the video is concerned, I saw, from your paradigm, many confused and searching people that are willing to be deceived. They did not have spiritual experiences. Any experiences they did have was internally manufactured, since God, and therefore the metaphysical does not exist. They should simply do what they want. I therefore have no reason to explain my take on it. You are clearly anchored on relativism, and my take on it is of little consequence to you.

          • Justin

            Somehow you’ve entirely missed the concept of how morality works again. I don’t know how else to explain it more clearly. There is no circular logic, only your perception of such based on an obvious misunderstanding of the reality of morality. This has been researched much before so I recommend studying it until you understand it. It doesn’t seem that complicated and it perfectly explains human behavior.

            Again, the scenarios you’ve proposed only make sense to a psychopath and not to a normal human being that has empathy. You don’t need God for that. That is simply part of being a self-aware consciousness with an imagination. We are altruistic by nature.

            And btw, love, loyalty and conviction are often more motivating that fear. Regardless, our empathy dictates that we use other means for motivation. I can understand how this is difficult for you to grasp if you yourself lack empathy (thus making you a psychopath or sociopath) which is the case with 1 in 25 people. If that is the case, perhaps religion is best for you.

          • Brent

            No, I understand perfectly. The issue at hand is we differ on the origination or morality, and therefore absolutes. I use extremes to point out the effects of relativism, not to suggest that I believe or even operate that way.

            I have seen and witnessed plenty that do. When men become their own law, as it were, they are far from peaceable. We just happen live in a country that generally benefits from the extension of biblical canon law, and has moral absolutes we all generally agree upon for self governance.

            However, once that slippery slope begins, there is no telling where it ends.

            As an example, Amsterdam is considered a fairly loose city morally. People travel from all over the world to partake in the forbidden pleasures. As a comparative of relativism, certain men travel from Holland to Bangkok so they can do things, legally, to little boys age 9-12 they cannot do in Amsterdam. When you land in Bangkok, you will be approached by tuk tuk and cabbies about girls, various “trade” items, possibly drugs, and little boys or young girls. To them this is entirely acceptable. Do we then say, oh this is neither good nor bad? We may, but they do not. And since there are no absolutes, who are we to say that is wrong? I mean, people have needs so that must be okay, right?

            I really, really, don’t need a lecture on relativism. I understand the dynamics, and I’ve read more than you know, from the ancients on down to present thought. I simply don’t agree with disjointed logic. Your thoughts on morality are way off base, and are wrong on every level. See, I can operate in absolutes, where you will tell me I am wrong, but cannot, because it conflicts with the idea of there being right and wrong, so therefore we are both right and wrong since there is no right or wrong only what we perceive to be right or wrong, by consensus, in which case you are incredibly wrong since the majority believe in God or a higher power and in absolutes…however, it isn’t truth to you, so they are all wrong…but not, because there isn’t such s thing, and I have no idea what morality is…although, my definition is just as “right” as yours.;) circular logic 101. So it is simply easier for you to agree with me, instead of telling me where I misunderstood morality…since we probably agree we just don’t know it yet since all thoughts are correct according to perspective where things can neither be proved nor disproved. For every finding or study you can produce, I can produce an equal amount that disagrees.

            And yes I may be that 1/25 that is a sociopath. And I need religion to keep me in check. You are then that 1/18 that is borderline certifiable, and you need the warm blanket of relativism to keep the voices calm in your head, that way you can believe whatever you want whenever you want because it is convenient ;). See, I too can throw out random off the wall insults to present some illogical argument that tangentially wins my argument over nothing, since there is no right or wrong. Intelligence, then, is also relative: your understanding of a thing is no less or greater than mine, and yet you try to convince me that your understanding and intelligence far surpasses mine, which is contrary to the doctrine of relativism you so deeply espouse. So I have to wonder, do you really believe what you spout, or is it that it sounds really cool and is convenient so you can avoid absolutes? If you did believe in relativism, you would simply say, yep, that is a way to go, and not try to convince others there is no God, as the idea matters not, and is of no consequence and is neither good nor bad, it just is.

          • Justin

            You literally just built a straw man, putting words into my mouth, and then attacked it. Anyway, it’s clear we’re not getting anywhere. I do believe that both the belief in moral absolutes and allowing someone else to dictate your own morality are harmful things. That is why I fight against it. It’s not only untrue, but it is harmful to society. That’s all I will say.

          • Brent

            And that is all relativism is, a straw man. But you cannot fight against a thing which is neither good nor bad, since it does not exist as there is no good or bad. Read your own crap, dude. And it cannot BE untrue, since truth is all relative.

            That you do not see the conundrum you place yourself through your own avowed belief is a problem with your logic.

            You cannot say there are no moral absolutes, and then at the same time say that to say there are is a falsehood, considering for something to be “wrong” there must also BE a right, which relativism doesn’t allow for.

            My truth is my truth, just as your truth is yours. You cannot have the luxury of defending your position by saying you are right, and then tell me in the same sentence that I am wrong because morals are all subject to our own interpretations, there is no right nor wrong only what we decide is right or wrong, collectively.

            Well in that regard, society is decidedly against you. And yet you will fight to be right, and fight against what the majority have determined to be right, that there is a god or higher power. Relativism says there is no right, therefore why fight?

            And as such, you cannot get upset when people push back at you as you attack their position, telling them they are wrong, yet holding onto this higher mental plane of crap you have elevated yourself to that they have no right to tell you you are wrong, when there is no such thing as absolute right or wrong.

            Which brings us back, full circle, to the reason this conversation began in the first place. YOU have every right to believe what you want to believe, just as everyone else does. But you cannot expect, in this higher state of relativism, to have the right to tell someone to BE something which you have JUST finished saying does not exist, that is to treat you in a moral, Christlike manner when it does not matter how someone behaves based upon the idea that each person establishes their own moral equivalency. You want them to behave perfectly towards you according to their rules, which have no bearing on you whether they do or don’t. It isn’t your call. Plus, who’s to say they aren’t, in fact following their own rules, considering they can simply make it up as they go along, Just as you just did. 🙂

          • Bill Yates

            There is much in the scriptures that is not the teachings of Jesus, but the opinions of men. An example would be Paul’s views on women and marriage. Paul taught that divorced women should not remarry, but the Church encourages divorced women to marry with various singles programs.
            Paul’s views were colored by the prevailing Jewish customs and culture of his times. Women were not to speak in church, to not cut their hair, and to cover their heads. We really do need modern prophets, and we are counseled to follow the living prophets when there is a conflict with something an earlier prophet said. All men (and women) are prone to error, even prophets, and we need the voice of the Spirit to confirm all teachings. Even the highly respected Elder Bruce R. McConkie got off track and had to retract some of his
            writings about blacks and the Catholic church. I think that strict
            literalism often hurts our cause rather than helps.

            Here are some things I have come up with in my pondering. “And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly”. If coffee and tea was meant in this context, why didn’t Joseph write it that way? Joseph certainly knew about coffee and tea,
            although I doubt he had heard that they contain caffeine and other harmful substances. The answer is that Joseph did the best he could to put into words the inspiration/revelations that came to him. It was not always perfect. The Lord does not treat prophets as dictating machines. If He did the Book of Mormon manuscript would have come out with perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling. As it was there was no punctuation, and editing was necessary.

            I like Mormon 9:31 “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection,
            neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been”.

            The same advice applies when we read the writings and revelations of Joseph Smith. It goes far to explain why
            anachronisms occur in the B of M, such as horses and chariots. We have to understand the B of M, in part at least, in the context of history, i.e. the era in which Joseph lived, and his conceptual framework and religious background. There are several references in the B of M that sound a lot like the doctrine of the trinity which was prevalent in Christianity at that time. It is all that Joseph knew. Later he received “precept upon precept” and came to understand that the Godhead is one in purpose, not one in substance. Similarly, there is no mention of the three degrees of glory in the B of M. There is only heaven and hell, just as the Methodists were teaching at the camp meetings which Joseph attended. So either the B
            of M prophets had an incomplete understanding, or Joseph’s limited understanding came through in the translation. I suspect the latter.

          • artmarc

            Bill, do you really profess to know the mind of Joseph Smith in writing section 89? Do you really wish to limit the revelations of God to inaccurate statements because of the influence of popular culture? Do you truly believe in a God that is as incompetent as that? One that could not see into the future and make the “plain and precious truths” obvious and accurate? It seems like you are dancing on points of rationalization and speculation to try to make what “IS” fit what you hope it to be. According to period statements, the Book of Mormon was more dictated than smooshy feely written. It quotes extensively from the King James Bible mistakes and all. I am sorry – your stance just doesn’t bear close scrutiny in some points.

          • Bill Yates

            I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and am very active. It’s just that I think we get into trouble when we expect too much of prophets. Read again my comment about tea and coffee. Maybe you can offer a better explanation. God probably has the power to force the human mind, but that is not the way of free agency. I believe in precept upon precept and fully accept almost 100% of what is taught by our living prophets. It is beyond dispute that prophets have made mistakes, and the sooner we honestly own up to it, the better off we will be. And no, I am not pandering to popular culture. Just seeking a way out of a logical conundrum.

          • Rude Dog

            May not expect too much from “the Prophets”, however on the big moral questions that have vexed humanity, i.e. slavery, misogyny, genocide, I think of all the times you’d need guidance from God through a prophet this would be it, or is it just facial hair and the double piercings?

          • windy_way8192

            But how much should we expect from a man who claims prophet status?

            Where is the line?

            At what point will the spirit of God leave a man alone to his own devices and imaginings?

            Does he have to commit adultury? Kill? Use his prophetic authority to do those things? If he can get a pass for them, what about if he lies about it and does not repent? Till the day he dies?

            Or is everything we like about what he said or did prophetic as long as we have good spiritual feelings about them?

            I had to deal in real life with a man who did much less offernsive things than Joseph. Yet he still lied, deliberately and continuously, hurting people knowingly as he did and invoking God’s “judgment” on those who opposed him. I realised that this is evil. God is not with such a man, and thus God was not with Joseph Smith.

          • Bill Yates

            Yes, artmarc, I do presume to know something of Joseph’s mind when translating or writing revelations. In Section 9 it says that “you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it be right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right.”
            Feelings are subjective, but beyond that, Joseph had his limitations. He was not schooled with worldly knowledge, and especially at first certainly not schooled in the ways of God. Thus his concepts and then his words would have been only approximations to precise truths. The only way that I can make sense of the Church, its doctrines and policies is to realize that our understanding is imperfect, and that includes prophets. There is progress over time, and I think that our understanding of the ways of God has come a long ways since the Church was founded.
            I can give several examples. There was a time when people were rebaptised. That was put aside. Early on, plural marriage was not perfectly understood. There was some polyandry, which of course was a mistake. That was set aside. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

          • artmarc

            My forehead is hurting from all the face-palms. Polyandry was a mistake? OK, I agree. How is it then that Joseph told at least a few of his intended wives that God had sent an angel with a flaming sword commanding him to take this girl as a wife and that he would be destroyed if he did not obey. It would seem that God was rather insistent that Joseph have a multiplicity of wives of various types.Young, old, married, etc. It is rather hard to suppose that Joseph made a “mistake” with that kind of flaming sword directive. Are you saying he acted on his own in such a matter of doctrinal precedence as serious as marriage and sexual relationships? Under what doctrinal principle would anyone even consider taking the wife of a married man – and even one of his own apostles? No, I am sorry, speculation does not get us anywhere though it may attempt to make one comfortable with the inexplicable. And projecting ones prayerful desires as a method of obtaining objective truth just doesn’t wash. Throwing things off into the “we may know more about it in the future” is just buying nonsense to achieve some sort of comfort with the indefensible. Sorry, these are nonsensical imaginations to explain indefensible behavior.

          • Bill Yates

            I quote from LDS.org: “Although the Lord commanded the adoption—and later the cessation—of plural marriage in the latter days, He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment. Significant social and cultural changes often include misunderstandings and difficulties.” I repeat, “He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment.” Point made.
            https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng

          • Bill Yates

            artmark, you say “the Book of Mormon…quotes extensively from the King James Bible mistakes and all.” You have made my point. If God were dictating the exact words, I doubt he would have repeated the mistakes in the King James.

          • artmarc

            Brent and Justin,

            I have read this long discourse with interest. At a certain level there has been an interesting exchange of ideas, but only to a certain point. The point at which common ground cannot be agreed is because of a priori assumptions and conflation of terminology. Truth is not synonymous with Morality. A thing or event may be true and yet be immoral. Likewise, merely because morality is personally accepted or not, does not mean that without an divine being decreeing which things are good and which are bad that all humans will naturally choose those things that are grotesque – although, in truth, some humans are pretty nasty pieces of work and will do horrid things in spite of accepted societal morals. As Justin said, it can be demonstrated that societal morality is more or less a collection of sets of personal morals that combine into an accepted set of cultural mores. Thou Shalt Not Kill, steal my stuff, or take my wife are rather easy natural principles as evidenced by participants on the Jerry Springer show. This in no way needs a divine being for this to occur, though largely, because of the nature of humans to be superstitious in the face of the unknown, religious tenets and societal mores converge or are derived from each other. Hence the wide diversity of beliefs, religions, and practices across the globe. (With many shared commonalities).

            There is a tribe of natives in the forests of the Amazon that exhibit a functional small society. They seem quite happy, and live a reasonably good existence albeit without modern “conveniences.” They also practice polygamy and polyandry – both men and women have multiple spouses, and all care for the young not knowing exactly who is the father. In our society, we would call this immoral. In their society, it is the glue that binds them together. Another tradition they have is for the old, that is when people reach mid 40s, they retire to the woods and take poison – commit suicide. They do this so that the natural resources are not stressed to the point that it injures the collective tribe. Again, we would call that immoral. They consider it an act of great reverence and sacrifice. It is not attributed to the will of a God, but is what they came up with to have a healthy small functioning society and is now their tradition. This, I think, is what Justin was trying to convey.

            The difficulty for Brent, I am imagining, is unhinging his devotion to the notion that there is a God and that all things have sprung from him or by his will and nothing else is possible. This is according to the church doctrine, and consistent with the stories told therein. It would be helpful for him to unhinge that necessity for a short time in order to imagine things in the way that Justin perceives them to better understand his perspective. A defensive approach does not facilitate that kind of comprehension. At the same time, I hope that he will recognize that belief is not a choice – but the result of the evidence that one is willing to accept or, in addition, things that one is willing to accept without evidence. The sticking point comes when one objectively discovers concrete indisputable events, artifacts, writings, etc. that either conflict with each other, or contradict the preferred dogma. This is where most facing faith crisis find themselves. One may adhere to the faithful stance up to the point that they don’t. Or, in other words, one’s faith may survive so long as the evidence to the contrary may be pushed off into the plausible. But when evidence becomes so compelling that the preferred vantage point clearly cannot be maintained, something has to shift. This happened when in response to mountains of DNA evidence, the church was compelled to alter the Book of Mormon to read that the Native American had Lamanites not as their “principle” ancestors (original text), but now write that they are only “among” their ancestors – an assertion that is not provable, but they think plausible.

            The interview wherein Elder Holland admits to a reporter that the Book of Abraham was NOT translated from the papyrus, but was received as an inspiration upon looking at the papyrus is one of those moments. Clearly Joseph and countless general authorities taught that it was a “translation” of the papyrus written in Abraham’s own hand. This has been demonstrated (and accepted by Holland) as false. The question then is, what is one to do with this knowledge? What does it imply? How, in context with many other such reversals, can what was thought and taught as truth actually not be true? What then is true (particularly aside from any personal interpretations or speculations)? These are where these questions lead, and where one ultimately has to find out the answers for themselves. Ultimately, there is only one truth, and the things one has espoused as truth are either proven or disproven. Applying the “faith” principle, that is, pushing contradictions off until some future date when it is hoped that one’s preferred version is given sustenance as truth, only permits one to hold to something that may in fact be of dubious merit – a facet of human capability held in high esteem among the “faith-full.” For others, it is too far a reach to make, the the faith structure falls in a bazillion painful pieces. Devastating. The “shatter point” is different for each person, and some are able to fill a shelf (or bookcase) with things not understood for which concrete issues exist, but which are put away and not dealt with. Others simply will create a sound bubble around them that echoes only their desired playlist. This preserves the faith, but may not reveal the truth. Eventually, some points may be proven true and others false. Then it becomes a matter to decide what to do with that knowledge.

            Personally, I would rather possess a comprehensive understanding, knowing both what the protagonist and antagonist on a matter proffer, than to select an ignorance bubble. I have enough trust in the human ability to discover reality even if it takes a great deal of time, resources and effort. Truth matters. Traditions are interesting but of less usefulness in reality.

            Anyway, I hope that this little treatise helps to see the various perspectives as just points in an adventure. Have a great journey!

          • Brent

            That is in essence the chicken and the egg argument. And then you went about putting words and emotions into the discussion, IGNORING that my only intent was to demonstrate the absurdity of relativism. It creates a vacuum in which all things are truth, and all things are right…in a clearly right and wrong paradigm. Relativism suggests, as you just attempted, that as long as there is “peace” whatever society creates is “good”. The problem with that notion is that “good” is determined BY the society that created the “good” to begin with! I brought up some VERY CLEAR examples of “good” that society had created: Nazi Germany and the mass execution of not only Jews, but euthanizing of the aged, mentally handicapped, and political nonconformists; Rome with its gladiatorial games, vomitoriums, rites of Bacchus; Aztecs with human sacrifice and beastial slavery…I could sit here and make a REALLY LONG LIST. As for modern man being able to somehow overcome this biology is laughable at best. You brought up one tribe. Okay: there are tribes in AFRICA right now that are killing each other over, of all things, skin color and tribal affinity. Genocide. I assume then, that since they have decided this is a good thing, it must be so.

            Now, as to this notion that there is no God, and that therefore all “good” comes from man: your assumption is that everyone creates a narrative to fit their preconceived beliefs. Well, this may or may not be true. If we are to stick with relativism as our guide, this is in no way a good, or a bad thing, as there IS NO GOOD OR BAD. There also is NO TRUTH. There can be right, or wrong…but truth is completely philosophical. As in, 2+2=4 when dealing with something tangible, although we could debate that nothing is tangible but only our imaginations of what we perceive to be tangible…and round and round we go. So we could debate correct over false even…but with relativism truth is subject to the author, not the receiver. It is up to the author to then convince the receiver that what they “know” is truth. They have various methods of convincing.

            Method one: we use reason and logic, as we are in this forum, to arrive at some undetermined location where we mutually agree one of us is right, both are right, one is wrong (and that person is always the one that will not see the other’s “light”) or both are wrong they just will refuse to admit it. Method two: we argue rather emotionally using tools to discredit the other, including compassion, anger, indifference, false hope and “reason”…all designed to manipulate the other into some form of mental servitude. Read a majority of posts on here where someone is an idiot, or they are going to hell, and you get my point. THIS is the preferred method in our society. Method three: enough talk lets fight, shapapooee. This is where I force my opinion on you, and might makes right. THIS method has been the chosen method of countless civilizations. We, as a Nation, deploy this method on a constant basis, especially in the face of other nations doing it and when they do it, it is “wrong”. We have become the self appointed protectors of all that is “good”. So, let’s not kid each other than man is “peaceable”, shall we?

            I spent 8 years in special forces going to multiple vacation destinations. MAN is NOT peaceable. He is a pot under pressure ready to explode at any moment. Why? Because EVERYONE is “right”.

            And somehow, reaching some state of “I don’t need God, because God doesn’t exist, and therefore I can create my own morality because no one can tell me what to do…so conveniently there IS no morality” higher consciousness does not overcome millions of years of biology, survival instincts, and certainly not predatory instincts. I have been in societies where it is simply kill or be killed. Would I prefer the kind and gentle Amazon tribe as the norm? Sure, but that is NOT the norm. Ask the other tribes that used to live near that Amazon tribe how they are liking their new Spanish and Portuguese neighbors.

            Individually we may avoid certain aspects of our nature, but collectively, not only no but hell no. We will do things to each other in war that individually we would never dream of doing because it is “wrong”. Suddenly, we are now killing each other in the most violent fashion that cannot be shown on TV or movies, raping women, killing children (telling children to kill their own parents, selling the girls into prostitution) …and it is all “good” cause they deserved it. Beheading people and uploading the video to send to the family…

            How naive do we need to be to think that an absence of God will somehow solve the world’s collective ills? Especially when one considers that those societies that promote an absence of religion have been guilty of some of the most abhorrent atrocities on its own citizens: Nazi Germany, Maoist China, Stalin’s Russia?

            But my mistake. Mormonism is simply evil. We promote a belief in God and Christ Like living as taught by prophets, how stupid of us. Wait. There is no such thing as evil 🙂 Only what a handful of people now term as evil (believing in God)…except, according to their own rules of society establishing morality, they are outside that boundary by denying the existence of a God that everyone else says exists. So they spend lots and lots of time telling all of us how wrong we are, when there is no such thing as wrong; although they just got finished trying to convince us of this as the main reason there is no God is because WE make our own rules…forgive me that I dont fall for the head spinning idiocy that is relativism.

          • artmarc

            Justin,
            I would add that, curiously, altruism has been found as traits in other mammals as well. There are case studies of elephants and chimpanzees acting with very human-like attributes of kindness, good will, and self sacrifice or devotion.

          • Timothy Loveridge

            So, in other words, in your “man made notion, that society dictates these morals”, we would live in exactly the world that we do live in, since the fear of punishment after death did not, in-fact stop those atrocities, last I checked, it was like 88% percent of the world believed in a deity and life after death, are you claiming that all of the worlds evils are performed by that 12% that does not believe in a deity?

            Why is it, that in secular communities, where freedom of religion is practiced, and the majority of the population choose not to be religious, we have less violence, less crime, less murder, higher education, more tolerance, in general almost every conceivable metric of a peaceful society.

            In communities that you have high religious beliefs, in general, not true for all situations, you have higher poverty, higher crime, higher incarceration, less tolerance, lower education.

            “Fear of death is not what drives people. It is fear of punishment after
            death that does, a purely religious notion. I’ve seen enough to know
            the difference.”

            If this is your only reason for believing in god, and being a good person, that is fine, I have no problem with that, but please don’t try and push your beliefs on me.

          • Brent

            if you can find the sentence that says “Tim, you must believe what I believe” I will apologize. Otherwise stop reaching. And there is absolutely no empirical data to support the conjecture that an absence of a belief in God creates a loving, peaceful society, only that a society that have freedom of religion and a free flow of thought does, and rule of law. A non belief in God is also a right. Now in that free flow of ideas I am certainly allowed to express my viewpoint, as much as you are. This does not imply I am pushing my beliefs on you any more than your statement means you are pushing yours on me. Now I could be a childish moron and jump to that conclusion, because it has the added benefit of defensive posturing where my opinion then becomes final. But then I have to gamble that you actually care about my feelings and that you will stop and not reply. 😉

          • Timothy Loveridge

            “Personally I do not care about your feelings, and no one else is obligated to either.”

            “In many respects I would prefer we would all adopt Darwinism. That would make things a whole lot easier. I could simply kill you to get what I want, without fear of consequence.”

            Not exactly “you must believe what I believe”, but an expressed desire to kill so that you can get what you want.

            I find it funny, the vast majority of religious people (in my admittedly narrow and biased experience with religious people) that talk about Darwinism, but don’t believe in it, actually run their lives on Darwinist principles; people that are out of the norm, and don’t fit in, should be punished, and removed from society; homosexual behavior, out of the norm, should at the least be hidden from society, if not killed, etc.

            Whereas most of the people that are in my circles, and books that I have read, that do believe we are evolved, that we were “created” thru an evolutionary process, absolutely do not want to live in a Darwinist society, we do not want to live in a might makes right society, which by the way, by your own admission, has been how society has lived throughout most of human history, we want to live in a society that values empathy, love, compassion. One were we allow people to live their lives by their conscience, as long as they are not imposing and hurting others thru doing so.

            What is the benefit of finding natural laws, say for instance the Bernoulli principle, it is so that we can exploit those laws to our advantage and betterment, we don’t learn the Bernoulli principle to somehow base our moral code off of said principle, we learn it so that we can get planes in the air. This is the same for most of the natural laws we have discovered, there is no difference with Darwinism, we don’t learn about Darwinism to base our moral code off of said discovery, we learn it so that we can gain knowledge of one of the universes most powerful tools, we learn it so that we can exploit those laws to our mutual betterment, not so that we can say we should kill the weak.

            “And there is absolutely no empirical data to support the conjecture that an absence of a belief in God creates a loving, peaceful society, only that a society that have freedom of religion and a free flow of thought does, and rule of law.”

            I made this statement based off the evidence and data that America ranks #1 out of first world countries that believes in a god, we have higher rates of church activity than any other first world country, we are also one of the only first world countries that suffers from 3rd world problems, we almost have more people incarcerated in this country than the rest of the world combined, despite being one of the least populated, we suffer from violence and murder rates that are only rivaled in third world countries, we suffer from a huge tolerance of the “other” in this country, just look at how many people think that Barack Obama is a Muslim, and count that as a huge negative for him, as if belonging to a certain religion makes a person a good or evil person. We try to teach people what to think in this country, rather than how to think.

            And I have to say, I am not trying to attack you, honestly, I like reading your posts more than most of the pro church voices that I have seen, most of the pro church voices that I read come off, at least to me, as extremely arrogant and self righteous, and seem, at least to me, instead of inviting people to join them in there faith and journey, but to condemn those that do not believe as they do, because they obviously are not as intelligent and faithful as they are.

          • Brent

            i agree with you 100%. I think the disconnect, and a leap, is to assume that because many believe in force, or use religion as a stumping tool to force others to conform, that it is the laws of God that cause this. This is completely contrary to the gospel of Christ on every level.

            It also assumes that every religion comes from God, and that every sect of Christianity is also from God. Now I believe that all good and all truth come from God, and good and truth can be found in every religion, sect, creed…as we are all his creations and endowed with gifts such as charity, empathy, a desire to do and be good. This is irrespective of creed, sexual orientation, nationality, religion…etc. the degree to which we follow these goods is the measure of our willingness to be obedient to that which is good, rather than choosing evil. Now, if we believe there is good, and God, we also believe there is evil and a devil, who can also blind people, make good to appear as evil, and evil good, and can deceive us even to the point where we don’t believe in him or in God. Now in this point we will differ, and that is alright.

            My overall point is that there are fundamental laws yes, both physical and spiritual. When we violate any of these there are reactions, just as sure as when we keep them. We cannot assume then, that simply because many will and have violated the law, that the law does not exist, any more than we can say God is the causation of all that is evil. That we were created by him is true, but we were given moral agency. That men choose to use this agency for evil is not his doing.

            This then means that if there is a god, there are absolutes in morality, just as certain as there are absolutes in math or physics. We may disagree on application, purpose and intent, but it does not remove the law. And there are many laws yet to be discovered, just as there are moral laws we are not completely held accountable to, based on our ability to live the law.

            I think this is where the disconnect is between religion and spiritual truths. Religion, by itself, cannot and will not be the sole suppository of truth, any more than science is. There are many, even “devout” Mormons that do not understand this, simply because it does not match with their puritanical mind set. This is not doctrine, but tradition. Multiple prophets through the ages have taught this principle…but because people “need” a letter of the law quadrant to operate in, they forget that, compared to the cosmos, we know next to nothing, and cannot possibly understand everything.

            I have a tendency to use extreme examples, as with Justin, not because I believe it, but as an example of where “right” minded thinking takes us. Force is most often the method of choice, and completely contrary to the law of agency. Not even God forces us to be obedient or to even believe, and yet many so called professors of faith that espouse an unyielding faith in him will use a tool that he docent deploy except in extreme circumstances where allowing things to continue as they are interfere with his overall design and purpose, to force others to conform to their minute understanding of a thing. And if you don’t agree, force, aggression, shaming, are all tools for the weak minded, or for those that simply lack the faith in your ability to understand, as though it is some odd mark against their own belief if you do not agree. In this I am completely against. Each person should, and will, come to their own conclusion in a thing. This conclusion may be completely wrong, but it is theirs and they are allowed ownership. It is not my place to force a position.

            If I have come across that way in my deploying sarcasm in extreme examples, that is not my intention, as with the Darwin example. It was just to show the pendulum, not to suggest that those that espouse Darwinism are guilty of gross crimes. Darwin was simply explaining the world as he saw it, not creating some new fangled philosophy on how to treat or respond to mankind. He simply receives the brunt of blame for atheism, and I was dealing with the common understanding of a thing without considering my audience. In that assumption I was wrong.

            My intent was to show that relativism is a very slippery slope. Without absolutes we become our own law. Prophets have repeatedly warned against this position, just as surely as they have warned about being so ridged as to refuse further light and knowledge, or to assume that might make right on any level. And yet it still occurs, people don’t listen, they use religion as an excuse to defame, persecute, belittle, judge…all the things Christ spoke directly against. But to employ, and make, these things a part of your character requires admitting that you were wrong to begin with, s position most people run away from, and hold onto that which they are comfortable with.

            I do not pretend to know, nor will I, everything. I know so little in comparison, si am the annoying little gnat buzzing around getting attention. But I do read, constantly, am always searching, and am completely comfortable in that space. I have had many rewarding spiritual experiences as a result. I do not expect others to follow my path, other than I can say I know God lives and loves us. I do know there are absolutes, but each person is on a different level of readiness and participation: who am I to judge what the lord has given to another in their personal quest for truth? That he is guiding us all to the same goal is sure…what we are ready for individually is the question. For all I know there are many that are specifically told to not believe ( if that makes sense) if for no other reason than to clear a clouded mind of preconceptions. I do not know. I do know it is not my place to judge or to place my schedule of impatience on another.

            It is dangerous to make a finite decision in face of the infinite. Just as it is dangerous for those in any religion to assume they have all the answers, and that there is one quick fix solution to discovery, or that because someone made a mistake, embellished, or even lied that it invalidates truth. Pattern responses are simple, but convey a genuine lack of understanding or even compassion.

          • artmarc

            Justin,
            Yes, it is always the stories portrayed in the best light to advance the growth of the church. There was one such story that was published in one of those faith promoting books in the 70s that told of a protestant minister in southern Taiwan that converted to the church along with his entire congregation. It was promoted as a miracle. What the book does not tell is that Brother Wang along with the entire congregation apostatized within a short time, and the Wangs emigrated to Canada. This piece of history took place within the mission I served there, and was known somewhat to the elders, but was never published in the Ensign or other church sources decrying the great apostasy.

        • charles rivera

          Yup, there goes another wunna them followers of Christ. Loudmouthed braggadocio with nothing to show for it. Glad I left the cult before I turned into this clown.

          • John Fesola’i

            You realise the person you term a clown has likely achieved far more than you will ever in your life both in spirit and temporal things?

            Yet I’m the clown hahaha it’s obvious you’re the one that is the absolute joke of all jokes. Turn it up haha

          • Zelph on the Shelf

            Achievements aren’t much to brag about if you don’t show love to others, including those with different beliefs to you. Also, the last time I checked, humility was vital to be like Christ.
            Let’s be a bit kinder, ok John?

          • John Fesola’i

            Agreed. I balance humility with judgment, let’s keep in mind I have not been the recipient of any humility here since sharing my disagreement with this article and the self proclaimed “truth seekers” who label my church a cult.

            Please also keep in mind that your comment suggests that I mention my academics to brag, which is untrue, I have firmly stated, it was they that forced my hand by attacking my reasoning, I merely defended myself by asking, to whom am I speaking with, for what is the basis of your logic that you so strongly challenge mine?

            Also, your comment appears to suggest further that I do not understand Christ like Love (Charity), but this should he clear to you now that I balance such with judgement and reasoning, as there is a season for all things. I’m showing love to those of my church by focusing on how ridiculous some of most of the comments have been towards our leaders.

            Finally, you have been quick to counsel me on humility, will it be seeing you counsel each and everyone else in this thread that has shown a lack of constraint? Or where you only going to target me?

      • Joel Horton

        “Those of us who have left generally know a LOT more about the church than almost every member out there and yet WE are the ones who apparently haven’t studied hard enough.”

        Obviously you are frustrated, but that is a severely flawed statement and completely inaccurate.

        It may feel that way to you because you rub shoulders with others like you due to the convenience of the internet.
        God bless you in you efforts to work through your testimony.

        • Justin

          I understand why you would think that’s a flawed statement because as a believing member I thought I knew a lot. I did the apologetics and everything. I thought I’d heard it all.

          The thing is, I didn’t know enough to know what I didn’t know. How many members, honestly, have heard of the temperance movement? How many know that it shut down a local distillery in Kirtland 27 days before the word of wisdom “revelation”? How many people know about the Nullificaiton Crisis and its association with the “civil war prophecy” (which was then removed when they though it was a failed prophecy only to later be added in after the civil war to say “Look! It was true!”). How many members know about all the failed prophecies? How many members know about Joseph’s history with divining buried treasure (though he never succeeded) with a rock in a hat, his “glass-looking” trial (or other trials) or anything about the folk magic culture at the time? How many know about the existence of other contemporary pseudo-biblical writings and claimed “translations” of scripture at the time? How many have actually read the different first vision accounts? How many know about the revisionist history with that as well as the “Urim and Thumim” or know that the first vision wasn’t a part of the first version of church history – that the membership hadn’t heard of it until 1842? How many have actually looked at the doctrinal changes in the Book of Mormon or the edits to revelations in D&C?

          I could seriously go all day on this stuff (BofA, Kinderhook plates, polygamy & polyandry – especially timeline issues, BoM anachronisms and translation issues, etc). I promise you the general membership does not know about most of this and anything they’ve heard of they just assume has been addressed by apologists and historians. I admit there are a rare few who know more of this and either find a way to do the mental gymnastics, to avoid thinking about it too much, to just assert it’s true, or to stick with it because it’s too hard to leave (sunk cost fallacy). That’s not the norm though.

          • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

            You should write a post for us. “So you think you know a lot about church history…” and just list all of those things! 🙂

          • Joel Horton

            You are right. The common member doesn’t know a lot of that stuff. Some of it they do know. You are obviously troubled by what you have found in Church history. So what is your answer to all this? Was Joseph Smith a deceiver? Was he mad? Is he a fallen prophet? I would love to know what your conclusion is.

          • Justin

            I left the church a few months ago after a long and difficult faith crisis. There are a lot of things I could have gotten past if Joseph Smith could at least hold up under scrutiny as a translator or prophet and if there was any actual evidence that the church was true or led by God today. Although, to be honest it’s been nice not having the constant logical conflict (cognitive dissonance) any more.

            Here’s a blog post I wrote this past week. I honestly don’t know how to get past this: https://www.thetapirsmouth.com/book-of-mormon-translation/

            Then add to that the BofA, which I just don’t see any way around and then add the Kinderhook plates and Joseph just looks like a fraud. I’ve written a lot more about all of this, though not on my new blog yet. Honestly, it would be a relief to believe again for many reasons, but I don’t see any world where that can happen. I don’t see any logical resolution to these issues. And the emotional resolution just doesn’t cut it, which has already been covered here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA

          • Paul Linsley

            Joseph Smith is simply a product of his time. He was raised among the descendants of disenfranchised European tribes who had only thirty or so years before his birth declared independence from a European Monarch– a people that were poorly educated, mostly starving and poor, and steeped in magical and religious traditions that were slowly waning in the face of settling the country. The early Mormons bonded through trauma and a desperate desire to salvage an identity in the face of a largely unexplored new world– formerly inhabited by a people that appeared to contradict every belief of existing religions. This was simply a case of a new tribe emerging from the burnt over district into a country, whose government was carrying out a massive campaign of slaughter of the native inhabitants in the name of progress. Much like the early settlers of the US, the early Mormons were driven out of their homes, raped and murdered, which only fueled the deep tribal loyalties and bonds and helped to cement both a temporal and religious hierarchy. Saying Joseph Smith is a con man is not enough. He was a man, very much of his time, with some charisma to which a lot of desperate, scared, and deeply sincere people were drawn. Joseph Smith and his ethos is only significant for all the dedication of the people that followed him. It was a people that needed a spiritual leader as badly as we need, food and shelter. They funneled all of their faith and idealism into him and the leadership, because it brought meaning and context to an otherwise insane, brutal, and violent country. If you look carefully at other cultures throughout history you can find this same pattern. It’s not enough to look at Joseph Smith and either condemn or deify him. That doesn’t begin to explore the real root of what conjured him into to prominence. What is meaningful is to look at the world and the dynamics of the culture that would make so many people need such a leader and abide such a hierarchy that ultimately preyed on its own people (As most tribes and cultures have through out history.)

          • Essie

            You know, I’ve read a lot about all of this. My husband left the church and wanted me to leave with him. He has pretty much presented almost every argument you’ve listed. Even though the Church has a tendency to make Joseph Smith larger than life, I kind of realise that Smith was just an ordinary man given an extraordinary task. I also realise that being a prophet does not mean that you are born perfect and he freely admitted that if there is a mistake it lies with him (the instrument) and not God. Every prophet in the bible had some type of flaw except Christ. Also, just reading the Bible, God’s ultimate purpose is to save as many of his children here on Earth as He possibly can. He has done a lot to accomplish this. I have read some pretty tough things that He has asked of His prophets and His people. The Lord’s words have been given to the Earth three times (Moses, Christ and his disciples, and Joseph Smith). If you look at each time, there were unpleasant and extremely unpopular things done to accomplish this. No one talks about how Moses was taking advice on organising his newly formed faith from his wife’s (Zipporah) father who was a priest in a different religion who worshipped another god. I often even wondered if Zipporah converted to Moses’ faith because the incident with the angel and circumcision of their sons and the angel. Christ’s disciples had a hard time of it as well organising the church. There were many disputations amongst the Jews and Christians. I think bringing about the Book of Mormon was a painful and difficult process for Smith in some regards. I honestly think Smith was told to preach polygamy. I also think it was an embarrassing and painful thing for him to do. I think he agonised and delayed fulfilling this for as long as he could. I don’t agree with polygamy, don’t get me wrong, but I look at the state of Utah and how the people compare to the rest of the United States in behaviour and values. It looks like God raised up righteous seed. I know I’m going to ruffle feathers in saying this but frankly it wouldn’t surprise me if Smith was given this order from God to accomplish this exact purpose. Don’t forget that Samuel’s mother in the Old Testament was a plural wife who was barren before she conceived Samuel. Also, King David had many wives. He angered God when he sent Bathsheba’s husband off to die in a war just so that he could marry her. The child from that union died and Solomon was eventually born from the same plural wife, Bathsheba. Solomon became King. I honestly can’t get righteously indignant about polygamy because of this. If God had an issue with this, then Solomon would have been born to David’s first wife in order to become King. Even the stones Joseph used don’t really phase me. Moses had a staff that was unique for him. It doesn’t strike me as odd that God communicates through objects if he chooses to. I am still not sure all that God is capable of. I think it boils down to agency. Either you choose to believe or you don’t. I know I could talk until I’m blue in the face to convince someone, but ultimately it’s your choice to believe or not.

          • Justin

            It’s not simply that there are weird things. That, I could get over. It’s the fact that there are logical contradictions and issues that you can’t get past without believing in straight-up magic and suspending all logic. But then, with no rational basis to your belief, what cause do you have to claim you’re right? It’s literally just making up an idea or being raised with an idea and deciding it’s right because, why not?

            Out of curiosity, what do you think of this?
            https://www.thetapirsmouth.com/book-of-mormon-translation/

          • Essie

            It’s amazing that you say that. The same thing could be said of the New and Old Testament. Sticks turned to snakes. Baskets of bread produced out of almost thin air. Yet many people believe these stories, I think mostly because they know the stories in part. They don’t know the things the actual living breathing people said and did when these things occurred. I’m sure people hearing testimonies from this time of people who experienced these events struggled with believing this as well. If you are asking me to explain faith, I’d have to think about it for a minute and then answer. Was that what you were asking me?

          • JJC

            You’re right, there are a lot of contradictions. I think Heavenly Father allows that to test peoples faith. Satan works so hard to create these contradictions through lies and half truths to destroy peoples faith. God is powerful enough that He could send an angel to everyone so that they knew the truth, but He doesn’t because faith is so important. We are here to be tested without knowing the answers to all the questions. We must choose to follow light and truth. And the more we follow it, the easier it becomes to recognize. I’m sorry you have lost your faith. I hope you find it again, as many others do that leave the church for a while. They almost always come back. Because life without the church is sad, hopeless. Not right away, but after a decade away, you’ll realize you’re missing something. You find that “something” again when you come back to the church. I hope you are received with open arms, and not judged and pushed away by self righteous members in the mean time. Jesus was patient and always accepted those that came back. I wish you the best!

          • Justin

            Fortunately, that’s not true. Life is not sad or hopeless without the church, but that is what they want you to believe. I have certainly talked with many happy people who have been out for decades and have testified that it is not sad or hopeless. Frankly, I don’t see any reason why it would be.

            It looks like you also did not read the link I posted. There is simply no way I can ever see coming back if those logical contradictions aren’t reconciled. It just leaves no logical path that allows the church to be true. Faith does not trump reason, but it can compliment it.

            Also, the contradictions that you attributed to Satan must have actually come from God if they came from any higher power. Unless you are claiming that Joseph Smith actually translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of Satan. But I don’t think you are, which means they must have come from God and he’s the one that’s really trying to lead people to not believe in him. Read the link and let me know what you think.

          • JJC

            I have not read the link, but through my research of many other religions….including my own, I have come to one major conclusion. Either the LDS church is God’s one and only true church, or God does not exist. And that is hopeless and sad to me if God does not exist. It means there is no hope for life after death. And no purpose to life here. Because what is the point of having morals and helping others if everything just ends? Maybe you have other conclusions, but that is the conclusion that I have come to. And I truly believe that this church is true, despite all the unanswered questions…….

            I wrote this post earlier….

            The last year, I have read many of these posts because they are so available on Facebook. And if I’m honest, all they do is create a feeling of doubt, contention and anger. Aren’t those all feelings that the scriptures say are opposite of the Spirit? Since Albert Carrington has asked many questions (questions that are valid to one struggling with their faith), I would like to pose some questions as well….When has the church ever asked us to do something that would be harmful to another human being? Aren’t all of our commandments things that are moral? What does any Apostle have to “gain” by being in their calling? They are old, and should be retired….yet they serve till the day they die…..speaking at events, endless traveling, preaching the commandments of God. There is nothing glorious about that. Why would they give up the rest of their lives to “protect lies?” That just doesn’t make sense. It can’t possibly be for the money. I know personally some General Authorities and Apostles. They don’t drive fancy cars, or have extravagant houses. Some of them have very nice houses, but they aren’t around enough to enjoy them. They have given up their lives for their callings because the church is True. There is just no other reason that I can come up with. I have been tempted many times to really think about all the unanswered questions and let it ruin my faith,….but it doesn’t get me anywhere. It just makes me depressed. I could leave the church and then I would have more time for myself, but then isn’t that just selfish? Aren’t the many hours each week I spend on my calling actually serving others? Isn’t that the opposite of selfishness? Why are you leaving a church that promotes so much goodness? – Albert, I understand your concerns. I really do. I understand that their are members that are jerks and take your questions as personal offenses and claim you are “sinful”. I understand that we are led by MEN, but they are inspired men. And all men, even inspired men make mistakes. I understand that all people see the world through their own experiences and paradigms. If the first principle of the gospel is faith, then we must truly have faith that all these unanswered questions will be answered one day. Heavenly Father allowed these questions to remain so that we must choose to follow without a sure knowledge. I don’t necessarily like things that way either, but it’s the way an All Knowing, Loving Heavenly Father set up for us to learn whatever it is we need to learn. – I think it is so easy to want the church to not be true. It seems life would be so much easier at times……but think of the moments that you have either had, or definitely will come. When a loved one dies, when you’re suffering beyond anything you ever imagined and no one on this earth can take away your pain……won’t you then want the church to be true? Won’t you want hope that you can see your loved ones again? That your pain will be taken away, that a Savior truly did suffer for all things we will every go through and that He can understand your pain. And send His Spirit of comfort? – I’ve had many moments like the ones I’ve just described. And I have cried into my pillow many nights wanting answers or peace…..and they don’t come…..until I am completely broken. When I am completely broken, then I receive peace, and it starts out small. It truly does come in small increments…line upon line, precept upon precept. And there have been times when God has made Himself manifest to me through undeniable experiences that I have never shared specifics with anyone. And through those experiences, none of my unanswered questions were answered. I just felt peace….that one day things would all make sense. Peace that I could follow the prophet and not worry that I was wasting a second of my life. Albert, I know this post was all over the place, but I had to write it for myself. Again, I understand you are struggling and that could be for a number of reasons. Be honest with yourself, do you want the church to be true? Or not? because I think we can condition our minds to find (or not find) evidences that support whatever we want. Only the Spirit can bring that peace though…..and when we can completely give our will to God, and to things we don’t completely understand, HE will send that peace…..after we go through the trial of our own faith. Good luck to you in your quest. I know it’s not easy. I do know that the church is true though. It is led by prophets chosen by God. Jesus truly is the Savior of this world. He understands our hearts, and will be the perfect judge of each of us. He will know if we have followed what we know to be right within our own hearts. He will know if we knew the truth and followed it or looked for excuses not to follow it. No one else can makes those judgements. I hope you’re honest with yourself as I have tried to be with myself. And in the end, I know this gospel is meant to be lead us to a happy and eternal reunion with our Father in heaven, our Savior and our families. It is the plan of happiness, and salvation. I hope you find that peace, that I have found, through trials, struggles, and patience. It will come!

          • Justin

            I’m sorry, I didn’t read the whole wall of text. It’s a little hard to stay focused without paragraphs. I can tell you though that the church is objectively false and that there is no substantial evidence for God. I can also tell you that life is not meaningless and that morality still exists without God. Morality is a function of self-awareness and empathy. Whatever consciousness and life is, choosing to believe or not believe in something after this life has no bearing on reality.

            Enjoy life for what it is! It’s a unique experience and your consciousness is unique. You probably only have this life, so don’t waste it being unhappy! If you require your beliefs to be happy then believe and be happy! It makes me sad though that religion has engrained this mentality that makes people dependant upon it for happiness. Don’t do that to your children if you have any.

          • JJC

            Sorry for the long response with no paragraphs…haha it is hard to stay focused. Anyway, there is a part in there that talks about the hardest times of my life….when I’ve lost loved ones to death. Your comment about probably only having this life is sad and hopeless to me. The afterlife, explained through the church just makes so much sense to me and gives me hope for a reunion with my loved ones. There are feelings inside me that just make me believe that it’s true, and that makes me happy. So yes, I will believe and be happy. My question to you is, have you ever lost a spouse or child to a tragic accident? And if so, how do you find hope if you believe that this life is probably all we have? Granted, most people don’t have to endure that same pain, but those moments really force you to your knees and you are willing to completely give your will to the Father. Those moments make you not really care about polygamy or what some person wrote about Joseph Smith. All that matters in those moments is if the Savior really can comfort you through His Spirit and let you know through experiences that “cognitively don’t make sense.” – Those are just some of my experiences and why I believe what I do. I’m sure my experiences differ from many, and I try to understand others from their own. And I try to respect others differing opinions as well. So please don’t take anything I’ve said as me trying to argue or persuade you to my side. Just wondering how you have coped, or would cope in similar circumstances? (Sorry if this was another long paragraph that was hard to follow)

          • Justin

            First off, you mentioned Joseph’s Polygamy or things written about him. That had nothing to do with why I left the church. Ultimately, I could not let it go unless I was 100% certain that it wasn’t true. If you read my blog article I linked to above about the Book of Mormon, which is supposed to be the keystone of the religion, it makes it pretty clear that it’s a fraud. I just don’t see any rational way around that. And then the more you learn about the reality of Joseph Smith’s history and church history pertaining to him as a prophet, it becomes abundantly clear that it’s not true. Again, there is no rational way around the issues that I can see. And if you look at the issues with the Bible and Christianity, which Mormonism is based upon, it becomes even more clear that all of that is untrue. I’d be happy to send you links if you’d like to learn more.

            So the problem is, I could never take comfort in something that I don’t believe is true. It’s not like I left the church because I didn’t want to believe in God. I left because I don’t believe in God. And I don’t really see how I could. It’s not just the LDS church or even Christianity that is so obviously untrue. It’s the whole idea of God. If you understand even the basics of particle physics it’s obvious that an omniscient or omnipresent being would break the universe. We literally could not see or hear anything meaningful because such a being would interfere with all the particle interactions necessary. Even a marginally present being would be detectable because of the necessary particle interactions required for such a being to be able to observe the universe in any meaningful sense. This remains true with regular physics but even more so with quantum physics. No meaningful version of God makes sense with this understanding.

            Now, personally I have no problem accepting that this life is probably all we have. I’d rather have a true understanding of the reality of our situation than wishful thinking. The fact remains that we have consciousness, life! It’s amazing that we exist and can experience the universe! Let’s not waste this opportunity because whatever we are, this is probably all we get. I don’t see how that’s depressing. Focus on what we know, on the here and now, on the people that we can help and generations that will come after.

            Think about it this way, the only thing that makes this life meaningful in a religious sense is the continuation of life after death. But if we make sure that life in the universe continues on after our own death and make an impact, we continue on in the minds and hearts of those that come after us. It’s not like our life was meaningless. Regardless, the finiteness of our existence isn’t affected by our desire for it to be otherwise (unless science can create immortality). There’s no point in worrying about something that is out of our control. Just accept it for what it is and do the best you can. I don’t see that as hopeless or depressing at all. Life is great and I’m going to live it to the fullest!

          • ammon44

            I am sorry that the devil has deceived you so well and pray that God can touch your heart.

          • Justin

            lol, ok. That darn devil, at it again.

            It’s too bad God didn’t feel the need to do that before when I asked him to. He seems to work against himself all the time like that. Anyway, I’ll make you a deal: You pray for me and I’ll think for you, k? K, deal.

          • Deb

            Loved Loved LOVED this response!

            “You pray for me and I’ll think for you”

            Awesome! Love it! Will definitely be using that one!

          • Justin

            Thanks 🙂 It’s not mine though. You can actually buy shirts with that phrase. It’s just a good way to respond when people condescendingly say they’ll “pray for you”.

          • Mark Hudson

            This is really sad JJC. These men that you follow have you convinced that there is no God outside of the LDS Church. You need to develop a relationship with Christ and stop listening to that nonsense. This is why so many former Mormons become Atheists. Very sad!

          • JJC

            I’ve researched too many other religions and none of them can make sense to me. It’s not that there is no God outside my religion, it’s that God and Jesus Christ are truly known because of the modern revelation. I was simply saying that IF this religion turned out to be false, then everything else has fallen and there is no point in anything. I truly believe that this is Christ’s true church, the only church with priesthood authorization. That belief does not diminish the good of other faiths. I believe they are stepping stones towards Christ, and that everyone will have the same opportunities to accept Christ in His fullness of glory in this life or the next.

          • Don Gwinn

            With all due respect, if the point is that you have to follow the latest revelations, then Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, The Family, and the Twelve Tribes all have better claims to that than the LDS.

          • Don Gwinn

            I will never understand this attitude. If you try to apply this logic to understanding whether your religion is mostly true or mostly false, it gives you the following options:
            1. If there are no contradictions or evidence of falsehoods, that is because the religion is the truth.
            2. If there are numerous contradictions and evidence of numerous falsehoods, that is because the religion is the truth (but someone is trying to trick you into disbelief.)

            Why even pretend to be trying to find the truth? With that attitude, why not just admit that you care more about the comfort of your beliefs than about the truth, and drive on with life?

          • JJC

            The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, no matter what mistakes anyone brings up with their church members or its leaders. People at the saviors time didn’t recognize him as who he truly was, just like people today don’t understand the truth. It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus lives and this is His true church, even if we do t understand everything. Faith leads to knowledge. And only those who start with faith and step into the darkness, will have the greater light and knowledge revealed to them. So the faithless and those that want to justify sin will always attack the truth.

          • Essie

            Sorry for the delay in response. I had to work and could only get to it just now. I read the article and it seems to do the same thing that everything my husband presented to me. Your article gave vague theories of why it was wrong with no specific examples. It talked about over 1700 mistranslated KJV and doesn’t mention one for me to look up. My husband, when convincing me to leave, would deliberately find examples when I made the same complaint, but when my husband would present these examples I noticed they were taken out of context or twisted in such a way as to alter the meaning. I had to make a point of reading everything he presented to me in full context. Your article also talks about two eyewitness accounts of how the book was translated, both of which could have been correct. Emma could have been behind a curtain during translation while the second witness was right next to Joseph. Even the bible refers to dragons a creature we believe to be mythical today. Brother you have been graced with election and this is the path that you have chosen to walk. I am going to step aside and allow you to continue to do so. You seem to have found happiness in this life with your choice. I wish you the best of luck.

          • Justin

            I gave citations on all of that. There’s a link with a footnote next to each of the claims. But for your convenience I will post the links here:

            http://infidels.org/library/modern/curt_heuvel/bom_kjv.html
            https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/3jk114/kjv_translation_errors_as_found_in_the_book_of/
            http://cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/book-of-mormon.html#2

            I’m not sure exactly what you’re point was with the dragons but that’s one more black mark against the BoM. See these two links:

            https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/3g3mc3/the_fact_that_the_book_of_mormon_includes/
            https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/3g3mc3/the_fact_that_the_book_of_mormon_includes/ctujlyn

            I’m not sure where you’re going with the witnesses thing. I updated the article last night for clarity but it makes it pretty clear that there is no translation method that can account for the text. It also makes it clear that it was a tight translation that was intended. Please look at the citations and let me know if you have anything specifically that you want me to address or any explanations I have not considered that could explain the text that we have and reconcile the obvious issues.

          • Essie

            Brother, I have to apologise. When I gave my arguments I thought we were both operating under the assumption that God existed. I did not realise you were an atheist. So the Book of Mormon being true or not is moot in the face of that fact. You probably don’t even believe the Bible is true, which is why you think miracles are magical tricks. Most of my arguments usually stem from the assumption that God exists. I can’t explain faith to someone who doesn’t have it. There are people who can, I’m just not one of them. Please know that before I read the Book of Mormon, I was in a dark place, and I was not a good person. I grew up poor, and my Mother was a woman of faith. There were times when her faith was the only thing that got us through. I have seen the blessings of God at work. In the Bible there was a miracle (or in your case a magical trick) where a 40 year old man who was born blind was healed by Christ on the sabbath. The Pharisees, in an attempt to make Christ out to be a sinner, tried to get the man to admit that Christ was a sinner. “25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” This verse moves me, because he didn’t try to break down the gift God gave him. He accepted it for what it was, a gift. I know what my life was like before the sister missionaries shared the gospel and the Book of Mormon with me, and I know what it is like now. I have changed, and I have become a better person. It has enticed me to do good, and to look for it in others. I expect you to scoff at this, possibly to hold me in contempt, but frankly I don’t care. I love the Book of Mormon. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So when you deny the very existence of God, to me that makes no sense. Every thing that exists has some type of form or pattern, from the universe to the blood that runs through our veins. To believe that all of this is happenstance and not to give credit to Heavenly Father or to be humble before him is blasphemy to me. I’m sorry, but I really don’t have anything else to say. It should comfort you that I showed your websites to my husband. I expect that he will read them and we will end up discussing more of this in the future. Again, I truly wish you the best of luck.

          • Justin

            I won’t drag out the conversation more than you want, but it makes me sad that you think I would scoff at you or hold you in contempt. I don’t think I’ve shown any disrespect at any point and I don’t think I ever would. I find the discussion interesting. Being an atheist in no way makes me mean or bad. A year ago, I probably would have agreed with everything you said.

            Anyway, I’m glad that religion has had a benefit in your life. It certainly can have that effect, but I don’t think you need religion to have that benefit either and I think that the net result of religion in society is actually very bad and harmful. All that aside, that has nothing to do with why I don’t believe in God. In fact, I wish there were a God but there is no way that reason can allow me to believe. And it’s not really a choice. I can’t just deny what I know and what makes sense to believe in something that is completely impossible given what I know. I won’t say more about the specifics of those statements unless you’d like to continue discussion about it.

            One last thing. I hope you and your husband have a good understanding of each other but if not, go easy on him. I can’t express how much it sucks being in that situation where your belief is basically taken from you and realizing how much that can affect all of your most treasured relationships. Sadly, I’ve had mostly rudeness, backstabbing and contempt from friends and family since telling them about my change in belief. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t want it, but it’s where life has taken me and sooner or later I had to face that fact. Anyway, I don’t want to assume anything. I hope you guys have a happy relationship despite differences in belief. I hate to see broken families over religion. Anyway, I wish you the best!

          • Essie

            Thanks. 🙂

          • Essie

            Justin if you want to talk about why you don’t believe in God, I don’t mind. The conversation may drag out, (I don’t always have time to answer the same day) but I don’t mind discussing this with you. Oh and just a quick correction (I had several but I am just going to address this one). Religion has had no impact in my life. God has had an impact on my life. He has been with me since I was a child. I am a member of the LDS church only because I feel His presence the strongest in their faith. If I would have felt His presence stronger in the Catholic or Baptist church, that is where I would have become a member. This is why I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be the true church. I can’t speak on anyone else’s experience, just my own, mind you. Again if you want to talk about your reasons for your loss in faith, I am here, I don’t mind.

          • ammon44

            I have heard about and studied all of the things you have listed and I testify that Jesus is the living Christ, Joseph Smith was his chosen prophet and the Book of Mormon is true. So that is one member that has heard of it and still believes. I highly recommend the book Shaken Faith Syndrome.

          • Justin

            I’ve read that book. It blew mind mind with stupidity. It recommends all sorts of things that don’t actually reconcile the problems. Things that effectively side-step the issue and remove the rational basis for your beliefs. And then, as a last resort for those that can’t find a way to think irrationally it recommends apologetics or trying to reconcile issues with mental gymnastics. I’ve been down the apologetics road but even that can’t reconcile the issues.

            Belief isn’t a choice. I can’t choose to say, “Well, I know that everything here goes contrary to reason and everything I know but I’m just going to believe it’s true anyway. Yep, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real and he needs me to worship his noodly appendages!” I’m not sincere. I can’t believe that because it makes no sense. That’s how Mormonism and religion is. There are so many blatant irreconcilable issues that asserting it’s true does nothing for me. If you can’t actually reconcile the problems, your testimony is laughable at best. If you can, I sincerely want to know how.

            Just reconcile one thing for me. Read my blog post about the Book of Mormon Translation above and tell me how you can actually, reasonably reconcile that. That’s only one issue, but it’s a deal breaker. I don’t see any way the book can be true. Show me how it can.

        • charles rivera

          How is it flawed? The more you “study things out in your heart”, the more you learn about how utterly WRONG the LDS church is, the more you yearn to leave. Joseph Smith had two teens wives. How is this fact, hidden from you for a long time, not outrageous to you? How do you cling to such a belief system that frowns upon those who question?

          • Joel Horton

            Well Charles sounds like you have your mind made up. Its unfortunate that you have chosen to define Joseph Smith as a man married to teen wives. I see much much much more than that. He received and declared the words of Christ “For behold I God have suffered these things for all, that they might no suffer if they would repent…which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit…” Those are beautiful words Charles, loaded with doctrine.
            His teachings are beautiful, he restored and revealed a plan of salvation that encompasses a generous reward for all of God’s children. He is indeed the prophet of this dispensation.
            I spanked my daughter once as a young father, felt terrible and haven’t done it since. Hopefully I won’t go down in history as child beater. I know that isn’t the best comparison but you catch my drift.

          • smigman

            A man married to teen wives, other men’s wives, other men’s wives whose husbands he sent away to avoid resistance, and multiple wives against the wishes of his first wife, and all covered with lies and deception. That’s kinda a big deal, Joel. But, like you said, he wrote “beautiful words” so it’s clear he was a prophet!

          • ammon44

            Fact: genetic testing has not found a single descendent of Joseph Smith who was not a product of his marriage to Emma Smith.
            Fact: many people were sealed to the prophet “to link the generations” before and after his death including couples.
            Fact: Several sealings were marriages for eternity and not for time.
            Fact: There are incomplete records and very little irrefutable proof used by enemies of the church. You weren’t there and neither was I. What really happened? Who are we to judge?
            Fact: polygamy has been around and accepted by many cultures for a long, long time. Does that make every practitioner evil? What about the millions of people sleeping around, hooking up and fathering children without marriage all around you? Where is the outrage?
            It amazes me how people want us to be tolerant and forgiving of them and how intolerant they are of perceived actions of people who died hundreds of years ago and are not here to defend themselves.

          • Ice Profet

            Fact, according to the book of mormon the ONLY reason for polygamy is to raise up a seed… so whats up with that, why didn’t the prophet follow all Gods commands?

            But beside that point, for me personally, it isn’t about consensual polygamy, people can have at that if the want to. Its about coercing a 14 year old girl into something she didn’t want promising her dad eternal rewards… Just like Warren Jeffs did

          • artmarc

            Fact: Even Brian Hales, apologist par excellent, stated that they have evidence of sexual relations with between 12 to 15 of the women. One (Sessions) told her daughter on her death bed that she was the literal offspring of Joseph Smith. Whether she was actually or not is immaterial as it confirms the conjugal relations of Smith with another man’s wife.
            Fact: Though we were not alive at the time of Smith’s relationships, William and Jane Law were, and testified to the corruption (polygamy) of Smith, ultimately surrendering their membership in this cause. (See the Nauvoo Expositor -which testifies positively of the Book of Mormon and takes Smith down for his sexual transgressions).
            Fact: How many people record each instance of sex that they have with their wives or anyone else. The mere absence of documentation of sexual activities is by no means proof that relations did not occur. (Available documentation would show me a virgin – except that I have 6 children).
            Fact: Though still legally married to their first husbands, several of Smith’s polyandrous wives subsequent to his death married other general authorities and had children by them. (See Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness).
            Fact: The Apostle Orson Pratt wrote extensively on the virtues of polygamy in a serial published later in bound form as “The Seer.” I own a copy. It is quite persuasive that celestial marriage is polygamy, and how bereft are those that do not practice it. It also states specifically that women are the property of men. Small wonder that the church took it out of publication — but it is a wonderful glimpse into that actual attitudes of the general authorities in that day — first hand.
            The evidence available paints a much much less than innocent picture. The church has yet to substantially even address the doctrine of polyandry, though they did put out a pacifying essay on polygamy that dodges, and speculates and attempts to deflect what happened. It is courageous, however, that they even are beginning to address these hard issues after over 100 years of burying it.

          • ammon44

            Again no DNA evidence has confirmed any descendants of Joseph Smith but by Emma despite testing several who claimed to be. Until that happens you literally have no physical evidence of your claims. Amazing how quickly you are to judge and slander those who are no longer here to defend themselves and with nothing but opinion and innuendo to back your claims. I am sure you have led a perfect life and there is nothing in your conduct that is embarrassing and that everyone you know thinks you are perfect as you type and hide behind a computer.

            An apostles writings are not doctrine for the church. All new revelations must come through the living prophet and then it must go through the canonization process for it to be binding. See section 138 to see how that process must take place. Any new doctrines promoted or taught by anyone other than the living prophet that has not gone through the canonization process is merely opinion and certainly not binding on the whole church. You can see how damaging an opinion can be when it is trumpeted as doctrine.

          • artmarc

            Please read Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness. He is an active mormon, and the accounts come straight from the church archives of primary resources from early mormon members. Yes, it is true that no DNA evidence has confirmed any descendants of Joseph by other than Emma that is possible to distinguish at this point. It says nothing as to whether or not there were sexual relations. Not every incident of intercourse leads to pregnancy, and not every pregnancy survives to adulthood. Nevertheless, there are accounts in church archives that validate the sexual relations of Joseph outside of Emma and without her knowledge. As I pointed out, even staunch pro-church apologists agree on this point to one degree or another. It is indisputable. The children of general authorities that married the former wives of Joseph that were still legally married to other living men, most of whom were active church members, stand as witness to their lineage. One would also have to ask what is the doctrine behind polyandry. Why did Joseph take the wife of Orson Hyde, Myranda, to wife while Orson was in the Holy Land? How could being married to an apostle be considered less desirable than the president of the church? Interestingly, upon his return, Orson took two other younger brides. His first marriage dissolved in divorce years later. So much for family values.

            The church members sustain all the apostles as “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” at every general conference and every temple recommend interview. The writings in The Seer by Orson Pratt were published in the equivalent of the church magazine publicly and with consent from church leadership at that time. He was not censored for it as was McConkie for Mormon Doctrine. It raises serious questions when you sustain someone as speaking for God, and the profess “But only when we like what he says.” The process in 138 is for canonizing scripture. So do you not believe the words that you are taught in general conference? Why have it then?

          • artmarc

            Oh, yes …. ammon44 … polygamy was taught by Joseph Smith as the prophet of God albeit in secret. There are records of this, you know. Does that not make it doctrinal??

          • charles rivera

            Funny how you toss about “no DNA evidence” to “prove” Smith didn’t touch those teenaged girls, but put on blinders when told there is “no DNA evidence” to support that American Indians were of Jewish descent. Funny how the mere mention of Joseph Smith and his half dozen or so teenaged girl brides makes Mormons squirm–like it was a bad thing. /Sarcasm off. And and angel with a flaming sword “forced” Joseph Smith to take them on threat of death. Right.

          • dee hee

            “Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).

          • dee hee

            Brigham Young taught that “This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 197.)

          • Farmmaa

            FACT – Other adulterers do not use the ridiculous excuse that they were commanded by god to sleep around.
            FACT – You have no proof that Joseph Smith did NOT have sex with any all of his ‘wives’.
            FACT – It has never been acceptable for men to force or coerce young girls to marry them. Nor has it ever been acceptable to marry other men’s wives behind their backs.

            It is astounding to me tat otherwise intelligent people can be so blind to the truth behind the incredible scam that Joseph Smith created…absolutely astounding.

          • Shem

            Funny you brought up genetics. DNA has proven that the Native Americans came from Asia, not Israel.

            But another thing that should be pointed out that polygamy was to raise seed. If Smith wasn’t having kids, they why was he married under aged girls and women who were already married (11 times he did this)? Sounds like he was just horny.

            Another thing is that D&C 132 says the women had to be virgins? So again, why is marrying women who are already married? Where does it say that it’s okay to marry other men’s wives? Because polyandry (women married to more than one man) isn’t mentioned in it.

            Polygamy was illegal and thus breaking the law? What does the 12th Article of Faith say?

            >>We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

            Do you really think your loving God would ever command this mess? That sounds like men using the word God to justify it. Joseph Smith did use “The angel made me do it” defense with polygamy. But keep defending that pedophile/sexual predator.

          • dee hee

            SO THE pROPHET GETS YOUR WIFE IN HEAVEN? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

          • charles rivera

            You said “that is a severely flawed statement and completely inaccurate” in response to Justin’s comment. All you did was comment on my comment and bear your testimony. Again I ask you how is it a flawed and severely inaccurate statement? You would, today, frown up and probably be disgusted by a 30+ year old man taking a teenaged girl to wife. How is this okay when Joseph Smith does this, and not other modern men today? After “studying things out in your mind” and discovering Smith’s shenanigans before, during, and after establishing his church, would leaving the fold not be one of many possible positions to take?

          • Joel Horton

            Charles I only see you looking for discord here. I’m not terribly interested in that. Thanks anyways.

          • charles rivera

            Joel, I see that you are an excellent apologist who cannot back up claims he makes. Asking questions = discord? Really?

          • dee hee

            HE WAS A SOOTHSAYER WHO MARRIED HIS FOLLOWERS WIVES!

          • Shem

            Correction, Joseph Smith ad 10 teenage wives.

          • charles rivera

            Thank you! I did mean ten. Senior moment.

    • charles rivera

      Why do they assume? Because those dutiful Mormons have poor reading comprehension skills. Anything outside the script handed to them by their dear leaders is Greek. I don’t know how they learned to drive much less navigate efficiently through life.

    • ammon44

      Faith is a choice.

      • artmarc

        Faith is not a choice as in “I prefer the green hat over the red hat.” One cannot believe in something simply by choosing to do so, otherwise belief would be a capricious thing and likely to accept almost any desirable thing whether it is true or not. One believes after demonstration of evidence, or personal witness sufficient to cause one to accept the proposition – particularly where there is little or no physical evidence. One cannot choose to actually believe in something to which there is overwhelming evidence that demonstrates it is a falsehood. One cannot choose to believe that the sun is actually a black hole while looking at its impact on a bright day (unless they are nuts). Faith is “acceptance” of an incomplete proposition without complete evidence in hopes that it is true.

    • LARRY OLSEN

      You have got to be kidding! Probably not. Your not special and you and you alone are responsible for leaving the Church. Give me a break! I am not impressed with your personal history. I have one too and it is not all reading the scriptures, home evening, prayer, etc. The Church is simply an organization, it is not my testimony nor is Brother Ballard. You are a self-righteous hypocrite. Good luck with your journey in life, you will need it. I have a testimony through personal experience, not the Church. Hope you find your way, don,t think you are going to be able to sort out your problems.
      Back at ya buster,,Larry Olsen

      • robbiebridgstock

        I’m left a bit clueless by
        those remarks. Did I say or infer I was ‘special’?
        Nope. Am I special? Nope. Am I
        responsible for leaving the Church? I made that quite clear. All of us act hypocritically
        at one time or other, but as a general rule, thankfully it is rare. Perhaps you
        have misjudged or misunderstood – easy to do with only one comment to go by…
        and self righteous? Ah, I see, because I have explained ALL the many things I
        did to stay worthy and keep the faith, I must think ‘I’m’ really special and so,
        so righteous. The truth is I have spent all my life believing everyone else’s
        opinions were more credible than my own. I have always lacked confidence. I was
        50 before I had sufficient self-belief to trust my own judgment. Whatever
        element or residue of arrogance I might have possessed, slipped away as I spoke
        to my Heavenly Father. My ‘experience’ of God has always been sublime and
        meaningful. When my wife died in 2005 I naturally entered an unprecedented
        period of grief and loneliness, where God was my only refuge. During that time
        and the few years that followed (out of Church) so-called ‘self righteousness’
        fell through the cracks in the floor (not that I remember ever feeling that way
        to start with)
        When you talk about ‘personal experience’ perhaps you mean your personal experience proves to you that the gospel (through the Restoration and Joseph Smith) is true and is validated.
        Yes, pretty much every devout denominational member can say the same about
        their religion. A ‘spiritual witness’ is a hopelessly inadequate method of
        ascertaining truth. ALL other religious devotees attest to the same. The
        history of Smith, the prophets, the Church – with all its dogma and its teaching
        does not stack up; a very limited, highly polished version does, but that’s the
        betrayal and the insult. What we were taught was half baked lies. And lastly, ‘what
        problems’ will I not sort out? I don’t have any problems – certainly no doubts.
        I live with the second most stunning woman of my life and we tick along nicely.

    • Phillip Beehler

      Just briefly, your premise is false therefore your whole position cannot stand.

      All that you say and claim can only be true IF the church and gospel is not true. But you even claim that nothing was lost after you left 9 years ago, which I take to mean you still understand the doctrine and principles and believe the gospel of Christ to be true. If this is the case, then you must accept the conclusion that your course of action was “rebellious” or “sinful.”

      This would only be disproved by establishing the falseness of the gospel, which in your own claim you do not believe.

      Sorry, but you can’t leave the church and maintain its truthfulness. Doing so leaves you guiltless and the church wrong. You can’t claim the blessings of the gospel when you have walked away from it. That would be like me claiming the benefits of hard core physical exercise five days a week without ever actually exercising.

    • Becky Crandall Littlefield

      Crying and pleading is not an effective way for people to gain the witness they desire. I learned that for myself. It may seem like the best way, but it is not. A calm, confident decision to act and believe in faith (despite doubt and questions) will yield more results. I’m not saying this because I am clueless about the process but because a walked through that fire myself . . . very personally and very much the same as you and other people that have doubted and left the Church. My path took a different turn as I was able to do the things Elder Ballard referred to in the article and have since had the amazing experience of having every doubt and question resolved and have had some remarkable confirmation of absolute truths that I cannot deny. The “misery” your stake president promised was an ineffective tool used to try to motivate and change your direction and it was used on me too. I think leaders are well-intended, but their delivery sometimes has the adverse affect, especially when people leave the church and go merrily on their way. I DO think people can leave the Church and lead very happy, productive, peaceful lives and because of the Atonement, I believe that peace and joy will continue in the next. However, I do think there will be a realization and regret (which may produce some “misery”) when people who have chosen to abandon their covenants realize that they were real, and that there was a fullness of joy available to them, that they missed. Do I think everyone that leaves the Church will be miserable for eternity? Certainly not, for that is not the part of the Lord’s plan, If people would study, read, and believe D&C 76, they would have a better understanding that the Lord’s plan is to “save” all of his children, and that he will. All will receive some degree of heaven or glory, and they will be “happy”, with the exception of very, very few. No one is damned forever. It is part of the beauty of the Plan of Salvation. But the Father does desire for his children to have “all that he has” and will bless those that walk that path accordingly. I also believe that the Lord will judge people by their hearts because he knows the sincerity of people’s search for truth and their desires. I don’t think anyone can boldly proclaim what anyone will experience after this life. I know that rebuilding my testimony of the restored gospel has been the most profound and wonderful experience of my life, but I also know that the Lord is aware of everyone and where they are at, and he has a plan for them as well. The beauties of the gospel, far outweigh the negative things people get bogged down in. The PURE gospel is beautiful and powerful.

      • robbiebridgstock

        Hi Becky,
        Although I do not think I will ever agree with you about the Church being True and all that goes with this belief; I like your attitude and spirit. You seem well rounded and mature spiritually. My own TBM brother would say the same as you — and he is the nicest man on earth!. So I salute you. God bless and keep you.

    • dee hee

      MORmONISN IS A WARM PILE OF HORSE SHIT!

  • rickbob

    In the time of the Savior, he was a blasphemor. His followers were heretics. With one exception, Jis Apostles were murdered for their beliefs. Almost without exception, the same arguments used against the ancient Church are being used against the latter-day Church.

    There are less than a handful of churches today that make the claim of being devinely restored.

    The Catholic church claims to be the Lord’s church, but elected it’s first pope while the Lord’s Apostles were still actively engaged in His work.

    Will you be Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, whose founders readily admit that they were attempting only to bring the church bach into harmony with the Scriptures, seversl of whom were awaiting new Apostles?

    My heart aches for you brother, but don’t blame Elder Ballard. You are exercising the greatest gift from Heavenly Father – free agency. . .

  • K Heath McDougal

    Can I add a question? There is an Article of Faith that states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law.” As a gay christain, why is my marriage viewed as immoral by the Mormon Church? Certainly God knew one day it would be legal. Correct? The use of powerful words like obeying, honoring, and sustaining seem matter-of-fact to me.

    • LaytonJAZZ

      The church must in that sense uphold the law, but the law only states that it is legal for you to marry, not that churches must marry you. God luck!

      • K Heath McDougal

        I didnt expect they would. I just am trying to find out how the church is honoring and sustaining my marriage?

  • Kirt Peterson

    Albert and any others who believe in Chrisianity why are the gospels so different from each other but on the same subject? I don’t know does that make the bible less valid or Christ less real, I say with resounding NO He lives he is the Savior of the world and the bible is true is it perfect no are there any perfect things on this earth NO…not even us. The paradox of Christianity is faith, faith although we incosnsitnacies in writ, faith although leaders make say and do things imperfectly ( we are all human thus imperfect), faith that God will work out all this inconsitnacoes imperfections foibles and follies of man throughout history. To include those who tampered with and or caused history to be written to confuse or mislead.

    I don’t have the answers other than I have its been tried over and over again but it’s not man that I need to answer or ever will answer to; its God my father and His Son Jesus Christ my Svaior! I love Him and in faith I will act as a true disciple of Him and act in faith till the end and although I cant nor will I even try to defined all of the history of Chritianity with facts and I will never have ALL the answers…I do have faith and the love of my Savior and to me that’s all that matters.

    I’m sorry you think other people like the apostles and other people ruin your family’s happiness but I submit the only person that can ruin your or my happiness is ourselves. No one takes that away we give it away or claim other takes it when we want to blame or basically when we want to be developed from our responsibility of our letting others take it…

    Again I’m sorry that you feel so strongly that the LDS church is afar off the beating path, I am sorry that others are mad, but I’m also sorry you are mad and seeking to take people from their faith and create animosity that’s not true Christianity. If you don’t believe don’t…but that’s no reason to attack. I wil not attack your beliefs and or peruse a path of vigilance against your faith.

    I do know that through the atoning sacrifice of the Savior we are made whole our faith will be reconciled we will be blessed beyond our wildest comprehension. He lives and loves and will and does bless those who seek after Him! I know this!!! I love my Savior and He and Him alone is the cute of my peace and ultimate peace and happiness!

    I hope you find peace and happiness and the God and His son will help you in your pursuit of happiness.

    Love your brother in God
    Kirt

  • Clay Pendleton

    It becomes exceedingly hard for many members of the church to move forward when they feel that the questions of the past have not adequately been met to their expectations or understanding – for to little to late. I feel that many of the church authorities may not really know anymore than most do and perhaps are embarrassed to make comments about the past because of behavior choices of the the few who were in charge who thought that it was better to feed members milk before meat. Those who chose it was good not to have transparency with many of the members of the church by explaining some of these irregularities without having outside sources explain them first? Even though some of these questions bother me to this day, I know in my heart that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God and we may never get the answers to many of these questions – or have them made clear until we enter on the other side. Ours is to be tried by the leap of faith in this life and by nurturing the growth with what we do have.

  • Nony Mowce

    I am sorry for anyone who feels that the Gospel has somehow let them down. I understand that everyone has their own feelings and experiences, and I also truly believe that your testimony/belief/choice of spirituality is between you and God, and is none of my business. What I don’t get is why people who have left the church feel they must turn against it. As Joseph Smith said “They can leave the Church, but they can’t leave it alone.” If you don’t want to be judged for leaving, then don’t judge the rest of us for staying.

    And why, if you believe the Church holds no truth, are you still reading what the General Authorities say? Looking for more to tear down, or hoping for a spark of testimony?

    • Albert Carrington

      When everyone around you is LDS, you can’t help but see things happening in the Church.

      My identity was shaped by the Church. Do you expect that to be taken away from me and my reaction to be “oh, well! Tough luck!”

      I can’t leave Mormonism alone because it won’t leave me alone.

      And one more thing: the Church has always instilled in me to stand up for what I believe in. I don’t think it is fair to expect me to just move along while everyone else shares their testimony of their truth. Is mine somehow worth less?

  • JJC

    The last year, I have read many of these posts because they are so available on Facebook. And if I’m honest, all they do is create a feeling of doubt, contention and anger. Aren’t those all feelings that the scriptures say are opposite of the Spirit? Since Albert Carrington has asked many questions (questions that are valid to one struggling with their faith), I would like to pose some questions as well….When has the church ever asked us to do something that would be harmful to another human being? Aren’t all of our commandments things that are moral? What does any Apostle have to “gain” by being in their calling? They are old, and should be retired….yet they serve till the day they die…..speaking at events, endless traveling, preaching the commandments of God. There is nothing glorious about that. Why would they give up the rest of their lives to “protect lies?” That just doesn’t make sense. They have given up their lives for their callings because the church is True. There is just no other reason that I can come up with. I have been tempted many times to really think about all the unanswered questions and let it ruin in my faith,….but it doesn’t get me anywhere. It just makes me depressed. I could leave the church and then I would have more time for myself, but then isn’t that just selfish? Aren’t the many hours each week I spend on my calling actually serving others? Isn’t that the opposite of selfishness? Why are you leaving a church that promotes so much goodness? – Albert, I understand your concerns. I really do. I understand that their are members that are jerks and take your questions as personal offenses and claim you are “sinful”. I understand that we are led by MEN, but they are inspired men. And all men, even inspired men make mistakes. I understand that all people see the world through their own experiences and paradigms. If the first principle of the gospel is faith, then we must truly have faith that all these unanswered questions will be answered one day. Heavenly Father allowed these questions to remain so that we must choose to follow without a sure knowledge. I don’t necessarily like things that way either, but it’s the way an All Knowing, Loving Heavenly Father set up for us to learn whatever it is we need to learn. – I think it is so easy to want the church to not be true. It seems life would be so much easier at times……but think of the moments that you have either had, or definitely will come. When a loved one dies, when you’re suffering beyond anything you ever imagined and no one on this earth can take away your pain……won’t you then want the church to be true? Won’t you want hope that you can see your loved ones again? That your pain will be taken away, that a Savior truly did suffer for all things we will every go through and that He can understand your pain. And send His Spirit of comfort? – I’ve had many moments like the ones I’ve just described. And I have cried into my pillow many nights wanting answers or peace…..and they don’t come…..until I am completely broken. When I am completely broken, then I receive peace, and it starts out small. It truly does come in small increments…line upon line, precept upon precept. And there have been times when God has made Himself manifest to me through undeniable experiences that I have never shared specifics with anyone. And through those experiences, none of my unanswered questions were answered. I just felt peace….that one day things would all make sense. Peace that I could follow the prophet and not worry that I was wasting a second of my life. Albert, I know this post was all over the place, but I had to write it for myself. Again, I understand you are struggling and that could be for a number of reasons. Be honest with yourself, do you want the church to be true? Or not? because I think we can condition our minds to find (or not find) evidences that support whatever we want. Only the Spirit can bring that peace though…..and when we can completely give our will to God, and to things we don’t completely understand, HE will send that peace…..after we go through the trial of our own faith. Good luck to you in your quest. I know it’s not easy. I do know that the church is true though. It is led by prophets chosen by God. Jesus truly is the Savior of this world. He understands our hearts, and will be the perfect judge of each of us. He will know if we have followed what we know to be right within our own hearts. He will know if we knew the truth and followed it or looked for excuses not to follow it. No one else can makes those judgements. I hope you’re honest with yourself as I have tried to be with myself. And in the end, I know this gospel is meant to be lead us to a happy and eternal reunion with our Father in heaven, our Savior and our families. It is the plan of happiness, and salvation. I hope you find that peace, that I have found, through trials, struggles, and patience. It will come!

  • Alex Jeppson
    • MTB

      Kudos…… It wasn’t until the 6th paragraph that you went with “anti-mormon.”

  • Jeremy Dean Lott

    The problem is that you were taught when you were young to stand up in testimony meeting and say, ‘the Church is true.’ Your testimony is clearly based on the faulty misconception that ‘the Church is true’ and therefore does not make any mistakes.

    True, the Church contains the priesthood, passed on by the authority of God, and the Church administers the ordinances of the Gospel. As a Prophet, the President of the Church and the twelve apostles are entitled to revelation to clarify doctrine. As Revelators, they are entitled to revelation about the problems coming down the road, and can come up with solutions–human solutions. Solutions which will inevitably be mistakes some of the time.

    Here is an example: President Monson receives revelation regarding what will happen the next several years and is told that missionary efforts need to be ramped up. He thinks about the needs and then shares them with his counselors and the twelve apostles. Together they discuss the topic and start thinking about ideas. As they discuss the problem and review stats, they become painfully aware that they are losing a number of potential missionaries between graduation and completion of the first year of college. They decide that it would be beneficial to change the missionary age to 18 for men and 19 for women so that the numbers in the field will be higher. They pray about it and ask God if He is good with their solution. God approves–not saying it will definitely work, but instead saying He is okay if they try that route. Next conference comes around and the announcement is made and the age is changed.

    I don’t know that is exactly how it happened. He could have just been told by God to lower the age. But most problems the Church faces are addressed in this fashion. This is why so many mistakes have been made by the Church. This is why you can find volumes of mistakes that Joseph and Brigham made. They were not perfect. The Church is not perfect. And to have a testimony in the Church instead of in the doctrine, the Priesthood and the ordinances is going to deal a crushing blow to anyone reading the recent releases of the Church.

    Who am I to judge your diligence to the simple things Elder Ballard said to be diligent in performing? I will say this though, you will find in any written or spoken words of man–inspired by God or not–exactly what you are looking for. You didn’t wake up one morning, smack yourself in the forehead and suddenly realize the Church is not true. Something put the doubt in your mind. The doubt led you to your research and you found exactly what you needed to support your doubts–Joseph made a lot of really stupid mistakes, and Brigham, well he wasn’t the friendliest of people.

    Mostly, I hope you have found happiness and peace, because living with doubts is awful. Elder Ballard did not divide your family and neither did you or your family. You know as well as anyone, from what I can gather from your article, that it is the Truth as understood by Latter Day Saints that has divided you. It is a great feeling of loss and desire for you to find Eternal joy in the same way that they still believe is the only way to find such joy and peace.

    I really do hope you have found the answers and the peace you spent so much time searching for and that you can reconcile in some way with your family so you enjoy each other’s company here on the Earth.

  • John Fesola’i

    Wow I’ve obviously impacted you’ll so greatly you’ve all felt so moved to comment haha even though there’s been nothing said, you still felt you should write, play the victim, talk of Christ and the BOM like you know something lol, Oh man too much guys.

    It’s obvious no one actually listens to you guys but yourselves and yesterday I. Oh it must of been exciting? The amount of self proclaimed smarts in here is to much for me and I must bid you all farewell and some of you please register in Uni and learn something.

    Don’t reply, but you will lol

    • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

      We all have university degrees and good jobs, but thanks for the advice! Also, the 20,000 people who have visited our site so far today show that it’s not just us who are listening. Clearly you aren’t someone with an open mind, so we encourage you to avoid our site, as it is obviously only a source of frustration for you!
      All the best! 🙂

  • Adonijah

    I have been reading a lot of similar blog posts and comments lately and listening to many Mormon matters podcasts focusing on those currently disaffected or former members of the LDS Church who believe (and argue vehemently) that it is being misled by Tom Monson and his money grubbing band of Gadianton thieves, or that everything Joseph Smith taught and he himself is a fraud and that everything LDS Church members have been taught and believe about him is a lie, ergo the Church is a fraud and a lie, and there is no God, or Christ, no afterlife, so live for now, good luck and Buddha bless.
    Admittedly, I have been sucked in an I do have my own questions about the policies, doctrines and history of the church. But I have also come to a very poignant realization (to me anyway), which is that the reason many people are leaving is obviously because of sin. Specifically it is because of the sin of pride. That’s what it seems to boil down to. The questioners, the people in transition, the exmos lead themselves, through research and reading, to a place where their questions are no longer directed to God. For some reason they seem to direct their questions to LDS Church leaders in open letters in blogs. In the end though, these people question God’s methods and intentions and second guess him. Then when God is silent, and their questions remain unanswered, they resent God and conclude that He was never there to begin with.
    I know that my own pride is coming through in the tone of this comment, and it’s something I’ll continue to work on. But for me, as someone with questions about the policies, doctrine and history of the Church, the way forward is with humility, love and faith. That seems pretty simple to me, and I don’t think it requires any “mental gymnastics.”

    • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

      Hey! Thanks for your comment. I will firstly say that the four of us who run this site don’t believe Thomas S. Monson is a “money grabbing Gadianton thief”! We are aware of the deep psychological conditioning that goes into high-demand religion, so please don’t think we assume the worst intent from the leaders of the church.
      All four of us were about as in-love with the church as you can get. We kept every single letter of the law without making it all ABOUT the letter of the law. We read our scriptures every day. We fasted for 24 hours a month. We served in EQ and RS presidencies, and we served missions. I know faithful members are quick to say “well those things don’t mean anything!”, and of course, you’re right – a testimony is not secured at any point – but I mention them to highlight how devoted we all were. We only ever sought answers to questions faithfully. We wanted answers so we could continue to strengthen our testimonies, and to learn and grow.
      You have to understand that these blog posts come LONG after the fact. Long after we came to the realization that the church wasn’t true. And THAT came after months or years of studying scriptures and church history, pleading with God in prayer, asking for ANYTHING to strengthen our testimonies. We were MORE than willing to accept weaknesses in the leaders we loved, past and present. We rationalized more evil than most members are even aware went on in church history.
      I don’t know why you feel equipped to deem it “the sin of pride”, but I understand, because you cannot entertain the idea that the church just might not be true at this point. But I hope you will believe me when I say that myself and the three friends I run this site with never had any desire other than the church being true. We never sought to criticize. We justified for far longer than we probably should have. I would invite you to read my newest post, “Leaving a Sinking Boat” to perhaps broaden your understanding of the things you have been quick to misjudge.
      All the best.

  • schlumpy

    Curious of what response the offended is expecting. And curious if he went expecting to be offended. Curious to why he blames Elder Ballard for his family’s belief instead of holding his family accountable. Ballard hasn’t forced anyone to their own witness. He just shares the same witness.

  • Jared91

    I have been studying church history and doctrine for many years. I first became aware of the difficulties in church history and doctrine that are on the internet today, in the early 1970’s. Since then, I have continued to study the issues. I’ll use John Dehlin’s, Understanding Mormon Disbelieve, from his March 2012 survey. Following are the top ten reasons for disbelief:

    Polygamy/Polyandry
    Book of Abraham
    Blacks and the Priesthood
    DNA and the Book of Mormon
    Masonic influences in the temple ceremony
    Multiple, conflicting versions of the First Vision
    Anachronisms in the Book of Mormon (e.g. horses, steel, etc.)
    Women and the Priesthood
    Past church positions on science, age of the earth, evolution, etc.
    Issues with the authenticity or credibility of the priesthood restoration

    Like many others here, I have studied these issues in depth. They are troubling to say the least.

    However, in my case these faith challenging issues didn’t cause me to lose faith. Am I troubled by them? Yes. I would like to know the answers to the many questions I have.

    Even with the unanswered question I have, my faith was not damaged because of the depth of the Spiritual experiences I’ve been given.

    Anyone who has had the same or similar experiences as I have would say the same thing. Without these experiences I might have left the church.

    Heber C. Kimball, prophesied of our day:

    “To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be
    necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves.
    The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not
    possess this personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got the
    testimony, live right and call upon the Lord and cease not till you obtain it.
    If you do not you will not stand.”

    The problem isn’t with Joseph Smith as much as it is with the decision a few church leaders made years ago to airbrush church history. That doesn’t mean their liars, as some claim, paternalistic, yes. It’s what was done in the day they lived. I think most of you, if you lived in that day, would have agreed to airbrush church history and doctrine.

    I think the best way to handle the crisis of faith many are encountering in the internet era is to do as Heber C. Kimball urged: “live right and call upon the Lord and cease not till you obtain” a witness.

    I have and so have many others.

    Sincerely,

    Millions of Saints Who Are Standing Faithful

    http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com

  • Ben Jensen

    Dear Elder Ballard,

    Like you, I too am scratching my head here trying to figure out how on God’s green Earth you are responsible for Albert’s choice to leave the church. It’s a bloody nose looking for a fist, isn’t it? This is just what people do who aren’t willing to face or accept the consequences of their choices and actions but you already know that. If I had to guess, he’s bitter and hurt after learning something about the church’s history that he didn’t like or felt was inconsistent with whatever expectation he had. He forgets that although Christ is at the head of this church it is still operated by very imperfect people.

    I did find it odd in Albert’s article the part when he said he didn’t read anti-Mormon literature yet here he is producing it. He also claims to be aiding others in finding “primary sources” while directing them away from the source itself. What do others expect to find with the help of those who hate the church? I know. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, right? I could go on about all his inconsistencies here but I won’t. All I have for you is just one question: what is Albert going to do now?

    He’s left the church only to do…what? Fight against it (like they say, there is no middle ground after you leave the church which is why those who do can’t leave it alone)? Is that now his life’s mission? Whatever happened to working out his own salvation? He’s left what he thought had him saved so does he just start his search all over again? Where else is he going to find a church as structured, organized, charitable, missionary oriented, temple building, tithing donating, compassionate service giving as this (let’s not forget a mirror image of the church Christ established while He was on the Earth)?! I’m sure Albert still believes in God and that he is His literal offspring and as such an heir to all that the Father has (c’mon, who wouldn’t want that, right?). Albert is an eternal being just like you and me. But where else is Albert going to find ALL the properties of salvation as laid out by Christ Himself? I just hope he figures things out before it is too late.

    Your friend,

    Ben

    PS. Your talk was great. I absolutely LOVED it and felt like it was exactly what we needed to hear!

  • Mary Ann Pickering

    my Momma always said….ya find what you are looking for. And dang if she isn’t right on the nose!

  • 4shrwd

    I see America’s issue of never taking responsibility for your own actions has now moved into the heavens. What in the hell did you think was going to happen? You hadn’t heard this type of talk a 1000 times before? Oh, yea its you so you need someone to blame because you chose to raise your family in this Church. ALL THE INFORMATION you “recently found out” has been available for years. The only difference is, you had to go to a library to find it, instead of “googling it.” Be a human, take responsibility for your own actions. If the Church isn’t true, it isn’t true, but don’t whine, that the Church is who ruined your relationship with your family.

  • skn48

    I guess I don’t see how the statement “When someone stops doing these simple but essential things, they cut themselves from the ‘well of living water’ and allow Satan to muddle their thinking.” necessarily means that those who have left have done this. It means, for example, if you stop reading the scriptures then you are not gaining the insights in the scriptures. That doesn’t mean if you left the church that you were not reading the scriptures. I have a hard time following the logic that connects this statement to some attempt to blame those who left for not doing these things. The converse of a statement is not always true: “all widgets are gadgets” does not mean “all gadgets are widgets.” E. Ballard’s statement seems to be “all who don’t do essential things are those who do not drink from the well” but that doesn’t mean “all who do not drink from the well don’t do essential things.” Additionally, you would have to equate “those who don’t drink from the well” with “those who left the church.” I don’t see that that is necessarily implied either.

  • schlumpy

    That is one fancy temper tantrum!

  • NoLongerASheeple

    If one is going to question, the first question should be “Does God exist?” All religions are founded on the idea that God is real and exists. But it is a presupposition without any evidence. Far before anyone could convince me of the value of Mormonism or any other religion one must first demonstrate the existence of God, and second demonstrate that God is a being worthy of being followed.
    The first book of Scripture accepted by Christians today, portrays a vicious, evil God, who murders his own children through drowning, demands blood sacrifice, requires the subjugation of women, and practices genocide. He deserves to be imprisoned, not worshipped.

    Without evidence of God, the entire truth of religion and the concept of objective morality is moot. What we have left is a system of laws and customs, trying to find a balance between empathy and psychopathy. Religion is just an excuse to impose the will of the leaders on the followers, to fleece them and eat them (metaphorically).

    Religion is simply the organization of the “trifecta of goodness”…money, power, and control and wielded by men who have seized power. Instead of being guided to Heaven, you are merely sheeple willingly selling yourself into mental slavery all for the purpose of obtaining an afterlife…an afterlife with no evidence it even exists.

    You think I’m wrong? Then show me the objective, science based-evidence. I’m willing to believe all kinds of strange and weird things given sufficient evidence. “God” is a magnificent claim so be prepared to demonstrate magnificent evidence.

    • Adonijah

      I’ll give you empirical evidence of God’s existence as soon as you give me empirical evidence of string theory, the multiverse, and the big bang. Also if you can email me some dark matter and explain exactly what it is and how it works, that’d be swell. You act as though scientists don’t act on faith or belief at all because they call them theory and assumption. Also, unless you have firsthand experience with astrophysics and astronomy or the Hadron Collider, and you’ve seen and analyzed the raw data, your belief in and reliance on whatever scientific principles or theory you’ve read or studied is an act of faith. Sorry to break that to you. Prove to me empirically that God does not exist, that the human soul is a fiction and that we and everything on earth and in the universe are all here by accident or pure chance. Good luck.

      • artmarc

        As fact would have it, many of the “proofs” you ask for are available if you have the tenacity to search them out. The existence of dark matter, multiverse, big bang, etc. are hypotheses based upon tangible measurements projected toward a physically measurable phenomena. While the complete picture of what is actually happening is not yet entirely known – that there is some force of matter at play is demonstrable and more detail is learned each year (Higgs Boson particle was found as projected in models). Science does not make dogmatic conclusions that it possesses all knowledge and the final word. It is the nature of its process to be self skeptical and is constantly attempting to prove itself false – in fact, falsifiable is a condition of scientific research. That there remain unexplained phenomena in the universe is nothing astounding. Scientists will form hypotheses and test them. Not all work out. Many fail. Religion takes the other tack of declaring what “IS” and “HOW” it got there and then has to dance the details together in the attempt to support that conclusion. You are out of luck on this challenge. It is misapplied to the nature of research.

  • Jaclyn Thornock Gadd

    Just out of curiosity why don’t the authors stamp his or her name on the articles written for this website?

  • John Fesola’i

    Hopefully my final response, this was to “Cake”, once again it’s my view.

    Oh how hard you try to confuse my words, do you not see that I hold all you ask as low value questions. Yes that’s right, the things you entertain and ask about my religion are of little to no value for spiritual growth, that’s never changed. You think you’re humble, submissive, and have true intent, all things I believe God judges a person to be yet countless times you guys self proclaim that you’ve ticked all these boxes and met the criteria for spiritual guidance. Hence I cannot Lead you to any truth, irrespective of any thing you say, what doesn’t change is that you consistently blab on about low level questions and only want to engage me in these.

    Can’t you just leave it alone. You’re the only one left now responding to me, holding me accountable for my view that:

    1. You’ll are self proclaimed everything, smarts, ture intent, diligent scripture readers, and the most absurd, “truth seekers”

    2. I have no responsibility to teach the gospel to the stubborn of heart in which I view most of you’ll. I’ll concentrate my efforts and resources to those that have exactly the same questions but are not so contentiously blind.

    3. Leaving the church or openly attacking our leaders member or non-member, is on your own head. You may think you can shift blame onto me, but you’re the one’s that caused the Spirit to leave and, if you’re a non member the Light of Christ is something you’d have to deny too. Most of you’ll have associated spiritual matters with chemical combustions in your body, as that’s what I’ve read here, therefore, it makes perfect sense why you are the way you are, and entertain low value questions, as the path many of you claim to have so diligently performed, is at your own standards. I cannot teach a person who willingly denies or does not truly seek to understand the Light of Christ, I too have been very contentious in heart against certain doctrines, so I have experienced what you have, yet you have not experienced what I have, yet many of you imitate it and then dilute what I’ve experienced by claiming you know something, and I keep asking what is it you know? And you’ll keep showing your low level questions.

    4. Some of you have called my religion a cult, understand when you do such you’ve lost all respect of any true intellect and knowledge with me, anyone can read books and get degrees, achievement of academics is generally a material resources based thing, while spiritual knowledge is not. As Elder Holland has said, “it’s probably best that they have left the church” referring to you’ll that call us a cult. So shame on you that think our efforts are for you. Our efforts is and always has been for those who are seeking the gospel, and reactivation of members is a good thing, but balanced with standing up for the faith. I have not ever been so straight up, for many years I’ve held my tongue, but the church has said to not be so timid in our defenses anymore. Most of you guys are exmormon in open rebellion against the church yet love to play victim, I simply call them out. Or active members that do the physical but dead in spirit because they go against church leaders choosing their own wisdom over the Lord’s counsel. What don’t you think I have something to say too? Yet I shut my mouth and serve people likely less knowledgeable, spiritual, and academic because I KNOW this church is true, through prayer, and I payed my debts for that knowledge and still am. Yet you misunderstand and call this Blind Faith? Are you kidding me? As if you know something more than me? Label people like me with blind faith for listening to our leaders?

    Those are just my views, and if my leaders, not you jokers, counsel me otherwise to show more empathy, than so be it, I would in a heart beat, not because of blind obedience, but because of my hard earned spiritual experiences which supersedes my academic achievements by light years, which academic achievements supercedes most of y’all achievements. Until then I will speak how I feel at you as you have I.

    BTW, you can’t let us be, yes I responded, that does not mean I started it Einstein, it means that you’ll heckled at our doctrine so I responded to the article. “Let us be” means you go your way and talk no more evil against us and we will go our way, THE END. Let us be the judge of who’s a truth seeker, as it’s our time you waste, not just your own.

    This truly is the time of the self proclaimed, what makes any of you exmormons any different to the FLDS? At least they leave us alone and are not self proclaimed everything.

  • Alexis Carre

    Hey everyone, Bear with me, might be a little bit long, but I feel like it’s important.
    I see more and more comments everyday on this post. It’s a pretty big deal. I asked myself some questions for the last couple days, reflecting on what you guys were saying.

    One big question that came up and that I’ll ask each one of you: do you believe that God exists?
    simple right? do you believe that God exists, yes or no? if the answer is yes, then how do you know? I mean, have you seen him or talked to him?

    Ok. I’m gonna assume that everyone answered “I’ve never seen Him”. or else we definitely need to talk haha 🙂 ok, it’s a question of faith!! we can’t prove that God exists, but we believe he’s there => faith! I’m guessing a lot of you that aren’t agreeing with the LDS church teachings still believe in God (if not, I don’t know why you waste your time trying to lower Elder Ballard (because that’s what some of you are saying : Elder Ballard is pulling everyone away from God, he’s prideful, he thinks he knows everything, he’s tearing our family apart, etc….you get the idea). If you do believe in God, could you explain scientifically how you get to that conclusion that He is there? because according to me, there’s no way you could prove that, or else we wouldn’t have any atheists, and we wouldn’t need faith cause we’d have knowledge, right?

    so again, it’s a question of faith. That goes for every question that has been asked so far. Some of us believe differently, and they’re free to choose as they want, but I don’t think it’s wise or even Christian to start to criticize or diminish someone else’s beliefs. (no one’s perfect, and sometimes we let words slip out too fast, me included, but hey there’s always room for improvement!)

    we can’t explain rationally everything. There isn’t a scientific answer for everything. Just look at the example above. You still believe in God, without a scientific explanation for that. So, I’d go with the same way of thinking for a lot of your questions, and use faith. What if the LDS church is wrong? what if it’s right? Faith! that means that sometimes we won’t have an answer!!! we’ll live a life based on faith. I for one am not unhappy to live “simply” on faith.

    Maybe some of you are thinking that having faith is good, but sometimes logic takes over. Well, let me remind you that God is definitely not a logical God, I mean just look some of Christ’s miracles. Put mud into some blind person’s eyes, and they see. Raising someone from the dead. Healing the lepers. There’s a ton more. Science would say that’s not logical or even possible. Well, again, it comes down to faith that these things happened.

    You are definitely not forced to believe in God, Christ, or the LDS Church! Again, it’s a personal choice, based on our understanding, our faith, and what we look for in our life.

    I hope that we all find a path that leads us to true happiness. 🙂 hopefully I didn’t offend anyone, that was not the goal. I tried to simply say what’s been on my mind, in a respectful way.

    Take care, guys

  • Jim

    You can live and believe as you see fit. I don’t understand why you would listen to Elder Ballard’s talk in the first place if you have left the church. Also, I see that you demand civility but you start your facebook post by calling Elder Ballard a wiener. As is usually the case, people who have left the church or don’t believe in religions, demand a very high standard of others but don’t of themselves.

  • lphant

    King James Bible / LDS Galatians 1:8
    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    King James Bible/LDS Isaiah 43:10
    Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

    King James Bible & LDS John 10:30
    I and my Father are one.

  • John Fesola’i

    I’ve eluded to you I know truth. To balance what I’ve said to you all. Below is the truth I feel I’ve been taught. Take from it what you want.

    “Man cannot be saved in ignorance, Light of Christ vs Holy Ghost vs Satan’s deceptive motive and ways.”

    I feel the reason is because He’s given us the Light of Christ, which is to lead us to the Holy Ghost and the Spirit.

    Each testify right and wrong, the Spirit however, teaches us Truth of all things Moroni 10:3, note it says truth of all things, both of spiritual and academic or worldly matters that are required for our temporal growth. The Light of Christ should lead us to the Spirit, the Holy Ghost.

    This is why I think the Sons of Ammon entered into a covenant with the Lord (Alma 24:1-11) as they were shown, how wicked they were, and although they did not sin against the Law’s of God, as the Laws of God at that time was not made known to them, as they did not even know of the existence of God, they were shown that they at least had the Light of Christ, and that this light testified to them of all their wrongdoings that kept them ignorant before the Lord. I believe they came to a perfect understanding that they openly rebelled against the lower Light, which per any doctrine of any Christian faith is sufficient to keep them out of God’s presence.

    I personally do not believe that it was their desire to be exalted that caused them to enter into a unique covenant with the Lord to not take up arms. I think that the Lord allowed them to see their nothingness before Him, that their ways were evil in heart, and this pierced them so much that they sought to Love him but Love “unto repentance”, because loving God is only loving ourselves to repent so that we may rest with Him, as that is what He wants. Satan on the other hand desires revenge! He cares nothing about you and I, he doesn’t even seek to destroy us because he likes seeing you and I argue! Elder Perry of the 12 notes Satan’s desire is Revenge on God, God wants us to choose Him through an ordered structure as revealed by the Prophets. Satan wants to destroy that order, as each one of us he takes, he’s taking one more from God. That’s pure evil. Satan could not get the people of Ammon to break their covenant when the Lamanities fell on them, as they would rather die than break their covenant of not taking up weapons of war again, they even rushed up to meet their murders. However, in Alma 54 we see that the people of Ammon could not sit by and watch the Nephites being slaughtered tremendously, and were about to break their covenant for their love of the Nephites. I feel the Spirit showed me that, Satan will use righteous desires as motives to insist we break Covenants we’ve made with the Lord. I call this as Satan Cloaking his evil plans in righteous desires. Thankfully for the people of Ammon a Prophet of the Lord was on earth, his name is Helaman. Helman feared they may do right with the Nephites but wrong by the Lord (Alma 53:15), so instead of taking this much needed aid by way of physical strengthening of the Nephite armies. The Nephites showed them of their faith by basically saying, it’s ok we will continue to fight and die for you because preserving our Covenants to the Lord is more important than what we think we ought to be doing, so go back and live in safety to honour that covenant and we will continue the fight vastly out numbered. I feel it’s that love for Christ that caused the people of Ammon to offer up their sons for battle, because for me as a dad it would rather fight and kill than allow my son to do such. The Nephites strengthened the faith of the people of Ammon that the parents basically told their young men, go fight for the Nephites and you’ll be aiiiiiiight!! What a gangsta thing to say to your kids!! Wish I was born then, but nope I’ve got to be a keyboard warrior instead lol.

    So all these movement about women and the priesthood, gays, historical stuff, etc. Irrespective of how I feel and no matter how righteous my intentions are, if I follow the Prophets, I am promised that my handsome son will one day serve a full time mission for the Lord, of his own free choice and sound mind. Now I feel I have been given that promise because the Lord knows my heart.

    There’s a lot more I feel I have been taught since humbling myself sufficiently before the Lord and combining both my academic achievements and my spiritual hopes. I did not read of anything to make these connections, I feel the Spirit guided my learning, because I had done enough to show that.

    I’ve had a tough upbringing, that y’all will never understand as things have happened to me behind closed doors, interpret that however you want and go ahead and make fun of it as I probably deserve it for being frank with y’all. But know that there’s nothing you can say or anything that’s happened or will happen ugly enough in my life that will shake my testimony of this the Church of Jesus Christ.

    If you truly want to talk of things of such value that you instantly see blessings in your life and truly feel his love, then please add me on Skype and let’s talk. Or otherwise ignore me, as my words will only serve to dam you as a Testimony before God that my life has been highly blessed because of Him. If you reason within yourself that my conduct here towards you nullifies your desire to seek Heavenly Father, then so be it, we are held accountable before God for what we say, do and think, for He truly knows if it’s pride we feed or meekness. Therefore, it will be my defense against yours, which mine will be shown through my actions which has helped countless come to Christ, irrespective of your thought. Also, I have about a good 55 years of life left to labour in His church, grow in understanding of how to better share with stubborn hearts, which inadvertently builds my defense against you. So basically I can work harder than all of you in His gospel, and one day He through his leaders on earth will show me how to be more compassionate in bringing those who truly seek the Lord to the Lord. Hence why I sustain all my leaders both local, area authority, and general authority, because I feel that there is a better way I can do His work, but that instruction will never come from y’all.

    Who and what I am did not come from reading books, seeking, entertaining, an pondering truth as taught in His church is why I have and do all I can. Now if you disagree and have a better way so be it.

  • KTM450SXF

    “When someone stops doing these simple but essential things, they cut themselves from the ‘well of living water’ and allow Satan to muddle their thinking.”

    I did all the essential things up until the very day I left. I didn’t go to any Satanic internet site.

    Well, Albert (yes, I’m clear it’s a nom de plume), I can see one little reasoning flaw here. Elder Ballard said that should you stop doing these things, you cut yourself off from the well of living water, etc.

    He did NOT say that “not doing these things” was the only way that one’s thinking may become muddled.

    So you may have been doing all these things just exactly as you should . . . but you nonetheless got your thinking wrapped around an axle. And since reasoning seems to be a bit of a struggle, I can see how that might happen.

    Elder’s Ballard’s assertion stands and your reasoning’s just a lil bit flawed.

  • Kaneki24

    I hope the door didn’t hit you on the way out. Maybe some day you’ll grow up and take responsibility for your own problems instead of blaming someone else. Just remember, it was YOU who CHOSE to leave, nobody else is responsible for that.

  • Donald McGuinness

    He did not say he had the answers but the elder had to first read the book of Mormon. He said he would attempt to find the answers and in the meantime asked the Elder to read for an hour a day, the Book of Mormon. When the Elder returned he told Elder Ballard that he no longer need the answers and then Elder Ballard said that he had spent a long time investigating and preparing the answers and that the Elder was going to hear them none the less. Who made the choices this woman made. Was it Elder Ballard or was it she? I have been a member for over 50 yrs. A convert. I have studied as well the doctrine and the history of the church. I have investigated the accusations of the anti-Mormons. They have been a great source of questions to investigate. And I have not found anything that could not be answered. I am not member of the church because of Joseph Smith or the history of the church or doctrines that I had questions about. I am a member because I got on my knees and asked God if it was true. And I received an answer that it is indeed true. Nothing can change that. And the choice I made divided our family as well. To this day I am condemned to hell by many of them for the choice I made to join the LDS church. I don’t blame my choices on anyone but me. But many people do blame others and will continue to blame others for the choices they have made. It is just the way it is. I am not saying that you have not studied or tried etc. I am saying that your choices are yours. Nobody else made choices for you. At least that is my assumption, based upon what you have written. My prayer will be that you find peace within yourself, and your family.

  • Jessica Morgan

    This. This made me cry. You out into words exactly what I feel but haven’t been able to say. Thank you.

  • Ryan Carlson

    Telling a man you’ve never met that he ruined your eternal family? What a sad ad hominem. If you listen to the talk, you will hear that he gave the answers to the questions that the man had asked. Despite this, the bias you possess seems to cause you to hear only what you desire to hear.

  • Jon
  • Halie

    This makes me think of a CES Devotional given to young
    adults back in January 2014 by Elder Tad A. Callister. Here’s the talk:
    https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2014-00-0010-what-is-the-blueprint-of-christs-church?lang=eng#p3s:2974940&p3e:3059950

    I encourage everyone to read it, study it, ponder over it, and pray about it.
    (Yes, that was cliché– Sorry). However don’t just pray like a robot. Take time
    to mentally and spiritually prepare yourself to ask God if the Restored Gospel
    of Jesus Christ really is the only true and living gospel on the face of the
    earth today. Be open and willing to receive an answer. Forget your opinions and
    the opinions of other people and just ask God. Believe that He will answer you.
    We oftentimes don’t receive answers to our questions because we approach God
    with our own biases, which results in frustration on our part because we want
    to receive the answer we want to receive.

    I’m now going to share my own experience with this, so if you don’t want to
    read it, skip the next two paragraphs.

    I am a recently returned missionary. I went on a mission to find out whether or
    not the Church was true and not necessary because it was something I wanted to
    do. However after my first month in the mission field, I had had enough. I
    found my original reason for going on a mission not strong enough to keep me
    there. I begged, pleaded, prayed, fasted, and seeked for the answer to go home.
    I hoped for and wanted it so badly that I just knew I would be told to go home.
    I was miserable and wasting my time, so why wouldn’t God tell me to go home?

    To make a long story short, I sometimes I felt like I was told to go home and
    other times I wasn’t so sure. This went on until I had been there for almost
    nine months– half my mission! After going through the motions of being a
    missionary for so long, I finally came to the conclusion (with some help and
    advice from lots of people) that I needed to ask of God with an open mind. I
    had to ask Him without trying to receive the answer I wanted to receive. I had
    to be humble and totally willing to do His will, not mine, whatever that would
    be. To be concise, once I decided to be open (completely and honestly open) to
    whatever the Lord wanted for me, I received an answer that I needed to stay and
    so I did.

    Now I don’t want to toot my own horn and I’m sure the people who have read this
    far into my comment are wondering, “What does this have to do with
    anything?” I want to answer your question. The reason I shared that story
    is to prove that God does answer our questions, albeit according to His timing
    and will, and also by our own preparation and openness. He can’t give us an
    answer (and we most certainly won’t receive an answer) if we aren’t willing to
    receive it. Therefore my advice to all with questions is to open your heart and
    forget your biases for a minute, and earnestly seek God. If you’ve tried that
    already, try harder and then try some more! Don’t give up! Doubt your doubts
    before you doubt your faith.

    Well, I’m done now. Perhaps I was way off base with my comment, but whatever. I
    wrote what I felt I should write.

    I just want to say that I know God loves us, no matter our opinions or beliefs.
    He esteems the most faithful Mormon and the most avid Anti-Mormon activist the
    same. Christ didn’t suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane and die on the cross
    just for the Mormons. He died on the cross for every single person who lived,
    lives, and will live on this earth. He suffered and died, not only for the
    Mormons, but also for the Atheists, the Catholics, the ex-Mormons, the Hindus,
    the Muslims, the Protestants, and the list goes on and on and on.

    Please read (or even listen to) that talk I posted above. It’s something that
    every person should read and study. To end I’m just going to leave you all with
    a little excerpt from the talk. Enjoy:

    “Suffice it to say, I can live with some human imperfections, even among
    prophets of God–that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with some
    alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon; time will correct
    those. And I can live with some seeming historical anomalies; they are minor in
    the total landscape of truth.

    “But I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored by
    Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to bless my family,
    and I cannot live without knowing my wife and children are sealed to me for
    eternity. That is the choice we face–a few unanswered questions on one hand
    versus a host of doctrinal certainties and the power of God on the other.”

    That is my testimony as well. I know the Church is true and I know God loves us
    individually and personally. I cannot live without the eternal truths that are
    only found within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even if they
    are received by imperfect prophets and apostles. The Church of Jesus Christ is
    not full of perfect people. It is, however, full of perfect doctrine, which can
    lead us straight to God’s highest kingdom if we allow it.

    By the way, I will not be replying to any comments I may receive.

    God bless!

  • ammon44

    Weigh the evidence pray for inspiration and then choose to believe or not. I choose to believe. I believe in God our loving Father in Heaven. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. I believe God called prophets to teach the truth and to write holy scriptures. I believe Joseph Smith was called by God. I believe he was a true prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true and there is simply no way Joseph Smith could have written it. I believe there is a great deceiver, our enemy, the devil, dho has had thousands of years to perfect his craft and lead us away from truth. Choose you this day whom ye will serve…

  • Becky Crandall Littlefield

    I’ve
    been thinking about and trying to compose a well thought out response
    to this article for over a week now because I had some very strong
    emotions when I read it. These emotions include great sympathy and
    compassion for people that are experiencing
    this kind of thing, as well as frustration that I don’t have the
    ability to articulate my thoughts in such a way that conveys the depths
    of the profound experience that I had as I made a conscious decision to
    turn from the those things that were eroding my faith during a 3+ year
    period of time, and instead chose to focus solely on those things that
    I’d been taught were true in earlier years of my life. What a profound,
    life- changing, experience began to take place when I did that! I had
    to “choose to believe” first, proverbially setting all questions and
    doubts on a shelf for a time. What transpired when I did this was
    nothing short of a miracle. Anyway, as I was about to hit “send” on my
    response, I actually read the talk by Elder Ballard that this article
    referenced and was stunned that the context was completely different
    than this author implied. I found it to be one of the most loving,
    spirit-filled talks I have read . . . filled with compassionate (albeit
    direct and powerful) counsel, specifically for the saints in Utah
    Valley, but that would be applicable to other members as well. If you
    read the talk in it’s entirety, I just can’t see how the harshness and
    “refusal to answer questions” referred to, were even found in Elder
    Ballard’s words. There ARE answers to the tough, perplexing questions.
    Elder Ballard said so and said he DID eventually answer those questions
    for the young man that asked. There are many people and sources out
    there that can answer those questions and add insight to troubling
    aspects of history, but his point was those answers sometimes aren’t
    even necessary if a foundational faith in the Book of Mormon is laid. If
    those vital practices of scripture study, prayer, and Sunday worship
    are done with pure intent (not just as a checklist) they can provide the
    strength needed to believe even stuff that may be hard to believe. The
    act of believing and acting MUST precede receiving answers regarding
    spiritual matters. The story of Abraham is a great example for all of
    us. He had to accept and act on some pretty tough stuff BEFORE the ram
    in the thicket appeared. I promise, from my own experience, that MANY
    “rams in the thicket” appeared for me when I laid down my doubts and
    questions and focused SOLELY on doing those things that build faith and
    not call it into question, namely reading the Book of Mormon . . . And
    not reading it to find “proof” but with the intent to learn more about
    the Savior and to confirm truth I had consciously made the choice to
    give one more chance. Sometimes answers don’t come when we think they
    should, and maybe the witnesses or “true messengers” we seek don’t show
    up in the way we think they shoud, or in the way that we so desperately
    want ( I prayed many times, tearfully and desperately just like the
    author of this article, and was disappointed when angels didn’t appear
    when I felt my pleadings were so sincere.) I was desperately scrambling
    and clawing to find truth, but I have since learned that confirmation of
    truth does not come in moments of frantic searching and panic. It comes
    after a confident attempt at believing and following and acting in
    absolute faith in things already assumed true. I wish with every fiber
    of my being that I could convey this message to everyone struggling with
    doubt and disaffection from the Church. The gospel is beautiful and
    amazing, and the Savior is real. The Father’s plan is perfect and he’s
    given us every tool we need to find him and ultimate happiness, not just
    temporary happiness. Satan is also real and his plan is very effective
    because he uses bits of truth to deceive. He clouds minds and
    perpetuates fear . . . But he also uses truth to keep people from
    recognizing there is even more glorious truth. People often stop looking
    when they “find contentment” because they think that’s it. I’m so
    grateful for my experience because of the solid testimony I now have of
    truths that are absolute. https://www.lds.org/…/to-the-saints-in-the-utah-south…

  • Lane

    Amen to this article. I have read tons of church history in the last year and I know the church is not true! Thank you for writing this.

  • Haley Wilson

    Albert,

    I was incredibly grateful for your thoughts and words on talk given by Elder Ballard. I was sitting in one of the congregations that heard Ballard’s remark and my heart was broken as he talked about the young man who “found his testimony” in the Book of Mormon because I have not been able to do that. Am I loved less by God because of my questions and my doubts? When you asked “is his soul worth more than mine?” really resonated with my screaming soul.

    I too have tried so hard to find God in the book of Mormon and I will admit that it has been hard for me. I just wish that the GAs would focus on why so many people are doubting and questioning instead of leading a crusade against them. It seems that the attempts to drag us back into the church, is really what’s driving us out.

    So thank you for your words. I am happy to know that I am not alone in my pain and in my frustration.Even as I try to stay in the church that seems to be hurting me so much… it is just nice to know I am not walking the path of questions and enlightenment alone.

    Sincerely,
    Haley

  • Lillian Billing

    No one seems to talk about their original testimony or spiritual witness. I received mine when I joined the church, continue to feel its witness when I read my scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon and when I hear or study the sermons of the church. Whatever else I may encounter or be puzzled about I set against that witness. End of argument for me.

  • Rick

    Amen and Amen! Mr. Ballard (no elder of mine) will not answer because he doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to do so. He will continue to sit in judgement atop his Ivory Tower. Any answer he gives will be condescending at best. Another great post Zelph.

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