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“New Mormonism” or “New Order Mormonism” is (typically) the idea that Mormonism is true because of the beauty and enlightenment it brings to one’s life, rather than because it is literally and historically true. Now that historical evidence against Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, prophets after Joseph, and other things is readily available to people (lots of it even admitted by the church itself, thanks to craftily-worded Gospel Topics Essays), many formerly devout members must adopt a more nuanced approach to Mormonism in order to make it work.

The Godfather of this ideology (not my label creation) is Terryl Givens. (Making the GodMOTHER of it Fiona Givens, his wife. I thought she was too sacred to mention outside of parentheses.) Two of the few intellectually honest LDS apologists (IMO), Terryl and Fiona have penned such resources as “Letter to a Doubter“, and the bestselling Deseret Book book, (Book book?!) “The Crucible of Doubt”.

A supreme deity would no more gift us with intellect and expect us to forsake it in moments of bafflement, than He would fashion us eyes to see and bid us shut them to the stars”  ― Terryl L. Givens

It’s no surprise that some members of the LDS church are slowly transitioning away from more literal interpretations of things — we’ve seen things declared by prophets as definitive thrown out before. Most religions must eventually become more metaphorical as science begins proving their doctrines wrong. (The great flood, for example.)

While I appreciate church members opening up their minds more to a certain degree, I also cannot support the ideas of “New Mormonism”, just as I can’t support the ideas of the church in its early days or now (two very different sets of ideas!) Here’s why:

The church makes no attempts to de-literalize its teachings or scriptures. (Unless it suits them, aka polygamy/racism/sexism etc.)

Each of us has to face the matter — either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley

Those who no longer view the Book of Mormon as a literal historical record (a pretty obvious conclusion to reach once you take the time to study its inconsistencies with historical evidence/consistencies with the version of the Bible Joseph owned/total lack of archeological evidence) are not supported by the church. To believe the Book of Mormon is not historical is akin to apostasy in the mind of most devout Mormons and Mormon leaders. For now, that is. I believe we will eventually see a greater migration of church members’ beliefs toward a figurative interpretation of “the most correct of any book on earth”.

It’s not fair to others.

Those who have experienced the pain of a faith transition (including “New Order Mormons”) or have dealt with big questions tend to go one of two ways. They either develop increased compassion toward those who are doubting and going through a faith crisis, or they become more irritated and attacking of those who choose to leave the church (Dan Peterson).

I cringe thinking that I could have potentially raised children in the church. Things are already being shown for what they really are, so by the time my kids are grown up, they’ll have to be even more brainwashed to stay in a church that is so provably false. That is not healthy, and I am SO grateful I don’t have to subject my children to that. No one deserves to go through the pain of having their worldview crushed and exposed as a lie, and certainly no one deserves to be treated like it’s their fault/made to feel guilty.

I don’t believe anyone should continue activity in a church that they know is false (however they may warp the words “true” and “false” to make it work for them). It perpetuates the existence of a church that is a.) not true, b.) harms people and c.) requires more mental gymnastics to believe with every passing generation. Not to mention the fact that it’s taking 10 freaking percent of people’s income every year (a scale of fraud we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss).

As President Hinckley said, the church is either true or a fraud. If it is a fraud, thousands have suffered and continue to suffer because of something that is not true. 

We don’t need to say a whole lot about LGBT members of the church. They’re suffering — that’s clear. Polygamous wives of church leaders also suffered. Intellectuals suffer. Those with doubts or disbelief who are married to spouses who hang on the brethren’s every word suffer. Feminists suffer. Pretty much anyone who doesn’t fit the ideal mould of a church member suffers.

As a girl I had been proud that my father and mother had obeyed the highest principle in the Church… I was aware now that my mother’s early married life must have been humiliating and joyless on many occasions because of her position as a second wife.” – Annie Clark Tanner, A Mormon Mother, 1969, p. 133

If she [Emma Smith] will not abide this commandment [polygamy] she shall be destroyed.” – Doctrine and Covenants 132:54

I cannot support people continuing to chain themselves to the church because the possibility of walking away from it is too painful. 

I do not believe continuing to remain in the church after learning that its fundamental claims are false is healthy. I think it may seem like the better option when you’re in that situation (I certainly considered it when I realized I was living a lie), but I don’t think it’s conducive to long-term happiness or growth as a human being. It’s a testament to how well the church brainwashes people that they are willing to stay even when they no longer believe it’s true.

(Please note: I understand that family and other situations can make it impossible for some people to “just leave”. I have every sympathy for them. I simply list my thoughts on this as a principle, that isn’t necessarily universally applicable right now.)

I believe in truth.

Truth matters. I believe in standing up for it, even when it’s hard. Isn’t that what we were taught to do at church for all those years? Did that principle stop becoming important to us once there stopped being an authority telling us to live it? My moral compass points firmly toward sticking up for truth. I don’t care how many “good things” are in the church — I’m glad they’re there, but they can be found outside the church, without dogma and hurt.

I totally understand how hard it is for people to leave the church. As I said, I have only sympathy for those whose situations make it practically impossible for them to leave, and I understand that there is often a need to take things at your own pace for the sake of your family and livelihood. But ultimately, if someone knows the church is fundamentally false and is in a position to leave, I believe they should. Without our morals, what do we have? What’s our anchor? It may be easier to stay, but I believe that if you zoom out and look at the situation with a “for the greater good” mindset, walking away from Mormonism, consequences and all, is the right thing to do.

Stop trying to make excuses for something that is false.



Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.
  • José Manuel Campos N

    }2No one deserves to go through the pain of having their worldview crushed and exposed as a lie, and certainly no one deserves to be treated like it’s their fault/made to feel guilty.”

    I have spent last two years and half figuring everything out. My faith crisis has consumed precious hours of my time that I could have spent doing something else. Sometimes I don’t know if I am trying to find answers or I happen to like mormon history but one thing I know for sure , I wouldn´t like anybody to go through this.

  • fides quaerens intellectum

    “Things are already being shown for what they really are, so by the time my kids are grown up, they’ll have to be even more brainwashed to stay in a church that is so provably false.”

    Fellas. If this was true, I think we would have less than 2 billion Christians, 2 billion Muslims, and a billion Hindus. Each religious tradition requires the same “mental gymnastics” (you really ought to trademark that phrase) that Mormonism does. They just have the benefit of being a couple thousand years older so that time has made the stretches more comfortable.

    Religion has been “provably false” to many people for centuries; yet you’re still in the minority. Your children will be in the minority. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but don’t write as if in the space of a generation the world will “see the light” (or… not, I guess…) and reject anything that requires faith or inconsistency. That is almost like… “believing in something you can’t see (and which lacks supporting evidence) but know to be true.” Which I KNOW you would never do.

    Also: As one striving to be an intellectual and as a feminist, I just wanted to let you know: I’m not suffering. Jesus suffered for me. 🙂 One of those “mental gymnastics” things that is really hard to do, but feels SO good once you get all limbered up. #yogawithchrist

    • k_space

      > Each religious tradition requires the same “mental gymnastics”

      I disagree. I know little of other world religions, but the mental gymnastics required by the LDS church is much greater than what is needed for mainstream Christianity. Mormons have to believe all or most of what christians believe, plus a whole bunch of additional things that sound really weird to people who didn’t grow up with them. Even worse, the events that created mormonism are much better documented than the events that created christianity. In fact, some say that JS provides a good model for how all religions started: with a con man who died and left a self-sustaining framework of beliefs.

      • fides quaerens intellectum

        I think I might not have been very clear in the point of my post: Zelph argues that because an organization is “provably false” (which is a FASCINATING stance to take from a bunch of kids who are claiming to write from the point of view of researchers/scientists: a group who wouldn’t be caught DEAD saying anything like “provably false” at all, much less so loosely) no one would possibly remain part of it without intense amounts of brain washing. The point of my post was to suggest that perhaps this statement is a little strong. The vast majority of the world’s population believe in things Zelph likes to label “provably false,” and they are not irrational, stupid, or insane human beings. Which religion needs more/less “mental gymnastics” is not the point; the point is, they all do, and billions of smart people are ok with that.

        • k_space

          You are saying that Mormonism is the same as other religions in that they all require that believers accept some amount of internal conflict within the doctrine and organization and also some amount of doubt about certain topics. To a degree, I agree with that sentiment. From my point of view, they each have this inconsistency because none of them are the exclusive bearers of “The Truth.” Anything they do teach that is correct is also available to a non believer, but without the supernatural element.

          One fascinating thing about Mormonism is how many religious claims it makes that fall squarely under the category of “scientifically falsifiable.” That makes it different from the other religions that I am familiar with, who have done a better job of insulating their beliefs from science. Book of Mormon historicity, for example, touches on a number of scientific and historic elements that can be evaluated within the appropriate field of study. The best Mormons can do is retreat on their claims, and in so doing distance themselves further from the Mormonism of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. The “hemispherical model” is a great example. Until recently, it was widely believed by members and leadership that the Lamanites were the “principle ancestors” of the Native Americans. That theory is provably wrong – if it were true DNA studies would have turned up supporting evidence right away. They didn’t, so the church retreated to the problematic “limited geography model” and changed the phrase to “Among the principle ancestors.”

    • noodle

      I’m glad you’re not suffering. People have found happiness among countless religious traditions for ages. Everyone whether atheists, agnostic, religious, whatever, has their own way of coping with and understanding the world around them, and that’s part of what makes humankind so interesting and compelling. Regardless of what you hold dear in your heart, we can be friends and people everywhere can make the world a better place. (Provided what you hold dear isn’t the idea that I need to die, or not get married for some arbitrary reason.. 😉

      I’d like to point out that there does seem to be a trend of lower religiosity in the new generation of up-and-coming adults: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/27/millennials-less-religious_n_7452998.html . I personally doubt the entire world will ever just ditch religion, but this trend seems to point to fewer people practicing their parents religion.

      You said: “Religion has been “provably false” to many people for centuries”
      It seems like you’re saying that many religious people have evidence to prove their religious truth claims false, yet they choose ignore the evidence and be religious anyway. Is that right, or am I off base? I would argue that many people who were raised Mormon and who live it today are not aware of the well researched, historical facts that prove LDS truth claims false. Even the research cited by the church in their gospel topics essays is not well known among many members. I feel comfortable saying that because I was very recently immersed in church activity, my family is in it, friends, etc and most of them have no idea what the full story is; the full story as corroborated by the church itself. Even many who read the gospel topics essays just skim them, take the church faithful conclusion, and leave it at that.

      As far as other religions being older, thereby making the intellectual stretch more comfortable, I completely agree, but for a different reason. Time doesn’t make intellectual stretches regarding Buddhism easier, lack of evidence does. We know a LOT about the founding of mormonism. It was recent enough in history that we have first-person accounts in journals, newspapers and contemporary books, legal documents and business agreements. We have a very good idea of what life was like in the 1800’s, and we know what a lot of people said and how they thought. Now, in order to believe the Book of Mormon is a literal history, for example, you have to ignore a litany of facts that objectively prove is it not literal, factual history. How many mormons know the full story on DNA evidence, archeological evidence, contemporary writing copied into the BoM, various anachronisms like ship rudders, horses, wheels, steel, and iron? Anyone who thinks the BoM is a literal history of things that actually happened as described just hasn’t studied enough. And that studying can now be done under the safety of the church’s authority, from citations they propagate via their own website.

      I don’t personally begrudge anybody the right to believe what they want and worship how they may. It’s impossible to judge anyone’s journey and I don’t dare say what anyone “SHOULD” do once they discover this or that truth. Although I will add that no person has the right to enforce their personal beliefs on any other human.

      What I can say is that for me, the church has had enough bad influence on my life that I don’t want it around for my family and kids. Yes, there are many good things that have come from the church, but they are not unique the mormons. It’s absurd to claim that anybody who is not mormon has never experienced the highest level of VIP happiness reserved for those who have a fullness of the truth. I had based my faith on what I was taught by the church, a version of church history that was incomplete. I taught this whitewashed version on a mission for two years. I have since filled in the gaps with facts that have been established and corroborated to the best of our collective human ability, and now I can no longer believe what is objectively false.

      • fides quaerens intellectum

        “It seems like you’re saying that many religious people have evidence to prove their religious truth claims false, yet they choose ignore the evidence and be religious anyway.”

        I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but for me, it’s a simple matter of weighing evidence. I’m going to stay so long as 51% of the evidence falls on the side of the Church being good/true/better than the alternative. So it isn’t that I’m totally oblivious to the Kinderhook Plates, or Joseph’s many marriages, or how much money the Church spent on City Creek Mall. I think those are all bits and pieces of evidence suggesting that Joseph wasn’t a prophet/the prophets of today are going the wrong direction. But to put sole evidentiary power on the side of the negative is to be just as intellectually dishonest as to put sole evidentiary power on the side of the positive. I can acknowledge Joseph, the treasure hunter. Can those who leave still acknowledge Joseph, the adored, admired, and inspired leader who brought about good in thousands of direct interactions with his fellow man? I can talk openly about the Journal of Discourses. Can Zelph talk about the hundreds of Kirtland/Nauvoo era eyewitness accounts of Heavenly Manifestations and Joseph’s healing? I’d have a good ol’ chat any day about the CES letter. How many ex-Mormons like to acknowledge that 2/3 of early Christian apocryphal writing mirrors Mormonism to a T?

        For you, the church has had enough bad influence to make you leave. To me, it has had enough good to make me stay. The question is, are each of us evaluating “good” and “bad” and “truth” the same way? I would venture a guess of “no.” So then we devolve into a subjective debate about who has the correct definition, and can’t settle it… Hence, the paradox of faith.

        Thanks for responding in a polite and intellectually interested way. I quite enjoy having pleasant conversations.

        • Ehren Pofahl

          I’d really be interested in how you came to the conclusion that 51% of the evidence falls on the side of church. If you have thoroughly, and I mean thoroughly, investigated the history of the church, i.e. how the BoM was created, the different 1st vision accounts, the character of all those involved, I cannot believe you’d say that the evidence still falls into the church’s favor. You don’t have to study “negative” sources to come to that conclusion either. I highly suggest Grant Palmer’s book “Insiders View of Mormon Origins” and also “The Last War”. “The Last War” will particularly raise an eyebrow for you if you’ve read the BoM multiple times.

  • Oliver-Daniel P. Kronberger

    I, too, believe in truth. An objective truth. Truth as you find out to truthful. It is my, your, each individual’s pathway to find out what truth is or is not.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaim the “truth” either. They proudly say they were raised in the “truth”, the “truth” set them free. I spent 8 years among them before joining the LDS church. It was a painful transition once they kicked me out cuz I asked to corrobarate the truth they were teaching. They could not answerone simple question. It is the “faithful and discreet slave” (aka the Watchtower Society) that teaches all JWs the truth. Nothing else is required. Doesn’t sound that similar?

    I joined the LDS church because of the BoM. I did not ask whether it is true or not. I was always interested in writings outside the Bible. I still love reading the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. What’s wrong with that. But JWs don’t like that for obvious reasons. Independant thinkers are shunned among them.

    I did not encounter the problems while reading other materials among the LDS church. The church itself claims to have writings that they call inspired. THE BoAbraham, Pearl of Great Price, D&C, you all know that. I still can read them, though my heart is no longer into the LDS church.

    What makes these writings inspired and others (like the Gospel of Thomas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Clementine Homilies and many others) not?

    I often accuse myself, why was I so stupid and join the church. I have been told many things religiously which my soul supposedly must believe to be saved. Not just while serving with the JWs or being a member in the LDS church. I hear the same whenever I talk to Christians, whatever denominations they come from. Well more or less, some are hardcore evangelical, some are liberal in thinking. I have to believe what they say, or I will be doomed. *sigh*

    When I have started reading Anti-LDS material, I was told many things. That Joseph Smith translated the book by using a stone in the hat. it was always declined to be true, just Anti-Mormon blabber. And now, even the Church says there is truth in it. No they say it doesn’t matter whether that is right or not. It was not until I found out that I was cognitiveley biased.

    All the conformation I was seeking pointed to different directions but I wanted to believe the LDS to be true. That was a shock to realize. It still wreaks havoc within my soul. Life seems to be futile. No sense anymore. My life is over, how can I have faith in others when each one wants me to believe he or she or the institution they are affiliated with, claims to be the truth?

    No one in the LDS ever cared. They say hometeaching is important all of my life I hadn’t home teachers. The bishop is always busy. Do not misunderstand me, I do can see the burdens the leaders are carrying. But telling I have to pay tithing, drive regularly 50 miles to church, listen to conference and read all the assignment, that doesn’t made sense anymore. It really doesn’t matter. It just makes me wonder.

    Technically I am still a member of the LDS church. I wrote a resignation letter, but haven’t mailed it. I don’t know why. Worse thing is, while studying Early Christian history I have come over many similar issues that have questioned my belief in Christianity.

    Among LDS members I met people who believe in reincarnation or that Yeshua was married to Mary Magdalene. But why are they riduculed for such statements?

    What do we really know about Early Christianity? It is nothing more or less a splinter group that separated from Judaism. There is a greater context to be explored.

    Now I feel comfortable to reclaim my status as an Agnostic again. You may even consider me an Agnostic Theist, even a Christian Agnostic. Doesn’t really matter. I still can believe in God a Heavenly Father, and in Yeshua. I do not know what the truth abouth God or Yeshua really is. I still can read the gospels or other writing and gain spiritual insights and enlightenment without being pushed or force to believe anything. It has eased my relationship with “God”.

    I shall continue to strive for the truth, to search for the absolute, objective truth that my soul knows it does exist. It is still painful to have spent many years among people whom my sou truly loved and still loves, while they continue to reject and they hurt you.

    It is THEIR choice not mine.

    I still believe LOVE to be highest goal each of us should reach out for. Many, even Non-Christians did in the past. Am I still biased? Perhaps some might say, because he still believes in God. I am not a Atheist. I turned into a sceptical believer, not a pseude-scepticist.

    As said before, each one of us has to find out, his or her personal truth. And most importantly, we mustremain open for new knowledge or understanding. Life is not based upon a fixed premise, but changes continually. Sorry if my words may sound a bit weird but I still struggle with everything.

    best wishes

  • Johns Johns

    Great article. This is precisely the reason my wife and I stopped attending church. We have left the church because we value morality; the morality to stand up for truth when it is hard. The last year and a half have been extremely difficult and satisfying at the same time. I have felt alive. It’s a feeling could not be reproduced while living in the church.

  • Arwen Undomiel

    My husband I and I left the church over a year ago and while at the beginning it was hard, now we feel like we are being reborn. One of the reasons we left is because we firmly believe “the truth is the most important thing”, even if it makes us feel uncomfortable. It has been a painful process to leave this church. It has been so bad for us that we still have to visit a therapist in order to heal from the mental pain this expereicne has caused us.

    It’s doesn’t make sense that people have to go through all this crap to recover from the mormon church expereicne. I suppose is because there has been so much manipulation and lies that literally ypur world sinks completely and the change is traumatic for many of us.

    We know there are more people like us going through therapy and more. What kind of church would put their members through a situation like that? I have wonder many times. Becasue if church leaders wouldn’t have told so many lies, we wouldn’t all be in this situation of questioning, doubting and finally having to leave the mormon church. But the future is bright. I’m getting ready to send my resignation letter. It’s my New Years goal.

    • Dan Cuevas

      Bless you!

  • Gorgonops

    I would like to contact with the webmaster(s), how should I do it? This is a great website full of great information. Please, do respond!

  • Rob Lauer

    Why worry about the LDS institution at all? In 2004 I became very active in Reform Mormonism which is not literal in its approach to scripture (all scripture is art and best understood as such). Religion is most meaningful when it is personal and not dependent on membership in an organization that makes totally unrealistic exclusive claims about itself.
    What so many LDS Church members don’t realize is that the claims made by the church evolved over th decades after Joseph smith’s death. Mormonism of the Kirkland and nauvoo periods looked nothing like Utah pioneer Mormonism or current LDS culture.

    The community of Christ (RLDS) are an example of one Mormon denomination that have dropped literalism and exclustivity while remaining true to the objectives and spirit of earliest Mormonism…. And they are beginning to attract new members as a result.

    • Zelph on the Shelf

      We worry about the LDS institution because we care about the people who are hurting in it because of lies.

      • fides quaerens intellectum

        Wish you cared about the Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims enough to try and save the people in those religions from their respective lies, but I haven’t seen them “assisted” on your blog through an attempted refutation of their beliefs… Granted, you might literally only know/care about Mormon people. In which case a field-trip out of Utah is sorely needed haha 🙂 Come on fellas. You “worry about the LDS institution” cause you’re angry at it. Which is not an invalid reason to write this blog! I hope I don’t come off as diminishing your right to be upset, I can totally see why you would be. But your motivation is an important piece of information for people who read your page to know. You know, in an effort for “more transparency” and all that. I’ll stop making these comments once your “About Zelph” page gets updated to a more realistic mission statement 😉 As for right now, I think a website dedicated to attacking inconsistency in an organization deserves to get zero leeway on their own inconsistencies.

        • Jaasiel Rodriguez

          The main problem with your argument is that these people at zelph on the shelf don’t really have any firsthand experience with any of the religion’s you have mentioned. Where do they even start in taking on any of those religions? It’s a small battle in the whole context of human experience, but it’s their battle nonetheless.

          • fides quaerens intellectum

            They could start with the Bible…? Unless they were some of those freaky Mormons who don’t read the bible… Then I guess they would be limited.

            From what the authors say, they have no problem doing extensive amounts of research into why a religion is false.

            Surely the faith transition process from any false faith into true atheistic nihilism is fairly similar!

        • Zelph on the Shelf

          As Jaasiel said, we don’t have experience with those religions. Our knowledge and our experiences are with Mormonism, so we want to help those people who go through things we went through.
          The goal of our blog is to educate people on Mormonism, and to provide a place for ex-Mormons to laugh, learn, and feel understood. We also want to write things that ex-Mormons can share with their believing family or friends when it’s hard to put things into words personally. Judging by the many messages we receive regularly from people who said our site made them feel a lot less alone, I think we’re meeting our objectives fairly well. 🙂

          • fides quaerens intellectum

            But you do have knowledge and experiences within Christianity (that is… IF Mormons are Christian!!!! 😉 So why not go for the whole sha-bang?! I mean… Really? A dude changed water into wine? It can’t be that hard to publish a post about why THAT’s impossible. And I won’t even mention the “coming back from the dead, walking through walls, eating and camping for 40 odd days, and then flying into the sky” bit. I mean, if you can write on the Book of Mormon, Polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and City Creek Mall, you could write endless articles about the terrible Biblical translation/deletion process, the sexual indiscretions of the Vatican through the ages, the massacres from the “Protestant vs Catholic” conflict throughout the UK, and the Vatican Bank!!! We got material to work with here! A blog post a week on general Christianity perhaps? That’s fair, right? You’d “help” a lot more people “hurting because of lies”…

          • John Woodward

            So Fides has posed some great questions and made equally insightful suggestions. Why stop at Mormonism? If your quest is to dispel religious lies and share truth – why take 1/200th of the pie. Either you are warriors for truth or not? No more excuses please!! Go forth and “save” your fellow man – not just Mormons. Despite the pain and agony that Mormonism brings with it, surely Catholics, Protestants, Muslims etc deserve the same kind of light shined on their pathetic beliefs.

        • Jose Galdamez

          The LDS church sends tens of thousands of missionaries to preach the wonderful message that all the world religions are not true. If that’s the message you want to hear visit https://www.mormon.org/missionaries and request a missionary visit. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Cole

    I think the situation with the church and its history is very complicated. There are tons of evidences that logically would suggest it is a fraud through and through. But there are also plenty of evidences to suggest it is or at least was at one point what it professes to be. The Book of Mormon for example is very powerful and does bring people closer to Christ. Early saints did cast out devils and experienced other miracles that one would expect would follow true believers of Christ. Also within the D&C there are several warnings that Joseph could fall as a prophet, especially in the early revelations. If he was making it all up why would he put those warnings in there? What about the accounts of saints today seeing angles or having other types of divine inspiration and manifestations while fulfilling their church callings or in the temple? I know of several of these accounts first hand from very reliable sources. Whether one believes the church is the only true church or it is a complete fraud one has to ignore facts. Yes there are more facts against the church than for it, but what about faith? What about believing without seeing as Christ taught?

    • Zelph on the Shelf

      Thanks for commenting! Here’s a short post that might help answer: http://zelphontheshelf.com/the-millennials-brief-guide-to-the-ces-letter/

      • Cole

        Some of those things are hard to explain. Polygamy is probably the biggest one. I know I don’t understand it. Having said that there is a thing known as the law of adoption where Joseph would seal people, men and women to himself, even entire families. Up until Wilford Woodruff’s presidency the saints would seal themselves to Joseph instead of their ancestors. It’s very murky and there isn’t a lot of info on it, but it would help explain why Joseph sealed himself to other men’s wives and teenage girls. And also why so many women were sealed to him after he was already dead. There’s also the fact that no children can be traced back to him from any woman besides Emma. This doesn’t prove he wasn’t intimate with any woman besides Emma, but it is worth noting. There’s also the whole RLDS view and Emma’s later claims that he never had any other wives. The truth is when it comes to polygamy no one really knows what happened for sure and why. I could make many other points to counter some of the other issues, but I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. I didn’t realize when I commented before that this site was dedicated to helping and giving support to those who have left the church. So this may be my last comment on this site. I myself am searching for the truth. Something with the current state if the church doesn’t add up because so much has changed since Joseph Smith’s day. I’m not judging anyone who leaves the church over all the crazy confusing stuff, but for what it’s worth I believe the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I’m still trying to figure things out.

        • Zelph on the Shelf

          We understand. We went down the Denver Snuffer route after we started realizing the serious problems with the church. But the more we examined evidence, the more we realized that Joseph was every bit as corrupt as Brigham and the others we had problems with.
          Just keep studying! Look at contemporary sources (Joseph Smith Papers project is very enlightening) and all the evidence available. 🙂
          All the best!

          • Cole

            Yeah I’ve looked into Denver Snuffer myself, read PTHG, his entire blog, and a couple of his lectures. For me the jury is still out on him. If one were to accept him as a messenger/prophet one has to over look some holes in his teachings. The biggest being what you brought up, giving Joseph a free pass, while throwing ever church president since under the bus for much smaller offenses.

            The history of the church is very complex and confusing. I don’t see how Joseph could have made it all up. Much of it you could look at and say, yeah he could have easily just made it up, but not everything. The way I see it the Book of Mormon is either of God or the devil, and Joseph Smith was either a true prophet (who may have fallen after a while) or he is a false prophet who was aided by the devil or an evil spirit or something.
            Obviously you guys have made your choice. I’m still searching right now.

            It is interesting how the church is putting the Joseph Smith papers out there when they know there’s something to hide. I’m glad they are though. Thanks for the friendly discussion.

    • Zelph on the Shelf

      Always good to hear a response from a non-defensive fellow blogger. 🙂
      My only critique is that I don’t think you understood #2 correctly!

  • PrMonson

    Pres Monson here,

    Cmon now Zina, I think you’re being a little self-important by claiming to value the truth so much. Sometimes the truth “isn’t very useful”. Do you go about telling little kids that Santa Claus isn’t real? They love believing in him! Are there children that are permanently scarred when they find out he isn’t? What I really think you should value a little more than the objective truth is discrimination and sacrifice. That will show you that “your opinion” about the truth isn’t as important as love. A person with discrimination won’t let their personal views blind them to the fact that our members are good people! The church is a wonderful place that brings happiness to millions! It keeps families together! It prevents substance abuse and the proliferation of body piercings! Don’t make the mormons that don’t believe feel guilty about doing what they know is loving. They need to sacrifice their opinions (just like you do) in order to love people more. People sacrifice all the time. Sacrifice your opinions Zina. Come back to the church, we’d love to have you even with your doubts. Yes, some of our members will scorn you, but you can be an example of integrity that is coequally loving and kind! Your mind is confused by betrayal and hate. Don’t take it so seriously! We leaders of the church don’t! Heck, I’ve known about the rock in the hat forever! It doesn’t bother me, and I’m the prophet! Come back Zina, the Lord has plenty of money – you don’t even have to pay tithing. Remember that your mind is like a muscle, and continually using that muscle for the finding of faults in others is detrimental to your spiritual development. Discrimination, being a spiritual quality, can only be developed by spiritual methods, namely, by questioning, examining, and analyzing one’s own ideas, opinions, and conduct. The critical, fault finding faculty must be withdrawn from its merciless application to the opinions and conduct of others, and must be applied, with undiminished severity, to oneself. Give up this silly blog. Let the doubting mormons stay in the church, where they either connect back into the matrix – I mean happiness. Or they can live lives of quiet desperation, mingled with scripture and sporadic peace.

    We love you, come back!

  • Nancy

    I heartily recommend “A Mormon Mother ” by Annie Clark Tanner. I read it almost three decades ago but its impact on me is still with me today. It was a major thing on my shelf, right after the BOA.

  • Dan Cuevas

    To embrace new mormon creed, because of its beauty, not different than embracing Santa’s myth as true historical, knowing is not true but pure fiction even if millions believe in Santa….children that is

  • Ann A. Jones

    Reminds me a lot of the Unitarian-Universalist church I grew up in. Most of them grew up in Christian homes, but no longer believed the Bible. They went to the U-U church because it gave them the feeling of going, without the necessity to believe anything but what they wanted to. This was back in the 50s/60s when going to church was what proper people did. The big difference, I imagine, is that the Mormon group is more likely to do something good, whereas the U-U’s never felt much of a desire to proselytize.

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