Avoid Speculation?

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”

― Walter ScottMarmion

As a child in the LDS church I was taught principles of honesty and integrity. I learned that although doing the right thing was sometimes not easy, that should never stop you from doing it! As a child I loudly sang ‘do what is right and let the consequence follow!’ Now I think if only that same religion could heed its own council… As it and many other religions move into this new millennium I believe they are facing an accounting. Sometimes past leaders  kicked the ball of deception so far down the road that current leaders are hard pressed to stop the ball rolling.

The thing about deception in this age of free access to information is you can’t keep it up. It’s far too easy to get caught redhanded  in the cookie  jar swearing it wasn’t you. Believe me, I don’t envy LDS leadership at all with this current state of affairs. Especially the local leadership that, based on my anecdotal conversations, most times doesn’t even know about the church’s essays and efforts to inoculate the current membership from the realities of its history.

Case in point. Here is a link to the new seminary teaching manual in regards to the polygamy practiced in the early church.

Reading through this I was dismayed at the deception employed to caution members from looking beyond the blinders it endeavors to put on the student.

avoid speculation jpg
This was the lesson’s first glaring evidence of deception. Any dedicated student of church history knows that celestial marriage = plural marriage to the early leaders of the church.   Later in the lesson we are told that it is only ok to get additional information from two places…

“Reliable historical research concerning the practice of plural marriage can be found at josephsmithpapers.org and byustudies.byu.edu.”

Interesting, because in ten seconds I found this link via the google search engine (but not the search function on LDS org :))

https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=8744

SmithNauvoo marriage

 

As I said, in the early days of the church celestial marriage and plural marriage were one and the same. The 132nd section of canonized scripture in D&C was dedicated to this concept. Over and over in every history book you read from that time celestial marriage was equal to polygamous marriage. In fact Sarah Pratt who resisted the prophets advances called the results of these marriages ‘celestial consequences’ in this rather disturbing testimony as to why we can’t find of the seed of Joseph that according to the Book of Mormon is the only legitimate reason according to God for polygamy in the first place.

So why are the educators in the church so adamant about ‘avoiding speculation’? Why is it so very important to keep our eyes straight ahead and not look to either side? Why is the church putting blinders on its seminary students?

blinders and cart

Are the blinders for the benefit of the horse? Or more for the owner who doesn’t want his cart overturned and to end up walking…

Speculation is a natural human trait. It’s the beginning of critical thinking and us opening our mind to new ideas.  Before we can change our mind about something we need to speculate about alternative explanations.

Go make yourself a timeline on polygamy using only the josephsmithpapers site for reference. I dare you! You will find out just like I did that this statement in the lesson contradicts the facts of history.

 “(As students respond, write the following principle on the board: Plural marriage can be authorized only through the priesthood keys given to the President of the Church.)”

The fact is, the very first plural marriage1 went down BEFORE the keys were restored to do them. (And a long time before the “revelation” that made it all legit was ever penned down. Seriously from a normal perspective it totally fits the bill of an excuse made up after getting caught!)

That is just one of the things you will find if you do your own followup research. No wonder the teacher is repeatedly warned to avoid any derailment! 2 This seminary lesson is rife with internal contradiction and careful wording designed to keep the student from digging any deeper and speculating any alternative explanations for polygamy in the early church. Was Joseph Smith a con man bent on duping people out of money and coercing women into his bed and in the process created a religion, just like Muhammed with Islam? That is the speculation that you MUST AVOID at all costs in order to still believe. Why is that? Frankly, because it makes too much sense. If you start considering this possibility and you for a moment realize that you can’t always trust your feelings, you might just start looking and eventually discover the tangled web of lies that have been intricately woven since one horny guy told a girl that God was gonna kill him if she didn’t do the nasty.

Yes, avoid speculation, don’t even consider the possibility that Joseph might have just been a Warren Jeff’s type con man a couple hundred years ago when he could get away with it. Don’t remotely postulate that he could have been smart enough to make it all up and charming enough to get people invested. Don’t ever question the validity of your own feelings and for the love of Fridge never ever consider you might be the one that has been fooled by your own emotions in the same way you are sure the Muslim is when he proclaims the same devout belief about Muhammed. Don’t ever speculate. 3

blinders-on carrot

Because speculation leads to questions and questions lead to the collapse of your own shelf and then… The cart will have one less horse pulling it. Because unlike horses, once our blinders are off we humans are smart enough to ditch the yoke too.


fences free

 

  1.  To the maid Fanny Alger. Seriously, it is that cliche, we are talking about the 17 year-old live-in maid!!
  2. Personally I see this whole thing as fulfillment of Fridge profesy in regards to polygamy.  “As the profet of the Fridge I kind of expect this particular admission to have more of an effect than all the others to date…” I have found that self proclaimed profets love it when they get a hit with their own speculations!!
  3. Here are some more things to not speculate about:

    GBH has a video link on the lesson where he vehemently denies a church belief in polygamy… so why can you get sealed to another wife after the first one dies?

    Why would God need to send an angel with a sword to force polygamy onto Joseph Smith? Isn’t force Satan’s plan?

    Why did the guy that gave his 14  year old daughter to Joe think it was for a guaranteed place in the celestial kingdom?

    Why in the world is this topic detailed now if the history of it all has been in the church archives and documents all along?

    And maybe the some of the most important questions. Why are the exact same actions if done by Warren Jeffs despicable? And honestly do you think he has followers that just as devoutly believe he is telling the ladies God’s word? Why are they confused and you not?

Is Belief Really a Choice?

Do you consciously choose your beliefs?

This is a question I’ve been pondering of late. As one who has experienced a dramatic change in beliefs it is a topic of interest no doubt. It came to mind recently because of a conversation I was having with a good friend that still believes the church is true. 1 He made the comment that he thought I’d made a conscious choice to not believe in the church anymore.

It isn’t the first time my apostasy has been framed that way. As a choice to not believe. In discussion that declaration is often followed with the idea that the believer has chosen to believe. This is a concept that from personal experience that I think is simply false. I’d like to explain why.

I think the reality is we form our beliefs involuntarily. I can not think of a single instance where I made a choice to just stop believing during my crisis of faith. In fact it was as if my precious beliefs were torn out of my soul leaving me for a time empty inside. The last thing I wanted was to lose my religion, why would I actively choose to do so?

This I realize is counter to what you are taught in the religion. Often times you hear things like ‘choose this day whom ye will serve’ they frame things up in the idea that you choose to take a leap of faith after which belief follows. If you choose the religion you get all the blessings from it. And to be sure, they are some pretty awesome promises. Especially the LDS church, how many other religions tell you you get to be God if you follow their faith?

But aren’t the promises besides the point? Fundamentally don’t you choose a religion based on whether it is true or not? When you go car shopping do you buy the one that the salesman promises is made of solid gold? Do you buy ocean front property in Arizona because you really really want a beach house?

Want more proof you don’t consciously choose to believe what you profess to believe in? Take your deeply held belief and choose the opposite right now. Don’t worry you can choose back again in a second. Now while you are choosing the opposite belief, test it. Test whether or not you really did make a choice. Do something only a nonbeliever can do. Suppose for example you chose to not believe in God. Now while you are a non believer ask God to strike you dumb for your lack of belief. Can you do it? I’m betting dollars to donuts you can’t. I haven’t met a believer yet that can.2

Fact is you just believe in your religion, you don’t choose it like you choose what car you are going to buy. There is no conscious choice. So belief is involuntary. Why is it the bigger question. Think about why you as a believer can’t rise to my challenge. Isn’t it as if you were superstitious and don’t want to temp fate? I think the reason boils down to a single emotion.

Fear. You fear the unknown. You fear death. You fear loss. You fear the idea that you alone are responsible for the mistakes you have made that you can never correct. This fear drives your belief and it is why you can’t just give it up on a whim. You can’t choose to stop believing anymore than you can choose to stop the beat of your heart. Why? Because of fear. Is it any wonder the church teaches you to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” 

As long as you are afraid you will have no choice but to believe. For belief is rooted in fear and it is that fear which religion preys on.

abusive god

You can’t choose your beliefs but you can choose to have the courage to face your fears. You can investigate your doubts rather than stuff them away on a shelf and tell yourself you are too dumb to understand these things. You can rise up and stand for your own principles.You can be your own person. It is possible to not be afraid, losing faith doesn’t mean have to mean losing hope. The truth of the matter is belief isn’t a choice, but fear is.

  1. LDS church in this case, I feel the need to specify for two reasons, one this blog is getting more and more traffic in general from people of all faiths and none at all. Two because for the most part I have discovered all believers think their particular belief is the ‘true’ one.
  2. If you could actually choose this it would be simple for you to make such a declaration. But it isn’t. Think about that. What does that mean? Do you really have free agency in this situation or are you trapped by fear?

No Apologies

The LDS church recently did an about face on the topic of LGBT issues. Check it out here.

Funny thing about this though is in no way do the leaders want this construed as an apology. Dallin H Oaks commented.

“I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them,” Oaks said in an interview. “We sometimes look back on issues and say, ‘Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,’ but we look forward and not backward.”

The church doesn’t “seek apologies,” he said, “and we don’t give them.”

I suppose the mountain meadows massacre was counter productive too. But hey the church eventually apologized for that after 150 years. Maybe Elder Oaks means as long as he is alive there won’t be apologies for this doctrine. Because at a minimum it prevent gays from having an eternal mate according to the church and in worse cases causes members to devalue these people as dealing with temptations akin to rape and child molestation.

But hey we want them to have no problems getting a home or a job, so that makes it all good. Because the church understands this whole being treated equal thing, I mean after all they were persecuted for suggesting an alternate form of marriage1 back when temple oaths drove that massacre in the meadows.

The way this whole deal reads to me is like this. ‘In exchange for our support that you all get treated right we still get to tell you God doesn’t want you to live with the person you love here for all eternity. Plus you got to protect our right to hold that view.’

Umm guess what? You already have that right…. It is in the constitution. You know that same one you Mr Church tried to modify back in 2008 when you worked hard to ban these people so much not only from the temple wedding but any wedding at all. So you really aren’t giving anything up are you. Instead you are basically having your cake and eating it too, and yeah saying you won’t apologize for the mess you made.

The more I watch religion in general the more it is like the petulant whiny kid that seems to think the world revolves around them. Religion gets tax breaks because it calls itself a religion. Do gays or straight people get tax breaks? Yet when religion goes too far by affecting policies in ways that are not allowed to by virtue of their own tax breaks they seem to think they are above the rules. Yet when they come to the table after realizing they are losing the battle they need more protection from criticism? Especially when they aren’t giving up a damn thing or admitting any fault?

cannot lead astray
Its like the church is saying we just don’t make mistakes, we just take the wrong approach when we dealt with you people that our doctrine deemed were wrong. Sure we viewed you blacks as cursed of God, or that your sexual orientation was a choice. Yeah maybe were forthcoming about how our founder married a 14 year old girl and lied to his followers about it….Sure we should have used more careful wording. But we damn sure we aren’t apologizing for it!

Because hey its God’s church right, how could it possibly screw up?

left-comic

  1. incase you missed it polygamy wasn’t legal back in the day we JS took brides as young as 14 to be yet another wife. Maybe leaders just smarted at the thought a bunch of rainbow loving hooligans could change the definition of marriage when they couldn’t.

Why I Am Glad The Playstation Network Went Down On Christmas

I’d just gotten a new game that morning, I went down to the dungeon (what we call our tv room in the basement) I popped it in the PS4 and after a bit a message popped up on the screen saying it couldn’t reach the network. After checking our internet connection and verifying it was ok, a quick search revealed that they had been hacked. Not long after the claims of North Korean retaliation towards Sony surfaced.

If you aren’t aware of what has been going on the last few weeks, here is a recap. Sony made a movie called The Interview. The thing about this movie that sparked all this hoo-fer-ahh is the fact this movie makes fun of Kim Jung-un the supreme leader of North Korean albeit in a particularly gore filled way. 1

Sony received threats from North Korea over this here a while back. They escalated to the point of threatening a 9-11 type incident. Sony at first decided to pull the film from release due to these threats. Eventually though they changed their mind and despite the risk they released the movie.

Turns out the 9-11 type threat was a hack, one that shut down Sony’s networks on Christmas day. So my game was screwed up by world events. On the whole some pretty important world events too even if it was over a b-rated movie. Why is this a big deal to a lowly Fridge profet? Good question. Well other than the fact I love video games I believe in freedom of person and freedom of religion. I celebrate this event because it walks a line where these two freedoms conflict. Let me explain.

North Korea maintains tyranny over its people by controlling their free access to information. People in the country are raised to believe that Kim Jong-un is blessed and in some cases literally the God they should worship. To criticize and mock him as a leader is to mock God in their minds, risking eternal damnation. This strikes home for me because I personally made a covenant to never ‘speak evil of the lords anointed’ on penalty of death. I have also experienced contractors in Korea stopping what they are doing at 9 am in the middle of a conference call to pledge their fidelity to their leader.

I personally never even considered my pledges in the temple at the time anything other than voluntary. In hind sight though I realized that socially I was under duress, who gets up and walks out in front of family they love and respect even if it feels weird and creepy? I know I didn’t. I doubt that the majority of people in North Korea question the way things are because they simply don’t know it could be any different.

The thing about a repressive regime is for it to survive it must maintain the beliefs of its members at all costs. That is why this little video showing up on the Mormon newsroom bothered me. In the middle of it, it shows my ancestors leaving the US and eventually founding Utah for its religious freedom. It conveniently forgets to disclose the primary religious free exercise that blew up in their face in Nauvoo, that of polygamy and polyandry. Basically they weren’t allowed to marry who they wanted too. This is really ironic because this entire movement of the religious freedom act is about allowing people to discriminate against others because… you guessed it, of who they want to marry.

Do you see how personal freedoms and religious freedoms conflict now? Like supreme leader Kim, religions want special treatment. They would prefer it be against the law to criticize and mock them.  The person that would make fun is coerced, threatened and despised by those who believe.2  Now is the church I used to revere at the level of Kim boy? No, thank Fridge. But if we aren’t careful it is my opinion that tyranny is natural end game of religion if we weren’t allowed to criticize and make fun of it. The founding fathers of our nation picked up on this early on and amended it to our constitution separating  church from state, protecting our freedom of speech to criticize those that would put themselves beyond criticism.

So that is why I’m not mad at Sony for not having a hardened network and letting me down on Christmas morning. Because they reminded me that even though sometimes it is scary to do so, mocking others is one of things that makes America great. We make light of things, we laugh loud and point out our own silliness. We do it in spite of threats. We do it because that is what keeps tyranny in check and in the long run protects individual freedom.

to-learn-who-rules-over-you-simply-find-out-who-you-are-not-allowed-to-criticize.-voltaireIn the end what this all means is you have the right to believe Elvis or Allah or Jesus or L. Ron Hubbard is the one true God, and I have the right to mock you for it. Belief is a right, but respect is not. You have to earn that.

 

 

 

  1. I haven’t actually seen the movie yet other than clips and trailers so forgive me if I haven’t described it right.
  2. Korihor, the anti-Christ, ridicules Christ, the Atonement, and the spirit of prophecy, He teaches that there is no God, no fall of man, no penalty for sin, and no Christ, He gets arrested by the priests and brought before the chief, no forgiveness is shown and eventually he is trapped to death … Book of Mormon, Alma 30. Think about that and think about how ISIS is killing people that are not willing to declare Allah is the only God and Muhammed is his last prophet. Deeply held beliefs can do funny things to people.

Standing For Principles

So I just read a recent release from the church I used to love. I also realized yet again how much I love and care for many of the people that still believe in said religion even if I can’t condone the behavior of the corporation as a whole. This particular article is interesting because it purports to have the answer to all the hard questions.  It has, as these things often do, caused me to ponder yet again1 the faith I was raised in and the shelf I once held up with nothing but sheer faith and will power. So what are all these hard questions? Well the article doesn’t bother to actually list them out, but a lot of them are brought  to light recently by the churches own admission,2 from problems with being a seer translating ancient records to changing versions of the first vision along with polygamy and polyandry and pretty much a whole slew of stuff that if you’d asked the average member a couple of years ago were nothing but anti-mormon lies crafted by satan to deceive you and make you doubt your faith.

The church has been striving to be more open about its past. Mostly because it has to in this age of information. Otherwise it just looks like a liar outright. Elder Snow said as much recently when the church first moved to publish these essays.

I think in the past there was a tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation — with the access to information on the Internet, we can’t continue that pattern; I think we need to continue to be more open.”3

So this article rather than actually list out the concerns (which would  probably weaken testimonies even further) just rolls them all up into one loaded question: “Do you trust God?” Well do ya? I hope that you think about that question because there is a lot of implicit stuff in there. Who’s God are we talking about? Is it the Mormon one that tells us stuff via his prophets? Is it the average Born Again Christian one that says Mormons are totally non-christian with all their funny beliefs? Is it Allah? Or is it whoever the pope talks to? 4 Maybe it is meant to be really personal, maybe it should be the God inside each of us that the doctrine of the Fridge promotes.

The article does seem to lead you down that path, the one of a personal answer to your prayerful doubts. Of course we already know the answers to prayers are yes, no, or wait for it, and they come in ways you need to be watching out for. The Fridge works the same way so that is all good 🙂 But the question is: “Do you trust God?”

I’d like to suggest you make it a little more specific.5 Do you trust that God sent an angel with a sword to coerce women to marry Joseph Smith? That is actually the crux of the matter. At least for the most recent turn of events when the polygamy admission blew up in their faces as the Fridge foretold in this post before it made all the major news outlets. Why not get right to the issue and determine if God really would command his prophet to do such a thing. I beg of you, ask that question in your prayers tonight. Because Joseph said God sent an angel with a sword and threatened him to do it. Do you trust that? Do you believe a loving father in heaven would do that to any of his daughters? If you do, you will be fine. If you can shelve that and stop thinking about it, you can most definitely still have faith… at least until you discover the next thing you thought was anti-mormon turns out to be true as well. But hey, you start the process over and repeat it till you believe. It really is that simple if belief is more important that principles. Which brings me to my last thought, there was a quote at the end of the article from the current prophet of the church:

“It is impossible to stand upright when one plants his roots in the shifting sands of popular opinion and approval. … We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle.”
 6

Do you really believe God told Joseph to take all those teen brides and other mens wives just like Warren Jeffs? Or do you think that is wrong and against your principles? Because if like me you think coercing any female in that way is wrong… and that is one of your principles. You have to wonder. Are you gonna have the courage to face the fact that you might have been wrong all along about the church you placed your faith in? It could mean loss of family, of social status of friends or even spouses.

Do you have the courage to stand for your principles even if it means realizing Joseph Smith was just making it all up? Even if it means that eternal family you hoped for was a false promise? Or that your path to Godhood wasn’t real? Or that you might be one of those outer darkness apostates if you were wrong about declaring that teen bride polyandry stuff is all BS and God would never force his prophet to do that! Because if you question that was a legit revelation to be honest with yourself you have to critically question all the revelations that Joe claimed to have. If he were lying about this one it behooves you to more critically examine the rest of your assumptions does it not?

athiest
Will you stand for what is right even when the church you trusted to tell you right from wrong is against you? It is a hard hard question and unlike the article that inspired this post you can’t just put it on a shelf, not without being a coward and seeing it every time you look in the mirror. 7

  1. And people wonder why I can’t leave it alone! Someday when the spin stops and you stop misleading the people I love… then I might be able to leave it alone.
  2. I linked a list here that is kept on non-church run websites because if you go to LDS.org and start browsing or searching for them you will quickly find out that in the age of google they are notoriously hard to find. Here is a hint, make sure to show all results and look way down the list for the topic. I also have a list in the footnotes of this Fridge article.
  3. Truth in Church History: Excerpts from the Religious Educator’s Q&A with Elder Steven Snow” http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/truth-in-church-history-excerpts-from-the-religious-educators-qa-with-elder-steven-snow/… and in case you are wondering there are a bunch of records quoted in the new essays that the church won’t give outside access to.
  4. None of which has directly faced any of these questions since good old GBH. Even the essays came without authors or dates on them… why is that? so they could be plausibly denied?
  5. The same could be said for many of the other issues that are being admitted to. Do you trust that God gave the prophet the ability to translate the Book of Abraham and then let the papyri show up and prove him totally wrong? Or that God was good with destroying a printing press hiding the polygamy that lead to the death of the prophet, or that God stuck anachronisms in the Book of Mormon or that he totally diddled with the DNA evidence, or that he told The prophet to start a fraudulent bank, or buy up swamp land in Nauvoo only to sell it at outrageous rates to new converts? The list goes on and on if you do a little research.
  6. President Thomas S. Monson, “Be Strong and of a Good Courage,” Ensign, May 2014, 68–69.
  7. One last footnote, I want people to know that I still appreciate many of the principles the church espouses. I find a lot of good in it and in much of what the mythology inspires and idolizes. I even think that the leaders for the most part are caught up in the cognitive dissonance as well and kind of trapped in the system. I believe many are trying to point the ship in a new direction to correct the past and make it into a good club. But the thing is the church is its past. It isn’t just a good club to belong to, at least not for me. For some people it is though. So if it works for you and you love it, by all means stay the course, but hopefully my words will help you understand the perspective of one that couldn’t continue and face himself in the mirror every day.

The Church is NOT True, even if I sometimes wish it was….

I have to admit, there are times I miss being part of the club, I miss the socialization, the camaraderie of being part of something that most people you know are part of. Feeling like you are part of something bigger than you.

But no matter how much I wish the church were true, it simply isn’t. No matter that I see my children hearts broken when friends are forced to choose between them and the church and they choose the church because they think the leaders are the arbitrators of who, and who doesn’t get forgiveness in this world and the next. No matter that I fear for them being the odd exmormon kid in Utah where an avowed atheist is allowed to attend BYU but the person that lost their LDS faith is kicked out. Some days I desperately wish that it was true so that I didn’t fear for the social effects of disbelief amongst the believers has on my family.

But it isn’t and I can’t pretend it is. You see I was taught a very simple logical principle, that the church is true because Joseph Smith was a prophet. He was a prophet because God said so. We are assured of that claim because he produced this Book of Mormon to prove it. To me at a very personal level the LDS church was restored truth. It got the world back to original Christianity that was lost when Rome killed all the apostles and put their own talking heads in charge. The catholic church was great and abominable and caused all sorts of false religions to splinter off and start up to lead the children of men away down false paths that had only a portion of the truth but not all of it.

Logically this made sense. I never imagined a divine perfect father in heaven having fuzzy truths that were sorta true or kinda right depending on whoever you were or what religion you belonged to. Maybe that makes me a zealot or maybe I was naturally that way, but I felt truth is truth, there is not kinda or sorta fuzziness about it.

I was 100% sure I knew as sure as the sun was shining that I was in the right religion, the one that eventually would take over all the rest and bring all truth unto it. All of that rested on a single keystone though. The claim of one man that he was the prophet that God called to restore his church. The logic is really that simple, his claim has to be true for the church to be true. If that claim is false, then the church is false. Just like Gordon B Hinkley said:

 “Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud… upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this church.” 1

You see if Joseph was lying or even hallucinating about that claim then it follows that the church is not true. No matter how much I wish it were. If it is not true, then what? Should I pretend it is? Should I go along with it because it just ‘works for me’? Or should a person have the integrity to stand up and declare what they have discovered even if it isn’t what your friends or family want to hear? Having made that choice, I have to live with it now. I am sure the church is not true and guess what, sometimes living with that knowledge really sucks. Sometimes it means you look a man in the eye that you deeply respect and watch him tear up because he doesn’t understand why you would leave the faith you once loved. You have to live with the fact that because of basic human psychology there will be some people you care for that will never honestly question the faith like you did.  They will never fully understand where you are coming from when you tell them you know the church is not in fact true. That is what my post is about today. How I know the church isn’t what it claims to be. It is not the fully restored gospel.

How do I know? Because to claim that it is means that the God of the Mormon church is a-ok with forcing 14 year old girls to marry 37 year old men. It means literally that Joe Smith could do exactly what Warren Jeffs did and it’s all good because he was a ‘real’ prophet.  You can’t call this anti-mormon propaganda anymore. The church has admitted that these are the facts.

But consider this. No matter the spin you put on it a 14 year old girl was coerced into marriage with a 37 year old man. The same man that spiritually married 2 at least nine other teenage girls, most without his wife’s knowledge or consent. Those are the simple facts. Now I know it is possible to put these things on your mental shelf, I did that myself when I discovered that this same person ordered a printing press destroyed to cover it all up. You shelve them and try not to think about them because they make you question. Would God really command this guy to marry teens or was he just a horny and possibly deluded megalomaniac with a messiah complex? Would God really want him to destroy a printing press that exposed his affairs with over 40 women of Nauvoo that would eventually lead to his death in jail?It really does come down to that one single question:

Was Joseph Smith who he claimed to be?

I don’t think so. Because I don’t believe any divine being with a hint of intelligence would send an angel to force Joe to marry a bunch of other mens wives and teen daughters and then try to cover it up in a way that would make him look like a total jerk and cause people 150 years laters to lose faith in his one true religion. That makes no sense. 3 I don’t believe a divine being would have his prophet translate some ancient papyri that would later be found and would easily prove he was making it up. I don’t believe a divine being would fill his ancient record that proved said prophet was a prophet with anachronisms that would later try the faith of all his followers. To put it simply I cannot believe in a loving father in heaven that would deceive his children as a way of testing their faith in him…. I personally would never do that to my children, I think it is morally despicable and completely un-godlike.

out of hatYou see, I simply do not believe God is that tricky. To believe in the truthfulness of the church once you realize these simple facts are true means you must justify them and the only way to do that is to imagine a divine being that is like a 9 year old with an ant farm. (You know, just messing with us randomly to see what we will do.) I could not imagine such a person claiming to be a loving father looking out for us. It doesn’t make sense to me and even if I am wrong I realized that is not the type of person I think is worth worshiping. Do you think you could worship the kind of God that Warren Jeffs believes commanded him to do what he did? In any time or any place? Think about that.

But simply put, if there is a God in heaven and he isn’t a trickster, then this can’t be the right religion because of the simple facts. They don’t add up if God really is a decent guy. Men on the other hand…they have proven to be really tricky, especially when it comes to churches. You can find example after example of guys pulling religions of their hats. It’s a trick that has been going on since the beginning of time.

You see, if you check the facts, the idea that Joseph was a prophet just doesn’t add up. Not any more so than the claims of Muhammed or the claims of Warren Jeffs.  And that means the church just isn’t true no matter how much you wish it was.4

 

 

 

  1. General Conference, Oct 2002
  2. again just like Warren Jeffs, because polygamy was illegal at that time and place just like here and now.
  3. the same being also didn’t think it was worth his time to stop subsequent prophets from being total racist jerks either, won’t marry a teen bride, send down the sword angel…. treat black people like slaves… eh no biggie
  4. I’d like to point out that there is no emotion in this logic, simply the facts. I realize that you can pray and get a testimony that the church is true. I did it and I had one right up until my shelf collapsed after realizing this simple logic. It is completely possible to feel like the church is true and ignore this logic, in fact that is exactly what all religions do. They push you to ignore evidence and just trust them…. they tell you to pray and that if you try hard enough you can hang up all these doubts and still believe… and you can do that. It is possible especially if you really really want it to be true. But consider this… Have they ever at anytime said it was possible to get a negative answer? Imagine if a Muslim told you the same thing, that only if you prayed hard enough you would know for a fact that Muhammed was truly the last prophet on earth (we are not talking half ass prayers here, you have to put all on the line) would you be willing to try that hard or would you recognize that proof that comes that way isn’t valid because it doesn’t allow for the false outcome? If you are truly honest with yourself and your search for truth shouldn’t you pray just as hard to know if Islam is true or if Warren Jeffs is the true prophet? When you realize why you won’t do that…  That is when you realize your own feelings are not all that effective at picking out truth from falsehood, if they were then all the conmen with all their tricks in the world would be totally out of a job.