Trial of Faith

Every faithful or once faithful member of their respective religion should be familiar with the idea of a “trial of faith”. When hardship and tragedy strike, we are told that God is testing us. We are expected to endure and remain faithful through our trials, and after… AFTER… we will be blessed. There are many explanations for why the troubling experiences we have supposedly bring us closer to God.

  • We are humbled.
  • We are given opportunities to be forgiving.
  • We learn compassion.
  • We learn how to ask for help.
  • Others are given opportunities to serve.

Mostly though, God just wants to see how much he can fuck with you before you give up on him.

Oh, struck a nerve there, didn’t I?

Well, isn’t that exactly what a “trial of faith” entails?

Take Abraham, for example. God kept him and his wife sterile until well into their elderly years. This, after promising that his prosperity would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach and the stars in the sky. Then, God allows his wife to become pregnant, but later asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Nevermind that He later reneges. The whole scenario was a “test” in which God wanted to see how far he could go, how much could he ask of his “servant”, would Abraham obey without question?

Probably the best Biblical example of this is Job. In this story, God made a bet with Satan, that Job would remain faithful and obedient despite having more and more taken from him. His wealth, his health, his friends, his home, his family… Bit by bit, piece by piece, Job lost one thing after another, experienced more and more hardship, but still Job was faithful, and God won his bet.

Sometimes, God even asks His followers to die for their faith. The ultimate test. The ultimate sacrifice. Someone demands you deny your faith or be killed. What do you do? Do you remain faithful and die, or do you deny your God and preserve your life? Religions glorify those who die for their faith, calling them heroes. Martyrs. And to deny God is the ultimate shame. In many denominations, it is believed that those who deny their God in these scenarios damn their eternal souls. And so, their lives seem a small loss in that grand scheme of eternity. A small sacrifice to prove one’s devotion.

Being raised with such stories, being told that God loves us with a love more profound than we can possibly understand, and reading that He does all these things for our good (Romans 8:28), leaves one thinking that these “tests” must serve a divine purpose that truly is good for us, even if we can’t understand how. And just like that, every bad thing that happens becomes part of God’s plan to spiritually strengthen us and prepare us for all that will be expected of us in eternity.

I used to believe that all the hard things I experienced were trials designed specifically for me. Meant to build my character and prepare me for future trials that would all eventually shape me into the person God intended me to be. So, I saw having an autistic younger brother as a trial meant to build my patience. I saw stumbling upon my mother’s suicide note she’d written for my father when I was twelve years old as a trial meant to help curb my temper and make me more compassionate. I saw my best friend’s mother dying of a heart-attack when we were fourteen as a trial meant to help me learn empathy. And all these things prepared me for one of the biggest trials of my life – marriage.

I was a late bloomer sexually. My interests didn’t start cropping up until my second year of college, and I was all messed up emotionally. Depressed, low self-esteem, desperate, sexually repressed… a perfect target. I met an abuser who quickly took advantage of my innocence and naivety. Within six months of dating, he practically had me wrapped around his finger, and when I became pregnant out of wedlock the church pushed us to begin our repentance process and to marry. Nobody suspected that he’d been emotionally and physically beating me into submission. I was pregnant. So their only thought was to hurry up and rush into a marriage. We could work out any problems in our visits with our bishop while we worked out our repentance for breaking the law of chastity.

Of course, in saying our “I do’s”, I’d effectively tightened the noose around my own neck. Things only got worse, and I kept questioning and blaming myself. I felt like an utter failure. I thought I was being punished for straying from the straight and narrow, and I thought I could fix it, if only I could pull myself out of my spiritual slump and rekindle my struggling faith.

Then, one night, my then husband woke with severe tooth pain. We had no means to get to a hospital in the middle of the night – no vehicle of our own, bus routes weren’t running, and no insurance to cover the cost of an ambulance ride. So, he took aspirin, hoping it would get him through the night and we could go in the morning, but the pain just wasn’t subsiding. He asked me to pray for him, so of course I did, but… nothing happened. I specifically prayed for the pain to be taken away, but it only seemed to be getting worse. After writhing for a couple hours, he was starting to get pissed. He suggested that God didn’t answer, because He didn’t care.

I “knew” that wasn’t true though. How could it be? I’d been raised to believe He loved and cherished ALL His children and that He ALWAYS answered prayers, but those answers would come in the way they were needed. Not necessarily what we wanted. I tentatively suggested that maybe God hadn’t taken the pain away, because we needed to go to the emergency room, and I immediately regretted it. My disagreement sent my then husband into a rage. He shouted at me, with spittle coming from his mouth, that God didn’t love him and insisted I “say it”. I thought right then that this was my trial of faith. This was my moment to prove myself to my God.

Knowing what would follow, I refused my husband’s demand, and he immediately started choking me. But I didn’t fight it. I was overcome with a sense of calm. If he killed me over this, I’d be a martyr, for I’d refused to deny my God. When things started to go black, he let go of my neck and as I gasped for air, he beat me upside the head, knocking me to the floor. He stood over me for a moment with a crazed look in his eyes, but then it dissipated and he collapsed in a puddle of remorse, apologizing and blaming his outburst on demonic possession. I’d heard it all before. It didn’t matter. I was convinced that I’d passed my trial and things would start getting better now.

It didn’t. Only when I took matters into my own hands, when my motherly protective instincts kicked in and I sought to defend my infant from the abusive hand of his father, did things finally start getting better. Still, I was a believer and I attributed my escape and recovery to divine intervention. It wasn’t until several years later that I finally started thinking: “What kind of God does that to His children?”

How is it “loving” to put your children in situations where they’ll be beaten, raped, and even murdered ON PURPOSE to “test” their devotion to you? Sure, we all allow our children to experience pain from their mistakes. It helps them learn. But letting a child fall and scrape their knees isn’t the same thing as letting a child get hit by a car. And letting a child experience the pain of their mistakes as a learning experience isn’t the same as pitting them against bullies and rewarding them afterwards if they obediently take it without complaint.

A God who does that isn’t loving. He’s abusive. The whole concept of a “trial of faith” is a form of control. It’s a God who fucks with you and rewards you for continuing to love him anyway. Like a dog owner who starves his dog in order to “master” it… a God who tests his children with such horrors is not worthy of worship any more than a man who chokes his wife is worthy of loyalty and love.

 

The Legacy of Laban

Thank you, Miryam. This looks delicious, but I cannot eat. My heart is broken for uncle Laban.

Remember last month, when old Lehi dreamed Jerusalem would be destroyed for the people’s wickedness … and then disappeared with his whole family. One day business as usual, and the next day, gone.

Lehi dreams of leaving Jerusalem
Lehi dreams of leaving Jerusalem

We feared the worst. Why would Lehi disappear without settling his affairs? He had to know what this would do to Laban. They weren’t just friends … Lehi was in charge of our Phoenician account and if we lose them, we lose everything. And now we find out he borrowed an enormous sum of shekels from the West Bank to pay for the frankincense shipment, right before he vanished.

So no one has seen Lehi for weeks. But a few days ago his son, Laman, walks in like he owns the place and says his father wants the brass plates … you know, the ones engraved with the Torah, that Laban commissioned for the Temple of Solomon.

The holy Torah on the brass plates of Laban
The holy Torah on the brass plates of Laban

Laban was stunned. Are you mad? he says. Your family leaves me high and dry, on the verge of bankruptcy, with the Phoenicians and West Bankers breathing down my neck … and now you want the brass plates, the only book of its kind, my gift to the Temple? What’s going on? Where’s Lehi?

Laman demands the brass plates
Laman demands the brass plates

Laman refused to answer so Laban showed him the door. But the next day … and you may find this hard to believe … Laman returned with his brothers and a cartload of ‘treasures’ to trade for the brass plates.

It was embarrassing. They thought a load of furniture, a few old lamps and some dusty goods from the back of the warehouse would buy a priceless Torah. Laban threw them out. And he put all their goods in the storeroom until we can find Lehi and tell him what his sons are up to.

Laban ejects Laman and his brothers from his home
Laban ejects Laman and his brothers from his home

But that isn’t the worst of it. Last night, after we left Laban and Rachel’s anniversary party, an assassin sneaked past the guards and jumped the wall to find Laban passed out in the courtyard. Taking Laban’s own sword, he cut off Laban’s head and stripped him naked.

The assassin murders Laban in the courtyard
The assassin murders Laban in the courtyard

Then, wearing Laban’s bloody clothes, the assassin bluffed his way into the treasury, stole the plates of brass and kidnapped Laban’s most trusted servant. And thus was our house brought down into the dust.

Wearing Laban's clothes, the assassin steals the brass plates
Wearing Laban’s clothes, the assassin steals the brass plates

Laban was like a father to me. He raised our family from poverty and named me his scribe. And now he is dead, his legacy in ruins, his beloved Rachel in mourning. Everything he built, destroyed by assassins with no regard for God, temple or the holy scriptures they stole.

Into the desert
Into the desert

So, tear your robe and sing the Kaddish, my lovely. I leave at once to join the search party and bring Laman and his brothers to justice. God help them if they’ve done anything to Lehi and Sariah.

Zeal Isn’t Always Bad

Muslim Zealot

– Straps on bomb, blows self up to kill others 

Christian Zealot

– Takes gun, shoots up planned parenthood clinic

Anti-religious zealot

– Swears on FB, makes people look silly, twists words

Zeal isn’t the issue. It’s what you believe that is.

When the foundation of your morality is whatever God wants = good. The end of that zealot path justifies any evil you can think of. Personal judgment is set aside. People aren’t allowed to think for themselves. They simply have to follow orders and not think because they assume they don’t know what God knows. 

This mode of thinking you are too stupid to understand and just need to blindly follow comes from the theodicy, also known as the problem of evil.  

Basically it is this, if God is always good and created all this then why is there evil in the world? This is a quandary that has been debated for millennia because there is obviously evil in the world. 

Little girls are raped and killed here but God lets that go unchecked. (even though sometimes he answers other prayers)   

The believer must assume that God, in his infinite wisdom, had some legitimate reason for letting that girl get killed. It’s the only way he can square his inner morality with his belief in God being a good person. (This is known as reducing cognitive dissonance)

The essence of this is the believer doesn’t know why it happened but he has faith God’s decision was good. This is very much a blind faith. Because the believer has ‘no clue’ at all why little girls are raped in this glorious and wonderful universe that God made. 

Once you have that kind of blind obedience it is just a small step to be willing to kill when God wants someone dead. And here is the rub. All religions have scriptural records where God did tell followers to kill for him. From that point, a voice in their head, or a charismatic leader they think speaks for God is all it takes and we have another mass shooting in the news. 

 
All because the believer thought he was ‘too dumb’ to understand why God would allow evil things to happen in the world. 

If I had one wish for the light of the Fridge to bring into people’s lives it’s this:

You are NOT too dumb to figure this stuff out. You can understand it!! All you need is one thing. A willingness to seek truth at the expense of your beliefs. For when truth matters more than the comfortable blanket of conformity when reason and logic outweigh emotion and fear, that is when the light turns on and you discover you have far more power to change the world than you ever realized.

The Fridge needs you to realize this because as deities go it’s a God good for finding lost car keys, giving great sunsets and the occasional cold beverage. But not much else. 

The Fridge needs us, to realize it’s on us, to make the world a better place. How? Share what you know and have learned. Share the way you had to break down your own precious beliefs and take an honest look at them. Share how it felt then and how it is worth it now. 

So my fellow followers of all that is chill. Grab a couple cold ones out of your God, sit down with a friend and share the light of the Fridge. Be a little zealous of how cool it is! You will be glad you did. 

  

Paradigm Shifts Post Faith

Post Mormonism I have thought a ton about the story of Nephi and Laban: 1

He gets all pissy at his bothers for being scared.


He kills a defenseless drunk guy because he heard a voice in his head.

He puts on the bloody clothes and impersonates said drunk guy to steal stuff.

He deceives a servant to help carry out the loot.

Then he blackmails the servant to stay with him rather than tell anyone.


I seriously thought he was the good guy… What was wrong with me?

I’ve come to the conclusion that religion screws with your inner sense of morality. In any other setting I would have had real doubts about the morality of this whole story, but religion not only got me to swallow it whole. I actually thought this was a person to emulate.

Now I think the guy willing to stand up to the despotic all powerful leader that can have anything he wants for himself is the one with real courage. What do you think?

Morality

  1. My religion was founded on murder and theft… SMH

The Secret Rules of Doctrine, Something Needs to Change

In an effort to become a mainstream religion the church of the Fridge will adopt a secret rule book that only the leaders get to read. Of course it is by this rule book that all members will be judged. This is only for the good of the membership of course. How else will we protect our sweet children? For thus saith the Fridge ‘my house is a house of order and guidance must be therein.’ Even common sense testifies that a clean and ordered Fridge is a beauty to behold!

But first a question, how does that make you feel? Is it bothersome that there is a secret book you don’t get to read, and yet it is by that tome you will be judged either worthy or unworthy of eternal rewards? I mean really think about it. I have been for the last week or so on the heels of this latest debacle in regards to my past faith. What happened was they came out with an update to Handbook 1. One of the important things about Handbook 1 is it provides consistent rules for those in local leadership to use to determine the churches actions in regards to a person’s eternal soul.

Remember (like many religions) the LDS faith offers you salvation, well technically you get salvation for free when you dig into the doctrine. They offer you something even better called exaltation. Here’s the two sentence summary. Salvation comes to everyone that made it to earth (meaning before this earth life you sided with Jesus instead of Lucifer in a big war… or argument. (That part isn’t too clear.) Salvation means you get resurrected and live again. If you are a total dick, like murdering and raping or generally being an atheist that puts you in the Telestial category, if you believed in Jesus but thought the Mormons were nuts you get a Terrestrial reward. Both these are just different levels of salvation. If you to be really awesome and get to live with your family forever, you got to be a card carrying, temple going, endure to the end, Mormon. That is how you become exalted. That is the celestial kingdom and Godhood and Goddesshood,1 worlds without end and all sorts of eternal goodness to keep you from getting bored while living forever.

But the point is, the religion offers you something for your obedience to it. You just have to follow the rules and believe in the doctrine it promotes. If you don’t then you are in what is called a state of apostasy. Something that requires you get kicked out and lose rights to all those big promises.

This is where the secret book comes in. One thing you discover when debating religion with the LDS faith is their definition of doctrine is pretty hard to pin down. Especially if you take a rule they come up with and apply it to their own history. Many mormons will tell you that Prophets speak the word of God over the pulpit in conference, but as soon as you point out something awful said by one of them, all of a sudden they were just old dude’s making a mistake. So you ask how do you know it is really doctrine or not? In my own research every possible rule you can use to call something doctrinal seems to be broken to the point you have zero confidence in figuring out what is legit and what isn’t. 2

I realized something this last week though. There is a book where the rubber hits the road. Because when it comes to your membership in this organization and all the blessings it promises. There is a guideline written down (even if the average member isn’t allowed to read it). It is Handbook 1.

So follow me for a moment. If it is important enough to kick you out of the religion and recant all your blessings doesn’t it make sense that is real doctrine? It would have to be right? Sure you can call the actions taken a policy but the actions wouldn’t be needed if a member wasn’t following the doctrine of the faith. This made a lot of sense to me and I applied it to this latest leak on the update to Handbook 1.


As you look at this the severity of punishment meted out helps you realize how important a particular doctrine is. Some really obvious conclusions… Obedience to church leaders is a doctrine! (If you have been through the temple this should come as no surprise, think about the promises you make there.) Teaching doctrine that is contrary to doctrine is bad. Sure would help to have that definition of what constitutes doctrine then wouldn’t it? Or maybe the issue really is doing something after being told not to…. There is that obedience thing again. Not being totally dedicated to the one true church seems to be a reason to seriously question your membership and all those awesome blessing promises.

Then there is that head scratcher number 4. Gay Marriage requires your membership be questioned. Remember kicking you out is what God wants if you aren’t CK material. So it is pretty obvious that gay marriage is contrary to the doctrine of God as far as the Mormon church is concerned. So bad in fact it seems to be ranked worse than forcible rape, attempted murder and sex abuse.

Seriously? Are you supposed to tell a little girl that has been raped that her rapest has a better chance of being an exalted eternal being than her two loving moms?  Such a concept insults every sense of moral fairness a decent human being has. Why must religion do this to us? Why must sticking to dogma require us to justify doctrine that is so caustic it assaults your very soul? I think this is one reason why at the end of my implicit trust in faith and those who claim the special knowledge of the heavens that something changed in me. To be honest I hope to all that is holy in the Fridge, something will change in you too.

Something has changed within me

Something is not the same

I’m through with playing by the rules

Of someone else’s game

Too late for second-guessing

Too late to go back to sleep

It’s time to trust my instincts

Close my eyes and leap!
It’s time to try

Defying gravity

I think I’ll try

Defying gravity

Kiss me goodbye

I’m defying gravity

And you won’t bring me down
I’m through accepting limits

‘Cause someone says they’re so

Some things I cannot change

But ’til I try, I’ll never know!

Too long I’ve been afraid of

Losing love I guess I’ve lost

Well, if that’s love

It comes at much too high a cost!
I’d sooner buy

Defying gravity

Kiss me goodbye

I’m defying gravity

I think I’ll try

Defying gravity

And you won’t bring me down
Unlimited (unlimited)

My future is (future is) unlimited (unlimited)

And I’ve just had a vision

Almost like a prophecy

I know it sounds truly crazy

And true, the vision’s hazy

But I swear, someday I’ll be…
Flying so high! (defying gravity)

Kiss me goodbye! (defying gravity)
So if you care to find me

Look to the western sky!

As someone told me lately,

“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”
I’m defying gravity!

And you won’t bring me down, bring me down, bring me down!

  1. Albeit that doctrine has been a bit down played as of late
  2. If you are a Mormon reading this, please feel free to comment on how you determine something is doctrinal and something isn’t, I’d be happy to point out the contradiction to the rule that caused me to lose confidence in it.

Rowe Rowe Rowe Your Boat

So I’ve been kind of watching this Julie Rowe stuff unfold. It is facinating when you think about it.  Here is a person that wrote a book to share a message she got from talking to God…hmm, now why does that sound familiar?

I think it is no small coincidence that her message has caught fire amongst the LDS people in the way that it has. You see end of the world cults start all the time. They often fail sure, but every once in a while one catches and makes it to the stage of a religion. In this case it has found fertile ground in a religion (the LDS church) that has talked about the end of the world being right around the corner pretty much since its inception. 1

I remember being told I was one of the noble and great ones saved to come to earth in the last days.  Heck, they even made a musical about it!!2 As a Saturday Warrior it was my job to be a shining example of goodness and to bring others to the knowledge that I had. I was super special you see because I got to come to a family that already had the gospel and knew the truth God wanted for every one. I mean billions and billions of people were born without that great privilege. Surely in the life before this I must have been Noble and Great, just like the scriptures said. I still remember a stake conference where the speaker pointed right at me from the pulpit after quoting Abraham and saying you are one of the Noble and Greats.  He then waved his arm at all the rest of the youth in the room and said we were all of this generation born on the eve of Saturday to help usher in the Sunday millennium.

They don’t spend as much effort teaching this anymore, but I was taught that the earth was created in 6000 years, because 1000 years equaled one day of Kolob (the star with which God used to reckon time). It followed that after resting a ‘day’ the history of the world was to be 6000 years before the next Sunday, which would be the millennium of Christ’s personal reign. Jesus shows up around year 4000, so you do the math, that makes the end pretty close right? Well for a boy scarcely 10 years old in 1980, I was pretty sure all these guys were right.

You see all these numbers added up, they just ‘made sense’ to me. Which is another reason Mrs Rowe is so interesting. If you dig into her blog, she seems to make all sorts of leaps of faith based on the year she nearly died, and how these numbers that line up seem to indicate…well something and you’d better be ready for it!!! I have no doubt she really thinks these patterns are there. I am sure to her it is a sign of the times.

We humans see patterns everywhere, we are amazing good at it, way better than computers. (That’s why all the prove your humanity to prevent spam stuff is based in recognizing patterns.) We are so good at it that we often see patterns that aren’t really there.  I mean look at this. Is there really a dragon in the clouds?

Is this Jesus or just the leftovers of a couple of passing jets?

Scientists explain this as an evolutionary adaptation that essentially saved our bacon from tigers hiding in the grass.  If you accidentally saw a pattern that wasn’t there you still missed the lunch appointment with a lion. But if you failed to see it your genes were permanently removed from the pool. That made it so our pattern recognition tended to false trip way more often than simply missing something significant.

This ability to see things that aren’t there isn’t only visual, we hear things that aren’t there too. In fact all of our senses connect to the same pattern recognition machine making them all subject to being fooled in the same way: A false trip of the circuitry that originally saved our lives and helped us figure out what food was safe to eat.

It turns out this pattern seeking circuitry can also be ‘primed’. You can tell someone what to look or listen for and that alone will insert a mental frame that will bring out the pattern. Take a look at this video to see what I mean:

I now realize the back masking that was such a scary part of my childhood was just a case of pattern recognition misfires. Interesting, isn’t it! There is so much to learn about these effects and I enjoy it so much that I have to reign it in or it will totally derail this post.3

Suffice it to say, all this is misfiring of our pattern recognition circuitry is, for the most part, the secret to how magicians trick us. This is why they are called masters of illusion. They have mastered the art of manipulating our pattern recognition circuitry to see something that isn’t there.

How does this all apply to Mrs Rowe? Well she is actively seeking to identify patterns that will substantiate her experience–so many years ago–was really God. That God unequivocally spoke to her. She’s completely honest about what she sees from her perspective. This makes her very convincing to others that share the same bias to this end times mental frame. That emotion she feels when she speaks feeds the emotion they feel, which in turn reinforces her confidence in her visions. It is a feedback loop that winds ever upward in confirming their biases.

Many times a believer has posited that the beginning of the church must be true essentally because people wouldn’t buy it if it wasn’t. They proclaim, “How could a 14 year old have come up with this whole story of gold plates and all that, and more so why would anyone, in their right mind, believe him?”4

Well ask yourself this, are the people Roweing the boat to the apocalypse in their right mind? No. They keep on roweing even though their parent church is issuing statements to discredit her.  People still believe her, like this person for example. She testifies this:

“Reading these books out loud what a very spiritual experience for me.  I recorded during a short span of time between college semesters.  The Spirit was there as I read.  I felt Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s great love for me.  I went into that project feeling a little hopeless due to ordinary young adult matters (Was I studying the right major?  I had been home from a mission for a year, why wasn’t I married?) but Julie’s books helped me to realign my thoughts with heaven again.  God loved me.  He was watching out for me in every aspect of my life.  I was excited that these books could help other people grow closer to God as well.”

His words are powerful to anyone that wants to validate their own beliefs. They are convincing. They are moving and that makes more followers of Rowe. But, maybe the patterns she sees and the patterns her followers see are nothing more than shapes in the clouds. In fact as Profet of the Fridge I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict a big ole wah wah wah this September.  Pretty much a massive letdown for the followers of Rowe. But looking on the bright side for her, thanks to the backfire effect, most likely none of her preppers will be fazed much by it.

But consider this, what if she gets just a little better at making her utterances vague enough to fit all sorts of stuff after the fact. What if she gets a little more ballsy, going out on a limb running contrary to her mother religion. Isn’t it possible she just might create a modern day schism in the faith?

Wouldn’t that be interesting to see? What if she started asking people to follow her and then after a little bit happened to be killed in her prime? Then consider all of her followers getting kicked out of the church for their apostasy. Can you imagine that? Could you image how that kind of group duress might weld her followers into a core and beget a religion that began as a cult following?5 If you can, then you might see why this whole deal is fascinating to me.

  1. Joe Smith was a prepper, reading what he wrote he expected Jesus to return in his life time. 56 years to wind up the scene!
  2. OMH, in researching this I just found out there is a remake of this on its way!!! I have to wonder if children are still gonna be like rain drops coming down, coming down! I will probably have to see it just for nostalgias sake :). I have the old one playing on youtube right now filling me with chills, proof the Fridge is true. I forgot how defining this play was for me. But holy crap the dialog and acting was as awful as it can get.
  3. Google the Amazing Randi, Derren Brown and Penn Gillette for more information on how you are fooled.  I also suggest Brain Games on Netflix as a great series to watch for more learnin’ on the topic
  4. Funny how JS was actually in his 20s when he published the BoM and later started the church. But thanks to the careful correlation by the church education department, people think he was ’14’ and unschooled even though he clearly knew how to read (as that’s what he was doing when he had the question right?) Just more evidence of the mental frame the church builds for the believer via its lessons
  5. Already according to one of them. “There have been some who claim to be close to Julie who have treated her very cruelly.  This unfortunately is not anything new.  I think each of us can think of a time when we’ve been treated poorly for doing what God wanted us to do.  Joseph Smith writes of similar experiences in his history: he was “…persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me.” As soon as the person sees every critique as a sign of truth it becomes nearly impossible to point out error.