Ask Mormon Girl: How do I live my faith and my conscience? A Passover / Easter week special.

Forgive me if I step away this week from our regularly scheduled format.

Today—just today–I spoke with three young Mormons facing the exceptional challenge of living their faith and by the leadings of their conscience:

–A young woman who feels led to speak out on the issue of women’s ordination, but who worries that if she does she will get kicked out of BYU and lose her job.

–A young mother in a conservative Utah town whose neighbors are boycotting her home-based business because she is open about her Mormon feminism.

–And a worthy, believing young man (who I will soon profile at my other gig at ReligionDispatches.org) who has been told he cannot serve a mission because he believes his gay brother is equal in the sight of God and deserves all the same blessings and opportunities he enjoys.

We talked for an hour tonight, this young man and me, and he asked me, finally, “Look, I read your bio—and it left me wondering.  Why do you stay?”

And I told him that I stay because as a Mormon I have experienced God in ways that I won’t deny.  I stay because as a Mormon I belong to a people who—however imperfectly–put their whole lives into their faith.  And I stay because I hope my life—however imperfect—has some value to the people who made me.

This week, the following letter arrived in the askmormongirl inbox:

I am a 21 year-old liberal Mormon feminist. I’ve grown up in Utah all my life and spent the last four years attending Southern Utah University. After Proposition 8, I left the church. I have a close relative who is gay and have always felt that our Heavenly Parents love all of their children, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation. I was completely outraged at the actions the Church took, but more than that I felt completely alone.  When I went to college in 2009, I decided not to affiliate with the church at all. All of my roommates were very orthodox LDS and so were most of my friends. While my little family away from home was wonderful and none of them treated me any different, I couldn’t help but feel lost. Although I was still silently bitter with the church, my heart ached for this religion that had always been a part of me. A few years later I became interested in the church again. I started attending meetings as well as praying and reading my scriptures. Everything felt so right, but I was so afraid that people wouldn’t accept all of my “strange liberal beliefs” that I just couldn’t let go of. I felt complete exhaustion from trying to balance the two sides of me that I loved so much.  I randomly stumbled on an interview that you did with NPR one night. I remember feeling hope for the first time in months. I honestly had no idea that there were other people like me out there!  I continued to follow you via Twitter and Feminist Mormon Housewives. A few months passed and I marched myself into Barnes & Noble to buy a copy of “The Book of Mormon Girl.” I bawled through the last half of the book and rejoiced after finishing it. I don’t know how to tell you enough, “Thank you. Thank you so much.” You were the voice I needed when I didn’t have the courage to find my own. You have helped me to see that I can be a part of the religion that means so much to me as well as stay true to my own personal beliefs. I gave my sweet born-and-raised, straight-and-narrow, orthodox Mormon mother a copy of the book to read and it has benefited our relationship immensely. We cried together after she read it as she told me, “Now I understand where you’re coming from.”  I am eternally grateful for you and for the peace that you have given me. You have helped me so much and I am a happier, stronger, more courageous person because of you.

I don’t share this to celebrate myself. Because my role is accidental.  I am just another Mormon with “strange liberal beliefs” who won’t and can’t let go.

I share this to celebrate this very holy Passover-Easter week.  Because the lesson of this week and the stories I heard today is that there is great holiness when we crossover into new places.  This is the story of the exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom. And the exodus leads through narrow places—straits, or in the Hebrew, mitzrayim—that are utterly terrifying.  We don’t know where we are going.  Only that the way must open.  Easter tells the same story.  There is the tomb, the dead end.  But the tomb is not the end of the story.  By the power of God, the way opens to the other side.

For a long time, Mormon people who feel torn between the faith they love and their conscience have been silent.  We have stayed in narrow places.  We have been silent.  We have sacrificed people we love.  We have been sacrificed.

But there is a new generation of Mormons who are going to face the hard parts of our faith—the mitzrayim—with courage, humility, and openness of heart. They are facing the challenge of living by the leadings of their conscience and with a deep love of their faith.  They’re going to show us how to be open with each other so that (in the words of one of my favorite Mormon hymns) “no longer as strangers on earth need we roam” and we can “come home” to each other and whatever God has in store.

When a young woman finds the hope to try and live her faith and her conscience, and her mother can cry with her and say, “Now, I understand where you’re coming from,” we pass through mitzrayim and out the other side of the tomb of silence and come home.

I am grateful to be a witness.  And I am grateful for belonging to a faith that prepares people to do hard things because they take their faith—and this life and its challenges–so seriously.

Courage, y’all.  Courage.

Chag pesach sameach.  Happy Passover.  Happy Easter.

Much love.

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55 responses to “Ask Mormon Girl: How do I live my faith and my conscience? A Passover / Easter week special.

  1. just…thank you. ~a Jewish-Mormon-feminist survivor

  2. I, too, am one that is so grateful to have found your website and to have read your writings (love your book!). I feel like I’ve wandered my whole life looking for people who think like I do. It’s so hard to believe in this gospel, but feel so rejected by it. Thank you for being a voice to all of us.

    I’ve commented a few times, but I found your blog while researching “bad missions” online. I’d spent so many days and nights wondering what to do after becoming even more disillusioned from my mission (I was always liberal and unorthodox before serving). My faith was trampled. How could I stay, but where do I go? If only someone “got me”. I really think the night I found your blog was inspired. Thank you for doing this for me, for the others, and for those that are stills searching to find people like them. I hope there search finds them here.

  3. Oh, dear. Excuse the bad grammar/spelling there at the end. That’ll teach me to write at 1:30am!

  4. Why you stay in LDS is of course the most fascinating question. I don’t mean to debate or criticize, just to say that after your partial answer to that here, I still don’t understand. ” I stay because as a Mormon I have experienced God in ways that I won’t deny.” What does “as a Mormon” mean here? What is your God experience and how is it necessarily a Mormon experience?

    ” I stay because as a Mormon I belong to a people who—however imperfectly–put their whole lives into their faith.” Aren’t there other people from other faiths who do the same? And how is being around people with this type of monomania such a good thing for you?

    ” And I stay because I hope my life—however imperfect—has some value to the people who made me.” Does this mean that you choose to stay and perpetuate a flawed value system because you don’t want to leave friends and family behind? Do you think that trying to help to fix some of the flaws is the only way that you can be of value to “the people who made you?” As an ex-Mormon would you be completely rejected?

    As I say, not a debate and I don’t expect a reply to any of these questions. I’m just saying that given your level of awareness, the choice to stay seems paradoxical. Your complaints about Mormonism have been made far more clear than the reasons for your devotion to the faith. Maybe you can tell us more about that side at some point.

    • Kelly S.

      YES! This Joanna. Respond to these questions. I’m thoroughly interested.

      • Lisa

        I also hope you’ll reply because as I watch you I feel that you stay to just simply belong. Since we all have a need to belong somewhere, I would understand if that is the case.

        I’ve been a Mormon my whole life. But now at 43, I’m finally ready to explore who I am instead of trying so hard to be who I’ve been conditioned to believe I should be.

        I wonder if the time you spent outside of the church was just too unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you. However, let me be clear that I’m not accusing you of any of these things. I’m just interested in hearing more about why you stay.

    • Life itself is a paradox. There are flaws in all religions, yet they point to something real that can not be explained by science: A consciousness beyond our own that each person has a connection to. There are aspects of the gospel that ring true to my sole that can not be found anywhere else; how ever muddy I find the history of it’s formation. I commend Jaonna Brooks and anyone else who strives to hold on to Faith despite the counter currents of the materialistic view pushed by modern society.

    • DeAnna

      I understand Joanna completely. I did the same thing. I left the church when I was quite young because of historical inconsistencies and because I had progressive ideas that were not looked on with much tolerance. I came back when my oldest son was 9 yrs old. I went from disillusioned to angry, to REALLY angry, to Unitarian Universalist. Then I realized that Mormonism was my heritage. These were my people. And I sincerely missed it. I wanted to learn to learn to love and serve my fellow man and I couldn’t think of any other faith that taught people to do so on the same level as Mormonism. Our lay clergy model is truly inspired of God. It’s like the church has fashioned itself into a school that teaches us how to love. And it’s hard sometimes to love people that are different then we are. But Christ didn’t say that we should only love our friends and family and those that think the same way we do. By leaving the church and never coming back we deprive ourselves of opportunities to grow.

      • Tammy

        Same. Exact. Process. DeAnna, yes! I get it too. Joanna is the reason I can feel the same tender sweet feelings of being mormon again. Knowing that I can stay and still hold those beliefs is a new and critical thought.

    • Jayce Cox

      I find your comment to be a little hostile. Maybe you can ask yourself why you read this blog? We need to celebrate those who choose to work for change from within. This is often a most uncomfortable place. Sister Brooks faces criticism from all sides, yet she still speaks her truth. I stay because I was raised Mormon and believe that my ancestors saw a radical new way of life within the church that Joseph Smith organized. I stay because my ward family consists of real and valuable relationships. I stay because I experience holy things within chapel and temple walls. I stay because I can, because it feels like home.
      No matter what path we take, we should honor the paths others choose.
      Blessings
      Jayce

      • Jayce, I read this blog because I am fascinated by internal conflicts and transitions between contradictory beliefs. This blog seems like the waiting room between Mormonism and ex-Mormonism, the place where people keep one foot in Mormonism, yet are taking a good look out the door to the other side. Many readers see that Joseph Smith was a woman exploiter, a “send them back to Africa” racist, a con artist, an unlikely choice for a spokesperson of a just God. Readers see that Mormonism as practiced today involves backtracking through false claims of revelation, blatant contradictions swept under the rug, partial-truth proclaiming missionaries, power-abusing bishops, lack of accountability for racism, ongoing sexism, homophobia, etc., etc. Why would people continue to support something that is in such clear contradiction to at least some of their values? If participants here were selfish, evil people that would be one thing, but that is clearly not the case. I don’t exactly agree that we have to honor all paths others choose, but we have to honor their right to choose and those choices can reveal something more universal about human nature. Change bubbles up slowly, but it does seem to be simmering at a somewhat higher temperature here.

      • Mary

        “I stay because my ward family consists of real and valuable relationships.”

        That shouldn’t be on a list of why you stay Mormon, unless we’re to assume you’d lose those relationships if you left the church. (Which would be horrible if true.)

        I don’t think the original question was hostile at all. It was a sincere question. The title of the blog is “Ask Mormon Girl”. Asking her questions about her own Mormonism shouldn’t be considered a sign of hostility just because the questions are difficult or personal in nature.

  5. Rachel

    I hope you find it no less courageous to take a step back and break away for a while. I have found it the hardest thing I have ever done, but necessary for me to live my conscience for the moment, and to clear my thoughts.

  6. suzy

    You know I think a huge part of the problem is most of the people you have talked about have grown up in the state of Utah or other states where mormonism is so prevalent.
    I think mormon culture in these states often overshadows the truth of the gospel. People get confused or offended with cultural things that mormons do, which have nothing to do with the heart and soul of the gospel or Jesus Christ. Or they so want to be different from the mainstream culture that they feel like they have to rebel against or leave the church.
    I have grown up on the east coast my whole life and am often perplexed by western mormons who come out east and have this attitude of wanting to rebel and make their stance against the church. What they usually find after staying a while is that once you don’t surround yourself with mormons everywhere ,that they gain a true testimony of the gospel and realize what a beautiful gift it is and don’t take if for granted anymore. They realize that they can have liberal points of view and its ok. That the gospel is true even though the people in the church are fallible.
    So instead of leaving the church, sometimes move your location to a place where the gospel isn’t taken so much for granted and I think their viewpoint on what really matters will be clearer.

    • Meidi

      Suzy, you are so right! I have grown up in the LDS church, but not ever in Utah/Idaho/Arizona. I moved to one of these heavily Mormon states as an adult and it was a difficult transition culturally. A slightly fermented yogurt drink which I have had since childhood is considered against the Word of Wisdom? Caffeinated soda is against the Word of Wisdom? I don’t think so! Then there are the greater variety of meetings and titles which we either didn’t have or I just never had heard of, the very organizational structure of the church seems to be more complex in “Zion” than elsewhere. There are “traditional” parties or ward activities which have been held for many years (why must the ward dance be “green and gold” every year?) And people are fond of quoting very old or obscure talks from past general authorities and giving those quotes far more credit than more recent conference talks given by our current general authorities. There is great speculation about doctrinal ephemera which seem silly to me because the doctrines in question are not vital for the salvation of anyone and there is no “hard evidence” to support with side of a debate anyway. I stay because I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe with all of my heart that the scriptures are true (even if there are parts I cannot fully understand or appreciate yet). The gospel is perfect, the organization of the church is meant to support the gospel, and sometimes it falls short in this goal. The members of the church are not perfect, but I can love them anyway. I can disagree politically and personally with a person in my ward, but this does not make him or her my enemy. We are brothers and sisters in the gospel and all brothers and sisters clash sometimes, right? And I stay because I love the service oriented aspect of the church; I have two callings which I strive to put my whole heart into and do the very best I can. I love to serve the children of the church and help them to learn that their Heavenly Father loves and values them just as they are. I love to work in the welfare orchard with my family, it is fun exercise out in the fresh air among friends, how is that even work! I love to have the young, idealistic missionaries over to our house for dinner, they remind me that not all youth is cynical and jaded. I love to see the temple, and I love to go inside the temple and take place in the amazing ceremonies and feel closer to heaven than I can anywhere else. I am glad to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

  7. Why do we stay? I’m not sure why I haven’t sat down and honestly answered this question before. Here goes. I just finished reading Mormon Enigma and for the first time the church has been humanized. Even through my faith transisiton and lose of faith in core doctirne I didn’t realize how much I still deified it. I attend church first and foremost for my parents and siblings. I my heart stays because spirituality is important to me and I love still being part of the mormon community. The balancing act is much tougher then I thought it would be but I’m still here. Finding this community has really helped me feel a part of something despite the physical distance.

  8. Stephanie

    I can give an insight as to why I stay, because I have struggled greatly with it, particularly in the past 5 years. I stay because I believe in the core values and the gospel. I believe in the scriptures, even though they may be incomplete and parts of them missing or flawed because they too were translated by man many times. That is the whole point though, the church is made up of human beings who try as they may, are very imperfect. Even Joseph Smith himself was very flawed. I think people like to pretend this isn’t the case but it is. And it took me a very long time to figure out that every word that comes from the pulpit isn’t doctrine, it is one person’s advice and opinions. We have to decide for ourselves which parts are true and realize that the people are not what make this religion great, at least not to me. It’s the gospel.

    • Amy

      I too have struggled with the church the last 5 years or so. My opinion of the church fell considerably after dealing with 3 different Bishops that did not show respect to women as much as men, and I felt I had no way to make my situation better within the hierarchy of the church. The conclusion that I came to is that the gospel is true, but the church has a lot of growing to do. I believe that there are many things in the church (about women and the priesthood, and LGBT for example) that have not been revealed because the great majority of members are not ready to accept it. It will come eventually.

  9. Eric

    Just wondering: On what grounds could someone supporting women’s ordination get kicked out of BYU?

    • Marca

      Eric: It would be seen as not fully supported the Brethren because it’s doctrinally oppositional to the current church organization. It’s a private university; female professors who were less orthodox were fired when I was there back in the early ’90s. If you don’t “honor, sustain, and uphold” all of the current church doctrine, your bishop could refuse to sign your ecclesiastical endorsement (required yearly for re-admission/registering). You would be effectively “kicked out.”

    • terceiro

      As someone who teaches at BYU, who has been through the whole process — the standard slate of interviews for any faculty job, plus one with a general authority — I don’t think that she would be kicked out. You don’t get kicked out of BYU for having controversial or liberal beliefs, and they won’t even stop you from getting a job there.

      What *will* get you kicked out is failing to live up to the moral standards (integrity, sexuality, and health). I don’t know of any student who has been kicked out of BYU for apostasy. I do know a few who have left voluntarily because they no longer felt comfortable supporting the school/church, but they were not ejected from the school.

      The ecclesiastical endorsement is about attending church and living the standards. It is not a declaration of faith. It is not an establishment of doctrinal purity. Could a bishop misuse his power and refuse to sign a student’s endorsement for his own inappropriate reasons? Sure. Could one of those reasons be that bishop’s misguided interpretation of a policy? I suppose.

      While that is effectively the same thing, it is, I think, an important distinction to note that it is a very different process.

      In short, no one is going to get kicked out of BYU for supporting gay marriage or female ordination or the establishment of 5% tithing or meatless Fridays or polyandry. You will get kicked out of BYU for practicing those things (well, you’re pretty safe with meatless Fridays), but not for supporting them.

  10. Another Stephanie

    I have struggled mightily with the same-sex marriage question, along with having kept one foot in my Catholic upbringing, even though I’ve been LDS for the past 12 years-plus. I went inactive about two years ago, but decided at the first of this year that I wanted to try again. I’ve been very blessed to have moved into a ward/stake with spectacularly nonjudgmental, compassionate, real people and leaders, but I know that this cannot make me complacent. There are a lot of people who are very closed-minded and, well, nasty…and I will end up in a ward/stake with them soon enough. This is my time to do the internal building I have needed to do the whole time I’ve been LDS. This is my time to build on rock and not sand. I am finding that the little things…the daily prayer and scriptures…really do work. I am finding that though it is hard, it is worth it. The people may be an absolute turn-off at times, but the heart of the matter is good and real and empowering. I’m grateful to be part of the ‘new generation’ that is facing the hard aspects of being LDS with a desire to stay and not seeking a reason to leave. I did that before, and I can honestly say that my life is better with faith in it than with cynicism and doubt ruling the day.

    • Michelle

      This is great. Thanks for sharing this! And I think that as you live with faith, rather than cynicism, like you said, you will start to find answers that will settle your questions and doubts. I’ve been doing this, too, and finding solid answers to even these tough questions and discovering for myself that the prophets are inspired and that the doctrine is God’s not man’s. This is more than just a church. It’s God’s kingdom on the earth. (“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”) We have to also remember that as this is His kingdom and He is the king, this is a theocracy and not a democracy. And the very most important thing we could ever do while trying to live peacefully in his kingdom right now, is to qualify for, and keep sacred, the temple covenants because they are the admission ticket to his presence in heaven. :)

  11. Elle

    Thank you, Joanna. I love how calm and kind you are. Question: do you pay a full tithe to the LDS Church? I’m trying to do more “moral jogging” as described by Martin Seligman, and that is helping me stay. I don’t understand what the church does with all my money. I am concerned with what I see and know about the church’s financial empire. Not paying tens of thousands of dollars to the church each year makes me feel better. I want to see complete financial disclosure–like the church used to do prior to the 1950s.

  12. AJH

    I have chosen to continue to believe because I have a personal testimony to the truthfulness of the docterines taught by our church. This testimony was developed (and continues to be developed) over the years by reading and re-reading the Old and New Testament and Book of Mormon, and listening to talks. My testimony has also developed through thoughtful prayer, studying it out in my mind, and trying to truly understand the spirit of the docterine versus the actual words of the docterine.
    Have I had to a hard time feeling like I belong? Absolutely. But I long ago determined that I would not allow anyone else to determine my salvation. I determined that I must always follow the guidance of the spirit, even if I appear to be going against the church cultural norm and latest policy fads.
    The church itself is continually evolving, growing, and changing. The Docterine does not ever change, but rather a deeper understanding of the Docterine by the membership enables the church to move to the next level of perfection as required by Heavenly Father and Jesus.

  13. Katie

    I loved this post, Joanna. The letter you shared from the 21 year old woman was pretty much exactly what I feel. But I’m not 21. I’ve got more than a decade on her and a temple marriage and 2 small children and a career. But the feelings are the same. I’m not sure if I can stay but for now I stay because I don’t know how to leave a faith that has been my identity and community for my whole life. I am in anguish about that. I guess that I stay because I’m a coward. I’m afraid of losing my friends. I’m afraid of losing my husband. I’m afraid of losing who I am. But as I cowardly stay despite loss of faith, your book, blog, twitter and FB feeds make me feel not so alone. So thank-you.

  14. EFH

    I stay because I love Christ and I appreciate every venue that allows me to focus on him. I love going to holy places of any religion and I have understood in my life that I find God anywhere, I only need to look for him. What is special to me about the LDS Church is the acknowledged fact that there is a Heavenly Mother and I love the plan of salvation.
    Regarding why I stay (even though it has been 15 years I am struggling with it), is that I love when I meet spiritual and kind mormon members who inspire me. But above all, I love staying because I love giving a hard time to nasty members as well, even if it means standing alone. Anything shocks and upsets them.

  15. Ted Olsen

    It is because of this “AskMormonGirl” query, and others like it, that I look forward to reading the blog. Honest questions, heart-felt responses, we are proud of our Mormon Girl.

    Ted Olsen

  16. I stay because if I left, nobody in our ward would be talking or teaching about domestic violence.

    • Xenawarriorscientist–Mormonism is not just anti-feminist, but has a long history of being anti-women and therefore it is inherently supportive of domestic violence. Of course I applaud your motives, but I also wonder (and I really do mean the following as questions, not statements):
      Doesn’t participating in Mormonism put you in a position of effectively supporting misogyny and domestic violence? Doesn’t trying to fix it make the statement that it is close enough to ok that it is fixable? Isn’t everything you are trying to do with your left hand somewhat undone by your right?

  17. hi guys.

    i’m ben. thanks for reading. :)

    kudos, kilimanjournal, for bringing some hard questions to this discussion. i believe the answer to your questions lie somewhere in the middle of your hypothetical answers… i believe that many people who grapple with these faith trying issues so ardently would consider leaving the church if their entire families were dead. sounds harsh, right? it’s true (at least according to my experience living in salt lake for 10+ years among many mormons in varying stages of doubt/’apostasy,’ as well as my own experience…) we’re afraid of making a grave mistake with regards to our souls, but beyond that, even deeper than that, we are terrified of hurting our families. many of us don’t realize that we actually love our families more than our own souls until in this very situation. the things we are willing to do to protect them…

    i was raised LDS and served a faithful mission and stayed in the church as long as i possibly could. i almost decided to swallow all of my doubt and live the lie, thankfully i had enough friends who had passed over to the other side to encourage my skepticism and dissuade me from that awful path.

    leaving the church was the hardest thing i’ve ever done. besides the turbulence caused by reconciling my own conscience with the ever progressing (and often contradictory) continuing revelation of church leaders, i allowed myself to ask the question that no mormon is ever encouraged to ask: ‘what if joseph smith was indeed a charlatan?’ posing that hypothesis made it possible to reconcile my situation without a doubt. no more square pegs hammered into round holes. reassessing the evidence through that lens finally led to a different outcome, an honest outcome, one without darkness and doubt, and least of all dissonance in my spirit/conscience. my heart fell peacefully in line with the new understanding of the world i was able to gain.

    it was the only honest thing to do. you wouldn’t hear only one side in a court of law to call a verdict on any case. why do mormons refuse to honestly analyze our faith from the other side? we’re asked to believe on faith that the church is true and that a testimony will come to us through persistence in prayer and deed. what if, with the same faith and diligence you decided to believe that the church was false and used every piece of information at your disposal to support that hypothesis? i promise you, the testimony you’ll gain from that process will come a lot easier, clearer, more honestly, with less conjecture, and bolstered by hard facts, and in the end you will feel connected to your fellow man in a way you never knew possible as a mormon. you cannot know the truth of any situation if you block out all input and contradictory information from one side. it’s dishonest, yet the church is built on it and relies on that methodology to propagate itself.

    when i confronted my bishop with my laundry list of problems, he told me to forget them all, that the devil was trying to confuse me, and to remember what i was taught in my youth, and listen to my heart, which would indubitably remind me what i already knew, that the church was true. crestfallen (and insulted), i left, on my own in my investigations.

    what irks me is that any conflicting information from what is taught in sunday school is deemed ‘anti-mormon doctrine,’ dubbed worse than pornography, etc.. doesn’t that create a paradox? it insulates the church from any honest investigations to its authenticity. but even church leaders would agree, your testimony means nothing if it isn’t tested. what they don’t tell you is, you haven’t tested it if you haven’t taken a serious interest in the life of joseph smith, the translation process of the book of mormon (seriously, 10k+ edits to a ‘perfect book,’ the pearl of great price and the doctrine and covenants, and exhausted a deep and unbiased investigation of his life and above all, his character (as well as all of the other founding church members, the events surrounding it’s formation, etc…). And it’s a dishonest investigation if all of your source material has a deseret books stamp on it.

    if anyone in this forum wants to have an honest conversation about whether or not mormonism is what it claims to be, why that matters, and how i could possibly be so sure, let me know, i’d be happy to provide a personal email…

    i know it seems like people who leave the church ‘can’t leave it alone.’ but i haven’t ever written a post like this in the last 6 years since i left the church, but today i saw a facebook post and ambled into this conversation. and honestly the peace and joy i experience as a non-member feel like living in technicolor for the first time after a life of black and white, and i’d give anything to share that with another person who might be in need of guidance.

    life gets better post-mormon. much much better. there is hope!

    and i’m sure (based on the nature of this conversation) that i have nothing to worry about, but i’d be mega bummed if my comment was deleted for expressing an alternate view here…

    that said, mad respect to those of you toeing the line for your family. i don’t hold my path to be more virtuous, but i do believe it is easier, and full of happiness and joy!

    much love to you all, in your varying stages of spiritual development…

    ben

    ps kilimanjournal, i hope that mormon girl answers your respectful and honest questions, as the first word of this blog implores you to ASK.

  18. terceiro

    Why do I stay? I stay because I figure I can be a force for good within the Church. I stay because I love Mormons too much to leave them to their own prejudices. I stay because it’s good for the kids. I stay because I like the community of the Saints.

    That sounds like a joke, but it isn’t really. I take pride when a student begins a discussion professing a thoughtless opinion (typically, but not always, politically conservative), and by the end confesses in a hush that she has changed her opinion (but please don’t tell her parents). If I leave the Church, I am losing my influence to help these students (and similarly in my priesthood or sunday school meetings).

    More significantly, I stay because it’s my church. Not just the church wherein I self-identify, but it’s *mine*. I own it. I felt this much more strongly in the eastern United States and outside the US than I currently do, situated within the Zion Curtain. I remember one evening specifically, arriving at the church building to deliver my children to their youth activities, and going in for a moment. The church building itself felt like home to me because I have a similar pride-of-place about both. It’s Jesus’ church and it’s my church; we’re co-owners. So I stay because I’m selfish about my church.

    Most significantly, I stay a part of the Mormon church because it’s the true church. Culturally my opinions differ from most of the rank-and-file Mormons, but those are the secondary things to me. The things of primary importance — e.g., the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the validity of temple ordinances, the veracity of the Book of Mormon — I share with all other Mormons, even the wacky conservatives whose mistakes make me sometimes very uncomfortable in their company.

    So I stay because it’s Jesus’ church, and I believe it is the only one that can claim that title. I stay because Jesus’ church has important authority — even when it’s exercised imperfectly. I stay because I am one of those who exercises that authority — imperfectly — and the Church is the best way to help me get closer to getting it right. And I stay because I would rather be in the company of imperfect Latter-day Saints than I would go it alone. Mormons can be frustrating and stupid and thoughtless, but they’re also awesome. I can be frustrating and stupid and thoughtless, and being a Mormon really helps me become much more awesome.

    • mary

      I like what you said. I guess I can relate although I am inactive, I still love my Church very much and I stay because of my testimony and love, for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is what brought me to this Church and I believe and love God and his Son. I once said something in another, liberal LDS thread, that I could go to another church but then I would just be a Mormon sitting in a different church and I would still believe the Book of Mormon is true. I can’t and don’t really want to let go, but I have “stuff” I need to work out in my own mind. And I’ll just leave it at that except some of the conservative thinking tends to get on my nerves and it leaves me confused to hear some of the non Christian attitudes that are attached to that thinking.

      • David E. Richardson

        Mary said: “I could go to another church but then I would just be a Mormon sitting in a different church and I would still believe the Book of Mormon is true.” That has got to be true for many less active or inactive Mormons who attend other churches. Our Episcopalian neighbor married an inactive LDS woman who soon became fully active in his church in Salt Lake City before they moved to Huntsville, AL. He told me she always defended the Mormon Church when anyone spoke against it during their church classes or socials. Our neighbor said the priest said: “You can take people out of the Mormon Church, but you can’t take the Mormon Church out of them.”

        Our former neighbor sent me a printed copy of the funeral services for his wife in their Episcopal chapel in Huntsville. The following is from the homily the Episcopal priest gave for her: “You may have noticed that some of these hymns today are Mormon hymns. (One was “Come, Come Ye Saints”.) Barbara was truly a Mormon and an Episcopalian and she had no problem being both. And if you had a problem of it, well, that was your problem, not hers.

        “But I do believe whether we think of Barbara as being present in this parish or present in our hearts, no matter where we think of her, she is present, because whether Mormon or Episcopalian, we are Christians and we believe in the resurrected Christ and we believe that we are raised with Him just as Barbara professes to Jesus. We are with her and she is with us and always with Thee. She will always be part of our hearts in the remembrance of what we are to do as faithful Christians, regardless of our strive. Amen.”

  19. AlternatePossibilities

    From: AlternatePossibilities

    In addition to the very good reasons given in this website why some people stay in the Church even though they have heard or read about difficult issues, here are other reasons why people stay in the Church:

    (1) It is the church which comes closest to resembling the church which Christ set up while he lived upon the earth–it has the same doctrines, organization (including a quorum of 12 apostles), and ordinances. (2) Bible scriptures support LDS doctrines and practices, even those that other churches call “weird.” (3) There are thousands of evidences which support the truthfulness of the Church, including some tantalizing archeology-related evidences for the Book of Mormon (4) 12 witnesses, including Joseph Smith, testified to seeing and handling the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. (5) God calls and gives revelations to modern prophets as he did during Bible and Book of Mormon times, as imperfect as his prophets might be. (6) The LDS Church has the best and most detailed answers to life’s most crucial questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going (after death)? Why does evil exist in the world? Even though God heals some people and prevents some wars, diseases, accidents, or natural disasters, why doesn’t he heal all people and prevent all wars, diseases, accidents, and natural disasters? (7) There are positive possibilities, reasonable explanations, and satisfying counter-arguments to each of these questions and implied accusations and to each and every criticism, accusation, complaint, difficult issue, and hard question about the LDS Church including polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, same-sex marriage, the Book of Abraham, Mountain Meadows, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc.

    People exposed to the negative interpretations of Church history, doctrines, and practices stay in the Church because they have carefully and prayerfully examined positive possibilities, reasonable explanations, and satisfying counter-arguments. It is a pity that most who leave the Church or who stay uncomfortable in it have not considered in sufficient detail these positive possibilities, reasonable explanations, and satisfying counter-arguments. Many of these have been proposed or validated by ordinary members of the Church who take the time to patiently study the issues in great detail from all sides. Patient study includes reading the writings of and talking in person with people who have probed deeply the positive possibilities, reasonable explanations, and satisfying counter-arguments.

    Once these have been thoroughly examined, each person can decide how probable he or she thinks the possibilities are. The stronger the testimony a person has, the higher the probability he or she will think the positive possibilities have of being correct. Of course there are some devout members of the Church who are content just to know that there are positive possibilities. So, rather than getting hung up on “outward appearances” or on “the letter of the law” type negative interpretations of the Bible or Church history, they are more interested in being “anxiously engaged in a good cause,” e.g. the astonishing amount of service, tithes, offerings, and donations the Church renders to help needy people around the world.

    Thus another reason why people stay in the Church, even though they are aware of the issues that pull some people out of the Church, is because: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

  20. D.P.J.

    I see a lot of excellent posts here by people I believe really think outside the box. Here is one thing I really struggle with: Is there really “Satan” and “The Holy Ghost?” One whose eternal mission it is to get my to do bad things and one whose eternal mission it is to inspire me to do right? The whole idea of the existence of Satan seems so elementary and naive. But then again, it is one of the basic premises of the gospel. So if there isn’t a satan, is the gospel true?

    I was just curious if anyone else had struggled with that concept and what their thoughts were on it?

    • Michelle

      I’ve never struggled with this issue. But, I think they are good questions, though, because they are fundamental to the Plan of Salvation. Satan was Lucifer, a spirit son of God, like all of us (spirit sons and daughters). Because of his rebellion and his attempt to overthrow God the Father, he was banished from Heaven, along with 1/3 of all God’s children who traded their loyalty to God for a false attempt at glory with Lucifer. He wasn’t created in order to tempt us — he distorted his own nature with greed and jealousy, and now continues to exist in a state of despair, having completely forfeited his birthright. He is trying to destroy all of us who were initially loyal to our Father, trying to make us miserable like himself, because when he left God, he left behind Godly attributes like penitence, pity, compassion, humility, love, etc.

      I find it fascinating that our doctrine includes Heavenly Mother; that Heavenly Father and Mother, exalted beings and perfectly good and noble, procreated spirit offspring. All of us. Since they are “exalted” we learn that they started out as something less omnipotent, but progressed to that state. Their whole purpose as exalted beings is to create children and offer them the opportunity to progress to become what they themselves have become. Which shows how essential eternal marriage is to the Plan. It would be impossible that they could make a mistake and implant a characteristic into any of their spirit children that would fundamentally hold them back from this destiny; married for eternity and eternally creating posterity. They could not have created Lucifer with a defect that he was powerless to overcome. Somehow Lucifer became jealous, and to the point that he was filled with enmity. He rebelled with full knowledge and accountability.

      All of us down here were likewise spiritually created without any flaws that could unalterably impede our journey towards our own fulfillment. We all have the same birthright and inheritance waiting for us: “to gain all the Father hath.” Whether the Holy Ghost is also one of God’s spirit children, I don’t know. I don’t know whether God created the Holy Ghost or not. But, we have been given ample explanation about his mission; to testify, comfort, reveal, sanctify, and deliver messages. He is an essential link to our Father as we accept and obey the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, and qualify for salvation and exaltation.

      I love what Elder Holland said on Sunday, “… this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.”

  21. Sherry

    Elle – as to tithing I’ll share what I do. After the church built the Great and Spacious Mall in downtown SLC, my heart just crumbled, thinking deeply about if this was what Jesus would do. After much soul-searching, I now give my “tithing” to the ward missionary fund to support twin young women in my ward who are on missions. I also give a generous fast offering as that money stays in my ward. And I give a very small token “tithing.” I do feel I am a 100% tithe payer as the total $ amount is the same, just distributed in a different way…

  22. Isaac N.

    Response by Isaac N. to Ben Shepard’s negative comments about the Mormon Church: Throughout my rebuttal presented below to Ben’s negative portrayal of the Mormon Church, I shall paraphrase Ben’s letter with a few extra words thrown in for good measure. Ben, you and others who agree with you, sound like other disaffected, dissident people who eventually give up on other worthwhile organizations and institutions. These other worthwhile organizations and institutions include stressed students who drop out of school, tired, bored husbands who divorce a good wife, disgruntled employees who quit a good job, etc. They make similar excuses to yours: I tried “to reconcile my situation without a doubt. No more square pegs hammered into round holes, reassessing the evidence through that lens finally led to a different outcome, an honest outcome, one without darkness and doubt, and least of all dissonance in my spirit/conscience. My heart fell peacefully in line with the new understanding of the world i was able to gain.”

    Ben asked: “Why do Mormons refuse to honestly analyze our faith from the other side?” Where has Ben been? (How many times has Ben heard that pun?) Most Sunday School classes and Priesthood meetings I’ve ever attended through the entire country do analyze our faith from the other side, if only to have an answer to give to their friends and family members who ask the harder questions. If someone else doesn’t bring up an issue, I do. I’m not the only one. With the Church’s increasing emphasis on missionary work, these types of discussions will become ever more common.

    Ben also asked: “What if with the same faith and diligence you decided to believe that the church was false and used every piece of information at your disposal to support that hypothesis?” Answer: If you ask with a “sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ,” it is extremely unlikely you will come to believe that the Mormon Church is false. The worst you can reasonably come up with is, first, that the church is only the best of all existing churches, especially for answering hard questions such as questions about the life hereafter, why evil exists in the world, and, second, that the Mormon Church is the best at giving donations, welfare work, and humanitarian service–the Mormon Church is very effective at motivating people to do this.

    I promise Ben and everyone else that the testimony which they’ll gain from studying the Mormon Church with a sincere heart, real intent, and having faith in Christ will come a lot easier, clearer, more honestly, with less confusion, and bolstered by hard facts and convincing evidence, as well as by spiritual promptings. This testimony you’ll gain that the Church is indeed true will, in the end, make you will feel connected to your fellow man in a way you never knew possible as a disbeliever.

    You cannot know the truth of the Mormon Church if you block out all input and confirmatory information from the positive side and focus instead on the critical, skeptical, dissident, negative side. It’s patently dishonest not to carefully study all apologetics, whether or not you consider them good apologetics or bad apologetics. Just because you consider some apologetics “bad,” does not make it so. As long as there is any possibility that a given positive explanation of a difficult dilemma is true, you should humbly bow your head and say that you admit it is indeed a possibility and that, therefore, you cannot say that you know without a shadow of a doubt the Mormon Church is not true. People should be ever vigilant that the “church” of the dissidents is built on doubt and criticism and relies heavily on its negative methodology to reject anyone or anything that disagrees with their faith destroying, soul-deadening interpretations and conclusions.

    It’s a pity, Ben, that your bishop handled your questions the way he did. He should have linked you up with scholarly, active MORMON experts and websites and asked you to spend multiple visits with them until they (not you) felt they had presented their answers to your questions in sufficient depth and clarity.

    The peace and joy many people experience as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes them feel like they are living in a Technicolor world for the first time after a life of black and white. I’d give anything to share that with another person who might be in need of guidance. Life gets better by being a faithful member of the Mormon Church–much, much better. There is hope despite the incessant hue and cry of the four incensed A’s: anti’s, apostates, agnostics, and atheists.

    • Isaac,

      Perhaps you missed the part in my post where I mentioned that I spent 25 years as a mormon, have been through the temple, served a mission, etc.. I certainly didn’t ‘block out all input and confirmatory information from the positive side and focus instead on the critical, skeptical, dissident, negative side.’ I immersed myself in the positive side of the church, but could not ignore the glaring inconsistencies in doctrine and the shady history of the church, as well as the shady business of the modern church. I don’t believe it is right to lie to your members just because you feel ‘not all things that are true are useful,’ (Boyd K. Packer) simply because you feel that the end goal is justified by any means necessary. Truth is important. The church taught me that. I spent a solid year researching from the apologist’s perspective, on the side of the Church, as I tried to defend it against friends who were ‘falling away.’ I have read scores of apologists papers responding to every subject from the kinderhook plates to polyandry, to the book of Abraham. The problem is, Joseph was a proven fraud, over and over, and no amount of sincere prayer could erase that truth. Over 50 Egyptologists from around the world have all attested that Joseph’s translation of the book of Abraham as well as the hieroglyphs he drew to fill in missing sections of the facsimiles in the Doctrine and Covenants were complete gibberish.

      By the way, the LDS church is not ‘best at giving donations, welfare work, and humanitarian service.’ They don’t even come close to the Catholic Church’s network of charities, not even as a percentage of their members. You may not know this, but in the last 25 years the church gave less than 1.5 billion in total charitable contributions (cash and material goods). That’s an average of 60 million a year from a church that receives 130x that number in tithes every year (about 8 billion). That’s less than a percent of the Church’s income going to help people.

      Until you accept as a possibility that Joseph might not have been who he claimed to be, you cannot hold the Church up to honest scrutiny. Otherwise you’re only going to make the facts fit the conclusion you have already chosen. Try on both hats. I promise one of them fits A LOT better.

      • Isaac N.

        Ben,
        People who have spent 25 years as a student, professor, employee, or member of any other worthwhile organization can eventually become disillusioned or disgruntled and compile a laundry list of grievances and excuses to justify bailing out. Those who end up bailing out will certainly claim that they didn’t block out all input and confirmatory information from the positive side. They will claim that at first, or at least for many years, they didn’t focus on the critical, skeptical, dissident, negative side. At first and for many years, the eventual dissidents immersed themselves in the positive side of their particular worthwhile organization and ignored the glaring inconsistencies in policies and practices and any “shady” history of the particular organization they belonged to for so long.

        Indeed it is not right for the leaders of these other worthwhile organizations to lie to their members just because those leaders feel “not all things that are true are useful” or simply because they feel that the end goal of their organization (e.g. graduation, tenure, retirement, profit, etc.) is justified by any means necessary. Truth is important. Truth is what the Mormon Church teaches. There are positive explanations of what critics call lies.
        The year you spent researching from the apologist perspective on the side of the church and the apologist papers you read were not sufficient. The jury is still out. You bailed out too soon. In all honesty, you cannot declare “guilty” beyond a shadow of a doubt or even from a reasonable doubt. You cannot do this after you’ve heard positive explanations, especially ones you haven’t before. You could have accepted the positive interpretations rather than the negative interpretations. Many of the sources you quote also said positive things about the Mormon Church—why not choose to believe their positive statements rather than their negative statements? When you have a choice, give the benefit of the doubt and choose the positive.

        Obviously you bailed out before you ran across some more convincing positive interpretations and explanations. For example, although there are more positive explanations for each controversy, here is one positive explanation per each controversy you mentioned which you may not have considered before: Kinderhook Plates: Though they were fake, these plates were the trigger to inspire a revelation about a great person of black ancestry. Joseph received many revelations in answer to questions her or others raised. Book of Abraham: After translation, the original papyri written by the hand of Abraham, were delivered to a heavenly messenger (possibly Abraham himself); Joseph was left with the SenSen Book of the Dead papyri the facsimiles of which he and/or his clerk modified to resemble (but not perfectly duplicate) the facsimiles of the original Book of Abraham. Joseph translated what similar characters in the original facsimiles meant. Polyandry: The marriages were probably sexless sealings of a social or dynastic character–does the fact that Mary was married to Joseph after Mary was already carrying Jesus in her womb lead you to call that arrangement polyandry? Or do you call it a special sacred arrangement to give Christ a physical body of flesh and bone?
        . You should not ignore the possibility that these and other positive explanations are true even you if you disagree and make fun of them as being implausible. The truth is that Joseph was a true prophet of God. That fact has been proven over and over, and no amount of sincere doubt and skepticism can erase that thrilling possibility.

        Until you accept as a possibility that Joseph might have been everything he claimed to be, you can never feel smug or secure in your ex-Mormon hat. Otherwise you’re only going to make the negative interpretations and distortions fit the anti-Mormon conclusions you have already chosen. Try returning to your Mormon hat with prayerful study of reasonable explanations, especially those you may not have run across like those three examples above. I promise that your Mormon hat will fit you A LOT, LOT better

  23. Rachel Hamrick

    This is beautiful.

  24. Ben H.

    The reason the LDS church has dramatically slowed in growth is access to information. Joseph Smith simply was not a prophet according to the overwhelming amount of information we have. I don’t want to debate but you know what I am talking about (Book of Abraham translation, polyandry, manner of his death, failed prophecy, KJV word for word plagiarism, public denial of polygamy, anachronisms, total lack of archeological or historical evidence from outside the church, I could go on and on and on.) Just like the Islamic faith will defend their founders revelation from an angel no mater what, many LDS faithful will blindly do the same regardless of the evidence. The truth will set you free. The frustration and confusion I observe in the LDS community is based on a shifting foundation. Because the LDS church and its scriptures are not from God, the posts and blogs I read of Mormons are full of opinions and feeling with very little foundation. I am not trying to attack, so please don’t respond with defensiveness. The Bible has withstood the greatest scrutiny possible and has proven to be amazingly accurate in prophecy, archeology, history, and science. It’s unified message written by many many authors from kings to slaves, on 3 continents, with transparent unflattering truth about God’s people, with a message (GET THIS) that stands out among ALL other man-made religions. God is holy. We are not. Therefore we can not fix it, so God fixed it Himself and offers the gift of grace and does not force it. LDS is another works based religion dyning the sufficiency of Christ. Many people hate discussing theology but this is really the crux of the matter in every post on this blog. You don’t have to reject Jesus if you reject the LDS church. Step in to the wonderful truth of God’s word the Bible.

  25. Alphonso

    I have been prayerfully struggling over the past year with my faith and membership in the LDS Church. As I have struggled, I have examined the history of the Church and statements prophets have made. The prophets over time, have made some of the dumbest and most uninspired statements, I have ever heard with the utmost sincerity and faith in themselves as prophets. I have read talks given by apostles that were just as ignorant.

    Having said that, I realized while they’re doing the best they can, they are not infallible and God isn’t always guiding every word they say. Up until now, I have believed everything they said. I was made for awhile, thinking I’d been duped and made a fool. But now, I realize, I cannot lean on the prophet or the apostles. I will have to lean on my own testimony and the whisperings of the Spirit I feel. I continue to attend and remain active, but I do not take what the leaders of the Church say with that much seriousness, anymore. They do dispense sound advice, at times, that I am open to receive. But I seek to strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father more and more, so I do not need to trust all that much on the first presidency or the apostles. Are you offended? Moses stated that he would all of the Israelites were prophets and prophetesses.

    We, as a people, need to trust our own judgment. We need to develop our relationships with God so He can speak with us directly, instead of relying on a small group of men who are so far away and often blinded to receiving revelation because of their own prejudices and biases. Joseph Smith was often prompted to receive revelation because of the petitions and questions of the Saints. We, as Saints, ought to continue to petition the first presidency for additional revelation, even when, other (TBM) members complain that we’re not supposed to ask questions, just to follow the prophet blindly. I hate that adage, “When the prophet speaks, the thinking is done.” We need to think for ourselves.

    Just stop paying attention to the conservative republican base, who wants to live in the 19th century. So many of them don’t want to change, cause it involves too much thinking to change, it involves the shedding of foolish beliefs, and actually understanding what the scriptures say. It would involve them having to stop judging everyone. If it weren’t for more liberal people, the Church would never have changed. I consider the more liberal element, the conscience of society. They keep pricking everyone with their uncomfortable ideas and eventually the staid conservative people figure it out. Jesus always said that the sinners and publicans would go into heaven before the Pharisees. Who are the Pharisees? The ones that set themselves up as judges and condemn people to hell.

  26. Hi there,
    I’m not a Mormon, but I found your page by accident becuase I wanted to share your women jokes meme. I realized on the web address that it was from a Mormon site -which in all honesty suprised me, and worried me because for a second I was thinking: Mormons, aren’t they terribly LGBT unfriendly? I wanted to share the picture on an equality page so I decided to check out your page to see that I wasn’t getting myself into a mess pt posting something from someone who would he openly against the page’s agenda. I can say it was the most enlightening and fascinating blog I’ve found. And I admit to feeling stupid for judging so quickly considering the lack of knowledge I obviously have. So thank you. :)

    • thank you for taking the time to read and rethink!

      • Ana

        Joanna,

        If you’re still tithing, you really need to stop with the ally BS. It takes a really sick person to suck up kudos and smile in these kids faces while funding their oppression. I just don’t know what to think of you..

      • Isaac N.

        It takes a really sick person to claim that tithing funds oppression. Tithing funds the opposite—freedom, happiness, joy, assistance for the poor and needy, protection from disasters, etc. For example:

        “Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, said the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 3:10, 11)

      • Ana puts it rather harshly, but she raises an important question. While LDS is anti-gay and anti-women, continuing to tithe is funding the oppression of the victims. So, how about it, AMG? Are you tithing? And anyone else…are you putting their tithing on hold?

      • Isaac N.

        No, we are not putting our tithing on hold. We want to help all who are helped or will be helped through tithing funds.
        Also we want to receive the blessings promised to those who pay tithing, e.g. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10)
        Since you obviously disagree, at least consider that the blessings of paying tithing far outweigh any (perceived) negative consequences of paying tithing.
        Corrections: LDS is not anti-gay– It is pro-family, i.e. doing what is best for the family in the long run. LDS is not anti-women–It is pro-family, i.e. doing what is best for the family in the long run.

      • Ana

        Are you willfully ignorant or just a flat out liar?

        It’s on record that the Mormon Church has used tithe money to start front organizations and hire PR firms specifically to target gay marriage (see: hawaii.) They also use ‘callings’ to staff said organizations.

        The Mormon church also doesn’t give that much in comparison to other religions and chooses to spend their money on things like shopping malls and ‘I Am Mormon’. advertising campaigns.

        There are way better organizations to give money to if you truly care about helping those in need.

      • Isaac N.

        Amen to what LDSTexasLady said. Where is the proof that the Church used tithing money to target gay marriage? Why would the Church need tithing funds for that effort when they have business investments like City Creek Mall? From whatever source the funds came, it is just as wrong to say that the Church is anti-Gay as it is wrong to say that gays are anti-Family because of the use of their funds, front organizations, and PR firms in their campaign to redefine marriage. .

        The Mormon Church does give much in comparison to other religions, especially if you count the countless hours of volunteer time in welfare and humanitarian work. This includes large numbers of Mormon professionals such as doctors and dentists who volunteer their time and skills to help the poor as do many other members of the Church on a variety of service missions.

        Projects like the City Creek Mall are designed to benefit greater numbers of people, especially in the long run, than if the Church kept a low profile in comfortable isolation. For these reasons, the City Creek Mall can surely be called a missionary tool as the PR effort is a missionary tool. The goal of missionary work is to bring peace, contentment, joy, happiness, and welfare and humanitarian support for others whether LDS or not. If some people don’t care for the type of joy and happiness that the true gospel of Jesus Christ brings, so be it. It’s their choice. But we ought to give as many people as possible the chance to accept or reject the true gospel. So more power to the PR efforts and business investments of the Church like the City Creek Mall.

      • LDSTexasLady

        Um, exactly what “record” is the LDS church on where they are using tithing money to fund anti-gay organizations? Because I am a member of the church and have many gay friends, I can actually say that we are taught, yes in our own churches and by the first presidency of our church, to love and accept gay members and to not judge. We have had Mormons in Utah marching in gay rights parades. Currently we don’t support being a practicing gay person (having relationships) in the LDS church, but BYU has gay and lesbian organizations on campus and we have set callings in the church that are standard world wide and there is no such calling to work in an “anti gay” organization. My whole life the church has stressed the importance of helping and loving each other, so you should really get the facts straight before you make some snap judgment based on lies you read somewhere. There is a big difference in not agreeing with what someone does (as in being gay) but being loving, accepting, and agreeing to disagree, which many LDS people do.

  27. why me

    The lds church has a simple foundation: the book of mormon. If this book is true and if the witnesses to this book did truly have their spiritual experience with this book, then the church is the restored church of christ. Such is the simple foundation of the lds church. Looking into the witnesses, I see modernity and postmodernity. Many left the church over Joseph Smith and yet, could not deny their spiritual experiences, even on their deathbeds they bore their testimony. How to understand that? So, what do we have? We have the book of mormon with 11 witnesses who had never denied their testimony and bore it on their deathbeds and David Whitmer instructing that his testimony should be put on this tombstone.

    Quite convincing. What proof do we need more?

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