Why I Left

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

I originally wrote this letter for my family and friends explaining my decision to leave the Mormon Church. I didn't plan on sending it so soon, but things happen... the letter has been sent and there are issues popping up all over the place, some of these issues are with people I assumed wouldn't care about the choice I made. I feel like the wind has been knocked out of Sydney.

Dear Friends and Family,

I have learned that it is important to be honest and upfront with the people you care about in order to have great relationships with them. If you are receiving this letter, it is because I love you very much, and I want to be honest with you about a major decision I am making in my life.

I am resigning from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, because I knew that it would hurt some of my family and friends. It is not my intention to hurt you by giving you this news, it’s my intention to be honest and hopefully closer to you. I wish for this letter to hold as a standing record of a major decision and change in my life. It is not open for group debate or attack, but it is here for those seeking meaning and understanding on the matter.

When you think about why people leave the church, you might think it’s for one of the following reasons:

  • Being offended by someone. The truth does not become untrue because of the actions of others. If I sincerely believed that the Mormon Church held the keys to seeing my father, grandmother, cousins, and friends again, do you think I would throw that all away because someone offended me? Absolutely not.
  • Committing a personal sin. No, I am not coming out of the closet as a homosexual. No, I did not murder some guy and steal his wallet right before dumping his body in a river. No, and no. Again, as a reason for completely leaving the church, this is flawed.
  • Possessing an inability to keep the commandments. This is probably the reason a lot of people become inactive in the church, as opposed to actively choosing to leave. Like the others, this makes no sense except to make a statement about your personal character--that is, you are an idle bum.

I am a sincere seeker of the truth, and I have discussed the matter with many Mormons: Missionaries, Relatives, Friends, and even complete strangers who would have nothing to gain or lose by what they told me. I have friends, both Mormon, and non-Mormon, who love me no matter what. I sincerely hope that I can count each and every person reading this letter as one of those friends.

I wanted the Mormon Church to be true with all my heart. I think that every person wants desperately to believe that they hold the keys to seeing their loved ones again after they die. After my father passed away, I couldn’t deny the fact that certain Mormon beliefs didn’t sit well with me. I was hurt at first, that is why I started this journey. That is not why I came to the conclusion that I believe the Church is false.

It’s not my goal to change your mind about your religion, whatever it is. It’s just my explanation of why I am leaving. This letter isn’t comprised of “anti-Mormon” material. It’s genuine fact. I have spent many hours putting my thoughts together and I sincerely hope you take the time to read the letter and take it to heart. Below is a short list of my major issues with the Church. I will be touching on all of them during the course of the letter.

I welcome any conversations about this with any of you. The only thing I ask, is that you read the entire letter and keep in mind that I am not coming from a hostile place. Open communication is a wonderful thing, and I promise to be respectful to you, as I am sure you will be to me. Thank you for being there for me, I love you.

The Book of Abraham

In July of 1835, a man by the name of Michael Chandler made is way to Kirtland, Ohio with an exhibit of four Egyptian mummies and papyri. Joseph Smith was intrigued by these papyri, and was given permission to look at the papyri scrolls. He pronounced the scrolls a marvelous discovery.

"…with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commence the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc. - a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 236).

Joseph claimed the Egyptian scrolls were the writings of the biblical patriarch Abraham and those of Joseph of Egypt. Hearing this, several members of the Church pooled their money to buy the scrolls for $2,400. Joseph Smith finished translating the Book of Abraham from these scrolls 7 years later, and died before translating the Book of Joseph scroll.

The following are facsimiles that are in every copy of the Book of Abraham and the Pearl of Great Price. The first list is directly given by Joseph Smith; the second, from modern day scientists and Professors of Egyptology.

Joseph’s Interpretation of Facsimile 1

  • Fig. 1. The Angel of the Lord.
  • Fig. 2. Abraham fastened upon an altar.
  • Fig. 3. The idolatrous priest of Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham as a sacrifice.
  • Fig. 4. The altar for sacrifice by the idolatrous priests, standing before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.
  • Fig. 5. The idolatrous god of Elkenah.
  • Fig. 6. The idolatrous god of Libnah.
  • Fig. 7. The idolatrous god of Mahmackrah.
  • Fig. 8. The idolatrous god of Korash.
  • Fig. 9. The idolatrous god of Pharaoh.
  • Fig. 10. Abraham in Egypt.
  • Fig. 11. Designed to represent the pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians.
  • Fig. 12. Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament over our heads; but in this case, in relation to this subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify Shaumau, to be high, or the heavens, answering to the Hebrew word, Shaumahyeem.

Egyptologist’s Interpretation of Facsimile 1

Richard A. Parker, Wilbour Professor of Egyptology and Chairman of the Department of Egyptology at Brown University:

"This is a well-known scene from the Osiris mysteries, with Anubis, the jackal-headed god, on the left ministering to the dead Osiris on the bier. The penciled restoration is incorrect. Anubis should be jackal-headed. The left arm of Osiris is in reality lying at his side under him. The apparent upper hand is part of the wing of a second bird which is hovering over the erect phallus of Osiris (now broken away). The second bird is Isis and she is magically impregnated by the dead Osiris and then later gives birth to Horus who avenges his father and takes over his inheritance. The complete bird represents Nephthys, sister to Osiris and Isis. Beneath the bier are the four canopic jars with heads representive of the four sons of Horus, human-headed Imseti, baboon-headed Hapy, jackal-headed Duamutef and falcon-headed Kebehsenuf. The hieroglyphs refer to burial, etc. ...."


Klaus Baer, Associate Professor of Egyptology at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute:

"The vignette on P. JS I is unusual, but parallels exist on the walls of the Ptolemaic temple of Egypt, the closest being the scenes in the Osiris chapels on the roof of the Temple of Dendera. The vignette shows the resurrection of Osiris (who is also the deceased owner of the papyrus) and the conception of Horus. Osiris (2) is represented as a man on a lion-couch (4) attended by Anubis (3), the jackal-headed god who embalmed the dead and thereby assured their resurrection and existence in the hereafter. Below the couch are the canopic jars for the embalmed internal organs. The lids are the four sons of Horus, from the left to right Imset (8), Hapi (7), Qebeh-senuwef (6), and Duwa-mutef (5), who protect the liver, lungs, intestines, and stomach, respectively. At the head of the couch is a small offering stand (10) with a jug and some flowers on it and two larger vases on the ground beside it. The ba of Osiris (1) is hovering above his head.

The versions of Osiris myth differ in telling how Seth disposed of Osiris after murdering him, but he was commonly believed to have cut Osiris into small pieces, which he scattered into the Nile, leaving Isis the task of fishing out and assembling the parts of her brother and husband so that he could be resurrected and beget Horus. In this she was helped by Horus in the shape of a crocodile, who is represented in the water (the zigzags) below the vignette (9). Below that is a decorative pattern derived from the niched facade of a protohistoric Egyptian palace.

There are some problems about restoring the missing parts of the body of Osiris. He was almost certainly represented as ithuphallic, ready to beget Horus, as in many of the other scenes at Dendera. I know of no representations of Osiris on a couch with both hands in front of his face. One would expect only one hand in front of his face, while the other was either shown below the body (impossible in P. JS I) or grasping the phallus. It the latter case it would be hard to avoid the suggestion of Professor Richard A. Parker that what looks like the upper hand of Osiris is actually the wingtip of a representation of Isis as a falcon hovering in the act of copulation."
Joseph Smith didn’t get it right. How is it that a prophet of God could get this wrong?

Joseph’s Interpretation of Facsimile 2
  • Fig. 1. Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh.
  • Fig. 2. Stands next to Kolob, called by the Egyptians Oliblish, which is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides; holding the key of power also, pertaining to other planets; as revealed from God to Abraham, as he offered sacrifice upon an altar, which he had built unto the Lord.
  • Fig. 3. Is made to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon his head; representing also the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam in the Garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and all to whom the Priesthood was revealed.
  • Fig. 4. Answers to the Hebrew word Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens; also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying one thousand; answering to the measuring of the time of Oliblish, which is equal with Kolob in its revolution and in its measuring of time.
  • Fig. 5. Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob.
  • Fig. 6. Represents this earth in its four quarters.
  • Fig. 7. Represents God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove.
  • Fig. 8. Contains writings that cannot be revealed unto the world; but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God.
  • Fig. 9. Ought not to be revealed at the present time.
  • Fig. 10. Also.
  • Fig. 11. Also. If the world can find out these numbers, so let it be. Amen.
  • Figures 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 will be given in the own due time of the Lord.
Egyptologist’s Interpretation of Facsimile 2

The facsimile no. 2 is a copy of a hypocephalus, an Egyptian funerary amulet that is placed under the head of the deceased. Its purpose was to keep the head warm.

Sir Wallis Budge, a world renowned Egyptologist, remarked that Joseph Smith's translation of the hypocephalus had "... no archeological value." (The Mummy, A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archeology, by E.A. Wallis Budge, 1989, [first published in 1893], by Dover Publications, Inc., New York, pg. 477.

Facsimile No. 2 has obviously been altered from the original. Missing portions of the facsimile were copied from other pieces of the papyri Joseph Smith had purchased in 1835. The central figure labeled (1) by Joseph Smith appears to have been copied from figure 2 of the same facsimile. Normally the a four headed Amen-Re appears in this location. Furthermore, figure 3 is an almost exact copy from the Joseph Smith Papyri IV. Also, portions of the outer circle of the facsimile appear to have been copied from the Sensen text of the Joseph Smith papyri XI. The Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar clearly shows these missing portions. Also, the Sensen (Book of Breathings) text lines up with the border of facsimile no. 2.

Again, Joseph didn’t get it right. It’s an ancient funerary text, and it certainly has nothing to do with Kolob the planet. Also, Smith mentions that Fig. 7 is supposedly God sitting on his throne. Egyptologists deny this as well. The figure depicted is actually the God “Min” who is a sexually aroused male deity. In some of the earlier editions of the Book of Adam the Church erased the aroused manhood so it wouldn’t look pornographic. It has since been restored in our current versions.

Joseph’s Interpretation of Facsimile 3

  • Fig. 1. Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king, with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven; with the scepter of justice and judgment in his hand.
  • Fig. 2. King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head.
  • Fig. 3. Signifies Abraham in Egypt as given also in Figure 10 of facsimile no. 1.
  • Fig. 4. Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand.
  • Fig. 5. Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand.
  • Fig. 6. Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince.

Abraham is reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king’s court.

Egyptologist’s Interpretation of Facsimile 3

Here is a direct quote from Egyptologist Klaus Baer from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1968, pp. 126-127:

Facsimile No. 3 shows a man (5) his hand raised in adoration and a cone of perfumed grease and a lotus flower on his head (ancient Egyptian festival attire), being introduced by Maat (4), the goddess of justice, and Anubis (6), the guide of the dead, into the presence of Osiris (1), enthroned as king of the Netherworld. Behind Osiris stands Isis (2), and in front of him is an offering-stand (3) with a jug and some flowers on it. Over the whole scene is a canopy with stars painted on it to represent the sky.

The scene comes from a mortuary papyrus and is similar to, but not identical with the scenes showing judgement of the deceased before Osiris such as P. JS III. It is a summary in one illustration of what the Breathing Permit promised: The deceased, after successfully undergoing judgement is welcomed into the presence of Osiris.

The texts, poorly copied as they are, carry us one step further. As far as it can be made out, the line of hieroglyphics below the scene reads.
'O Gods of ..., gods of Caverns, gods of the south, north, west, and east, grant well-being to Osiris Hor, justified, ...'

The characters above and to the left of the man are probably to be read: 'Osiris Hor, justified forever.' Even though Hor is a relatively common name in Greco-Roman Egypt, this does suggest 'Facsimile No. 3' reproduces part of the same manuscript that 'Facsimile No. 2' does. Hor's copy of the Breathing Permit would then have had two vignettes, one at the beginning and another ('Facsimile No. 3) at the end, an arrangement that is found in other copies of the same text."

Joseph Smith wasn’t even close. Again, how could a prophet of God get this wrong?

Another question I have is that it has been proven by scholars that the Book of Abraham was NOT the word of God… Yet, the Mormon Church continues to call the Book of Abraham scripture. Why? The first sign of polygamy was in the book of Abraham when God tells Abraham to take another wife. I had to ask myself if this was proof that Joseph Smith wanted polygamy for more personal reasons and created this scripture to get his followers to go along with it?

There is much, much more I could bring up about the Book of Abraham but I won’t due to the length of this letter.

The Kinderhook Plates

Most Mormons I have spoken with, including several missionaries, were not even aware of this issue…

A set of brass plates was found buried in an Indian Mound near Kinderhook, Illinois on April 23, 1843. When these plates were presented to Joseph Smith he immediately claimed they were authentic ancient records:

"I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.

I have translated a portion of them and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth." (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 372)
William Clayton, Joseph Smith’s private secretary and scribe, had this to say in his diary:

"I have seen 6 brass plates...covered with ancient characters of language containing from 30 to 40 on each side of the plates. Prest J. has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth." (William Clayton's Journal, May 1, 1843, as cited in Trials of Discipleship - The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon, p. 117)

An agnostic non-Mormon by the name of Charlotte Haven had this to say in a letter written to her sister on May 2, 1843:

"We hear very frequently from our Quincy friends through Mr. Joshua Moore, who passes through that place and this in his monthly zigzag tours through the State, traveling horseback. His last call on us was last Saturday [April 29] and he brought with him half a dozen thin pieces of brass, apparently very old, in the form of a bell about five or six inches long. They had on them scratches that looked like writing, and strange figures like symbolic characters. They were recently found, he said, in a mound a few miles below Quincy. When he showed them to Joseph, the latter said that the figures or writing on them was similar to that in which the Book of Mormon was written, and if Mr. Moore could leave them, he thought that by the help of revelation he would be able to translate them."
Parley P. Pratt said in a letter to a friend on May 7, 1843:

"Six plates having the appearance of Brass have lately been dug out of a mound by a gentleman in Pike Co. Illinois. They are small and filled with engravings in Egyptian language and contain the genealogy of one of the ancient Jaredites back to Ham the son of Noah. His bones were found in the same vase (made of Cement). Part of the bones were 15 ft. underground…A large number of Citizens have seen them and compared the characters with those on the Egyptian papyrus which is now in this city."
Unfortunately, the Kinderhook Plates were forgeries. On April 25, 1856, W.P. Harris (one of the nine witnesses to the discovery of the plates) wrote this in a letter:

"…I was present with a number at or near Kinderhook and helped to dig at the time the plates were found…[I] made an honest affidavit to the same…since that time, Bridge Whitten said to me that he cut and prepared the plates and he…and R. Wiley engraved them themselves…Wilbourn Fugit appeared to be the chief, with R. Wiley and B. Whitten." (The Book of Mormon? , by James D. Bales, pp. 95-96)

It was originally thought that the plates were lost during the civil war, but M. Wilford Poulson, a former teacher at B.Y.U. and a student of early Mormon history, found one of the original Kinderhook plates in the Chicago Historical Museum, but it was mislabeled as one of the original gold plates from the Book of Mormon. Except for an acid blotch on one side, the plate was in excellent condition. After a great deal of research he was convinced the plates were made in the 1840’s as W. Fugate claimed.

A Mormon physicist by the name of George M. Lawrence was given permission to make “some non-destructive physical studies of the surviving plate” in 1965:

"The dimensions, tolerances, composition and workmanship are consistent with the facilities of an 1843 blacksmith shop and with the fraud stories of the original participants."

Some Mormon scholars wouldn’t accept his work because he was only allowed to do non-destructive tests. In 1980, Stanly P. Kimball was able to, “secure permission from the Chicago Historical Society for the recommended destructive tests.” Professor Kimball described the results in the Ensign, August 1981, pp. 66-70:

"A recent electronic and chemical analysis of a metal plate…brought in 1843 to the prophet Joseph Smith…appears to solve a previously unanswered question in Church history, helping to further evidence that the plate is what its producers later said it was - a nineteenth-century attempt to lure Joseph Smith into making a translation of ancient-looking characters that had been etched into the plates…As a result of these tests, we concluded that the plate…is not of ancient origin… we concluded that the plate was made from a true brass alloy (copper and zinc) typical of the mid-nineteenth century; whereas the 'brass' of ancient times was actually bronze, an alloy of copper and tin."

The Church stood by Joseph Smith’s belief that the Kinderhook plates were ancient and accepted his partial translation for 140 years. As soon as it became known that there was no way these plates could be what Joseph claimed, the church tried to distance themselves from the whole situation by claiming “…there is no evidence that Joseph Smith ever concluded the plates were genuine…” (Ensign, August 1981, pp. 66-70).

If Joseph Smith hadn’t been murdered in 1844, would it be possible that he would have continued the translation of the bogus plates? Just a month before his death it was recorded that he was, “busy translating them. The new work… will be nothing more nor less than a sequel to the Book of Mormon.” (Warsaw Signal, May 22, 1844).

Many Mormon apologists now claim that Joseph wasn’t fooled by the bogus plates and he had no intention of translating them. In fact, Joseph was actually preparing to print a translation of the plates and that is verified by a broadside published by the Mormon newspaper, The Nauvoo Neighbor, in June of 1843:

“The contents of the Plates, together with a Fac-Simile of the same, will be published in the Times and Seasons, as soon as the translation is completed."
Wilbur Fugate wrote this in a letter dated April 8, 1878:

"We understood Jo Smith said [the plates] would make a book of 1200 pages but he would not agree to translate them until they were sent to the Antiquarian society at Philadelphia, France, and England."
In my opinion the evidence shows that Joseph Smith did indeed attempt to translate the Kinderhook plates, and he proclaimed them to be authentic ancient records. Joseph had this to say about the skeleton found with the plates:

"This man in mortal life was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and a man of God. His name was Zelf. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains. The curse of the red skin was taken from him, or, at least in part."
He then noted the arrowhead still lodged between two ribs in the skeleton, and described in vivid detail how Zelf was killed. Brigham Young took the arrowhead, and other carried off the leg and thigh bones for souvenirs. (History of the Church, Vol. 2, pp. 79-80; and “Elder Kimball’s Journal,” Times and Seasons, Vol. 6, p. 788)

Polygamy

Almost every Mormon is aware that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy in the 1800’s. It’s never mentioned in missionary discussions, but most non-members are aware of this as well because it is taught in American History classes.

The reasons most commonly given in church to justify polygamy (and I can promise you these are the reasons I was taught in Young Women’s class) are:

1) There were more women than men in the 1800’s and polygamy provided a way for women, particularly widows, to have the benefits of a husband.

2) Polygamy was not practiced until after the Saints started immigrating to Utah, and the only reason for this was so that women whose husbands died from the exertions of the trek could be taken care of.

3) Polygamy wasn’t illegal in the 1800’s and was not in violation of U.S. law or against the 12th article of faith, which supports obeying the laws of the land.

4) Polygamy was an acceptable way to rapidly increase the Church membership.

5) Restoration of a Biblical practice.

6) Commanded from God.

In 1890, President and prophet Wilford Woodruff told Church members that he received revelation that they should stop the practice of plural marriage so it would not be in violation of the laws of the land. It was ended, and not practiced since in the mainstream Church. The RLDS saw this as a sign of apostasy from the Church Joseph Smith created and broke away to continue the practice of polygamy, which they still do to this day. The ending of polygamy also helped Utah to become a state.

For some reason, many in the LDS membership believe that polygamy started with Brigham Young and not Joseph Smith…

Firstly, polygamy was illegal. There are wanted posters and photos of men in jail for practicing polygamy. It was even illegal in Canada and Mexico…Joseph Smith’s first polygamous marriage occurred in Illinois in 1833. The Illinois Anti-bigamy Law enacted Feb. 12th, 1833 clearly stated that polygamy was illegal. Furthermore, Mormon polygamy was never legal, at any time--not even in the Utah territory from 1847-1890. There was never a time when polygamy was legal.

Even if you only use official LDS publications, for example, the priesthood manual used in 2006, they admit that polygamy was illegal in 1881. So the Church does admit that it practiced polygamy illegally for at least 9 years. In reality, polygamy was always illegal.

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."
- 12th Article of Faith, written by the Prophet Joseph Smith

Why were these people, including First Presidency counselor George Q. Cannon in prison for practicing polygamy? Because polygamy was illegal.

The Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley, said this in regard to the fundamentalists that practice polygamy today:

“I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law. They know they are in violation of the law. They are subject to its penalties. The Church, of course, has no jurisdiction whatever in this matter.

If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church. An article of our faith is binding upon us. It states, 'We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law' [Articles of Faith 1:12]. One cannot obey the law and disobey the law at the same time.”
If President Hinckley can condemn people practicing polygamy today because it is against civil laws then how can we justify the LDS that practiced polygamy in the 1800s when it also was against civil laws?

Joseph Smith had his first polygamous relationship about 1833, dictated his revelation on celestial marriage in 1843, and he was killed in 1844.

Were there more women than men? Lets take a look at the population statistics from the U.S. Census for Utah from 1850-1950:

Year Male Female

1850 6020 5310
1860 20178 19947
1870 43451 42503
1880 73477 68946
1890 108943 96982
1900 138923 133542
1910 192118 174465
1920 227232 214669
1930 255284 244683
1940 274587 268333
1950 341007 335902


By looking at these numbers we can clearly tell that there were actually more men than women in Utah from 1850-1950. It’s now impossible for me to believe that polygamy was intended to take care of the “extra” women who needed support.

A related justification for polygamy often given is that polygamy is an effective way to rapidly increase the membership of the church. This doesn’t make any sense because a group of women can have far more children if they each have their own husband instead of sharing one man. For example Brigham Young reportedly had 55 children by some 29 child-bearing capable wives but had those women had their own husbands they may have had 150 or more children in total. This reasoning only makes sense if there was a shortage of men but as shown above this was not the case.

Another thing that bothers me is that the fist edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835) included a section denying any practice of polygamy:

"Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 247)
Why would our scriptures tell us one thing, and we do another?

Sunday School lesson manuals, priesthood manuals, seminary books, etc. never mention Joseph’s polygamy. There are references to the other prophet’s plural marriages but not for Joseph. I believe that by simply never mentioning that Joseph Smith had polygamous wives leads many, including potential converts, that polygamy started with Brigham Young.

Those who do know of Joseph Smith’s plural wives understand that it was because he was commanded by an angel to practice polygamy:

"The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it, and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth. We have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction."
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Contributor, Vol. 5, p. 259

Again, if this was the case, why all the secrecy? There are records of the wives taken by Joseph Smith, and another scary piece of information I found was that 11 of the 33 wives sealed to him were already married to other men at the time of their sealing to Joseph.

Another issue that immediately grabbed my attention was that Joseph Smith married two 14 year old girls by the names of Helen Mar Kimball (May 1843) and Nancy Winchester (1843). It was not common for girls this age to get married, even for the period of time they lived in. I found that 7 of Joseph Smith’s 33 known wives were under the age of 18.

The following links show marriages between LDS apostles and teenage girls young enough to be their daughters:

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=384089
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=6708
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=652268
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=519004
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=59383
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=182262
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=944742
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=68658
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=31993
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1156
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=145734
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=822581
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=123950
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=2146429
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663871
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=5776184
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663910
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=419174
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=757004
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663846
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=2910577
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=91176
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=32861
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=739564
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=8515868
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1855454
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663867
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=952846
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=630396
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=2093236
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663796
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=11300118
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=147311
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=171325
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=55596
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1733829
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=655144
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663839
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=410599
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=1663809
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=806530
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=667
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/AF/family_group_record.asp?familyid=118909

Joseph’s wives can be verified by going to the Church’s own genealogical website:

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/AF/individual_record.asp?recid=7762167&lds=0®ion=-1®ionfriendly=&frompage=99

There is much more information about Joseph Smith and his wives that I would have liked to include in this letter, but again, for time I left it out. My major question is why did the church condemn polygamy while Joseph practiced it? It again leads me to believe that I was never taught the whole history of the Mormon Church, and that I will never know what else might come up…

Changing Doctrine

Hugh Nibley said that one of the hallmarks of Mormon truth is that it has never changed over time:
"The gospel as the Mormons know it sprang full grown from the words of Joseph Smith. It has never been worked over or touched up in any way, and is free of revisions and alterations. Joseph Smith took the same elements that have proven so recalcitrant and so hopelessly conflicting in the hands of the churchmen and threw them together, with an awful lot of other stuff, to follow Brodie, into a single wildly chaotic mess. And lo and behold, everything fell into line of its own accord; all the haphazard elements in the bewildering heap fitted together perfectly to form a doctrine so commanding that not even a hint of rhetorical paradox is needed to support it, and no 'Gregorian compromise' with a pleasure-loving world has been necessary to assure its vigorous growth." (Hugh Nibley, No Ma'am, That's Not History)
The facts, however, show otherwise.

Adam-God Theory: Brigham Young clearly and repeatedly taught that Adam is our God. He claimed that Adam is the father of our spirits as well as the father of Jesus Christ. In General Conference in 1852, he stated:

“When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him… He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! About whom holy men have written and spoken. -HE is out FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth… must hear it, and will know it sooner or later… And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family [Adam]:

…Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden [Adam], and who is our Father in Heaven.”

This wasn’t an isolated incident. It was mentioned in other times and other places. Again, in 1859, Brigham Young taught:

“Adam and Eve are the parents of all pertaining to the flesh, and I would not say that they are not also the parents of our spirits.”
Today, of course, the modern LDS Church has distanced itself from these types of comments, even outright denouncing them in some instances Such is the case with this 1976 General Conference statement from LDS prophet and president Spencer W. Kimball:

“We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.”
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie had this to say in a letter to a Brigham Young University professor teaching the Adam-God theory:

"Nonetheless, as Joseph Smith so pointedly taught, a prophet is not always a prophet, only when he is acting as such… Sometimes they err in doctrine. This is one of the reasons the Lord has given us the Standard Works… If this were not so, we would believe one thing when one man was president of the Church and another thing in the days of his successors. Truth is eternal and does not vary. Sometimes even wise and good men fall short in the accurate representation of what is truth. Sometimes a prophet gives personal views which are not endorsed and approved by the Lord.

Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true. He expressed views that are out of the harmony with the gospel…”

My first reaction when I read that quote was, “An apostle is claiming that a prophet ‘expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel?’” Bruce R. McConkie also bluntly stated, “…anyone who has received the temple endowment and who yet believes the Adam-God theory does not deserve to be saved.” (The Seven Deadly Heresies, BYU devotional, 6/1/1980.)

Okay… here we have two of the Lord’s supposed prophets. One prophet teaches that Adam is God, something “which God revealed to [him],” as well as that his teachings are scripture. Then we have another prophet who condemns the doctrine that Adam is God. Finally, we have an apostle who feels that the prophets can be unreliable sources of doctrine. Therefore, says he, we should rely on the Scriptures, which themselves originate from--drum roll please-- prophets and apostles. For good measure, shall we also throw into the pot LDS prophet and president Ezra Taft Benson’s “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” sermon? Consider these tidbits taken from a BYU devotional on 2/26/1980:

“First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.”
“Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.”
“Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.”
“Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.”
“Sixth: The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.”
But wait, wait, wait, now that is contradicting… Ladies and Gentlemen, if this were a logic puzzle, I would deem it unsolvable. When does one know to believe the prophets and apostles? The answer seems to be that it depends--on whom you ask and when you ask. I would like to think that God would have designed a clearer system than this for receiving His divine messages about the glorious truths of the gospel.

There are more examples of changed doctrine:

Polygamy was practiced in the early days of the LDS Church, and has since gone away. The Church has done everything it could do distance itself from polygamy in recent years by, for example, changing the quotes in the Brigham Young lesson manual from “wives” to “wife” and removing all mention of Joseph F. Smith’s many plural wives and divorces from his lesson manual. Personally, I believe changing these words is being extremely dishonest, as you are trying to represent the Church as it wasn’t.

Temple Endowments. Significant changes to the endowment ceremony have occurred as recently as 1990. If it came from God, why wasn’t it “right” the first time?

Blacks Receiving the Priesthood. Blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood or receive exaltation until the policy was changed on 9/30/1978. Does that mean blacks living after that date can receive exaltation while those prior to that date cannot? I have much more to say about this issue, and it will come up again and again.

Birth Control. David O. McKay said the following in a 1943 General Conference talk:

“When the husband and the wife are healthy, and free from inherited weaknesses and diseases that might be transplanted with injury to their offspring, the use of contraceptives is to be condemned.”
LDS prophet and President Joseph Fielding Smith seconded that notion:

“BIRTH CONTROL IS WICKEDNESS. The abuse of this holy covenant has been the primary cause for the downfall of nations. When the sacred vows of marriage are broken and the real purpose of marriage abused… then destruction is inevitable.”
Wow, “destruction is inevitable.” That must mean that the current LDS membership is on the path to becoming a virtual Sodom and Gomorrah. Based on informal observation within my own active LDS extended family as well as friends, I can confidently state that almost all newlywed couples practice some form of birth control. The Medical Director of the Brigham Young University Health Center made a statement in 2004 that at least 80% of the women who come to the Health Center for pre-marital exams request some form of birth control.

Where is this inevitable destruction? Brigham Young University must be going to hell in a hand basket right now. Actually, the LDS Church has conveniently seen fit to bury this belief that, “BIRTH CONTROL IS WICKEDNESS.” The General Handbook of Instructions (GHI), which used to serve as the operational bible for local ecclesiastic leaders around the world, glossed over the matter and took a different spin. The 1989 edition of the GHI instructed bishops, stake presidents, and others as follows:

“Husbands must be considerate of their wives, who have a great responsibility not only for bearing children but also for caring for them through childhood. Husbands should help their wives conserve their health and strength. Married couples should seek inspiration from the Lord in meeting their marital challenges and rearing their children according to the teachings of the gospel.”

In 1998, the GHI was superseded by the Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI), which is the current operational bible as of 2007. The 1998 edition of the CHI makes the following statement:

“The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter.

Married couples also should understand that sexual relations within marriage are divinely approved not only for the purpose of procreation, but also as a means of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife.”

That is a long way from condemning birth control as wickedness. So what happened in the last several decades to cause birth control to be reclassified from “wickedness” to a “private” matter?

Temple Garments. In the beginning, LDS Church leaders vehemently fought against modifications of any sort to the very original temple garment pattern. This became problematic around the turn of the 20th century when more and more LDS women were modifying their garments for comfort or fashion purposes. Prophet and president Joseph Fielding Smith declared this first in 1906 and said it again in 1916:

“The Saints should know that the pattern of the endowment garments was revealed from heaven, and the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form or in the manner or wearing them.”

Excellent, so the prophet took a stand, and the LDS Church stuck with it, right? Well, not quite. It 1923, it became apparent to many that Joseph Smith had not designed the garments and temple clothing, as previously thought. This caused a reversal in the previous position, and a change in the garment pattern.

As Man Is, God Once Was. Early church prophets clearly taught that God was once a man like us.

Joseph Smith:
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret…It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know…that he was once a man like us… Here, then, is eternal life - to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you…" ("King Follett Discourse," Journal of Discourses 6:3-4, also in Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 342-345)
Brigham Young:

"He [God] is our Father - the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being." (Journal of Discourses 7:333)
Joseph Fielding Smith:

"God is an exalted man. Some people are troubled over the statements of the Prophet Joseph Smith…that our Father in heaven at one time passed through a life and death and is an exalted man…" (Doctrines of Salvation 1:10)
However, modern prophets are now backpedaling on this doctrine. For example, Gordon B. Hinkley has done so, despite Joseph Smith claiming that:

…it is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know…that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did." (Joseph Smith, Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)

From a San Francisco Chronicle interview with President Hinckley in April, 1997:

"Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs [and other Christian churches]. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?

"Hinckley: I wouldn't say that. There was a little couplet coined, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about.

"Q: So you're saying the church is still struggling to understand this?

"Hinckley: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the Resurrection. ...that's one thing that's different. Modern revelation. We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, we believe he has yet to reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 1997, p. 3/Z1)


United Order. Originally, Joseph Smith established through revelation the United Order of Enoch:
"Behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken, and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church." (Book of Commandments, chapter xliv, verse 26)”
Each member consecrated everything to the church, and was given back certain property "sufficient for himself and family". Joseph began the experiment in Thompson, but it failed after Leman Copley and Ezra Thayer renounced their offering of land there. In October 1831, he tried to establish the Kirtland Order, primed by a $10,000 loan from Charles Holmes which apparently was never repaid. This also failed, and on April 10, 1834 the Kirtland council dissolved the Order. The concept was also tried in Missouri , including a command by Joseph that unless converts there joined the Order they would be denied membership in the church. With the closing of the storehouse, the Missouri Order likewise collapsed. (History of the Church, Vol. I, pp. 365-7n., 298; also Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1 (January 1833), p. 121)

Joseph made one final attempt to launch a greatly revised consecration program in Far West, Missouri in July 1838. Under threat by Sidney Rigdon that failure to comply would result in retribution by the Danites, the Saints agreed to again consecrate their property to the church. However, in practice it became clear that the Saints were not going to repeat their earlier mistakes in freely giving everything to the church. As a result, Joseph quickly modified the decree by ordering the Saints to lease their property to the church "without consideration or interest" from 10-99 years. Before this could be carried out, however, it collapsed at the end of the year when the Mormons were driven out of the state. Thereafter, Joseph was content to let the United Order be translated to the plane of abstract ideals, where it was destined to remain. The failure of the United Order concept was blamed on the unrighteousness of the Saints, rather than a lack of wisdom on the part of Joseph. (Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History, pp. 140-142, 220-221)

The Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom was given through "revelation" on February 27, 1833. It specifically forbids the use of alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks, and allows for the use of wine only at communion and meat only in winter (D&C 89). Does this mean God didn't think it was important for His people to receive the benefits from this revelation until modern times? For example, Noah became drunk:

"20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

"21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." (Genesis 9: 20-21)
Paul counseled Timothy to drink wine:

"23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (1 Timothy 5:23)
Interestingly, Joseph himself never seemed to pay much heed to the revelation. For example, he recorded:

"We then partook of some refreshments, and our hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine." (January 1836, History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 369)

"Wednesday 3, - Called at the office and drank a glass of wine with Sister Jenetta Richards…" (May 1843, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 380)

Joseph's lack of discretion in following the Word of Wisdom was apparently a cause of embarrassment for the church. Consider this account:

"It was reported to me that some of the brethren had been drinking whisky that day in violation of the Word of Wisdom. I called the brethren in and investigated the case, and was satisfied that no evil had been done, and gave them a couple of dollars, with directions to replenish the bottle to stimulate them in the fatigues of their sleepless journey." (Millennial Star, Vol. 21, page 283)

When this was reprinted in the History of the Church, it read:

"It was reported to me that some of the brethren had been drinking whisky that day in violation of the Word of Wisdom. I called the brethren in and investigated the case, and was satisfied that no evil had been done." (History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 450)
According to a journal entry by Oliver Huntington:

"Robert Thompson was a faithful, just clerk for Joseph Smith the Prophet in Nauvoo, and had been in his office steady near or quite two years. Joseph said to brother Thompson one day, 'Robert I want you to go and get on a bust, go and get drunk and have a good spree. If you don't you will die.' Robert did not do it. He was a very pious exemplary man and never guilty of such an impropriety as he thought that to be. In less than two weeks he was dead and buried." (See Vol. III, p. 166 of the typewritten transcript in the Utah State Historical Society Library)
Joseph continued to disregard this revelation up until the night he was murdered at Carthage:

"The guard immediately sent for a bottle of wine, pipes, and two small papers of tobacco; and one of the guards brought them into the jail…Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as also Brother Taylor…" (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 616)
Some may argue that the wine was intended for the sacrament, but John Taylor clarified that this was not the case:
"Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent to revive us." (History of the Church, vol. 7, p. 101)
Why in the world is it so important for me to stay away from tobacco, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks? What happened to the part of the word of wisdom that mentioned only having meat in winter? It doesn’t add up, does it?

Treasure Hunt

This part of the letter might be hard for some of you to read. When I was growing up I was taught that Joseph Smith was a brave and honest man and I totally get that many of you reading this letter still believe that. I want you to know that it’s not my intention to “talk trash” about someone you love and admire. There are things about Joseph Smith’s life that I didn’t know about, and I didn’t want to believe… but they are true, and it’s important to take that into consideration.

When I learned the story of the first vision, I was under the impression that the vision and the translation of the plates happened within a short time frame of each other. I had never learned that the translation of the plates occurred almost 10 years after Joseph Smith had his first vision at the age of 14. It was just never mentioned…

I also learned that he found items inside the box with the gold plates to be used during the translation and that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the help of his neighbor and scribe, Martin Harris. I was shown paintings of Joseph Smith sitting at one side of a desk with the plates in front of him, and Martin Harris at another desk with a sheet between them. I have also see paintings where the plates were left out in plain sight of both Joseph and Mr. Harris.

I remember watching the infamous episode of South Park titled, “All About Mormons?” and being confused as to why the cartoon version of Joseph Smith was throwing a “seer stone” into a top hat and peering his head in the hat and covering all light. I had no idea that South Park had it right.

If you go to YouTube.com and do a search for this South Park episode, you will find a lengthy conversation between Mormons and non-Mormons about the video clip. Countless Mormons make comments that the South Park creators have it wrong… and bear their testimony that they know the Church is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Thing is… they are wrong. The South Park creators don’t have it wrong. It’s a sad state of affairs when people outside the faith know more about it than people inside the faith.

I have to say that I feel lied to. The paintings like the one above were shown to me since I was a small child. When I brought this issue up with a missionary his response was to tell me that the paintings were simply reference material, and not official representations of what actually happened during the translation. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t change the fact that I was never told Joseph used his head in a top hat to translate the plates with a magical seer stone.

I ask the question to any Mormon reading this letter… Why wasn’t I told the truth? Why wasn’t I given the full story? Do you think it’s wrong that the Church promotes a story that isn’t the complete truth?

Joseph Smith had more than one seer stone during his life. Around 1819, Joseph borrowed a seer stone from a friend to from a “whitish” seer stone in an iron kettle 25 feet underground. A man named Joseph Capron testified that Joseph could see, “ghosts, infernal spirits, mountains of gold and silver.” Along with his father, Smith would look for buried treasure with the use of these seer stones.

Joseph Smith and his father were actually hired by Josiah Stowel to look for treasure around Stowel’s property. During the search, they stayed with Isaac Hale, the father of Joseph’s future wife Emma. In the beginning, Hale helped subsidize Stowel’s expeditions into the mountains, but after the first nine failures he was quickly disillusioned and became contemptuous of Joseph’s efforts. Nine years later he wrote of Joseph, who by then had become his son-in-law:

"His appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man - not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father…Young Smith gave the 'money-diggers' great encouragement, at first, but when they arrived in digging to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found - he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed. This took place about the 17th of November, 1825." (Stowel's Testimony in Bainbridge court trial of 1826. See also History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 29).
Joseph Smith was taken to court in March of 1826 when he was 21 years old. The document that covers his trial in Bainbridge, New York, claims the charge against Joseph was for being, “a disorderly person and an imposter.” There is disagreement with Mormons and non-Mormons alike about certain details of the court case. There is one thing that everyone does agree on… that Joseph Smith using a seer stone in search of treasure was a part of the court case.

According to W. D. Purple's account in 1877, Joseph testified in court that he found his seer stone by looking into the stone of a girl that lived some three miles from him. After going to the location which appeared in the girl's stone, he found his own seer stone:

"He borrowed an old ax and a hoe, and repaired to the tree. With some labor and exertion he found the stone, carried it to the creek, washed and wiped it dry, sat down on the bank, placed it in his hat, and discovered that time, place and distance were annihilated; that all the intervening obstacles were removed, and that he possessed one of the attributes of Deity, an All-Seeing-Eye…

"On the request of the Court, he exhibited the stone. It was about the size of a small hen's egg, in the shape of a high-in stepped shoe. It was composed of layers of different colors passing diagonally through it. It was very hard and smooth, perhaps by being carried in the pocket." -Recollections of W.D. Purple
Here is a court account from Fraser’s Magazine in 1873:

"Prisoner brought before Court March 20,1826, Prisoner examined: says that he came from the town of Palmyra, and had been at the house of Josiah Stowel in Bainbridge most of time since; had small part of time been employed in looking for mines, but the major part had been employed by said Stowel on his farm, and going to school. That he had a certain stone which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and had informed him where he could find these treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them. That at Palmyra he pretended to tell by looking at this stone where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account of its injuring his health, especially his eyes, making them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having anything to do with this business." (Fraser's Magazine, Feb. 1873, p. 229; see an identical court account in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 2, p. 1576)

A. W. Benton in 1831made the following statement about Joseph:

"…was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending, by means of a certain stone, or glass, which he put in a hat, to be able to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, &c.... At length the public,... had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of Justice." (Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, April 9, 1831, p. 120)

I have to ask, why is it that I was never told any of this? It’s obvious public record, yet I was given a completely different story in Sunday School. I was taught about the Urim and Thummim, but not about how they were used to translate the plates. I also found that Joseph Smith used seer stones in lieu of the Urim and Thummim for convenience. B.H. Roberts made this comment:

"...the Prophet possessed a Seer Stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as with the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he sometimes used the Seer Stone. Martin said further that the Seer Stone differed in appearance entirely from the Urim and Thummim that was obtained with the plates, which were two clear stones set in two rims, very much resembling spectacles, only they were larger.

"The Seer Stone referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum, for a Mr. Clark Chase, near Palmyra, N. Y. It possessed the qualities of Urim and Thummim, since by means of it-as described above-as well as by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates." (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1:129)

In the closing of this section, I again want to mention that I was never told the honest truth about the way the translation of the Book of Mormon happened. Why? When I asked a missionary on Mormon.org this question, she told me that it wasn’t very faith promoting, and it wasn’t essential to the story. I have to raise the bull**** flag there. They are right that it isn’t faith promoting, but it’s the truth, and if the church can’t give the whole story and tell the whole truth, why should I believe anything else they have to say? How COULD I believe anything else they have to say. What else could they possibly be keeping secret from the general membership?

Book of Mormon Problems


To believe in the Book of Mormon, you have to have an incredible amount of faith. It’s not like there is a lot of evidence to confirm the fact that the Book of Mormon is a legitimate historical record of real events that happened to real people. In fact, there is virtually no evidence to back up it’s authenticity. All missionaries and members of the church I spoke to about this told me I needed to have more faith.

The Book of Mormon discusses many things that did not exist anywhere in the Americas until after Columbus came to the new world. There were also claims of things that have been proven to be incorrect. I will list some of these things below. I don’t have the time or room in this already long letter to address them all, if you would like the full list, just let me know.

Book of Mormon Culture

(Cultural artifacts or circumstances mentioned in the Book of Mormon that have not been discovered or verified in any ancient American archaeological expedition or historical investigation in the last 200 years.)
  • Silk (Alma 1:29)
  • Chariots (Alma 18:9)
  • Seven day week (Mosiah 13:18) (not known to Ancient Americans)
  • Cimeters (Old-World two-handed steel blade) Mosiah 9:16 (and other verses)
  • Visit of post-mortal Christ in the pre-Columbian New World (Elder Mark E. Peterson and Elder Ted E. Brewerton attempt to parallel the Book of Mormon narrative to the Quetzalcoatl (or feathered serpent) legend).
  • Land kept from the knowledge of ‘other nations’ (2 Nephi 1:8)

Book of Mormon Metallurgy
  • Bellows (1 Nephi 17:11)
  • Brass and iron (2 Nephi 5:15)
  • Breast Plates & Copper (Mosiah 8:10)
  • Gold and Silver currency (Alma 11)
  • Silver (Jarom 1:8)
  • Steel Swords (Ether 7:9, 2 Nephi 5:14)

Book of Mormon Animals
  • Cattle, oxen, donkeys, horses, goats and wild goats (1 Nephi 18:25)
  • sheep, swine and elephants (Ether 9:18, Ether 9:19)
Book of Mormon Crops
  • Plow agriculture such as Barley (Alma 11:7) and Wheat (Mosiah 9:9)
  • Absence of foods known to ancient America such as chocolate, lima beans, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, manioc, etc.
Racism in the Mormon Church

Black men were excluded from holding the priesthood from its inception until 1978. The Mormon Church taught up to the 1980’s that blacks were denied the priesthood because they were from the lineage of Cain, who was cursed with black skin after killing his brother Abel. It was taught that people were born black because they were less valiant in the pre-existence.

We all know now that the color of your skin has nothing to do with any pre-existence. The closer you live to the equator, the closer you are to the sun. The closer you are to the sun, the more pigment in your skin to protect you from the sun. This is the same reason people get tan in the summer from being out in the sun for so long. These skin pigments are hereditary, and have nothing to do with any curse.

Spencer W. Kimball reversed the decision and allowed blacks to receive the priesthood, and it is largely taught that it had nothing at all to do with the civil rights movement. Potential converts, even black ones, are not told about the prior ban on blacks. The Church doesn’t deny it but prefers not to discuss it. No apology was ever made, and the Church has never admitted that the priesthood ban was a mistake.

When I spoke with a missionary by the name of , “Nathan” about this issue he told me that I needed to trust in the gospel and pray for an answer that the Church was true. He told me that the statements made in the journal of Discourses by Brigham Young were not doctrine, but I disagree. You will plainly see what was taught by the Mormon Church. I asked Nathan how our Church could ban people of a different race and still call itself the one and only true church… he again told me that it was a matter of faith, and that no one has all the answers. Thing is… I can’t put faith in an organization that could ever do something like this.

The leaders of the church up through the 1970’s made it very clear why blacks were denied the priesthood. There are too many comments to list them all, but here is a sample of the comments made by various LDS officials:

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)

Brigham Young, Prophet and President, says that anyone mixing his seed with the blood of Cain (African-Americans) should be killed on the spot. That isn’t exactly something that should come out of the mouth of a man of God.

"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un- comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race - that they should be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, [p.291] and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion. - (Journal of Discourses 7:290-291, October 9, 1859)

These statements make me see red, but there are more:

"You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation ...When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:336).

It was widely taught that black skin would grow lighter and lighter as the person accepted and studied the gospel. It’s ridiculous.

“And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God;...”-John Taylor, President of the Church, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 22, page 304

John Taylor says black people are a representation of the devil on earth. I don’t know how anyone could read a statement like that, and believe it came from a man talking directly with God.

"And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground- it would also take the life of his children." (Wilford Woodruff Journal)
Wilford Woodruff, the 4th President of the Church, clearly states that if you mix your seed with a black person, you should have your head cut off… as well as your children. Again, is that something that should come out of the mouth of a man of God? How can you look at a statement like that and still believe that, “A prophet will never lead the church astray?”

"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning.... we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our negro brethren, for they are our brethren—children of God—not withstanding their black covering emblematical of eternal darkness. " -Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, pages 101-102
”I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. "Darkies" are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church."-Joseph Fielding Smith, Look magazine, October 22, 1963, page 79.
"The day of the Lamanites in nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome. . . The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. . .There was the doctor in a Utah city who for two years had had an Indian boy in his home who stated that he was some shades lighter than the younger brother just coming into the program from the reservation. These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. Spencer W. Kimball; The Improvement Era, Dec. 1960, p. 923)

Here again we see the doctrine that people with darker skin would have their skin grow lighter and lighter when they study and accept the Mormon gospel. It’s also mentioned that being white is “delightsome,” and that can only imply worse things for those with darker skin.

"Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. (Abra. 1:20-27.) The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow there from, but this inequality is not of man's origin. It is the Lord's doing, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate."-Apostle Bruce R. McKonkie (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 527-528)

Here is a comment from the current Prophet and President of the LDS Church, Gordon B. Hinkley from an interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes:

Mike Wallace: From 1830 to 1978, blacks could not become priests in the Mormon church. Right?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That's correct.

Mike Wallace: Why?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Because the leaders of the church at that time interpreted that doctrine that way. [cut]

Mike Wallace: Church policy had it that blacks had the mark of Cain. Brigham Young said, "Cain slew his brother, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin."

Gordon B. Hinckley: It's behind us. Look, that's behind us. Don't worry about those little flecks [uncertain of that word; can anybody else hear it clearly?] of history.

Mike Wallace: Skeptics will suggest, "Well, look, if we're going to expand, we can't keep the blacks out."

Gordon B. Hinckley: Pure speculation. [Laughs.]

The "60 Minutes" program on the LDS Church
Broadcast on CBS TV, April 7, 1996
I am shocked and saddened to hear that Gordon B. Hinkley believes that this issue is just a “little fleck,” in Mormon history. When I he stated that, “It’s all in the past” like it was a piece of stray lint on his lapel, with no attempt at an explanation or apology, I felt physically ill and I wanted to cry. Hinkley has worked for the Church since 1930 and has been a General Authority since 1951. He was in the Quorum of the Twelve meetings when the priesthood ban was discussed for at least three decades. If any Church official would be qualified to answer this question, it would be Gordon B. Hinkley. To not give a complete, truthful answer is dishonest.

It’s more than just quotes taken from the Church leaders, it’s actual scripture. Take these quotes for example:

2 Nephi 5: 21- 'And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.'

Alma 3: 6- 'And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.'

2 Nephi 30: 6- "...their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people."

As a side note of 2 Nephi 30:6, the Book of Mormon has since been changed to say, “Pure and delightsome” rather than the obvious racist, “White and delightsome.” I have to bring up that the Book of Mormon is supposedly the most correct book on the face of the earth. Why then was it changed? Was the Church concerned that the scripture reference was hurtful? They were right… it was.

3 Nephi 2:15- "And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites."

Moses 7:22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.

Abraham 1:21-24,27
21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.

22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.

23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;

24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.

27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

I mentioned before what I think about the Book of Abraham… it’s been proven by Egyptologists to be a false representation of the scrolls Joseph Smith translated. I only added them because most Mormons do consider the Book of Abraham scripture.

In my research, I came across an old lesson manual for missionaries in the 1970s. Missionaries in that time used memorized “lessons” to teach potential converts about Mormonism. They were accustomed to following a detailed format, which was to be followed literally.

The gentlemen who shared his lesson manual said that he went on his mission to Brazil in 1970, and that teaching the gospel to those with “obvious physical signs” or known black ancestry was not forbidden, but they were not encouraged to seek them out. He mentioned that they were told to seek out families and men who could become future leaders in the church. And since they were praised when they baptized such converts, there was a stigma attached to the missionaries who baptized people of black ancestry.

Women’s Roles In The Church

When I was a teenager, I went to girls camp with the Tooele County Stake. It was at the last summer camp that I realized I was being groomed to be the perfect wife and mother… and nothing more.

As I was learning to make a certain craft project, one of my leaders started a conversation on the type of man we should be looking for when it was time to get married. She said that we should marry a return missionary in the temple, and that anything less wouldn’t be as fulfilling. She went on and on about how to be a good wife and mother. I wanted more than that… I still do.

In the Mormon Church, women occupy subordinate rolls to men by allowing only male priesthood holders to occupy positions of authority. All roles, callings, and positions in the Mormon Church are subject to the authority of a priesthood holder. This authority is only given to men which makes the women subservient to this authority.

A woman’s role is clearly defined as an instrument for giving birth to as many children as possible, and raising them to adhere to the institution’s prescribed rules. The end result is a perpetual supply of ready and faithful members.

A woman is also instrumental in enabling her husband to achieve celestial glory and eventually godhood, where she is eternally and forever subordinate to him. The end result of this being the eternal promotion of male authority. A woman’s place as subordinate to a man is often described as an eternal principal, divinely created, with associated blessings to come. Without her servitude to her husband via his powerful priesthood, HER eternal promise is not fulfilled.

Only male priesthood holders are given the power to act in an official and authoritative capacity. What would it hurt to have a woman stand within the circle during a blessing of her own child? All women are subject to the control and authority of these men, and are provided no way, means, or provision to act in an official or authoritative capacity. Who no means to exercise an equal control of authority, women have no equality.

I have heard it mentioned many times than the natural power of women brings this equality. Giving birth, and acting as a supportive wife in no way provides a means for a woman to officiate or act as an authority within the institution.

Because women have no power or authority within the institution, we have no voice in how the Church wealth is distributed. It makes no sense that the Mormon Church finances are kept confidential. The fact is, whether all finances are published, or not, the decision making process as to how to distribute institutional wealth is left solely and completely to men. A woman has no authority in this process, thus, there is no equality in this process.

On September 8, 1998, Gordon B. Hinkley had this to say on the CNN television show, Larry King Live:

CALLER: Yes. Since we're getting into the 21st century, President Hinckley, what is the chance that women may hold a priesthood in the Mormon church?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, they don't hold the priesthood at the present time. It would take another revelation to bring that about. I don't anticipate it. The women of the church are not complaining about it. They have their own organization, a very strong organization, 4 million plus members. I don't know of another women's organization in the world which does so much for women as does that, as this church has. They're happy. They sit on boards and governance in the church. I don't hear any complaints about it.

Larry King: Do you know why they can't be priests?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, only that the Lord has not designated that they will be.

Larry King: And the same -- that's the same position as the pope?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Same principle, yes, I think so.

Larry King: So a revelation could come to you or it could come to the pope or the next president or the next pope?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That's what it would take -- that's exactly what it would take.
They sit on the boards and governance in the church? With NO AUTHORITY! Always a woman’s voice is subordinate to the authority of the Church, which is a male authority. It began with Joseph Smith and his “revelations” threatening his own wife Emma and continued into the 20th century with heavily funded political opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. It continues in the 21st century evidenced by the Church imposing its view of women and their roles into politics, disguised as “family values.”

Mormon women do not complain about their circumstances for the same reason a citizen of the Soviet Union would not have complained over theirs. Mormon women are threatened with their salvation.

Mormon woman are in a bind. If we disagree, we reap trouble; if we relent, we lose our voice. These are our choices: to conform, to risk church discipline, or to leave. When out leaders say they “hear no complaint,” it is because they have intimidated women into compliance. Few women will risk excommunication.

Mormon women have in fact raised their voices and have received disciplinary action from the Mormon Church for doing so. These women include:

Maxine Hanks, excommunicated, editor of “Women and Authority: Reemerging Mormon Feminism”

Deborah Lake, excommunicated, author of “Secret Ceremonies”

Lavina Fielding Anderson, excommunicated, collected stories of people (mainly women) who have been abused by the Mormon ecclesiastical system. Edited the book “Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective”

Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, disfellowshipped for talking about God the Mother and disagreeing with Mormon Church leaders in public.

Sonia Johnson, excommunicated, for publicly supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and denouncing the LDS Church’s political activities against the amendment.

It is a lie to say that one has more power and authority over another based on gender. It is a lie that should not be overlooked. It is a valid reason for leaving an organization.

I want to share a talk given by the Relief Society General President, Julie B. Beck, this past October during General Conference in Salt Lake City:


Mothers Who Know


In the Book of Mormon we read about 2,000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous, and strong. “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk upright before him” (Alma 53:11). These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, “Our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:48). I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon, and other great leaders also knew.

The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they, “wrestle, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need no fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have a great power and influence for good on their children.

Mothers Who Know Bear Children

Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are “becoming less valued,” in the culture of the gospel we believe in having children. Prophets, seers, and revelators who were sustained at this conference have declared that “God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that “in the eternal perspective, children--not possessions, not position, not prestige--are our greatest jewels.”

Faithful daughters of God desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve (see Moses 4:26), Sarah (see Genesis 17:16), Rebekah (see Genesis 24:60), and Mary (see 1 Nephi 11:13-20), who were foreordained to be mothers before children were even born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child (see 1 Samuel 1:11), the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection (see D&C 130:18). Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.

Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants

Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. I have visited sacrament meetings in some of the poorest places on the earth where mothers have dressed with great care their Sunday best despite walking for miles on dusty streets and using worn-out public transportation. They bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts. These mothers know they are going to sacrament meeting, where covenants are renewed. These mothers have made and honor temple covenants. They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power.

Mothers Who Know are Nurturers

Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have a skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Grown happens best in a “house of order,” and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love and work. Helping growth through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.

Mothers Who Know are Leaders

Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty. A well-taught friend told me that he did not learn anything at church that he had not already learned at home. His parents used family scripture study, prayer, family home evening, mealtimes, and other gatherings to teach. Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre-missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation. That is influence; that is power.

Mothers Who Know Do Less

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children--more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.

Mothers Who Know Stand Strong and Immovable

Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this--women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times. We are led by an inspired prophet of God who has called upon the women of the Church to “stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord.” He has asked us to “begin in our own homes” to teach the children the ways of the truth.

Latter-day Saint women should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families. I have every confidence that our women will do this and will come to the known as mothers who “knew” (Alma 56:48). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


I was watching General Conference when this talk was given with my roommate. I sat in front of my television with my mouth open, and I couldn’t say a word. My blood boiled, by blood pressure went up, and it took me a long time to calm down.

Sister Beck had a lot to say in that speech, but it comes down to this: It’s a woman’s job to have babies, cook, clean, and raise their children in the gospel. This is what God wants you to do, and if you do it, you will be blessed in the after life. Make sure your kids, your home, and your life are perfect, because you are a girl, and that is what girls do.

When I was a child I made an outburst in Sunday School that shocked my teacher. I told her that they boys got all the attention… they get to have the priesthood, pass the sacrament. We get to have babies and do stuff in the kitchen. Women are never in stories about church, the scriptures, or history. My Sunday School teacher wasn’t quite sure what to say… as a matter of fact, I don’t think she said anything.

Woman can do anything they want in life, and they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it. Other religions allow women to become priests, and I remember thinking that they were lucky.

So, I ask you, why is it that women are second class citizens in the Mormon Church? Why exactly do we not have the exact same rights and privileges as men? It’s not because we are more spiritual, I have heard that excuse more times than I can count. It’s not because we can’t handle it. Why then? There is no good answer. It’s a boy’s club… I don’t mean that in a mean or nasty way, that is just my honest observation.

Why is it that when a man and woman are married in the temple, and they are given their new super-secret names that the woman is supposed to tell her husband her name, but the husband is supposed to keep his a secret from his bride?

Why is it always taught that ALL boys should go on a mission, and girls only if they desire to? What sense does that make? What if a boy doesn’t WANT to go on a mission? He is then made to feel as guilty as a woman who doesn’t want to have kids or get married! Why does our gender determine so much? Instead of teaching all boys they should go on missions, and all women that they should be married to the perfect return missionary and have babies, how about teaching them that they are loved, honored, and cherished by their family, friends, and God no matter what?

When and if I get married and have children, I refuse to tell my child that it is her job, duty, and responsibility to put her own goals aside and become a puppet. I refuse to do it because God wants us to be happy, and to think for ourselves. I will never allow an organization to make my decisions for me.

What if gender roles in the Mormon Church were reversed?

Look at this list and ask yourself if any rational man would join a church like this:

  • Woman hold all priesthood leadership positions, including prophets, Apostles, Stake Presidents, Bishops, etc…
  • God was a woman and any mention of Father in Heaven was forbidden.
  • Only women are allowed to speak for God.
  • Under no circumstance can a man hold a position of authority over a woman.
  • Only women can perform Church ordinances: Pass Sacrament, Perform Baptisms, and bless their own children.
  • The fundamental narrative upon which the entire religion is based had a man obeying Satan to eat the forbidden fruit first, which would explain why men are so subservient to women.
  • Men are told time and time again in General Conference from their all-female leaders that their main purpose was to be submissive to their wives.
  • At the age of 12 girls get the priesthood with subsequent advancement during the teen years. Boys get nothing but a “Manhood Medallion.”
  • The only men’s group in the church called the “Relief Society” is really run by the women apostles who made all the real decisions, control the budget and provide the curriculum.
  • The Church had a history of treating men like mindless property. It’s founding leaders taught that God commanded that one woman should have plural husbands that lived by themselves and had to share the one wife with the other men.
  • The Church founder, a woman, had over 30 secret husbands. Some of them were pre-pubescent boys she emotionally blackmailed into secret sex. Some were happily married men who she told had to marry her in order to save their families.
  • The Church’s scripture (D&C 132) contains a revelation by the church founder, a woman, that has Heavenly Mother saying she gives young virgin men to the founder and her husband must accept it or suffer destruction and eternal damnation.
  • The Book of Mormon only has four pathetic references to men but the whole rest if this “divinely inspired” book is about women.
  • Women frequently give men priesthood blessings of counsel, pretending to speak in the name of Heavenly Mother commanding them to obey their wives and “be faithful.”
  • The most precious thing a man can give his wife is his virginity/virtue.
  • Men who lose their virginity before marriage are called “used cars.”
  • Single men are told that they can only be exalted if their wives called upon them for exaltation.
  • In the next life a woman can have as many husbands as she wants while the husband can only have one wife.
  • Men are expected to take mini classes on how to change toilet flappers, sharpen lawn mower blades, or fix fences while the women get to discuss leadership doctrine.
  • A man who has a huge business empire and a great education is only allowed to be in charge of other men or children… never women.. In church.
  • Men have to wonder what their wife’s temple names is.
Would any man in his right mind join such a church? I doubt it.

Tithing

Tithing always comes first in Mormonism. Any member who is struggling in any way (job loss, broken down car, depression, etc) will always be counseled to pay tithing in order to receive blessings. All blessings, privileges and callings in the LDS Church are centered around tithing. Without paying a full tithe, a member cannot be a “member in good standing.”

Mormons are required by Commandment of God to pay 10% of all their gross income to the LDS Church. This includes all income, including employment, social security, Medicare, food stamps, and trust funds and any other form of income, even including finding money on the ground.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings in an estimated 6.5 to 7 billion dollars a year in annual tithing revenues. The Church refuses to disclose to the public or its members how much money it receives annually and what those funds are used for. Because the LDS Church is a tax-exempt organization, it does not have to publicly disclose financial books.

In 2005 the LDS Church purchased two shopping malls in Downtown Salt Lake City for $500 million dollars. The church plans to spend $1 to $3.5 billion dollars renovating them. In official statements from the LDS Church, the Church claims that not one dollar of member tithing funds went into the deal. Where then, did this money come from? Why in the world would it be okay in the eyes of God to buy a shopping mall, and spending BILLIONS renovating it rather than giving that money to people who need it to survive? I have a simple answer for you, it wouldn’t be okay in the eyes of God to do that.

Mormons are required to attend a Tithing Settlement with the Bishop each year. A member is questioned in a one-on-one interview with the Bishop to ensure the member is paying a full 10%. Those members who are not paying a full 10% loose their temple recommends and are prevented from entering the Temple. Without going to the temple, their blessings for the afterlife are in jeopardy… how is this not buying your way into heaven?

Lynn Robbins gave this talk in General Conference:

“Among those who do not sacrifice there are two extremes: one is the rich, gluttonous man who won't and the other is the poor, destitute man who believes he can't. But how can you ask someone who is starving to eat less? Is there a level of poverty so low that sacrifice should not be expected or a family so destitute that paying tithing should cease to be required?

One reason the Lord illustrates doctrines with the most extreme circumstances is to eliminate excuses. If the Lord expects even the poorest widow to pay her mite, where does that leave all others who find that it is not convenient or easy to sacrifice?

No bishop, no missionary should ever hesitate or lack the faith to teach the law of tithing to the poor. The sentiment of "They can't afford to" needs to be replaced with "They can't afford not to."
One of the first things a bishop must do to help the needy is ask them to pay their tithing. Like the widow, if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.”

That last statement in bold makes me sick to my stomach. Is it because the church needs the money? Obviously not if they are spending billions on shopping malls… why then?

Let’s do some math… (and most of you know how much I hate math…). As stated above, the Church takes in about 6.5 to 7 billion dollars per year in tithing. Lets give the Church a break and only count 5 billion dollars… that means the church takes in 14 million dollars per day.

Many years ago, Gordon B. Hinkley had this to say in a talk, “Last year alone we sent humanitarian aid to assist with 829 projects in 101 countries, giving 11.2 million dollars in cash and 44 million in material resources for a total of $55.2 million.”

Assuming we can take the prophets word for it, and assuming this wasn’t an extraordinary charitable year for the church (which, considering the fact that most years go by without the church releasing such financial numbers, seems unlikely), this means the church spent about 1% of its annual income, or, to look at it another way, less that 5 dollars per member per year for charity.

Bill Gates, by contrast (and whose net worth is probably the same as the church’s), has a charitable foundation that gives away over ONE BILLION DOLLARS each year to charity, or about twenty times as much as the LDS Church, even taking a conservative estimate for the church’s charitable givings. It’s amazing that the tithing money would do more good for the world if you were to instead give it to BILL GATES. Alarm bells should be going off in any reasonable person’s head right now.

Many of my relatives have made comments to me about their financial situations being good thanks to the tithing they pay. Logically, it makes no sense whatsoever. You are told of blessings you will receive when tithing is paid in full, and comments are made, like, “Sometimes it’s a struggle, but I always seem to have enough money when I pay my tithing.” Recently, a friend of mine came into some money, and he made the comment that God was helping him because he always paid his tithing. I have had two pay raises since deciding to leave the church, and not paying tithing hasn’t hurt me but instead helped me pay off some of my debt.

In March of 2006 I had a conversation with a female missionary in Orlando, Florida. We were having a casual discussion of some of the issues I had, tithing being one of them. She offered to explain it to me the same way she explains it to investigators, and I welcomed the explanation. The missionary gives the investigator a small bag with 10 pieces of candy in it. You make sure to explain you are giving it to them to use as they see fit. You then ask for one piece back. When they give one to you, you dump a whole bag of candy in their lap, saying that these are God’s blessings if you do what he asks and give 10% back to the Lord. This is wrong and lying on so many levels.

My experience is that if you give the 10%, you have 10% less and life rolls forward. I have never been tremendously blessed because of paying my tithing. I got jobs, changed jobs and moved forward through a tremendous amount of effort. Where is this "bag full of blessings"? I have never experienced anything like this. It’s not because I am not a good person, and its certainly not because I am not looking in the right places.

Yet another issue I have with tithing goes back to temples… You can’t have a temple recommend unless you sit down with your bishop and assure him you have paid a full tithe. If you haven’t done this, you are kept away from family weddings in the temple, sealings, and other work that is obviously so important to the faith. Why should these temple blessings have anything to do with money? Shouldn’t they instead be about the love you have for your fellow man as well as God?

I would like to end with a story from a friend I will call, “Racer.”

My dad is hard working, honest, blue-collar guy. The world hasn't always been to kind to him. He found himself out of a job many times as I was a child. You could say we grew up poor. We qualified for welfare and free school lunch, but my dad had too much dignity and pride to accept the freebies. He busted his ass and made every penny count.

By the time I was in high school things were working out for my dad and he had stable work with benefits. Our lives improved, but it wasn't like we were rolling in cash. We had moved out of poverity status into the lower middle class status. Money was still tight.

I was never one of those kids who saved for a mission because honestly I never considered it until I was a SR in HS. My dad was proud when I decided to serve; I was the first in my family to serve a mission. The mission would cost $365 a month. My Dad's monthly tithing was about $365 a month. If he paid for both it would be over $700 a month and he just couldn't afford to do that.

My dad decided to skip out on tithing and fund my mish. The Bishop chastised him for this and told him tithing always came first. He should pay his tithing no matter what, and the ward would pay for my mission. My Dad had too much dignity to do that. Also, my Dad reasoned that it was sixes. He tithes $365, and the church turned around and gave him $365 back to pay for my mission. How is that any different than skipping tithing and just paying for my mission?

2 years later I arrived home, and a month after I got home, my brother left on his mission. So basically, my dad did not pay tithing for 4 yrs because he was funding missions.

About a year into my brother's mission I got engaged. I was going to be sealed in the temple. My dad's TR had lapsed, so he went to get it renewed a couple of days before the wedding. Of course, he hadn't been paying tithing for 3 years because he was funding missions. The Bishop knew this and told him he had to at least pay a years worth of back tithing before he would renew the recommend. This came to roughly $4000. My dad went out and got a loan and paid the money. I was pissed at the whole situation. My dad just said: "It was worth it to be able to attend my son's wedding." The sad thing is; in any other situation no one would have to pay 4 g's to be able to attend their kid's wedding.

I want everyone who is teeter-tottering on whether the LDS church is for them or not to understand this story.

Forget JS marrying a bunch of teens, forget about the uneasy history of Mormonism, forget about DNA and the BOM, and the contradicting doctrines. All churches have these things in common to some degree.

The worst thing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the way it treats its own members and families. It claims to be pro family, but it splits up families and screws with people's lives. It makes them pay large sums of money in order to see a loved one's wedding. It takes, and takes, and takes. Whether it is your time, money, or sanity. It sucks you dry and does not give back anything of value except some pipe dream of a perfect afterlife. An afterlife which the church makes you feel is impossible to obtain, and uses this to heap unnecessary guilt upon it's members.

It's not the doctrine that makes the church a damaging cult. It's the way they screw their members over. Such as not letting a father attend his child's wedding unless he pays $4000.


1 comments:

  1. [kɹeɪ̯g̊] Says:

    This is a fascinating and informative post. I have a couple comments.

    Actually, the RLDS (now the Community of Christ) broke off after JS died. It is the FLDS is the sect that still practises polygamy.

    You know, one of the main problems the church faces is it's claim of divine authority/revelation. All these men made all these insane claims, but at the time, science wasn't near advanced enough to prove them wrong. Now that it is, you notice the church leaders are very, very careful about what they do and don't say. They have also gone to extreme lengths to cover up the very embarrassing claims made by Smith(s), Young & Co.

    It is all just so ridiculous. There is so much evidence against the church's claims, and not much in support. Even after writing this huge post, you've only just scratched the surface of all the inconsistencies and blatant lies inherent in Mormonism.