Just the Beginning...

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

I have been working hard on a letter to send to Thomas S. Monson.  It's not a resignation letter, I just have some things I want to get off my chest.  This is just the beginning, the middle and end are still waiting for edits and other stuff.  I will post the letter as I finish it.

Andee

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"Shhh... it's a secret..."

Mr. Monson,

My name is Andee (middle and last name removed for the internet) and I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints my entire life. I was born and raised in the state of Utah, a place that makes Mormonism seem normal. Nearly everyone in my life had a testimony that the Church was true, the gospel had been restored, and that Joseph Smith was a really swell guy.

I was raised to trust and respect the leaders of the church. I had been told over and over again that all callings were inspired by God, and that while leaders were human and made mistakes, God would never allow the prophet to lead the church astray.

I have been studying church history for over a year and a half, and there are many things I should have known about that were kept from me. When members would start researching the church, leaders get worried, and now I understand why. There are a hell of a lot of skeletons in the closet, aren’t there? It’s easy to see why members are told not to read things unless they have been approved by the church… the information is too damaging, and you would lose even more members.

It might seem as if I am hostile, and while I freely admit that learning I have been lied to my entire life makes my blood boil, I am hoping this letter comes across as direct and honest. It’s not my goal to insult you, but it’s important you know how much this church has hurt me, members of my family, and an extended group of new friends.

Let me start off by saying that I have no left the church because a fellow Mormon insulted me or hurt my feelings. This excuse is often given in talks during Sacrament Meeting or General Conference. I have heard the phrase “must have been offended” more times than I could possibly count. Give us a little credit, we are not going to drop our entire belief system because someone made fun of a hair cut or talked behind out backs… it might be a reason for people to become inactive, but not a reason for people to officially resign. 

I have not sinned, I am not covering up a sin, and I am capable of making positive decisions in my life without the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have never knocked off a liquor store, I have never done drugs, and I have never killed a man just to watch him die. Many believing members of the LDS Church convince themselves that people like me leave the church because we have done something wrong and we can’t handle the guilt. This is simply unfair and untrue.

Leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints wasn’t an easy decision to make. It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided I needed a change.

The decision to leave, and to be open and honest with people when they ask me why I left, has cost me greatly. Friendships are strained, family members have completely cut me out of their lives (including my Grandfather’s wedding that I wasn’t invited to). I am suddenly viewed as someone who has walked away from them and their “eternal family.” I know my decision to leave hurt them, but I am in a no-win situation here. I have decided to follow my code of ethics and to step away from an organization that has lied to me, fought against equal rights more than once, and still lies to it’s members and investigators.

Learning that I was lied to by the very people I trusted the most hurt me more than you could possibly believe. Mormonism has always been a part of who I was, and I had to find myself all over again. Luckily, I quickly learned that it wasn’t the church that made me a good person, and that I held the keys for happiness in my life. It was a scary situation in the beginning, Mr. Monson. I knew that many of the people I loved would turn their backs on me, and they did. The only thing about me that has changed is my belief in the church, and my willingness to talk about it when asked.

I am not the one who lied. I am not the one sharing untrue versions of history… yet I am the one paying the price. It’s funny how taking a stand makes you stronger. If my family and friends want to forget me because I can’t trust the church’s leadership, then they don’t know the meaning of unconditional love.

I am planning on going into detail as to what led me to believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t what it claims to be. It would mean a lot to me if you would take the time to read this letter in it’s entirety. The decisions you make hurt people, and I am trying my best to help you understand how much it hurts, and how deep those wounds go.

For the record, I have spoken with missionaries, family members, friends, and even my Mother’s ex-Bishop. I have re-read the Book of Mormon prayerfully, fasted, and prayed some more. I have read almost every single apologetics response. None of those things changed the facts. One bishop told me I needed to have more faith. I refuse to put faith into an institution that doesn’t believe in equal rights and lies.

The first time I realized that I wasn’t taught the truth from the Church was when I learned about Joseph Smith translating the golden plates with a seer stone in a top hat.  

As a child, I was taught by many different leaders that Joseph Smith would use a sheet or blanket to shield the plates from the scribe. We were told that God and Jesus didn’t want Joseph to show the plates to anyone else because they were worth so much, and valuable in more than one way. I even remember hearing that if anyone besides Joseph saw the plates something horrible would happen. It was for this reason that Joseph kept the plates hidden.

Imagine my reaction when I learned the plates were not even in the room at the time of translation on many accounts… My first thought was this: “Why were the plates even necessary at all if Joseph didn’t need them for the Book of Mormon?” What was the point? Why the mention of the Urim and Thummim if they were not used?

Mr. Monson, there are even paintings and illustrations used in every ward house that show the translation in an untrue manner. Why? Why don’t you show how it really happened? Why do people outside of the church know more true church history than those inside the church? 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expects nothing but complete honesty from it’s members, and those who make decisions as to what is taught in church classrooms should be held to the same standard. Not telling the complete truth is the same as telling a lie.  

When I learned about the seer stone, or peep stone as some call it, I was surprised and I wanted to learn more. I did.

Joseph did more with that seer stone than translate. When I asked a local bishop about Joseph’s treasure seeking claims, the bishop told me that there was no proof that Smith had tried to con anyone. The arrest records are available online, and not from so-called “Anti-Mormon” websites. Should a prophet of God be doing things like treasure seeking? It’s evident that he did, and he wasn’t very good at it.

Was Joseph Smith an honest man?

When I realized that I wasn’t told the truth regarding the translation of the Book of Mormon, I thought I should look at things a little more closely.  

When I think back to the time of my childhood, I can recall images of Joseph kneeling to help a crying child. I remember the story about his leg surgery and how he wouldn’t drink any alcohol to numb the pain. There are more stories, as you are aware, that are designed to share how wonderful Joseph Smith was… but is that an honest picture?

Everyone is aware that Mormons practiced plural marriage in the beginning. It’s not a secret, and the church goes out of it’s way to distance themselves from polygamy. I was taught that Joseph didn’t want to practice plural marriage, but finally did when an angel of the Lord came to him with a flaming sword.

Many in the apologetics field claim that plural marriage was designed to help widows and to speed up the population of the church. Unfortunately, that makes very little sense to me as well as others. There are much better ways of expanding a church’s population, and to be frank, you don’t need to marry a widow to take care of her, do you?

I started at the church’s own genealogy website, FamilySearch.org. When I found Joseph Smith’s family records, I realized how many women he had married, their ages. The only wife mentioned to me was Emma. Is that fair to the other women who had to share a husband for the sake of their religion? There is no mention of polygamy at all in church history lessons or Sunday School discussions. You hear about Joseph Smith and his wife… Brigham Young and his wife… you get the picture. Is that honest? It’s not, Mr. Monson, it’s not.

Now, there are three things regarding polygamy and Joseph Smith that I find unforgivable…

He married women who were already married to living men. He would send men away on missions and then marry their wives while they were gone. Is this something any man of God would do? It’s dishonest and shocking.

Joseph Smith lied about polygamy to his first wife, Emma, until he could no longer hide it from her. He had taken other wives behind her back, one of them being Fanny Alger, a young woman who Emma took in and helped. Others describe the event between Joseph Smith and Fanny Alger as a dirty affair, and there are reports of Emma kicking Fanny out of the house and refusing to see her again. There is no excuse for that.

The last, and most important issue with polygamy is that Joseph Smith married at least two girls that were only fourteen at the time. It was not common for girls that age to be married. I have done the checking, Mr. Monson. What business would Joseph Smith have with two fourteen year old girls? Why would God ask Joseph Smith to take two young brides like that? He wouldn’t. Would he? These girls were traded like property, and it’s shocking. There is one thing I know for sure, and that is that God had nothing to do with it. Nothing. At. All.

There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith used his status, power and charm to take advantage of the women who crossed his path. This is not something a prophet would do.

The only reason the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stopped the practice of polygamy was because they wouldn’t reach statehood. After the “revelation” came to stop plural marriage, it continued in secret. Is this honest? Far from it.


6 comments:

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You are being very honest here and you are commended for your honesty.
    I do hope and pray that you will find your true fulfillment in God as He is revealed in the Bible, but I realize for some, it is difficult to trust any kind of "religion" after this. Please don't write Him off. He isn't the one who has lied to you. Those who have lied to you represent a completely different god.

  1. JSDefender Says:

    Andee,

    I ran across your post and couldn’t help but make some comments. So you know something about me, I’m a life long member of the RLDS Church and I’m associated with the Restoration Branches Movement.

    Joseph didn’t lie to you about his involvement with polygamy, the Utah LDS Church did. All of his life and up until his death in 1844 he denied practicing polygamy and he taught against it. In addition, Emma denied his practicing and teaching polygamy until her death. It was Brigham Young and other church leaders who lied about Joseph practicing polygamy to give authority to their practicing it. But don’t take my word for it, read Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy. This provides over two volumes (and growing) of information showing that Joseph didn’t teach or practice polygamy. After hearing all the testimony presented by the Utah LDS Church that Joseph was a polygamist and because of the spurious nature of that testimony, Judge Philips in the Temple Lot Suit of the early 1890’s concluded that Joseph didn’t teach or practice polygamy. See my blog, In Defense of Joseph, for a discussion of the importance of the Temple Lot Suit in proving Joseph’s innocence.

    As far as the purported various methods Joseph used to translate the Book of Mormon, you might find the pamphlet, “How the Plates of the Book of Mormon were Translated,” enlightening. You can read it online or purchase a copy for $2.25.

  1. Andee Says:

    Thank you for the comments.

  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    jsdefender,

    I'm not so sure that a civil suit of the 1890s can contradict the mountains of evidence that point to JS having been the main instigator of polygamy in the LdS church. In my opinion, there's just too much outside corroborating evidence that JS was very involved in polygamy, and lied to Emma about it for a long time.

  1. Elder Joseph Says:

    Andee

    I commend you for your passion and energy with respect to the Mormon Church. I can see the agony as you try to explain to Mormons exactly whats up.

    It is very frustrating I know.

    I think this letter to Monson is a great idea and maybe we should all write to him and express how we feel. Chances are they are all Thick Skinned back behind those thick corporate walls and exuberant furnishings but at least they will know that people do object to there destructive family splitting scam and lying, even traditional members 4th generation and upwards.

    Keep it up. I come to your blog for inspiration and I'm never let down. Thank you for that.

  1. Andee Says:

    Elder Joseph,

    Thank you for the kind words about me and my blog. It's always refreshing to get comments that are positive instead of wishing me to Hell.

    You are also an inspiration to me and many others. I wish more people WOULD write him, although I am still unsure if they would actually get to him. They would probably be tossed into some "apostate" bin and ignored.

    Andee