WindySydney began as an online journal detailing my exit from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Since leaving the Mormon Church, I have come to the conclusion that religion does more harm than good. I have also become an atheist, looking for logic and reason instead of accepting things on faith.
I also blog about things going on in my life. I am learning photography, I have a severe addiction to diet coke, I am a proud vegetarian, and I have two of the cutest cats in the world. Life is officially an adventure without the magical fairy-tale ending. I plan on enjoying it.
Today I worked at a Self-Checkout aisle on a really busy Saturday. I have figured out a few things people should know about these handy little computers that save time... they only save time if you know what you are doing and pay attention.
Let me give everyone a quick little lesson in Self-Checkouts...
If you have a ton of items, and are frustrated quickly, Self-checkout is *not* for you. Self-checkout is fantastic if the store is super-busy. If you have just a few items and you don't want to stand in line behind people who have a million things in their shopping carts.
Press the "English" key for English. Press the "Spanish" key for Spanish. You might laugh as you read that, but you would be surprised at how hard it seems for people to grasp.
Scan your items. Seems simple, huh? Well, sometimes it's not. If the barcode on your item is small, covered with a sticker, or the label is missing you are not going to be able to scan the item. You are going to have to wait for someone to help you. Most self-checkouts have 1 attendant to 4 self-checkout machines... so be patient. Best thing to do is make sure your items have the barcodes on them when you place them in your cart. That way, there are no surprises.
After scanning the item, put the item in the bagging area. There is a reason for this. It's not "Stupid." The bagging area in the self-checkout has a scale in it. If you scan something really heavy, the scale will expect something really heavy. That little computerized scale knows how heavy everything is in the store. It will tell you to stop scanning if the item weight is wrong, or if the item was taken out of the bagging area.
I can't tell you how many times people start getting mad because they don't put the item in the bagging area. The scan it, then hold it. Then they reach for something else, and try to scan it... the computer won't let them because the computer is waiting for the 1st item's weight to register. It's not that hard, and it prevents theft... that is why the scales are there. The stores would lose too much money if the scales were turned off. Just deal with bagging the items, it's how it is.
Now, if you are shopping in a store that has HUGE items, the attendant can access a scan gun and scan the item for you so you don't have to lift it. When the attendant does this, he/she takes control over the checkout station. You will not have to put any items the attendant scans into the bagging area.
If you have a coupon, let the attendant know!!! Some self-checkouts allow the customer to put in the coupon, others require the attendant to get involved. If you scan your debit or credit card, it will be TOO LATE to enter your coupon. There is nothing the attendant or the store can do if you have already started the payment. Be aware of the coupons you have, and use them at the right time.
When you are done scanning items, click on "Finish & Pay." Many people stand there and scan their credit/debit cards over and over again getting angry that the machine isn't working... when in reality they are not telling the machine they are done. It's a very easy mistake to make, so don't get angry or frustrated if that happens.
If you are paying with cash, keep the bills face up... just like a soda machine. Here is a small tip for you. If you are using coins, put them in first. That way the machine will give you your change in bills instead of coin if possible. Trust me, it works.
Since self-checkouts are used so often, you might have to scan your credit or debit card a couple times for it to go through. Don't panic. The machine will not charge you twice if this is the case. If you are concerned, call the attendant over. If the credit card scanner isn't reading your card, they can enter it manually... if they do enter it manually, it will be processed as a credit card even if you have a debit card. Don't panic about that either. You won't even notice a difference in your bank statement.
Don't forget to take your change!!! This happens a lot, especially if people are busy/in a hurry and don't look for the bills that come out of the bill slot, which is sometimes under the scanner (a really bad place in my humble opinion). Double check that you got your money! Don't forget the receipt! If you have to return something without it, you might get stuck with a merchandise credit instead of cash!
Now, here is the deal. Shit happens, I am aware of that... I really am... happens to me all the time. Thing is, don't take your bad day out on the person trying to help you. If your coupon is expired, it's not the cashier's fault, is it? No. If the line was long and you were waiting and waiting... it's not the cashier's fault. They were the ones who showed up to work! They are the ones doing their best to help you out. Getting mad and huffy with them isn't going to make anything better... as a matter of fact, how helpful would you be to someone being rude to you for something that wasn't your fault?
People take out their daily frustrations on innocent people all the freaking time. I have seen it over and over again.
Today this guy pulled up to a self-checkout register and started pushing buttons, he didn't read the buttons, or listen to the voice prompting him to bag his items. He started getting frustrated when the machine would tell him to press the "Skip Bagging" button if he wasn't going to put the item in the bagging area. Then I, the attendant, had to press the security button over and over again because he didn't bag anything. He started getting angry, and I tried to explain to him what was going on. He wasn't listening to a word I said.
Other customers in the area were staring at him in horror and amusement as he started throwing his items back in his shopping cart and swearing that a "real person" needed to help him right now! He started pushing the void buttons, and I had to clear the security for the voided items... on my way over to assist him, he walked right into me... when I say walked right into me... I mean, WALKED RIGHT INTO ME. He saw me coming, he didn't move. He was angry and he wanted me to know it. He was a big guy, and I now have a small bruise on my shoulder to prove it.
Unfortunately for me we were insanely busy, and I didn't have the time to stop what I was doing to call my supervisor on his sorry ass. If I ever have this guy get nasty in my face again, and touch my body in any way, I will press charges. I will. Asshole. It's not my fault you don't know what you are doing... it's not my fault you can't read or listen. Ugh!!!
How can people get so angry over things that are so controllable? Just calm the hell down and pay attention.
Thanks guys... I needed to rant. I feel much better.
9 years ago I fell in love with a song that wasn't really a song. It was a graduation speech put to music, and it meant a lot to me. I heard it again today online, and one of the lines really stuck out to me with my recent choices.
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's.
How true is that? I mean, life kind of *is* about chance... opportunity, and what you decide to do with it. Sometimes decisions you feel are good turn out to be the worst thing, and sometimes you learn from the mistakes you make...
I wanted to share the speech. I love it. I hope you like it if you haven't heard it before. It was written by Mary Schmich.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
I have been thinking about formally resigning my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for about 5 months now. I keep going back and forth because I shouldn't have to spend any of my time telling them to leave me alone, or leave me out of it. Unfortunately for me, the church will continue to use me as a number on their tally-sheet.
I don't consider myself a Mormon. I haven't been a Mormon in a very long time... long before I started doing the major research I started months and months ago. I haven't been to a chapel since my father's funeral, and I found myself debating doctrine with family and friends before I moved to Florida.
The Mormon Church loves to talk about how the church is growing. How many members it has, and the last thing I want to do is to assist them with my number. I suppose it's probably symbolic, because they won't change their numbers... I know they won't. They haven't proven to be the most honest group, have they?
I still get angry about what I was taught compared to actual history. I want them to know that I am not going to stand for it, that I will tell people what I know if they ask, and that they can't have any power over me (they never did!).
My bishop stopped coming by the apartment unannounced after 3 weeks, I think he finally got the hint that I wasn't interested in talking to him... but maybe I was wrong by not answering that door. Maybe I should have had an open discussion with what I have learned and how I feel. Everyone reading this blog should know what would happen to me if I did that... I would be asked to appear for a "Court of Love" where they would debate excommunicating me.
What exactly have I done that is so wrong that I should be excommunicated? I didn't lie. As a matter of fact, I speak more of the truth than the church does. I didn't sin. I haven't stolen, killed anyone... what makes me such a threat? I will tell you. It's because I am not blindly obedient. If I am allowed to "stay" in the church, they think I will do damage to other's testimonies. I don't have to do anything but be here for people who are questioning like I did. The church is doing a good enough job of being inconsistent to get people to notice on their own. More and more people are going on websites like mine and realizing they are not the only ones with these questions. When you are not alone, you are not so scared anymore. They are afraid of that.
So what exactly would I have to expect if I was called to a "Court of Love?"
I would be asked to appear at a certain time, and place. I would be alone. I would be in a chair, facing a bunch of men (only men... lets face it, there would be no equality in a court of "love") who were there to judge me. One of them would read a list of things that I am being accused of, and another would come to my defense. It's like a courtroom with a public defender that really doesn't give a flying rat's ass. After they complain and tell me everything I have done wrong (probably with a slight smug grin on their faces) they will ask me to leave the room so they can pray and come to an agreement on what the Lord wants.
This is an example of the arrogance this church has. What right do they have to do this to people? What makes them think they have the authority to decide what God wants? What makes them think they have powers of priesthood? Ahh... the brainwashing.
So. I am still making up my mind. If I am called to a court of love, I will go out my way... I will say what I want to say and stand up to those assholes. If I resign, I will also go out my way, but it will be quiet but meaningful. I just need to decide which is best for me. What way do I need to end this?
One thing is for sure. It's going to end. Soon. I can't wait to be an official ex-Mormon.
If that headline doesn't raise your blood pressure just a little bit, make you just a tad bit angry and pissed off, I don't know what is wrong with you.
In West Valley City, Utah, a small tabby kitten was tortured, kicked from side to side, and spray painted by a man named Jesus Villalovos while his co-workers from my very own Cable company, Comcast, cheered him on, or didn't stop him. The co-workers were charged with a lesser crime.
I will never be able to understand how human beings can be so cruel to the helpless. Does it makes these men feel smart and strong to do something like this? Does it make them feel important?
How can these guys tune out the fact that this kitten was crying in pain? By the time help arrived it was almost dead. Does their brains not compute emotion? Possibly, but that isn't an excuse. If these guys can hurt an innocent little animal, I can only imagine how they will act if they are pushed to their limits with another human being. Would they hit their spouses? Children?
I can only hope that they will have to answer for what they did... and I am not talking about the court system... I am talking about answering to God if He is out there.
I am happy to report that this kitten is going to be just fine. Mike Merrill, the man who saw what was happening, reported it to police, and stopped the men plans on adopting the kitten if no one comes forward to claim it.
Sometimes the responses to articles I write crack me up. I have been told that I don't pray hard enough, that I want to sin, and that I didn't have the integrity needed to live the gospel. Sorry, those are wrong... as I have mentioned before, I live a very quiet life. I don't drink, smoke, and I certainly don't sleep around. What is it that I am doing that is considered a sin? Living with a male roommate? Even though we are not romantically involved at all? Not that it would be any one's business anyway... but we are not. What is this big sin that supposedly kept me from living life as a good little Mormon girl? I sure as hell don't know what it is.
Some people tell me I think too much, and you know what? I take that as a compliment. Thinking is good for you, studying is good for you. The more you learn, the less likely you are to fall victim to mistakes made in the past. I have never been the kind of person to just take some one's word for it. Prove to me you are right. Prove it. The Mormon Church has yet to do this. Instead, I am looked at like I am crazy. So here are some things the church could prove... but won't/can't.
The Book of Abraham
In July of 1835, a man named Michael Chandler traveled the country with Egyptian mummies and papyri. The papyri intrigued Joseph Smith, and when he was given permission to view these papyri, he told everyone they were a "marvelous discovery." Joseph Smith claimed the papyri were written by Abraham, and he went about translating these papyri for the Church.
With the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, we now know that these papyri had nothing at all to do with Abraham, and that Joseph Smith's translations were complete fiction. The papyri are actually common funerary texts found with most mummies, and the papyri have now been translated correctly.
How is it that Joseph Smith, a prophet, got this wrong? Is it just because he made a mistake? I really don't think so. He didn't make one little mistake. He spent hours and hours on the translation, and he got it wrong constantly. One little mistake would be getting a name or symbol translated incorrectly... truth is, he got EVERYTHING wrong. Everything.
It doesn't add up. Does it?
The Church has played cover-up on the polygamy issue for far too long. Most Mormons have no idea that Joseph Smith had more than one wife, let alone that he married two 14 year old girls after telling them they would burn in hell (along with their families if they didn't). He also married women that were already married to living men... some of those men were sent on missions right before the sealings (convenient, don't ya think?). People definitely don't know that Joseph Smith kept these extra wives from his first wife, Emma, for as long as he could. So much for the picture-perfect marriage the church loves to portray.
Joseph Smith claimed that he didn't want to practice polygamy, but he was commanded to by an angel of God with a flaming sword.
Lets just be honest here. Joseph Smith liked the ladies. Period. He used his position as a "prophet" and leader with power to get what he wanted. Joseph Smith wasn't the only one who took advantage of the situation. Believe it or not, it was never common for teenagers to be married at this point in time. That argument stinks. Check out these links for a list of apostles and their teenage brides:
Take the year of marriage and minus the date born and you'll see that most all of these were teenage brides.
Many in the church claim that polygamy was practiced to take care of widows (not true... sure they would marry a widow once in a while, but how do you explain the girls under the age of 20? All of them?) or to even out the ratio of men to women. The church claims there were more women than men, and that is also proven false. All you have to do is look up the census report.
Polygamy doesn't add up either, does it?
The Book of Mormon
This was supposedly the most correct book on the face of the earth, right? Joseph Smith claimed that the whole discovery of the book was divine. An angel of God came to him and told him where to find golden plates buried in a hill. If God were to go to that kind of trouble to have him locate the plates in the first place, don't you think he would want to make sure Joseph Smith got the translation right? What is the point of directing this guy to golden plates and scripture if you don't care about the accuracy of the translation?
Don't even get me started on how the church portrays the translation to its members. He used a seer stone in a top hat. People deserve to know that. The fact that they are not upfront and honest about this makes me cringe because they do nothing but claim to be all loving, and about "truth restored." Where is this truth?
The Book of Mormon has been changed recently to cover the DNA issue. So much for the most correct book on earth.
Doesn't add up.
Brigham Young, a supposed prophet of God, told his followers many times that Adam was God. Many of his followers didn't quite buy it, and it annoyed him. He preached this doctrine over and over again. It's in conference talks, it's in the Journal of Discourses. It's all over the place. Again, a prophet of God is wrong... why wouldn't God tell him so?
Not too long ago Gordon B. Hinkley told a nationwide audience on Larry King Live that the doctrine "As Man Is, God Once Was," was nothing more than a couplet. Wrong. Why did Hinkley deny this? It was taught to my aunts and uncles in Sunday School, and other church meetings. It's kooky. I truly believe that is why the church is distancing themselves from it, but it's not very honest, is it?
Blacks received the priesthood in 1978. Thank goodness the church finally came to their senses on this matter, but it took too much effort and took way too long. Brigham Young would be sincerely pissed if he knew that everything he preached turned out to be wrong, how could you believe in a prophet that would say such horrible things? It wasn't just him.. many other Mormon prophets did and said the same things. Are we supposed to just forget how the church treated these people? I can't.
Temple endowments have been changed. Again, these ceremonies supposedly came directly from God, and prophets in the past warned people against changing them in any way. Why then, were they changed?
Doesn't add up. Sorry.
These are JUST A FEW of the problems I have. I understand that some Mormons think these are very minor issues and they can be explained... but I disagree. Some of this stuff seems minor, and if that is the position you are in, how can you explain so many problems? So many inconsistencies?
It doesn't seem like any truth is at work here.
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The FLDS raid in Texas has brought what occurred in Mormon History to the present. For weeks newspapers, television reports, and countless conversations has forced America to see for itself how hard it must have been for early Mormon women. Some women didn't get to choose who they married, it was decided for them. They were then thrust into a very intimate relationship with men they barely knew... all in the name of religion. Some people say that it was their decision to stay with the church, but I disagree. For those who believe Mormon Doctrine, they honestly had no choice. They wanted to go to heaven, therefore they paid the price on earth.
We can sit and think about the grown adults making these decisions and why they decide to stay until we go cross-eyed. Most of us just don't get it. For us, it is easy to say that polygamy is wrong, but for them it's all they know.
Yesterday I read a news article about the kids taken from the FLDS ranch going back to their families. The supreme court made the decision that the state of Texas handled the situation poorly, and that there wasn't sufficient evidence to take the children from their homes. Some people agree with the supreme court's decision, others are shocked and sad that the kids are no longer being protected from early marriage to older men.
A photo of Warren Jeffs kissing a13 year old bride has surfaced on the internet as well as on television. We are not talking about a quick peck, we are talking about a full-on french kiss. He is also picking up his young bride and holding her in his arms.
Yesterday night on a network news magazine show, the reported tried to show this photo to one of the polygamous lawyers working on the FLDS case. The lawyer refused to look at it, and even claimed that the photo was most likely doctored to paint the FLDS in a bad light. He kept telling the reporter over and over again that there was no evidence of underage marriage of young girls, and when faced with that evidence he refused to admit it's existence completely. It immediately struck me because many of the Mormons I know also refuse to look into the evidence of wrongdoing by someone they love.
I guess it's all about denial. If you don't look at the proof, you can't admit to yourself it exists. Thing is... the evidence DOES exist.
There IS a photo of Warren Jeffs kissing a 13 year old bride, and there IS evidence that Joseph Smith and the church are not what they claimed to be.
Deny. Deny. Deny.
I suppose living in a bubble/fantasy land makes you feel safe and secure. Like you have all the answers. Sadly, no one has answers. They just claim they do.
How can people claim that the FLDS church has nothing at all in common with the Mormon Church? The only thing separating the two groups is time.
I knew not to talk about the temple. When I was in young women's classes the leaders would always mention how sacred the temple was, and how you should never talk about the temple when you are not IN the temple. It always struck me as bizarre, because something doesn't need to be secret to be sacred.
I have read many accounts of people's first experiences in the temple and how strange it was for them. Most of them were taken back by the clothing, the strange gestures (promising to slit your throat if you told anyone the secrets), and most of all, they couldn't believe how silly it was. I don't say that to insult Mormons or their beliefs, it's just an honest observation.
First of all, you wear ALL white. White shoes, white pants/skirt/dress, shirt, belt, suspenders if necessary. The church also has a handy-dandy ordering catalogue so you can buy these perfectly white accessories for you and your family. Guess who makes a buck there? Yeah.
Not only do you wear the white clothes, but you also have a green apron. The aprons used to be covered with symbols (they still might be, but I am not sure) that came from Masonry. The person who plays the role as Satan in the ceremony also has an apron that represents his priesthood and power. Satan's apron used to have symbols on it as well, these included an all-seeing eye, beehive, skull and crossbones, compasses, suns, moons, stars, etc.
The men wear a hat of some kind, many people say it looks like a baker's hat. The hat has a ribbon on it that represents the Godhead.
Sounds pretty strange, doesn't it? I mean, why the need for symbolic stuff? Why would that matter to God? In my opinion, if God truly exists, he would know you and what was in your heart. The ceremony is pretty pointless... not to mention the fact that if you wanted to make covenants to God, why do you need to do this in these clothes and in a specific kind of building? Does God really require that kind of stuff? I think not... common sense prevails on this one.
The temple ceremony includes chanting, praying in a circle, and much, much more.
Okay, so picture it... a bunch of people in their white clothes and aprons/hats, praying and chanting. Performing secret ceremonies they believe important to make it to heaven. If you look at it objectively (from the eyes of a person who has never been Mormon or learned about Mormonism) it's really freaking strange.
Mormons get really worked up when you call their religion a cult. Hell, I used to get worked up over it and I never bought the whole thing... but, looking at the big picture you can't help but realize the whole temple thing is cult like.
I honestly do believe the church is a cult, and it is masquerading as a mainstream church. It's exclusionary, it asks much of your time and money. You are asked to follow a prophet without question, believing he gets revelation directly from God. Sounds like a cult to me.
I believe that the church asks it's members to keep the ceremony secret because the church realizes how weird the ceremonies are. If you talk about it with others, and share how weird you think it is, you are more likely to question. On the other hand, if you obey and not talk about the ceremonies, you have no choice but to keep it to yourself and wonder if anyone else found the whole thing strange. If you have no one to talk to, you are much less likely to research things. You might even think there is something wrong with you because you didn't feel the spirit like everyone else.
Lets put the cards on the table here... lets call this for what it is. Bizarre!!!
To end things, I would like to share this list of questions I found on The Mormon Curtain. Destructor wrote these questions, I don't want to take credit for them...
Why are the days of creation different than those recorded in the Book of Moses and Genesis? The third and fourth days are backwards in the endowment ceremony.
In the Mormon scripture Book of Moses 3:15-25 it says that God commanded the man (Adam) not to eat from the tree of good and evil. God didn't command the woman, because she had not been created yet. So why is the endowment film different than the Mormon scriptural account?
How did Peter, James and John get bodies before they were born? Peter shakes Adam's hand, so we know they weren't spirits. According to Joseph Smith's handshake test for discerning evil spirits from good spirits, Peter should have refused to shake Adam's hand (unless he had been resurrected).
Satan wears an apron that he says is a symbol of his power and priesthood. Why then does Adam, Eve and the temple congregation moments later obey Satan when he commands them to put on aprons?
How could Jesus be on the right hand of God, in physical form looking like his identical twin, when Jesus had not been born or resurrected yet? Jesus says in the Bible and BoM that he wasn't perfected until AFTER the atonement.
So was Lucifer a snake as it says in the scriptures, or a man like it shows in the temple?
Lucifer picks the apple off the tree and gives it to Eve. But Lucifer doesn't have a body! What's up with that?
Where did Lucifer get his preacher that was preaching to Adam and Eve? Was he for real or just a ghost? If just a ghost, why was he dressed as a protestant minister with the collar for Adam and Eve to see?
The Book of Abraham as well as the modern prophets have taught us that the earth was created around the star Kolob. It orbited God's solar system until AFTER the fall, when it was hurled through space and placed in this solar system. This scriptural doctrine contradicts the endowment, where we see the creation of the moon and it mentions our sun and the other planets too. (See http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon_science.htm)
If the Kolob doctrine is true, why is this not included in the endowment, which is supposed to be the "Lord's University"?
Why go through the creation story if it is not true and contradicts Mormon doctrine and the Book of Abraham?
If the endowment is actual history, then why was it so radically changed in April 1990? Whole sections were altered and others deleted! If the endowment represented real history, how could it change? Was it not true to the actual events all along? Is the new version "more true to history?" (See: http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_changes.htm)
In April 1990 the covenants and penalties of the endowment ceremony also changed dramatically. Didn't Jesus say in the scriptures that a sign of false churches is that they change his covenants?
Where do you find a clear description of these "laws' mentioned in the temple?
1. Law of Obedience 2. Law of Sacrifice 3. Law of Elohim 4. Law of the Lord 5. Law of the Gospel 6. Law of Chastity 7. Law of Consecration
Some of those laws that temple patrons covenant to obey are never mentioned or explained outside the temple. If they are literal laws of God that must be obeyed, why are they not all clearly identified and expounded upon in church discourse?
What is the difference between "legally" and "lawfully" as said in the temple endowment covenant?
Adam raises his arms in the "true order of prayer", and who answers his prayer? Satan. Does this mean Satan can answer even prayers given in the "true order" ordained by God? What prayer is safe from not being intercepted by Satan? (See: http://helpingmormons.org/compare.htm)
Did God really send Peter, James and John down to earth and give Adam and Eve those silly temple clothes to wear? They didn't have a temple, so when did Adam and Eve wear them?
How could Peter, James and John be involved in the whole thing when they hadn't been born yet, hadn't been baptized and had not been through the temple? They weren't wearing garments themselves, so how could they be worthy to participate in the endowment events?
Temple workers stand is as proxys for Elohim and Jehovah during the ceremony, which makes it very sacred. But since someone also stands in as a literal proxy for Satan, doesn't that make the temple unholy?
What is the purpose of learning the "true order of prayer" if it can never be practiced outside of the temple ceremony?
Why does God require secret handshakes, names and passwords to pass through the veil and enter his presence? Can't God look into our hearts and know whether or not we are worthy?
Why are temple patrons required to make death oaths, when they are expressly forbidden by God in Mormon scripture? (see: http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_oaths.htm)
If the endowment is centered on Jesus Christ, why isn't Christ's two top commandments included in the endowment covenants - love God and love your neighbor? Why isn't there mention of Christ's sermon on the mount or other teachings on charity and compassion?
Did anyone else wonder about this stuff before you realized the whole thing was a fraud?
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I am going to start off by sharing the article found on the USAToday.com website. This article was written by Patty Henetz and was published on July 26, 2004.
SALT LAKE CITY — Plant geneticist Simon Southerton was a Mormon bishop in Brisbane, Australia when he woke up the morning of Aug. 3, 1998 to the shattering conclusion that his knowledge of science made it impossible for him to believe any longer in the Book of Mormon.
Two years later he started writing Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church, published by Signature Books and due in ctores next month. Along the way, he found a world of scholarship that has led him to conclude The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints belief is changing, but not through prophesy and revelation.
Rather, Southerton sees a behind-the-scenes revolution led by a small group of Brigham Young University scholars and their critics who are reinterpreting fundamental teachings of the Book of Mormon in light of DNA research findings. Along the way, he says, these apologist scholars, with the apparent blessing of church leadership, are contradicting church teachings about the origins of American Indians and Polynesians.
"You've got Mormon apologists in their own publications rejecting what prophets have been saying for decades. This becomes very troubling for ordinary members of the church," Southerton said.
And while the work of the BYU apologists — the term means those who speak or write in defense of something — remains confined largely to intellectual circles, some church members who have always understood themselves in light of Mormon teachings about the people known as Lamanites are suffering identity crises.
"It's very difficult. It is almost traumatizing," said Jose Aloayza, a Midvale attorney who likened facing this new reality to staring into a spiritual abyss.
"It's that serious, that real," said Aloayza, a Peruvian native born into the church and still a member. "I'm almost here feeling I need an apology. Our prophets should have known better. That's the feeling I get."
Southerton, now a senior researcher with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia, has concluded along with many other scientists studying mitochondrial DNA lines that American Indians and Polynesians are of Asian extraction.
For a century or so, scientists have theorized Asians migrated to the Americas across a land bridge at least 14,000 years ago. But Mormons have been taught to believe the Book of Mormon — the faith's keystone text — is a literal record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas who descended from the Israelite patriarch Lehi, who sailed to the New World around 600 B.C. The book's narrative continues through about 400 A.D.
The church teaches that Joseph Smith translated this record from gold plates found on a hillside in upstate New York in 1820, when he was 14. The Book of Mormon was first published in 1830.
In Mormon theology, Lamanites are understood as both chosen and cursed: Christ visited them, yet their unrighteousness left them cursed with dark skin. The Book of Mormon says Lamanitesdelightsome;" in 1981, the passage was changed to "pure and delightsome.") Though not mentioned specifically in the Book of Mormon, Polynesians have been taught they are a branch of the House of Israel descended from Lehi.Traditionally, Mormons have understood the Book of Mormon to cover all of the Americas in what is known as the hemispheric model. At a Bolivian temple dedication in 2000, church prophet and President Gordon B. Hinckley prayed, "We remember before Thee the sons and daughters of Father Lehi." And in 1982, the church's then-President Spencer Kimball told Samoans, Maori, Tahitians and Hawaiians that the "Lord calls you Lamanites."
Southerton's book details how these teachings have helped LDS efforts to convert new members, especially among Indians in Latin America and Maoris in New Zealand. He also offers primers on Mormon history and American race relations, quick tutorials on DNA research and syntheses of Mormon-related genetic research and DNA scholarship.
But in light of BYU scholars' recent opinion that the Book of Mormon's events could only have occurred in parts of Mexico and Guatemala — that is, Mesoamerica — the final third of the book is dedicated to examining the work of LDS scholars at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, or FARMS, established 25 years ago and housed at BYU.FARMS findings on Mesoamerica are based on the Book of Mormon's "internal geography," that is, descriptions of how long it took the ancient peoples to get from one place to another. The apologists now believe the events occurred only hundreds of miles from each other, not thousands — provoking new questions including how the Americas could have been so rapidly populated with people speaking so many languages without the presence of vast numbers of people who never appear in the narrative.
In a telephone interview from his Canberra office, Southerton said that keeping up with the rapidly growing body of work in genetic research made it difficult for him to finish the book while also keeping it up-to-date with critics and apologists and those in between all seeking to reframe the Book of Mormon in light of DNA research.
In particular, he's tried to keep up with FARMS qrticles, which he said are "completely at loggerheads with what the church leaders are teaching."
Church spokesman Dale Bills on Thursday said the church teaches only that the events recorded in the Book of Mormon took place somewhere in the Americas. The doctrine of the church is established by scripture and by the senior leadership of the Church, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.
"Faithful Latter-day Saint scholars may provide insight, understanding and perspective but they do not speak for the church," he said.On its Web site, under the "Mistakes in the News" heading, the church declares, "Recent attacks on the veracity of the Book of Mormon based on DNA evidence are ill considered. Nothing in the Book of Mormon precludes migration into the Americas by peoples of Asiatic origin. The scientific issues relating to DNA, however, are numerous and complex."
The site then offers Web links to five articles, four of which were published last year in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, a FARMS publication.
Aloayza believes that is tacit approval of what FARMS is saying.
"There is such a huge divide between what the scholarly elite with the LDS church knows and will discuss and what the ordinary member knows," Aloayza said. "The burden of proof is on the people who are advancing the Book of Mormon as the word of God."
BYU political science professor and FARMS director Noel Reynolds said FARMS reseabch and writings are not aimed at proving or disproving the Book of Mormon. "We understand the difficulties of that. We get dragged into these discussions repeatedly because of books like Southerton's or ordinary anti-Mormon questions," he said.
The work of FARMS shouldn't be considered counter to church doctrine because the geography of the Book of Mormon has "never been a matter of official church pronouncement," Reynolds said.
While believing in a hemispheric model might be considered "naive," he said, "it's also fair to say that the majority of LDS over a period of time have accepted a hemispheric view, including church leaders."
Added FARMS founder and BYU law professor John Welch, "We don't speak officially for the church in any way. These are our opinions, and we hope they're helpful."
Southerton, who no longer is a member of the church, said given the state of DNA research and increasing lay awareness of it, church leaders ought just to own up to the problems that continued literal teachings about the Book of Mormon present for American Indians and Polynesians.
"They should come out and say, 'There's no evidence to support your Israelite ancestry,' " Southerton said. "I don't have any problem with anyone believing what's in the Book of Mormon. Just don't make it look like science is backing it all up."
I have been searching the online archives for almost a year now, and this is the first time I have come across this article. I find it fascinating because this one issue, DNA, caused this man to realize the game the church is playing. I am glad that he stood his ground and decided that the Book of Mormon isn't what the Church claims it to be.
The Mormon Church isn't going to be able to play this game for long. Sooner or later they will have to realize that science is showing the accuracy of the Book of Mormon... and they will have to act quickly in order to keep people in the church. They have already done this by changing one single word (as quietly as possible) in the introduction of the Book of Mormon. When the church is questioned on this, they immediately jump up and say, "The introduction isn't scripture!" Wrong. They changed the entire meaning by adding the word "among."
I really hope that people start looking into these issues on their own, and are not as afraid to speak up as I once was as a teenager.
The problems and the doctrines not making sense are becoming more and more obvious thanks to the internet. I truly believe the church will have a decline in members in the future due to these science findings.
The general membership of the church is going to start asking questions, and the church isn't going to have the answers.
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It amazes me how people are willing to obey the LDS President without a second thought. Obviously there are church leaders out there just like him who claim they are true prophets of God (look at Warren Jeffs for example...) and they have charisma to make people believe it. Why is it that people just accept the LDS president?
The same people that accept LDS prophets also claim that other people are not prophets. How do they know they are not being fooled? They don't even think about it. They don't question it. They just follow blindly believing their leader is the correct leader... if there is a true leader at all.
I suppose people will say they know the LDS prophet is the true prophet (again, I don't believe in prophets at all) because they have a witness from the holy ghost... but don't you think the people in the FLDS compound have that same feeling? I do. I truly believe that people find meaning in things to back up their belief system.
Another thing that gets to me is when a prophet makes a mistake, like Hinkley with the Mark Hofmann matter) they makes excuses for them.
"The prophet is just a man." How many times have I heard that? Millions. Thing is... the prophet isn't just a man. The prophet is supposed to be able to speak and give word directly from God. Why is it that they would make such horrible mistakes?
Mormons don't treat their prophets (any of them) like they were "just men." They give lessons on these men, telling everyone who will listen how good they were (even thought they have done horrible things, and there is evidence of those things), and how they helped the world with God's help. They idolize these men and teach their children to honor them as if they were holy beings... yet when they make a mistake they are "just men."
Do you ever hear anything negative about the prophet? No... but negative things exist. The church has a way of turning everything into a faith promoting experience. If the prophet is right about something he has given revelation from the Lord, and if he is wrong he is just a man who makes mistakes like everyone else. It seems to me that no matter what happens believers will accept what the church tells them.
If you have a prophet of God, he isn't "just a man." He is a prophet. Why don't people get that?
Today is Memorial Day. Today we remember those who sacrificed their time, talents, heart, and sometimes their lives for the United States of America. I grew up on an Army base, and many of the kids from my graduating class followed in their mothers and father's footsteps and are now fighting the war on terror.
Today is not a time for me to get on my soap box and tell people how much I disagree with the war (although I kind of just did that... huh?) it's a time to say thank you.
So, in honor of these men and women, I want to share these videos. I hope all men and women of the armed forces return home safely and have moments like these... and if that isn't possible, I hope they know how many of us truly thank them for their sacrifices.
Today I had a long conversation with a friend of mine about my exit from Mormonism. He has never been inside a Mormon Church in his life, and he can't really understand why a church would ask someone to cut off family and friends just because they leave the church. It was really nice to have someone understand... someone who hasn't been through what I am dealing with, but still gets it.
I guess the emotional toll of this whole thing is getting to me more and more. The more people I encounter online that have been kept outside of Temple Weddings and sealings... purposefully left out of family gatherings... simply because they left the Mormon Church, the more I get more emotional over the whole thing.
What kind of church would ask you to do things like this? Would God ask you to do things like this? To keep the woman who gave birth to you and raised you... kissed your boo-boos and made your birthday cakes from your wedding?
God is about love, not exclusion. Nothing any Mormon can say about this matter will ever change my mind.
My own Grandmother had to wait outside the temple when her son was married. She cried that day. Not because she was witnessing her child become a man and marry the woman he loved. She cried because she was denied. She gave birth to him, fed him, held him when he cried, bought his clothing, helped him... and she was denied the right to see her son be married.
It's not right. It's not.
For a church that claims family is the most important thing, they have a really funny way of showing it.
Sexism in the Mormon Church is one of the biggest problems that I have.
A couple months ago, someone mentioned to me that other religions do this as well, and I agreed (although I don't think it's close to be the same) but that doesn't make it okay! The excuse that "well, they do it too!" doesn't fly. It doesn't come close. It's something a first grader would say after being caught doing something bad. "So and so does it too!!" Ugh.
Anyway, back to the topic. Sexism. Women in the Mormon Church are second class citizens. Period. I know there are tons of believing Mormons who read this blog and do their best to disagree with everything I say, but they will never come close to changing my mind on this topic, and here is why:
Women Cannot Hold the Priesthood.
Why is that? Are we not special enough because we don't have a penis? I mean, why in the world would God give this right to men and not women? When Joseph Smith created this church (and yes, he created it... he didn't restore anything) the times were different. Women then didn't have the same rights as men, but this has changed. We now have jobs, we are doctors, lawyers, police and clergy in other religions... why then is the Mormon Church so set on keeping this "gift" for men only?
Women Cannot Hold Callings Without Their Husband's Permission.
Many women have told me about how the bishop called their husbands (some husbands were non-Mormon or inactive) and asked the husband if they would support their wives calling in the church. Excuse me?
Last time I checked women could make their own decisions. Why is it that a husband has the right to tell the bishop no? Most of the time the men hear about the calling before their wife, and I find this highly insulting. If you want me for a job (and I use that term loosely because they certainly don't get paid) you should talk to ME about it.
I have also heard stories about women turning down a calling and the bishop going behind their backs to get their husbands to talk them into it. What kind of crap is this?
This isn't the past. Men don't get to make all the decisions anymore... it's about time the church realized this.
Women Are Asked to Obey Husbands in the Temple, Men Are only Asked to Obey God.
Ummm... what is up with that? Do they really think men are somehow closer to God and women couldn't possibly do it? Or can I just call this as I see it?
It's a boys club. Always has been.
There is no place in the hierarchy for women in the Mormon Church.
Men make all the decisions. They decide when and how money is spent, who is chosen for callings, who gets financial assistance from the church, and what lessons are taught. Women simply have to go along with their decisions. They have no choice, do they?
Women Cannot Complain.
Many will disagree with me here, but I will always stick to my guns on this... If a woman has an issue with sexism in the church, she has no choice but to complain to a man! Do you think that man is going to see her side, or take the time to look into matters? No. That man has convinced himself he has special priesthood powers and knows what the Lord wants. Sexism issues in the church have always been ignored, and will continue to be ignored until more women take a stand. Period.
Polygamy in Heaven.
I will ignore the past issues of Mormon Polygamy for this post. Lets talk about Polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom.
A good little Mormon Girl meets her return missionary and they fall madly in love. They have their temple wedding (with relatives left outside no doubt, happens all the time) and she leaves college so her husband can focus on his degree. She gets pregnant sooner than they planned, but embrace the new child, and eventually more and more come. Long gone are her dreams of running her own bookstore, or bakery. She is instead staying home with the kids, maybe home teaching, and keeping the home in order. She goes to church every Sunday, makes sure the family has Family Home evening every Monday night, and teaches her children to become missionaries and live the Mormon Gospel. She is faithful to her husband who she continues to love and help her entire life. When she passes away, she then has to share than husband with other sister wives.
How is that a blessing or reward for living the way Mormonism teaches? I am personally offended that many of my relatives believe they will have more wives in heaven. Women, it seems, are nothing but possessions... baby making machines, breeders, maids... then we have to do that in heaven too?
Confession from Females to Males.
If you have something to confess, it doesn't count unless you talk to someone with priesthood authority, and it should be a bishop or stake president, right? How fair is that? Do men ever have to confess things to women? Nope. How is that equal?
If a woman doesn't have a husband and children, she is told she isn't living the life God wants for her. If a woman can't have children, she is sometimes told it is because she doesn't have enough faith, or because she isn't praying hard enough.
What if a woman doesn't want kids? What if she doesn't even like kids? The Mormon Machine basically tells her she isn't living the way God wants. This can go one of two ways: She can feel bad about herself, but stick to what she wants for her life. Or, she can have children anyway and be a mother that never wanted to be a mother.
This is unfair.
There are more reasons, but I am getting sick to my stomach thinking about this. Ugh.
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I can't take credit for this, someone by the name of JW the Inquizzinator on the Recovery from Mormonism Forum created this list. I sincerely hope he doesn't mind me sharing the questions, because I thought they were fantastic! My own comments will be italicized.
1) Where did those FLDS folks learn such doctrine anyway?
They learned it from Joseph Smith and his so-called revelation. Joseph claimed that an angel with a flaming sword came down and commanded him to practice polygamy or he would have been killed. Does that sound like a revelation from God to you? It certainly doesn't to me.
It had nothing to do with there being more women than men (never happened) and it certainly had nothing to do with the women needing someone to take care of them. Many polygamist wives lived on their own with their children and saw their husbands occasionally... they actually received very little help and assistance from them.
2) So what is it about the FLDS model of worship/religion that upsets you? [follow a prophet, modern day revelation, priesthood powers...etc
The FLDS are simply practicing what Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught. Period. Why is it that so many Mormons talk so wonderfully about these former "prophets" yet put down the FLDS for their beliefs? Why is it so easy to believe Joseph Smith, but not Warren Jeffs?
3) Do you believe in eternal polygamy? Is there a difference between earthly polygamy and eternal polygamy?
Polygamy is practiced in the Celestial Kingdom. Every Mormon knows this. The worthy priesthood holding husband will have multiple wives so he can create "spirit children" to populate his new planet. Mormons believe men will become Gods, and that God was once a man like them. Gordon B. Hinkley claimed that this wasn't taught, and that it was more of a couplet, and he mentioned that it wasn't emphasized. That is simply untrue. Many people found that claim of the former to be an outright lie, and started them on their research out of the church.
Why is it okay to practice this in heaven, and not on earth? Sounds rather silly to me.
4) If the prophet of the LDS church said earthly polygamy was approved again [via revelation] would you "follow the prophet"?
I would love for believing Mormons to answer this question for me. Especially the women. Would you be willing to share your husband with other women? Do you realize that when you get to the Celestial Kingdom that you will have no choice in the matter? Is that supposed to be some kind of reward?
Give me a break.
5) If FLDS polygamists are breaking the laws of the land today, are they doing something different than LDS "pioneers" that violated US Territorial [or Illinois State] law in the 1800s?
Most believing Mormons today assume that their leaders in the past would have never knowingly broken the law. Sadly, they are mistaken. Many church leaders were taken into custody and jailed for practicing polygamy, and they went back to their many wives and went on with the practice knowing full and well they were still breaking the law.
Polygamy was NEVER legal. Never.
6) How are FLDS women's place/role in their society different than LDS women's place/role in LDS society?
This is a really good point. While the mainstream church is trying hard to tell people that women have as much rights as men, they simply don't. Women are simply wives and mothers. It's what I was taught as a teenager in the Young Women's program, and many girls hear it over and over again... making it seem like it's what they want for themselves.
I always say here that being a wife and mother is noble. Please don't get me wrong. I just don't believe that many LDS women get to actually make that choice for themselves... the choice is made for them. It masquerades as personal desire, because they are pushed to believe it from day one.
7) How is 2008 FLDS society different than 1860 Utah society [other than some technologies]?
Another good point.
The FLDS groups are living the lives that early Mormons led. Young girls getting married to older men, sometimes relatives, was common in early Mormonism. Believing Mormons make excuses for the early priesthood holders by claiming it was asked of them by God, but you could use the same excuse for the FLDS.
Why are we making excuses for one group of people but not the other? Because that is how the church wants it.
What happened in early Mormonism was wrong. Polygamy was never a revelation from God, and God would certainly never ask Joseph Smith to marry two 14 year old girls. Joseph actually told them to marry him or they and their families would go to hell. How in the world can you make excuses for a man that would do that?
I didn't share all of the questions, so if you would like to see the rest click on the photo or any of the links provided at the top of the article. Thanks as always for reading...
I have mentioned a website called Photoshop Disasters before, I think it's really cool how these guys catch mistakes in the images we see every day.
I ran across this photo on the site, and thought it was hilarious. The Disney company has TONS of money to spend marketing products like this, but they obviously didn't care much on this High School Musical CD case!!!
I am just posting some comments I read on the Recovery From Mormonism page that I found interesting. These women are talking about their special day in the temple, a day most of them dreamed of since they were very small. Here is how they feel about that day now...
It was a pretty room, for sure, but nothing any nicer than the places where I shopped for and tried on wedding dresses. It was white, mostly, like all rooms in the temple, with a few tables, a few flowers, a few mirrors and chandeliers. But what I remember most is standing there looking in the mirror all alone. Yes, a temple worker or two popped in to make sure my dress was "appropriate" and they fussed about my 'unnecessary' and non-detachable train which I had to carry over my arm. But they didn't seem to involved.
No mother, no grandma, no mother-in-law. No aunts or sisters or cousins. No best friend, or even a CLOSE friend to be with me on my special day. They were all excluded for not being Mormon. My bishop's wife came in with me for a bit. I barely knew her.
I was young and excited for my wedding day, but standing there alone in the absolute dead silence it was very clear that this was something I was doing all by myself. It was a very sad, empty feeling. Standing there in my wedding dress, no music, no flowers, no body... just waiting for my turn in the sealing room with a couple of strangers as witnesses. -kc
There were old ladies to fuss over you alright! Fuss about your neck or shoulders showing, fuss about the "diamond" earrings being "too showy" (yes, I had some CZ earrings that were rather small, and they made me REMOVE them because they were "inappropriate.").
Oh, but ... during the temple tour (prior to dedication) all I heard about was the "imported chandelier" and the "imported marble" and the "imported wood." No, it wasn't anything special (better than a locker room, though!), or I think I would have remembered. And GOD FORBID we be allowed to take pictures of our "special" day!! -Little ole Me Not Logged In
I don't know about other temples, but the Dallas, TX temple bridal room was certainly far from beautiful or special! It was a tiny, white room and I think it had a couple of plain mirrors, a chair, some lockers, hooks, and a sink. No curling irons or hairdryers, as best I can recall, and definitely no candles or bath salts, let alone a bath or shower. I was lucky to get a sink!
The old women more like fussed AT me rather than over me and they left me all alone and did absolutely nothing to help me get ready. The only times I would see the temple workers was when they would pop their heads in every few minutes to tell me to hurry up or scold me about one thing or another. I remember feeling so let down and disappointed when I realized EVERYTHING they had promised me about the temple bridal room was a complete LIE! -tude
Like I mentioned in a previous thread ... I've wanted to hunt down my "MIA" (dating myself) Leaders and rip them a new asshole! I CRIED in the Bride's Room because it was NOT special and wasn't about me AT ALL! Like others have said, we were mostly scolded and told to HURRY! It was a freaking cattle call!- LOMNLI
When I a was a teenager in YW's the temple is the ultimate goal they pound into the girls' heads. The leaders don't talk about the importance of an education or teaching young girls self respect and self reliance. YW are taught to get married young and only get married in the temple. It only matters that the boy can take them to the temple. So this is pounded in our heads from primary age. But we never actually know what the temple really means or what goes on.
All the leaders are smiling and winking at each other with their secret knowledge that they can't disclose. I got married when I was 20 yrs old. Luckily I was nearly done with obtaining my BA and received it a year later. Also I married a wonderful man who eventually led me out of the church. Most YW aren't as lucky. I got married in the Dallas temple 12 years ago.
I shared the bride's room with a buch of other brides and their mothers that day. I didn't feel special at all. My dress had tons of little buttons up the back. It took my mom a long time to button it up. Finally when I had my dress on, the matron informed me that my long sleeves were too see through and I needed to put additional sleeves underneath. You can imagine my frustration and my mom's when asked to unfasten and refasten all those buttons again. Then I was horrified when I learned that the first time my new hubby would see me in my dress it would be covered up with that awful temple garb with the green apron. I also couldn't understand why I had to veil my face with that ugly cotton veil. I couldn't see my hubby during the ceremony. I couldn't wait to get out of my outfit.
I also remember with pangs of guilt how I walked out in the lobby to see my dad who was not deemed worthy to see his oldest daughter married. He said with tears in his eyes, "so you're married now huh?" I was grumpy and hot while taking pictures outside. It was August in Texas and I was wearing a long sleeved dress, need I say more.
I remember going to my nevermo best friends wedding that summer as well. I felt guilty at the time for being envious of her wedding. I thinking more and more about renewing my vows. I can wear the dress I want, invite the people I want and get married where I want. What a novel idea. Too bad I didn't think of that 12 years ago!- bookworm
I rant about the Mormon Church's 2 billion dollar shopping mall in Salt Lake City all the time. The Church has always claimed that no tithing money is used in the building of this giant plaza, and that they donate tons of money to charity as well. Here are a couple things I found online about the mall...
It seems to me that an argument can be made that the church is operating under cover of tax exempt laws which favour it over other business institutions in the project of money making. In addition, its members are not privileged to see any financial statements, as are those participating in other companies as shareholders or interested parties. I don't see how that is fair. Whether you have the words "Jesus Christ" in your organization's name or not, if you're in business, I don't see why you shouldn't have to play by the rules of business.
Question: From whom did "the church" originally get the capital and wealth it has used to build up its business enterprises? From the members, paying their tithing. Whether those tithes were paid fifty years ago or five days ago, they have still facilitated the construction of the church's portfolio of business holdings.
If I sell drugs, and then buy a casino with the profits, and then use the profits from that casino to buy a hotel, is it really straight up for me to say that "no tithing money was used for this hotel purchase"? It makes the church look very much like it is playing a shell game. Why not just admit it? Who cares? That would be a lot less lame than pretending tithing had nothing to do with the church's ability to BUY MALLS.
I bet the General Authorities could come out and say, "We each get a million a year and take four month vacations in Hawaii because GOD TOLD US TO", and you'd have RS women crying with gratitude at the pulpit next fast Sunday, bearing their testimonies about how grateful they are to have a prophet, in "these the latter days" and stuff, and how wonderful it is that they get to rest from their incredible pressures, etc.
Not that this would render the last point moot, but even if the church argued that it is now so wealthy that all tithing monies only add up to a minute fraction of all its revenues, and are used exclusively for buildings, and it's been using solely business-generated monies to purchase more businesses for the last forty years, this raises the question of why leave in place a ten per cent tithing requirement.
Jesus is spending or has spent over $1 BILLION DOLLARS on the area around Temple Square.
Am I the only one who sees this as screaming of hypocrisy?
Would Jesus REALLY use his funds for THIS? Wouldn't the creator of the Earth want to use these funds to help the sick and poor and destitute of the world?
Unless of course he was a soulless corporate CEO.
And I am incapable of imagining that Jesus of Nazareth, he who called the ancient Jews back to the true spirit of righteousness, the spirit of humility and love, the spirit of alleviating human suffering, would ever endorse spending
(that could have done so much, for so many underprivileged people out there, Mormon and non-Mormon)
buying - and refurbishing - shopping malls!
(And I don't want to hear about how "every year, the church donates X million to charity", etc. I already know that - the entire world hears about it every time some ward in Idaho sends a box of T shirts to Romania. The POINT is - if the church has a billion dollars for MALLS, and hundreds and hundreds of millions for buildings and monuments and parks, why doesn't it have ONE BILLION PLUS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS for alleviating human suffering? The point isn't whether the church donates money - every single business in the company donates money: GE, GM, CBS, everyone. It's how much, and its priorities. Does it do more than any other corporation? Shouldn't it - IF it is Jesus's "one, true church"?).
I would say this all was a sick joke - but it's just not funny. It isn't a joke.
David Archuleta, from Murray, Utah, is a good, wholesome Mormon boy. When David Cook was announced as the winner of this season's American Idol contest, a stadium full of wholesome Mormon fans reacted like this to the news.
I know that not all the people in the video were Mormons, I am just making light of a funny video. I am sick of American Idol, it's boring now. Ugh.
The Consumerist is an amazing website that lets readers and companies know what other people are saying about products and companies. This is the same website that made me raise my eyebrows over the Crest Pro-Health products turning people's teeth yellow.
Today the consumerist mentioned this ad for KFC. It clearly shows the image of money hidden inside the lettuce during a commercial. Strange stuff, huh? Click on the photo for a more detailed article on the subject...
In a post I wrote late last night I told of how I didn't like pretending to be an active believing Mormon because I would consider that lying. Lying = bad.
Well, today I had an opportunity to be open about my feelings about the church and I chickened out. Now, I am mad at myself for not speaking my mind, and for not being the perfectly honest young woman I claimed to be less than 24 hours ago.
Today on one of my breaks I was chatting with a co-worker in the break room. I have been reading "Stolen Innocence" by Elissa Wall, the young woman who helped put Warren Jeffs in prison for accessory to rape. Jeffs forced Elissa to marry her first cousin, and told her cousin to eventually force sex on her because she was too scared to agree to it.
My co-worker saw the book and became interested. She asked me what I was reading, and I gave her the brief intro into the biography. I opened the book to the center where a list of photos were, and showed her the photos. She shook her head in disgust and said, "I can't believe these people think they are Mormon. The only reason the early church practiced polygamy is because there were more Women than men, and then as soon as they found out it was illegal they stopped!"
I had to physically bite my tongue, and I am sure the expression on my face showed anguish. Everything she said was exactly what I was taught in the church, and it was all whitewashed and a lie. There were never, ever, more women than men... that had nothing to do with it. Joseph Smith supposedly started the practice of polygamy when and angel came from heaven with a flaming sword and told him to practice it, or he would die. Polygamy was never, ever, legal. Ever. There were also many Mormons who continued to practice polygamy even after the church officially stopped.
I suppose the only reason I didn't say anything is because I didn't want to create waves at work. I am still the "new girl" and I don't want people to assume the worst of me simply because I didn't take the church's word for it. I did my homework, I studied for months and months. I just don't like the position it puts me in. If I am labeled at work, I lose friends... I lose people who would switch shifts with me if I need it. I lose common ground.
How sad is it that I have to worry about what people think about my feelings on religion? Why is it that it matters so much? Does it make me any less of a friend or co-worker? I know the answer is no, but sadly, I don't know if they would see it the same way.
I have had conversations with TBM's before, and I refuse to pretend that I am a believing Mormon, because that would be a lie. I don't like lies. Hate 'em. I am who I am who I am.
Anyway, today I had the opportunity to talk to someone who "knew" everything. He "knew" Joseph Smith was a true prophet. He "knew" the Book of Mormon was complete scripture and it came from God. He "knew" that having his son serve a mission even though the son didn't want to serve the mission was the best thing to do because he "knew" it. Bull****.
No one knows anything. Period.
You might FEEL something. But you KNOW nothing. Praying won't help you KNOW anything, just FEEL things.
Knowing something needs proof. It needs evidence.
I know the sun is going to come up tomorrow.
I know I have to be at work tomorrow at 12:30.
These things can be shown through evidence and proof... no one can prove Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and as a matter of fact, they can probably show you more proof to the contrary with the court records and marriage/sealing documents.
I am sick of people who "know" without thinking about it.
The following is something I shared with my friends on PostMormon.org yesterday. The response to the post really helped me, and I thought I would post it on the blog as well... for those who happen to be TBM and read this blog, you might assume that this is the reason I left the church. That would be an incorrect assumption. I left due to racism, sexism, and countless other *isms* This is just one story.
The Mormon Temple In Manti, Utah
This is kind of hard for me to talk about, and very personal... so please bear with me...
In August of 1997 my Dad had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and doctors gave him 3 days to live in the beginning. It was actually the day before Princess Diana died in Paris, France. The whole thing felt surreal. He fought like hell, and never gave up. My Mom learned how to help him with the feeding tubes and the trach that helped him breathe. She sat with him and planned his funeral and held his hand when he was scared. She was there for him, and she showed me what it was like to truly be a good person.
Before my Mom and Dad told my brother and I that Dad's cancer was terminal, I went to stay with my Dad's sister to get information for college. My parents told her that Brother and I didn't know that he was going to die, and to not mention it. He wanted me home safe before I had the information, and there was a long drive between dear Auntie's house and home. He didn't want me too emotional on the road. He was worried about me just as much as I was worried about him.
The first night at my relatives home, I was helping prepare dinner. We were making french bread pizza (I remember every single detail, down to the Christmas garland on the stairs and the too-perfect Christmas tree,) and she waited for everyone to gather in the dining room. She smiled and told everyone how sad it was that my Dad wasn't going to make it. She knew I didn't know... she knew my Mom and Dad wanted to tell me... she just wanted to be in control of the moment. My Mom will probably tell you that she has SERIOUS control issues. I played it off, pretended that I knew, played the part in a made-for-television movie... and I truly believe she was disappointed that I didn't cry for her. I did cry, I just didn't let her see it.
Her husband wasn't home yet, and when he came home the his kids were noticeably excited. He promised me a drive through the town so I could "see the sights..." and the kids were happy to be out of the house. He seemed like a good guy, almost child-like in a way. He didn't seem like a mature man or grown-up.
I eventually went home and told my Mom (on a walk) what happened. My Mom was very upset, and she apologized that I had to hear it that way. My Dad couldn't speak, so he wrote me a letter telling me he was sorry about it too, and that what Auntie Did was wrong. Nothing really mattered for a while.
When my Dad passed away, my Mom was understandably brokenhearted. She was raised in an extremely strict Mormon household, and felt the only way to she my Dad again was to become active again and do the temple work. I was never interested in going back to church because I had too many issues with it, but she knew I was behind her no matter what. Mom made it clear to everyone, on both sides of the family, that she was going to do this work herself.
In March of 1998 (or close to that time) Mom received a phone call from one of my Dad's siblings. They (including the very TBM aunt and uncle mentioned above) were doing Dad's temple work in Manti, and they wanted us there. Mom felt like she had been slapped in the face, but stayed strong. She wanted my brother and I to be there with her at the temple when the ceremony took place, even though we would all have to wait outside in the heat. Brother and I did that, and I will admit, I wasn't happy about it one bit... it pissed me off.
I couldn't help but feel judged not only by my Dad's side of the family, but by the very church they promised was true. They didn't know me at all! I hadn't even smoked a cigarette in my life, never hurt anyone... never shot a man just to see him die. How to they know I am not good enough to be in there?
Well, we endured. We babysat the countless number of cousins along with one lonely aunt who had left the church a long time ago and married a never-Mo. She was always very sweet to me, and a friend. She rocked.
Finally, the family members walk out of the temple and down the street where everyone had parked their cars. They had huge smiles on their faces, and promised that they "knew" my Dad was going to accept the gospel. It pissed me off, because I didn't buy it. I was angry for a very, very long time. They didn't know me, OR my father. They had no idea what he would want or what he would accept. They just wanted to make their experience more faith-promoting. It made me sick.
I eventually moved to Orlando, and one night my Mom gave me a call. She said, "Sydney... you will never guess what!?!" She went on to tell me that Mr. TBM uncle was not only a heroin addict, but had also been seeing prostitutes. Mean Aunt was leaving him, but the kids were on his side. They felt she was too controlling, and some of the kids were in state custody because they didn't want to live with her without their Dad being there. I was in SHOCK! They were so goody-two-shoes, perfect family, everything in it's place... it came out of nowhere to me.... and then it hit me. This guy was probably high on heroin while he was in the temple, and I was outside waiting like some chump!
Where was the gift of discernment here? I have heard story after story of some priesthood holder feeling a presence of someone who isn't worthy, and stops the ceremony until that person leaves. Why did my Aunt and Uncle even have temple recommends? They were obviously not very honest people!? Shouldn't the bishop's discernment have kicked in somewhere??
I know the power of discernment is stupid and it doesn't exist. When I asked a Mormon missionary on LDS.org about this, the only thing they would say was, "Gee I hope your Uncle is in treatment and feeling better soon."
Has anyone else had thoughts about the power of discernment, either at the temple or not? Why can't people see this for what it is? A Hoax!?!?!?