Friday, June 27, 2014

Piece and Quiet

I've been "quiet" lately.

Rock Waterman is doing such an outstanding job at Pure Mormonism, there's really no way I can improve on that.

Tim Malone's contribution at Latter-day Commentary – recently helping to extrapolate the doctrine, limitations and opportunities of true "priesthood" -- is marvelous.

Daymon Smith's slog about the cultural history of the Book of Mormon in particular (and the LDS Church, in general) -- while tedious to read in the extreme -- is revealing and re-orienting. (And some of what he writes is very funny!)

Denver Snuffer? That guy has the "pulse" of the times...and seems to comment on the very things I need to hear. The Holy Ghost is with him.

What more can I say?

I was powerfully driven to make the public statements I made and to take the stands that I took -- before they excommunicated me. Now I'm done. I've said my piece. Now I'm simply waiting on the Lord. (I may have to wait a long time.)

Truth is, I've spent nearly my entire life witnessing for Christ in this Church (very imperfectly). Now I can't even do that -- except by example (which, ironically, is how my patriarchal blessing directed me to "witness"). I wish I were a better example of that. But, hey, I did my best! (It was a lot harder to do than I had imagined it would be when I first started out. A lot harder!)

Now the only other real LDS friend I have - who routinely visits me at my house, invites me to his house, and spends time with me and my family (when he's not busy being an LDS bishop) -- is the only other person I know (locally) who has had experiences with Jesus similar to my own. He, too, has seen Him, even as I have seen Him. (Does that count for anything?)

In the end, it's not just what we know, but what we do with what we know that really matters.

If you come unto Christ, nothing else matters. If you don't come unto Christ, nothing else matters.

Try telling that to the "follow the prophet" crowd in the LDS Church. I'm afraid that many of them, like those who followed Moses into the wilderness, would rather have Thomas "stand in" for God -- rather than do what the Lord has asked each of us to do: that is, to come unto Him.

And be saved.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I was saddened to receive news yesterday from my (former) stake president (via telephone, his first verbal contact with me since my excommunication over two months ago) that he had received word (if I understand correctly) from the local area presidency that the First Presidency had -- to use his words -- “affirmed the decision” sustaining my excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Given that my appeal was denied, I now release that request:

21 May 2014

The Office of the First Presidency
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

Dear Presidents Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf,

I wish you well and every blessing as you administrate the affairs of the Church.

I appeal to the First Presidency to overturn the decision to excommunicate me from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy. I am not an apostate. I believe the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, live its principles to the fullest of my ability and support the manifold missions of the Church. I have been a near-life-long member; served an honorable mission; graduated from BYU; introduced my wife to the gospel and the Church; was sealed to her (and our three oldest children) in the temple; and (with her) have raised a family of nine in the fullness of the gospel for the past 14 years. I have been a full-tithe payer since I joined the Church at age 15; held a valid temple recommend at the time of my excommunication; have been faithful to my covenants and remain active in the Church in every way.

How, then, am I an apostate?

Palm Desert California Stake President Matt Morris claimed that I “espoused and persisted in teaching false doctrine after having received counsel and correction by priesthood leaders.” I have repeatedly asked him, Bishop Chris Risenmay and others to clarify the “false doctrine” I have “espoused and persisted in teaching”, pledging to denounce such if they would only show me where I have gone astray, but they have inexplicably and invariably declined to do so. One might expect, if I had embraced false doctrine, they would have opened the scriptures to me and showed me the error of my ways. The only scriptures they quoted, however -- by way of “counsel and correction” -- were Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 and 68:4, which I fully support.

At my disciplinary hearing, President Morris polled each member of the stake high council for his opinion. I am told that none suggested I be excommunicated. During that hearing, I heard no evidence presented suggesting that I espouse, believe, or teach false doctrine of any kind. I have since spoken with over half of the high council and leaders in attendance and asked each why I was excommunicated. While I received many answers, none suggested that I violated any actual commandment of God, contradicted any scripture, or taught anything contrary to the revelations and teachings of Joseph Smith or even current Church leaders!

So how, then, am I an apostate?

When I asked the stake clerk at my disciplinary hearing to read aloud the “charges” against me so that I might refute them, he couldn’t because (he said) he couldn’t figure out what they were and couldn’t write them down! Likewise, President Morris couldn’t recite them because (he said) he couldn’t “remember” them! Nevertheless, he found me guilty of apostasy, which decision was then sustained by the stake high council.

When I later asked several high priests present and/or privy to my case to explain the rationale (which they later “sustained”) for excommunicating me, they gave the following reasons:

·      “It’s not so much what you said, but how you said it.”

·      “You seem to be going one way, while the Church is going another. It’s a gray area.”

·      “You believe that the Church is neglecting to teach important doctrines. You believe that not enough members are coming unto Christ or reading their scriptures. You believe that we must be saved personally by Jesus Christ.”

·      “I believe the Church is a divine institution that can never go astray. It has been prophesied that the Lord will remove any leader before he leads the Church astray. You believe the Church can go astray and might be going astray. I don’t. I believe our leaders are inspired in whatever they say and do.”

·      “You need to bow and kneel to the scepter of their authority.”

There is enough evidence in those quotes above to deduce that I have only taught the truth. Where is the false doctrine?

Inasmuch as I have never taught false doctrine; fully support and sustain the programs, policies and general leadership of the Church; live the gospel – and teach and encourage others to do likewise – I am not an apostate and therefore should not have been excommunicated from the Church.

I therefore respectfully ask the First Presidency to restore my membership, expunge my excommunication, return me to full fellowship, and remove any “annotation” from my record that might otherwise prevent me from freely serving in any capacity in the Church.


William T. Carter

cc        Stake President Matt Morris
            Bishop Chris Risenmay

The stake president passed on to me the First Presidency’s “warmest regards” and stated “we want you back in the Church”. 

Interesting language for one to use while dispensing such spiritual violence.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Holding our breath

My wife asked me this afternoon: "How long can we keep this up?" (We still go to Church every Sunday. Helped clean the chapel this morning, in fact.)

My wife's not an "unbeliever". Neither am I.

But, like me, she has nowhere else to turn...because we both have unbreakable testimonies of the Book of Mormon. (What other church would have us? Imagine us quoting Nephi in Baptist Sunday School! How would that go over?)

In fact, her family, born-again Christians all, wonder how on earth we keep going to the LDS Church after they excommunicated me. No Baptist would stand for that! They'd just find another church to attend.

But we can't. We don't have that luxury. The LDS Church keeps permanent records. They follow you everywhere you go...and can go!

We thought about changing our names, moving elsewhere, getting re-baptized. (We'd become remarkable "new" LDS converts...who already know everything!) But our kids would give us away. Plus, that wouldn't be "fair" or "honest", would it? The Spirit wouldn't be with us, perhaps. (But didn't Abinadi come to the church in disguise? Why? Because they kicked him out, too!)

We are now like Lehi's family, in the wilderness, on our own. Rejected by "the brethren", as it were.

Where can we go?

How long can my wife stay in the LDS Church (without them forcing her out, too)? Until the next temple recommend interview?

"Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual...ahem, how's your husband doing, by the way?...whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"

What's she going to say?

"Oh, him? I hardly know him! We just sleep together! He brought me into this Church...and fathered all my children...he baptized them!...and teaches us the gospel every day! So, no, I don't 'support, affiliate with, or agree with' him in the least, if that's what you're asking."

How can an organization we wished no ill treat us like enemies? How can a leadership who (heretofore) received only our "support and sustaining vote" regard us as infidels?

How long can one suspend disbelief in such an organization?

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” -- Eric Hoffer

I wish that were not true. I (still) hope it's not.

I mean that.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Trusting in the arm of flesh

Placing one's faith in men (rather than in God) is a very dangerous proposition. The brother who spoke in our Sacrament Meeting today warned that only the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of our faith and trust. That brother spoke the truth. 

Men can, have and will fail us. Men are not to be trusted. Priesthood leaders cannot save us spiritually. (They can show us the way. They can set the example. But they cannot take us to heaven. We must acquire our own "oil" to see the Bridegroom for ourselves.) We are commanded not to trust in the arm of flesh. Nephi was explicit: "Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34.) It is not the man who speaks, but the Spirit of God that speaks through the man, that gives any man divine authority or witness. (Doctrine and Covenants 68:4; 1:38-39.)

Ecclesiastical position alone connotes very little. Ecclesiastical position alone guarantees nothing. We don't follow a man or men simply because they have "a little authority, as they suppose". God warned us that it is the nature and disposition of nearly all men -- even Church leaders! -- to exercise "unrighteous dominion". (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39.) Consequently, we serve only the Lord.

If you don't understand that, you are doomed. 

This is why priesthood leaders are very limited in what they can do, and how they do it, in righteousness. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-44.)

We are not called to "follow a prophet". (You won't find that phrase anywhere in scripture.) We are called to follow and serve the Lord only. (Matthew 4:10.) That phrase is found everywhere in scripture.

Note that when one follows the commandments God gives through a prophet, that person is said -- not to "follow the prophet" but -- to follow the Lord. (Joshua 14:8-92 Kings 18:5-6.) The prophet himself is irrelevant. He gets out of the way. He strives not to be part of the picture. (Numbers 11:27-29.) Moses wasn't kidding when he said "Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed" (Moses 1:10). As one who grew up in Pharaoh's court, conditioned to respect and revere man and his power and authority, Moses acquired true understanding by revelation. Perhaps the Latter-day Saints, conditioned as they are to "follow the Brethren", require similar enlightenment?

Whether the prophet is a former slave and man-slayer (like Moses), a former Pharisee and persecutor of Christians (like Paul) or a former apostate and reprobate (like Alma...take your pick), the identity and character, status or "qualifications" of a prophet are only incidental to the message, never central to it. "Man is nothing" (regardless of his virtues, vices or callings) in comparison to God and His Word.

Prophets have been known to deceive and fail. Prophets have been known to falter and fall. Our own LDS history is replete with "brethren" and "general authorities" who have lied, apostatized, denounced the faith, falsely prophesied, betrayed their office, etc. Even presidents of the modern Quorum of the Twelve have stumbled and gone astray. Are these men to be trusted? If they weren't worthy to be trusted then, why now?

Only a fool would trust his salvation to a proven failure, such as man is.

Only the damned put their trust in men, even prophets, to save them. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:98-103). Why? Because only the Lord can save. We are commanded to follow the Lord only. (1 Samuel 12:24; Moses 1:15; Ether 2:8.)

The Lord's apostles were not enamored with Jesus' appearance (He was nothing to look at), His charismatic persona (He was meek and mild), His wealth (He was broke) or even His "authority" (He claimed no worldly status or station). Jesus was an outcast from the Church, a peasant, a failure in the eyes of the world, with nowhere to call His own or to lay His head. Just before He was excommunicated, His supposed "spiritual leader", who called himself a "judge in Israel", probably said to Him: "You know, Jesus, it's really too bad. You could have been something...."

The apostles were not attracted to the trappings of Jesus' office or station (in this world at least), though they were enamored to (and coveted) His power. They  were convinced and convicted, rather, by His words. When Jesus asked Peter if he would abandon Him also, Peter appealed -- not to Jesus' power or His authority -- but to HIs message when he said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). It is the words -- not the man, nor his calling or position -- that define the authenticity of any message or messenger. True messengers convey their message by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is the Holy Ghost that is to be recognized, trusted and heeded, not mere men. (Moroni 10:5; Doctrine and Covenants 45:57.)

Just as we should not trust in any man, we ought not trust in any works of man for our salvation. Terribly misguided souls believe that ordinances alone, or great and marvelous works, will save anyone. To those who do not come unto Christ, however, He will say, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity. I never knew you." (See Matthew 7:23.)

God has no need of burnt offerings, washings and anointings, temple ceremonies or sacraments. The rites and rituals of men are mere symbols pointing the way to Christ. Those who think the symbols themselves can save are fools. Those who think they have "arrived" or "received" because they have participated in "play acting" beguile themselves. 

There is no substitute for coming unto Christ. Only those who endure (continue, persist) until the end -- until they are at rest in the arms of Jesus -- will be saved.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Elder Paul H. Dunn

Those (like me) who were active LDS teenagers during the 1970s and 1980s no doubt remember Elder Paul H. Dunn. He held youthful audiences spell-bound with faith-promoting, fantastic, almost unbelievable stories of sports exploits, war heroism, bravery, moral virtue, divine intervention and material and spiritual success. He inspired us with “fatherly” counsel laced with good humor, a sense of wonder and awe, gratitude and greatness. One was reassured and uplifted by Elder Dunn’s witness. Gosh darn it, based on his “testimony”, the LDS religion just had to be true!

Until it was discovered that Elder Dunn had lied.


In fact, his entire “career” was a fraud.

He faked, forged, made up or contrived many (if not most…perhaps all!) of his “greatest” motivating stories. At best, many of his accounts were cobbled together from “snippets” of “truth” and “experience” he gained elsewhere or “borrowed” from others. He fabricated fables and myths, claiming his moral messages were contrived “innocently”, with the best of intentions. Even his exploits as a professional athlete and erstwhile surreal war hero were fictitious. When confronted with the facts uncovered by Lynn Packer, a journalism professor at BYU (and nephew of Elder Boyd K. Packer, the current president of the LDS Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles), Elder Dunn was compelled to publicly confess the “gist” of his perfidy and was promptly and quietly relieved of all public duties as an LDS General Authority “emeritus”, for “health reasons”.

The Church then “buried” Elder Dunn’s ministry -- just as it did hundreds of tapings of Music and the Spoken Word, with Spencer Kinard, after Brother Kinard was caught cheating on his wife. (The Church went back and “re-recorded” all 18 years of Bro. Kinard’s sermons, using the “voice-over” of his replacement, Lloyd D. Newell, effectively “erasing” Bro. Kinard from Church history…which is too bad, because I really liked Bro. Kinard’s spoken words!) For his efforts exposing Elder Dunn’s fraud, Bro. Packer (the professor, not the apostle) was fired from his job at BYU for violating "church and university policies that prohibit public criticism of church leaders, even if the criticism is true.”

Well, I’m going to tell you another truthful story about Elder Paul H. Dunn. (But not one you might expect.)

In the 1980s, while traveling by bus, I lost my luggage. In that bag were my garments, several new pair of Levi's, a favored lamp, other items of necessity…and my journal. My precious journal. My life’s story. The record of all my dealings in all my days: my mission, my interactions with God, every revelation and so forth. It was irreplaceable to me. These were my own “brass plates”.

They went missing for months. No one could find them. The search proved fruitless.

During my mission, Elder Gene R. Cook told our group of missionaries a faith-promoting story about the value of fasting and prayer. As a missionary himself, he had lost his well-marked and cherished scriptures. But after fasting and praying – and much waiting – they were “miraculously” returned to him. He urged us to use fasting and prayer during our ministry and, I can tell you, it worked. To a young girl, distraught over the fact that her father, a hardened atheist, refused to join the Church, I said “If you fast and pray, I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that your father will join the Church.”

“Really?” she said.

“I promise.”

Several weeks later, she returned, distraught. “My father still refuses to be baptized!” she complained.

“Have you fasted and prayed”, I asked.


“Why not? I told you in the name of Jesus Christ that if you fasted and prayed for your father to join the Church, he would! And you haven’t! The sin, sister, will be upon your head…because you have not exercised faith.”

I was pretty bold as a missionary.

About a month later I saw that wonderful sister again.

“Elder Carter! My father has agreed to join the Church! You were right! I fasted and prayed, asking God to bless him with a testimony, and he received a witness from God that it is true! Oh, thank you, elder! Thank you!”

It wasn’t me. It was the Spirit of God and prophecy inside of me. I had the pleasure of baptizing that man, his wife and that young lady’s sister before I ended my mission.

Now, having returned to the United States, I had lost my journal. And everything it contained.

As it happened, Elder Paul H. Dunn was giving a fireside to a small group of people at a local ward building near BYU. We met together in the Relief Society Room. I sat directly in front of him as he spoke. I heard all the “standard” stories: his baseball exploits, etc.

Remarkably, this General Authority – and, thus, my “spiritual” guide -- encouraged us to marry the most physically attractive person we could find! He said “A person’s spirit can change…but ugliness lasts a lifetime!” (He was a funny guy!) He told us how blessed he was that he had fortunately married a beautiful woman. (She was sitting right there beside us.) I cannot fault his “wisdom”, now that I’ve been married a few times myself. (Wrestling with one’s own “natural man” is surely a whole lot easier when he is strongly attracted to his/your mate!) 

He also told us to get as much education as possible. He spoke of his having earned three college degrees. (I now have three of my own! So I guess I took that advice, as well!)

After his “talk”, I asked him about his sports career. I wasn’t really “into” sports and I didn’t really care what he had to say, but something just didn’t “sound right” to me when he “covered” the subject, so I challenged him on it (in front of everyone).

“What team did you play for, again?”

I don’t think he lied to me. He said something about various farm teams and minor-league organizations tenuously connected somehow with the St. Louis Cardinals. But he admitted that he never played in the major leagues. (I think he was trying to “come clean” after having “dug” himself into a hole with prior stories. I didn’t know anything about those previous exaggerations and fabrications, however.)

Here’s the kicker:

In the hallway, as we were all departing for the night, I pulled Elder Dunn aside and asked him for his advice. He was the only General Authority, up to that point, I had ever spoken with (outside of my mission). I told him about my journal and how desperately I wanted it back. It meant everything to me. We discussed all the normal avenues of inquiry and searching for it, to no avail.

Then he said, “Have you fasted and prayed?”

I remembered Elder Cook’s testimony about the efficacy of fasting and prayer to find his scriptures…and my own missionary experiences.

“No, I haven’t”, I confessed.

“I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that if you fast and pray you will get your journal back.”


“I promise. If you fast and pray, the Lord will see that you get your journal back.”

As God is my witness, his words pierced me to the core. I had faith in his promise and I went home and began to fast and pray immediately. I never gave up hope.

Sometime later I traveled back to California. I stopped by my old apartment where I lived before my mission. No one was there.

So I walked about a hundred yards down the street to another apartment building and knocked on the door of an old friend whom I had baptized years before, on the day I was set apart as a missionary, before I left for the MTC. (Sadly, he fell away from the Church while I was gone on my mission and we had fallen out of contact with each other.) I looked in his mail box to see if there was any evidence that he still lived there.

There was only a postcard.

I pulled it out. 

To my amazement, it was addressed to me – at this address, someplace I had never lived! It was from the bus company. They had found my luggage! It was in Los Angeles, over a hundred miles away. It had been there for a long time. They invited me to come get it.

When I did, I discovered the lamp, the Levi's, even the garments were all gone.

About the only thing left journal.

I bear witness that Elder Paul H. Dunn is a true servant of God who spoke the truth in the name of Jesus Christ. I don’t know whether it was his faith or my faith or our fasting or a loving God just honoring the word of one of His servants so that it might not fall to the ground unfulfilled. But I testify that I got my journal back, as promised, even by "miraculous" means.

And I love Elder Paul Harold Dunn. May he rest in peace.

Oh say, what is truth?

Log asked, in a previous post:
“Suppose the honest in heart knows that he doesn't possess knowledge, but only supposition, belief, or opinion on a certain topic - would such publish his belief, supposition, or opinion as fact? Or would he clearly label his beliefs, suppositions, or opinions as such?
An honest person does not portray as "true" what he doubts to be true or knows (or suspects) to be false. If he has doubts, qualifications or suspicions about the truthfulness or falsity of a matter, he ought to reveal those apprehensions -- if he reveals anything at all.

One who claims to "know" when he merely "believes" is a poser.

Ought we not to use the same criteria by which a murderer is convicted to establish our "testimonies"? Do we know God lives that well? As well as we "know" someone “did it”, based on the evidence? Would we be willing to "sentence” someone to actual, physical death, as it were, based on the “sureness” of our “spiritual witness”? Or risk death ourselves?

Someday we may be called upon to do just that, even as Abraham and Nephi did! Did Nephi have a “sure knowledge”? Or did he merely “believe” really, really, strongly when he cut off Laban’s head? By doing so, Nephi not only killed Laban, but he made himself subject to capital punishment, if he were found out and captured by the Jews. He put it all on the line for his “testimony”.

Fortunately, rather than kill, most often we are asked to merely live for what we know to be true, i.e., to live the gospel. (Living is preferable to killing or dying. It has the added benefit of “do-overs” if we make a mistake!) In the end, living or dying for one’s knowledge is “evidence” that one truly “knows” (or thinks he knows!). We trust that Peter “knew”, because he was willing to live – and die -- for his knowledge.

I wonder how many of us, serving on a jury, would be willing to “convict” the other guy if we knew his sentence would be later meted out on us (hopefully including the lawyers!) if we “got it wrong”, if the conviction was later overturned or found to be mistaken. What if persons “bearing testimony” were held to that same high standard? (I think they will be.)

However, few – if any -- of us (even scientists!) operate in the realm of "absolute truth" or “perfect knowledge”. Newton, for all his greatness, only approximated truth (building on the work of Galileo and others), later to be superseded by Einstein, whose own “revelations” were, likewise, superseded.

What is knowledge but an expression of our apprehension of truth. I would bet my life on the existence of China, though I’ve never been there. Would I do the same regarding the “truthfulness” of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Absolutely. And for the same reasons.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

33 Reasons Revisited

By my "rough" calculations, 18 of Bro. Andersen's 33 reasons for leaving the LDS Church were "valid", meaning, he spoke the whole truth. (Whether he was "justified" in leaving is a different matter.) Six of his reasons were "invalid" (untruthful) and nine were "iffy" (partly true and partly false). So he mostly spoke the truth.

However, he doesn't give a "valid" reason until #5 and his first "reason" contains at least 12 falsehoods, inaccuracies or misrepresentations about the Mormon Church! If he relies upon those to "deny the faith", he gravely errs.

If he's wrong (or misinformed) about the "bigger" things, does it matter if he's right about so many "smaller" matters?

Seeds of doubt are sown whenever and wherever falsehoods are allowed to flourish and germinate. Bro. Andersen has provided more than enough anecdotal evidence to show that the LDS Church has purposefully (or unintentionally) "sowed" (or "allowed to flourish") falsehoods to "justify" his loss of faith. That is truly unfortunate.

But Moroni warned his readers this might happen:

Mormon 9:31:
31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

Mormon 8:12:
12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.
We must be careful not to judge others uncharitably, for we shall be judged by the same standard we use to judge.[1] If we condemn others for their imperfections, they shall condemn us for ours. Imperfection, in and of itself, is not evidence of lack of divinity. Upon creating this world and populating it with all manner of life, God declared it "very good".[2] He did not call it perfect. We must remember the purpose for which our imperfections are given: to make us humble.[3] A "perfect" world would be devoid of sorrow and sadness, mishap and misfortune. In other words, it would be devoid of experience.[4] What purpose would that serve?

Knowing we are children of Divine Beings, destined for eternal glory, can make us proud.[5] It can go to our heads. Acknowledging the truth about our weaknesses helps us to become and remain humble. Conversely, covering up weaknesses and mistakes beguiles us into becoming proud. The former -- when coupled with a desire and effort to repent -- leads to godliness. The latter only leads to greater evil.

Bro. Andersen, bless his heart, threw out the baby with the bathwater, being unable to discern the "baby" midst all the "mess". Mixing metaphors, he tossed away the "pearl of great price", not discerning it among the rubble and the rubbish.

Those who claim there is no "rubbish" in the LDS Church -- that it's all "good" and all "perfect" -- do their audience a disservice. They are minstrels to an emperor who wears no clothes. The informed honest in heart will accurately report and acknowledge the truth. The proud will be flattered and deceived if they allow falsehoods to be sown and to flourish.

Joseph taught "A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge."[6] God's priesthood is bound up in "pure knowledge".[7] In fact, knowledge (aka "priesthood") is the power of God!

“Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. Woe unto you priests and divines who preach that knowledge is not necessary unto life and salvation. Take away Apostles, etc., take away knowledge, and you will find yourselves worthy of the damnation of hell. Knowledge is revelation. Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.”[8]
Embracing falsehood renders God’s priesthood inert.[9] Those who conceal or reject the truth damn themselves and all those who follow them.[10] Hence, Lucifer's "priesthoods".[11]

Joseph taught:

“I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”[12]
Bro. Andersen has shown that the LDS Church has plenty of them.

Be warned.

[1] Matthew 7:2; Moroni 7:18.
[2] Genesis 1:31.
[3] Ether 12:27.
[4] 2 Nephi 2:11-13.
[5] Psalms 82:6.
[6] History of the Church, 4:588; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 10, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff.
[7] Doctrine and Covenants 121:42.
[8] Quoted by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, reporting a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 21, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Notebook, Church Archives.
[9] Doctrine and Covenants 121:37.
[10] Doctrine and Covenants 76:97-112.
[11] Alma 30:52-53.
[12] History of the Church, 5:554; paragraph divisions altered; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Aug. 27, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards and William Clayton.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

33 Reasons To Leave The Mormon Church

My mom sent me this (again!). She obviously wants me to read it, thinking it's important. (It's not.) The "criticisms" voiced below have little, if any, bearing on my testimony of things that matter.

Below are John O. Andersen's 33 reasons for leaving the Mormon Church. I offered to read them again (and make comments this time) to assure my mother that I was aware of these things. I'm posting them here now, just as a public service. My comments are added in red(Please read to the end before you infer this is an attack against the Mormon Church.) For editing purposes, I have altered some of Andersen's original. I encourage others to comment here as well.


Dear Family and Friends,
I think it’s necessary to put on paper where I stand with the Mormon Church. The 11th Article of Faith says that “we claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
According to the dictates of my own conscience, I have determined I can no longer believe in the Mormon Church. Let me put this in plain terms. Over the years, I have observed situations, and uncovered many facts about the church that have brought me to the inescapable conclusion that the church is not led by true and living prophets.
This is, no doubt, true, to some extent. (Maybe even to a great extent.) But I have also known these leaders to be truly inspired. They (as a whole) may not be what they claim -- or think they are -- but NONE of them "petitioned" for the job or "ran for office". They were all "roped into it" as volunteers and I won't begrudge them if they haven't "measured up" to something they didn't aspire to (I'll give them that benefit of the doubt) in the first place.

I'm not saying they are all "prophets" in the sense we all understand the term. But that doesn't make them out-right "frauds" either. Jesus called His apostles; they didn't volunteer. He didn't make them perfect by so doing, or all powerful or all knowing. Admittedly, the Mormon Church generally uses the term "prophets" and "apostles" in a different way than Jesus did...and that's unfortunate. It causes confusion. My opposition to that got me excommunicated.

In fact, I’ve found the Mormon Church is actually a huge fraud; a fraud like the Enron Corporation. 
That's a gross generalization...but there is some truth to it.
When this became clear to me, it also became clear that there is really no positive side to Mormonism that outweighs or balances the simple fact that it’s a fraud. 
And since that first premise was a gross generalization and not entirely correct...the conclusion which follows it is faulty. There is much that is good and worthy in the LDS Church. It is truly one of the finest religious organizations, if not the finest, in the whole world. That being's not "heaven on earth".
As much as I’d like to be balanced in my discussion about it, the fact that it’s a fraud, makes that goal impossible.
He's telling the truth there. He can't be unbiased.
Some background:
I was an active Mormon for my entire life up to the age of 42. I’m a sixth generation Mormon on my dad’s side. My mother is a convert. I went through Primary and memorized all of the Articles of Faith (ages 1 1/2 to 12), Mutual (12-18), Seminary (14-18), served a full-time mission to Germany, and married in a Mormon temple. In Seminary (religious instruction for high school age Mormons), I memorized 159 out of 160 scripture passages. The only one I didn’t do was some 2 1/2 pages long. I’ve read all of the Mormon scriptures; some multiple times. I’ve also read many Mormon classics including Talmage’s Jesus the Christ, and The Articles of Faith.
I served in many positions (the church labels them “callings”). My greatest sins (against Mormon culture) were threefold:
1. I got married “late.” It wasn’t for lack of trying. Prior to marriage, I did my “Mormon duty” by systematically searching for a wife. In the process, I proposed to two women and was turned down (in retrospect, for many reasons, those events were fortuitous). Later, I met my future wife. We married two months shy of my 27th birthday. In Mormon culture, this is very late. An unmarried, marriageable man over the age of 25 in the Mormon Church is, according to Brigham Young, “a menace to society.” By marrying late, I demonstrated to many in Mormon culture that I was selfish (putting “worldly” interests like formal education, travel, hobbies, etc.) ahead of the “most important thing of all”–marriage and raising Mormon kids.
The Mormon Church used to "look down on" late marriage. Not so much any more -- as many "disastrous" marriages (like mine) proved to be counter-productive. Society is changing. But I wouldn't discourage people from marrying young. (I hope my children do.)
Which brings me to my second greatest sin.
2. My wife and I had just two children.
Having only a few kids isn't a "sin" in the LDS faith. Having many isn't even highly encouraged anymore. (Another big "change" in the LDS culture.) If anything, this guy's behavior is fairly "mainstream" LDS nowadays!
Believing Mormons generally have all of the children they can have, or adopt. 
Somewhat true 50 years ago. Not so much now.
This demonstrates loyalty to the church. 
To the Church? I never thought so. I thought being a dad was my duty to God, to do what He does. Who cares about "the Church"?
Never mind the expense, the popular line is: “the Lord will provide.” 
No one inspired has ever encouraged reckless and irresponsible parenting.
Men who marry young, load up on children, and do everything they’re told, are “rewarded” with leadership positions in the church that show the Lord approves of them. 
That is true...except in my case. I married young. (Except that she was young...I wasn't! That doesn't count! In fact, it has just the opposite effect nowadays...unless you're Brigham Young...or Joseph Smith!)
On the other hand, men who marry “late,” and have two or fewer children, are seen as less faithful, and, as a result, are passed over when it comes to “promotions” in the Mormon hierarchy, or simply when it comes to determining the informal pecking order in the local congregation.
True before (to some extent)...but not so much now. I've never been "promoted" in the "pecking order". And I have more children in the ward than anyone else! (How ironic is that!)
Some Mormons would argue against the above, and I’m sure there are exceptions. But decades of observation on my part indicate such indeed are the exceptions. The rule prevails.
3. Early on, I was exposed to disciplined, logical, and systematic thinking. This was through earning an undergraduate minor in mathematics. More than anything else, it taught me to respect careful and rational thinkers. Along with that, I discovered a growing interest in the humanities and the scientific nature of historical research. The combination of all of these factors set me on a path that led to the inescapable conclusion that the Mormon Church is a fraud. 
Pray, do tell!
Now some Mormon apologists will read that and ask about the many Mormon mathematicians, scientists, and humanities professors employed by Brigham Young University (an extension of the Mormon Church). My answer to them would be a favorite quote by Upton Sinclair:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
That is so true!
Or in other words, never underestimate what the mind can rationalize when a career is at stake.
This is not a temporary phase:
I would love to remain loyal to the church, but its actions (as I’ve observed over my entire life span) simply make it undeserving of my loyalty. 
There may be a lot of truth to that.
We are familiar with the worthiness interview process in which we are determined to be worthy or unworthy to participate in church ordinances. Well, in that vein, I’ve determined the church to be unworthy of my time, devotion, and service. 
I can understand how he feels. I might even agree with him.
If you think I’m just going through a temporary phase of disenchantment, let me share a few things with you:
1. I’ve had doubts about the Joseph Smith story since before my mission. 
Nothing wrong with that. We should all be dubious about everything (except our mother's love for us).
On my mission, I wasn’t a true believer. 
Well, there you go. He didn't have a "testimony". He never got a witness from God that he couldn't deny. I will say right now that that is the reason he left the Church.
Those who know much about my life then will certainly remember that I saw my mission primarily as a cultural, language-learning experience. 
Oh, secular, selfish guy that he is! In other words, he went on his mission to serve...himself. That's not the reason we go on missions in the LDS Church.
Sure, I was a “good missionary,” and made it up the leadership ladder. But even back then, I was uncomfortable with the Joseph Smith story. 
Like I said, he wasn't really even a Mormon. (He was just a member of the Mormon Church.)
I preferred teaching doctrines I truly believed in and still do, things like faith, love, and charity. 
Nothing wrong with that. But the gospel the LDS Church proclaims is more than that.
To me, the mission was about living abroad, learning from people who lived through World War II, sampling German foods, visiting museums and historical sites, and becoming proficient in the German language. 
Wow! Sounds like a great "study-abroad" program! But that's not why he was called to serve a mission.
Surprisingly enough, even though I was ostensibly a Mormon missionary at the time, I feel I succeeded in those endeavors.
Good for him!
2. I asked to be released from all church callings in January 2004.
And he probably should have been released. He didn't believe the Mormon faith.
3. I haven’t paid a cent in tithing and offerings to the church since December 2002, and can’t imagine ever giving them any money again.`
4. I never attend meetings anymore.
5. I formally resigned from the Mormon Church on May 12, 2005.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way!
So why have I turned away from the Mormon Church? The reasons are many, but here are a few that come to mind.
The Reasons:
1. Numerous verbatim King James Version passages in the Book of Mormon; a book purportedly written by AD 421 whereas the King James Version is a 17th century document. Also, the biblical quotes in the Book of Mormon do not incorporate the changes made in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. 
This may surprise you, but I don't find this to be a credible objection at all. You may not understand my reasoning until you understand how the Book of Mormon was "translated" (i.e., created). Joseph Smith put a rock in his hat, laid his hat on his lap and stuck his face in his hat. Peering at the small stone in the dark, he "read" the Book of Mormon, being able to "see" it (and "understand" its meaning). He could look at anything he cared to view (even the KJV of the Bible) and if he discovered that a large portion of the Book of Mormon contained text from the Bible, he could very easily (while his face was still in the hat) make the "transition" and "copy" it over. (I do this all the time when I read "assembly instructions" for something I buy. Generally they come in Spanish or English. I can read Spanish. But I prefer English. It's a lot faster to read for me. Joseph Smith must have said "Hey! This is Isaiah!" and simply "copied" it over using the seer stone in his possession. At no time did he ever read directly from the plates in his possession. (In other words, there were no KJV words included in the golden plates in his possession.) So this guy is clearly just misinformed and, unfortunately, deluded from his faith.
Add to this recent DNA evidence that destroys the claims of historicity of the entire Book of Mormon. 
That evidence does not exist. Another fallacy.
Finally, where, besides church paid apologists or Mormon hobbyists, are the archaeologists who study Book of Mormon history? That’s right, they don’t exist. 
Another falsehood. There are several archaeologists -- both Mormon and non-Mormon -- studying the areas and artifacts associated with Book of Mormon history. The problem is you will never find a road map or a sign post saying "Zarahemla, 5 miles ahead". Thousands of "Mormon" artifacts may already be in museums around the world. But how would one know if a Zenith television was owned by a Catholic or a Baptist? Finding ancient ruins and artifacts does not necessarily reveal who those people were or what they believed.
To objective scientists outside of Mormonism, the Book of Mormon has as much historic validity as The Hobbit, and is certainly a far less interesting read.
That may be true. So what?
Also, where are the bones, swords and armor from the epic battles that took place at the Hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon? 
Gone. Rotted. Looted. Re-used by others. We don't even know where "the Hill Cumorah" is! How can we vouch for the artifacts allegedly surrounding it?
The Jaredite nation supposedly ended there with 2 million men slain, 
...thousands of years ago....
and then the Nephites and Lamanites had a battle there in 421 AD where 230,000 warriors who had steel weapons were killed. 
Another fallacy. Who said they generally used steel weapons? This poor guy is misinformed.
Where are the anthropologists of the world who are excavating what would promise to be one of the greatest ancient battle sites? 
Doing their excavating, I suppose. Would he care to tell them where to dig to find the "Mormon" stuff?
Why has not a trace of evidence ever been found at Cumorah to establish these claims?
Where is Cumorah? That would be a nice place to start looking. Help us out, please!
I contrast this lack of evidence for the Book of Mormon with the 1973 discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors near Xian, China. This amazing “army” of some 8,000 terra cotta figures was buried some 600 years (210 BC) before the purported final battle in the Book of Mormon. Surely, if there was battle at Cumorah in AD 421 that involved 230,000 men, there would be something to be found, wouldn’t there? In terms of archaeology, AD 421 is simply not that long ago.
"Buried" is a key point. Millions of people were killed in WWII. Not a trace of (many of) them remains today. That was only 70 years ago, not 700 or 1700. People left to molder on top of the ground in a humid environment (like Chiapas, Mexico) quickly "disappear". I lost a steel hammer in a bed of ivy a few months ago. When I "found" it again, it was already remarkably rusted. What if I had waited 1000 years to retrieve it? Would it be recognizable as an "authentic Mormon hammer previously owned by a (former) Mormon"? I doubt it.
When I was growing up in Southern California, I had direct contact with the Mormon Church’s Lamanite Placement Program. The Lamanites in this program were Native American youth from Arizona and New Mexico who, during the school year, moved off the reservation to live with white suburban Euro-American Mormon families. Since this program was run by the church under the direction of prophets, I understood Lamanites lived in Arizona and New Mexico. Also, from reading the Doctrine  Covenants (one of the canonized Mormon scriptures), I understood from passages about teaching the Lamanites the Gospel, that Lamanites also lived in Missouri.
The Mormon Church does not know for certain who the "Lamanites" are. Certainly blood lines and ethnicities have mixed over time. But the Church is largely mistaken regarding the history described by the Book of Mormon. Those who first read it interpreted it incorrectly...and it has been misinterpreted ever since.
And I recall the photos in the introductory pages of the 1950s-1970s editions of the Book of Mormon of ancient ruins in Central America, and the Hill Cumorah in Upstate New York (where the Golden Plates were buried). 
perfect example of what I mean. The early Mormons thought the golden plates were buried in a hill called "Cumorah" (where the final battle was fought), which they claimed was in New York. That's incorrect. That hill in New York is, in fact, the only place on earth that absolutely could not be the actual Hill Cumorah where the final battle was fought because Mormon said he took the book from the hill Cumorah and the resurrected Moroni said he buried the plates elsewhere (i.e., where Joseph found them, in another hill...which Mormons have "traditionally" -- but erroneously -- called "Cumorah"). Hence, the confusion.
See, the less you know, the less you understand....
From those, I inferred...
Incorrectly, I might add...
...that, as the Book of Mormon claimed, the Native Americans’ “principal ancestors” were the people of the Book of Mormon. Indeed, the people of the Book of Mormon must have been all over the North and Central American Continent like Joseph Smith wrote about the Jaredites (only one of the peoples described in the Book of Mormon):
“Jared and his brother came on to this continent from the confusion and the scattering at the Tower [Tower of Babel], and lived here more than a thousand years, and covered the whole continent from SEA TO SEA, WITH TOWNS AND CITIES…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 267.)
The writer is extrapolating a lot (and incorrectly, too) from that short quote. First of all, the Lamanites were not the "principal ancestors" of the American Indians, as early Mormons imagined (and many current Mormons still believe, despite the Church changing its views on that subject). Secondly, the quote above doesn't say the Jaredites came from the Tower of Babel. Only "the tower" is mentioned. The tower of Babel was inferred and inserted into that quote. Another early Mormon misapprehension. Covering a "continent" from "sea to sea" with "towns and cities" may not be that extensive when one imagines the "continent" to be the land of Central America proper. There is certainly evidence of that there.
I grew up understanding that temple dedicatory prayers were prophetic. 
Hopefully they are...or should be.
Indeed, the prayer at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple was canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants. It’s interesting that almost without exception in the past 75 years or so, every Mormon temple that has been dedicated in Central and South America and the Islands of the Pacific has, in its dedicatory prayer, been mentioned as a place that will bring the blessings of the Gospel to the Lamanites who presumably make of the principal population of that country.
Again "presumably" is not "doctrine". But, okay, so what?
Finally, as a missionary in Germany from 1981-83, I regularly showed the official Mormon Church produced filmstrip Ancient America Speaks. It presented what the rest of the world identifies as Inca and Mayan ruins, as ruins of the Book of Mormon peoples. The photos of the ruins in the filmstrip covered a wide geographical area.
Again, these are misapprehensions of the readers of the book; not an indictment against its authors.
So from all of those evidences I personally knew about or experienced, I believed the Book of Mormon people were spread all over the Western Hemisphere. 
So did I. So did a lot of (Mormon) people. So what? We were wrong.
Imagine my surprise when DNA studies in recent decades conclusively revealed...
Another gross generalization...
...virtually no Hebrew DNA among Native Americans. 
This claim is eminently disputable, especially when the enemies of the Nephites hunted them down and killed them, whenever and however they could. Imagine finding (if Hitler had been entirely successful) Jewish DNA in Nazi Germany 2000 years after the Holocaust. Would that be realistic? This guy is not very imaginative...or well informed.
On the contrary, the DNA findings revealed that the ancestors of the Native Americans came from Asia. How could that be if the Book of Mormon was about Jewish ancestors, and was about a civilization that “covered the whole continent” and indeed, according to prophetic utterances, the entire Western Hemisphere?
Hispanics now cover the entire North American continent. Were white anglo-Europeans their "principal ancestors"? Are Latinos today the descendants of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln and their families? Hardly. This man's arguments are very simplistic.
We always clearly understood the Book of Mormon to be the “keystone of our religion.” 
And rightfully so.
As missionaries, we emphatically taught the principle that if the Book of Mormon is true, then the Mormon Church is true. 
We may have taught that, but it's not true. That's another logical fallacy. We should have taught that if the Book of Mormon is false, then the LDS Church can't be true! On the other hand, if the Book of Mormon is true, then the LDS Church might still be false. ("Churches go astray" all the time. It's the rule, not the exception!) But the LDS Church cannot be true if the Book of Mormon is false. Joseph Smith could not be a fraud and the LDS Church still be true. Thus the Book of Mormon remains the "keystone" of the LDS faith...and always will be.
Now that the Book of Mormon has been completely discredited, 
Another gross mischaracterization. He hasn't even partially discredited the Book of Mormon, let alone completely!
...any member with a shred of intellectual honesty, who cares to remember their own past and life experiences, must conclude the entire religion is a hoax. There is no other option.
Except for the option that you are a wildly misinformed, under-educated, faithless individual with (perhaps) a very limited imagination who has little capacity to simultaneously entertain the possibility that opposing points of view might both be true (or have some elements of truth in them). Could that be the case? Or is it, perhaps -- as it is with most people -- that you simply haven't received a witness from God that the Book of Mormon is true (which would otherwise render all your other arguments superfluous)? 

I vote for the latter.
2. Book of Abraham source documents found to be nothing more than common funerary texts.
I will grant this. The papyri we have are not what Mormons claimed them to be.
I recur to the "Dumbo's feather" defense. Joseph thought he had ancient papyri from Abraham. That's what the Spirit whispered to him. There were ancient records to be "translated" here. (There may still have been. We don't have everything Joseph had.) Joseph tried to "translate" the "Book of Abraham" from the papyri. But after months of fruitless effort, he couldn't do it (even a little!), so he stopped trying to decipher the papyri. Instead he recurred to his old "method" and received the book by revelation. He and his companions then went back and tried to "reverse-engineer" the translation, to decipher the hieroglyphics from the English "translation". (This was before the Rosetta Stone was fully interpreted.) The effort was fruitless, given the papyri were not what Joseph thought they were...even  if they did get him to "fly" (i.e., Dumbo's feather).
He thought it was a translation of the papyri; those with him thought it was a translation of the papyri; and it may very well have been a "translation" of what Abraham used the papyri to convey to his people, having taken the funerary texts "home" with him, like post cards, saying "Look at this, dear! Here I am sitting on Pharoah's throne", when, in reality, the "post card" showed the Egyptian god Osiris sitting on his throne.
It's all very complex and not easily explained or deciphered. But I find the Book of Abraham to be one of the most inspired works of scripture Joseph Smith produced, the evidence "against" it notwithstanding.
3. 1978 granting of the priesthood to blacks was over a decade after the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Surely God’s church would be ahead of society, not behind. 
That's debatable. It is arguable that blacks should never have been denied priesthood in the first place and that the Church perpetuated this injustice from Brigham Young to Spencer Kimball. But no one (rationally) is claiming that imperfect people should somehow comprise a now perfect Church.
As a child, I was repeatedly taught in the Mormon Church that the reason blacks were black and inferior was because in the pre-Earth life... 
While I know for a fact he was taught this, I also know it is not Church doctrine...but the interpretation of men. 
...there was a war in Heaven, and they were less valiant than the whites. 
Again, not Church doctrine...but tradition, nonetheless. (One of the many "flaws" of the Mormon faith I've written about.)
So God cursed them with a black skin. Also, the Book of Mormon teaches the reason why the Indians have darker skin was because of a curse for being unrighteous.
Inexplicable, but Mormon "doctrine" nonetheless. The Lamanites (formerly "white") may have become "dark" by intermarrying with "darker" indigenous peoples already extent in the Americas. We don't know how blacks became "black".
4. Polygamy was banned in the 1890s, yet Doctrine and Covenants 132, which authorizes polygamy, was never changed.
True. The LDS Church has never renounced the doctrine, only the practice of polygamy. (Another foolish action taken by early Mormons.)
Also, the church distances itself from, and refuses to accept responsibility for polygamy (and its associated problems) in the Intermountain West today even though the Mormon Church was the institution that opened the can of worms in the first place. I’m troubled to find out through the Mormon Church’s FamilySearch website that Joseph Smith had 24 wives (reputable historians have examined source documents that put the number at 33), 11 of whom were married to other living breathing men at the same time (though some of those men were sent away by Joseph Smith on missions), and 11 teenagers, one being as young as 14 years old.
True...and not true. It is not clear how many -- or even if -- other women were married to Joseph during his lifetime. The records have been doctored and manipulated, perhaps to "justify" polygamy by Brigham Young and others.
5. President Hinckley’s (the current Mormon President) public minimizing of the couplet of “as man is God once was, as God is man may become.” On the subject of God once being a man, President Hinckley said “I don’t know that we teach it.” Unfortunately, I know beyond any doubt this is something I was taught throughout my life, and understood to be one of the core beliefs of Mormonism.
Yes, that drives me nuts, too! This is "standard" Mormon doctrine. For a modern prophet to "distance" the Church from that view (for PR purposes, to make the Church more "palatable" to other Christians) is contemptible. Not very "prophet" like, in my view.
6. The church today profits from blood sport through ownership of game preserves. This comes some twenty years after I personally heard President Kimball (former church president) admonish us in the April and October 1978 General Conferences, to not “kill the little birds.” Interestingly enough, the Primary lesson manual for children still has a lesson that quotes from President Kimball’s talk about not killing the little birds.
Big deal. Hunting is not a sin.
7. The whole idea of doing the right thing so I can get some reward in heaven, or avoid punishment, strikes me as childish. 
I agree. That is the wrong motivation. 
Yet this is a major premise of the Mormon Church taught from childhood up (i.e. Primary songs like “Families Can Be Forever,” and “I am a Child of God”). 
Probably true.
I like to think I choose to do the right thing because it’s right, and doing good is its own reward. 
How about because you love God or love others? Shouldn't that be the true motivation? Not some "reward"?
Paying tithing to avoid getting burned, or to gain admission to the temple, seem like the wrong motives to me. 
If I give a gift, it must come as a free-will offering, not out of guilt. I feel living the best I can for today is the best way to prepare for the afterlife. Guilt should not even be a factor.
Absolutely right. Unfortunately, many Mormons (and Mormon leaders) are still "infantile" in their faith.
8. In an age of instant satellite communication, I find spending $400+ million to build the world’s largest indoor auditorium (Conference Center) extremely wasteful. 
Perhaps. But it sure is nice! Disneyland is a "waste", too. (But I still love it!)
Once again, I recall how President Kimball talked about satellites as the way to bring the church to the people, thus saving the need for more people to travel to Salt Lake City. Also, I find the timing of the completion of the Conference Center not long before the Winter Olympics somewhat suspect (to be used as a showpiece?).
There is no question that the LDS Church is becoming "worldly" and trying to appeal to the world by "worldly" standards. I'm against it. Just as I'm against all the "pomp and circumstance" of the American presidency, or government for that matter. The Church isn't "true" in that regard...even if it has much truth in it.
I worry with the purchase of Main Street between North and South Temple, the Crossroads Plaza shopping mall, and now the intent to acquire the Triad Center, and the Old Navy Building, as well as constructing a luxury hotel in Hawaii as unsettling indications the church is perhaps a bit too obsessed with making a buck. 
Agreed. It's gotten worse since he wrote this!
I understand now that the tab for developing the downtown shopping malls and new residences in Salt Lake City is expected to run $1.5 billion. 
$3-5 billion!
The Mormon Church claims they must do this in order “to protect the environs of the temple” (Dec 2003 Ensign Magazine). No, it has nothing to do with making a buck, right? And what about the Mormon Church’s approval for alcohol to be served in business establishments within the mall? It’s all about money. For a church that expressly forbids its members from drinking alcohol, I find that highly hypocritical.
Recently, I learned with a massive land purchase in Nebraska, the church is now the second largest private land owner in that state. 
And the largest land owner in Florida!
Also, I recall reading in the BBC how the Mormon Church is one of the top ten land owners in the East of England (Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk). And, I understand the Mormon Church is one of the top developers in the Salt Lake City World Trade Center project. Contrast these facts with meager budgets of the local Mormon congregations worldwide...
Our local budget for the entire year, as I recall (working as financial clerk) was just $8,000 (to run everything: water, lights, A/C, copy machine). Talk about efficient! And economical! No wonder the Church has so much "left over" money to buy land and stuff!
...and one can’t be faulted for wondering whether the Mormon Church is really just a real estate development corporation disguised as a church.
Sad, but true.
9. Repeatedly, I’ve observed how so-called promptings of the Holy Ghost are unreliable, dangerous, and can do destructive things like tear apart families. Clearly, logic, common sense, and a spirit of true charity are far better ways to handle life’s difficulties.
Agreed. There is much mischief done in the name of "God" and "priesthood authority".
10. Observed the First Presidency duped by Mark Hofmann, even to the extent of publishing in the Ensign what later proved to be spurious documents. Because the First Presidency failed to detect Hoffman as a fraud, a chain of events was set in motion that resulted in the deaths of two innocent people.
A damning proof that LDS leaders (while good men, generally) are perhaps less than they present themselves to be -- at least, some of the time. (I would say "most of the time", while conceding that they can -- and are -- inspired from time to time.)
11. Repeated examples of the church attempting to whitewash its history. 
Oh, this is so true!
For instance, the recent Brigham Young manual used for Priesthood and Relief Society lessons portrays him as a monogamist. Also, in recent years, I’ve noticed the church has re-manufactured Emma Smith. She was once scorned for her independent thinking (not going along with polygamy) while married to Joseph, and then for her staying behind in Nauvoo after the church left for Utah. These days, in the Ensign (Church Magazine), she is hailed as the closest thing to the Blessed Virgin, the perfect, submissive wife who never complained when her husband had church duties to perform. For as much as I value history, I find such blatant institutional dishonesty very disturbing.
12. The Lamanite Placement Program I observed at close hand as a child and teen. As an adult I’ve come to see it for its inherent racism; that of stripping young Native Americans from their families and turning them into middle class suburban mainstreamers–often alienating them from both their families and heritage. Such actions run contrary to my conscience. Also, if spirituality is the most important thing in life, why didn’t the church take white children from upscale suburbs, and send them away from their own families each year for 9 months to live with a Native American family on a reservation? Afterall, the Native Americans are far more spiritual than the typical whitebread suburbanite.
messed up situation, all around. (That's why the Church has discontinued it.)
13. I find the punitive nature of church disciplinary councils excessively harsh, humiliating, medieval, and out of line with the parable of the woman taken in adultery to whom Christ simply says “go thy way and sin no more.” Why does the church need to excommunicate people precisely at the point in their lives when they could use church fellowship the most? It simply doesn’t make sense.
I couldn't agree more.
14. President Hinckley claims the church doesn’t get involved in politics. If spending large sums of money to support anti-gay, and anti-civil rights legislation isn’t “getting involved in politics,” then what is?
Another disingenuous ploy on the Church leadership's part -- one of the many "frauds" for which the Church will -- and ought -- to be condemned, like RINO's (Republicans In Name Only).
15. During the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, an article on missionary work “The Making of a Missionary” appeared on the MSNBC website (2/19/2002 by Clare Duffy and Dana Lewis, NBC News). In it, Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, referring to the missionaries, was quoted as saying:
“We plead with them not to worry too much about whether they have a lot of conversions or whether they don’t….we want them to feel that they had a great experience, that they served, that they loved the people and learned a lot.”
That was nice. I love Brother Holland!
Having served a mission, I find Holland’s comments to be untruthful, and misleading. 
Well, I can see his point. On my mission it was all about numbers. (I hated that, and resisted it at every turn. Even so, I had nearly a hundred baptisms, unlike our friend here, who served in Germany at the same time I served in Chile.)
What I remember very clearly is the constant pressure to baptize, and the constant guilt trips if we didn’t. 
Me, too.
I also remember the pain and humiliation of having but one baptism my entire mission. 
I can feel his pain. I felt guilty for not baptizing a thousand! Hence, Elder Holland's statement!
That sort of thing isn’t easily forgotten. We had a weekly standard to meet which included how many lessons we taught, how many people we brought to church, how many baptismal challenges to investigators, how many hours we went door-to-door, etc. etc. “How many” refers to numbers doesn’t it? Holland obviously wants me to pretend otherwise.
This guy is turning a "good" thing into a "bad" thing! Here Elder Holland is trying to chart a new course in the right direction and this guy is saying "No, you can't because you got it wrong before!"
16. In the Mormon strongholds of the Western region of the United States, I’ve observed (as a rule) that leadership callings in the church are largely determined by nepotism, popularity, and socio-economic status. 
So true!
I was on “the leadership track” myself during my days as an Air Force officer, and college professor to be. When I decided to become a self-employed carpet cleaner, I “fell from grace,” and haven’t been considered for leadership since. 
It couldn't be because he didn't have any real faith as a missionary and thereafter, could it?
Along with this, I’ve personally observed a distinct anti-working class attitude among American Mormons. 
True. The current leadership tends to be uppity-ups...lots of lawyers and doctors. But I've had bishops who were butchers and stake presidents who were pool cleaners. So its not all that way.
This is most ironic considering the church was built on the backs of blue collar members. Yet today if you’re a blue collar member in a white suburban ward (the default Mormon ward), you’re near the bottom of the social pecking order. 
True (unfortunately). It's the "rule"...but there are "exceptions".
Certainly, no one takes you seriously, gives you responsible callings, or seeks your advice. You’re a loser, plain and simple.
Church leadership should be about service, not status. 
Many of the local Mormon leaders are fine, dedicated, and well-intentioned people. 
Yes they are, by and large.
But they have no training for their positions, and as a result, often make serious mistakes. 
The members who pay so much to the church deserve better than this. And the unpaid leaders who are often serving at the expense of spending time with their families, need to be let off the hook. 
Here I think he's going astray. What is he suggesting? A paid clergy? Can't support that. (However, ironically, I do! Or used to...since all of the highest leaders of the Church are full-time employed by the Church...with a very generous salary package -- another complaint I have.)
One other point: I was always told our leaders were called by revelation. If this is so, then why is nepotism so rampant in the General Authority ranks in the Mormon Church?
Because God inspires the leaders to call their own family members to (paid) leadership positions!!! What?! You don't believe in revelation?
17. As a rule, church meetings are bland, boring, and uninspired. 
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Is Church over yet?
General Authorities behave like business executives, not spiritual leaders. 
Sadly (sickly) true.
Frankly, there is nothing put out by the church that can inspire me the way the world’s great authors and thinkers can. 
Certainly true of modern LDS leaders (with few exceptions).
A few years back, my wife and I picked up from the library the book Stand for Something by Gordon B. Hinckley. Even though I was still partially a believer, we both found the book superficial, vapid, and jingoistic. 
I declined to read it.
After reading a few pages, we both knew our stomachs wouldn’t allow us to get through it, so we took it back to the library. Such tripe is the standard fare being dished out by the General Authorities these days. If you have any taste for rich, thoughtful and mature spiritual guidance, you’re certain to find the words of current Mormon leaders to be quite unsatisfying.
Sadly, often true.
Spiritually speaking, the Mormon Church is dead. 
Sadly, often true.
Many members seem to be running on fumes. 
Sadly, often true.
The meetings don’t nourish the spirit, but rather pile on the guilt. 
Maybe not so much guilt, but famine, nonetheless.
The lesson manuals are uniformly boring, and written at a very rudimentary level. 
So true!
They do not address the spiritual and intellectual needs of lifelong members. Heaven help any member who takes history seriously, particularly church history. He/she is branded as a pariah. 
What did he just call me?
Indeed once the glory of God was intelligence. Today in the church, the glory of God has become obedience.
Man, this guy has nailed it! Absolutely true (about both once and today).
The Mormon Church’s response to 9-11 was pathetic when compared with the response by faith groups in the wider world. 
There were faith vigils by these non-Mormon groups that far surpassed (in spiritual insight) anything the Mormons have ever done. In my lifetime, from what I’ve observed, the Mormon Church has only ever given lip service to Easter and Christmas. Their biggest celebrations by far have to do with things like the Church’s birthday, President Hinckley’s birthday, or Joseph Smith. As I look back at my four decades of experience in the Mormon Church, it’s increasingly clear that the Brethren are merely products of their prevailing culture with all of its inherent prejudices, homophobia, racism, and bigotry. True prophets of God would transcend all of that.
True! But, to be fair, Mormons (historically at least) put a lot of emphasis on Jesus's atonement and resurrection every Sunday, not just Christmas and those "holidays" are perhaps minimized because Christ's mission is maximized all year long. That being said....I wrote this recently.
18. Since becoming a father myself, I have gained new insights about the role of Heavenly Father. I love my children quite independent of their works, and how much they serve me. And I would shudder to think of cutting them off from me because of some little mistake they might make. Also, I enjoy the presence of my children, and wouldn’t expect them to have go through a lot of hassle simply to be with me. 
See, the early Mormons wanted a Church. They thought they needed a Church. So God gave them a Church. But now that Church is getting in the way of Mormons coming unto God.
This guy is absolutely right.
Why can’t our relationship with Heavenly Father be the same? Why does He have to come across as a petty and jealous tyrant?
Because (some of) the men who administrate the Church come across as petty, jealous tyrants. It's human nature.
Also, having a daughter, I’ve become very aware and appalled by the sexism inherent in the Mormon Church. 
Me, too.
No matter how much talent or success my daughter achieves in life, she will always be a second-class church member with no voice or authority in the Mormon Church. 
Me, too (except for the "church member" part).
This is simply wrong. Finally, contrary to the media image the Mormon Church portrays as the “family church,” I’ve found in many instances personally, and from others that Mormon families are usually only close when everyone in the family believes in the Mormon Church.
True. But that is true of every strongly religious culture and family. Those who leave the faith are viewed as spiritually "dying" to some extent. That's not just a "Mormon" thing.
When it came out that I had left the church, I was horrendously slandered by close family members. Some of the slander included: adulterer, Internet porn addict, mentally unstable, a bad influence on my children, a bad influence on nieces and nephews, a commandment breaker, possessed by the devil, and more. 
Wow! I've heard the same things bout me! Is there a "script" they pass around when someone challenges the "standard" LDS narrative?
My dad had passed away just months before I came out of the closet–I had contemplated telling him, but he died unexpectedly in an accident. Shortly after my announcement, one family member said she was sadder about my leaving the church than about my dad’s death. So, do I think the Mormon Church is a good family church? Nope.
It's a great family Church...if you're Mormon!
19. The church is obsessed with numbers. I encountered this in the Aaronic Priesthood, on my mission (especially), and then later as an Elders Quorum President, and in virtually every other leadership capacity. It’s all about percentages, attendance, etc. This numbers obsession runs counter to what I feel should be the emphasis of a church which claims to be the only true one. What truly floors me is to hear the leaders claim it’s not a numbers game!
20. I’ve seen how Priesthood Correlation has gutted the church; turning it into a soulless corporation. 
I should just start cutting and pasting "True!"
Before Correlation, for instance, the Relief Society had its own budget, manuals, and lessons. Now, everything flows through the men at the top, and the RS is but a mere shadow of its former self. The same is true about the other auxiliaries.
"Correlation" is the Church's effort to "correlate" its history, doctrine, practices, etc., into one seamless, non-contradictory narrative. They've actually gone back and changed recorded history to make it correlate with modern doctrine and practice. (This is blatant fraud.) For example, when Joseph recorded that he drank "wine", the Church has changed the record to read "medicine". Are you kidding me???
21. There is no real spirit of community in the local wards I’ve attended over the past 15 years (4 wards in four entirely different stakes). When long time members move away, they no longer get a chance to speak in sacrament meeting because the Brethren have already correlated the meeting schedule for the year and there’s no room left. 
True! My wife and I were not asked to speak in Church even once in three years in our current ward. Most members used to speak at least once a year!
Missionary homecomings and farewells have similarly been banned–anything that smacks of community spirit or personalizing the worship services. 
True! True! True! Now if you even say anything that's not "correlated" they shut you down!
This is sad. I enjoy community spirit. The Mormon Church offers only dull standardization. 
Also, the church administration in Salt Lake takes in vast amounts of money from its members yet only returns a pittance to the local wards for their activities.
When I was in my youth in the 1970s, I recall there were many fun programs and ward activities. We had bazaars, dance festivals, speech festivals, roadshows, great youth activity nights, regular youth dances with live bands, seminary scripture chase competitions, a full complement of sports competition (softball and basketball) spanning several months a year, etc. These are the types of things that weld young members to the church, that give them a love of it.
Nowadays, due to many reasons (financial being the prime one), most of those programs are gone, or are a mere shadow of their former greatness. The youth programs are often dull, under-planned, and half-hearted. The church is in dire need of injecting fun back into the experience of being a member. Yet, if anything interesting is to be done, it has to come out of the members’ pockets. Salt Lake gives very little back. Luckily, in some “rich wards,” wealthy members can pick up the slack. But the fact remains, in virtually every ward I’ve observed over the past decade, the activities program is an afterthought, and the social life of the ward is seriously lacking.
[I have to edit my public comment here in the interest of not offending anyone currently serving in the Boy Scout organization in our ward.]
22. Pervasive racism
The core story of the Book of Mormon is racist. 
True. (But Jesus was racist...or at least the "Jesus" we know from the Bible.)
It’s about a family in which two of the sons turned bad. God therefore cursed them with a dark skin. Dark skin, according to the Book of Mormon is a curse from God. 
The Book of Mormon doesn't say Laman and Lemuel were turned dark skinned, only their posterity. (They could have interbred with the locals -- a "sin" in itself at the time -- and become "dark" thereby.)
There is no way Mormons can deny this fact. And the only way they can distance themselves from it is to denounce the Book of Mormon. 
Why do I have to deny it or distance myself from it? I embrace my inner racist!
But how do they do that when for decades they’ve claimed it’s “the keystone of our religion,” and “the most perfect book”? 
You don't have to. It still is.
Some more thoughts to ponder: The following quote: Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference Report 1960, Improvement ERA, December 1960, pages 922-923
“I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today… The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.”
Why is whiter skin color associated with righteousness? Isn’t that racism? 
So he had some foolish ideas. He's not the first.
A few more quotes from church leaders:
“Now WE ARE GENEROUS WITH THE NEGRO. WE ARE WILLING that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I WOULD BE WILLING to LET every Negro DRIVE A CADILLAC IF THEY COULD AFFORD IT. I WOULD BE WILLING that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. BUT LET THEM ENJOY THESE THINGS AMONG THEMSELVES.” LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen, “Race Problems – As They Affect The Church,” Address delivered at Brigham Young University, August 27, 1954, as quoted in Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s book entitled, “The Changing World of Mormonism,” p. 307, emphasis added.
“Those who were LESS VALIANT IN PRE-EXISTENCE and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions imposed upon them during mortality are known to us as the NEGROES.” LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527, 1966 edition, emphasis added.
“THE NEGROES ARE NOT EQUAL WITH OTHER RACES where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, …but this inequality is not of man’s origin. IT IS THE LORD’S DOING, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the LACK OF SPIRITUAL VALIANCE OF THOSE CONCERNED IN THEIR FIRST ESTATE [the Mormon pre-existence].” LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527 – 528, 1966 edition, emphasis added.
“We’ve always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise. You may say again, “Well, I know of exceptions.” I do, too, and they’ve been very successful marriages. I know some of them. You might even say, “I can show you local Church leaders or perhaps even general leaders who have married out of their race.” I say, “Yes–exceptions.” Then I would remind you of that Relief Society woman’s near-scriptural statement, “We’d like to follow the rule first, and then we’ll take care of the exceptions.” LDS Apostle Boyd K. Packer, from the talk “Follow the Rule” given at Brigham Young University, 1/14/77.
“I will remark with regard to slavery, inasmuch as we believe in the Bible, inasmuch as we believe in the ordinances of God, in the priesthood and order and decrees of God, we must believe in slavery. This colored race have been subjected to severe curses, which they have in their families and their classes and in their various capacities brought upon themselves…
“I am a firm believer in slavery…Those servants want to come here with their masters…and they commence to whisper round their views upon the subject, saying ‘Do you think it’s right? I am afraid it is not right’. I know it is right, and there should be a law made to have the slaves serve their master, because they are not capable of ruling themselves…I am firm in the belief that they ought to dwell in servitude…
“When a master has a negro, and uses him well, he is much better off than when he is free. As for masters knocking them down and whipping them and breaking the limbs of their servants, I have as little opinion of that as any person can have, but good wholesome servitude, I know there is nothing better than that.”
(Speech by Brigham Young delivered in joint session of the legislature, Friday, Jan. 23rd, 1852, recorded by Geo. D. Watt, Brigham Young Papers, Historical Dept. of the Church).
“If there never was a prophet or apostle of Jesus Christ spoke it before, I tell you, this people that are commonly called negroes are the children of old Cain. I know they are.”
“Again to the subject before us: as to the negro men bearing rule, not one of the children of old Cain have one particle of right to bear rule in government affairs from first to last. They have no business there. This privilege was taken from them by their own transgressions, and I cannot help it.
“I am as much opposed to the principle of slavery as any man in the present acceptation or usage of the term – it is abused. I am opposed to abusing that which God has decreed, to take a blessing, and make a curse of it. It is a great blessing to the seed of Adam to have the seed of Cain for servants…”
“Therefore, I will not consent for one moment to have an African dictate (to) me or my brethren with regard to church or state government…No, it is not right. But say some, is there anything of this kind in the constitution the United States has given us? If you will allow me the privilege of telling it right out, it is none of their damned business what we do or say here. What we do, it is for them to sanction, and then for us to say what we like about it. It is written right in the constitution ‘that every free white male inhabitant above the age of 21 years’, and etc…I have given you the true principle and doctrine.
“What the Gentiles are doing, we are consenting to do [he's referring to the "evil" abolitionist effort going on in the USA at the time]. What we are trying to do today is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privileges. My voice shall be against it all the day long. I shall not consent for one moment.”
(Speech in joint session, Feb. 5, 1852, Brigham Young Papers, Historical Dept. of the Church)
Sorry, but the above quotes indicate a pervasive racism. I can’t in good conscience be associated with an organization that holds such beliefs, or refuses to apologize for them.
I can. Only a politically correct, publicly educated fool believes in "equality". There is no such thing. Never has been. It doesn't exist in any material, social, sexual, racial, economic, intellectual, or spiritual sense. All we can hope for is "equality under the law" and, even then, while all men may be created equal, not all men, women and children are equal! There is no equality in any respect -- except, perhaps, in the loving eyes of God. Brigham Young's racism, to a great degree, was justified (even if it is lamentable and abhorrent to us). Modern black Americans ought to thank God their ancestors were brought here as slaves! Not many of them today are willing to trade places with those whence they came.
23. I think facts matter, and therefore cannot accept the following:
“Our individual, personal testimonies are based on the witness of the Spirit, not on any combination or accumulation of historical facts. If we are so grounded, no alteration of historical facts can shake our testimonies.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “1985 CES Doctrine and Covenants Symposium,” Brigham Young University, Aug. 16, 1985, page 26).
I’m sorry, but historical fact is, always has been, and always will be important to me, and I can’t simply ignore it even if the Brethren want me to. 
As the Mormon Church has proven, "historical facts" can be changed! There is nothing more reliable than the word of God, obtained from His mouth. Anything else (and anything less) is suspect and inherently unreliable. That was Elder Oaks' point. A real testimony is more reliable than science, history or even physical vision, hearing, smell, taste or touch.
Call it a weakness. I plead guilty. The church makes extraordinary claims, and consequently, must be held to higher standards of honesty and integrity. 
I agree. And it largely fails that test.
Yet the church repeatedly fails to meet those standards. 
Oh, I see I should read ahead before I comment!
Also, the church encourages us to “get over” history such as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, polygamy, and blacks and the priesthood, but never get over history such as the story of the Martin Handcart Company. Why?
Because the modern Mormon Church has become a huge, well-funded PR machine.
As a lifelong history buff, and as an active tour guide at the Oregon Historical Society since 2001, I’ve learned firsthand that professional historians follow painstaking procedures to uncover and document the past. They use primary and secondary sources, and without exception (in my observations), only make claims when they have significant documentable evidence to back up those claims. For reputable historians, there are no hidden agendas or predetermined outcomes. 
Well, he is certainly being naive there.
The peer review system virtually ensures that. 
Wrong! He has simply replaced faith in one institution of men for another.
The Mormon Church would have its members believe that any history which casts the church in anything but glowing terms is agenda-driven, and anti-Mormon, and to be avoided.
He's right about that!
When we accept the Mormon Church’s spin on history, it’s very easy to see bogey men in everything, and to lose the critical trust that truth does exist. Sure, good historical research isn’t infallible, but for the most part, it’s highly reliable. My point is when we apply these standards to Mormon Church history, all sorts of embarrassing things appear. Unfortunately, rather than come clean with their history, the church would rather run from it.
True again!
24. We are told this is a family church yet we also hear crazy stories about members of the past (who are held up as role models) for their sacrifices. Here are two from a recent regional conference held in Salem, Oregon. President Faust’s wife talked about her grandmother who raised 8 young children for two years while her husband was off serving a mission for the church? If being a present father is so important, why did the church take him away from his family? Another story was about a widow who spent nearly every waking hour of the final 12 years of her life doing temple endowments so she could reach her goal of 20,000 during that time frame. By my calculations, that would be 12 hours a day, 5 days a week for well over a decade. What about time for friends, family, nature, learning, and just enjoying Heavenly Father’s creations? To me this lady went clearly overboard, and should not be held up as a good example.
Probably right. But what is a "sacrifice" if not...a sacrifice!? Sacrifices are never convenient.
25. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young reported their revelations all of the time. Biblical and Book of Mormon prophets did as well. Yet, our prophets today tell us their revelations are too sacred to talk about. Why the difference? Were the earlier prophets’ revelations just not sacred enough? Logic suggests today’s leaders are pulling our legs.
What this brother is showing here is not that the Mormon Church wasn't true...notice the body of his complaints is about the modern Church....but that it isn't true. I can actually agree with him about that. The Church has gone off the rails...and has no mechanism for getting back on...since anyone who tries to "right the ship" is excommunicated!
26. The church teaches its members to get all of their answers through prayer. While I see prayer as very important, I think using it as the ultimate answer key is a recipe for disaster. Logic, common sense, thorough research, and patience are incredibly important in decision making. Sadly, the Mormon Church doesn’t emphasize these essential tools. Sorry, but life has taught me that prayer and inspiration are not excuses for failure to do proper research and apply some elbow grease.
I can't disagree with that!
27. The church is insensitive to individual members. The following is from Gordon B. Hinckley in General Conference, October 5, 2002:
“Now we have an interesting custom in the Church. Departing missionaries are accorded a farewell. In some wards this has become a problem. Between outgoing missionaries and returning missionaries, most sacrament meetings are devoted to farewells and homecomings.
No one else in the Church has a farewell when entering a particular service. We never have a special farewell-type meeting for a newly called bishop, for a stake president, for a Relief Society president, for a General Authority, or anyone else of whom I can think. Why should we have missionary farewells?
The First Presidency and the Twelve, after most prayerful and careful consideration, have reached the decision that the present program of missionary farewells should be modified.
The departing missionary will be given opportunity to speak in a sacrament meeting for 15 or 20 minutes. But parents and siblings will not be invited to do so. There might be two or more departing missionaries who speak in the same service. The meeting will be entirely in the hands of the bishop and will not be arranged by the family. There will not be special music or anything of that kind.”
Why have a missionary farewell? Because in terms of devotion, age, and commitment, nothing compares with what a 19 year old boy or 21 year old woman is expected to sacrifice to serve the church–and not get paid. The least the church could do is recognize them when they leave on their mission, and allow them to personalize the meeting. This policy from 2002 is one of the most insensitive things I’ve ever heard from the Brethren. What an insult to the young people who serve so faithfully on their own dime.
Comparing missionary service to the calling of bishop, stake president, or RS president is a slap in the face to the missionary. If President Hinckley doesn’t see the difference between sending a 19 year old boy away from his family and friends for two years, and calling a Relief Society president, then I pity him. Some more words from Gordon B. Hinckley:
“….We hope also that holding elaborate open houses after the sacrament meeting at which the missionary speaks will not prevail. Members of the family may wish to get together. We have no objection to this. However, we ask that there be no public reception to which large numbers are invited.”
Yet another evidence of how the church is deadset on ruining anything that smacks of personalization.
Like I said, the Church has gone off the rails!
28. LDS scout troops are, on the whole, pitiful when compared with non LDS scout troops. I know this firsthand from my experience in scouting in the Mormon Church, decades of observation in a variety of places, and now my experience with my son in a non Mormon troop. Here are some of the reasons (based on my observations over several decades) why LDS troops are so lousy:
a. Leaders aren’t allowed to volunteer, rather they’re assigned by the bishop. Also, unlike virtually ever other organization outside the Mormon Church that offers youth programs, the Mormon Church fails to do background checks on its youth leaders. In this day and age, such negligence is disgusting.
b. Parental involvement is almost universally lacking; but do you blame the parents what with all of the time-consuming things the church heaps on them such as HT/VT, other callings, temple attendance, leadership meetings, etc.?
c. Camping trips don’t include Sundays (what’s wrong with having Sacrament meeting in nature, the church used to do this?), and this results in boys not having time to develop scout skills to the extent non LDS boys do.
d. LDS leaders are often untrained, and serve only a short time. Every year we read about a new tragedy. Recently, there was the scout in Utah who got lost and died in the wilderness. And, not long ago there was the scout troop in Utah that caused a fire that caused millions of dollars of damage. I recall many years ago hearing my brother tell stories about our ward troop on a trip to Death Valley in which the Mormon boy scouts were guilty of repeated blatant shoplifting and arson.
e. LDS troop size is typically very small (6-10 boys being common). The church could combine wards in creating troops, and thus provide a viable troop size with real leadership opportunities, but they don’t.
f. LDS troops typically emphasize getting rank to the exclusion of providing a well-rounded program. LDS Eagle Scouts have a poor reputation in the wider scouting world as boys who invariably cut corners to achieve their rank. Just how much can a 14 year old Mormon Eagle Scout have gotten out of the program compared with a 17 year old non-Mormon Eagle Scout who has been active in scouting since turning 11?
True! (Man, I'm getting tired of typing that!)
29. The book Drawing on the Powers of Heaven by Grant Von Harrison...
I read this book as a young pre-missionary and it greatly inspired me...
...was heavily endorsed in my mission in Munich, Germany (1981-1983). We were told to read it before we entered the field, and then keep it for frequent reference once we were there.
I found this book perhaps works for missionaries to Latin America...
It did!
...but it caused me a great deal of pain and suffering in Germany. 
I'm sorry. Germans just aren't very susceptible to hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ (of any denominational stripe!).
It was only later through years of observation, and the application of honest logic that the reason some missionaries baptize and others don’t is not personal righteousness. No, the decisive factors are 1. where they are serving, and 2. their salesmanship skills.
True (to some extent).
Missionaries who serve in areas where the educational, and socio-economic levels of the general population are lower than the USA, tend to have the most success. In areas like Central Europe where literacy exceeds that of the USA, and with access to information, and the socio-economic level roughly equivalent, missionary success is practically non-existent. Yet Von Harrison (who served his mission in Mexico) places all of the blame for not baptizing on the shoulders of the individual missionaries. It’s a matter of personal faith and personal righteousness, he argues. 
That is true. (I mean, Von Harrison is right!) What may not be right is the method of proselytizing employed by the Mormon Church in central Europe. Nephi and Lehi demonstrated that even hardened murderers can be converted if the minister has enough faith and righteousness and (by the grace of God) is permitted to suffer to bring it to pass.
As a young and impressionable 19 year old, I was in no position to defend my mind from such abusive and manipulative teachings. It took me years after the mission to finally realize it wasn’t me who was the problem.
I came home from my mission traumatized too. Literally. Five years later I was still waking up with "night sweats" from the stress and anxiety my mission produced in me. I can empathize with this brother.
30. The church actually breaks up families. From 3+ hours of meetings on Sunday, to time demanding callings on fathers and mothers, to constant pressure to attend the temple, to missions for boys at the age of 19, to pressure on young adults to marry early, to missions for grandparents, to cleaning the chapel, to various other demands, the church is constantly pulling family members away from spending time together. Since distancing myself from the church, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in our family life, and particularly, an increase in the time we spend together.
Not to mention tearing converts from non-Mormon family members!
31. The church teaches against evolution, yet it employs dozens of professors at BYU in areas such as biology, geology, genetics, and anthropology, who, without exception, teach that the earth is millions of years old, and that evolution is scientifically verifiable. So whose side do we take? The church’s, or that of the church-employed BYU professors?
The Church doesn't have a "position" on evolution.
32. Back in the 1970s, the Mormon Church openly opposed passage of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In fact, they distributed a small pamphlet worldwide which thoroughly covered the reasons why they opposed it. One key reason was their belief in maintaining the balance of powers between the federal government and the states. They argued that the states should retain authority over questions such as marriage, relationships of the sexes, etc. They made it clear a constitutional amendment for such a matter would be wrong. Ironically, these days the Mormon Church is a vocal proponent for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Why the complete turnaround in just 30 years? Did they think no one would notice?
I didn't notice. But the Church will be gay itself before the country bans gay marriage.
33. General Authorities regularly give advice that makes no sense, and actually damages peoples’ lives. For instance, consider the pressure to marry young and have children immediately. Such a life course is foolhardy, and often is the catalyst to divorce, depression (anti-depression drug use), absent fathers, no time for fun/bonding, etc. 
Really? I think failed marriage is a function of our society, not youthful marriage itself. What's the alternative? Screwing around and having babies out of wedlock? Abortion? I don't think so.
In February 2005, Elder Russell M. Nelson delivered the latest installment of such lousy advice. A few quotes from a Deseret News article by Rodger Hardy dated February 7, 2005: College students should not put off creating families until they have completed all of their studies, an LDS Church apostle said Sunday. He urged his listeners to seek first to follow the teachings of the church before seeking wealth, which includes the commandment to create families. He added,
“Satan is waging war directly at the heart of God’s plan — the family,” he said. The age of couples getting married for the first time is increasing, as is the number of unmarried couples, he said. “It takes real faith to withstand this attack.”
I side with Elder Nelson on that one.
Similar counsel from General Authorities when I was college age, resulted in significant amounts of added stress because I was having a hard time “finding a wife.” 
Me, too! It was awful! That's what led to my disastrous decision to marry the first time! The Church has since "backed off" on that. WAY back.
Just the term “finding a wife” now sounds weird to me. 
Aw, but don't you find it endearingly nostalgic?
Why the huge mandate? Because of my “failure” to follow this commandment at the “right age” (21-23), I suffered from a low self-image. 
Me, too.
I had supposedly done everything right in the rest of my life, but why couldn’t I keep up with “more righteous” Mormon peers who were getting married and having kids right away? What a crock! 
What can I say? That time in my life left deep wounds that -- only a loving, beautiful, supportive, spiritual wife and the many wonderful, adorable children she has given me! -- have healed. 
In retrospect, I look back on the single years of my Twenties as some of the greatest of my life (I didn’t get married until I was nearly 27).
Clearly, such stupid counsel coming from a man whose career was that of a highly paid cardiologist, is a clear and unmistakable evidence that the Mormon Church leaders truly don’t have our best interests in mind. 
I disagree. In many respects, Elder Nelson's life was greatly enhanced by his marriage (as my life has been by my latest marriage). I respect Elder Nelson's counsel given here. I have known him to be a mighty man of God, inspired of heaven. I will not speak evil of him. (Ironically, here I am defending him, when Elder Nelson was probably the leader of the Strengthening the Members Committee who ultimately directed my stake president to excommunicate me!)
Curiously enough, in May 2005, the US Census Bureau published a report (see Table 1) that shows Utah has the lowest median age for first marriages (21.9 for women and 23.9 for men). So apparently, I’m not just imagining things.
He's not.
And there are many other factors behind my unbelief. I hope and pray you will find it in your heart to understand what I’m saying, and respect my freedom to worship with integrity, “according to the dictates of [my]…own conscience.”
I do!
That being said...
Because (1) the Book of Mormon is true, (2) Joseph Smith was an inspired translator and (3) Jesus is the Christ, the Mormon Church (or some derivative thereof) will always have an important place in my heart and life. The modern LDS Church can go to hell, for all I care. I'll do my best to stop it from going there. (I have done my best!) But I won't shed too many tears. I'm only affiliated with it now because it, almost alone among all other churches, possesses some sympathy for the Book of Mormon and for Joseph Smith, two things I am unwilling -- and will forever be unwilling -- to "throw under the bus" as fakes and frauds.
My "testimony" is deeper than the Church...and independent of it. I was a "good Mormon" before they excommunicated me and I will be a "good Mormon" afterward, even though I will never again be a "Mormon", barring an apology from or unilateral reinstatement by the Brethren. (I'm not holding my breath.) I will never be re-baptized in the LDS Church (even though I will encourage my children to join and remain active in the faith for as long as they can).

I see no reasons given above that would justify them doing otherwise.
I know. Call me crazy.