Archive for August, 2011


(Original post by Mikeutah on Life After Mormonism)

MormonBeliefs.org does a pretty good job presenting the official beliefs or doctrines of the LDS church, which is a nice presentation to lure unsuspecting investigators over to their thinking via a “milk before meat” approach so as to ease new investigators ever so subtly into the weird or ultra conservative beliefs that are learned or discovered once a confirmed member, and which would otherwise scare most investigators away.  Let’s take this thread and turn it into a compiled list of unwritten or less publicized mormon beliefs and cultural expectations so as to arm unsuspecting investigators from being tricked into buying undesirable”meat”.  I’ll continually update this main post with all the varying beliefs we come up with from our own experience and time in Mormonism.  If beliefs you add stem from official doctrine or leaders, please include a source reference.  You may also include brief descriptions that expound how particular beliefs play out in Mormon culture.  Not all of these are followed or believed by all active Mormons, but are often used as a gauge by the more self-righteous Mormons to judge the righteousness of others.

Unwritten or Nonpublic Mormon Beliefs

  • Polygamy is still doctrinal in heaven and included in LDS scripture.  See D&C 132
  • Sports should not be played on Sunday
  • TV or movies should not be viewed on Sunday (except Church or “happy” media)
  • Children should not be allowed to play with friends on Sunday
  • Working on Sunday is strictly discouraged and really only not looked down on if you’re an emergency response personnel, or other on-call emergency type jobs (doctors, police, firemen, nurses etc)
  • Rated R movies should be strictly avoided
  • 10% of your gross income (tithing) needs to be paid to the bishop/church before you pay for any other financial obligations, bills, food or other purchases
  • Coffee and tea are prohibited even though they aren’t specifically referenced by doctrine
  • For some families, all caffeinated drinks and sodas are prohibited
  • If you have dark skin and convert to Mormonism, your skin will begin to lighten/whiten
  • You become a God/Goddess and are given powers to create your own worlds without number
  • You should not be alone in a room or car with a member of the opposite sex to “avoid even the appearance of evil”
  • Beer is prohibited even though it is scripturally allowed (D&C 89:17) “…and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain”  Beer was openly consumed in Utah by Mormons until Prohibition made it unpopular and the practice ceased.
  • The Garden of Eden was in Missouri when Adam and Eve were kicked out
  • All saints are to return to Missouri before the final arrival of Jesus for the Second Coming.  Some believe this exodus back to Missouri would be on foot.
  • Two LDS Elders or Missionaries will stand and protect the city of Jerusalem during Armageddon, as spoken of in Revelations and D&C 77:15
  • Native Americans are the descendants of the Lamanites spoken of in the Book of Mormon
  • The LDS Temple marriage is considered superior to all other religious marriage ceremonies and must be obtained if you want to be with your spouse in the after life.  Not married in the temple?  Too bad, no spouse/partner in the after life.
  • Love isn’t as strong between couples and families who are not LDS
  • Follow the prophet or leaders even if you think they are wrong
  • Criticism of prophets or leaders will lead you towards apostasy
  • Don’t use Ouija boards, face cards or tarot cards.  They are of the devil.
  • The US Constitution will hang by a thread and be saved by LDS Elders before the 2nd coming
  • Women were discouraged from wearing pants up until the late ’60s or ’70s
  • 3 Nephites still rome the Earth from Christ’s visit to the America’s, blessed by Him to not experience death until his second coming
  • The moon will literally turn to blood during second coming crisis
  • Heavenly Mother/Goddess exists, but she/them are too sacred to discuss and cannot be worshiped or prayed to
  • Only Mormon’s can go to the highest degree of heaven, which is why proxy ordinances are done in LDS temples for as many dead people as LDS Inc can get their hands on
  • Kids or babies who die before reaching 8 years old are perfect and automatically get into heaven
  • Missionaries can curse people by dusting their feet off as a witness to them rejecting the gospel
  • Satan has power over the oceans, lakes and rivers which is why LDS Missionaries are not allowed to swim
  • Satan can’t read your thoughts so praying silently can help keep some of your secrets from him
  • Dating is strictly prohibited until you’re 16 and then only group dating is allowed or encouraged until you can marry after your mission or marry a return missionary
  • Doctrinal polygamy gives the 1st wife authority to reject any prospects she doesn’t like.  This was never really practiced though.
  • Women who fail to marry in the temple during their life will be assigned a worthy spouse in the hereafter and likely as a sister wife with a harem of women
  • Black people bear the curse of Cain and were born black because they were less valiant in the pre-existence (pre-Earth life) and sat on the fence as to whether to follow Satan/Lucifer or Jesus
  • Cremation will make being resurrected harder, having to recollect all of your atoms/molecules from where ever they were spread
  • God the father is only one of millions or endless Gods who are all basically relatives, fathers, brothers, grand-gods and so forth to our own God.  If we’re worthy, we get to join the God club too.
  • From the polygamy days, a man had to have at least 2 wives to get into the highest degree of heaven
  • A woman’s purpose in heaven is solely to birth endless babies to populate the worlds created by their husbands.  Billions and billions of babies!
  • Gestation is still 9 months in heaven
  • You are better off dying trying to fend off a rapist than to survive as a victim of rape, your virginity forever stolen from you
  • Temple garments or underwear will protect you from physical harm or the grasp of Satan
  • Girls can only have one piercing in each ear.  No piercings allowed by boys/men.
  • Tattoos are a big no-no and should never be allowed to defile your bodies.  If you have tattoos when you convert, you may be encouraged to pay for laser removal at your own expense.
  • Flip-flops are not to be worn in the church building
  • All forms of birth control (condoms, pills, etc) are discouraged and the couple should allow as many children into their home as God decides to send them
  • The Earth was not created by God, but by Jesus and Michael/Adam as taught in the LDS Temple endowment ceremony
  • Secret hand shakes, keywords and signs are provided in the Temple endowment as passwords and keys to get back into heaven, like a kids club where only those with the secret passwords can get in
  • The church partners with Boy Scouts of America for the development of males but does not endorse nor partner with the Girl Scout programs or similar female development programs
  • The Holy Ghost is threatened or turned away by bars, clubs and “dirty” places so will not protect you or guide you if you choose to enter such filthy places
  • Mormon Garments must be worn day and night, only removed for sex, showering and some sporting activities
  • Women must wear their bras and panties over their garments, as the garment should be the layer closest to the skin for maximum protection
  • If you’re not a Mormon, or are unworthy without a temple recommend, you get excluded from the Temple wedding ceremony of loved ones, kids, siblings or best friends
  • Mormon’s do feel there is something special about them, or that they are better than non-mormons.  Having the ultimate “truth” does that to people.
  • Masturbation is a sexual sin/transgression and seen as cheating on your existing or future spouse
  • Sexual transgression is a sin next to murder in God’s eyes
  • Jesus atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, not on the cross
  • Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin.  God had natural sex with Mary to impregnate Jesus
  • You can’t get into heaven without Joseph Smith’s permission
  • You can visit loved ones in lower kingdoms, but you cannot visit higher kingdoms of heaven if you didn’t merit it yourself, though they can visit you (see D&C 76)
  • You can tell the difference between a good angel, bad angel or resurrected being by their willingness or ability to shake your hand
  • No rainbows shall appear during the year before Jesus’ second coming
  • If you’ve had a sex change, you cannot ever hold any callings/jobs in the church and only get baptized at the express permission of the First Presidency/prophet
  • Role playing games, like D&D, are also evil
  • Dinosaur fossils are to test our faith, and likely came from matter left over from past destroyed planets that were used/recycled to create Earth
  • When a prophet or leader errors, it was because he was acting as a man and not as a prophet.  There’s no indication until after the fact as to whether he was acting as one or the other, so you should always presume he’s acting as prophet until proven otherwise
  • Free agency and choice is revered, but don’t make the wrong choice or we will judge, look down on and guilt you until you either stop making said wrong choices
  • Once the prophet or brethren have spoken, the thinking has been done.  Don’t question it.
  • When someone leaves the church, it is God’s way of separating the wheat (good mormons) from the chaff (bad, evil apostates)

A partial re-posting of an article by Diane Tingen (Mormonism Schism)

I was shocked to discover how many times Joseph Smith was investigated for or charged with criminal activity, and how many times he was arrested.  Here is the result of my research:

Criminal Charges / Arrests

Joseph Smith

1.  1826 – New York

Tried in Chenango County, New York, for the crime of pretending to find lost treasure.  It appears that he was convicted of this crime and paid a fine (and may have even been “escorted by the Sheriff” out of the county per the verdict).  For more information on this arrest and trial, please read what is contained on the BYU Law Blog at this link – as well as what FairMormon.org has to say at this link.  Of particular interest is this portion of this blog entry is this statement:  “Reverend Wesley P. Walters of the United Presbyterian church in Marissa, Illinois, discovered some records in the basement of the sheriff’s office in Norwich, New York, which he maintains demonstrate the actuality of the 1826 trial and go far to substantiate that Joseph Smith spent part of his early career in southern New York as a money digger and seer of hidden treasures. A periodical in Salt Lake City which heralded Walters’s findings said they “undermine Mormonism” and repeated a statement by Hugh Nibley in The Myth Makers, “if this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith.”

2.  1830 – New York

 Smith reportedly performed an exorcism in Colesville, and he was again tried as a disorderly person but was acquitted.  The account of the exorcism is in this article about the Knight family on LDS.org.  The article on LDS.org discusses the trial as well.  (These articles have since been removed by LDS.org)

3.  1837 – Kirtland, Ohio

In May 1837, Grandison Newell accused Joseph Smith of plotting to murder him.  Joseph was eventually acquitted, but the testimony of church leaders and employees revealed how seriously the Prophet’s followers took his supposed off-hand remarks (or perhaps he meant them).  In either case, statements by two apostles and other close associates no doubt undermined Joseph Smith’s reputation.  Wilbur Denton and Sidney Rigdon both testified that the alleged conspiracy took place in April or May of 1835.   Orson Hyde testified that when rumors began circulating that Newell might sue the floundering Kirtland Safety Society, Joseph Smith “seemed much excited and declared that Newell should be put out of the way, or where the crows could not find him,” and he said that “destroying Newell would be justifiable in the slight of God, that it was the will of God, etc.”  

4.  1838 – Kirtland, Ohio

After a warrant was issued for Smith’s arrest on a charge of banking fraud, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fled Kirtland for Missouri on the night of Jan. 12, 1838.  This incident had to do with the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company, and with charges of fraud and illegal banking, including the illegal purchase of Monroe Bank in Michigan by Smith and Ridgon.  After the purchase of Monroe Bank was complete, Oliver Cowdery was named as its Vice-President and as part of that deal and Oliver’s move to Michigan to run that bank, his Ohio company (O. Cowdery & Company) was dissolved and all assets were transferred to Jospeh Smith and Sidney Rigdon.  Of course, 1837 was filled with events that led to the banking failure and the fraud charges, and numerous events occurred during that time frame, culminating in Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fleeing Kirtland and heading for Missouri.  Please see the information contained on FairMormon.org at this link.  (This information has since been removed by the LDS church)

5.  1838 – Missouri

 On November 1, 1838, the Mormon surrendered to 2,500 state troops, and agreed to forfeit their property and leave the state.  Joseph Smith was court-martialed and nearly executed for treason, but militiaman Alexander Doniphan, who was also Joseph Smith’s attorney, probably saved Joseph’s life by insisting that he was a civilian.  Joseph Smith was then sent to a state court for a preliminary hearing, where several of his former allies, including Danite commander Sampson Avard, turned state’s evidence against him.  Joseph Smith and five others, including Sidney Rigdon, were charged with “overt acts of treason,” and transferred to the jail at Liberty, Missouri to await trial.

 In 1839, Smith and his companions tried to escape at least twice during their four-month imprisonment.  On April 6, 1839, on their way to a different jail after their grand jury hearing, they succeeded in escaping by bribing the sheriff.  Subsequently, Joseph Smith and the Mormons fled the state and moved to Illinois.

 

6.  1844 – Illinois

 Arrested for ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press and the burning of building in which it was housed (after an article was written exposing the truth behind Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy and polyandry).  He was subsequently killed on June 27, 1844 while in Carthage Jail.  Interestingly, after the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor and the burning of the building, Joseph Smith fled the state, going across the Mississippi River into Iowa.  It was only upon the pleadings of Emma Smith (his fist wife) that he returned to Illinois to face the charges – and was arrested.  And of course, there is the famous statement that Joseph Smith made on his way to Carthage Jail – that he was going as a lamb to the slaughter.  Yeah, right!  I mean, he had a gun and shot it during the shoot-out.  How is that being like a lamb going to the slaughter?  And using that terminology would intimate that he was an innocent man, when that is the farthest thing from the truth. 

 My reaction to discovering all of the above (#1-6) was WOW!!  Of course, it also makes me sick to my stomach, especially since I was a member of this cult for over 50 years.  In researching all of this, I found so much that I never knew before, mainly because nothing about this type of information is ever discussed in Mormon Church meetings.  Like the Monroe Bank in Michigan.  Oliver Cowdery becoming its Vice-President and relinquishing the assets in his Ohio business to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in the process?  Interestingly, Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated from the Mormon Church in 1838 as well.  From what I have been able to discern, his excommunication was for speaking out against Joseph Smith and his practice of polygamy – but it appears now that it probably had something to do with the Monroe Bank and the banking failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company as well.  And perhaps appointing him as Vice-President of the Monroe Bank in Michigan was a way to get rid of him since he was being too vocal about Joseph Smith’s activities.

 Of course, I could go on and on about the many versions of the First Vision, the supposed “martyrdom” of Joseph Smith upon being killed while in Carthage Jail (and the fact that he had a gun with him during the shoot-out), the true origins of the Book of Mormon, and the supposed translation of the Book of Abraham, but since all of those topics are discussed in length in the book I have written which is posted on this blog, I won’t go into all that here (especially since this post has gotten so long).  Suffice it to say that Joseph Smith was a very busy boy in his gold-digging business, treasure-hunting, founding Mormonism, creating doctrine to add to it (like the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham and the D&C), exorcisms, purchasing banks, founding new banking companies, getting arrested (and defending himself, as well as escaping and bribing his way out of jail), chasing women, trying to talk them into marrying him, having actual weddings, juggling all the women (I mean, 33 wives must have been a job all by itself), joining the Masons, stealing the Masonic ceremonies for use in the Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, designing special undergarments (with obvious Masonic symbols incorporated in them), and on and on.

 I have to admit that what Joseph lacked in credibility, he made up for in creativity, charisma, and chutzpah.

True Happiness

True happiness comes from within. Its origins cannot be found in others. Try as we might, lasting happiness will never be found in anything outside ourselves. Fleeting happiness may be found in external sources, but can be nothing more than a temporary fix, a metaphorical band-aid on our soul. I have discovered so much about myself since I left the LDS church three years ago, and the greatest gem I’ve uncovered is my path to true and lasting happiness. Of all the searching for truth that I’ve done, the one universal truth that I stand by unequivocally is that true happiness only comes when:

  1. we genuinely know ourselves
  2. we are true to ourselves (no matter what opposition we face)
  3. we let go of any hope of an outside force (person, place or thing) providing happiness/peace for us

It may sound simple, but the more my eyes are opened to the world and the people in it, the more I see just how elusive this truth can be. I can only speak from my own experience, so I will share how my journey has brought me to this knowledge. Every one’s journey is different, but I believe that all journeys to true and lasting happiness will end in similar wisdom.

1- Genuinely Knowing Ourselves

My journey to know myself, like all humans, began at birth. And like all humans, I was immediately effected by the culture and society into which I was born. Most of the societal influences were harmless upon my emerging self and did little to hamper my growth. But, over time, certain pressures, teachings and influences (many of which came from my parents and the LDS church) came to distance me from my own self. For example, I was taught the extreme importance of unquestioning obedience by both the church and my parents. I was taught that adherence to a rigid code of conduct and checklist of works were necessary to win God’s love and eternal salvation. To some personalities, these influences might not be so rough, but for me, a questioner, a thinker, and a highly intelligent being, they were stifling. As I tried to shut down my own personality in order to comply with the expectations of my family and church, I became increasingly estranged from my own self. As an adult, this felt like a vague sense of dissatisfaction in my life, underlying frustration and a noticeable split between my private self and my public self. I found myself giving more and more energy to word choice and self-censoring.

A disassociation with oneself begins with a misfit between one’s true self and the expectations from others whom we see as meaningful in our lives. For some it may stem from a feeling of not living up to career expectations from parents or issues with being born homosexual into a family who is less than understanding.

Three years ago, I did not fully understand my dissatisfaction with life. The key to beginning the path to knowing oneself is to recognize the symptoms of living a life that is out of harmony with our innate selves. The symptoms can be depression, anxiety, dread, or anger. In extreme cases, symptoms can also look like acting-out behavior such as drug abuse, self-harm, and other risky behavior. Sometimes this disassociation can manifest as lying, bragging, or exaggerating.

Once we recognize the symptoms within, we can begin to take steps toward being true to ourselves. Even if we feel blind in the beginning, with every step of throwing off the chains which bind us, we will come closer to knowing ourselves. With this knowledge, we can cultivate a loyalty to ourselves that will result in true and lasting happiness.

2. Being True to Ourselves (no matter what opposition we face)

The first step in my journey involved throwing off one chain that had kept me in bondage for decades. That chain was a belief taught to me by the LDS church and strongly reinforced by my LDS family and friends. It was the belief that questioning church doctrine was evil.

I’d always been taught that God would not allow our prophets or other church leaders to lead us astray.  I was taught that Joseph Smith, and all the church leaders which came after him, were God’s mouthpieces. In other words, even the desire to question doctrine, could only derive from one source: the devil. This belief caused me guilt and agnst when I felt doubts about Joseph Smith, the book of Mormon, and other issues with the church surface. I’d prayed, studied, and even faked my way along for many years. I just didn’t feel that burning in my bosom that so many Mormons in my life talked about. I just couldn’t bring myself to publicly declare a testimony of these things. As my activity in the church became more active and broad in scope, I found myself increasingly dancing around certain doctrinal points, many of which were central to the church.

Hand in hand with the cultural norm of infallibility of church leaders, was the strict admonition to avoid any non-church sanctioned publication or source for information. Yes, it is taught and widely accepted in the church that it is only appropriate to seek information regarding church doctrine and history from the church, itself.

One day, I threw off this chain and began my process of questioning church doctrine. It began with buying a book (which was NOT a church sanctioned publication), and quickly exploded into a full-on investigation involving many books and internet sources. My journey brought my  doubts into the light. Since that time, I have learned not to stifle my doubts. I enjoy operating on all cylinders, so to speak. I no longer conform to any cultural norm which requires me to curtail my thinking or put on any type of mask (be fake, in other words).

I have faced opposition in the form of scorn and judgement from LDS family and friends. I have paid a price, but it is one I’d gladly pay again and again for the deep and gratifying peace that has come from being true to myself. There is much to be said, too, for learning to limit ones vulnerability to attempts to inflict pain, guilt or manipulation by those who disagree with our chosen path to peace. I’m still in the process of mastering this area of my life.

3- Letting Go of Any Hope of an Outside Force (person, place or thing) Providing Happiness/Peace

The only person I can control is me. Efforts to control another only end in frustration and in destruction of healthy relations. No matter how deep a love, peace and happiness can only come from within. When we know ourselves and are true to ourselves, then we are in a position of being ready for a healthy relationship with another. Only then, can our happiness stand on it’s own, independent of any outside influence. When we are true to ourselves, we will naturally gravitate to healthy relationships.

Happiness has to come from within to be of any real or lasting value. Listen to yourself. Know yourself and be true to yourself. When you do this, letting go of outside influences on your happiness will come naturally.

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