Tag Archive: mormon


(reposted from: http://notjustonereason.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/those-with-nothing-to-hide-hide-nothing/)

Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing

23 Jul 2013

The LDS church has recently (July 13, 2013) unveiled a new search engine powered by Google and censored by LDS inc.

The Church has revamped the search function and features to include Google’s powerful search technology, harnessing its signature ability to find relevant information.

Relevant information? What does that mean?

That means: Official, Safe Content

Official? Safe?

The new search provides a more safe and Church-specific search experience than Google, said Brother Ward. When you search from Google’s website, the results you get back may or may not be official content, he explained. Some results might be links to members’ personal blogs or even anti-Church sites.

The LDS.org search, however, only returns links to official Church-approved content that is currently available on LDS.org and other Church websites. And even though Google’s technology is used, no user information is provided back to Google. “It provides a safe, private, shock-free environment to search for approved gospel resources,” said Brother Ward.

So you can search only church approved sources and get only church approved answers to all your gospel questions.

Why is that needed? Because people (good, faithful LDS people) are searching Google for help with their lesson plans for Young Women’s, Priesthood, Seminary…. and getting back “shocking” information about the church. Shocking because it’s information they’ve never heard before that it true- and the more and more they search the more and more they learn about this information- and then they leave the LDS church because they feel lied to and betrayed. So how does the Church deal with this problem? Not by being more open and honest and teaching this information themselves- no- they deal with it by trying to bury it further.

For example- let’s search polyandry. Now we know that polyandry is when a man marries a woman that is already married. Joseph Smith did this 11 times before he died. Let’s see what the search on LDS.org turns up. (You can use Ctrl + to zoom in)

The first result is D&C 132:51. Not bad considering that the entire section is about plural marriage. Let’s see which verse specifically it found.

51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to aprove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.

Hmm. Nothing explaining polyandry, mentioning Joseph and polyandry- instead it’s a verse threatening Emma that if she were to engage in polyandry herself (with William Law specifically) then she would be disobeying God. But you’d only know that’s what this verse was referring to if you’d read lots of other church history. But it shows that the search function knows what you’re talking about.

What about the other search results? Do they go into more depth? Explain polyandry with a definition? Mention any one of the 11 women who sacrificed and married Joseph in polyandry?

No. You get an I’m a Mormon profile with no mention, two Seminary lessons with no mention and that aren’t relevant to the search, and then a list of feel good church magazine articles that aren’t at all relevant.

So how did Google do? (Once again Ctrl + to zoom in)Google polyandry1Google polyandry

Google leads with MormonThink.com to a page specifically about polygamy, polyandry and a helpful infographic of the wives of Joseph Smith.

The next link is to FAIR- a site considered to be friendly to tough LDS questions. They define polyandry, discuss how it relates to Joseph’s marriages and then give links to other questions you may have about polyandry in general.

Following that is a link to a FAIR conference talk by Brian Hales who is known for his research into polygamy and polyandry and has released a couple of books exploring the topics. While I disagree with his conclusions (and so do most notable historians) it’s still relevant information if you want a well rounded picture about polyandry.

Then there is a youtube video, an article from Dialogue, and a blog post by Times and Seasons.

Eighth on the list is LDS.org.

So maybe there is a search result on LDS.org that the search function before didn’t find! So I clicked on it. This is what came back.

The exact same search I’d already done on LDS.org.

There is some text in the Google search under that result that says this:

LDS Mormons do not currently practice polygamy, polygyny, nor polyandry. The principles of this biblical practice were revealed to Joseph Smith Jr. from 1831.

So if you want to know what polyandry is- or why it’s relevant to the history of the church lds.org won’t tell you anything. It doesn’t even say it was practiced by Joseph Smith- just that the principles were revealed to him.

What you will find is:

The Church has revamped the search function and features to include Google’s powerful search technology, harnessing its signature ability to find relevant information.

So relevant information? What does that mean?

It means that the church is still hiding information the best they can. It means that knowledge is power- and the church- LDS Inc. is trying to take that power away from you.

When are they going to stop trying to hide the truth and just come clean? When are they going to start being ‘honest with their fellowmen’?

recopied from: http://journeyofloyaldissent.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/6/

3 Meetings with an LDS General Authority, 2012/2013 ~ Grant H. Palmer
April 6, 2013
The following very interesting memorandum was received recently from Grant H. Palmer, the renowned LDS historian, and is shared here with his permission.

Please leave your comments below:

Three Meetings with a LDS General Authority, 2012- 2013

Grant H. Palmer

In mid-October 2012, a returned LDS Mission President contacted me to arrange a meeting. Several days later, he called again and said that a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy also wished to attend. He said the General Authority would attend on condition that I not name him or repeat any stories that would identify him. He explained that neither of them, including the GA’s wife, believed the founding claims of the restoration were true. He clarified that they had read my book, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, and had concluded that the LDS Church was not true; was not what it claimed to be. The GA often went to the MormonThink.com website for information and there discovered my book. The Mission President said he received my book from the GA.

We have at this writing met three times. We first met on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 and again February 14, 2013 at my house. On March 26, 2013 we convened at the GAs house. Upon entering my home for the first meeting the GA said, “We are here to learn.” I recognized him. He has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for a number of years. He has served in several high profile assignments during this period. The following are the more important statements made by the GA during our first three meetings. We now meet monthly.

He said that each new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is given one million dollars to take care of any financial obligations they have. This money gift allows them to fully focus on the ministry. He said that the overriding consideration of who is chosen is whether they are “church broke,” meaning, will they do whatever they are told. He said the senior six apostles make the agenda and do most of the talking. The junior six are told to observe, listen and learn and really only comment if they are asked. He said that it takes about two to three years before the new apostle discovers that the church is not true. He said it took Dieter F. Uchtdorf a little longer because he was an outsider. He said they privately talk among themselves and know the foundational claims of the restoration are not true, but continue on boldly “because the people need it,” meaning the people need the church. When the Mission President voiced skepticism and named ___ as one who surely did believe, The GA said: “No, he doesn’t.” The one million dollar gift, plus their totally obedient attitude makes it easy for them to go along when they find out the church is not true. For these reasons and others, he doesn’t expect any apostle to ever expose the truth about the foundational claims.

When I asked the GA how he knew these things, he answered by saying that the Quorum of the Twelve today is more isolated from the Quorums of the Seventies now because there are several of them. When only one Quorum of the Seventy existed, there was more intimacy. During his one on one assignments with an apostle, conversations were more familiar. He said that none of the apostles ever said to him directly that they did not believe; but that it was his opinion based on “my interactions with them.” Also, that none of the Twelve want to discuss “truth issues,” meaning issues regarding the foundational claims of the church. He said that the apostle’s lives are so completely and entirely enmeshed in every detail of their lives in the church, that many of them would probably die defending the church rather than admit the truth about Joseph Smith and the foundations of the church.

The GA stated that my disciplinary action (which would have occurred on the final Sunday of October 2010 had I not resigned), was mandated/ordered/approved by the First Presidency of the Church. I said that if the apostles know the church is not true and yet order a disciplinary hearing for my writing a book that is almost certainly true regarding the foundational claims of the church, then they are corrupt even evil. He replied, “That’s right!”

The GA said the church is like a weakened dam. At first you don’t see cracks on the face; nevertheless, things are happening behind the scenes. Eventually, small cracks appear, and then the dam will “explode.” When it does, he said, the members are going to be “shocked” and will need scholars/historians like me to educate them regarding the Mormon past.

The Mission President and the GA both said they attend church every Sunday and feel like “a hypocrite and trapped.” The GA said his ward treats him like a king and when he gives firesides and speaks to LDS congregations they have high expectations of him. He would like to do more in getting the truth out besides raising a few questions when speaking and gifting my book to others when feeling comfortable. Perhaps this is why he has reached out to me. The GA is a man of integrity and very loving. Upon leaving each time, he always gives me a big hug.

Do the Following Statements Support the Disclosures of the GA?

Apostle Boyd K. Packer said to Michael Quinn when interviewing him for a history position at BYU in 1976, “I have a hard time with historians because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting, it destroys,” quoted in, Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History, editor, George D. Smith, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992), 76n22.

Gregory Prince, who wrote a seminal biography of President David O. McKay, related to me that when he interviewed Hugh Nibley, a professor at BYU in 1995, that “At one point in the interview he [Nibley] asked that I turn off the tape recorder, which I did. He then related a curious anecdote relating to McKay and the Book of Mormon,” indicating that McKay did not believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon (emails exchanged between me and Greg Prince on June 22, 2005. These documents are located in The Grant H. Palmer Papers, Accn 2071, Manuscripts Division, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah).

Thomas Stuart Ferguson, a California lawyer, church member and avid amateur archeologist, took the Egyptian papyri that was gifted to the church in 1967 to several Egyptologists at Berkeley, and as I recall Brown University and had them independently translated. All said the papyri were common funerary rites from the Book of the Dead. Ferguson then took their statements to apostle Hugh B. Brown, and after reviewing the evidence “with Brother Brown he said that Brother Brown agreed with him that it was not scripture …. that Hugh B. Brown did not believe the Book of Abraham was what the church said it was” (Journal entry of Ronald O. Barney concerning Thomas Stuart Ferguson on 19 April, 1984. Barney, now retired, worked at the LDS Library and Archives at Church headquarters, in Salt Lake City). Ferguson also said the same to Gerald and Sandra Tanner on December 2, 1970: “Mr. Ferguson had just visited with Mormon apostle Hugh B. Brown before coming to our house, and said that Brown has also come to the conclusion that the Book of Abraham was false” (Letter of Gerald Tanner to Dee Jay Nelson, December 10, 1970, published by Modern Microfilm Co., SLC, Utah).

Copied from: http://letwomenpray.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-short-timeline-on-women-and-general.html

SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2013

A (short) timeline on women and General Conference

1967- July- The “Priesthood Bulletin”, a church-wide newsletter for priesthood leadership, prohibits women from praying in sacrament meeting. (“Mormon Hierarchy-Extensions of Power”, By D. Michael Quinn)

1968- General Handbook of Instructions, pp 44- “Prayers in Church Meetings Prayers in all Church meetings should be brief, simple, and given as led by the spirit by the one who is voice. Their content should pertain to the particular matter at hand. Brethren holding the Melchizedek or Aaronic Priesthood should offer the prayers in sacrament meetings, including fast and testimony meetings. Those praying should use the pronoun forms of Thy, Thee, Thine, Thou in addressing the Lord.”

1975- June- Ensign, “News of the Church”- “Prayers in Sacrament and Priesthood Meetings: Attention is called to the following instruction which appeared in the July-August 1967 Priesthood Bulletin. The First Presidency recommends that only those who bear the Melchizedek Priesthood or Aaronic Priesthood be invited to offer the opening and closing prayers in sacrament meetings, including fast meetings. This also applies to priesthood meetings.” https://www.lds.org/ensign/1975/08/news-of-the-church?lang=eng

1978- November- Ensign, “News of the Church”- At a Regional Representatives seminar on September 29 President Kimball said- “The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have determined that there is no scriptural prohibition against sisters offering prayers in sacrament meetings. It was therefore decided that it is permissible for sisters to offer prayers in any meetings they attend, including sacrament meetings, Sunday School meetings, and stake conferences. Relief Society visiting teachers may offer prayers in homes that they enter in fulfilling visiting teaching assignments.” http://www.lds.org/ensign/1978/11/news-of-the-church?lang=eng

1980- The general presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary are invited to sit on the stand during general conference. (“Lengthen Your Stride”, Edward L. Kimball, pp. 167)

2010- Church Handbook of Instructions – “Men and women may offer both opening and closing prayers in Church meetings.” – http://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/meetings-in-the-church?lang=eng#185

2010- November, Ensign, “Because of Your Faith”, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland- “Not one of us could serve without your prayers and without your support.”- https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/because-of-your-faith?lang=eng

2011- May, Ensign, “LDS Women Are Incredible!”, Elder Quentin L. Cook- “From our earliest history both men and women pray, perform the music, give the sermons, and sing in the choir, even in sacrament meeting, our most sacred meeting.” http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/lds-women-are-incredible?lang=eng

2013- Letters are sent to General Authorities, asking that women be allowed to pray in General Conference.

Opened on December 21, 2012

This petition is designed to demonstrate the level of support there is within the Mormon Community for a change in the leadership’s approach to dealing with the difficult questions in Church history.

Please sign & promote this petition so we get the attention from those who can make a difference.(The Mormon Community includes everyone & anyone who is still a member or who has been a member in the past & still feels they identify with this community)

THE PROCLAMATION FOR TRUTH
To the First Presidency & Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We, as members of said Church, give this our Proclamation:
Let it be known that we twelve members of the Church represent many thousands of other members all over the world who are honest, faithful & sincere. We, in good conscience, have served faithfully in the Church giving much of our time, talents & financial resources to build up the Church, believing it to be the Kingdom of God on earth. Many of us have served faithfully with all our hearts, might, mind & strength all our lives.
WHEREAS, we believe in honesty & integrity, we expect God’s Kingdom on earth to be led by God’s authorised servants who epitomise these same values in their leadership. Yet we find it is not so. We find instead that loyalty & obedience is valued more highly by them than integrity to the truth.
WHEREAS, we believe in truth, we expect the Church of the One True God to be built on truth. We expect no pretence, nor corruption, only honesty & openness, having nothing to hide, displaying a willingness & desire to declare all the facts in a full & frank disclosure. Yet we find an unwillingness to discuss difficult areas of Church history, with the excuse that some aspects of Church history are not faith promoting.
WHEREAS, we expect that when the Church claims to be “The One and Only True Church of Jesus Christ on the face of the whole earth”, we expect the Church bases this claim on facts which are true & verifiable. There should be no truth claim which under the ‘full light of day’ is proven to be otherwise. Yet we find many of the truth claims to be based not on substantive facts, but on an altered narrative crucially lacking in historical accuracy, with uncomfortable, yet context altering details suspiciously ignored, even hidden from the membership.
WHEREAS, we have been perpetually taught that the divine authority of God had been established through the restoration of the Holy Priesthood with the calling of Prophets & Apostles, therefore we trusted that God would lead & direct his servants. It followed that when prophets, seers & revelators, addressed us under inspiration, their words would be the mind & will of God. We were assured that God would never let them lead the Church astray. Yet we find many failed or changed prophetic pronouncements of the past suspiciously declared as “folklore” & just “personal opinion”.
WHEREAS, many faithful members are seekers after truth & desperate to receive honest, full & frank answers to their sincere questions, we find that instead of being assisted, they are ignored at best, or at worst ostracized for simply wanting to know the full facts about the origins of their Church. In most cases Stake Presidents & Bishops are ill-equipped to answer their questions.
Brother Chris Ralph from the UK recently sent two Open Letters to the Europe Area Presidency with vital questions which needed to be answered in order for the authority of the Church to continue to be justified in its claim to be of divine origin. The Open Letters were sent to the Europe Area Presidency in August and October and as of now remain not only unresolved, but without response. As a group of twelve concerned members we also sent a letter to the Area Presidency on the 3rd December pleading for a response. We have received no response.
Therefore, we APPEAL to the highest authority of the Church for answers to these vital questions. Brethren your response to these questions will not only show sincere concern, but could potentially resolve the painful religious trauma syndrome many members suffer from as a result of the cognitive dissonance they face as they encounter historical facts completely in contradiction with the story told them by the Church. We can attest that the pain we and many, many others are experiencing upon discovering that our faith is not based on truth, is an emotion akin to feeling like we have been deceived by those we respect & love.
Brethren, we DECLARE this day, the 21st December 2012, that without a formal public pronouncement of the answers to these crucial questions in a full, frank & honest manner, that you as leaders of this Church be held responsible for the continued wilful deception of many millions of faithful Church members. The Church membership needs its leaders to show integrity, humility & absolute honesty if this Church is to continue to provide the sense of purpose & security which the faithful members deserve.
Belief in a fanciful lie, no matter how consoling, is a damnable false hope. The Church can continue to provide security & meaning for its followers, but only if it is based on truth. Please consider your positions of trust & have the integrity we all hope you have by telling us the truth we need to hear, rather than just hoping we will all just go away. We will not go away, and there are thousands of others also ready to speak as we do. Truth will win out in the end, we hope you have the courage to follow that truth no matter where it may lead.
We affirm to you that humility, honesty, integrity & authenticity is a far greater & more rewarding path to follow than blind obedience & meaningless loyalty can ever be.
Yours faithfully
Martha Bache
David Bloor
Steve Bloor
Jeremy Brown
Lisa Campbell
Pip Chapman
Damian Mitchell
Tim Morgan
Tom Phillips
Sophia Ralph
Ted Ralph
Ken Smith
 

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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