Another question to Former Mormons (and others).

Another question to Former Mormons (and others).

There are numerous folks here who identify themselves explicitly as former Mormons or ex-LDS. The bulk of the narratives offered by these folks is that they left the CoJCoLDS because they learned it was not God’s church as they became exposed to information they didn’t know before they left.

All the “problems” I see discussed on this board (and in other places I read and/or participate in) are problems I became aware of before I read of them here and usually years ago. I have interacted with numerous folks who like me have sought out the biggest issues and integrated them into their believing framework. In contrast to this group of folks, numerous folks here and elsewhere didn’t integrate these problems into their believing framework, but instead left the CoJCoLDS.
Why the different responses?

For this discussion, I would like to ask that everyone be as respectful as possible, but I do not want to leave things out. I will not get offended and storm off with what you offer (though I may suggest that what you offer is not correct).

If you must (though I think it will be pointless) you can produce a laundry list of problems, but I am really only interested in exploring why you think this list of problems created disbelief for you and does not create disbelief for me. What is different about us leading to different results?

Charity, TOm

For me Tom, it wasnt so much problems (my leaving was pre-internet) as it was sitting in sacrament meeting that was on temples and temple ordinances.

I sat there and said to myself, “Marie you dont believe this. You dont believe that sealings are necessary in order for a family to be a family forever. What binds a family is love, not an ordinance”

(Truth be told, only Mormons believe that families have the potential of not being eternal. That is unique to Mormonism as far as I can tell)

So since I no longer believed in a basic and foundational doctrine of Mormonism, I realized I was no longer a Mormon in thought or belief. So I left.

It would have bothered my conscience to remain in a church I no longer believed in.

It would be later that the problems with JS, BoM, BoA, etc etc would come to my attention. But in essence, it was a moot point by then. I had stopped believing in the doctrines themselves years prior.

This of course isn’t unique to Mormonism. Insert the name of any other religion, and you will have people saying the same things as you did above. There are many ex-Catholics that claim a list of “problems” with the Church, and many believing Catholics that are well aware of the “problems” and are still Catholic. Why is that? Because people have different ways of rationalizing things, some valid, some invalid. It’s really that simple, at least to me.

For me, I don’t see the LDS Church as being what it claims. First and foremost, I find no scriptural basis for a total apostasy of Christ’s Church, the Kingdom of God. Absolutely nowhere do I find such a thing. The verses that are usually referenced either point to something during OT times, apostasies of people, etc, but nothing claiming that there will be a day when the Kingdom of God will not be found (that it was lost), that the priesthood is gone, etc. Once I realized this, I knew I couldn’t be LDS, despite how much I loved being so, and whether or not other things make more sense to me there than elsewhere (for example, I still find the LDS view of only the “true church” being able to perform valid ordinances, including baptism, to be more compelling to me than the view that other churches not in full communion with the true church, such as the Orthodox, being able to perform valid sacraments).

The LDS prophets, seers, and revelators simply don’t seem to function as Biblical prophets, let alone as Joseph Smith did. They seem no different than non-prophet leaders of other faiths. I have seen many LDS attempt to rationalize this, but none of that made sense to me, nor did it fit with what one expects with having a “living prophet” to guide the world.

I loved the temple. I loved being able to go to a place where only other believers of the faith could go (compared to all the tourists milling around St. Patrick’s Cathedral :D), and I sort of felt a connection to ancient Judaism, what with washing and anointing, clothing, etc. I enjoyed the connection to the New Testament with baptism for the dead. But then, I realized the clear Masonic origins of the Endowment (check out the new Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism), and to me, none of this was really a restoration of what the ancient/primitive Christian Church was doing. Now, some LDS apologists will refer to writings by Margaret Barker and such, but reading those things convinced me of the truth of Catholic liturgical rites, and that Catholicism really is in continuity with ancient Judaism and the Temple, and not Mormonism and its Endowment, which finds more in common with Freemasonry. Again, many believing LDS will come up with ways to rationalize the presence of direct borrowing from Freemasonry.

So, what we see here is that people have different ways of rationalizing things. For a time, I put things on the “mental shelf”. The priesthood/temple ban of blacks in the LDS church was one such thing. Many LDS are of the view that “well, I don’t understand why, but I’m sure there’s a good reason, and hopefully one day we’ll know it”. I guess that works for them.

I really did like what I call the “missionary version” of Mormonism: apostles, prophets, temples, priesthood restored, continuing revelation, etc. But once I started getting under that surface and what all of that really meant, I came to the conclusion that it was just a facade, and true Christianity was never lost, and has always been here, in the Catholic Church, and that many of the things I loved about Mormonism, especially the temple, are found right in Catholicism, and I didn’t even really realize it, even if I subconsciously knew it.

I’m sort of the opposite of Marie here. My journey was to discover what I believed, and why I believed it. As I discovered that there was no good foundation or reason to believe some things, I changed and grew.

For example, it’s pretty clear that baptism is a required earthly ordinance. “Love binds families” is a nice and comforting thought, but the precedent of baptism sort of deflated my belief of “it should just be possible with love”.

I can totally understand Marie’s position. Doubt is a part of life. Resolving doubt is critical to spiritual growth. Unresolved doubt festers, halts spiritual growth, and causes problems.

I don’t know the answer to your question, Tom. I’ve watched people like Marie grow away from something and into something else, and pass people growing in the opposite direction. One could say that I questioned and grew my way back into the LDS church.

=TOmNossor;12112815]Another question to Former Mormons (and others).

There are numerous folks here who identify themselves explicitly as former Mormons or ex-LDS. The bulk of the narratives offered by these folks is that they left the CoJCoLDS because they learned it was not God’s church as they became exposed to information they didn’t know before they left.

All the “problems” I see discussed on this board (and in other places I read and/or participate in) are problems I became aware of before I read of them here and usually years ago. I have interacted with numerous folks who like me have sought out the biggest issues and integrated them into their believing framework. In contrast to this group of folks, numerous folks here and elsewhere didn’t integrate these problems into their believing framework, but instead left the CoJCoLDS.
Why the different responses?

For this discussion, I would like to ask that everyone be as respectful as possible, but I do not want to leave things out. I will not get offended and storm off with what you offer (though I may suggest that what you offer is not correct).

If you must (though I think it will be pointless) you can produce a laundry list of problems, but I am really only interested in exploring why you think this list of problems created disbelief for you and does not create disbelief for me. What is different about us leading to different results?

Charity, TOm

Hi Tom,:slight_smile:

A midst all of this reconciling how have you or HAVE you reconciled your belies with Gods as taught in HIS Bible?

One God

Who can and DOES have just One set of Faith beliefs

Through just One Church/

ALL of which is both historically and Biblical.

I’m not trying to be difficult here, but am intrigue by your efforts to find God’s truth [singular]

God Bless you,
Patrick

Im curious NT, do you see baptism as an ordinance that binds people to one another?

I admit, even as a Mormon, I never believed that about baptism. I saw all the “binding”, according to LDS doctrines, as happening in the temple thru temple ordinance (or if people were BIC)

Is Mormon baptism considering a binding ordinance now? I dont recall that it was when I was LDS?

I’ve never thought of baptism in that way before, no. Baptism is a necessary ordinance of the gospel. No baptism (earthly ordinance) = no heaven.

Do Catholics see things differently? Can unbaptized souls enter into the presence of God and dwell with Him for eternity?

What matters to you in this discussion? Your question is, “Why the different responses?” What does that mean? Are you suggesting that everyone arrives at their understanding of Truth the same way?

It is as if someone could print a flyer, and if it’s done the right way with the right format, the right words - then they’ll reprogram their belief framework to be whatever was desired by the author of the flyer. And, this would somehow be printed by the millions and everyone would think the same thing.

Maybe it is just a cultural thing, but I can’t pick up your concern for finding the True God or Finding the True Truth.

Yes.

CCC 1281 Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).

But the idea of “binding one person to another” in order to be a family forever does not exist in any other church that I know of other than Mormonism.

The idea that family ties dont exist in heaven isnt even entertained. The idea that my family members stop being my family member after death files in the face of reason and logic if you ask me. :shrug:

With that I will drop it. Dont want to derail yet another thread on Mormomism and their doctrines and away from what TOm is asking about. :slight_smile:

Peace to you.

Souls can’t enter heaven without sanctifying grace, and baptism is the ordinary means God set up to give us that grace. However, we don’t believe He is incapable of working outside of the method he established.

If someone is unable through no fault of their own to receive baptism, then we believe God can still give them the grace necessary for heaven. He clearly did so with the Good Thief on the cross, who had no opportunity for baptism, and yet was promised to be taken into heaven that day.

Here’s the relevant passage from the Catechism if you’re interested:

1257 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.”** God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.**

I think that is significant (the bold) in understanding. Mormons tend to think it’s the ordinances themselves that save, where as Catholics see the Sacraments as the means to the grace needed to sanctify

The idea of the LDS ordinance bestowing graces in order to be saved doesnt really exist. Or didnt when I was LDS.

Never talked about grace when I was LDS. The concept, as far as I remember, didnt exist.

For me, then end started at Palmyra. So many anti Mormons at the pageant.

I decided to study to be able to respond to all of them.

I went to obtain as many LDS history and doctrine books as I could.

First, I read JS’ diary. I found so many different versions of his first vision. As a law student studying testimony, this did not, and still does not, seem possible. How can someone who sees God not remember the facts? How old he was? What was said? Who was there? Major facts that should be easy to remember if it really happened.

While studying this, I saw a show about the Masons. It discussed the Masonic temple ceremony. I was in shock. It was the LDS temple ceremony! How could that be? He stole that?

Then I discovered that God was once a sinful man.

It just kept building.

Then I read about Hoffman and discovered that, not only were the “prophets” fooled…they lied and cheated.

I went to my bishop and was chastised for reading these books…even though most were LDS books. I was told to not ask questions.

Then, to help, I called my cousin, Dean Jessee, the LDS Historian. THE LDS Historian. The head cheese. I told him my issues. I then asked for ANY evidence the Book of Mormon was true. He said there is none. There never will be. I had to pray and ask for spiritual evidence.

It was too much. Testimony was gone.

(TK, you were part of the pageant? I was part of the cast '82,'83 and 84)

No. I went to Palmyra three times. 1986, 1987, 1989. in 89, I was there during the pageant.

Ah, ok :slight_smile:

For Catholics, baptism is the sacrament by which we become members of God’s Family. In that way, we are bound to each other through Christ. When we really think about sealing, and think of how generations are sealed together, it really doesn’t work out as imagined (an eternal nuclear family unit).

Although the normative means of salvation includes being baptized, Catholics don’t believe that God is bound by His own sacraments. We believe that God can provide the baptismal grace to those who, under certain circumstances, were unable to receive a valid baptism in this life.

TOm,

I was born and raised in the LDS church. In my soul, I always knew that men and women are equal before God. When I learned about the doctrine of polygamy, I struggled with reconciling the inherent equality of the sexes before God with polygamy which always seemed inherently unequal and unfair to me. I struggled for a very long time with the doctrine of polygamy and the actual treatment of women in the LDS church.

I hated the Young Women’s program. I found it uninteresting and boring. I found the scouting program that the boys did far more interesting. I really wanted to do a scouting program instead of YW but was not able to because I am female. It bothered me that the entire focus of teaching in YW was marriage and family. I was never interested in marriage and family. I always wanted to go to college and have a career and see the world. I struggled with the fact that who I am never fit into the LDS god’s plan. If I were to follow that plan, I would have to pretend to be someone I am not.

Then I graduated from BYU with bachelor’s and master’s degrees unmarried. I went through the temple so I could attend the temple wedding of my younger sister (4 years my junior). It bothered me that I was washed and anointed to become a queen and a priestess to my nonexistent husband but not to God. It bothered me that I covenanted to obey my nonexistent husband and not God. It bothered me that I covenanted to give everything to the LDS church and not God. It bothered me that in the sealing covenant a woman gives herself to her husband but he never gives himself to her. I found it highly insulting that as a woman, I needed a husband to get to God. It went against the inherent equality I knew men and women have before God.

I spent many years in Young Single Adult ward hell. I was treated like an ugly old maid by the LDS men in my YSA ward. I could not get positive male attention to save my life. My male friends at work were shocked that I was active in my church’s YSA program but never had a boyfriend in my 20’s. Random men at the store would tell me how beautiful I am. I got plenty of positive male attention everywhere except for at church where I was attending with supposed men of God who were supposed to know of my worth as a daughter of God.

I ached and suffered immensely because I firmly believed that I would end up being someone’s plural wife in the celestial kingdom. I was starting to “understand” polygamy better. How else was I supposed to get married and be exalted if it wasn’t for polygamy? It hurt and I felt sick just thinking about it. Finally when I was 29, I met my husband. My husband still has a hard time believing that the men in my YSA ward never found me attractive. :wink:

I read Rough Stone Rolling and learned some things about Joseph Smith that I had never heard in my 30+ years in the LDS church, including seminary and BYU religion classes. What bothered me the most was the peep stone and the polyandry. I finally got to the point where I had to know how polygamy was really practiced. I learned the ugly truth about polygamy and polyandry. I found the stories of Helen Mar Kimball and Zina Jacobs to be the most compelling and sad.

The LDS church claims to be a restoration of the ancient church of God and all things had to be restored including polygamy. However, never in the Bible is polygamy a good thing and polyandry / wife stealing was always wrong. Also there are no examples in the Bible of a prophet exchanging eternal salvation for marriage to a very young girl.

I left the LDS church because its teachings of polygamy, the practice of polyandry and the general treatment of women go against the inherent dignity of women. I also realized the LDS church lied to me about these and many other issues. Sorry, but I don’t trust anyone who lies to me.

You go, girl.
If most take the time, really take the time to research and use critical thinking skills, I don’t know how they cannot come to the realization that you did (the bold).

Thanks for sharing your more detailed story. :slight_smile:

I might be an outlier, but my departure from Mormonism didn’t result from finding out about the dark aspects of LDS history. I had actually been raised knowing about a lot of them. Rather, I took up a study of Christian ethics, philosophy, history, and aesthetics and found the truth claims of Nicene Christianity to be more compelling than those of Mormonism. The saints of the Orthodox/ Catholic church spoke to me much more, as did authors like Chesterton and Lewis. In comparison, Mormon writings seemed quite bland.

That being said, delving more into Mormon history, theology, and philosophy have further confirmed that my departure was the right decision. I don’t see how a person can know about all the problematic elements of Mormonism’s founding and still believe without doing some serious mental gymnastics.

I too left long before the internet existed, long before I read anything that Mormons would call “anti-Mormon”. I just didn’t believe what Mormonism was teaching me, starting with, dark skin being a curse from God and the indigenous people of the Americas having roots in the Mideast. I didn’t believe those two things at a young age, before I was 16 years old.

Finding those teachings to be false, I questioned everything I was being taught. Polygamy bothered me, and it is my family history, not just Mormon church history. My family was proud of those polygamist ancestors who were so brave to practice plural marriage. I found it creepy, uncomfortable, not something that was brave but a type of family dysfunction.

Those were my thoughts, before I hit my 19th birthday. I was still living at home, and so had to keep up appearances of believing. I was able to keep to attending sacrament meeting, but able to skip the rest of the block without too much hassle.

When I moved out of my parent’s home, I stopped participating in Mormonism, entirely. The occasional visiting teacher would come by through the years, one show up still now and then at my door, which I also find to be a sign of dysfunctional thought and actions. Really? I haven’t participated in Mormonism for over thirty years. Adds to the why? of what Mormons are thinking.

Long before the internet, I mail ordered my first non-LDS publication that was a historical account of Joseph Smith. That was the first time I read of the “problems”, what I would call FACTS. I was dumbfounded really. Couldn’t believe that all those years growing up in a Mormon family, a Mormon state, a Mormon city, a Mormon school, a Mormon everything, I had never heard that Smith had been arrested, or that he made up a translation of the false Kinderhood plates, or that a bank failed under his leadership and suspicious circumstances, etc. etc. etc. I had a real sense of having been lied to, for my entire life. I still, to this day, don’t really trust a true believing Mormon. The lies come too easy, and are packaged too kindly. I can’t stop thinking, every word is a lie. Sorry, but that is the way it is.

But I was already out by then, and just found those facts to enforce my view of Mormonism as unbelievable.

Long after the internet, around 2000 or so, is the first time I searched for anything Mormon related and found both pro Mormon sites and sites critical of Mormonism. I read both sides, the Mormon side mainly trying to understand why Mormons stay, Mormon.

After a good long decade of trying to figure that one out, I finally just chalked up to, “Mormons believe”. Period. No other explanation exists but that. There is no reasoning, lots of going by emotion, and plenty of rationalizations. But no reasoning.

So the root “problem” with Mormonism is, it is irrational. What is taught, what is believed, what is practiced. All, irrational.

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