Former Mormon Letter to a CES Director-Great Resource

So I was Googling some information about the Salamander Letter (it was being discussed on another forum, so I decided to find out more about it) when I happened upon this letter. I’m pretty sure that I had seen it discussed elsewhere when it first came out, but I’m only now going through it. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the major issues many disaffected Latter-day Saints have on issues surrounding Mormon history, scriptures, and doctrine. “CES” stands for “Church Educational System”. The letter is written by a man that was a lifelong, active, believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who researched these matters, including the responses given by LDS apologetic resources such as FAIR and FARMS/MI, and I’m guessing he left the Church, or at the very least no longer believes.

I think that this letter (which is more like a short book), along with the Mormon Think website, are great resources. I also agree with his implication on the lack of helpfulness of FAIR and FARMS/MI responses to difficult issues (especially FAIR), and how, more times than not, they open the door to more questions than answers (I also looked at FAIR’s response to this letter, and was amused by many of the answers, especially the one about how KJV Bible errors find themselves in the Divinely translated Book of Mormon text).

A Letter to a CES Director-Why I Lost My Testimony

I agree that these are great resources. MormonThink is such a fantastic resource and helped me study my way out. It is very well documented and allows Mormon leaders, FAIR, FARMS/MI to speak for themselves, which is enough to help guide individuals out of Mormonism.

BTW, I checked out your blog and found it very good and informative. Even though you were not Mormon for very long, you understand the faith system well. I will be following your blog regularly as I found it helpful for me as I learn about Catholicism.

Thanks LWs especially for the link to the 1835 D&C, I’ve been finding it difficult to see a copy. Also have found The Articles and Covenants 1830, probably a forerunner to the 1833 Book of Commandments and the D&C. In this document an elder is said to administer the flesh and blood of our Lord according to the scriptures. Interesting no? These documents are all available via the link in the letter. Fantastic resource, I hope this person went on to find God following his loss of faith in Mormonism

Do you think the leadership will ever face up to any of this, or will they still let everyone form their own opinion.

I’ll admit I didn’t read all 77 pages, but I don’t think you have to in order to get the picture. Pretty devastating stuff for the mormon faith.

I’ve also found the 1828 Webster’s dictionary to be useful. An example is the word “cement” in the Book of Mormon, which Book of Mormon critics have used as evidence of something wrong with the Book of Mormon. However, “cement” is not synonymous with “concrete”, and people today make an erroneous assumption that the two words mean the same thing. So, this particular criticism I’ve found to be based on misunderstanding the language of the time, and not understanding there is a difference between cement and concrete.

It has been important to me to know the accuracy of ideas, thus the meaning behind words. One of the ways the KJV and Mormonism is disassociated is by the fact that Smith used 19th century American English understanding of 17th Century Elizabethan English words and phrases. Modern English speakers make the same mistake sometimes, both with the language of the KJV, and the language of Smith’s time.

What I find extremely amusing, are LDS apologetics that continue with the erroneous idea that cement=concrete, and fabricate a whole line of reasoning surrounding “cement” using words and ideas that describe “concrete”. :stuck_out_tongue:

I would be interested to read any LDS response to the points made? Is there a specific response to the points addressed to the doubful mormon?

And where is the doubter now, so to speak? Seaching?

Cement…is usually the binder…and concrete is the result of the binder…as I understand in construction speak…:smiley:

When cement is used, the product is termed PCC-Portland Cement Concrete or plainly…“Concrete” and when oil or asphalt is used as the binder…it is termed AC-Asphalt Concrete.

You have hit on something very key when discussing things with mormons. You have to make sure everyone is using the same definition of words.

With that being said, I’m sure the 1828 Webster’s definition for “polygamy” is the same as the 2013. :smiley:

Thank you! I hope to write an article at least every 2 weeks. I’m really glad you find it helpful. I also find it helpful for myself to just get my thoughts out in an organized fashion.

And yeah, although I was LDS for a few years, I immersed myself in it the whole time. I really believed it (I “knew” it was true), and loved being Mormon and identifying as such. I went to church for all 3 hours every Sunday, participated, had callings which I magnified (my last was Elders Quorum President), went to Institute, FHE, attended the temple frequently, prayed, read my scriptures, watched General Conference, etc. I gave talks in church, regional YSA conferences, and stake conference. I read multiple articles on FAIR and FARMS/MI, in addition to books through them, as well. Many in real life were surprised that I was a new member and knew so much :D.

Not sure where he is. He could still very much be in the LDS Church still, just doubting and remaining for various reasons (as many do).

Yes, FAIR did respond to it, pretty much with their standard answers:

en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Online_documents/Letter_to_a_CES_Director

I was amused by this:

From “A Letter to a CES Director”
The author asks, "What are 1769 King James Version edition errors doing in the Book of Mormon? An ancient text? Errors which are unique to the 1769 edition that Joseph Smith owned?"

Short Answer

The only description of the translation process that Joseph Smith ever gave was that it was performed by the "gift and power of God," and that the translation was performed using the "Urim and Thummim." Since Joseph translated in the open using the stone and the hat, and witnesses never reported that a Bible or any other book was present during the translation, the only conclusion that we can reach to explain the presence of Bible passages which match the King James Version is that the Lord revealed them to Joseph in that manner. We do not know the reason for this. *

:confused: Which leads to more questions…why would God reveal error in the first place?

And i found this too:

Quotes to consider

In case anyone from FAIR is unclear I will repeat what I wrote four years ago…“IF A SMALL GROUP OF ISRAELITES ENTERED SUCH A MASSIVE NATIVE POPULATION (SEVERAL MILLIONS) IT WOULD BE VERY, VERY HARD TO DETECT THEIR GENES.” Now that FAIR has finally conceded that American Indian DNA is essentially all derived from Asia, I also agree with them that the debate should be about the theology.
—Dr. Simon Southerton, “Finally, I agree with LDS scientists-apologists,” posting to an ex-Mormon discussion board, Sept. 6, 2008. (emphasis in original)

:eek: So it looks like the first revelation was wrong as to the descendants…and now it is correct?

I do not believe this was an actual letter. It looks more like a pamphlet against the LDS Church.

Not that I disagree with the content…

I just do not believe it was an actual letter

These are the conversation you have when your spouse is a civil engineer. :stuck_out_tongue:

The LDS apologists call lime stucko over adobe bricks, ancient American “cement”. :rolleyes:

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