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ChooseTheWright
Post  Post subject: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:42 am
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Let it first be known that I'm not actually a huge Phoenix Wright fan (though I've played the games and enjoyed them well-enough), but I figured my name would be a fun play-on-words for this place; the avatar completes the pun.

About myself:

I sent my resignation to Church HQ back in 2007, and I've never looked back. Nowadays I'll generally identify myself to family and friends as a skeptic, but if I had to put a label to myself I would be what you call an "agnostic atheist". I'm active duty in the Air Force and married with one cat. I also have a daughter from a previous marriage who lives with her mother back in the mother land: Utah. Don't worry, folks! My ex-wife is an ex-Mormon like myself, so I have no fears of her indoctrinating our child.

I read the intro rules, and I see that my deconversion story is in order. :) I can't promise I won't rehash things that most of you have probably heard before, but I promise to try and make it interesting as well as not too long.

The Story

I've always been one to try and make sense of the world, and every since childhood the only way I could ever do so was to only accept good evidence. My inquisitive nature led me to constantly ask deep, probing questions concerning just about everything. I was born and raised in a de facto Mormon family, and even though doubts about my own religion persisted all the way until I served a mission in Poland, I found ways to suppress the urge to bring up controversy and to become the TBM those around me wanted me to be.

"Still, if the Church is supposed to be perfect," I found myself thinking sometimes, "then why are its teachings so discordant at times? Why was science, a practice that objectively tests the natural world for accurate results, so at odds with the teachings of the scriptures?" These kinds of questions never stayed buried for long, and, boy, am I glad for that!

I read the Book of Mormon multiple times while serving a mission in Poland, and I was on my third time through when I started noticing something strange about the way the book was written. The skeptic in me urged my brain not to investigate further, while the TBM in me attempted to convince me that Satan was trying to replace faith with doubt. As luck would have it my skeptical side won out, for I figured that Christ's true church would have nothing to hide, that it could withstand any sort of scrutiny if it really was true.

The strange thing I discovered within the Book of Mormon was obvious plagiarisms of the writings of the Bible. I'm not just talking about the way that Nephi supposedly penned Isaiah's cryptic words upon his small plates--though the fact that a supposedly perfect, divine translation by Joseph Smith would yield a less-than-stellar cut-and-paste of the KJV verses was certainly a bit off-putting--but there were BoM verses that nearly word-for-word echoed the prophets of the Bible using KJV-style prose.

Another odd phenomenon were the words of Jesus when he preached to the people of ancient America following his resurrection; he spoke the words of Matthew from the New Testament, which would make sense as the BoM is supposed to reflect doctrines and teachings already found in the Bible. However, I already knew that the writers of the four gospels wrote their accounts well after Jesus' crucifixion...we're talking years/decades later, of course. Those gospels are second-hand accounts, not court minutes, so Jesus was saying things that he probably never once uttered in those exact words. This was yet another cut-and-paste job, but this time there was a serious mistake.

I panicked at first, and then I attempted mental gymnastics to try and overcome this demonstrable error in a book that is supposed to be perfect. I came up with a strange scenario where the resurrected Christ, having perfect knowledge of past, present, and future events, instead of using the words he would have actually said during his sermon on the mount (which he would have remembered perfectly), he decided to use Matthew's words (which were no doubt remembered and written down imperfectly). This was done so that when the gold plates were found and translated by Joseph Smith Jr., we would have an account available to us with which we would be more familiar, as we were learning the scriptures through the verses of the KJV Bible at that time. I mean, who was I to doubt god's ultimate wisdom, right? Such was my sudden rationalization, but it didn't give me the comfort one would think it should have.

I finished out my mission (I wasn't even halfway through it when my strange discovery about the BoM occurred), but my scripture studies no longer brightened my day. I was finding more and more to contend with. My knowledge of natural science conflicted greatly with the creation story and the deluge. The story of how Martin Harris lost the 116 pages kept coming to mind; the way Joseph just happened to find inserted within Mormon's abridged record the Small Plates of Nephi in order to cover those lost writings began to sound dubious, not wondrous. My testimony--if I ever had one, I would sometimes think to myself--was floundering.

My best friend at the time was genuinely worried for me while I was away in Poland, so he took it upon himself to research the Mormon Church using that new-fangled tool called the internet. When I returned home, he confronted me about so many things I had never even heard of, such as the Adam-God doctrine, Blood Atonement, Joseph Smith's criminal past, and much more. I was still in denial at this point and dismissed his "anti-Mormon propaganda" right away. The dispute we had ended our friendship, which I will always regret, as I have not been able to reconnect with him since the incident.

What he said may have struck a nerve that day, but the noise became so overpowering that attending Church became a detriment to my burdened mind. I stopped attending Sacrament Meeting soon after, but I vowed to return to the issue in due time, once I could sort out the details.

It wasn't until two years later that I picked myself up by my spiritual bootstraps to begin investigating that which had caused me to stop attending Church. My research into the Church was analytic this time around, and it finally opened up my mind to the possibility that Mormonism was not true. I think the lynch pin for my eventual resignation was the documentary that was published concerning the Book of Abraham and the deception surrounding its "translation" from papyri. This was damning evidence to truth I had once held dear, but instead of anger I felt relief. I could finally step away from it all and start over with a clean slate. Other things that helped was finding out about Native American DNA testing, the Temple ordinances' Masonic background, and absence of archaeological evidence for the BoM's mighty civilizations.

No one in my family followed me out, which was disheartening but not unexpected. My older sister was furious with me because she named my good example of serving a mission as the reason why she decided to become a stronger Mormon. My younger brother refused to listen to me, and my younger sister could not grasp the concept of someone leaving the Church. My mother listened to me, but she gave the excuse that she was old and set in her ways. My father stopped speaking to me for two years after he learned of my resignation; what hurt more was when he got excommunicated for numerous extra-marital affairs. He and I are on talking terms now, but he's aligned himself with the Tea Party and is incapable of rational thought nowadays.

I'm happily married to a fellow skeptic who is an ex Catholic herself, and life couldn't be more fulfilling any other way.

tl;dr version

Reason won out in the long run, and, by personal choice, I am no longer a member of the LDS Church--going on seven years now! I'm glad to see that a discussion forum like this exists, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know the posters here.

_________________
"Don't just teach your children to read... Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything." -George Carlin


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Rainfeather
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:00 am
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Glad to meet ya.

I've been out for 5 years now. Actually I think it's 5 years as of this month that I received my final "you're out" letter. The thread is on the forum somewhere. What a time that was. Took me months to get that dang letter.

When you first find out the truth about the Church, you want to tell everyone you know. You want to save all of your friends. But you quickly and sadly realize that they don't appreciate you trying to save them one bit. In fact, they only get angry with you and then they may downright shun you.

You realize that some people just seem to need the Church and they're best left alone.

You just concentrate on yourself and find your own happiness. I'm happy that you found what works best for you and that you're happily married to someone that you can relate to.

Those films on the Book of Abraham and the DNA were crucial to me as well. They helped me to go beyond just suspecting that the Church might not be what they purport it be, but that it absolutely, without doubt, was simply not true.

What a shocker that was! But a very freeing one at that.

_________________
"A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes


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ChooseTheWright
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:17 am
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What's great about those kinds of documentaries is their presentation style. Not once was it out to disprove Mormonism. All those scholars wanted to do was investigate certain claims as objectively as possible, and it ended up turning certain "truths" about the Church completely on their heads. The thing about the LDS church is that it has built itself up in such a way that either it's all true, or none of it is. Such a polarizing world view can cause an entire institution to fall like a house of cards.

_________________
"Don't just teach your children to read... Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything." -George Carlin


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Rainfeather
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:28 am
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Yes, they present their information thoughtfully and not with a loud jarring message which might turn people off from watching them.

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"A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes


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productofchoice
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:56 pm
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Welcome ChooseTheWright, Glad to meet you :)

Peace

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I resigned from the Church of THE Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Feb 2011)

"For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad." - Luke 8:17


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bikerace1
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:23 pm
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I have been a member my whole life but now I'm beginning to question some things. I'm am feeling pressure to marry etc. Why am I always getting callings when there re plenty of others who can do them? If I request to have my name removed will i be excomunicted?


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Melanie
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:27 pm
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No!

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Why leave? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 989OOSOycw
How to heal? http://media.blubrry.com/mormonexpressi ... ion225.mp3


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Rainfeather
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:52 pm
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No, even if they've already begun a Church court on you, as soon as you put in your resignation, it's supposed to stop and they just accept the resignation.

_________________
"A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes


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productofchoice
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:47 pm
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bikerace1 wrote:
I have been a member my whole life but now I'm beginning to question some things. I'm am feeling pressure to marry etc. Why am I always getting callings when there re plenty of others who can do them? If I request to have my name removed will i be excomunicted?


Why callings? because they need the help and they think that if they keep you busy you're more likely to stay active.

Ex? no. They won't excommunicate a person unless they feel like it's a defensive move. By that I mean that they would not do it unless you were actively trying to turn people away from the LDS church. The leadership really doesn't want to put their best and brightest in front of people with good questions that might require research and rebuttal.

Peace

_________________
I resigned from the Church of THE Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Feb 2011)

"For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad." - Luke 8:17


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ChooseTheWright
Post  Post subject: Re: Mormon-turned-skeptic  |  Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:39 pm
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Yes, this was a common conversation between me and other members during my time in the Church. "Brother/Sister so-and-so is a bit inactive lately; he/she needs a more rigorous calling in order to feel more like he/she belongs."

_________________
"Don't just teach your children to read... Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything." -George Carlin


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