Friday, July 24, 2009

A short farewell

I think it's time I end my time here at Recovering Mormonholic. I'm kind of over it. It was great for helping me sort through my thoughts and feelings for awhile, but I'm ready to move on. I'll still be visiting all of your blogs, and maybe I'll even start commenting more often! But for now, I'm done writing about it.

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to pop over to my regular blog: Rediscovering Me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

News

I haven't posted on this blog for awhile... I've been busy buying a house and getting engaged! Yay :-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tee-hee for Easter

My mom always hated Easter -- she thought the idea of a huge bunny hopping around leaving eggs was ridiculous. That Easter silliness has passed on to me, albeit in a more 'sacrilegious' form.

Click the picture to dress-up Jesus for all the different holidays!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pain

I have the site PostMormon.org bookmarked, but I rarely go to it. Well, yesterday I decided to browse around the forums, and ran across a thread titled "Why Mormons Can't Understand the Pain of Being Postmormon." It's a pretty old thread that keeps getting bumped, but wanted to share and write about something the original poster said.
This is the agony that faithful members of the church simply cannot understand. We have them visit us here periodically on the forum, challenging us on why it hurts to leave the church, and how everyone is free to believe whatever they want, the church doesn't hold a gun to anyone's head and make them attend or pay their tithing, blah, blah, blah. They have no idea what the real pain is. It's not their fault--they have not had this experience, and from their perspective, it makes no sense. They simply cannot wrap their minds around that which is not real to them.

The real pain is in the knowledge that in the eyes of your faithful Mormon friends and family members, you have failed. You don't measure up. They may continue to love you, but now you are the prodigal child. You have strayed from the fold, soiled the family name, and because they are good and righteous people, they will continue to extend their love to you, but now it is out of pity, not respect.

It no longer matters the quality of your character. It no longer matters the quality of family you raise, the quality of life you live, the love you extend to others, the accomplishments you achieve, the things you learn, the lives you touch...all that matters is that you failed. You are a disappointment to your parents, to the church, and ultimately to God.
I'd add to this that most people in general don't get this.

My heart just aches when I read over that, because it's so true. It's been almost six years since I made the decision to leave the church. I'm still dealt with rather... awkwardly by my family. Maybe it's just the way I perceive it, but, nevertheless, that's how it feels.

It feels like they're all uncomfortable around me.

It sucks.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tragicle

Yah! Give credit where it's due, man!



Mr. Current, I think you're funny.

Check out more of his videos on YouTube.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are they for real?

Mouth agape...




Looks like they're trying to go all pseudo-hip, evangelical megachurch, JC is cool on us. So much for being a peculiar people, eh? I'm SO glad they didn't try this on me when I was a kid!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome to the dark side


I wasn't really going to respond to a comment I received on my de-conversion story, but, I changed my mind.

The comment:
Blogger K.B. said...

I'm curious why people who leave the church always go to the polar opposite end of the spectrum and want to take everyone with them. I suppose misery loves company...so that's understandable. What I cannot even fathom is how one would ever think there is no Father in Heaven. Whether you're LDS or not, if you can look at the beauty in nature or hold your new born baby in your arms and not believe there is a loving, generous Creator, you really have learned nothing.

My response to this line of thinking:

If you had actually read my post, you would see that I explained how (after 1.5 years) I made it over to the "polar opposite end of the spectrum." It was a long process. But basically, after rejecting one belief or teaching, logic holds that eventually I would reject them all. Doesn't it?

What indication have I given that I'm trying to "take everyone with" me? I didn't invite you to read my blog. It's on the Internet, so I'm well aware that this is not a private space, nor do I intend it to be. However, if you don't like what I write, don't visit my site. You're not a captive audience. I'm not trying to force anyone to read my thoughts or agree with them.

And seriously, what indication have I given that I am miserable, so I therefore desire other miserable company? In fact, my post mentioned how utterly happy I am. Perhaps if you read through my archives, you would have read the post about my severe depression during my teenage years. Of course, as a teenager, I was Mormon. I was unhappy because I was an imperfect person who knew she could never live up to Mormonism's picture of what I should be. I was unhappy because I constantly had to deny my feminism and liberalism and rationality to try to fit myself into this mold. I set my own expectations, now. I'm good because I like to be, not because I'm expecting a reward of love, or heaven, or anything else.

When you say: "What I cannot even fathom is how one would ever think there is no Father in Heaven. Whether you're LDS or not, if you can look at the beauty in nature or hold your new born baby in your arms and not believe there is a loving, generous Creator, you really have learned nothing." I have only one immediate response: What I cannot even fathom is how you can look at the destruction nature causes, whether it is in New Orleans, or China, or Thailand; how you can look at your new born baby who is deformed, or suffering from a debilitating disease, or dying before she lives her first day; how you can see the wars and the conflict and the poverty and cruelty throughout the world; how you can look someone in the face who has just lost a loved one AND STILL BELIEVE that there is a loving, generous Creator!

Have I really learned nothing? Who, might I ask, should I have been learning your lesson from?

Clearly, you have learned nothing about me, nor, do I imagine, you have any desire to learn about me. So, if you're afraid of being taken into the dark side to join the rest of us who are so miserable that we need your company, stay far away from this obviously risky blog.

Otherwise, read on.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My quick de-conversion story

An old friend recently emailed me... not really asking why I left the church, but perhaps implying the question. Since I've never really included the story on here, I thought I'd copy what I wrote in my email back.

I have no problem sharing why I left the church. I'll try to make it really short, and then if you want to know more, you can ask. As you know, I studied history at USU. I love learning about history and doing research about people. My senior year in college, I ran across some things taught by Brigham Young that I didn't agree with. I went to the USU library and checked out all of the books by/about Young that I could get my hands on. The more I read about him, the more I disliked him, and came to believe that he was a false prophet. Because of that, I decided to read more about Joseph Smith, too, and was shocked to learn about his money-digging and early practice of polygamy (about 10-11 years before his revelation in D&C). So, after some research, I started to think that Smith was lying, too.

I still believed in a god, of course. When I started doubting Smith, I did research comparing the Bible to the BoM. I found a lot of contradictions between the two, and because of my loss of faith in Smith, I believed the Bible over the BoM. I stopped going to church and then eventually had my name removed from the records. I started going to a non-denominational Christian church instead. This was about November of 2003.

In June 2004 my best friend (a Mormon) died. A Christian friend of mine, upon hearing of his death, reminded me that my friend would be going to hell since he was a Mormon (and not a "Christian"). Obviously, that made me really angry. My friend was a wonderful person who tried so hard to do everything right. How could a loving god just send him to hell?

After reading a biography of Gandhi, I was again confronted with the thought that an otherwise wonderful, decent human being was going to hell, just because he didn't believe in god "the right way." I decided to stop going to church altogether, even though I didn't lose my faith in god. I had decided that religion was made up, since they were all basically saying the same thing -- "I'm right and everyone else is wrong." But, I was still spiritual. This was probably around August 2004.

By that January, I had become very skeptical about even the idea of a god. It didn't make sense to me anymore. I called myself an agnostic for a few months, but kind of felt like that was a "cop-out." I'd say I considered myself an atheist by mid-2005.

I know that probably seems simplified and like I didn't really put any thought into what decisions I was making. To the contrary, it was a torturous couple of years. The thought of being wrong almost scared me back many times. I was constantly confronted with the knowledge that I could no longer believe in the faith of my family, my childhood, my ancestors. It tore me apart. I would have dreams, constantly, that friends of mine had died and come back to tell me that I really did have to be Mormon to get into heaven. I had a lot of demons to contend with, as my brain could no longer accept the teachings of any church, but the feelings that had been instilled in me since birth tried to pull me back, to go against what I considered rational, simply out of fear of what I couldn't know.

Many people ask me if I just had too much trouble following the commandments, if it was just easier to fall away than to feel guilty as a sinner. Not at all. I was a VERY good Mormon girl. I broke it off with a guy I was seeing in college because I felt like he wanted to kiss too much. I was the Sunday School teacher in my singles ward. I had taken the mission prep class the semester before with the intention off going on a mission once I graduated (on a side note, some of the things I learned in that class started steering me away from the church, even back then, but that's a different story).

In fact, the first time I went to get ice cream on a Sunday made me feel REALLY guilty!

It's been a long time, now, and my lack of faith no longer haunts me. In fact, I don't have any of those old demons of guilt and confusion to deal with anymore. I'm quite happy and content with myself -- EXACTLY how I am. Do I know if there is a god? No, but the evidence I see points me towards "NO." Do I know what will happen after I die? Well, besides making my loved ones sad, no. But, that's okay. I'm fine with not knowing. For all I know, NOTHING happens. I'm just dead. Nothing wrong with that -- it won't matter to me at that point, since I'll be nothing. I don't worry about that kind of stuff, anymore. I just live, and enjoy living. I'm good for goodness' sake, not for any other reason. I'm okay with that.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Apostate

I just found a new blog that I really like called The Apostate. In her explanation about why she left Islam, she writes:

The Koran and the Hadith are also very flawed as sources of law, or even as guidance, for the simplest human society, much less our complex modern societal structures. They fall apart at the least scrutiny – the edifice is built on ignorance, superstition, bad history and worse science. And most of all, the picture that revelation paints of our divine creator is very unpleasant and sounds like a patriarchal Middle-Eastern fellow into raping and killing and much intolerance. This holds for the Bible and the Koran. There is too much unpleasant talk of hell and eternal damnation, and this ignorant, controlling, jealous, merciless, petty, insecure God condemns me to hell for a sin I never even intended to commit: my apostasy.

I never set out to stop believing. When it happened, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to my parents. And I can’t go back – I can’t make myself believe in what I’m convinced are human lies. It’s not a matter of my will – so why should I burn for it? But this is apparently the unforgivable sin. How can there be sin without volition? A God who is that unjust, I cannot believe in.

And a religion that is as nonsensical and ludicrous as Islam plainly is, I cannot believe in.

Change all of those words to be Mormon-related instead of Islam, and you've got me. I'm looking forward to reading back through all of her posts!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Word of Wisdom

Ah, the Word of Wisdom. One of the best known set of rules in the Mormon church. But, I'd say, one of the least understood.

Every good mormon -- and even non-mormons -- know that they're not supposed to drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or smoke tobacco. The especially good ones extend this command to include anything with caffeine.

But... what does this commandment actually say?

Here it is in full. Then my breakdown. Yippee!

THE
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. HC 1: 327–329. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.

1–9, Use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks proscribed; 10–17, Herbs, fruits, flesh, and grain are ordained for the use of man and of animals; 18–21, Obedience to gospel law, including the Word of Wisdom, brings temporal and spiritual blessings.

1 A aWord OF Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the aword of wisdom, showing forth the order and bwill of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with apromise, adapted to the capacity of the bweak and the weakest of all csaints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of aevils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of bconspiring men in the last days, I have cwarned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
5 That inasmuch as any man adrinketh bwine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, apure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7 And, again, astrong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the abody, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome aherbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with aprudence and bthanksgiving.
12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used csparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine.
14 All agrain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And athese hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the afood of man; as also the bfruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealth in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the adestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

Okay, here we go:

1 A aWord OF Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the aword of wisdom, showing forth the order and bwill of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with apromise, adapted to the capacity of the bweak and the weakest of all csaints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of aevils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of bconspiring men in the last days, I have cwarned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—

This is just an introduction. Blah, blah, God makes promises, thus saith.

5 That inasmuch as any man adrinketh bwine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, apure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

Okay, so only drink wine during church for the sacrament. Check. And the wine you do drink, you need to make it yourself. Check. Well... so now they just drink water for the sacrament instead of wine. But okay, I still see the rule not to drink wine.

7 And, again, astrong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

No liquor, either. Check. At least, don't drink the vodka... it's just to wash yourself with! Anyone out there bathe in "strong drinks?" Hm...

Moving on.

8 And again, tobacco is not for the abody, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

No tobacco. Check.

Hot drinks? What exactly does this mean? This is where they get the rule "no coffee or tea." Okay, sure, those can both be served hot. Or cold. What about apple cider? Hot chocolate? Hot buttered rum? Oh, wait, that's a strong drink, I suppose (wink, wink). I'm not sure why they picked coffee and tea to fall under "hot drinks," but not the others.

10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome aherbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with aprudence and bthanksgiving.

Herbs, eh? Now we're talking! Okay, but seriously, eat herbs and fruits that are in season. Check. I'll have to ask my family out in Utah why they're picking up strawberries from the grocery store in January. I'd say they're probably not in season in the winter, in Utah. Maybe there's an exception for shipping from Latin America... I'll keep my eye out for that.

12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used csparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine.

Only eat meat in the winter or during famine. Hmmm, I don't remember hearing that in church. Or, at home, when we had our meat'n'potatoes every night for dinner. I wonder if any mormons choose to follow this. Makes me curious... "hot drinks" means no coffee or tea, but meat "only in times of winter" means meat whenever you want. Interesting...

14 All agrain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And athese hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the afood of man; as also the bfruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—

Okay, grain is the staff of life. Check. Reminder in 15 that meat is just to be eaten during famine. Back to grain. Eat grain and fruit. I'm assuming that fruit "in the ground" would include vegetables. Sounds good to me! I like grain, fruit, and veggies!

17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

My FAVORITE verse. Okay, wheat, corn, blah blah. Wait, what's this? Barley for mild drinks? Hmm... back up in 7 they told us no "strong drinks." But mild drinks made from barley are a-ok. As any non-mormon can assure you, the other name for "mild drinks made from barley" would be "beer."

So, the Word of Wisdom seems to be giving the okay for beer. Is there any other mild drink made from barley that you see mormons (or anyone else, for that matter) drinking?

18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealth in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint.

These verses I always found fun. If I listen to this, I'll have marrow in my bones and I'll be able to run and run and run without getting tired. Super.

21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the adestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

The final verse. God will save you. Amen.

So, let's review.

Good to have:
  • homemade wine (for the sacrament)
  • herbs and fruit (in season)
  • meat (during winter and famine)
  • grain, fruits, vegetables
  • beer
Bad to have:
  • non-homemade wine
  • strong drinks (except for washing)
  • hot drinks
  • tobacco
  • herbs and fruit (not in season)
  • meat (unless it's winter or famine)
Not included on this list:
  • caffeine (including coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, energy drinks, ginseng, etc.)
It seems to me that the Mormon church is cherry picking their rules. I'd like to see one of them come out and say, "Stop eating so much meat!!" Because that's actually in their rules!

And the beer part... good times.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Newton's Eve!


The Ten Days of Newton

On the tenth day of Newton,
My true love gave to me,
Ten drops of genius,
Nine silver co-oins,
Eight circling planets,
Seven shades of li-ight,
Six counterfeiters,
Cal-Cu-Lus!
Four telescopes,
Three Laws of Motion,
Two awful feuds,
And the discovery of gravity!

Update on YFZ

Texas polygamist ranch report details child abuse

Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:24pm EST

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Child neglect and abuse were widespread at a Texas polygamist ranch with at least a dozen girls forced into underage marriages, according to a report released by state authorities.

The report, released late on Monday, said most of the cases had been closed because of subsequent steps taken by parents since massive raids were launched in April against the polygamist compound in a remote corner of west Texas.

The report by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is the latest chapter in a saga that gripped the state with lurid tales of adolescent brides married to older men under the cloak of a secretive sect practicing its religion on an isolated ranch.

Texas authorities raided the Yearning For Zion Ranch outside the small west Texas community of Eldorado in April, removing over 400 children in response to an abuse complaint.

The compound was run by a renegade Mormon sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which still practices polygamy. The sect practices an austere lifestyle and the women dress in conservative pioneer clothes.

Multiple marriages were once common among U.S. Mormons but the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice over a century ago and is at pains to distance itself from the FLDS and other polygamist groups.

"Twelve girls are confirmed victims of sexual abuse and neglect because they were married at ages ranging from 12 to 15," the Texas report said.

It went on to say that 262 other children "were subjected to neglect because parents failed to remove their child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child."

Texas authorities have been criticized for their handling of the case and the massive show of force used in initial raids on the compound.

In May, a court ruled that Texas overstepped its authority when it removed the children, a ruling upheld by the state's Supreme Court. That led to the return of the children to their parents, but investigations were allowed to continue.

The Department of Family and Protective Services report said that of the 439 children involved, the state had ended cases involving 424 children "because the family has taken appropriate steps to protect the child from sexual abuse or there was no abuse or neglect in the family."

"There are pending lawsuits in the cases of five mothers and their 15 children," it added.

The Texas Attorney General has filed charges ranging from bigamy to sexual assault against 12 men in connection with the case. One is the group's jailed spiritual leader, Warren Jeffs, who was convicted in 2007 in Utah of forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry her first cousin.

(Additional reporting and writing by Ed Stoddard in Dallas, editing by Todd Eastham))

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jack Black rarely disappoints

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Monday, December 01, 2008

Looking back

I just dug up my old journal. I rarely wrote in it growing up. But, I read over this entry last night.

Age: 15

Hi. I think I need to start writing in my journal again. I need somewhere to release all of these thoughts going around in my head. As I just read over my entry [from 2 years ago], I almost cried. Was I really once that strong in my faith and testimony of the gospel? It's hard for me to believe that now. Everyone thinks that I'm this perfect little girl who just knows all the answers at church, reads the scriptures and prays on a daily basis, writes in her journal every night, and doesn't have any problems at all. I just want to scream at them! I'm not perfect! I have my own problems - they may seem minor to someone else, but they're trials to me. I mean, I like watching R movies, I want to cuss, I like bikinis and shorts. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I don't have a testimony anymore. Whenever any spiritual topic comes up I feel awkward so I tune out and don't pay attention. When people ask me my feelings about the church, etc. I don't know what to say. I feel stupid and just give the typical answers they'd expect from me.

I hate my life. Well, I can't say I hate it - I mean it could be worse, I could be worse. But every now and then I just get to where I hate myself and I think I'm so ugly. Don't get me wrong - I'm never suicidal or anything - but you can't say I'm very uplifting. I do have my Patriarchal Blessing and I do want it to happen, but... it's so hard. I think I only go to church on Sunday out of habit. I mean, I want to grow closer to God, and I pray for it to happen... and for a day or so I'm really spiritual and I realize all this stuff I need to start and stop doing, and then I'm back to my old self and that stuff doesn't seem important to me anymore. I really want to return to the Celestial Kingdom, but it's a real trial and a struggle for me to do what's right. I used to have a piece of paper on my wall with a saying on it that I wrote myself that said, "Is it not worth it to spend a few mere years in this life facing ridicule and rejection than to spend an eternity in sorrow knowing that you could have done well enough to live with your Father in exaltation?" It seems so simple. Don't worry what others think. Stay strong in the gospel. So what if people make fun of you. It won't matter what they said when it comes to your judgment - it's how you reacted to it. But it's not that easy. It used to be. In 7th and 8th grade I didn't care at all what anybody thought of me and I was a "spiritual giant." Now look at me - I'm lower than the dirt upon this earth. At least it obeys what it's supposed to do. Why can't I do that? There's a girl - S____ something in the L_____ Ward. T_____ laughs and makes fun of her, but I'm actually jealous of her. She is the strongest spirit I know - and I don't even know her, I've just seen her. She totally follows every standard - long shorts, nothing revealing or too tight. I mean, if she lost 10 pounds she could be the biggest tramp - she has like size DD cup or something, but she's not. I admire her and look up to her strength. I just wish that someday my testimony can be as strong as hers. And then there's guys - why does it have to be a member? That totally limits my options to like, 2 guys that live anywhere close to me. And 16? It sucks so bad!


I know I seem like a terrible person and well, I probably am. I don't want to be but... that's how it goes. I hate doing stuff with my family, watching people take the sacrament doesn't make me feel humble, it just looks funny (yeah, funny-ha ha). I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess the next time I have something to say, I'll write. Till then...

My response today.

I don't even remember writing this. When I look back to my youth, I remember sometimes feeling hopeless in middle school. I'd bottle up all of my anxiety and then break down every few months, sobbing as my mom held me. But, when I think of high school, I always think I was pretty happy. Reading over my journal now, I see that I've blocked out the bad feelings I had then. I was severely depressed. Not in my memory, though. In fact, after a few more entries even worse than this one, there are about 20 pages (rather, remnants of pages) that have been ripped out. I have no idea what I had written there. I don't remember ripping out the pages, nor why I would have done that. Well, obviously to prevent whatever I wrote there from every being read. It's all blocked out, though. I don't remember.

That was 12 years ago. Not 20, or 30, or 40. Only 12.

But that's not why I decided to write about that on my blog. Believe me, I'm not the type to go spreading the fact that I was severely depressed at the age of 15 around on the Internet.

It's why I was so depressed.

Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts.

That is all.

It makes me so sick and angry today to look back and realize that I was disappointed in myself, that I was disgusted with myself, that I hated myself... because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts. At the age of 15. Because my parents and my church TAUGHT me that if I liked those things, I was a sinner. That I was not worthy. That I couldn't get into heaven. That I would lose my family. For eternity.

Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts.

That church gave an otherwise healthy, happy, 15-year-old girl such a skewed vision of life that she beat herself up and hated herself for not living up to their picture of a perfect young woman. That I beat myself up and hated myself for not being the picture-perfect young woman that everyone told me I HAD to be, in order to be loved by others, by my family, by god.

I thought that I was a terrible person. Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts!

I am seething right now. How dare an organization that claims to be family-oriented and "Christ-like" continue to spew their lies! They made a 15-year-old girl hate herself!!! For not being "good enough."

Damnit!! I WAS GOOD ENOUGH!

I am good enough.

I was so fucking brainwashed that I couldn't see past their bullshit. When I didn't get answers to my prayers, I blamed myself for not being spiritual enough. When I felt awkward and uncomfortable at church, I blamed myself for not being receptive enough to the spirit. When I couldn't get through the Book of Mormon without giving up or falling asleep, I blamed myself for not trying hard enough. For not wanting it enough. For not being good enough.

I don't blame myself anymore.

I blame that church. I blame my teachers at church. I blame anyone who continues to deny reality and continues to tell 15-year-old girls that they're just not good enough. That maybe, if they just wanted it a little more, or if they just tried a little harder, maybe then god would answer their prayers. Maybe then they'd realize that they were special.

Go fuck off.

You ARE good enough. You ARE special.

I am good enough.

Shame on you.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A (Mormon) Deconversion Story

Laci, a 19-year-old in California. The series is not complete.





Tuesday, October 28, 2008

God in schools?

I have a Facebook acquaintance who recently joined a group/cause on the site called "Keep God in Schools." A basic rundown of the group:
Positions:
  1. Allow Teacher's to express religious views
  2. Allow faith and moral guidelines to be AVALAIBLE in school, NOT TAUGHT AS IN REQUIRED CLASS!
  3. Fight for the freedoms of religion and expression that this country promises
Category:
Also in their self-written description:
There are students who need moral guidance, and God should be available to them where ever, and that includes their school.

I commented on this, and this has been the conversation thus far:

C--- joined the cause Keep God In Schools!. 3:07am - 4 comments

Michelle at 12:02pm October 25
So then, would you also agree that it's okay for teachers to express their atheist views to their students? Or is it only teachers of a certain religion that should be allowed to express their views?

C--- at 11:23pm October 27
As it stands now, Michelle, most teachers DO get to express their beliefs as long as they are not Christian. I would hope that discussions could be expressed openly and freely regarding all types of religions. Not to force one religion over another but to state basic beliefs for intelligent discussions.

It is so good to hear from you!! I´m sending you greetings from Mexico...The Grand Mayan located in Nuevo Vallerjata!

Love from Gym, too! :)
Michelle at 4:13pm October 28
WOW. Having been both a student AND teacher in the public school system, I must say that your statement is absurd! Sorry, I'm not trying to offend, but I have never known any teacher to share religious beliefs unless they were Christian. You may argue that Muslim teachers who wear the hijab are expressing their religious views, to which I would argue they are only displaying their views, not discussing them with students. When is the last time you were in a public school? I'm absolutely astonished that you think teachers who are NOT Christian are the only teachers who express their views, as my experience has been the exact opposite! In fact, some of my own students have even complained to me that one of their teachers spends far too much time talking about Jesus, and not nearly enough talking about math, the subject they are SUPPOSED to be learning in that classroom.

Separation of church and state exists for a number of reasons, which I don't think I need to go into. To suggest that
a student who is displeased with the views of their teacher can just transfer out of the class is pretty far-fetched. It's not really that easy when there are a limited number of teachers and class periods to choose from. I personally think that the expression of religious views at school is highly inappropriate for teachers, because the students really are a captive audience. They didn't CHOOSE to be in there with you.

However, that aside, I might offer out the same suggestion as that of the creator of the "Keep God in Schools" cause. If you don't value the right in this country to have separation of church and state and would rather live in a theocracy, just move.

I'm still curious though, about your answer to my question, since you didn't actually answer it. Do you think that atheist teachers should be given the same right to express their thoughts on religion to their students as you claim the Christian teachers should have?

I'm wondering what others out there think about this?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Learning HTML

This is totally unrelated to the content on this website, but I'm trying to learn HTML. I created this blog template myself, using the HTML from a different template. It's not perfect, but I'm impressed with what I've done in just an afternoon!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Another excommunication

Just found out about this. An LDS man thought that what the leaders of the Mormon church are doing in regard to Proposition 8 in California was wrong. In a nutshell, they are instructing bishops and stake presidents in California to read letters to their congregations telling them to vote for the Proposition to ban gay marriage in the state. These same men are also being told to go to member homes and request donations that will go to the group supporting Prop 8, Protect Marriage.

This man thinks that what the church is doing goes against the teachings in D&C that say to keep religion and government separate. He set up a website called Signing for Something that asks other members to sign a petition and/or contribute letters defending their political independence.

His own explanation:

Your views are welcome

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been taught, “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government …” (Doctrine and Covenants 134:9). Recent action taken by the First Presidency in support of a constitutional amendment in the State of California has rallied us to the cause of freedom.

Write a Letter
Please join us in standing up for our moral beliefs and our political independence by writing a letter and Signing for Something.

  • Letter Submissions: 191
He explains here that as a result of his efforts, he has been visited by the bishop and a couple of high priests who have asked him to resign or face church discipline.

For having a different opinion on politics than the top of the church?

Sounds similar to Sonia Johnson, a woman who devoutly believed in the Mormon church, but was excommunicated in 1979 for her support of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).

It'll be interesting to see if this has a chance to play out in the media, and whether that will make any impact on the vote in CA this November.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Additional, much shorter clarification

I am NOT anti-Mormon.

I am an ex-mormon, yes. But I don't care one bit what you believe in.

However, as a Mormon, I didn't know these were things that I "supposedly" believed it, because, on the contrary, I did NOT believe them. Hence, the ex-mormon.

If you actually do believe everything, good for you.

I might not understand why you do, but you have every right to believe that, I'm not going to try to change your mind.

I do reserve the right to tease, though, about things I find silly... just like you might tease the Scientologists or the Marijuana Party, or Trekkies, or any other CHOICES that people might make! :-)

That is all.

Clarification

It has come to my attention that my previous video bothered some LDS readers, because I stated that everything in the video is a true representation.

Therefore, I've spent the morning compiling documentation for each of the 20 claims I counted in the video.

This is VERY long. But, if you want to try to prove me wrong, please look at what I have, first.

And, to beat you to the punch in your defense, don't try to say that not everything the prophets said is true. I've heard that one before. "Oh, sure, Brigham Young said some *interesting* things in the Journal of Discourses, but that's not official scripture. You have to discredit his statements that are wrong." Sorry, it's not going to fly.

Let me remind you:

“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)

So, if you can discredit a few of the things said by Brigham Young (or any other LDS prophet), you really have to discredit it all. How are you to know which is right or wrong, anyway? Wasn't that HIS job as the prophet?

Here we go. I originally typed this up as a separate document, and when I copied it over, the formatting was lost, so bear with me.


1. trillions of planets scattered throughout the cosmos are ruled by countless gods who once were humans like us
-Moses 1:29, 33, 35, 37-38
--29 And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.
--33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
--35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
--37 And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.
--38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.
-Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333
--"He [God] is our Father - the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods..."
-Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19
--"...then we shall go back to our Father and God, who is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is connected with one still further back, and so on..."

2. spirit child name Elohim was conceived; later born to human parents; through obedience, he proved himself worthy, and was elevated to godhood, as his father before him
-Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333
--"He [God] is our Father - the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods..."
-Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19
--"...then we shall go back to our Father and God, who is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is connected with one still further back, and so on..."
-Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 2
--"As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may become."
-D&C 130:22
--22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s;

3. Elohim = Heavenly Father; lives with many wives on a planet near the star Kolob; here, they produced billions of spirit children
-Abraham 3:1-3, 9, 16
--1 And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees;
--2 And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
--3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.
--9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same border as that upon which thou standest.
--16 If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me.
-D&C 76:24
--24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.
-Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Principles, p.11
--"All men and women are...literally the sons and daughters of Deity...Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body"
-Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the ages, p. 98
--"The stupendous truth of the existence of a Heavenly Mother, as well as a Heavenly Father, became established facts in Mormon theology. A complete realization that we are the offspring of Heavenly Parents - that we were begotten and born into the spirit world and grew to maturity in that realm - became an integral part of Mormon philosophy. Those verities are basic in the Gospel plan of eternal progression."

4. Heavenly Council was called; 2 eldest sons Lucifer and Jesus; plan to build Earth; Lucifer made bid for savior, wanting the glory for himself and forcing everyone to become gods; Jesus opposed, wanted to give freedom of choice; vote approved Jesus’ plan
-Moses 4:1-2
--1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
--2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
-Abraham 3:27
--27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.

5. Lucifer fought with 1/3 of the spirits, who became the devil and his demons; they were sent to Earth but denied physical bodies
-D&C 29:36-38
--36 And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the ghosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;
--37 And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels;
--38 And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.
-Moses 4:3-4
--3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
--4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
-Abraham 3:28
--28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.

6. neutral spirits were cursed to be born with black skin; valiant fighters = lighter-skinned, “white and delightsome;” born as Mormons on Earth
-Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954; 1:61, 65-66
--"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less...There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits."
-Abraham 3:22-26
--22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
--23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
--24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon those may dwell
--25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
--26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
-Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition, pp. 527-528
--"...negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom, but this inequality is not of man's origin. It is the Lord's doing, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate."
-Moses 7:22
--22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.

7. early Mormon leaders taught that Elohim and one wife came to Earth as Adam and Eve to start the human race
-Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.50
--"Now hear it, oh inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days, about whom holy men have written and spoken-He is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do."
-Brigham Young, Sermon, June 8, 1873
--"How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which is revealed to them, and which God revealed to me -- namely that Adam is our father and God...Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or ever will come upon the earth."

8. Elohim came to Earth to have sex with the virgin, Mary, in order to provide Jesus with a physical body
-Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.742
--"God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the son of God, and that designation means what it says."
-Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.7
--"The LDS Church proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission n the flesh was sired by that same Holy being we worship as God, our Eternal Father."
-Gospel Principles, 1997 ed, p.64
--"Thus, God the Fther became the literal father of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal father."
-Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:115
--"The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood- was begotten of his Father, as we are of our fathers. "
-Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p.468
--"There is no need to spiritualize away the plain meaning of the scriptures. There is nothing figurative or hidden or beyond comprehension in our Lord's coming into mortality. He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple"

9. Orson Pratt taught that after Jesus Christ grew to manhood, he took at least three wives - Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene - and fathered a number of children
-The Seer, p.159
--"One thing is certain, that there were several holy women that greatly loved Jesus -- such as Mary, and Martha her sister, and Mary Magdalene; and Jesus greatly loved them, and associated with them much; and when He arose from the dead, instead of showing Himself to His chosen witnesses, the Apostles, He appeared first to these women, or at least to one of them -- namely, Mary Magdalene. Now it would be natural for a husband in the resurrection to appear first to his own dear wives, and afterwards show himself to his other friends. If all the acts of Jesus were written, we no doubt should learn that these beloved women were His wives"
-p.172
--"We have now clearly shown that God, the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity, by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His First Born... We have also proved most clearly that the Son followed the example of his Father, and became the great Bridegroom to whom kings' daughters and many honorable Wives to be married."

10. after his resurrection, Jesus came to the Americas to preach to the Indians, who the Mormons believe are really Israelites; he established his church in the Americas, as he had in Palestine
-3 Nephi 26:13-21
--13 Therefore, I would that ye should behold that the Lord truly did teach the people, for the space of three days; and after that he did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them.
--14 And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.
--15 And it came to pass that after he had ascended into heaven—the second time that he showed himself unto them, and had gone unto the Father, after having healed all their sick, and their lame, and opened the eyes of their blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf, and even had done all manner of cures among them, and raised a man from the dead, and had shown forth his power unto them, and had ascended unto the Father—
--16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.
--17 And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.
--18 And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are anot lawful to be written.
--19 And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had ball things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.
--20 And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them.
--21 And they who were baptized in the name of Jesus were called the church of Christ.

11. by 421 A.D. the dark-skinned Indian Israelites, known as Lamanites, had destroyed all of the white Nephites in a number of great battles
-D&C 19:27
--27 Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.
-Mormon 8:6-7
--6 Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior.
--7 And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites.

12. the Nephites’ records were supposedly written on golden plates and buried by Moroni, the last living Nephite, the hill Cumorah
-Mormon 8:1-4
--1 Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father.
--2 And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
--3 And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.
--4 Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.

13. 1400 years later, a young treasure-seeker named Joseph Smith, know for his tall tales
-FAIR Wiki (http://en.fairmormon.org)
--"Joseph and his family were involved in seeking for treasure. This was a common and accepted practice in their culture, though the Smiths do not seem to have been involved to the extent claimed by some of the exaggerated attacks upon them by former neighbours."
-Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for many Generations; by Lucy Mack Smith
--"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them."
-Joseph Smith--History (JS-H) 1:28, 56
--28 During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.
--56 In the year 1823 my father’s family met with a great affliction by the death of my eldest brother, Alvin. In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal, who lived in Chenango county, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna county, State of Pennsylvania; and had, previous to my hiring to him, been digging, in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him, he took me, with the rest of his hands, to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month, without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money-digger.

14. claimed to have uncovered these same gold plates near his home in upstate New York
-JS-H 1:49-54, 59
--49 The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
--50 I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.
--51 Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.
--52 Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.
--53 I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.
--54 Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.
--59 At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.

15. Joseph Smith is honored by Mormons as a prophet because he claimed to have had visions from the spirit world in which he was commanded to organize the Mormon church because all Christian creeds were an abomination
-D&C 20:2
--2 Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church;
-JS-H 1:14-20, 24-26
--14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
--15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
--16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
--17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
--18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
--19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
--20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
--24 However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.
--25 So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
--26 I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned—that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.
-D&C Explanatory Introduction
--"It was while he was living near Manchester in the spring of 1820, when he was fourteen years of age, that he experienced his first vision, in which he was visited in person by God, the Eternal Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. He was told in this vision that the true Church of Jesus Christ that had been established in New Testament times, and which had administered the fulness of the gospel, was no longer on the earth. Other divine manifestations followed in which he was taught by many angels; it was shown to him that God had a special work for him to do on the earth, and that through him the Church of Jesus Christ would be restored to the earth."
--"On April 6, 1830, under heavenly direction, the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Church, and thus the true Church of Jesus Christ is once again operative as an institution among men, with authority to teach the gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation."
-D&C 1:17
--17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.

16. by maintaining a rigid code financial and moral requirements and through performing sacred temple rituals, for themselves and the dead, the Latter-day Saints hope to prove their worthiness and thus become gods
-D&C 6:13
--13 If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.
-D&C 14:7
--7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
-D&C 76:92-95
--92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
--93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
--94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
--95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.
-D&C 124:29, 31-32, 39
--29 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead—
--31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
--32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
--39 Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.

17. everyone must stand at the final judgment before Joseph Smith, Jesus, and Elohim
-From the remarks of Brigham Young in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, UT October 9, 1859: Journal of Discourses, Vol.7, Pg.289.
--"Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the vail in the great work of the last days. I can tell our beloved brother Christians who have slain the Prophets and butchered and otherwise caused the death of thousands of Latter-day Saints, the priests who have thanked God in their prayers and thanksgiving from the pulpit that we have been plundered, driven, and slain, and the deacons under the pulpit, and their brethren and sisters in their closets, who have thanked God, thinking that the Latter-day Saints were wasted away, something that no doubt will mortify them—something that, to say the least, is a matter of deep regret to them—namely, that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are—I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation—the keys to rule in the spirit-world; and he rules there triumphantly, for he gained full power and a glorious victory over the power of Satan while he was yet in the flesh, and was a martyr to his religion and to the name of Christ, which gives him a most perfect victory in the spirit-world. He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim—"Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!" But it is true."

18. those Mormons who were sealed in the eternal marriage ceremony expect to become polygamous gods in the Celestial Kingdom, rule over the other planets, and spawn new families throughout eternity
-D&C 131:1-4
--1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
--2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
--3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
--4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
-D&C 132:4-7
--4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.
--5 For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.
--6 And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.
--7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
-D&C 132:19-21, 37-39, 61-62
--19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
--20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have call power, and the angels are subject unto them.
--21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
--37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.
--38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save those things which they received not of me.
--39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.
--61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
--62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

19. Mormons thank god for Joseph Smith, who claimed that he had done more for us than any other man, including Jesus Christ
-History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.19, Pg.409
--"God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil—all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet."

20. Mormons believe he died as a martyr, shed his blood for us, so that we, too, may become gods
-D&C 135:1, 3, 6
--1 To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch.
--3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!
--6 Hyrum Smith was forty-four years old in February, 1844, and Joseph Smith was thirty-eight in December, 1843; and henceforward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vineyard of corruption. They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified.
-D&C 136:39
--39 Many have marveled because of his death; but it was needful that he should seal his testimony with his blood, that he might be honored and the wicked might be condemned.