BONUS: Elder Steven E. Snow Candidly Explains Why the LDS Gospel Topics Essays Are Not Publicized by the Church

steven-e-snow-largeElder Steven E. Snow candidly explains why the LDS Gospel Topics Essays are not publicized by the LDS Church. (Source here.  Date of recording unknown).

“Woven into the story, the history will be some of the issues that sometimes rise associated with church history and our doctrine. We try to cover those with some essays which are linked to lds.org under Gospel Topics. The Bretheren two years ago gave us twelve questions to answer. They included “Race and the Priesthood”, “Polygamy”, “The tranlation of the Book of Mormon”, on and on. Nine of those have now been answered and three questions remain to be answered and we are still working on those. We should conlude our work by the end of this year. If you haven’t had a chance to look at those essays, we’d encurage you to do so and share them with your friends. We are in the process of letting leaders, stake presidents and bishops know about them so they can be a resource in the event that some of their members are having questions or challenges about those issues. “Book of Abraham” essay was just released in July, that’s the most recent of the nine essays that have been publisched on-line.

I think it’d be helpful to know how we chose to roll those out. It was a soft roll out. There wasn’t an announcement saying “You can go to this website to learn everything weird about the Mormon church you ever wanted to learn”. (Laughter from the audience) But yet we had a lot of people struggling with some of these issues. We were loosing young people particularly. And we felt we owed a safe place for people to go to get these answered. So they were deliberately kind of placed in an existing database, so they wouldn’t …. You know, 90% of the church probably couldn’t care less, they don’t worry about such things. But we do have some folks who are on-line and we felt like they needed a safe place to go to get answers if they had questions. So I don’t think you are gonna see a well publicised campaign to tell you to go to these sites. But we just, you know, the people that are interested seem to kind of pass the word amongst themselves. And the only other thing is that leaders now will have access to them. And I think the long- probably the greatest long-term benefit will be: These are answers that have been vetted by the, reviewed by the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency and they have signed off on these answers. And now curriculum and seminaries and institute can safely weave these essays into a future curriculum to in a sense “inoculate” is a word I use quite a bit for the rising generation. So, they can learn a little bit about these things without being totally shocked when they hear them for the first time. Does that make sense? (“yeah” from someone in the audience) Yeah, OK.

So, don’t expect a big campaign. I think there’s been a lot of interest within maybe a small percentage of church members but my view is most of the church really is not troubled, members are not troubled by these.”

Comments

comments

61 comments for “BONUS: Elder Steven E. Snow Candidly Explains Why the LDS Gospel Topics Essays Are Not Publicized by the Church

  1. Jarae
    July 16, 2016 at 7:27 am

    He’s being very honest about when he uses the term “inoculate” the rising generation. A few other words come to mind for this……indoctrinate, brainwash. Unfortunately this is what is going to happen. These essays will be woven into seminary and YW/YM lessons and these rising children and young adults will become use to this new narrative. In a few years the old narrative will have disintegrated and they will never come to know the full truth, the whole story.

    • Gary
      July 16, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      I am actually surprised the Church would use the term “inoculate” to describe the intended effect of The Essays. We are not accustomed to The Brethren speaking truth, but in this case, they sure did. They could not have chosen a more accurate word to describe their intentions for The Essays.

      Simple Definition of inoculate
      medical : to give (a person or animal) a weakened form of a disease in order to prevent infection by the disease

      aka Inject clueless members with a weakened, diluted form of Church History in order to prevent their future defection should they ever run into the full strength, undiluted truth.

      The disturbing aspect of The Brethren’s inoculation program is that it will work as intended most of the time. Maybe they ARE inspired?

      On the other hand, the nuance implication of “inoculate” suggests a tacit acknowledgment by The Brethren that they are fully aware that the unvarnished, true history of The Cash Cow of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will negatively disaffect the revenue stream, hence the need for effective inoculation.

      • Wondering Wanderer
        July 17, 2016 at 10:41 pm

        Great analogy, Gary. This post of yours along with the other one discussing “oxymoron” inspired my “LDS definitions.” Even when I was an outwardly dedicated member (but not really aTBM, because there was always something lurking on my shelf that bothered me), it always tickled my funny bone that all you had to do to be a moron was remove the second “m” from “Mormon.” Mormon, moron, oxymoron, Oxyclean, oxygen, gimme some air please . . . gotta keep a sense of humor when dealing with the absurd.

  2. Robert Hodge
    July 16, 2016 at 8:01 am

    “Most of the Church (members) not troubled by these (essays issues)” Well they should be troubled

    • p
      July 16, 2016 at 8:39 am

      But he’s right, Bob, they’re not, in the same way Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovahs Witnesses and, dear god, Catholics are not – and talk about some crazy baggage! The people in my ward are only there secondarily b/c its “true.” Community trumps all.

      • Robert Hodge
        July 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm

        Truth should “trump all” not community. But you are right. That is why I used the word “should”.

    • Neuquino
      July 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

      More like “Most of the Church (members) are [unaware] by these (essay issues)”

    • David
      July 16, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Why should they be troubled? What does it matter if there is no DNA evidence for the Book of Mormon or there seems to be no relation between the text of the papyrus Joseph Smith owned to the Book of Abraham. If they want to believe it they can go ahead. If they aren’t troubled more power to them. Maybe it is better for their mental health not to be troubled by things. I am troubled by everything and have to choose not to be troubled just to be able to get out of bed every day. Maybe they are the smart ones.

      • p
        July 16, 2016 at 10:46 am

        “I am troubled by everything and have to choose not to be troubled just to be able to get out of bed every day.”

        That’s what a big hot cup of good black coffee is all about, Brother David.

      • Bob
        July 16, 2016 at 11:02 am

        I used to wonder how someone could not be bothered by the “cognitive dissonance” that would come from the natural progression of discovering that all of the “leaders” and other members have been lying to us this whole time. I think it’s because they never hold a critical thought as it relates to the Church or it’s history. Maybe that’s why Church members are so naïve when it comes to business schemes proposed by other members looking for investors. They can’t imagine “Brother” Smith not being honest and are easily taken. They’re not taught critical thinking skills at all and in fact avoid all deep conversations and information that doesn’t support their belief.

        • Ron
          July 17, 2016 at 9:16 pm

          Right on, Bob! This is a COMMON pattern in the Church, and some other churches or cults. Tho’ it was in “good” faith, I once thought that way too. Your pithy comment should be picture-framed.

    • Karl
      July 16, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Maybe because they’ve never heard of them?

    • Eric
      July 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

      You have to know they exist in order to be troubled by them. I love the word usage. Soft roll out, inoculation!!

      The brethren asked us to address the questions? 12 Apostles asking mere men to cover up years of false history. I think there should be an essay for that. Explain why these men we believed to be prophets, seers, and revelators cannot give us gods will. I guess if they could we would not be discussing this in the first place.

  3. Bob
    July 16, 2016 at 8:27 am

    The snarky-deliberate deceit continues because we all know that the essays are so dishonest and incomplete to “inoculate” the faithful and to keep them in the fold. Like someone else said, “plausible deniability”. The bastards!

  4. Neuquino
    July 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Do we know what the remaining 3 essays will be about?

    • p
      July 16, 2016 at 9:14 am

      One’s gotta be BoM historicity, and I am SO looking forward to how they handle that. The fact that it’s taken so long is less a function of gathering “evidence” than it is judging what’s going to fly, based on previous essays, w/ the membership. There’s a calculated reason historicity is last.

    • Brent Metcalfe
      July 16, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Steve Snow’s comments are almost certainly not recent. All the essays (including the three he mentions as forthcoming) are available from here…

      https://www.lds.org/topics/essays?lang=eng

      • Neuquino
        July 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm

        Thanks Brent!
        BTW, I was listening to your interview with JD yesterday. I loved how you made the connection between the ‘translations’ of JS and his evolving doctrine. It blew my mind!

        • Brent Metcalfe
          July 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

          I appreciate the kind comment.

      • July 17, 2016 at 12:38 am

        More specifically, Snow talks about the Abraham essay coming out “last July.” That essay came out in July 2014 (see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865606520/LDS-Church-publishes-new-web-essay-on-Book-of-Abraham.html?pg=all).

        So he’s speaking sometime after July 2014 and before July 2015. My guess is early 2015, based on him saying they would complete the work “by the end of this year.”

        I know the essays on Heavenly Mother and women and the priesthood came out last November. But that only makes two more essays. I have heard rumors that the third essay was about the temple and freemasonry, and the brethren decided to scrap it altogether.

        One more thing. This talk appears to have been given back when the essays were buried among prosaic topics like “Citizenship”, and before they were all linked from the same page (which happened in June 2015, according to the Internet Archive. See https://web.archive.org/web/20150701000000*/https://www.lds.org/topics/essays?lang=eng). So it appears that the policy he’s describing was revised fairly soon after this talk.

  5. Wyatt Parsons
    July 16, 2016 at 9:11 am

    When and where was this talk given?

  6. Brent Metcalfe
    July 16, 2016 at 9:28 am

    This sounds like something he would have said a few years ago. (What’s the date and source?) His remarks are outdated given that the LDS church website now has a navigational page dedicated to the topics…

    https://www.lds.org/topics/essays?lang=eng

    • Bob
      July 16, 2016 at 11:13 am

      I went to see what was on this link about the “gospel essays” and discovered this:

      ” Recognizing that today so much information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be obtained from questionable and often inaccurate sources, officials of the Church began in 2013 to publish straightforward, in-depth essays on a number of topics.”

      What’s almost laughable is that the “questionable and often inaccurate sources” is the Church itself and for anyone who knows anything about the Church and it’s history, the essays are incomplete and misleading. The essays are hardly in depth and only serve to pretend to offer answers. I wonder if these admissions are sufficient to be an admission of fraud as there doesn’t seem to be any disclaimers though none of the “leaders” have actually identified themselves as authors of the essays.

    • Wondering Wanderer
      July 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      If you go to the lds.org website, it is still a bit of a hunt to find the essays. You click on the first of five options (“Scriptures and Study”) then under the third of four options (“Learn More”) you click on “Gospel Topics,” then on the right side of the screen under “Gospel Topics” you click on “Explore the essays.” There are currently eleven essays.

  7. Doubting Thomas
    July 16, 2016 at 9:37 am

    My personal experience with every TBM I speak to regarding the challenging aspects of Mormon history and Mormon doctrine, whether they have “heard” of the essays or not is always this: “I don’t need to look at that stuff.”

    No matter it is found on LDS.org. No matter that I tell them seminary and institute instructors have been encouraged by church leaders to study them and be familiar with the contents.

    THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN. EVEN WHEN THE WIZARD TELLS THEM TO TAKE A LOOK.

  8. p
    July 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

    From BoA essay:”The Lord did not require Joseph Smith to have knowledge of Egyptian. By the gift and power of God, Joseph received knowledge about the life and teachings of Abraham.”

    This is undoubtedly the approach they’ll take w/ aforementioned BoM essay (if the Brethren actually attempt such an essay, which, I suppose, is still an open question). Anything & everything is subsumed within “gift and power of God” rubric, evidence be damned.

    • jpv
      July 16, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Seriously guys, if you want to stay informed (minimally enough to comment) a least click the link and look at the titles.
      As Dr Metcalfe as mentioned, this essay has already been written:

      https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-and-dna-studies

      • p
        July 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

        This essay does not deal with the complete absence of archaeological, anthropologic or linguistic evidence for BoM, something Michael Coe addressed almost 50 years ago, and BH Roberts almost 100 years ago. Even as an explanation for absence of Semitic DNA markers in Native American populations this essay is quite poor.

      • Brent Metcalfe
        July 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

        Please note that I don’t have a doctorate… but it’s kind of you to think so. 🙂

  9. Jeremy
    July 16, 2016 at 10:14 am

    My understanding is that they are done with the essays. Monson is too sick to participate and Nelson doesn’t want any more.

  10. July 16, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I am also interested in when and where Elder Snow said this. How did you come upon his words. Recording? Transcript?

    • utahstateagnostics
      July 16, 2016 at 10:41 am
      • Reed Russell
        July 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm

        That recording still doesn’t cite when and where.

  11. Lgaj
    July 16, 2016 at 10:22 am

    What a joke. He basically said the vast majority of members have no interest in learning the truth about the Mormon religion. It’s like Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the (members) some of the time but you can fool all of the (members) all of the time.” Eventually that group that’s not interested in the essays will mainly be made up of members who put forth the minimum effort and are the least committed as a general rule. If that’s the kind of church the brethren want perhaps they should change the name of the church a fourth time to The Stepford Members Church. Referring to the movie The Stepford Wives.

  12. Mark Ostlund
    July 16, 2016 at 10:35 am

    At the bottom of the right column on the essays navigation page link provided by Brent Metcalfe above are some more sanitized and edited apologetic remarks on the essays again by Steven Snow. Still awkward but more staged than the more candid remarks in this post.

  13. jpv
    July 16, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Adam-God Essay might be the last hold out of the 12.

  14. Fred W. Anson
    July 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Where and in what context did Elder Snow make these remarks?

  15. Samuel D Dye
    July 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Thanks John for posting this. A refreshing read regarding this overall issue is B H Roberts’ “Studies on the Book of Mormon” where it is outlined that his presentation to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve about the 5 questions raised about the BofM that had been referred to BHR to answer. He reported to them that he couldn’t answer them and wanted information from the “prophets seers and revelators” and one asked him if would hurt them or help them to answer and he said it would hurt so they decided not to go any further with it and all stood individually and bore testimony of the truthfulness of the BofM. So it is documented that the fix was on nearly 100 years ago. Can’t do anything to interrupt those tithing funds!

  16. James
    July 16, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Can you provide a source for this quote? When and where he said this?

  17. Spencer Stevens
    July 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I’m grateful these were published, so I can answer people who are troubled. Though I’m an active member, I don’t naively just trust in everything. I find knowledge on controversial subjects insofar as possible, so I can have answers ready for those who have questions. Just my thought.

    • Ashley Em
      July 16, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Spencer it appears that you are naïvely trusting the whitewashed version of the answers in these essays. Have you had a chance to compare and contrast them with real world evidence and research done by scientific and historical scholars?

      • Bob
        July 17, 2016 at 11:25 am

        “So glad the essays are available” which translates to ” So glad these incomplete essays now available that are on the official website but don’t identify authorship that are misleading are now available so I can perpetuate the half truths and keep you from confronting reality”. Not that they matter because most members don’t have an accurate and deep enough understanding to actually see that they’re still being mislead even with the articles. The unwillingness of the leadership to just tell the truth with all of their doublespeak and half truths is telling as much as what they’re actually sharing. As for Snow and any of the rest them with their big broad toothy miles shows just how out of touch with reality any of these people.

        • Anson
          September 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

          I”like” how some of the essays just say “could be”, “maybe” this happen, that happen. They don’t have the answer, just trying to smooth the issue out.

    • Gary
      July 16, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you, Spencer, for checking in.

      I will comment on your sentence:

      ” Though I’m an active member, I don’t naively just trust in everything.”

      Please study this definition of oxymoron:

      “Oxymoron Definition
      Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. The common oxymoron phrase is a combination of an adjective proceeded by a noun with contrasting meanings, e.g. “cruel kindness” or “living death”. . . An oxymoron, however, may produce a dramatic effect but does not make sense. ”

      Spencer, you’re certainly on the right track to tell yourself you do not naively just trust in everything. You should look up some of the informed rebuttals to “The Essays” in your quest to “not naively just trust” those essays to be straightforward and honest. I will help you with a few links. Please study this material with an open mind and with your BS detector deployed:

      http://www.mormonthink.com/essays-responses-intro.htm

      http://mormoncurtain.com/topic_ldsofficialessays.html

      And, Spencer, if you have the stomach for a serious dose of non-faith-promoting observations regarding the essays, you might explore here : (I would avoid this one if you want to continue feeling OK about your Church membership. Milk before meat.)

      http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1125107,1125107

      I apologize in advance for the following play on your words: ” Though I’m an active member, I don’t naively just trust in everything.”

      The thought came to me that a good description of the author of that sentence could be: “OxyMormon”. No disrespect intended, Spencer. The fact that you are even reading John’s Mormon Stories blog is a testament to your openness and search for truth. As you know, most of your brethren and sisters at Church would rather suffer their lives to be taken than get caught on this website.

      I wish you all the best! You are on a pathway to liberating your psyche and discovering the incredible Universe beyond the small box of approved thoughts The Brethren maintain for THEIR benefit (not yours).

  18. HaroldTheCat
    July 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    I wonder what Elder Steven E. Snow means by a “safe place?”

    • Gary
      July 16, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      A “safe place” is a place where the thinking has been done, of course.

      As most of us have discovered, thinking is not safe.

      • p
        July 16, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        The “thinking” is also sometimes done for us on the non-believing side of our sad divide. The only people more dogmatic & unyielding than orthodox Mormons are exMormons with their own variety of orthodoxy.

        Between the assertions “God exists” and “God does not exist” or “I believe” and “I don’t believe” lies a vast and largely unexplored territory. Abandon facile binaries and embrace ambiguity. Work with it. Only this will be productive.

  19. c
    July 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    If the essays were honest and accurate, it would be such a relief for members to read them, but they are not.
    If the Church continues to expect members to be honest in all of their dealings, the leaders must be honest in all of theirs, including correcting the misinformation in these essays.

  20. emma
    July 16, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    I love what Gary said “thinking is not safe ”
    What a powerful statement and it sums up the church so simply and perfectly . Such an incredible false sense of safety
    I am so grateful for my brain and my ability to think clearly and the freedom that has brought me from the tyranny of complete mindless devotion
    Through such heartbreak we find freedom —
    Knowing the truth Truly does set you free

  21. C Thomas
    July 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    ” Carl Sagan wrote— “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.) [Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection]”

    When he says 90% dont care, he means they are like sheep and will follow along. I still have a major question- in primary, when they talk about translating the golden plates. Do they show JS with the plates and pen and a paper, or do they show him with his head in a hat reading a rock? Little things like that do matter?

  22. Wondering Wanderer
    July 17, 2016 at 8:24 am

    LDS definitions:
    inoculate = indoctrinate
    essays = downplays
    apologetics = synthetics
    clarification = obsfucation
    translate = fabricate
    seer stone = a mere stone
    hat tricks = theatrics
    golden plate = sucker bait
    gold standard = delusions of grandeur
    polyandry = dirty laundry
    Rosetta Stone = cover blown
    papyrus = obvious
    JS Egyptian translation = oops, missed the dick illustration
    called by inspiration = summoned in desperation
    follow the brethren, right or wrong = sell your soul for a song
    believe = naive
    question = suppression
    you talk = you take a walk
    white = pure and light
    black = stay back
    gay = stay away
    Red skinned Lamanite = loathsome sight
    brown = stay down
    female = curtail

    • Ashley Em
      July 17, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Wandering Wanderer that is brilliant. I copied it to share. I wish I knew who to give credit to.

      • Gary
        July 17, 2016 at 8:08 pm

        I already posted Wondering’s brilliant piece of work on RFM with attribution . . .

        http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1847407

        It’s already a hit!

        • Ashley Em
          July 17, 2016 at 8:23 pm

          Thanks 😊

      • Wondering Wanderer
        July 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        Wow, what a kick to be called “brilliant.” Thanks Ashley, but I have to give the church all the credit. They supply so much good material. Think what Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert could do with all of it.

  23. William Covington
    July 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Where did Snow get his statistics ie, ‘90% of the church probably couldn’t care less’ about issues concerning LDS doctrine? Did the LDS church survey the total active members of the church to find out if the active members had issues concerning the contradictions about LDS doctrine? Show us the evidence for the claim. For a church that puts much emphasis on the value of evidence pertaining to the truthfulness of statements there is no evidence at all to substantiate Snow’s claim. Snow is merely another ‘LDS SPIN DOCTOR’

  24. Rico
    July 20, 2016 at 2:06 am

    “It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” -Mark Twain

    I would highly recommend the documentary film “Kumare” (www.kumaremovie.com) to anyone interested as to why 90% of the LDS church is not interested in the so-called “Gospel Essays”. The movie is indeed the “true story of a false prophet” because the filmaker purposedly disguised himself as a guru from India in order to deceive people. He tried to see how far he could get away with his pretentions. Well, guess what? He got very far..:-)

    Towards the end of the movie, his victims were confronted with the truth of the deception, and it is amazing how they reacted. Some were utterly disgusted, and could never forgive him, while some could still manage to feel the opposite and see a “deeper meaning” to it all. They would be forever grateful for all the “wisdom” they learned from him. For them, it doesn’t matter if he was a false teacher. What mattered was how he turned their lives for the better.

    In other words, truth doesn’t matter. Or more precisely, some truths matter more than others. As Boyd K. Packer once said, some things that are true are not useful. Some truths tend to spoil the party or cause rain during a parade. Therefore, if one desires the party and parade to go on, then avoid those useless truths.

    But if they can’t be avoided, try a little a inoculation.

    • Bob
      July 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      The level of detachment is telling and it’s part of the culture. My former mother-in-law had had hip replacement surgery at age 81 and it popped out so they had to do it again. She was in such pain I could hear her crying from down the hall. She was begging for God to take her life. When I entered her hospital room, I discovered my former wife and her sister having a giggly cocktail conversation right beside the bed almost oblivious to their mother’s screams. When I asked if their mother had been given her pain medication they acted like I had interrupted their conversation. I went to the nursing station and discovered that sure enough they had missed giving my mother-in-law her pills. This was not an isolated case. It’s always caused me to wonder when people aren’t troubled by those things that should cause the red flags to go up and the sirens to sound. That includes a Dalin Oaks suggesting that the “leaders” are above criticism (even if they’re wrong) or that grown adults are willing to accept a new story including Joseph Smith using a rock in a hat and Uchtdorf comparing it to cell phone technology and people accepting that too. There’s no concept of critical thinking or demanding any proof at all. When my former wife’s bishop called me to get permission for her to marry her new husband in the temple, he was laughing and giggling in the conversation like an immature boy talking about sex with his parents. They don’t realize the hole they’re digging themselves into and why they’re always having to reconstruct their story. It’s why they can boast about printing 175,000,000 copies of the Book of Mormon and not be alarmed. If what Grant Palmer said in his article years ago about meeting with general authorities and the top 15 not believing, while they may not say it outwardly, their behaviour shouts it. It’s in the culture to misrepresent the truth. There’s a saying that says “Generals are always fighting last years war”. That’s why they pick 3 new apostles that look the same as the old ones… why they’re building more buildings…more temples…doing more of the same because it’s all they know. The LDS Titanic is sinking and the whole membership has been “rearranging the deck chairs” looking at the night, the stars, the moon, the pretty sky rockets all the while singing “All is Well”.

    • Spencer
      July 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Rico,

      Thank you for your comment, that my pain and I natively understood, so I could tolerate it.

      Thank you for your movie reference, which I bought and watched online. I’m not sure all of the things I’m feeling right now, because the numbing pain in my life, and in my marriage relationship is hard to feel out…but I feel like the movie helps me make a little more sense of what has been happening in the last few years of my faith transition.

      I watched the movie, thinking the tone would match the raw feeling of your comment, but instead found a great love for both Kumare, and his followers – and even found myself wondering what Joseph could have been thinking, but this time, with less bitterness and accusation.

      When I knew I needed to talk with my wife, I introduced my feelings as softly, but as plainly as I could. (She ended up asking if I believed or not, to which I explained that all my knowledge now required intense faith. As my true believing wife, as she became even more frightened, she pressed me into a corner, and I had to shorten my answer to no.) My soft start to the research was the church essay on the seer stone. I hope I will be successful in watching the full movie with her.

      I’ve also talked with my brother over the past half year, and this last fourth of July weekend he recommended that I read Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut as my weekend read. I’ve just started, but having read to page 118 of 287, I like a quote from this that also softens my fall from certainty. The book discusses a false religion, and a false leader. I remembered this quote as the documentary Kumare came to a softer end than my anger initially wanted. (I wanted the plainness from the documentary about James Randi, An Honest Liar.) From page 5 and 6, “The first sentence in The Books of Bokonon is this: ‘All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.’ My Bokononist warning is this: Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either. So be it.”

      I wish the church, all churches could be so truthful as James Randi, Bokonon, or Kumare. Maybe it would lead to less death and pain. Maybe not. But it would be the honest thing to do, and would acknowledge the pain and loss, and hope and love in each of us.

      • Rico
        July 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

        Spencer,

        Our sufferings are not in vain. There is meaning in spite of all the pain. The fact that we think and reflect on our sufferings should tell us there is something more to this so-called “valley of tears”, that something transcends this material world. Just as the human hand is designed to sense and hold material things, our capacity for mental reflection is designed to sense and grab the transcendent.

        Although some victims of Kumare could never forgive him, what sets him miles apart from Joseph Smith is this: he confessed and owned up his wrongdoing. He did not let the whole deception go on indefinitely. Perhaps while training to become a fake guru, he accidentally learned ethics, that there are lines in the unseen world that he must never cross. For If the material world is all there is, then there is no reason why Kumare could let something immaterial or abstract like ethics spoil his fun. I don’t think he was ever naive to believe he will be reincarnated as a swine in this world.

        On the other hand, this is the Mormon problem: Joseph Smith never admitted his wrongdoing. He denied his adulterous marriages using the cloak of Mormon revelations to justify them. He died in that state of denial. And until today, those who promote his distorted gospel and continue to make lame excuses for him like Uchtdorf or Brian Hales are in the business of prolonging Smith’s deceptions indefinitely. They behave as if this is the only life we have, that there is no God who sees all this iniquity they’re involved, and that they will not be judged harshly. They may believe in God, but they act like they deny Him. Between them and Kumare, Kumare is easier to forgive.

        When I said “truth doesn’t matter” I was just being facetious. Of course truth matters. In fact, whether we like it or not, Truth trumps everything else. Because if it doesn’t, then where does all this excruciating pain of discovering how the Mormon church lied and deceived its members come from? Why does discovering the truth hurt us so badly?

        “Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). This is why Bushman cannot understand why others feel so betrayed and horribly pained by these recent “Mormon revelations” or disclosures. He sees false narratives as mere obstacles to church growth. He fails to see them as offenses against God. What then will he say if false narratives were instead to boost church growth and ensure its survival? Will he still talk about changing them to conform with the truth?

        Iniquity reigns where there is no truth. Lyings, deceptions, and obfuscations are offenses against Christian charity. Those who understand what charity means cannot therefore be happy in falsehoods. Charity and truth go hand in hand. One cannot be without the other. Since not everyone knows what true charity means, then, not everyone will care about the truth. That is, until all hell breaks loose. One does not have to be a Christian to know this. All you need is to experience how it feels to be lied to by people whom you trust. After that, the truth matters.

  25. Marissa
    July 20, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    He says…..

    “You know, 90% of the church probably couldn’t care less, they don’t worry about such things. But we do have some folks who are on-line I think there’s been a lot of interest within maybe a small percentage of church members but my view is most of the church really is not troubled, members are not troubled by these.”

    My comments:
    I think deep inside 90%+ of the Church members do care and want to know!
    I think the majority of the members are online! Not just a few!
    And I think it’s a huge percentage!

    Of course members at Church won’t discuss any of this during official Church meetings. But when you get one-on-one with members outside the Church chapel like at work, at the store, on vacation, etc. They have questions and it’s a whole different story. They are more real and genuine. EVERYONE is online. The times are changing. Let’s not be in denial. The Church should survey the members and get accurate data. That’s my opinion.

Comments are closed.