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  1. It’s a bit of a sacrifice these days, forcing myself to listen to GA’s speak. There is for me, a real sense of insufferably annoyance, as well as cynicism, as I hear the often erroneous and sometimes false information they promulgate. I appreciate the gradual, yet certain shift in emphasis that the members who seem bogged down in doubts have genuine and sincere problems that we should respect. Also, appeals to neighbourliness, love and kindness to others – as well as a greater awareness of creation and personal contact, rather than incessant virtual communications.
    However, what still annoys me are thoroughly the misleading and invalid observations, which amount to falsehood and sometimes, even lies. The church is NOT transparent in the way he described it. It has been ‘forced’ to open-up or confront the messy bits of its own history, as a means of damage limitation. Even when things are revealed by the church, they are not made as public and as available as they should be, nor are they as fully repentant of past wrongs. They still spin and twist the truth in the midst of confessing, or explaining themselves.
    Why do leaders still keep saying, or associating people who doubt – then leave the church, as losing focus, losing faith, involved in neglect, or sin and thus becoming weaker? They ALWAYS say that ‘faith’ is lost, or that keeping ‘faith alive’ allows a member to hold-on and retain their valued truth? I maintain that I left the church BECAUSE of my ‘faith.’ Faith in God and a greater faith in myself enabled me to face the alienation and the disturbance of allowing a religion to die within me. I had MORE faith to get out and stay out, than ever I would have needed to stay behind. GA’s generally speak as if member’s who give way to doubts, are inevitably ‘descending spiritually.’ That only member’s who ‘keep the faith’ are spiritually on-top. Listen to this person’s strength of faith and spirituality as he describes his feelings about God – and tell me: Does he sound like he has lost faith, or is losing God? (It is rather long, but you will get my point)
    “As I travelled to work by car this morning, something flashed gold and reflected into my eyes from off the mirror or windscreen. I had been gazing at the full moon ahead of me, hanging low on the western horizon. An ever-so-pale tint of yellow, set against a cool, blue grey sky. But on noticing the reflection, I immediately glanced backward to see the most staggering sunrise ever.
    It was coming up behind the power station cooling towers in a display of dazzling brightness that took my breath away. The distant clouds through which it shone were a blast of pure liquid gold and the light from the sun’s centre shone with a brilliance of blinding white light. I literally gasped with awe. I wanted to keep looking back but was negotiating a roundabout. I twisted to look and was just staggered by this fire in the sky. Within seconds the clouds eclipsed this naked glory and covered its glittering beauty as if ashamed of its harsh, radiant splendour.
    I turned forward to the moon – this sacred soft light of night – how totally dreamy and incredible it looked too. This quiet gentle light, which fills the soul with a mysterious stillness, now recedes as the source of its luminosity – powered-up on the opposite horizon, was bursting into my day.
    God, you are so like this sun… You shine! – Oh how you shine! You explode into my life and break through my deep and darkened fears! You come and I, in awe, glimpse your glory. You overwhelm me with unspeakable happiness. And suddenly, as if aware that divinity can be over-exposed, you become like the moon and infuse my heart with a whispering peace that hangs and remains throughout my night. I keep seeing and feeling this inner presence – a light that is constant. I see you from every angle. I see You everywhere. Emotions surge up to the surface from a region beyond my knowledge and flow out as tears – a flood of joy. They water my bed and fall to the ground – drops of my soul falling into you…. falling in love with you. Suddenly there is no light outside at all, it is all gathered inside and my love for you is exploding. I have never felt such a love as this before – never!
    The light which lights up every morning has been raging in me and He is exploding in every direction. I can’t hold it in. My heart ruptures into praises I have never dreamed of – never imagined. Falling from my lips are praises which echo the reason I was born – the reason I’m alive. All longing, beauty and desire is locked into God. Nothing is seen, nothing is wanted, nothing is felt, that is not in Him. He is everything. In Him all beauty is centred. It all begins and ends in Him.
    Every morning and every night you arise, and I, seeing something, turn to feel my world catch fire. Oh God, How you shine. How beautifully you shine”
    That was me, a year or two after excommunication, when I was NOT living the standards of the church. To be honest, even if my belief in God became zero, yet my faith – what Talmage described as a ‘principle action’ – would have been intact. Faith, in terms of Trusting the Unknown – going out on a limb, or having confidence in self, is still faith. When we have lost the Mormon God, yet trust our souls to ‘whatever is out there,’ takes a powerful, gut wrenching step off the cliff. That is faith.
    I do find it revealing that GA’s keep warning people about the Internet. Only dictatorships, controlling governments and cults severely curtail, or ban the Internet. It’s a stupidly daft council to give anyone; pretending that exmormon blog sites are BAD!

    1. Your analogous description of the sun means nothing. You say you believe in God and have faith? In what, specifically? Are you now mainstream Protestant? I’m curious because, for me, after over a decade of agnosticism, I returned to Mormonism, not because I missed being a part of it, or because I suddenly believed my leaders are inspired, because I don’t. I came back because LDS doctrine on the eternal nature of our intelligence is the only acceptable doctrine outside Creatio Ex Nihilo, which is what the rest of Christendom teaches. Do you believe God created everything from absolutely nothing?

      1. The Sun rising in the morning is not very important. It simply illustrates a point about ‘being’ or at least ‘feeling’ spiritual. That’s all. The church has always taught (still does) that someone in my position, cannot enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost. Well, my experience of God through many years of full active participation as a temple going Mormon was ‘the same feeling’ as afterwards — except that afterwards it was many times stronger. What I do or don’t know, believe, have faith in, or think about God, is not relevant.

    2. Absolutely spot on. Thankful for people like you who can express what some of us struggle to express. Thank you. I love this.

  2. “The Church is dedicated to transparency”. 19m40s
    THIS needs to be used as authorization when asking questions about pretty much anything and also about TITHES and where they are allocated. It came from an apostle’s mouth, so…

    1. 1:55 – He states he is giving his own Epistle. That’s like saying this is canonized scripture, right?

      4:55 – Lord has blessed you

      6:33 – reminder that sanitation and entertainment is great for us… (no mention of how religion did not contribute to such things)

      6:44 – Shout out to Farms

      7:20 – Prospering in the land (yay for prosperity gospel)

      7:53 – Recommendations for spiritual health

      8:20 – Scriptural reference to apostates and those who would pervert the gospel of Christ

      9:00 – Reminder that life is black and white, good and evil

      9:40 – False prophets mentioned

      9:56 – “You have witnessed some of the very elect being deceived”

      Random discussion of trees

      11:55 – “All appearances of being tall and erect in faith, die in faith”. Interesting discussion as he implies the trees shifted away from the water, when in his example the water was poisoned. “Dying trees may imply a rotten water source” could have been the title, and the same example used by exmormons

      12:55- old fallacy that reading scriptures, fasting, temple work and praying will protect from apostasy. “Real Intent, without hypocracy and full purpose of heart” no true scottsman fallacy invoked

      14:10 – Failing to Work with the poor mentioned as a cause of apostasy… might be that a church that fails its poor is in apostasy too, no?

      14:20 – Satan invoked as the reason people fall away; along with “sin and guilt cloud the mind”

      15:00 – “Individuals who don’t stay focused on the simple doctrines of the gospel will eventually listen to false teachers and self-declared prophets”

      Evils listed:

      Wealth and Entertainment,

      viewing podcasts and internet sites that raise questions and doubt without being intellectually honest enough to present fully and adequately the lord’s perspective

      16:00 – “There is nothing wrong with asking questions about our history, doctrine or practices.”

      Bishops, Stake presidents, parents, auxiliary leaders – don’t brush the question off, or doubt his dedication to the lord.

      17:00 – I’m concerned about people who ask sincere questions being treated as though they are faithless. This is not the Lord’s way

      We need to do better in responding to every question

      17:40 – We may not be able to answer every question about our history, doctrine. We can answer those who are sincere

      18:02 – We may not always find satisfying answers to our questions. “Still a place in a religion for faith”.

      The lord does not require his saints to have advanced degrees in history or doctrine.

      18:46 – Even among the first presidency and quorum of twelve apostles there are those who have very different backgrounds and training

      When I have a question I cannot answer, I often turn to those who can help me.

      19:10 – The church has trained scholars who have devoted a lifetime and have come to know our history and the scriptures. These thoughtful men and women provide context

      19:44 – The Church is dedicated to transparency and has published precious resources to provide even more context to the story of the restoration. Through the JSPP website, and the gospel topic essays and on LDS.org

      20:34 – Casual of listening to and following the Lord’s servants due to proximity to church headquarters

      Missionary Farewells are a problem

      21:50 -We hope also that elaborate open houses will not prevail. No public reception

      22:55 – Live beyond their means in an attempt to keep up with neighbors

      23:48 – Turn off the social media (to spend time with family)

      24:00 – Hold family council.

      24:17 – Pokemon Go. He doesn’t understand it, don’t ask him about it, but it causes people to look down at their phones rather than view the beautiful creations of God’s world

      25:05 – Tying it to lack of men getting married

      25:20 – History filled with persecution.

      Missionary work emphasized

      28:25 – Unprecedented access to educational opportunities. – Caution about learning

  3. Who is Elder Ballard referring to when he says ‘the church’? I think these guys have largely forgotten the people are ‘the church’. He makes it sound like the hierarchy is doing us a favour by doling out these resources in a semi-panic induced rush. Oh and avoid them evil podcasts y’all.

    1. For them (and all faithful, believing Mormons), “The Church” (notice the capitalization) is the governing hierarchy that establishes the precepts and teachings for all the members. The idea of “The Church” being the body of members is pretty much nonexistent in contemporary Mormonism.

      1. It was also non existent to First Century Christianity. The Church as most TBMs would use it is a general reference to the entity or organisation that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  4. So you have to pay to play? Pay 10% to be tapped into the living water? That was not what Jesus said. Jesus said “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:28030) In fact, nowhere in the NT are we told to tithe.

    1. A multi-national corporation costs $$$s to staff and run, even when the majority of your salesforce pay their own way and your customers are buying an invisible ‘product’.

    2. To be fair, two of the early new testament saints were turned into pillars of salt because they sold some property and kept some of the proceeds for themselves. Tithing is cheaper on that scale.

      1. Are you referring to the couple in Acts 5? My understanding is that they were destroyed for lying about the amount they were giving from the sale of their field, and not because they didn’t give the entire amount.

        4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

        5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

  5. Over and over I notice the similarity to the 2X2 cult, and its controlling ways and exclusivity. But a major difference is its underground existence. It doesn’t insist on a tithe, but on its claims of having no organizational structure, and its leaders and preachers having no homes and no money–meanwhile it demands support, in cash and in kind. Seems to me victims of abusive cults should join forces and help one another, for we have much in common.

    1. I didn’t listen to the whole thing either, but skipping through I heard the blurb about false prophets and podcasts from around 14-17 minutes. There may be more but I will have to listen later.

      I was annoyed with his discussion on asking “honest questions” (directly after the podcast part), because I have asked honest questions on GA’s Facebook pages – even his – and my comments are almost immediately deleted. I can’t even imagine sitting in a Sunday School class and bringing up some of those questions without getting stares and judgment. As for talking to a Bishop, I just don’t buy that most leaders would be willing to answer the honest questions (at least without spin). Many probably don’t have answers.

    2. 1:55 – He states he is giving his own Epistle. That’s like saying this is canonized scripture, right?

      4:55 – Lord has blessed you

      6:33 – reminder that sanitation and entertainment is great for us… (no mention of how religion did not contribute to such things)

      6:44 – Shout out to Farms

      7:20 – Prospering in the land (yay for prosperity gospel)

      7:53 – Recommendations for spiritual health

      8:20 – Scriptural reference to apostates and those who would pervert the gospel of Christ

      9:00 – Reminder that life is black and white, good and evil

      9:40 – False prophets mentioned

      9:56 – “You have witnessed some of the very elect being deceived”

      Random discussion of trees

      11:55 – “All appearances of being tall and erect in faith, die in faith”. Interesting discussion as he implies the trees shifted away from the water, when in his example the water was poisoned. “Dying trees may imply a rotten water source” could have been the title, and the same example used by exmormons

      12:55- old fallacy that reading scriptures, fasting, temple work and praying will protect from apostasy. “Real Intent, without hypocracy and full purpose of heart” no true scottsman fallacy invoked

      14:10 – Failing to Work with the poor mentioned as a cause of apostasy… might be that a church that fails its poor is in apostasy too, no?

      14:20 – Satan invoked as the reason people fall away; along with “sin and guilt cloud the mind”

      15:00 – “Individuals who don’t stay focused on the simple doctrines of the gospel will eventually listen to false teachers and self-declared prophets”

      Evils listed:

      Wealth and Entertainment,

      viewing podcasts and internet sites that raise questions and doubt without being intellectually honest enough to present fully and adequately the lord’s perspective

      16:00 – “There is nothing wrong with asking questions about our history, doctrine or practices.”

      Bishops, Stake presidents, parents, auxiliary leaders – don’t brush the question off, or doubt his dedication to the lord.

      17:00 – I’m concerned about people who ask sincere questions being treated as though they are faithless. This is not the Lord’s way

      We need to do better in responding to every question

      17:40 – We may not be able to answer every question about our history, doctrine. We can answer those who are sincere

      18:02 – We may not always find satisfying answers to our questions. “Still a place in a religion for faith”.

      The lord does not require his saints to have advanced degrees in history or doctrine.

      18:46 – Even among the first presidency and quorum of twelve apostles there are those who have very different backgrounds and training

      When I have a question I cannot answer, I often turn to those who can help me.

      19:10 – The church has trained scholars who have devoted a lifetime and have come to know our history and the scriptures. These thoughtful men and women provide context

      19:44 – The Church is dedicated to transparency and has published precious resources to provide even more context to the story of the restoration. Through the JSPP website, and the gospel topic essays and on LDS.org

      20:34 – Casual of listening to and following the Lord’s servants due to proximity to church headquarters

      Missionary Farewells are a problem

      21:50 -We hope also that elaborate open houses will not prevail. No public reception

      22:55 – Live beyond their means in an attempt to keep up with neighbors

      23:48 – Turn off the social media (to spend time with family)

      24:00 – Hold family council.

      24:17 – Pokemon Go. He doesn’t understand it, don’t ask him about it, but it causes people to look down at their phones rather than view the beautiful creations of God’s world

      25:05 – Tying it to lack of men getting married

      25:20 – History filled with persecution.

      Missionary work emphasized

      28:25 – Unprecedented access to educational opportunities. – Caution about learning

    1. I don’t disagree with you, Riley, about the dearth of good parts. Right from the start, Elder Ballard’s initial blanket of flattery for the members of the church in the Salt Lake area doesn’t bode well for actual light and knowledge to follow. If a person is interested in mangled metaphors, at the 10:00 mark, just after a reference to false Christs and false prophets in the last days, there is a story of a sequoia on the BYU campus that died. The deceased tree was one of a small group planted 50 years ago. He explains that sequoias are exceptionally hardy but this specimen died and had to be cut down. When the campus arborists investigated the cause of its demise they observed that the tree’s source of water had been cut off when a new building was erected nearby. He continues:

      “To me this is a perfect analogy of what happens when stalwart church members—the very elect, those, for all appearances seem to stand tall and erect in faith—they die spiritually. Like the dead sequoia, these church members once received their spiritual nourishment from the well of living water offered by Jesus Christ, but for one reason or another they have shifted away from the source of spiritual nourishment. Without that nourishment, their spirit was dulled and they eventually died spiritually. Now I ask you, brothers and sisters, how can we assure that our spiritual feeding roots are always connected to the well of living water? . . .”

      When he mentioned wayward church members shifting away from their source of spiritual nourishment I got a reverse projection of the metaphor in which a rebellious sequoia inches away over the decades from its water source!

      1. I had a similar thought about the Sequoia shifting away from its water source. Ballard explained pretty clearly that what killed the tree was that the university had disturbed the aquifer with the construction of a new building. The tree didn’t move away from the water, the church removed the water.

        With that in mind let’s re-apply the parable and have a discussion about who needs to alter course and repent to save the trees. (hint: it’s not the trees)

        1. You also could look at it from the point. The water moved and the tree didn’t follow that is why it died. So if the Church goes away from secular views like it has been and a person stays where they are at with the secular views. Similar to the tree not moving. Would that person also die spiritually too?
          This is another perspective you can add to the discussion.

        2. Many people are led out of the church by their own conscience and convictions after partaking deeply of the waters of Mormonism. They do exactly what the GAs recommend . . . a great deal of thought, prayer, and scripture study, and reading the church’s own materials and on-line essays, staying active and worthy, going to the temple, and seeking answers to their questions from leaders. If conscientiously doing all these things backfires and causes people to lose their faith, and when they leave, they discover a more meaningful kind of spirituality that is not based on any religion, what does that tell us about the church, about the water source?

    2. I don’t disagree with you, Riley, on the dearth of good parts in the talk. Elder Ballard’s initial blanket of flattery for the good member in the Salt Lake area doesn’t bode well for actual light and knowledge to follow. For those drawn to mangled metaphors, there is a story at the 10:00 mark about a sequoia tree on the BYU campus that died. The deceased tree was one of several that had been planted as a grove 50 years ago. He explains that while sequoias are exceptionally hardy this one died and had to be cut down. The campus arborists investigated and concluded that the tree was unable to get enough water when a building was erected nearby.

      Following a reference to the false Christs and prophets of the last days, Elder Ballard pursues his metaphor with sage gusto:

      “To me this is a perfect analogy of what happens when stalwart church members—the very elect, those, for all appearances seem to stand tall and erect in faith—they die spiritually. Like the dead sequoia, these church members once received their spiritual nourishment from the well of living water offered by Jesus Christ, but for one reason or another they have shifted away from the source of spiritual nourishment. Without that nourishment, their spirit was dulled and they eventually died spiritually. Now I ask you, brothers and sisters, how can we assure that our spiritual feeding roots are always connected to the well of living water?” . . .

      When he mentioned wayward church members shifting away from their source of spiritual nourishment I got a reverse projection of the metaphor in which a rebellious sequoia inches away from its source of water over the course of decades to its eventual death!

  6. I don’t have much to say regarding the content but rather the delivery. It’s been years since I’ve been to a conference like this and it’s amazing how agonizingly boring these things are. If I close my eyes I can imagine myself there and remember how painful attending these kinds of things were. Even if he had something important to say I can’t imagine anyone there would have even taken notice. Most are just checking the ‘do you attend all your meetings regularly’ box.

  7. In the analogy regarding the sequoia trees that died, I find it interesting that what killed the trees was no that they themselves moved away from the source of water, but that construction performed by the church removed the life-sustaining water from them. The had been deeply planted and stable for five decades. The church’s activity removed the life. So. Interesting.

  8. It speaks volumes when it takes an Apostle to instruct members how to interact with non-member neighbors and family. It really drives home the source of Mormon group think and behavior control. I’m a special witness, respect other people’s free agency and for the love of all holy, don’t play this “pokie-man go” stuff. Pay your tithes & offerings to us, go to the Temple, stay away from podcasts, etc….the false prophets leading people astray from the true love of humanity are those scoffing from that big and spacious building at 50 East North Temple. That was the message I heard.

  9. I don’t miss the “ambient” noise of Mormon services. The sound of the droning voice surrounded by whispering, mumbling, and the screams of children is kind of creepy.

  10. The so called “Quorum of the Twelve” are self serving hypocrites who care about nothing but their own agendas. They are executives in a corporation, not prophets of God. sad. very sad.

  11. It’s frustrating that even now they still clump everyone together in a group of faithless non praying people. A lot of times the question/doubt is presented to people and not searched out. It is possible and completely normal to have doubts, but where do we get the answers? He even stated that first president may not have all the answers. So….? Where?

  12. It is interesting that he quotes Galatians chapter 1 about angels and another gospel. This scripture is commonly used by Christian apologists in reference to Mormonism being another gospel!

    FYI – I left the LDS Church over historical issues over 20 years ago in the days before the Internet and social media. Back then we had the work of Sandra and Gerald Tanner, the 7th East Press (when I was a BYU undergrad in the 80s) and old journals and diaries of family members and such.

    Thank you John Dehlin for your work!

    Please consider doing a series on people that left the LDS CHurch before the Internet so people can see how we did it old-school.

  13. John this is the same regurgitated talk that you posted here a few months ago. It was as unimpressive now as it was back then. I don’t fault Ballard for reusing talks, it’s a tough gig. But I do wonder what your point is reposting this?

  14. Because the Church refuses to apologize for the history of polygamy, polyandry of Joseph Smith, the Book of Abraham, the abuse of women in the Church, the ecclesiastical abuse that has destroyed the lives of so many members, and a history of exclusion of those who attempt to ask questions and speak out against abuse, I am beginning to wonder who the false prophets really are.

    I continue to be active in the Church but want to hear the prophet and apostles apologize for the terrible abuses that have been perpetrated in the name of the Church. My heart breaks for Lavina Fielding Anderson who, after she spoke up and documented ecclesiastical abuse, was excommunicated and cannot be rebaptized unless she states that the brethren are infallible. The godlike stature that the brethren are now assuming frightens me. The blind obedience they demand, the horrific abuse being perpetrated by Church leaders, and the demands placed on families which weaken families more than strengthen them must be addressed by General Authorities. I am praying that they will humble themselves and remember the example of the Savior, who loved those whom society rejected and who valued sinners. The Church seems to be a place for the “perfect” and not a safe place for those who are struggling with sin. I have been told most of my life that I should become perfect, and only recently has the Church stated otherwise.

    The rate of suicide, depression, and despair among Church members is high. I know. I have been a Relief Society president and a bishop’s wife. I pray that the brethren will move outside of group think and recognize when they are teaching false doctrine and when they should apologize for their significant sins and mistakes just as they expect members to do.

    1. Hello Karen ,it is the first time I actually reply a comment in these type of blogs . I don´t know why , I just felt I have to. I am active in the gospel and I truly feel sad or even sometimes amaze to hear the resentment people have against what once made their lives happy and meaningful. But that is something just between them and the Lord. I am concern about what you wrote . Church leaders are not perfect and there sure have being things that maybe were not properly done or haven´t being properly explained . But oh , Karen , they are trying their best to clear up things . Why are you expecting to hear their apologies? They might never come , but will you summon yourself in doubts and bad feelings for this ? Are you really willing to change your visits to the needy , the relationship with so many excellent men and women at church and so many other great things just waiting for an apology for things done in the past by imperfect men and women ?Try to adhere to your spiritual experiences . I am sure you have had so many of them and can´t denied them . You mentioned you have been a relief society president and even a bishop´s wife . Keep on pondering on the gospel and striving to clear your doubts but please recall your spiritual experiences and how you felt when you had them. I can promise you can still have many more and be a blessing to many others by serving in the church .
      I guess I will have some rough replies from people in this blog , but I don´t mind that .I wanted to address you and I really hope you feel my sincere interest in my words .

  15. It’s the internet that destroyed my faith in the LDS church and ALL from lds.org!!! Those gospel topic essays showed me that all the anti-mormon “rubbish” I was exposed to on my mission was in fact true all along. I’m so disappointed 🙁

  16. The hypocrisy of guys like Ballard warning the flock against paying heed to “self proclaimed prophets” is laughable since it is a “self proclaimed prophet” that lies at the very foundation of his corporation. It’s also interesting to note how on the one hand Ballard waxes eloquent on the saving grace available to all through the sacrifice made by the great redeemer Jesus Christ while on the other he repeats an arm length list of things we must to to receive the promised blessing, i.e., tithing, fast offering, regular attendance, temple work, volunteer work, alms to the poor and so on. Then there was his concern about folks living beyond their means immediately followed by an admonition to be sure and pay your tithing and your fast offerings. I really don’t see how anyone can be truly paying attention to what Ballard is saying without noticing how mutually opposed and contradictory it all is. It’s a bit like watching a dog chasing its’ own tail.

  17. Why are all the comments posted here from people who are not happy with membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Why do you come to this site & this talk if all you are going to do is criticize? I loved Elder Ballard talk as I listened & watched it at the broadcast on Sunday. I sustain him as an Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ. I support & sustained Thomas S. Monson as a prophet, seer & revelator & President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    1. Thanks for saying this. I was wondering the same thing. I don’t live in Utah anymore and I was loving every word. I would have loved to have heard this in person. I don’t understand the critical comments here. They are more reflective of the heart and mind of the person saying them than on the talk that was given.

      They leave the church but they can never leave it alone. Sad.

      Thank you to the person who recorded and shared this. I love this church! It is the kingdom of God on the earth! Thank you, Elder Ballard, for telling the truth in the face of adversaries.

  18. I started at the 15 min mark as was suggested. Immediately Elder Ballard pined for members to get back to the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The basics as I understand it is quite simply “the death, burial and resurrection by which we are saved.” Even an Atheist like me can appreciate the universals of confession, forgiveness and redemption, especially after 27 years of marriage. I’m a big fan of the universals of Jesus. I wish the Mormon church could get on board as well, not just in seasonal sacrament meeting programs.

    It’s the universals that we all agree upon. Where I think the church goes off the rails including Ballard are the host of peripheria, or appendages to the “Gospel”. However because of the uniqueness of Mormonism, there are podcasts, and they focus on more or less 7-10 different main topics. The CES letter touches upon them as well. If on an airplane seat next to Ballard I’d ask him how Polygamy, polyandry, the marrying of such young girls just shy of their 15th birthday, and hiding and sneaking (Partridge sisters, Lawrence sisters) behind Emma’s back. Tell me how that fits into the basics. Tell me how the incorporation of the 17th century Northern Scottish Masonic Rite is the template for the endowment ceremony, especially when it occurred just after Joseph Smith was initiated into third degree master mason. I’d ask him why we’d need Egyptian funerary documents to be a catalyst for additional scripture, and why this additional scripture would promulgate racist teachings that we disavow now, and how that relates to the basics of Jesus and Him crucified. I’d ask about our seeming contradictions of “man being punished for his own sins, and not Adam’s transgression” and how that could possibly miss a whole race of people being punished for their Adams in the pre-existence, only to be disavowed by a buried essay written by who knows whom. I’d ask about the Savior’s words explaining “Yes yes, or No, no, anything else beyond these is evil” yet it takes scholars, professor, and no-named apologia other than the living prophet to explain to me how my tutelage as a child in all things concerning the Book of Mormon were wrong, and that the continent was crowded with a population that survived the flood. And that I should have know it would have been a limited geography, with steel and chariots, silk and wheat, horses and swine, and that I was blind to not see an egg shaped brown stone at the bottom of a hat instead of the fastidiously delivered golden plates under finger, and all of this in relation to the basics of the life and teachings of Jesus? Adam God? Blood Atonement? Kirkland Safety Society? Perpetual emigation fund? Universal Order? Mountain Meadows? These are the basics of the Gospel of Jesus and Him crucified, resurrected and mankind saved by grace? It’s the unique teachings of the Mormon church that seem to go off the rail. The universals, which admittedly the Mormon church does prescribe to, are relatively non-controversial.

    Honestly, the LDS are so stretched out on temple, tithing, fighting gay marriage, politicking, building malls, buying land, increasing wealth, building temples, universities and trying to get a coach at BYU that can beat Utah, who has the time for the basics? Basics like humility, patience, kindness, love unfeigned. To comprehend peace making, forgiveness, charity, anonymity. There are so many people of the list, who’ve checked off every box. Home teaching, church attendance, modest sleeves, one earring/no beard. Yet sometimes we lack in the deeper meanings of friendship, kindness, compassion, availability, gratitude and honesty, all attributes of Jesus. Most of all we sorely lack one of His greater attributes; Courage. As I on occasion attend church I am often greeted with lessons of doom, second coming, pessimism, apostasy, seeing the world as evil, and the wish for the rapture, and the suffering of fellow brothers and sisters who didn’t quite come to know the Mormon Christ. This is the good news? The basics?

    My rejection of the church of my childhood has brought me to a greater awakening to the beautiful world and life that I have, and everyday as a rare gift. Far be it for me the atheist to remind Ballard of the “basics”, and to insist he cheer up and find the courage of his convictions, unless of course those convictions are built on the foundation of sand that is the peripheria of the unique and weird teachings of Mormonism, and not on the rock of Christ.

  19. Elder Ballard states that the Lord has blessed us with many wonderful things such as access to medical, dental, clean water etc… blessed with recreation, productive farms, businesses etc.. Fine, agreed. But what has the LDS Church as the organization or corporation done to contribute to these ‘blessings’? The Church does not pay taxes and are not financially transparent with the tithing funds. That said, general authorities have no qualms about exercising undue influence by saying because of these open blessings given by the Lord, you need to now listen to us, you need to do what we say (influence). It is not right that I should use the general Christian principles beautifully written by Charles Dickens to empower organization. These are from the Lord to us individually, they are not for anyone to lay claim to exclusively directly or indirectly.

    If Pokemon Go were to be regarded as blessing rather than a distraction from the intense LDS church curriculum, they’d be laying claim to that through the LORD by way of their one true only exclusivity hubris for something they did not produce! They’d hi-jack! They exercise undue religious influence over something they did not bring about at all! Because the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does pay taxes and is not transparent with its books, any claim brought about by governments that they ran from to continue to illegally practice ‘Celestial Marriage’, are really hard to listen to. They are flat out annoying! Very hard to take.

    The pattern is, state general blessings available to all, without overtly saying so, hi-jack them via exclusivity claims as they and only they can legitimately speak for the Lord, then exercise undue influence to sift the heard however.

    The GA’s can’t outsource to others what they own and need to address. I left the church as a result of them failing to meaningfully address my historical concerns. Both my Bishop and Stake President were not prepared to deal with these issues. They don’t own the doctrine or write the policies, they just follow the hand book using what liberty is inherent with their respective callings. I got scripted responses and Elder Holland talks not covering the issues. Sad really.. The branch manager can answer for corporate. The corporate refuses to take ownership and accountability for the pain, and sense of betrayal associated with their prevarications and equivocations regarding how they deliver their faith promoting narratives. That is the history. Nice metaphors about Sequoias at BYU dying due to lack of water become red herrings, non-starters. These all assume that the Church is what it claims to be to have any meaningful validity. Metaphors about a confidence man getting caught in his web of deceit, thereby losing power and influence are more applicable. That is what has been happening.

  20. John I too was frustrated with trying to listen to the talk I would much rather listen to you make your comments about it
    I’m sure you had some specific reasons for posting the talk
    Please just tell us your impressions

    I agree with the droning of the voice and the overwhelming boredom that follows
    It brings back years of wasted time of my life

    These leaders never fit my image of what an apostle of Christ is and yet I tried to believe in them. when I look at the new testament….(what Christ did and said and his apostles )–I really don’t see The same character and behavior and beliefs in the mormon apostles today
    Just like Joseph Smith they are not called of God
    They are just men pretending–and what they do and say can cause great pain and hurt in peoples lives
    How wonderful if there were true apostles focused on love and forgiving and accepting and humility–The kind of men who comforted your soul and gave you hope and love
    MenTruly like jesus
    In the future I would rather hear your comments instead of listening to a boring frustrating talk
    You have so much insight!!!

  21. I had 2 assignments that required me to make a podcast at “The Lord’s University” – BYU-Idaho.

    So tired of the spin game.

    “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. LDS leaders have had so much power for so long , they don’t require themselves to make sense anymore. The same logic they use, and get away with, could never be effective anywhere else.

    In the end, curious people, people who value truth, people who value empathy and humanity will find their way out of this moral maze.

    Thanks to brave folks like John Dehlin 🙂

  22. I find a familiar voice when I listen to the Apostles speak, one that I know to be full of goodness and truth. In my entire life, they have never taught me anything that was not right, good, true, and timely counsel. At times they have reminded me to live above the muck and the mud that I have at times allowed myself to get messy in. At times they have been a voice of hope and renewal when I needed it most. I have at times prayed to understand and to know that their counsel was true, and I have received powerful yet, simple witness that indeed it is. I find myself asking these days, why we don’t look at the fruits of their counsel in our lives more often. Why are we so turned because of the imperfections of our past. I find that we have very little in the way of context in many matters of the past. In the areas where context is provided, and where real imperfections exist in our history, I wonder if we forget to take the sum of all of our history, the good and the bad. I find the sum of it all to be an honest struggle to do our very best to know God, and His Son and to follow their guidance, with faith in our footsteps, and in humble sackcloth and ashes truly trying to reconcile our faults and allow the hope of Christ to save our souls, to magnify our spirits and to help us live happy lives with hopes of a far greater world. In full disclosure I visit sites such as this to understand what is going on, to understand perspectives. The fruits of what I hear and read at times feel very dark and troublesome and disheartening. It seems a lot of people heap praise and high five these days when people can find common criticism or find faults with the leaders, the programs, the doctrine, the history, the values, ect., I know some have genuine hurt, genuine doubt, genuine aching and genuine concerns and are just trying to find a community to express that with. It is just strange to me that some can listen to a talk like this and come away with such a negative impression. I find what has been said to be honest, true, encouraging, inspired, and most of all Christ-centered. What would Salt Lake, Utah, the west, the United States and the World be like if the church crumbled at the loss of trust and faith of its members? Or if the church abandoned its direction to meet the demands of the activist? I see the church and its members and those of other honest faiths as the last hope of a degenerating world, and I am reminded tonight of the importance of Prophets and Apostles and inspired general and local men and women leaders that are trying to help us keep on the straight and narrow path, and on towards the preparations and the Second Coming of Christ. Thanks for posting.

  23. Very interesting that none of you have better things to do than to listen to the prophet and make rude remarks . It always happens this way . I really wish you all would keep your comments to yourself and let us believe and worship how we want. We don’t bash you and your decisions to not believe .

    1. It always happens this way . . . unquestioning believers’ become scared and their feelings are hurt whenever any uncomfortable facts or a disagreeable viewpoint is delivered to them, especially if it is done bluntly or rudely. Their emotions make them feel justified in dismissing the challenger, and they feel no inclination or obligation to give his facts, and his conclusions any logical, analytic, or rational consideration.
      This Comment section is not here so people can keep their comments to themselves! It is here so that they can share them. You can leave it to the church to try to shut up and discredit those who pose the hard questions..
      Who is it that is keeping you from believing and worshipping as you want, and exactly how are they accomplishing that? If what is being said here is upsetting to you and threatening your faith, then don’t read the Comment section.
      It is nice that you and others do not bash those who have lost their faith, but Brother Ballard does and has bashed and judged them, and that gives them the right to be upset and to call him out on it.

  24. Wonderful message and encouragement to be kinder. I’m thankful for apostles and prophets that provide light and love to an ever darkening world. What I don’t understand is people who have nothing better to do with their time than post negative, belittling remarks about a talk given to encourage members of a Church to be better people. I remember being taught by my mother, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and believe that is a wise adage to live by.

    1. When it comes to how individuals treat one another, I agree it is a wise adage. When it comes to a church organization which has tremendous power and influence over millions of people by virtue of its truth claims, it is a great way to keep all the ugly truths that are not faith promoting hidden behind a wall of silence, or when uncomfortable facts are exposed, to rationalize them away with sugar coated phrases.

      1. Amen.

        Oh the hypocrisy of it all. Claiming to be the purveyor of truth–above all other churches– yet hides and then rationalizes its own hiding of the truth–then judges and criticizes those who express doubt. If I apply the “truth” yardstick to other churches I must use the same yardstick for my own church.

        I would point out that there is a range of alternative Mormon websites–ranging from deeply “anti” to thoughtful examination of questions and issues. Personally I wouldn’t lump them all in the same basket. And, as others have pointed out, totalitarian regimes seek to quash/control information. Sunlight is the best disinfectent.

        For me, it isn’t as much the historical issues–it is what I see modern church leaders doing. The fear-mongering, and misleading, untruthful Prop 8 campaign ( the new Religious Freedom church website has a section with 13 points that resembles the “Six Consequences if Prop 8 Fails”). Ugh. It is harder and harder to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ reflected in the LDS church. It is hyper-focused on protecting “boundaries” and in doing so is building walls.
        Good luck with that.

  25. He could have phoned this one in. In other words, it is the same apostolic comments I heard ten, twenty, and yes, forty years ago. Not that things have to change, but really? the very same exact talking points without variation–at all? The words are exactly the same, the delivery is exactly the same, the background sounds are the same. He sounded like he was channeling Marion G. Romney, the single most boring speaker in Mormon memory, IMO.

  26. Jennifer and Andie,

    I will tell you why… It is because the whole foundation of The Church has been built upon lies. As these untruths have surfaced and are truly impossible to ignore anymore, people of The Church are tired of hearing the leaders twist and turn and spin things around, rather than come back with honest answers to questions. The people asking these questions loved the church and are deeply hurt but deserve answers to very straightforward questions. The problem is that members cannot ask these questions for fear of being excommunicated. For some, that is something that they eventually need to do-seek truth no matter what- even though they risk losing family and friends. Unless members have their heads buried in the sand, it is pretty obvious there are major problems arising in The Church due to more accessible information. These members are sad, mad and frustrated all at once-that is why they come here and post comments. My mother taught me the same lesson, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That doesn’t apply here at all! These people are not saying mean things, they are speaking the truth about how the leadership is totally out of control now. It is a dictatorship where the leaders hold all the power and the members should follow blindly without asking questions. The members in this church are lovely people, it is the leadership that needs to stop trying to bury ugly secrets and start being more honest with their members. Many will leave when they learn these truths but some will stay for the community/social aspects. However, it is sad that leadership is so fearful of members asking questions that they excommunicate them rather than just answer the question. Hmmm, I wonder why….

  27. It wasn’t the same talk he gave a year ago. It was similar, but many points where very different and much stronger warnings now.

    I can understand having a crisis of faith with some things. There are some difficult things to understand for sure. But I don’t think the Lord wants it to be easy. I have struggled with my faith at times and have sought answers. But, I believe the church is true and still lead by a prophet who has to make some very unpopular decisions. I honestly believe the Lord would make the same decisions.

    I agree it is very hard especially with LGBT issues and hard feelings at times and not understanding everything. I think crux of the matter though is that the ordinance is so important that they don’t want people to enter into such a important ordinance unless they can be fully of age to understand all the consequences of not living up to that ordinance. While age 8 is the age of accountability for entering into such important decisions that is only when it is in a home environment where the teachings of the church are compatible. We all know kids cant get baptized if there parents aren’t memebers etc so it isn’t much different. So in a lot of ways I respect them for respecting that sacred ordinance, even knowing it was going to bring a lot of hard feelings…. Hard things and decision for sure. My heart breaks for both sides.

    One last thought. I don’t know if anyone on here has read a book called Visions of Glory or not. I recently read it and was really torn. There where issues I had with it to be sure and I was really frustrated. I decided since I felt uneasy about it I would scrap it and assume it was false doctrine or just flat out lies. However the spirit wouldn’t let me totally discount it. I eventually found out who Spencer really is and he is a good man. So that this lead me back to trying to figure this book out and if it is true. I studied it at great length and spent a lot of time thinking and praying. Same way I got my answer to the church and the BOM.

    Well anyways I went to bed one night and felt an amazing spirit. It was powerful as soon as I laid down I fell asleep and had an amazing dream. One of the big issues I had was he said after the earthquake there was a lot of flooding downtown and the temple was flooded. Well in my dream as soon as I fell asleep a angel took me to downtown SLC after the earthquake and showed me the things that happened. I was handed the book and told “You see it is true, these things will shortly come to pass”. The next scene I saw was standing on the east bench of SLC I saw that our nation was attacked by Russia and china and there were planes dropping Bombs on some of the facilities in South SLC. It was scary but an amazing feeling of peace and protection. I saw some other things but am not at liberty to say them.

    Needless to say these experiences really gave me surprisingly great comfort in the church and that the Lord is on control. I agree there are some hard questions to be sure. I don’t have the answers to everything and have struggled with many things also. But I have learned to hang in there and even though it is tuff for sure and there aren’t always answers I believe this church is still lead by the Lord at the helm. I think we are going to have a interesting couple years ahead of us as I think the things in the book Visions of Glory start this year and really pick up in 2017..

    God Bless everyone! 🙂

  28. This may not be directly on topic, but this spurred me to leave a comment: A few years ago I started having problems with my faith when I heard about the Gospel Topics essays. Here were official Church sources giving me new facts: Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and polyandry, he didn’t literally translate the Book of Abraham, he didn’t translate the Book of Mormon directly by reading them with the use of a Urim and Thummim, but by looking at some stone in a hat, etc. etc. etc. These were true facts that were known and (until recently) hidden by the Church because they feared that these difficult topics make it hard to have faith — which they do. As a missionary I was taught to avoid so-called “deep doctrine”, because it could challenge my faith. All of this has led me to ask the following fundamental questions: Is there virtue in being less than truthful in order to foster faith? If one must ignore or avoid certain facts or truths in order to have faith in something, is that thing really deserving of one’s faith? If one must be less than truthful in order to follow something, can that something really be from God? How does one have faith in a church that prohibits or discourages people (either passively or actively) from seeking truth, for fear that it will shake their faith? Is faith truly faith if it is built upon a foundation of incomplete facts or half-truths? Can one really build a foundation of faith by cherry-picking facts, discarding inconvenient truths while embracing others that are faith-affirming? How can one have faith in something in spite of the truth? Should not their faith, rather, be because of the truth? What is to be done when faith and truth do not align? When the truth does not foster greater faith in some entity, which one should be discarded: the truth or the faith?

    The facts themselves actually don’t bother me so much. What bothers me is that in order to have faith in the Church one must either ignore, spin, or rationalize the facts, massaging the truth so that it fits into a preconceived ideology. When one must be casual with the truth in order to foster faith, does that faith really mean anything? Is there virtue in fostering faith by being less than completely truthful? I tend to think the answer is no. To me, the truth must be set on a hill to shine forth so all can see, not hidden under a bush. The truth fears no scrutiny! It has no reason to hide, but stands independent and bold. Truth need not hide in the shadows! Truth need not be spoken in whispers! I believe that truth promotes freedom — and freedom is not to be feared.

    1. Perfectly said
      I should keep a copy of that because it exactly represents my thoughts
      Thank you so much who ever you arit takes courage to stand up for truth in this church

  29. I appreciate your words Freddie as they resonate. You have what is called integrity. For me personally, my ignorance kept me in 40 years, my integrity caused me to confront the deception which compelled me to the understanding that the Church is not what it claims to be.

    Good luck with you.

    Regards,

    -Chad..

  30. Not directly related, but this discussion prompted me to post my story… A few years ago I started having problems with my faith when I heard about the Gospel Topics essays. Here were official Church sources giving me new facts: Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and polyandry, he didn’t literally translate the Book of Abraham, he didn’t translate the Book of Mormon directly by reading them with the use of a Urim and Thummim, but by looking at some stone in a hat, etc. etc. etc. These were true facts that were known and (until recently) hidden by the Church because they feared that these difficult topics make it hard to have faith — which they do. As a missionary I was taught to avoid so-called “deep doctrine”, because it could challenge my faith. All of this has led me to ask the following fundamental questions: Is there virtue in being less than truthful in order to foster faith? If one must ignore or avoid certain facts or truths in order to have faith in something, is that thing really deserving of one’s faith? If one must be less than accepting of all truth in order to follow something, can that something really be from God? How does one have faith in a church that prohibits or discourages people (either passively or actively) from honestly seeking all truth, for fear that it will shake their faith? Especially if they deny that they do discourage it. Is faith truly faith if it is built upon a foundation of incomplete facts or half-truths? Can one really build a foundation of faith by cherry-picking facts, discarding inconvenient truths while embracing others that are faith-affirming? How can one have faith in something in spite of the truth? Should not their faith, rather, be because of the truth? What is to be done when faith and truth do not align? When the truth does not foster greater faith in some entity, which one should be discarded: the truth or the faith?

    The facts themselves actually don’t bother me so much. Well, they do, but the insidious dishonesty undergirding them bothers me more. What bothers me is that in order to have faith in the Church one must either ignore, spin, or rationalize the facts, massaging the truth so that it fits into a preconceived ideology. When one must be casual with the truth in order to foster faith, does that faith really mean anything? Is there virtue in fostering faith by being less than completely truthful? I tend to think the answer is no. To me, the truth must be set on a hill to shine forth so all can see, not hidden under a bush. The truth fears no scrutiny! It has no reason to hide, but stands independent and bold. Truth need not hide in the shadows! Truth need not be spoken in whispers! The truth will set you free! Why hide it? What are you really afraid of?

    1. Nicely put Frederick,

      Deception comes in many forms. Most readers here know and understand what equivocation is, what prevarication is, and what is duplicity. For the subject matter here:

      The leaders equivocate when they play fast & loose with the truth, when they spin or excessively rationalize to fit the agenda. That is deception.

      The leaders prevaricate by omitting very key and important facts. They prevaricated for generations regarding seer stones and polyandry to name a few. This is deception.

      The leaders are duplicitous by telling one group of people one thing, then telling another group of people the opposite thing regarding the same topic / subject matter. We are hearing now that the church is ‘open’, well – I would invite any reader hear to google Boyd K. Paker’s talk “The ManTle Is Far, Far GreaTer Than The Intellect”, please read that talk in it’s entirety off lds.org. Then you tell me if this is a church that has not institutionalized the lack of openness. This is duplicity, this is deception.

      If a person or group has integrity, they would want to rapidly fix and correct any issue. They’d desire this above all. A person or group with sincere integrity could not stand these errors propagating, they’d fix this ASAP. That means admitting error, making amends, & assuming accountability. (the process of repentance as they teach it). This this has not happened over generations, since this continues to happen (all the deception etc..), I am left to conclude that they deceive in order to defraud.

  31. Ha ha, I was listening to Him from the Toronto Stake Live on Aug 21, 2016 He pretty much gave the same talk.
    I was even thinking of sharing it here with Mormon Stories for fodder, but didn’t. I cringe somewhat when he mentioned not to be listening to Podcasts and to beware of False Doctrines.

    I’ve actually flip this around to members of the Church asking people that we should be careful of false doctrines, but that Elder Ballard was not specific, and hence to know what doctrines are false we should ask ourselves how is having this belief affecting my life? Is it silently destructive or is it making me more Christlike?

    In any case, the Church is true just as gold is more valuable than silver, not because it actually is but because we make it so…

  32. Recently, I’ve heard multiple references from church leaders (including in this talk) to false teachers and self declared prophets abounding in the land and trying to deceive. Does anyone feel that Prophets and Apostles should, or perhaps even have a responsibility to identify (specifically) these “false” prophets or influences to which they refer? Or, would that be impertinent to ask as members of the church? Additionally, Elder Ballard make references to podcasts that “raise questions without adequately or honestly represent the Lord’s perspective.” However, I feel like the church has failed to adequately or honestly represent the Lord’s perspective on the issues in question. Why don’t the apostles do this? The essays are not adequate…they’re somewhat ambiguous, incomplete, and come off as slanted in favor of the organization. Many people still are completely unware that they exist. The apologists are not adequate. We need to hear it from the top, in full and compete detail and let the cards fall where they may. People should be entitled to truth (full truth & inconvenient truth) and nothing but the truth. Elder Ballard makes reference to the Church’s commitment to transparency, but quite frankly, that just feels empty when it’s quite easily seen that many things were purposefully hidden for decades (or longer) and much is still hidden today. It feels a little like the kid who did something wrong, tried to hide it, but is only sorry because he got caught. The Church needs to do better.

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