I created this video/presentation for two reasons:
Please watch and provide feedback if you can…and then share w/ family, friends, and church members/leaders who lack understanding or empathy.
Powerpoint presentation can be found here.
John…I am so appreciative of your work. I love the way the way that you present things as non-biased and admitting things that are difficult to accept and embrace. As I continue to navigate through my own issues and try and reconcile the doubts and fears I have, God bless you for your efforts. Many years ago, I used to think we were supposed to leave the “99” and go after the “1” but now there are “1’s” everywhere… there probably were all along, they were just silent sufferers. Honesty with oneself has to be step number one and I’m very thankful for this resource the the other resources you reference. Thank you.
I agree. Thanks so much John.
That was very well done. Thank you so much for taking time to do it. I appreciate you being willing to continue to reach out and help foster empathy and understanding for those of us who may never find ourselves able to reconcile our faith as you have. Perhaps your belief will make you seem more credible as a representative to those who have not experienced a faith crisis and who remain critical and skeptical of anyone who has. It would be so nice to one day reach a point where genuine respect and civility can be felt regardless of which side of the fence any of us find ourselves on. Thanks again.
I feel there is a desperate need to understand members who go through a faith crisis and my family is a good example of why. I have four children all married in the temple, which means I also have three daughters-in-law and a son-in-law. Some have decided to stay in the church and love it, and some have decided that even though they want to stay, they can’t knowing what they now know. Our family has remained close through the whole drama, but how the siblings and parents of the other families have reacted has made all the difference in how those families have coped.
I wish every member could watch this presentation.
I think you did a great job of updating John. One of the best and most useful MO presentations out there. kudos
Thank you for this very informative, organized, useful and thoughtful resource. I am very impressed with your work. And I am grateful to have this and other resources suggested offered to me. I still hesitate to share with some of my family because they don’t know most of these issues and I don’t want the information being given to them from me. A few of my loved ones have never heard of polyandry, DNA and native Americans, peep stones, Book of Abraham problems, etc. I feel conflicted because I want them to be informed and I really want to be understood, but I also don’t want to disrupt their faith. If this information came a from neutral source instead of me would it be better for them?
I feel the same way. I struggle when talking to family members who are quick to judge me for where I am, most of whom are completely oblivious to the things that got me here in the first place. I always hope that they will run into these items from someone besides me so that I don’t have to take the blame for what they find out. I want them to know that there are legitimate reasons I feel this way. They like to think I’ve lost the spirit. I yearn to be respected, but if I am the one always trying to point out the things they don’t know about they only further lose respect for me. So I stay silent for the most part to keep the peace-allowing them to judge and point fingers at me assuming there are no REAL reasons why people like me lose their faith in something they’d always been very strong in. But that chronic longing to be understood is a hard and painful thing to endure alone everyday.
I completely understand you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope through this video or communication and time we can feel understood and validated by our loved ones. Good luck to you.
Seer stones were mentioned in this article of the Ensign:
The Prophet Joseph alone knew the full process, and he was deliberately reluctant to describe details. We take passing notice of the words of David Whitmer, Joseph Knight, and Martin Harris, who were observers, not translators. David Whitmer indicated that as the Prophet used the divine instrumentalities provided to help him, “the hieroglyphics would appear, and also the translation in the English language … in bright luminous letters.” Then Joseph would read the words to Oliver (quoted in James H. Hart, “About the Book of Mormon,” Deseret Evening News, 25 Mar. 1884, 2). Martin Harris related of the seer stone: “Sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin” (quoted in Edward Stevenson, “One of the Three Witnesses: Incidents in the Life of Martin Harris,” Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, 6 Feb. 1882, 86–87). Joseph Knight made similar observations (see Dean Jessee, “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History,” BYU Studies 17 [Autumn 1976]: 35).
As we can see much is written about the translation process complete with a magical narrative. You can show them this article in the Ensign.
And how is it that these scribes knew that the sentence would appear? Did they themselves see it or was it told by Joseph?
I’m sorry if this is irrelevant to the point of the presentation, but as an outsider, I couldn’t help but notice that the quote about charity from the Book of Mormon is almost identical to 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible. John didn’t mention it, but isn’t Bible plagiarism one of the issues people have with the authenticity of the Book of Mormon? Mark Twain commented that he found the book to be “…smooched from the New Testament and no credit given…” Why not just quote the original?
Both Books claim to be inspired of God, If that is the case then they would have many similarities. If God inspired the writers to write what they did then there would be phrases and teachings that are the same. Some ask why there is a a 2nd book then. And that is simple, because Back when the books were written the people lived on different continents. God wanted all of his children to know the path to him.
There are only two continents?
The Book of Mormon also teaches that there are many more lost sheep of the house of israel that Christ went to visit.
Oh, I think it’s “smouched”, not “smooched”, lol.
Although this presentation is good, I actually liked your first rendition of “Why people leave the LDS church” much better. I think the first was very direct and to the point, easy to understand and more objective. In this presentation you often say, “Some people have trouble with this, or many people don’t understand this.” Although you do state the truth of these issues, I saw it stated much more directly in the other presentation, and IIRC, you were active in the church at that point. Obviously, in light of your recent decision to return to the church, you attempt to be extra gentle about the “difficult” issues. The additional information provided in this video is certainly helpful though.
I know in your recent podcast you explain that you have returned and are happy with that decision. I think it would be enlightening and extremely interesting to hear how you specifically have dealt with these issues enough to stay with the church. What do you believe when you describe yourself as a believer? I know you have described yourself as happier in the church, and I think I understand what you mean by this. I am really more interested in how it is possible for you to believe when you know these diificult issues are indeed true and prove that the LDS church is not “the one true church” that it claims to be. Is it true enough for you? Is it too deeply connected to your heart to reject it all? Do you still believe some parts of Mormom doctrine enough to stay active? What parts survive for you? Do the facts not matter and your decision is more influenced by culture or family?
What I love about you is the fearlessness you have shown in publicizing and talking about these difficult issues. I think it is outrageous that members feel they must keep this information hidden due to the fear of being marked with the scarlet letter of excommunication. The Mormon church makes it nearly impossible to speak of the facts while being a member, one must either resign or be excommunicated. Of course, this makes people seeking or stating the truth seem less reliable, to put it mildly, to active members. You are the exception here!! I know you are under pressure from Mormon leaders, but here you are talking about the forbidden facts anyway. For that, I think people have been fascinated by and drawn to you, myself included. Please consider making clear how you found a way to believe in the organization of the LDS church, despite knowing the facts and the truth. Will they really care that much when you are already spreading facts they have tried so hard to keep out of members’ minds?
LB, I think you misunderstand John’s intended audience. He is not talking to or trying to answer your questions. He is talking to active believing Mormons to help them deal with their loved ones in a more charitable way. The softening of the presentation was a very prudent move and if it could be made even gentler John would have done so.
John, that was an excellent presentation about a very complex problem.
There is a better place where the Mormon Church inevitably must move to, but it will be a long, hard and painful journey getting there. Your work is a very important phase of that journey.
I wish there was a way that I could get my LDS family to watch your presentation, but sadly, almost everyone of them will stop watching the moment they feel uncomfortable. In most instances that will be with the title slide and if they aren’t uncomfortable with that they will when they see the slide on the slow down in church growth (most Mormons know the church is the fastest growing church in the world). Many Latter-day Saints are conditioned to block out anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or causes them to doubt.
I’d be really interested in suggestions from others about what may be the most effective ways to get other family members to view your presentation. Its tough at family gatherings where there is an unwritten law that discussion of difficult church issues is forbidden. Is there a way it can be linked to from an LDS wesite? Is there a sympathetic general authority with the courage and integrity to endorse it?
I hope Dehlin is part of a catalyst that begins a Mormon reformation. It would be great if this slideshow was presented in General Conference or even a Sunday School class for all to see a and discuss openly, without fear of retribution. It is this type of honesty the members should receive from their leadership and each other.
Well done Mr. Dehlin.
John, I thought your presentation was excellent and very very fair and balanced. I would love to have lunch sometime and talk about your views etc. I am a “cultural Mormon” —did the mission thing etc—lived in a Muslim country for years—visited 84 countries and have studied religion for many years. I have written many books and am now writing a book titled “My GOD can Beat up Your God” subtitle “Why Faith usually Trumps Fact”===I live in SLC half the year –used to live in Logan–went to USU.and would be glad to drive up to Logan sometime to meet with you….drop me a line if you have time. Mark O
Good question. “How can we help?” Charity means giving something to the poor. But, what is it that makes the faithless poor? What is lacking? I grew up in Utah Valley. I am an apostate. These are how my friends left the church: One used a shotgun. Another used a knife. Another walked in front of a car. Two used pistols. One used pills.
Why does my faithless head feel the true height of a bridge when something so falsifiable is believed by so many? I’m dying unelected and unsure. I feel abandoned and betrayed by the spirit of reason. Why is the only repayment of conditional love and charity an active membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Is our God, creator of the infinite, really this boring and really this cruel?
Your post made me hurt. I have experienced similar pain and anguish to see that people often feel that there is no point living if they can’t live up to all that is expected of them in a church so many believe makes them superior and the only ones with the absolute truths. They can never understand someone who would give that up. But they don’t even try half of the time to understand. I think a lot more of them think about it, but are so terrified of the SOCIAL ramifications of admitting that there may be a reason for people to leave that they do everything they can to bury those feelings. Those who stop believing for legitimate reasons offer suffer so much more than is known. It makes me sad. I agree that there should be a reward for those who are good just for the sake of being good. Respect and validation should not be withheld due to one’s differing belief systems. I do not believe that God is that cruel. I believe it is people who refuse to act Christlike towards those who are suffering. Christ would not exclude those of us who struggle to believe even though many believers hold that over people’s heads to try to guilt and manipulate them into “coming back to the fold”. Most of us wouldn’t feel lost if people would stop treating as if we are. I’m sorry that you and so many of us have to feel such a weight from this. It shouldn’t have to be this heavy.
John, you are the man! Words can’t express how appreciative I am for this presentation. Thanks so much
What I have always found amazing is how Mormons can leave their faith over history. I have never known a catholic or a protestant leave their faith over history. And I am sure that many protestants and Catholics have no idea of their history and if they found out about their history they would just give a shug. Why is it so important for Mormons? Also, Mormons have received a testimony of the book of mormon and have had countless spiritual experiences in the lds church with spiritual confirmations at their baptism or with priesthood blessings or by listening to talks and by being around each other at lds get-togethers etc.
How can all these spiritual experiences be chucked aside when something is learned about lds history that may not have been known before? Seems strange to me.
You may (I say may) have missed the whole point of the presentation.
John–as always you are too charitable. Not only did why me miss the point, he will continue to shake his head at (and ignorantly judge as inferior and misguided) those who leave.
Actually, John, I think that I understood it quite well. Members leave mainly over historical issue. They learn something about church history and begin to doubt. Finding no adequate answer from the church or from apologists they leave the faith.
And yet, all their spiritual experiences are forgotten or rationalized away over an historical issue. I have not found such problems in catholicsm or protestantism and yet,protestants and catholics know little about their own history but seem to have no problem with it once they do. So, why do mormons?
why me — people leave over historical issues because 1) the Church’s rallying cry is that it is the one and only true Church on the face of the planet, based on 2) historical and ancient events which people find out did not happen at all or did not happen as they are claimed in Church and 3) they discover in surveying humanity that these spiritual experiences (including dreams and visions) are had by people in all religions, “confirming” to them narratives, doctrines, and stories that contradict the ones from other religions or demonstrably didn’t occur. In other words, while a “spiritual witness” may draw us toward things that make us yearn to be better, they are not reliable indicators of real-world events — like whether or not the Book of Mormon is historical, whether there were golden plates, or whether our modern day scriptures are anything other than a remix of Biblical, masonic, and 19th century protestant ideas.
Another way to put this is, if you found out through historical research that a person in history has repeatedly and demonstrably mis-rerepresented themselves, would your trust in his extraordinary claims continue unabated? Reason would dictate otherwise, but then again, many are content renouncing the use of their reason in these matters.
No, people that leave the Church are usually not in denial of their spiritual experiences. They are reframing them to their proper role — not as indicators of literal truth, but as internal feelings that put us in tune with the core values that we already believe in.
“Historical reasons” was only the first of the five reasons outlined in the podcast, so your statement that “members leave mainly over historical issues” does suggest there might be more you could have assimilated from the presentation.
As for your not finding that Catholics or Protestants fall away from their religions based on newfound knowledge of less-than-complimentary parts of those faiths’ histories…I think either you don’t know many Catholics or Protestants, or (more likely) your personal experience isn’t representative of the experiences of the members of those faiths in general. Mormons certainly aren’t alone in finding it difficult to come to terms with distasteful historical events.
Because history is as central to Mormonism as the authority of the Bible is to Protestantism, or the authority of the Pope is to Catholicism.
And the spiritual experiences you speak of, are not as universal, or persuasive, as you may think.
Church history, for me, has never been that much of a problem. I’ve come to expect so little of humanity (after seeing our fallenness expressed so universally, not least in myself) that as long as Joseph Smith’s or Brigham Young’s moral character surpasses that of a Democrat Senator or Renaissance Pope, I figure they’re ahead of the curve, and I’ll take what I can get.
It’s the antiquity, or not, of the Book of Mormon — the keystone of our religion — that is the crux of the matter.
why me, do you not think that those in other faiths have “spiritual experiences” just as powerful as a Mormon does? I think you are either naive to this fact, or deliberately in denial for your self preservation purposes.
Those that strap bombs to their children and send them in as suicide victims — in the name of Allah. Not convinced of their faith’s truthiness?
“We” might have had extremely poignant spiritual witnesses…as you have apparently. I just think we’ve been a little more objective and open-minded about what they really are.
When you say “spritual expreriences”, I don’t believe you comprehend just how much assumption you’ve let slide of your consideration plate. Using feelings or burnings of bosom to verify the truth of our lives has been not only a bad way to perceive our reality, but an incredibly bad, inacurate, and damaging tool of discovery. There are people out there that have burned to the core thinking it was of God just before acts of the horrific are commited. And like someone else said, the Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Baptists, and JW’s all talk about this same feeing, this “spritual experience” verifying to them the truth of their religion. Are they all wrong?
The truth is these experiences come from deep in the brain, as I’ve left belief behind I still feel these “spiritual experiences” as I connect with my kids, take in a sunrise on top of Sardine on the mtn bike, and just about any plate at Fresco’s cafe. Now, if you apply a reasonable explanation, you’ll see that “spiritual experiences” are as far and wide as there are cultures and people, religions, and belief. Hell, there there with no belief.
Because, why me, when it becomes clear that you can have spiritual experiences based on things that have been proven demonstrably false or made up, such as the Book of Mormon, you realize that you can’t trust your spiritual experiences as implicitly as you thought. Either Joseph Smith is who he claimed to be or he isn’t. Either he was inspired and a prophet, or he isn’t. All the spiritual feelings in the world can’t change that.
Also, Mormons claim to be the ONLY true church on the face of the earth today. No other church makes such a bold claim in the same way. If Joseph Smith isn’t who he claimed to be, that calls into question his role as prophet. And the leadership of the church has deliberately misled and withheld information from its members. So the coverup of the history actually reveals that the leadership isn’t being “honest in its dealings” as they would have us to be. It all ties in together.
> What I have always found amazing is how Mormons can leave their faith over history.
> I have never known a catholic or a protestant leave their faith over history.
I joined as a convert in the 70s and I had very fond feelings for Catholics because we grew up very poor and Catholic nuns and priests were doing many charitable things for the poor.
But in the 70s I became LDS because at the time the Catholic church’s questionable history was a very big part of the LDS missionary message. The Salt Lake visitor center left a big impression on me with its paintings of the reformers like Martin Luther, and how they helped bring us out of a period of darkness and corruption.
The message that the history was important resonated with me, and it was followed by the story of an innocent farm boy chosen by God to free us from churches that drew near to God with their lips but their hearts were far from him.
Which makes it very hard for me to hear that while we were quick to point out problems with other church’s histories, we were being less than honest about our own very troubling past.
I think that the message about the reformation is also a protestant message and since I was raised catholic, I knew about the reformation from history. But it didn’t have much of an impact on me because I knew the catholic take on it. However, how many lutherans know that martin luther was anti-semitic? Not many. Or that he condoned polygamy? Not many. And why not?
The catholic church also claims to be the one true church. In fact, this is what mormons and catholics share: the belief that their church is the one true church.
One question: how does the lds church draw hearts away from god?
It doesn’t, necessarily. Only to the extent that it leads people to turn their back on truth, however manifested, does it lead hearts away from the god of truth.
It walks a fine line here.
I’ve actually never met a Catholic who goes to church more than a couple times a year. We’re more “birthright” when it comes to our religion. Go figure…
I personally know a Catholic who left his faith over history.
Many catholics have left the church over the abuse scandal. Catholics are in a tight spot at the moment. But then, what church isn’t?
However, with Joseph Smith and the gold plates something extraordinary happened, so extraordinary that the 11 witnesses never denied their testimony. But what was that extraordinary happening that had such an effect on the people involved?
> But then, what church isn’t?
Seventh Day Adventists. They’re growing in America slowly, but booming in developing countries like India and Nigeria (including the Muslim areas), adding a million Indian converts a year.
They’ve done what Catholics and Jews had to do so long ago which I believe helped all three immensely: they had to admit they had historical issues and flaws, and apologize for them. And then they got back to basics: building schools and hospitals, and helping the poor.
And that’s what many of us who love the church and still have family in it want to see: transparency and honesty. Many thought the church would decline after it had to stop polygamy, but it thrived. Many thought it could not survive an admission that God changed his mind about black people, but it did.
There are so many Mormons like me, a faithful Bishop, who love the church but felt we couldn’t stay because of the lack of honesty and transparency that made us feel like we were part of the dishonesty.
What you said about Listen and Love “withou an agenda” makes all the difference. For me, balance comes from accepting and bringing peace to “it is what it is”. Listening within myself, loving myself, having an open mind and an open heart as I love and listen to another creates opportunity to be pleasantly surprised that it looks nothing like what I thought, and yet it is absolutely perfect for each of us to learn and grow. Finding peace within and breathing that out allows me to see the miracles as they are happening. Thank you for the gift you are in creating a safe place to grow.
Nice presentation John. In the end, in my opinion, you are trading your integrity for emotional security. It works for many people but not all, best of luck with your rediscovered faith. Also, thanks for paving the way.
A bit sneering, don’t you think?
If you would be so kind – please consider another set of initials so that my anonymity may not be confused with yours – or visa versa. And perhaps you might want to distance yourself from what I’ve written since sometime in 2010
Do you have any information about the number of Mormons whose primary reason for leaving the LDS faith was finding another faith tradition that was preferrable/ more convincing in their view?
Yeah….if I crunched the numbers…but my guess is that this number is quite low (as a percentage). Most become agnostic, atheist, or fall into the “none” category from what I remember.
Which would make sense since all faiths have a checkered history. I fail to see perfection anywhere when it comes to the history of any church.
“I fail to see perfection anywhere when it comes to the history of any church”
That is what we call a straw man fallacy. It is one thing when Church leaders get impatient or make errors in judgment. It is another thing entirely when those errors in judgment involve deception, adultery, and mis-representation…and when the resulting institutions and doctrines of the Church (e.g. plural marriage, the relief society, the temple endowment) are brought about to legitimize those “mistakes” and instill secrecy about them. Yes, history teaches a lot about what went on in Nauvoo and — more importantly — why.
From the institute manual:
Doctrine and Covenants 132:58–66—Plural Marriage
As shown in the verse summary for Doctrine and Covenants 132, verses 58–66 concern “laws governing the plurality of wives.” Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord commanded the practice of plural marriage in the early days of the Church; in 1890, through President Wilford Woodruff, He ended that practice (Official Declaration 1). Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:
“Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation. Nephi and his people were denied the power to have more than one wife and yet they could gain every blessing in eternity that the Lord ever offered to any people. In our day, the Lord summarized by revelation the whole doctrine of exaltation and predicated it upon the marriage of one man to one woman. (D. & C. 132:1–28.) Thereafter he added the principles relative to plurality of wives with the express stipulation that any such marriages would be valid only if authorized by the President of the Church. (D. & C. 132:7, 29–66.)
I think that the seminary teacher has much leeway in how plurality of wives is taught. What exactly is hidden?
Oh, sorry it is the seminary manual that I linked to.
why me–“exactly what is hidden”
Joseph Smith referred to polygamy as “the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on earth”. The Historical Record, vol VI (1887,) p. 226
President Hinckley in the Larry King interview said, “I condemn it (polygamy), yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal.”
Hidden when considered important to hide it.
Great job, John. Thank you for your work addressing these issues.
P.S. http://www.whymormonsquestion.org seems to be down…
Nice presentation. It seems that most of your analysis of the survey results involves calculating the percentages of people who expressed each particular sentiment, which is certainly useful and informative in and of itself. Have you considered doing a more advanced statistical analysis? Your snowball sample wouldn’t allow for generalization to any larger population, but there are some quick pattern-identification techniques that might more rigorously define the different groups of reasons you identified in your podcast, and might also identify additional groups and/or help tie particular groupings of reasons to particular demographic characteristics. Might be interesting…
Cool presentation. Just a minor quibble: Those nice verses about charity are from the book of Moroni, not Mormon.
Some members leave because they learn that a part of the translation occurred with Joseph’s head in a hat. And the claim is that the church is hiding this. However it was in the Ensign in the following article. Also mentioned were seer stones:
Of course, some members have forgotten this or they have become convinced that the church has hidden it. But why?
Why me, for many things that are disturbing, like the Book of Abraham, there is a small mention in the Ensign somewhere, buried in a long article. But the mainstream impression given in our artwork and missionary lessons, etc., is of the prophet with the gold plates, like this one at the bottom of the first lesson of the Preach My Gospel handbook:
Because one shouldn’t have to go scouring through Ensigns. If it’s not in lesson manuals and in frank discussions, in art or general talks, one can fairly say they are being less than forthright. Just because something once escaped the editor’s eye in a church publication doesn’t mean it’s been well know.
Basic truths, like in business and other serious transactions, should be made know BEFORE a commitment is extracted. Do you really expect pre-eight year olds and investigators to search out that one Ensign.
THAT’s ridiculous. A better question is why isn’t the head-in-hat truth in lesson manuals and ubiquitous church art?
Same goes with other falsehoods and half-truths that are common LDS beliefs.
Greetings from Australia, John. The work you do is just tremendous and much appreciated by this long-time, less-active non-believer, who still nonetheless loves the Church and cares deeply about the future of Mormonism.
Must say that was pretty good. I took part in that particular survey and I’m pleased to see Dehlin captured 85-90% of the issues I agreed with on my survey remarks. My Eternal Companion is putting pressure on me to go to Tenn and visit my oldest son and his family this year. I’m sorta half tempted to insist my oldest son see this presentation as a requisite to my ever visiting his home again, esp since he ambushed me with that intervention 3 yrs ago, compared me to Korihor, accused me of praying to plants and advised my wife to divorce me. Hell, I wouldn’t think it silly to ask the rest of my family to see that presentation. It was very well done.
I was a very devote member of the Church, temple marriage, RM, yet for over 30 years I never felt right about things like polygamy and how women were treated and seen as lower then men and not able to have the Priesthood, etc. and the fact that Church leaders allowed & encouraged divorce & remarriage when Christ & many prophets clearly taught that it is adultery, plus the way it seemed most leaders used unrighteous dominion & supported spouse abuse, when they were supposed to have the Spirit & discernment & inspiration & be righteous. So many many things did not add up. Every leader I knew was doing or supporting great evil not being righteous.
Then I found out a vital truth, Joseph Smith never preached or practiced polygamy. It appears to be all Brigham Young’s doing, because of his lustful desire to practice whoredoms & thus he pinned it all on Joseph after he died and couldn’t defend himself anymore.
Even if some want to believe that Joseph fell for polygamy too, it is still contrary to Christ’s teachings, which trump all. So I now finally understand that anyone who preaches or practices contrary to Christ, like BY constantly did & all the church leaders since him, is a false prophet or false teacher. For Christ clearly taught that polygamy & remarriage were adultery.
Thus, since I believe in Christ, I know that the LDS Church quickly went into apostasy, especially after Joseph died. BoM Prophets even foretold of this latter day apostasy of the Holy Church of God, and how everyone, except a rare few, would become corrupt and do evil today. I see that this has happened, even if I had never knew about the polygamy lies.
Thus, since Joseph died, the LDS people have dwindled in unbelief. Thus we have all these false prophets from BY til today, allowing the people to do whoredoms and some of the vilest of evils, while acting & thinking they are so righteous. But wicked people & prophets usually do look & feel righteous in their outward appearance, that’s why most people so easily fall for them.
I just can’t believe I didn’t put it all together sooner, for then my children wouldn’t be so entwined into believing in falsehoods & false prophets and hard to wake up.
I believe now we have to do what Alma did when he was awakened by Abinadi to the evil around him in his Church. We must just worship and study & live the Gospel on our own, with like-minded family & friends, doing the best we can until Christ returns and restores the true Church to the earth.
at approx 21 min point you refer to the papyrus the Book of Mormon was based on being a common funerary text according the Egyptologist. Didn’t you mean the Book of Abraham?
Chris – Yes. That was a mis-statement. I meant the Book of Abraham. My bad! I’m slow and clumsy of speech!
thank you so much for your videos, John! This video covers basically all the issues I have with the church, very well done. Now, when my family finds out that I’m not a true believer anymore, I can just send them this link :)
The problem that I see is in the truthfulness of the presentation. I have already proven that the translation process complete with Joseph’s head in the hat has been in the Ensign. Plus, the seer stones too. Also, polygamy and Joseph Smith is in the seminary manual. And it is graphically described in the D and C, section 132 with the Introduction stating that Joseph began the process in 1831. And to my understanding polyandry is in verse 41 of that section. Not much is hidden with a careful reading of the scriptures. And Joseph himself admits to searching for treasure in his own history contained in the scriptures.
What you’ve proved by graciously providing a link to one article published in the Ensign in the 1990’s is that you believe in a narrative which tries to legitimize accurate translations of a book by sticking one’s head into a hat full of rocks.
The hat trick is quite a happening. Try to stick your head in a hat and write a book as claimed what happened to Joseph Smith. And make sure that you have a scribe. No manuscript and following the accounts of emma and others. Good luck.
I have never heard of any G.A. reveal or discuss that Joseph Smith taught against polygamy his whole life and said that anyone who preached or practiced it, including prophets, would be damned.
That is pretty heavy stuff, and to mislead the membership and say that Joseph lived polygamy, when there is no proof of it, only hearsay, mostly by polygamists, is an incredible act of dishonesty in my book.
I believe the Church leaders at the top must be well aware that Joseph preached so strongly against polygamy and even put it in the D&C, which BY conveniently took out and then added 132. The leaders know that the BoM also condemns polygamy in the strongest terms and in all ages.
And what about how Christ taught against polygamy, saying a man could not be married to 2 living women, even if he divorced the 1st one 1st, for it’s adultery, cause divorce means nothing to God.
There is no way the Church can call itself Christian and preach polygamy or remarriage. They would be more honest if they at least changed the name of the Church to “The Church of Brigham Young of Latter-Day Saints”.
For it certainly preaches & practices anti to Christ and so many of his teachings.
It’s nice that you can find these nuggets of information scattered throughout the vast archives of church information, but that hardly counts as honest transparency. It counts as obligatory disclosure in the small print. How many of your fellow Mormons do you know that have carefully sifted through the seminary manuals, D & C, HoC, and all the other obscure sources? How would you know what to look for unless people told you the main criticisms? My dad was a stake president, and was mostly unaware of most of the main historical problems. Most members join, live, and die without full disclosure.
In the information age, very little can actually be hidden. The corporate church understands this, so the best they can do is remain largely silent about the “weird” stuff, and warn members against apostates and the internet. That is the status quo that needs to change. No more taboos surrounding history and science.
Maybe in every Ensign there should be an account of all the historical issues. Or maybe a thousand page book with all the historical issues that may cause problem and these issues can be discussed every year instead of the scriptures. Would that do the trick? And of course, the critics will have a different interpretation of what that book says. So, it would be a battle of interpretations. But what other church wears their historical issues on their sleeve for all to see? In seminary young members learn of polygamy and Joseph Smith. It is not hidden. And it is in the d and c and that is not obscure. It is in the Intro.
> what other church wears their historical issues
> on their sleeve for all to see?
What other church claims a large population of middle eastern descent came to the Americas and built a great civilization and Christ came to visit? Our historical claims are amazingly bold and imminently fact checkable.
What Joseph said against polygamy are not tiny nuggets, but many major boulders that are not hard to find, for there are so many of them, ‘IF’ someone has a real desire for truth.
But most people don’t seem to want to know the truth, thus they aren’t willing to go looking for it, nor can they usually discern falsehoods or false prophets when they hear them.
Joseph said so much against polygamy during his lifetime, that anyone who had the Spirit would know it’s wrong & would look into it & would find Joseph’s teachings pretty quickly. For it’s proof in so many places. If we are righteous, the Holy Spirit will tell us that polygamy isn’t right and then we take it from there and find the truth about church history.
I believe I would have found out the hidden answers eventually even if someone hadn’t told me about it sooner, for I was very close to finding it on my own because of all my research, for ever since I heard about polygamy over 30 years ago, I knew it wasn’t right. And I questioned, pondered & researched about it until I found the truth about it.
Anyone who loves the truth will find it.
Blind obedience & blind faith is much easier than searching for the truth. Most people don’t want to do their own homework, they want the easy way, blind unquestioning obedience to leaders even Prophets, but it always leads to sure deception.
I read the posts here and it’s always amazing to me how polarizing and dividing religion is. For some it’s so obvious that the contradictions in Joseph Smith’s stories blare like a loud alarm. To others they simply resonate as pure truth. Highly intelligent people on both sides of the issue come to comletely different conclusions. In my opinion we believe what we choose to believe. People talk about their feelings as evidence of truth. I believe feelings are used as evidence when there is no real evidence. Not sure how anyone can claim that there is real evidence that Mormonism is the only true church. Feelings aren’t good enough. In the Bible at least we know where the cities and countries are. We can find nothing of the Book of Mormon civilizations. Nothing! No cities, no writings, no swords, no chariots, no evidence of wheat ot barley or sheep or horses or elephants or well you get my point. To say you know truth based on feelings is so dangerous. God gave us a brain to reason with. I wish I had been taught at a much earlier age to use it better to identify truth rather than to depend on feelings.
But we do need to understand that we have no proof that Christ was the actual son of God who performed miracles. We only have what the bible claims, and just a few testimonies at that. Thus, we have a problem. I have seen no other source outside the book of mormon that would confirm the accounts in the gospels. No first hand accounts or second hand accounts have been discovered to lend support to the bible. All religious conviction takes faith.
It’s clear that the majority of times, church leaders act as men and not under the influence of “The Spirit”. Such influence is probably rare. This can explain a whole lot of problems with the church. It then is important to understand this fact when dealing with others in the church and navigating through it.
There is at least one reasonable positive explanation for every problem, issue, difficulty, or question about the Church that John Dehlin mentions in his 5 Myths presentation. Whether a given positive explanation is considered “good apologetics” or “bad apologetics” is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Some people will consider almost all positive explanations to be bad apologetics. Other people will consider at least some positive explanations to be reasonable, credible, convincing, or at least good enough to hold them true to the faith until the correct answers are revealed someday, perhaps in the next life. These are they who already have a strong spiritual testimony based on a burning in the bosom, good feeling, strong impression, audible voice, words spoken to their mind, vision, dream, etc. These are they who will say that logical positive possibilities have a high probability of being correct. People of a more skeptical nature, whether in-born or acquired, will believe that most positive possibilities we could give about each item on Dehlin’s list have a low probability of being correct. Explanations and possibilities which tend to increase faith are the most likely to be the most correct. Positive explanations and possibilities come about by looking deeper, by looking “at the heart” rather than the “outward appearance,” by looking at the spirit rather than the letter of the law, as in “The letter killeth but the spirit given life.” Things aren’t always what they seem to the casual or skeptical observer. So let us study apologetics with a sincere heart and real intent and not be intimidated by critics who label some apologetics as “bad apologetics” because they don’t agree with their (the critics’) preconceived notions, opinions, literal “face value” interpretations, or “scholarly” approaches. Let’s “leave no stone unturned” in considering positive possibilities to explain each problem, difficulty, issue, dilemma on the list. And yes, let’s all have charity for those who disagree with us about which possibilities–faith based or outward appearance based–have the highest probability of being correct.
I think these results are skewed. Respondents come from a liberal online community. This excludes those that don’t want to intellectualize the church. I think John acknowledged this at the beginning of the presentation.
I don’t think others are affected as much by the historical, scientific, doctrinal, and socio-political issues.
I have some family members who have distanced themselves from the church. However, their path is different than mine. They don’t intellectualize things like me. Doing so would drive them “crazy”. We’ve had some open discussions, and I think there’s some truth to the myths that John’s trying to dispel.
Why me said: “How can all these spiritual experiences be chucked aside when something is learned about lds history that may not have been known before? Seems strange to me.”
So a few spiritual (emotional) experiences trump facts? Who taught you to believe that? The church with the dodgy history perhaps?
Actually, ‘feelings’in relation to the holy ghost were important for the apostle paul and his teachings. What would the holy ghost be without testifying to people of the truth? Spiritual feelings and spiritual experiences are apart of the religious experience.
As Joseph Smith taught, we receive revelation/inspiration/visions/dreams/visitations, etc. from 3 sources, God, our own mind and Satan, with most of it probably coming from Satan, for his revelations are the easiest to hear, even the wicked can hear his whisperings and they sound the best to us & just want we want to hear.
I believe it takes a very high & rare level of spirituality, clean living & pure heart filled with love, to really receive much revelation from the Holy Spirit. Unrighteous or even good people might get bits & pieces from the Spirit but not enough to keep from being deceived, unless they were truly very righteous.
But most people think they are righteous, even most of the wicked do, so most people assume their revelation is from God, when most of the time it probably isn’t. That’s why we have tons of people saying they prayed & fasted or went to the temple and were told by the Spirit to divorce their spouse and have an affair with their secretary (true story) and they follow it and choose to believe it came from God because it’s just what they want to hear. They never think it could be from Satan because they of course think they are righteous and God would never want them to suffer in a boring or unloving marriage. The Church doesn’t warn enough that Satan is constantly giving us revelation too.
We aren’t hearing much today that we must ‘test & prove’ any revelation that we get, to see if it’s true or not, by comparing it with what Christ taught and what the scriptures teach, especially the BoM & the original D&C, for they are purer & most likely more correct sources than the Bible.
If our revelation is contrary to Christ’s teachings or those scriptures, then Joseph Smith said that proves our revelation or the revelation from Church leaders, even the Prophet is wrong.
I believe the Church leaders have stopped teaching how to test our revelation or their revelation, because they don’t want people putting their words & actions to the test, so we don’t come to realize how far off their teachings & actions are from what Christ taught or to what the scriptures say.
But if we do test ours & their revelations & teachings, we will be amazed how little is in harmony with what Christ taught.
And how reliable are feelings for revealing truth? Hundreds of Christian sects “feel” their beliefs are true and feel that Mormons are not Christians. Holy Ghost seems to be a confusing guy.
Thank you very much for sharing this presentation. I am a disaffected Mormon myself. I have experienced many of the troubles that you described within this whole discussion, including being ostracized by friends, shunned (albeit temporarily) by family and to this day treated with hate and despise by members of the LDS church who I knew as a member myself. My issues were doctrinal/socio-political and cultural. I wasn’t offended by members of the LDS church until after i had already decided to leave. I believe these myths and truths are quite factually based and I quite appreciated this information. I plan to share this on Facebook so other people like me and those who are their friends and family, like mine, can have access to this same information. Thank you again for it all.
I’ve been studying all of this since the early 1970’s. I can understand how damaging the material contained on sites like mormonthink can be. When I read this material I am left wondering why the Lord allows such difficult questions to trouble those who would follow Him. However, when I study and prayer about these things the answer for me is found in the scripture that says “there is opposition in all things”.
I don’t have trouble with sites like mormonthink because of the experiences the Lord has given me in answer to prayer.
There are many schools of thought on how to deal with challenges to our faith. John is dealing with it in the best way he knows. I can speak to the school that turns to the Lord to answer the questions they are struggling with. I have learned that the Lord is a God of miracles because I experience them often. I view the Father and the Son as my friends.
Based on my experience, I encourage those troubled by these things to turn to the Lord with all energy of heart and find the answers there.
I think why me is a troll – an LDS apologetic in disguise.
LDS apologists are not allowed to post here? I just wanted to point out that some of the concerns that John had about hiding church history may not be that well hidden. The hat, seer stones, polygamy, breast plate etc have been either in the Ensign or in student manuals. And we do have the d and c 132 which basically tells all, even perhaps polyandry.
We all know that the Church has accused Joseph of polygamy (even without proof, only based on hearsay) & the Church has admitted that BY & the early leaders who followed him practiced polygamy, though they don’t talk about it a lot, for the truth about BY and those early leader’s behavior is quiet embarrassing for the Church and revolting to righteous people in my opinion.
What I want to know is, ‘where’ in the last 50 years, let alone 100 years, has the Church clearly admitted how Joseph Smith preached & warned against polygamy his whole life in his many published articles, talks & scriptures? It is a proven & published fact that he did so continually, & it is easy to find on the internet, or in the original D&C, so I’m sure the G.A.’s know all about his warnings & how he constantly called polygamy a vile whoredom.
Where has the Church admitted that Joseph repeatedly taught that anyone who preaches or practices polygamy will be damned, even if that person is a prophet? For we know that even Prophets can fall, for as we have seen throughout the last 6000 years, that many prophets have fallen for polygamy, among other evils.
‘Where’ has the Church confessed this as you claim? It is huge. Where has the Church also admitted that Joseph and Brigham taught completely opposite doctrines & religions, from polygamy to slavery to blacks & the Priesthood, to divorce to women’s equality, etc., etc.
It is ridiculous to say the Church has been up front about these huge truths. I would like to see where they have ever talked about how strongly Joseph warned against polygamy, in any talk, manual or Ensign.
Unless of course they used the standard excuse, and said Joseph Smith just ‘lied’ about polygamy his whole life and lead the Saints astray, so that when BY started preaching that polygamy was ok many Saints would not listen or follow him because Joseph said they would be damned if they fell for even a Prophet who preached polygamy.
If Joseph had believed in polygamy and thought that the Saints would one day have to accept it, he would never have preached against it like he did and said the things he did to scare them away from ever falling for it.
And how would any truly spiritual person ever believe a true prophet could really outright lie like that and remain a true prophet? Prophets can’t lie and remain true anymore than God can.
Oh, and Joseph warned against lying too, and said liars will be damned too, so does the Church think he was talking about himself?
Not to mention how Christ also taught against men or women being married to 2 living spouses at a time. (see Matt. 19) Where has the Church admitted Christ taught this?
And what about the Book of Mormon and how it also condemns polygamy in ever case? Or that Jacob 2:30 has 2 ways to interpret it, one that polygamists use and one that Joseph Smith believed in, which doesn’t ever allow polygamy, ever.
These are the real & most vital truths that the Church doesn’t seem to want to admit & talk about, for it doesn’t have any answers to it all, for the simple truth & Joseph’s pure testimony speaks for itself.
I watched your very interesting and informative presentation. You brought up some very pressing and disturbing issues many have with the LDS church. I have a few problems though with some of the content.
The use of the word “Apostate” I feel is grossly insulting to those of us who are seeking truth. It is as if the church is putting a label on them and demonising disaffected members who are trying to be honest with their life revaluations.
Your presentation at the end also suggests that everything will work out and that members will return if not in this life in the next. Many members would never dream of returning to a church they consider has totally lied and betrayed their trust, especially over many long years of devoted service and financial input. That thought is patently unthinkable to many of us.
At the end of your presentation you suggested some helpful and informative websites, including some of your own, but I am saddened that you did not mention your own excellent sister website gaymormons.org. Many gay members have opened up their hearts to you in this very public forum and told us all of their courageous struggles and almost suicidal anxiety they have whilst also having to endure the shameful and disgraceful intolerance shown by the LDS church through its worrying doctrine and by many of its leaders. This is such a massive and extremely important issue for these fellow brothers and sisters who enhance all of our lives and our societies, and I feel it deserved more exposure and enlightenment in your presentation.
Thanks again for your presentation. I hope love and honesty will prevail because of it. Please do not allow yourself to be exploited by the LDS leaders in any way.
I wish you well and I sincerely hope you may be able to change the seemingly dark and entrenched attitudes that prevail amongst the LDS leadership in Salt Lake, and that they may repent and embrace all of their members, whatever their choice of lifestyles and orientation, in a loving and and totally unjudgmental manner.
[…] I completely reject and denounce any insinuation that these behaviors should be associated with disaffection from the LDS church. I tried to make this point very clear in my interview, and hopefully have made it very clear with this presentation. […]
This is such a welcome update and so relevant and important for all of us to listen to. For those who have left it helps them articulate what they have gone through and experienced and what others can do to reach out to them and maintain relationships. For those who are still active in the church it helps them understand those who have left and helps dispel myths and assumptions for why they’ve left. It it easy to understand and listen to, it gives credible information and sources to go for further information all with the goal of helping bridge this difficult experience that many are having. For everyone on both sides of this topic it’s a valuable way to open the discussion. I have shared it and hope my family/friends will move past any “fear” they may have about listening to it and be willing to learn and take the time to understand it. having these discussions is critical for those of us in mixed faith relationships to continue to be able to stay lovingly connected.
Wonderful job, John. I will use many of those information to help people and train leaders in my Stake (Macapá Brazil).
Did any of you here read or listen to Elder Jensen’s last CES talk? If so, did anyone else notice the respectful criticism he gave about the churches former practice of ignoring the hairier historical issues? Start reading under the heading “Lesson number 4:” I would paste it here but it would make this post so long that most people would ignore it. It is beautifully worded though and the entire talk is well worth the read, I hope you’ll take a second to click on the link.
I am so sad to see him go emeritus. And just a side note for any conspiracy theorists, all 70s go Emeritus at his age, they stopped granting exceptions to this a while back because it was offending people.
I don’t really suggest spending time researching issues that don’t have answers. I think that’s why the church doesn’t address them. But it is probably good to be aware that there are seemingly controversial inconsistencies and then to learn to accept that your human mind isn’t all powerful enough to understand everything :)
Every issue has a correct answer, if you go in search of it. It’s just that the Church doesn’t always seem to want to admit that answer.
But there is nothing stopping us from finding out the real truth about anything, via the Holy Spirit, which will tell us the truth about anything we may want to know and lead us to historical evidence too.
There is ‘nothing’ that the Spirit can’t help us eventually understand if we really want to.
But most people don’t seem to want to search out truth, for deception is so much easier and doesn’t require much from us.
This presentation seems to assume that there is something inherently good about the church that, if the problems were resolved, would draw those who have left back. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While there are those, like John, who leave and come back again, most people who leave, leave for good. We go through a transitional period where we remain interested in things mormon, in many cases devouring mormon stories podcasts and the like. But then we move on and rarely, if ever look back.
In my case, this is the first I’ve been back to mormon stories in a very long time and only returned to scan through the updated powerpoint out of curiosity. We have many friends who have also left, and to a person, we agree that life is better. Much better.
I agree, when people finally come to really learn & accept the truth about the falsehoods, errors & evils of the LDS Church, they don’t stay around long and they definitely don’t come back.
For they realize that it is one of the most destructive & apostate Churches there is on earth. Almost any other Christian church would be better & more ‘christian’ to be part of then the LDS Church.
I believe the LDS Church teaches so completely ‘anti to Christ’ that it is very hard for most members to see through it’s dark deceptions & lies and finally find the truth.
But those who do come to see the truth gain an incredible new found joy and happiness, for the truth as definitely set them free from the falsehoods and false prophets that had them bound.
Hi Lilli, why do you believe so strongly in Jesus? What does he mean to you?
Another factor, which may or may not have been reflected in the survey, is the realization that people outside the church are generally happy and content with life. They’re not walking around loathing in misery and sin. They’re living good lives and happy for it. What? My neighbor who drinks beer is a good man, good father, good husband, and he’s happy??? Can’t be so! He certainly must go to bed each night unfulfilled, not being able to place his finger on as to why. Once Mormon’s have the epiphany that we don’t have a monopoly on contentment, a slight “head scratch” ensues. Couple that head scratch with the five things John highlights (cultural boredom especially in my case), then it all starts to unravel. Oh, and I’ll forever be convinced that xMo and non-Mo couples have far more fulfilling sexual intimacy than TBM’s will ever know.
Most of the Top 5 reasons for leaving are secondary to why I pursued other options; if fact, I wasn’t even aware of most of the issues during that time in my life. I could never come to terms with having to question God and his ‘inspired’ Word (in addition to buyng into the concept of a ‘Great, Complete, Universal Apostasy) to be a TBM. I started thinking it was blasphemy to question his Word, to do it is questioning the pure definition of God (all-knowing, all-powerful, and creator of everything in the universe). So do I trust God, or trust JS? Did God have total control to ensure accurate writings, translations, and interpretations of the Bible and his gospel; or did God really leave his gospel/salvation interpretation up to man? If the BOM is the most accurate scripture known to man, why does it not mention much about the LDS ‘Plan of Salvation’ (primary LDS doctine and ordinances, where we came from to how we become Gods, three kingdoms of heaven, etc)? Does God really have living prophet, seers, and revelators who don’t really prophesie, seer, or reveal much of anything (like John said, they’re pretty silent)? Anyway, I didn’t start researching more until my kids got a little older and started asking me more questions (my TBM wife has no desire to know of the issues). So thank God (or whatever higher power(s) is out there who may love and guide us), John, and all other resources noted in the presentation. It’s been really educational for my family and me, and I hope it continues. I hope we all find love and happiness in whatever journey we choose.
I am not completely sure of the whole intent of the video. I give him credit in addressing some issues. The better part was to say that members need to respect and not judge those that question this faith.As for me it is many issues that are not addressed in the video.I understand that the video would have to be much longer to do so. I believe also that it’s the responsibility of those that question also not to judge those that have the belief in religion. Interesting to me is that they find civilizations that dating back to 900 bc – 200 bc along with their cities or temples. But as of to date no history of any city from the bom has been found. Sumerian civilization was before the hebrews and had their own story of creation and flooding. It has shown that Genesis was brought from this story. Poligamy being another issue that creates problems in that if Joseph was a prophet and directed by God, why would he have hid it from emma? If we believe God to be all knowing then God would have told Joseph to comfort Emma with this revelation first and not create conflict. God is NOT CONFLICT. There are way to many coincidences in the stories of Joseph and his BOM . I could maybe believe in a couple but more than that and it’s no longer a coincidence. Was he a great leader? Yes! He brought new ideas and concepts into religion at a time that people were searching. intensely. In my perception and that’s all any of us truly have , He was another man putting together another religion with different ideas. Truth never needs to hide and to hide things must mean they are not true. God does not hide truths from us because then He would cease to be a God. The Lds church and all other churches do so out of fear. Fear is not of God. We all choose our own reality and how we allow Our ego to direct us by the things we have been taught and have attracted to Our life. If religion makes one feel better and do better, then by all means it has served it’s agenda in some way.
More than three years after announcing to my parents that I don’t believe in God or Mormonism my dad finally asked me why. I sent him an email with a link to the youtube presentation and this was his response:
“I got your email. I know everybody wants to be understood”.
I think that means he didn’t watch it. Truth is the TBM members of family will probably never watch this for fear that it’s “anti-“. It’s hard to have a conversation when the other party won’t listen, but thank you, John, for helping us with the words.
Ouch, I’m sorry to hear that, Wayne. That must be so hard.
But my personal belief is it’s just a matter of time now. I was on the High Council when we closed dozens of stakes in the Bay Area and many more wards, merging them into stakes and wards that were shrinking. That was happening while the overall population here was increasing.
And that trend is accelerating due to Propositions 22 & 8 and the Internet. It’s gotten so everyone knows good families who are leaving. Last week I was invited to a casual, local post-Mormon brunch and 30 people RSVP’d. Many of them had left local wards this year, partly due to New Year’s resolutions.
Maybe it’s still different in Utah, but in most places of the world it’s helping faithful members to understand the ones who leave because they are often good, respected members who stay positive, aren’t offended, aren’t sinning, and go on to be happy and engaged in wonderful causes.
That’s a big change from 10, 20, 30 years ago when people who left often had been offended or wanted to sin or whatever.
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