It was only in March of this year (2006) that I wondered about something I found in an old publication dating from 1905 which I had owned since the sixties and came across again by accident, that lead me to some specific research in which I am now fully engaged, currently developing and writing about.
We were originally taught that polygamy was perfectly legal when it was restored and faithfully stopped when it was outlawed in America in 1890. As I began my research, I was amazed to discover that Joseph Smith’s polygamy was actually illegal and also that he kept it secret. I was then devastated to find that he practiced polyandry, a word I had never heard before and the details of which shocked me. For those of you who may have always known of these things, you must remember that I had never looked before, having relied solely on my faith and ‘inspired’ leaders. I have subsequently researched this area quite deeply myself and have evidenced for myself several factual cases of polyandry that are not only accepted by Church Apologists, but I find they actually put forward possible theological explanations for it. This I find incredulous, considering the Church confirmed it contrary to doctrine and it is why I am working on a series of writings which I hope will compliment the already vast array of excellent publications available but which don’t explicitly cover some areas that I have discovered.
As I already stated, I still count friends among the Quorum of Twelve and the First Quorum of Seventy who have confirmed to me personally and most adamantly, that polyandry is and always was, absolutely contrary to Church doctrine. When I posed the question – what if it was conclusively proven that Joseph Smith most certainly did practice it, what would be their position, they said that Smith would have to account for it but it would make no difference to their own testimony as the ‘assurances’ they have are enough. I believe in fact that for them, that is indeed the case and they probably do not even know themselves that conclusive evidence is already in, on at least eight of the recognised eleven polyandrous relationships that Smith undertook. I think they distance themselves from the possibility of problematic history as stated above and they live by faith alone, ignoring all else, especially reason; believing that one day there will be answers to anything they may not understand.
In another story on this (RfM) web site from – “A grandfather today”, he says – I remember asking Oscar W. McConkie what he would do if I presented him with irrefutable evidence that Joseph Smith was a fraud. He answered, “It would not make any difference to me whatsoever since my testimony is based on faith not reason.” This is consistent with my own experience of General Authorities. To a large degree, I used to think this way myself; now I can’t understand why I did, as faith simply cannot be used in the face of irrefutable evidence, it surely has to be re-evaluated in light of it, whether it is comfortable to do so or not. Clearly, if faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, once something is actually seen for what it truly is and the evidence is in, then faith is void in that matter and reason alone stands firm, based on that evidence. We have to accept the truth, it is foolish and spiritually naïve in the extreme to do otherwise.
I am grateful that I am not alone after all. I actually cried with relief when I found there were others who had similar stories to mine. I still shed tears on many days when I read more of the awful truth, about such as many of the polygamous wives and all they actually suffered, and it breaks my heart. I always thought they were well cared for. The principle we were taught, was that men had to have the permission of the prophet, the first wife’s permission and be able to independently support each wife before entering polygamy. Clearly, there was never a bigger pack of lies taught to anyone. Well, that’s not actually true, there are lots of even bigger lies taught to Mormon Church members, as I have discovered. The list is actually almost endless – and that too breaks my heart.
Historically, I can remember casually asking about things such as the Danites, Mountain Meadows, Adam-God, etc., and each time was immediately reassured by comments such as, the Danites were just a military arm to help in defence of the saints and the territory, the Mountain Meadows tragedy was perpetrated by Indians and blamed on the Church and Adam-God was just a misquote from Brigham Young who had a good sense of humour and would often say things in jest. Seriously! That’s what I was actually told and simply accepted, looking no further. Now I find solid evidence to the contrary on all these and so many other matters that, as alluded to later on, we are not dealing with just enough smoke to make a fire, we have an intercontinental forest fire and are dealing with such an obvious hoax and subsequent tyrannical murderous leadership by Brigham Young, it is incredulous that no one really knows about it inside the Church. We just never look. We really do just listen and obey, never thinking for ourselves.
On this point I reflect and I feel ashamed that I was taken in and that I taught my family to believe the same things. Now I cannot retrieve them from it, they would not listen and perhaps it would even be cruel of me to take away their hope; to be replaced with what? What I now have? A hope in nothing? Perhaps they are better off as they are. I am not happy with what I now know, but I am coming to terms with it and at least I know for sure where I stand now in the eternal scheme of things. Life evolved and continues to do so; we live, we die, and live on through our progeny. That’s all there ever was to it; yet humans make up something more which unkindly gives many people a false hope in a non-existent afterlife. We seem to want to believe what other people tell us is the case, with no evidence to support it. Why should there be more than this?
I don’t think that any active Mormon can ever appreciate the trauma that one goes through when they discover for themselves that the Church is a lie, that their entire life has been lived as a lie and ultimately, effectively, that their life has been stolen from them. They can only say that you have been influenced by Satan, as they are taught to do. If ever they could comprehend that in reality for someone of my age (sixty in February 2006 – retired and with no one to talk to except my second wife of two-and-a-half years, who left the Church before we married), you actually end up with nothing. It is an excruciating decision to make and not one of choice. I would far rather try to believe, it is so much less painful. To keep your family and friends, you just sit on the back row for once and say you have had a nervous breakdown or something and can’t cope with callings; you would get away with it and still have a life. But for me, it would have been a lie. Far from being influenced by Satan, it takes courage to admit the truth to yourself and then to others and to be willing to accept the consequences of that decision and your subsequent action upon it.
In reality, you lose most of your family and all of your friends as they have no time for you because you no longer move in Church circles, which means that as you are not there with them, they don’t bother with you, even the ones who say they mean to, as subsequently they are kept so busy in the Church that they never have or make any time for you at all. There is also fear, as you are of course considered apostate. I have moved from being known on first name terms by well over a thousand members who personally knew and respected me, to a number of true friends that I can barely count on one hand. Staying close to the Church, making no real friends outside since I was fourteen years old didn’t even leave old school friends available to me (other than one I subsequently found), having lost contact decades ago. My decision leaves me with no life, few family and friends who care about me, and a very difficult future.
Members have said that it is my own fault. I actually had some very critical and somewhat unkind phone calls and abusive letters from local leaders and so called friends in the Church who should have known better. I was almost suicidal after my wife’s death and this was another equally distressing moment in my life, leaving me feeling that way again. Unfortunately, I destroyed those letters in a flood of tears. Now I wish I had kept them as they just go to show the ludicrous psychological state of mind one can arrive at within the Church if you are not careful. I was reminded of those letters when I read some of the rubbish that members have posted on this (RfM) site. Their attitude is not one that is compatible with the Church as I remember it, nor as I remember living it.
Members can never appreciate what it means to actually know for a surety that what they believe in is simply a lie. Those who have gone through what I have will recognise what I say when I tell you that whilst I considered myself as strong as anyone in my faith, my final reluctant recognition, acknowledgement to myself and my subsequent acceptance of the fact that the Church really is not true, is a conclusive knowledge a thousand times more powerful and specific than my earlier ‘testimony’ of it. Why? Because it is based on proven fact, logic and reason that supersedes the faith that I had once had in it. Also, because the things I was taught to have faith in, are provably fictional.
Faithful members will jump on that statement and have a field day with it because they simply cannot accommodate it. It is incomprehensible to someone who feels they have a testimony; their psychological state of mind has to reject it without conscious consideration. That is the trap of Mormonism. That is the result of a delusion, brought about by constant self-induced mind control and brain washing.
Yet Mormons will decry billions of people who equally feel the same as they do, within the scope of their own religion, whatever it may be, Christian or otherwise. I had to laugh recently when I read Gordon B. Hinckley had actually said that these days the Lord doesn’t give revelations like he used to, now it is by feelings, they think on things, sleep on them, pray about them, and then the sweet feeling comes. “It is wonderful,” he said. Well, if I hadn’t left before, I would have now, as that is exactly what everyone in the world gets – feelings! Everyone thinks things over; everyone sleeps on things and then prays. Every religious leader (and follower for that matter) does and if they don’t pray, they still get a feeling as to the thing they are considering, by sleeping on it. Perhaps Hinckley, as a lifelong member, actually thinks the process is unique to him as the Mormon prophet. If he does, he is seriously mistaken, not to mention completely delusional.
It is the same with ‘feeling the spirit’ – not a unique experience for Mormons, or indeed Christians, or even any religion. It is a universal thing that everyone has. We each have an awareness that doesn’t change just because we are in or out of a Church, it is simply perceived differently when you are a member and you arrogantly feel it is unique to you. We were always taught that the prophets walk and talk with God. Now we know this is not the case. There is no record of any prophet so doing after Joseph Smith (other that John Taylor – and the Church denies that one), who only said he did a few times and even then, after years of working, reworking and changing his story before it was published. Most of the time, he had his head in a hat when getting his revelations. But that’s another story. I told the Church it was a matter of integrity when I stood up and was counted, declaring my position openly and having my name removed from Church records. I did not choose to know it was not true, it was in fact, the final result of trying to finally, once and for all, achieve just the opposite.
When someone joins the Church, if they are ostracised by family and friends due to their new found ‘faith’, they at least have a new ‘family’ to welcome them, within the Church. When you leave, there is no one there for you. You are alone. I cannot try to influence my children. I know so much and they know little, and of course, although there is abundant conclusive evidence of the Church hoax in such a significant number of areas, they would not countenance it, as for them to even look, would of course be wrong. They would rather not find out and some have said as much. Just like the General Authorities, they do not want to know. I was once the same and I know of no way around it. The psychology of self-induced brainwashing, only achievable within religion, is so clever and so remarkably effective, there just seems to be no answer to it.
I wish so much, that in 1960, that instead of just taking it all at face value, I had questioned it properly, but then I was only fourteen. I have raised my children and now there are future generations who will undoubtedly stay true to the faith – and I am the bad guy, influenced by Satan and I have ‘fallen away.’ The perception of course is that I have effectively divorced my first wife, as I had my name removed from Church records. We had been sealed in the temple and that sealing is no longer valid. The link in the eternal chain is forever broken. I am therefore to them, a lost soul.
I have pointed out to them that I would that I was wrong and would be willing to be proved so by God himself. I have not become a voluntary apostate but have simply followed my own conscience – and that for the sake of integrity. To Mormons, that is what we will be judged on. As long as that is my case, if I am wrong, according to doctrine, the Lord is bound by His own word to restore me to my place in the kingdom. This has been confirmed at the highest levels of the Church, but I am not sure my children believe it.
I accepted the Church at face value, prayed for the first time ever, made no other investigation or comparison, and felt good about it. It was a plausible position, I felt I gained the testimony they spoke of, wiped all other concerns from my mind forever (as I thought), and lived by faith. I don’t know if I regret that or not as so much would have been different, including meeting and marrying my first wife. I don’t know that I will ever know. However, I could never have joined had I been aware of all I now know, so I guess that is my answer. As for the future, it is unknown, except that I am only sixty, very healthy, young at heart and in mind, I have a young wife and together we will try to make a new life. Perhaps to a degree I can live a second life and see where it takes me. At least I am retired and able to choose what I do each day, and one day perhaps I will come to terms with the fact that I was deceived by well meaning and wonderful missionaries who in turn were simply born into the same lie. Still, as I said, I was only fourteen, but then so was Joseph Smith. I wonder who made the bigger mess out of it all, him or me?
I hope the above may help someone and doesn’t offend anyone. It is just where I am in life and although I would rather by far that the Church was true and know that eternal life awaits me, I cannot believe that. To be honest, if it is and it does, I do not want to be with such a God, for I now know his character, not as the Church promotes it, but as it really is, if it is His Church. This would make Him an accomplice to lies and deceit and I want none of it. I reluctantly conclude that there is no God and that we simply continue as does all life, from generation to generation, with us ultimately becoming the nutrients that are taken in by the future generations as we recycle, and thus life in all forms continues and evolves. Judging all that man has done with his precious life, it’s probably all we deserve anyway. It does seem somewhat arrogant to expect something more.
Finally, I have allowed myself to ramble and have covered perhaps more than I intended to and not essentially in a logical or sequential format. Perhaps I have been “getting things off my chest” a little so to speak. My other writings are and will be much more disciplined, analytical and fully referenced. The luxury of just writing my thoughts as they occur, without reference or proof, will be restricted to this as a one off item which has been an interesting experience in itself. Nevertheless, everything I have written is perfectly true as stated, without exception.
[Edit]. Ten years later, in 2016, I have come to terms with the truth, just written a further volume, this time on the Bible, and my wife and I live quietly in Surrey, England.
Jim Whitefield. © September 2006 & 2016.