27 July 2012

With the ever increasing wealth of knowledge now available, exposing the truth behind Mormonism, Deseret Book has published a new book described thus: “Aside from The Book of Mormon, Anthony Sweat’s Mormons- An Open Book is the first book that I would share with someone interested in our faith.” The content described is predictable, and naturally it does not tell the truth.

One excerpt claims the first presidency and twelve still receive “divine revelation” despite Gordon B. Hinckley publicly stating that he only ever received ‘feelings’ during his tenure.

“In an interview with Don Lattin of the San Francisco Chronicle, when asked about revelation, Hinckley stated it comes as “just a perception in the mind” which is hardly a reliable thing and extremely worrying if you consider the man to be a true prophet.

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. I liken it to Elijah’s experience. When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. But in a still, small voice. Now that’s the way it works.” (San Francisco Chronicle. Don Lattin interview with Gordon B. Hinckley. 13 Mar 1997). (See TMD Vol 4: 121-2).

Excerpt from “Mormons – An Open Book.”

” What Do Modern Prophets and Apostles Do?

The primary job of modern prophets and apostles is to be “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:23). Modern prophets oversee and “build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:33). the LDS guidebook True to the Faith says: “Like the prophets of old, prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God’s will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. At times, they may be inspired to prophesy of future evens for our benefit.”

As a unified body, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles obtain the Lord’s will through divine revelation and, by inspiration, make decisions regarding LDS Church policy and doctrine (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:27). The modern prophets speak to the worldwide Church twice a year during the LDS Church’s general conference and also through published articles in the LDS Church’s magazines (such as the Ensign) and other media. Although their prophetic responsibilities are broad and global, in the words of current LDS Apostle Elder David A. Bednar, “the ministry of an Apostle is to fine the one…[and] to bless individuals and families.””

Mormon propaganda at its best (or worst), depending on your view. Those seeking the truth will need to look elsewhere.

Mormonism is anything but an Open Book!

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10 July 2012

Mass Resignation from mormonism…

“On June 30, 2012, about 120 people gathered in Salt Lake City to resign together and lend support to those resigning. This video documents the event and shares the stories of some of the people who were participating.”

Out of the Shadows and into the Light

One of those attending the event who resigned along with his wife and family was my friend Brett Bair who sent me a copy of his resignation letter. It is one of the most reasoned, impressive and poignant letters of resignation I have seen. Brett has given me permission to share it. I hope it will be of help and comfort to others who are learning the truth and facing tough decisions.

My full name is Brett Leigh Bair; my date of birth is 11/15/1958.

(Address supplied).

I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, effective immediately, and request you to remove my name permanently from your membership records. I wish no further contact from representatives of your church except to confirm that my name has been removed from your records. I expect to receive that confirmation within a reasonably short time.

There are many, very intelligent, well-written, letters from folks leaving Mormonism.  Letters complete with footnotes and links to the evidence which completely dismantles the validity of the church.  That is the easy part.  The hours, days, and weeks, and even years of study and research, is actually much easier than what follows.  What follows is a wreck.

There is much pain, sorrow, anger and hurt.  It is much like a divorce from an unrepentant, cheating spouse.  Not only is this spouse not the least bit sorry, but also full of self-righteous piety.  Many of your closest friends and family will vehemently support this deceitful spouse.  The greatest insult is that they will not even listen to you, their own flesh and blood.  For many, this gut wrenching divorce is experienced alone, without any help or support.

Why divorce?  Why not just a separation?  Some have asked me, “why not remain a member in this relationship”?  I quit participating in church, so in a sense, I am already separated.  My answer is that there are kids involved, my kids.  And I want full custody.  I do not want my children, or any children for that matter, to be deceived by this church.  Besides the immediate advantages of keeping 10% of their incomes, at least 1/7 of their time, and many private and personal freedoms, the thing I desire most for them is to learn to critically think about all of their decisions.  No more to be shackled by the teaching, “when the prophet speaks the thinking is done.”  I want them to think, learn, and discover the truth.

For the first fifty years of my life I believed and trusted the Mormon church as the only true and living church, restored by a prophet of god.  I won’t go into details, but my life was what you would expect from a faithful member, complete with a church college education and a Lamanite wife.  Then, a life changing event required that I strengthen, what I had always considered to be already strong, my testimony.  You know, just bulk up a bit.  I was naïve in my thinking that more knowledge would surely add to the truth I already had.  Following the truth would actually take me on a road out of Mormonism.

Instead of listing everything I found, I would rather say, What if?  What if Joseph Smith had, just one, never changing, vision supported by historical facts?  What if he translated the BOM with the urim and thumim, instead of a rock in the hat, without even the plates being present?  What if polygamy was never kept secret, was legal, and young girls were not abused, or already married women, given to the prophet?  Imagine if there were archeological evidences, languages, and artifacts that indicated that the people of the BOM were real?  Or that the animals, crops, and transportation did exist as described by the prophets in the BOM?  What if my wife really was a Lamanite, proven by a DNA sample, and becoming white?  What if, when we were finally able to translate Egyptian, it proved the BOA to be valid and we could tell the world that Joseph Smith really could translate?  How many what ifs does it take?  Just think….. it could have been true.  But no amount of faith can change fiction into fact.

Most LDS will never really “check under the hood”.  They are content to see the church as this beautiful, priceless diamond, given to them from those they trust and love. The thought of checking the purity of their diamond, or the veracity of their religion, will never enter their minds.  That would be insulting to even consider and a sign of weakness.  They will never know they treasure a beautiful zirconium.

So to the religion I gave 50 years of my life, I will say what Joseph Smith said as he translated reformed Egyptian into English ……adieu.

July 2012

Recent change to Mormon tithing slips…

Until recent times, tithing slips had a statement at the bottom which read:

“All donations to the Church’s missionary fund become the property of the Church to be used at the Church’s sole discretion in its missionary program.”

This statement not only confirmed what all Mormons already knew but it also distanced members from funds they provided to support their own children whilst on their missions. As tax relief is allowable on ‘donations’ (at least in the UK) this distancing provides a vehicle to protect the tax relief. When parents (including myself) previously paid money directly to children on missions, tax relief was not allowable. No tax relief is legally available even if parents first pay the money into Church coffers and subsequently it gets paid out to their own children. So, the Church invented this surreptitious circular route which also incorporated ‘averaging’ of mission costs per month worldwide. Parents pay the same for their children on missions no matter where they serve. Thus the amounts paid in are different to those paid out to individual missionaries, which may be higher or lower than the ‘donations’. The money is pooled and payment to individual missionaries is distanced from specific donors. We sent one son and a friend on missions under the old system obtaining no tax relief and another son and a daughter on missions under the carefully crafted new system. Whilst we were happy to get the tax relief which was paid to the Church and offset against tithing donations, it has to be said that we were indeed supporting our own children utilising this roundabout method. Whilst it was not an illegal move by the Church, and this ‘tax avoidance’ system of manipulating funds could not quite be described as ‘tax evasion’ which of course is entirely illegal, it does appear to be a morally wrong method of avoiding tax which would be payable if it could be shown that parents were in fact actually supporting their own children. The system was rationalised into place but is certainly not an entirely honest process and flies in the face of the proclaimed integrity implied in Articles of Faith 12 and 13.

  1. We believe in … obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
  2. We believe in being honest, true…

The Mormon Church mantra about avoiding the very appearance of evil also comes to mind.

Honouring and sustaining the law means not trying to circumvent legal requirements in order to avoid tax. Being ‘honest’ has a unique definition within Mormonism which often appears to create its own dictionary in order to accommodate its practices.

The old tithing slip statement has now been removed and replaced with the following which gives rise to even greater issues.

“Though reasonable efforts will be made globally to use donations as designated, all donations become the Church’s property and will be used at the Church’s sole discretion to further the Church’s overall mission.”

Options for ‘General missionary’, ‘Ward missionary’ and ‘Humanitarian aid’ donations remain on the new tithing slips but ‘Book of Mormon’, ‘Temple construction’ and ‘Perpetual education’ – the latter once a huge initiative to help youngsters in deprived countries to further their education – have all disappeared.

In TMD Vol. 2, Chapter 17, I was able to analyse Church income and expenditure in each category for the United Kingdom, as by law in the UK the Church has to disclose all financial details. This was long before the Church decided it could do what it liked regardless of donation ‘category’.

There were distinct transfers from one category to another without reference to members and most of the Humanitarian aid – which British Mormons generally believe gets used immediately for most dire overseas needs, was retained for local use. In fact, most of it was not dispersed at all in the year I inspected (2005). In the following details, £1 (GBP) is currently worth about $1.57 (USD). Out of £509,000 humanitarian aid donated in that year, only £34,000 was used and a total balance of £675,000 was carried forward. So, just £34,000 got used (locally) while millions of children died in the third world and the Church banked member donations for some supposed ‘greater’ future local use.

They also moved £500,000 out of the Fast Offering fund (supposedly used to feed the poor and needy) and put it into the Welfare fund, using it to build chapels etc.

“The ‘Fast Offering Fund’ is listed as “contributed by members of the Church to be used in the relief of the poor and needy”. Yes, that is the relief of the poor and needy. The perception is that the relief is given immediately to those who are in most need. The £500,000 ‘expenditure’ was actually transferred to the ‘Welfare Fund’ which has broader scope for use than members may imagine for their fast offerings.

The Welfare Fund does far more than provide food and necessities to those who desperately need immediate help to survive (the poor and needy); its full range and scope of expenditure, specified to achieve the goal of helping the poor and needy, includes the following: “Invests in farms which it rents out to subsidiary companies”, profits from which are returned to the charity of course, “acquires land and builds purpose built meeting houses, for a fellow subsidiary, in which members of the Church and members of the public can meet together for religious instruction and worship” and “assists individuals suffering through hardship, sickness and distress as needed” and “provides advice and guidance to Church members on the Church’s worldwide welfare and humanitarian aid programmes”. So, the fund that actually runs farms and pays for the construction of chapels is somewhat supported from funds donated by members who think ‘fast offering’ donations go to feed the poor and needy.” (TMD Vol. 2:341).

The Church does not disclose any financial information other than in countries where the law requires it. When he was questioned why, in an interview, the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley responded that they do not make the financial position known to the world as it is private and reserved for those inside the Church who make the donations. In stating that the information was available for members to see, Hinckley was not exactly being truthful, once again employing the unique Mormon take on being ‘honest’. The general membership has no more idea concerning what happens to their donations or how much money or other assets the Church has than anyone else. The Mormon Church hides everything from everyone.

Helmut Nemetchek of German ZFT Television: “In my country we say the people’s churches, the Protestants, the Catholics. They publish all their budgets annually to all the public. Why is not this possible for your church?”

Gordon B. Hinckley: “Well, we simply think that information belongs to those who make the contributions, not to the world. That’s the only thing. Yes.” (Gordon B. Hinckley Interview – ZDF German Television, Salt Lake City, Utah, 29 January 2002, conducted by Helmut Nemetschek at 47 East South Temple – Church Administration Building).

With the recent change in wording on tithing slips, it is clear the Mormon Church is giving itself carte blanche regarding all member donations.

Far from the latest statement representing the promise of a more honest future, the Mormon Church is simply rationalizing and justifying past misappropriation of funds.

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