November 2016

Memories…

It took me many years to fully realise there was no god; least of all the Mormon version – the one I had accepted at age fourteen because Joseph Smith was my age when he supposedly had a vision and later translated a book – a seemingly impossible feat. I later identified the very moment that my Mormon ‘world’ began its slow but inevitable decline and ultimate demise as I ventured into the world of reality.

It was at a High Council meeting during times of fuel shortage and other issues. Regarding anyone being baptised, at one time it could be any day at any time; the candidate was baptised and had the gift of the Holy Ghost bestowed during the same service.

At some point, it was decided that baptisms could not be held on Sunday (once a favourite, after services), because it meant the custodian would have to ‘work’ to fill and empty the font. The Holy Ghost was then conferred on the next fast Sunday. That was new, up to four weeks between baptism and getting the Holy Ghost. I remember the odd convert no longer attending Church by the following fast Sunday but I expect the Church still counted them as members – statistics must always be bolstered somehow. Later, due to the fuel crisis, baptisms could only be held on Sunday as members were at church anyway.

I can’t remember which of these various changes of policy was being disclosed to us at this particular High Council meeting, but I suspect it was the ‘Sunday only’ policy. I suddenly remembered something that David O. McKay had said. He was our beloved prophet when I joined the Church in 1960. When the Stake President confirmed that there were no exceptions, I said “But David O. McKay said that it is every child’s right to be baptised on their eighth birthday.” The Stake President shot back with “Well, he’s dead!”

I don’t think I have ever been more shocked, and that retort (I realised several years later) marked the moment my heart and my belief system, at least subconsciously, began to break. He was of course quite right; the current prophet speaks for the Mormon god, thus all that has been spoken by previous prophets becomes somewhat null and void when past pronouncements contradict new ideas or no longer suit the current regime.

It’s not god who works in mysterious ways; it’s Mormon prophets who continue Joseph Smith’s well established lead – making things up as they go along. The god-given rights of children were thus revoked at a stroke. I subsequently discovered there was so much nonsense spoken by all Mormon prophets that they had to keep changing and modifying things to keep pace with later problems that earlier leaders caused with weird and wonderful ideas that didn’t stand the test of time (or later public opinion).

Time would erode my faith to hold to the rod, or to anything else religious, until the day my world caved in. One day, I was studiously reading the Book of Mormon, as I did every morning, and I suddenly knew for certain that I did not believe in a god, Mormon or otherwise. It was the last thing I wanted and as I closed the book for the last time as a member, I wept my heart out. I had tried to make the Church true in my head and heart for the previous year; but now, god and Mormonism were gone forever and out of integrity I resigned membership. It would be three more years before I quite accidentally stumbled across the truth behind the Mormon Church and my research and writing followed. For me, the next six years were full time therapy; for others, I hope it provides quick and easy access to answers to the questions that everyone should ask.

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