The following was penned in 2006, a few months after my discovery of polyandry which perplexed me so much. I was in shock and daily discovering more lies concerning Mormonism. This account, which was posted on the “Recovery from Mormonism” bio page contains some material that, if written today, may well not have been included but it has been left pretty much as first written as it reflects my anguish and inner turmoil of that time.
My name is Jim and I am an ex-Mormon. I was no ordinary Mormon. I was bluer than blue. What follows, although it may seem lengthy, is actually just a short coverage of a part of my story plus some details on doctrine and principles that may be of interest to others. A collage if you will, that expresses some immediate thoughts that I feel may be worth sharing, having benefited from other stories that I have read here (on RfM). It involves an ultimately atheistic view with respect to my current thinking. There is so much more to say, so much evidence to review and to share and still so much grief to overcome but that may take many years and several volumes, some of which I am already working on.
I take life one day at a time as I recover from Mormonism. I never read any literature on the Church other than Church produced material until three years after having had my name removed from Mormon Church records. No one influenced my decision, it was mine and mine alone. My Church story spans some forty three years from the age of fourteen to fifty-seven, finally leaving the Church in 2003. I served a mission early – a ‘Church Building Mission’ where young boys were called for two years at age sixteen – I was the youngest ever called, two months before my sixteenth birthday.
We worked on building new chapels and split with proselyting missionaries some evenings and had to learn just the first three discussions as our main task was construction. I was married in the temple a week after my eighteenth birthday; I held many Branch, Ward, Stake and Regional callings and performed over a thousand endowments over the years. Devoted to my Stake callings during the last sixteen years of my membership and living over an hour from the Stake centre and at one point working over two hours away in the opposite direction, during one three year period I drove over eighty thousand miles, just on Church assignments, one hundred and sixty thousand miles including business travel. I live in England and in a rural Stake it takes a long time to get anywhere. Whilst the Stake Centre is central, it takes two hours to drive across the Stake. To say that my wife Jan and I were dedicated to the cause, is an extreme understatement.
We had eleven children, eight of whom are still living. Two had their names removed at different times, for their own reasons not connected with mine, a daughter before me who never believed, and a son after me, just over half way through his mission, which he went on in order to capture the heart of and marry his first love. He never believed either; he told his Mission President so upon arrival in the field, who said not to worry, that he would believe later. He was a top performing missionary, as to him, integrity demanded such and when his young lady married someone else, he quit his mission and the Church. He is now happily married outside the Church and lives in America. My other six children are married and active Mormons; my only other son and a daughter served missions, all six are very strong, with each of them, along with their spouses, holding such positions as Bishop, member of a Stake Presidency, High Priest Group Leader, Relief Society President, Young Women President and Primary President; and between those six, I have twenty one grandchildren. Four of the active children live in the UK; one daughter who is married to an American lives in Utah; and one daughter lives with her husband in Australia.
[EDIT]. As of 2016, there are twenty-five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
I joined the Mormon Church in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, along with my mother, when I was fourteen years old, in 1960. My father had left us some years earlier. My mother was wonderful, devoutly faithful and served several missions in the London Temple, remaining in full fellowship for the rest of her life. As for me, I had never even considered the existence of a God up until that point. There were about one million Mormons worldwide (gross – so going by today’s gross and actual net statistics, probably about 400,000 or so active), the first Stake was about to be formed in the UK, there were literally only one or two High Priests in the country and no Seventies. Four quorums of Elders covered the entire British Isles. (For newer people, there used to be Seventies Quorums in every Ward. There were no Wards or Stakes in the UK until 1960, just Branches and Districts, under one Mission, hence no High Priests or Seventies). It was later than the early sixties when Elders Quorums were formed in each Ward.
As with everyone else, as taught, I never ever looked at ‘outside’ information, I simply lived by faith. My story is long and yet to be told, but for now, suffice it to say that after forty-three years of devoted service at many levels of leadership in the Church – a mission already completed by both my then future wife and myself and married in the temple by the week after my eighteenth birthday (most unusual as late as 1964), 2nd Counsellor in the 1st quorum of Elders as well as secretary to the joint four Quorums of Elders on the British Mission Board covering the United Kingdom at age 19, District Councilman at 21, Branch President of Southend (160 active members) at age 22, later holding most Ward and several Stake positions (for the last sixteen years) including being at number one on a High Council for over twelve years, as well as a three year Regional calling – I finally resigned in 2003 after forty-three years of Mormonism.
My doubts were about God, always pushed aside and suppressed, but in the last few years they became intense and I could no longer ignore them. Before finally leaving, in a desperate attempt to try to “make it be true”, I told my non-member daughter what I was about to do and then spent the next full year studying more, praying more, attending the temple more and attending to all things as dynamically as I could. I was not exactly slack in any of those areas previously but I redoubled my efforts anyway. In the end, I remember teaching Priesthood one Sunday, disturbed that the principles I was teaching seemed far from the truth. I got home from ‘Home Teaching’ later that week and sat and cried as I realised the things I had been teaching were wrong. The next morning I read, as always, from the Book of Mormon and finally, in tears, once and for all closed the book for the last time, and just sat and wept my heart out. I knew beyond any doubt that I had simply been chasing a rainbow and that the Church was, far from being true, a complete hoax and a lie. I was close to suicidal.
I try to be a man of integrity and I had paid my tithes and offerings annually, due to being in business and having to await my accounts so I knew how much to pay. As I had held and used a temple recommend during that last year and had, in the previous interview of course stated that I was a full tithe payer, before I left the Church, I paid my tithes and offerings up to date for that year. I was not going to live a lie concerning my dealings in any matter. So, I paid, amounting in equivalent dollars, I suppose, about $15,000 or more (before tax relief), just a few weeks before leaving, as a matter of personal honesty and integrity. But, if interviewed again, although obeying all the commandments; when asked about belief in God and the Saviour and the Prophet; how would I be able to explain that I could not answer that I believed? If I had to leave the Church, I would have to say why and suffer the consequences. So that is what I did. I hurts terribly that I could not make it finally be true for myself, and that I am now condemned by most of my family as if I have effectively divorced my first (deceased) wife, as I had my name removed from the records of the Church. It was simply for the sake of integrity, no more and no less.
Taught when we were young marrieds, that taking the newly invented birth control pill could bring Church discipline, as it aborted every month and was in contradiction to the Lord’s teachings, and also that as many spirits as possible must be appointed Mormon homes and that sisters capable of having children should always continue to do so as long as they could, we faithfully went on to have eleven children (plus a miscarriage), stopping only after a fourth caesarean section when the surgeon said that a further pregnancy would kill my wife. Three of our children died as young babies and are buried in our family grave along with their mother who died (after a three-and-a-half-year fight against breast cancer), just after 9/11 in 2001.
As stated, I have eight living children, six of whom are married and strong Mormons who have twenty-three children between them. The two of my children who left the Church are naturally now closer to me than they were and I regret some of the harsh ‘Church’ treatment I handed out to them when they were younger. We were very devout in every way and as long as they were under our roof, they would be active in the Church. They had no choice. They participated in absolutely everything and my wife and I were there with them. We had a policy that we would never rush them away from dances or activities and were always about the last to leave. We left when they said they were ready, unlike many other parents who dragged their children away immediately an event was over. The main reason was that we figured if they had to wait for us to finish all we had to do on Sundays at Church, then the very least we could do was to return the compliment and they were proud to be the ones who were not dragged away from Church after a dance until they were ready. We taught them to love church.
My wife and I were actually fortunate in that we worked together in our Church callings for sixteen and a half years before she died. I was a member of the High Council all that time and in addition I was responsible for all youth programmes. Together, we were Stake Young Men & Young Women Presidents for eight and a half years, creating and running annual Stake camps, conventions, leadership conventions and monthly Stake Seminary activities and were with some of our children at those events. I also wrote and directed our Ward “Road Shows” for many years (twenty-minute musical comedies), including scripts and writing words and music to many of the songs, my daughters handling choreography. During the years of our youth leadership, we won every year for eight straight years at Stake level and performed again at regional level. I do not regret those times. They were wonderful. I just wish that it had been within an organisation that at the end of the day was associated with something that was actually true.
Apart from my general business activities, which before I retired, were in national sales management within Financial Services, I had and still have interests in the music industry, working with three award winning song writers, promoting new acts into the music industry. At the time of our youth callings, I wrote several religious numbers, including hymns and Christmas carols and other Church songs which are still performed in our old Stake. Just the other day I was asked permission for one to be used this Christmas. I wrote a new carol each year for our Stake Youth Choir who put on a carol concert for two evenings at Christmas with a packed audience at each. Luckily, I have recordings of all of those works as memories. I was a runner up one year in the annual world wide Church music competition, losing out to Janice Kapp Perry, who won the song category most years.
Latterly, for over six years, we were Stake Institute of Religion teachers as well as the Single Adult (SA) & Young Single Adult (YSA) couple for the Stake, again with our some of our children there and many of the youth who had by then progressed from the Youth programme. We worked with the YSA’s, helped with their weekly activities after Institute classes and organised monthly activities. I was still number one on the High Council, responsible for one of the Wards, Public Relations for the Stake and of course always had monthly speaking assignments throughout the Stake. In our children, I created the next generation of the truest blue Mormons you could ever imagine. Already devastated by their mother’s death, they then had to somehow cope with my decision to leave the Church. Two of my active daughters will have nothing to do with me now, I never see them or my eight grandchildren they have, and yet they answer the ‘family’ question in interviews and attend the Temple. One’s husband is a Bishop, the other a member of a Stake Presidency.
I was talking about birth control before I digressed. These days of course the Church never mentions a position regarding the birth control pill. Likewise, it never mentions vasectomy or having tubes tied etc., as being in violation of God’s unchangeable law. In my day, the principle was that the body was your personal temple, created in the image of God and had to be respected as such. To tamper with, change or violate the function of the body by having those things done as a method of birth control was in direct contradiction of that principle and you could be disciplined for so defiling your bodily temple. Additionally, your very salvation could be affected. It was a very serious sin. (See earlier written Church works on that subject). Now, birth control (of any description) is left between a member and the Lord and they just mention things like tattoos and body piercing, but they are not disciplinary issues, you just won’t get called to senior positions unless you look the part.
A local Stake President in recent years had a vasectomy, as he and his wife considered their three children to be enough for them. He doesn’t even know that just a few years ago it would have been considered an act that could call his very membership into question and ultimately influence his chance of eternal salvation. Although occasional talks have referred briefly to it (as late as 1995), the current General Handbook of Instructions now simply states that the number and timing of children is a very personal issue and is left between members and the Lord. In this way, prior principles and doctrines become subtly watered down, adapted and changed from generation to generation with the changing times. Does that make it right? Does it mean that previous doctrines taught by earlier prophets were wrong? Either God wants as many spirits as possible to enter Mormon homes or He does not! He cannot change to suit modern popular public opinion.
Does God change? No, but men make things up as they go along. Joseph F. Smith taught that abstinence was the only approved form of birth control. You won’t hear that again! I haven’t obtained a current opinion from the brethren on the pill and vasectomy issue at the moment but I am trying to get one. However, should they revert to the Joseph Smith statement that “We teach the saints correct principles and let them govern themselves” then my answer is that in some instances that is well and good but on this issue, they never used to. The actual doctrine has been altered to suit the changing times. I think they rely on generations passing away and the new ones having no idea of what used to be the teaching on many aspects in the Church. Listen and obey; don’t look or ask about anything for yourself. Don’t worry about it. What we don’t understand will all be explained in the hereafter. These are ever changing times. I agree that sometimes practice of principles may be adapted to circumstance but DOCTRINE is DOCTRINE and cannot be altered if one is expected to accept that the Church is true and it came from God himself.
I remember when family baptisms could be anytime you chose, then later, you had to avoid Sundays as it made the custodians work and was against the Sabbath; then they could only be on Sundays as you were there anyway and it saved on car fuel; then later, anytime again. It was always changing. When one of my children had their eighth birthday fall on a Sunday, I managed to get a soft Bishop to agree to it, but the previous one said if it had been him, he would have never allowed it. Some years later, when it was raised at a Stake High Council meeting, I did state that my beloved gentle Prophet (from when I joined the Church), David O McKay, had stated (as prophet) that it was every child’s right to be baptised ON their birthday, the quick answer I got was “Well, he’s dead!” I think that may have actually been the final straw in terms of the last few years of my membership becoming too hard to bear.
As I said, my reason for leaving was my own, I always had an underlying conflict with the very existence of God and it was either – that He existed, in which case I simply accepted the logic of the exclusive teachings of the Mormon Church on faith – or that He did not, which would devastate my very strong ‘testimony’ and leave me without purpose. When doubts were too strong to handle, my wife and I always remembered the counsel of our old Mission President, Marion ‘Duff’ Hanks, now emeritus First Quorum of Seventy, who said in a talk in about 1963 at Hyde Park Chapel, London, England: “You know, even if the Church was not true, I know of no finer way to live life.” So we stayed, no matter what, in times of trial, for the sake of the family, putting our fears aside, simply living by faith.
I guess some would want to ask me what things actually bothered me about the Church. Well, I maintained that I left for no doctrinal reason nor because of any practice or principle nor from being upset by anyone. I simply came to finally accept that for me there was no God in the first place. However, if I search my heart and see what concerned me most, it was to do with the fundamentals. I don’t mean of the Church, but of Christianity itself. I fully understood the way the Earth had evolved, had studied the sciences and the present known discoveries about the universe. I could not understand why a God would place people on a ball of mud in the middle of nowhere and apart from some ‘chosen’ races, leave people in ignorance of their purpose. I will come back to that for anyone who is interested. In any event, for our race, I could not see the ‘Adam’ idea at all, or the concept of a fall and subsequent need for a redeemer. There have been many saviours and many religions and I get upset at all the death, destruction and cruelty that has transpired in the name of God, which makes even Hitler’s many heinous crimes dwindle into insignificance by comparison. There have been countless millions who have died over the centuries for not following the predominant rulers or religious leaders chosen God of the time, including the documented murders and blood atonement perpetrated in the early Mormon Church.
I think I always subconsciously felt the Doctrine and Covenants to be mostly nonsense, especially sections that applied to minor things or perhaps just one or two people. Joseph Smith could manipulate people with revelation and he regularly did that; sending men away on missions so he could have their wives for himself for example. Emma finally, and even then, only temporarily, became resigned to polygamy after her initial tantrum when Joseph eventually wrote down the polygamy revelation, which included specific instructions to Emma, on pain of her own destruction. It was pretty compelling for her really. Some names were altered in sections after they were written, in order to accommodate someone going apostate or dying before something prophesied came about. Then the glass-looking made an appearance again in the D&C, when the Lord told Joseph that he would be led to riches when he travelled to find them. Of course when he came back empty handed, no one bothered to say he was a false prophet. Actually, some did in fact call him a fallen prophet for things like that and of course for the bank fraud, for polygamy – and especially polyandry; and called for a new leader sometimes, but each time he excommunicated them for apostasy and kept his leadership solidly in place. Added note: The Doctrine and Covenants is now fully analysed in TMD Vol. 5.
I also always had concerns about the endowment. Strange, considering I was a temple worker and actually performed over a thousand endowments myself over the years, many for my own and my wife’s ancestors. I knew about ‘Mormonism and Masonry’ but only from the Church perspective. What I have since learned is of course an entirely different story. The Kirtland endowment bore absolutely no resemblance to the one practiced in Nauvoo, which was taught just after Smith went through the higher Masonic rites and started his own lodge in the same room above the store where the earliest endowments were also performed. Smith introduced his inner circle of men to masonry and subsequently to the new endowment, to which women were at first not invited.
The Church maintains that Smith restored the original endowment from Solomon’s time, yet ignores completely the fact that the Masonic rituals performed in the early eighteen hundreds which Smith copied, did not exist before the middle ages, prior to which only the apprentices articles seem to have been around. Nor do they mention that those rituals were actually changed in the late seventeen hundreds, just a few decades before Smith was taught about them and faithfully incorporated them, in some cases almost exactly, into the new endowment. Far from restoring what Solomon did, Smith simply copied rituals that were only invented in the format that he used, in the late seventeen hundreds. Even then, he only managed to invent part of what eventually became the Nauvoo endowment, telling Brigham Young his basic ideas and asking him to finish it off for him, which he later did.
Did the Masons suddenly get the rituals right again after so many centuries, so they could be given to Joseph Smith? Hardly, yet judging by the way Church apologists handle other areas, I would not be surprised if, one day, under pressure, with nowhere else to go, they did not say, “Well yes, that is the only explanation, so that has to be it. Isn’t the Lord marvellous?” I have seen that before! The ‘five points of fellowship’ were exact, as were most signs, tokens and blood penalties, with a few minor variations. Yet, as I said, they only existed exactly that way in Masonic ritual from the late seventeen hundreds. Not surprisingly, along with the ‘Oath of Vengeance’ against the United States and also the covenant for Mormon women to be unquestioningly obedient to their husbands, all the Masonic connections have gradually been withdrawn along with many other aspects which although to the Church once essential and doctrinally required to get through the veil, are now not even mentioned. If you needed the ‘five points of fellowship’ to use at the veil in Solomon’s time and if Joseph Smith really restored it exactly, why was it later removed completely? It makes no theological sense and proves the whole ceremony a complete hoax.
In theory, anyone not familiar with the correct five points of bodily position at the veil or the exact wording, will not be able to get into the kingdom and for years these have not been taught. They are either essential or they are not and if not, why were they included in the first place? Many things have gradually been changed; for example, the washings were originally performed by being fully washed in actual full size baths that were fragranced with whisky. Evidence of this is shown when Heber C. Kimball borrowed one from the temple to use for the rebaptism of Windsor Lyon as there was no other facility. The anointing used so much olive oil that it took forever to get it out of the hair and off the body.
Now the washing is more or less symbolic and the anointing similar. It reminds me of the Catholics baptising by symbolically touching water to the forehead instead of by full immersion. If they are wrong not to fully immerse because that was the correct way, one may ask why does the Mormon Church now ‘wash’ by touching water to various parts of the body instead of using baths as it did originally? Progress is one thing but gradually changing a divinely revealed and exact procedure from one extreme to another does not fit the profile of a true Church.
Added note: Subsequent to writing the above, the Mormon Church has once again altered the washing and anointing ceremony and now only symbolically washes and anoints – nothing below the head. Thus we see the ‘never to be changed’ is still ever changing. The Mormon Church has effectively become Catholic in this approach. The endowment and masonic content is fully analysed word by word in TMD Vol. 3.
For those who still want to deny the accuracy of the earlier endowment wording, which is all now available online, I can confirm that it is all correct. I was in the temple from 1964 onwards and of course asked all the questions I could of the ‘old timers’ from the States, when in the Celestial Room when I first attended. The earlier endowments, back to the nineteenth century, described to me by people who actually went through them, were as you will read them on line. The original wording taught to them by their own parents is also as I remember it. Be assured that what you read is faithfully reproduced, word for word, just as it was performed originally. It was never written down at first, just remembered and passed on. Many things have changed, which were not written down; for example, when Adam and Eve hid themselves, members attending would have to also go and hide behind settees or armchairs or whatever else they could find. No such fun nowadays!
As an aside, you may wonder what it was like to attend Church in the early days. It was not even close to what is experienced today. Everyone spoke who wanted to; glossolalia (speaking and interpreting tongues) was prolific; revelations and prophecies were spoken by anyone who cared to do so and confessions were regularly publicly made and even required, sometimes regarding the most trivial things. Wives and general members could attend the High Council and Quorum meetings and hear the court cases. The confessions in Sunday meetings were especially a very big part of Church life later on during the Church reformation years in the 1850s, when apostates had to shed their blood to atone. Yes, it really did happen, despite what the Church may claim. If sins required blood atonement that was not voluntarily undertaken, it was performed for someone, usually by throat cutting, in line with the blood oath undertaken in the temple. At first, the garment was only worn in the temple and could be any colour you fancied. It was only later that it was decided it should be continually worn and in the late 1800s that standardised white came into being.
Eternal sealing to the dead needed a proxy in this life, so the couple (usually polygamous) could raise children to (for) the deceased. Men were sealed to men in attempts to develop ‘adopted’ sons. Brigham Young had many of these adopted sons to increase his dynasty in the eternities. Dead family women could be sealed as wives to a polygamist, even if they were their immediate family (including sisters), as long as there were no more than nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine of them for some obscure reason. These aspects were discontinued in the late eighteen hundreds and you may ask why, if they were part of the ‘New and Everlasting Covenant’. Women didn’t need a bill of divorcement to ‘marry up’ in the Priesthood if someone of a higher Priesthood office would take them on. Brigham Young taught that a monogamist, who could have embraced polygamy but did not, would have his one wife taken from him in the resurrection and given to someone who had taken lots of wives. The Church has answers for all this of course but they are too weak to intelligently consider. As expressed elsewhere, if you live by faith alone, black can indeed be made to look white, all you have to do is believe enough. However, if you live by faith coupled with acceptance of evidenced truth and reason, you know better than to continue to have faith in something that is clearly not the case. In those circumstances, faith is null and void; reason and common sense alone are all that is required to know the truth. Evidenced fact trumps faith. You can have faith in that!
The Book of Abraham bothered me too, but then if I think about it enough and allow my true feelings some room for once, so did the Book of Mormon. The Book of Abraham was conclusively proven a hoax years ago so we don’t need to dwell on that too much. Despite apologists claiming that possibly the part Joseph Smith actually translated was lost in the great Chicago fire, rather than being within the papyri recovered from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, they forget that Smith wrote details on the back, used the facsimiles copied from recovered papyri and also gave samples of the writing from them. The correct dating and the wording of the funerary texts plus the forged sections of the drawings Joseph made, make a mockery of any attempt to show that God was involved.
Smith was also duped by the Kinderhook plates of course, as he always tried to make something out of any opportunity. He (or his mother at least) charged 25¢ admission to see the mummies and papyri that he claimed to be the Book of Abraham. Smith’s original idea for the Book of Mormon was to make money from it as he didn’t care to work on the farm for a living. Religion was not the original idea. Some people won’t like that statement but if they read my second book, the evidence is in there. What greater way to gain more credibility than translate the papyri. Hence the Book of Abraham came into being. The problem now is that people can indeed read and translate what they couldn’t in Smith’s day. Still, that’s not Smith’s problem now of course, but the Church, far from addressing it, simply chooses to ignore it completely. Unless someone ‘seeks’, they will never find.
There is an excellent DVD on the truth about the Book of Abraham available from which fully explains the facts. The Church response to it, as usual, is full of holes. Suddenly, the Church (John Gee) concludes the original papyrus scroll was possibly ten feet long and the Abraham part is missing. Or, perhaps Smith got it by revelation and then looked at the papyri for signs of things similar (Michael D. Rhodes). Smith however, stated many times in his own journal that he was engaged in the actual translation of the papyri which was the writing of Abraham himself. Alternate postulations make a liar out of Smith. To accept what Smith claimed proves the hoax. Either way, apologists simply cannot win.
He also wrote out an Egyptian alphabet and grammar which is now proven to be nonsense. The same is true of the list of Egyptian characters he copied from the rediscovered papyri, showing lengthy translations adjacent to each one, which again, every Egyptologist agrees is also utter nonsense. The Church meanwhile included a note in the Encyclopaedia of Mormonism via Michael D. Rhodes which says: “Moreover, the Prophet’s explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian practices.” Never was there a more obvious bare faced lie than that. They bear no resemblance at all to anything that Joseph Smith maintained they were depicting. There is no accord with anything that is real.
Those who would have the Book of Mormon as the most correct book need only look at the changes made over the years and the timescale which Smith really had to write it, to realise the hoax the Church still perpetuates. I don’t think that whether there were horses etc., in Book of Mormon times will ever prove anything either way. The Church always has its weak answers ready and if remains of horses are found, likewise it doesn’t prove the Book of Mormon is of divine origin either. No, the things to look out for are those that definitively show Smith as a false prophet or that the Church changed actual doctrine. That is – look for doctrinally significant changes.
Two examples – one is that originally, when Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, he still thought God was one spirit being rather than three persons (in 1829-1830 he hadn’t yet invented the first vision which he later wrote and backdated to 1820) and every reference in the Book of Mormon indicated a traditional monotheistic God. Don’t forget that a voice from heaven confirmed to the witnesses that it was “correct”. By 1844, Smith had disregarded this and several references in the Book of Mormon were subsequently falsified to include “son of” God, when the original had even quoted Mary was the “mother of God” which remember, was deemed “correct” by the voice from heaven to witnesses, as above stated. That too was later changed to read that Mary was the mother “of the son” of God. It is inconceivable that this could all have been errors in translation. It was all changed after Smith decided that God had a body and was once a man, deviating from all prior (including his own) Christian doctrine. See what happens when you look at a stone in a hat!
A second (and probably the most troublesome and reviewed) example is the change in 2 Nephi 30:6 from “white” to “pure” and delightsome, in reference to the earlier Nephi quote about the Lamenites being cursed with a dark skin. I have written notes on this which I forwarded to FARMS as a complaint in response to a lie they put up about it on their weekly topic and after an exchange of views, succeeded in getting them to withdraw the article as it was at best misleading and at worst an outright lie. I will post it elsewhere on the site (RfM) if anyone is interested in it. The article on the FARMS web site tried to show that the change was by Joseph Smith in the 1840 edition and was to give a more correct modern translation from the reformed Egyptian by changing “white” to “pure”. If that was the case, I have no problem. However, as it happens, the 1840 edition was a privately printed limited edition of 2000 copies and although it was actually changed that once, it was changed back immediately to “white” in the 1841 edition and for almost all later editions and languages until it was eventually changed in the 1981 Triple Combination one-hundred-and-forty years later.
FARMS maintained that it was Smith’s word. However, they lied. They also forgot the 1831 unpublished revelation on polygamy which was previously restricted from view (I can see why) which includes the commandment for men to marry Lamenites in order to fulfil the prophecy of them becoming white again as per 2 Nephi 30:6. It is quoted more than once by Brigham Young when he instructs men to marry squaws, and it is quoted specifically by Spencer W. Kimball when he says the Lamanites are actually becoming whiter, in the General Conference Report of October 1960, Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922-923. I know, I was fourteen in 1960 and read it then. Now, that really is an issue of change for the sake of being politically correct. Having changed the doctrine of the ‘Negro and the Priesthood’ (which Brigham Young declared could never be changed), the Church cannot be seen to be racist against dark skinned Native Americans these days, so they changed it in the face of an established doctrinal point.
There is no excuse for that (or to lie about it) and it proves Smith’s prophecy that the Lamenites would become white through integration did not happen, in addition to proving the Book of Mormon to be anything but of divine origin. That’s not to get into what was later said about other races such as Chinese. Apparently white Americans are God’s only chosen people, the rest are second class, whatever their colour. God Himself devised segregation, that’s doctrine; we should not intermarry; take it or leave it. Also, if you are white and you marry a Negro, God will kill you on the spot; so says our friend (oh – and Prophet), Brigham Young.
Note: Since writing the above, despite confirmation in writing from FARMS that they agreed the article ‘misleading’ and that they would remove it, I accidentally came across it again two years later. It had not been removed as promised. There is still no integrity in the Church at any level.
It should also be remembered that after dictating the first one-hundred-and-sixteen pages, which were lost, the Church accepts Smith spent the rest of the time with his head in a hat looking at the seer stone he had found in the Chase family well years before, rather than use the Urim and Thummim (which had been confiscated by an angel). Meanwhile Smith never even looked at the gold plates, they were wrapped in a linen cloth (or even buried elsewhere) as he dictated with his head in his hat. One is drawn to wonder why he needed the plates at all, if he never even looked at them while ‘translating’. The Mormon Church cleverly hides this and surreptitiously ‘allows’ us to believe that Smith translated it, a character at a time. How? By printing materials that actually show pictures of him translating, with the gold plates on a table in front of him. Lies; in plain sight. Nothing needs be said. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Additionally, a look at the materials Smith actually had available to use in his research for the names of people, places and stories (all now available on the internet) together with the dreams recorded by his parents, Lucy Mack and particularly Joseph Smith Senior, that Joseph used for his ‘Tree of Life’ story, leave little remaining that is convincing on that issue. Joseph Smith even has Father Lehi dreaming it first, just as his own father did. It doesn’t leave much of anything to the imagination. I guess the fact that psychologically, once we allow ourselves to want it to be true (an open mind with a sincere heart and real intent to know), we push all logic and reason aside, never to be reconsidered, in favour of blind faith in what the Church restrictively teaches – and that’s what a testimony is. It cannot thereafter be offended (harmed) as we won’t look at opposing evidence once we are captured in the web of the Church conspiracy. If we studied all the evidence first, would we even bother to pray about it? Of course not, there would be nothing left to pray about.
I was an ardent student of doctrine and Church history from the start (only as taught by the Church of course). I gained and retained insight and knowledge as I studied it. Before I went on my mission, which was just before I turned sixteen, I had studied all the standard works thoroughly plus Church History and all five volumes of Answers to Gospel Questions, all three of Doctrines of Salvation, Gospel Doctrine, and many other books recommended in those days. I was a walking encyclopaedia of the way the Church saw things in the early sixties. Among many callings, I taught adult Sunday School at age sixteen when on my mission, as the Church was still young and I already knew more than many adult members in areas where I served. In later years, I again taught adult Sunday School and also Priesthood, hundreds of times, and gave hundreds of talks. As previously stated, I also taught Institute of Religion at Stake level for over six years, in the CES programme. I was an officiator in the temple for many years. I was the one called on by Stake Presidents for sixteen years, to teach and instruct at Stake General Priesthood meetings and in Ward Conferences during Priesthood sessions, when it came to the correct procedures for Priesthood ordinances, as I was the one who understood how and why each should be performed in certain ways. To this day, most people, even some General Authorities, get many ordinances wrong. But then if they are not of God anyway, does it really matter after all? Suffice it to say that I knew ‘stuff’, as they say.
Just as our children were about grown and married, with just my youngest daughter at home for a few more months, my wife died an untimely death after fighting breast cancer for three-and-a-half years, in 2001, after thirty-seven-and-a-half years of marriage. It was whilst watching the disastrous events of 9/11 on TV in her hospital room, just before she came home to die, that I had to tell Jan that it was days rather than weeks she had left. However, we treasured those last nine days, realising that thousands killed in the disaster, along with their families, would have given anything for those extra days that we had. Although my wife’s death would never affect my own belief pattern in any way, actually continuing alone in the Church with what had become a lie in my heart eventually became impossible for me.
Before she died, my wife held in her hand, tear stained copies of several blessings she had been given which had promised her that she had more time, the doctor’s time was not the Lord’s time and that she still had work to do. These were recorded word for word as I used to slip a pocket memo machine in my top pocket when she was given blessings and then transcribe them, as she wanted to be able to read them later for comfort. She wept in my arms and said “Oh Jim, it’s all just a load of rubbish.” This happened three times in the weeks before she died. I never responded, I just cried with her, for fear she would make me promise not to leave the Church for the sake of the children. She perhaps had the strength to stay, I did not, yet we both knew the truth in the end. I learned after her death, that Jan had also confirmed she had realised the Church was not true, to our non-member daughter. I cannot tell my ‘active’ children this unless they read it here, by which time I hope they will be ready to accept the truth. At my wife’s funeral, the Chapel was overflowing and people were standing around the sides and three deep at the back as there was not enough room for the hundreds who attended. We had a second service later in our original home town, for local family and friends there, before she was finally buried in our family grave. We were so loved, she especially and so well known by so many people in the Church.
Ultimately, after all the years of conflict, I became more and more uncomfortable and as previously stated, after setting aside a full year for dedicated ‘trying to make it be true’, one day I broke down and finally accepted the reality of my heart. I left the Church in April 2003. Ironically, for the next three years I did nothing regarding discovering what the truth of the matter might be. I still never looked outside the Church for any details of the actual historical truth. It hadn’t really occurred to me to do so. I simply did not believe in God. It was only when I accidentally discovered polyandry that the real truth unfolded and then I knew beyond any doubt, that whatever else I believed, the Church was a hoax, a conspiracy, and still continues today in its lies and cover up of the past. The integrity I once treasured so much is now so transparent, I cannot understand how I could not see through the façade previously. I suppose it was because I really had hoped that I was wrong all along, only ultimately reluctantly accepting otherwise in the end.