Monday, May 12, 2008

Letter from Stake Patriarch —bighand

My TBM MIL gave my wife a letter my BIL rec'd from his stake patriarch when we left the church. My BIL could not believe anyone would leave the church and wanted to understand what could cause someone to leave the church so he asked his stake patriarch (instead of asking either my wife or I). My MIL told me wife we should read this letter because what he says makes sense. Here are a few excerpts.

"Over my life I have had some experience with those who have requested to leave the church. I think I know most of the reasons. When someone requests to leave the church it is usually because one of the following.

One reason can be that their lives are not in harmony with the teachings and will of the Savior. This can be pornography, drugs, immorality, dishonesty, or any one of the several things the Savior commands us to repent of....Those persons who don't want to change their lifestyle to be in accord with what the Savior would want them to do, soon find themselves uncomfortable with the church.

Another big reason is fault-finding....Sometimes they find faults in a doctrine they don't understand...Sometimes they believe the 'stories' that abound about the leaders of the church from Joseph Smith to Thomas Monson. Some of these stories are true however most of them are false or 'wrested' from the original circumstances or situations that occurred. The decision of fault-finders is always made intellectually. Therefore, the decision they act upon comes only from the facts or perceived facts which they believe. Seldom do they have the whole story."
I am so pissed off!!! Those are his only two reasons for someone leaving the church. We have tried to explain to my MIL that we are leaving the church because we believe JS was a fraud and as the church leaders have said forever...the church rises and falls based on the divinity of JS. We have hesitated to tell my MIL the exact issues that bother us because we know she is unaware of all of them and don't want to force the issue on her. But we have stressed we have legitimate issues with church history. She seemed to buy that until she read this letter now she is convinced that we only wanted to sin and couldn't handle the requirements of being members of the church. (even though my wife and I are both 30, were married in the temple 10 years ago and have always been active and tried to live the standards of the church). This a**holes patriarch doesn't know me, my wife, our situation, or the issues that are causing us problems but does not hesitate to tell by BIL that the only reason he can see for someone to leave the church would be because we are sinners or we are deceived because we are so focused on fault-finding. It's people like him who give TSCC a bad name.

He goes on to give my BIL some advice on how to deal with the situation and what to say when he talks to us. This post is getting pretty long so I'll post it later. It's funny because my BIL rec'd this letter 5 or 6 weeks ago and we've seen him 4 or five times during that time and he hasn't said one word to either my wife or I. When we walk into a room he conveniently needs to leave the room and do something else. So much for following his patriarch's advice and talking to us, it's much easier to just avoid us.

Then the patriarch finished the litter by bearing his testimony that the church is true because "As a patriarch, I know how this position was given in the restoration of the gospel. It is amazing. No other churches have it! If Joseph had wanted to make up a religion, he would not have needed to include this office."

What??!!! I would like to know what offices would need to be included if had wanted to make up a religion.

What a jackass.
Well this letter isn't worth responding to, but it's your family so I guess you ought to say something. My short response would be something like, "OK, if that helps him keep believing." My long response would be to tear this apart line by line, from the stupid assertion that people would leave a church that they still believe in to somehow soothe their guilty conscience to the absurd proof of Joseph's inspiration in authorizing his dad to charge people to have their fortune told.


El Guapo; did J Smith Sr CHARGE for patriarchal blessings? Is there evidence?

I think so, at least I thought I remembered that, but now that you mention it I'm having a heck of a time tracking down a source. The places I thought I would have seen it (Rough Stone Rolling/Origins of Power) aren't turning anything up. I did just ask over at, and I'm surprised more people haven't heard of this. So far one person has responded saying he thinks it was implied in Quinn's Extensions of Power, but I've never read that book. Another poster over there says they charged for blessings in Utah, but they didn't give a source. Maybe someone here knows more.

From Quinn's "Origins of Power":

1835 14 Sept

The First Presidency and stake high council vote a salary for the Presiding Patriarch. By 1841, this would include a fee of $1 per blessing; fifty years later it would be $2 per blessing.
Well, just to tie up loose ends on the topic of patriarchs being paid for services, it seems that this was indeed the case and some interesting sources have come up (including the one from WBF above, thanks!). The topic is being discussed over at if you're interested in reading further. Here's the thread: but note their site disallows linking, so you have to copy that URL and paste it in the address bar. Oh and if you do visit please don't go in guns blazing like "Verdad" did in this thread.

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