Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Has the Mormon religion ever "hurt" you or your family, in any way? —hanging in there

Absolutely, yes. It's hard to point blame at anyone in particular. Mom, Dad, bishops, mission president, my wife and family, they all believe it's "true," so that guides their actions. I see three kinds of "hurt" that come from Mormonism: (1) dysfunctional or otherwise inaccurate world view, (2) ostracism and labeling of ex-Mormons and other detractors, and (3) unnecessary guilt and suffering over imagined offenses. Unfortunately each of those is probably too big a topic to take on here, so I'll leave it at that.
Mormon missionaries keep on persisting...what to do? —L.M

I left the Mormon church when I was 15 years old. There were simply too many fundamental things (for me at least) that were wrong about that church, so that even at 15 I knew it would not work out.

However, my family continues to be Mormon, especially my mother who invites the missionaries over for dinner. They are not bad people, and I even cooked for them. But over and over they try to press me to come back to the church, to events, to read The Book of Mormon etc. etc. Every time they do this, I say "thank you, but I left the church and never regretted that decision." Now, they are sending visiting teachers, and want to call me to set up a time to discuss these issues.

I try to be nice for the sake of my family, and because they are not the worst people on earth, but they can't get the picture! Why can't Mormons let go???
L.M, it was precisely because my family is so connected with the church that I felt it necessary to resign formally and get my name removed. I wrote the family a brief letter to let them know what was happening, explained that I no longer believed without going into any specific details, and told them all I still loved them.

If your family can't respect your boundaries, cite their 11th Article of Faith: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." Or better yet tell them you've left the church but the church won't leave you alone. ;)

That's a pretty myopic view. Calling someone a "child of God [who] falls away to unbelief" is not helpful. Nor is it OK that the missionaries continue to disrespect others because it's "their job." The LDS church isn't really good at honoring people's personal boundaries, from proselyting to visiting teachers to "worthiness" interviews to "discussing the affairs of members constantly." She doesn't believe. Let. it. go.
Tithing Money!!!!! —ubme

Now that wifey & I are free of paying to stay in the club we have found a budget surplus.

What do we do with all that extra cash?? Well we bought a new 50K SUV to haul all our kids around in on our free weekends & do fun family stuff.

Having extra cash to buy a nice car with has another worth while purpose. DRIVING MY TBM NEIGHBORS ABSOLUTALLY NUTS, they can't figure out how we can afford a nice car & I'm not sharing my secret.

Whats everyone else done with that extra 10%?????????
Good for you, ubme. As a financial planner I'm all for giving money to causes or people that are important to you. Good for the soul and a good reminder not to be too attached to material things.

But when you're not giving out of religious compulsion, you can decide on a level of giving that makes sense for your income and savings needs. In all likelihood that level is far less than the 10% of income Mormons are used to giving. I hope the first thing you evil PostMos do after stopping the tithing drain is buy yourself something nice. But then I hope you get your 401(k) contributions up, pay off credit cards, build a small emergency fund, and then open a Roth IRA.

ETA: I posted over top of Peter_Mary, hope I didn't convince anyone NOT to contribute to PM's scholarship fund. I'm sure it's a worthy cause.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why reject a free Book of Mormon?
Been sitting here thinking, why are people afraid to read the Book of Mormon? We have millions we can give away for free. What the heck is the harm in taking a free book and reading it? Simply reading it doesnt mean you necessarily believe it. But what do you have to lose? You read it and you don't agree, okay you've just learned something. You still benefit. But if you read it and find out that its true than you've just gained the blessings of heaven.

And the beauty of it is the book has the promise that you can ask God whether its true. No one expects you to believe it out of blind obedience. You are supposed to investigate and find out. We want you to.

Even if you think you want to reject it atleast reject it knowing what the heck it actually says without relying on other people. Make a conscious choice on your own. Find out for yourself.

Why is that so hard? —Avatar_defender_of_the_light
Been there done that. Why do you assume people are afraid to read it? I wish you could see how that sounds to outsiders. It makes you sound like a Scientologist. Speaking of which, why have you not investigated Scientology? What's the harm?

The Book of Mormon is ridiculous, and the only way you wouldn't know that is if you know nothing about ancient Mesoamerica or only trust Mormon sources.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The mormon church is going to be the 3rd largest church in the USA in 2017.?
if growth trends stay the same, the lds church will pass the United Methodist Church in just 9 short years. —falisrm

Is this based on Rodney Stark's projection from several years ago? Stark used a simple exponential algorithm to demonstrate how fast the LDS church was reportedly growing at the time. Population studies don't work that way in real life, as even Dr. Stark will tell you. All the LDS members who ate this up should note that your church has been steadily distancing itself from the "fastest growing" fallacy for some time now. There is also a huge disparity between the church's reported membership numbers and the number who self-identify as LDS.

"The Church makes no statistical comparisons with other churches and makes no claim to be the fastest-growing Christian denomination despite frequent news media comments to that effect."
"Keeping members a challenge for LDS church"

American Religious Identification study lists Mormonism 10th in percentage growth, and shows net zero gain when comparing "in-switchers" and "out-switchers."

What's the best part about being a Mormon? —^_^

Johnny Lingo.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

EX MORMONS. What one thing, specifically, made you change your mind about being "mormon"?
How long were you a mormon before leaving? —hanging in there

Native American DNA.

I was a lifelong member--mission, temple marriage, elders quorum president, branch president ... not that that means anything, just that I was really a believer. I don't actually think the DNA thing is the most compelling problem with Mormonism's claims, but it happened to be the tipping point for me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What proof is their that the Book of Mormon is a fraud or not a fraud?
Looking for hard evidence here! —Prick Baxter

You need hard evidence that a resurrected white Native American did NOT appear to a boy with a reputation for treasure seeking and lead him to disappearing gold plates that were then translated by looking at a rock in a hat?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wanting some advice… —margaritajuanita


my mother, who is definitely one of my most favorite people of all time and also as hardcore TBM as you get, basically, and is devastated that I don't go to church or read my scriptures anymore keeps asking me why I believe in "the words of man" more than I believe in the words of God.

Of course, it's because I don't believe those words--from the prophet (who is a man, p.s!), the bible, the bom, etc..are the words of God. However, I didnt say it like that because if she knows that I don't even believe in Jesus anymore, she would probably have a seizure or something and, truly, the last thing I would ever want to do is hurt my mom at all.

How do I even respond to something like that?
Here's what I've taken to doing recently, not only with Mormon friends but also Christian friends. If I want to not engage them on actual beliefs, yet still be intellectually honest about where I'm coming from, I just limit the discussion to practical things rather than beliefs. For instance, if someone asks whether I still believe in God or Jesus, I just say that "it doesn't do anything for me" or I "just don't feel the need for supernatural beliefs, personally."
Help, SP coming over sunday —miracle

Just got a call, SP and 1st couselor in bisric coming over sunday. It could be a calling for DH but DH said at his TR interview he answered "yes" to "do you associate with evil apostates" because of me. I told him he should have said "I just sleep with her." Anyways I am nervous, not because I in anyway think I have done anything wrong, I just am not a great speaker and I don't want to took like a wimp. I am so much happier now. I would like advice on the usual questions I will get. Thanks ahead of time, I gotta run but will check in frequently to get prepared for Sunday.
Sounds like you're ready. A couple of other things I find it helpful to remember in situations like this:

1. Don't be afraid of silence.

2. Don't let them label you.

Most conversations don't play out like a movie script. If you're asked something and aren't sure how to respond, say, "Let me think about that ..." If they ask things that are simply inappropriate (like what particular sin has led to your disaffection), your silence can even be a weapon. Let 'em stand there awkwardly while you decide what, if anything, you'd like to respond with.

To the second point, remember that there's power in labels and the LDS church has developed several. They'll want to talk about your views in terms of "doubt," a loss of faith, and so on. Change the label and the argument disappears. If they say you've "forgotten your testimony," just reply that if we called it closedmindedness instead of testimony people wouldn't be so proud of theirs. When they say they "know" things, you can even acknowledge that: "I don't doubt that you do." Just point out that of course they wouldn't expect you to take their word for it, and they'll have to agree to that.

And of course as others have said you can also opt out of the conversation entirely if you'd prefer. You have no obligation to them. Pretend they're Jehovah's Witnesses if it helps you to not think of them as authority figures.
Book of mormon?
why was the book of mormon translated into King James english. people in the mid 1800s didnt talk like that. —blAIR

This was the first question I can remember asking myself about my beliefs as a kid. I asked our youth leader about this one day while walking back to our dorms at BYU during youth conference. For some reason that moment has remained etched in my mind ever since.

I don't remember his exact reply, only that he was straightforward, didn't try to downplay the question, and said that this wasn't how people spoke in Joseph's day. I guess it was the first thing I ever had to put up on the proverbial shelf.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How do I decide what religion to be?
I have been an atheist for my whol life but recently feel a need for something more, can someone help? —amt_erik

If you're not one to swallow religious dogma uncritically, that narrows the list quite a bit. Maybe Buddhism, or Unitarian Universalism could work for you. (Does the "something more" have to be a religion?)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jesus was my waiter yesterday at lunch —Dutch

I had lunch at Boston Beer Works yesterday in Boston's Historic West End (near my office). My waiter was a nice Puerto Rican kid named Jesus. He made sure the cheese on my steak nachos was layered the way I like it. I tipped him generously, hedging my bet for salvation.

By a really strange coincidence, God was sitting on the sidewalk outside panhandling. I tipped him generously also, hoping he will find a place to bathe.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I need help with my NEW open letter to Monson —Tal Bachman

I recently posted on here an open letter to Monson, but it was long, and seemed to require substantial revision. So I keep trying to re-write it, but all I can get is like two sentences. Here they are:


Dear Mr. Monson
In your recent LDS General Conference address, you issued an invitation to those, like me, who have left the Mormon church to "come back". My question is: why, when the Mormon church isn't what it claims?
Talmage Bachman
Former member of the CJCLDS
Everything I write after this just seems lame. I don't know what else to say. Any suggestions? Is this too short?
Tal, you inspired me to take a crack at it:

Response to conference invitation

Dear Mr. Monson:

I am writing in response to your invitation in general conference to come back to the LDS faith. “Change for the better can come to all,” you said. I wish that you could know how that sounds to me. When I think of returning to the LDS faith it sounds nice in many ways. My family would be healed from the hurt my disaffection has caused. My neighbors and family would trust me again, and not see me as an outsider or a danger to their testimonies.

But espousing Mormonism isn’t just a matter of preference. It requires accepting truth claims; believing in Joseph Smith’s mission as translator, revelator, and prophet. And it requires believing in a God who would require that kind of faith in the face of contradictory evidence. I have tried to make that work, wanted it all to be true, and found that I couldn’t make it so.

Life outside the circle of faith can be difficult. It takes fortitude, and there are no easy answers. But just as my ancestors took difficult steps for the cause they believed was just, so must I. Going back would be nice, but leaving was a change for the better for all my generations to come.
DH against anti-mo’s —kylindigo


I am new to this site and haven't posted much. I have been reading alot of the posts just to get a sense of everyone. Anyway my exmo DH doesn't seem to like it very much. Says he hates anti-mo's as much as TBM's. I tried to explain that it is not all negative just people trying to relate. I feel like I'm cheating sometimes because if I happen to have this site up on the computer when he comes around I feel guilty and he acts mad. He is exmo but very much not anti-mo. I think he still believes JS is a prophet. If I say anything bad and I say alot he defends instead of agrees. He doesn't go to church because he doesn't believe that you have to be in a brick building to worship. He would rather commune with nature. Just had to get this off my mind. Any advice?
I would suggest trying to find out why he thinks religion should get a free pass. If it's just the term "anti-Mormon" that rankles him I hope he can come to understand what WFS said, that we are not anti-Mormons; we all have Mormons we love. Other "power questions" that are helpful in getting people to apply critical thinking to Mormonism:

If the LDS church were not what it claims to be, would you want to know?

If the LDS church were not what it claims to be, how would you know?

Welcome to the board, kylindigo.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Slowly, slowly I leave the church by TAKING ANOTHER BIG CALLING! —Mantisdolphin

I can relate. I was completely out of the church mentally when I accepted my last calling in the stake president's office. I went over there totally intending to say no, I didn't think it was a good idea, busy schedule and whatnot ... and then walked out a counselor in the EQP. I simply could not say no.

This was a big reason resigning was important for me (not saying it's appropriate for you necessarily). Once I'd sent my resignation letter it was so much easier. The stake secretary tried to call me in for an appointment to talk over my decision, and I just said, "President who?" "No, I'm not interested in meeting with him. Thanks anyway."

But hey, you have a new calling, might as well make the most of it. Maybe bless some people that they will live to see the Second Coming or something.