Saturday, February 4, 2012

Norm Thompson has started his own church


Today is an amazing day on the path that has brought me on this journey outside of the LDS faith.

I have decided to start my own Church.....and I have translated and written a modern day version of scripture entitled "The Book of Norman"




For those who wish to have copies.......I only let you see this holy book in person, one on one.

Service's begin this Sunday morning at noon (give people more time to sleep in and all) and normally we have an opening prayer and some sacrament (albeit either red or white wine will be served) in our 8 passenger hot-tub. As you can tell we allow the Sisters to perform priesthood duties. Here is one of our services being conducted.

Swimsuits are required (by hairy males anyways) and we will ask that a donation of any kind of money or 'service' be offered to help our church....grow.

Alright now....before any of you get too offended this is obviously in jest and it’s a valid jest since I have been told from a variety of sources that after I left the LDS church, being so distraught and feeling so alone without such a guiding force in my life, I decided to start my own church.

When I was initially told of this new rumor within the 'faithful ranks' of the LDS members I had a complete breakdown. I mean......I started rolling on the floor, alright I have some tight abs since I left all of the pot-luck and priesthood dinners so maybe not rolling per se more holding my six pack and doing some serious ab laughter exercise’s.

It hasn't stopped, it’s been the best ab workout of my life this Norm started his own church rumor. It’s been a month or two since I confirmed this rumor and yet.....my abs seems to get tightened daily due to this comedic rumor.

I mean really, can anyone that knows me.....ever see me....starting my own church? Alright it would likely be quite popular because as most of you know, my life and my religion and my......god sort-of....is fun! Thats really the only thing I preach or follow.

Doesnt mean my life is only ever full of fun but certainly the pursuit of cool experiences, travel, unique moments with my family etc are all part of our new life perspective.

Sorry LDS friends....I know many of your were ready to jump on board the new 'Norman Church' but sadly......it did not get off the ground....at least past hot-tub height.
In my last blog I indicated that I would soon begin to focus on the more positive aspects of the journey that has truly brought our family such amazing peace and clarity, that of leaving the LDS faith.



On a more serious note:
I must start by updating you and where we are at and where my heart is currently at as it relates to our former religious faith.

As many of you know, and were an important part of, I was hurt upon our departure from the LDS faith .Not offended and not sinning (oh yeah the rumor at the time we left was that I had my own porn site....now to be fair....you know...my wife is pretty hot....can’t deny the thought never crossed my mind to make a profit (not prophet silly) with the wonderful image of my lovely wife which got me in so much trouble to being with lol.).

Like many who leave I felt completely and utterly betrayed by the lack of honesty that I had discovered between the actual authentic historical record and that taught to my childlike and believing mind seen in LDS manuals, literature and official history.

It was as though I had woken up from some....documentary of my life...to find out I was living in a fictional novel, the entire time. For those who have not experienced this, it’s hard for me to explain, it’s likely impossible. I am not saying that the LDS Church is a cult or that we were brainwashed....but certainly, brainwashed...well describes the feeling many of us have after departure.

It felt as though my entire world had collapsed and that I was hanging on by a string while building an entire new planet below me. It was as though my heart were torn asunder and mutilated and that the God whom I had spent so much private time communicating with was simply having a great jolly laugh at me, innocent beliefs my faithfulness. I felt really, really stupid for giving so much of myself, my resources, my family time and my devotion to an organization that would simply, take, take, take until there was nothing left to give and simply toss me aside when I had no more to offer.

Even to this day, though pain and anger is completely gone, and I have a new appreciation for the amazing LDS people themselves, when I look at back at certain things I cannot help but feel really stupid for not allowing myself to see the entire picture before I chose to give so much.

Soon after our family left we quickly came the realization that there were so many others like us, faithful good members who NEVER SINNED!!!! (Alight not in the capitalized version of those words anyways lol). That these people were leaving in droves and that the entire choice for those who did find out the truth was simply is it easier to stay knowing there are many authentic issues yet unresolved or..... leave and live a life completely open to them but terrifying, leaving behind everything that often their entire lives were devoted to and built upon. This change often comes with loosing family, friends, reputation and history all in one single swipe of a pen...... a signature on a resignation letter.

Looking back now, I am humbled, grateful and amazed at the courage my family and others like me have to, in our minds; make the issue one of integrity not acceptance. For many who find out this information and decide to stay the path is no easier, years of internal emotional and intellectual conflict, enjoying the sometimes family friendly culture of Mormonism while hiding their true knowledge and questions in the dark corners of the chapel, sometimes hoping to never be discovered. In fear that if they are......the first thing that will come to many members and leaders mind is the old "they must really be sinning" thing instead of the "they must be seeking for more truth" thing.

A major survey was released by the Open Stories Foundation and Mormon Stories Podcast only a couple of days ago. It’s a detailed look at why LDS members leave the Church and what their feelings and motivations behind the decision were.

With 3086 participants in the study, it’s the most comprehensive of its kind to date.

The survey results and information can be found here:

http://whymormonsleave.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/WhyTheyLeave_30Jan2012v4.pdf


The bottom line...clearly the reason that people leave the LDS church has little or nothing to do with offense or sin. It has to do......sorry to say this....with their brain!

They find out the entire LDS history and other related and significant Joseph Smith issue's are NOT the way the LDS Church has promoted them to be. And at this point its hard for the Church to ignore the facts or say they have not had time to correct the problem.

It can be viewed in only two ways, either the good leaders of the LDS faith are being deceptive or.......they are protecting the innocent and imperfect testimonies of the faithful. Either way......they have continued to use deceptive tactics to forward their cause. I don’t think this is too strong or unkind. I think it’s pretty fair. Good motives be damned. Truth means something to me and to my family!!!

There have been some interesting and recent articles on the LDS Church in major publications such as the Washington Post calling on the Church to make major reforms found here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-mormon-church-in-need-of-reform/2012/01/27/gIQA3s44aQ_story.html

Or 'Special Report' in Reuters just a couple of days ago where the official LDS Historian and member of the seventy Marlin Jensen is asked

"Did the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know that members are "leaving in droves?"

He admits "We are aware" which is found here:

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2012/01/31/special-report-mormonism-besieged-by-the-modern-age/

It was so refreshing to read this article and hear at least a willingness to discuss this important issue for the LDS Church as it enters a new challenging relationship with its own growth worldwide. I commend him and his willingness to discuss the tougher and more current issues of Mormonism. In my opinion.....it’s a start.....a very small and careful start but a start nonetheless.


The truth is if you read the article you quickly realize that the LDS Church is beginning to admit that its likely better to tell its members when they are primary age about some of these issues and 'control the message' then it is to have then find out that they had been lied to most of their lives.

The move appears to any unbiased outsider likely to be stubbornly pragmatic.

Either way, I wish the LDS church well on this path. I have some sympathy for the position that its leaders are in and the challenge of facing up to the truth and pushing its members....and money possibly....away.

The only major criticism I had after reading Reuters article and doing some review was the discussion about Thomas Monson's new "Rescue Plan" mentioned in the article.

After some discussion on the "Plan" from some friends of mine who are....shall we say 'in the know' in the LDS church they indicated to me that it is nothing, absolutely nothing more than the old style reactivation programs that many past generations of the LDS faithful have been part of. They seldom work or have much teeth to them but they serve in keeping the faithful......busy.

The plan has nothing to do with an admission of history or doctrinal issues but it is simply ‘visit the less active then get those amazing young men and women, the missionaries to visit.’ I did not mean that disrespectfully, those young people truly are the best leadership that the LDS church has to offer, in my opinion.


Now before I go into the entire...."What I feel at the moment and where our family is at?" thing. Let me state clearly.

I LOVE THE LDS PEOPLE I love the values the kindness, the overwhelming sense of wanting to 'do good' that I saw as beautiful my entire like. The LDS culture has a number of critical concerns within it as far as emotional health and well-being go, however there is no doubt that the vast majority of the LDS faithful are sweet, kind and wonderful human beings. I am grateful for my association with them, and for those faithful in the online communities that I infrequently venture into now from time to time.

If you’re an LDS active member and former friends reading this blog (as I was quite surprised to hear how popular it was among the local members who likely did not like it but......found it 'topical'). I hope you will remember the Thompson family fondly and that you will take the opportunity to call, email, or visit and say hello.

We love you and we miss you and wish you only the most happy and content lives.

Our lives as some of you are aware have transitioned, completely. For the first while, we literally thanked our lucky stars that on Sunday we had a day to spend more time together and develop closer family relationships. While previously we were constantly involved in a myriad of meetings, phone calls and LDS leadership discussions (about thirty hours weekly in total while in leadership), now we had our own lives to figure out 'what to do'...instead of 'how to do it'.

As I have stated in online forums, our home life went from the constant tug of war that is normal in LDS homes with family and teenagers in regards to their church activities, sports, non-member friends and life in general, once the expectation of perfection disappeared and the concept of 'patriarchy' was found to not be useful, our familial relationships within the home dynamic simply flourished.
For those who remember us well, may remember that my oldest son, at the time Priest age, never passed the sacrament, seldom went to Sunday School or priesthood and was always, always late for the chapel time no matter what we did. Even getting him to go to youth activities was challenging. Add to this his father’s insane expectation for early morning seminary and this became a toxic mess of unrealistic expectations for his particular personality.



Funny, now I hold such great respect for his willingness to stand by 'his beliefs' and not have LDS 'peer pressure' force him as it does so many others, to follow the path he was told to follow.

He was not a sinner, not really even rebellious, he was intelligent, and respectful but never believed any of it to be more than good people practicing their faith in families. I don't think he ever would have served a mission, he was pretty clear about that before we left and after we left. I being a return missionary myself and so desiring to have an obedient, and faithful son serve, continuously pressured him to do so. It was already causing great contention in our home, him wanting to be true to his beliefs and me wanting him so badly to be true to mine.

This all created a powder-keg of ideological soup that was bound to turn into a massive explosive mixture once he turned 19. I likely would have been the controlling and demanding patriarch that is exemplified by not all, but by many like me who were taught over the years in so many subtle ways that success in the church required success in the home, and that this required discipline and control.


He likely would have been kicked out of our home when he was 19 and chose not to go on a mission, or the marital relationship would have taken a massive and sincere blow as likely his loving mother would have prevented me from doing so, therefore questioning my desire to be a good father husband and 'head of the family' as I was instructed by the doctrine, lessons, practice and example in so many ways during my 44 years as a member of the LDS church both overtly and subtly.

Now before you think I was a dictatorial jerk, in my home, I was not, but I struggled to find the balance between LDS expectation, and Christ like love, most especially when I was in leadership and had the added burden of needing to have the perfect looking family.

When we left the LDS church....and all the pressure for perfection disappeared, so also did the apparent need for 'control' in our home. That was replaced with acceptance and love. Complete acceptance of their choices in all areas. School, friends, job, education, alcohol consumption, partying, hobbies, activities etc. etc.


Now we did not control any of those areas when we were active LDS members but, certainly it became clear to them that now, we were only here to counsel and advise not have rules and expectations pertaining to these issue’s.

Their lives quickly became their lives. And they made excellent choices.

That's not to say that there were no mistakes made by them or by us as parents, heck the graduation party at our home with 200 drunk teenagers and Norm blocking the driveway and Gabi taking everyone's keys until they could all pass a breathalyzer test (for some that was not until noon the next day, never again!) was a good example of that but we got through it, we learned better how to parent, what things mattered and what things did not matter.

I have to say, our children, have been amazing! There values no longer being dictated to them and there morals being something from inside of them, instead of externally dictated.


We have gone on cruises and other vacations together, we enjoy one anthers company, and we are truly connected. I never, not ever remember my oldest son Ben coming into my office and just saying "Hey dad how's your day' when we were members, he and I were far more disconnected.

Our master bedroom seems to be everyone's (including our two dogs lol) favorite hangout place, and although it drives me crazy.......and sometimes, you know....it would be nice to have more......Gabi and Norm time (lol) it’s quite comforting to know that they feel that way about us as parents. Our relationship with our children is far, far closer than it was as LDS members as a result.



Some of you know when we left I took some of the new found money and bought a classic toy (a corvette). Yes....I love that car.....sorry I know that's a sin! Simply put, and in the most respectful way, we just found that we had more time and money to do those things that we always wanted to do and that LDS culture actually encouraged!

Be Happy! Enjoy Life! Grow closer as a family!

Life is pretty good, not perfect, we still have fights we still have disappointments there is still challenge as a result of all the new choices we have to make now, but.......we would never, ever go back to where we were before.

For some, they would truly miss it. I sometimes miss the people, but cannot ever think of one time I missed all the meetings, all the perfection competitions or expectations. For us it’s been a great thing to get out of the 'organization'. Life is far more fulfilling, far more rewarding, far more enlightening and far, far, far more FUN!!!!

Some of you know we travel quite regularly using some of the previously spent church funds to see the world, spend important time together as a family and give something back to our planet (volunteer vacations for instance).

We have always been a family that traveled, but now.....we are doing far more of it. Cancun this past November (Gabi and I), family Florida over Xmas holiday, another Caribbean cruise in a month, Alanna is in Europe with the Vimy Ridge Veteran 95th Canadian anniversary of WW1 and traveling to Amsterdam, Paris, Holland etc. in April. Gabi is in Africa for a month on her own working on an animal wildlife reserve in April, then it’s the fun summer trips to Algonquin and the family cottages, then our normal fall vacation spots and possibly another cruise. Let’s not forget our love for jeeping and the normal attention and weekends away Gabi and I are doing together. We love to travel; thank goodness we now have the time and resources to do so.

Since Gabriele is fulfilling a lifelong goal of working with the Lions and Tigers and other animals in Africa in May, I decided it was time to add some more running goals and I am running the Chili Half Marathon at the beginning of May, Around the Bay 30km (Hamilton) end of March, then the Toronto Marathon when Gabriele is away in May. I will finish my running season with a team (eight members) 100 mile trail running event the end of May at Sulpher Springs.

I am now, for certain, in the best overall physical condition and health of my life. More exercise, less stress, more sleep, better eating and more fun then ever in my entire life.

Life, love relationships, business, money, time, and most of all.......contentment, are likely at a peak in my life at the moment.


To say there are days that I literally pinch myself and can hardly believe my own joy and fulfillment, would not be a big stretch.


I am grateful for all that has transpired here that has brought me to this point of joy.

Alright now one of those cheesy, shirtless pictures....not bad for a guy turning 48 don’t you think?

43 comments:

  1. And your church building is on a tank for what reason??? Planning a little NorMon jihad in the near future?

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  2. Great Blog entry. Yes, our family is truly happier and more 'forever'. I love teaching my children to use their own brains to make decisions. When they have an important issue to discuss, I no longer ramble on with some regurgetated lesson I have learned, but listen and then ask "What do you think you should do?" We all have what is in us to make our own 'correct' decisions. I would never go back to that place where I couldn't make my own decisions, where making mistakes was sinful, where the definition of happiness was based on your obedience. Life is truly grand! Gabriele Thompson

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  3. Wonderful blog, Norman. And I might have considered joining up had I not already started me own. (spoken with thick Irish brogue) The only problem I had with the description of church activities is that you will require hairy guys to wear swimsuits in the hot tub. I've already witnessed enough sexual oppressions and discrimination to last a life time. Which is why I am a witch. And why in MY church, clothing is entirely optional as we dance ritual dances under the full moon. You see...it's my opinion that the Goddess takes great delight in watching jiggly bits bouncing around. And who am I to disappoint the Deity?

    from: the Good White Witch of the Pacific Northwest.

    aka...The Winter Wolf

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  4. Totally obscure and supremely irrelevant...as indicated by the number and quality of comments.

    Kudos on the Brodie award too...pigs wallowing in the mire rewarding other pigs wallowing in the mire.

    These comments may be received more harshly than intended. Not much to be done about that...

    I find that your perceptions and experience do not reflect that of any LDS person I have ever met. You are overly negative and have many warped notions and interpretations. I am guessing that you may intentionally put forth negative jabs mixed with light-hearted banter in an effort to bate TBMs into commenting. Doesnt seem to be working.

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    1. Well YOU did, so it must be working!

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    2. Typical Morgbot blathering. 'Pigs wallowing in the mire rewarding other pigs wallowing in the mire'. Sorta puts me in mind of Mormons gathering in General Conference (in their great and spacious and costly conference center) patting themselves on the back because they imagine that they are so very righteous. Here's my take on the LDS church. Mind you I devoted 48 out of 56 years to that religious corporation. My take is that the corporation has become so mired in the acquisition of wealth...that they've lost their way. In the never ending quest for enriching the coffers of the hierarchy of the church, they have lost their grasp of the iron rod and strayed off of the true path. They have forgotten what the true path of the followers of Yeshua Ben Yosef (aka Jesus the Christ) requires of them. These leaders hold the exaltation of the poorest of their followers for ransom. Through admonitions both written and spoken, they keep reminding them that they cannot enter the temple and partake of it's blessings UNLESS THEY PAY THE ENTRY FEE. Tithing. 10 % might be a spit in the bucket for the wealthy who live in grand homes with swimming pools, a tv in every room, and a three car garage. For the wealthy who adorn their families in costly clothing so that their success might be noticed and admired by others in their peerage...10 % is very little to pay. For folks who are struggling to pay for rent in a shabby apartment, and put at least 2 meals a day on the table, who shop for handmedowns at thrift stores...it's QUITE a lot. But they have their status held hostage if they don't. They are threatened that they will not be together as a family in the C.K. if they don't. And then the LDS corporation turns around and houses it's president in a multi million dollar condo, places their general authorities in make believe C.O. positions in LDS owned corporations, builds multi million dollar temples and a multi BILLION dollar mega mall with a high rise condo complex. The LDS corporation boasts of it's charitable contributions. B.S. A spit in the bucket for them. They have lost their path. They have forgotten the true mission of the follower of Yeshua. His instructions are found in the parable of the sheep and the goats. Those who follow him are to do their utmost to alleviate the poverty and suffering of their fellow human beings. I don't believe that the Mormons have remembered this. All I need do is picture in my mind the mega mall, the grand and richly adorned temples, and the costliness of the apparel of the general leadership...and picture beside these...the lean-to shelters they sent to Haiti, and the bales of used and preworn clothing the general membership has cast off. I look at pictures of G.A.'s visiting members in third world countries and cringe at the contrast of these men in expensive tailored suits, and golden watches and jewelry and the impoverished members in their faded and repaired hand me downs. It makes me sick.

      Janice Gordon.

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  5. Oh I like this! Baiting....looks like your on my evil hook? LOL

    Negative jabs? Wow.....thats a first.....maybe you havent read much ex-mormon stuff before if you think this post is 'negative'. Thats okay....its your 'opinion'.

    'Light Hearted-Banter' Guilty as charged! Glad we can agree!

    These are just my opinions and experiences.

    Thanks for commenting....have a nice day :)

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  6. Great post! I must admit, this blog made me cry. I currently am LDS. Born and raised as it goes. A few years ago I started nosing around in "real" church history and what I found shocked me to my core. No burning of the spirit could quiet the whisper of doubt that I heard. I started attending my meetings (hours of them!) and was amazed at what I heard and felt now that I didn't feel the pressure to comform. I wanted to leave. I almost did. I never told a soul about how I felt. I stayed. I have a husband and four very believing children. Deacon's quorom president, Beehive 1st counselor. Two primary aged boys who love their Ward run cub scouts. How could I say that everything I had encouraged, taught, almost forced was in a sense, wrong? I felt like I was betraying them. I have seen friends leave the church and once they lost that orginization of their lives they were lost. So I told myself there were worse things I could be than a Mormon without a testimony. I rolled on. BUT, now my son is talking of serving a mission. Can I really let him go out in the world and perpetuate this? Can I continue to throw more money at something that I don't feel in my core anymore? (Deep breath.) I guess until I am brave enough I will for lack of better words, put my should to the wheel. Ha ha... (Active LDS who may find this post, please don't attack me. And no, there is no sin that could have made the 'spirit' leave me. Please don't tell me to pray and go to the temple. Don't tell me to search my scriptures. It's all been done. Thank you for your concern.)

    Norm - Good luck on your ventures. I wish you and your family all the happiness in the world!

    -Kay

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    Replies
    1. Kay - I didn't go through quite the things you did. I was relieved when I found the history... at least it made my doubts and questions make sense... but I do know how hard it is to face the questions. How long do you give? How much do you give? When do you decide enough is enough? What will the consequences be of your choices? That's a lot to face.

      Just know there are lots of us out there who have found our own way, and it feels good. Whether you stay in the church, or go, or some combination of the two... find your way. Live your life.

      Delete
  7. I think your reaction to the 'real' history of the church is a common one. Especially if you believe some of the terrible accusations that are levied against Joseph Smith and the early church. Certainly there are some unsavory details on the historical record and interpreting these details close to 200 years later doesnt add much clarity. Couple this 'chronological distance' with a healthy dose of lies, incomplete and even false information results in some problems.

    The history you refer to as real should be carefully researched to determine accurracy and reliablity of the source. Don't allow your testimony to be destroyed by carefully crafted lies wooven around some shreds of truth. There is a wealth of information available on the internet, but you must use prudent judgement and research to reach a final decision about anything you find.

    The negative feelings you are having after accepting what you have read are understandable and normal. The intent of anti-mormon information is to destroy faith at whatever cost. It doesnt matter that the information could be partially or completely false; for the authors of this information the end (desctruction of faith) justifies the means (lies and deceit).

    If you are indeed sincere in your search for the 'real' history of the church be extremely careful in verifying the sources of your information. There is an absolute flood of false information from less than credible sources on the internet about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints...this blog not excepted. In the final analysis, your salvation and testimony are worth the effort to verify the source of the 'real' history you have discovered.

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  8. Anonymous March 13th above.

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. I must admit, it would hold far more weight and sincerity if your name was added, but alas, most of these type of posts seem to come anonymously.

    "I think your reaction to the 'real' history of the church is a common one"

    Good that we can agree on this, a recent GA from your church agrees and indicates that "more active LDS are leaving than ever before".

    The problem is substantial and simply pointing fingers and saying things like

    "Don't allow your testimony to be destroyed by carefully crafted lies woven around some shreds of truth" in my opinion is a very old way of thinking that is only adding to the numbers of the departed as it does not give the proper weight to those professionals from numerous fields of education, independent and educated which simply cannot be ignored or 'accused' as motivated by 'anti-Mormon' motives.

    To view things fairly, does not include in my opinion, paying someone to come up with an answer that those who 'want to believe' will simply find......'good enough to swallow'. This is simply not the way scientific or historical inquiry attempts to find truth.

    The best way is the way one of your own church leaders from the past indicated. Hugh B Brown lets remember was a lawyer, Canadian, an Apostle and a counselor in the first presidency of the church under the great David O. Mackay

    "I hope that you will develop the questing spirit. Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones of progress. You will of course respect the opinions of others but be unafraid to dissent—if you are informed.
    "Now I have mentioned freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the market place of thought, and in that competition truth will emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression.

    It would seem that unless truth agrees with your ideal's it is simply not seen as truth at all.

    I agree with you though, there has been misinformation from both sides of the equation.

    I think though, it’s quite fair to say, based on the control of their own history and a general unwillingness to address the tougher topics (book of Abraham, book of Mormon translation process via a seer stone and a hat not as indicated in the nice current library photos of JS sitting at a table with the BofM open to him, and numerous other historical undeniable facts that the LDS church continues to be less than honorable regarding) that the responsibility of integrity and honesty lies with those who claim to follow God and claim to have His power to act in his name on earth.

    Sadly the historical record in this area.....has been quite....discouraging.

    This my good friend....is why so many multigenerational members, in good standing, faithful, loving, kind, not offended....are leaving in droves.

    But...then again...maybe it’s just Satan making them do it.

    "Real History" as you claim...will never come from paid LDS professors, afraid to lose their jobs should the truthfully describe anything that is unattractive regarding the LDS church.

    Just ask any fired for telling the truth...like Lynn Packer fired by BYU university for exposing.....historical truth regarding one of the LDS church....favorite sons Paul H Dunn.

    They did not fire Dunn....they fired the messenger.

    This goes on quite regularly. Let’s be reasonable, the LDS church has no interest in Historical truth unless it suits its own needs.

    That does not make them bad....it simply makes them no better than Proctor and Gamble, Any of the Big cigarette companies, or Godlman Sachs.

    It simply gives them the motives and appearance of a less than honest business.....certainly not 'Gods Church.


    Continued below

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  9. You also stated.....


    "...this blog not excepted. In the final analysis, your salvation and testimony are worth the effort to verify the source of the 'real' history you have discovered."

    I offer my friend the same challenge to you. But....I wouldn’t worry too much about the whole salvation thing....think more about the here and now....churches and cults and rebel leaders in Uganda are all very good at promising rewards to you in the next life.

    Worry about your time here on earth, use historical information to better serve your own personal purposes of integrity and family values.

    If your wrong.......you have given an awful lot to a false organization.

    You may wish to consider your own recommendations.....and be willing to review the facts.....independent of promises provided for your salvation.

    I have done so, my family has done so, we support you in your choice to follow your faith, please accept us in our choice to follow our 'God given' intelligence.


    Sincerely

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  10. A world renowned highly acclaimed Egyptology....recently wrote a on the whole Book Of Abraham thing. Prove you have an open mind...Google him.

    The Joseph Smith Papyri: A Complete Edition. He even provides the various translations to Egyptian writings on top of his own original ones!

    “Except for those willfully blind,” writes Professor Ritner of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, “the case is closed.” (read full article here http://signaturebooks.com/2012/02/scholar-says-mormon-scripture-not-an-egyptian-translation/

    Prove you have an open mind my good 'Anonymous" friend....and have a look-see at evidence, science, non-Mormon and non- exmormon. If.....you dare to seek for truth. here is an opportunity to prove it.

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  11. Ok so lets hear your opinion about the mountain of LDS scholarly evidence regarding the credibility of the BoA. Please be sure to enumerate the many intricacies of Egyptology and the chronology and history behind the topic. Also appreciated would be your take on semitic customs and linguistics and the parallels between the BoA and our current knowledge of near eastern studies. Oh, and this is your chance to prove your objectivity to the world.

    This is tongue in cheek of course. Neither you nor I or the majority of bloggers could stand up to such academic rigors. The point is, in matters of faith a sure foundation does not lie on the most recent book published by a biased academic. This is a precarious proposition and the subscriber should be ready for a bumpy ride.

    I sense your enthusiasm about Ritner's latest work but an even superficial understanding of these issues strongly suggests that this is not a closed issue, even if Ritner says it is.

    To the pleasure of anti-mormons everywhere Ritner has produced a work that is hoped to be the silver bullet against the BoA. Sadly, this not the case. The papyrus that Ritner used to do his translations where not the same papyrus that Joseph used to translate the BoA...no wonder there is no sign of Abraham.

    If the LDS church were indeed in possession of the incorrectly translated papyrus and their intentions were as malicious and calculating as you indicate...certainly they would not be foolish enough to allow them to leak out to one of the foremost critics of LDS ancient texts.

    The facts are easily found on apologetic sites, see for yourself...here is your opportunity to prove your objectivity.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for that tongue and cheek comment.....ya....I don’t have that much time. As far as your apologetic challenge......been there....done that....waste of time, unbalanced, completely biased, and from my own research.....desperately seeking to prove an answer already obtained by the researcher, in other words, simply NOT science in any viewpoint, whether by a scientist or not.

    The problem you see is your premise or likely your belief that because you have read and rely on 'apologetic' research that you’re on solid ground or something. Think of what you are saying? Think of what 'apologetic' means in the first place. Sure others have done the same thing but when your paid, housed and employed by a religious organization your 'hell-bent" and highly motivated to defend, you are far from an unbiased point of view that a non-Mormon or never-Mormon researcher would be. That’s what I have on my side that you do not.

    Let us consider history, unbiased science and some basic simpleton (that’s me) common sense. Now it’s fair to say that an active, faithful tithing paying Mormon does not consider such 'common sense' to be valid. The rest of the world however seems to agree with me....they think Mormons are whaco for the most part and here may be part of the reason.
    I think the Book Of Abraham, even by most balanced LDS authors is certainly under question historically today, but...to be fair...the LDS church does not stand and fall on it either way....would you agree?
    What it does stand and fall on....is Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. When I began to ask, even basic questions about these two things, I began to read LDS authors such as Bushman and Palmer. Both very good authors who tell a completely different version of events then does the LDS church as they use actual historical documentation instead of passed on stories told in Sunday School. I then read Brodie and other rather scholarly approaches, some LDS some non LDS. I discovered the LDS Church is well aware of the many issues (such as the translation process using magic stones in a hat which Elder Nelson described only one time in conference then.....never repeated it) and yet, they still send to all of the Libraries in the Church pictures of joseph sitting at a desk with the plates open before him as if the actual process involved reading and understanding. Most anyone would agree that this is far from 'open and honest' and that a more authentic picture of what three separate witnesses testified of and an Apostle spoke of in conference……….would not serve the corporation very well. So they continue the deception. In this area, and in many, many others.

    Consider also facts that....there has never been any evidence found of the two tribal nations of the Nephites and Lamanites. Nothing, nada zilch (okay not a real word lol), and yet, we have geographical, historical, written, and physical evidence of the peoples of the old and new testament. As far as the Nephites and the Lamanites, no bodies, no swords, no clothing, no pottery, no gold no utensils, no land, no homes, no graves, nothing that any other civilization on earth has been found to prove the existence of. But...then again, maybe the Mormon God loves the LDS people sooo very much as to not wish for them to have the evidence of their beliefs like the rest of the Christian world has in regards to the bible and other things.

    I don’t know....seems kind of like it is you...that needs to prove your 'objectivity' why not do so by quoting non-apologetic scholarly research as I have done. Otherwise you are comparing my apples to you.......orange....seeds IMO.

    Oh and one more minor challenge….to you motive, character and strength of your belief….why not disclose who you are? I am open and honest….your hiding behind the anonymous cape.

    You can do better.

    Norm

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  13. Oh and maybe you could take a moment to explain your argument about the researcher not using the same papyrus as....well....I think you are greatly misreading the point on this issue and likely opening yourself up to serious misunderstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous...thanks for your latest comment. Remember, as I have stated regularly in this blog, I reserve editorial right to decide whether all comments are published. Your most recent comments, I will be happy to post should you decide to resend it with your name intact, the disrespectful tone and name calling removed.
    Really you made some good arguments; however it only contributes to others perceived natural biases towards you when your communication is less than respectful.

    I usually make this requirement when name calling (such as anti-Mormon directed towards myself and even academics that at best could be called 'never-Mormons).
    Add you name, or I will not publish any more of your comments which are neither, imo unbiased nor kind.

    You’re not living up to the teachings of your faith with your previous posts IMO and since this is my blog........you get the point.

    You also openly and disrespectfully refused a fairly respectful question in regards to your stated argument that the researcher was not using the same papyrus as Joseph Smith. I feel that this is telling to both the non-Mormon researcher as well as the 'apologetic' one. But your bang on, that I have little regard for LDS apologetic researchers as my former argument indicating their biases clearly points out. I am far from the only non-Mormon or never-Mormon student to feel this way. Not that LDS academics have not contributed their fair share of information, but little has been considered valuable to anyone in the non-Mormon, never-Mormon academic world.

    Again some, of your arguments were reasonable and balanced but in the two most recent comments much of it was simply defensive, offensive and name calling.

    Wish I could say that I had not been here before with the LDS mindset (forgive the generality here folks) however this is precisely where the LDS mindset leads once there methodology is questioned or compared with never-Mormon research.

    Additionally I will not publish links to LDS paid researchers. Let’s stick to the same playground as I began with, using only never-Mormon ones. Otherwise I will not publish your posts.

    Continued below

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  15. I challenge you to use or find, any non or never-Mormon research to validate any of your arguments. I am happy to find you many, if that information is needed as there has been so much good science on these issues produced by both former-Mormon (I will equal this to apologetic on your side) as well as never Mormon research. For matters of this blog and this set of arguments I will require never-Mormon to be used by both of us. Seems fair right?

    I also want you to know that I both support and respect your faithful beliefs. The problem with belief is trying to validate or prove them when they simply, cannot be proven. This will continue to challenge your thought patterns likely for the rest of your life. I hope you do not find that this is the case, but this fact creates a sort of in-born bias in you that I simply do not have....any more. I would agree at the most 'active' time in this blog that I had my own biases. However today, I do not feel that they are very prevalent as I simply no longer, as you do, have a 'horse in the race'. Simply put....I no longer care, other than to add humor to a learning phase in my life, I have moved on and am happier than ever. This statement alone will challenge your way of thinking to the core, but I would add an additional challenge of reading more of my blog so that you, for yourself can see the transformation from leaving the LDS Church saddened broken and in pain, to moving to a place of true personal fulfillment and joy. It’s pretty easy to see the truth of that statement, simply by reading my entire blog.

    Basically how I feel now, it’s all good. I have most of my extended family that are LDS, I say very little on Facebook and absolutely nothing in person about it when they are around, I only send out expressions of love and care. Yet, most of my immediate siblings that are actively LDS struggle with this truth, that the Thompson family are full of love and joy. It messes with their thinking to the point that some have stopped communicating with me. I respect that and continue to reach out with love and peace. Someday, I know they will finally see through their own.....'Beliefs' and realize that familial relationships are more important.

    I continue to do my part.

    Finally, I apologize for the length of this entry. My heart truly goes out to you, the ground on which you stand may feel like 'hollowed' ground, but if you continue to research and study, LDS material or not, you will likely find as many of my active but struggling LDS friends have found, that 'truth is not always useful' when it comes to your religious thinking. Better to ignore the blogs like mine, the historically verified research, even the LDS apologists, in the end, the most important thing to you, your testimony, can likely only be protected by staying very, very busy in your faith and not spending too much time on google or blogs like mine. It’s simply bad for your 'spiritual health'.



    Sincerely


    Norm

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Your most recent comments, I will be happy to post should you decide to resend it with your name intact, the disrespectful tone and name calling removed."

    This is really quite pathetic. There was nothing unkind in my remarks and your extremely naive requirement that my comments must be unbiased, and not use the word anti-mormon, when referring to people who are against the church, is completely childish. You are like the kid who gets upset and takes his ball and goes home.

    I think its more likely that you will be embarrassed by the fact that I pointed out some glaring holes in your understanding. There was nothing disrespectful in my comments, certainly nothing like the inflammatory remarks you consistently make about the church. Your slanderous attacks never stop, but any attempt to point them out is called disrespectful and unkind.

    Again you have no understanding of the concept of bias. We all have bias, its the nature of debate. Requiring that I check my bias at the door is unrealistic and naive.

    You’re not living up to the teachings of your faith with your previous posts...

    This is really, again, quite childish. Postulating forthright and direct arguments, simply stating the facts as I see them is not living up to the teachings of the gospel? I am sure you take great offense at the many scriptures that point out flaws and shortcomings with great boldness?

    You are attempting to paint a picture that you are the poor maligned ex-mormon who just wants everyone to get along...all the while vilifying and maligning the church at every turn.

    You also openly and disrespectfully refused a fairly respectful question

    This is fantasy...again using misdirection to create something that is not real.

    "Not that LDS academics have not contributed their fair share of information, but little has been considered valuable to anyone in the non-Mormon, never-Mormon academic world.

    You really have no idea what you are talking about...this statement is proof. There is no way to quantify this statement and is completely rooted in fantasy. In fact the opposite is true if you do any digging at all.

    Again some, of your arguments were reasonable and balanced but in the two most recent comments much of it was simply defensive, offensive and name calling.

    Certainly my comments were defensive, but name calling? Anti-mormon is name calling? How about the word critic? is that name calling too? What word should be used to refer to people on the other side of the LDS and mormon arguments?

    Additionally I will not publish links to LDS paid researchers. Let’s stick to the same playground as I began with, using only never-Mormon ones. Otherwise I will not publish your posts.

    You are setting up such unrealistic requirements for being able to comment on your blog so that it is clear you are not interested in open communication. You are only interested in pandering to the 'target' (not anti-mormon lest you get offended) audience.

    The links from fair are not paid LDS researchers there work is all volunteer and is produced by donations and their own expense. Ritner is a paid anti-mormon researcher...signature books pays him a royalty.

    I challenge you to use or find, any non or never-Mormon research to validate any of your arguments.

    Let me understand this gem of thought. You want me to find non or never-mormon scholarly research that validates the claims of mormonism so that I can post this on your blog? Yes please, find me many instances of this type of research. Remember it has to be non or never-mormon scholars who have conducted research that validates the claims of the LDS faith.

    for matters of this blog and this set of arguments I will require never-Mormon to be used by both of us. Seems fair right?

    Huh? Again this is just plain fantasy. You want a discussion about LDS issues, but require that no LDS research be used? You should have some good discussions by yourself then.

    Continued

    ReplyDelete
  17. The problem with belief is trying to validate or prove them when they simply, cannot be proven. This will continue to challenge your thought patterns likely for the rest of your life.

    You are totally out of touch, again. This will not continue to challenge my thought process at all...it will continue to bother you. How can people blindly follow something with no imperical evidence? Are they stupid? Your answer will likely be 'yes'...but this will not do as a definitive answer. There are millions of bright and intelligent people of faith, LDS or otherwise, who have convictions based on the unseen and unexplainable. Spiritual things cannot be understood by carnal man.

    as I simply no longer, as you do, have a 'horse in the race'. Simply put....I no longer care

    Of course you have biases, we all do. Yours are very strong against the church and perserving the idea that your life is so much better now that you have freed yourself from the benighted thinking of 'Mormonism'. This is your bias. You also wouldnt be striving to put a strangle hold on my comments and creating the perception that I am just attacking you out of blind obedience to my faith. The truth is, you have maligned the church and my faith...I have just responded in defense and have been careful not to be offensive but have been bold in opposition. You have levied very critical and condemning accusations against the church yet you will not allow a response of equal boldness.

    ...I have moved on and am happier than ever. This statement alone will challenge your way of thinking to the core...

    This is again a fantasy. This does not challenge my way of thinking in the least...in fact it confirms the teaching of the scriptures and strengthens my witness of the gospel. I have always derived great satisfaction and joy from living the gospel and my family and I have received blessings beyond description. I have additionally been blessed temporally and have great joy and satisfaction in my wordly circumstances. I have been and will remain in the place of personal fulfillment and joy...and I didnt have to break my covenants to get (and stay) there.

    I do not have the time or the patience to read the rest of your fantasies (your blog). If the previous blogs contain half as much of the fantasy that this current entry contains...no thanks.

    Yet, most of my immediate siblings that are actively LDS struggle with this truth...

    Unless the rest of your family has indicated that they 'struggle with this truth' how can you be sure that it is the truth? I think you may be jumping to an unsupported conclusion here...but what do I know about your family situation right? So much trouble is caused by incorrect assumptions.

    Better to ignore the blogs like mine, the historically verified research, even the LDS apologists, .

    You are actually lumping your blog in with historically verified research and apologists sites? There is little about your blog that my testimony needs protecting from. I am pretty confident that I have done much more research than you have into the historical record as far as the LDS church goes. This is easily deduced from your lack of fundamental understanding and dissemination of half stories and hot-button issues. And I certainly do not need guidance from an ex/anti-mormon on spiritual health.

    In the end, I thought that this blog might have been a venue for actual communication and discussion about the controversies surrounding the LDS faith and its members (and ex-members). But your toes have proven to be too large and have made it impossible for me to not step on. Your response is to create unrealistic and childish demands for contributors which will stiffle any dissent. Best to maintain your fantasy.

    I dont think you are man enough to post my remarks...so these words will be for you alone.

    Dwayne S.

    ReplyDelete
  18. “SPECIAL NOTE”


    READERS,I am about to post some comments from a previous anonymous poster. As has been my former experience (limited) in this realm, some not all very believing LDS members (slang TBM) tend to get their panties in a wad about these matters and start becoming rather disrespectful and usually make personal attacks. It’s sort of a pattern of their behavior that most that have left the LDS mindset have since discovered for themselves (see the Marty Cerisano post, thread and comments Duane S is following the same unkind pattern). Anyways, I will post only those comments that were disrespectful that he finally added his name to. Should he fulfill my requirements to change his tone in his former posts, and add his name, I will be just as content to add those comments also.

    Anyways....it’s really all blah blah blah to most of us by this point....but when you’re a faithful LDS member with nothing in your life except the LDS church, seeing all the 'attack' (historically authentic information not in support of your belief system) on your beliefs…..is likely getting far too much for most of them. This individual is quite bright (obviously brighter than me…..who cares), but as usual quite angry once his so called truths are challenged in any manner. I truly feel sorry for his challenge, the fact that so many LDS in this area have read, as he would likely describe my rather bland and silly blog…..is proof…..that the challenge is theirs…..not mine 


    I should take a moment to thank Duane S as he has likely should I find the time, given me more fodder for another exciting fun blog! Duane S….being the star of the show 

    Anyways….I just don’t have much time to deal with his angry rants…so feel free to answer his arguments on my behalf if you wish. My only desire is that we do not have this thread become more of his rather angry words and that we keep them rather respectful and thoughtful.

    It’s the one thing I did learn while I was in the LDS Church by the kind examples of some of my aunts and the good old back benchers (you know the ones who don’t get the big callings) in the end…..as the song says…only kindness matters.


    Most Sincerely

    Norm

    ReplyDelete
  19. Duane S....dude...good for you for adding your name I commend you for standing behind your beliefs. Really dont know why that was so difficult for you in the first place.

    There is so much ranting in your posts....I really dont know where to begin so....I will simply leave it with your statement

    "I dont think you are man enough to post my remarks...so these words will be for you alone"

    Guess your arguments previous to that statement are not the only things you may find you are less than accurate regarding.

    Either way, I support you.....I understand you....I have been where you are at....its simply a cog dis mess, I know you will not believe me but.....just ask...oh....maybe about 3000 of those people who have left (your bright...do you even know what I mean by this)

    Take care, I would love to share a drink with you one day, I would even pay for your Cola :)

    Sincerely

    Norm

    ReplyDelete
  20. A couple of additional things. You spelled my name wrong.

    The comments made anonymously yesterday were mine, and I have given you my name so man-up and post them.

    I am not angry at all. Your perception of tone is just that, a perception. The limitation of textual interpretation is the fact that you can apply whatever spin you want to it.

    There is nothing unkind in my remarks from yesterday. I have re-read them a few times to be sure. The only name calling as you indicate was 'arm-chair critic' and ex-mormon. If either of these are incorrect I will gladly change them.

    Your derisive slang of the LDS church as 'the corporation' is equally unkind as calling you naive for your misunderstanding of the the term 'apologetic'. Lets be fair.

    Again dont perceive my dissent as anger...I am not angry in the least, perhaps just a little forthright and direct...maybe I should use more smiley faces or something :) My responses are hardly angry rants...post them and see what your allies think. Let them be the judge. I have thick skin.

    Dwayne

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dwayne my apologies on the name thing. Grammar and spelling they "aint" my strong talents.

    Let’s see if we can find some agreement on some issues together.

    I agree, you are obviously much brighter and more intellectual then myself......agree?

    I agree that each of us naturally has our own set of biases…….agree?

    I agree that I may not have read all the most recent LDS academics arguments and that not all of them are from Farms and are housed on BYU property, some or many are regular faithful members like yourself…….agree?


    I also agree that my blog, your comments, these arguments mean in the end nothing. That includes my “testimony” of my true joy and happiness since we left that you refuse to read and your “testimony” of the truthfulness of the authenticity of your many LDS beliefs. ……….do you agree?

    Is there anything that you can think of……that I have missed…..that we can agree on?


    Norm

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  22. I am hoping that you are in agreement.......oh and I am really hoping that your last name ends in hoff? Maybe I am wrong but I hope so, truly. Don’t worry, either way I will help you keep you identity secret, you have been ever wise and carefully discreet to protect it (insert smiley face here)

    Bottom line, I have to ask myself is this.....why...the hell are you here? I am happy to accommodate you but.....I think you could agree that the risk in communicating with me is far greater for you....then it is for me. What do I mean by that?

    Think of the hoards or faithful multigenerational LDS members that are leaving the fold today because, as you indicated, of far more academic information, historically authentic truths no longer hidden from the masses thanks to the one true God...Google.

    Even one of the LDS authorities recently admitted this 'problem' for the LDS church.

    I know of not one of my ex-lds friends that have been converted back to the LDS side of the equation, but...read comments on my blog.....blogs like mine, even ones written by rather average intelligence people like myself, are actually working, actually convincing people to look deeper, to open their eyes to a whole world of information kept from them by the LDS church.

    It would seem......from my perspective......my rather small weak minded arguments. Stand, when looked at openly and sincerely, to offer a far greater risk to your super smart 'testimony'. Why is that…..simple…..its simple….common sense. Once you pull yourself out of the thought process of trying to ‘prove’ all things Mormon…..well………ask anyone who has been there….it all falls apart very quickly.

    The one thing about all of this that you will discover at some point Dwayne is this…..what the LDS leaders told you about when you were a child…the one thing that is true?

    Stay away from non-Mormon information….it will destroy your “testimony”


    And I promise you, though you may not realize it right this second, I know you, I know where you are at…….your testimony is in much greater danger of collapsing…..then you can possibly realize at this moment.

    Stop thinking too much……it will be the end of your LDS existence if you do not follow this counsel.

    Just my simple experience and opinions.

    I wish you well, now, off to take my corvette out for a spin. When I left the LDS church I put 10% away for a while…..and bought myself a treat….sort of like the LDS leaders recently did with the mall.

    Oh and the license plate…..all it says is “NOW I CAN”

    Life is very, very good!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Who is sailing the great ship 'bla-bla-bla' now.

    I am really hoping that your last name ends in hoff?

    Huh? Since this train of thought has missed the mark the subsequent paragraphs arent worth commenting on.

    Think of the hoards or faithful multigenerational LDS members that are leaving the fold today because, as you indicated, of far more academic information, historically authentic truths no longer hidden from the masses thanks to the one true God...Google.

    This is hardly the case, but pursuing the false and untenable hasn't stopped you before. I have done much research into the history of the church but have failed to see the glaring problems you indicate and havent had the urge to depart. Surely there is more than just one reason...people rarely make life changing decisions for one reason alone.

    ...people like myself, are actually working, actually convincing people to look deeper, to open their eyes to a whole world of information kept from them by the LDS church.

    This is a really incorrect and misleading statement. The LDS church isnt hiding information and looking deeper is not the fear of the Church. The fear of the church is members with weak testimonies only looking as far the first unsavory discovery and searching no further. Many of the supposed silver-bullets aimed at the church by antagonists are not what they purport to be and in many cases are outright lies...regurgitated arguments, recycled again and again.

    The one thing about all of this that you will discover at some point Dwayne is this…..what the LDS leaders told you about when you were a child…the one thing that is true? Stay away from non-Mormon information….it will destroy your “testimony”

    I dont recall this teaching as a child or an adult. Rather I recall things like: study, ponder and pray. Search things out, make informed decisions, rely on the Lord, seek diligently. I have studied a vast amount of non-mormon and mormon literature and my testimony is not collapsing. In fact the opposite is true. I have reached a level of understanding and appreciation for the history of the church and its origins that has had a leavening influence and grants me deeper respect for Joseph Smith and his contemporaries.

    And I promise you, though you may not realize it right this second, I know you, I know where you are at…….your testimony is in much greater danger of collapsing…..then you can possibly realize at this moment.

    No dice. Jedi mind tricks will not work on me. And I am not sure how you think you know me...?

    Stop thinking too much……it will be the end of your LDS existence if you do not follow this counsel.

    Au contraire. Intellectuality combined with spirituality is by far the greatest combination and yields the desired outcomes of this life.

    Life is very, very good!

    We do agree on one thing at least.

    Please post my comments from March 28th. And let 'your audience' decide if your accusations are correct.

    Dwayne

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dwayne first of all......thank you. I have never been quoted by one person so much in my life. Obviously I should keep speaking (lol)

    Regarding your comment of March 28th really, they were less directive then your current ones, but I think the blog, the comments and even our conversation are past most of the stuff you wrote. However if you do as I have asked I would be happy to post them :)

    Yes. life is good, its very good, but to be fair, it was good while I was in the LDS Church also. We always made room for travel and fun, its who we are. But as a local leader, it was getting more and more difficult to keep the family the entire priority. I doubt very much, that I was the only LDS leader to struggle with this issue.

    Luckily I have been in the home, broke bread, had chats with one of the twelve (he was a RR back then so long ago). Truly an amazing man, I adored him, respected him admired him. What I see of him today.....he has lost who he was to simply work for the Corporation. He was such an advocate of 'people over policy' so unafraid to change or even break rules to accomodate the minority. Today his comments are lampooned in National Media (BBC).

    When I read his comments is was with incredible sadness as I have been there...struggleing to keep my own uniqueness while loosing one day at a time to "The Wall" as Pink Floyd would describe it.

    I am also sad for you. For someone so happy, you simply do not sound that way in your comments. Its like......your convincing yourself.

    There was a reason I asked about your name.

    If your local, let me extend an arm of friendship and brotherhood to you. I would love to get to know you better. I am certain I could learn some things from you. You never know....my blonde head might offer something light in return.

    Obviously we have some similar shared interests and heck, you like Star Wars (jedi mind tricks), thats a perfect place to start.

    I will buy you lunch and we can have a big laugh about it all....or you can catch up with me on a run either way, I offer you friendship.

    Oh and I almost forgot, that little teaser I offered about the 3000 ex-mo survey, if your interested....its not all about sin and wanting to party. There is a recent SLC blog News article about it all found here.

    http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blog-25-7325-survey-on-mormon-disbelievers-to-be-released-at-uvu-forum.html?utm_source=Fast+5+Thursday%2C+March+29%2C+2012&utm_campaign=Fast+Five&utm_medium=email

    Dwayne.....call me!


    Norm

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  25. Dwayne,

    Your comments just pain me, but I feel I need to respond to a few of them.

    "Surely there is more than just one reason...people rarely make life changing decisions for one reason alone."

    You are wrong, I left the church for one reason alone--it is false. The extremely shady church history and logical exploration of foundational claims prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. I did have a very strong testimony, was active my entire life, BIC, pioneer stock,temple married, 6 kids, you name it, I was all in. My only "sin" was that I stumbled upon the truth about the Book of Abraham online and was so shocked that I continued studying until I was certain that what I was reading was correct. And yes, the church DOES teach that we are not to look outside of correlated materials, there is no freedom of thought. Heaven forbid we come across certain uncomfortable truths.

    Joseph Smith was marrying married men's wives AFTER he sent them away on missions. Here's a question for you, do you think he is still sealed to these men's wives and children leaving those men alone in the Celestial Kingdom? Is it a foundational believe that if you agree to let the prophet sleep with your 14 year old daughter your family will be granted salvation? (Helen Mar Kimball) Why do all the pictures of Joseph translating the plates not show him putting his head in a hat and reading a stone? You say the church doesn't hide anything, truth is it hides or puts a false slant on nearly everything in its history. What it does present is smoke and mirrors that can easily be disproven.

    Norm is absolutely right in that life is 100% better outside of Mormonism, I love learning to live in the moment and just feel JOY. You go ahead and keep on giving up your Sundays and intellectual freedom (not to mention 10% of your income) to an organization that takes from the poor and builds the most expensive shopping mall on the history of the planet while pretending to do God's work. Knowing you get to enjoy those "rewards" nearly makes up for you picking on my dear friend, Norm. Cheers!

    -Kim S

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  26. Funny...you think I am quoting you. The quotes are proper procedure for responding in blogs to keep the conversation lucid. Hopefully you understand this...

    I think you are right about the conversation having progressed past my comments. The whole thing is getting old now.

    I appreciate your candor now...this hasn't been your approach for the most part.

    There is hardly a need to be sad for me. I haven't experienced what you describe as far as the cognitive dissonance and the crumbling of my faith. I have an abiding faith in Jesus Christ and the restoration of the gospel. There is no attempt to 'convince myself' as you describe. This is a fair guess though, given the limitations of textual communication. So much of human communication is unspoken that a text only conversation is very limited.

    I appreciate the invitation and your efforts to extend the hand of fellowship...this is a good thing and I commend you for it.

    The teaser survey you refer to isn't necessary information for me. I do understand that people abandon their faith (not just LDS) for many reasons. It is a gross over-simplification to say that it is only out of a desire to break the commandments. Although, I have heard it is one of the perks of freeing yourself from the requirements of a celestial law.

    Thanks for the pleasant conclusion to this otherwise controversial debate. I do enjoy the opportunity to attempt to articulate my thoughts and beliefs in this manner.

    Dwayne

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  27. “One of the perks”....lol.....trust me when I say bud.....Alcohol....it simply is not worth losing your eternal salvation over. I am not a fool, I thought very, very carefully before I left. Why would I give up my eternal salvation for a bowl of pottage, if I was not completely sure, for myself at least, of my decision I am too good of a father and husband to simply throw it all away for this life only.

    I simply became convinced, after prayer, reading much of what is available out there, plus the scriptures and LDS supported material (this is where I started) that it was NOT what was promised to me. That it was indeed a fraud, from beginning to end (I apologize for such a strong statement).

    I have sat in the high up counsels, I have heard in those meetings, the ones the general membership do not participate in, such bigotry, such discrimination, ‘such suffer the members for the organization’ approach…behind closed doors. This are Dwayne my friend……is where the end for me began. It was in those meetings that the ‘seeds of doubt’ occurred. Not the internet, not anti-material not historical, not social. It was seeing…….what it’s all about from the ‘top down’.

    It made me sad…….it truly, truly hurt…..it wasn’t….what I believed it was supposed to be….it was simply….the same business minded motivation that I have seen in my entire professional career.

    Nothing more, nothing less.


    It was because of these experience’s, that I began to question. It was listening in private meetings to GA’s and Apostles. It was a tremendous let down. The only thing that mattered to any of them was one simple motivation “Protect the image of the LDS church at all cost” kind, or unkind, right or wrong. Nothing more true, then the right ‘PR’ firm, nothing more valuable than the right ‘media sound bite’ It killed me seeing that Dwayne…..it truly hurt to find out in the end, that was all it was about.

    I learned early on as a simple big hearted LDS local leader, that you could make a lot of mistakes when it comes to the LDS church and not get into much trouble, unless, you mess with the following two areas, where they have zero tolerance for any error.

    #1- Don’t waste the money
    #2-Be honest…..but not at the expense of the LDS church’s reputation, better to lie in this situation or tell a half truth.

    Luckily having worked in the corporate world my entire life so the first rule was easy for me to understand and observe. Looking back, I did it far too well. There were needy, but I lived the rules and helped protect the moneybanks of the church very, very well. I am pretty good at working within budgets and know how to shave things here and there. Shamefully it made me look good. I feel bad about that now but I did often help in my own private way, with personal resources. I don’t regret that at all.

    Continued Below

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  28. Rule two…..that was tougher, for those that know me well, even active LDS people, they know I have a honesty thing….or feel I need to be…to a fault. When asked by members about policy that was not very people helpful, I was not very good at the old, ‘read your scriptures, the church is true, you will be blessed for this’ type of attitude. I cared and I hurt with them, it drove me crazy to be in that situation, I often broke rules and gave of my own personal resources, and would sometimes break a big LDS leadership rule and simply tell the member….’it’s not fair’ or ‘the church must and should do better’ or ‘maybe we can find a way to help you that is outside the LDS thinking box’. None of this helped garner me much support by former local leadership within the ward who saw me as a ‘rebel bishop’ or something.

    In the end, I guess they were right; I was not good enough to be in Leadership in the LDS church.

    I am not sad about that now, I think…..I don’t know…..I feel, strangely like I am a better man, by not being.

    Thank you so much Dwayne for listening to me, for accepting my offer of friendship and for allowing a kinder end to this conversation.

    We both could have drawn this out, previously I would have liked the bait and catch game (and you can tell….I may not be bad at that from my end…at least the bait part lol) because it’s really good for blog readership. Humans like to watch a fight I guess, on both sides.

    I have been very humbled and surprised at how many active LDS have read my blog locally and followed along. Maybe it’s their own way of showing kindness and support to my family and seeing that in the end, everything worked out. I am not sure, but I am grateful that the two of us could find enough common ground to have things end….with respect.

    I wish you well, and my hand of friendship will always be there for you. I hope you decide to take me up on my offer one day. I suspect each of us will find we have far more in common, then the religious differences alone that ‘may’ separate us.

    Most Gratefully


    Norm

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  29. Dwayne, I have read through all the comments here and I just have one question; What exactly are you labeling as half truths or misrepresentations by exmo's? You talked a lot about being careful and you made accusations about misinformation out there being presented...like what exactly? Can you back up your statements with specific examples of half truths out there? I would be interested more in specifics and less in general statements without much backing them up.

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  30. Welcome to the Dark Side Luke.........um..........Norm

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  31. What an amazing thread. Dwayne is obviously intelligent, and yet he continues to believe in a religion that was obviously made-up from the get-go. Kim S. posted some great comments, and asked some important questions, and yet Dwayne skipped over her comments entirely. Why? Of course, I can't figure out why Dwayne thinks it's so important to undercut what Norm has posted here. He seems to think that what Norm has posted here is idiotic, and yet it gives it credence by continuing to come here while going around in circles and repeatedly posting inane comments.

    Dwayne says that the Mormon Church does not try to keep its members in the dark about the real history of the church and does not tell them not to research on their own. I'm not sure what church Dwayne is even talking about - because the Mormon Church that I was a member of for 52 years works to keep its members from finding out the real truth by telling them not to research outside of authorized areas, and paints whatever negative information out there as "Anti-Mormon Propaganda." That's how the church kept me "in line" for so many years... and it wasn't until I went on a Mormon Church History Tour in 2001 and I decided to do some research beforehand so I would know more when we went to the key places that I began to discovery the reality behind it all. And that was the beginning of the end for me.

    The bottom line is that Joseph Smith was a horndog who wanted to have sex with numerous women, and he found a way to do that - through religiously-condoned adultery called polygamy as well as polyandry. How can what he did be justified? I don't buy the Rough Stone Rolling explanation - that book is just another attempt to whitewash what really went on in the early days of the Mormon Church by saying that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God but had human frailities. In my opinion, what he did went way beyond "human frailities," and well into the realm of total dishonesty and duping people into believing a false religion. His motivations seem obvious to me. Power, money, sex. And between the years of 1830 and 1844, he just kept trying to bolster his image as a "Prophet of God" by adding things to his arsenal like the BoA, which was obviously made-up out of thin air.

    For me, I came to the conclusion when I left the Mormon Church over 7 years ago that I could no longer associate myself with a religious organization that plays so fast and loose with the truth. I have a hard time understanding how anyone can stay, once they know the truth behind it all. But to each his own. Live and let live.

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    1. I want to be careful about my comments for fear of getting 'sucked down the rabbit hole' too far. Here are some comments on Kim S's post (much to the chagrin of Diane). The reason I never commented earlier was because I don’t spend every second waiting for replies to my comments and the timing of her published remarks was not in sync with my posts.

      I also got bored with the whole thing and wasn't paying much attention.

      There is the explanation Diane...no dodging of her 'great comments' or 'important questions'.

      Kim, you said "You are wrong, I left the church for one reason alone--it is false."

      You go on to describe a few reasons why you believe the church is false. My statement about never making life changing decisions for one reason is accurate. You left for more than one reason...your explanation proves it.

      On a side note, there is a lot of scholarly information that has been brought forward recently that strengthens the credibility of the BoA. Placing your faith in the hands of scholars is a precarious endeavour...several hundred years ago the earth was flat.

      If I were you, I would be sure to read new, recent and emerging scholarly work surrounding the BoA and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as your sure foundation (based on scholarly work) is certain to change.

      "The extremely shady church history and logical exploration of foundational claims prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt."

      You say this as if ex-mormons have the market on logic cornered. If this statement were actually true then millions of mormons must be operating without logic at all. Surely you can see that this statement is completely and negatively influenced by your bias against the LDS faith. There is no way that this debate can be reduced to mere logic...and any effort to do so is completely wayward.

      It seems apparent from your gross oversimplification (or attempts to do so) that you really haven’t studied much of LDS church history or even the issues around the BoA. Church history is complex, multi-faceted and sometimes difficult given the incomplete historical record and logic isn't sufficient to fill the voids. It is interesting to see how people fill in these voids though...in the absence of factual information people tend to fill the voids with information based on bias.

      "And yes, the church DOES teach that we are not to look outside of correlated materials, there is no freedom of thought. Heaven forbid we come across certain uncomfortable truths."

      I will say it again and again. The church has never (in my experience) discouraged its members from studying. There has never been a formal church policy instructing members to only study church correlated materials. I have never been instructed to surrender my freedom of thought...any attempts to say that the LDS church has wrested the agency of its members with respect to readying and studying what they choose is completely ridiculous.

      There may be local leaders in certain cases that have steered people in the direction indicated by Kim and Diane, but this is not church policy.

      If this was church policy then I would guess the church would never want to publish the unsavory and shady history of the church (Joseph's diaries), the voluminous Joseph Smith Papers, JoD and other historical information...oh wait, this information is all readily available, darn it.

      Continued

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    2. "Is it a foundational believe that if you agree to let the prophet sleep with your 14 year old daughter your family will be granted salvation? (Helen Mar Kimball)"

      This is a perfect example of someone with a weak testimony discovering an unsavory detail and researching no further. As I said before, the church is not afraid of the history...the church is afraid of amateur researchers susceptible to negative bias.

      In the case of Helen Mar Kimball, it is easily discovered that she was sealed to Joseph. It is not a little telling that Heber and his wife both agreed to this union. Had you searched further you may have discovered that a significant number of Joseph's 'marriages' were spiritual or sealing only. From Todd Compton's book:

      "The prophet’s marriage to her seems to have been largely dynastic—a union arranged by Joseph and Heber to seal the Kimball family to a seer, church president, and presiding patriarchal figure of the dispensation of the fullness of times"

      Further, there is absolutely no evidence that, this marriage in particular, was consummated. Helen bore 11 children to her second husband (after Joseph's death) and Joseph fathered 9 children with Emma. Certainly, if Joseph was a horn dog, as indicated previously, there would have been some progeny.

      "Why do all the pictures of Joseph translating the plates not show him putting his head in a hat and reading a stone?"

      I don’t pretend to think that I have all the answers but I addressed this issue in some comments that the blogger refused to post. I do think there is a satisfactory answer to this but I am not going over it again.

      "...truth is it hides or puts a false slant on nearly everything in its history. What it does present is smoke and mirrors that can easily be disproven."

      This is a real gem of thought. The church hides or puts a false slant on nearly everything in its history? This is such a fragmented thought, that it is clear you are not interested in any concrete discussion of actual facts. And to further prove this, your weapon of choice is a vague, unquantifiable and overtly false statement like this. Somehow you think it is to your benefit to jump on any bad wagon, no matter how irrational, to trumpet your dislike for the LDS church.

      If members of the church were on as shaky ground as you indicate (smoke and mirrors) there is no way to explain the growth of the church for close to 200 hundred years. You have little comprehension of the vast body of scholarly work and complex history surrounding the church if you actually believe a statement like this.

      The rest of your comments are as equally absurd as the previous. I hardly think my intellectual freedom is in jeopardy to the LDS church. I wouldn't be sure about yours though...you will have to make sure you read the most recent anti-mormon works in order to keep your opinions up to date. However, since much of the anti-mormon arguments are simply regurgitated and recycled, you won’t have much upkeep to do.

      Dwayne

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  32. Oh....Dwayne...lol hope your well buddy. Just not certain if you saw Facsimilogos of March 30th (up there a bit) comments and questions for you. Please have a look see....careful of the old rabit hole...but if you so please, take a moment buddy.

    Thanks.....still holding lunch reservations for you....Norm

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    1. Comments posted the other day were mine...I think I forgot to attach my name.

      Dwayne

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  33. Facsimilogos said "What exactly are you labeling as half-truths or misrepresentations by exmo's? You talked a lot about being careful and you made accusations about misinformation out there being presented...like what exactly? Can you back up your statements...?"

    To be perfectly honest your request for specifics and evidence is a little surprising. It has been made abundantly clear to me, by experience, that ex-mo's and anti-mo's are rarely interested in actual facts and specifics. Instead, a steady diet of any negative information regardless of veracity and context is sufficient to further develop and enhance their negative bias. There are some cases where I have seen some people show actual interest in the historical truth and dedicate genuine brain cycles to contemplate the full context of a given issue, but this is the exception not the rule. I am operating under the assumption that we are dealing with the latter :)

    My post of March 28th on this blog contained a good example of a half-truth or misinformation with respect to the translation process of the Book of Mormon. Norm, decided not to post my comments for suspect reasons ;). The gist of my comments regarding the translation process are as follows:

    The children's (primary) picture of Joseph sitting in front of the plates during the translation process is used as a whipping post for many criticisms against Joseph and the Book of Mormon. It appears that this picture 'proves' that the church is intentionally lying or misleading members about the 'real' translation process, because the real description of the translation processs is far too unsavory. This, of course, is hardly the case yet fledgling ex-mormons love to announce they have discovered the real truth upon finding David Whitmer's supposed exposé. Their imaginary discovery turns into mis-information when they further announce that the church was beguiling them their whole life and they then accuse the church of maliciously and intentionally hiding the truth.

    The truth is that David Whitmer, while a witness to the finished Book of Mormon, was not a witness to the translation process. David Whitmer's testimony of the translation process is at best second or third hand, never mind the fact that his recitation of the process was given 57 years after the Book of Mormon was published. The suspect nature of David's 'real history' of the translation process doesnt seem to bother anti-mormons as it provides 'good-enough' ammunition. The further reality that David wanted to replace Joseph as the President of the church and eventually dissented and left the church would also lead one to believe that he had an axe to grind.

    The underlying issue is not really the credibility of David Whitmer's 'real history', it is the issue of tailoring a message to an audience. Critics would call this 'white-washing' or 'sanitizing'. However, it is prudent practice in any organization to do a certain amount of tailoring or simplifying of an important and detailed message to a target audience. In matters of doctrine in the LDS church I think its well within their prerogatives to simplify the details of a complex historical occurrence in order to convey the overall message without getting mired in too much detail. The church has remained true to the original message of the coming forth of the BoM in spite of the inconclusive and suspect information presented by David Whitmer. Joseph never provided the details of the translation process and even refused to publically discuss it when Hyrum asked him to. Yet somehow David Whitmer who was never present during the translation process is considered an authority on the topic 180 years after the fact.

    The primary picture simplifies the complex history behind the message. I don't think the church is under any obligation...

    Continued

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  34. ...to provide detailed pictures of historical information that has heavy negative bias and does not contain a single shred of first hand evidence.

    When you examine this scenario logically, it appears that anti-mormons would like to condemn the LDS church for not presenting suspect and unreliable information as historical facts. The basis of such arguments rests on a faltering foundation and yet, strangely enough, few anti-mormons bother to scrutinize their foundation before building their houses ever so eagerly upon it. Far too frequently for anti-mormons, it seems, that any vagery will do as ammunition against the church.

    How about the misinformation regarding Helen Mar Kimball presented by Kim S? It doesn’t matter that there is no evidence to support the accusation that Joseph Smith was a pedophile, disgruntled ex-mormons still make the accusation. Is there no limit to the appalling depths that anti-mormons will descend to make their point? Helen continued to live with her parents until after Joseph's death and she never bore a child to Joseph even though she did bear 11 children to her first husband after Joseph died. Again, there is no evidence of sexual impropriety or even sexual involvement, yet the accusation is repeatedly put forth by uniformed, disgruntled antagonists. It seems to never enter the equation that these accusations have little validity and far too much credulity...anti-mormons love to get behind a doozy. The mere insinuation that Joseph married Helen is enough to condemn him posthumously and each of his pigeonhearted accusers becomes judge, jury and executioner in spite of the glaring absence of inculpatory evidence.

    How about the 21st century anti-mormon interpretation of Joseph's polyandry? It is a lesser known fact, to anti-mormons who march to beat of the 'Joseph Smith Sexual Deviant' drum, that many of Joseph's early marriages were polyandrous. The simple truth is that such a marriage did not require consummation or cohabitation, but was a dynastic or spiritual union that bound families together. Of course this explanation will not do because Joseph had to be a deviant, otherwise the rest of the toppling mass of lies and half-truths crumbles to the ground.

    The presence of half-truths and misinformation is not an exception when examining anti-mormon arguments, it is the rule.

    This issue is ultimately reduced to faith, as is appropriate for any matter of religious belief. There is no point where the accumulation of established historical facts would tip the scales in favor of belief based on hard evidence. Evidences and the interpretation thereof change too frequently to be very useful as a basis of faith.

    You demand specifics and less generalities from me; are you equally interested in and demanding of the same from anti and ex-mormons?

    A final thought, as this has gone on long enough...I would suggest that my accusations against antagonists of putting forth misinformation and half-truths are far less virulent and venomous than the very least of the unsupported accusations of sexual impropriety against Joseph Smith. This is certainly the reason why many members of the LDS faith take great offense with the tactics of many dissidents. Frequently there is little in the way of 'information fidelity' or 'contextual acuity' in much of the dialog against the church especially by amateur or 'arm-chair' critics.

    Usually in a debate the persons making accusations must bear the burden of proof. However, in the mormon/anti-mormon debate it seems standard practice for antagonists to summarily abandon the delivery of any evidence with their accusations. Time and time again the mere accusation of impropriety seems to be enough for the anti-mormon to convict all things LDS, regardless of the absence of substantive or credible proof. And in some cases, exculpatory evidence (especially about Joseph) is readily available but surreptitiously ignored.

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  35. Well said. No comments from the peanut gallery?

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  36. How ironic that members are told to be truthful and honest, treat all with respect, etc. Yet the leaders seem to forget these moral teachings.
    It is way past time for SLC leaders to come clean on everything instead of staying silent. There needs to be sensitivity and compassion training for all bishops, SP, and above. Members need a conduit to report abuse and be taken seriously. The hypocrisy is so thick and ingrained. Sad.

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  37. @ janice gordon - right on and well said.

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