Talking To My Zelph

My quest for freedom from the LDS religion.

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Location: OA, Offworld

Friday, December 29, 2006

Mission: Deadly

I hadn't heard about this tragedy until this morning:

"Two LDS Missionaries Killed in a Car Accident
December 22nd, 2006 @ 9:35pm
(KSL News) -- Two senior missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have died in a car accident.
According to a church spokesman, Sister Alice Ann Rust of Layton and Sister Connie Linford Spackman of Wyoming were returning from the temple in Orlando yesterday when their car was broadsided.

One died instantly, the other on the way to the hospital.
Sister Rust's church leader told KSL of the family's reaction.
Pres. Mark Gilleland, Layton East Stake: "Their mother was doing what she wanted to be doing, serving this mission was very important to her."
The other driver was treated for injuries.
The two women were serving missions with their husbands at the Church's welfare ranch that has cattle and an orchard. "

Just last week I was talking with my father, who is a TBM, and he mentioned his desire to serve a mission with his wife soon after his retirement (which will be sometime within the next 10 years) and although I was tempted to point out that doing so was just a waste of time and money I kept myself in check. He doesn't yet know that I've left the church and I doubt he would sincerely listen to anything I had to say on the subject.

There are several aspects of LDS missions that bother me:

1. It's an almost unavoidable expectation. Well, at least for all worthy male members 19 years of age. While women can serve a mission, they are encouraged to first seek out a suitable mate and start squeezing out babies. This is why they're not allowed to go on a mission until they're 21 years, a whole two-year window to accomplish that!
For the young's basically forced on them. Of course, they don't have to serve a mission if they really don't want to, or if they're found "unworthy" (God, I hate that terminology!) but at a great personal risk.

I'm happy to say that I didn't go on a mission...even though I was a believing member at that age. Primarily, I felt unworthy to do so. I was (am still am) a sinner and I knew it. Since the LDS church demands such perfection in every little aspect, I knew I wouldn't be able to contort myself into their little box.

2. It's on YOUR dollar. Despite the fact that the Mormon church is one of the wealthiest organizations in the world (they rake in an estimated 5.9 billion dollars annually - according to TIME magazine) they make all their missionaries pay for their mission out of their own pocket.

3. The Danger Zone. Although the church claims to avoid dangerous places (this is probably true to some extent), the fact remains that missionaries are still sent to unsafe locations. I'm reminded of the two sister missionaries who were beaten and raped in south Africa. See here for a great podcast and opinion about it.

4. Lies about garments. This is what bothers me the most. I remember going through the temple for the first time to take out my "endowments" and being told by the temple worker there that my spanking new underwear (known as temple garments) would serve as a protection for me as long as I was wearing them. Like any other naieve TBM cult member, I bought into all the Faith Promoting Rumors about people who had been spared from death or serious injury because they were wearing their magical undergarments.

Let me bear my testimony to you folks: GARMENTS DO NOT PROTECT YOU FROM HARM!

If that were true, then we would NEVER hear about LDS missionaries being hurt, raped, or killed while in the humble service of their god. It's just as simple as that.

Of course, a TBM will try to spin it any which way s/he can to maintain their belief system concerning this subject. They might say something like:

"Well, it was just their time to go" or, "the Lord had more important work for them to do in heaven" or even worse, "then they weren't being worthy enough."

Sorry folks, I'm just going to have to call "Bullshit" on that. These poor kids (or older folks) are serving missions because they believe the LIE that its something the Lord wants them to do. Then, they believe another LIE that they'll be protected from harm by wearing their temple garments.

Perhaps I'll be able to talk my father out of this crazy mission endeavor, but I won't hold my breath. He lives in his own little world and believes whatever he wants to believe...whatever sounds good, regardless of how impossible or irrational it may be.

But then again, we're probably all guilty of that.

Bottom line is this: don't serve a mission for the LDS church. Put all that money towards something more important, like a college education, or a sporty new car (hey, chicks love cool cars...that's what I hear, anyway!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I Guess I Spoke Too Soon

On my last post, I dared to declare that "my apostasy from the LDS church has been without major incident".

I guess I spoke too soon.

Okay, so what happened over the weekend wasn't really a "major" incident, but it was an incident nonetheless.

Last week, I stopped by the state liquor store and picked up a couple of bottles of "Grampa's cough medicine." Granted, I've never been a big drinker, but I like the occasional alcohol-induced buzz as much as the next [non-LDS] fellow, so I didn't see the harm in it. I picked up a bottle of Crown Royal for a friend of mine and a bottle of Boone's Farm Melon Ball for me. (I can't stand the taste of regular beer and can only drink the stuff that tastes good...I've been accused of drinking "chick" beers.)

My only mistake was failing to inform my wife that I had done this...or that I was going to do this. (Isn't it better to ask for forgiveness than for permission anyway?)

I brought the Boone's Farm into the house and had a small glass on Friday night while the Missus was away at work. It tasted alright, but I didn't drink enough for a buzz. I figured she would see the bottle tucked into the door of the fridge and that if she was bothered by it, she'd let me know right away.

Nothing was said the next day, so I assumed everything was okay. Before we left for the family Christmas party that evening, I poured myself another half glass of the bright green liquid. My vulture of a son immediately began to hover over me asking for a sip.

"This isn't for you, son. It's only for me."

"But why daddy?"

"Because some drinks are only for adults and this is one of them."

My wife, who was sitting at the kitchen table in the next room overheard this and raised her eyebrow. Apparently, she hadn't seen the bottle in the fridge yet.

"What is it?" She asked with what could only be described as a question born out of a natural curiousity.

"A wine drink I bought a couple days ago."


Then she let the matter drop...until we climbed into bed just before midnight on Christmas Eve.

I could tell that something was bothering her, so I asked her to tell me what that something was.

She broke into tears and told me how much it bothered her that I had brought a bottle of [3%] alcohol into our home. Her concern was that I had broken a promise to not start drinking or smoking (you know, all the usual stuff us evil church apostates tend to do once we realize Mormonism is based on lies and perpetual deception) and that I would become a raging alcoholic and thus abusive to her and the kids.

For some reason I began my defense with: "but I'm a very friendly drunk."

This is true.

I've seen some people get crazy and mean when they've over-imbibed on the hard stuff, but I'm at the opposite end of the drunken spectrum. When I'm buzzing, everybody around me becomes my best friend. If anything, having the occasional drink would help me be a little nicer to my kids...they really know how to push my buttons and obviously have no reservations about doing so on a daily basis.

Anyway, I told her that I didn't see what the big deal was since the oppressive rules of Mo-ism no longer applied to me and that I was free to make these kinds of decisions without any fear. I tried to explain to her how wonderful it feels to be free of church influences and all their ridiculous little rules, but she was having difficulty wrapping her head around the concept.

We talked until about 3 in the morning, all the while knowing that Christmas morning was rapidly approaching and we'd soon have to get up with the kids who would all be anxious to start unwrapping presents.

The conversation ended well (they usually do - she really is a very understanding and loving woman) and we finally went to sleep.

I still have a long way to go to help her realize the truth about the roots of Mormonism, but she's resisting...she's happier believing the lie, even if she's aware of the probability that it's a lie.

This is what the church does to people.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need a drink...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Very Apostate Christmas

So far, my apostasy from the LDS church has been without major incident.

We went to an annual family Christmas party at my wife's grandmother's house last night...of the 35 or so people there, I think there were only about 3 or 4 of us non-members (or apostates) of the church.

I think I'm fortunate to have a family (both immediate and extended) who are willing to accept me regardless of my religious beliefs. While I'm fairly certain there's an amount of hushed whisperings and "tsk tsk's" that goes on behind our backs (I know because I've not only heard it myself, I've also been guilty of doing the exact same thing), there isn't any serious backbiting or reprimanding going on.

If anything, the other family members just feel pity towards us "Sons of Perdition" because to them, we've rejected the one and only true gospel of Jesus Christ and have resigned ourselves to a lower glory of heaven, if not outer darkness itself (a Mormon version of Hell).

Members of the Mormon faith just can't help it. They're conditioned to think that they are God's new chosen people (Jews? Who are they?) and everyone else is just Satan's modeling clay, subject to his every evil will and whim. To the Mormon faithful, everyone else is an outsider who just lacks knowledge, or faith, or God's Holy Spirit, or a combination of all three.

By the way, this is a classic cult characteristic...establishing an "us versus them" mentality. To Mormons, there are only two kinds of people - especially in the state of Utah: "Members", or the enlightened recipients of God's only true and restored gospel, and "Non-Members".

That's it...there isn't really a third option.

Of course, thanks to comments made by their "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" Gordon B. Hinckley, many members have accepted the very possibility that members of other faiths may actually have some divine inspiration. "Bring us what good you have and see if we can add to it" is a paraphrase GBH has delivered during a semi-annual Conference address.

Wow, that view has certainly come a long way from Joseph Smith's original claim that "they were all wrong...that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt..."

How nice of Mr. Hinckley to distance himself and the church even further from the authenticity of its very origins and promote a more loving, accepting, and "politically correct" mindset of church members. For a church that used to take such pride in being different from all the other Christian sects (you know, being that they're such a unique and "peculiar" people), it's now trying so hard to fit in with everybody else and find acceptance within mainstream Christianity.

I'm kind of on a tangent here...

So the party went well last night. I adhered to my strategy of avoiding all topics of conversation dealing with the church and all it's many tentacles (callings, Scouting, etc.) as well as the obligatory "blessing on the food". As uncomfortable as I am having to sit through these "blessings" or any other prayer (Mormon or not) for that matter, I absolutely despise being the one asked to give the damn thing.

The majority of my family, or my wife's family, aren't even aware of my apostasy as far as I can tell. I don't know...I guess word may have gotten around, but I know that isn't something they like to talk about. It's too negative...too controversial for their taste. I haven't been asked anything about my exodus from the faith, but then again, nobody asked me about my current church calling, or anything like it's difficult to determine.

I guess I could always stand up on a chair and start waving my arms and yell "hey, look at me! I've left the church because I learned it's all a fraud and that you're all brainwashed members of a frackin' cult!"

That probably wouldn't be received very well.

There's undoubtedly a better way to handle it, but I'm clueless as to the approach. Perhaps it's best to just keep my mouth shut until someone actually asks me something about it and then I can be as honest and forthright about it as I possibly can be, without stepping on any toes in the process. I don't want to be accused of being an evil "anti-Mormon"...even if that's what I really am.

We have another family get-together we'll see how that goes.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Primary Persuasion

We had two ward visitors drop by the house unannounced on Monday night.

The first one was the son of the 1st Councelor (of the Bishopric) who was just dropping off a Christmas gift for us...they give us cute little ornaments every year.

The next visitor was a member of the Primary Presidency who felt the need to interview my 6 year old daughter right there in the doorway.

"We haven't seen you in Primary for awhile and we wanted to spotlight you for you birthday." She says.

(I'll admit, this one is all me...I've done everything in my power to keep my wife and kids from attending church for the past few months.)

She then proceeded to ask my daughter a few questions (what, is she writing a damn book?) like "What's your favorite scripture story?" (My daughter couldn't answer this one since we don't read scriptures with her. )

The lady tried to prompt an answer by suggesting "Noah's Ark? Captain Moroni?" (I rolled my eyes at this...damn fictional character.)

Next was: "What's your favorite Primary song?" (Again, my daughter was speechless because by now she's probably forgotten all the little mind-warping hymns they like to teach the little LDS children.)

"She likes them all," my wife answered. (At this point, I think my hands were clenched into fists....damn cult!)

Finally, the lady left.

Sorry to disappoint you Primary Lady, but I have absolutely no intention of allowing my daughter, or any of my kids for that matter, back into Primary.

I refuse to let the LDS Cult force its lies into the hearts and minds of my children.
They will be strong, yet moral.
They will be independant, yet compassionate.
But most importantly, they will be free from the Cult.

So help me God.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I Stole This From Another Blog

[I stumbled upon this on some German guy's blog. Funny stuff.]

shit happens

The Religions
Taoism: Shit happens
Hinduism: This shit happened before
Confucianism: Confucius says: Shit happens
Buddhism: It is only an illusion of shit happening
Hare Krisha: Shit happens rama rama ding ding.
Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?
Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah
Jehovah's Witnesses: Knock, knock, read this shit.
Mormonism: Can we sell this shit to the Gentiles?
7th Day Adventist: Holy Shit!
Unitarian: It’s all good shit.
Pentacostal: Praise this shit!
Agnostic: What is this shit?
Atheism: There is no shit.
New age: I feel your shit.
Protestantism: Let the shit happen to someone else
Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it
Darwinism: The survival of the shittiest
Judaism: Why does shit always happen to us?
Rastafarian: Let’s smoke this shit!

[I'm tempted to alter the description of Mormonism though. Maybe something like "The only true shit" or "I know this shit is true" or "Bow your head and say yes to this shit" or "People actually believe this shit?" Any suggestions?]

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Torpedoes Away!

I did it.
It's done.
No going back now.

My letters of resignation from the LDS church were mailed to the Bishop and the Stake President this morning.


I gotta say, it feels good to know that I've finally taken this step. I feel like I've finally taken a stand, drawn the line in the sand, and am ready to re-claim my life. Although my faith in "the one and only true church" evaporated over a year ago, it's taken me this long to step out from underneath the umbrella of fear I've been cowering beneath all these months.

That's what the church does to its members, you know. It controls them with fear.

Fear of speaking out against it, even if speaking absolute truth.

Fear of going to hell (okay, Outer Darkness...whatever you want to call it) for not conforming to each and every one of their ridiculous expectations.


I'm tired of being afraid. I'm tired of fearing the repercussions of resignation. I don't care if my neighbors start shunning me or forbid their children to play with mine (the offspring of a *gasp!* apostate!)

I say "bring it on."

Now if only I can convince my wife to step out from underneath this umbrella as well. She's still so afraid of getting wet, but wouldn't you know it? It's not even raining!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Richard Packham at the 2005 Ex-Mormon Conference

I often sit for hours at a time isolated in a remote corner of the building in which I work. Since much of my time is spent at a computer, I am able to listen to radio stations or other audio files of interest that I'm able to locate on the internet. Podcasts have become my favorite things to listen to, especially when they deal with Mormonism (usually of the anti-moism or post-moism flavor), and one of the best I've found is at website.

Although the managers of the site, Mike Norton and Hyrum Moriancumur haven't posted any new podcasts for several months, I enjoy replaying them. Each time I hear them, I either pick up on something I missed before or at the very least, it helps me to strengthen my resolve in my stand against Mormonism.

The first few poscasts are okay, but it isn't until they interview Bob McCue that they really get good.

Just this morning, I was listening to Part 2 of their interview with Richard Packham again and I finally took Mike's advice and went to the website to listen to the after dinner speech Packham gave at the 2005 conference.

I can sum it up in one word: powerful.

He does such a good job of putting into words (either written or spoken) the sentiments that I have with regards to the mormon church and its effects on people. It also helps to know that I'm not alone in this journey. It is comforting to know that there are others out there like me who have felt the heartache that comes with the realization that the church simply is not true. That we have been lied to. That we now must make the difficult decision of living a lie in order to conform with family and social expectations or be true to ourselves and take a stand.

This journey isn't easy, but I expect that it will be worth it.

I offer my gratitude to Mike and Hyrum for their website and their podcasts, as well as to men of incredible integrity such as Richard Packham, Bob McCue and Tal Bachman who have blazed the trail of recovery before me.

I walk their path, and I hope others will follow me into the light of truth and knowlege.

And of freedom.

Friday, December 01, 2006

My Letter of Resignation from the LDS Church

As described in my previous post, my letter of resignation from the LDS church is ready to go. I thought I'd include it for kicks and giggles. (Of course, I've changed all the names to protect the "innocent".)


Dear Bishop Sinestro,

This letter is being sent to inform you that I am officially requesting that my name be removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This request is being made after a year of intense study into the history of the church and its doctrines. I have a deep love and gratitude for many friends and family that are still members of the church, and wish to make it very clear that I am not leaving because of hurt feelings, or at having been offended by anyone in the church. This decision is being made freely on my part, and with a full knowledge of what the LDS church teaches are the consequences of making this decision.

I must insist that the official record, as well as the letter of notification of name removal, show that the only reason that my name has been removed from church records is that I request it to be so. I also insist that the word “excommunication” not be used in the letter notifying me of this action.

Please be advised that I am taking this action because it has been demonstrated to my satisfaction that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is a piece of 19th century fiction, and that the church has taught or currently teaches erroneous doctrines which I believe to be in conflict with God’s will.

After countless hours of intense personal study, I have finally been made aware of the many evidences against the authenticity and truthfulness of the church and the claims of Joseph Smith. It is my contention that many of these facts have been purposefully kept from me and that the church continues to keep them from the general membership of the church. I consider any tactic to suppress important truths concerning the very foundations of Mormonism to be deceitful and manipulative.

These evidences include, but are not limited to: variations of the First Vision, unreliable “witnesses” to the gold plates, the true nature of the translation process of the gold plates, the inaccurate translation of The Book of Abraham papyri, the inarguable correlation between Masonic and Temple rituals, complete lack of geographical and archaeological support of the Book of Mormon, as well as the scientific proof against Book of Mormon claims (i.e. the DNA issue).

Erroneous, and sometimes harmful, doctrines of the church include, but are not limited to: polygamy, blood atonement, tithing, “salvation by works, not grace”, polytheism, and temple rites.

While I recognize the good aspects of the LDS church, such as its promotion of family values and healthy lifestyles, I do not believe they are enough to retain my membership. Nor will I consent to allow my children to be subjected to the indoctrination process of the church which I believe has the potential to harm their emotional and mental growth. The following website sufficiently contains my reasons for making this statement:

I want it to be clear that my desire to leave the church is the result of an informed, rational decision making process and that it is final. While I understand that it is standard operating procedure to hold a church “court” (disciplinary or otherwise) in cases such as this, I have no intention of participating in one since I no longer recognize or accept any church authority or judgment over me and my actions.

I ask that you please respect my request to have my name removed immediately, and be aware that I do not welcome any visits or phone calls from missionaries, home teachers, visiting teachers, and bishopric or stake presidency members if they are performed within an official church capacity. I gladly welcome the friendship of any and all ward and stake members, but must request that no missionary efforts are made in an attempt to reinstate my membership. If an official audience with my wife (who wishes to continue her membership at this time) is desired, I request that you call ahead and schedule an appointment with her instead of conducting a surprise visit to our place of residence.

Again, it is not my intention to sever any of the friendships I have made with the many good people of the OA Ward and it is my sincere hope that my decision to leave the church does not result in any negative thoughts, feelings or actions toward myself or my family. I am thankful for the kindness and generosity that has been given to us by the Ward over the past seven years.

With Respect,

CC – Lex Luthor, Stake President