Talking To My Zelph

My quest for freedom from the LDS religion.

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Location: OA, Offworld

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Even More Primary Persuasion

A few days ago, one of the ladies in our local ward dropped by the house (unannounced, as usual) to drop off a customized music CD for the kids. In preparation for an upcoming Primary presentation, the Primary Presidency made these CDs to help familiarize the kids with the songs that will be sung in sacrament meeting.

My stomach churned when I read the playlist.

Of course, track #1 is titled "The Prophet Joseph Smith." (Let the mind-warping lies begin!) Duh! Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet.

Track #2 didn't seem too bad at first glance, "This is My Beloved Son." Hey, at least it's about Jesus, right? Then I noticed that the second verse begins: "Nephites gazing into heaven." There it was...another LDS lie. Damn Nephites are fictional characters. The third verse continued the perpetuated lie about Mr. Smith: "Joseph saw two glorious beings." No he didn't! He couldn't even keep his stories straight about his "experience."

Track #3 is just as bad. "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith." Hell, they really want to convince these poor children that Joseph is worthy of worship, don't they?

Track #4 is "I Know My Redeemer Lives." There's that infamous "know" being thrown about like it means something. They "know" no such thing...especially these poor kids that are being lied to and taught by their parents at such a young age to "bear their testimonies" they really have any understanding whatsoever of religious matters.

Track #5: "I Want to Live the Gospel". Here are a couple of the lyrical highlights: "to follow the plan of my savior and live as he wants me to do" (or as the church leadership dictates), and "Because I have learned to obey" (in other words, BLIND OBEDIENCE).

Track #6: "I'll Follow Him in Faith." God, need I say more?

Track #7: "I'm Trying to Be like Jesus." I'm going to teach my children to be like Superman - he was all about helping people too.

Track #8: "Listen, Listen" (to the still small voice) You know, that inner voice we all have inside us that tells us to do things? Haven't there been seriel killers that were killing people because the still small voice was telling them to?

Track #9: "Love is Spoken Here." Love is okay, but Truth isn't. (Ever try to convince a TBM that the "church" wasn't true? Them's fighting words in a Mormon household!) Oh, and this track has the line: "mine is a home where ev'ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow'r." Sheeya! Whatever! Invisible blessings and invisible "power". Nope, not buying it!

I will admit...the music is pretty and nice to listen to, but it's tainted by all the absurdities. Thankfully, my (still TBM, thought not currently active) wife hasn't tried to make the kids listen to it. I don't know if she thinks I'll protest against it or what, but she tucked it away on our computer desk and it's sat there ever since. I'm tempted to just toss the disk in the trash (I'll keep the case - I'll make good use of that) but haven't bothered yet. I almost like keeping all this ridiculous stuff around to remind me of all the lies and hypocricy the LDS church is capable of spewing forth on otherwise unsuspecting people.

I'm going to listen to some Blue Oyster Cult now. I love that "Don't Fear the Reaper" song.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Recommended Reading List

When I came to realize that there were some very serious problems with the Mormon church and its history, I immediatley set out to research it as much as possible. As a member, I was always admonished by church leaders to avoid anything critical of the church, its gospel and its beliefs. I adhered to that rule because I arrogantly assumed that I had the truth and anything critical of my beliefs couldn't possibly be true anyway, so there was no point in seeking any of them out.

But the truth won't always be ignored. When it finally hit me, it did so with the jolt of a lightning bolt and I was rudely awoken from the mental coma that my church membership had forced me into.

At first, I was content to read the blogs and listen to the podcasts I found on the internet, which were dedicated to exposing the lie that is Mormonism. Sadly, not all of these websites even exist anymore. One of my favorite podcasts was the Former Mormon Radio, found on It contained several great interviews with exmos such as Richard Pakham, Tal Bachman, and Grant Palmer (okay, so Grant may still be a member - he was only disfellowshipped after publishing his book, but I definitely don't think he could be classified as a full-blown TBM.)
I was deeply saddened to see that the website was shut down and the interviews are [seemingly] lost. I'll have to conduct a more intense internet search to see if perhaps someone else has copies of them.

Another blog/podcast that was instrumental in my decision to finally leave the church was The Mormon Truth! found right here on Blogger. Samuel the Utahnite is the operator of that one, and although he doesn't post new stuff very often (like I'm one to talk), he's a no-nonsense kind of guy who flat out tells it like it is.

One of my favorite websites, which I read daily, is The Mormon Curtain. Infymus runs that site and has compiled an impressive library of articles and points-of-view from disillusioned and ex-mormons. There is some really quality stuff there.

But the internet wasn't enough for me (especially since I didn't have it at home for awhile), so I started reading books. Here is the list, with brief explanations as to why I found them valuable in my quest for freedom from religion.

No Man Knows My History - by Fawn Brodie.
This classic and controversial biography of Joseph Smith was a real eye-opener. I learned a TON of church history I hadn't ever been exposed to before. I will concede that the author takes some liberties when she attempts to suppose what was going on in the mind of Joseph Smith, but I side with a comment made by someone else who read it: "if only 10% of that book is true, then the church isn't what it claims to be." Hell, even if just 1% is true, that's more than enough to call the entire LDS church and its belief system into question.

Mormon America by Richard N. and Joan K. Ostling. A much more balanced approach to explaining the religious juggernaut that is the Mormon church, but because it was written by a couple of never-mos, I doubt many TBMs would bother with it...after all, how much could these "outsiders" possibly know about the church? Which leads me to the next book...

An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer.
Grant does a phenomenal job of pulling back the curtain and revealing to the world the history of the church that "they" don't want anyone to know about. He offers some compelling evidence that Joseph Smith wasn't much more than a charismatic fraud.
Thank you Grant!

By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus by Charles M. Larson.
Come on Mormons. You should all be familiar with the claim that the Book of Abraham was penned by father Abraham himself and that Joseph Smith "translated" the scrolls into what is now LDS Scriptural canon. Wake up! This one is a slam dunk against Mormonism IMO. If Joseph lied about this, it's quite likely he lied about other things as well. (Well, we know he lied publicly about his polygamous marriages too.)

Losing A Lost Tribe by Simon Southerton.
It's subtitle: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church.
Scientific PROOF that Joseph Smith's claims as to the historicity of the Book of Mormon are completely bogus. Geez, how much more evidence do you need, Mormons? Today's Native Americans couldn't have possibly been descendants of some ancient Jewish family. The LDS will spin this one any which way they can to maintain this ridiculous belief, but in doing so, they have to contradict other things in the BOM. It's a no-win situation for them.

Born-Again Mormon by Shawn McCraney.
Written by a former Mormon, this book does a good job of explaining how and why the LDS church isn't a very good "Christian" church. Shawn also has a weekly television program here in SLC on channel 20, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. called Heart of the Matter. A great show for anyone who is questioning Mormonism. He's another "insider" who knows what he's talking about. It's a call-in show, so sometimes he gets in debates with disgruntled Mormons who phone in and it can be pretty entertaining. I like to watch it because he exposes the lies found within Mormonism, not because it stresses Christian belief in the bible. The next book explains why I no longer put much stock in that book either.

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.
Subtitle: The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible And Why.
Offers some very valuable and well-researched insight (Ehrman is a respected Bible scholar, after all) as to why the "good book" shouldn't really be accepted as God's Infallible Word. Men were behind writing (and making copies) of the books in the Bible and as we all know, men are prone to mistakes. This book gives some great examples of the changes that have been made in it. (Hey, at least one teaching in Mormonism is close to being right - the Bible HAS had some changes made to it!)

For years, I've held a belief that if God exists, then the Devil must also. I no longer maintain that after reading:

The Birth of Satan by T. J. Wray and Gregory Mobley.
Subtitle: Tracing The Devil's Biblical Roots.
Provides scriptural evidence that the Devil we all know and fear today "evolved" from very humble beginnings. Maybe he's not really something to be afraid of, after all, especially if he only exists in our own minds.

And if Satan isn't real, then is God?

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
I'm seriously thinking about calling this my new "bible." While it might not be possible to unequivocally disprove the existence of some kind of Higher Power, this book comes pretty close to doing so. Dawkins, an avowed athiest makes an extremely powerful and convincing argument as to why we should stop believing in God and allowing ourselves to be enslaved in various religions. He has convinced me that religious belief, even casual observance to religious laws can be very dangerous.
Although I still consider myself agnostic, after reading Dawkins, I'm now standing at the doorway to athiesm with my hand on the knob.

Okay, well is it wrong to believe in at least the teachings of Jesus? Shouldn't we at least admonish our children to follow his example?

I believe that Jesus was a real person who lived and died. But was he really some supernatural phenomenon who came back from the dead? It's a nice thought, especially if it allows us the possibility of living some kind of life after death, but is it true? I could teach my children to "be like Jesus", but I might also be just as effective in teaching them what I call the "Spider-Man Law." If you've seen the movies, you know what I'm talking about. "With great power comes great responsibility." All the classic superheroes live this creed, but it was Stan Lee who put it into words. To elaborate, if we are able to do good and make the world a better place, then we should. It's like a newer, better version of the Golden Rule (and isn't that the basic teaching of Jesus anyway?)

Is Jesus actually what the Christian world believes him to be? Try reading:

The Jesus Dynasty by James D. Tabor.
Yep, Jesus was real alright. But he wasn't what people think he was. Check out this book for some eye-opening evidence.

The book I'm currently reading is A History Of The End Of The World by Jonathan Kirsch.
It discusses in detail, the book of Revelation and how it changed the course of western civilization.

Sometimes I'm glad that I'm a member of a book club!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It's Official!

My departure from the LDS church is now complete. It's taken 6 MONTHS to process, but it's finally done.

On Friday, June 29th, I returned home from work and right there waiting for me was an envelope from the Member and Statistical Records Division of the CoJCoLDS. Inside was a letter dated June 27th that simply stated that, per my request, I was no longer a member.

It was a bittersweet victory. Frankly, I expected something more. I'd heard from others who have left that they received a little card with a picture of the First Presidency pleading with them to return to the fold. I was almost hoping to get one of those...not that it would have done any good of least not in convincing me to go back. Leaving the church was the only sane, rational, and logical decision I could have made. Going back now would be virtually impossible, since I cannot unlearn what I have learned about it's history.

I've been wanting to establish a date of my departure so I could make an annual celebration of it, but I wasn't ever sure of what that date would be. The date I sent in my letter? The date the Bishop acknowledged it? The date my request is processed, or when I received the letter of confirmation?

I think I'll go with June 27th. From now on, I'll celebrate that as my "Religious Independance Day". I am now free from any and all organizations, groups, or figurative shackles that keep me, my mind, or my soul in bondage under a wacky set of religious beliefs.

Religions, especially the extremely controlling and legalistic ones, such as the LDS church are more dangerous to the human spirit than they appear.

In closing, I'd like to bear my testimony (I know, this is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment). The LDS aka Mormon church is NOT true. Joseph Smith was a liar and a con-man and was NOT a prophet of God. Brigham Young was a terrible tyrant, NOT a prophet. None of the other so-called "prophets" up to Gordon "I don't know that we teach that" Hinckley have any kind of special connection to God (if he even exists.)
They only perpetuate the lies that old Joe Smith started, and when those lies are revealed, they back-peddle and spin it whichever way they can in an attempt to save face and credibility. The LDS "priesthood authority" is pathetic and worthless. It does nothing. The temple garments are worthless; they do not actually protect people from physical harm (I can't believe I ever bought into that nonsense) and the temple ceremony itself is NOT divinely inspired - wake up folks, it's based on Masonic rituals, nothing more. The Mormon God is pretty absent-minded if he requires secret "tokens and signs" (i.e. handshakes) to know who's worthy of his "heaven" and who isn't. Paying your tithing will not bless your lives any more so than not paying it. It only takes food, clothing, and other necessities from your family - people who need it. God and Jesus and the Corporation of the President DO NOT NEED YOUR MONEY. Keep it. Go do something useful or fun with it.

I say these things in the name of religous freedom, amen.