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 thechurchisnottrue.com. 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!