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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Full Disclosure 13 Articles of Faith

 I was thinking about how the Articles of Faith were designed to explain the beliefs of the church to non members and realized that they really only give a part of our beliefs. So I decided to extend them to give a proper, more truthful account of what it is that is actually believed. My additions are in blue.

This is not intended to be a sarcastic rant and I have attempted to stick to personal experiences and factual beliefs where I have documented various sources.  I will add more references in the future.  This got kind of long but I hope you enjoy the read.



1) We believe in God, the Eternal* Father, and in His Wives the Goddesses and Eternal* Mothers, and in His Father the Eternal* Grand Father, and in His Father etc, and in Godly Aunts Uncles, and Cousins, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in his other Son Lucifer, and that we are all His sons and daughters, and in the Holy Ghost, and in our own Future Godliness as well.
*Eternal here is used loosely as God is believed to have once lived on an Earth of his own and has his own Heavenly Parents and Grandparents back through eternity.  Thus making his spirit not having actually existed until he was born to his Father giving him a beginning much the same as Jesus and the rest of us.

  Eternal parentage is often taught through Church Hymn #292 "O My Father"
the second half of the 3rd verse reads:
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.
  It is widely accepted within the church that upon attaining the Celestial Kingdom that men along with their wives will become "Gods and Goddesses" having worlds of their own and having their own spirit babies for eternity.  The family unit is regarded as the most important unit in the church and is believed to go on forever and thus it is one 'eternal round'.  It should become obvious to anyone that one would immediately gain Godly relatives at this point.  God becoming the Grandfather, while Jesus becomes the jolly Uncle, along with our fellow celestial dwellers, and their children being the cousins.  (This is all starting to sound rather Greek to me.)

  Even though no longer practiced, polygamy is believed to be a divine decree.  And since we know that God and Jesus sets the example for us to follow. It must logically follow that God and Jesus also have plural wives like the great father Abraham of old.

2) We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression except for the first sin which we are all held accountable for.
  If the original statement were really true then the rest of us would all be born into the Garden of Eden.  However that isn't the case and 1 Nephi 10:6
Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.
  The original sin applies to all of mankind and we are all held equally accountable for Adam's decision.
3) We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances* of the Gospel as defined by the Church.
*This is a misleading sentence.  On the surface to non-members it would appear that by obeying the commandments and teachings in the scriptures that one might attain salvation.  The catch here is that laws and ordinances is broadened to the scope of anything that the church decides to be important.  Such as receiving your temple endowments after baptism.

  Okay, fine, so give me the extra ordinance then and I'm all set right?  Wrong, in order to qualify for that you will first need to be a member for a year and in that time attend church regularly and pay a full tithing.  Then you need two interviews, first with the Bishop and then Stake President to have them decide if you are worthy to go to the temple.  This is done through a series of questions rather than from divine inspiration known as the 'spirit of discernment'.  Then they will let you wear the temple underwear and get your ordinance.  Following that you will need to find another Mormon and get married in the temple because, yep that's right, single people won't go to the highest heaven.  According to the LDS website

To live in the highest part of the celestial kingdom is called exaltation* or eternal life. To be able to live in this part of the celestial kingdom, people must have been married in the temple
  So now I'm saved right?  Well, no, not really.  did you catch the word 'may' in the article?  It's kind of important because if you stop attending the temple, paying tithing, accepting callings, attending church, or disagree or question your church leaders, then you are automatically disqualified.  In fact you must 'endure to the end' of your life in all things before you can appear before the 'judgement bar of God' which is actually a panel of your peers chosen by God from his history of prophets and apostles. They will then decide your fate.

  Oh and all those 'promises' you were given when you had your ordinances done?  If you decide to leave the church then God will take back his promise that he made as if it never really happened and you get to go to Hell.  Oh wait, there is no such place.  Okay you get to go to the Telestial Kingdom.  But don't worry, it's a pretty sweet place.  Only a handful of people from all of human history, (actually only the last 6,000 years of it) will ever end up in outer darkness.

4) We believe that all the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; fifth temple endowments; sixth marriage sealing.
  It's odd that Joseph Smith chose to omit the remaining 2 ordinances off his list and list only the first four. I mean it says right on the church website that there are only 6.  How hard would it have been to include the remaining two.  As a child growing up in the church and having to memorize this I often wondered about what the remaining ordinances were and how many there were that they couldn't be listed here.  By stating 'the first' would lead one to believe that many might follow when in fact it is removed to not scare away potential believers.  'Milk before Meat' is the phrase that is often quoted.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:22 - For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.

5) We believe that a man must be called of God or the current leadership, by prophecy or by whomever is available, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
  This thought comes directly from sitting through Bishopric meetings where I have watched them use their 'prophecy' to decide who should be chosen to fill a calling. 

  My first experience of this was a discussion where a [name of calling] did not agree with the direction the bishop wanted to go with that calling.  The solution?  Release him and call him to a different calling and bring in someone else who will agree so they can move forward.  When they said that I couldn't hold it in and let out a laugh.  The bishop looks at me and told me that eventually I would get over the snickering because that is just how these things work.

  Filling callings comes down to looking at the ward list to see who currently doesn't have a calling and deciding whom they could place into the slot.  If nobody comes to mind then it comes down to 'who showed up at church today'. The bishop once told his counselors to scan the congregation while sitting at the front during sacrament meeting to see who they could put into the calling.  I don't recall hearing any talk about, 'lets pray and wait for the Lord to inspire us with a name'.  That sort of thing is reserved for stories they can relate to the congregation about how some visiting general authority was inspired to give the bishop a name of someone he had never met to call to a particular calling.  Naturally it was in some distant nameless place and completely unverifiable.  The effect is to inspire thoughts into the members that ALL callings are given with this level of divine guidance so you better not say no when they ask you if you'll accept.

6) We believe in* the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, seers, revelators, deacons, and so forth*.
* notice it only says a belief in, not of copying said organization exactly.  The intention to not copy the original church is emphasized with two remaining phrases.
Primitive: defined by thefreedictionary
1. of or belonging to the first or beginning; original

2. characteristic of an early state, esp in being crude or uncivilized
  One may argue that only the first given definition is to be inferred but many things have been added to the church organization that never existed in the 'primitive' version of God's church indicating that it was unfinished and only in the early stages of development.  This way of thinking also lends credibility to the desire of the church to include continuing revelations.

   'So forth' is an escape clause meaning 'and anything else we decide to add in later that we can't think of at this time'.  It's also interesting to note that there are no 'pastors' or 'evangelists' within the organization of the Mormon Religion.  It will be argued that it is merely the function of those position and not their titles.  However as all apostles are sustained as prophets I think we can safely agree we are referring to titles here.

7) We believe in the ancient existence of the gift of tongues*, prophecy*, revelation*, visions*, healing*, interpretation of tongues*, and so forth*.
* Events involving these gifts are believed to have occurred at the time of Christ and Joseph Smith but are not believed to be occurring now, except in unverifiable whispered rumors and stories about miracles performed in secret by the Prophet and apostles.  Anyone who attempts to claim the use of any of these gifts will be frowned upon by the church and thought (correctly) to be acting a big crazy.

  It is widely accepted in the church that the gift of tongues is given to missionaries to help them in learning a new language.  However as other groups have adopted similar language learning strategies with the same success as missionaries we have to declare that either God grants this gift to everyone who wishes to speak or that this isn't really what the gift of tongues is.  The gift is to speak in a language without prior knowledge of that language.  Then the gift of interpretation is for someone to understand that language without prior knowledge of it.  Given the amount of effort put into learning languages by missionaries it is safe to assume that they possess some knowledge of that language.  Also anyone who has served a foreign speaking mission will tell you that it takes about 6 months to a year to be able to speak the language with any amount of decent ability.

8) We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly*; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God; we also believe the Book of Moses, Book of Abraham, these articles of Faith, the Doctrine And Covenants, and any word from the Prophet such as declarations and proclamations to be the word of God.
* This is another escape clause which means 'We hold the right to dismiss anything as incorrect that doesn't agree with our current teachings.'

  According to the wording it would seem that the members are free to dismiss the 'additional scripture' as not being the word of god. Anything said by one speaking by the spirit is supposed to be scripture.  That got out of hand in the early days of the church so it was restricted only those things officially agreed upon by the first presidency, quorum of the twelve and then sustained in general conference.  Then Ezra Taft Benson gave the biggest trump card of all when he said:

"The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works."
I think that about sums it up.

9) We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
  This is pretty straight forward and should be taken to mean that God has not told us everything we need to know as yet (see articles 6 and 8) and so you can expect big changes in the future.  Remember this was written before blacks received the priesthood or Polygamy was rejected.

10) We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes*; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
* restoration is done figuratively through Patriarchal blessings where you are told from which tribes 'loins' you spring from.  If your blessing does not indicate your loin-hood it will indicated which tribe you have been adopted into.
Elder John A. Widtsoe, an Apostle, declared, "In giving a blessing the patriarch may declare our lineage-that is, that we are of Israel, therefore of the family of Abraham, and of a specific tribe of Jacob. In the great majority of cases, Latter-day Saints are of the tribe of Ephraim, the tribe to which has been committed the leadership of the Latter-day work. Whether this lineage is of blood or adoption it does not matter"
Earth being renewed: No need to explain this one further, it's pretty far out there as it is.  We get to have the Garden of Eden all over the place and the earth will be changed in a number of crazy ways.

11) We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own* conscience, and allow all men the same privilege**, let them attempt worship how, where, or what they may***.
* 'our own' refers to the conscience of the leaders in place at the time.  All members in the church are taught how to open and close a prayer. (we had an ordered list on a display card on my mission) How to fold our arms, bow our head and even the proper posture.  Naturally those in the scriptures who stood tall and raised their hands to heaven to pray were in the wrong.

** all men may have the same privilege of worshiping in the prescribed way.

*** They can attempt to worship in a way different from the prescribed way but it won't do them any good because God only listens to Mormons anyway.  At least that is the attitude that any believer of a religion takes towards their own.

member Bob has broken his leg: It's a trial from God  which he will gain blessing by enduring.
non-member Bob has broken his leg: It's a punishment from God for his heathen ways.

12) We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law as long as they conform to church's teachings.
This is very obvious with the current case of the Law stating that same sex marriages ought to be allowed and the church saying that they won't obey, honor, or sustain it.
Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.

13) We believe in the appearance of being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men our friends; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things approved by the church, we hope all things that were promise will actually happen, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things provided their prior approval.
  It is generally accepted that many members of the church are very nice and generally tend to be honest in dealing with others.  Many companies will actually prefer to hire Mormons on this general premise.

  Anyone who has been in the church for a while will see the gossip and backbiting that abounds within the church.  Relief Society is often associated with being gossip central.  As long as you give off the appearance of obeying the rules then members will generally do good to you.  However the moment you step out of line then you can expect to have dirty looks and withdrawn friendships from those who profess benevolence.  Such as in the case when someone decides that the church is not for them but has no ill-will towards any of it members, many of which have been long time friends, they may find that the person they once thought of as their loving friend now views them as a contagious spawn of the devil with whom any contact with could taint their spiritual well-being and thus affect their chances of entering heaven elite. (See article 3)


Brad said...

While I was reading your blog for some reason (because I'm not sure there is any relevance here) I was reminded about a monologue by Julie Sweeney called "Letting go of God". If you haven't listened to it, I highly recommend it. It starts off with two Mormon Missionaries knocking on her door.

As she is telling her story she says something that has stuck with me and I like to quote it here: '"Why would God create a people so imperfect, then blame them for their own imperfections, then send his son to be tortured and executed by those imperfect people, to make up for how imperfect people were and how imperfect they inevitably were going to be?" What a crazy idea.'

That about sums it up for me.

senigami said...

Thanks Brad for your input. I will definitely have to go check that out.

Mormon411 said...

Milk before meat (or tell them only as much as they need to know) is not something Mormons only do to outsiders or investigators.

The temple ceremony is top secret, even to many lifetime Mormons. When a person finally is able to go, there is absolutely no prior knowledge of what will happen inside upon their first visit (unless, of course, that person has done a little research but no TBM would dare do that). They offer "Temple Prep" classes, which I took, but that was pointless.

Thanks for writing this. There have been many times where I have seen what the Mormons are doing and notice how it blatantly contradicts what is taught in the 13 AoF, the two biggest offenders being 11 (religious freedom) and 12 (obeying the law).

About #4, you have a great point. Inwardly, I always wondered why they were called the "first principles and ordinances." If there is a first, there must be a second. This is a great example of milk before meat, of only sharing enough info to make them look like their beliefs are normal. This contradicts #13 where they claim they believe in being "honest".

And while we're on #13, I might amend it just a bit more.. "We believe... in doing good to all men as long as we can be seen doing it."

senigami said...

Thanks Mormon411 you are totally right. The temple ceremony is a very scary thing for those receiving it for the first time. You have no idea what to expect and nobody will tell you. I was terrified when I went through myself by the simple fact that I didn't know what to expect. The whole experience could be made so much easier on people if they knew what was coming. I was so weird-ed out by people in white robes and the prayer at the end with people gathered around the alter in the "true order of prayer" gesturing, holding hands, and chanting back the words of the prayer lead. I just kept thinking at the time, "no wonder people think of this as a cult". In fact that actually goes against the normal teachings of how to pray (see article 11) and reminded me a bit of the Rameumptom and also Secret Combinations which I had been told all my life were so evil with their secret handshakes etc. As in the example of the Gadianton robbers who had their secret meetings and handshakes.

Heleman 2:7 - And it came to pass that he met Kishkumen, and he gave unto him a sign; therefore Kishkumen made known unto him the object of his desire, desiring that he would conduct him to the judgment-seat that he might murder Helaman.

There is no taboo in telling people about what will happen in the ceremony but members scare themselves into silence with their ignorance of what they can and cannot do that they are afraid to say anything. The official stance of the church on the subject is to "not cast your pearls before swine" meaning that you don't talk about sacred things in front of those who would mock and ridicule you for them. There is absolutely no rule that says you can't tell the faithful what goes on in there, so they really should be telling members what to expect. The problem is that nearly all members don't really take the time to understand much of what they refer to as 'deep doctrine' or what I may call 'the meat' of the doctrine. They are so content to subsist on milk themselves that they have no desire to ween themselves and gain an actual understanding of the real truths of the teachings and as a result are forced to live in the confusion and fear that is generated by their ignorance and then propagate this fear onto others. I used to ask my mother about the temple and she would simply tell me that we don't talk about that, which is not entirely true.

Also I incorporated your suggestion for #13 for 'the appearance'. I was even thinking about that as I wrote it but had neglected to add it into the text, silly me.

senigami said...

I found the "Letting go of God" monologue you mentioned, here is the link for anyone else:

The Mormon Missionary part kicks in around 7:30. The poster was kind enough to provide chapter markers links if you look at his comment just under the post. She's pretty fun to listen to and makes great points.

Brad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad said...

Glad you are enjoying it!! Had no idea that it was on youtube, good to know.

Mormon411 said...

I was always taught that even endowed members do not talk about the temple ceremony with each other outside of the temple walls. Apparently not even IN the temple either. I was in the temple once with a friend. We had just finished a session and I had a question. Since we were in the temple, I felt no reason why I couldn't ask. So I asked my friend. She didn't know. So we stopped a temple worker and asked them. We were very clearly and bluntly told that "we don't speak of those things". I was shocked. We were IN the temple. What's the harm?

I had those same thoughts going through the first, and subsequent, times. It was so cultish. Secret handshakes and passwords.. Chanting in the "true order of prayer". All the very odd clothing that you have to keep switching around. I missed the throat slashing and bowel gushing.. I might have just got up and walked out.

Insomniatic Sunrise said...

I just wanted to say that this really opened my eyes a lot. (I have a writing blog by the way, but these Mormon blogs are the viewpoint I've been looking for.) I'm a fifteen year old girl in Pennsylvania that's been raised in the LDS church ,my entire life. I'm 7th generation on my dad's side and my mom is a strong convert from Peru. Basically all my extended family in the US is Mormon and nobody has ever broken away (at least that I've heard of). Awhile ago I had a question I didn't feel comfortable asking so I Googled it. A spew of information came up that I had never even heard about in 15 years of the church! It was nothing less then just disturbing to me. From there I started researching, asking more questions. Followed by a three hour conversation with my dad about it all. I even asked my mom about temple stuff but she just told me about the green aprons and when I had told her about the temple changes in 1990 she told me they never happened and that she would no longer talk about it with me, that I would just figure out when I get there. I even saw an email my dad left opened. In it he explained to our bishop an stake president how "once the venom is in, it's almost impossible retract". The 1st counselor in the bishopric has an "annual interview" with me. Which is funny considering I was the only one who got called out. I told him about my questions and he just mentioned Uchtdorf's famoous lline, by the way which I had head so many times I had to help him remember it when he was trying to spit it out, "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. I started to get depressed, feeling like I've been lied to my whole life, but i'm happy that I'm making a decision like this when I'm younger, you know? I was just so overwhelmed. Thoughts about how it might tear my family apart rose in my head. How everyone would probably say "She was such a nice girl, temptation is hardest on the youth". I just hated the thought of it all. I remember last Thursday I just couldn't take it, I just had to vent. I went to my guidance counselor and just cried like a baby, hyperventilating, hiccuping and all. I sat there for the rest of the day just talking, telling her how everything was just eating at me. I talk to all my friends about this hoping that they understand how I feel, but it's hard for them to I think because they've never been in the Mormon world. So I showed them the movie "The God Makers" and that just creeped them out. And even I learned form it! Like really! You never hear about any of this! I guess I'm just venting right now, looking for some understanding and people like me. Thanks for the new blog to read.

Mormon411 said...

Senigami, I hope you don't mind if I reply to Insomniatic Sunrise.

I too am from a family that is LDS going back generations. It is very difficult when you know you can no longer believe in the church knowing that they will talk about you. How disappointed they are. How (in my case) you are a returned missionary. How could you turn your back on light and truth?

I remember back in 2005 sitting at my computer reading anything and everything I could find about the REAL LDS church. Many evenings, I would walk away feeling sick. I knew I could no longer do it. I knew my TBM wife would not understand.

However, ironically, the most trapped I ever felt was on my mission. I had a companion who was so abusive and overbearing that I nearly had a nervous breakdown. He used his status as the senior companion and the priesthood and the mission rules to choke me into submission. He would actually sit outside the bathroom door and listen to me while I was in the shower to make sure I was only singing mission-approved music (and probably to make sure I wasn't masturbating). I felt so trapped. The mission takes away everything you are. They take away your name. They make you dress alike. They dictate the time you will go to bed and get up. They give you a list of rules that are to never be broken. If anyone deviates at all, they are labeled. All I wanted was for this jerk to get off my back and because of that I was labeled my entire mission. If this is the extent of the control that the church will exert when free will is gladly surrendered, then RUN! Get out!

There is no need to feel ashamed for no longer believing in their myths. Yes, they will judge you. Yes, they will abandon you. But if this is the fruits of "the only true church", then you aren't missing much. If the LDS church really was so family oriented, they would not treat those who leave the church in this manner. It really is shameful how they act. It is a cult.

Surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are. You are not alone. People have been shunned and judged by the church and it's members for 180 years. You are not the first to see and accept the truth no matter what the consequences. You will not be the last.

senigami said...

Insomniatic, I'm glad you took the time to post your question. You are in a hard transitional period right now and talking about it with people who understand is your best therapy at the moment. I myself am a 7th generation Mormon on my Dad's side and lived in Utah for a while when I was younger so I understand your position with family. I had a similar discussion with a 14 year old in a similar situation. I would re post the conversation but it is better viewed in the original context on Mormon411's site. (scroll down to the comments)

What it comes down to is you are at the mercy of your family until you are 18 and so you must tough it out until then. You are good with quotes so I'll give you another one to help you get by.
"All the world's a stage" -- Shakespeare
Remember you are in a group that is OBSESSED with the appearance of doing good. Everyone you know has some secret that they would be crushed it if ever got out. Everyone is performing for everyone else. You just need to put on a good act while you are at home and church and you can have quite a good time silently laughing at all the absurdities. You can make your own private game to get by.

If your bishop corners you in your interview let me give you the best trump card you can play. It is the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32). Basically one says no but then does what is asked, the second says yes and then doesn't. The result was that the first was more justified in the eyes of the Lord. So you tell your Bishop or anyone else that you have doubts (don't say disbelieve) and you will still go to church with your family (till you are 18) So doesn't that make you a better person than a true believer who sins or skips out on what they should be doing? If you need further words to shew them away just tell them that you are going to keep attending and will let the 'seed' grow inside you. Just don't tell them it is the seed of doubt. If they assume it is the seed from Alma that is fine. They will leave you alone if you do this. Just act out your part until you are able to remove yourself from the act. Good luck to you. I hope to hear from you on here again.

senigami said...

Mormon411, I welcome your posts anytime and value your input and fresh perspectives. Thank you for your comment.

Insomniatic Sunrise said...

That post was hilarious! Thanks for the advice and I think this online community is what I need. Also I couldn't help to laugh looking over into the next room and seeing on the seminary white board (yeah it's in my house, yet I only go about twice a's gonna be more now though from some threats from my parents) that it says "The Holy Ghost can help us recognize the deceptions of the adversary" .....more like, anything "anti Mormon" is the Devil. Well anyways, thanks for the help

Insomniatic Sunrise said...

Thank you, I've read some of your blog too and it's really eye opening. My sister's on a mission right now, I think it's internally driving her crazy, but she would totally make the perfect "TBM" but hey if she's happy, I don't wanna ruin a relationship trying to convince her in later years. I'll make sure to follow up on your blog, thanks again for the insight.

danizier said...

I really enjoyed and appreciated this much more complete (and accurate) "edit" of the Articles of Faith.