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Monday, February 19, 2018

Different Versions of the First Vision Story

  It's been a while since I've posted anything here. Life has been very busy, but I'm preparing to make my position known to my family and other church members. Rather than shock everyone with a pronouncement I would like to make my position clear with a series of short essays before the willingness to listen to what I have to say is switched off. Recently a discussion about the various accounts of the first vision story came up in which it was indicated that I didn't know what I was talking about and the other versions were written by other people not by Joseph Smith like the official version was. Using information, mainly from the amazing articles at MormonThink I wrote up a response that I know will be the first in a chain of events. I would love to get as much feedback on this as I can before I unleash it.

Different Versions of the First Vision Story

  In 2013 the church published an essay on their website called “First Vision Accounts”
In this article they talk about 8 different accounts, 2 written directly by Joseph Smith’s hand and the other dictated by him to other people. The article supports the validity of these accounts and says, “The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Historians expect that when an individual retells an experience in multiple settings to different audiences over many years, each account will emphasize various aspects of the experience and contain unique details…. the rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if it were less well documented.”

Why are there so many different versions instead of just one?

  People might ask why there are so many differences and use it as an excuse to say he made the whole thing up. There are a number of differences and considering the long time span between the event and when it was recorded you would expect some differences to occur. After all it is a scientifically proven fact that we add details that never happened if experiences are not recorded immediately because we shape our memories to fit a story-line. When we remember we are recreating the events in our minds rather than recalling exact images, we tend to make ourselves look better in the retelling to explain our actions. These are established scientific facts about memory recall. If fact we re-imagine historic pasts so much that if people repeatedly imagine having an experience, they are likely to report that it actually happened, especially if they did not record actual details of the experience immediately. This is why stories often grow in the retelling and most people are not even aware that it is happening.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Baptism Blues

  Yesterday was a hard day for me.  I baptized my oldest daughter.  If you read my other blog entries you know why I had to do it.  I want to be a part of their lives and so I have to stick it out.

  She looked so happy and I could tell that it meant a lot to her but I just felt so sad inside like I was deceiving her.  It was important to me to be able to be the one to baptize her so that we would have that special bond.  My dad left the church when I was 7 and so he didn't baptize me like he did my older sister.  Being a child I did not understand and since the church makes such a huge deal out of baptism I was so jealous of her.  It wasn't fair that I was kept from that experience with my dad.  Well I don't want my girls to experience the same thing and so I will keep at it until my youngest is baptized.

  Perhaps someday when they are older and the truth comes out they will realize that I did what I had to do to keep us together because I love them.  Maybe that will help them to find the truth as well.  That is actually the topic I focused on in the confirmation was that she would "seek out truth wherever it may be".  I want her to find the truth out there and not settle for the information that is being spoon fed to her in the church.

  I was so happy to have the support of a good friend who was able to participate in the program who understands my position.  In fact it was through that support that another family member was identified as being in the same circumstance as myself.  I am very happy to have another person that I can talk with about this.  I was so shocked when my support friend identified this other person to me, I said "seriously? But I've seen him at church!"  She said, "well you go to church too."  I had to laugh about that because I'm sure that the reaction will be similar on his side.  I will be speaking to him soon.  So cool.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Mormon Survival Guide for the Unbeliever - Dealing with Faith Loss Part 2

read part 1: Dealing with Faith Loss: Making Peace with Yourself

Mormon Survival Guide for the Unbeliever

  Once you make the decision that the church does not hold the truths that you once ascribed to it, the next logical course of action is for you to leave.  But for many that choice may be far away and continued membership may be your best or only option for a while longer.

  There are a number of reasons why someone may choose to remain a member for a while.  

  At the start the most common reason will be that you are still coming to terms with the upheaval in your belief system and still trying to decide what direction to take in your life.  It is not good to rush into things.  You will note from many others that leaving the church can be a challenge and at many times embarrassing.  Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into before you make any life changing decisions.

  Perhaps you have friends in the church and you wish to stay for social reasons.  Perhaps you come from a Mormon family consisting of either relatives, children, or a spouse, and the difficulties are just to many at this stage.

  Perhaps you are not in a position to leave.  I've spoken with several people so far who are under age and don't have the option to leave on their own. 

  Staying in the church as an unbeliever can be challenging and I have listed various situations and some ideas on how to deal with them.  I welcome suggestions in the comments and will incorporate any advice that would benefit other readers.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dealing with Faith Loss: Making Peace with Yourself


  There are a number of articles on the web that deal with the loss of faith or even loss in general. This two-part article is specifically aimed at those within the Mormon religion who have recently found themselves at a crossroads of their faith.  It is my hope that this guide will help to get you through and ease your pain. I broke it up into several categories.  This is by no means a complete list and I would welcome any help that anyone would like to contribute for future readers.

  First let's take a step back for a quick analysis of how you arrived at this crucial point in your belief system.  Lets break down the process into a series of stages. There is an excellent article on the stages of faith loss that I will summarize here and combine with the stages of grief and loss.

Stages of Faith Loss

Illustrated Difficulty of Stage Transitioning

Stage 1) Blind faith

  Most believers will normally enter this stage at some point in your life.  It is a childlike belief that is non questioning, much like when your parents told you about the existence of Santa Claus. It is true because someone you trusted told you so.  This is the desired state that any church wishes its believers to remain in all their lives and is often directed towards with the scripture that admonishes you to "Become as a little child." and is most likely where you existed as a true believer.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The One Fold Mission of the Church

  We just had stake conference this last Sunday and as I sat there with my family listening to the various talks I was struck by their similarity.  Every single talk that was given was entirely focused on bringing other people into the church.  Whether it was through inviting them to dinner, giving them a BOM, or sharing family history it was all about advertising the church to others.  I felt like I was viewing a web page where all I could see were ads and the content was lost somewhere in-between.

According to the Church website there is supposed to be this Three-Fold Mission involving:
  1. Sharing the Gospel
  2. Perfecting the Saints
  3. Redeeming the Dead
 I don't think I have ever really heard any talks that revolve around points 2 and 3 on this list.  I mean sure I have heard talks about how guilty we are of sin in an effort to make us feel so guilty that we have the desire to run off weeping and throw ourselves at the mercy of the bishop in an effort to repent.  But NOTHING about how one could actually become a better person in the community, to each other, or at school, work, or friends and family.  

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.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


 First off, welcome to by blog.  I assume that you are here because you are either a Mormon yourself or know someone who is.  Perhaps you have doubts or just find some of the beliefs to be a bit odd or confusing.  Well you are not alone.  Here you are welcome to vent your frustrations and hopefully find your own resolutions and find peace within yourself.

About Me

 I am an active Mormon.  I attend church every week with my family and even attend the temple twice a month.  At the time of this writing I currently have a calling as a minor member of the Bishopric. I have regular scripture study with my family and hold weekly family home evenings. Basically all the things I'm supposed to do to keep from falling away from the faith.

 Oh and I'm an atheist. 

 Okay, so maybe you think that seems a bit odd and out of place, or maybe you don't.  Either way that is my circumstance.  There are a number of reasons why I still go to church and am a 'closet atheist' which I will be happy to expound on later, for now lets just put it down to family reasons.

 I have no ill-will towards Christians or those of any faith.  I'm not out to convert you to atheism, you are free to make that decision on your own but I'll be happy to share my conversion story with you.  Unlike the pretended stance of the church I honestly believe that people should be free to make their own decisions.  To put it briefly it was not a decision I made quickly but was about 15 years in the making.  I have been off and on a devout believer in the church and God and fully understand why believers believe. As of this writing I have been an atheist for a little over a year now and I feel better about my decision each and every day.

So Why Blog?

 I have to thank my friend Mormon411 for encouraging me to start this up.  I have been making comments on his blog and he made me realize that I have a lot that I want to say.

 Coming to realize the church is false was hard.  At the time of realization you have no knowledge of where you can turn for support, you feel angry, betrayed, and lost.  You can't tell anyone you know because of the fear of rejection, judgement, and loss of friendship that would ensue.  You are left wondering where you can turn to find someone with whom you can express your new found self and accept and understand you for who you are.  I imagine that the fear and experience would be similar for anyone faced with the need to 'come out' with socially unexcepted beliefs and/or feelings.  It can be a confusing and frightening time and I hope that not only will you find an outlet here but you can then in turn help and become a shoulder for others to lean on as well.

Live long and prosper,