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About Joe

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  1. Thanks for taking the time to help me feel validated. I have studied a lot also, putting in many hundreds of hours, but I mostly stayed away from sources that were considered hostile to the church. If anyone showed a negative bias to the church I shut them out. I still am that way for the most part. I still haven't read Fawn Brody's book, but am familiar with it because Richard Bushman quoted it a lot in Rough Stone Rolling. Everything I learned can be found at Deseret book, lds.org, or through source material. There's plenty of damning evidence to be found there. I fear I will soon find myself on the outside looking in. It has been my experience that someone like me is viewed as a cancer that needs to be removed before it spreads.
  2. I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe in being a good person. I believe that the only life worth living is one that is lived for others. I believe love is the first law of heaven. I still pray daily and read the scriptures often - Mostly the New Testament right now. The Book of Mormon has inspired me, as I've read it at least a few dozen times. I no longer believe it is a real history of a real people, but is inspired. I believe myth can be scripture. I believe many of the stories in the bible are myth. Human's teach/learn/inspire through myth. I am still trying know God. I'd give anything to know Him. I am beginning to believe that knowledge and certainty were not apart of his plan. Faith is more important to me now than ever. I'm still trying to work out my beliefs, but that's where I'm at now.
  3. Okay, I'm finally caught up on reading responses to my post. When I say, prominent, you guys probably assume stake presidency or high council. I am currently not serving in any of those, but my calling is fairly visible, as I speak in other wards and regularly work directly with the bishops. I spoke in stake conference last year. My faith transition began 6 years ago as I dove into church history to prove my brother-in-law wrong that Joseph Smith didn't practice polygamy. I was shocked at what I found. For about 5 years I held onto my beliefs, doubled down, and became the best latter-day saint that I knew how to be. I went to the temple weekly. I showed up for every move and service project. It was a very difficult, yet magical period in my life as I really strove to draw near to God like I never had before. It wasn't until about six months ago that I finally admitted to myself that the church isn't what it claims to be. I had made excuses for Joseph Smith for many years and I reached a point that I couldn't do it anymore. I finally said, "The church isn't true" in a prayer and instantly felt peace wash over me as I finally let go and stopped the mental gymnastics that believing in Joseph's claims required. That was six months ago. A month after my temple recommend interview. Years after I had accepted my current calling. I didn't lie once, but a lot of you have called me a fraud, which reinforces how I have felt lately. I feel like a fraud. I am living a double life because I keep quiet and let people assume I believe like them. I have thought about talking to my stake president, but I'm afraid of the consequences. I'm afraid because I've seen how people are treated when they admit that they don't believe anymore. My sister's husband stopped believing talked to his bishop about it. That bishop told him not to talk to anyone in the ward and then put the word out to all his ward to not talk to him, or my sister (who was still a believer), or her kids. My wife and kids are still believers and I'm afraid that something similar will happen to them. Also, I like being a member of the church. It's all I've ever known. Even though it's hard to hear people bear testimony of Joseph Smith each Sunday, I still feel like this is my tribe. Anyway, feel free to ask me anything. P.S. I looked up what a sock puppet is, and I assure you that I am not one.
  4. I've never heard the term sock puppet, but I can tell you I'm not a troll.
  5. I believe in God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. It turns out there is plenty to teach about Jesus without Joseph Smith. I don't profess belief in Joseph Smith at the pulpit, and stay true to what I claim to believe.
  6. Just so you know - I'm one of those people. After many years of researching church history I have concluded that Joseph made it up. I felt deeply betrayed as I learned that the CES version of history was less than accurate (to put it mildly), and the actual version was deeply troubling as it was painfully obvious that it was a fraud. I still hold a prominent stake calling and nobody knows I don't believe. I still live the church's moral standards 100%, including no porn, extramarital sex, or word of wisdom issues. I actually love the church's standards, but just don't believe it is what it claims to be. There's many more like me, but most people don't have a clue we exist. When someone like me does leave, I have observed that it is often misunderstood why. Incorrect assumptions are made and rumors are spread. It is often believed they wanted to sin, so they left. Church history is rarely cited as the reason, even though it was what lead the person to lose their belief.
  7. Those that have stayed, but don't fit the mold, live double lives. In my current calling I have had very intimate conversations with members about their struggles with not living up to the standards. A lot of men view pornography frequently. One guy was viewing the most vile stuff the internet has to offer at night, and working as an ordinance worker in the temple during the day. Many guys I've talked to have crossed the boundary between fantasy and reality, but you'd never know it on Sunday. A lot of these guys are highly respected and looked up to.
  8. Hi guys - I'm mostly a lurker on here, but I feel I need to chime in. People leave the church for many reasons. My older brother left the church because he didn't like it. He liked to to party and have fun and do whatever he wanted, so he left the church the moment he left the house. I know lots of people in this camp. I also know lots of people that have left because they didn't fit the mold after trying for many years; either because they were gay or because they had a word of wisdom issue, or just something that made them feel like they didn't feel welcome. Lately I have seen MANY solid members I know leave the church because they felt they were lied to by the church. They have learned that many of the faith promoting stories they grew up with in sunday school and seminary were embellished or inaccurate. They have learned that Joseph Smith was not the person they thought he was. They have learned that the official version of the first vision we have in our scriptures is not quite what Joseph said happened in 1832. They learn that Joseph used a seer stone to lead people on bogus treasure hunts for profit, then used that same stone to dictate the Book of Mormon without even looking at the plates. They learn that the Book of Abraham was a fraudulent translation of the Egyptian papyri. They learn Joseph married many young brides; many behind Emma's back. They once thought this kind of information was anti-mormon lies, but now it's all on lds.org, presented as truth. This info starts them down the rabbit hole, and many good people lose their literal belief in the church.
  9. My predictions for the next 10 years: The correlated history of the church will drastically change to inoculate members against troubling facts. This is already happening, so not much of a prediction Joseph Smith Translation will be removed from our scriptures and lesson manuals. If you are wondering why, look up "Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary" Wards will be smaller in size, and more will be in the same building. The missionary program will become less about proselyting and more about giving meaningful service. Think of all the good our missionary force will do! My prediction for the next 20 years: Book of Mormon will be seen more and more as inspired myth. Same with pearl of great price. Still revered and read often, but with the understanding that they are not literal records of ancient people. Women will be ordained to an office in the priesthood. This could happen sooner! Masonic rituals to be abandoned in our temples. Replaced with rituals that aren't as weird and shocking to our day in age. Garments will be abandoned. Word of wisdom will not be a temple question. This is the way it was 100 years ago. This will allow people that are struggling with the vices of drugs and alcohol to receive the blessings of the temple to help them overcome their addictions. My prediction for the next 30 years: Same sex marriages will be allowed and accepted. No doubt in my mind this will happen. I just hope it happens sooner.
  10. Anyone that has studied church history knows that the church has changed drastically since 1830. There's even a valid argument that it isn't even the same church as key policies, and doctrine have been modified or abandoned over the decades. Even the official name of the church changed twice, with the second name not even containing Christ's name. We will continue to see big changes in the church as the people change. Overall I'm encouraged by the direction the church is heading. We're becoming Christians again! Speaking as someone with ADHD, and young kids with ADHD, two hour church is the greatest thing ever!
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