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Kevin Graham

Can Mormons leave for legitimate reasons?

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But our perceptions are always colored by our own individual personal history, character, knowledge, ignorance, desires, mental and emotional health, ambitions, etc.  So no decision to accept the gospel or to reject it is likely to be purely rational, uncolored by "personal" factors. 

We can trust that God knows this and appreciates it far better than we do, and that, in his mercy, he will take such factors into account.

These words are very similar to mine. I use them in a very different context though.

When I am told that it is my pride, my intellectual arrogance, my

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I find the fact that many members believe one only stops believing in the church because of some defect, sin, or demons, uncomfortable.

Perhaps it is difficult to acknowledge that some people just have a different way of experiencing life, God, or religion.

I can't say my disbelief came from "knowledge" in the typical sense.

It is just that my personal inspiration, revelation, understanding, and awareness are much different that what is taught in the church. While I would never suggest I was a perfect person, I can honestly say that I could NOT have tried harder to do that which was required to "know" the church was true. Many of the teachings of the church just conflicted with my own personal truth. I struggled to try and conform/alter/change my beliefs and let go of what was in my heart and spirit to believe what I was told I must believe but to no avail...

I don't know why I see the world/God/life/truth differently. I do know that I got to a point where I could no longer deny my own truth. I have come to believe that if the church is true, I am not one of the chosen and I am fine with this. I am not CKHL material and I can humbly admit and accept this (the CKHL has NO appeal to me whatsoever).

The God of Christianity/Mormonism does not fit with my awareness of God. I'm NOT saying I'm right. All I know is that my "truth" works for me. The LDS ideas do not.

I did not really know of the issues and difficulties of the church until I had given up trying to believe in the truth claims of the church.

It is my observation that like myself, many leave the church because it doesn't make sense... it doesn't feel right....it doesn't fill one's heart with hope and peace.

I understand it does for many and this is a wonderful thing... but perhaps it just doesn't work for everyone...

Just the way I see it... :P

~dancer~

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Ray: You can read a little bit of it here. Outside of my immediate family (and the Bishop at the time), I've told two people of my experience -- the 2nd was my new Bishop last weekend. When I began to tell him of the actual discovery (which for me occured abruptly), I got too choked up to continue. Thankfully he understood how that discovery had affected me, as well as my inability to find ANYONE that had heard of that particular part of Church history. He actually put my feelings into words! He understood.

I cringe to think how it would have gone if some of you had been my new Bishop. Can you imagine relating such a devastating experience to someone who just blows you off? Not just someone -- to a Priesthood holder, who just blows you off??

I know some of you sincerely believe what you are saying. It doesn't make it less painful for the recipient. It doesn't make it any more valid than statements claiming all BIC members are dim-witted, brainwashed, Cult followers. How do you respond to (sincere) people who actually BELIEVE that hogwash despite anything you might say? ::shrug:: You don't. You leave them in their ignorance and walk away.

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The point is, not everyone who leaves the church is some lifelong inner critic of the Church who finally decided to explode out with his or her "demons." Some of them spend a great deal of their life dismissing some of the challenges anti-Mormonism lays before our feet. Many spend a great deal of time defending the Church as well (Tolworthy?). This is agony for a great many and I think it is safe to say that anyone who does this, it is because they want the Church to be true, not because they want it to be false. Think about that.

Very good. :P

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. . I can't say my disbelief came from "knowledge" in the typical sense.

It is just that my personal inspiration, revelation, understanding, and awareness are much different that what is taught in the church.

. . . I struggled to try and conform/alter/change my beliefs and let go of what was in my heart and spirit to believe what I was told I must believe but to no avail...

. . It is my observation that like myself, many leave the church because it doesn't make sense... it doesn't feel right....

On the face, you admit exactly what many may profess . . that feelings and knowledge are always mixed/involved. As well they should be, IMO.

One might also argue that both feelings and knowledge are just chemicals in the brain, so both might be labeled knowledge. Semantics can be used any way we want them to be used.

What I find interesting and puzzling are those who've left the Church but are still here cynically, even contentiously contending for their non-faith. Where is their happiness? Why not simply go out and share the truth they've found with good tidings?

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Hi 1dc

One might also argue that both feelings and knowledge are just chemicals in the brain, so both might be labeled knowledge. Semantics can be used any way we want them to be used.

I was not trying to argue semantics... I tried to suggest that my issues were not from the knowedge of the difficulties within the church but from my personal way of seeing the world. And yes I do believe that emotions are chemicals in our bodies.

What I find interesting and puzzling are those who've left the Church but are still here cynically, even contentiously contending for their non-faith. Where is their happiness? Why not simply go out and share the truth they've found with good tidings?

I don't know about others but I have NO illusions that what is my personal truth is ultimate truth. I also have NO desire whatsoever to convince anyone that the way i see the world is the way they should see it as well. I believe we are all on a personal journey doing our best to manage our lives and discover truth. If someone finds a belief or faith tradition that fills their life with meaning and purpose and ideals GREAT! I'm happy for them. I just don't happen to think that this is the same for everyone.

~dancer~

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Guest johnny_cat
I believe we are all on a personal journey doing our best to manage our lives and discover truth. If someone finds a belief or faith tradition that fills their life with meaning and purpose and ideals GREAT! I'm happy for them. I just don't happen to think that this is the same for everyone.

That's sort of my attitude. I have a testimony of the restored gospel, but I understand that many people don't find the happiness and joy I have in the church. God will be our judge, not me, thankfully.

The people I don't understood are those who have this "find your own path" attitude yet expend so much time and energy telling us how awful the church is. Doesn't make any sense to me.

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How do you respond to (sincere) people who actually BELIEVE that hogwash despite anything you might say? ::shrug:: You don't. You leave them in their ignorance and walk away.

Hi, Joy. I look forward to your participation because you are female and because you have a somewhat unique situation...that makes for good discussions. So...I disagree with what you said here. In this environment you should make a good case for your side rather than walking away. But get to know the players before you stereotype them. Several here are agreeing with you.

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I have never thought that anyone who leaves The Church is never a result of knowledge. I for one think that people leave based on knowledge they have gained. There are practically thousands of pieces of information out there regarding The Church. It's easy, for us who spend a great deal of time looking into issues regarding The Church, to say that those who might leave are leaving for some other reason, but frankly not everyone has that kind of time or the interest. Lets face it, not everyone - be them LDS or not - are not always the brightest bulb in the bunch nor does everyone explore, analyze and evaluate. Someone might even consider Ed Decker or the late Walter Martin as reputable scholars on all things LDS and base their decision on that.

I guess on some level, however, you could say that they all have one "problem," which is lack of spiritual seeking or trust (if you subscribe to the idea that we are indeed Christ's church in the first place.)

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Hi Dan,

== (1) I don't read all posts on all threads, Kevin. And I comment on far fewer than I read.

Point taken. However, your post indicated that, at the very least, you actually had read Beowulf's post. I simply noted that you failed to condemn what was obviously wrong with it. He clearly offered an outrageously false and offensive caricature of every ex-Mormon alive, justified by nothing but his own limited experience with a relatively few. Knowing fully well that you despise such false caricatures, I was only surprised that you offered nothing in your post to condemn it. If anything, you encouraged him to continue on with his... what you would call "intolerance" if it involved Islam. Remember, you accused me of lumping a billion people into one category when I did no such thing. Beowulf's position is explicit. He declares that every single ex-Mormon on planet earth suffers from inner demons which cause them to lie to us about their reasons for leaving. Wouldn't you agree that this is absurd?

== (2) To insinuate that I believe that "ex-Mormons deserve no respect at all" is an outrageously false and offensive caricature justified by nothing that I've written here or anywhere else. Ever.

I only insinuated that you commented on this thread while failing to condemn what was clearly wrong. I'm sorry you took it any other way. The only thing that might suggest you think ex-Mormons deserve no respect at all, would be found in silence. But I am always willing to hear and accept clarifications of your own positions. Don't you hate it when people accuse you of lying on forums? Now put yourself in an ex-Mormon's shoes for a second. Imagine that LDS apologists accuse you of lying. Does that make you want to come back into the fold, or despise it even more? They use this as a means to further their rationale for leaving, and I can't say that I blame them. We should be ashamed of the way we treat those who have left, or are in the process of leaving.

== (3) Sometimes, frankly, it seems to me that you have some sort of deep inner need to demonize others and to pick fights.

I regret you feel that way, but the fact is, I am actually protesting against such demonizations. Who the heck am I supposedly demonizing anyway? I'm responding to the fact that all ex-Mormons are unjustifiably demonized as liars with no intellectual basis in their apostasy. Surely you can understand how this comes across as pompous and down right intolerant. I did not start this topic, I'm merely voicing my opinion on this matter, and I'm not going to stand by while LDS apologia embarrasses itself by trying to hijack the concept of real "knoweldge" unto itself.

== I'm not normally into what you term "psychobabble," but I'm really not sure how else to read it.

Dan, why do you feel its important to psychoanalyze me? How you could ever know that I have some "inner need" of any kind, is a mystery to me. I have never demonized you. On the contrary, I have a long history of speaking well of you, and I continue to do so in spite of our recent disagreements. The hardest thing I've had to deal with recently, since my apologetic interests have shifted, is to watch those whom I considered cohorts fighting for the same cause, lose respect for me. But please note this well - I continue to hold you in the highest regard. One reason why you were recently placed on Daniel Pipes' preferred list of Middle-East professors, is because I spoke well of you to him.

Further, if it were not for the fact that I truly respect both you and Wade, it wouldn't bother me in the least that neither of you skimmed over this discussion without disagreeing with the outrageously false and offensive caricature of all ex-Mormons; which is justified by nothing but Beowulf's personal mind-reading claims.

== And, please, don't suddenly profess to be offended. Not after the insulting accusations you made, both implicitly and explicitly, just above.

Dan, correct me if I'm wrong, but I have never called you a bigot. Can you say the same? This wouldn't be the first, second, nor perhaps even the third time you've misunderstood what I've written. Much of this is probably due to my writing style - no, I never implied you're just stupid - but I'm not sure exactly why you tend to presume the worst with me. Maybe it has something to do with your false assumption that I have an "inner need" to demonize. This isn't true at all. The only people I remember demonizing are anti-Mormons like Walter Martin. This, I believe, is a popular practice among beginner apologists, but I like to think I've grown out of it.

== I'm not embarrassed. I suppose I'm just too stupid. Can't follow the arguments. Don't know when I'm being humiliated.

Dan, you'd be the last person here I'd ever call "stupid." I guess this only goes to show that the psychoanalysis of my "inner need" is a failed one at that.

But this is beside the point really. My point being, people can and do leave the Church because of "knowledge." Whether we find it to be "intellectual" is beside the point. We cannot change the concept of "knowledge" just to satisfy our own demonizations, which, I'm afraid, is gradually becoming a dominant theme in LDS apologetics. It's best to nip this in the butt before it gets out of hand.

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However, your post indicated that, at the very least, you actually had read Beowulf's post. I simply noted that you failed to condemn what was obviously wrong with it.

I clearly didn't read Beowulf's post the way you do. I did, however, offer my own view of the interplay between pure rationality (which I don't, on the whole, regard as a genuine human attribute) and "personal factors." I thought I was clear enough. I don't typically regard people as "lying" when they say that they've left for purely intellectual reasons -- though I'm aware of several specific cases where, in fact, that claim did turn out to be demonstrably untrue -- but I've repeatedly noticed that the "intellectual reasons" that drive one person out of the Church fail to drive others out who are of equal intelligence and intellectual integrity. I see that as obvious confirmation of something that seems intuitively clear from the get-go, which is that extra-rational or non-intellectual factors play a role in our decisions, or, at least, that the intellectual issues are seldom if ever as clear and decisive as they are often made out to be.

Dan, why do you feel its important to psychoanalyze me?

I don't.

I have, however, watched some episodes in which you've been involved with puzzlement and, to be perfectly frank, growing concern.

Dan, correct me if I'm wrong, but I have never called you a bigot.

You never have.

Can you say the same?

No.

I appreciate you're having gotten me in touch with Dr. Pipes, incidentally.

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Implicit in this notion is a willful blindness to the undeniable problems which exist in Mormon history and doctrine;

What I find striking is that many who leave the Church seem unable to allow for the possibility that others can be aware of the same difficulties and yet remain faithful and believing. For them, there is only one logical conclusion- You're either ignorant and in, or "enlightened" and out.

These people frequently relate discovery narratives, something like "So there I was, a 47th generation TBM, and no one had ever taught me __________! Once I read that, I just knew the Church couldn't be true." By the time they're telling these stories, they have generally picked up on and toss in the laundry list of common complaints that was helpfully posted earlier, in order to back up their "intellectual" reasons for leaving.

I think that "intellectual" issues can contribute strongly to people leaving, or at least being uncomfortable staying.

I think there are a few factors at play when that happens.

1) There's an unconscious pride of sorts, in the sense that the person may think they really have a good grasp on the issue at hand. They "know" all about it, with a sense of finality. I think there's danger for any of us when we assume that we already know everything. Dil Parkinson gave a great talk in Jerusalem when I was there about the danger of "assumption of knowledge." (He gave it modified version as a BYU devotional) Remember what Laman and Lemuel "knew" and they were completely wrong. I think one of the best things we can do in this respect is take an agnostic approach to anythign not central to the gospel. That's not to say we shouldn't learn about it, but we should always remind ourselves that there may be more we don't know that would completely change our understanding of the matter.

2)Which brings me to my second point. Many people make assumptions about the gospel without considering the logic or basis of those assumptions. This frequently takes the form of "A true prophet would never do _____________" or " I don't believe God would ever ______________" or "If the Bishop were really inspired, he would have__________." Joseph Smith is no worse (and better in several cases) than the prophets in the Bible. Of course, if you don't accept the information in it, than you also won't accept those arguments. As a sidenote, I'm not arguing for inerrancy here, just pointing out that if people formed their ideas about what a prophet can and can't do from the sole source of information we have on the topic, Joseph Smith would trouble them much less. That may simply complicate the issue by broadening the question instead of answering it, but many people don't even take that step of checking their assumptions against our one source.

Once at a door on my mission, a woman admitted to not believing in God. I asked why. "Well, I prayed for (something pretty shallow, I can't even remember what. A new car or something) and I never got it. So, there can't be a God." I was somewhat tired and frustrated by that point in the day, and the gaping holes in the finality and logic of her conclusion pushed me over the edge.

"Look, God isn't Santa Clause." Somehow that failed to convince her...

I don't think being inactive or excommunicated is equivalent to not having a testimony. I think there are people outside the Church who still have testimonies, and I KNOW there are plenty of people left inside who really shouldn't be, ImHO.

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If the Apologists argue that noone leaves the LDS church for intellectual reaons, what about those in Burton's terminology are closet doubters? They stay in the lds church, like its values but do not believe it to be the true church. I think Burton mentions a young Japanese member who never gave her testimony, an he asked her why, and her response if I remember correctly was that she no longer believed in the truthfulness of the LDS church as believing LDS did. I remember a long term member who use to talk sometimes with me on the train to work, snickering about why I might have really left the LDS church, is now serving a jail term for molesting all his children. Where was the Holy Ghost in his life? How come no Bishop had any gift of discernment. A large number of LDS couples I knew who have been married in the temple are divorced. in one prominent family, all three children. A Bishop who rented out an investment property to some other members whose children got lead paint poisening as a result of his lack of maintenence, his response was that was bad luck for them. All entitled to some special Holy Spirit experience.

The major issue that made me convinced that the LDS church was not what it has claimed to be was the Book of Abraham question. I use to read the material in the Ensign by Nibley, but after getting hold of the Dialogue articles, i realised that the scripture was a fraud. The "missing scroll theory" and the inspired by the BOB (Tvendtes) theory were to me silly and missed the obvious. I would sit with knowledgable LDS and ask them what they thought, was I wrong. I look at what Dale writes here and can sympathise with her/his concerns about the BOA apologetics currently being published. I look forward to Brent's book

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While obviously everyone experiences disbelief differently...

Most of those I know who lose their belief, just don't feel right about many teachings in the church. While I do know some who are deeply bothered by historical stuff MY observation is that this is less of an issue than some of the teachings that just don't feel holy or good or correct.

But I think the whole issue is complex.

What I find very troubling is the idea that one looses belief in the church because they are being led away, or they are engaged in sin, or Satan is influencing them... Ahhh this is not only erroneous but filled with manipulation and coercion IMO.

:P

~dancer~

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If the Apologists argue that noone leaves the LDS church for intellectual reaons, what about those in Burton's terminology are closet doubters?

I, for one, have never argued that nobody leaves the Church for intellectual reasons. And, from my perspective, "closet doubters" merely constitute a specialized subset of those who have effectively "left the Church."

I remember a long term member who use to talk sometimes with me on the train to work, snickering about why I might have really left the LDS church, is now serving a jail term for molesting all his children. Where was the Holy Ghost in his life? . . .  A large number of LDS couples I knew who have been married in the temple are divorced. in one prominent family, all three children. A Bishop who rented out an investment property to some other members whose children got lead paint poisening as a result of his lack of maintenence, his response was that was bad luck for them.

Has anybody here claimed that there is no sin among active Church members?

What has any of this got to do with whether there are or aren't reasons for leaving the Church?

How come no Bishop had any gift of discernment.

What has this got to do with the issue of the thread?

The major issue that made me convinced that the LDS church was not what it has claimed to be was the Book of Abraham question. I use to read the material in the Ensign by Nibley, but after getting hold of the Dialogue articles, i realised that the scripture was a fraud. The "missing scroll theory" and the inspired by the BOB (Tvendtes) theory were to me silly and missed the obvious.

A nice illustration of precisely what I said above. There are plenty of people who have read both Nibley's Ensign articles and the articles that appeared in Dialogue, yet remain believers. (I know one of them intimately.) Why is that? Why did noel00 "realise" that the Book of Abraham is a "fraud," while hundreds if not thousands of others didn't "realise" that "fact"? Why do obviously intelligent and apparently sane people accept the "missing scroll theory" and/or the "inspired" theory of John Tvedtnes, despite their "silliness," while failing to recognize what noel00 says is "obvious"? Are they stupid? Mentally or emotionally defective? Psychologically crippled? Is noel00 arguing, in view of what he regards as the blindingly obvious character of the arguments that destroy Mormonism, that there can be no genuine intellectual grounds for maintaining belief? If so, he has no standing to complain about an equal but opposite position.

What I find very troubling is the idea that one looses belief in the church because they are being led away, or they are engaged in sin, or Satan is influencing them...  Ahhh this is not only erroneous but filled with manipulation and coercion IMO.

But a doctrinal system that recognizes the possibility of satanic influence and "leading away" is well within its intellectual rights to believe that such cases actually do occur (whether or not the causes can be precisely identified in any specific instance). If Lucifer and his minions exist, sowing doubt and leading believers into unbelief are precisely the sorts of things they could be expected to do.

For a nonbeliever to claim that allowing for such a possibility is illegitimate or immoral is itself, in my view, an ethically questionable usurpation of interpretive rights that belong only to believers.

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I cringe to think how it would have gone if some of you had been my new Bishop. Can you imagine relating such a devastating experience to someone who just blows you off? Not just someone -- to a Priesthood holder, who just blows you off??

Joy,

You have vastly underestimated and misjudged me. I have been a bishop, and I have worked with people in your situation. I would even say I'm an expert in apostasy! Been there, done that myself. If I had been your bishop, I might venture to say, you might not have left the church. But in the early 80s, when I was a bishop, I probably could not have stopped you then because I too was very uninformed about "intellectual problems". It was after my stint as a bishop that I actually started reading "real" church history, and I got into Dialogue, Sunstone, and other alternative publications which came to be called the "New Mormon History".

What surprises me is the rapidity at which you judge me as someone who would "blow you off", if, theoretically, I had been your bishop. (Maybe you were not referring to me personally, but it was in a post directed to me.) How do you know that? I have never been your bishop. How many of my posts have you read? Did you know I was rebaptised, and left the church five times in 13 years, trying to get back in, unsuccessfully? Did you know I spent about seven months on Recovery From Mormonism? Did you know I not only had similar sentiments to you about the church, but still have grave reservations about it? I would like to overcome those feelings, but it's not easy, as you know. Maybe you, and I, are judging the church too quickly?

I get the impression, from the link you gave me, that you are a sincere "member investigator". I know what you mean. After 30 years of Mormonism, in fact today, Feb.6th, is exactly 30 years since I was baptised, I am still an "investigator". Because Mormonism is not a superficial nor an easy religion to understand when you really get into the complexities. That's why it's the only religion that really attracts me. The depth and complexity of it's tenets is quite amazing.

To comment briefly on your link: First of all, no one was "hiding" anything from you. With due respect you were, and maybe still are (?), an amateur researcher. The church is not going to advertise its problems and challenges, no church does. For example, you're never going to find articles in The Ensign as you'll see in Dialogue and Sunstone, but you're going to find plenty of FARMS-related stuff. That only natural, Joy. But it's not a "cover-up". Anyone can find discussion or material on any subject related to Mormon history, and problems and challenges, if one knows where to search. Your problem in those days, as it was for me, was someone knowledgeable to guide you through the process. I live in Australia, and when I was going through that questioning stage I had absolutely no one to help me. I wrote to America, and briefly corresponded with people like Truman Madsen and others, but it was a slow process by snail-mail and little was accomplished. So I walked away from the church in 1987, because my more sedate and accepting friends were puzzled, and disturbed, by my "unhealthy" questioning. In those days I was sometimes called "Korihor", and that deeply offended me. So I just stayed away from that environment where people judged and name-called rather than trying to understand. How different it is today with the internet.

So here I am. I've never stopped believing that Joseph Smith is/was a Prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is True. I'm honestly not sure about the present LDS Church though. I've begun attending Church again whilst trying to figure it out, and I've come here to ask some questions.

My advice to you is to stay with the church, and keep questioning. I had gone back last year for about two months, off and on, but then I had a series of disasters in my family and both of my daughters stopped talking to me. One disowned me because I went back, and told me I could become a "munk" (monk) if I wanted, but to never even mention the church to her again. I said, okay, I won't, but she never talked again and has vowed that I will never see my first grandchild, her baby which is due to be born in mid-April. My younger daughter, who was living with me, and had lived with me for 18 months, suddenly turned on me for reasons I don't want to go into detail about again, but you can read it in a former post I did, and she too disowned me. These two events shook me too much to continue in the church. I felt disheartened, and subsequently I have had to rearrange my whole life and move house again, the third time in 18 months. But I may yet make it back. Because really, the church is the place where one really finds peace, at least that is what I have found. But it is very challenging when you encounter narrow-minded people. I know you think I, and many others who have replied to your thread, are narrowminded. You'd be surprised. All you need to do, really, is to give those posters a chance, and remember that they too write from personal prejudices and biases, as we all do. I had heaps of trouble with them on ZLMB, to the point where I got banned for swearing and verbally defiling the temple in some of my comments. I can get very vicious when people treat me like that, so I understand how you feel. Many of those I clashed with on ZLMB are here now, and I don't have any problem with them. That's largely because I changed my attitude. So before you judge, take into account that the LDS defenders here might not be as bad as you think, if you try to understand how passionately they feel about their beliefs, and that they are constantly under attack here from antis and vicious exmos, as I was on ZLMB. So most of them live in defensive mode.

I'll comment a bit more later.

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Hi Dan...

For a nonbeliever to claim that allowing for such a possibility is illegitimate or immoral is itself, in my view, an ethically questionable usurpation of interpretive rights that belong only to believers.

Of course believers have a right to believe whatever they choose. I'm not saying this belief is immoral or illegitmate...

I just think it is unhealthy for one to suggest that in essence, "if you don't believe what I am telling you you must believe then you are not worthy or Satan is leading you astray.." It just feels coercive and manipulative.... Even if you don't agree do you see my point?

I'm much more comfortable with the views expressed by those such as Tom and Johnny Cat (and others) who allow for more possibilities and the unknown....

:P

~dancer~

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I remember sharing some of the information with a graduate philosophy student, from BYU and his response was that to accept what I presented would mean if accepted the end of his family etc. He has served as a Bishop and member of the Stake Pres since. I think he just avoids the issues. The cost is to much. What would it mean for you DCP? Have to find some other school to teach Islamic studies. I hear they teach Islamic studies at Fuller. Maybe find a job there? :P .

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I remember sharing some of the information with a graduate philosophy student, from BYU and his response was that to accept what I presented would mean if accepted the end of his family etc. He has served as a Bishop and member of the Stake Pres since.

And you conclude, from his very likely accurate comment, that he doesn't actually believe, but remains active only for the sake of Church positions and family harmony? At least in what you quote from him, he doesn't actually seem to say that.

I think he just avoids the issues. The cost is to much.

I have no particular reason to trust your interpretation of this person's actions, since I don't know him. I would need to hear such an explanation from the man himself, rather than from a somewhat cynical outsider like you, before I gave it complete credence. After all, there are those who suggest that I myself don't really believe in Mormonism, but am only in it for the money, or the glory, or the job security. (An alternative view, advanced by Tal Bachman and a few others, is that I'm mentally ill, or psychologically damaged, or some combination of the two. But that's another topic.)

In fact -- speak of the devil! -- here we have the ever-fresh "mercenary hack" insinuation yet once more:

What would it mean for you DCP? Have to find some other school to teach Islamic studies. I hear they teach Islamic studies at Fuller. Maybe find a job there?  :P .

If I renounced Mormonism, yes, I would need to find employment elsewhere. I don't believe that I would have much difficulty.

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Joy,

In your post explaining why you left the church, you wrote:

I left the Church about 13 years ago after encountering a historical-sort of challenge. Since I exhausted the local resources without finding any mention of it, I thought it was being 'covered up'. The event itself was a major challenge for me to accept, as it made something I held dear appear to be bogus, but 'hiding it' went against everything I believe about truth, honesty and integrity. I could no longer accept that the Church could be true, and I stopped considering myself to be LDS. I didn't have my name removed at that point, out of consideration for my husband's wishes, and the events leading to my name removal are unimportant for this discussion and of no consequence in reconsidering the Church.

Well "about 13 years ago" takes us back to circa.1992. So it was not a case of a lack of information, as plenty was around then, not like 1983 when I experienced my problems, but as you stated later, that you just didn't know where to search because of your inexperience. However, your reasoning that "the church could not be true" on those grounds is faulty. So would you agree that you were premature in that judgement, that you can't say "the church is not true" merely because you could not get access to information? I've already explained that there is no cover up (I qualify here that I do think the church definitely could be more forthright in many things; I've never hidden how I feel about that, but I don't see any malicious cover-up intended to deliberately deceive people). Now I don't know, maybe you'd like to qualify yourself, whether you see a difference between the church being true, and the gospel being true. Some make no distinction, but others do. Even David Whitmer did.

So Joy, to say that you left on purely "intellectual grounds" may be right in your case, but it was premature, and as I stated previously, there are facts, and there are perceptions, yours was a perception. I had other "problems" in my life unrelated to "intellectual problems", but the intellectual challenges pushed me away, or over the edge, whereas they would not have pushed away a more firm believer. That is my admission, that intellectual problems, plus personal weaknesses, drove me away. I make no bones about the fact that I very much enjoyed my years out of the church, and the plesaures of sin for a season were very enticing; I could do whatever I wanted and had freedom, which I loved much more than being tied to a church. But to then say that I left "only becuase of intellectual problems" would be dishonest of me. And that's why I believe that no one who is a true, committed believer will ever leave. So let's not blame "intellectual problems".

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Why do obviously intelligent and apparently sane people accept the "missing scroll theory" and/or the "inspired" theory of John Tvedtnes, despite their "silliness," while failing to recognize what noel00 says is "obvious"?  Are they stupid?  Mentally or emotionally defective?  Psychologically crippled?

No. No. No. No. I don't think noel00 is saying that. I'm certainly not. I'm saying two perfectly intelligent people can look at the same data and make different yet fully justified conclusions. I don't believe that God will hold someone accountable for not believing that the BoA is inspired--but I also want to make it clear that I also respect people who accept that it is.

--KY

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Wade == At the risk of being thought "arrogant" by the ever humble and open-minded Kevin Graham. My observations from personal experiences with siblings, other family members, and close friends, echoes that of Beowulf and Dr. Peterson and Ray A.

Let's stick to the issue. The claim was simple. Ex-Mormons do not leave the Church because of "knowledge." None of them do. Ever. This is the most absurd statement, as I see LDS apologists trying to hijack the concept of "knowledge" for themselves.

And nobody has addressed the Kevin Barney scenario. In the past he was asked - either on this forum or ZLMB - what it would take to prove to him the Church was false. The discussion was on this very same topic: "Could any amount of evidence convince a TBM that the Church was not true." Kevin was one of the first to jump on this and he said flat out that if historical evidence came forth that Joseph had pretended to have found gold plates before the vision, that "that would probably do it."

Now, suppose this happens. I suspect most here - including me - would run to the "anything is plausible" refuge. We're used to that. But if Kevin leaves the Church based on this historical finding, who here is prepared to say to him that he is leaving, not because of "knowledge," but because of his own "personal demons"? I think everyone knows and respects Kevin a great deal. The point is, not everyone who leaves the church is some lifelong inner critic of the Church who finally decided to explode out with his or her "demons." Some of them spend a great deal of their life dismissing some of the challenges anti-Mormonism lays before our feet. Many spend a great deal of time defending the Church as well (Tolworthy?). This is agony for a great many and I think it is safe to say that anyone who does this, it is because they want the Church to be true, not because they want it to be false. Think about that.

I am mystified with what this supposedly has to do with what I said. My comments were restricted to my own experience, and they were also restricted to the equally qualified comments of Beowulf, Dr. Peterson, and Ray A.

If you wish to directly engage my expressed views, then that would be appreciated.

Otherwise, I will leave you, undeserbed by me, to lecture the straw man of your own making.

P.S. not that it may matter to you, but I share Dr. Peterson's curiosity about what may be driving your over-the-top behavior towards fellow saints on this and other threads. If you have consistently been the voice of mutual respect and understanding, or even of consistet advocate of measured rhetoric, open-mindedness and acceptance, and your own behavior reflective of those things, then that would be one thing. But, to find it manifesting itself only in this instance, as well as in your rationalizations for anti-Islamism, is more than a little suggestive of some things.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Hi Wade,

== I am mystified with what this supposedly has to do with what I said.

It has nothing to do with what you said. I apologize if my post's disorganization led you to think that everything beneath your citation was in direct response to it.

== My comments were restricted to my own experience, and they were also restricted to the equally qualified comments of Beowulf, Dr. Peterson, and Ray A.

What you said I do not disagree with (except the part where you said I was ever-so humble). I have no doubt, as I have indicated elsewhere, that many people leave the Church for reasons other than intellectual. I'd venture to say the vast majority do not. So merely sharing more experiences of people who fit Beowulf's description is just stacking the deck without dealing with fallacious argument he presented. Which argument would that be? The one that says each and every ex-Mormon on the planet fits this description, and if they say otherwise, they're lying.

== Otherwise, I will leave you, undeserbed by me, to lecture the straw man of your own making.

There is no straw man involved here. I admit that you and Dan have not explicitly supported Beowulf's argument with unambiguous endorsement, but your silence on the matter is what led me to believe you implicitly support it.

== P.S. not that it may matter to you, but I share Dr. Peterson's curiosity about what may be driving your over-the-top behavior towards fellow saints on this and other threads.

Ever since I was banned from the FAIR e-list (for sharing concerns about gossip), I haven't had access to a forum where I'm comfortable speaking of such things.

== If you have consistently been the voice of mutual respect and understanding, or even of consistet advocate of measured rhetoric, open-mindedness and acceptance, and your own behavior reflective of those things, then that would be one thing. But, to find it manifesting itself only in this instance, as well as in your rationalizations for anti-Islamism, is more than a little suggestive of some things.

You're speaking as if I'm already proven to be the bad guy in this situation. Enumaelish seems to have understood my point well enough, but I'm not sure you have even acknowledged what my point is actually. Is it responsible or just to offer a mass psychoanalysis of thousands of people? A careful examination of the thread will reveal that I have done nothing but condemn the outrageously false and offensive caricature that questions the integrity of all our former brother and sisters. If condemning this kind of anti-missionary activity is "over-the-top," then so be it. If fellow LDS are guilty of this, then what am I to do, let it pass by and allow my silence to be understood as condoning it? Are all LDS apologists supposed to agree on everything without offering critical feedback on our views? I sure hope not.

PS: Speaking of straw men, nothing I have said is "anti-Islamism."

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Why do obviously intelligent and apparently sane people accept the "missing scroll theory" and/or the "inspired" theory of John Tvedtnes, despite their "silliness," while failing to recognize what noel00 says is "obvious"?

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== If the issues are not decisively resolvable on the evidence alone, but decisions are nonetheless made, those decisions must be reached on the basis of something besides the evidence alone. Hence, they are not purely intellectual.

I'm not sure I'm following you Dan. Are you saying, for example, that if group A is unconvinced by the evidence, as is group B, that this means group B's conclusion is not "intellectual," or, as Beowulf succinctly put it, "based on knowledge"? I'm having a hard time finding any definition of the term "intellectual" that would support this line of thought. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your position again.

In the case of group A (LDS who remain faithful), a bedrock LDS principle must be acknowledged. Mainly, that we do so for other reasons (such as spiritual); none of which are in any sense classified as "intellectual." Therefore, it seems rather disingenuous for us to deny an ex-Mormon "intellectual" claims when in fact we are the ones who are basing a belief on factors other than purely factual "knowledge" (i.e. spiritual, emotional, etc.). As for why both parties do not come to the same conclusion, one could just as easily argue that the LDS faithful have too much to lose, therefore they don't believe it because they don't want to. We do like these types of ESP drawn conclusions anymore than ex-Mormons do.

Do we not, after all, have a tendency to hold out for future evidences that we hope might wisk away what currently seems detrimental to LDS claims? For example, I've been waiting patiently for many years on the BoA issue. I am the one basing my testimony on something other than factual "knowledge," not the ex-Mormons who saw the evidence and made an intellectual choice of their own. Before we assume ex-Mormons are the ones with non-intellectual baggage that taints their perspective, we should consider the fact that if the BoA were put on trial, it would be dismissed without incident. The majority of the world would base its judgment on the evidence, and make intellectual conclusions accordingly. We may wish for everyone to first adopt our premise of "spiritual witness," but the fact is, this is a non-intellectual qualifier that we insert into the equation. I base my testimony on what I believe I know "spiritually," as well as what I hope I might see resolved in the future. Thus, I am the one guilty of having drawn a less than "purely intellectual" conclusion, not ex-Mormons like Brent Metcalfe. Having said that, I must make it clear that I do not believe a "purely intellectual" decision is always a good thing.

Further, we may choose to classify ex-Mormons as those who have become spiritually dead. But if we do we merely beg the question. This isn't enough, in my opinion, to deny their claims of having left the faith because of "knowledge" they gained. Also, there is a good reason why we know so many ex-Mormons who have emotional issues. If someone leaves the Church for reasons they find compelling, it is natural to have an "emotional" reaction. This is what we've come to see for the most part in our experiences with ex-Mormons. But what was the precursor of this emotional breakdown? We don't know for certain. All we have is the testimony of those who experience it, and I'm not willing to deny anyone their claims just because it would be beneficial to me and my testimony to think they were just sinful people who left for anti-intellectual reasons.

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