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I have strong feelings contrary to moral principles...


Matthew J. Tandy

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Note: This post is not specifically for Pale Rider. Anyone can chime in. However, this is directly related to comments he made (and others pressed him on)in the thread Good People, leaving the church. Specifically, the implication was first that many (not all) who don't leave the church haven't done the research, then that they don't want to, then that they are too emotionally invested, etc etc. These are arguments we all see from time to time, and really are along the same lines to me as the equally ridiculous (which Pale Rider also rightly condemns) view that everyone leaves the church because of immorality or the desire to be so. So to be clear, I am not accusing Pale Rider of being terrible or anything. I haven't interacted with the boards much for several months (or longer) due to work, life in general etc. But I do want to address the concept of who stays and who goes, using the "I am a Mormon" format (okay, not really, but I'll be making statements that fly in the face of what has been said by some). Also, there is only one argument I find persuasive for people both joining and leaving the church, and none of them were mentioned in the thread in question by Pale Rider or a few others, that being that intelligent, reasonable people who have full mental and emotional faculty, who have no stake either way in a worldly sense about whether they join or leave, can come to different conclusions based on historical evidence. With that said, let's continue.

I am always honest about who I am, and that I gain my strength from the Savior, so please be aware I have no issues speaking of my struggles, as well as general allusions to very real spiritual experiences, as I know in whom I have faith and redemption.

******

Hi, I'm Matt Tandy. I'm a property manager, a husband, and a father. And I'm a Mormon.

I also am not a "good member" in terms of desires. If I left the church, I would likely be a womanizer, probably a drunkard, deceitful, selfish, abrasive, a drug-user, and a vigilante. I would seriously consider a life in organized crime and would feel very little in that profession about eliminating through most means those who were in the way of what I wanted. I would still be quite loyal to my friends, friendly to strangers, the poor, and the downtrodden. I would support causes I felt were good for removing suffering, as long as it did not interfere with my own agency and happiness, hence the likelihood of organized crime. I realize this is not typical of people who leave the church, who are in the church, or who have never left the church. I do not say these things lightly or flippantly. I simply know who I am.

Almost every single urge I have is almost overpowering, and it would be extremely easy for me to give into any of these.

Much of both my wife's family and my family struggles with activity, are not members, or wouldn't bat an eye if I left. In fact, several would likely leave with me. I could likely use my power of persuasion and influence to either convince my wife to leave also, or to convince her to leave me alone in my beliefs and she can live hers if she didn't. I have next to zero chance of family repercussions should I choose to leave, so I do not stand to really lose anything by leaving the church. It would be extremely liberating and even enjoyable in many respects.

I first encountered extreme judgmental members while in Highschool, when my seminary teacher accused me of being on the road to apostasy because I did not believe the earth was created in 7,000 years, as Joseph Fielding Smith believed and taught. This was also one of my first encounters with the realization I held views very much opposed to a (then) apostle, and later prophet. I had good reason to leave right then.

My degree is Ancient Near Eastern Studies with a focus in Hebrew. I spent much of the time learning to recognize historical problems with the bible, reading about how Israel was not much different than the Canaanites, Babylonians, etc in terms of belief in being guided by deity, prophecies, etc. I went into the degree because it both interested me and I thought it would help to better answer certain criticisms. Instead my entire view of scripture morphed dramatically, as well as history, etc. I have written lengthy papers that many in the church would consider heretical, but I view as simply getting to the truth of what ancient Israel actually believed, right or wrong. I have offended sensitive members on occasion (unintentionally) to the point where I was once asked not to comment in Sunday School anymore unless it was in life-applications by a well-meaning Bishop who didn't want to deal with the few complaints.

Just a few weeks ago a religion instructor with CES implied I was on the road to apostasy (man, been on this road for ages it seems) because I did not accept his views that every footnote in the LDS scriptures, every statement in the CES manuals are true doctrine since they went through correlation, which is headed by the First Presidency and Apostles. In fact I believe they have errors of man in them and are often arbitrary inclusions!

I have probably read equal amounts of anti-Mormon literature and watched many of the movies as I have of faithful LDS history in the last decade. I pursue knowledge voraciously from every quarter, true or not, simply because I want to understand how others think and why. My addiction that I indulge in, the only stress in my marriage, is that I spend anywhere from 4-10 hours a day doing nothing other than reading history, news, and politics from all extremes. I am not a "professional apologist", but a consumer of information and analyzer of history.

It should be noted I know little of basketball, football, and baseball, which, combined with my interest in other topics, makes me generally a social outcast in church. I could leave and never return and would have few friends to come looking for me.

I was recently called to one of the few callings I dreaded the most, Ward Clerk. Before that I had no calling for almost a year, a record in my ward. Three years ago I was called to Nursery, the number one calling I did not want and feared. I loved the kids, but hated every moment of it. It should be noted I am a germaphobe, which is why I dreaded it. Every Sunday I was in there I struggled to stay calm and not go screaming out the door because of the massive amounts of snot, pee, poo, saliva, and other germ laden swapping of fluids that was there. I have, and had, no reason to stay for the sake of my calling, and would be more relaxed and happier in some sense if I simply left.

I am linked in a way to some of the worst of the bureaucracy of the corporate church. There are some crazy nut-cases in there (but, I should add, the corporate church aspects I deal with are mainly populated by overwhelmingly incredible, dedicated individuals who I would trust with my life and all I have in this world). I deal with the red-tape, the political jockeying, the off-kilter spouses, etc. It's a big organization, and it suffers all the foibles to some degree any large corporation does, including some individuals who only see the money aspects, not the people (though again, in this point I must add clarity for the other side, that being that I see overwhelming good in the corporate aspect of the church, both people, purpose, and method).

So to sum it up: I have almost over-powering desires for almost everything that is immoral and even evil. It feels like an insatiable hunger. I have a calling (and have had callings) I would gladly leave. If I left the church, few if any in my ward would notice much, few if any family would care (and some family and a few ward members would even likely leave also), I am a trained historian who finds problems with scripture and some church teachings, I know a ton about the church, good and bad, and even think most members are naive about its history and beliefs, preferring an "all is well in Zion" attitude. I know the perils of the corporate aspect of the church and have had to deal with it.

I have every single reason to leave the Church. I have done the research. I have no reason to stay. I would probably be happier in some sense out of the church. I have no "emotional investment".

I am a physically active, spiritually dedicated, wholly devoted Mormon.

Why? I fly in the face of every single reason I have seen for why someone would stay in the Church.

Why I am still here?

Because I would consider my "spiritual" experiences in general to be extraordinary.

Because the Spirit has been a powerful witness in my life.

Because I have had visions and prophecies in my personal life, directly related to the church, I have seen come to pass. Things I saw with clarity and kept in remembrance years before they eventuated.

Because I have seen things that are too sacred to share, both physically and spiritually.

Because I have had paradigm changing experiences with dark forces and seen it in others, and know more from personal experience of their reality and power than I assume most ever will in this life (hopefully).

Because many of these experiences tie directly into the truthfulness of the Gospel and Church as it stands today.

Because I know what has been revealed, because I have witnesses stronger than just a "feeling" or "voice". Because I, as Paul, am a slave to Christ, and am so joyfully. Because I am honor-bound and desire to take my knowledge and joy in the Gospel (the actual Gospel, not necessarily the organizational church) and help others, especially the youth and the downtrodden to find that same joy and hope in Christ through God's church and teachings. Because I must protect the youth and the weak from the adversary who I know to be real. Because I know the church is not perfect because of Man and the world the Church must exist in, but it is God's true and living church, and it will bring all closer to Christ. Because as a result of my experiences I know that the man Thomas S. Monson is God's authorized mouthpiece for the world and church as a whole, and the apostles are called and ordained of God. Because I know that Jesus if the Christ, that he knows me, and that his atonement helps me to be a better person and to fight the carnal man, that he makes up for my inadequacies.

In every single way, I would be happier outside of the church, EXCEPT the knowledge I have would destroy me, and that includes a sure knowledge of how I would be held accountable.

*****

I do not expect this to change too much the back and forth about why people leave the church. I do hope however that it makes some people realize that there are some, and perhaps they are few, who could vanish from the church without a trace and who in many ways desire to, but who have such a sure knowledge of it's ultimate truth, regardless of imperfections in history or modern organization, that they never can without extreme rejection of in-your face truth. Anti's will still be anti's for the most part, unbelievers will be unbelievers, those who struggle will still mostly struggle, and the faithful will be faithful. I do however hope that in speaking, even generally, about my own experience, that some will be persuaded to realize that some of us can never leave, and it's not because of fear of family, emotional investment, time investment, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, lack of temptation, or any such thing. Let me also add that I will not likely reveal more about my experiences in general, but that I am not insane, never been on medication, have no known allergies or medical conditions, do not hear voices in my head, never taken drugs, alcohol, etc nor engaged in any offensive behavior despite my constant hour by hour battle against my baser nature. I do not see the walking dead wandering around, nor have I ever had a "near death experience" to explain things. I am of quite sound mind and body, though I suppose my saying so does not prevent some who would reject allusions as either puffing up of simpler experiences or as mental issues.

More importantly, above all else, I hope in sharing this that some who waver here know that people who have almost every reason to leave remain, not because of family or emotional or time investment or comfort, but because of a sure knowledge. Yes, this is in part flock-tending, which as Jesus did it, I believe is quite legitimate.

For discussion purposes: For those who are anti-Mormon, where do I fit in on why I haven't left the church. If it is because it is as I say (or at least you accept I believe it is as I say) why do I never hear of my group of people in the church from you? Is it because you do not believe in us, because you never encountered us, or some other reason. I am simply tired of the inference that those who have either studied the Church and Gospel or are not emotionally invested in either (or can overcome it), would not be a part of it. It seems to always be that we are either willfully deceptive, don't know enough, can't bear the emotional and social/work struggle of leaving, or choose to ignore controversial aspects of history.

I do not want to belittle those who have left the church and did go through great struggles that I would never have to in order to do so. I recognize that many of you were following what your mind said was right and were willing to pay the price. I do not doubt the sincerity of most of you. I do not doubt that some of you are happier than ever now. This is about one group of those who stay and why. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts (as I am a knowledge addict on how others view the world!).

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Matt,

Thank you for this. My feelings seem very similar although I did leave the church at one time. I managed to find a good excuse and left. But it didn't work out and I'm sure you understand why. I have been back for a few years now and am happy - well, at least happier than I was when I was away.

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Aside from some unique personal differences (I'm not a germophope, but still think Nursey Leader would be a nightmare calling because I don't like other peoples' kids), I could say "ditto" to your post.

Perhaps this is what is meant by enduring to the end. The natural man is an "enemy to God". As " natural men" we WILL have desires to go against the will of God. I suppose it all comes down to whether we are willing to recognise the spiritual experiences we have for whay they are. If we recognise those experience then we stay on the path no matter what the "natural man" wants to do. If we're willing to explain those spiritual experiences away as something else, then we truly have no reason for staying in the Church.

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Note: This post is not specifically for Pale Rider. Anyone can chime in. However, this is directly related to comments he made (and others pressed him on)in the thread Good People, leaving the church. Specifically, the implication was first that many (not all) who don't leave the church haven't done the research, then that they don't want to, then that they are too emotionally invested, etc etc. These are arguments we all see from time to time, and really are along the same lines to me as the equally ridiculous (which Pale Rider also rightly condemns) view that everyone leaves the church because of immorality or the desire to be so. So to be clear, I am not accusing Pale Rider of being terrible or anything. I haven't interacted with the boards much for several months (or longer) due to work, life in general etc. But I do want to address the concept of who stays and who goes, using the "I am a Mormon" format (okay, not really, but I'll be making statements that fly in the face of what has been said by some). Also, there is only one argument I find persuasive for people both joining and leaving the church, and none of them were mentioned in the thread in question by Pale Rider or a few others, that being that intelligent, reasonable people who have full mental and emotional faculty, who have no stake either way in a worldly sense about whether they join or leave, can come to different conclusions based on historical evidence. With that said, let's continue.

I am always honest about who I am, and that I gain my strength from the Savior, so please be aware I have no issues speaking of my struggles, as well as general allusions to very real spiritual experiences, as I know in whom I have faith and redemption.

******

Hi, I'm Matt Tandy. I'm a property manager, a husband, and a father. And I'm a Mormon.

I also am not a "good member" in terms of desires. If I left the church, I would likely be a womanizer, probably a drunkard, deceitful, selfish, abrasive, a drug-user, and a vigilante. I would seriously consider a life in organized crime and would feel very little in that profession about eliminating through most means those who were in the way of what I wanted. I would still be quite loyal to my friends, friendly to strangers, the poor, and the downtrodden. I would support causes I felt were good for removing suffering, as long as it did not interfere with my own agency and happiness, hence the likelihood of organized crime. I realize this is not typical of people who leave the church, who are in the church, or who have never left the church. I do not say these things lightly or flippantly. I simply know who I am.

Almost every single urge I have is almost overpowering, and it would be extremely easy for me to give into any of these.

Much of both my wife's family and my family struggles with activity, are not members, or wouldn't bat an eye if I left. In fact, several would likely leave with me. I could likely use my power of persuasion and influence to either convince my wife to leave also, or to convince her to leave me alone in my beliefs and she can live hers if she didn't. I have next to zero chance of family repercussions should I choose to leave, so I do not stand to really lose anything by leaving the church. It would be extremely liberating and even enjoyable in many respects.

I first encountered extreme judgmental members while in Highschool, when my seminary teacher accused me of being on the road to apostasy because I did not believe the earth was created in 7,000 years, as Joseph Fielding Smith believed and taught. This was also one of my first encounters with the realization I held views very much opposed to a (then) apostle, and later prophet. I had good reason to leave right then.

My degree is Ancient Near Eastern Studies with a focus in Hebrew. I spent much of the time learning to recognize historical problems with the bible, reading about how Israel was not much different than the Canaanites, Babylonians, etc in terms of belief in being guided by deity, prophecies, etc. I went into the degree because it both interested me and I thought it would help to better answer certain criticisms. Instead my entire view of scripture morphed dramatically, as well as history, etc. I have written lengthy papers that many in the church would consider heretical, but I view as simply getting to the truth of what ancient Israel actually believed, right or wrong. I have offended sensitive members on occasion (unintentionally) to the point where I was once asked not to comment in Sunday School anymore unless it was in life-applications by a well-meaning Bishop who didn't want to deal with the few complaints.

Just a few weeks ago a religion instructor with CES implied I was on the road to apostasy (man, been on this road for ages it seems) because I did not accept his views that every footnote in the LDS scriptures, every statement in the CES manuals are true doctrine since they went through correlation, which is headed by the First Presidency and Apostles. In fact I believe they have errors of man in them and are often arbitrary inclusions!

I have probably read equal amounts of anti-Mormon literature and watched many of the movies as I have of faithful LDS history in the last decade. I pursue knowledge voraciously from every quarter, true or not, simply because I want to understand how others think and why. My addiction that I indulge in, the only stress in my marriage, is that I spend anywhere from 4-10 hours a day doing nothing other than reading history, news, and politics from all extremes. I am not a "professional apologist", but a consumer of information and analyzer of history.

It should be noted I know little of basketball, football, and baseball, which, combined with my interest in other topics, makes me generally a social outcast in church. I could leave and never return and would have few friends to come looking for me.

I was recently called to one of the few callings I dreaded the most, Ward Clerk. Before that I had no calling for almost a year, a record in my ward. Three years ago I was called to Nursery, the number one calling I did not want and feared. I loved the kids, but hated every moment of it. It should be noted I am a germaphobe, which is why I dreaded it. Every Sunday I was in there I struggled to stay calm and not go screaming out the door because of the massive amounts of snot, pee, poo, saliva, and other germ laden swapping of fluids that was there. I have, and had, no reason to stay for the sake of my calling, and would be more relaxed and happier in some sense if I simply left.

I am linked in a way to some of the worst of the bureaucracy of the corporate church. There are some crazy nut-cases in there (but, I should add, the corporate church aspects I deal with are mainly populated by overwhelmingly incredible, dedicated individuals who I would trust with my life and all I have in this world). I deal with the red-tape, the political jockeying, the off-kilter spouses, etc. It's a big organization, and it suffers all the foibles to some degree any large corporation does, including some individuals who only see the money aspects, not the people (though again, in this point I must add clarity for the other side, that being that I see overwhelming good in the corporate aspect of the church, both people, purpose, and method).

So to sum it up: I have almost over-powering desires for almost everything that is immoral and even evil. It feels like an insatiable hunger. I have a calling (and have had callings) I would gladly leave. If I left the church, few if any in my ward would notice much, few if any family would care (and some family and a few ward members would even likely leave also), I am a trained historian who finds problems with scripture and some church teachings, I know a ton about the church, good and bad, and even think most members are naive about its history and beliefs, preferring an "all is well in Zion" attitude. I know the perils of the corporate aspect of the church and have had to deal with it.

I have every single reason to leave the Church. I have done the research. I have no reason to stay. I would probably be happier in some sense out of the church. I have no "emotional investment".

I am a physically active, spiritually dedicated, wholly devoted Mormon.

Why? I fly in the face of every single reason I have seen for why someone would stay in the Church.

Why I am still here?

Because I would consider my "spiritual" experiences in general to be extraordinary.

Because the Spirit has been a powerful witness in my life.

Because I have had visions and prophecies in my personal life, directly related to the church, I have seen come to pass. Things I saw with clarity and kept in remembrance years before they eventuated.

Because I have seen things that are too sacred to share, both physically and spiritually.

Because I have had paradigm changing experiences with dark forces and seen it in others, and know more from personal experience of their reality and power than I assume most ever will in this life (hopefully).

Because many of these experiences tie directly into the truthfulness of the Gospel and Church as it stands today.

Because I know what has been revealed, because I have witnesses stronger than just a "feeling" or "voice". Because I, as Paul, am a slave to Christ, and am so joyfully. Because I am honor-bound and desire to take my knowledge and joy in the Gospel (the actual Gospel, not necessarily the organizational church) and help others, especially the youth and the downtrodden to find that same joy and hope in Christ through God's church and teachings. Because I must protect the youth and the weak from the adversary who I know to be real. Because I know the church is not perfect because of Man and the world the Church must exist in, but it is God's true and living church, and it will bring all closer to Christ. Because as a result of my experiences I know that the man Thomas S. Monson is God's authorized mouthpiece for the world and church as a whole, and the apostles are called and ordained of God. Because I know that Jesus if the Christ, that he knows me, and that his atonement helps me to be a better person and to fight the carnal man, that he makes up for my inadequacies.

In every single way, I would be happier outside of the church, EXCEPT the knowledge I have would destroy me, and that includes a sure knowledge of how I would be held accountable.

*****

I do not expect this to change too much the back and forth about why people leave the church. I do hope however that it makes some people realize that there are some, and perhaps they are few, who could vanish from the church without a trace and who in many ways desire to, but who have such a sure knowledge of it's ultimate truth, regardless of imperfections in history or modern organization, that they never can without extreme rejection of in-your face truth. Anti's will still be anti's for the most part, unbelievers will be unbelievers, those who struggle will still mostly struggle, and the faithful will be faithful. I do however hope that in speaking, even generally, about my own experience, that some will be persuaded to realize that some of us can never leave, and it's not because of fear of family, emotional investment, time investment, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, lack of temptation, or any such thing. Let me also add that I will not likely reveal more about my experiences in general, but that I am not insane, never been on medication, have no known allergies or medical conditions, do not hear voices in my head, never taken drugs, alcohol, etc nor engaged in any offensive behavior despite my constant hour by hour battle against my baser nature. I do not see the walking dead wandering around, nor have I ever had a "near death experience" to explain things. I am of quite sound mind and body, though I suppose my saying so does not prevent some who would reject allusions as either puffing up of simpler experiences or as mental issues.

More importantly, above all else, I hope in sharing this that some who waver here know that people who have almost every reason to leave remain, not because of family or emotional or time investment or comfort, but because of a sure knowledge. Yes, this is in part flock-tending, which as Jesus did it, I believe is quite legitimate.

For discussion purposes: For those who are anti-Mormon, where do I fit in on why I haven't left the church. If it is because it is as I say (or at least you accept I believe it is as I say) why do I never hear of my group of people in the church from you? Is it because you do not believe in us, because you never encountered us, or some other reason. I am simply tired of the inference that those who have either studied the Church and Gospel or are not emotionally invested in either (or can overcome it), would not be a part of it. It seems to always be that we are either willfully deceptive, don't know enough, can't bear the emotional and social/work struggle of leaving, or choose to ignore controversial aspects of history.

I do not want to belittle those who have left the church and did go through great struggles that I would never have to in order to do so. I recognize that many of you were following what your mind said was right and were willing to pay the price. I do not doubt the sincerity of most of you. I do not doubt that some of you are happier than ever now. This is about one group of those who stay and why. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts (as I am a knowledge addict on how others view the world!).

Matt,

I appreciate your honesty. More on this later.............

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I love how this was just casually slipped in at the end...

"I recognize that many of you were following what your mind said was right and were willing to pay the price."
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I have every single reason to leave the Church. I have done the research. I have no reason to stay. I would probably be happier in some sense out of the church. I have no "emotional investment".

I am a physically active, spiritually dedicated, wholly devoted Mormon.

Why? I fly in the face of every single reason I have seen for why someone would stay in the Church.

Why I am still here?

Because I would consider my "spiritual" experiences in general to be extraordinary.

Because the Spirit has been a powerful witness in my life.

Because I have had visions and prophecies in my personal life, directly related to the church, I have seen come to pass. Things I saw with clarity and kept in remembrance years before they eventuated.

Because I have seen things that are too sacred to share, both physically and spiritually.

Yep, that about sums it up for me.

Bob Dylan:

"If my thought/dreams could be seen.

They'd probably put my head

In a guillotine.

But it's all right ma,

It's life and life only"

I used to be an atheist, but I got better.

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I love how this was just casually slipped in at the end...

It was not casual at all. My target audience, as evidenced in the opening of the post, was for a very specific mindset. Since you are not part of that, nor is anyone who leaves the church based on spiritual or emotional issues, this does not apply in the same way to you. This is addressing the falsehood that anyone who was properly educated in the matter of origins of the church and had no emotional investment (or could overcome it through intellect) would leave. Obviously, that does not fit you.

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Why I am still here?

Because I would consider my "spiritual" experiences in general to be extraordinary.

Because the Spirit has been a powerful witness in my life.

Thank you so much for taking the time, and having the honesty and courage, to pubicly reveal so much of your soul, Matt.

Although I do not have the overwhelming desires to which you allude (for which I thank God and give myself no credit), everything else in your post resonates with my experience.

In answer to your question about "anti-Mormons," I expect the reason they do not know much of the existence of Mormons such as yourself is because the LDS Church does everything it can do to keep you from being known for who you are, up to and including asking you to give only certain responses in Sunday school.

You are relegated to ward clerk; I to high priest secretary.

I frequently think on the sermon Jesus gave in John's gospel about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, and how many of his disciples left, considering these hard things to hear. When Jesus asked Peter if he would leave, too, he said, "Where shall I go? Thou only hast the words of life."

I feel a lot like Peter a lot of the time.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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It was not casual at all. My target audience, as evidenced in the opening of the post, was for a very specific mindset. Since you are not part of that, nor is anyone who leaves the church based on spiritual or emotional issues, this does not apply in the same way to you. This is addressing the falsehood that anyone who was properly educated in the matter of origins of the church and had no emotional investment (or could overcome it through intellect) would leave. Obviously, that does not fit you.

:P Thanks for the clarification.

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You are relegated to ward clerk; I to high priest secretary.

What the heck is this supposed to mean?

I suppose you think you should be prophet or at least a General Authority?

I really have no idea why you would say such a thing- or how you think that could be taken in any positive way whatsoever.

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It means the Church has ways of placing those with heterodox notions in positions where they will not be heard.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Assuming this is true, is it surprising that a church who teaches that it is the "one true church" would not want heretical doctrine preached by its members?

Should church be a democracy where we all preach anything we want and then discuss which doctrine is right?

I think that is called "Unitarianism".

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In answer to your question about "anti-Mormons," I expect the reason they do not know much of the existence of Mormons such as yourself is because the LDS Church does everything it can do to keep you from being known for who you are, up to and including asking you to give only certain responses in Sunday school.

You are relegated to ward clerk; I to high priest secretary.

Actually, I was placed as Ward Clerk because I have great organizational skills and manage many things at once as part of my daily work. My ward is extremely transitional and has about 7 ward clerks. I will be overseeing all of them.

Additionally, after being censured by the one Bishop, a few months later a new Bishop was called and shortly thereafter I was made Elder's Quorum president over more than 130 fully active elders. I was called to nursery immediately after that. The Bishop who censured me was the exception, not the norm (at least with me). But I had every reason to be upset at him and the Church if I so chose (I didn't). The point of it was that I have had to deal personally with anti-intellectualism in my church life.

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You know, Consig, I really don't know what it is you would like the church to be. You seem to know very precisely what you don't want church to be, but you never seem to describe what it should be.

I feel like I am always attacking you, because I really don't understand what you want, or where you are coming from.

To me, that sounds like you are just critical, and never make any positive suggestions or comments. I mean what is it that would make you happy?

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To me, that sounds like you are just critical, and never make any positive suggestions or comments. I mean what is it that would make you happy?

I'm sorry that I come across this way, mfb.

I suppose at heart I yearn for the dynamic form of Mormonism at work in the days of Joseph Smith.

I feel that the LDS Church today has about as much to do with the church Joseph Smith established as the Christian Church of A.D. 200 had to do with the church Jesus established.

I don't know if that makes things any clearer, but there it is.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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It means the Church has ways of placing those with heterodox notions in positions where they will not be heard.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Not true!! I know several people with some unorthodox views. They are and have been EQ Pres, on bishoprics, YSA leaders etc. I think you're reading far too much into the callings people are given.

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I suppose at heart I yearn for the dynamic form of Mormonism at work in the days of Joseph Smith.

I feel that the LDS Church today has about as much to do with the church Joseph Smith established as the Christian Church of A.D. 200 had to do with the church Jesus established.

Ok, well that helps. I feel like I understand you a little better.

Sorry to the OP for the derail.

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Matt, you have no temptations but what are common to man. I am lucky not to be not tempted by drinking (or smoking) and I have no predilection for organized crime (though I am tempted to make money off of other people's addictions). I am not afflicted with doubts about Church history having debated them for years and not found any strong arguments against the Church there. I also was rescued from a concerned Bishop and Quorum advisor by my Dad and a Stake President over my acceptance of evolution, so I got a positive boost there. Yet I have little love and no desire for most Church callings and I get tired of dealing with all the silly stupid things that go on among certain members that being in priesthood leadership, I have to deal with. And I still am strong in the Church and my testimony burns like an everlasting blowtorch.

Thanks for your testimony.

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Should church be a democracy where we all preach anything we want and then discuss which doctrine is right?

No, but if you modify that to discuss and express our opinions all we want and then contrast and compare them to the established doctrines of the Church, then I would agree that is what we should do even though some or many might be offended.

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I can relate to this on a lot of levels.

I am burdened constantly with natural man desires that I refuse to allow to rule me.

I'm not much of an apologist but I am a member of FAIR.

If you are on the road to apostasy, I am as well, but I assure you that I am not. I'm not an idiot, and I know what it really means to be apostate. I know what it would really take. I am not going to allow people that really have no idea of the reality of things to tell me their definition of apostasy, and try to judge me by those standards. I know that I am where I am because I have a true desire to know truth, and not to be trammeled, by those who consider tradition to be that which defines what the truth is. I am loyal to the Lord's anointed, but that doesn't mean that I must believe everything that anybody ever preached that is contrary to what I feel is really true.

I'm not going to make myself a target in Church, so I keep my mouth shut, and I will always submit to whatever those that have the priesthood keys require of me. if they drag me into a Church court over something, then I will submit. I know not to mess with the priesthood, even if people are dominating unrighteously. I know better than to be at enmity to the keys of the priesthood.

It is good for people who are unaware of warts in the Church's history or whatever to remain that way. I don't have any reason to bring them out of it, or shake them from their misconceptions. They might as well continue on in that existence. If it keeps them faithful to be able to endure to the end, who am I to remove them from that state? I don't necessarily feel that I am called to "inoculate" people. That is not my duty. I don't feel that people should introduce difficult things to people unnecessarily.

Remember the incredible amount for good that you can perform with your knowledge.

I would invite you to volunteer to be a temple worker if there is a temple in your area. Immerse yourself in the temple. Forget the regular stuff in Church where it may seem unfulfilling. Just do what is asked of you there, but focus on the temple. The temple is where I have found fulfillment and satisfaction in my drudgery of an existence.

I have a nuanced faith, and will continue on even though I know here and there that some things are not in their perfect state in the Church.

Note: This post is not specifically for Pale Rider. Anyone can chime in. However, this is directly related to comments he made (and others pressed him on)in the thread Good People, leaving the church. Specifically, the implication was first that many (not all) who don't leave the church haven't done the research, then that they don't want to, then that they are too emotionally invested, etc etc. These are arguments we all see from time to time, and really are along the same lines to me as the equally ridiculous (which Pale Rider also rightly condemns) view that everyone leaves the church because of immorality or the desire to be so. So to be clear, I am not accusing Pale Rider of being terrible or anything. I haven't interacted with the boards much for several months (or longer) due to work, life in general etc. But I do want to address the concept of who stays and who goes, using the "I am a Mormon" format (okay, not really, but I'll be making statements that fly in the face of what has been said by some). Also, there is only one argument I find persuasive for people both joining and leaving the church, and none of them were mentioned in the thread in question by Pale Rider or a few others, that being that intelligent, reasonable people who have full mental and emotional faculty, who have no stake either way in a worldly sense about whether they join or leave, can come to different conclusions based on historical evidence. With that said, let's continue.

I am always honest about who I am, and that I gain my strength from the Savior, so please be aware I have no issues speaking of my struggles, as well as general allusions to very real spiritual experiences, as I know in whom I have faith and redemption.

******

Hi, I'm Matt Tandy. I'm a property manager, a husband, and a father. And I'm a Mormon.

I also am not a "good member" in terms of desires. If I left the church, I would likely be a womanizer, probably a drunkard, deceitful, selfish, abrasive, a drug-user, and a vigilante. I would seriously consider a life in organized crime and would feel very little in that profession about eliminating through most means those who were in the way of what I wanted. I would still be quite loyal to my friends, friendly to strangers, the poor, and the downtrodden. I would support causes I felt were good for removing suffering, as long as it did not interfere with my own agency and happiness, hence the likelihood of organized crime. I realize this is not typical of people who leave the church, who are in the church, or who have never left the church. I do not say these things lightly or flippantly. I simply know who I am.

Almost every single urge I have is almost overpowering, and it would be extremely easy for me to give into any of these.

Much of both my wife's family and my family struggles with activity, are not members, or wouldn't bat an eye if I left. In fact, several would likely leave with me. I could likely use my power of persuasion and influence to either convince my wife to leave also, or to convince her to leave me alone in my beliefs and she can live hers if she didn't. I have next to zero chance of family repercussions should I choose to leave, so I do not stand to really lose anything by leaving the church. It would be extremely liberating and even enjoyable in many respects.

I first encountered extreme judgmental members while in Highschool, when my seminary teacher accused me of being on the road to apostasy because I did not believe the earth was created in 7,000 years, as Joseph Fielding Smith believed and taught. This was also one of my first encounters with the realization I held views very much opposed to a (then) apostle, and later prophet. I had good reason to leave right then.

My degree is Ancient Near Eastern Studies with a focus in Hebrew. I spent much of the time learning to recognize historical problems with the bible, reading about how Israel was not much different than the Canaanites, Babylonians, etc in terms of belief in being guided by deity, prophecies, etc. I went into the degree because it both interested me and I thought it would help to better answer certain criticisms. Instead my entire view of scripture morphed dramatically, as well as history, etc. I have written lengthy papers that many in the church would consider heretical, but I view as simply getting to the truth of what ancient Israel actually believed, right or wrong. I have offended sensitive members on occasion (unintentionally) to the point where I was once asked not to comment in Sunday School anymore unless it was in life-applications by a well-meaning Bishop who didn't want to deal with the few complaints.

Just a few weeks ago a religion instructor with CES implied I was on the road to apostasy (man, been on this road for ages it seems) because I did not accept his views that every footnote in the LDS scriptures, every statement in the CES manuals are true doctrine since they went through correlation, which is headed by the First Presidency and Apostles. In fact I believe they have errors of man in them and are often arbitrary inclusions!

I have probably read equal amounts of anti-Mormon literature and watched many of the movies as I have of faithful LDS history in the last decade. I pursue knowledge voraciously from every quarter, true or not, simply because I want to understand how others think and why. My addiction that I indulge in, the only stress in my marriage, is that I spend anywhere from 4-10 hours a day doing nothing other than reading history, news, and politics from all extremes. I am not a "professional apologist", but a consumer of information and analyzer of history.

It should be noted I know little of basketball, football, and baseball, which, combined with my interest in other topics, makes me generally a social outcast in church. I could leave and never return and would have few friends to come looking for me.

I was recently called to one of the few callings I dreaded the most, Ward Clerk. Before that I had no calling for almost a year, a record in my ward. Three years ago I was called to Nursery, the number one calling I did not want and feared. I loved the kids, but hated every moment of it. It should be noted I am a germaphobe, which is why I dreaded it. Every Sunday I was in there I struggled to stay calm and not go screaming out the door because of the massive amounts of snot, pee, poo, saliva, and other germ laden swapping of fluids that was there. I have, and had, no reason to stay for the sake of my calling, and would be more relaxed and happier in some sense if I simply left.

I am linked in a way to some of the worst of the bureaucracy of the corporate church. There are some crazy nut-cases in there (but, I should add, the corporate church aspects I deal with are mainly populated by overwhelmingly incredible, dedicated individuals who I would trust with my life and all I have in this world). I deal with the red-tape, the political jockeying, the off-kilter spouses, etc. It's a big organization, and it suffers all the foibles to some degree any large corporation does, including some individuals who only see the money aspects, not the people (though again, in this point I must add clarity for the other side, that being that I see overwhelming good in the corporate aspect of the church, both people, purpose, and method).

So to sum it up: I have almost over-powering desires for almost everything that is immoral and even evil. It feels like an insatiable hunger. I have a calling (and have had callings) I would gladly leave. If I left the church, few if any in my ward would notice much, few if any family would care (and some family and a few ward members would even likely leave also), I am a trained historian who finds problems with scripture and some church teachings, I know a ton about the church, good and bad, and even think most members are naive about its history and beliefs, preferring an "all is well in Zion" attitude. I know the perils of the corporate aspect of the church and have had to deal with it.

I have every single reason to leave the Church. I have done the research. I have no reason to stay. I would probably be happier in some sense out of the church. I have no "emotional investment".

I am a physically active, spiritually dedicated, wholly devoted Mormon.

Why? I fly in the face of every single reason I have seen for why someone would stay in the Church.

Why I am still here?

Because I would consider my "spiritual" experiences in general to be extraordinary.

Because the Spirit has been a powerful witness in my life.

Because I have had visions and prophecies in my personal life, directly related to the church, I have seen come to pass. Things I saw with clarity and kept in remembrance years before they eventuated.

Because I have seen things that are too sacred to share, both physically and spiritually.

Because I have had paradigm changing experiences with dark forces and seen it in others, and know more from personal experience of their reality and power than I assume most ever will in this life (hopefully).

Because many of these experiences tie directly into the truthfulness of the Gospel and Church as it stands today.

Because I know what has been revealed, because I have witnesses stronger than just a "feeling" or "voice". Because I, as Paul, am a slave to Christ, and am so joyfully. Because I am honor-bound and desire to take my knowledge and joy in the Gospel (the actual Gospel, not necessarily the organizational church) and help others, especially the youth and the downtrodden to find that same joy and hope in Christ through God's church and teachings. Because I must protect the youth and the weak from the adversary who I know to be real. Because I know the church is not perfect because of Man and the world the Church must exist in, but it is God's true and living church, and it will bring all closer to Christ. Because as a result of my experiences I know that the man Thomas S. Monson is God's authorized mouthpiece for the world and church as a whole, and the apostles are called and ordained of God. Because I know that Jesus if the Christ, that he knows me, and that his atonement helps me to be a better person and to fight the carnal man, that he makes up for my inadequacies.

In every single way, I would be happier outside of the church, EXCEPT the knowledge I have would destroy me, and that includes a sure knowledge of how I would be held accountable.

*****

I do not expect this to change too much the back and forth about why people leave the church. I do hope however that it makes some people realize that there are some, and perhaps they are few, who could vanish from the church without a trace and who in many ways desire to, but who have such a sure knowledge of it's ultimate truth, regardless of imperfections in history or modern organization, that they never can without extreme rejection of in-your face truth. Anti's will still be anti's for the most part, unbelievers will be unbelievers, those who struggle will still mostly struggle, and the faithful will be faithful. I do however hope that in speaking, even generally, about my own experience, that some will be persuaded to realize that some of us can never leave, and it's not because of fear of family, emotional investment, time investment, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, lack of temptation, or any such thing. Let me also add that I will not likely reveal more about my experiences in general, but that I am not insane, never been on medication, have no known allergies or medical conditions, do not hear voices in my head, never taken drugs, alcohol, etc nor engaged in any offensive behavior despite my constant hour by hour battle against my baser nature. I do not see the walking dead wandering around, nor have I ever had a "near death experience" to explain things. I am of quite sound mind and body, though I suppose my saying so does not prevent some who would reject allusions as either puffing up of simpler experiences or as mental issues.

More importantly, above all else, I hope in sharing this that some who waver here know that people who have almost every reason to leave remain, not because of family or emotional or time investment or comfort, but because of a sure knowledge. Yes, this is in part flock-tending, which as Jesus did it, I believe is quite legitimate.

For discussion purposes: For those who are anti-Mormon, where do I fit in on why I haven't left the church. If it is because it is as I say (or at least you accept I believe it is as I say) why do I never hear of my group of people in the church from you? Is it because you do not believe in us, because you never encountered us, or some other reason. I am simply tired of the inference that those who have either studied the Church and Gospel or are not emotionally invested in either (or can overcome it), would not be a part of it. It seems to always be that we are either willfully deceptive, don't know enough, can't bear the emotional and social/work struggle of leaving, or choose to ignore controversial aspects of history.

I do not want to belittle those who have left the church and did go through great struggles that I would never have to in order to do so. I recognize that many of you were following what your mind said was right and were willing to pay the price. I do not doubt the sincerity of most of you. I do not doubt that some of you are happier than ever now. This is about one group of those who stay and why. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts (as I am a knowledge addict on how others view the world!).

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Note: This post is not specifically for Pale Rider. Anyone can chime in. However, this is directly related to comments he made (and others pressed him on)in the thread Good People, leaving the church. Specifically, the implication was first that many (not all) who don't leave the church haven't done the research, then that they don't want to, then that they are too emotionally invested, etc etc. These are arguments we all see from time to time, and really are along the same lines to me as the equally ridiculous (which Pale Rider also rightly condemns) view that everyone leaves the church because of immorality or the desire to be so. So to be clear, I am not accusing Pale Rider of being terrible or anything. I haven't interacted with the boards much for several months (or longer) due to work, life in general etc. But I do want to address the concept of who stays and who goes, using the "I am a Mormon" format (okay, not really, but I'll be making statements that fly in the face of what has been said by some). Also, there is only one argument I find persuasive for people both joining and leaving the church, and none of them were mentioned in the thread in question by Pale Rider or a few others, that being that intelligent, reasonable people who have full mental and emotional faculty, who have no stake either way in a worldly sense about whether they join or leave, can come to different conclusions based on historical evidence. With that said, let's continue.

I am always honest about who I am, and that I gain my strength from the Savior, so please be aware I have no issues speaking of my struggles, as well as general allusions to very real spiritual experiences, as I know in whom I have faith and redemption.

******

Hi, I'm Matt Tandy. I'm a property manager, a husband, and a father. And I'm a Mormon.

I also am not a "good member" in terms of desires. If I left the church, I would likely be a womanizer, probably a drunkard, deceitful, selfish, abrasive, a drug-user, and a vigilante. I would seriously consider a life in organized crime and would feel very little in that profession about eliminating through most means those who were in the way of what I wanted. I would still be quite loyal to my friends, friendly to strangers, the poor, and the downtrodden. I would support causes I felt were good for removing suffering, as long as it did not interfere with my own agency and happiness, hence the likelihood of organized crime. I realize this is not typical of people who leave the church, who are in the church, or who have never left the church. I do not say these things lightly or flippantly. I simply know who I am.

Almost every single urge I have is almost overpowering, and it would be extremely easy for me to give into any of these.

Much of both my wife's family and my family struggles with activity, are not members, or wouldn't bat an eye if I left. In fact, several would likely leave with me. I could likely use my power of persuasion and influence to either convince my wife to leave also, or to convince her to leave me alone in my beliefs and she can live hers if she didn't. I have next to zero chance of family repercussions should I choose to leave, so I do not stand to really lose anything by leaving the church. It would be extremely liberating and even enjoyable in many respects.

I first encountered extreme judgmental members while in Highschool, when my seminary teacher accused me of being on the road to apostasy because I did not believe the earth was created in 7,000 years, as Joseph Fielding Smith believed and taught. This was also one of my first encounters with the realization I held views very much opposed to a (then) apostle, and later prophet. I had good reason to leave right then.

My degree is Ancient Near Eastern Studies with a focus in Hebrew. I spent much of the time learning to recognize historical problems with the bible, reading about how Israel was not much different than the Canaanites, Babylonians, etc in terms of belief in being guided by deity, prophecies, etc. I went into the degree because it both interested me and I thought it would help to better answer certain criticisms. Instead my entire view of scripture morphed dramatically, as well as history, etc. I have written lengthy papers that many in the church would consider heretical, but I view as simply getting to the truth of what ancient Israel actually believed, right or wrong. I have offended sensitive members on occasion (unintentionally) to the point where I was once asked not to comment in Sunday School anymore unless it was in life-applications by a well-meaning Bishop who didn't want to deal with the few complaints.

Just a few weeks ago a religion instructor with CES implied I was on the road to apostasy (man, been on this road for ages it seems) because I did not accept his views that every footnote in the LDS scriptures, every statement in the CES manuals are true doctrine since they went through correlation, which is headed by the First Presidency and Apostles. In fact I believe they have errors of man in them and are often arbitrary inclusions!

I have probably read equal amounts of anti-Mormon literature and watched many of the movies as I have of faithful LDS history in the last decade. I pursue knowledge voraciously from every quarter, true or not, simply because I want to understand how others think and why. My addiction that I indulge in, the only stress in my marriage, is that I spend anywhere from 4-10 hours a day doing nothing other than reading history, news, and politics from all extremes. I am not a "professional apologist", but a consumer of information and analyzer of history.

It should be noted I know little of basketball, football, and baseball, which, combined with my interest in other topics, makes me generally a social outcast in church. I could leave and never return and would have few friends to come looking for me.

I was recently called to one of the few callings I dreaded the most, Ward Clerk. Before that I had no calling for almost a year, a record in my ward. Three years ago I was called to Nursery, the number one calling I did not want and feared. I loved the kids, but hated every moment of it. It should be noted I am a germaphobe, which is why I dreaded it. Every Sunday I was in there I struggled to stay calm and not go screaming out the door because of the massive amounts of snot, pee, poo, saliva, and other germ laden swapping of fluids that was there. I have, and had, no reason to stay for the sake of my calling, and would be more relaxed and happier in some sense if I simply left.

I am linked in a way to some of the worst of the bureaucracy of the corporate church. There are some crazy nut-cases in there (but, I should add, the corporate church aspects I deal with are mainly populated by overwhelmingly incredible, dedicated individuals who I would trust with my life and all I have in this world). I deal with the red-tape, the political jockeying, the off-kilter spouses, etc. It's a big organization, and it suffers all the foibles to some degree any large corporation does, including some individuals who only see the money aspects, not the people (though again, in this point I must add clarity for the other side, that being that I see overwhelming good in the corporate aspect of the church, both people, purpose, and method).

So to sum it up: I have almost over-powering desires for almost everything that is immoral and even evil. It feels like an insatiable hunger. I have a calling (and have had callings) I would gladly leave. If I left the church, few if any in my ward would notice much, few if any family would care (and some family and a few ward members would even likely leave also), I am a trained historian who finds problems with scripture and some church teachings, I know a ton about the church, good and bad, and even think most members are naive about its history and beliefs, preferring an "all is well in Zion" attitude. I know the perils of the corporate aspect of the church and have had to deal with it.

I have every single reason to leave the Church. I have done the research. I have no reason to stay. I would probably be happier in some sense out of the church. I have no "emotional investment".

I am a physically active, spiritually dedicated, wholly devoted Mormon.

Why? I fly in the face of every single reason I have seen for why someone would stay in the Church.

Why I am still here?

Because I would consider my "spiritual" experiences in general to be extraordinary.

Because the Spirit has been a powerful witness in my life.

Because I have had visions and prophecies in my personal life, directly related to the church, I have seen come to pass. Things I saw with clarity and kept in remembrance years before they eventuated.

Because I have seen things that are too sacred to share, both physically and spiritually.

Because I have had paradigm changing experiences with dark forces and seen it in others, and know more from personal experience of their reality and power than I assume most ever will in this life (hopefully).

Because many of these experiences tie directly into the truthfulness of the Gospel and Church as it stands today.

Because I know what has been revealed, because I have witnesses stronger than just a "feeling" or "voice". Because I, as Paul, am a slave to Christ, and am so joyfully. Because I am honor-bound and desire to take my knowledge and joy in the Gospel (the actual Gospel, not necessarily the organizational church) and help others, especially the youth and the downtrodden to find that same joy and hope in Christ through God's church and teachings. Because I must protect the youth and the weak from the adversary who I know to be real. Because I know the church is not perfect because of Man and the world the Church must exist in, but it is God's true and living church, and it will bring all closer to Christ. Because as a result of my experiences I know that the man Thomas S. Monson is God's authorized mouthpiece for the world and church as a whole, and the apostles are called and ordained of God. Because I know that Jesus if the Christ, that he knows me, and that his atonement helps me to be a better person and to fight the carnal man, that he makes up for my inadequacies.

In every single way, I would be happier outside of the church, EXCEPT the knowledge I have would destroy me, and that includes a sure knowledge of how I would be held accountable.

*****

I do not expect this to change too much the back and forth about why people leave the church. I do hope however that it makes some people realize that there are some, and perhaps they are few, who could vanish from the church without a trace and who in many ways desire to, but who have such a sure knowledge of it's ultimate truth, regardless of imperfections in history or modern organization, that they never can without extreme rejection of in-your face truth. Anti's will still be anti's for the most part, unbelievers will be unbelievers, those who struggle will still mostly struggle, and the faithful will be faithful. I do however hope that in speaking, even generally, about my own experience, that some will be persuaded to realize that some of us can never leave, and it's not because of fear of family, emotional investment, time investment, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, lack of temptation, or any such thing. Let me also add that I will not likely reveal more about my experiences in general, but that I am not insane, never been on medication, have no known allergies or medical conditions, do not hear voices in my head, never taken drugs, alcohol, etc nor engaged in any offensive behavior despite my constant hour by hour battle against my baser nature. I do not see the walking dead wandering around, nor have I ever had a "near death experience" to explain things. I am of quite sound mind and body, though I suppose my saying so does not prevent some who would reject allusions as either puffing up of simpler experiences or as mental issues.

More importantly, above all else, I hope in sharing this that some who waver here know that people who have almost every reason to leave remain, not because of family or emotional or time investment or comfort, but because of a sure knowledge. Yes, this is in part flock-tending, which as Jesus did it, I believe is quite legitimate.

For discussion purposes: For those who are anti-Mormon, where do I fit in on why I haven't left the church. If it is because it is as I say (or at least you accept I believe it is as I say) why do I never hear of my group of people in the church from you? Is it because you do not believe in us, because you never encountered us, or some other reason. I am simply tired of the inference that those who have either studied the Church and Gospel or are not emotionally invested in either (or can overcome it), would not be a part of it. It seems to always be that we are either willfully deceptive, don't know enough, can't bear the emotional and social/work struggle of leaving, or choose to ignore controversial aspects of history.

I do not want to belittle those who have left the church and did go through great struggles that I would never have to in order to do so. I recognize that many of you were following what your mind said was right and were willing to pay the price. I do not doubt the sincerity of most of you. I do not doubt that some of you are happier than ever now. This is about one group of those who stay and why. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts (as I am a knowledge addict on how others view the world!).

Hey Matt,

Just to reiterate I appreciate your honesty.

Doing battle with the natural man is a difficult task that we all share to one degree or another. I thank Heavenly Father on a daily basis for His grace and mercy and pray for your success.

It

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Matt, actually it sounds like you may be an apostate from much of Mormon culture.

But there's nothing particularly wrong with that. In fact, getting rid of some of that particular baggage helps the influence of the Spirit be more pervasive.

The only thing I disagree with is the nursery perspective, but then again I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the little ones, and I don't have any particular germ issues.

I think that we in the Church sometimes just give lip service to the oft-repeated concept that people, even in the Church, are not perfect. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to acknowledge that it really is very true, and that perfection not only was not there, but we as LDS don't get anywhere close. We make a lot of mistakes, and there's a lot of fodder in there for anyone looking to "expose" the foibles of Mormonism and Mormons.

The spiritual background of my experience in the restored gospel is what ties me to it, in the same manner that you mentioned. I let those in the Church who work well within the cultural structure do their own thing, while I work to keep the covenants and to keep myself going in the direction that the Lord sometimes gently, and sometimes not so gently, pushes me. Interestingly enough, in my particular case, there is a pretty good balance in my relationships with all of the different personality types in the ward - something that can cause serious conflict in the Church since we are a people of strong opinions about a variety of things, some true, and many of no particular importance.

Thanks for sharing.

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