A Response to Salon’s “But I’m a Good Mormon Wife” Article

UPDATE 9.14.15: This post periodically blows up online. Today it got three times more hits than the whole blog gets on an average day. People keep bringing it up on social media, apparently.

I’ve looked over some of those comments, and the biggest thing they tend to say is that I’m being judgmental. I’d like to address this with three points:

  1. I didn’t judge her value as a person. In fact, I diplomatically phrased much of this essay to specifically avoid the false appearance of condemnation. Sadly, it seems that some will see moral judgment, even in its obvious absence, no matter what someone actually says. To castigate me for an imagined insult shows not just a lack of charity, it shows a lack of reading comprehension.
  2. I wasn’t criticizing her as a person; I was analyzing her essay. Written documents, publicly published, are all fair game for discussion. That’s how discourse works. There are no privileged texts, immune to analysis. To suggest such is to create a caste of secular scripture, and to demonize someone who dares to analyze such a text is to practice an intellectual inquisition.
  3. Where I speculate about the author’s possible (possible!) motives and background, it is always in light of what’s explicitly or implicitly in her text. Criticize my analysis, and do so with better evidence and reasoning, but there’s nothing here to warrant an attack. Certainly, I have yet to see a substantial criticism of this post that uses actual citations and clear reasoning–nothing more, in fact, than simple invective. Anyone who wants to engage in civil dialogue is always welcome to, though.

**********

This article made me sad.  Not because it mischaracterizes my church, which it does, and not because I think Maren Stephenson, the author, is an awful person, which I don’t, but because I think she totally misunderstands what she rejects and needlessly misses out on something wonderful because of it, even though she must have been so close to it.

The author writes about how her husband, and then she herself, became intellectually disillusioned with the LDS Church, and became happier after leaving it.

For someone who calls herself a “scholar” in her own article, she doesn’t seem to know the difference between doctrine and urban legends, and she seems ignorant of some obvious facts that contradict her new worldview.  It isn’t the factual errors that are heartbreaking, though–it’s the personal drama that accompanies (and perhaps fuels) the skepticism, which seems to lead her to a badly warped view of the LDS Church:

I waited anxiously for them to mention my heathen family, wondered if they’d heard that my eternity with my husband was now in jeopardy, that in the hereafter I’d likely be pawned off to some other righteous man as a plural wife…

I can’t tell if she really thinks this is a legitimate LDS belief or not (it isn’t; if she thinks it is, a citation would be nice).  If she’s worried of being the victim of assumptions based on urban legends, then I sympathize with her—nobody likes being the butt of unfounded convictions.

It sounds like she feels judged and ostracized here—perhaps these feelings didn’t just suddenly start when she started questioning the faith?  Maybe such feelings helped catalyze her journey out of faith?  I’ve seen this happen plenty of times, and if this was a factor with her, I wish it was stated openly.

She was sincere, and trying to help, but she believed what the Church teaches — that a man would only leave because he’s disobeying the commandments. She couldn’t understand this was a rational inquiry. She saw everything as the result of sin.

Again, the author’s perception of an individual’s treatment of her is the noteworthy step in her dissatisfaction with the Church, not the Church itself.  The author seems to truly believe what she writes, even though there is no church teaching that inactivity is always the result of, as she puts it, “pornography and R-rated movies.”

I knew that if Sean was right, then Joseph Smith was a fraud.

Why?  Even if her accusations about Smith were accurate, which they’re not, that hardly accounts for the vast majority of his life and the evidences for the authenticity of his work.  If the author’s as literate in the church as she appears, why not address these things?  Why only include gossip and folklore?

Whoa, we suddenly have 10 percent more income. Whoa, our weekend free time just doubled. Whoa, we can try alcohol, coffee and tea — the trifecta of forbidden drinks.

If these things had never occurred to her before, then perhaps she was keeping these rules for the wrong reasons: not out of personal devotion, but out of social convenience.  Her attitude suggests that she may not have understood the spiritual dimension of these commandments, and had only kept them because she always had and so had others around her.  Oddly, “realizations” like these can only happen from a lack of previous critical thinking.

Her view of these standards of living, though, was likely based on how we as a church culture do a poor job of teaching them: we demonize things outside our standards, instead of emphasizing the opportunity to be blessed by choosing to align ourselves with God’s will.  Unfortunately, our out-of-focus approach does result in plenty of people losing faith when they try and find that such things as skipping church or drinking alcohol don’t automatically destroy you.  The immediate spiritual loss is usually less tangible than the instant pleasure, as Stephenson demonstrates here.

When I shed my garments for slippery Victoria Secret panties, my self-esteem skyrocketed, and our late nights shifted to other things. We were finally adults, taking our firsts together, learning about each other without barriers.

And this is why the article is so sad.  Her picture of the church is one of repression and grim, Puritanical dreariness.  If she never had much joy in living the gospel, then she may not have been living it very deeply at all.  Don’t get me wrong: I don’t know her and I’m not accusing her of doing anything bad, but I’ve known enough people with experiences like hers that I think it’s likely she wasn’t doing some things that are good.  I don’t know that for sure, and I don’t know what aspects of discipleship her life may have been missing, but obviously she felt her life was connected more to her social circle than directly to God.  That is tragic, but it is not her social circle’s fault.  She’s an adult.  We choose to do the things that develop private spiritual strength, or we don’t.

*****

For what it’s worth, here are her few actual claims of malfeasance in the LDS Church that apparently damaged her faith:

Our prophets had made it clear that anything written outside church documents was suspect and anti-Mormon, fabricated for the sole purpose of destroying faith.

Citation needed.  But there isn’t one, because this isn’t true.  (So the syllabus of every class at BYU consists solely of LDS publications?  Does this even pass a basic test of sounding reasonable?)  Yet again, a cultural assumption is being used against the church, instead of facts.  Why?

Joseph Smith mistranslated some Egyptian hieroglyphics that are part of our canonized scripture…. he translated the Book of Mormon while looking at a stone inside of a hat.

Regarding the hieroglyphics, how can we know whether or not any symbol ever had a certain meaning in any time or place?  Maybe some of those interpretations are only for our time and place.  So claiming that any are in error is subjective.  What’s objective is all the hieroglyphics he clearly got right.  How did he do that?  Why doesn’t she mention that?

As for the stone in the hat, this is hardly an obscure secret.  It’s been mentioned many times in official publications, including those for children (see end of page here).  If she didn’t know about it, then I’m not sure I can trust her authority as a critic.  Also, how does learning one new aspect of a text’s production somehow invalidate the claims of the text itself, despite the mountains of evidence in favor of its veracity?  That’s not scholarship.  That’s wishful thinking.

“Did you know that Joseph Smith married a 14-year-old girl against her will? Did you know that he’d send men on missions and marry their wives in secret when they were gone?”

This is probably a reference to Helen Kimball.  It’s addressed about halfway down on this page.  Short version: it wasn’t sexual, and it wasn’t against her will.  The other “marriages” referred to here weren’t sexual either, and were never done without the permission of anyone involved.  There are a ton of facts about Smith’s sealings that don’t get much press and that devastate critics’ insinuations (Smith had no children by any plural wives, several were old enough to be his mother, etc.).  The wording of these accusations is so biased as to constitute slander—they’re not at all accurate.  Why rely on exaggeration and fabrication if the truth is on your side?

*****

I’m sad because the author had an unfulfilling experience in the Church, and I’m sad because she has left the Church based on mistaken information.  I’m glad, however, that she is happy now.  I only wish that she, and everybody else in the world, would really come to know the unique and profound joy that comes not just from being a member of the Church, but from a personal spiritual witness of the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

As one of our leaders put it in an address in a worldwide conference two months ago:

Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal. Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less active in the gospel. Let me stress: activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed.

By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance. For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?

I repeat: we need the gospel and the Church. In fact, the purpose of the Church is to help us live the gospel. We often wonder: How can someone be fully active in the Church as a youth and then not be when they are older? How can an adult who has regularly attended and served stop coming? How can a person who was disappointed by a leader or another member allow that to end their Church participation? Perhaps the reason is they were not sufficiently converted to the gospel—the things of eternity.

I wish Maren Stephenson, and those like her, the best of luck in life, and hope that we can all come to understand each other better, and do so with full honesty and compassion.

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62 comments on “A Response to Salon’s “But I’m a Good Mormon Wife” Article

  1. I am so grateful you wrote this post!! A friend of mine {who has a story similar to Maren’s} posted the link to Maren’s writings on her blog. I too was saddened over it for many reasons and noticed that her stance in the Church wasn’t strong from the get go {ie “You are more important to me than the Church}. Also, I found that her self-esteem increased by an external factor particularly sad. I love this. Bless you for writing this!!!

  2. Speaking of needing a citation, you haven’t got the foggiest notion of whether or not Joseph Smith’s plural marriages were sexual or not, and you don’t know what Helen Mar Kimball was thinking. Of course you don’t address JS’s marriages to women already married to other men–I don’t blame you, its just to difficult for even you to spin. Are you saying that the husbands of these women gave permission for them to marry JS? How do you document that?

    While you claim not to know anything about her, your entire article is spent looking for what it is she might have done wrong to lead her to conclusions you don’t like. In spite of being ‘nice’ about it, your attitude towards her is judgmental and condescending–not surprising of course.

  3. DonHo wrote: “In spite of being ‘nice’ about it, your attitude towards her is judgmental and condescending–not surprising of course.”

    I’m afraid I have to agree with DonHo. You’ve imputed all kinds of motives that have no basis in what Stephensen wrote. If you really want to address someone with “full honesty and compassion,” you need to give her the benefit of the doubt that she isn’t lying or omitting things.

    Maren wrote: “She couldn’t understand this was a rational inquiry. She saw everything as the result of sin.” Isn’t it the case that you’ve simply repeated this hurtful unwillingness to accept Maren at her word? You wrote: “It sounds like she feels judged and ostracized here—perhaps these feelings didn’t just suddenly start when she started questioning the faith? Maybe such feelings helped catalyze her journey out of faith? I’ve seen this happen plenty of times, and if this was a factor with her, I wish it was stated openly.”

    Why not pay her the respect of accept that she and her husband left for the reasons they stated? Why attack her character, when (as you already concede) you don’t know anything about her life? You wrote: “I don’t know that for sure, and I don’t know what aspects of discipleship her life may have been missing, but obviously she felt her life was connected more to her social circle than directly to God. That is tragic, but it is not her social circle’s fault. She’s an adult. We choose to do the things that develop private spiritual strength, or we don’t.”

    It seems quite clear that you have publicly stated here that Maren Stephenson fell short spiritually and wasn’t faithful enough in following God. If you want to criticize her for leaving the church, why not simply do that, instead of impugning her character and insinuating ulterior motives?

    “Regarding the hieroglyphics, how can we know whether or not any symbol ever had a certain meaning in any time or place?” We know because scholars are now able to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the scrolls that supposedly contained the Book of Abraham were in fact about Egyptian funeral rites.

  4. Amen to everything Sarah said and then some. And dear readers…in case you’ve forgetten, the source the author here continues to plug for evidence of the BofM is NOT supported or sponsored by the LDS church. It is simply Jeff Lindsey’s fantasies. http://www.jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml

    The absolute pious judgment dripping from this post would be almost sickening, if it wasn’t so obvious how desperate she is to put Stephenson “in her place” so all the square pegs fit in all the authors round holes again and all is right in her world.

    Once again, let’s remember Mormons. You are supposedly taught not to make judgement. Funny how it’s all you can do though…

  5. It has been my personal experience, and your article clearly expresses it; there is always something wrong with the member who questions or finds spiritual fulfillment elsewhere. You make all sorts of judgments about her motivations without knowing her as a person at all. It is attitudes like these that keep former members from ever returning. Very condescending.

    • Basing your faith on another man’s “attitude” is quite dangerous. You will always find someone to offend you if you look hard enough. Man is not perfect. I suggest you put your faith in God and measure your willingness to return on that.

  6. I don’t think it is wrong for Huston to offer pushback. He is reading critically not out of malice for the author of the article, but to illuminate where the author’s biases may have influenced them. If people leaving have a right to publish exit narratives, then people staying have a right to examine those exit narratives and give their opinion.

    • Very true. If you can’t handle the criticism, don’t publish. I didn’t find the thoughts to be condescending. It was an interesting read.

  7. If, in reading Stephenson’s article critically, Huston had said, “I’m sad because, as someone who believes LDS teachings, I think she has lost a great deal by leaving the church,” I wouldn’t have counted that as malice. But he didn’t. He said: I don’t know her, but she “obviously” lacked “spiritual strength” and cared more about her social circle than about God (odd, since the only social circle she mentions are Mormon friends and neighbors).

    “If people leaving have a right to publish exit narratives, then people staying have a right to examine those exit narratives and give their opinion.” I agree. But his “opinion” that she harbors “biases” is not based on the exit narrative itself. Instead, his opinion is that her narrative must be deceitful, that it does not disclose what he “obviously” knows to be the truth.

    He’s free, of course, to publish his belief that someone who leaves the church must of necessity have lacked the proper righteousness — that, as her mother said, it could only be “sinfulness” that prompted her decision. That her exit narrative is not to be believed. But surely we can agree that assuming she is somehow sinful and lacking in honesty is an aggressive attitude. If it isn’t one of malice, it’s certainly not one that’s respectful and compassionate.

    • I”m not sure Huston was claiming she left because she was being sinful. It is, however, curious that she would seem to rejoice in her newfound freedom to “sin” (at least from a Mormon perspective) by drinking alcohol, etc.

      I believe there are probably many people who leave the church because of deep soul searching. That is not sinful. It does not necessarily mean, however, that they really understood what the church is about, or that they understood the gospel. Maren seems to have confused church culture with the church itself.

      • “It is, however, curious that she would seem to rejoice in her newfound freedom to “sin” (at least from a Mormon perspective) by drinking alcohol, etc.”

        Would you find it “curious” if a formerly observant Jew was pleased at the new ability to enjoy pork barbecue or take a family drive on the Sabbath? If a former Muslim enjoyed a new found love of fine wine? Not strange at all to me.

        “I believe there are probably many people who leave the church because of deep soul searching. That is not sinful. It does not necessarily mean, however, that they really understood what the church is about, or that they understood the gospel.”

        This seems to me a respectful and perfectly legitimate position to take. And of course those who have left because of soul searching, like me, now believe most members don’t understand the gospel, either. But I try to respect the sincerity of my Mormon family members and friends and I don’t invent reasons for their faith that are at odds with what they themselves claim.

  8. Nikki, you feel it’s appropriate for a person who leaves the Mormon church to criticize the church and/or blame it for “misleading” them, but when an insider offers a different perspective they’re judgmental and condescending?

    Maren, of course, had every right to leave the church, and to criticize it if she chooses (which she did). But as Michaela stated, when Maren puts her opinion out there for the world to read about why she left the church, those who choose to stay have just as much right to respond.

    In my opinion, Huston is right in opining that Maren seemed to be enjoying the social/cultural aspects of the church for most of her life, not really engaging much deeper than that. Exhibit A:

    When she sheds her temple garments for Victoria’s Secret underwear and discovers that, lo and behold, she and her husband can have sexual pleasure (after 8 years of marriage and 3 kids, no less), she exposes a problem. Who taught her that she had to keep her temple garments on during sex, and that sex was not for pleasure? That is not a church teaching. Perhaps some misguided person told her that, but it doesn’t make it true, and it doesn’t make it a church policy/teaching/doctrine.

    Exhibit B. Her purported joy in discovering that she can drink alcohol, tea and coffee, that her income would increase by 10%, and that her weekend time would now be free. She could have done those things before if she chose to. This is evidence that she only saw the church as a set of rules, not a vehicle to eternal happiness.

    Exhibit C. Joseph Smith looking into a hat. This is a popular tool used by church critics because it seems, on the surface, to be so sensational. The reality is that it is no more sensational than the claim that he would be visited by an angel, or that Christ would be resurrected, etc., etc.

    While it is unfortunate that she would expect to be ostracized for leaving the church, half of my siblings have left the church, yet we still continue to do many things together (family dinners, family vacations, etc.) without a problem. In other words, your world is not THE world. You had a bad experience and I’m sure it’s difficult to figure out who should take the blame.

    In the end, however, we’re each responsible for where we are.

    • I do have an understanding of what you were trying to convey. There’s always strong emotions when talking about different points of view when your heart and soul is on the table. I come from a slant of having many assumptions made of why I no longer believe in the Mormon faith. None are true. I have a lifetime of family members who view my life as less meaningful because of what I don’t believe in spite of trying to live with as much integrity as I possibly can. In 10 years no one has ever asked what brings meaning to my life but feel free to talk about how their truth is the only truth. I tend to get a little defensive on my behalf as well as for others. At first I thought this was just the unique dynamic of my family. However, I now know this is the norm and not the exception. I don’t think the debate of who’s right and who’s wrong will ever be solved to anyone’s satisfaction but I have hope people of all religions can build a bridge for honoring each other’s right to find the meaning in their own lives without harsh judgments. What a gift it would be to give the gift of our acceptance. I sometimes miss the mark but overall that’s what I’m striving for.

  9. “Speaking of needing a citation, you haven’t got the foggiest notion of whether or not Joseph Smith’s plural marriages were sexual or not, and you don’t know what Helen Mar Kimball was thinking.”

    What is known is that in the late 19th century, when the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claimed Joseph Smith never practiced plural marriage, the Utah Church responded by producing a number of Joseph’s plural wives to testify otherwise. However, the Church was unable to produce any offspring of these marriages. DNA testing has since shown, in every case where a determination was possible, that the offspring of Joseph’s plural wives were not Joseph’s children. I believe this is the basis for the claim that the marriages were not sexual.

    I do not know exactly what Helen Mar Kimball was thinking. So? Neither do you.

    “Of course you don’t address JS’s marriages to women already married to other men–I don’t blame you, its just to difficult for even you to spin. Are you saying that the husbands of these women gave permission for them to marry JS?”

    Yes, in at least some cases.

    “How do you document that?”

    You can find a discussion of the evidence here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith_and_polyandry/Book_chapter

  10. There are many things about your article that make me sad! But the one I feel must be addressed is the fact that you assume her commitment to the church was weak before her husband had doubts and that she cared more for “her social circle” than the church. You also eluded to the fact that her feeling of being ostracized was of her own doing. I can not speak for Maren, but I recently went through a similar situation and I can tell you that as a member who chooses to leave even your best friends will treat you differently. Members can not fathom that someone would leave or what possible reasons that person could have for leaving if it is not to commit sin or because they are already sinning. You have made terrible inferences about her character; admittedly without knowing her. You have no idea what it is like to leave the church, you loss EVERYTHING! Some of us are lucky enough to leave with our marriages intact. Sadly we are a very small minority. Trust me a few drinks or watching a dirty movie are not worth what we give up. We do it for truth, not to do what is in your eyes a sin. We do it because we believe the church is hurting people, and lying to it’s members. No cup of coffee or wearing sexy underwear will pull pull a believing member away, however the truth will.

    • You’re using some generalizations that aren’t warranted. You claim that when a member leaves his/her friends will desert them. That no doubt happens, but not in all cases. Half of my siblings have left the church, but we do not shun them. They join us in family dinners, family vacations, etc., etc.

      You also imply that no members understand the reason a person leaves. Again, that might be true in your small circle, but that doesn’t make it true everywhere.

      You also imply that all members who leave, leave for the same reason. How can you know that? I imagine the reasons people leave are as various as the personalities themselves.

      And what does it mean to say “the church” is lying to its members? What is “the church”? When did you have a conversation with “the church” in which it lied to you?

      This is the basis for the claim that some members who leave the church were only socially connected to it, not spiritually. “The church” didn’t lie to you. You were misinformed by certain members of the church, and you never bothered to do any individual study/searching on your own until much later in life. You never bothered to think for yourself while you were young. It’s for that reason that the person who is shocked to learn Joseph Smith “looked in a hat” feels they were lied to. Nobody lied to you about that; you just never discovered it because you were too lazy enjoying the social aspect of your membership.

      • And by the way, when I say people were too lazy enjoying the social aspect of their membership to dig deeper in to the gospel, I am including myself. Fortunately (at least for me), when I did get to the point that I did some searching (and I’ve read all kinds of anti-Mormon materials), I feel like I had enough of a foundation that I was not shaken. And that’s not to say that I simply shrugged it all off. There is much that I have discovered about church history and Joseph Smith which is true, but those discoveries merely filled out the picture for me–they didn’t tell me the church is a fraud.

    • Um, you call this “real homework”? You are—seriously???–relying on an internet page as real homework??

      That page proves nothing. At all. You’re basing your “truth” on this?

      Get serious.

      • Did you ride the short bus to school, Mike? I’m relying on the actual LINKS in the post that quote ACTUAL HISTORY. There are many many more on the big bad Google, if you want to actually learn who your fabricated Profit actually was.

        • It interests me how much people believe that anything ever written down by anyone must be ‘actual history.’ In reality, history is so much more complicated than, “look, it’s a quote, it’s undoubtedly true!” Even if it was written 40 years after the fact by an antagonistic source.

          Your reference is some guy’s comments interspersed with sound bites taken out of context and misrepresented. Sorry, but I can’t take you seriously.

          • I d care if you take me seriously, Chris. Do the research yourself. Diaries from the time, let alone comments written in your own churches books will do fine. Journal of Discourse and The History of The Church will produce plenty for you. But I understand you won’t look, because of your fear. I doesn’t matter to me if you want to believe a lie. We ExMormon’s are here for the thousands who leave every year now as they discover the pain of losing the only life they ever had. Luckily we are here for them when they land. Most have to start completely over, including often, finding entirely new family. And THAT my friend is as far from what Christ taught as you can get…

            • That’s the point Kathleen. I have done the research, and I can tell I’ve gone far more deeply than you (at least on the issue you brought up). Real research takes much longer than just finding something on Google. It’s easy to take quotes out of context – and careless readers soak it up when they hear what they want to hear. But things aren’t as cut-and-dry as you wish they were.

        • Oh, my. I think I feel more sorry for Kathleen than I do the lady in the story. I gave Kathleen the benefit and opened the page and looked at the links that quote “ACTUAL HISTORY”. First of all, most links are connected to anti-Mormon pages just like the one she cited (Yes…Anyone can write ANYTHING and publish it on the internet. It doesn’t make it true.). Second, most links are not primary sources, but are secondary sources of opinion. Third, the primary sources that are cited are done poorly (i.e. “Official History of the Church” is not a correct title of a book). Fourth, only very selected sections of sources are quoted to twist what is actually in the original source. As an example, the section on covering pregnancies discusses the use of abortion by a very “close associate with Joseph Smith.” Scandalous! The real story is actually very interesting. One should read it to get the “whole picture” (or should I say “truth”?). Here is a link to Volume V: http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/History_of_the_Church/Vol_V Do a search for the word “abortion” and read what happened. It is very different from what is presented.

          Kathleen: 1) I would suggest you spend more time exploring your own faith rather than tearing down the faith of others. 2) If you want to have a serious debate, come with something of value to support your assertions. It’s hard to “have a battle of wits with an unarmed man [woman]”. 3) Actually click the links on the page you cite (FYI…The only links provided are to other anti-Mormon pages). 4) Look up the citations that don’t have links (You know…ones that claim to cite the “truth”?). 5) Be careful with “big bad Google” because (another shocker!) not everything on the internet is true. 6) Don’t attack the debate opponent (“short bus,” really? How offensive and ignorant!). When you attack the person it only shows you have little else for defense.

          Before you embarrass yourself again, ignore the opinions of others and bring something substantive to the argument. The truth, I believe, will set you free!

          • That’s fine rob…we’ll be here for you when you figure it out. We were all desperate to not know we weren’t being lied to ourselves.

            In the mean time, please enjoy your misogyny! You wear it well.

            • Well, it is true that my doctorate degree is not in religion, so I guess I don’t really have a leg to stand on.

              • My doctorate is in education, so maybe I don’t have a “leg” either. I just can’t believe that the cited website can be considered credible by anyone who takes a moment to review it with a critical eye. I see these websites and it reminds me of the websites out there that are devoted to “proving” that the holocaust never happened. It’s fiction that makes me half chuckle and half sad.

            • And you prove my point yet again! Ad hominem. When you have no valid argument, you attack the opponent. You just made me smile a bit more! Thank you for indirectly confirming that you really have no leg to stand on and that I’m right.

              I’m not referring to YOU because I don’t know YOU, but this seems to be the modus operandi of ex-Mormons who have been offended by another, not by an ex-Mormon who has “seen the light”. They spew vitriol rather than share their enlightenment.

              Thank you for the mysogynistic label. I’ll have to let my wife know about that one! Maybe I can buy her a Victoria’s Secret gift card. It’ll probably greatly improve her self-worth!

              Oh, please don’t leave the light on and wait up for me. Thank you, though.

  11. On the plus side, this thread has gotten me out of my two-month slump of not responding to comments!

    Thanks especially to all those who have left positive feedback here, on Facebook, and over at Salon. I appreciate it. You’ve already said many of the things that I would have said! Special thanks to Mike.

    Some further dialogue with those with negative feedback:

    First, if anyone genuinely thinks I’ve judged, made assumptions about, or condemned Maren in any way, all I can say is that I am very sorry and I hope that you can see that I didn’t mean to—that, in fact, I tried hard not to write anything that could be mistaken that way.

    The fact remains that her article is not a dry treatise; it’s a personal essay, full of emotional anecdotes and, as such, invites the reader to consider it at that level. As Michaela wisely said, if it’s okay for you to hypothesize about the formation of our opinions, it’s okay for us to hypothesize about the formation of yours. It’s part of the discussion.

    But we can do it without being rude to each other. And if you think I’ve been rude, then I ask you to believe that such was never my intention. We should all give each other the benefit of the doubt.

    Sarah, you quote me as saying that I said Maren “obviously” lacked “spiritual strength.” But that isn’t a quote from me at all. Those words appear three sentences apart, and the meaning is not the harshness you give it as: I said that, according to her own essay, she obviously had deeper feelings about her social circle than for God, and (three sentences later) that people with such priorities are choosing not to develop deeper spiritual strength.

    Maybe that could have been more tactful (“apparently” would have been better than “obviously”), and if that offends you, I’m sorry, but it’s an opinion based on observation, experience, and reading comprehension. Earlier in the same paragraph, I was careful to qualify those ideas (twice!) by saying “may.” To read that and imagine me with a superior scowl seems somewhat lacking in charity. In how many ways can I be clear about this? I don’t think Maren, or those like her, is lying or bad.

    I know there are ex-Mormons out there who have felt seriously hurt by the church members, and it breaks my heart that anyone would ever feel that way (or that I could be accused of it, too!), but could you at least consider that maybe some of those who offended you didn’t mean it, that maybe some former LDS have taken things out of context and overreacted in some situations? Isn’t that at least a possibility? Because I’ve never read of one giving their supposed persecutors that benefit of the doubt. I’d love to hear feedback on this.

    Thank you, Sarah, for this beautiful sentiment: “This seems to me a respectful and perfectly legitimate position to take. And of course those who have left because of soul searching, like me, now believe most members don’t understand the gospel, either. But I try to respect the sincerity of my Mormon family members and friends and I don’t invent reasons for their faith that are at odds with what they themselves claim.” I love that! I agree, and I hope I’m on the same path.

    Instead of getting stuck on the alleged failures in my tone, could commenters address the substance of my ideas about the influence of Maren’s social experiences, and the information about her accusations about the Church? Even if my language wasn’t diplomatic enough, the points should still be engaged. That would make this conversation more productive, don’t you think?

    Sarah, your remark about the Book of Abraham scrolls is a myth—those scrolls are just a small part of what Smith had in his possession, and are not the ones used in producing the text—multiple eyewitness descriptions at the time substantiate this.

    Now, I don’t know if any of Smith’s plural marriages were sexual or not—there’s no way to tell either way for sure. Some most likely were. What we do know is that some almost certainly were not, as with those who were much older, for whom he clearly just saw himself as responsible for their welfare. As for Helen Kimball, she wrote of her struggle with the situation, and her acceptance of it followed by faithfulness and her feelings of spiritual blessing.

    The thesis that critics insinuate for polygamy—that church leaders lied about the revelation to justify sexual activity—doesn’t stand up under scrutiny. There would have been far easier ways to “get away” with it. Far more than sex was involved, and sex often wasn’t involved at all. Its practice was rare and heavily regulated. Sexual hedonism is inconsistent with the lives of consecration and sacrifice by those who practiced it—these men were not Warren Jeffs.

    And Kathleen, your reference is deeply flawed. As others have noted, its sources are circular among professional antagonists. But to give one specific example, the second citation after your link is about John C. Bennett, and the quote is about his excommunication for adultery! And you’re using that to support a claim that the church endorsed abortion to cover up polygamy! That couldn’t be any more ironic.

    Here’s a question: surely we all agree that there are some critics of the Church who are disingenuous or, at least, who rely on shoddy information to defame the church. If you disbelieve in the church, can you note some examples of this? Or is everything bad that anyone has ever said about the Church automatically true? Does that really sound reasonable? (And, yes, by the same token, some people who love the church are poorly informed and believe things that are not true, and some things used to defend the church are faulty. I can admit that and still assert that there are tons of respectable, true things that do support the church, and that it is ultimately itself true.)

    • No Huston, my references are not flawed. They quote actual things people in real life actually said. But you can pretend that the “anti-mormon” sites who quote actual Mormons, are lying. It’s fine. That’s up to you to make your paradigm work.

      Yes, there are Mormon haters that make stuff up, or make it look even kookier than it already is. That does nothing to further the knowledge that the entire “story” is a lie. It bugs me too. Ed Decker, to begin with, and numerous “christian” groups have false information out there.

      For the record…If anyone tells a lie about “the so called church” or it’s history, I will straighten them out, always. I will defend the truth of the history of the church, even when it makes them look good. I am a Gr. Gr. Gr. Grandaughter of Brigham Young.. My entire family are still in the church and, well actually they are now starting to leave, yeah us!, but I digress. I will always point out a lie. Whether is supports a group I think is deeply flawed or not.

      That you can take to the bank. You can chose not to believe what I share, it doesn’t mean I’m lying.

      • Hi Kathleen, I love your passion! Both Huston and I referred to the same issue of adultery/abortion in the website you referenced in your earlier post. Have you had a chance to read the full account and not the “summary” provided by the writer? Once you do that, please notify the writer that he is spreading falsehoods as you promisednyou would stand up to lies. After fulfilling your duty, you may want to consider exploring more credible sources. You can’t prove something is false by lying about it.

      • Are you not going to “defend” the anti-Mormon abortion claim? A few of us have referenced it as a trashy half-truth. Have you taken the time to look at the primary source it references? I’m really interested to hear your spin on this. But, we won’t. It’s actually very clearly a lie. I’ll just wait for your personal attack on me instead. That seems to be how you operate. Funny how you claim we can’t see the “truth” and you support your arguments with obvious lies. How ironic! Yawn…At least give me something new to think about!

  12. No true Scotsman fallacy.

    No good Mormon would leave the church, therefore, she must not have been a good Mormon.

    Maybe she just pretended (to herself and others) to be a good Mormon all those years.

    She was married in the temple, and attended regularly, and thought she believed it and all, but she obviously didn’t reeeeaaallllyyyy believe it and live it. Not really. Because if she had, she would still be a Mormon. But she’s not. So she didn’t.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

    • That’s a strawman’s argument. Huston is not claiming (nor am I) that only a bad Mormon would leave the church. But our belief that a Mormon who has truly connected to the gospel, and not just the church and it’s culture, is really no different than the persons who leave because they don’t believe it: we both think we’re right. From the perspective of a believer, the Mormon who leaves doesn’t have to be bad–they only need to have sunk their roots a couple inches into the soil and no more. But again, how is that worse than the position the non-believer takes that the believer is an idiot?

  13. Did she talk with her Bishop or a leader about this before she left. Explained her concerns? I

  14. “Maybe that could have been more tactful (“apparently” would have been better than “obviously”), and if that offends you, I’m sorry, but it’s an opinion based on observation, experience, and reading comprehension. Earlier in the same paragraph, I was careful to qualify those ideas (twice!) by saying “may.” To read that and imagine me with a superior scowl seems somewhat lacking in charity. In how many ways can I be clear about this? I don’t think Maren, or those like her, is lying or bad.”

    I understand what you are saying, Huston. But imagine the roles were reversed. If you published your testimony of the truthfulness of the church on Salon, I’m very sure many people would have invented multiple motives to explain what they would insist is a delusion. You “may” have had an insecure childhood, and so you can’t face the world without the crutch of religious belief. You “may” have had parents who were authoritarian and who made you cling to your delusions. And so on. They, too, would be basing their opinion on “observation, experience, and reading comprehension,” pointing (let’s say) to your statements about feeling secure in the world because of your testimony. And just as you (and I) know people who have left Mormonism because of being offended by someone, they could well have known people who did in fact cling to a religion largely because of fearful feelings.

    If the roles were reversed in this way, I would find that objectionable, too. (In fact, although I’m an atheist I am constantly offended at the way many other atheists blithely dismiss others’ faith as silly and childish, when in fact the large majority of human beings are believers, and it is something deep in their being and deserving of respect. Though I’m also offended when believers assert atheists are de facto amoral and likely miserable.) I’d also wager that you would feel offended at other people inventing those reasons for your faith while ignoring what you stated.

    Yes, people leave the church because another member or members hurt their feelings. But how does that provide any evidence that others left for that reason, especially when they state other reasons? I was never offended by anyone in the church. I think Mormons as a general group are generous people, not the bigoted, insular fanatics so many non-members assume (despite the fact that there are, of course, racist and homophobic members). I have active Mormon relatives who are extremely bright, thoughtful people — surgeons, university professors. I left based on my own study and changing worldview, and I know many Mormons like me. And, for what it’s worth, I’d be deeply hurt if any of them explained my decision––especially in public––as stemming from failure to develop some aspect of my disciplineship or from caring more about a social circle than about God.

    (I will say, though, that if I had still been in the church when I became a parent, and had a gay child like another poster, I’m sure I would have been deeply hurt.)

    I’m sorry for assuming ill will where their was none on your part. Reading your follow up, it seems to me a matter of your presumptions (unfair ones, in my opinion) about Maren rather than a deliberate desire to impugn her personally.

  15. “Sarah, your remark about the Book of Abraham scrolls is a myth—those scrolls are just a small part of what Smith had in his possession, and are not the ones used in producing the text—multiple eyewitness descriptions at the time substantiate this.”

    Unless I missed it, the church-sponsored Encyclopedia of Mormonism doesn’t say anything about additional scrolls. And it does acknowledge that the content of the Book of Abraham, originally published as being “translated by Joseph Smith” from the papyri, does not match what is now authenticated by scholars as the content of the published facsimiles. Instead, they understandably put the emphasis on the meaning of “translation,” asserting that the Egyptian papyri, known to date from the first century A.D. (and thus long after Abraham), and addressing Egyptian figures and myths, may have been a kind of pretext or occasion for a revelation about Abraham And elsewhere, other Mormon scholars have acknowledged the direct mistranslations.

  16. I think Jeff Lindsay does a great job of putting on kid gloves, dealing with hurt feelings such as Maren’s, and does a good job of addressing the points of history.

    Advice on how to deal with Maren’s concerns, plus a more “meta” or higher level view of how to deal with such concerns are in these posts by Jeff:

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2008/07/shaken-faith-syndrome.html

    In which he refers to: http://www.shakenfaithsyndrome.com

    Here are some more very diplomatic and gentle posts from Bro Lindsay dealing with situations where a member’s faith is challenged:

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2009/12/got-cognitive-dissonance-consider-this.html

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2007/09/working-through-disillusionment-faith.html

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2009/04/dealing-with-book-of-abraham-issues.html

  17. Sarah, the diagrams/facsimiles match up, but that still allows that the missing papyri from which the BoA comes -was- part of the collection but now is -separated-. The missing papyri was not necessarily immediately after or before the facsimiles. There has been discussion on whether the facsimiles preceeded or followed the BoA text or had been “cut and pasted” into a different part.

    Personally, I’ve thought that maybe the dead guy (the originally mummy) just wanted to be buried with one of his favorite scriptures. Kind of like a Mormon saying “Hey, when I die, bury me with a copy of the Book of Mormon.”

    • I’m not sure what you mean when you say “the diagrams/facsimilies match up.” But Egyptologists have translated far more than the three facsimiles published in the Book of Abraham, because papyri from which the BoA facsimiles were taken were discovered in 1966 in the New York Museum of Metropolitan Art. The Museum gave the papyri to the church in 1967. Both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars acknowledge that what was written on the Met papyri in no way matches up to what Joseph translated in the BoA. The papyri discovered in the Met, by the way, was pasted on map of Kirkland, with architectural plans for a Mormon temple on the back, so it was definitely the Mormon-owned document.

      Nor does Joseph’s Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, produced before ancient Egyptian had been solved post-Rosetta Stone, in any way match the Egyptian language.

      • They most certainly do not match. You can take the long route and read “By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus”, (Charles Larson) and learn everything discovered about the real facts on The Book of Abraham…or you can take a quicker read here: http://20truths.info/mormon/abraham.html (many links to books about the Papyrus on this very well documented page)

    • Oh, and the Met papyri is also acknowledged by Mormon scholars to be “The Book of Breathing,” an Egyptian funeral text that is part of the famous Book of the Dead. This is the text pasted on a map of Kirkland.

  18. Mike,

    You sir, are making assumptions. I did not say anything about all family and friends deserting a member who chooses to leave. I said they will treat you differently, not every single person, but it has been my experience and the experience of many I have talked to about leaving the church, that most members do in fact treat you differently.

    Members do not understand. They may know the reasons someone leaves but they do not understand because it has not caused them to leave, therefore the emotions are not the same. Do you understand the emotions of your family members that have left? I do not believe that you can understand unless you have had a similar experience.

    You are right people leave for a variety of reasons, however for the most part those reasons fall under the same basic umbrella. Feeling mislead by the church. Yes the church because it is the church who puts out teaching materials. I understand that there are the occasional teacher that teaches things not in the manuals. However these are not the things that cause the majority of people to leave, we are smarter than that. We can tell when someone is teaching his or her opinion and when it is church doctrine. Yes I am using the word we because just like you feel a part of the community of the church we are a community of exmos.

    I find it so telling when a member says something similar to what you have just said about the church not lying to it’s members. I recall there are sins of omission. Not telling the members about truths such as seer stones in hats, JS and polygamy, the misinterpretation of the BoA in my opinion is a lie. The purposeful omission of truth is therefore a lie. Shouldn’t the church be held to the same amount of accountability as it expects it’s members to uphold? You would be expected to admit major sins to your bishop in order to receive a temple recommend. But the church is not required to admit it’s own past sins? Well that is quite the double standard!

    • Your complaint about “the church” not telling you about the hat, seer stones, etc., assumes that the purpose of church curriculum (and your attendance at church) is to award a degree in theology. That is not the purpose. The 3-hour block of worship once a week has several objectives: to allow members to fellowship with each other, and to worship and feel the spirit. Instruction also takes place, but that instruction must be geared toward the lowest common denominator.

      This may be difficult to understand, but taking time out of the brief time there is for lessons to offer all sorts of caveats does not fit into any of the purposes for Sunday gathering. Perhaps one day the church will include in it’s curriculum some references to “other methods of translation.” Having said that, the instruction given at church is always intended to supplement what the individual members learn elsewhere on their own.

      If members wish to obtain a degree in theology, or church history, or whatever it may be, they have to do that somewhere else (like a university–try BYU).

      The fact remains that there are people who choose to remain in the church, who have been exposed to the same things you’ve been exposed to, who are just as intelligent and critical in their thinking as you are. To imply that these people are idiots, or that they’ve been brainwashed is a copout. And I’m not saying that those who choose to leave are not intelligent. It just seems that “the church lied to me” doesn’t hold much water as a valid excuse when so many people have been exposed to the same thing, have analyzed the issues and choose to remain and believe.

      If 2 people who are both intelligent, critical thinkers can be exposed to the same issues in the church, and one remains and the other leaves, then the logical conclusion is that a connection was missing elsewhere. The ad hominem conclusion is that the person who chose to stay is simply engaging in cognitive dissonance or is brainwashed.

      • The problem here is that one out of every two isn’t the test result here. One out of two Mormons don’t stay active members. You don’t get to make up your own facts, Mike.

        Your church is admitting it has about a 25-30% retention/activity rate at this point. Out of the continued so called 14 million members comments continuously pushed in the press, the church is admitting there are only about 4-5 million active members (not in public, mind you). That tells me that possibly all that “private studying” you just said we should do, alone, is making people think…eh? And just so you don’t think I’m making stuff up again (so typical of a person who fears hearing something that will rock their faith) here are a couple of Mormon comments/articles about your retention rates.

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/01/30/uk-mormonchurch-idUKTRE80T1CP20120130 (of which Marlin Jensen, after making these truthful statements was released “early” from his church calling)

        http://www.cumorah.com/index.php?target=church_growth_articles&story_id=8%E2%80%9D

        I’m not trying to make you a non-member, Mike, I’m just telling you to start living in the *factual* world. Reality…it’s a good thing.

        p.s. “lowest common denominator”?…whoa! Could you get anymore insulting to the general members of your church?

        • I don’t know what the retention rate is churchwide, but in our stake we’re generally about 45% (attendance at sacrament meeting) and about 23% at stake conferences. I think you went off on a tangent about retention rates, however. I was just giving a hypothetical. The point was that if intelligent people are leaving and intelligent people are staying, then it’s probably not the “intelligence factor” that is key.

          I have to chuckle at your remark about Marlin Jensen getting released “early.” Smells a bit of conspiracy theory.

          The “lowest common denominator” is another way of saying that not all people are ready for meat, and when you have a class that has people who can only handle milk, you really have to keep things kind of simple. That’s not insulting; that’s called “living in the factual world.”

          • All I can say is keep on typing Mike. You are helping the cause, of the now continuous flow out of the cult.

            • Ok. I confess. I am part of a conspiracy theory that, frankly, is not just a theory. We’re out to do all kinds of wild things. Better hide your children.

  19. Mike,

    How then to you explain the church’s stance on staying within approved materials for research? How exactly should one go about finding these truths if the church explicitly teaches against looking into such things. Nowhere have I found church approved materials that tell about the issues I brought up earlier. Please, if I am wrong, enlighten me. I would love to see a church approve admittance of such things! So are saying go against the church to find truths, or stay within the church approved materials and continue to miss out on certain truthful aspects of the history of the church…you can not have it both ways I am afraid.

    And your argument is weak. It is the church’s responsibility to teach it’s member all aspects of the ‘gospel’ so that members can make educated decisions about the way they worship and what they are willing to accept in the church’s history. The burden of proof lies at the feet of the church not with the members. If it’s true, back it up. If you made a mistake, cope to it and move on. Covering up history is fishy whether it is a church or a business, or in the case of the LDS church both. The church owes it to it’s members to be forth right. If there isn’t enough time to teach it during church (which I think is BS, but whatever) then members should be given explicit direction on where to go to find additional info. That doesn’t happen because the mass exodus caused by the general membership knowing the history would be devistating to the church!

    And just so we are clear a smart person staying in the church doesn’t make the church true anymore than a smart person leaving the church makes it false.

    • What do you mean by “the church’s stance on staying within approved materials for research”? Do you have a cite for that? In 48 years I have never read anything (from the church) that says that (I’m not saying it’s not there, but I have never seen it, and you haven’t cited to anything).

      I’m not sure the church has the burden to do anything. The church is there as a vehicle and members have their free will to engage or not in learning. Your focus, however, misses out on some very important points about the purpose of the church (of course, if you believe the church is false then this discussion is moot). The church attempts to help facilitate a spiritual conversion—to help people believe in Christ, come to Christ, repent and receive all the blessings God has in store for them. Knowledge about church history does not play a major role in that objective.

      If I had the time I could present numerous quotes about how the church encourages its members to educate themselves, to read good books, etc., etc., but I’m not sure it would make a difference to you.

      I do not doubt that the church could do more to help its members understand some of the stickier issues (and perhaps in the future it will). What the church cannot do, however, is force people to spiritually convert. If we could somehow turn back the clock and have the church publish a pamphlet for new members detailing all of the warts in church history, do you really believe that nobody would leave? Do you believe that such an approach would be a panacea to all the people leaving the church?

      Of course you don’t believe that.

      “And just so we are clear a smart person staying in the church doesn’t make the church true anymore than a smart person leaving the church makes it false.”

      Congratulations, that’s exactly what I said. And I think it goes to support my point, that it’s all about spiritual conversion, not about critical analysis.

      • Ok Mike this one’s for you. I did you one better than just a quote, how about a whole article on why members are to use “proper sources”

        http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/58411/Use-proper-sources.html

        This little gem at the end of the article sums it quite well:

        “The Church — through its inspired correlation program — has given us official sources of information to help us prepare lessons and plan activities. Instead of turning to unofficial books and Web sites, let’s use those sources.”

        • But isn’t that talking about instructors? Individuals have always been free to engage in person study using whatever sources they wish. The whole point of “correlation” is that the lessons presented be somewhat uniform.

          Personal study is a completely separate issue.

  20. Sarah, there was and is more than one papyrus scroll. There were more scrolls than the several associated with the diagrams that came from the museum. One or more is definitely missing. The text that the BoA (purportedly) comes from does not have to be the one attached to the Kirtland map, or associated with the diagrams in this collection. Lindsay pointed to recorded comments (contemporary with JS) that gave a description of a scroll that does not match any of the ones in the collection in question.

    In other words there were X number of scrolls (I forget the exact number) in the set of papyrii that JS had, and there are fewer papyrii in the present set. This is a fact that the detractors have omitted or misrepresented.

    As long as one or more scrolls are unaccounted for, it is disengenuous for the detractors to claim the BoA translation is fraudulent, as it could have come from (one of) the missing one(s).

  21. I have read Lindsay’s assertions about a missing scroll and find them unconvincing. He cites one or two references among Joseph’s contemporaries to “three scrolls,” but Joseph himself — and most other references — say “two scrolls.” Nor does his missing scroll thesis account for the bigger problem: Joseph did publish the facsimile diagrams with his Book of Abraham, and those diagrams are now known to represent Egyptian gods and mythic stories from Egyptian texts — not Abraham, “God on his Throne,” etc. As you no doubt know, the Egyptian god Min (whom Joseph said was the Abrahamic God) is a phallic figure of fertility, and for a time the church removed his erect member, although I believe it has now been replaced in the BoA.

    More notable to me is the fact that church authorities don’t take up Lindsay’s theory in the Encyclopedia of Mormon, or deny the discrepancy between the scrolls and the BoA. Instead, they give what is the most defensible explanation possible for believers: that when Joseph “translated” the papyri, he didn’t transcribe what was written but rather received a revelation from God that wasn’t in the Egyptian texts. Thus, the church doesn’t say the BoA is fraudulent, but they concede Joseph’s attempt to connect the Abraham stories to the facsimiles is in error. That point, of course, is what detractors have asserted.

  22. Bookslinger,

    Can you cite your sources on your theory that there were x scroll now there are y? Don’t you find it convenient that things always go missing in the church, especially things that can prove it’s validity?

    Mike,

    My only citation at this point is my own membership in the church. I have been in lessons warning against intellectuals as well as literature outside of the approved church materials. Meaning manuals and so forth. I would be surprised if you hadn’t been apart of a similar lesson at some point. I am looking into something more specific for you.

    • I don’t disagree with you that there would be individuals in the church who say all kinds of things. We like to joke about that in our ward because people have their pet doctrines, Mormon folklore, etc. So if you tell me you heard “X” (and you could insert just about anything here you want) from a person teaching a lesson, I would not doubt it.

      I had a very respected gospel doctrine teacher get upset at me (he was in attendance in priesthood meeting) when I gave a lesson about the temple recommend questions. He was upset that I would actually quote the questions. I found his response bizarre, and called his supporters on it when they couldn’t produce anything to support their position. But his position was not the church’s position. It was just his strange twist on what’s appropriate.

  23. Hi Kathleen,
    This just in…the holocaust did NOT happen! Let me give you some resources:

    http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t553062/

    From a president of an actual country:

    From a Northwestern professor:
    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v11/v11p251_Butz.html

    An actual book:
    http://www.historiography-project.com/books/19740000harwood_dsmrd.html#six-million

    The list goes on and on. Many claim original, primary resources. It must be true! Ludicrous, huh! Your arguments and references are no different than my example.

    Bottom line, no one is “convinced” of truth or lies by “proof”. It’s a personal, spiritual process. Your hate-spewing does nothing more than make you look bitter. Your poorly cited sources do nothing more than make you look ignorant. Your personal attacks and digs do nothing more than make you look desperate.

    The works of anti-holocaust writers are mocked; the works of anti-Mormons are no different. Laughable, at best.

  24. FYI, she has a blog here:
    http://www.projectspiderweb.com

    I came across it because from the photo I could swear she was someone I knew at BYU and seemed the right age, etc.

    She’s struggling with depression and I wish her well and hope she can some day find her way back to the Lord.

  25. I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s time to close the comments on this post. I still plan to add a few more things myself, but I think the public discussion has run its course and likely won’t continue to be productive. If anyone would like to add anything else to this discussion, please feel free to contact me directly with your thoughts–my email address is mrhuston1 AT yahoo DOT com. If you’d like me to add your charitable and relevant new comments publicly, please say so and I’ll consider it. Thank you all.

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