May 1, 2003
Subject: Infant blessing information
Our daughter married her Mormon boyfriend several years ago and joined the Mormon church. We are Christians and she was raised in a Christian home and attended church all her growing up years. She just had her second child - a son.
My question is about the blessing of this child that happens at their place of meeting. We attended the blessing of our granddaughter and were surprised that only the father went up to the front of the meeting place with the baby and some of his priest friends (one priest friend forgot to come!!).
Where is mom in all of this? How come she does not participate in this blessing? In my reading about it I can only see that it is a priestly duty. I am looking for an answer that goes deeper than that. For a church that claims to be so family oriented it's almost insulting that the baby's mother is not a part of this blessing.
Thank you for your help. I really appreciate your ministry. You have been very helpful to us over the years. We really appreciate your newsletter.
[Sandra's Note: You make a valid point. Why can't the mother participate in this prayer? Even under LDS concepts, I don't see what harm there would be in allowing the mother to stand in the prayer circle. Women are allowed to stand in the prayer circle in the temple.
Mormonism is based on a patriarchal plan--only men have the priesthood and become gods. Thus only men are allowed to perform these blessings. The woman's role places her in a second-class situation. The wives are silent partners.
Just look at the LDS concept of our Father in Heaven. According to them, God is married (see doctrine statement by LDS First Presidency in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol.4, p.1667-1669) but they hardly ever talk about his wife, Mother in Heaven. This is what the LDS woman has to look forward toendless pregnancies, so her husband/god can procreate children for endless worlds. While their children are mortals on some earth they will not pray to her, only to their Heavenly Father. She will not be referred to by name, only her husband. I don't think most LDS women have thought these issues through.]
May 1, 2003
Subject: FAQ under General Information
Dear sir or madam,
Recently I went on your website and was browsing through your FAQ. Under the General Information FAQ #3 you stated the following.
"The LDS Church claims to be the 'only true church' and the only church with the authority to act in God's name. They do not accept any other church's baptisms. According to their teachings, their baptism is the only one recognized by the Lord. This belief, coupled with their belief in the need for a Mormon temple marriage to gain eternal life, compels them to take their message to the world."
Whether this was done by accident or purpose I do not know. But this statement is false. Yes you must be married in the lds church in their temple to go to the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom. However Heavenly Father is in the whole Celestial Kingdom. Now to get into the Celestial Kingdom you must be baptized in the lds church, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, have faith in Jesus Christ and repent of your sins. Here you gain Eternal Life. Therefore what is also known as salvation. Whether this was done by accident on your group's part or purposefully to deceive people that are looking in to joining the lds church is beside the point. I would hope that this change on the website is made immediately.
Regardless of whether or not it is I shall be making many people aware of this error on your group's part. And hopefully make everyone cautious toward your group. I don't have anything against your group gathering information about the church that I choose to be a member of but when it appears that you malicously lie and deceive in order to appear right is very wrong. I also shall be looking through your whole website to make sure that there isn't any more of these little false statements in there. It is easy when you do put accurate info on the site to slip in lies to deceive.
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't get your point. I still don't see that our statement contradicts LDS doctrine. 'Eternal life', according to the LDS leaders I have read, only applies to those who have a temple marriage. LDS leaders define 'Eternal life' as something beyond 'salvation' (which is equated with immortality, resurrection, entrance to Heaven but not 'eternal life'). 'Eternal life' is defined as the ability to procreate life eternally, not just a matter of who is in the presence of Heavenly Father.
Pres. Spencer W. Kimball was quoted in the Deseret News, Church News, Nov. 12, 1977, as saying: "Only through celestial marriage can one find the strait way, the narrow path. Eternal life cannot be had in any other way. The Lord was very specific and very definite in the matter of marriage."
Also, read the D&C sec. 132 again. Look at v.21-24, 55. "Eternal lives" are only promised to those who marry in the temple. Here is a quote from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
George Q. Morris, speaking at LDS Conference, October 1959, stated:
Apostle Milton R. Hunter, speaking at BYU, December 15, 1964, stated:
We try to be accurate. I assume this establishes that our statement represented the LDS view correctly.]
May 1, 2003
Subject: Thanks very much Sandra Tanner, you have truly blessed me :)
Greetings in His Love, Sandra & Jerald Tanner:
I have been a person that has scanned your sight from now and then. I have emailed you before, and you had responded several years ago to a simple question I asked. I stumbled again on your sight, and am very appreciative that you continue to do this.
I was adopted into a Mormon family when I was 13. Have experienced (unfortunately) most Ceremonies that occur in the Temple. i.e. Baptisms for the dead, was sealed to my Parents from being adopted, witnessed my Sister get sealed to her Husband in marriage, and finally took out my endowments in the Temple...
I will be honest, when I received my Mission Call ......., I felt something on the inside of my Spirit that said, no Jason, this is not for you, and I kept sensing this. My Bishop was actually accommodating to the fact I didn't feel right about going, and he said, it is okay Jason, you don't have to go on a Mission.
I will honestly say, when I "received" my endowments in the Temple, it felt cold, kind of like, what does this have to do with God. Why am I reaching through a veil spouting off "secret" oops, "sacred" tokens and signs through occult markings in a veil that was ripped from top to bottom in some of the synoptic Gospels in the Bible when Jesus died on the Cross and said "it is finished".
It has been a painful experience trying to find who I am but, ultimately, feeling brainwashed by the Mormon Church, I have not yet mustered up the courage to get my name removed from the "church rolls". I don't believe they are telling us the whole truth, and yes, they usually use scare factors to keep people involved in their cult. Yes, they are good people, and as I heard one person say, you can be sincere about your beliefs and believe it is the "ultimate" truth, but at the same time, you can be sincerely wrong.
I have tried to commit suicide on several occasions because I have been continually crying out to God for why we are here in the first place. I accepted Jesus christ as Lord and Savior when I was 22, and even now still feel a pulling inside me from Jesus.... the True Biblical Jesus.
My Mormon adoptive Parents think the Mormon Church is still true, and wish, someday I will see the "light". Honestly, Sandra, it kind of hurts me, it's like why has the Mormon Church thrived for so long instilling fear in people with false doctrine without any integrity backing it up from their shady past? (And becoming billionaires in the process.) How long should people continually endure this, and why do people even fall for this?
I appreciate, so much, what you and your Husband Jerald have done over the last several decades. (Sorry to hear of his health, I pray for him). What you both have done is brave and remarkable, in the midst of so much opposition, and especially knowing you don't give into the deceptive ways of the "brethren". It's like, are they truly deceived, and don't know it? What the heck is going on? Are they afraid of seeing the Truth? Too much at stake for them and their supposedly untarnished reputations?
Ultimately, I believe that Jesus is who he says he is in the Bible, and Joseph Smith was involved in the occult, and I cannot stand people being deceived and being lied to, thank you for standing against so much opposition and for your studies of bringing earlier Mormon history to light.
At times I have quoted some of your findings to my Parents, and they scoff and respond in disbelief, "they are not being truthful, quoting things out of context." Alas, I point out to them you don't take things out of context... you have everything, from the start to finish in sermons and teachings the "church" would like to get rid off for fear of further embarrassment, including the underlying quotes available for everyone to see in its original format the Church is trying to cover up in the first place.
Sorry this email so long, I just felt, even though I am sure you are busy, to give you my testimony of your Ministry, and how it has been a blessing to me, even though it is scoffed at, I appreciate it, because it is a hard long road out of being "force-fed" lies you thought in your heart to be true at a young formative age and coming to the place of realizing you have been ultimately brainwashed and lied to, and the often intricate, arduous, complex long road to establishing yourself in the Truth after the broken glass has fallen onto the ground and the damage has already been done.
Again, I admire and appreciate what you both have done over the years, and wish and hope the best for you both.
God bless you,
May 2, 2003
i have been told that the journal of discourses cd's have been altered by the mormon church and are not true copies of the original discourses???? is this true??? if so, where can the volumes of the Journal of Discourses be obtained or purchased...i've only seen them on E-bay rarely and they went for big bucks!!!!!
[Sandra's Note: All of the Journal of Discourses references I have looked up on the LDS CD-ROM GospeLink have been accurate. Contact www.deseretbook.com to purchase GospeLink. They're also on the New Mormon Studies CD-ROM. A reprint of the 26 vol. set of the Journal of Discourses is in most libraries in Utah and some other states have the set in their universities.]
May 4, 2003
I am an x-Mormon of about fifteen years -- your ministry assisted me greatly in leaving and seeking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Thanks for the help many years ago....Thanks.
May 4, 2003
You all sure seem to waste a whole lot of time dissing Mormonism. You could find something better to do with your time.
May 4, 2003
Subject: Your Ministry
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner:
I've read your material for many years, and tried to keep track of what you are up to. Just wanted to say, I cannot tell you how much I have always admired you folks and the good work you do....What you have accomplished in your careers, the obstacles you have overcome, the unbending integrity with which you have done it, have been an inspiration. God bless you,...
May 5, 2003
Subject: A thank you note from a brother in Christ
Dear Jerry and Sandra;
Thank you so much for your perseverance, research and commitment to follow God (the one and only God)! I am an African American man in Los Angeles, California. I love Jesus and God has been working great miracles in my life. ... Most recently I was visited by two Mormon missionaries. They were very polite and earnest in their effort, but I was not a neophyte to the Bible or the word of God.
To make a long story short, we would talk about the Mormon doctrine and the Bible. The "elders" would get stuck on questions about polygamy and baptism of the dead. But they were very prepared about blacks and the priesthood. In fact, they believed that the reversal [Pres. Kimball's revelation to allow men of all races to hold the priesthood] was a sure sign that God was speaking through their prophet.
I prayed to God to make clear the truths they had presented and God ... drew me into biblical scriptures that clearly pointed out the false doctrine. However, I found it hard to shut the door on these young missionaries (I must admit that I had become fond of these clean cut young men).
I prayed again to God to give me strength and words to share with them as I closed the door. And again, our awesome God, showed up and showed out! (that's a popular saying here in LA). He directed me to your web site. It was all there. Everything I needed to read and share with my Mormon friends. I'm not worried whether they will except the truths (and errors) you have revealed. I will leave that up to God. But I am happy to share in your ministry to get the truth out.
God bless you both.
May 5, 2003
...It is amazing to me how many people here in CA don't really know what the LDS church teaches, even with a large number of members here in our community. I pray every day for my Mormon friends. Your work is not in vain, the pastor from my CA church is requesting info too. We now have LDS members attending our church, looking for answers.
May 5, 2003
Subject: Mormon Help
Dear Jerald and Sandra,
...I am a student at UCLA. I wanted to thank you for your extensive work with Mormonism. I am a Christian that has had a ministry to LDS members for a few years now. Some day I hope to use my doctorate (once I get it) in psychology to helping those getting out of such religious systems. ... Your work makes it much easier on me. I am well prepared when the ward missionary couple comes over for dinner, or when my good school friends ask me why I am not a Mormon. So primarily I just wanted to say thank you. ...
I do have a question for you. Your ministry has been going on for some time now. While mine is just starting I find that these people can be rather hard of hearing. My question is this, do you see a lot of people leave the church? And if so under what circumstances?...
[Sandra's Note: Good to hear from you. Many are leaving Mormonism, but the reasons vary. Some see a lack of spirituality in Mormonism, others start questioning some particular aspect of its history or changing doctrine.
The LDS growth rate isn't near as impressive as they make out. More than half of their converts drop out in the first couple of years. Many in Utah have doubts but feel locked in by family, job or social pressures. We talk to more people that are questioning or leaving Mormonism than we did ten years ago. But it is still a slow process. The Internet has opened many doors to doubting Mormons. Some that might not have felt comfortable coming to our store can go to our web site anonymously.
Here is part of an email I received dealing with LDS Church growth:
Here is a web site done by a Mormon showing that the growth rate isn't as good as officially claimed.
Hope this helps.]
May 5, 2003
Subject: personal ?, hope u don't mind
I read the article in the City Weekly about the Lighthouse ministry and I'm left with a few questions, one in particular. Upon leaving the LDS religion, which religion did the tanners affiliate themselves with?
I have done quite a bit studying of the LDS religion and have also learned quite a bit about the alternative Christian religions along the way. I'm just curious to know which of the alternative religions the Tanners found the truth in upon renouncing Mormonism.
Also, do the Tanners believe that there is one true religion or that, as many Christians believe, there are numerous paths that lead to salvation or exhaltation, whichever it is that you seek (if the Tanners do believe this then I think they should refocus because Mormonism makes its members better than any other).
…I would seriously like to know which religion the Tanners chose after leaving Mormonism, because any one of them I could tear apart in a tiny fraction of the time that it took the Tanners to amass their nice little collection of "proof" that Mormonism was created by Joseph Smith. I certainly hope that it was one of the Protestant religions that don't claim to be anything more or less than a creation of man (and then legitimize their beliefs by claiming that their is more than one way to get to heaven); or maybe it would be funner if they turned to the time-tested Catholic religion which had its beliefs decided in the great comprises organized by the then Pagan Constantine (the ambiguity of the beliefs resulting from the council in Nice was very beneficial to the political aims of the great emperor). Or maybe Jehovah's Witnesses, please don't tell me that you became J.W.'s.
Maybe the Tanners are just smarter than everyone else, definitely more intelligent than Elder Henry B. Eyring with his degrees from Harvard, and certainly wiser than Elder Dallin H. Oakes with his degree in Juris Prudence from the Chicago University Law School, who would possibly believe that Elder Scott, a former nuclear physicist, could be smarter than the Tanners.
…. Not one of the educated men that I mentioned appointed himself to lead and serve God's children, but apparently the Tanners were given special priviledge to do just that. The Tanners claim that they are not Mormon bashing or pushing anti-Mormon propaganda. They feel that they are doing weak minded and confused Mormons a favor by making them feel comfortable with their decision to follow the easy path (that doesn't lead to heaven by the way) and to leave behind the conspiring Mormon church.
I thank the Tanners for strengthening my testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ through the modern prophet Joseph Smith who HAS done more for mankind than any other man who ever lived on the face of the earth, save only Jesus. Joseph Smith admitted his own weaknesses and imperfections, maybe its time that the Tanners follow suit and admit that they lacked the faith to follow the less traveled path that leads to eternal life.
… The people that listen to you aren't looking for the truth, they are looking for an easier way, nothing more and nothing less. If you managed to read all of this, i really would be interested to know which church the Tanners found comfort in.:)
[Sandra's Note: We are members of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church here in Salt Lake, which would be somewhat like the Baptists. The one true religion is Christianity. The Christian church is comprised of all true believers (which includes people who attend many different denominations) in the complete salvation/eternal life offered to us through Christ's grace and atonement. The LDS Church, however, does not fit in this category since it teaches that, in addition to Christ's atonement, eternal life (which LDS define as different from mere salvation) is only attained by being a member of the LDS Church and participating in the Mormon temple ritual. They also teach that all other churches are corrupt, not accepted by God and teach false doctrine (see Joseph Smith's first vision account). So Mormonism has drawn the line of distinction between itself and other churches.
Granted we do not have degrees such as Oakes, Eyring or Scott. But are you really prepared to say that degrees guarantee one has made the right choice in religion? Joseph Smith had no degrees yet many of the ministers of his day did. Surely you realize that most religious scholars and ministers have had years of schooling. They have studied Greek and Hebrew, the history of Christianity, the formation of the Bible, done graduate work, etc., and have reached totally different conclusions than LDS apostles. Which of the LDS apostles have even studied Greek or Hebrew? One can have a degree in English, Law, or medicine but still not be an authority in Biblical issues.]
May 7, 2003
dear Mr. and Mrs. tanner,
what an incredible site. seems your site is the basis for most other sites concerning Mormons and Mormonism.
my question is: it seems that the Mormon religion is really out there in "nutty land" why would anybody follow it especially since most Mormons i have ever met seem to be well educated, and if smith and young were so complete insane or delusional how did they get so many followers. and start a religion that became so wealthy. love your site,
[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith grew up in New York during a time of great religious upheaval and revivals. Many were dissatisfied with the established churches and were looking for some new movement of God to set things in order. Many were also speculating that the American Indians were descended from Israel. So Smith's claims of restoring New Testament Christianity and finding the record of the Israelites that were the forefathers of the Indians found a ready audience. His more outlandish doctrines, plural gods, plural wives, secret temple rituals, political kingdom of God, etc., did not develop until years later.
Mormonism has evolved over the years into a much more mainstream religious movement. However, it retains (though muted) much of the doctrines Smith proclaimed in the 1840's. With one of the best public relations departments, the LDS Church is able to carefully craft its image and gloss over its more notorious history and teachings.
The LDS Church maintains a missionary force of over 60,000, which may exceed the entire Protestant missionary force of North America. With that many people knocking on doors they are sure to find people looking for a new religious direction. People are usually impressed with the fact that two young, well groomed, people are willing to leave their homes, schooling, etc. to talk to people about their church. Many parents assume that if they could just get their kids into such a church it would straighten them out. Also, in a world of uncertainty and moral decline, many are looking for something solid, with a set purpose. Mormonism is seen as offering stability to the family. However, most converts do not know the core doctrines of Mormonism that set it apart from the Christian world.
As for the church's wealth, in order to be considered an active Mormon, with the privilege of attending the temple, one must pay a full tithe. This generates millions of tax-free dollars. The church has also invested its money well and has built an amazing financial empire. While local Christian congregations support a pastor (and possibly other staff, plus missionaries) all of the LDS leaders on the local level (Bishop, Stake President, etc.) are not paid. Thus most of the tithe from a local LDS congregation will be used by the denomination's headquarters. This generates income for LDS headquarters that other denominations do not receive.
As for the education level of Mormons, I think the more educated LDS are usually ones who were born into Mormonism rather than converted into it. But again, you must factor in that most LDS have only heard the P.R. side of things and don't know about the problem areas of Mormonism. They are trained to not look at material from the outside, don't question the leadership, read only faith promoting LDS material, etc.
May 7, 2003
Subject: Information about temple sealings after divorce
I'm exmormon and divorced. My ex-husband is planning a new sealing. I'm looking for what the church's official stand is on this. What does it mean for me and the children that I had with this man after we had been "sealed?" What does the church believe the role of his second wife is to my children? I've searched in vain for some official information. Can you direct me?
I've asked my ex, but basically he told me he doesn't really know what the church's official position is. I'm very confused as to why that doesn't bother him. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can give.
[Sandra's Note: If you have not formally removed your membership from the LDS Church, they would consider you still sealed to your ex. He can marry the current wife in the temple, and thus have two wives on the books for heaven.
If you were sealed to your husband while a Mormon but you are now out of the church, your marriage sealing would be cancelled. This would mean that your kids have no 'eternal' mom.
I advise divorced women against giving consent for their children to be sealed in the temple to another wife. Not because I think the sealing actually accomplishes something, but it could give the impression to your children that you didn't care about being their mother anymore. They could thus come to view the step-mom as their 'real' mother, since they are sealed to their dad and her for eternity. This could also lead to your kids feeling abandoned by you.
Your ex-husband can be sealed to his new wife in the temple without including your kids. Just tell him that if your kids want such a family sealing (to him and the new wife) they can have it done when THEY are adults and make that decision themselves.]
May 7, 2003
Subject: Witnessing tips
To whom it may concern,
First and foremost, Thank you for the efforts and time you have given.
I am a Christian, with a very close Mormon friend. She has me taking the discussions with the Missionaries in the hope that I will "See the truth." Your website is a welcome fountain of information and witnessing tips. It is my sincere hope that through the love of our Lord Jesus Christ that she may see a light within me and begin to question the teachings of her childhood.
As I have been raising questions with the missionaries I have been given a wide array of excuses why the witnessing tips presented (they are unaware of my sources) are possible within the LDS Church.
I have searched everywhere but without luck in finding help to show them the faults within Mormonism based upon a Jewish standpoint. This has so far been the only point that they have no countering answer. The argument is as follows.
It is within this argument that I am hoping you may have some sources to draw information from. The standpoint of the Jewish Torah cannot be considered Anti-Mormon as any publication of a Jew has no concern for converting or misleading Mormons.
If you have any information on this subject or where I may find it please let me know.
God Bless You and glory to Christ Jesus, Amen.
[Sandra's Note: You are making a valid point on the Old Testament. A good verse to show a Mormon is 1 Nephi 13:24-26:
Thus the Old Testament that has come down through Israel, and not from the Christian community, should be reliable. So where are the peculiar teachings of Mormonism to be found in the Hebrew scriptures? The Old Testament does not teach plural gods, evolution to godhood, secret temple marriages, LDS concept of Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, etc.
Two good resources on the topic are The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon and The Golden Bible.]
May 8, 2003
Just a note—visited this page...WANNA SAY: Thanks, sincerely for you dedication, labor/effort toward exposing error and exalting Truth!
We're united when EXALTING HIM!
May 8, 2003
I have another question that I hope you will be able to help me with in talking with a Mormon teen whom I work with. Are there any LDS missionaries in Israel? Why or why not?... Thank you.
[Sandra's Note: The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, v.1, p.226, gives some information on the BYU campus in Jerusalem:
Thus there are no LDS missionaries in Israel. Here is the web site for their campus. http://ce.byu.edu/jc/]
May 10, 2003
...I have read your book The Changing World of Mormonism off the internet and it really opened my eyes. It didn't take me long to write the letter to the Bishop to have my name removed from the records of the church.
It wasn't easy; I've been an active member for 25 years (convert 1978), married in the SLC temple and the father of 5 children, ages 14 through 21. But my eyes are now open and I feel real joy and freedom in my life as never before. I feel like I'm breathing fresh air for the first time in many, many years. Thanks to you I am rediscovering the real Word of God!
Thank you for Your Dedication,
May 10, 2003
Subject: Some thoughts
I recently read your interview from City Weekly here in Salt Lake City. I also read a recent comment in a later edition of City Weekly from a woman who said she was grateful for Jerald and Sandra Tanner for helping her to get out of Mormonism and save her marriage.
My comment is the fact that many of the issues this woman brings up are very valid yet in some respects very hypocritical. I say hypocritical because these same dillemmas and dysfunctions found in Mormon culture (especially along the Wasatch Front) are found in many Baptist, Methodist and other Evangelical communities as well. For example the woman who wrote the letter to City Weekly said that she was grateful that she may now celebrate full and true intimacy with her husband whereas prior to her leaving Mormonism she had a lot of body shame and shame in general connected with intimacy even in marriage.
Unfortunately this is a rather common problem in many conservative Christian faiths who associate "the lusts of the flesh" with any connection even in marriage. This is a cultural issue and not a Gospel issue. ...
You bet there are problems in this culture. I see it as clear as a bell, especially being an outsider looking in. I wrote my former Stake President a letter about 4 years ago about this. I said that sometimes I feel that the Church as an institution can be like a huge family and it has its dysfunctional side as well. He wrote me back and said that my letter was gutsy. It really caused him to think about things. I think it was because it was not caustic or accusatory (i.e. "Mormonism is all bad or a cult" as you claim); but really looked at the issue in a balanced and positive way.
...It seems that the human condition heavily influenced by religion (i.e. Christianity, Mormonism, etc.) tends to have its problems. That is because people are human and organizations are led by human beings. Whether it is Jerry Fallwell, Billy Graham, Paster Chuck Smith or President Gordon B. Hinckley they all are men who have their shortcomings.
If the Tanners are reading this letter I would like to pose some other questions. What do you think of writers like Maxine Hanks and Lavina Fielding Anderson? Are these writers too liberal for your thinking?
How about Michael Quinn (he is a very dear friend of mine by the way) and his well balanced, well researched historical books, documents, etc.? If Mormonism has such documentation that has a lot of warts and negative information that the general reader somehow cannot get access to; why has Michael Quinn written so extensively about these issues and not only shown the human side of these historical figures but also the very positive and amazing documented stories of these individuals and of the Church as a whole? In other words presented balanced, historical documentation. Are you not aware that Mormonism Origins of Power and its sequal Mormonism Extensions of Power has been available to the general public (Yes even at Borders Books and other major bookstores across the nation) for several years now? Do you think you have some sort of special information and a pattent on LDS historical research that is not available to the general public?...
When I see the kinds of arguments that you make in your book MormonismShadow or Reality I see good old polemics are work here. You are very good at arguing like a lawyer and stacking the deck in your favor; however you need to use the same judgements about mainstream Christianity that you do with LDS theology. You don't do that. In fact I find your book MormonismShadow or Reality much like a good old fashioned marketing strategy in that you tear down your opponant in order to build up your case. I have also learned that the anti-Mormon career isn't bad as far as money goes either if you can convince the Christian masses how horrible it was in that horrifying Mormon cult and how evil the Church is. I remember when I was in the Church of Christ as a kid. The louder the preacher preached how much they needed to come to Jesus and how much money was needed for this ministry or that one the more money was passed into the plate. Things don't really change do they? Whether it is a Christian leader at a revival meeting or your lighthouse ministry the scenes are different but the message seems to be quite the same. Fear can be extremely compelling.
The bottom line is that it is virtually impossible to be balanced in your assessment of history when you already have your mind made up from the beginning that Mormonism is all evil and that traditional mainstream Christianity is all good. Selective reasoning and polemics based only in negative historical accounts definitely constitute a major departure from true historical accuracy and balanced historical research; but again that is impossible considering the premise of your work.
Just some thoughts.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Your long letter seems to be judging us in the same way that you complain we judge Mormonismfrom only a 'negative' position, with no balance.
First, you accuse a woman who wrote to City Weekly of being hypocritical because she didn't mention these problems exist elsewhere. That doesn't negate her experience. So are the Mormons hypocritical every time they give their testimony because they don't also mention that millions of non-Mormons have testimonies for their faith?
I agree that many relational/marriage problems are common to people in every religion. But Mormonism, as an institution, seems to hold a tighter ecclesiastical and emotional grip on its members than other churches. Also, most bishops have no training in family counseling or sexual problems in marriage, which can make for very uneven counseling. (While most people think of Mormonism as a great advocate of marriage, I have had many people tell me that their Bishop advised their mate to divorce them because they left Mormonism. So much for eternal marriage.)
Also, since we had no part in her writing her letter to the magazine, your criticism would have been better directed to City Weekly rather than to us.
Second, we have never said that everything in Mormonism is all bad. When I tell people of my personal experience in Mormonism I always say that my childhood and teen years were very positive. Overall, I did not have a negative experience or problems with any person in the ward. My Bishops were very genuine and friendly. My problem was with LDS claims, not people.
Third, I have enjoyed reading Hanks, Anderson and Quinn and feel they have added a great deal to our understanding and knowledge of Mormonism. I do not agree with all their conclusions but very few people agree totally with any particular author, especially when it deals with religious topics. I don't even always agree with Jerald.
Fourth, all three of these people (Quinn, Hanks, Anderson) were excommunicated from Mormonism due to their writings. Obviously the Church fears straightforward research. We sell and display their books at our store, which can't be said for Deseret Book. One also needs to keep in mind that it has taken years to get the LDS Church to give access to much of the material these authors used. Items in the LDS Church Historical Department were not always as open as now. Even so, there are still old LDS documents being restricted.
Fifth, we have never claimed we were writing a general overview of Mormon history. Yes, we do present the material, as a lawyer building a case, to establish that Mormonism is the product of Joseph Smith and later leaders, not God. One does not expect the same type of book from one writing an overview of a church or business as one would expect if the author was trying to expose fraud. By way of example, if I am reading a book detailing how company X is dumping its toxic waste in the lake I don't expect the author to also mention the company's gifts to charity. Just as we need consumer watchdogs in the business world, we need people to keep tabs on those claiming to speak for God. The LDS Church does a very good job presenting its good side. But it has always fought to hide its problems.
Sixth, how and where have you "learned that the anti-Mormon career isn't bad as far as money goes either"? This is a common charge by our critics but where are the facts and balanced reporting? Do you claim to have some sort of financial evidence or are you just making assumptions? I don't believe that LDS authors write in defense of Mormonism with the assumption of making money. Why do Mormons automatically assume anyone writing something negative about their church is doing it for financial gain? One side can author books, sell them in various bookstores, have web sites and special conferences, but not the other side? Where have we shouted at people to get money? Or used any fear tactics to get an offering? We have never threatened anyone that they will miss the Kingdom of God if they don't pay us a "full tithe" as the Mormon Church does.]
May 10, 2003
Subject: thank GOD you found the truth
Im glad you got out of that church!!!
May 12, 2003
Subject: From a former bishop
I was just released after serving six months as a bishop of the LDS church because I don't believe the church to be true. I am working with my family on helping them to see some of the problems that I found with the doctrine and practices of the church.
Could you please provide any information on the following:
1. There are a lot of quotes from the Journals of Discourses which plainly expose the fallicy of the church. I don't live in Utah I don't have access to the Journals. Are they found anywhere on the internet so that I can access them and show my family the exact citations referenced?
2. In my last interview with my stake president before I was released he cautioned me about the intellects of the church many of whom had fallen. He mentioned that there was a former director of the C[hurch] E[ducational] S[ystem] that had left the church and had written a book. Are you familiar with who this person is and/or the name of his book?
Thank you for your support and your ministry.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. The Journal of Discourses is a 26 vol. set and is on the LDS CD-ROM called GospeLink. This program also contains the History of the Church and many other LDS reference works. You can get it from any LDS bookstore. Contact www.deseretbook.com.
Also, we sell a book called Where Does It Say That? It contains many photos from the Journal of Discourses on some of the wilder statements of the brethren.
I assume the book he means is An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, by Grant Palmer. We mention it on p.16 of our newsletter, Salt Lake City Messenger #100. Have you been to www.irr.org/mit? You might find it helpful as well.]
May 12, 2003
...It requires a bit more than belief in Christ to receive exhaltation, salvation is free for everyone, but exhaltation... faith without works is dead Sandra. Being Christian means following Christ and his example (we must all follow Christ into the waters of baptism, and like Christ we must seek out someone who has the authority to do so). You can not purchase authority or learn authority, it comes directly from God. Mormonism teaches that all can receive exhaltation in the mansions of our Father, obedience is necessary however, you can not simply say I accept Jesus Christ into my life and expect to be lifted up.
...Contention is of the devil Sandra, and what you and the Lighthouse ministry do is create contention. I have been through the temple, I have read numerous books on mormonism as well as books and anti-propaganda against Mormonism. The only thing that "anti's" can say about the LDS religion is that its members and leaders are imperfect... well now isn't that a surprise! Mormons and the leaders of the LDS church have never claimed to be perfect nor near perfect, we only claim to strive for perfection.
...Mormonism does not teach that all other religions are corrupt, I have read all canonized works distributed by the LDS church and never have I read anything to that effect. Again, if God is truth, (there can only be one truth, 4+4 does not equal 9 sometimes), then contradictions and disagreements among churches require that there be a right and a wrong answer. Whereas Mormonism is directed by Christ himself, not some self-appointed minister as in other religions, the truth lies in the LDS church. So yes, other religions teach false doctrine in addition to the true doctrine that they teach, they are good but incomplete and mistaken on certain doctrinal issues.
There has never been a time when Christ's church was lead by anyone other than a prophet with direct communication with God, enough said. .....your "discovery" of these hidden imperfections in the Mormon religion are not really hidden and very wise and educated men have looked at the same information and still been able to differentiate the imperfections of men including the imperfections of God's chosen prophets, from the doctrine of salvation and plan of happiness that was prepared by God and Jesus Christ themselves....Education does help to strengthen testimony of God given knowledge however but it is only study of correct information that allows this strengthening to take place. You could study false doctrine your entire life and you would (or will) never find the truth. Remember though, humility is the key... people who arrive at conclusions through their own study and understanding will never be blessed with assistence from the Holy Ghost to arrive at a Godly understanding... remember, humility is the only way.
May 12, 2003
It's late, and I fear that I am about to fall asleep, but I feel that I have to do this. I need to say thank you for your website...you have no idea how much it has helped me on this day. ...You are truly God Sent...
May 12, 2003
I have just read that you have plans to retire. I want to thank you for your tireless work in advancing the truth of the gospel.
My dad once told me that if you have never made an enemy you have never done anything of value. The fact that the LDS church sees you both as it's worse enemy speaks for itself. I hope that you will find another to at least care for the research you have done so that it is not lost in time.
I will be praying for you both . May God hold you both in His hand
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the words of encouragement. Jerald has retired but I hope to keep working for some years.]
May 13, 2003
Subject: Support for you
Just another supporter out here in southwestern United States. My history on one of my ancestors shows polgygamous families and intermarriage that today is called incest. I thank you for what you do.
May 13, 2003
Dear Mrs. Tanner,
...Today i was reading the (FARMS web site) review of you and your husbands books. when they are not agreeing with you they seem to be frustrated. I am not a Mormon never have been and never thought about it. came across your web site by mistake and have been enjoying it a lot have learned a lot about Mormons from your site. keep up the good work,
May 14, 2003
I've read what you claim joseph smith has said-i am 15 and a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. I was trying to get onto the real website but ran into yours and couldnt help but read the "quote" of joseph smith. I think you should try reading the book of mormon because every single one of those things you claim joseph smith said-is the opposite of what he said in the book. Maybe for a change, you should try to bring churches up instead of mocking them.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. I assure you, the quotes are genuine. Try looking them up before making a judgement. You can find them in the books we cited at about any library in Utah or at the Deseret Bookstore. Keep studying, truth will stand up to investigation.]
May 15, 2003
Subject: Another irredeemable rant.
I honor academic discussion more than most worldly things, but I can't sit idly by and let you try to pass off your website as informed intellectual discourse.
I am a member of the "Mormon" church, and have been all my life. I'm sure you've heard from many of my types. I've been studying Mormon doctrines and history, including the "negative" histories for a few years now. In that space of time, I've read some intiutive arguments against the validity of the Mormon church. I can say that, without a doubt, your website and your articles are some of the poorest anti-Mormon and poorest logically constructed editorials I have ever read.
I believe I read four of your articles in their entirety, and can honestly report that I could write essays upon essays in response to ridiculous claims and sub-par arguments made in practically every sentence. But, such bickering is ridiculous, and I'll have no part in it.
We all know that no matter what argument I could make in response to your tripe, you would refuse it just as stubbornly as any good Mormon would refuse your arguments. We're at an impass here. People have been arguing over religious views for thousands of years, resulting in some of the greatest attrocities in the history of mankind. And here you are with your little website, and me with my little e-mail, and you honestly think we can solve anything?
So, where do we go from here? Who's right and who's wrong? Or are those liberal relativists right? Is there no universal standard of truth? Neither of us could rely on that argument without ripping out the foundations of our fundamental value systems.
Thus, we are as the young Joseph Smith, assuming he was at some time earnestly questioning the validity of religious forrays. And to where will we turn? There must be some wisdom in Joseph's quotation of James, chapter one. "If any of you lack wisdom..." To deny that would be to deny the truths of the Bible.
So, continue on with your work, if it needs be. But recognize that academic inquiries can only take you to a certain point. And poor academic inquiries can lead you nowhere but down.
May 15, 2003
I am a teenager in high school and I have many friends who are Mormon. What is the best way to witness the true Gospel of Christ to Mormon teenagers?
[Sandra's Note: First, you need a basic understanding of your own beliefs and then a general understanding of the teachings of the LDS Church. It would help if you will read the various articles on our web site under Online Resources, especially Terminology Differences and Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints. A couple of good books for you to read would be Mormon Missionaries and Questions to Ask Your Mormon Friend. Another good book is Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons.]
May 15, 2003
Subject Church of Christ?
I just found your web site and am impressed with your work.
[A friend]...has married and been baptized into this church that believes the book of mormon. I was all set to discuss some of my misgivings, but she cut me off and says that her church is not Mormon at all. She denies any resemblence to the LDS church and she assured me that she and her "branch" are Christians and that I am being paranoid. This group claims to have 3000 members in the U.S. and about 10,000 overseas. Don't you think they are Mormons if they use Smith's book?
[Sandra's Note: First we need to determine just which church she means. There are many splinter groups using the Book of Mormon that would have very different doctrine from the LDS Church. If her group only uses the Book of Mormon, and no other of Smith's revelations, their doctrine may be fairly similar to the regular Church of Christ. Is she a part of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot)? or the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (now known as Community of Christ) or the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonites) or one of the other break-off groups? This would help clarify her doctrinal stand. Where is the headquarters of her group? This would help establish which group it is. Most break-off groups use either the 1833 Book of Commandments, as well as the Book of Mormon, or one of the later printings of the Doctrine and Covenants.
At any rate, the group would still have to accept Smith as a prophet, called of God, and view the Bible as incomplete. She may be a Christian, giving her the benefit of doubt, but she is still embracing false scripture that God did not utter, and following a false prophet. Those things we discuss relating to the Book of Mormon and history would apply to her faith. Also, items relating to Smith's money digging and magic should be a problem as well. But she probably doesn't believe in temple marriage, plural gods or plural marriage. Her groups probably doesn't use the Book of Abraham.
A good video to show her would be DNA vs the Book of Mormon. You would probably benefit from reading Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon.]
May 15, 2003
...I used to be LDS - converted in 1973, requested release in 1983. I was summoned to Bishop's Court, told I could bring witnesses to assist in my defense of requesting removal from church records, etc. I never heard another thing.
I quite honestly don't know if I was excommunicated for requesting removal of my name (which amounts to the same thing in my book - why would they "threaten" me with something I was requesting!) or if I was simply released. At this point, I don't even know what ward I was in back then in Ogden. Should I try to find out if I'm still considered a member or not? I've not been contacted since.
[Sandra's Note: If the Mormons haven't contacted you for years you may not be listed as a member anymore. Or they could have just lost track of you. If you want to find out if you are still listed on their files you can call the LDS Membership Dept. in Utah, 801-240-3500, and ask them.]
May 16, 2003
Subject: Adam-God Doctrine
...I'm a Christian who is working on an ongoing dialogue between myself and ......a Mormon. I accidentally stumbled across what appeared to be a scan of a Deseret news article which supposedly proved that Brigham Young taught what was known as the Adam-God Doctrine in the Church. The belief that Adam was God.
I thought this was quite interesting because in our ongoing dialogue my [friend] told me that Adam in his former spirit state was Michael the arch-angel. When Spencer Kimball became president of the Church he supposedly put a stop to this by proclaiming this to be false doctrine. If that was the case, it would make Brigham Young out to be a false prophet.
My question is as follows:
Is there a reliable Mormon source, which a Mormon would believe, that proves that Spencer Kimball called a halt to the preaching of the Adam- God Doctrine that Brigham Young taught in the early years of the Church?
[My friend] said that he would only look at what he considered a non Anti-Mormon source or publication. Any assistance on this would be greatly appreciated - if you have the time.
[Note: The Mormons still teach that Adam was Michael in his pre-mortal life. But they do not teach that he is the god in charge of our earth. The current temple ritual depicts Elohim, Jehovah and Michael working together in the creation play. Then the play shows Michael becoming Adam in mortality.
But the question iswho did Smith mean by these terms? Today a Mormon sees the terms 'Elohim, Jehovah and Michael' as clearly meaning the Father, Jesus and Adam. However, early Mormonism used Jehovah for God the Father. So was Smith just trying to depict the hierarchy of gods, Elohim being a god (or council of gods) before/over Jehovah, who is over Michael/Adam? Did he mean it as a Mormon would interpret it today? See the book Line Upon Line, edited by G. J. Bergera, for a discussion of the changing use of Elohim, Jehovah and Michael in early Mormonism.
When Brigham Young said our god was Michael he also believed there were many gods before him, that he was under the authority of higher deities. The Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 27:11, states "Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days." The Adam-god doctrine probably developed due to Smith claiming that Adam/Michael is the 'ancient of days.' Most Bible scholars feel the term 'ancient of days' refers to God, not Michael or Adam. So did Brigham Young see this verse as teaching the Adam-god doctrine? In D&C 78:15-16 we read:
"That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God,...who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman; who hath appointed Michael your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life."
Could Young have interpreted this as teaching a hierarchy of gods, with Michael appointed to be the god over this world?
Here is the quote from the official LDS magazine, Ensign, "Our Own Liahona", by President Spencer W. Kimball, Nov. 1976, p.77:
Anyone can purchase the LDS CD-ROM GospeLink, which contains, among other titles, the various issues of the Ensign and the full 26 vol. set of the Journal of Discourses (which contain a number of Brigham Young's Adam-God sermons). This can be ordered from www.deseretbook.com.
See the end of our chapter on Adam-god in our book, The Changing World of Mormonism, p.203, for a quote from a BYU thesis affirming that Brigham Young did teach the Adam-god doctrine. Mr. Turner went on to become a professor at BYU.]
May 17, 2003
Please can you tell me how many of the Mormon Prophets/Presidents are known to be 'Freemasons' , and can you quote the source of the information you have?
[Sandra's Note: The first five presidents of the LDS Church were Masons: Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow.
In the article "Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry" The Relationship Between Freemasonry and Mormonism, by Michael W. Homer, we read:
Further on in the same article we read:
In the book Heber C. Kimball, by Stanley B. Kimball, we read:
LDS Apostle Rudger Clawson wrote in his diary:
D. Michael Quinn, in his description of members of the Council of Fifty, lists Wilford Woodruff as a Mason:
May 17, 2003
Subject: Mormon Lies
I was a member of the Mormon church for over 35 years, and it wasn't until I started praying for truth and light that I found out what a fraud the church was....I now have a file about 4 inches thick on all the lies the church tells....Interestingly I have found that all the members of the church I have spoken to reject truth, even when its staring them in the face....
Cheers, The Truth has set me free.
May 18, 2003
Several years ago I remember hearing about a group of BYU Scholars who had concluded that the Book of Mormon was not factual. I would like to know how to find info about them and thier work, and also see what became of them as result of their work. I came out of Mormonism and appreciated your work, espically Myth or Reality. Thanks so much for your work and may God Bless You.
[Sandra's Note: I am not sure which scholars you have in mind. Our SLC Messenger #85, 1993, talks about several scholars who were excommunicated, but it was not due to giving up the Book of Mormon. See the article on our web site.
SLC Messenger #91, Nov. 1996, has an article about Thomas S. Ferguson's, who gave up the Book of Mormon after years of research and writing in its defense. Also, in the 1920's B.H. Roberts, of the council of seventy and respected church historian, wrote a manuscript detailing various problems with the historical aspects of the Book of Mormon. This has been printed under the title Studies of the Book of Mormon.
Also, SLC Messenger #100, March 2003, p.14-17, tells of three scholars who have recently given up on the Book of Mormon.]
May 19, 2003
Subject: The Apostle John & the Three Nephites, Immortals?
Question: If John the Apostle never died and is still here on earth (D&C 7) and the three Nephites in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 28:6-8) never died, what does that do for the Mormon claim of the complete Apostasy of the Church?
Don't they claim that there were no representatives left on earth who had or could pass on the keys to the kingdom, which I assume is the authority to confer the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods and whatever other mumbo-jumbo they deem necessary for the establishment of the Church? If that is true, why was there a need for a Restoration since it was still present in the persons of John and the Three Amigos, I mean Nephites? And what do Mormons say these two thousand plus year old men are doing these days?
[Sandra's Note: Good point. Haven't seen any good answer. Can't see how an apostasy would have been complete with four apostles roaming around who could have ordained others. Writing in 1979 LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine, commented:
Now days the apostles don't seem to comment much on things like this.]
May 19, 2003
Dear Sandra and Jerald,
Thank you for issue 100 of Salt Lake City Messenger. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Keep up your good work!
May 23, 2003
I am looking for some help. I am concerned about the whitewashed version of religion that we are taught in church . I have had several questions that I wanted answered for almost 20 years, but my bishop(s) reply was to not worry about the past, but only focus on current teachings. This leads me to believe that the doctrine is dynamic not static. I do not hate my religion, but I want honest answers. I am not a mindless drone, but I do not want to be filled up on anti-Mormon literature. where can I find some balanced articles about the church, and how do I go about having my bishop give his, or the churches standard reply?
P.S. I have heard about the terrible Tanners for most of my live, but after reading the City Weekly article I view you and your organization as balanced historians only providing information and not dictating what a person should or should not believe.
[Sandra's Note: Some books by historians, some of which are still LDS, who give a more honest history would be:
Good articles on Book of Mormon problems:
Good book by nationally known reporter:
You can read our book, The Changing World of Mormonism online.
If your library has the magazine Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought or Sunstone you would find many well-researched articles in them.
This should at least give you a start. If you are in Utah, all the universities have great collections of the above books, original LDS books or original resource documents. Even the Salt Lake City Library and the Utah State Historical Soc. Library have great collections. All of our research can be verified at these libraries.
As for answers from your bishop, most don't know enough about the issues to discuss them. They just refer you to prayer and tell you to stop reading what ever you are reading that brought up the question. Or they will tell you to read on Jeff Lindsey's or FARM's site. The fastest way to find all the Mormon apologists is to do a search on www.google.com for 'Jerald Tanner'should bring up all the Mormon defender sites attacking us.]
May 23, 2003
Subject: Thank you.
Thank you for putting up with so much abuse to get the truth out there about the LDS church. I've been an exmormon for five years now.
The information that you post on your website is that which needs to be heard by a lot of LDS people. I know you get a lot of hate mail, but I just wanted to take a few minutes and thank you all for trying to help those who are naively allowing themselves to be manipulated by a bunch of old men in SLC.
I have family members who I wish would move on from the LDS church, as it's destroyed our family. In time, I hope that information like that which you folks make so accessible might finally help my parents and sisters see how misled they've been their entire lives.
May 23, 2003
Subject: "The Mormon Murders" book
I had picked up a used copy of "The Mormon Murders" book seven years ago at a local used bookstore and only recently read it. I was surprised to see you and your ministry prominently discussed in it. Obviously, the Lord is protecting you! I am impressed at your dedication and service to Him. Thanks.
May 23, 2003
BEEN READING "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" FEB. 1, 2003--SUBJECT: BETTER SPENT TIME
IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH, IN PARENTHESIS THE WRITER SAYS, (I WAS ONLY SEARCHING THE WEB LOOKING FOR PROPHETIC VISIONS).
GOD GAVE THIS PERSON A "PROPHETIC VISION" WHEN YOUR WEB SITE WAS BROUGHT UP. LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN MORMONISM, THIS PERSON WAS NOT OPEN TO THE TRUTH, SHOWN BY THE COMMENTS MADE IN THE REST OF THE EMAIL.
YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB, KEEP IT UP AND MAY GOD REWARD YOU WITH HIMSELF.
May 23, 2003
Thank you for all of your hard work and ministry! I am just another jewel in your crown, as much of the information on your site served to confirm my decision to leave the Mormon church. I have attached a copy of the letter to my bishop requesting that I be removed from church records. If you feel that the letter would be a blessing to others, please feel free to post it.
I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in person some time later this year when I'm able to make it down to Utah. I pray for your continued health, inspiration, and blessing! Thanks again for all that you have done and will continue to do!!!
May 24, 2003
Subject: No more "New Age"
...Thanks... for the package of information you sent. It is life-changing material:... By the way, when the missionaries stopped by and I told them I had read the BOM and had been through all of the lessons and did not believe the doctrine, they asked if I had met the local congregation. I said that I had and that the congregation was very nice, but that I did not believe in the doctrine. They then asked what my name was and each stepped forward and shook my hand and left. I thought this was interesting because they gave no fight once I acknowledged that there was no personal problem with the members themselves, but that it was the doctrine.
May 25, 2003
Subject: 1979--my BYU D&C class--shocking revelation! :)
I attended BYU 1978-81 in the full bloom of my youthful faith that everything my seminary teachers and Young Women's leaders had always taught me about the Mormon Church was true, true, true.
(I do remember, however, once asking my Beehives advisor if the Eternal Plan was in fact for Jesus to be betrayed and crucified so that he could be resurrected, etc., why was Judas considered a Son of Perdition? It seemed to me that he'd played a crucial role in bringing the Plan to fruition...after some frowns and hems and haws, I got the usual, "It's an interesting question, but it's not essential for your salvation that you understand such things.) ...
Oops...sorry for the digression. OK, so I'm in a D&C class with the very popular church scholar Brother (Professor?) ______ ...who reveals to us the little-known doctrine that Jesus and Mary Magdalen had, in fact, married (I guess they did the secret marriage handgrip, too), and that Jesus's posterity had indeed survived throughout the ages. And guess what?? Joseph Smith, Jun. was a direct descendent of Jesus and Mary Magdalen. How's that for exhaustive geneology. Or perhaps that "God has revealed it to me" escape clause obviated the need for well-documented evidence.
Like I said, I was starry-eyed and fully invested in the Mormon claims of religious exclusivity in those days, but Brother ______'s announcement evoked a gut-level response in me that I'll never forget. It was anger, fire-white, quaking anger, and I was surprised at myself; I didn't even know why I would respond in such a way. So I suppressed it.
After I'd married an RM like a good girl in 1980, and had done about 60 temple endowments, I realized that I felt that same quaking, trembling anger every time I went into those sessions, and finally, on my husband's birthday (unfortunate timing, but whaddyagonna do?), we arrived at the LA temple in May of 1986 to do yet another session (that's what he wanted to do for his birthday celebration), I found that I could not get out of the car. I couldn't go into that building one more time, I couldn't don those demeaning temple clothes again, nor pantomime gruesome acts of torture, I wouldn't veil my face, or listen to the threats one more damned time in my life.
And that was the night my first marriage ended, and I've always been grateful for my gut, which acknowledged YEARS before the rest of me did that the mormon church is corrupt, disempowering, rapacious, and altogether bogus. I wish I'd listened to my gut in that D&C class back in 1979...but that sort of thing is frowned upon by church leaders.
Thanks for the forum...almost 20 years later, it feels really good to share a few steps in my long journey from the choking murkiness of mormon doctrine to the bright, clean light pure spirit within each of us.
Rock on, Gerald and Sandra!
P.S. My temple name was Naomi, and it was a good 8 years after leaving the church that I finally had enough confidence that I wasn't really going to be joining Judas in Perdition Land (you know, we apostates have a special place in H-E-double toothpicks--we and murderers and, of course, Judas Iscariot) to share that little tidbit with my friends.
May 25, 2003
...I am a recent ex-mormon and I was very excited to hear about your web site and when I read your personal story I gasped because I asked many of the exact same questions. I asked the bishops wife one time about satan and Jesus being brothers, and even at the age of about 12 that really troubled me and I asked questions about our "heavenly mother" and was told we don't talk about her because she is sacred. So many things did not make sense to me and troubled me a great deal.
I have been struggling very much lately about how to witness to my family members and how to get my name off the Mormon records and how to go about it. I was glad to find the resignation letter its says exactly what I wanted to say but wasn't quite sure how to word it so I printed the resignation letter and am eager to send it. Thank -you for the help.
...But [my LDS family] are so blinded by the lies and they look and me as the one that is trying to lead them astray. But it wasn't very long ago that I was where they are right now but by the grace of God I have been set free from the terrible bondage of Mormonism and have accepted Jesus Christ and my personal Lord and Savior
I commend you for your courage and your strength, you have given me strength and encouragement because if I don't witness to them who will? ... May God bless you and your husband.
May 25, 2003
To whom it may concern,
I would like to make a comment about your information on patriarchal blessings...I just had to write you and speak my mind. I'd hope you'd give me the courtesy and time and allow me to express my feelings with you. I feel that it was extremely inappropriate.
I don't believe it is fair for anyone, of any faith or denomination, to put anything that is sacred to any other faith or denomination on the internet. This is extremely UnChristian. Do you honestly think Christ would do such a thing?
Patriarchal Blessings are an important part of my church. We are asked to not share them to many people and it's not because of the fact that they are secret, but because they are sacred. I would not go around showing something that someone feels is sacred, and I don't think any true, honest Christian would.
I also feel that if you are trying to make more information readily available, you should be less one-sided about it. The information should be stated clearly, truthfully and straightforward without any twists or trying to make it sound evil or not evil.
People have heads. Let them decide for themselves. It's unfair to share information in a cutting or biting way to people who may not be familiar with the teachings of the LDS church and may not understand and will recieve tinted views. If a person learns everything truthfully without any embellishment or one-sidedness and then decide they do not like it, it is fine, but to not give them a fair chance is cruel.
Please, why don't you spend your time building up your own faith instead of tearing other people's down? Or is it the new "Christian" way to try and rip other faiths important sacred topics apart on the internet? I certainly don't remember Christ teaching that. I'd like to know what Bible you are referring to. If you're going to do it, at least get someone who knows what they're talking about to write the article. ... Sorry for getting so rude, it's just that I love the LDS Church with all my heart and it tears me up inside and hurts my heart to hear someone talk about it in such a bad way. Thanks again!
Oh, by the way, the LDS church is true. I know that with all my heart. You really should look into it with an open mind some day!
[Sandra's Note: I assume you are referring to this page on our web site, LDS Patriarchal Blessings.
I can understand your concern. On the other hand, I believe the Bible to be sacred and yet it is sold all over the world. I assume Mormons feel the LDS scriptures are sacred yet the church makes them readily available to the public. I assume a Mormon would consider the LDS Sunday services as sacred, yet they are open to the public. LDS General Conference is broadcast all over the world. Wouldn't these meetings be considered sacred?
So why would it be wrong to publish or discuss a patriarch blessing? We can read of Isaac and Jacob blessing their sons in Genesis, chapter 27 and 49. God didn't seem to be concerned about it being written down or being publicly available. Even the Book of Mormon tells of Lehi's blessing of his sons in 2 Nephi, chapters 1-4.
While we certainly do not believe in the LDS concept of patriarchal blessings we have tried not to be flippant in our treatment of it. "Sacred" should not be equal to "secret" but it seems to be with many Mormons. Communion (sacrament) service is sacred to me, but anyone can attend a Christian church and observe the service. Christians are free to discuss any and all aspects of their scriptures, rites, and religion. Too bad the LDS people do not enjoy the same freedom.]
May 28, 2003
I just wanted to thank you for your work on this website. You are truly helping others to see the truth behind the Mormon charade.
I was brought up in that "church" for nineteen years of my life. Fortunately, I have come to know Christ as my Savior and have been given the free gift of salvation. I never would have had this opportunity in the Mormon cult. I just wanted to say thanks and commend you for your efforts. I have used your site to witness to others and to try to explain to them why Mormonism is a false "religion".
Thank you for helping others to discover the truth and for leading others to Jesus Christ. If anyone reads this message and happens to be a Mormon, don't be offended. Instead, QUESTION what you "believe" and QUESTION what all those "church leaders" are telling you and find out for yourself if this "church" is "really true" or just a web of deception and historical inaccuracies.