Throughout my life as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would “seek…out of the best books”; only studying books and videos sold by Deseret Book, other “LDS” book stores and the Distribution Center, as well as sanctioned learning material provided by the church (pamphlets, manuals, handbooks, etc.).
I would learn and accept official church doctrine in the following resources: Scriptures, Lesson manuals/Teachings of the President of the Church, General Conference, Ensign and lds.org.
As Internet content and capabilities progressed, I purposely avoided non/anti LDS sites, as counseled by my leaders and other members, because they contained lies and distortion of the truth in an effort to lead me down the wrong path.
Due to so much information being available now, the Church has sought to regain control of this rough stone rolling by enabling their own appearance of more transparency.
Steven E. Snow, Church Historian said the following:
“I think in the past there was a tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation-with the access to information on the internet, we can’t continue that pattern; I think in this day and age it’s become apparent that we really do need to provide a series of answers that will help our members better understand these chapters of our history.”
“Most who study our history well understand the context to these matters as far as time and place, but some members of the church, many really, are surprised by some of the things they learn in our history and we want them to be able go to a place where they can read accurate information and be able to seek to understand those historical chapters in the context of time and place and understand that those answers have been approved by the presiding brethren of the church.”
This has come in the form of publishing their own “go to” content on lds.org (one of the official websites of the Church) including:
-Essays regarding controversial subjects such as First Vision Accounts, Race and the Priesthood, Plural Marriage, Becoming like God, and Mother in Heaven
-Videos showing Temple Ceremonial clothing and Garments
-The Joseph Smith Papers Project
I personally commend the Church for these actions as they have been long overdue.
Notwithstanding, as mentioned above, much of the Church content which was heretofore unavailable to the public, is also not known to Church members.
In addition, some of this content contradicts what was historically taught by the church, either in the form of written doctrine or silent agreement and facilitation.
O, Say What Is Truth?
As I personally studied this new official Church content, I was conflicted; then I came across a quote from Joseph Fielding Smith:
“If truth is truth, how can there be a conflict?”
Then I happened upon a quote from Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Mormonism is truth, in other words the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth. The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation.”
In this I learned the answer.
“If truth is truth, how can there be a conflict?” -When it is concealed and incomplete.
Apostle Dallin H Oaks said:
“A lie is not always told in so many words. It may be a creature of concealment or a misrepresentation by action or a half-truth.”
Prophet Gordon B Hinckley said:
“Half truths are used to mislead under the representation that they are whole truths.”
Prophet Thomas S Monson:
“Remember that the power to lead is also the power to mislead;
and the power to mislead is the power to destroy.”
The Truth Hurts
Never in my imagination did I think the restored Church of Jesus Christ would purposefully hide things from me.
I trusted and believed that the Church would live by its beliefs and teachings; and would be honest; and never mislead me.
I realized that the Church, around which I have built my entire life; the entity that has been the foundation of my day-to-day choices, as well as my important life decisions and ongoing belief system, had misled me with concealment and half-truths about its history.
And according to the quotes above by Church leadership, a lie can be a half-truth; and half-truths are used to mislead; and the power to mislead is the power to destroy.
I experienced a myriad of feelings: hurt, betrayal, faith, empathy, astonishment, horror, love, anger, compassion and anguish while attempting to understand and comprehend all of this.
I came to the logical conclusion that Church leadership had facilitated a culture of concealment for decades, and as such, I had been misled, which caused me to experience these strong feelings.
Then I read in D&C 48:88: “And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.”
According to the word of the Lord in this verse, I needed to approach Church leadership directly to be reconciled.
And because it was the The First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles who perpetuated this throughout the years, I needed to approach them specifically.
I created a long and detailed communication of my thoughts and feelings, provided it to the leadership above and copied my Home Teacher, High Priest Group Leadership, Ward Bishopric, Stake Presidency and Area President, in an effort to demonstrate my own transparency.
Per the usual Church protocol, the Secretary of the First Presidency instructed local leadership to communicate with and assist me directly.
I politely reiterated that it was the Salt Lake leadership of the church that had purposefully misled me and it was only they that could respond for their actions.
I was then advised:
“Members of the Church are discouraged from making telephone calls or writing letters to General Authorities about doctrinal issues or personal matters. With an ever-increasing Church membership, responding personally to these inquiries presents an almost insurmountable task and would make it difficult for General Authorities to fulfill the duties for which they alone are responsible. The General Authorities love the members of the Church and do not want them to feel that they are without the support and guidance they need. However, all things need to be done with wisdom and order.”
As I thought about all of this, I realized that I am surely not the only person that has been impacted by these recent admissions of the Church.
As a worldwide church of millions, I most certainly cannot be the only one.
So upon research, I have noticed that blogs, forums, websites, podcasts, etc do exist; all from other children of God just wanting to be heard, acknowledged and validated.
The people of this media speak to each other with the purpose of providing support, education, compassion and empathy, which can obviously help, but they cannot provide the needed closure, resolve or spiritual path forward.
Also, local leaders can assist, but have limited authority and influence in general church matters; and a conversation can only begin when a Church member feels comfortable enough to truthfully express themselves in a judgement free zone, to their “Judge in Israel”.
What is needed is a safe conduit to communicate the mormon wounds of NOW Mormons.
Anything or anyone else just cannot bridge the chasm..
This is why I have decided to post mormon wounds from others as appropriate.
Why Am I Here?
- Promote and secure acknowledgement and validation from church leadership of NOW Mormons
- Promote and receive compassionate public recognition, remorse and regret from church leadership for the Culture of Concealment historically perpetuated by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints