Date: July 26, 2012 04:44PM
Just adding my story to the already massive pile, but here it goes:
My name is Sean Layton (add me on facebook) I went to BYU Provo, served a two year mission from 2008-2010 in Peru, resigned from the church in 2011 and transferred to Oregon State. I've never been happier.
I’m not just picking on the Mormon Church. I think of all religions equally, unlike most religious people. Merely my experience almost entirely consists of the LDS Church. I went on a two year mission and tried to be as obedient and faithful as possible. Other religions discourage the exact thing in which I’m about to do, which is telling the truth. This is why thousands of other religions disagree with your own, yet they all think they know they’re right. They don’t know it, but they’re scared of the truth and conceal the truth under the veil of HOPE.
I loved being Mormon & two years in Peru was a great experience for me. People make the most of things. The reason I left the LDS church is because I realized that the keystone wasn’t the Book of Mormon. The keystone was first, the spirit, and second Joseph Smith. Mormons tell you time and time again the way to know if the church is true is by reading the scriptures and praying about them, namely the Book of Mormon. If it’s “true” it will be manifest by “the gift of the holy ghost”. First of all, I’ll dispel one myth. A man could have easily written the Book of Mormon. In fact Mormons believe Indians wrote it in the first place and not god, yet what is more probable? That many Native Americans wrote a book, or Joseph Smith? The 1800’s was an era where authoring books was more rampant than any other time in history and Joseph Smith was definitely more intelligent than people lead on, whether he had schooling or not. He possessed books on subjects like Hebrew and chiasmus.
The second myth I want to dispel is ‘the spirit’. There is no evidence whatsoever for this thing. A good feeling or a good experience or a thought has nothing to do with a supernatural ghost. It is the processes of one’s brain in the presence of positive reinforcement; it is a common phenomenon manifest in different ways throughout the world. Another thing, anecdotes are the worst way to acquire information. Instead, critically observe and constantly experiment! Just because 5,000 people all had similar UFO sightings doesn’t mean a single one was legitimate.
The billion dollar LDS corporation carefully selects the doctrine and history deemed uplifting for its members and removes parts of the history that would raise doubts amongst the members. Don’t get me wrong, the leaders are good people who genuinely believe it. The members also subconsciously practice this ‘pick and choose’ system, because they have been taught to avoid “anti-mormon literature” because it’s not uplifting. They’re right, it’s not. It’s revealing.
The third myth that I want to talk about is that Joseph Smith was a righteous man. Let’s fast-forward for one second. Hitler used the Catholic Church in order to gain power. Thousands of Germans thought for the longest time he was pushing the Christian cause like he claimed. But why would Hitler have to do that? It is likely that Joseph Smith did indeed play the role of a righteous prophet because most of the population is good-natured in general. However, Joseph Smith’s true nature is almost always subdued under religious dogma. This was a man who made himself a mayor, who made himself a general, who made himself a prophet, and was trying to make himself president of the United States. He was known for often drawing his sword as a sign of power. He became the highest degree mason and merged his religious temple doctrines with masonic ceremonies.
The true reason for the mob at Carthage was because Joseph Smith had sent his army which destroyed a printing press that had shown him practicing polygamy (which he was teaching against publically at the time) and WAS ILLEGAL in the United States. You could say they were trying to “redefine” marriage. All fairlds can say is that they were following “the American tradition of civil disobedience”. The truth was that he was angry, because up to this point he had kept it mostly secret within the temple. Things like the temple penalties of slitting the throat and bowels if they revealed certain temple secrets were enough to silence those who went through about the end goal, which was marriage. These disturbing penalties weren’t taken out until 1990 as fewer and fewer members know. Joseph Smith was likely married to more than 27 wives, many being teenagers. He also wasn’t the martyr he is made out to be. Before he tried to escape out a window and save his life, he shot his smuggled pistol three times killing two people.
Joseph Smith also mistranslated the papyrus scrolls also known as the “Book of Abraham”. Joseph Smith wrote down a plethora of symbols in his own hand-writing with specific translations for each symbol. Any Egyptologist would tell you he completely missed the mark. Not only did he miss the mark but he also drew in a human head into the picture found in the pearl of great price where it is obvious a jackal’s head should be. This is because the papyri he had in his possession was missing the head, so he improvised. Modern church officials now say they simply don’t know what method he used to get the book of Abraham. This is obvious fraud. There are official court documents showing that he was tried for being a conman. He had a “seer-stone” many years before the book of mormon story which he would convince superstitious farmers that gold was on their land for money. This would be good practice for years to come.
I oppose these myths because while they do much good, they don’t describe reality, which I believe is negative. The Mormon Church is known for being one of the leading opponents to same-sex marriage. They discourage free-thought by suggesting that obedience is the first law of heaven. Within their fence, they encourage free-thought, but I thought we were supposed to think outside the fence? It bores me now to think about. Extraordinarily, I’m happier now than when I was a member. I have been able to dispel these myths yet hang on to the good things I choose to hang on to.
It’s a greater act of love to be honest in the basis of what you define your love as being, than being dishonest in the foundation of what your love really is, even if it seems like a step in the wrong direction. Believe me it’s not. You went too far in wishful thinking to begin with. The remarkable thing is that understanding reality makes the world come alive. It has for me.
“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” –Christopher Hitchens.