Date: January 13, 2018 02:18PM
This was a Letter To My best friend who is also serving as a bishop. A little background: we have known each other since birth. We grew up in the church together even though we had our criminal years in our youth and he was NO Peter Priesthood I thought forsure he would be more open minded to my exit (took my names off the records on 1/9/17)
I had a talk with him last night and the way he spun why I left was disuturbing. He called me an unorthodox Mormon and was shocked I wasn’t out earlier. Why do active members always think that u had to be doing something wrong to leave. Here was my rebuttal today:
U and I both know I am crazy. That is a given. I would never apologize for that because I wouldn’t know how to change if I had to. However, when it comes to my faith in the church or my callings I always toewed the line. On our call u alluded to the fact that u were surprised that I stayed this long and that the way I served in the church was unorthodox. If I miss read what u were saying I am sorry. I am going to make a case for me, not to be external in anyway but to help u understand how hard leaving really was for me and to ask u a favor at the end of this. Also at the end u will understand my internal motive. In my youth I kept the sabbath day holy, I went to church and church dances when everyone else thought they were lame, I stood up to our friends who knocked our faith, in HS I regularly went in missionary splits, I was the youth representative for youth conference our senior year and spent a time planning and organizing it, participated in every roadshow, I never slept around (by no means was I perfect) I drank twice and never did it again, I would break up with girls when things got to serious or I would make an immoral action because I want to be worthy and go to youth Temple trips. I went to mutual and did what I was told, I got my Eagle Scout award. My senior year I was an assistant scout master with Bro. Pugmire and gave up some of my weekends to take the younger scouts camping. Went to an lds college. While at college I volunteered in the local scouting community. In college I found out we were not suppose to watch R rates movies and never watched one ever again. I strived to follow the commandments as soon as I was aware of them. Served an honorable mission. Served in every calling accept AP. It was the first time I never screwed up. I served because I wanted to serve. After my mission I chose to go to an institute class to maintain my spirituality. I met my bride and we got married in the Temple. I continued to serve in all my callings from elders quorum Pres., YM Pres., ST Sunday Scholl Pres., Primary, Ward Mission Leader. Took youth on trips, camp outs, and youth conferences. I went to church on Sunday’s. Kept my self morally clean. In 2007, decided to read the BofM everyday. From 2007-2015 I read the entire book 4-6 times on average each year. In 2015 I kept reading it but started to read it differently instead of cover to cover. I built the confidence of Pres Jones. When he could not get through to someone or family he would call me in to coach them (I never asked for a dime not received one because I had committed to give all that I have to the church) worked tirelessly for Prop 8. Even when events weren’t organized I called people in the Ward to go out and picket because of our Temple covenants to give all u have. Through an introduction from Pres Smith I earned the trust of the SD mission Pres and was called in multiple times to coach and help struggling missionaries. I would get calls at midnight to go help a missionary and I would not get back till 4 am. For 8 years I prepaid my tithing and adding 5K each year. Regardless if I owed that much. When we went broke in 2008 and I took out cash advances to live on, I paid my tithing on those credit cards at 18-26% interest. We never went to the church and asked for or received assistance. Even though I volunteered at the bishops store house. When they asked me to do Friends of Scouting I spent an enormous amount of time on it and actually raised 300% of what was required. When I was going through my hardest time I volunteered to serve in the Temple and was asked to be coordinator. I was half the age of those who served full time and gave my all to that calling. Spent time researching the most effective way to schedule their time shifts which was adopted by other coordinators and is still being used. When I came to UT I served for another year at the Timp Temple. I have never been entangled with porn, when ever I got tempted online and made a mistake I would instantly tell My wife and we worked through it. I have honored my marriage and have never swore at my wife. I have constantly and consistently put my family first. We regularly have FHE and family scripture study. Family prayer has been a constant in our home. We have raised our kids in the gospel and helped them through their baptisms and advancements. I have paid a full tithe since my youth. I say this not for any external reason but for u as my best friend to understand that my entire life has been rooted in the church and its beliefs and practices. I have never taken my faith in this church lightly. I have never been a cafeteria Mormon - picking and choosing what I wanted to believe. U know I am an extremist. Either I am all in or I am all out. I don’t know how to do anything half way. I was at church when I read the churches essays. When I learned that JS had four different recordings of the first vision and the ONLY one in his own hand writing, he never said Satan tempted him - never said God appeared. In his own hand writing he states he knew that man had left the gospel of Christ and knew that all the churches were false before he prayed. He went into the woods to pray for forgiveness- not which church to join. JC did not tell him he would make him a prophet or restore the gospel through him. JS said he was forgiven of his sins and that was it. As an author and researched who has read over 1000 biographies there is NO WAY u forget to write in your personal history the fact that u almost died at the hand of Satan. U do not leave out seeing God the Father. When u retell that story three more times over the next six years and u continue to change who showed up and what happened it is a little more than suspect. The first recording was 1832 - 12 yrs after the first vision and two yrs after the church was restored. These were not errors of a 14 yr boy. U and I have had crazy things happen to us and we remember vividly the things that happened to us. U get on my case if I ever tell the stories wrong. JS just doesn’t tell the stories wrong he begins to elaborate the entire context and experience with age. I was completely active when I read these accounts, reading my scriptures, full tithe payer, Temple card carrying member. I began to study church history, LDS.org, journal of discourses, lectures of faith, Joseph smith papers. I wanted everything I was finding to be wrong. I bet my life on this church. I did not make a haste decision. I was constantly praying to God - who I have known and served my entire life - to know the truth and all I continued to find was more historical proof and truth that it was wrong. This is something I did not take lightly. I studied till 3-4am some mornings and thousands of pages cross referencing data, history, and BYU devotionals. I never took anyone’s opinion as fact. If an article referenced something I went to the source. Do u remember when I did real estate and I would create these inch thick files of research before I would even make an offer on a property? I don’t make serious decisions without exhausting all my resource to make the best educated decision I can make. If I left the church and I was wrong I knew it mean Damnation to my soul and my family. I knew what was at stake - I put 18 months into researching to make sure I was not wrong. Even though I have left and removed myself from the records of the church u have never heard me speak negative about it. That would be external. I am not a bitter person. U know I am NOT a conspiracy theorist. I cannot stand that stuff. I love truth and have sought truth my entire career with EF. U and I have challenged every idea over the last 12 yrs. in the pursuit of truth. We have made life changing discoveries that have been thoroughly inspired. I was cataloging all my discoveries so that if my kids asked me in their 20s why we left I could show them. I had no desire to publish it or make it known to the world. I believe ever persons journey to know the Savior is their own. Here is my favor: I came across someone else’s research that is better organized than mine and equally researched. It is called A Letter To My Wife and Children. It does not have a negative slant or bitterness bite like the CES letter. I am only asking that u read the first 15 pages about JS first vision. These r all church sources. Here is how u know my motive is internal. I am NEVER going to ask u if u read it. I had this thought the other day, “If I had kept Emotional Fingerprint to my self and 10 yrs u came across it you would most likely got mad at me for not sharing it.” If in 5-10 yrs u come across the whole story of church history I do not want u to be mad that I did not share with u. U will never hear me talk bad about the church and I will never ask u if u read this letter. I have no motive here other than as my best friend u personally know that I have loved the church my entire life and have actively served in it. I would NEVER have left unless I found out it was untrue. I love u and obviously none of this changes our relationship.
Here is the Letter To My Wife and Childrenhttps://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/reasonsfor-lostbelief.pdf