Both my parents joined the Church when I was one or two years old. While growing up my family was very active. My father was a Seventy, my mother was Relief Society President and Gospel Doctrine teacher.
I was baptized at eight, became a Deacon at twelve, Teacher at fourteen, and Priest at sixteen.
I never really questioned the Church until I was fourteen. In my fourteenth year I met a man that changed my life.
At that time, I lived in a small town in the Southern California mountains, Tehachapi. A new family moved into the ward. In the family was a boy my age whom I befriended. After a short while I learned both of his parents, mother and step-father, had been excommunicated from the church.
I soon struck up a friendship with his step-father. I never knew what he was excommunicated for, but he always seemed to be studying church history. He would use church books, not anti-Mormon literature, to show me there conflicts with church doctrine. Things I can remember were:
There were also many other things too. The biggest thing he taught me, was study the church. Even being a member in good standing, I became an investigator in the church.
By the way, the step father was Richard "Dick" Baer. I have heard he has made a name for himself in Ex-Mormons for Christ.
When I was about sixteen, I was studying the "Articles of Faith". It was the second one that I now think was what made me start to think about leaving the church. I'll try to remember it, but it has been a while:
"We believe man will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgressions."
That told me no mater what someone else does, I won't be punished for it. Then I started to think about it for a while. God punished Cain for killing his brother by the "mark of Cain", dark skin. The Church continued to punish people with black skin by not letting them hold the priesthood.
After graduating from high school, I joined the Navy. One reason I joined was to avoid going on a mission.
After two years in the Navy, I was transferred to Idaho Falls, ID. Since my social life wasn't what I wanted it to be, getting drunk at strip bars in Orlando, FL, I made the decision to go back to church.
I was lucky, the first week I was there in Idaho, I was introduced in a non-Mormon girl and we started dating. Six months later, we were married, by a Mormon Bishop (he didn't know I was an inactive Mormon).
In the six years I was in the Navy, no one "found" me even though I had "LDS" on my dog-tags.
Last year I had my name removed from the church records. I am completely "cured".
One thing that I have [not] figured out, is if the General Authorities know the church is false, why do they continue? Is it profit, or power?
I am very concerned about the Mormon church gaining more political power. The church "owns" parts of Idaho, Arizona and practically all of Utah. Utah also has a very powerful senator in Orin Hatch.
If a con-man, like Joe Smith, could get a small group of people to believe he was a true prophet and in 165 years have that grow to I think  million, how about a man with a small following around two thousand years ago gain a following like Jesus Christ has today.
Please feel free to put this on your web page. You can use my name and e-mail address.
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