My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon (very long)

by anointed one May 2012

Here is a copy of letter I sent with specific questions regarding his proclamation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon

I will also post his response. This is also being posted on the Biography Board as suggested by Susan I/S.

[Admin Note] The author of this article, "The Truthfulness of the Book of Mormon", also wrote about the second anointing. It can be read at The Second Anointing. A personal experience. A look into the inside of one of the secrets of the Mormon Church.

2nd May 2012 Thomas Phillips

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 East North Temple Street Salt Lake City, UT 84150 United States

Dear Elder Holland,

Truthfulness of The Book of Mormon

After you set me apart as stake president, you said “Tom, now we are sealed”. I know you did not mean that literally, but I took it as a compliment and great honour to have a close association with you. Throughout the years my family and I have held you in great esteem.

Two letters you wrote to me are kept in a special file and in my ‘heart’. One letter iterated your admiration and appreciation of my son, Alan, and his effect on your son, Duff. As a proud parent I have retained this letter. The other letter was complimenting me on the way in which, as stake president, I dealt with apostates within my stake.

I mention these 2 letters to remind you of our association and the mutual love and respect we have shared. I have been a defender of the faith and greatly inspired by you. In fact I have used your ‘sudden death’ argument regarding the Book of Mormon many times in the past. (See Note 1).

A few years ago I studied a certain aspect of science so that I could better explain to any investigator who was a scientist an important, true doctrine of the Book of Mormon that seemed to conflict with established science. At the time I had no doubt whatsoever of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon (and the Church) so my studies were to understand the flaws in the scientific methodology. Then, I would be in a position to help an investigator overcome this ‘scientific hurdle’ and know God’s truth. The results of studying, pondering, fasting and praying were that the scientific methodology was sound and the fault was in that taught in the Book of Mormon (no death before the fall of Adam approximately 6,000 years ago). That led me to a study of other issues with the Book of Mormon and Church history which clearly showed a number of falsities.

Applying your ‘sudden death’ challenge therefore could only lead to one conclusion, it was a fraud (your words – it is either true or a fraud). I had meetings with Elder Harold G. Hillam and later with Elder Gerald N. Lund. They both gave opposite and conflicting answers that confirmed to me the Church was not true.

The purpose of this letter is to seek your help, as we are ‘sealed’, in resolving a conflict of eternal consequence to my family who still believe the Church is true. You are possibly aware of Alan’s position as a stake president. I accept your ‘sudden death’ option in that the Book of Mormon is either true, as Joseph Smith declared it, or it is a fraud. You are on public record (‘Safety for the Soul’ talk at General Conference October 2009 and posted on ‘youtube’) vigorously defending the claim of its truthfulness and, in fact, deriding those who think otherwise (including me). We cannot both be right on this issue. Either you are right or I am, there appears to be no middle ground or ‘third way’. My family listen to you and others of the Brethren, holding you all in the highest of esteem. As taught and encouraged by the Church they refuse to discuss the issues with me but only wish to bear their testimony. They have not sought to correct any misunderstandings I may have, thereby reclaiming a ‘lost sheep’, but choose to ignore the ‘elephant in the room’. I always believed the Church could bear any scrutiny as it was the one and only true church on the face of the earth.
If I am wrong on the facts, or have drawn incorrect conclusions, then I earnestly implore you to put me right.

Just as you suggest a “sudden death” position regarding The Book of Mormon, I see a “sudden death” either/or question for my situation. Either I am wrong, in which case please address my issues and demonstrate where I am wrong. I would love to be shown that I am wrong, having invested so much of my life in The Church. Or, I am right, in which case please acknowledge that fact to my family.

So, my request to you Elder Holland is to either

1. Demonstrate to me that the Book of Mormon is true by answering and refuting the ‘evidences’ against its truthfulness mentioned later in this letter ( you claim in your talk it has not been proven false in over 179 years) or
2. Admit, for the benefit of my family and hosts of others, it is (in your words) a fraud or
3. At least admit there were errors in your talk (you specify which ones) and apologise to genuine truth seekers regarding the offensive comments you made that they would have to ‘crawl over...etc.’

"If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit."

Whichever of these 3 you choose to do, will help not only myself but countless others by confirming the truth of the Book of Mormon or admitting it is a work of fiction (however and by whom written). Please do not ignore this request, as it goes to the very heart of the matter of the Church’s veracity. A matter I would assume someone of your moral and academic stature would deem of vital importance. Why would you say something that is not true? I am not an angry ‘anti-Mormon’, I am pro truth. I served diligently in the Church because I honestly believed (‘knew’) it to be true. Once I found out otherwise I could not, as encouraged by Church leaders, just continue in the faith so that I could keep my family. I could not live a lie.

This request is made to you because of our personal relationship and also because you have publically defended the Book of Mormon in General Conference which has been broadcast internationally by the Church and also been featured on ‘youtube’ and ‘The Ensign’.

First permit me to outline the evidences I have discovered that point to the Book of Mormon not being true, or the Word of God . As stated previously, I would appreciate your comments on/refutation of these items, not as an “apologist” but as a truth seeker (whichever way that falls). These are only outline points for the purpose of brevity in this letter. I do not include all that would be included in a paper on such a topic because I assume you are already very familiar with the issues and the answers given by apologists.

Secondly, I list certain quotes from your talk which appear to me to be incorrect. Again I seek your comments/refutation.

Evidences the Book of Mormon is not True

1. 2 Nephi 2:22 and Alma 12:23,24 state there was no death of any kind (humans, all animals, birds, fish etc.) on this earth until the ‘Fall of Adam’ which, according to Doctrine and Covenants section 77:6,7 occurred approximately 6,000 years ago. This is obviously false as it is scientifically established there has been life and death on this planet for billions of years. (See Note 2).

2. The Book of Mormon purports to tell the true origins of the American Indian, descendants of Lehi and his family who left Jerusalem in 600 B.C. Anthropologists have maintained for decades that the American Indians came to North America via the Bering Strait some 15,000 – 30, 000 years ago. Recent DNA studies have conclusively proven the American Indians are not descendents of Lehi and his family. Yes, I am aware of BYU professors who ‘play loose’ with DNA studies in order to defend the Book of Mormon. They also re-invent the Church’s teachings regarding the American Indian (flying in the face of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor through to at least Spencer W. Kimball and the Lord Himself in D&C section 54:8 and others) offering a limited geography theory etc.. I understand the title page to the Book of Mormon has even been amended in this regard in recent years. (See Note 4).

3. Archaeology – there is absolutely no evidence of the Nephites and Lamanites who numbered in the millions according to the Book of Mormon. Contrast this with the Roman occupation of Britain (and other countries). Having lived in England, as well as your frequent visits and reading, you will be aware of abundant evidence the Romans were there during the first 400 years A.D. e.g. villas, mosaic floors, public baths , coins, armour, weapons, writings, art, pottery etc. etc. Even the major road system used today was originally built by the Romans (A1, A2, A4 etc. now with motorways added). Why are there no Nephite buildings, roads, coins, armour, pottery, art etc. Again, the Book of Mormon teaches a period of peace and prosperity lasting about 200 years after Jesus Christ visited the American Continent. Where are the temples etc? Where is the evidence of the 2 million + who died in battles at Hill Cumorah? No bones, chariots, swords, coins, armour, hair? Surely, if it happened it would be easy for archaeologists to find evidence in Palmyra. But then apologists wish to say Cumorah was somewhere else, yet to be discovered. It seems Joseph Smith did not understand the 2 Cumorahs, neither has it been mentioned in decades of pageants put on by the Church at ‘Hill Cumorah’ in upstate New York. There is ample evidence of the Mayan and Aztec civilizations as well as a civilization in current day Texas that dates back 15,000 years. Why no Nephite or Lamanite evidence? Indeed, not only is there no positive evidence for them there is evidence to confirm that certain things, mentioned in the Book of Mormon pertaining to them, were not even on the American continent at the time (e.g. horses, chariots, steel etc.). (See Note 3).

4. Book of Abraham – I mention this as evidence against the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as an example of the ‘modus operandi’ of Joseph Smith. The arguments of your apologists (e.g. Hugh Nibley and Michael D. Rhodes) to defend the Book of Abraham are an insult to intelligence and certainly would not stand up to peer review by recognised Egyptologists. The Church has had parts of the papyri since, I think, 1967 and they have been translated by Egyptologists. They are no more than magical funerary texts, often buried with the dead, and nothing to do with the purported translation by Joseph Smith. If he lied about the Book of Abraham is it not conceivable he lied about the Book of Mormon? Also, pertinent to this point, is the fact that Joseph lied about (denied) his plural wives and the allegations made by the ‘Nauvoo Expositor’ which turned out to be true. Other evidence of Joseph’s modus operandi re translation projects are the ‘Greek Psalter’ and ‘Kinderhook Plates’ incidents. (See Note 5).

5. Changing skin colour – the Lamanites were cursed by the Lord with a skin of darkness (blackness) because of their sins and so that they would not be attractive to the Nephites. On some occasions, when Lamanites converted and became righteous their skin became whiter. This doctrine was commented on in recent times by President Spencer W. Kimball who noted the lightening of the skins of ‘Lamanites’ (American Indians and Polynesians) in one of his talks. Now I ask you is this the ‘word of God’? Did God use skin colour as a differentiator? Of course he did you may say, he did it with Cain and his descendents. So the racist teachings of Brigham Young etc. have their foundation in the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith’s understanding of the book of Genesis. According to science, skin colour is a product of genetics and climate on pigmentation of the skin. Any white person can become dark by sunbathing but the colour change is not permanent. A black person does not become white by being righteous, how offensive, how insulting, how racist. If it is possible (and ethical) to change the colour of a person’s skin in an instant (and then change it back when they become righteous) then it would indicate the Book of Mormon is true in this regard. However, I am of the opinion that any educated, ethical person would consider this doctrine untrue/false. Please explain to me how this doctrine can be true rather than misinformed 19th century thinking. "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." (2 Nephi 5:21).

6. Other ‘true doctrines’ of the Church, taken from the Book of Mormon and/or the Doctrine and Covenants ,that are proven false by science include the following (a) all humans alive today are not the descendants of just 2 people (Adam and Eve) who lived (came from the Garden of Eden) approximately 6,000 years ago neither are they the descendants of just one man (Noah) about 4,500 years ago (b) there was no world-wide flood of the earth about 4,500 years ago (c) different languages did not arise in the manner described regarding the Tower of Babel (per Bible and Book of Mormon) (d) the human race did not start in what is now the state of Missouri (D&C 116:1) then migrate to the Middle East in consequence of a universal flooding of the earth. From the Encycloaedia of Mormonism “It wasn’t until May 1838 that revelation (D&C 116) identified Adam-ondi-Ahman, a site near the Garden of Eden, to be in Daviess County, Missouri, some seventy miles from present-day Kansas City. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., New York City: Macmillan, 1992, 1:19–20.)”

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials'. December 1770

“The problem Mormonism encounters is that so many of its claims are well within the realm of scientific study, and as such, can be proven or disproven. To cling to faith in these areas, where the overwhelming evidence is against you, is wilful ignorance, not spiritual dedication.”

Evidence the Book of Mormon is True

Here are some specific quotes from your talk, which I take as your arguments for the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness, with my comments/questions added in italics :-

‘Safety for the Soul’ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world . . . that the Book of Mormon is true. In what respects is it true? It is not true according to scientific laws, anthropology, zoology, metallurgy, chemistry, physics, biology, linguistics, history, archaeology etc. Why would you say something that is not true?

The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth the Book of Mormon itself is an enemy of truth if it declares things as true which are, in fact, false e.g. no death of any kind prior to 6,000 years ago (Book of Mormon actually states “fall of Adam” but Doctrine and Covenants section 77 places this at approximately 6,000 years ago); horses, steel etc. on American continent at time they were absent; origin of the American Indians etc. Please explain how I have been deceived and by whom.

As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness - you do not mention the other 999 elements, only the following which appears to be untrue :-
They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Untrue, they did not die for their faith. They were killed in a gun battle , Joseph shot at men and, according to President John Taylor, 2 of the men Joseph shot died. They were incarcerated because of Joseph’s reprehensible behaviour and alleged crimes such as having a printing press destroyed (treason? – free speech) which he claimed had published lies about him that were, in fact true; that he practised and taught polygamy including with 14 year old girls and women already married (polyandry); was setting up a theocratic government etc. Why do you not defend the likes of William Law who, having tried to change Joseph’s reprehensible behaviour, published the truth and was demonized by Joseph and the Church as a result. I believe the charges against Joseph were (1) inciting a riot and (2) treason against the State of Illinois At no time, am I aware, were Joseph and Hyrum offered the choice of saving their lives” if they deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon”. What is your source for this idea? Please give evidence to support your statement or admit it is false.
Did the State of Illinois or the jailers give Joseph Smith the opportunity to denounce his religious claims and be freed? No. So he was not a martyr. He did not die for his religious beliefs.
Bear in mind the fallacy of your assertion - The claim that no fraud would walk to their death making a claim like Joseph Smith to the very end: this ignores the countless cult leaders like David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite, Jim Jones etc.

For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands Where does it stand? Is it used in American history classes or used by those studying American history? No, it has been extensively proven false by many. If it still stands it should be easy for you to satisfactorily explain the issues I raised above as evidences that it is not true.

None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator Completely untrue, the one answer Joseph gave is the most absurd and the only one lacking in any real evidence except the “burning in the bosom” which is the same evidence for the truthfulness of the Quran, Hinduism, Scientology and thousands of other beliefs/traditions/fortune telling which totally oppose the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has been shown to be a work of fiction by many credible authors and is viewed as such by the Smithsonian Institute. Otherwise scholars of American history would readily use the book for their work. Again, answer my issues if I am incorrect.

Your use of the word ‘pathetic’ is rather disturbing. In what way are other suggestions as to the origin of the Book of Mormon and, by inference, my questions, ‘pathetic? Ethan Smith’s “A View of the Hebrews” could be a source, as agreed by Elder B.H. Roberts. The King James translation of the Bible has certainly been used/copied verbatim (including errors in that translation) as well as common 19th century themes prevalent in upstate New York. Please explain why you used the derogatory word ‘pathetic’.

“No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” This argument could be used to prove The Quran true. Also Ethan Smith’s “A View of the Hebrews” Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit.

How offensive a statement! Without giving any evidence in your talk that the book is true, other than a misleading statement and innuendo that Joseph and Hyrum gave their lives for it, you say I (yes me, Thomas William Phillips) have been deceived and if I leave this Church i must do so by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon..If this is so, please answer my issues so that I may know in what facts I have been deceived and the identity of my deceiver(s).

After meeting with 2 General Authorities of the Church, who each gave me opposite answers, I have concluded that they and you are deceived and to believe in the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon you all have to crawl over or under or around the facts and evidences of physics, chemistry, biology, genetics, geology, anthropology, linguistics, zoology, palaeontology, archaeology, metallurgy, history etc. If my conclusion is wrong please correct me by explaining the fallacy of my logic and by whom I have, in your words, been deceived. Did Elder Hillam deceive me in stating “of course there has been death on this planet for billions of years” or Elder Lund by stating” the scientists are wrong, there has been no death prior to approximately 6,000 years ago. Carbon dating is incorrect.”? Which of these 2 General Authorities has tried to deceive me? Did the academics in the fields mentioned above deceive me? Have they been deceived by Satan into teaching that which is not true in spite of the fact they can demonstrate/prove the conclusions of their research?

You also state that the likes of me are “foolish” and “misled” – please explain in what way(s) I am foolish and misled. Why do you use such offensive and unsubstantiated language? If I am foolish and misled you should easily be able to demonstrate that in which I am foolish and misled and by whom I have been misled.

Elder Holland, I am writing to you in this way as a ‘sudden death’ (your words) type of plea. I have been through the appropriate Church channels to resolve my concerns but each of those Priesthood Leaders have merely confirmed to me that the Book of Mormon (and hence, following on from your specific challenge, the Church) is not true. My final plea is to you as an Apostle and public defender of the Book of Mormon. The apologists I have been referred to actually admit the truth of my concerns but try to re-define church doctrine and scripture, contrary to that clearly taught by the Brethren. An example of the answers I have been given by Priesthood Leaders are in Note 6.

As your declarations on the Book of Mormon and derision of those, such as myself, have been made so public (General Conference broadcast throughout the world, Ensign magazine and ‘youtube’) I will be publishing this letter on two or more bulletin boards. I will also publish your reply to this letter so that all sides of the issues may be fairly represented.

So, my request to you Elder Holland is to either

1. Demonstrate to me that the Book of Mormon is true by answering and refuting the ‘evidences’ against its truthfulness mentioned above ( you claim in your talk it has not been proven false in over 179 years) or
2. Admit, for the benefit of my family and hosts of others, it is (in your words) a fraud or
3. At least admit there were errors in your talk (you specify which ones) and apologise to genuine truth seekers regarding the offensive comments you made that they would have to ‘crawl over...etc.’
If you are able to do (1) please explain to me how and by whom I have been misled.
Thank you for reading this letter and taking the time to respond. As mentioned at the beginning, I and my family have long admired and respected you. Copies of this letter are being sent to my immediate family who are all currently active members of the Church.

Tom Phillips

Notes referenced in this letter

Note 1 – “Sudden Death” Proposition re Book of Mormon

In 1994, Elder Holland declared: "Let me quote a very powerful comment from President Ezra Taft Benson, who said, “The Book of Mormon is the keystone of [our] testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church..." "To hear someone so remarkable say something so tremendously bold, so overwhelming in its implications, that everything in the Church — everything — rises or falls on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and, by implication, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of how it came forth, can be a little breathtaking. It sounds like a “sudden death” proposition to me. Either the Book of Mormon is what the Prophet Joseph said it is or this Church and its founder are false, fraudulent, a deception from the first instance onward." "Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, who, [1] after seeing the Father and the Son, [2] later beheld the angel Moroni, [3] repeatedly heard counsel from his lips, eventually [4] receiving at his hands a set of ancient gold plates which [5] he then translated according to the gift and power of God—or else he did not. And if he did not, in the spirit of President Benson’s comment, he is not entitled to retain even the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, and he is not entitled to be considered a great teacher or a quintessential American prophet or the creator of great wisdom literature. If he lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he is certainly none of those." "I am suggesting that we make exactly that same kind of do-or-die, bold assertion about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the divine origins of the Book of Mormon. We have to. Reason and rightness require it. Accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and the book as the miraculously revealed and revered word of the Lord it is or else consign both man and book to Hades for the devastating deception of it all, but let’s not have any bizarre middle ground about the wonderful contours of a young boy’s imagination or his remarkable facility for turning a literary phrase. That is an unacceptable position to take—morally, literarily, historically, or theologically." - Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, “True or False,” New Era, June 1995, Page 64 (Excerpted from a CES Symposium address given at Brigham Young University on August 9, 1994.)

Note 2 No Death before 6k years ago is a doctrine of the Church

Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall (2 Ne. 2: 22; Moses 6: 48). The Official Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © 2006 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Rights and use information. Privacy policy.
“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.” (2Ne 2:22)
“And now behold, I say unto you that if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death…
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death…” (Alma 12:23, 24)
This means to me that there was no death on this earth prior to the fall of Adam approximately 6,000 years ago (D & C 77:6-7). To confirm that I have understood this doctrine correctly I quote the following from a priesthood lesson manual for 1972-73 :-
“In that condition the earth and all upon it were not subject to death until Adam fell. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the same judgment was placed on the earth and all things upon it. Therefore every living thing, including the earth itself, is entitled to death and the resurrection.”
The above quote is from page 54 of “Selections from Answers to Gospel Questions A Course of Study for the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums 1972-73 Selections from the Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith” Tenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” published by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
I mention this source lest any excuse the teaching as Joseph Fielding Smith’s own personal view and not that of the Church as has been done with some of the teachings of Brigham Young, Bruce R. McConkie etc. This was (in 1972) official church doctrine and accepted as such very emphatically by my stake president in 2004.
Also from the writings of Joseph Fielding Smith :-
“NO DEATH ON EARTH BEFORE FALL. The Lord pronounced the earth good when it was finished. Everything upon its face was called good. There was no death in the earth before the fall of Adam. I do not care what the scientists say in regard to dinosaurs and other creatures upon the earth millions of years ago, that lived and died and fought and struggled for existence. …..All life in the sea, the air, on the earth, was without death. Animals were not dying. Things were not changing as we find them changing in this mortal existence, for mortality had not come……….
BOOK OF MORMON TEACHES TRUTH ABOUT FALL. We Latter-day Saints accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God. We have the assurance that the Lord placed the stamp of approval upon it at the time of the translation…The truth is the thing which will last. All the theory, Philosophy and wisdom of the wise that is not in harmony with revealed truth from God will perish. In regard to the pre-mortal condition of Adam and the entire earth, Lehi has stated the following :
And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. (2Ne. 2:19-26).
Is not this statement plain enough ? Whom are you going to believe, the Lord, or men?” ( pages 108-9 Doctrines of Salvation volume1 by Joseph Fielding Smith published by Bookcraft 1954 - states in the preface by Bruce R. McKenzie “Joseph Fielding Smith is the leading gospel scholar and the greatest doctrinal teacher of his generation. Few men in this dispensation have approached him in gospel knowledge or surpassed him in spiritual insight.”)
The clear message from the above is that church doctrine, based on Book of Mormon, Book of Moses, Genesis and statements by latter-day prophets is THERE WAS NO DEATH ON THIS EARTH PRIOR TO APPROX 6,000 YEARS AGO AND SCIENTISTS ARE WRONG BECAUSE THEY ARE CONTRADICTING THE WORD OF THE LORD.

Note 3 – Archaeology and the Book of Mormon

The detailed history and civilization described in the Book of Mormon does not correspond to anything found by archaeologists anywhere in the Americas. The Book of Mormon describes a civilization lasting for a thousand years, covering both North and South America, which was familiar with horses, elephants, cattle, sheep, wheat, barley, steel, wheeled vehicles, shipbuilding, sails, coins, and other elements of Old World culture. But no trace of any of these supposedly very common things has ever been found in the Americas of that period. Nor does the Book of Mormon mention many of the features of the civilizations which really did exist at that time in the Americas. The LDS church has spent millions of dollars over many years trying to prove through archaeological research that the Book of Mormon is an accurate historical record, but they have failed to produce any convincing pre-Columbian archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon story. In addition, whereas the Book of Mormon presents the picture of a relatively homogeneous people, with a single language and communication between distant parts of the Americas, the pre-Columbian history of the Americas shows the opposite: widely disparate racial types (almost entirely east Asian - definitely not Semitic, as proven by recent DNA studies), and many unrelated native languages, none of which are even remotely related to Hebrew or Egyptian. Richard Packham.

Note 4 – American Indians are ‘Lamanites’

“And Lehi and his family became the ancestors of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea, for in the middle of their history there were those who left America in ships of their making and went to the islands of the sea.” – Spencer W. Kimball/Ensign July 1971 “The term Lamanite includes all Indians and Indian mixtures, such as the Polynesians, the Guatemalans, the Peruvians, as well as the Sioux, the Apache, the Mohawk, the Navajo, and others. It is a large group of great people.” – Spencer W. Kimball /Ensign July 1971

Note 5 – The Book of Abraham a translation of some papyri

THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM Translated from the papyrus, by Joseph Smith A translation of some ancient records, that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. -- The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon papyrus. See history of the church, vol. 2. pp.235,236,348-351 1974 edition of triple combo -- pub. LDS church I quote this because apologists , accepting Joseph’s translation as completely different to those of Egyptologists, try to re-define the word ‘translate’ and maintain Joseph did not actually translate but used the papyri as a catalyst to receive direct revelation. This is contrary to official statements by the Church and what has been taught all my Church life.

Note 6 – Answers from my Priesthood Leaders

As an example of the answers I have been given by my Priesthood Leaders I will give a brief summation of their answers regarding the teaching in the Book of Mormon that there was no death (of any kind, human, animal, fowl etc.) on this earth prior to the Fall of Adam which occurred (according to Doctrine & Covenants section 77) approximately 6,000 years ago. Established science (many different disciplines confirming the same) says there has been death on this planet for billions of years. So, either the Book of Mormon is true on this topic or science (in its many disciplines) is. They can’t both be true, it is one or the other. If science is true, the Book of Mormon is false (and a fraud by your own words). If the Book of Mormon is true then science is mistaken on this topic. How is that for a ‘sudden death’ proposition?

Here is a brief summation of the answers I have been given to this one question:-
President Tony Arnold (Stake President) – the Book of Mormon is true and science is wrong, no death occurred prior to 6,000 years ago. The scientists are wrong.
Elder Harold G. Hillam (Member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy and Area President, Europe West Area) stated words to the effect “Obviously there has been death on this planet for millions of years otherwise we would not have oil and gas. Also, as part of my training as a dentist and orthodontist I have held skulls in my hand that are more than 6,000 years old. The way I reconcile it in my mind is Adam was the first man made in the image of God”. When I asked him the obvious follow up question, what happened to the other hominids that were alive at the time of and prior to Adam, he said “I don’t know”. Clearly he had not thought through the ramifications of his reconciliation of these conflicting “truths”.
Bishop David Cook – first answer he gave me was that he did not read the scripture to mean that, but failed to tell me how he interpreted it. This was a great surprise as David, you know, spent his whole career in CES (Church Educational System) and had, in fact, been an Area Director for CES overseeing full time CES instructors. It was surprising to me that he chose to be unaware of something that was very clearly taught in both seminary and institute manuals. To me it was a sign of incompetence or trying to bend the truth. Later, in the company of the then Area President, Elder Gerald N. Lund, he agreed with Elder Lund that the doctrine of the Church is that there was no death of any kind on this earth prior to 6,000 years ago and science is wrong to say otherwise. He did, therefore, read the scripture “that way” contrary to what he said on his first (unaccompanied) visit to me.
Elder Gerald N. Lund (Area President, successor to President Hillam) - in his first meeting with me tried to side step this and other issues by posing the question “what is church doctrine ?”. He also proudly admitted to being a ‘wordsmith’. On his second visit to my home he clearly confirmed that the doctrine of the Church, based on the Book of Mormon and statements by the prophets, was that there was no death of any kind, human or other, on this planet prior to 6,000 years ago and science had it wrong.

So, all 4 of these priesthood leaders admitted it was the official doctrine of the Church that there was no death of any kind (human, animal, fowl, fish etc.) on this planet prior to 6,000 years ago. 3 of them also stated science was wrong to say otherwise. Elder Hillam confirmed science was not wrong, there had been death on this planet for millions of years but he “reconciled” the disparity in his mind by offering an illogical and deeply flawed viewpoint.
I agree with all of them that this is the official doctrine as it is taught in the standard works as well as by prophets from Joseph Smith to Joseph Fielding Smith (see the 1972 Priesthood lesson manual) also in seminary, institute, Sunday School etc. and First presidency statements. I also agree with established science on the matter, that this planet is over 4 billion years old and death has occurred for most of that time. Therefore, I conclude that the Book of Mormon is wrong regarding this doctrine, as are the prophets who also advocated it (including Joseph Fielding Smith), and recent General Authorities, namely Elders Hillam and Lund not to mention Elder Russell M. Nelson in a conference talk. This is but one example of statements made in the Book of Mormon that are untrue. The book cannot, therefore, be true and your ‘sudden death’ proposition must mean it is a fraud. It is a work compiled by Joseph Smith and possibly other 19th century authors containing the erroneous views of 19th century Americans.

My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Dear Jeff,
I know the BoM is bogus because it's tied to the Bible...and the Bible is bull sh1t.
Tying the BoM to the Bible is like tying the Minnow to the Titanic...the Minnow because it would wreck on its own, and the Titanic because it goes down with the Bible anyway.

Forgive me for pointing out an omission in your Oct 2009 talk called Safety for the Soul. You said we who are not persuaded the book is true are decieved, and if we leave the church we do it by crawling over or under or around it.
You forgot through it.
The BoM was the window to my exit, all by itself.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Here's your reply, assuming you're still a member:

Brother Phillips,

The stake presidency is considering formal disciplinary action in your behalf, including the possibility of disfellowship or excommunication, because you are reported to have participated in conduct unbecoming a members of the Church and evil speaking of the Lord's anointed.

You are invited to attend this disciplinary council to give your response, and if you wish, provide witnesses and other evidence in your behalf.

Smiling Dog
Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Incredible letter. I sincerely hope you get a response from Holland. Unfortunately, I have my doubts...

Realize my reply is for mormons...not Anointed One
"Then, I would be in a position to help an investigator overcome this ‘scientific hurdle’ and know God’s truth."

As a nonmo...this is absolutely comical thinking (no offense to you)...

So to "know God's truth" you need to "overcome" or remove a "scientific" obstacle, to finally "know God's truth"???

Realize for nevermos, this kind of thinking is absurd....

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Not a chance. They've been telling us for years not to bother the brethren with trivial things such as a crisis of faith. At best, he can expect a scolding from the SP or bishop about evil speaking of the Lord's anointed.

My guess is . . .
a. You will get no response, or
b. You will get a standard testimonkey, or
c. You will get an invitation to a kangaroo court of "love."

Pass-the-popcorn-while-we-test-my-prophetic-powers-ly yrs,


invite Mr. Holland to post his answer/response HERE; unedited, unrehearsed.

His reply 'deserves' our attention, us to reach our own conclusions.

anointed one
Re: Realize my reply is for mormons...not Anointed One
Why is this comical or absurd to nevermos? Anyone involved in missionary work encounters those who use scientific argument.

Utah County Mom
Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
This is a brilliantly written letter. I"m keeping a copy of this in case my TBM spouse ever wants to ask for a summary of my main problems with Mormonism.

YOu could also add to this letter that if Elder Holland does not reply or sit down with apostates as he promised to do, HE WILL HAVE MADE HIMSELF A LIAR.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
I am keeping a copy also. Hoping against hope that maybe I can help someone. I loved that poor deluded Bishop of mine
Good luck nailing Jell-o to the wall.
Most religious people are in it because it scratches some emotional itch. We at RfM are the lucky/unlucky bastards for whom it had to have a minimum level of rationality. OR you could also argue that when Moism didn't make sense to us any more it stopped scratching our emotional itch (back to my original hypothesis).

Mr. Holland's itch gets scratched by LDS, Inc. in a monumental way that involves his ego and his wallet. No amount of rational thinking can probably penetrate it.

No fault for trying. If it makes you feel better, that's a plenty good reason for doing it.

If any of us could get a response, it would be you.
But Holland has probably already learned from spies that you posted this here, so I don't expect he'll be very pleased with you.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Fantastic. Don't hold your breath waiting. You'll get a testimony back. He can't do anything else.

Holland has to know it's a fraud. He lies so calculatingly; hiding key words with empty rhetoric. The fact he lies as his job shows how morally void he is, as well as dangerous. By lying to the gullable, he defrauds millions of their income, and is complicit in the sustaining of conditions where gays would rather die than live in a Mormon society.

To do this so dispassionately shows a level of psycopathy where it is believed individuals are expendable so long as the goal is achieved. The goal here is to perpetuate the fraud of Joseph Smith.

What a destructive and deluded person Holland is, however I doubt he has trouble sleeping at night.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Hi Annointed One,
Hope life is treating you well despite your family's continued belief. Thanks for sharing this - I appreciate it's been a few years since you originally wrote about your Second Annointing experience (which in itself means that your letter will probably now just be ignored by Jeff), where you did promise to update us on the BoM issues that caused your eventual exit.

I, like many here have been awaiting this follow up, so thanks very much for sharing. It's hard enough for most to leave the church, but with your standing and connections, the dawning of what was at stake must have demanded significant bravery. I salute you my friend!

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Very well put! Your courage is amazing, I hope your family will weigh your argument and then decide. I know how bad it hurts to learn the church is a fraud and have your family write you off as tricked by Satan. Thanks for sharing.
anointed one
Thank you sherlock and templenameaaron and all others for your kind remarks n/t 

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
My step son just asked me why I left the church. Your letter articulates it way better than I could. I think I'll just print it out and give it to him, if you don't mind.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Yes, thanks Tom!
anointed one
Go ahead Mia, hope it helps n/t 

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
I spent an hour once sniffing out who you actually were and told no one when I found out and kept it a smug secret, and now you tell everyone?! I feel so... Empty. *sighs*

Anyway, I also sent Holland a letter after his BBC interview, but despite my incredible Canadian-like politeness, I never received a response. Of course, we here on RfM all seemed to agree that I would never get a response. You probably expect the same. While you are known amongst the Brethren and are far more likely to get a response, it is, of course, too much of a threat for an LDS leader to actually address these concerns.

Our friend SLDrone once suggested that the leaders of the LDS church are all very sincere. It was the only time that I took issue with what he wrote. I think that it's more than obvious to senior church leaders that the church is undeniably false. After all, if you were an "apostle of the Lord," you'd would be the first to know that Jesus wasn't appearing to you as advertised.

I'm sure we all really hope for a response, and hope that you would post anything information from the response. Should I hold my breath and keep my fingers crossed?

anointed one
I do expect a response cludgie......
...I know Elder Holland would want to be honorable and it was he who said "Tom, we are now sealed". If he meant that, he will reply. If it was a mere platitude then he is not the kind of person I thought him to be. I have asked him to back up what he has said as those statements appear to me to be false ( I have stated the reasons). An honorable man, let alone an Apostle, can do no less.
Anointed One, this letter takes my breath away!
What a cogent, well thought out, well written letter! You are my hero! I hope that your family exits very soon. We can only hope reason will win out and that the brainwashing starts to dissipate. Wishing you much luck!!

anointed one
Thank you MexMom n/t 

Re: I do expect a response cludgie......
"An honorable man, let alone an Apostle, can do no less."

This is very true, Tom, and it almost parallels what I said when I sent my letter, "we have to take him at his word" (that he wanted to hear what complaints ex-Mormons have). I didn't actually expect a response, however, despite writing most sincerely. And behold,... No response. I'm sure that letters from people like me don't ever reach his desk. To his secretaries I am just one of many cranks who persistenly write crazy letters to The Brethren.

I'm hopeful you will get a response. Please forgive my cyincism.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Annointed One,

Great letter, and I would like to say that I was so impressed with it, I made an electronic copy of it for my files.

I struggled with the BM's truthfulness for a full 10 years. I subscribed to several journals - Dialog/Sunstone - with the hope that someone would write an article entitled something like: Joseph Smith/Others wrote the BM, and here's The Proof.

It never materialized, although many articles articulated - the book's stupidity very, very nicely.

By the way, I knew the book's historicity was bunk, but I fell victim to Smith's/conference talks' gospel restored message that historicity and truthfulness - although disparate - are independent of each other. The book can be true, but not historical.

I am particularly ashamed that as a missionary (70's London, England) that I told investigators that the American Indians were proof the of the BM's truthfulness.

How absurd I was!

How absurd church doctrine is!

Like your family, my wife is TBM, as are my children.

I am ashamed that I taught them to discount scientific method in favor of religious feeling.

I am in a mental nightmare, like many on this board. I know what to do, but the outcome is fraught with consequences. It's like surgery for an illness. The former may be worse than the consequences of the disease.

I now take every opportunity to be an anti-missionary. Recently (and on many other occasions too) on a plane trip, I was asked if I was a Mormon. In reply, I said, I used to be, but I now encourage all investigators of Mormonism to avoid it entirely, or to investigate it for at least 6 months before taking any action.

I receive great pleasure telling others that Mr. Smith - in my book - was a fine, fine con-artist and 55k plus mormon missionaries don't change that fact.

Now, regarding your letter - it gives me great pleasure to know that Mr. Holland has received your letter, written by a former SP, and a recipient of higher temple blessings.

Your letter will be taken by him as a 2x4 across not only his cranium, but that to Mr. Smith's, vicariously - of course.

He won't answer you, of course, but I know that you have caused him many sleepless nights, as well as conversations with his q12 brethren.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
What can Elder Holland even say? There is no adequate response he can give. This may come from my naïveté because I know a lot of people think they are all liars, but I am still not convinced that they don't believe in it. I would think each letter like that would be saddening and troubling. They may be leaders, but imagine leading a church where people are leaving in droves. I may be seeing it all wrong. Probably am too trusting of the brethren. Are they really so evil? Maybe. But I don't know for sure about that. Maybe they could never face giving their whole lives to this church only to find out they invested it in leading others astray.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
I can hear them now.

What to do? what to do?

How are we going to put out this fire?

God doesn't seem to listening or talking to us. What are we going to do?

We've GOT to do something! This could cost us the presidency!

Dallin A. Chokes
Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Well, the best part is, now that you've had the second anointing (fascinating account, by the way), you technically can't get into any "eternal" trouble for doing this. Or, wait--is this what makes one a son of perdition? :)

Great letter--very logical, very well spelled out ("This is what you said, but what did you mean? And could you clarify?")

Thanks for posting it.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Great letter - unfortunately, you will never receive a response that is truthful.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Very well done anointed!!!

All I have to say is your response will be a summons to a church court where you will be accused of any random sin (porn, adultery,etc.) that is unrelated to any and/or all issues you have raised.

Wish you the best and I admire your personal integrity, it took me nearly four years to work up the courage to start telling everyone that it was a crock.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Hi Tom,
Your old friend Jesse Rickford here. How funny that I always looked up to you as a spiritual giant, and now look up to you in a different way! It is a wonderfully succinct letter with very clear examples. As you can guess, I too in recent years have come to a similar understanding to yourself. I guess I am very fortunate though that my wife agreed with this understanding. I can only imagine what it has been like for you and your family connections! You can imagine how my parents and extended family reacted when my news broke. I love how everyone assumes we must be crazy to dis-believe the church and it's claims. I thought about writing elder holland myself after the Bbc documentary, however you have done such a great job, I don't think I could add anything else of extra value. All the best Tom,

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Thanks Tom. If Jeffrey Holland is indeed an honourable man and the sort of individual who believes that truth is inseperately connected with God, then he should find your invitation to reply irrisistable.

Sadly, his own interpretation of truth has been honed by years of mormon programming. I believe he fears he may give in to doubt like his father and so tries even harder to resist the sort of points you have raised.

I know one of his former secretaries (as you do) who had plenty of doubts in the past but hung on because of her admiration for him. She was a good friend of mine and if he did try to reply I`d like to present the two letters to her.

Your letter was brilliant.

Best Wishes (Thanks for the E-mail)

anointed one
Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
Hi Jesse,

So great to hear from you and thanks for your kind words.

I always admired you and am excited to find out you know the truth. Also, that your wife is similarly enlightened. Seems your brother David was right all along.

Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
I guess he was Tom, however I think it had more to do with his lifestyle choices. Lol. Do you have a Facebook profile as there are a couple of former LDS secret groups that are asking about you and would love to make your acquaintance, especially after reading this letter. You may even find a few more 'enlightened' people that you used to know!

anointed one
Re: My letter to Elder Holland re Book of Mormon
I don't have a facebook account but will open one soon as I have just spent the morning surfing facebook friends including you (sent you my email address in a message).

Would love to be in touch with the groups you mentioned so I'll sign up and let you know

"Recovery from Mormonism -"