newer posts on my spiritual journey

•July 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

i have some posts that continue on the theme of this blog (my spiritual journey).  check ’em out and comment here:

Last Post *sniff sniff, *tear

•June 21, 2007 • 47 Comments

This post is basically a short summary of my own journey through Mormonism.  There are many hyperlinks included in the text- mostly referencing my own writings at the time I went through the particular stage/struggle of my faith. 

I think I’ve caught the “rational bug”. I’ve tried and tried to make Mormonism and the LDS Church work for me but “faith” and “just put it on the shelf” is usually where my inquiries lead me. I am now very much interested in Science and reason, rational thought, and evidence-based belief. I am still attending church for familial reasons, however I think that the fundamental Mormon inside me died. And the liberal Mormon in me has become uninterested in Mormon Studies and Culture. It’s sad, even sad to me, but the “real” world out there is much more exciting and fulfilling, full of greater truths, even.

These last two years (I just this second realized that it’s been two years exactly) have been a fun roller-coaster- immensely interesting and entertaining at times. The boring parts I would have to admit have been Sundays in the chapel, hearing loose interpretations of old cherry-picked scripture writ.

Four years ago found me on my mission- I made the largest collection of G.A. articles of all the missionaries on my mission. Why? Because I loved “the truth” and wanted all I could get my hands on. It was “that fruit” that I couldn’t get enough of. Three years ago found me on the internet (only MormonShields,, and other apologetic sites). Why, because I wanted to be the best defender of the church I could possibly be- for myself, and my non-member friends and family. I hadn’t stumbled upon the archiving-abilities of “blogging” yet (yes, I blog mostly to archive my studies, not just to put out poorly-written material), so I printed out hundreds and hundreds of pages of articles to add to my mission books and to study and devour.

Two years ago I found new material on church history (not “anti-Mormon” stuff, don’t worry). To me, the authors would strive for objectivity, it was mature and didn’t have to “edit” out parts of the LDS’ history for me- it treated me like a big boy. If Joseph Smith drank, and liked to drink, I could know. It didn’t have to be edited out for me. If a church leader was married to several women and having sex with all of them, it was now fair-game to study. I could know about it (remember, big boy). And if the church had a peculiar policy on race, I could find out more details on the subject. I found it fascinating to get a glimpse of the other side to some issues. My world “took on color” instead of its previous black-and-white, 2-D nintendo 8-bit version.

I then started to have doubts. I always saw my belief in something in terms of a percentile. That percentile came from the very high nineties as a true believer just back from a mission (you can’t have 100% because that would be “perfect knowledge”…or self-deception, you choose). The doubts I started to have took me somewhere around a 55% belief-range (these were my liberal or “intellectual” Mormon days). I expressed my doubts to my family openly and publicly on online forums.

I became very sympathetic to doubters, disbelievers and ex-Mormons. I did not think like most of them, but I understood where they were coming from. I developed a critical mind towards some things in the church. I was then split. I saw myself in two worlds at once. Part of me felt like the father in Keith Norman’s T-Word. It is a story about a father whose son returns from his mission, studies church history and loses his faith. A story where the father is sympathetic towards his son’s situation and continues to love and not judge him. I felt like the son in the story, jealous of how the father showed empathy towards his son. At the same time, part of me was critical of that same father.

In a letter to a friend dated eleven months ago, I summarized my strongest points for disbelief. They were:

  1. The translations. Book Of Abraham+ Kinderhook= Reconsidering the Book of Mormon translation/claim of divinity.
  2. The ever-constant change of core doctrines in the Church which upon one’s perception of this instability members may find less genuine the “fullness of the gospel”, or a “restored gospel”, or a “peculiar gospel” or uniqueness from other churches. After seeing one church in JS’s time, a completely different one in the 1950’s, and another completely different church as it stands today, leaders can be seen as completely human in their opinions, prophecies, and commandments and that can make it hard to take them seriously today. After seeing so many doctrines thrown out in the past, how many of today’s doctrines will remain? How can we put faith in today’s doctrines and suggestions after seeing a history of constant and convenient re-modeling of the Church?
  3. “Permissible Human Imperfections” (where people say “oh, but they were just human”) of past leaders are of the most heinous: Fraud/scams (Treasure seeking/magic, running away at midnight from a bankrupt bank). Murder (the doctrine and implementation of Blood Atonement, Mountain Meadows Massacre). And sex/adultery. These imperfections are far from being merely “warts”.

Those were my issues nearly a year ago. To seal the deal of my apostasy for me today- or the “final nail in the coffin” for me was probably and quite simply learning how to think critically for myself. Let me explain: anytime an issue was brought up with my father or anyone concerned with my doubts, their factory-produced replies came packed with logical fallacies. Every single argument for belief either ended in an unacceptable fallacy or that magic word to suspend rational thought and inquiry…faith.

Equally damning for me has been the gaping abyss found between religion and Science (see this article for some great examples).  I soon found that the only way to be intellectually honest with myself would be to accept Agnosticism. Less than a year ago I started to read Dawkins and Harris’ works. I listened to anything I could on the subject of science and reason. Favorite podcasts for me became the Skeptic’ Guide to the Universe and Point of Inquiry. I became to find these things truer than the ultimate religious “truth” I once proudly proclaimed. I had traded reason for faith. And I’ve been loving it ever since! I have found an exciting world in that which is rather than that which one hopes for. I know that doesn’t work for many, but it represents what I’m about in the most perfect sense. The popular Astronomer Carl Sagan put it this way:

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

An archive of my studies in science and reason can be found here. So my One Dude’s Mormon Studies has now come to a end, basically. On the percentile-level there is still a small hope that lingers in me for Mormonism, but it’s pretty small. Part of me thinks that is sad, too, but another part of me rejoices in the possibilities. Indifferent of my disbelief, my morals are here to stay and my love for friends and family around me only grows. I may not “know” anything in this world, but this, I am sure about.

To conclude this short story, here’s a question I proposed to my friend John Dehlin (who by the way appeared on Good-Morning America- (yeah, awesome, huh) and I put it below for anyone here that may have an intelligent answer for me as well:

Hey John (and any readers out there that got to the end my story),

My question to you is about [John’s post, where he says]:

I don’t care what you say. Krista Tippet of Speaking of Faith is in every way as compelling in her arguments for faith, and maybe even more so, than Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins are against faith

You say that Tippet’s arguments are “as compelling or more so” than Hitchens and Dawkins. I have two questions:

1) would you say that “compelling” in this context can mean “rational”? I guess I ask that because to me only rational thought is “compelling”.

2) If so, can you paraphrase any of her main points where her “compelling” arguments may be found as rational as the atheists’ take?

I ask this not as a cynic, but per serious inquiry. I’ve listened to many of SOF podcasts in the past (a history of doubt being my favorite), but lost interest when I recently found the rational thought of the two atheists mentioned in your post to be much more compelling for myself. In other words, I am interested to find compelling rationalism in the philosophy of “faith”…. and if anyone can have a shot at being able to enlighten me in this, I’m sure it’d be you, John.

Maybe there’s no hope for me, however.


-One Dude

Qu’ranic and Mormonic Apologetics

•March 5, 2007 • 8 Comments

This episode of Point of Inquiry was so interesting to me on so many levels. Professor Schimmel speaks on Specious Proofs for Quranic Divinity (basically Qu’ranic apologetic methods). Throughout the interview the word Qu’ran seemed to easily be interchanged with the Book of Mormon. Many of Islam’s apologetics with regards to the Qu’ran appear to mirror some of those of the LDS’. An example in the podcast is where the point was made that many defenders of the Qu’ran claim that the ancient text held scientific truths (about the history of the universe) well before man discovered these truths. I have heard many such claims about the Book of Mormon as well.

The whole podcast, like I said earlier, could easily be a podcast on Mormonism, it’s apologetics and it’s holy scriptures. It’s amazing to see how similar we are to other religions in many regards. If you check out this episode, let me know what you think by commenting below.

[Download Mp3] [Description from POI]:

Solomon Schimmel

Solomon Schimmel is a psychologist of religion and Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College. He has been a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and has lectured widely throughout the world. An expert on the psychology of forgiveness and reconciliation among the world’s religions, he is the author of The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology and Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness, both published by Oxford University Press. His forthcoming book, also to be published by Oxford University Press, is tentatively titled The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs: Jewish Christian and Muslim Scriptural Fundamentalists.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Professor Schimmel discusses the psychology of religion, why some believers use specious arguments for the divine authorship of their sacred texts, and the threat to civilization that certain Muslim extremists pose. He also talks about the obligation he says scholars have to undermine such anti-social and anti-democratic belief-systems.

Happy Sunday!

•March 4, 2007 • 3 Comments

I’m actually somewhat excited to go to church today. We’ll see how it goes!

Went to Church Yesterday

•February 19, 2007 • 9 Comments

I went to church yesterday. In-laws are in town and I’m still NOMmin’ it to keep things somewhat cool between us. During the Sacrament talks I didn’t pay attention, instead I read through 25 pages of 1st Nephi while sitting in the front row. I heard bits and pieces from someone from the Stake Presidency speaking on tragedy preparedness and things of that nature. I think that’s great- that’s important for a community, I think. But I got a lot of reading in the BOM done that morning. Overall I still like reading the BOM. It’s a nice story. I felt content. I wondered if I would have felt the same while reading a good fiction story (I think another good book probably would have felt great too, on a nice Sunday morning). One thing that jumped out at me as weird, though, was when Nephi spoke to Laban’s servent in Laban’s voice. He then explains (1 Nephi 4:20)

[…] I commanded him in the voice of Laban, that he should go with me into the treasury.
21. And he supposed me to be his master, Laban, for he beheld the garments and also the sword girded about my loins.

No big deal, really, it just seemed to me that verse 21 should have explained that Laban’s Servant “supposed me to be his master, Laban, for I just performed an incredible feat by speaking in another man’s voice.” The clothes and sword wouldn’t be quite as big of a deal, to me. I dunno, just something that popped out at me. (by the way I can easily apologetically make sense of this for myself so spare me any explanations, please.)

But I enjoyed my reading. I’ve been reading the BOM my whole life. Its words have been present in my childhood, teenage years, and most of my adult years so it was nice to hear these familiar verses once again. It may be like reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” or 2 Luke at Christmas time. Familiar stories with many memories behind them. Many fond memories. Hopefully I can embrace all that is still good in this religion as continued attendance may be the best thing for my family relationships. Religion will never go away. Embrace any/all heritage you have- you don’t have to agree with it all but embrace it- it may be your culture. If it is not a necessity in your particular family than that’s another story but it is appearing to be a necessity for normalcy or acceptance in mine. I’ll bite the bullet for a while. I’ve started to out myself but maybe I can back up a little and climb back into my old Mormon abode.

Bored in Vernal describes my situation oh so poetically:

I put on black,
My head I bow.
You like me now.
You like me now.

I put away my chartreuse scarf,
And colored things I used to wear.
My second piercings now are bare,
I gel down my unruly hair.

I do not have a lot to say.
My makeup now is quite subdued.
I seem to cook a lot of food,
I don’t go swimming in the nude.

I nod and murmur when I should,
I shut my mouth, my thoughts I still,
My questions and my quirks I kill–
My secret longings none can fill.

The ward is suddenly so kind.
I’m not as different now, you see!
A call has been extended me
To teach Relief Society.

Sedately I walk down the aisle,
The Bishop’s wife sits by my side,
She nods at me; you smile with pride,
I feel a tearing deep inside.

I clean the toilets and the hall,
Read stories to my sweet sunbeams.
We never argue now, it seems.
I wonder where I put my dreams.

Your temple marriage now is safe,
You hold my hand that wears the ring.
I never dance, I never sing,
You would not notice such a thing.

I’m all in black,
I’ve kept my vow,
You like me now,
You like me now.

But this is what
You do not see:
I don’t like me,
I don’t like me.

[by the way, bored in vernal, re-reading this again just pulls at my heart strings!]

Since I’ve agreed to “put on black” I’ve seen my relationships drastically improve with some famliy members and I’ve thought to myself you like me now, you like me now.

Getting back to Sunday, for SS we had a lesson about the apostles from the NT and the apostles nowadays. There was 20 minutes of people saying how we should not question authority, and how these are “literal” witnesses of Christ (it’s funny how we believe this as members, though no apostles or prophets will either elaborate, be specific (like say “the Lord visited me”, nor will they clear up or refute this belief, nowadays). Then we spent 10 minutes seeing who could name all of the current apostles. Then we made a list of the apostles from the NT, next to a list of the modern-day apostles. Instead of having this hour-long lesson I think I could have just been handed a paper with “the lists” and been cool. My wife agreed. We left after SS, cooked up some food and played Halo with some friends (yeah, we’re that cool).

This poem/hymn by MagicCicero summed up our Sunday experience:

Sung to the tune of “Who’s On the Lord’s Side? Who?”

Who’s on the bored side? Who?
Now is the time to doze
They drone consistently
Who’s on the bored side? Who?
The talks are all assigned
They’re the same ones every time
No incentive to improve
Who’s on the bored side? Who?

We only get the milk
There is no time for meat
Avoid the mysteries
Who’s on the bored side? Who?
No doctrine fresh or new
No thought original
Embrace monotony
Who’s on the bored side? Who?

Two Year Mission: Was it Worth it?

•February 16, 2007 • 8 Comments

(my comment from Within the Bubble blog)

I think for me, those could have been the best two years of my life up to that time. I loved my mission, for the most part. I didn’t walk around my areas, I pretty much floated on my spiritual highs (I now think this “spiritual joy” may actually come from the cognitive belief/relief of being “one with God”, and His will. It feels good to be practicing self-control and to feel you are accomplishing worthy goals. It’s cool to think that you’re living a disciplined and devoted life comparable to a monk or priest). Of course married life and adult life probably trump the happiness I had on my mission, but I still loved those two years.

I loved being selfless for the first time and doing what I saw as “serving” my fellow man by offering the “gospel of happiness”. I learned how to work a full-time job, while on my mission. Being with someone 24 hrs a day and working side by side him, you can make amazing bonds with people. I loved that too. Man I miss the comradery I had on the mission. The oneness with the other Elders, the conferences, walking down the street looking at others around you and feeling like you are Neo from the Matrix with a special pill to wake certain special people up. I ate it up, man.

I grew up a lot on my mission. Became tri-lingual as a result from it and gained some really good qualities, too. However, can these things be learned and experienced in other settings? I definitely think so. Steve M, on his blog said:

Why were mission leaders so insistent that we pace the streets for hours each day in the middle of August, trying to talk to people who were frankly annoyed by us? Why didn’t we teach more English classes or help build houses or in some other way contribute to the general well-being of society? I know, I know, that wasn’t our purpose; we were to preach the gospel. But couldn’t we have used those hundreds of hours–for which we delayed education, dating, employment, and other personal endeavors–for something more fulfilling and productive? I don’t recall whether or not it’s a general rule, but in my mission we were limited to four hours of service per week. We usually spent over fifty hours proselytizing, if I remember correctly.

About a month ago, at the PCC Luau in Oahu, my family was mingling with an older couple sitting next to us. They were a very educated couple, the man working on his PHD at the time, and his wife studying Psychology. My dad told the couple that the PCC was owned by the LDS Church and that my brother and I had served missions for the Church. They turned to my brother and asked what kind of projects he had worked on while in urban-area mission. He had kind of a confused look on his face and asked, “what do you mean by that”. I told him “they want to know what kinds of things you did for the people while on your mission, like building houses, teaching, community service, etc. Tell them you mainly knocked on doors and proselytized.” He told them that and it made me wonder how much tangible good (not just spiritual seedlings) I could have done with those two years of my life like many other religious-based missions do. I think the possible net amount of “good done” could be huge, with time being used correctly, not just used trying to convince people of the falsity of their religious beliefs.

Steve M also said:

it seems like an inordinate amount of missionary time is poured into activities that produce little, if any, proselytizing success and probably result in a substantial loss of goodwill.

I think I will tell my little brothers to try and focus on building up the community they’re in while on their (possible) future missions. Just imagine how much good can be accomplished with all of that “free” time you have to offer!

All of this said, however, I still value my mission very highly and favorably. Amen.

Me in a rare, yet joyous state of self-serving
This is a picture of me getting my grub on, or I mean serving, or rather self-service. Yum.

Mr. Deity

•February 13, 2007 • 1 Comment

If you haven’t already checked out the first five episodes of Mr. Deity, check them out. They’re very witty and intelligent! Did you know that Mr. Deity is an ex-Mormon (read below)?

From eSkeptic:


Continue reading ‘Mr. Deity’

The Other Side of the Missionary Discussions

•February 12, 2007 • 4 Comments

Today I listened to Julia Sweeney talk about her estrangement from Christianity.  Julia’s faith began to crack after reading Biblical passages like where Abraham is about to cut the throat of his beloved son, Isaac.

Maybe even more interesting, however, is her discussion about receiving two LDS missionaries in her home.  I found it interesting to see the thought processes going on on the “receiving end” of the Missionary discussions (ie people being nicer than what they’re actually thinking in their head).

Enjoy the story from This American Life!

Flying High

•January 9, 2007 • 2 Comments

Religion can be like a floor and a ceiling. It helps some from falling through the floor, and also keeps some from rising higher intellectually and spiritually.

I found the song “defying gravity” from this post by John [looks like John Dehlin’s Blog is down for now.]  When I first read the lyrics  it was was so powerful to me.  The story being told (I think) is about two sisters.  One is still following the wizard and one has decided to go off on her own.  The dialogue suggests that this is something that will not be accepted by their community and that she will be forfeiting any comfort found in following the prophet wizard.  It is easy to see how this could be taken as metaphor for one leaving a family religion and seeking their own spiritual journey.   I think most of us can relate in our own way since we are all on a personal spiritual journey looking to the sky, with the potential in each of us to soar.

[if video does not play, try doing an internet search for “wicked flying high lyrics”]

Answer This Question:

•January 5, 2007 • 6 Comments

There are a lot of funny questions in the card game Would You Rathar.  Last week we played this game as a family, and the question on one of the cards read:

Would you rathar be dumb and happy or smart and bitter?

Yes I know this is an extreme false dichotomy however- just taking the question as it is, silly, I would be interested to hear what every one reading this post has to say about this (we had mixed answers as a family and I kind of go back and forth, for my answer myself)

On Realism and “Evangelical Atheists”

•December 7, 2006 • 5 Comments

This statement shows why I love the Scientific community so much (atheists/rationalists/realists very much included). The following quasi-theological atheistic world-view shows many traits I find highly applaudable including integrity, intellectual honesty, and continual self-analysis/doubt, which in the end promote progress.

The point is not that all religious people are bad; it is not that all bad things are done in the name of religion; and it is not that scientists are never bad, or wrong, or self-deceived. The point is this: intellectual honesty is better (more enlightened, more useful, less dangerous, more in touch with reality, etc. ) than dogmatism. The degree to which science is committed to the former, and religion to the latter remains one of the most salient and appalling disparities to be found in human discourse. Scientists spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about being wrong and take great pains to prove others so. In fact, science is the one area of discourse in which a person can win considerable prestige by proving himself wrong.

If there is an argument against “evangelical” atheists like Dawkins, Weinberg, and myself it must take one of these forms:

(1) Certain religious beliefs are true (or likely to be true); here’s why…

(2) Religious beliefs, while not likely to be true, are so useful that they are necessary; here’s the evidence…

(3) Many religious people are so irrational that it is simply too dangerous to criticize their beliefs. Please keep your mouth shut.

Sam Harris


•December 6, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Wow. I mean wow. This guy‘s gone jus a lil too far in defending the Book of Mormon.

Anyways, this will be my first real post on the Book of Mormon. I still love the Book of Mormon in many ways and find much good in its teachings, theology and thought. I have felt good reading its verses. I still love reading it in family (though I don’t do it very often at all)- I love it in a “story time”, sit-with-the-family-and-bond kind of way. It’s tradition. And it’s a great book. There are some really deepA tapir thoughts/ideas in there as well. Critics have to agree that putting the historical issues aside, there is some great stuff in there. By the way, to keep balance in my studies, I read apologetic material whenever I find it not too ridiculous. I wrote a post called One Point for the Apologists linking to a post on linguistics in the Book of Mormon which I thought was pretty cool.

Anyways, that is mainly what I want to write about the Book of Mormon for now. The rest of this post is more critical in nature, but it is simply a trail of my recent studies (as this blog is somewhat a compilation of my own Mormon Studies). The other day I was talking to a friend of mine in the church about BH Robert’s study of the Book of Mormon. Roberts puts together some convincing evidence showing how Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery could have taken many ideas from the View of the Hebrews as a source for an outline of the Book of Mormon. My friend took a quick look at the VOH text and couldn’t see many similarities and suggested I should read VOH for myself. So I did so today and these are my current (and probably final, since the text is out-dated and boring to read) findings on the parallels between the VOH and the Book of Mormon. Once again, I think B.H. Robert’s analysis of the two texts is already sufficient for me, seeing that he was Church Historian, General Authority, and principal apologist/defender of the Book of Mormon, but here are my own findings on it, anyways (I would also appreciate any thoughts or ideas from anyone who may stumble across this blog):

Starting off with the View of the Hebrew’s title page, there are immediately glaring similarities in purpose. It reads (my notes indented): Continue reading ‘Whu?’

Packer’s New Commandment: Any Takers?

•December 4, 2006 • 2 Comments

Read Equality’s blog here.

Is Being a NOM (New Order Mormon) Really Ingenuous?

•December 4, 2006 • 13 Comments

I was thinking about writing a post exactly on this topic today when I saw that Steve M. and some commenters had pretty much covered it. First of all, I wrote my dad an e-mail expressing that I was a NOM (New Order Mormon) which basically means (according to their website):

New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural and social reasons.

My dad, however, could not see the reasons for one’s continued desire to stay in the Church upon admitting dis-belief in some or most of its tenets. I thought this was strange since I could clearly see reasons to stay in the Church regardless of the veracity of its “only true church” claims; apparently he, however, could not. Many other LDS have expressed this same mentality and I find it somewhat odd and even possibly disingenuous on their part. Can you see any reason to be Mormon if you no longer believed in all of its claims? Is being a NOM disingenuous? A post from Steve M. and some of the reader’s comments that resulted are very insightful and valuable to my continued studies and experiences in Mormonism. Steve said: Continue reading ‘Is Being a NOM (New Order Mormon) Really Ingenuous?’

I’m Going to Oahu

•December 3, 2006 • 6 Comments

Hey y’all, I’m going to Oahu, Hawaii on Dec. 16th and I wanna know what there is to do (especially cheap things). If you were to go to Porto Rico, I could tell you the best spots to go for cheap to nothing and I know some of you have gone to Oahu before so let me know if you have any suggestions for a fun stay!

What did you enjoy most when you visited?? Thanks so much for any and all ideas!!

Discussion on Evolution and Mormonism

•November 30, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Click here for Sunstone Blog discussion on Evolution and Mormonism.

Mormon Mitt Romney

•November 28, 2006 • 1 Comment

John Dehlin is covering the very interesting developments of Mitt Romney under the media’s microscope on Mormonism. He also appeared on radio talk show program KVNU’s For the People which can be found here (it is well-worth your time).

Posts from John’s Blog:

Sullivan also discusses the following topics on his blog endorsed by Time Magazine:

This is getting pretty fun to watch unravel… I wonder if the LDS Church will be in the spotlight more with Mitt Romney’s run for presidency than we had during the 2004 Winter Olympics. I also wonder if the Church’s “skeletons” are going to come out of the closet and become more widely known. If so, people may (or may not) start focusing less on the strange aspects of Mormonism and accept it into the melting pot of American Christianity.

For What it’s Worth

•November 28, 2006 • 5 Comments

A letter to my dad after a long, somewhat heated discussion about my dis-belief in the LDS Church:


I think it is (somewhat) funny that we may be again resorting back to e-mail for means of communication as to avoid more heated discussions. Thanks for listening (again, somewhat) and for caring enough about me to tell me how you feel (“down here”- points to heart). For now, however, I choose to follow ” the middle way” or “ the third way” or be a “New Order Mormon“. Please do not push me out of the Church with talk of apostasy and “the Lord spewing out the luke-warm from his mouth”. If it is for me to “decide right now and get off of the fence”, then take a wild guess as to what I would decide to do. I choose to remain a member because I still feel I am a Mormon. I see many great things that the Church teaches and I know there is so much I can learn from meetings in the Church. Many others see things the same way as I (see links above and these links, too.)

You decided not to take that book about the Book of Abraham. Please do not profess to “know the issues” or to have “looked into the issues with me” for you clearly have not and probably will not. Here is a link to a smaller look into the Book of Abraham. You will find points of view from all sides on the issue.

Love always,


Atheist Missionaries

•November 21, 2006 • 1 Comment

Sorry to any who may be offended by this video- but I had to post it- it was too funny. Notice how he throws in a little sumpin’ about cognitive dissonance, too! Anyways, here’s John Safran vs. The Mormons:

Darius Gray

•November 18, 2006 • 13 Comments

Yesterday at UVSC I met Darius Gray (pronounced “duh-RYE-us”). I believe he was a co-founder of the Church auxiliary group, “Genesis”, for LDS African-Americans. I found him to be very energetic and youthful. And very approachable.

I told him I was reading his first book of the trilogy Standing on the Promises, a compilation of stories about Black Mormon Pioneers. There are great stories to be told about the early black Mormons, but you’ll hardly, if ever, hear about them in Church. People like Elijah Abel who recieved the Priesthood from Joseph Smith and many others like him (yes, you heard that right- Joseph Smith gave Elijah Abel the Priesthood and even sent him on a mission as a Seventy). Stories like this and other topics are what Darius speaks about at BYU and other venues to promote the real history of Blacks in the LDS Church.

More recently he spoke with John Dehlin on Mormon Stories podcast (click here to listen to mp3 or click here to listen and watch screencast). He gave me his business card with a picture of his books on one side. He told me that book two is his favorite of the trilogy. I asked him what he has been doing lately to to promote his message to more members and he said “that’s what I’ve been killing myself over lately, doing so many things”.

I think that what we can do as regular members to help promote his message is simply telling people what we know about the issue with Blacks & the Priesthood and dispelling the myths and folklore associated with this (see Dispelling the curse of Cain: or, How to Explain the Old Priesthood Ban Without Looking Ridiculous, by Armand Mauss).

To do my part, I’ve suggested the idea to watch the above-mentioned screencast with my parents and family. They’ve agreed to do it. My mom is even considering reading Standing on the Promises instead of her regular fictional The Work and the Glory (but I doubt she will). I told Darius, “man, we gotta get rid of all the folklore out that’s out there”, he said “Amen to that, brother!” and gave me a high five.

Let’s spread the message everyone!!

One Point for the Apologists!

•November 18, 2006 • 5 Comments

[disclaimer: I haven’t researched for myself the veracity of the following claim, although at first sight it does seem compelling]

According to this source:

The Book of Mormon “contains 337 proper names and 21 gentilics (or analogous forms) based on proper names.”[5] Of the 337 proper names, “188 are unique to the Book of Mormon”: for example, Abinadi, Amalickiah, Amulek, Morianton, Mormon, Moronihah, Kishkumen, Helaman, Hagoth, Gadianton, Omni, and Riplakish; 149 of the 337 proper names are common to both the Bible and the Book of Mormon: for example, Samuel, Isaiah, Gideon, Benjamin, Aaron, Noah, Shem, Timothy, and Jacob. Typical of the ancient Semitic languages from which the Nephite record is derived, the Book of Mormon does not use surnames[6] or attach modern titles to its names, such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., Professor, Reverend, Count, or Earl.[7] The names, as transcribed into the English language, do not use the letters q, x, or w,[8] nor do the names begin with either the characters W or F,[9] a fact shared with the names of the Old Testament.



•November 14, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Some people who visit this blog may be wrestling with their faith in the LDS Church or even another faith. While there are many reasons we could be angry or critical of the Church/religion, this article shows another option. For Rick Jepsen, he sees the Church as a way to personally wrestle with God and work thing out in this manner. The article is also interesting to anyone who has a wrestling background, as does Jepsen. Sunstone did a podcast interview with him that can be found here.
I liked the way Sunstone described the podcast/article in this way:

Godwrestling works as a strong exposition of the Jacob and Angel wrestling story, containing much fun background and an overview of how that story has been treated by biblical scholars and cultural critics. But it also offers fresh insights as Jepson, who competes actively in “submission-style” wrestling, applies his own ideas and stories from friends and wider wrestling lore. It does well in drawing the physicality of Joseph Smith and Mohammed and other religious figures into the discussion. It soars as a theological treatment of the body/spirit connection and how extreme exertion can be life transforming. We also get to learn a lot about wrestling in general. But best of all, through wonderful poetry and reflection about how the “wrestling posture” involves an embrace even as one does battle, Jepson offers a wonderful metaphor for how we as Latter-day Saints might better engage both church and God.

Please read the article here– it’s well worth it.

The End Of Faith, On Faith

•November 10, 2006 • 9 Comments

I haven’t read Sam Harris’ End of Faith, yet (it’s still coming in the mail) but here’s a great excerpt from the book courtesy Watt Mahoun:

…religious faith is the belief in historical and metaphysical propositions without sufficient evidence. When the evidence for a religious proposition is thin or nonexistent, or there is compelling evidence against it, people invoke faith. Otherwise, they simply cite the reasons for their beliefs (e.g., “the New Testament confirms Old Testament prophecy,” “I saw the face of Jesus in a window,” “We prayed, and our daughter’s cancer went into remission”). Such reasons are generally inadequate, but they are better than no reasons at all. People of faith generally recognize the primacy of reasons and resort to reasoning whenever they can. Faith is simply the license they give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail. When rational inquiry supports the creed, it is championed; when it poses a threat, it is derided; sometimes in the same sentence. Faith is the mortar that fills the cracks in the evidence and the gaps in the logic, and thus it is faith that keeps the whole terrible edifice of religious certainty still looming dangerously over our world.

— The End of Faith, by Sam Harris (Afterword, pp 232-233)

My main gripe with faith is simply, why would God give us the tools to be critical thinkers, give us intellect to be able to sort through evidence and find the most probable truths, and then lay out a mess of evidence against any religion (Mormonism very much included) and then command us to have faith in the religion in question. Occam’s Razor seems to be the safest way to come to a conclusion and in using this method religion just isn’t cutting it for me. Continue reading ‘The End Of Faith, On Faith’

Peter Takes Mormon Wives

•November 6, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Evolution and Mormonism

•November 5, 2006 • 6 Comments

This is just a brief post to say that my future posts on Evolution will be posted to my other blog. I am no longer interested in the controversy in Mormonism on the subject of Evolution. It’s simple- you can be LDS and believe in Evolution. It is not “Evil-lution” or even a “deadly heresy” (thank you, Mr. Bruce McConkie). Evolution happened. It is the most accepted theory among scientists on where our species came from. I continue interested in this subject simply because Biology is interesting- maybe more so because I want to help my family and friends around to be more enlightened on the subject. Anyways, the Church’s official positions on organic Evolution can be found here (notice David O. McKay’s response). Unless I find something specifically about Evolution and Mormonism, I will now be posting my findings on Evolution on my other blog.