Monday, December 10, 2012

The Emperor Has No Clothes

The time has come to be open about some important events in our lives.  Usually my blog is lighthearted, talking about fun things, stories of my kids, recipes, and the ubiquitous sock knitting.  This post is serious.  It's about something that changed my life.  It is a change for the better, about living an authentic life, but it's been shocking nonetheless.

Last summer, one of the most devastating things I thought could ever happen to me, did, in fact happen.  Short of divorce, or death of a loved one, the worst thing that could happen to a faithful LDS wife is for her husband to lose his faith and walk away from the church.  This is what happened to me.  I knew almost immediately that I must do everything I could to save my family and to bring my husband back to the fold.

My husband is a good man.  He and I were both worthy temple recommend holders at the time these events occurred.  Within a week, I decided to study each of his issues with church doctrine and history in order to prove him wrong and bring him back.  Withing three weeks, I had found enough disturbing information from the church's own website, the Biography of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, and from the LDS apologist websites including http://www.fairlds.org/ to conclude that the church is indeed false, based on lies, continued lying, and flagrant deceit.

I was crushed.  I had dedicated the whole of my life to this church.  I believed in the teachings with all of my heart and soul.  I attended early morning seminary every day before my school days in high school.  I attended BYU and graduated with a degree in psychology.  I took classes on church history at BYU, and other religious classes.  I read a great deal on my own about church history.  I have a collection of biographies of the prophets that belonged to my grandfather.  Parley P. Pratt was one of my heroes.  In short, I was no dummy regarding church history.  I had studied extensively and faithfully read my scriptures.  I wasn't perfect, but I was always the good Mormon girl who tried to do everything I could to "choose the right".

How could this information have been hidden from me?  How did I get to be 43 years old and not know that Joseph Smith had 33 wives including teenagers and other men's wives?  As a matter of fact, I have been sharing this information about Joseph Smith's polygamy with other LDS friends.  Some of them are unfazed, saying, "Yeah, I know all about that."  Others are shocked and stunned, and one person even said, "I can't believe that someone as educated as you would believe that Joseph Smith had more than one wife.  He loved Emma and he would never do that to her."   My response was, "Well, the world is round, balls bounce, and Joseph Smith had many wives.  They are all facts, acknowledged facts."  In the December 1978 Ensign, there is an article about the Newel K. Whitney family, which is one of, if not the only mention of Joseph Smith's polygamy on lds.org.  If this is not lying and deceit, I don't know what is.  He had 33 wives (give or take a couple), and yet there is only this one mention.  No wonder people are shocked and surprised by finding this information out.  Here's a link to a great YouTube video about how the church hides the truth and yet pretends to tell the truth.  A friend told me last night that the history of polygamy is no longer relevant.  No longer relevant?  Polygamy is still doctrine.  It's in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  They cannot practice it with two living wives, but it's doctrine and LDS women need to understand this.

How did I not know about the history of the Word of Wisdom?  I did not know that Brigham Young owned a whiskey distillery in Utah, and being mayor of Salt Lake City, he sold his whiskey to the city for celebrations.  The bishop's storehouse had to dispose of approximately 2,000 gallons of wine when the church finally began to observe the word of wisdom.  It wasn't until the mid 1900's that the Word of Wisdom was widely lived, contrary to the picture the church loves to present.  If the Word of Wisdom was lived how the church likes to pretend it was lived, then why did the city of Salt Lake ever purchase whiskey for celebrations?  Brigham Young was the mayor, making the whiskey, and selling it to the city, and presumably consuming it as well.  In the version presented to students of the gospel, Joseph Smith received this wonderful revelation, everyone lived it right away, and they all lived happily ever after.

How did I ever accept that it's OK to punish an entire race of people because Cain killed his brother?  Racism is wrong, it has always been wrong, and it will always be wrong.  Racist practices were never from God, and any church saying so is a false church.  I don't care if it's written in the Bible, or anywhere else in history books.  Racism is wrong.  Any use of common sense and rational though tells you that, and yet the church held this practice until 1978.  Jane Elizabeth Manning was sealed to Joseph Smith as a servant in the eternities.  She was black, and begged her whole faithful life to be allowed to partake of temple blessings.  Finally, the leadership allowed her to be sealed as a servant to Joseph Smith.  This is wrong. Nothing anyone can say to attempt to explain this away can make it right.  It's just wrong, period.  You will find nothing about her on lds.org.  Why? Because it's embarrassing.  It's wrong.  The church likes to pretend that people will never find out about these things, so they act like they don't exist.  But they do exist, people are finding them, and are being shocked at the lies.  

The more I read about the character of Joseph Smith in his own mother's words, and the more I read about the true history of the church, not the one that the church presents in the lesson manuals and missionary lessons, the more I couldn't believe that I had ever believed it.  Racism is wrong, polygamy is wrong, lying is wrong, discrimination is wrong.  God loves all of his people equally.  Any mandate pretending to be from God cannot be from God if it involves any of the aforementioned practices and policies.

Our lives are much happier now, living with truth in our hearts instead of copious lies.  I cannot abide a church that will lie, but yet not let members enter the temple unless they are "honest in dealings with fellow men".  I won't stand for a church that lets loving non member parents of a beautiful young woman, stand in the cold, crying outside the temple because they don't happen to belong to the same church as their daughter.  It sickens me that a church will not allow parents to attend their own child's wedding unless they are paid up on their tithing.  For lack of writing the church a check, these faithful parents are also left standing in the cold, in tears.  It's not right, everyone with any sense knows it's not right and yet many accept it an obey rather than leading a revolt to stand up against the tyrants.  This is my revolt, the beginning of the revolution in my own heart, my own life, and my own family.  All it takes is one person at a time pointing out that emperor has no clothes on before it becomes the acknowledged truth.  This is happening in wards and stakes all over the world.  The church is false, the general authorities actively lie and deceive, every day, in every lesson manual, on their website, in General Conference, in history books, in the scriptures, in television, radio, and print interviews.  For a "true" church, there sure is a lot of lying going on.

Below, I am including the text of my "exit story".  I wrote it in a Star Wars theme because of an ongoing joke between my husband and myself during our transition out of the church.  I hope you enjoy it!

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a brave young soul named John. John had many talents, but he was a lost soul with no direction in his life.

A sweet, beautiful young maiden named Jane moved to John’s corner of the galaxy. John and Jane happened to attend the same school. Jane first laid eyes on John in chemistry class, and thought John was super cute. John and Jane became friends and then they became sweethearts.

There was a problem for John and Jane. Jane was a Jedi; John was not. What’s a Jedi, you ask? A Jedi is one of the chosen people, a warrior, one possessing “The Force” Jane’s mother did not want Jane to date a non-Jedi and told John that he must convert to The Force or be forbidden his only true love. John was completely smitten with Jane and decided to explore the idea of becoming a Jedi himself. John took lessons to learn what it means to become a Jedi.

Becoming a Jedi sounded like a great idea. You get The Force to be with you all the time. You get to be part of a wonderful Jedi family. You can do many things to serve others, and your family can be together for eternity. You can also keep yourself free from harmful substances such as coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco. Becoming a Jedi is so easy. Just a few lessons, then you can join the Jedis forever. John was especially lucky because, being a boy, he can get the special Lasar Sword Force, which is denied to girls. . This special force is the most powerful in the universe and John was told it can move mountains, although no record has been found to date that any mountain has ever been moved using The Force. This is only because no Jedi with the priesthood has had the faith to do it--or because they choose to not tempt the Jedi God.

It was a happy day when John became a Jedi. He joined the Jedi clan with enthusiasm and soon embraced their ways as his own. He attended weekly meetings to worship in the Jedi way. After some time had passed, John and Jane decided that John should embark on a two year journey to a foreign land in order to convince others to enter the Jedi ranks. John left on his journey, while Jane stayed behind and attended the Jedi University.

Jane faithfully waited for John to return. John and Jane exchanged letters, encouraging one another on the Jedi path. Only six weeks after John returned, John and Jane were married for all eternity in the Jedi Temple. Time passed. John and Jane finished their educations, both at Jedi U. They were blessed with two young padawan sons by the time Jane graduated, and three sons by the time John finished his studies..

They could not have been happier.

It was stressful being poor students and having three children. But John and Jane knew this is the path they must take because the Jedi General Authorities, yea, even those in the great and monolithic Jedi headquarters in Salt Lake City, the hub of all Jedi knowledge, had so decreed.. The mandate was not to put off marriage for education, children for education, or education for service.. One must do all of these, and trust that the Jedi God would provide. In spite of a hectic life filled with mutually conflicting mandates, John and Jane were secure in the knowledge that they were following the Jedi way.

They believed with all their hearts that it was the only way to true happiness.

It came to pass that John finished his education at Jedi University. John took a job in another state with his dream company and life was good in Jedi land. Another padawan joined the family and another, all sons. What a blessing to have so many sons to dedicate to the Jedi cause!

Meanwhile, Jane did all of the things that good Jedi wives do. She cooked, cleaned, took care of kids, made lots of crafts, and stayed true to the Jedi order. Jane never doubted the teachings, or looked for answers to things that did not make sense. Jane was certain that the Jedi way was the only way to live.

John, however, had periods of secret doubt. Questions nagged at John for years. When John sought answers to his questions, the answers he discovered seemed to indicate that the Jedi way was a false path. John attempted to show this to Jane, but Jane would not hear any evil speaking of the Jedi way. John gave up his quest for answers and pretended he did not know some of the things he knew.

He pushed the questions down because he loved Jane and did not want to rock the Jedi loveboat.

One day, John realized that he could no longer turn a blind eye to the problems with the Jedi way. He decided that he must seek the truth no matter where the truths lead him. John soon learned that the Jedi way was not only false, but actually corrupt! He was shocked to read for the first time that the revered First Jedi, Joseph Smith, had been a man of low character. History showed him to be a liar, polygamist, convicted con man, who pretended to be a prophet. All other Jedi’s revere this man, even very nearly worship him. What was John to do?

Perhaps The Force would turn on him if he spoke his thoughts.

John decided that some of the Jedi ways were good. He decided that he would, once again, pretend to believe in the Jedi ways. After nearly two years of this pretense, John no longer could pretend. Risking his family, his happy home, and his standing with other Jedi’s, John sat with Jane and told her that he had turned to the Dark Side and no longer believed that being a Jedi was a good way to live.

Jane was shaken to her core. Jane asked that night that John go and speak with the Jedi High Priest, which John did. At this time, John held a position on the Jedi High Council, a position of some distinction and visibility within the Jedi ranks. John was well known and well loved. Speaking with the Bishop had no effect on John’s decision to leave the Jedi order.

Jane decided that she would remain a faithful Jedi, no matter what John decided. John and Jane spent endless hours talking about the new life they were facing, Jane as a faithful Jedi, and John...not. . John jokingly said, “You can always join me on the Dark Side.” Jane replied, “No way, I’m a Jedi!” This addition of humor, became an inside joke between Jane and John, and lightened the mood considerably.

Over the next few days, Jane asked many questions. She was very concerned about the future of their family. Within a week, Jane decided that she needed to learn more about John’s issues with the Jedi order and study with him, so she could bring him back. Her plan was to show John the errors in his decision. John told Jane that there was DNA evidence showing that the Jedi Bible was false, that is, that it was of human origin rather than divine John also told Jane about more evidence proving that the Jedi order was not true. Jane had difficulty accepting the things John was telling her.

Finally, John told Jane that he had problems with the character of Joseph Smith. Jane had faith in Joseph Smith, and the book he translated by the power of God. She suggested that they read the History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, in order to explore the character of Joseph Smith. In that book, Jane found evidence that Joseph Smith could have written his book instead of translating it. His mother cheerfully wrote of the wonderful tales he spun about the ancient inhabitants of the continent “as if he lived among them.” She stated he thus kept them enthralled for hours will his remarkable storytelling ability. Jane was speechless; she felt as though she’d been struck in the stomach by a light saber. Something she had believed her whole life may not, in fact, be true.

At the very moment Jane found the first crack of doubt in her wall of faith, she could finally admit some things about the Jedi order that had never felt right to her. The Jedis practiced polygamy for decades. For the majority of their history, Jedis prohibited those with dark skin from holding the power of the Laser Force and partaking of the higher blessing of entering the Jedi Temples of Light Endowment. Jane knew, in her gut that these things were wrong, but she accepted them because of her faith in Joseph Smith.

Once the doubt began, the doubt grew. Jane discovered many more problems with the Jedi doctrine. She became obsessed with studying the history of the Jedi order. John called Jane his “little pit bull” because of her tenacious quest for the truth, wherever it would lead. Within days, Jane accepted the devastating truth. The Jedi order was false. Truth is truth.

Only three weeks had passed since John had told Jane he was leaving the Jedi order. Suddenly, they were united again in their conviction-- both out, and free. John was overjoyed; he was also stunned with disbelief. How could this be? His precious Jane was willing to look at the truth and accept it. So many who discovered truth paid the price of losing their wife and children. John knew he was one lucky former Jedi.

A short time later, John and Jane were walking hand-in-hand, along the shore. Jane said, “You know, this whole time we thought we were following the Jedi Order of Light, but in reality, we were following the Dark Side.” What they once thought was light and truth, was in fact interwoven with lies.

Thus ends the quest for truth in the lives of John and Jane, two jedis freed.

5 comments:

Exmormon Maven said...

It is rather shocking when it all comes tumbling down, isn't it? You two are so, so lucky (as you know) to have each other. My testimony was shattered three years ago, and my dear husband and teenage children still remain devout Jedis. Sigh. Some day...some day...

Sandra said...

Thanks for sharing, great exit story.

Lantz Stringham said...

Heber C. Kimball was right when he said, 'truth will prevail.' I admire the courage and integrity you and your husband have shown.

Betsey Terry said...

I happened upon your blog through your card blog, when doing a search for a hedgoehog stamp no less. Love your exit story. I'm not LDS myself, never have been, but have many many friends that are. While I definitely love some of the good things the church does..it's interesting to see that any religion is not exempt from it's own failings. Most everything you've said is something our catholic priest has said for years. Prayers for you all on your continued journey.

Mara Dances said...

Grace and Peace to you and your family. I stumbled on your blog today and then looked further and found this. I'm so happy for you that you had the courage to bravely face these big issues in life. You've not shared where you are now, but I encourage you to seek the true God. He is real and He is big. He says (in the Bible) if you seek me you will find me. I'd be happy to provide some resources for your consideration, if your interested, ZERO pressure. God Bless you!