The LDS (Mormon) Church, Part 5: Followup

We've been having some great conversation about the Great Apostasy! People are learning, people are arguing, and yes, some are getting upset.

What are they (you?) getting upset about? They're getting upset because they believe I'm trying to say that the LDS church teaches something about the Great Apostasy that is not true...that the LDS church doesn't actually teach, and that they don't personally believe.

Before I dig in and make the point I'm about to make, let me say something, please. Are you LDS? What I'm about to say will probably offend you and make you mad. But please...please...know that I'm coming from a place of humility and love, not of wanting to be "right". I ask that you keep that in mind when you read what I'm about to say and ask. I hope that you'll take a bit of time to pray about it (and cool down, if you must) before responding.

So am I misrepresenting the LDS church? Let's look carefully at the text I keep referring to and see if it applies. There are two that seem to sum up the teaching of the LDS church on this issue very well:

"During the Great Apostasy, people were without divine direction from living prophets. Many churches were established, but they did not have priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Parts of the holy scriptures were corrupted or lost, and no one had the authority to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost or perform other priesthood ordinances." (lds.org)

AND

"But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief." (Mormon 1:13)

I've been accused of taking things "conveniently out of context" to make my point. My assertion is this: if text is being taken out of context, then it is being done so by the LDS organization. Period.

I didn't grab the above text, copy it over here, and say "See?! Look! Isn't it ridiculous?!"

I used this text because this is what the LDS church teaches...it is directly from the official website of the LDS church, and it is "Scriptural" reference that they provide to make their point. Click HERE if you don't believe me. You'll want to click on the little arrows by "Additional Information" and "Scriptural References" to see what I'm seeing.

Okay....the teaching of the LDS church is pretty clear on this! As with the Bible, it does not take fancy or special "interpretation" to understand what's being said. All one must do is read the words on the page.

"But that's not what I believe!" is what I keep hearing. And I gotta say...I think that's a GOOD thing.

Why? Because it's lies. What the LDS church teaches is deception and lies. Compare what the Bible says to what the LDS church teaches. And, God willing, you'll see...lies.

If you don't believe some of what the LDS church teaches, that gives me great hope! I hope it means that God has revealed something to your heart about himself...his nature...that is true. And when you read the LDS teachings, you can see that they just don't make sense.

So where does that leave you...as a member of the LDS church who does not believe what they teach to be true?

I guess that's between you and God. I urge you to ask yourself and God...am I getting the real God here? Am I being fed Truth about God, or lies? If the LDS church is teaching things that I do not believe to be true, then is this the church for me?

Summer  – (10/11/2008 06:03:00 PM)  

Oh- I told you I wish our tone of voice was on here. I'm not angry. Actually, I'm not even frustrated, which isn't normal for me. Too much going on at my house, I guess. I'm just surprised that you think you know more about LDS beliefs than LDS people do. You aren't listening anymore, and it appears not only haven't you been listening from the beginning, but that you never intended to. I think that's why some people left. (Hard words- no hard feelings- I promise :D!!! See?)

I know it's fun for mainstreamers to say we don't even know what we believe. But it's kind of obtuse, wouldn't you say? At least condescending? Do you really think I haven't prayed and studied and come to actual conclusions?

I have received affirmation after daily affirmation by the Holy Ghost of the truthfulness of this doctrine. Your "sections 2" are made up of passages I've prayed about, and learned from. I'm glad for the similarities. I don't believe you're going to be "cast away" because of the differences. Every day there is another reason for me to stand firmly planted where I am. Your beautiful Sunday spiritual thoughts have added to it, many times, because you do have much truth.

I'm sorry you feel so disturbed by what we believe. I'm really sorry about that. I'm sorry you believe good people can go to hell because they don't believe in the nature of God that a bunch of smart guys voted on centuries ago.

I'm not sorry to know what I know. I love it. I love how harmonious this knowledge is with everything I am taught everywhere- not just in Sunday School. I love how 3=3. I love the answers to questions about where we came from, and why we're here, and where we're going.

I agree, there are a lot of lies out there. About my church. I've read up. Lots of twists and turns, clever use of word choice, and dismissal of good.

It's here, too.

(oooh- so dramatic.)

Daiqiri, do you think this is doing anyone any good? Are you enjoying this? I was. I was trying to ignore the exclamation points, and assumptions, and misleading references. I was having fun talking with my husband about things we hadn't discussed with each other in our six years together. I love all the subjects you've brought up.

But I'm wondering if things are just getting too intense to be constructive.

?

Kate  – (10/11/2008 06:24:00 PM)  

Daquiri,

I tried to email this to you, since I fear it's bound to be long, but for some reason the "contact me" link isn't working for me. So I hope you'll forgive me if I'm a little long winded.

I was raised LDS and spent several years prayerfully searching and questioning, including consulting my Bishop and Stake President, before finally concluding what you've already concluded, that the LDS Church teaches things contrary to what the Bible teaches and that, ultimately, it just wasn't true. See, the church leaders teach, unequivocally, that either the whole church (meaning doctrinal teachings and historical "facts" regarding the restoration) is true, or none of it is true. That makes it vital for believing members, who need to continue to believe that the church is true, to vehemently defend every point of doctrine as it's laid out by the "church".

And they need to continue believing that it's true. I can not begin to tell you how devastating, and nearly debilitating, it was to finally know it isn't true. I've heard it likened to trying to remove the structural walls from a building while expecting the building to continue to hold its shape, and that nailed my experience exactly. I wanted more than anything to continue to believe it. But once I'd seen the lie for what it was, I couldn't go on living it. A lot of LDS folks realize the lie, and continue to live the "gospel" because of the lifestyle and structure that it provides. I've heard things like, "true or false, it's a good way to raise a family", or "there's just so many good things, I don't care if it's all true.” “This is where my family is, so this is where I'll stay, too." I sympathize with those folks. I wanted, badly, to be one of them. I just couldn't do it.

Because of the all encompassing nature of the church, it's very difficult for LDS members to look at their doctrine objectively. It simply HAS to be true. And in any area where their doctrine doesn't jive with what the Bible teaches, they just believe that the Bible has been changed. That's the second core reason why the GA is a necessary teaching for the LDS church. It allows for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and all of the more recent revelations that make changes to the beautifully simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the GA, the Bible would be the ultimate authority for religious and spiritual questions and they wouldn't be able to justify all of the differences that their church teaches.

You also mentioned that you're hearing things like "That's not what I believe", even though it's the official stance of the LDS church. You'd be amazed at what the average LDS member DOESN'T know about what the church teaches. For instance, I was taught in Primary growing up that "everything we believe can be proved straight out of the Bible", and I went around saying that to people who had questions about our church. But since we never spent any time studying the Bible, but just read the Book of Mormon over and over again and studied Church History and D&C, etc, I didn't know that there was, in fact, a great MANY things that we believed that can't be found in the Bible.

I'm sorry for being so long. I guess the real point I was trying to make was: Don't put a whole lot of energy into thinking that you'll make LDS people realize that the church is seriously flawed, let alone an out and out lie. It's too much. They HAVE to believe it, there's just too much at stake. For those who may be investigating the church, though, or for those who are already questioning, you're doing a wonderful thing.

Kate  – (10/11/2008 06:27:00 PM)  

For those LDS readers out there, I wasn't "in sin" or trying to find a way to justify a lifestyle that the church didn't approve of. I still live a life that's more "Mormon" than most of the members I know. I just worship my Lord and Savior the way I'm supposed to now, with out the pride, arrogance, and sin of believing that He's really just my big brother, we're practically the same, and some day both He and I will be Gods, as well. He is God in Heaven and I am His child, saved by His blood, through grace.

Dawnita~ –   – (10/11/2008 07:02:00 PM)  

Hello Kate,

I was with you up until your very last comment when you said,"and some day both He and I will be Gods, as well." Could you clarify this statement for me? My heart about sank when I read this part... I am so hoping that it was a typo or that I am soooooo reading it wrong!

In His Grace,
Dawnita~

Daiquiri  – (10/11/2008 07:10:00 PM)  

Summer - I'm sorry that you think I'm not listening to you. I am trying my very best! I'm also sorry that you doubt my motives from the begnining. The comfort I have is that I know my heart...more importantly, the Lord knows my heart. I don't know what else to say to convince you if you don't believe me.

You see, I am listening. And what I'm hearing is that you believe that I don't really understand what the LDS church is teaching. And yet, all of the LDS documentation backs up my understanding. You tell me that I have it wrong becuase that's not what you, a LDS member, believes.

So that leaves us in one of two places...either I don't understand what the LDS church teaches (please give me documentation to show me otherwise, if that's the case)...or I DO understand, and you simply disagree with your church's stance on this issue.

I hope you come back for future topics. I value your input, even if you think I don't!

Daiquiri  – (10/11/2008 07:11:00 PM)  

Kate - Thank you for sharing your incredible story! I imagine that some will appreciate it and some will not. I most certainly do. I appreciate your honesty, your search for the truth, and your intellectual integrity to admit that you had to make a change when you realized that things didn't add up. Praise the Lord!

Daiquiri  – (10/11/2008 07:13:00 PM)  

Hey Dawnita- I think you read Kate's statement wrong. She said that she now worships the Lord without believing that.

Summer  – (10/11/2008 07:18:00 PM)  

Dawnita, she said it's a sin to believe those things, don't worry. She's got the same interpretation of Romans 8: 17 that you do.

Daiquiri- I can't show you "documentation." You take the exact same verses I do and get a whole different story. So I use talks from General Conference (which we regard as modern scripture,) but you ignore them.

I realize we're both trying... and trying and trying- ha.

Summer  – (10/11/2008 07:27:00 PM)  

And Kate-

I can't tell you how I wish being a member of this church was a matter of convenience. My beliefs haven't fallen into my lap, I've chosen them, and only because I know they are worth the opposition that people dish.

And I've got to tell you, not only have I never heard anyone say they don't believe it is true, but just want to stick around because it is so much easier, but I've never thought it. I have heard the opposite, though. There's a reason He called it the straight and narrow. It's not easy.

Kate  – (10/11/2008 09:11:00 PM)  

Thank you, Daquiri, you understood correctly. Dawnita, I do NOT believe that I will be a God some day, or that any mortal person can progress to attain that level. That's a very core belief of the LDS Church. It's called "The Law of Eternal Progression."

Summer, I wasn't accusing you, or most members, of believing out of convenience. I believe the majority really do believe it, that doesn't make it true. Nor does it mean that they are able to look at their beliefs objectively. It just means that they really believe it.

I HAVE heard members say the things I've stated above. They aren't going to say them in Relief Society, though, or to anyone else they know has a strong testimony. They would shock and appall believing members. But once people knew that I had taken a stand that I don't believe the church teaches the truth, I had those who came forward and talked about the problems with doctrine and history and shared their doubts. But in the end, they believed it was easier to stay inside the church; not because LIVING the gospel is so easy, but because LEAVING the church is so hard. When you've been raised doing what Mormon's do, it's not hard. Telling your family that it's just not true?...VERY hard.

Dawnita~ –   – (10/11/2008 09:29:00 PM)  

Hey Kate!

I truly am sorry that I misunderstood your statement, I stand corrected and am very happy too!

And thank-you Kate for sharing your testimony!

In His Grace,
Dawnita~

Summer  – (10/11/2008 09:33:00 PM)  

Daiquiri- I don't know if this is what you're looking for by way of documentation, it's not exactly about the apostasy, but it is about people who lived during it. D&C 137

Kate- I'm sorry you've been through such a rough time with your fam- I believe it must have been hard to tell them that. I don't really agree with the part "When you've been raised doing what Mormon's do, it's not hard," part... but I'm not complaining. ;)

Dawnita~ –   – (10/11/2008 09:35:00 PM)  

Summer,

I am happy to hear that Kate and I are in agreement... I just hope that one day you and I could be!

Keeping you in my prayers!
Dawnita~

Kate  – (10/11/2008 10:15:00 PM)  

Thank you, Dawnita, and no problem on the misunderstanding. It's as likely that I'd type it wrong as anything else.

Summer, you can't imagine how hard. But not in a now-I'm-not-a-part-of-the-family kind of way. They're fantastic and I love them all so much. It's just that there's this area that's of so much importance, and we've just had to agree to disagree about it. And neither side wants to leave it at that, but we do. I pray for their salvation, and I'm certain they pray for mine. I'd give anything if the kind of discussion we're having here could actually acomplish something, because maybe then there'd be hope for understanding with my family. But I understand all too well that Biblical evidence holds no weight, or at leave very little comparitive weight, with LDS members. That's why understanding, in this kind of forum, is so very difficult. We're really speaking two different languages.

So I'll keep praying, and so will all of you. And that's the only thing that will ever bring any real understanding. For we don't change people's hearts or minds, the Holy Spirit does.

Summer  – (10/12/2008 12:08:00 PM)  

Well said, Kate. About the weight the Bible holds in this doctrine- I'm not sure why you think that. Did you take seminary? I spent equal years studying both- and the same was true in church and at home. I've been surprised participating in this discussion, to realize how familiar I am with the passages referred to. I thought I would see bunches of unfamiliar texts pulled from the spots I don't study as much. I definitely saw that studying with some people in Italy. But it's been kind of interesting to see we have the same "favorites."

Anyway. I just want to reiterate something that maybe you never believed, but is true: The Bible is indespensible to me, and to the LDS doctrine.

I view the two witnesses of Christ kinda like a microwave and a stove. While stove top gets the job done, it sure is nice to have the microwave. I use them both in pretty much all of my cooking. ;D

It's refreshing to hear someone so mature who has left the LDS church. You seem much less condedscending and patronizing than those in my life who have left or never joined (including my own family.) Anyway. Good for you. :)

David  – (10/12/2008 12:24:00 PM)  

Yes, I'm still lurking around, and since there aren’t already 1000 comments on this post, I'll jump back again.

I have to admit that I feel like Summer, in that I was a little disheartened with the way you dismissed my original comment that some time should be spent examining the origin of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith is making the bold claim that it came from God. Eleven other reputable men also testified to that fact as have the millions that have been baptized into the church. Either it did come from God, or it didn't. If it didn't, then where did it come from? Your statement that "just because something exists doesn't make it true" could be said about the Bible as well.

From what I have read on your posts, it appears that you base your religious belief system on the fact that the Bible is the literal word of God. In other words, at some point in the past you accepted the Bible as the word of God, and then everything else flowed from that belief. Members of the LDS church base their beliefs in scripture as well, but they believe that there is other scripture equal in truthfulness to the Bible and that it also testifies of Christ.

As to the current topic, you obviously don’t want any clarity on what LDS Teaching of the Apostasy is. For example, you used Mormon 1:13 in your first post on this topic. Summer explained in a comment that you have taken that scripture out of context. She was exactly correct in that the scripture applies specifically to a condition of apostasy that occurred in that time and place and with that people. In this post you completely ignored Summer’s prior explanation and used the scripture again as proof of what you say Mormons believe. Summer and Rob have succinctly explained the actual LDS teaching on the apostasy, and you evidently aren’t interested in what is really taught and believed in the Church, but rather want to come up with a teaching that bothers you, just so you can tear it down.

Sorry, that last paragraph sounds like a rant, but it is honestly irritating when people say “What Mormons believe is…” Then, when a member of the LDS Church tries explaining what is really taught and believed, they are ignored. Sadly, it seems (to me, at least) that all of your posts and comments in this series seem to run along those same lines.

Daiquiri  – (10/12/2008 02:07:00 PM)  

David,

First, I'm glad you're back :)

Second, the only reason I used Mormon 1:13 in this topic is because the LDS church uses it as proof text in their teaching. Please go check out the link I provided in this followup post - you'll see what I'm talking about.

And third, this series of posts is about "What the LDS church teaches", not "What LDS people believe". Folks, I think a clarification needs to be made here:

There is a discrepancy...a significant difference...between what is taught by the LDS church and what is actually believed by the LDS community (at least those commenting here).

The "scripture" evidence and church teachings on the Great Apostasy are quite clear. And yet, when I point directly to LDS teachings (NOT my own words or interpretations), you all say, "No, that's not right".

It's not right in that it's not what you believe. But based on all the documentation I've found and have been given? It IS true that this is what the church teaches.

I know you disagree with me. I can tell that you think I'm trying to manipulate this conversation to make you and your beliefs look like a bunch of clowns....I'm NOT. I'm quoting direct LDS teachings!

This discussion is sinking into a place that's getting ugly. If you'd like to add something before I close comments, consider this your 5 minute warning bell :)

I always appreciate and enjoy hearing from people in email if you'd like to add something after I close comments.

-Daiquiri

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