Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Believers vs. Atheists - Does It Really Matter?

There is only one of two possibilities.  Either there is a god or there isn't.

If there is no god, then all believers are wrong.  This means that they navigate this life on their own with nothing more than a delusion of divine guidance.  But they make it through just fine anyway, even if they are wrong.

If there is a god, then all atheists are wrong.  However, they somehow make it through life just fine without the faith that god guides their decisions.  But they too make it through life just fine, even if they are wrong.

What do believers and atheists have in common?  We share this planet.  We both lose our car keys.  We both get hungry when we don't eat.  We both have bills and rent (or mortgage) to pay.  We would both do anything to raise our kids safely and happily.  We (for the most part) try to be good citizens.

What do believers and atheist have in difference?  Atheists look for their car keys.  Believers pray, and god lead them to their car keys.  Atheists thank those who provided and prepared their food.  Believers thank god for their food. 

In short, believers put all their faith, trust, hope, confidence, and dreams into the hands of an invisible being whom they have never met.  When life goes their way, this being is blessing them.  When things go bad, this being is testing them.  If they screw up, someone else will cover them.

Atheists put their trust and hope in themselves.  If an atheist fails, it was because they did something wrong and need to correct it.  When life goes their way, great.  When things go bad, shit happens.  When they screw up, they take personal accountability.

We all have the same life experiences.  Whether there is a god or not, we all get through life just fine.  In short, it doesn't matter what you believe as long as YOU are a good person and are tolerant of other people.

Unfortunately, both sides seem to forget this far too often.  I am just as guilty.

Seen on Facebook: "What you believe is not so important as how you act, because your actions reflect your true beliefs."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Name Removal, Update 3 - It Is Official

I am no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I received official confirmation in the mail yesterday.

Other than the two-month wait and the unexpected visit from the local bishop (both of which I specifically requested in my resignation letter not to happen), the resignation process really wasn't that bad.

I was an official member of the LDS church for just months shy of 30 years.

I feel like partying! Like breaking 50 of the 101 Mormon commandments!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

Something about this graphic rubs me the wrong way.
God has a great plan for you.  There's only one problem... You don't know what it is.
It's like a lost traveler who stops at a gas station and asks for a road map, only to be handed a blank piece of paper.  The traveler sincerely thanks the attendant for his help and continues on the way.  He gets lost more, but after much trial and error, finally finds his destination.
What is the use of the journey if you don't know where you're going?
If god has a great purpose for your life, wouldn't it be a good idea for him to fill you in on a few of the details instead of leaving it a surprise until the end?

It seems like a huge waste.. Going through life blindly.  Feeling your way.. Guessing at whatever lesson god is trying to teach you.  Then arriving at the end point, and realizing that you spent the entire journey looking behind you instead of looking ahead.

Would you rely on a road map that was 2,000 years old for navigating a modern city?  Then why use a religion that was invented 2,000 years ago for navigating modern life?

Live your life!  Take charge of your own journey!  You'll make mistakes; learn from them.  You'll get lost; but you'll find your way.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Kid In Town

I would like to welcome Senigami of Mormon Doubter to the ex-Mormon blogging world.


Everyone, please go visit his new blog and leave comments!  I will be a frequent visitor as I believe he has a lot of good things to say!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Same-Sex Marriage Uproar in Utah

Let's face it... Utah is the last place on earth that anyone suspected would legalize same-sex marriage.  Naturally, the Mormons are doing everything they can to appeal this law.


Dated January 10, 2014, the link above is a letter from church headquarters to their local leaders across the country.  Not surprisingly, they continue to maintain that god wants marriage between a man and a woman.

I don't understand something.  If this issue is so important to god, why doesn't he make it known himself?  Why is there always some suit who thinks he (or she) is authorized to enforce god's will on earth?

The Mormons claim to believe in free agency, the right to choose.  If they don't believe in same-sex marriage, fine.  More than fine.  Everyone is entitled to their beliefs.  But when they try to take away the freedom of choice from those who don't agree with them, that is very unChristlike.

What is wrong with simply living your beliefs as you choose and letting others do the same?  I would have much more respect for the church if they would make an announcement saying something to the effect of:

"We believe in marriage between a man and a woman.  However, we also believe in a God who is merciful and loving.  In the end, all are accountable only to Him for their choices.  It is not our place to judge those who are different than us.  We believe in sustaining the law and we pray for our law makers that they will seek the will of God in their decisions.  If it is the law that same-sex marriage be legalized in Utah, we will welcome this diversity.  We will welcome the opportunity to show the world that the Mormons are tolerant and loving; after all, this is the central message of Jesus Christ, after whom our very church is named.  He taught us in the Bible that we are not to judge.  He taught us that we are to love our neighbors.  He taught us to be an example if we want to bring others to Him.

"We do not believe in same-sex marriage, but we cannot, will not, attempt to deny this right to those who desire it.  To our LGBT brothers and sisters, we welcome you to the great state of Utah.  We will not become involved in trying to change the laws.  We will live our beliefs and let others live theirs.  We strongly urge all our members to be Christlike in the way they interact with those who are not of our ways, beliefs, and faith.  Be tolerant.  Be loving.  Be charitable."

Now, would that be so hard to do?  To be truly Christlike is to accept and love those who are different than us.  The LDS church has a strong history of doing the exact opposite... Saying one thing and doing another.

Consider these quotes from the letter I have linked to above and my comments in response to them:

"Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established."

This is a very Mormon thing to say.  They believe their laws and doctrine are above the laws of the land.  This is in direct contradiction to their own Twelfth Article of Faith which states in plain language that they believe in "obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law".  Clearly, this means they sustain the law unless they disagree with it.

"God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society."

Uphold and live your beliefs all you want.  This issue is not one of Mormon doctrine; it is not forcing Mormons to change their beliefs or doctrine.  This is an issue of equality.  If the Mormons don't wish to believe in and participate in same-sex marriage, that is their right.  But they do NOT have the right to take away that right from others, which is exactly what they are trying to do.  Now, if the law was trying to force Mormons to perform same-sex marriage and change their doctrine to allow it, then they would be justified in being enraged. 

"The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree."

Strong words!  How about you start practicing what you preach?  How about this: You continue to perform marriages your way in your secret/sacred temple (just like everyone allows you to do even when they disagree with it), and you allow the outside world to get married however they hell they want!  Do you see people trying to pass or prohibit laws that force you to change your way of life?  No, so stop doing it to them!  Live your beliefs, but allow others that same courtesy.  If they are "living in sin," then god will be the judge.

One final thought..

If the big argument here is "marriage between ONE man and ONE woman," then what about polygamy?  Why is it okay for them to challenge the norm when it comes to marriage, but no one else can?  They want to practice polygamy free of persecution, but the moment someone else wants marriage their own way, the Mormons do everything they can to stop it.  What hypocrites!

Yes, the LDS church no longer officially practices polygamy, but they still believe in it no matter what they claim.  They believe that when Jesus returns, the law of polygamy will be reinstated.  They even practice a degree of polygamy now by being sealed to more than one person.  Granted they are only married to ONE living person at a time, but a temple sealing is forever.  Therefore, they will have multiple wives in the afterlife.

It's just so ironic and strange to me that they have stretched the idea of traditional marriage to the limits.  But when someone else does it, they are all in an uproar!  It's almost as if they are jealous that they didn't think of it first!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The God Makers, Part 1

All of my life, as far back as I can remember, I always heard about the evil anti-Mormon film, The God Makers.  I always thought it would be full of blatant lies, so I never even bothered to watch it, even as an ex-Mormon.  Well, today, I figured I might as well watch it and write a review.  As an ex-Mormon myself who blogs against the church, I still make every attempt to be as accurate and truthful as possible. I fully expected this video to talk about how Mormons sacrifice babies in the temple, Mormons having horns, etc..  I thought I was going to have to write a long list of all the mis-truths told about Mormons in this video, but I found it to be 99.9% accurate. And the inaccurate items are so minor that I don't even feel that they are worth mentioning.

The film features many ex-Mormons sharing their experiences in the church.  They also interview several believing Mormons.  Other than a few minor details, the film was very accurate about what Mormons believe.  I saw this film not as an anti-Mormon film but simply a documentary.   A good portion of the video is spent explaining Mormon doctrine and beliefs, and having those claims verified by testimonials from actual Mormons.

It talked about several of the issues within Mormonism that the church attempts to cover up.  These items, of course, are what all the Mormons are unhappy about, the supposed lies made up by bitter ex-Mormons.  It talks about the several version of the first vision of Joseph Smith.  It talks about the church's doctrine of the black skin curse.  It talks about the problems with the Book of Abraham.  It talked about Joseph Smith's heavy involvement with the occult.

Seeing as how this is an older film, many of the items shown in the reinactment of part of the temple ceremony are no longer in the ceremony today.  This may add to the Mormons' disapproval of this film, claiming that items shown are not what Mormons do in the temple.  It is true that they NO LONGER do those things, but they certainly used to until they were changed in 1990.  Items such as the death penalties, pay lay ale, and the five points of fellowship. 

The one disappointing thing about this film for me was how they ended it. It took on a whole "come to Jesus" plea. It is disappointing to me that people are smart enough to get out of one lie and head straight into another. Cut out the pro-Christian crap at the end, and otherwise it is a very well put together and accurate depiction of the church. This was supposed to be a video about Mormons, not about coming to Jesus. I am very disappointed with the ending.

Watch the entire video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vVcaViVCGk

There is a second God Makers film.  I will watch that soon and share my three cents.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How Come Mormons Don't Use the Term "Saved"?

To be "saved" implies that you're finished. Your place in heaven is a guarantee.

Not so in Mormonism.

Being baptized by the proper authority isn't enough.

Going through the temple isn't enough.

Paying tithing isn't enough.

Reading the Book of Mormon 100 times isn't enough.

Obeying every single rule and commandment isn't enough.

Going to church faithfully, praying, and reading scriptures isn't enough.

Even becoming the prophet isn't enough.

Nope. You are never done. You are never saved. Your place in heaven is never guaranteed...

...until you are nice and DEAD!

In order to get the highest level of heaven, a person has to have lived their entire life in full compliance with Mormon rules. It's what they call "Endure to the End".  Endure is defined as: "to suffer without yielding." Sounds like loads of fun. NOT!

Therefore you are not saved until you are dead AND devoted your entire life to the church (or from the point of your conversion forward).

That's why Mormons aren't saved. It's why they constantly struggle with "worthiness" and "obedience".  They are always stressing about whether or not they are Celestial Kingdom worthy.  When you die, you are judged based upon where you were spiritually at the time of your death.  If you had unresolved sins, they are not covered by the atonement.  You will have to pay for them yourself, no matter how good of a devoted life you lived.

It is very hard to get to Mormon heaven.  One small sin can keep you out.  Death can come at any time so Mormons (at least the very devoted ones) are always trying to make sure they are worthy now.  The moment of your death is what determines your fate for eternity.  If you are caught unprepared, it sucks to be you.  Once you are dead, there is no more forgiveness of sin.

So stay worthy, damn it!  (And keep paying.. God loves your money!)