This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
“I’m now supposed to believe that Joseph has the credibility… That Joseph has the character and integrity… I’m supposed to sweep under the rug… and just believe anyway?”(CES Letter)
|See also:||How To Ask Questions|
& Not Doubt
Physical Does Not Disprove Spiritual – Mormons do not believe in ignoring facts or avoiding intellectualism. We invest a lot in universities and education. What we do oppose is fake intellectualism, and trying to replace faith with science. You can’t prove or disprove religion with science, and that is what fake intellectuals try to do. If you find physical objects as evidence, such as metal plates in a museum somewhere, then those objects become relics. We go back to the crusader relics of the Middle Ages. What good is that?
We are not a church that superstitiously believes in relics. We want full intellectual rigor and critical thought in investigating history and claims of the church. But please don’t pretend like social justice is proven as a superior moral code to spirituality because of any kind of physical evidence. Fake intellectualism is being used to convince the uneducated into replacing faith with social justice.
CES Letter claims:
“I’m supposed to believe that these men who have been wrong about so many important things and who have not prophesied, seered, or revealed much in the last 169 or so years are to be sustained as ‘prophets, seers, and revelators’?”(CES Letter)
Wrong about what? CES Letter hasn’t given any examples of prophesies in the last 169 years that turned out wrong. But CES Letter actually has inadvertantly provided examples of prophesies that turned out true.
- Fake News – In a previous argument, CES Letter complained that Mormon leaders were attacking the internet as a sometimes untrustworthy source for information: “Elder Neil Andersen made the following statement in the October 2014 General Conference specifically targeting the medium of the Internet in a bizarre attempt to discredit the Internet as a reliable source for getting factual and truthful information: ‘We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a ‘truth’ filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true.’” (CES Letter) Unfortunately for CES Letter, they said this not long before the country exploded with the realization that the internet is full of fake news, and that it is affecting our political elections. It is comical today for anyone to disagree that some information on the internet is not true. But back when CES Letter wrote this, people seriously thought this. Being skeptical of what you read is common sense, but how did Mormon leaders–elderly men who probably spend zero time on the internet–know that fake news was such a problem? How did they know that it was a good idea to deliver “all this talk from General Authorities against the scary internet”?
- Modern Dangers To The Church – CES Letter was outraged by a quote from Boyd K. Packer: “A few months before the September Six, Boyd K. Packer made the following comment regarding the three “enemies” of the Church: ‘The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.’”
(CES Letter) Packer said this back in 1993. Often, I like browse news about Mormons (not because I expect to get real news but to see what kind of bias they have against Mormons). I find that Packer’s statement is true. The most vociferous stories seem to usually come attached to gay rights, feminism, and fake intellectualism. You didn’t hear much about these issues in 1993, but today it seems like all you hear about is LGBTQAA youth, excluded gays, Ordain Women, “Mormon” fundamentalists who prey on women, some new “history” book about Joseph Smith, etc.
Besides these two issues CES Letter brought up, Mormon General Authorities have a clear track record:
- 2008 Financial Crisis – Mormon leaders were warning us about credit, debt, and financial security back before anyone thought there was any kind of problem.
- Natural Disasters – Mormon leaders were urging us to prepare not long before significant natural disasters struck.
- Gay Rights Movement – Mormon leaders tackled the gay marriage issue before it ever became a huge thing, and now we see how it has morphed into even more significant “rights” crusades. Even if you don’t agree with the church’s response, you must agree that they foresaw it would become a huge issue.
Oh, well, those could all just be lucky guesses. Right? Natural disasters happen all the time, right? What about flashy dramatic prophesies like Joseph Smith gave, about the civil war and such? Well, we come back to superstition. This is asking for a rabbit to be pulled out of a hat, a magic trick that makes you know something is true and you don’t really need any faith. Physical objects and phenomena are not the starting point to faith. Superstition is a spiritual explanation for a physical premise.
“I’m told to put these foundational problems on the shelf and wait until I die to get answers? To stop looking at the Church intellectually… Ignore and have faith anyway? I’m sorry, but faith is believing and hoping when there is little evidence for or against something. Delusion is believing when there is an abundance of evidence against something.”(CES Letter)
It is easy to claim there is an “abundance of evidence.” That is a subjective claim. But no, delusion is not disagreeing with CES Letter‘s opinions. I’m not deluded for having a different opinion. Delusion is a mode of thought that conflicts with what is obvious, accepted reality. That’s what delusion is, so now, let’s compare Mormons with CES Letter… Do most people on earth think there is a God or that there is no God?
But besides things that people around the world agree upon, CES Letter‘s narrative in their PDF is bizzare and contrary to accepted logic for determining truth. For example, it is not accepted reality to say the Book of Mormon ripped a few random phrases from some random book which a computer scan of thousands of books found to be kinda similar. If a computer scan finds some similar words and phrases between a book written in China in 1,000 B.C. and a book written in Africa in 1500 A.D., would accepted reality be to immediately claim one book derived from the other? No, this would be conspiracy theory land.
Delusion is constructing a mode of reality to rationalize your pre-supposed conclusion, and that is what Anti-Mormons often do. CES Letter does not approach the question of truth with objectivity or honesty, but with the assumption that Mormonism is false. I don’t know how you could become a fulfilled person with this kind of bias.
How To Become Self-Made
CES Letter quotes a nice little poem by an Anti-Mormon:
“As a child, it seemed so simple; Every step was clearly marked. Priesthood, mission, sweetheart, temple; Bright with hope I soon embarked. But now I have become a man, And doubt the promise of the plan. For the path is growing steeper, And a slip could mean my death. Plunging upward, ever deeper, I can barely catch my breath. Oh, where within this untamed wild Is the star that led me as a child? As I crest the shadowed mountain, I embrace the endless sky; The expanse of heaven’s fountain Now unfolds before my eye. A thousand stars shine on the land, The chart drafted by my own hand.”The Journey, by 20truths.info
Compare “The Journey” poem with something Marxist Jean-Paul Sartre said. See the similarities:
“In life, a man commits himself and draws his own portrait, outside of which there is nothing. No doubt this thought may seem harsh to someone who has not made a success out of his life. But on the other hand, it helps people to understand that reality alone counts, and that dreams, expectations and hopes only serve to define a man as a broken dream, aborted hopes and futile expectations; in other words, they define him negatively, not positively.”(Sartre, Existentialism Is a Humanism)
|See also:||CES Letter Contradiction Strategy|
Reject the expectation that was placed on you as a child, and find the “thousand stars” by walking a path “drafted by my own hand.” Deconstruct all those expectations and dreams and get down to bare reality.
I think it takes a lot more than deconstruction and a foundational shift to bring self-improvement. I think it is great to climb the mountain of achievement and receive awards through personal merit, and to seek self-discovery. I think it is unfortunate that ex-Mormon testimonies are so often deconstructed by a counterfeit ideology, but I think there is still an opportunity to sort out the problems that cause the pain in the first place and led to the loss of faith. I think they can reconstruct a new testimony of truth, apart from the old deconstructed testimony, and to make it a great testimony.
It is like a train that has taken a wrong turn and gotten on the wrong tracks. You need to back up, go back where you came from, and take the right turn. First, consider how the gospel testimony was lost and why. Typically, it is something like this:
- Challenge To Faith – Personal experiences, such as perhaps, parents getting divorced, a priesthood blessing saying something that doesn’t get fulfilled, etc. These challenges afflict our intellect, emotions, and spirit. We feel intellectual confusion, emotional pain, and spiritual strain. We try to make up for emotional pain by feeding our intellect, but this never seems to heal the problem.
- Discover Anti-Mormon Website – We come across some website or social media chat that we feel dirty for reading but we can’t seem to look away.
- Justify Looking At Anti-Mormonism – CES Letter says they just happened across a news story by Reuters one day and found out that lots of Mormons were leaving the church because of history they found online, and CES Letter wanted to know “what was going on.” That fake news story by Reuters was their justification for looking into Anti-Mormon rhetoric. After all, history is just history, right? Just find out the facts.
- Read Prominent Anti-Mormon Rhetoric – This usually is Wikipedia, because Google boosts Wikipedia to the top of search results. There are plenty of prominent Anti-Mormon propaganda sites, though, such as Mormon Think and Exmormon Reddit that doubters typically read at length for the first time. Rather than get historical information from real history books or original raw documents, the doubters are thus fed carefully crafted propaganda. Here is an example how Anti-Mormon use deconstructivism to destroy our faith and replace it with an alternative ideology.
- Feeling Of Shock & Panic – CES Letter says “I went into a panic… absolute shock and feeling of betrayal in learning about all of this information that has been kept concealed.” It is a very emotional moment when the faith challenge that has always stayed there due to personal experience catches up, and suddenly intellect, emotion, and spirit begin to align. It hurts. Doubters typically first feel shock, then a deep sense of betrayal. They had relied on the church and this ideology to protect them for so long, and suddenly it all felt apart. They want to blame somebody. Finally, they feel embarrassment. How could I be so stupid? It’s so obvious!
- Deeper Research – After the few hours they initially spent reading the bias and fake information on Wikipedia, the doubter starts looking around other Anti-Mormon sources. They start putting together new narratives for things, assigning blame to the church for other insecurities and hurts in their lives, attaching their political and personal attitudes to these new Anti-Mormon narratives. The church kept me from drinking coffee for so long! The church shamed me into covering my shoulders when I should be proud of my body image! The term Anti-Mormons use for this is “taking items off the shelf.” So many attitudes and opinions pent up for so long and suddenly now it’s like a dam bursts.
- Deeper Bitterness – The doubter feels free and relieved, which is a sincere feeling for them to have. But they also feel deeper bitterness for Mormons and Mormonism. Their intellect, emotions, and spirit may be finally aligned, but the root issue that caused the pain hasn’t been solved. It’s like a bullet fragment that hasn’t been removed from a wound and continues to fester. CES Letter says: “I experienced a betrayal, loss, and sadness unlike anything I’ve ever known.”
- Coordinate & Contribute To Anti-Mormon Community – It really is a community, like a self-help group. Except instead of being pro-soberness or pro-health, this community is only against something. They sacrifice relationships with their families, severe ties with friends and neighbors, and rant on the internet. If this community were all about helping people to move on with their lives, that would be alright, but the ex-Mormons just can’t move on. The ideology that has replaced Mormonism has become an obsession for them, a cult. They must save others from the evils of Mormonism, and they must make up for all the enjoyments of life that Mormons have robbed from them. It’s a lot like how Marxist cult leader Jim Jones thought about Americans: “If you’re born in capitalist America, racist America, fascist America, then you’re born in sin. But if you’re born in socialism, you’re not born in sin.” (Jim Jones, “The Letter Killeth.”) “My whole life I have suffered from poverty and have faced many disappointments and pain, like a man is used to. That is why I want to make other people happy and want them to feel at home.” (Jim Jones, via John Hogue) “Son of a bitchin’ no good lousy ass anarchistic capitalist bitch. That’s what I say about my relatives, but you won’t say it.” (Jim Jones, FBI No. Q265)
The way to undo this Anti-Mormonism is to repeal and replace each step:
- Reconcile the original faith challenge and accept it. If your parents divorced, accept that they have their free agency, and if a priesthood blessing went unfulfilled accept why it turned out that way.
- Become aware of pro-Mormon views. I know, you think you know all about Mormonism. But maybe, just maybe, you didn’t actually understand the Mormon narrative. Maybe pro-Mormon rhetoric could be valid.
- Rationalize past the bitterness and anger that keeps you from objectively investigating Mormonism, and actually find out the facts and beliefs behind the frame.
- With this new objective view in place, read unofficial Mormon literature, such as Conflict of Justice. Read scripture. Read about all the issues.
- Even if you don’t accept Mormonism and you want to be atheist or whatever, you will still feel a profound comforting sense of calm. You have finally confronted your personal demons.
- Eventually, you should feel a feeling of faithfulness from God and the church. Maybe there is someone looking out for me? Maybe there is a plan? The panic and betrayal washes away.
- Next you will feel confidence. This is where you start realizing that you are self-made and finally achieving the star that you gazed upon as a child. The funny thing will be that your beliefs are different than before you apostatized, yet you come now to the same conclusion.
- More thoroughly research Mormon literature. You will feel the strain and work both physically and spiritually as you gain a testimony of truth, whatever that truth may be. This is like a bullet wound healing after the last fragments have finally been removed.
- Coordinate and contribute to pro-Mormon blogs. Tell your story, or dare I say it… testify. Reconstruct your testimony without relying on the church or your bishop to tell you what is right. CES Letter‘s rant sounds so much like regret that they didn’t have someone telling them what to do or what to think, that they were kept “in the dark.” Do your own research. Ponder your own questions. Find your own reason for living, your ideals that make you happy, and your own determination. This will not happen as long as you are complaining that the church didn’t teach you about polygamy in young men’s class. Stop being reliant intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually on others. Stop fooling yourself into thinking that you have achieved this by being in charge of your own universe. As Moses realized he was nothing before he could ever realize that he was a son of God, an atheist needs to truly understand that he is not the most evolved and intelligent life form in the universe before he could understand why we need to believe in a Supreme Creator.