Second Open Letter to Area Presidency by Chris Ralph

Hi all here is another Open Letter from Chris Ralph to the LDS Area Presidency regarding a letter they sent to all churches in Europe, you can see the initial letter and his response to it here. (http://mormonisminvestigated.co.uk/2012/08/28/an-open-letter-to-europe-area-presidency-by-chris-ralph/)

This has had a lot of attention recently and is well worth a look.

 

Dear Area Presidency,

A little over five weeks ago I addressed an online open letter to you, posing some important questions relating to the founding claims of the Church. These questions, I suggested, required clear public answers if the growing tide of disaffected members was to be stemmed. I also invited you to open up a dialogue with me and others to consider these important issues. My intentions in doing so were honourable, for I am weary, (as I am sure many others also are), of feeling isolated from my local LDS community because I value historical truth. I am confident this letter must by now have been brought to your attention, as it is estimated that it has been viewed more than 15,000 times. However, in case you had by some misfortune not seen it, I also took the precaution of posting you a hard copy, explaining that my reason for going public was that there seems to be no other way of making ordinary voices such as mine audible to you.

In the last five weeks I have received many comments, mostly very supportive of my initiative. Some have been as hopeful as I, that my proposal to discuss these matters openly and honestly, would herald a new dawn for the LDS Church in Europe. However, others expressed cynicism over whether I would be taken at all seriously. One person wrote, for example: “The (LDS) corporation is run by businessmen and lawyers in love with Mammon and will do all they can to have the richest church in Babylon! Because of this they love good PR more than the truth! They will ignore the big issues of historical truth…” I sincerely hope that such views will be shown to be incorrect, but to date, as I have yet to receive any kind of response or acknowledgment from you, I admit to feeling growing concern.

Another observer warned me that I would probably be “jumped on” for asking searching questions publicly. However, my belief was that you would welcome an opportunity to set the record straight on the troublesome items which are currently causing disaffections. A recent statement on the official LDS newsroom blog, given in response to the David Twede issue, was reassuring, (see: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-news-getting-it-right-september-25), as it made it clear that having, (and presumably therefore asking), questions is by no means considered anathema. The official statement announced: “It is patently false for someone to suggest they face Church discipline for having questions or for expressing a political view.”

That is exactly as it should be of course, and I trust the rest of the world will duly take note that asking questions is definitely allowed within the LDS Church community. This is indeed positive, as it infers that when questions are asked, answers will follow, thereby making the process of questioning a genuinely meaningful one. I do trust you will answer me therefore, as it would surely be preferable that a constructive open dialogue be seen to take place, than for my request to become as a voice in the wilderness, heard by many but answered by none.

In the spirit of the above-mentioned official statement, I will therefore adopt what I understand to be an acceptable formula of asking a series of questions by way of reviewing the key matters which arose in my first letter. I petition you with respect, apologizing in advance if some of the questions unavoidably appear to be accusatory, and trsut that it will be possible to move the situation forward positively by this means:

  • Is it true that those who actually witnessed Joseph Smith at work in the production of the Book of Mormon, stated that he recited the text while placing his face into a hat, in which was located a peep- or seer-stone, and that the gold plates were typically absent during that process?
  • Are the missionaries trained today to teach prospective members an accurate account of this important historical event, or do they, and present-day LDS church publications, still indicate that translation was effected in another way directly from the gold plates?
  • If there is a major disparity of this kind between historical reality and what is being taught to the youth and non-members, why does the Church continue to support and encourage it?
  • Can it be credibly denied that Joseph Smith took other men’s wives as his own in polyandrous marriage unions, apparently without Emma’s knowledge?
  • Is it true, commencing with Fanny Alger in c1833, that Joseph had approximately thirty plural wives, the youngest, Helen Mar Kimball, being just 14 when they married?
  • Are we to accept as accurate the multiple sources used by respected historians, which indicate that some at least of those plural marriages were secured on the basis of Joseph representing that his life would be taken by an angel if the prospective wife refused him?
  • Have we any reason to disbelieve that Helen Mar Kimball was promised by Joseph that her whole family would receive exaltation in return for her accepting his marriage proposal?
  • Are stories of Joseph’s extra-monogamous activities, (some of the accounts resulting from a church-sponsored affidavit-gathering exercise later conducted by his nephew Joseph F. Smith), insufficient reason to consider that Joseph fell from grace?
  • Alternatively, would we be on firm ground as far as the present LDS Church leadership is concerned, simply denying the veracity of any of those stories, (as some members of the Community of Christ attempt to do), or should we perhaps admit that such behaviour did occur, but was acceptable to God because Joseph was his chosen prophet?
  • How are we to respond intelligently to the charge that the Book of Abraham is dead, embalmed and in its canopic jars?
  • Are we to adopt and run with the dissembling arguments of LDS apologists?
  • Or are we to make up our own answers, or perhaps try to avoid the subject altogether?
  • Do we have to rely on obfuscating arguments which are diversionary, embarrassingly weak and often inappropriate?
  • Why are the apologists permitted, and seemingly encouraged to stand in the front line on such important issues as the Book of Abraham?
  • Do the Brethren not possess between them an authoritative voice capable of providing proper answers for those they routinely implore to support the LDS cause?
  • Is it not long overdue that the leaders, if they be the living oracles of revealed truth, provide the membership with clear, honest, inspired directions on addressing critical questions relating to LDS founding claims, and the provenance of the LDS canon?
  • Does Elder Kearon, (who I understand is now a member of your presidency), remember me with even a small degree of the fondness with which I remember him, and does he perhaps recollect from times when we served together that I am a fervent supporter of the cause of truth, and will try to follow wherever it will lead us, because I believe that truth is freedom?
  • Does he sense as I do that certain of our shared past experiences foreshadowed this more important all-encompassing one?
  • Does he recall the very sad example of one brother, (he will know to whom I refer), who, driven by his fears, repeatedly refused to confront truth, until it proved disastrously late?
  • Does he appreciate the parallel I am compelled to draw now between that brother’s misfortune and the current dilemma of the institutional LDS church?
  • Do any of you believe that any of us can ever afford to be driven by our fears in the face of truth?
  • Are there not moral concerns of the most serious kind to be carefully weighed and considered?
  • Until all the questions have been answered openly and guilelessly, how may it be claimed that truth has prevailed?
  • Until whole answers are given in response to every heartfelt question, how might an enquirer be able to judge the LDS message objectively and within an authentic context?
  • Is honesty not more precious than loyalty in the pursuit of spiritual fulfillment?
  • If honest answers would reflect the institutional LDS Church or the Brethren in a negative light, should lies ever be employed to conceal that reality?
  • Supposing a woman bought a motor vehicle, which the salesman assured her had been delivered new and in pristine condition straight from the factory, and she subsequently discovered it had a history of several former owners, hidden high mileage, and painted over rust, would she not be in her rights to question the salesman who had seemingly misrepresented the facts to her for the purpose of obtaining her custom?
  • After all, isn’t it deception to misrepresent, and isn’t that unacceptable?
  • Wouldn’t she have cause to feel upset because the vehicle had been, in a very real sense mis-sold to her?
  • Would she have even greater cause for upset if the salesman, instead of admitting his error, and seeking a way to obtain reconciliation, attempted to maintain the original deception, and further compounded his error by casting aspersions upon the woman’s character?
  • Are there not obvious disturbing parallels with this scenario, and should those parallels not be noted, confessed and acted upon without delay?
  • Is the LDS church not a parody of righteousness if it does not fully embrace the principle of truth?
  • And if so, then would the negative consequences of failing to address these issues not extend far into the future to the shame of those who are presently able to make the necessary changes?
  • What of those to come, who may be misled unless they are fairly warned in advance of the full nature of the brand they are being asked to commit to?
  • Where, in all of these unresolved, unaddressed, unanswered issues, (and these are really only the small tip of a huge iceberg), may the half-truths generally to be found, of which you, as an Area Presidency, spoke in your April 2012 letter to local leaders?
  • And who is ultimately responsible for promoting and sustaining those half-truths?
  • Brethren, is it not time that we spoke further about all of these concerns?
  • Do the declining numbers, and the fabricated statistics, not offer their own warning?
  • Does making peace with historical truth have to be only “the final resort”?
  • Can it not be done now rather than as part of a future post mortem which will be held upon European Mormonism?
  • Is it not plain that there is a willingness today to address the painful realities which isolate the LDS church from the thinking world?
  • Is it not also clear as each day passes in non-response that this present willingness will become an ever rarer and diminishing commodity?
  • When will the nettle be grasped?
  • When will the bullet be bitten?
  • When will it finally be understood that entering into dialogue with those of us whose hearts are yet with the Mormon community, but whose understanding of history has outgrown a milk-only diet of myth and dogma, would lead to a more open, honest, robust and authentic organization, which courageously would embrace truth, without constantly needing to spin and deceive, while looking in fear over its shoulder?

Some in the church apparently flatter themselves into thinking they lead the many, not realising that God is still well capable of leading the one; and for some reason they don’t seem to understand that unless truth is embraced, fully, unrelentingly, “warts and all”, then in time those many ones will be led away.

In all candour Brethren, is that not already happening?

You clearly need the support of all those who understand and care. Please, therefore, let us reason together.

Christopher Ralph

111 thoughts on “Second Open Letter to Area Presidency by Chris Ralph”

  1. Chris, your approach, your reasoning and your honesty is head and shoulders above anything of which the Mormon church is prepared to show itself capable. I applaud your continued efforts but very clearly the church has decided it doesn’t need people like yourself. It is utterly and completely wrong of course; it desperately needs people like you because when all the people like you have finally left what will be left of the church? It will be a collection of people who either have only a blind faith or who knowingly follow and support lies and dishonesty. It will then be a church utterly devoid of spiritual power and through which God can do no work. A byword. A hiss perhaps. And it will not be the fault of those such as yourself for asking questions. It will be the result of spiritual cowardice on the part of church leaders at the very top who are, ultimately, more dangerous to the church than the questioners could ever be. Your analogous reference to a certain Mr W is spot on. They are behaving very much like him. Denying all accusations, refusing to face the truth, telling themselves and all who will listen that those who are exposing the truth are the real problem. Very sad.

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  2. If you believe the accounts of Joseph Smith translating portions of the golden plates with his head buried in a hat containing a seer stone then you can’t pick and choose and you must accept all of the testimony of those accounts!…and you seem to be missing the most miraculous part of it all! That he – an uneducated farm boy, with virtually no formal education – would dictate for hours on end without the help of any device (except the already stated hat and seer stone) and after taking a break from translating, would pick up where he left off without needing to be prompted. To completely miss that fact from the accounts you are so eager to grasp hold of is similar to witnessing someone literally walk on water while they eat a piece of cake, and then you spend your time arguing with onlookers about whether or not he ate the cake with a fork or a spoon, instead of marvelling at the fact that you just witnessed someone walk on water! If Joseph Smith is a fraud and the Book of Mormon is a diabolical hoax, then why isn’t there a single logical explanation that can account for its existence? If the book wasn’t given to him by an angel, and if he obviously didn’t write it himself – because neither his friends nor his enemies would ever give him credit of being smart enough to do that – then please be so kind and fill us all in on the truth and tell us where it came from! The Spaulding-Rigdon Theory?…that’s a joke!…anything else. Are there any testimonies of people close to him, who, after having a falling out with him or leaving the church, claimed to be the author?…anyone at all? For almost one hundred years, Joseph was mocked by scholars (the supposed experts) who said that ancient Israelites didn’t write on metal plates (and bury them in stone boxes). Fast forward to the present and there are dozens of examples of this…most notably could be the copper scroll found with the Dead Sea scrolls, and the silver plates and gold plates of King Darius found in stone boxes in Persepolis. It seems Joseph was a lucky guesser…at a lot of things.

    Did Joseph translate with the urim and thummim?…that’s what eye-witnesses say. Did Joseph translate with a seer stone while his face was buried in a hat?…that’s what the eye-witnesses say. Did Joseph eventually stop using the seer stone because he no longer needed it to receive revelation?…that’s what the eye-witnesses say. Which he did most of or how often is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is if he actually translated anything no matter what he used! Arguing anything else is superfluous.

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    1. Hi Chris thanks for the comment, I imagine Chris may reply to comments on here as well but your comment caught my eye.

      I think I would start with saying I can appreciate you have probably looked up for yourself most or all of the issues people raise against the book of Mormon and are likely unconvinced by them. Thats ok and your choice however you asked the question there.

      why isn’t there a single logical explanation that can account for its existence?

      This is actually where I wonder if you have not looked up the problems raised about the book of Mormon or where you have got the word logical mixed up with really meaning arguments that would convince you, those are two different things. Many people are leaving the Mormon church right now who have faithfully been in the church for years, some as bishops and stake presidents, for you to say that there are no logical reasons for them to take issue with Mormonism is a very blind statement, for you to say the reasons they have left do not convince you is a perfectly reasonable statement.

      To name some examples, there are many comparisons between Ethan Smiths book A view of the hebrews and the storyline of the Book of Mormon, so many so that Mormon Historian and also member of the quorum of the 70 at the time Brigham Roberts was disturbed by this, you can see some of those comparisons here http://www.mormonhandbook.com/home/view-of-the-hebrews.html

      Brigham Roberts said

      It is altogether probable that these two books—Priest’s Wonders of Nature and Providence, 1824; and Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews 1st edition 1823, and the 2nd edition 1825—were either possessed by Joseph Smith or certainly known by him, for they were surely available to him.

      B.H. Roberts – Mormon Seventy and LDS church historian
      Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.153

      Therefore it is logically possible Joseph used this as part of the inspiration for creating the book of Mormon, you may not be convinced by that, the apologists may have responded but never the less it is logical to say that Joseph was inspired by a book with so many comparisons with the book of Mormon, that was wrote before it was published and was available to Him.

      To go on here are a few striking comparisons between the King James Bible and the Book of Mormon

      KJV: made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14)
      BM: made white in the blood of the Lamb (1 Nephi 12:11)

      KJV: shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:15)
      BM: shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire (1 Nephi 22:17)

      KJV: O wretched man that I am (Rom. 7:24)
      BM: O wretched man that I am (2 Nephi 4:17)

      KJV: death and hell delivered up the dead (Rev. 20:13)
      BM: death and hell must deliver up their dead (2 Nephi 9:12)

      KJV: he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still (Rev. 22:11)
      BM: they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still (2 Nephi 9:16)

      KJV: endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb. 12:2)
      BM: endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame (2 Nephi 9:18)

      KJV: to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life (Rom. 8:6)
      BM: to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life (2 Nephi 9:39)

      KJV: Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28)
      BM: Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female (2 Nephi 10:16)

      KJV: there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12)
      BM: there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, … whereby man can be saved (2 Nephi 25:20)

      There are seemingly endless amounts of comparisons like these yet the KJV was worded in the english language of the time yet the Book of Mormon was supposedly wrote many hundreds of years before from a totally different language,

      We see a list of parallels here between the book of Mormon and the Apocrypha.

      In view of the evidence it seems obvious that Joseph Smith read at least portions of the Apocrypha before writing the book of First Nephi. He was apparently familiar with the book of Judith and both First and Second Maccabees. From these three books he absorbed portions that he combined into one story in the Book of Mormon. Below are thirty-two interesting parallels between material found in the three books of the Apocrypha and the Book of Mormon. While these parallels contain a good deal of material not mentioned above, there is also some repetition. Those who really want to understand how strong the case of plagiarism is should take the time to carefully read all thirty-two of the parallels below.

      The reader will notice that in the study that follows we refer to the Book of Mormon by the three letters BOM, and the word Apocrypha is abbreviated to APO.

      1. As noted above, both the book of Nephi and the book of 2 Maccabees use the word “Nephi” in their opening chapter.

      **BOM: “Nephi” (1 Nephi 1:1)

      **APO: “Nephi” (2 Maccabees 1:36)

      2. There is, in fact, a significant parallel in wording between 2 Maccabees and the Book of Mormon in that both books use the words “the place” and “call it Nephi.”

      **BOM: “And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.” (2 Nephi 5:8)

      **APO: “Then the king, inclosing the place, made it holy… many men call it Nephi.” (2 Maccabees 1:34, 36)

      3. As pointed out above, the name “Laban” occurs in both Judith and the Book of Mormon.

      **BOM: “Laban hath the record” (1 Nephi 3:3)

      **APO: “Laban his mother’s brother” (Judith 8:26)

      4. Both Nephi and Judith were very devout servants of the Lord.

      **BOM: “Nephi… was favored of the Lord” (Mosiah 10:13)

      **APO: “she feared God greatly” (Judith 8:8)

      5. Both stories speak of a wicked man who wanted to destroy God’s people.

      **BOM: “Laban… sent his servants to slay us” (1 Nephi 3:25)

      **APO: “The next day Holofernes commanded all his army… to make war against the children of Israel.” (Judith 7:1)

      6. In both cases the people were in great fear.

      **BOM: “Laban… is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?” (1 Nephi 3:31)

      **APO: “God hath sold us into their hands, that we should be thrown down before them with thirst, and great destruction.” (Judith 7:25)

      7. Both Nephi and Judith counseled their associates to be strong.

      **BOM: “Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses” (1 Nephi 4:2)

      **APO: “Now, therefore, O brethren, let us shew an example to our brethren” (Judith 8:24)

      8. Both claimed that God’s strength did not depend upon numbers.

      **BOM: “the Lord… is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty” (1 Nephi 4:1)

      **APO: “For thy power standeth not in multitude, nor thy might in strong men… a saviour of them that are without hope.” (Judith 9:11)

      9. Both Nephi and his brethren and Judith and her maid went on a secret mission for the Lord.

      **BOM: “we came without the walls of Jerusalem. And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls… I Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.” (1 Nephi 4:4-5)

      **APO: “Thus they went forth to the gate of the city of Bethulia… the men of the city looked after her, until she was gone down the mountain, and till she had passed the valley, and could see her no more.” (Judith 10:6, 10)

      10. In both cases the wicked man was delivered into the hands of the servant of the Lord.

      **BOM: “I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me” (1 Nephi 4:7)

      **APO: “And Judith was left alone in the tent, and Holofernes lying along upon his bed” (Judith 13:2)

      11. In both cases the wicked man was drunk.

      **BOM: “he was drunken with wine” (1 Nephi 4:7)

      **APO: “he was filled with wine” (Judith 13:2)

      12. In both cases the servant of the Lord took hold of the wicked man’s weapon.

      **BOM: “I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth” (1 Nephi 4:9)

      **APO: “she… took down his fauchion from thence” (Judith 13:6)

      13. In both cases the servant of the Lord took hold of the wicked man’s hair.

      **BOM: “took Laban by the hair of the head” (1 Nephi 4:18)

      **APO: “took hold of the hair of his head” (Judith 13:7)

      14. In both cases the wicked man’s head was cut off with his own weapon.

      **BOM: “and I smote off his head with his own sword” (1 Nephi 4:18)

      **APO: “And she smote twice upon his neck… and she took away his head from him” (Judith 13:8)

      15. In both cases the servant of the Lord returned to those who were waiting without being caught.

      **BOM: “I went forth unto my brethren, who were without the walls” (1 Nephi 4:27)

      **APO: “Now, when the men of her city heard her voice, they made haste to go down to the gate of their city” (Judith 13:12)

      16. Both Nephi and Judith made off with some of the wicked man’s possessions.

      **BOM: “I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins…. we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 4:19, 38)

      **APO: “they gave unto Judith Holofernes’ tent, and all his plate, and beds, and vessels, and all his stuff” (Judith 15:11)

      17. When the people learned of the success of the mission they rejoiced.

      **BOM: “they did rejoice exceedingly” (1 Nephi 5:9)

      **APO: “the people shouted with a loud voice, and made a joyful noise in their city” (Judith 14:9)

      18. In both cases the people offered burnt offerings to the Lord.

      **BOM: “they did… offer sacrifice and burnt offerings” (1 Nephi 5:9)

      **APO: “they offered their burnt-offerings” (Judith 16:18

      19. Both Nephi and Judith use a similar expression.

      **BOM: “his tens of thousands” (1 Nephi 4:1)

      **APO: “he came with ten thousand” (Judith 16:4)

      20. Nephi was raised in a house in Jerusalem, but before he killed Laban, his father took the family into the wilderness and they lived in tents. Judith also lived in a house. After her husband’s death, however, she made a tent which she put on top of her house. Later she cut off Holofernes’ head in his own tent.

      **BOM: “he [Nephi’s father] departed into the wilderness. And he left his house… and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents… my father dwelt in a tent…” (1 Nephi 4-5)

      **APO: “So Judith was a widow in her house three years and four months. And she made her a tent upon the top of her house… And she fasted” (Judith 8:4-6)

      21. In both 1 Nephi and Judith we find the words “three days,” “valley,” and “to the tent of.”

      **BOM: “when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley… I, Nephi, returned… to the tent of my father” (1 Nephi 2:6; 3:1)

      **APO: “Thus they went straight forth in the valley; and the first watch of the Assyrians met her… and they brought her to the tent of Holofernes… she abode in the camp three days, and went out in the night into the valley” (Judith 10:11, 17; 12:7)

      22. In both accounts the servant of the Lord changes apparel.

      **BOM: “I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit” (1 Nephi 4:20)

      **APO: “She… pulled off the sackcloth which she had on, and put off the garments of her widowhood… her countenance was altered, and her apparel was changed” (Judith 10:2-3, 7)

      23. Both Nephi and Judith used trickery to obtain the desired result.

      **BOM: “I took the garments of Laban and put them on… I went forth unto the treasury of Laban…. I saw the servant of Laban who had the keys of the treasury. And I commanded him in the voice of Laban that he should go with me into the treasury. And he supposed me to be his master, Laban… I spake unto him as if it had been Laban. And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren… And he, supposing that I spake of the brethren of the church, and that I was truly that Laban whom I had slain, wherefore he did follow me” (1 Nephi 4:19-24)

      **APO: “Then said Holofernes unto her, woman, be of good comfort… Judith said unto him, Receive the words of thy servant… and I will declare no lie to my lord this night. And if thou wilt follow the words of thine handmaid, God will bring the thing perfectly to pass by thee; and my Lord shall not fail of his purposes…. And I will lead thee through the midst of Judea, until thou come before Jerusalem; and I will set thy throne i[n] the midst thereof” (Judith 11:1, 5-6, 19)

      24. Both Laban and Holofernes were slain while others were sleeping.

      **BOM: “And it was by night… I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban” (1 Nephi 4:5)

      **APO: “Now when the evening was come, his servants made haste to depart, and Bagoas shut his tent without, and dismissed the waiters from the presence of his lord; and they went to their beds: for they were all weary, because the feast had been long. And Judith was left alone in the tent, and Holofernes lying along his bed” (Judith 13:1-2)

      25. Both 1 Nephi and the book of Judith contain a similar expression.

      **BOM: “left gold and silver, and” (1 Nephi 3:16)

      **APO: “left her gold and silver, and” (Judith 8:7)

      26. As we mentioned above, the very first verse found in 2 Maccabees mentions the Jews in Egypt. The second verse in the Book of Mormon contains Nephi’s incredible statement that the book would be written in the Egyptian language. The letter mentioned in the Apocrypha may have led Joseph Smith to conclude that it would be acceptable to claim his book of sacred scriptures was written in Egyptian.

      **BOM: “I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” (1 Nephi 1:2)

      **APO: “The brethren, the Jews that be at Jerusalem, and in the land of Judea, wish unto the brethren the Jews that are throughout Egypt, health and peace.” (2 Maccabees 1:1)

      27. We have also mentioned that the introduction to the first chapter of 2 Maccabees contains a four-word phrase which is also found in the Book of Mormon.

      **BOM: “the Jews at Jerusalem” (4 Nephi 1:31)

      **APO: “the Jews at Jerusalem” (Introductory statement at the start of 2 Maccabees)

      28. In the second verse of the Book of Mormon Nephi says that he is going to make a “record.” 2 Maccabees 2:1 speaks of some “records” which told of a commandment given by Jeremy the prophet. A three-word parallel is found later in 1 Nephi.

      **BOM: “in the records” (1 Nephi 13:40)

      **APO: “in the records” (2 Maccabees 2:1)

      29. In the very first chapter of the Book of Mormon, Nephi says he is going to make an abridgment of his record. This is suspiciously like a portion of 2 Maccabees. There is an interesting three-word parallel in the two accounts.

      **BOM: “make an abridgment.” (1 Nephi 1:17)

      **APO: “make an abridgment.” (2 Maccabees 2:31)

      30. Both 1 Nephi and 1 Maccabees refer to a “treasury,” plates or tables “of brass,” and use the word “commanded.”

      **BOM: “I went forth unto the treasury of Laban… I saw the servant of Laban… And I commanded him… that he should go with me into the treasury…. I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren” (1 Nephi 1:20, 24)

      **APO: “So they commanded that this writing should be put in tables of brass, and that they should be set… in a conspicuous place; Also that the copies thereof should be laid up in the treasury, to the end that Simon and his sons might have them.” (1 Maccabees 14:48-49)

      31. The reader will remember that 2 Maccabees, chapter 3, contains a story about “the treasury in Jerusalem” and Heliodorus’ attempt to plunder its contents. Laban’s treasury was also in Jerusalem. Both Nephi and Heliodorus had to travel to Jerusalem in their attempt to obtain access to the treasury.

      **BOM: “I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem… I Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban” (1 Nephi 4:1, 5)

      **APO: “the king chose out Heliodorus… and sent him with a commandment to bring him the foresaid money. So forthwith Heliodorus took his journey… And when he was come to Jerusalem, and had been courteously received of the high priest… he… declared wherefore he came” (2 Maccabees 3:7-9)

      32. Both Laban and Heliodorus were brought to the ground so they could not thwart the work of the Lord.

      **BOM: “as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me… And when I came to him I found that it was Laban” (1 Nephi 4:7-8)

      **APO: “And Heliodorus fell suddenly unto the ground, and was compassed with great darkness” (2 Maccabees 3:27)

      (http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no89.htm)

      Please forgive the length, I by no means expect you to respond to all of this but I am showing that there are reasonable, logical places you can go to see where Joseph Smith might have got the Book of Mormon from, you may not accept these I appreciate that, but that does not take away from their existence and the fact that Joseph could have logically (meaning it was a reasonable possibility) used them.

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    2. I would just like to say that even though Church keeps telling members that Joseph Smith was a uneducated young man, he did spend three years in bed after his leg operation. He did this at his uncle Jesse Smith’s place in Salem who had an extensive library.

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      1. My father has an extensive library as well, yet I’ve read none of his books. Is there testimony from his uncle that he immersed himself in this extensive book collection?… and, if so, is this supposed to explain how he could dictate for hours to his scribes? I wouldn’t be able to dictate for hours and I have a Masters in Education.

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      2. I read Mr Jesse Smith’s journal in the Library of Congress and he mentions how “little Joseph is greatly enjoying my collection”. From his mother’s autobiography we can also read that the family enjoyed hours on end when Joseph Jr would tell them stories about the ancient Nephites and Lamanites — long before he “translated” the plates. He had thought of those stories for quite some time before they were put on paper.

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      3. If Joseph told his family about the Nephites and Lamanites long before he translated the plates then it’s not just his conspiracy of lies, but now becomes his whole family’s conspiracy of lies and perpetual deceit since they were witnesses and bore testimony of the marvelous experiences involved in the translation of a sacred record and subsequent restoration of the gospel and church, which you now argue they knew was blatantly false because they knew of Joseph’s fairy tales of the Nephites and Lamanites long before the plates were translated.

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      4. Dear Chris, I never read anti mormon resources, I only read journals by the early pioneers, court documents of the era and newspaper articles of the era to form my own opinions. Lucy Mack Smith said the following in her 1853 autobiography:
        “During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them” — so it is not me who claims that the stories were familiar to the family but Joseph’s mother. If you want the absolute truth, one doesn’t read material from those that are for the cause or against the cause. Never trust someone who has an alternate agenda, God has given you intelligence to make your own opinions and come to your own conclusion.

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  3. Hi Chris (Holt). It is very refreshing amidst all the slings and arrows to find someone who is prepared to look further into the background of these people and sites who delight in throwing mud at the true Church. (Maybe we can compare notes via email.)

    Oh and Bobby before you use inuendo and imply that the Area Presidency maybe have asked me to reply to the open letter, they have not. I can maybe see why though they have not taken the bait and answered the charges made against the Church. I am sure that Chris Ralph and other anti-mormon web sites are waiting with baited breath for any response so that they can twist and misrepresent their reply. I remember hearing a quote from Elder Richard L Evans, former apostle who said in substance give me two sentences from the best of men and I will find sufficient evidence to hang him. I hope the Area Presidency do not reply, why would the Brethren spend time with this, their time is spent their time trying to save souls, not destroy them.

    Bobby, Oh what a tangled web we weave when we flatter to deceive, your reply is stretching my credulity in the same way that people who say biological evolution is the answer to origins. Why would there not be similarities between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, they come from the same source.

    I have copied here a response to Chris Ralph’s second letter, (by the way I would have liked a response from Chris Ralph to my reply to his first open letter, “kettle and frying pans come to mind), which I posted yesterday on Steve Bloor’s blog, I have tried in vain to find where I can converse with Chris directly, if you have a blog or his email address I would be grateful if you would give it to me, he seems to be hiding behind several sites which carry these open letters.:-

    ” Hi Brother Ralph, I do not speak for the Church but let you and I reason together for a moment, as I see it you intimate with your critical questions that you are in possesion of “truths” that you claim has been hidden from the rank and file of the Church.

    Let me ask you a few questions:-

    Have you done your own research into the history of the Church or are you relying on information put out by web sites such as mormonthink.com, staylds.com. mormonisminvestigated.co.uk, or by disidents such as Jim Whitefield, Fawn Brodie, Philastus Hulbert or other excommunicated members of the Church.

    Are you aware that most of the books which are cited by the above are published by Signature Books, the founder of which is an avowed anti-mormon, of whom one critic has said, “Korihor is back and he now has a printing press”. The avowed aim of George D Smith, D Michael Quinn, Grant Palmer, Todd Compton, Dan Vogel etc etc., is not to bring to the minds of faithful members of the Church information for their own good, it is to sow “discord among brethren” to quote Proverbs 6:16-19. This “information” is from disaffected once -members of the Church who have lost the spirit and who are leaving the Church, but cannot leave it alone.

    Are you content to place your eternal salvation on the “evidence” presented by such men?.

    There are answers to all the questions which you pose to the Brethren, but the problem is that you would need to have the humility to accept that maybe you and others like you are maybe on the slippery slope of being deceived by the father of lies, just as Korihor was.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith was told by Moroni that his “name would be had for good and evil among all nations”, I am afraid that you Brother Ralph are in danger of casting your lot with the evil minded people mentioned by Moroni.

    My advise to you and anyone who has been ensnared by these evil and designing men is to humbly ask the Lord for enlightenment to clear your mind of these devilish enticements and to return to the true fold of God.

    I look forward to your response. Jeff Walsh, (you can contact me privately if you want at jeffwalshgen@uwclub.net )

    Bobby in answer to your query about our proposed meeting on the 20th Oct, I do not on reflection think that this would be worthwhile, you and your organisation have made very clear your opposition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I suspect that all we would be doing is going over ground we have discussed in the past. The problem is that you accept a closed Bible, which incidently has been changed many time by different translators, a closed Bible which you choose to put your own interpretation on. I accept continuing revelation from God who chose Joseph Smith His successors as His mouthpieces on the earth in these last days.

    God’s purposes cannot be thwarted by satanic forces as have been evidenced throughout recorded time so Bobby use your best endevours and we will see whether this onslaught against the Church will succeed or not. Have a nice life. Jeff Walsh.

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    1. Now then Jeff be assured i did not think for a second you were replying on behalf of the area presidency, i will make sure Chris is aware of what you said.

      Have you been getting my emails out of interest?

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    2. Hello Jeff. i rarely, if ever, make any response to the sort of statements you post here but am making an exception because I know Chris Ralph personally. He has no idea that I am posting this and if it meets with his disapproval in any way then I am truly sorry. No offence is meant to anybody. Jeff, I do find it a little disappointing that you have chosen to make a personal attack on Chris. It does not seem the Christian thing to do and is difficult to justify. What evidence do you have for being “sure” that Chris is “waiting with baited breath for any response so that (he) can twist and misrepresent their reply”? I have known Chris for many years and can vouch for the fact that one meets a man with his degree of personal integrity only very rarely. You know, having followed this thread, that Chris published the original letter sent out by the Area Presidency in full (he actually posted a facsimile of it) before making any comment of his own. So you already know that he believes in full transparency and is not out to misrepresent in any way. Your comment is insulting and I feel that if you wish to demonstrate any degree of integrity you will offer an apology.

      A personal attack often says more about the person making it so may I suggest, as kindly as I possibly can, that you may wish to take just one step back before going any further down that road. If you continue to make unfair assumptions and be “sure” in your own mind, against the evidence available to you, about the integrity of others then others may begin to make assumptions about your own. Eventually it all disintegrates into a war of words in which the Sprit is entirely lost.

      You appear to feel that the church should not respond to Chris while also believing that you have the right to expect a response from him. You also accuse him of “hiding”. Publishing a dialogue between himself and the church on a public forum and in his own name is hardly “hiding”. Chris is addressing those who represent the highest church authority in the UK where Chris lives and is doing so in response to a letter they sent out the contents of which directly concern and affect him personally. He has every right to hope for a reply of some kind through whatever channels they decide to use (it may be that Elder Keiran of the Area Presidency will contact him as they are well known to each other and there exists a genuine mutual respect). On the other hand, and again I do not wish to be unkind or unfair, it does not appear to me that you have any right to insist that Chris respond in any way to yourself. You are free to think what you wish and to comment if you so choose. Of course you are. But you do not have any entitlement to a response. I did, however, enjoy the witty quote in regard to Korihor. I actually laughed out loud at that.

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    3. Hmmm Jeff you say
      “The avowed aim of George D Smith, D Michael Quinn, Grant Palmer, Todd Compton, Dan Vogel etc etc., is not to bring to the minds of faithful members of the Church information for their own good, it is to sow “discord among brethren”
      Will you be adding Richard Bushman to that list ? or in fact anyone who doesn’t fully agree with the approved history as taught by the missionaries??
      Its true im sure that disaffected souls can paint a more negative picture than the truth but the LDS Church has also painted a picture that is at odds with the facts!
      How are we to really know the truth unless members are able to get answers to the questions that are being asked? how can they examine them and discern their truth?
      You say that the church will not respond because their words will be twisted?? Well so what? its better than just ignoring the pleas of the truth seekers! The silence suggests that they do not have any answers to these questions and so perhaps JSmith is a fraud after all? and the BOM just a hoax perpetrated to gain power and money?

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    4. Really Jeff?
      I wonder if you have any notion or understanding of how foolish you are making yourself look.
      You are like the Judge at the “Scopes monkey trail” who refused to allow evidence in support of evolution, because the teaching of evolution was that which was on trail.
      By saying you will not accept the evidence of ex-Mormons, who speak out explaining why they are ex-Mormon, because the word of an ex-Mormon is worthless even on matters pertaining to their own experience, you show yourself to be fearful, panicking and akin to the small child sitting in the corner with his fingers in his ears screaming “LALALALA i’M NOT LISTENING AND YOUSE CAN’T MAKE ME!”

      As to why Chris does not make direct contact with you, I am sure you will understand (though I cannot presume to speak for the man himself) if I paraphrase your own words to explain it “you and your organisation have made very clear your opposition… I suspect that all we would be doing is going over ground we have discussed in the past.”

      For your own sake Jeff, step back take an objective look and realise just how frightened you are, of the LDS church, of their version of God, of being pushed out, of making changes to your life as it stands; and then consider, when you make your impassioned pleas, who are you really trying to convince?

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    5. Jef you state:
      “The problem is that you accept a closed Bible, which incidently has been changed many time by different translators, a closed Bible which you choose to put your own interpretation on. I accept continuing revelation from God who chose Joseph Smith His successors as His mouthpieces on the earth in these last days.”
      But hasnt the BOM been changed many times and had many excuses for the errors therein?

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      1. Yes I accept, that I was replying to posts that make a point that something classed as a revelation from God should not change. By the way the vast majority of the changes have been typographical. Jeff

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  4. I could make the same plea to the UK Partnership in Christ to search out their own church history. I served my mission in England so I am well aware of it’s church history and the majority presence of the Church of England there. Henry the VIII wanted a divorce from his wife and the Pope wouldn’t grant him one so he broke away from the Catholic church and started his own church. Hardly the basis for a true religion. The Church of Scotland is just the Church of England in Scotland, so it’s a rotten apple from the same tree (of course I am referring to the church institution itself and not the people). The UK Partnership in Christ is almost certainly an off-shoot down the line of the Church of England. Hardly the basis for a true religion. Whether you acknowledge your Church of England roots or not, much or your religion is stolen from Catholicism (whom I’m sure you wouldn’t recognize as the one and only true church even though they’re the reason you have a Bible today and are the foundation of most of your Christian beliefs), including the false belief of the Trinity (which is stolen from the Nicean Creed instituted by Constantine at the council of Nicea). According to Wikipedia, there are, to date, over 30,000 Christian denominations who all use the Bible. If they all believed the same thing they would be 1 church, not 30,000! If they all use the same book yet teach completely different doctrines, can they all be right?…of course not. Are they all branches from the same Catholic tree?…most certainly! They all use the same canonized scripture that was given to the world via the Catholic church. Shouldn’t one logically conclude then that the Catholic church is the one and only true church?…unless of course their truly was a falling away and a restoration was necessary. Or maybe the UK Partnership in Christ can trace its religious origins directly back to Christ and the apostles in New Testament times without any direct influence from the Catholic church and the Church of England?…not likely. The UK Partnership in Christ is therefore just another one of the 30,000 Christian denominations that exist today who interpret the bible their own way with the majority of their religious roots stemming from Catholicism (via the Church of England). Considering there’s probably 100-1000 times more Church of Englanders in the UK compared to Mormons and JW’s, why doesn’t your partnership spend its time and resources more effectively by reaching out to the Church of Englanders who are trapped in a false church started by a selfish king? The reason is because the Church of England is your church history and if you attack them you attack your own foundation and have to acknowledge you built your house upon the sand.

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    1. Now then Chris you make some fair points, though fortunately its Christ that my trust is in for my salvation not church history He said He would build His church and He would be with her to the end of the age. Unless you can prove that Christ did not rise from the dead then im still on solid ground and your statement about the catholic church is not the same issue we see with the mass plagarism in the book of mormon.

      Now i would be interested to see you respond to Chris’s letter or my initial comment without the deflection and then i will be happy to respond to you further.

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  5. It’s not just the translation of the book of Mormon, where is the archeological evidence? There is non. If there where great battles where thousands were killed where is the evidence? There is non. DNA evidence doesnt stack up… It goes on on and on … People’s shelves are getting too heavy and they are spectually falling down.
    When I stand back and see the church with new eyes I can’t believe that I was so tunnel visioned and yes brainwashed.
    I still have a testimony of my savior and I am finding that he doesn’t require us to jump through hoops, just expects us to try and follow his teachings that is all. I find that I don’t need all the add ons that Mormonism gives you. Jesus did not have a church on the earth he just asked people to follow him, that is to follow his example. He came to set the people free from the pharrasitical laws that had come Into being.i feel that the church has become like this, ie length of skirts!( is very much frowned on by a stake president I know, which is truly bonkers, aren’t we just glad the youth are there!).
    The church seems to have no worship in its meetings infact they see more like business meetings.So I think that if Christopher Ralph can be an instrument in Gods’ hands to open a dialogue then he needs some thanksI

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  6. The roots of the Church of England go back to the time of the Roman Empire when a Christian church came into existence in what was then the Roman province of Britain. The early Christian writers Tertullian and Origen mention the existence of a British church in the third century AD and in the fourth century British bishops attended a number of the great councils of the Church such as the Council of Arles in 314 and the Council of Rimini in 359. The first member of the British church whom we know by name is St Alban, who, tradition tells us, was martyred for his faith on the spot where St Albans Abbey now stands.

    The British church was a missionary church with figures such as St Illtud, St Ninian and St Patrick evangelising in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, but the invasions by the pagan Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the fifth century seem to have destroyed the organisation of the church in much of what is now England. In 597 a mission sent by Pope Gregory the Great and led by St Augustine of Canterbury landed in Kent to begin the work of converting these pagan peoples. What eventually became known as the Church of England (the Ecclesia Anglicana – or the English Church) was the result of a combination of three streams of Christianity, the Roman tradition of St Augustine and his successors, the remnants of the old Romano-British church and the Celtic tradition coming down from Scotland and associated with people like St Aidan and St Cuthbert.

    What the Mormon missionaries teach about the origins of The Church of England are patently false. When King Henry wanted a divorce from his forced marriage to Catherine of Aragon, it became the catalyst to take back what was rightfully theirs. Underlying this was a Tudor nationalist belief that authority over the English Church properly belonged to the English monarchy. It was believed that they had their authority from the early Christian missionary effort and not by a foreign leader.

    Your argument is a straw man argument based on a falsehood. Start with a fact and build your argument upon it.

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    1. Hmmmmmm……..this is the first time I have seen this train of logic and I have to say I am not sure about the “Tudor nationalist belief that authority over the English Church properly belonged to the English monarchy”. Didn’t Henry the VIII get the title “Defender of the Faith” from the Pope for loyalty to Rome at some point? I don’t claim to be an expert on British ecclesiastical history (if you questioned me on it and I got two consecutive answers right nobody’s flabber would be more ghasted than my own!) but apparently our Henry wrote a book in which he defended the sacramental nature of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope and was granted the title by Rome in recognition of this. A few years later he renounced both his marriage and the Pope. Nevertheless, this would seem to demonstrate that until the problem of providing a male heir to the throne of England took precedence he was not passionately concerned about the rights of the English monarchy to authority over the English church. However, that is merely an historical aside. My main concern is the premise that secular authority bestows authority from God in spiritual matters. That surely cannot be. God will call whom he will but I have a problem with the idea that God is tied to accepting that a monarch (in those days often on the throne as a the result of political intrigue and war – as was the case with the Tudor kings of which Henry the VIII was one) should automatically be accepted as His choice regardless of worthiness or suitability. Peter was the head of the early church as can be seen from the Acts of the Apostles and Paul acknowledges this also. He was the head of the church because be was called by God. Should a church not be separate from political or secular governance? Otherwise, how will it be led by God? (Just to clarify I am neither a Catholic nor a Mormon).

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      1. Great points! Peter was the head of the church and an apostle because he was called to be by the Lord. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and called you and ordained you…and no man taketh this honour unto himself. The Catholic church believes Peter to be the first pope and that there has been a papal succession from him until the present day pope making them the one and only true Christian church. If true, all other Christian churches are a break-off of the true Catholic church are are therefore based on the ideas and interpretations of man and subsequently false. If the Catholic church is not the one and only true church, then authority must have been lost and subsequently restored somehow to men who were called of God by miraculous means (assuming there is a true church on the earth presently), not because they noticed something was wrong and decided to take matters into their own hands. Otherwise you end up with 30,000+ Christian denominations who all claim to have the truth, yet teach conflicting doctrines.

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    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England

      The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[2] in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St Augustine of Canterbury in AD 597.
      As a result of Augustine’s mission, the church in England became an integral part of the Roman Catholic Church and acknowledged the authority of the Pope. Initially prompted by a dispute over the annulment of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534 and became the established church by an Act of Parliament in the Act of Supremacy, beginning a series of events known as the English Reformation.[3] During the reign of Queen Mary, the Church was fully restored under Rome in 1555. Papal authority was again explicitly rejected after the accession of Queen Elizabeth when the Act of Supremacy of 1558 was passed. Catholic and Reformed factions vied for determining the doctrines and worship of the church. This ended with the 1558 Elizabethan settlement, which developed the understanding that the church was to be both Catholic and Reformed:[4]

      The Church of England has stolen its creeds from the Roman Catholic church and adpoted parts of Protestantism. It is unarguably a break-off of the Roman Catholic church. That’s a fact!

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      1. I think i would echo the words of Jesus about His faithfulness to the church again that is what i am standing on for this. How about you respond to the subject of this post Chris? It seems to me the mormon response so far is criticise Chris ralph and avoid at all costs what he said, who is the one with the shakey foundation here?

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  7. When Jesus was on the earth he had no church.. The people were the church that is what I meant, and man has ever since made up the rest.. And the rest is history Mormonism in all it glory.. All made up !

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    1. as mentioned earlier, there are over 30,000 Christian denominations who all claim to believe the Bible and follow Christ just like you. Unfortunately you can’t all be right since you all believe different things and there’s only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism…not 30,000+!!! Just as easily as you can find websites to prove your point that Mormonism is made up, I can find 10 times as many websites that prove Christianity is made up and evolution is a scientific fact! You will find whatever it is you’re looking for on the internet!

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    2. Daisy you are absolutely correct and John the Baptist was baptizing people for remission of their sins before Jesus even started his ministry OR had completed the atonement. They were not being baptized into his ‘church’ but as an outward expression of their repentance. Now why would they do that when no atonement had occurred. The Jews did not believe in Jesus. These were a few radicals. Chris Holt, go ahead and prove that Christianity is made up because if it is, then Mormonism which claims to be Christian is also proved to be false. They use the Christian Bible do they not? They even plagiarized from it as you see in some of the earlier posts. When you pick up one end of a stick you also pick up the other.

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      1. Yes Mormons are Christians and we do believe in the Bible. The point which you missed is that you can find evidence for just about anything on the internet. Just like you think you have supposed evidence that inarguably proves Mormons and JW’s false, I could easily send you links of hundreds, if not thousands, of evolutionists/scientists/atheists who can supposedly prove Christianity and the Bible false. Why do you believe in Christianity when there is supposed evidence by thousands of scientists and evolutionists who can prove otherwise? There is no archaeological evidence of the garden of eden and Adam and Eve, yet you still believe it right? If you’re going to try to discredit the Book of Moron through DNA evidence, the same DNA technologies discredit the theory of Adam and Eve and the origin of man as found in the Bible. So to use your own quote…”when you pick up one end of a stick you also pick up the other”!

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      2. Well Christ Holt, we agree then; it is all superstitious nonsense and people choose which superstition they like. The lies of Christianity are harder to prove because of the age of the religion, but Mormonism is so easy, so recent and so today. You can find the lies being told today still about a worldwide flood in Noah’s day; no archeological evidence whatsoever for a worldwide flood at that time in the earth’s history. The church leaders are still spouting that rhetoric. Or that the creation of mankind or the ‘placement’ of mankind was in Independence, Missouri so that means the ark started out from that point. You just won’t look at the real evidence because you prefer a comforting lie. I did; I’m out of the whole mess of religion.

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      3. Hi Chris in all seriousness this is some thought provoking discussion for me, you are clearly someone who has thought this stuff through and is by no means an idiot, I genuinely mean that and am not in anyway trying to be provocative.

        You have hit the nail on the head that whatever form of Christianity you believe in, whether its mine or yours or others there is a strong element of faith, that faith can be in contrast to the intellectuals and scientists of today, while I genuinely feel there are some helpful evidences for the bible such as archaeology, extent of biblical texts we have and the evidence of changed lives, and I think there is much evidence for the existence of God, the existence of objective moral values, the logical need for a creator the beauty of creation and so on there is still a strong element of faith, I cant argue with that.

        However I feel that Mormonism causes 3 problems, firstly the lack of archaeological evidence at all to support it, secondly it does not teach the same gospel as the bible, thirdly there is evidence of deception, not just a lack of evidence for its truth but actual evidence of deception in the history of Mormonism, this is not the same as the faith not being supported by evidence, rather it is actual evidence for the falsehood of this faith. This is what you are yet to engage with here.

        I was going to spend a while on this but I dont want to take away from what Chris Ralph said, I would rather get this conversation to a point where we are dealing with the initial subject raised however I will say you have picked up on one of my favourite topics of discussion within Mormonism which is the DNA issue.

        What I have seen kind of watching dialogue on the issue is Simon Southerton, Mormon bishop at the time does this DNA study, finds a problem and gets excommunicated from the church if I remember rightly, please correct me if im wrong on that. What we have had since then is many apologists and defenders of the Mormon faith saying this DNA stuff doesnt matter, it does not prove anything etc etc, what does the LDS church do? I imagine you might know the answer to this but what the church does as is often does is say nothing publically, but make a little discreet change. In the introduction to the Book of Mormon for years we saw the Nephites and laminites were the principal ancestors of the native americans, this fits Mormon belief well, what do we see now? That they are among the ancestors of them, the apologists say it doesn’t matter, the church makes a silent change, this tells me it matters but the church is happy for everyone to think it doesnt.

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      4. Hi Bobby,

        Concerning DNA evidence, you should research the story of Keith Crandall, and his writings on the subject. He is a population geneticist (there aren’t many of those in the world) and he is a relatively recent convert to the Mormon church. It’s probably safe to say he knows more about DNA evidence and population genetics than you or me or anyone participating in this discussion. I have a degree in biology and understand more about the significance of what he has said on the subject than the average person and even I am forced to refresh my memory and research things he says to gain clarity on things that I don’t understand because I’m not a population geneticist. That being said, he did join the church after investigating it and the DNA evidence. Does that prove the church is true!…no. Just the same way a biochemist leaving the church doesn’t prove it’s not true. But it is significant that he joined the church and has very strong opinions on the supposed evidence against the Book of Mormon claims.

        As far as archaeological evidence goes, I’ve read many books on the subject (some written by members of the Mormon church, some not) and I’ve found many evidences for myself that prove to me that the Book of Mormon is not fiction. I gave a simple example in an earlier post. In Joseph Smith’s day, ancient Israelites did not write on metal plates and bury them in stone boxes. He was ridiculed for 100 years for saying otherwise. In Joseph Smith’s day, the America’s were only populated via walking across the Bering Strait, not by oceanic voyages. It is now well known that ancient Israelites did write on metal plates and sometimes buried them in stone boxes to keep them safe. Not only do many native american tribes speak about their ancestors originating from the sea, but many of them also claim to be actual Israelites. There is significant data to show that some of their words are of Hebrew origin. Many of these tribes have oral traditions that their creator visited them (He being described as a bearded, white man), healed them using only his words, taught them to love one another, and left them the promise that He would return some day. This is significant when considering the natives are not white and can’t grow facial hair and their oral traditions pre-date the visitations of European explorers. Is this inexplicable evidence that The Book of Mormon is true?…of course not. But there is a list of evidences that that I haven’t even touched on that cannot be ignored if one is truly seeking evidence. If you are interested, I would be happy to recommend some of my favourite books.

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      5. We seem to be moving further and further away from the original post and, Bobby, you have hit the nail squarely on the Mormon thumb! There has been a lot of words critical of Chris Ralph all from Mormons who want to tow the party line without any objective analysis. But there are some very real questions and they won’t go away. The Mormon church does need to respond and will be forced to do so at some stage. Chris Ralph has been accused of hiding when it is the church and its leaders who are hiding. The approach taken by members of the church is often disappointing for people professing to be Christians. It is becoming increasingly hard for me to continue to see Mormons as Christians because they always seem to put loyalty to their church and its leaders way above their loyalty to Christ. Jesus Christ would never behave the way that the Mormon church does. My wife is a Mormon and I was a Mormon for thirty years. I still have fond memories of bringing my family up in the church and my daughter is desperate for me to return to it but I could never be a member of a church that is not committed to following Christ. I honestly feel that if I were a member of the Mormon church I would be dishonouring my Saviour rather than serving him.

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      6. From the letter:
        “When will it finally be understood that entering into dialogue with those of us whose hearts are yet with the Mormon community, but whose understanding of history has outgrown a milk-only diet of myth and dogma, would lead to a more open, honest, robust and authentic organization, which courageously would embrace truth, without constantly needing to spin and deceive, while looking in fear over its shoulder?”
        If that robust dialogue happens it has to include Christianity as a whole. When Mormons hear claims from ‘so called’ Christians, it is usually that Mormons are misled and that their god is not THE god etc. Other Christians and Mormons need to face up to a few truths about religion. Each one is clinging to their own beliefs like a drowning person. If you want Mormons and their leaders to face up to the myths of their religion you must be able to face up to the myths of your own. Religions are intertwined.

        A dialogue with the European Presidency would be nice, but I doubt very much that you will be heard.

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      7. “So Chris why do you think the LDS church made that change to the introduction of the book of Mormon?”

        Not sure where this is going to wind up n the thread…it didn’t have a reply link right below your comment.

        I would guess that the church made the change so that it is more in line with what the Book of Mormon actually reveals. When Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, I would guess he was referring to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that was contained in it and not it’s ability to be used as an atlas. There is definitely a limited geography in the Book of Mormon and it didn’t take place over the entire American continents as many have previously believed (and maybe some still do). The introduction is not inspired revelation, so “if there are faults they are the mistakes of men, condemn not the things of God”.

        I don’t know Chris Ralph, so I have no idea if he is still a Christian or if he is atheist or agnostic, but just as he speaks of the “mythology” of the Mormon church, atheists and scientists speak of the “mythology” of Christianity in general. They have their “indisputable”, “unarguable” facts that are so blatantly obvious to them that they wonder why Christians believe the “mythological” stories that are found in the Bible. Yet despite all the alleged scientific evidence against the Bible and its contents, people still choose to follow it. Are they deluded for believing such things? Are they ignoring the obvious for believing such things? Many scientists would like answers from Christians for their beliefs that contradict what science has discovered. If Christians fail to answer or don’t have the answers, are they hiding from their true history?

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      8. Thanks for answering Chris, I think your answer on the DNA issue is far from dealing with this issue however I dont want this to go too far off topic so I think we will save that one for later, I think a blog post on it before too long is in order.

        And yes I imagine its a little uncomfortable for you in not knowing where Chris comes from in the faith sense now as you cannot ignore his points and deflect like you mostly have so far. The door is still open for you to deal head on with what he has said.

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  8. At the moment the journey that I am on is making me think that the old testament is a series of myths written down
    to keep the people together , there does seem to be little archaeology found to back it up, but what I like is the fact I can study it out for myself and work out my own theology. I still would like to believe in the good news that the new testament brings.

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  9. Dear All, I think that respect is the most important thing we can show fellow human beings. Faith or a belief system is a very personal thing. Richard Poll was a faithful member who died in the 1990’s – a historian if I remember rightly. If you google him many of his articles written for Sunstone are available on Wiki. I suggest you read some of them Jeff and Chris (with respect – LDS faithfuls). This issue is highly complex, a faithful explanation that acknowledges the difficulties may enable you to have compassion for others that feel hurt by some of these issues. Best wishes to all on their journey. “Let us oft speak kind words to each other!”

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    1. Karen just read your post, I am in agreement with you and I will follow your advise and google Richard Poll, but are you saying we should be forgiving and respectful even to people who are intent on trying to destroy the faith of active members of the Church with half truths and down right lies? Jeff

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  10. Bob Cullen, Double edged sword, H Lions, I would like to answer your replies by posing the same questions I posed to Chris Ralph, have you looked into the early history yourself, including the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account, or have you just taken the word of web sites such as mormon think, stylds.org, mormoninvestigated.co.uk and other anti mormon sites? Have you accepted the information from the books whose sources are from bitter and twisted accounts of axe grinding enemies of Joseph Smith and the early Church.

    If Chris Ralph is an upright man full of integrity as you claim he is, and that he has no hidden agenda, why would he choose to air all of his questions, which echo the teachings of these web sites, in public. There are channels which can be used to ask these questions within the Church. Are you asking me to accept, with this in mind, that Chris Ralph and his anti-mormon friends are not eagerly waiting so they (not necessarily HE) can twist and misconstrue their response. If you are you are insulting my incredulity. I suppose that in your eyes anyone can insult Joseph Smith and the leadership of the Church with impunity but if anyone has the audacity to challenge your views then we are the ones who are insulting. I think that it is you that needs to do the apologising, especially when you bring my integrity into question

    You accuse me of making unfair assumptions about the evidence available to me, well I have looked at the available “evidence” you are obviously referring to given on these web sites which claim to reveal the covered up evidence which if believed would invalidate Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I have looked at the sources of this “new evidence” and I am amazed that it would be believed by anyone who has a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I have proved to Bobby Gilpin where Todd Compton twisted and told absolute lies about at least one of the so called women that Joseph Smith was sealed to namely Lucy Walker, and when you look into the life of D Michael Quinn and the bitterness he has toward the “Hierarchy ” of the Church are we to accept anything he has to say as truth?

    For someone who you say has integrity to be prepared to ask in public questions he is demanding answers to and then not be prepared to defend his actions publicly does not say much for his objectivity. Why should I not have the right to receive answers to questions I put to him what is he afraid of, being proved wrong?

    I have a copy and have read Richard Bushman’s book “Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling” and although he is not as blatently anti-Church as some of the publications of Signature Books his views seem to border on questioning and inuendo which would put his conclusions in the same class . As to the question of what the missionaries teach, they teach the truths of the gospel, why should they be required to teach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. I also had a laugh out loud moment when I read that the Church paints a picture that is at odds with the facts. Which facts, the one the scriptures teach or the ones given by tha rabid ramblings of poisoned minds?

    If we read the scriptures including the modern day revelations we have already got the truth the whole ruth and nothing but the truth so why should be need any of “natural man’s” deviations.

    Just because the Brethren remain silent it does not mean that Quinn, Compton, Grant and co. are right. I think there is a direct parallel between what is happening now and the occasion in Matt 27:12-14 where Jesus was being asked questions by the chief priests and elders and He reamined silent, does this mean that the Saviour had things he was hiding or covering up? how ridiculous.

    As far as H Lions is concerned I have seen your comments on this and other blogs where you has displayed your jaundiced views, you so negative that I am not prepared to dignify and give any creedance to anything you have to say except two things, the reference to “you and your organisation” was not aimed at Chris Ralph it was to Bobby and the conversations we have had in the past and if you had read my post correctly you should have picked this up, but I guess as usual you were looking through a glass darkly. And finally to close with I quote the apostle Paul
    “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ (which is taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth) Romans 1:16. Remember Mr Lions “fools mock, but they shall mourn.

    The truths taught by the restored gospel of Jesus Christ brings one true happiness and the fruits of the gospel means eternal life and joy. Jeff Walsh

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    1. Jeff – it is wonderful that the LDS church has brought you such joy and happiness, unfortunately this is not everyone’s experience. Many lives have been lost over religious debated – I am right and you are wrong taken to extremes has lead to ‘holy war’. Again, faith is a personal thing – non of us are in a position to tell another what will bring them true happiness. The LDS church’s own article of faith implies such respect – number 11. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply the ‘good news’ – every religion interprets the good news differently. My good news is a very simple faith, that Jesus gives me the best clue of how God wants me to live. I love God, I love my Neighbor and try as hard as I can to follow the Golden Rule. I believe in goodness and don’t really care how people get there. I celebrate the religious freedom our country allows and also have many atheist friends who enrich my life – I don’t try to ‘save them’. I hope you have a lovely day today Jeff, I mean that sincerely and best wishes on your journey in faith the LDS way.

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      1. Karen, thank you for the sentiment you expressed in your post, and your best wishes for the future. I too am happy that you have comfort from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I would not want you lose any of your faith.

        There are a couple of comments to make, there surely is a contest that is taking place in the earth today this is between the forces of good and the opposing force of evil, one is being led by the Saviour Jesus Christ and the other lead by Satan.

        If everyone followed the pure teachings of Christ there would be no conflict or war, but unfortunately we are living in the last days just preceeding the second coming of Christ, Satan realises that he has not very long to go before he is to be bound during the Millemial Reign, so he is trying his best to detroy the Kingdom of God on the earth today.
        We can very easily see the weapons he is using such as atheism, humanism, the worship of false Gods and a miriad of other schemes to deceive God’s children.

        There is a movement which I am sure is one of the main objectives of the adversary, to attack and if possible destroy the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

        The Saviour was faced with this sort of attack, this time the adversary used the Scribes and Pharisees and cheif priests of the Jews, What did the Saviour do, he contended against these evil forces, he did not stand by and allow them free rein. We also read where the apostles contended with the devil.

        Bobby bless his heart is also contending with us to “save” and bring us back to Jesus, what he cannot accept though is that we believe that we are already members of His Kingdom here upon the earth, this Kingdom is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

        Karen I will leave you with one thought, it used to be thought that all roads lead to Rome, that is not true, just as untrue is that all the miriads of churches on the earth to day lead eventually to God. Please be sure that the path you are following with the help of the Saviour will eventually lead you to the true God, who is our Heavenly Father. Jeff

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    2. Jeff, I’m not sure of your age and I feel from your posts that you may be an adolescent who feels insecure that their core beliefs are questioned by others. How did you come by this website Jeff? I found it because a friend of mine told me that there were some interesting posts on it and indeed there are. I don’t necessarily agree with what is being said and I don’t intend to spend the time on here that it seems some do. But some of the posts are, indeed, interesting as one can see people with so many different views. I don’t feel threatened by what I read but it seems you do. That is sad. What were you looking for when you found this site, Jeff? And why were you looking? There will always be people who feel differently about things to yourself and you need to get used to that and allow them the privilege of worshipping what, where and how they may. That is what your church teaches, Jeff. If you have a problem with what other’s believe you must begin to accept that it is your problem not theirs. Please try to understand that questions do not necessarily constitute an attack and that putting everyone who questions the history or teachings of your church in the same category is neither reasonable nor accurate. Your response to Karen contains a question of your own: you ask “are you saying we should be forgiving and respectful even to people who are intent on trying to destroy the faith of active members of the Church with half truths and down right lies?”. My answer to your question, Jeff, comes in two parts. Firstly, you make a huge assumption regarding the motivation of people you do not know. You are passing judgement without knowledge and failing to act in accordance with the teachings of the Saviour according to the scriptures. Secondly, yes Jeff, you really are required to forgive all men. Again, that is admonition of the Saviour himself in the LDS scripture section 64 of the Doctrine & Covenants: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” May I also recommend a web page from the Mormon church website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1991/06/of-you-it-is-required-to-forgive?lang=eng which is talk by Gordon B Hinckley when he was first counsellor in the first presidency of the church.

      I, also, am required to forgive. I am required to forgive those leaders in the church who caused my family such heartache, such despair, who betrayed our family, who failed to provide the spiritual support we so desperately needed, who failed to do anything to support our eldest son when he was living away from home even though he attended regularly and they were made aware of his situation (including having little or no food), who betrayed the trust I placed in the church in regard to another son when on his mission and who also faced the real prospect of being sent home on a dishonourable discharge totally wrongly. One of the biggest mistakes of my life and one of the things I most regret and for which I have still yet to forgive myself is encouraging my son to serve that mission. I could go on and on but I won’t. The simple fact is I am required to forgive them. But you cannot even allow others to feel differently about things than you do without apparently withholding forgiveness for things of which they are not necessarily even guilty except in your own mind. You know nothing of Chris Ralph and yet you hold him guilty of things out of mere supposition. This is the my last post, Jeff. Say what you will, it is a right you have that I defend even though I cannot agree with your approach to things. As I will not respond you may say what you wish about me for posting this. But be aware that you will be held accountable. Learn not to judge, learn to forgive. It is something I have struggled with in the past so I can assure you from personal experienced that you will feel happier for it, Jeff. Honestly, you really will. Instead of being happy to have found what you believe is the true church seek, instead, a relationship with your Saviour. It will change you.

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      1. Bob, I can see how you could arrive at some of your conclusions in your post based on what I have written, without knowing anything about me. So let me put you in the picture.

        I am 72 I have been a member of the Church for 47 years during which time have spent most of these years researching family history and studying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

        I have spent many years studying the life of Joseph Smith Brigjam Young and many of the early leaders of the Church, I have a very extensive library including the Journal of Discourses, the Documentary and Comprehensive History of the Church many of the books and commentaries written by members of the Church and people outside of the Church, I have CD’s giving me access to Gospelink which has over 3,000 books and studies including all of the conference reports going back to 1899. etc etc.

        So I am not coming to you “as an adolecent who feels insecure that their core beliefs are being questioned by others”.

        I came to mormonisminvestigated.co.uk because I have served over the years in many callings and serve now as the high priest group leader in my ward. Over the last couple of years three of the 30 odd high priests in my ward have become affected by things that they have been looking at on the internet and after discussions with them and being advised of their concerns of things they have been reading about which did not square with my understanding of early Church History, I decided that I had stewardship resposibilites for these brethren so I decided to do some research my self. I started with staylds.org and spoke with the administrator of the site Brian Johnson who gave me some background to the aims of the site. On the surface I was pleased with the aim and goals of the site and subscribed to it. It was not until I began to read the discussions that I began to be uneasy about the topics that were being discussed and I came to the conclusion that although the aims of the site was to have the subscribers stay with the Church they did not seem willing to help overcome the problems the subscribers had, they just sympathised with them and urged them to stay with the Church even though they did not believe it was true.

        Another site they had visited was mormonthink.com and so I began an investigation with this site and this is where the alarm bells really started to ring. To start with when I went to find out who had started this web site and what were the aims of it, I was told that the ones running the site did not want to reveal their identities because.they were afraid of discipliary action from their respective Bishops they also stated that they were in an area of the Church Sunstone magazine called the borderlands which meant that most of them had stopped attending Church or were virtually inactive. But it was when I began to look at the information that was being discussed on the site it quickly became evident that even though the administrators claimed to still were classed as members of the Church they wanted to reveal hidden histories of the early Church which was being kept from the rank and file of the membership. I admit that on first looking at some of this information was disconcerting as they were quoting from books written by BYU professors which gave startling evidence from men who were once in leadership positions. The books that they were urging subscribers to the site to read were books written by D Michael Quinn, Todd Compton Dan Vogel and urging people to look at Mormon stories hosted by John Dehlin.

        I was not satisfied though to accept the words of these authors and dug a little deeper and looked to where the source of these allegations which cast doubt on Joseph Smith and the translation methods used by him.

        I will not go any further with this explanation but just to say that all the questions that Chris Ralph was asking were based on the conclusions of these authors and which were mainly published by Signature Books. But when one then looks at the life styles and the motives of these authors and the hatred that some of them have for the hierarchy of the Church it is hardly surprising that I have come to distrust that any of them have the real interests of the Church at heart.

        So there you have it Bob, have you now got a clearer picture where I am coming from.

        I come now to the question of judgement which you say I am passing without knowledge!!!!! I have come to know very well the motives of Quinn, Compton, and co.
        They have a financial stake in Signature books and in the saleablity to the many anti-mormon groups which they produce. Also I look at the JST of Matt 7:1 where we are commanded to judge but these judgments need to be righteous judgments. So we are required to consider carefully the words and motives of people and I believe this is what I have done with the research that I have done into these sites, I do still regard and love these individuals as my spirit brothers, but I hate what they are doing.

        Before passing on I also became involved with this web site and I want to say that I am grateful to Bobby for the oportunity to express my thoughts and feelings freely without having them deleted by the administrator. I have a great admiration for Bobby and his dedication to what he feels is his mission in life to rescue me and other mormons.

        I am saddened hearing about your heartache which you have suffered, taking it on face value I can see how hurt you feel and the betrayal you have suffered from certain leaders. The only thing I can say in the way of comfort is that I believe no one gats away with anything in the Church, and at some future time the church leaders who you say have betrayed you will have to stand before the Lord and if they did cause you hurt, they will be accountable for their action, and so will I and you and indeed everyone
        when we stand before the judgment bar.

        It is true the only things I know of Chris Ralph is what I have read and heard in his discussions with Bobby Gilpin, and the two open letters to the Area Presidency, but
        It stretches my credulity for him not to have a hidden agenda with these two open letters. As you know there are channels that cand be followed in the Church through the eclesiastical line, even to the Prophet himself, so why put these things out in the open.

        So Bob as you say we will not have another oportunity to discuss these things further so mybe it would be appropriate to close with the last words of Moroni, I bid you farewell until we mee before the pleasing bar of the Great Jehovah. Jeff

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      2. Thanks for what you said there Jeff, I wont cut into your conversation with Bob but I will say it sounds like we have a similar book collection 🙂

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    3. My apologies to you Jeff Walsh for not having commented earlier. As you will see, my username is journeyofloyaldissent, but I am Chris Ralph, the author of these two open letters. You have probably read my comments before without realizing it was me. However, I am not hiding, and that is why I signed the open letters in my own name. I keep my Stake President in the loop whenever I publish letters or other feature items here. I’m sure it would make his life easier if I didn’t post as I do, but he graciously acknowledges that I am an honest man seeking a resolution to my questions.

      My “hidden agenda” is to facilitate openness concerning the history of the LDS church, and that is all. I lament the regrettable and potentially misleading remarks made by Elder Cook at the current General Conference, which do nothing to support this worthy aim. It is a concern I care about very much, because the LDS church was my life. My wife and I entrusted our five children to its teachings. We taught and I baptized my parents and my brother into it. We served and sacrificed to the best of our abilities for many years, and taught others the principles of the LDS gospel. We supported a son on a mission, and retained our faith through trials of health, loss, and other suffering. In short, our record in the church was positive, good enough at least for our family to be held up as an example in the New Era in April 1999.

      I encountered the deeply conscience-troubling information about church history, not because I went looking for it in places which were considered “anti-Mormon”, as you apparently do Jeff, but because I was attempting to defend the church against its critics. However, incrementally I found, to my utter dismay, that the criticisms were more substantial than some of the LDS doctrinal teachings. It was painful, and eye-opening, and life-transforming, and because I am me I really had little choice other than to stand for truth and righteousness. A good friend eased my pain eventually by assuring me that it was not valid to defend the indefensible, even though truth might taste bitter. There are many who decide to pretend of course, but I cannot, for where is the joy in such pretense? Denial is not faith, although I do acknowledge that some dyed-in-the-wool LDS would have us believe that it is.

      Even now, although I am prepared to stand up and be counted in this way, and if necessary be disciplined for asking questions about historical truth, I remain nominally LDS, having active family members in the church. I continue to admire many of the values and practices that the LDS church promotes. I genuinely wish that the official narrative were as true as I long believed it to be, when my “knowledge” of its founding was less well read and informed. It would make my life a whole lot easier if the LDS were all it claimed to be, but I am one who cannot find satisfaction in circular reasoning and make-believe. That is why I am asking these questions. I want there to be a coming of age for Mormonism in Europe, one which embraces diversity, positive spirituality, authentic history, and people who love truth more than they love mythology. And I very much want to be part of that coming of age.

      I have some empathy with you Jeff. I can see that once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a far-away land, I might have reacted just a little bit as you now do. And I know I would have thought I was right, just as you believe yourself to be right now.

      Have I studied the proper sources? I have tried my darnedest. As I have looked at the available source materials and commentators I have tried to appreciate that there are all shades of value in them, not just black and white. That comes down to my training as an historian I suppose. My Masters dissertation was a prosopography of early LDS converts in England. So, I know for example, from the Millennial Star, the LDS church’s own newspaper, that Brigham Young actually did teach the so-called Adam-God theory. The Star says so, but oddly, some of the Mormon apologists try to spin another story altogether. Why would they do that when the facts are incontrovertible, and already owned by the church at the time? Might it be because they think they can pull a flanker on the modern membership which in the main doesn’t have any knowledge of the historical sources? If so, then to me, that is utterly disingenuous, and shameful.

      I have looked at real life consequences arising out of such revelations. I have lamented over the misfortune of those who innocently lived and died under the life-wrecking influence of such tyrannical false teachings as the Adam-God, Blood Atonement, and polygamy doctrines, embracing them as inspired words of God because a prophet spoke them, and I have been grateful that neither I nor my ancestors were cursed to be numbered among that generation of LDS.

      My research has opened up the life stories of many who were misled in the early days of the church, and not just the famous ones like the first English convert George D. Watt, who, under the direction of Brigham Young, married and had children with his own half-sister. There are others whose names are all but forgotten now, but whose stories are equally dismal examples of the same spiritual abuse; people such as Alston Marsden, Mary Ann Dallan, Alice Hodgson, Job Salter, Sarah Sweetland, William Ould, Thomas Cartwright, and Julia Restell. These people lived lives immersed in real “history from below”, and represented the ultimate tragedy of false teachings. It is doubly tragic that their futile and fruitless experiences are masked by the twisted, half-baked, top-down histories so much loved by faithful LDS today. For every faith-promoting story you may produce of pioneer sacrifice in crossing the plains, there will be two or three of these other real life stories which cast shame upon LDS history, or would do, if that history were not so misrepresented and skewed. Indeed, a chapter might be written about each of the above, and, in order to set the record straight, I am currently working on such a volume.

      And so you will see Jeff from the foregoing, I have no time for Mormon apologetics or “faithful history”, when self-styled apologists and historians discredit themselves in this way. Unless you are either an official spokesperson for the LDS church, or have a mind at least half open to the possibility that Joseph Smith made some horribly, dangerously, misleading errors in his teachings and translations, we really have nothing further to discuss. It appears you fall into neither category, and so I will not be entering a dialogue with you online or privately by email. I’m sorry, but my energies will be better spent elsewhere.

      If my open letter offends you, then it’s very simple: don’t read it, and by all means advise everyone else not to read it. I would not wish anyone to be offended or “tainted” by my honest quest for truth. But you see, I have little option really. My High Priest Group Leader, a respected friend now retired from C.E.S., offered at first to help me with my questions. I waited and waited for him to make an appointment, and then heard on the grapevine that his wife had advised him against it. My bishop specifically requested that I not share any questions with him for fear that it might affect his testimony. My Stake President has shown kindness and understanding, but has decided he would not open a file I sent to him which detailed my concerns. I blame none of them for being afraid and intimidated. They all know I was a devout LDS until I encountered real history. They also all know, I hope, that I am an honest man. So how can I ask my questions of the upper hierarchy if my questions are not even known by those who stand between them and me? I cannot reach the Area Presidency other than by this means. It is unfair of anyone to suggest otherwise.

      Although, as I have explained Jeff, there is no purpose in you and I having an ongoing dialogue over these matters, I do not want to prevent you from adding some value to the discussion, and so may I suggest that you apply yourself to answering one question which may demonstrate to the readers of this page, and also the church hierarchy, the potential value of your claimed expertise. The question I would like to pose is this: In Facsimile 3 of the Book of Abraham, there are various hieroglyphs in panels above the five persons represented. Please explain why Joseph Smith’s translations of these panels is completely at variance with translations made by modern Egyptologist. For example, between the first figure on the left and the seated figure, is a single panel, which Joseph Smith rendered as: “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head”, whereas the accurate translation is “Isis the great, the god’s mother.” How come Joseph wrongly identified this Egyptian goddess as “King Pharaoh”? How come every single translation Joseph made from that facsimile is completely incorrect?

      Well, I trust that I have answered you. If I have not, then I am sorry, I shall not be doing so after this time. However, I will just call into question, as a parting thought, whether it really is moral to suggest I should repent and return to the “faithful” fold, and continue as though nothing had occurred, without my questions being answered by those who supposedly represent “the living oracles”. Referring back to my analogy about the salesman and the customer, are you not actually suggesting by this advice that the salesman should keep selling the product despite having misgivings about it? If so then surely that is less than honest and moral advice for you to be giving. If I were that salesman, I would wish to have every doubt assuaged before embarking upon another single sale.

      And so it is also with the LDS church and me. When I am satisfied that all is well at last, and that an authentic non-toxic message, (i.e. one which resonates with reality), is being sent out to benefit mankind, you will find me again in its active ranks… but not before.

      And let the Lord judge between us.

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      1. Chris, Thank you for the enlightenment concerning your identity, it is good to be able to speak to you direct rather than through Bobby or Steve Bloor.

        I have read both your open letters and also your last post, I am sending you this short reply but will address some other points later in the day.

        I am sure that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we all should welcome truth, unsullied truth not tainted by the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. I am open minded enogh to welcome such truth wherever it comes from. So it surely behoves us to diferentiate between truth and mythology.

        I have not looked into the people who you quote as having suffered from spiritual abuse, I will look into this and get back to you.

        Likewise this short post is not sufficient to enter into an answer to the question you asked about the BOA.

        One point I will mention though is the point you made concerning Adam-God and President Brigham Young. President Brigham Young never taught thoeries, he taught doctrine. President Kimball condemned the theory that has been built up by people opposed to the Church, not the doctrine Brigham Young taught. I have studied the teachings of Brigham Young and indeed Joseph Smith on this subject and as President Joseph Fielding Smith has said speaking of the DOCTRINE “—-it is a glorious principle, when it is clearly understood” (See President Smith’s address in April Conf 1965).

        If you are sufficiently interested I could explain BY,s “tyrannical false teachings” on blood atonement and polygamy, and let you judge for yourself which is truth and which is mythology. TBC Jeff Walsh

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    4. “As far as H Lions is concerned I have seen your comments on this and other blogs where you has displayed your jaundiced views, you so (sic) negative that I am not prepared to dignify and give any creedance (sic) to anything you have to say”

      Point proven I think, you are closed minded, not open to discussion and supremely arrogant.

      “Have you accepted the information from the books whose sources are from bitter and twisted accounts of axe grinding enemies of Joseph Smith and the early Church”

      No more than you have accepted the information from the books whose sources are from bitter and twisted accounts of pro-Mormon financially invested and power hungry supporters of Joseph Smith and the early Church. Bias is a two edged sword my friend, it is as likely to cut the legs from under you as it is me.

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  11. Jeff – thank you for your respectful remarks. I fully agree that evil exists but I have ditched the – everything that is good is God and everything that is bad is Satin. I feel it would be a very cruel thing for a God to allow Satin to exist and suffer endless misery himself tormenting people. The natural man can easily bring about evil without help from such a character. Plus, I’ve always felt that when we focus on Satin we diminish the power of God. My own faith is the strongest it’s ever been because I have looked at it from every angle. I simply feel FOR ME – and I’m not saying anyone else should feel this, it is dangerous to put anyone in a position of authority over me – representing God (how can you argue with that) on how I should live me life or behave. I need to have independent thought because if I don’t – I can make mistakes based on the direction of others – which I then take the consequences for. Having studied the deaths of the pioneers I feel so many lives were lost due to religious fundamentalism – common sense would have prevented such actions taking into account poor weather conditions and equipment. Lives would have been saved. I believe in a loving God who will welcome all his children home – just as I would mine – atheist, humanist, LDS, Christian, Muslim etc……..In my world all religions are man made, it is our way of making sense of our existence and also our eventual death. They do provide an important role – communities to worship in – and for me, my village church renews me to do better the next week. As Daisy says, Jesus never had a church but I know through following his teachings it brings great happiness, understanding and joy. Jeff, as a former LDS member who has left, I have never been shown such unkindness, judgement and lack of understanding. If you can do anything to help the LDS community show more compassion to us leaving the fold then I would be very grateful. I hope you are enjoying conference – good for you that your faith makes you so happy…….enjoy the journey. Best wishes, Karen

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  12. Jeff – Once someone starts justifying the loss of human life unnecessarily (blood atonement) I am unable to communicate with them. All the best on your journey, Karen

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    1. Karen please read the part of my blog more carefully, I said that Brigham Young was teaching doctrine when he taught the AdamGod doctrine, This is not the case with blood atonement, Brigham Young has been accused by enemies of the Church of teaching that as a doctrine. a correct study of what he actually says, and not what the anti-mormon’s say he said needs to be understood. Sorry if I did not make this clear. Jeff

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  13. Chris Cont.

    You say Chris that you want to facilitate openness concerning the history of the LDS Church and go on to imply that the history which is put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter=Day Saints is mythology. Well let us look into the “history” which you now claim with your new found knowledge to be the truth. You also say that your “hidden” agenda is to have a “coming of age for Mormonism in Europe”. Well lets us by all means look at your new-found “knowledge”, but before doing that let me ask you if you have followed through the logical effects of your wish to have this “coming of age”.

    If you are satisfied that Joseph Smith was a fraud, if you can persuade the Area Presidency to admit that the Book of Mormon is just a book which came out of Joseph’s mind aided by, say, Solomon Spaulding or Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews”,thus destroying the “Keystone of our religion”, if you can even prove that Joseph Smith used the “stone in the hat” story, that Joseph was guilty of havig illicit sex with other men’s wives, that he had married 33 women and had consumated these marriages, that Joseph had fallen from grace and become a failed prophet, that the BOA were figments of his imagination. That the canon of scripture, which includes the JST of the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price are all part of this fraud, that the men who were called to succeed Joseph were all men who became part of the fraud and only pretended to be what they said they were.

    What will this Church which you want to “come of age” look like, it stretches my credulity to accept that you would want to become part of such a Church. Who would run this Church and would it still claim to be the Church of Jesus Christ.

    Well Chris if this is what really want? Lets get real, the aim of the anti-mormon movement is out to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints discredit it’s claims and portray the members as poor deluded fools.

    Let me turn now and examine where this new found evidence which you claim changed you from being an exemplary member of the Church. The questions which you are demanding answers to are questions which are being asked directly or by implecation by certain authors of books which are used by various anti-mormon sites which use your open letters as ammunition for their own agenda’s the main one is a web site advocated by this blog called mormonthink.com

    Lets examine this web site it is run by people who freely admit that they want to remain anonymous so that they can claim cudos for their site by claiming to be active members of the church, and because they fear that they will be disciplined by their Bishops if they are exposed. They use material from books which have been written by authors among which are D.Michael Quinn, Todd Compton, Richard Van Wagoner, Grant Palmer, Fawn Brodie, Jerald and Sandra Tanner and papers written by others who claim to have insider information from early members of the Church such as Oliver Cowdrey, David Whitmer, Martin Harris (these not published till 50 years after the events.) I have examined many of the sources of these publcations and have not come across any which have not an anti-mormon bias. Let us look a little closer at some of these authors:-

    D MICHAEL QUINN, his books which are cited include “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View”, his two books on “Origins the Mormon Heirarchy”, and Same Sex Dynamics among nineteenth century Mormons. In these books he makes an all out attack on the Church, and uses materials from such “evidences” from Eber D Howe who along with Philastus Hurlbut, and Ezra Booth produced a book called Mormonsim unvailed which is the source used by almost every anti-mormon book publshed. This is the source of the treasure digging stories, of the vicious attacks on Joseph Smith’s family, the stone in the hat story, the licentious behavour of Joseph Smith etc etc. A closer look at Eber D Howe and Philastus Hurbut should be mentioned. Eber D Howe’s wife and family joined the Church much against his wishes, he became, because of this a bitter enemy of Joseph Smith and his family and the Church. Philastus Hurlbut joined the Church after being excommunicated from the Methodist Church for gross indecency toward young girls, he continued the same activities shortly after he became a member and was excommunicated by Joseph Smith, again he became a bitter enemy of Joseph Smith, he wrote affidavits which he distributed to the inhabitants of Palmyra and coerced them into signing encouraged by the local clergy. This is the source of much of Michael Quinn’s material seen on mormonthink.
    Just a word about the character of Quinn, he was a well respected historian and at one time was a research assistant to Leonard Harrington, afterwards becoming a BYU professor. He then though began to publish papers critical of the Church. He was observed at BYU doing things with young male students he should not have and when faced with this confessed to being homosexual and he was given a choice to leave quietly or be exposed, he chose the former so that he could still say he resigned. As a result he not only lost his employment, eventually his wife and family, but also became unemployable as an academic. He became very bitter against the Church “Heirarchy” (Read “An Open Letter to D Michael Quinn by Fred C Collier.)

    TODD COMPTON He wrote a book called “In Sacred Loneliness, Remembering the Wives of Joseph Smith. When we look at the sources he gives for the conclusions of his book. we find that they include, familysearch.org, Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard Van Wagoner in this book which is quite mild but contains suppositions and inuendo, but at least one glaring error when he tries to allude that Joseph Married Fanny Alger:-
    He cites an alleged interview in the St. George Temple between an unnamed Saint and Heber C. Kimball, who is said to have introduced Fanny’s brother John (Alger) as the brother of Joseph Smith’s first plural wife. This would have been an extraordinary feat since the St. George Temple was not dedicated until 1877 and Heber C. Kimball died in 1868.

    Another source he uses is Mormon Enigma. Emma Hale Smith, considering this book was not published unti 1994 so the material for this book would have to be taken from histories which would include the times before and after she became disaffected should be taken with some caution.

    The main source for the synopsis of his stories of the 33 women is his own book, I am still looking into where he gets the information from, But I have already discovered some facts which suggests that he is following an agenda which certainly does not give evidence of his impartiality as an historian. This involves his information about Lucy Walker, his story tell of coersion and bullying to a poor defenceless girl who was forced into a marriage with Joseph Smith and pretends that she lived and died a very lonely and unhappy women. I found the source of his story and it originates from a book which was sponsored by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, compiled By Lyman O Littlefield titled “Reminicenses of Latter-Day Saints” from stories that had been supplied to them. When one compares the story told by Compton with the true story we find that the story has been twisted, words added which are not in the original, deliberate lies and also Lucy far from being a lonely frightened child and woman kived a very full and happy life.

    The other source he uses is familysearch.org, which sure enough gives the facts that 33 women were sealed to Joseph Smith and on the face of it is very distrurbing. But we need to know that the ordinance of sealing which was used in the early days of the Church is not what we are used to today.We need to be familiar with a revelation given to Wilford Woodruff and announced in the April Conference of 1894. President Woodruff announced that the Lord had revealed that the “Law of Adoption” which had been used since the early days of the Church was to be ended and Husband and wives were to be sealed to each other and children sealed to their parents, he said in his talk that previous to this, families had been sealed to prophets and apostles, and said that the previous practice was an incorrect proceedure. So here we have the truth of the matter familysearch.org was correct where it says that these 33 women were SEALED to Joseph Smith but most of them were performed under the Law of Adoption and not consumated marriages as Compton would have us believe. This to my mind is the answer to Joseph Smith being sealed to married women

    Well Chris call me a sceptic if you like but whilst doing this research I could not escape the conclusion that there is an hidden agenda here because most of the books used by mormon think are printed by a publisher called Signature Books and when one looks into their background guess what, it was founded in the 1980’s by George Dempster Smith, and on the board of directors is D Michael Quinn, other excommunicated members of the Church along with Todd Compton and Richard Van Wagoner are senior figures in the company. George D Smith openly admits that he hates the Church. Do you think they are just being impartial, or maybe are they are making a lot of money from gullable people who want the church to be proved false?

    So Chris call me an apologist if you want to, all of the above is part of the research I have done and it is freely available to any person wishing to know answers to questions concerning the early history of the Church which you and others are said to have been concealed

    I have looked into the George Darling Watt allegation that Brigham Young encouraged George to enter into plural marriage with his half-sister, I have looked carefully into new,familysearch.org and I have failed to find any conclusive evidence that this is correct. Look for yourself. I was aware that he fell out with Brigham Young which some evidence states he later regretted, but he did become involved with the Godbeite movement and remained so until his death. Incidently if you trace back the origins of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper it had its beginning with this movement.

    I have failed to find any information about the several people who suffered from spiritual abuse so you maybe can show me where I can examine these stories.

    As far as the Book of Abraham is concerned I suggest you and anyone else who has been deceived on this matter read Hugh Nibley’s book “The message of the Joseph Smith Papyri”
    I have had a copy of this for 30 years and I believe it answers all of the questions that those opposed to the Church ask.

    So Chris after this answer which I admit has been a long one, please carefully ask yourself if the word of the axe grinding so called members of the Church, the combined attacks of those people who make a business of attacking the Church are speaking the truth!!!! I myself would rather put my faith in the word of God which comes from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have not read anywhere where the leaders of our Church have said they are infallable, they are and were men who like us were learning line upon line, precept upon precept.

    If you do not wish to reply or answer this post so be it, I feel that I have tried to be objective and give what I have understand to be the truth. Hopefully you may recognise that this could be part of assuaging and that it resonates with reality.

    One final word Ian Swanney a well respected member of the Church has said, we are not playing at Churches here we are members of The true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today, our eternal salvation depends on the choices we make in this life. Kind Regards Jeff

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    1. Jeff,
      It is time for you to drop this. You contradict yourself again and again. You accuse a publishing company of being anti-mormon and therefore dismiss their books as nonsense based on that premise. The publishing company Deseret is also biased, but in favour of the church; if one should follow your reasoning, then every book that Deseret publishes should also be dismissed. I will take just one example of your flawed reasoning: a man who is homosexual should have all of his work and research discounted. This judgemental behaviour is hardly Christlike.
      It astonishes me that you can accept some sources of information as credible simply because it agrees with your philosophies and yet brush off others because you don’t like the sound of it. You referred Chris to Hugh Nibley’s explanations about the BOA and yet there is not a fully qualified egyptologist on this earth that agrees with him. While being a respected Professor Nibley is not without his critics – particularly in the field of attempting to prove the BOM and his interpretations of egyptian script.
      It is not my wish to enter into an argument with you, simply to encourage you to drop this ‘mission of saving souls’. Please accept that many of us here have studied and found the church sadly wanting in honesty and integrity. While the church as it exists now can still do a lot of good, for others it has caused immeasurable harm and damage. All that you are doing now is adding to that damage. Personally, I find your reasoning flawed and bordering on harassment and quite honestly, you are actually putting me off church even more. I suggest most strongly that you concentrate your efforts to preaching to members of the church that might be interested in your theories/doctrines.

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      1. Your reasoning of the difference between Signature Book and Deseret Book shows you bias too. I was not condemning D Michael Quinn for his homosexuality but for his hatred of the brethren that excommunicated him from the Church, if you cannot see this then you are blinkered. This said I wish you well in the choices you have made. Jeff

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  14. I am with Karen on that one , the account that I read of the Brother giving his life to atone for his adultery made me physically ill. This is not what the saviour taught, he told the woman taken in adultery to ‘go thy way and sin no more’ I cannot stay in a church which taught the doctrine of blood atonement .

    I agree that Chris Ralph should have a reply. There are serious questions regarding church history and it will not go away.Members are losing their faith in the religion but this is not down to the half truths that are out there on the internet. Most members finding themselves in this position are looking at the original primary sources. I understand that the church had advised membeds today not to read the Discourses of Brigham Young !! I wonder why !! ( I’m not inviting a reply)

    Elder Cooks talk about people finding themselves in this position because of sin is way off the mark, they find themselves there because they are searching for truth, perhaps to back up the church and then find all the cards come tumbling down. For some this is a huge shock and cannot retain their membership, for some they know the rubbish but stay as its a cultural thing and don’t want to loose family and friends.

    I was taught to thine own self be true. You cannot serve two masters , so attending the LDS church once the genie is out of the bottle is not for me. I am doing as Bob Cullen suggests finding the biblical Jesus, his teaching have never changed they are true and lead to eternal life: His message is one of Love and. mercy, He asks you to believe in him, that is all .I feel his love constantly and am getting my Jesus fix elsewhere .

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    1. Jeff,
      you have just proved my point about contradicting yourself. I won’t bother going into to details, it’s a complete waste of time with you. You are the blinkered one and cannot see it. I thank God for my brain and good reasoning that has finally helped me to see the nonsense and confusion that exists in the LDS church and, sadly, in the minds of extremist members. Thank you for your good wishes and I wish you well with good health and happiness in your life. I know that you are a good man. You mentioned Ian Swanney, who I respect and admire – I’m sure he would be the first person to say, ‘Jeff, it’s time to drop it.’
      All the best.

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      1. Thanks for that Petunia however I think the point has now been well made that a number of people have a problem with Jeffs approach and I dont think it needs to be made again, I think if this conversation will continue lets try and stick to substance rather than points about each others approach, these are very significant issues and obviously will raise a lot of emotions of different kinds in each of us. That in mind lets try and accommodate each others mode of responses (unless they are in any way abusive and they will be deleted) and stick with the point of the discussion.

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  15. Wether he taught it as doctrine or not , it happened on his watch . How can a man who knew this happened be followed !! He was known as ‘bloody Brigham’ I wonder why !!

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  16. Jeff

    Why is your only defence to call into question the character of the sources…..??? How about answering the points of church history and doctrine that do not add up? That we as faithful members defend on a day to day basis. Smearing the character of people is far from what christ would do. Surely he would answer the questions, and not say “well he was bumming boys so he’s evil and an anti-mormon”.

    Simon Southerton was not anti-mormon while serving as a bishop and studying DNA.

    Richard Bushman is not anti-mormon and does not dispute, in fact corroborates the majority of the historical ‘issues’.

    Tom Phillips, ex-stake president and a person who has received the second endowment (calling and election made sure) is not an anti-mormon, but could not get an answer to one simple question from his good friend Jeff Holland (who claims they are now sealed to each other) whether there was no death before the fall of adam.

    B H Roberts was no anti-mormon but his doubts of the authenticity of the BoM still lead him to claim “it would make it possible for him to create a book such as the Book of Mormon”

    You claim in one of your posts that there are channels for expressing these concerns. Really? Please detail how and where. Do you not think Chris would do that if could? I used to home teach and was gospel doctrine teacher to Patrick Kearon. So know him fairly well. He could not answer my questions. Tom Phillips could not get answers from Jeff Holland, where do we go? I’ve been to Heavenly Father with these for years and had no answers…. what am I to do? What is Chris to do other than ask in open format?

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  17. Have I smeared them? I just ask for clarification on points of documented history and doctrine. And even if others have smeared their character and name, is it the christlike thing to do it in return like you have? Is that what christ would do?

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      1. are you implying Christ defended the gospel by smearing the character of it’s critics? If so, next time I see Patrick I will ask him if that is the advised course of action from the brethren.

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  18. Oh and by the way if you would take your head out of the sand and really look into the evidence presented you would know that I have answered Chris Ralph’s questions

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      1. No my fellow brother you was asking me why I did not answer the points of Church history that did not add up. All I am saying that I have.

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  19. Jeff from you comment you seem to doubt the tale of the Rock in the hat translation process? and seem to suggest it is a story made up by enemies of the church? Elder Russel M Nelson i assume you will agree he at least is not an enemy of the church? yet this church leader has openly acknowledged this method of translation (you can read what he says about this in the ensign article at http://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/07/a-treasured-testament ) despite this knowledge the church will still not openly teach this truth and the official picture painted by the church is therefore at odds with the known truth! This deception is hypocritical to say the least and once you realise that the church that you love is prepared to lie to create a more favourable appearance you start to question what else it is prepared to hide ?? and in the end you are left with the horrible truth that it has all become a PR game of dodging, ducking and diving. But you are right Jeff the church will never answer these questions! It is too frightened to be that honest! Because it knows that it will lose its members and ultimately its revenue! I am sorry to say that the church is not about Prophets but it is about Profits!

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  20. Jeff – Check out Vol. 4, p53-54, p219-220 Journal of Discourses and Doctrines of Salvation – McConkie Vol 1 p133-135 (first edition). I’m not sure all of this is good for your health. Why not follow the counsel of your leaders and stay away from anti-Mormon sites? Rejoice in your own testimony and don’t try and ‘save’ those that don’t want to be saved.
    Do you really mean to sound so judgemental about D Michael Quinn as you only have hersay about what has happened (you seem like a nice man). Having read and listened to many of his interviews ironically the man believes in Joseph Smith just as much as you do. His faith is so sure that it doesn’t matter to him that Joseph lived such a contraversial life at times. And Brigham Young is one of his heros. When it comes to sexuality we are all in the image of God and Elder Oaks did counsel members to be loving towards those who are homosexual yesterday in conference.

    Again, rejoice that the LDS church works for you and your faith is strong. People not agreeing with you here should not matter or even iritate you. Very best wishes for your future, Karen

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      1. I don’t know many happy people in the LDS church – most women there are depressed. Utah has the highest depression in America. I am much happier out than in and will be even happier when I have recovered from the emotional damage I have received at it’s hand. I am currently receiving professional treatment for it – the Doctor is in shock at my LDS experience. Leaving has transformed our children’s lives – we were pulled into school to ask why our son had all of a sudden developed so much confidence and happiness. I suspect that you will not be overwhelmed by love and friendship from the people in your ward? Jeff, it really is rather fab on the outside. I have Jesus Christ and the love of God – I’ve just cut out the middle men of control and unrighteous dominion. Very best wishes, Karen

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  21. Dear Jeff,

    I’m beginning to really feel sorry for you. You seem to be so focused on attacking or disproving “anti-Mormons” wrong that you are missing out on the joys of life, unless you really do enjoy conflict and argument.

    I can say that I’m tired of endless debate with people, including yourself, who cannot or will not see our points of view. You forget that we have been where you are, have felt what you feel, but you seem determined to close your mind to anything other than your own experience and are determined to deny any experience other people may have had which is contrary to your own.

    It’s a bit like all of us being in a room with a closed box which contains something only we have seen. You can see the box, and even if you open it you cannot see the object in the box because you have closed your eyes and are relying on the opinions of other people like yourself, none of whom have seen the object in the box because they haven’t looked either.

    The inability to look in the box with open eyes is called cognitive bias. It’s a normal human problem. We’re all prone to it. The Church exploits these glitches in human cognitive ability magnificently in order to influence it’s believing adherents in a process of mind-control undetectable to it’s victims. No-one inside a mind-control cult can detect the subtle, but dangerous undue influence they fall foul of. The Mormon Church is one of the biggest hoaxes ever pulled on God-fearing people in the history of the modern world.

    You would do well to study about cognitive biases in order to free your mind and see what the majority of the world can so easily see is a fraud. We, as ex-Mormons are the lucky few who have seen the lies and deception for what it is. (Here are some links to start you off: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
    http://hfarg.wordpress.com/index-2/chapter-4-the-spirit/cognitive-biases/ http://hfarg.wordpress.com/index-2/chapter-1-getting-started/are-we-in-control-of-our-own-decisions/
    http://bobmccue.ca/2012/01/27/how-denial-works/

    Sometimes the Truth can be so difficult to accept, often because our personal biases & prejudices blind us to it!

    Steven Covey used to say, “Believing is Seeing”, but that’s not entirely true. It’s probably more true to say, what we believe is what we see, and what we see is not always reality or truth.

    What we see with our eyes is only what our attention is drawn to.

    Our attention is focused on those things we believe based on our fears, guilt, phobias, biases, prejudices & assumptions.

    So we only see what we want to see. What our subconscious minds will allow us to see.

    “Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.” (Thomas Jefferson)

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” (Steve Jobs)

    Jeff, I realise that the pain of accepting the Church could be a hoax is probably too painful to even imagine. We who have trodden this path can all empathise and have determined that we would follow truth no matter the consequences of that choice. We have swallowed the ‘biter pill’ and emerged on the other side of the trauma as stronger and happier people who are just trying to come to terms with a world from a normal perspective unbound by the mind-control we once were chained by.

    We still have strong emotional feelings of love and compassion for our friends and family still in the Church and respect your right to believe what you want to believe.

    If you continue to want to stay in your belief system we wish you well.

    Know that we are here to help all who come looking for support in the difficult transition out of the Church, but do not wish to destroy your fervent testimony if that is your determination.

    With compassionate love,
    Steve Bloor

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  22. Jeremy J Dog Brown I remind you that it was you who introduced the word smear, I would call it exposing.. By the way When you do see Elder Kearnon tell hi Hi from Jeff Walsh.

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    1. ok…so now you want to argue over semantics…. how about I accept your euphemism that it is “exposing”…. do you really feel that your method of exposing is in harmony with the gospel of christ? I have to be honest, your tone, manner and methodology I find not consistent with the teachings of the church or the advice of the brethren as I understand it. I actually am embarrassed by your conduct, and worry that you drive people further away from the church, by your exposing defence, rather than encouraging them to come unto christ. If a non-member friend brought to me your postings here, and asked if that is how your church teaches you to respond against it’s critics, I would find your comments very hard to defend.

      I will be honest, I am unlikely to mention you to Patrick and Jenna. The way you have come across here makes me feel sick, so I can’t see how I would want to mention you to them. Sharing this virtual space here with you I find quite repulsive when reading your comments. I just hope the celestial kingdom is a big enough place that we need not ever meet there.

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      1. Ok let me try one last time you said:-

        “You claim in one of your posts that there are channels for expressing these concerns. Really? Please detail how and where. Do you not think Chris would do that if could? I used to home teach and was gospel doctrine teacher to Patrick Kearon. So know him fairly well. He could not answer my questions. Tom Phillips could not get answers from Jeff Holland, where do we go? I’ve been to Heavenly Father with these for years and had no answers…. what am I to do? What is Chris to do other than ask in open format?”

        You ask me a question, and ask me to tell you the channels for expressing concerns, well even though I am sure that you know these channels and you are going to say that you have tried all of them.

        You go to your immediate P/h leaders, if they do not know you can proceeed up the priesthood line of authority even up the the Prophet himself.

        Now let me ask you some questions, assuming that you have not received answers to the questions which you can accept, do you think that asking the questions in an open format is going to force the brethren to give you a different answer than the ones I am sure they gave you?

        Can you even consider the fact that the reason that you have not received answers from Heavenly Father is because he knows what is in your heart, and that maybe as Paul expressed it “you are kicking against the pricks”.

        In these last set of posts I have tried to give answers to the questions that you and Chris Ralph and others has asked.. If you Chris and others are not prepared to accept them, then as I said to Steve Bloor, (Who I hope can stiil call me a good friend) I have tried my best, and hope that you can find peace of mind, even though as I suspect you will not get the answers you are hoping for. Lind regards Jeff Walsh

        PS Thanks Bobby for the opportunity, I am sure the exchanges gave you a few giggles

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      2. Its been interesting mate, but don’t say your goodbyes too soon your always welcome on here, lots more discussions to come I’m sure 🙂

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  23. Yes I have tried those routes… going past the stake president is not permitted as contact with GA’s is not accepted.

    my answers from branch pres/bishop/stake pres:

    Bishop – “that can’t be true. the church would not teach one thing when something else is the case.”

    Me – “would you like to look at the evidences I have rather than make an opinion upon something you haven’t researched?”

    Bishop – “No. I’d rather not know. I’m happy living my life as I do and wouldn’t want to do anything to upset my family”

    Branch pres – “I’m not here to discuss anti-mormon propaganda”

    Me – “but what if it’s true?”

    Branch pres – “I’m still not interested”

    Me – “What if I asked you about things written in official church publications?”

    Branch pres – “I’m still not interested”

    Stake President – “You’ll have to work these things out for yourself Jeremy. Ignore them is my best advice they often just go away with time.”

    Me – “but president I have been unable to square these circles for over ten years. I KNOW the gospel, the history and the doctrines and it hasn’t gone away yet. I just feel more and more duped every time I hear something preached by a leader in the church that I KNOW is a lie. How can I follow these people when I know they are lying?”

    Stake Pres – “we must follow the brethren at all times as they know what’s best for us”

    Now I’m sorry Jeff, but those are not answers, or sufficient. It is simply unfair for the church to ask me to be “honest in all my dealings with my fellow men”, and yet when I express concerns over what I feel is the church’s honesty I am stonewalled and fobbed off. I am at a loss as to where to take my concerns… where is my balm of gilead? I am not some rabid anti-mormon… I am a RM, sealed in the temple, served in pretty much every leadership position in the church, temple worker. How can I accept lies being taught at church yet not be allowed to object to them or have my questions answered. It simply is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

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    1. Your experience closely parallels mine Jeremy. When the priesthood leadership will not even examine the questions in any detail, how are they able to act as our intermediaries? They can’t ask what they don’t know; and they don’t know because they will not look. The system breaks down spectacularly, because fear drives everything.

      We are left with a choice, either to pretend to ourselves that all is well, (despite something inside telling us it is not), or to put our heads above the parapet, and ask the question in public, which is what I have done. If the church is what it claims to be, then surely it would not only tolerate these kinds of questions, but would actually welcome every opportunity to answer them in a public forum.

      With all due respect to Jeff Walsh, he does not represent either the consensus of the people who currently constitute LDS the church, or those who now lead them. His opinions may interest some here as curiosities of a bygone age, but they count for nothing until those to whom I have addressed these issues officially appoint him as their authorized spokesperson.

      I cannot imagine that that will happen though until he has at least made a better fist of answering my very specific question about Facsimile 3, which he has so far ignored. Relying, as he appears to do, and as I once also did, upon the work of Hugh Nibley, won’t cut it. The leaders are surely by now smart enough to understand that Nibley’s work is outdated and discredited in academic circles, and that it is treated with some disdain by all serious commentators,

      Personally, I cannot see the Brethren allowing Jeff to speak for them anyway, as some of his remarks about Brigham Young put him well out of kilter with modern LDS theology. Publicly defending “Adam/God”, and blood atonement, (which Brigham Young really did teach of course, despite all subsequent denials), risks attracting the “apostasy” label, and that is sadly ironic. I imagine that Jeff’s priesthood leaders may wish to speak to him quietly for teaching some of that “old hat” in 2012, if, indeed, they haven’t already done so.

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      1. Jeff – I seem to remember you have aready been spoken to at church about your views on Brigham Young and not to bring up Adam God in Sunday school? I suspect secretly you many have far more sypathy for Chris, Steve, Jeremy and others than you let on. You are not allowed free speach either – you are a great guy who should be allowed to talk about the history you have found. Warm wishes as ever, Rose x

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    2. Hi all,

      Sadly my experience of asking questions or discussing difficult Church History reflects the same fearful avoidance tactics already mentioned.

      Here in Plymouth Stake no-one is allowed to ask the questions raised in Chris Ralph’s Open Letters.

      A High Priest friend of mine asked his bishop about the apparent polyandry of Joseph Smith. The naive bishop took the written questions to the Stake President only to be told he would not even listen to the questions as they could destroy his testimony. This particular High Priest wanted his genuine questions answered, but was shocked and dismayed that the President of the HIgh Priests, (his quorum president, the Stake President) would not taint his mind by even considering the question, let alone try to answer it. The sincere, questioning High Priest went away feeling uncared for and feeling a sense of guilt for even asking the questions he had come across following his innocent study of Church History.

      In my own experience with my Stake President I was told categorically not to discuss Church history with anyone, even if it came from the Church website!

      In all their dealings with me they show fear and a desire to be kept gullibly naive and in the dark. There is a sense of “Ignorance is Bliss!”

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  24. Rose, I have no recollection of speaking about the Adam-God Doctrine in detail in Sunday School, neither have I ever been spoken to by anyone in authority about this. I am puzzled, if you are the Rose from my ward, please speak to me about this, you will have my phone number. Jeff

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  25. Hi Bobby,

    Just a closing comment or two about this series of posts, I have been attacked for having the cheek to challange and ask Chris questions about his open letter. Because no answer was coming I tried in what I considered an objective way to present answers from my own research into the questions.

    I have been accused of making a personal attack on Chris Ralph, and advised that personal attacks says more about the one making the attack than the one being attacked.

    If my answers came across as a personal attack, this was not my intention, I was trying to point out that the information put out on the anti-mormon web sites were using for their source material information which came from books and papers etc written by people opposed to the Church and so needed to be to be exposed and the motives of the authors needed to be investigated.

    In respose the contributors to the discussion accused me of being, foolish, insulting, being compared to the Judge in the Scopes monkey trial, frightened like a small child, called an adolecent, passing judgement without knowledge, closed minded because I could not accept the material put out by anti-mormon apostates,supremely arrogant, using harrasment, blackening the character of the authors of the anti-mormon books, smearing people, accused of teaching truths from a bygone age etc etc.

    Bobby you and I have had frank discussions on various topics over the months and I have cannot ever remember either of us relying on these sort of tactics just to score points, I think if in future there is an occasion to discuss points I will keep our remarks between us.
    One last point, as far as the teachings of President Brgham Young concerning Adam-God the Church has consistently denounced the false THEORIES that has been built up by apostates and enemies of the Church. For a discussion concerning blood atonement, for those who say that Brigham Young countenanced practise of this, please advise me of any apostate that has suffered death by this. For a correct understanding of what Brigham Young taught I refer them to Joseph Fielding Smith’s Doctrines of Salvation Vol 1 p 137 The Church teaches us that the only blood atonement was made by our Saviour Jesus Christ.

    Cherio for now Bobby we may speak again in the future. Jeff

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    1. No problem Jeff, I dont want to further fuel the discussion about how you have been coming across so I will just say thanks for the explanation, I think I am fairly used to you now so when your provocative it doesnt put me off, I guess not everyone else is the same, but as I said before you are welcome here anytime. Maybe have a look over your comments yourself and see if people have a point on it, but either way I am not worried about it this far.

      And Im sure we will speak again the future 🙂

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  26. Referring to the Doctines of salvation v.1 p135-136 the prophet Joseph fielding smith said “the Mormons believe in blood atonement . It is taught by the leaders and believed by the people..I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo by the Danites”

    journal of discourses v.1 P.83……..Brigham Young wrote/said ……..there is not a man or woman who violates the covenants made with God that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out your own blood must atone for it

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    1. Just to add to what “I wish I could believe” says, here are the two infamous excerpts from the Journal of Discourses Vol 3, pp 243-249, which demonstrate that Brigham Young taught blood atonement:

      “Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands.”

      “There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants.”

      In considering examples of atrocities resulting from the practice of blood atonement, a starting point might be: http://www.truthandgrace.com/1857castration.htm

      The practice was constantly threatened during the Mormon Reformation period. Job Salter, an early Bristol convert, who migrated to Utah, was for example dragged from his home in the night time and beaten within an inch of his life for failing to acknowledge his need to be rebaptized. He was allowed to go home a physically broken man but just about alive on condition he did not disclose who had done the deed. He took warning and left the territory as soon as he was fit to travel. Others who attempted to leave were followed and gunned down according to accounts of those who managed to escape. Their crime? Apostasy. The concept of blood atonement underpinned early church culture, almost from the off, regardless of the gloss Joseph Fielding Smith tried to put on it in the 20th century. The Governor Boggs assassination attempt, and Mountain Meadows Massacre are the two best known examples, but there were other tragedies too, which arose from it. Blood atonement has its origins possibly in English law, which required that those who committed petty treason, by murdering a master or husband or father, for example, must pay for it by shedding their own blood, as Christ’s alone would not redeem them. It has been part of Mormon culture for a long time, and Brigham Young was merely dignifying it in the sermon mentioned. As late as 1977, the LDS murderer Gary Gilmour opted to be executed by firing squad, because by shedding his own blood he thought he might still be saved.

      As for Adam being our God, there are multiple quotes of Brigham Young and others that demonstrate the teaching in the time of Brigham Young. Here are just two clear examples:

      “I have heard brother Brigham say that Adam is the Father of our spirits, and he came here with his resurrected body, to fall for his own children; and I said to him, it leads to an endless number of falls, which leads to sorrow and death: that is revolting to my feelings, even if it were not sustained by revelation.”
      – Apostle Orson Pratt, “Minutes of the Meeting of the Council of the Twelve in Historian’s Upper Room,” April 5, 1860, 10 a.m.; online at http://www.ldshistory.net/adam-god/ag2.html

      “Attended conference, a very interesting conference, for at this meeting President Brigham Young said thus, that Adam and Eve were the names of the first man and woman of every earth that was ever organized and that Adam and Eve were the natural father and mother of every spirit that comes to this planet, or that receives tabernacles on this planet, consequently we are brother and sisters, and that Adam was God, our Eternal Father. This as Brother Heber remarked, was letting the cat out of the bag, and it came to pass, I believed every word, for I remembered saying to the Brethren at a meeting of High Priests in Nauvoo, while I was speaking to them under the influence of the Spirit, I remarked thus, that our Father Adam had many wives, and that Eve was only one of them, and that she was our mother, and that she was the mother of the inhabitants of this earth…”
      – Elder Joseph Lee Robinson, Journal of Joseph Lee Robinson, October 6, 1854; online at http://www.spires.net/Historical/230_quotations/230_1.html

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  27. I suppose I should apologise for continuing to contend with you Jeff, reading back now over these posts I realise that for a man of your advanced years to even contemplate accepting the idea that he has given over half of his life, possible a lot of of his own money and undeniable Christian devotion to an organisation of such dishonesty, deceitfulness & evil, must be terrifying. Such a concept and the coming to understanding of the waste and usage of the better part of an adult life would be unbearable to most people of advancing years and perhaps even physically dangerous to a weak constitution. All round it is perhaps safer and more conducive in the twilight of a life to remain cocooned within the familiar gilded cage, accept the lies as truth and pass the latter years in willful and blissful ignorance of the truth about the LDS. So to this end I say to you Jeff good idea, keep your own council and stay at peace, I for one will waste no more time disputing with and I hope you will allow those of us disagree with you that same courtesy and be true to you word to keep your remarks between yourself and a chosen interlocutor, preferably for your own sake one who not only understands your continuing faith in a con man (JS) and monster (BY), but shares it.

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    1. Can you see how condescending your post is? I have read this whole thread and it surprises me that so many personal attacks have been made on Jeff. Many of you claim to be wanting answers to questions, however when he makes an attempt to answer some of the questions presented in the open letter you revile and mock him. Is it not true that most of you have already made your unshakeable conclusions? If so why do you want answers? I can see how frustratiting it is that the letters are not being answered but I also see that there really is no response the church can give that would be acceptable to most of you.

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  28. President Uchtdorf answered all of Chris’s concerns (and anyone else questioning church history and honesty) very clearly in the recent CES devotional speech. For the complete response you have to watch the entire video. http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/ces-devotionals/2013/01?lang=eng&vid=2093631404001
    If you can’t accept this as the First Presidency’s response to anyone demanding “the truth” from the brethren, then no one can help you.

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    1. I’d just like to clarify that the above statement by CJ is not actually accurate. I genuinely wish President Uchtdorf had dispelled my concerns, but unfortunately he only added to them as he side-stepped the pressing issues. What he had to say was very disappointing in parts. However, I did like this quote he included by Brigham Young:

      “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”

      The problem is of course that as soon as men and women do as Brigham asked, and find out for themselves that their leaders are not in truth’s way, they feel compelled to speak up in the cause of truth and honesty, and are then condemned as “apostates”, even when their intention is to salvage all the good that is found within Mormonism.

      For the record I would be pleased to meet with Dieter Uchtdorf if he wishes to discuss this further. He might not take that offer seriously, but it is sincere. I would not want him to think I have closed the door on his efforts to find a solution to the intensifying problems the LDS leaders are facing throughout the world.

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  29. “President Uchtdorf answered all of Chris’s concerns (and anyone else questioning church history and honesty) very clearly in the recent CES devotional speech”
    I’m confused CJ in what sense did Uchtdorf answer all of Chris’s concerns?

    This seems to be a seminary talk designed to dissuade members from asking awkward questions or to dissuade them from trying to find their own answers through any place other than that which is church approved/regulated.

    Maybe you could point out for us confused folk which of any of the actual questions and concerns he does address?

    Or do you think Uchdorf has taken an Holistic approach to sum up all the unanswered questions and shoved them in a neat little bundle? Which he then asks you and me to show yet a bit more blind faith, then pray and read your scriptures till the questions drift away onto the back shelf of our minds? well this might have worked in the begging but that little shelf of concerns has grown to big for some of us and we need some proper answers or at least a discussion!

    Chris’s concerns like my own are not something that can be prayed away! they are very real and are more tangible than the mysticism that seeks to dismiss and hide them.
    It is a proud, arrogant or dishonest man that says “trust me” despite contrary facts and evidences and a more foolish man who believes him without question especially after he has been made aware of these contradictory facts and evidences.

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    1. @Double edged Sword: Just curious if you are a Christian/creationist, atheist/evolutionist, agnostic, or something else (e.g. my bioethics teacher at university was a self-declared “agtheist” (combination of agnostic and atheist)).

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      1. @Chris H. I cannot see that your question adds anything helpful to the discussion. The issue here is that President Uchtdorf’s remarks did not, as was claimed by someone who calls himself CJ, provide a response to the specific questions posed by many members of the church. Chris Ralph, myself and clearly others also do not understand how CJ felt that those questions and issues had been answered. An appeal has been made by Double Edged Sword for CJ to enlighten us. He has yet to do so but it would be nice if he was able to say something useful and helpful in response to that request. Chris Ralph’s comment is interesting and very relevant. I had almost forgotten that comment by Brigham Young which clearly and unequivocally supports the idea that members are not, as many latter days saints seem to believe, expected to take everything at face value or accept something just because a leader says so. Brigham Young speaks very specifically against that approach. If CJ, Chris H. or others wish to argue against it they will need to wait until they share the same sphere of existence as Brigham Young and take it up with him if they feel they have the authority to do so – there seems little point in taking the issue up with us or anyone else in the meantime.

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  30. CJ: it appears you have decided to put your little point in as many places as you can find! I notice that you have included the same message on Stephen Bloor’s blog, the petition facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mormon-Petition/509073059126466) and also Chris’s first letter to the area presidency on this site, so I will simply repeat here what I wrote in answer to you at the end of Chris’s first letter.
    CJ, I’m sure your intentions are good but if you think that Pres Uchtdorf’s talk is an answer to the many questions that exist regarding the anomalies, lies and inconsistencies in many aspects of church history, you are greatly mistaken; it addressed nothing. Vague talk regarding blind men and elephants, suggesting good, honest people (many are christians still) are being deceived by satan is hardly a frank admission that untruths began with Joseph Smith and have been perpetuated by every generation of LDS leadership since that time. If anything, I felt this talk was beneath Pres Uchtdorf and greatly disappointing.

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