Author Archives: justanotherapostate

No revelation, no inspiration

OFFICIAL STATEMENT: “The Church, as a religious organization, does not have the investigative tools available to law enforcement agencies. Nor can the Church substitute for the courts in adjudicating legal claims. The Church has great faith in the judicial system to determine the truth of these claims.” –from an Official Church Statement, released 20 March 2018. [source]

COMMENTARY: As despicable as are the church’s attempts to exonerate itself at the expense of the victims—and yes, there are multiple victims in this case—let’s ignore that, if we can, for a moment, and focus on questions of doctrine here. The church is saying that only the police and the courts are able to determine if a man violated the position of trust in his ecclesiastical roles. Spencer Kimball, the President of the Church who called him to serve as the President of the Missionary Training Center did not have the discernment to know his nature? The leaders of his ward and stake, when given an accusation of his actions, did not receive the spiritual guidance to prompt them to take any action? Russell Nelson, the current President of the Church, even after being presented a tape recording of the man admitting to improprieties, is either unable or unwilling to ask God for advice on this case? Seems to me that if your religion gives you the ability to know the truth only of things that happened thousands of years ago or that will happen in heaven after our deaths, but has no ability to determine the truth regarding the quotidian and admittedly boring details of our current life—which might just prove useful in, I dunno, keeping the church leadership free of sexual predators—maybe your religion isn’t quite as useful as you’re trying to make it out to be. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

It never happened twice

SCHOLARS SAY: “Virtually all scholars believe that Mark 16:9–20 was not originally part of the Gospel for the following reasons:

  1. Some ancient manuscripts lack it and some of those that include it have a note that the text is disputed.
  2. It is difficult to imagine why a copyist would omit it; it is much easier to imagine a copyist adding it.
  3. Several early Christian writers appear to know copies of the Gospel of Mark that do not include Mark 16:9-20.
  4. Most scholars find the style and theology of Mark 16:9–20 to differ substantially from the rest of the Gospel.
  5. Matthew and Luke follow Mark pretty closely until they get to Mark 16:8, and then they go in very different directions, which suggests that they had copies of Mark that ended at Mark 16:8.
  6. The transition between 16:8 and 16:9 is awkward: the subject shifts and the women in 16:1–8 are forgotten. Mary Magdalene is introduced to the audience as if they were unfamiliar with her despite the fact that she was mentioned just a few verses ago. (These problems not only suggest that Mark 16:9–20 was not original to Mark, but also that it wasn’t written afresh to end the text but rather was an already-extant writing added to fill a gap.)
  7. There are over a dozen words included in Mark 16:9–20 that are not found elsewhere in Mark.
  8. The presence of multiple different endings strongly suggests that Mark 16:9–20 was not present originally. It implies that more than one person (or group) found Mark 16:8 to be inadequate and decided to add to the ending.

–Julie M. Smith, BYU New Testament Commentary. [source]

ADDED TO MARK: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” –Mark 16:15-18. [source]

ALSO PRESENT IN MORONI: “For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;” –Moroni 9:22-24. [source]

COMMENTARY: One of the reasons the Book of Mormon was preserved by God was because He knew that some of the writings in the Bible would be perverted through the centuries, and the Book of Mormon would stand as a source of the real truth in cases where it had been corrupted and a confirmation of the truth in cases where God’s word had been transmitted correctly through the centuries. Right? So what are we to think when the Book of Mormon “confirms” something that we now know was never in the Bible originally? Was the Book of Mormon also corrupted by those same priests who corrupted the Bible? Or did one of the priests who changed the Bible act according to the Spirit of God and restore a lost truth that was not originally recorded? If the latter, then why wouldn’t that method have continued to work without the intervention of Joseph Smith? In my opinion it’s a series of questions worth pursuing. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Room for children of gay parents?

CHURCH HANDBOOK: “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows: A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met: 1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage. 2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.” –LDS Church Handbook 1, section 16.13, added early November 2015. [source]

QUOTE: “Whatever your concerns, whatever your challenges, I wish to assure you that there is a place for you in the Lords’s Church. Our Father in Heaven cherishes his children and wants each of us to return home to Him.” –Russell M. Nelson, via Twitter, 17 January 2018. [source]

COMMENTARY: What do you do when your doctrine is accepting but your policies are discriminatory? It’s hard to keep your statements aligned with both. I think it’s best, as President Nelson has done, to try to appear as though you’re not a bigot. As long as that doesn’t require actually changing your bigoted policies. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Thomas S. Monson never prophesied

FACTS: Thomas S. Monson was born on 21 August 1927. He was first sustained by members of the LDS church as “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” on 4 October 1963. During the 54 years and almost 3 months from that sustaining until his death on 2 January 2018, he published exactly zero prophecies, zero translations of ancient documents, and zero revelations. [source]

COMMENTARY: I’m not going to say I know better than the Mormon God how to direct a multimillion-member church or oversee a multibillion-inhabitant planet, but the Mormon church’s claim to fame is supposed to be continuing modern revelation, and I think it may have been useful to have a little divine guidance on recent issues such as the cause of global warming, the presence or absence of weapons of mass destruction and its effect on wars that ravaged entire nations, advance warnings of catastrophes caused by extreme weather or deranged gunmen, the source of homosexual tendencies and whether people so blessed deserve the same rights that others enjoy, and whether women are worthy to act in the name of the Mormon God. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed listening to Monson regale audiences with heartwarming stories and selections from great poets. I guess it was wrong of me to hope for a little more, though. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

A century of silence

SCRIPTURE HEADING: “Section 138: A vision given to President Joseph F. Smith in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 3, 1918. In his opening address at the 89th Semiannual General Conference of the Church, on October 4, 1918, President Smith declared that he had received several divine communications during the previous months. One of these, concerning the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead while His body was in the tomb, President Smith had received the previous day. It was written immediately following the close of the conference.” –introductory heading of Doctrine and Covenants section 138, the final section of the Mormon book of modern revelation. [source]

COMMENTARY: Sometimes I have gone a few years between entries in my journal, but a century without saying anything meaningful to a church that is supposedly your favorite church in the world is a little ridiculous, even for a deity. The last 100 years have seen more changes in human understanding, technology, and ability than perhaps all previous history combined, and yet Mormon Jesus remains silent. This is supposedly the same Jesus depicted as an unchanging God in the Book of Mormon, where he is extremely present and active among the Nephites. It’s astounding to think there is not a single LDS leader alive today who had even been born before the last time new scripture was given. There are modern day Mormon prophets who have lived and died without contributing to scripture even as much as the virtually unknown Book of Mormon prophets Chemish and Abinadom. I have to admit it makes me begin to doubt the church’s claim of continuing revelation. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Joseph Smith’s translating hat

ENSIGN ARTICLE: “Joseph dictated it [the Book of Mormon] word by word as he looked into instruments the Lord had prepared for him, including the Urim and Thummim and at times a seer stone, using a hat to shield his eyes from extraneous light in order to plainly see the words as they appeared.” –Elder Marcus B. Nash, of the Seventy, in an article entitled “Joseph Smith: Strength Out of Weakness,” Ensign, December 2017. [source]

GOSPEL TOPICS: “Joseph’s wife Emma explained that she ‘frequently wrote day after day’ at a small table in their house in Harmony, Pennsylvania. She described Joseph ‘sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.’ ” –from Book of Mormon Translation, from the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org. [source]

COMMENTARY: I applaud the church’s baby steps with their first published image of Joseph translating the Book of Mormon with a hat near at hand. You could be cynical and say that the LDS church is only making small attempts at showing pictures that portray the events surrounding the church’s founder with historical accuracy because they feel forced to do so by critics of the church who claim the church has presented its members with a whitewashed version of church history. But that would only be true if a) they had spent the past 175+ years never publishing a depiction of Joseph translating the Book of Mormon with his face in a hat and virtually never mentioning the hat in connection with the translation process in the many publications that discuss the translation, and b) when they finally did publish a picture of a hat present in the translation process, they did so in a way where anyone who didn’t already know how the hat was used would never guess it from the picture. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

All is well in Zion

OLD TESTAMENT: “Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” –Ezekiel 13:3 [source]

NEW TESTAMENT: “Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” –Matthew 16:12 [source]

JOSEPH SMITH: “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight…” –Joseph Smith History 19 [source]

BOOK OF MORMON: “Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!” –2 Nephi 28:24-25 [source]

COMMENTARY: Just a thought. If God allowed religious leaders in the past the free agency to lead the church astray, why would he change his approach on that today? And if you think you’ve heard that he promised it wouldn’t happen anymore, who exactly told that to you? The same people who might be able to lead you astray? In my opinion, this is an important enough question that it merits a little consideration. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Suffer little children to stay away

SCRIPTURE: “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” –Matthew 19:13-14. [source]

CHURCH POLICY: “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows: A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met: 1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage. 2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.” –LDS Church Handbook 1, section 16.13, added early November 2015. [source]

COMMENTARY: Mormons take offense if you suggest they aren’t Christian. But I’m not sure you get to claim that your religion follows Christ’s teachings when it doesn’t actually follow Christ’s teachings. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Joseph Smith, polygamist

SCRIPTURE: “Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.” –D&C 132:3-4. [source]

MODERN PROPHET: “I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.” –Gordon B. Hinckley, on Larry King Live, 8 September 1998. [source]

COMMENTARY: I’ve never understood the duality of the Mormon position on polygamy. The fact is that Joseph Smith practiced it. The fact is that the scriptures teach that it is an essential doctrine. The fact is that the church currently condemns its practice because it is illegal, while still trying to hold up Joseph Smith as the model of a prophet, even though it was illegal in his day, too. The way I see it, you can’t have it both ways. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Mormon modesty

FOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUTH: “Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance.” –Dress and Appearance, For the Strength of Youth. [source]

SCRIPTURE: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” –Matthew 5:27-29. [source]

COMMENTARY: The Mormon use of the term “modesty” is merely a smokescreen for the age-old attempt to control women. If there were something intrinsic about the Mormon definition of modesty, it would apply to men and women equally. A more rational approach entirely, though, is that rather than dictating to others what they should and shouldn’t wear, we instead focus on our own actions and reactions, as Jesus is purported to have taught. I don’t think we should teach women not to dress in a way that might make a man feel tempted; we should instead teach men to control their thoughts and stop sexualizing and objectifying women. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

We do that all the time

CHURCH SPOKESMAN: “The choir’s participation continues its long tradition of performing for U.S. presidents of both parties at inaugurations and in other settings, and is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics.” –Eric Harkins, official LDS Church Spokesman, in response to criticism of the church decision to accept an invitation for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the inauguration of President Trump. [source

PRESS RELEASE: “This performance will mark the sixth time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has sung at an inauguration. These inaugural events include the official swearing-in ceremonies for George H. W. Bush (1989), Richard M. Nixon (1969), and Lyndon B. Johnson (1965). They performed in inaugural parades for George W. Bush (2001), George H. W. Bush (1989), and Ronald W. Reagan (1981).” –from the LDS Church’s press release about the choir’s upcoming participation in President Trump’s inauguration, 22 December 2016. [source]

QUOTE: “It’s behind us. Look, that’s behind us. Don’t worry about those little flicks of history.” –Gordon B. Hinckley, responding to Mike Wallace’s question about the church’s racist policies during a CBS News interview that originally aired 7 April 1996. [source]

COMMENTARY: The last time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed at the inauguration of a democratic president, it was still 13 years away from allowing black people into its priesthoods or temples. It seems to me that unless you present the church in the best possible light, even when doing so for one thing directly contradicts how the church asked to be treated for something else, Mormons are going to complain that you’re unfair. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

A church of lay leadership

QUOTE: “We are a Church of lay leadership. What a remarkable and wonderful thing that is. It must ever remain so. It must never move in the direction of an extensive paid ministry.” –Gordon B. Hinckley, in General Conference, October 2002. [source]

SCRIPTURE: “And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren? Then why sayest thou that we preach unto this people to get gain, when thou, of thyself, knowest that we receive no gain?” –Alma 30:34-35. [source]

COMMENTARY: Oopsies! I guess the Book of Mormon isn’t a good model for modern day churches. An $80,000 a year salary, er, excuse me, living allowance, isn’t exactly “receiving no gain,” but I’m sure taxes were a lot lower in Alma’s day. Aren’t you glad so many church members scrimp on everyday essentials in order to pay their tithing so that Henry can be out preaching the word of God? I’m sure he sleeps well at night knowing that he’s helped alleviate spiritual suffering, even if it was only enabled because of the physical suffering of faithful church members. They will, after all, be duly recompensed in heaven. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Fake news since 1830

NEWS ARTICLE: “[Facebook] is being accused of abdicating its responsibility to clamp down on fake news stories and counter the echo chamber that defined this election.” –from “Facebook’s failure: did fake news and polarized politics get Trump elected?”, an article published in The Guardian, 10 November 2016. [source]

SCRIPTURE: “In or about the year A.D. 421, Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, sealed the sacred record and hid it up unto the Lord, to be brought forth in the latter days, as predicted by the voice of God through His ancient prophets. In A.D. 1823, this same Moroni, then a resurrected personage, visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and subsequently delivered the engraved plates to him.” –from A Brief Explanation about The Book of Mormon. [source]

COMMENTARY: Apparently, people share things with their friends based on emotional impact rather than truthfulness. And once a fake news item is shared, studies have found that most people won’t stop believing a story they’ve emotionally identified with even when given information that disproves it. I suppose that’s just human nature at work, but it makes me a little sad that some people try to exploit that tendency. I’d think one of the first things we’d want to teach people is how not to be taken in by an easily disprovable lie. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Best man-made religion ever

REVELATION: “…” –the entirety of all revelations from God to his Mormon prophets published by the LDS church in this century.

COMMENTARY: LDS missionaries teach people about modern prophets having access to revelation directly from God, but the LDS church hasn’t published any such revelation since June of 1978, and even then they didn’t actually give us God’s words. If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think that maybe they were just one more man-made religion in a world full of man-made religions. But nope. Because, um, faith. Don’t believe any of those other religions. But you just gotta have faith that the LDS church is the real true not-fake-at-all religion of God. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Don’t shatter the illusion

FACTS: Santa isn’t real. Jesus doesn’t exist. Joseph Smith was a false prophet. And some people get mad at you when you say things like this.

COMMENTARY: If you want to get a child mad at you, tell her Santa isn’t real. If you want to get an adult mad at you, tell her Jesus doesn’t exist. If you want to get a Mormon mad at you, tell him Joseph Smith was a false prophet. People don’t like having the problems with their make believe stories pointed out to them before they are ready. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate who has been pointing out the problems in Mormonism’s make believe stories for the past few years.

A habit of getting it wrong

QUOTE: “The principle of plural marriage, against which the main force of the opposition was being hurled, had been a divine institution from before the foundation of the world. There had been some talk about President Taylor issuing a revelation abolishing that system of marriage. When a revelation of that kind is given it will be when the Lord has no use for the Latter-day Saints, and this will never transpire, for He has promised to give them the kingdom and to sustain them.” –Elder John W. Taylor of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in a talk in General Conference, 5 April 1885, as summarized in an article in the Deseret News, 8 April 1885. [source]

SCRIPTURE: “After receiving revelation, President Wilford Woodruff issued the following Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, 1890. This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.” –from the introduction to Official Declaration 1, Doctrine and Covenants. [source]

COMMENTARY: Today marks the one year anniversary since LDS church leaders issued a policy change to the secret church handbook of instructions indicating that gay marriage was an act of apostasy, that children of gay parents could not be blessed or baptized or advanced in the priesthood, and that if they wanted to join the church later in life they had to first disavow their parents’ choices. I just thought it would be nice to point out the historical precedent that when church leaders explained god’s will on the subject of sexuality and marriage in the past, it turns out that they often got things exactly wrong. God is bigger, more loving, and more inclusive than the small-minded men who lead the LDS church. He loves all of his children, and he supports their decision to marry the person they want to marry, regardless of gender. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Do you have greater trust in a lawyer or a prophet?

PROPHECY: “The prosecuting attorney was quite mistaken in saying … he ‘would predict that a new revelation would soon follow, changing the divine law of celestial marriage.’ Whatever fame Mr. Bierbower may have secured as a lawyer, he certainly will fail as a prophet. The severest persecutions have never been followed by revelations changing a divine law, obedience to which brought imprisonment or martyrdom. Though I go to prison, God will not change his law of celestial marriage. But the man, the people, the nation, that oppose and fight against this doctrine and the Church of God, will be overthrown.” –Lorenzo Snow, reading a statement at his sentencing hearing after being convicted for unlawful cohabitation, 16 January 1886. The Historical Record, vol 6 pg 144. [source]

SCRIPTURE: “After receiving revelation, President Wilford Woodruff issued the following Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, 1890. This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.” –from the introduction to Official Declaration 1, Doctrine and Covenants. [source]

COMMENTARY: Who do you bet on when a lawyer and a prophet of God both make contradictory predictions on the same topic? And if you are a Mormon, how do you justify the fact that the lawyer made the more accurate prediction and your prophet failed in two prophecies in a single statement? I think a sensible conclusion is that the prophet isn’t really a prophet at all. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

God keeps his prophets busy

SCRIPTURE: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” –Amos 3:7. [source]

COMMENTARY: If you are a Mormon and you believe the Bible, then you either must believe that your prayers go unanswered or that God’s prophets are kept busy with the same mind-numbing litany of requests you weary God with. It’s no wonder God doesn’t have time to cure world hunger, inspire world peace, or give his prophets new revelation on homosexuality or women in the priesthood. If I were the prophet and had to listen all day to the worldly, short-term, materialistic, honey-do tasks God busies himself with, I guess I might feel inspired to build a multibillion-dollar shopping center, too. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Evil desires … granted

SCRIPTURE: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” –Psalms 37:4. [source]

SCRIPTURE: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” –Matthew 15:19. [source]

COMMENTARY: I don’t personally believe that religion is the root of all evil, but if we take the Bible at its word, then it’s clear that religious people are blessed by God to have their evil desires. And if you want to claim I’m reading the Bible wrong, then you’re admitting that the Bible can’t be taken at its word, and that we have to use morals outside of the Bible to determine the morals the Bible is teaching us. In my opinion, we should just cut out the middle man and use the morals we already have without trying to filter them through a book filled with God-sanctioned genocide, rape, slavery, and war. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Warm fuzzy testimonies

QUOTE: “I offer, as a friend and as an Apostle, my witness. He lives! Some may ask, how can I know this for myself? We know He lives because we believe the testimonies of His ancient and living prophets, and we have felt God’s Spirit confirm that the testimonies of these prophets are true.” –Robert D. Hales, in General Conference, October 2009. [source]

COMMENTARY: So let me be sure I’ve got this straight. Other people say words. Then we get all happy when we hear those words. So we know the words are true. Then we say the words, too. And other people feel happy. So they know the words are true. And so it goes from generation to generation. But all anybody ever has are words and happy feelings? Nobody has actually found out for themselves that the words are objectively true? Jesus hasn’t appeared to any of the currently living prophets. It kinda makes me wonder why. Maybe Jesus is so busy up in heaven that he can’t spare a moment to go say hi to the only people qualified to speak for him on the earth during its final days when the forces of evil are mounting their fiercest attack. Or maybe it takes a lot of energy out of him to put on the whole spectacle these days and he’s just tired of it. Or perhaps he’s just so super pleased that the prophets have kept up their discrimination against women and gays that he’s all, “Nah, you’ve got this.” Because certainly it couldn’t be that he simply doesn’t exist. I mean, that would be so silly. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Lying on taxes

SCRIPTURE: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” –John 2:19-22. [source]

COMMENTARY: Much is made in Christendom of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, despite the rather obvious logical problems with the story. But hey, as long as we are going to suspend disbelief about the rest of the Christianity myth, who cares about details like the ability of an immortal god to die or resurrect, let alone the idea that a deity brilliant enough to conceive and command all of creation has trouble with simple math. I mean, just as long as you can feel his love in your heart, the rest of it just has to be true, right? If you’re Christian, I guess the important thing is to have faith, not critical thinking skills. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

You worship an immoral god

SCRIPTURE: “And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.” –Alma 18:32. [source]

COMMENTARY: If you are Christian, you worship an immoral god. Jesus and his dad constantly do things that would be considered immoral if done by mortals. They stand idly by while children are abused physically, mentally, and sexually. They spy on people in locker rooms, showers, and bedrooms. They watch people get raped and murdered and don’t lift a finger to help. They have pertinent information in important police investigations yet never call in. They are aware a building is about to collapse, yet never warn a single person. In many of these instances, if a human did the same things these two do, that human would be reprimanded, ostracized, or even jailed. Yet people continue to claim that Jesus and his dad are perfect. That’s a really fun double standard. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Know the truth of all things

QUOTE: “From the pages of the Book of Mormon comes Moroni’s promise that through prayer, real intent, and faith in Christ, we may know the truth of these promises ‘by the power of the Holy Ghost.’ With other latter-day prophets, I testify of the truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth,’ even the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. Its message spans the earth and brings its readers to a knowledge of the truth. It is my testimony that the Book of Mormon changes lives. May each of us read it and reread it. And may we joyfully share our testimonies of its precious promises with all of God’s children.” –Thomas S. Monson, First Presidency Message: Precious Promises of the Book of Mormon, Liahona, October 2011. [source]

COMMENTARY: If you are taking a history test in school and don’t know the answer, just pray, because by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things. Oh. You still got the answer wrong? Well, maybe the Holy Ghost forgot to study history, too. But while the Holy Ghost may be a little rusty on history, Google seems to come up with the correct answer rather quickly. Just don’t search Google for Book of Mormon anachronisms. The Holy Ghost is sure to flee from that evil information. And then how will you know what information is historically accurate? I think your best bet is to leave studying to people of little faith and simply embrace prayer as your path to knowledge. That approach has served humans for hundreds of thousands of years and it has verified the truthfulness of thousands of different religions. Your ancestors didn’t need Google, and you don’t either. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Mormon and gay

FACT: The LDS Church recently launched a new website mormonandgay.lds.org.

COMMENTARY: If you are both gay and Mormon, you’re going to have a hard life. Guess what, though? It’s possible to change one of the two. Watching a few of the videos on the new website, its obvious that church leaders expect gay Mormons to be miserable in this life so that they can have blessings in the next life. Which is totally cool, if you believe that you’ll have another life after this one, and if you don’t care that the gospel is supposed to be a message of happiness for mortality as well. If following God’s perfect plan for you doesn’t bring you joy during your time in this life, are you really sure you want to try to live it forever? Here’s the truth: you’re just fine the way you are. You aren’t broken. You don’t have to fix your sexual orientation. If you leave the Mormon church you’ll discover there is plenty of joy in store for you in this life as well, and God loves you and supports you in your desires for affection, acceptance, and love. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Prophecy or prejudice?

QUOTE: “What is the cause of all this waste of life and treasure? To tell it in a plain, truthful way, one portion of the country wish to raise their negroes or black slaves and the other portion wish to free them, and, apparently, to almost worship them. Well, raise and worship them, who cares? I should never fight one moment about it, for the cause of human improvement is not in the least advanced by the dreadful war which now convulses our unhappy country. Ham will continue to be the servant of servants, as the Lord has decreed, until the curse is removed. Will the present struggle free the slave? No; but they are now wasting away the black race by thousands. Many of the blacks are treated worse than we treat our dumb brutes; and men will be called to judgment for the way they have treated the negro, and they will receive the condemnation of a guilty conscience, by the just Judge whose attributes are justice and truth. Treat the slaves kindly and let them live, for Ham must be the servant of servants until the curse is removed. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? You cannot. Yet our Christian brethren think that they are going to overthrow the sentence of the Almighty upon the seed of Ham. They cannot do that, though they may kill them by thousands and tens of thousands.” –Brigham Young, 6 October 1863, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10 p. 250. [source]

COMMENTARY: Can someone explain why Brigham Young could have gotten this prophecy so wrong? Was he lying when he said he knew what God had decreed? Was God just kidding about the decree? Did God remove the curse of Ham in the 1860’s, and if so why was the priesthood ban still in effect until 1978? When people claim to be prophets and claim to speak for God, I think when they get their prophecies wrong, we should probably start doubting other things they say as well. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Only one wife apiece?

QUOTE: “I would not be afraid to promise a man who is sixty years of age, if he will take the counsel of brother Brigham and his brethren, that he will renew his age. I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors His work and word. Some of you may not believe this; but I not only believe it—I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business; for it is as much as we can do now to keep up under the burdens we have to carry; and I do not know what we should do if we had only one wife apiece.” –Heber C. Kimball, 6 April 1857. Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 22. [source]

COMMENTARY: I love reading the words of modern prophets. They always fill me with so much gratitude and appreciation for God’s perfect plan and how I fit into it. Knowing God’s will for me in this life and the joys awaiting me in the next gives me determination to endure to the end. I’m confident as you study the words of his prophets you’ll come to the same realization. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Tell them how to vote

SCRIPTURE: “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others.” –D&C 134:4. [source]

LETTER: “We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to measures that would legalize physician-assisted suicide.” –excerpt from a letter from the First Presidency to leaders and members in Colorado, 12 October 2016. [source]

COMMENTARY: Let’s pretend that the Mormon scriptures say that religious beliefs should be used to limit the rights of other people. And let’s pretend that Jesus said do unto others what you’re convinced is right for them regardless of their protestations to the contrary. And let’s pretend that Satan’s plan to limit agency was examined by God and deemed an all around good idea. And let’s pretend that the Mormon church values life so much that it encourages its members to protest war and refuse military service. And let’s pretend that most Mormons are so clueless they have no idea what the church’s stance is on physician-assisted suicide. And while we’re at it, let’s pretend that as a society we consider it inhumane to grant early death to suffering animals with no hope of long-term quality of life. When we pretend hard enough and long enough, then yeah, it totally makes sense that prophets of God would step into the political arena and tell church members how they should vote. When we stop pretending, though, it looks like nothing more than outright hypocrisy. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

Vote like the prophet

SCRIPTURE: “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others.” –D&C 134:4. [source]

LETTER: “We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use.” –excerpt from a letter from the First Presidency to leaders and members in Arizona, California, and Nevada, 12 October 2016. [source]

COMMENTARY: Muslims and Jews believe eating pork is contrary to God’s commandments. Is it right for them to impose their religious taboos on the rest of us? If not, why do Mormons feel they are morally justified trying to enshrine in law their own peculiar religious beliefs, especially when their scriptures explicitly forbid it? What we have here is a large organization pretending to be a church run by a group of old men pretending to be prophets. If the LDS church can’t keep out of the political arena, maybe it’s time to enact laws that tax political organizations masquerading as churches. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.