‘We can… intentionally deceive others by silence”

Impact:  How has this incomplete disclosure of church history affected your life? Add your story!: I was born into a very devout Mormon family.  There was never a time in 51 years that I did not attend church regularly.  I graduated from Seminary, went on a mission, paid a full tithing, and served in leadership callings.

My faith crisis came last year while defending the church against accusations from an apostate nephew.  The issue dealt with the Book of Abraham.  I quickly discovered that his information was correct.  I found the explanation of the problems from church apologists to be unsatisfactory.

This experience motivated me to study more deeply and skeptically.  MormonThink.com was a major source of information.  As I went through each topic I read as much as possible from both sides and tried to objectively weigh the evidence.

Books I read included “No Man Knows my History”, “Studies of the Book of Mormon”, “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins”, and “No Weapon Shall Prosper”.  I also listened to many of John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories podcasts and read heavily from fairlds.org.

The information from FAIR made it worse.  They verified that the difficulties were based on facts; but followed with weak arguments, logical fallacies, and even personal attacks, in defense of the church.

I was surprised how little I knew about the real history of the church given all my experience. I never learned about Joseph’s polygamy and polyandry; the actual BoM translation process; or the temple ceremony connection to Masonic rituals; etc.

It was clear to me that the church concealed troubling facts and engaged in a concerted effort to rewrite its history.  I began to feel betrayed by the very people I trusted the most.  The Gospel Principles manual states “When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.”  At best the church is telling only part of the truth.

I prayed for answers and guidance but I began to realize that my testimony was based more on feelings than on divine revelation.  I began to feel quite lost and alone.  I didn’t feel like there was anyone out there who could answer the questions that I was struggling with.  I talked to my Bishop and Stake President but they were of no help.

I talked to my wife early about my studying and she agreed to study along with me.  It was very difficult for her to read things that were negative about the church and called into question her beliefs.  Our studying often lead to contentious debates and caused a great strain in our marriage.  We began seeing a counselor to help us work through these difficulties.

My faith crisis also caused problems with my older siblings as they refused to listen or learn about these issues and have accused me of looking for a way out, wanting to sin, being deceived by Satan, etc.  It also created a problem with my employment because I worked at BYU.  I realized I had to leave a job I dearly loved.

The most painful thing so far however, was missing my daughter’s wedding.  She was married in the Temple last month.  It was so hurtful to learn that in other countries couples are allowed to marry civilly and then immediately enter the temple to be sealed, but in America they must wait a year. Most couples, including my daughter and son-in-law are afraid of the consequences of making that choice.  I’ll never forgive the church for denying me the privilege of seeing my precious girl get married.

My faith crisis might have been avoided if the church was open and honest about its history from the start.  I might be able to find a way to stay if they were open and honest now, and allowed non-believing family members and friends to witness their loved ones weddings.  But I don’t see that ever happening and I plan to resign my membership soon.

In short, my faith crisis has cost me my job, strained my relationships with family and friends, and could ultimately cost me my marriage.

Name: Mark

Date: 16 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: Book of Abraham

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