Category Archives: Impact

“I don’t feel I was ready…”

Impact:  This is exactly how I am feeling right now! I don’t feel I was ready [for baptism at age 8] and I don’t feel that my children are at all either. I have had a real hard time with baptizing at the age of 8 for some time now. But the family pressure is so thick, I couldn’t handle the explanation as to why we wouldn’t, and of course the pressure in primary.

Name: Meradith

Date:  30 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Under-Informed Covenant Making

“Consider manipulation of truth… as a kind of abuse”

Impact:   I found out [about historical Church History] in December of last year. I did not reason my way through any difficult questions, rather, I was told over the course of three hours the real story of the church. I feel like it will take me years to recover. At 44, that is a depressing thought! Anyway, while some might say there are compelling reasons to stay… there are many more compelling reasons to leave. Fact is, you and I were lied to and the foundation of the church is false. If you let yourself go to places like and go through some of their archived subjects, you will begin to understand the depth of the pain and sorrow and worse that many have suffered at the hands of this dysfunctional and authoritarian organization. While there are very often good messages that can be found about how to treat our fellow human beings or how to be a more productive person and the like, they are not unique to Mormonism. You will see this quote from time to time– “What is good in the church is not unique and what is unique in the church is not good.” Consider manipulation of truth for selfish goals as a kind of abuse. And while not all encompassing throughout the church, it is most certainly very pervasive. 

Name: Anonymous

Date: 27 Jul 2015

Impact Topic: General; Cover Up and Excommunications

“…it shook my world.”

Impact:   Once I found out that Joseph Smith put his head into a hat to look at peep stones, the same stones he went fortune hunting with, it shook my world.  I wondered what else the church had white-washed and kept from me?  The polyandry, polygamy and lying to Emma was another big issue for me.  Then I had to look at the story of mobs being after an innocent man because Satan didn’t want the gospel restored.  Made way more sense that people would be upset with shenanigans then they would be with religion.

Name: Kim

Date: 25 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Book of Mormon Translation

“A …good understanding… made me less angry”

Impact:  A very good understanding of the overall polygamy dynamics during [Joseph’s] time… actually made me less angry about polygamy surprisingly. It gave me an insight to his actions and why he did what he did, but there were times that I was still angered by his behavior, especially his secrecy with Emma. I was surprised by the secrecy that went on among Emma’s close friends as well. Many of them were married to Joseph and hid it from her. Joseph lied. Emma’s friends lied to her regularly. [I learned] the intricate dynamics and weird triangles of people involved in lying to keep polygamy secret and hidden. There is no way a prophet could pull off today what Joseph did. I …especially [found fascinating] the practice of the dynastic celestial sealings. I still have a lot of unanswered questions, but I ultimately have a better understanding. The reason why I was so fascinated with polygamy was because my ancestors are all Mormon pioneers who came across the plains and settled in Utah. I have a ton of polygamy in my ancestry on both sides of my family. I wanted to understand what my ancestors went through in practicing polygamy. I became obsessed with studying it for a while last year. I was shocked to discover that it was not true that there was a surplus of women which was the reason I was told polygamy was practiced. But I shouldn’t have been that surprised considering all the other stuff I didn’t know:) I think when [one is] studying subjects as complicated as polygamy, it’s important to read as much as you possibly can. I found out really quick when I started on my faith crisis that having little information was dangerous. I was reading a little bit here and a little bit there which sent me over the edge without knowing how to process it. Not saying that I still know how to process it all now, but it’s been much easier to process and understand things by immersing myself in studying the history.

Name: Alyson

Date: 24 July 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy

“I am young and naive. This pain is new to me.”

Impact:  I am 17 years old, a true, believing Mormon until about a few months ago. I first started to see flaws about the church last year when I decided not to go to girl’s camp because I decided to take classes at our local community college.  I had expected the rest of the young women to be disappointed, but never would I have imagined my close friends and well-respected leaders to shun me and tell me that I was missing out on “the most spiritual experience of my life,” which of course is just nuts.  They then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t need to take college classes because I didn’t have to in order to graduated high school and that college is where I can meet my future husband who will work while I can stay at home with the kids. They told me to worry about my celestial marriage right now (I was 16 at the time). That’s when my eyes opened about the ridiculousness of the Mormon culture.

I started to question doctrine last year during seminary as we studied the Book of Mormon. I went to learn more about the history and the translation process. Like many, I was shocked about the things I found concerning Joseph Smith, polygamy, first vision accounts, blacks and the priesthood, the Book of Abraham, temples, and so much more. I cried myself to sleep for many months. I loved the church. I loved the scriptures, the prophet, the ward family, temples, and so much more. But I loved the Savior and His atonement most of all. I feel betrayed, lied to, and cheated. If the church isn’t true, then how many precious hours did I waste for it?

Only my parents know of my crisis of faith. I told my bishop a little but he thinks I gained my testimony back. I’m not sure what I believe in any more. I still feel good when I go to church, but because of the familiarity or otherwise, I’m not sure. I’m not sure I want to leave or stay.

I am young and naïve. This pain is new to me. I feel empty and hopeless where I was once happy about church. Sometimes I wish I had stayed a true, believing Mormon because it was so much easier. But I can’t go back after what I’ve seen. I can only move forward. I don’t even know what the right thing to do is anymore, otherwise I would do it.

Date: 24 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“…the very same standard.”

Impact:  If I had to pinpoint one [most concerning] thing, it would be the secrecy and the lies. To get a Temple recommend, I had to say that I was honest in all my dealings, when the very church who deals out these questions does not have to live by the same standard.

Name: M.S.

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Cover Up and Excommunications

“They didn’t know,” then they did… “what?”

Impact: This broke my shelf- that memo that they didn’t know where the [priesthood] ban came from shortly followed by the essay. I was like, wait, what? I thought you just said we didn’t know where it came from! I felt so lied to! It was all down hill from there.

Name: Andrea

Date: 19 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: Race and the Priesthood

“All the years I sang this”

Impact: I actually wouldn’t get too exercised over this because for all of the years I sang this, I simply believed that “all the chosen race” were those who belonged to the church and therefore were “adopted” into the “chosen race.” I guess I was taught that the “seed of Abraham” or the “House of Israel” were more responsive to the message of the restored gospel, but I also thought that anyone who accepted it became the “chosen” people. I remember even hearing that those who accepted the “restored gospel” would literally have their blood changed to become part of the House of Israel, and countless patriarchal blessings declare lineage in the house of Israel either by descent or adoption.

Name: Nadine

Date: 17 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: Race and the Priesthood

“I…would…try to pray it out of me”

Impact:  I was raised in the church, went to BYU, then served a mission in South America. After returning from the mission field, I became a RS Pres, then I was in Young Women’s, Primary and most of the other jobs that most wards have. I was very active. I struggled my whole life with knowing I was gay, but would go to the temple and try to pray it out of me. That never worked, but I tried to remain faithful. After so many years of trying, I can be honest and say, I was not happy, I didn’t feel the peace of being faithful so I made the decision to leave the church after talking with my parents and telling them I was gay. They were incredible. They said they always knew and that they just wanted me to be happy and if I could only love a women, then I had their support. While I did meet someone and we both continued to attend church, for a while, it just became too much. We both felt we had to step away. So step away we did.

My partner was the one who starting investigating the church and would share things with me. At first I didn’t believe what she found and I said it was not true what was being said about Joseph and the current leaders. I grew up in Maryland, so I was aware of some of the history, such as Joseph had multiple wives, even that he had told Martin Harris that he was to give his wife to Joseph. I was taught it was only a test and Joseph never took her away from Martin. I knew about Eliza R. Snow and was told it was a spiritual marriage only. So when I started doing research and found that Joseph had been arrested for fraud, that rocked my belief pretty badly. Then to learn he actual took other men’s wives, even one that was 8 months pregnant, that was bad. Then learning that he married a 14 year old and Emma was not aware of any of this. Then learning that their are multiple versions of the First Vision, I felt betrayed and lied to about early history and if I was lied to about that, what else was the church lying about?

My dad was Stake President when Ezra T. Benson came back for a Stake Conference. He stayed the weekend with us and there were lots of talks at night about all the issues. One particular discussion was about blacks and the priesthood. Ezra told us that it was because blacks were cursed because of Cain. That just felt wrong to me on so many levels and I wondered how I could feel such darkness from a man that at the time was President of the Quorum of the Twelve. It just didn’t sit right with me.

When I was young I remember hearing the amount of tithing that was paid, the fast offering, the expenses of the church. It was read in Stake every six months. Then it stopped and when I asked why, I never got an answer. I was told it was not for members to know, which struck me funny because we used to be told, so why change it now. Obviously, the church was becoming more wealthy ever day and that wouldn’t look good. My faith crisis really came when I decided to live my authentic life the way God created me. I struggled because I thought the church represented Christ’s gospel as he taught it.

So it was like being true to myself was betraying my faith, but at the same time, I had such a peaceful feeling that God supported me in being who he created. So I was happier living my life than I ever had been, but felt I lost part of me with the church. When I found out that most of what I was taught growing up was a lie, I felt I could leave and be at peace. I guess now I’m just angry that I spent a lot of years thinking there was something wrong with me and that I was a sinner. Even though I never did anything wrong, wrong that I would have to see a bishop for at any rate. I don’t feel the need to get others to leave, because I feel that is a personal decision each person needs to come to on their terms.

I’ve learned to be the best spiritual being that I can. I’m glad I was raised with the values that I was, so no regrets there. I don’t regret going on a mission because it was such a great life experience for me on so many levels. I don’t wish the church any ill will, I just wish they would be honest. I do believe one day they will see that it is going to crumble if they don’t stop and begin to admit the truth.

Name: Joni

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: LGBT issues, General, Polygamy, Race and the Priesthood

“We are so much happier out of the church”

Impact: I was raised in the LDS church by convert parents who joined the church in Berlin Germany.  David O McKay was the prophet when I was a little girl living in Salt Lake City in the 1950’s and he called me on my mission to Austria in 1969.  I had a strong testimony and questioning and understanding the gospel was encouraged by the church and my father. We believed that a church that could not withstand investigation had a weak foundation.

I first started doubting on my mission as Austria was a difficult mission.  I believed in the plan of salvation that man could become like God and in the law of eternal progression and pursuit of excellence.  I loved feeling like we had a living prophet to guide us and the security of being in Christ’s church.  That we would not be led astray.  After my mission, I met my husband who joined the church on an intellectual testimony.  He believed the spiritual witness would come later.  He took seriously Moroni’s promise of the Book of Mormon and fasted and prayed for that spiritual witness.  After 30 years of praying and fasting and living the gospel, it never came.

I taught Gospel Doctrine for 4 years and started studying church history and Journal of Discourses.  That is when things started bothering me about Joseph Smith and polygamy and polyandry.  Also, his dealing with money.  His character started bothering me.  Paul Dunn’s fabricated spiritual experiences also bothered us as I really loved him.  But, a main change happened when the LDS church no longer seemed like the church I was raised in.  With the coming of the internet, it seemed the lds church began muzzling its members and me as a teacher.  We could no longer use outside sources (as the 13th article of faith advocated) in teaching lessons although General authorities could.

Also, we had a gay son and prop 8 did not help.  The church was becoming more and more of a corporation and the spirit was no longer in most of the meetings there. We had prayed about our temple experiences and the spirit was not there for us.  It seemed so strange with all the death oaths, and weird covenants. After much prayer God led us to other churches where I learned the Holy Spirit dwells as well.

Even though the church emphasizes families, it took my husband out of the home so much with home teaching, and as a stake counsel man, Elders Quorum President, etc that he had no time for me or our kids that I felt so neglected.  It almost destroyed our marriage.  When President Hinckley was on Larry King live and brushed off polygamy, and that we no longer believe that man can become like God, we felt this man was not a prophet.

We watched John Dehlin’s video on Why People leave the church and it hit home.  No body liked that we questioned or would discuss our doubts with us.  This was one of the things that bothered me the most.  And nobody cared when we left the church, especially all those my husband worked with in the high council. We are so much happier out of the church now and attend the United Church of Christ in our area.

Name: Erika

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy

“I was ready to know difficult things”

Impact: I am a BYU graduate, a returned missionary, and a very black-and-white believer (that was probably the problem). The beginning of losing my testimony is probably like a lot of others’ experiences. I never got strong answers to my prayers. I always told myself that I knew the church was true, and I felt good while reading the Book of Mormon.

The clincher came when I worked for the Liahona. I did some research on Abraham for a series on Old Testament prophets (I think it’s in March?), and I read the Wikipedia entry, just like I had for Adam and Noah. Of course I read about the mismatched translations, and my heart sunk. I panicked about it, then eventually figured that there was an explanation, but it didn’t matter. Only my faith mattered.

But I gave myself permission to look at the questions that all of the anti-Mormons were asking. I thought they would be saying stupid things like, “Joseph Smith ate babies!” And of course, it wouldn’t be true. I remembered having a speaker come to BYU-I and talk about this list of 20 things that disproved Mormonism and resolving all 20 of them over the years. So I felt justified. I was ready to know difficult things.

I was so, so wrong. I was a very black-and-white, orthodox Mormon. For example, the whole Proposition 8 thing made me feel uncomfortable, but I supported it anyway. (They had a big campaign at BYU-I to get students involved in a telephone campaign at the time. I didn’t do that but messaged a bunch of friends on Facebook.) My stake president pushed a group of students to start a club at my high school called the CTR Alliance. It was basically FHE for high school kids (despite the fact there was already a Christian club on campus). That felt very wrong too, but I thought the carnal me just needed to be humbled.

Being black-and-white, the church was not allowed to be anything other than black-and-white, and the evidence was so overwhelming. It was just one thing after another–the Book of Abraham, the Kinderhook Plates, the real reason for Thomas Marsh’s excommunication, Joseph’s involvement with treasure hunting and masonry, polyandry, and everything else under the sun. Polyandry was a very painful thing to me, and I think it was what sent my beliefs tumbling down. It was plain adultery in my eyes (which, come to think of it, is that not somewhat sexist of me? I mean, why can a man have multiple wives but a woman can’t have multiple husbands? I guess the point, though, was the utter hypocrisy of Joseph).

If it had been one or two things, I could have survived. But it was too much. It was an excruciatingly painful process deconstructing my faith, but it was also very freeing to let go of faith-encrusted beliefs about women and the priesthood, blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, homosexuality, cohabitation, and the inferiority of other faiths. I feel like this is my refiner’s fire because the people burning me are the people I would have expected to agree with the rest of my life.

I think everyone feels anger to some degree, and it can be all encompassing. It’s anger over a life dedicated to half-truths and lies, anger over losing the love of others because the church won’t come clean, anger that you’ve given yourself so blindly to something that has kept you from loving fully. I don’t know that the anger ever goes away, but it becomes embers, more tame than the inferno that could have taken out a forest and probably took some people with it.

The facts are the catalyst for the betrayal. I think they are the thing that burns below the surface when you talk to others filled with testimony or with people who judge you. At the same time you want to burn them up with the facts, you don’t want anyone to ever feel what you’ve felt. You want to be a light, not an ignition source.

I’ve lost my husband over my loss of faith. I just hope he’ll come back to me and realize that I was just trying to be a light.

Name: ES

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy; The Book of Abraham; General

“I did not sign up to be a polygamist.”

Impact: I was divorced after 10 years.  I was married in the Mesa, AZ temple.  Fast forward 6 years later.  I remarried and started the paperwork to be sealed to my current wife in the Mesa, AZ temple.  My stake president at that time noticed I checkmarked the box for sealing CLEARANCE, not CANCELATION.  He reminded me that if my ex repented, the Lord would remember her sins no more and the sealing between us would stay valid.  He asked my current wife if she liked the idea of me being sealed to both of them.  She obviously said no.  I said, no.  He agreed and checked the CANCELLATION box. A few months later, I got a sealing CLEARANCE letter not a CANCELLATION.  I didn’t want to ruin our planned sealing date so I didn’t say anything.

I absolutely hate polygamy.  I hate the idea.  I think it is deplorable.  I want nothing to do with it.  I had no clue how polygamy began or was administered back in the day but this issue forced me to learn the history of polygamy as I am forced to live the “spiritual principle”.  The huge issue I have is that my free will has been thrown aside and I am forced to be a spiritual polygamist.  In the Declaration #1 in the D&C, the Church confirmed it no long performs plural marriages in the temples.  Not true!  The day my current wife and I were sealed IN THE TEMPLE…was the day I became a spiritual polygamist on paper with the Church.  What happened to free-agency?

President Hinckley in an interview with Larry King on CNN outright stated to the world that polygamy “is not doctrinal.”   So, we have a current prophet saying it isn’t doctrinal and an official declaration stating the church isn’t practicing plural marriage in the temple,  all the while…my free agency is not honored.

This is truly one of a few issues I have had with Priesthood authority that has caused a faith crisis in my life.  I did not sign up to be a polygamist.  I am not sure what to do with this other than attempt an appeal to the Brethren.  I am just worried about being blacklisted for questioning their decisions and authority.  We shall see what happens when one questions and pushes too much.

That’s part of my story…  There is more…I’ll leave that for another post.

Name: Randy

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy

‘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. 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

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

“Made me want to effect change…”

Impact: At first I felt betrayed, and the feelings of betrayal actually made me want to effect change with the things that were wrong. But after more and more changes to the narrative erupted, the reason for leaving was intellectual, based on the reconciliation that if they were wrong so many times, what makes it right?

Name: Eric

Date: 16 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: General

“Just the prejudice…of the leaders”

Impact: How can it repeatedly be said “the prophet will never lead us astray” when apparently the first 10 did exactly that if the doctrine on “blacks and the priesthood” turned out to not be doctrine but just the prejudice and opinions of the leaders? How does that not count as leading the church astray? If they can do it on something that effects an entire race of people what else could they do it on?

Name: Danny

Date: 16 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: Race and the Priesthood

“If they would just own up to being wrong…”

Impact:  It is upsetting learning about these things because, yes, it feels as though I have been lied to. It is also extremely insulting to think the leadership was trying to “protect us” from the truth because they seemed to believe we couldn’t handle the facts. The history doesn’t bother me nearly as much as this “we know what’s best for you to know” attitude that feels so pervasive now. It now seems much of what I was told was anti-mormon propaganda wasn’t a pack of lies as I was told growing up, but rather it was more a pack of inconvenient truths.

For me, if they would just own up to being wrong where they were wrong (E. G. Blacks and the priesthood) it would lend a whole lot more credibility to the organization than these we-weren’t-wrong-really-you-just-don’t-understand explanations they like to throw out there. It’s like they want to show us they are trying to make progress, but only just enough so that we’ll see it, acknowledge it, tell them to keep up the good work, and then they can go back to the status quo because, after all, they did make an effort. 

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that if my kids had been telling fits or not the whole truth the same way the church has, I would sit down and talk to them about why it is important to be honest and then ground them from electronics and video games for a week so they’d learn that actions have consequences. If they persisted in insisting that hadn’t done anything wrong, then it would be 2 weeks, because that is unacceptable behavior and if it continues unchecked and my kids think that’s how you are supposed to operate in the world then they would be on track to become the next Mark Shurtleff. I don’t want that to happen. That guy is the worst.

Name: Spence

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Cover up and Excommunications

“Historians… want to tell the truth.”

Impact:  I am a born in the covenant, life long member, in fact my family on both sides goes all the way back to Kirtland Ohio. My father was a seminary and institute teacher and Stake Patriarch. I was the youngest of five kids, and the obedient one, who didn’t like confrontation. So I did all the things you were suppose to do. Graduated from seminary, served a mission, graduated from Institute (even thought of becoming a seminary teacher at one time, like the idea of having summers off), married a good Mormon girl in the temple, had four children, baptized them all, and worked my way up to a High Priest. My whole life revolved around the church. As the Internet became more pervasive, I started venturing looking at so-called “anti-Mormon” information or what others might call “LDS History Porn.” This research started to raise a lot of questions and raise old questions from the past that that I had just been placed on the proverbial “shelf.” The “light bulb” finally turn on for me when I read about a quote by Boyd K. Packer, where in essence he says the problem with historians is they want to tell the truth, regardless whether it is uplifting or not. When I read that quote the whole “shelf” completely collapsed. All of this stuff I had been shelving for years came gushing forth, it all made sense. The church has been lying to me and everyone else, about its history, because if they told the true history it would not be uplifting; therefore it is okay to lie. It was then I realized that the LDS church itself would not qualify for it’s own temple recommend, because it would fail the questions “Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow men?” Although we all know the Church will still get a temple recommend because they would just tell another lie so they could get their recommend.

Name: Keith

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Cover up and Excommunications

“I was able to… be re-born”

Impact:  I hadn’t even been looking at so called ‘anti-mormon’ stuff before my ‘awakening’, but simply wanted answers to temple symbolism and the meaning of the endowment. God showed me those answers, but from there on out, it became a faith transition. I would say I have moved thru Mormonism, or maybe even beyond it in some degrees, where the church was a starting point for my life and existence, but after being ‘awakened’ (as the endowment teaches) I was able to crush my ego (as in the temple) and be re-born, spiritually, a new celestial creature. Now the historical issues are just that; historical and not part of my life. They don’t affect my future, but they helped me progress. And as long as Mormonism is progressing, although it is very slow, then we have hope. We lose patience though and it is very difficult to navigate when the waters remain muddy for so long.

Name: Jared

Date:  15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Temple

“The lengths I saw some go…”

Impact: I am a BYU graduate, temple married, 20- something who has served as Relief Society president and Young Women adviser among other callings. My husband is a very traditional believer and my crisis of faith put our marriage in a tough spot for awhile. I feel extremely fortunate that our marriage is holding strong because I know this is not always the case when a spouse looses belief in the church.  Church historical issues was a lot to take in, but I may have been able to reconcile if I didn’t feel lied to and manipulated by the church. The fact that I couldn’t even have an informed conversation with those who were supposed to be a source of spiritual support (i.e. Bishop, RS pres, etc.) was the tipping point. As well, the lengths I saw some go to rationalize or dismiss just about anything did me in. (i.e. Joseph smith had wives who had living husbands. No he didn’t! Confirm information. It dosnt matter! End of discussion.)

Name: Anonymous

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy

“I became more disaffected”

Impact: My catalyst was the Book of Abraham. A trusted friend told me it wasn’t true which started me doing a lot if research, as the historical falsehoods piled up I became more disaffected. My husband’s started with his disdain for the practices of shaming that the church employs.

Name:  Anonymous

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Book of Abraham

“The rest came tumbling down”

Impact: Throughout my life there have been doctrines that I disagreed with but was told to shelve and have faith that it would all work out in the end. After so many years of frustration I realized none of those doctrines mattered if I didn’t have a testimony of Joseph Smith. When I realized the amount of deception, lies, and cover-ups on his part the rest came tumbling down. The pain comes from the realization of how much my belief in the church informed every decision I made. I hope I am able to recover from the amount of damage it has caused to my psyche.

Name: Anonymous

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic:  General

“I… never heard… the real historical accounts”

Impact:  I was born in the covenant, grew up active, attended 4 years of early morning seminary, served a full 2 year mission, graduated from BYU (with almost 40 credits in religion) and never heard any of the real historical accounts, just white washed history. The church teaches to be honest in everything you do- this seriously clashed with me when I found they had been telling the “truth” from their own perspective.

Name: Anonymous

Date:  15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“It was intolerable”

Impact: The historical issues proved the Church wasn’t true, but I might not have left just because it was not true (I no longer believed any church was true). I left because it was intolerable. I could not stand all of the Joseph Smith praise, the homophobia, the unequal treatment of women, the emphasis on obedience, the brainwashing of children with songs like “Follow the Prophet”, the discouragement of any real treatment of the difficult issues at church, the suspicion of unworthiness if one doesn’t enthusiastically take callings, etc.

Name: David

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“I would lose my entire world”

Impact: I learned while dating in my single years, that if the person you are dating doesn’t want you to talk to opposing sources, it is because they have something to hide. So after years of humming and hawing over it, I decided to take a peek, and found out its the same thing on a grander scale here. The hardest part for me isn’t what they did to me as far as lying or the history(which sucks, don’t get me wrong) but the fact that if I were to openly come out about it, I would lose my entire world as I know it and my daughter would be indoctrinated against me by ‘well meaning’ individuals. As myself, I will never be good enough or worthy because of the indoctrination of everyone on my life. THAT is what sucks to me.

Name: Elizabeth

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“I felt so stupid”

Impact:  I remember sitting in BYU religion classes in tears, literally falling in love with an absurdly romantic version of church history. I felt so stupid when I started learning even a balanced view. Like finding out at age 30 that there really was no Santa.

Name: Jon

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“There are serious… trust issues”

Impact: There are too many issues to ignore. It’s not like there’s just one problem, or two, or five. Once you start studying the historical issues, it’s a deep rabbit hole. Almost everything that makes Mormonism unique has serious factual problems. Also related, almost every historical/factual problem has serious “spin” or trust issues from the church related to it. I think the historical/factual issues would have been enough [to weaken faith], but the feelings of betrayal of trust can’t be ignored, either. Even if apologetic “answers” can satisfy someone, (for me they don’t,) the lies and betrayal are also enough to make one seriously question if the church is what it presents itself to be.

Name: Anonymous

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic:  General

“I could get multiple conflicting answers”

Impact:  Trying to make sense of the historical problems forced me to reevaluate how I determined truth. If truth was based on feelings and emotions I could get multiple conflicting answers. So I had to look elsewhere to define truth. But once I abandoned how I felt about it there was nothing else supporting LDS truth claims.

Name: Michael

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: General

“My good name, nature, obedience, and faith… has been abused”

Impact: Someone told me the Book of Abraham was a fraud. I called them a liar and went to to dispel the information they gave me about it.

I felt the blood drain out of me when, after a search, I found confirmation of what the ‘anti’ mormon had said was truth.

Literally, my entire life changed right there. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I felt sick. I couldn’t work. I delved deeply into church historical records to try and get rid of my sudden ‘doubt’ about what has been taught to me. I had fill that sudden, explosion in the dam that was my faith in Joseph Smith as a prophet and as an honest man.

The next thing I discovered was that South Park teaches more truths about Joseph Smith than the church. And then I discovered Joseph’s wifes. My testimony in Joseph died right there, along with my belief that the LDS church is led by honest men.

I continued learning. The rabbit hole is deep and the church is a cesspit.

My childhood, my life has been stolen by deceitful men – from the past and and present. I have been used. My good name, my good nature, and my obedience and faith in God has been abused.

Now I’m a middle-aged woman, with no identity. I’m completely broken. The LDS church has stolen my childhood and youth. They have ruined my life, and ruined my trust in God. They have taken the very best of it and given nothing but lies and deceit back.

I hope, those men who have denied me my agency, and who would have me deny my children’s agency by continuing perpetuating myths, are held accountable one day soon.

Impact Topic: The Book of Abraham

Name: Jen

Date:  14 Jul 2014

“I felt betrayed”

Impact:  I felt betrayed. After learning this stuff, I lost all trust in our leaders and everything they’ve said. If they lied about this, what else have they / will they lie about?  And since the devil is “the father of lies,” what does that say about our church?

Impact Topic: Book of Mormon Translation

Name: Heather

Date: 11 July 2014

From “Monumental” to “Quaint”

Impact Topic: Book of Mormon Translation

Name: Kevin

Date: 11 July 2014

Impact:  When I was younger the image reinforced Joseph’s diligence in what must have been a monumental task. When I learned about Joseph apparently using a seer stone in his hat to facilitate an experience of receiving the BoM by revelation the illustration became quaint and rather dull to me. I much prefer the notion of revealed meaning of an ancient text.

“Age 27 without ever knowing”

Impact Topic: Book of Mormon Translation

First Name: Jarel

Date: 11 Jul 2014

Impact: This issue for me was less that Joseph used the stone in the hat method to translate, it was hurtful because I could be raised and educated in the church and make it to age 27 without ever knowing that. It made me realize that the modern day leaders were okay with lying to members and investigators in order to paint a more believable picture. The hypocrisy of this coming from an organization that requires members to be “honest in all their dealings with their fellow men” makes me feel betrayed and angry.

“My whole life…”

Impact Topic:  Book of Mormon Translation

First Name: Daniel

Date: 11 JUL 2014

Impact:  It is telling that in this article, “Urim and Thumim” now include the seer stone.  My whole life Urim and Thumim were the spectacles attached to a breast plate, not a seer stone.  The new definition is “either the interpreters or the seer stone.”

“A More Mature View of What Happened in That Grove…”

Impact Topic:  First Vision Accounts

First Name: Clay

Date:  10 JUL 2014

Impact:  I only first learned about the multiple accounts of the first vision in a Church History class in college before my mission, but thought little of the discrepancies.  Later when I put the discrepancies into context after married and deep in my educational endeavors, I realized that the potent emphasis that we place on the First Vision story is a relatively new phenomenon and that early church members may not have even known about the First Vision at all.  It was troubling to hear that the story was told differently numerous times.  I wondered and still wonder why the multiple accounts are never something we talk more about.  All those times that I related the first vision over and over on my mission, I never dreamed that I was actually just presenting what the vision might have been.  I would have appreciated being viewed as capable of digesting the real history so that I could interpret the facts myself.   I can see how Joseph might have had trouble recalling the vision the same way over the years, or maybe all of them are just a fraction of what actually happened.  Knowing the truth has helped me to have a more mature view about what happened in that grove of trees.  That understanding can now no longer be shaken by learning facts of which I was previously kept ignorant.  The entire process has increased my empathy for others and reaffirmed my conviction and belief in a God that isn’t affected by the errors that humans make.