Love is a verb, an action, which means demonstrating understanding and compassion toward all those with whom we associate—regardless of anyone’s particular beliefs or ideologies. It means placing the virtue of kindness above our differences and being true and genuine friends to one another without judgment and without reservation. Only when we make our relationships a higher priority than our beliefs will love reign supreme in our neighborhoods, in our homes, and in our hearts.
Starting in late 2013, the Church began to publish essays on LDS.org that confirm many of the troubling issues found in Mormonism. These essays discuss controversial events or topics that hadn’t previously been addressed by the governing body of the church, including the ban that prevented blacks from receiving the priesthood or entering the temples, the Book of Mormon translation and DNA research, and the Book of Abraham translation. The efforts to be more open with the complete history of the Church will lead to a better understanding of the founding events for both believers and investigators.
Although the essays contain information and footnotes that may be viewed as “spinning the story” in favor of the church, many view these essays as baby steps in the right direction toward transparency and truthfulness toward church members. These essays also help the church protect itself from litigation lest discouraged members ever attempt to sue to church for fraud or non-disclosure of the facts, as was the case with Stake President Tom Phillips, who filed for a hearing in 2013 after discovering troubling information about the Church that had never been disclosed to him before and which made the church’s truth claims much less believable.
Many of the essays are buried deep within LDS.org and are difficult to the find. The following resource provides links directly to the essays to make it easier for those who wish to find them:
One of my goals is to do anything I can to help those going through the pain of a truth awakening. Therefore, here are some of the frequently asked questions I receive through the contact form, and some of the answers I have given. I hope this will be helpful to anyone with similar questions. Continue reading →
Many people have requested that the Gentle Awakening Presentation Series be made available in an easy to access, single PDF file, similar to the CES Letter. The merged presentations are available in a single PDF file here:
Hans H. Mattsson is a member of the Seventy who left the church after discovering troubling information regarding the church’s foundational truth claims. He is a 3rd generation church member from Sweden who served as a bishop and stake president in Sweden before serving as a Seventy from 2000-2005 in the Europe Central area under Apostle L. Tom Perry. Those who are navigating their own truth awakenings may find listening to his experience helpful and may glean inspiration and valuable insights for their own journeys.
In the following segment, you can listen to Elder Mattsson discuss his faith crisis on Mormon Stories:
In the next segment below, you can listen to Elder Mattsson’s thoughts and feelings about the church today:
To view Elder Mattsson’s New York Times interview, click this link.
Since launching this site a couple of months ago, I have been inspired by hundreds of emails from others going through similar experiences, sharing their stories, support, and appreciation through the contact form. As I have read your accounts, my heart has reached out to you during these difficult and painful periods of faith transition and truth awakening. One of the most frequently asked questions in these emails is something along the lines of “where do I go from here?” or “what is the real truth?” or “what do I believe now?” We will explore this important question in the following post.
How do we accept the truth? What ingredients are necessary for a person to change their most treasured beliefs if these beliefs are actually erroneous? Here we will review the “four essentials” for accepting truth. All four of these qualities are indispensable. If even one is missing or lacking, it will be extremely difficult for a person to accept and embrace reality. Let us review each one in turn:
After seeing all the evidence, the Ask Reality video series provides an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to understand how it is that our human minds were conditioned to believe something that is clearly false for so many years. These two videos will take a total of approximately 25 minutes to watch, which is certainly worth the time considering how much your understanding will increase:
Once the truth is learned regarding our church, there is usually a very important question that naturally follows. This question comes from an earnest heart and certainly merits our attention. It is usually something like the following:
“If the Church isn’t really true, then why have I felt the Spirit?”
“For there are many yet on the earth … who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” (D&C 123:12) The Gentle Awakening series provides a concise introduction to our church issues and is divided into five parts:
Introduction: Is it possible that we might be mistaken?
Foundational Problems: What are the real issues about our beginnings, about which we may not have been told the whole truth?
Post-Foundational Problems: What are the real issues that arose after our beginnings, about which we may not have been told the whole truth?
Theological Problems: If this is Christ’s true church, wouldn’t it follow His teachings?
Roadmap: What should I do now?
Note: You can read the full PDF document containing all 5 parts at this link:
For optimal viewing, click the “Fullscreen” icon in the lower right corner of each presentation.If you wish to interrupt or skip any video segment and continue through the presentation, simply use the advance button at bottom of the full presentation screen.
Recently, I was forwarded a response received by a concerned member who wrote his BYU professor of ancient scripture regarding the Book of Abraham problem. The professor holds a PhD in the field of ancient scripture and provided the following response. I will include an open response to his explanation.
Tom Phillips, former stake president in England and Area Controller for the British Isles and Africa as well as the Financial Director for the Church’s U.K. corporate entities, has allegedly issued a lawsuit against Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Each of the items included in the court summons are questions that could possibly be verified in a court of law to be either true or false (they are matters of secular rather than theological nature). These include the Church’s claims that:
Many great sermons found in the Book of Mormon have been found to closely match the sermons being given in Joseph Smith’s day by revival preachers—such as Methodist preachers Lorenzo Dow, Ray Potter, Alfred Bennet, Eleazar Sherman, Abel Thornton, and George Whitefield—who gave stirring discourses at locations very near to Joseph Smith’s home and in the time era very close to 1828, when Joseph Smith started his work on the Book of Mormon.
In 1835, a traveling showman brought an exhibit of Egyptian mummies and papyri to Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith, being fascinated by ancient things, was highly intrigued and was permitted to examine the Egyptian writings. After doing so, Joseph Smith was elated as he announced that these were the writings of the great biblical patriarch Abraham. What good fortune, what were the chances! Furthermore, he said, there were also some writings of Joseph of Egypt. Several members of the Church pooled their money and bought the papyri and mummies for $2,400 (a large sum of money especially in those days). After about seven years, Joseph finished the translation of the scroll which he called the Book of Abraham, but he died before translating the Book of Joseph scroll.
Recently a popular phrase has emerged, coined by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in his conference address “Come, Join With Us.” He counseled: “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” It is this topic we will address: how to deal with doubt.
Many people are unaware that a great deal of source material has been identified which contributed to Joseph Smith’s authorship of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon appears to be a “remix” of many source materials available to Joseph Smith in the early 19th century. This has been well established by scholars and historians, and you can even read the original source materials now for yourself, thanks to modern tools such as Google Books.
The fact that the Book of Mormon is a remix is actually in line with the basic elements of creativity:
For example, Star Wars has many elements of other movies and stories from the past, all the way down to the opening titles:
Within the Apocrypha, you will find many similar elements to the Book of Mormon. You will come across Nephi, Ammon, Ammonites, Laban, and many other familiar characters. You will also find the brass plates, the treasury where the plates are kept, and abridgments being made. You will probably also notice the faith-promoting nature of many of the stories that will have a ring of truth to them, even though they are widely known to be fictitious.
In the past, it was not well known or understood where the Book of Mormon actually came from. However, the emergence of modern technology, including book archival and digitization, has resulted in the discovery of many parallel texts—texts which are sometimes even quoted verbatim or nearly verbatim in the Book of Mormon. These sources have been shown to be “remixed” into the Book of Mormon.
The fact is that no one writes stories or books without subconsciously adding in elements from their own lives and environments. For example, a child may write a story for school that is unique as a whole, but that contains elements from the child’s environment such as movies the child has watched, names that are derived from of people the child knows, and similar plot elements from the child’s favorite books. Such is the case with the Book of Mormon. The book is essentially a “remix” of ideas and stories from Joseph Smith’s day, such as the early 19th century concept that the Native Americans were of Jewish descent and that dark skins were the results of “curses” from God, and the 11 great sermons in the Book of Mormon are very similar to sermons given in the early 19th century by Methodist preachers in Joseph Smith’s locale. Moroni is actually the name of the capitol city of Comoro (as in the Hill “Cumorah” where Joseph Smith said “Moroni” led him to dig up the golden plates). The Grand Comoro is an island off the coast of Africa where treasure hunters such as Captain Kidd dug for buried treasure—the Smith family being well acquainted with treasure hunting and Captain Kidd stories. The book does not fit within the context of ancient Native Americans but it fits very nicely within the context of a 19th century American worldview during the Revivalist/Restorationist Movements occurring at that time.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” ―Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” —John Adams
“I don’t know anything. I never did know anything, but now I know I don’t know anything!” —Ebenezer Scrooge, in a Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens