My father, aged 89, felt this discourtesy was not befitting men who claimed to serve God, and so took it upon himself to write to the Area Presidency in an Open Letter of his own on 29th .
When that was also ignored, it became clear that the policy was to avoid answering these serious questions. However, one last opportunity was extended to the Europe Area Presidency on 3 rd , when twelve British members of the church, (including my father and my two daughters), wrote a further open letter urging them to answer my two earlier communications:
When this was also ignored it confirmed the opinion of many observers that not only could the Area Presidency not answer, but they were probably under specific instructions from higher up the hierarchy not to do so. The inference was that it was well understood at the highest levels of church authority that there were insurmountable problems with LDS truth claims, and that the policy was to disguise that fact from the tithe-paying membership at all costs. The twelve British signatories next published a Proclamation to The First Presidency & Quorum of The Twelve on 21st .
My letters contained significant questions, and also an invitation to work together with many of us who believe in transparency
Needless to say, no answers were forthcoming to any of these attempts to engage the LDS church leadership in a constructive, honest dialogue, and so the possibility of developing greater understanding and a working relationship between those who claimed to be Jesus Christ’s representatives, and those who incrementally had felt deceived and rejected, was dismissed out of hand by the former.
Every avenue of enquiry had been tried from the lowest to the highest authority, and all had been found to be lacking in ability and willingness to deal with the situation. Our experiences has not been in isolation. It is now apparent that this has been the experience of others also, when they have sought substantive answers to their reasonable questions from a church which had demanded so much from them as followers.
Avoiding the difficult questions has not solved anything. A policy which conveyed only contempt for truth seekers, inevitably also ensured a rising tide of dissent within the ranks. It is unsurprising that respect has all but evaporated, and alternative, less conciliatory approaches are now resulting; Tom Phillips’ private criminal action against Thomas Spencer Monson, (as sole owner of the LDS church corporation), which was initiated in London on 31st , should perhaps be viewed as just the first of many which will keep recurring until genuine openness, accountability, and inclusiveness are demonstrated within the LDS organisation.
The GA stated that my disciplinary action (which would have occurred on the final Sunday of had I not resigned), was mandated/ordered/approved by the First Presidency of the Church. I said that if the apostles know the church is not true and yet order a disciplinary hearing for my writing a book that is almost certainly true regarding the foundational claims of the church, then they are corrupt even evil. He replied, “That’s right!”
Thank you for your recent email and your good wishes. I genuinely appreciate them, and in turn send mine to you. I would also like to assure you that there has been nothing at all personal in my previous non-acceptance of your invitations to meet.
- Instances of textual errors once uniquely found in the 1769 edition of the KJV of the Bible, (which Joseph Smith regularly used), but which are also found now in the text of the Book of Mormon;
At the time your silence was a disappointment of course, if not a total surprise. Some had already asserted that you would ignore me, and not even issue an acknowledgment. I was sorry they were proven right, as it only reinforced their opinion that you did not care, when I, based upon previous personal interactions, genuinely believed that you did. However, that opportunity to collaborate was missed, and this month’s events further suggest that we are embarking upon an altogether new era.
I supported their initiative Free2Cheat sign up by adding a heartfelt letter of my own two days later, addressed to the same governing bodies of the LDS church
‘Good standing’, or in other words, a positive image, always seems to be the primary concern. This is true, both as it relates to the perceived worth of individual members, (whether for example they hold a current temple recommend), and also as it relates to the outward reputation of the church. In Mormon circles, image counts for much, and when a person is no longer considered in good standing, perhaps because he asks difficult questions, it is surprising how rapidly an ‘anti-Mormon’ label is applied, and then, what had been considered firm friendships, (some of them at least), melt away almost overnight. Yet I do not read of Jesus in the New Testament placing any emphasis upon self-certified or institutionally-backed ‘standing’ among his contemporaries. Nor do I ever see him dismissing out of hand those searching for truthful answers. Indeed the opposite is the case.
When will they routinely be advised as students of the Church Education System that the founding LDS prophet Joseph Smith was clandestinely married to over thirty plural wives, including some girls as young as 14 or 15, and in ten or eleven cases to other men’s wives, (often while those men were away serving the church elsewhere), and that in many of those instances even Joseph’s own legal wife Emma did not know about his other illegal unions? When will established facts be taught as they appear in the historical record, in place of the fairy-tale version which makes Joseph appear to the uninitiated and the gullible to be the devoted monogamist, which he clearly never was?
If no-one else will tell you, then without apology, I must, (and call me apostate if you choose for daring to say it): This practice of keeping the upcoming generation ignorant in order to place these innocents potentially in harm’s way, has to stop. Those who sacrifice these children, present a very gross spectacle. They are senior churchmen, who should, and in some cases surely do know far better, yet constantly they strain at the facts, while swallowing cureloms without a second thought. It is time that curelom-swallowing was regulated out of the LDS syllabus. That, of course, will only happen when plain facts are no longer twisted and distorted for the consumption of young impressionable minds.
Please try to understand, it comes down to these two defining questions, which have been a perpetual feature of European religious history and development for the last 500 years:
But in parting, please do not view those like me, (who actually care), to be your enemy. Think of us more as fulfilling the role of your conscience. The greatest enemy is dishonesty; the espousal of truthfulness, and the flushing out of disingenuousness would bring us all together once more on the same side of this cavernous divide.