Why Do I Blog About Mormons

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I received an email the other day from someone asking why I blog so much about Mormon related topics and also asked if I was anti-Mormon. To answer the second question first, No, I am not anti-Mormon and I don’t like the term. It’s an intellectually improper label used to discredit someone when he/she presents some aspect of Mormonism that is controversial. I am not anti-Mormon; I am an angry, former Mormon who dug himself out of the dark cave of that church (and religion in general). This leads to the answer of the first question as to why I blog so much about Mormons: 1) I was born and raised in the church, went on a mission and was a “good Mormon boy”; I didn’t drink, or smoke, or have sex, I went to church and my youth group activities, I was an example, I graduated from seminary, I spoke kindly of others around me, I magnified my callings, I was an honest and honorable missionary. But, at the end of 2008, after about 5 years of inactivity and intellectual development, I officially left the church. 2) I blog a lot about Mormonism because I am writing a book that takes place in Utah that includes Mormon characters, so church related themes are always bouncing around my subconscious. 3) The relationship of the church to the world in this day and age fascinates me. Never before in history has the spread of ideas and information been so easily accessible to so many people. Access to intellectual discussion, fact based study, historical analysis and evidence has shaken the very foundation upon which the church built itself in the 20th Century. The body of evidence that the church is not what it claims to be is massive and shines like a white-hot spotlight onto lies and deception. The Internet has destroyed the stranglehold that the church held on its own actual history. The “faithful history” practiced by most Mormons (either by choice or ignorance) is crumbling under scrutiny. It is for these reasons that I feel compelled to tell my stories, examine the changing structure of the church, and spread correct ideas and principles to interested people of the world. The Mormon Church, like all religion, survives based on the acceptance of non-verifiable information, deception, false promises, contradictions, bad premises, and force.

My main problem with the church began last summer when the Utah-based church became actively involved in California politics. The lay members of the church in the United States were ripped in half by the rusty knife of a directive from the First Presidency to give of their “time, means and money” to ensure the passage of Proposition 8. Those that didn’t blindly follow the Prophet and do as they were told were labeled apostates. The so called “prophets, seers, and revelators” failed to make a prophecy, see or reveal anything pertaining to gay marriage. (But when was the last time a Mormon “prophet” ever did anything that would allow us to ascribe that title?) The leaders of the church in their ignorance didn’t anticipate (it seems) the backlash both in and out of the church. I resigned in November because if there is any group of people that needs to shut the fuck up when it comes to the definition of marriage, it is the Mormons.

Recently, it has become known that the Church failed to report the actual amount of money spent supporting Prop 8. The numbers they originally reported showed the church spent about $2000. Turns out they actually spent over $180,000. Why so dishonest in the reporting? I realize it wasn’t just the Mormons involved in financially supporting Prop 8, but they, as a group, sure raised a lot of money to take rights away from people. The leaders of the church said they were involved because Prop 8 was a “moral issue” but they never defined what a moral issue is. I would like the church to clarify what that means.

A few months after the passage of Prop 8, bills were introduced in the Utah legislature called the Common Ground Initiative, designed to push legal protection for gay and transgender Utahns. Leaders of the church publicly stated that they did “not object” to rights to same-sex couples such as hospital visitation, probate rights, and safeguards in housing and employment, which is what the Common Ground Initiatives wanted to create.

All of these bills failed. Failed! Chris_Buttars_thumb

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the ugly face of the Mormon Church took center stage. State Senator Chris Buttars (a former Mormon Bishop), and Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, two active and practicing Mormons came shrieking into the spotlight…again. Buttars said in a documentary that the gay movement was “probably the greatest threat to America…It’s the beginning of the end,” Buttars said. “Oh, it’s worse than that. Sure. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide.” He called same-sex couples an “abomination.” He compared gay activists to radical Muslims and said they lack morals and want special rights. When the story broke, Buttars was asked to apologize. He responded by saying he had nothing to apologize for. Really Chris? Nothing? Not one thing? Not for your hateful and hurtful words? Not for the pain you inflict on gay members of your church? What about the children of gay parents who now have precarious legal protection in your state? What about the families in Utah you have helped to tear down and belittle? Is it beyond your comprehension that gay people also have families? What exactly are you learning in your Priesthood lessons on Sunday?

What strikes me is that the Mormon Church has yet to come out and say, “This is not our view on the issue; Chris Buttars does not speak for the Church.” I’m certain they never will either, because as an elected official Buttars does represent the church. He knows that and so do they. If the things he said are not actually what the church teaches or believes, then how did a life long member and former Bishop get so many wrong ideas? And why has the church not made an official statement to correct his error? What’s disturbing is that if he was opposing the viewpoint of the church, he would be dealt with immediately. For example, a part time BYU instructor of philospohy, Jeffrey Nielson, wrote a logical, well reasoned op-ed piece opposing the viewpoint of the church on same sex-marriage. It was published in the Salt Lake Tribune. He was not rehired for the summer term; but a State Senator with government power to pass or kill legislation that directly affects actual human lives can make vicious remarks demonizing a segment of the population and the church has no opinion and remains silent.

Gayle Ruzicka and her flying monkeys returned too. Never in the history of Mormonism has a Mormon woman held so much power as her. (Ironic, I know.) She testified before the legislature that any support for the Common Ground Initiatives would precipitate a court battle over marriage similar to the situation in California. That is a false alternative and a stupid argument from a stupid woman. The situation in California could not be repeated in Utah since, thanks to her and her Constitutional Defense of Marriage Alliance, she helped pass a law that made gay marriage illegal in Utah. The court could not on a whim overturn that.

Buttars and Ruzicka are the faces of modern Mormonism. Behind the fake declarations of “concern and love,” they represent everything the church actually stands for: hatred, indifference, force, lies, and deception. They are the end result of altruist mysticism and a lifetime of Mormon influence and teachings. They are the fearful, the irrational, the hysterical voices of people who think they have a monopoly on truth and love. The do not, no matter how sincere their church is in declaring it. They are the enemies to individual rights and freedom. The leadership of the Mormon church must be held accountable for the years of mental and physical abuse inflicted on their own members. The church must be exposed and examined. And that’s why I blog about Mormons.

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  • Mario Nathan Mothe
    March 9, 2010

    this is how i feel sometimes and how i felt for so many years,,,thanks seth for this article…

  • Bill Richardson
    August 10, 2010

    I appreciate very much your thoughts. Thanks for posting them.

    I am an ex-high councilor, 1st Counselor in the bishopric and a recently released branch president. I have been somewhat of a skeptic even beginning before my mission in 1974. My wife has chided me often for questioning so much about the church.

    As I have worked through a variety of the issues which caused me difficulty, and as I continue to address my remaining questions, I have determined that I still have much to learn. I happen to be a lawyer and frankly consider my skills in logic and reasoning to be superior to many. Let me just say this. When I say that I have a testimony (I read your comments about Korihor) of the gospel. I mean what I mean. I do not depend on anyone else’s definition. I also find that though there are many right wing knuckle draggers in the church, I find the church to be a tremendous platform for doing good and for helping others.

    I DO find it difficult to believe that we, as humans, simply appeared here upon the earth by accident or through natural selection. (I have no problem with Darwin however). Maybe my pride will not let me believe that I am just another animal. I do think that there is a purpose for our existence. That being said, I find it sad when mormons (or ex-mormons) fall into what I call a syllogistic trap. Unfortunately many are taught to believe that if one thing about the church is true, everything else MUST be true. That thinking, to me, is silly. We do not learn that way nor do I believe that we are expected to swallow the whole just because one thing appears to ring true. The reverse thinking, unfortunately, plays out when people find weakness in what they once “knew” was true. The result too often is that nothing can be true because one brick in the “testimonial” foundation has eroded away for whatever reason. I think that there is just as great a danger in rejecting everything wholesale, as there is in accepting everything in the same way.

    Richard Bushman wrote “Rough Stone Rolling” and laid out much of the unvarnished truth about Joseph Smith. He once gave an introduction that I have read several times and I commend it to you. I do so not with any hope that you will suddenly repent and “come back into the fold.” Rather, I respect your decision and cannot pretend to know what has transpired in your life. I just liked the gentle way in which he addresses those of us whose lot it is to question. It is found at: http://www.lifeongoldplates.com/2008/08/bushmans-introduction-to-joseph-smith.html

    Incidentally, you may be a relative. If you are related to Daryl Anderson, you are probably a cousin.

    Thanks for taking time to read this.

    Bill Richardson
    Mesa, AZ

  • J Seth Anderson
    August 11, 2010

    Hello Bill,
    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment. I appreciate it. One of the reasons I write about stuff like this is to facilitate thoughtful discussion and share ideas in a non-confrontational manner. It’s funny to me how often people accuse me of being an “anti” Mormon, but I’m not. At least not in the way they usually mean it. I don’t define myself in negatives. I’m Pro reason and truth and evidence.

    I agree with many of the points you bring up, but disagree with others. You’re right, the Church (with a big C to mean the LDS Church) can be a platform for doing good and helping others. But so is the Peace Corps, and practically any other church. The Church is not the sole source of truth and goodness on earth. But the Church can also cause lots of harm to people by the way it is structured (based on your previous levels of service, you probably know what I’m talking about) and by its insistence on accepting dogma without thinking.

    For me, the idea of natural selection has given my life so much more meaning and beauty. Humans shouldn’t exist, but we do, and the fossil record that exist tell us where we came from. Humans share 96% (or is 98%?) of the same genetic make up as chimpanzees. Human beings are a distant relative of an ape specifies that evolved over millions of years and went on to take over a planet. We have the bones to show it. To me, this is far more transcendent and “spiritual” than being required to accept “truth” based on a feeling. Feelings are not tools of cognition. (While there is still some scientific debate over this find, it’s still fascinating: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100408-fossils-australopithecus-sediba-missing-link-new-species-human/)

    I know that I have a life to live now and I don’t know that there is anything after this life (and neither does anybody else.) Knowing that this is all I have has made life more precious. I want to be happy and experience the world. I treat others with kindness not because I expect a reward or fear a punishment, but because I know it’s the right thing to do. I know when I’m gone I’ll be gone. So I better make the most of the time I have now and not waste it.

    Mormons fall into that syllogistic trap because we are taught to. Gordon B Hinckley said in conference that the Church is either all true, or not. If some doctrine or teaching or historical fact seems wrong, we are taught to basically ignore it because the conclusion of “the church is 100% true” always comes first. Mormons see the world in black and white, when really the world is a prism of color. You’re correct that it’s wrong to accept or reject ideas wholesale, except in the instances when the evidence tells us to. For the same reason I reject the idea of leprechauns and unicorns and astrology and tarot card reading.

    I have read Rough Stone Rolling and liked it for the most part. (Bushman glosses over some points that I found slightly misleading.) However, the final conclusion I came away with from the book is that Bushman wants us to live a lie. The issues that he brings up in the intro are indeed real, and intellectual honesty requires that we conclude the church is not what it claims to be. But then Bushman submits we become “revived” Mormons, hold onto Christ’s teachings, and accept things in the church as they are, even if they are not true. So why then remain Mormon? Why not Methodist, Baptist, Catholic? What does the “one true church” hold for us if it is in fact not true. What value are we to our LDS peers if we are just acting the part? Is a person really and truly being honest with him/herself by living a lie? Is this the same advice Bushman would have given to a young Joseph Smith who was seeking answers to tough questions? (i.e. to just accept things as they are and enjoy the good things of the religion of his youth.) If Joseph had listened to someone like Bushman, perhaps Joseph never would have had the first vision. (Or one of the variations of his first vision.)

    You may already know about this site newordermormon.org. If not, take some time and look over it. There is great discussion that goes on there, although some of them drive me crazy. I don’t consider myself a New Order Mormon because I’ve left the Church. (Although, I’ll always be a cultural Mormon, and for that reason I keep up with what’s going on.)

    I do have an uncle Daryl, but I think he’s on the Johnson side. :)

    I’m in Tempe and I’m always up to meet people face to face and talk more.

    Again, thank you for your comments.


  • Sandra B.
    December 2, 2011

    Thank you for the clear, concise, writing about the MORMON cult and the lies it promulgates. I too was a Mormon-born captive to whom the information age of the internet set straight. What a relief to see another person stating truthfully that this so-called chrch is on the decline because “further light and knowledge” has been given to the populace.

    • Seth Anderson
      December 8, 2011

      I totally understand. In 2008-2009 I was very angry. Since that time I’ve embraced my Mormon cultural heritage and carved a place for myself within the culture of my youth. I’d never go back to church, but I speak fluent Mormon, I define myself as such because of relationships, genealogy, history and culture. Doing this was so empowering for me. But it took me time to get there.

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