Comments Received - Summer 2006

E-mail comments on my Mormon materials I receive quite a few e-mail comments, both favorable and unfavorable, in response to my materials on Mormonism, where I invite comments (but request no testimonies, preaching or hate mail). I decided that many of those comments should be shared, so you will find a sampling here. I first shared a collection of comments in 2000, but never added to them as I originally intended. The number of comments received remains fairly constant, and the content also does not change much, as you will see if you compare these two collections.

I try to respond personally to every comment, whether favorable or unfavorable. Where I think that my response might be of interest to others, I have reprinted it here.

The following comments are almost all I have received during June and July of 2006 and are typical of what I receive year-round. Original spelling has not been changed, but some minor editing has been done to protect anonymity, indicated by brackets:   [   ]. The comments are in ascending chronological order.

June 4, 2006
Nearly two years ago I began the quite painful yet enlightening journey from 100% home teaching Mormonism to Atheism. I found your site through just after realizing the the LDS church was likely a farce.

I've read every word on your website several times and your links and recommendations. At least weekly I check your "What's New Here" section hoping to gobble up any new contributions that you've made. Your site has been the most helpful source of nonbiased, critical thinking that I have come across. I quote you, send my friends to your site and even keep some of your writings in print in my planner.

While embracing your criticism of Mormonism I initially rejected your disbelief in god and Christianity but through time and lots of research I did eventually come around. The facts and lack thereof are undeniable. I was afraid that if I lost my superstitions my life would have no direction, purpose or morals.

You help me realize that my life's purpose was mine to choose. Best of all, I now know that I am a good person for the right and internal reasons and not because some deity is watching and judging. That is a wonderful feeling. I could go on and on but I am sure that you have heard it all before.

Suffice it to say that I realized that you are not too busy to receive a well deserved thank-you letter from me the other day when a client of mine got a response from you after having only been exposed to your Rabbit's Foot. I was surprised to realize that I had never given any serious thought to your invitation to contact you. So, here at long last is my heart felt thank you,

June 5, 2006
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your page on mormon temples and rituals. I dated a Mormon for 2 years until he left for his mission; ever since his temple visit I felt completely disconnected to him. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't tell me what occured, and it was always such a painful mystery to me. Thank you so much for providing your account.

June 8, 2006
I never thought I would get to a point like this when I was questioning my beliefs. I know when I finally do leave, that it will be a shock to my [Mormon] family and my church friends. In fact, I will probably be pretty much alone in this world once I leave. Most of my friends are mormon, even though mormons are in the minority in [my state]. My whole life was built around this. I want to believe, but my rational mind and common sense won't let me believe. I just cannot fathom how I was duped for so long. If I did some serious introspection, I wanting to believe was what I was bearing my testimony about. But anyway, stay in touch and as always thanks.

June 8, 2006
I became an inactive for about 7 years, when then I started dating a LDS member. His family insisted that I attend church and seminary as I did for the next three years, and I really began to think that I truly believed in the church. After we made the decision to no longer see each I was surprised at the fact that I had absolutely no interest in attending church or any such actives. I slowly began to realize all of the doubt and disbelief that I had but had pushed aside for the sake of others. For the past 5 years I have been hounded and hounded with members of the church trying to rope me back in. It does not matter how many times I asked to please be left alone, they just wouldn't. I have looked and search for just a suggestion, list, etc., of how to change my membership and I have never been able to find anything. Until now, thank you. I never wanted to go have a meeting with the bishop and go through the process of being excommunicated. I always thought that was the only way out. My father was excommunicate a few years back because of the choices he had made in his life, and I did not want the same story. I'm not a bad person, I just do not believe in their teachings, and the idea of excommunication has always made me feel like I'm a bad person. I am going to follow the suggestions you have listed in order to resign and have my name removed right away.

Thank you for making it known that I did have an option, and a way to move on with my life without feeling guilty.

June 27, 2006
I love your website! I only started investigating the darker side of the Mormon church over the past 2 weeks. I actually left the Mormon church about 3 years ago [....]. Before that, I served as an Elders Quorum President of my student ward (I'm 25 years-old), and served a full-time mission. Since the time I was young, I made it a point to live exactly the way the "prophets" said I should. I was almost fanatical at points. I loved reading the scriptures and discovering new, exciting bits of the gospel. How I never questioned the Mormon church before these past few years is beyond me. It's all so obvious now. Since having left, I feel so free and I'm happier now than I ever have been in my whole life. I went from wanting to commit suicide to experiencing life to its fullest.

Thank you for all the information you post on your website. Everything on it is logical and makes perfect sense. I haven't read everything on it yet but I intend to. I have literally sat for hours reading your information---sometimes more than once. You're an inspiration. I look forward to reading more and hope to see more of your brilliant posts in the future.

June 30, 2006
Just a thank you again for your wonderfull web site. Your logical thinking and masterfull writing helps alot of people. It is an honor to know you. I refer everyone I know with any questions to your terrific site.

July 2, 2006
I, being a former mean Mormon...(no I don't, I really mean moron) really appreciate the work you have put in your web sites... I "Grew up in THE CHURCH" And was sucked into their NON-THINKING way of life...

Until I was about 35 years old, I was in it Big a former Stake High Councilman, Member of a Bishopric, etc. etc. etc.

I just want to Thank you so very much for all the work you do...You make so much sense!

July 3, 2006
.....And by the way, your website drips with Hate. The spirit of the Lord is not found there.
July 4, 2006
I wanted to thank you for being just about the only person who successfully wrote a detailed, complete, up-to-date description of what goes on inside a Mormon temple without mockery or wild claims (and I enjoy the light satire, particularly the mentioning of how quickly the ordinances are performed without actually saying that the Mormons are running a salvation factory). My wife and I are [Mormon]. ...We were considering our opinions on temple marriage and other temple ordinances, and we decided to try to find out what the ordinances are before we make any eternal promises. I can tell you, it's hard to find a site that's informative without being offensive. Yours hit the spot. The beauty of your site is, I never got the feeling you were trying to convince someone not to be endowed. You seem to just let us know what to expect. Now we can at least make an educated decision. I imagine not many Mormons value your input as we do, but at least you know there's one couple that does. Thanks again, and great job!

July 4, 2006
Awesome site and thanks for the lovely info. I read some of your site about six months ago and felt more and more convinced that what I believed in was a lie. I've since stopped going to church .... I'm having problems because people keep contacting me trying to get me to go back to church - the missionarys and the ward executive secretary (in behalf of the bishop) want me to start attending church again and have scheduled a meeting for me to come in for an interview. What can be done so they realize I no longer have an interest in what they do or say? Any help would be appreciated.

July 5, 2006
I also read your communications with a Mormon Bishop as your postings where only an attention getter. Your remarks and comebacks in email to him were the same to me. Can't think can you as you have pat answers you think mean something. Talk about brainwashed and brain damage. You have a lot of book learning but surely have troubles delivering your message compared to the thousands being baptised each year and the few that can't stand the heat or fail so they have to have Decker does. I have been studying you guys for years and as I was an anti but had no delusions but a real spiritual experience something you don't know about. You certainly are not playing with a full deck and your being honest about trying to commit suicide still does not credibility to your behavior it only says you are mixed up still and have closed off the conscience factor. Your lying and trying to cheat life just says it all, I think. mental illness comes in all packages and you have a coped out by trying to be someone that really needs help. You are delusional and get your jollies off trying to bring others down. I would like to see you write a Book of Mormon or even one chapter as yours does not harmonize with anything worthwhile. People like you lend no purpose of life and therefore will bring others down and that is why I am having a great time telling you off. Your a joke.....individuals like yourself couldn't have a real a research guy spins wheels and ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth...that is you! It fun name calling so hows it feel.

July 6, 2006
Just want you to know I appreciate the information you provide. As a lifelong member of the church it has been very hard to deal with the questions I have and how I feel like I have been mislead in many ways, by people with good intentions but little knowledge of what they are being loyal to. Now I have many doubts and will probably make a decision soon about my involvement in the church.

Anyway, with all the hate mail you get I just thought you would like to know there are people out there that are glad to have a source of knowledge about the details of the church that are normally kept under wraps. It has helped me through my transition.

July 7, 2006
I live in [Asia] about one year ago I met a high ranking manager of my company from the States. He works as a regional manager and to offer me orientation as I was on board. The company I am in is not a Mormon's but the guy, I'm sorry I can't mention his name, is a Mormon. He is very friendly and works hard very much, as he visited [here] for only about ten days, on the third day he tried to introduce some of his belief to me. It was my fault as my hobby is different cultures and religions researching, so actually it was me mentioned the topic when I learned his family is in Salt Lake City. He was very kind, as I said, and told me a lot about his belief, and he was very cautious also, never tried to give me the Book of Mormon. He just told me I should be open-minded and open-hearted. After he left, I bought one the Book of Mormon from the internet and read it with researching spirit. Oh, I forget to tell you my family background is mixed Protestant and Catholic, my own belief is Chinese Buddhism. I have even learned Protestant and Catholic Theology in Seminaries for more than three years as well as Buddhism self-learning for about seven years. Thus after comparing I felt the belief is thoroughly man-made. I have discussed with that Mormon friend through emails for a year, he never tried to urge me to accept his belief, while he always emphasized how good his belief is and sent his big-family's photos to me for showing how happy and harmony they are. Yesterday I asked him to have a look of your articles and today I received his reply that he thought you were not truly familiar with the true Mormonism. He is a missionary and I admire him, but through the documents from you and the website of yours, I'm sure it is a cult. I am a Buddhist and admire all Christians but I think I will never join my Mormon friend. Here I want to express my thanks heartily to you as your articles offered me so important and precious help to know the true image of Mormonism.

July 8, 2006
To whom it may concern:
dear writer, i read some of your things that you wrote about the mormon church i know for a fact that the sacred (sacred meaning;
Dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity.
Worthy of religious veneration: the sacred teachings of the Buddha.
Made or declared holy: sacred bread and wine.
Dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose, or person
Worthy of respect; venerable.)
thing we do in Temples are that what they are, i sorry for your feeling you have against the church, but from one person to another please respect other peoples opinions that are different than your own, whether you think they are wrong or not its not your place to tell them where they should stand and i know from knowing they that there is nothing satanic or evil about them.

I responded:
First of all, I am not "telling" anybody "where they should stand" or what they should believe. I am not telling them what opinions they should have - my information is there, take it or leave it. You seem to think it is wrong for me to express an opinion that you do not agree with. And nowhere do I suggest that there is anything "satanic or evil" about temple rituals. Your imagination is working overtime, or perhaps you simply don't read very well.

So, let me see if I understand you correctly: I am supposed to treat as sacred the things that YOU think are sacred, whether I really think they are sacred or not? Are you sort of like the Muslims, who get violent when a Danish cartoonist publishes cartoons with images of their prophet Mohammed, whose image they consider sacred? I am assuming, then, that you also treat with sacred respect everything that other religionists hold sacred? You don't eat beef, of course, because all Hindus consider the cow as sacred. You never write out the complete word "God", but always write it as "G-d" because the Jews consider the word holy. You always cross yourself when you pass a Catholic church, because the Sacred Host is within, and it is sacred to the Catholics. Whenever you refer to Mohammed you always add the phrase "Peace Be Upon Him!" as a sign of respect. You do not swat flies or spray mosquitoes because the Jainists consider all life to be sacred. You do not look at photographs that show a woman's face or hair, since those are sacred to Muslims.

Unless you do all these things, you are a consummate hypocrite for criticizing me. Perhaps you need to grow up and face reality: one person's sacred cow is another person's hamburger. Perhaps you should learn to live with it!

In fact, the Book of Mormon prophesies that in the last days "secret things" will be revealed (2 Nephi 30:17), and implies that that is to be desired: "There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light..." (also Luke 12:2-3: "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the house tops.")

July 14, 2006
I had the opportunity to witness to two young mormon men this afternoon, thanks to your questions here, I think I really gave them some things to think about. Thanks again,

[The following is from a man whose first e-mails were so offensive and in-your-face that I did not bother to respond to them.]

July 20, 2006
How are you? Well you did not respond to my emails so I figured you are the tipical dish it out mode but can't take it kind of individual.

Maybe your are scared now as some more signs of the times is creeping in and you have to think about it.

Yes, although we have had many Israeli and Middle East conflicts, these have been foretold just as 100 years earlier when Orson Hyde was sent to Palestine to dedicate the land for the return of the Jews and the founding of the nation of Israel on Sunday, October 24, 1841 at the Mount of Olives. Josept sent Orson by way of revelation. Guys like you killed Joseph in 1844...what's your justification.

You must be feeling somewhat concerned since you have denounced God all together. I mean you are 74 years old now and clueless about things spiritual. Boy, you sure did not keep your estate to find the thruth but to bring others down. Do you get warm and fuzzy with all the other anti's as they tell lies and partial truths just to get a burning in your soul that you are "in the know"? I find in your telling of your story that it was all about you and nothing about doing good in the world. You are a selfish, brainless and heartless soul that could not expand to things spiritual but only what you see before your eyes. It takes faith Rich. Find out what that means and than write me back as your words do not hold water. Keep being silent and come up with some new stuff man as you bore me!

Yours Loud and Clear....signs of the times!

Call me too.

I want to see if you can talk the game.

[Ironically, his e-mail ended with the following ad message from Yahoo!, which I thought summarized his message]
Talk is cheap. Use Yahoo! Messenger to make PC-to-Phone calls. Great rates starting at 1/min.
July 21, 2006
you are evil man. I can see the old saying : Give a man information or college he'll hang himself. You didn't have a testiomony or kept working on it. ALL of you are nothing more than cry babies. And using any excue to cover up your own sins and this is your way out of it. I'm a active member of the church. I just feel sorry for all you. Just remember That the Church is God's Church and man just runs things according to HIS will not man. Remember You ALL will have to REPORT. All I can say is GOOD LUCK! LIERS!!!!!!

July 22, 2006
Hi I guess I need to cast Satan out of you my friend.

In the Name of Jesus Christ and by his authority I command you Satan and Servants of Satan to come out of this man this instant. Leave this man in peace now or be destroyed.Go ye unto outer darkness which is prepared for you, In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Richard I am just going to tell you as a friend. I don't think it is wise to persecute Jesus and his gospel, You don't have to anymore. Turn over a new leaf. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. The Lord Jesus Christ will not hold him blameless who persecutes the humble followers of Christ. You need to stop it. I think you know that. Read the story of Alma the younger and Come unto Christ.

I responded as follows:

Gee, thanks, Steve! I now realize that I am at peace!

But then I was at peace BEFORE you used your awesome priesthood power on me. Is it possible that your priesthood doesn't really work? That you just have a terrific imagination?

May I suggest that if you believe my factual criticism of Mormon doctrine is "persecution," then you are suffering from paranoia. Was Joseph Smith "persecuting" other religions when he said they were "abominations"? Was Brigham Young "persecuting" other religions when he said they were "hatched in Hell"? Was Talmage persecuting the Catholics when he wrote in "The Great Apostasy" that they were in apostasy?

Maybe YOU are the one whose mind is entrapped by Satan...

I know the fairy tale about Alma. Maybe you should read the story of "The Emperor's New Clothes." I'm just the little kid who said that the emperor wasn't wearing any clothes.

July 24, 2006
Your website is full of shit crap. Why dont you check your facts fuckface.

July 25, 2006
I just had the opportunity to look at your website. Thank you for the insightful material. I know that you must have a lot of people respond to your comments, but I would love to hear back from you.

I have been a faithful member for 30 years, serving as RS pres, doing a tremendous amount of genealogy, etc. You know the life style.

After my third failed marriage to abusive LDS men, and the leaders of the church telling me it was my fault and that the men who abused me were more important than me, I started to allow myself to wonder: could it possibly NOT be true? It was a startling thought. I am terrified to read information that can be considered apostate material. I am a very quiet, mild mannered person (heck-I've been programed to be ultra forgiving and take the blame for all the problems everyone else has!) but to be told that I was of no worth??? Yet, the abusers, who were also child abusers, adulters, addicted to porn, etc., were welcomed with open arms... Though I'm not leaving because of the situation, it was the catalyst that led me to where I am today.

Which, btw, is a confusing place. Only 6 months ago I had a burning testimony of the Gospel. Now I am lost and searching for who I am. I am 40 years old and have no idea what I am supposed to be or do because I've been brainwashed into being who LDS leaders expect. [...]

July 25, 2006
What you know about Mormonism would fit on the head of a pin. You would benefit from some anger management counseling.

July 27, 2006
You and others have helped me dig out of this and see the craziness that we believed in. Thank you again. I am on my journey of freedom.

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