Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 166: The Antipathetic Polygamist

RFM tells the story of a long-time friend named Sue.  Sue was a happy Mormon wife and mother . . .until her husband starting collecting wives.  This is one you don’t want to miss!

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31 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 166: The Antipathetic Polygamist

  1. What words of Jesus inspire me since leaving the church? Since leaving I have become a great fan of the gospel of Mark. (The earliest gospel.) I have written a great deal about that book, and my favourite teaching is Mark 10:42-43:

    > 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
    > 43 But SO SHALL IT NOT BE AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

    I put the key part in capitals. How could it be any clearer? “You know how gentile rulers rule? Don’t do that!” No commands. No top down structure. No corporate church. No big red seats. No priesthood!!!

    I could write a lot more about that. I am an idealist. A utopian. I want a better world! I spent my life thinking about how to make a better world. That is why I left the church. After I left he church I began to read Jesus’ words a lot more. And I think that verse in Mark sums up Jesus’ message. DO NOT CLAIM AUTHORITY! Do not tell people what to do!

    But how can you run a nation without lords and authority? That is a topic I would love to discuss. I think Jesus has the answer (and it is essentially economic, not religious in the nodern sense of the world: he meant a literal kingdom, like Moses set up, and NOT like the later kingdom that Saul and David ruined. That is a whole other topic. I think Jesus was a utopian. He saw that the nation was not working. He saw that people are hungry, people are sick, and the churches were not helping. I think it is the same today. I think Jesus has the answer and it has nothing to do with priesthood (secular otherwise) and everything to do with how we run a nation without those things.

    Jesus inspires me. I think churches are generally anti Jesus.

    • PS sorry for the typos. And yes, I know that Moses may not have existed. Likewise, we all have our own personal Jesus. That is a feature, not a bug. I would love to talk epistemology! E.g. in the gospel of Mark, Jesus Jesus taught by appealing to reason, not appeal to texts. It is the opposite of the priesthood method.

      It is over 12 hours since the podcast dropped and nobody else has quoted their favourite teachings of Jesus, so I have a few more for our stake president friend. I commend him for his bravery in promoting love, but I think he has allowed his view on love to be twisted away from Jesus into hierarchies of power. This is what Jesus thought about churches like the LDS church:

      >Jesus said, “I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out.” (The Gospel of Thomas, teaching #13)

      I think this perfectly describes the LDS church. It understands Jesus as “powerful man” and thinks “we can be powerful too!” and invents priesthood. Power is intoxicating. But Jesus taught the opposite. “I am not your master!” The desire for power is intoxicating and it is evil. Mormon leaders do not get Jesus:

      >Jesus said, “Let him who has grown rich be king, and let him who possesses power renounce it.” (Thomas #81)

      Did you hear that, Russel? You possess power. Will you now follow Jesus and renounce it?

      >Jesus said, “Why have you come out into the desert? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a man clothed in fine garments like your kings and your great men? Upon them are the fine garments, and they are unable to discern the truth.” (Thomas #78)

      As you no doubt know, Thomas is the best candidate we have for Q, the original sayings of Jesus. There is good reason to think these were written down at the time and Mark was written down only six years later. (I think Bart Ehrman’s view is untenable in the light of Rodney Stark’s work.) So forgive me if I quote from Thomas at length.

      >The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?” Jesus said to them, “Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.” (Thomas #12)

      In the podcast you quoted the Stake President praising Peter as strong and wise. That is not what Jesus said! Jesus called him Satan! Jesus wanted James to run the church. The letter of James is the antidote to the power hunger of Peter and Paul. It is about good works and against mystic authority. It reads as an attack on Paul from start to finish, but that’s another topic. here is another favourite teaching:

      >His disciples said, “When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?” Jesus said, “When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid” (Thomas #37)

      To “disrobe” of course meant to remove robes (leaving the loincloth on, obviously) in order to do manual labour in the fields. This is another example of Jesus and his “least of these” teachings. When you see a common labourer, that is Jesus. Jesus called himself “son of man”, a common phrase in Ezekiel meaning “the common man”. He rode a donkey into Jerusalem, not a horse: remember that the term “messiah” applied to any annoited person, not a particular person: Jesus’ message was that we are all anointed, the common man should rule, just as Moses taught. Moses did not escape from Pharaoh just to create a new Pharaoh in Canaan!

      Another favourite:

      >Jesus said, “Among those born of women, from Adam until John the Baptist, there is no one so superior to John the Baptist that his eyes should not be lowered (before him). Yet I have said, whichever one of you comes to be a child will be acquainted with the kingdom and will become superior to John.” (Thomas #46, which found its way into Matthew 11:11)

      Jesus was always saying this: become as a child, NOT as a master. Hierarchies of power are wrong! Mormon priesthood is wrong!

      >Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” (Thomas #54)

      This is a good example of how Jesus’ words became twisted. Matthew changed this to be “poor in spirit”, so our rulers could say “I have $124 billion, but I am poor in spirit!”

      Ooh! I just found my all time favourite quote! How did I forget this?

      >A man said to him, “Tell my brothers to divide my father’s possessions with me.” He said to him, “O man, who has made me a divider?” He turned to his disciples and said to them, “I am not a divider, am I?” (Thomas #72)

      I love this saying! We get what sounds like a spontaneous reaction, with warmth but exasperation. Jesus came to unite Israel, to unite the common man by showing that we are all the same. He previously used the Platonic term “undivided” to describe himself (saying #61). He had the ancient view of wealth (pre-600BC, before evil Croessus invented coins) that we build society based on unmeasured mutual obligations and NOT on counting every coin. Counting every coin is the basis of usury and thus slavery. And now here is some man wanting his help in dividing money to get every last cent. The guy just does not get it! It’s quite comical. I can imagine Jesus turning to his disciples in disbelief for the last line. They never forgot it, and it ended up in this collection of Jesus’ best known sayings. A classic.

      OK that’s enough of my favourite Jesus teachings. In the words of Reverend Lovejoy, “they’re all good”

      • With all due respect…..I told the stake president that I didn’t know if I believed in Jesus or God….and he continued to push that stuff anyway and in the end asked me how I found peace and the spirit in our Savior, Jesus Christ. My final response…well, I don’t think he will continue in our discussion. I kind of hope he doesn’t. I am hoping that my final email will exude…PERIOD. No answers to my questions and concerns, as I knew there wouldn’t be. Thought I would give him a chance upon the urging of a TBM friend. NO ANSWERS because the joseph smith, as well as the church are frauds. No peace in the church or it’s teachings. And, I’m at peace with knowing that.

        • Fair point. Angie Coulter picked up on that immediately – you made clear that the church had treated you very, VERY badly. And the Stake President basically said “deep down you still like what we offer, just think about it some more”. That’s both rude and condescending.

          I am beginning to wonder if RFM’s final comment “please post your favourite Jesus teachings” was meant in jest. And I took the request literally. Sorry!

          • Thanks for responding. Not a problem….RFM did say “if you were Sue…” and that’s where my not knowing if there is a God or Jesus Christ comes into play. However, you had a lot of great points. I wasn’t wanting the flowery Jesus/God talk from the Stake President that TBM’s use, though, how could someone who has been brainwashed their entire life do anything else. I put up with a lot of crap from my ex….then from the church. When I am FINALLY able to walk away, that’s it…I’m done. I only asked the Stake President the questions because my TBM friend wanted me to do that before I decided I was really done with the church. And, my Branch President told me to quit being bitter and angry, neither of which I am. I wanted the Stake President to know I wasn’t as my Branch President described me.

          • Hi, Chris!

            No, I didn’t mean it in jest at all, and I love the stuff you have come up with. I am a big fan of the Gospel of Thomas, too.

            But it’s one thing to sit down and read all 114(?) sayings, and another thing to have a handful quoted with commentary like you did.

            It makes me appreciate the sayings a lot more the way you do it!

            Thanks for that!

            RFM

        • Hi Susan…I’m very sorry that the Stake President couldn’t have been more human with you. It’s to be expected tho. The most programmed members are chosen for such positions.

          Being privy to the back and forth convo really emphasized the self serving nature of his agenda. Oh, he said all the so called “Christ like”things, but all his responses were designed to make HIM feel better, NOT you.

          Whatever your last words to him were, he will rest assured in his smug, phony humility that he did everything he could for you and you were just not reachable.

          Not that you’re asking, but I hope that you will reserve your conclusions about God and Jesus until you’ve put enough space and time between you and your hideous experiences with the mormon church.

          For myself, it has been safe to conclude at least for now that if there is a God, He has nothing whatsoever to do with the mormon church.

          I look forward to hearing your story with RFM. Best to you!

  2. I, too, receive revelations from God concerning MY LIFE. The one that I have relied on the most during these last several years since I have realized that the Church is not what it claims to be taught me some basic truths concerning my relationship to Jesus.

    1. Jesus is my personal savior and saved me from a punishment that I deserve for my sins. He literally took me off the cross that I deserve. He paid for my sins.

    2. Jesus knows me personally by name and is my best friend.

    3. Jesus loves me with a love that is very difficult to describe. It is like the love of a best friend that is joking with me, trying to build me up, trying to lift me and be close to me.

    4. Jesus believes that I have great worth and loves me JUST THE WAY I AM.

    I know that through the atonement of Jesus, all mankind may be saved through FAITH ALONE in GRACE ALONE, through JESUS ALONE. I know that NO PERSON is saved through the laws and ordinances of the gospel (Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). A corporation can save no one but the blood of the Son of God can save all those that will accept that sacrifice.

    I invite everyone to become acquainted with their best friend, JESUS.

  3. RFM…you were very generous in any credit you gave the stake president. I could barely stomach all his creamy self righteous responses! It seemed like your friend was communicating with a robot…a mormon-bot.

    I personally would refuse to answer his disingenuous question designed to keep him in the upper hand position, where he will not be docked any shiny star stickers for his forehead.

    He does not merit any further vulnerability from Sue and she should consider continuing in this vein with him as ‘casting her pearl before swine’.

    He’s a perfect example of the ideal ‘product’ the LDS church wants to turn out, ie, a completely surrendered, subservient mind controlled, subject that will hold to the party line no matter what kind of overwhelming contrary evidence that might present…even from the inside!

    When faced with a real life person who is an extreme casualty of the changing doctrines, he tidily comes up with outrageous excuses that are meant to put the mess back into the pandoras box tied up with a nice shiny bow. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sleeps in a white shirt and tie.

    I too live in a mixed faith marriage where my husband remains TBM, so I am very sensitive to the challenges that brings. I wish her well and I am glad that she has at least escaped. Now if she can manage to get it washed off. God bless her.

  4. How I found peace and the spirit in our Savior, Jesus Christ? Well, if the narrative of the church is to be believed and we are entitled to personal revelation then Luke 17:21 gives me great comfort “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”. Whether it was revelation or the result of escaping my own episode of cognitive dissonance during my faith trsnsission, The spirit (or my intuition) told me to leave the church, because the kingdom of God was not found there (Mormon church), but has always been within me. What a empowering message it was and is. I am no longer bound to obey because some geriatric business man can’t sleep at night and has an epiphany about what I need need to do to get closer to Christ. I’ll be my own prophet from here on out, thank you very much!

    • I have found peace in knowing the whole thing is made up. I can’t think of a worse hell than victims of abuse having to share “heaven” with their abusers because the abusers “repented” . Jesus was made up to make powerful people who hurt a lot of other people feel ok about their actions.

  5. To answer the question posed in end of this podcast, for me personally, the only thing I have left to hang on to is the very basic gospel that Jesus taught, which was all about how we treat each other. As far as I understand it had nothing to do with secret handshakes or whether we go to church every Sunday, or even wearing special underwear. It’s really about our attitudes toward other people. I, like Sue, don’t know anymore whether there really is a God or Jesus, but I believe in the beauty and truth of his simple gospel. All I have to hang on to is the belief that if God does exist, he loves the diversity of this world, which the mormon church absolutely does not.

  6. You posed your question at the end.
    My answer:
    The SP makes the underlying assumption that Jesus is the universal panacea. This assumption is unanswerable, since it is entirely faith-based and cannot be supported (or refuted) by evidence.
    Jesus is not any part of the peace I receive. None. Nada. The Mormon church managed to destroy any possibility of believing in that mythology.
    My peace comes from the connection I feel with nature and the wide world of humanity; with the depth of “beingness” I feel in meditation, that I find within myself. If there is any external crutch I use, it is a sweet connection I feel with the divine feminine, as expressed in all aspects of creation.
    Tell SP to put that in his pipe and smoke it 🙂

    • LOL….love your views. I feel the same way about you and God/Jesus Christ for now. Someone asked me not to put that entirely out of the picture but for now, yes, it is out of the picture. I told the stake president what didn’t bring me peace, which was the church and all the questions and concerns I had, etc. then I proceeded to tell him what did bring me peace. I don’t expect to hear from him again, unless it’s a church disciplinary…membership council? letter. Thanks for your input.

  7. I would respond stating that i do not believe in a god, or in Jesus as my savior, But i still find peace in my life. I have found a lot of hope and peace in further examining philosophy. The stoic idea of accepting those things that we cannot change and working to change the things we can, and ultimately working to make ourselves better has brought me a lot of peace. the practice of meditation has been a great tool of peace in my life, and has led to many insights about how my mind works, and what i personally need to do to increase my capacity for empathy. And most importantly as i am no longer asking in prayer for comfort i have started relying more on the people around me for comfort. I find a tremendous amount of peace, comfort, hope, and joy in my family and friends, they are the real rock that i can rely on when things get rough.

    • Thank you Alona. That’s pretty much the approach I took. However, before I told the stake president what does bring me peace, I told him I didn’t think that anyone needed the church, Jesus Christ or God to find peace then proceeded to tell him what certainly did not bring me peace. I sent that on Saturday….no response so I am thinking that my email was a big PERIOD in our conversation. I also think he advised my branch president not to include me in any branch emails since my husband got one and I did not. That’s ok. I can reach out to friends on my own without having the branch be the intermediary in those friendships. I am actually learning who are really my friends and who aren’t worth the effort to try to keep in touch with. Pretty sad but it’s not me who is trying to shut them out. Their choice. I will continue to be friends with the two people who want to continue friendships outside the church. I have all kinds of friends, not just TBM friends. It’s a wonderful mix of diversity and I love it.

  8. To Sue and Chris and Angie….

    First Sue. Mormon polygamy has caused me more distress in my life than I could fully express. It would be a living hell for me. It took 3 different sessions to hear the very small telling of your story. I had to stop it and rest my soul 2 times. 2 days for me to listen completely. I’m so sorry. I broke out of a 28 year abusive mormon marriage and I can’t fathom how you broke free from your situation. You must be amazing.

    Chris…I found Jesus and it doesn’t matter if he’s real or not. People can choose to believe or not. I choose to believe. He definitely came to destroy organized religion. That was one of the major points of it all. Thank you for sharing.

    Angie…I’ve agreed with just about everything you’ve ever posted. So thank you for speaking my thoughts.

    The footprint of priesthood was enormous in my life and the heavy boot of male dominance pressed me and my soul down my whole life. When LDS leaders speak of the value of women I cringe. When mormon women would speak of the feminine divine I felt sick. I never felt loved by the mormon god and I was patted on the head by mormon men and shunned by mormon women as I could not show deference to the priesthood or prophets. I’m a runner and won marathons in my 30’s and 40’s. Running saved my life and it was the only time in my day where I felt like me. I run on the trails all over Mount Timpanogos where I feel free.
    Thank you RFM….I may have had to take a break twice but I was able to listen to the horrifics of Sue’s experience without a come apart due to your style of story telling.
    Freedom. That’s what Jesus’ love and peace bring me. Freedom from lies. Freedom from authority. He will write his laws not on tablets but on our hearts. No more laws to follow. Love freely and generously.

  9. Hi Susan,

    I think we both know at this point that continuing any dialogue with the Stake President will be a waste of time for the two of you. You are communicating with a person who simply lacks the mental and emotional ability to acknowledge that anyone who leaves the Church might have good reason to do so. It’s unfortunate that it is this way, but Mormonism does a phenomenal job of making the devout feel sorry for those who leave and often puts them into rescue mode for your soul. There is nothing you can do about that.

    Your Stake President has been a lot more open to discussing issues with you than most are, but he still has the same “the Church’s way or the highway” attitude that many have. Still, I think he genuinely cares – I have found most devout people to be kind and caring. I have lived in the same area in Utah for nearly 22 years and resigned from the Church a few years back. But I am still friends with those who are attend the ward and find them to be great human beings. I am also a person who is agnostic and believes in living a good life, doing no harm to our fellow beings in the process and giving them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

    So, how would I respond to the questions, “What brings the spirit and promised peace of the savior Jesus Chris into your own life?” and “What truths do you cling to for an anchor at this time?” posed by the Stake President? There are actually two ways I could go and it would probably be impacted by the mood I was in when I decided to email him back.

    The first approach might be just a very short acknowledgement that the two of you think differently and probably won’t see eye to eye on religious beliefs along with a “I wish you well with your family and religious journey”. I would probably throw in another polite “thank-you” for the effort to keep you on the list for maintaining contact with your friends in the branch. It would max out at two paragraphs.

    For my second approach, I WOULD tell him “what truths I cling to for an anchor now”. It is valuable for a Stake President to hear the perspectives of people, like you and me, even if they still lack the capacity to understand. Maybe at least it will plant some seeds of empathy in him to better deal with future instances of when family members, close friends, or members within the stake determine the Church is no longer for them.

    I can only speculate on what you might say since your life experiences are what you would draw from to formulate your answer. Mine would encourage me to make the following points:

    • I try to follow the Christlike teachings of being kind, loving others and giving them the benefit of the doubt. I probably wouldn’t be able to resist mentioning how the Church, in spite of its best efforts, falls woefully short of doing this with the LGBTQ community. I would mention a gay nephew who tried desperately to “pray away his gay” so he would conform to the religion and serve a mission. I would then quote DIRECTLY from Dallin Oaks interview about “Same Gender Attraction” found at the top of the Google search “Dallin H Oaks quote about gays” (I don’t think I can put a link in my comments). I would quote Mr. Oaks directly in my email response because I know your Stake President won’t look it up in order to better protect his own point of view. I would also say that I could never treat my son or daughter that way because it is not kind or Christlike.
    • Honesty, integrity, and morality are important to me. I would mention how difficult it was to learn the truth about the Church and to reflect on the lies I was unknowingly spreading on my mission. I would bring up how the current lessons are not honest and how hard it became for me to even teach in the Church before I left, knowing how whitewashed they were. I would also point out that although many people in the Church are charitable, the corporate Church lacks in charity. They have the perfect opportunity right NOW to loosen their purse strings on billions of dollars in a rainy day fund but don’t do it. I would quote from the Wall Street Journal interview they did on their massive fund earlier this year.

    I’m probably out of steam now, so I would wrap it up. Like the first approach, I would acknowledge that we think differently and that’s okay. Again, I would thank him for doing his part to help keep me in contact with friends at the branch.

    Good luck in your response!

    • Thank you for your take on it. I used the second approach. I have so many questions and concerns, finally realizing that Joseph Smith was a fraud and that the church was built by Joseph Smith, not the gospel being restored to the earth by “God” that I didn’t even bring up the LGBTQ stuff. My own daughter came out to me about 4 years ago. From the very moment she told me I loved her unconditionally, though I was shocked since she had been active while I was ex communicated and she actually was the one who told me I would be attending church while in her home. She was the one who bought the airplane ticket to fly to SLC when I left my ex husband and was still in Mexico. She, on the other hand, because of the teachings of the church, didn’t believe me and pushed me away for a year. I persisted and she finally realized I wasn’t going anywhere….I was her biggest supporter and truly loved her unconditionally. Wish I had had time to bring that up with the stake president because I struggled with the church’s stance on LGBTQ, of course, putting it on that shelf, and knowing and assuring my daughter that we would understand it all later, that things would work out. Boy, could I have been more wrong? Anyway, such a horrible part of the gospel and so much tragic devastation on those who felt that there was no other way out than to leave this earth. Just no words for any of that suffering for those who deserve to be loved just like anyone else. And of course, the church takes no responsibility. Shame on them.

  10. Thank you all for your valuable comments. I heard this podcast about as soon as it was released and have thought about how a person gets closer to the Lord off and on ever since. It has been a good thought process and helped me refocus. When I mention scriptures here I’ll just paraphrase. Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you. I certainly need to draw closer to the Lord. “How do I measure if I’m closer one day to the next?” A runner can go farther in less time and might be able to figure out that a diet or exercise program is working. That’s a measure. I also run K but for me it’s an anti depressant. I have spent thousands of hours in deep depression and I had the best of parents and siblings and life opportunities. Moving on. Here are some things that help me and others I have spoken with draw closer to Christ. One friend has a picture of the Lord by Bette Myers that she can look at as she prays and it helps her feel close to him and she just talks with “you” type conversation. Someone else is concentrating on forgiving others which has been an ongoing process but is presently lifting a burden, or a number of burdens, that have been a weight for years. Bill Reel has a 34 part series called The Mythical Jesus. That certainly is thought provoking and prayer provoking. It comes highly recommended. Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers is a great book short easy to read that emphasizes gratitude in all things even bad things. You need to read it and process and try it. It has been helpful. RFM has helped me come closer to Christ. I have found peace through the blessing of logical reasoning and consideration of things related to the incorrect clutter in the way I understood things before. The Ironrodpodcast Podcast has been helpful and I listen every week. Solving the Prophet Puzzle read by Mrs. Watcher on YouTube is good. The Denver Snuffer podcast gives some good thoughts about Christ. Joel Osteen has proven helpful to another friend who has also had a bad experience with polygamy. She soaks up his messages along with some other Christian reading and youtube material. Right, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young has some daily points to ponder and feel the Lords love. I like to hear Joel every once in a while as well. Joyce Meyer is a Christian speaker and author – she has some good stuff. We have a copy of a painting of Jesus holding a child. That gives a gentle feel when you look at it. Music -Abide With me ’tis Eventide, Jesus it’s me Again sung by Charlie Pride, Why me Lord by Chris Christofferson, Here I am to Worship, and I can Only Imagine are good songs to help focus on the Lord. Movies- I can Only Imagine, The War Room, Greater, Woodlawn, and others are helpful. I like to go for long walks or runs and pray as I go. I soak up scriptures listening to a cassette Walkman almost every day. And beside the bed is a CD player where we have scriptures on every night. If one of us gets up during the night the start button is touched again. So you do what you can. It’s an approximation but there is value in the effort. Out of the best books – there is often something to relate your thinking to the Lord in your reading like Abou Ben Adhem, “Put me down as one who loves his fellow man.” The Christmas Carol always puts me in mind of Christian service. Even in the Movie Apollo 13, for instance,Tom Hanks character tells how the lights went out in his plane at night and he felt hopelessly lost. Then he saw a trail of light behind the ship, the propellers had churned something up that made a bright trail. He said something like, “You never know what will transpire to bring you home.” The Frederick Forsyth story The Shepherd about a young pilot who lost electrical power in his fighter jet on Christmas Eve in 1957. It’s only half an hour long you can find it on YouTube. He explains, but not in the story, that the real Shepherd is Jesus. How do you measure closeness to Christ? Alma 34 goes through a list of things to pray for and then says your prayers are useless if you don’t visit the sick and imprisoned. and help those in need. Somewhere Paul says that you can have all knowledge but your useless if you don’t have charity. Thanks for the question and I find that Moroni chapter 7 about charity is what I’m working on. I keep reminding myself- “patient, kind, not easily provoked.” I am now, thanks to the question, going over the Sermon on the Mount ever day.

  11. What brings the spirit and the promised peace of The Saviour Jesus Christ into my life and what truths do I cling to as an Anchor now that I know the so called Restoration never took place and that I and my family have been robbed of 40 years of our lives and the tithes and fast offerings I could have been saving for our retirement years that are now locked away with billions of other dollars gotten from members hard earned wages. The truth I know and cling to is that those who have perpetuated the lies will be judged, as will I, and the verdict will be from a just God. Sue has done nothing wrong, neither have I we have worn out and wasted our lives in what we truly believed to be in the Service of our God so we have nothing to fear but rather those who have sought to knowingly mislead millions of people are the ones in need of repentance but I fear that they will not.
    This question from Sue’s Stake President, I believe, is probably very relevant for many of us who now find ourselves wallowing in the mire of uncertainty of where, now, to search for answers to fill the massive void left after discovering that the Church we have wasted and worn out our lives for is, after all, just fantasy and make believe. The message that the Church teaches gives complete certainty of our eternal destiny and of Deity who love and care for us, they teach of everlasting progression through eternity that we earn by complete obedience and by giving of our time, our service, our tithes, our fast offerings even our very lives if necessary. Once the truth is discovered it leaves a void of uncertainty and emptiness that is so hard to describe now that our future is no longer mapped out.
    Sue did not answer and I am not surprised since she had escaped from one hell with her polygamous husband only to be put through hell by the very people who should be showing her understanding and compassion.
    Christine and my three boys were baptised with me under my testimony of the truth of the Church soon after baptism all though we had no intention of having any more family we were persuaded by the then Bishop that to be fully faithful we needed to be willing to have more children we followed his advice and two daughters in the next three years were welcomed into our family. Why am I telling you all this is to try to let you understand how I feel now that I have found out that the restoration of the Gospel and all that goes with it through Joseph Smith and all who have followed him is a pack of lies that affected not only me but the lives of 6 other souls who are very precious to me. I cannot give them back the lost years and this troubles me.
    What now brings the promised peace of the Saviour into my life is remembering the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man who had everything yet would not part with even a crumb to give to the poor beggar on his doorstep whose only solace were the dogs that came and licked his sores.
    I believe the Q15 do not serve God by perpetuating the Lies and I believe that their main focus is on the vast wealth now owned by the Church and not the members. I believe like the rich man they will have their reward which may not be as pleasant as they believe so I leave this in the hands of a just God that I believe in. I am approaching 80 and I cannot reclaim the 40 years of our lives that might have been so different in the real world and not stolen from us by Lies.
    From now on I will find the spirit and the promised peace by keeping my worship simple as I was taught in the Sunday School of my childhood (Not LDS) and focus on Him who simply invites us with these words “Come follow Me” and promises us peace in these words found in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
    During the time I have left I will follow the Saviours advice and will hold no malice in my heart for those I once admired but now I say. “How have the Mighty fallen”
    Finally I would like to wish Sue all the very best for a brighter future and that she will find hope and happiness in her new found freedom.

    • Oh wow Dave. I have no words. I’m so sorry. I feel as you….47 years stollen from me and my family that I can’t get back. I also find peace in the fact that 4 of my 5 children left the church as soon as they left home. It took me a while to find that peace. I left the church officially a year ago. I spent a lot of years hoping my children would someday return the the church. Thank goodness they didn’t. I just hope someday my 1 active daughter will leave……but she has 3 sweet daughters she is raising in the church. Sad.

  12. In response to Sue’s sp I think my responses would be the following:

    What truths do I cling to?
    – that everything is impermanent, even what I think is true. I keep an open mind to new information
    – truth exists and matters. Though what’s true today may not be true tomorrow because of change … so I should always be learning.

    what brings me the “peace of the savior”?
    – radical acceptance of the way things are. This often comes in the form of meditating on everything I have and everything I am and being grateful for them exactly as things currently are. I spend less time “trying to be like Jesus” but instead accepting myself for who I currently am and being grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish. As stated before, I acknowledge all things change, including myself. And with that change I meditate on the fact that karma is just the impact I have on the world. I feel peace when performing actions (or karma) that deliver happiness and reduce suffering in the lives of others.

    If you can’t tell mindfulness and Buddhism have helped enhance my new worldview, and because of which I feel I am in a much healthier place.

  13. Thanks for your thoughts, Dave. I’m glad that we have this forum to help process all this stuff.

    • Thank you Jim for your comments. I try to absorb a little knowledge by reading through the thoughts of others most of which are intelligent and interesting and I will certainly follow up on some of your suggested good reads. One of your suggestions, Abou Ben Adhem, brought back a flood of childhood memories for me as this was my fathers favourite poem that he recited so often that I knew it off by heart before I was 4 years old. When I saw the name of Abou Ben Adhem on your post memories of my dad in his old arm chair in front of a blazing open fire on Christmas Eve my mother by his side, myself and little Goldilocks, my sister with the light of the fire lighting up the ringlets of gold in her hair before we went up stairs to bed dad would always tell us the story of Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
      Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
      And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
      Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
      An angel writing in a book of gold:—
      Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
      And to the presence in the room he said,
      “What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
      And with a look made of all sweet accord,
      Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
      “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
      Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
      But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
      Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

      The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
      It came again with a great wakening light,
      And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
      And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

      As he told the story it always brought with it a satisfying peace that we as children felt before up the stairs we went with a small candlestick each to light our way. Our little cottage had no electricity in those days just gaslights downstairs and brass candlesticks upstairs. I still have both mine and my sisters. I am so pleased that you thought to include Abou Ben Adhem this little poem tells all we need to know on how to live our lives Love the Lord and love our neighbour are not these the two great commandments. Thank you Jim Thank you Thank you.

  14. Now that I have given everybody the chance to respond individually to the questions proposed by the stake president to Sue, let me weigh in on how I would have responded.

    First, it seems obvious the stake president is feeling control of the conversation slipping away and so seeks to reestablish it by asking these two somewhat leading questions.

    I would probably have responded by stating first what does NOT bring me peace in this life, and would have gone along similar lines to those mentioned already by several of you.

    I might have added that I have found peace, but it is only through extracting myself from the deceptions practiced upon me by the LDS Church that I have found it.

    I would possibly also have pushed back against the stake president’s belief that peace can be found only in and through Jesus Christ, by pointing out that the logical corollary is that nobody in the history of the planet has ever found peace who was not a Christian.

    Thanks so much to everybody for your great responses. I know that your responses, together with your support, have meant a lot to Sue.

    Believe it or not, and here I hope I am not disclosing too much, Sue thought nobody would have any interest in her story. I had to keep telling her that LOTS of people would be interested in her story.

    And I hope that now Sue is realizing I was right.

    That’s the most important thing, isn’t it?

    Realizing that I am right?

    No, seriously, realizing that lots of people are interested in Sue’s story!

    Thanks, everybody!

    RFM

  15. Dear Stake President,

    Thank you for your questions (“What brings the spirit and promised peace of the Savior, Jesus Christ, into your own life? What truths do you cling to for an anchor at this time?”). Those are excellent questions.

    When considering the peace of the Savior, one should start with the Savior’s words. Contrasting his peace with the peace of the world, Jesus said “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 17:27)

    As an example of peace that the world gives, one might consider Bernie Madoff. Madoff is currently serving a federal prison sentence for offenses related to a massive Ponzi scheme. No doubt Madoff’s investors felt peace as they read their falsified monthly statements and felt financially secure. But their peace was temporary. Their peace lasted only until Madoff’s scheme was exposed for the fraud that it was. The world gives temporary peace.

    As an example of peace that Jesus gives, one might consider the LDS church. The third article of faith states, “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” The LDS church offers peace through certainty in its exclusive priesthood authority to provide the laws and ordinances that are essential to salvation.

    Madoff investors could have lived their entire lives in peace if they had read only Madoff-approved sources like their monthly statements. But news travels fast on the Internet. When Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was exposed, I expect that many felt their peace leave them, replaced by cognitive dissonance as they attempted to reconcile their belief that their investments were sound with what they learned. No doubt they felt pain and grief. I hope that, after the stages of grief, some of Madoff’s investors reached the “acceptance” stage and found peace there.

    Similar to the Madoff investors, I could have lived my entire life with the peace that the LDS church offers if I only read what the LDS church gave me to read. But news travels fast on the Internet. As one example, I learned that both LDS and non-LDS Egyptologists agree that Joseph’s translation of Egyptian words on the Book of Abraham Facsimile 3 are wrong. In particular, Joseph said that Figure 2 in Facsimile 3 was “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head”, but all Egyptologists agree that those words refer to the female Egyptian Goddess Isis by name. (For a primer on the Egyptian Goddess Isis, visit https://www.britannica.com/topic/Isis-Egyptian-goddess). As another example, I learned that President Brigham Young taught the Adam/God doctrine, only to have President Spencer W. Kimball reject the Adam/God doctrine.

    Thus, in just a couple of examples, I saw a church president (Joseph Smith) relying upon the Spirit to mistranslate an ancient language, and two other church presidents (Brigham Young and Spencer W. Kimball) relying upon the Spirit to reach opposite conclusions about the nature of God. What I saw from these two examples (among so many other examples to discuss here) is that the LDS church’s exclusive priesthood authority is not reliable. Moreover, I saw that revelation through the Spirit is not reliable.

    The upshot is that the peace that the LDS church offers is worldly peace. It lasts only while information is withheld. But like the Madoff investors who have gone through the stages of grief to acceptance, I too have gone through the stages of grief. Through some denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, I have arrived at acceptance of the truth that the LDS church is not what it claims to be and never was what it claims to be. It was always of the world.

    And in that acceptance of that truth, I have found peace.

    • That’s awesome Ryan. Thank you for your words. Perfect analogy. I feel the same as you and have gone through pretty much the same. So much peace after leaving mormonism. No peace when I was all in.

  16. Sue, I’m proud of you. I finally decided to Google this site after not hearing back from you. I will be careful and not reveal any confidences. . . .. I knew Sue in the branch, and a ward, and in that same ward after the divorce. And I am well acquainted with both husbands that are mentioned in the first part of the podcast. I will continue reading on the podcast. I knew two of the wives subsequent to Sue, plus another, I think after the divorce. I also know who first explained polygamy to Joe.

    I have not attended sacrament since 2012. My wife enjoys it this way. I used to believe in the divinity of Jesus but since 2012 I have studied a lot at the college divinity school level and have come to realize that the coming of Jesus was not predicted in the Hebrew scriptures. If you wish to keep a testimony of Jesus, don’t study your Bible and history. Just follow what people tell you and never question. But you might want to read “The Jefferson Bible”, by Thomas Jefferson and learn of his testimony of Jesus.

    Keep reading and studying,Sue, and continue to be thankful that your kids did not disown you like our child did.

    Although I once believed in the doctrine of plural marriage, I definitely do not now. I am happy with my only wife of 52 years.

    • Oh wow….thank you Happy For Years Now. It was quite a ride and you were in on my struggles in the beginning. we both agreed that once joe wants to do something he is ALL IN and goes full force with what he wants to do, no matter what it is. I didn’t listen to you when you tried to show me the real truths of mormonism a few years ago. Each person has their own journey and may or may not discover the truth. No one will listen until they are ready to listen. I can say that from experience. Keep in touch.

  17. I like Jesus’s teaching for the most part, but I like Christopher Hitchens better. I’m not seeking to draw closer to Hitchens nor Jesus but to what I feel are the best and most important aspects of life I can foster which are truth, love, and education. Facts ground me in a way religion never could. Religious “truth” has no ability to explain our complex lives or predict the future in any meaningful way. Certainly not in the way science can. Science indicates very clearly what we should worry about and what is BS. COVID is a great example. Religion fasted and prayed in what amounted to nothing outside making some people feel as though they were doing something useful. Science on the other hand explains what the disease is, how it spreads and what real actions we can take to stop it. I get a lot of comfort from predictability, something religion cannot offer. Religion “Mormonism” teaches God is constantly testing us for some mystical reason so as to explain the random fortune and misfortune that befalls us daily. When I removed a mischievous deity from my belief system I started to get serious about my interpretations of the world. Also I considered my actions and how what I do matters especially because it seems increasingly unlikely that Jesus will be showing up to fix my mistakes. My life has more meaning because what I do matters. I can’t be forgiven every Sunday. I’m a good person because I choose to be. I like it and I want other people to treat me the same.

    I’m more plugged in to my life. I care less about “busy do good” stuff and a lot more about keeping me and my loved ones happy and healthy.

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