If there is anything that can be done to help us return it is addressing my questions. I want to give this a sincere effort. Below are my list of questions that would need resolved or at least discussed out in the open. Can you think of any important questions that I am forgetting? I want these questions to be data driven and to require a reconciliation. Thoughts??? List is below
1.) Lucy Walker Conundrum – If Joseph Smith lied to Lucy about God commanding him to take her as a plural wife than I absolutely can not trust Joseph Smith. If God in fact did command Joseph then I absolutely can not place trust or love in a God who imposes that a daughter father relationship be made into a husband wife relationship. – http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/23-LucyWalker.htm
2.) We now know that the Book of Mormon, Book of Moses, Book of Abraham, JST, and Kinder hook plates (all 5 of Joseph Smith translation productions) include plagiarism from contemporary sources from Joseph Smith’s environment or sources long after when these productions were written (Ex: Book of Moses borrows heavily from Mathew Ch. 4). In light of such what space is there to abandon a historical approach to Joseph Smith”s translations and the Church as having literal authority and keys if we agree that to some extent these all are modern productions to at least some degree?
3.) Why do we neglect to tell people and avoid conversation at all costs of John Taylor’s 1886 revelation Where Jesus tells him directly that polygamy must never be ended?
4.) How do we reconcile Joseph Smith breaking all the rules of section 133 and polygamy?
– He does not get permission from Emma on most if not all of his plural marriages
– he does not only marry only virgins
he does not only marry women who are unmarried
5.) When history was not collectively observable and recordable and reportable, God flooded the whole earth, parted seas, restored limbs, sent balls of fire down at the pleading of his prophet, people turned to pillars of salt, talking donkeys, and healings instantaneously of severe diseases that no scientific explanation to date exists (leprosy, blindness, etc..) Once history became collectively observable, recordable, and shareable, these miracles have essentially ceased. What is more likely that God has withdrawn such things in the modern age or that such tales were fictional or incredibly embellished myth stories to begin with.
6.) 2000 stripling warriors battle against a larger more experienced army and not one soldier is killed. Many faint from blood loss but in an age of infection, not one gets gangrene and each of them without blood transfusions reports back to duty and a short while. In light of modern understanding and what is even in the realm of plausible, such a story is absurd. Other than imposing irrational thinking that “with God anything is possible” how do you reconcile such?
7.) Why does Elder Holland lie about Church growth?
8.) Why is the Church always 30 to 50 years behind the corrupt and fallen world on essentially every social issue? (birth control, women working outside the home, women’s rights such as voting, race, cremation, and now LGBT issues) In light of having men who talk directly to God, should we not be leading in the progress of social issues and treatment of human beings?
9.) If past leaders knew certain doctrines by the divine influence to be true (adam God, blood atonement, doctrines around the why of the Race Ban) only to have future leaders declare by the same divine influence that past said teachings were false, how can trust modern leaders who claim to get their info from the same source?
10.) Why do modern Prophets and apostles never perform a miracle, never prophesy, never perform as a seer, never get a unique revelation that shares new insights from God?
11.) Are you aware of how Brigham Young took control of the Church? The 12 clearly based on the D&C and Joseph Smith’s own words did not have sole authority upon the death of Joseph but Brigham clearly imposed his will and worked to diminish and distance any person or group who were equal or had more authority and took control of the Church in ways that were abusive and threatening to others. Are you aware of this? How do I reconcile that?
12.) Emma Smith and Oliver Cowdery believed that Joseph Smith’s intimate relationship with Smith housemaid Fanny Alger was an affair and inappropriate. Knowing this and knowing that Joseph had intimate relationships with other young girls who worked in his home (The partridge sisters and Lucy Walker), how do I reconcile the data that Joseph seems to pressure young girls into intimate relationships with him and imposes that they keep such secret. In any other walk of our life we would be appalled. Here – we make justifications. How do I reconcile such?
13.) Are you aware of the enormous extent at which Joseph Smith was a scrying treasure digger? Do you grasp what that term means? Joseph told others who could know where made up fictional treasure was buried in the ground via his seer stone, and he knew the spells that could be used to wrest the buried treasure away from guardian spirits who watched over the treasure. He did this over and over again taking people money and then never producing any treasure. Now fast forward, The gold plates are also a treasure buried in a hill, protected by Guardian Spirits and a seer stone is still the tool utilized. How am I to reconcile and take seriously the man’s story when his gold plates are the same basic story as the umpteen times he knowingly scammed people out of their money?
14.) We utilize the 1838 account of the First Vision and completely ignore the 1832 account which has him already knowing all the churches are false, he goes at the age of 15, more concerned with his own forgiveness, and says he saw the LORD and not two heavenly beings. Then knowing that past leaders were so uncomfortable with the 1832 account that Joseph Fielding Smith or someone he authorized cut the 1832 account out of Joseph Smith’s own journal and stored it away for 30 to 40 years with JFS referring to it as a “peculiar account”. We now have since taped it back in, but spend little time speaking about it and act as if it compliments the official account which if the two are read side by side the contradictions are glaring.
15.) In the, end after the 2000 problems that exist if we make special pleading that none of such matters as we have had spiritual experiences that confirm such. But this pleading ignores all the other believers of different religions who also have had deep and profound experiences testifying that they too received a witness that their faith was true. How can I know that the experiences Mormons have are true and all other people with a religious experience are deceived?
16.) Will you work to rid us within our ward and stake all the false stories in our manuals especially false stories about those who leave (Thomas Marsh, Symonds Ryder, Oliver Cowdery, Emma Smith)?
17.) Will you provide a safe space for those who have read more and who understand the history to in their effort to correct the historically demonstrable false beliefs in our history and culture?
18.) Will you make a safe space for a member who holds a non-historical view of our sacred myth stories who is careful to share his views as only his views?
19.) Will you work to provide a safe space to rid our local culture of homophobia and inappropriate comments and teachings on LGBT folks that are hurtful and potentially lead to self loathing and abuse?
20.) Will you work to diminish my perspective or will it be fully welcome in your ward/stake? Will I be considered for all callings including leadership and teaching positions so long as I promise to be truthful about our history and to respect differences of opinion while also being clear when false non-doctrinal things are taught that they are pointed out as inaccurate?
21.) Can you explain what the plan of salvation and equal opportunity to receive exaltation is for Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Intersex, Asexual or Queer people is with the partially acknowledged understanding that having this sexual orientation and or gender identity is not generally a choice but is a natural component of the person’s fundamental being as eye color or handedness, or skin tone is and the gospel teaching that God allowed them to be born with or to have these innate characteristics?
22.) Furthermore will you show in LDS scripture any clear revelation directly applicable to the issue of committed same gender relationships or gender identity and justify how the Church distinguishes direction that comes from the divine versus social cultural prejudices that have been the source of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people thru history?
23.) Can you justify how children who have the permission of their gay parents to participate in the church and it’s ordinances can be justified to be prohibited against the will of their parents to be denied the “saving ordinances” and gift of the Holy Ghost in direct opposition to the articles of faith and scriptural injunctions on the duty of parents?
24.) Further, how these children have to pass a test for membership and that no other potential member must pass namely to live apart from parents and to denounce their parents relationship before being allowed to be baptized as and adult?
Very few Latter-day saints are truly willing to explore these issues. Many find weak apologetic answers and go wheeeew and move one, not really wanting to know if those apologetic answers are solid and if they hold up. I always wanted the truth no matter the cost. Perhaps you do not. But in the case that you do, I would suggest you start here. If it isn’t true, would you really want to know?