Dear Leaders of the LDS Church,
This is my formal appeal of my local Stake Presidents decision to excommunicate me. My stake president shared as evidence of the charges of apostasy the following.
1.) My Facebook post stating that Elder Holland lied (Double Digit Stake Creation every week of our lives.
First the evidence of Elder Holland as having lied on not one occasion but on 5 demonstrable occasions
A.) Elder Holland claims to hold the very copy of the book of Mormon that Bethsheba, Hyrum Smith’s wife, had in her possession from which Hyrum Smith the prophets brother read to her and had turned the corner of the page down from where he read. The problem is that the copy Elder Holland holds up in his hand at General conference is distinctly different from the copy in the Church History department claimed to be the same book.
– Safety for the Soul conference Talk
B.) Elder Holland when asked about the Church’s contribution to Prop 8 says that the Church did not give “One Red Cent” to the fight against Same Sex Marriage in California. Problem is it gave a reported amount of almost $200,000. Some want to debate over whether it was cash or in kind donations but to battle over rhetoric seems to be a sly way to find a loophole.
C.) Elder Holland tells a faith promoting story about a missionary who out on his mission is led by the spirit to his older brother who had severed his relationship with his family years earlier. Elder Holland had told this story for years and other General Authorities before him had shared it. The problem is the story was a false faith promoting narrative. Each telling contained different contradicting details and too far fetched too believe of a story-line. Soon after the Deseret News picked up on the story, the far fetched details began to be questioned by critical thinking Mormons and Elder Holland through the Deseret News and Church PR quickly distanced himself from the story. But even his side of how he came to learn the story was inaccurate is problematic.
– Cache of Original Story
– Radio Free Mormon Episode detailing the deception
– Bill Reel’s questioning the validity before Elder Holland’s retraction
D.) Elder Holland when asked directly whether Mitt Romney would have made penalty oaths in the temple answers NO. Problem, such is a lie.
– Youtube Clip showing the lie
– Jonathon Streeter’s dissection of this event
E.) Elder Holland in a Regional meeting claims that the Church is growing in such a rate that it is creating Double Digit NEW Stake creation “every week of our lives”. The Problem is that the Church every year tells us the number of stakes in the Church at year end of the previous year. Elder Holland made this claim in early 2015 And from 2015 through 2017 the church consistently averaged 1.6 new stakes per week. This makes a fifth lie with this one being deeply demonstrable.
– The Youtube video of his claim
– Apologetic response – The owner of this blog is trying to reconcile the claim and as you will see relies on anecdotal data as he struggles to have any real source for the claim further showing how much of a stretch the claim is
– Conversation by Bill Reel searching for a way to reconcile this issue
– Data exploration on this issue
– Bill Reel Facebook post on such
Stake President Carnivale: “You can not call anybody a liar … I don’t think you can call anyone a lair ? ….Apostles …. We hold. Somebody in the position of an apostle or a prophet who we know holds keys”
Bill Reel: Even if they lied?
Stake President Carnivale: Even if they lied!
In other words I am not in trouble for lying but instead telling the truth. In other words It is worse to be a truth teller in this Church with a strong tone then it is to be a habitual liar. In fact being liar and being an apostle in the LDS Church seemingly not an issue but calling a lying apostle out is. I just want to be clear that you recognize that your upholding this local leaders decision verifies that the framing I have laid out here is true.
#2 – My Facebook post that Elder Ballard had also lied.
Elder Ballard stated ““We would have to say, as two Apostles who have covered the world and know the history of the Church and know the integrity of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve from the beginning, there has been no attempt on the part of the Church leaders to try to hide anything from anybody.”””
juxtapose that with Church Historian Steven Snow who said
“My view is that being open about our history solves a whole lot more problems than it creates. We might not have all the answers, but if we are open (and we now have pretty remarkable transparency), then I think in the long run that will serve us well. I think in the past there was a tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation—with the access to information on the Internet, we can’t continue that pattern; I think we need to continue to be more open.”
We can soften things through using softer language but the reality is that being non-transparent or even less transparent or not giving access to information means that one is with-holding or hiding things.
Mormonism has hid many things. Even it admits such including Joseph Smith lying about the practice of Polygamy along with hundreds of other instances.
#3 My facebook post stating that Elder Oaks himself said he hasn’t spoke face to face with Angelic beings. This was simply a truth as Elder Oaks stated
“””What should we pray for to receive the same testimony and/or conversion that Alma the Younger experienced, for our friend who are not members?”””
Elder Oaks answers:
“””I’ve never had an experience like that and I don’t know anyone among the 1st Presidency or Quorum of the 12 who’ve had that kind of experience. “””
Elder Oaks also said on a separate Occasion
Another claim we sometimes hear is that current apostles have no right to run the affairs of the church, since they do not meet the New Testament standard of apostles because they do not testify of having seen Christ.
The first answer to this claim is that modern apostles are called to be witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world (D&C 107:23). This is not to witness of a personal manifestation. To witness of the name is to witness of the plan, the work, or mission, such as the atonement, and the authority or priesthood of the lord Jesus Christ, which an apostle who holds the keys is uniquely responsible to do. “Of course apostles are also witness of Christ, just like all members of the church, who have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is because the mission of the Holy Ghost is to witness of the Father and the Son.
Again I don’t see any space to claim what I said was inaccurate. Certainly you are welcome to correct me here that one of the 15 did speak to Jesus but my assumption is that such things both have not occurred and your preference would be to couch a non-visitation as too sacred to share.
Unless LDS Leaders are willing to be honest and transparent about our faith’s false faith promoting history and vulnerable about the unnecessary harm they do to people, simply to up hold a false narrative and an over-embellished authority, the decision to excommunicate me probably ought to be upheld. I will take said upholding as admittance that be healthy and honest simply is not within the purview of the Church at this point in the Church’s history. Sad and deeply unhealthy but I am now at a point in my life where I have lowered deeply my expectations of its goodness to live with the fact you may never be able to be healthy as a faith.
It will be interesting to see as time goes by what changes Mormonism must make to survive in an information age. My guess is we will do the following
– learn slowly to tell our story honestly, though such leaves little miraculous left in our narrative.
– Give women a much stronger voice in administering within our faith.
– Find theological space to be inclusive of legally married LGBT folks and welcome their gifts .
– Tell healthy stories about those who leave the faith having honestly arrived at the conclusion that Mormonism is not what it claims
– Recognize that we over reached on how effective the Holy Ghost is and will in turn develop healthier policies around interviewing children behind closed doors along with more safe space for people to disagree and to admit that we (leaders and members) believed a lot of things thinking it was the Holy Ghost and the Mind and will of the Lord only to admit it wasn’t!
As my Stake President and the others in that room made clear – My integrity is fully intact. My honesty was never in question. This has always been much more about you and your honesty and integrity.
Your Brother in the Christ of faith