Today we Sit down with former LDS Area Authority Hans Mattsson. As Hans begin reading into the deeper history of Mormonism and as other approached him with their historical questions, Hans sensed that the Church’s narrative didn’t hold up and that the tough questions did not have satisfactory answers. Hans took his concerns to the upper leadership of the Church and on November 28, 2010 LDS Church Historian Marlin Jensen and assistant historian Richard Turley gave a presentation where they attempted to provide answers to questions asked by Hans Mattsson and other members in Sweden. Today We talk with Hans about all of that and where he is today and what he makes of Mormonism having stepped away.
Mormon Stories Interview with Mattsson
NY Times Article
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You can hear (and feel) his sincerity in this podcast. What a travesty to lose someone so honest in heart, someone so willing to sacrifice his time and talents to strengthen the church in his area. This was a great loss to the LDS church. And they will never appreciate his dedication to the church.
He was actually a model member. What a sad thing for the church in Sweden.
Thanks to you, Bill Reel, for bringing him to Mormon Discussion, to share his “post-mormon” story. I greatly appreciate this interview.
I have tried and tried to find something, anything, to make me want to remain believing. Instead, the more I discover, the more I realize that I will merely be a social Mormon until my sweet husband recognizes on his own that the LDS church is not led by Jesus Christ.
I’m in a really close church community, so I’m in no hurry to leave. Although it is a bit chaffing when we have to sing “Praise to The Man” as the opening hymn, as we did today in sacrament meeting.
The church operates like a narcissistic pathological-liar child, spouse, friend or associate. We’ve all had at least one of those to bless our lives with their abuse and tantrums. When we discover they are lying and realize it is only part of a whole string of lies, we “must never confront them on their lies, bullying and abuse” or they may explode and turn the tables on us and recruit others to take their righteous infallible side. They think they have to attack us further for self preservation.
They make us feel at fault. Church or entitled child, what is the difference? The damage level, the tantrum and abuse level?
Regardless, they get defensive, projecting their string of misdeeds and dishonesty onto us. Gas-lighting, angry outbursts, shaming, threats, punishment. Or, they may just go very angrily and destructively silent on us while operating full bore behind our back, recruiting others to bully and abuse us along with them, to attack us or give us the hateful silent treatment. If we want to remain in a relationship with them, we must stay silent and accept their constant abuse. Is it worth it, a friendship or relationship for constant entitlement, superiority and battering, even “for Jesus?”
So, how do we deal with folks like this? What are proper consequences for their constant “punching?” If they are not our young child we may also in a healthy and self-preserving way break bonds with them altogether, if possible, and let them and others clearly know why.
We can depart with a good lesson learned, not just about them, but about human nature of those who are above others, entitled and thus simply don’t have to “be honest in their dealings. They do indeed solidly make it clear to us that they are entitled and above us. They are telling us Run!
They demand that we should know and accept their superior entitlement and never question it or bring it up. Narcissists? Sociopaths? Borderlines…? Dismiss all of that because of their disorder? Decent counselors tell us to never do that, it just enables and emboldens them, making their entitlement disorder worse and worse. We can enable or even create monsters that turn on us.
That is what we see with the church too. So many of us and those before us who trained us ignorantly and collectively created it. Will we pas that ‘gift” on to our child? I hope we can better relate this in a church to those individuals we have had the pleasure of dealing with.
Hoping for change? Pushing for change? The current and most of the next Leaders can never change their spots. They are vetted, recruited and groomed on their ability to tow this line. “Don’t question, don’t tell.” They can only change as far as to try another and another form of manipulation (dishonesty in their dealings) and will always remain the same entitled, abusive bullies, just different maneuvers in darkness, entitle “by Christ” to abuse and use us.” Just what Jesus could not warn of enough.
This IS a most serious disorder, a dysfunctional institution “family” forever, fit to be institutionalized, not enabled to keep lying, bullying and abusing us in endless ways.
There are always tell-tale signs we should learn to read so we can break bonds very early on with entitled people or institutions rather than be eternally drug through the mud of their entitled ever shifting drama, bullying and abuse equal to the lowest of abusive drug addicts and alcoholics.
A stint with Alanon (or similar) just might be helpful here for us recognizing and getting a handle on our own equally serious problem of enabling these literal addicts. Are we lovingly, politely, empathetically enabling vipers, dogs, swine, whited sepulchers, wolves and all those that Jesus denounced and Refused to sit with and cozy up to due to their eternal deceptive, entitled nature.
We Should indeed warn others of their manipulative hurtful nature.
We should protect kids from them, even while the vipers make us out to be the bad guy and beast for exposing them to daylight. Is truth really the very most offensive thing to them? Exposing that truth is over their limits. That should tell us what we should do.
Hans Mattson’s story deserves to be heard by more Mormons out there because he gives us an insight on how the GAs in Utah think. I particularly liked his anecdote about the late Boyd K. Packer and how he refused to answer a question that Mattson thought was important. That seems to symbolize everything that’s dysfunctional in the Church leadership.
I’m also glad to know that he’s been able to get hold of a Lutheran priest to help save his faith in Jesus. I say this not because I’m a Lutheran. I’m not. But because faith in Jesus is more rational than denying God’s existence, a path that so many ex-Mormons fall into, unfortunately.
The whole problem with Mormonism is that it presents faith in Jesus as though there is nothing objectively rational about it. It’s as if all you need are good feelings, and that’s all there is to it. As long as you can keep those feelings lingering by doing Church duties and keeping temple covenants, you need not worry about anything, not even those annoying bits of early Mormon history.
Thus, once they exit Mormonism, they presume without evidence that the entire Christian faith is just as irrational as the church they left behind. They dismiss great Christian thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas and view them as fakes on the same level as Joseph Smith. But if one follows the trajectory of Smith’s logic, one ends up being like John Shelby Spong, ie, a believer in the mythical Jesus of the 19th century mythicists. In short, one who believes a crazy Jesus who died a horrible death for no good reason.
Bishop Spong’s Jesus does not make demands on one’s intellect and rationality. It’s a feel-good Jesus that tells us more about Spong and his ideals and values, rather than the Jesus we actually read in the pages of the NT.
In the NT, Jesus goes out of his way to find the lost sheep and bring them to his fold. The story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 bears this out. Jesus does not condemn her for whatever moral failing she has done. (After all, she might have been an actress colluding with the Pharisees who were laying a trap for Jesus.) But at the end, Jesus tells her to “sin no more.” That’s the whole point. Turning away from sin is what the gospel of Jesus is all about.
And sin, in the eyes of Jesus, has an objective reality. It is caused by the Devil who really exists to tempt us. The consequence of sin is eternal destruction in hell. The road to hell is wide and easy, and many go there. These Christian ideas are hard to swallow for modern people, but these doctrines are integral to the message of Jesus. These are the reasons why he had to suffer on the Cross. Take them away, and what we’re left with is a Jesus who ultimately died for nothing.
If Jesus was deluded in such ideas, we cannot follow him in his delusions. Otherwise, we are not being rational. We are no better than Mormons who mistake truth for good feelings. Unfortunately, it is not possible to sift Jesus’ teachings by accepting only those that make us feel good, while rejecting his “hard sayings.” Especially those that pertain to sin and repentance.
I was an inactive member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 45 years. However, I am now again an active member.
I have information that I would like to give to you that might help you in your journey through life.