Open thread for faithful Mormons!

I knew we had faithful Mormons reading this blog, but ProfXM’s thread on “feeling the Spirit” really brought them out of lurking!! So, today, I’d like to open a new thread where the faithful can introduce themselves and the rest of us can welcome them!

I want to reiterate that Main Street Plaza is a place where we can all have a reasonable, civil discussion — despite differences in belief. We are absolutely open to constructive criticism. Organizations (like the CoJCoL-dS or the Mormon Alumni Association) can only improve by recognizing and addressing problems. I would just like to ask you first to be sure you’ve read our welcome page and our FAQ (on why we write about Mormonism) so that we don’t waste our time, yours, and precious electrons on repeating ourselves (eg. “you guys are all a bunch of ant-Mormons and I’m sure that you hate me,” etc.). Your feedback on specific posts or policies, however, is welcome! 😀

chanson

C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at @chanson@social.linux.pizza or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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171 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    @Kathryn: I have heard of the Kinderhook plates. It is so frustrating that I am still finding things out. I’ve been working my way out for about 3 years now…and the amount of information ..I just can’t believe it sometimes. It makes me physically ill. For 2 of those years I basically researched the church non-stop…that is all I got onto the internet for. I try not to come to places like this, because I HATE letting the church take any more energy/time from me…but if it helps one other person…lmao. I’m a missionary for the dark side I suppose. haha How great shall be my joy…right?

  2. chanson says:

    Jessica — Thanks for stopping by. While I agree with Kathryn and others that having your beliefs challenged isn’t an attack, I understand that it can be a little overwhelming the first time you wander into a group of ex-Mormons. Hope there’s no hard feelings. 😉

  3. @ Jessica: I haven’t really seen anyone “argue” with you in a negative way. I know your “only a teenager” but I’m quite impressed by your spunk. I didn’t even know how to type when I was 17. LOL Its pretty bloody awesome how you have dived in here like you have. Don’t give up on that spirit or get discouraged. These “Arguments” that people are making have been debated by people smarter than us for decades. I find it curiously interesting but the day someone gets “converted” in a discussion like this to any other opinion is the day I eat my socks for breakfast. 🙂

  4. chanson says:

    William — so true, and thanks for being a good sport as well. Though, I’ll add that — while such discussions almost never convert anyone to any new opinion — they sometimes inspire people to think in new directions.

    BTW, would you like us to add you to our site’s “Bloggernacle” blogroll?

  5. kuri says:

    …I really do not think there was any point to what you said about him marrying underaged girls, there was actually no need for thatJoseph only had one wife, called emma, who was an amazing women, and I really admire her, after everything she went through, she was such a strong example.

    Wow. Just… wow.

  6. @ chanson

    Sure you can link my blog. But. . . I don’t really discuss religion all that much on there so I’m not 100% sure its relevant to this site. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

  7. Hellmut says:

    Thanks for the question, Holly. In the United States, we have pretty solid survey research that shows that at the end of the 1990s, we were losing as many members as we were converting. A couple of years ago, the Pew survey on religion showed that the trend appears to have accelerated. We are now losing 5 members for every for converts in the United States.

    I have reviewed some of this data here.

    In Latin America, a number of countries collect data about religious adherence in their censuses. Consistently, only one third of the people that we are claiming as members identify themselves as Mormons.

    Also, Elder Holland has had to close 400 wards in Chile. Similar consolidation was necessary in the Philippines and would probably benefit the Church in every country of Latin America.

    In Britain, the Church’s European stronghold, chapels have had to be sold in Scotland and the midlands. The Church has certainly not grown but shrunk in Germany as well, which is probably true for all of western Europe.

    There may be growth in Africa. Bbell claimed a couple of years ago on BCC that the Cape region is South Africa is prospering.

  8. Holly says:

    I really do not think there was any point to what you said about him marrying underaged girls, there was actually no need for thatJoseph only had one wife, called emma, who was an amazing women, and I really admire her, after everything she went through, she was such a strong example.

    Wow. Just wow.

    I’m with you, Kuri.

    civil discourse is all well and good, but how civil can it really be when someone tells you that there’s no need for the truth?

  9. Amy says:

    William,

    I’m sorry, I didn’t see your post until just now. I agree that people can find happiness living by the church’s rules. I also know that people can find happiness, NOT living the church’s rules.

    At one point in my life, church made me happy. But let me tell you the micro-managing drove me crazy! When it came to the point that I realized I gave, gave, gave to the church, and was absolutely miserable and depressed..I told God that I HAD to know if the church is true…that I didn’t care about the consequences anymore.

    For me, I saw that the church required submission, unquestioning devotion, and complete honesty from me. I expected at the miminum..complete honesty from them.
    When I realized this was not the case, it all fell apart for me. The truth can stand on it’s own feet. It doesn’t need me to make excuses for people who call themselves prophets. If I question what politicians are doing, or any other person in my life…the prophets should be able to withstand and pass the exact same scrutiny. I hold them to the same standard. And the church leaders failed miserably.

    Many things never bothered me about the history..until I took away the bias and favoritism I showed people in the church. Especially Joseph Smith.

    I think if you are happy where you are, that is great, I just could never be….I think because my mother lied a lot..so lying REALLY bothers me.

  10. chanson says:

    It’s no problem. We link to lots of blogs that don’t actively discuss Mormonism, as long as the authors are part of the LDS-interest community.

  11. Andrew S. says:

    I certainly wish Jessica the best of luck, but I really hope that she’s able to properly deal with things like Joseph’s polygamy whenever she realizes that it actually happened.

  12. RobertW says:

    Greetings. I am a semi-active Mormon who is fairly well-read and informed regarding LDS Church history, including the good, the bad and the ugly. In other words, there are very few surprises at this point. I’ll just comment on a couple of things mentioned in previous comments.

    Kathryn, with all due respect, the whole “killed in a gunfight” bit is something I hear a lot these days and it is a rather misleading depiction. Yes, he had a gun that was smuggled in and yes, he used it to defend himself, but only in self defense against the attacking mob. Remember that he was not alone in that room. His brother was there as well as two of his most trusted friends. If I were in that position, I would try to defend myself and the others as well. There is nothing noble about allowing your brother and friends to be murdered in cold blood. The fact is an armed mob had converged on Carthage with the express purpose of murdering Joseph Smith while he was supposed to be under the protection of the Governor of Illinois and awaiting trial. Portraying it as a “gunfight” rather understates the case.

    Chino Blanco, I’m not sure you or I fully understand the intent behind the “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign, but the church is well aware that misperceptions about Mormons abound. One study I read recently said that nearly half of Americans still think mainstream Mormons are polygamists. Many still confuse the LDS and FLDS or even the LDS and the Amish. IMO, the point of the ads is to address those types of misperceptions. As you well know, child abuse happens in the LDS Church but it is most definitely not a tenet of the faith, so associating it with the “I’m a Mormon” campaign is as misleading as the Prop 8 propaganda that associated LGBT people with pedophilia. I reject both as misleading and disengenuous.

  13. Kathryn says:

    @Jessica: Please read D&C 132! Polygamy is STILL church doctrine instituted by JS. Emma was JS’s first wife, and he eventually took 31+ more during his lifetime. I grew up hearing about the practice because of my great-great grandmother who married as the third wife to a 56 year old polygamist in the temple at 14 years old, then proceeded to have 5 children by him before he died of natural causes when she was still a young woman. This was NOT the FLDS church. She was married in 1888 before the first Manifesto that ended the practice in the US as part of the main church before the FLDS church split so they could continue the practice. Most young people are never told these things and I probably would not have learned of them if my family did not have the legacy of polygamy so intimately intertwined in its history.

  14. Kathryn says:

    @RobertW: Yes, my languages was slanted, so thank you for correcting that. My overall point was there is far more to the story than what is told in church. I appreciate you taking time providing the details.

  15. Amy says:

    William,

    I wanted to add…I think the church definitely needs members like you. I think it can keep people in the ward sane. When I was working my way out, I was in the R.S Presidency, and was able to choose my own subjects to teach on. Instead of focusing on what the women “WEREN’T” doing…I instead focused on how much they “WERE” doing. I would share my weaknesses with them..(which rarely happens at church) to let them know..we ALL felt like crap at times.

    I was worried about them, I lived in Utah and many of the LDS women there are using prescription drugs for depression. I wanted church to be uplifting..but it always seemed like you never did enough. Women would come up to me and thank me, they would cry, they would say how down to earth I was…ALL because I showed them that I was human. That’s all we are. If Mormons could accept the fact that no one is perfect and that we are all just human…I think church would be a more enjoyable experience.

  16. chanson says:

    RobertW — Thanks for joining the discussion.

    One study I read recently said that nearly half of Americans still think mainstream Mormons are polygamists. Many still confuse the LDS and FLDS or even the LDS and the Amish. IMO, the point of the ads is to address those types of misperceptions.

    With all due respect, I think the “I’m a Mormon” campaign does absolutely nothing to clarify these points. The folks in the ads don’t look like the FLDS, but not all polygamists dress like the FLDS. The ads do nothing to clarify things for people who are confused about the differences between the various branches of the Mormon tradition, nor do they really answer any questions about Mormons except “Do there exist some cool Mormons?”

  17. kuri says:

    Really I’m shocked not just at Jessica’s naivete, but at the negligence of those who have taught her for 17 years. She hasn’t even gotten a sanitized version of the story; she’s gotten no story at all. Like Andrew, I wonder how people like her can be expected to handle the truth if they ever encounter it.

  18. Kathryn says:

    @RobertW: There are a lot of misperceptions about the church’s history with polygamy. These perceptions have a lot of basis in fact, however. The church’s founder made polygamy doctrine and practiced it. Later church leaders publicly espoused the practice with the apparent belief that the more wives they had the more worthy they would be in the Lord’s eyes. Polygamy has never been updated in D&C scripture with even a footnote to clarify it is no longer practiced. It is reasonable to believe a casual onlooker would view mainstream mormons as polygamists. The assumption that they should distinguish LDS and FLDS is by digging up later “revelations” which aren’t in church scripture is unreasonable. Certainly the public needs education on this point, but the blame for their need to do this lies squarely on the shoulders of the church. The I’m a Mormon campaign does little to address this directly. The church is in a quandary. They don’t wish to draw attention to their questionable history by bringing up polygamy, but they also need to quell the assumption it is still practiced. They’ve chosen to do the former, therefore the public still holds their views with nothing instituted to actively correct it.

  19. Holly says:

    Im shocked not just at Jessicas naivete, but at the negligence of those who have taught her for 17 years. She hasnt even gotten a sanitized version of the story; shes gotten no story at all.

    Is it negligence or willful deceit that is the cause of most people getting “no story at all”?

    My vote is for the latter.

  20. @Amy

    I learned from my wife a long time ago that you serve the church at your own capability and when they ask for more you say NO. The church can only “micro manage” if you let it.

    I try and be “honest” with everyone I talk too. Probably why I’m not teaching Elders Quorum any more and they put me back into Primary. LOL 🙂

    If someone really believes in something and tells you that that is what they believe and it turns out that when YOU look into it and you don’t believe it. . . they weren’t lying. Being “intellectually dishonest” isn’t something most people can grasp. I don’t KNOW a lot of things in the church but I like to believe a lot of them. Wait did that make sense? I have had people tell me about their visions of this and that. . . I have heard theories of all sorts of wacky doctrine that people truly believe in. Good for them. But its VERY important to form your own beliefs, using your own methods and not feel like others are lying to you if they feel differently because. . . if you were to push all of your own personal opinions on others as “fact” or “I know” then you would be just as damaging as they were to you.

    Oooo yea the prescription drug thing. Bloody hell. If your DEPRESSED about not living up to what you THINK is a minimum level of church involvement then BACK OFF! Don’t go taking DRUGS. Holy doolie. . . Take a month off. Go on a long vacation. Have others serve YOU for a change.

    On behalf of all Mormons that I represent. I apologize to anyone who felt the pressures of serving the church to a point where they had to take prescription medication to “keep up”. That is wrong. People need to learn how to say no a little more. And when your feeling up to it. . . go serve again. It feels good. “Lengthen your Stride.” only works if you aren’t already stretched to the max. On the Iron Rod. . . not everyone is walking forwards. Sometimes you just need to hang on and catch your breath for a bit and let others help YOU.

  21. Jessica says:

    wow, just wow!! i think you need to re-think that kuri! You have no idea who i am! I may only be 17, but I am not stupid and the last thing I am is naive, I think you need to get to know me before you can call me that, thats for sure! I appreciated the fact that once I’d let it go, everyone said bye, and was kind… I haven’t got a story at all? you’ve heard nothing…I have got a story, I’ve got a heck of knowledge of the gospel and of joseph smith, like I said, we’re all different, I’m gunna believe what I want to believe, and you can do the same thing, I don’t need to handle anything, you may have experienced the gospel differently in your life, but I’m doing just fine thanks, the gospel brings nothing but happiness into my life, and fine, if there are other things I don’t know yet, I will find them out myself “I wonder how people like her can be expected to handle the truth if they ever encounter it” well let me tell you right now, I will handle it just fine! I’ve handled worst things in my life rather than finding out that joseph smith practiced polygamy from people i’ve been debating for hours over the church!

  22. RobertW says:

    @Kathryn

    Yes, I understand and agree with your point about the dilemma the church faces with respect to polygamy. However, I think with all the publicity surrounding the FLDS recently, the church very much wants to say, “We’re not those guys.” In a subtle way, and without venturing into doctrine, the ads accomplish that in my view.

  23. Holly says:

    the last thing I am is naive

    with all due respect, Jessica, if you can assert in all seriousness that Joseph Smith had only one wife, you are most definitely naive. And asserting that no matter what, you’re “gunna believe what you want to believe” does nothing convince anyone that your naivete is anything but willfully and intentionally chosen.

  24. RobertW says:

    @Jessica

    You don’t need to defend yourself against comments like Kuri’s. You are brave to come on a forum like this and state your beliefs. Life is a journey that takes you to places you never imagined you would go…and sometimes it leads you right back home. Everyone’s journey is their own, and everyone has their own timetable for learning and introspection in matters of faith or the lack thereof. Sometimes people expect that if you have the same information they have, you must inevitably come to the same conclusion they do. That is not always the case, but at the same time, it’s good to have your eyes and ears open so that you can learn from others with different points of view. Be true and honest with yourself, and you’ll be just fine, wherever you end up.

  25. Amy says:

    William,

    I think it takes a certain type of person to be able to live mormonism “buffet style”.
    My sister is kind of like that. She knows a little bit of the history but has told me she doesn’t want to know any more. She thinks Joseph became prideful and used his power to use women, but she believes the Book of Mormon is true. She has a lot to lose if she looks further. She’s stayed married to a man for 15 years, who is addicted to pornography and prostitutes, hoping to keep her eternal marriage intact…somehow.

    I was fed information and believed I’d get a certain outcome. I think this is generally how people in the LDS religion are taught. You aren’t supposed to pick and choose. Turning down a calling is a sin. This is how I was taught, and what I believed.

    However, being overwhelmed is not why I left the church. That was simply the catalyst. There had been many things that just didn’t seem to fit together quite right. I actually wanted to know the church was true..so I could stop thinking “what if’.
    My daughter was going to be baptized soon and how could I stand up there as she “bore her testimony” that she “knew” the church was true. I could never say those words…and I could NEVER whisper those words in my child’s ear. I took a psychology class which really brought some disturbing things to light.

    Anyway… losing your faith sucks, especially when you’re older. It’s difficult to figure out now, what I should have had figured out in my twenties. What do I believe…
    Instead I trusted in someone else to tell me what I believed…but that is what was expected of me. When you are taught there is only one path, and that it is dangerous to leave it…you are pigeon holed into one way of thinking. I was far too trusting. I believed everyone was as honest as I was…and that is a mistake I will never make again.

  26. chanson says:

    However, I think with all the publicity surrounding the FLDS recently, the church very much wants to say, Were not those guys. In a subtle way, and without venturing into doctrine,

    Yes, but I think the strategy of just saying “we’re not those guys, we say they’re not Mormons,” actually makes people more curious to hear the whole story. If they bothered to be forthright about explaining the historical connections with polygamy and among the branches of the Mormon tradition, they’d probably drop out of the news more quickly. 😉

    if you can assert in all seriousness that Joseph Smith had only one wife, you are most definitely naive.

    You are brave to come on a forum like this and state your beliefs.

    Sincerely, I agree with both of these points. Ah, to be seventeen again!! 😀

    Take what we have to say into consideration, and don’t stress too hard about it if you don’t agree with us. We can offer you our experiences, but the captain of your ship is you.

  27. Andrew S. says:

    I wanted to clarify my comment (61) especially with respect to RobertW’s comment 74.

    I really am not concerned with Jessica coming to the same conclusion that I have. I am VERY aware of many people who know the critical issues of the church and still believe, have positive experiences, etc., I’m all for people maintaining positive experiences and building upon them.

    But the thing is…one doesn’t have to come to the same conclusion about what Joseph Smith’s polygamy means for the church to be aware of that issue. If a person’s faith is tied to the avoidance or rejection of that issue (or of other issues like it), I fear for that person’s faith.

  28. Kathryn says:

    To Jessica’s credit, she’s never had reason to question the myth that JS had only one wife or many other things she has studied about in church-approved resources. I find her reaction natural and expected. People have pointed her to some very good sources and she seemed to acknowledge this shift in her belief about his practice of polygamy. I am sure she will continue her research as we aren’t going to be able to address all the doctrinal issues and questionable history here in this thread.

    Jessica, stay strong and thank you for your discourse here with us. I never would have engaged a group of exmo’s at your age. I would have been way too scared!

    @RobertW: Perhaps the adds to accomplish what you say to some extent. I cannot make any assumptions on that as I’m not part of the demographic they are aimed at.

    It’s easy for us exmo’s to focus on the bad parts of the church because after we leave those are the things we need to reconcile with. For the most part I would say I had a positive experience growing up Mormon until I reached Middle/High School when we moved and I realized the group of peers I had as a child weren’t necessarily direct products of the church’s teachings but more a product of good parenting in that area. I also grew up with a sense of community with the ward musicals, talent contests, and plays. The later systematic dismantling of all those fun sources of expression made church suddenly become rote, and intellectually stifling. Even with my lack of belief I believe I would probably remain involved if those programs were still around. Unfortunately, the church is a long way from its “hey-day” and there is nothing appealing that it provides anymore that I can’t find elsewhere.

  29. Amy says:

    @ Kathryn

    I’m sorry, I don’t know how to highlight. You stated that you would still be involved if those programs were still around. I kind of have that attitude as well.

    The church has many good things…IF they would be honest and open about the history..and teach it in primary ..also if they would teach that it is a MAN-MADE organization, then I could say…yes, this is a good place to be, I would like to teach my children these values.

    The only problem is, these values can be taught anywhere. All the good in the church, can be found in other places..and you don’t have to accept the bad along with it. I noticed that much of church was worshipping men. I mean, really, how often did we really study Christ compared to the prophets…there was no contest. Christ always lost.

  30. kuri says:

    Jessica,

    I meant no offense. I didn’t mean that you have no personal story — of course you do, and judging from your behavior on this thread I’m sure it must be an admirable one — I meant that you were apparently never informed of the fact that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. Apparently nobody ever told you any version of that story, not even a whitewashed “faith-promoting” one, and I think that means some people have let you down. That’s all I meant.

    Nor did I mean that you are naive about everything; I would have no way of knowing that. I meant only that you were naive about the life story of Joseph Smith. You seem to have been taught something about him that isn’t true (i.e., that he only had one wife) and not taught some things about him that are true (i.e., that he had many wives, much less that some of them were teenage girls and some of them were already married to other men). That’s not your fault, but it does mean that there are some pretty important things about Joseph Smith that you don’t know.

    As for “handling the truth,” what bearing Joseph’s sexual ethics have on whether he was a prophet is something for you to work out on your own. Some people believe that a person who behaved the way he did couldn’t possibly have been a man of god; others don’t have a problem with it. But that’s not what I was talking about.

    I was talking about the fact that Joseph’s polygamy is not something that should have been suddenly revealed to you by not necessarily entirely sympathetic strangers on the internet. It’s something you should have been taught about years ago so that, whatever you eventually decide it means to you, merely finding out that it happened wouldn’t come as any sort of surprise or shock to you. Again, I think some people have let you down.

  31. Chino Blanco says:

    RobertW writes: “Chino Blanco, Im not sure you or I fully understand the intent behind the Im a Mormon ad campaign …”

    And I worry that too many rank-and-file Mormons assume that the rest of the world shares their awe for purportedly inscrutable phenomena.

    The folks behind the campaign are on record describing its objectives. Are they to be trusted? Or is that sort of info ultimately unknowable?

  32. RobertW says:

    @Chino Blanco

    I was merely stating my opinion about the possible motivation for the ads. If I am in error and you have information from the source that clarifies the issue, please point me in the right direction and I will certainly look at it. Thanks.

  33. kuri says:

    But the thing isone doesnt have to come to the same conclusion about what Joseph Smiths polygamy means for the church to be aware of that issue. If a persons faith is tied to the avoidance or rejection of that issue (or of other issues like it), I fear for that persons faith.

    This.

    Losing faith is painful. If the church teaches people to have faith in easily demonstrated errors of fact such as Joseph only having one wife, then the church is setting people up to experience needless pain.

  34. Amy says:

    @ Kuri,

    I had no clue that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy until I was 34. I went to 4 years of seminary, served a mission, and was married in the temple. It is not openly taught. I’ve heard that they talk about it more in the Eastern States, but it certainly isn’t discussed in the West. At least not where I’ve lived which is Idaho and Utah.

  35. chanson says:

    Amy — This clearly varies depending on the time and place. I took seminary in Minnesota in the late ’80’s, and they taught me that JS practiced polygamy.

  36. chanson says:

    Note, also, that I wasn’t traumatized by the information, and (as the proponents of “inoculation” will be happy to hear), it wasn’t a factor in my deconversion.

  37. kuri says:

    I didn’t join the church until I was 20 (in San Diego), but I always knew about it. I don’t know that it was taught, exactly, but I never got the sense that it was unknown or taboo either. Though of course back in those pre-internet days I don’t think the average Mormon knew many details. Just that Joseph was the one who started it.

  38. @Amy:

    Its not really buffet style. its more. . . choosing from a menu. You assume its all going to be good but you tend to go back to the menu items you like.

    Separating from one’s husband in the LDS church due to something like Addiction to Pornography and prostitutes does not erase the ordinance that was done in the temple according to the doctrine I have been told.

    Turning down a calling may be a sin. . . but is it THAT much of a sin? I mean. . . in the grand scheme of things? “I am not capable of fulfilling this calling right now Bishop. Thank you for trusting in me but I will have to decline this time.” I haven’t ever had to do it. I tend to do the callings to the best of my ability. Which means sometimes I just can’t do them at all and the Bishop has to find someone else. I’m 100% guilt free about it. I do my best.

    I also never say “I know this and that to be true.” I believe is more than enough for me.

    I teach Primary with a guy who is Lutheran. I kid you not. He goes to church to support his wife and is a really awesome guy. There is very little in the manual that contradicts his belief system and he does a great job. But as a point I always try and “enlighten” my kids with the idea that not all people believe the way we do and that we need to be respectful of that. There needs to be a lot more of that in my opinion.

  39. Amy says:

    I had already decided to leave the church before I found out about polygamy. I just didn’t think that God would treat people differently depending on their sex, or race. I mean..he created them that way….The mormon God makes no sense to me.

  40. Kathryn says:

    @chanson: I think it depends on the teacher. If your teacher was one of those who read all the Journal of Discourses when he/she was younger, then they’d mention all sorts of odd things. I was taught the Adam-God theory in Sunday school, about Jesus being a polygamist, Kolob, and all that juicy stuff the church now says was just speculation by early church leaders. Later I moved into a ward with a lot of converts and those things were never brought up. If they were the members would deny it was ever taught. I didn’t know where it came from until later. I thought it was just that crazy Sunday school teacher I had. In the 80’s I don’t think there were any statements saying that stuff shouldn’t/couldn’t be taught that wasn’t in the lesson plans. Now they say not to deviate from the lesson plans and purposely avoid mentioning questionable things.

  41. RobertW says:

    @Kuri and Andrew

    Yes, I agree that you can’t base faith on avoidance of unpleasant or disconcerting evidence that challenges that faith. I think it’s important to tell the truth, but that requires balance and the ability to put things into some sort of context the recipient can understand and process and to do it at the proper time.

    When I introduce a friend to another friend, I don’t begin with, “This is John. Now John has had seven speeding tickets in recent years and once stole a bag of chips from the Gas-N-Go. He failed geometry twice in high school and committed several sins of a sexual nature.” I would probably start with the good stuff I admire about John. However, if the second friend asks me if it is safe to drive with John, I will feel compelled to tell her that John has a lead foot and remind her to buckle up.

    As an example, my 10-year-old daughter recently asked me out of the blue if Joseph Smith was a polygamist. I don’t know what prompted the question. Perhaps it was something she heard at church. I answered matter-of-factly in the affirmative. I could tell she was a bit troubled by my answer, so I asked how she felt about it and if she would like to talk about it in more detail. She said she didn’t want to talk about it right then, so I left it there. Perhaps in the future, she will inquire further, but I felt it was important to let her process it in her own way and on her own timetable.

  42. chanson says:

    Kathryn — so true! My seminary teachers were eccentric, to say the least. They taught me a ton of interesting things, including not-exactly-orthodox doctrine (like the whole blacks-less-valiant-in-the-pre-existence thing — ten years after the priesthood ban was lifted). I wrote a bit about my seminary experience here.

  43. Jessica says:

    I am mormon! and I am proud! and I am very happy to be a mormon! 😛 hehe

  44. RobertW says:

    @Chino Blanco

    I had actually read that article before and I think it basically supports what I was saying. Part of defining who you are is stating that affirmatively, but that also serves to help people understand who and what you are not. I would be shocked if all the “Mormon” headlines grabbed by the FLDS over the past couple years didn’t factor into the decision to allow mainstream Mormons to portray themselves as the diverse group of people they actually are as opposed to the more homogenous FLDS stereotypes displayed in the media. As the article says:

    “Out of that research evaluating whether the advertising was effective came this really strong signal that the best way to dispel myths about us or get our message out to the world was to let Mormons speak for themselves.”

  45. Amy says:

    @ William,

    I really appreciate this conversation. It’s so rare to be able to talk to a believing mormon who is open to discussion.

    As for my sister, she doesn’t want to separate from her husband..she wants the dream she was promised in Young Women’s…marry and RM in the temple…and live happily ever after. Her entire afterlife hinges on her husband. That’s a pretty uncomfortable place to be.

    And as for women in general…it is very hard for us to say no, especially in the mormon church. Next time you are at church and you overhear women talking..if you happen to catch a conversation where someone says “they can’t do something, sorry”…listen for the excuse. Most women HAVE to give the reason they can’t do it. We aren’t like men. It’s hard to focus your energy on only what you want to do, rather than what is expected of you. If you have a wife who can do that..you are a lucky man!

    I think your children will be very well rounded. I’m wondering, will you teach them the history of the church? I think if they found out about it when they are younger, from a parent, it would be much easier to deal with than if they found out from other sources.

  46. kuri says:

    Robert,

    I certainly have no objection to Mormons framing Joseph’s polygamy in ways that make sense to them. But hiding it, whether that means actively lying about it or passively neglecting it, sure seems likely to be counterproductive in the end.

  47. @Amy,

    No worries. Always fun to chat with nice people.

    I think your sister has had that experience. Its done. Ordinance performed. She can now start to look after whats best for her spiritually and emotionally. But YOU also have to respect her decisions as well because from experience. . . the LAST thing anyone needs when they are faced with a tough choice is a barrage of more opinions and “have you thought abouts”.

    Yea I’m pretty lucky in my marriage in a lot of ways. Count those blessings I guess. 🙂

  48. RobertW says:

    Kuri, for the most part I would agree with you, although I’m not entirely sure we would always agree on what constitutes “passively neglecting it”. I’m probably not going to have a family home evening lesson on Joseph Smith’s polygamy, even though that might be a topic of interest and even import to me, because there are so many other topics of value to my children I believe are in line well before that one. Having said that, if their primary teacher taught them that Joseph Smith only had one wife, I would certainly correct that.

  49. Jessica says:

    well guys, as for joseph smith having more than one wife, I have gone out and looked for answers myself! So now i know myself, and i did handle it very well thanks! as i understand the history of the church! he only had more than one wife because women back then needed protection, and they were pioneers, traveling all the time, as they were being pushed out, so of course many men died, so women were left with out husbands, and so not only did joseph smith marry more than once but many other men did also! and as for marrying under aged girls, we would class them as under aged in our time period, but back then, it was allowed, and it was commanded, girls had to marry young in order for protection.

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