atheism, mormons, masons, and more

6/26/01 - 1/15/02 Messages

The most recent messages can be found here.

received 1/15/02
Just a real simple clarification as to something mentioned on the web page

All of the facts are correct except for a reference to a movie theater that was playing edited versions of the movie "Titanic". The fact of the matter is that one movie theater in American Fork, Utah was accused of playing an edited version of the movie, but was exonerated when their version of the movie was reviewed and found untouched.

Where the truth comes in, is that a video rental store (I'm sorry, I do not remember the name. I will research it though. For your personal reference the 2 newspapers up here are the Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret News, covered this story religiously, no pun intended, and the news stories will without a doubt be in their archives) But this movie rental store at ,the time the movie Titanic was being sold in mass release, offered as a service to it's clientele to edit the nude scene with Kate Winslet.

The unedited version was still available, but if you were afraid the Kates beautiful breasts would warp the fragile little minds of your children, you could have it removed. For a fee of course. They were told to stop and did. This had absolutely nothing to do with the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. This was capitalism and free market at it's finest. They just figured out a way to get an extra 10 dollars from a clientele, coincidentally LDS, that was willing to pay for it.

I think, however, that the premise behind the bashing is unjustified. If you watch a movie on TV, it's looped and edited. If you watch a movie on an airplane or cruise ship, it's looped and edited. But if you buy a movie, for personal home use, it's illegal. Go figure.

Feel free to check my facts. By the way just so you don't think I'm some pissed off LDS member, I fell away from the church in '89, but will still defend them on ridiculous allegations. As with any religion, the legitimate allegations are more than enough for them to have to defend themselves against without dealing with the stupid ones.

Thanks for your time, and a very interesting and informative site. I truly enjoyed it and look forward to perusing the areas that I have not had time for yet.

received 1/12/02
Howdy...been a while. First off, I was wandering the web the other day and I saw pictures of you and the "fam";
your boy and girl are just as cute as they come. Isn't it good to know that we can have happy families, even post-LDS?!

How about happier families because we are post-LDS? ;)

Second, I have written a piece on LDS temple weddings and how they divide part-member families. Are you still interested in things LDS/Mormon?

Not really, but I do maintain the site a bit from time to time. I guess that goes to show you that the ol' Mormon quote of "they leave the church, but they cannot leave the church alone" isn't so true after all. If I didn't feel obligated (by the countless positive responses) to keep the site going I'd have no problem completely forgetting the church at this point.

And third, an article appears in today's SL Tribune dealing with a new documentary being shown at the Sundance Film Festival titled, "Family Fundamentals". It is about an LDS young man coming out to his family; you can find the article here:

I realize that in so many ways you have "moved on" with your life. However, since the information you have cataloged on your websites is of such importance and serves the public good (it was after all threatening enough to get you excommunicated from the LDS Church), I would hope that you would give these sites your continued attention...time permitting, of course.

received 1/10/02
There are a number of books in which I have an interest and which are not reviewed on your site. I prefer to read reviews from credible sources before devoting precious time to particular books. If you take requests, here are a few:

A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us: The Evolution of Life on Earth

At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea

Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes and the Emergence of Species

Frogs, Flies and Dandelions: Speciation - The Evolution of New Species

Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into them. Don't count on anything in terms of a review of any of the above in the next few months though. I'm backlogged. I've been meaning to read At the Water's Edge. Your message may cause me to put it on my list.

received 1/8/02
I've been an LDS member my whole life and want you to know that from the outset of this email message.

I have no problem with you expressing your views and opinions on this website or any other format. The question I have though is why you would use the address of is great and I think appropriate, but why is the use of the other address necessary?

Because it is short, easy to remember, it was available, and it describes the subject matter of the site.

An unsuspecting surfer could run onto your site (as many posters have stated that they ran into it by accident) thinking they have found something that is somehow affiliated with the LDS church. Now I know that being a pursuer of truth, you would never want to mislead or deceive people into believing that they are tapping into a church affiliated website. Or even running into your site accidentally while seeking for something vastly different than the opinions expressed here. Don't you think a more accurate website might be one of the following:

I don't think any of the above would accurately describe my site.

Even a little "This Site is not Affiliated with the LDS Church" on the home page would work. Thanks for considering this matter.

Will do on the disclaimer. However, it was never my intent to make it look as if, nor could an intelligent person conclude that, my site is in any way affiliated with the church. You'll remember (as I state on the first page) that the church is no longer to be called lds or mormon anymore anyhow.

received 11/15/01
Are you familiar with H.G. Wells' short story "
The Country of the Blind"? I did a search on your site and did not find an obvious reference to it. In short the story is about a man who falls into a valley in the Andes isolated from the outside world for 15 generations. The people of the valley had all become blind as a result of disease at about the time their isolation began and the condition was passed onto subsequent generations. Over the course of time, the society adapted to their sightlessness and eventually they lost all references to sight in their language and customs due to their isolation.

At first the sighted stranger thinks he has stumbled across good fortune thinking of the proverb, "The one eyed man is king in the country of the blind." However, he soon discovers that he is considered handicapped because the senses the sightless people have adapted to rely on for survival are weak and underdeveloped in himself. All his references to his sight and vision are considered babbling and not understood at all by his hosts. Nor do they understand his stumbling in the dark since they adapted to their activities of "day" during the cool part of the day and they sleep during the "night" when it is warm.

Eventually, the wise among the blind offer a solution for their awkward guest who has fallen for a daughter of one of their elders. They will not allow him to marry unless he corrects the condition that makes him feeble. They have determined that the eyes that he claims allow him to see should be removed. They say that these growths that flutter and move unlike anything they are familiar with have obviously caused a great distraction in his mind and they have caused all his stumbling and unacceptable behaviors. At first the outsider consents to the surgery, but on the day of the scheduled procedure he go out walking and sees the sun rising on the distant horizon. Almost unconsciously he realizes what he is about to give up in order to conform, and he keeps walking and leaves the valley.

I was introduced to this story by a book called "An End To Innocence: Facing Life Without Illusion" by Sheldon Kopp. This is the author of "If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him" and at least a half dozen other books. Are you familiar with any of Kopp's work?

Unfortunately, no. I wish I had been a few years ago.

I have found Kopp's work particularly meaningful to me dealing with my dependency -- especially the first book mentioned "An End To Innocence." Sheldon Kopp was a psychiatrist from New York and the themes of his books are taking responsibility for ones life and dealing with the unpredictability and unfairness that one may need to deal with. Kopp takes anecdotes from his personal experiences, those of his patients, and those of literary characters such as the one above to illustrate his points. I have found "An End To Innocence" to be helpful in dealing with my disillusionment with Mormonism. Although not written with religion in mind, I found time and time again that the book addressed issues I confronted with religion (as well as others) with great insight. Sheldon Kopp's books are among the few that I would reread.

received 11/1/01
I just read
your essay on atheism and agnosticism and I would have to say that I almost completely agree with you. People need to realize that agnosticism is about "knowledge," while atheism is about "belief." I agree completely that we are all agnostics (although you seemed to say that almost all of us are agnostics--I wonder who you regard as not).

It's more of a theoretical person I suppose. Someone who really did have first-hand, real knowledge--not that I believe there is, or has been, such a person.

Some people might think that they "know" something about some god or another, but thinking you know and knowing are not the same thing. I also agree with your discussion about "strong atheism" and knowing there is no god. Of course even the strongest of atheists (of which I consider myself one) cannot "know" such a thing, since there is no such knowledge to be had. There are, of course, certain ways to prove a thing non-existent--for example, if it is self-contradictory, logical incoherent, or empirically at odds with everything we do know. And in those ways, it is possible that every god that has been offered up for worship so far could be proved false, making a compelling case for the falsity of all possible gods. Not conclusive, mind you, but compelling.

For me, agnosticism (in the sense we are using it) is the best argument for atheism. Since we have no knowledge about any gods, we have to ask ourselves honestly if and why we should maintain a belief in any such thing. The only rational and intellectually honest thing to do, it seems to me, is to conclude (not "know") that there is no god and to stand by that conclusion until we learn something to make us conclude otherwise. Anyway, I appreciate very much your work and would be happy to stay in touch with you. I am the coordinator of the Atheists and Freethinkers of Denver. Please drop by our site and visit at Hope to talk to you again soon.

received 10/15/01
I don't even know where to begin I have so many questions for you...

In any case, I am a Mormon, technically. At least they think so. My father is a Mason, though before and above that (and his being a Mormon, he is a Man of Honor. If either mormon or mason asked him to do anything against his Code of Honor, they'd be screwed, "brother" or not.)

I mention this only to give background: I am a sincere, free-thinking seeker of Truth, wherever it be found. I have read many pages, from & What sticks out in my mind predominantly are the pages where you discussed endowment/lodge similiaries and any historical accounts (which are thoroughly verifiable, and you should be commended for your research on that alone.)

Also, if you haven't already, consider reading The Hiram Key, by Knight and Lomas. It is very interesting and seems to be your cup of tea.

At the very least, before I leave a book for you in your inbox, I should congratulate you for your unbiased work

received 10/4/01
You seemed to have missed a great book:
The Lucifer Principle by Howard K Bloom. Quite appropriate for these times.
received 10/3/01
Here's a book that you might take a look at:
Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon In The Universe by Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee (both professors at the University Of Washington)
Part astronomy, part biology, part geology, etc. In a sense, it's the cosmic complement to the Jared Diamond book: Guns, Germs, And Steel.
received 9/27/01 (from India)
I just ran into this site accidently but I think that it indeed was a good accident. In this world that is full of insanity it is just so good to know that sanity exists; it is just like finding an oasis. Keep up the good work.
received 9/20/01
THANK YOU for your great site. I am a Catholic who does believe in God (with doubts, but mostly) but who does not believe that everything in the Bible is the absolute truth. (I do think it's an interesting book, however, and I enjoy reading it.) I have been studying Philosophy for years and this year decided to study some of the Christian "philosophers" (Lewis, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.). As part of my study, I decided to take a Bible Study class. I naively thought that we would be discussing and debating issues regarding the Bible, but was I wrong! The purpose of the class is to "know the Lord" i.e., to start with a set belief and to interpret everything we read in that way. I have stayed in the class just for the fun of making statements and seeing the other women hyperventilate. It also gives me a good insight into the so-called Christian mind (by the way, as a Catholic I am not even considered a "real" Christian by these people, that may excuse my thoughts in the minds of some of them). Towards the end of the class year I may bring up evolution just to watch the fireworks.

Anyway, your site is an unbelievable resource for me. Since I am already 43 I don't think I will have enough time to read all the books I want to (unless I get a lifespan like one of those in Genesis) but your site is a good start!

Keep it up.

received 9/4/01
I regularly send students from my introductory anthropology and mythology classes to your web site. Some LDS students have singled out your site as one of the most influential in their life transformations provoked by our discussions in my courses.
received 9/1/01
You have deepen your search among us members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and yet you were not able to find the truth that is within us. Of course that is not because we dont have the truth, but it is because the truth has no space in you that all that is in you is what you thought to be inteligence are mere darkness and foolish analysis of a see to believe poor creature. You will never realy know the spirit we're talking about. As i go upon the pages of your web i felt sorry for you.

Yours is a very common complaint that I receive. They seem to come from members who feel that faith-promoting tales speak of truth and any sort of inquiry is evil. They don't seem to like the quotes from their leaders on this page, and they certainly haven't pursued this site in much depth. There is truth within Mormonism. I've never denied that. In many respects (especially in the case of practicing Mormons who don't subscribe to the growing neo-orthodoxy of the past few decades) Mormonism is a great improvement upon some of the other religions humans have created.

received 8/8/01

Just wanted to say "thank you" for creating this site, specifically the page that lists and reviews books on evolutionary biology. I have developed a recent interest in evolutionary biology but since my elementary and secondary science education was so poor, it has been a somewhat intimidating experience trying to figure out where to begin.

The poor quality of my educational experience is directly related to the fact that I frequently changed schools all the way until my junior year, and further due to the fact that the schools I attended were christian schools (many of which were run by fundamentalist churches). A regular "double whammy". So with this in mind, I'm sure you can imagine the "quality" of my scientific education. Suffice it to say that it is far less than adequate.

At any rate, this site has been a wonderful resource for finding material that is relevant to my current level of knowledge. With so many fundamentalist religious sources pushing psuedo-science, it's nice to find a place where reliable info can be found (and is distinguished from what might be considered "questionable" material) and is organized in such a way that a novice can feel comfortable that they are making the best reading choices based on their current knowledge.

You are certainly welcome. You may also want to try PBS's new website on the subject (and watch the series if you can!). The evidence and FAQ pages are especially good for beginners.

received 7/30/01
I've been a huge fan of 2think for a while now, and I felt like I should finally email you.

Everyone has a GROUP they belong to. There are stoners and yuppies and hippies and Christians and musicians and drinkers and workaholics and jocks and, ugh, the list is endless. Everyone seems to have some label they can put on themselves that allows people to immediately identify them as kin. I've always struggled because I had no such label.

Finally I decided that my label is THINKER. Not to be confused with intellectual, who tends to be stand-offish. I just love to think and make others think. I like to be wrong because it means I've learned something. I don't try to prove anything or convert people, or anything like that. I just love to feel my brain going.

I thought the place for me was college, but then I realized that they only stunt my learning by imposing their agenda. Then it degenerated into a competition for grades and degrees. Aren't there people who just love to think, without getting any prize for it? So I surfed around to see what I could find. There were sites that were about thinking about specific topics, again driven by an agenda, but your site was the only place I found that was just about thinking for the sake of thinking. Thank you.

I've been inspired to write some short stories lately. I'm really blown away by how seamlessly I've been able to inject stuff to make people think into these stories. If you're interested in reading them, here they are:

The End of Civilization
(environmentalism, consumerism)

Devil's Child
(religion, afterlife, death)

Nicky's Promise
(schooling, childhood)

Hope you enjoy them.

received 7/28/01
I've only recently discovered your site, and had time to read only a few pages - but I just wanted to tell you...


I think I've finally discovered some people that think the way I do. I am very excited to read more and more of the information that you have provided. I am an ex-Mormon who only recently left the LDS church (much to the chagrin of my family and friends). I did not leave it because I want to sin, avoid paying tithing, bitter at my divorce, or loss of "spirit" (as I am accused of) - rather, because through careful thought and extensive research and study, I've found it to be false.

Sometimes I feel alone, but it's wonderful to discover people like you who are sharing with the world great thoughts, ideas, and more importantly, the truth (at least as best as we can see it).

Your book reviews are very insightful. Again, thank you for sharing with the world - I really appreciate it.

Your new fan,

received 7/26/01
I've been perusing your site and links for some months now and I must congratulate you on a job well done. It is nice to know that there are at least some critical thinkers in the world unafraid to question and explore in a public forum. I was a godfearin Baptist until about age 11 when I couldn't reconcile the inconsistencies in Christian dogma with reality as I saw it. Perhaps I could have remained blindly faithful had there been some congruity to it all. But "God loves you" doesn't meld with "You should be godfearing" If he loves me, what have I to fear? Morality and 'goodness' didn't make sense to me either. Not coincidentally, my awakening occurred at the onset of puberty. To realize that most of my thoughts and many of my actions were (by church definition) 'wicked' 'sinful' and just plain bad pretty much ended my formal relationship with any church. I questioned churchpeople about the apparent discrepancies between Jesus' all encompassing love and the church's open hatred of so many groups of people and was rewarded with orders to read and memorize entire chapters of scripture. This of course led not to blind obeisance but to more questions. Questions that never were adequately answered so I looked elsewhere. Other religions and mythologies were examined methodically with the same inconstancies consistently found. Science was a little more satisfying.

Anyway...I thought it worth responding to the following found here.

Actually my 9th grade history teacher said very much the same in 1987. We explored Judeo-Christian myths in the same manner that Greek, Viking and Egyptian beliefs were studied. It was interesting to see the way other students steadfastly clung to *their* myths (Christian) as fact while completely dismissing all others as primitive stories. When I brought up the virgin mother myth as being a simple case of bad translation, I was branded a liar by much of the class. (The teacher encouraged me to elaborate but gave no opinion on it) The extent to which people will defend their beliefs with nothing more to support it then the assertion "But its true!" astounded me. Ultimately the teacher was forced to abandon his comparative theology curriculum by outraged parents after a week. Despite becoming an outcast as a result of it, I enjoyed the experience and will always be grateful to that teacher for encouraging me to look at things objectively and allowing me to question prevailing beliefs.

Keep up the great work on the site! ;-)

received 7/4/01
I wanted to thank you for putting together such a wealth of information. The links are vast, the content seems unbiased (with links to the responses to the issues when available), and the variety of topics is impressive. I wouldn't term this an "anti-Mormon" site, but more as an information base on Mormon thought, since it lacks the characteristic flamboyance and twisted facts that have so long bedraggled those publishing thoughts against the church (making any real information that may be hidden within the message impossible to digest since the rest is so obviously biased and, often, incorrect).

My thanks to you for putting together this site!

received 6/26/01
There are a lot of clever ways to theorize and intellectualize God right out of existence. The theory of evolution was a great attempt but, there are no legitimate missing links. Sure, the media will report with ultimate authority, as if standing behind a pulpit, dare I say, when one has claimed to be found but, when it's proven to be a fraud they barely make a sound about it! There are NO missing links. The believers in this theory have to have FAITH that the missing links will be found as if Mr. Darwin were your "Jehovah" who makes thee thy promise that "thou shall findeth the missing linketh, thus saith thy lord and god, Darwin". Keep having faith that you will find your missing link, we will keep our faith that Jesus Christ will return to straighten out this world that gets closer to global disaster on a daily basis. Do you believe in archaeology? Let me offer a site which offers conclusive evidence that the events in the Bible are real:

Evolution is a sham, the Holy Word of God is not!


For older messages click here.

Book Reviews
More Reviews
Some More
history of science
popular science
science fiction
discussion list
what's new
link here