Names and e-mail addresses have been witheld to protect the guilty. If you recognise your letter here, and wish to have your name and address displayed, feel free to contact me.
I apostatized from Mormonism a few months ago, and just read your essay on apostasy. I couldn't believe how dead-on exactly your model matches my experience with Mormonism in the way faith is maintained and apostasy is avoided, explained, and dealt with.
Great site, thanks for sharing.
(p.s. I'm story # 96 @exmormon.org if you happened to be interested.)
Thanks for your message. I guess, when you really come down to it, there really are only a few time-tested methods for keeping the faithful faithful. I see it as a sort of natural selection. The religious traditions that have survived the longest are those that have evolved the best methods for protecting their flock from reality. A religion that fails to implement such controls will quickly disintegrate.
I would first like to thank you very much for your site. My heart does go out to you and your dilemma. If you would not mind, I would be willing to discuss your dilemma with you some time. Are you willing to do that? Perhaps, we can share with each other our feelings and experiences?
I'm always willing to discuss anything. I am curious, thought, as to what you regard as my "dilemma"?
I would only ask this of you at this time, and I am only asking out of complete respect for you as a person, for I cannot tell you what to believe, or what you believe, or why you believe as you do now or in the past. Lastly, I am not trying to impose any view as if I could anyway. But I can't help but wandering, what then is your purpose in life? Again, I thank you for your site which is fair, and I also thank you for the time you spent reading my message.
First, I have to ask why life must have a purpose? If we are indeed the product of random, natural processes, it follows that the only purpose to life is the purpose that we impose on it. There is no intrinsic meaning to existence, nor should there be. Life is what you make of it. That said, my only purpose in life is to be happy. There are a number of ways of accomplishing this goal. My family is a great source of this satisfaction - another is simple intellectual pursuit. These are the only purposes that I need.
After sharing considerable material with my sister Verla concerning my in-depth investigation of Mormonism, she asked me several times "What DO you believe?" This is what I mailed to her.
SOME OF THE THINGS I BELIEVE
Oct. 22, 1998
* I believe Joseph Smith was a charismatic leader who was easily able to influence others.
* I believe that Joseph Smith had a highly developed imagination, and was adept at copying and using other materials to create the Book of Mormon and other writings.
* I believe that the alleged First Vision of Joseph Smith, claiming to have been visited in a grove by God and Jesus Christ was a fabrication, of which Joseph gave several different versions.
* I believe that the Book of Mormon is not a factual account, but was pieced together by Joseph Smith to form a narrative of fictional people and places, using books and materials available to him in the 1820's.
* I believe that the LDS church is (and always has been) led by fallible men rather than by direct revelation from God.
* I believe it is official policy of LDS church leaders to conceal unflattering history of the church, to cover up blunders, to make "timely" changes in doctrine and practice.
* I believe that there are few significant developments in the Church, that occurred after March 15, 1842 which did not have some Masonic interdependence.
* I believe that the LDS Church is the most prosperous of American religions, with a minimum of $30 billion in assets and annual gross income of $6 billion-- more than Utah's state budget this year (1998).
* I testify that the history of the LDS church contains accounts of appalling deeds, events and doctrine.
* I believe most Latter Day Saints are either ignorant of the facts or choose to ignore them, living by "faith".
* I testify that the evidence for all of the above is overwhelming and irrefutable.
Ed Dames claims a major event from the Sun will kill most of the individuals currently living on the earth around Easter of 1999. This is based upon remote viewing. Check the text at this URL
Boy are you ever intellectual I'm at a time in my life when i'm questioning more and more. I was raised christan but call my self a non practicing Muslim. I loved your review of the book why I'm not muslim I'm going to get it right away. I have a great many pakistani freinds and some stupid man is always tring to show his superiority againts Americans because we follow the Bible which has many contradictions and they follow the Koran which has never changed. I want to be in a position to defend americans with some facts about the Koran. Do you know anyother sites that debunk Islam. Thanks sssssssooooo much. I hate hypocrits more then anything and i'm thinking of starting my pwn religion haha
Two sites worth a look are The International Society for Islamic Secularization and Islamaniacs! Ibn Warraq also has a new book called "The Origins of Islam".
I find your website very interesting. I have done some minor searches much like your own. As a matter of fact, your story sounds very familiar. Some things I have not found on your site was references to The Epic of Gilgamesh, and it's uncanny reference to a great flood, which was written of course long before Noah's adventure. Also, the works of Joseph Campbell are extremely interesting, as is The Golden Bough by James Frazier. With Frazier you will find the roots of ancient "christian" rituals, ie. caroling, christmas trees, easter and resurrections, etc. Campbell, who's work on the hero's journey inspired Star Wars, does a lot of work on ancient mythology and the bible, esp. the bull and asp, the zodiac and other pagan worship.