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January 21, 2017

Jeremy,

I hope all is well. I wanted to reach out and share with you some thoughts I have about doubt and faith.
Like you, I have jumped down the rabbit hole. I have looked at all the issues related to the church and
have gone through a faith journey. These journeys can be hard and produce a variety of outcomes. It is,
however, very unfortunate the answers to your questions havent come and have resulted in getting
disciplined by the church and excommunicated. Most Mormons, especially TBMs, have no interest in
learning about the difficult part of LDS history and doctrine. They would rather ignore it and believe it
isnt there. Sadly, while they do that they create unnecessary fear within themselves. It takes a unique
personality to look honestly at their faith and consider alternative beliefs. I believe it can be very
beneficial to share each others faith, doubt, and experiences so we can all learn from each other. I
would like to take you through my faith transition, so you can understand a different outcome.
To give you some context and background, I grew up in the church. My parents, siblings, grandparents,
cousins, and friends are all very normal Mormons. I was baptized at 8, received the priesthood at 12,
went on my mission at 19 and married to my wife in the temple at 23. On my mission, I was a textbook
by-the-book missionary following all rules. Loved my mission. I enjoyed all my upbringing in the gospel,
and I am still currently active in the church with a calling in the young men. However, my faith today is
not the same as my faith growing up. It is not the same as my faith just a few years ago. Let me share
how, and why it changed.
First of all, I have always believed in God. This has been a core part of who I am since I can remember.
Ive never doubted God is there. I have an odd pastime of reading and listening to atheists. I have read
Richard Dawkins and watched Bill Maher. I understand their arguments. I can appreciate their
viewpoints; however, I do not agree with their conclusions. I believe God is very much real. He is the
creator and Father, and answers all truth seekers.
My faith in God is and has been different from most members of the church. Most members cant
separate God and the church. The church is God. The President of the Church always speaks for God.
They are one in the same. This is a core difference in my faith. I would like to share how this came to be,
and how this one thing has been central in my faith transition. I believe if I didnt separate God from the
church, my faith today would be much more different then it is.
On my mission, every night we would come home at 9 PM and then from 9 until 10 PM my companion
and I would plan for the next day. Frequently, we would get calls about appointments or upcoming
dinners. However, one night we received an interesting call. We got a call from a man who pretended to
be an investigator. He told us he had talked to the missionaries and was ready to get baptized, but he
had a few questions. Being the confident and cocky missionary I was, I was sure I could answer his
questions. He reeled off a difficult anti-mormon question. I tried to answer him, but he interrupted me
and reeled off another difficult question, and another, and another. He used the volume of issues to
disprove the original issue I was trying to answer. By the time, I hung up the phone, he had tangled me
into a net of issues I did not understand, and did not know how to address. It was the first time I truly
questioned my faith in the gospel.

That night I was determined to get an answer from God about the issues I was introduced to. My
apartment at the time was shared with Spanish speaking Elders. So they could practice Spanish and we
could study in quiet, we put our four beds in the front room and used the two bedrooms as study
rooms. After companionship prayer that night, I went into our bedroom/study room and knelt at the
foot of the couch alone and started to pray. As I said before, I have never doubted God. I knew God
would give me the answers I needed. As I prayed, my mind and prayer began to change. I first started
praying about the church and the issues I heard, but my mind eventually reached a point of asking,
How do I even know if the church is true? What if this whole thing is a fraud? I told God I didnt care
if the church was true. I didnt care what my mission president thought, what my parents thought, what
my friends and companion thought. Id go home the next day if this entire thing was a fraud. I told God
all I cared about was what He wanted me to do and what He thought.
It was truly the most humble prayer I had ever given. It was as if my frequency to God was completely
clear and unhindered. I never had such a clear prayer with God before. After I said those words, I closed
the prayer, got up from kneeling at the couch and went back into the other room and climbed into bed.
After I got into bed, I had an incredible experience. I felt as if, from the top of my head to the bottom of
my toes, I was on fire. It was as if the hand of God touched my body. It was an undeniable experience.
As it was happening, the thought entered my mind that Joseph Smith was indeed a Prophet of God.
Since that night, Ive used this as a bedrock experience as I actively sought answers to the most difficult
questions in Mormonism. Like Joseph Smith, I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation,
as I previously had one. (JSH 1:29) I did not fear the unknown. I had confidence if I asked God about the
difficult questions, he would answer me. Ultimately, this experience taught me the only important thing
is to know Gods will. During the prayer, it wasnt until I said I didnt care what everyone else thought
and only cared what God thought, that I was brought into a state I could receive a powerful
manifestation from God. And I learned from that experience the only one to trust is God.
I didnt run into any additional big issues on my mission. The first issue after my mission was church
correlation and whitewashed history. I first started listening to Mormon Stories podcasts. The first
podcast I listened to was on Church Correlation with Daymon Smith. I was painting my first daughters
bedroom at the time. My wife was doing a night shift, so I listened to all four hours that night as I
painted. This was the first time I really saw some cracks in the church. The idea the church promoted
lying for the Lord; that the church changed their mind on major doctrinal items - polygamy and blacks
and the priesthood; that prophets were contradicting other prophets - Brigham Youngs over the pulpit
belief in the Adam God doctrine and President McKays saying it is not doctrinal; that the church began
purposely leaving out and not talking about major doctrinal areas through church correlation. The idea
the church regulated, monitored, and dictated what should and shouldnt be taught made me very
uncomfortable. And the idea there is a Strengthening Members Committee that keeps files on church
members felt so wrong.
I started listening to other podcasts which introduced me to other topics. I started seeing church history
in a different light. And then, I remember one day wanting to better understand Josephs polygamy. I
had heard it referenced before, but I really didnt know anything about it. I did a quick Google search
and was taken to a website that outlined all of Josephs wives, polygamous and polyandrous. I honestly
dont remember what my first thought was as I read it. But, I was frustrated. I was 26 at the time, RM,
married in the temple, seminary and institute grad, BYU grad, grew up in the church and had never
heard this before.

I thought about this a lot. There had to be an explanation for it. I had this powerful experience on my
mission. I felt I no longer had belief. I felt I had something more than that. I had an undeniable
experience. It was my own sacred grove experience. The only thing I lacked was me seeing. I knew
Joseph Smith was endorsed by God. So what the crap was up with him marrying 30 wives and 12+ of
them being other mens wives? It occupied my mind for a while. At the same time, I had been reading a
lot of books about what is required for Zion. Zion is a city of saved beings. It is a society of individuals
who have received the fullness of the gospel and have been brought back into the presence of God.
When you get a group of individuals who have experienced these blessings, you have Zion. However,
becoming qualified for salvational faith is not just going to church, reading your scriptures, and praying.
In the lectures on faith, Joseph Smith states: Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require
the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and
salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and
salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice,
and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of
the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well
pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not
even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice
because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his
sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances,
then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. That faith unto salvation
requires an individual to be willing to give up everything in this life. If we are not willing to give up
everything, we will not have the faith necessary to salvation. Lectures on Faith 6:5
I remember driving in my car, thinking about how Joseph Smith could just marry Orson Hydes wife
while Orson was on a mission. How would I react if he did that to me and just married my wife? I
remember the thought came into my mind of, What are you not willing to give up to know God?
Would you give your child like Isaac? What is the difference between giving up your child verses
giving up your wife? Is there something or someone God cant ask me to give up to know Him?
My mind moved toward Abraham and Isaac. Is this the same or different? I thought about my
experience on my mission. I knew God had endorsed Joseph through that experience. I continued to
think, Was I willing to give up everything to know God?
I then asked myself, if God asked me to give up my wife to another man, would I do it? Do I trust God?
Even with my wife or child?
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or
children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Matthew 19:29
I had to answer no. My wife was not more important than God. I remember, I was having this
conversation with God as I drove, and it was as if all the clouds and haze lifted about the subject of
Joseph Smith and his wives as I answered that question. I knew trusting God was the most important
and smartest thing I could do. My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways.
As an aside, we think we know who God is. We think he is loving, kind, and He is here to have a chicken
soup for the soul relationship with us. Warm fuzzies all the time, right? Personally, I believe God is here
is destroy us so that he can rebuild us into His image. The pruning of each of us, God makes, sometimes

is forceful and extremely difficult. As part of that pruning, I believe, He uses contradiction as a tool to
test us and try us.

After I answered that question, the frustration, betrayal, worry and stress left and I was pacified with
the answer God gave me.
I have done more research since that discussion with God. I still wanted additional information about
Joseph Smith. I am a strong believer in ye shall know them by their fruits. I decided to read The Words
of Joseph Smith. It is an out of print book containing all the original discourses, misspellings and all, of
Joseph Smith during the Nauvoo Era. I believe if someone is truly a charlatan they will be discovered
from their words and actions. Since the polygamy issues were almost all contained in the Nauvoo Era, I
thought reading Joseph's words he spoke in Nauvoo would be good to uncover his purity or his deceit.
After reading The Words of Joseph Smith, I could not indict him. His words, lectures, opened aired
discourses, funeral sermons, and Relief Society Minutes are overflowing with light and truth. An
adulterer, pedophile, liar, womanizer, sociopath, and unparalleled manipulator could not also produce
so much light and truth. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (Matthew
3:25)
The consistency, volume, and depth of the words he shared were the opposite of evil and deception.
Couple that with a set of scriptures almost equal in length to the Bible; with the Book of Mormon,
Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price and you truly have a prophet of God.
Personally, with even more research and study, I do not believe Joseph Smith practiced sexual polygamy
and polyandry. I believe the only sexual relations he had was with Emma. From his first polygamous wife
Fanny Alger in 1836, to the 3-4-year hiatus of polygamy, to all the polygamous and polyandrous wives in
Nauvoo, without a single child produced outside of Emma; I do not believe he had sexual relations with
these polygamous and polyandrous wives. The topic is too great to talk about in this letter. I am
unconvinced Joseph was anything but what he claimed to be - a prophet of God.
Ultimately, one of the main underlying issues of Josephs polygamy is that is wasnt taught by the
church. It was hid and buried, only brought to light because it was forced out of its cavern by Google. I
have a problem with that. Ill share with you my thoughts of the church later in this letter.
I have been able to address and tackle other major foundational truth claims. Essentially the issues
addressed in your CES Letter. Ill share three other big truth claims and how I approached each issue.
A couple of years ago, I was engaged in a Facebook discussion with a childhood friend. My friend had
left the church and was actively angry and sharing negative things about the church. I started talking to
him on Facebook and soon a few of his aggressive friends joined the conversation. We talked about
many topics, and eventually the conversation turned toward The Book of Abraham. They posted a link to
an hour-long video about The Book of Abraham. I told them Id watch it. So, I did. I watched every
minute. It talked about the Metropolitan Museum, how the scrolls were burial scrolls probably from 100
BC to 200 BC, not Abrahams time. It showed what the scrolls would look like if they were completed.
Essentially everything you spoke about in the CES Letter.

After the video was done, I then read the Book of Abraham and I pondered over the value and the
message of the Book of Abraham. I then prayed about it. The answer I received was, The doctrine is
good. It tastes good. There is light and truth in the doctrine. We need to understand what the Book of
Abraham is communicating before we judge it.
The Book of Abraham describes the pathway of ascent into Gods presence.
And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the
fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a
follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater
follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a
prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became
a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. - Abraham 1:2
That is the purpose of it all. Mankind is on earth to gain experience, so through faith, we can receive the
fullness of the blessings of God.
The Book of Abraham discusses our relationship with God.
And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more
intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am
more intelligent than they all. Abraham 3:19
And the goal of mortality.
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall
command them. Abraham 3:25
The Book of Abraham introduces three groups of people: The Gods (the family of God), Jehovah (the
mediator) and Michael (mankind). The family of God are those who have been exalted and are here to
prove mankind. In this mortal realm, we have all three. Those who are getting proven, those who test,
and the mediator.
The Book of Abraham is directly related to the temple endowment. It discusses the ascent into heaven
and the relationship man has with heaven. So, to give up the Book of Abraham, you would have to give
up all its doctrine, the temple, everything. I wasnt interested in doing that.
After watching the video about the Book of Abraham, reading the Book of Abraham, and praying about
it, I replied to the group on Facebook and told them I did not know what or how Joseph Smith translated
the papyri, but I believe what we have is truth and light and scripture. I hold that stance today.
The Book of Mormon was another topic I tackled. Within the Book of Mormon, as you pointed out in the
CES Letter, there are issues related to Trinitarian doctrine, cities and names and geography that seem
like Joseph Smith copied from areas, people, and places he knew locally. There are issues around
whether Joseph Smith plagiarized the book from View of the Hebrews or The Late War. There are issues
related to archaeology and DNA evidence and more.

My approach to the Book of Mormon was like the Book of Abraham. What does the Book of Mormon
say and are those things prophetic and from God? Whats its purpose?

Purpose of the Book of Mormon


Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their
fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever And also
to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself
unto all nations. Book of Mormon, Title Page
I believe there are three overarching objectives of the Book of Mormon.
1. Communicate the covenants God has provided to the Remnant of Israel
2. Show the path to salvation - back to the presence of God
3. Describe the situations which will be experienced in the latter-days
Communicate the Covenants of the Lord to the Remnant of Israel
The covenants which are referred to by Mormon, in the title page, are covenants given to Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob and Enos. These are the covenants given by the Lord to restore
Israel in the latter-days. If you look at the storyline of the Book of Mormon, it begins with a significant
focus on prophecies of the scattering of Israel and gathering of Israel. Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob commit 35
out of 62 chapters to discussing the covenants of the Lord.
The plates of Nephi place a heavy focus on the covenants including:
Scattering of Israel - 1 Nephi 10, 17 - 22; 2 Nephi 10; Jacob 4,5
Promised Messiah - 1 Nephi 11 - 15; 2 Nephi 11-24; Jacob 4
Fullness of the Gentiles - 1 Nephi 13; 2 Nephi 3, 11-24, Jacob 5
Restoration of the Remnant of Jacob - 1 Nephi 13-14; 2 Nephi 3; Jacob 5

Why do you think Nephi includes so much Isaiah? It is because Isaiah is communicating the fulfillment of
the desired covenants. Jacob 5 is a masterpiece allegory, describing in great detail, the working of the
Lord to fulfill the covenants he has made with the Fathers.
And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit
which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build
and have safe foundation.
But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only
sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.
And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can
ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? (This is the answer contained in the
Book of Mormon. How exactly could the Jews, who rejected Christ, ever come to believe in him?)

Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken
from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you. Jacob 4:15-18
One of the fundamental purposes of the Book of Mormon, is that it shows how God is going to fulfill a
covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God knew the Jews were going to reject the Messiah
and kill Him. However, the Lord made a covenant with them (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) that their seed
would have the gospel and be a blessing to all the earth. The way God could fulfill this covenant was to
pull a branch out of Israel and hide it on the other side of the world. Essentially, get lost from history.
Lehi knew this. Nephi knew this. Jacob knew this. This is why they committed half of their writings
communicating this covenant and process for fulfilling the covenant.
It is amazing the foresight of God in being able to fulfill this covenant by such a roundabout way. Which
is through providing the Book of Mormon and bringing from the dust a covenant branch of Israel. If
you think about it, it is absolutely brilliant by God.
Show the path to salvation - back to the presence of God
Another main purpose specifically placed in the Book of Mormon is the redemption of the individual. In
the Book of Mormon, it describes redemption as:
And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the
presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to
pass the resurrection... Mormon 9:13
Redemption is being brought back into the presence of God. Redemption is the endowment. Think
about the temple endowment. Being brought from one small degree, to a larger degree, until eventually
you approach the veil of God and are brought back into His presence. This is redemption.
The Book of Mormon is the textbook on understanding the path toward redemption. The first chapter,
of the first book, begins with Lehi being redeemed.
And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens
open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of
angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. 1 Nephi 1:8
The book then continues immediately with Nephis endowment. From 1 Nephi 2-11, you can see all the
signs and tokens of the endowment, until Nephi is brought to the top of a mountain and redeemed,
being brought back into the presence of God.
I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the
Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in
the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the
power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times
to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round. 1 Nephi 10: 17, 19

And then Nephi experiences this


And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! 1 Nephi
11:21
Nephi is redeemed and brought back into the presence of God.
Within the pages of the Book of Mormon, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Isaiah, Enos, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma
the Younger, King Lamoni, King Laman, Lehi and Nephi the sons of Helaman, Nephi son of Nephi, the
people at the temple in Bountiful, Brother of Jared, Mormon and Moroni are all redeemed and brought
back into the presence of God.
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God, and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou
make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I might be raised
from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck
as if he were dead. Alma 22:18
These stories communicate the path and the faith necessary to achieve the gift.
Describe Situations in Our Day
The second portion of the Book of Mormon - Mosiah to 3 Nephi is scripture because it includes stories,
themes, and situations parallel to what we would experience in our day. This parallel history makes it
scripture. This is Mormons message.
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown
you unto me, and I know your doing. - Mormon 8:35
Contained within the Book of Mormon we have these stories:
Wars started by one evil man (WW2?)
Missionary work led by young men
Anti-Christs (Sheblon, Korihor, Nehor)
Pride cycles (inside and outside the church)
Evil in the church (all is well in Zion)
People falling away from the church
Terrorism (gadianton robbers)
Destruction before Christs coming
Democratic republic (reign of the judges)
The church changing its affairs to world pursuits: adoring temples, building buildings, expensive

conference centers and malls (King Noah)


These stories are strategically put there to communicate what will be experienced in the latter-days.
In addition, Nephi, Jesus, and Mormon discuss significant issues that will happen within the latter-day
church.

Nephi - And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in
Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is welland thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away
carefully down to hell. 2 Nephi 28:21
Jesus - And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall
sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of
their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all
manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and
priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall
reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from
among them. 3 Nephi 16:10
Mormon - Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ
hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not
lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and
strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every
one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your
churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye
polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye
not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never diesbecause
of the praise of the world? Mormon 8:35-38
Knowing the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to communicate the covenants, teach the path back to
God, and communicate the condition of the latter-days, I cannot deny that it does those very things. Like
the Book of Abraham, it contains so much light and truth.
The DNA evidence, archaeology, View of the Hebrews (which have you read the View of the Hebrews? It
is awful.) Really holds no candle to Alma 5 or 3 Nephi 17 or 2 Nephi 9. The evidence against the Book of
Mormon becomes a pathetic shadow when seen in the light of what the Book of Mormon really
contains.
This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are
given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life
as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and
so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things
which are given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice
more and more. TPJS 355
The last issue is the modern LDS church. This is really where my faith has experienced the greatest
change. Back to my experience on my mission; I learned I should only trust God. Trusting man, even a
President of a Church or Prophet is insufficient. I felt bad with the outcome of the CES Letter. You had

questions, but you went to a man, even probably a good man, to get your answers. And you received no
answers. It is almost like you followed a man into darkness, not out of darkness.
And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood
before me.
And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.
And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he
would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. 1 Nephi 8: 5-8
First, we must decouple the church from the gospel. The church does not equal gospel. Much of the
stuff we do at church is only culture and tradition and has no application to the gospel or our salvation.
Culture can become so destructive as it replaces the gospel. Most of the commandments we adhere to
at church are commandments of men.
For example:
Word of Wisdom by word of wisdom and not constraint
Strength of Youth
Home Teaching/Visiting Teaching
Most Callings - Scouts, Primary, Young Women, Activities, etc.
Handbook of Instruction (any version)
Follow the Prophet he won't lead you astray (probably one of the most destructive doctrines)
Second, there is a significant difference in power between a prophet that was called through having God
and Christ come down in a grove of trees, and a president of the church that was debated about
through a crisis of succession. They are not the same and the evidence is in the power, spiritual gifts,
revelation (or lack of), within the original prophet and the subsequent successors.
Third, the church has and does make significant changes within its doctrine. Brigham Young spoke of
polygamy as being the definition of celestial marriage (Journal of discourses). Blacks not receiving the
priesthood was a result of the curse of Cain (which has been proven false). Temple tokens, signs and
format have changed. Temple garments have changed. Changes small and large have happened, do
happen, and will probably continue to happen within the church.
Fourth, church correlation creates a structure where men determine what is taught and not what the
Spirit wants taught. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the
people: Hearken unto us, and hear our precept; for there is no God today, for the Lord and the
Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men. 2 Nephi 28:5 Correlation has
made it so that if you read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith or the Lectures on Faith it almost
seems like it is coming from a completely different church. Doctrine taught by Joseph Smith wouldnt be
welcome in todays correlation. Correlation creates ignorance. However, The glory of god is intelligence
or in other words light and truth. D&C 93: 36
Fifth, the church was never supposed to have its current governing structure. High Councilman, 70s, 12
Travelling Elders and First Presidency were all equal in authority in Joseph Smiths day (D&C 107).
Todays structure is hierarchical, creates abuse and control, promotes Pharisaism, and creates an
environment where corporatism, correlation, and committees to monitor members, can thrive.

Sixth, and most important, we do not have Zion. The Saints were kicked out of Nauvoo in 1846. They
arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847. They came to the Salt Lake Valley to build Zion. Instead of
Zion we have distraction. We have Scouts, young men, temples, malls, missions, singles wards and more.
There is a program to support a program, but no desire for Zion. The last time Zion was spoken about in
a general church setting like General Conference was in the 1960s. We are no closer to Zion than the
Saints were in Nauvoo or Far West or Independence. We are ignorant of Zion. We are much farther
away from it. Zion is a society of individuals who have been brought back into the presence of God. The
leaders actively fight against the discussion and promotion of receiving the fullness of the gospel. Which
the fullness of the gospel is Zion and being brought back into the presence of God. It is one in the same.
At that day when the gentiles shall sin against my gospel and reject the fullness of the gospel 3
Nephi 16:10.
Ultimately, the Book of Mormon doesnt have a lot of good things to say about the latter-day church. It
makes you wonder what Joseph Smith was referring to with his last vision the day before he was killed
in June, 1844.
Joseph related the following dream which he had last night: I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I
would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and
brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I
found without floor or doors, with the weather-boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the
farm. While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from
the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick
a quarrel with me. The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of
mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it. I told him the farm was given me by the
Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according
to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church. He then grew furious and began to rail upon me,
and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church. I then told him that I did not
think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought
he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave; but my assurance that I would not
trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and
threatened me with the destruction of my body. While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter
words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to
quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the
opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud. When I was a little distance from the
barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had
engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream of vision ended.
TPJS pg 393
With all that said, I believe the restoration and the gospel restored through Joseph Smith. If you can
separate the gospel from the church, you can overcome many stumbling blocks. Remove the junk of
traditions of man, and unbelief. Unbelief in the Book of Mormon is referred 48 unique times. Unbelief is
not non-belief, it is believing incorrect things. There is so much nonsense in the church and religion in
general.
I heard a great quote: Religion is the moon. It only reflects light and is always half dark.
If you dont feel comfortable ever attending the LDS church again, which is completely understandable
with your experiences getting unjustly excommunicated, I would suggest not giving up on the

restoration. The great plan of salvation and the redemption of man is clearer in the restoration of the
gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith than anywhere else. The truth contained in the Book of
Mormon will bring you nearer to God abiding by its precepts, than any other book. - Joseph Smith.
Outside of the restoration includes: secularism, agnosticism, and atheism. I believe none of those paths
have lasting attraction. The scientific method is good to apply toward all areas of life including religion.
It is good to be able to look objectively at something, determine if is worth believing, or if you are
darkened in your mind for believing something that is just not true. I believe this can be communicated
as, If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine. But, secularism, agnosticism, and atheism
is not a sure foundation.
Another path outside of the restoration is to return to evangelical Christianity, non-denominational
churches or Catholicism. If you consider those routes, Id strongly encourage you to not forsake the
truth from the restoration. Truth including the character of God, and mans relationship with Him. Truth
about covenant making, how to receive power from God, and our ability to commune with Him face to
face. And the ultimate destiny of Zion and the New Jerusalem.
Ultimately, I believe, this life is designed to acquire knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is gained through
experience, and knowledge, which saves, comes from the Word of God. The Word of God then can
transform a man or women into a daughter or a son of God. As a result, a man or a woman can have
their very characters changed.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can
understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on;
you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking
the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is
He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to
come and live in it Himself.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Dont give up on the restoration. At this point in time, I am waiting and seeing what the Lord plans on
doing. I could see him using the church, and also using work outside of the church to achieve all of his
purposes. There are individuals who have been excommunicated or have withdrawn their names who
are having amazing experiences with God and are continuing to grow in faith. Perhaps we might need to
be full of charity to all men and the household of faith. D&C 121:45 And that household of faith
includes more than active card holding LDS.
As you can see, there are many reasons to believe in the restoration. I hope this long letter helps
highlight many of them. I do believe the Book of Mormon because of its power, even in spite of the
evidence against it. I believe Joseph Smith was what he said he was because of the message and words
he communicated. Even despite angels with drawn swords. I believe the Book of Abraham because of
the doctrine.
What I have found to be true about doubt is, it is usually a result originating from justifiable reasons
(unless you just want sex, drugs, and rock-in-roll ). I believe God uses contradiction to test our faith.
He allows people to do and say stupid stuff. However, the only way to overcome doubt is to turn to God,

ask in patience and faith for truth. If you ask in faith, remembering the experiences God has given you in
the past, believing God will give you additional experiences to overcome the obstacles you are facing; I
have full confidence youll receive answers and be pacified toward the issues. There must be a desire
though.
Let me know if you have any other direct questions and I can see what I can do to provide insight around
them. Sorry for the long letter. I believe this is the delayed response, you should have originally
received.
Bryce Bartel