Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dinner With the Missionaries

I just wanted to know the truth.  I wanted to know what they had taught the missionary’s in the MTC.  Surely they can explain the Book of Abraham controversy   and Josephs wives, Blood sacrifice, Hilcamora, the Hat with the stone,  The Burning of the Nauvoo Expositor, The three men Joseph shot at Carthage and why there is no evidence today of anything that happened in the book of Mormon.  Just some of the facts of  Mormonism I missed.  Most likely I was flirting with some cute RM.   The church had to have explained this in the Missionary Training Center.  

“I just have a few really simple questions. I’m sure you get them all the time.  What is the churches stance on the whole Book of Abraham thing.” Two big beautiful eyes stared back at me. They had no idea what I was talking about.  I even tried to explain it to them to jog there memories."You Know the scroll that Joseph bought and translated into the Book of Abraham. It was later reviled not to be accurate at all."   Nothing.  "here! this is a picture of what he said and then what historians found it to be... nevermind, we will skip that one." They smiled

“Okay you know how Brigham young had the whole ‘blood sacrifice thing, you know where he said it was better to kill someone who sinned then let them keep sinning”, Blank stares “okay skip that one.  Polygamy!  How come the church never talks about all of Joseph Smiths 33 wives?”

“33 wives...I’ve never heard that. Are you sure? There are a lot of crazy things on the interweb.”, Said the Sister Missionary

 “ Yes.” I said stunned, “33 and ten were married and one was only…”  I couldn't finish.  These poor beautiful woman who loved the church so much that they gave up over a year of their life for it.  I could not take that away from them.  They had no freaking Idea!  The church had, I guess forgotten to teach about that.  I stopped asking them about the history of the church.  

That is the problem isn't it. Even after you leave you still want to protect the church.  I started trying to give them answers to these questions. “Oh well I think that, you know, it makes sense that the Book of Mormon was not actually translated from plates but from a hat with a rock in it.  He was inspired I’m sure.  The church just,  you know, doesn't share it because it’s so,  you know, hard to understand.”  If there were ever a Garden of Eden on earth today it is the Mormon Church and the Missionary Training Center was the mud that made Adam. 


  1. I found you on You are a really good writer - you capture so much with so few words - even the word 'interweb' says so much about those women.
    A difficult journey you are on but a fascinating one. Thank you for sharing.
    - Karen

  2. These days, when conversations with Mormons start to get a little serious, I ask, "Do you like being Mormon?" If they say yes, I just politely change the subject. For a lot of them, the exit cost is too high compared to the benefits, whether it be shunning, loss of employment, etc.

  3. "Even after you leave you still want to protect the church."

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! I'm in the process of getting up the guts to leave (it makes more sense for me to wait 6 months, because I'll have more freedom then and won't cause such a big rift so quickly in my family). I sit here and I read all of these Post-Mo blogs and MormonThink, and at some times I absolutely hate the church and what it has done to me. I feel scared ALL the time of what will happen after I leave--much in the same way you did: the "s" word, alcohol, partying. I WANT to be a normal college kid, I WANT to make those kinds of memories, but it's been ingrained so deeply in me, I don't know if I can break away from my roots like that. Even after I leave, the Church will STILL control me, and as much as I try to get away from it, part of me will always be LDS.

    But while I absolutely hate the LDS church sometimes, I am sometimes its greatest defender. Anytime I am confronted with the polygamy question, or questions about lying and some of Joesph Smith's frauds, I'm immediately put on the defensive. Unlike a TBM, I can't dismiss such claims as false, because I know most of them are true (and these same things contribute to my absolute loathing of the church). But I get so inexplicably annoyed by them, and I have no idea why. It's not like I thank the church for a wonderful childhood--they were the cause of me crying to my mom at 8 years old for wearing a 2-piece swimming suit and exposing things that were only for my future husband. They were the cause of all the anguish I felt when I forced testimonies all those years at Girls' camp, and convinced myself if I lied long enough about knowing, I would eventually know. The church has never really made me happy, but somehow I can't completely hate it.

    I guess I just feel like no one can hate and love the church as much as those who have left it--it's definitely a weird paradox.

  4. Also, fabulous post!

    I seriously hope you realize how brave you are, because it's astounding. You seem like an incredible person.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. As you know, I served a Mormon mission. Afterwards, I also taught other missionaries how to be missionaries--or tried to anyway--when I worked at the Missionary Training Center. There are two points that I want to address:

    1- You are all absolutely right about the Mormon people having a complete lack of understanding about their own history. The true, full history of the Mormon church is a lot uglier than most Mormons teach or know. This is mostly not their fault because it has been the philosophy of those in charge of keeping the church organized to only focus on learning and teaching the good parts.

    This approach may have been effective for most people a generation ago, but ignoring the ugly parts is only causing more and more people to misunderstand the true benefits of the Mormon faith. I would love to talk more about this any time.

    2- The purpose of having full-time missionaries in the Mormon church is not to clear up Mormon history or to be Mormon apologists. Simply, the purpose of missionaries is to teach people the basics of the religion, and to teach people how to gain faith.

    The fact of the matter is that even though it may help many people greatly (such as you), an understanding of those ugly things is actually not necessary to gain faith. And for those who do not know about the ugly things, bringing them up can actually make it harder to gain faith (as you know). The unfortunate side effect is of course that for those who are aware of the ugly things, the missionaries are often not much help.

    I have tried to be the type of Mormon that is not afraid to ask the hard questions and not afraid to talk about the ugly things. If you want to talk more about these questions, I am a possible resource.

  7. Thank you Megan. You are defiantly not alone. You remember the good times so you want to protect. You want to protect your friends who are in there safe happy bubble. Now that you know the truth you feel bad busting that bubble for anyone.
    I'm so sorry to hear that the church never made you happy. It is good you are leaving now. i wish i had recognized the signs of a toxic faith environment after my experience in the post "life or Death". I just loved the Mormon community so much i did not see what is was doing to me. some people find so much happiness but that was not me. My post "Bon Voage" gose into this in more detail. I sure hope it is better on the outside. I have to try. I'm finding my faith in the world hope and i hope it will be a smoother journey than it has been. The Mormon life style is lovely if you can hack it.

    the hatred you feel is normal right now but don't let it stay. Remember everyone did have a choice in what they did. I do feel sorry for people most people but some blame the church for things that are not the churches fault. just be careful how much you let it go to your head. When times get hard just say to yourself. "I’m going to be Okay." that is what i do.


    You are fast becoming my biggest fan! Thanks for the feed back!
    You bring up a good point. The missionary’s are there to teach of the happy Mormon lifestyle and teaching. Not so much the history. But I was shocked at really how little they knew. I figured that would be somethings they would have been thought. Not only that but they can only read 4 books while on the mish. No opportunity to even learn where what they are teaching came from.

    I had a friend who recently converted. Before he was baptized he wanted to learn the history of the church and the mish told him “nope!” and scheduled the baptism. That fine for now I guess. No one stopped him from googling. but what happens 5 years from now when he dose finally learn the truth. It seems like the missionary’s are hiding something and they themselves don’t even know what that is.

  8. "It seems like the missionary’s are hiding something and they themselves don’t even know what that is."

    I think this is true. I will likely write a few blog posts of my own about this topic soon. I actually have a lot of things I want to clarify and write about. I will try to be brief here.

    I just want to add to my comment above that even though I disagree with the ignorant missionary approach, there is a reason it is done that way and it can be effective (especially more so before Google got so good).

    The main thing is that the only way some people (the critical thinkers in the world, myself included) can really buy into all the Mormon stuff is through metaphysical/spiritual experiences. This, I think, is part of what you refer to as the "warm and fuzzies" of testimony in the Mormon church. Those who haven't experienced it, can't understand it; those who have experienced it cannot deny it. The Book of Mormon teaches that sometimes we need to want to believe before we can have that experience--and the ugly truth of Mormon history can often turn off people's desire to believe, thus preventing them from ever having their own indescribable experience. Again, I do not agree with this teaching/training approach, but it does make some sense (it makes even more sense to the kind of person that is capable of blind belief).

    I also want to add, I know that many people (including yourself I gather, as well as many of my good friends) have not had the sort of metaphysical experiences that I have had. But based on the experiences that I have had--even applying all of my scientific logic, etc.--the option that seems to make the most sense to me so far is in fact the one in which Jesus Christ is The Messiah, and he worked through Joseph Smith Jr. to bring important information back to humans.

    Even though I myself have many questions that neither TBMs nor Exmos nor anyone else I have come across can answer, I understand that sometimes the best and most true answer possible is "I don't know", and that is okay. I hope this makes sense. If not, look forward to my blog posts on the subject I guess.

    1. wow. sorry "brief" is still so wordy for me.