When Death links us to Eternity — as a Book Does

My cousin had a remarkable experience this week as her elderly mother was dying. She left the room for a moment, and the hospice workers came running to get her.   “You have to see this,” they said, and led her back into the hospital room. There my frail aunt lay, her arms up in the air. “She’s reaching up to heaven,” one of them said.   My sister in law recounts a sudden “great big grin” on the face of her elderly mother as she passed from life to eternity.   And my best friend witnessed the sudden passing of a good friend in college, who fell prey to a virulent infection. Just before the young man passed, he sat upright in the bed in the presence of several people, pointed to the sky and said, “Look! I see the Lord!”   These...

Reason #187: Because of Joseph Smith’s Formal Education

Mormons often point to the length of the Book of Mormon and claim that no man could have written it without God’s help. In particular, they say that Joseph Smith’s lack of formal education meant he couldn’t write such a book. There are several reasons why this is not a valid supportive argument. 1)  Formal education — of which Joseph Smith had about three years — does not equal writing ability. Abraham Lincoln, one of Smith’s contemporaries, had only a little over a year of formal education and yet he was able to speak, write, and debate masterfully. Like Smith, he was self-taught and also learned from others. 2)  Today’s Book of Mormon seems grammatically correct — but only because it underwent over 4000 changes...

Reason #186: Because the LDS Church Banks on Short-Term Memory of the Public

I recently learned here that some people believe the leadership of the LDS church exerted enough pressure that it was able to prevent the production/airing of a mini-series, The Mormon Murders, that documented how the LDS church (and others) were duped by a document forger named Mark Hoffman. Some might say that the story of Hoffman is hardly “news” — but I’m thinking that the LDS church is hoping that time has softened the effect of this story and its implications:  The LDS church bought documents from this forger because they believed them to be BOTH authentic and damaging to the reputation of Mormonism. That’s the way Mormonism is dealing with its past — by making it go away. Here’s an excerpt from my book, The Mormon...

Reason #185: Struggling with an Unknowable God

One of the greatest disservices that Mormon doctrine does to the minds of its adherents is the reduction of the concept of a three-in-one God down to compartmentalized beings. I have struggled with this now for the 38 years I have been a Christian. Here is one way that I portrayed my struggle. This is an excerpt from my novel, Latter-day Cipher, which attempts to portray the gut-wrenching challenges of leaving Mormonism if you truly love it. (The book is also available here on this site, autographed.) I’ve been accused of modalism because of this passage. Quite to the contrary, this does not reflect a full view of the Trinity that I hold (there will be more posts to follow) but it does give a way for a Mormon to begin to grasp the Trinity concept. In this...

Reason #184 This Glimpse into the Past

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to live in the city Joseph Smith created in the mid-1840s — from a non-LDS perspective?  Now online are PDF documents from the Nauvoo Neighbor, from 1843-1845. In browsing through one of the issues, I noted that Sidney Rigdon was the town’s postmaster, and that one could buy a facsimile of the famed Kinderhook Plates via the mail (in the January 3, 1844 issue, on page 3 of the PDF.) Fascinating stuff. For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today (Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading...