365 Reasons

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney, Respectfully Submitted

This post has 5 comments

Before I print the text of the letter I have written to Mitt Romney, I want to lay out the situation.  The problem is that conservatives want to support a conservative presidential nominee. But they are distrustful of someone who practices a religion which has in the past claimed that all other religions are wrong, and whose faithful adherents make secret vows.

So here is my letter:

An Open Letter To Mr. Mitt Romney:  The Elephant in the Elephant Room

Dear Mr. Romney,

First of all, let me congratulate your successes as your party’s nominee for the Presidency of the United States.

You may not remember me—but perhaps you will. I was a freshman and wrote for Brigham Young University’s award-winning weekly publication, Monday Magazine, during your senior year at BYU. I don’t think we met, but perhaps you as a fellow student read what I wrote then.

I’m hoping you will consider what I’m writing now. We have gone very different paths—you in politics and continuing in the Mormon Church; I as a professional writer and an ex-Mormon. But I don’t want to stir up trouble for you regarding religion. I have no interest in discussing doctrine. No who’s right and who’s wrong.

I’m hoping you will listen to a suggestion I have that will allay the fears a lot of people have concerning the possibility of a Mormon president. There are many, many conservatives who will vote for you if you will do one single thing.

Here’s the elephant in the elephant room. It’s the question about whether your religion will affect—or even trump—the way you run the most powerful and good country in the world.

It’s the vow you took in LDS temples, the one where you promised to “consecrate your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  I know it was secret and sacred for you to make that oath, but any Mormon, ex-Mormon, or anyone at all with an Internet connection knows the oaths you took ( http://latayne.com/mitts-mormonism ).

Do you want conservatives to get behind you? I think there’s something you could do that would preserve your conscience, allow you to maintain your religious beliefs, and allow conservatives of every religious bent to put aside their fears and vote for you.

Make a statement. I know you said something four years ago, but it wasn’t strong enough. Say how important your religion is to you, and acknowledge that you took vows to support your church. Then find a way – you choose the wording—to tell people that during the four or eight years you are president, you will continue your loyalties to your ancestral faith but that you will always consider your duties as president as sacred. Promise you will always put the United States of America first in your life, for those years. Tell us that you will be a President first and a Mormon second during those years, no matter what.

I left your religion because I couldn’t agree with it. But I can agree with a President who will swear to put the interests of the United States and its citizens above an earthly church organization.

Yours sincerely,

Latayne C. Scott

A Wonderful Letter from a Reader

This post has 8 comments

I recently received (and responded to, as you will see below) the following letter. At the letter writer’s request I have changed the names:

Thank you so much Latayne. I live in (place withheld) and a friend down the street from me  and I were in conversation and she didn’t know I was raised as a devout Mormon, was Seminary President in high school, did Baptisms for the Dead, and went to BYU.  I told her for the past 12 years I haven’t set foot in a Mornon church mainly because I just didn’t believe in the prophet Joseph Smith’s teachings and I don’t believe he was a prophet.  I also believe we are saved by grace and not by works.  My husband (who was never raised in any faith and only goes to the non-denominational church we go to now just to be an example to our two small children) and I have been married for eight years and I’ve always felt that one day I probably would go back to the Mormon church just because it’s what I felt was what I “knew”; and deep down I wondered –well what if it’s totally true after all…what if I won’t know my family after I die because I didn’t get sealed to my husband or children?
I still always defended the church as being “Christian”; because that’ss what I had always been taught.  That is, until last week.

[My friend] told me that she knew you, so I looked you up online and found a WEALTH of information.  I have to honestly tell you Latayne, I haven’t had peace like I feel now.  I didn’t know SO MUCH…mostly what flabbergasted me was the temple rituals being so closely related to Free Masonry.  I never visited the temple as an adult so what goes on was a total mystery to me.  What keeps playing through my mind is how as a child and how as a Young Women’s accompanist I would sing and play “I Love To See the Temple, I’m going There Someday…” and I realized it really is brainwashing!!!!!!!!  I have had PEACE this week from pouring myself into the information you have online.  It’s not hateful at ALL…simply facts that those struggling in faith like me can use. It gives me great comfort feeling that I made a good decision.  What I’ve realized this week is that I truly did accept Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior years ago even when I was a practicing Mormon, but the definition has changed and I realized I need to get baptized in a CHRISTIAN Church.  So this weekend I am being baptized!!!  I can’t even tell my own mother…it will truly CRUSH her.  But I’m telling you, a woman I dont even know, because of the peace I’ve gained this week from your words.

Thank you from the bottom of my very grateful heart!!!

Hello!  You didn’t mention your name (so I for sure won’t include it when I post your letter :) but I am SO glad to get to know you!  What would we do without [friends in] our lives, who give us direction when we need it!  Give her a big hug from me!

I’m so happy my website was helpful to you. Please, let me help  you if questions arise. And I’d love to hear about your baptism afterwards. That is wonderful!

Your letter made my day!

Yours and His,

Interview on Moody Radio South Florida, Week of March 12

This post has 1 comment

You may listen to this short interview here.

Reason #198: Simon Southerton’s Treatment as a Doubting Mormon

This post has 13 comments

Many people suppose that leaving Mormonism is at first a liberating experience, throwing off the shackles of error, going into the light of truth. But it didn’t feel that way to me, and apparently it doesn’t feel that way to a lot of thinking Mormons who struggle with the cognitive dissonance of their heartfelt “testimonies” that clash with information they acquire that proves the LDS Church is wrong.

Simon Southerton is most famous for his groundbreaking book, Losing a Lost Tribe, in which he used his scientific training to show that DNA testings prove that the American Indian, known as the “Lamanite” in the Book of Mormon, could not possibly have the Jewish ancestry that Mormonism claims.

He struggled with his findings, and found at a local level the LDS leadership was empathetic and helpful. But as his discoveries went higher and higher into Mormon leadership (even though Southerton had not published his findings at that time), he was counseled by that upper leadership to memorize glib “dodges” to questions and to keep quiet about his scientific findings. In fact, other LDS researchers had previously come to the same conclusions and had been silenced, why not him?

Read Simon Southerton’s account of the early days of his struggles with emerging truth here.

Reason #197: Count up the Book of Mormon Changes for Yourself

This post has 3 comments

I’ve seen estimates as high as over 5,000, describing the number of changes in the Book of Mormon from its first “inspired wording” to recent editions. But don’t take my word, or anyone else’s for that. Look on this site and compare multiple digital versions for yourself:

Facsimilies of Historic Book of Mormon Editions

Very interesting!

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 devices.

Also available by Latayne C. Scott, Latter-day Cipher: A Novel