the thinker

Lance Miles

This web page is dedicated to the accomplishments of Lance Miles and his dealings with the Mormon Church.

Who is Lance Miles?

Lance Miles is a former Latter-day Saint that left the LDS faith in 2013.

My Exit Story

Our family's transition out of the LDS church, started on Sunday, February 10, 2013.

First, a little history: My wife and I were both born into the LDS church in the same year of 1973. Her mom was a convert and her dad was somewhat an inactive Mormon. Although they had struggles, her mom was active and always took the kids to church. Around the age of 11-12, my wife's dad really started coming back to church and they were taking the temple prep classes to become sealed as a family. That's when tragedy struck. Her dad died suddenly in a coal mining accident. A year later, when my wife was 13, her family was vicariously sealed to him in the temple.

I, on the other hand, had an incredibly stalwart LDS upbringing. I was born in the covenant with a long line of very dedicated LDS ancestors. I was brought up with the understanding of gratefulness to have been so valiant in the pre-existence and so blessed here on earth (as the Book of Abraham and many General Authorities have taught).

My wife and I met in seminary during our senior year. She was (and is!) the love of my life. After graduating, we took some college classes and then I went off to serve a two year mission in the New Mexico, Albuquerque mission. I served an incredible 20 months among the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and other “Lamanite” tribes. I LOVED the Navajos and was actually semi-adopted into one of their families. Then I spent my last 4 months in Albuquerque around mean “whities” (my own kind according to the flesh). I was excited for my “Lamanite” brethren to come to a knowledge of their ancestry and once again blossom as a rose…in the desert…with no money….no property…no electricity…no indoor plumbing…no running water…no education (oh wait, we were going to “blossom” them through the placement programs the church had established. Some of them even got whiter skin according to Spencer Kimball in his talk during the October 1960 LDS Church Conference). My mission taught me a TON for which I am very grateful.

I got home in July 1994 and my high school sweetheart and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the Manti temple in January 1995. In 1997 we had our first of three incredible children. When we finally opened our eyes to the “truthfulness” of the gospel in February, 2013, their ages were 15, 13 and 10.

I was born and raised in Eden, Utah (Ogden Valley) and my wife was originally from Price, Utah (she moved to Ogden, Utah when her mom remarried a nice LDS fellow). We raised our kids in Riverdale, Utah until the fall of 2003 when we moved away from the Utah bubble and into the wicked Gentile world of Eugene, Oregon.

We had no family or friends in Eugene so we really grew close within our own family and to our ward family. Our ward has always seemed to struggle with having enough active members to fill callings. My wife and I took on many challenging callings and we became a very reliable family to fulfill the needs of the Lord in this part of his vineyard. My wife commented at one time she was spending almost 40 hours a week magnifying her callings with all she was requested in do within our ward and stake. My wife's incredible though. “Going the extra mile” is an understatement for her.

Anyway, we were quite happy in our ignorant bliss. Certainly, at times life would get daunting but we've always plugged along through the challenges. Although we moved once since arriving in Eugene, it was within the ward boundaries so we spent almost 10 years creating wonderful ties and relationships within our ward and stake. At the time of our crash into the truth of Mormonism, I was First Councilor in the Young Men's program and my wife had just been released from Second Councilor in the Stake Young Women's and was currently serving as the scout Advancement Chair and involved with girl's camp.

Now to the meat: It was a nice rainy northwest day on Sunday, February 10, 2013, and my lovely wife and I were sitting in Gospel Doctrine class. Our lesson was in the D&C (the year's teaching curriculum) and it just happened that I came across D&C 49:16, “Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;”

Suddenly, my heart was pricked. This verse had always been in the scriptures. Why did it strike me odd on this day? I thought to myself, if God gave Joseph Smith a revelation in 1831 that a man should only have ONE WIFE then why on earth did we ever enter into polygamy??

Now, I've had many a time in my adult life when something didn't sound right about a teaching. A scripture, a conference talk, something in the lesson, you know how it goes. But I would always put it on the shelf and say I'll think about that when I get home from church (or whatever meeting or activity I'm at). I'm usually just too busy thinking about what I'm going to eat when I get home from church, or getting the kids to stop fidgeting in sacrament, or thinking about all the stress at work and what needs to be done during the next week. Sometimes, I start thinking about all the other meetings and duties I'm going to have to perform for my calling during the week, or I start feeling guilty about how I'm neglecting my home teaching families. Soon, all my thoughts about church duties and life obligations get in the way of my little seed of doubt and it almost immediately wilts and dies off.

Well, not this time. I had just gotten an iPad a few months previous and I was using it for my scriptures. I figured I'd Google the reference right then and get to the bottom of it. I've never had such easy access to information before. I figured that with a few clicks on the internet I'd have the answer I needed to rationalize this small polygamy issue away.

I've never turned to any information about the church except the scriptures, approved LDS magazines and the website. I have been taught about the dangers of Satan my entire life and how easy it can be to lose your testimony and be led astray. I was sitting in Gospel Doctrine so I wanted to make sure my Google search was directed to an authentic church resource, not “anti-Mormon” propaganda. I immediately stumbled onto FAIR's website (ran by church members) and started reading….and reading!….and reading!!….and reading!!!! I had never heard of FAIR before ( I had no clue what an “apologist” was.

I could not believe all the issues the church was dealing with. I had never heard of most these things. They were outrageous claims to me, yet the FAIR website was trying their hardest to defend the issues. Very few regular, devout members of the church even have a clue about all the problems the church is currently facing with their doctrine. I've been a member all my life and I could not believe that Joseph Smith had all those wives (at least 33)! I was always taught that polygamy was instituted to “restore all things” and that it was only practiced by a few men to help all those poor old ladies who had lost their husbands as they crossed the plains.

WOW! I set things aside that Sunday but I started studying more during the week. I didn't need to work that next Friday so I basically read from Thursday evening through Sunday. I stayed up almost all night Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. By Sunday at 6:30 am, after reading all night, I told my wife my faith was crumbling concerning the doctrines of the church.

That same Sunday, the 17th, we again sat in Gospel Doctrine class. The teacher was teaching the lesson and asked, “Who knows what the original name of the church was when it was established in 1830?” Several people shouted out, “The Church of Christ.” He then asked, “And when did the name change?” “1838,” came a reply. “Yes,” he said, “in 1838 the church changed the name to better represent the latter-days.” I was absolutely furious! I turned to my wife and she just grabbed my leg. I wanted to scream out, “THAT'S NOT THE WHOLE TRUTH!! FOR FOUR YEARS WE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE CHRIST IN THE CHURCH NAME!!”

(A little background: when the church was formed in April 1830, Joseph Smith established its name to be “The Church of Christ,” just as it commands in the Book of Mormon. In 1834 the name was changed to “The Church of the Latter Day Saints” (no more CHRIST!). Then, our unchanging God, changed his mind again, and in 1838 the name was changed to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”).

I was so frustrated. Our Gospel Doctrine teacher is very well educated in the gospel and a former Stake President. I do not believe he was ignorant about this “overlook.” I know this sounds like a small issue but the Book of Mormon is very specific about the name of the church: 3 Nephi 27:8 “And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses' name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.”

At the end of that Gospel Doctrine class I met with my Bishop and resigned from my current calling. This was a HUGE shock to him. I didn't tell him my reason at that time. As the next days past, I continued devouring all the information I could get. I was spending 8 to 20 hours studying each day. My wife was so incredibly understanding of all the time I was taking in this process. It wasn't all-consuming to her like it was me but she listened intently as I relayed fact after fact, truth after truth. I was so grateful she was on the exact same page I was!

My Bishop called me into his office about ten days later to tell me to repent and get back to work! I told him it wasn't that simple. It's not like I just got burnt out of my calling. I told him I had real serious issues about the truthfulness of the gospel. I asked him if he knew about Joseph Smith “translating” the golden plates with a rock and his face stuffed in his hat (not the “Nephite interpreters” like we're always taught), about Joseph Smith's polygamy and polyandry, about the Book of Abraham, Blacks and the Priesthood, etc. He said I've run into a bunch of “anti-Mormon” lies and he had never heard of any of it. IT BLEW ME AWAY! Here was a 72 year old man who had been bishop for five years and he denied knowing any of it!

I asked him why we eat meat during the summer when the Word of Wisdom clearly says we should only eat it sparingly and in times of winter or famine. He said, “Because it tastes good!”

We spent some time on Blacks and the Priesthood. I told him about the statement that's now included at the top of Declaration 2 in the newest set of scriptures (2013) where it says some blacks initially held the priesthood but then the policy was changed and the leaders don't know why. I said, “don't you think it'd be important to know why the church denied thousands of blacks the blessings of the priesthood and temple ordinances for 140 years?” His response was, “Well, that's the way it goes!” WHAT THE FLIP?!

Needless to say, he finally let me resign from my calling.

Several weeks later (the week of April 15th), and after many more hours of studying, my great wife and I were headed back to Utah for a family meeting to announce our resignation from the church. Our announcement to my wife's family went quite smoothly. My wife's brother and sisters have all gone inactive for various reasons but none were because they became enlightened to the real truths within the church. Her mom and step-dad are the only ones active. Since her mom was a convert to Mormonism and was treated very bad by her family in the process, she had more love and compassion for us and our “crisis of faith.” Plus, her step-dad is a very laid back guy whose first objective is for people to be happy.

On the other hand, my entire family is devout LDS so you can imagine how that meeting turned out. My immediate relatives consist of my mom, eldest brother and patriarch of the family and his wife (with 2 kids who were just going on missions), an older sister and her husband (with 1 kid currently on a mission), second older sister (with husband from 2nd marriage), and younger sister and husband (who is from Ghana...a true Canaanite). My brother and one in-law are both High Councilmen and my little sister and her husband both work for the church headquarters. My sister deals with getting missionary visas prepared and her husband is in charge of building construction. The church is everything to my family relatives.

Upon hearing that we're resigning, my brother immediately pulled the Church Handbook card and said, “How many times have you read the Book of Mormon in the past two years? Are you praying? Having family home evening? Etc.” The accusations were flying! In the end we realized it probably wasn't the best idea to have everyone sitting in a semi-circle with my wife and me on two chairs in the middle. Tears were shed and lots of feelings hurt. No one really cared what we had found or why we were leaving. My brother said what we were doing was like pornography or having an affair. Basically saying we were sinning by learning about our church's history.

Another great highlight came from my oldest sister. We have a fun pseudo-secret in our family concerning our dad who turned out to be gay at age 56, after 34 years of marriage. That was a horrible nightmare that I personally have huge regrets about how I treated him. If only I wasn't such a religious bigot back then. Only a couple years after he came out, he got Leukemia and died five years later in 2004. He was excommunicated, my mom and dad divorced, and our family relationship severely strained until the last week of his life. My dad had horrible stories about the advice church leadership gave him and all the things he tried to do to stop being who he was. But, that's a story for a different day. Anyway, my sister had the gall to say, “I'm glad those church authorities told dad to hold in his feelings and marry mom!” (The authorities thought that would help make him “straight”) She said, “Them doing that gave us kids the opportunity to be born and raised in the church.” The other siblings seemed to agree as did my mom.

My wife and I were floored! How on earth do you say it was okay for people to treat you like you had a disease and not be able to live the true desires of your heart for 56 years and then to have your kids say we're glad you were punished like that?? Can you imagine the torture he must have endured throughout his life not able to be himself? He said that living with my mom was like living with his sister! My mom and dad were both totally short-changed because of their religious beliefs. And then the misery we all put my dad through because he was such a “sinner!” It's sickens me now. In learning all the false teachings about the church, I came to realize how judgmental I've been my entire life.

One good thing did come from going to Utah though. The next day, my brother called me and asked if I wanted to visit with an old family friend, Elder Marlin K. Jensen? He's been a long time high leader in the church and was quite recently released from being the Church Historian. I was very quick to jump on the opportunity and I really wanted my brother to be there with us in the meeting. Very luckily (a miracle really), we were able to setup a meeting with him and discuss our concerns. He validated all our information was correct (polygamy, polyandry, lies with the leaders, papyri, peep stone, blacks, among other things).

This is what did it for me: In the meeting with Elder Jensen, we discussed Joseph's peep stone and hat. I asked about the Nephite Urim & Thummin and he confirmed they were used in the translation process until the 116 pages were lost. From then on, Joseph used a peep stone that he had found a few years earlier while digging 20 feet down in a well for Willard Chase. Elder Jensen then concluded Joseph Smith “GRADUATED” from using the Urim & Thummin, to the peep stone in his hat, to finally just receiving the revelations in his head.

So I presented this scenario him: We're told the Urim & Thummin are PHYSICAL instruments brought to America by the Jeredites from Old Testament times. These instruments were handed down from generation to generation. They were kept physically safe from all the wars and battles for many hundreds of years. Then the Urim & Thummin were given to the Nephites. For many more centuries they were kept physically safe from falling into the wrong hands. They were Physically passed from person to person for hundreds of years. They were so important they're talked about in the Book of Mormon that they'll be preserved with the gold plates to make sure the plates can be translated in the future. Then, in 421 AD, after over 3,000 years of safe keeping, Moroni buried these PHYSICAL spectacles and breastplate with the gold plates. For another 1,400 years, God carefully watched over these physical items while they lay hidden in the Hill Cumorah. Then Joseph Smith finally receives them on September 22, 1827 (the fall equinox; an important date in magic, BTW). He says they're the most amazing spectacles and he can see anything and anywhere by putting them on. He uses them to translate the 116 pages which get lost. Then Moroni gets mad and takes these Nephite interpreters away...the sole instrument that God has preserved for thousands of years for the very purpose of translating those plates. And what does Joseph do? He simply decides to use his trusty peep stone, and by putting it in his hat, he “translates” the ENTIRE Book of Mormon that we have today?!?! While the whole time the golden plates are actually hidden away and not even used in the translation process. I asked Elder Jensen, “How is that “GRADUATING!?”” He stated, “The spirit in this conversation is getting too secular.”

Wow…what a meeting! I cannot believe we're never taught these things in the church. The polyandry (where Joseph married women who were currently married to living husbands), was outrageous and Elder Jensen had no answers for why Joseph did that. Except to give the horrific excuse that Joseph said an angel came with a sword and said he'd be destroyed if he didn't marry these women…girls as young as 14!!! This makes me sick!

By the end of that meeting, Elder Jensen challenged us to do two things. The first was to “lean into the church.” The second challenge was, “don't study church history too little.” Well, we didn't oblige him on the first offer. After everything we had learned, we knew we'd never go back to the LDS church again. We received our official notification letter saying our names were removed on May 22, 2013.

He should be very proud of me on the second challenge. I continue to read, study and pray non-stop! I can't get enough about the history of the 1800′s! I've spent many hundreds of dedicated hours on this quest of knowledge and I haven't been able to find anything that makes me go, “WHOA…I was wrong, the church really is true.” I actually don't understand why he'd say that?

The early saints believed Christ was going to come by 1891. They were all religious fanatics. They setup the ultra-secret “Council of Fifty” where Joseph's theocratic government was established and he was declared, literally, KING of the world! They were getting things ready for the huge world war (D&C 87), where the Constitution would “hang like a thread” and the “White Horse” prophecy would be fulfilled in that the Elders of Israel would come to the government's rescue. Thus, the church would setup a new United States Constitution as a theocratic dictatorship under the United Order (Communism) and usher in the Second Coming of Christ in 1891 to a bunch of polygamists who thought the more wives they could get on earth would mean the more kingdoms and principalities they'd have in the eternities (D&C 132)! stuff. The leaders were out to lie, cheat, steal and kill to get what they wanted and you had the poor, gullible, penniless saints who gave EVERYTHING they had for this great fraud.

We gave 40 years of our lives believing we were part of the only true church on earth. It was an exclusive club that only .2% of the world population gets to be involved. Yes, that's only POINT TWO PERCENT, and even less when you take only active members, and much less for only temple recommend holders!! We gave thousands upon thousands of hours of free labor and well over six figures of income in tithing and donations. It's amazing the mind-control, manipulation and brain washing that slowly get indoctrinated into your everyday life as a Latter-day Saint (starting as a child when we sing primary songs like “Follow the Prophet…he won't lead you astray”).

After leaving the church, my wife and I have a found a freedom that we've NEVER felt before. No, it's not in sinning; it has nothing to do with that. In our opinion the church is the opposite of free agency. You are absolutely controlled in your decision making. The temple recommend questions are the biggest evidence to that. Just to remind you, here they are again so you can truly think about them without the pressure of sitting in front of your bishop or stake president:

  1. Faith in and testimony of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost,
  2. Testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
  3. Testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
  4. Sustain the President of the Church and his authority, and other general authorities and local church leaders.
  5. Living the Law of Chastity.
  6. Relationships with family members in keeping with church teachings.
  7. Support for or affiliation with any group or individual that teach practices that are not in agreement with church teachings.
  8. Making a good faith effort to keep the covenants the individual has made, to attend church meetings and keep their life in harmony with the gospel.
  9. Honesty in dealings with others.
  10. Paying a full tithe.
  11. Keeping the Word of Wisdom.
  12. Payment of and keeping current on child support or alimony, if applicable.
  13. If already attending the temple, does the individual keep the covenants made in the temple and wear the temple garment "night and day" according to the covenants made in the temple.
  14. Making a full Confession of any serious sins to Church leaders.
  15. Finding oneself worthy to enter the temple and take part in the ordinances within.

Can you please tell me where Christ has all these stipulations to follow him? If we answer no to any of these questions then we're found “not worthy” and we can't get a temple recommend. When did Christ find someone “not worthy” who wanted to follow him? Christ's teachings were simple. The LDS church takes away our freedom of thought. If we feel the church leaders are not treating the GLBT community Christ-like then how can we fully sustain the leadership? If we don't conform exactly to the laws set forth in the church then we can't fully participate (ie-weddings, temple ordinances, church callings, etc). If we believe the Book of Abraham is a pious fraud then we're found “not worthy.” That's not freedom. The church creates elitism and classism. That's not Christ-like. The church made absolute liars out of “worthy” temple goers in the 60's and 70's when many members believed the blacks should have the priesthood but the GA's hunkered down and vehemently said NO. Those members had to deny their personal feelings and agree with the leadership of the church in order to get a temple recommend. Where's the free agency in that thought?

My wife and I now make decisions based solely on what's best for our little family. The power to think for oneself is indescribable! We make decisions based on our own internal family values. Those still within the grips of the church will scoff and say we don't know what we're talking about or the devil is leading us astray. But, those who have come to the greater light and knowledge of truth know exactly what we mean.

As my wife and I exited the church, my LDS believing family was upset about our so called eternal salvation and eternal marriage/family (or lack thereof). My brother commented on why even go on living if you don't believe in the Mormon heavenly structure.

Through our process of greater understanding, my wife and I have come to realize just how important this life is! If this is truly our one chance (an Agnostic view of not knowing), then we should live this life to its fullest! Traditional Mormonism states that we'll be damned (stopped) forever if we don't obey everything just right, according to the modern day, living prophet. I believe the LDS church has taken a much more liberal stance in the past 20 years as far as eternal progression goes. It seems we're not damned at all anymore and we'll slowly workout our progression in the eternities (denying what's in the Book of Mormon), yet we're still damned in this life because we can't fully participate within the church unless we absolutely conform (ie-have a temple recommend, which we had basically our entire adult lives in order to stay in good standing within the club).

In closing, I just want to end with a thought. In my research, I started to realize how many break-off branches there are to Mormonism. It got me thinking. Why did I believe the LDS church is the “one true church”? If I was born into the RLDS church (now Community of Christ), I would totally believe they were the true church. Or, the FLDS branch. It's the same thing with the Jews, Muslims, Catholics, etc. We tend to cling to the belief system that we've known the longest. Just because you grew up in the church, or if you have been a convert for many years, does that default it to mean it's right, or “true”?

The one claim true believing Mormons hold onto are “feelings” or the spirit. Every religious person alive “feels” they have the truth. If feelings from the Holy Ghost are so valid, why then are so many people led astray? How do you know if your feelings are from God or from Satan? Just look internally to how many original Book of Mormon witnesses, Apostles, leaders and members left the early church for other branches of Mormonism or other churches altogether based on feelings they had. Read the testimony of David Whitmer (among many others), and you'll get a quick understanding of just how fallible “feelings” can be.

A feeling is not a reliable indicator of truth.

I just want to point out that the Bible say's don't trust your feelings:

John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

You see, the Bible teaches that “feelings” are fallible and to beware of them. So, how do we really test truth? Well, here's one way:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID OF HIM.”

Since we have so much of Joseph's Smith's history, it's pretty simple to see he gave many false prophecies and sent millions of people to “go after other gods” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

There are so many inconsistencies, lies, cover-ups, deletions, omissions, additions, changes, manipulations, etc. that Mormonism has had over the past 180 years that it's no wonder so many people immediately resign when they learn the truth. My head was about to explode trying to maintain my “Cognitive Dissonance.” When I started to realize it was all man-made tyranny that Joseph Smith used to get money, sex and power…it all fell into place and made perfect sense. I feel a burden has been lifted and joy fills my heart!

God bless you on your personal journey!

Lance & Nicole Miles



Nicki and Lance Miles’ epic Mormon transition and their meeting with Elder Marlin K. Jensen

mormonstories episodes 727-730