President James Molina 11 September 2007 (Patriot Day)
Salt River Stake
Dear President Molina,
I am in receipt of your letter dated September 2nd 2007.I was disappointed to hear the description of the planned course of action.
As you recall, in our final private discussion, you described the course of events to have my records removed:
I was never offered any explanation why there was a departure from this original plan, I only assumed that it was what you wanted to do or were directed to do.[I was happy to discuss my situation with the High Council, and share with them the greatest of all gifts, the gift of knowledge.]
The finding of guilty for apostasy was the assessment of the council, based on the councils' definition of apostasy, not my definition.The main charge and tenet was distribution of materials that ran contrary to accepted church orthodox belief.I would counter that I distributed nothing but facts, and clearly stated when I was offering an opinion.Are we not all entitled to an opinion?Are distribution and discussion of facts considered apostasy?If so, I am guilty as charged.
I personally hope that Church leaders will eventually face the realities surrounding the origins of the Church, the RLDS (Community of Christ) has already made this leap and faced the music.Who is to say that in 10 or 20 years, the LDS Church will not follow suit?The day may not be far off that the entire church membership may actually agree with my conclusions regarding the historicity of the Book of Mormon (for example). I believe this scenario to be not only possible, but somewhat likely. Today the Church formally apologized, for the first time, for the role played by Church leaders in the Mountain Meadow Massacre.This was a huge step in the right direction.25 years ago, nobody would have dreamt this to be possible, yet today it is reality.
Joseph Smith himself wrote that he did not like the concept of a creed, which a man must believe or be asked out of the Church. "I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels good not to be trammelled. It don't prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine." Joseph also was quoted as saying: "The most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter-day Saints and sectarians was that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived its members of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter-day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist."
Similarly, President Joseph F. Smith testified before the Congress of the United States that Latter-day Saints "are given the largest possible latitude of their convictions, and if a man rejects a message that I may give to him but is still moral and believes in the main principles of the gospel and desires to continue in his membership in the Church, he is permitted to remain." At the same time, he added,
Members of the Mormon Church are not all united on every principle. Every man is entitled to his own opinion and his own views and his own conceptions of right and wrong so long as they do not come in conflict with the standard principles of the Church. If a man assumes to deny God and to become an infidel we withdraw fellowship from him. But so long as a man believes in God and has a little faith in the Church organization, we nurture and aid that person to continue faithfully as a member of the Church though he may not believe all that is revealed.”
I still believe in God and have good confidence in the Church organization. Therefore, by the standards of President Joseph F. Smith, church membership should not be withdrawn from me.
From my viewpoint, my education and indoctrination through a life-long membership was insufficient to prepare me for the real facts regarding the origins of the Church.I have turned away from conspiring to hide the facts and the truth.I am resolved to champion the truth and discuss all facts and reality. If this is considered apostasy, then I am guilty.If the Church cannot withstand scrutiny of the facts, that is not my problem.
LDS church pews are filled with closet doubters.I am come forward with my doubts, and have been open and honest.In what way does this behavior merit a public announcement that defames my character and embarrasses my family? Since when is researching the facts and embracing all truth and knowledge considered apostasy?
Finally, the announcement to the wards in the stake serves no Christ-like purpose.Nobody is going to ask me to give a talk, that is a non-issue.Non-members are allowed and encouraged to pray, and are instructed that partaking of the sacrament is optional, since it holds no meaning for a non-member.At least these were the policies regarding non-members when I was in the mission field.Furthermore, I could move 1 mile away, be in another stake in 6 weeks, and the announcements would have served no purpose, except to pain and embarrass my family.In short, the announcement tactic is just plain cruelty, and is not something that will lead to any positive effect on anyone.
If you have any regard for me and my family, you will find a way to avoid the announcements to Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society groups. I hope and pray that you will soften your heart and avoid this impending catastrophe.Please feel free to forward this letter to the First Presidency as you see fit.