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    Understanding the True
    Origins of Mormonism

    The Incredible Story of a Race of Celestial Beings
    that once Came to the Earth...

    by Clare Gregory

    Chapter 11
    Changing Feelings

    How does a person go from believing that the LDS Church is the only True Church on earth, serving a two-year mission and in six Elder’s quorum presidencies and a Bishopric and one day suddenly discover that what he knew was true is not factual? For me, the change did not happen all at once, but over two decades as explained earlier. The Holy Spirit guided me to different scriptures, people, circumstances, and places. All of these external evidences confronted my feelings, and finally I was forced to conclude that the overwhelming evidence could not be denied any longer It didn’t matter what I felt anymore. What I saw and what God did in my life through circumstances, people, and even “miracles”, caused me to look deeply at my theological foundation. It’s like God placed a green neon sign in my life that flashed “leave Mormonism”. My feelings had been misplaced, and I rearranged my mind and being the process to leave Mormonism. .

    I’m a sincere, honest person. When I was seventeen I had a girlfriend who gave me some anti-Mormon literature to read. I spent a couple of years before my mission reading this literature, but accepted all the pro-Mormon explanations, and went into the mission field feeling pretty prepared to convert the world. Then I attended BYU, got married, and began raising my family. But the questions about true salvation kept surfacing over and over. If the Church was true, was it so hard to for me to understand the contradictions I saw in the Church? But this was my test, I reasoned. It was opposition placed in my life to make me stronger. So I chose to believe. I read the teachings of Joseph Smith, not to prove him wrong, but to further my education into the doctrine. I believed in the Latter-day scriptures, and implemented them as tenaciously as possible. I spent hours and hours in the LDS scriptures, and started connecting to the original false spirit that Joseph Smith had delved into. For anyone who reads the Ensigns, attends Church, and participates in the milk programs of social interaction of the LDS Church, they will NEVER understand nor appreciate the original false light that came from the founder, Joseph Smith. To do this, a person must study Joseph’s life and teaching in great detail, and then he or she must sincerely believe every word that came from his mouth, and most importantly, he or she must do every thing that is required by the LDS scriptures. The current leadership of the Church--President Hinkley, His Counselors, and the Twelve--do not teach clearly the original doctrines of the Holy Priesthood that both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young believed in and practiced. To duplicate the same powerful spiritual manifestations of these early leaders, we must believe and obey the same intense doctrine.

    Unfortunately, I placed myself on a course to believe precisely as the LDS founder believed. My primary source of tutoring was the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. For over fifteen years I spent between one to three hours per day in these books, praying for light from Heaven, trying to glean from the Holy Spirit what I believed was true. However, I started finding discrepancies and unanswered questions. I found the GAs and Apostles were not focused on what was written in Holy writ, and it bothered me. But knowing that speaking against the priesthood is in violation of the temple covenants, I deferred my opinions to myself, and said nothing negative against the Church. But the more I studied, the more disenchanted I became with the doctrines being taught publicly by the brethren. It is not that the principles are blatantly false, but they are not the original spirit nor focus of Joseph Smith. I mentally ignored the mainstream teachings of the Church, and I trusted the LDS Scriptures and Joseph Smith as the basis for my belief and practice. Surely God expected me to obey His written Word, I reasoned. Surely God’s Word was greater than a man’s.

    Then I started getting visitations from spirits and powerful revelation in my search to find the truth. At the time, I believed and assumed the manifestations were all from God. But now, I’m not sure which spirits were from God, and which were counterfeit. I believe it was a mixture of both. And it doesn’t really matter now, for that is in the past, and has little bearing on the present. What is important is the education and where these strange experiences led me over time. For obvious errors that occurred form false manifestations, I learned the danger in putting our trust in feelings over everything else. Some of the stronger revelatory messages I received from these strange powers did not concur with reality and facts. In short, these powers clearly lied to me. So I reevaluated my feelings and testimony. I was staying within the bounds of “my priesthood”. I was also paying my tithing, attending Church, serving in all my callings, and attending the temple. Indeed, I was receiving revelations about the temple ordinances themselves, and so believed I was on the path toward Godhood exaltation. I reveled in the light I was receiving, praising myself for my progressing in the truth.

    As the light came, God brought people and situations into my life that made me wonder what was happening. When I prayed for one thing, something else happened, and I observed closely what God was actually doing in my life. I could not ignore “the facts” of situations before me. As explained in Chapter 4, finally the external evidence became so overwhelming against my beliefs, for the first time my life I opened my mind to reading “both sides” of the LDS debate as objectively as possible, and my belief could fall either way—true or false.

    For 23 years, I forced myself to confine my studies to “the brethren” in authority, fighting and resisting all doubts. Then, during the month of May, 1998, when my mind was pried open by doubts about President Hinkley, I began to investigate with an open mind. I must confess my first reaction was to “read and pray” about the Book of Mormon again. This had always worked in the past for me. When I doubted or had trouble, I’d just whip out the Book of Mormon, and bingo, twenty minutes later I had my faith back and was spiritually humming again, bearing my testimony to others, sharing the truth. But something had changed. After fasting and praying about the Book of Mormon, God didn’t say the book was true or false. The Holy Spirit whispered: “If the Book of Mormon is true, then it will stand up against all observable evidence.” That was a truth I could not deny. It made a lot of sense. It wasn’t some feeling I was to trust, but the evidence externally that I could readily investigate. But I truly didn’t like the answer because it meant doing more grueling research. Yuck! But I was willing to approach the Book of Mormon as objectively as I could, and do whatever was required.

    So, I headed for the Internet and went to the “other side”. Within two weeks I had found so many Book of Mormon loopholes, changes, and issues I was completely OVERWHELMED. I had either assumed or had been taught that the early changes of the Book of Mormon were mostly grammatical. But I discovered actual names had been changed, as well as total concepts. For example, the original Book of Mormon said that Mary was the “mother of God”. This was changed to “mother of the Son of God”. This is just one example of so many changes in the Book of Mormon, countless books have been written on the subject. After 23 years of seclusion, I had absolutely no idea of the staggering case against the Book of Mormon. Then I went to the LDS apologist pages. Their positions were so weak and illogical, I was beginning to be swayed. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence suggests that the story line is fiction. When I discovered actual genetic tests confirms that the Indians are Mongoloid blood, and not Israelite blood, that was the final evidence that tipped the scales. After 150 years of intense archeological research, the scientific evidence I believe clearly refutes the Book of Mormon claims. But still trusting my past feelings and spiritual experiences with it, I was not about to leave the LDS faith unless I was 100% absolutely sure it was false.

    How was I supposed to rip out my heart to believe what scientific research and intellectual conflicts suggested to be fact? I could not.

    Although the objective evidence against the Book of Mormon is devastating, there is one very strong argument that had not been shaken by the Anti-Mormons. It is the testimony of three witnesses who saw the plates and the angel. In my studies, I have seen neither a valid nor a reasonable case to discredit the Book of Mormon witnesses. Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdrey all remained true to their original testimonies until they died. It is true there are some accounts claiming the witnesses described the experience as more “like a trance” or a king of mental gymnastics, and it is claimed that the plates were not really tangible gold. Some claim that all the witnesses were good friends of the Smiths, implying they were in collaborating in a deliberate fraud. But these arguments are weak. The testimony of the three and eight witnesses is recorded in the front of each cover of the Book of Mormon, and not one witness ever tried to change the written testimony. The written testimony is the cold facts that I could not ignore. The probability of these men lying on their deathbeds, ready to meet their Maker, is very slim to impossible.

    Therefore, with the testimony of the witnesses before me, I was left with a great conflict in my mind. If the Book of Mormon was fabricated by Joseph Smith from either the Spaulding manuscript or the Book of the Hebrews, then story of the three witnesses does not fit. That one peace of unshakable evidence discredits all theories of the Book of Mormon being produced by human means alone. And if Joseph Smith didn’t write the Book of Mormons, then where did it come from? If God, then why is the objective evidence regarding the archeology so remote and non-existent? How can the Indians be full of Mongoloid blood? Are they not Israelites from Jerusalem? This question of the origin of the Book of Mormon needed to be answered clearly before I was going to walk away from 40 years of invested time and energy into Mormonism, not to mention my family and heritage tugging at my heart like a gigantic magnet. I needed to solve the Book of Mormon riddle, which at this time, each argument was still speculation and guessing at best. Many strange pieces of the LDS puzzle did not fit the theories offered. I needed an answer that fit all the pieces together in a coherent explanation. Each theory I’ve studied has merit, but each also has huge loopholes that leaves one to wonder and doubt. If the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith with the help of others, then how did he conjure up the angels and visions? Why the seer stone and the Urim and Thumim? On the other hand, if he used a hat and seers stone in the translation process, then why the need for the Solomon Spaulding manuscript? The logic just didn’t close. The contradictions rolled like marbles in my head, clanging and clicking like peep stones having no magical powers at all.

    And what about the angels appearing in the dedication of the Kirtland temple and the Salt Lake Temple? Many members bore witness to these events, and therefore, the evidence suggests something supernatural is behind the LDS faith. Do we pick a methodology of study that throws out all claims of the supernatural and then pick and choose who is lying and who is telling the truth? And if lying, how do we pick a framework that explains the source of the lies and motive behind the deception? Much of the arguments against the Church are character assassinations by those who believe Joseph Smith was a deliberate liar. But this turns the debate into one of mud-slinging of human weakness and imperfections and takes the debate into useless arguments that get us nowhere. From the LDS viewpoint, the priesthood keys save us not mortal imperfection. Joseph never lost these keys. So human errors and the sins of Joseph Smith or any other Latter-day prophet it is not a valid argument in true LDS theology. For example, Joseph Smith could have fallen into sin and raped thirteen women, but if the priesthood remained, then the sacred keys to the Kingdom of God would still be on the earth. These keys have been passed on since the time of Joseph Smith, and president Hinkley holds them today. Brigham Young could have erred on the Adam-God doctrine, and Willford Woodruff on plural marriage. All of these men were human beings, prone to error, sin, and disobedience. As long as we have access to the priesthood and temple ordinances, that is all that is important, for our salvation as a Church can still be accomplished through Jesus Christ and His saving LDS priesthood. The priesthood power puts an iron-clad theology on top of Mormonism that makes the religion invincible in spite of human errors. It is clearly evident and angels spoke and laid his hands on Joseph and Oliver giving authority to baptize, and I was not going to budge off that belief until I understood clearly the truth of the matter. If this were true, and if I held that priesthood, then I needed to sort through the issue of the angel. I myself had had many experiences with ministering spirits, which only strengthened my testimony of the LDS work. How could I deny my own spiritual experiences as a Mormon? Didn’t these spiritual manifestations prove I was right and the LDS Church was true?

    All of these thoughts, coupled with my job, family, and financial turmoil were bearing on my soul. My mind was like a deep-fry grill, sizzling with conflicting ideas that would not cook properly, leaving burnt ash and smoke all over. The objective evidence of the Book of Mormon created major doubts in my mind. But on the other hand, the objective evidence of the witnesses stared me in the face, creating belief. Th fact that I had found God in the Book of Mormon did not help in the decision-making process either! I had prayed to know the truth again about the Book of Mormon, and the situation weeks later had gotten even messier and more confusing! There still was no clear answer.

    For 40 years I had been obedient and faithful, but I still had nagging doubts in the back of my mind! What was I to do? I screamed to God for answers this time. All I ever really wanted in life was to know the truth and obey my Lord. And the more I prayed to understand, the more confusing it became. Enough was enough!

    I was completely fed up! Like the children of Israel, after years of wandering in the deserts of Mormonism, God needed to release me from the parched soil and plant me in the Promised Land. And I believed He could free me of all doubts. He’s God. I was determined to find out the final truth about Mormonism, for I was sick and tired of being a ping -pong ball bouncing incessantly for years and getting no where.

    This page was first created on 23 January 1999
    Last Updated on 16 April 1999
    Created and Maintained by The New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh
    Not all the views expressed in this book are necessarily those of NCAY