Monday, April 27, 2015


A year or so ago the missionaries knocked on our door. They weren't out looking for apostates they were just hitting all the homes in the subdivision. It was nice spring day so Victoria and I sat with them for 30 minutes or so and just talked. They were very polite and for the most part they just listened. We did our best to walk the tight rope between being honest but still respectful.

 At some point in the conversation they seemed like they were trying to get us to nail down our concerns to "one thing". Perhaps they thought if they could resolve our concern about that one little stumbling block that we’d go put on our Sunday best and follow them back to church.

 I responded by saying, "If it were just one thing I might still be a member. The truth is it is everything. Every single thing we were taught in seminary has an asterisk next to it.” I went on to explain that the first vision story has an asterisk. The history of polygamy had several asterisks. The Book of Abraham had an asterisk. Each of the Articles of Faith had a few. The origin of the Book of Mormon… The Church’s claimed humanitarian aid… The fines for illegally influencing an election… etc. etc. etc. With very few exceptions everything that was asserted from the pulpit did not stand up to scrutiny. Everything was not quite as it seemed. There were just too many asterisks.

I closed by explaining that, “Once you start researching all of those asterisks, like Lance Armstrong's Tour de France wins, the truth isn't as spectacular as you originally thought it was.

I hope that concept planted a seed. I don’t actively try to get people to leave the LDS church. But I do encourage critical thinking. I hope that our conversation will get them to look a little deeper into what they were taught and are now teaching.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael. I like the asterisk metaphor. The "too heavy shelf" is one that I have used. The words "G*d Box" , IMO, are only appropriate in a SNL sketch involving Stewart Smalley.
    One hair I will split is over this: "...Every single thing we were taught in seminary has an asterisk next to it.”
    I can see by reading the entire post in context, you are speaking about relative quantities, not absolute statistics (right?) Might I suggest omitting the quotation marks around your "response"? The first vision asterisk, which you mention next, is a weighty one but most missionaries and members will not "...start researching all of those asterisks..."
    IME, most active members, presented with such information, even if from a revered authority, find it easier to ignore them or at least regard them as inconsequential to their overall experience of being LDS. And why not? I remain an active member of the Church, among lesser reasons, because it feeds me spiritually and intellectually. I get similar sustenance outside of lds circles and dialogue with apologists and critics is part of that. One final thing with which I respectfully disagree, is that, while I can accept your study and experience are real for you, I know that others have looked deeply into these matters and NOT returned with a less spectacular view than that of their "seminary truth", but with a far more spectacular view of "the great plan of happiness" and a much diminished confidence in their own intellect.
    Best regards and keep writing!