I have often been asked when I became disillusioned with the Mormon church. I tell people it wasn't a one time event. It was a process. There were many things I found odd, many things I didn't believe in. I knew that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. In my studies of Sunday School I even ran across the word, polyandry, the practice of marrying another man's wife while they are still married to them; which Joseph Smith did. I knew about the Danites, the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I knew about the failed Kirkland Bank that Joseph prophesied would be successful. I knew that Pres. Smith had prophesied that man would never land on the moon. I knew Brigham Young to be less than honest in his business dealings, a racist, that he didn't treat his wives well.
Yet, I stayed. Why, people outside the Mormon church ask. Because I was taught from the time I was born that it was the only true church of god and there was only one way to heaven, and it was through that church. No matter how flawed it was, and I believed that.
Then there were the contradictions in receiving revelations and I began to be at a place where I could not believe any more. Not only were we supposed to blindly follow what the profit said and we were told that when we followed him, even if what he said may lead us astray, we would not be held accountable (the leaders would say we were not required to have blind faith, but this is blind faith!). But local leaders began claiming this same infallibility. I could not accept this. The ward I was in was planning a Trek. The leaders decided to make the trip more authentic, they were going to withhold food and water. I and several others were opposed to this.We voiced our complaints. We were worried about health issues, possible liability, and that the trek was already a difficult experience, it didn't need to be added upon. We were told to be quiet, to implicitly trust our leaders, to not have a voice of dissent. We would not be quiet. I didn't want to have to pull my child out, but if it came to it, I would. We went to former bishops and stake presidents and voiced our concerns and asked them to plead our case. In the end, the pressure that was put on the trek leaders worked and they backed down on this terrible decision and reason won out--this time.
This was a trend. It happened over and over. Dissent was not allowed. If a voice of opposition was expressed, you were labeled as someone who was questioning the spirit. I was questioning policy and poor decision-making. I began questioning how decisions were made. Were all these decisions really being made by the spirit? Or were these men making decisions on their own and then claiming god-inspiration to squelch dissent? The more poor decisions were made, the more I questioned. I even asked one bishop how he came to make church callings. This was his answer. 'Well, we (the bishopric) pray at the beginning of our meeting, we discuss who we want in each calling, come to a decision, then we pray at the end of our meeting.' WTF?! That's men making the decisions and hoping they got it right!
If a forger named Mark Hoffman can con the very top officials of the mormon church into buying fake documents over several years and he not be found out until he commits murder, then there is no spirit of discernment leading this church.