Hate Mail's Surprise Endings

The following is an exchange between an attacking person and an exmormon, named Richard Packham who has an extensive web site. Please read through this and be surprised by the ending.

On my web page I invite comments, but I also say "Please, no preaching or hate mail." I received this on November 12 (I have deleted names to preserve anonymity):

"no preachers or hatemail" hmm...you can say and tell whatever you want to the world on your uneduacted webpage abour Ladder day Saints, but no one is able to write you an email telling you what they think? im sorry, but I have too. first of all, I don't see your purpose in your webpage. You must have some whacked out free time to waste, because most of the stuff on there is false. Why are you so concerned and determined to bash and ridicule other's beliefs Mr.? Once again I don't see the purpose here.
Thank you for taking the time to write. Nor does it do any good to say, as you do, that "most of the stuff on there is false." Why not point out to me what is false? Why not prove to me that I am wrong, with facts? I assure you that I am an honest person and (as I said on my web page) I have no interest in promoting falsehoods. So, please show me, with facts, where I have made a mistake.

I find it interesting that you label my webpage as "uneduacted", and yet you can't even spell the word, nor can you spell Latter-day Saints (you spell it "Ladder day").

Are you perhaps seeing the mote in my eye when you have a beam in yours? (Matthew 7:3-5)

I look forward to getting some facts from you.

And I don't consider the time I have spent on my web page wasted. I get e-mail every day from people who have seen it and who have been helped by it to get out of the Mormon church or to avoid getting sucked into it.

Best wishes, Richard

facts..well what do you want to know? I still don't see your purpose here. seriously. whats your purpose? I think you feel threatened that we are the true church, and that we have the restored Gospel. You want facts, just ask. And remember not everything is black and white, sometimes faith is so much stronger. Heavenly Father wants us to go by faith so that he can see that we would do anything to return to Him again without proof. If this was supposed to be easy and the answers right there he would of showed and told us a long a long time ago. He definatly knows that you aren't ready to recieve knowledge of the Gospel, because he knows that you would riducule and make fun of just like you have showed Him already. You would make excuses why it just isn't true and thats why its so hard for you to realize the truthfullnes and the importance of the true gospel. We are not able to understand how Heavenly Father did what He did, but we are able to understand why, and his purpose of doing what he did. If you want facts babe, just ask and i'll answer you.
you wrote:

>facts..well what do you want to know? ... You want facts, just ask.

I suggest that you point out to me some factual statement I made on my website, and you show me with counterfacts that I'm wrong. Something major. That is, something that I said which - if correct - would show that Mormonism is a fraud and a lie.

>I still don't see your purpose here.
>seriously. whats your purpose? I think you feel threatened that we are the
>true church, and that we have the restored Gospel.

Like most Mormons, you have no idea. If Moroni 10:5 were true, and you really had the spirit telling you the truth of all things, you would know that for most former Mormons the one thing that we know as an absolute certainty is the Mormonism is a lie from start to finish and that it is no more the "true church" than any other powerful cult such as Scientology or the Moonies.

>And remember not everything is black and white, sometimes faith is so much
>stronger. Heavenly Father wants us to go by faith so that he can see that we
>would do anything to return to Him again without proof. If this was supposed
>to be easy and the answers right there he would of showed and told us a long
>a long time ago. He definatly knows that you aren't ready to recieve
>knowledge of the Gospel, because he knows that you would riducule and make
>fun of just like you have showed Him already. You would make excuses why it
>just isn't true and thats why its so hard for you to realize the
>truthfullnes and the importance of the true gospel. We are not able to
>understand how Heavenly Father did what He did, but we are able to
>understand why, and his purpose of doing what he did.

Spoken like a truly brainwashed cultist. Please, for your own good, use your mind and be a little more skeptical. You are using the same arguments that the Moonies, the JWs, and the Heaven's Gate folks use.

>If you want facts babe, just ask and i'll answer you.

I'm asking. I look forward to your specifics. Facts, please. Remember that an explanation (such as "Heavenly Father knows you would just ridicule..." or "HF wants us to go by faith..") is NOT a fact. Any scam or hoax or lie can be "explained," especially to those gullible people who desperately want to believe it.

BTW, I am presuming you are referring to my article summarizing Mormonism "To Those Who Are Investigating Mormonism" . . You didn't say specifically.

Today I received two more e-mails (which is average) from people who thanked me very much for the information I had on my web page. It helped them (one, to get out of the church, and the other to avoid being high-pressured by missionaries into being baptized). I think that shows what the purpose is.

Best wishes, Richard

She sent this response the same day:

I sound like a typical brain washed mormon? ahhahaahah! and you know how many times I've heard that? everything you've said on your website ive heard it all before, everything your are saying to me now, ive heard it all before. Im sorry I won't deny what I believe in. You stoop really low. People are vunerable and thats why they thank you for help. They aren't sure about the Gospel and they take the easy way out as a cope out and listen to any Tom, Dick or Harry that speaks against what is true. Its a threat to non memebers, because our church is growing and successful, and is the True Gospel. I totally understand where you are comming from. Dude, i have so many friends that are like you. Thats what is so cool about all this. If everyone was Mormon or Catholic it would be so boring. The answers are there...and once again, if you want facts just ask.

your wrote:
>The answers are there...and once again, if you want facts just ask.

I'm asking. I'm asking now for the third time. If you have any facts, let me have them, preferably one at a time. Facts.... I will measure facts with facts. I will counter preaching and invective with preaching and envective. But I really prefer facts. Please, let's stick to facts. I've put a lot of things that appear to me to be facts on my web page. Show me how they are wrong.

This came

let me just ask you this...where did you get these so called lies that the missionaries or the members won't tell us? Some of them seem so far out of this world...where did you get your info babe? And what makes you and your facts right? Lets start out with this and then maybe we will go into the facts.

I replied:

If you are referring to my article "To Those Who Are Investigating Mormonism" you will see links there. Now, please pick one and show me how it's a "lie"...

Facts, please. No "maybe"... Or don't you want to discuss facts? You really seem hesitant about bringing up any facts... Why?


She responded:

hesitant? nah just annoyed thats all. Like I said before...everything you have said, ive heard it all before. its pointless to show you or tell you facts...youde just give me some lame excuse why it's a lie or something like that.

My reply:

OK, you originally offered to send me facts to show that I'm wrong. Now you're offering excuses. That's OK... That's often the reaction I get when I challenge Mormons for facts. And I assure you that you would not get "some lame excuse" from me. You would get facts. I promise you that you'd get facts. It seems to me that YOU are the one who is dishing up lame excuses instead of facts (even though you promised me facts).

Just because you've "heard it all before" does not mean that it's incorrect. I've "heard before" all the Mormon excuses and explanations and so-called "evidence," but I don't use "I've heard it all before" as an excuse not to present the facts.

It sounds like you are just blowing hot air and testimony.

Best wishes, Richard

Instead of facts, she had questions, on November 15:

hmmm...youre very gullable... with any religion/denomination, there is going to be "dirt" pulled up on it, whether it be true or false. But can I ask you some questions?

1. where did these men get this imformation about Joseph Smith and the so-called what really happend back then stuff? where did you get it? where did they get it?
2. what about the temple stuff? where did you or they get that?
3. who are these people that are getting the information? are they not members anymore?
4. Did you used to be Mormon?
5. and one more thing...are you Christian? Baptist? what are you? Do you believe in God?

I replied:

You wrote:

>with any religion/denomination, there is going to be "dirt" pulled up on it,
>whether it be true or false.

The question is whether it is true or false. If it's true, it's pretty important to know that, isn't it?

>But can I ask you some questions?
>1. where did these men get this imformation about Joseph Smith and the
>so-called what really happend back then stuff? where did you get it? where
>did they get it?

Look at my article again. All the links have references. If you know anything about historical research, you will recognize those methods. Ultimately all this information, like any historical information, goes back to diaries, eye-witness accounts, contemporary newsletters, etc.

>2. what about the temple stuff? where did you or they get that?

Can you be more specific? Do you mean the actual rituals, or their being originally Masonic, or the continual revision? What?

>3. who are these people that are getting the information? are they not
>members anymore?

Some are still members, many are no longer members, others were never members. If what they are saying is accurate, what difference does it make?

>4. Did you used to be Mormon?

See "Why I Left"

>5. and one more thing...are you Christian? Baptist? what are you? Do you
>believe in God?

What relevance does that have, so long as what I am telling you can be substantiated with facts? But if you must know, see Richard Packham Homepage

Now, this is about my sixth e-mail to you since your first e-mail to me, in which you said that my article was all false and lies, and if I wanted to know the facts, I should "just ask." This is the sixth time I am asking. Pick one thing (to keep things from getting too big) that I say in my articles about Mormonism which - if correct - would mean that Mormonism was not what it claims to be, and prove to me that I'm wrong. Not just an "explanation" (like, "we'll know the answer to that when we get to heaven" or "you must simply have faith that it's true" or "God is testing you"), but real facts.

Best wishes, Richard

This came on November 17:

wow. You're old! im surprized. :) every "ex-mormom" and their stories that I read sound similar. The way you grew up, the way the other people grew that wrote those stories sound like the way that I've grown up in the church. It makes me want to cry im so confused.

all my life(all 20 years of it) ive believed all this. You don't know how bad I still want to believe in all this. Richard it's my life. I just got paid a few days ago, and can't get myself to pay tithing, because of my doubts. Just like you said in your story, you wanted to go have that cup of cofee and drink some wine. I feel like me tryin to do what's right, me trying to follow the word of wisdom is such a waste of time. I need excuses, but there seems to be none. I was reading this story about a guy who went up to the Y to pray to see if going on a mission is the right thing to do...he didnt recieve an answer. you know which one im talking about? anway, i feel like that too. what am I gonna do?

This probably makes no sense to you...my thoughts are scrambled... I dont want to believe that I have been lied to all my life. I just can't believe this.

To this bombshell, I replied:

Well, I was really surprised by your last e-mail! First, let me assure you that I think I understand your feelings and your confusion. Partly because I went through it myself (many years ago), and also because I have watched many, many others experience the same thing. I know that it is painful, and until you deal with it - one way or another - it will continue to be painful.

You, and only you, can decide what is best for you. The reason that I maintain my website and make available those materials is because for many people Mormonism causes more problems than it may solve. Many people feel trapped in Mormonism, but don't know how to get out, since they have been persuaded that it is "true." By showing them that it maybe ISN'T true, they are able to leave, and find happiness elsewhere. It's for those people that I think it's important to know more facts than what they learn in Sunday School and at seminary.

But there are other Mormons - and perhaps you are one - for whom life outside Mormonism would be a disaster. For them it's better that they NOT be given some of the unpleasant facts about church history, that they NOT be asked questions about Mormon doctrine that show it to be wrong. I have a relative, for example, who is such a Mormon. Her life hangs by a tenous thread, her "testimony," and if she were ever to be convinced that the church was not true, I don't know how she would react. As it is, she is a neurotic alcoholic, but she has the church and her Mormon family and her husband in the bishopric. Others are convinced that if they were not forced to "be good" by the Mormon church, they would be out getting drunk, whoring around, and beating the dog. If that's true, then I thank God that Mormonism keeps them in line.

For me, the most wonderful thing about the Gospel was, that it was TRUE, that it was GOD'S WORD revealed to the Prophet. It was when I set out to prove that to others that I ran into trouble, and it became impossible for me to maintain that conviction. To me, when I became convinced that Mormonism was not what it claimed to be, it held no attraction for me. I had been taught and trained (ironically, by the church!) to be 100% truthful, to love the truth, to hate the lie, to pity those who were laboring under false delusions (like the Catholics and Protestants).... In a way it was a horrible thought, as you say, to think that *I* had been lied to all those years.

I don't think that I was lied to by my teachers and those who brought me up in the church. They were fine, sincere people, all of them. They would not lie. But they WERE mistaken. They were deceived, too. They just didn't realize it.

You really didn't ask me for advice (although you did say "what am I gonna do?"), and I would understand that you may not want advice from an apostate. I'm sure that your bishop or your family would tell you that anything I say to you is simply Satan trying to deceive you. But for what it's worth - whether you accept it or not - here's my advice.

Take your time. Don't try to decide right now. Try to keep on "living the Gospel." Pay your tithing. Keep the Word of Wisdom. At the same time, study the origin and history of the church, read the Journal of Discourses, study Meso-american archaeology, study religion in general, study philosophy, ethics, mythology, anthropology, geology. If the Gospel is true, all these things should fall into place. Read material that is critical of the church, but don't simply accept it or reject it; check their sources, examine their thinking. Learn to be skeptical both of the apologists for the church and of its critics (there are a lot of really stupid anti-Mormons out there!); learn something about the scientific method, the rules of evidence, the fallacies of logic.

And then use the brain that God gave you and use it for the purpose for which it was intended: to think, to analyze, to recognize truth and to recognize falsehood.

Also, don't think, if you should conclude that the Mormon Gospel is not true, that you should reject everything it teaches. Alcohol can be harmful, sexual promiscuity can be harmful, lying and cheating are bad; families are important, etc. All of these things remain true, whether Mormonism is "the one true church" or not. To put it another way, if one leaves the church JUST so they can drink wine, they are making a big mistake. If you read my story, you remember that it wasn't until AFTER I had left the church that it occurred to me to try coffee and wine.

Of course you are afraid. You have been taught that those who leave the church become miserable, gnash their teeth in torment, and never have another moment of happiness. I can only tell you that those fears are groundless. I know many, many former Mormons, and without a single exception they say they have happier, fuller, and richer lives since they left the church. I say that not to try to convince you that you, too, would have a happier life, but to allay any fears you might have. That is, don't make a decision based on a groundless fear.

You are having a struggle, I can tell. I wish you the very best. Let me know if I can help in any way. I promise you that I will not try to convince you to leave the church. If you think it would help, you can telephone me. My number was given to her. (I live in Oregon).

Well, I've rambled on much too long.

Best wishes, Richard

She wrote this on November 18:

I feel as if my fairytale is comming to an end Richard. My bubble that I have lived is being popped. I'm coming face to face with what i have been dreading to come face to face with for a few years now. I want to believe in the Gospel so bad. Not believing in it, puts a stop to like my dreams. seriously, I feel as if not being married in the temple, i wont be happy without marrying a mormon. I've always wanted to raise my future children LDS. It seems so perfect. A temple marriage is what i've wanted since young womans. going to the temple sounds more foolish, more like a joke than anything. I can't believe this. I don't think i have ever been this scared before. I don't think the leaders of our church realize this...how much this hurts, how much this breaks my heart. didn't they ever think that curious minds would search for answers and be aware of this?

this is my life. its changing right before my eyes. I don't feel trapped, i feel confused and pissed off that I have never received that feeling that everyone talks about, but i put so much time into it. yes i have made my mistakes, but i would stick up for what we believed in even though i don't know much. so there is no God? I think that is what gets me the most. ok so maybe the Gospel isn't true, but no God? that makes my stomach turn. Then i sit here and ask, where was He when I was ready to kill myself? where was He when my grandma was dying, and we needed her still?

This semester I was able to take a political Science class and a philosophy class that opened up my mind. My professor for Political science had us read a book by John Staurt Mill, On Liberty.(have you read it or heard of it? it was unbelievable. he made me realize that questioning is so important. My professor asked me yesterday what will it take for me to step out of the box and become and individual? I was dumbfounded...all I kept thinking about was my beliefs. being able to step out of the mormon box and realize how mislead i have been. My parents are so disappointed in me...i had my dad read a story that i found in here. he got so mad at me for even reading it. I knew it hit a sore spot with him too. My dad is in the high council. my mom threatened to turn off the internet if i keep looking up "anti-mormon" stuff. of course, once again they try and control everything i do, not letting me figure it out on my own. I talked to my sister about all this and i guess it upset her and she told my parents. they told me to not talk about all this stuff with them/sisters. it hit a sore spot with everyone.

I wouldn't say im trapped, im just in denial maybe, scared, in shock. Ive always pushed this stuff aside, thinking these people/anti-mormons-exmormons dont even know. but then to come to find out, i dont even know. I wouldn't say i am miserable...but ive never seemed happy with me. I have always been looking for me, ofr something else. But i have everything...the Gospel. so i thought. i think being LDS would help me find it...but how long do i have to keep searching for it? Im not blaming the church at all. its a lot to do with me. This is so hard... just last week, while me and friend were writing the book review for that book I told you about(On Liberty), we were talking about that if we did come to find out that what we did believe in our whole life was false, it would crush us. And I cant believe a week later its here.

I have friend on his mission that everyone thinks I am going to marry...he comes back home in a year. in a year, i dont even know what im gonna be doing. how scarey. Im really wanting someone to show me its true richard. my life is gonna be a wreck...if Heavenly father were really here, i think he would tell me. I thought He is all knowing? why is he letting me go through this? if this is true why isnt he letting me know?

why is the church so successful? why are so many people getting baptised if isn't true? someone has got to blessing the church...but it just doesnt make sense. Ive tried to read the Book of Mormon...first of all, its boring, second, i dont understand it, and yes ive prayed before and after just like i have been told to do, and nothing. even President Hinkley says its just a feeling that he gets? the people I look up to dont even know. I cant believe this...talk about a broken heart.

I was invited to go to institute tonight at another stake...i dont know whether to go or not. I wonder if anyone else is gonna be there that feels like me. and another thing...what if this is true? and i die? the worst sin is not believing in God...i wish my grandparents would come into my dreams or visit me and tell me how true it is, or how dumb it is.

richard..i apologize for the first emails i have sent...i was on the defense. sorry. and no i am not related to those people. and once again...yes i am a scatter brain...and just a million things are running through my head.

I answered the same day:

First of all, there is no need at all for you to apologize for your first e-mails to me. I understand now where you were coming from, and it's OK.

You have been on my mind all day, and I can't tell you how I sympathize with the situation that you are in. Your anguish and frustration and confusion comes through very clearly. I just wish that I could do something to help you over this difficult time. But somehow you have to find your own strength and take charge of your own life. You can do it, whatever path you choose, and you will be stronger and happier for having chosen for yourself.

Yes, I know John Stuart Mill very well, and his "On Liberty" is a great piece of thinking. Of course he is not 100% correct (nobody is!), but he opens one's mind and we are better for it, whether we agree with him completely or not.

Your feeling "but what if it's TRUE!!!???" is very natural. It is a famous philosophical-religious question, posed first by Rene Pascal, and is called "Pascal's Wager." In its classical form, it goes like this: If there is no God, and we die, then we have lost nothing if we do not believe in God. But if there IS a God, and we have not believed in God, we will go to Hell. So, the best bet is to believe in God, because if there IS a God, we will be saved, but if there is no God, we will have lost nothing. You are apparently feeling something like this. "What if the LDS church IS true???" The problem with accepting Mormonism as true based solely on the "odds" is that it may be that orthodox Christianity is true, and those Christian folks say that Mormons will burn in Hell because they worship the Mormon Jesus who was conceived by Elohim having sex with Mary, not the Holy Trinity. Or it may be that Islam is true, which teaches that anyone who believes that Jesus was the Son of God will go to hell. Etcetera. So, what are really the best odds?

I have always felt that - if there is a God - I am God's creation. God created me. I am his "child." As long as I am honest and truthful and sincere, my Creator would not punish me for making an honest mistake. I am a father. I have children. I would not punish any child of mine for making an honest, sincere mistake. If a child of mine did something contrary to what I wanted, especially if I didn't give him clear instructions or didn't prepare him well enough, I would be wrong to punish the child. Can God (if he exists) be less loving and forgiving that I would be? I doubt that there is a "God" that created the universe and watches over us. I may be wrong, but I don't see any good evidence for the existence of God. But I admit that I may be wrong. But if there is a God, he will not punish me for simply being wrong. I have still been a good person. I have tried to make something of my life. One of the Bible verses that I remember reading (when I was still Mormon) that "rang true" for me was Micah 6:8 "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" God does not require more than that. And why should he?

I guess what I am saying to you is that EVEN IF YOU ARE WRONG, God - if he is merciful and loving as he is supposed to be - he can and will forgive you, so long as you are honest with him and honest with yourself. You must be true to yourself. You must follow your own inner voice and not mistrust it. The only ones that you should mistrust are those who tell you that you should not trust yourself.

You are so right in wanting to believe that the Mormon picture of life is true, that the Mormon ideal of marriage and family is the way it ought to be. The sad truth is, however, that the ideal so rarely is seen, even among Mormons who do their very best to live that ideal. Are you aware of how many faithful Mormon women are addicted to tranquilizers? How many Mormons suffer from chronic depression? How rampant among Mormons is child and spousal abuse? Why? The church covers it up, but you just have to look around you in your ward to see the unhappiness, the false smiling faces. I see it in my own family members - two of my four siblings (both good and faithful Mormons) have attempted suicide because they were miserable, because the promise of Mormonism, the ideal, was really impossible and unattainable. The Mormon "Way of Life" just doesn't always work for everybody. If it works for you, then fine. But if it doesn't, you can spend your life in misery, trying to conform to a pattern that doesn't work for you.

I gather that you still live at home, since you say that your parents are upset about some of the things you are reading on the internet. In the Recovery from Mormonism group we have seen quite a few young Mormons with this problem, and it is not easy. Generally we advise them to keep peace in the family, not to "make waves," and to avoid conflicts with parents. Continue your studies of the church and the gospel. Look for answers... not every criticism of the church is valid, after all (Ed Decker, for example, is pretty kooky). Remember that you don't have to DO anything right now, you don't have to change anything.

But the most important thing is not to be afraid. Trust yourself. Trust your basic good sense. Don't be afraid of facing the world and the future, either as a Mormon or as a non-Mormon. One can find happiness on many paths, and the wonderful thing is that one has a choice. If you think you will find happiness as a Mormon, then go for it. If you decide that Mormonism is not what it claims to be, then there are other paths that also lead to happiness. Happiness really comes from being content with oneself and one's view of life and one's feeling at peace with the universe and with one's fellow creatures. Frustration and doubt cannot make one happy.

When you say that you never got that "feeling," you never felt that Heavenly Father was telling you that it was true, did it ever occur to you that he WAS telling you? So many people have tortured themselves over the fact that God never gave them a testimony, never "filled them with the Spirit" and gave them a manifestation of the truthfulness of the Gospel. And they were always told that they didn't have enough faith, that THEY were to blame for not getting the message from God. Well, DUH! Maybe the message was clear enough. Maybe the message was, Hey, how much brains does it take for you to see that you are being duped??? As one person put it, Why should I ask the Easter Bunny if Santa Claus exists? Any psychologist will tell you that we can convince ourselves of anything, if we simply want to believe it strongly enough. But that's self-delusion. That's not generally a good basis for a happy life.

You mentioned about how much the church is growing. Did you know that Falun Dafa (a Chinese religious sect, founded in the 1980s) gained ten million members in just ten years? That Islam is converting entire nations in Africa, gaining a million members a YEAR? Does this mean that they are "true"? With 50,000 missionaries in the field, the Mormon growth rate is really rather pitiful. Most gains are being made in third world countries, and the retention rate is very poor. Many missionaries are complaining that they baptize people and they come to church a couple of times and they never see them again. Many converts are simply attracted to the possibility that this wealthy American church can help them in their poverty. Do you know how many people are leaving the church? At Recovery from Mormonism we are flooded with people asking us how to leave, how to get their names off the records, how to get the home teachers to leave them alone. The office at church headquarters cannot keep up with the name removal requests. They are behind in processing them, and people are having to wait weeks because of the backlog.

Well, I am rambling again. Please don't take offense at anything... I don't mean it that way. I feel for you in your pain and your confusion. I wish you nothing but well, whatever you do, whatever you decide.

Keep studying, keep asking questions, keep your mind open, weigh all the evidence, pro and con, and trust your own good sense. How else will God communicate with you, except by putting ideas into your head?

Sincere best wishes,Richard

Meanwhile we have discussed the BoM, the First Vision, Brigham Young's sanitized teachings. I won't make this even longer by quoting everything. She has told me about her family, her career hopes, her schooling. She made this comment in one e-mail:
Richard, please stay in touch with me, even if I bug you. this is such a relief, like a load off my back talking about things i have bottled up inside that I never let out. thank you.

In my last e-mail from her, she was headed for Institute:

well here I go, I am going to institute tonight, ready with an article on Joseph Smith and his vision and some evidence against it to show my teacher. I'm ready to hear some answers, maybe even some silence because she won't know what to say. Im a little scared, but I am ready.

Comments and Reactions

I felt the young girl's pain and frustration as she wrote, it made me cry. I'm grateful that you, Richard, were there for her and so gentle and understanding. I, personally, LOVE my life and my children more than ever, since leaving Mormonism 2 years ago. - 08/06/2005 - NotSoHappyInUtah

See, this is why what you do on the Salamander Society is vital. You have reached so many folks who are trapped by this lie its incredible. Never, ever give up this work to reach them. Kudos. - 04/27/2004 - from Very Impressed Never Mo

Very interesting how her change went from closed-tight defender of the faith to confused and open to other people's opinions.

It makes me wonder how often such a quick shift happens, whether my TBM friends are about to shift, and if they are wrestling with the truth even as they say there is no doubt in their minds that the church is true. - 02/15/2004 - from Kempis Curious

Dear Richard,
I myself am a Christian, and have been raised with a deeply sincere dedication to the truth. I respect and admire the way you handled this girl, because it really was a II Tim. 2 "gentle instruction" thing (I don't necessarily agree with everything you said, but I was impressed nonetheless). As far as the whole doubt about God existing, I would like to suggest that you read C.S. Lewis's book "Mere Christianity." Although he eventually tries to present his case for the Christian God, in the beginning he simply presents why he thinks a God must exist. If you have not already read this, I think it might be a good idea, and I think it might prove very helpful for this girl. Also, as far as her wondering why God won't just come down and make everything right this instant, my ex-girlfriend has lived through a tremendous amount of pain, including several of her friends committing suicide and family members dying. God has used those times to teach her more than she has ever learned during an "easy," relatively painless time. Anyhow, I hope that I have been of some help or service. Thank you - 08/30/2000 - anon

Richard I cant say how good it makes me feel that you have reached out to this young lady in the way you have. I think that the l.d.s. church teachings tend to aid members in tis automatic kick-in of "if its a difference of opinion with the church, it is anti-mormon." rather than acknowledging the fact that its o.k. to have a difference of opinion. I guess what I'm trying to say is that as long as l.d.s. people realize that the ones who are giving this difference of opinion are doing it out of concern, and love for their christianity, as opposed to just slamming the church maybe theyd entertain an open mind approach. Your certainly representing christ well in this aspect, and may he love you and grace your life. Denver Prator E-mail = pratore5150@aol.com - 02/16/2000


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