In my investigations as to what "my religion at the time" was really about, I think Joseph Smith using the hat with a peepstone must surely rate at the top of the list in being a shock to my system causing me to investigate further.
For me it was mind blowing to say the least, because all pictures and testimonies had depicted something so totally different up till then. This is what sent me on a quest to find out more and to find out things for myself and not just believe what others were telling me as 'the truth'.
I started with 'approved" church history and from there realized why there was the wording "anti mormon literature" - a very clever ploy to keep me ignorant.
I was just wondering what your "Big Shocker" was...?.
Can't remember having any huge shockers.
Probably the biggest would be after I left and came on LAM. I never knew until then about all the versions of the first vision.
I'm constantly getting shocks here as I'm made aware of the BS, cover-ups, deceptions, and changes of doctrine.
Before coming here, the shock that convinced me it was all a fairy tale was studying evolution. It was a shock to find-out how logical and easy to understand it was. It was a shock to see the mountains of evidence that proved beyond any reasonable doubt that we came to be by natural selection and not by creation.
The thing that really craps me out as a continuing christian believer is how so many can throw the evolution baby out with the bath water. I see no reason why the two cannot exist. The southern baptist convention threw Jimmy Carter out because he has reconciled certain aspects of evolution in with his faith. Blew my mind, after all he's done around the world tor the past three decades, all the hard work, when he could have been laying around on his ass doing nothing. They go off and kick him out, and he's still teaching Sunday school when he's in town. It's this kind of judgement that really bugs me. Way too much vitriol in our world, and way too little action for those in need. And I know some of you are in need, and If I could, I'd help.
Many shocks, but one of the first was when a friend of mine---a former bodyguard for four of the Church presidents---told me story after story about what kind of man Tom Monson actually is in private, behind the scenes, when he's tending to the day-to-day business of the Church...and the way he actually treats other people when nobody but the grunts are looking on. Not a pretty picture. Not a picture of a man that has the confidence of a prophet---or at least what I would hope a true prophet had---basically a somewhat petty, angry man. I went so far as to write a comment to the Deseret News when President Hinckley died, suggesting that he, Tom Monson, the pretender to the throne, ought to seriously consider recusing himself because of his less than Christlike demeanor. Of course, that went over like a lead balloon. Then there was what Michael Quinn had to say about the actual manner of the decision of the Brethren to discontinue polygamy, and its aftermath...and the treatment of Quinn, himself. These two "shockers," among the thousands and thousands of problems with Mormonism that have convinced me over and over, were pretty big departures on the part of the Mormon Church from suitable behavior (for all the good they do) for someone claimant to the "only true and living church on the face of the earth. To which rank they sadly don't even hold a candle---if such exists at all.
One of my 'ah hah' moments was thinking of the years in primary having the kids sing about 'priesthood power' and RS talking about how a 12 year old has more power than the Pope and the marvelous priesthood blessings, etc. Through a ton of research there is NOT ONE BIT about Melchezidek/Aaronic priesthood as described by the lds cult. It existed, but it in no way resembles the cults boast. I was surprised that there are FEMALE PROPHETS in the bible. I was surprised in the 1800s women gave blessings but then that 'right' was taken away. Finally, all the brainwashing that penisholders from 12 up have dramatically greater connections to God, that female prayers are inferior and if you have some really big issues going, to not trust your own prayers but you gotta call your HT's over to do a 'man's job prayer'.
My female prayers are just as good as anyone elses.
Bo--at 38, you are at a perfect age to start living your own authentic life. It's not easy when you consider family, friends, and community, but it is definitely worth it. Good luck in your search for your own truth!
I've gotta have specifics about Monson. This one is too juicy to pass up. My father just worships that man.
A couple of things about Monson that won't break confidences: My friend said that In private he is a very "hard" man...in much the same way that my father was "hard," I suspect, in that my father was something of a tyrant. Monson is rude to drivers and secretaries. He acts like he is on the "edge" of loosing his temper...easily provoked. Argumentative. Perhaps like a man that is trying to run faster than his legs will carry him. Like a victim of the Peter Principle...in that he often appears to have been promoted beyond his ability...in private (so he resorts to overlord-sim.).
I asked the Lord once about what my friend was telling me and the Lord said (and I quote): "They (speaking of Monson and other of the leading men in Church leadership )are proud, arrogant men that have their own agendas that often run counter to my own. They are not inspired men such as the members of the Mormon Church think they are, and they do little to correct these false impressions. They are strong administrators, within the limits of their order, but are not spiritual men. I scarcely know them." Quote, unquote...(written down by me at the time)...but, then, that's just me saying...right? (Ask the Gods yourselves....asking the right questions to get the right answers, of course.)
Upon reflection: To me such actions as my friend described are tantamount to the Brethren lying...to create misleading false impressions. Just as they lie about the Church and Church history with impunity, they also lie about themselves. So they can appear like pillars of righteousness to the troops...or at least that's what I think. My friend did say that he'd been sworn to secrecy, literally, about what went on in the homes of the Leaders, and in their hospital rooms, and in their meetings, and in their unguarded moments. But my friend summarized that these men's lives were lies, without really saying it. Although, I should mention that he was quick to praise Elder Faust as a truly Christlike man. I don't know...maybe my friend really liked him or something. And he did excuse them to a point by telling me that most of the Brethren were "old" men with many of the trials and pains of sick, old men. And maybe this is something of an excuse for their general cantakerousness and their being grouchy and acting short with underlings. Also, he described Elder Eyring as the "coldest fish" he'd ever met (quite a different picture than the man's public persona).
My friend went on to tell me that most of these men, including Monson, are under the influence of celebrity-itis. Which probably is similar to being proud. So many of them are related, because they actually believe that the privilege of leadership really is in the "blood."
(These are ideas and suspicions that appear in other places in the anecdotal literature and tradition of the Church...much of it available on the internet. But for me to hear it from the horses mouth, so to speak, was quite a shocker (noting that my friend had been involuntarily retired from the Church's "secret service" because he had a seizure at one point---although his disclosure were not made with bitterness or rancor....just the quiet unburdening to a friend).
You can find out what happened to Michael Quinn by reading about him and his credible history books on the Internet. Much of his description of how the Brethren arrived at the decision regarding the practice of plural marriage and the discontinuation is there. Great read. A story of trouble men and troubling lies.