Four Years Ago (Part 2)

With my mind whirling, my wife and I moved from a suburb south of Dallas, Texas to Greeley, Colorado in February of 2014. My mother in-law had slipped on ice and broken her nose, left arm, and right thumb. My father in-law was still recovering from an illness and so we moved to assist them. We moved into their basement until we found a home. Our house in Texas sold in June and we closed on our house in Colorado in August.

I continued researching Church History and, through the Church’s own website, found some “essays” in their Gospel Topics section that dealt with some of the more “prickly” historical issues. These were later moved to their own section with a link to them on the Gospel Topics landing page, along with a video from the Church Historian Elder Steven Snow.

Reading these essays was frustrating because they whitewashed things I read during my 14 month reading project. It seemed to me to be gaslighting.

I participated in Church during this time, even taking turns as a new Ward member in teaching the High Priest Group a couple times. The Bishop was a known friend of my in-laws and close to my age. Ultimately, after my Church activity dwindled, we began to discuss the issues raised by my reading project.

Nothing he offered was helpful except for his acceptance of me as a friend. Mid-year 2015 my Stake President and our local Area Seventy were going to hold a youth “Q &A” fireside and they asked my Bishop if there were any families they could visit prior. He suggested me and then asked me for permission. I accepted.

From my reading I was able to ask pointed and specific questions. None of their answers were satisfactory. None were evidential. All were testimonial. No facts. All faith.

I recorded the visit and have saved the audio file. As they left, they invited me to the fireside (which was when I learned its purpose i.e. a Q&A). I suggested they might not like the questions I would be asking in front of those youthful ears. I knew they certainly could not answer them or they would have, already!

They left.

Crickets.

Over three months later I receive a letter from the Area Seventy (I apologise for the poor photo quality).

Judge for yourself. Claims. Mythology. No facts.

Part 3 coming.

Four Years Ago

But first, three years before that.

January 2013. I was the First Assistant to the High Priest Group Leader. High Priest. Doesn’t that phrase call up some interesting mental images? As a Mormon then, it was a “calling” I took very seriously. I had responsibilities. They were not lightweight.

I also had a time-consuming job as a Database Administrator for a very well known luxury retailer in the DFW Metroplex in Texas. Yeah. That luxury retailer!

Time, being precious as well as scant, I tried to balance these two major parts of my life; providing for my family and the ecclesiastical responsibilities assigned to me. One of those of the latter was the responsibility for doctrinal education and teaching. I oversaw the small group of instructors for the High Priest Group. Many times an instructor would fail to show up or had a last minute conflict with meeting time and so, those many times, I was the defacto substitute instructor.

My knowledge of Mormon doctrine was pretty solid, if I do say so myself. It was no problem for me to, without prior preparation, stand before the group and present a cogent lesson with just a brief perusal of the lesson material.

But back to January 2013. The course of study for the adult Sunday School and correlated lessons for the Priesthood “brethren” and the Relief Society “sisters” was Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants. (If any of this terminology confuses you, don’t worry too much. Effectively all men and young boys 12 years of age and older all belong to the Church’s male “priesthood”. All women 18 and older belong to the women’s organization called the Relief Society, whose origins are interesting but will not be discussed at this point.)

Taking my teaching responsibility very seriously, I took advantage of the course of study to delve deeply into Church History, USING CHURCH PUBLISHED BOOKS. It took 14 months but I read the Church’s Canon of scripture twice, the seven volume “History of the Church”, the six volume “Comprehensive History of the Church”, the “History of Joseph Smith by His Mother” (Joseph Smith, Jr. founded the Mormon Church in 1830), and the twenty six volume “Journal of Discourses”.

Whew!

My mind was whirling! My “testimony” lay in tatters. My whole world had been severely shaken.

My next post will pick up with the next part of this story.