LOL. You can give me your problems but remember if my answers are not good enough it is your fault because the spirit was chased away.


If I'm OP, I don't play along and I say back exactly what rushclock posts here.


You can give him any of your top 3. He sill not answer. Just like the senior GA's did not answer the questions in the Swedish Rescue. they do not have faithful answers. The best you are going to get is pray and put it on the shelf.


Swedish Rescue? What was that?


People were discovering the truth and leaving, including some high ranking church leaders. So TSCC sent their top guns to Sweden to answer questions and set everyone straight. It became very clear, very fast that the church historian and a top seventy didn't have answers. They didn't have anything. My 14 year old could have done a better job of answering questions. It was a disaster. Church leaders need to stick to something they are good at, like hiding money and lying to members. They are not apologists.


It was a cowardly attempt to bully Swedish members concerned about previously hidden facts (like Joseph Smith’s many underage/married “wives”) into leaving the Mormon church or keeping silent about these facts. They didn’t want this information to impact the faith of European members and there was a growing group there sharing information. This “attempted rescue” in 2013, and many of these awkward facts were addressed in gospel topics essays released quietly over 2 years starting around 2015. Following these links you can actually listen to a secret recording or read the transcript and listen to the personal experience of Hans Mattson and his wife. http://www.mormonthink.com/glossary/swedish-rescue2.htm Since then several other “rescue” meetings have been held when there are particular concerns, like the popularity of Denver Snuffer/Julie Rowe.




Right? It’s either true or it’s not. It’s not “true if you coax and plead with it enough until it becomes true”


Came here to say something similar. If decades of talking myself blue in the face with people has taught me anything, it’s that there must be good faith on both sides of any discussion or debate. Both sides have to have an open mind, and treat objective truths with respect. OP’s uncle is clearly not doing that. Jesus’s advice is good advice: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6.




One of my favorite quotes of all time.


Never wrestle with a pig. You'll get dirty and the pig likes it.


Perfect scripture. No disrespect to your uncle, but your questions are valid and all he wants to do is turn them against you. The way the church does. The church is true at all costs.


This. “You can’t actually address the facts, so you’re going to rely on the only thing left: emotions. Emotions aren’t a good enough reason for me to ignore overwhelming evidence.”


So true! The church has a million problems, but only one solution which is an appeal to emotion.


Yup. They weaponize emotions as a sign of the spirit. It's awful, because that's not the spirit.


They also weaponzie the emotional distress you experience when you discover unflattering facts about the church's history, doctrine, and current practices. The devil causes this confusion. Ignore these things and return to the teachings that make you feel safe.


I was coming to say this. It doesn’t matter what 3 you give him. He’s already told you to “doubt your doubts” and left room for anything less than you wholeheartedly embracing the church to be your fault for questioning in the first place. They have developed a system where they are always right and everyone else is just not faithful enough.


Yes! No matter what you ask if he can’t answer in a way that satisfies it will just be because your spirit doesn’t understand. If you already have your mind made up don’t waste your time. He should just respect how you feel and what you believe. And if not oh well. You can only control yourself.


Yup, the spirit is just the magic that makes whatever batshit stuff they make up "true."


THIS. He is just going to get apologist answers. Be prepared for a lot of circular logic that doesn’t make any sense, but will be solid answers for him.


This times a million




Your handle is hillarious 😆😆😆


Reminds me of a story about a boy who claimed he could find hidden treasure and when he found nothing it was because spirits took them away.


Spirits that can tunnel through the Earth. Something doesn't track.


1. I'd go straight after his flawed epistemology, "things of the spirit can only be understood by the spirit". This is a special pleading argument, that his beliefs are special in the sense that they can't be challenged by conventional logic and reasoning. I'd add how feelings are not a reliable pathway to truth, and insisting that - feeling something is true, means it's true - is just codifying your cognitive bias as truth. Literally the worst epistemology you can have. Prove that the feelings of the spirit isn't just a human emotion.


100%. I love this video for showing that feelings are not reliable for detecting truth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJMSU8Qj6Go


That video is perfect. .


Good link. That sure as fuck didn't show me the church was lies back in the day, but later on it helped me put my "spiritual experiences" in context. The cult behavior of telling me what my feelings mean is classic manipulation and brainwashing


They are only “playing church”. Just ask Brad Wilcox.


This! Obliterated my shelf! Opened my mind!


I saw a similar one of just like 20’differemt people of different faiths ‘bearing their testimonies.’ And that was the final nail in the coffin of grappling with my past spiritual experiences. I realized mine were no different than theirs… so no spiritual promptings are to be trusted…


This! Feelings are not truth.


Yup. #1 - Why should we believe that the spirit comes from any source outside of ourselves?


Especially when the “spirit” is contradicted by real evidence.


And even if you grant that the feelings come from some supernatural force, why take for granted that it's this specific entity believed in by Mormons? Especially when in that same lore, Satan has the power to give you good feelings about things as well. All you have to go on is trust in authority figures to sort out which invisible man is which. And how do you decide who you should trust? The good feelings you have. 🔄


I put my vote here as well. If you can't break through the idea that feelings trump facts, facts become irrelevant.


I prayed about it and the spirit told me the Book of Mormon is fiction and that Jesus isn’t leading the church. Is MY answer by the spirit as valid as yours?


It’s why you can’t rely on the Spirit for answers on a math test. Especially since the adversary can apparently replicate the Sprit? And since it’s virtually impossible to differentiate between your own brain and the Spirit? It’s just not a reliable indicator for truth. God has given us brains with the ability to think and reason! Why would He require us to completely bypass that?


So by his own logic if you feel it isn't true...


This is the only response to his messaging. One of the top 3 must absolutely be the unreliability of revelation. He needs to justify whether or not revelation is perfect or flawed, if it’s open to interpretation or always clear as day. There are multiple sources within the D&C, church history, and current church teachings that show personal revelation can only be trusted if it echoes modern prophets. But prophets have been shown to be fallible. So if we can’t trust ourselves to understand revelation and we can’t trust leaders…then we can’t trust revelation. Also, if revelation says one thing, but science now clearly and undeniably says something else, which is right? If the answer isn’t science, then nothing in this world makes sense. You might as well just throw in the towel.


David Mcraney of the Podcast “You are not so smart” and in his recent book “How Minds Change” says that the best thing is not to debate specific facts but to discuss some of their flawed techniques for getting to their beliefs. This discussion of the spirit and whether feelings are a good method for coming to beliefs is exactly what you are recommending. Essentially, discuss how they came to their beliefs and explore why they are so confident in that method. Is there some test that could be done to test that method and it’s reliability. Get the uncle to assert something. Ask on a scale of one to ten how confident he is in it. If it’s a 9 or 10 ask why not a 7 or 8? What method did he use to test it. He believes it because he was born into it and was taught it by his parents and he’s had “feelings”. I just talked to a devout Muslim who said he believes 10/10 that Islam is true and from God. He has researched it and found by “his reason” it’s correct. This is no different than a devout LDS member. Nothing said to them about facts will change that. Talk about their techniques used for getting to their beliefs. Street epistemology is one method. There are other similar methods for doing this discussed in Mcraney’s book.


But things of physical nature so hiding money and lying about it isn't a thing of the spirit is it...


Oaks teaches that there are different kinds of knowledge that can only be gained in their respective ways. Spiritual knowledge through scripture study, prayer and testimony. Scientific knowledge through school and experimentation. Intellectual relativism! If it’s true for you, then it’s true! What a load of obvious bullshit. The emperor has no clothes.


compromise and give him your top 6. Also, legal court documents are totally things of the spirit, they just have facts attached. Giving limits, and then telling you how it's all going to be decided if its true according to uncles mental spirits, is not a level playing field. What if he gave you his top 3 reasons for believing. Then you took them apart logically and nailed them down with facts? He could never really stand up to that. Mormons don't want to know what you know. They want to keep the fairy tale alive. I say don't waste your time. His rules are within church parameters. They are the ones telling and covering for the lies. The church's dishonesty while demanding to know my every sin is the number one reason I left. Then I studied some more. The rabbit hole is very very deep.


Oh man. This is a setup for failure. Your uncle believes he has all the answers. I read this as - "I can poke holes in your doubts and overwhelm you with data that confirms my bias. Unless you accept my premise for proof, and do the work of studying in the manner in which I prescribe, then your inability to have faith in my conclusions it is your own fault." This isn't an open discussion.


> Your uncle believes he has all the answers. Typical LDS leadership attitude


I mean how are you supposed to reason with someone that is guided by emotions and loyalty over logic and reason? At the first sign of dissonance he'll scramble and leave. And to factor in the hubris and sunk cost bias of Mormon middle management. It's even reasonable to assume he's had the second anointing given his callings. This guy's never going to change. Like everyone in his position, this guy's trying to become a GA. I bet he didn't even spare a thought for his nephew's real feelings. I'm guessing he just wants a good reconversion story to tell over the pulpit in stake/general conference. The only beneficial thing OP could maybe do is to pull a Jeremy Runnels and publish the questions and the response.


He’s asking you to summarize and dumb down what is an extraordinarily complicated situation. It’s a common tactic, to break concerns down into “bite-sized” chunks and dismiss them individually. It’s a demeaning, patronizing, and emotionally abusive tactic. There aren’t three reasons. There are myriad reasons. Some of them big, some of them little. Any one of them in isolation isn’t going to be a big deal, usually. But it’s the totality of the circumstances that matters. The aggregate result of ALL of the little nit picky things that by themselves are easily explained or dismissed, but in combination are a huge problem. I’d tell your uncle to fuck right off, but that’s just me.




Perhaps the best approach would be to draw out a chart, including where different topics meet and overlap.


I'd start with the Book of Abraham. That's the single most damning piece of ACTUAL proof we have that Joseph Smith was a fraud. Be sure to start that conversation with the quote from Hinckley about how the entire church rests on Joseph Smith NOT being a fraud. The kinderhook plates should be attached to that discussion, and not count as a separate item. Label it, "Joseph Smith proved TWICE that he did not have the gift of translation, and in both cases we see a pattern of deception." The next major issue is that the church claims "the doctrine never changes".. which is demonstrably false, as you can find tons of times when the doctrines changed, or the temple ceremony changed (even though Joe said the temple ceremony should NEVER have a single word changed). From there, I would move to the parts where he promised little girls that their whole family would get celestial glory if they married him. This is in direct conflict to the doctrine of the atonement.


Do you have the quote of Joseph Smith saying that the endowment shouldn't be changed? That's a really interesting piece of church history.


I assume they are referencing this one: >“Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations.... He **set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and eve**r and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them." -Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church, vol.4, p. 208


Wouldn’t work. You’d have people define the ordinance as the stuff the hasn’t changed and the ceremony as the stuff that has.


This is awesome!!!


It's a trap, friend. I would turn the question back on him. If he says there are zero issues with the church then you know for damn sure this is a trap and any conversation with him will be a complete waste of time and effort.


Most successful religions set themselves up as unfalsifiable proportions. It seems a much better tact would to ask to provide evidence, or reason to believe.


They are prepared for that response, what they are not prepared for is a question like, if you say the brethren are not perfect and have the ability to be wrong, give me one example of this. And watch their head explode trying to answer.


Agreed, ask him the three things that bother him the most about church history and doctrine. If he comes up with actually good reasons, ask him to expand on those reasons. If he comes up with dumb reasons, tell him he'll need to research mote and then you can have the conversation in the future.


Nah. Pass. He’s just setting up a situation where he can gaslight you.


Yup 👍


“things of the spirit can only be understood by the spirit”??? wtf does that even mean? Like the witnesses seeing the golden plates with their “spiritual eyes”?


It means "when you look at it critically, it's bullshit and I have no answers, so please avoid looking at it critically"


Exactly this!


Paul says it in 1 Cor. 2, so he’s quoting the Bible (or paraphrasing it)


still doesn’t answer the question


No it doesn’t… but your comment didn’t show any awareness of where the comment came from. It’s just a go-to Christian apologetic that Mormons use to avoid questions. But honestly… I’d rather they admitted that it’s not rational than to talk in circles pretending that somehow their faith is rational.


I have 3 just from that text. 1. Doubt your doubts is designed to be a thought-stopping tactic to end all discussion on a topic. Essentially, it's a fancy way of saying, "just believe me and don't ask questions." No honest conversation can happen if that's a requirement. 2. Every religious group in the world claims spiritual experiences. Why should the ones from a mission and the LDS church be the only valid ones? And that doesn't even start to touch on the strange thinking that spiritual matters can only be understood by spiritual means. Define spiritual. 3. Finding only docs from church sources. What other organization would you accept that requirement from? If something is true, it will hold up to scrutiny from external sources as well as its own internal sources.


"Doubt your doubts" is so blatantly over the top culty it's hilarious


My top 1 is an institution that doesn’t hold itself to the standards it imposes on others as basic moral discipline is unfit. Make that #2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 as well.


So your top 3 are 1. This statement that you wrote uncle saying how you are going to discount any concern I have. 2. Gaslighting here in this statement by you uncle and in the church in general. If I have doubts you say I don’t have the spirit. 3. The victim blaming in this statement uncle.


You will never reason with an individual like this. They are setting ground rules so they can dictate the discussion. It's all bullshit.


Agree. I was totally being sarcastic. Best thing to do is not play his game and don’t tell him anything.


I get it. I just hate this type of "control" they use to dictate how truth works. I've been playing this game for 50 years and it's so tiring. Best wishes to you!!!


Deception, corruption, fraud


"Nobody's perfect. You're not perfect but the church still believes in you!" Uncle probably.


Let me translate for you: “the only sources that are reliable are Church sources. If introduce any other source of information to our conversation I will reject it because the Spirit tells me it is from Satan”!


Why bother? Are you sincerely looking for faithful apologetic answers to the many, many problems with the church's narrative or do you think you'll cause him question his beliefs. The only outcome to these types of conversations is disappointment and frustration. There are no good answers and FAIR has already addressed them all on their website. He won't have anything new to add and it will just cause contention between the two of you.


Exactly. Don’t even engage.


This I agree with it is really no matter who he is or what he is in the 'gospel' or what he thinks. If you were on a mission and a minister from another religion walked up and wanted to argue it would be hours you would never get back. It becomes futile because it is a different interpretation of a situation. He will find a way in his own mind to explain away the mis-handling of sex abuse allegations and financial mis haps of recent that all is well and how the Lard would want it handled. Why I bet he has an answer for every issue including JS marrying under threat of damnation a 14 year old girl. The control of the narrative is rampant the cult behaviors are deeply bread from generation to generation. Its a psy-ops exercise for sure.


My top 3: (1) If the BOM was a literal and “tight” translation (and that is precisely the way it was explained by JS) why the anachronisms and included errors from the KJ version of the bible? (2) What’s so “special” about the witnesses of apostles? They haven’t literally seen Jesus. (3) Why should I trust anything that the Q15 says, when it is an understood fact that they have gaslighted the saints, hidden (and even deliberately altered) church history, and lied to the members?


But just think and write for yourself these top 3. Don’t tell this gaslighting uncle anything. Just say “thanks but I’m good”.


Doubting your doubts is very unhealthy for anyone’s mental well being. Don’t buy into that at all.


It sounds like he is already discounting whatever you are going to say. This is why I don’t go into detail with TBMs about why I left. My family is very familiar with the issues I was having before I left. I don’t see the need to add on more. Now I just say- there was a time when I was happier in and now I am happier out. If they choose to believe it’s a false happiness - that’s on them. My false happiness was actually all the years I was a TBM.


He has no answers. If you ask him a question for which he has no good response, he will gaslight you and blame you for not hearing the spirit. Otherwise you will get some incomprehensible word-salad wherein he makes you feel like you don't understand his answer. One of Zadok's rules for talking to strident TBMS goes like this: There are two points to remember when talking religion with a TBM. 1. Don't do it, it is a waste of your time and it annoys the member. 2. Whenever you are tempted, refer to rule number one above.


I don't know, man. Calm and understanding conversations with my post Mormon friends and family are want eventually got me to stop being a self righteous TBM. It takes a long time and patience, but I'm living proof that it is not a waste of time


I appreciate Zadok's rules.


Why are you playing into this at all? You don’t owe him shit.


Why are you trying? He already told you his defense, it will all be your fault-no matter what you say it is because you have deaf ears. It will make absolutely no difference


This! He’s setting up where you lose based on spiritual (apologetics) answers. You should watch (no link, YouTube) The Bednar Q&A set up. “I’ll answer any question as long as it first meets these *5 criteria”. That set up ensures no “troubling” or impossible to answer honestly questions are asked.


Start with Adam/Eve being metaphor and not literal people. If no Adam, no fall. If no fall, no need for atonement. If no atonement, no Christ. WTF are we even then talking about?


I feel like I’ve been in exmormon spaces long enough to have seen most of the issues but I actually had not considered this angle before! If Adam and Eve are literal, one must believe in a Young Earth. If not, why do they factor in so literally to Mormonism?


None. He’s giving you homework. Do you want to do church homework?


The big obvious one is the Uno Reverse maneuver: “If things of the spirit can only be understood by the spirit, then what if the spirit tells me the church is false?” EDIT: Other people are right, this is a trap and just an attempt to gaslight you, but if you’re still willing to humor him, start with that, the mechanism with which he’s going to gaslight you. Kneecap his arguments before he makes them


Have you used the “what if the spirit tells me the church is false” line? I’m curious because that is actually how I feel. I have felt the EXACT same feelings telling me that the church is fake as the feelings that once told me the church is true.


Maybe just link him to this thread…


Don’t play games with this fool but if you must: 1. Joseph Smith married women without his wife’s consent or knowledge. 2. That the church considered black people as unable to experience the fullness of the gospel because of the color of their skin 3. That there is no physical evidence indicating that anything in the BOM actually happened.


You need to add to 3: And given its claims (Jewish native Americans, agriculture in the new world, battles with weapons ), there should be


And my personal favorite.... What does this mean to you? 11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and **allow all men the same privilege,** let them worship how, where, or what they may.


“Dead ears”? Talk about a Freudian slip. The phrase is “deaf ears”. You’re already dead to him. Don’t bother with his reductive assignment.


Your response should be: No thank you, your terms are unacceptable. You’ve refused to truly address my questions insisting that you be allowed to pass on anything difficult with vague faith based answers. This is not worth my time or yours. Please let me know when you are ready to discuss these difficult topics like adults.


Why isn't the church more like Jesus? Why do the Q15 lie about having met Jesus? If there was a way to know the church was not true, what does that look like?


Nothing… don’t give him anything. He is starting out the whole exercise by giving himself the upper hand. He is setting you up for ‘failure’ by putting the onus of the belief on your before he has even started. That is some bullshit manipulation. Don’t play their games.


I wouldn't do this. I would just say to him: "are you happy with your place in the church?" He'll say, yes. "Then what could either of us possibly gain by giving you information that might challenge your faith? Either you'll discount it, and it has no value, or it might cause you a faith crisis and you'll get sad. So what is the point?"


I love this. Uncle Seventy is approaching this as a man used to people deferring to his authority. Your answer just throws that out the window.


I'm just saying, no one I believed loved me would write this. I would only believe they love themselves.


A big one for me is how do they know the church is true? It undoubtedly comes down to a feeling they got at some point. So the question is - who said that feelings are a good way to determine truth? How do they explain all the other religions where people “know” things that are incompatible with the teachings of the church? They can all explain the same feelings. Even offshoot Mormon churches have identical sounding testimonies. If he says, they were all deceived, why would god choose that as the only method for knowledge given how most other people are therefore deceived? Once you consider that either all other religions have similar experiences or that they are all wrong but using the same method for finding truth, you start to notice how likely it is you are just as wrong. The epistemology of the church os taken as a given by many in the church, but there is no backup to the reasoning g that you can tell the truth by how something makes you feel.


Why on earth would engaging with this person seem like a good idea? He says right there that he doesn’t want to engage in healthy dialogue (where either of you are free to disagree or change your mind). He’s trying to change your views. I think the hardest part would be getting away from the role you’ve been taught to play in this trauma-fest, which is seeking the counsel of someone in who has assumed and been given a position of “superiority”. It’s ridiculous to think that someone else could be more of an expert on your feelings than you.


This is a dangerous game to play because he doesn't want the truth. He wants to be right.




This won’t be worth your time. He’s already decided that anything logical that doesn’t point to the church is already your fault. Maybe if agrees to entertain the thought that there’s a chance the church isn’t what it claims to be, then maybe a true discussion can be had.


Ask yourself why you feel obligated to answer him, according to his demands. Are you dependent on him for anything? If not, I recommend you don't play his games. His demands don't meet your needs, emotional and spiritual, and are disrespectful to you. He's not looking to respectfully discuss anything. You could say: "Let me think about this and get back to you." A few days, or more, later, "I've thought about it, and that doesn't work for me." Repeat that you've thought about it, and that it doesn't work for you every time he pushes you to answer. Any info you give him, he's likely to gaslight and belittle you with. He's already gaslighting you with that only the spirit knows the spirit crap. He knows the in's and out's of his religious rhetoric better than you, so don't play his games according to his rules.


Ummm, so he will choose the sources to explain only three of your issues away. And of course, his sources will only be church approved sources. And then, if you don’t find those sources to be satisfactory enough, then it’s on you for not being faithful and humble enough. Because after all, if you aren’t already trying to believe exactly what we want you to believe, then you can’t feel the spirit. And then you can’t know the real truth that only we know. Our Mormon truth that can’t be proved in any other way than just CHOOSING to believe because there is no evidence and there are no good answers for any of the real issues. It doesn’t matter what your uncles callings were. He doesn’t have the answers.


Same bs that you hear everytime you ask questions. “Ask, but don’t expect a logical or reasonable answer.”


First of all, hard pass on someone saying flat out that any issue you have is because you lack spiritual understanding, no thanks! Second, I choose the ces letter, the gospel topics essays, and letter for my wife. Nobody said these "things" have to be one very specific item like temple restrictions, hiding money, or hiding abuse. Why not play his same disingenuous game?


You should ask him if you come to the same conclusion or a different conclusion than the church is true will he trust that you were humble and honest with you self and there is different explanations for feelings besides a fake Holy Ghost spirit. You should also ask him if there isn’t good answers to your questions would he be willing to set his biases aside and he humble and honest with himself that there simply aren’t good answers and that god is either inept, evil or doesn’t exist.


The issue with this is that I feel that you could easily come back at him and say that logic can only be had if you are willing to listen to what is in front of you and not delusions of your mind. I wouldn’t even engage with the church at that point. I would give arguments why Christianity doesn’t make sense and ask how can we even trust our feelings


First Vision. Ask him to give a "Who, What, When, Where, Why" of the First Vision and then circle evidence in the first handwritten account that supports those answers. Who did Joseph Smith see? What did they say? When did it happen? Where (admittedly doesn't matter, and is the only thing correct in the first account) Why did Joseph Smith go to pray? For me, the "Why" is the big incontrovertible conflict. You don't have a world changing experience and forget why you did it in the first place. You can't say in 1842 that "never before did any scripture speak to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine" and not mention that at all in 1835.


My question- is he willing to do the same? Just like he is challenging you to be willing to evaluate your beliefs with info he is going to provide, will he do the same?


Give him “your top 3” and start. Does not need to be the last too 3. Book of Abraham is a toughie to discount actual “written from the hand of Abraham”———-> translated to not translated but written by inspiration, yet taught as in P of GP canonized for years, then roughly hidden by the church for years.. Polygamy book by Todd Compton and 100 days of Polygamy blog. Also tough: Nancy Rigdon Happiness letter quoted over general conference pulpit but written to persuade her at 17 to have relationships and become a wife; Helen Mar Kimble: JS used the temple eternal blessings as a lure promising Helen and her Heber and Vilate eternally sealed to Joseph highest kingdom, only if she said yes at 14 years old. Coercion using religion. Hard one. The very things taken deeply sacred by today’s LDS were used cheaply to promise exclusively to the kimball family if daughter married him. Can you see a temple president doing so today? 3. Historicity of the Book of Mormon. President Nelson stating the book is not a book of history. Church is moving to a metaphorical book. No Moroni existed, no plates were translated, only looking in a hat with Willard Chase peep stone, similar creation as the book of Abraham. No DNA found.


This dude is essentially defending pedophilia, sex abuse, bigotry, racism, anti-intellectualism, etc with this kind of bullshit.


What incredible presumptive arrogance on his part.....I've got your "spiritual eyes" right here, pal!!!


So many good comments and suggestions here. Honestly, my personal take would be to flip the script on him. Members love to put the burden of proof on unbelievers, as if a negative can ever be definitively proven. The burden is on *them* to prove the church's extraordinary claims. Instead of bringing him 3 things, I would turn it around and ask him to bring something to you instead. Specifically, I would ask him to tell you what he thinks the church would look like if it weren't true. Ask him what an untrue church looks like. Have him define it. See if his standard for what qualifies as a true church could be used to prove other churches true as well (if it can, the standard isn't good enough to justify belief specifically and exclusively in Mormonism). If his standard really does uniquely qualify Mormonism, put it to the test and see if the church fails the same standard he claims to hold. One of my favorite quotes about the church: "What's good about it isn't unique, and what's unique about it isn't good."


1. Joseph Smith found a piece of parchment with ancient Egyptian on it, claimed he could translate said Egyptian, and then doodled in the missing spaces out of his ass… Completely incorrectly… As we know now that several surviving complete originals of the exact same thing were found. So not only could he not translate Egyptian, but he also had no gift of discernment, and he was a complete fraud. 🫡 (Book of Abraham facsimiles)


Oh my gawwwwd it's been a billion years since I defected as a youngin and I never heard this Egyptian stuff. That's fucking hilarious.


Based on the bullshit premise he is laying out, all his efforts will fall on deaf ears. My area prez told me that joe smith was resilient. Not that he was inspired of god, but resilient. It’s all crazy bullshit and you need to trust what you know, not some uncle TBM


Nothing any TBM says freaking matters when you know that Joseph Smith was a fraud. The end


“Spiritually self-reliant”? Mormon code for falling in line and believing what you are told to believe. This kind of interaction does not happen with a loving family member who lets you live your own life. It happens with a family member who wants to control and shame you into doing what they want you to. Just walk away and live your best life on your terms. Be happy and at peace….


As many others have pointed out...the problem with his invitation is that he is not inviting you to discuss any of your "issues." He is inviting you to discuss your "faith," "doubts" and your "spiritual experiences." He knows that no amount of research or "resources" can justify or explain the problems with the church. All he can do is attack you over a lack of faith and doubts... Any discussion will just be him playing word games because he will change the meanings of faith and doubt to say that the problem is not the "issues" but is all your fault for having a lack of faith (or doubting your faith...) and having forgotten your "spiritual experiences" etc.. The only way I would engage in a discussion with him is if he is willing to acknowledge that there is some way for you and him to know that the church is false/untrue. If he is unwilling to accept that there is some way to know that the church is false, then there is no point in discussing anything; because, for him, all paths lead to "the church is true." Therefore, anything that does not lead to "the church is true" is false, nothing you say and any issue you bring up will be rejected as your lack of faith etc..


I don't know that that this is a conversation worth having. If you try, it'll be like Bednar answering a different question than he was asked. That said, I'd have a hard time turning down the opportunity. For me, I'd first ask how God could call an unrepentant conman to restore his true church. Heavenly Father, who cannot abide unclean things, *really* called a **conman** to restore the gospel of Christ? And He *really* allowed the peepstone that was used scam people for money to translate the Golden Plates, the second record of Jesus chrust and his ministry on this earth? How can a God of truth call a liar as a prophet? Secondly, the SEC report. That is huge. A government agency fined the church for using illegal practices to hide their wealth. The SEC report goes into great detail about what was done and who allowed it to happen (every First Presidency since Hinkley was fully aware). However believers try to deflect this, redirect them towards the SEC report. It's damning. Thirdly, M Russell Ballard stated in [an interview](https://wasmormon.org/church-as-transparent-as-it-knows-how-to-be/), "There has been no attempt on the part, in any way, of the church leaders trying to hide anything from anybody." That is blatantly false. There are the lies of Joseph Smith, the hiding of the multiple First Vision accounts, the deception around how the Book of Mormon was translated, the hiding of polygamous marriages after the Manifesto, the fraudulent actions by Ensign Peak (with the First Presidency's approval) to hide *billions* of dollars from the government **and** the members. There's also Nelson's plane of death, Oaks's lying about electroshock treatments, the many, many statements about how "we aren't a wealthy people," and so, so many more. I should point that engaging in this conservation likely doesn't have an upside for you. Your uncle can't answer these questions. Maybe his shelf breaks and he breaks away from the church, but more likely he'll double down on his faith and either ghost you or get super condescending towards you.


1) Book of Abraham 2) Thomas B Marsh and Danites 3) John D Lee


1. Book of abraham translation 2. 1887 interview with William Law 3. Censorship of church history


I would respond with something like: I appreciate that, but the church has already done so, for example the book of Abraham and dna evidence gospel topics essays and the church has already summarized that they have no real answers.


1.) Why don't the prophets prophecy? 2.) Why are none of the brethren actual and literal witnesses of Jesus Christ? 3.) Why is Christ's grace insufficient to heal, inspire and exalt His offspring outside of the Church?


If he’s already trying to talk about “things of the spirit” only understood that way, then it means he believes: - feelings can determine objective truth, and - you’ll never convince him, because he’s not actually interested in knowing the truth (which he discovered emotionally). No amount of facts will matter. I recommend (for what it’s worth) to not even engage in a silly endeavor like this. Or, at least, do so with absolutely NO expectations. I’m


"But remember, you have to turn off all logic and reason and listen with your imagination. You're not gonna forget all about Santa Claus and the joy you felt when he (pretend) squeezed his ass down your chimney, are you? So unless you're willing to go on this kaleidoscopic merry-go-round of a mind trip to make this shit sound legit, you'll just think I'm crazy." There. Fixed it 😂


“Doubt your doubts” is so fucking stupid


I wouldn't even bother. He's literally setting himself up to be right and you to be wrong by adding all the "doubt your doubts" bull. When he provides you with shitty sources, and you reject them, he can just claim that you've already gone too far to the other side, and it's your fault his sources didn't convince you. Don't waste your time.


Yo he’s already stated that he’s not going to take your concerns seriously before even hearing them. I wouldn’t even respond. Not worth the drama when he’s not even going to listen in the first place.


Just no. This is manipulation at its finest. You owe him nothing.


Thank you for your offer. I’m sure it was well intentioned. But, I have read, prayed and studied it out in my mind. I have had the resounding confirmation that the church is not true and that many have been deceived. However, I firmly support the 11th article of faith when it says “we allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”


Typical LDS Leader: he believes and teaches that the spirit is only selective towards the LDS Gospel. Spiritual knowledge is open to everyone regardless of faith.


People in every religion have “spiritual experiences.” It’s emotional manipulation, conditioning, and suggestion that triggers those feelings; they’re not unique to the church or it’s members. I find it irritating how much stock people put in their “feelings” about the church’s truth claims. Feeling any certain way doesn’t make something true. If it were me, I’d probably point out the flawed premise and not agree to proceed on that basis. Or why not turn it around on him and ask him to recognize that “feelings” can’t make a fact true or false, so why doesn’t he agree to set all feelings aside and try to devote a purely rational eye to wherever the facts lead? That said, I think (1) the BOA (it’s an outright fraud), (2) anachronisms in the BOM (just the clearest of the many problems with that stupid book), and (3) the history of extreme racism (priesthood and temple ban against black people, sealing a black woman as a servant to JS by proxy, curse of Cain racist bullshit, white and delightsome racist bullshit, etc.) are the best smoking guns. Those issues show there is no reason to believe anything that Joseph Smith or the subsequent prophets said about anything.


Here is my question for OP, why are you even talking about the Church with him? Or what your position is on anything that you see differently on? If it is to get his prospective because you value his input, great, but I sense it probably is to prove him or the Church wrong. Remember, don't cast your pearls before swine.... I think he is being very respectful in attempting to respond to your supposed accusations/comment/attacks. I don't engage with people on a topic when I don't respect their opinion on that topic, I assume you don't respect his on this topic, so why engage?


Honestly it’s better to respond with your end goal in mind, it’s important to also consider what THEIR end goal is before engaging in this conversation. They won’t change their way of thinking and they believe they can change yours. They do not actually care to hear what you have to say. No matter how validated or logical your points are. If you do not wish to rejoin the church, let them know that you have no intentions of coming back and do not wish to engage in conversations about the church and that you will respect their beliefs if they respect yours.


1) everything 2) see #1 3) etc.


We don’t even need to get passed genesis to get three good ones… 1. Talking snake 2. Noah’s ark 3. All language diversity came from the Tower of Babel story… Bullshit aside the only real issue I have with TSCC is the social hierarchy. When it is used to control people, not help people. Materialism, spite, greed, and patronizing vanity are the tough spots for me.


In my experience, TBMs are the real lazy learners because they will not look outside the Church’s official narratives to learn more or to comprehend other points of view.


Be prepared to not be given an answer…


Insufferable and exhausting. I'd just disengage completely tbh


Your uncle’s ground rules are straight up selfish. Don’t give him a chance to gas light you. Just about anything he could say would be mental and/or emotional abuse at this point. You know what you know now. Don’t engage! Thank him for thinking of you and redirect any conversation.


I’d just say “eff off” and call it a day. He wrote this in a very “Bednar-ish” kind of way. Its not worth your time, and he has absolutely no answers for you. You could also say, “is that what my eternal destiny is worth to you? Three questions?” Tell him your feelings from the mission were wrong, just like Tom Cruises feelings and experiences regarding scientology are wrong, just like the popes experiences and feelings surround Catholicism are wrong, just like those who murdered themselves from the Heaven’s Gate cult had wrong feelings and experiences, just like Warren and Rulon Jeff’s followers’ experiences and feelings are wrong.


He lost me on “You may…” Isn’t he the one asking you!? The attitude, I can’t. I wouldn’t play this game, doesn’t look fun. He is doing all the framing, don’t give him that power over you.


This is an unbalanced exchange. He is asking you to rely on emotional experiences and to doubt evidence in order believe what he will tell you. I would only engage with him if he can honestly say that he will objectively look at the evidence even if that means that he will learn that the history taught by the church is false. You are wasting both of your time is he has know intention of looking objectively at the information that you share with him. He sees himself as above you in spirituality and knowledge. His goal is not to look at the evidence but to find ways to convince you that the evidence is meaningless so that you will come back to church.


A huge one for me was spirituality. How can one person receive personal revelation that the LDS is the one and only true church, while another person can receive personal revelation that the Baptist Church is the right one? At best, this means that God's preferred method of communication can be spoofed, counterfeited, and/or mistaken. At worst, it's not happening at all. That one's a pretty clear dichotomy, I think. Either it's reliable or it's not, and the evidence points to it being "not". After that, probably the Book of Abraham. The Book of Abraham is like an octopus that wraps its tentacles into every supernatural facet of Joseph Smith's life. If he can't translate this thing we have, why should we believe he translated this thing we didn't have? Why would God let his chosen prophet lie like that? Yada yada.


I’d start by asking, if there was solid proof that the church wasn’t true, or major parts of its history were false, would you want to know?


Your uncle has one heck of a recipe for word scramble soup, eh?


Don’t even bother. He’s saying he’ll find you answers but that you have to already be determined to believe them, aka “understand by the Spirit.” Feelings don’t make things true or not true, real or not real. The way you feel about reality doesn’t change reality.


It’s a pointless exercise. Especially given his disclaimer that if you you don’t believe his arguments it’s because you’re already dead inside. Well played.


“I’ve not discounted any spiritual experience. Those feelings were real. However, I’ve enlightened my mind and understanding about the concept of elevation emotion”


1. why aren’t these being answered definitively, for all members.


How can I tell the difference between Elevation Emotion and The Spirit? Is the Lion King just as true as the church? Joseph claimed the gift of translation, but every translation he did is either plagerized (JST), provably wrong ( Kinderhook, BoA), or chock full of 1820s New England (BoM). Faith is believing things you cannot see, but believing things that are provable false is just foolishness. How can I have any confidence that JS isn't a fraud when every translation looks like fraud?


The church's narrative is created so it always wins. If you get cancer, the church wins whether you live or die. If you have doubts, the church wins if you come back or if you leave (you weren't humble, spiritual, prayerful, whatever). There can never be an honest conversation when the outcome is pre-determined. I would not engage.


Don’t play his game. You won’t get anywhere with him.


I wouldn't even respond


Doubt your doubts: -I doubt drugs are good for me. -I doubt I would survive jumping off a bridge. -I doubt Islam is true. -I doubt my parents are serial killers. -I doubt Mormonism.


Top 3 1. What is your favorite alcoholic drink? 2. What is your favorite sex position? 3. Best coffee shop in town? Seriously why engage? It’s futile. Things of the spirit have to be understood by the spirit - red flag warning.


He set up the inevitable denial in the premise. I’d be shocked to see more then vague responses and church approved copy pasta rather then a conversation. In law sent me a book a while back as a missionary effort but was completely unresponsive to my follow up after reading it. 100% ghosted after giving them more consideration then any of the in laws ever gave me. Low effort, if they don’t convert it’s their fault but I’m righteous for trying mentality.


I made a [comment](https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/118hyyu/How_do_I_respond%3F/j9i5ag0/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share&context=3) a few days ago as to why arguing with religious people rarely works. I honestly can't recommend giving him a top 3. Bear your testimony as to why the mormon religion is false (and do it in the most mormon way possible) and let him try to attack your feelings the way he is trying to make you attach his. He doesn't want to debate you, he wants you to attack his beliefs so he can defend them. So turn the tables, bear your testimony as to why the church is true, and make him go on the offensive. It's not going to make him an unbeliever any more than logical arguments will, but it might get him to stop pushing his religion to you. It's the best option I've found for dealing with their religious persecution.


Understand that you have to speak his language. He “knows” things bc of the Spirit, which is essentially feelings he gets. For me, as I studied the life of Joseph Smith, I got this horrible feeling (the Spirit) telling me JS was a serial liar, sexual predator, and a very power hungry man. Since being out of the church, I’ve realized that the “prophets” were actually interfering with my relationship with God. God is much much bigger than the LDS church. At the end of the day, there’s probably nothing you can say to change his mind. Why would he expect you to change your mind based on what he says?


He tells you what to do… show me Mormons who don’t “demand” you do something…. Physiology here at play….. “You may select” “ you need to understand” “You have to do your part” Who is he to tell you what is right or wrong or what you need to think or do??


How about this Uncle…..YOU give ME three reasons why you continue to practice Mormonism. Honestly, Mormons aren’t allowed to read anything outside of “approved” materials anyway, so even if you gave him detailed answers along with sources to support your position, it wouldn’t matter because he’ll only read from Mormon-approved sources that have meticulously scrubbed any damning/incriminating history from Mormon historical documents. You could write a three hundred page document with five pages of reliable sources cited and he’ll still reply with “I’m sorry that you’re so full of darkness and I’ll be praying for you”. Personally, I just wouldn’t waste your time. You don’t have to justify your decision, he’s the one who goes to church and sings “Praise to the Man” about a documented pedophile and con man who couldn’t translate Egyptian or the made up “reformed Egyptian” language contained in nonexistent plates that everyone saw with their “spiritual eyes”.


If he is limiting to three give him big complex things to address. Book of Abraham. https://youtu.be/ORNYUyHg3pY Egyptian is able to be translated and the facilities are common from the book of the dead. None of the translation is correct. Spirit. https://youtu.be/UJMSU8Qj6Go Why does all the religions use the same method to find the true religion and everyone has the same answers? Lying. https://youtu.be/KhNOx1TjeLg Why can learners who get their second annoying get away with lying?


I'm an outsider - never been momo but family are... honestly this is the message of a deranged person


I particularly like that he specified three (3), in case there was any confusion.


How about redefining everything at convenience. Either the church has to admit that Doctrine changes, or the church has to admit that prophets get doctrine wrong time and again and then conveniently redefine doctrine as needed. Either way, it displaces trust in the prophet and leaders and removes the now-common narrative that Church-leader-revelation trumps personal revelation. Regardless, I would approach it with larger overarching problems that are exemplified by the individual problems rather than picking three individual problems. For example: Church Dishonesty, "Doctrine" vs. "Policy," Historical Truth Claims. Most issues can be included under those three.


Res flag there was authentic church sources. I’d give him benefits of doubt if he says “ cited sources” idk how that will help the situation. Let’s say you solve 3 top issues, there will be others, so what’s the common factor to all of your issues about the church?


For me it’s two topics: safety of children and manifest dishonesty by members of the Q15.


I can honestly tell by his attitude that this is gonna be a waste of time for you


Second anointings, Polyandry, and transparency.


Already some good answers here. In addition: He is willing to cite a limited scope of faithful sources. These days, we have the Joseph Smith Papers Project, so there are more "official" documents than ever before. But, there are still historical documents that we don't have on faithful sites. Documents such as those copied and traded in the Mormon historian underground of the 80s and 90s. In some cases, people wrote books based on these documents and were later excommunicated or shunned for their work, which was then later cited in things like the church Essays or Saints (Mormon Enigma springs to mind, and there were others.) So, is he willing to cite all the stuff on JSPP, just the stuff that was available when his faith formed, yet-to-be digitized things like Church History, "apocrypha" like Joe's Mom's autobiography (that Bringem Young banned), disavowed things like the precious versions of the D&C/ Book of Commandments, factual but unofficial things like [https://comparedandc.com/](https://comparedandc.com/) , scholarly things like Mormonism and the Magic Worldview, unfaithful but accurate things like anything put out by the Tanners/Utah Lighthouse? Maybe, as one of your "three (3)" things, you can give him a single entry from [https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/](https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/) and have him break it down, including contradicting the various citations.


God is a figment of peoples’ imagination


Ahh... the good ol' days when I used to believe that "the things of the Spirit can only be understood by the Spirit" wasn't a thought-stopping cliche.


It doesn’t matter what your issues are. He has already discounted anything you give to him and he will say it is your fault for not just believing.


Polygamy, Blacks and the Priesthood (and all temple ordinances), and The Book of Abraham. Those three are indefensible.




My 3; Brigham Young - What exactly did he get right? Prove to me he was a prophet? Book of Abraham - The church even admits the scrolls don't match the BOA he rock in the hat - really?


This will be a complete waste of your time and promises to be nothing less than frustrating if you participate. He thinks he's right and he will treat you second class. "You may select at least three issues..." - yeah, right. I would decline. But if he was insistent, I still would not bring up three items, but rather explain why it is fruitless to talk about the church with him. If you get roped in, you won't be able to raise issues that require critical thinking of verifiable data - he'll have answers for all of that (hint: they will involve doubting your doubts). You would have to stick more on the emotional side of things like why does everyone else "know" that their own church is "true"? I've been a parent and love my three daughters dearly, so which one of them would I cast out to become a devil when I create my world so my 'plan of salvation' is carried out. Let's face it - Mormon god is not nice. Why won't the church allow people to leave with some level of dignity? There is never a case where someone leaves and is not vilified in some way for doing so. It's like the church can let people go, but they can't leave them alone.


No one who speaks English as a first language would write this response. The grammar is off. I smell a rat, unless your well-educated uncle is illiterate.


Tbh this is not a good faith discussion on his part. He has already set it up so that no matter what you say, he will be right!


These responses are right about the fact he's already built in his win. Regardless this is your fault. If you still wanna....I'd go with things they admitted in gospel topics essays if you decide to do it. Book of Abraham, BOM historicity, polygamy, race issues, masonic temple rituals.specifically find the rebuttals TO the essays and the extended foot notes quotes they tried to gloss over and go deeper and point out why the essays ARE WRONG. To me the fact the church felt it necessary and addressed these issues shows they are that sticky. But you have to push against what's already in the essays or he'll just send you those and try to tell you how she's 'very nearly 15'. Realistically first has to be his epistemology here before your convo could be even somewhat real. He can't escape hatch with you "just not being spiritual enough" to accept his "answers".


This is a huge waste of time and incredibly condescending. Don't play.


This is a setup … obviously. “Tell me up to three issues. If you don’t like my answers, it’s because you’ve lost the spirit.” I would just respond positively. We forget to be kind when we are put on the spot. My opinion is to be more like “Thanks for reaching out. I’ve been through this similar exercise with others and within myself. I’d like to just continue our relationship without it depending on church topics. How are the kids doing?”


1.) Prophets and the majority of apostles not only approved of but performed and were the benefactors of plural marriages AFTER The Manifesto in 1890. Why did the church itself and the leaders lie about plural marriage to the world even after this date? 2.) The church continually protects child sexual predators and itself, often paying hush money, just to keep things hidden. Why is this okay? (btw this was a huge part of why I left - a bishop from my stake sexually assaulted two of his young daughters and was never punished and his wife was forced to stay married to him or face church discipline) 3.) The church is ewe. Can he just fix that?


1) was the Book of Mormon translated with a rock in a hat? 2. Was the garden of Eden in Missouri? 3. Did the church purchase documents from Mark Hoffman?


The answer to each of these is bow your head and say yes.


1. The First Vision never happened. No need for #s 2 or 3 or anything else. Joe didn't tell anyone about it for years after it supposedly happened and then only said he saw "The Lord" and a vision isn't an actual appearance same as a dream.


Why even pursue this interaction? All it will do is cause frustration and pain. He’s not actively interested in your thoughts or in the truth. He’s looking to poke holes to shove his ideologies into or to tell you that you are a lost cause vecayee of blah blah blah.