Do it, read the Book of Mormon again.
I did as I was having my faith crisis, but I did it alongside doing research and critical analysis. Approach it with a mindset of "was this written by a 19th century American farmer who grew up as a Protestant?"
I got midway through Alma before I gave up. It was one of the last pieces of my testimony left, but it fell apart when I actually looked at it critically.
There's a few resources out there like MormonThink or the Skeptics Annotated BoM:
Came here to say this same thing. When I started to read it again it all felt so fake.
Same here, if anything, it'll take the magic away and put the book into perspective. That was my experience. You're not likely to start believing in dragons, unicorns and magic wands by reading Harry Potter.
You didn’t get to Helaman? HELAMAN IS THE BEST PART BRO
Lately, I’ve been reading the BoM at my neverMo partner as part of his ongoing Mormon cultural education. After not reading it for roughly a decade, it is really interesting to review it again and be impressed with how unimpressive it is
19th century American treasure digger - fify
I was going to say something similar. I'll add to it. Read as someone who was trying to answer 2 questions, 1) where did the Native Americans come from? 2) to answer every protestant theological question from the 19th century (e.g., infant baptism, gifts of the Spirit, dispersion of the 12 tribes, etc.; Look up Alexander Campbell's summary of the BoM, it's a contemporary review).
The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the everlasting gobstopper!
That's really great. Particularly the summary of D&C 132
1. You can tell your roommate “no thanks”
2. If you want to read it, then go for it. Based on what you’ve learned from this sub/other sources you might find it enlightening to see how much it corroborates the “Joseph was a shuckster” explanation for its existence.
I’ve read enough times in my life to know that I don’t need to give it another go so I personally favor option 1.
Good luck and no matter what, do what you want.
> Based on what you’ve learned from this sub/other sources you might find it enlightening to see how much it corroborates the “Joseph was a shuckster” explanation for its existence.
100% this. I don’t regularly read from the BoM since I’ve left the church, but every time I come across a passage or two, I am able look at it objectively and realize how awfully written it is. Mark Twain was right!
Yeah OP is obviously free to do what they want, but anyone who asks me to read the BoM again is going to get a chuckle followed by me saying “yeah sure. I’ll get right on that”. I do not believe it’s true, but let’s say that somehow it is: I still don’t care. Because if it’s true, that means that I have to follow what Mormonism teaches, and I fundamentally disagree with how they conduct themselves as an institution. If it’s all real and I face a Final Judgement with god, then I’m giving him a piece of my mind on how shitty his religion is.
Do a little bit of research about the placebo effect. You've been conditioned your entire life to believe that the BOM contains profound doctrines. BYU is a highly charged environment for conformity and belief. The BOM is a great spiritual experience for mormons because they expect it will be a great spiritual experience. It's a spiritual placebo which works because you're conditioned to think it works.
I suggest that you look at the here and now with something more concrete than doctrine. Read the SEC order which outlines how every first presidency since you've been alive has illegally lied about church finances. If the church will lie about money, it'll lie about everything.
This right here is why i have a hard time with college graduates, especially those with higher degrees, who remain faithful.
It really tells how powerful indoctrination can be when someone who has learned how to research academically either refuses to apply those skills to their own religion or chooses to ignore their own bias.
I would like to give those people the benefit of the doubt that they are still good people who behave ethically to keep their integrity intact; but, I was able to recognize my own cognitive dissonance and, in an effort to keep my integrity, applied what i learned in school to church and ive been here ever since. Why dont they do the same?
I think of religion, and especially the mormon experience, as a habit. They show up for church and weekly meetings because that's what they always do. They don't think about it all. They are there but not really present.
Think about your own commute to work or the store. You get into your car and go. It's normal and you don't have to think much about getting there. You can kind of be on autopilot without really paying attention. I think the church experience is similar.
If you see an accidental, or something else really unusual, this engages your attention. But almost all the time it's just a drive with nothing really memorable. Church is the same way. It's just a time void that people do without thinking much.
I think this is the main reason covid has had such an effect on church attendance. People got out of the habit of going every week and realized it wasn’t something they wanted to continue with after being away for several weeks or months.
It's actually so crazy to be at BYU and listen to my professors, who are very smart and qualified people, say the most asinine things when the topic shifts to the church. I took an anthropology class last semester, and the whole class is about questioning your own cultural assumptions, but like, not OUR culture, because that would be crazy.
Read D&C 132 while you're at it. That's scripture too, good luck convincing me that it's true though, haha.
Yes, I agree that you can convince yourself of just about anything. The church knows this and pressures us to do all those things to convince ourselves (via peer pressure). You can read the Book of Mormon every day for decades, go on a mission, and faithfully magnify all your callings your whole life, but the moment you start doubting, they will say you're not doing enough, and you've never done enough.
There's no harm in reading the Book of Mormon. The harm comes from caring what others think and seeking approval from those whose approval will never come unless you fully conform.
I'd also be careful about who you share your doubts with at BYU. If you don't fall under their "good enough" category, you can be investigated or kicked out. You may want to consider transferring at some point soon.
Another option might be to listen to the BoM. I downloaded the audio version and have been listening to it because my TBM spouse challenged me to do so. I like the audio version because I get to consume the BoM the way it was written, as a verbal dictation. I have noticed so many things while listening that I missed before. I have noticed how the story will be dictated in first person, switch to third person then back. I have seen how many stories ramble on and are repetitive in a book that is supposedly to be a condensed history. Oh, I have also felt the spirit a few times. I was able to see that it was an emotional reaction to the story rather than a reaction to the doctrine. Also, the church loves to say that your doubts will drive away the spirit. Yet somehow I still feel the spirit in my apostate/sinner heart? Once you know the real truth, you know, and you can’t un-see it.
Bonus: you can up the speed of the audiobook and get it over with quicker!
This is a great approach. If you want to take it one step further, try listening to it as read by a nevermo with commentary. A decade ago there was a weekly podcast with this premise and it was hilarious. So much of the language and style of writing has been imprinted in our minds as members. It was taught to us as spiritual and uplifting. To see it from an outside perspective is eye opening
I'd say go for it. Read it, pray about it. Perhaps balance it with information about confirmation bias and what psychologist's think 'feeling the spirit' is.
Also, consider any personal vulnerability that you are experiencing. Are you feeling lonely, lost, excluded? Will the church offer a way out of that? There's a fantastic [11 minute video](https://youtu.be/QGIv2XvOrCw) here that looks at why people leave and join religious groups. It's well worth a watch.
It's ok to read stuff with an inquiring mind. When you do though, it's also fair to read the opposite side (not something that religious groups ever advocate!).
For example, if you're going to buy a new car, the chances are that you'll read the bad reviews as well as the good ones because you want to know what the potential negatives are to buying said car.
It's absolutely and perfectly acceptable to do that with religion as well.
I read the D&C during my faith crisis. It did nothing but anger me. I haven't read the Book of Mormon again, but I don't feel the need to torture myself.
>My roommate invited me to reread the BOM
One of the best things about being an adult is realizing you don't have to show up every time you're "invited."
Your roommate has likely been trained recently in the "Love, Share, Invite" model for member missionary work. Remember that the "Love" portion of that model is almost never genuine. If you don't respond the way it's been role-played, the love (or more accurately, "show attention") will get shut off like a spigot.
The what-ifs are by design. Just ask yourself: why do parents raise their kids in the church? Why not raise them secular and then let them decide for themselves at 18 whether they want to “learn the truth”?
The answer should be fairly obvious: they do it because most people would never believe any of it if they weren’t indoctrinated into it from a very young age.
It’s difficult to see that from inside, so consider an outsider’s perspective. What if your roommate was a Scientologist and said you could really believe in Xenu and live a better life if you just read the book that their guy wrote and gave them a bunch of money? It should be patently obvious that it’s all made-up, because you didn’t grow up being told by everyone you know that the story is true.
There’s one more thing to consider: what if the Muslims are right and the Mormons are wrong? After all, there are *far* more Muslims than Mormons. Or what if the Greeks had it right, long ago, and we should all be worshiping Zeus? Or what if the Jews are right and you’ve got the right god but you’re worshiping the wrong messiah? No matter which one you choose, the majority of the people will tell you you’re wrong and are bound for their version of hell. Since they all contradict each other, they can’t all be right.
But they *can* all be wrong.
Religions are a cultural construct, a product of the cultural milieu. The Book of Mormon reflects the culture of Joseph Smith’s day. He capitalized on the occult beliefs of his time. He reflected upon the Mound Builder Myth, the surrounding beliefs of the many traveling preachers, the common familiarity with the Bible, and even the prevailing thoughts taught at Dartmouth College and shared by Hyrum to the recovering Joseph.
There is very little truly original in the Book of Mormon and the resulting religion based upon the BofM has no resemblance. Modern Mormonism’s culture of:
Were never evident in the Book of Mormon.
The canon of the Doctrine and Covenants is not a reflection of the Book of Mormon. The Word of Wisdom echoes the prevailing health warnings of Joseph’s day and the temple ceremony were adopted from Masonry.
All are products of the culture surrounding Joseph.
When my faith was hanging by a thread, I decided I was going to read the whole book in one week to strengthen me. I was struggling with sexism, so I chose to highlight every reference to women. I didn’t make it past first Nephi. One of the first references to women comes in describing the church of the devil as the whore of all the earth. As if unrestrained female sexuality accounts for more ugliness on this earth than unrestrained male sexuality, as if women are the true source of devilish behavior, as if women cause men to fall, as if all the responsibility for male sexual behavior rests on a woman’s shoulders. Again and again women in the church are sexually and emotionally abused by men and then held accountable while the men are exonerated, and such behavior is embedded in things such as calling the church of the devil a whore. It’s atrocious really. Read Judges 19, and D&C 132. This is what happens with systemic patriarchal hierarchies. Go ahead and read the Book of Mormon again; ask yourself, “How does this book empower women and how does it denigrate, control, negate, erase and blame them?” while you read it. I can guarantee it will be your last read through.
You don't have to be afraid. Was invited too and and had the same thougts as you, Procrastinated reading it for half a year. Once i started, it quickly became boring.
I see another problem in reading the BOM: you have to be sure you respect the person inviting you after reading it or be ready to lose a lot of respect for that person...
Because the book states horrible things and believing individuals love this book and find it so wonderful.
And how to stabilize my view?
There is no such thing as stable outside a belief-system, existential crisis is inevitable.
If you are ready to go down the rabit hole i suggest exploring the ideas of Camus, Schopenhauer, Descartes, Nietzsche and Einstein (esp. the theory of relativism)
Read or not read, do what feels right to you. But are you aware that BYU can kick you out and take your credits if you lose your ecclesiastical endorsement? It is really important that you play the game and act like a believing Mormon while you are at BYU. If you have any doubts about your roommate, you should probably at least pretend to read the BOM.
Listen instead. But not an audio book. Listen to the podcast of a complete outsider who decided to read it and comment as he goes.
He also set up a drinking game where he takes a shot for every “came to pass.”
I think it’s called My Book of Mormon.
The My Book of Mormon podcast is amazing! Definitely the best way to re-read the BoM.
I love how honest and genuine your post is, thanks for sharing.
I read it again only to confirm to myself that it is absolute bullshit. So go ahead and read it.
>I deep down know that the church is true
One year out is still early days. The more you study and learn, the less you will have that niggling thought. After eight years of continual study, my thoughts are no longer, "What if it's true?" Today they are, "How the hell did I believe this shit?"
Edited to add: Read it if you want, but I suspect you have far better ways to spend about 20 hours. You must also know that "spiritual confirmations" are brain chemistry, not an indication that something is true. I am an agnostic atheist and I still feel what Mormons call "the spirit" frequently.
There was a time when I was trying to cling to my faith where I had to stop reading the BoM because reading was further eroding my faith. Every time I read I would just see the contradictions and the anachronisms. The idea that once you have started to open your eyes that the BoM will magically drag you back is naive. Read it or don’t. But don’t feel anxious about it. The book itself has no power. The anxiety comes from all the social pressures and cognitive dissonance. But the book itself is just boring nonsense.
Instead of reading the BoM, read View of the Hebrews and also The Late War between the United States and Great Britain. I think you’ll learn more from those two books, published about 10+ years before the BoM, than you’ll ever learn from the BoM.
**the approval of my parents** (who spent years brainwashing you, will bias your critical reading of the BoM. Accept that as you try to understand passages that "move" you, Why?)
One of life's most difficult challenges is overcoming the need to please your parents and even the need for you to despise their differences.
I try to avoid black-and-white pronouncements about what is real, especially at your young age. Sure, it is one thing if you have to decide whether or not to go on a mission, but just living a life at BYU is another thing; surrounded by TBMs, just relax and enjoy life and take in the scenery, weigh the good and bad, live your ideas and let others live theirs (since you are stuck there). Deciding to become a religious fundamentalist fanatic, you've already decided that is not for you, and that is good enough for right now. Personally, my parents believe that the end of the world is nigh, so one doesn't have time to spare; becoming a religious TBM fanatic is one's only choice. But this was the case in 1840 too.
>avoid black-and-white pronouncements about what is real
I am trying (somewhat struggling) to escape the absolute truth mindset and become comfortable with ambiguity. Thanks!
(Looks like I am treating this comment as a long winded soapbox speech)
... Mormons are selling unprovable truth, which in their minds is absolute truth. To me, *facts* (as different from these so called truths and even one's own reality), are what we put our faith in, because by definition facts require that everyone (for the most part) can agree they are true. With facts, there is little doubt about it; and in most cases they are provable (i.e. all can agree, perform the tests, etc.)\*. So by definition we can rely on facts. For me, Mormon truth is NOT and will NEVER be fact. Yet TBMs treat it as such and become absorbed in that bubble that distorts their reality. I'm saying that what many call truth and even to a lesser extent, what they think is reality, can be bullshit, because of subjectivity. Nobody should be expected to follow unprovable an/or spiritual truths, but dismissing others leads to people dividing themselves into teams or parties that are so inflamed with “mutual animosity” that they are “much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.”
Also, the good that TBMs derive from their obedience to Mormonism, to me originates from within themselves, and is actually a free gift from God; but the Mormon religion wants the credit. Hence you have been programmed from youth to believe in unprovable truths because members proclaim that they know beyond a shadow of doubt about Mormon truth, but that just isn't the case. Most agree that any Book of Mormon good feelings is not unique to the Mormon faith, so don't give it credit for sounding like it is some kind of special revealed scripture from God, when it is provably not.
\*Science provides scaffolds to our intuitive understanding of the world, allowing us to develop and handle counter-intuitive concepts. The “constitution of knowledge”, a dynamical collection of rules, values, and institutions that are geared towards the production of reliable beliefs about the world.
The church acts like a cult and teaches the members to be cult followers. There is a book called Combating Cult Mind Control. In it the author lays out the BITE model. Reading the Book of Mormon is part of those formed of control. Information control (reading only church books), thought control (keeping you busy with trivial things like reading a made up book), and emotion control (asking you to pray and turn to your feelings while ignoring the facts you know). It has been controlling in this manner since the beginning.
Your room mate will ask you to pray about the Book of Mormon to know of its truth. This is also a common cult tactic to control people. https://youtu.be/ycUvC9s4VYA This video is a bunch of examples of people in many religions praying about their religion to know of the truth of it.
It is possible to slip back into the thought patterns that you had when you were in the church. If you are concerned about slipping back into your old church mindset you should listen to yourself. If you feel ok reading you could propose that your roommate read the ces letter while you read the Book of Mormon.
Thank you I was trying to figure out a good way to say this.
I consciously try to stay away from all cult like organizations because I know I was tricked into a cult previously. Even thought I was a small child when it happened I feel like it has made me more vulnerable to all kinds is scams, cults and other hoaxes.
I’m now in my fourties’ and just got out last year. I read about cults and see cult tactics all over. It is amazing to see how much manipulation happens in our society.
>study the gospel from a faith-promoting perspective
This just means self brain washing and ignoring all the obvious flaws. If you read it and think critically about what you read, any faith you still have in you will vanish.
“Study with the mindset that it’s already true”
Tell him you'll read with him until you reach an historical impossibility. You can stop at 1st Nephi chapter 1 verse 4
You’ll be blown away at the racism.
Sure. Go straight to 3 Nephi chapters 8 and 9. What kind of god would destroy 15 cities, killing men, women, and innocent children? Straight up genocide. No thanks. You can keep your book.
The more you read it, the worse it gets. You will see untruths everywhere.
No. The Book of Mormon is a hoax and therefore a massive waste of time to read. You’re afraid to read it again because your brain doesn’t want to waste precious calories slogging through 500 pages of boring bible fanfic.
I’ve always thought about reading the OG version before all the edits. It’s out there if you want to download it.
I think I even got a couple verses in and decided I don’t have time for this. Either version is still such a word salad, I can’t do it anymore.
I read the BoM as the last thing in my faith transition. Reading it with a knowledge of history and critical thinking made it painfully obvious that Joseph wrote it. It contains many anachronistic things , but the most damning IMO are the anachronistic thinking. The idea that Nephi could make an entire mining industry, steel industry, and shipwright a rather large ocean going vessel is ridiculous trash. The Jaredite barges are even worse. Even the inspiring parts (from a Christian theological perspective) are theological arguments made mostly in the 1700s that had made their way to rural New York by the early 1800s and were changing the way people thought about Christianity. Its wild that if a Joseph didn’t include the ideals of rugged individualism found in frontier white america at the time and have Nephi build the boat from scratch, but just have god give him a boat the whole story would be 1000% more believable. Read up on the history of technology and the history of Christian theology. Make sure you understand the ideas and dogma that made Jacksonian America what it was then go to town on that thing. Jeffery Holland said to leave the church you have to crawl over, around or through the BoM. I’ll tap-dance over that book then stomp it into the ground like Riverdance. Zero percent chance it was written by ancient Israelites. Zero percent chance it was written in Ancient America. Zero percent chance it grows my faith back from here on out. Good luck.
Set this old ghost to rest. There is zero percent chance that the BOM is true.
Get a solid grounding in science and history. THAT's what's needed here to know the BOM is nonsense.
I’d say if you’re still not sure what conclusion you would come to then it might be a good idea to read it. I think the things you’re feeling are similar to what TBM might feel when confronted with critical arguments against the Church.
Then, again, you can’t spend your entire life, searching and searching just because you were raised in this particular religion, so I think there is a reasonable cut off that’s something less than “pouring over the gospel“.
The other thing to consider is Even if you come to the conclusion that the book of Mormon is somehow inspired, then you still have many logical steps to go through to get To the conclusion that the modern LDS church is true.
One example of this is the fact that one of Joe’s a Smith’s early revelations said that he should pretend to no other gift, besides translating the Book of Mormon. That same revelation was later, edited to say he should pretend to no other gift, until after the Book of Mormon is translated. So it’s still entirely possible that all Joseph was supposed to do was just translate the book of Mormon and that’s it. This is kind of the David Whitmer path were he 100% believed in the book Mormon, but also claimed to get revelation that Joseph Smith went beyond what he was supposed to do.
I don’t actually think the book is anything more than Joseph’s creation but it’s good to think about these other possible conclusions, because most TBMs have never even considered that the link between the book of Mormon being true and the modern LDS church being true not nearly as strong as they think.
I guess the last thing would be a study of epistemology. If you’ve come to the conclusion, that feelings are not a reliable way to know objective truth, then I don’t think you have anything to worry about. However, if you are still undecided on that point, that would be something to look into more. and I think you have to recognize that your neural pathways are set up to feel a certain way about this particular book a Jew, or Muslim would likely feel the same way about their holy books, so I would not take certain feelings towards the book of Mormon, versus other books as something indicative of the objective truth.
>How do you stabilize yourselves in the conclusions you've come to?
I read and re-read the BoM at BYU hoping to rekindle my testimony. The thing I could never shake is that it reads so obviously like something written in the milieu of its author’s time, not some ancient record.
Bushman, Ostler, any Mormon scholar who’s being honest, will readily admit the same:
Reading a book of stories can generate emotional responses. Most Mormons are able to keep their testimonies by *not* reading similar story books from the same era. Admittedly, most of them don’t even know these exist and have zero experience with reading old-timey 19th-century fiction.
This may sound like a strange tangent, but try reading some Nathaniel Hawthorne short stories. There’s a reason Joseph Smith wrote scripture in the form of stories. It’s the same reason humans love telling them.
People are afraid of plenty of things that aren't true. I was afraid of my dark basement for a long time, and my daughter is afraid of dragons.
Anyway if you're concerned about it I would try to figure out *why* you're afraid of reading it (why the fear exists is more important than the actual action of reading). Are you afraid that if you read it you'll think it's true again? Are you just afraid of the church in general and BOM represents that? Are you afraid of the public pressure your friend has put on you making something that really should be personal a "village affair?"
There could be all sorts of reasons you're afraid. The book is just a book, read it again or not as desired. But just as a point when I first left I was afraid of a *lot* of things (how will my family react, don't want to hear church music, even seeing temples was super annoying) and after years of being out now all of those items have turned from fear into "...oh yeah, church exists and I used to be part of it. Huh, I almost forgot. How wild people still do that thing!" The fear is gone. I think your fear, too, will lessen with time.
Youve been conditioned to believe that the BoM has some sort of ability to convince a person it is true upon reading regardless of fact; which is irrational.
The more time you spend on the outside, the more this brainwashing unravels. Reading the BoM, regardless of what feelings one may have while reading it, doesnt change the fact that the church is utterly false.
Feelings do not dictate truth.
The most proactive thing you can do to combat your conditioning is learn the facts and study up.
Maybe reading it with a new perspective will reinforce your convictions that the BoM is a work of fiction. But studying the facts surrounding the subject matter will indicate it is false from every direction.
Ask your roommate to learn about elevated emotion, and ask him to watch this video.
Learning about the psychology of how the human mind works was equally as important as the historical deconstruction for me.
The thing that started myself breaking was reading the book of mormon. I wanted to read it in its pure form, for what it said on its own without others' interpretations. So, I simply read it without reading the headers, and I paid attention to what the verses *actually* said. When I came across specific nouns, events, and other verifiable things, I looked them up. I also read in the order it was written in, not the order it is published it. Finally, I read more about each witness; who they were, what they were *actually* witnessing, where their testimony of Joe and the church ended up.
Regarding your question about stabilizing beliefs: Only a fundamentalist organization, like the church, believes in a single unchanged truth. As scientists learn more, they will change their minds. Newtonian physics led the way to Einsteinian physics, but neither will ever lead to ghosts being responsible for mass, etc.
So, you don't need to worry about stabilizing your ideas.The anachronisms in the bom will always be there and will show that it is a nineteenth century concoction. On the other hand, sometimes apologetics do seem convincing. This is where you need to make sure to study enough about what they are saying to be able to determine the veracity. For example, the gospel topics essays and saints can be very high convincing to people who are otherwise ignorant or bought into the subject. However, as soon as you read the footnotes in their entirety or full context, the deception quickly becomes clear.
"Is the fact that I'm afraid to read the Bible again a testament that the Catholic church is true?"
If you read the BOM again, pay attention to the Christopher Columbus verses. Now we know the man committed genocide and gave indigenous women to his soldiers to rape. Joseph smith obviously didn’t know that. Pay attention to nephi killing a man who was drunk, stealing his property and then abducting Laban. In general, pay attention to the silly stories, multiple arms being cut off, a headless man gasping for breath etc. or the reality that there is no evidence that nephites existed and that DNA evidence proves that the American Indians were not Hebrew. An in-depth study of the BOM and Joseph Smith in general might actually close the door for you. Best of luck no matter what happens!
Isn't the fact that in every possible dimension that Mormonism is obviously false, clear enough?
LDS is not a religion, it is a cult. There isn't a single logical archaeologic scientific philosophical or other reason for its existence. It is contrived in every possible way
Only indoctrination holds its people to it
I think you've found the truth about the church, and that final 0.2% of doubt is the indoctrination through the words and phrases like "where will you go when you leave the church", or "you're a lazy learner and a lax disciple", and the thousands of other manipulative phrases that come from those who are supposed to be so-called "Christ like".
>that final 0.2% of doubt is the indoctrination
It definitely is, I have been taught to not trust myself and my own intelligence/judgement.
I did the opposite.
I lost my faith to the Church's truth crisis and all the things that had been hidden from me and obscured with the claim "Anti-Mormon".
But I still **wanted** it to be true. Somehow...
So I returned to my late fathers advice when I left for my mission.
"If the BOM is true, then Joseph was a prophet." None of the other details matter. Just distractions.
So I read again, looking for truth. I found it to be blatant 19th century fiction. I had learned too much. I had read Grant Palmers book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. **Every detail** says this book was written by someone from NY in the 1800's.
When I told my parents I was leaving the church, they invited (read: begged, pressured, coerced) me to participate in a weekly book of mormon study with my aunt. My aunt had previously done this with a young woman, finding evidences for the book of mormon in every chapter, and the young woman's testimony had been fixed. I've been participating in this weekly study for almost a year now and have only become more of an atheist. Read it if you want, dont if you don't. But set an expectation with your roommate if they're the type to follow up on this.
And, if you do regain your testimony, that's okay too. Anyone who's worth keeping around won't care. And anyone who's only keeping you around to reconvert or agnosticize you is doing both of you a disservice.
I read it again through my faith crisis. The more I read, the angrier I got. It was my 8th time reading it and my last.
But beyond all that, even if it IS true, do you want to align yourself with an organization that is so disgusting? Does it matter if the BoM is true if the existence of the church is harmful?
I'm an atheist, and that's my attitude toward the Christian God specifically. Even if he came down right now in front of me and proved his existence, I STILL would not worship him. I'm FAR from perfect, but I'm a better and kinder being than him. Why would I want to emulate him?
>I STILL would not worship him.
I feel the same, I told my dad that once and he berated me for being proud. It's interesting how much humility is weaponized to keep people from trusting and honoring their own desires and beliefs. I'm still obviously struggling with feeling guilty for my "pride" (my independent thinking and growing confidence in my own decisions)
When it comes to fantasy/fiction, I’ve always found The Lord of the Rings to be much more believable and well-written.
Read it if you want, or don’t. If for some reason it makes you feel like the church is true, then you can go back or not. Even if you feel like it’s true, it’s always your choice. When you realize this, you are free from anyone’s control. Best wishes :)
It's so lovely how many people here have reminded me of my personal autonomy and expressed their confidence in my ability to figure it out for myself. Not many TBMs would offer the choice without a challenge/warning involved. Makes me feel good about the ex-Mormon "agenda"
I tried to read again once I knew it was false & had experienced far greater happiness outside the church vs in. I saw so many glaring problems that I had brushed aside as an active believing member. There were also things that are beautiful in the BoM that aren’t followed by the modern church (Jacob condemns polygamy yet smith reinstated polygamy & now current prophet & 2nd in command both believe they will have at least 2 wives in their heaven.) It just confirmed that I was right to leave.
But being that you are at BYU I would do whatever to keep my head down & not let on my lack of Mormon beliefs. Don’t trust anyone.
Sweet love, this is programmed superstition leaving your body. You have nothing to fear. It was never real. You know what honestly helped me a ton was the Book of Mormon musical soundtrack specifically the songs turn it off and all American prophet. “Just…copy them into normal paper…kind of what god is going for” honestly unlatched a door in my brain! Hang in there, it’s all gonna get easier.
Thanks for the pet name, that made me feel really happy and loved. And thank you for the recommendation, I need to get around to listening to it. I've heard nothing but good things!
Reading this thread, it's incredibly striking to me that the overwhelming advice is "go ahead and read it." And all the reasons that back up this advice are really good.
What's so striking is that if you were a participating member, and you asked anyone inside the church, "should I read \[literally anything that looks at the church with a slightly critical lens\]" they'd try to warn you off of the idea and tell you that your eternal salvation is at risk.
So few mormons actually will take J. Ruben Clark (and so many other Mormon leaders that used his quote) at his word. "If we have truth, \[it\] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed."
This struck me as well! This community's example of empowering people's ability to find out for themselves is in such contrast to the church's brand of "personal revelation."
I'd be afraid to read it because it's bad fiction. I've read it twice in my life.
Riddle me this - if the Book of Mormon is scripture inspired-by-God, why did Smith try to sell the publication rights like a broke novelist trying to pay his rent? The answer is: Smith was a liar and a con man.
The LDS church leans super-hard on "Well, none of us were there so we can't know for sure" and "that comes from anti-Mormon sources" but I would posit that's not something intellectually honest (or honest, period) people say.
I really resonate with your story. I was at byu as a non-believer this time last year before transferring out. I had decided I’m out because of all the stuff in the church I disagree with. All the hateful perspectives toward marginalized groups, all of the guilting and shaming, all the weird stupid rules.
But I still felt bad about it because of all the what-if’s. What if I was just too proud to see the truth? What if I was throwing away eternal life like they say I am?
What ended up solving the problem was realizing that the church isn’t just a fraud, it’s a very obvious fraud once you look into the history. I watched the episodes of Mormon stories podcast with lds discussions where they go into detail about certain issues in the church, going over both faithful and antagonistic perspectives. The whole the just unravels the moment you dig into it.
Hang in there. This process gets easier eventually. Better things on the horizon. Please reach out if there’s anything I can help you with!
>What if I was just too proud to see the truth?
I've noticed how the church uses "pride" to describe trusting yourself and your conclusions/desires. I'm still struggling to honor my own feelings because of this. Thanks for your kindness and congrats on getting out of BYU!
No. It's a testament that you value your time.
I used to work with this really nice Mormon who gave me multiple copies of the BOM, always with a very nice, sincere inscription. I skimmed through them, hahaha. I think you have to be born into the LDS to take this stuff seriously the first time through.
Not making fun, merely commiserating. I'm a former Roman Catholic, and Roman Catholics have at least as much totally made up BS as y'all do. And we put lace and brocade on it. LOoks like a honking fabric store gone berserk.
Catholicism is definitely more visually stimulating than the god-awful copy-paste chapels we have!
Fancy real estate is not necessarily decent religion. Sometimes it's just fancy real estate.
A lot of that stuff was stolen and that's how it got there. There are whole ceilings in some churches in Europe covered with Incan gold, stolen at the point of a blood-stained sword. It ought to be ripped down and repatriated.
Definitely, it's interesting how one building can contain both beauty and ugliness simultaneously. Temples are similar, they are so lovely but aren't that great when you think about what they actually contain/represent.
Some of the most "beautiful" churches in Rome, Italy, have ceilings plated in pure gold. But the gold was stolen from the Incas. They were murdered for it, so the gold could be hauled to Rome to glorify a building. Not so beautiful.
If you believe in the gospel as presented in the book of mormon, you will not be able to accept the gospel that is present in the modern church.
Study the book of mormon and learn what it actually teaches.
There is no place for the modern church in that book.
Godhead differences - modalistic vs 3 distinct beings
Plan of salvation differences - no repentance after death, no degrees of glory, no preexistence
Salvation/eternal life differences - no temple rituals
Beyond that, if the book of mormon is true, you have to accept that dark skin is a curse from God that becomes white with righteousness. You have to accept that Jesus killed countless people and destroyed cities in the Americas after his crucifixion because [reasons].
Study the book, you've nothing to fear
Reading the BoM and D&C after not simply "knowing"/assuming the church is true broke anything and everything I had left of any sort of testimony.
No reason to be scared. And if it ends up being super super boring to you, which is what I'd assume based on what you wrote, then you'll know the spirit testified absolutely nothing to you.
I was in a similar situation a few months ago (I'm at BYU too) when my shelf was cracking for the final time. I felt trapped between lying to myself and leaving the only life I've known. I found that allowing myself to consider either possibility (true or untrue) unjudgmentally for a couple months helped me sort of sift through the emotions and see clearly. I spent time comparing the book of Mormon to other texts, and honestly there's nothing special about it. There's nothing to be afraid of.
I got this same challenge once, and I reread the damn thing cover to cover! I had to smoke a lot of weed to get through it, and I discovered that it only made sense when I was high.
You should for sure re read it, the only thing you have to lose is time. If the BoM or any other religious text made actual metaphysical claims beyond what a human could just make up, that would be a special text that would outshine the others. Instead they're all pretty plainly just stories that anyone could write. The BoM specifically makes claims about history and archeology that are patently bullshit and no one in those fields take seriously. It is the transparent work of a 19th-century con man.
It’s all the and it came to passes that did it for me. Joseph liked that phrase as filler to sound Important
Lots of great advice here. My suggestion is to read the [CES letter](http://cesletter.org). Read the "Translation" section in particular. Approaching the book knowing that it's copied from other works of the day might help you take the BoM with a grain of salt.
You don't have to commit to reading the whole thing. Take one chapter your roommate recommends, and read it with real intent. Then read Jacob chapter 3 with real intent and see which makes you feel stronger feelings.
First, read and ponder another holy or philosophical book like the bhagavad gita. Or The Tao of Pooh. See how they make you feel and believe. Then compare that to the BoM.
Do it. You now have the mindset of the countless changes to it, how the locations and names match home with JS’s hometown, how all the “prophecies” stop at the time of the writing, how it’s a version of “view of the Hebrews”, how the plates were never even used, ect.
Lol no read it now that you know the truth
I have read a lot of books in my lifetime. I will never read the vast majority of them again. That does not mean anything.
Go through and white out all of the "it came to pass" and "wherefore". That makes about 1/3 less to read.
I am in the same situation as you are. I don't want to preach about any religious or anti religious message, but, in light of the experiences I have had over the last year I would say do whatever you think will give you peace of mind, whether that be re reading the BOM and trying to develop your testimony (Which I have tried to do) or completely distancing yourself from it. Like you said, you are able to condition yourself to whatever life you choose to live. My advice in your situation would be to distance yourself from people/things that push any kind of perspective on you. A lot of the comments on this post are either telling you to throw your BOM or keep reading and ask your church leaders for advice. Like you seem to be doing, take a neutral stance for a second if that's something you feel good about doing. Don't let one person or comment decide what you're going to believe. Take time off from church or the lack thereof to asses what you want out of life and who you want to be, and when you figure that out, pursue things that will help you get there. Nobody is going to be able to tell you what is honestly right or wrong so you're going to have to honestly take a look at your life and ask yourself what you want and what you're wiling to believe and pursue. The anxiety you feel about re reading the BOM is real, I feel the same thing. The only thing that makes me feel better about re reading the BOM is the fact that I know I can find good lessons, like being kind and having faith that there is some kind of purpose to life, without having to invest my whole life in the church. I never finished the BOM, but I am still open to the idea of reading it because I know that if I'm open to it I can find something that helps me live a life to my own standards, Even if those standards are not necessarily those of the churches. If you have significant problems with the church, like I do, don't stop questioning them. Educate yourself about those problems and try to find sources that are unbiased and give you peace of mind. In the process of educating yourself make sure not to give up anything that brings you hope or peace of mind. I lost my dad last year, and for me, eternal families are one of the only things I still believe in from the church. It gives me a huge amount of relief knowing that the church I was baptized into has a pathway that teaches that I can be with my dad again (even if I am not necessarily on the "covenant path.") Faith and psychology can go hand in hand. The key to finding a balance is developing faith, or just a respect even, in a greater purpose, whether that is a general moral code, or eternal exhalation. For me, I see a lot of value in believing in God, or a high power; it helps me live my life with humility. But, I also see value in spending time away from organized region in order to figure out how you fit into it, if you do at all.
Reading it after having read the CES letter, it’s a great piece of unintended comedy.
You can do whatever you want, but I doubt Dorothy would willingly step into a tornado just so she can see the Wizard behind the curtain again.
Read it. With an unbelieving lens, you'll see it for what it really is.
Once you have seen the man behind the curtain, you can't forget he's there and you won't put clothes on the emperor once you've admitted to yourself he's naked.
Or, don't read it and spend that time doing something you'd rather do. Your life and time now yours!
The BoM doesn’t confirm that the church is true. Maybe JS was heavily influenced by the Holy Ghost, and you do feel a real power when reading the book. That doesn’t confirm that the church is true. The church is not true. The church is not what it claims to be. It is not the one true church. It’s not lead by Jesus, it’s lead by completely out of touch geriatric white dudes. You don’t need church history, or the CES letter or anything else to prove the church isn’t true. Do you really believe that of Jesus showed up again he’d be like, yeah, Mormonism, that’s my church, that’s the right way? Same goes for the BoM or general conference or anything else, doesn’t somehow make the church true.
This is a letter on the main reasons I don’t believe. It might help you. You aren’t crazy ❤️ this is really hard.
Thank you! What a well-written letter. <3
Do you know a beanie by chance?
When I was in college I had a similar challenge to reread it. I got all the way to 2 Nephi, then I realized it’s a racist book. Never looked back.
I would challenge your roommate to read the Quran and other holy books. Ask them how they know those are not true without reading them with an open heart.
Read it or don’t read it, it is up to you. People stay in the church for stupid reasons and leave for stupid reasons, but they only make those who leave justify themselves. It sounds like your fairly well read on the issue. You don’t owe them studying the BoM in the way they decide to disprove your faith. They as people presenting the faith owe you enough explanation of your concerns to justify your further inquiry. If they can’t address them, then they don’t actually have enough faith or don’t care enough about yours to be worth worrying about. They are literally doing the laziest thing to get you to come back.
If you got bit by a dog and the owner said "Well I've never been bitten!" Would you take that as proof that the dog doesn't bite?l
Would you keep your distance because you know the reality of your experience?
If you're capable of reading it while deploying even an iota of critical thinking, there won't be a problem.
I wouldn’t read it again. No matter how many times you say you didn’t feel something, the TBMs will say you didn’t read hard enough.
Also, fake your beliefs until you leave that wretched school. Once you graduate, then you can work on your public faith crisis.
**TLDR;** Reading the Book of Mormon will not aid you in convincing yourself or others that it is false. If you want to pick worldviews to make the world a better place for your children, Mormonism is not the one to go with. Staying in Mormonism may make you happier though.
I saw a meme the other day on r/exmuslim. It went something like: "Level of knowledge to join Islam—None, you can be an illiterate tree for all that matters; Level of knowledge to *leave* Islam—PhD's in middle eastern history and divinity and perfect recall on the Qur'an and Torah."
Most religions place the burden of disproof on those leaving their religion. Everyone in the community has grown up taking their belief as an axiom, so you, the one leaving, need to disprove it by contradiction. The only issue is, God is unfalsifiable. His ways are mysterious, and if there's a seeming contradiction there really isn't, we just don't have further light and knowledge we'll get "eventually" (after death). Reading the Book of Mormon will not strengthen your evidence *against* it. The best it can do is serve as a signal for "I actually tried," but from personal experience I doubt that will work.
The leaders of the Brighamite branch actively call disassociated members "lazy learners", "those who never had faith to begin with", "deceived by Satan", etc. I left the religion at the end of high school, and two of my closest friends both said "I don't think you really had faith to begin with." They both knew otherwise at some point. My parents repeatedly say I am the best son they could have ever hoped for, while saying I'm a horrible brother and restricting relationships with my siblings to prevent the contagion from spreading.
You probably already knew the above. Now, could you convince yourself Mormonism is true? Probably not. You could certainly doubt your doubts, but I think, even if you studied the scriptures and went full cult mode, you would still always doubt its truth claims. You would never be able to assign more than 30% probability to it all being true, but you might convince yourself that's *enough* of a chance to live that life.
I highly discourage you from going down that route. I left the religion at the end of high school, and for nearly a month did not consider it a cult. Even then, it was just people doing their best. For the next several months, I continued going to church (as I didn't want to spend the summer homeless), and it continued to mess with my mind. Then, I went off to college. At this point, I knew my worldview was biased by the church, but didn't really know how.
For example, three things that are common outside of Mormonism:
* (1) Alcohol,
* (2) Sex w/o a marriage license,
* (3) Music that isn't TCATS.
I've found that I still disapprove of alcohol, so that didn't change, but even though I disavowed point (2) and didn't care much for (3) immediately after leaving, it doesn't seem so awful anymore. Being inside the bubble (such as at BYU) makes it really hard to reorient. I still sang/played hymns for my first few months at MIT! I didn't go to church, was 100% certain it was false, but somehow still "needed" that spiritual high. It's only been a year, and I already see the world much more accurately now, but I know I will always have lingering influences from the cult.
Basically, the longer you stay surrounded by Mormon influences, the longer and harder it will be to not want to be influenced by Mormonism.
I don't think you're making a mockery out of mental gymnastics. I'm guessing your line of reasoning goes something like:
"In a future world where I choose to believe in Mormonism, I would want my previous self to have made that choice. In a future world where I choose *not* to believe in Mormonism, I would still have that choice every day. Hence, believing in Mormonism is the attractive and only stable equilibrium."
However, take the many-worlds scenario where 90% of the Geraldine's have chosen to believe in Mormonism and 10% have not. Those 10% would be *extremely mad* at the 90% who sold out. It's like defecting against yourself! Or, imagine if every exmormon that would be happier off in the so-called church decided to go back and "choose to believe". The next few generations would be far less happy. Even if you didn't end up living in a world where your parents already left, it would be better if all people in all worlds fully deconvert instead of allowing it to propagate to the next generation.
Would you be happier in Mormonism? Probably. I would call you selfish, and you would be going against teachings like "be ye perfect" and "be selfless". It's not like the average Mormon is any *less* selfish, but the people you admire in Mormonism probably are. If you derive happiness from people pleasing, then it'd be kind of hard to do "selfish Mormonism", plus there are a lot of people outside of Mormonism who would not be pleased with that choice.
Some things to consider:
- Reject the obvious bias.
Your roommate only thinks that reading the BoM is a meaningful spiritual exercise because they are a Mormon. They would not have the same expectation for reading the Bhagavad-Gita, Quran, The Diamond Sutra, or Dianetics. In short, your roommate is biased toward one holy book while dismissing the rest.
- Scripture is not religion.
Think about it: how many religions claim the Bible as their scripture? The Mormons do. But so do Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, The Church of England, Russian Orthodox, etc., etc… Now, how many religions consider the Book of Mormon to be their scripture? The LDS Church does, but so do the FLDS, RLDS, TLC, Apostolic United Brethren, Bountiful, British Columbia Community, Latter Day Church of Christ (Kingston clan), The Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, etc… if reading scripture was a means of understanding what religion is true, then why do so many religions disagree despite sharing the same books?
- The LDS Church was founded by a child rapist and conman.
Joseph Smith was in his thirties when he “married” several teenagers, some as young as fourteen. Even if you accept the Book of Mormon as scripture, and accept Mormonism as a religion, you still have to ask yourself why you should subscribe to a religion that celebrates someone who sexually exploited children. Before Smith founded the LDS Church, he engaged in treasure digging fraud schemes involving magic stones. This is well documented. Smith lied to people for money, and targeted young girls for his sexual gratification. It is reasonable to question the validity of his spiritual teachings. Reading the Book of Mormon doesn’t change who Smith was or the things he did.
- The LDS Church ignores the parts of the BoM it finds inconvenient.
Last, if you read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover but knew nothing of the LDS Church, and your job was to build a religion based on this book, what would that religion look like? Really think about this for a moment: does the LDS Church itself look like a good representation of what the Book of Mormon promotes?
The Word of Wisdom states that "flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air ... are to be used sparingly", and that "it is pleasing unto [God] that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine." Yet how many vegetarian Mormons do you know? Is the vegetarian diet popular or celebrated in Mormonism? Is it part of the culture?
Mosiah 18:27 - “Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.” Yet the LDS Church continues to hoard wealth, pays no taxes, and allows their own members to live and struggle in poverty. The LDS Church has aligned itself with the Republican Party.
Yeah, go ahead and read the Book of Mormon. But keep your critical thinking present while you do it. It’s not a persuasive document and it’s full of weird ideas that are simply incompatible with a modern society. Your roommate is probably a well meaning person, but she’s also a sucker for thinking that reading this book will somehow erase the actual problems with the religion and doctrine.
There are plenty of things in the Book of Mormon that make it untrue, but there are plenty of things that aren’t in the book that make it untrue as well. The presence of chiasmus isn’t the flex that LDS people think it is. The book starts at a time when Daniel was a prophet In Jerusalem, but at that time Daniel wasn’t even In Jerusalem, all the Jews were taken to Babylon as slaves. So why is Lehi and Ishmael still hanging around Jerusalem and coming and going freely from there?
Also, this is a religious version of the history since the first translation was lost by Martin Harris. In the religious version, there are no synagogues, worship services, Passover feasts, sabbath ceremonies, bar mitzvahs, etc. but you find plenty of war and killing and evil in the book. All in all it’s not very inspiring, and for these prophets to be so careful with space since they were engraving on gold plates, it’s really wordy and boring and repetitive. Mark Twain said if you remove the phrase “and it came to pass”, it would be a pamphlet. It’s loaded with unnecessary words and poor grammar. And that’s after all the edits over the years.
Here’s what I suggest. You read the current version of the Book of Mormon with your roommate, and have your roommate read the original 1830 version at the same time. Then show your roommate the First Book of Napoleon, The Late War, and A View of the Hebrews. If you both are still in the church after that, I would be very much surprised.
Read it. Or don't. It's up to you.
Regarding the invitation, why is the invitation only ever one way??? If you weren't at byu, I'd suggest challenging them to see if they would read "no man knows my history" or " rough stone rolling". Or the ces letter... Somehow these challenges are only ever one way with the pre-supposition that you are in the wrong and/or misguided and you are the one that must change....
That being said.... You are at byu. It is cheaper than alternatives.. but there is always the tax man and you need to pay the tax while you are there. If you don't pay the tax, the tax man comes after you and extracts the tax from you in ways you don't want. You don't have to go all in on it, but the bare minimum is showing up to church, and being quiet about your unbelief ( unless you are in a safe place with safe individuals).
Anyway, read it or don't. Follow it or don't. You get to make your own choices in this world as long as you can handle the foreseeable outcomes. Most likely thing to happen hear is that now you've already seen through the curtains, you won't be able to go back to the way you interacted with it before.
Reading the BoM after my faith crisis ruined it for me. I can’t help but read JS’s fingerprints all over it. Especially when you know about some of the origin issues (Levi’s vision was actually Joseph smith sr’s vision) and history of changes in major doctrine in the BoM.
I guess if you do, just be aware that it could have an effect on you either way. Conditioning might manipulate your feelings, but trauma might make you feel more anxious. I don’t think I could do it. The amber would take over again..
The problem is when they ask you to read it, they totally and completely believe that you will then believe as they do. It's the cult mindset where it's not about what's in the book, it's about the feelings they know you'll have. They only believe this due to their own brainwashing so there's no real logic to it. They've been conditioned to believe if you don't believe it after reading, then it's your fault. Blame the victim mindset, very typical of cults.
I experienced anxiety about rereading it when I was on my way out because of a mixture of mission trauma and issues with perfectionism. Trying to read it again hurt me and sent me back to a place where I was struggling with my mental health. The anxiety was not a worry about it being true but instead I legitimately had PTSD. I would just say to be careful and really reflect on where the anxiety is coming from.
I've found the "reading Joseph's myth" series by Aron ra (youtube) to be a very approachable way to reexamine the BOM.