Hell for Ex-Believers

Garden-of-Eden_cast_outMany religions have a very clever, special curse in their salvation-schemes.  Most religions have hells and to make sure believers stay in their religion, they let believers know that should they leave the faith then they are certainly bound for hell.  This special curse is very effective that is why we see it in many religions:  in evolution we call such phenomena “parallel evolution“.

Here is the curse:

Join us, and you get eternal life.  But know this, if you leave our faith, then there is not only absolutely no chance that you may ever regain your salvation, but there is also an even worse hell awaiting you in the afterlife.  Indeed, your eternal torment would have been less severe had you never joined our faith.

Evangelical Clause:  Here is the verse some Christians use as the basis of their Special Curse Clause.  You can see how this curse would keep even the doubting believer tithing:

For this reason I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy,  but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven.   But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven,  either in this age or in the age to come.
— Matthew 12:31-32 (NetBible)

Latter Day Saint (LDS) Clause:  LDSers are more generous than the scheme of Evangelicals:  see my post on ” salvation spectrums “.   LDSers are closer to being Universalists in that they postulate that if someone rejects Jesus in this life, they get another chance after death when they will see him clearly and if the choose at that time, they are rewarded with salvation albeit of a little lesser degree than someone who chooses Jesus in this life.  BUT they also have the nasty curse for ex-believers:   if a Mormon receives enough revelation from the Holy Spirit after entering the Mormon faith and having a Temple Marriage, then if  that Mormon then rejects their faith and leaves the church, then that Mormon is bound to the worst of hells.  So that their fate would have been better had you never joined the Church of the Latter Day Saints — ouch!

I invite my readers to help me find this curse in other faiths and to send me the texts to support it — be they from their scriptures, their sermons or their literature.  This curse mechanism is not privy to just religious groups, because it is an excellent human sociological mechanism to preserve membership, it has evolved in many non-religous groups including clubs, ethnic clans, societies etc…

16 Comments

Filed under Philosophy & Religion

16 responses to “Hell for Ex-Believers

  1. How timely that you discuss this right after I finished reading a chapter in “Claiming Christ” (by Evangelical scholar Gerald McDermott and Mormon scholar Robert Millet) concerning the fate of the “unevangalized”. McDermott accuses the Mormon view of being “quasi-universalism”.

    Millett responds that he can see why it would be “easy to suggest that because Latter-day Saints believe that only the sons of perdition, those who have sinned against major light in this world and committed the unpardonable sin (the one that will not be forgiven in this world or in the world to come—Matthew 12:31) are the only ones consigned to hell forever, that Mormons believe in a kind of universal salvation. This requires a slight clarification. Yes, we do believe that each person who does not defect to perdition will be assigned to one of three degrees of glory hereafter (Doctrine and Covenants 76), but this does not mean that either (a) there will be no consequences or suffering for sin, or (b) everyone will be saved in the presence of God and the Lamb.

    “We believe that when a person passes from this world into the next, into a post-mortal spirit world, it is there that he or she will face up to who he or she is and how he or she has lived. Those who have fought against light and truth, who have denied and defied the Only Begotten Son, will be subject to hell, to the taunting of conscience, taunting so bitter and exquisite as to be compared to fire and brimstone. Second, only those who attain unto the highest degree of glory, the celestial glory, will enjoy the eternal association of God the Eternal Father and his Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    As for the “safety clause”, I got a chuckle out of your comment about not every wanting to hear the “complete story” for safety reasons. But in reality, I’d hate to think that simply conversing with someone about my faith or even those people who “spurned” my testimony of Jesus at the doorstep when I served as a Mormon missionary, were/are forfeiting their opportunity for eternal reward hereafter. Like Millett, “I would certainly not believe that one encounter with someone who declared it, constituted one’s only and final opportunity to find salvation”. Also, I often hear the accusation that Latter-day Saints believe in “second chances” for salvation in the next life. I don’t buy that. Rather, I believe that everyone will be given a valid “first chance” to receive the message of salvation.

    Millett goes on to express my own personal thoughts: “We cannot judge or condemn other human beings because we do not know what is going on in their hearts, what struggles they may have had, what tragedies may have been inflicted upon them, what crosses they have been called upon to bear, what ironies they may have been required to endure. So many things, including false traditions transmitted through the generations, can prevent us from being at our best, from discerning clearly the truth from error, from walking in the light when we seem to be drawn so dramatically into the darkness. Thank heavens that God is in charge and that the final judgment will rest with him.”

    I think the following revelation received through Joseph Smith is most generous, and speaks to God’s omniscience and love: “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. (D&C 137:7-9).

  2. “BUT, once you join the Mormon faith and you then leave the church, you are bound to the worst of hells. So that your fate would have been better had you never joined.”

    If it wasn’t clear in my first post, I don’t believe that, and I’m not sure how anybody can say that. Ultimately I believe God is a merciful judge.

  3. Ah, sorry Clean Cut. But do you feel that this threat has been made to Mormons? I have heard it from other LSDers in the past. I understand that you disagree — and admire you for that — but I am sort of curious. Thank you.

  4. Dolly

    Sabio,

    I’ll address your question regarding a mormon, non biblical source for the “Special Curse Clause”. In my view (and in our recent Sunday School class discussion a few days ago, which incidentally happened to be on a Friday here in Saudi, it happened to be the topic of discussion.)

    Many of us have first hand experience with family or friends who were long time mormons, with great understanding and even the complete/perfect story so to speak, but who have rejected or otherwise left the church and no longer have a testimony of belief that they once proclaimed to have. Our loving God gave us our own “safety clause”. We act on faith which is “a belief in things that are not seen”. When we proclaim to “know” that God lives, that he is real, it is not because we have seen him but rather because we have reason to feel His presence in our lives. Those reasons are individual and somewhat indescribable. It’s like trying to tell someone what salt tastes like without using the word salty. You just have to experience it for yourself. The purpose of the Holy Ghost to be a witness of God and His son, Jesus Christ, is essential to this faith. Our teachings and understanding give us a great deal to go off of, but we are believers with faith and not a perfect knowledge. We believe that actually very few people would have this perfect knowledge opportunity to be really condemned to the ultimate “special curse”.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 358).

    Let me also add that many mormons do have the Holy Ghost as a part of their testament. It is potentially, however at a level that is vulnerable and can be lost without a continued and actual exercise of faith. Faith is essential to a belief in God. To deny faith is more akin to denying healthy food. It is something that we need in order to grow and most mortals have a built in hunger and desire for growth and food. : ) But to deny the Holy Ghost (in the sense of the unpardonable type), is a very difficult thing to achieve.

    The type of Holy Ghost experiences that most of us have, are described in this excerpt from a conference talk by a modern apostle named Dallin H. Oaks:

    “In highlighting the gift of the Holy Ghost as a distinguishing characteristic of our faith, we need to understand the important differences between (1) the Light of Christ, (2) a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, and (3) the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    The Light of Christ, which is sometimes called the Spirit of Christ or the Spirit of God, “giveth light to every man that cometh into the world” (D&C 84:46). This is the light “which is in all things, which giveth life to all things” (D&C 88:13). The prophet Mormon taught that “the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moro. 7:16; see also Moro. 7:19; 2 Ne. 2:5; Hel. 14:31). Elder Lorenzo Snow spoke of this light when he said, “Everybody has the Spirit of God” (in Journal of Discourses, 14:304). The Light of Christ enlightens and gives understanding to all men (see D&C 88:11).

    In contrast, a manifestation of the Holy Ghost is more focused. This manifestation is given to acquaint sincere seekers with the truth about the Lord and his gospel. For example, the prophet Moroni promises that when we study the Book of Mormon and seek to know whether it is true, sincerely and with real intent, God will “manifest” the truth of it unto us, “by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moro. 10:4). Moroni also records this promise from the Risen Lord: “He that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true” (Ether 4:11).

    These manifestations are available to everyone. The Book of Mormon declares that the Savior “manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” (2 Ne. 26:13).

    To repeat, the Light of Christ is given to all men and women that they may know good from evil; manifestations of the Holy Ghost are given to lead sincere seekers to gospel truths that will persuade them to repentance and baptism.

    The gift of the Holy Ghost is more comprehensive. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 199; emphasis added).

    The gift of the Holy Ghost includes the right to constant companionship, that we may “always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77).

    A newly baptized member told me what she felt when she received that gift. This was a faithful Christian woman who had spent her life in service to others. She knew and loved the Lord, and she had felt the manifestations of his Spirit. When she received the added light of the restored gospel, she was baptized and the elders placed their hands upon her head and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. She recalled, “I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity than I had ever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me in the past but now had come to stay.”

    This is all I have time for tonight. It is actually early Tuesday for me here in Saudi even though my computer is still on Hawaii time.

    Cheers!

  5. Dolly,
    Thank you for your long and thoughtful reply — and wow, from Saudi Arabia — talking about being a minority religion !

    I was hopeful about your note when you began by saying:

    Many of us have first hand experience with family or friends who were long time Mormons, with great understanding and even the complete/perfect story so to speak, but who have rejected or otherwise left the church and no longer have a testimony of belief that they once proclaimed to have.

    I thought, “Wow, I am going to get a straightforward answer !”. But alas, I did not find my answer. Did I miss it?

    I don’t know if you read that I am a former Christian. Thus I understand the whole “individual and indescribable” issue. But then ALL religious experience is “individual and indescribable” so that won’t help us arrive at truth. For I rejected this “individual and indescribable” sip of salt water. Hindus do, Muslims do, Calvinists do, Shintos do — and they all say the same –> “You can’t understand my deep truth unless you taste it and have faith”.

    This post tells some of my Christian involvement as does my “Author” page. This post tells part of my de-conversion story, and this post is about how I see Jesus now. I was a Christian, then deepened my experience by being baptized in the spirit etc. etc. all of this was “individual and indescribable”, but then I left the faith. Many ex-friends feel I committed the unpardonable sin. So if you are going to witness further — unless you are trying to reach my audience — you might want to know my background a little first.

    But most importantly, you never told us what you feel about those Mormons you knew “with great understanding and even the complete/perfect story … who rejected … the church.” You gave us a very long, well-written witness to your religions views about the different manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the special feelings verifying it, but I really wanted to know what you felt about these people.

    So I see your choices as three:

    A) “They DID, unfortunately, commit the unpardonable sin”
    B) “God decides, I don’t know if they committed the unpardonable sin”
    C) “No one can really commit the unpardonable sin until after they die and God ‘opens the heavens unto him’ and they then truly, truly, truly see God.”

    Am I mistaken, are there other [short] options?

  6. Sabio, I think some of the confusion here was over the original quote, or lack thereof. Do you have an original source for the Mormon “curse” claim? I’d like to know the source from where you get the idea so I can better understand where you’re coming from. I can’t really deal with a quote I haven’t read.

    I have a strong hunch, however, that there there is a big difference between someone who has “sinned” their way out of the Church, or sinned against God, versus someone who simply decides the Church is not what they thought it was and decide to leave. I think that there are some who learn some disturbing things they never knew, and weren’t able to adjust their faith paradigm, and consequentially seek for light and happiness elsewhere. I can hardly believe that God will “curse” them. I think he understands their heart better than any mortal. And in that scripture I quoted above, he judges us not only according to our works, but also the desires of our hearts. That’s huge. Motivation counts.

    Therefore, perhaps a better question would be: What is the motivation for those who leave the faith? Surly the consequences are different depending on the motivation for rejecting either the Church or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those are two separate things–the Church and the Gospel. I’d assume that there are are as many various consequences (whether positive or negative) as there are reasons for leaving the faith. So I hardly see how one “curse quote” (if there is such a thing) can apply to all situations when each one is so very different.

  7. Well, the NT source is, of course, Matt. 12:31-32. Mormon texts, I think are, Jacob 7:19; Alma 39:6; TPJS, p. 361.

    Alma 39:6 says: “For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable”

    “No man can commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, nor in this life, until he receives the Holy Ghost” (TPJS, p. 357).

    So, the whole thing hinges on WHEN someone “receives” the Holy Ghost.
    Question 1: Do you believe anyone can “Receive the Holy Ghost” in this life enough so as to be vulnerable to the unpardonable sin?

    Question 2: Can you give examples of what “denying the Holy Ghost” would mean for someone in this life.

    Question 3: Are there sins against the Church which aren’t against God or vica versa?

    I find this quote of yours very interesting, “some who learn some disturbing things they never knew, and weren’t able to adjust their faith paradigm.”

    Which reminds me of my image of Mormanism as secretive (remember, I am not a Christian). I have a feeling that Mormans hold back stuff because they think it will freak out the new members so only after the member has been in the fold for a certain amount of time and have a sort of cognitive commitment, do they reveal stuff — I must say, that sounds VERY cultish.

    Question 4: Please give a few examples of the most common “disturbing things” that turn people away from Mormonism.

    Question 5: If you can’t give examples and they must remain secret? Wouldn’t you think you would call such secrecy in any other organization or religion other than your as a very questionable technique?

    Wow, lots of questions, but hopefully they will lead us to understanding between each other.

  8. I can’t quite figure out why my comment is not appearing. I’ll try resubmitting it, perhaps in two small increments. If it’s somehow in “moderation”, the you can just delete this and release it:

    Okay, now we’re narrowing down the confusion. If we’re talking about the “unpardonable sin”, then that’s what Dolly was referring to above. That’s not, however, referring to someone who just decides to reject the LDS church and walk away.

    “Question 1: Do you believe anyone can “Receive the Holy Ghost” in this life enough so as to be vulnerable to the unpardonable sin?”

    Yes, but very few. Here’s what the LDS Guide to the scriptures has to say under “Sons of Perdition”:

    “The followers of Satan who will suffer with him in eternity. Sons of perdition include (1) those who followed Satan and were cast out of heaven for rebellion during premortality, and (2) those who were permitted to be born to this world with physical bodies but then served Satan and turned utterly against God. Those in this second group will be resurrected from the dead but will not be redeemed from the second (spiritual) death and cannot dwell in a kingdom of glory (D&C 88: 32, 35).

    “None of them is lost but the son of perdition, John 17: 12. It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance, Heb. 6: 4-6 (Heb. 10: 26-29). Mercy hath no claim on that man and his final doom is never-ending torment, Mosiah 2: 36-39. He is as though there was no redemption made, Mosiah 16: 5. Those who deny Christ’s miracles to get gain shall become like the son of perdition, 3 Ne. 29: 7. They will receive no forgiveness in this world or the next, D&C 76: 30-34 (D&C 84: 41; 132: 27). They are the only ones who will not be redeemed from the second death, D&C 76: 34-48. Sons of perdition deny the Holy Spirit after receiving it, D&C 76: 35. Sons of perdition deny the Son after the Father has revealed him, D&C 76: 43. Cain shall be called Perdition, Moses 5: 22-26.”

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/gs/s/82

    “Question 2: Can you give examples of what “denying the Holy Ghost” would mean for someone in this life?”

    We’re a little short on the details, but those in mortal life who “deny the Holy Ghost” is generally interpreted as rejecting and denying Christ after receiving a personal witness of him from the Holy Ghost. It is frequently—though not universally—added that a son of perdition must have a “perfect knowledge” of Jesus and that mere faith or belief in him is not enough.

    Dolly already quoted Joseph Smith as teaching:
    “All sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it.”

  9. “Question 3: Are there sins against the Church which aren’t against God or vica versa?”

    Well there are things that one can do in order to be “excommunicated” from the Church. But some could simply decide to resign their membership (without having necessarily “sinned”) and where there are no grounds for excommunication.

    “Question 4: Please give a few examples of the most common “disturbing things” that turn people away from Mormonism.”

    Oh, I’ve heard people complain that the Church is “concealing” things in its past. But there is a big difference between concealing things and simply choosing to emphasize some things over others. A good post about this, by the way at http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009/05/myth-of-whole-truth.html

    For example, you don’t hear much discussion in Sunday School about Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy, or racist statements from Brigham Young, etc. But then again, are we obligated to discuss those things in Sunday School when the emphasis should really be on the scriptures and the principles of the gospel (namely, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, etc.)?

    Perhaps you’d find the following presentation interesting, or at least some answers to your question: “Why People Leave the LDS Church and How We Can Help” http://mormonstories.org/whytheyleave/

  10. “Question 5: If you can’t give examples and they must remain secret? Wouldn’t you think you would call such secrecy in any other organization or religion other than your as a very questionable technique?”

    I wouldn’t say any of these things from Church history are secret at all—just less well known. There is in the Church some historical illiteracy among the average member, as I’m sure there are in other faith groups too. I wrote about my own adjustment of my paradigm after learning more about Joseph Smith after reading Richard Bushman’s biography, “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling”. My post (My Paradigm Shift-“Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling” ) can be accessed here:
    http://latterdayspence.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-paradigm-shift.html

    I think you may be over blowing the “secrecy” thing, though. The only thing that is “secret” to outsiders (although we prefer to use the term “sacred” not “secret”, even though for all intents and purposes it is secret) are certain signs and tokens received through the endowment ceremony in Holy Temples. We covenant to not reveal those except for a certain time and place in the temple. I don’t find that questionable at all.

    Perhaps you’ll get a better understanding of where I’m coming from with the whole temple perspective if I can refer you, once again, to another post, which I think you’ll find very informative and helpful:
    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2009/03/so-you-saw-big-love-then-googled-to-find-out-more-about-this-mormon-temple-weirdness-and-ended-up-here/

  11. I have a hunch that “moderation” went into effect because I provided some links to other sites…

  12. Carlos U.

    If I may clarify a bit…

    D&C 132: 26-27
    26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.
    27 The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that bideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.

    In other words, you have to receive a temple marriage, and then commit murder (shedding innocent blood) seem to be minimum requirements to commit the unpardonable sin, and thus become a son of perdition, cast unto outer darkness. In other words, it takes quite a bit to qualify.

  13. @ Readers:

    You can see our dialogue on Clean Cut’s site
    here .

    @ Carlos U
    Indeed, seems like a lot ! Mormon view of heaven-hell is much more sophisticated, generous and just than the traditional view. Any readers out there disagree? (ps, I fixed up you typos, hope you don’t mind)

    @ Clean cut:

    1) I fixed by site to accept more links, thank you.

    2) You might want to go to http://www.gravatar.com and make a gravatar for yourself so as to beautify sites and make yourself more memorable — heck, you deserve it !

    3) I am glad you see my comments as trying to “narrow down the confusion” — that is absolutely true. My efforts is dialogue are, ideally, to first clarify so we can clearly see where we a) agree b)disagree c) are equally unformed/uninformed in our opinion. Second is to persuade — but even that, I prefer to do passively — in other words, persuasion is made by the facts, not the person. And to tell you the truth, depending on issues, persuasion is often not important, civil clarity is far more important to me.

    4) Below I repeat the summary I now have made of the Mormon views you have shared — thanks !

    5) I still think, even after your help, I have correctly placed Mormons views of Salvation fairly correctly on my Spectrum Diagram. Don’t you?
    And thus, I have edited my post to hopefully reflect accurately actual Mormon beliefs. Thanks.

    6) Thanks too for the Mormon scriptures which I linked on my Resources page.
    —————————

    Qualified Universalism of Mormons

    1. All can make it to an afterlife with rewards (unlike Calvinism)

    2. Decision does not necessarily have to be made in this life (unlike Arminians and most Christians which have an OBVIOUSLY unjust and arbitrary view of heaven and hell — I wager that is why most Christians don’t really believe it — which is what I call “Cafeteria Christians” — a term of endearment from me, actually)

    3. Three levels (degrees) of heaven depending on how much you obeyed god. Some heavens are closer to god. And thus scales of reward differ. No more black and white of “heaven or hell”

    4. Ones place after death reflects more one’s preferences rather than judgment.

    5. Very rare few go to actual hell (perdition)

  14. My answers to your other questions are still in moderation. I’ll try re-submitting them again:

    “Question 3: Are there sins against the Church which aren’t against God or vica versa?”

    Well there are things that one can do in order to be “excommunicated” from the Church. But some could simply decide to resign their membership (without having necessarily “sinned”) and where there are no grounds for excommunication.

    “Question 4: Please give a few examples of the most common “disturbing things” that turn people away from Mormonism.”

    Oh, I’ve heard people complain that the Church is “concealing” things in its past. But there is a big difference between concealing things and simply choosing to emphasize some things over others. A good post about this, by the way at http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009/05/myth-of-whole-truth.html

    For example, you don’t hear much discussion in Sunday School about Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy, or racist statements from Brigham Young, etc. But then again, are we obligated to discuss those things in Sunday School when the emphasis should really be on the scriptures and the principles of the gospel (namely, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, etc.)?

    Perhaps you’d find the following presentation interesting, or at least some answers to your question: “Why People Leave the LDS Church and How We Can Help” http://mormonstories.org/whytheyleave/

  15. “Question 5: If you can’t give examples and they must remain secret? Wouldn’t you think you would call such secrecy in any other organization or religion other than your as a very questionable technique?”

    I wouldn’t say any of these things from Church history are secret at all—just less well known. There is in the Church some historical illiteracy among the average member, as I’m sure there are in other faith groups too. I wrote about my own adjustment of my paradigm after learning more about Joseph Smith after reading Richard Bushman’s biography, “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling”. My post (My Paradigm Shift-”Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling” ) can be accessed here:
    http://latterdayspence.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-paradigm-shift.html

    I think you may be over blowing the “secrecy” thing, though. The only thing that is “secret” to outsiders (although we prefer to use the term “sacred” not “secret”, even though for all intents and purposes it is secret) are certain signs and tokens received through the endowment ceremony in Holy Temples. We covenant to not reveal those except for a certain time and place in the temple. I don’t find that questionable at all.

    Perhaps you’ll get a better understanding of where I’m coming from with the whole temple perspective if I can refer you, once again, to another post, which I think you’ll find very informative and helpful:
    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2009/03/so-you-saw-big-love-then-googled-to-find-out-more-about-this-mormon-temple-weirdness-and-ended-up-here/

  16. Thanx for all the info Clean Cut. I finally figured out how to get your comments out of moderation. Thanx

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