It Started with Science
By Dianne Chryst Ormond
I was born-in-the-covenant, lived in Utah my whole life,four years of seminary, returned missionary to England, Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Brigham Young University where I was Young Women President twice, married in the Provo temple, multiple Relief Society, Primary,and Young Women Presidencies amongst a myriad of other callings, and stalwart,dedicated, magnify-my-callings, honest, and true believing LDS member. I have always had an extremely strong conscience that kept me on the straight and narrow path, always striving to do right, and never rebelling.
So what started my disbelief? It started with science. Beginning in seminary and throughout the years, I was taught that "someday science will find proof for the Book of Mormon", and so I put it on a shelf and waited. However, as science progressed, my dissonance grew. After watching a dozen archaeology shows on PBS where nothing in the Book of Mormon was ever mentioned, I called a faithful BYU science professor and asked if there was any archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, and how did he handle the dissonance between science and religion? I could tell by his carefully worded responses that he was no longer a believer.
That started my reading frenzy through about 100 science and religion books in about 6 months. It became undeniably clear that science proved the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham to be fakes. After I was grounded in science, then I started with real church history. I read about the multiple contradictory versions of the First Vision, and Joseph's face-in-the-hat translation method. The final straw was reading about Joseph Smith's marrying a 14 year old, and his polyandry with married women. After reading the heartrending story of Zina and Henry Jacobs, I was in tears.
Then came the rage over being deceived my whole life; I knew the church was a fraud, and there was nothing left of my testimony. I continued to research all the little details for eight years, both online and in books,until my family situation made it possible to resign. I so regret my time,energy, youth, and much tithing that were wasted on a lie, but my biggest regret is that I raised my children in the church. Some of my adult children see the fraud, but not all of them will, and there are many damaged familial relationships.
Since many people have told me that my resignation letter has been concise and helpful for them, I'm including it with a few minor improvements. Everyone has my permission to copy and use it to suit their own needs, as I'm happy to be of help. Good luck to us all on our journeys!
Re:Resignation from membership of Dianne Chryst Ormond, female, birth date November*****, Address
This is my formal written resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, effective November 21, 2006. I resign according to legal precedents established in Guinn V the Church of Christ of Collinsville and Norman Hancock Lawsuit against the LDS Church. I understand that resigning cancels the effects of baptism and suspends temple sealings and blessings, but since I have determined that the foundations of the LDS church are false, there are no eternal consequences to this action. After years of careful consideration, my decision is firm and unalterable. Please forward without delay the "Report of Administrative Action" to President *****,and as specified in the Church Handbook of Instructions, please notify me that it has been done. As is my legal right, I request that the 30 day waiting period be waived, and request the paperwork be submitted promptly to church headquarters. I will verify with Greg Dodge at SLC Member Records.
Where required to list on the form "reason for leaving," please indicate "at member's request as she is not a believer." I insist that my records show the only reason my name has been removed is that I requested it to be so, and insist the word excommunication or any other derogatory word not be used as there is no basis. I emphasize that my decision is not the result of sin, or taking offense, or any other stereotypical justification, but simply that the church is not what it claims to be, and all evidence falsifies the church. The church is good at instilling ethics and values, so it is disturbing when it doesn't follow its own teachings on honesty. After eight years of intensive research and documentation of all sides,I choose to no longer belong to an organization that deceives its members.
- Yes, I've read the apologetics (defenses) of FARMS, FAIR, Meridian, Daniel Peterson,John Sorenson, Jeff Lindsay, Kerry Shirts, Bill Hamilton, John Pratt, Scott Woodward, John Tvedtnes, Matthew Roper, Jeffrey Meldrum, Trent Stephens, Hugh Nibley http://lds-mormon.com/nibley1.shtml and many others, as well as Limited Geography Theory, two Cumorahs, Bat CreekStone, NHM, chiamus, word printing, etc.
I have even double-checked many of their sources, read the books they referenced, and written to scientists they quoted. In every case I checked, the evidence was non-existent or twisted and distorted. Why are there only disingenuous obfuscations that strain credulity?I could overlook if there were just a few of the problems mentioned below, but with all the issues together, the picture becomes overwhelmingly clear. A side benefit is that all the dissonance between science and religion has melted.
- Since outside information is more credible and accurate, I know now that efforts to steer me away were to hide sanitized and revisionist history. Being told not to read something should have been my first clue.
- Multiple social science studies have demonstrated that once indoctrinated into a set of beliefs, only 5% are able to break free of that indoctrination. For that 5% open to examining the foundations of their religion, I ask the following questions for which documentation is easily obtained on the internet from hundreds of sources. A gentle and balanced starting place is here: http://trialsofascension.net/mormon.html
- Since the Book of Abraham is a fake translation of common Egyptian funeral papyri dated centuries after the time of Abraham, why does the church hide this fact from its members and continue to claim that the book is of divine origin when it has been known otherwise since1966 when the papyri were found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City? 'Catalyst for inspiration' and Hugh Nibley's Sen-sen defense are not supported by the evidence. http://irr.org/MIT/Books/BHOH/bhohintr.html
- When I was a missionary, I taught that Joseph Smith was visited by God and Jesus.Now I learn there are at least three additional contradictory Smith versions of the First Vision where only one angel appeared, or only the Lord appeared, or many angels appeared. If I were visited by Deity, it would make such an impression that I would remember by whom and how many. If God and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith and told him none of the churches were true and to join none of them, why did he join the Methodists? After Alvin's death in 1823, why did Joseph pray, "if a supreme being existed" since he would already know? Why does the church teach a religious revival started in 1820, when it was actually1824? Why is there no evidence of Smith's 'persecution' in 1820? http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon_questions.htm
- Why was Angel Moroni called Angel Nephi by Joseph Smith and his mother Lucy? If I'd been visited by an angel, I think I'd get the name right. http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaims1.htm
- Why did Smith marry and have sex with 11 women who were married to other men at the same time, some of whom he sent away on missions before marrying their wives? Why did he marry young teenagers,including 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball, who had both parents and didn't want to be married? http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/insacred.htm Most of these are documented on the church's own genealogy web site at: http://www.familysearch.org (enter Joseph Smith, 1805 birth). Why did Smith practice polygamy in secret for10 years before the D&C 132 'revelation' which was to get Emma off his back? http://www.i4m.com/think/history/joseph_smith_sex.htm
- Why did Joseph marry Fanny Alger in 1833 when the restoration of sealing power by Elijah didn't happen until 1836? In Europe, why did John Taylor say accusations of polygamy were lies when he already had multiple wives back in the USA? http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech9c.htm
- Why did the church teach me that Smith was tarred-and-feathered by anti-Mormons because Satan was persecuting him, when the reality was they were Mormons avenging their young sister towards whom Smith had made sexual advances, and Dr. Dennison was brought along for castration? http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_joesephsmith_section2.html
- Why did the church teach me that polygamy was for the support of widows and surplus single women, when there was actually a shortage of women? http://www.i4m.com/think/polygamy/utah_census.htm Then why didn't Smith provide support for his 33+ wives? Why did General Authorities keep sealing new polygamous marriages for at least 16 years after Wilford Woodruff's Manifesto? http://www.xmission.com/~country/chngwrld/chap9c.htm
- For restoration, why would God choose a man who was a money-digger, glass-looker,treasure-seeker, and was convicted as such in court in 1826? "He was only human," but why didn't God at least choose an honorable man? http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/ny_js.htm and http://www.utlm.org/online books/changech4.htm
- Since I searched extensively, why couldn't I find any science supporting The Book of Mormon? Why is there no Israelite DNA evidence of Lamanites? I've studied the weak apologetics of founder effect, genetic drift, swamping, and the apologist articles here: http://lds.org/newsroom/mistakes/0,15331,3885-1-18078,00.html,but the fact remains that there is no Israelite DNA, only excuses for the lack thereof. Where are the Lamanites, and what happened to BYU's 'Lamanite Generation'? Why does the DNA, morphology, anthropology, and archaeology all point back to Siberia? http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon440.htm http://mormonscripturestudies.com/bomor/twm/lamgen.asp and http://www.postmormon.org/exp_e/index.php/magazine/feature_article/2004/09/22
- We have physical evidence of Mayans,Incas, Aztecs, Olmecs, Toltecs, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Norse in Greenland, and hundreds of other civilizations. Where is any evidence of the civilizations of millions of people in The Book of Mormon? As far as "someday science will find," science has expanded exponentially,especially with ground-penetrating radar and aerial surveillance, but the increasing finds of science all contradict The Book of Mormon.
In lake sediment cores, where are the durable pollen grains of wheat, barley, figs, grapes, or flax, or evidence of these plants in mid dens? Where is the evidence of metallurgy, steel swords or slag heaps, or coins and silk, chariots and wheels, or horses, elephants,asses, goats, sheep, pigs, and cows? Why is there impossible population grow thin The Book of Mormon? http://josephlied.com/population.html Where is the geologic evidence of a global Noachian flood, or geologic or dendroclimatology evidence of the physical upheavals in 3rd Nephi? http://irr.org/mit/bomarch2.html and http://irr.org/mit/smithson.html
- Why is there no linguistic evidence of ancient Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian? Since languages have evolved for tens of thousands of years, why did the Jaredites come from the Tower of Babel if it never existed? Jaredite barges are not functional reality. http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Seely_Babel_WTJ.pdf and http://home.teleport.com/~packham/ships.htm
- Why are there hundreds of anachronisms? Why does The Book of Mormon quote Isaiah before Isaiah was written? Why does it mention the Bible a millennia before the Bible even existed? Why has The Book of Mormon preserved the errors in the King James translation such as 'virgin' for 'young woman'? Why is 'Christ 'used when it is a Greek word, not the Israelite word Messiah? http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/curt_heuvel/bom_bible.html
- Besides there being no evidence for things mentioned in The Book of Mormon, why does the book not mention things that really did exist in Mesoamerica, such as yams, beans, squash, llamas, sloths, jaguars,and monkeys? I went to a museum in Lima, Peru, and there were thousands of artifacts of jaguars, monkeys, and llamas, but not a single horse, cow, elephant, or sheep!
- Why are core doctrines such as three degrees of glory, pre-existence, eternal family sealings, and baptisms for the dead not included in this "most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion"?
The Book of Mormon is a work of fiction with 19th century milieu stamped all over it. "There's a difference between faith in an area where the evidence is lacking, and denial in an area where the evidences copious but against you." -Baura http://lds-mormon.com/bomquest.shtml
- Why was I taught Smith 'translated' from the gold plates when the reality is that he had his face in a hat and never used the plates? http://irr.org/mit/divination.html Why did the witnesses only see the plates with their 'spiritual eyes'? http://irr.org/mit/bomwit1.html Why did Smith use a Seer Stone instead of the Urim and Thummin? Book of Mormon Translation
- Regarding Charles Anthon, why didn't I learn that he called the characters a hoax and a scheme? http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/anthon.htm
- Why were priesthood restoration accounts created retroactively? Why did the priesthood need to be restored by Peter, James, and John when the Three Nephites had it? http://signaturebooks.com/excerpts/insider's.html#chap7
- Why did Smith start a 'translation' of the fraudulent Kinderhook Plates? http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/kinderhookplates.htm
- Why did Smith smoke and drink after giving the Word of Wisdom? Why did he have a bar in his own home? Why did he copy the teachings of the Kirtland Temperance Society? Why didn't he include in the Word of Wisdom the simple instruction to boil water to prevent all the deaths from cholera and dysentery? http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech18.htm
- Why did Smith make so many erroneous "prophecies" such as selling the sacred Book of Mormon copyright in Canada? Why was 'war starting in
South Carolina 'common knowledge, and didn't refer to the Civil War? http://www.i4m.com/think/history/sell_BOM_copyright.htm and http://home.teleport.com/~packham/prophet.htm
- Why was I taught about 'milk strippings' as a warning over trivial things, when the reality is that story was spread decades later by George A. Smith, and that Thomas B. Marsh actually left due to Mormon plundering of Gentiles' property? http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.mormon/msg/9d864ad0a6177ac3
- Why was I never taught about the Mountain Meadows Massacre or that it was connected to the blood atonement covenant in the temple and the killing of Parley P. Pratt for stealing another man's wife and children to add to his polygamy? http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds_mass.htm and http://www.aml-online.org/reviews/b/B200242.html
- Why did I never hear that Prophet Brigham Young preached Adam is God, Blood Atonement, Slavery, or that he petitioned to get the Mormon Battalion, rather than it being conscripted as I was taught? Why does the church teach in the lesson manual that Brigham only had one wife and hides his 55 wives? http://lds-mormon.com/byoung.shtml, http://irr.org/MIT/byadamgd.html, and http://www.zaksite.co.uk/atozelph/racism.htm Why did Smith and Young say six-foot people lived on the moon and dressed like Quakers? http://www.watchman.org/lds/moonmen.htm
- Why was the temple ceremony plagiarized from Masonry weeks after Smith became a Mason, and is not what was practiced in Solomon's temple? http://www.mormonismi.info/jamesdavid/masendow.htm http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/masonicsymbolsandtheldstemple.htm and http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/duncans_ritual/table_of_contents.htm Since Smith taught that temple covenants and ordinances are eternal and unchangeable, why have they been changed multiple times, and at least twice in my lifetime, including removal of the death oaths in 1990? Why were men sealed to men? http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_changes.htm and http://www.lds-mormon.com/whytemplechanges.shtml Why does this family-oriented church split families by excluding from temple weddings, which no other church does?
- Why did the church teach me about the martyrdom as "a lamb to the slaughter," but not the fact that Smith had a smuggled revolver and fired six shots into the crowd, and Hyrum had a smuggled pistol? Why was I not taught that Smith was rightfully arrested for the destruction of personal property including the Expositor, which was going to expose his polygamy/polyandry about which he had repeatedly lied and denied? Why was I not taught that Sidney Rigdon was the first to mention "war of extermination" in a speech, and not the 'gentiles'? http://lds-mormon.com/tmpc.shtml and History of the Church, Vol. 6, Ch. 34, p. 618.
- Since Joseph's 13 Articles of Faith state that we believe in "obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law," why didn't he?Why did he contravene the law with his illegal marriages, counterfeit money,and illegal Kirtland Bank that wiped out the life savings of those who believed Smith's prophecies about it? http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/josephsmithsbank.htm Why didn't I hear about the Danites and the Council of 50? http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.mormon/msg/798763798680fb17 and http://trialsofascension.net/mormon/lying.html
- Why does the church continue to claim it is the fastest growing religion when statistics say otherwise, and the internet is blocking its growth? http://home.teleport.com/~packham/growth.htm
- Why does the current film Joseph Smith:Prophet of the Restoration give false impressions? i.e. regarding healings, Smith's happy monogamous marriage, parental encouragement of Emma's marriage when the reality is they were furious at the elopement and that Joseph had stolen her away? http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/01-EmmaHale.htm
- Regarding our core belief and Snow's couplet "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become," why did President Gordon B. Hinckley say that "I don't know that we teach it."? http://home.teleport.com/~packham/gbh-god.htm Why did Hinckley say polygamy is "not doctrinal" when it is in D&C 132, will be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom, and is currently practiced in temple sealings? http://lds-mormon.com/lkl_00.shtml Before two people were killed, why didn't Hinckley, Kimball, and other church leaders receive revelation and be able to discern that Mark Hofmann's documents were forgeries that they were buying to hide in the Church vault? What has Hinckley prophesied or revealed as 'prophet, seer, and revelator'? http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/hof1.htm
- Why are women taught to be subservient and are less valued? Why did the church oppose the ERA? In our stake, YM have four times the budget as YW. There are yearly father-son sleepovers, but women were banned from sleepovers after one activity. Girls camp is once a year and always at the same place, while Scouts have multiple camps at multiple distant places. Why are there church boy scouts, but not girl scouts? Why ask men before giving a calling to the wife, but not ask women before giving a calling to the husband?Why can't women have more leadership callings such as financial clerk or Sunday School president? I remember when women were finally allowed to give prayers in Sacrament Meeting in 1978. Thankfully, multiple"women obey your husbands" were taken out of the temple ceremony in 1990. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=1041#more-1041 and http://www.i4m.com/think/comments/mormon_women.htm
- There is so much more, but I'll stop now. http://home.teleport.com/~packham/101.htm, http://www.realmormonhistory.com/ and http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no107.htm
- Other than "feelings," what evidence is there the church is what it claims to be?Feelings are not a reliable test of truth, as anyone knows whose feelings have turned out to be wrong, such as feeling good about an investment which failed or a marriage that ended. If feelings equal truth, then Islam, Catholicism,Buddhism, and all other faiths are also the one true religion because their members also have a witness. Regarding faith, belief, witness, prayer, testimony,burning in the bosom, and other such feelings, many get those same inspirational feelings watching "Phantom of the Opera" or "Les Mis." Does that mean they are true? Many get bad feelings learning about the Holocaust. Does that mean the Holocaust isn't true? Most spiritual experiences can be scientifically explained within the brain. http://watarts.uwaterloo.ca/~acheyne/S_P.html
- http://www.religioustolerance.org/vis_brain.htm and http://www.dreamsnightmares.com/luciddreaming.html
- Faith cannot be sustained on falsehoods and deception. Faith is not sufficient when all tangible evidence contradicts the church. "Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope." --Thomas Edison
- My testimony is based on evidence, facts,historical research, and feelings, and I know that the church is not true,Joseph Smith was not a prophet, and The Book of Mormon is not the word of God. http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e11/86/dawkins2.html
- There are hundreds more books to suggest, but these are excellent for consolidated reading:
- Churchhistory- An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer (active Mormon, Institute Director)
- Science- Farewell to Eden, Coming to Terms With Mormonism and Science by Duwayne Anderson (resigned Mormon, scientist)
- Polygamy/polyandry- In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton(active Mormon, historian)
- Spiritual experiences/how the brain works- Don't Believe Everything You Think by Thomas E. Kida
Dianne Chryst Ormond
Husband, Address, Orem, Utah
President *****, Address, Orem,Utah
Gregory W. Dodge, Supervisor, Members and Statistical Records Division
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 E North Temple, Room 1372, SLC, UT 84150-5310