A former member of the LDS Church, he has sent this letter to the current president and prophet, Thomas Monson.
The journey continues..
I have chosen Mother’s Day to write to you, because it highlights my concern over the existence of patriarchy within the structure of the church. While my life was very enhanced from joining the church in my fourteenth year, serving an honorable mission and marrying within the temple, with an increase of study from “all the good books” and scholarly study in the birthplace of all Christian religion, the recent published position of the church hierarchy has caused me, and apparently many others, to wonder about the true ‘inspiration’ that created the LDS church.
My testimony was definitely from my own mystical experience and I bore it many times to convince others to consider our version of the ‘truth’ about an eternal plan and a loving deity. So I take full responsibility for anything I might have ignorantly presented to unknowledgeable investigators, such as random contacts, friends, co-workers and family.
The point here is to recognize that by “following the prophet” I paid little attention to the policies that were at the basis of the LDS organization. This is just the point where religion ‘becomes’ the life of its members. They measure all aspects of life through their devotion to the proposition that the church knows what is best for them, so they relinquish responsibility for promoting its policies as coming from God. Obedience is necessary if an organization is going to survive and prosper, but that obedience needs to be honored by the organization in return. The most recent public issues about the LDS policies regarding people of sexual differences do not appear to be honoring the faith of the membership or adhering to the teachings of scripture (ancient and modern).
Further, the idea of prophethood also comes into question when one bearing it is expected to absolutely reflect a congruency between commands of the past and how they relate to commands of the present in order to be recognized as a mouthpiece for God. Singling out people as unacceptable because of their very unchangeable nature of who and how to love is not in alignment with the longheld teaching of the Bible or the Book of Mormon. Prophets of the past were very consistent in the warnings they brought forth as a mouthpiece of deity, so why this current inconsistency if our prophets are as genuine as those of the ancient world?
My question is kind of rhetorical, because my studies of the beginnings of Christianity have confirmed that it was only a sect of Judaism that became identified as separate from the old Torah laws by men centuries later that desired to create their own religious context. To make this happen they even had to bring their deity to earth by inventing a ‘messiah’ (political deliverer) as a mysterious offspring of deity who was both man and god. Today’s religious fervor is the far end result of this manipulation as I have sadly discovered too late for raising my four children and my deceased spouse of 42 years. If I had known then as I do now, they would have been free to be their true natures and not feeling constrained as sinners to measure up to a system of personal and group judgment.
What all this means is that even statistical studies today show that people without religious training are better at living ‘Christ-like’ lives in how they treat their fellow humans than do the churchgoers. This is only due to the fact that real goodness is already within most of humanity, and churches feel they have to convince people otherwise in order to ‘guide’ them back to God and Heaven. Sorry to disappoint, but that is the most agregious falsehood that has ever been fostered in this world!
My personal experience of knowing people of color and different sexual orientation has shown me that they are all worthy as a marvelous product of their Creator! Even the biblical story of Sodom is so misinterpreted that it has become a false excuse to accuse LGBTQ people of being the reason for God’s wrath in destroying them. There are no realistic references in scripture to support it either. This is a man-made prejudice to bring about supremacy of one type of person over another, period! Not very Christian in my view!
The long experience of believing in the ‘truth’ of LDS doctrine has led me to understand that it is no different than any other religious effort to teach one thing; JUDGMENT! My examination of world history has shown that if religion had been left out of the mix, human-kind might have developed a true “heaven on earth” that would have surrounded our first image of deity; women. Instead this engraining of patriarchy and organizational judgment has introduced discord among societies to such a degree that it can be blamed for most of the misogyny, death and destruction that has been our lot. What part of “Judge not that ye be not judged” don’t pulpits understand? This is definitely a rhetorical question, because at least some of them do understand it and use it to further their own dominion.
What I suggest should not be hard for LDS people to grasp as it is reflected in their modern scripture. Example: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature of almost all MEN, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39) Here we see that this ‘wisdom’ was available, so acting otherwise is evidence of manipulation and non-inspiration by those so doing and judging.
I spent over 50 plus years as a true believer, teacher, missionary, father and husband within this comfortable established dogma. When my spouse passed away a few years ago, my new companion and I traveled and studied the sources of religions, especially Christianity, and we were surprised, but not shocked to see the LDS church pressured into revealing it’s underpinnings of questionable policies that do not reflect the teaching of their ‘Christ’, nor their God!
So, President Monson, consider this my resignation letter as I lift this yoke of judgment from my neck and really begin to appreciate my fellow beings out of my own heart’s inspiration for the rest of my days in this imperfect world! Whether or not you see this or expunge my records is of no consequence to me. Every time you include me in your statistical counts of church growth you will only be increasing the lie, and if karma does exist, bring more guilt upon your head!
The Tibetan Buddhists have a line in their holy book that says, “There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way!” So stop trying too fool people into thinking they are bad so you can make them good. They already possess all they need to progress!
Charles Arthur Foltz
Formerly of the Marysville Washington Stake,
Lake Stevens First Ward
Some of our friends will understand and some won't, but my hope is that someone will put their devotions aside long enough to explore beyond the frailties of MEN!