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To my wife and children,

Newport Beach Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My wife and I were married in the Newport Beach Temple.

I am writing this letter to explain in detail how I concluded that the Church is not all it claims to be. I deeply need your understanding and support. You are my whole world. 

I have been known to get intellectually excited about various subjects on occasion. I tend to investigate every piece of information and exhaust all resources to satisfy my curiosity. One day I came across an Ensign article discussing the new Joseph Smith Papers project that caused my curiosity to extend into Church history. I soon became captivated. I began reading every Church-approved historical resource I could find. I pored over Joseph Smith’s journals, the Journal of Discourses, The History of the Church, and early Mormon periodicals. It was all so fascinating. I intended to learn more about the history and to strengthen my testimony, but every so often I would run across well-known events that did not match the narrative I was taught growing up in the Church. This letter is a collection of these events and other inconsistencies. 

I would like to address something before you continue reading. Much of this information will be new to you; it was to me. It may feel uncomfortable learning things we were never taught in church. We have been told that this feeling is the Spirit warning us, but please consider that any information that seriously challenges our worldview will make us feel this way. My only request is that you read this with an open mind about the possibility that anything is possible in this crazy world.

“In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending.”  (Elder James E. Talmage, Improvement Era, January 1920)


Church Historian, Elder Steven E. Snow, was interviewed by BYU’s Religious Educator program about the Church’s recent increasing openness about history. He  stated,

My view is that being open about our history solves a whole lot more problems than it creates. We might not have all the answers, but if we are open – and we now have pretty remarkable transparency – then I think in the long run that will serve us well. I think in the past there was a tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation—with the access to information on the Internet, we can’t continue that pattern; I think we need to continue to be more open.” (Steven E. Snow, Start With Faith: A Conversation with Elder Steven E. Snow, Religious Educator 14, no.3, 2013.

What pattern can’t they continue? Professor of history emeritus at BYU, D. Michael Quinn, recounts a conversation with Elder Boy K. Packer regarding historical issues of the Church,     

“I have a hard time with historians because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting; it destroys…Historians should tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting.” (D. Michael Quinn quoting Boyd K. Packer, Pillars of My Faith, Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, August 19, 1994)

Elder Packer counsels that not all truth should be shared, but what determines which should be shared and which should be censored? At what point do partial truths become lies? Elder Packer’s caution and Elder Snow’s reveal show that the brethren have regularly suppressed information about the Church’s troublesome history. Yet now they see the need to finally be truthful due to the Internet’s free flow of information. I feel that a true church should not have a troublesome past to hide and be open to full disclosure if there is any. 

Let’s take a closer look at what Elder Snow says has been kept closed all these years.

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