Friday, February 6, 2015

Elder Dallin Oaks, I'm sorry.

A dear sister in Christ shared her heart on a Facebook message board concerning the last LDS news conference. Her words touched me deeply so I asked if I could share her message with all of you, through my blog.

Thank you for your permission, Shantelle. I pray your words bless many more.

The News conference can be found in the link below.
LDS Church backs LGBT nondiscrimination and religious freedom bills

"On Jan 27, 2015, Dallin Oaks said the following: "I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them." Here is my letter of apology to him. 

Dear Elder Oaks,

First of all, I want you to know that this comes from the deepest part of my heart. I have a love for you and for the LDS people. I care deeply about my family members and friends still in the religion.

That said, I know you said you don't seek out apologies, but I am writing this to you today to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry you distrust the bible. I'm sorry the church has deluded me, my family, and my ancestors with statements such as "we believe the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly", when in fact we have archaeological and manuscript evidence today that proves it's inerrancy. I'm sorry that holy and God-breathed book is not the absolute center of your life whereby you test everyone and everything.

I am sorry that Joseph Smith deceived you and me and so many people that we love. I'm sorry that he was only a man, someone who made false claims, someone who fails the test of a prophet (Deut 18:22). I'm sorry Joseph Smith lied to the members of his church, including his involvement with polygamy (History of the Church, vol 6, p. 411). I'm sorry he had up to 40 wives, some as young as 14 and some who were still married to other living men. I'm so sorry the church hid the truth from us all these years.

I'm sorry so many of our devoted ancestors had to die for a gospel that was untrue, that so many had to suffer from extreme temperatures, the loss of limbs, the untimely death of their little ones, starvation, as well as the loss of money, property, and possessions.

I am sorry the church demanded so much of us, our husbands, our children. I'm sorry young men and women leave their homes for 18 months to 2 years to teach a false gospel, a false Christ (2 Peter 2:1-3), all at their own expense, and all at such vulnerable young ages when life is really just beginning. I'm sorry the church expects and requires us to "buy" our way into the celestial kingdom through paying a full tithing- no matter our financial hardship- in order to enter temples that we are taught is the only way to heaven.

I'm so sorry the church puts so much emphasis on outward appearance and "looking the part" (D. Todd Christofferson, “A Sense of the Sacred,” New Era, June 2006, 30). I'm sorry the church looks down upon those who are not "neat and clean", those with tattoos, piercings, unfashionable clothing, facial hair, and men with hair past their ears. I'm sorry the church told us that the way we dress influences the way we and others act and that we have control over the thoughts and actions of others by our clothing (True to the Faith, 107).

I'm sorry the church is manipulative and uses the term "thus saith the Lord" as a way to guilt it's members into doing what it wants them to say (not say), do (not do), eat (not eat), wear (not wear), think (not think), and read (not read). I'm sorry the church controls the minds, thoughts, and actions of it's members by stating it is the one and only true church upon the face of the church, producing hypocrites (Matt 22:27-28) and breeding atheists. I'm sorry the church has hidden so many truths from us for so long and has not allowed us to do our own objective research. I'm sorry the church wants to silence those of us who ask questions, those of us who use the brain God gave us to research and test everything against the bible. I'm sorry we were taught to follow blindly and rely on our feelings as to whether something was from God or not, that our own logic and reasoning was of the devil.

I'm sorry the church has created an air of prejudice against blacks, the LGBT community, as well as women. I'm sorry the church has not encouraged women to become independent, financially and emotionally. I'm sorry that growing up we were taught our only practical option was to get married right away and have children, staying home with them to ensure they never strayed from the path.

I'm sorry the church separates families on their wedding days, builds multi-million dollar malls instead of gives to the poor, practices Masonic ordinances, and throws it's past prophets under the bus.

I'm sorry the church bullies and guilt's it's members, even the elderly and ill, into holding callings with no option of saying no. I'm sorry the church taught our fathers and husbands to spend what little time they had outside of work at the church building (and grandfathers at the temple) when that precious time could be spent with their growing families.

I'm sorry that you and I were not taught how beautiful, holy, and fulfilling a sexual life can be. Instead, it was never discussed except in a negative way, especially as youth. I'm sorry that when we got married, it took years to demystify and fully understand sex. I'm sorry the church created in us extreme anxiety, soul issues, depression, social problems, and unnecessary guilt. I'm sorry the church produces prideful, arrogant, ignorant people who follow false teachings without any substance or evidence to back them up.

I'm sorry bishops take young girls and boys behind closed doors alone...

What I am most sorry for is this... The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has robbed you. They have robbed me. They have robbed us both of knowing and having a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Lord of all heaven and earth. I am sorry their claim to be Christians is incorrect and dishonest, for they do not believe in or teach the essentials of Christianity found in the bible. I'm sorry, but the cross, where Jesus suffered for your sins and mine, is not found among them or in their churches. I'm sorry the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role in your salvation and mine- that he is the ONLY way to the Father and eternal life (John 14:6 & John 3:16)- was not the absolute and unequivocal focus of our lives.

I'm sorry the church places a man between us and God.

I'm sorry the church did not teach you or me that because Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:1 & John 1:14), he alone can pay the debt we owe to God; that his victory over death and the grave has already won the victory for all those who put their trust in him (John 1:12). I'm sorry the church dishonors God by claiming to have his authority in the priesthood, that it didn't teach us Jesus Christ is our one and only High Priest.

I'm sorry we were never taught how to worship Jesus Christ, submitting fully to him, singing loud and holy praises to his name. I'm sorry you and I were never taught to glorify God alone in all that we have and all we do, instead of seeking the glory for ourselves. I'm sorry we were always aspiring to lift ourselves higher and higher, inwardly putting ourselves first, and relying on our own righteousness instead of only on God's.

I'm sorry God's grace was never taught to you or me, that it is by grace through faith we are saved, not of ourselves (Eph 2:8). I'm sorry we were taught to bribe God with our good works, for not relying on Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross and our faith in him. I am sorry we thought that the higher up in the church we were, the closer we were to becoming a God. I'm sorry we were told to believe that being "worthy enough" to enter temples built by hands were the ticket to God's kingdom. I'm sorry we weren't taught from God's true word about how we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that we need to be spiritually reborn to become his child and enter his kingdom (John 3:3-7).

I'm sorry you are blind to the truth.

I am so very sorry."

Former Mormon, Shaltelle McBride was born and raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS Church or Mormons. She was fully active for 32 years before she came to a knowledge of the truth.