Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mormons, Take a Closer Look at Your Church!

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Former sister missionary speaks on lawsuit against LDS church over rape allegations
Tech View
Published on Apr 5, 2018
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Betrayal At The MTC? The Spirit of Discernment
Thinker Of Thoughts
Streamed live on Mar 23, 2018
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Criticism in the Church - From Oaks to Eyring
Thinker Of Thoughts
Published on Mar 14, 2018
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Sister Bednar - Staying Humble
Thinker Of Thoughts
Published on Nov 20, 2017
In this Q&A session Elder Bednar was asked to give input on how to stay humble and depend on the Lord and specifically asked for an example from his life of how he dealt with being humble.
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LDS CES History

Lynn Kenneth Packer
Published on Jun 29, 2016
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Mormon Fraud

Published on Jun 16, 2016
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7 False Prophecies from Joseph Smith - Mormons
Jesus Truth
Published on Nov 20, 2015
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"The Book of Mormon" (Full Documentary)

Published on Aug 24, 2015
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Ida Smith Excommunicated - Reading The Sealed Portion
Marvelous Work and a Wonder
Published on Oct 20, 2013
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Exposing the Myth of Mormon Families Forever
Aaron Shafovaloff
Published on Jun 17, 2012
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Hundreds march to demand LDS Church end ‘worthiness interviews’ with children
By Ben Winslow
Posted: March 30, 2018
An image from SkyFOX showing hundreds marching through downtown Salt Lake City to protest the LDS Church's practice of "Bishop's worthiness interviews." (Mark Johnson, FOX 13 News)
SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds marched through downtown Salt Lake City to demand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints end the practice of one-on-one interviews with youth.
Police estimated more than 800 marched up State Street from the Salt Lake City & County Building to Temple Square on Friday afternoon. Organizers then presented LDS Church officials with a 55,000 signature petition calling for an end to "bishop's worthiness interviews."
"My son is dead because the church will not address this!" said Brian Bresee, who claimed his son committed suicide in the aftermath of one such bishop's interview.
The group Protect LDS Children, which organized Friday's march, said LDS ward bishops have conducted the one-on-one interviews behind closed doors to determine a child's worthiness within the faith to enter into temples or participate in some church services. Some questions have gone beyond simple questions of faith to deeply personal inquisitions about sexuality.
Some have alleged it led to them being abused.
"Let the millstone not be hung around your neck. Don’t let what happened to me happen to children for generations to come," said Robin Day, who asked LDS church representatives to deliver to the church's First Presidency a book of personal stories of people who said they have been harmed by bishop's worthiness interviews.
Irene Caso, a representative of the LDS Church's Public Affairs Office, accepts a petition calling for an end to "bishop's worthiness interviews." (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)
"I'm story No. 489," said Val Christensen as he handed off a book of personal accounts. "I lived this."
The march comes as the LDS Church has faced a sex abuse scandal at its Provo Missionary Training Center. A woman has alleged she was raped by a former MTC president, and the church has said it is looking into whether there is a second potential victim. The LDS Church recently announced some changes to its bishop's interview practices, including allowing another person to be in the room.
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LDS sex abuse scandal: Here’s what we know so far
By Jana Riess
March 26, 2018
Two LDS sister missionaries enjoy the fresh air while they study at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. ©2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last week, the LDS Church was rocked by an unfolding sex abuse scandal that involved allegations by at least one former missionary against Joseph L. Bishop, the president of the Provo Missionary Training Center in the mid-1980s.
Just to recap, here’s a day-by-day overview of what has come to light:
Monday, March 19: MormonLeaks posts an audio and transcript (without full permission to do so) that seems to show Bishop admitting that he molested a female missionary [Victim 2] during his tenure at the MTC.
The tape, recorded in early December 2017, is of him being confronted by another former sister missionary [Victim 1] who claims he tried to rape her in a basement room of the MTC, a charge he denies. He does, however, admit on the tape that he has a sexual addiction he has struggled with his whole adult life.
Tuesday, March 20: The firestorm begins. RNS posts its initial coverage based on the content of the audio and transcript. The LDS Church issues a statement that it investigated Victim 1’s claims in 2010 and found no evidence for them, and strongly suggests (but does not state outright) that the claims are false.
Joseph Bishop’s son releases documents to the media to contend that Victim 1 has a colorful police history, further casting doubt on her story.
Wednesday, March 21: The BYU police department releases an unredacted report from December 2017, written just a few days after Victim 1 had confronted Bishop and secretly recorded their conversation. The 
Salt Lake Tribune breaks the story that according to what Bishop admitted to the BYU police, several of Victim 1’s accusations appear to be true: Bishop did lead her downstairs at the MTC to a private room, where he asked her to expose her breasts to him.
The county attorney says that from this evidence, he would have prosecuted Bishop, but the statute of limitations had long since expired by the time this came to his attention in 2017.
Thursday, March 22: An LDS bishop who served from 1979 to 1985 affirms that Victim 1 told him in 1984, when he was her bishop, that the MTC president had led her and another female missionary [presumably Victim 2] down to the basement of the MTC and showed them pornography. The local bishop did not give this allegation any credence at the time, he told KUTV, because he “wasn’t going to risk sullying the reputation of someone based on that kind of a report.”
In a separate story, KUTV also reveals that a former employee who worked at the MTC in the early 1980s confirms that the basement room in question did have a bed, a TV, and a VCR, details that were integral to Victim 1’s allegations but were denied by Joseph Bishop.
Friday, March 23: The LDS Church releases a more strongly worded statement, calling sexual abuse “repulsive and sinful” and noting that it is now investigating a second charge against Bishop. Victim 2, it says, received counseling and support from her local LDS leaders in 2010 when she apparently again reported the abuse.
It would seem that Victim 2 reported her abuse in 1984 and in 2010, at least, while Victim 1 reported hers in the mid-1980s, in 2010, and again in 2017. The Church apparently investigated each missionary’s account (though the exact meaning or extent of “investigation” is unclear), and decided not to discipline Bishop.
Saturday, March 24: Victim 1 issues a statement via MormonLeaks to say that even though the original audio was released without her permission, she harbors no ill feelings toward MormonLeaks for moving forward without her consent. She states that she will be filing a lawsuit against the LDS Church, at which time her identity will become part of the public record, and that she looks forward to “sharing more of the story in the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, her attorney says he believes it is likely there is a third victim.
Sunday, March 25: A day of rest. No new public revelations.
It remains unclear whether these specific charges or the general subject of sexual abuse will be addressed in any capacity at the Church’s worldwide General Conference, which occurs this weekend, March 31 and April 1.
It will be the first Conference under the new leadership of LDS President Russell M. Nelson, who took the reins in January after the death of President Thomas S. Monson.
Rumors have been proliferating on social media that this Conference will feature some kind of interesting change or new revelation that has been received by President Nelson. It would seem, however, that whatever positive change the Church has looked forward to announcing may be overshadowed by this dark story of sexual abuse.
Correction: An earlier version of this story confused the Thursday revelations about the singles ward bishop and a victim. It should be Victim 1, not Victim 2. The error has been corrected.
Related stories:
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Thomas S Monson Net Worth: Mormon Church President Had No Salary
By Gayathri Anuradha
01/03/2018
The president of the Church of Latter Day Saint, Thomas S. Monson died on Jan.2, 2017 aged 90. Above, Monson waves as he leaves the morning session of the 186th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 2, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Photo: Getty Images/George Frey 
The president of the Church of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson died Tuesday aged 90, according to a statement by the church.
The top Mormon leader died of "causes related to his age," while he was with his family, the statement said.
Monson who was also a prophet of the church, had one of the "full-time religious positions available to Mormons," according to his website. Despite a full-time service, Monson and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the top leaders of the church did not receive any salaries. This was due to fears of priestcraft — the ability to become wealthy doing the work of the church, the website said.
"While most religions pay their ministers and many leaders of popular churches become wealthy, a Mormon leader can only achieve wealth prior to his call to full-time service. No matter how much money the Church makes, leaders do not personally profit from that money," it stated.
The Salt Lake Tribune, however, reported the purported pay stubs for a high-ranking church Mormon official as seen from documents that had leaked online that stated Henry B. Eyring, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the 2000s, earned $83,132.75 from the start of 2000 until the first week of December. The figure was broken down into a living allowance ($2,192.31), parsonage or clergy housing, ($826.92) and a child allowance ($76.92).
In 2014, another memo was leaked, which said the "base living allowance" for all Mormon general authorities was being raised from $116,400 to $120,000. Other additional income or perks including heath care benefits, free cars or book royalties were unclear.
At the time, LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins declined to confirm the numbers and said: "General authorities leave their careers when they are called into full-time church service. When they do so, they focus all of their time on serving the church and are given a living allowance. The living allowance is uniform for all general authorities [including First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, First and Second Quorums of the Seventy and Presiding Bishopric]."
Monson's website added that those in the higher positions could not hold outside employment, although had sources of private income. The Net Worth Post estimated Monson’s net worth as $14 million.
According to the Mormon Curtain, a blog that claims to provide aid to former Mormons "who are on the road to recovery," and informs Mormons who are looking for more information on their own religion, the prophet and his apostles were given living arrangements and lived in a 24000-plus square foot condo estimated at a value of $2.8 million. Another blog, Mormon Insider, said he and his wife Frances were the owners of a second home in the upscale Utah town of Midway and its market value in 2013 was estimated at $383,734.
They had an additional property up Provo Canyon in Utah and its value was estimated to be around $216,000.
International Business Times could not independently confirm the numbers given in the reports.
Monson worked in publishing prior to joining the LDS and became associated with the Deseret News in 1948, where he served as an executive in the advertising division. He was later named sales manager of the Deseret News Press and rose to the position of general manager, a position he held at the time of his appointment to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1963 according to the website of the LDS.
He also served as the chairman of the board of Deseret News Publishing Co. and was a former member of the board of directors of Printing Industries of America.
Monson had a wide business background, having served as a member of the College of Business faculty at the University of Utah and later receiving his MBA degree from Brigham Young University.
He served as chairman of the LDS Church Board of Education and Board of Trustees at the time of his death.

His website stated the possibility that he received a stipend but did not give any actual monetary figure. "It is possible he receives a stipend, due to how young he was when he gave up paid employment, but it’s also possible his children and other relatives support him instead. He may even have savings invested that support him. How he supports himself really isn’t important. However he does so, he does not receive a paycheck or a share of the money brought in by the church," the website said.
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LDS Church leaders release, excommunicate Elder James J. Hamula
By Tad Walch @tad_walch
Published: August 8, 2017
Elder James J. Hamula speaks during a media event at the Church History Library on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Elder Hamula was released as a General Authority Seventy. (Ravell Call, Deseret News )
SALT LAKE CITY — Senior LDS Church leaders on Tuesday excommunicated a member of the Quorum of the Seventy who had been serving as the executive director of the church’s Correlation Department, the first such action with a senior church official in nearly three decades.
"This morning, James J. Hamula was released as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following church disciplinary action by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles," Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the church, said in a prepared release Tuesday.
The announcement came following a disciplinary council comprised of the two senior councils of the church held for Hamula, 59. It is the first excommunication of a high-ranking LDS leader in the age of social media and prompted wide-ranging reaction, including expressions of love and support for Hamula and his family.
Messages left for Hamula on Tuesday were not returned.
Excommunications are unusual among Mormon leaders. Hamula's is the first since another General Authority Seventy, George P. Lee, 28 years ago. A Seventy assists the First Presidency and apostles in preaching and directing the church around the world.
"It's just so rare, especially in 20th- and 21st-century Mormonism, that it really is news," said Patrick Mason, an expert in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. "For me personally, on one level, it's news. General authorities are public figures. On the other hand, this is someone's private life. This might be a deeply intimate, private matter that should stay between him and his family and church leaders."
The church also confirmed that Tuesday's action was not due to disillusionment or apostasy on the part of Hamula.
"They're sensitive to that and the moment we're in," Mason said of church leaders. "There are people who would love to see general authorities lose their faith."
Many church members took to social media to express love and support for Hamula and his family and to pledge to pray for them. Some expressed hope that he would rejoin the church in the future. Other people kickstarted baseless speculation, unreliable gossip and base jokes.
"You'll find all kinds of reactions ranging from support for him and his family, which is generous and I think the proper response, especially from church members, to people who are happy any time they see bad news about the church," Mason said.
Details of the disciplinary council are private and were not released.
"All church discipline is carried out in complete confidence," according to an article on the church's official Mormon Newsroom website. "Church leaders have a solemn responsibility to keep confidential all information they receive in confessions and interviews. To protect that confidence, the church will not discuss the proceedings of a disciplinary council."
"In rare cases," the article noted, "the decision of a disciplinary council may be shared publicly to prevent others from being harmed through misinformation."
Hamula had been a general authority and member of the Seventy since his call in April 2008. He previously had served as a mission president in Washington, D.C., as the church’s Pacific Area president and as the assistant executive director of the Church History Department, where LDS historian Ron Esplin knew him.
"I'm saddened to hear about this," Esplin said. He has done research on early LDS Church apostles excommunicated and dismissed from the Quorum of the Twelve during the faith's formative years. Those were young, inexperienced men in a rapidly changing church caught up in disagreements about what a modern-day prophet's role should be, for example.
Since then, most excommunications of church leadership positions have not involved apostasy, Esplin said, noting the church has had "very steady leadership."
"We have so many more total general authority leaders than we had then, but it's very, very rare there's a problem at that level," he said. "Luckily, we haven't had to deal with this for quite some time."
Elder M. Russell Ballard, a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve, described the three purposes of church councils in a 1990 article in the Ensign, the church's official magazine — "to save the soul of the transgressor, to protect the innocent, and to safeguard the Church’s purity, integrity, and good name."
He added that church disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process but the beginning of an opportunity to return to full fellowship and to the full blessings of the church.
"The desired result is that the person will make whatever changes are necessary to return fully and completely to be able to receive the marvelous blessings of the church," he said.
In 2014, the Deseret News published an inside look at "How LDS Church disciplinary councils work and change lives."
Six months after his call to become a General Authority Seventy, Hamula addressed the priesthood session of the church’s worldwide general conference in October 2008 in a talk titled, "Winning the War Against Evil."
Hamula spoke at general conference again in October 2014, delivering a talk on "The Sacrament and the Atonement."
He became the executive director of the Correlation Department in 2016, providing priesthood oversight of the department. The correlation department operates under direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Its role is to ensure unity in church structure, practice and doctrine in a global faith with 15.8 million members.
Hamula earned bachelor’s, master's and juris doctorate degrees from BYU. He practiced law from 1985 until his call to be a general authority in 2008.

Hamula has served in other church callings, including as a full-time missionary in the Germany Munich Mission, bishop, stake president, president of the Washington D.C. South Mission (1994–97) and Area Seventy (2000–08).
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Steve Bloor: Former Mormon bishop critical of church accuses it of 'excommunication by the backdoor'
The 51-year-old podiatrist said he was told last week that his name had been removed from the church's records
Cahal Milmo @cahalmilmo
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Former Mormon Bishop of Helston in Cornwall, Steve Bloor, had his name removed as an LDS member
A former Mormon bishop has accused the church of “excommunication by the backdoor” after it allegedly removed his name from its list of members following his criticism of some of its teachings.
Steve Bloor, who was raised as a member of the Mormon faith, otherwise known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), stepped down as a clergyman in 2011 after becoming disillusioned with its record on issues such as homosexuality and the explanation of its origins in 1830s America.
The 51-year-old podiatrist, from Helston, Cornwall, said that despite his differences with the church he wanted to maintain his membership as part of his identity but was told last week that his name had been removed from its records.
Mr Bloor told The Independent that the action, which he only found about after a church official visited his parents, had been taken despite written statements from him that he wished to remain a member. He suspects that the move has been made to circumvent the LDS’s formal excommunication process.
The former bishop said: “Excommunication is the worst punishment that can be handed out within the Mormon faith - it’s reserved for the worst deeds and for a believing Mormon it is seen as a fate worse than death itself. And yet I believe this is effectively what has happened to me - it is excommunication by the backdoor because the church does not want the bad publicity.
“I have repeatedly said that I wished to maintain my membership and I was never informed of any formal proceedings that could lead to excommunication. And yet my name has been removed as a church member.

“I don’t think excommunication should have any place in a modern society. It is a medieval punishment. Mormonism is part of my identity and I don’t think the church should be able to eradicate it just because I have spoken publicly about my differences with its beliefs. The church wants to control people and silence free speech.”
Despite its status as one of the biggest and wealthiest Christian movements in the world, Mormonism remains a source of controversy due to its idiosyncratic origins based on the teachings of its founder, American farm hand Joseph Smith, and some of its historic teachings. Until 1978 it taught that blacks were cursed and barred them from becoming priests.
Adherents speak of the “24/7” nature of the faith, which also asks its members to donate ten per cent of their income to the church as a “tithe”. According to one estimate, the LDS has business and property assets worth $40bn (£26bn) worldwide.
Mr Bloor spent seven years as the Mormon Bishop of Helston before becoming disillusioned with aspects of its teaching and stepping down from his role. He has since become an outspoken critic, setting up a petition calling on the church to formally apologise for its stance on black people and writing a popular blog. He also agreed to appear as a witness for a private prosecution against the church for an allegation of fraud which was later withdrawn.
He said: “When I decided to speak out I was told I would lose all my friends. It is a faith which doesn’t take over only your religious life but also your social life. You don’t have time for other friends. And I’m afraid what I was told has been proved true - of the over 300 Mormons I knew locally only one has contacted me in the last 12 months. It is the ultimate form of tribal shaming.”
The former clergyman, who describes himself as a non-believing Mormon, said he had been invited by church officials last month to an informal meeting to discuss his membership of the church. He said he was given no notice of a formal “Disciplinary Council”, the church body with the power to order an excommunication, and at no time indicated he was leaving the church.
But when he attempted to sign in on the LDS website last week he was denied access with a message reading “You have stated that you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Mr  Bloor said: “This is simply not true.”
The father-of-four has now written to the LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City asking for the removal of his name to be revoked.
The Church confirmed that it had removed Mr Bloor's status as a member but insisted it had correctly followed its procedures.
In a statement, it said: “Choosing one's own spiritual path is a God-given right. However, when a current member of the Church persists in publicly advocating teaching in direct opposition to Church tenets, the member will lose his or her membership.
”We can confirm there has been ample opportunity for Mr Bloor to discuss his concerns with local ministers and that, following internal Church procedures, Mr Bloor is no longer a member of the Church. He is availing himself of the opportunity to ask another Church body for a review.“
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Also See:

Sex Abuse In The Mormon Church!

03 April 2018
and

From a Mormon to an Atheist in Two Days!

30 January 2018
and

Mormons Leaving Church In Droves!!

26 January 2018