Yep…I’m Hep….on Jesus

img_0157Query

Today, a good and close friend posed the following question:  “Some time ago, you expressed doubt about the divinity of Jesus – if he is not who he said he was – why are you so hep on following Jesus??

Reply

My Dear Friend,

Thanks for your question.  A great question.  Three years ago, I started to discover that I’d been deceived, lied to, and told half truths.  Many of the teachings, doctrines, and practices foisted on me by previous prophets have now been CONDEMNED by current prophets.  What we now disavow, for 63 years I believed to be true.

Almost everyday of my mission, I taught falsehoods given to me by the church. These falsehoods are no longer taught.  But, they were core to my teaching as a full time missionary.  The church now recognizes them as falsehoods.

When I found all this out, my reaction was anger. My free agency had been stripped from me, from childhood on, by the very apostles and prophets I had complete trust in.  Many members don’t really care that the prophets taught falsehoods or offered up half truths and deceptions.  Why it doesn’t bother them, I can’t really fathom.  I can only speak for myself. Claiming to speak for God and then to present me with falsehoods, does not and cannot sit well with me.

Early on in my faith journey, I found out that discussing questions, doubts and differing conclusions is shunned in the church. How would I have ever known this in advance?  That it’s not acceptable to talk about our own history and doctrine at church or with church members or with family.  Our culture and our leaders forbid it.  And…therein lies a glaring problem with the truth claims of the LDS church. Truth can stand up to questions, to examination, to challenge.  It’s the opposite of truth that prohibits examination.

Once I had done my research on Mormon history and doctrine, I turned my attention to Christianity in general. After months of study, I found that the Bible and Christianity have every bit as many problems as Mormonism.

So what to do?  After much consideration I came back to my roots….Jesus Christ.  I had been burned by my blind belief in anything that was fed to me by the church and it’s leaders.  I wasn’t going to be burned again.  Like everything else in life, I now only place my faith in what I have good evidence for.

Personally, I don’t have adequate evidence that Christ was in fact the Son of God. I simply don’t KNOW.  But….there IS something that I DO know.  I have lived 64 years on this planet. I’ve learned a lot. Still have a lot to learn. And, I hope to keep learning.  One of the most important lessons I have learned is that the teachings and example ascribed to Christ are a good way to live life.

Back to your question, “If Jesus is not who he said he was – why am I so hep on following Jesus??” I’m ‘hep’ on following the teachings and example ascribed to Christ because my lived experiences tell me this is a true way to navigate our short mortality.

Some say that these are universal adages, not limited to Christianity or even religion. My response is, “Well looky there!  The ultimate evidence of truth.   Pretty much every human being eventually reaches the conclusion that the principles Christ taught are a good way to live.”

So, even though I don’t KNOW that Christ was divine, my choice is to attempt to follow the teachings and example ascribed to Christ….because I know it’s a good and fulfilling way to go.  And……it’s HEP.

21 thoughts on “Yep…I’m Hep….on Jesus

  1. I feel so sad for you. You are not following all the teachings of the bible and the church.
    If you will follow the teachings, you will pray properly regarding items which need understanding
    and the Holy Spirit will provide you the truths in various manners…..if you do it right and pray
    correctly. I KNOW that Christ is divine, for the Holy Spirit bore witness to the fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You don’t know. You are in fact only pretending to know something that in reality you merely believe. Honesty is a teaching ascribed to christ if I am not mistaken I suggest you be more honest with your words.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And what is the “correct” way to pray? Using silly and pretentious bible phraseology, with artificial “thees” and “thous”? That’s just more ethnocentric white Mormon arrogance. Jesus didn’t even speak English, let alone our silly prayer-speak. God hears all sincere prayer. Sincerity is the key, not “correctness of style”. And from what I have read of Sam’s journey, he is very sincere, and I have no doubt God rejoices in Sams prayers and is leading him in this journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you Kerri. I’ve been volunteering regularly with a Christian based organization and we frequently say prayers to start our work. The prayers given do not include the “thees” and “thous” and seem much more sincere and from the heart than the structured prayers we’ve been taught. I’m having to relearn how to pray and speak from the heart without being verbose.

        Sam – I totally am with you on the believe vs know approach to our understanding of Christ. I don’t believe any of us can know for certain. Can a farm boy from Nebraska know the waters of the ocean are blue if he has never been to the ocean to see it for himself? He can only believe based on what he has been taught or seen in pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was recently in a multi-day seminar class (non-religious subject matter) taught by an instructor who happens to be a Calvinist-Baptist pastor. He started off with a prayer and a scripture. Other students were asked to pray at the end of the day, etc.

        Not a single one of the pray-ers used KJV pronouns (thee, thou, thine). It was all you, yours, etc. I had wondered if I were asked to pray how I would sound to the rest of the class when they heard, “We ask THEE to bless our efforts to learn the material today . . . ”

        My Mormon conditioning is so deep that whenever I hear praying with YOU and YOURS, it sounds just plain wrong to my former-TBM ear . . . and this is even though I last darkened the door of an LDS chapel way back in 1980 (excepting two funerals in recent years).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, Sam!

    Very eloquently and clearly expressed!

    Anyone with two brain cells to rub together will have no difficulty comprehending your journey as a b.i.c Mormon and what you have personally discovered after 63 years as a TBM … Totally Believing Member.

    Kudos to you for not throwing the Baby Jesus out with the bath water. In this case, the bath water has been rendered disgusting and dirty by The Brethren and the serial deceptions and lies promulgated as the Word of God in these, the Latter Days to innocent and trusting members.

    There should be a nice warm place in Hell for anyone who knowingly uses the name of Jesus Christ as a cover for a Mind Control Cult cleverly designed and intended to exploit innocent “marks” with brainwashing from birth, followed by a lifetime of pray, pay and obey. Heavy emphasis on PAY.

    You are absolutely correct to observe that Truth needs no defense. The corollary is that Falsity and Deception HAVE NO DEFENSE. That is precisely WHY The Brethren refuse to openly discuss ANYTHING negative of challenging regarding their clever scam.

    You are also correct to observe that your precious Free Agency was stolen from you by . . . The Brethren . . . who only offered you Trick Questions based on half-truths or outright lies.

    An example I heard from my own TBM family of free agency taught to little Mormon girls: “I get to decide WHICH TEMPLE I will be married in!”

    Great post, Sam. You knocked it out of the park . . . again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gary,

      All I can do is chuckle at your elegant eloquence. How is it that people who have left the church can support me in following Jesus, when active members cannot?

      Like

      1. Hey, Sam,

        To respond to your question . . .

        Jesus changed water into wine? Right?

        But isn’t wine a violation of the Word of Wisdom?

        Methinks it surely is.

        Apparently, that being the case, the Mormon Jesus probably turned the water into Kool-Aid.

        Drinking the Kool-Aid is NOT against the Word of Wisdom.

        “How is it that people who have left the church can support me in following Jesus, when active members cannot?”

        I think it’s the Kool-Aid, Sam. Yep. Blame it on the Kool-Aid.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Barney,

    Thanks for your concern and outreach. Always great to hear from you.

    You have made an interesting judgment here. “You are not following the teachings of the bible and the church.” I’m interested in understanding what teachings I don’t follow. The only example you give is that I’m not praying properly. That’s a pretty brazen allegation. I have prayed harder and more diligently over the past 3 years than ever in my life.

    For my first 62 years, the Spirit confirmed all the ‘truths’ that the prophets and apostles taught. Now, all the apostles and prophets condemn much of what previous prophets taught. So, where do I go with that? “Feelings” had confirmed the things that are now viewed as untrue. So, why would I trust ‘feelings’ again.

    I will trust the teachings and example ascribed to Christ. Because, life has taught me they are true.

    That you “know” that Jesus is divine is a good thing. I don’t condemn you for that. However, I’m condemned because I only HOPE that He’s divine. What I’m finding out is that in the church hope is not really considered good. Just like you, people are sad and start to judge that I’m a sinner. Faith is NOT to have a perfect knowledge. I have moved to having faith, where I used to have perfect knowledge.

    You refer to the teachings in the Bible. You assume that I’m not following these teachings. Here’s a biblical teaching that I now embrace with a passion. The Apostle Paul taught, “Where there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” My knowledge has vanished. He followed that up with “And now ABIDETH faith, hope, charity.” Faith is what lasts. I have embraced faith. Unfortunately, I’ve found out that faith is unacceptable to most members of the church. Knowledge and knowledge alone is acceptable.

    My faith transition has led me back to following the teachings and example of Christ. I’m pretty sure that this is what God really cares about…that we are disciples of Jesus…that we strive to follow Him. Why don’t I hear encouragement when I’ve chosen to follow Christ? Rather, I receive criticism because I only have faith, but not knowledge. Instead of encouragement, I receive judgment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gary,

    “Jesus changed water into wine? Right?” Wrong! As we know, we believe in the Bible as far as it’s translated correctly. In this case, it was translated incorrectly.

    Jesus actually changed the wedding water into Ice Tea!!! And as you know, Ice Tea is one of those hot drinks of Word of Wisdom infamy. So didn’t Jesus foster violation of the WoW? Wrong again. The WoW was not given as a commandment nor as a constraint. Violation of a not-a-commandment is not a violation of a commandment.

    Now that I’ve uncovered your charade, I’m off to enjoy my tankard of Kool-Aid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sam, if it comes in a “tankard” it’s gotta be grounds for forfeiting your Temple Recommend (yet again).

      And you’ve demonstrated that violating a not-a-commandment is grounds for discipline and shaming in and by the Only True Church.

      Contest: See if you can identify the two extra words added to the otherwise cut-and-pasted definition below:

      tan·kard
      ˈtaNGkərd
      noun
      a tall beer mug, typically made of silver or pewter, with a handle and sometimes a hinged lid.
      the contents of or an amount held by a tankard.
      “I’ve downed a tankard of pay lay ale”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so bad. You are sooooo bad. Your are soooooooooo bad. Oh man, I’m running out or room as I chuckle.

        Like

  5. Sam, I was deeply saddened by this post. I totally missed the post where you disavowed Chist as divine. Does, that mean that you are, in essence, now an atheist. One who likes the teachings, but don’t accept them as the teachings of His Father. Why not follow the Dali Lama, the Graham’s, or Olsteen. They all teach the words of Christ? It doesn’t make sense to me that your life of prayers and service are all a lie because you don’t feel the Church has been honest. I look at it as that been totally honest. And not all Wards aren’t as closed as ours is. Read Annie’s post from her friend Spencer. His Ward is much more open to listening to his differences. And there are many more, I am sure. I hope you continue to pray about those things you have chosen to disavow. You have a great deal of influence among your church friends and family and I hope you use that for good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Janice,

      As one who understands Sam perhaps more deeply than some (if not most) I will respond to your post for what it might be worth. (I had the privilege of meeting Sam in person not once, but twice in Houston at the beginning and end of April. We resonated like long lost brothers and enjoyed several hours of face time during both visits. It was amazing, Janice. My love and profound respect for Sam is already wide and deep.)

      First, as a B.I.C. baby myself, I grew up in Mormon Soup and was fully and totally active and devoted to living my religion . . . up until age 30 (1980). I am a 4-year Seminary graduate, Duty to God, Eagle Scout, BYU scholarship winner, missionary to Argentina South, married in the Salt Lake Temple, BYU graduate (engineering, similar to Sam). Most of my family of origin and extended family are active members today. My TBM mom will be 93 in a couple months. My great great uncle, George Manwaring, wrote a half dozen hymns in the LDS Hymnal, including the beloved “O How Lovely Was The Morning”. My Mormon DNA still runs deep, even though I have not attended a Mormon church service (other than funerals) since 1980. I embrace and celebrate my Mormon Heritage, even though I stopped believing the truth claims decades ago.

      I understand what Sam is about when he says he simply DOES NOT KNOW if Jesus Christ was the literal Son of God, or if he even existed as depicted in the New Testament. Sam simply has too much personal integrity to claim he KNOWS something when he is in possession of zero hard evidence ordinarily required for humans on Planet Earth to claim first hand KNOWLEDGE of a thing.

      Janice, at the risk of ruffling some feathers, I will point out that neither do you. And neither do The Brethren.

      You cannot possibly know personally for a fact that Jesus ever even existed in history as the New Testament narratives indicate, let alone that He was indeed born of a virgin with God’s literal DNA enlivening and enlightening the cells of his body. You are fully within your rights to BELIEVE the foregoing, but there is no way you can truthfully say that you KNOW the story to be historical fact. Even if Jesus appeared to you in person to verify the story, you have no way to tell if you hallucinated a vision or not.

      The only intellectually integrous position one can take is this: I choose to BELIEVE, and I have FAITH, but I do not KNOW. That is where Sam is coming from.

      One would have to be very naive to presume that The Great and Abominable Whore of All the Earth did not seriously mess with the New Testament scriptures we all inherited. There is fascinating research fairly recently published that sheds light on what could be closer to the actual Life and Times of Jesus Christ. Check out some of the videos on this google search link if you are brave enough to explore other perspectives wherever it might lead you. Ralph Ellis is perhaps more impartial than some researchers biased by religious beliefs. There are more than enough conflicting opinions and research conclusions about Jesus to make your head twist and spin. The safe route, is of course, to ignore everything that does not support what you belief right now. Sam chose to challenge what he once thought he KNEW.

      I should be clear that Sam has most likely never seen this content and knows nothing about it.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=ralph+ellis+jesus&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS706US706&oq=ralph+ellis+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.12049j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=ralph+ellis+jesus&tbm=vid

      The other point I wanted to discuss is a very problematic word: atheist

      Does not believing in the Cranky Old Man in the Old Testament Sky with Serious Anger Management Issues mean one is an atheist? For some, it does. For others who embrace the possibility of some other form of Supreme Being or Creation Force or Ubiquitous Energetic Substrate of All That Is . . . are these people atheists?

      A meaningful discussion must carefully define the language being batted around. Words mean different things to different people.

      Since I left the Church, my own personal spirituality has deepened and widened beyond my wildest dreams. There is an ever-rich cornucopia of exciting spiritual adventure awaiting those who dare explore beyond the Correlated Gospel so carefully wordsmithed and packaged by The Brethren and the expert writers employed by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      https://secure.utah.gov/bes/details.html?entity=555534-0145

      Sam Young did not review or approve this post. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Janice, I can only assume you have a serious issue with basic comprehension if you honestly believe that doubt of the divinity of Christ equals atheism. The majority of human beings on this planet do not recognize the divinity of Christ, and yet are still theists or deists.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Janice, Janice, Janice!

    You are putting words in my mouth. I have never disavowed the divinity of Christ. I’m simply being honest in saying that I don’t KNOW. I have to take it on faith. Faith is actually a principle of the gospel. KNOWING is not a principle of Christ’s gospel. You are the third close friend today that has condemned me for not knowing. It makes me want to criticize right back and say that you should pray and hopefully come to understand what faith is all about. It’s about NOT KNOWING. Read your scriptures. Faith is the first principle. Certainty is NOT 2nd…or 3rd…or 4th or…It’s NOT a principle. It’s a cultural quirk that is very off-putting for those of us who want to live the gospel as Jesus and Joseph Smith taught it. Read your scriptures. Alma plainly teaches that faith is NOT having a perfect knowledge. I’m living Alma’s gospel, not a lie that I KNOW. Read the Bible. Paul taught that KNOWING is transitory while faith is enduring. Now, if all this is sad to you Janice, and Gerry and Barney, then I’m sad right back at you. Sad that enduring faith is no longer a principle of your gospel. You have ripped faith right out of the 4th Article of Faith.

    I hope that you are right about my influence, especially with my family. The simple gospel of Jesus is too precious to be twisted away from faith in the teachings and example that Christ provided.

    Now, I think it’s fine that you and other friends KNOW. I’m good with that. What stricks me as totally odd, is that I’m condemned for only having faith, not certainty.

    Couple that with my embrace of the teachings & example of Christ. It seems doubly odd that I’d be attacked for simply having faith without knowledge.

    You’re a super good person, Janice. Thanks for your concern.

    Like

    1. Bless you Sam, and continued best wishes. I love the gospel and its varied people with all their beliefs, doubts, hope, questions and faith. The savior taught that the gospel is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind, just like its members. We are all at different places on our path and all are welcome, it’s what makes this journey so wonderful. I know you to be a man of faith, don’t let the continued ignorance of others discourage you. I read too much venom here at times, it tastes vile sometimes from both sides. Hope is a wonderful thing, I too hope Christ lives and I use this to propel my faith as weak as it may be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Mirza,

        So, nice that there is someone else in the church that “hopes” Christ lives, instead of “knowing.” You are literally the first active member of the church who has not criticized me for simply having faith and hope. Before my faith journey of these past 3 years, I never could have imagined all the things that the LDS culture views as unacceptable.

        Thanks for your encouragement. You are obviously an awesome person.

        Like

  7. As always Sam, you are a man of courage and truth. And, you are in great company when I read many of the condemning comments above…as Jesus said, when people mistreat and persecute you for simply saying what you believe you should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great shall be your reward in heaven!”

    Liked by 1 person

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