THE MORMON CURTAIN
Containing 5,709 Articles Spanning 365 Topics
Ex-Mormon News, Stories And Recovery
Archives From 2005 thru 2014
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BOOKS - AUTHORS AND DESCRIPTIONS
There are many LDS and NON-LDS Authors who have published books pertaining to recovering from Mormonism. Because I receive requests from authors to help make their books aware, this section is dedicated to those authors. See the section on Books - Comments for peer reviews.
| Hello Everyone,
Like most of you, I am a former Mormon who left the church in my early 20's after becoming very disillusioned by its teachings and practices. I have recently written a book about my growing up in and eventual departure from the Mormon church. The name of my book is called "Woman Redeemed." This memoir also deals with abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) and the leaders' lack of response, a serious eating disorder that I overcame, suicide attempts, severe depression (incredibly common in the Mormon church as you know) and even "taboo" subjects like masturbation; a "sin" that the Mormon church practically links with murder. In addition to these themes, I also discuss how I have used my gift of music to help me throughout the process of healing.
If you are interested in reviewing and/or purchasing my book, you can go to: www.womanredeemed.com, or call 1-888-280-7715. My book is also on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.
Thank you for your time! I am so glad that I am not alone in this process of recovery from Mormonism. There are SO MANY others just like us out there! If you know of other Ex-Mo's, would you mind forwarding this message on to them?
Diana Kline, M.S.,C.R.C.
Author of "Woman Redeemed"
| Spirited Yearling Wounded by Loren Jenner
ISBN: 1-4116-3723-2, 4th ed., 234 pages, Angel Warrior Publishing, © 2005 by
For more information, go to http://www.lorenjenner.com
"I had already talked to my counselor at BYU, Sister Jenson, about Kate
because sometimes I had visions of kissing her on the lips. They would just
sort of flash in my mind and leave me feeling dirty and disgusting. I didn't
tell anyone about it except Sister Jenson, not even my friends in the
support group on campus. All she said was that it was ok to have the
thoughts but not ok to act on them." p. 37
"I'm worried that the reason I feel these sexual feelings toward other women
is because of [being sexually abused by a man when a teenager]. What if I
will never be able to have normal sexual feelings toward a man? I feel so
ashamed. I hope that one day I will be able to have normal sex with a man
and not feel sexual feelings toward a woman ever again." p. 165
"...[Beth] planted one right on my lips ... Time slowed to a standstill and
fireworks exploded on the canvass of my mind; all those things happened that
people talked about when it came to kissing boys, but I had never felt until
this moment with a woman ... When once I feared this moment would kill me,
it filled me. I didn't feel dirty at all but beautiful all over." p. 189
"... I cried. I didn't know why I grieved. I didn't anticipate giving up the
gospel, for I intended to live its principles. I suspected I grieved the
support of the church as a whole, knowing that I would be judged and
ostracized. This realization devastated me because I had relied solely on
the church for a sense of identity and self-esteem ever since I was sixteen
years old. Now I stood on my own." p. 193
"...What is a bigger sin? ... What if God would hold me more accountable for
denying myself rather than acknowledging myself? ... I have been living my
life according to the teachings of the church and condemning those who don't
-- like homosexuals -- and now here I stand, prostrate, ready to be
crucified as I have crucified them." p. 181
"If following the advice of the prophets by marrying a man or staying
celibate was truly good for me, then I would feel light and love come into
my life even though the lifestyle might be difficult. Just the thought of
doing either one of those things breeds darkness and shame inside me whereas
the idea of opening myself up to the possibility of being with a woman
brings me internal peace." p. 221-222
"A budding peace filled my spirit as I looked to my future, reassured. I
finally understood what people meant when they said that one could find
heaven on earth; my contentment, in that moment, was everything I had
imagined the Celestial Kingdom to be." p. 225
| Michael Marquardt just emailed me and said that the book he's been writing about Mormonism is finally out and ready for purchase. I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it's a great book. Based on my relatively frequent conversations with him (as well as the books of his I've read), I can say with confidence that his knowledge of Mormonism is among the best of any scholars on Mormonism I know of. I'm really looking forward to reading The Rise of Mormonism: 1816-1844.
I think this may be the perfect book with which to celebrate JS's birth this year -- a complete and factual history on the organization he started!
I wouldn't consider Michael an anti-Mormon, but I will say that apologists like Daniel Peterson don't like him, because he tells the history like it is, and doesn't whitewash it. It's probably safe to say that the folks over at FAIR would brand him as an anti-Mormon, though.
Here's the blurb on the book from the publisher:
The Rise of Mormonism: 1816-1844 By H. Michael Marquardt
Here is an open, honest, and refreshing history of the foundational years of the Latter-day Saints restoration movement. You may have heard that Joseph Smith was the prophet of Mormonism. But do you know the story behind the gold plates? This book examines the background, evolution, conflicts, and sacrifices made by church members. Primary sources are used to cover over a twenty-five-year period of history. This book covers before the establishment of the church and during Joseph Smith's fourteen-year ministry. If you want to know the history and basis for every church whose teachings go back to the Book of Mormon this is the book. Read from the records of the day.
| "The richly told story of a nineteenth-century woman–the author's great-great-grandmother–whose religious faith was betrayed and regained on a journey across the American West.
"In the 1850s, Jean Rio was a recently widowed English mother of seven. Rich, well educated, musically gifted, deeply spiritual, and increasingly dismayed by the social injustices she saw around her, she was moved by the promises of Mormon missionaries and set out from England for Utah. On her fifty-six-day Atlantic crossing, she began keeping a diary, and this extraordinary chronicle is the basis of Sally Denton's book.
"We follow Jean Rio from New Orleans, where she disembarks, up the Mississippi by riverboat, and, finally, westward by wagon train. We see her family transformed by necessity–mastering frontier skills, surviving storms, finding their own food, overcoming illness and injury–during the five months it takes them to reach Zion.
"We see her initial enthusiasm turn to disillusionment: She is forced to surrender her money to the church. She realizes she has been lied to about polygamy–Mormons do practice it–which she detests. Acts of Mormon violence against nonbelievers repel her. Her musical skills are buried beneath the daily rigors of farming. Two of her sons flee to California. We witness her seventeen-year struggle to make peace with her situation before she, too, escapes to California–to freedom, a career as a midwife, and a new religion that fulfills her.
"Dramatic and powerful, Faith and Betrayal is the moving account of one woman's gamble in an emerging America, and a valuable addition to the history of both the Mormon experience and the long saga of immigrant pioneer women." (From inside jacket.)
Portals of the Night|
by Dennis C. Farley
Our price: $22.95
Size : 6 x 9
Other Formats: Adobe eBook
International orders: Call 00-1-402-323-7800
A compelling psychological thriller, Portals of the Night tells the story of attorney Robert Farwell and an experimental project that portends an ominous future for all mankind while delivering the shocking truth about Mormonism.
A suspenseful psychological thriller, Portals of the Night profiles the ominous battle between good and evil as a small-town attorney confronts the Biblical myths predicting the end of the world and his personal apocalypse.
Robert Ashton Farwell becomes involved in an experimental project that propels him into the subconscious. Farwell ventures into the confusing, unfamiliar realm of inner-space, only to discover his life is in grave danger. Religious fanatics intent on killing Mormon defectors for violating secret temple ordinances force Farwell to become immersed again in the mysteries of the Mormon Church from which he had tried to escape. Former members are being executed. Farwell is next. He has thirty days to identify the assassins and prevent his own murder.
Through these dark portals the shocking truth about Mormonism is revealed.
Portals is an epic battle in the eternal struggle between the righteous and the wicked. It is a story of redemption and hope in a place where time has no meaning. The bridge spanning the gap between believers and nonbelievers is about to fall. The time to choose has arrived.
Portals of the Night
I wrote Portals of the Night primarily for my children who were too young to understand what the family was experiencing and the reasons why I left the Mormon Church after years of faithful service. I also wrote it for Mormons who are concerned that their church is not being entirely honest; for Ex-Mormons struggling to find their identities in a non-Mormon world; and for anyone interested in examining the world of religion from the perspective of someone caught in its tangled web.
Portals is a myth–a parable–about modern religious fanaticism. It is an initiation, if you will, from a mystical, fantastic realm where anything is possible into the real world where only the possible is possible.
Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, is alleged to have said about himself shortly before his death, "No man knows my history." That is true of us all. Portals is a fictionalized account of my personal journey of discovery. It arises from an organizational belief system that threatens physical violence to anyone who elects to escape its sphere of influence.
In the fantastic, subconscious world, Portals invites the honest seeker of truth to see his or her reflection in my experiences in the hope they will find a better world on the other side of the looking glass. Those who view it from a Mormon v. Non-Mormon perspective will fail to understand the symbolism of the underlying story of disillusionment and pain caused by associating with any organization that professes to be the sole oracle of truth.
Portals asks the reader to suspend disbelief and enter a marvelous realm where all things are possible so that upon returning to the "real world" the impossible can be identified and rejected as impossible. Portals is entertainment, but much more than that for those entrenched in a fundamentalist, authoritarian organization. Suicide bombers are real people like us once we begin to consider what they believe and the reasons underlying those beliefs. Mormon fanatics, after all, are no different than deluded Muslim fundamentalists, or any other fanatic.
Portals is written from a Mormon apostate perspective, although I provide the true believer's perspective that I once shared. Leaving a cult with the means and ability to enforce death threats as divine retribution is a difficult, fearful experience that no one can understand who has not had that experience.
My hope is that Portals may prevent others from following the same hapless course I took into the darkest nightmare of religious fanaticism. Perhaps by holding up the light of truth, I may discourage others from ever raising a hand in violence against anyone because of a religious belief.
| I am offering a free copy of SISTERWIFE, my very first book, to anyone who cares to download it from my Web site. It's FREE FREE FREE. Hee hee. We all love free, right?
Fiction, ripped from the headlines: Prophesied to be the catalyst in a modern-day Armageddon, Kelsey Waite flees a life in Utah, freeing herself from a polygamous lifestyle and abusive father. She is forced to return to the state, and face her demons--and the charismatic cult leader who believes she is destined to be his second wife -- when her daughter is kidnapped.
| “The Mormon Delusion. Volume 1. The truth Behind Polygamy and Secret Polyandry” is now available worldwide, in five currencies; in Hardback; Paperback; or as a download, from Lulu.com and in a few weeks time books will also be available from Amazon or on order from UTLM or any good bookstore.
Jim’s Storefront can be accessed at:
Where the cover and several pages of the book can be viewed and book reviews can also be left.
This work is a hard hitting, impassioned exposé of the truth behind Mormon polygamy and little known polyandry. This is not a one sided, sugar coated book of Mormon fiction such as the Church produces. It is pure unadulterated evidence of the truth which the Mormon Church hides from members so they won’t ask questions for which there are no theological answers.
Further details of Jim and his work, plus previews of all the chapters in all three volumes of The Mormon Delusion are now available at:
where there are also links to the storefront and other useful web sites.
What other authors have had to say about Volume 1:
Jim Whitefield’s “THE MORMON DELUSION. VOLUME 1 –
The Truth Behind Polygamy and secret Polyandry”
Is an excellent book for casual and serious readers.
It presents new information about the secret
And shocking aspects of early Mormon marriage.
Author of THE KEYSTONE OF MORMONISM
Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, secretly married over thirty women; some already married to living men, and had sexual relations with many of these women without the knowledge of his single “public” wife Emma. Most Mormons know nothing about this as it is left out of the one-sided histories Mormons are spoon fed by their church. After 43 years as a dedicated Mormon, Jim Whitefield was astonished to learn the true history of plural marriage as practised by Mormonism’s earliest leaders. In a thoroughly researched and “tell it like it is” approach Whitefield details the murky origins of plural marriage and its tragic consequences in the lives of numerous Mormon women.
Author of Losing a Lost Tribe;
Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church.
"The Mormon Delusion. Volume 2: The Secret Truth Withheld from Thirteen Million Mormons" will be available in April or May of 2009.
"The Mormon Delusion. Volume 3: Discarded Doctrines and Nonsense Revelations" should follow by June or July of 2009.
| Lyndon Lamborn, who was excommunicated last year for spreading the truth in his ward and putting his excommunication hearing on Youtube, has written a book on his experience.
"Standing for Something More." 'After a highly publicized and controversial exit from Mormonism, Lamborn intertwines the story of his awakening with psychological aspects of religious belief.'
It just became available today. I just ordered my copy.
For more on Lyndon: http://www.mormonthink.com/lyndonlamb...
| This is just a quick note to advise that The Mormon Delusion. Volume 3. Discarded Doctrines and Nonsense Revelations has now been published. This completes the trilogy and full details, summaries and links to my book store are available at http://www.themormondelusion.com.
Now available online, it will be available in a few weeks from Amazon., Barns and Noble, and all other major outlets. Anyone with a retail outlet can obtain copies for resale from the wholesaler 'Ingram.' Those with a web site are welcome to copy and paste any details they wish to from my web site.
Thank you for the continued support and encouragement I have been given by so many people.
Adam is God; Blood Atonement was real and Mormons have true Masonry
The Mormon Delusion Volume 3 provides evidence that the Church hides and denies these and other aspects of its colourful history.
This thread – confirming publication of “The Mormon Delusion. Volume 3. Discarded Doctrines and Nonsense Revelations” – is posted with kind permission and approval of Eric and the admin staff of RfM. My grateful thanks for their continued encouragement and support.
Brigham Young taught that Joseph Smith revealed Adam was God. Berating Orson Pratt, who couldn’t come to terms with the doctrine, Young said:
“Your statements to night, you come out to night and place them as charges, and have as many against me as I have [against] you. One thing I have thought that I might still have omitted. It was Joseph’s doctrine that Adam was God andc When in Luke Johnson’s at O Hydes the power came upon us, or shock that alarmed the neighbourhood. God comes to earth and eats and partakes of fruit. Joseph could not reveal what was revealed to him, and if Joseph had it revealed, he was told not to reveal it…”
Minutes of meeting at Historian’s Office. Great Salt Lake City. 7 p.m. 4 Apr 1860. Cited in Item # 87 in Adam-God at www.ldshistory.net/adam-god/ag2.html
Blood atonement commenced with Joseph Smith and was still in evidence even after the turn of the twentieth century.
“5 Apr 1902. ‘Clyde Felt has confessed to cutting the throat of old man Collins, at his request. The old man was a moral degenerate. The boy is a son of David P. Felt.’ Grandson of former general authority, Clyde Felt is fourteen. Despite this blood atonement murder, LDS leaders allow young man to be endowed and married in temple eight years later.”
Quinn 1997: 804-5. The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.
Brigham Young developed and completed the endowment that Joseph Smith outlined using late 1700s Masonic ritual as a basis for the ceremony.
“The Masonry of today is received from the apostasy which took place in the days of Solomon and David. They have now and then a thing which is correct, but we have the real thing.”
Heber C. Kimball. Manuscript History of Brigham Young. 13 Nov 1858:1085. LDS Archives, c. in Beurger 2002: Ch 3 and n57. The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.
“A Masonic Lodge …was established in Nauvoo and Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Willard Richards, John Taylor, Lorenzo Snow, Orson Hyde, F. D. Richards, and about 1000 others all became Masons. Joseph, the Prophet, was aware that there were some things about Masonry that had come down from the beginning and he desired to know what they were, hence the lodge. The Masons admitted some keys of knowledge appertaining to Masonry were lost. Joseph enquired of the Lord concerning the matter and He revealed to the Prophet true Masonry, as we have it in our temples.”
Franklin D. Richards speaking to Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Beurger 2002. The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books. Ch. 3 and n 62 citing: Larson 1993:42. A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, in association with Smith Research Associates.
These and other aspects of Mormon Church lies concerning the past are explored and explained in ‘The Mormon Delusion. Volume 3’, now available from Lulu; as a download, in paperback and hardback. It will shortly to be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other outlets worldwide. This book completes a trilogy which comprises a definitive work analytically exposing the facts behind Mormon Church fiction.
Arza Evan – Author of The Keystone of Mormonism commented:
Jim Whitefield’s third volume of The Mormon Delusion explores dark and disturbing aspects of the past which the Church today completely ignores. With his now familiar analytical skills and style, Whitefield exposes the truth behind Brigham Young’s ‘Adam-God’ and ‘Blood Atonement’ doctrines which were accepted for decades in the Mormon Church through several successive prophets; and yet later leaders denied they ever existed. Whitefield skillfully explores and explains step by step, word by word, sign by sign and grip by grip, how Masonic ritual was used to create the original Mormon endowment; proving that Joseph Smith used late eighteenth-century Masonic wording, symbolism, signs and tokens to formulate the Mormon ceremony. Conclusive evidence leaves the reader in no doubt that God could and would not have been involved in such nonsense. The Mormon Delusion Volume 3 is essential reading for those who want the facts about the past rather than the fiction the Mormon Church now teaches.
Simon Southerton – Author of Losing a Lost Tribe; Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church adds:
In the third volume of The Mormon Delusion, Jim Whitefield delves into the most controversial beliefs and events in Mormonism’s colourful past. With his familiar candour he sheds light on things Mormon leaders would prefer were long forgotten.
For further details and a synopsis of this and other volumes of The Mormon Delusion and links to Jim’s Lulu Store Front, go to www.themormondelusion.com
Writing has been my therapy. My work is finished. I hope to put the devastating past behind me and finally move on and away from the Mormon Church. The trouble is; as many here know; it isn’t that simple when most of your family remain faithful and condemn you for your actions. How do you ever deal with married children who will have nothing to do with you; their perception that you have effectively divorced your deceased temple married wife because you resigned from the Church; grandchildren you are not allowed to see; and the loneliness that follows leaving a lifetime of devotion to Mormonism? I resigned in 2003 simply because I could no longer hold to a belief in God, no matter how hard I tried. I accidentally discovered the truth about the Church in 2006 and finished my devastating journey of discovery in 2009. Now perhaps I can find peace – I just wish I had a clue how to do that. My one hope; other than perhaps that my active children may one day have the courage to study the truth; is that others who have read and who may yet read my work will, because of my research and writing, more fully comprehend the hoax and the continued conspiracy to deceive members of the Church. If it helps just one person to better understand the truth, it will all have been worthwhile.
My best wishes to everyone.
| Although there seems to have always been controversy about where the Lamanites and Nephites lived, it now seems to be generally accepted that they inhabited Central America. In 1958, when I became a member of the church, I was taught that the ruins of that area were evidence of this “fact.” So, taking this area as starting point of the final conflict between these two enemies, their natural habitat was tropical.
In the BOM, Mormon’s narrative of the troop (and family) movement terminating at the Hill Cumorah covers the time period between about 380 AD and 384 AD inclusive, but occupies only four verses of text, Mormon 5:6-7 and 6:1, 5, none of which contain details of any events of several years along the way. This is odd seeing that the final conflict and so many of the battles in and around their homeland are covered in such minute detail. There is no mention of weather, which could have been the greatest enemy of both factions. There would have been at least three winters in North America, above the thirty third parallel of north latitude, where the temperature often falls below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and above one hundred degrees in summer. The Lamanite warriors were said to have gone into battle naked (Alma 43:20, 44:18) which would have put them at a great disadvantage in the above instances, being worst in freezing weather. Then there were the families of the warriors (Mor. 6:7.) Where did theyobtain food, water, shelter and warm clothing? If nothing else; this is something to carefully consider.
It seems to me that most people who are dissatisfied with the Church base their anger on Joseph Smith, polygamy, or some other unchangeable or unchallengeable, when it is the Book of Mormon itself that is its own worst enemy. I accidentally proved this to myself by charting the life spans of the record keepers and writing my book, Chronology of the Book of Mormon Records: an In-Depth Look. When I began the study, I fully expected to prove these record keepers were real and Joseph Smith a prophet. But when I put the lifespan information into the charts my confidence fell apart. Joseph Smith might have been able to pick up the thread of his narration after leaving it for awhile, but he was unable to keep his record keepers in mathematical balance with his story. I reasoned that if he was translating from “the plates” his story would have continuity of history, and it did not. I had been taught that Joseph had perused the gold plates, translating reformed Egyptian into English, but I was now looking at proof that this was not the case. The realization was numbing. I had received all of the Temple Ordinances. I was a High Priest, twice a member of a Stake High Council and now on assignment as a Stake Missionary. Could this be just a test of my fidelity? Was I being tested by Satan? I re-ran all of my calculations and points of reference, but found no serious defects. I then went to my Stake President and after relating my findings asked to be released from my calling.
Needless to say, I was heart broken. My Temple marriage, to my beautiful wife, was a contract made on false authority, a sham. The sealing to my children was false also. I regretted the day that I first met the Missionaries and vowed to place into the hands of as many investigators of the church as I could a means of knowing, in advance of joining the church, what is really in the Book of Mormon. This is the reason for working on the project since 1979 and publication of my research and charts. I seriously doubt that any True Blue Mormon will ever read the book and/or study the charts. But if I have kept just one investigator from going through the dreadful experience I’ve gone through, it’s worth the time, money and effort I’ve put into it.
Book, including small charts, ISBN: 978-1-4327-3307-0.
Three, eighteen by twenty-four inch charts, Pre Christian Era, Christian Era and Composite available at my cost plus postage.
| "Tragic," "Wickedly Irreverent," and "A Terrifically Insightful, Wildly Original Work." Described as The Office meets The Bible, the tale told here is hardly to be believed. The Question: What happens when God and Mammon are made to synergize? In answer, this book opens the doors to Mormon corporate offices, most secret of spaces, and invites you inside. At the Church Office Building (it's actual name) spiritual ambitions speak through HR evaluations, missionary mission statements, digital converts, and scripture marketing campaigns. Hear employees chant "cultural beliefs" and test if a new DVD hits your "spiritual hot buttons." Watch us market food storage "solutions" to religious consumers! Read about the "best practices" of the corporate side, from smuggling underwear into banana republics to Mitt Romney's role in a billion dollar Church Mall. The author, an Ivy League trained cultural anthropologist, "works" (sometimes) as a media evaluator with the Mormon Church's corporate arm. During long lunches he traces the ins and outs of a religion being consumed by corporate culture, and you, Dear Reader, are invited along for the insights, laughs, and revelations. A compelling, light-hearted but serious memoir, sometimes fictional ethnography, and, yes, even apocalypse, this book crosses genres, fact, fancy, and everything between. Not for the faint of heart.
About the Author
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Smith writes books that seem confusing initially, but which make sense after the first chapter, or so it is said. Certainly his books do not strive for the Stephen T. Colbert Award For The Literary Excellence.
This is a very interesting book, written by a believing Mormon, who is also a cultural anthropologist. The book is described by its author as a book of fiction that nevertheless tries to show a hard truth. Those who hope to read another bashing of the Mormon people or their religion will be disappointed--the author is a believer. Those that hold to the adage, "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all" and those sated by the usual Deseret Book fluff will likewise be unsatisfied. Perhaps, it is written to those of testimony who attend the LDS Church often to serve and to learn, yet find themselves puzzled by and disconnected from the ever-changing stream of pamphlets, programs, events and activities that consume their time without enlarging their souls. This book addresses this audience and gives an explanation of how this came to be.
The narrative is centered on the author's experiences as an employee in a corporation that runs much of the headquarter activities for the Church. While most Mormons are accustomed to the idea that current Church institutions represent a natural and foreordained unfolding that will usher in the millennial reign, Smith challenges such notion. He argues that much of what is served up to Church members today is the natural outcome of battles fought and lost in the 19th century and the compromises and retrenching done during the 20th century.
The desire of Brigham Young to seek a Mormon refuge in the mountains of Mexico's Alta California failed as a result of the Mexican-American war. The end of that war brought the Mormons back into direct conflict with the U.S. government and the values of the influential in America. The visible damage of that conflict came with the eventual dissolution of the Church and seizure of its property, however, the unseen injury was the recasting of the language of its religion and the markers of faithfulness. Thus, the early 20th century was accompanied by a systematic turning of many the religious practices and doctrines on their heads and Mormons became the new champions of Americanism.
In a dispersed agrarian society most tithing was paid in commodities and therefore remained in a distributed system of local Bishop's storehouses to aid local members. By the end of the 19th century, tithing became monetized and therefore more easily centralized under the direction of a church headquarters. As membership grew and the nation prospered during the 20th century, so did the free will offerings to Church coffers. Money changes people, even corporate persons, especially when they attempt to transubstantiate Federal Reserve Notes into "the sacred funds of the Lord."
This new found wealth needed to be segregated from physical persons in order to eliminate the issues of commingling that troubled the Church after the deaths of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. It needed management. The corporation sole demonstrated the ability to do this for the Mormons, plus its virility could spawn a host of corporate progeny. During the 20th century corporations were endued by statutes and court rulings with fictional legal personhood. Most corporations that become large institutions did in fact begin to act like persons. They developed personality or culture, a preoccupation with self-preservation and self-image, they had aspirations that formed mission statements and strategy, they mastered logistics to accomplish great good and they often behaved amorally.
Mormon corporations charged with implementing the visions of leaders face other distinct challenges. Their corporate revenue stream is wholly disconnected to the merit or value of the corporate product offerings to members of the religion. There is, therefore, no impetus to establish a straight forward system of feedback. Further, a Correlation Department is positioned to digest all offerings created inside the corporation before they are dispensed to the Mormons residing outside. This results in an ever-descending search for doctrinal purity and a lowest common denominator. Smith shows that regrettably, all too often the resulting fare reflects a pervasive under-valuing of real people who practice the religion.
In engaging prose and humor born of irony, Smith gives an inside look at the departmental turf wars, the odd effects of aping secular corporate practices and a host of mundane concerns such as branding, inventory control and return on investment that occupy the time and appetites of employees at the Cob. The driving recipe, though sounding a bit convoluted, is simple: Mix memories of historical persecution with the natural paranoia of fictional personhood, blend a rigid culture of hierarchy with exclusive access to truth, stir in language that prefers the abstract to the concrete and a preference for a virtual world over a real one, fold in a desire to be nice and an aspiration for greatness in heaven and on earth and finally, leaven the whole with frequent references to the Spirit (the author might add, "If the Spirit is not available, then an emotional cherry can be substituted). As Smith shows, noshing on a steady diet of this for fifty years causes things to become more than a little zany on a day-to-daybasis on the corporate campus.
| From Signature Books:
Salt Lake City – In December 1892, the 33-year-old Mormon apostle Abraham H. Cannon recorded in his diary: “At my Quorum meeting on Thursday the brethren were told that our success in the Church [law]suits was in a great measure due to the fact that we have a partner of Justice [Stephen J.] Field of the Supreme Court of the United States in our employ, who is to receive a percentage of the money if the suits go in our favor, and the property is returned to us.”
Justice Stephen J. Field of the U.S. Supreme CourtIn the wake of federal sanctions over polygamy, Mormon leaders felt their only resort was to offer cash to a U.S. Supreme Court justice. In fact, Justice Field was not the only dignitary who was “bribed” (Cannon’s word) by the LDS Church in those desperate times, according to the explicit account recorded by Apostle Cannon.
This week Signature Books, a Salt Lake City-based publisher, is releasing the apostle’s writings under the title, Candid Insights of a Mormon Apostle: The Diaries of Abraham H. Cannon, 1889-1895. The compiler and editor is historian Edward Leo Lyman. This volume is the twelfth volume in the press’s Significant Mormon Diaries Series. Lyman is recently retired from teaching history at California Polytechnic University, Cal State San Bernardino, and Victor Valley College in California. This year he also won the Utah State Historical Association’s Best Book Award for the biography of another pioneer Mormon apostle.
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