Where do I begin? For many years I have had problems with the church. I've felt that the church leadership was more interested in numbers than in the needs of individual families. It was after a bad bout with poor health that I began to have doubts. I mentioned this to a friend who also happened to be our Bishop and he laid the first spiritual blackmail on me that I have ever had. I was very surprised to say the least. Things continued on until an announcement was made that ward boundaries were to change.
After a few months the boundaries did change and so we had to go to a ward
that we had tried years before. We had a none to positive experience with the
ward but decided to give it a try once again. To make a long story short, we
were not accepted into the ward and my son was being treated poorly by the youth
of the ward. We decided the next March to take some time off to see how we would
feel after a little time off. During this time we did scripture study and during
the time no one contacted us from the ward. In May we went back and our feelings
did not change, so after an extended vacation we decided to just change wards.
We started attending one of the other wards in town and after a few weeks were asked to meet with the bishop. Although pleasant for the most part he stated that he did not want any trouble makers. We were also told that any exceptions to ward boundaries had to go to SLC. So, no church positions, temple recommend, home teachers or tithing settlement. He did say that the kids would be taken care of. And he would not tell us not to attend. At the end of the meeting I felt pretty crestfallen. Sort of abandoned by church authorities.
We spent the rest of the year at the ward during which time I started to have major doubts about the veracity of the church.
One of the 1st things that bothered me was finding out how close the temple ceremony is to masonic rites. A good proportion of the wording is identical. Another aspect that bothers me are the number of major changes to the ceremony. Also, the timing of the intro of the endowment just a few months after Joseph became a mason is a problem. I also started studying early Christianity and was disturbed over the dissimilarities between the early church and the Mormon church, as the Mormon church basically states it follows the organization of the primitive church.
I soon came to the realization that Joseph Smith was a con man and a fraud. My study of early church history (written by Mormon's and non-Mormons) led me to the conclusion that Smith was a false prophet. I now realize that I spent many many hours for almost nothing. And the years of paying tithing were to a corporation that bilks millions out of its membership. I can say I did learn a lot from my mission. It was not a total waste. But at the same time I do not want my children to go and promote this myth.
Today, I consider myself a Christian. Not a Mormon. I do not maintain that any church is the one true church. But I do believe that if we follow Christ's (not Joseph Smith's) teachings that we will be better people.
William Wilson from Northern Arizona in the United States.