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A repost of my excommunication from the LDS church

I was excommunicated from the LDS church in 2015 or thereabouts. The evening after the trial, I wrote my best attempt at recalling the questions I was asked and the answers I provided. 

Q: Do you believe that Thomas Monson is the sole mouthpiece of the Lord on the earth today, and if the Lord wants to speak to the world, he will do so through President Monson?
A: I believe the Lord can and does speak through whomever he chooses. I do not believe he will only speak through President Monson, and I certainly do not believe that everything President Monson says or does qualifies as God’s word or approved by God. Any who believe that are guilty of idolatry. You would be hard pressed to find a more textbook definition of the word.

Q: Do you believe President Monson is a prophet?
A: What do you mean by prophet? If you mean a title, I think he has the right to adopt any title he wants, whether it be prophet or grand dragon or whatever else, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If you mean a description, I have yet to see a prophecy spoken by President Monson. I have yet to hear any message from him that he has claimed was spoken to him by God. Therefore, if I were to testify that I knew he was a prophet, I would be bearing false witness, because I have not witnessed him prophesy.

Q: Do you believe that the church possesses a fullness of the priesthood?
A: Let’s look at God’s own word on the subject. Turn with me to JST Gen 14 [only 1 or 2 did]. When it says God swore an oath that EVERY man would do these things, do you think he meant it? [I read the passage.] Of all the men that you know who claim to hold the Melchezidek priesthood, how many have put to flight armies, turned rivers from their course, quenched the violence of fire, stood in the presence of God, etc? As of today you know at least one who has stood in the presence of God. But other than me, who do you know who has experienced even one of these powers, let alone all of them? Obviously we are missing something. God has spoken about the church’s status three times I think in the scriptures. Each of the three times, it is negative, with words like “condemn” and “lost”. God said he took it away. If you think we have it, how do you prove that it has changed since God last spoke about it?

Q: Do you believe the church is run the same way as it would be if Christ himself were here to run it?
A: Absolutely not. I think it is silly to think that any of us as individuals are living our lives exactly the way Christ would live our lives. It is even sillier to think that a task so hard for an individual would somehow be easier when attempted by a larger group of people, whether 15 or 15 million. I don’t know how anyone could honestly think that.

Q: This all seems dark to me. I am fine with helping people come to Christ, but can’t that be done without so much negativity? Can’t we talk of Christ, rejoice of Christ, etc. without criticizing others?
A: Joseph Smith said that the present generation would reject Jesus for being too rough. Helaman 15:7 and the entire canon of scripture is clear: You cannot preach the gospel without teaching against false traditions. There is a reason there is no power in our repetitive lessons to bring about changes in hearts. There is a reason the church is full of porn addicts and child molesters. If all you ever do is talk about the pleasant things that we are already doing—or think we are doing—no one ever actually comes to Christ. You can’t honestly tell me you’ve read the Old Testament, New Testament, or restoration scriptures and not seen that the majority of examples of true messengers preaching God’s word has been “negative”. It is to be expected. It is not an exception. Cognitive dissonance is not God saying what we are hearing is false. It is our conscience saying what we believe disagrees with the evidence we’ve seen.

Q: I know we can know of Christ powerfully through the witness of the Holy Ghost. Don’t you think that a testimony through the Holy Ghost is stronger than an eye witness? Your eyes can be deceived, but a witness of the Holy Ghost is sure. Don’t you think it is possible that you were deceived in your experiences?
A: I absolutely think it is possible that I was deceived. It is very unlikely, and I have enough confidence in my experiences that I would not change course even if I were tortured to death. However, I recognize that anyone who says they are absolutely sure about anything is cutting themselves off from God teaching them something that they don’t already know, and I won’t do that, because I know nothing compared to God, and I want him to keep teaching me. As far as an eye witness versus a witness of the Spirit: I agree with you that one can certainly know of Christ with incredible surety through the Holy Ghost. But you can’t know him. Eternal life is to know Jesus Christ, and you can’t do that without actually meeting him face to face. Anyone who says a witness of the spirit is stronger than an eye witness has never stood in the presence of God, period.

Q: [Quoting from a blog post]: You wrote “So what of the appointed watchmen in the LDS church?
9 All you wild beasts, you animals of the forest,
come and devour!
10 Their watchmen are altogether blind and unaware;all of them are but dumb watchdogs unable to bark,
lolling seers fond of slumber.
11 Gluttonous dogs, and insatiable,
such indeed are insensible shepherds.
They are all diverted to their own way,
every one after his own advantage.
12 Come, they say, let us get wine
and have our fill of liquor.
For tomorrow will be like today, only far better! (Isaiah 56:9-12)
Not only are they not warning, Isaiah reduces them to dogs. It is not only that they choose not to bark, but they are so ignorant of things as they really are, that they are completely blind and unaware of what is actually important, relevant, and timely. Instead, they take their own advice as if it were God's word, they feed on the poor, and keep up their drunken stupor fed by false tradition and hubris. All is well, all is well.” How is this not what the handbook describes as apostasy?
A: What I have written was, is, and will be true. You want a prophecy, here’s a prophecy: Most of you in this room will live to see the interpretation I have provided here fulfilled. You will see what Isaiah predicted, and you will know that you didn’t hear a peep from these men you call prophets warning you of it coming.

After deliberation, the stake president informed me that the decision of the council was that I would be excommunicated for apostasy. He determined that a brief prayer and a negative feeling “as close to an audible voice as he ever felt in prayer” was sufficient to convict me without even attempting to refute even one of the 400+ pages of scriptural and historical evidence I provided to support my position, a feat that required thousands of hours of careful effort.

One exchange that occurred that I thought was of note: I declared that I had not apostatized from Christ or from the gospel. A high councilor said, "none of us think that you have. You are here for apostasy against the church and its leaders." Possibly the most condemnatory thing that occurred last night was that a group of 15 church leaders agreed that one can be cut off, so they suppose, from God's blessings without having done anything to offend him.

"And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;" (2 Nephi 28: 5)

I forgive these men totally and sincerely. I have forgiven them since I was told a year or so ago that this would be the outcome of this mission which I have fulfilled. I harbor no ill will towards them.

I did, however, refuse to remain in the room after the announcement of their decision. I announced that I had nothing more to say to them, nor them to me, and exited before their prayer. I said: "I refuse to participate in solemn mockery before God."