Mithryn was a faithful member of the church for 33 years, serving as Elder’s Quorum President twice, serving an honorable mission, and raised by an amateur apologist. Spending time with his father often required long discussions of Mesoamerica, seer stones, or how fast angels can travel compared to the Starship Enterprise.
Via one thing and another, he happened to live in wards with prominent church members such as Hugh Nibley, the Edgeleys, and others of some note.
All this is to say that in his 30th year, he finally resolved to come to conclusions about some of the more relevant questions about the church, and 3 1/2 years of deep diving research later, he decided that something was wrong.
He began to post on Reddit, a forum, under a name or two giving faith-promoting posts and simply posting the history. What happened next was quite a surprise. The faithful subreddits (lds.reddit.com) were unaware of much of what he posted and called him “Antimormon” and “angry.” The exmormons not only knew much of it, but were able to discuss it openly and honestly.
Shortly thereafter he was made a moderator of exmormon.reddit.com, where he strives for intellectual honesty and accurate history while lending a sympathetic ear.
His wife still believes and they discuss religion rarely while trying to get along.
Joseph Colbert Jr.? What a quirky sense of humor you have. That’s a mashup across the ages- and what different mentalities those two have.
What are the mathematical chances of a boy audacious enough or crazy enough to go around speaking about seeing a vision of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, an entirely new concept, the ante Nicean Council Trinity, would then be able approx ten years later to write a book in 90 days that holds up to scutiny by Mormon scholars–those who want to believe?
What are the chances the same boy would be born into a line of Universalim believers and in a period called the Restoration Period in America? The country itself a place set up on freedom from a national religion after England is de-Catholicized?
What are the chances that a desert valley would await a driven people, a valley the native Americans did not inhabit–a buffer zone between tribes and which had been explored by the Spaniards but never settled by them?
What are the chances that a stone carved out of a mountain would continue rolling and gaining momentum, even, with all the sifting out of those who see not and hear not?
Why did Martin Luther not go back to the more Bible literal interpretation of the Trinity of Arianism? The Protestants watered down Catholicism but kept its Trinity of Nicea. Why? Martin Luther was a Catholic who wanted his own faith to reform?
Peace and Joy in the Journey..a thing we all need.
>What are the mathematical chances of a boy audacious enough or crazy enough to go around speaking about seeing a vision of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, an entirely new concept, the ante Nicean Council Trinity,
Actually, if you look at my first vision timeline you’ll see that he did not mention the first vision for over a decade (1832) and there are about a dozen people who printed stories of seeing God in newspapers in or around Joseph Smith.
>then be able approx ten years later to write a book in 90 days that holds up to scutiny by Mormon scholars–those who want to believe?
If you look at my Spaulding-Rigdon timeline you’ll see it’s pretty probable he was was just reading the book out loud and adding bits where the missing 116 pages were. Even if Smith was the sole author, you’ve got 3 years after he sees the angel to think up stories and put a narrative together. The 90-day/60-day thing is terribly misleading.
>What are the chances the same boy would be born into a line of Universalim believers and in a period called the Restoration Period in America?
This is a poor argument. “What are the chances that Sidney Rigdon would be born into the Restoration period and break off from the con-artist Smith in time to form the Rigdonites?” There, convinced to be a rigdonite? No? Yeah, just not a good argument.
>What are the chances that a desert valley would await a driven people, a valley the native Americans did not inhabit–a buffer zone between tribes and which had been explored by the Spaniards but never settled by them?
Pretty damn good. They were looking for a place to continue breaking the law (See the polygamy timeline for laws that the church was blatantly breaking regarding polygamy) and settled on the Rockies. If they had moved to Canada, or say South America (Can you say “JonesTown” your argument would find them equally inspired. I see that there was a 100% likelihood they’d find someplace where the law couldn’t reach them.
>What are the chances that a stone carved out of a mountain would continue rolling and gaining momentum, even, with all the sifting out of those who see not and hear not?
See my posts about church growth, and you’ll see that it hasn’t just lost momentum, it’s losing ground.
>Why did Martin Luther not go back to the more Bible literal interpretation of the Trinity of Arianism? The Protestants watered down Catholicism but kept its Trinity of Nicea. Why? Martin Luther was a Catholic who wanted his own faith to reform?
The fact that you think you’re an expert on Martin Luther, when you haven’t even researched your own religion is very prideful and full of hubris. Do you honestly think that Martin Luther was inspired solely for Joseph Smith’s benefit? That seems to be what you’re implying. I think he saw a corrupt institution and stood up for what he saw was right, just as I’m doing. I believe he and I have far more in common than Joseph Smith or yourself.
Peace, happiness, live long and prosper, and all that jazz.
You’re far different from being a Martin Luther. What you getting out of this?
All the other churches are corrupted, so what sect do you belong to? What are you gaining from all this? You must be getting something because you can’t support a Web page without funds.
First, please ask the same about the heads of the church. What do they get out of it? Rock star treatment wherever they go? Lucrative book deals? Positions of import on multinational companies?
Second, someone gifted me use of the website it is free.
Third, I get to discuss truth unfettered. I enjoy that.
Forth, what did Martin Luther “get” out of his actions? Are you sure I’m not more like him than you think?
The argument is often put forth, how could a young under-educated boy write a book like that.
Watch this video and think, regardless of the number of hours of practice and the young age he started, this very little boy, is way beyond the ability of the most talented teenagers that have had 10 times the number of hour of practice this young boy has.
Joseph Smith, also has a talent for spinning detailed stories, as documented by his own mother in a book about the life of Joseph Smith.
So if this young boy is a prodigy or savant with the piano, why could there not been a young man that is a “scripture savant” that can just spout out stories that sound like scripture and even have an Old Testament flavor, (chiasmus) ?
See how much he improves in 4 years:
It is not unreasonable for a servant to do something that a common person can not. This is not evidence that it came from God.
Re-translating the first page of the lost 116 pages, would have shut up any critics and put the fear of God into Sister Harris…..
But instead Joseph received a revelation that robbed the world of evidence of his ability to divinely translate “Reformed Egyptian”.
Apparently Joseph was not so good at regular Egyptian…. 🙂
Indeed, we have several individuals cataloging that he was a scriptural savant, reciting long passages from the bible verbatim.
I recognize I’m a full two years late to this party, but Lillith has made a patently false claim regarding one of the few subjects that I will allow myself to get worked up about: Revisionist history regarding the displacement of Native Americans. I’d like to set the record straight, even though she’s unlikely to see the response. Hopefully my comments help dispel this notion for future readers, regardless of their faith.
Compared to the native population of Utah Valley to the south, the Salt Lake Valley was indeed limited. Conditions at locations to the north and south of Salt Lake were more favorable for larger permanent settlements. It was, however, far from a desolate, uninhabited wasteland, devoid of native population. The idea that an area had to be permanently settled and cultivated for it be inhabited is extremely ethnocentric. Native settlement in the Salt Lake valley dates back 3,000 years. There were natives living in the Salt Lake Valley when pioneers arrived, and it was frequented by many more for hunting and other uses. The hot springs that once existed north of Salt Lake were in fact a popular destination for natives, and were apparently considered sacred by them. The pools were believed to have healing properties, until they were overused and polluted by settlers, and became a disease-ridden health hazard. Within decades, the springs had been developed into a resort by settlers, but were replaced by refineries and an interstate in the twentieth century.
If on a micro-level, the claim that this “desert valley” was uninhabited by divine design or otherwise, is technically untrue, then on a macro-level, considering the greater settlement of the Great Basin, the claim is a brutal, cruel, and insulting falsehood. Native populations across the Mormon corridor were decimated and forcefully dispossessed of their ancestral homelands by disease, treachery, threatened violence, and military action. Was it worse in Utah than other settlements across the country? Not to my understanding. It was, however, no better. The all-too-familiar adage of Brigham Young quoted ad nauseam by amateur Utah historians, “It is better and cheaper to feed and clothe the Indians, than to fight them,” is a statement fit for a DUP cross-stitched pillow, but it was hardly a novel concept, and often ignored by general and local authorities alike, including Brigham himself, in favor of more forcible methods of coercion. The Timpanogos band of the Nuche (Ute) tribe, for example, had lived on the banks of the Provo River for hundreds of years, and had a culture and lifestyle that was centered on fishing the river and Utah Lake, then a world-class fishery. If I remember correctly, 1/4 of their diet was fish, and that percentage increased depending on the time of year. Within a few years of the pioneers entering the “uninhabited desert valley” of Salt Lake, they had set their eyes on the fresh water Utah Lake and its valuable resources. By 1850 they had built a fort in Provo. In the winter of 1850, starving, displaced, and sick with an outbreak of measles, the band apparently resorted to petty thievery to survive, and conflicts ensued. Under cover of darkness, a group of settlers and troops ambushed the Timpanogos’ camp which included women and children in addition to warriors, with cannon and gunfire. sick and delirious, women and children scattered into the cold winter night. Of the roughly 70 warriors in the camp, only thirteen escaped. A total of seventy Native Americans were killed in the massacre, some frozen to death. There was only one white casualty. Some of the frozen Indian bodies were then decapitated. THIS is the story of the divine providence that set apart the land of Provo for white settlement. There are stories like this one across the State of Deseret. Do you see why this is insulting?
My point in sharing this isn’t to shame or condemn the pioneers. They were products of their time and place. Natives, unfortunately were products of theirs, and suffered greatly as a result. If you want to have faith in the LDS church, there’s no point in trying to convince you otherwise. But don’t be foolish, don’t be cruel, and don’t be disrespectful, by perpetuating rosy folktales that you learned in 8th grade history as evidence of your divine favor.
Sorry for the long belated post. I only hope that this reaches someone who needs to hear it someday.
Thanks for this post. I’m glad I was able to read it.
OK, I agree, the Joseph Colbert, Jr. thing is hilarious. Did you do the artwork? Kudos.
Sad to see you challenged for simply daring to have a website. Hey folks, websites don’t require secret slush funds, corporate sponsors, or Gaddianton-like combinations. Mithryn deserves more respect than that even if some of us strongly disagree with his ultimate conclusions. This sounds like a man genuinely seeking truth. I will also respect him for working hard to maintain his relationship with a believing spouse.
I remember long ago on the internets far far way in the past and I would see something posted by Jeff Lindsay, and I would cringe before I would read a word.
Then he was on a very hear podcast of Mormon Expressions.
And I got to hear the voice, spirit and characters of the man, and not just his apologetic tone.
I had to repent, (at lest in my own mind) that I was somewhat wrong about him.
While I might disagree with his conclusions, I had misjudged the characters of the person and his comments here again, reaffirm, (while still based on sparse evidence) that Jeff Lindsay, is of good report!
A man in search of a little bit of truthiness …. 🙂
Yay Mithrin! The simplest answer is most likely the right one.
Sydney “Rigged” it, Orson would “Hide” it, Poor Oliver “Cowered” from it, but we’ll speak the truth.
A few weeks ago I found some of what you have in your Spaulding Manuscript/Rigdon/Smith Timeline. I started putting it together from all the accounts around 1831 – 1832 of people saying Sydney Rigdon had either written the book, or the content had been stolen from the missing Spaulding document. So folks, take note of that, and then dig deeper — both forward and backward in the timeline!
So now that I have found the Mythrin treasure trove of research — I will continue to add to my own notes. I too, have a somewhat believing, but content LDS spouse. We attend church and blend in. Yes, Mormon folk, we walk among you ‘all! We do all the Mormon things. Game on! Someday, what has been hidden, covered up, and lied about will be exposed. I can wait patiently, so Bishop, Stake President, Apostle, Prophet, I will speak volumes outside your doors till then. And while I will aim for really great SEO, I will NOT “Go Shopping” at your stupid mall… pathetic BTW! Blog on Mythrin!
“His wife still believes and they discuss religion rarely while trying to get along,” I’m in the same position and have been for over 15 years. It’s definitely not optimal. One of the multiple reasons why I resent the Church is because if I was given honest answers to questions I had growing up I would have left before: saving for a mission, mission, temple marriage, etc. The Internet came too late for me, but I do have comfort to know that I figured it out with still half (I hope) of my life still ahead of me.
Mithryn, as always I enjoy your posts. They are very informative and well thought out. Have an upvote!
Religious belief and what causes it is a very fascinating subject. It seems that a desire to continue to have a parent/child relationship, fear of the unknown, maybe fear of death, or simply the comfort one feels trusting some confident person claiming answers drives this. The unfortunate thing is that the confident seem to always demand something tangible in return for this intangible confidence thereby creating a parasitic relationship in the process.
Mithryn, any chance you’d consider including me in your blogroll? http://www.mormonapologies.com
Why Don’t you share more information about yourself?
Great blog you have got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!