message: Dear Jim,
You seem like a good man--I feel emphathy for you, however making a living "off of God" is not right. I speak from the heart--I am a New York City convert at age 12--I am now 39 living in Utah, married to a wonderful physician, who happens to be a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith. I am a Journalist (some of my background includes 15 years, working for CNN Headline News Radio Division and Wins Network)The Church has many members that are human and therefore mistakes are made, however the doctrine is sound and has prevailed throught the years, because it is the Lord's Church. You and I can "kick against the pricks", come and go, etc--the Gospel will roll forth and fill the earth, revelations will continue to be fulfilled, (Joseph Smith predicted that in the last days of the Church wars and rumors of wars & "blood would run through the streets"...) now we have terrorists just last week saying "we promise blood will run through the streets..."coincidence? Nicotine,Alcohol, and! their effects were not known until around 1934-5, (the physiology behind such addictions, as well as what they directly caused) yet in Joseph's day, the Lord instructed him on "word of wisdom" theology-which amazingly carries much accuracy...there are literally thousands of such "prophet predictions" as I call them.
What really convinces me is my own experiences, traveling around the world and this great nation, studying anti-mormon literature for 10 years etc, I have come to realize that members range from good-hearted to evil--that is human nature, so therefore massacres, murders, pediphilia etc. will be committed by those who get baptized and then lost spiritually...but for each one of these, their are the countless good-hearted like my husband, who quietly continues to provide free medical care, donations to good causes etc not to be popular, but simply because he loves the Lord...that is the essence of this Church. You and I both know "if if bleeds it leads" as journalists...my intelligence and experience have only augmented my testimony of the gospel, not detracting from it.
I pray you will sincerely look at your motives, and ask yourself the following questions... 1. Did you ever have a real testimony? 2. Was there something in your past dealing with immorality,etc. that was/is difficult to overcome and it is simply easier not being a member? 3. Did someone/leader offend you? 4. Have you ever looked at the true sources of anti-mormonism? (the Tanners are known liars, so if that is your source, it is a bad source!) Everyone falls short of a sinless life, we offend, we fight etc. I for one am grateful for my Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement...noone will make it in or out of this Church without the Lord's forgiveness and Atonement...It is my prayer you get yourself prepared for the Second Coming and come back to the Gospel....I agree with what you say about "cultural Utah," and the dangers it produces, but again, you are talking about human beings, not Church Doctrine....you will find Elizebeth Smart's kidnappers come in all forms and from all religions, they are selfish individuals that sin and call it the will of God...My husband has inherited some facinating documents, originals, that give individuals testimonies, including those closest to Joseph Smith (Hyrum for one!) and many, many other documents that show me these people are not just names, they lived and died for the Gospel of Christ, were human, and dedicated and did not gain worldy status or individual wealth, most lost th! eir families, homes, bank holdings etc. because they truly believed in this Gospel...I'm not talking about your run of the mill pioneer story...alot of anti-mormon literature is based on what I call "anti-mormon pioneers" from Joseph Smith's day, there is no new, concrete information, it is the same old tired stuff...the bloody history of the Church is the history of individuals that did not follow the Prophets counsel (hawns mill) and therefore reaped what they had sown..) well, I hope and pray you will search your heart and truly pray about what our Savior wants you to do with your life, this "ministry" is not the answer-- your individual devotion to the Lord, not for worldy gain, but simply because you truly love your fellowman is a place to start.. Best wishes, Sheila Nardone
I normally do not respond to letters like yours, letters which assume I am operating from base motives: "Pastor Spencer never had a testimony, is immoral, was hurt by the Church, makes tons of money, etc., etc." Those who knew me as a Mormon (many of whom are still close friends and family) never questioned my sincerity, only my conclusions. I left the Church for doctrinal reasons. Two years later--after I had preached to two Mormon missionaries--the Stake President called to say they probably needed to excomminicate me. I agreed to go to that excommunication (with my Mormon wife) with the proviso that I would be allowed to tell them why I had left the Church. (You would known all this if you had bothered to read my own testimony before deciding that I was insincere or immoral.)
Nothing I could say can convince you that my objection to Mormonism is simply that I believe Joseph Smith was a lying psychopath who made up an outrageous stories that gullible people believed (including me when I converted). Bottom line, Mormonism, in my humble opinion, is a perversion of the Gospel of Christ that Gal 1:6 warns us about.
Secondly--in my opinion--Mormonism tends to make robots out of people, damages them psychologically, and keeps them busy trying to earn respect from God so they miss the offer of Gospel Grace. Dozens of Mormon scholars have pointed out all of these flaws. Have you looked at any of them, or are you only into "faith promoting" reading? Have you considered, for example, all of the new evidence that proves the American Indians have no trace of Hebrew DNA?
You are right, there is nothing new to be mined from Mormon history, but your own historians dispute your assessment that the evil in Momron history is limited to the disaffected. On the contrary, it is founded in the the lust, arrogance, and murderous nature of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. The doctrine of Blood Atonement is still so much a part of Mormon memory that all prospective jurors in capital murder cases in Utah are _voir dired_ about their views on that bloody practice. Mormon social statics continue to be "bleakly pessimistic."
Don't get me wrong. In spite of the devastating arrogance and misdirection of Mormonism, some people--presumably your husband--are truly humble and God-fearing. For them I wish they could read the Bible, see the clearly presented Gospel in, say, Romans or Galatians, and come into a full-orbed relationship with Jesus Christ, which is _impossible_ with the doctrinal baggage of such teachings as plurality of gods and works-based salvation.
As far as making money selling books about Mormonism is concerned: _All_ of my books are available for _free_ download online. Hard to make money selling them for free. And, of course you realize that every Mormon General Authority becomes wealthy through token service on the directorial boards of Mormon-owned corprations: Ask yourself if that is not "making a living off God."
Finally, if you really want answers to the questions you asked me, they are all online--again for free. I can think of no reason to extract them from my published writings to email to you just because you are not inclined, or afraid, to look at what I have given the last 30 years of my life to publish. So much easier to assume that whoever disagrees with your position is simply either a knuckle-dragging idiot or insincere.
Again, I normally don't respond to people whose minds are made up, but I thought your letter and my response might help others who visit my web site.
Thanks, but spare me further correspondence.