No Pretending—-I DO Know!

 Sma Harris PretendingCongratulations If

If you have CERTAINTY in your religious beliefs.  I commend you.  What I’m presenting here should not take away from your conviction one whit.  I commend you on your testimony.  This is just where I’m at.


Throughout my lifetime, I have frequently made important statements that were NOT TRUE.  But, I was not aware.  Now I am.  I don’t consider them lies.  I simply didn’t realize that I was not speaking the truth.  I’m referring to my statements of KNOWING things I didn’t really KNOW.  Specifically relating to religious concepts.

For example:  “I KNOW that God lives.”  A beautiful statement.  At this point, for me, to say it would be a lie…a pretense.  I have now trod a similar path as the apostle Paul:  “Where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”  And, I now embrace Paul’s “enduring” virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

However, there is one thing in the religious arena that I do have certainty about.  No pretending.  No lying.  I KNOW that the teachings and example of Jesus Christ embody a good and noble way to live.  I’m specifically referring to Christ’s gospel of charity, kindness, service, reaching out for the “least” among us, the golden rule, standing up to the marginalization of the weak.  Fortunately, a modern religious leader said that we should believe in the bible as far as it’s translated correctly.  There are some things ascribed to Christ that I view as somehow being translated incorrectly.  Those I discard.

So, there you go Mr. Harris, I’m no longer pretending.  I am a human being.  And, I am certain.  It’s my 64 years of lived experience that has given me my rock solid certainty.


Thanks Missedinsunday for the meme.

Savannah & 12 Year Old Mormon Girls



I really admire the courage of a 12 year old LDS girl named Savannah.  In May, she bore an amazing testimony at church.  Last Sunday, I showed this video to my wife and two of my daughters.  They all said it was a beautiful testimony.  And…that it’s unfortunate she was cut off.  They speculated that if this had happened in our ward, she would not have been shut down.  The members would have rallied around her in love and support.

We ought to treasure and embrace our gay children!!!  All of us!!!

For Savannah’s testimony, click HERE.

So Many Other 12 Year Old Mormons

I cringe at the thought of what will happen tomorrow in Mormon chapels all across the country.  Twelve year old girls, like Savannah, will be taken behind closed doors, alone, by an older man.  He will proceed to ask the innocent young girl questions of a personal sexual nature, like, “Do you touch yourself down there?”  He will have no professional training.  He will not have the parents’ permission for his probing questions.  Frequently, the parents will have no idea that the inappropriate interview even took place.  Often, the 12 year old child will not understand the questions.  The man, the only other person behind the closed door, may then give additional graphic details.

Tomorrow, this will not only happen with 12 year old girls, but with 12 year old boys.  13 year old girls.  13 year old boys.  14 year old girls.  14 year old boys.  15 year old girls.  15 year old boys.  16 year old girls.  16 year old boys.  And who knows at what age it stops?  Or IF it stops?  If you are OK with this practice….well, that’s fine with me.  They are your children.  Every person outside of the church, who I’ve brought this up to, has been horrified.  Frankly,  I AM TOO.  I wish I’d known this was going on with my own 2 youngest children…when it was going on.  But, I had no idea.  Bad on me.

Related Posts

Behind Closed Doors–Don’t Let it Happen  An account of a Mormon dad protecting his child during an inappropriate interview.

Happy 12th Birthday!  Let Me Ask, Do You Masturbate?   Some members don’t believe this interview practice is actually happening in the church.  This post relates numerous accounts.

Talkeria Tears–Another Family About to Leave the Houston Texas South Stake

TearsAs always, last night’s Talkeria was amazing.  Touching.  Heart-warming.  Connections made.  Friendship felt.  A total of 7 of us spent over 3 hours together, including my lovely daughter Christie.  She is a traditional believing, super active Mormon, with a heart as big as Texas.  By the way, I consider myself a believing Mormon, too.  But, not in the traditional sense.   I do believe that the Mormon church has the truth.  And I embrace that truth.


Over the course of the evening, tears appeared in many eyes.  Napkins drenched.   Especially, during the 45 minutes while a couple from my stake shared their faith journey.  I’ll call them the Roosevelts.  Both of them had experienced pain and loneliness.  The wife’s transition is still raw with emotion.  Tears streaming, her heartbreak and disappointment frequently overwhelmed her ability to speak.  This is the first time that she and her husband have openly shared their narrative.

The next story told presented a fascinating juxtaposition.  This man’s faith transitioned long ago.  Yet, he loves the church.  He’s very active and wants his kids to fully participate, including temple and missions.  In effect, he gave the Roosevelts practical ideas of how they could stay in the church, if that was their inclination.

My Daughter

Christie was the only TBM (Traditional Believing Mormon) there.  And sweetie, the term TBM is not pejorative in any way.  I was impressed with how respectful the discussion was.  Those whose faith has transitioned were considerate, understanding and totally accepting of my daughter.  No judgment.  In return, my daughter mirrored the same sentiments back.  Plus, she had empathy.  She has not experienced the excruciating pain and solitude of a faith change.  But, she has witnessed that of her father and close friends.  She said something like this, “I want you to know that I recognize that you have all gone through great pain.  I’m sorry for that.  It must be extremely difficult to have your lifetime foundation crumble.”

She also shared what is happening in her own ward in Pennsylvania.  Her bishop and his wife are both very open to the problems of the church.  The members seem to be accepting of those with doubts and questions.  Recently, a particular sister gave a talk in sacrament meeting.  She stated her support for the Ordain Women movement and for gay marriage.  It didn’t cause a stir.  The bishop didn’t turn the microphone off.  He didn’t conclude the meeting by correcting what she had just said.

There is a glimmer of hope for the changes that the church desperately needs.

To all of you who came last night:  THANK YOU.  You blessed my life.  You lifted my spirits.  You endowed me with new understanding.  And most of all…THANK YOU  for your friendship.

P.S.  I know the stories are totally lacking in detail.  That is the point of the Talkeria.  A safe place to talk without fear of judgment or tattling.


Thank You Mormonad!!


Over the past  couple of years my religious beliefs have evolved.  However, discussing my new world views have often been met with criticism, disdain and a call to be silent.

Then a delightful discovery.  This 1992 Mormonad.  You can follow the link on HERE.

What really caught my attention was this phrase: “Standing up for your beliefs can be music to other people’s ears.”  Oh my gosh!  I have been very open about my beliefs. Over and over again people have told me how much my words have meant to them

So, thank you Mormonad.  Your validation is super meaningful.  I HAVE been blowing my own horn.  It HAS been music to people’s ears.  Sometimes it has been scary to let my voice be heard.  Now, I’ll fresh courage take.


More Families Walk Away in the Houston Texas South Stake


I just sent the following email to my good and hard working Stake President.

Dear President___________,

Over the past 3 months, two more solid couples in our stake have left the church.

In addition, yesterday I received this message:

“I wanted to check in to see when the next Talkeria in Sugar Land might be. I just met with someone in the South stake who is navigating a faith crisis.”

I bring these three families to your attention because I know you care about your flock.  Often, when members leave the church, it isn’t noticed.  For example, for over 2 years, you, me and the bishop discussed the possibility of creating a safe space for saints to talk about their questions & doubts.  During that time period,  9 families in the ward stepped away from the church.  When I share this statistic with ward members, they are incredulous.  Never-the-less, the 9 families have left.

The situation with people leaving is not unique to the LDS.  Last night, I came across a fascinating article.  It might be helpful, as you and the bishops continue to wrestle with this issue.

It was written by Rick Brown, the Religion Columnist for the Sugar Land Sun.

He told the story of the doubting apostle, St. Thomas.  And then said, “If you’re in a season of doubt, here’s what you need to know.”

“First, be honest with your doubts.  Thomas was.  When Thomas stepped into a place of honesty about his doubts Jesus stepped into the room.  Being honest with your doubts is a necessary part of faith.”  (My commentary:  It’s hard to be honest with your doubts when you have to keep them to yourself.)

“Second, be with people who aren’t afraid of your doubts.  Find a faith culture that allows for doubts and where leaders themselves are free to express their doubts.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be with people who are not afraid of questions?  They let you ask yours.  They share stories of doubts they’ve had.  When you’re in a period of uncertainty they carry you along until you regain your faith equilibrium.  They don’t get anxious.  They just love you the way Jesus loved Thomas.”  (My commentary:  He is talking about a safe place to discuss.  We need this so badly in the LDS Church.  I’ve reached a faith equilibrium.  But, it was a lonely and painful journey.  It shouldn’t be.)

“Third, a culture that allows questions can help you be aware of what God is doing with your doubts.  Jesus allowed Thomas time to “doubt his doubts” a bit.  Jesus knew what he was doing with Thomas.  He was allowing him time to think through what it was he believed.” (My commentary:  The only place to think through questions and doubts is…NOT in the church.  Rather, it can readily be found among the good and loving people who have already left.  This needs to change.)

Hopefully, something here will be of help.

All my best to you and your family,