AMERICAN FORK, Utah, April 18, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — After years of questioning his LDS faith, in private and in public, Jeremy Runnells’ spiritual journey led him to the back of a gray pickup truck parked outside a church building in American Fork.”So, a decision has been made,” said Runnells, author of “Letter to a CES Director.” CES stands for Church Education System.
“I have excommunicated the LDS Church, (stake) president (Mark) Ivins, and their kangaroo court from my life,” Runnells told his supporters, who had who gathered in the parking lot to await the results of his church excommunication hearing.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a kangaroo court as a “mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.”
“I handed in my resignation to President Ivins just a few minutes ago,” Runnells said. “My membership evaporated the second that I gave President Ivins my resignation letter.”
Runnells was a sixth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a descendant of Utah pioneers. He is a returned missionary and Brigham Young University alumnus, and married in the San Diego Temple.
In 2012, Runnells had a crisis of faith, and an LDS Church Education System director asked him to share this concerns.
Runnells detailed his questions and doubts about the legitimacy of church history and doctrine into written form in what would later become “Letter to a CES Director.”
The book was shared by multiple websites, was downloaded thousands of times, and went viral. It has been translated into multiple languages, and its influence has spread worldwide.
A few of the many the questions Runnells raised are:
• What are errors exclusive to the 1769 edition of the King James version of the New Testament ─ the edition LDS Church Founder Joseph Smith owned ─ doing in “The Book of Mormon,” which is said to be an ancient text?
• Why are horses, cattle, oxen, sheep, swine, goats, elephants, wheels, wheat, silk, steel, and iron mentioned in “The Book of Mormon” when they did not exist in pre-Columbian America during Book of Mormon times?
• Why are so many of the locations referenced in “The Book of Mormon” so similar in name to locations near Smith’s home in modern times?
• And why did Smith give multiple and conflicting versions of his first vision?
To read more on examples of Runnells’ concerns, click here.
A lack of answers
“They refused to answer any questions that I asked them,” Runnells told his listeners on Sunday. “I’ve asked questions over and over for the last three years, and a year and a half with the stake president. They have not answered one question. It has become very clear to me that the church does not have answers to a truth crisis.
“The questions I asked the stake president over and over for a year and a half have been ‘What errors are mistakes are there in the “CES Letter” or on my website that I can publicly correct? If there are no errors or mistakes, why am I being punished for seeking and sharing the truth? What questions am I being punished for?’ And he never answered any of those questions once.
“Yet that didn’t stop him from attempting to spiritually execute me. And I find that very, very disturbing. They’re trying to take someone’s salvation while not answering their sincere, reasonable questions,” Runnells said.
The crowd interrupted Runnells several times, with cheers, gentle laughter and applause. He is legally deaf, yet seemed to see and appreciate the support. A video of Runnells’ talk with the crowd is posted on YouTube, and also can be watched on the video player above.
“I am disgusted by the LDS Church’s and President Ivins’ multiple attempts to place me in the same category as murderers and rapists and child molesters for officially seeking answers to such problems,” Runnells said. “I have done nothing wrong. I just wanted the truth.
“For those of you who are struggling with doubts — stop doubting your doubts. Cherish your doubts. Explore your doubts. Resolve your doubts. Doubt is the beginning to knowledge and wisdom. The only power that the church has is the power that you give them.
“Tonight ─,” Runnells said, pausing a few seconds as if trying to regain his composure, ” ─ I took back my own power.”
Did Runnell not experience over and over again the power of God in his membership? Jesus is the center, not history, doctrine, or interpretation… His life of doubt is his only power now. When the pride adjusts itself, he’ll be back. Dillusion never is pure.
This is such brainwashed delusion. The church bases it’s authority to save souls on it’s history, doctrine, and interpretation and always has up until the internet came around and made information free and easy to attain. All of the sudden mormons want to say none of that matters? Absurd. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t let your happiness be dictated by a bunch of old men in Utah. Find it for yourself. Heaven is a state of being in this life, not a reward to be meted out by people who ask for money and obedience in return for a ticket. This religion is a scam just like all the others. Find happiness in your own way, on your own terms, within yourself, and the power of “general authorities” will dissolve away forever and you will wonder how you could have ever been so blind as to believe happiness comes from a book or an old man’s words or some cut up bread and a shot of water.
Ummmm… maybe if he were of the sheeple mentality. But that just isn’t the case.
Sheeple (a portmanteau of “sheep” and “people”) is a term that highlights the passive herd behavior of people easily controlled by a governing power which likens them to sheep, a herd animal that is easily led about. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research in large part because the majority of others possess a similar mindset. Word Spydefines it as “people who are meek, easilypersuaded, and tend to follow the crowd (sheep + people).”
That’s nice Mark, but the church doesn’t give any alternative to its erroneous narrative. The church is the one with the hubris, not Jeremy, and for a divinely led church, it seems to be lacking some credible answers.
“Stop doubting your doubts.”
If someone’s testimony is based on circumstantial and utterly unimportant minutia it is bound to crumble. Feeling the Spirit resolves all doubt.
What about those that feel the spirit in other religions than your own? Or are you so arrogant as to believe that nobody else feels the way about their church as you do yours?
Why do you suppose that you easily dismiss the spiritual feelings of others and others dismiss the feelings of yours so easily.
On my mission, I met a man who had seen angels on multiple occasions, I have no reason to doubt his sincerity and it was certainly more miraculous than anything I had seen, felt or heard. But since it didn’t support what I had been taught all growing up, I dismissed it. Even though what he described when he had these experiences were the fruits of the spirit telling him to worship the Virgin Mary.
Feelings of the spirit don’t resolve doubt, they confirm existing beliefs. No matter what they are.
James, I have felt the spirit in the LDS church. I received a conversion experience as I prayed about the Book of Mormon in college. But when my college roommate the next year was a Muslim, and I asked him why he believed in it, he shared with me that he had got down on his knees and prayed to God to know if Islam was the only way to God, and if the Koran was true. Word for word, almost exactly the same as me, his experience of conversion, a burning in the busom, and tears, was the same.
When I learned about the Book of Mormon anachronisms, and researched more to find that people of many faiths also “felt the spirit”, and not only had felt the spirit but also had conversion stories the same as mine, I doubled down even more and tried harder in my faith. But no matter how hard I tried and just have faith, I felt dishonest answering the recommend questions about the restoration and about the prophet and apostles being the only ones on earth with authority. I genuinely wanted to know what was true, and wanted to continue in faith, but after several years of persistence I realized that I could never have faith the same way again. I reinterpreted my own conversion, as now the most I could honestly say I had faith in was that God showed me what was good and right for me, and not take my experience to be about objective truth.
Jason, Great share. Most members of the church haven’t had the view into other belief systems as you’ve experienced. The world is a big place and millions of people have had spiritual experiences on par with the most fervent Mormon experiences. I had a similar experience to yours. I now believe that all worship of our Heavenly Father is acceptable to Him. I don’t believe the Mormon church is the only true church, but simply a vehicle, like many others, for helping us to draw nearer to Him and to learn to love one another (however, the recent Policy is really testing my patience). I’m still a member, but my focus is now on the first two great commandments, and not on whether I’m wearing the right type of underwear. Peace brother.
The LDS Church lost its place as a light. It now seeks the past, obedience, & rules increase and inspiration gravitates towards maintaining control. Which will be difficult. It will have a hard time appealing to the rising generation. It will be interesting to see if the church again has “revelation” enabling it to survive… including equal treatment of women in regards to position and priesthood, and how will they deal with the inevitable legalization of gay marriage, which they so vehemently fought.
There are greater lights… keep the good you found in the LDS church and find everything brighter. And when you step out into the sun don’t worry about those still in the dim room saying they have the fullness. You will have clarity because you already know what they have… but they have no clue why you “apostatized” and what you have found. They will always try to save you, but once you are armed with greater knowledge and confidence they will start saving their status quo and leave you alone, because your truth threatens their world view.
Where to find greater light? (This is only useful for those already realizing they are starving for more):
Some of my favorite sources… The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, Anything written by JJ Dewey (start with Reincarnation & Mormonism, then the Molecular Relationship, The Immortal Series), Joseph Fought Polygamy (just an interesting read).
Never stop seeking.
The majority of the questions raised by Jeremy Runnells have been answered, by revelation from God, and in the scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship.
“Unlike the story I’ve been taught in Sunday School, Priesthood, General Conferences, Seminary, EFY, Ensigns, Church history tour, Missionary Training Center, and BYU…Joseph Smith used a rock in a hat for translating the Book of Mormon. ”
“I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” – Book of Commandments S3, 21: 1-7
While we cannot speak for the LDS branch of our faith, we are open about the past. We even use the original revelation that mentions Oliver Cowdery’s divining rod.
“There are at least 4 different First Vision accounts by Joseph Smith”
Yes, read them here, as they were compiled by revelation into our scriptures:
“As you know, for close to 130 years blacks were not only banned from holding the priesthood but black individuals and families were blocked from the saving ordinances of the Temple. Every single prophet from Brigham Young all the way to Harold B. Lee kept this ban in place.”
The prophet David inquired of the Lord about this and received the following:
“And when the saints went to the far west, to make a new home, my servant Brigham began to teach new doctrines that were not of me; yet he continued to do a mighty work for me, and in my name. But behold, my servant Brigham took from men their right to the Office of the Priesthood, not for their sins but for the color of their skin. Behold, this work of darkness led to other false doctrines; and priestcraft entered the Church by these means; yet these works of men could not frustrate the Work of the Lord. And the Church of Latter-day Saints continues to flourish in my name; the keys these men kept, and some did use them, even as they were worthy; but they were not worthy of themselves, but because my grace was sufficient for them; and these men did speak in my name and preach my Word unto the world.” – Book of Remembrance 13: 27-31
We are compiling an answer to all of the questions in this letter and hope to have it out as soon as time permits.
It never ceases to amaze me how True Believing Mormons begin arrogantly bellowing a call to repentance to Members who leave the Mormon Faith. They have so much pride and are so arrogant in their belief in a fraud, that they do not have the courage to take a step back and evaluate all of the evidence.
I do not see how a reasonable person could read the CES Letter and remain a Member of the Mormon Faith. It spells out, in great detail, each issue that exposes the Mormon Church as a complete fraud.
If you are a True Believing Mormon that feels like the Mormon Church is not a fraud, then please explain to me why your divine leaders created the Strengthening Church Membership Committee to seek out and remove people like Jeremy for asking these questions instead of going to your Mormon God and receiving answers directly from him? The First Presidency still has old Joe Smith’s magic rock which he allegedly used to translate the Book of Mormon. Why have they not busted out a top hat, thrown that old brown rock in the hate, and come up with answers to the questions in the CES Letter?
If you are under the delusion that a single one of the questions in the CES Letter have been answered, then the joke is on you. I have not heard one single answer that I feel adequately explains how the Mormon Church is anything else than a complete fraud.
It’s all still fruit of a corrupt tree. If the very roots are/were corrupt, meaning Joe Smith, then anything that grows from them are likewise corrupt. Nothing in this strain of “Christianity” stemming from JS has any unique truth to it. The faith with the most legitimate claims to continued authority from Jesus remains Catholicism.
There is no plausible justificstion for a man that marries other mens wives…. and to make matters worse, neglects to tell his first wife (Emma) of his actions. If this came from God then PLEASE send me to hell, because I would rather live in outer darkness with Satan than live in the presence of such a cruel/mean and aweful God that would command such a thing. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were perverts much worse than Warren Jeffs or Brian Barzee. Joseph Smith was persecuted for his dusgusting treatment of women, not for his claims of having the truth, as the Manti pagent suggests.
I had many of the same questions and concerns . I was born in the church and knew nothing else. One day I began seeking more truths and found , just as you did, a bunch of mess. I walked away last year and have recovered pretty much. The church is cult like and I’m so glad to be out. This info needs to be made public you are right and those who are ready will receive the real truth. Blessing to you on your new journey
Jeremy, I only ask you one question? if you had questions about Joseph Smith first Vision and Book of Mormon..then why didn’t you go ask God what was True..if God answered your questions you wouldn’t need the LDS leaders interpretation..the only person who knows the truth is God..If someone told you they were visited by the Savior today would you believe them? how would you know if they were telling the truth? if the LDS Church is false then why focus on that you should be following the Saviors words “feed my sheep” but the real question is how can we feed his sheep when we don’t know the truth..so Jeremy I ask you a question what gospel should we follow today? remember when the Savior was on the Earth there were many religions but he never joined any of them..