Recommended Reading List

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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moksha
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:11 am

Most of the processions have reached the Green Fields by now. A marvelous smell of
cooking goes forth from the red and blue tents of the provisioners. The faces of small children
are amiably sticky; in the benign gray beard of a man, a couple of crumbs of rich pastry are
entangled. The youths and girls have mounted their horses and are beginning to group around the
starting line of the course. An old woman, small, fat, and laughing, is passing out flowers from a
basket, and tall young men, wear her flowers in their shining hair. A child of nine or ten sits at
the edge of the crowd, alone, playing on a wooden flute. People pause to listen, and they smile,
but they do not speak to him, for he never ceases playing and never sees them, his dark eyes
wholly rapt in the sweet, thin magic of the tune.

He finishes, and slowly lowers his hands holding the wooden flute

As if that little private silence were the signal, all at once a trumpet sounds from the
pavilion near the starting line: imperious, melancholy, piercing. The horses rear on their slender
legs, and some of them neigh in answer. Sober-faced, the young riders stroke the horses' necks
and soothe them, whispering, "Quiet, quiet, there my beauty, my hope. . . ." They begin to form
in rank along the starting line. The crowds along the racecourse are like a field of grass and
flowers in the wind. The Festival of Summer has begun.

Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe
one more thing.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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moksha
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:14 am

In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the
cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door, and no
window. A little light seeps in dustily between cracks in the boards, secondhand from a
cobwebbed window somewhere across the cellar. In one corner of the little room a couple of
mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads, stand near a rusty bucket. The floor is dirt, a little
damp to the touch, as cellar dirt usually is. The room is about three paces long and two wide: a
mere broom closet or disused tool room. In the room a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl.
It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective or
perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose and
occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits haunched in the corner farthest
from the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops. It finds them horrible. It shuts its
eyes, but it knows the mops are still standing there; and the door is locked; and nobody will
come. The door is always locked; and nobody ever comes, except that sometimes-the child has
no understanding of time or interval – sometimes the door rattles terribly and opens, and a
person, or several people, are there. One of them may come and kick the child to make it stand
up. The others never come close, but peer in at it with frightened, disgusted eyes. The food bowl
and the water jug are hastily filled, the door is locked, the eyes disappear. The people at the door
never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember
sunlight and its mother's voice, sometimes speaks. "I will be good," it says. "Please let me out. I
will be good!" They never answer. The child used to scream for help at night, and cry a good
deal, but now it only makes a kind of whining, "eh-haa, eh-haa," and it speaks less and less often.
It is so thin there are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on a half-bowl of corn meal
and grease a day. It is naked. Its buttocks and thighs are a mass of festered sores, as it sits in its
own excrement continually.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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moksha
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:16 am

They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it,
others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them
understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their
city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars,
the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their
skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.

This is usually explained to children when they are between eight and twelve, whenever
they seem capable of understanding; and most of those who come to see the child are young
people, though often enough an adult comes, or comes back, to see the child. No matter how well
the matter has been explained to them, these young spectators are always shocked and sickened
at the sight. They feel disgust, which they had thought themselves superior to. They feel anger,
outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something for the child.
But there is nothing they can do. If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile
place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing, indeed; but if it were
done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and
be destroyed. Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in
Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the
chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.

The terms are strict and absolute; there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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moksha
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:17 am

Often the young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage, when they have seen the
child and faced this terrible paradox. They may brood over it for weeks or years. But as time
goes on they begin to realize that even if the child could be released, it would not get much good
of its freedom: a little vague pleasure of warmth and food, no doubt, but little more. It is too
degraded and imbecile to know any real joy. It has been afraid too long ever to be free of fear. Its
habits are too uncouth for it to respond to humane treatment. Indeed, after so long it would
probably be wretched without walls about it to protect it, and darkness for its eyes, and its own
excrement to sit in. Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible
justice of reality, and to accept it. Yet it is their tears and anger, the trying of their generosity and
the acceptance of their helplessness, which are perhaps the true source of the splendor of their
lives. Theirs is no vapid, irresponsible happiness. They know that they, like the child, are not
free. They know compassion. It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its existence,
that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity
of their science. It is because of the child that they are so gentle with children. They know that if
the wretched one were not there snivelling in the dark, the other one, the flute-player, could
make no joyful music as the young riders line up in their beauty for the race in the sunlight of the
first morning of summer.

Now do you believe in them? Are they not more credible? But there is one more thing to
tell, and this is quite incredible.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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moksha
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:18 am

At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go to see the child does not go home to
weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also a man or woman much older falls
silent for a day or two, and then leaves home. These people go out into the street, and walk down
the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the
beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth
or girl man or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the
houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go
west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the
darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable
to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not
exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.
----------

Now, how do we cope with our own Omelas?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Hagoth
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Lost Apostles

Post by Hagoth » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:59 pm

I just finished reading Lost Apostles by William Shephard and H. Michael Marquardt and I highly recommend it.

This is a fascinating and detailed look at the original apostles of the restoration written by an LDS historian (Marquardt) and a Strangite historian (Shephard). The primary focus is on the various interactions, excommunications and disaffections of the original apostles with the goal of fleshing them out as real people and bursting the myths of their apostasies (e.g. milk strippings).

I was raised to believe that Zion's Camp was not a logistical failure at all, but a God-inspired bootcamp for the first apostles. Nope. Half of the originals did not even participate Zions Camp. I was taught that those who apostatized became bitter enemies of the church and suffered disastrous lives with horrible outcomes. Nope. Many remained friendly and supportive. They did not leave Mormonism, they merely rejected polygamy and the polygamists abandoned the Eastern church. Those who stepped away from religion and never made an attempt to come back actually went on to become admired citizens with brilliant and successful careers. How often to you hear about the life of apostate apostle John Boynton in church talks and lessons? Did you know that he was the most brilliant, successful and accomplished man to ever come out of early Mormonism, a renowned and accomplished physician, geologist, inventor, science lecturer, balloonist and general renaissance man... and friend of his former apostolic colleagues?

More important than following the paths of these men, at least for me, is that this book does an excellent job of immersing you in the environment and mindset of the early church and really illustrates what a turbulent roller coaster ride it was. For many people, like the Johnson family, the church ended up being a curse, rather than a blessing. We are accustomed to thinking of apostles as old and often feeble men, but these guys were young, dynamic men in their 20s and 30s with endless passion and energy, who clashed with their leaders and challenged the ever-changing doctrine of a church that was being invented out of whole cloth around them. It makes me long for the days when apostles got into fist fights in the temple or didn't let little things like excommunication stop them from fulfilling their callings.

Shepard and Marquardt also tackle the topic of prophetic succession after Joseph's death, which is a fascinating and bewildering story of chaos and contention. One point that shines through is that, of all the possible candidates, Brigham Young was never the rightful heir to Joseph's calling as prophet, seer and revelator, and, eventually, KIng of Utah.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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moksha
Posts: 1959
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by moksha » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:24 am

Gadianton wrote:Bobberson is doing for Mormonism what Herman Melville did for the whaling industry.
http://www.mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3 ... =1&t=44770

http://www.mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3 ... =1&t=45417
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Rob4Hope
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Location: Salt Lake City -- the Motherland!!

Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by Rob4Hope » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:08 pm

Though not mentioned, I have a suggestion for this: Visit the Utah Lighthouse Ministries http://www.utlm.org/

This is the Tanners site,...and I was FREAKING SCARED TO DEATH of these people when I was little. I have since met Sandra, found her an honest and conscientious person, and the book store is modest, but stocked with some pretty good stuff. She has some small paper-back things that are highly referenced, and down right relative to topics in question.

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Rob4Hope
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Location: Salt Lake City -- the Motherland!!

Re: Lost Apostles

Post by Rob4Hope » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:52 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:59 pm
I just finished reading Lost Apostles by William Shephard and H. Michael Marquardt and I highly recommend it.
This one looks really good.....

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notforprophet
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by notforprophet » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:54 am

Standing for Something More: The Excommunication of Lyndon Lamborn (by the titled author) is a great read. The author spent time researching mind control organizations and spiritual experiences. The author's story is very interesting and well-written.
Someone (either here or on r/exmormon) recommended it to me and it was worth it.
https://www.amazon.ca/Standing-Somethin ... thing+more

I'll just add my voice to the clamor calling out Studies of the Book of Mormon. This book is especially excellent if you're looking to ground your new beliefs in some very reliable facts. Not absolutely everything from Roberts' notes is objective, clean, and factual, but the book is filled with more than enough resources that are either self-evident (such as internal inconsistencies) or well sourced. I want to be an expert on the subject so that I can always intelligently and thoroughly explain myself and my new stance. As far as accomplishing that goal goes, Studies is an amazing resource.

(just edited a misspelled word)
God is either all powerful or all good.
I have yet to hear an explanation on how he can be both.
- Lex Luthor

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Recommended Reading List

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:04 pm

I have been enjoying John Hammond's "The Quest for the New Jerusalem: A Mormon Generational Saga". Currently in volume 3 "A Divided Mormon Zion: Northeastern Ohio or Western Missouri?"

This book tackles all the crazy stuff going on when Joseph was trying to convince people to move to hostile primitive Missouri while the leaders were living large in Kirtland. I enjoy John's historical commentary. He is a critical author, not an apologist. He covers a lot about his own Mormon ancestor's role in the history.

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