So, I started to rapid fire my 99 reasons, I got about 5 items in to the list when DW reached out and touched my arm and said "OK, that's enough."
With the help of a kind and open-hearted TBM friend the explanation part has gotten much simpler for me. There is just one really big "item" on my list: JS taught all kinds of stuff, and much of it had to do with the physical world, about matters which would naturally be connected with physical evidence (archaeology, linguistics, physics etc). As the evidence accumulated, it became apparent that JS was wrong not just about some things, but about everything
. There is not one thing that JS could realistically have gotten right only by being a prophet (e.g. Book of Abraham) that he actually got right. It's that simple.
I first realized back in the 90's, when I first heard about the native American DNA studies being conducted, that I already knew they wouldn't support BOM teachings. Like a big jigsaw puzzle, after so much of the picture becomes visible there is no real question about it suddenly flipping to a picture of something else. When I first heard about the DNA thing I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I had unconsciously been guarding my faith so carefully, for so long, and then this
. I already knew too much. I could feel my shelf lurching dangerously.
So the ultimate answer, for me, is very simple: Science disproves Church's teachings
If we weren't already so deeply committed to believing in JS there would be no question about his being a very talented, possibly genius, but very human non-prophet. If, for instance, he were some guy who lived in Tibet in the last century who translated documents in unknown languages (and got them wrong), taught about previous inhabitants (and got it all wrong), and so forth, he would be just one in an endless list of interesting con artists. People hold on because they want and need him to be a prophet. Hearing Church apologists endlessly cherry pick and obfuscate in order to keep believing in him only reinforces the fact that the best the Church's best and brightest can do is spin. That alone says something.
As to my own feelings, I have grieved for my loss of faith. I have known the "dark night of the soul". I would be back to church in a heart beat if I could believe in it. I would love to believe in God again. (Science doesn't just stop at JS, you know.) But I have to believe that what I believe is true. It's not a matter of integrity, but of psychological necessity. Once you see the problems you can't unsee them.
Now, how to say that in one sentence is another thing.
Good to be back BTW. Bless you all.