December 9, 2000 - Sandy, Utah
Approximately twenty disaffected Mormons met in the home of Rauni and Dennis Higley to hear Rauni's story of converting to Mormonism as a young adult, serving a full time LDS Mission, marrying in the temple to Dennis and working for the LDS Church's Translation Department. Rauni translated church literature and materials from English to Finnish for over fourteen years.
Rauni: I was a convert to the Mormon church so I took it very seriously, perhaps more than a lot of the people who are born into it. Perhaps that was the reason it was so difficult for me to accept that it wasn't what I had thought that it was. It literally broke my heart. I had given of everything for it.
Eric Kettunen and I had a lot in common because Eric also had raised his own funds to serve a mission. I think Eric had worked a couple of years or more to save up enough for that purpose.
I did not have anyone to help me either. My mother had died when I was only eleven and my father died when I had just turned seventeen. After I joined the church, I sold everything that I could sell to serve a mission, because I believed that the Mormon church was the truth. In addition to my own money, I received a small amount monthly from a High Priest group in Randolf, Utah.
After my mission I came here (Utah) to work for the Mormon church as a translator for the Finnish language. I worked there over fourteen years. If it wasn't for that work, I probably would still be an active Mormon, not knowing too much about the history of the church.
The translation work is largely a research work, if you want to do your job well. For example: When you have a quote to translate from Brigham Young, Joseph Smith or from any of the older apostles or prophets, you go the source and read the whole sermon, or at least major part of it, so that you can understand in context what they are saying to make a correct interpretation of it.
I had to get into the Journal of Discourses, and many other old church books and documents. I found a different Mormonism there than I had believed in. Totally different doctrinally, very cruel and actually something that I would never have accepted, if I had known any of these things or even one of those things before joining. I mean teachings like blood atonement and Adam being God the Father etc.
Those were really big issues for me. I had heard about them, but I was told that they are not true at all, but only an anti-Mormon propaganda, just rumors about Brigham having said something like that, but that he never really taught them. But when I came here (Utah) and started reading these books, I found out that not only did he say it once or twice, but that he had taught it for twenty five years and expected everybody to accept and believe his teachings. Orson Pratt, who had had a hard time with these doctines, especially with Adam-god doctrine, for example, was threatened with excommunication if he did not stop speaking against Brigham in these.
Those and other strange teachings where the things that were building up the disillusionment, the disappointment, and my heart was breaking little by little as I found these things out.
We had married in the Salt Lake Temple and we had adopted three daughters from Finland. I felt greatly responsible for my children being brought up in the Mormon church, when I started finding out that it might be false. I felt like I had done something terrible for these children. I wondered: What am I going to do now?
Dennis had been an Elder's Quorum President or in the presidency most of the time we were married. At the time I was starting to seriously consider leaving the church, he was in the High Council and as devoted to the church as ever. I recalled that when he had proposed to me, he had told me that he had never even dated a girl who was not worthy to marry him in the temple, and that marrying a Mormon girl in good standing with the church, had been his goal from his early youth. I feared what would happen to our marriage, if I could not believe and remain in the church. I loved him very much then and I love him even more still. Tomorrow is our 35th anniversary. (Applause from listeners) I couldn't bear the thought of our marriage could be over, so I kept a lot of this inside and couldn't tell him, yet.
When I tried to hint something or ask a questions about the history of the church, he always said, "The Church is true, no matter what." He was so firm with that. I did not want to think about my life without him. So I went on, for a number of years.
I had spent many months in the Salt Lake Temple working on translation of the ceremony. I took a lot longer in it than many other translators, because I really wanted to understand it and do my work well. I was seeing the entire thing as not having anything to do with the God of the Bible. I tried to reason and analyze what it was all about, but my doubts remained. - So that you understand, the ceremony I am familiar with, is the ceremony before 1990 when major changes were made to it. In analyzing the ceremony, I could not see it having anything to do with the work for the dead. Yet over 90% of the templework is done "for and (on) behalf of" the dead. But it could only be applicable for the living, to keep them in fear and obedience. Those of you who have been through the temple, before 1990, will know what I mean. There was a "death penalty" for practically every step we took. We had to show, demonstrate, how our lives could be taken, by drawing our thumbs accoss our throuts, across our bodies, etc. if we ever revealed outside of the temple tokens or signs given to us during the temple ceremony. How is that applicable to the dead? How about washings and annointing for health, "multiplying and replenishing the earth", wearing temple garments and so on? What could these things have to do with a dead? We had demonstrated "how the life can be taken", as a punishment. How do you take a life of a dead person? We also had to take oaths and make promises (for the dead) to obey all the laws of the church, to "walk up to all covenants" entered in the temple. We promised to give all that "God has blessed us and or will bless us with" to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What can the dead give? Nothing. They have nothing. We even made promises "for and behalf" the dead to wear garments day and night... The more I thought about these, the more I questioned all of it.
I went through the temple for the first time in the Swiss temple, as a missionary. I did the temple work for my mother and my grandmothers while there. During the first day, after receiving my own endowments, I went through for my mother and after that for one of my grandmother's. (They only had done the baptisms prior, so I had to take the names through the washing and anointing too, which often is done by others before the endowment ceremony. ) My questioning started then. I was washed and annointed "for health" for my mother and grandmother!! They were dead! Why is this done? This could not apply to a resurrected body they would receive later, because it would be healthy anyway, would it not? What about the garment? How could she "wear it throughout her life" - for she is not living any more? And then the oaths, how their lives can be taken, if they reveal the tokens or signs? Questions were flying in my mind - and then the fear set in. This was to frighten me, the living, was it not? Nothing to do with those who were dead!
Our mission president had chartered a plane to take all 120 missionaries and a few Finnish Mormons to the Swiss temple. I was there among Mormons - I was still a fearly new member. I had only been a member then by just shortly over one year. I found myself very frightened, but I could not speak about my fears to anyone. I desided to just go on and think about it later. I determined that I must have not understood correctly. Several years later, when in Utah, I was asked to translate the ceremony, and the opportunity was given to me to have the text in front of me - and to think about it deeply, all I had experienced and thought while in the Swiss temple, came back to me - and even stronger. There was no way I could misunderstand it now! I was in spiritual crisis. I was a Mormon among Mormons. I did not even know anyone who was not an active Mormon. I questioned my ability to think straight. How come no one else seemed to have these problems and questions? It must be me that is at fault! Is there something wrong with me, I questioned. I, again, desided to think about these things later... and just go on with life.
And quite a few years later we found out that the names of the dead are actually rotated from temple to temple and redone. Why? Were they running out of names? We have a friend who used to be a temple worker in the Manti temple. He later told us that when they finish doing names on computer sheets in Manti, they send the same names to another temple and then another temple and so forth. If living will only have their work done once, why would the work for the dead have to be repeated? I had mentioned that to Dennis. - Later, when he was in the Provo temple with a couple of his friends, he was faced with this same question. They were waiting their turn to go to the session. Just to make some small talk, he asked his friend what name he had. He showed it to Dennis. It was the same name as he had. He then asked the other friend. He had the same name too. Why?
We had, over about 20 years, done a lot of templework. We have an envelope full of names from the time that they used to give us those nameslips after we were through the endowment. The men's names were on a green slips and the women names on a yellow slips. They stopped giving these slips to "patrons" after the session was over. Temple workers tore the nameslips in half and put them in (his/her) their pockets at the veil. Later I started to see why: They did not want us to see that we were repeating the work for same names.
Larry Braithwaite used to play the role of Satan in the Manti Temple and he verified this information. He left the church about five years ago and came to talk with us. He was very familiar with the apron Satan wears. He had to put it on every day! If you have gone through the live-session, which is only available in the Manti and Salt Lake Temple, you can see the apron better than in the video. This apron has symbols or emblems on it. I had seen it close up, but had never handled it. I knew that it had, among other things, a compass and square, same as on our garments. I recall seeing a pentagram, an obelisk, all-seing eye, and more on it. They are known occultic symbols that had come from Masonry. Those of you, who have been through the temple, may remember, that Adam asks Lucifer, "What is this apron you have on?", and Lucifer replies, "It is an emblem of my power and my priesthoods." If that doesn't send chills through your spine I don't know what would, because there you are sitting there with the garment on that has those symbols on it, and Satan claims that they are his emblems. He says that they represent his priesthoods! His claims are not refuted. BUT we were told that they were "emblems of the Holy Priesthood"!! Which is it?
Satan seemed to have all the "best parts" in the whole temple ceremony (laughter from listeners). He gives commands. He tells Adam and Eve to make aprons and cover their nakedness. And Eve then acknowledges that is was good, "better", that they disobeyd God and did what Lucifer told them to do, "to partake of the fruit from the tree of good and evil" so that will have children and go through sorrow.
Analyzing and thinking about all that really "did me in", both emotionally and spiritually. Eventually I stopped wearing the garments. That is when our life became very stressed at home. This is when I told Dennis that I was on my way out of the church, but I didn't want anything to happen to our marriage.
We had both been very involved over the years. I had been in a stake Relief Society board for many years and had tried every which way to justify my activity in the church even after I had started to question it. I had come to know in my heart that Mormonism itself was not true, but because I felt that there were so many "good things in it", perhaps we could still be part of it. I started in my teachings to rely more in the New Testament teachings and ignore other "Mormon" things, but there were those who did not like that I was putting the Mormon doctrines aside. Eventually I gave up my positions in the church. I had already quit working for the church as a translator. I was leaving "in stages". I still worked in the Relief Society board for about 18 months after that, and finally I was released from that too.
Dennis was very upset (with) me. Valentine's day was coming up and he gave me a plane ticket to Finland, for a month there. He said, "Go home for a month and remember how happy you were, when you joined the church and how happy you were when you served your mission there. I want you to come back as a good Mormon wife and mother and forget about all these things."
Well, I did go and and spent it mostly in seclusion. I did see two or three of my old non-Mormon friends, but just briefly. I had my English Bible with me. I took my Finnish New Testament and started comparing then. You all know that as Mormons we accepted the Bible only "as far as translated correctly". Translation having been my work for a long time, I knew there was not really a great mystery to it - even though mistakes can creep into it - I still knew that any translation can be checked. So I did.
I started to compare the English New Testament, which was translated directly from the Greek, to the Finnish New Testament. I knew that the Finnish Bible did not have anything to do with the English translation. If they compared well, in other words, said the same thing, it would help me to see if there is God who would protect His Word from doctrinal errors. I compared them verse by verse during that month. I came to see that this "reservation-statement" about the Bible translation by the Mormon church was not true, because these translations agreed.
Mormon doctrine teaches that God was once a mortal man and we are all His spirit children, brothers and sisters of Lucifer and Jesus and that we have a Mother in Heaven also. This does not go along with the doctrine found in the Bible. The God of the Bible has never been less than God. (Isa. 43:10) He is not married, - we are only Adam's posterity. I started studying the Bible very carefully after that using many commentaries and scholarly works. I came to see that the Bible IS correct and that there really is God, and that to know Him, we don't have go through or belong to any certain church.
Joseph Smith's doctrine of God had evolved. He had taught at first that God is Spirit and only the Son has a body of flesh and bones. It can be seen from the Book of Commandments, from 1835. I had not known this until I studied the early history of the Mormon church. There was no teachings at first about us being spirit children of God or having a Mother God. That came along many years later.
Lectures of Faith was part of the Doctrine and Covenants or Book of Commandments as it was then called. Lecture five says that God is Spirit and only the Son has a body of flesh and bones. Why was this removed in 1921? Because they added then the Section 130 that says that God has a body of flesh and bones (v. 22). They had to remove the Lectures all together because they taught that God is Spirit. The Book of Mormon teaches that also. It does not teach that God had a beginning, as he would have if he was once a mortal man with parents etc. Joseph Smith's doctrine had simply evolved as his own ego grew. As he became bigger in his own eyes and people believed everything he said, he started thinking of himself as godlike. In the History of the Church, Joseph Smith says, "God is my right hand man." He actually created a God for himself, after his, Joseph's image. He made himself a god. Most Mormons have not read their own history and do not know that doctrines of the church have changed.
I came back from Finland, but not as Dennis had hoped. There was no change in my feeling towards the church. I was even more aware of how false Joseph Smith's teachings were. Our relationship deteriorated further. We only spoke when necessary, and for the childrens' sake only. This time was tremendously stressful. It was tough living.
One Sunday, Dennis went, as usual, to church with our the girls. I thought that I cannot go on like this any more. Later, that day, I again, challenged him - and we talked. I told Dennis that perhaps he was too scared to find out that the church is not true. Perhaps he did not want to know that. I said, "You just want to hide behind your testimony, because you realize that knowledge brings responsibility. If you know it is not true, you will have to act on that knowledge, because otherwise you will be a hypocrite. I think that you really don't trust that Mormonism is true, because if you did, you would try everything to convert me back and show me that it is true." He thought about it for a little bit and said, "You are probably right. I believe it is the truth, because I have always accepted it as truth taught by my parents and the church. I have never tried critical thinking or testing where the church is concerned." We then agreed to sit down and study doctrines, one by one, and verify all from the church own writings and compare those teaching with the Biblical teachings.
By this time I had already visited Tanner's bookstore.
I first discovered a Tanner's book called "Mormonism - Shadow or Reality", in our friend's bathroom. At the time our friend Max didn't know that in my heart I had already left Mormonism. I came out of that bathroom with this book in my hand asking if could borrow it. Max had a scared look on his face and he explained that he got the book by responding to a Salt Lake Tribune add at a conference time which stated, "If you want to strengthen your testimony, read this book?" Max added that his testimony had not been very strong, so he ordered the book, but that the book was not what he expected it to be. (laughter from listeners)
I took that book home and read it. This book took a "load off of my shoulders", because I had seen practically all that material that Tanners were talking about. When I saw that somebody else had actually gone through and drawn the same conclusions, I was relieved that "I'm not crazy! Others have come to the same understanding." This gave me courage to talk more with Dennis about this.
Dennis' first words were, "I agree to look at things, but I am not touching any anti-Mormon book." I replied that actually the information is coming from the Mormon books. It is far more effective when it comes from church own books. I, however, did use Tanner's book as a sort of an index into where to look...
We started that first night at seven in the evening. Dennis had all his church books on his side of the table and I had Tanner's book, "Shadow or Reality" on my side. I first asked about the Adam God doctrine. He said it was never really taught. He soon realized that it was taught. The same thing about Blood Atonement, etc. We stayed at it until two in the morning. Months later he admitted to me that he started to realize the church was false that very night. After that evening Dennis studied furiously for weeks and weeks.
Dennis eventually quit all his church callings, stopped attending, and the rest of the story is history. As a family we started studying the Bible, because we did not want to throw "the baby out with the bath water". This is how we became "generic", "no-label Christians". We believe that Jesus is real. He is God who became a man for our sakes. He paid for us what we could not pay. Our life is full of joy and happiness now. We have put eighteen years into the Bible study - and continuing.
We were living in Vernal, Utah when we left the Mormon church. We were quite successful financially. We were building spec homes and had a Real Estate Company and Dennis run a retail business, importing items from Europe and elsewhere.
When Dennis finally decided to leave, we asked that our names be removed from the records of the church.
The rumors around town started almost immediately , saying that we were excommunicated because Dennis had committed adultery, and that he was now a polygamist. Dennis' old home teaching companion even told people that Dennis had six or seven wives.
We had a few Mormon friends who talked to us, but most ignored us.
One of our Mormon friends told us that at the Stake Conference it was suggested that they all boycott our businesses and force us out of town, because we were now "a bad influence". Within a couple of years, we lost everything. We had thought that our leaving the church would "blow over", and that people would see that we had not changed, only that we did not believe the church to be true, but a small town has small ways.
To try to keep our business going without clients became hard. We borrowed money against our home and other personal propterty, and eventually we lost it all. We had to move out of town. We had to start over. Dennis decided to make his hobby his business. He started now as a skilled wood worker he was. I went back into real estate.
We lived in Park City for almost four years and then we moved to Salt Lake City. We rented at first and our friend helped us to buy a home that Dennis renovated. We are very comfortable and blessed now.
Questions for Rauni and Dennis by the listeners:
Q: Did you have contact with other LDS Church translators who followed a path similar to yours?
A: I remember the Swedish translator's hint years before I left. He left the translation department to teach at BYU and said, "I gotta get out here. I am losing my testimony." (laughter from listeners) So he went from the translation department to BYU. A lot of them, I noticed, did not do as much research as much as I did, and so, for that reason, they may not have gotten out of it, learned, what I did. I know of one who worked there and left later, Dr. Stan Larson. I personally didn't know Stan, because we were already living in Vernal, Utah and I was doing most of my work at home and just coming to headquarters during the conference time or when I, for other reasons, needed to. I had a secretary who was doing the typing for me there. Translation work is individual work. I probably made a trip to Salt Lake City once a month for two or a few days. Stan Larson had came to work for translation department as an ancient scripture researcher. I had met him , but it had been long ago.
I attended the Sunstone Symposium in 1985. I always wanted to know what was going on with the church and to hear the BYU professors etc.. You can observe that many of them really don't believe. They just "bear their testimony" at the end, after they have revealed a lot of stuff, so that they can stay in the church and keep their pay-checks coming.
Anyway I was attending that symposium where several hundred people were in attendance and I caught eye contact with a prominent church employee (person X) whom I knew. I knew X saw me because X looked at me and turned away. You know how people do, who do not want to recognize you anymore. So X turned away and he left before the meeting was completely over. That was Wednesday night and I did not see X again until Saturday.
And Saturday, at the end of the day, X came looking for me and told me that he wanted to talk to me. We stepped aside to a private spot where we could talk and during the next couple of hours, X told me that he had not believed in the church for years and years and knew that it was false. And X said "Do you know why I avoided you Wednesday night?" I said, "Why?" X said, "That was the day I had just gone to renew my temple recommend and seeing you, made me feel guilty. You know what I had to do to get this, as X pulled out the wallet and showed me his temple recommend?" "Yes," I said, "Lie a lot."
Some time later X called me. He asked me to keep what he had told me a secret, at least until his retirement. X is retired now, but he was the one who had to call Stan Larson "on the carpet", so to speak, because Stan had done a study on comparing the Third Book of Nephi to the Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. He had told some of his close friends in the ward that the Third Nephi is just a copy from Matthew. It is not an ancient manuscript and that he had compared the ancient manuscript text to the Book of Mormon. It has shown him that the Book of Mormon is not a translation from the Gold Plates, but a plagarized copy from the King James Bible, in many of its parts.
Anyway, as soon as Larson had told his friends in the ward, these friends immediately had called their bishop. The bishop had called the stake president. The stake president had called the regional representative and by Monday morning the General Authorities knew that Stan Larson had done this comparison and was questioning the church.
X then called me and said he has to call Stan in on this matter. Stan's alternative is either tear his research up and deny it or he will lose everything. He will lose his benefits, his retirement and everything that he has worked for so many years in the church. And X was now worried about his own skin because he had revealed things at the symposium about his own belief, or rather lack of belief in Mormonism. "Please don't tell anybody what I said to you,"' X pleaded. I agreed to keep silent, as he asked, at least until he is retired.
What I found out was that Larson was called in, and he was told to tear his research up. He refused to do that, and instead gave an interview to the Salt Lake Tribune. He was given from Monday to Wednesday to think it over. On Thursday he went to the Salt Lake Tribune and told the reporter that they (church) had threatened him with this, and of course, he lost his position and benefits. But he was a man of integrity and stood his ground. He was excommunicated, I think, soon after that, in 1985. Stan Larson later wrote the book, The Quest for the Gold Plates. He now works for the University of Utah. His degree was in ancient languages and there is not much call for professors in the ancient languages in Utah. So he was in a pickle with a wife and four children. He moved to California for a few years and now is back in Utah, working at the University of Utah.
Now regarding X, we saw in the paper that after he retired, he was called to be a temple president. See what the church does when they know somebody is on the edge and they know they can buy them for more time. Now they bought more time from X. The temple president position is a high prestige position, especially outside of USA. People practically worship a leader of the church there, and treat you almost like a royalty or a prophet...
X told me that day, at the symposium, that there had been another translator who was losing his testimony. The church found out about this and made him a mission president in his own country.
That is how the church appeals to people's ego. One man told me that when he was sliding and not attending meetings any more, he was called as a high priest group leader. He wasn't even a high priest, he was an elder.
I know another man who was inactive for years and started talking about having his named removed from the records. The bishop found out about it and called him to be the Sunday School President. He refused though.
When we were on our mission is when the Boyd K Packer's counsel was given to us through our mission president. He said, "If you don't have a testimony, bear your testimony until you have one." What does that tell you? "Lie until you believe your own lies." (laughter from listeners) I had a testimony, or in other words, I really believed in Mormonism as I knew it then, when I was on my mission, and I was shocked when the mission president said to bear your testimony even if you don't have one. I wondered why are these guys here if they don't have a testimony? The mission president also told us, "The most important person you convert on your mission is yourself." That has to mean that unconverted missionaries are there bearing their "testimonies" and converting others...until they too are converted! Hmmm?
At conference time we would translate the General Authorities talks from a room underneath the tabernacle. There are tunnels connecting tabernacle with the Church Office Building, which we called the "Yellow Brick Road." (laughter from listeners.)
As (for) our personal lives, we actually got closer to our girls after leaving the LDS Church. Dennis was home now instead of going to all those meetings. We told our girls that we were going to study the Bible, that they were welcome to join in with us. One our daughters said that she still wanted to go the LDS Church to be with her friends. She went a few times, but soon realized the "benefits" of sleeping in on Sundays. They soon joined us in our Bible studies. Some Sundays we stayed in our bath robes all day. We were relaxed and happy. We studied and talked and had the best time together. We found answers together.
Q: How is the LDS Church in Finland doing currently?
A: As far as I know, membership there is not getting bigger! -- I went back to Finland in 1984 on my "repentance trip". That was before we went totally broke. I was going there to tell all the people where I served as a missionary how sorry I am that I misled them.
I arrived, and got the Helsinki phone book out and contacted the Lutheran church, introduced myself as being from Salt Lake City, a former Mormon and that I was there to tell people that I am sorry that I taught false doctrine while I was there as a missionary.
The pastor asked me how I "knew to call him", because he said that he was the one in charge of the cult problems in Finland. He had actually helped a Finnish couple, who had left the Mormon church to write a book called, "How We Divorced Ourselves From Mormonism." He had helped them put that book together. They were not in Helsinki, but through this pastor, they asked me to come to their city.
The pastor took me through the Lutheran offices and the next day I flew to Eastern Finland. I was in Finland for five weeks and I was kept busy every day talking about Mormonism. I had taken with me a short video ,"The Temple of the God Makers", to have something to show even though I am not too crazy about all things in it. I was kept very busy every day at different places, speaking to youth groups, etc.
Even the Finnish secret police came to ask me questions about Mormon church... I was also interviewed by the Christian magazine in Finland. I met with their Editor in Chief for two days and he wrote a six page article for the magazine. That article was also later translated into German.
Dennis came to be with me for the last two week of my trip. At the end of my time there I told Dennis that I felt I had totally failed because I had come to talk to Mormons, to go to every single branch that I served as a missionary, like Paul in the Bible, but I had seen a single Mormon. I was really feeling sad. I came home and a friend of mine asked how was it. I told her that I did not see one single Mormon. Then she said, "They would not have talked to you even if you had tried. The week before you went to Finland the church had sent another Finnish lady from USA to Finland to go and warn everybody in every ward and branch where I had been to on my mission and tell the members not to talk to me." I do not have first hand knowledge of this, I can only repeat what my friend has told me. But --- you know what? Just about every Mormon in Finland, I was also told later, bought that magazine when it came out in print. (laughter from listeners) So I did not have to tell them in person, after all.
The only way that the church could have found out about my intentions to travel to Finland was to overhear the conversation I had, in Finnish, with this friend. Someone had to have tapped our phone, recorded it and translated it. How else could it have become known?
We have had our phones tapped many times. We had verification of it from the phone company. Example: On one rainy Friday our phones went dead. I called for a repairman and he came out. There is a major phone box just down the street here and the repairman went to check the phone connections in it. He returned and asked me if my husband worked in a high security job? I said, "Why? A high security job?" He replied, "Yes, like for the CIA or FBI? - Do you have any enemies?"
I didn't know just how to respond. I didn't know if he was a Mormon... So I made a joke of it by replying, "Well, who doesn't have some enemies."
He came through the house and checked all phone connections and then went back to the box down the street. Dennis then came home and I told him to "run and talk to the telephone repairman. He wants to know if you work for the CIA." Dennis went and met with him.
Dennis: He showed me where our phone line was connected and said, "Here is the tap that goes up here and over to this one here. Do you have a remote location that this phone rings into? Do you have another location where your phone is besides your house?" I said, "No, this is the only place." He said, "Well, it is tapped in right here. This is the evidence right here. I am going to call U.S. West security and notify them and then go and find out where the location for this this tap is. I'll be back in about an hour." So he left and came back. He said, "This goes up to the Sandy water treatment plant. I went in there and found where the line had been connected and asked the people there why was this phone line out where it was? They said that for the past four months there has been a trailer-office. We didn't know who it belonged to, they said, it had been parked there and that phone line was in it. People would come and go. They just moved it away last Friday. What they had done was pull the phone line out of the trailer and dropped it in an old six inch well casing. And as it rained, the water level came up, shorted our phone lines out and killed our phones here. Otherwise we would never have known. Repairman said, "I could see the trailer tracks where the trailer had sat and had been pulled out through mud."
I asked him how we could find out who it was? He replied that the U.S. West Security will not even tell him. "They will just report in their files that your line has been tapped."
Dennis: Three separate times we've had verification from US West that our phones have been tampered with.
Rauni: This water treatment plant is secured property and fenced off. The people there said they did not know who the trailer belonged to. Of course they had to know who the trailer belonged to. They just can't have a trailer just come and sit there.
Dennis: One time I had made a phone call and needed to make another one, so I just held the receiver and pushed the button to get the dialtone again. I lifted the phone up to my ear, and couldn't get a dial tone. All I could hear is like somebody eating an apple (you know munch-munch) and I said into the phone "Are you guys still listening?" Click, it went dead. (laughter from listeners)
Rauni: We have had people saying that after leaving from our place they have been followed. I am not really concerned about ouselves, because I have nothing to hide. But it makes me upset when they do that to our quests. Our phones were almost immediately tapped in Vernal after we had left the church - with similar phone trouble. I called one time to the phone company and they simply told me, "your line has been tampered with". I was shocked, and asked what can I do. They said, "Well, it's a police matter and you can report it." Who to? Just about every policeman in Vernal was a Mormon. (listeners laughter).
Q: What are the politics like working inside the Church Office Building?
A: One thing that really bothered me was that we were asked by our supervisors to keep our eye on others, in other words, spy on them. Even time their bathroom time and what was taking them so long. I was very upset about that. I refused. When I was told to do that, I said I have lived next to Russia and I did not join the Mormon church and come to America to spy on people, or to be spied on. He backed off and dropped it right then.
I had heard from another lady, who had worked at the Genealogical Department, the same story about being asked to spy on certain individuals. There is so much secrecy in the Mormon church that they don't trust anyone. In my case I think that they think I know more than I really do.
Inside the Salt Lake Temple you are restricted where you can go. There is a person monitoring that in every doorway. But yet, I had to have my (temple ceremony) translation locked in a vault even while I ate my lunch in the temple cafeteria. I could not leave it on the fifth floor, called a Talmage room, while I went down for lunch.
Once in the temple I had left my locker key in the lock, accidently. A temple worker came rushing after me crying, "Sister, sister you left you key in your locker. The temple is not responsible if anything is stolen!" In the temple!!! (laughter from listeners)
The Salt Lake Temple vault is a huge vault. There are some very secret stuff there. It contains, among many other things, records of General Authorities "second endowments". It is like a huge bank vault and contains also books, and other temple records.
Hinckley, when speaking at BYU some time ago, made a statement , "Do not be counted among those who have studied themselves out of the church." How do you "study yourself" out of truth? That statement should have woken them to realize that something has to be very wrong in the church.
( applause from listeners)
You may correspond with Rauni and Dennis Higley by clicking on their names.
Thought provoking. Thank you for your courage and clarity. Dutchess M. With similar story: European convert, fervent missionary, zealous member wife and mother... Started questioning... Sunstone... The 5 exed in the 90's... I was the last one out of the church of my family... No more institutions for me. - 05/20/2013 - dutchess
I am brazilian , and I am very impressed with all your story.I was bonrn and raised in the mormon church , and recently I started to realize through my studies that a lot of things taught at the mormon church are not in harmony with their early teachings. what Raoni realized , I am realizing as well , and from that is obvious that mormonism is a fraud. Unfortunatly , ther is alot of good people trapped in mormonism . They can´t admit that they are on deadly ground.SEveral mormon friends say , if the church is not true , so what???We must defend our families .WEll. WEll WEll... - 01/08/2009 - Ricardo
You're completely crazy. What a conspiracy history! Are you happy about being a kind of gospel terrorist. Please, don't be so fool, stop spreading your hate creating false estories. Mormonism is not as you paint, nor as you would like to find out. Look at those mormon people, envolved on helping others, delivering relieves to poors and afflicteds and curing hurted souls. Please, work on something of value, construct things, and not destroy them. Are there no greate cause to be with? So, stop to persecute the saints. - 11/21/2008 - Duarte
I appreciate stories like these. They make me realize that I made the right decision when I left that cult. I no longer have fear associated with my life and it feel very, very good.
I wish nothing but the best for your family and for your pursuit of truth. While your study may lead you to believe things I can no longer believe in, I respect your beliefs.
I also wish the best to all those "anons" here. May you find what you're looking for in Mormonism. But please don't discredit those of us who discovered it was not for us. I personally believe that it's a bunch of B.S. because of my own research rooted in church doctrine, but everyone has their own path and destiny. So if you believe Mormonism is for you, great. But leave us alone here on sites that are targeted to those who are questioning or have already left. It is people like you who make it impossible for us to leave the church alone; we're consistently "love-bombed" or mocked by faithful members. It is our right to live our lives as we see fit, just as it is your right to live your lives as you see fit. - 07/18/2008 - Tiff from the RFM board
Thank you. Inspiring. I got out of Mormonism very reluctantly, also. It was a slow, painful process. I had no idea that living in truth could make me so happy! - forestpal - 06/29/2008
just for the record we are latter day saintss not mormons(mormon is a person from the book of mormon if you've ever read it you would know, hmmm...what a thought? getting educated about what you're taking about....) to be labled as "the mormons" is derogatory as that was the label durring heavy prosicution. so log that away. also look up the word cult and get educated to know the lds church isn't one. Perhaps this is some poor woman, well she is some woman who succombed and gave herself to satan. boo hooo - 06/28/2008 - anon
I am samuel l flyinghorse, an hunkpapa lakota, an Native American from south dakota. I will not hide behind anonimity as some posters here have done.
I commend the Higley's for their journey and for sharing with us.
I spent many years on the lds church placement program, and benefited from the blessings of the church in my life,
yet having followed such an way of life, pretty much all of my life, I just turned 40 this aug 2007,
I find that none of the promised church blessings that should have happened to me, never came true,
but that doesn't mean that something is wrong with me, it only means that something is wrong with what faith or church I have followed or rather-It's people that were in my Life at various times. So my fault finding is with people-not the church.
but where I digress, if you will, is that MY OWN personal dreams and revelations from God & Christ, during periods of my life from Infancy through childhood, through Youth and less and less in adulthood, to include as recently as 2005-have been consistent all my life.
so yes, I was drawn to lds church because they went far and beyond from standard churches,
but when I see doctrinal changes, bom changes, and temple changes and the 'Don't Question Me' stance from the church, or theCorporation that it has inevitably become,
I have to wonder,
but still, I was born an Native, and I have that Native spirituality, that connection with God, with theChrist,
so that having the rug pulled out from under me regarding certain lds church teachings and what not, isn't a shock really, I still have this private connection with diety, and right now,
as I said earlier, i am more displeased with the church members LACK of christianity and LACK of fellowship, and LACK of support than I am upset with the church itself,
I side with these people here as they relate their story, and I too, once went through the idaho falls temple (live session!!) only once before my mission in 1986, and then again a month later I went through the provo temple with my mtc elder / sister buddies,
I do remember that the Idaho falls temple experience included the blood oaths, did include the throat slitting, did include the belly slitting, etc,
but i thought nothing of it, as everything was new to me at that time,
I do not recall whether my mtc experiences at the provo temple were LIVE with blood oaths, but an part of me says YES it included them as well,
then I never entered a temple until 1995 1996 era in Seattle, and wow. no more blood oaths, no slitting of anything, but it didn't bother me then, and oddly enough, it still doesn't,
for i know that "things change" in everything, including religion.
I can only say now, that whether you are lds or not, don't let your friends down as mine have done to me,
don't be racist and don't be judgemental as some of my lds friends have been to me,
and please don't be judgemental of these people here or others that have found fault with doctrine and other teachings and Left completely.
I am sure that they are nice people, and am glad that they still study theBible, as often throughout my lds life, I too noticed that all emphasis was placed upon Joseph smith, and all emphasis was placed on what books he wrote, and hardly any attention was placed upon the good book, theBible.
We can't ever forget that book. and like these people, I have found God and Christ though, and that's what matters.
I have found my place in life, and have accepted my place in life, just remember that we all need to be good and serve others,
once again, I am samuel l flyinghorse, I do not hide myself behind anonomity like most posters here,
but rather, as these brave people theHigbeys have done, I too put my face and opinions, and experiences out there for others to see.
google me, read, and you'll find that I am a real person, and I'll tell you now, that I may seem anti, but I'm not,
I'm very patriotic, and have recently been in law enforcement & security, a lot of issues, an certain lifestyle, an set Mindset comes with such a thing.
us people who live life Outside the mormon bubble, as it were, see things that all those old stuffy church leaders write and conjecture about,
for when I see that my church leaders come not from mormon royalty, and from lives of comfort and ease but rather from lives of Work and poverty as I experienced, then i will be more inclined to listen to them, though i'm sure that they have merits of their own, working poor people like me just don't relate,
but for now, I listen to my God, to Christ and still pray to them, please read the scriptures, do what you can to be a saint in your life and with those around you,
samuel l flyinghorse, anchorage, ak - 08/27/2007
Thank you Rauni and Dennis, for your honesty and bravery. You are not anti-mormon - you are pro-knowledge and pro-truth. - 07/07/2007 - anon
FIRST TO SAY I AM A MORMON, I WAS MARRIED TO AN EX-MORMON, I HEARD HER SPEAK AT A SYMPOSIUM AROUND 1985-86, I BELIEVE HER TO BE A VERY GOOD SPEAKER. I DON'T BELIEVE HOWEVER THAT THE HIARCHY OF THE CHURCH ARE TOLD TO SPY, STUFF HAPPENS. PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO, ALOT OF PEOPLE ARE DISHONEST, LOOK AROUND YOU, PEOPLE STRETCH THE TRUTH TO FIT THEORY IN THIER PERSONAL LIFE. I AM WITH THE PERSON THAT SAID, WHY ARE WE WASTING TIME WITH PROVING SOMEONE WRONG OR RIGHT, GOD IS A SMART GUY, HE WANTS US TO LEARN AND PROGRESS AND BELIEVE IN THE ATONEMENT. HE WILL TALK TO US WHEN WE DIE, ASK US WHAT WE DID NOT UNDERSTAND, GET IS ON THE PATH HE HAD ORIGINALLY INTENDED, ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS WAKE UP EVERYMORNING AND TRY TO BEHAVE BETTER THAN THE DAY BEFORE. THE VEIL HAS COVERED OUR EYES, NONE OF US EVEN AGREE IN THE SAME RELIGION! WERE JUST HERE TO LEARN. EXPIERIANCE WHAT WE CAN AND THEN USE IT SOMEWHERE LATER. - 06/05/2007 - anon
Thanks for exposing the truth about the LDS church -- that it is itself a lie. If only everyone who is blinded by mormonism would take just a few hours and do some truly objective research...well, there'd be no more LDS church, that's for sure. I did the research, and I was astounded how obviously fake it is! - 07/10/2005 - anon
"Did" my mission in Nagoya, Japan. One of my Japanese companions' parents were friends of the translator of the first Japanese BOM. I was taken aback when I found out he was less than a TBM. Seems his "research" on the idioms and aphorisms of the BOM led to him "studying himself out of The (sic) Church." As for these two, I've never been to Finnland but I have spent some time in the Uintah Basin. This story of wiretapping and guests being followed from their home makes me inclided to think that Rauni & Dennis are as kooky as their old neighbors in Vernal! Nevertheless, it doesn't matter how you get there, just so long as you eventually get out, that's the important thing! - 06/18/2005 - anon
I can't believe how many good Mormons coment on all of these anti-Mormon web sites. It's so obvious that they are questioning there faith. I'm not a racist, but I don't waste my time reading every thing on every skinhead web site, and then taking the time to comment, on why they are wrong, sad, or stupid. So shame on you Mormons, leave us poor persecuted anti-Mormons alone. We just want to be with each other. You don't find us at your web sites. - 05/08/2005 - from KC
I have read so much anti-mormon stuff from the internet that my mind as turned to mush and darkness. My god, why can't we leave these mormon people alone? Their church was persecuted from its very beginnings and their leader was murdered by a mob, along with his brother. And yet, we still persecute them. I suppose someday some insane freak will read all these insults from the internet and start defacing mormon churches as Nazi's did to synogues. Would this make Rauni and Eric happy? Please people, leave the mormons alone and get on with your life in peace and harmony...I don't think that it is much to ask is it? What was truly interesting in this article was the response from the luthern church in Finland. Didn't Christ say love your neighbor? Here we have a church (luthern) helping to spread negatives about another church? Of course the luthern church in finland is a state church and they don't look kindly to anyone joining other faiths. we can also look at Martin Luther and! read what he said about the jews. I think luther was rather hostile but I could be wrong. Well, time for me to go...peace, love and harmony to all souls who foster hate in their hearts and have revenge. But I can't help but think: Why do so many people want to destroy the mormon faith? I don't get the feeling that it is from love...but why? why? why? We should all think about that (why?) - 05/01/2005 - anon
I am always amazed when people leave the Mormon Church, they always want to take someone else with them. That alone helps me to know that it is true. Satan will always focus on what is most important and he focuses on the Mormon Church to try to get people out of it by using the voice of those who have lost faith. When the Mormons baptise several thousands of people throughout the world every year, those people don't turn around and bad mouth their former Church, they simply move forward in truth and righteousness. Why must you try to destroy the faith of others! - 03/19/2005 - anon
Either Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw or he did not. If he did, the church is true, if he didn't, it is one of the greatest hoaxes ever brought to mankind. If Joseph did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, then the Book of Mormon is true and the church is true. If you still believe in God, ask Him. He is a loving God and He will answer you and let you know, as He has let me know, that Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was a Prophet and the Book off Mormon is true. - 03/19/2005 - anon
I think that it is unfortunate that people need to tear down the church .. the fact that you would spend the time trying to pick it apart just confirms to me how true it really is .. I think that rauni is just a weak person and so is her husband.. it makes me sick to my stomach to hear you say your happier now... I guess in times of trial the weak things just can't stick it out. As for rauni's husband. How could you let go of your beliefs.. satan really knows how to put doubt into people's minds.. and he's done a great job with you both.
One last thing for all those people against the church... i feel sorry for y'all.. guess we'll c ya on the other side... - 01/28/2005 - anon
What a stupid article. There are so many loopholes. This person knows nothing about the Church. Nice try, but your lousy lies are a sorry excuse for literature. - 12/27/2004 - anon
I truely enjoyed your story. Leaving mormonism or any other cult is always a journey.
I quit attending church five years ago for good. I no longer believe in the necessity of organized religion in order nurture spirituality. I would love to get my husband out. I feel like he is where Dennis was all those years ago. When he's ready to confront the fear of 'not having all the answers' he will leave too.
You are obviously a well educated person who has made tremendous effort to study and make informed decisions. Any Mormon who really wants to challenge your position should do the same---do the research. I think the reason mormons can get so defensive is because they are just mentally lazy. It's so much easier to let others tell us what we beleive. I think I'm probably one of those people who tosssed the baby out with the water, but for those of you who beleive in God consider this. God would not have given you a brain if he didn't you to use it and the bible encourages! you to seek wisdom. 'Ask and ye shall recieve.' So by all means do your homework. - 12/15/2004 - from LLEZ37
"By thier fruits ye shall know them. An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit." If you leave the church please write the bishop immediatly and say that you want your name removed from the records of the church, sign and date it. This will make our job easier. Godspeed - 11/20/2004 - Moroni
I am very sorry to hear this story. It is very rude accuse all Latter-day Saint as being uninformed. Mrs. Higley claims to have made some great discovery. When really it is only her distorted opinion. This is nothing new, there have been many who have fallen away for various reasons. Are they trying to make themselves feel better by ranting on with a spirt of contention? I feel sorry for all of you who believe in her story. As was stated above if you really want to know the truth you need to read the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart if it is true. I hope that someday Rauni will see the error of her ways. - 05/30/2004 - anon
Don't let anybody judge you. You made the right decision by leaving, however hard it may seem to be. All you LDS that are so judgemental: EDUCATE YOURSELVES, AND DON'T BUY EVERYTHING THE CHURCH TELLS YOU. Joseph Smith was a false prophet and made up the book of mormon together with his quite learned friends, to make money and control people. It worked. - 03/06/2004 - from The_Church_is_false
Jesus warned us about false prophets. For all you pissed-off Mormons who are so convinced that you are right, read Acts 17:11, and follow their advice to search the scriptures for the truth, instead of trusting your subjective "warm fuzzies". I got warm fuzzies from this inspiring story. If that "correct" book is true, Rauni is an instrument of God. (Of course I believe that anyway.)
Contradictions are the path to truth. - 02/27/2004 - from nightmaer
I am Christian but have a mormon friend. I have watched her life and she has watched mine. I speak of salvation in Christ. She speaks of salvation in her church and religion. She gives 4 days a month to work in the temple, does visitation, gets visitation, entertains missionaries etc., etc., but these things are expected and seem just like assignments. I feed the hungry and care for the widows and orphans because I love to. Looking at the both of us you would be hard pressed to see the difference in our works - its just our motives that are different. My salvation is sure but hers is contingent on her church standing. She has lack of assurance and I see her fear. I have joy. I sure love my mormon friend though. She has a really good heart and I know God looks at the heart so I have hope for her. - 02/18/2004 - from Jackies_Birdsong
This is funny. Members will say "oh give me a break, phone tapping! You people are so desperate to find fault you'll make up such unbelievable stories!" Yet they believe in a guy that claimed to talk to god and proclaimed himself king, has been disproven by national geographic,smithsonian, has been diognosed as narsasistic by the american psychiatric association (common cult leader characteristic- Elizabeth Smart's kiddnapper...thats right, diognosed narsasistic), translated a common funeral scroll for a guy named Horus into the book of abraham, did bank fraud, and got his followers to go from state to state by telling them "the second coming is near we need to leave." You people are hillarious!! So please read a book with pictures of documents, references and resources, and facts. These sort of books won't be found in the local lds bookstore. Sit down and talk to someone like Rauni and you'll soon start to discover that people's underlining motivation against the church is simply truth and church's underlining motivations are not simple, not truthful,but oddly secretive. The saying "beyond a shodow of a dought" will become monodrome and thoughtless. Knock and the door shell be opened to countless other doors. Ignore door signs that say "we've opened all the doors for you so there is no need to go further" Who's most likely to say "don't question me!" God or Satan? Questions don't hurt God. THINK!! I say these things in the name of Love. Peace. - 02/09/2004 - from Joel B. Smith
Interesting stuff. I would hate to see you face to face in the second comming. What I don't understand is why there are so many people trying to bring down the mormons? If you knew anything about the church you would know that the lable "mormons" is totaly in correct. When we worship Jesus christ. Second why do I not see anything about any other church? If "momons" are so bad then why don't we have an anti-catholic web site, or anti-whatever the church is named website? You don't see any of us attacking other religions and posting it for all to see. Maybe those that do are part of the "It is an emblem of my power and my priesthoods" society. Deflate your heads shake off your pride and quit judging others. If you are Christians as you claim then you would judge others and put them down. Isn't that what jesus taught? Wait you only want to read and understand those things that will defy the LDS people. Maybe you need to read and study the bible more often then on Sunday in you bath robes. - 02/01/2004 - Matt email@example.com
Man you people are sick... She lost faith because she was not into the spirit.(Holy Ghost) Through the spirit you can find the truth. Records, facts, teachings through generattions can be mixed up, miss interpeted. It happens because we are human and make mistakes. If you want to know the truth ask God in the name of Christ. With a sincere heart. How you will know is you will have a burning sensation in your chest. That is the spirit conferming you question. - 01/16/2004 - anon
This story is neither inspiring nor original. The LDS church is not concerned with deceiving the world and controlling innocent with its lies. Every worthy member of the LDS church can enter the temple and experience the same things that Rhani has. I have one question for Rhani, why was Jesus Christ, the only perfect human being to ever walk this planet, baptized for the remission of sins? He answered this question himself with this,"to fulfill all righteousness." For this same reason, we perform ordinances or "do work" in behalf of the dead. Perhaps, many of the blessings of the temple are no longer applicable, but these things are done "to fulfill all righteousness." Just as baptism is a necessary ordiance, so are the ordinances of the temple... whether you are in need of all of the accompanying blessings or not.
If you don't understand something, please ask someone who does - 11/25/2003 - Josh Felt
As Missionary Trainging Center President, Ed Pinegar used to say "there's no inspiration without information." Those of us who were inspired by Mormonism at one time were operating on faulty information shoveled out by the PR machine of the church. The information provided here and easily obtainable elsewhere insires me to take my path of truth outside the shadow of the church. At the very least, Mormonism is NOT what it claims to be. Thank you, Rauni - 11/16/2003 - from Ralph
It is great that we live in a country where we can express our beliefs!I respectfully disagree with Mrs Higley and her thoughts about the Mormon church.I am an inactive member of the church but i do feel it is true and that the gospel has been restored in this dispensation.I think what comes down to is having a testimony of Christ and his divinity.I am glad Mrs Higley has that testimony.She does sound sincere in what she believes in.I believe someday we will all know what the truth is.Is it the Mormon Church?Maybe maybe not but if in our quest to find out we come to love Christ and God i think we have accomplished a huge part of "the plan"we came here for.
Sincerely, Dan - 11/02/2003
You must remember that we are humans and the General Authorities were and are humans and they make mistakes like any other person; nevertheless the gospel and church is true. - 10/18/2003 - anon
For all those anti-mormons and inactive persons...Make sure you read first before you preach. Get off your high horse cause you are a disgrace to religion itself. - 08/16/2003 - anon
I feel bad for Rauni because many people get caught-up in this "cult of leaving" the church and it starts to take over all the mental processes. - 08/09/2003 - Jason Bosarge
Thanks to the Salt Lake Tribune's link I got here today 6/28/03. I went through the same "thing" almost 13 years ago. Fortunately for me, I wasn't born into "it" (Mormonism), but went through much trying to find "truth". I still do. Perhaps all religion is BS, and Mormonism is just the extreme example of this. - 06/28/2003 - anon
It is interesting that some of the anons are so vitriolic in their responses to this article...I was a member, and always felt confused that Joseph Smith was talked about more than Jesus! I left and was contacted many times to try and keep me from leaving. I must say, they were never rude about it or even threatening (course, this was not in Utah...and I am not saying for a minute that Utah folks are mean..some of the nicest I have met...but the church is head-quartered there). I felt that there were strong differences between what Joseph and Brigham even talked about..how could the same God give totally contradictory messages to 2 of his "prophets"? I am NOT anti-mormon...I am anti-mormon theology. There is a difference... - 06/28/2003 - Beth
Dear Rauni, Thank you for your story. My boyfriend is Momon and I am not.I wished to know more about Mormons since our relationship is serious. Reading your story has caused me to think.If they are not hiding anything as they sometimes claim, then why are they not eager to tell what they really do? - 06/22/2003 - from marie
Thank you Rauni! As a child born in the church, I had many secret skeltons in the closet. As I studied improve my spiritual path, the documents becan to fill out the flesh on those skeltons. The conflicts were making me crazy. Now, I trust the spirit of love and that wasn't evident in the church of my youth. It is a blessing to be liberated from the incongruity and devisiveness of the men using their priestcraft to intimidate and create fear. - 04/18/2003 - Rebecca
I found the story very interesting, but I had to laugh at the part where they left the LDS Church and began reading the Bible, basically exchanging one set of fairy tales for another. Just exactly how big was Noah's ark anyway? And how did people live to be 900 years old? And that part about Lot sleeping with his daughters who later gave birth to nations that later rivaled the nation of the book's authors' (the Jews) is really believable. Turning water into wine? How about turning lead into gold? - 04/14/2003 - from Konrad
Thank you so much for this BLESSED web site. Who knows who it might help escape from the clutches of satanic Mormonism. Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately, I have heard similar stories from others. It is so difficult for cult members to break free. I hope this gives some people the courage. - 04/12/2003 - from Bonnie
Things like this do make me think (I am active LDS). I have looked at some of the discourses, considered some of the doctrinal development that has taken place (I can call them changes). Religion must flow through a human conduit- it always has and always will. Good luck harmonizing the New Testament with the Old, or even one gospel writer with the next.
I guess my main question is this: what is mormonism doing to people that is so wrong? I have lived it for nearly 3 decades and it inpires me to experience life- to reach out. It has brought me the realest joys I know in life, and the most palpable hopes. It also inspires me to think critically- but also to think spiritually. Thought alone did not get me here, and thought alone will not get me out. One problem I do have with Rauni's story though is her problem with the theological and doctrinal development which took place in the early church (and the refinement which takes place now as the world presents us with a constant stream of precedents). Joseph Smith did not have the gospel delivered to him neatly as a finished product. He had to seek it out "line upon line" just as all of us do.
I'm sorry for the lack of tolerance she experienced. Thankfully Utah is not the church, and the kind of behavior described by her isn't inspired by the gospel I believe in. - 04/11/2003 - Brian S
What a wise and courageous couple to come out of a scam like to mormons! God bless you and your family! - 04/04/2003 - Marcia
Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I have researched Mormonism - as my son is lost in the maze - as his girlfriend is Mormon. Thus - I am shunned - because I have shared Truth with him - and they are not allowed to think for themselves! If anyone is offended by that all I have to offer is THINK FOR YOURSELVES like these people did. It is the road to FREEDOM! - 03/02/2003 - anon
It's very sad to hear how the mormon church operates.Firstly it witholds information from converts like Rauni, then takes huge amounts of their time and money, before finally defaming the character of those who dare to question any part of the scam. Who can blame the Higleys for spending so much time preventing others from suffering such simmilar abuse? - 02/23/2003 - anon
I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE VERY INERESTING AND I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE MENTIONED. I LIVE IN SCOTLAND AND HAVE BEEN A CONVERT FOR OVER 25 YEARS.I BELIEVE THE CHURCH IS TRUE AND THAT JOSEPH SMITH TRULY WAS AND IS A PROPHET OF GOD.THE REASON I KNOW THESE THINGS IS BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON. AS I HAVE READ AND STUDIED THIS BOOK A SPECIAL POWER HAS COME INTO MY LIFE WHICH HAS BROUGHT ME TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.I KNOW THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD AND LIVED A PERFECT AND SINNLESS LIFE,THEREFORE MY TESTIMONY IS FOUNDED IN HIM.REMEMBER THAT NO ONE ELSE IS PERFECT THAT MAN CAN FALL FROM GRACE AS THE SCRIPTURES TEACH US.I KNOW THAT THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS WHICH HAVE CAUSED YOU TO LEAVE THE CHURCH CAN BE ANSWERED.I AM GRATEFULL THAT I HAVE LEARNED TO RECOGNIZE THE FEELINGS OF THE HOLY GHOST SO THAT I CAN DISCERN TRUTH FROM ERROR. - 02/21/2003 - anon
The issues raised in this interview just go to show how organizations like this perpetuate themselves-- through misery and humiliation. As with hazing rituals in fraternities, many aspects of the Mormon church serve as embarassments that set up a vicious cycle: you are humiliated or made to feel inferior, so you want to drag others into the same situation to make yourself feel better. Having sexual desires that are "shameful" only makes believers want to pass hypocritical judgement on others who feel the same way, and validate their position as a devout member of the church. No one is safe from this, because everyone has sexual needs, it is a part of being human. Religious groups need to understand that denouncing these natural urges as "unholy" only creates shame, it cannot remove what is part of our nature. - 02/16/2003 - from firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to find a religion where doctrine and teachings havent changed over time i.e the Bible? Hello. There isn't a one. This is simply stating the obvious, there is a human element to all religions that have ever been and that will ever be. That is not however the element of religion that is wise to focus on. Rather the intagible unwritten spirituality within. All mormons that I have ever known are wonderful spiritual people. So why should should I care to examine lost teachings of This brand of christianity or any other. You could spend your whole life doing so. But is that what Christ spent his life doing. I think not. By your fruits ye shall know them. - 02/10/2003 - from Protocletus
This lady definitely did things for the wrong reasons and that is why she is not a member today. Faith precedes a miracle. Signs follow those that have exceedingly great faith, repent and obey His commandments. I'm sorry so many people let the devil come into their lives. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living Church upon the face of the earth. I know that. I hope you guys will come to know that some day. Take Care. - 02/09/2003 - anon
I found this story about two years ago, right after we got the internet for the first time. And I found it by "researching" church sites. Trying to strengthen my dwindling testimony, I searched and read. Fortunely for me, I found this...which lead my search in a different direction. I wasn't crazy, and certainly not evil. I thank them. My life is now my own. - 01/16/2003 - from brm
People can always leave the Mormonism, but when they're so full of pride, like Rauni, they can't leave mormonism alone. - 01/16/2003 - anon
An inspiring story to read, as a former Mormon myself. Amazing how the "faithful" will discredit people who have examined original sources, simply because what they reveal is not faith promoting. I've read Decker. This is no Decker story. I share in your joy that the baby was not tossed with the bath water. May God, through Christ, be praised! - 01/03/2002 - anon
I think you are terribly mistaken and quite lost. You do not have a right to try to bring down other people's faith. Who are you to say the Mormans are wrong? Are you God? I did not think so. Just leave the Mormons alone. All the mormons I know are decent, hardworking, kind people. How about instead of preaching about how evil mormons are you start preaching about what really matters. Why does it matter when we all believe in God and Jesus Christ? Get Help. - 10/18/2002 - from WKMANG@aol.com
The saturation of self-righteousness, condescension and arrogance of this interview (not to mention editorial comments) offers a window into the darkened mind and world of one who claims to be on the one and only true path to spiritual maturity via un-organized religion. How frightening that people like this walk the surface of this lovely planet. To be so hardened of heart and spiritually blind so as to miss the obvious warmth and natural goodness of Joseph Smith's soul is sad indeed. And this person brings the LDS church into question? Sandra Tanner and Ed Decker must have inspired this post. - 02/28/2002 - from the other editor
Holy Moroni - 11/16/2001 - from exiled in Idaho
I am of the camp that agrees with "...well-read Jewish friends debunk Christianity more easily than you have dismissed Mormonism." Why is it so difficult to face the possibility that all religion is man made. - 10/10/2001 - Dark Sparks from exmo Recovery Board.
I know the Higleys & there is no question or accusation they will duck or hide from - they have decided to confront far more horrible charges (like the one that led them out of the church) than angry Mormons could ever level at them. - 07/29/2001 - anon
I am currently an active Mormon. I still believe in the church. I have been investigating "ex-Mormon" or "anti-Mormon" sites ever since I found out that a long time friend decided to leave the church. I wanted to find out why. I love her and wish to understand her decision. I respect her decision, I am not searching to convince her that she is wrong, I just need to get my head around this.
I have read many compelling stories, but in each one as it goes on there is something that discredits the story, at least in my opinion. In almost every story, the author reveals either serious transgression or in the case of this story conspiracy theories.
Come on the church is going to tap your phone send a secret Mormon agent to worn the people of Finland. Don't buy it.
I can understand how someone can have doubts and question what they have come to believe. I have done so, I had left the church for several years after my mission, however after my study and prayer I find that the Church is true.
I respect that you all are acting in accordance with what you believe... I respect our differences in opinion. I wish you all good luck; we all want the truth and want to do what is right. - 07/29/2001 - email@example.com
Perhaps my question is an example of twisted "Mormon logic". But being raised a "Mormon boy," I can't help asking it. If you "pull the rug out from under" Joseph Smith and the BofM, then with the same tactics why can't you "pull the rug out from under" Jesus and the New Testament? Keep in mind that the church has had most of twenty centuries to distort, hide, and polish sacred history. And the Jesuits of past centuries, for example, make Boyd Packer look like a pussycat. So maybe you have to pull harder. My well-read Jewish friends debunk Christianity more easily than you have dismissed Mormonism. In other words, does a truely critical look at Christianity, or any religion for that matter, not destroy it?
I applaud your new-found joy in Bible study. I wish I felt the same way. If I was dubbed once, I could be wrong again. And the blood vessels in my brain are getting more sclerotic with each passing year. - 07/26/2001 - HAUNTED
Rauni Higley had direct access to the temple endowment ceremony, in her work as a church translator. Her job was translating the temple ceremony into her native Finnish. Younger TBM's who received endowments only after 1990 can assert until Hell freezes over that the ceremony hasn't bechanged, that it never contained the Masonic-derived Five Points Of Fellowship, that it never contained priesthood Penalties, that it never depicted a Protestant minister as a hireling of Satan, and so on. Rauni Higley had daily access to this material, and she didn't obtain it by taping or by writing down the script from memory after going through countless sessions...she worked with the written version on a daily basis, at work. I'd trust her version of it before I'd listen to a younger TBM whose endowment is post-1990. The older TBMs who went through both versions know about the changes, but they're probably still so scared of those death penalties that it's no wonder they refuse to discuss it! -07/25/2001 - PL
I am forwarding this story to my friends. They should read about this courageous couple Rauni & Dennis!! Wow! - 07/24/2001 - TR, Finland
The convenience with which this talk pushes all of the anti-mormon "buttons" brings its credibility into question for me. It sounds like she's really talking it up for her crowd, in the same way "The Godmakers" did for it's audience. Doesn't it seem like she left the church, then got into all the old warhorse anti-mormon arguments, THEN projected those things retroactively onto her apostasy? "And then Adam-God. Check. ... and then Blood Atonement. Check. ... and then temple ceremony changes. Check..."
In the end, she presents absolutely nothing new. Just the titillating account of an "insider" who "escaped." In the same way she claims the church tries to bribe black sheep back onto the straight and narrow with high profile positions, she is unable to resist the glamour of being a darling of anti-mormonism. How hypocritical that she paints herself as suffering and sacrfificing for her beliefs, but when somebody gives up years of their life to be a mission or temple president, without renumeration, it's all just a "power trip."If she has something new to say about doctrine or beliefs or practices, great. But it doesn't sound like she does. She just has a somewhat novel biographical angle on the same old issues. Yawn.
Editor's Note: The saturation of self-righteousness , condescension and arrogance of this post offers a window into the darkened mind and world of one who claims to be on the one and only true path to spiritual maturity via organized religion. How frightening that people like this walk the surface of this lovely planet. To be so hardened of heart and spiritually blind so as to miss the obvious warmth and natural goodness of Rauni Higley's soul is sad indeed. And this person brings credibility into question? Boyd Packer and Bruce McConkie must have inspired this post.
This is one of the most revealing pieces of evidence I've seen to date. God will expose the truth about the Mormon Religion. Let's all hope it's done with love so those hope have swollowed the lies can be saved.- 07/05/2001 - anon
WOW! - 07/05/2001 - Tak
Great Story! bringing these things to light is what the LDS Church doesn't want, but the truth must be told. - 07/05/2001 - anon
Future generations will call these them blessed. They are the real Mormon pioneers of our time. - 07/04/2001 - anon
What a courageous couple. Future generations will call these them blessed. They are the real Mormon pioneers of our time. - 07/04/2001 - Fly from the recovery bulletin board.
I praise God each day for Rauni & Dennis Higley - their dedication to truth, their integrity, and perserverance is only surpassed by the truthfulness of the Bible! - 07/04/2001 - firstname.lastname@example.org
marvelous, absolutely marverlous. thank you very much. i wish you well. - 07/04/2001 - J
WOW! Very impressive, thanks! - 07/03/2001 - Violotron from recovery bulletin board
This is inspirational. Should be requred reading. - 07/03/2001 - Matt from the recovery bulletin board
This is a great story. Thanks so much for posting it! Wow, no wonder the FBI and CIA are so full of mo's. They must feel right at home there. And neither of those organizations would have to overcome any scruples on the part of the new mo recruits. - 07/03/2001 - Llona C
Very, very cool. - 07/03/2001 - Never Again from the recovery bulletin board
I admire people like Stan Larson and the Higley's who are not afraid to stand up and face historical facts of the church and leaving it all behind despite the financial and social costs of doing so. - 07/03/2001 - elsewhere from the recovery bulletin board
Powerful stuff! I just read this all the way through. What's spooky is that I came out for the first time to someone in my ward earlier today and about 5 or so minutes after hanging up, the bishop called. I KNOW this person did NOT call the bishop (and besides I think they're having doubts themselves). It's probably a coincidence, but still spooky. Anyway, this was great reading! - 07/03/2001 - Not Important from recovery bulletin board
This is the tripe from another disgruntaled anti mormon. Its so full of holes but your to blind to see them. - 07/03/2001 - anon
Thanks again, Rauni.
To those who would question her motives... I tell you, from first hand experience with her in the US, and my own experience in Finland, that she was and is motivated purely from her correct perception of right and wrong. She is very devoted to her Christian faith, and has chosen to be so at great cost to her and her family.
She is hardly a disgruntled anti-mormon. She is a person willing to tell her story, relate the truth she has discovered, without regard to the personal costs. - 07/03/2001 - gary
This is an impressive testimony of the willful duplicity that is at the heart of LDS, and the extreme fear based control measures that are at its heart. Proof positive for Christians: Mormons gave them their Americna properity, Mormons took it away, God gave it back.
Very inspiring story. Thanks. - 07/03/2001 - anon
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