Saturday, May 19, 2012

Evidences And Reason

I was a lifelong active believing member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, two years ago, in the spring of 2010, when I was 46 years old I left the Church.

About six months ago, in the Priesthood session of the October 2011 General Conference President Thomas S. Monson asked:
Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone?
I decided that to stand firm for my beliefs I needed to resign my membership in the Church. I found a template for a resignation letter and began to customize it. The template suggested that I could add a paragraph explaining why I made the decision to resign. I began to try and write a paragraph summarizing my reasons. That paragraph eventually grew to nearly 100 pages. Of course that is far too long for a letter so I turned it into a book: Not by Bare Assertions but by Evidences and Reason.

On May 6, 2012 I met with my Bishop and my stake president and gave them a copy of my book and my (now short) resignation letter. I have also given copies of my book to my parents, my brothers and sisters, and a few of my friends. 

In my book I explain why I decided to leave the church. I know it is difficult for some members of the Church to understand why anyone would leave. I also know there are many misconceptions about why people leave. I hope my book will help my family, my friends, and members of the Church understand me and others like me.

The beginning of my book does not contain any of the evidences against the Church. I'm asking anyone that is interested to read at least the first 12 pages. I understand the topics discussed in my book are sensitive to many people. I greatly appreciate and respect those who are willing to read my book in its entirety.

The book can be purchased from the following sites:
Eventually I will make an ebook version available. The sites listed above all have the same book. Also, I have purchased a handful of copies. If any of my friends of family would like a copy, let me know and I will give you a copy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coming Home

  • They left Léogâne at 6:00am and arrived in Santo Domingo at about 3:00pm.
  • They are staying at the Don Juan Hotel. She is walking on the beach while she is talking on the phone.
  • Before Laura left she gave a hug to the guy she gave her tent to and to the bishop.
  • There was a gate at the border. They only checked Illens's passport.
  • They're going to eat dinner at 7pm and her flight leaves tomorrow at 3:30.

Friday, February 26, 2010

There Is No Place Like Haiti

  • Today was their last day in Léogâne.
  • They went to Jacmel today and hiked up a trail to a waterfall. Everybody was trying to decided if they were going to swim and Laura was the first one to jump in.
  • Laura and another girl were the only girls that jumped off the cliff.
  • They went to the church in Jacmel.
  • They saw a lot of people selling stuff along the road.
  • On the way back it was very foggy.
  • They were all crammed in the back of a pickup truck. Laura was standing up so she could dry off.
  • When they got back everyone decided to stay in the church because the Haitians were asking for all their stuff. Everybody is going to leave most of their stuff behind.
  • Tomorrow everyone is leaving the church. Laura is hopeful that everyone will be able to have a tent.
  • Laura is giving all of her stuff to a young man that lost his entire family. She put his name on all her stuff.
  • There were naked people bathing in the river.
  • Laura said Dustin Heslop and Brian Rogers are very funny.
  • Laura was impressed with John Robinson. He is 74 years old and kept up with everybody.
  • They are going to wake up at 5:00am and the bus is supposed to leave at 5:30am.
  • Laura said this trip has been an amazing experience. She wants to go back some time. She feels bad for the Haitians. Even with the diarreah and the scabies it was totally worth it. It has been a lot of work but it has been very rewarding.
  • There is no place like Haiti. She has really grown to love the people
  • She wants me and to go with her next time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thurday in Léogâne

  • Laura slept really good last night. There was a dog that was barking a lot.
  • Laura met Chuck's friend Edgar. She found out about their inside joke about the word "thunder". She took a picture with him.
  • There is a guy that has a watch that he things belongs to Chuck. (I found out that the watch does not belong to Chuck. It belongs to some one that was there with Chuck.)
  • Today again lots of people with stomach ache and can't sleep. There were also lots of women with UTIs and yeast infections.
  • There was a girl with no family that is about 13 that was brought in. She had a fever of 108° and had pneumonia. The nurse's tried to get an IV in her. It was very difficult and she was screaming. Eventually an anesthesiologist got the IV in. They cared for her throughout the day and got her temperature down to 102°.
  • After they were done seeing patients they went to the market. There were live chickens and live pigs in the market.
  • In the evening they had a get together with the locals Haitians.
  • They played musical chairs. Some guy named Dustin broke a chair when he sat on it.
  • Then they had a pop drinking contest where they had do hold the container with their teeth.
  • Some people sang.
  • They had some challenges where people would do something and then see if someone else could do it.
  • A Haitian couple performed ballroom dancing.
  • Some people did a skit where one guy would sneakily drink the other guys water.
  • They had a dance. Laura danced with a really nice Haitian guy.
  • After the fun the bishop asked if anyone wanted to talk about what they had gone through. One man told about losing his 11 year old daughter. When he was able to get to his house he found that it had been destroyed. His wife and his other child(ren) were at the church. He searched all of the hospitals for the missing daughter and eventually someone found and identified her body.
  • The bishop told about how one of his counselors had lost his wife that was pregnant. He is now raising 3 boys by himself.
  • The bishop said that the death toll would have been higher if everybody from around the world had not come to help. He thanked everyone for all that they had done this week.
  • Some of Laura's group are leaving in the morning and the rest are staying one more day.
  • There is a boy that lost everyone in his family. Laura is going to give her tent to him when she leaves.
  • They were playing the song "Heal the World" and people were taking pictures and saying goodbye.
  • On Friday they might go to Jacmel for part of the day.
  • A lot of the local people are planning on leaving the church grounds on Saturday. Many of them are going to move far away to live with extended family members that have homes that were not damaged by the earthquake.
  • Call cut off.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lots of Suffering

There are a couple of graphic things described in these phone calls. They are blacked out below. To read them highlight them with your mouse. Also, I have listed the corresponding times from the audio so that you can skip them if you want to.
  • Graphic (0:28 to 1:28) - When they were on their walk last night some of the men saw a woman's head in the rubble. Laura did not see it. It is so upsetting. This is why these people are suffering mentally.
  • Laura stayed at the church again today. Saw about 120 patients today.
  • Call cut off.
  • Laura could not sleep last night. She is worried about another aftershock and all of the suffering.
  • A lot of the people that are coming through the clinic can't sleep and they have stomach pain. They are giving the patients with stomach pain a pill for worms.
  • Everyone in Laura's group is going to take the pill for worms before they come home.
  • A kid brought his grandmother in because she can't sleep and she is yelling out. Laura knows a little bit how she feels. Laura felt a connection with her. (Listen to the recording from 2:06 to 3:30 to understand this.)
  • The baby that they gave the formula to on Sunday came in. The mom was worried about him but he is doing good. The baby was wearing the clothing from one of newborn kits like the ones that David made for his Eagle project.
  • Laura says that she wants to adopt a couple of these kids. She means that she wants to send them money not bring them home. She said that she would adopt a baby if there were no parents and I told her "don't even think about it."
  • The doctors repaired a hernia on a baby.
  • Surgeons removed 4 liters of fluid from a woman that had an ovarian cyst.
  • There was a lady from a place by the ocean that had pneumonia and a heart rate of 150. They gave her IV fluid and antibiotics
  • Graphic (8:55 to 11:48): There was 12 year old girl that came in that has no parents and is living in a tent with her grandmother. She had been raped. She denied that anything had happened to her. They told her to find someone to talk to about but she continued to deny it.
  • The Woman at the church made a really good dinner. Laura is not eating the food that she brought. Dinner was Fried chicken and rice and peas with a red sauce made with onions and carrots. They also had fried plantains and cabbage with jalapenos.
  • After dinner Laura took a shower and then she was just walking around everybody in her night gown.
  • The roads are really bad with lots of pot holes. They are worse than our trails. There are no lanes. Cars, Motorcycles, bikes, and people all mixed together. Lots of honking.
  • She hopes that she can sleep tonight.
  • Tomorrow night they are going to have a get together so that people can talk about what they have been through.

More aftershocks, lots of surgeries and depression, scabies

  • Last night there were 3 more aftershocks. Laura slept through two of them.
  • Last night some kids were asking her for candy but the word that they were using sounded like cigarettes. She told them no but eventually a translator told her what they were asking for.
  • Today Laura stayed at the church clinic. It was not as busy as yesterday. Laura mostly took vitals and got people ready to see the doctors.
  • A woman came in that had miscarried at 14 weeks. The doctors performed a D&C on her.
  • A man came in with elephantiasis. (Do not do a Google image search for this.) Doctors had to castrate him.
  • Doctors did lots of surgeries that people have needed for a long time.
  • Lots of really depressed people came to the clinic. One pregnant lady was brought in that had been found laying in a gutter. She had given up on life.
  • Another kid came in that was depressed because all his friends and family had been killed. He was also septic, had low blood pressure, a fever, and was diagnosed with malaria.
  • The neurologist that is treating people is concerned that the people will turn to alcohol. She is going to try to train somebody to run a support group.
  • There is a local Haitian doctor that came in for depression. Her clinic was destroyed and now she has no job. None of the other groups have let her help. They let her help and she was very happy.
  • The bishop wants them to have a meeting with all the local people before they leave. And he wants them to do something recreational to help lift their spirits.
  • Laura has scabies. She is really sad. She thought that she had mosquito bites. Four of the doctors also have it. When the doctor told her she had scabies she did not want to believe him and he said to her "you are being the kind of patient that isn't hearing what they need to hear". They gave her some cream that she has to put on her whole body and in her hair for 12 hours. And Tommy Gun is going to try and find her an oral medicine.
  • On the day they go home they are all going to take a pill to kill worms.
  • Everyone is being positive and they realize the problems they are having are minor compared to what the Haitians are going through.
  • They went on a walk with a local Haitian that had served a church mission in Boston. He was pointing out to them places people that he knew that had died used to live. So many people have died. And yet when you walk down the streets most people seem happy. The people are so strong.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mosquito Bites, Sunburn, Diarrhea, and Aftershock

  • Laura has 6 mosquito bites on arm her and a few on legs. She put insect repellent on thicker today and did not get any more bites.
  • She got sunburned yesterday.
  • Woke up at 3:30am with diarrhea cramps. Barely made it to the bathroom. Taking Cipro. The whole group has diarrhea.
  • Laura went back to bed and then an aftershock hit. Sounded like thunder or a train. Lasted about 4 seconds. Laura's first reaction was to put her contacts in and get dressed. When she tried to put her contacts in she realized she was scared because her hands were shaking. Everybody was awake and talking. Some people were crying. A Dog was barking. After a while everybody went back to bed. Laura moved her tent farther away from the fence.
  • Woke up and ate breakfast about 6:30. Helped organize the church into a clinic.
  • Went up into the mountains with Dianne, an ER doctor, the photographer with the broken ankle, and they were joined by a Canadian doctor and nurse and a Haitian nurse.
  • It was cooler and windy. The wind was blowing everything around. They were working on the porch of a hose of the leader of a church that had collapsed. The house is not safe to live in. She said that she was prepared to run off of the porch if she heard any rumblings.
  • They were driven to where they were working by a young man. He was playing "loud teenager music" in his car. It took about two hours to get there because there was a traffic jam where a tap tap got wedged up against another truck. It took about 45 minutes to get back to the church.
  • It was very beautiful. It looks like Hawaii.
  • They were handing out lot of medications.
  • The ER doctor went up the mountain and found a woman with a femur fracture that had not had any medical care since the earthquake. Her family brought her down on a make shift stretcher and they are arranging for her to have surgery tomorrow.
  • The photographer with the broken ankle was taking pictures in a church that was being used as a clinic and a guy with a machete was offended. He and some other guys pushed her into a corner but she managed to talk her way out of harm. She was speaking French and Spanish. Nobody wants to tell Illens about it because he will be really upset.
  • Call cut off.
  • Back at the clinic at the church in town they saw a lot of people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
  • There are lots of teenagers that are now raising siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews.
  • They treated a girl with a back injury
  • There was a cast that was removed and when the cast had been put on there had not been time to clean the arm so it was really dirty inside
  • A lady showed up that had just given birth to premature twins. She showed up at the church in a tap tap.
  • In the clinic they saw 180 people. They had written numbers on peoples hands to keep track of who to see next.
  • After the aftershock Laura noticed that there was a lady sleeping on the concrete with just a thin sheet under her. A lot of them have mattresses from their houses. Laura is going to give her one of her pads and give her other pad away when she comes home.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday in Léogâne

Laura called twice today. Both times on the satellite phone. Sometimes it is a little hard to understand what she is saying. She gave me lots of detail about what she is doing there.
  1. Someone found a watch that Chuck left and he wants to have Laura bring it back to Chuck. He is also going to find Edgar.
  2. Laura told the orthopedic surgeon about a little girl with a broken arm that Chuck said needs follow up and the surgeon and the bishop said they will find her.
  3. Dinner Saturday night was rice with a little bit of ham and some garlic to flavor it.
  4. They have a men and womens shower that is a tarp and a hose. The water was cold.
  5. It is humid
  6. Went to bed at 11pm and lots of people stayed was up having fun. The 'partying' ended at around 1am.
  7. It is hot and so she left the tent open. I told her to put her mosquito net in the door of the tent.
  8. Went to church Sunday morning. The people are amazing in dealing with tragedy.
  9. Relief Society lesson was about the Holy Ghost and how you have to be righteous to have the peace and happiness that you get from the Holy Ghost.
  10. Took care of babies and so did not pay very good attention in Sunday School.
  11. Sacrament Meeting first speaker was teenage girl that talked about being grateful for blessings.
  12. Everybody is happy and getting along. They keep the church very clean. There have not been the bad smells that Laura heard would be there.
  13. Mens shirts were perfectly clean and ironed for church.
  14. After church took pictures of families, babies, young men, and young women.
  15. A young boy named Melinski (sp?) said that his mother needed formula for her baby.
  16. The little boy took Laura and some others to find the Mom. The Mom was dehydrated and so had no breast milk. The mom previously had some formula but she had run out. Laura did not have any more formula so they went to look for more.
  17. They went to a tent hospital that did not have any formula. They got a tour of the tent hospital and were told that they needed more nurses.
  18. Then they went to a building that previously was used for health education. The building is now being used as a hospital. There was some formula available and also a doctor from there went and checked on the baby. The baby is doing well.
  19. Living situation is very sad. Just sticks and a tarp.
  20. Laura almost walked into an area that might not have been safe and the little boy that had brought them to check on the baby grabbed her arm and told her "No"
  21. When she was setting up her tent the little boys
  22. The Mango tree that Chuck planted 20 years ago is amazing. The tree is feeding a lot of people that are living at the church. Laura ate one, it was the best mango she ever had.
  23. The bishop is so amazing how calm he is and how well he takes care of everyone.
  24. The photographer/writer that broke her collar bone also probably now has a broken ankle. Laura gave her a shot of toradol.
  25. Another guy in the group has had problems with kidney stones and because there is not a lot of water he passed a kidney stone this morning. Laura also gave him toradol.
  26. All the different organization are working together.
  27. Laura is worried that she is not remembering enough details.
  28. I told her about an email from Chuck that said that the team that there with him is praying for the ward members there.
  29. Illens spoke in sacrament meeting about how loving the people were to him when he served there as a missionary. His wife is a nurse and is there on the team with them.
  1. There is a lady named Frances that knows Mellisa Hatch Charters and laura wants her to say hi to Melissa.
  2. Laura put her on the phone she spoke some English and some Creole.
  3. Laura told me they had a fireside. The first had a talk on service. Illens spoke on obedience. The last speaker was the bishop. He had one son killed in the earthquake and his wife and other son have gone to the Dominican Republic. In his talk he said not to ask why we have trials. He said that trials are to help us grow.
  4. Tomorrow Laura, Dianne, a Doctor, and an Interpreter are going to go out into the tents to help people.
  5. They were told to always double glove.
  6. They are going to make sure they have enough water tomorrow.
  7. Laura is going to bed soon but it appears that is is going to be party time again.