Former Mormon bishop explains the collapse of his faith

News Summary/June 2004

Calgary, Canada --Tax lawyer Bob McCue was once a Mormon Bishop, but now he's an apostate.

Like many members of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints (LDS) McCue has a large family. His family has a history in the church that goes back generations, to the days when Mormons practiced polygamy. McCue's great-grandmother was the fourth wife of a high-ranking church leader.

Like most Mormon men the lawyer served a two-year mission for the church. McCue was a missionary in Peru.

Eventually his leadership track in LDS landed him in the position as bishop over a local ward, he served for almost five years.

But in December of 2002 Bob McCue terminated his status as a member of the Mormon Church.

The attorney said that he found Mormon history disturbing and LDS leaders "stifling."

"I deeply regret that the church's position respecting freedom of speech and the suppression of intellectual inquiry has reached its current low ebb," the attorney stated within his final letter of resignation.

McCue now is active as an ex-Mormon on the Internet. He often posts on the popular website "Recovery from Mormonism," which can be found at www.exmormon. org.

"I grew out of Mormonism," the attorney explained.

McCue said, "I read Mormon history as the professional historians write it, and realized that my religious leaders had misled me as to how Mormonism started, and [recognized]&a pattern of Mormon leadership deception [that] goes back to Mormonism's beginnings with Joseph Smith."

"The suppressed aspects of Mormon history that most troubled me indicated many instances in which Mormon leaders have deceived both their followers and the public about important matters. Joseph Smith was the worst in this regard. His tendency to exaggerate or lie when in a tight spot bears a striking resemblance to the practices of shady stock promoters I have on occasion met relative to my legal practice," the attorney stated.

McCue says he "was particularly disgusted by Smith's practice of using his authority as a religious leader to persuade women (including many who were already married) and teenage girls to have sex with him."

The attorney called this a "sordid chapter in Mormon history."

"Mormon leaders or scholars" don't dispute these critical facts about Smith and McCue pointed out that there are affidavits from some of Smith's so-called "spiritual wives," which the LDS has within its archives.

"Mormon leaders at the local level are sincere and generally unaware of the issues I had raised," said McCue. And he says that though he is critical of LDS leaders he knows they can be "genuinely loving."

"They believe God's will requires that they mislead their followers," he explained.

McCue ruminated about his experience placing it within a social context.

"Humans tend to abuse power. Democratic processes are the best restraint we have in this regard. Mormonism, ironically, was relatively democratic in its beginnings, but became increasingly autocratic as time passed," McCue said.

How can so many Mormons remain faithful even when confronted by embarrassing historical information that goes to the very foundation of their religion?

McCue says, "The forces of cognitive dissonance are powerful. Once we have a particular belief and have built a life around it, we are highly resistant to any information that suggests our belief is incorrect."

And it is cognitive dissonance theory, which has helped the lawyer to better understand his own process of breaking away from the Mormon Church.

The attorney also offered another analogy. "A fundamental change in belief involves each of the stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and finally acceptance," he said.

"My experience with Mormonism has spawned in me a deep, and I think healthy, distrust for people who purport to speak with certainty for God. And&I believe that while all religions do good and ill, those at the metaphoric end of the spectrum tend to do more good and less ill, whereas the reverse is true at the dogmatic end," McCue said.

He added, "Many claim God's authority&many others are certain that only their leaders are authorized by God&many religious leaders indicate that [you] must obey them and only them, or bad things will happen to me after death."

"The vast majority of the Mormon community will either not read this because it is critical of Mormonism, or will be unaffected by it due to cognitive dissonance&a few who, whether they know it or not, are approaching the fringes of Mormon belief&will find in what I have said support for concerns that bubble mostly beneath their consciousness," McCue concluded.

Note: This news summary was based upon the article "Leaving the Fold" by David Hedley, Calgary Herald May 30, 2004

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