Seventy times seven?

Seventy times seven? post thumbnail image

I’m angrier than a guy who just walked from and back to home from Dunkin’, only to find out that they screwed him out of his hash browns over this next story.  That’s because it involves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, colloquially known as the “Mormon church,” or simply the “LDS church.”  They don’t warrant a capital “C.”

As my frequent readers know, and yes, I can see that this article has, as of the time of publication, over 10,319 reads, I left the LDS church last week.  I would recommend reading that article first so that this article makes more sense.  Or not.  Whatever.

I’ve been seeking an on-the record, with names comment from the church and have reached out to corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City, and local media representatives here in Albany.  Not a peep.

I’m not upset that they refuse to comment on what I’m about to discuss.  In fact, I feel better about writing this article, because I gave them a fair shake and they spat in my face.  I can write this article knowing that I upheld ethical standards.

A lengthier version that comprises of this article and other articles that I’ve written on the matter will be published in print right here in Albany.  So it would have been worth their while to comment.  If they knew just how good I am at my game, they would’ve commented.  If they submit a comment after this article is published, that comment will be ignored because they have given up their right to comment.

When I formally resigned my membership of 30+ years during an appointment with my former bishop, Daniel Spencer Bolke, an engineer with the town of Niskayuna, and who resides in Selkirk, New York and who oversees the Albany 2nd Ward, located at 420 New Scotland Avenue in Albany proper, in the Albany New York Stake, I handed in my keys and my temple recommend,  Happily, I might add.

Bolke warned me, with a witness present, that once I leave, and I quote word for word,”that’s it,” which I took to mean that I won’t be able to seek readmission.  Ever.

It’s a moot point, I suppose, because I am happy with Catholicism, since it is the only church that was founded by Jesus Christ Himself.  That happened over 2,000 years ago, in 33 AD to be exact.  Contrast that to how the LDS church was formed.

Making a resignation permanent without a chance forgiveness is a startling about-face for a church that has dubbed itself the one true church that was formed in 1830 by Joseph Smith, who was known as a criminal in the Palmyra, New York area.  He was also a child molester and a pedophile.

He made up all manner of fairy tales that I once fell for, especially as a child.  Smith first tried to claim that he visited with God and Jesus Christ, but in recent years, the church has changed its tune to modify the story to a point where he only saw them with his “spiritual eyes.”

It’s impossible to tell what the LDS church really teaches, because they’ve changed their tune about eight times in regards Smith’s supposed conference call with God and His begotten Son.  Yes, Smith wrote eight different accounts of his supposed “First Vision.”

The Catholic Church has never had to reverse course like that LDS church has.  And why is that, you ask?  Because the Catholic Church teaches God’s truth while the LDS Church teaches Smith’s fiction.  We’re talking about a man who claimed that he was visited by an angel with a flaming sword who commanded that Smith marry multiple females, including at least seven teenage girls, at least one of whom was fourteen years old.

So, Joseph Smith had sex with underage girls and by extension, he obviously liked looking at teenage girls sexually.  So I stand behind my claim that he was a pedophile and a child molester.

Today, if, like Smith, I married a 14-year-old, not only would that marriage be ineffective legally, but I would be sent to prison.  Smith?  He fled the law rather than be held accountable for his actions.

Also, what sane teenage girl would marry a man that drastically older than her?  Well, if Smith used his influence as a self-described “prophet,” that would probably scare a teenage girl into doing practically anything.  How many teenage girls have the popes throughout history slept with?  None.

Records on some of Smith’s many polygamous marriages are available on the LDS church’s genealogy website for all to see.

Anyway, the LDS church’s policy is, or was, those who resigned or who were excommunicated were able to start the lengthy process of returning to the church after one year.  Bolke made it clear, or at least I understood it to mean, that if I went through with it, I wouldn’t be allowed to come back. Hence the, “that’s it.” Two little words that carry so much power, or at least they would, if I cared.

Since I was unable to find anyone to respond to my question,  a question I wasn’t obligated to ask, I happened across a member of the church who works at their corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City.  The source answered my questions via What’sApp on the condition that that person’s department, name and gender of the person not be used.  I will honor that, and as a journalist, I cannot be obligated to disclose that information to the LDS church leadership, nor anyone else.


Does the church still readmit members who voluntarily resign?  My former bishop counseled me that if I sign the paperwork to leave, and I did leave, “that’s it,” those being his exact words.  I have a witness.


“Your former bishop is correct.  Based upon recent changes to church policy, a member who resigns can, and most likely will be be barred from ever coming back, at the sole discretion of the appropriate Seventy and the Office of the First Presidency.

This is a change from the previous policy, which was that the person who resigned can start the process after one calendar year and can be rebaptized with permission from the FP.  I’ve personally seen more than a few rejections handed down to people who did nothing but resign.”


In regards to coming back, does the church still believe in the seventy times seven principle?  It sure doesn’t seem like that’s the case!


“Well, we see it in Matthew 18:22.”

“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, [u]ntil seven times but until seventy times seven.”

“When a person is excommunicated, except for a few certain offenses, they can always start the process of  coming back after at least one year from the date their membership was withdrawn.

When a member who resigned wants to return?  Perhaps not so much!  Before, there was no question, but now the story seems to change as often as we change our magic underwear (Editor: this person’s words, not mine!).  Plus, the instructions seem to change often.”

So did Bolke go rogue?  Does he simply not understand how things work when it comes to forgiveness after membership withdrawl because he’s new?  Is he just a retard?  Or is he actually correct?  Does the right hand even know what the left hand is doing here?

The answer to these reasonable questions may go unanswered and the morality behind the silence rests squarely upon the shoulders of the church.

In the interest of being fair, Bolke has been in charge of the Albany 2nd Ward since it was a branch and he perhaps isn’t used to people resigning.  But he shouldn’t have said, “that’s it,” without learning the proper policies.  Unless, of course, his comment was intended to speak for the LDS church as a whole.  As a church leader, his words and actions reflect upon the very church itself.  He represents and speaks for the church as a whole.

Even though I really have no interest in his response, nor in anything else that he has to say, I felt that I’m legally and morally obligated to reach out to him,.  At least I tried. And yes, I did try. That’s more than many bloggers and freelance writers do.

Most bloggers don’t even try to get a comment.  Well, I do.

Maybe that’s because of the journalism courses that I took in school and because of the fact that I once worked for a newspaper of record, The Press of Atlantic City.  I do have journalistic ethics.  Even when the subject matter disturbs me, I do endeavor to try to get the other side of the story.  That, I feel, sets me apart from most bloggers, something that is important in stories such as this.

And let’s talk a little bit more about Bolke for a minute.  A bishop or branch president is supposed to convince the member that a big mistake is about to make.  He didn’t even try to stop me.

Also, unless yet another policy has changed, the person requesting removal has thirty calendar days in which to change his or her mind.  That didn’t happen with me either.  It’s a moot point, because I’m happy with the decision that I made, but there is a principle involved.

I’m grateful that he didn’t try to stop me, because I would have shut him down anyway, but there’s a principle involved.  If I were in his position, I would at least try to get the member to think real hard about resigning.

Maybe that’s just me. Clearly, and in my opinion, Bolke has no morals whatsoever.

How is Bolke going to treat others who seek to leave or who are about to be excommunicated? It looks to me as if Bolke didn’t follow church protocol, and believe you me, there is a strict policy in place when it comes to withdrawing someone’s membership.

Apparently my method of resignation was wrong, because he showed up at my place at 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night to get me to put into writing that I wanted out. Even though the hour was late and even though I would have shot him right in the heart if I’d had a gun (I don’t), I did so happily. I was officially out on Monday morning, as this attempt to change my password indicates:

And yes, you read that correctly.  He did show up that late at night.  I have a witness.

No apology, no shame.  Of course, this is how Bolke operates, based upon my own personal experiences with this guy.  Yes,  Bolke once called me at close to 10:00 p.m. one night.  He called me first, but since my do not disturb hours had taken effect, he then called the woman who is currently my wife.

Why would he call that late?  Calling me at that hour is unforgiveable in my book, even if someone dies, because that person will still be dead in the morning, right?  If someone’s dead, I can’t raise them from the dead.  I don’t think that even the pope himself could do that!  So…why call me that late at night?  There’s no logical reasoning that would support calling any human being that late!

So why call me after, say, 8:00 p.m.?  That’s how my grandmother raised me: never call after 8:00 pm. unless you have their permission to do so.  That’s how I’ve governed myself on the phone since I was six years old.

Bolke, by his own admission, called me that late because, as he said, “I’m livid” over something that I wrote.  That’s not the first time that’s happened, believe you me.  So can I call him that late if I’m “livid,” I wonder?

Believe me, just as Bolke knows where I live, I know exactly where he lives.  I know where he works.  He told me himself.

I’ve almost slapped his teenage daughter down on more than one occasion for walking through the halls with an arrogant smirk on her face.  The only thing that stopped me?  Not the welfare of the child.  Not the church-related consequences.  The legal consequences.  If it weren’t for those, I would have smacked her down and slammed her face into the wall so many times that her nose would break.  But because I wouldn’t do well in jail, I resisted the urge.

After he called me so late at night, I did my homework on Bolke and his family.  I’m not the one for him to be fooling with. I am not the one to f–k with.  Know thine enemy and all that.  That’s actually what it comes down to: not doing anything with the information that I have on him, but simply knowing my enemy.

As an act of revenge for the stunts that he’s pulled, however, I fully plan to come to his home one night around 10 and repeatedly ring his doorbell.  But then again, I might just go full retard and do it at one in the morning.  I’ll wake up his own damn family and not lose a second of sleep over doing so.

Regardless of the time of night or day, I will live live stream it on YouTube and on this website for all to see.  Then we’ll see how he likes it.  Stay tuned.

But back to the matter at hand.

There are just so many super-de-duper ways to end one’s membership in the LDS church.  The first one is the route I took: voluntary resignation.  On a copy of the e-mail that I wrote requesting to be removed, Bolke advised me to write, “I, Michael Crook, resign my church membership.” I was only too happy to oblige.

Bolke then electronically submitted that request to the membership records department and that is where my membership got shoved over to the church’s confidential records department, where it will remain in perpetuity, with, apparently, absolutely no chance for readmission, according to Bolke and, by way of their silence, the LDS church itself.

The other way to lose one’s membership is excommunication and there are just so many ways to have that happen. They’re all, for the most part, common sense reasons.

Murder, rape, incest, fornication, abuse of a child or a spouse and other felonies like armed robbery are all classic ways to be excommunicated.  Coming back after committing those offenses?  Those are decisions made on a case-by-case basis by upper leadership, as in Salt Lake City leadership. As in the First Presidency, which is comprised of the president of the church and his two counselors, or assistants.

If the transgressions were serious enough, it might indeed come before the president of the church, a man that over 18 million people believe to be a prophet.  Of course, the pope has more spiritual power than a man who only becomes president because of seniority, not because of spiritual power.

The current “prophet” is one Russell M. Nelson, who was once a world-renowned heart surgeon.  He is now 100 years old and he looks and acts like he’s in his 70s.  I’ll give him that.  I’ll also grant that his professional accomplishments are many.  He deserves respect for that aspect of his life.

But do I believe that he, and the other men before him, has audience with God Himself?  Nope.  He talks to God as many times as I talk to Jenna Ortega.

Anyway, there are other ways to find oneself excommunicated.  There’s also the famous apostasy and conduct unbecoming a member of the church.  Speaking out against the church and its teachings will get you excommunicated after one warning.   But now, I can’t be excommunicated because I’m no longer a member. So, unlike current members, I can do, say and write what I want and the LDS church can’t do a thing about it!

Conduct unbecoming a member can be the catch-all reason and it can be used to get a member out of the church for actually doing little or nothing.  Church leadership has the power to do anything they choose.  There is absolutely no accountability whatsoever.

Given that the church has been given ample chances to respond to me and they have not, I have to make the assumption that the seventy times seven principle is dead and buried and that Bolke is correct.

The church had a chance to send even just a one-line e-mail, but they didn’t.  The fact that I had to seek out someone who was willing to talk to me, whether off the record or on, shows me that the church simply doesn’t care about misinformation.

Maybe the church doesn’t think I’m popular enough to warrant a response.  Problem is, I get about 3,113 unique visitors a day, more on Saturdays for some reason, with that day of the week being my most heavily-trafficked day of the week, as it has been for the past few months.

This article, much more lengthy than this post is, will also be in a physical publication that has a circulation of 20,000 people. Folks are going to read this and hopefully those readers will judge the church accordingly.  By their fruits ye shall know them and all that.

I am going to promote the hell out of this to get more readers.  I would love to tell both sides of this story, but the church and Bolke are rebuffing me, making that absolutely impossible, so they won’t have any room to complain about this article, nor will they have justification to be upset about some follow-up articles that are in the works.

I gave them all more opportunities than they deserve, so if they conveniently decide that they want to comment now, those efforts will be rejected.  If they approach me offering a comment after this article is published, I will now turn them away.

Yes, the LDS church’s silence speaks volumes.  Bolke’s silence also speaks volumes.  The silence from the local media representatives is the last nail in the church’s coffin for me.  And we’ll never know why the church isn’t denying that the seventy times seven principle no longer applies.  I tried, folks.  I tried.

This article is a free online version of a longer, more detailed print version that comes out later this week.

So…seventy times seven?  Not in the LDS church! Not anymore, anyway.  And you have it from a church employee’s own words: from now on, if you resign your LDS church membership, you will likely never be welcomed back.  For me, that’s a blessing, but for others,  maybe not so much, so maybe think twice before you resign as opposed to simply going inactive.