Alright. First of all, I'm puzzled by your efforts to ensure anonymity. It's not as though you're saying anything I haven't heard before, although I do disagree on several of your points.
(1) "by the Book." You capitalized "Book." I did not. I was not referring the the Book of Mormon specifically when I said that my mother was "by the book." I only meant that she has a tendency to accept pretty much anything Church leaders put out at face value, because--in her view--the Church hierarchy is led by God, and God would not allow them to lead Church members astray. I am well aware of all the revisions to the various editions of the Book of Mormon, and of the efforts of Church leadership to minimize and rationalize the reasons for all these changes ("we were just cleaning up the punctuation," etc.).
(2)You paint the Church as a malicious entity. I honestly don't think that it is malicious in its intent. Is it harmful, destructive, unhealthily authoritative? Absolutely. While I'm sure that the Church is not immune to its share of corrupt cronies in places of power, I truly believe that most of them are sincerely trying to do what they think is right. They really believe what they say they believe, that they are the One and Only Way to get to heaven, and therefore Whatever Means Necessary to help (make) a fellow human toe the line, are justified. They think they're doing a good thing by covering over the less than pleasant parts of Church history, or trying to pretend that they didn't really mean such and such crazy doctrine. (We wouldn't want anyone to lose their faith, because then they'd be damned, so let's not tell them anything that might give them cause to doubt.)
I honestly think that the bishop and his two counselors who met together and decided that I must be excommunicated loved me (in the best way that they could understand loving me), and that they had my best interests at heart. I don't believe that they wanted to take away my church membership; they felt that they had to, for my own good. I imagine that it was a difficult and painful decision for them to make, but they were victims of their beliefs as much as I was, and for that reason, I genuinely pity them.
Mr. Bishop who got blasted this week is victim to that same belief system. I've no doubt that he's acted harmfully toward some over whom he was given stewardship, but I very much doubt that he ever intended harm.
(3) Missions. I don't know what you think I thought about missions, but I never once had the impression that "helping the poor" was ever the main focus of the Church's missionary effort. Sure, missionaries might do a service project here and there, but I've always known that they're primary goal is winning converts.
You're right about the hard sales tactics. I got mixed up with a network marketing company when I was 20, and remember thinking, "Wow, this is a lot like church!" (Unfortunately, at the time, instead of reading that as a red flag about the Church, I read it as a gold star for the network marketing company.)
I've always understood a mission to be a grueling and demanding experience, and I've always been aware of the stigma about coming home early. As for the brainwashing and oppression you describe, I'm sure that's all done out of the same "love" (see above on Whatever Means Necessary) as everything else the Church does. I did not serve a mission myself, though, so I'd be very interested to hear from those of my readers who did.
Bottom line, most Mormons are not mean, bad people. That includes most Mormon higher ups. They are doing the best they can with what they think they know. I am by no means defending Mormon beliefs or the Church as an institution, but I do not vilify those propagating abuse, because most of the higher ups are trapped in the same mind control as most of the lower downs.
I've got no problem with a person who wants to express an opinion, but next time have the guts to leave a name.