Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dispelling the Anti-Mormon Myth

emember: when you see the bitter apostate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness.  Do not spread disease germs!
- Boyd K. Packer

This past Saturday, The New York Times published an article titled "Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt."  The article is about Hans Mattsson who was an Area Authority in the LDS church, and it discusses his crisis of faith.  I admire his courage in speaking out about his issues with the church, and I think it is further evidence that doubts affect all types of members.  I encourage everyone to read the article and watch the video.

There has been a lot of discussion online in response to this article, and not surprisingly, the issue of anti-Mormons and anti-Mormon material keeps coming up.  As a Mormon I was aware of the fact that there were a lot of anti-Mormons in the world, and that many of them wrote books, articles, websites and blogs dedicated to telling lies about the church.  Now that I have left the church, my perspective of this label has changed completely, and I can see just how harmful it is.
"The word "anti-Mormon" is meant to be nothing more than an ugly pejorative.  It is usually slapped on anyone who questions or disagrees with the teachings of the LDS faith and implies that the perceived critic is somehow "against" (anti) Mormons (as individuals)."  - Bill McKeever
What makes something qualify as anti-Mormon?  The general idea within the LDS church, and one that is frequently perpetuated by its leaders, is that anyone or anything that teaches something that contradicts the church's teachings, or paints the church in a negative light, is anti-Mormon.  Read the following list and see if you can pick out which are anti-Mormon statements:
1. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon using a special rock called a peep stone.  He placed it in a hat, then put his face in the hat to block out the light, and then text was revealed to him on the surface of the stone.  Joseph also sometimes received revelations through the stone.
2. Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and had as many as 33 wives or more.  Some of these marriages were polyandrous, meaning that Joseph married women who were already married to other men.  Some of Joseph's wives were teenage girls.  Joseph was secretive about his various marriages.  In fact, at one point he married two sisters (who had been brought into their home as maids) and neither knew that the other was married to Joseph.
3. There are varying accounts of the First Vision, including differences in who visited Joseph, what he had been praying about, what was said to him, and even when the vision took place.
4. Joseph Smith and the others with him drank wine while in Carthage Jail.
5. The Book of Abraham does not match the contents of the papyri it was supposedly translated from.  In fact, not only is the text nothing more than ordinary funerary papers, but the papyri have also been found to have originated much later than Abraham's time.
6. Oliver Cowdery used a diving rod to receive revelation and translate.
7. Joseph Smith was a treasure seeker or money digger, who was often involved in efforts to search for buried treasure by means of folk magic (including the use of diving rods and peep stones).
8. Many changes were made to revelations in the Book of Commandments before they were reprinted as the Doctrine and Covenants.
9. Joseph Smith claimed to have translated a portion of the Kinderhook Plates which were later discovered to be a hoax.
10. Mormon settlers massacred over 100 unarmed men, women and children in the Mountain Meadows Massacre in southern Utah, in 1857.
11. There was a group of men in the early church known as the "Danites," who were known for attacking non-Mormons.
12. Changes have been made to the text of the Book of Mormon over the years.  One of the most significant changes involved altering references that referred to Jesus as "God" into "the Son of God."
Of all the issues on this list, how many of them have you heard discussed in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, General Conference, or other church meetings?  How many of them are addressed in lesson manuals, Ensign articles and other church publications?  How many of them seem to contradict things you have been taught in church?  How many of them are you inclined to disregard as anti-Mormon statements?

The fact is that all of these statements can be verified in church approved resources.  Every single one of them. (See notes below.)  But these things aren't being taught in church, and many of them do contradict current church teachings.  So by the generally accepted definition of "anti-Mormon," these statements qualify, and they come from the church itself!

I think it's time for the church and its members to abandon use of the term "anti-Mormon" for a few reasons.  First of all, it is disingenuous and manipulative of the church leaders to encourage members to discover truth for themselves while also teaching that members should only trust "approved" resources.  The truth should be evident, regardless of what sources are used.  It is also misleading to categorize things as anti-Mormon when so much of what is discussed is verifiable in church resources.

Another reason the term "anti-Mormon" is harmful is because it is associated with a feeling of persecution among the members.  They often feel like they are being attacked when someone presents information to them that is contrary to what they've been taught.  An awful lot of feelings get hurt needlessly simply because of a misconception.  If you can discuss differing views about politics without taking it personally when someone disagrees with you, then the same should be true of discussing religious beliefs.  Disagreeing with an idea or a belief is not the same as hating the person who espouses those beliefs.

I think the worst thing about the term "anti-Mormon" is that it's so divisive.  It polarizes people, and it shuts down discussion that is desperately needed.  The world is not black and white.  Not everything can be neatly categorized as pro-Mormon and anti-Mormon.  The LDS religion is nuanced and complex.  There are a variety of perspectives about different facets of it.  It is a shame when dialogue is curtailed because of accusations that someone is anti-Mormon, or their source is anti-Mormon.  It causes hard feelings on both sides of the fence, and it is often a factor in damaged relationships between people who leave the church and their friends and family who are still believing members.
 
Ultimately, the term "anti-Mormon" is not only damaging and counterproductive, but it is also inaccurate. The simple truth is that most people who are labeled as anti-Mormon have nothing against Mormons.  In fact, many of them were once Mormons themselves.  Many have countless friends and family members who are still in the church.  These are people who love Mormons, not hate them.  Love is what motivates many of them.

It's time to drop the term "anti-Mormon" from our vocabulary so it can stop detracting from the important issues, like open and honest discussions in the never-ending search for truth.






Note: The list above is by no means comprehensive, and is only a sampling of what can be found in the church's own resources.  I will provide links to verify each statement, however please be aware that many of the statements can be confirmed in multiple places, and it would be too time consuming for me to provide links to every reference.
 
1. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/07/a-treasured-testament?lang=eng
http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/01/great-and-marvelous-are-the-revelations-of-god?lang=eng
2. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/06/steadfastness-and-patient-endurance-the-legacy-of-edward-partridge
http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/M18K-6J5
http://josephsmithpapers.org/person/marinda-nancy-johnson-hyde
http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/M1ZP-PZV
3. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1985/01/joseph-smiths-recitals-of-the-first-vision?lang=eng
http://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/04/joseph-smiths-testimony-of-the-first-vision?lang=eng
4. http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/hcpgs/hc.aspx?HC=/hc/6/1.html&A=616 (Vol. 7, Ch. 9, Pg. 101)
5. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1988/07/i-have-a-question
6. http://history.lds.org/article/doctrine-and-covenants-oliver-cowdery?lang=eng
http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/revelation-april-1829-b-dc-8
7. http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/hcpgs/hc.aspx?HC=/hc/6/1.html&A=616 (Vol. 3, Ch. 3, Pg. 29)
http://josephsmithpapers.org/intro/joseph-smith-and-his-papers-an-introduction?p=2
8. http://books.google.com/books?id=pbkUAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=book+of+commandments&hl=en&ei=4lFATZTYIYH4sAP45oSzCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=1&ved=0CDcQ6wEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://www.lds.org/ensign/1985/02/preparing-early-revelations-for-publication?lang=eng
9. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/08/kinderhook-plates-brought-to-joseph-smith-appear-to-be-a-nineteenth-century-hoax?lang=eng
http://archive.org/stream/improvementera6509unse#page/n21/mode/2up
10. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/09/the-mountain-meadows-massacre
11. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/04/missouris-impact-on-the-church
http://www.lds.org/friend/1993/07/persecutions-in-missouri
12. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/12/understanding-textual-changes-in-the-book-of-mormon


41 comments:

  1. I really, really appreciated your article. As a former Mormon (and who knows, perhaps future one?) I totally agree with you. I wrote a book which detailed a lot of my experiences with the Church, and I took pains in the postscript to let everyone know that I'm not anti-Mormon. To me, using that label is just like calling someone fat, or gay, or the n word. It's, as you say, incredibly divisive, and forestalls communication almost completely. Jars should be labelled. Files. Not people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that, Jaclyn... jars and files. Yup. I'm a big fan of labeling files. They fit neatly into categories. People do not. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for this article. I truly appreciated it. I have struggled with this after leaving the church more than anything. Knowing that my friends and family chalk up our leaving to being "tempted by anti-mormon material" and unable to resist said temptation. So ridiculous, but, nevertheless, incredibly hurtful when it comes from people who you thought really, really knew and loved you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I disagree with this article in some ways. The definition from Dictionary.com of Anti (noun) a person who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy, action, etc.
    — prefix 1. against; opposing: anticlerical ; antisocial 2. opposite to: anticlimax ; antimere 3. rival; false: antipope 4.
    counteracting, inhibiting, or neutralizing
    Should the term be anti-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Because that is a mouthful. The majority of the time the term anti-Mormon is not used in the same way as one would refer to an anti-semite. What term should be used for groups, individuals, books, websites, churches, etc. that do not want others to be Mormon? Anti-Mormonism? What term should be used for groups that do not want others to be Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Pentacostal, Muslim, etc? The problem is in the fact that I have not met many people who have decided that the religion/denomination they were raised in was wrong, left and went to another church, and then started meeting with groups of people to try to convince the believer and non-believer of their previous faith of the error of their ways.
    I feel that you are mincing words. I have friends that are anti-Mormon. Friends. They are not against Mormons as individuals, they are against the religion. We are still friends. I have friends that have different political beliefs. We have passionate discussions about our beliefs. We are still friends. They are not against me as an individual.
    If you have found something that brings you more happiness, than good for you. Go enjoy your happiness. Do not pretend that you want to remove the anti-Mormon label so that you can make a happier Mormon. You do not want people to be Mormon. You are opposed to Mormonism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm having a hard time replying to your comment because I'm not interested in writing a whole new blog post in the comments. Let me see if I can do this concisely...

      The point isn't whether "anti-Mormonism" (or something else) might be more accurate. The point is that the label is harmful, and it shuts down honest discussion. It is used to be dismissive of someone and their thoughts, and to encourage others to be dismissive as well. It encourages people to make snap judgments rather than examining the issues. Perhaps the greatest evidence of this is when active, believing members of the church are accused of being anti-Mormon for raising issues such as feminism, or an interest in telling a more accurate version of church history. These people are neither against Mormons or Mormonism, but the label gets applied to them anyway.

      In other words, it looks like we're going to have to agree to disagree.

      Delete
    2. Is someone who criticizes Republicans "anti-Republican"? Do we speak of anti-Liberals, or those who sue for peace "anti-Military"?

      Admittedly, I used the term "anti-Mormon" innocently when I was an apologist for the Church and was a little surprised that critics felt it misrepresented them. I was told they preferred the term "critic". When I debate Mormons, out of respect I avoid the phrases "Joe Smith", "The Morg", and "sheeple" because those terms inflame. I am not against the Church's existence; I disagree with the veracity of the theology.

      It just boils down to observing the golden rule. Don't slap someone if you don't like to be slapped.

      Delete
    3. Don't slap if you don't like to be slapped? Wow. My head is shaking right now.

      Delete
    4. I would very much like to be slapped, metaphorically, if I were being delusional. No conclusion about my stance on Mormonism should be drawn from this, only about what I perceive as a laxness in philosophical integrity. In matters like religion we can coexist, but if we are to engage in discussion simply "agreeing to disagree" is a seductive but perverted escape from dealing with the discomfort of examining beliefs against our best perception of truth. In other words, ( and in accordance with the golden rule) if you have reason to question my beliefs then slap away!

      Delete
  4. I really enjoyed this post. I agree with its substance, namely that the term "anti-Mormon" is over-used in the LDS community, and most often as a device to dismiss any information that complicates the assumptions upon the which one's faith rests. Too often the term is ignorantly used to dismiss true and legitimate information that can be found in "valid" (even Church-approved) sources, as demonstrated in the footnotes. While the term anti-Mormon has a legitimate use I believe, I have far more often heard it used to dismiss information that merely challenges the correlated picture of LDS Church History. This is not only careless, but it is harmful. And it creates an unnecessary polarization between the "faithful" and the "questioners", a division that need not exist. It has the effect of producing fear and suppressing inquiry on the part of the "faithful", while invalidating the legitimate struggles that "questioners" encounter as they wrestle with legitimate complexities in the historical record that they never learned in Church. Imagine the pastors in Joseph Smith's time dismissing his inquiry and his doubts and his own interpretation of scripture as "anti-Biblical"? What if Joseph merely conceded? We'd be Methodists today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ryan. I'm so glad you pointed out the fear it causes in members who have questions. It's true that many who experience doubts or concerns keep them suppressed because of all the anti-"anti-Mormon" rhetoric they hear. Or if they choose to do a bit of research they feel enormous amounts of unnecessary guilt because of it. For a church that claims to be founded on questioning, as you point out, it's a shame that so many feel afraid to do so.

      Delete
  5. I made a presentation last year at Sunstone Symposium as an Evangelical and introduced a resource called Transitions. This is geared toward those who have chosen to emigrate from Mormonism into more traditional forms of Christianity, and to ease the personal, doctrinal, and worldview issues. I concluded by suggesting that religious institutions need to make the journey of doubt and emigration easier, not more difficult. I hope the LDS Church is open to such considerations.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am familiar with all of these facts listed above. In fact, I am familiar with them in fairly deep historic detail. There is a tremendous amount of literature extant on these topics by FARMs and Book of Mormon Studies at BYU. Despite my familiarity with these facts, I have a strong belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the authentic word of God. Question for you: In addition to these "facts," do you also consider the following to be facts: 1) God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove; 2) The Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and Three Witnesses; and 3) The Priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery through John the Baptist and Peter, James and John...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The list above was included to make a point about one of the reasons the term "anti-Mormon" should no longer be used. What I consider to be fact or not is not the point of the post.

      Delete
  7. The problem is that each of these "facts" is taken deeply out of context. The label anti-Mormon is description for one that tried to use historical or doctrinal facts to destroy the faith of others and lead them away from the Church of Christ. It doesn't so much represent which sources are used, but the attitude and the intention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know about you, but I often times am pretty poor at interpretting someone else's intention... as is shown by the many disagreements my wife and I get into when we feel like the other is slighting us.

      So, if I would present these facts in a discussion trying to help an LDS member see my perspective on why I believe Joseph was a sham, how can you call me anti-mormon? You don't know what my intention is - is my intention to destroy their faith and make them hate their church, or am I simply trying to share my perspective so they can be more intellegent about their faith by viewing it through multiple perspectives?

      If this be the case, then when an LDS member tries to make me see their perspective and why I am wrong, should I say that they are anti-Christian as they are presenting data that goes against my Christian beliefs (and I am not trying to start a discussion on if LDS is a denomination of the Christian church or not - eitherway, if I, a Christian am Anti-mormon for presenting beliefs against someone else's LDS faith, then when they present against my faith, then they are anti- my religion which is simply that of Christ (no affiliation with a religious organization), thus "anti-Christian". My bet is you would say that if an LDS missionary presented their gospel, which I believe is false, that they are not being "Anti-Christian" or anti whatever my belief is, I bet you see it as they are just trying to help me see the truth as they believe it. Well, when non-LDS present their beliefs or arguments against "the Church", they are merely doing the same thing.

      Therefore I say this, if LDS are not open to hearing other views and arguments that may have a result of them leaving the church or may not, then they need to stop living a double standard and expecting the rest of us that believe against it should listen to them.

      Delete
  8. Well written, and a point that's important to me. Shared on FB.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much for this post. Very well written! I look forward to following your site.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This whole LDS has separaded our family,I'm totally anti-mormon!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Agreed with your article but how can this be corrected? It seems 'anti-mormon' has taken hold for decades, perhaps from BoM words like 'anti-nephi-lehi'. Also, do fully involved mormons resent being called TBM (true blue mormon)? What would you prefer anti-mormon be replaced with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Helen. Just to be clear, TBM generally means "true believing Mormon," which doesn't seem offensive to me as it implies nothing negative and seems an accurate description. That being said, I don't know how active members feel about the label.

      As for your question about what "anti-Mormon" should be replaced with, I'm not sure I have the answer to that question. I know that many people who have been accused of being anti-Mormon would prefer to label themselves as pro-truth, and I suppose that would be a start. I'm not actually sure I think a replacement term is really necessary. The "anti-Mormon" label exists mostly to draw a line in the sand between "acceptable" and not. It is used by people who want to convince others of who (or what) is trustworthy (and not). I don't think the line in the sand is drawn in the right place, nor do I think we need a line in the sand anyway. I think people should be encouraged to find out what is truth and what is not, without labels that make everything seem easier. Maybe I'm being a bit unrealistic, but a girl can hope, right? :)

      Delete
  12. The entire argument by the original author is based on the premise that she never did her homework as a member of the Church. None of this information is secret. I converted to Mormonism in 1978 after a thorough study of many other Christian sects and denominations. The thing that amazled me about Mormonism is that its people had the confidence to tell me that God himself would bear witness of the truth through the Holy Ghost. All the other Christian churches just said the best I could do was believe their interpretation of the Bible and hope they were right. Meanwhile, Baptists say that Catholics are wrong and going to hell. Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, and the Assemblies of God all contradict one anothers' doctrines. Who could say who was right? Only God.

    I asked the Lord if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. I received a personal answer to my prayer that those things were true. As far as I'm concerned, that's all the proof I'll ever need.

    Over the past three decades, I've heard the entire list of accusations above. I researched them and found reasonable explanations and answers for them. I've published many of those topics on the S.P.A.M. web site. I have an intellectual conversion in addition to a spiritual one. Regardless of what man says, I have had the witness of the Holy Ghost. The author simply didn't put for the effort to find the truth.

    While protesting the use of anti-Mormon, the reader should note that the author didn't simply just leave the Church and start fresh. No, she had to try to harm the Church somehow. That vindictiveness is what characterizes an anti-Mormon. It's so common, we have a saying that "You can leave the Church, but you can't leave it alone."

    On the contrary, when a Baptist or Catholic becomes a Mormon, there are no bitter recriminations cast at their former religion. We generally view our past religious faith associations as a positive thing that pointed us toward a greater light. You don't see Mormons protesting in front of a new Methodist church or a new Baptist church. We dont' try to block them in zoning commissions. We don't publish scurrilous videos full of lies about them. On the other hand, when a person leaves the Mormon faith, he or she tends to go on the offensive against his former associates. That is inspired by the same spirit that motivated Judas Iscariot.

    If the author really wanted answers, she would have found them. Instead, she was looking for an "out." She found it, but now that she is outside the Church, she finds there is no peace. That's why she and her anti-Mormon fellows continue to attack.

    Meanwhile, this article has been picked up and linked to other anti-Mormon sites, including the Free Republic sites who sit around and gloat over the downfall of one of the elect. Satan's servants they are and their works follow them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. My name is Jen, as it says at the bottom of each post. You don't have to call me "the author."

      You seem to be intent on making a lot of assumptions about me and my intentions, so let me just clear up a few things. First of all, as a young Mormon I DID want answers, and I went looking for them in the ways I was trained to, and I found answers. I had an incredibly strong testimony that most people who are close to me would have referred to as unshakeable. So you couldn't be further from the truth when you say that I was looking for an "out." I was devastated when I found the truth about the church I'd always loved.

      Also, my intentions in blogging are also not so sinister as you imply. I don't think at any time I have said my desire is to harm or attack the Mormon church. Mormonism has shaped my life; I can't escape that. My worldview will always be affected by my upbringing. This is a place for me to talk about how my perspective has changed in so many ways since leaving the church. It's also a way for me to pay it forward to the many others who have done the same, who helped me through the painful transition of leaving the church.

      Contrary to the idea you said that people leave the church and can't leave the church alone, it is quite the opposite. The church makes the lives of people who leave downright miserable in many ways, and it's only natural for those of that leave to lean on each other, discuss issues, and help others along the way out.

      I think one of the biggest problems with using the term "anti-Mormon" is that it promotes black and white thinking. When people can only see things one way, then they have to force everything to fit in that paradigm, whether or not it really does fit. You, and your assumptions and accusations, have really proved my point for me.

      By the way, feel free to peruse the rest of my blog and read about that peace you say I can't find. Because now that I have left the church, I'm finding it more and more all the time.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    3. Spamlsd, I wanted to respond to your response but Jen did such a good job of hitting all the points that all I need to say now is this:

      1.) you experienced confirmation bias. Look it up.

      2.) you looked for rational explanations, found something that fit, and then again, experienced confirmation bias.

      3.) The move from one religion to another (methodist to lutheran for example) is not nearly as drastic as the move from living and believing the mormon church to not believing it. Of course people are going to talk about it, as it can be an extremely eye opening experience, especially as in the case of individuals like the author who were born into the culture and lifestyle.

      To think that this post and blog in general was created out of deeply rooted ill-will towards an entity is outrageously childish, and your response is simply a solid and well executed display of proof as to the "anti-mormon" mentality that the author speaks of.

      4.) Your last two paragraphs in your response just made me flat out sick. You, sir, have some issues. Your assumption and projection that the author has nowhere to go to find peace illustrates your hidden desire that she never does, which I find appalling. What ever happened to "Peace and Good Will to all Mankind".

      Delete
  13. Jen,
    Thanks for writing this. It does seem that very often my own family members treat me as if I'm going to sneak into their homes at night and kidnap their children, simply because I don't agree with their beliefs. For some reason it's alright for them to push and push and push and shame me for my beliefs, but the moment I try illustrate the reason's why I don't share their beliefs I'M the one pushing my beliefs on them. It makes it hard to maintain positive relationships with the people you love when they are taught to treat you like the enemy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is really sad, and unfortunately, all too common. Stories like yours are exactly why I felt compelled to write this. I hope things get better for you over time.

      Delete
  14. Love this post! You are spot on! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey everyone! I'm glad this post is generating some good discussion. I think it's important to talk about these issues. However, I would appreciate it if the comments stayed on the topic of the "anti-Mormon" label. If you submit a comment that is mainly about why the church is or is not true I'm not going to publish it. I promise it's not personal. Some of the unpublished comments even made me smile. I just don't think this is the place for it. There are lots of other places online dedicated to discussing these issues. Thanks for understanding. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's interesting that although this article is a truthful and fair one, without malicious intent, I could not show or share it with my active Mormon friends without them automatically considering it (and me) as being anti-mormon.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jen, you nailed it! You put it in words that are clear, truthful yet neutral. I wish I had your writing skill. I posted this on my page and hope that some in my family will understand. Well, after over 10 years out they still believe I left so that I could sin, whatever the heck that means. So, who knows how that's going to turn out.
    Anyway, it's so hard to present the truth about the church without members covering their ears and saying "la, la, la, can't hear you!". Truth is so easily dismissed by those unwilling to learn it. Of course the True Believing Mormon doesn't see it this way. They will continue to believe that we who have left are dark hearted, despite and inspite of what they see and hear and witness in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is an interesting proposition. I agree with it. I'd had nothing but church published information with which to find answers throughout my early life and a perfect record of identifying and rejecting "anti-Mormon literature". But the burden of doctrinal questions and bad answers became too great --one Sunday I walked in to Fast and Testimony meeting as a life-long, temple-married, stalwart Mormon and walked out an Ex-mormon. The break was that sudden.

    So it was a gradual revelation over the next years of study to learn that what we had been taught was "anti-Mormon", the rest of the world just calls history, science, genetics, anthropology,... Thinkers and discovers add to the body of knowledge with no thought to how it undermines or refutes the Mormon story.

    As a people with such profound truth claims, Mormons would enjoy more credibility if they changed the "faith-promoting v. anti-Mormon" model to simply "true v. untrue".

    ReplyDelete
  19. Maybe next time I get reeled in to an LDS related discussion, I'll first clarify that I'm fine with hearing different ideas and don't need to label someone the bad guy if they contradict my opinions, then ask if they plan on granting me the same courtesy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great post, thanks for your perspective.

    I dont care what they call me now.

    I am just happy to be free of it all.

    No one can call me ' Norman the Mormon' any longer :)

    Life as a busy, active, serving, faithfull Mormon ecclesiastical leader was fine......life outside Mormonism is even more fulfilling, laughter filled, bright, colourful and beautiful.

    Call me whatever you wish. I am just so happy to no longer be called......Mormon.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Jen, I have read your list of comments and then the sources from whence they were taken.
    There is a difference in the language and the content your list uses sensetionalist and somewhat pergorative terms and phrases (typical of anit-mo sites - meant to incite anger and riducule) were as the sources explain the issues in a reasoned and informative manner.
    The other imortant aspect is what is an article written for - is it to act as a destructive and faith destroying item?
    The fact that the issues you list are not taught in LDS classes is not important as they do not pertain to one's salvation - the articles you reference are interesting facts about historical events and somewhat accademic in their scope - peripheral information. I enjoy such articles since I am interested in history and the extra information given.
    However, I do not have a testimony of the history of the Church or that Joseph was a human being subject as we are to human failings.
    I do however, have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Jospeh as a prophet and of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The context of the information is not the point, nor is the language used. The details have not been changed. The same information can be found both on websites that are accused of being anti-Mormon, as well as on LDS approved sites.

      And while you may be aware of these historical issues and have no problem with them, the same is not true for everyone. When someone learns something that contradicts what they've been taught all their life it can be very traumatic. Most importantly, when these issues come up, the term "anti-Mormon" often gets used. It is inaccurate, it is divisive and it is hurtful. That is the point.

      Delete
  22. It goes both ways people. And calling the LDS church a cult is damaging, and the distortion of facts, and using ellipses wrong because they know people will not check the sources, etc. My non LDS family treats me like dirt and thinks I am going to kidnap their kids and brainwash every body. I am ridiculed and mocked and disrespected. I have Bible verses quoted to me constantly by the non LDS family. So yeah IT GOES BOTH WAYS. People are people first, and all are sinners.

    ReplyDelete
  23. The_Easter_BunnyJune 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Call them "critics." The term "anti-Mormon" is pejorative and part of an ad hominem campaign by the Mormon Church.

    ReplyDelete
  24. The_Easter_BunnyJune 9, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Not true.

    ReplyDelete